Inner Thoughts, Dialogue, or reading passages from books and scrolls
(Quick Notes and Messages or Echoes.)
(Dark over lapping echoes)
''Boss Summons, Demons, Dark beings speaking, Demonic/Angry characters Speaking as well as extremely Dark spells and Magic.''
''You're kidding right?'' Piper responded to her dream man's statement with much skepticism. They were sitting in a exact replica of the manor's dining room.
''I'm quite serious I think you should see other men in the meantime. There is no telling how long it's going to take for us to meet. I don't want you putting your life on the hold and miss any opportunities to live life a little.''
''And you aren't just a little bit concerned that I might find someone and I might move on?''
''Hhm...A little,'' the dream man said as he ran his fingers through a bit of her hair. ''...but I won't stand in the way of your happiness. And how else are we supposed to find each other? There are things I'm still trying to find out myself. Like why we can tell each other everything but our names. I know your favorite color, your meal, and hobbies but things tend to fizz out when I so much as try to find out your name. It's the damnest thing really. I'm really beginning to think that there is something more to this we're not seeing. Regardless I won't stop searching for an answer and as I recall you having a boyfriend never stopped us before.'' Despite the fact his hand had his mouth covered Piper could practically feel his smirk as his eyes gave it away.
Piper couldn't help but feel a bit sheepish at the statement. Prior to finding out about the truth of her now dead ex she felt a little guilty, but that was before the dreams started to become more than just dreams. They were becoming more and more real now. And he had always been there to comfort her, to reassure her.
''Look...I might go on a date, but only to help move on. I'm not really sure I'm all that ready to develop a relationship you know.'' she said, bringing up the fact that the Jeremy thing wasn't too long ago.
''Yeah, I guess I can understand. Now...'' the man started to say as he pulled out a bag from behind the couch. ''I say we go with this little number,'' he said handing her a bag. Pipers looked inside, and while looking quite aghast she pulled out a dress that made her 'dessert wear' look tame in comparison. ''Oh you have no shame do you?''
''Hey what can I say?'' he said with a shrug. ''They call me Shameless for a reason.''
Another day had begun for what could only begin for the recently magical empowered trio of sisters. Still trying to get used to their new powers and duty the sisters were making small strides despite a set back or were trying to get used to being Witches, but were more or less focusing on their mortal lives, pushing aside their duty until an innocent was in danger or they were attacked.
Prudence Halliwell, the oldest of Patty Halliwell, a witch, and Victor Bennett, a mortal. With the power of Telekinesis and being the oldest she was the most powerful of the three sisters.
While Piper's Molecular immobilization was a marvelous power and Phoebe's premonitions were a sought after power for those who tried to control fate the power of Telekinesis was truly a deadly power in the hands of an experienced warrior.
It was a shame the girl had to sacrifice her childhood to become a surrogate mother to her two sisters. She, like her sisters was a beauty with her dark, almost black brown hair wore in a short bob that was slightly longer then her youngest sister's hair. Her clothing was that of classy and professionally.
While Prue was the responsible and serious one, the middle one, Piper was definitely kind, caring, and sweet if not sarcastic and quick-witted. Naruto found that attractive in her. She seemed to have a passion for cooking. She seemed a bit meek though so he would have to come up with some challenges that would work her out of that. Her style of clothing was conservative and she wore her dark brown hair a moderate length with bangs.
Then there was the youngest, Phoebe. With the power of Premonitions she wasn't as reserved as her two sisters. Unfortunately she and Prue haven't been able to see eye to eye as of yet. It was a shame that some man who was being sleaze had furthered a rift between the two sisters. Then there was the fact her power wasn't practical for combat so she would be viewed as a weak link.
The cry of a bird overhead interrupted Naruto's thoughts. With speed nearly unmatched he took off at the bird, leaving gusts of wind in its wake that seemed nothing more than a strong breeze to the ordinary inhabitants of San Francisco. Gliding along the street he made a sharp turn into an alleyway and floated up to the top of one of the city's large buildings. Above head a large flock of Artic Terns in a circle. Soon they converged and formed the humanoid sake of a young woman with hair of frost.
''Gwendolyn has locked a pocket of reality where the Avatars may be hidden. They appear to be waiting for a particular individual to add to their fold.''
''And the research?''
''No luck in finding the Ancient Egyptian Potion capable of vanishing.''
''Keep looking then. The Avatars are a powerful and dangerous group. There's no telling what lengths they would go to succeed their objective. Any news of Zankou's seal?''
''He is still locked away. As long as there is a Source we won't have to worry about him.''
''And what of the Triad? Zankou may not be a problem until the Source is dead, but I definitely know the Triad isn't as loyal to the Source as they proclaim.''
''I was able to shake down a demon known as Reinhardt. I read into his mind and he was ordered to kidnap one Christy Jenkins. A prophecy of Ultimate Power and she is the key. She is now but a child, but it is without a doubt they are reeducating her as she speak.''
''Who do we have that will fit right in for infiltration?''
''Miska would be pretty well suited.''
''Very well send Miska. As for the Jenkin's Girl.''
''She has a sister. One who is but also a child, a Billie Jenkins, age 12.''
''Hhm...put a guard on her. Right now I have other things to do.''
''And the paper establishment you wanted me to track?"
"Right. What was the address again?"
''21673 Allen Ave, Fifth and Hyde.''
''I'll look into it. You're dismissed." Naruto ordered the woman who transformed into a flock of winter birds and left him to his thoughts.
Many things suck about dying, ask Mark Chao. Its one thing to die on your birthday, but add in being gunned down then life definitely wasn't fair. Being gunned down by the gangster Tony Wong just because you looked a lot like him was definitely a fucked up way to die. Considering afterwards his body was lit on fire so it couldn't be identified.
Elsewhere at the Halliwell mansion one Piper Halliwell walked into the kitchen. She was carrying a slip of paper and a pen in her hand.
She opened the refrigerator and looked at the things inside for a moment. She then closed the refrigerator door and walked over to the desk. She opens the drawer and finds SURPRISE PARTY invitations inside and incomplete.
She gathered the invitations out of the drawer and sighs as she heads over to the table to finish them. She adds a bit of confetti to the envelope with the invitation.
''Good morning.'' Phoebe greeted, pausing upon seeing what Piper was doing. ''What are you doing? Prue's coming down. Put those away.'' Phoebe heads for the table to hide them.
''Phoebe, you were supposed to send these invitations last week. The party is Friday.'' Piper responded exasperated. Despite her 'good' morning, not to mention finally being able to get some sleep didn't mean the stress of normal life then still irk her now and then.
''And we're right on schedule the restaurant's reserved, the menu's selected, and the cake has been ordered. '' Phoebe listing off as she hid the invitation envelopes in the drawer.
''That's because I did all those things. At least tell me you've managed to buy Prue something other than your traditional birthday gift.''
''What's my traditional gift?'' Phoebe responded a little irk.
''A card, three days late.'' she answered her sister in utter deadpan.
Phoebe bit her lip, looking a little flustered.'' Yeah. Well, I decided to break that tradition and start a new one.''
''You bought Prue a gift?'' Piper responded, quite surprised at the revelation.
Phoebe gave a slight nod and Piper added slyly. "Where'd you get the money to pay for it?" she decided to ask, a little suspicious knowing that Phoebe wasn't a career orientated person.
The conversation is halted when Prue walks into the kitchen.
''Morning.'' Prue greeted as she walked into the kitchen. She went over to the fridge and scoured the shelves looking for something to drink.''
''Good morning. Hey, I forgot to ask. How was your date with Andy?'' Piper asked, deciding to put her discussion with Phoebe on hold as to not obviously spoil the surprise.
''Great...until he asked me to spend my birthday at a spa with him.'' Prue replied carefully, turning to face her sisters.
"Oh, I hate it when they do that." Phoebe responded, the sarcasm evident in her voice. Piper
''For this weekend? You didn't say yes, did you?'' Piper tried to inquire while trying not to be too obvious.
''Well, my body did. Screamed it, actually, but I don't know. I just have to think about it.'' Prue explained, glancing at Piper who gave a slight nod.
''A weekend of rest, rubdowns, and room service? What's to think about? '' Phoebe angrily slams her notebook on the table. Phoebe sees Piper's glare and immediately changes her tune. ''I mean, you could be right. Going away with a guy is like...''
''It's like bringing them home to meet the parents. It changes everything. And if you're not sure if you're ready to make a commitment or not, you know, you don't want to send the wrong signal.''
''Plus, you need a week to prepare for a weekend away. I mean, there's the lingerie shopping, waxing, manicure, pedicure, I mean, it's basically a full-time job, and you've already got one. So you'll never be ready. Not even if you started packing this second.''
''Wow.'' Prue responded, wondering just where all that came from.
''Bottom line, unless you're ready to put your toothbrush next to his, you shouldn't go.''
''You guys aren't trying to plan another surprise party for me, are you?'' Prue asked suspiciously.
''No never.'' Piper answered immediately, turning her gaze to look down at her hands.
''We've given up on surprising you, Prue.'' Phoebe lied casually. Prue nodded slightly and turned to leave.
''That's good, because you both know how much I hate surprises.''
Prue grabs her drink and leaves. Piper glares at Phoebe.
''Ah ... damn it, Phoebe, if you had sent Andy his invitation, we wouldn't be in this mess.''
