Charmed Role Reversal



The Greatest American Heroine

Nicole and Marion Palmer leaned back comfortably on the sofa in The Manor's parlor. The sisters, eleven and nine years old respectively, had become very close to the Halliwells, and especially to Phoebe, since the night two weeks earlier that the three witches had saved the young girls from being killed in their own home by the ghost Fiona.

Having put the tape into the VCR, Phoebe joined the girls on the sofa, sitting down between them. Picking up the remote control, she pressed the play button.



Click for Opening Credits

"Superman is a lot of fun," light‑haired Marion said, anticipation showing on her slightly broad face. "Even though he isn't real."

"Even if he would be real," Nicole said, turning her oval face with its long, dark brown hair towards Phoebe, "his powers wouldn't be as strong as yours and your sisters'."

"Probably not," Phoebe chuckled as the episode began.



"Now that is a stunning outfit," Piper noted.

"You're right, it is," Prue agreed, looking at the light‑berry tailored suit with dark piping along the collar and lapels.

It was a lovely, late afternoon in the last week of June as Prue and Piper stood looking at a clothing store window on Columbus Avenue. With the girls having vanquished the demon Argyris a few days earlier, and thereby thwarting his plans of major destruction at the summer solstice, they were sure that their role reversal as the real‑life Charmed Ones in San Francisco was over.

They were expecting The Elders to send them back home to LA. To no longer being real witches vanquishing real demons in San Francisco but to being their real selves once more. Charmed actors, "vanquishing" actor demons on a Ray‑Art Studio sound stage in Canoga Park, in a quiet residential area of the San Fernando Valley.

Though they didn't know why The Elders had not yet done so, they were trying to just relax and enjoy the interlude before their return home. Since Phoebe had rented a tape to watch with Nicole and Marion, Prue and Piper had decided to enjoy a walk in North Beach and do some 'window shopping'.

Across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, and across the Bay Bridge in Oakland and the East Bay, it had been summer for barely two days. But San Francisco, with its unique climate and weather, paid no heed ‑ neither to its neighbors nor to the calendar.

With the city's foggy, raw 'winter' of late July and August less than a month away, the sparkling city on the bay was already well into late summer. As proof, the thermometer had been hovering around the 80 degree mark much of the day ‑ ten degrees above the average June high.

But having lived the role reversal as real‑life Halliwells in San Francisco for almost two months, Prue and Piper knew that the temperature would drop over twenty degrees as evening approached. And so they wore the standard San Francisco summer attire ‑ sweatshirts, for later layering, tied loosely around their waists.

It was not the most elegant of looks. But in San Francisco, practicality usually took precedence over elegance. Whether in the odd looking buildings built so that their floors could be straight despite the sharp inclines of the hilly streets upon which they had been built, or the steps built into the sides of the hilly streets to reach the homes ‑ or the layering sweatshirt tied around the waist.

But sometimes, elegance was not in competition with practicality and could stand up on its own. Such was the case with the light‑berry outfit in the store window that they were admiring.

"I'd go in and buy that outfit if I thought I could take it back with me to LA when The Elders send us home," Piper said. "But they probably won't let me take ‑"

The sound of a gunshot interrupted Piper. They turned around and saw two men with guns coming out of a jewelry store across the street. One of the men was holding a woman as a hostage shield.

"Hey you!" Piper shouted and she and Prue started running across the street towards the store.

The gunman who was not holding the woman turned towards them. He was short with a dark, five o'clock shadow, thinning hair and a round face. Piper saw something green and shining hanging down from around his neck by his open black leather jacket.

Prue waved her hand at him.

But nothing happened.

She waved her hand again.

And still nothing happened.

"What!..." Prue exclaimed.

Prue and Piper were still in the street but had reached the parked cars on the jewelry store side of Columbus Avenue. Piper quickly raised her hand.

But no one froze.

The short man with the gun aimed it at Prue. Piper grabbed her by her head and neck and quickly pushed her down behind a white parked car, just as a bullet whizzed over their heads.

"Why aren't our powers working?!" Piper cried.

Prue peeked around the front of the white car. There was a public garbage can just beside the store's entrance. Prue waved her hand at the can to send it into the gunmen.

But nothing happened. The garbage can remained standing where it was.

"Help me!!" the woman hostage cried. The second gunman, tall and slim in his late thirties with a narrow face and red hair slicked back, pulled her backwards with him towards the curb.

"Make up a spell ‑ fast!" Piper said, as a black SUV barreled down the street towards them.

"Uh...uh," Prue stammered for a few seconds, then began.

       "Uh...Men with guns outside the store

         Be surrounded in fire so you can do no more."

The black SUV pulled past Prue and Piper and they hugged the side of the white parked car so as not to be hit by it. The SUV stopped short in front of the jewelry store just as Prue finished saying the spell. She looked at the gunmen but there was no fire.

The short gunman opened the rear door of the SUV and jumped in. The red‑haired gunman backed up to it, then pushed the woman hostage away from him and she fell to the sidewalk.

Prue and Piper stood up as the second gunman slid into the car. Piper caught a glimpse of the same shining green object hanging from his neck, too, before he slammed the door shut. The SUV sped away and the girls ran to the woman.

"Are you hurt?" Prue asked, helping her up.

"I..I don't think so," the woman said, shaking. She looked to Prue to be in her early fifties, a touch of gray in her hair, her expression a combination of shock and fear.

"Come back inside the store," Piper said, helping Prue support the woman, "and sit down." They helped the shaken woman inside as a young salesgirl rushed over to them.

"Mary...are you OK?" she asked, worry in her voice. She appeared to Piper to be about twenty‑one or twenty‑two, with straight long, black hair that reached below her shoulders, a light olive complexion, and a long, pretty face. She had a slim build that was a good five inches taller than Piper. She wore black pants of a smooth material with flats and a cream, tailored blouse.

"Yes...yes, Meital, " Mary answered. "I...I am."

"Bring her some water," Prue commanded and Meital hurried off to obey.

"Try to calm down," Piper said, taking Mary's hands in hers.

"Here, drink this," Meital said to Mary, holding out the cup of water she brought for her.

Prue took the cup from Meital and carefully lifted it to Mary's mouth. The woman took two long swallows of the water, then motioned to Prue that she didn't want any more.

"What happened?" Piper asked.

"Zeh b'emet moozar," Meital replied. Then she saw the blank look on Piper's face.

"Oh...sorry, that's Hebrew," the young salesgirl said. "It means this was really weird. Those two men came in and wanted to see anything we had with benitoite."

"Benito‑what?" Prue asked.

"Benitoite," Meital repeated, emphasizing the last syllable in her pronunciation. "It's a gem that's mined in San Benito County."

She saw the puzzled look on Prue's face.

"San Benito is sort of between Santa Clara and Monterey Counties, about one hundred miles south of here," Meital added.

"That isn't far from San Francisco but I still never heard of it," Prue said.

"Most people haven't," Meital replied, "because it's rare. But because about the only place it's found is in San Benito County, benitoite is actually the official state gem of California."

"What does it look like?" Piper asked.

"It's either blue or colorless," Meital explained, "though some very rare ones are both."

"There's so little of it mined each year," Mary said, letting go of Piper and trying to catch her breath, "that...few stores get any at all. And...the ones that do get some get very little of it."

"We had only one ring with it," Meital added. "When I showed it to them, they pulled out their guns and took it. And one of them grabbed Mary, too. When I started towards Mary to help her, the other one shot his gun over my head to try to frighten me."

"He shot at you?!" Piper repeated. "Are you all right?"

"Ahni loh nifkhad b'kahllut. Uh, sorry ‑ that's my native Hebrew, again," Meital apologized. "I don't frighten easily," she assured Piper. "I'm fine, thank you."

"Native?" Piper asked, surprised. "Your English sounds just like mine. You don't have any accent."

"That's because I moved to San Francisco when I was seven years old," Meital said. "I grew up here. But when I get excited, sometimes I revert to my first language."

"How much is the ring worth?" Piper asked.

"That one sells for $5,000," Meital answered.

"That's valuable but not that valuable," Piper said.

"Because the benitoite is so limited, relatively few people know about it," Meital explained. "So even though it's rare, it isn't known well enough to create a big enough demand that would raise its price."

"Our rubies and diamonds are worth much more than that," Mary said, starting to recover her composure

"That's what's moozar...uh, weird," Meital said. "They didn't ask to see any rubies or diamonds, nor try to steal any."

Prue saw a small ring box at the end of the counter. She turned to block it from Mary's and Meital's view, then waved her hand at it. The box flew off the counter.

"They wanted only the benitoite," Piper said. "That doesn't make any sense."

"That's not the only thing that doesn't make any sense," Prue said, staring at her hand as she turned it over slowly. "My power is back," she whispered to Piper.

"Even though The Elders will be sending us home soon, this is wrong," Piper quietly replied. "We have to get back to The Manor and the Book of Shadows and try to figure out what happened,"

Sirens wailed loudly as a police car pulled up in front of the store. Two uniformed policeman jumped out and hurried inside.

"Looks like we're not going to go anywhere for a while," Prue said, resigned to being kept there and subjected to questioning.

 

It was twenty minutes later, after the two uniformed policemen had questioned everyone, when Darryl Morris walked into the store. He spoke to one of the policemen for a minute, then approached Piper and Prue.

"Hello Darryl," Prue said.

"Prue, Piper," he replied. "Why am I not surprised to find you here?"

"What do you mean?" Prue asked. "We just happened to be across the street when we saw the gunmen run out of the store."

"Uh huh ‑ just happened to be across the street," Darryl repeated, slowly. "From a very strange robbery where only a less expensive ring was taken and more expensive gems were ignored. The second robbery like that today."

"What?" Piper asked. "There was another one?"

"About three hours ago downtown," Morris replied. "A pair of benitoite earrings and a benitoite pendant were stolen. So what can you tell me?"

"Nothing Darryl," Prue said. "We really don't know anything about this."

"But we might," Piper added, "if you get us a list of jewelry stores that carry benitoite."

"I can't give you that, Piper," Morris said. "That's police business to look into. You can't get involved in going after these robbers."

"But you think we already are involved," Prue said, "so it won't hurt to give us the list."

"I don't even have one," Morris replied.

"But I'm sure you'll get one soon," Piper said. "Let us know when you do."

Piper gave Morris a small smile, then she and Prue strolled over to where Meital was sitting.

"Do you know any other stores that have benitoite in stock?" Prue asked, quietly.

"I was speaking the other day to the store manager at David Clay Jewelers," Meital replied. "It came up in conversation that they were expecting a small shipment this week."

"Where is the store?" Piper asked.

"It's on Union Street," Meital said, "between Laguna and Octavia. In the middle of the block."

"Thanks," Prue said. She pulled out a pen and a piece of paper from her purse and wrote something.

"This is my cell phone number," Prue said, handing the paper to Meital. "Please call me if you hear of any other stores that have any."

"Sure," Meital said, looking at the paper. "But why do you want to know?"

"It's likely these robbers are going to go after more benitoite," Prue said.

"Why not let the police take care of it?" Meital asked.

"We have our reasons," Piper said. "There may be things that we can do that they can't."

"You're going to try to stop these robbers yourselves?" Meital asked, surprised.

"We're like you, Meital," Prue said, smiling. "We don't frighten easily."

 

"One minute I had no powers, the next minute I did," Prue said.

"My powers are back, too," Piper said. "I don't understand it."

They were in The Manor, having just explained to Stuart and Phoebe, and to Nicole and Marion who were still there, what had happened.

"It's as if our powers were just turned off for a while," Prue said.

"And what about those small shining green things hanging around their necks?" Piper asked. "They looked like some type of strange rock. I have no idea what they were."

"I guess I was concentrating on my powers and on the spell that weren't working," Prue said. "I didn't notice them."

"Shining green rocks?" Nicole asked, then looked at Marion. "Just like kryptonite."

"Kryptonite?" Prue asked.

"Kryptonite is a green stone that weakens Superman and takes away his powers," Phoebe explained. "That happened in the Lois & Clark episode that we just watched."

"We're witches, not Superman, Marion," Prue said. "And Superman and kryptonite aren't real."

"We'd better start going through the Book of Shadows ‑" Piper began to say. But she was interrupted by Leo's orbing in.

"Hi ‑ what's going on?" he asked, seeing everyone.

"Leo ‑ you know about Marion and Nicole but you haven't met them," Piper said, and made the introductions.

"We lost our powers today and we need to go through the Book of Shadows to find out why," Piper said.

"What?!" Leo asked, startled.

"But we got them back," Prue quickly added, and told Leo about the robbery.

"When did your powers come back?" he asked.

"When we were inside the store," Prue said.

"After the robbers were gone," Nicole added. "Tell Leo about the shining green rocks."

"Uh...both gunmen had small green rocks around their necks," Piper said. "They hung down to the their chests and they shined."

"And as soon as they left...you had your powers back," Leo said slowly, then sat down, his eyes staring blankly ahead.

