Charmed Role Reversal



Aid and Comfort

The door to the Manor flew open and he strode forcefully into the house. Piper, hearing the door open, left Stuart in the parlor and went to see who was there.

"Who are- ARRGGHH!"

The stream of light crackled as it stretched from the spinning sphere in his hand to Piper's chest and she fell to her knees. Stuart heard her scream and came running just as the stream of light stopped and she collapsed on the floor.

"Piper!" he called. As he started to go to her he saw him standing to the side. He changed direction and lunged at him.

"UUGGHH!"

The stream of light crackled again and struck Stuart in the chest, just as it had Piper. His eyes froze as he fell back against the wall and then they half-closed. When the sphere's spinning stopped, he slowly slid down the wall to the floor, his eyes closing as he fell across Piper's outstretched arm.

Hearing cries, Phoebe came running down the stairs.

"Stuart! Piper!" she cried. She dropped down to the floor and touched Stuart's face.

"No!" she sobbed as she took Piper's hand in hers, tears filling her eyes.

Prue hurried down the stairs but stopped short when she saw Piper and Stuart sprawled on the floor. Prue saw tears running down Phoebe's face as she looked up at her.

"They're...dead," Phoebe said.



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Prue knelt down beside Stuart and Piper and felt their necks. Neither had a pulse..

There was a look of shock on her face as she lifted Piper's head and held it close to her. Tears trickled down from Prues eyes and she kissed Piper's forehead, then gently put her head back down on the floor.

He caught Phoebe's attention as he stepped out into the open from behind the living room wall. She jumped up and started towards him.

"Stop witches and do nothing if you care about them!" he said firmly.

"Wait," Phoebe said as Prue raised her hand.

"You killed them," Prue said, the shock turning to anger as she stood up and stared at him.

"In a manner," he said.

"In a manner?!" Phoebe cried.

"I extracted their souls," he said.

"You killed them," Prue repeated, anger in her voice.

"Their souls are in here," he said, slightly raising the sphere he was holding. "The sphere keeps a useable, though tenuous, connection between them and their bodies. I can restore their souls through it.

"If you do what I want."

"What you want?" Prue said. "The only thing demons want is to kill us."

"Killing The Charmed Ones would be a real feather in my cap," he said. "It would earn me respect and prestige.

"And I'd so enjoy killing you." He paused for a few seconds savoring the thought, a slight smile on his face.

"But you can't put prestige in the bank, so to speak," he continued. "Prestige won't give me more power. And that's what I want. More power!

"One particular demon's power, to be exact.

"And that's what you're going to do for me. You're going to take that power away from him and bring it to me."

"Who are you?" Prue asked.

"Why do you ask? So you can try to find a spell to vanquish me?" He shook his head. "All you need to know about me is that I have your sister's soul and I decide whether she lives or dies."

"Why don't you just take the power yourself?" Phoebe asked. "The way you...took their souls."

"My power can connect the sphere to a soul and extract it - and anything associated with it. But demons don't have the same souls as mortals have. Or even witches have. So I can't connect the sphere to his soul.

"And I can't get close enough to Tallor to try anything else. As soon as I'm anywhere near him he senses me and uses his power to elude me.

"But you're The Charmed Ones. You're smart and powerful witches. You can come up with a spell to connect the sphere to Tallor and extract the power from him."

"I'll come up with a spell," Prue said, edging closer, her eyes locked on his, "but I won't stop with Tallor. I'll use it to extract powers from every demon I find.

"Starting with you!"

"Hmmph. Remember - I have your sister's soul," he said.

"I'll free her myself - and then I will vanquish you!" Prue said.

"You have a reputation for being prideful and somewhat arrogant," he said, un-fazed. "I can see now why."

"What power does Tallor have?" Phoebe asked, afraid Prue would say something else and make matters even worse.

"You don't need to know," he said. "You just have to cast a spell to link his power to the sphere. Once that's established, the sphere will do the rest."

"We have to know what we'll be up against," Phoebe said. "We have to be prepared in case he tries to use his power against us."

The demon thought silently for a moment. "Time travel," his eyes narrowing as he stared at Phoebe. "Tallor's power is to travel through time."

"We don't help demons," Prue said defiantly.

"You will if you care about your sister, and this mortal, dying," he said.

"They're already dead," Prue said, taking another step closer to the demon. "I don't believe you - their souls can't be restored."

"Then do nothing," he said calmly. "And they will be dead."

"Prove it," Phoebe said. "Prove that their souls can be restored. And then maybe we'll get you Tallor's power."

The demon was silent for a moment.

