"Do you have to go, Peter?" Paige pouted, sticking her rose colored lip out.

He leaned over and kissed her. He allowed his hand to linger over her breast. He loved the soft pink blouse she wore with the deep neckline. Her blue floor length skirt with a long slit revealed her long legs.

"It's only for a couple of weeks." He pulled away and packed the last of his stuff into his bag. Funny, living here had increased his wardrobe. Paige, after looking over his meager selection, had taken him shopping several weeks ago. "Any ideas yet when you want to get married?" He didn't want to push, but he did want to be able to tell his father something.

"After Piper has her baby." She fingered the handle on his bag. "I'm going to miss you."

He pushed his bag over and sat beside Paige. She willingly came into his arms. "I'm going to miss you, too." He said. She snuggled closer.

"Hey, Peter," Phoebe knocked on the partially opened door. She stuck her head in and smiled at them. "Your ride is here."

Peter reluctantly released Paige. He grabbed his bag off the quilt- covered bed. His bride to be took his hand and the two followed her older sister down the rug-covered stairs. When they reached the main entryway, Piper and Leo turned to face them. They had been talking with Peter's ride.

"Hello, Peter," a very familiar voice greeted him. "Nice to see you during the daylight again." Sunglasses were slipped off and Peter could see his eyes.

"Nice to see you too, Kermit." Peter felt Paige squeeze his hand. "This is my fiancée' Paige."

Kermit extended a hand. "Nice to meet you."

Paige smiled nervously and released Peter's to shake Kermit's. "Nice to meet you, too. Peter has told us about you."

"Should I be worried?" the ex-mercenary wanted to know.

"No," Phoebe replied.

"We're just all thankful you could give Peter a ride to see his father, " Piper put in, rubbing her stomach absently.

Kermit shrugged, slipping his glasses back on. "I had some research to drop off with Paul. Least I could do was drop the kid here," he pointed at Peter, "off to see Caine."

"Nice, Kermit." Peter gave his old co-worker a smile. "We'd better get going."

Kermit moved toward the stained glass double door. Phoebe gave Peter a hug, as did Piper. Leo shook his hand. Paige followed the two men out to Kermit's bright green convertible. Kermit took Peter's bag and put it in the trunk and then settled in the driver's seat. Peter lingered with Paige on the sidewalk.

"I'll only be gone for a couple of weeks," he repeated. Gently he touched her cheek. He could tell she was trying not to cry.

"Just hurry home." She threw herself into his arms and kissed him passionately.

He held her tight. He wouldn't feel her sweet body next to his for awhile. Already he missed her and he hadn't even left yet!

"I love you, Paige."

"I love you too, Peter." She hurried back up the cement steps to her sisters, who waited for her on the porch.

Peter got into the car and waved as Kermit pulled away onto the street.

"Great family you've got there, Peter," Kermit commented.

"Yeah." He fell silent. The past several weeks hadn't been quiet. After they'd vanquished Sekhmet, there had been a whole bunch of lesser demons to deal with. He knew the girls could take care of themselves, but he wished he could stay and keep them safe. Yet, he needed this trip and time with his father. They had exchanged several letters. The last had contained a request to see him. About the same time Paul had phoned.

"Hi, Paul, how's Annie?"

"She's great. Love's our new house. Kelly visited a couple of months ago. Both my girls have gotten used to being away from us. They do come out and visit regularly. We enjoy seeing them."

"I wish I could see Annie." Peter of course, knew he couldn't. His foster mother still thought he was dead. Paul hadn't told her truth about Peter being a vampire and then cured.

"I know, Peter. But Annie and the girls have moved on with their lives."

"I just with she could be at my wedding."

"Wedding? Peter, you're getting married?"

Damn! He hadn't talked with his foster father for awhile. He'd never called and told Paul about his engagement. "Yeah. Paige agreed to marry me."

"Paige is one of the witches." Paul made it sound like fact. Peter knew he hadn't told Paul about the Charmed Ones. No doubt Blaisdell had used his sources to find out what his foster son had chosen not to tell him.

