forbidden Forbidden (1): The Arrival

Leo knocked on the Gordon's door five years later. Dan welcomed him inside with a smile.

"We've been waiting for you, Leo."

"Where's the little guy?"

"Hey, Peter! Uncle Leo's here!"

"Uncle Leo! Look what mom got me for my birthday last June." The boy came running the stairs.

Leo looked askance at Dan.
Forbidden

"It's one of the arrangements we made. A gift each year. She picked out everything and she hid them everywhere. The home videos tell him where to look."

They watched the child as he ran down the stairs. "Be careful!" They looked in horror as the boy tripped and went flying. As the boy went what?

"Hey, look! I'm not falling!" Dan's jaw slackened. The child lost his grip on the miniature plane and it began to drop. "No! My plane!" In front of their disbelieving eyes, the plane stopped in mid air.

"What the—" Dan stared at Peter and the plane, blood leaving his face.

Leo grinned. Well Piper, you didn't really take this into consideration, did you? "Peter, come here to Uncle Leo." It seems that I have to take our son under my wing—literally—once and for all.

He looked at Dan, and saw that he was still having a hard time believing it. The child immediately grinned at Leo. "I can't, Uncle Leo."

"Put your arms to your sides slowly, Peter. Not so fast, or you'll fall."

The child did as told and slowly touched the floor. "That was good, Uncle." He immediately positioned himself under the plane. "Okay, plane, drop!" The child waited, and frowned. "I said drop, plane." His eyebrows creased and he looked at Leo imploringly.

"Remember what you did a while ago? With your hands? You don't need to tell the plane out loud what you want it to do." The boy concentrated again and again and finally, the freeze expired and it dropped on its own. "We'll have to practice your unfreeze next time, Peter."

"Yes, Uncle. Did you bring me anything?"

"I don't believe this." Leo had almost forgotten about Dan. He was so thrilled at the prospect of spending time with Peter. He's keeping his son now. There was no way Dan could possibly take care of a five year old boy with supernatural powers. "I don't believe this," Dan muttered.

"Come here, Peter." Peter immediately jumped up into Leo's arms. "Believe it, Dan. Peter's a very special boy. And I know you can't possibly care for him now. So I'm taking him."

"What are you talking about? You're not taking my son anywhere!"

Leo's jaw locked. He placed Peter down and stared at Dan squarely in the eye. "Go upstairs, Peter. I'll follow you later." The boy leapt and was floating again. Leo grinned. He saw the boy touch the floor at the highest step. He was such a fast learner. "Your son?"

"He's my son where it counts. Take him away and I'll have you arrested for kidnapping."

"My own son?"

"You know as well as I do that Piper wanted that boy with me."

"Are you blind? That boy has something you would never understand!"

Dan glared at Leo. "It doesn't matter. Piper left the boy to me and I'll be damned if I let myself get scared off and break my promise to her!"

"Shit!" Leo walked out and slammed the door. Dan sighed in relief. His mind was restless. He couldn't believe what he saw. And Leo took it so calmly! Peter was his son! He almost had a heart attack when the door suddenly burst open and Leo stood there, carrying his bags. "Where's your guestroom, Gordon? I'm moving in."

Forbidden (2) : The Revelation

"What do you mean you're moving in?"

"Just that. I'm moving in." Leo walks inside and begins to climb the stairs.

"What gives you the right to move into Piper's and my house?"

Leo ignored the pain that stabbed through him at that reminder. He'd have a hard time already just staying with Dan. He didn't need to be told again that this was the house that Dan bought for her when they got married.

"I think the fact that my son is here is right enough."

"Leo, how many times do I have to tell you to shut up with that? I don't want Peter to hear. You can't disrupt his life like this! I want you to leave."

Leo puts down his bag and walks to face Dan. "My son needs me. Now I'm giving you a choice. I stay here and attend to whatever he needs to know in this house or I take this matter to court and demand that Peter be tested for paternity." Leo didn't want Peter thrown into a legal battle either, but he couldn't let Dan cut him out of his son's life when he was needed most.

"Fine." Dan gave up the argument. "You can stay in the room beside Peter's." Leo went upstairs to settle in. The phone rang, and he ignored it, waiting for the machine to pick it up.

"Hey, Dan! Phoebe and I were wondering if we could drop by this weekend and snatch Peter away. We're—" Dan picked up the phone.

"Yeah, Prue. Sorry about that. I was…taking a bath."

"It's okay. So what do you say?"

"When did I ever say no to you two? Anyway, I needed to talk with the two of you. When can I expect you? I'll prepare then."

Dan ran up the stairs two steps at a time when he found Leo standing outside Peter's door. "What is it?"

Leo motions for him to be quiet. "Do you hear that?"

"Oh, that. That's just Peter talking to himself. He does that often."

"And you're not worried? You should be talking to him about—"

"Look, Wyatt. I agreed to this because you gave me no choice. But never, never tell me how to raise Peter."

"Aren't you even a bit concerned after seeing what you saw down there?"

Dan sighed. "I've seen weird things in my life, but this tops it all. Don't get me wrong, I'll always love Peter, no matter what. So what is he?"

"Well, Dan, as I told you before, he's a very special boy." Dan didn't reply. "Piper's a witch."

"She's the loveliest, most generous person I've ever known."

"I didn't mean like that witch. I mean, she has powers. Had," he corrected himself.

"Let me guess. Prue and Phoebe are too, aren't they?"

"That's right."

"So nobody ever told me this before for some important reason. What makes it alright for you to tell me now?"

Leo glanced at the door again. "Truthfully, I'm trying to scare you enough to release Peter into my care. I can take care of him the way you could never do."

"Don't insult me. Now this brings me to my next question. Why do you know?"

"I know because I was their whitelighter." Leo continued on with his lengthy explanation, and Dan never once blinked an eye. It would have been better if he yelled, Leo thought. Because by his silence, Leo couldn't figure out if he was following or not. When it was over, Dan ran his hands over his eyes.

"So Peter's—"

"Born of a witch and a whitelighter. Do you think you'll give him to me now?"

"He's my son."

"Actually—"

"Fine! But I told you. I'll never break a promise. Piper will always look for our son from me."

"Then I'm staying." Dan knocked on the door and opened it. Leo and Dan walked in. "Hey buddy, what're you doing?"

"I'm playing with mommy's plane."

"We thought you were talking to somebody."

"Oh yes. I was talking to a lady."

"What lady?"

"The lady who always visits me after daddy tucks me in."

"Peter, son, there's no lady in this house. You must have been dreaming of your mommy again. How did she look like?"

"Pretty."

"See? I knew it. That was your mommy. You were dreaming."

"Hey, I have news."

"What news, Uncle Leo?"

"I'm staying with you and your… and Dan for a while."

The little boy whooped in delight. "In my room?"

"No." The boy frowned. "In the one beside this."

"That's across from mommy's."

Leo looked askance at Dan. "I converted our bedroom to Piper's and moved to the other one. I couldn't stay there after—" Dan cleared his throat. "Okay, Petey, I gotta go for a while. I'll call Mrs. Weaver to stay with you, ok?"

"Awww, daddy. Don't call me Petey."

"What's the need? I'm here. I'll look after Peter."

