Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed and any of their characters. I do, however, own the twins, and the other original characters in this series. Touch them and die.

To the readers: This is a story following the lives and lies of the Matthew-Mitchell family, the twins—Pandora and Phoenix—in particular. The continuity is that of "Forever Charmed", and of my previous story, "Special". It is set roughly a year after "Special".


Chapter One

The Dying Of Her Day

Summary: The setting sun foreshadows more than the nightly darkness in Paige's life.

The day was dying early, and she was in a hurry. In a hurry, pacing against the current of working people that had just punched out, she was determined to find her own. The blood was rushing to her head, causing her temples to pulsate and blur her vision. To her, she was the only one in color—a single drop of turquoise and black in an ocean of grey, weaving her way through the mundane others under the twilit sky.

"Paige!"

Her name resounded in her head once again, invoking fear. She didn't need this, not with the hundreds of cars that seemed to incessantly honk and intensify her headache. The strong masculine voice wasn't the one she had expected, nor the one she was looking for, and after a moment of halt, she continued to move.

The other drop had to be found before dark, before it was too late. She had let go for just a minute. One single minute; the single minute that would allow a flood to gush over her life, resulting in destruction that would call for powerful magic to repair.

She knew that neither she nor her sisters would ever be capable of possessing this power. And somewhere between her seemingly new fears and efforts to push past the blurs, Paige heard her.

"Mommy?"

And almost immediately, the suits were gone, and all that stood between Paige and her daughter was the dying season's air. The little girl who stood beside the crossing signal innocently stared at her mother through her hazel eyes, the setting sun casting a golden halo around her amber hair. Relieved to have finally found her, Paige approached her, her feeble lips slowly curving upwards to form a smile.

That was when the sun set. The moon seemed to have died with the sun, as the heavens no longer shone down on the Earth. The light was gone, as was everyone else. The cars no longer honked, and the only source of illumination came from the street lights that dimly flickered. The city that never sleeps had fallen into its darkest slumber.

Something was coming, something bad. It didn't take being a super-witch to figure that out. Motherly instinct kicked in and Paige drew her daughter close, stroking her hair in order to soothe her fear—to soothe both of their fears. But her daughter wasn't afraid. Instead, her angelic voice broke the gasping silence:

"Mommy, who's she?" She was pointing to the other side of the pedestrian crossing. Paige was stumped at what sight of the girl who stood on the other side. Adrenaline continued to circulate in her bloodstream, but Paige wasn't afraid anymore, she was excited that she had found another. Three feet tall, two inches. The same amber hair, tied back into braids. Those cheeks that one could pinch to no extent due to their cuteness, and the same button nose. Unlike the girl that stood in her arms, this one wore a frock as black as the darkness that surrounded them. Her hazel eyes seemed brighter, but she pouted at Paige.

"Why didn't you come looking?" she asked, in the same angelic voice as the girl she resembled.

Paige's lower lip quivered as she tried to form words. "Swe-eetie- I d–"

"Who is she?" the girl in her arms asked, more impatient. Paige's tear-filled eyes shifted back to her.

"She's…" Back to the girl in black. "She's… wait here," Paige whispered, hesitantly letting go of her and treading along the zebra-crossing. "I'm coming."

"Why didn't you look before?" the girl she was approaching asked, maintaining her stoic manner. Paige's step slowed down.

"I di-d… I'm com–"

"It's too late," the words pierced Paige's heart.

"No," Paige lied in disbelief, "It isn't."

"It's late, mommy," the girl she had left behind called out. Paige looked over her shoulder.

"No, sweetie–" She didn't want to lie. But in the end, all would be well; she could reel them out of this. Then why is your heart pounding? The voice in her head this time was now her own. Why does it hurt? Why is everything spinning? WHY?

"You were late," the girl-in-black's words echoed in the shadows as she repeated them.

"It's late," her daughter reminded her, her words beginning to take effect of those of the other.

"Late."

"Mommy, you're late."

"Why didn't you come?"

"We need to go."

Paige tossed her head from one side of the crossing to the other as the girls continued their monologues. Their voices became one, their words gibberish, and the echoes louder. The blood rushed to her head, causing her temples to blur her vision. Everything seemed to spin. What began as whispers now culminated into thunder. The pain grew. And then, just as she thought her eardrums were about to pop, it stopped.

An invisible force made her fall, or perhaps it was weakness. Paige pushed herself up and rested on her elbows. The girls were gone. But the darkness still stayed.

"You're too late," one of them stated, assuming the mellow tones of the whispers that started it all. "Look."

Paige turned around to where the girl in black stood. She wasn't there.

"Mommy?" that's when she turned to her daughter. The girl looked down at her mother, her face wet with blood. The crimson streaks that originated from her forehead stained her yellow t-shirt at her shoulders. More crimson stains were appeared at her abdomen, blood gushing forth and forming a pool at her daughter's flip-flops.

"It's late." But Paige was too dumbstruck by horror to deny it. She had failed yet again.

"Paige!" The masculine voice had returned, overloading her daily intake of fear. Paige hastened and sat up, covering her ears to quell the voices, but they only grew louder.

"You're too late."

"Why didn't you come?"
"Paige!"

"Mommy, we need to go"

"There's nothing you can do."

"Why didn't you look before?"

"PAIGE."

"Late."

"WHY?"

"PAIGE!"

Paige Matthews opened her eyes to the reality that was. Lounged on her black suede sofa, the fifty-two year old woke up to find her husband watching over her with worried eyes.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

"I'm fine," she lied, planting a quick peck on his lips and pushing herself up to sit. "So, how was your day at work?" she smiled, putting her left arm around him. He continued to gaze at her concerned, peering right through her transparent veneer.

