Hope you guys enjoy this extra long chapter! I have a busy few months coming up so updates might be less frequent but hopefully I will still be able to do some!
Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed or Disney!
The sisters spent most of the short bus ride across Disney property in silence. Paige, who was seated next to an agitated Prue, was pouting sullenly as she looked out the window. She had to admit that she was a little bit embarrassed about her behavior, but for whatever reason, she couldn't stop herself from acting up. She didn't have the self-control that she used to, which was both frustrating and exciting. When she first met her sisters, she could never have imagined being as close with them as she was now. She was terrified in the beginning to not be the person they wanted her to be, but now that feeling was mostly gone. She couldn't stop herself from pushing her sisters' limits, not unlike her teenaged self the first time around, but in a way, it was good because it made her realize that her sisters really did love her. They always forgave her.
At least they have so far, Paige sighed, staring at the green landscape as it passed by her window, as the thought of Phoebe finding out what the other three sisters knew uncomfortably found its way to the forefront of her mind. Shaking her head lightly, she tried to push past the sense of dread and guilt that swept over her yet again. It was always bad when things were too quiet, leaving Paige alone with her thoughts. If it lasted too long she was bound to slip into "the dark place," where her uncomfortably vivid, yet patchy memories of her time in the underworld lived. She knew what she had to do to stop herself from going under, even though she hated the idea of it.
Meanwhile, across the aisle, Piper and Phoebe sat together, the decidedly more civil pairing as Paige had her body turned towards the window and Prue had her arms crossed gruffly. Piper had to laugh at little at her oldest and youngest sister.
"Look at them," she whispered to Phoebe, their conversation inaudible over the bus intercom which described the various attractions available at Hollywood Studios. "They are like two peas in one stubborn Halliwell pod."
Phoebe smiled and laughed as well, noticing her sisters' body language. "They deserve each other. I just hope we end up having a good day after all of Paige's antics."
Piper sensed a hint of resentment in Phoebe's voice. She squeezed her youngest sister's hand reassuringly. "It's not always fun to be a big sister, now is it?"
Phoebe leaned her head on Piper's shoulder. "I just wish I didn't feel jealous of her." Phoebe admitted quietly, blushing a little. "She's been through hell. I really have nothing to be jealous of, it just gets hard because she is the center of Prue's world. I can't help feeling a bit forgotten."
Piper nodded in understanding, taking note to tell Prue to give Phoebe a little bit of extra attention, so the youngest two wouldn't end up in a fight. "I know sweetie. But you are still our baby sister, whether or not you are sharing the spotlight with Paige. Just remember that Paige needs us a little bit more right now. All of us, including you. She lost out on 22 years with us, we owe her a little."
Phoebe frowned a bit, knowing Piper couldn't understand how she felt. She and Prue were best of friends, always had been, always would be. Nobody would take Piper's place, but Phoebe kind of felt uncomfortably pushed aside in the sister dynamic. There just didn't seem to be room for two baby sisters, because no matter what, Paige would always come before her, something that unsettled Phoebe deeply.
"Maybe I just have unsettled sibling rivalry from when I was seven," Phoebe muttered quietly to herself, noticing that Piper had begun to flick through the pictures on her camera, clearly disengaged with her younger sister's concerns. She loved Paige, she knew she really did, but thinking back to when they had both been turned into children just a few months before, sent a wave of envy surging through her heart. As a budding psychologist, this intrigued Phoebe deeply, but she didn't have much time to self-reflect as the sound of her youngest sister's voice once again distracted her.
"I'm sorry Prue!" Paige practically shouted at her oldest sister, who still seemed annoyed. "I just don't want to miss out on anything."
Prue sighed. "It's alright, I guess. I just want you to behave. It makes me upset when I go out of the way to do nice things for you and you act like a spoiled brat."
