A/N:

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Chapter 8

Tension

Phoebe arrived at school and had to run to her class that she was late and just made the last 15 minuets. She sat down as her instructor was finishing up his lecture.

"Your late," one of her classmates whispered.

"What else is new," Phoebe whispered back. After the instructor was finished giving the assignment for the next day, Phoebe was getting ready to head to her next lecture. "Man I would really like to arrive on time for once." she said.

"What's the fun in that," her friend said.

"Hay do you know who that homeless guy is down the street from here?" Phoebe asks.

"I think he used to be a professor here years ago, but lost his marbles, why?"

"No reason just curious," Phoebe replied as she put her book away as her phone vibrated which was never a good sign. "Oh what now?" she said under her breath. She looked at the text and it was Leo saying she needed to come to the club. Due to the fact she had class and was not ready to miss another, she asks why. After Leo said it was Piper she figured she was having another episode. She decided instead of texting she would call to find out if it was something he could handle. She said goodbye to her friend and found a secluded place outside of class. "Leo what's going on?"

"Piper is just steering and she will not respond to anything," he said.

"Honey just give her time to come out of it and then make her take her pill," Phoebe said and could hear a audible sigh on the other end of the phone," Leo I really need to make it to my next class can you call Paige or Prue?"

"Their at work," he replied and she put the phone on her chest as she took in a deep breath.

"I will try to get there when I can," she said and hung up.

Leo put the phone down and sat on the couch as he tried to think of some way of getting her out of it. She was not moved in over an hour and he was starting to get really nervous. "Piper sweetie can you hear me?" he asks but she did not move. There was a knock at the door and at first he thought it was one of her sisters so he got up to answer it. "Phoebe?" he asks but once the door was open he saw it was not her.

"Hi Leo is Piper busy?" her manager asks.

"Um yes she is on the phone," Leo replied quickly and moved outside of the office shutting the door behind him.

"Oh could you tell her that we are out of gin," she said and then walked away.

"Sure," he said and went back in as Piper was looking around. "Piper?"

"What?" she asks and started rubbing her eyes as for some reason they were stinging. She went to stand and her back was stiff. "God I am getting old," she said and stretched.

"Are you ok?" he asks and went over to her.

"Yeah I am fine why?"

"I think you went catatonic," he replied and Piper just gave a snort.

"Right," she said and looked at her watch. She could tell some time has passed and could not recall why.

"Honey please let's go home and make that appointment," he said as Piper kept looking at her watch and even put it to her ear to make sure it was working. "Piper."

"I'm going to say this one more time, there is nothing wrong with me and if the only thing you're going to do while you're here is evaluate me, then go home," Piper said and left her office. Leo put his hands on his hips as she walked past him. He wanted to orb her and try to get her to realize that something was off but that would just make her angry and more distant. It was her fighting spirit that he fell in love with, but now he was becoming detrimental in getting her well.

Prue was looking over her phone as a text came in from Phoebe about Piper. She was in the middle of a photo shoot and was now stuck between a rock and a hard place. If she left now she would probably lose her job but on the other hand Piper was having a episode or something else.

"Prue you ready we are losing the light?" her coworker asked.

"Um yeah just give me a moment," Prue replied as her coworker tapped her wrist signifying for her to hurry up. Prue sent a note back saying she was indisposed at the moment and would get back to her soon. She put her phone away and continued the photo shoot while guilt swelled up inside her.

Meanwhile Paige was getting through her paperwork for the day as her phone rang.

"Hello."

"Paige its Phoebe Leo called me and said Piper was catatonic can you go check on her?" Phoebe asks.

"Oh god I wish I could, but Phoebe I have a lot of cases to get through today or people suffer if I don't," Paige replied.

"So does my grades," Phoebe said.

"I have lunch coming up in a few minutes, I will orb over there and check on her," Paige said.

"Thanks sweetie and I am sorry," Phoebe said and hung up. Paige knew that one of the symptoms was for someone to go catatonic for a period of time. Most of the time it was short but could last for hours. If she was her case manager she could leave without notice as it would be considered an emergency. But Piper was not in the system yet and she was not assigned to her, so she had to make judgment calls and balance work and family that seemed to be the norm for her now. She looked at the clock and it was almost time for her to go to lunch. Because of her workload she normally would have worked through lunch, but she needed to check on her sister.

Piper was rummaging through some of the shelves around the bar clearly looking for something.

"Where did I put that?" she asks.

"This?" her manager ask as she put her hand on the scissors Piper was looking for that was on the bar.

"If it was a snake it would have bit me," Piper replied and smiled a little as she took them.

"Did Leo tell you we were out of gin?" her manager ask.

"No but thanks I will order some," Piper replied as she looked at her husband as he seemed very uncomfortable. Piper hated the way he as acting, like she was glass or going to start stabbing people with the scissors. She had to find a way to get him out or to relax and give her some air. "Leo could you order some gin for me, the numbers in my office in the desk drawer?" she asks and he hesitated for a moment but then went to do what she asked. She took a deep breath and then immediately went back to looking for something. "Where the hell did I put it?"

