Charmed Role Reversal



Journeywitch

T he breeze, blowing in from San Francisco Bay, gently rolled across the small peninsula of Cavallo Point. Jutting into the north side of the Bay, Cavallo was just to the east of the Golden Gate Bridge, on the Marin County side of the landmark span. The two dozen boats tied up at the Horseshoe Bay Marina, at Cavallo's western tip, swayed ever so slightly in the gentle wind. The sun was still high enough in the sky to bathe both the deep‑orange bridge and the picturesque marina in its warm, afternoon light.

Laguna Layah was written in large black and gold script letters across the white stern of a thirty foot cruiser, tied up at the edge of the Marina. Earlier, Phoebe had pointed it out to Stuart, noting that it had probably traveled up the California coast from Laguna Beach, the popular town an hour south of Los Angeles.

They had stood together on the short and narrow walkway that ran from the end of the rutted, dirt parking area, where they had left their car. The walkway continued to the right alongside the bay's breakwater, made up of large rocks, and then ended at the small, sheltered marina neatly tucked below the Marin Headlands. Stuart and Phoebe had gone to the mid‑point of the walkway, the parking lot to their left, the bridge and marina to their right, enjoying the smell of the water that was just beyond the rocks that lay at their feet.

Then Phoebe had remarked how magnificent the view was from where they were standing. She had raised her right arm and moved it slowly in an arc, from the underside of the great orange bridge on her right, to historic Fort Point directly across from them on the opposite side of the bay. She had continued pointing leftward past Ghiradelli Square, the Marina District, Twin Peaks and Telegraph Hill. She had continued moving her arm until it had pointed, all the way to their left, at the Bay Bridge in the distance, the bridge that connects San Francisco first to Yerba Buena Island and then to Oakland.

That had all been a short while before. But now, Phoebe's arm wasn't moving. The only part of Phoebe that was moving was the right side of her tailored, indigo shirt blowing gently in the breeze, the shirt's top three buttons having been sensually left open. That is, what was moving was only the shirt and the blood flowing from the left corner of Phoebe's mouth, running down onto the part of her chest that was exposed by her partially open shirt.

Phoebe lay face‑up, some dust from the ground where she had fallen marring her black pants just below her thighs. With her right leg bent at the knee, her legs formed a figure‑four on the walkway. Her head and outstretched arms lay on the large breakwater rocks. And her left hand was touching Stuart's right leg, as he lay sprawled face‑up on the rocks just beyond her, closer to the water. The blood coming from his mouth was flowing even faster and stronger than the blood that was coming forth out of Phoebe.

Two figures approached them, stopped at Phoebe's thighs and looked down at the two bodies that lay before them. Seeing the blood flowing from each of their mouths, the figures smiled in satisfaction. Then the figures turned to look at each other, nodded their heads in agreement ‑ and were gone.

 




Click speaker for Opening Credits Theme Song


   Two days earlier...

"I can't," the young girl said. "I'm...I'm really afraid."

Livia stood up, motioned for Dan to do the same, then took him over to the side near the doorway. They were in the Palace of Fine Arts, the neo‑classical building in the Marina District that is the sole remaining structure from the 1915 Panama‑Pacific Exposition. It was the world's fair ostensibly designed to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but which in reality had a more heralded purpose ‑ to serve as a showcase of San Francisco's recovery from the Great Earthquake of 1906.

There was a little sadness, tinged with weariness, in Livia's expression.

"Dan, you know that we can't try to force things, even if we think that what we're doing will make something else better," Livia said. "Remember what happened when you interfered with Aeden Bennett and changed things we weren't there to change ‑ things that were supposed to happen. And didn't.

"Because you thought it would make things right by rescuing the girl from Bennett and getting him arrested for kidnaping her. It didn't turn out well. Bennett shot you and took Katie hostage." Livia paused. "We have to be sure about this."