"We haven't set a date yet." Peter decided to dodge the issue for now.

"I see."

"I got a letter from my father today. He wants to see me. Not sure how I'll manage. I've been doing some odd jobs, but I don't have enough money for bus fare."

"Just a sec," Paul tried to cover the mouthpiece. Peter could hear him talking with someone. One of the times he missed the amplified hearing of a vampire. "Kermit is here. He's agreed to swing through San Francisco and pick you up."

Kermit! It had been even longer since he'd talked to 101st precinct detective. "That would be great."

"It's settled then. He'll see you in two days."

Peter gave Paul the address plus directions. The two said goodbye and hung up.

"Your father know you're coming?" Kermit's voice broke into Peter's thoughts.

"I sent a postcard. But I know my father, he'll sense me."

"I'm surprised Paige didn't come along." Kermit spared him a glance. The Corsair sailed down the freeway.

"Her sister, Piper, is due very soon. Both Paige and Phoebe have trained as midwives. She wants to be there for the birth." He didn't tell Kermit the sisters rarely separated. No telling what demon would try and take advantage of the diminished power of three.

"I'm sure your father will want to meet her."

"I told him she wouldn't be coming."

"You surprised Paul."

Peter shook his head. The wind whipped his dark brown hair about his face. "Been awhile since we've talked. The only place I can call him is at work."

"He said Annie didn't know."

"No." He sighed. "I miss mom."

"She misses you too, Peter." Kermit changed lanes and keep going south on 5. "Annie keeps your picture on a shelf in their living room."

"How long were you in LA?"

"About a week." The detective checked his rear view mirror. "Ever been to Las Vegas?"

"Once. Didn't do a lot of sight seeing. I had a vampire hunter on my tail."

"I made reservations for tonight at the Excalibur. It'll be a long drive, but we left early enough we'll be able to walk the strip. Course, Vegas goes twenty-four seven."

"Angel told me there's a dark underside. The same could be said about a lot of cities. It's a good thing most people don't know about it."

"Got to know it well did you, Peter?"

"Too well, Kermit. Way too well." #############################################################

Kermit turned onto the strip around eight in the evening. They'd stopped along the way to stretch and have a bit to eat. The ex-mercenary easily found the hotel and parked out a ways in the large parking lot. He didn't trust his car to the valets. In the large castle like atmosphere of the hotel lobby they checked in and took the elevator up to their rooms. Kermit's was across the hall from Peter's. They'd agreed to dump their bags and then go to the buffet for dinner. The buffet was surrounded with a number of interesting shops. Peter looked in the window of one which carried only dragon items. He wished he had some money to buy one for Paige. He hurried to catch up with Kermit. Fortunately, there didn't seem to very many people in line. The ex- mercenary paid for both their meals and they entered the eatery grabbing plates and helping themselves to varied selections. They were seated in a section and waited for their drinks to be delivered.

Peter's plate had a couple of meats, potatoes, veggies and a small salad. His soda arrived and he began eating. After a couple of bites, he wished he were back at the manor. Piper cooked better than this. He finished his food though. He knew the two of them would be walking the strip.

"What do you want see first?" Kermit inquired.

Peter shrugged. "Doesn't matter. We're only here for one night."

"The fountains at the Belaggio are a must. We might also want to see the volcano, explore the streets of Rome," Kermit smiled. "You have to see the giant horse."

A giant horse? Peter couldn't wait. He pushed his plate away. He could see the dessert bar and debated on eating more. But, after the disappointing food, it might be better to pass.

Kermit sipped his coffee. "So, when are you and Paige getting married?"

"After Piper has her baby. We haven't actually set a date."


"Things have been crazy at the manor. I don't even have a job." Peter sipped his coke. "Paige suggested I go back to school."

"Not a bad idea, Peter. I always thought you had more potential than just being a cop."

"And do what?"

"First couple of years are usually your core requirements. Give yourself the time to explore some options."

Peter nodded and drank more of his soda. "Juggling college and marriage is going to be difficult."

