Author's note: This story will have one more chapter: Christmas Day. I took a lot of creative license here because we don't know all that much about Paige's past or if the sisters even celebrate Christmas still. But either way, I thought a holiday story would be fun to write. I just hope it's fun for y'all to read ;)


Paige shifted position on the floor, leaning back against the sofa and gazing at the ribbons, bows, and scraps of paper around her, then let out a dreamy sigh. The parlor was lit with the soft white glow of the Christmas tree, which was standing in front of the picture window, as well as with the flickering warm light of a few peppermint scented candles. She piled the packages she had already wrapped next to her, pushing some scraps of wrapping paper out of her way, and smiled. She loved the early evening hours of Christmas Eve. It was lazy and quiet without being completely silent like it got as the night wore on. The silence frightened her a little, but the laziness and the calm were relaxing. And the one thing she loved more than the general atmosphere of Christmas Eve was wrapping her gifts by Christmas tree light.

She picked up the set of sweet-smelling lotions and candles she had bought for Piper and placed it gently into a tall gift box. As she taped the box closed, she thought back to earlier that evening. Her sisters had invited her to dinner with them, but she had begged off, explaining that she still had to wrap some presents. Piper had laughed, shaking her head, and asked if she always did things at the last minute. Paige had giggled and answered in the affirmative, but what she had been reluctant to tell Piper was that waiting until Christmas Eve to wrap presents was an old family tradition.

It was something her mother had started with her the first year she was old enough to buy her own presents for her parents. If she remembered right, she was in about second or third grade. The elementary school had set up a small school store which would sell little things like stationery sets, keychains, and magnets for a few cents each. She hadn't known how to wrap presents, so her mother sat her down in front of the tree on Christmas Eve, just before she was to be put to bed, and taught her how in a few minutes. As soon as the presents were wrapped, she had set them under the tree and was tucked in by both her parents. After no more than a few minutes, she had drifted off, swearing up and down that she heard sleigh bells and hoofbeats on the roof.

Every year after that, she'd always wrap her presents in front of the tree on Christmas Eve right before she went to bed. The only year she hadn't done it was the Christmas after the car accident. She had had every intention of it, but when she sat down to wrap the presents for her friends, she found the watch she had bought for her father and the glass tree ornament she had bought for her mother. Almost at once, she became so angry and upset over everything that had happened that she threw them both across the room. She didn't remember much else about that night except for the shattering sound the ornament made as its box hit the wall.

When she had first found out about her destiny, about who she really was, she had wondered what would happen to her holidays. Did witches celebrate Christmas? They couldn't, could they? She had been quite worried because not celebrating Christmas would have been a huge change for her. Christmas was her mother's favorite holiday, and Paige had grown up in one of those neighborhoods where every house on the block went all out with the decorations. People would come from all over the city and even from the suburbs just to drive down the streets and admire the lights. The decorations in her house would go up the day after Thanksgiving and wouldn't come down until January 6, Little Christmas. Last year, though, when Piper had pulled the Christmas decorations out of the basement the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Paige had let out an audible sigh of relief. She wasn't sure if the holiday still held any religious significance for her sisters, or even for her, but it held a familial, traditional significance for all of them, and she supposed that was reason enough to continue celebrating it.

At the sound of the key turning the lock on the front door, she jumped, shaking herself out of her reverie, and quickly looked around at her presents. Piper's was the only one still unwrapped, but that was in its box. She sighed in relief, happy that none of her surprises were about to be ruined, and ran out to the foyer to meet her sisters. Phoebe burst through the door first, giggling and shivering. "How was dinner?" Paige asked, laughing as Piper followed Phoebe in, rolling her eyes behind her sister's back.

"It was great!" Phoebe exclaimed. "Delicious. You should have come."

"I told you, I had to wrap presents," Paige replied, heading back to the parlor. "I just have to finish wrapping Piper's, but it's in a box so you guys can't see what it is anyway. Come on in."

Piper and Phoebe hung up their coats and followed Paige into the parlor. "Ooh, it smells so pretty in here," Piper said as she sat down in the chair.

"It's 'cause of my peppermint candles," Paige said, smiling. "I like them because they're not overpowering. It's just a nice soft scent."

"Yeah, it is," Phoebe said, nodding in agreement as she settled in one corner of the couch. The sisters sat in silence, Piper and Phoebe just staring at the tree, lost in their own thoughts, and Paige putting the finishing touches on Piper's gift. Finally, she ran the ribbon between the scissors' edge and her thumb slowly, giving it a slight yet still bouncy curl. After giving it a once over to make sure everything came out the way she wanted it to, she set all of her presents under the tree and settled onto the sofa with Phoebe. "Those came out really nice, Paige," Phoebe said, breaking the silence. "I don't even want to open them now. They're too pretty."