Livia's reminder of what Dan's wife Katie had gone through with Bennett brought back a painful memory that he would have rather forgotten. But it didn't faze him.

"I am sure," Dan said, emphatically. "This is why we were sent here before. And it's why we were sent back here again, now."

Livia looked at him for a moment, then exhaled.

"Let me talk to her ‑ alone," she said.

Just shy of being thirty and of medium height, with a high cheekbone, fresh and captivating face, an inner depth that lay behind her eyes and very long, dusty‑blonde hair that reached well below her shoulders, Livia was a capable and mature young woman. With a warm, caring personality to match, she was the kind of woman that a man looking for a "real" person in a girl would want to marry. A woman, in fact, that Dan almost did marry nine years earlier.

Livia left Dan standing near the doorway. She straightened out her tan raincoat as she went back to the young girl and sat down on the bench next to her on her left.

"I know you're afraid," Livia said, "and I understand that. Sometimes, I'm afraid too. When I have to do something I don't want to do and I don't know what will happen after I do it."

"Then what do you do?" Gwen asked. She was all of twelve years old. But instead of having a youthful, happy look she was nervous and tense. The stress of the past few days was showing on her.

"I think about what can happen if I don't do what's important for me to do," Livia said. "I think about people being hurt...and about how I can make the difference for the better of what happens in someone's life."

Gwen nervously played with her curly, light brown hair.

"And then...?" she asked.

"I do it," Livia said, "because there isn't anyone else who can. Sometimes that's our...our calling in life. To be the one who can help...who has to be the one to help others. Even if I'd rather...if we'd rather not have to do it."

Livia paused for a moment and looked into Gwen's eyes.

"You're...like me, right now," Livia continued. "You have something that you have to do...something that no one else can do. And you don't know what will happen after you do it.

"But you have to do it. You have to save other people from being hurt by Carzio the way Sophia was hurt by him."

Gwen was silent for a moment, looking away from Livia but still nervously playing with her light brown hair. Then she let go of the curls and looked back at her.

"Will you protect me?" she asked.

"I can't protect you," Livia said, "but you will be protected. Every minute until Carzio is put away in jail."

Gwen stared into Livia's eyes. Then she took a deep breath, took hold of Livia's left hand and squeezed it.

"OK," Gwen said. "I'll testify. I'll tell them what Carzio did to Sophia."

Livia gave her a small smile and nodded her head. She looked for Dan and saw that he had stepped outside. Going through the doorway after him, she found him standing in the Palace's open, classical Roman rotunda. With its Corinthian columns and adjacent colonnade adorned with statues of weeping women, and facing the Palace's lagoon, the rotunda was a picturesque and integral part of San Francisco's image.

"She's agreed to testify," Livia said flatly. She still wasn't convinced that Dan was right about getting Gwen to do it.

Dan was looking at a copy of the San Francisco Register he had found near the rotunda, its front page headline proclaiming"President Reagan Re‑Elected in Landslide Win".

"That's great," he said to her, putting down the newspaper.

"I hope so," Livia said, uncertainty in her voice.

"Liv, you told me I should go with my instincts," Dan said. "And my instincts are telling me that this is why we're here and what we have to change. We have to get Carzio put away. I"ll find a pay‑phone and call the DA's office and tell them to come for her."

Livia didn't respond but the expression on her face showed Dan that she was not happy about doing this.

"You'll see, Liv," he assured her, "this will all work out right."

 

"We're still going through the pictures I took of Tori Spelling to select just the right ones for the spread," Prue Halliwell said into the telephone, as she sat at her desk at the Four One Five Magazine office. She had shot the pictures the day after The Elders had brought the girls to San Francisco in the Charmed modified world. As her friend, she thought Tori would help her unravel what was happening. But Tori neither recognized her nor knew anyone named Shannen Doherty. That had helped convince Prue that their becoming their Charmed characters was indeed real.

"That doesn't sound very exciting," her sister Piper said, holding the cordless phone in The Manor's living room. "But at least you're not being attacked by some unknown demon, the way Phoebe was this morning."

