Together In Death
Written by: Shan (aka CharmedGrl4Ever)
Disclaimer: We don't own the Charmed Ones, Leo, Coop, Wyatt, Chris, and any other characters I forgot to mention. We do, however, own Patricia, Parker, Paris, Peyton, and Mel and would appreciate it if you didn't steal our characters without (A) asking our permission and (B) giving us the credit for them. Thank you!
This fanfic is a sidestory to go along with the virtual Charmed Sons' show Dark Destiny. The link for the site can be found on the profile page for this account.
"Mom, look out!" Peyton cried. She levitated in the air and kicked the demon sneaking behind her mom in the chin. His head snapped backwards, and he stumbled, falling flat on his back.
Peyton gently lowered herself to the ground and instantly scrambled over to Phoebe, who barely had time to shoot her a grateful expression. The simple truth was there were too many demons and not enough witches to help them. On Phoebe's orders Coop had gone to find her sisters, but Phoebe wasn't sure how long that would take. Her sisters had their own lives now.
There was always Mel, but ever since her miscarriage Phoebe tried to keep her younger daughter away from the demonic activity. Mel had been a good sport about Phoebe's phase of overprotective-ness, but anyone could tell (especially her older sister, Peyton) that she was getting frustrated. She was a witch, too, after all; and it didn't help that both of her powers were entirely passive. Peyton's powers weren't the most offensive of the Halliwell clan either, but hers were much more helpful when a demon attacked – like right now.
Due to her lack of what she liked to call "cool powers," Mel always had an inferiority complex with her sister and the rest of her cousins. Of course, being the youngest of the eight of them didn't hinder that emotion either. Or the fact that she was an empath and could sense when people passed by her and thought, "Oh, she's so cute."
She was not cute, damn it. She was a witch just like everyone else in her family, and she hated being treated like a baby just because she was the baby of the family.
Phoebe ducked an oncoming fireball, but she neglected to take into account her daughter standing right behind her. And how she was right in the fireballs line. And how she would never be able to move out of the way in time. Peyton had been learning martial arts defense since she could walk, and she was good – one of the best. She was good, but even she wasn't that good.
As Phoebe rolled out of the way, she chanced a look up, her eyes locking on her daughter's as Peyton let out a petrified scream of agony. She dropped to the floor, eyes fluttering shut, a gaping wound bleeding on her neck and shoulder.
For a moment Phoebe forgot to breathe. She didn't think about how moving right now might mean her instant death, didn't think about the fact that she still had another daughter to watch out for – one who was locked in her room for the duration of the attack. One who might be murdered if she were distracted long enough for the demons to sneak past her.
All she could think about was Peyton's shriek and the terror that clouded her eyes as she fell. She darted to her daughter, barely registering a fireball that collided with her leg. Collapsing to the floor, she dragged herself farther, crawling to Peyton's side, eyes filling with tears at the sight of teenager's prone form.
"Peyton, honey, wake up. Peyton… Oh god, no. No, no, no, no… Peyton!" She shook the girl's shoulders, but Peyton didn't awaken.
"Mom?" Mel's voice wafted through the hall, having heard her desperate pleas. "Is Peyton all —" Her voice was moving closer and closer to the living room, and fear gripped Phoebe's heart.
"Mel, go back! Get back into your room! Don't come out here!" she screamed in desperation. "Go back!"
Suddenly, Mel appeared, instantly catching sight of her older sister, bleeding to death on the floor. Her eyes widened, and the blood drained from her face. She moved her lips, but no sound came out. "Wyatt!" she suddenly screamed. "Wyatt, help!"
Every demon in the Underworld knew of Wyatt Halliwell, the twice blessed witch who could obliterate them all with the blink of an eye. They weren't suicidal enough to go up against him.
"Let's go," one advised.
"Grab her," snarled another, pointing to the eleven-year-old girl frozen in terror. Four of them stepped toward her. She backed away with a muffled squeak of panic, but she couldn't force her brain to work, her legs to move, her body to listen to her at all. The demons advanced on her, and one grabbed her arm, a twisted smirk curling his lip.
She mouthed "Mom" but couldn't find her voice enough to use it. Her brain was running in overdrive, but yet she couldn't get herself to think straight. Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god!