Forbidden (3): One Bleeding Heart and a Fairy Tale

Leo entered the room across from his after Peter fell asleep. The moment he entered, he sensed her presence. The room was full of framed pictures of Piper and Peter, all taken by Dan obviously. He walked towards the dresser and sat down. He pulled open the drawer. Her brushes, lipstick and make up were all there. On the table her favorite comb sat. He touched it. Instantly he knew that Dan touched nothing here except for his own things for five years.

He padded over to the closets. He opened them and touched her clothes. Curious, he opened a box at the bottom and pulled out a maternity gown. He pressed the cloth against his face and breathed in.

"Piper." His heart was getting heavier and heavier. "I miss you so damn much. Time doesn't dull the pain at all."

"Uncle Leo?"

He turned around and saw Peter standing by the door. "What are you doing up, Peter?"

"I was thirsty."

"I'll get you some water."

"Why were you crying?"

"I miss your mommy."

"Oh I do that too, especially when I'm here. Because I don't remember all those pictures. And daddy says that that's mommy, and that baby's me."

"He was right, your daddy."

"Yup."

"Wanna go grab some ice cream?"

"Won't daddy be mad?"

"Nah." Leo picks the boy up and brings him to his room. "I'll handle your daddy. Peter." He started changing the boys clothes.

"Yes, Uncle Leo?"

"Why don't you call me daddy too? Uncle Leo's quite a mouthful for a little boy like you."

"Is it okay with daddy?"

"Only when your dad's not around."

"Ok."

"And you know what you did to your plane?"

"I stopped it," the boy boasted.

"I don't want you doing that to both your dad and me, okay?"

"I know. The lady told me."

"Peter, you have to get over this lady business. There's no lady in this house. There's only you and me and Dan."

"But there really was a lady in my room. She had long brown hair and she smiles very prettily."

"Like how."

"Just like mommy."

"You never met your mommy."

"But she looked just like mommy."

"But mommy's gone, Peter."

"I know! Let's go visit mommy instead of going for ice cream."

Leo smiled at Peter's eager face. He'd never met a kid who wouldn't trade ice cream for anything. "That's a good idea! Come on. We'll buy some flowers."

The boy grinned back at his father, and Leo couldn't help but be amazed at how alike their features were. "We have flowers already, Unc—daddy." Leo felt a thrill go up his spine upon hearing the word. "My other dad made mommy a garden at the back. You always come here but you never see it."

The boy pointed in the direction of the kitchen. Leo walked forward with Peter in his arms. Not long after, he was able to see the door at the far side of the room. He opened it and caught his breath. The scent filled his nostrils and he closed his eyes.

"Dan did this for Piper?" The question was rhetorical, but his son answered anyway.

"Daddy and mommy started planting even before I was born," the boy narrated as if from memory. "And mommy would sit over there when she was tired," pointing to a dusty wooden rocking chair beneath the trellis, "and let daddy massage her feet. She was always tired," the child matter-of-factly related. "She was having me and she was very sick."

Sometimes Leo envied Peter for not having known Piper. Never being able to touch her or stay close to her, Peter didn't drown in memories every time she was talked about. But then again Leo pitied the boy for that same reason. He would never trade those memories for another lifetime.

"But mommy died so daddy was left alone with me. Daddy always went here to cry and he would give me to Mrs. Weaver because he didn't like to see me."

"That's not true, Peter. Dan loves you more than anything in the entire world."

"But he always leaves me."

Leo begins cutting flowers to bring to Piper. "Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a king and a queen who had a beautiful baby boy, whose name was Peter." The boy grinned, and Leo was encouraged. "But a bad person came—"

"A witch!"

Leo laughed softly. "No. Witches aren't necessarily bad, you know."

"But when daddy reads me a fairy tale, it's always the witch who's the bad one."

"Not in my stories. In my stories, witches are beautiful and nice and generous and loving."

"What's the bad ones called then?"

Leo thought for a while and grinned. "Demons."

"Oh."

"Shall I continue?" The boy nodded eagerly. "So the bad person, the demon, comes and makes her very sick. The kind didn't know what to do. He called the doctors in the whole kingdom, but none could save the queen. And the queen told the king not to let the prince, Peter, starve or want for anything. So the king worked and worked and worked so his promise to the queen would not be broken."

Leo stopped and waited for the child to get his drift. "And then what happened?"

Leo cleared his throat. He wasn't really used to the little kids. He'd have thought Peter got the moral of the story by now. "And then he was hurt because he thought that his daddy didn't like him. And he went to the garden with his other dad and—" Leo saw the boy hang his head and blush. He sighed in relief. "So let's go?" The boy nodded, and Leo took his son's small hand in his and orbed.

Forbidden (4): The Discovery

"I cannot believe you made me bring all these stuff, Prue. These clothes are too heavy!"

Prue batted her eyes at her sister. "Thank you for being so nice, Phoebe."

"Vanity is a sin, you know."

"Come on, lighten up."

Prue and Phoebe stepped onto the foyer and rang the bell. They waited several minutes and heard cursing from inside the house. Phoebe shook her head dramatically. The door finally opened to reveal an aproned Dan carrying a spatula with a big growl that quickly faded when he saw who they were.

"Hey, sis—"

Prue burst out laughing, and Phoebe tried very hard to contain her smile. "Got hit by a flour truck?"

"Come in, girls. I need your help. Someone in this house is finicky about his food and I can't seem to get this right. Taste this, will you? What's it lacking?" He led them to the darkened kitchen.

"What happened?"

"Light blew out. Don't worry about it. It'll be fixed in no time. So what's wrong with it?"

Prue scratched at her head. "I wouldn't know. Jack always takes care of the take-out for us."

Phoebe shook her head and grinned. "And they don't exactly teach us gourmet or delicatessen in the convent."

"Piper usually adds a pinch of cinnamon in the batter." They all turn around and saw Leo standing on the doorway, holding a bulb.

"Leo?" Prue and Phoebe look at Dan then Leo, and back again. "You two are…in the same house…alive?"

Leo levitates and begins screwing the bulb on the ceiling. "Dammit, Leo, didn't we agree that no powers in the house?"

Prue motions for Phoebe to sit down, and they watch the exchange between the two men. Leo touches the ground and begins explaining why it was inconvenient to haul a ladder when he could float. Dan's point was that he didn't want Peter exposed to the powers while Leo tells him it's too late to worry about it. Prue and Phoebe are speechless, hardly following the flow of conversation and were still struck by the fact that Dan didn't freak out when Leo floated.

They see Peter standing shyly at the corner and everyone stops. "Peter, honey! You've grown so big. Come here to Aunt Prue and Aunt Phoebe." Peter walks forward and embraces them. Phoebe sets the boy away to look at him. "Look at that! How uncanny! You look exactly like—err…" She darts a look at Leo, Dan and Prue, who were all waiting tensely about how she would finish it. "Just like your mom."

Peter smiled. "Mom's got brown hair. And she's got brown eyes too."

"Well," Phoebe replied. "You've got this nice sandy blond hair which isn't that far from brown in the…umm..in the international color wheel. And you've got those nice hazel green eyes. Brown…green… what's the difference, huh?" Phoebe grinned.

Forbidden (5): Devotion's Futility

"I'll be going now, Peter. Daddy has to go to work. I promise to bring you something, ok?" Peter kisses Dan's cheek and waves goodbye.

"So, when are you taking us to the cemetery?"