"Uh, yes," Piper said. "Leo...what is it?"

Leo didn't answer but they could see something was running through his mind.

"It's...it's only a legend," he finally said, shaking his head. "It's...not supposed to be...real."

"What's only a legend?" Prue asked.

Leo looked up at Prue and exhaled.

"Validus Calx Deleo Lamia," he said. "That's...its Latin name. Translated, it means 'powerful stone that destroys witches'."

"Whoa!" Phoebe exclaimed.

"The legend is that the demon Oralius had found a way to greatly amplify the inherent protective qualities of a certain stone, which would then render every witch near him ‑ or who even tried to use her powers against him from afar ‑ helpless and vulnerable," Leo said. "He could then destroy every witch who was a threat to him. The legend said that after Oralius did this, the stone having that power would shine. And that stone...that Calx Deleo..." Leo paused.

"Was a green stone," he added, slowly.

"Phew!" Phoebe exclaimed, then turned to Nicole.

"Kryptonite...for a witch," Phoebe said. "Just like you said, Nicole."

"You don't think...that legend...could be real...do you?" Piper asked.

"I...don't know," Leo stammered. "Five minutes ago I would have said no. But now..." He let his words trail off.

"According to the legend, what happened to Oralius?" Stuart asked. "He obviously didn't kill all of the witches, even in the legend."

Leo took a deep breath and exhaled again.

"The legend is that while Oralius used the stone against a witch, the strength of the stone weakened," Leo said. "He could always kill a witch or even a few of them. But when the stone's power was concentrated on one witch, he could be vulnerable to the combined powers of other witches."

"The Power of Three," Phoebe said.

"No...even your power would not have been strong enough to overcome it," Leo continued. "The legend is that a young witch ‑ Peyton ‑ risked sacrificing herself. She went to Oralius, taunted him and got him to use the stone's power to try to destroy her. While he was doing that, a dozen witches joined their powers together against him. The hope was that they would use their combined power against Oralius in time to save Peyton. But it didn't work out that way. Oralius killed her before their powers could affect him.

"And even when their combined powers did work," Leo continued, "they still could not vanquish him. They could just separate him from his stone and imprison him in a cave."

"So if the legend is real, why haven't we run into this before?" Phoebe asked.

"Or why haven't any other witches, for that matter?" Prue added.

"And why, if this was Oralius' stone, is he ‑ if it is Oralius ‑ using gunmen, instead of using the stone himself?" Nicole asked

"And why does he want benitoite?" Marion asked.

Prue exhaled.

"We have lots of questions but no answers," she said.

"If this...really is Oralius, we can't leave other witches in danger from him," Phoebe said quietly to Piper, taking her aside. "Even if The Elders are sending us back home."

"Agreed," Piper responded, surprising Phoebe at her immediate concurrence. She turned back to the others.

"We have to assume ‑ given what happened to our powers ‑ that this is real," Piper said. "What do we do about it? What can we do about it when our witches' powers are useless against him?"

"Powers like Superman's wouldn't be affected and useless," Nicole said. "As you pointed out, Prue ‑ they're not witches' powers."

"But you know, Nicole, that Superman and his powers aren't real ‑" Prue began, then stopped in mid‑sentence. What Nicole said was triggering a thought.

"But...they could be," Phoebe added. "If I made up a spell to have Superman's powers..."

"Then we could use them against Oralius, or whoever is behind all of this," Prue said. "His...witch destroying stone wouldn't have any affect on those powers."

"That was a great idea, Nicole," Phoebe said, smiling at her and gently tousling her dark brown hair.

"Harmony says that Nicole always has good ideas," Marion said. "And me too, sometimes."

"Harmony is their fairy godmother," Stuart explained to Leo. They had met Harmony that night they were saving the girls from the ghost Fiona. Harmony had then saved Stuart and Piper from being killed by Fiona, themselves. "And Harmony was certainly right ‑ about both of you," he added.

"I'll start working on the spell," Phoebe said.

"And I'll see what The Elders have to say about...this legend," Leo said.

 

 

"OK, I've got the spell," Phoebe said, as the others joined her in the attic. "And a couple of potion ingredients thrown in too should help."

"Ready?" Prue asked.

Phoebe nodded her head.

"Here goes," she said.

    "I call upon the ancient powers

     To give me more than normal witches power;

     The powers of a Superman against an evil so dour,

     To last through this dangerous and desperate hour."

Phoebe threw down the potion ingredients on the floor. A large cloud of smoke quickly rose up and swirled around the attic.

"Well?" Prue asked, when the smoke cleared.

Phoebe turned towards the attic wall, concentrating as she stared at it.

"Hmph," she grunted. "No x‑ray vision." She raised her hands straight up above her head and jumped up. And came right back down.

"And no flying, either," she said, disappointment in her voice. "The spell felt right. I don't know why it didn't work."

"What's that?" Piper asked, pointing to a small black box lying on the floor to the right of Phoebe. "Where did that come from?!"

"That wasn't there before you said the spell," Prue pointed out.

Phoebe knelt down, carefully picked up the box and brought it over to the small desk.

"Lift the cover," Prue said.

Phoebe tried but she couldn't lift it.

"Oh...it's sliding open...by itself!" she said. The draw slid out and she saw something bright red inside. Carefully, Phoebe took it out and let it unfold and drop down.

"It's...some kind of clothing," Phoebe said, not knowing what to make of it. A strange symbol, in red on a white circle, was in the center of the chest.

"Oh my goodness!" Stuart exclaimed. "It's the suit."

"The suit?" Piper asked. "What suit?"

" The suit!" Stuart replied, shaking his head in amazement. "It's the suit...from The Greatest American Hero."



Click for Opening Credits

"The Greatest American Hero was a TV show in the early 80s," Stuart said. "I remember watching it as a kid. See, this spaceship comes down to the desert and gives this teacher Ralph Hinkley a slip box. In the box is the suit. This suit. And it gives Ralph all these super powers."

"Super powers?" Prue asked.

"Yeah, like being able to fly and stop bullets," Stuart said.

"I wanted to have Superman's powers," Phoebe said. "Not...this."

"Well...I see now that won't work. You can't have Superman's powers," Stuart explained. "He has his powers because of who he is. You could only have those powers if you were Superman. And you can't be Superman ‑ because you're Phoebe. But you can have these powers because they're from the suit, not from being some person. That's why the spell produced the suit. You put on the suit and you have the powers."

"Or any of us could put it on," Prue said.

"No ‑ the suit works only for the person it was intended for," Stuart said. "Which on the show was Ralph. And since you got the suit from your spell, Phoebe, it's intended only for you. And will work only on you.

"Ralph didn't really want the suit ‑ he just wanted to be the ordinary teacher he had been," Stuart continued explaining. "He didn't ask for these powers and the responsibility that went with it. He was just thrown into the situation. And once he had the suit and the powers, he felt the responsibility to use them to save people from the bad guys."

"That sounds rather familiar, doesn't it," Piper said with a little bitterness, referring to what The Elders had done to them when they made their Charmed characters real with real witches' powers ‑ without asking them if they wanted it. Or wanted the responsibility that they felt to use those powers once they had become The Halliwells.

"This...looks silly," Phoebe said, as she held the suit at arms length and looked it over.

"Naw, this is great," Stuart said. "And now I get to play Robert Culp's role. He played Bill Maxwell, FBI agent. He sent Ralph off to stop the bad guys ‑ he was sort of like Ralph's manager."

"Stuart, we're not in a TV show," Prue said.

"And Prue Halliwell is just your ordinary, every day real world witch ‑ right?" Stuart replied.

Prue hesitated for a second.

"Point taken," she admitted.

"I don't know," Piper said, "if this is really what we should be doing."

"Oh that's good!" Stuart exclaimed. "You're doing the Pam Davidson role."

"Who?" Piper asked.

"Connie Selleca played Pam Davidson," Stuart said, "Ralph's girlfriend and a lawyer. She was often reluctant for Ralph to use the suit for the things that Bill Maxwell wanted him to do. Go put the suit on, kid."

"Kid?" Phoebe asked.

"Yeah," Stuart said, "that's what Bill Maxwell often called Ralph. Now go put the suit on."

Phoebe held the suit at arm's length and took a deep breath. Then she slowly headed for the stairs and went down to her room.

 

 "I feel ridiculous!" Phoebe exclaimed.

She had come back up to the attic, wearing the skin‑tight red suit, which was really more like pajamas than a 'suit'. The strange red symbol in the white circle stretched across her chest between her breasts and a light gray belt, with the same symbol in its center, lay across her waist. A blue cape with red piping hung from her neck over her back.

"This is certainly not like the suit we were admiring in the store window today," Piper noted, eyeing the suit with a frown..

"You look perfect!" Stuart said.

"I feel ridiculous!" Phoebe repeated.

"That's exactly how Ralph felt on the show," Stuart said. "It's even how William Katt, the actor who played him, felt just walking around the set with the jammies on. But that's perfect!"

"Perfect?!" Phoebe demanded.

"Yeah," Stuart said, taking her to the side where Nicole and Marion couldn't hear him. "Just like you had to think like and become Phoebe Halliwell to use your witch powers naturally, you now have to think like and become Ralph Hinkley to use the suit's powers naturally. Or at least a female version of him. So your feeling ridiculous is exactly how you should feel to be thinking like him, so you can use the suit."

Piper stared at Phoebe and the red suit.

"You can't really expect Phoebe to go around looking like that," Piper said.

"Now there you go Counselor, trying to put a damper on the kid's using the suit," Stuart said.

"I'm not a Counselor!" Piper exclaimed.

"Yeah, well, we all have to play our roles to make this work," Stuart said. "And your role is as Counselor Pam Davidson."

"Look," Prue interjected, "let's assume for the moment that Phoebe will wear the suit. How do we use it? Where are the instructions?"

"The, uh, instructions," Stuart repeated. "Well, uh, that was the show's hook. Ralph lost the instruction book that the little green men in the spaceship gave him."

"Little green men?" Piper asked.

"Yeah...that's what Maxwell always called them," Stuart said. "But anyway, that didn't stop him. Ralph managed to sort of figure out how to use it on the fly and make it work. Ahhh...pun not intended ‑ sort of."

"That was a TV show!" Phoebe said. "Of course with their special effects he managed to make it work."

"Uh...right," Stuart said. "But that was just a TV show. This is real life so it's going to work even better. Come on, kid, let's go try out the jammies' powers."

 

Phoebe stared at Stuart. She was wearing a raincoat over the red suit, her arms folded tightly across her chest.

"Take off the coat and let's try this out," Stuart said.

"No! Someone may see me," she replied.

"No one's going to see you, except us," Stuart insisted. "That's why we came here. And besides, it's almost sunset. No one would come here at this time of the day. Now take off the coat and let's start practicing."

They had driven across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands, to what appeared to be, at least near sunset, a deserted area off of one of the hiking trails. Prue and Piper had stayed in The Manor, to look through the Book of Shadows and to wait for Leo, in case he came back with more information.

But Nicole and Marion had come with them. They had begged Phoebe to let them watch her use the suit. She had found it hard to tell them 'no' ‑ though she had tried ‑ and so they came along.

"Go ahead, Phoebe," Nicole prodded her. "It's important for you to use the suit's powers."

"If it's real," Phoebe grumped.

"We came to support you," Marion chimed in.

Phoebe took a deep breath. She looked around once more, then slowly, furtively took off her raincoat, continuing to look around as she did.

"There you go," Stuart said. "That's better."

"No ‑ it isn't," she countered.

"OK. Now, take a running start, hold your arms out past your head, jump up and take off," he told her.

"Take off?" she repeated. She took one more look around to be sure no one was there, took another deep breath and started running. She raised her arms, jumped up ‑ and fell flat on her face about ten yards away.

"OK...that's a start," Stuart said.

"That's a finish!" Phoebe exclaimed, as she slowly got up and dusted herself off. "This doesn't work!"

"Come on, try it again," Stuart said. "Just aim higher."

Phoebe gave Stuart a piercing look, then gave the suit the same look. She turned to Marion who was gently nodding her head in encouragement. Seeing her, Phoebe reluctantly took a deep breath. Then she raised her arms and started running again. She jumped up and found herself in the air. At least, she did for about five seconds. After which she came crashing down into a large bush.

"Ugh!" she moaned loudly. She disentangled herself from the bush, got to the ground and stood up.

"That was much better," Stuart complimented her. "That's exactly what happened to Ralph on the show. So we're on track here, kid."

"I'm not a kid," she emphasized. "I don't care what Robert Culp, or Bill Maxwell, called Ralph."

"Right, sure, whatever you say, kid," Stuart replied.

"Stuart!" Phoebe shouted.

"I'm just doing the Bill Maxwell role," he said. "And, actually, I think I'm playing it rather well. Now, you have to play Ralph Hinkley's role ‑ and fly!

"So let's try it again," he exhorted her.

"You can do it, Phoebe," Nicole said, her face full of confidence.