''Okay, what are you talking about? You heard Prue. She doesn't want a party. So you should be glad that I flaked. Besides that, you know as well as I do she's going to go away with Andy. Now if you will excuse me, I have a present to pay for, which means I have a job interview.''
Phoebe sweeps out of the kitchen leaving Piper more frustrated than ever.
At the Hotel Neptune Phoebe as putting her plans into action to use her gift of premonitions as a sign to play as Hotel psychic. Frankie, the hotel manager, shows Phoebe around the hotel bar.
''No other hotel does psychic readings at the bar. It's kind of our trademark.''
''Well, that's why I'm here. I saw your ad in The Chronicle. I am a natural born psychic.''
''Yeah right.'' Frankie scoffed. ''So what's your act? Tea leaves? Tarot cards? Crystal balls? What?''
''No, I can see the future. I mean, I can't always see it, I never actually know when it's going to work. Usually when I touch someone, or I'm in the same general area as them. It's kind of hard to explain.''
Unconvinced, Frankie looks past Phoebe intending to brush her aside.
''No, wait. Frankie.'' Phoebe grabs him. ''Hold it.'' He stops. I see it. You're having dinner with a blonde woman. She's gorgeous, all over you. Then some redhead shows up. You look surprised. Ooh. She looks pissed.'' Then with shock she exclaims. ''Your wife!''
Frankie smiles. He turns around and looks at Phoebe. 'When can you start?''
Meanwhile while Prue was at Work at Buckland Stock house she was conversing with Piper who was on the phone at the mansion.
''So did you make your mind up about Calistoga?''
''I don't know. I keep thinking it's a bad idea, but then I think, well, what's the big deal? It's not like we haven't already slept together.''
Meanwhile back at the Manor Piper. ''I think you should go ... on Saturday.'' Piper had trailed off slightly before deciding on a day.
''On Saturday, why? Piper, you promised no surprise party.''
''It's not what you think. It's Phoebe. She bought you a present.''
Back at Buckland's with Prue. '' Phoebe doesn't give presents. She gives cards three days late.'' Prue countered, trying to tidy up her desk as much as possible with the painting in the way. On the other line, Piper smiled at the comment they had mentioned earlier that morning.
''Not this year. Surprise.' she announced pleasantly. ''And she really wants to give it to you Friday, so could you please just ask Andy about leaving on Saturday instead?''
''You have no idea how much Phoebe has put herself through. She even...''Piper picks up the newspaper. ''...she even got a job and everything.''
The ad circled in the newspaper reads:
''Hey, I'll ask, if I decide to go. So what kind of job did Phoebe get?''
''Don't know. Got to go. Ciao.'' Piper quickly hung up the phone and looked down at the newspaper with a sigh, before heading over to coat rack to grab her coat and heading out the door.
At the Hotel Neptune Phoebe was doing her thing. On a large poster board advertising THE AMAZING PHOEBE, Psychic Revelations. A photo of Phoebe in a genie costume graces the center of the board.
Phoebe is sitting at the bar with a middle-aged woman. On the center of the table is a large glass for cash tips.
''You're in a large room with lots of other people. With lots of other women.''
''Go on." The woman prompted patiently.
"You're standing on a podium, no wait; you're on a scale…" Phoebe elaborated and then fell into a fit of giggles while the woman's smile fell to an embarrassed frown. "It's a weight watchers meeting…Ooh, honey, it looks like you've gained some weight." She finished sympathetically. The woman's eyes flashed and she stood up abruptly.
"That's impossible. I only cheated once this week." She snapped grabbing her bags. Phoebe frowned slightly and stood up as well.
"No, no. I'm not judging, I'm just seeing." She explained quickly.
"You're a fraud. That's what you are. I've never been so insulted in my life. I want my twenty dollars back." The woman argued, reaching out at the jar of money that was placed on the table between them. Phoebe seeing her movements deftly reached to grab the jar before her.
"No way I saw you. You know I saw you." She argued back, pointing her finger accusingly back at the woman. The woman, looking irritated, turned and walked away without another word. "Hey, you want me lie next time, just say so!" Phoebe yelled after.
''Fancy meeting you here Miss Halliwell.'' A familiar cool voiced said causing the Witch to turn back toward her table to see Naruto standing there.
''Naruto!'' Phoebe exclaimed in surprise as the blond took a seat. ''Uum...what are you doing here?'' She nervously asked, fidgeting a bit.
''A friend of mine knows the guy who owns this place. I'm here looking for prospects for him...but enough about that. I didn't expect to see you here...'' He looks at the poster. ''The amazing Phoebe huh?''
Phoebe rubbed the back of her head in embarrassment. ''Well I um...you see.''
''I have an old friend who's plenty Clairvoyant. It's really an amazing gift. The power of Foresight, Retro-cognition, Psychometry, etc, etc, is a powerful and over looked gift.''
''You seem to know a lot on the subject. What can you tell me?'' Phoebe asked a curious look on her face.
"Well in order to receive premonitions initially you have to have contact with an object or person that will later be involved with said visions. Eventually when you grow more powerful you can remain lucid and don't have to touch objects. Also one can send visions to another person as long as their Clairvoyant as well.''
''How would you grow about controlling them?'' she decided, curious about what else she could expect about her power.
''It's really about practice. You can call of them, if you concentrate with a particular object or person. Though, it's more than just having visions of a nearby future. One can see into the past and future if they grow powerful enough. Like for instance if you were to take my hand and concentrate you should have a vision.''
''I don't know...I mean I'm more of a novice...psychic you know, a novice psychic.''
''Well it's just for fun right? Here...'' Naruto pulled a crisp hundred from his wallet.
''I...I can't take this.'' she said, startled by Naruto's generous offer.
''Phoebe relax think of it as a loan from a friend." He held out his hand. ''You trust me right.''
''Okay...but I...'' Phoebe's eyes seemed to glaze as she had a vision.
She saw herself, Prue and Piper were sitting on the bed in a room they didn't recognize. Naruto then walked in and sat in a chair opposite of them.
''Are you sure you three are ready?''
The three sisters shared a glance before nodding.
''The result will leave us in an unbreakable alliance. But very well, I won't question the decision anymore. From this day on I welcome you three to the...''
''...oebe...Phoebe you okay?'' Naruto asked, shaking her.
''Huh?'' In a bit of haze Phoebe slowly came back. ''Yeah...'' What was that?
''So? What did you see?''
Phoebe said the first thing that came to her mind. ''Costume...a costume party.'' The images of the vision still fresh in her mind. This day forth?
''Huh...that's odd... I suppose I should go and get my costume then. Anyway it was nice chatting with you. I have to go...''
''Wait! How am I supposed to contact you? If I have any other questions...you know about Premonitions?''
''Huh! Let's see!" Naruto went about patting his pants and shirt pocket. ''Ah! Here we go!'' He took a card out of shirt with his home address, email and cell phone number.
''I recently had my numbers changed, with me just moving here and all and I'm still trying to remember that there changed. Hey maybe you can give me a tour around the city sometime, show me all the hot spots.''
''In that case, I'll see you later,'' Naruto said, flashing a smile and waving.
''Yeah...later.'' A small smile formed on Phoebe's face.
''Be-careful of Warlocks!'' She heard him called back as she raised an eyebrow. She didn't have long to contemplate as she heard one of her sisters call for her.
''Piper. Ha. I am so busted aren't I?'' Phoebe laughed nervously. Piper was staring at her in disbelief.
''Are you out of your mind again?'' Piper demanded, causing Phoebe's smile to disappear.
She quoted, pointing toward the sign that said exactly that. ''No. I'm the Amazing Phoebe.''
''This is not funny. Our powers are supposed to be a secret, not a marketable job skill.'' Piper hissed at her, while looking around to make sure no one was in earshot.
''Relax. They didn't hire me because they think I'm a witch. They hired me because they think I'm a psychic.'' she whispered back.
''Hair-splitting. You know you can't use your powers for personal gain. Not without consequences.''
''No, but it's for Prue. It's not for me. It's to pay for her present. It's completely selfless. Besides, this is the last place anyone would expect to find a real psychic. Believe me.''
Mark Chao walks up to them. He was a young man, maybe in his mid-twenties, Asian, short dark hair and a look of exasperation was on his face.
''Which one of you is the psychic?'' The man called out to them hastily.
''She is.'' Piper snapped in Phoebe's direction with disapproval.
''Oh, I am.'' Phoebe agreed, holding her hand up in the air.
''You can see me? Both of you?'' He asked them, first surprised then relieved.
''Of course we can see you. Now back off.'' Piper snapped once more.
''Oh, thank god. I've tried communicating with every psychic in the city. Y-you were my last chance.''
The manager walks up to them.
''Phoebe. What are you doing? You've got customers waiting.'' Frankie said impatiently, but Mark interrupts. ''Okay, listen to me. You're the only ones who can help me.
''Excuse us. We're trying to have an argument here.'' Piper told Mark.
Frankie turns to look who Piper's talking to, but sees no one there. He looks back at Piper.
''Who are you?'' He asked quickly and Phoebe forced a laugh.
''Uh ... she's just leaving. Bye. Go. Now.''
Piper turns and leaves. Mark, not one to miss the opportunity, follows her out of the hotel.
''Wait a minute. I need your help.'' He pleaded. Piper didn't cast him another glance as she made her way outside.