"Why don't you two go and wash up? I'll bring you over as soon as I get Peter dressed."

Dan knelt on the thick green grass of Piper's grave. He closed his eyes and tried to control the rage inside him. He still couldn't believe she was gone. Five years since they buried her, and he still told himself she'd just gone to the store or to a meeting at P3, a thousand miles away. But with the stone beneath his hands he couldn't deny it. Every week he went here, and those hours he spent kneeling like this were the only hours he accepted that she was gone.

"You left me high and dry, Pipe. I keep saying I loved you, but you always thanked me. I had no heart to tell you it wasn't enough. I couldn't complain, because after all, you married me. But did you have to say it? Did those have to be your last words?"

Dan replayed the scene over and over in his mind. "I was there for you. Why couldn't you have given me that consideration?!" He heard her voice in his mind, weak. She was almost gasping for breath then. Her last words. "Tell Leo—tell Leo that—I love him." He shook his head wildly. "Why couldn't you have said that to me? Not once in all the months we were married. You never once told me you reciprocated, Piper." He took several calming breaths. "I'm sorry. I'm not mad at you, honey. I got a little carried away. But I love you so much. And it doesn't matter that you loved him, not me. Because we still ended up together, didn't we?"

Forbidden (6): To See Your Face Again

"Dan! We thought you'd be working!"

Dan's head snapped up, and he hastily wiped the tears away. He touched Piper's name and turned around. "Hey, everyone. I was just passing by. I thought I'd tell her you two are here. Anyway, I'd better go before I'm too late."

Peter runs to him and embraces him again. "Bring me a chocolate."

"If Uncle Leo tells me you've eaten dinner."

"I will." Dan left in his van. He wasn't used to showing emotions to people. Piper was the only one he trusted enough to shed tears for. And now that she's gone, he'd not be crying anymore.

Phoebe and Prue place the flowers on the grave, careful not to trample on the petals Dan had already scattered. "Hey, honey. Phoebe just got leave from the convent, so we only got in yesterday. We met your boy again. He's grown so much! And I know you must know and you're already freaking out. Angelboy and neighbor Dan are living in the same house! I wonder what Leo had to do to make Dan agree."

Phoebe was smiling all the time Prue was speaking. She missed Piper, but she understood life now. There was a serenity about her that she never had before. "I know you're very happy with what's going on, Pipe. Everyone's getting along. Prue is a step from being engaged to Jack, and I'm deliberating on taking my vows already." Phoebe paused and sighed. "I wish you were here, Piper!"

Prue embraced Phoebe. She knew Phoebe entered the convent to find peace when they lost their sister. "Leo, I'll take Phoebe to the car for a while. I don't think she was ready to face up to the truth right away."

Peter watched as his Aunt Prue led Aunt Phoebe away and followed them a short distance. He then saw a butterfly playing with him, and he ran to catch it. Soon, floating a couple of feet off the ground. Leo saw his son suddenly lose touch with the ground, and he glanced around. There were no people in the area but it was still dangerous to use powers out in the open. He ran over and grasped Peter at the waist and pulled him down. "Peter, I told you not to fly in public, or freeze in public."

"Sorry, daddy." He felt a thrill go up his spine again. He may never get used to the sheer refreshing beauty of being called father.

"Now stay here and play without flying." Leo walked back to Piper's grave and sat down. "Hi, honey. I want to tell you that I am so proud of our son. He's the most beautiful child I've ever seen. I only regret that he didn't look like you. Yes, contrary to Phoebe's quick escape tactics, I am aware that sandy hair and hazel eyes make him look like me. His features, jaw, eyebrows, structure, everything mine. I'd have loved it if I could see a little girl who looked exactly like you, but Peter is still the most perfect child I can imagine. His values are astounding. For the way he raised Peter, I know I'd be thankful to Dan forever." The sound of screeching tires brought his head up and at that moment, he knew he was too late. He stood up and began to run. The car jumped over an island and was uncontrollably heading directly at Peter. Even if he orbed, he still wouldn't get there in time to save his son. Almost immediately a blue light appeared beside Peter and lifted him away at that split second. The car careened but managed to speed away.

The woman who saved his son had her back to him. She was assuring herself that he was fine. Leo stood there, his knees almost too weak to support him. Peter saw him and immediately flung himself at him and Leo stooped and embraced the boy tightly, hardly believing that he was all right. Leo's eyes rose to meet those of the woman who saved his son.

Hazel eyes drank in the face that he never thought he would see again. A rise of exultation grew within him. They stare at each other for a long time before a blue light envelops her and she orbs out.

Leo would never forget that moment. Her eyes were so clear in his mind. Love. Anger. Regret. Sadness.

Eyes so brown he could have drowned.

Forbidden (7): In The Realm of Angels

Leo hands the boy over to Phoebe and Prue. "Take him home. I have an unfinished business to take care of."

Prue holds the boy close to her. All she saw was the car careening close to her nephew. Leo grimly orbs away.

Leo opened his eyes to a glass domed room full of plants all around. A waterfall cascaded in one end and about a dozen variety of birds were flying and walking all around. She was standing by the waterfalls, looking astoundingly lovely in an off while long dress. "Piper."

She turned around, and he caught his breath at the sight of her eyes once more. They were dull and empty, as though seeing him hurt her. A look of betrayal immediately crossed her face and faint blue lights began to play around her.

"Wait! Piper, don't do this to me."

He held his breath, not knowing if she will decide to stay or if she will leave him once again. The blue lights faded, and she stood there quietly, staring at him, waiting for him to speak. He found his mouth suddenly too dry to say anything, but he was aware of her need to hear him. He swallowed hard.

"Sit down."

She looked around and walked towards a marble bench at the center of the dome. "How did you know where I went?"

"This is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in our realm. I took the chance. I knew you would go here."

She smiled bitterly. "You think you know me so well."

He stood closer to her, and she was intimidated. He was so tall in this position. Leo understood the workings of her mind. Slowly, deliberately, he knelt down in front of her so their eyes would meet levelly.

"There's something I don't know. Why, Piper?" he asked softly. "Five years. All that time we spent apart when we were existing in the same plane all along."

She was uncomfortable with him so close to her. She pulled away. "You know nothing about me. I had no obligation to tell you."

"So cold."

"You're a guiding angel. I'm a guardian. Our paths were not supposed to meet. Forget you ever saw me."

"Do you think I can?!"

"You must. Soon I will be relinquishing Peter to one of you. It slipped my mind that my son would have powers."

"How could it have? Didn't you think a witch and a whitelighter would have a special son?"

All the anger and resentment she had been keeping for five years boiled over. Very softly, she said to him, "I've begun to think of him as a Gordon long before he was born." She stood up and walked away.

Leo's jaw locked and he grabbed her arm. "Never say that!"

"You have no right to tell me what to say! You left me, remember? YOU left ME. I cried for you so many nights…"

"We agreed to part," he answered helplessly.

"I needed you."

Leo didn't answer. Perhaps this was what she needed. At least he knew she existed. At least he knew as long as she felt pain, the love was still fresh in her mind.

Her tears were running down her cheeks, but she was unashamed. She'd needed to cry for years, but she never let herself. It was time she let go.

