Ch. 1

"Paige!" Piper screamed desperately as she dodged another energy ball. "Bring Phoebe," she yelled hoping that they would be here soon. Piper didn't know who this demon was, but they were definitely going to need the Power of Three.

"Piper, watch out!" Leo exclaimed as her eyes returned to the demon in the conservatory. An athame had suddenly appeared in his hand and he quickly threw it at the witch. Her hands immediately shot into the air and it froze. The demon began walking towards her and she backed up slowly, her hands up ready to attack.

"Leo, get the kids out of here," she said as she blew up a potted plant behind the demon to distract him. His black, beady eyes only became more inflamed with anger and he let out a growl from deep within his throat.

"But Pi-"

"NOW!" she added urgently as Leo agreed rushing up the stairs while Piper ran towards the kitchen. She knew she needed to put more distance between herself and the demon. She couldn't fight it and had to buy time until her sisters got there. As if on cue, Phoebe and Paige arrived in white lights and rushed to Piper's side.

"What's going on?" Phoebe asked as the demon shimmered into the kitchen in front of them.

"I'd like to know that myself!" Piper exclaimed as she tried yet again to blow him up. As Paige and Phoebe saw Piper's powers had little to no effect on the demon, they began to understand Piper's urgency. Paige saw a sharp knife on the counter and called for it.

"Knife," she yelled and orbed it into the demon's chest. With only a slight cry of pain the demon pulled it out and the girls noticed he barely bled from the wound. His dark blue skin healed itself almost immediately, but not before they saw that his blood was pure black. In return, he threw the knife at the sisters, and they all had to duck to avoid it. While the demon was still distracted from the knife wound, Phoebe ran to him punching him square in the face. Showing no pain whatsoever, he returned her punch with one of his own sending her flying against the far wall and rendering her unconscious. Piper could see claws starting to grow from where his fingers had once been, and the angrier he got, the longer the claws grew. His eyes flickered red and he walked closer to them.

"We have to get out of here," Piper said knowing that they weren't going to be able to fight this demon. "Paige, now," she said as they rushed over to Phoebe. Touching both her sisters, Paige orbed all three of them up to the attic. Piper quickly grabbed the Book of Shadows before Paige orbed them all to Magic School.

"What happened?" Leo asked as he saw the three girls orb into the Magic School library. They wouldn't have come there unless it was urgent. Then he saw Phoebe was unconscious and he grew even more concerned.

"The boys?" Piper asked glancing at Leo, and in that moment he could tell that it was serious. None of them knew what was going on, but he hadn't seen that look in her eyes since they had to vanquish Zankou. She was going through that stage of panic before she would take control of the situation and figure out what to do.

"They're fine. They're in the nursery," he assured her as Paige kneeled down to heal Phoebe. Slowly Phoebe woke up and remembered what had taken place back at the manor. Suddenly Henry appeared in a cloud of pink smoke looking tentative and worried.

"Henry, how did you get here?" Piper asked and Paige stood up.

"The potion," Paige answered for him. "I made a potion that would bring him here. I told him if I ever left to one of your urgent calls and didn't come back for a while, to use it and come here," she said rushing over to him and hugging him tightly.

"When did you make that potion?" Piper asked and Paige sighed.

"Right after we reclaimed Magic School," Paige admitted.

"That was over six months ago," Piper said quietly and Paige shrugged. "Just after the whole thing with the Triad and Billie and Christy."

"I know we thought this was all over, but I just figured, you never know," she whispered as they all realized that their worst fears had come true. Even after everything they had done, somehow there was still an incredibly powerful demon after them. Phoebe's eyes widened as the gravity of the situation suddenly hit her.

"Coop," she whispered knowing that if the demon couldn't get to the three of them he would go after the ones they loved next. Immediately Coop beamed into Magic School with a look of concern as he saw everyone gathered there. He knew something was wrong as Phoebe was still sitting on the floor and they all had somber looks on their faces.

"What's going on? Why did you call out to me?" Coop asked worriedly as he rushed over to his girlfriend.

"Something's after us Coop," she whispered as the couples instinctively paired off. "Something we couldn't fight." Phoebe was rarely scared, but right now she was downright terrified. Between the three of them, one of the sisters had always been able to have some effect on a demon even if it only lasted a moment. But this demon seemed invincible. "It wasn't anything we've ever seen before," she whispered and Coop held her tightly as a few stubborn tears leaked out of her eyes.

"It's okay. We always have Magic School to come to now," he reminded her and she nodded against his chest.

"Paige, what's going on?" Henry asked as Paige led him to the other side of the library so they could all have some privacy.

"I, we don't know," she admitted quietly and for the first time since he had met her Henry recognized fear on his wife's face. She was usually determined, and even when she was staring death in the face she was ready to fight. But right now all he saw was uncertainty and fear. "You did the right thing by coming here," she told him.

"I was worried. You told me Piper was terrified, and I know Piper. She's never terrified," he whispered and Paige nodded. "Was it a demon?" he asked and Paige nodded again but remained silent. "Paige, come on. Talk to me," he urged and she sighed.

"I don't know what it was. It wasn't an upper level demon. It was…stronger," she whispered not wanting her sisters to hear. "I've never seen anything like it in real life or in the book. We don't even know what it wants."

"You'll figure it out," he promised and Paige's eyes fell to the floor. "Hey," he said putting his finger under her chin so her gaze met his. "You will. You and your sisters may be powerful, but you're smart too. I've seen you guys. You'll figure this out."