''Yeah? Talk to the psychic.''
Piper and Mark walk out of the hotel.
''Please, I'm begging you. I was murdered last night. I can prove it.'' he tried to desperately tell her as she continued to follow her down the street.
''Stop harassing me, buddy.'' Piper snapped throwing her hand out pointedly and continuing to otherwise ignore him.
''Please, I'm desperate. You got to help me.''
''Leave me alone, or I'll call the police. Can you believe this guy?'' She asks a random woman that was walking by.
The woman walking by turns and sees Piper talking with no one. Piper continues to walk toward her car.
''All you have to do is come with me to Chinatown and see for yourself.''
''All right. That's it. Look, either back off or... look out!'' Piper shouts out a warning to Mark, but he doesn't see the bike rider riding toward him. The bike rider passes clear through Mark.
He turns to look at Piper.'' Now do you believe me?''
''Oh, my god. I can see you, but no one else can.'' she stated, finally realizing what the ghost had been trying to tell her.
''I'm dead. I'm a ghost.''
Prue finally arrived at Quake and began shifting through the busy crowds trying to find him. After a few minutes of searching she spotted him with a woman relatively within her age range, with pretty long blond hair.
Prue walked through the busy crowd, searching the tables for Andy. She spotted him at the very back of the restaurant sitting with a woman who had to be around the same age as Prue. Prue glanced at them curiously but continued to advance until Andy looked up and saw her.
''So this little boy says to his girlfriend, he says, "...if you let me kiss you, I'll show you my brass belly button." The woman giggles. ''So he leans over and he gives her a kiss, right on the cheek.'' Andy leans forward and kisses the woman on her cheek. Prue walks up to the table interrupting them.
''Hi.'' Prue greeted a little awkwardly, glancing toward the woman and back at Andy.
"Prue." His greeting was a mixture of cheerfulness and surprise.
"Um… I tried calling the station house for you and they said that you would probably be here." She explained and then glanced at the woman again. "Hello."
"Hi." The woman greeted. Shortly after an uncomfortable silence formed as Prue looked over at Andy, waiting for an introduction or some sort of explanation. He seemed to had caught on as he stood up to introduce them to each other.
"Oh, Prue, this is um…" Andy began, but the woman beat him to it.
"Susan, Susan Trudeau. Nice to meet you, Pleasure." She finished politely shaking Prue's hand. Prue's smile flickered a moment to a look of confusion and suspicion.
"Trudeau? Sister?" Prue asked hopefully.
''No. Actually...'' before Andy could finish Susan beat him to the punch once more.
"Ex-wife" Andy re-corrected anxiously as he watched Prue carefully. Prue forced a small smile before turning and walking abruptly away. With a moment's glance back at Susan, Andy followed Prue trying to explain. "Prue, wait, I can explain." He called after her.
''Don't bother.'' She angrily remarked as she continued her way out the door. She caught sight of a desert cart and used her power to move it in front of Andy's path. ''No, it's not what you think. We're divorced...'' Andy insisted just before the desert trolley moved into his path, causing him to bump into it, sending both himself and the cakes crashing to the ground. He let out a deep sigh as he saw Prue exit the restaurant without a backward glance.
In the streets of China Town Piper was helping one recently murdered ghost.
''Thanks for helping me.''
''When you wouldn't leave my front door step, you didn't leave me much of a chance. '' Mark leads Piper into the alleyway where he was murdered.
''Maybe this isn't such a good idea.'' Piper said, a bit hesitant as she glanced at the shadows nervously.
''Please, I don't have much time. Somebody has to find my body before it's too late.'' Mark insisted to a reluctant Piper who relented and followed.
''Too late for what?'' the nervousness in her voice came out more evident than she wanted to relent. Whatever could frightened a ghost, a being that was already dead it was something to worry about.
''It's a Chinese myth. At least I always thought it was a myth. It's called da hoi, when the gates of hell open. We're almost there.''
''The Gates of Hell? I don't understand.'' Piper admitted, biting her lip slightly.
''If the gatekeeper, Yama, captures my soul before my body's properly buried, he'll take me to Hell. Forever.''
''But you said you were murdered. How can...'' She started to ask when Mark interrupted.
''Yama doesn't care about good or evil. He just wants souls. I should've listened to my mother.''
They reach the spot. Piper looks down and gasps. The body is burned to a crisp and not recognizable.
Is that you?" Piper whispered. Mark gave a slight nod to her question. At the far end of the alleyway, a white mist rises. Through the mist, an ancient Asian figure appears in costume, riding an armored horse and carrying a large staff.
Mark turns and sees the figure galloping toward them.
"Yama!" Mark exclaimed, taking step back. Piper spun around and jumped backwards in fear.
"Yama?" She asked, beginning to panic. "Run" Piper managed to order waving her hands at him to try and get him to move. Mark shook his head sadly
''It's too late. You better go. Run!''
Piper waves her hands and freezes Yama.
''What happened?'' He asked simply and Piper shifted from foot to foot uncertainly.
"I'm a good witch, remember?" Piper answered softly.
"I don't know. I panic, I put up both hands and bad things tend to freeze." She explained quickly, her eyes still staring at Yama.
"For how long?" Mark wondered aloud and Piper reached toward him as if to pull him along.
"Not very, let's go." She ordered and they ran hastily down the alley away from Yama. Just as they reached the end of the alley Yama unfroze, his eyes glowing angrily.
They both turn and run out of the alleyway. As soon as she disappears from sight, Yama unfreezes. He points his long staff and gallops down the alleyway and stops near the body. He turns his head and in the blacked holes of his warrior's mask, his eyes glow eerily.
During that time Prue had arrived home, still hurt and upset by the little tidbit she had recently learned. She had arrived and wanted to take a nice soak to get her mind off things when the telephone rang. Upon answering it she then learned that Piper in fact did plan a surprise party. Getting off the phone her annoyance only elevated when it seemed like the universe was conspiring against her as the doorbell rang.
''Look Andy go away! I don't want to...'' she started to say as she opened the door only to come face to face with Naruto.
''Well geez Miss Halliwell you could at least remember my name.'' the blond said feigning mock hurt.
''Sorry...thought you were someone else. What are doing here?'' she asked, surprised that the blond had shown up on her doorstep.
''Piper called me. Apparently she has a ghost problem.''
''Ghost? As in spirits?'' she skeptically asked.
''You're a witch and you've met warlocks and a demon. As someone who can move things with their mind should you really be skeptical?"
She sighed, realizing she was not going to get that bath. ''Come in...'' she said, closing the door behind the blond as he walked in.
''Did I tell you girls how nice this place is? It really is nice.'' he said despite the fact he didn't look around like any newcomer or guest would.
''Well it's been in the family of generations.''
''So what's up? You didn't seem so happy when you opened the door. Problems?''
''I just learned someone isn't who I thought he was.'' she said as she led the blond into the kitchen. She then pulled out a carton of juice and poured herself a glass.
''Oh...man problems? Let me guess it's the cop right? He's gay?'' Unfortunately at that time Prue was taking a sip of her drink and upon hearing that Prue couldn't help but end up doing a spit take on Naruto. She covered her mouth as she couldn't stop herself from laughing. ''Oh my god I'm so sorry.'' She couldn't help herself. Andy? Gay? After what they did a couple of days ago Prue had more Whine then she thought or Andy was a hell of an actor.
''This was a nice shirt.'' he mumbled looking down at the mess. ''And it's on my pants too.'' He said with a sigh. ''Good thing I'm wearing shorts underneath. Can I use your washer?''
''Yeah...I'm really, really sorry.'' she said as the blond took off his shirt. ''L-Let me go get you a towel,'' she said as she sat down the cup and went to the bathroom to get a towel. Naruto took off his shirt and toss it on the table and began undoing his belt when Prue walked in with a towel. ''I'll, let me take care of that,'' she said picking up his shirt.
''Thanks,'' he said as he started struggling with his belt. ''Damn belt...I think I put a loop too tight.''
''Need help?'' Prue asked, sitting the shirt back on the table as Naruto nodded.
''It'd be appreciated.''
''Hey I'm home, so how was whoaaa!'' Phoebe had to do a double-take at what she was seeing. ''So...what's going on here?'' From her point of view it looked like Prue was trying to take off Naruto's pants.
''Hey Phoebe!'' Naruto greeted, seemingly unfazed by what was going on. ''Nothing much, Prue was trying to help me get my pants off.'' And Naruto's comments really weren't helping the matter either. He really could be a bastard sometimes when it came to doing a joke.
''No! It's not what it looks like! I got some of my juice on Naruto so I was helping him out of his clothes.'' she paused, upon realizing how that sounded. ''I mean...well you know what I'm trying to say. I was trying to be nice.''
''Wow Sis, if that's nice I wonder what you do for a guy when you really like him.''
Thankfully for Prue's sanity Piper would only arrive later that evening giving time for Naruto's clothes to wash and for him to get redressed while she at last got that nice hot relaxing bath she was craving. Though in hindsight she wished she hadn't told Phoebe the surprise party was off before she went to take a bath.
Phoebe pounds on the bathroom door.
''Prue, you can't do this. Piper's going to be crushed.'' She called desperately only to turn around to find Piper, who glanced at her curiously.
"I'm going to be crushed?" Piper asked uncertainly.
Prue opens the bathroom door clad in a bath towel.'' The surprise party is off.'' Prue explained icily. Piper feigned a look of ignorance.
