Author's Note: Yes, I'm writing Charmed fanfic, again, after four years away from fandom. I've had this idea in the back of my head for the last four years, and seeing reruns with Paige and Henry reignited my enthusiasm.
Henry slammed his car to a stop in front of the Halliwell Manor and sprinted out of the car, only to be stopped, cold, by what he saw.
Or, rather, what he didn't see.
The Manor, to be specific. The once-majestic house had been reduced to little more than a pile of smoldering rubble.
Heart in his throat, he ran the rest of the way up the walk, looking around anxiously.
"Paige!" he yelled, skidding to a stop in the middle of the destruction. "Paige, where are you?"
A glint of color caught the corner of his eye and he whirled around to see a foot poking out of the rubble. He began digging, frantically, ignoring the pain in his hands as he tossed aside blisteringly hot pieces of the house.
Finally, he'd uncovered enough of the body to clearly see a face, and he felt a sharp pang of relief, followed by guilt, as he stared down at Phoebe's still features.
"Paige!" he called, again, still determined to find his wife.
A crash drew his attention away from Phoebe's body, and he scrambled over a pile of debris toward the source of the noise. Several yards away, he could see a dark-haired figure hunched over a broken pile of wood, the Book of Shadows clutched in her arms.
"Paige?" he called out, hesitantly, starting cautiously toward the woman.
Then he froze a few feet away, backing away slowly as Christy Jenkins lifted her head and glared at him. Her long blonde hair was made dark by the blood matted in it, and her hands were covered with more of the same. Billie's body was sprawled at her feet, her chest a bloody mess, and Henry figured that Christy had been trying to revive her sister.
"Where's Paige?" he demanded of the younger woman, keeping a wary eye on her hands in case she decided to start shooting off fireballs.
Christy growled low in the back of her throat, advancing on him with a murderous look in her eyes. Her hands twitched and Henry stumbled backward, away from the fire that leapt to life in front of him. He yelled in pain when the fire scorched his hands, the flames following him, licking at his boots and the legs of his jeans.
Then, the flames died down as quickly as they had appeared, and he looked up in shock in time to see Christy crumple to the ground. Paige stood behind the unconscious woman, a jagged piece of wood clutched in her hands. She glared down at Christy, a furious snarl twisting her face, and her hands tightened on the piece of wood.
"Paige," Henry said, softly, and her head snapped up, the wood falling from her suddenly-limp hands when she saw him.
Wordlessly she stumbled forward, practically falling into his embrace. Henry wrapped his arms around her, holding on tightly and shaking with suppressed emotion.
"I thought I'd lost you," he whispered, brokenly, and he could feel Paige's head shake from where she'd buried her face against his chest.
Then, she pulled away from him, and when he looked down, there were tear tracks streaking down her face.
"Piper's dead," she said, without preamble. "And Phoebe… I've lost everyone."
Her voice broke in a sob, and she squeezed her eyes shut to stem the flood of tears. Henry hugged her again, feeling her shoulders shake under his hands.
Suddenly, he saw movement behind Paige and he instinctively jerked his wife behind him even as he pulled his gun out its holster. Christy staggered toward them, flames forming on her outstretched hands, and Henry acted without thinking.
He pulled the trigger twice, watching dispassionately as the younger woman fell backward, blood from the gunshots blossoming on her chest. Paige moved past him to yank the Book of Shadows out of Christy's lifeless hands.
"I have to fix this," she said, and Henry winced at the utter despair he heard in her voice.
"How?" he asked, quietly.
"I don't know!" Paige exploded, suddenly, but Henry didn't let himself back down in the face of her anger.
Instead, he wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her as she sobbed, wildly. He didn't know how long they stood there, but the sound of screaming sirens shook them out of the trance they'd fallen into.
"Paige," he said, with quiet urgency, "honey, we need to get out of here."
