A/N: Hey everyone! Sorry for the delay in updating! It was my mom's birthday, and we made a day of it.
CharmedOpal: Everyone was hoping that! Lol. And yes, Grams is a cryptic bitch. Hehe :)
Semper Fi Witchlighter: Lots of NO's – Wicked grin. – Haha, yes, I love that line, too! If you read Chapter 22, you will learn the answers to some of those Andy questions. The rest will be answered as the fic goes along. As for the Rebecca and Paige thing – I just find it less confusing to refer to Piper, Phoebe, and Paige as such. Otherwise, each girl is going "her mom... my mom..." etc. It makes it less confusing, and it's helpful in case anyone has a memory lapse and forgets which girl is whose daughter. Make sense?
"What the hell did she mean, our Destiny awaits us?" Melinda griped, pacing back and forth before the Book of Shadows, arms crossed.
"She was really vague," Katelyn agreed. "And very cryptic."
"So, basically, we're back at square one," Rebecca grumbled.
Corrine sighed, rubbing her temples. "Okay... One step at a time." She looked around the attic, her eyes lingering on the sheet covering her aunts' bodies. "We need to do something about them."
"Do Something?" Melinda parroted. "Do Something? What do you suggest we do with the bodies of our mothers?"
Corrine scowled at Melinda. "Don't give me that attitude, Melinda. You know we can't just have their bodies lying in the middle of our attic. If there's any chance we can save them, we need to keep them... Preserved."
Katelyn wrinkled her nose. "That sounds so lovely... But you're right."
Corrine nodded. She closed her eyes, mumbled a few things, winced and shook her head, then mumbled some more. Finally, she shrugged and nodded. Then, she chanted:
"Halliwell witches, I call to thee
Protect these sisters three
Take their bodies, keep them safe
In another time and place."
White lights encircled the blanket covering Piper, Phoebe and Paige. Suddenly, the blanket fell flat, as the bodies of the Charmed Ones disappeared.
"Not my best," Corrine said with a shrug. "But it worked."
"Where did they go?" Rebecca cried, eyes wide.
"I don't know," Corrine admitted. "But the Warren and Halliwell Witches will keep them safe until we can bring them back."
"So what now?" Katelyn asked, frowning. "Where do we go from here?"
Corrine frowned. Seriously... What was next? Where did they even begin? How could this possibly be fixed?
"What if..." Katelyn paused, choosing her words carefully. "What if we can't fix this?"
The silence that followed Katelyn's question was such that you could hear a pin drop. Corrine, Melinda, and Rebecca all stared at her in horror.
"How could you even say that?" Melinda demanded.
Katelyn winced, looking away from her cousins. "Look, I want them back as much as you guys do. But what if this was meant to be all along? I mean, you heard Grams... Our Destiny awaits. Maybe that means we were supposed to end up in this place all along."
"I refuse to believe that," Corrine says firmly. "I refuse to believe that we were meant to lose our mothers so soon in life. And I can't believe you would think otherwise, Katelyn."
Katelyn hung her head in shame. "I don't want to believe it, but that doesn't mean it isn't a possibility."
Rebecca moved to the Book of Shadows and began flipping pages.
"What are you doing?" Corrine asked.
"Trying to find a solution," she replied. "Isn't that what you want? Or are you going to just stand around bickering?"
Corrine scowled. "Okay. Point taken. We've got to start figuring out our situation."
"Hey, this has potential," Rebecca said after a few minutes.
Melinda walked to Rebecca and read over her shoulder. "The Cleaners?"
"Well, it says they're neutral... Not good or evil," Rebecca paraphrased. "They clean up magical messes to prevent exposure on either side. What if we expose our magic to the world?"
"That's stupid," Corrine interrupted. "Exposing our magic will get us killed. Great way to rejoin our mothers."
Rebecca pursed her lips. "The Cleaners can't eliminate us, right? It would shift the balance to evil. So, if we cause enough chaos, maybe we can demand our mothers back."