"So's mixing marriage and a job." Kermit pushed his empty mug aside. "Life doesn't come with guarantees, Peter. Risk is involved in any decision."

"You'd think I'd know that." He'd made some bad ones during his life. Like lashing out at everyone after he thought his father was dead or running when Rebecca was murdered. Granted his father had later arrived in his life alive and well and they'd finally caught the real murderer of his dead first love. But he'd risked loving a new family and his reputation as a detective. Loving Paige, as one of the Charmed Ones, was an even bigger risk because of all the demons that attacked the three sisters. Yet, it had all been worth it.

"Let's walk." Kermit rose and Peter followed. They took the escalator down and strolled through the casino. Peter watched as people sat entranced poking money into machines, pushing buttons, and watching the wheels spin. He shook his head. What a stupid waste of time.

They finally cleared the lobby and fresh air invaded Peter's nose. Glad the infernal ringing of the slot machines was gone, he felt invigorated by the cooler desert air. The passed New York, New York and he heard the screams of the people on the roller coaster. Lights invaded the street. Every hotel screamed for a visit. They joined the moving mass, dodging street folk handing out flyers, and finally stopped at the fountains at the Belaggio.

A blaring announcement broadcasted the next show would start in ten minutes. Peter leaned against the steel railing staring at the large pond. Behind it sat the hotel. Kermit stood beside him. A bleeping sound demanded attention and Peter pulled his cell phone out to answer it.


"Hey, Lover Boy."

"Hi, Paige." He smiled very happy to hear her voice.

"Where are you?"

"Las Vegas. We're waiting for the fountain show."

"I've heard about that. Maybe I should orb out and enjoy it with you."

He glanced at Kermit. "I don't think that would be good idea. Besides," he dropped his voice, "maybe I want to bring you here for our honeymoon."

"What a romantic." She giggled. "Now, who says we'd even get out of our room."

He laughed. He liked her humor. "I love you."

"You'd better. I plan to spend the rest of my life with a wonderful, handsome and thoughtful man."

"And you picked me?" he said with mock horror.

Her laughter sprinkled sunshine into the Nevada night. "You're all those things, Peter. And more."

"Thanks. I'm glad you think so. That's all that's important. How are things at the manor?"

"Quiet. Phoebe is working late and Piper is watching TV. Leo orbed out to help one of his charges."

The loudspeaker shouted out the show was about to begin. "Paige, honey, I need to go."

"Darn. And here I hoped to share the fountains with you."

"Later. I promise. I love you, Paige and I miss you."

"I miss you too, Peter."

"I'll call you when I reach my father's."

"You'd better. I love you, Peter Caine. Bye."

"Bye." He hung up phone and replaced it in his pocket. The music started and for the next several minutes he watched in fascination as fountains swayed, burst, and sometimes seemed to kick with the music. He noticed many people along the sidewalk watching or just strolling past. After the show, he and Kermit continued their walk. They went as far as Caesar's Palace.

"Here's where the giant horse is." Kermit informed him.

They entered the casino and found their way to the shopping plaza. Peter looked up surprised. The ceiling was painted blue with fluffy white clouds. They followed the cobbled indoor streets, pausing to gaze into the shops. At the end of one hall, a huge horse dominated the street. It reminded him of the story of the Trojan Horse and he figured it had been designed with that idea in mind. Peter could see inside and knew at once he had to explore it. Together, they entered the toyshop and took the escalator up to the second floor. Peter went into the horse and watched the gears, clearly displayed in floor with plastic flooring safeguarding them. When he tired of it, he wandered into the shop and finally found his way back downstairs. All around, there were hundreds of stuffed animals. He found a stuffed leopard with eyes reminding him of Paige.

"For Paige?" Kermit asked with an odd tone in his voice.

"I can't afford it." Sadly, he put it back on the shelf.

Kermit grabbed it and marched up to the cash register. After he paid for it, he handed the bag to Peter. "No arguments."