Paige winced. Prue's tone was the perfect combination of hurt and authority. She looked at her other sisters to see Phoebe smirking and Piper nodding in agreement with Prue. Paige cast her eyes down at her sandaled feet, which didn't quite touch the bus floor, in a show of apology. She really did feel bad about embarrassing her sisters, just not that bad. In reality, she thought Prue had overreacted a bit.
"I didn't mean to embarrass you guys. Sorry Piper, sorry Phoebe. I'll try to act better."
Prue still didn't seem to forgive her, so Paige looked up at her with big puppy dog eyes. Paige finally saw her older sister's face soften and felt a comforting arm around her shoulders, as Prue pulled her in for a squeeze. Paige could finally relax a little, now that her big sister to whom she was so completely attached was happy with her again.
"We can try to go back later in the week to the Magic Kingdom, okay?" Prue said, ultimately giving in to Paige. Paige gave her a big smile, which Prue returned.
"Oh please, get a room." Phoebe said with an eye roll, unable to contain her exasperation anymore. "You are going to let her off that easy?"
Prue gave her a look, and Piper placed a warning hand on her shoulder.
"She apologized Phoebe, let it go." Piper said, trying to diffuse the situation. It would be bad news if Phoebe and Paige starting fighting, considering the current state of affairs.
Phoebe frowned, but shut up. She didn't have much time to dwell on it anyway as the bus pulled up to the park.
The sisters thanked the bus driver and hopped off to explore their new surroundings. As they passed through the ticketing lines, Paige attempted to bound ahead of her sisters, but Prue caught her.
"Paige, you can't be running away from us. We are here to be together. Phoebe's right, I am letting you off easy but not with just an apology. For today, you are going to have to hold any of our hands while we walk, like a little kid, because clearly that's how you act," Prue stated firmly.
"But Prue," Paige whined, only to be ignored as Prue gave her a look. "This is embarrassing. Piper, tell her its embarrassing."
Piper just shrugged. "You didn't care about embarrassing us earlier."
"Phoebe," Paige practically begged, hoping at least one sister would be rational, but Phoebe just laughed.
"You got yourself into this mess, squirt. I can't get you out of it."
Paige sighed and put out her hand to let Prue take it. She knew she was stuck with this one, and figured her sisters would probably eventually let her go once their hands got too sweaty. It was, after all, 90 degrees.
"Thank you for cooperating, Paigey," Prue said. "And if you get tired later, we will see about a wheelchair but for now I think you are okay to walk."
Paige rolled her eyes, but just went along with it. She had to try to keep the peace after her earlier behavior.
The sisters entered the park and stopped by its central marker, Mickey's Sorcerer Hat to get their bearings.
"Where to first?" Prue asked, and the sisters each consulted their shiny park maps. Their family rule for the trip was that each sister got to take a turn picking a ride, and that everyone had to try each ride that their sisters picked at least once.
This didn't sit well with Paige, since she hated most roller coasters after an unfortunate childhood incident that started with her stuck upside down for an hour and ended with her favorite outfit covered in puke. Paige shuddered inwardly at the thought but hoped for the best. There didn't seem to be many rides like that at Disney, so she hoped for the best.
"Whose turn is it to pick?" asked Piper, unable to remember where they left off the day before because of Paige's fainting episode.
"Yours!" Phoebe declared firmly, knowing Piper probably had not picked anything they rode yesterday, given her easygoing nature.
Piper smiled. She rarely got to go first in family things, being stuck in the middle for most of her life. "Let's do the Tower of Terror."
The sisters had been standing in line for the Tower of Terror for a half-hour, which traversed them through the gardens and the lobby of the creepily, dilapidated building.
Paige was shivering, but not because she was cold. She didn't like the weird look that the ride attendant, dressed like an old hotel bellhop, gave her. Moreover, she didn't like the small room that they were currently being stuffed in, which quickly turned pitch black.
Prue held tightly to Paige's hand, feeling her quiver, but not paying much attention since she was so enjoying the themeing. Piper and Phoebe were enjoying it too, as Prue could hear them giggling in the darkness behind them.