"I hadn't planned on taking the mortal's soul," the demon said, "just the soul from one of the three of you. I only took his soul because he got in my way."

The demon held up the sphere and as it began spinning and glowing a stream of light crackled from it and extended to Stuart's body. After a moment the sphere stopped and the light retracted into it. Phoebe knelt down by Stuart and hesitantly called to him. She saw his head move slightly and as she lifted it into her arm he slowly began to open his eyes.

"Stuart!" Phoebe shouted.

"Ohhh...what...happened?" he asked.

"A demon took your soul," Phoebe said, "but we got it back."

"Piper...the demon...he did something to her..." he stammered.

"We know," Phoebe said. "He still has Piper's soul. We're going to save her, too."

The demon turned to Prue and stared at her. She was silent for a moment, then took a deep breath.

"How do we find Tallor?" she asked, angry that she had no choice but to help him.

"He's at an abandoned warehouse just outside of the city. Here." He handed Prue a piece of paper.

"You'd better hurry," the demon continued. "The link between your sister's soul and her body will last for only four hours. After that the connection will be broken and her soul can't be restored - and she'll be dead."

"We'll work on the spell," Prue said. "Don't you leave till we get back. And don't you do anything else to my sister."

"Stuart, stay here and protect Piper - and watch him," Phoebe said.

The demon laughed. "You're telling this mortal to watch me? I just chewed him up and spit him back out."

"Don't underestimate him," Phoebe said. "He's not afraid to take on a demon."

"I didn't know what you were," Stuart said, "but now I do. I will protect Piper. And Phoebe and Prue, too, while they're gone."

"Let's go," Prue said to Phoebe. "The clock is running."

The demon glared at Stuart as Prue and Phoebe ran up the stairs to the attic.

"I'll deal with you later, mortal," he said.

"Here," Phoebe said as she read the page in the Book of Shadows. "This spell will link powers together. I think I can use it to link Tallor's powers to the sphere.

"But I don't know how we'll get him to stay put long enough to say it without having Piper to freeze him."

"There may be another way to stop him from getting away," Prue said, and turned to the middle of the Book. "I came across it while I was looking through the Book of Shadows last week when you and Piper were out on your dates and I was here by myself."

"It was somewhere around here." She turned a few pages in each direction, quickly one way and then the other.

"Here it is," Prue said. "We have to form a triangle around the warehouse where Tallor is. And then say this spell. It will trap him inside the triangle. If we do it right he won't be able to leave the warehouse.

"We're only two," Phoebe said.

"The spell doesn't have to be said together," Prue said. "Just at each point of the triangle, one immediately after the other. So if I astral project fast enough I can say it at each point and cast the spell."

"It says it will only temporarily keep him trapped," Phoebe said. "It doesn't say how long it will last."

"You'll go inside and get Tallor's powers," Prue said. "I'll stay outside and keep astral projecting and repeating the spell until you're done."

Phoebe was silent for a moment.

"I don't like any of this," she said. "We're giving aid and comfort to the enemy. We've been looking carefully at how we played our roles on Charmed to know how to act here in real life. The writers didn't give us scripts where we helped demons. And if our characters didn't help any demons on Charmed then we shouldn't be helping one here, either."

Prue nodded.

"For all we know," Prue said, "he's one of the demons planning the major destruction by the solstice. And Tallor's power could be what's needed for their plan to succeed."

"We were picked to be the ones to stop them," Phoebe said, "because they thought we wouldn't act any differently in real life than how we acted on Charmed. And on Charmed, we never let a demon get a power."

"Maybe you're right," Prue said, and paused. "But there was that episode..." She stopped again.

"No - I can't think about that," Prue went on. "Not about how I'm supposed to play Prue Halliwell, nor about what the scripts said we would do, nor about whatever...they had in mind when they turned me into a witch.

"Holly is my closest friend. And yours too, Alyssa. She's going to die if we don't give that demon what he wants. Right now, that's the only thing that matters. We have to save Holly's life."

Prue closed her eyes for a moment, shook her head and exhaled.

"Talking like this, we've slipped out of character, again," she said. "We can't let that happen. We have to save Holly's...save Piper's life. And we have a demon waiting for us in our living room. We have to get back to being just The Halliwells - and staying that way.

"We'll save Piper now and deal with the demon later."

Prue took a deep breath, then looked at Phoebe who nodded.

"Let's go, Phoebe," Prue said.

They copied the spells onto a piece of paper, closed the Book of Shadows and ran down the stairs.

"You'd better move faster," the demon said to them. "You have only about three hours left."

