|Charmed Seasons Rewrite: Part 1
Author: Daniella Harwood PM
A rewrite from Season four, which allows Prue to live, but for the Charmed Ones to still receive another sister as the power of three becomes four. Piper/Leo, Phoebe/Cole. Part one of four series.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Supernatural - Chapters: 20 - Words: 133,684 - Reviews: 81 - Favs: 61 - Follows: 36 - Updated: 08-06-12 - Published: 05-24-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3554722
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: This episode is a rewrite of the original, with additional dialogue for Prue, and entirely different role and dialogue for Cole. It also includes a little extra at the end, which I think should have been included in the original; Leo's reaction to the news. I hope you have enjoyed my version of season four, and you find that Prue being alive is much better. Enjoy.
Witch Way Now?
There was a psychic reading show on the television, but Phoebe wasn't really paying attention to the programme. Her mind was too full of work. Since the vanquishing of the Seer, she had never felt so inspired as to give her readers the advice they asked for.
"Hey," her assistant greeted as she walked in, cautiously, for there was a box in her hands, full of envelopes. "More Dear Phoebe letters, where do you want them?"
"Oh, you can just put them anywhere," Phoebe replied.
The assistant glanced around at the various piles, wondering how Ms Halliwell-Turner managed so much work. "Um, maybe we ought to keep some of these in storage."
"No, I'll get to them," Phoebe replied confidently.
"All of them?" Her assistant sought to confirm.
"Yes. I am on a role," Phoebe assured her.
The assistant gazed around once more at the piles of letters. "More like on a mission."
Phoebe handed her a sample she had already answered. "Hey, will you get these to Elise please and find out which one she wants to run?"
"Yeah, sure, right away," the assistant looked at her with something approaching awe. "You're amazing, you know that?"
"What do you mean?" Phoebe asked.
"What is your secret? Herbs? Acupuncture?" Her assistant glanced at the television. "Tashmin?" She queried, incredulous.
"Uh, I take it you don't believe in psychics," Phoebe remarked.
Assistant shrugged. "Hey, you know, if it works for you I'm all for it."
"Honestly, I don't know what it is," Phoebe replied. "I just feel a need to help as many as I can."
The assistant nodded before exited the office, leaving her to it.
At the Manor on Prescott Street, the youngest Halliwell stood by the front window, glancing through the pane of glass at the road workers outside. Her expression was one of tension and concern, a contrast to her elder sibling hard at work at the Bay Mirror.
"Did they say how much longer this was gonna go on for?" Paige asked.
"Three weeks," Piper replied. "Which means three months," she added, before turning to her husband, who was hanging a picture. "A little higher."
"We'd better hope no demons attack," Paige commented, "that'd be a bust, especially if one of us goes flying out the window."
"I wouldn't worry about that too much," Leo assured them, "there's so much chaos in the underworld they're too busy fighting each other."
"Well, I hope it lasts," Piper mused. "I almost forgot what it's like to lead a normal life," she added. "It's gotta go a little higher."
"I need a ladder," Leo announced.
"Leo, just hover," Paige reminded him of his abilities.
Piper shook her head. "No, no, no, I don't wanna jinx anything, I'd rather we not use magic unless we absolutely have to, thank you very much."
"Come on, Piper, relax a little," Paige reasoned. "Use it or lose it, lady."
Leo hovered above the floor, holding the picture, looking at his wife.
"Fine," Piper replied, and he marked the place with a pencil before floating back down.
"Ah, see, no major disaster struck," Paige remarked before turning back to gazing out the window. "Piper," she uttered suddenly in a different voice, "I think you ought to take a look at this."
Her sibling joined her to see the road workers frozen in mid work.
"So much for not performing any magic, huh Piper," Paige said.
"Me?" Piper queried in disbelief. "I didn't do that, I couldn't freeze all that stuff."
"But I can," a voice remarked, causing them to turn round.
"Who are you?" Piper asked.
"I'm the Angel Of Destiny, and I've come to change yours," replied the man.
Piper raised her hands, trying to use her suddenly non-existent powers, while her husband stood frozen in mid motion.
"He's not freezing, why isn't he freezing?" Paige asked.
