That Other Heart

That Other Heart

She dreamed of him that night. He was healthy and happy, laughing as he held a toddler in his arms. He took one of its hands in his and made it wave. "There's mommy! Hello, mommy!" He carried the baby in his arms and said, "Thank you."

Piper stands at the back of the crowd, flanked by Phoebe and Prue. They were all wearing inconspicuous black coats. Leo stood at the far end of the cemetery in black coat and hat. The family members and friends moved forward to throw flowers on the coffin. Piper was last to walk forward and throw a red rose.
Piper : (whispers) I love you. Always.
She walked back to her sisters. Some of the guests were already talking, but she knew it couldn't be helped. She had to do it. Thomas deserved the honor of being bidden goodbye to. The three of them waited at the back until the guests started leaving. Piper insisted on remaining.
Keith : Excuse me.
Piper raised her head and looked at him. She had seen him before, but she couldn't remember where.
Keith : You're the woman from California?
She nodded, still unsure of who it was.
Keith : My name is Keith McFadden, and I believe I've met you before Ms?
Piper : It's Mrs. Mrs. Piper Wy- (stops herself) I'm Piper Haliwell.
Keith : It was good seeing you again then, ma'am.
The three women hurriedly walk towards Leo and the car. Piper embraced Leo.
Leo : I love you.
Piper : I love you so much.
Leo : Let's go?
Piper : Are you alright?
Leo : Yeah. Don't worry about me. (holds the door open for her)
A young woman came running towards them.
Y Woman : Miss! Miss, wait up!
Phoe : What is it?
Y Woman : I'm Thomas Wyatt's sister. I heard Keith talk about a girl with my brother in California before he died. You have to understand. I need to know-I can't believe this!
Her face was drained of blood. She stared at Leo with trembling lips and disbelieving eyes.
Leo was able to think quickly, bless him. He orbed out and Tom's sister shook her head.
Y Woman : What was that? What's happening?
Prue squeezed Phoebe's arm before she could answer.
Prue : What was what?
Tom's sister looked askance at all of them, but their faces were expressionless.
Y Woman : I think I saw a ghost.
Phoe : You'd better rest.
Keith follows the girl.
Keith : Tara. Let the Halliwells leave. You have to have some sleep too.
Tara : But I thought you told me that Tom was-
Keith : Tara, these are Phoebe, Piper and Prudence Halliwell. Ladies, this is Thomas Wyatt's sister, Tamara. You have to forgive her. She's a little overwrought.
Piper embraces her.
Piper : That's understandable. But you have to keep strong.
Tara : I need to talk to you. I have questions.
Phoe : But we have to go home too, Tara. I'm sure Keith has answered everything for you. My sister was a friend. That's all.
The Halliwells get inside the car and leave.
Keith : Why did you do that, Tara?
Tara : Because I think they're hiding something.
Keith : What do you mean?
Tara : Wake up, Keith! Don't you think it's odd that a healthy twenty six year old man would suddenly die of a heart attack? Or that Tom would drop all his appointments to run off to California? Or that the last time you saw him, he was with a woman you've never seen before?
Keith : The police have told you. There was no foul play.
Tara : Then I intend to find out what really happened. And I know right now it involves the three of them. I'll never rest until I find out what really happened to my brother out there.
Keith sighs.
Keith : Then I think you should know something right now, before you pursue that investigation.
Tara : Does it involve the three women here today?
Keith : Yes.
Tara : Then I want to hear it.
Keith : The woman I saw with your brother made a slip. She told me she was married. And now I found something else.
Tara : What?
Keith led her to his car, where his laptop was sitting on the carseat. He showed her the monitor. It was a site directory of the hottest clubs in the state of California.
Tara : No.
It read "P3. Prudence Halliwell. Piper Halliwell Wyatt. Phoebe Halliwell."
Tara : Have Tom's jet readied, Keith. I'm flying to California.

