Chapter 1 - The Demon Of The Week
"Paige, please just this once cover for me. This is really important."
Phoebe Halliwell was standing in the hall of the Manor where she was living with her sisters. She was wearing a short black dress and was just applying the lipstick on when her youngest sister walked into the hall.
"Phoebe, this is not once! This is the third time I'm covering for you. Third time in a row." Paige said. She was annoyed. No, she was pissed. Paige was always the type who hated to do what anyone ordered her to and she really didn't like demons, especially not Phoebe's ex husband so what Phoebe was trying to make her do again was seriously affecting her stress level. "What's so important anyway?"
"Jason." Phoebe replied, to Paige's greatest dismay. "Look, I know what you think but I wouldn't be asking you this if it wasn't urgent."
"Yeah, like you weren't the last two times..." Paige murmured to herself but loud enough for Phoebe to hear.
"Look, he arrived almost twelve hours early, I wasn't expecting this either." Phoebe said, acting as if she didn't hear Paige's comment. "But he said that he wants to talk to me about something very important and you know how much I wanted to hear that. Paige, please... I really want this relationship to work out."
Paige let out an annoyed sound. "Okay but this is the last time!" she said and frowned.
"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" Phoebe jumped excitedly and wrapped her arms around her sister's neck.
Paige tried to keep brooding but she couldn't stay mad at her sister for long. She never could. "What am I supposed to tell Cole?" she asked.
"Tell him anything, I don't care." Phoebe replied simply. "Tell him I had to go to the Bay Mirror and drop off something for tomorrow's addition."
"At half past ten in the evening?" Paige rose her eyebrows.
"Tell him I got kidnapped by aliens. Tell him anything!" Phoebe said and rushed to the front door. "Thanks again, I love you. Bye!" Phoebe grinned and left the Manor.
Paige took a deep breath. "Great." she said to herself. "Just great."
"What's great?" a male voice behind her asked and she jumped.
"Leo, you scared me!" she hissed at her brother-in-law.
"Sorry." Leo said apologetically.
"It wouldn't kill you to use doors." Paige said, still speaking in a low voice.
"Oh, look who's talking!" Leo chuckled. "May I remind you that yesterday you orbed in on me and Piper..."
"Don't remind me!" Paige snapped and Leo laughed uncomfortably.
"Anyway, I need to talk to Phoebe. Any ideas where she might be?" Leo asked.
"Kidnapped. By the aliens." Paige said and gave him the famous don't-ask look.
Leo frowned. "Don't tell me she escaped her training again."
Paige nodded. "You know what - she did. But please don't tell Cole, I promised her I'd cover for her."
"Paige, you shouldn't have let her go." Leo said. "I don't want this to turn into a habit to her. Besides, you have better things to do than constantly lying to Cole for her."
"Yeah, I know..." Paige pulled a face. "Trust me, I find it horrible to be near Cole when it's not necessary. Especially to witness him going berserk every time I make up an excuse for her. But I think it really was important this time. Apparently, Jason's back in town and he wanted to discuss their on-and-off relationship with Phoebe. Don't worry, though - this is the last time I'm covering for her."
Leo sighed. "You said that the last time."
"Yeah, but now I mean it." Paige said, making a determined face.
"So where's Piper? I thought you guys were gonna take an afternoon off together? Change of heart?" Paige asked while eyeing a strawberry lollipop on the kitchen counter.
"How'd you know?" Leo asked.
Paige shrugged. "I know Piper." she replied while taking a lollipop. "Whenever things get good - she starts panicking and starts seeing trouble even where there is none."
Leo nodded. "Yeah, and she's not taking her pregnancy as well as I thought she would."
Paige patted Leo on the chest. "Dude, those are called hormones. Women have a lot of those. Pregnancy is like having a PMS all the time."
"Yeah, I bet." Leo said with a frown, trying to imagine what it would be like to have PMS, especially all the time.
Noticing his confused frown, Paige chuckled and left the kitchen with a lollipop in her mouth and a grin on her face.
"Kidnapped? By aliens?" Cole didn't know whether to laugh or shout. He knew how bad Halliwell sisters were at lying but he also knew that even Paige could do better than that.
Paige, acting completely innocent, just nodded. "Yeah but don't worry, she'll be back in no time."
Cole rolled his eyes. "Where did she go this time?"
He knew his ex wife far better than she thought he did. Paige has made some pretty good excuses for her absence lately but there was no excuse good enough to fool a man who has been a demon surrounded by lies for over a century. This time, though, the excuse was that pathetic that he got a feeling that even Paige got tired of making up excuses all the time.
"To meet Jason, I'm sorry." Paige said with a bittersweet expression.
Cole let out a sigh. "To meet her boyfriend... Right."
He hated to see a woman he loved dating other men but he knew it was not his call anymore. He had lost his right to mettle in her lovelife a long time ago. Still, it never stopped bothering him to know when she was with any of them, especially since her relationship with Jason threatened to become serious. It hurt. It hurt even more to know that she had her sister make up some lame excuse for not training with Cole so that she could go meet Jason.