"You're wasting your time," the Angel of Destiny replied, in a voice half full of arrogance, half full of mild condescension. "I am beyond your powers. Besides, I pose no threat to you."
"Well, forgive us for not believing that," Piper returned. "But the last being we met who could freeze time was a demon."
"Actually, it's because of a demon that I've come to see you," the Angel began. "Which in and of itself is very rare. We Angels of Destiny normally don't intervene except in extraordinary situations. Mozart at age seven, Michaelangelo, Albert Einstein, Britney Spears."
"I don't understand," Piper informed him.
"You and your sisters have accomplished something that few others ever dream of," the Angel continued. "By vanquishing the Source of all evil, you have fulfilled your shared destiny, much earlier than anticipated. Truth be told, some of us did think you'd never achieve it at all, but that's really beside the point. What's important is you have and because of that we're offering you a reward, a chance to chart a new destiny, one of your own design."
"A reward?" Paige queried.
"You can continue to remain as you are, charmed, vested with all your witchly powers, and of course demonic burdens," the Angel replied. "Or..."
"Or?" Piper prompted.
"You can choose to relinquish your magic and lead normal lives again, unaccounted, free, we'd wipe the entire slate clean, nobody would come after you again," the Angel replied. "Well, what do you say?"
"What do we say?" Piper countered. "Are you kidding? You can't just freeze the whole world and come in here and drop a bombshell like that and expect a quick decision. I don't care who you are."
"I don't think you quite grasp the uniqueness of this opportunity," the Angel replied.
"No, I'm grasping it," Piper assured him, "but that is beside the point. The least you could do is give us a little time to think about it."
Paige looked at her, shocked at what she was asking. "Think about what? No time needed. Thanks but no thanks. Right?"
"Paige, go get Prue and Phoebe," Piper uttered, staring at the Angel. "Now."
Her younger sibling uttered a sigh, then orbed out. There was a tense few minutes of silence between the unfrozen occupants of the Manor's living room, then a barely audible chorus of chimes as Paige returned with Prue and Phoebe.
"Has Paige told you what this guy just offered us?" Piper asked them.
"Yeah," Prue replied. "And it's unbelievable."
"But we're refusing, right?" Paige asked them.
"Right, of course right," Phoebe answered unconvincingly. "But, you know, as long as he's offering, maybe we should talk about this. Just talk about it. Over there. Right, right over here please, now, excuse us."
Without another word Phoebe almost dragged them to the other side of the room.
"You can't be serious, Phoebe," Paige whispered in disbelief. "You of all people, you love being a witch."
"I know I do," Phoebe replied. "But I..."
Paige interrupted. "But what? What has changed?"
"Oh, I don't know, vanquishing two Sources in as many months," Phoebe reminded her. "That's what changed, Paige."
"Paige, it's just that we've been doing this a lot longer than you have," Prue pointed out, causing Piper to nod in agreement.
"She's right. And we're not trying to discount all the good that we've done or that we could do. But at the same time I'm not gonna minimise the costs," Piper looked at her hard. "Paige, I can't get pregnant because of what we do."
"Punching out demons just isn't as much fun as it used to be," Phoebe replied. "Particularly if you're thinking about starting a family."
"So what are you gonna say?" Paige asked, almost afraid to do so.
"She's saying you need some time," the Angel replied. "Which I'll grant, but not too much time. After all, other people's destinies are tied to yours. And since it's your Charmed destiny that's at stake here, majority will rule. Three sisters will decide the fate of all four. So consider your choice wisely. Perhaps what happens next will help you to decide," he uttered before disappearing.
"Hey, did you just freeze me?" Leo asked his wife as joined his family. Around them the rest of the world slammed back into existence, Prue's cellphone ringing, audible just above the noise of the road workers.
"No, dear, the Angel of Destiny did," Piper replied.
"Who?" Leo queried, blankly.
Piper nodded. "Yeah, you'd better check with the Elders and make sure he's for real." Her husband continued to look at her, causing her to add, "I'm not kidding."
Leo orbed out as Prue answered the phone. "Hello?"
"Don't talk just listen," the caller ordered, without preamble.
"Darryl?" Prue queried, causing her sisters to look at her. "What's wrong?"
