Honestly I'm a little terrified of putting this up. So please, if you can find the time to put a few words down, comment? Maybe review?
Chapter One: One Surprise Too Many
The night was clear and sparkled with the occasional star as Gabrielle Thorne washed the dishes. With the window directly across the sink from her she could watch the sky and its lonely moonless stretch. Every month her roommate would disappear to go on some little adventure with friends, or to have a wild orgy with a bunch of bimbo's. She could never tell which and he never spoke a word of what went on each new moon. Secretive, irritatingly kind, butthead, she thought lightly.
Gabrielle sighed. The smell of apple dish soap brought her mother to mind too, as well as a wave of nostalgia. It made her wonder whether the blind woman was fairing okay in her lonely little home by the bay.
Playing in the background of clinking dishes and running water was classical rock, a genre that Gabrielle had fallen in love with a few years ago. It dulled the loneliness just a bit and invited an urge to hum or sing some mysterious song. Maybe when Ben comes back she'll serenade him and make his eardrums bleed for fun.
While the young woman absently washed each dish thoroughly, she lost herself in random thought; maybe she would drag him out to a dance club next week and try her hand at meeting someone. Or maybe she'd buy that cookbook she'd been eyeballing today at the local bookshop.
Pain cut off those pleasant musings.
"Shit! Son of a bitch!" She pulled her hand out of the red tinged water and glowered at a deep weeping gash in her palm. Letting loose a violent ramble of curses was all she could do not to chuck the offending knife out her window(and possibly hitting some innocent bystander). Minutes later Gabrielle had drained the sink and fixed up her wound as best she could with her bad hand. She shuffled into her cluttered room to sulk about her bad luck, possible blood poisoning, and the lack of cheesecake in their fridge.
Sulking turned to excitement when she remembered her recently found Charmed DVD sets. They were the first three seasons. The best in her opinion, not that the following ones were bad. Gabrielle had simply always found the emotion early on so beautiful and moving. It was the only show that could really make her cry. All the other drama shows made her laugh.
Well, except Supernatural. Hot guys made nearly anything wicked. Especially sexy angels of Thursday.
After watching the episode where Piper and Leo switch powers and the former had to heal her love, Gabrielle moved onto Supernatural till she started to doze off on her pillow crowded bed. It was within the creeping reaches of sleep that something continued to replay in her subconscious like an alluring song. It was the stupid 'spell' she once thought up on her previous (many) Charmed marathons, and each word came out in a whisper:
"Hear me now, these of words of a Wiccan.
These secrets and yearnings for which I hold dear;
It is a home to belong in and for my fate to hasten into gear.
A wicked work of magic is what I wish to help me on my path,
And it is to the oldest of Ancient Powers that I beseech:
Release what is buried,
Set free what was locked.
This young Wiccan is prepared where once she was naught.
Now open what once was sealed,
Let switch what was once banished..."
Remarkably, a very curious warmth bloomed in Gabrielle's chest, even as a dreamless sleep took over.
"Riiiiise and shine Baba Yaga! I made breakfast!"
Gabrielle rolled over in the soft duvet she hadn't pulled over herself the night before, stubbornly ignoring the rich masculine voice that drilled incessantly into her brain.
"Hey, Gabe. Gabe wake up!"
The Wiccan girl shoved the pillow over her head. Will that evil voice never cease?
"Baba Yaga here will happily castrate a certain blond if they don't leave her the heck alone," Gabrielle hissed, her words were slurred from grogginess.
What in chocolates delicious name did she do last night? She felt tired enough to stay in bed for the next three days.
Standing in the doorway to her room was a tall and willowy blond man in his very early twenties wearing a spiderweb tank top and pleasantly clinging jeans. His form was obscured by an abundance of potted herbs and other plants growing everywhere Gabrielle could squeeze in room, including the ceiling. When the object of mission 'Piss off the Night Owl' didn't do more than grumble into her pillow, he grinned playfully. The male slipped soundlessly through her greenhouse-esque room and pounced on her. This earned a satisfying squeal. And the pillow missing his comely face by a hair.
"Benjamin Andrews! Get the bleeping fuzz off of me!"