"NO!" Phoebe screamed, shooting up instantaneously and charging at the demons. It didn't matter that her only active power – levitation – couldn't help her take down the four demons holding down Mel or the remaining three who were almost laughing at her helpless state. Her vision narrowed until she could see only Mel, who was now struggling and flailing in order to escape.
She punched the first demon before he had time to dodge her blow, sending him sprawling on the floor, blood streaming down his nose. She didn't wait to see if he would get up again, merely moved on to the next demon. However, this one was ready for her. He released the struggling preteen and kicked the older witch in the stomach.
She grunted in pain and was thrown backwards into another demon, who forced her arms to her sides. Meanwhile, Mel had darted to her sister's side. "Wyatt!" she cried again.
Seeing the beginning of an orbing pattern appear, the demons lost their nerve and instantly shimmered back to the Underworld.
A few moments later, Wyatt's form solidified; and he turned to Mel contritely, apologizing that he'd been in a public place and had only just now found a bathroom to orb.
However, the frightened expression in her eyes made him pause.
"Mel," he said gently, "what is it? What's wrong?" He knelt beside her and only then noticed Peyton's prone form and the blood pooling beneath her head. "Oh my god." None too gently, he shoved Mel aside to reach over to Peyton's bleeding neck. It took less than a second for the healing glow to radiate, strong and dazzling, from the palms of his hands.
Meanwhile, he wondered, "Where are Aunt Phoebe and Uncle Coop?"
"D-Dad went to find Aunt Piper and Aunt Paige," Mel stammered, still dazed.
"And Aunt Phoebe?" he asked, immediately realizing that Mel had avoided his question. He knew her well enough to know when she was evading something.
"S-she… she…" She pointed to where the demons had been, her hand trembling. "They t-took her with them," she croaked, her lips cracked and dry.
They heard Peyton suck in a sharp breath. Instead of helping her sit up, Wyatt turned to stare at Mel, placing his hands on her shoulders. "Mel." He gently forced her to raise her gaze to his and asked, "Who? Who took her? I have to know. You have to tell me, Mel. I need to find her."
"I… I don't know," she squeaked.
"I do," Peyton quietly interrupted. She massaged the newly-healed skin on her neck and murmured, "Thanks, Wyatt." He nodded to her as she climbed shakily to her feet and began to walk away.
For a moment he stared at her in disbelief; then he stood and followed her into the kitchen, where he found her filling up a tall glass of water in the sink. Her hands shook more than Mel's had. He rushed over to assist her, and she mumbled another raspy, "Thanks," before drinking deeply.
Mel trailed into the room behind them, tearfully whispering, "Where's Dad? He should've been back by now. D'you think they found him and got him, too?"
"No," Peyton assured calmly. "You know as much as I do that his ring isn't always reliable. It works with your heart and not your head. For all we know he could be standing in front of future Aunt Paige or something."
"Oh." Mel let out a sigh of relief, clearly convinced. "Right."
Wyatt narrowed his eyes at the older of the two and realized that she herself didn't believe a word coming out of her own mouth. Her own chocolate eyes were brimming with fear and anger. The only bright side was that all her emotions filled her eyes to the point where tears wouldn't fit. She couldn't cry in front of her sister; she wouldn't.
Her eyes met Wyatt's, and he nodded in understanding. She bit her lip as if to say, "Don't tell her. Please." He gave another short nod, and she let out a quiet sigh of relief.
Aloud he said, "All right, we need to get out of here in case the demons come back. I'll orb you to —"
"Uh…" Peyton cut off nervously. "I think I'll walk there…" Her "allergy" to orbing was well known among the Halliwells and many other witches. The first time she orbed she ended up being sick for a week and a half, and they didn't have that kind of time right now. Although it might seem like it would take longer, in actuality it would save them a lot of time.
Wyatt nodded apologetically and offered, "Should I get Bianca to shimmer you there?" When she shook her head no, he sighed, "All right. Just – hurry." With that, he gently cradled Mel's hand in his and orbed to the manor.
"Mom!" he called. "Dad! We need you!"
Guiding Mel in front of him, he steered her into the living room. There they found a concerned Piper and Leo standing over—
"Dad!" Mel cried, tearing away from Wyatt and pulling her dad into an embrace. When she pulled back, she gasped, "You're hurt!" Her eyes widened as he clutched his leg, grimacing.