"All those months of pain. All those hours I was reaching out to you, but you never once came. And that day—I needed you to comfort me. I needed you to tell me that we'll find each other again, Leo. I needed you to hold me while I slip away. I wanted you… I wanted you to kiss me and take my last breath away…"

Leo stared at her and understood her anguish. He needed all those too. And his stubborn pride had kept him away. He let her die without a lover's touch.

Their eyes held the other's as blue light enveloped the two of them and orbed them into separate ends of the realm of the angels.

Forbidden (8): The Dictates of Heaven

Leo stood at the center of a gray room devoid of any furniture or design. He was alone, standing straight and tall. His voice echoed, bouncing off the walls.

"I demand to know."

"What makes you think you have a right to?"

Leo kept his face expressionless. "Because most of this was your fault. And as I have worked for you for more than half a century, I think I deserve the truth. Why was I never told of this?"

He heard a barely audible sigh. "In truth, Leo, we did not know either. Contrary to what you must think, the Founders of every group do not necessarily tell each other every minor detail when we convene."

"This is no minor detail! A Charmed One dies and she joins the ranks of the Guardians. What is minor about this?"

"Leo, Leo. What may appear as a vital to your mind may be negligible to ours. We have entire populations to think of. No matter how special you may think of yourselves, you are all just a piece of a universal puzzle."

"I know that you have not treated my alliance with her as negligible all these years. If you had, we would not have gone through the separation."

The Founders did not answer for a very long while. Finally they dismissed him. "If that was your only purpose for coming here, Leo, I suggest you leave immediately. We will call you regarding your duties."
Leo did not move. "What else?"

"I will not go until you give me lave to ask another question and you satisfy me with an answer." The Founders did not reply, and Leo took it as acquiescence. "How may I speak with her? In all my years here I have never met a Guardian until now. I see an Avenger, but not a Death or Mercy. Now that we are both immortals, nothing can keep us apart any longer."

Piper orbed into a long, narrow, white hallway and leaned against the white washed wall. Tears silently ran a path down her cheeks. Those eyes. They had looked at her as though they saw her very soul. Those hazel eyes seemed to lose a bit of life with every hurtful word, with every blaming statement that she threw at him.

She had loved him so much. She gave him everything and left nothing for herself. She had made the supreme sacrifice and suffering through the agony without him. But she would never forgive him for being absent when it was time to say goodbye. She may have insisted to Dan not to tell him, but he was told. He was told and he chose to stay away. He chose to leave her alone, to abandon her.

She needed to see Peter. She needed to touch him to feel for herself that he was all right. She was glad she was assigned to her own baby. At least Peter, in a strange way, grew up with a mother. She remembered her first months here, when she would collapse in tears whenever she thought of all the events that she would miss. That was when she asked in vain for another death.

A beautiful woman with long white blond hair appeared before her. "You rang, Piper?"

"No," she said hoarsely. "I didn't. My thoughts must have been too loud."

The woman smiled. "I was wondering if you had forgotten about our talk. I already told you I cannot bring you what you already have." The woman leaned to wipe the tears from Piper's face. "Is this about Peter again? We've talked about this too. It's best that he be transferred to a Guiding Angel, a Whitelighter, to be more specific."

"And I tell you time and again that I can handle it. I was a witch, Selena. Even now I can still freeze."

"And the Whitelighters have been trained for this for decades. You're new. Enjoy being a Guardian. Of all the children being born, you'd be very busy in no time at all."

Piper did not have the heart to tell Selena that it was not the child she worried about. From the moment the Angel of Death offered her her hand, they have become true friends. They walk together towards a glass room. Piper saw themselves high up in the air, watching angels floating, bringing baskets and cloths or merely enjoying a leisure time.

"There's Bridget."

"Where?"

"Flying near that group of Guardians."

"Ah. What's she up to?"

"She's an Angel of Mercy. I think she just won a pardon for a criminal and if off to deliver forgiveness." Selena smiled at her. "She often works with me. People tend to call out to her when I am the one they really need. I think they're scared of calling an Angel of Death. But I'm not scary at all."

"No, you're not. Selena, where are the Avenging Angels and the Guiding Angels? Why can we mingle and live among others and we do not see them?"

A shadow crossed Selena's face. "Oh. Well. The Avenging Angels and the Guiding Angels have almost a realm of their own. The Avengers are hard, and they often argue with Angels of Mercy. But the Avengers have to keep their distance from us because they mostly fight for justice. They have no time for sentiment. So are the Guides. No bias. Everything they know must be noble and according to the rules. By keeping them isolated well away from us, they remain unaffected be our ideals and focus on their jobs."

"Are you all right?"

Selena shook off her trancelike stare and smiled at Piper. "I am. It's just that I remembered my Avenger. It's been so long. I did not know the rules and I fell in love. I'm glad I've finally recovered from that. Let me warn you right now never to fall in love with an Avenger or a Guide. The dictates of Heaven have labeled it forbidden."

Piper lay on Peter's bed, singing a lullaby softly with the child in her arms. She made sure that Dan was out before she began her song, because she could not cloak herself from him while remaining visible to Peter. Dan would panic at the sight of her, and Piper knew that he did not deserve that. She needed him to move on with his life. Sometimes she even regretted pulling him into the complexities of hers.

Peter had fallen asleep but Piper continued to sing to him and stroke his hair. She missed this aspect of being a mother. She was never allowed to watch her baby's growth from within the circle of her arms. The door opened and she quickly glanced up. Leo was staring at her. She became conscious of the sudden smallness of the room when he entered. This was her real family. The father sat beside her and her baby. She motioned for him not to speak. "I cannot pull my arms from under him without waking him up."

Leo leaned down to lift Peter away from her. His arms brushed her and she caught her breath. Piper stood up and Leo placed Peter gently down on the bed. They exit the room and enter Piper's untouched one. "You were beautiful. I regret that I wasn't able to see you like that when he was born."

"Don't regret it," she answered quietly. "I was much worse by that time. I would not have wanted you to have seen those months."

"It would have been worth it to be with you."

"We can't do this."

"We can't not do this. I love you."

They were standing so close, and they felt that indescribable pull towards the other. Leo saw a tear threatening to fall from Piper's eye, and he caught it with his finger. Immediately upon touching his skin to hers, he pulled her in his arms in an almost desperate move. They kissed each other hungrily. All the pain, passion and love that have been stored for five years were brought to the fore. They fell back on the bed and loved each other in the only way available to them.

They didn't even notice that they were both crying all the while.

Forbidden (9): No Regrets

Leo wrapped his arms around Piper's waist as she looked out the window. "I don't regret it."

"I found out today."

"I did too."

"So this was because of the dictates?"

"This was because we have been in love for an eternity, and because we will be in love beyond infinity."

Piper's hand touched her forehead. "I cannot believe how cruel fate is to us. She's playing with us, Leo. She's been playing with us from the very first life we led."

"To be soulmates who are forever forbidden? Yes. But at least she allows us to find each other."

Tears fell down her eyes. "I'm so tired of the injustice of it all, Leo. We were meant to be together!" Piper sighed. "We have to put a stop to this now. We cannot see each other anymore. I can't be with you and not love you. And I can't love you without breaking more rules."

"We've broken enough rules in our lifetime."