"It's a good thing you and Stuart were meeting Phoebe and helped her," Prue said. Stuart Weston was their friend who was helping them and living with them in the Halliwell Manor. "I would feel a lot better about it had you been able to vanquish him."

"Or even see him," Piper added. "We don't have any idea who it was."

"Well, stay close to Phoebe until we do know," Prue said. "Stuart's going to pick me up when I'm done here and I'll meet you at P3 around six."

"OK," Piper said, "see you then." She hung up and put the phone down just as Leo orbed in.

"How are you doing?" Leo asked.

"I'd be doing better if we knew who that demon was," Piper said.

"You're going to have to be careful until we do know," Leo said, as third sister Phoebe came into the living room

"Uh...what time is it?" Phoebe asked. "Something weird happened to my watch. It's got the wrong time. It looks like it's going backwards."

"That doesn't make it weird," Piper said, "just broken. You need a new watch." She turned her wrist over and looked at her own watch.

"Hey...uh..." Piper started to say, staring at it in disbelief. "My watch...is going backwards, too."

Phoebe quickly ran into the kitchen as Leo suddenly orbed out.

"Piper!" Phoebe called.

"What?" Piper asked, as she hurried into the kitchen.

"The clock on the wall," Phoebe said, pointing to it. They both stared at the clock, its hands slowly turning backwards.

"That demon from this morning," Piper said, as Leo orbed back in, "must be here. And doing something."

"And we can't see him," Phoebe said.

"It's not the demon's doing," Leo said.

"It's not?" Phoebe asked. "Then why is this happening?"

"It's because of you," Leo said.

"Us?!" they both exclaimed, together.

"You're going back in time," Leo said. "There's a girl a demon is going to kill and you have to stop him."

"Back in time?" Phoebe asked. "Not again!"

"How do you know this?" Piper asked.

"The Elders just summoned me to tell me," Leo said.

"How do they know?" Piper asked.

"There isn't time for that, now," Leo said.

"We have to get the spell from the Book of Shadows," Phoebe said, not at all happy at the idea of using that time travel spell again.

"There isn't time for that, either," Leo said. "You have only a few minutes to save her. Where's Prue?"

"She's at 415," Piper said.

"Then you'll have to do this without her," he said.

"Which demon is it?" Piper asked.

"I don't know," Leo said.

"Wait," Phoebe said. "You want us to go back in time without preparing a vanquishing spell and without Prue and her powers?"

"You don't have a choice," Leo said. "Take each other's hand ‑ the hand that has the watch going backwards on its wrist."

The two girls looked at each other. Piper was about to say something but Leo's shouting "Hurry!" stopped her before any words could come out of her mouth.

"Who is the girl we have to save?" Phoebe asked, taking Piper's hand. "And how do we find her?"

"Her name is Gwen," Leo said. "Look around for her where you are. She should be nearby. She's young."

The watches on their wrists were going backwards faster and faster. Swirls of light began to surround them. The swirls became broader until the girls could no longer see Leo nor the kitchen. And after a moment, when the swirls dissipated, neither Leo nor the kitchen were there.

They found themselves outdoors. To their left was a small lagoon, in front of them was an open, classical Roman rotunda.

"Where are we?" Phoebe asked. "And when are we?"

"I can't quite place this," Piper said. "It looks familiar so we must still be in San Francisco." They looked around the edge of the lagoon and the colonnade, then slowly approached the rotunda. Phoebe kneeled down and picked up the San Francisco Register that was lying on the ground.

"When is November 7, 1984," Phoebe said, looking at the newspaper's date. "President Reagan just got re‑elected."

"Gwen must be somewhere on the grounds," Piper said, as Phoebe dropped the newspaper.

They came closer and stepped into the rotunda. As they did Gwen came out through the doorway and into the rotunda, too.