Paige nodded, dashing away the tears that were blinding her. Then, she grabbed Henry by the arm and orbed them away, but to his surprise, they only went as far as the other side of the street. They ducked down behind the neatly-trimmed shrubs, Henry keeping a careful lookout while Paige flipped rapidly through the pages of the Book.
"What are you looking for?" he hissed, watching as she left bloody fingerprints on the pages.
"The spell that's going to fix this," Paige replied, distractedly.
"Are you sure that one even exists?" Henry asked, uncertainly. He may not have known a lot about magic, but he couldn't imagine anything that could fix the destruction that faced them.
"It does," Paige said, grim determination in her voice. "There is a way to fix this, and I'm going to find it. The Charmed Ones are not going to end like this. My family isn't going to die like this."
Her voice cracked with the strain, and she took a shuddery breath to get herself back under control. Then, fixing an emotionless mask back on her face, she kept looking through the Book.
"Found it," she said, at last, and Henry let out a quiet sigh of relief.
The police that had shown up to the destroyed Manor were still busy poking around the ruins of the house, but it was only a matter of time before they started talking to the neighbors. And Henry wanted to be long gone before they showed up.
"Hear these words," Paige started, softly, "hear the rhyme. Heed the hope within my mind. Send me back-"
"Us," Henry interrupted her, still keeping a wary eye on the goings-on across the street.
"What?" Paige demanded, keeping her voice down as she stared at him.
"Send us back," Henry corrected her, gently. "You're not going without me."
He had only the vaguest idea what Paige's spell was hinting at, but he knew he didn't want the woman he loved walking into it, alone.
"Henry, this is dangerous," Paige hissed, quietly. "Billie and Christy are dangerous."
Very deliberately, Henry drew his gun from where he'd replaced it in his holster. He moved the slide forward to check the magazine and then let it settle back into place with a click.
"So am I," he said, quietly, and after a minute, Paige nodded.
"Hear these words," she began, again, "hear the rhyme. Heed the hope within my mind. Send us back to where we'll find what we wish, in place and time."
For several moments, nothing happened, and then a dazzling light filled his vision, blinding him. When the light cleared, he and Paige were still crouched behind the bushes, and for a wild second, he thought that the spell had failed. But, then he realized that they'd gone from night to day in a matter of seconds, the sun beating down on them. Risking a glance around the edge of the bushes, he saw the Manor standing whole and undamaged.
"You did it," he told Paige, who breathed a quiet sigh of relief from where she was still kneeling, with the Book cradled in her arms. "We really went back in time," he went on, wonderingly.
"Let's just hope we went back far enough," Paige replied, taking his outstretched hand and letting him pull her to her feet.
"It's the middle of the day," he pointed out, as they dashed across the street. "Billie and Christy aren't going to attack until later tonight."
He realized, as they were walking up to the front door, that he was still holding Paige's hand. But, he couldn't bring himself to let go, even for a few seconds. Which was why he wound up rooting around in the planter for the spare key when Paige realized that her keys weren't in any of her pockets. As he looked for the key, Paige was looking around the neighborhood, a frown on her face.
"Something wrong?" he asked, when he saw the troubled expression on her face.
"I don't remember Mrs. Donaldson's house being for sale this morning," Paige told him, nodding at the realtor's sign planted at the edge of the front yard.
"You were a little busy trying to stop the Ultimate Power," he pointed out, sensibly. "You probably just missed it."
"Yeah, maybe," she agreed, and then he got the door open and they went inside.
"So, what now?" Henry asked. "Do we call your sisters?"
"Attic, first," Paige decided, heading for the stairs. "I want to get as much of this figured out as I can, before I start trying to explain it to Piper and Phoebe."
As he was following Paige up the stairs, Henry paused at the first landing, his attention caught by a painting on the wall.
"Hey," he said, squeezing Paige's hand to get her attention as they stopped. "Didn't that picture of your grandmother get torched two weeks ago?"
"Three," Paige replied, giving the painting a puzzled look, "by a Canzite demon."