"Piper, are you hurt?" Leo asked and she shook her head silently as she glanced at her sisters. They seemed to be occupied with Coop and Henry so she turned back to Leo.

"What the hell was that thing?" she asked raising her voice slightly and Leo shushed her. He didn't want anyone else worrying yet, but they didn't seem notice what Piper had said. They were too preoccupied in their own conversations. "No, I'm serious," Piper continued but now was whispering. "That was not just a demon. That was…what was it?" she repeated and Leo shook his head.

"I don't know, Piper," he admitted and she rested her head in the palm of her hand. She stayed quiet for a long time and Leo knew that she was working through everything in her mind.

"I thought this was over," she whispered her voice cracking slightly. "I thought after everything with the Triad that we had moved on. To a normal life," she said and Leo sighed, his heart breaking for her. "What if this is just the beginning?" she questioned voicing the fears that they all had. "What if this demon is the first of a whole new freaking species that's come to bring hell on earth or something?"

"Then it wouldn't have started with you. It would have started with something small," Leo rationalized and Piper rolled her eyes. "Come on, Piper. This isn't anything new to this family. We can deal with this. We'll fight this," he promised as he grabbed her waist and his eyes bore into hers.

"Leo, we shouldn't have to!" she exclaimed and he nodded.

"You're right," he conceded but she didn't respond. "What no sarcasm?" he asked hoping to get Piper back into the right fighting mood. "That's usually how you handle this situation."

"You mean the whole 'demon trying to kill us situation?' Sorry I'm a little out of practice," she said wryly and Leo smiled knowing that Piper was ready to dive into this. She sighed and shook her head. "Okay," she finally relented as she walked away from him. "Come on, let's check the book," she announced to the room and Phoebe and Paige nodded. Piper slowly opened the book that they had barely touched over the last six months and felt an odd sense of nostalgia wash over her. It had been a part of their lives for over eight years. As much as she had always claimed to hate the weekly demon fighting, a part of her now yearned for it.

"Well, he was dark blue," Phoebe began as Piper flipped through the familiar pages and the three sets of eyes bore into the words covering them. "Bled black, really strong…knocked me on my ass," Phoebe mused.

"Threw energy balls, could conjure an athame from thin air, black eyes that turned red, claws…" Piper trailed off as they continued checking the book. They weren't coming up with anything and none of them were surprised. If it had been in the book, chances are they would have come across it once or twice by now. The demon they had faced today was entirely different than anything they had seen or read about. "Paige, go check with the elders. See if they know anything," Piper suggested as Paige nodded and orbed off.

"What should we do?" Phoebe asked and Piper shut the book.

"Well, we're in the Magic School library," Piper pointed out. "We should do some research," she reasoned as the remaining five people started for the bookshelves.

"Are we looking for anything in particular?" Henry asked unsure of what he should be doing to help.

"Anything with black blood," Piper said before pulling a thick, dusty book off a shelf. "It's always the blood," she muttered more to herself than anyone else. All five of them grabbed a few books and got ready for a long night of research.

Phoebe opened the book on the top of the stack. Its focus was on the spiritual nexus, and as soon as she opened to the first page she was pulled into a premonition. She saw the three of them recite a spell and watched as Zankou was vanquished and the nexus destroyed.

"What did you see?" Piper asked anxiously and Phoebe shook her head.

"Just…Zankou. I saw us vanquish Zankou," she told her and Piper glanced at Leo who shrugged unsure of what it meant.

"That's it?" Piper pressed and Phoebe thought hard. She wondered if there had been anything different in her premonition than the real event, but she couldn't think of anything.

"Yeah, that's it," Phoebe said disappointed. What was the point of that premonition? They already knew they'd vanquished Zankou and destroyed the nexus in the process.

"Alright, well let's make a note of it and keep researching," Leo suggested and the rest of them nodded before they returned to their research.

It had been nearly an hour and the room was still silent. Paige hadn't returned and the rest of them were still researching but hadn't found any useful information. They were all getting frustrated. With every page they read that didn't contain anything helpful, their eyes began to water a little more and their heads grew heavier. Their lives weren't supposed to be this way anymore. This was all supposed to be over.

The only sounds anyone could hear were frustrated sighs and an occasional pencil tapping. Pages flipped, and every now and then a book would shut to be followed by another one opening. But still, there was nothing gained from these activities and the tension was growing. Finally Henry spoke up and broke the silence.

"You know, with all the magic you guys have, it's amazing that you've never indexed this stuff," he said and Phoebe laughed out loud. "I'm serious. You can literally save the world, but you can't make an index!" he joked flipping through a volume that had to be nearly a thousand pages long. "Look at this thing," he gestured to the book. "Did you guys always have to do this?"

"Usually we found it in our book," Piper said closing the book in front of her and taking a short break.

"What does it mean if this demon isn't in your book?" Henry asked.

"It means that nobody in our family has ever gone up against it before," Phoebe explained and Piper sighed.

"Or they didn't live long enough to write about it," she pointed out as her eyes met Phoebe's. They had a silent conversation where they agreed that if they couldn't find anything soon they would have to resign themselves to the fact that this would be the end of the Charmed Ones. At that moment Paige orbed in, and five sets of expectant eyes turned to look at her.

"They know nothing," she said and Piper rolled her eyes.

"Of course they know nothing," she muttered before grabbing a book and handing it to Paige. "Let's read."