"Gwen?" Phoebe asked, as she and Piper started towards her.

"Yes," Gwen answered, cautiously.

"Hi, I'm Phoebe. This is my sister Piper. We ‑"

Phoebe stopped at the sound of footsteps approaching. She and Piper turned and saw Livia hurrying towards Gwen. They stared at Livia for a moment but then a noise on the opposite side just outside the rotunda distracted them. They looked over in the direction of the noise but saw nothing. Turning back, Livia was gone.

Phoebe grabbed Gwen's hand and pulled Gwen towards her just as an energy bolt crackled from the direction of the noise and landed at the spot where Gwen had just been standing.

"Oh!" Piper exclaimed, in surprise.

"Get behind the column," Phoebe shouted, pulling Gwen with her.

"What's happening?" Gwen cried.

"Just something we have to take care of," Piper said.

"How are we going to do that?" Phoebe asked. "The Elders didn't prepare ‑"

Another energy bolt aimed at them hit the column.

"Phoebe, can you come up with a spell to stop him?" Piper asked.

"Sure," Phoebe said. "If I had some time and knew who we were up against."

Piper edged her head around the column and an energy bolt landed an inch from her nose.

"Oh!" she exclaimed again, pulling back. "He's coming closer."

"We can't stay here," Phoebe said. "And by now he must have figured out that we don't have anything that can stop him."

"Maybe we do," Piper said. She peeked around the column. An energy bolt headed towards her but before it hit she raised her hand. And then peeked a little more.

"Phew!" Piper said. "He froze."

"Let's get out of here," Phoebe said.

"No, wait," Piper said. "Gwen will still be in danger. He'll look for her and try to kill her again."

Piper came out from behind the column and looked at the demon and the energy bolt, both frozen. She looked around the rotunda and saw that no one else was there.

"Keep Gwen down behind the column," Piper said to Phoebe, as she started towards the demon. Putting her arms around him, she pulled him towards the column behind which she had been and placed him in front of it, so that he was between the column and the energy bolt.

Then she raised her hand.

"ARGGH! ARGGH!" the demon screamed as the unfrozen energy bolt hit him. "ARGGH!"

Writhing in agony, the demon turned around and ran to the other side of the rotunda and out past the columns. Piper hurried after him but when she got there he was gone. All she saw was a faint, fading purple light.

"Piper, are you all right?" Phoebe called out.

"Yes," she answered. "And he's gone."

"What did you do?" Phoebe asked. She stood up and helped Gwen up. The young girl was shaking and squeezing Phoebe's hand.

"I just put him in his own line of fire," Piper said.

"That was quick thinking," Phoebe said. "Is he vanquished?"

"I don't know," Piper answered. "But even if he isn't I don't believe he's in any condition to try it again."

"What...happened?" Gwen asked, her voice quivering.

"Someone tried to...hurt you," Phoebe said. "But we stopped him."

"You're the ones they told me would protect me," Gwen said.

"They?" Phoebe asked. "Who ‑"

The sound of an approaching siren interrupted her. Then the siren stopped and after a few seconds they saw a uniformed policeman running towards them.

"Gwen Bristow?" he shouted as he approached.

"Yes...I'm Gwen," the girl said.

"The District Attorney's office sent us," the policeman said as a second uniformed officer came running. "We're here to take you to the courthouse." He stopped and looked at the damaged column. "What happened here?" he asked.

"Someone attacked her," Piper said.

"Who was it?" the policeman asked, drawing his gun.

"We...don't know," Piper replied. "He ran off after the attack."

The policeman gave a look around, then put his gun back into his holster.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"We...uh...were walking by and saw her in danger," Piper said. "We tried to protect her from whoever it was."

"We'll protect you now," the policeman assured the young girl.

"The courthouse?" Phoebe asked.

"Yes," Gwen said, "that's where I'm supposed to go."

"How do we know these are really policemen and not demons in disguise?" Phoebe whispered to Piper.