"Apparently you guys are about to be put under surveillance," Darryl replied, and Prue motioned for her sisters to join her, lowering the cell so they could listen. "An FBI agent named Jackman called me into his office today. He did a search on unsolved cases. Apparently your names came up on way too many witness lists."
"What do you mean?" Phoebe asked. "What does he know?"
"I don't know," Darryl replied, "but I'm gonna try find out. In the meantime just lay low and whatever you do don't use any magic."
Paige looked at Prue as she ended the call. "So are we screwed?"
"Maybe," Piper allowed, "but that would take destiny out of our hands and I don't think that's what the angel meant."
"Okay, icksnay on the angel talk," Phoebe decided before gesturing to the stairs. Silently her sisters followed her up into the attic.
"I still don't understand how coming up here is gonna help," Paige commented as they entered the attic.
"Actually it's pretty simple," Phoebe replied, placing the compact disc player she had fetched from her bedroom by the window. She turned it on, and loud music blared through the speakers. "So you guys have been home all day, right?" Phoebe asked.
"Yeah, so?" Piper queried.
"So there's no way he would've had time to bug the inside of the house," Phoebe explained. "He's gotta be listening from the outside."
Prue joined her by the window. "That SFB Telecom van," she observed.
"Isn't it ironic that here we are presented with the opportunity to give up our powers and now we suddenly can't even use them," Piper mused.
"Except not using our powers doesn't necessarily mean that we won't be exposed," Phoebe pointed out.
"Phoebe's right," Prue agreed. "Anyone could attack us or ask for our help without warning."
"So what do you suggest we do?" Paige asked.
"I think we need to carry on as normal," Prue proposed. "In other words, Phoebe and I return to work, the same way as we came home in the first place."
"With the FBI watching us?" Piper questioned, incredulous.
"Phoebe and I can hardly walk out the front door," Prue countered. "He's bound to ask the workers there, and they saw us leave this morning." She turned from the window. "We go back to work, you and Paige stay here, while Leo checks with the Elders. Phoebe, you tell Cole when you see him for lunch, and we'll have dinner together tonight here, when we discuss what we're going to do."
"The Angel of Destiny?" Cole sought to confirm as his wife explained the events of the morning to him over lunch in his offices.
"Yeah, have you heard of him?" Phoebe asked.
"Rumours," Cole answered. "But in the underworld, you tend to count most rumours as facts. What did Leo say?"
"From his reaction, I don't think he had heard of him," Phoebe replied, "but then Piper sent him to the Elders without asking. We'll find out this evening."
"What do you think about it?" Cole asked her.
Phoebe looked up from her meal. "What?" she answered, distractedly.
"If the offer is for real, what are you going to do?" Cole asked her.
"Honestly, I don't know," Phoebe replied. "When I first heard it, I was ready to accept it, return to a normal life. Now, I'm not sure." She looked at him. "What do you think we should do?"
"Well, this isn't my decision, it's yours and your sisters," Cole replied. "This affects the Charmed Ones."
"But you're married to one," Phoebe reminded him with a smile, "and still with powers of your own. I wonder if the angel meant to include you and Leo when he made the offer."
"Leo has his other charges," Cole pointed out. "And I don't know what our actions caused to the underworld while we were searching for you, how long the chaos there will last. I can't imagine that giving up magic will be as straight forward as the angel says."
"I don't either," Phoebe agreed. "Especially with this FBI agent tailing us. Did you find anything out about him?"
"I tried, but with my position, it'll only bring more attention," Cole replied. "No crime has been committed yet, at least none we know of, and you haven't been charged, so my hands are tied in that respect."
"I suppose we won't know anything until he confronts us," Phoebe said.
"If that is what he intends to do," Cole countered. "He may just surveillance you for a few days, get bored and go away."
"I've been a witch far too long to depend on that sort of wishful thinking," Phoebe replied sadly.
Cole rose from his chair, made his way out from behind his desk and pulled his wife into his arms. "Whatever you decide about staying a witch or not, I'll support you," he vowed, pressing a kiss to her dark brown hair. "But I won't influence your decision either," he added, looking down into her eyes. "It's your choice."
"Thank you," Phoebe replied, gazing up at him, "that means a lot."