Paige giggled. "Thanks." As the sisters fell silent again, Paige couldn't help but think about the relationship she had with them. She had been living with them for over a year, they depended on each other for their survival, yet in spite of all that, in some ways they were still like strangers. She was their sister by blood and most of the time, she felt like their sister in practice. But it was times like this that reminded her that they weren't really sisters in the truest sense of the word. They had different childhoods, different pasts, different experiences and traditions. She had no idea how her sisters spent their Christmases as children, just as they had no idea how she had spent hers. She cleared her throat, figuring now was as good a time as any to get to know some of the little things she didn't know. "Hey, guys, what's your favorite Christmas song?"

"'Sleigh Ride'," Phoebe answered with a faraway smile.

"That's not a Christmas song," Piper said, shaking her head. The lights from the tree were making her eyes sparkle.

"Sure it is!" Phoebe exclaimed.

"It's more of a winter song," Paige said softly, backing Piper. Piper shot her a grateful smile.

"Wait, what was that song Grams used to have playing on the radio like, all day long?"

"It was 'Sleigh Ride'," Piper said.

"No, the other one."

Piper had to stop to think. For some reason, the detail had slipped her mind. She hated when things like that happened. It meant she was forgetting, and she didn't want to forget. "'Good King Wenceslas'," she answered after a moment.

"Then, that one," she said, laughing. "That's a Christmas song, right?"

"Yes," Paige answered with a giggle. "What's yours, Piper?"

"'Do You Hear What I Hear?'" she said. Paige could tell, even under the soft light provided by the Christmas tree, that Piper was blushing.

"Oh, please!" Phoebe exclaimed, chuckling. "That's only your favorite song because you got to sing it solo one year."

"Whoa, back up a second," Paige interrupted, completely amazed. "You got to sing a solo? Like, in front of people?"

"It was in chorus in elementary school," Phoebe laughed. "You were in what, fifth grade?"

"Fourth," Piper answered, shaking her head. "It had to be fourth because I remember that Prue was still in the school. She was in sixth. She threatened to beat up Stacy Clark because Stacy kept making fun of me 'cause she wanted my part in the song. Plus, it wasn't a total solo. Leanne Taylor split it with me."

"Wait, Prue threatened to beat someone up?" Paige asked, grinning.

"She was very protective of us," Piper said with a sad smile. "Stacy thought that if she made fun of me enough, I'd drop the solo and she could take it. I wasn't exactly the most outgoing person at all, so her plan would have worked, and Prue knew it. Prue pretty much told her to leave me alone or she'd beat her up."

Phoebe chuckled. "You never told me that! She would have, too."

"Yes, she would have," Piper said, giggling. "What's your favorite Christmas song, Paige?"

"Well, I have two. Traditionally, I like 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'. I think it's pretty. And there's this song that was done by a little kid in like, the 1950s called 'I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas'. I love it because it's just so cute."

"It sounds cute," Piper said with a kind smile.

The sisters fell silent again. Paige leaned her head against the back of the couch, gazing up at the tree. The angel on the top of their tree reminded Paige a lot of the one her parents used to put on the top of their tree. Paige had named that angel Lucinda, Lucy for short, when she was in fourth grade. She was pretty sure that the angel was still packed away at her aunt's house. All the things they hadn't been able to sell had gone into storage in her aunt's attic, and even though she had taken a bunch of the ornaments back when she got her own apartment, she had never been able to bring herself to put up that angel again. "Okay, new question," she said, clearing her throat again. "If you could have one thing for Christmas, whether or not it's actually possible, what would it be?"

"A white Christmas," Phoebe said with a grin. "I've always wanted to see a white Christmas. I didn't even see snow when I was in New York."

"You were in New York over a summer," Piper reminded her. "Of course you didn't see snow."

"That's my point, Piper," Phoebe said, rolling her eyes. "I've never ever seen a white Christmas, and I think it would be nice to have a Christmas with light snow falling. What would you want, Paige?"

Paige smiled. She didn't even have to think about what she wanted. "One more Christmas with my parents," she answered softly. "The last one we had . . . I mean, it was nice, but it wasn't great. And it never occurred to me at the time to try to make it special because I might not get another one."

Phoebe pushed a little closer to Paige, wrapped her arm around her, and rested her head on her sister's shoulder. "I'm so sorry, sweetie."

"Don't be. It's not your fault," Paige said, giggling. "What about you, Piper?"

"What I want I can't have," she answered quietly.

