Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed.
((I wrote a one-shot called This Again, but I decided I wanted to keep going with it, so this is the story before and will continue after to anybody who read it.))
It was the brush in the living room. That day when the photo demon and J.D. showed up and you had to follow him around the city for hours. It was her white tank and cute pink sweater, it was her hands in her back pockets, it was her long, dark hair.
It was just Phoebe, really.
It was the short second your eyes met. It was that realization that there were sparks there that you had been hoping to feel with J.D. all day. It was surprising, in a quiet way, and inconsequential. It was soft, like her, and powerful, like her. It was the wisp of perfume she trailed as she stepped around you. It was that when he kissed you, suddenly, you found yourself thinking about her- even if only for a moment. It was that confident gaze that flicked into her eyes for a brief second.
It was all about her in one flash of feeling.
If you look back now, you realize that. Then, it just felt right and unimposing. Now, it feels like change.
It was Phoebe, actually.
And that's what made all the difference.
Bille stood by the kitchen sink, staring out into the low tree branches and the white stars shining through. The moon's glow reflected off her metallic blue top and up into her eyes. They were lost in her own thoughts, though, and she wasn't really seeing much. How could she have been so stupid? She should have known what would happen. She should have stopped him. She sure as hell shouldn't have kissed him. It was so stupid. She sighed, arms braced against the sink and eyes to the sky. She heard footsteps behind her and rolled her eyes tiredly.
"Billie-" It was Phoebe, surprisingly, and it caught the blonde off-guard for a moment, "-it's not your fault."
"Yes, it is." Billie responded without turning around. Her voice grew a little quieter and her eyes dropped to the sink. "I should have stopped him." She said simply.
"If you could have, you would have." Phoebe argued. She was the last of the Charmed Ones to come and argue this point and, to be frank, Billie couldn't deal with her words. Not with the way her heart thumped a little harder when the older girl looked at her, not wth the thoughts running through her head. Billie turned around quickly, her face a myriad of emotions that she hoped weren't too obvious. She was so stupid and mixed up and lost. "He didn't want you to." Phoebe told her. But why? There were tears in her eyes and she was still shocked by his death. She leaned back on the counter, unable to meet Phoebe's eyes.
"It's just so unfair. Why would J.D. come back after all this time just to die like this?" She was angry with herself, and with the way things had gone because they didn't feel real, but she knew they were. Things were so screwed up. Her eyes flicked across the kitchen, but they only landed on Phoebe's once. It was enough. The older girl was regarding her with an intensity that made Billie kind of nervous. Everything about Phoebe made Billie kind of nervous.
"We can't save every innocent." Phoebe told her gently, and Billie finally met her eyes. "We're witches, not...gods."
"I promised to protect him." Billie admitted fiercely. Phoebe gave her a grim half-smiled and glanced down at the counter she was leaning against. Billie's eyes traced her face, watched for answers. She didn't find many.
"Promises can be tricky." Phoebe told her, glancing back up. Billie looked away. "Sometimes, you just have to let things happen in their own time." Billie's eyes had been studying the ceiling, pushing back tears, but when she heard those words she looked back down into Phoebe's eyes. The girl was staring at her steadily, something glimmering in her dark depths. "In their own way." Billie watched her cursiously and those unwanted thoughts returned. It shifted the entire feel of the conversation. "Everything happens for a reason."
Billie had to look away. Phoebe's eyes felt like they were plowing right through her brain- though she didn't have anything to hide. Did she? She felt uncomfortable under the look; a little warm. Wanted. She shifted her jaw and thought about J.D. and good reasons. And bad reasons. And why a girl was making her uncomfortable. She sighed.
"I'm gonna go back up and help, okay?" Phoebe moved around the counter and placed a hand on Billie's shoulder. "It's okay, Billie." Bille nodded, looking across the kitchen. She moved her eyes back to Phoebe's and there was a moment of spark between them, a hum of electricity. They felt so close, energy thrumming between them, and too far away. Phoebe removed her hand and walked away. Billie watched her go.