From his comfy position on top of her abdomen, he smiled crookedly. "Use up all your swears yesterday or something?"
"As a matter of fact, yeah. Could you rebandage my hand once you're done molesting poor lil' old me?"
Gabrielle, for her part, was being outstandingly patient with her roommate for a chick with the beginnings of a head-splitting migraine. Gabrielle looked up into his lean face as he gently took the hand, her other was pulling his blond dreadlocks out of a messy ponytail. Ben's blue eyes narrowed at the dark stain in the white bandage and his teeth started gnawing on his lips. That was pretty unusual. The guy only chews them when he's nervous or feeling guilty, and being out all night partying wasn't normally something he ever regretted, no matter what happened during the time.
More weird, she usually couldn't read him so easily.
"Get off me now Benny, or I will knee those precious little jewels you adore so much."
That got him rolling off of her hurriedly and onto his feet, graceful as ever.
"You wound me, love. I would have gotten off you if you'd asked nicely."
"About half an hour after I ask, maybe."
"Pshh. Shut it."
Soon enough Gabrielle had tumbled out of bed, smacked Ben for being rude ("The hell happened to your hair, Gabe? You look like someone zapped you, sans death obviously. It's all...poofy") and had finished heating their wholesome breakfast of chocolate poptarts and instant coffee. Normally Gabrielle would make something simple, but her exhaustion seemed to be seeping into her bones.
Gabrielle sat on the table and reached for the newspaper only to find it wasn't there. She glared petulantly at Ben. "Oi! You know I like reading the advice columns you dickwad. Where is it?"
Ben looked at her over the rim of his "I love boobies!" coffee mug. "Uh, YOUR dog chewed it too hell while you slept like a rock. Don't set those angry, beady, little eyes on me."
"Isn't Ramsey usually tied to the heater?"
"Well, I guess someone didn't tie the pooch there last night. I only got back a few minutes before I kindly woke you up."
Only a few minutes? Ben usually came home a little after four on party nights. It was currently eleven in the morning. Was he actually having orgies? Oh, jeez. Gabrielle did not need those images. As soon as Ben stopped talking, Ramsey himself came trotting into the kitchen; claws clicking on the linoleum. He immediately laid his big head in her lap and nosed her stomach affectionately.
"Oh, yeah," Ben chuckled. "He's got the right idea. Did something wrong? Just butter up the woman."
Gabrielle simply leaned down to snuggle with her large red furred pet, happily throwing the middle finger in Ben's direction.
"No thanks, babe."
"Shut your pie hole Ben."
After breakfast Gabrielle fed Ramsey, then their rather fat cat, and her gerbil; from there she headed out to catch the cable car to college. Classes went smoothly and no one tried anything too stupid. Although the weirdest thing so far was half the students looked like they had overnight make-over's, but nothing to suggest anything extraordinary until she started her shift at a tiny coffee/sandwich shop.
She worked the cash register that day. Each shift was pretty much the same people coming in for their everyday orders. So when two extraordinary people walked in and stood at the back of her customer line, Gabrielle nearly had a heart attack and barely caught the scalding cup of joe she fumbled before it fell on her balding patron. Oh, it was ridiculous how Gabrielle felt like she was being put on the spot somehow. How utterly nervous she felt. It wasn't like she was in some prank, right?
It was only Drew Fuller and Wes Ramsey. Nothing to get all hot and heavy about...
Oh, who was Gabrielle freaking kidding?
By the time both actors made it up to her, she was sweating. What if she dropped her coffee on Wes Ramsey? Or Drew Fuller? Oh God, she couldn't have that! Wes ordered cheese bagels and coffee, Drew ordered chocolate donuts and iced coffee. They walked away miraculously without injury, and Gabrielle stomped down the wild urge to follow them to their seats like a puppy. What was up with the world? All they were getting was a few appreciative looks from the female numbers in other booths. Weren't they a little well known?
Very odd indeed. Then again they weren't Oprah Winfrey.
When Gabrielle's shift ended she changed out of her itchy uniform and sat at a table close enough to watch the handsome men. Why couldn't her phone have a working camera? Of all the luck!
