Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own Charmed. I'm almost positive it's illegal to do what I'm going to do with these characters...ah well, don't sue. It's only fun and fiction!

AN: Welcome to the newest development of my insanity. Everyone who is familiar with my previous stories, forget about them while you read this one. Terror Never Fades isn't tied to my on-going series (which, I know, I desperately need to update) This fic is Piper centric, another oddity if you know me. I hope you enjoy reading this because I adore writing it. Also, I already have the next four chapters written, so the sooner I get reviews...Well, you uderstand what I'm getting at. :P:P

Piper Halliwell entered the Manor she shared with her two sisters, arms loaded with bags of groceries. She felt one of the bags slip, and carefully, she pushed it back up with her knee. Her eyes scanned the foyer, focusing in on the blinking answering machine light. Mentally noting the message the light indicated, she made her way to the kitchen, where she unloaded the groceries onto the counter. Sighing heavily, Piper pushed her long brown hair out of her face with an impatient flick of her wrist. She silently debated putting the food away before remembering the awaiting message. As she turned to walk away, a flurry of movement caught her attention and instinctively she threw her hands up, freezing the impending disaster before it actually occurred. Resettling the culprit -one large, food-filled paper sack- back into a safer place on the counter top, Piper walked back to the foyer.

The Halliwells were not ordinary women by a long shot. Each of them held powers most of the world only dreamed existed. Piper, the eldest, held the powers of temporal stasis and molecular combustion. In lay man's terms, freezing and blowing objects up. Phoebe, the next in the Halliwell line, had the power of levitation and premonitions. Though neither were active powers, as she had so often pointed out, both powers came in handy. The baby of the three, Paige, held an array of powers given to her by her Whitelighter father, Sam, including orbing, a means of transporting herself and anyone touching her to another location -sometimes mere inches from the previous location- and healing, a power she hadn't quite mastered. Her mother, a witch, contributed telekinesis to her assortment of powers, though her Whitelighter half put a spin on the way the initial power functioned. Instead of mentally moving an object, she called for it and it orbed to her. The Charmed Ones, as they were appropriately known to much of the widespread evil they battled, held more power than any other witches had before them.

As Piper depressed the button on the small machine, she couldn't think of a time when she had felt less like a powerful witch. In fact, she felt like a maid, fulfilling every whim her sisters had with child-like obedience. She heard her sister's disembodied voice rambling on frantically about a job interview she was almost late for, so could Piper or Paige please pick up her dry cleaning for her, since she wouldn't be able to get to it today. Piper rolled her eyes, not even bothering to finish the message before turning the tape off. She was in no mood to deal with another dull, meaningless chore. Still, she couldn't exactly ignore her sister's request and so, she picked up her keys from the floor where she'd dropped them earlier while carrying in the groceries, and headed back out of the Manor.

On the steps, she noticed Paige pulling in the driveway and smiled. Paige extricated herself from her tiny car and started in Piper's direction, a look of agitation splattered across her features. Piper raised her eyebrows and braced herself for the onslaught.

"That's it. I've had it with this entire ordeal," Paige spat immediately, dismissing a greeting as something meant for strangers, not sisters. Piper looked on sympathetically, waiting for the story she knew was coming. "My boss," Paige stated simply. Piper nodded and pulled her sister into the house, temporarily setting her previous engagement with the dry cleaners on the back burner. Paige screwed her expression into one of intense dislike, and Piper patted her shoulder.

"What did he do this time?," Piper asked quietly. She suspected he had once again lectured Paige on the importance of showing up for work on time, a speech Paige had a particularly hard time digesting. They both situated themselves on the living room couch, a position taken up many times before.

"He said that he is on the brink of firing me," Paige hissed indignantly, "In his words, my 'habitual tardiness' combined with 'the frequent absences from the office' are pushing him towards a final decision. Apparently, if I am not a model employee for a long while, I am going to lose my job. Of course, I can't possibly explain to him that my witchy duties are getting in the way of my work-life!"

Piper sat quietly for a moment, reflecting on what to say. She knew if she tried to brush it off as the boss blowing off steam, Paige would respond coldly. She couldn't help but think that Paige could try a little harder to get to the office on time, but naturally, she wasn't going to give voice to that opinion.

"Well, what do you think about taking a break from your Wiccan obligation for a while? Phoebe and I can handle any minor vanquishes we may have to perform, and lately, demonic activity has been sparse. It wouldn't hurt for you to try to revert to your old habits -like concentrating fully on your job with Social Services- instead of constantly worrying about improving your skills in the craft," Piper suggested softly.

"I....don't know, Piper. I know you mean well, but honestly, that is almost useless advice. Aren't innocents supposed to come first? So anything I do to 'improve my skills in the craft' are, in a sense, helping them," Paige replied after a pause. Piper inwardly winced, feeling the unintentional dagger sink deep into her heart.

"I know," she hastily amended, "I was way off base. Maybe you should consult Phoebe...I really don't have a lot of great advice today...I guess I'm not myself today." Paige nodded, indicating that that was obvious. Piper half expected to be questioned on what had thrown her off, but Paige instead got up to leave, mumbling something about a nap. After Paige had departed to her bedroom, Piper stared for a few moments into the space her sister had occupied, then resumed her earlier task dejectedly.

Paige listened to the door of the Manor close and briefly wondered where Piper was running off to. Assuming it was related to one of the many items on the ever-present To Do list Piper kept, Paige dismissed the unnerving feeling that passed over her. Once again, she played over in her mind the earlier scene with her boss, entertaining thoughts of what she would have liked to say, had she not been worried about keeping her job. All the while, in the back of her mind, a nagging voice reminded her of the hurt look on Piper's face during their conversation in the living room. Sighing, she let the thought fully form in her mind and made a mental note to apologize to Piper for her rude dismissal. That decided, she fell onto her bed, closing her eyes. Reminding herself that she had promised Piper to help with the club that night, she let her body relax and soon felt herself dozing off.