"Won't work," Katelyn said, shaking her head. "If the Cleaners are neutral, they won't have any connection to the Elders. We need to do something that will convince the Elders to give them back to us."
Rebecca sighed and flipped another page.
"Oh! Wait, I might have an-." Katelyn began, then stopped short when three demons shimmered into the attic. "Shit..."
The demons grinned, and one murmured, "Witches" before lobbing a fireball at them.
Corrine grabbed Melinda and pulled them both out of harms way; they ended up sprawled on the attic floor. A second fireball hit the Book of Shadows, but the Book protected itself, rebounding the fireball back at the demons. Though the fireball vanquished the one demon, the force of the spell knocked Katelyn and Rebecca – who had been behind the Book – onto their butts.
The death of one of their own did not slow the demons down; they kept fighting. Another fireball went directly for Rebecca. She gasped, orbing out. Katelyn had to duck to avoid it. It hit the window, and exploded the glass out.
Katelyn jumped up, taking a running start at one of the demons. She ran over the basic principles of hand-to-hand combat in her mind, trying hard to remember everything Phoebe had told her. She blocked, kicked, spun out of reach, punched, and ducked.
The other demon advanced on Corrine with a fireball. When he threw it, Corrine used her telekinesis to send it back at him. He ducked at the last second, avoiding it. The fireball flew into some old furniture, destroying it. Rebecca orbed back in just as Katelyn was tossed off her feet. She slammed into Rebecca, and they hit the floor hard.
Corrine looked around the attic, frantic. Her eyes fell on the broken glass, and she used her telekinesis to send it slamming into the demon Katelyn had been fighting. Her aim was true, and she vanquished the demon, but her distraction cost her, and a fireball, thrown from the other demon, scorched her arm. She grunted, stumbling backward but remaining on her feet.
Melinda, who had hit her head on the attic floor when she and Corrine ducked, finally came to long enough to freeze the third and final demon. Then she fell back, groaning, her hand on her forehead.
With the demon frozen, Corrine used her telekinesis to send the remaining broken glass at the demon. He unfroze, yelled in agony, and burst into flames.
The feeling in the room remained tense while the cousins waited to see if another demon was going to follow on the heels of these three. When no more demons appeared, though, they let out a collective breath of relief.
Katelyn limped to Melinda's side, kneeling to help wake her up. Corrine winced as pain throbbed along her burned arm. Rebecca, the least injured of the four, made her way downstairs for the first aid kit. When she returned to the attic, Katelyn had gotten Melinda up and sitting in a chair. She seemed woozy, but otherwise okay. Katelyn was limping, but when Corrine pressed her on her condition, she shrugged it off and said it was just a minor sprain.
"Corrine, let me look at your arm," Rebecca said, setting the first aid kit down on a table and opening it.
"I'm fine, we have bigger problems," Corrine said, brushing Rebecca off and moving to flip through the Book of Shadows.
"You got burned by a fireball," Rebecca said firmly. "I need to clean it and get antibiotic ointment on it."
"I'm fine," Corrine insisted, all her attention focused on the Book.
Rebecca scowled, taking gauze out and pouring some peroxide on it. She walked to Corrine and smacked the gauze onto her arm.
"Ow!" Corrine yelped, narrowing her eyes at Rebecca.
Rebecca quirked a brow at her. "Fine, hm?"
Corrine scowled, but relented and let Rebecca clean and bandage her cut. But she used her free arm to continue scanning the Book.
"Found them," she finally said, as Rebecca was closing the first aid kit and Melinda was finally standing, with Katelyn's help – though, Katelyn was also having trouble staying steady.
"They're help for hire," Corrine said, scanning the page. "So they'll keep coming. We need to figure out who hired them and take that demon out."
The silence that followed was uneasy. They all looked around at each other, feeling uncertain and assessing the injuries they had sustained.
The same thought went through all their minds: If they had barely been able to stand up to lower-level assassins, how could they go against an upper-level demon with any hope of surviving?