Piper stared at the second policeman who had finally made it to where they were standing.

"Uh...they're real," Piper said, pointing Phoebe's attention to him.

"You're a rookie but you'd better learn quickly, Morris," the first policeman said to the the second officer who had just joined them. "You've got to be faster if you want to be my partner."

"I understand," Morris said.

"Let's take care of this young lady," the first policeman said. "Come with us. We'll make sure you're safe and nothing happens to you."

"Uh...good day, ladies," Morris said politely. He turned and joined Gwen and the other policeman heading back to the police car.

"Wow," Phoebe said, "Daryl Morris as a rookie cop."

"He's certainly learned a lot by 2000," Piper said. "Or at least that's how Brad and the Charmed writers made him out to be."

"And he has a real‑world Charmed‑modified past, just as we do," Phoebe said. "I wonder if I can find a way to bring this up to him when we get back home."

"You don't have long to wonder," Piper said, looking at her watch, which had started running forward very quickly. She grabbed Phoebe's hand just as the swirls of light began to surround them, again.

 

Livia looked around her and exhaled. The club was pretty full. Some of the people were dancing to the music, while others were enjoying their drinks at the tables or the bar. Livia was wearing a dressy black outfit, pearls strung around her neck. She started to slowly manoeuver through the crowd, no particular destination in mind, when she felt someone touch her arm.

"You're overdressed for a club," Dan said.

"I just came home from an evening out with Henry," she said. Henry was a man Livia was sort of dating. "And you're...underdressed isn't the word," she added, looking at the dirt all over Dan's t‑shirt.

"Zack lost something in the back yard of the house," he replied, referring to his six‑year old son. "When I went to find it for him I tripped and fell in the dirt." He grimaced and tried futilely to wipe some of the dirt off of his shirt. "Before I had a chance to change I was here."

"Zack's a good boy," Livia said. She had seen a picture of Dan's son and heard him talk about him, though she had never met him. "Are you sure he didn't see you suddenly leave?"

"No, he was inside the house," Dan replied.

They resumed walking slowly, looking at the people all around them.

"What about Henry?" he asked. "Did he see you disappear?"

"Thankfully he had just left," she replied. She wasn't ready to explain to the man with whom she might possibly one day develop a steady relationship about her 'travels'. A man with a drink in each hand elbowed his way between them and Livia gave him a disdainful expression.

"Thought I'd run into you," Livia said as they got back together. "But when are we and why are we here?"

"This club is in full swing," Dan said, "so this must be at night. The night of June 12th, 2000."

"How do you know that?" she asked.

"Because I did a computer search on Gwen at the Register after I got back," he said. "Carzio was paroled on June 12th, 2000. On June 13th, Gwen was killed."

Livia abruptly stopped and turned to Dan.

"Revenge?" she asked.

"It's been known to be a motive," he said.

Livia shook her head.

"After sixteen years in jail, why risk being sent right back?" she asked.

"It seems there wasn't much of a risk," Dan said. "There was a witness."

"A witness...who saw Carzio?" Livia asked.

Dan shook his head.

"A witness who said Gwen was killed by a bolt of what looked like lightning," he answered. "And Carzio had an alibi that he was a few blocks away when it happened."

"Lightning?" Livia asked with surprise.

"She said she saw a lightning bolt hit Gwen in her chest and kill her," Dan said. "The autopsy revealed some kind of energy burned her up inside. Could have been electrical from a storm. Only there wasn't any lightning or thunder...or any storm at all that day. Remember, this is June in San Francisco. It hardly ever even rains this time of year."

"She also said she had seen a man nearby, holding something in his hand," Dan added. "But nothing came of that. They couldn't find any trace of the man."

"So we're here to save Gwen from being killed," Livia said, as they continued slowly walking, "by...something. But why are we here in this club? What's the connection?"

"We'll have to find out," Dan said, "by nosing around."