Phoebe looked at the three of them. She was outnumbered, she realized. Silently, she dusted herself off, raised her arms, started running and jumped up again.

And flew.

"Oh...ohhh...ohhh!" Phoebe screamed, wildly waving her arms, trying, unsuccessfully, to control her flight.

"Way to go, kid!" Stuart yelled.

Phoebe managed to turn around, though she didn't know how she had done that. Her legs were now also moving wildly in all directions as she headed back towards them. Then she came down less than gracefully, made a hard landing on her stomach, and rolled over twice.

"There you go," Stuart said, "now you're getting the hang of it."

"The hang of it?!" Phoebe repeated, as she stood up and dusted herself off once again. "The only thing that's going to get hung is this suit on a hanger." She headed for the car, grabbing her raincoat on the way.

"Superman didn't give up in the episode we watched today," Marion said, sounding as innocent as she could.

"I'm not Superman," Phoebe responded, her hand on the car door's handle. "I'm a witch. And when witches fly, they use broomsticks. At least they do in the movies."

"No...you're not Superman," Nicole agreed. "You're Phoebe. You're better than Superman. Remember? You even said so when we started watching the tape."

Phoebe stopped and looked at the two young girls. She knew that they were manipulating her. And they were doing it very well.

She looked at the two sisters, then looked at Stuart, who cocked one eyebrow at her.

Phoebe exhaled. She threw the raincoat down on the front seat of the car, turned around and, reluctantly, walked back to them.

"OK kid," Stuart began, "now this time after you take off, you got to use your arm..."



The new day was unusually bright and clear. The morning fog had barely arrived before it was already gone. Prue was in the kitchen, enjoying the rare early morning sunshine coming through the window and brightening the room. She was pouring a glass of orange juice when Piper came in.

"Have you seen Phoebe this morning?" Prue asked.

"No...I think she's hiding because of the whole Hero suit thing," Piper replied.

"She has to use it this morning," Prue said. "She has to get to the David Clay Jewelry store and be ready for those gunmen."

"I know...and she knows," Piper said. "Stuart said that they're going over there right after breakfast...by car."

Prue exhaled.

"We've done a lot of things since our role reversal happened and we became real‑life witches ‑ and not all of them were things that we wanted to do," Prue said. "But we didn't have a choice ‑ they had to be done and we were the only one who could have done them. And Phoebe doesn't have a choice now, either. She has to wear that suit no matter how silly she feels ‑ and use its powers. If Oralius is real, that's the only thing that can ‑"

The ringing of the telephone interrupted her.

"I'll get it," Prue said and went into the living room.

"Good morning, Counselor," Stuart said to Piper, passing Prue as he came into the kitchen.

"I'm not a ‑" Piper started to protest. But then she stopped, looked at Stuart and exhaled. Maybe it will help Phoebe overcome her resistance to playing her role as Ralph Hinkley if Stuart really gets into his Robert Culp / Bill Maxwell role.

"Where's Phoebe?" she asked.

"In her room," he replied. "She'll come down after you and Prue have finished breakfast...and left. So she won't be seen in the jammies."

"I'm going over to the police station and see if Morris came up with that list of jewelry stores with benitoite," Piper said, popping two slices of bread into the toaster. "So I'll be gone soon...and the coast will be clear for Phoebe to come down."

"And I'll be gone in a few minutes, too," Prue said, returning to the kitchen. "That was Lorna Palmer on the phone. She had to take Marion for an early morning appointment but Nicole overslept and wasn't ready to go with them. They're going to the Exploratorium afterwards. She left Nicole at home and asked if I could come by, pick her up and bring her there to meet them."

"Good," Stuart said, slicing open a poppy seed bagel. "The kid will have her jammies on. And then we'll go to that jewelry store and be ready for those robbers."



Phoebe pulled the raincoat tighter around her chest, slinking down in the passenger side of the car's front seat. The tighter it was the more she felt no one could see the suit. Which of course wasn't true. But it made her feel better.

"We don't even know if those gunmen will be here," she complained. They had parked the car on Union Street, just a little bit down from the entrance to the jewelry store, and were watching everyone who went into the store. Two young women had gone in and come out. A middle‑aged man had followed them and left as well. A man in his late thirties had just gone inside. No one matched the description of the robbers that Prue and Piper had given them.

"You got to have patience on stakeouts," Stuart said. "They take time."

"Stakeouts?" Phoebe repeated. "We're not...you're not really with the FBI."

"We just do it 'by the book'," Stuart said, ignoring her comment. "And the 'book' works."

Phoebe looked at him and exhaled in exasperation. This Bill Maxwell thing has really gone to his head, she thought.

"I called the store and verified that they did get their benitoite shipment at the beginning of the week," Stuart said.

"But the robbers probably don't know that," she said. "And so we're wasting our time here with me wearing this...silly outfit!"

"Oh, they know," Stuart assured her. "Oralius, or whoever it is, has got some way to sniff that out. Trust me, kid."

"I'm not a kid!" Phoebe protested once more. "You really enjoy calling me that, don't you."

"Uh...that was in the script for Bill Maxwell to say," he answered, "and since I'm playing his role I've got to do it right. Just like you've got to do Ralph's role right. It all comes down to living the parts."

"Why can't I 'live' this part and keep my raincoat on," she said.

"Well...because...the writers always made Ralph take off his clothes ‑ his jacket, shirt, pants and his raincoat ‑ to use the suit's powers," Stuart said. "So we've got to do it the same way. Just like you've had to use your witches' powers the same way that Charmed's writers said that they worked."

"Being a witch was difficult enough," Phoebe said. "But this ‑"

"Hey," Stuart said, interrupting her. "Look at that man who just came out. He's got a green stone hanging from his neck." He was pointing to the man in his late thirties who had gone into the store a few minutes earlier.

"We didn't see that when he went in to the store," Phoebe said.

"His back was to us," Stuart said, "and his jacket must have covered it."

"He doesn't match the description of the robbers," Phoebe said.

"Forget that ‑" Stuart started to say just as the store's alarm went off.

"OK kid," Stuart said, "do you stuff. Go get him!"

The man was medium height and build, with slightly long dark hair and a rugged, long face. He hurried down the block away from the store, then turned into a narrow alley.

Phoebe wriggled out of her raincoat, then looked around, as if that would make any people who were there disappear and not see her. She opened the passenger door and made a mad dash for the alley. Stuart got out of the car and quickly followed her.

"Hey you!" Phoebe shouted at the man. He turned around, took one look at her and reached for his gun.

"Stay away!" he commanded her but Phoebe kept coming. Panicking, he fired his gun at her. Phoebe instinctively shielded her face with her arms. But the bullet just bounced off of her.

His eyes wide open in disbelief, the robber fired his gun twice more. But those bullets bounced off Phoebe, as well.

"Wow ‑ the suit really works," she said to herself. Dropping her arms, she ran to the robber, grabbed him with one hand by his collar and held him up against the wall. His feet were no longer touching the ground.

With her other hand, Phoebe grabbed the gun, hesitated, then began squeezing it. The gun squashed easily just as Stuart arrived.

"Nice work, kid," Stuart said.

"Who are you robbing this for and why?!" Phoebe demanded.

Up against the alley wall with his feet dangling in the air, the robber's eyes were wide open in fear and his lips were quivering.

"Answer me!" Phoebe demanded and lifted him up higher.

"I don't know," he said, "I don't know anything about this. Some guy came over to me...he offered me five grand to rob the store. But only of benitoite. I didn't even know what it was ‑ I never heard of it."

"Who is he?" Stuart asked.

"I don't know ‑ I never saw him before," the robber answered. "But he must have seen me around 'cause he knew enough about me to know I could do the job. And that I needed the dough. But I wasn't supposed to shoot anyone ‑ just use my gun to frighten them.

"But you...I panicked and shot at you," he continued, looking down and seeing how far off the ground he was. "You coming at me like that...you scared the hell out of me."

"Yeah...the kid has that affect on people," Stuart said, a hard inflection in his voice.

Phoebe rolled her eyes. Did Robert Culp really speak like that in his Bill Maxwell role? Phoebe thought. Because this certainly isn't the way Stuart speaks.

"What did he want the benitoite for?" she asked.

"I don't know...he didn't tell me," the robber answered.

"What were you supposed to do with the benitoite after you stole it?" Stuart asked.

"I was supposed to meet him at twelve o'clock behind a warehouse on Harrison near 4th," he answered. "I'd give him the goods and he'd give me my five grand. Now...can you put me down. Please?"

"Being Bill Maxwell, here's where I'm supposed to take out my badge," Stuart said, "announce that I'm FBI, pull out the handcuffs and tell him that he's under arrest. And that if he knows what's good for him he'll forget about you and the jammies.

"Only, it seems that you left out the badge and the handcuffs from your spell," Stuart added, sounding miffed.

"I'm really sorry, Stuart. I mean Bill," Phoebe said, facetiously. "I don't know what I was thinking. I should have looked in the show's bible when I did that."

Stuart knew that a show's bible was the book that had the show's characters' profiles, premise and other things about the show that are used to keep the show's continuity across episodes and different writers. It would have the particulars about what Bill Maxwell did that he had just described.

"So you'll just have to hold him until I call the police and they come and get him," Stuart said.

"Not while I'm wearing this," Phoebe said, emphatically.

"Yeah...you got a point there, kid," Stuart said.

"OK...so here's what we're gonna do," Stuart said. "This is your lucky day, slimeball."

Slimeball? Did Stuart really say slimeball? Phoebe thought to herself. Is he making this up? When we get back home, I'm going to have get a copy of that show's scripts and see if they really gave Robert Culp that kind of dialogue.

Stuart lifted the green rock from around the robber's neck and took the benitoite rings from his pocket.

"We're letting you go," Stuart said. "But you don't tell anybody about this. And you don't keep your twelve o'clock appointment. Because we know where you're supposed to meet him. And we're gonna be there. And if we find you there...well, the kid here will know what to do with you. OK?"

The robber nodded his head empathically. Stuart motioned to Phoebe and she put him down. Shaking, the robber turned and ran away down the alley.

"Good job, kid," Stuart said. "Now we'll return the benitoite ‑ I'll them we found it in the alley and the robber must have dropped it in his hurry. Let's go."

"Not like this," Phoebe said. "The raincoat!"

She waited in the alley until Stuart had returned with the raincoat. Quickly putting it on, she closed it tightly around herself. They started back to the car and the store when Stuart's cell phone rang.

"Hello," he said.

"Stuart, I'm at the police station," Piper said on the other end.

"The robber showed up and we caught him," Stuart said. Phoebe gave him a look.

"Uh, actually Ralph caught him," Stuart amended his words. "I mean Phoebe caught him." He explained to Piper what had happened.

"Well, I have news," Piper said. "Two days ago, Jonas Penners was reported missing. He went out from his job lunchtime and didn't come back."

"What about him?" Stuart asked.

"Penners is a gem cutter," Piper said. "The police are just treating him as missing person. They haven't made the connection with the benitoite."

Stuart stopped walking and thought for a few seconds.

"If whoever is behind these robberies needs to re‑set the benitoite," he said, "then he'd need a gem cutter to do it."

"And with stolen benitoite he couldn't walk into a jewelry store to have the work done," Piper said.

"So Penners is our key to finding out who and what is behind all of this," Stuart said. "If we can find him."

"There's more," Piper continued. "Penners didn't work for only one jeweler. He had a set of stores where we would come in for a day or two and do his work. One of those stores was David Clay. In fact, that's the store he went to lunch from and never came back."

"Phew!" Stuart exhaled. "Uh...what else can you tell me about him?"

"He's in his late thirties and originally from Holland, where he learned his trade," Piper replied. "He's been working as a gem cutter since he came to the U.S. about ten years ago."

"OK...that's good," Stuart said.

"Is there anything that suit can do that Phoebe can use to find him?" Piper asked.

"Yep...there sure is," Stuart answered. "I'll get back to you, Counselor."

Stuart quickly filled Phoebe in on what Piper told him.

"So, we go into the jewelry store and return the benitoite," Stuart said. "And then we nose around and find something that Penners wore or held. You take off the raincoat, wear or hold what we find, and get an image of where Penners is."

"You mean the suit can give me back my premonition power even though they have those green rocks?" she asked.

"Uh, not exactly," he said. "It's not a premonition. It's an image of what is happening right now to the person whose clothing you're wearing or thing your touching. But you got to be looking into something reflective to see it."

"Uh...no. I'm not taking off my raincoat in the middle of the store," Phoebe protested, as they reached the store's entrance. And they bumped into a woman frantically hurrying out.

"Oh...I'm so sorry," the woman apologized. She looked to be in her late forties, her auburn hear neatly done up, and about Stuart's height. "We...we just had a...'problem'. We can't uh, help you..."

She sounds flustered, Stuart thought. That's good. That will keep her attention away from us.

"Uh, no, we're not customers," he said. "But maybe we can help you. A man running from the store tripped and fell. He got up and kept running but he must have dropped these when he fell." He showed the woman the benitoite.

