Here is the conclusion to "Magic". This section references the third season episode "A Witches Calling". Enjoy….

The Plateau – 1922

A full moon hung over the plateau, gently illuminating everything in its wake with silver-white light. The stillness of the night was punctuated with the occasional sounds of hunting animals and the errant breeze softly rustling the dew-laden foliage. In the treehouse suspended 60 feet above the jungle floor, all was quiet. Marguerite Krux, the resident night owl, had retired for the evening half an hour earlier. It was her habit to stay up reading long after everyone else had gone to sleep, enjoying the solitude to which she was so accustomed. However, this practice had quickly led to her reputation as a late riser; something her housemates teased her about incessantly considering how early the rest typically began their day. Marguerite, being Marguerite, simply ignored the taunts and continued to do as she pleased. Little did she know that on this particular night she wasn't the last one to bed.

With almost ghostly silence a figure stealthily made its way across the common room. The shafts of light coming in through various openings left glowing patches on the floor, alternating between illuminating and shadowing the face of George Challenger as he walked through the moonbeams. His face wore an expression of wariness tinged with an almost breathless anticipation. He carried a long, thin object wrapped in a piece of brown cloth. He set it down on the table, careful not to make any noise that might alert the others to his clandestine activities. Still not satisfied that he was alone, he took one more careful walk around the common area, listening intently for any noises coming from the bedrooms. With the exception of some soft snoring coming from the direction of Ned's room, all was silent. As a smile light up his features much as the moonlight had done earlier, Challenger walked back to the object on the table. His eyes were alight with the same glow seen on the face of a child seeking the wrapped presents on Christmas day.

Thankful the moonlight made it unnecessary to light a candle, Challenger slowly began unwrapping his treasure. Pulling aside the folds of cloth soon revealed a branch of polished birch. About a foot and a half in length, the slender piece of wood bifurcated at its midsection forming two smaller, intricately coiled branches. Almost instinctively, his hand reached out, his index finger gently tracing the twists and turns of the coiled strips of wood from one end to the other.

Rubbish! Useless trinket!! The forgotten voice echoing in his mind came suddenly, causing Challenger to whirl around, half expecting to see his long-dead father standing in front of him. He would remember much later that he had instinctively hidden the wand behind his back, eerily recreating the events of that painful and devastating night so many years before.

The man's been dead for almost 20 years, and he still has the power to make me cringe like a terrified child, Challenger thought with a combination of sadness and anger. He was an egocentric, uncaring bastard…and I came so close to being exactly like him.

Challenger shuddered as he sat and remembered the first few years following the death of his grandfather. It was almost as if a part of him had died right along with Grandpa George. Rather than reach out to his father, he had turned to the only thing that made any sense to him…science. It was clean and rigid. It followed rules that were unwavering, rules that could never disappoint. Science was always there. Science never died, leaving you all alone in grief and despair.

In the end Edward Challenger had gotten exactly what he had wanted. His son had followed in his footsteps, carving out a name for himself in the world of science both nationally and internationally. When it came time to marry, George chose his bride methodically, seeking a strong, independent woman who wouldn't mind the countless hours separated from a husband whose primary concern was not house and home. He and Jessie had mutually decided that it would be best to remain childless. Buried in the recesses of his mind were memories of the lonely boy he had once been. Even in the midst of his all-consuming obsession, it was abhorrent to envision himself as the cold, uncaring father of a child of his own. There was absolutely no way he would allow history to repeat itself, and he considered himself fortunate that Jessie had never expressed any deep longings towards motherhood.

Yes, the last thing George Challenger had needed was a family, yet here he was stuck on this godforsaken plateau forming almost familial-type bonds with four individuals who had been complete strangers to him not three years before; four individuals who had taught him so very much about what was really important in life. It put a smile on his face to think he really had quite a lot to thank the plateau for.

What kind of man would I be right now if I had never come to this place? We've all changed so much, grown so much.

It never ceased to amaze Challenger that his ever-present love of science could co-exist with such strong feelings of loyalty, friendship, and even love. His life felt more complete than it had in years—since those long-ago Saturday afternoons spent with his loving grandfather. It hadn't dawned on him, however, until his dubious encounter with the self- proclaimed witch, Dame Alice, that one lone wall remained around his heart and soul.