"I'm fine," he lied. "Really." However, his bloody pants told her differently.
"Did demons attack you, too?" she wondered.
"No," he answered. "Your mom and I are connected. When she gets injured, so do I," he calmly explained. He motioned for her to sit beside him on the couch and then pulled her to him, hugging her tightly again. "I'm so relieved that you're safe," he murmured into her hair. "Where are Peyton and your mom, though?"
"Peyton's walking here," she admitted. "And Mom…" She shook her head angrily as if it had been her fault that she hadn't been able to save Phoebe. "They took her, Dad. They were going to take me, but Mom wouldn't let them. They took her instead." Tears sprang to her eyes.
"Shh, baby, it's all right. We'll get her back home, I promise," he reassured, rubbing the girl's back encouragingly. "This isn't your fault."
Miserably, she nodded, but she purposely never agreed. How could it not be? And she had the horrible feeling that it wasn't over yet, that it was – in fact – just beginning. Of course, she couldn't know that, despite the fact that she was an empath and could see into the future. She had a sixth sense for these things.
However, she knew what they would say if she told them her worries. Let us handle it. You're too young to understand. We'll take care of it. Like they knew everything! She wanted to help her mother, but no one would ever take her seriously.
Noticing the heated look that sprang to Mel's eyes, Wyatt said, "Mel…" to warn her. When their eyes met, he silently conveyed, Now's not the time. She understood, but she didn't like it.
Instead of answering him, she asked sharply, "Where's Peyton? She should have been here by now." She glanced toward the foyer worriedly.
As if on cue the door burst open, and Peyton barged into the room, gasping for breath. "I-I came as f-fast as I c-could," she panted. She leaned over and closed her eyes, resting her hands on her knees to balance.
"Good," Piper said, nodding in acknowledgment. "Wyatt, can you get your brother and sister and then hit the Book?" she said, more of a command than a query.
With a sharp nod Wyatt orbed out of the manor. While he was gone, Piper yelled, "Paige!" and the youngest Charmed One appeared almost instantly.
"What's wrong?" she asked, a frown delicately creasing her forehead. While Piper explained, Peyton sidled up to her father, wrapping her arms around his neck as she sat down on his other side.
"Are you all right, Daddy?" she whispered, and he nodded with a weak smile, squeezing her hand in reassurance.
"Okay, so we should get the scrying crystal," Paige said when Piper had finished recounting what she knew. Piper gave a soft smile at the fact that, after knowing each other for years, they had almost begun to read each other's mind.
While Paige hurried to the attic to hunt for the amethyst crystal (they could use the extra power boost that the amethyst always provided), Piper faced Coop, Peyton, and Melinda, who were huddled together on the couch.
"Coop," she said gravely, "I think we should talk…" Her eyes scanned her nieces cautiously as she added, "Alone. Girls, why don't you go —"
"Into the kitchen," Mel supplied dully, knowing what was coming next. She got this all the time – whenever people wanted to "shield" her from the "big bad" out there. Rolling her eyes, she turned and stormed out of the room. Peyton had a more graceful exit, kissing her father's cheek before slipping out of the room.
"Mel…" Peyton whimpered as the two entered the kitchen together. "Have you seen anything about Mom?"
"I keep trying," Mel admitted. She closed her eyes and bit back tears of frustration. Breaking down now wouldn't do any good if she wanted to find her mother and bring her home safe and sound.
"Do you think she's —"
"No," Mel interrupted firmly. "She's still alive. I'd know if she weren't. And so would Dad."
But I wouldn't, Peyton thought bitterly to herself. Her parents had a special connection, and that was to be expected, of course. After all, they'd been married for quite a while now; it would be odd if they hadn't developed a connection. Mel had a special connection with her parents because of her empathy. And that – naturally – was supposed to be expected.
Of course, that didn't help ease the slight resentment Peyton felt at the thought that she was the only one in her direct family not to possess a special link with any other member.
The anger rushed out of her suddenly, leaving her only with stubborn denial and hope. It was all she would allow herself now. "Right," she sighed. "We'll get her back, though. Aunt Piper and Aunt Paige aren't likely to let this go any more than we are. She'll be fine."