"Then we heard the alarm and we thought that maybe these came from your store," he added.

"Oh...oh yes!" the woman exclaimed. "These are the gems that he stole. Della ‑ look at this," she called behind her, turning and going back inside. "This nice couple found our benitoite. The robber dropped them in his haste."

Another woman, about the same age but a bit heavier than the one they had been speaking to, hurried over.

"Oh...that's amazing," Della said. "Thank you...thank you. Uh...come in, please."

The two women were agitated, Stuart noted. As was a man behind the counter, shouting into the telephone about what had just happened.

"David's calling the police," Della said, "but you've already saved the day."

"I'm just glad that we were here at the right time," Stuart said, feigning modesty.

"What's your name?" Della asked.

"Uh...Maxwell," Stuart said, "Bill Maxwell. And this is Ralph...er...Raphaela."

"I'm Della and this is Martha," she said. "We're so lucky that you were outside the store and found the gems."

"Yes," Stuart began. "Actually, we were coming to the store. I wanted to see Jonas Penners."

"Jonas? Don't you know that he's missing?" Martha asked.

"Uh...well...now that you mention it..." Stuart replied.

"I didn't think that Jonas had many friends," Della said.

"Oh yeah...Jonas and I are buddies," Stuart said. "We go back about ten years when he first came ‑ and then we hang around and go to ‑ but Jonas borrowed my pen last ‑ when was it honey, on Sunday? Anyway it's a family heirloom ‑ you know sentimental value ‑"

A family pen heirloom? Phoebe thought. They're supposed to believe that? And she had heard, once again, what she called the 'Bill Maxwell inflection' in Stuart's voice. She had to get a copy of an American Hero script. Better yet, she was going to find a tape of the show and hear for herself if Robert Culp really spoke that way.

"Della ‑ give me those gems so that I can examine them before the police come," David shouted at her.

"Oh yes," Della said, sounding flustered again.

"I know this may not be the best time ‑ what with everything that just happened," Stuart continued, "but I'm really so uncomfortable without that family pen. If I could just see if Jonas left it here ‑ maybe where we worked ‑"

"Martha ‑ close the door and look out for the police," David said. "And look out in case that robber comes back for the gems that he dropped."

"Excuse me," Martha said, starting for the door.

"Maybe it's on his desk ‑ where is his desk?" Stuart asked.

"Uh...he worked in the back room," Martha answered, distracted and nervous about watching the front door.

The family pen heirloom actually worked, Phoebe thought, thoroughly amazed that Stuart's ruse had succeeded.

"OK...they're all busy now," Stuart whispered to Phoebe. "Let's quietly make our way through that curtain to the back room."

David and Della were focusing on the gems and Stuart and Phoebe slowly went un‑noticed through the curtain to the back room. The room was small but not crowded. A metal desk and swivel chair stood on one side of the room and a large workbench with a high stool were on the opposite side.

"OK ‑ now take off the raincoat, find something of Penner's and get an image of where he is," Stuart said.

"Oh no, I'm not taking this off," Phoebe responded. "They could come in here any minute and see me in this ‑"

"You have to take it off," Stuart interrupted her, "because we have to find ‑"

"I'm not taking it off, Stuart," she said, cutting him off, "and look like an ‑"

"Yes you are," Stuart insisted, "because the police will be here any minute. And if we're still here, we'll have to spend a lot of time talking to them, and then trying to explain what we were doing here at another benitoite robbery. And why you're wearing your jammies in the middle of the day outside of The Manor. And the policeman who'll be asking us will be Morris ‑ because he's assigned to the benitoite robberies."

Phoebe looked at Stuart and exhaled.

"You did it again," she said, with resignation, starting to take off her raincoat. "I don't know how you got me to do this again."

"Wow!" Stuart exclaimed. "That's Ralph's dialogue, straight out of one of the show's episodes. I remember it. That's great ‑ you're really living the role, now!"

"I'd rather be watching William Katt 'live' the role on television," she grumbled.

"Uh...it's been off the air for years kid," Stuart said, "but you've really brought it back to life. Now let's find Penners' stuff."

Phoebe walked over to the workbench and picked up a mug. Turning it around, she saw it had a picture of some houses with Amsterdam written above it.

"Good ‑ that's got to be his," Stuart said. "Must be homesick and this reminds him of good old Amsterdam. OK kid ‑ now look in something reflective...here, the mirror on the desk will work."

Stuart picked up the mirror and held it up for Phoebe as she held the mug.

"Nothing's happening," she said.

"Uh...the impulses must have worn off by now," he said. "That happened on the show. So we've got to find something else."

Stuart hurried over to an old, worn out chair in a corner behind the workbench stool. An olive windbreaker lay on it.

"Put this on," he said. "He probably brought it with him for the morning and evening, when it's cooler. He wouldn't have needed it when he went out lunchtime in the middle of the day

Reluctantly, Phoebe put on the jacket and looked into the mirror.

"Hey...I'm seeing something," Phoebe said.

"What?" Stuart asked.

"A man...sitting at a desk," she said. "It looks like...jewelers tools on the desk."

"That must be him," Stuart said.

"There's someone else in the room...with a gun," she added.

"OK, now where are they? Concentrate on pulling back and getting a broader picture," he said.

Phoebe concentrated her gaze on the mirror.

"OK, it's working," she said. "I can see outside. There's a sign...Radcliffe Construction ‑ Daly City."

"Daly City is just South of San Francisco," Stuart said, grabbing a telephone book from a shelf behind the desk. He flipped through some pages for a few seconds.

"Radcliffe Construction ‑ got it," he said, and ripped the page out of the telephone book. "OK, let's get out of here."

Phoebe slipped out of the jacket and quickly put the raincoat on again. Stuart peeked through the curtain. A uniformed policeman was coming in through the front door and all eyes were on him. No one was looking at the back room curtain.

Stuart motioned with his hand and Phoebe quietly followed him back into the front of the store. They quietly made their way towards the front door as a second policeman came in.

"Great that you're here ‑ San Francisco's finest," Stuart said to the second policeman as he headed towards the counter and the store's staff. Both policemen's backs were to the front door and Stuart and Phoebe quickly backed out through the door into the street.

"Into the car, quickly, before anyone notices that we're gone," he said. Phoebe didn't have to be told twice and she was in the passenger seat, pulling her raincoat tightly closed again, before Stuart even opened his door.

"OK ‑ off to Daly City," he said, as he started the car.



Having left the car at The Manor for Phoebe and Stuart, Prue had walked over to Nicole's house. She enjoyed the morning walk, the air so fresh and the sun shining brightly. It helped to take her mind off of the jewelry stores and the unknown danger that lay ahead of them.

Nicole had decided to take a shower to help her wake up. Prue busied herself in the Palmers' kitchen, preparing a good breakfast for Nicole. It was almost three‑quarters of an hour later when they were finally ready to leave. Prue called a taxi and it was another ten minutes before it arrived.

They were just getting into the cab when Prue's cell phone rang.

'Hello Prue? This is Meital from the jewelry store."

"Good morning, Meital," Prue said, after closing the cab's door and giving the driver the address. "Is everything all right?"

"Yes," she replied. "But you asked me to let you know about benitoite shipments. We had an order that wasn't due to arrive until the end of July. But it unexpectedly came this morning."

"What?! How much did you get?" Prue asked.

"Four items ‑ two pendants and two pieces that weren't set," Meital said.

"Meital, you're in danger," Prue said. "You have to lock up the store."

"I can't do that," she said. "We have an appointment with an important customer in an hour. But why do you say I'm in danger?"

"Because those robbers likely know about the shipment and will be back," Prue answered. "I'm going to call my sister and tell her to get over to you right away."

"Your sister? What is she going to do?" Meital asked.

"I can't explain. Just be careful until she gets there," Prue said and hung up.

"What happened?" Nicole asked.

"The store where Meital works just got in a shipment of benitoite," Prue replied. "Those robbers are going to come back for it. Phoebe's got to get over there."

She dialed Stuart's number and held the phone to her ear.

"Stuart's phone is busy," she said. "And Phoebe doesn't have her cell phone because there isn't any place in the suit for her to keep it. Meital will be in danger if she tries to stop the robbers, which she probably will. And we'll lose our chance to get them and find out who's behind this.

"I'll have to go there myself," she decided.

"But your powers won't work because they'll have the Calx Deleo," Nicole reminded her, using the stone's real name.

"I'll have to risk that," Prue said. "But by the time I drop you off and get to the store, it will probably be too late."

"Then go straight to the store now," Nicole said.

"Not with you, I won't," Prue told her.

"You have to!" Nicole insisted. "I'll be all right."

"No! I'm not putting you in danger," Prue said.

"I'm already in danger," Nicole countered. "Everyone is in danger if you can't use your powers to fight evil."

Prue was silent for a moment. Nicole was right, she thought. The Elders should have sent us back home before any of this happened. Back to being our real selves in LA.

But they haven't. And so there's no way to tell when they will. And until they do, we have a responsibility to protect and save innocents.

She exhaled.

"On one condition," she said. "When we get there you go straight to the back room and stay there."

"OK," Nicole agreed.

Prue turned to the driver, gave him the jewelry store's address on Columbus Avenue and told him to hurry.



"Prue, why did you come?" Meital asked as Nicole and Prue hurried into the store.

"To protect you and find out who's behind ‑"

The sound of the front door opening interrupted her. Two men rushed inside and slammed the door behind them. A short man with a round face and a tall, slim man with slicked red hair. The same two gunmen who had robbed the store the day before.

"You!" the short man exclaimed when he saw Prue. "You were outside the store yesterday and tried to stop us." Both men quickly drew their guns.

"You got more benitoite," the red haired robber said to Meital. "Give it to me."

"You took everything yesterday," Meital said. "You cleaned us out."

"Don't lie to me," the red haired gunman said. "I know you got more. Now hand it over, fast. Or else!" He pointed the gun at Meital.

A tough look crossed Meital's face. She's going to try something, Prue thought. She managed to get Meital's attention and slowly nodded her head at her, indicating that she should give them what they wanted. Meital slowly turned, went behind the counter and took out the gems. She walked back to the gunman who grabbed it from her.

"What do you want with the benitoite?" Prue asked. "Who put you up to this?"

"That's none of your business," the red haired robber said. "In fact, I don't like it that you were trying to stop us yesterday and you're here again today asking questions."

"No, there's something fishy about you," the other gunman said. He suddenly moved towards Prue and smashed his gun across her head. Prue went down and sprawled on the floor, her eyes closed and her arms spread outwards.

"Prue!" Nicole shouted. Her cry got both robbers' attention focused on her. In a second, Meital sprang at the red haired gunman, pushing him down. They wrestled for a few seconds. Then Meital flipped him onto his back and straddled him, sitting on his chest. Her knees pinning his arms, she was about to punch him in the face.

"Hold it right there," the short gunman shouted, "or the kid gets it."

Meital, her hand in mid‑air, stopped and looked over at him. He had one arm around Nicole's neck, holding her tightly against him. In his other hand, his gun was pressing against Nicole's chest.

Meital stared at him for a long moment. Reluctantly she put her hand down. She looked at the gunman underneath her, and pressing down against him she pushed herself off and stood up.

The red‑haired robber stood up. Then he punched Meital hard in her stomach. She doubled over and fell to her knees, her long dark hair brushing the floor.

"Grab her and pull her over your shoulder," the short gunman said, pointing to Prue.

The red‑haired gunman lifted Prue up and with her arm over his shoulder headed for the door.

"He's here, let's go," he announced, looking outside. The short gunmen backed away towards the door, his gun trained on both Nicole and Meital. Then he turned around and helping the red‑haired robber with Prue, hurried out of the store.

"Are you all right?" Nicole asked, rushing to Meital.

"I'm OK," Meital replied, grimacing as she got up. "But you ‑ you were so calm when he held the gun to you. You must be frightened."

"I've been in danger before," Nicole said matter‑of‑factly, referring to her almost being killed by the ghost Fiona. "But if The Good tries hard it defeats evil."

"Really!" Meital said, putting her hands on Nicole's shoulders. "You are an amazing young girl. But now, we have to call the police."

"No!" Nicole said. "We have to get to the Halliwell Manor. We have to tell Prue's sisters that she's been kidnapped so they can help her."

"We have to tell the police ‑ and quickly," Meital said. "They'll help find her."

"No ‑ you don't understand. Only Piper and Phoebe can save Prue," Nicole insisted. "Please Meital. I know what I'm saying. You have to trust me. Only Prue's sisters have the power to save her."

"The power? What are you talking about?" Meital asked.

"Please Meital," Nicole pleaded. "Trust me. Take me to Prue's home. Now!"

Meital was about to say no to Nicole. But she saw the earnest, assured look on Nicole's face. Something in that look made Meital hesitate. There was just something about Nicole's manner that made her question who knew best ‑ herself or Nicole. And then Mary walked into the store.

"Mary, call the police," Meital said. Having made her decision, she took Nicole by the hand and headed towards the door. "The same two gunmen just took more benitoite."