"Anytime," Cole uttered before kissing her.
The sky was darkening around him, and he was tired. For six months now he had been working, chasing names, facts, unexplained events. Searching for anything which might finally deliver the proof he needed to proceed.
Only to become frustrated. Blocked by dead ends. Leads which lead nowhere. Either someone was helping them, or someone was hindering him. There were no other possibilities. Which ever turned out to be true, there was only one way to find out.
And this brought him here, outside their house, from which music had been blaring all day. The noise was so commonplace by now that the road workers had decided it was time for an impromptu karaoke session. They had been singing- if one could use that word for their tone-deaf voices -almost non-stop since lunch.
He knew what such interference meant. Obviously they knew he was watching them. Which in it of itself was suspicious, for if they had nothing to hide there was no need to play music at loud volumes.
Giving up the battle to listen in, he waited until the BMW X5 4.4i SUV and silver Porsche parked as close as they could to the house without interfering with the road workers. Silently he watched the two women and man exit their cars and walk up to the house. He let them go inside, then climbed out of his van and crossed the road.
He knocked on the door and held up his badge when one of the women opened it. "Agent Jackman, FBI. We should talk."
Prue, Piper Phoebe and Paige cautiously led their guest into the dining room, where together with Cole they sat down, facing the federal agent.
Jackman handed them a thick file. "In case you're wondering, that's just a copy."
"Way to agenda trust, Agent Jackman," Prue remarked as she opened it to find themselves photographed many times.
"My clients and I would like to know how you obtained permission to surveillance them," Cole remarked.
"I don't think you can act for your family, Assistant District Attorney," Jackman pointed out. "If I wanted to expose you, I could've done that six months ago when that file first crossed my desk."
"Expose us as what?" Paige asked.
"Witches," Jackman replied. "It's the only logical explanation for all the unsolved cases, the missing persons, the mysterious deaths."
"Prove it," Prue replied.
"You have something to hide, else you wouldn't be playing music all day," Jackman said. "Thanks for the show by the way."
"That doesn't prove anything," Piper remarked.
"No, but it implies everything, especially when coupled with that file," Jackman replied. "You think your newspaper wouldn't run that story?"
Phoebe ignored the jibe. "What do you want?"
Jackman sat back. "Believe it or not, your help. See, I specialise in occult style slayings, that's why I was watching you in hopes of catching a serial killer. A witch hunter."
"Alright, I've heard enough of this nonsense," Piper remarked, waving her hands.
"Whatever you're trying to do, it's useless," Jackman revealed, taking out a chain from his shirt, which held something around his neck. "I came prepared. Like I said, I specialise in this stuff. There's supposed to only be a few of these amulets left in the world. Got this one off the witch hunter we're after." He hid the amulet once more and retrieved a picture which he placed before them. "Her name is Selena. I traced her genealogy all the way back to the witch trials. I think killing you people's in her blood, it's what she lives for. I mean, why else would she had burned her last three victims at the stake."
"Why are you telling us this?" Piper asked.
"Well, because I thought you were gonna be her next victims, but now that I know who you really are and what you can do, I need you to help me find her before she kills again," Jackman replied.
"Do you have any idea where she is?" Phoebe asked.
"I did for a while," Jackman answered. "I had her in custody once but she got away." He put a bag on the table. "These are some of Selena's personal belongings and from what I know, if you use your powers on them you might be able to find her. Now you do that, I'll make sure those files disappear forever. You don't," he placed his card on the table before them, "well, you figure it out. Call me."
The five remained silent until they heard the man exit the Manor, then Paige turned to her sisters. "I don't trust him."
"Gee, you think?" Piper countered.
"Maybe we should take the Angel of Destiny up on his offer," Phoebe remarked.
"Great, so we'd be free and so would Selena, who for all we know could be a warlock," Paige countered.
"No, warlocks don't burn witches at the stake, they just steal their powers," Phoebe reminded her sister.
"Exactly," Paige replied. "Powers, Phoebe, the very things we were given to do good with, remember?"
"Paige, I remember," Phoebe assured her.
"Guys," Piper called, trying to intervene.
"Do you really or has all that magic just kinda gotten into your brain," Paige accused.
