SUMMARY: Olivia McNeill learns about the Charmed Ones experiences in Valhalla, and its effect upon Darryl Morris. AU response to "The Valhalley of the Dolls.
FEEDBACK: - Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: The Charmed Ones, Leo Wyatt, Darryl Morris and Cole Turner belong to Constance Burge, Brad Kern and Spelling Productions. The McNeills are thankfully, my creations.
NOTE: The story picks up about two to three weeks after "The Half Blood Demon" - ?topicID31.topic.
"IN THE WAKE OF VALHALLA" by RFK
Flight 910 from Miami, Florida landed at the San Francisco International Airport without a hitch. Nearly twenty minutes later, the flight's passengers - among them, Olivia McNeill - disembarked and made their way into the airport terminal.
The moment Olivia entered the terminal; she rushed straight into the arms of the tall, dark-haired man who waited for her. "Hey! Welcome back," Cole murmured, before covering her mouth for a long kiss.
Once the couple's lips parted, Olivia gazed warmly at her lover. "Wow! That's a hell of a greeting, considering that we last saw each other only three nights ago. When you popped up in Miami."
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder," Cole replied before planting another kiss on Olivia's mouth. "Even after three days."
Olivia chuckled, as she and Cole linked arms and strolled out of the Delta Airlines lounge. After they picked up her luggage, Cole beamed them all back to her apartment. While she began to unpack, Olivia asked if anything had happened since they last saw one another.
"Not much," Cole replied. "Your mother purchased a new restaurant. Which means that the Golden Horn is now completely in Bruce's hands. I haven't heard from Darryl in the past three days. Some radio station had hosted some kind of beach party in honor Phoebe's work at the BAY-MIRROR. I was invited, but I wasn't interested. Besides, I didn't want to deal with your old 'buddy', Jason Dean, who was." The half-demon winced slightly.
"Jason's not . . ." Olivia broke off, realizing that she was about to contradict herself. "Never mind."
Cole continued, "Harry and Paige went on another date."
"Did they go to Phoebe's beach party?" Olivia asked, as she removed a pair of pants from her suitcase.
Chuckling, Cole replied, "Oh no. Both of them managed to avoid it. By the way, Leo's back. And Piper's no longer acting like a Stepford wife." Just before her trip to Miami, Olivia's former whitelighter had disappeared. Not even Natalia Stepanova, one of Leo's colleagues and now a friend of Olivia's, had no idea of his whereabouts.
Olivia glanced up. "Piper and Leo are back together?"
"Nope. He's still an Elder in the Whitelighter Realm." Cole frowned. "Leo thinks that Chris was responsible for his disappearance."
Looking slightly amused, Cole added, "That new whitelighter. According to Paige, Leo thinks that Chris had arranged for him to be trapped in Valhalla." His amusement disappeared. "Of course, I don't blame Leo for his suspicions. Ever since I met Chris, I've had this feeling that he doesn't like Leo. And for personal reasons."
Olivia stared at the half-demon. "You too? I've always wondered what he has against Leo." She paused, as she removed the last item from her suitcase. "You know, there's also something familiar about him. About Chris, I mean. I just can't put my finger on it." Then she added, "Did you say . . . Valhalla?"
Cole shook his head. "I don't know all the details, but Paige told me that Leo believes that Chris had arranged for him to be trapped in Valhalla. You know, I had the feeling that Paige was holding something back. Even Harry seems to think so. Oh, by the way . . ." Cole paused and gave Olivia a knowing look. "Phoebe has a third power."
Olivia removed her suitcase from her bed. "Oh really? What is it?"
"Empathy. I'm sure I don't have to describe what that means."
With a sigh, Olivia said, "Oh God. I can just see her reading people's feelings left and right. And broadcasting her knowledge. Looks like the Halliwells have a Deanna Troi in their midst. Must be a bitch for her to control it."
"According to Paige, Phoebe has started using meditation to control it." Cole added, "But she's also considering a potion to prevent her from reading everyone else's emotion. Harry plans to refuse the potion. He thinks she should stick to meditation. And not broadcast everyone's emotions out loud."
Olivia smirked. "Good for Harry." She glanced at Cole. "What about you?"
The demon sighed. "I've been avoiding her. Which hasn't been that difficult, considering how we had parted nearly a month ago. And that's all the news for the week. You have any more trips to Miami planned?"