"And maybe that's why fate keeps tearing us apart. If we make this effort to play straight, maybe next time—"

Leo saw the logic in Piper's statement. He caught her face in his hands and pulled her close for a long kiss. "I'm sorry for not being there. I wanted—"

She hushes him with a finger to his lips. "I love you. The pain we go through…it's all part of the masterplan. I understand it now. I know you love me more than anything. I know you suffered as much as I did. And now I don't want us pulled away from each other anymore, so we live by the rules this time and see each other in the next incarnation."

"But we will not be reincarnated, Piper."

Piper's face fell. "Then what? What do we do to make this stop? This whole thing is a lunacy!"

Leo touches her features. "We'll find a way." He kisses her softly on the lips. "Until then we have to try to stay apart. That kiss has to last us until we find a solution," he says and stand up.

"Wait." Piper kisses him long and hard at the lips. She pulls away and pats his chest. "I needed some as reserve. Go." Leo orbs out.

Piper washes her face in the sink, and goes back to Peter's room. She smiles as she sees him curled on the bed, sucking his thumb in his sleep. Gently he pulled away his hand from his mouth and toweled it dry. She kissed his forehead and felt a familiar rush of love.

"It won't hurt anyone." She lay beside him and pulled him into her arms again. Blissfully she fell asleep with her son cradled against her.

Prue and Phoebe arrived from a trip to the mall. Prue bought a whole new wardrobe and she noticed Phoebe looking upset by her purchases.

"Phoebe, you do understand that I need these clothes, don't you?" Phoebe nodded. "Then why the look?" She shook her head. "Come on, Pheebs. You can tell me."

"I—It's been five years, Prue."

"Oh honey, I know that. I thought you already found your peace and accepted it when you decided to join."

"That's just it." Phoebe answered, as they entered Dan's house. "It's been five years, and—I'm not sure if I can, Prue."

"Accept it?"

"Go through with this. I mean, I'm thankful for the peace this experience has brought me but I just—I want to wear new clothes again. I want to go out. I know you must be disapp—"

"Phoebe!" Prue laughed and embraced her sister. "You're back!"

Phoebe smiled at Prue. "I've accepted that Piper's gone." They climbed the stairs to put the bags in their room. "Hey, let's go check on Peter first. Leo's nowhere around. I thought he was going to stay with him."

Prue turned to open the door to Peter's room. "Leo probably took Peter with him. I mean, he'd never leave his son alone."

"You're right. Come on." Prue closed the door and she and Phoebe both entered their rooms.

Phoebe stared at herself in the mirror. And then she raised she eyes up to the sky and smiled. Grinning, she walked towards her closet and removed the clothes there. One by one she raised them up for inspection. Not two minutes later, she was sitting on the bed, looking sadly at all the clothes in the floor with distaste. There was a knock on the door and she hurriedly answered it. It was Prue, bearing a bag from the mall.

"You know, Phoebe, I didn't buy all those for me."

Phoebe took the bag and looked at the contents. "Prue! Thank you." She embraced her sister and closed the door, trying the clothes on pair by pair.

Prue stared at the door on her face. She was happy that Phoebe finally decided to stay with her. She would have missed two sisters if Phoebe decided to take her vows. She felt the urge to check on Peter. Who knew what trouble called Leo away? There was always the possibility that Leo left his son because of an emergency.

Prue opened the door to Peter's room, smiling. The smile faded at once and her heart skipped a couple of beats.

"Phoebe! Phoebe!" She cried, panicking.

She heard Phoebe running. The woman on the bed rose at once, awakened by her voice.

"Prue," she said, surprised. She didn't know what to do. Peter was disturbed by Prue's yelling and woke up crying. Piper took him in her arms. "Hello, Phoebe." Piper smiled at her younger sister, who only just arrived. Phoebe closed her eyes tightly and opened them again.

"Hey, what are you two doing there? Why is Peter crying?"

Piper heard heavy footsteps running up the stairs and the sound of Dan's voice. She immediately orbed out, leaving Peter on the bed. Dan entered the room and lifted Peter into his arms.

"What was it?" he asked the sisters.

"He must have had a bad dream."

Dan walked around the room, rocking Peter in his arms to calm him. "What was it, baby? Did you dream?" Peter shook his head and mumbled incoherently. "Can I take him to your room, Prue? I just took the sheets off my bed to change before I left. Peter should be in different surroundings right now."

"Sure, Dan."

Dan and Peter were in Prue's room when Peter suddenly reared up in Dan's arms. He pointed to a framed picture of Piper on the dresser. Dan smiled and showed him the picture. "That's mommy, Peter."

"Nooo."

"Yes, it is, Peter."

"Lady."

"Mommy."

Peter shook his head. "Mommy looks different. This is the lady in my room."

Dan's forehead creased and he took the picture and Peter to Piper's room. He looked around and saw that a child would almost not recognize the sudden difference in Piper's looks. Prue's picture of Piper was taken when Piper was still healthy, and all of Dan's pictures of his wife were taken when she was already heavy with Peter and very ill.

Prue entered Piper's room. "I was wondering where you two went."

Dan looked at Prue worriedly. "Peter claims that Piper is the lady he sees in his room every night."

Prue shook her head. There was a reason why they saw Piper, and no matter how much Dan knew already, she wasn't sure if Piper would want Dan to know everything. "That can't be, Peter. Okay, listen to Aunt Prue, honey."

"No!"

"I'm worried. Where's Leo? Maybe he can talk to Peter."

Forbidden (10) : Staying Away

Dan touches the framed picture of Piper on his desk. Since Peter pointed at it in Prue's room, the pain and memories he had long thought buried came flooding back full force. He'd spent hours remembering the feel of her in his arms, the sound of her voice, and the picture of her smile. Whereas before remembering her gave him a bittersweet longing, now it brought him much more than that. Today that longing was overshadowed by a rush of guilt.

His finger traced the smiling lips caught frozen in the photograph. "I never imagined that when we're finally together, we'll be torn apart by something as lasting as this. Love isn't enough to describe the pull I felt towards you from the very first moment I saw you. But now, I don't know what I'm feeling now. This woman has me under some sort of spell." He softly chuckled. "No, not that sort of spell. She's no witch like you, if I'm to believe what Leo tells me. It's hard not to, when he and Peter are flying all over the place. Anyway, I'll fight this, Piper. I promised you that you'll be the only one I'll love. And I'll be true to that. I miss you." Dan drew out his wallet and took another picture from behind the one of Piper and Peter. It was of a lovely woman with red hair and a sweet smile. "You would have loved her if you met her. Such a generous spirit." He inserted the picture behind Piper and Peter's again. "But she can't compare to you."

"Are you sure she'll be here?" Phoebe asked. "This place is so public." Peter's hand was clutched in hers as they walked down the mall.

"Of course, Phoebe. I mean, we just saw her. I'm sure she'll want to clarify what's happening with us. And the mall is the best place to do that because no one will think that a ghost or whatever she is now is walking among the people here."

"Toyland!" Peter pulled her aunts towards the shop.

They followed Peter, whispering to each other. "Did you bring your credit cards?"

Peter looked at the variety of toy airplanes on display. Prue and Phoebe grinned as they watched over him. Phoebe's attention was caught by a monkey with cymbals. "Prue, look at this. It's so cute. It looks like Dan!" Prue burst out laughing. "Buy it. It'd be our thank you to Dan for letting us stay in his place while we're visiting Peter."

Prue gave her her credit card and turned around. "Phoebe, where's Peter? Peter!"