"What? When?" Mary shouted after her but Meital ignored her. Holding Nicole's hand, she ran down the block to her car.

"Tell me where to go," Meital said to Nicole as they got into the car.



The road was not a main thoroughfare. Other than a warehouse they had passed about three hundred yards back, which seemed deserted, there were no other buildings around.

The sign in front of them proclaimed this to be the home of Radcliffe Construction. Behind the sign was a chain link fence, topped by a strip of barbed wire, that surrounded the property. They stood at a locked gate, wide enough for trucks to pass through. Construction material lay all around the property on the other side of the fence. Two sheds sat off to the right. Directly in front of them was a small house, extended on its right side with a small storage facility.

"They keep this place secure," Phoebe said, still wearing her raincoat.

"Yeah, with all of this construction material around they would," Stuart said. "Isolated and secure ‑ the perfect place to keep someone you kidnapped."

"OK, so I just go in there and grab Penners," she said.

"No...you see that?" he said, pointing. "Security cameras, too. We can't let them see you coming in. They might sneak Penners out somehow. Or worse, they might decide they can't sneak him out and not want to leave around a witness who can identify them."

"You mean they'd kill him?" she asked.

"Kidnapping is a big federal offense, with big time in the slammer," he said. His hand subconsciously went to his pocket where Bill Maxwell's FBI identification would be ‑ if he had it.

Phoebe rolled her eyes. Slammer?

"We can't risk it," Stuart replied. "You have to go in invisible."

"Invisible?" Phoebe repeated.

"Yeah, the suit lets you do that," he said.

"Uh...just how do I make the suit do that?" she asked.

"Well...you do what Ralph did on the show," Stuart said. "You concentrate on invisible thoughts."

"What? If the thoughts are invisible then I can't be thinking them, let alone be concentrating on them," she complained.

"No ‑ you think thoughts about being invisible and concentrate on that," he answered.

"Oh," she said. "Hmmm..." Stuart saw her face focused and concentrated. And then she suddenly wasn't there.

"Hey, where are you?" he asked.

"Right here," she said, and he felt a hand on his arm.

"That's great, kid," he said. "Now just fly over the fence."

"What?! There's barbed wire up there," a bodyless voice said. "I can't control my flying. I could fall on it."

"No...what you do is fly higher so that you'll be clear of it when you land, that's all," he said. "Then rip off the lock so that when you've got things under control you can call me to come in.

"Now go get 'em, Ralph," he added.

"Ralph?!" she said. Oh boy ‑ he's gotten so much into his Bill Maxwell role that he's forgetting who I am, she thought. "Sure...Bill!" she added, facetiously.

Phoebe ran across the road, turned and taking a running start jumped into the air. And flew over the fence. Stuart heard a thud.

"OK kid, you did it," he said.

Phoebe picked herself up. She started to dust herself off, the way she did after all of her landings ‑ which were always 'hard'. But then she realized that she couldn't see herself ‑ so why bother.

She started towards the house but then remembering the lock on the gate, turned around and went back to it. She grabbed the lock in her hand and yanked it. The lock and chain came right off. She quickly put them down on the ground and hurried towards the house.

She went over to the window and tried to peek inside. But the window shades were down and she couldn't see anything. She went over to the front door and turned the knob. The door was locked.

I guess there's not going to be a subtle way to do this, she thought. She pulled the door hard towards her ‑ and it came off the hinges. Surprised at her own strength, she stared at it for a second, then threw it down. Taking a quick peek inside, she saw a tall man with dark, wavy hair. Staying outside, she moved to the side of the doorway. Inside the house, seeing the door suddenly fall down, the tall man's first reaction was to draw his gun.

Then he slowly walked towards the open doorway. Carefully, he peeked outside. Waiting for him, Phoebe quickly gave a chop on his arm, knocking the gun from his hand. Using her martial arts moves, she flipped him over, then threw him into the side of the house. He slid down to the ground unconscious.

Phoebe picked up his gun and squeezed it in her hand until it was squashed. She threw it down and went inside the house.

She passed through the living room and opened the door into the next room. She saw a man sitting at a desk, with what appeared to be jewelers' tools laid out neatly in front of him, just as it was in the image she had seen. Even though he was sitting, she could see that he was tall and slim. His sandy hair was short, his skin was fair and he wore gold‑rimmed glasses.

And on the other side of the room, getting up from the sofa, his gun drawn, was a burly, dark haired man.

Seeing the door open, the man jumped up just as Phoebe ran into him, knocking him back onto the sofa. She squeezed his wrist until, screaming from pain, he dropped the gun.

The man didn't know what was happening as Phoebe, invisible, hit him twice in his jaw, then threw him hard against the wall, knocking him out. Phoebe bent down to get his gun...and saw her hand holding it.

Oops, she thought. Fighting him must have affected something and made me visible again.

The man at the desk stared at Phoebe in disbelief.

"Jonas Penners?" she asked.

"Uh...uh..." is all he could manage to say.

"It's OK, I'm here to rescue you," Phoebe said. "Are there any more of the kidnappers around?"

"Uh...uh..." He was still staring and having trouble speaking.

She came over to him and he jumped back. OK, this is the only way to do this, she thought.

"Look, we have to get you out of here," she said, pounding on the desk, "Is there anyone else here?"

Her act did the trick.

"Uh...no, not now," he said. "They...left."

"And you are Jonas Penners?" she demanded.

"Yes...yes, I'm Jonas Penners," he answered, sounding frightened.

"Good," Phoebe said, "now just relax for a minute.' She hurried to the door and called Stuart.

"Who...are you?" Penners asked after Stuart joined them.

"Special Agent Bill Maxwell, FBI," Stuart answered, without hesitating.

"And...and..." Penners couldn't even get the words out. He just pointed at Phoebe.

"She's on our team," he said. "She wears that costume to confuse the bad guys."

"She's...confusing me," Penners said, gulping.

"Now, we're going to get you out of here," Stuart said, "but before we do we gotta know why they kidnapped you."

"They had me...working with...some gems," he said, starting to recover.

"Benitoite ‑ right?" Stuart asked.

"Yes...benitoite," he answered.

"And what were you doing with them," Stuart said, "

"Taking them out of their settings...rings and pins. And then resetting them," Penners said, a subtle hint of an accent in his speech.

"Into what?" Stuart asked.

"A medallion, of sorts," he answered, "around a green rock center. I don't know what it was. At first glance it looked like some kind of Chrysoprase but it was different. It's characteristics...I've never seen a stone like it."

"What were they going to do with it?" Stuart asked.

'I don't know," Penners said.

"What happened to this medallion?" Stuart asked.

"I finished setting it and one of them took it," Penners said. "He said they were bringing me more benitoite today and that I was to make more medallions for them."

"Well, you won't have to do anything for them anymore," Stuart said. "Let's get you out of here."

Penners stared at Phoebe.

"Uh...how...did she...uhhhh, suddenly...uh..." he stammered.

"That's a confidential, need‑to‑know, our eyes only, classified government secret," Stuart said, "so don't ask. Which means that you don't tell any of the local cops or any other Fed below GL‑24 clearance anything about it. You got that? So if they don't have GL‑24 clearance, you forget about my friend here and what she did.

"This great country's safety is in your hands, Mr. Penners," Stuart continued. "We know, at the Bureau, that you love your adopted country and that we can count on you to protect its secrets. Right?"

Phoebe exhaled. The Greatest American Hero's Bill Maxwell come to life, she thought. Maybe after this we should get Stuart a role on Charmed.

Penners' mouth was open.

"Uh...right...of course," he said. "I love America. I have American citizenship. I won't do anything to put America in danger. No one will hear a word about...uh, your friend...from me."

"We knew we could count on you," Stuart said. "Now, we're going to get you out of here and drop you off at the gas station down the road. You can call the police from there and they'll come for you and these two clowns, here. We don't have time to take you back ourselves because we have to go after the rest of them before they do something dangerous with that medallion."

They dropped Penners at the gas station and sped back to The Manor.

"What is 'GL‑24 clearance'?" Phoebe asked as they drove. She was wearing her raincoat over the suit, again.

"Nothing ‑ I just made it up," Stuart admitted. "As it doesn't exist, none of the Feds can have that clearance. So Penners, being the good citizen he is, won't find anyone with the right clearance that he can tell about you."

"I got to hand it to you. That was good," Phoebe said.

"All part of the FBI training," he said. "Always have a plan for everything."

"Right, Bill," she said, and smiled.



"Nicole ‑ uh, Meital?!" Piper said as they came rushing into the Manor.

"Prue's been kidnapped by the gunmen," Nicole said. "They came to rob Meital's store again. They knocked Prue out and took her together with the benitoite."

"What? Why was Prue there? And why did they take her?" Piper asked. "And how do you know all of this?"

"I called Prue to tell her that we got an unexpected shipment of benitoite," Meital explained. "And she rushed to the store to try to protect me and stop them."

"Prue was in the taxi taking me to my mother at the Exploratorium when Meital called," Nicole said. "She tried calling Stuart but his cell phone was busy."

"That must have been when I called Stuart from the police station," Piper said.

"There wasn't time to take me to my mother first," Nicole continued, "so I went with her. The gunmen recognized Prue from being at the robbery yesterday and became suspicious. That's why he knocked her out and took her.

"Meital was very brave. She tackled one of the gunmen and tried to save Prue," Nicole continued. "But the other gunman held a gun to me and Meital had to stop."

"Uh...a gun to you?!" Piper exclaimed. "Are you all right?!"

"Of course," Nicole replied. "Harmony said that if The Good tries hard it defeats evil so I wasn't afraid."

"But Prue knows that her powers won't work against ‑" Piper started to say, then caught herself. Meital was there listening to them.

"What powers?!" Meital demanded. "That's the same thing that Nicole said. And who is Harmony?"

"I...I can't explain," Piper said. "Look, Nicole's mother is going to be worried about her. Please drive her to her mother at the Exploratorium and then just go back to the store."

"No!" Meital said firmly. "I'm not doing anything until you explain what's going on. Why did your sister think she could stop the robbers? And why are you trying to do things without the police?"

"I'm sorry Meital," Piper said, "but I can't. If you won't take Nicole then I'll have to ‑"

"No ‑ don't freeze Meital," Nicole protested. "Harmony said that I have good instincts and that I should rely upon them. My instincts tell me that Meital is a good person and she can be trusted. Tell her, Piper. Trust Meital."

Piper looked at Nicole and then at Meital. This was a risk. But she needed Meital to take Nicole to her mother. She liked Meital ‑ and maybe Nicole was right about trusting her.

"Harmony is my fairy godmother," Nicole said to Meital, without waiting for Piper's decision.

"Fairy...godmother?" Meital repeated, not sure that she had heard right.

"Yes...and my sisters and I...are witches," Piper said. "We have witch powers that we use to fight evil. Especially evil demons. That's why we can do things that the police can't."

Meital looked at Piper and then at Nicole.

"Bir'tzinut zeh loh B'dikhah?" she asked. "Uh...you're serious? This is not a joke?"

"Very serious," Piper replied.

"Show Meital," Nicole said.

Piper took a deep breath. Then she raised her hand and froze Meital and Nicole. She picked up a cushion from the sofa, threw it towards the kitchen, away from Meital and Nicole, and froze it. Then she unfroze Meital and Nicole.

Meital stared at the cushion hanging in mid‑air.

"Piper froze us, then froze the cushion and unfroze just us so that you could see it," Nicole explained to Meital.

"Phew!" Meital said, astonished. "This is un‑believable. And your sisters have other powers, too?"

"Yes, but we don't have time to go into that now," Piper said. "I need to have your word that you won't tell anyone ‑ and I mean anyone ‑ about us."

Meital took a deep breath.

"Ahni notayn havtakha," Meital replied, still stunned at what she had just learned and seen. "I mean...you have my word. And I live by my word. I never break it!"

"OK," Piper said, still uneasy about having disclosed the truth. "Now I need you to take Nicole to her mother. I'll call a taxi ‑"

"I have my car," Meital interjected.

"Good," Piper said. "Nicole, don't tell your mother anything about your being at the robbery. Just tell her that...uh...something came up with Prue. And that Meital is Prue's friend and Prue asked her to drop you off.

"And then after you do that, Meital, go back to the store and stay there. And don't tell anyone, especially the police, that you were here."

Meital exhaled.

"Come Nicole," she said. "I'll take you to your mother."



"Prue is completely helpless," Phoebe said. "With that witch destroying stone leaving her weak, she's completely at their mercy. Whoever they are."

"That's why you've got to find her right away," Stuart said. He and Phoebe had returned to The Manor and Piper had filled them in on what Nicole and Meital had told her. "Piper, we need something of Prue's...like something she wears."

"Why?" Piper asked.

"Because the suit let's the kid get an image of someone if she can get vibes from something the person wore or used recently," Stuart explained.

"Uh, OK...one second," Piper said, and ran into the kitchen.