They left the store and walked more of the mall, stopping in one open plaza to gaze into the giant fish tank. Peter yawned. He was having a good time, but between getting up early and the long drive, he knew he was getting tired.

Kermit must have noticed because they left and headed back up the strip to their hotel. They said good night and retired to their rooms for the night. Peter undressed and crawled into bed. He grabbed the extra pillow on the double bed and hugged it close. It was a poor substitute for Paige. Sleeping alone for the next couple of weeks would be very difficult. How he missed her! He huddled down in the covers and fell asleep. #############################################################

Peter rose early, showered, donned jeans and T-shirt, and met Kermit in the hall. After they deposited their bags in the car, they drove out of the parking lot and managed to find a McDonalds for breakfast. Downing coffee and Egg McMuffins, they headed east out across the vast desert. Several hours later they pulled into Sloan City and Kermit skillfully navigated the streets until he pulled up in front of Caine's home.

"He never moved," Peter observed.

"Nope." Kermit got out of the convertible.

Peter paused before entering the familiar building. His father had lived in the upstairs apartment when Peter had still been on the police force. No one had rented it while the two of them had been gone and the community had once again welcomed the priest home upon his return.

Climbing the steps, Peter almost felt like he'd come full circle in a long journey. He entered the unlocked door and called out, "Pop!"

Caine entered the hallway. "Peter!" The two embraced.

Another figure joined them. Peter recognized Karen Simms. Her eyes widened in shock. "Oh, my god." "There's an explanation, Karen," Kermit spoke behind him.

"You're dead. We buried you. I was at your funeral."

Kermit pushed past the two men and put an arm around her. "Karen, I thought you were going to wait at home."

Her gaze swept Peter then turned to the ex-mercenary. "Maybe I wanted to know why you were coming by here first."

"Look, Captain," Peter began.

'I don't want any lip out of you." She went back into the main room of the apartment.

"Damn." Kermit took off his glasses and tiredly rubbed them. "I'd hoped to bring you back in town un-noticed."

Caine followed the police captain as did Kermit and Peter. She stood at the window staring out over Chinatown. The younger Caine noticed she wore a dark linen suit with sensible flats. His father, in his typical brown clothes, stood close to her.

"My son did die," his quiet tones told her.

"Then how can he be here?" She pivoted around and glared at all of them. Odd, he hadn't noticed how much gray was mixed in with her blonde hair.

Caine's deeply lined face was sad. "He was a vampire. I put him to rest." Her blue eyes widened. "Later, someone brought him back. We lived for many years in Sunnydale." Thankfully, his father didn't mention the Slayer. "We returned. I stayed. Peter wandered for many years. He has not been human until recently."

"And just how did that come about?"

"A witches spell," Peter replied. He didn't like being talked about like he wasn't even in the room.

"This witch have a name?"

"Yes." He had not intention of telling her about the Charmed Ones. "You don't need to know."

She bristled. Kermit reached out and touched her arm. "Let's go home."

"And you didn't tell me?" Peter had seen the Captain angry before. He didn't envy Kermit.


She stalked out of the room. Kermit took a deep breath. "Talk to you later." He followed, replacing his sunglasses.

Peter wandered to the window. He saw the same stores and shops, and the weaving mass of locals. "It's good to be home."

He felt his father's hand on his shoulder. "It is good to have you home."

"Paige can't wait to meet you." Speaking of her, he reminded himself to call her in a few minutes to let her know he'd arrived safely.

"And I her."

"I have a photo of her," Peter dug out his wallet and showed his father the picture of his future wife.

"She is beautiful. Have you set a date?"

Peter shook his head. "She want's to wait until after Piper's baby is born." He replaced the picture and his wallet.

"Who's Piper?" a voice behind him asked.

Peter and Caine both turned. A lovely older woman stood in the doorway. Caine's face broke into a wide smile. It took Peter a moment, but he recognized his mother. He'd seen the dark auburn hair and deep brown eyes a dozen times in the old photograph he had of her. But that couldn't be! She'd died when he was a baby!