"We're going to get the powers," Prue said, glaring at him. "You'd better make sure you have a way to restore Piper's soul - no matter when we get back.

"If you don't...I will find you wherever you are in time...and I'll destroy you!" she said, looking him firmly in the eye.

"If you're as fast with your witchcraft as you are in making up dramatic threats then your sister will be safe," he replied unfazed, handing her a second sphere. "Don't ever think of taking up acting," he added. "Your much too melodramatic to be any good at it."

"Let's go," Phoebe said, pulling Prue towards the door before she could say anything else.

"What was that crack he made about my acting?" Prue said as she started the car. "And about my reputation...about being prideful?" she added, indignantly.

"I'm not prideful - I'm just honest," Prue said. "I am a damn good actress...and a damn good witch, too! And I'll show him that.

"I'm going to save Piper," Prue continued. "And then I'm going to kick his demon-ass. And then he'll know who he was dealing with."

"Right..." Phoebe said. "Prideful and arrogant? Whatever could have given him that idea?"

"OK," Prue said after they had checked the warehouse from the outside. "I'll start saying the spell here in the front. Then I'll astral project and say it again at each of the two far corners. Then I'll come inside to help you.

"Be careful."

Phoebe nodded. She opened the warehouse door, the sphere in her hand, and walked inside. Large boxes were stacked ten feet high on either side of her. She walked slowly between them for about twenty yards until she reached an open area.

The warehouse was fairly well lit. She looked around as she stepped into the open space but didn't see anyone. Then she heard something behind her and as she turned around she saw someone walking towards her. He was of medium built, a few inches taller than her and was holding a large manilla envelope in his hands.

He looked up at her, saw the sphere in her hand and quickly closed his eyes and concentrated. As he opened them Phoebe could see surprise on his face. He closed and opened his eyes a few more times, surprise turning to panic. He turned, dropped the manilla envelope and starting running between the boxes. Reaching the door, he opened it and tried to run outside. But something held him back from getting through the doorway. He tried twice more but still couldn't get out. Suddenly he went flying backwards across the warehouse and landed a few feet from Phoebe.

He looked up at her as Prue ran between the boxes to them.

"It's working," Prue said. "He couldn't get through the doorway."

"And he tried using his time power to escape and couldn't do that either," Phoebe said. "He's trapped."

"Who are you?" he asked, as he sat up on the floor.

"We're witches," Prue answered. "Another demon took our sister's soul. We're going to take your power and give it to him to save our sister and get her soul back."

"Jlt," he said, standing up.

"We don't know his name," Phoebe said.

"Jlt," Tallor repeated. "That's his sphere. For some time he's been trying to steal my power. Now he's sent witches to do it for him. But you won't be able to take it from me any more than he could."

"You're trapped in here," Prue said. "You can't get out. And we will take your power from you."

Prue looked at her watch. "We're almost out of time," she said to Phoebe. "I'm going back outside and repeat the spell." She paused.

"Jlt said that once the sphere is connected to someone it can extract anything. After you transfer the power, change the first line of the spell and extract his memory.

"He's going to want to take revenge on us for doing this for Jlt. He may have some other demon power that we don't know about. We have to protect ourselves. Without his memory, he won't even know that he's a demon, let alone who we are."

Prue turned and hurried back outside.

Tallor stood up and shook his head.

"You don't have any idea who you're working for," he said.

"We're not working for him," Phoebe said. "We're just doing what we have to do to save our sister's life."

Phoebe held the sphere up opposite Tallor.

"Take the power of time travel

That this demon may hide,

Link it to this sphere

And to the power that's inside."

Phoebe heard a low rumbling sound. The sphere glowed and started to revolve in her hand. Suddenly a light extended from the sphere to Tallor.

"NO!!" he shouted. The rumbling ended as the stream of light crackled for a few seconds and then it, too, was gone. The sphere stopped glowing and came to a stop.

Tallor was silent for a few seconds as he looked at the sphere, then stared at Phoebe.

"What's your name?" he asked.

Phoebe hesitated for a few seconds, unsure whether she should tell him. "Phoebe Halliwell," she finally said.

Tallor continued to stare at her.

"You don't know Jlt," Tallor said. "He's going to double-cross you."

"He won't," she said. "He knows we'll come after him if he does."

"Hmmph. After you give Jlt the power, you won't know how to find him," Tallor said. "You won't even know where to begin to look for him.

"But I would."

"We don't need help from a demon," Phoebe replied. "You just want a chance to kill us for taking away your power. I don't trust any demon."