Phoebe closed the bedroom door on the last of the misplaced people who were now inhabiting her house. A few them were even sleeping in her bedroom. She sighed quietly and headed toward the end of the hallway. She placed her hand on the banister and yawned a little. She and her sisters had spent the better part of the night explaining everything to the jumble of innocents and comforting the hysterical ones. There had been a lot of hysterical ones. Her hair was mussed, there were tear stains on her jacket, and her back ached, but it all felt worth it. It always did.
She entered the kitchen to find Piper and Paige standing by the island, steaming cups of tea in their hands. Paige handed her one without a word. Phoebe climbed onto a bar stool and blew on it carefully.
"What time is it?" She spoke through a yawn.
"Almost five." Leo replied as he walked into the kitchen. "Everybody's settled in the living room."
"Yeah, but what are we gonna do with them tomorrow?" Piper asked as Leo found a spot beside her.
"I'll talk to the Elders." Paige offered. "Maybe they can send them back to their time, or something." There was a blanket of exhaustion over everyone.
"Sounds good." Phoebe said.
"I'm gonna sleep in the boys' room." Piper said, setting her cup down and starting toward the door. "Good night." Leo followed her.
"Night." He echoed. Phoebe turned to Paige to ask her how Billie was doing, but the half-whitelighter sighed and set down her mug as well.
"And there's my charge." She sent a fake, ironic smile Phoebe's way and tilted her head. There was never a chance she wouldn't answer. She disappeared in a flurry of blue lights and Phoebe gazed down into her tea mug. Her thoughts were drifting, suprisingly, to Billie. The girl they were supposed to be teaching so she could help with the demon fighting. Something clenched, not entirely unpleasantly, in her stomach when she thought about the blonde. Her name felt foreign and new in her mind and the feelings associated with it were very familair.
They were her crush feelings. Except Billie was a girl and Phoebe was a girl, so crushes didn't really work that way. Maybe she was just proud. That was probably it. Except her stomach didn't feel like that whenever she thought about someone she was proud of. And she didn't want to run her fingers through their hair, or make them laugh, or get to know everything. And that was stupid because she had just broken up with Dex and it was no time to get into a new relationship. But Bille...was here. The kitchen door opened quietly and the blonde slowly walked in backwards, easing the door shut. She had successfully closed it without a sound, when Pheobe spoke.
"Billie." Phoebe said her name with a hint of warmth and a load of suprise. The younger girl whirled around, something guilty on her face.
"Hey. Um...I was just gonna stay here if that's okay, I didn't want to go all the-"
"It's fine." Phoebe interrupted her, smiling. Billie smiled back, a little nervously.
"Tea?" Phoebe offered, gesturing toward Paige's still steaming cup.
"Sure." Billie accepted, sliding onto the stool beside Phoebe. They sat in comfortable, tired silence, except Phoebe's heart kind of sped up with Billie's arm brushed her's and she couldn't stop thinking about how close the girl was. It was just hormones, she told herself. But when Billie looked over and gave her that half-confident, half-shy smile, Phoebe kind of felt like glowing.
It was a cool morning, crisp and windy, and the breeze caught blonde hair and tossed the wavy locks around her face. It whipped at the white rose clutched between her fingers and fought to get under her coat. Billie pulled it closer to her and knelt down carefully, the sun glaring down through the cool air.
Billie thought about what Phoebe had said- she tried to think about the words and not everything she felt about them. It just felt right to show something. To prove that not everyone had forgotten and that someone never would. It was the first innocent she had lost and she didn't see it getting any easier. As she brushed away leaves and placed the white rose on his gravestone, she sighed softly.
She thought about her sister and wondered if there was an unmarked grave somewhere with her under it. She thought about the ten or so people currently living in the Halliwell manor in the wrong time.
She thought about Phoebe and the way her eyes shone in the dark kitchen, and the way her words melted when they hit Billie. She thought maybe- maybe -she was getting a girl crush on a Charmed One.
She sighed and traced letters on the gravestone. She said her goodbyes.