Mel said nothing and refused to look her older sister in the eye.
"Is it Phoebe?" Piper wondered. "Your leg. Is that Phoebe's injury?"
Mutely, Coop nodded. There was nothing for him to say. It was pretty obvious what was happening; his and Phoebe's connection was somehow linking him to her injuries. It had happened before, of course; but now, in addition, he could feel her heart racing in fear, her breath coming in frantic gasps. He couldn't help but fear for her – and, through hers his – life.
"I won't tell you anything, bastard!" Phoebe yelled, not for the first time. "And when my sisters find me —"
She stopped speaking suddenly and let out a gasp of pain when she felt as if her arm had caught fire. She bit back a scream, but eventually the pain overwhelmed her. A shriek of agony tore past her throat.
The demon chuckled.
"Come on," he reasoned with the witch, amused at her stubbornness. "You're going to die anyway; you and I both know that. Now you can either end the pain now or else we'll continue like this for as long as you like." His eerily calm tone sent shivers dancing up Phoebe's spine.
"Why the hell do you think I would possibly give up my husband to someone like you?" she demanded with a laugh as cruel as his. She refused to let him get to her (or at least admit that he was getting to her, which he was).
"Don't think of it like that," the demon replied nonchalantly. "I'm not asking because he's your husband, Phoebe." She wished he wouldn't use her name; it sounded so wrong on his tongue. "I'm asking because he's a Cupid."
"And what would you want with a Cupid?" she inquired as if she weren't presently being painfully tortured in a cage. She couldn't show weakness, couldn't show the fact that she was scared to death of what he might do to her husband should he somehow capture him, too.
"Oh, you haven't heard?" The demon smirked. "I've been killing Cupids all over the world, not just your Cupid. You see, if I destroy love in mortals, they don't reproduce – except for the few mortals who reproduce without the love," he added as an afterthought.
Translation: loveless sex, Phoebe thought to herself.
"If we lower their reproduction rate, there are fewer of them to kill; and it therefore becomes easier to kill all of them… including you witches. Now if you don't mind, where is the Cupid?"
Phoebe shook her head obstinately, pressing her lips together to keep the words from slipping past her lips. "I don't think so," she countered. "Not a chance."
"You stubborn witch! You'll die!"
"Wrong again," she laughed confidently. "My sisters will come for me, and the first thing they'll do is vanquish you and your demon lackeys."
"Guess again, witch. This cave is protected. I have more powers than you can possibly imagine, so even if they did find us here they wouldn't stand a chance. I have all the powers of the Source and then some."
"If that's true," Phoebe challenged, "why are you coming up with such a pathetic, lowlife plan like that? That's such a lower-level demon strategy, one to get into good graces with the Source – when there was a Source, that is."
"Yes, well, I've learned not to take anything for granted. That's what helped me rise to the top."
"How touching," Phoebe sneered. "That could be made into a movie."
Before she could blink, a searing pain shot up her spine.
Coop collapsed, screaming. He felt as if someone had gone and snapped his spine in two. "Agh!"
"Dad, what is it?" Peyton cried, helping him back to the couch. His knees buckled, and he fell onto the sofa, gritting his teeth against the pain.
"They're torturing her," Mel whispered, tears spilling down her cheeks – both from the horror of her premonition and from the pain she was intuiting from her father. "Oh god, please, Dad, make it stop. It hurts so much." She, too, felt her legs crumple under her weight.
Two hands reached out to steady her, and she glanced over her shoulder to shoot Wyatt a grateful glance. He smiled tightly in return and led her to sit beside her father. When he was sure she'd be all right, he spared a glance in his brother's direction, glad that he was able to find and bring back at least one of his siblings. Prue had been in class at the time, one of those late-night classes she'd signed up for at the beginning of the year. She had always worked better at night since demons tended to attack during the daytime. This class wouldn't end until around ten thirty at night, and Wyatt hadn't wanted to pull her our when they already had enough witches at the manor to help.
"Anything?" he called to Chris, who was flipping furiously through the Book of Shadows, though he already knew it by heart anyway. The Book offered more than just answers and information; it gave the Halliwells a sense of hope. Therefore, even though it was of no use for them information-wise, Chris continued to turn page after page – for reassurance, albeit only slightly.