San Francisco

Piper : That was quick thinking, honey.
Prue : Yeah. I didn't know what I was going to do when your eyes met.
Leo : I'm just worried because she did see me.
Phoe : She thought you were a ghost. No problem with that.
Leo : No. I think she's really up to something. This is weird, but I feel like I know her.
Phoe : Actually Leo, it's not weird at all. She is, after all, in a way, your sister.
Piper : Oh well, we can forget about her now. We're going home.
Leo : Yeah, we are. It's our first night home after the wedding, you know.
Piper smiles at Leo.
Piper : I know.
Phoe : okay, okay! Break it up! No speeches like that!
Leo : (innocently) What?
Phoe : You two know very well that Piper's supposed to be resting at nights.
Piper : We were only talking.
Phoe : Sounded to me like you were planning a night activity!
Leo : What part of out speech told you that?
Phoe : Argh! Hands! Smiles! Eyes that melt!
Piper : Prue, tell Phoebe she's talking crazy.
Prue : I can't.
Piper : How come?
Prue : Because although I'd hate to admit it, she's right.
Leo : What are you talking about?
Piper : Yeah, what?
Prue : Hey, no ganging up on me. You asked for my opinion.
Piper : Hmmph.
The doorbell rang.
Phoe: I'll get it. (opens the door) Ms. Wyatt?! (raises her voice) Tamara Wyatt and Keith McFadden! You're in San Francisco!
Tara : Is there a commotion in the living room, Ms. Halliwell? I hear something.
Phoe : (eyes widened) Uh-uh-oh, that's nothing. It's probably just my sisters after the cat. We have a black cat, you know.
Tara : I see.
Phoe : So what brings you to San Francisco?
Keith : Perhaps if you let us come in, Miss Halliwell?
Phoe : Oh! I'm sorry. Wait a sec! (closes the door and hurries to the living room) Clear?
Prue gives her a thumbs up.
Outside, Tara and Keith look at each other.
Tara : I told you they're hiding something.
Phoe : (opens the door) Sorry. That was terribly rude. Come in. (leads them to the living room) Ms. Wyatt, Mr. McFadden, these are my sisters. I believe you met them at Manhattan.
Prue: (extends her hand) It's nice to see you again.
Tara scanned the faces before her.
Tara: Piper Halliwell?
Tara was taken aback when she embraced her again.
Piper : Hello, Ms Wyatt. How are you holding up?
Tara: I'm doing well, Ms. Halliwell.
Piper : Please call me Piper. I feel so close to you.
Tara : Call me Tara then.
Prue : What can we do for you? We were surprised that you're here so soon after the interment.
Keith: Tara had to see you. She has questions regarding Thomas's death.
Phoe : We've told the police everything you had to know.
Keith: Tara still has questions.
Phoe: I don't think-
Piper: It's all right, Phoebe. Tara must be overwrought. I know I'd feel out of sorts too. I'd be happy to tell you what I know, Tara. I'm sure it will give you comfort.

Tara didn't get anything more from her. Piper had stuck to the same story she had told the police.
Piper: Tom was a friend.
Tara: Where did you meet?
Piper: He came to P3 once and we just seemed to hit it off. From then on we've been corresponding. We see each other when he comes to California.
Tara: You were with him when he died?
Piper: Yes, Tara, I was with him.
Tara: What happened? Keith saw him and he was fine when he met the two of you at the highway.
Piper: He had a sudden heart attack.
Tara: He was a healthy twenty six year old man.
Piper: I know that. I was as surprised as you.
Tara: Keith told me you were ill. Tom was holding you close and you were barely conscious.
Piper: It was-I was sick that day.
Tara: And you still decided to go with him to the edge of the forest? With no apparent means of transportation?
Piper didn't know how to explain it to Tara. Fortunately, Prue arrived.
Prue: Piper, your appointment's in thirty minutes. You'd better leave now if you're going to catch it. (made a sign of wings and a thumbs up)
Piper: Okay. Thanks, Prue. I'm sorry I have to go, Tara. Just…don't fret over it too much. Tom wouldn't want you to worry. Let's let him rest.
Piper hurried outside and Tara looks for Keith.
Tara: Follow her. I want to know what's so important. Make sure to have me know where she went because I'm following as soon as I make my goodbyes.
A few minutes later Tara was able to leave the manor. Keith had called her and told her what route to take. They meet up at the San Francisco Memorial.
Tara: The hospital?
Keith: (nodding) I'll check with information. (not long after) They seem to know her pretty well here.
Tara: Why do you say that? (headed to the elevator)
Keith: Well she's not in any room, so they shouldn't recognize the name. But when I asked if they knew any appointments for Piper Halliwell, they said that Mrs. Wyatt was at the third floor as usual.
Tara: She's probably doing something sickeningly nice here like volunteering. Ugh. How am I supposed to do what I came here to do if she's going to turn out nice?
Keith: So maybe you should leave off and accept that Tom had an untimely death.
Tara: No! She's hiding something. She was able to avoid my question today. I want to know what she eats and drinks and does every moment of the day until I figure out what really happened to my brother. And how she'd involved, because believe me, she IS involved.