By the time they got up and left it was getting dark. And Gabrielle had learned that the two actors got along very well. Very brother like. Interesting...
Gabrielle, hungry and now very bored without her entertainment, went home with several chocolate danishes and chocolate flavored coffee. On the cable car she happily munched on her treat until she saw something that made her choke on a delectable bite.
Billboards and bus seats had Alyssa Milano's face plastered on their surfaces with "Ask Phoebe!" beside them in bold letters. Was Gabrielle going insane? She quickly rejected the thought and stubbornly assumed some jackass with too much time on their hands, and too much money, decided to play a prank on people. Yeah, that's all it was. Without a doubt...
"Hiya Gabby!" Ben sang upon walking into their apartment. "I've got tickets to this hot club later tonight!"
From in the kitchen Gabrielle accidentally dropped a bit too much soy sauce into the rice. "If you like your dreads where they are Ben, you will never EVER call me that again." She glowered at the rice. It wasn't a total loss though; the chicken would definitely balance out the extra saltiness along with the corn. Suddenly warm arms were wrapped snuggly around her waist and Ben was nuzzling her neck affectionately. Intimately.
Gabrielle choked on the rude word she was about to call him, distinctly aware of the heat in her face. Since when was he so freaking grabby? Ben laughed into her neck at that reaction. "Since when has thisever embarrassed you? Geez, Gabe. You should get laid and soon."
The next thing that blond knew was the wooden spoon colliding with his cheek.
"Ow! Jesus effing Christ! Gabe!"
"Your balls are still fair game Ben. I'll kick them so hard they WILL come flying outta your mouth if you ever do that again!" Gabrielle said, although the threat was lost on her squeaky voice. Or I'll chop 'em off , sauté them and shove them down your gullet! Oh man, I think I liked that perverts hug more than I should!
Ben rubbed his cheek and plopped into a chair at the tiny dining table. "Yeah, well you usually aren't so violent. Did something weird happen today? Some dick try messing with you?"
Gabrielle snorted delicately, stirring the food. "Besides you? No. Nothing bad happened to me so don't worry your pretty blond head, 'mkay?"
In response Ben got her in the back of the head with a gum wrapper.
"Fine. Whatever. Anyway, do you feel like going clubbing today?"
"That depends really..."
"Whether you'll ditch me for a drunk chick again. Or a dude."
Ben eyed her worriedly and sat up straighter. "When have I ever done that to you?"
"Oh, how about seven times out of ten? It's fine, you know I don't care who you screw, right?" She reached up for the plates to avoid looking at him. "We are only roommates, right? But I don't feel like being ditched again."
"Uh... O-okay... Whatever you say," Ben said warily, frowning slightly. I seriously can't remember doing that to her. Since I can't get my stupid ass drunk I certainly wouldn't forget...
"So the place is called P3. You wanna go?"
Gabrielle dropped the empty plate in her hands, luckily they were all cheap plastic. There couldn't be a club like that. Wouldn't there be problems with the name? And besides, Charmed has been off air for six years no one would pull a schtik like that. Oh, he was just screwing with her! The irate Wiccan turned her head and gave Ben a rather dry glare. She found it easy to ignore his worried face.
"Not tonight. You go get yourself laid or something. I'll stay in and watch TV and do my homework."
Ben blinked in astonishment at her waspish behavior. Pre-period PMS perhaps. "Damn. You really are no fun today Gabe. Did someone slip you Valium?"
A plate full of steaming food dropped in front of him. "Eat up big boy. You'll probably be out all night."
All she got in response was a slightly hurt look which was missed as she sat down to eat too. Had it happened already? Ben wondered, and felt a slight tinge of loss. It probably had. No way in hell was he getting 'laid' tonight. Not with this worrying him.
=Two Weeks Later=
The waxing crescent moon hung prettily in the dark silk of night sky. Gabrielle knew she was being stupid. Since Ben was out, having disappeared for some mysterious emergency, she was left to go out alone. What shocked Gabrielle was not his odd disappearing habit, it was their cat, Cleo, giving birth to a litter of beautiful kittens under her bed soon after he ran out. At the moment, half past eleven, Gabrielle was strolling down the street to the local corner store for snacks and kitten food for the mothering queen, which would in turn give better nutrition to the kitten through their mommy's milk.