"Oh no!" Phoebe ran down the isle and looked for him everywhere. "Where is he?" After several minutes of searching, they decided to report the loss to the customer service. Phoebe and Prue waited at the office for someone to tell them where he might be.

"Anyone who's found a lost boy wearing a Mariners' shirt and blue jeans, please take him to customer service."

A couple of minutes later, they came, "I'm very disappointed at the two of you."

"Piper!"

"Ma'am, is this the boy you're looking for?"

Prue stuttered, "Ah yes, yes. It's no problem. That's his mother. Thank you for, for your help."

"You're welcome, ma'am."

Piper smiled at her sisters. "Hello, Prue, Phoebe. I think you owe us a plane for losing my baby, huh?"

Prue took the toy airplane Peter was holding. "Sure. Yeah."

"Okay. And afterwards treat us to…hmmm... Where do you wanna go, Petey?"

Phoebe held up a finger. "Oh no, Pipe, he doesn't want to be called Petey."

Peter grinned at her and embraced Piper. "It's okay when my mommy calls me Petey, Aunt Beebee."

Phoebe shook her head. And she thought grown men were hard to understand.

"Let's go to McDonald's."

"Yeck," Phoebe gagged. "But that's one fine choice, Petey." Peter glowered at her. "I mean, Peter."

As they walked towards the store, Piper was talking. "…and now I'm a Guardian."

"Give me some money, Prue. I want to go buy the food. It's been so long since I've gone to the counter." Piper takes the orders and leaves.

Prue and Phoebe are still staring at each other in disbelief. This was more than they had asked for. A man sat with them. "Hey girls."

"Aah! Leo!" Prue slapped his arm. "How many times do you have to be told not to do that?"

"You're too jumpy." Leo grinned.

"Being exposed to all sorts of demons makes me jumpy!"

"Fine. I'm sorry." His demeanor suddenly turned serious. "Listen, there's a problem with Peter. Someone wants him—"

"Here you go," Piper announced, putting the tray down. A waiter followed her with another tray, and Phoebe could swear he was checking out her sister, the angel.

"Keep your eyes to yourself, kid," Leo warned gruffly. The waiter put the tray down and scurried away.

Piper was surprised to see him. "Leo!" Their eyes held, but they made no attempt to touch each other.

"Piper."

"You know about this, Leo?" Prue demanded.

"I only just found out too."

"This is great for you two, guys. Piper's no longer a witch, so—"

"Our relationship is strictly business now, Pheebs," Piper interrupted.

"Okay," Phoebe said, munching of a fry.

"So what did you come here to say?"

Leo looked at Piper in the eye. "Our son is in danger. Someone will be sent to destroy him."

"The power of three will protect him."

"You can still freeze?"

In answer, Piper froze the entire room and unfroze Leo. "Does that answer you question?"

"Look, Peter didn't freeze," Phoebe cried.

"Are you crazy? Unfreeze the room Piper. Have you forgotten that these walls are made of glass?"

Piper unfroze the room. "I need go. I have to have an update on whether or not they're taking the charge of Peter away from me." Piper walks towards the restroom to orb.

They watch her go. Leo stands up. "And I need to ask the Founders to give me more details about this demon after my son." He goes to a secluded corner and orbs out.

Piper walks down the white narrow corridor on the way to the room where the others were. Leo suddenly orbs beside her.

"What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be here."

"I know. Help me keep up this pretense, Piper."

Immediately their lips met, and Piper's hands went up to his hair. "Pretending is hard." They were so engrossed with each other. Piper felt her back against the wall. She was kissing him just as madly as he was kissing her. A few minutes later they pulled away and breathed in to calm themselves.

"I'm sorry. I couldn't stay away from you long."

"I'm glad you can't, because this is killing me."

Leo touched her hair. "I'm close, so close. We'll find a way to be together. But first we should worry about Peter."

"Yes. Go. I have some things to do myself. I love you." Leo orbs out and Piper saw Selena standing there. She was blocked by Leo's frame so she didn't notice at once.

Selena shook her head. "A Guardian and a Guide. That's not only forbidden, that's a first. How did you even meet when they're not supposed to see us."

Piper blushed. "He's my son's father."

Selena was amused. "When I came to you and asked you to take my hand that day, I don't remember that Guide being the one who was with you."

Piper looked away. "When you held out your hand to me, I knew I was dying."

Selena looked to be deep in thought. "I remember!"

"What?"

"That Guide. I saw him that day."

"You must be mistaken. He wasn't there."

"I have a pretty good memory, Piper. He was there. He opened the door at the very same moment you put your hand in mine."

Forbidden (11) : Angels Falling From The Sky

Bridget hurries down the corridor with a man following close behind her. "You have to do something about this, Bridget!"

"I know! I'm looking for her right now. There she is. Yooohoo!" she called, waving to Piper. They stopped in front of her and Selena. "We've been looking for you."

"Why?"

"You're Piper, right?"

"Yes."

"You don't know me but Selena does. I'm—"

"Yes, she pointed you out to me."

"Okay. We need your help. Your husband's pleas are still ringing in my ears. And Cupid here's been after me for some days now."

Piper is startled. "Cupid?"

The man grinned at her. "Remember me?"

"Ahh, yes. Hi."

He smiled. "So I guess my little venture in the Halliwell home worked huh? You ended up with the neighbor after all. I'm only sorry you had to..umm…"

"Die?"

"Yes, that's it."

Selena laughed. "Yeah, Piper, at least you ended up with Dan." Piper glared at her.

"So what do you two need my help for?"

"This will be hard for you, I know. But you have to let Dan go."

"Excuse me?"

Bridget looked at the ceiling, so Cupid sighed and explained. "Dan's been pleading for forgiveness for a few weeks because he feels that he's done a great sin against you by falling in love. Now Bridget won't go and give him mercy because he didn't really sin. And I find myself at a loss because he won't do as I, or rather his heart, tells him because he feels that he's sinning." Piper thought it over. "Let's not be selfish here, Piper. No matter how much the two of you loved each other, you're dead and he's alive." Suddenly Cupid frowned. "Wait a minute! I remember something… Aren't you the one with—"

Selena interrupted. "She's the one with the soulmate."

Cupid shook his head and embraced her. Piper's eyes widened. "I'm sorry I couldn't help you." He pulled away. "So this will be no problem to you at all. Dan wasn't really the one."

"I was going to say that but you kept going."

Cupid raised his hands in mock surrender. "I got carried away. So…how's your sister?"

Dan tossed and turned in bed. Suddenly, a strange calm overcame him. He smiled and drifted into a deeper sleep.

Dan arrives at home and leads Valerie in. He spots Prue and Phoebe on the couch and blushes.

"Prue, Phoebe, this is my date Valerie. Val, meet my former sisters-in-law."

Prue and Phoebe smile at her and shake hands. Dan leaves them to get Peter. "So you're Piper's sisters."

"Oh, he's told you about her already?"

Valerie smiled. "Yes. We've been friends for a couple of years now. He loved her so much."

"And you're okay with this?" Prue asked, as Valerie walked to the fireplace and looked at a family photo of Dan, Piper and Peter.

"Well, yes. I can't be jealous of a ghost now, can I? I'm even thankful to her because who knows what sort of man Dan would be now if she hadn't once been part of his life. And she gave him Peter, who makes Dan so happy. From everything I've heard from Dan, I know we would have been great friends if we met."