Phoebe creeped up behind Paige, whose back was turned and grabbed her shoulders, causing the younger girl to jump forward in fear.
"Phoebe, that wasn't nice." Prue admonished, though giggling at the prank. Paige kicked Phoebe's feet and then stepped to Prue's other side, annoyed that her sister was bothering her.
A black and white movie about The Twilight Zone came on, chronicling the disappearance of people who stayed in this very "hotel," and the sisters were finally ushered into a ride car, which looked like an old elevator shaft.
"I don't want to do this," whimpered Paige, clutching Prue's hand desperately. "I want to go off."
"Paige, you know the rule," Prue said with a wink, thinking her baby sister was just being a tad dramatic. She knew Paige would come around if she gave it a chance.
It seemed out of character, but Paige was not a thrill seeker. She unhappily saw the doors to the ride car close, confining her again to a too tight space that threatened to send her pummeling into a flashback. She tried to stay grounded in reality though, and realize that, for the most part, she was safe.
The ride shot them up and dropped them down several times, causing the sisters to scream happily. Paige actually ended up enjoying the experience, much to her surprise.
"That was actually pretty fun," Paige admitted as they walked off the ride.
"Are you kidding!" Phoebe cried gleefully, "That was amazing! I can't believe we wasted so much time on boring kiddie rides yesterday when there's this kind of stuff around."
Paige stuck her tongue out at Phoebe, noticing the dig, and Phoebe laughed at her. "Now that you saw this kind of thing can be fun, you have to stop being such a baby about it. I heard you cry to Prue that you wanted to get off the line."
"Did not!" Paige denied, even though it was a blatant lie. Her sisters just smirked at her. "Okay, maybe I did."
"Well, I'm glad we had that warm-up sisters, as it is now my turn to pick," Phoebe said with a smile. "And I choose…The Rockin' Roller Coaster."
Paige groaned, but without a choice, was dragged by her older sisters onto yet another thrill ride. She thought though, that maybe she could actually face her fear and do it.
As they waited in line with the hoards of other tourists, Paige became more and more anxious. She was listening to the conversation of the family in front of them, which consisted of two parents and their sons, who were around 10 or 12.
"This roller coaster is totally in the dark," the mother told her kids. "You're going to love it."
"Does it go upside down?" the younger boy asked, excitement clear on his face.
"Oh yeah," the older one said with enthusiasm, tugging on his baseball cap.
Paige bit her lip. This was not going to be good. She tugged on Piper's shirt to get her attention.
"I need to get off line," Paige stated firmly.
Piper raised an eyebrow. "May I ask why?"
"Um, I uh, need to go to the bathroom," Paige tried with a strange smile. Piper looked even more skeptical.
"We're almost at the front. You can probably hold it," Prue interjected.
Paige frowned. "Why do you guys care so much if I go on anyway? It's just a stupid ride," she said, trying to sound confident.
"Paige, we all know you are trying to get out of it because you are scared," Phoebe pointed out.
"I am not!" Paige retorted, knowing she was stuck.
"Also, you just did this on the other line and you ended up liking it, so you might as well give it a try," Prue pointed out.
"We're riding it and we're just little kids," the boy in the baseball cap butted in.
Paige sighed. It was no use. She couldn't catch a break from anyone. She would just have go with it and hope for the best.
As they stepped into the ride car, Piper noticed that Paige was shaking, and began to feel a little bit bad about peer pressuring her into riding something that she was clearly afraid of.
It was a little too late though to act on these feelings though, as they were already strapped into their seats and ready to go. Piper just nervously hoped that this wouldn't ruin the rest of the day, as she sat in her seat and pulled her harness down tight.
Paige shuddered as she heard her overhead restraint click into place. She knew she was very literally stuck from this point on. Piper, who was next to her, turned to her with a smile.
"Is it tight enough? Are you comfortable?" she asked Paige, making sure her little sister would be alright.
Paige didn't have time to answer.