Keith: (as they step out) Let's head to the nurses' station. Hi.
Nurse: Yes, may I help you?
Tara: My name is Tamara Wyatt and this is Keith McFadden. We only-
Nurse: Tamara Wyatt? You're related to Mrs. Piper Wyatt then? I'm so sorry about the loss of your niece or nephew. She's over at Doctor Gilbert's office for her check-up.
At the mention of a baby, she held on to Keith.
Tara: She lost a baby? My brother just died.
Nurse: Oh I didn't know that. That poor young woman. She must be suffering so much now, to lose a husband and a child at the same time. The two of them were so happy. I've never seen a man as peaceful and content as your brother looked whenever he took his wife here for the check-ups with the OB.
Tara drew out a picture of Thomas from her wallet.
Tara: This. Just making sure. This is my brother.
Nurse: Well, yes. That's Mr Wyatt. Such a handsome young man. How did he die? She never said anything that I thought he was only away for business. He was away on business a lot. Must be a very busy man, your brother.
Tara felt the truth fall upon her like an avalanche. It was confirmed. Tom married Piper and they expected a baby. She just couldn't understand why he hid it.
Tara: My brother was a brilliant businessman. I have to go. (walked away, crying)
Keith: Tara!
She turned around.
Tara: Did Tom take a lot of trips here the past months?
Keith: He was closing a deal here.
Tara: Did he? Was he here all the time?
Keith: More than necessary.
Tara: So it's true. He was beginning a family in San Francisco.
Keith: Look, Tara, I know why you're so unsettled. Fine. They were married. She has all legal claim to the estates. But what's bothering me is the fact that she's not speaking up. She won't even admit that she's his widow. Doesn't she realize how much she's entitled to now?
Tara: This isn't about money, Keith. Please, will you get me something to drink? I need to take something now. (Keith leaves) This is all a play. She's pretending not to care because she's guilty. They're hiding it from me. I swear to you, Tom, I'll find out what happened to you, no matter what.
A beautiful blonde woman materialized near her, and she didn't notice.
Skyla: Tara.
She turned to her.
Tara: Who are you? How do you know me?
Skyla: I heard your wish. You want to find out what happened to poor Thomas.
Tara: Yes.
Skyla: Well, I'll help you find out. But you have to do something for me. You did say you'll do anything.
Tara: I just want to know what happened to my brother. Are the Halliwell's hiding something?
Skyla: (smiling evilly) Definitely.
Tara: It has to do with Tom's death.
Skyla: Yes.
Tara: Then I want to find out no matter what I have to do.
Skyla: Very good, Tara. (extends her hand) Close the deal.
Tara : Deal. (shakes her hand and feels Skyla rush into her)
Tara smiles a Skyla sort of smile.
Tara: Well, well… Let's see what I can do with that witch who stole that heart away from me.