'Nothing,' he replied telepathically. When in stressful situations such as this one, it came automatically to Chris to speak to Wyatt through their link. After all, it had been his "first language" so to speak. His first form of communication had been in Wyatt's head. It was the easiest way for him to "speak." Technically, he only spoke aloud because it was more convenient to the rest of his family, who unfortunately couldn't speak and hear him in the same way.
"You can't sense her?" Piper asked the half-Whitelighters in the room. Six heads shook back and forth ruefully.
Mel bit her lip but didn't bother saying that she could feel her mother – just not in the way everyone was hoping. She couldn't tell them where she was, only that she was dying.
Mom! she cried inwardly, mental tears streaming down her proverbial cheeks. Mommy, please don't die! And, as if it could make it better (just like when she was little), she added, I love you. Please don't die.
Phoebe tried to suck in a breath, but water filled her lungs. She struggled to escape, but the water poured into her nostrils, down her throat, into her pores. She was slowly and painfully suffocating to death.
Coop clutched his throat as if it weren't working. He made a slight, muffled, choking sound from deep within his throat and closed his eyes.
Mel swallowed hard. She could breathe, but she still somehow felt as if she couldn't, as if she, too, were suffocating. She reached for Coop's hand and squeezed it almost painfully, her nails digging into his skin. They drew blood.
Suddenly, he stopped, his frantic, shallow breathing slowly returning to normal. When he could he whispered, "It's over. They stopped."
Phoebe massaged her neck and caught sight of four bloody fingernail marks on the back of her hand. They were too small to be hers. With shocking realization she understood whose they were.
Oh god, what am I putting them through? Phoebe thought to herself. Coop was feeling what she felt – just as she now felt what Mel had inadvertently done to him – and Mel (and most likely Peyton, too) was there to witness it.
At least she hoped Peyton was there. Because if Peyton wasn't there, there could only be one reason for that…
No. She's alive. Someone would have come to heal her. She repeated that over and over to herself until she believed it.
"So…" the demon drawled. "Ready to enlighten me?"
"Go—to—hell," Phoebe fought to say between gasps.
The demon's smirk quickly turned to a scowl. "This is your last chance, witch." He pulled on her chains, which he had magically attached to her arms while she'd been "drowned." (The water was real, of course; but she hadn't been drowning. The water had simply been magically spelled into forcing itself into her mouth and nose.)
Then, he released the chains before moving his face within inches of hers. Disgusted, she averted her gaze, turning her head. Livid, he raked a hand through her hair, curled it into a fist, and yanked so hard that tears sprang to Phoebe's eyes.
"This is your last"—he gave another tug—"chance"—and another—"Understand?" The next time she looked up, he was holding a stiletto that glinted enchantingly in the dim firelight. He twisted it to capture the light just so, so that its serration was clearly visible from Phoebe's position.
She shook her head. "I won't," she firmly replied.
With a roar of fury, the demon plunged the dagger straight into her gut.
Coop screamed until his throat was raw and wrapped his arms tightly around his stomach. Blood began seeping through his fingers, and Peyton shrieked with fear, jumping up from the couch.
"Dad!" she screamed. "Oh my god, what happened?"
Mel, too, stared at her father, entranced with the blood as she absentmindedly pressed her fingers to her stomach to ward off the slight cramp aching there. She barely noted it and didn't realize what – or, more precisely, who – it had come from.
"T-they're k-killing h-her," he forced through tightly clenched teeth.
"Someone, heal him!" Piper ordered, eyes dangerous slits. No one hurt her family and got away with it – no one.
Instantly, Patricia and Parker ran forward to their uncle. Wyatt's eyes followed them, but he was too busy trying to sense Phoebe to help. He was the most powerful of them. Besides for Paige – a sister – he was the one most likely to find her. While he and Paige attempted to sense her, Piper stood stoically over the map of San Francisco and the map of the Underworld that Wyatt and Chris had long ago taken the time to create. It had been a birthday present for their Aunt Paige, who always seemed to lose one family member or another to demons. It was fast becoming obvious that not all demons hung out in San Francisco and that, naturally, most seemed to prefer the Underworld.
While she swung the crystal around and around over the two maps, she cast her worried gaze over and Patricia and Parker, who were frantically attempting to heal their dying uncle.