"What party?" She wondered aloud, looking toward Phoebe for help. Phoebe just shook her head in response.
"She's on to you. The restaurant called while we were out." Phoebe replied and Piper frowned, giving up at pretending she didn't know what they were talking about.
''Oh. Is that why you were so upset earlier?'' Piper didn't think that a party would upset Prue that much.
''Let's just say it hasn't been a great day.'' the eldest responded cryptically.
''Does it have anything to do with why Andy's been calling all night?''
Phoebe interrogated. Prue was about to respond but another voice drew their attention.'' Piper, where'd you say today's paper was?''
Mark steps into the hallway looking for Piper. He stops when he sees Prue. And what a sight he was seeing. Like any straight male he couldn't help but state seeing a wet, almost naked, and attractive female before him.
''Hey, I'm practically naked here!'' Prue cried out indignantly as she tightened the towel around her form.
He turns his head, but doesn't leave.'' Whoops. Sorry.'' he apologized rather unconvincingly.
''What's the drunk from the hotel doing here?'' Phoebe asked, momentarily forgetting her quest to convince Prue not to avoid the party.''
''The name's Mark, and I'm not a drunk.'' He replied rather miffed.
''He's a ghost.'' Piper explained quickly, biting her lip. Prue's eyebrows rose.
''Excuse me. A what?'' Phoebe replied, wondering if she heard Piper right.
''A ghost. He was murdered, and he obviously needs our help. Why else would we be able to see him?''
Phoebe tries to use her jacket to cover Prue. '' Well, he can see us. That's for sure.''
''Of all the days to be a dead man.'' He muttered to himself.
''You sure this guy's really a ghost?'' Piper tosses the mug to Mark. It passes right through him and nearly hits Naruto as it smashes on the floor behind him.
''Sorry!'' Piper sheepishly replied.
The sisters, with a dressed Prue and Naruto joined together in the kitchen to discuss Mark's situation. ''So, how do we know that the guy doesn't really belong in Hell?'' Phoebe asked, peeking over Piper's shoulder at Mark who was attempting to touch, anything.
''Because we can see him so he's one of the innocent we have to protect.''
''Protect from what? He's dead.'' Prue stated.
''Spirits who don't pass on can be feasted upon by a number of things. Soul devourers, Dream Eaters, and the likes. They normally stick to their particular gimmick, but there are the odd ones that seek out souls. Then the spirits can be captured and sold into slavery or be used as fuel for power or rituals. So in other words the end result is usually eternal torment of being in someone's stomach or spending an eternity hunting places. It's really a miserable existence as poltergeists can end up in various shapes and sizes and any place really. Either Malevolent or Benevolent it's really for the best to help them move on.'' the blond added his bit of knowledge.
''Wow...you really know a lot about this stuff.'' Piper complemented as Naruto nodded.
''I like to read.'' he responded with a simple shrug.
''Ok so all we have to do is get Mark's family to give him the proper burial, and then he can move on to wherever it is he moves on too.''
''Okay, so I'll call the police and let them know where the body is.'' Prue suggested simply.
''I already did. I just want to give them a little time to notify Mark's mom before I go and talk to her.'' Piper replied.
''Talk to her? And tell her what? That you're a witch in touch with the ghost of her dead son?'' The eldest sister once more replied with that skepticism of hers.
''No. I'm just going to try and get her to have a funeral as soon as possible before Yama gets Mark's spirit.''
The phone rings and Phoebe heads over to answer it.
''Hello.'' She turns away and lowers her voice. ''Oh. Hi. I can't really talk right now. It's important? Ok, I'll be at the hotel in a little while. All right. Bye.'' She hangs up. ''That was my new boss calling. I got to run.''
Phoebe leaves the kitchen. Prue gets to her feet.
"Um, okay, so, so when you called the police you didn't talk to Andy did you?" Prue wondered, getting up and pacing around the kitchen. She spun around to look at her sisters uncertain of which answer she wanted. Piper glanced over at her and shook her head.
"No, it was anonymous." She answered. ''Why? Did you decide to not go away with him?''
She explained as Piper's eyes widened in surprise.
"His what?" Piper demanded receiving a nod from Prue.
"Yeah, I mean, you would think he would have remembered to reveal that little fact before we jumped in the sack." Prue commented, crossing her arms.
"Well, what did he say? Why didn't he tell you?" Piper bombarded Prue and she avoided eye contact.
"I don't know… I didn't really hang around long enough to ask." She admitted. "A food trolley got in his way." Prue replied carefully and before Piper could respond Mark popped his head through the door.
Piper covers her eyes and sighs.
''Sorry.'' Mark retreats back through the door.
''You know? Don't these guys knock?'' They both shake their heads.
At the hotel Neptune Bar it was night time. Frankie began filling Phoebe in on the client he wants her to read.
''Look the guy's staying in the grand suite. He could be a sultan, I'm not sure. Anyway, that's why I called. Make this bozo's night. Read his future. Tell him something good, and he'll extend his stay. Guaranteed.''
''Look, like I said, I don't always know when my psychic switch is going to be in the up position.''
''I have the utmost confidence in you, Phoebe, baby. I don't know how you do it, but keep it up, and you'll always have work here.''
Phoebe smiles and turns and sees the man at the counter finish his drink, grab his things and leave. He forgets his wallet on the table.
''Oh! Oh, excuse me, sir. Y-you forgot your...ohh.''
Phoebe picks up the wallet and promptly has a premonition.
The man walks out of the hotel. He walks down the front steps. As he crosses the street, he drops his briefcase. He leans forward to pick it up and a car approaches him from behind. The car horn blares. He turns and looks up, but it's too late. The car hits the man.
''You okay? What's the matter?'' He asked a little worried. Phoebe looked down at the wallet in her hand.
''Nothing.'' She hesitates, 'I, uh ... nothing.''
Phoebe looks down at the wallet in her hands.
At the manner one of the others sister was also trying to solve the problem at hand.
Mark sits in front of the television set. He tries to turn it on and watches as his finger passes clear through the set. It's a strange experience for him... to be dead.
Piper walks into the room carrying a blanket. She pauses as she watches him. He turns and sees her.
''Still new to me I keep forgetting I'm...'' He can't say it. He sees the blankets and stands up.
"Are those for me?" Piper laughed a little awkwardly and bit her lip.
"Yeah, but, uh, stupid question. Do ghosts sleep?" She wondered nervously.
"I don't even get cold anymore." Mark answered stoically and Piper frowned slightly.
"Oh, sorry," She apologized, tossing them into the chair beside her.
''Oh, it's okay. It's the thought that counts. I guess, um, it's finally sinking in, what's really happened. What I've lost. No more sucking down a bucket of oysters at the Wharf, playing pickup ball with friends, coming home and ... hearing my mother's voice on the machine nagging 'cause I haven't married a nice Chinese girl.
Piper smiles as she hears the wistfulness in his voice.
''Your mom means a lot to you, huh?''
''She's a great friend. Was.'' Mark sits down. ''It was just me and her after my father died. Taught me everything I know. Especially how to cook. Mom's a great cook. ''
''My grams taught me how to cook. Actually, I loved it so much I became a chef.''
''Really? Ever make a Peking Duck?'' He wondered and Piper shook her head.
"No, have you?"
"It's a piece of cake." Mark laughed and Piper joined in. "Mom told me I could have been a great chef if I hadn't sold out to the Molecular Biology program at Stanford."
"So you can make Peking duck and clone DNA" Piper joked.
"The duck's harder." Mark countered and they both laughed pleasantly. Piper took a few more steps forward and sat down next him on the couch.
"Well, I can talk about food all night long." She told him, making herself comfortable on the couch.
"Yeah? Well, I can talk about it forever." Mark retorted, starting to laugh again. Piper quickly joined in, turning to face him on the couch.
Meanwhile back at the Hotel Neptune Phoebe was pacing back and forth, waiting for Mr. Correy to show up. He turns into the hallway and stops in front of his door.
''Oh, Mr. Correy, thank goodness. Uh, I need to talk to you.'' Phoebe said, her tone filled with urgency.
''You do? ''Mr. Corey asked, turning to glance over his shoulder to see if there was anyone else behind him.
''Yeah.'' Phoebe admitted quickly only to have him cut her off.
''Me? Oh, hey, you're that psychic, right?'' he asked with mock amusement.
''Yeah, right, look...'' Before she could finish he interrupted with another question.
''Is that how you knew my name?''
''No.'' Phoebe was used to people dismissing her as Looney during her 'lounge psychic' routine. But right now saving a life was more important than her pride. '' Uh, yes. Did you get the note that I left for you?'' She finally asked after stumbling over a response to the man's question.
''That note warning me not to go outside? That was you? '' He asked surprised, then told her,''You get your jollies out of trying to scare people, or is-is that how you drum up business?'' He asked, visibly irritated. He then turns to go into his room.
''What? You don't understand. I...''
The door opens and Mrs. Correy steps out into the hallway.
''Honey, where do you want to eat?''
"What's she doing here?" Mrs. Corey wondered, pointing an accusatory finger at Phoebe who just rolled her eyes. Mr. Corey never took his eyes off of Phoebe and just responded.
"She sent the note." Mrs. Corey's eyes widened and the look she shot Phoebe mirrored her husband's. Phoebe shook her head slightly and pulled out his wallet so he could see it.