"Uh...but not together," Livia said. "The way we're dressed we don't look like a couple. We'll draw too much attention." She paused for a second. "Even more attention than you'll draw on your own."

"It's not that bad," Dan said, trying to brush off the dirt again from his t‑shirt.

"OK ‑ you're right," he said, looking helplessly at his t‑shirt. "I'll look around the front of the club near the bar. See what you can find on the other side near the back."

Livia nodded her head. She started making her way towards the back of the club, a task not made easier by the dancing couples and the occasional advances of seemingly un‑attached males.

"This is a nice club," she said to the waitress. "Uh...what's the name again?"

"P3," Gina said, balancing a half‑dozen glasses of wine on her tray. "The best club in San Francisco."

"Uh...of course," Livia said with a half smile and continued past Gina.

As Livia got to the rear of the club she caught Piper's attention. Piper stared at Livia for a moment, then motioned for Prue and Phoebe, who had been sitting in their regular booth, to join her. Phoebe looked closely at Livia then turned back to Piper, who pointed for Phoebe and Prue to stand behind her.

They slowly approached Livia and with the three of them blocking the customers' view of her, Piper raised her hand. Quickly they pulled a frozen Livia down the short hallway to Piper's office as Phoebe told Prue about their seeing Livia when they had saved Gwen. Once inside her office, Piper raised her hand again.

"What...where am I?" Livia asked, confused. "And who are you?"

"You're inside my office in P3," Piper said. "And the question is who are you?"

"And what are you doing here?" Prue added.

Livia looked the three of them over.

"That doesn't matter," Livia said.

"Oh, it matters very much," Phoebe said. "You were near Gwen Bristow just before she was attacked and almost killed...in 1984. And you don't look one day older now than you did then."

"1984...what are you talking about?" Livia asked, trying to cover up.

"We saw you with her," Piper said.

"Saw me...how?" Livia challenged her.

"There were pictures taken of you back then," Prue lied.

"Pictures...there wasn't any camera ‑" Livia started to say, then caught herself too late.

"So...you admit that you were there," Piper said.

"You're a demon, aren't you," Phoebe said.

"A dem‑...what are you talking about?" Livia protested.

"Then tell us how you can look exactly as you did sixteen years ago," Phoebe said.

"You wouldn't understand," Livia replied.

"Try us," Piper insisted.

"You wouldn't believe me," Livia said.

"We're used to things that are hard to believe," Phoebe said.

Livia stopped and looked at them from one to another, carefully.

"You were there...in 1984," Livia said, slowly. The image of Piper and Phoebe in the rotunda came back to Livia as she realized how they knew about her. "Are you one of us?"

"One of whom?" Piper asked.

Livia looked intently at the girls.

"You have your own secret, don't you," Livia said.

"What's yours?" Phoebe asked.

Livia looked at the girls again but didn't say anything.

"Tell us your secret," Prue said, "and then we'll tell you ours."

"Prue," Piper said firmly, giving her a stern look.

"I think we have to take the chance," Prue said to Piper. "We have to know. Go ahead," she said to Livia.

Livia exhaled.

"My name is Livia Beale. Gwen was a witness to the robbing and beating up of her friend's mother," Livia said. "The woman almost died. The man who did that is Tommy Carzio. The day you saw me was the last day of his trial and the DA had nothing to use for a conviction except Gwen's testimony. But she was a twelve year old girl who had been threatened anonymously and she was afraid to testify.

"If Carzio went free he was going to keep robbing and beating up people. And one of those times, he was going to kill a mother and her daughter...in 1988. We were there in 1984 to convince Gwen to testify at the trial."

"We?" Prue asked.

"Dan and I," Livia said. "Dan Vasser."

"So you knew what Carzio was going to do and you went back to the past to change it," Prue said.

"Dan went back to the past," Livia said. "I...went into the future."

"The future?" Phoebe asked, surprised. "When are you from?"

Livia looked at Phoebe for a few seconds.

"1948"," she said.