"Guys," Piper tried again.
Paige ignored her. "I can't believe you're so willing to just throw away our powers."
"Paige, you don't know the hell that I've been through," Phoebe replied. "You didn't live it."
"Oh, really?" Paige countered. "I was just turned into a vampire and then I was shrunk and then your husband and I switched bodies and..."
"Okay, imagine going through that four years," Phoebe said. "All I'm asking is for my life back."
"Okay, guys, enough, we need to focus," Prue ordered.
"Prue's right," Cole agreed. "The decision of whether or not to give up your powers can wait until this business is taken care of."
Piper nodded in agreement. "Like the angel suggested, we need to see this through. So Paige, you are gonna go up to the attic and get started on this stuff. We will meet you there. Scoot." She looked up, calling out to the heavens above. "Leo! You can orb it's alright."
A cloud of blue and white lights, the sound of chimes and her husband corporealised into the dining room. "What about the FBI agent?"
"He already busted us," Piper replied. "But supposedly all he wants is our help."
"Did you find anything out about the Angel of Destiny?" Phoebe asked.
"He's legit and so is his offer," Leo answered.
"Okay, can you and Cole do us a favour and go get Darryl and make sure that agent Jackman is legit too?" Piper asked them. "And meanwhile, we have a witch hunter to find. Don't ask, just go."
"I'll explain on the way," Cole assured his brother in law before they orbed and shimmered out of the Manor.
"'Before the flame subsides,'" Piper read aloud from the Book of Shadows, " 'let the wax from the candle drip onto the crystal. Once consecrated scry with the crystal for the one who is sought.'"
Paige held the candle aloft, letting the wax drip into the bowl. A small explosion occurred, and she looked to her sisters with a smile. "Ain't magic grand."
"Okay, thanks honey," Phoebe said into her cellphone as she wandered into the attic. "No, stick with it, they're might be something else. I love you too, bye." She ended the call and turned to her sisters. "Cole said Darryl confirmed that there is a serial killer on the loose doing exactly what Jackman said."
"We're all over it," Piper replied as Paige started scrying.
"What else did he say?" Prue asked.
"He also said that Jackman has more information on us than he shared, including our genealogy. Dating all the way back to Melinda Warren."
"Well, what does that mean?" Paige asked.
"They're gonna keep checking," Phoebe replied.
"It means he's going through an awful lot of trouble to get as much information on us as possible," Piper replied. "I got a bad feeling he's not gonna let us off the hook so easily after this is all over."
"What, he's just gonna keep using us afterwards?" Paige queried.
"Great, Charlie's freaking Angels," Phoebe commented. "This just keeps getting better and better."
The crystal froze abruptly above the map. "Got Selena," Paige announced. "Do we still go after her?"
"Well, we don't have a choice," Piper pointed out. "We can't let her run around burning people at the stake."
"Piper's right," Prue agreed. "Now come on, let's get this over with."
They banded together and orbed out of the attic.
"I don't like this," Prue whispered as they took in the quietly surroundings of the seemingly deserted hallway they just orbed into. "Piper, open that door, tell us if she's alone."
Her sibling obeyed, opening the door a crack. She closed it carefully a second or so later. "She has body guards. Lots of body guards."
"I wonder why Jackman didn't tell us about them?" Phoebe mused.
Paige shrugged. "Probably figured we wouldn't help if we knew."
Suddenly a bodyguard entered the hall, spotted them and raised his gun, firing at them. Piper raised her hands, freezing the bullet mid shot.
"Paige," she began as she plucked the bullet from the air. "Did you not have the sense to sense if anybody else was in the room before you orbed us in here?"
Another bodyguard emerged, giving Paige fright, causing her to orb out. Phoebe grabbed him and pressed him against a nearby cabinet.
Paige orbed into the room where Selena was hiding. "Going somewhere?" She asked her as the woman took in that someone was suddenly blocking the door.
Selena aimed a strike at Paige, but missed. Paige's aim was better and she knocked her unconscious, just as her sisters raced in. "We're gonna need some serious memory dust after all this is over," she commented.
"Yeah, well, we've gotta get out of here first," Piper pointed out, just before another body guard ran into the room, shooting. She raised her hands and froze him. "Time to go. Orb! Orb! Orb!"