"Well, one of my parolees decided to skip parole, so I had to see what he was up to," he began to narrate, letting her slip this time, "And then there were complaints of Old-Man Costner stirring up some domestic violence again. So yeah," he heaved a sigh, "pretty slow day. But it seems like you've been busy," he stated, looking around the hall.

While her husband was away at work, the Witchlighter had managed to decorate the apartment with blue and white streamers that lined the edges of the ceiling and unfurled at the corners. Balloons of the same color were placed at the points of unfurling and the along the base of the black balustrade that led up to and ran along the second floor.

"Honey, you do know that they're twenty, right?" he chuckled. Paige eased up and light-heartedly punched him on the arm.

"Well, they're sorta still my babies," she told him. "Which reminds me." She moved her arm from around her husband's shoulder and to the back of the sofa, searching for something. Once she had gotten grip, she pulled the cluster of blue and silver balloons in front of her, killing the space that lay between the two of them.

She closed her eyes and concentrated, her sole focus being the bunch of balloons. It took seconds for them to freely float from her trembling fingers, after which she opened her eyes and directed them with the stirring motion of her pale digits towards the foot of the balustrade, where they stuck to the double-sided tape she had earlier placed there.

"Personal gain," Paige heard a familiar voice from behind her call out. She turned to see her youngest sitting on the coffee table, staring at her with raised eyebrows and half a smile.

"Oh, don't go all Whitelighter on me!" she friendlily snapped . "And this doesn't count as personal gain. I'm doing it for my daughters," she proudly claimed.

"Actually," Henry Jr. continued, "Personal gain is when you use magic-"

"Save it for the charges, rookie," Paige interrupted. "I already know the definition."

"Alright, as impossible as this may sound," Henry Sr. cut in, preventing a potential Whitelighter banter, "Could we please cut the magic talk for just this once? Let's try and make tonight about the girls' birthdays." Both mother and son nodded in unison.

"Speaking of, where are the gruesome twosome?" Junior asked.

"Don't call them that!" Paige scolded, like she did when he was five. "Before my nap, Phoenix had gone for a one of her royal baths, I guess she's still in there. And Pandora–" Paige stopped smiling and stood up. She slowly approached glass window that spanned the width of her modern home. As Paige stared at the Manhattan skyline silhouetted against the twilit sky, her heart sank, the fear in her dream escaping into the realm of reality. The day was dying early, and she began to hurry, searching her pockets.

On having finally found what she was looking for, Paige pulled out the tiny remote-control like device and after halting a moment to catch her breath, she clearly annunciated the words:

"Pandora Matthews."

Across town, in an alleyway in the Bronx, a soft, feminine yet techno voice kept repeating "Mom calling" behind a dumpster. Pandora gritted her teeth and whispered "Answer" to make it stop.

"Pandora, sweetie, where are you?" Paige asked over the futuristic cell.

"Uh, at the library," Pandora lied, trying to keep her voice down.

"Okay, hurry home, honey, you don't wanna miss your own birthday dinner," Paige sweetly reminded her, sounding unconvinced, and then the call ended. Suddenly, a fireball hit the wall behind Pandora, missing her head by a few inches. Pandora peeked to see the demon she had foolishly pursued standing opposite the dumpster. On noticing that he had seen her, she jumped out of hiding, palm at her mouth and directed towards the demon. The demon raised his hand and produced a fireball. Pandora hastily blew through her mouth and powdered ice materialized, neutralizing the fireball and inhibiting the demon by coating him with a layer of thin ice.

Pandora ran into the labyrinth of alleys, trying to escape the demon. She knew that her power was only strong enough to keep the demon on ice for a minute or so. She usually wouldn't bother chasing demons, but her responsibility as a witch kept reminding her that it was necessary to protect the Innocent. And she couldn't bear to lose any more at the hands of this demon.

The sound of the ice cracking crept through the silent lanes, an angry roar overtaking it soon after. The demon zoomed through the lanes, his super speed aiding him to catch up with the witch. She had run into a dead end. There was no turning back.

He raised his hand, a twisted grin of triumph changing his face. This time it wasn't a fireball that had materialized in a fiery hue in his hand - it was an athamae. The witch would probably neutralize a fireball with her power again. The double-edged would do the job. On seeing her raise her hand, he acted quickly and threw the athamae at the witch's abdomen, but not before she had the chance to let out a final breath of ice. And with that, she dematerialized in coral and yellow light.

The demon's lips were frozen midway between a smirk and a grimace of anger. He felt immense pain as he was kicked in the shins and he fell to the floor. From behind him, Pandora paced towards the athamae and instantaneously stabbed him to a fiery death.

"Good thing I can clone," she stated, quite content with the vanquish.

"I've got her now." Pandora was startled at what she heard. She knew after twelve years that what she had just heard was through her second gift of telepathy. She didn't dare to turn. And then she heard the thought, the signal to duck. The assaulter was about to throw the knife, and then it left her hands.

Pandora had ducked just in time. When she opened her eyes, she saw the athamae stuck to the dead end. Pandora turned to face her attacker. It felt as if she had just used her cryokinesis on herself. She was stiff, cold, but not by magic. It was because of what she saw.

Her attacker was the spitting image of herself. Five-feet five-inches tall; tawny hair, falling all the way to her back. Cheekbones that could only be of Warren descent, accentuating the mirrored surprise in her eyes. She wasn't clad in jeans and a blue top like Pandora, but in black leather that easily spelt out "bad ass". But before Pandora could open her mouth, she disappeared in a similar light in which Pandora's clones materialized. She was certain that this wasn't a clone, for her doppelganger's departure was through Astral Projection.

End of Chapter One.


Author's Note:

I hope you enjoyed the chapter. I'm open to any criticism, speculation, and discussion. Leave a review, and I'll hopefully reply.