"Phew!" Phoebe exhaled.

"So you and Dan travel throughout time...and come together?" Prue asked.

Livia shook her head.

"I can only travel forward in time and Dan can only travel backward," Livia said. "We meet somewhere in between."

"Uh...how do you know where to go? And when to be there?" Phoebe asked.

"We don't," Livia said. "We just get sent somewhere in time...and we have to figure out for ourselves why we're there and what we have to do."

"Sent by whom?" Prue asked, with some anticipation.

"We don't know that either," Livia said. "We're just suddenly there."

"If you don't know why you're there," Piper said, "that can lead to mistakes."

"That's happened a few times," Livia said. "Sometime we're sent back a second time and we can fix them. Sometimes we can't." The image of Aeden Bennett flashed across her mind.

"But you knew what to do with Gwen," Phoebe said.

"Not the first time," Livia said. "We were there a few days before the trial started and we didn't know why. Then we were sent back home. Dan looked up Gwen ‑ he's a reporter at the San Francisco Register ‑ and he found out that Gwen may have been a witness who didn't testify at Carzio's trial in 1984. And he also found out about what Carzio did afterwards. Then we were sent back and Dan felt he knew what we had to do. When you saw us we had just convinced Gwen to testify."

"So that's why the police were taking Gwen to the courthouse," Phoebe said.

"Phew!" Piper exhaled, again.

"You said Dan knew what you had to do," Prue noted. "Did you mean that you didn't know?"

"When you see something that's bad, it's easy to believe that's why you're there ‑ to stop it," Livia answered. "There's usually no way of knowing for sure. Dan was just...more confident about Gwen's testifying than I was." Livia paused and exhaled.

"Gwen's feelings of guilt about not testifying against Carzio and letting him go free started to build up in her," Livia continued. "When she learned that Carzio had killed that mother and daughter, it sent her over the edge. She almost committed suicide. After that she was confined in a mental institution.

"I...uh...the reason we were sent there could have been to stop those guilt feelings from ever starting. To make her realize that we can't always do what we want to do to make things right. So that she could lead a normal life and not wind up where and how she did."

"Something we've come to realize, too," Prue said.

"Where is Dan now?" Phoebe asked.

"Dan's out in the club and he's going to be looking for me," Livia said.

"I'll get him," Phoebe said. "What does he look like?"

"He's tall and handsome with flat, dirty blonde hair," Livia said. "And he's wearing a dirt‑covered t‑shirt that says "San Francisco Trolley Festival 2007."

"2007?" Phoebe asked.

"Dan is from 2008," Livia said.

The girls looked at each other.

"Eight years in the future," Piper said, somewhat amazed.

"I don't think I'll have trouble finding him dressed like that," Phoebe said, and walked out of the office.

"After you convinced Gwen to testify she was almost killed," Phoebe said.

"By whom?" Livia asked.

"A demon," Piper said.

"Demon?" Livia repeated, making sure she heard right.

"We saved her but we don't know what happened to the demon," Piper said.

The door opened and Phoebe walked in with Dan.

"What's going on, Liv?" Dan asked. "Who are these people?"

"That's what I was about to find out," Livia said to him. "Your turn," she said to Prue.

Prue looked carefully at Livia and Dan.

"I'm Prue Halliwell. These are my...my sisters, Piper and Phoebe. We're witches."

"Witches?" Dan asked, disbelief in his voice, a half‑smile on his lips.

"You don't have any problem accepting that you and Livia travel back and forth through time," Piper said, "but you have trouble believing that we're witches."

"She's right. It's not any less believable than what we do," Livia said to Dan. "What do you do as witches?" she asked Prue.

"We find and vanquish demons," Prue said.

"And you travel through time to do that?" Livia asked.

"We vanquish demons here and now ‑ in 2000," Prue said. "Once in a while we get sent back in time."

"Who sends you?" Livia asked.

"The Elders," Prue said, "though sometimes we do it on our own."