Peyton and Mel edged away as they watched, eyes wide with dread. Paris sighed sorrowfully and walked over to gently guide them farther from Coop. They didn't need to see something like this.
Finally, Coop pushed his nieces' hands away from his wound, mumbling, "You c-can't h-heal me. It's Ph-Phoebe who's hurt."
"Not from where I'm standing," Chris muttered darkly. "She might be the one collecting the injuries, but you're still feeling the backlash." He did, however, reluctantly agree that healing wouldn't work on Coop as long as Phoebe was in the same state. "We need to find her," he said. "Now."
He again pored over the crisp, ancient pages of the famous tome, eyes locked on the words, drinking in every detail that he might have accidentally missed the first three times around.
"Since I'm in generous mood right now," the demon inflected in a bored tone, "I'm going to give you one chance to redeem yourself. Remember, your husband's going to die anyway. The question is: do you want your children to lose just their father or both their parents? It's your call, of course; but I'd assume the choice is an obvious one."
"H-he won't d-die if I d-don't t-tell you," she said through gasps.
"Oh no? I think he will, witch. You see, everything you're enduring right now"—he emphasized his words by digging the dagger deeper—"he's going through the exact same thing. And when you die, he'll go through the exact same thing." A callous leer split his face in two. "Understand?"
When he pulled the dagger out again, all Phoebe's depleted energy would permit her to do was let out a soft, muted moan. She gasped, too, at the uncomfortable (and that was a major understatement) sensation of cool metal sliding out of her body.
He held the dagger over her heart, cutting an X through her shirt. It was enough to cause blood but not deep enough to nick her heart. Phoebe wasn't sure if she was glad about that or disappointed. Somehow, she knew she would die, knew her sisters would get here in time; and she just wanted to get it over with. No more stalling. No more torture. Just peace.
Then, he pressed it to her throat, again drawing blood as she swallowed fearfully. "Remember – last chance."
Mel shivered as Goosebumps spread across her skin. She wrapped her arms around herself in a vain attempt to warm her skin before she stopped, realizing that the cold was coming from inside her body.
The eleven-year-old closed her eyes against the stinging tears that threatened to fall. She knew what was about to happen. She could feel her own heart clenching with fear and knew that it was her mother's. Their empathetic link was pulsing strong now, but she wished she could cut it off completely so she wouldn't have to feel what she knew was about to happen.
Phoebe closed her eyes and thought, I love you, as if Coop and the kids were right beside her. Resigned to her fate, she shook her head.
The demon's smirk widened as if that were the response he had wanted, as if his sole purpose wasn't to find a Cupid but to kill her. "My one consolation to you: at least you won't have to leave everyone you love. Your husband will be waiting for you at the other end of 'the tunnel.'" He laughed maniacally and shoved down hard on the dagger. It embedded itself deep into her throat, hot blood spurting out of her mouth and down her chin as her eyes rolled to the back of her head. She didn't even have time to scream.
"Phoebe…" Coop murmured, his voice barely over a hoarse whisper. His eyes rolled back into his head, and he fell to the floor screaming without even realizing what was happening to him. Blood trickled past his lips, and he choked on it, gagging on the metallic taste.
Tearing away from Paris, Peyton rushed to her father's side, begging for him to tell them what was wrong – to say something, anything. Fearfully, tears leaked down her cheeks, and she shook her head wildly from one side to the other. This couldn't be happening; this could not be happening.
Suddenly, Coop was silent. Patricia and Parker worriedly knelt again to attempt to heal their uncle, but a soft voice made them pause in their tracks.
"You can't heal him," Mel murmured in a resigned tone. Their heads jerked up to look at her, and she continued in that same eerie tone, "He's dead"—her voice cracked—"They bother are."
She didn't scream; she didn't cry. She merely stood there, her arms wrapped around her body in a vain attempt to warm herself from the ghostlike chill that surrounded her, that swallowed her. Her eyes never left her father's lifeless face.
Her empathy reached out to touch her departed father's soul, and she found nothing. He was dead – gone – she knew it. Anguish and sorrow seized her heart, and she too yanked herself from her cousin's grip and tore out of the room and up the stairs.
Biting his lip, Wyatt raced after her, calling her name. She ignored him.