"Here's the glass Prue drank her orange juice from this morning," Piper said, as she hurried back into the living room.

"OK...now you need something reflective for Phoebe to look at, like a mirror," Stuart said.

"Got it," Piper said. She rushed into the parlor and returned with a small hand mirror.

"OK kid," Stuart said, "do your stuff."

Phoebe held the orange juice glass with both hands as Piper held up the mirror for her.

"Well?" Stuart asked anxiously.

"Nothing," Phoebe replied, as the front door flew open and Meital strode quickly in.

"Who are you?" Stuart demanded.

"This is Meital," Piper answered, "from the jewelry store that was robbed. What are you doing here?"

She stared at Phoebe in the red suit.

"Uh, I can explain this," Phoebe said, then thought about it for a few seconds. "Uh...actually, I can't explain it."

"Meital knows who we are," Piper said.

"She does?" Phoebe asked. "How?"

"Nicole and I told her," Piper replied. "But why are you here? You were supposed to drop off Nicole and go back to the store."

"I did drop off Nicole," Meital replied. "But going back to the store would not help save Prue. You're going to use your powers to save her and I'm here to help you."

"Uh, no you can't," Stuart said. "This is dangerous."

"Are you trying to protect me," Meital asked, a small smile crossing her lips.

"I...suppose I am," Stuart admitted.

"That's very sweet," she said. "But do I really look like just a weak and helpless salesgirl to you?"

"I'm sure you're very good at what you do in the store," he replied. "But you're very young...and young people are overly self‑confident. We're going up against armed robbers. And quite possibly against something unknown that may well be a lot worse. There's a very real danger here."

"Thank you for caring about me," Meital said, "but I can handle myself."

"You told Nicole to tell her mother that I'm Prue's friend," she said, turning to Piper. "Well, you're right. After what Prue did and risked to help me I do consider her a friend. And in the army we're taught we don't leave a friend behind."

"You were in the army?" Piper asked, surprised.

"I served two years," Meital answered casually, shrugging her shoulders as if it wasn't a big deal. "I can help you."

"We don't have time to argue about it," Piper said. "We have to concentrate on finding Prue. And right now we can't seem to do that."

"This uh...outfit is what you wear to use your powers?" Meital asked.

"Our witches' powers are being blocked by a magical stone that whoever is behind the robberies has," Piper explained. "That stops us from using our powers against them. This suit...is something we got through a spell Phoebe cast. Its powers aren't witches' powers so the magical stone can't stop it."

"But it's not working, now," Phoebe complained. "I can't get an image of Prue. Maybe the stone is somehow blocking her from being seen by me."

"How does that work?" Meital asked.

"I hold something that Prue used or wore," Phoebe said, "and when I concentrate and look in the mirror I should see her. But I don't."

"Hmmm..." Meital said. She slid her hand into the pocket of her black pants and pulled something out. "Try this," she said, handing it to Phoebe.

"What is it?" Phoebe asked.

"It's a button from the robber's jacket," Meital answered. "It came off in my hand while I was fighting him. I just stuck it into my pocket. He's probably wherever Prue is."

"It's worth a try," Piper said.

Phoebe held the button tightly and concentrated as she looked into the mirror.

"Oh my goodness, I see him," Phoebe said. "Slick, red hair and a narrow face."

"That's him," Meital assured her.

"And there's Prue," Phoebe continued. "She's lying helpless on the ground. And standing to her side looking down at her is..." Phoebe exhaled. "Is...a demon."

"Is she hurt?" Piper asked. 'What are they doing?"

"Shh!" Phoebe said. "I can hear them talking." Everyone was silent as Phoebe continued to concentrate on the mirror Piper held for her.

"They're in a cave on Yerba Buena Island," Phoebe said, the image now gone. "The red‑haired robber walked outside so I saw where it is. There's a sign Radcliffe Development on Yerba Buena in front of it."

"Radcliffe Development again," Piper said.

"Yerba Buena is in the middle of the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland," Stuart said. "The Bay Bridge literally runs through a tunnel the length of the island. There's an exit from the bridge for the island itself just before the tunnel."

"I could see the bridge not far behind the sign," Phoebe said.

"Most of the island belongs to the Coast Guard and is off limits to civilians," Stuart said. "So it should be easy to find this place."

"There were four men there," Phoebe said. "That short gunman you described and two other men. One was wearing a dark leather jacket and sounded like he was giving the orders. One of them called him Ramsey. And..."

"And what?" Stuart asked.

"And I heard what Ramsey called the demon," Phoebe added. "He called him...Oralius."

"Phew! The legend is real, after all," Piper said, and gave a shudder.

"What legend?" Meital asked.

"I'll explain it later," Piper said. "Right now we have to save Prue."

"Last time I was looking for a spell in the Book of Shadows, I came across a spell to vanquish something that's not supposed to exist," Piper said. "It didn't make any sense at the time when I saw it. But now it does. I suppose that was put in the Book just in case something like this ever happened. I'll get it."

"You have to get to Prue quickly," Stuart said to Phoebe, as Piper ran up to the attic. "And that means you're going to have to fly."

"I can't," Phoebe said. "I keep crashing. You saw that yesterday. And today."

"Well, uh...actually kid I didn't see you crash today," Stuart said. "You were invisible."

"Funny!" Phoebe said, giving him an exasperated look.

"You don't have a choice," Stuart said. "We'll go with the car and meet you but every second counts. We can't leave Prue in danger that long. Not to mention what Oralius can do now that he has the stone and the benitoite."

Phoebe exhaled. "I...I don't know..."

"You're going to do just fine, kid," Stuart said, taking her to the side so that Meital couldn't hear him. "Just the way Ralph did on the show when he didn't have a choice, either. Just remember ‑ it's another role reversal, just like Charmed. You've been living Phoebe's role. Now you're living this role, too. You are Ralph Hinkley come to life."



Still knocked out, Prue lay sprawled on her back on the ground. A man in a dark leather coat, medium build with a small, dark mustache looked down at her.

The short man with the five o'clock shadow and another man of medium height, with a pug nose and thick arms, stood behind him.

"What do you want me to do with her, Ramsey?" the short man asked the man with the mustache.

"Wake her up," Ramsey ordered.

The short man grabbed a bottle of soda and poured it over Prue's face. She started coughing and gagging, turned to her side and tried to sit up. The short man grabbed her by the shoulder.

"Stay down there," he said smugly. "She's up now, Ramsey."

Sitting on the ground, Prue looked around. She was in a cave, illuminated by some battery‑powered construction lights. On a small table to her right she saw three or four green stones with strings around them. The witch destroying stones that were used in the robberies, she thought. Next to them were loose stones, some clear, others blue. From Meital's description, she knew those must be the benitoite. Next to them was a large medallion, about six inches in diameter. A green stone was set in the center, with more benitoite surrounding it.

"I understand you've been trying to interfere with my...operation," Ramsey said.

"Apparently, I haven't done a good enough job," Prue said, looking at the table with the gems. "But I'll keep at it until I get it right. And stop you."

The short man moved his arm to smack Prue.

"Wait Gregory," Ramsey commanded.

"She's got a smart mouth, Ramsey," Gregory said. "Let me fix it for her."

"Perhaps later," Ramsey said. "First, let's find out who she is."

"The ID in her bag says ‑" Gregory started to say.

"Peyton!" A voice interrupted him. A voice that to Prue sounded filled with evil. She turned around and looked to her left. And saw something that sent a chill down her spine.

It was a demon. There was no doubt about that. A transparent wall stood between them, restricting the demon to the small left side of the cave. Prue saw him staring at her with eyes filled with a mixture of surprise, confusion ‑ and hate.

"Peyton!" the demon asserted again. "I have to see her closer. You have enough benitoite. Let me out of here now!"

"In a minute," Ramsey said. "You'll be free soon enough."

Now Prue realized that the demon was trapped, locked in the side of the cave behind the transparent wall.

"No!" Prue said, turning to Ramsey, recognizing that he was in charge. "You can't let him out."

"Of course I can ‑ and I will," Ramsey said. "When I'm ready."

"We have an arrangement!" the demon thundered. "Power and wealth for you ‑ in return for the benitoite ‑ and my freedom."

"Look...I don't know who you are," Prue said, "but I know what he is. He's a ‑"

"Demon," Ramsey interrupted her. "I know exactly what he is."

"Then you must understand that you can't let him out of there," Prue said. "He's pure evil."

"Pure?" Ramsey repeated, then chuckled. "Well, I don't know just how ‘pure’ he is. But ‘plain old evil’ is good enough for me."

"You don't know what you're doing," Prue protested.

"On the contrary," Ramsey replied, "I know precisely what I'm doing. As the, uh, demon said, we have an arrangement. I get enough benitoite to free him, and he'll then have so much power that he can do as he wishes without fear of anyone stopping him. As will I."

"I...I don't understand," Prue said.

"It's really quite simple," Ramsey said. "This part of Yerba Buena Island is going to be developed for housing. And Radcliffe Construction ‑ I'm the General Manager ‑ was going to get a part of it. So I came to check out the suitability of this site and found this hidden cave.

"And in this cave," Ramsey continued, "I found some green rocks lying near the entrance. I didn't know what they were ‑ I'm not a geologist ‑ and I was walking around the cave with one in my hand when I found this demon, behind this transparent wall. Only he couldn't talk or do anything. He was just frozen.

"But when I approached him holding the green rock, he suddenly came to life. I've dealt with some tough guys before in the construction business ‑ and I employ people who know how to do what has to be done ‑ so I wasn't particularly worried, especially with that wall between us. And so we got to talking. These rocks can protect him from witches' powers but when he's using them, they sort of get drained ‑ like a battery losing power. And that leaves him vulnerable.

"It seems that a bunch of witches took advantage of that and overcame the rocks. Not strong enough to destroy him, just enough so that he got separated from these green rocks and got frozen behind that wall. But there's enough power in the rock when it's close to him to weaken some of the power they used against him. So my holding the green rock when I stood next to the wall unfroze him. But he was ‑ and still is ‑ stuck behind that wall. The rock couldn't overcome all of the combined the power of a dozen witches.

"Then he told me about benitoite. It doesn't have any protective power of its own but its claim to fame is that it can boost the 'magical' power of other rocks. In this case, the power of the demon's green rocks. Enough so that even when he would be using it, a hundred witches couldn't overcome the rocks' power. And so it could completely destroy the witches' power that was keeping him locked up.

"He did a few demon tricks behind the wall," Ramsey went on. "Enough to convince me that he was real."

"And so you hired these men to rob benitoite for you," Prue said. "How did you know who had them?"

"That was another one of his little tricks," Ramsey said. "He had this one small piece of benitoite lying against the wall near the entrance," Ramsey explained. "It's too small to boost the rock's power to overcome what the witches did to him. It seems he did some demonic thing to make it point to more benitoite. He was going to use it ‑ until the witches froze him behind that wall."

Ramsey paused, grabbed a beer from a box on the floor behind him, and took a long drink.

"So," he resumed, "I just put it on a detailed block map of San Francisco with all of the buildings on it ‑ which my construction company has access to ‑ and it lights up when it's held over a place that has the gems. I held it over every jewelry store in the city and voila ‑ all the benitoite that was around was there for me."

"So you're going to suddenly start a life of crime?" Prue asked.

Ramsey gave her a look, as if he couldn't decide if she was that naive.

"This is the construction business," he said. "There are always other things going on here."

Prue thought for a moment.

"You're a front," she said. "Radcliffe Construction is just a front...for Organized Crime."

Ramsey gave a hearty laugh.

"Old man Radcliffe wouldn't agree with you," he said. "He's very proud of his company. Of course, being retired up in Tahoe, he's not around much. Spends his days on his estate on the South Shore and his nights across the Nevada border in the casinos of Stateline. He comes down here a couple of times a year to see what's doing. He doesn't bother me ‑ he likes what he sees."

"Or he sees what he wants to see," Prue interjected.

Ramsey shrugged his shoulders.

"There's enough real construction going on that could keep him happy," he said. "But there are just...opportunities for other things. As for The Mob, I don't work with anyone. You can think of me as un‑organized crime."

"So you're jealous of your boss' lifestyle," Prue said.

"Sure...and I'm going to have that too," Ramsey answered. "But not in Tahoe. I don't like the snow. Carmel is more to my liking. And with Oralius' power, I'll get that. And soon."

What we feared most, Prue thought. The legend of Oralius...is true.

"The benitoite in that medallion will make my stone unsurmountable," the demon said. "Its power will tear asunder what those witches did two hundred years ago. Even a thousand witches will not be able to overcome it no how much I use it. And use it I will. And with the medallions being made from the rest of the benitoite I'll have enough to give to other demons who will follow my commands and do my bidding."

"And I'll be right there with him," Ramsey said, "getting whatever I want."

"Now bring the medallion here!" Oralius commanded. "And then I will take a closer look at her."

Ramsey nodded to the pug nosed man to do as the demon said. The man picked up the medallion from the table and brought it over to the transparent wall.

