Author's Note: To everyone who's been reading and reviewing, you guys rock.
Paige looked up her plate of waffles to see Piper standing in the doorway to the kitchen, a curious look on her face.
"What's up?" Paige asked, as her sister sat down across from her at the small table.
"Didn't you have a date, last night?" Piper asked. "George something-or-other? The accountant you've been seeing for the last month?"
"It's been two weeks," Paige corrected her. "And, yes, I did have a date with George last night."
Piper nodded, slowly. "Then, why," she asked, slowly, "did I see Henry coming out of the upstairs bathroom this morning? Wearing one of Leo's shirts and jeans from the ex-boyfriend box, I might add."
"He's going to wash and return the clothes," Paige protested, flapping a hand at Piper.
"That is not the question I asked," Piper said, pointedly. Crossing her arms and staring directly at her youngest sister, she added, "Come on. Spill."
"Okay, fine," Paige grumbled. "So, George got reservations at this little Italian place, Capurro's, down by the Wharf-"
"I love that place," Piper gushed. "Leo and I went there for our second real date, and they've got the best crab-"
"Excuse me," Paige interrupted her, chuckling, "who's telling the story here? You or me?"
"Sorry," Piper apologized. "Go on."
"Anyway," Paige said, pointedly, "we were at dinner, and we were having a nice time, except for this woman a few tables over who was giving me the stink eye."
"That's creepy," Piper commented, and Paige laughed.
"You have no idea," she told her. "And, so this crazy woman, who's been eying George and me the whole night, comes storming over to our table right as the waiter sets our food on the table."
Paige paused in the middle of her recitation, taking a healthy swig of coffee. Piper gestured at her impatiently to continue.
"So," Paige went on, while Piper tapped her fingernails pointedly on the counter, "she storms over, and she throws George's drink in his face. And then she's screaming, and he's screaming, and it turns out that she's his wife."
"Ouch," Piper said, sympathetically, although she was unable to stop the laughter that escaped.
"Oh, it gets worse," Paige told her. "Because, while George and his crazy wife are screaming at each other in front of a crowded restaurant, her date comes out of the restroom and comes over to see what's going on."
"And it's Henry," Piper guessed, and Paige nodded, a wry smile twisting at her lips.
"And it's Henry," she confirmed. "That great woman he's been talking about is the same person who's married to the cheating jerk I've been dating for the last two weeks."
"You know," Piper deadpanned, "I think I saw this exact same plot on Jerry Springer, last week."
"What are you doing watching Jerry Springer?" Paige asked.
"I'm eight months pregnant, and stuck on bed rest because you and Phoebe won't let me do anything," Piper grumbled at her. "You're practically running the club for me most nights, which I can't thank you enough for, and you and Phoebe have taken over all demon-related matters, which means that I have nothing to do but sit on the couch, eat bon-bons, and watch trashy television. And since I refuse to get sucked into a soap opera, my choices for daytime television are limited."
"Okay, you know what?" Paige told her. "I am enabling the parental locks on the television. Otherwise, my unborn niece is going to come out of the womb chanting, 'Jerry, Jerry!'-"
"Oh, you're exaggerating," Piper scoffed. "Come on. Get to the part where Henry winds up in our shower."
Paige rolled her eyes, but complied. "Well, since it looked like George and his wife were going to keep yelling at each other for a while, Henry and I got our food in to-go boxes, paid our tabs, and went down to the Wharf to eat dinner with the sea lions. And by the time we realized how late it was, it was after midnight, and Henry didn't want to drive back to his place, especially since the hot water's on the fritz, so he spent the night."
"In your room?" Piper asked, a too-innocent expression on her face.
"Well, I wasn't going to make him sleep on the couch," Paige started, but then she stopped when Piper started laughing, uproariously. She waited for her sister to stop laughing, and then she crossed her arms and waited some more. "Okay, are you done?"
"Almost," Piper said, still laughing, and then finally she stopped, wiping tears from her eyes. "Okay, I'm done. I swear. Seriously, though, why do you and Henry keep dating other people? It never works out for either of you."
"You and Prue," Paige grumbled at her. "You know, she tried matchmaking me and Henry, too."
"Yeah, and maybe you should have listened," Piper retorted. "Paige, it's like the whole universe is screaming that you two belong together."
"No," Paige corrected her, "the universe is screaming about Phoebe and Cole, the way she keeps getting pulled to him when she sleeps. Henry and I are barely getting a whimper. And we are not interested in each other."
"So," Piper asked, drawing the word out, "you spent a platonic night together in the same bed?"
"Yes," Paige said, flatly, ignoring the incredulous look from her older sister. "That is exactly what – Phoebe?"
She broke off at the sight of Phoebe stumbling into the kitchen. Her eyes were wild, her hair was flying all over the place, and there were long, bloody furrows running the length of her arms. Paige bolted upright from her seat, pushing Phoebe down in her abandoned chair and hovering over her as she healed her arms.
"What happened?" Piper demanded, while Paige worked. "Phoebe, was there a demon? Were you attacked?"
"No," Phoebe said, her voice shaking. "I mean, yes, I mean-"
"Hey," Paige broke in, soothingly. "Slow down, okay? Tell us what happened."
"It's Cole and Josh," Phoebe told her, a pleading look in her eyes as she stared at Paige, and Paige jerked in surprise. She hadn't heard that name in over six months, not since – "They're in trouble," Phoebe continued, cutting into Paige's thoughts. "I saw it. I was there."
"What kind of trouble?" Piper asked. "Phoebe, where are they?"
"It's a new universe," Phoebe replied, taking a deep breath to try and control herself. "It's really similar to ours, as a matter of fact."
"How similar?" Paige asked, when Phoebe hesitated for a moment, thinking about her answer.
"Really similar," she stressed. "There was – there was another Cole, there," she told her sisters. "He died. We tried to save him, but we couldn't."
"Oh, honey," Piper said, sympathetically. "I'm so sorry."
"There was another me, there, too," Phoebe went on, quietly. "She was evil. And she was pissed that her Cole was dead. And she thought that mine was responsible, because she told him that she was going to take everyone he cared about. And then she had her demonic minions kidnap me and Josh. Only, I woke up before I could see where he was – my little boy is in that crazy bitch's hands, and I can't-"
"You will," Piper interrupted her, firmly. "We will, Pheebs. We are going to find Cole, and your little boy, and we are going to bring them home. I promise."
"How?" Phoebe asked, wiping at the tears that slid slowly down her face.
"How else?" Paige asked, wryly. "Magic."