"Probably two more. The next one won't happen until January, I think. Or February."
"Good." Cole stood up and drew Olivia into his arms. "I don't think I like sharing you with the U.S. Justice Department. Even for a few days out of several months."
Sliding her arms around Cole's neck, Olivia murmured, "I heartily agree." Then she sighed with pleasure before lowering her mouth upon Cole's.
The following morning, Olivia arrived at her place of work - one of San Francisco's many police stations. A member of her squad, Scott Yi, was among the first to welcome her back. "Well, look who's here!" he crowed. "Hail the conquering heroine!"
Olivia rolled her eyes. "What are you talking about?"
"Your testimony against Alexis Gurov, of course! Looks like the bastard will finally be spending some time behind bars."
Snorting with derision, Olivia added, "Yeah, but for how long? He's just a local businessman. Do you really think the Federal courts will give him a stiff sentence?"
Scott replied, "A local businessman . . . with ties to a Columbian drug cartel headed by Manny Serrano? Gurov may not have previous record, but the Feds - thanks to you - have him on some serious shit. You bet they'll give him a stiff sentence."
Olivia sniffed. "I'll bet you ten bucks that his sentence won't be that severe." She paused. "By the way, I heard the news. About the Leung brothers' arrests. Good work."
The younger inspector dismissed Olivia's praise with a shrug of his shoulders. "It was nothing. Well . . . the arrest wasn't all that difficult." He paused and glanced around the squad room. Then he summoned Olivia with his finger. She walked over to his desk. "Listen, something happened to Darryl after he had arrested George Leung. I don't know what, but I think it had something to do with those three witches who are friends of his. The Halliwells?"
"Did anyone else find out?" a concerned Olivia asked.
Scott indicated the closed door on the left side of the room. It led to Captain McPherson's office. "Darryl is with the captain, right now. Giving him a verbal report on the arrest." Scott paused. "I don't know how to describe this. Some strange women dressed like extras from HERCULES and XENA had appeared out of nowhere and attacked us. Darryl got hurt. So did one of the Leung brothers. I think the Halliwells managed to take care of them. But Darryl . . ." Scott broke off, as McPherson's door opened.
Darryl walked into the squad room. As he strode toward his desk, he glanced up and noticed Olivia standing near Scott's desk. "Hey, welcome back," he greeted with less than his usual enthusiasm. "How was Miami?"
Olivia exchanged a brief glance with Scott, before she joined her partner at his desk. "Not bad. Pleasant weather, except for a little rain during the last two days. No major hurricanes, thank goodness." She settled in the chair, next to Darryl's desk. "Scott tells me that the squad managed to arrest the Leung brothers."
Flashing a wan smile, Darryl replied, "Yeah. Just a bunch of cops doing their jobs." He paused. "I supposed that Scott told you about me being attacked by those women."
"Yeah, he did." Olivia paused to peer closely at her partner. "How did you explain it to McPherson?
With a sigh, Darryl revealed that he told Captain McPherson a story about the squad encountering a female biker gang, dressed up in costumes, the night they had arrested the Leungs. "Hey, this is San Francisco. Anything can happen. Of course, the Captain was a little pissed that we didn't arrest any of the women, but he seemed willing to let it slide. Especially since we have the Leung brothers behind bars."
"Is that what you and the Captain were talking about? Those women?"
Darryl curtly replied, "No." Olivia stared at him. Then, "I mean . . . we were discussing a new case. You'll find a copy of the file on your desk."
Olivia stood up. "Oh. Okay. At least everything ended well."
Darryl focused his eyes upon the contents on his desk. "Yeah. Just peachy keen."
Her partner's acerbic tone led Olivia to ask, "Darryl? Is there something else wrong?"
He glanced up with dark eyes that looked blank. Emotionless. "I'm fine," he replied innocently. "By the way, have you bought Stefan Kostopulos' shop, yet?" Darryl referred to an antiquity shop in the downtown area that had been the scene of a murder, nearly two months ago.
"Not yet. I have to get it appraised. Why?"
A sigh left Darryl's mouth. "Nothing. Just wondering. Don't forget the file on your desk."