"Here," her manager said again while pointing to the scissors as Piper put them back on the bar and forgot.

"Sorry I did not get enough sleep apparently," Piper said and picked them up again as her manager went back to stocking the bar. Piper could feel something was different as her thoughts seem to strain to flow. She was forgetting things as she could not remember why she wanted the scissors in the first place. Instead of looking like a complete fool, she decided to go to the storage room. Once she was in there she sat down on one of the boxes and hoped this was one of the side effects of the pill she took earlier. She ran her fingertips over her forehead as a headache was brewing. Every muscle in her body felt like they were shrinking as weakness was sitting and even thinking was a strain. She knew she had a lot to do today but could not find the motivation nor come up with a attack plan on completing them.

"I just need some sleep and get this pill out of my system," she said and got up but then immediately felt dizzy and sat back down hard almost missing the box. She gripped the sides of the cardboard as her mouth filled with saliva and had no choice but to spit out the excess. She could feel sweat beading up on her forehead as her hands shook along with the rest of her body. She refused to throw up in her own storage room as she would be the one to clean it up. She took in a deep long breaths into her nose and out through her mouth as she kept her eyes closed to avoid the room spinning. It took over 5 minutes for her to get control and once she felt well enough she stood slowly. This time she avoided the spinning sensation as now she was more tired than she was before," Ok these pills suck," she said and headed out to have Leo take her home. Paige came in through the front door and down the steps Just as Piper was about to talk to Leo.

"Hay sis," Paige said and walked over to her.

"What are you doing here, I thought you were at work?" Piper asks while grabbing her purse.

"I am but its lunch time so I thought I'd pay you a visit," Paige replied and see that Piper was a little pale and clammy. "You ok?"

"Fine I am fine, just tired and did Leo call you?" Piper asks as he came out of the office.

"No why?" Paige replied in half-truths as it was Phoebe who called her.

"Oh," Piper said.

"Hay Paige," Leo said and was thankful to see at least one of her sisters as Paige smiled at him and waved.

"Leo can you take me home, I need to take a nap," she whispered.

"Sure," he said and went to get the car.

"Sorry Paige but you can have your lunch here, it's on the house," Piper said as she started heading out.

"Thanks," Paige said but was a little irritated that apparently only she did not need to be there.

Later that evening when everyone was finally home from work or school, Piper was still laying down as Leo went into the kitchen as they were getting something to eat. He was slightly frustrated that everyone blew Piper off when she needed them.

"I can't believe you guys," Leo said.

"What are you talking about?" Phoebe asks as she put her plate in the sink.

"Piper needed you and you guys just blew her off," Leo replied.

"Hay I went to check on her," Paige said as she did not like being accused of dropping the ball.

"Yeah during your lunch break," Leo said.

"Leo we all have jobs or school, if it was a demon attack or something you could not handle, we would have come," Prue jumped in as she did not like the accusation as well.

"Because in the past you guys have never just dumped things on her and went off to work or dates," Leo said as his frustration was growing and recalled all the times they left her alone to deal with things.

"That is not fair do you have any idea how many classes I have missed and test I have to retake to handle our charmed affairs," Phoebe said as she narrowed her expression at him.

"This is completely different we don't know what's causing it, what if it is a spell, you know how these things work, it will get worse," Leo said.

"And according to the elders -," Prue started to say.

"They could be wrong," Leo cut her off.

"Every moment I have that I have is free, I am trying to come up with a spell to kill the source, I don't know what else you want me to do?" Phoebe asks.

Leo sat down as he was more exhausted than taking care of his charges and Paige sat next to him.

"Leo I know your scared, so are we and if it was something that was putting her life in danger we would have been there in a heartbeat, you know that but we can't drop everything for something you can handle because you were with her, she wasn't alone," Paige said as she could see his body slumped in a slight defeat as arguing with the sisters was never a winning proposition for him.

"To be honest I have no idea what to do here, if it was a spell that is something we can fight but if its not then I – I don't know," Prue said as she tried to keep herself from losing it. The entire day she was so worried about Piper that it made it hard to concentrate at work. Everyone went silent for a moment as Piper walked in and immediately felt tension in the room as they all gave her a unconvincing smile.

"Oh god don't talk the crazy ladies in the room," Piper said as she walked over to the refrigerator and roughly opened it. She hated secrets and most of all hated when people talk behind her back.

"How are you feeling?" Prue asks ignoring Piper's sarcastic remark.

"Fine but I am not taking those pills again, got it," Piper replied and pulled out some water as her throat was extremely dry.

"They can probably get you on something better when she make an appointment," Paige said as Piper was leaving the room but stopped and turned to face them.

"I am not sick dammit its the source and if I have to take him on myself with no powers to speak of and being blocked from the book, then I will!" Piper yelled as her body shook and the bottled water she was holding began to buckle under the pressure of her hand. Prue got up quickly and followed her.