"Where is she?" Jackman asked after Piper had opened the door of the Manor to tell him inside.
"In there," Piper replied, gesturing in the direction of the living room.
Jackman pulled out his handgun.
"Whoa! Whoa!" Piper gasped. "You don't need that, she's unconscious."
He put the weapon away and followed her into the living room. "Did she put up much of a fight?" He asked.
"No, but her bodyguards did," Phoebe replied.
"Bodyguards?" Jackman echoed. "She had bodyguards?"
Piper nodded. "Yeah, lots of them with lots of guns and they weren't shy about using them either."
"Oh, she must have known we were closing in on her," Jackman reasoned.
"Still, don't you think it's odd that a serial killer has hired guns protecting her?" Paige mused, suspicious.
"Well, maybe she's not working alone," Jackman pointed out.
"Or maybe you're just not telling us everything," Phoebe decided.
"Maybe I'm not," Jackman countered. "What are you gonna do about it?"
"Well, for one thing, we're not gonna let you take her without a warrant," Piper replied.
"You know, you're all the same," Jackman said. "You think that just because you have gifts, powers, that you're above it all, you're special. Well I know different."
"Oh really?" Phoebe queried.
"Yeah. Your arrogance is your Achilles heal, that's why witch hunters and demons are always after you and they always will be," Jackman replied. "I wouldn't trade places with you for the world. Oh," he pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Prue. "Here's your warrant."
"So when do we get our files?" Paige asked.
"When she's in jail and I feel I'm safe," Jackman replied.
"Safe from what?" Phoebe asked.
"Safe from you," Jackman replied as he picked up Selena. "I don't wanna be another one of those people who mysteriously disappear around here."
He left the girls standing in the living room, looking at each other.
"I knew he'd never give up those files," Piper remarked. "In case anybody is wondering we are officially screwed."
"Not necessarily," Phoebe reminded her.
"No, we are not giving up our powers," Paige almost yelled before sitting down on the couch.
"Paige, I don't wanna give up our powers either," Phoebe said as she joined her. "But I don't wanna give up our lives even more. He's just gonna keep using us."
"Phoebe's right," Prue agreed. "It will be one case after another, until we become expendable, which I doubt we ever will. He will own us for the rest of our lives."
"Unless we let the angel wipe the slate clean," Piper added. "Look, Paige, we said we would wait to decide until this thing played out and it has. And frankly if the angel hadn't made this offer I'd probably think differently and I'd think let's just keep fighting. But I'm tired of fighting and Jackman's right, it is never ending."
"Unless we end it ourselves," Phoebe finished. "So do we need to talk to Leo and Cole about this first?"
"No, it doesn't have anything to do with them, it's just us," Piper replied. "And they will understand."
Paige shook her head. "You guys are only seeing the bad. What about all the wonder of being witches, the stuff you introduced me to in the first place," she pointed out. "You're gonna let all that go?"
"Paige, it doesn't balance out anymore," Phoebe replied. "And after everything that we've lost, it doesn't seem worth it."
"What about all the good we've done?" Paige asked. "Doesn't that count for anything?"
"Of course it does," Phoebe said. "But that's exactly why we have this choice to make. He said we fulfilled our destiny, we've done it. This is supposed to be our reward for that."
"Yeah, well, pardon me if it didn't seem like much of a reward," Paige replied, "because without being witches I wouldn't have sisters."
"Paige, we understand your reluctance," Prue assured her. "We really do. But taking the magic away won't cause us to loose each other. Magic doesn't bind us together, blood and heritage do. We're all still sisters."
"I'm still not sure about this," Paige replied, "but I know you three are, so I won't stand in your way."
"Are you sure about this?" The Angel of Destiny asked when they summoned him some moments later.
"Yeah," Phoebe answered for them all. "As sure as we're ever gonna be."
The Angel looked at them carefully. "You understand this decision is final. There'll be no changing your minds."
"We understand," Piper replied.
"Very well." The Angel closed his eyes and raised his hands.
"Hold it," Piper called out, causing him to open his eyes again. "Just so we're clear this wipes the entire slate clean. No read the fine print technicalities, no more demons, no more vengeful warlocks."