"Okay, we'll do it this way - tell her that I won't be training with her anymore until she sorts out her priorities." he said in a killing tone, making sure that Paige doesn't interrupt him. "And remind her, in case she forgot, that I do not believe in the UFO."
He walked out from the basement and went straight to the hall. His pride was wounded. It wouldn't matter to him that much if it were Paige or Piper that was doing that, but Phoebe was another story. Being constantly stood up by her for a simple training in front of Paige was something he wouldn't handle anymore.
"So if she asks, where are you heading?" Paige asked.
"I'm gonna go get some work done in the office. I could have done it straight away if she had the guts to call me instead of making me come here and leaving you to bail her out... As usual." He said offended.
Paige merely shrugged. "I'm used to it." she said.
Cole just gave her a look before walking out and shutting the door behind him.
"Oh Rider... I'm so glad we can be together again."
"My darling! I've missed you so much!"
Piper smiled watery at the scene in her favorite soap opera she was watching. She took a popcorn from the table beside the couch but before she could put it in her mouth, she popcorn burst to flames and turned into dust.
"What, no popcorns now either?!" she asked, looking at her belly. "You are seriously giving me a headache, baby."
Suddenly, before she realized it, a tall blonde demon shimmered into the room. She eyed Piper up and down, obviously torn between disgust and surprise.
"Who are you?" Piper asked, getting ready to freeze and blast if necessary.
The demon rose her eyebrows. "Funny, I was just about to ask you the same." she replied in a silk voice. "Tell me where the Charmed Ones are and I won't hurt you."
Then, out of nowhere, in completely calm voice, the demon spoke again, though in a completely different tone. Now she sounded rather determined. "1926, Louisiana. Passion is only an abbreviation of power."
Piper looked at her with surprise, trying to figure out what she was talking about. When the demon gave no sign of joking, she laughed. "I am one of the Charmed Ones, you freak, and unless you tell me what you're doing in my..."
The rest of that sentence remained unfinished, for the demon has thrown a potion at her. The electric blue shield appeared around Piper and blew the potion bottle to million pieces, sending its components flying in all directions.
"You picked a wrong house to just shimmer into, lady." Piper said as she waved her hands to blow her up but the demon was quicker. She shimmered out, leaving Piper dumbfounded.
Within a few seconds, Leo and Paige came running into the living room.
"Honey, are you okay?" Leo asked as he ran over to Piper and put his hand on her belly to check on their baby.
"Was it a demon?" Paige asked, looking all around.
"Yeah but she's gone." Piper said. "It was kinda weird, though. She asked me where the Charmed Ones were and then all of sudden threw some yucky potion at me."
Paige gave her an astonished glance. "She didn't know you were one of the Charmed Ones?"
"Apparently not." Piper replied. "Maybe she didn't know I was pregnant and it caught her off her guard? As much as I could tell, she had no idea about the force field our baby puts up on her mommy so I guess that would explain it."
"We should check the Book." Leo said.
"No, there's no point." Piper sighed. "She looked like an every ordinary human except for the potion she was carrying. We have nothing to identify her with, she could be anyone and work for anyone."
"Considering the amount of the info she had had on you, I'd say she is operating alone." Leo concluded.
"Okay well, I'll go call Phoebe." Paige said.
"Oh and get Cole while you're at it, too. We need them both. This is far more important than training." Piper uttered.
Paige laughed. "Oh, she's not training with Cole. She went to meet Jason and Cole went to work."
"Wait, what?!" Piper looked shocked. "Again?!"
"Yup." Paige nodded. "And Cole was kinda mad about it so would you mind if I just called Phoebe?"
"No, go ahead. I don't wanna deal with angry demons any more than you do right now." Piper said before taking a deep breath.
"I cannot believe that of all the nights this demonic chick could pick, she picked tonight!" Phoebe yelled as she entered the Manor.
"Maybe we should have called Cole instead." Paige said to Piper. "She's in the worse mood."
"Of course I'm in a bad mood, that demon just crushed what could have possibly been a perfect date!" Phoebe snapped. "And what do you mean, called Cole? Where is he?"
Paige looked at her sister guiltily. "He kinda got a little mad when I told him you weren't there for the training again so he left."
Phoebe closed her eyes regretfully. Regarding what hell Cole has put her through in the past, she really hated hurting him or making him mad. "Damn it."
"You had it coming, sis." Piper said simply.
"Spoken like a true big sister." Paige joked. "Oh and Pheebs, he told me to remind you that he doesn't believe in UFO."
"UFO?" Phoebe spun around and looked at Paige. "Paige! What did you tell him?"
"I sorta told him you got kidnapped by aliens." Paige said.
"PAIGE!" Phoebe roared.
"What? You told me I could tell him that or anything else..." Paige tried to justify herself.
"I was joking." Phoebe moaned.
"Look, as much as I'd like to stand here and watch the two of you ripping each other's heads off, I think we still have a demon bitch to vanquish." Piper said.
"Yeah... The demon of the week... We're on it." Phoebe groaned and started dragging to the attic.