Caine crossed the room and the two hugged. She pulled back and said, "I'm sorry, dear, I couldn't wait any longer to see our son."

"I had hoped to tell him first, before you came from the Ancient's."

"Tell me what?!" Peter demanded.

"That I was still alive." Laura glided over the hardwood floor to stand before him. Her simple maroon dress shimmered. "You've grown up into a fine young man." She frowned. "You should be a few years older."

"You didn't tell her?" Peter managed. His heart raced like it did when he faced a demon.

"No," his father softly answered. "Your mother only came here a few days ago. Before, the Ancient had shown me a picture taken of her in Paris. I was contemplating searching for her, when I received your letter."

Peter moved away from her. "I thought you died," he threw at her, anger at the deception boiling to the surface.

His father stepped back and allowed Laura to reply. "I had to appear to die to protect both of you."

"From what?!!!" Peter shouted. His father winced at his tone. Peter didn't care.

His mother sighed. "There is great evil in the world, Peter. It was after me."

"Are you talking about the Source?" Somehow, Peter sensed the truth.

Her face seemed surprised. "How do you know about the Source?"

"Paige and her sisters vanquished him."

She caught her breath. "The Charmed Ones? Peter, how do you know about them?"

"How do you?" he returned.

She darted a look at Caine. "I haven't even told your father this. I'm a witch."

"What?!" the two men both cried.

"I have empathic abilities. So does your sister. So do you."

"Sister?" Peter suddenly felt overwhelmed. He sat down on the floor and allowed the pale wall to support his back.

"Yes." His mother also sat on the floor. His father sat beside her and took her hand. "I was pregnant when I left. I had to protect you, your father and her. The Source would have killed all of you. When he thought I was out of the way, he had no reason to come after you. He didn't know you also had inherited some of my powers."

The room swayed. Peter closed his eyes and supported his head in hands. This was all too much.

"Peter, my powers are two fold. I'm empathic with people and animals. I can even heal. Sometimes. You are empathic with people, while your sister has both powers. Haven't you always known, when the truth was being told? Haven't you always needed to be close to others?"

"Yes," he whispered. He looked up, tears steaming down his face. "Is she here? My sister?"

She shook her head. "No. Celeste works for Barnabas Collins. She's his personal assistant. Her powers were very useful to him while he was a senator and still are with his business dealings."

"A witch working for a vampire." Peter snorted. "Tell me, does she know he's a member of the Triumvirate?""

"You know about the Triumvirate?" Her voice betrayed her shock.

"We protected them. Besides, Angel had already told me about them."

"So, you know another of the Champions. Next you'll tell me you know the slayer."

"We do," both Caine and Peter said.

"Blessed be," she murmured.

"There is much, we need to catch up on," Caine spoke, squeezing Laura's hand. "Much I did not tell you. Now, I know I can."

Peter watched as they fell into each other's arms. He closed his eyes. He wasn't ready to accept all this yet. It was all too much. How he wished Paige were here to anchor him! ###############################################################

Peter stood on the balcony gazing up at the night sky. He'd called Paige earlier to let him know he was okay, but didn't share any other news. He wasn't ready yet. He hadn't even accepted his mother's appearance. His eyes watched green, red and blue dance above the city. What a rare treat to see the Arora Borealis. He sat on a ledge scattered with his father's various plants. The air held a slight chill and hints of food cooking.

"Tomorrow is a sacred day for us," his mother said as she joined him.

"The Ancient told me, several planets are aligned." Caine added from where he stood in the doorway.

"Something momentous is happening," Laura breathed. "I wonder what it could be?"

Peter shook his head. He wondered if Paige could see the dancing northern lights. He missed her. He'd have to get her ring before he left. Somehow, their engagement didn't seem official without one.

"Peter?" He glanced up at his father. "What is troubling you?"

"I miss Paige."

"Young love." Laura smiled. "I remember those days." She sat down on a ledge. Caine slide beside her. "Tell me about Paige," Laura urged.