Prue: Are you really sure you're going to be fine with this? I mean, Phoebe and I can stay here while Leo's gone.
Piper turned from her work on the sink to glower at them.
Phoe: Hey, easy on the knife, sis. We're just thinking of you here.
Piper: I know that, guys. But I know how to do things on my own too. I've been left inside the house before, you know.
Prue: Yeah, but since…
Piper: Since I lost the baby? It was awful of course but I can live with it. Nothing's changed really. Now you two go. It's not like you're going to be out partying.
The bell rang and Phoebe ran to get it. She came back later with Tara and Keith in tow.
Keith: Hey, I hope you don't mind. I'm going to leave now. Office emergency. Tara asked me leave her here if that's all right with you.
Phoe: Oh. Well actually we were just leav-
Piper: Of course it's okay. Have a seat, Tara. I'm preparing some cookies for my sisters to take, but I've made enough for an army. You should try them.
When Prue and Phoebe left, they gave Piper strict instructions not to trust Tara. After all, what did they know about her? Piper insisted that Tara was a good person though, because she was Tom's sister.
Piper: So, how was your trip out, Tara? When I got back, my sisters said you went out. I was surprised when you didn't come back for so long.
Tara: My trip was fine. We found some very interesting things. And how was yours?
Piper: It was fine.
Tara: Where did you go?
Piper: I bought a few things for dinner. You and Keith should be here.
Piper took out the fresh batch of cookies and placed it on the center of the table.
Tara: A few things have been bothering me.
Piper: Really? Like what?
Tara: Like why Tom was even here. He could have asked Keith to handle his businesses here. He's always done that before.
Piper: Umm… well. I wouldn't know about that. I guess there are some things that only Tom could answer.
Tara: I really hoped you could tell me.
Piper: I can't.
Tara's hand begins to emit a violent light, but Piper's back was to her, so she didn't see.
Tara: Maybe you could tell me something else then, Mrs Wyatt.
Piper turned swiftly around. That voice. She'd heard that voice before. Tara's eyes were burning with an intense red fire, and she realized that it wasn't just Tom's sister sitting there anymore. There was someone else. Someone was in her.
Piper: What did you say?
Tara: You heard me. Tell us… Oh, you remember me, don't you? I'd be offended if you didn't.
Piper looked down at the glowing hands. Tara stood up.
Tara: It's Skyla. But no… your memory would be a tad vague now, wouldn't it? You were barely conscious when we met. Then again… I was there when Tom spirited you away. My face must be etched in your mind.
Piper: You've taken Tara's body. She's human, Skyla. Leave her out of this.
Tara: But she's the perfect body to use. After all, in his heart, Leo thinks of her as a sister.
Tara raises her hands and the yellow light reached Piper, holding her fast against the wall.
Tara: You saw how I killed Tom right?
Piper: I thought you loved him.
Tara: They made me believe he was Leo!
Piper: It's over, Skyla. You killed Tom, who was innocent. You'd better leave all this to fate.
Tara: No! I will get revenge!
Blue light appeared in the room.
Piper: Leo, stay away!
Tara turned around and raised her hands to shoot Skyla's flares at him. The moment she spots him, the red in her eyes subside.
Tara: (her own voice) Tom? Tommy… you're alive.
Leo: Tara. Don't hurt her.
Tara: You married her without telling me…
Leo: I love her.
Tara: She lost your baby.
Leo: We will have others.
Skyla regains her hold on Tara's mind.
Tara: Damn you! You killed my teacher. And you made me kill my own Thomas.
She released Piper from the light that held her captive and held her against her. She raised a burning hand and held it very near her face.
Tara: I should kill her. At least then we'll be even. My mentor for your child. My lover for your love.
Leo: Tara…
Skyla: It's me, Skyla!
Leo ignored her. He knew if he could reach Tara, she could force Skyla from her body. As it was, destroying Skyla would be Tara's destruction too. And Tara was an innocent.
Leo: Tara… You know what it's like to love. It would pain me so much if you hurt Piper.
Michael orbs in.
Leo: What are you doing here, Michael?
Michael: I was told that I was needed here. (turns to look at Tara) Lorraine…
Tara's eyes widen at the sight of Michael. Her eyes return again to normal.
Tara: Who are you? I've seen you before… (notices that she was holding Piper tightly) What's happening?
Piper: Tara, let me go please.
Tara: In my dreams, I've seen you. (slackens her hold on Piper) What's happening? (Skyla overcomes her again) This is not fair! Go away, whitelighter. This doesn't concern you. Past lives are not supposed to be involved here.