"And we won't have to worry about Agent Jackman anymore, or anyone else who might have found out we were witches?" Phoebe asked.
Piper nodded. "Exactly. Just free to lead normal lives with no demonic aftertaste."
"Absolutely," the Angel assured them.
"Will we remember?" Paige asked. "Being witches that is."
"Oh, you'll remember everything," the Angel replied. "It doesn't change your history, only your future."
"And what about the book?" Paige asked.
"It'll pass to some future descendent," the Angel revealed.
"Hang on," Prue uttered. "I'm not so sure we should do this yet."
"Are you having second thoughts?" Phoebe asked her.
"Not about the decision," Prue replied. "About Jackman and Selena."
"Yeah, a lot of things don't add up," Paige agreed. "His extensive knowledge of witches, how he got a hold of that amulet."
"The fact that he came in alone to pick up Selena," Piper added.
"The bodyguards," Prue said.
"Can we just make sure we've done the right thing before it's too late to do anything about it?" Piper asked.
"Hm? Oh, sure, absolutely," the Angel replied. "Frankly, I thought you were being a bit premature anyway."
"Well, then why didn't you say something?" Piper countered.
"Oh, can't, free will and all," the Angel shrugged. "Let me know when you're ready," he added before disappearing.
"So now what?" Paige asked.
"Leo!" Piper called out.
Barely a second later her husband orbed in, along with Darryl, and Cole shimmered into the Manor.
"We were just coming to get you," Leo informed them.
"Why?" Piper asked. "What did you find?"
"Another genealogy Jackman has besides yours," Leo replied.
"Oh, yeah, we know Selena's a descendent of witch hunters," Paige replied.
"No, Jackman is," Darryl corrected. "Selena is a daughter of a witch."
"What?" Piper queried.
"She is not a suspect, she's a victim," Darryl explained. "They have her in a safe house because somebody's trying to kill her."
"Please tell me we didn't just help a witch hunter get a witch," Paige uttered.
"Oh my god," Piper cried.
"Despair later," Prue urged. "Rescue now," she added, causing them all to gather together and orb out.
"Somebody please help me!" Selena cried out.
Jackman tied her to the stake. "No one can hear you, not where we are."
"Please don't," Selena begged. "No."
"Oh, but I must," Jackman replied. "You see it is my duty, what I was born to do. It is what I'll continue to do until every last one of you is dead."
"Help!" Selena cried.
"You're not gonna get away from me this time, witch," Jackman said.
"Help!" Selena cried out. "You're making a mistake, I swear I'm not a witch."
"Of course you are, Selena, it's in your blood," Jackman remarked. "Your mother was, that makes you one too."
"I'm begging you," Selena pleaded.
"You know why they burned witches at the stake four hundred years ago?" Jackman asked her. "So they would burn forever in eternal fire. They used green wood too made it last longer, prolong the agony."
"Help!" Selena cried again.
At last it seemed her prayers were answered as a cloud of blue and white lights formed into the Charmed Ones.
"Come to save your sister witch have you?" Jackman taunted.
"Actually, yeah," Piper confirmed, raising her hands to freeze the fire.
No success. The flames continued to burn the green wood.
"You see, I buried the rest of the amulets around here in anticipation of your arrival," Jackman informed them. "Your powers are useless here. However..." he paused and quickly pulled out his gun, then grabbed Phoebe. "Mine aren't. Move and she dies."
"It was his plan all along," Phoebe realised. "He's gonna kill us anyway."
"Hey, how's it feel to be powerless, huh?" Jackman taunted. "Mortal. You're a discourage from mankind, a blasphemy. Burning will be your justice too."
Phoebe wrestled herself free and struck him to the ground. "Get Selena."
Prue, Piper and Paige raced over to the fire, while Phoebe continued to fight with Jackman. Recklessly, Piper jumped on to the wood, knocking over the stake which Selena was tied to.
Jackman pointed a gun at Phoebe. "Saving her life just cost you yours."
Cole shimmered infront of his wife just as the man fired. He conjured a small energy ball, not powerful enough to kill a mortal, but small enough to deflect a bullet back to the man who fired the weapon once carrying it.