"Her mother was a witch. Her father a whitelighter. She was given up at birth for adoption. She was raised by wonderful adoptive parents and graduated in social work. She only recently found her sisters and learned about her powers."

"Only recently?" Laura sat slightly forward. "I've been hearing about the Charmed Ones for years."

"Piper and Phoebe had an older sister, Prudence. The Source had her killed. Piper sent out a spell for a lost witch. Paige showed up. It was hard for all of them at first." Peter ran a hand through his hair. "Paige quit her job later to become a full time witch. Now she volunteers at a clinic with a gypsy doctor."

"An interesting history," his mother commented. "Why do you love her, Peter?"

He smiled. "She's unpredictable. Fun to be around. Makes great potions." He sat slightly forward. "She made a potion to cure me."

"From what?"

"You still haven't told her?" Peter asked his father. Caine shook his head. "I was a vampire. Paige and her sisters cast a spell and I became mortal again."

She gasped. "Peter! Do you have any idea how fortunate you are?"

Peter was puzzled. Fortunate?

"Paige's love must be very strong." Laura rose and crossed the small balcony to sit across from him. "Love is the strongest magic there is. Only love could have overcome such a terrible.curse." She took his hand. "No vampire has ever been turned mortal again." Tears trickled down her cheeks. "My son, I am so glad to have you back!"

He knew he still wasn't ready to accept her yet. Her deception still hurt. Yet, some part of him knew his mother loved him. Loved him enough to leave, even pretend to die, in order to protect him. He squeezed her hand. It was all he could do for now. ##############################################################

Morning's light tiptoed into the room. Peter rolled over and stretched. Cars honked below and hawkers voices drifted through the open window. His father sat in the room, his posture one of complete meditation. Peter got up quietly, cleaned up and dressed in jeans and his 'I love San Francisco' T-shirt.

Sizzling bacon caught his nose. He followed it to the small kitchenette. His mother, in a simple blue sundress, stood by the stove. Fresh muffins were cooling on the counter top and she dropped eggs into another pan.

"Morning," Peter greeted her.

She turned and offered him a smile. Then she frowned. "I didn't sense you come in." Peter heard a 'meorow'. A small three-legged cat strolled into the room, stretched, rubbed against his mother's leg and looked up expectantly. "And I don't know what Tri wants. By the Goddess, what is wrong?"

Peter could hear the near panic in Laura's voice. He wasn't certain he understood, when he felt the difference in himself. His extra sense, which he wore like a set of invisible clothing, was silent. He grabbed the counter top.

"You too, Peter?" Concern shown in her eyes.

He nodded. He felt disorientated. Part of him was missing and he didn't know how to handle the loss.

"I'm going to make a call." His mother picked up her purse and pulled out a cell phone. She must have seen Peter's surprised look. "I know. You're father doesn't have one." She smiled at him. "I'm never without mine." She dialed a number. "Hi, it's Laura. My magic is down.I'm not the only one?.Really.any idea what is happening.No?.Okay. Just let me know if you learn anything. Bye." She put the phone back. "Magic is down. No one knows why."

"Who'd you call?" He didn't really expect her to answer. It wasn't any of his business.

"My Whiteligher." She turned back to the stove and flipped the eggs. "He can't orb either." She paused. "I've set the table. There's coffee," she pointed at the small pot, "if you want it. Go tell your father breakfast is ready. I'd like us to share it as a family."

Peter opened a cupboard, found a mug, poured coffee, took a sip and went to tell his father. He still wasn't certain about the 'family' bit. Funny, he'd only been at the manor for a couple of months, yet Paige and her sisters and Leo seemed more like his family then his father, and certainly more than his resurrected mother. "Hey, pop!" he called.

"Don't call me pop," his father retorted. He gracefully rose. Peter noted the priest wore his black silks with the green dragon and blazing orange tiger.

"Laura says breakfast is ready."

"You can not call her mother." The elder Caine's tone was more statement than question.

"Annie is still mom. That woman in there is a.stranger."

"She gave you birth, Peter." The Shaolin placed a hand on his shoulder.