Peter got to the living room, laughing and running. Dan arrived soon after. "You beat me again, Peter." He took Peter's hand and introduced her to him. "Meet my friend Valerie, Peter. She'll be coming with us."

"Nice to meet you, ma'am."

Soon, Peter was regaling Valerie with tales of his countless toys, and Valerie listened patiently. Prue and Phoebe were glad that Dan found someone. They were even happier he found a woman like Valerie.

Piper entered the room where some of the higher angels were gathered. They were there to hear about her plea.

"I will care for my son. He knows me, and I have my powers as a witch."

One of the elder whitelighters spoke. "But we have trained our whitelighters to specifically protect against the forces that will come after your son. We have not only the responsibility, but the right to have him in our charge."

"What makes you say that?"

"Peter is Leo's son. We're all aware of that."

"And he's mine too. I have as much—"

Leo orbed into the middle of the proceedings. "Leo, this is highly inappropriate!"

"I'm sorry. But I need to take Piper now. While you're all here discussing who could best oversee my son, he's been taken."

"What?" Piper cried. "Leo—"

Leo hushed her with a finger on her lips. "We'll figure this out next time. Right now, we need to look for our son."

Dan held his head in his hands. Valerie massages his shoulders. "They just came out of nowhere and took him."

"Ummm, Dan, maybe you should take Valerie home. You know…because LEO might help us look for Peter."

"Oh. Yeah." Dan stood up and rubbed his eyes. Dan left with Valerie.

Piper orbed in with Leo. "What now?"

"We look for him."

"So, we have no idea what took Peter."

"How about the demon I was telling you about?"

"I checked it out. I don't believe it's them."

Red lights seemed to play at one corner of the room. "Guys," cried Phoebe. "Do any of you know what red orbs indicate?!" The red lights faded and a tall, black haired man stood in Dan's living room.

Forbidden (12): Angels in Rebellion

The red light gathered and faded. The tall black haired man stood in Dan's living room.

"Who are you?" cried Phoebe.

The man smiled grimly and nodded to Leo. "The Whitelighter knows me. I am the Avenging Angel Marcus. I came here to tell you not to worry about Peter. He hasn't been taken by demons. We have him in our convention, Leo."

Piper is so relieved that she collapses against Leo. "Thank God!"

Leo holds her close and asks, "How may we get him?"

"I'm sorry. We may have to keep your son for a while. We're holding him hostage until the Founders give us what we want. Most of the Avengers agree with me. There has been enough dictates to last us a hundred eternities. By holding Peter, we are holding both conventions in our hands."

"Why my son?"

"That's simple. He has blood from both conventions. Leo's from the Whitelighter-Avenger convention and yours from the Guardians, Death and Mercy faction."

"I don't understand," says Leo. "I had no idea this sort of unrest was even brewing."

"Of course. You've spent more time here on Earth breaking the rules than you have up there following them. It's time to bring down the tyrranical rule of the Founders, Leo."

"What prompted this?"

About a dozen more red lights swirled behind Marcus. The lights formed into other angels. "We've been ready for months. We've planned this for so long. Leo, it's time to show the Founders that holding us too tightly can kill." Marcus sneered. "Them." The Avengers behind him nodded. Soon, they all orbed out.

Phoebe sat down heavily on the couch. "I cannot believe what I just saw! How could angels be so malicious and spiteful?"

"They must have had enough," Piper whispered.

"That's still no cause to turn against Heaven, Piper. We've been played foul before, but we never rebelled. I can't bear to think about Peter now, in their clutches. They'll use him to manipulate the Founders, and they'll give in. They would never let an innocent get hurt."

Piper announces, "I'm orbing and getting my son out of there."

"No! Piper, honey, listen to me. We need a plan. You can't go in blindfolded. Leo and Phoebe are here. We'll all help you. We'll never let anything happen to Peter."

"This is so much harder than fighting evil."

"There's nothing harder to beat than good turned bad."

After a few minutes of discussion, they decided that Phoebe will orb with Piper and that Prue will orb with Leo. They are soon in the Whitelighter convention room. The four hide behind pillars so they will not be seen.

Marcus is standing on a platform. The Avengers behind him are each holding a Whitelighter Founder. "Hear me, Whitelighters. You have been guides for long decades, some of you even centuries. You have served and served well. But this is too much. We respect your free will, unlike these old men. All those who wish to join us in our struggle against this tyranny, step forward." None did. Leo smiled from his hiding place. He is suddenly so proud of his friends. The Avengers are disgusted and stride out. The four orb to Piper's convention.

Selena spots Piper and runs to embrace her.

"You're all right! I thought they hurt you when I didn't see you here. The Founders have taken the powers of all their Angels here. The Avengers gave that as condition so they will not hurt your son. Now we can do nothing. They've locked us in without the powers to orb."

"Where is he?"

"They kept him. I don't know where."

Piper offers her hand to Selena. "Come. We'll all orb you out of this room. They didn't count on us coming to the rescue." Leo offers his hand to one of the angels.

Soon, all the angels were freed. They returned for the Whitelighters. They all agreed that the Avengers must be crushed.

Forbidden (13) : War in the Heavens

The Angels strode into the convention where the Founders are being held. Piper sighs in relief when she sees Peter unhurt at the other side of the room.

"You've freed them all."

"Yes, Marcus," replied Leo. "This is a crime. You have no right to overthrow powers founded by two millennia. We've come to free the Founders."

Marcus steps down and walks towards him. "You think I don't know about you? I am doing this not just for the Avenging Angels but for all of you. Have you never felt the injustice of the dictates." Leo feels Piper's eyes on him. Marcus touches Piper's cheek. "It was better when you were mortals. You could delude yourself into thinking that in the next life, there's hope for you. But now you're immortals, destined to live forever. And you have been dictated to stay away." His eyes touch Selena's. "In a Heaven without these Founders, you will be free to love whom you choose to love. We will be free to mingle with the other. The Angels of Mercy and the Avenging Angels working together! Think of that Utopia!"

Another angel touches Leo's shoulder. He turns around to see a fellow Whitelighter. "You've done so much for us already, Leo. Know that whatever you decide to do now, we'll all be behind you."

"Yes," agreed another Whitelighter.

"I agree," said an Angel of Death.

Murmured agreements rise up from the din. Marcus sneers. They were playing right into his hands. Of course, the star-crossed lovers will not let this opportunity pass. Piper and Leo's eyes meet. As they looked into the other's eyes, they knew immediately what the choice will be. Tears fell from Piper's eyes as she smiled at Leo. Leo caught her in his arms and kiss her softly, without thought to time or space, forgetting that they were caught amidst the largest rebellion in the universe.

Marcus smirked as he watched them kiss. He had succeeded. The Guardian and the Whitelighter pulled away from each other. Leo nodded to the Whitelighters. Piper turned her head away and nodded to the other Angels. The Avenging Angels were at once surrounded, ten to one. The Founders released the powers and the Avengers were suddenly helpless against the mob of angels.

Selena shakes her head at Marcus. "I understand why you did this, Marcus, but I can never forgive you. You've given up a beautiful life and a better chance. You were such a good speaker, yet you didn't even try talking to them first." Selena offers him her hand. Marcus did not take it. Selena sighs heavily. The Avengers burst into flames. "Choices," she muttered.