"So what's it doing on the wall?" Henry asked.
"Maybe we went back further than just this morning," Paige said, with a shrug.
"Yeah, but how far?" he pressed.
"Far enough for me to save my sisters," Paige replied. "That's all I care about."
"Hey," Henry said, again, stopping her before she could keep going up the stairs. "If we went back far enough that we haven't met yet, then you better be planning on marrying me, again."
Paige tugged at his hand until he came up the stairs to her level, then she leaned over and kissed him, deeply.
"I will always marry you," she told him, when they'd parted.
"I'm going to hold you to that," Henry said, smiling. "I love you, so much."
"Love you, too," Paige murmured, resting her forehead against his, for a moment.
When they entered the attic, the Book started twitching in Paige's arms, immediately. She made an effort to hold onto the Book, but it flew out of her arms, sailing over to the lectern where the past version of the same Book was resting. Both Books started glowing, and then, as they watched in amazement, the two Books melded together into one.
"Did you know it was going to do that?" Henry asked, and Paige shook her head, wordlessly.
"We've never brought the Book back with us," she replied, still looking stunned.
Moving across the room over to the lectern, she flipped rapidly through the pages of the Book, her eyes scanning the pages as they turned.
"It's all here," she said, as she stopped going through the Book. "Everything we've added to the Book over the years is here. It's like it updated itself."
"That's handy," Henry remarked. Crossing the room to join Paige, he had to swerve around a couch he didn't remember ever seeing, before. "And that's new."
"That's Aunt Pearl's couch," Paige explained, glancing up from the Book. "It was blown up three years ago, when a demon made Piper go blind."
"So, we've gone back in time three years?" he asked, incredulously.
"Or so," Paige hedged, carefully.
"Please tell me we didn't go back in time before your sisters even found out about being witches," Henry groaned, a possibility he didn't even want to contemplate, right now.
"No, no, we're good, there," Paige assured him, quickly. "We couldn't have gotten into the attic, otherwise. Apparently, Grams had it locked before then."
"So, how far did we go back in time?" Henry asked. "I mean, it would be nice to know if your sisters are going to recognize us when they get home."
"There's a calendar in the kitchen," Paige told him. "I'll be right back."
She orbed away in a bright swirl of lights, reappearing a few seconds later. There was the calendar from the kitchen wall in her hands, and she was staring down at it in shock.
"So, when did we arrive?" Henry asked, but he started to get worried when Paige didn't say anything. "Paige, honey? What's wrong?"
"This calendar is from five years ago," she finally said, her voice shaky. "From May of two thousand one."
"And?" Henry prompted, gently, when she fell silent, again.
"Prue died in May," she said, and when she looked up, there were tears shining in her eyes. "May seventeenth."
"Do you think we're in time?" Henry asked, knowing what she was thinking without even having to ask.
"We have to be," Paige said, taking a deep breath to calm herself down as she wiped at the tears in her eyes. "I don't think I could deal with it if we were a day late."
"You said the spell so that you could come back to save your sisters," Henry pointed out, thinking about it. "Now, you can save all of them."
"I can't believe I'm going to finally get to meet Prue," Paige said, flipping through the pages of the Book, again.
"What are you looking for?" Henry asked, watching her go past page after page.
"The Shax vanquishing spell," Paige told him, a hint of frustration in her voice. "I don't want to give him another chance at my sisters, and I could use a little help!"
The last part, yelled as she glared up at the ceiling, was definitely not directed at him, and he was glad that her irritation was aimed at her dead relatives. But, yelling seemed to have worked, with the pages of the Book suddenly flipping on their own until they came to rest at the picture of a gray, hooded demon.
"Thanks, Grams," Paige said, absently, as she grabbed a notepad and pen off of a nearby table and started scribbling the words of the spell down.
She'd just gotten the pen capped when they heard the sound of the door slamming open, downstairs.
"Showtime," Paige declared, heading for the door.