It's Strange

By Taynna Sandrei

Disclaimer:

I do not own the characters contained within nor do I profit from my use of them in any monetary way. I also recognize that this disclaimer does not excuse my breach of copyright. However, as I have no assets, I assume that those who do own the rights to these characters have better people to sue.

Author's Note:

Normally when I write these little bits, I set them aside for use later as part of some larger project, however, this one isn't part of anything and I was somewhat shocked to find that when I was done writing, it was also finished. I don't know what to call this and I'll probably never visit it again, but I wrote it and I kinda like it, despite my uncertainty about characterization and timeline etc. What the heck, it can't hurt anything. Right?

Timeline:  Immediately post Hyde School Reunion – Phoebe's POV.

~*~*~*~*~

It's strange.

For a moment, all I can think is that I'm glad Piper didn't see "Chris" get vanquished, even if it was just an illusion.

Some part of me wonders if I should care more about the way we used Rick. He was part of my past, even if he was an unpleasant part that I wanted to forget. He was a person, not an innocent, but still a person; and there's no doubt in my mind that we used him. We used him to protect Chris. Piper's son. Our nephew. Our family.

"Phoebe?" Paige's voice is worried and I force myself to make eye contact with her again.

"Yeah?"

"Are you really okay?" Her gaze is sympathetic. There's no hint of judgment or condemnation in her eyes and somehow that makes it worse.

"Yeah, I'm really okay. And that's what scares me."

She gives me a slight smile, "It scares me too." I must have looked surprised, because she goes on, "We used him. To protect our family.

"But," Paige continued, "if there's anything I've learned about being a Halliwell, it's that family is the most precious thing we have and we have to protect it. Sometimes… this time, that meant pushing the limits of right and wrong."

That's all it takes to help me feel better. Paige understands, she knows; maybe we didn't do the 'right' thing, but we did what we had to do.

I don't realize I'm crying until her arm is around my shoulders. "I don't know why I'm crying."

Her hand on my shoulder tightens a bit and she pulls me closer, "Does it matter?"

"No, I guess it doesn't."

It takes a few minutes to get myself back under control, but I feel better when I do. "That was a very strange thing to watch. Even knowing it wasn't Chris…"

"I know! I'm so glad that Piper didn't see that!"

And now I'm sure that this is my sister. "I thought the same thing! I'm glad she didn't have to see 'Chris' vanquished. Even if it was a trick."

This time Paige's smile is wide and genuine as she pulls me to my feet and up the stairs, "Come on, I don't know about you, but I need to hug a certain nephew."

So do I. It's time to let the past go. We have a future to protect instead.