In an instant, they were shot out at full blast, at which point Paige began screaming, not in excitement, but in sheer terror, which continued even after the ride came to a complete stop.
Prue and Phoebe, who had been sitting next to each other, were surprised to find that it was their very own sister who had been the one causing the noise that had lasted the entire ride.
Piper helped her little sister out of the ride and pulled her into a reassuring hug to get her to calm down.
"You made it!" Piper said with a grin, looking at Paige whose face was paler than usual. "Are you okay?"
Paige just ran to the nearest garbage can and puked up her entire, expensive breakfast. Sitting down, helplessly trying to ward off the dizziness that was consuming her, Paige closed her eyes and felt hot tears pouring down her face.
Prue, Piper, and Phoebe caught up to Paige just in time to see her get sick.
"Oh shit," Prue mumbled, rushing over to help Paige up off the ground to the nearest bench. She felt like a horrible big sister and hundreds of strangers' looks only reinforced the feeling.
"Paige, why didn't you tell us that you get motion sick?" Prue asked, exasperated.
"We wouldn't have made you go on if we knew you would have a bad reaction like this," Piper confirmed.
Paige wiped her eyes and looked at her sisters accusingly. "You guys made that dumb rule and I didn't want to have to ruin your fun by making one of you miss out or have to ride alone. I told you guys yesterday though that I don't do roller coasters, and I'm sure you wouldn't either if you had gotten stuck on one for an hour and barfed upside down."
"Barfed…upside down?" Prue questioned, confused.
"Yes, when I was in high school, at a local fair. That was the last time-well until today-that I rode something like this," Paige explained.
Phoebe giggled. "I'm sorry, that is just too funny. I can imagine it." Phoebe couldn't stop herself from dissolving into a fit of laughter.
"I think I remember hearing about that from people I knew," Piper said, with surprise. "I can't believe you're the "Vom-pire."
Phoebe's laughter became even louder now, realizing that it was her own little sister who had gained such notoriety when they were previously teenagers. Even though Paige didn't attend Baker High, she attended the next school over, so some of the Halliwell's neighbors had gone to school with her. She wondered how long it had taken Paige to live down that name, which had come from a combination of the fact that she was in a goth phase at the time and had puked hanging in the air, like a bat presumably would.
Prue tried to suppress her own laughs, but couldn't quite control it and ended up snorting.
Paige glared at her older sisters, unhappy to be the butt of their jokes. People only stopped teasing her about that incident after her mom and dad died, because it would have been plain cruel to harass an orphan.
"Just be happy that I didn't barf on you guys today. Also, if the car accident that killed your parents sent you speeding and turning in the air, you probably wouldn't want to relive it either on a supposedly fun ride." Paige continued, as the punishing dizziness turned her vision dark, causing her to press gently on her eyelids.
This stopped Phoebe's laughter and caused Piper and Prue to share a look. They hadn't thought about that part of Paige's past in a while. They realized that they should have probably taken more time to treat Paige's feelings as legitimate and not blow her off. She was really sensitive and while teasing her was fun for all of the older girls, they knew when they had pushed their little one too hard.
"We're sorry baby sis," Prue apologized, hugging Paige. " We should have listened better and it probably didn't help that you just got over being sick a few days ago. We won't make you ride anything like this again unless you want to, okay?"
"Okay," Paige agreed with a nod, finally calming down enough to catch her breath and stop crying.
"We'll just try to take it easy with the thrill rides from now on, since the whole point of this trip is to do things together," Prue said definitively.
Piper agreed, but Phoebe was busy searching their backpack for something. It was better anyway that she wasn't paying attention, since she would probably freak out if she knew their ride choices were about to become limited.
Piper ran over to a concession stand and got Paige some water while Phoebe joined Prue and Paige on the bench, looking at her park map.
"Well, lucky for you squirt, its your turn to pick," Phoebe noted, crossing off the attractions they had visited. "What ever will you choose?"
Paige took the park map from her sister's hand. "I have somewhat of an idea…."