Chapter 1 - Starting from Scratch

Summary: She tried to get over it, she moved away, she started again. But she was broken, scared, and she couldn't run away from it. Especially, not now, not with the baby, the permanent reminder. Piper Centric

Piper Halliwell woke to loud crying, and jumped out of her bed quickly. Moving over to the crib in the corner, she lifted the baby out of it, hugged the three-month-old to her chest and walked slowly towards the door, rocking the girl and making soothing noises.

She didn't mind Gracie waking her up at night, in fact she liked it. The babies cries pulled her back into the real world, one where he couldn't hurt her anymore, where his face didn't haunt her.

"Shh, honey, it's OK." Piper said, shifting the baby to her other arm as she started warming up the bottle. "Nearly ready. Shh." Gracie finally silenced, grabbed a fistful of her mother's hair and clung to it tightly.

As the bottle warmed, Piper sat down on one of the kitchen chairs, hugging her daughter tightly. It was ironic, she knew, the the very cause of all of this was a part of the very thing that gave her strangth, that kept her alive day, after day, after day.

"We're OK, aren't we, Gracie?" Piper mumbled. "We're OK."

It had been over a year now, and she still thought about it daily. But they were better, they would be better. Someday.

Gracie watched as Piper picked up the bottle, tested the heat, the manovered it towards the baby's mouth. Eyes wide, her mouth stretched into a smile, she moved forward to accept the bottle into her mouth quicker, causing Piper to smile.

"Hey, piggy." She said softly. "Slow down a little." Gracie, of course, ignored her. The bottle was quickly emptied, and now her eyelids started to droop. Piper watched as the baby slowly drifted of to sleep, and wished she could do that, just lay down and sleep, and not worry about what her mind would torture her with next. She moved back into the bedroom, settled Gracie in the crib, then laid on her bed and started to read, refusing to go back to sleep, go back to the past, the memories.

Almost a year. That would mean it was almost two since she'd met him, right? Two years since the day he'd walked up to her in the street, told her she had beautiful eyes and that someday he was gong to marry her. She had just laughed, but he'd charmed her into agreeing to a date. Just the movies, no biggy, he'd said. And she'd found herself saying yes. Alex, he'd said his name was, although she now knew it wasn't, his real name, his demonic name, was Zander. That first date he'd made her laugh constantly, showered her with compliments, and bought her a tiny bear on the way home. By the time he'd walked her home and kissed her on the doorstep, she believed she was going to marry him someday.

She'd fallen for him quickly, and she believed he felt the same way. All her family, all her friends, thought he was great, and she doted on him. Then, after ten months, where she'd been happier than ever before, she'd found out she was pregnant. At twenty-two, she was initially scared, scared that Alex would leave her, that she wouldn't be able to cope with a baby, a defenceless little person who needed her more than anyone else could. But she soon decided that she could, would, manage, with or without him. And when she'd told him, he'd smiled widly, let out a "Yes!" or joy, and she'd smiled too, relieved, hopefull. They'd be a family, a perfect little family.

She was still grinning as he grabbed her, pulled her close to him in what she thought was a hug - and found herself in the underworld. She didn't know what it was at the time, was just terrified that she'd somehow managed to appear here. And then he'd thrown her to the floor, while she looked around herself in terror and asked him what had happened, where they were. It had been him who'd told her who he really was, explained about magic and demons, and that she and her sisters were supposed to one day be the Charmed Ones. Demons had surrounded her by then, she was terrified, asked him why he'd brought her here, why he'd done this too her. And then he'd explained everything.

He told her how the plan had been hatched just hours before he'd met her, that they hadn't cared which one he'd approached. How he and those who now surrounded her had been waiting for this for months now, waiting for her to fall pregnant, with his half-demon child. She was just a pawn in the plan, he wanted her only for her power, ansd the power that would be passed onto their child. He told her he would kill her after she'd given birth, and raise the child to be the next evil leader, the one who would destroy all good witches and good magic, and allow demons to take over the whole world. Until then, she would remain here, in this cave, guarded by demons every single minute of every single day.

"Don't worry though, honey, we'll make sure you're well looked after. Don't want the baby to be hurtm, do we?"

She shivvered now, as the memory overwelmed her. She'd been their for three days before Grams had finally found her, bringing her sisters and vanquishing all the demons - except him. Alex - Zander - had managed to escape. The knowledge that he was still out their had terrified her, and when he appeared in her room, several nights later, he warned her that she couldn't hide from him, that he could track her powers, and she couldn't fight him. He'd shimmered out when she screamed, and she'd spent hours convincing Grams to re-bind the powers she'd unbound the day after he'd kidnapped her, so Piper could protect herself. Prue, Phoebe, and Paige all drank the potion too, ignoring Grams' wishes and refusing to become the Charmed Ones. Piper had moved out, and Grams had persuaded the elders, the "bosses" of all good magic, to cloak her from evil. Every now and then she had a visit from a so-called whitelighter, trying to get her to accept her magical destiny, but she refused. Grams or her sisters would call, begging her to move back in with them, but she refused. He'd been to the house so many times, and no matter how often Grams assured her he couldn't get in there now, she didn't feel safe there.

So she and Gracie lived here, Piper in constant fear that he'd come back and take her precious daughter away, and Gracie oblivious to it all, as innocent as any other baby.