"It's not what you think. Look, when I picked up your wallet…" She began to explain but Mr. Corey didn't wait for an explanation.
''You stole my wallet?'' He immediately accused her as he snatched the wallet from her hand.
''I didn't steal your wallet.'' Phoebe snapped indignantly throwing her hands up dramatically. Mr. Corey sent her a glare as he folded his wallet up and placed it back in his pocket. The elevator bell rang and Mrs. Corey took a step toward it though her eyes never left Phoebe.
''I don't know what you want, but just stay away from us. You understand?''
The Correys turn to leave.
''But he's going to die. '' They step into the elevator only to stop and turn to stare at her because of the threatening accusation.
''Ah, that didn't come out right. ''The elevator door starts to close. Phoebe puts a hand out and stops it. ''Ooh. Look, I can't tell you how I know this, but, I swear, if you go outside you're going to get run over by a pink...wait. You don't have your briefcase. That's good. That's really good. It doesn't happen without your briefcase.''
''Leave us alone, or I'm going to call hotel security.''
Nick Correy pushes the elevator door button and the doors close on Phoebe.
At the Buckland Auction House Prue opens her officer door and enters only to find a bouquet of flowers on her desk. She pushes the door behind her and walks into the office. Standing behind the door near the wall is Andy, whom Prue hadn't seen yet.
She leans in and smells the flowers. Andy pushes the door closed.
"Hi." Andy greeted softly, taking a few cautious steps toward her. Prue hit the card against her palm for no other reason but to have something to do with her hands as she continued to avoid his eyes.
"You of all people should know bribery is a crime." She told him and Andy approached her, only stopping once he was right in front of her.
"Apologizing isn't, is it?" He asked. "Look, Prue. I'm sorry I didn't tell you I was married before. I should have. I was going to." He continued, hating that he had kept it silent. He didn't really know why he hadn't told her. Maybe it was because he didn't want her to take it the wrong way. To doubt him, to doubt herself. Now, however, he'd give so much to have told her before now. To save her the pain he knew she was feeling though she hid it as best she could.
"Really? When?" Prue demanded quietly, so he wouldn't be able to hear her voice crack slightly. "Before or after the doors to our adjoining rooms swung open this weekend?" She asked, knowing that was the result of the weekend away.
"Okay, I deserved that." Andy admitted, giving a slight nod. Before he could say anymore Prue continued.
"I don't understand how you couldn't have found the time to tell me. Unless you really were trying to hide it from me." Andy sighed appearing a little mad that she thought him so low.
"Come on, Prue. You know me better than that." He countered, taking his hands out of his pockets and leaning against her desk.
''Prue, it was an innocent dinner. That's all. I've got an ex-wife and I don't hate her. Is that so horrible?'' Andy asked in slight frustration. He was careful to keep his voice under control so as not to start a full-fledged argument between them. After all, this was pretty much his fault and he knew it.
"No, no it's not. But not being honest, not telling me up front is." Prue whispered the hurt evident in her voice.
"Which I've already apologized for." Andy replied, not knowing what more he could say. He looked into her eyes and saw not only the hurt he expected but also conflict. "Why are you trying to turn this into something it's not? What's really bugging you, Prue?" He asked, leaning across her desk toward her. Prue stayed silent though she wanted so much just to tell him. "Looks like I'm not the only one trying to hide a secret." Andy pulled away and left hastily. Prue watched him go and her chance to open up disappeared when the door closed behind him.
Elsewhere on a roof somewhere Naruto stood as he looked down as the middle school students exited the building. As he waited until the Jenkins girl was in sight a portal opened behind him. Out stepped a red head with emerald eyes and a strong magical aura.
''I hope I didn't disturb you...'' He said as the red-head joined him.
''There wasn't much to disturb. So about this girl?''
''I've been keeping tabs on numerous people. This girl however has the makings for a vast amount of power. Her sister was kidnapped by demons seven years ago and for that reason the girl is heavily investing her time in magic in hopes of finding her.''
''So you want me to train her?''
''This brand of magic is far different from your own. While I hope you become the girl's mentor of sorts I think it'll be better if I can sway a local high level witch to train the girl.''
The woman began to stretch as her loosely-buttoned black sweater rose a bit. ''I'll see what I can do.''
''I knew I could count on you Gwen.''
Elsewhere, Piper and Mark arrive at the Chao residence. Piper walks up the porch and rings the bell. She turns to Mark.
"If you speak her language then she'll trust you."
"Can I help you?" Mrs. Chao asked politely.
"Hello, my name is Piper." Mark said in Chinese. Piper's eyes flickered nervously toward him before she said the same syllables. She really had no idea what she was saying. Mrs. Chao nodded in understanding and Piper continued to say what Mark told her. "I need to talk to you."
"You speak Chinese?" Mrs. Chao wondered, speaking Chinese and Piper glanced worriedly at Mark. Mrs. Chao, following her eyes, looked right at Mark but saw nothing. Mark thought about it for a moment before answering.
"Berlitz, it's about Mark."
"You know where he is?" She pleaded, taking Piper's hands hopefully. Mark looked confused for a moment.
"She asked if you know where I am." Mark told the sisters and both looked surprised.
''Wait. You - you don't?'' Piper responded to the woman in English.
''No, and I'm worried sick. I haven't heard from him since his birthday.'' Mrs. Chao responded in English.
"The police haven't notified her yet?" Mark wondered aloud.
"How's that possible…? I mean that he hasn't called." Piper replied uncertainly.
"I don't know. It's not like him. When did you last see him?" Mrs. Chao asked and Piper bit her lip, flustered.
"Uh… well." She began carefully, trying to work up the courage to tell Mrs. Chao about him.
"Piper, you have to tell her. You have to tell her where my body is so she can bury me." Mark insisted and Piper gave a slight shake of her head.
"I can't…" Piper whispered to him, only to quickly remembering that Mrs. Chao was watching her closely, hanging on her every word. "Err… I can't remember the last time actually, but if I see him or hear from him I- I'll let you know." She promised awkwardly.
Piper turns and walks down the front steps.
''Thank you. Thank you.''
Mark stops her.'' You can't walk away, Piper. You have to tell her. ''Mrs. Chao turns and heads back inside the house. Desperate, he chases after her.'' Mom. No! ''He runs up the steps and heads for the front door. He's immediately stopped by a force shield. He falls back to the ground. The eyes of the lion amulet hanging on the nail on the door frame glows and fades.
''She's got the house protected against ghosts. All the Chinese fairy tales she told me growing up are true, and I'm going to burn in hell.''
Back at the manner Prue was currently scrubbing the stove Phoebe walks into the kitchen.
''Man trouble?'' Phoebe guessed sounding dejected as she just stood and watched her eldest sister.
''I don't want to talk about it. By the way, where were you last night? ''Prue responded, not looking up to meet Phoebe's gaze but continuing to scrub. She did glance up as Phoebe walked past her toward the cabinets. "By the way, where were you last night?" Phoebe ignored the question and grabbed a pair of yellow gloves and walked back to Prue where she hastily pulled them on. Prue tilted her head in confusion. "Something wrong?" She asked, the worry for her younger sister shining through.
''I don't want to talk about it.'' Phoebe puts the gloves on.
''Ok, you never clean, and you'll talk about anything. What's up?'' Prue probed gently.
"Nothing." Phoebe snapped and began scrubbing furiously. Prue reached out and grabbed her hand, halting her in her cleaning.
"Phoebe." She pleaded and Phoebe threw the scrubber down giving up. She knew there was no way to get out of telling Prue now.
"Okay, I had a premonition, a really bad one too. I saw a guy getting run over by a pink Cadillac." Phoebe confided. Prue pulled away as her little sister began to speak but still listened intently.
"A pink Cadillac?" Prue echoed in disbelief, raising her eyebrows. If the situation hadn't been so serious she probably would have laughed. Phoebe turned away throwing her hands up desperately.
"I know it sounds ridiculous but it's true. I saw it and I don't know what to do about it." Phoebe insisted, walking over to the sink to clean off the scrubber. Her eyes flickered to Prue hoping for a little advice.
"Well, did you warn him?" Prue asked, the obvious suggestion and Phoebe rolled her eyes.
"I tried; he thought I was out of my mind, thought I was stalking him or something. I mean, how do you tell a complete stranger that you know they're going to die?" Phoebe replied and was met by a few moments of silence as Prue thought the situation over.
"Where is he now?" She demanded and Phoebe tensed at the expected question. She bit her lip and answered in a small voice.
After a sigh Phoebe responds. ''The Hotel Neptune.''
''Oh, what were you doing there?'' the place was way too pricey considering Phoebe didn't have a job.
''I knew you were going to ask that. I wanted to get you a really great birthday present to make up for all those cards, so I got a job at the hotel as their lounge psychic. Go ahead. Yell at me.''
''Phoebe, you have to save him. You can't let him out of your sight.'' Prue answered instead and Phoebe gave a slight nod.
''Oh, don't worry. I waited until he went to sleep, and then I broke a key off in his door to lock him in. He's safe till morning. ''
Phoebe waits for the rest, but Prue returns to scrubbing the stove.'' Hey, wait. That's it?'' The younger sister asked confused. ''You're not going to get mad at me?''
''You were trying to do something good, and now you're going to get to do something wonderful. I couldn't ask for a better birthday present than that.'' Piper and Mark walk into the kitchen.