Olivia replied, "Yeah, I'll get on it, right away." She sat down behind her desk and opened the file. The latter provided general information on the murder of a nightclub owner named Brad Everett. A quick glance at her partner told Olivia that he seemed perturbed about something. And sooner or later, she will find out. After all, she can be patient.
Later that afternoon, Olivia parked her BMW into an available space not far from the Halliwell manor. Before her trip to Miami, she had lent one of her favorite blouses to Paige. And now she wanted it back.
After climbing out of her car, Olivia climbed the manor's stoop and rang the doorbell. She did not have long to wait before Piper Halliwell opened the front door. "Olivia," the other witch greeted with mild surprise. "I didn't know that you were back in town."
"Didn't Paige say anything?" Olivia replied. "Harry knew. I guess I had assumed that he would tell her."
Piper stepped back and allowed the redhead to enter the manor. "So, when did you get back?"
Olivia said, "Yesterday evening. Cole picked me up from the airport."
"I'm surprised that he didn't give you a lift all the way from Miami."
With a shrug, Olivia explained that the Justice Department had provided plane tickets and hotel reservations to her precinct. "I would have had a hard time explaining how I had traveled from Miami to San Francisco, without using the tickets they had provided." She glanced around the living room. "Uh, is Paige home?"
"Yeah. Just a minute." Piper turned toward the staircase and bellowed, "Paige! Olivia is here!" The redhead winced from the volume.
Soon, footsteps on the staircase announced the appearance of the youngest Charmed One. She greeted the visitors with a friendly, "Hey! When did you get back?"
"Yesterday," Olivia said with a mild frown. "Didn't Harry tell you?"
"I guess he forgot." A sly smile curved Paige's lips. "So, how was the 'Land of the Great Boob Job'? Meet any plastic surgeons?"
Olivia rolled her eyes in disgust. "More than I care to count. I may have encountered more plastic surgeons than can be found in Beverly Hills and Switzerland, combined. One of them tried to get both Cole and me to sign up as patients."
"Cole?" The middle Charmed One appeared in the living room. "He was in Miami?"
Olivia struggled to maintain a friendly smile. "Hi Phoebe. Yeah, he had dropped by to see at least twice. The last time was about three days ago."
"Oh." Phoebe's face assumed a pleasant mask. "Well . . . it's nice to have you back."
"Thanks." Olivia literally had to force the word out of her mouth. She turned to Paige. "By the way, do you have my blouse? You know, the one I had let you borrow before my trip?"
Paige sighed. "You want it back."
Olivia smiled. "If you don't mind."
"Be back in a minute." Paige raced upstairs.
Meanwhile, Olivia found herself alone with the other two Halliwells. Unfortunately. With a polite smile fixed on her face, she asked Piper, "How are you feeling?"
"Huh?" Piper blinked.
"Well, before I had left, you were acting a little strange. Like one of the Stepford Wives. You seemed . . . well, normal right now."
Piper sighed. "Oh yeah. Uh, Leo had . . . cast this little spell on me. Something to 'take away my pain'. Only . . ." She paused. "Only, it took away a lot more."
"Like your personality?" Olivia suggested. Piper frowned. "Honey, you were almost part of the Borg Collective. Did Leo . . .?" Olivia hesitated. "Did you know that he was going to cast that spell?"
Piper groaned. "Oh. Yeah. Yeah, I knew he was going to cast it. In fact, I had given him permission to do it." One of Olivia's brows formed an arch. "Yeah, I know it was a stupid thing to do, but I was so desperate . . ." She gave Olivia a shrewd look. "You still haven't forgiven him for that spell Paul Whatshisname had cast, haven't you?"
Olivia stiffened. "No, I haven't."
Phoebe added, "You're going to hold a grudge against Leo forever?"
Olivia stared at Phoebe. "Let's see. Should I continue to hold a grudge against Leo . . . who had recruited a fellow witch to violate my mind with a spell so that I could murder Cole in cold blood? Hmmm . . . why not? I don't recall Leo expressing any remorse for his actions, as of the moment. Do you? He probably still believes that he had done the right thing."
"But still, can't you . . .?"
At that moment, Paige appeared downstairs with Olivia's lime green blouse. "Here you go." She handed the item to the redhead . . . very reluctantly. "Can I hold on to it, a little longer?"
"Nope," Olivia replied with a smile. "If I did, I probably won't ever see it again. Why don't you buy one for yourself?"