Forbidden (14) : The Thousandth Goodbye

Piper embraced Peter and kissed his forehead. "I'm really going to miss you, baby."

Peter wrapped his arms around her. "Mommy! Mommy! Don't leave me. Please, mommy!"

"Hush, sweetie, I have to. I don't want to, but I have to."

"Why?"

"Well when you were a baby, I was already made to leave you. But I didn't. Now I really have to go because there's someone else who's going to take care of you." Piper tried to pull away from Peter but he won't let go. She bit her lips to keep from crying. "Prue. Prue, take Peter. Please, Prue."

Prue pulled Peter away. "I love you, Piper."

"I love you, Prue. Don't worry. I'll still be watching."

"I know."

Piper turned and saw Phoebe looking out the window. "Phoebe. No joining some convent against your will now, okay?" Phoebe ran to Piper and embraced her. "Don't cry, Beebee. We'll see each other again. No matter how hard it'll be, I'll fight to be allowed to watch you."

"I love you, Piper. I don't want you to go."

"I have to go now. It's not fair to the others. I'm dead, Phoebe. I can't live with you as though nothing happened."

"And Leo?"

"Leo and I are…forbidden. Nothing changed."

"Piper, please don't go."

Piper closed her eyes. "I love you all so much."

Leo orbed into Dan's office. Dan was drawing some blueprints for a building scheduled for September.

"Dan."

Dan's pencil slipped and the picture was ruined. He took an eraser and calmly erased the mess. "I told you not to keep on doing that."

"It will be the last time. Don't worry."

Dan looked up. "What do you mean?"

"They're calling me. They're sending another Whitelighter to take over. He won't be staying in your house though."

"I see."

"Dan." Leo extended his hand. "Thank you for taking care of my son. I know I couldn't have done any better."

Dan took Leo's hand and shook it.

Leo orbed into the living room to say goodbye to Peter. He saw Piper talking to Phoebe.

"Hey, Peter."

"Daddy!" the boy wailed. Peter clung to him. Piper turned and watched. "Don't go. Mommy's leaving me. Please don't leave me, Daddy. If you love me, you won't go!"

"Peter. Peter, look at me." The boys moist hazel eyes looked straight into Leo's intense ones. "I love you. And so does Mommy. In fact, we love you more than anything."

"So you won't leave me?"

Leo held a finger at the boy's lips. "But there comes the time that no matter how much you love someone, you have to leave them. This is one of those times. Now I know you'll miss your mommy singing you lullabies before you sleep. And I know you'll want to go out and fly with me." We wiped away a tear that trickled down the boy's cheek. "And me. Well, I'll miss just bathing you up." His voice grew hoarse. "Or fixing your plane when you forget to freeze it in the air." He ruffled the boy's hair. "And I'll miss seeing this hair grow like mine." Leo motioned for Piper to come closer. Piper knelt with him in front of Peter. "How about you, mommy? Will you miss Peter too?"

Piper begins to cry hard. "I'll miss tucking you in bed. And calling you Petey. I'll cry at night when I remember how it felt when you fall asleep on my arm. And then I'll remember how sloppy you kiss, honey, and I'll cry even harder. Petey, I'll cry without stopping just because you're my baby and I can't be with you.

"Come here, baby, let mommy sing you a lullaby one last time." Peter embraces Piper and Leo helps her stand. She sits on the couch and pats him. She begins the simple lullaby, tears trickling down the corner of her eye. "Hush little baby, don't say a word. Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird. And if that mockingbird don't sing, Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring. And if that diamond ring turns brass, Mama's gonna buy you a looking glass." Leo reaches to her and wipes the tears. "And if that looking glass gets broke, Mama's gonna buy you a horse and yoke. And if that horse and yoke don't pull, Mama's gonna buy you a cart and bull. And if that cart and bull turns over, Mama's gonna buy you a dog named Rover. And if that dog named Rover won't bark, you're still the—you're still---you're still the swee—" Piper's voice broke. The tears were flowing freely and nonstop now. She couldn't continue.

Leo presses a kiss on her lips and rubs his eyes. "And if that dog named Roved won't bark, you're still the sweetest baby in town."

Piper puts Peter down to sleep on the couch. She presses a kiss on his forehead. "I love you, Petey."

Leo does the same. "I love you, Peter, and always remember that Daddy's so proud of you."

Piper touches Leo's face. "And I love you. No matter how far apart we are, I'll always love you."

Leo's forehead touches Piper's as he pulls her into his arms. "I love you more than anything. Goodbye, Piper."

"Goodbye, Leo."

Yellow light appeared and Selena emerges. "Leo. Piper."

Phoebe and Prue had turned their faces away since Leo and Piper began their goodbyes to Peter. Now they looked questioningly at Selena.

"Heaven is thankful for your sacrifice. Now we thought that you deserved something in reward. You exchanged an eternity of loving for the greater good."

"We didn't exchange them. We will love for eternity no matter how far apart we are."

Selena smiled. "I've been tasked to give you a chance. Take my hand and you will take a gamble. Live again, love again, hurt again. I'm offering you an out to this immortality you're cursing now." Selena offered both her hands.

Piper caught her breath and looked at Leo. She'd been through this before. To take the hand of an Angel of Death will bring you death. And another chance at life. She saw in Leo's eyes the same excitement. She turned to Prue and Phoebe.

"I want to do this."

They nod. "You deserve it, you two."

Piper returns to Leo, who had nodded to her sisters. He wrapped her in his arms. "I'm afraid, Leo."

"Don't be. It'll be just another journey. Remember, look for me." They were in each other's arms, their lips met and their free hands were laid on Selena's. They all vanish.

Prue runs and kneels at the floor where they stood before vanishing. She takes the dust in her hands and turns to Phoebe, smiling through her tears. "Ashes to ashes."

Epilogue : And So The Journey Begins Again

"Hey, come in, Phoebe. Is this your son? He's big already." Valerie ruffles the two-year-old boy's hair. "Prue, did you bring the kids?"

"No. Their father adores the little tykes. Won't let them out of his sight."

"Dan, they're here."

They all sit at the table and Dan serves dishes suspiciously looking like they came straight from Piper's recipe book. "Is Peter in school?"

"Yeah. He's off at twelve. He'll be here anytime."

"We wanted to thank you two."

"For what?" Valerie smiled.

"Well," Prue smiled mistily. "You named your newborn Piper. It really means a lot to us."

"Piper means a lot to our family. We kind of think of her as the children's Guardian Angel."

Phoebe choked. Prue offered her some drinks. She looked around, "Where is he?"

Peter entered the room and put down his backpack. "Hey Aunt Pheebs, Aunt Prue."

"Hi, Peter. Did you see your cousin?"

"Oh yeah, I passed by him in the living room. He's feeding Piper."

"I wanna see this!" Phoebe said. The rest of the party stood up too and went to the living room.

There they saw Phoebe's son kissing Dan's baby Piper on the forehead and holding the bottle to her lips. "I'll watch over you always, Pwiper," the boy promised in his high two-year old voice.

Prue grinned. Phoebe was suddenly overcome with emotion. She walks to her son and whispers, "Yes, Leo, you'll take care of Piper always, won't you?" She smiled and thought, "The search is over, huh? It's time to love again."