"Really?! You're trusting Jlt right now." Tallor said, then paused for a second.

"I'm the only hope you have," he said. "You're going to need me."

"We're witches," Phoebe said, confidently, "and we have powers. If Jlt harms our sister, we'll use our powers against him."

"Then tell me," Tallor said slowly, continuing to stare at Phoebe. "If you're such powerful witches, why is your sister...almost dead?

"And why are you taking orders from Jlt?"

"They're running out of time," Jlt said, and stood up from his chair.

"No...you are," Stuart said. He was sitting on the floor, holding Piper's head in his arms. He brushed his hand across her forehead, gently laid her down on the floor and stood up.

"You're the one who's running out of time to keep Piper's soul connected to her body," he said as he moved towards Jlt.

Jlt glared at him. "Don't threaten me mortal or you'll regret it," he said.

"Regret what?" Phoebe demanded as she threw open the door and hurried in with Prue.

"Did you get it?" Jlt asked anxiously.

"We got it," Prue said. "How's Piper?" she asked Stuart as she looked down at her lying on the floor.

"Unchanged," he answered.

"Give me the sphere," Jlt demanded.

"Restore Piper's soul and you'll get it," Prue replied.

"After I transfer the power to myself," he said.

Prue shook her head. "I'm not going to trust a demon. Restore her soul first."

"If I leave here right now," Jlt said, his eyes narrowing as he looked at her, "I risk not getting the power that I want. But I won't have anything less than what I came with.

"You, on the other hand, will have a lot less. You'll have lost your sister."

"Once you have your power you could use it and disappear in time," Stuart said. "You're not getting anything until you restore Piper's soul."

Jlt turned angrily to Stuart.

"You're going to regret saying that," Jlt said to him.

"Here!" Phoebe said, handing Jlt the sphere. He glared at Stuart for a few seconds before turning and taking it from her. As the sphere began to spin and glow a light extended from it to Jlt. He concentrated, breathing deeply for a few seconds until the sphere stopped.

"I have it," he said. "I have the power!"

"Now restore Piper's soul!" Prue demanded.

Jlt looked at her and then at Phoebe and Stuart.

"I don't have to," he said, smugly. "I don't have to do anything." He paused and looked down at Piper.

"But I will. I have better things to do than to waste my time killing you if you tried to follow me.

Jlt was still holding the first sphere and now it began to spin and glow. A light extended from it to Piper for a few seconds and then stopped.

Prue quickly knelt down and lifted her in her arms. Piper began to stir and after what seemed to Prue to be forever, opened her eyes.

"Ohhh...what...happened?" she asked.

Prue held her tightly to her chest and lightly kissed her on the forehead.

"Are you all right?" Prue asked her.

"I...I think so." Stuart came over and together with Prue helped her stand up. As Phoebe rushed to hug her no one noticed Jlt make his way to the door. He walked out then turned around and looked straight at Stuart.

"I'm not done with you, mortal," he said.

And before they could react he was gone.

Piper closed her eyes and shuddered as she sat at the kitchen table. Prue, sitting to her right, put a cup of hot tea in her hand.

"Take some. You'll feel better," she told her.

"I felt...I was...in a daze. I felt...dead." She lifted the cup to her lips and took a sip.

"You almost were," Prue said. "It was very close. If Jlt had disappeared before he restored your soul, it would have been really hard for us to find him. We don't know how this time travel power works."

The thought of how close she had come to being really dead made Piper shudder again.

"But there's someone who knows the power intimately," Phoebe said, trying to re-assure Piper. "We would have used his knowledge to go after Jlt."

Piper drank again and put the cup down on the table.

"I think I want to lie down for a while," she said slowly, still quite shaken.

"I'll help you upstairs," Stuart said.

"What did you mean when you said there's someone who knows Jlt's powers intimately?" Prue asked after Stuart came back down.

"I meant...Tallor," Phoebe answered.

"But you extracted his memory," Prue said.

"No...I didn't," Phoebe said.

"What?!" Prue exclaimed.

"If Jlt wouldn't have restored Piper's soul, I would have gone after him," Phoebe said. "And I knew that with his having Tallor's power, I wouldn't know how to find him. I would need Tallor's help."

"Help?!" Prue exclaimed. "Tallor wouldn't help us. He's only interested in killing us for taking away his power. That's why his memory had to be extracted."

"I was willing to take the risk that he'd rather kill Jlt," Phoebe said.

"You were?" Prue said, upset. "But it's not just you. It's all of us. You put us all in danger. Don't you realize what you did?? Tallor can try to kill us at any time. We'll have to be constantly looking over our shoulder."