Patricia and Parker turned their attention back to Coop while Paris reached over to squeeze Peyton's shoulder, tears streaming unchecked down his cheeks as well. He tried to steer his younger cousin away from Coop.
Suddenly, Peyton let out a scream and scrambled toward her dad. She gripped his shoulders tightly and shook him frantically. For minutes she continued to sharply rock him back and forth.
If I can shake him hard enough, if I yell loud enough, she thought; he'll wake up. I know he will.
Shocked and terrified, Paige rushed to her niece and cupped her cheek in her hand. "Peyton…" she whispered, a tremor shaking her voice. Without waiting for her aunt's words, Peyton buried her hand in Paige's chest, sobbing openly.
From across the room Piper balled her hands into fists. "No," she remarked darkly. "This isn't happening, not again. I will not lose another sister."
Leo placed a comforting arm around her shoulder, but she jerked away angrily, not even bothering to spare him a glance. She didn't have time for that; this was too important.
"You two!" she barked, staring sharply at her oldest nieces. "Can you sense her?"
Parker pulled her hands back but didn't move. "No," she sniffled, "I can't." Patricia didn't even bother to turn around. She continued to let the healing glow pour from her hands and into her uncle, who remained motionless on the floor.
"We won't give up," Patricia promised from her position. They couldn't give up, not ever. Coop's life was at stake.
"Baby, come here," Paige murmured in despair, her eyes damp and her mascara running messily.
Patricia shook her head and refused with a flat, "No." She tried again, but still nothing happened. Paige stepped forward, leaving Peyton alone for a second and putting her hand on Patricia's shoulder. "No," Patricia repeated. "I can do this; let me do this." She shrugged out of her mother's grip.
"We're too late," Parker whispered, shaking her head. She walked over to Peyton and hugged the girl two years her junior. Paris stumbled over and joined them, embracing the two of them. Paige's eyes never left Patricia, bright tears glimmering in them.
"Honey, come here," she repeated.
"No!" Patricia shouted, hands still hovering over the body that was slowly losing its warmth of life. "Get Wyatt; h-he can help. If I can't do this, he can. I know he can help. He'll set it right." She tried to sound strong, but she couldn't conceal her voice cracking and the tears that suddenly spilled out onto her cheeks.
"Patricia," Paige murmured, getting down on her knees to look Patricia in the eye. She cupped her daughter's face in her hands, shaking her head, at a loss for words. How could she explain that they had to give up, that it was over?
"No!" This time it was Piper who yelled. "We'll find her!" she shouted and snatched the Book from beside Chris, storming up the stairs to the attic.
Sighing, Paige shared a significant, tearful look with Leo, who nodded in understanding and took off after his beloved, broken wife. The last time one of her sisters perished, she had transformed into a Fury, a terrifying demon. They couldn't deal with that again, not until they knew the demon who had killed the two parents was vanquished.
Patricia gently rocked back and forth on her knees, eyes staring blankly ahead. "I couldn't save him," she whispered finally. "I couldn't…"
Paige moved to sit beside her, wrapping her arms around the girl's shoulders. No one spoke; no one had to. Their unspoken words hung forlornly in the atmosphere, almost choking them.
Wyatt gently stepped into his room, eyes gravitating towards his youngest cousin, who was sitting at the edge of his window seat, staring silently out at the street below them. He knew he'd find her here; it was her favorite place in the entire house, a place she always came to sit and think.
He took a step into the room, but she didn't turn around and didn't utter a sound. Silently, he walked over to Mel and tenderly draped his arm around her shoulder, sitting beside her. She shrugged him off, but that didn't deter his action. He again pulled her to him, and this time – without looking at him – she let out a stifled sob that hitched in her throat.
She turned to face him, and he could see the unshed tears swimming in her eyes. He knew that expression; she felt guilty.
"I c-could s-sense it," she whispered in answer to his unasked question. She knew him all too well, just as he knew her. "I knew…" Her voice trailed off, but he ignored her words. She didn't need this kind of pain right now; she had enough as it was.
"This isn't your fault," he assured.
"You don't know that," she scoffed, turning away from him again.
He forced her into a tight hug, pressing her head to his chest. Feeling unworthy – she didn't deserve the comfort – she struggled for him to release her. All that did was cause him to hug her tighter. The more she screamed, yelled, and sobbed, the tighter he held her until, finally, she ceased trying to shove him away. Instead, she wrapped her arms around him, sobbing into his shirt.