"And deserted me."

"She has explained."

"And I understand." He took a drink. "She's still a stranger. I don't know her. Annie's the one I think of as mom."

Caine nodded. "I understand, my son. But, give her a chance. She want's to part of our family again."

Peter shrugged. "I need time."

"Did you say breakfast was ready?"

"Yeah." The two walked into the small kitchen area. The table had three places set. Caine and Peter sat down. Laura brought the bacon and eggs over. She'd already placed the muffins in the center. She poured juice for them all and sat.

"May this be the first day," she smiled at Caine and at Peter, "for a new beginning for our family." ##############################################################

Pounding steps sounded. Peter stopped his kung fu practice. He'd been running through some warm up exercises. Kermit burst into the room frantically looking around.

"Is Karen here?"

Peter shook his head. "I haven't seen her since the other day."

"Damn." Kermit's whole manner was agitated. "She left the house this morning and no one's heard from her since. We were supposed to have lunch together."

"She working on big case?"

The ex-mercenary shook his head. "No. Been a really quiet week until today. Like someone threw a switch and the world went nuts."

"Captain Simms carries a cell phone doesn't she? Tried calling her?"

"Yeah. No answer."

"You two have an argument?" Peter didn't exactly know what their relationship was, he hadn't really kept up with Kermit. Even his father hadn't told him much about his old friends at the 101st.

"A running one. We've kept very few secrets from each other. She was furious I didn't tell her about you."

"So maybe she's sulking somewhere."

"Not her style. Confrontation and work it out." Kermit took off his sunglasses. "I was hoping she came here to talk with your father."

"My father and Laura are out. They won't be back until this evening."

"Karen told me your mother was back."

"Yeah." He didn't want to get into it. "Does the captain have a secret place? Someplace she goes to think?"

"No, my wife doesn't"

"Your wife? You married her?" Kermit's admission surprised Peter. He'd never thought of the computer whiz as the marrying kind.

"Caine didn't tell you?"

Peter shook his head. "No."

"Hmmm." Kermit turned thoughtful.

"Let's go see if we can find her. There has to be somewhere she goes."

Kermit agreed and put his glasses back on. They left Caine's apartment and cruised the streets. Kermit stopped many times and they asked various snitches if they'd seen the captain. Finally, someone suggested they look by the lake. The detective parked his convertible in a vacant spot and the two men walked the hiking paths. They found her on a bench staring vacantly over the glass like water.

"Karen!" Kermit called. She moved her head in their direction. Kermit rushed to her side and took her into his arms. "I've been so worried. What's wrong?"

"It's the strangest thing," she replied. Her attention returned to the lake. "I've felt all alone today. Like my guardian angel, whose presence I always seem to feel, is gone today." She shivered. "I.didn't know what to do and I came here."

Peter wondered suddenly if Karen was a future Whitelighter. Since magic was down today, then her protector wouldn't be able to come to her if she were in trouble. He glanced around the park. Nothing seemed to be lurking. Maybe they should go back to his father's until the priest came home.

"Well," Kermit responded. "I'm here. I'll protect you."

She glared at him. He laughed. "Alright, I'll cover your back. Let's go home."

She agreed and the two headed for his car. Peter trailed behind. They drove back to Chinatown, dropped Peter and took off. Peter assumed they were going home. He shook his head. Imagine! Kermit married!

Peter went back up to his father's home. His parents weren't home yet so he decided to continue his interrupted practice. As shadows crept across the wood floors, he tired and made a sandwich and drank some milk. He wandered out to the balcony and watched the sun fall in the west. Night settled. He sat down on the ledge and listened to subtle change of noise. Music drifted upward. Laughter.

He heard his cell phone ring. He ran to answer it.

"Peter!" Paige's excited voice sounded at the other end.

"Hi! What's going on, Paige? Everything okay?"

"About normal. Piper had her baby! It's a boy!"

"A boy!" He knew from many of Piper's comments, she'd expected a girl.

"Yes! And he's beautiful. Oh, Peter! I wish you were here!"