Paige rolled her eyes. "Yeah right. And give up one-sixth of my weekly income?"
"Put it on layaway." Olivia draped the blouse over her arm. "Anyway, I'll see you all later." As she started toward the front door, a thought came to her and she paused. "By the way, Cole told me about your little adventure in Valhalla, to rescue Leo. How did you manage to get there in the first place?"
Both Paige and Phoebe exchanged wary looks. "What do you mean?" the latter asked.
Olivia closely eyed the pair. "How did you get to Valhalla? What do you think I mean?"
"We had disguised ourselves as those warrior women, of course," Paige answered.
The youngest Charmed One nodded. "Yeah. That's it."
Recalling her knowledge of the Valhalla myth, Olivia added, "But in order to reach Valhalla as a Valkryie, you would have to arrive with the soul of a warrior. Or something like that. And since Leo was already there . . ." She paused. "Did you use Chris' soul? I'm surprised that he would allow you to use his soul, considering . . ." She shook her head. "Never mind. I guess Chris had allowed you to use his soul."
Paige's dark eyes widened. "Uh . . . no. No, but he did help us with . . . with those Valkryies. When they ended up here."
"Yeah. Darryl told me about his encounter with one or two of them." Olivia paused. "But how . . . I mean, how were you able to enter Valhalla without a warrior's soul?"
Paige hesitated. "Well . . ."
Piper spoke up. "What are you two being shy about? I thought you had used Darryl's soul to get us into Valhalla."
Olivia's eyes narrowed. "Darryl's soul? He never said anything about that. You mean that he had actually volunteered his soul to help you save Leo?"
"Why do you find that so hard to believe?" Phoebe demanded. "We had to use Darryl's soul to enter Valhalla. End of story. Right Paige?"
The youngest Charmed One remained silent. A dark suspicion entered Olivia's mind. Darryl's distant behavior. Paige and Phoebe's evasiveness. It all seemed to be adding up. "Wait a minute. Darryl did volunteer to help. Right?"
Piper shrugged. "I don't know. I was half-zonked, thanks to Leo's spell and Paige's counter spell."
Olivia turned to Paige and Phoebe. "Well?"
An exasperated huff escaped from Phoebe's mouth. "This is ridiculous! Why are giving us the . . .?"
"All right!" Paige cried out, interrupting her sister. "Phoebe and I did ask Darryl for his help, but he refused. Okay? So we . . ." She hesitated. "We took his soul anyway, using a potion. But Darryl didn't seem to mind after it was all over. He even said so. Although I think that being attacked by one of those Valkryies in this plane bo . . ." Her voice died down under Olivia's horrified expression. "What?"
"Oh my . . .!" Olivia cried out in disbelief. "You took his soul? My God! No wonder Darryl was acting strange, today!"
Shaking her head, Phoebe demanded, "What do you mean? Paige said that Darryl was only bothered by the Valkryies' attack. Why are you making such a big deal about Darryl's soul? Okay, we took it without his consent. But everything came out okay in the end."
Olivia regarded Phoebe with pure disgust and contempt. "Wha . . . what in the fuck are you doing? Why are you standing there, making excuses? Do you have any idea of what you two had done?"
Paige's face grew paler. "C'mon Olivia! We had no choice! Don't you think that you're . . ."?
"Making a big deal out of it?" Phoebe finished. "I think so. Yes, we took Darryl's soul without his consent. We didn't like it, but it was necessary. How else could we get into Valhalla and rescue Leo?"
"Rescue Leo? For crying out . . ." The redhead glared at the two sisters. "I don't know whether to regard you two as stupid, or just a pair of truly callous fucks! Are you listening to yourselves? You took Darryl's soul without his permission! Don't you understand? You had violated his body and spirit . . . and now you're making excuses! You know what? In our circle, that's called psychic rape!"
A mixture of discomfort and annoyance flitted across Phoebe's face. "Okay. Now, you're really exaggerating."
"No Phoebe, I'm not! Why do you think I'm pissed off at Leo? Why do you think I had asked Piper if she had given him permission to cast that spell on her? You and Paige had used magic on an innocent man! A close friend, for crying out loud! Without his consent! Magic that had caused him harm! Hasn't that penetrated that fuck-addled brain of yours, yet?"
