With so much attention focused on the gap between "All Hell breaks loose" and "Charmed Again 1&2" I thought it would be fitting to at least imagine what could have happened in that period of time. This is my demented view as to the events between the third season finale and the fourth season opener. As for the title of the story, I think a good one would be "Before they were Charmed Again".

Shax looked around the room and admired his work. He was only supposed to eliminate the doctor, but getting two "Charmed Ones" would definitely be considered a huge win for the evil side. An sinister smirk appeared on his face as he took one last look at the fallen sisters before fading into the wind and backing his way out of the house, causing the doors to slam with such force that the glass from the windows shattered. Down below, The Source had his own menacing and wicked look on his hidden face as he uttered, "two down and one to go".

The Source then called for one of his high-ranking demons to go into the room and kill Phoebe and Balthazor…thus eliminating four of the five biggest threats to his existence. He figured one lone whitelighter would not cause a problem. As the demon walked into the room, he was able to catch a quick glimpse of an orbing couple and a shimmering demon. Cole was able to shimmer to his father's mausoleum, but as Leo and Phoebe tried to orb into the Manor, they were blocked by the enormous amount of evil energy Shax had left behind. This caused the good couple to find their way back into the room where they just came from.

Cole sensed something was not right, so he shimmered back and picked up Leo and Phoebe to take them to the cemetery. Once the three beings were there, Phoebe reminded Cole of the fact that her sisters were in danger, but Cole told them it would be impossible to enter the Manor magically--this they already knew! They did manage to orb across the street just in time to witness TV reporter, Elana Dominguez standing in front of the Manor in shock. As the two ran across the street, they were almost hit by a small, green Volkswagen driven by a dark-haired young lady seemingly late for work. They bolted past the reporter, entered the house, and Leo rushed over to do his healing duties.

He placed one hand over his wife and the other hand over his sister-in-law and waited for some response from either one. Slowly Piper began to move around, but Prue seemed to be less responsive. Once Leo was certain he had revived his wife, his attention went completely to the eldest sister, but he soon realized he was not meant to save her. As we observe this scene, it becomes clear as to the closeness of this family because not once did Leo ever consider helping the doctor with blood coming from his ear and hanging out of the broken window across the room. In fact, it appears as if he didn't even care about the mortal healer.

Piper's reaction as she awoke was surreal. She acted as though nothing had happened and all that was wrong was a couple aches, pains, and bruises. Surely she did not fathom how close she was to dying, but it was clear by the condition of the room that something had happened. The first thing she witnessed with a clear mind was her husband kneeling over Prue and he had a dejected look on his face. She grabbed his hand and placed it on Prue's body, hoping that he could be successful this time, but he pulled away, stood up and began to cry. He looked at his wife and was barely able to get out the words, "Prue is dead"

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This had happened in the past, but this time there was no genie to grant a wish, and the time aspect card had been utilized already. This time, Prue was really gone. As the seconds passed, Piper's near-death experience became less and less of an issue for her. She quickly sank into the realm of the denial stage and nearly punched Leo senseless trying to get him to revive her elder sister, but it was no use. As for Phoebe, she could only stand there in amazement, wondering if this was just a dream. But Piper's loud yell of "Phoebe go upstairs and get the damn book" was just what was needed to snap her out of her apparent trance. Almost like a robot, she started to go up to the attic, but was stopped by the orbing Leo halfway up. His calm reassuring face was what she needed to accept what her eyes were telling her. Truthfully, it was his calm visage that kept the youngest Halliwell stable long enough to get through the next week.