They all felt the cave shake.

"Earthquake," the pug nosed man shouted.

"No," the demon said. "Freedom!"

The transparent wall shattered before their eyes. And the demon stepped past it.

"I'm free! I'm free!" he shouted. He took the medallion from the pug nosed man and placed it around his neck.

"But you," he said, approaching Prue. "Peyton! I killed you. I saw your lifeless body fall before me. I saw you sprawled dead at my feet. I delighted in seeing that your goodness and virtue couldn't protect you against my power. How can you be here?"

Prue didn't understand why he was calling her Peyton. But she decided to use it to her advantage.

"I'm stronger than you thought, Oralius," she said, calling the demon by the name that she knew must be his. "I survived you."

"Your clothing," Oralius said, "it's not from our time."

"I've adapted," Prue said. "And I will finish the job I came for. To destroy you."

"Hardly," Ramsey said, "Prue or Peyton, whoever you are. You're going to disappear in a little cave‑in here."

"You can't kill me here," Prue said, "because they'll find my body when construction starts. And they'll link it to you."

"Who needs construction when I can get whatever I want with the demon and the rocks," Ramsey said. "This place will stay as it is forever. Especially after the cave‑in, it will be considered too dangerous for anyone else to try to develop here. No one will ever find you."



Phoebe walked out of The Manor's back door, hoping that none of their neighbors could see her. There wasn't much room there to get a running start. At least, not if she didn't want to take an even greater risk of being seen.

There's no alternative, she realized. She went back as close to the house as she could, her back to the wall. Here goes, she thought, and started running with her eyes closed. She didn't want to know if anyone saw her. And then she took off.

Up in the air, she opened her eyes. Just in time to avoid flying into the attic of a house on the block behind The Manor.

"Whoaaaaa," she screamed as, flapping her arms, she just managed to miss smashing into it. She tried to get her bearings by looking around for the Bay Bridge. She saw it off to her left. But before she could turn, she saw Coit Tower coming up straight ahead of her.

The cylindrical shaped art deco tower of natural concrete color sits atop Telegraph Hill, making it's observation rotunda almost five hundred feet high. Which meant that Phoebe had to climb ‑ fast!

Somehow, her flailing her arms and legs managed to get her above it. Having gained altitude she began to level off. For the first time, she actually felt she was controlling her movement.

And indeed she was. Looking again at the Bay Bridge, she maneuvered a turn in its direction. She was flying straight and level.

Until she suddenly started to dive. And crashed on her stomach in a backyard garden.

"Ugh," she groaned as she picked herself up. And came face to face with a woman. She looked to be middle aged, at least. She was wearing a gardener's hat, a trowel in one hand and a watering can in the other hand.

The woman stared at Phoebe, then looked aghast at the red suit.

"What are you staring at?" Phoebe said, annoyed. "This isn't easy. I'm not a bird, you know!"

The woman opened her mouth...but no words came out.

Phoebe dusted herself off, made a running start, and took off again.

Seeing the Bay Bridge, she turned towards it, then managed to fly parallel to it's span, but high enough so as not to be easily seen by the bridge traffic. Coming to Yerba Buena Island, she veered left, saw the island's bridge exit and came in for a landing.

A hard landing.

"Ugh," she groaned, standing up and once again brushing herself off. She saw a large expanse of bare land and at its far end, a sign ‑ Radcliffe Development at Yerba Buena. Behind it, hidden in the rocks, was the entrance to the cave. Taking a deep breath, she began running to it. To her surprise, she realized that she was running at super speed, reaching the cave in only two seconds.

Inside, she didn't stop but kept running in the dim light until she came to an opening. The same opening that was in the image she had seen in The Manor.

The three men, stunned at her sudden appearance, stared at her. But Phoebe was looking at Prue, who was on the ground. And a few feet behind Prue stood Oralius, his arm outstretched towards Prue.

Phoebe knew what that meant. Before Oralius could send the energy bolt into Prue, Phoebe had pushed her down and lay down on top of her, covering Prue's body with her own. The demon sent the energy bolt and Phoebe closed her eyes tightly and grimaced.

The bolt hit Phoebe...and bounced off of her. It hit the roof of the cave and sheered off a small piece of rock that fell at Ramsey's feet. That snapped him out of his shock and he pulled out his gun.

Oralius' eyes widened in disbelief at what had happened. Then anger filled his face and concentrating, he sent another energy bolt into Phoebe, then another and another. Her eyes still closed tightly, Phoebe did not see all the energy bolts bouncing off of her and ricocheting around the cave.

Oralius stopped, trying to comprehend what was happening. Seeing that, Phoebe jumped up, just as Gregory came towards her, firing his gun. Two shots bounced off of Phoebe. Then she grabbed the short man and with one hand threw him against the far wall, some twenty feet away. He hit it hard and fell down to the ground, unconscious.

Ramsey now opened fire. Phoebe walked over to him, grabbed the gun, and squashed it in her hand.

The man with the pug nose had started to aim his gun at Phoebe. But then he thought better of it and stunned, his mouth open, he just let the gun drop to the ground.

Oralius was furious. He stretched his arm out towards Phoebe and sent an energy bolt directly at her chest. Phoebe closed her eyes and put her hands up in front of her just as the energy bolt bounced off of her ‑ and back at Oralius. The demon screamed as it hit his hand.

"I suggest you not try that again," Phoebe said to the demon. "Next time it bounces off of me it may destroy you."

"Who...what...are you?" Ramsey stuttered.

"Someone you don't want to go up against," Phoebe said. She turned to Prue who was starting to get up.

"Are you OK?" Phoebe asked.

"Yes...I am now," Prue replied. "Get that medallion off of Oralius. It has the green stone and the benitoite."

Phoebe approached the demon. Stunned in disbelief, he didn't move, just stared at her, as she lifted the medallion over his head. Prue told Phoebe all about what the benitoite did for the green rock and how they were able to locate which stores had the benitoite.

"Huh...a demon's version of our scrying," Phoebe said.

"And, it seems, more effective," Prue said. "They found every piece of benitoite in the city."

There was a noise at the entrance and they turned to look as Piper, Stuart and Meital hurried in.

"Prue...you're all right!" Piper exclaimed and hugged her.

"You made it fast," Phoebe said.

"Piper froze every light green between The Manor and the bridge so we sailed right through," Stuart said. "Of course, the traffic on the cross streets got really backed up."

As Piper let go of Prue she saw the demon.

"Whoa," Piper said. "That's...Oralius."

"This is the demon you told me about?" Meital asked, looking him over. She had moved to Stuart's right, to get a better look at Oralius. The light from the construction lamp was behind her, shining on Oralius but leaving her partially in the shadows.

"And that's the witch destroying stone," Prue said, pointing at the medallion in Phoebe's hand. "There are more of them on the table, along with the benitoite." She again explained the connection between the two gems and Ramsey's masterminding of the robberies.

"Phew!" Piper exclaimed. "We got here just in time to stop them."

"No ‑ you didn't!" a voice from behind them said.

The narrow‑faced robber with the slicked red hair had returned, his gun drawn, a hard, cold look in his eyes. He was looking for someone to shoot. Meital, still partially in the shadows, was between him and Stuart. The robber's gaze was on the others in the center of the cave but Stuart realized that in a second he would see Meital. Being closest to him, he would grab her.

Before he could do that, Stuart rushed him, while with his right hand he pushed Meital back completely into the shadows where the gunman couldn't see her. The gunman brought his gun down hard on the side of Stuart's head, then with his free arm grabbed Stuart around his neck.

Stunned, Stuart's eyes closed halfway and he sagged but the gunman's arm around his neck kept him up. The barrel of his gun was now against Stuart's forehead.

"The girl in the red outfit is some kind of freak, Gavin," Ramsey said. "Nothing can hurt her." He bent down and picked up the gun that the pug nosed gunman had dropped. "Watch her that she doesn't try to grab you."

"Not while I can hurt him," Gavin said, pressing the gun's barrel harder into Stuart's forehead. "So don't you try anything." Then he looked at Prue.

"Get over here next to him," he ordered. With these witch destroying stones all around here, I'm powerless to stop them, Prue thought. Slowly, she started to move to Stuart.

"And you, freak," Gavin said to Phoebe. "Give that medallion back to Oralius. And don't try anything or I'll kill your friend here. And don't think that I won't kill him. I don't need him. If he's dead, I've got your other friend here to hold over you," motioning towards Prue.

Phoebe looked hard at Gavin. And then she looked behind him. She couldn't see anything in the shadows. But she knew that Meital was there. And that Gavin hadn't seen her.

And then she remembered one more power that Stuart told her that the suit gave her. It wasn't as good as Prue's power. It couldn't send things flying. But she could, if she concentrated, move things a little. And a little might be ‑ would have to be ‑ enough.

She concentrated on Gavin's hand. And it moved against his will. The gun was now pointing away from Stuart's forehead.

In a couple of seconds Gavin would realize that and point the gun back at Stuart. But a couple of seconds was all that Meital needed.

In a flash, she was on Gavin. She firmly grabbed his hand that was holding the gun and forced it straight upwards. Reacting, Gavin squeezed off two shots but as the gun was no longer pointing at Stuart the bullets hit the cave's ceiling, ricocheting all around.

With her other hand, Meital gave two quick chops at the jugular in Gavin's neck. He collapsed on the floor, dropping Stuart down beside him.

Phoebe grabbed Ramsey and sent him flying against the wall, the gun dropping from his hand.

"I give up, I give up," the pug nosed man said, raising his hands above his head. "Don't hurt me!"

Oralius, seeing an opportunity in the confusion, stretched out his hand. But Phoebe saw that he was trying to send an energy bolt at Prue and quickly got between her and the demon.

"Your energy bolt will just bounce off of me and right back at you," she said.

Fuming, Oralius reluctantly lowered his arm.

Meital knelt down on her knees by Stuart and lifted his head in her arms.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

"Aggh," he moaned. "I..." He looked up into her eyes and saw her worry and concern for him.

"I...am now," he said, with a faint smile.

"Where did you learn how to fight like that?" Piper asked her.

"In the army," Meital replied. "I took extra training in hand‑to‑hand combat."

"Seeing you in your job as a saleswoman in the jewelry store I would never have guessed what you could do," Piper said.

"Piper, take all of these green rocks outside," Phoebe said.

Piper took the medallion from Phoebe, gathered up the remaining rocks from the table and hurried outside with them, then quickly returned.

"Who are you?!" Oralius thundered.

"Who are we?" Piper repeated. She pointed her hand at the pug nosed man ‑ and he froze.

"We," Piper said, smiling that with the rocks removed she had her powers back, "are witches."

"Specifically, The Charmed Ones," Prue said.

"The Charmed Ones?" Oralius repeated. "No...you can't be! That one day there would be three witches who would be The Charmed Ones...that's only a legend."

"We're only a legend?" Piper asked, indignantly. "Hmph...well, you're only a legend, too. I guess it takes one to know one."

"Piper has a spell from The Book of Shadows," Phoebe said. "And now that the calx deleo isn't here to destroy our powers against Oralius, we can say it."

"A spell for a legend," Piper said. "And...being invoked by a 'legend'. Fitting."

She took out the paper from her pocket as Prue and Phoebe gathered around her.

  "We call upon the ancient power

    For special strength upon us to shower,

    To vanquish that which should not be,

    Yet stands before us for all to see."

A bolt of fire struck Oralius. Then a second bolt struck him again. He screamed as he began spinning. Around and around, the fire consuming him. And with a final scream he and the fire were gone.

"Wow!" Meital said, still holding Stuart to her chest. "Loh yi'ah'mane! That's incredible!"

"We told you that we're witches and that we have powers," Piper said. "It's OK, Prue, Meital knows all about us. We can trust her."

"As for the others," Phoebe said, "three are knocked out. And the fourth one is still frozen. So they won't know what happened to Oralius."

"What are we going to do about them...they're dangerous criminals?" Piper asked.

"The first thing is to get rid of all of the witch killing stones," Prue said. "Somewhere that they'll never be found by anyone."

"We can drop them over the ocean and let them sink to the bottom," Piper said.

"Good idea," Prue agreed. "Put them into a sack and add some heavy rocks to weigh it down."

"What about these men?" Meital asked.

"An anonymous call to Morris ‑ he's the police Inspector you met the day of the robbery ‑ and he'll be out here and pick them up. He'll find all of the benitoite. And then you'll identify the ones who robbed your store." Prue went over to Ramsey and lifted the cell phone from his belt.

"We'll even use his phone so that it won't be traced back to us," Prue said.

"Let's help Stuart to the car," Piper said. She and Meital each put a hand under Stuart's arms and helped him up.

"He need's a doctor," Meital said.

"Uh, we have someone else who can help him," Piper said. "Leo. We'll tell you all about him on the way back."

The pug nosed man unfroze. He looked around, confused.

"What about him?" Meital asked. "He's not going to wait for the police."

"No, I guess not," Phoebe said, and went over to him. "Sorry," she said, and slammed her two fists into the sides of his head. The man's eyes glazed over and he slumped to the floor.