A wide-eyed Phoebe stared at the red-haired witch. "I . . . but Darryl . . ."
"Oh yes! Darryl!" Olivia retorted derisively. "He quickly forgave you for that whole pile of shit you had dumped on him, didn't he?" Shaking her head in disbelief, she added, "Does that mean it's okay to easily dismiss what you had done? And by the way, Darryl is pissed off about what happened. He's just keeping it to himself, because as usual, he doesn't want to rock the boat!"
Phoebe shot back, "But it was for the greater . . ."
"Oh spare me that bullshit!" Olivia shot back. "That's the same excuse that Leo had used for getting Paul to cast that spell on me. Nothing - and I mean nothing in the world can excuse what you had done to Darryl. So what if Leo was trapped in Valhalla! That did not give you the right to steal Darryl's soul! Who in the fuck do you think you are to play God with someone's life like that?"
The two younger Charmed Ones exchanged uneasy looks. "I . . . I guess we should talk to Darryl," Paige murmured. "Again."
"Oh gee, you think?" Olivia heaved a sigh and shook her head. "Goddess! I'm out of here. I'll see you all later." She shot the two Charmed Ones one last dark look. "Maybe." Then she turned her heels and marched out of the manor in disgust.
The doorbell to the Morris residence rang. Darryl reluctantly tore his gaze away from the computer screen and stood up. "I'll get it!" he cried to his wife, who was busy inside the kitchen, washing dishes. He made his way to the front door and opened it. Outside stood two of the Charmed Ones - Phoebe and Paige. He struggled to maintain a friendly countenance. "Ladies! What are you doing here?"
After a long pause, Paige replied, "Hey Darryl. Uh . . ." She glanced uneasily at Phoebe. "Uh, how are you?"
Darryl frowned. "Fine. What's this visit about?"
Again, the two sisters exchanged glances. Phoebe sighed. "Listen, Olivia had told us that you weren't in a good mood, today. And after we told her about what happened in Valhalla . . ."
". . . she figured out why," Paige finished. "Why you weren't . . . in a . . . good mood." She looked away.
Darryl stiffened. The last thing he wanted to discuss or even think about was Valhalla. Today had been bad enough, when Olivia had mentioned it. "What do you mean?" he coolly asked.
Phoebe cried out, "Oh God! You are pissed about what happened! Aren't you? I can feel it!"
"Phoebe . . ."
"Why didn't you say something, Darryl?" the middle Charmed One continued.
The question turned out to be the last straw for Darryl. "Hey, I have a question. Why did you do it, in the first place?" he snapped. "Why did you use that potion on me?"
"Leo . . ."
Darryl interrupted, "Why didn't you simply call for that new whitelighter of yours? Chris! I mean, if you needed a soul that badly! Why pick me?"
"You were . . ." Paige's voice dropped to a murmur, ". . . convenient."
Convenient. Darryl could not help but shake his head at the irony of it all. He had to admit that the word best described his relationship with the Halliwells. Sure, they had treated him as a friend. A close friend, at that. But they have also treated him as a "convenient" lap dog, whenever they found themselves in trouble with the law. But this last incident - ripping out his soul from his body without his permission . . .
"You know what Paige?" Darryl finally said. "If that's all I am to you - convenient - why are we continuing this friendship?"
Phoebe sighed. "Darryl . . ."
"No Phoebe. Let me finish." Darryl paused, shaking his head. "Maybe I should have been more honest about my feelings. About what you had done to me - ripping out my soul and leaving my body in that alley. But what you had done wasn't the act of a friend. Considering all I had done for you during the past four years. It hurt. In fact, I could have ended up dead, thanks to you."
Paige took a deep breath. "We understand, Darryl. We really do. And I'm sorry about what happened. Very sorry. Right Phoebe?"
The middle Charmed One lowered her eyes and mumbled. "Yeah. We didn't . . ." A sigh left her mouth. "We didn't mean to hurt you."
Nodding his head, Darryl said, "Yeah, okay. I'll accept this apology. For once. But the next time . . . I don't know." He started to turn away. "Well, goodnight."
"No late night coffee?" Paige asked with a hint of desperate humor.
Darryl stared at her. "Not tonight. I have work, tomorrow. Maybe some other time."
"Oh." Paige glanced away.