"You guys have to see this." Piper announced, reaching for the remote that was kept in the kitchen and flipping the small television on. Prue and Phoebe exchanged a glance before turning to watch the television closely.
"They found my body." Mark explained for their benefit.
''Although police reported that the body was burned beyond recognition.''
''It's finally over.''
''...personal effects found at the scene preliminarily identify him as Tony Wong, head of the Chinatown triads.''
''Hey. That can't be! That's the guy who killed me.'' Mark commented in relief as the reporter continued.
''...Wong, who was a suspect in two gang-related slayings last year...''
Phoebe gets a premonition.
Tony sits in his office. Behind him is a sign with two Chinese characters on it. Tony stands up and leaves. The premonition lingers on the sign.
''Oh, no. Wait. I see him. Wong. He's still alive.'' Phoebe announced, keeping her eyes closed to keep the premonition going to memorize as much about the scene as she could.
"Of course he's still alive. That's me they found" Mark insisted pointing again at the screen where the crime scene was once again visible.
"Can you see where he is now?" Prue asked quickly, leaning closer to Phoebe. She was silent a moment as she studied the background for evidence of a location.
"I-I see a sign. Uh quick give me a pen!" Phoebe answered hastily, glancing at Piper who turned to pull a pen out of the drawer behind her.
Piper gets a pen out of the drawer.'' I don't understand why Wong would want to kill me. I never did anything to him.''
"I don't understand why Wong would want to kill me. I never did anything to him." Mark lamented, ignoring the sister moment, his eyes never leaving the television screen.
"You do look kind of like him." Piper pointed out with a shrug as she looked from the television to Mark and back again comparing the faces. Prue nodded in agreement to Piper's observation.'' Maybe he used you to fake his own death.''
She writes the characters on the palm of her hand and shows it to Mark.
"What does that mean?" She asked, recognizing the symbols as Chinese words. Mark read it quickly.
"Warhai Imports." Mark read and Piper glanced up.
"The warehouse in Chinatown?" Piper wondered glancing at Mark who gave her a slight nod.
Arriving at Wu Han Imports, Chinatown, Piper and Mark walk into the office.
''I don't know about this, Piper. I think it's too dangerous.''
''It's your only chance.''
Piper and Mark make their way up the stairs to the second floor office. ''Piper, listen to me. You don't want to go up there. Those men pulled the trigger on me without even thinking. They'll kill you.''
''I can freeze things, remember?'' she snapped.
''But there are three thugs in there.'' Mark added.
"Keep talking," Piper replied shortly. Mark threw his hands up in the air.
"With guns." He tried again
"Even better,'' Piper offered in a falsely chipper voice.
''Wait, wait, wait. He's got an amulet on the door. I can't go in. ''He pointed out. Piper looked at it for a split moment before leaning forward, unhooking it, and tossing it to the ground. She turned and looked at him pointedly, his former smile now gone. "Never mind." Mark finally gave in and the sisters exchanged a glance and a determined nod. "Aren't you scared?" He asked in disbelief.
''Terrified. Trust me, that's a good thing.'' Taking a breath, Piper rushes into the office.
The door bursts open and Piper runs into the office. The four men in the office turn around. Tony Wong holds out his sees them and gasps and on instinct she froze them.
''Ok. Whew. We got to hurry.'' Piper puts the newspaper on Tony Wong's open hands. The headline reads: TONY WONG FOUND DEAD. She steps back and holds up the camera.
She snaps the photo and everyone unfreezes. She sees them move, screams, turns and runs out of the office.
Tony looks down at the newspaper in his hands.
''Come on.'' One thug said.
''Let's get her.'' Another suggested.
The four of them run out of the office after Piper.
Piper runs for her car. She gets in and starts the engine.
Tony Wong and his thugs step out into the street. They point their guns at Piper's retreating car, license #3B583Y8, as they wave the bystanders away.
As she drives away, Tony Wong writes down her license number.
Piper exits the Police department after sneaking the photograph into Andy's interoffice mail.
''Ok, all set. I snuck the photograph into Andy's interoffice mail.''
''My afterlife's in the hands of a cop named Andy.''
''He's an inspector, and he's very good, Mark. After he sees Wong is alive, he'll know exactly what to do.''
''Bust Wong maybe, but that doesn't help me. They won't have any way of identifying the body as mine.''
''I put your name in with the picture. Andy will get dental records or something and match it up. All we have to do is keep Yama away from you until then.''
''I don't know what to say.''
Piper opens the door for Mark.
''Don't say anything. I made you a promise, didn't I? ''
On the other side of the parking lot, Andy gets out of his car. He takes a sip from his coffee cup, turns and sees Piper standing by her open car door.
He makes his way toward her.
''As much as I like you, I have no intention of joining you.''
''Talking to yourself, huh?'' Andy called teasingly as he approached. Piper's eyes widened in surprise and Andy could have laughed at her expression of bewilderment. She bit her lip slightly and quickly slammed the door shut and smiled awkwardly at him.
"Andy… hi." She replied, shifting from foot to foot. "Yeah, it's uh, an old habit of mine; I do it all the time. It drives Prue crazy." She added, hoping it sounded believable. It apparently did as Andy seemed to believe her.
"My mom used to call it interesting conversations with an interesting person." He explained while Mark listened to the conversation amused at Piper's cover up.
"Yeah? Interesting." Piper agreed with a short laugh.
"Very." Mark added receiving a glare in his direction from Piper who was trying to appear nonchalant. Andy glanced around her for a moment before looking back at her. He seemed to be having a silent to debate.
"Not that it's not a pleasure but what are you doing here?" He wondered.
"Oh nothing, you know, just passing by." She answered, with a wave of her hand toward the road, again trying to keep at ease. Andy glanced down at his cup before asking what he had really wanted to say.
"Prue tell you what was going on?" He asked, almost positive she had.
Piper's smile fell slightly not entirely sure if she should say yes. Prue could get upset about that.
"No…" Piper lied, pausing for a moment. She couldn't just leave Andy like that. Besides she wanted them to stay together. "Well, yeah." She quickly changed her mind. Andy looked at her silently for a moment and Piper added. "Kind of screwed up, huh?"
''Any idea what I should do?''
''Oh, that Andy.'' Mark suddenly realized.
''Yeah.'' She replied automatically to Mark before she could stop herself.
Andy turns and looks at who Piper's talking to and he doesn't see anyone. Piper tries to cover.
''I mean, yeah, um ... hmm. Just give her some space. Let her work it through. ''She shrugs. '' Yeah, okay.''
He gives Piper a hug. ''Thanks. Take care.''
Andy turns and leaves. ''You, too.''
Piper turns and sees Mark smiling at her.'' What?''
''You're really a sweet person, you know that? No, I mean that. I want to take you somewhere. Something I wanna do for you.''
Piper glances around again, opens the car door and motions Mark to get into the car. He slips into the car and she shuts the door.
Back at the Hotel Neptune Phoebe tries once more to save Nick Correy.
The elevator door dings, the doors open and Nick Correy steps out into the lobby. Phoebe intercepts him.
"Oh, Mr. Corey!" She called at once, jumping in front of him to block his path. Mr. Corey's eyes snapped up to look at Phoebe.
"Stay away" He snapped in return. He roughly pushed Phoebe to the side and held his other hand out in front of him as if to ward her away from him. Mr. Corey sped up his walk as he headed for the front doors of the hotel.
"Please! You have got to believe me." Phoebe insisted, trailing after him. Mr. Corey kept walking but he glanced over his shoulder at Phoebe.
"You locked me in my room, didn't you?" He accused.
"Yeah, but just for your own protection…" She tried, offering an innocent smile and a shrug. It was worth a shot. It worked on her sisters most of the time. However, Mr. Corey just looked away in disgust.
"What do you want? Money? Is this what this is? A Shake-down?" Mr. Corey asked, his voice now dripping with frustration. Phoebe equally frustrated threw her hands in the air as she stomped after him.
"No, I am trying to save your life for God's sake, listen to me!" She shouted as they reached the front doors. Mr. Corey stopped just inside them and pointed an accusatory finger her way and Phoebe stopped abruptly.
"You're crazy." Mr. Corey concluded, turning to leave as Phoebe saw a flash of her premonition. Mr. Corey getting hit by the car. In desperation, Phoebe pointed back at him.
"If you walk out that door, you're a dead man!" She insisted and then fell silent as she realized exactly how wrong that came out. Mr. Corey ignored her and got the attention of the door greeter who was on the phone.
"Call security!" He ordered, pointing at Phoebe before heading out the doors.
"Mr. Corey, don't do it!" Phoebe yelled, before taking off after him. Mr. Corey stopped just outside the door and glanced back down at his watch before taking to the steps. Phoebe slipped through the closing doors and ran after him.
"Wait! Watch out!" She shouted as Mr. Corey dropped his briefcase in the road, just like in her premonition. She glanced over and saw the pink Cadillac driving toward him and rushed down to help. The horn of the car blared and Phoebe leaped at him, tackling him safely to the ground. Phoebe quickly picked herself up off the ground as Mrs. Corey ran up to her husband, looking panicked. "That'll be twenty dollars. Tip not included." Phoebe snapped, turning to leave the Corey's watching her in confusion.
Night soon struck San Francisco, at which Piper arrived at Mark's place and opened the door. She then turns on the light and took a gander around.