Michael stared at Tara. {AUTHOR's NOTE: Michael's initial flashback was taken from FOR ALL ETERNITY #4 The Ninth Hour} He was taken back to his conversation with Leo, just when he was grieving Piper's death.
{begin flashback}
Michael : What? Are you planning to spend eternity looking directly at the sun? That won't kill you, you know. It will give you a shitty headache and blurred vision though. Try living forever with bad eyesight and a cracking head.
Leo : Leave me alone, Michael.
Michael : You know me more than anyone else, Leo. As I do you. You have to let the pain go before you can function again.
Leo : Look who's talking. I remember that it took you a hundred years before you were ever whole again.
Michael : Leave that be. We're talking about you. You have to snap out of this and fulfill a promise.
Leo : I hardly think she's being born right this minute.
Michael : No, she's not. But she's going to die if you don't get back to the Manor and help her sisters rescue her.
Leo's head snaps back and he turns to look at Michael.
Michael : Life sure is kind to you, isn't it?
Leo begins to orb out.
Leo : You coming?
Michael : Sure. Sure. I just need to do something.
When Leo was gone, Michael walks down and strides toward an oak tree. He takes the candles in his pocket, lights them and sets them down.
Michael : How long before I die? Damn immortality. Why aren't you being reincarnated?
He grasped the stone marker that read, Lorraine Church 1879-1899. Michael Church Jr. 1897-1899. Beloved wife and son.
{end flashback}
Michael: Tara, you understand this kind of pain, don't you? Don't let it happen again. Don't let it happen to your brother.
Tara seemed to visibly fight inside herself.
Tara: You have to fight fair!
Leo: You've lost, Skyla.
Tara: (holds up a burning hand) I still have the witch, you fools!
Her hand touched Piper's cheek at the same moment the glow faded.
Tara: What the-Aaaaah!
Skyla stood apart from Tara. Tara released Piper, who immediately ran to Leo. Michael threw his blue powder on Skyla.
Michael: You cannot destroy something that's already protected by love, Skyla. Begone. You're not welcome here.
When Skyla had been vanquished, the four of them stood in the kitchen. Tara was speechless, looking at each face. Michael took a piece of cookie.
Michael: This is really good, Piper.
Leo: Ehem. I think you have something to tell us, Michael.
Michael looked at Tara, whose eyes were wide open.
Michael: I think you still have to tell her about you.
Tara: (hoarse) I have no idea what's going on. Tom, you're not dead.
Leo: I'm not Tom. Ummm.. well, I am. It's just that… I'm Leo. Tom is just another part of me. Well… Tom and I are actually one. Okay… I have no way to explain it. Let me stick to this. I died and Tom was born, with my soul. But… then I was turned immortal, so Tom possessed a soul that already belonged to me. So we are actually one that was, for a moment in time, split in two.
Tara: So Piper was married to…?
Piper: I am married to Leo.
Tara: Who is also Tom.
Piper: You complicate things.
Michael: (chuckling) I think it's complicated enough as it is, Piper honey.
Tara: And you.
Michael: (smiles at her) And me. Welcome back to the world, Lorraine. What took you so long?
Tara: Do you honestly think I know the answer to that?
Michael: I'm sorry.
Tara: I don't really remember what happened, but yes. This much I know. You DO have something to apologize for.
Leo and Piper moved away from the kitchen, hearing them still arguing. They had to have some privacy, although it seemed that it didn't matter to them much really.
Michael: Right. Air the dirty laundry before you even have the chance to scrutinize it!
Tara: I have the right! I was the one dead for… how long has it been anyway?
Michael: One.
Tara: (stops) One year?
Michael: (mumbles) One century.
Tara: What!
In the living room, Piper and Leo were lying on the couch. Prue and Phoebe arrive.
Phoe: Anything happened while we were gone?
Piper: Same old.
Prue: Hey Leo! Glad to see you back. We were worried Piper might herself alone here.
Leo: Piper? Nah. She's not clumsy. A demon would have come after her before she would even burn her finger on the oven.
Piper: (giggles) Burn.
Phoebe hears the argument from the kitchen.
Phoe: What is Michael doing fighting with Tamara Wyatt?
Prue peeks in.
Prue: What is Michael doing ravaging Tamara Wyatt's lips?
Piper smiled at Leo and he tightens their embrace.
Piper: What a past life that must have been.
Leo: Maybe it can compare to ours.
Piper and Leo: Nah.
Piper: I love you.
Leo: I love you more.
Piper: Uh-uh. Not possible.
Leo: It is so.
Piper: I love you so much more.
Leo: Can't be.
Phoe: Argh! It's sickening! This is so like all the other closings of this darned series! So glad it's over.

The End