"First there is no way in hell we're going to let you do that and second we are just trying to help you, Piper what would it hurt to just talk to someone?" Prue asks as Piper was definitely not joking about taking on the source. Piper turned around and folded her arms as her entire family was now staring in her direction.

"And how do I talk to them say I see demons Prue, because we do so no matter what I say it's going to come off like I am crazy, so you tell me how I'm supposed to handle this when my family doesn't even believe me," Piper said as tears threatened.

"It's not that we don't believe you, I still think that this is magical, but until we can kill the source we need a way of controlling it," Prue said.

"Then make more potion," Piper said and continued into the living room.

"It's not working," Leo said as he sat next to her.

"Then make it better, because I can't," Piper said and was feeling crowded and decided to go to her room. Once she was gone the rest of the family sat down to discuss a plan.

"Like talking to a wall," Phoebe said and rubbed her head.

"So what do we do?" Leo asks.

"I would try to make a better potion and Phoebe keep working on the spell. Until then we need to keep an eye on her whether she likes it or not," Prue replied and went to get the book. She stopped at Piper's bedroom door that was closed and could hear crying from the other side. It took a lot to shake her but this was terrifying her. She hated not being able to take control of the situation. She opened the door slowly and could see Piper on the bed crying as she held her bottled water on her lap. "Piper its going to be ok, we will get this off of you, just be patient with us and understand that were worried about you because we love you," Prue said and Piper gave a slight nod as she let her older sister hold her.

"I feel so powerless I hate the fact that they blocked me from everything," Piper whimpered while resting her chin on Prue's shoulder.

"I know sweetie but you will get it all back, I promise," Prue said and rubbed her back.

Downstairs Phoebe was working on the spell as Paige was coming up with ingredients for the new potion as Cole shimmered in.

"Hay," he said and walked over to Phoebe.

"Hey there handsome," Phoebe said and Paige wrinkled her face a bit as the two kissed.

"Listen I have some disturbing news," he said as the kissing stopped.

"I'm interested to see what you think is disturbing," Paige said and got a stern look from Phoebe.

"The source has found out about Piper and he is planning on attacking, he knows that you have one of her powers," Cole said and Phoebe had to sit down as she has not practiced at all neither has Prue.

"Do you know when?" Leo asks.

"No but you guys need to work on that vanquishing spell and practice her powers," Cole replied.

"Wait how could he have found out that quickly?" Leo asks.

"Trust me Leo they have ears everywhere," Cole replied as being a half demon he knows how the underworld works.

"Should we tell Piper?" Paige asks.

"She doesn't need the stress right now, so just tell Prue and find a way to practice," Leo replied.

"The basement worked for her, so I guess I will start there," Phoebe said and headed off to the kitchen with Cole with her as Prue came downstairs with the book. Paige headed off to the kitchen as well to start working on the new potion and hoped that all the lesson she got from Piper would pay off. Leo told Prue about the sources plan and she decided to join Phoebe in practicing. Leo went back upstairs to spend time with Piper and get her to eat something as her routine has been thrown offkilter.

Cole picked up a box that was filled with mostly junk and after looking at Phoebe to make sure she was ready, he tossed it up in the air. She tried to freeze it and even flipped a wrist like Piper, but it continued its path as the contents came spilling out.

"Dammit," she said through her teeth.

"You need to find the trigger," Prue said as Cole picked up a glass bottle and looked at Prue. He then tossed it up in the air and Prue used one hand like she does with her other power, but it too continued its path uninterrupted and smashed into tiny little pieces. "Ok it seems to be harder than I thought." she said as they continue to try to find the trigger for each power.

"Piper always said it was a fear reflects with the freeze," Phoebe remembered.

"And what about her other?" Prue asks.

"I don't know she never really talked about it," Phoebe replied.

"Probably anger," Cole said.

"Well that shouldn't be hard just think of the source and what he is doing to her," Phoebe said as Cole tossed another box and instead of flicking her wrist she stretched out her hand with all her fingers extended as fear began to build in her. The box froze in midair along with Cole. "Oops," she said and then started to feel a slight panic as she had no idea how to unfreeze him. She walked over to him and nudged him a few times and he came back to life.

"Looks like you did it," he said as she was not in the same spot as before.

"Yeah problem I don't know how to unfreeze," she said.

"Ready Prue?" he asks and pointed to the box that was hovering. Prue shook out her hands and let the rage build and she did a slight flick with one wrist but instead of the box exploding, some extra furniture did instead and they all had to cover their heads as pieces when flying.

"Ok well I tapped into it but I don't know how to aim, how the hell did Piper get this?" Prue asks as she bent down to pick up some of the pieces and Phoebe went to help her.

"Well we better get it quickly because we can not afford to screw up when the attack happens."

"You guys ok down there?" Paige asks from the staircase.

"Yeah but the furniture isn't," Phoebe replied.

To be continued...