"Phoebe did it because she has so much love in her heart," Stuart interjected.

"Love? This has nothing to do with love," Prue said. "This is about revenge."

"It has everything to do with love," Stuart replied. "Only someone who loves so much would throw her own safety aside to grasp at a straw that might save someone she cares about. Or avenge her."

"And you gave Jlt a power that he can use to kill innocents," Phoebe said.

"It wasn't a new power," Prue replied.. "Tallor had it and could kill innocents himself. And I did it to save Piper's life. And the lives of all the innocents that we'll save with the Power of Three by stopping the demon's plan of major destruction. I didn't do it for revenge.

"And what about reliability? Prue asked. We have to rely on each other without question. What you did was irresponsible."

"Phoebe is responsible. To what her good and caring heart tells her," Stuart said.

"You think putting us all in risk is responsible?" Prue asked. She looked at Stuart for a few seconds.

"Tell me...what would you have done with Tallor?" she asked.

"I..." Stuart turned and looked at Phoebe for a few seconds. He took a deep breath as he turned back to Prue. "I...wouldn't have done anything differently."

"Then your judgement is as poor as Phoebe's," Prue said, disappointment in her voice.

"I'll put my life in the hands of Phoebe's judgement any day," he said.

"It already is," Prue said. "After what she did, all of our lives are."

Prue looked back at Phoebe, then turned around and left the kitchen. Phoebe turned to Stuart and looked deeply into his eyes.

"You would have done thing differently," she said after a few seconds. "You would have left Tallor without any memory...You don't believe anything you said to Prue."

Phoebe looked into his eyes again.

"Why did you lie?" she asked.

"I care about you," Stuart answered. "And because I care about you I'll defend you."

"Even if you believe I was wrong, Phoebe asked, even if in your heart you believe I put everyone in danger?"

Stuart shook his head.

"In my heart I just-" he started to say, shaking his head, but then caught himself and stopped. That almost slipped out, he thought. I can't say that. I can't tell her what's really in my heart about her. He looked at her for a few seconds and took a deep breath.

"There isn't any right or wrong after the fact," he said, shaking his head again slightly, "only whatever you did. Part of...caring about you is defending you...and I will defend you. No matter what you did...or ever do. Nothing you could ever do would change my...my caring about you."

As Phoebe peered silently into his eyes she realized how much he cared about her. And how much of that other word was there.

She knew that's what it was. She knew that was the word he had really meant. The word he hadn't used.

Love.

Un-conditional love.

The kiss, so light on Piper's lips, felt so good and made her tingle.

It felt so good that she didn't try to analyze her feelings. Or protest them in her mind. She just let herself enjoy it.

"I just found out what Jlt did to you and how you were saved," Leo said. "I'm just...I'm just glad that you're all right."

"Me too," Piper said. And then she realized that her arms were still around him. She glanced self-consciously at Phoebe and let go.

"Giving a demon a power instead of vanquishing him," Phoebe said. "It's not what we're...supposed to be doing."

"Sometimes we have to do things that we don't want to do," Leo said.

"Did you ever have to help a demon?" Piper asked.

"It's something I'd rather forget," he answered. "I'm not allowed to help them. But there was one time when I had-"

Leo stopped and looked upward.

"Uh...They're calling me. I...have to go," he said, apologetically.

"Your big evening break must be over," Phoebe said, in a facetious tone.

"But you just got here," Piper protested. "All work and no play makes Leo..." She stopped as he orbed out.

"...a dull whitelighter," she finished, slowly and sadly, and sighed.

"I think they want him to be a dull whitelighter," Phoebe said. "They do this on purpose."

Piper shook her head.

"What did I just do?" she asked. "I shouldn't be caring about this.

"It's only in Charmed scripts that Piper cares. But in real life I...shouldn't..." She stopped, then took a deep breath and looked at Phoebe.

"But...I do," she said.

"You've been through a lot today," Phoebe said.

"Demons trying to kill me...and Leo trying to love me," Piper said. "It's getting harder each day to remember who I really am...what I really am."

"I know," Phoebe said, putting her arms around her. "It's tough for me, too. But we have to control Piper and Phoebe and not let them take over and control us."

"If they haven't already," Piper said, despairingly. Phoebe let go of her and took her hands.

"We'll remind each other of who we really are," Phoebe said. "That will help. And so will sleep. It'll be easier in the morning."

"Maybe..." Piper said, without much conviction. "Good night, Phoebs."

She started toward the stairs, stopped and turned around.

"Good night, Alyssa," she said, with a small smile.