"Cole," Phoebe cried with relief as Jackman fell to the floor.
"I couldn't very well let you die now, could I?" Cole remarked to her before taking her into his embrace.
"Who are you?" Selena asked.
"Four people who are sorry we unwittingly handed you over to that maniac," Prue replied. "I hope you can forgive us."
"I'm just glad you managed to save me," Selena said.
"Where's Paige?" Leo asked as the girls returned with Cole to the Manor some time later, after seeing Selena to the safety of the police station.
"Oh, she had to park down the street because the driveway was blocked," Piper explained to her husband.
"Well, that's ridiculous," Leo decided. "I'll go talk to them and tell them to move."
Phoebe shook her head. "Oh, no, it's not a big deal."
"And to think twenty-four hours ago that was our biggest problem," Piper mused.
"How'd it go?" Leo asked her.
"Uh, well, it looks like we got away with everything so far," Piper answered.
"Thanks to Selena testifying for us," Phoebe added.
"And having an Assistant District Attorney in the family," Prue remarked.
Cole shrugged. "After all you, Darryl and Paige did to make sure I got my job back, it was the least I could do. Even if I wasn't lucky enough to be family now."
"What about how Agent Jackman died?" Leo asked, his wife having told him the details via phone enroute to the station.
"They're stumped," Piper replied. "They can't figure out what the bullet hit in order to ricochet back into him."
"Besides, What are they gonna do, subpoena Cole?" Phoebe asked.
"My word against one dead and murderous FBI agent," Cole commented. "No self respecting judge would side against us."
"You guys stopped one of their own from killing again, I think they'd be grateful," Leo agreed.
"Yeah, one would hope," Piper replied. "At least until they find those files on us."
Her husband smiled. "They won't. I sorta orbed them into a volcano."
"You what?" Phoebe queried.
"Uh, excuse me, are you allowed to do that?" Piper asked smiling at him.
"Well, my job is to protect my charges and that's all I did," Leo replied, causing his wife to kiss him.
"Thanks," she said when she pulled away. "Maybe sometime soon you won't have to protect us charges. Are you okay with that?"
"Whatever you guys decide, I'll support," Leo assured her. "I mean that."
"And me," Cole replied. "As I told Phoebe before, this is your decision, not ours."
Paige entered, and suddenly everything froze once more.
The Angel of Destiny appeared before them. "Well, still ready to retire?"
"Actually, I don't think so anymore," Phoebe replied. "We saved someone and it felt good, it felt right. Besides, I got a little taste of what life would be like without my powers and I didn't like it at all."
"Neither did I," Prue replied, while Paige nodded vehemently.
"What about you?" the Angel asked Piper.
"Majority rules, right?" Piper returned. "Might as well make it unanimous. What can I say, we're masochists."
"We are?" Paige asked.
"Yeah, sometimes," Piper replied. "But Phoebe's right, this isn't a choice we have to make, it's who we are."
"You realise you won't get this opportunity again," the Angel said.
"We understand," Phoebe replied.
"Very well," the Angel turned to leave, then stopped. "By the way, thought you'd like to know, neither decision would have affected yours and Leo's personal destiny."
"What?" Piper asked.
The Angel glanced at her stomach. "You'll find out soon."
"Oh my god," Phoebe cried as she realised.
"What?" Piper asked her.
"Don't you get it?" Phoebe questioned joyfully.
"What?" Piper repeated.
"Don't you get it?" Phoebe turned to her sisters. "She's pregnant!"
"Who's pregnant?" Piper queried. Then she caught the Angel's look and realisation dawned. "I'm pregnant?"
The Angel of Destiny smiled and disappeared, and the room unfroze, causing Cole and Leo to look at the girls in confusion as they hugged Piper en masse, crying joyfully.
"What's going on?" Leo asked.
Abruptly Prue, Phoebe and Paige stepped back from their sister and pushed her towards her husband, beaming.
"The Angel of Destiny said I was pregnant," Piper replied, smiling slightly at him.
Now it was Leo's turn to beam. "That's wonderful," he uttered, taking her into his arms. "It's amazing," he added, before kissing her.
To Be Continued In
A Witch's Tail.