"Now he will," Phoebe said, smiling.


Daryl Morris was standing in The Manor's hallway near the front door. He had just stopped by and told Prue about capturing the robbers and their associates, recovering the benitoite...and the 'anonymous' phone call telling the police where to find them.

"One of them is going to testify against the others to get a lighter sentence," Morris said. "He was the driver of the black SUV that you saw at the robbery."

That must be the pug nosed man, Prue thought.

"Well it's really fortunate that there was a good citizen out there who made that call, Daryl," Prue said.

"Isn't it," he said. "You know, they insist that there were women that attacked them in the cave and knocked them out. And one had some 'superman power'. Those were their words."

"Really!" Prue said. "Well, they're criminals. They'll probably make up anything that they think can help them."

"I don't see how that can help them," he said. "If I didn't know better, I'd think..."

Morris let the sentence hang unfinished. He turned to the door, opened it and went outside. Then he turned around.

"But I suppose I do know better," he said. He looked at Prue silently for a long moment, then exhaled.

"Thank you," he said, quietly. He turned and started down the steps, not waiting for Prue to respond. She watched him go down to his car, smiled, and closed the door.

 

"Oralius was defeated because the Good tried hard, just like Harmony says," Nicole said.

"And you're part of the Good that did it, Meital," Marion added.

The two Palmer sisters had come back to The Manor to find out if Prue was safe.

"Thanks," Meital said, as they stood in The Manor's living room. "As I told you, I live by my word. You don't have to worry. I won't tell anyone about your powers ‑ or your suit."

"Thank you," Piper said.

"Or about Harmony, either," Meital added, looking at Nicole and Marion.

"And I have to give you a special 'thank you' for saving my life," Stuart said. He leaned forward and placed a small kiss on Meital's lips. But Meital surprised him and put her arms around him, gently pulling him towards her. Stuart couldn't help his reaction of slowly putting his hands around her, as well.

Stuart was surprised by the length ‑ and the passion ‑ of Meital's kiss.

But he wasn't complaining.

"Ahem!" Phoebe said. But neither of them seemed to hear her. When they finally separated, they looked into each other's eyes. A small smile crossed both of their faces.

"And you protected me in the cave after all," she said. "And you were hurt and almost killed doing that."

"It seems that we looked out for each other," he said. Meital leaned forward and placed another kiss on his lips and they started to embrace again.

"When you came to save Prue," Piper said, interrupting them, "you said you were doing that because you considered her your friend. We want you to consider all of us as your friends, too." It's obvious that she already considers Stuart her friend without my telling her, Piper thought.

"Thank you," Meital said, reluctantly letting go of Stuart. "I will. Friends are very important to me."

"And to us, too," Phoebe added.

"And now I'd better go to the police station and identify those robbers, as I promised Inspector Morris," Meital said. "Come Nicole and Marion. I'll drop you off at your home on the way."

"Thank you," the sisters said.

"L'hitra'ote," Meital said. "That means 'until we see each other again'."

"L'hitra'ote," Prue repeated, smiling.

"'Bye," Piper and Phoebe said.

Meital looked at Stuart. The smile that had been on her face after their kiss returned.

"L'hitra'ote kha'bibi," she said, squeezing his hand.

Kha'bibi means ‑" she began.

"You don't have to translate that," Stuart stopped her, looked into her eyes and smiled. "I know what it means."

Meital hesitated for a second, then threw her arms around him again. He hugged her back with feeling. Her smile grew wider as they let go of each other. Then she motioned to Nicole and Marion to come with her, went to the door and walked out together with the two girls.

"Well, that's another friend for us," Piper remarked. "With Lorna Palmer and our sister witch Kelly Anderson, we're not alone here. It's not so bad here, anymore."

"Piper!" Phoebe said.

"Uh, no...I didn't mean that we want to stay here and not go home," Piper said. 'I just meant...uh...‑"

Leo's orbing in got her out of a difficult position. She rushed over to him and gave him a long, intense kiss.

"WOW!" he said.

"Well, as this seems to be the day for passionate kisses," she said, glancing over at Stuart and hinting at his passionate kiss with Meital, "I may as well join the party."

"Uh...I don't know what happened before I got here. But I'm not complaining about this," Leo said.

"But now that we know that Oralius was real, I checked into Peyton," he added.

"Being frozen like that for so long must have affected Oralius' mind," Prue said. "For some reason he thought that I was Peyton."

"For good reason," Leo said. "How much do you know about your family history?"

"Nothing more than what was in the Charmed scripts ‑". Piper caught herself. She was talking to Leo. She couldn't talk to him about Charmed scripts. For Leo, The Charmed Ones were real ‑ and always had been. For Leo, there was no such thing as a Charmed TV show."

"Uh, that is...not much," she said. "We know about Melinda Warren ‑ we met her. But besides Mom and Grams...uh, nothing."

"Oh ‑ and there's our renegade cousin Tara, who stole our powers," Phoebe added.

"That's a shame," Leo said. "You really should learn about and know your family tree. About two hundred years ago, you had an ancestor named Phyllis. She was raised by her grandmother, Praise. Because when Phyllis was two years old, her mother was killed by a demon.

"And her mother's name...was Peyton."

"What?" Phoebe asked. "You mean..."

"You're a descendent of Peyton," Leo continued. "And therefore it's quite likely, Prue, that you resemble her. And that's why Oralius thought you were Peyton. Somehow still alive."

Prue was stunned. She knew that when The Elders had made the role reversal and had made the Charmed Ones real, they had made a whole history for them. But to have someone from this Charmed ancestry actually look like her...

"And now you vanquished the demon who killed her," Leo said.

But this family history was only something that The Elders had created, Prue thought. How real could all this have been? Despite that thought, the truth was that she felt ‑ no, she knew ‑ that somehow Peyton had indeed been real. And that she really had been killed by Oralius.

"It doesn't make up for her dying," Prue said, a sadness in her voice.

"No, nothing can make up for that," Leo said. "But you avenged her death. And more than that, you finished what she had started."

Was that it? Prue thought. Was that the reason The Elders hadn't sent them back home yet? So that they could finish what Peyton had started ‑ to destroy Oralius? That Peyton ‑ in some way that Prue's mind could never truly comprehend ‑ had actually existed?

Leo looked upwards for a moment.

"I'll be right back," he said and orbed out.

"This is...unbelievable," Phoebe said.

Leo quickly orbed back in. He handed a folded paper to Prue.

"What's this?" she asked.

"It's something that was hidden in a box in the attic," he said. "The Elders told me where to find it."

The paper felt very old to Prue. Carefully, she unfolded it. The others gathered around her to see what it said.


To my dearest daughter Phyllis,
You are too young to read this now. But someday, you will read it.
Today, I am going on a mission, a mission from which I may not return. And if I do not return, my only regret will be that I will never kiss you again, never hold you close to my bosom again, never see you grow up to be the young woman that I have dreamt you would become.
But I will have no regrets about what I am undertaking. It is my responsibility, a responsibility that has been handed down through generations and will one day be yours, a responsibility that you will pass on to your daughter and to the generations that come after her.
It is a responsibility to save and protect innocents, to save sister good witches' lives, to destroy evil and vanquish demons that threaten to do harm. Even at the risk of our own lives.
I love you my darling daughter. And should I not survive this task, my thoughts as I die will be of you. You are, and always will be, in my heart.
Your loving Mother

Tears filled Prue's eyes and slowly began trickling down her cheeks. She was Shannen Doherty ‑ she knew that. But she was also, and not any less so, Prue Halliwell. And Leo was right ‑ she should know more about her ancestors. About Prue's ancestors.

"We tried to do our responsibility," Prue said softly, to no one. "Just as you wanted."

A tear fell from Prue's cheek and landed on the paper that she held tightly in both hands. For a few seconds the paper glowed. And then a swirl began to form in front of them. As the swirl settled, a young woman stood before them. Not in true color but in shades of gray and black. Her clothes were from another time ‑ a ruffled blouse and a long, full skirt. And she had black hair.

But her face. Prue stared at her face.

It was like looking into a mirror. But there was no mirror there. There was only the young woman.

Prue was looking at her double.

"And you succeeded in doing that responsibility," the young woman said. The voice was Prue's voice. The face was Prue's face.

"Peyton..." Prue said, gently.

"You have used the Warren family powers well," the young woman said. "And you are The Charmed Ones. You have used your powers unselfishly and at great risk. I am very proud of you, my daughters."

The image of the young woman began to fade.

"I will always love you," she said. And then she was gone.

Prue stood there silently, stunned, the tears still rolling down her cheeks.

"And I will always love, you," Prue said.

"We all will," Piper added, tears falling from her eyes as well. "We all always will."



They were in the attic. Phoebe had just put the suit back in its slip case.

"Well, I suppose we know now why The Elders didn't send us home to LA after we vanquished Argyris," Piper said.

"Yes," Prue said, "Oralius, with no one strong enough to stop him, would have caused major destruction."

"And we were brought here to stop demons' major destruction at the solstice," Phoebe added. "Even if this destruction was after the solstice, when it was all supposed to have been over."

Smoke suddenly began swirling around the slip case. When the smoke cleared the slip case was gone.

"The suit's gone," Phoebe said. Piper noted a tinge of sadness in her voice.

"Your spell said 'to last through this dangerous and desperate hour'," Piper said. "Now that Oralius' is vanquished and the 'desperate hour' is gone, so is the spell and the suit."

"I know," Phoebe said, "but...I...actually...sort of..."

"Miss being Supergirl," Prue said.

"Supergirl had a much sexier outfit," Stuart noted.

"And she knew how to fly," Piper added, with a smile.

"What I miss," Phoebe said, tilting her head and giving them a look, "is having active powers, not just getting visions. Being invisible, stopping energy bolts, moving things like Prue ‑ sort of."

"And you miss Stuart's own role reversal," Prue said, smiling.

"You really did become Bill Maxwell," Piper said. "Though I'm happy you're back to being yourself, again. You were at times...overbearing."

"Well...that's how Robert Culp played him," Stuart said. "And it was my chance to finally do what you've been doing for the past two months. Living a role. Even though I wasn't the actor who played the part on the show."

"You may not have played the part on the show," Piper said, "but you really brought him to life. I'm sure Robert Culp would be proud to share the role with you."

"Being able to actively stop evil," Phoebe said thoughtfully, with a gratifying feeling. "I really feel that I used the suit's powers the way they were meant -"

But a noise coming from the corner of the attic interrupted her.

"What's that?" Stuart asked.

"It sounds like static and pieces from different radio stations all jumbled together," Piper said.

"There, in the corner," Prue said, and they went over to it.

"Wow, this was Mom's old radio," Prue said. She saw the surprised look on their faces.

"Uh...its part of Prue's memory that The Elders gave me when I became Prue," she explained.

"Listen," Piper said.

Click play button to hear the radio
Click play button to hear the radio

"What's it doing?" Phoebe asked.

"That's...uh..." Stuart said, "on The Greatest American Hero, when the little green men in the space ship wanted to communicate with Ralph, they took control of his car radio. They switched it from station to station ‑ one word on this station, two words on another, a few words on the next station, and so on. All the words together made a sentence that they were telling him."

Stuart hesitated. The radio continued to jump from station to station, but now it was clear without any static. The switching from station to station seemed to be controlled and connected.

Click play button to hear the radio
Click play button to hear the radio

"Just like...that," he said, pointing to the radio.

"But your spell is over," Piper said. "The suit is gone."

"And...little green men communicating from space ships... They were never part of your spell to begin with," Prue said.

"They're only in the show's scripts," Piper said. "Special effects ‑"

Leo's orbing in interrupted her.

"Leo, tell me that's The Elders communicating with us through the radio," Piper said, sounding desperate.

"The Elders wouldn't communicate with you," Leo said, shaking his head slightly. "At least, not that way."

They all stared at the radio.

"No...no...the spaceship...little green men ‑ they are not real!" Piper insisted, trying to convince the others...but mostly herself.

Click play button to hear the radio
Click play button to hear the radio

They looked at each other, not knowing what to say.

The radio became silent. Slowly, Phoebe walked over to it and carefully picked it up. They all stared at the power cord dangling from the back panel.

There wasn't any power going to the radio. The radio had been playing even though it hadn't been plugged in.

Phoebe and Piper looked up and their eyes met in disbelief.

But Prue continued to stare at the radio..

"Please let it stay," Prue said softly, repeating the last line of the song. "Let the good things stay ‑ so that we don't have to fight evil.

"Let the good things stay," she said again, "so that we can go home."

 



~ Benitoite is really California's State Gem. Though it is found in a couple of other places around the world, the only gem quality benitoite is found in San Benito County.

~ David Clay Jewelers is a real store in San Francisco.

~ If you want to watch a Greatest American Hero episode to check on Bill Maxwell's dialogue, the way Phoebe said she would, you can find it here.


(C) Martin Druck - Please do not download nor distribute


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