Phoebe gave the police officer a strained smile. "Well . . . goodnight."
"Bye." Darryl closed the door, unable to prolong the strained visit any longer.
Wednesday morning dawned, and Darryl arrived at the precinct twenty minutes later than usual. Olivia greeted her partner with a frown. "Wow! This is unusual. Darryl Morris, late for work?" The police lieutenant smiled at his partner, before placing a white envelope on her desk. "What's that?"
"A thank you present," Darryl replied. He sat down behind his desk. "For giving me the opportunity to remove my head from my ass. Phoebe and Paige had paid me a visit, last night."
"Oh." Olivia nodded. "Glad to help. Even if you should have told them how you really felt, in the first place."
With a sigh, Darryl leaned back against his chair. "Yeah, well I don't even know why I had said nothing. I guess I was just relieved that I had survived the whole thing." He paused. "And maybe I didn't feel like rocking the boat. After all, I've been a friend of the family for a long time. Besides . . . I don't think they'll do something like this, again."
Olivia merely rolled her eyes.
Darryl frowned at his partner. "What?"
"It's amazing that after . . . what? Four years? Five? I just find it odd that after knowing them for so long, you still don't understand them." Olivia shook her head. "I've known the Halliwells a lot longer . . . especially their grandmother and Prue. They're the type of people who believe in their own goodness. Or at least want to. And people like that have a habit of causing misery for what they believe is the greater good. They usually have a hard time believing that what they are doing is wrong. Or if they do realize it, they usually ignore it in their minds."
"Look, I think you've got them all wrong. They've done a lot of good over the past several years. And just because they did this one thing . . ."
"Darryl? Have you forgotten what they had done to Cole?" Olivia gave her partner a hard stare. "They killed him when he was possessed by the Source. They had jumped to the conclusion that he had deliberately chosen evil. They didn't even bother to wonder how he had become the Source in the first place. Look at what Leo had done to me. He still refuses to admit that what he had done was wrong. And if I hadn't said something about what happened to you, they would have dismissed the whole matter without another thought. They believe that just because they fight on the side of 'good' and are 'protectors of the innocent', they have the right to do whatever is necessary . . . for the greater good. Without bothering to consider the consequences. They've always had trouble accepting responsibility for their actions." A dark scowl appeared on Olivia's face. "Prue was like that. So were her mother and grandmother. They all still believe that Victor Bennett was solely responsible for the breakup of his marriage, despite the fact that Patty had never bothered to tell him that she was a witch before their marriage. Or that she was . . . emotionally playing around with her whitelighter, before it became physical. They're incapable of taking responsibility for their actions."
Darryl shot back, "And you think this means they'll do something else in the future?"
"I don't know. But there's a good chance."
Shaking his head, Darryl replied, "No. No, I think they had learned . . ."
A sigh left Olivia's mouth. "Darryl? Why don't you simply pin a sign on your ass that reads 'KICK ME' or 'DOORMAT', every time you see them? Personally, I have nothing against a little selfishness every now and then. But that . . . family has redefined the word. Haven't you noticed that when someone causes harm or pain to someone else close to them, they can be so fucking unforgiving? Like they were to Victor and Cole? And yet . . . when they harm someone - whether that person is close or not - they expect immediate forgiveness. Trust me. Just yesterday, Phoebe was criticizing me for not forgiving Leo."
"So what are you saying?" Darryl demanded. "I should keep my distance?"
Olivia shook her head. "No, Darryl. But I think you should show a little more self-respect, the next time. Don't make it so easy for them to get away with their actions."
"What do you mean . . . the next time?"
"Hel-lo? Have we forgotten what Andy had went through, just before his death?" Darryl stared at Olivia. She nodded. "Yeah, I knew. Hell, Andy even found out that I was a witch just a few days before he was killed."
Darryl shook his head in disbelief. "Jesus!"
Olivia continued, "Remember the trouble that Internal Affairs had put him through over four years ago, because of his association with Prue? Have you forgotten how you almost became persona non-gratis with the department, while covering their asses after his death? And after all that, they steal your soul." Her mouth formed a humorless smirk. "Trust me, sooner or later, they're going to fuck you over . . . again. The question is - are you going to lie down and accept it? Or not?"
Darryl contemplated Olivia's last question. And came to the disturbing realization that he did not have an answer.