''This is your place?'' she softly asked as she looked around. '' It's beautiful.''
She picks up a book on the desk.
''Camus. I'm impressed. ''She remarked, holding it up for him to see. Mark smiled slightly and turned to regard her curiously.
''Wish I had a chance to finish it. Of course, I could say that about almost everything, I guess.''
"I love this world as a dead world, and always there comes an hour where one is weary of prisons, and all one craves for is a warm face, the warmth and wonder of the living heart." Piper read from the book.
"I like that part." He admitted.
"Me too." She agreed, continuing to flip through the book. She stopped when Mark reached his hand out toward the book, as if to bring her attention back to him.
"Listen, if your cop friend comes through, maybe I'll get a chance to ask Camus himself how it turns out." Mark offered as a form of a joke before walking around her and pointing up at the top of his bookshelf. "I want you to reach for something" He told her. Piper immediately noticed the little black box on the top of the shelf and went to get it. Mark walked away to the couch and Piper joined him a few moments later. "Go ahead, open it." He allowed as Piper sat down next to him and obeyed. She gently pulled out several thin pieces of paper and looked at them uncertainly.
"What are they?" She wondered and glanced over at him for an explanation.
"My grandfather's recipes. My dad translated them when I was born. They've been serving them in my family's restaurant for decades. They're yours." Mark told her simply. At the unexpected request Piper's eyes widened slightly in surprise.
"But they belong in your family…" Piper began in protest but Mark cut her off.
"I want you to have them. For everything you've done for me. I just ask one favor; use them at your sister's birthday party. From what I've seen, Phoebe needs a little help with the planning." Mark requested, laughing a little at the end. The comment about her little sisters allowed Piper a short smile as she gave a slight nod in agreement.
"Prue doesn't want a party." Piper disagreed, the smile fading as she looked back down at the recipes in her hand.
"Birthdays are important. I know, I walked out of my last one and it never occurred to me that I wouldn't get another. She may not know it, but she needs to celebrate her birthday, we all do. Don't take it for granted." Mark advised.
At the Halliwell Manner Prue was currently resided in her bedroom, flipping through the television channels. Phoebe opens the door and walks into the room. ''Prue, what are you doing?''
"Just flicking through channels." Prue replied absentmindedly with a shrug.
"You don't flick, you never flick." Phoebe countered sounding a little worried for her eldest sister. Prue just smiled slightly and her eyes flickered to look at her little sister.
"Well, I flick now." She stated a hint of humor in her voice. Her eyes narrowed upon studying Phoebe for a few moments. "Are you okay? You look…" Prue trailed off.
"Awful?" Phoebe suggested with a smile. She unconsciously ran a hand slowly through her disheveled hair. "I know, but I feel fine." She insisted. Prue's eyes suddenly lit up as she remembered Phoebe's premonition problem.
"Did you warn that guy?" Prue wondered aloud.
"I did better than that. I saved that guy." Phoebe responded causing her older sister to break into a smile. "And it was great. I knew doing it would be good for him, but I had no idea what a rush it would be for me. It felt so good and not just about myself, but about everything. That even in my own little way I could make a difference." She continued to ramble while Prue listened silently. Phoebe's smile widened as she realized exactly how she sounded just then. "Can you believe it's me saying this?" She laughed and Prue couldn't stop herself from joining in.
"What more can I say? It's been a week full of surprises." Prue agreed, thinking of everything that had been going on lately. Phoebe's smile faded and she looked down at her hands trying to decide whether to bring up Andy or not.
"Yeah, speaking of surprises; what are you going to do about Andy?" Phoebe asked, deciding Prue needed to talk about it. Prue sighed softly, her smile fading as well.
"I don't know. Andy kept something from me, but the truth is I keep something from him every day. And it's not like I'll ever be able to tell him our secret, so what's the point?" She confessed.
Phoebe shook her head slowly and immediately jumped to respond in a more positive light.'' We're The Charmed Ones, Prue, not The Doomed Ones. We have lives like everyone else. Call him. Go see him. Do something. Give to get. That is the secret of life, not our powers.''
Downstairs the front door of the mansion opens as Piper and Mark walk into the house. Piper closes the door. Mark is thoughtfully quiet.'' You okay?''
''Yeah. I was just thinking ... in walking under the stars...what's really up there? What's waiting for me?''
''I don't know. Maybe you can give me a hint when you get there.''
''I don't want this night to ever end. I'm not ready to say good-bye, Piper.''
Piper feels the same way. She places her palm about an inch away from his cheek as if to touch him.
''Close your eyes. Pretend you can feel my hand on your skin ... that my touch gives you comfort.''
''No, I ...''
''Just close your eyes.'' He automatically leans forward, she reaches up ... and their lips almost touch in a pretend kiss.
Piper and Mark pull away from each other. ''Where were you my whole life?''
Piper chuckles in response to the question.
The front door bursts open and. Piper screams as Two of Tony Wong's Thugs grab Piper.'' No! Piper!'' he cried out as he tried in futile to do something to slow them down.
The two thugs say something in Chinese as they pick Piper and attempted to carry her out the door when something impacted their faces, sending them flying back.
Piper startled and her hair disheveled looked up at her savior.
''We were wondering where you ran off too?''
''Sorry, I was investigating where the murder went down. You alright?'' he asked as he continued to hold the middle sister in his arms bridal style.
''Yeah...I'll live. Just a fright that's all.'' she explained as It was a sudden fright that's all.
Prue and Phoebe ran down the stairs. ''What's wrong? What happened? And why is Piper in Naruto's arms?''
Unfortunately the words didn't seem to want to come out of either of their mouths to form an explanation.
''Wow first Prue and now Piper? So when am I going to get a little action?'' Phoebe asked with a mischievous smirk.
''Phoebe!'' Prue snapped in annoyance. She really wished her younger sister stopped insinuating something was going on between her and Naruto
''Wong's men tried to take Piper.'' Mark finally explained as Naruto set her down.
''Ooh!'' Phoebe let out upon finally seeing the unconscious men. ''They know where we live? What do we do?''
''We track the man down and get Wong and all his men arrested for one. And I know just how to do it. We're going to give Wong what he came for, but on our terms.''
''Ok, back up, you want to let the murderous gangster get his hands on my sister?''
''Trust me Prue, no harm will come to her. You and Phoebe will be there to see to that. It's a little something I like to call a henge.''
Sometime later at Wu Han Imports Piper found herself tied up in her chair while Tony Wong sits at his desk filling his gun with bullets. She really hoped that Naruto knew what he was doing.
''The first time I saw you, I thought you were a ghost.''
''You know, these ropes are really tight if you could just untie my hands?''
Tony Wong snaps the gun back into place and stands up.
''Why did you kill Mark?''
''I needed his identity.'' He grabs a handful of Piper's hair and pulls back. She grunts. ''Who else knows I'm alive? ''
She doesn't say anything. He walks around Piper.
''I...had plans. I had a boat ready to take me to Hong Kong. I had a whole new life, but you screwed it all up.''
At that same time at the police department Andy was sitting at his desk. He picks up the case file folder. The mail person puts the interoffice mail on his desk. ''Thanks.''
Andy picks up the phone to make a call. As he goes through the file folder, he absently picks up the envelope in his in tray. He opens it and finds the photo of Tony Wong with the newspaper.
Andy puts the phone down as he stares at the photo.
Meanwhile back at Wu Han import Mark and Naruto enters the building. ''I hope you know what you're doing.''
''Trust me I got this. Like my brother with a liquor bottle.'' he said as two thugs ran towards them.
Tony could hear the commotion down stairs.
''I'll take her. You shoot anyone who comes through that door.''
He unties Piper as his Thugs run to the door with the exception of two of them. ''Are you two deaf or something? I said get ready.'' The two thugs share a glance as one of them turned to Wong and he was sent flying into the wall. Before the thugs could turn and fire the door was kicked off the hinges, slamming into them and sending them crashing into the ground unconscious.
Tony got up, took aim at Prue and fired his gun.'' Look out!'' Piper waves her hands and freezes the bullet mid-air.
Prue gasps.'' Thanks, sis.''
Prue and Phoebe rush over to free Piper.'' Right back at you, sis.''
''How long does this last again?''
''Not very.'' Time resumes. The bullet continues and hits the vase near the wall. Tony turns around and is startled when he finds them behind him.
''Who are you people?'' He demanded, backing away from them toward the door.
Prue uses her power and pushes Tony out the door. ''That's for trying to hurt my sister you scum!''
Tony Wong falls out the door and down the stairs. He lands on the floor. In the background, sirens could be heard approaching. Tony scrambles to his feet and runs out the front door.
Andy and a couple of police cars stop in front of the Imports Building just as Tony Wong runs out the front door. They take up position behind their open car doors, their guns on Tony Wong.
''Police! Freeze!'' One officer shouted at him. Andy knelt behind his car door with his gun pointed at Tony. Wong made a move to shoot at Andy, but Andy was the quicker shooting him down first.
Andy stands up and keeps his gun on Tony. He then sees a tape recorder sticking out of Wong's shirt.
''Why did you kill Mark?''
''I needed his identity.'' A female grunt could be heard. ''Who else knows I'm alive? ''
No response was given. All that could be heard was the sound of footsteps.
''I ... had plans. I had a boat ready to take me to Hong Kong. I had a whole new life, but you screwed it all up.''
