Disclaimer: They belong to Aaron Spelling and Brad Kern. The squirrel monkey bastards.

Feedback is a girl's best friend and constructive criticism is, as always, actively encouraged.

Note: Descartes ought to sue for blatant abuse. Frank Herbert ought to sue for absconding off with his ideas. Chuck Palahniuk ought to sue for inadvertently stealing lines from his books. I'm just lucky the first two are dead and Chuck's far too nice to get upset over minor copyright infringement.

Note II: Reposted with typos fixed and language cleaned up. Because I'm an incurable neurotic who can never leave well enough alone.

Spoilers for all of Season Five.

Rated PG-13 for disturbing themes.

SLEEPING DRAGON

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

-Lord Acton, 1887

My first memory was waking within my mother's womb.

You in all likelihood find this difficult to believe but I assure you, I speak the truth.

My awakening was neither gradual nor gentle. From one moment to the next, I first wasn't then was. I knew all of this because Mother knew all of this. We were/are/will be as one.

I did not question why I was. That hardly mattered to me in my warm, little world. Nor do I think I was capable of forming such a thing as a question. As I thought, therefore being, I in turn could not conceive of what a question was, therefore it could not exist. I simply allowed myself to live, watching with fascination as I began to take form, from a collection of simple cells to a small, gilled organism to something that closely resembled my mother. Thousands of years of human evolution reduced to a matter of months, all seen through my knowledge as something intriguing but nothing to be explored further. It was, so what else had I to know?

As I became more deeply immersed in this existence, I started to recognize selves. My self, I. Her self, the one who carried me, Mother. And the other selves, the ones who stood outside of us and became blurred within my mind as Mother placed secondary identities over them. Aunt/sister/friend/frustration. Aunt/half-sister/friend/replacement. Grandmother/mother/abandoner/dead. Finally, the last one, whom I knew I should recognize as Father yet saw as so much more. Father/friend/husband/lover, inextricably intertwined within me and Mother. He who should be one but how could it be else as they made love and the pleasure came to her/me/us as he thrust so heavily, invading, violating? I knew that Mother would find this wrong, distressing her, thereby distressing me. I would not wish this for us and made plans to prevent any more intrusions.

"Come on, Piper…"

"Honey, I can't. I'm so queasy."

This ability seemed only natural and so I used it as easily as all other thoughts came to me. It worked well, allowing us to be without being. But eventually Mother overcame her body and the intruder returned, once more leading to this acceptance of pleasure at the risk of abomination. Strategy would most obviously have to be rethought for the situation was unacceptable.

This all came to me without a shred of doubt in my mind. I thought it. It had to be.

More troublesome problems, however, came with the return of the half-demon, the hated enemy/ally/friend/brother-in-law/murderer/uncle, one who could never be seen without so much attached to him. Perhaps not as dangerous as he once was, but the half-demon was still old, wiser than Mother suspected and far too experienced to be safe. Out of all who came close to Mother in that time, he would be most likely to discover me, discover my secret of being and stop me from carrying out my plans. He would have to be eliminated. With the same instinct with which I recognized "I am" and started my subtle manipulations of my mother's body, I whispered. It was not precisely that, for the ability cannot so easily be put into words, but whisper comes closest.  And whisper I did, speaking of distrust to my mother and aunts, rejection of all overtures of friendship or reconciliation. I expected some resistance but had an easy job of it, their minds already more than open to suspicion, perfectly willing to deny that which was in front of them. However, all did not turn out as planned as the youngest convinced him to stay when too far from me to be influenced. I could not control them completely. Yet.

Disappointing as this was, it was during this minor misadventure that Mother came into physical peril for the first time since I woke within her. We panicked, she and I, afraid, worried, angry. As with all I did, I reacted in the only way left to me. I reached out and seized, pulled, mended. I healed. Mother was delighted, so I was delighted. She gave name to this ability.

Power.

Yes, that seemed to fit. I had power. Something which would change, evolve, to use as I would to protect her/me/us, to drive out all those who would threaten.

In the meantime, the half-demon persisted in his disruptive quest to win back my aunt. I continued my whispers to Mother and her sisters and, when he drew close enough, to the half-demon as well. Only to him, I spoke of beauty and love and forgiveness and happy endings. Rather than retreating in the light of rejection, he pushed, while Mother's family pulled back. This schism created between my whispers and the reality which faced him finally grew too much and he escaped into madness, beyond my reach. But my primary mission had been accomplished; he would be a problem little more. When news of his death came from my aunt, I felt the relief of Mother and knew that I was right.

My father was a different matter. When I first knew I could whisper, I started to work this magic between him and Mother. The result was most unexpected, with my parents' abilities reversing between them. Not wishing to rob Mother of her/my/our power, I determined another tactic would be needed, one which did not rely so heavily on my parents' moods to manipulate. Timing became everything.

"Piper, right now?"

"Ooh, yes. Feel it? The baby's kicking!"

"Jeez, what's it doing, playing soccer?"

"Leo!"

He left her alone more often than not and I remained restful for a time.

Then it came. That day. The loss of power, not devastating so much because I missed it but because it upset Mother. A few hours passed which I did not recognize as such and then…

A push. A force. A demand, pressing in from all sides, Mother's screams echoing in/through/around us. I could not fight, wondered even if I should, yet I grasped, held, reached, howling out at such harsh, cruel treatment from one I only wished to protect, who treated me as the intruder. My mother's cries hit a fever pitch, her/my/our pain total, complete. Resolute, terror fueling our desire to just be gone out and get it awayawayawayAWAY…

My comfortable world was torn beyond repair and I was born, cold and squalling, the connection to my mother permanently severed and all feeling gone.

My power has since returned. It is still not at its height and this body I am in is weak, helpless. For the moment, I bide my time, practice with that small ability which will only grow. The alarm was merely a test, a simple tendril of smoke sneaking out and I could manipulate my father and aunts so easily. An exercise it was, nothing more. They came when called, acted as needed. I know this will come in useful.

I have also resumed my whispers, now unhindered by Mother's biology and given free reign in my parents' minds, so soft and subtle they do not even realize where their thoughts end and mine begin. Their arguments have grown in frequency, becoming louder, harsher, and when the breaking point comes, I will be ready.

Because they are still intruders. They violate me, forcing my birth, robbing Mother of my essence, creating this world to which I react yet feel nothing. And I will rid myself of them, knowing it must be this way as with every other moment of my being. It will be me and Mother together, once and for all. And if she cannot see that, I have ways to make her see, make her know. All will be amended.

This cannot happen yet. I am too small and my power is not yet great.

But I have patience.

I will wait.

I will grow.

And nothing will stop me.

FIN