Yes another new story from me. I just got this idea a few days ago and it wouldn't leave me alone, so here it is.

This is AU, with all four sisters. No magic yet.

This is in Piper's POV, for now.

Note: Edited September 2009. Kept it mostly as it was, but fixed most of the mistakes.

Chapter 1 – No Escape

He'd been so nice when I'd first met him. It's difficult for me, now, to compare how he was, to how he is. To the compare the person I thought he was, and the one I now live with.

I had fallen quick and hard, moving in to his flat as soon as he asked, three months after we started dating. Fast, yes, but I was young and in love and, I suppose, sick of being the steady one, the predictable one, the good one. I wanted to do something a little reckless, a little crazy, and, loving him, I followed that impulse. Until then, I had lived with my eldest and youngest sisters, Prue and Paige, in the house we grew up in, our grandmother's Victorian manor, and Prue had warned me not to move out so soon.

"I'll be fine!" I had laughed, carefree, in love. "You'll be glad of the extra room, with Phoebe moving back." My younger sister, who'd gone to New York - reckless, crazy, so much more so than me moving in with the man I loved - after our Grandmother's death was finally coming home. There was a part of me that regretted we wouldn't all be living there together again, but the rest of me was eager to start my life with Dan. So eager, so young and hopeful.

I'd lived with him for less than a month before his temper became apparent.

We were arguing. A simple argument over the bills, that quickly turned heated. We'd argued before, but never like this, never with such anger. From both of us. The angrier he grew with me, the angrier I grew. And even match, until he slapped me.

Just once, across the face. Not hard - there was shock, more than pain, and insult. No fear. I wasn't afraid of him, then. He looked just as shocked and appalled as me, and the apologies started instantly. He hadn't meant to, he didn't know what had happened, he'd never forgive himself for hurting me. Even as I packed my things, determined to leave, he pleaded with me to stay. And he cried. He cried, and I couldn't hold up against that. I heard myself murmuring that it was OK, I could forgive him, we'd work it out, before I'd even fully decided.

I should have gone back home. I should've taken my things and gone home, with my pride bruised and the red mark across my cheek. Instead, I stayed.

It was months later that it happened again. Another argument, something I'd said. He'd started, in the last few months, pointing out the things I was doing wrong. Saying wrong. All the ways I was inadequate. After a while, I stopped questioning them, started believing.

This argument ended abruptly when he shoved me, hard enough that I stumbled back and tripped over the coffee table, landing in a heap on the floor. I looked up at him, shocked, and he walked away, out of the apartment.

I sat there, so confused. I wasn't really hurt, physically, but still I sat there, not knowing what to do. When he came back, I only stared at him. He apologised again. Insisted he hadn't meant to push me so hard, that he'd left because he was so disgusted in himself. Begging me to stay.

I didn't even hesitate this time. Only nodded, and didn't speak. I'll never fully understand why. Or understand why I stayed the next time, when he pinched me, hard enough to bruise, and told me I was useless.

And then I found out I was pregnant. My own father hadn't been around much, my mother had died when I was four, so I wanted my child to have both parents around, a 'happy' family. A normal family. What right did I have to deny the kid a father, just because that father was growing crueller and colder towards me? To break their family before they'd even been born, because of a couple of arguments that got out of hand?

And when I told him, he was so excited, I was hopeful that the difficulties were behind us, and the baby would help us start again, start a new, better life.

And it was, for a while, better. But then, when I was four months gone, he'd lost his job. He found another one soon after, but by then he'd already began to drink heavily, and when he drank he became violent – and I suffered for it. He blamed me. It was my fault he'd lost his job, because all my talk of names and nurseries had left him unable to concentrate fully at work. It was my fault he was drinking, because I wasn't enough to keep him at home, to stop him going out to bars. I stressed him out so much, I was so difficult.

And still, I stayed.

Part of it was shame. I didn't want to go crawling home and admit that I'd stood for this. And part of it was fear, because I didn't know how he'd react to me leaving him, even though he held every appearance of hating me. Part of it was hope. Despite the fear and disgust he initiated in me, sometimes, he'd be like the old Dan, the one I'd loved, and I was hopeful that, one day…

Those hopes were never fulfilled, though. He grew worse, more violent, and I accepted it. This was my life, now, this was all I knew.

I'd hoped the birth of our daughter, Patrica, would stop him, but it didn't. And after she was born, I couldn't imagine leaving, couldn't imagine coping on my own.

That seems ridiculous, now, because he is no help with our daughter. She's my responsibility, and we both prefer it that way. I can't relax when he's in the same room as her, terrified that he'll hurt her.

So far, so far he hasn't. I've even managed to stop her witnessing the worst of it. I worry, though, because one day she'll be old enough to understand, and that, surely, will affect her?


"Dan please." I begged, as his fingers dug into my arm. It would bruise, but another bruise was nothing. "Patty – what if she wakes up? You don't want to scare her, do you?" I hate myself for using her like that, as a means to protect myself. And yet, I'm still scared of him. After all this time, I'm still scared. I still feel the pain.

"I don't care about her!" He yelled. "She's not even mine!"

Not true. I wish, God, I wish it wasn't true. That she had the kind of father she deserved, that she had the life she deserved, and a mother brave enough to give her that life.

"She is. She is."

He hit me, once, twice, three times. "Don't lie to me, Piper. Don't lie." And again, before throwing me down onto the sofa. He stormed out of the apartment, slamming the door, locking it.

Once upon a time, I'd worried when he'd lock us in. Worried he'd never come back, and we'd stay trapped. Worried there'd be some disaster, like a fire, and we couldn't escape it. Now, the locked door maked me feel safer, even though I knew he'd be back soon.

I knew he wouldn't deny it, apologise, anymore. He'd given that up years ago.

He wouldn't even acknowledge me, until he decided I had done something wrong.

I want to go home. To the manor. To be safe, to have my daughter be safe. And I know I don't have the strength to break away.

So, judge me if you must, but remember, I did what I thought was best, and now I can't escape.

So, what do you think? Worth continuing? review, please, and let me know.