''You officer! I want an investigation into any civilians by the name of Mark that have gone missing within the 48 Hour time frame that Wong was reported dead.
From the second floor balcony, Naruto, Piper, Phoebe, Prue and Mark look down at Tony's body on the road.
''I've never seen anybody killed before.''
''Jeremy.'' Prue pointed out.
''Javna.'' Phoebe added.
''Too many to count.'' Naruto contributed with a shrug.
''I mean humans.'' Piper mutters in response to her companions' smart ass comments.
''Come on. We need to get out of here before Andy sees us.'' Prue stated as they turn and leave the balcony.
Meanwhile, down below, Tony Wong's spirit leaves his body. He stands up, turns around and looks back at his body still on the road.
Shocked at seeing himself dead, he backs away and heads for the alley. Andy and the other officers cautiously approach the body on the road.
In the alleyway Piper, Prue, Phoebe and Mark head down the back fire escape and into the alley.
As they run out the back of the alley, Mark sees Tony Wong running into the alley.
"Wong…" Mark breathed. Tony Wong stared at them uncertainly.
"But… you're dead." Tony pointed out, not understanding what was going on.
"Yeah, so are you." Mark countered. Behind Tony, Yama appeared in a swirl of fog.
"Mark, I think you should get outta here." Piper suggested hastily, grabbing on to Prue's arm in fear. Tony tried to back away from Yama, but Mark grabbed hold of him and threw him against the alley wall.
"Make a wish, bastard." Mark hissed and tossed him into Yama's lance. Tony screamed as his spirit was sucked into the point of the lance. Mark took a few steps back as the lance turned to him.
Yama then turns and points his spear at Mark.
''Now ...you are next.'' The ghostly incarnation's intent was obvious from his very eyes which were glowing.
Piper shouts and stands in between Mark and Yama.
''No! You can't take him. He's a good man. He doesn't belong with you.'' Piper shouted at the demon.
Yama's eyes glow green. Prue and Phoebe step up and flank Piper; the three of them stands between Yama and Mark. Yama's eyes continue to glow as he moves a bit closer to them. It appeared he was silently thinking it over.
''You know full and well you can't harm them Yama!'' Naruto said stepping forward. ''They are the Charmed Ones! You have to uphold the balance like all the others! So unless you want to anger the higher beings you might want to think about your options.''
Yama's eyes shortly after stopped glowing. He lifts his spear up and vanishes in a golden haze.
A week later the sisters found themselves attending Mark's funeral.
''Let us remember, though we gather in sorrow, we are here to celebrate the joy of Mark's life, and the redemption of his spiritual journey. Let us take a moment of silence.''
Mark stands on the side and watches his mother grieve.
"All those stories, all those legends you taught me, you saved my soul, Mom." He whispered his voice cracking as he saw her pain. Mark slowly approached the Halliwell sisters, his gaze focusing on Prue first. "Take it from me, Prue. Don't miss your birthday. Not any of them, they're precious." He advised and Prue offered him a watery smile.
"I won't." She promised. Mark turned away from her and his eyes focused on Piper; her brown eyes brimmed with tears.
"I wished…" He began, but trailed off. There were no words to explain what he wanted to say, but Piper didn't need him to explain.
"I know. Me too." Piper agreed softly. Mark reached his hand out to touch her face, stopping just before her while she closed her eyes tightly. He slowly pulled away. "I'm going to miss you, Piper." Piper smiled sadly as another man materialized in at the back of the ceremony.
Piper smiles at him through her tears.
On the other side of the grass, the ghostly figure of an older Asian man materializes. Phoebe sees him.
''Who's that man?''
Mark turns around and smiles.
''That's my dad. I guess this really is good-bye.'' Mark replied with mixed emotions. Phoebe offered him a quick wave as he turned around and approached his father. The two embraced and vanished away.
Piper nods. Phoebe waves. Mark heads over to the man waiting for him. When he reaches him, they put their arms around each other's' shoulders. They turn and continue walking. They vanish mid-stride.
Piper takes a shuddering breath. Phoebe puts her arms around Piper.
''Leave it to me to fall for a dead guy.'' she said with a half laugh-half cry.
Prue reaches over and holds onto Piper's hand. ''It's an improvement. At least he wasn't a warlock.''
''Yeah.'' Piper agreed wholeheartedly.
The front door of the manor opens. The sisters enter at just leaving the funeral.
"You know what? I've changed my mind. Maybe I should have a party after all." Prue spoke up as she hung up their jackets next to the door. She cast a sly look at Piper that was missed by the youngest Halliwell. Phoebe glanced back at her eldest sister curiously.
"Are you serious?" She asked uncertainly. Prue gave a confident nod in response.
"Yeah, why not? I mean, Mark is right." Prue decided.
Piper puts her arm around Prue's shoulders and gently leads her over to the living room.''Well, Prue, I'm glad you said that ...'cause ...''
They turn the corner and find the room filled with guests and decorated for a birthday party. ''SURPRISE!'' Numerous guests cried out as they began to clap.
''Did I get ya? I got ya.'' Piper asked, then stated a bit smugly.
''Yeah, you got me.' She agreed.
Phoebe holds out the gaily wrapped birthday present.
''And an actual birthday gift that's paid for. I hope you like it.''
Prue takes the box and gives Phoebe a hug.'' I'm speechless.''
Piper though, still had her mind on the past few days event. She was brought out of her silence when a voice said, ''Champagne?''
She turned and met face to face with Naruto. ''Hey Piper.''
''Naruto...'' she said taking the glass and saying a quick thank you.'
''Yeah...I'm hope I'm not intruding. Phoebe sent me an invitation and I didn't have anything else to do at the moment.'' He said a bit sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his head.
''No it's okay, so where are you from exactly? You never specifically told us?''
''Well you can say I was born in Japan, but as you can see I have a mixed heritage. Asian, some islander, a bit American, and lord know what else.'' He added with a grin as Piper chuckles.
''I'm just seeking employment. I don't know about being hired. Figured that be the kind of thing you would know 'Watcher.'''
''Like I said I do value your and other's privacy. I'm just mainly around if I sense evil in the area. Anyway, Restaurants at North beach are known for their quality, most of them. If you're hired I look forward of tasting one of your recipes. If not then it's the Quake's lost. You have that look about you that says cook.'' He stated as Piper looked at him with curiosity.
''And how can you tell that?''
Naruto grinned and said, ''I'm a cook in my own right. I don't specialize in anything in particular but I've dabbled into anything I can. I've been making food for years. One of the things I do is form a group of talented cooks to sample each other's food and try to refine our techniques.''
'That sounds interesting, but lately I've been finding myself busy to say the least.''
Naruto shrugged his shoulders, ''Just come when you can. No pressure. I can bring you a sample of a slice of my Strawberry Cheesecake.'' Naruto's cell phone begins to ring. ''Sorry I have to take this. Maybe I'll see you around some time Miss Halliwell,'' The blond said as he stepped out of the room to answer his call.
Piper watched as the mysterious blond stepped away and took a sip from her glass. Maybe her luck wasn't so terrible after all. And now that she thought about it she really had a thing for Blonds anyway.
Later that night Prue had finally went to her room after the party and was ready to turn in. Though what caught her interest was the rather large oak box on the dresser. It was lovely, expertly crafted and looked quite smooth. This must have been Phoebe's present for her. She wondered what made the perpetual, three day late card giver decide to get her a present this year. Picking up the box she moved over to the bed and sat on it.
She wasn't quite sure what to expect. The box was rather quite large. Opening it the first thing that caught her notice was an envelope and upon opening she began reading its contents.
I look back upon the years and realize how much things have changed. I think back to all the fights and arguments growing up and how we never got along. Now that I think back when I first arrived back here that fateful day all those weeks ago I realized that I wasn't sure what to expect. I ran off to NYC and didn't take into consideration how much I would miss everything I left and I'm so sorry that I didn't consider how my actions must have hurt all of you. You were there for me not only as my sister and friend, but you practically raised me so I wanted to give something back. I know how much you love photography and how hurt I was when I broke your camera so I hope this makes up for it.
Prue had to brush away the tears that ran down her face. She placed the card down on her bed and now more than ever couldn't wait to see what was in the box. She had to push back a gasp as she opened the camera bag to see it was her old Camera. A few years go Phoebe had borrowed it without asking and ended up breaking it. What made it so a heated argument was the fact that the Camera was one of the few mementos she had from their mother.
After placing the Camera back in the bag she went to get some tissue to wipe away the tears. She placed the bag back in the box and placed it on the dresser. She went into the Kitchen where Phoebe was and practically squeezed her younger sister with the hug. ''Thank you. I love it.''
''I'm sorry. I didn't know what I was thinking. I guess, I was feeling a little jealous you had something mom gave you that you could remember and I didn't consider how much it meant to you.''
Phoebe wrapped her arms around Prue's neck, "Happy Birthday Prue. I hope this makes up for all the late birthday cards."
"Thank you Phoebe. It more than makes up for it sweetie."
The two of them sat a moment only for a flash to go off startling them. ''Sorry...it was just too good a moment to pass up.'' Piper responded as she lowered the digital camera. ''A memory that should definitely be kept with us.''
A mischievous smile formed on Phoebe's face. ''Speaking of which you'll never guess what I caught Prue doing earlier.''