Few people were on the streets and Gabrielle was thankful for the pepper spray clenched tightly in her fist, hidden from sight in her pocket. All she had for company was the gentle autumn wind and distant sirens. Dimly, as she kept alert for possible dirtbags, Gabrielle hoped no one had been hurt. Soon enough she came to the 24-hour store and bought a lot of kitten food and 'kitten milk'.
Quiet as her steps were, for she hated making noise when she was alone in the street and vulnerable, Gabrielle clearly heard the slithering scrape from the alleyway she passed.
Ooh, frakking shit. This ain't CHARMED but that still terrifies the sweet-tooth outta me. Gabrielle hurried her steps. The scraping faded from behind as the alleyway got further. Then there was a heavy clicking. It sounded like Ramsey's nails on the linoleum, only this was harsh and purposely grating. Gabrielle broke into a desperate run.
Something roared. She screamed and did not let go of her stuff, instead sprinting across the empty street. Nothing would come out of her mouth. Not even a squeak.
"Run little wench! Your sweet flesh will be in my stomach come the midnight hour!"
Oh my fucking LORD! Gabrielle dropped her snacks and nearly tripped over a crack in the concrete. Did the Powers That Be want her getting cannibalized by a crazy bastard?
Gabrielle, running like a pro from adrenaline, cursed Ben to the stars and down to Hell. He just HAD to get some wild urge for a nighttime stroll? Bad timing dickwad! Something collided with Gabrielle's side with the force of a speeding bull and she went flying into an alleyway. Straight into a pile of cardboard boxes that smelled horribly rank. Pain lanced through her side and throbbed and spread like a crack in glass, filling her whole body. What in the name of sweet pogo jumping BLEEP was that?
Claws, from the sounds of it, scraped harshly against the brick of the surrounding alley to her left. What she saw made Gabrielle let loose a piercing scream, the only one so far in her life. The monster roared and covered its ears, growling for her to stop it. Gabrielle's lungs were burning and oxygen didn't feel like sticking around long enough for her to plead or yell for help. Like help would do anything! It was like some humanoid wolf with large amber eyes set into a vulpine head. Thin and subtly muscular, but as deadly as anything.
"Oh... sweet Jesus..."
"Gehehe. God won't help you!. I thought a witch would be tougher prey than humans."
Through her mind numbing terror the word 'witch' slipped through. He had to be kidding. Of course he was. And this had to be a huge nightmare coming after a delightful dream of newborn kittens. The fu-
"Not so fast you ugly fleabag! Pole!" It was a lady who yelled. Was she stupid? Run!
Sluggishly Gabrielle turned her head as something began to glow electric blue beside her arm and disappear. The monster shrieked so long and hard the next moment, Gabrielle thought; This is what a banshee must sound like. Soft footsteps came closer, briefly drowned out by the heavy thump and metal sound of what could only be the monster falling dead, and Gabrielle couldn't find it in herself to move. The pain was burning and stabbing into a place deep in her chest, it was nearly overwhelming. Why move and make it worse?
It was all turning into a quiet roar in her ears. The tormenting pain, the shock and her difficulty in breathing. Nothing mattered to Gabrielle, only to get the agony to stop. Maybe the lady would help.
"Hey, sweetie can you look at me?"
"Make... Make the pain go away... Please make it... stop..."
The woman was dressed in a stylish gray dress suit and yet she knelt beside her charge without a second thought. Immediately she moved the hands clamped loosely over her charges side and let her own manicured glowing hands over hover above. One broken rib, punctured lung. Ouch. Warmth bathed her charges side and quickly enough the pain had stopped completely.
Gabrielle shot up from her prone position and glanced gratefully towards the savior, for she decided to ignore all rules of good ol' logic and reasoning. She was ALIVE. Screw that stuff. She felt like making out with Ben she was so happy. And then she saw her heroine's face. A very familiar and much more wise, yet youthful, face.
"Oh sweet God." Gabrielle fainted.
That woman could only be an older Rose McGowan. Or, more accurately, Paige the witchlighter.
"Well damn. That can't be good. "