"Piper, that's the whole point of the exercise," Paige replied, smiling gently. "It's not like Phoebe and I can get what we want. If you could have anything, physical and supernatural laws suspended, what would it be?"

Piper sighed, breaking her gaze with Paige, and stared up at the tree. "A chance to hug Prue again." She smiled sadly, remembering how much Prue loved Christmas. She turned her head, locking eyes with Phoebe. "We fought the night before she died, you know."

Phoebe sat up straight. This was something she'd never heard before. "What?"

Piper nodded. "I don't even remember what it was about," she said, trying not to let on how choked up she was. "I just remember that we went to bed angry with each other. And then the next day, everything happened so fast I never got a chance to . . . Shax attacked and I saw her go flying through the wall. I went to go check on her and the next thing I remember is waking up with Leo hovering over me. He had tears in his eyes and at first, I thought he was just upset over the attack, but then I looked over at her. She was just lying there, Phoebe, and when I grabbed her hand, she didn't even flinch . . ." She trailed off, allowing a couple of tears to slide down her cheeks.

Paige was up in a flash, squeezing in next to Piper and giving her a tight hug. "Shh, it's okay. What were you telling me last year when I was going through this? She knows you love her, she knows you didn't mean anything you said to her during the fight."

"I know," Piper said, nodding as she swallowed some more tears. "I just . . . I wish I could see her, even if it's only for a moment. I just want to hug her one last time."

"I know exactly how you feel," Paige said, gently letting Piper go.

Paige made a move to stand up, but Piper grabbed her arm, pulling her back. "No, you can stay."

Paige smiled, leaning back in the chair as Piper scooted over to make a little more room for her. The sisters once again sat in silence. Phoebe stood up, turned on the radio, and stuck a CD into the stereo. Pretty soon, soft instrumental Christmas music filtered through the speakers as Phoebe sat back down on the sofa, allowing the music to gently lull her. "What's your favorite holiday memory?"

"The year Grams took us down that street to see all the lights on Christmas Eve," Piper answered with a warm smile.

Paige started and bolt upright. "What?"

Piper gazed at her curiously, surprised at the tone of her voice. "You know those neighborhoods where all the houses decorate a lot?"

"Yeah. Do you remember what street you went down?"

"Archibald Ave? I think that's what it was." She looked over to Phoebe for confirmation. Phoebe nodded.

"I grew up on Archibald Ave!" Paige exclaimed, grinning.

"Really?" Phoebe asked excitedly. "What house was yours?"

"The one with the angel choir on one side of the yard and the big nativity scene on the other."

"I loved that house!" Piper said, wrapping her arm around Paige's shoulders. "That was yours?"

Paige nodded with another wide grin. "Yup! What was your favorite moment, Phoebe?"

"I was thinking of the same night Piper was. What about you?"

"This one year, I think I was in fifth grade, all I wanted was a dollhouse," Paige explained. Already, she was getting a dreamy look in her eyes. "That's all I put on my Christmas list. I wanted a house just like this one, an old Victorian mansion. But my mom told me she couldn't afford it. Dollhouse kits were expensive, plus they would have to buy floor coverings, wallpaper, and paint, not to mention furniture and accessories. None of that stuff is cheap. I had pretty much given up on the dollhouse, but I still wanted it desperately. On Christmas morning, I opened all but one of my presents, and just as I suspected, there was no sign of dollhouse anything. The last present I opened was a porcelain dollhouse family, dressed in Victorian clothes. Then my dad told me to look behind the chair in the corner. There, behind the chair, was my dollhouse, rugs, wallpaper, and all. And what was so special wasn't the dollhouse--"

"It was the surprise," Piper finished. Paige nodded, once again leaning back in the chair. They all quieted down and just listened to the music. Paige closed her eyes, allowing the music and the soft peppermint scent relax her. After what seemed to Paige like only a few minutes, Piper nudged her. "Why don't you go on up to bed, hon. You've been dozing for half an hour."

"Oh, sorry!" she exclaimed through a yawn.

"It's okay," Piper said, chuckling. "Go on. We'll be up in a few anyway."

"Okay." Paige stood up and stretched a little. "Night, guys. Merry Christmas Eve."

"Same to you," Phoebe said with a giggle.

"Night, Paige," Piper replied, smiling.

Paige grinned and headed up to her room. As she climbed the stairs, running her hand gently over the banister, she couldn't help but think that the night had been something of a breakthrough. She and her sisters had spent the night talking, laughing, and consoling each other. For a while, Paige had been able to forget that they hadn't grown up together. It was like they were truly a real family, in every sense of the term.