He rested his chin on her hair, damp with sweat, and closed his eyes against his own tears. He couldn't let go because he couldn't let her see the tears cascading down his cheeks.
In the attic Piper hovered over their spare map in the attic. Their clear crystal (she'd have used the amethyst if it hadn't been downstairs) dangled from her hand, swinging round and round in circles over the map.
A few seconds later Leo entered the room, but Piper ignored him. She didn't have time to chat when her sister needed immediate assistance. He watched her for a moment before quietly saying, "Piper…"
"I'll find her; I'll save her," Piper growled through gritted teeth, knowing exactly what was flashing through Leo's mind. She knew him well enough to know that at least.
Suddenly, the crystal dropped to a spot on the map. "See!" she said, smiling for the first time in over an hour.
"Piper," Leo repeated, this time as a warning. He knew why she had found Phoebe: because the demon who had killed her no longer had any use for her body and either discarded it or had taken down the defenses around his cavern.
"She's my baby sister, Leo. I can't let her—I can't let anything happen to her." Piper stormed over to the Book to find a transportation spell, trying to forget the undeclared words that hung in the air, the words that she'd been about to say: I can't let her die alone.
She recited the spell, but before she could finish it Leo was at her side, grabbing her hands to try to reason with her. Stubbornly, she uttered the last three words; and the two of them were whisked off with a small 'poof.'
Husband and wife reappeared in a dimly lit, dusty cavern. A few feet away lay a crumpled, damaged body. Instantly, Piper recognized it from the slender fingers, two of which had been snapped and broken at the knuckle.
"Phoebe!" she shouted. She dropped to her sister's side to wake the sleeping form, gathering her in her arms and shaking her harshly. "Phoebe!" she shouted again, voice cracking.
"Piper," Leo murmured again, at a loss for words. He didn't want to look – to see Phoebe's battered body – but he forced himself to. He had to get Piper out of there.
"No! I can't have two of my sisters… two of my sisters, Leo!" Fumbling for a pulse and finding none, she turned her rage to the rocky ceiling, to the Elders. "Is this the thanks we get after—after all these years? We do this for you for how many years, and this is the thanks we get?" she yelled lividly.
There was no reply, and Piper didn't expect one. Did they ever own up to their mistakes, to when they screwed up and got someone she, Piper, loved killed?
"You know they can't help," Leo whispered, unable to find his voice as he slowly walked over to Piper, gently attempting to pry her fingers off the carcass. "Even they can't heal the dead, Piper."The dead…
Piper shook her head – as much in denial as in anger. Phoebe couldn't be dead; she couldn't be… Piper couldn't lose another sister. And Paige. Oh god, Paige had never gone through heartbreak like this. How would she survive?
"We need to get back before… before they start to worry," Leo told his wife, pressing a kiss to her temple.
"I can't leave her here, Leo." Her voice cracked. "I can't leave my sister here alone. She might get cold." She closed her eyes, pressed her cheek to her sister's chest, and let her tears trickle down onto Phoebe's dusty, muddy shirt. "I'm supposed to take care of her; I don't want her to be cold, Leo. Grams would never forgive me if I didn't take care of her."
"All right, Piper. Okay. We'll take her home. Come on, honey. Let's go." As much as he hated pulling her like this, he wasn't sure whether or not the demon was gone for good. Who knew if he'd be coming back, if this were a trap?
She nodded silently, muttering the counter spell to transport them back to the attic in the manor. There they found Paige, Chris, Patricia, and Parker standing in front of the pedestal. The Book of Shadows was open to the 'To Call A Lost Witch' spell.
When Piper, Leo, and Phoebe materialized, Paige's eyes widened and filled with tears that instantly spilled down her cheeks. She started for her sisters but fell halfway across the room, dragging herself the last couple of feet. Leo stepped away to give the three sisters their space.
Piper's hands cupped one of Phoebe's as she gently let her middle sister to the ground. Paige tightly squeezed Phoebe's other hand, her cheeks wet, her eyes puffy. Reaching over, she clasped Piper's free hand in hers.
And the Power of Three was connected for the last time.
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