Peter glanced toward the door. His father hadn't come home yet. He felt his heart longing for his love. "I wish you could come get me."

"I can now."


"Magic didn't work today. It was resting. In honor of Piper's baby. Pretty cool, huh?"

The change had been so quiet Peter hadn't noticed it. Again he sensed the atmosphere around him. The small cat snoozing by the Buddha. The tingle of the city's pulse beat. "Paige, honey, have I got some things to tell you!"

"I'll bet you do."

He whirled to find her standing behind him. She ran to him and threw herself into his arms. He returned her hug. They pulled apart and then kissed. His parent's walked in.

"I'm assuming this is Paige?" Laura's voice questioned.

They both laughed. "Paige, this is my.Laura.and my father, Kwai Chang."

"Hi." She smiled warmly at them both.

"I am delighted to finally meet you," Caine greeted taking her hand and kissing it.

"Wow." Paige blushed.

"I'm Peter's mother." Laura extended her hand.

Paige cast a questioning look at Peter and shook Laura's hand. "Peter told me you were dead."

"I staged my death. You and your sisters vanquished the reason."

Paige's brown eyes bulged. "The Source? You're a witch?"

Laura smiled at the younger witch. "Yes."

"Wait till I tell Piper and Phoebe." She put an arm around Peter. "Ready to go?"

"You are leaving, Peter?" the priest inquired.

"Piper had her baby." Peter hesitated. How could he tell his own father, the manor and the Charmed Ones were more like home to him than here?

"May I come?" Kwai Chang asked.

"Sure." Paige reached a hand to him.

"I'd like to come too. If it's alright?" Laura added, her face uncertain.

"Take Caine's hand." Paige tightened her arm around Peter. "Here we go."

White light surrounded them and next they were standing in the hallway of the manor. Paige led them to the living room where Piper was holding court. Several geese waddled through and a unicorn munched on one of the silk plants.

"Magical baby gifts," Paige explained.

"Hi, Peter," Piper greeted. "Come meet your nephew. Or he will be," she teased, "when Paige finally marries you."

Peter knelt beside the tiny infant. "Hi," he said, "wow, is he tiny."

"Yes he is." Piper smiled tiredly. "The proud smiling grandpa over there is Victor. You haven't met my father and Phoebe's."

Peter shot the older thin man a smile. Victor nodded his head in return. Peter kissed Piper's temple. "Congratulations." He rose and shook Leo's hand.

"Thanks, Peter," Leo responded. "We didn't mean to cut your trip short."

Peter shook his head. "I'm glad Paige called. I wouldn't have missed this for the world."

Paige stood beside him. She gazed up at him with adoring eyes. He put an arm around her and pulled her close to his side. One day, they would celebrate the birth of their child. Children, if Lorien's vision was correct.

"May I hold your baby?" Caine requested.

At Piper's questioning look, Peter said, "My father, Caine. And Laura, my. mother." He pointed to the person as he introduced everyone. "Piper, her husband Leo, Phoebe and Victor."

Everyone smiled at each other. Piper handed her son to Caine. The priest held the child like he'd been doing it all his life. Of course, Peter recalled, his father had held babies before. Him.

"Welcome, little one. May you know love, comfort and happiness all your life." Caine kissed the baby's forehead.

"May I?" Laura asked. Piper nodded. Laura took the baby from Caine. "May the blessings of the Goddess be upon you. May your gifts always be used for fighting evil and shine for good." She too kissed the baby's forehead. She handed the baby back to Piper. "Your baby has been twice blessed. I'm a high priestess. My husband is a priest."

Startled looks were exchanged between Leo and Piper. "That's what the prophecy says," Piper told them. "We thought it meant something else."

"Prophecies can have many layered meanings, my dear," Laura remarked.

"Oh." Piper turned her gaze back to her son. She positively glowed. "We've waited so long for him."

"Well, now he's here," Phoebe put in. "And he has all of us to love him."

Paige put her head against Peter's shoulder. He closed his eyes and relaxed. He was home.