"Humbug," he had scoffed.

They had all been seated at the common room table as Roxton and Malone showed him the magic wand they had recovered from Dame Alice's mysterious castle. One small word, so casually spoken, had nonetheless terrified him. It had terrified him because at that single instant of perfect clarity, he realized exactly how much he had changed in the last two and a half years—and yet how quickly he could slide backwards toward arrogance. In that one moment it hadn't been George, but Edward Challenger speaking. He had quickly excused himself from the table, careful not to let his anxiety break the jovial mood consequent to yet another victory over certain death. It wasn't until he had entered the shelter of his room that he realized he still held Dame Alice's wand in his clenched hand. He wrapped it in cloth and put it away, not yet ready to deal with the wave of emotions and memories flooding him. Tonight, however, was the time. He was finally ready to make peace with his ghosts.

Challenger closed his eyes and thought of his grandfather for the first time in years. He willed himself to remember the exact shade of red hair; the good-humored smile that always lit up his face; the smell of pipe tobacco; the irrepressible love he had shown for his grandson.

"The world is a place of magic and mystery," his grandfather had said. Challenger the boy had understood; Challenger the man had needed reminding. He stood and picked up the wand. As images of a young boy whirling around his bedroom in delight flashed through his memory, he began to dance around the moonlit room. Once again he allowed himself to dream of floating beds and puppies, of the magic found in the satisfaction of a hard day's work; the magic of friendship and loyalty in the face of daily risk and danger; the magic of a grandfather's interminable love.

Challenger spun around and found himself face to face with a pair of silver-gray eyes, silently watching him with amusement. Marguerite had no idea what had awakened her so soon after retiring to her bed but had decided to take advantage of the fact that she was awake to refill the water glass she typically left by her bed. Nothing could have prepared her for the shock of finding George Challenger dancing quietly around the common room in the moonlight with a magic wand in his hand. Her fears that something was very wrong were assuaged when she saw the look of complete contentment on his face. Fear was quickly replaced by embarrassment as she realized that she was interrupting something both very important and very private. She had been trying to back away slowly when Challenger had whirled around and seen her standing in the shadows. She didn't need a lamp to know that Challenger's face was as red as his hair and that his embarrassment at the situation mirrored her own.

"It's too late for either one of us to feign innocence now," Challenger said quietly as he composed himself. "Care to join me?" He pulled a second chair away from the table.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, George. I was simply on my way to the kitchen for some water," Marguerite said as she sat down next to him. "Is everything OK?"

"Oh yes, my dear. Everything is fine. Just taking a moment to spend some time with memories I had thought long forgotten."

"I could tell from the expression on your face that they were good ones," Marguerite said with a tinge of envy she couldn't completely hide from Challenger.

She doesn't realize how alike we are; how we both bristle at the people we once were. Marguerite has grown so much. We all have.

"You know, Marguerite," Challenger said thoughtfully. " I was remembering a very smart man who once told me that the world is a place full of magic and mystery. I had forgotten that until just recently. Tonight helped me remember."

All was silent as the scientist and the heiress sat at that moonlit table, each momentarily lost in their own thoughts but enjoying the quiet companionship. When Marguerite excused herself to return to her bedroom, Challenger picked up the wand and slowly made his way back to his own room. He crossed the room and lit a small candle on the table that held what few personal items he brought on this expedition. Next to the picture of Jessie was a long, thin box of polished teak—a box he had never been without in the 52 years since the man he loved most in the world had given it to him. He opened the lid and carefully removed the yellowed piece of paper, still carrying his grandfather's unmistakable script. Lying underneath were the two halves of a broken magic wand.

"This is for the past, the things in life we can not change," he said as he held the broken sections of wood in his hand. In between the two broken pieces he placed Dame Alice's intact wand. "And this is for the joys of the present and the promise that tomorrow brings." Around the three pieces of wood he carefully wrapped the piece of paper, a grandfather's legacy to a lonely boy, and carefully replaced the bundle in the box. With a smile on his face, Challenger blew out the candle and got into bed. "I love you grandfather" were the last words uttered in the moonlight before he was asleep and lost in dreams of magic.