"Who are The Elders?" Livia asked. "Maybe they're the ones who are sending us," she said to Dan.

"We don't really know much about them," Phoebe said, "except that they are very powerful."

"Let's get back to why you're here now," Prue said.

"We're here to stop Gwen from being killed tomorrow," Dan said.

"Carzio got out of jail on parole today," Livia said.

"And you know from...from 2008... that he's going to...uh, that he did kill her?" Phoebe asked.

"The witness said she was killed by a bolt of lightning to her chest," Livia said.

The girls looked at each other.

"That wasn't lightning," Prue said. "That was an energy bolt from a demon."

"A demon?" Dan asked.

"You said you saved Gwen from a demon in 1984," Livia said. "Now we know why we're here in this club tonight. To get you to save her again. Tomorrow."

"Where is Carzio going to...uh...supposed to kill her?" Prue asked.

"In Crissy Field," Dan said, "or at least the part of it that exists now."

"There's a path there along the water," Phoebe said, "but that's about all that's been done."

"It won't be completed for another year," Dan said. "But apparently some people are using it now, anyway."

"We've walked there ourselves," Phoebe said, remembering their encounter with the elves along that path near the cypress trees.  

"Gwen was out running along the Marina Green," Dan said, "and she just continued running onto the Crissy Field path."

"What time tomorrow?" Livia asked.

"Just after nine o'clock," Dan said. "Being a Sunday morning there weren't many people around."

"Except for the witness," Piper noted.

"She was just another girl jogger," Dan said.

"Gwen was attacked right after she agreed to testify," Livia said. "If Carzio was behind it, he had to know what she was going to do. Even before almost anyone else knew. How could he know that so quickly?"

"Are you saying Carzio knew the future?" Prue asked.

"No," Livia said, "I'm saying I think he knew the past."

"The past?" Dan asked.

"In 2000, Carzio knew Gwen did testify and that sent him to jail," Livia said. "If he had a way to get that information back to 1984 and kill her before she testified, none of his time in jail would have ever happened."

"We've only come across one other person who was a traveler like us," Dan said, "and he was a good man. It wouldn't make sense that they would have evil people as travelers."

"But if there was a way to send a message back through time..." Livia said.

"Phew!" Phoebe exhaled. "There is a way."

"Are you thinking of...the Time Locket?" Piper asked.

"I am," Phoebe said, nodding her head in agreement.

"The last we saw of the Time Locket Neville had it," Prue said.

"What's a Time Locket," Dan asked, "and who's Neville?"

"The Time Locket can open a portal in time," Prue explained, "and allow a message to be sent through it. And, if someone knows how, to run through time to get to another time."

"Neville is a warlock who has the Time Locket," Piper said.

"We also, on occasion, vanquish warlocks, too," Phoebe added.

"Why would Neville use the Time Locket to open a time portal for Carzio?" Piper asked.

"We need to know if there is a connection between them," Livia said.

"I"ll ask Jack to check Carzio's file," Dan said. "See who they have a record of him seeing, who visited him in jail, with whom he's been associating."

"Jack is Dan's brother," Livia explained. "He's a cop in San Francisco."

"We can have Morris check that," Phoebe said. "He's a also a Police Inspector and a friend of ours."

"You're Inspector friend is living here in 2000," Dan said. "If there's anything on Carzio after his release today, he won't have it because it hasn't happened yet."

"Dan's right," Prue said. "But how do you get to your brother?"

Dan made a slight grimace and put his hand to head. Suddenly a diamond shaped light emanated from Dan. It instantly expanded into a huge square, quickly surrounding him and everything near him. And then he was gone.

"Whoa!" Piper said. "That was impressive."

"And a lot more dramatic than when Leo orb's out," Phoebe said.

"Dan's been sent back to 2008," Livia said. "To see Jack."

 

Dan grabbed the chair and sat down on the side of the desk.

"Dan," Jack said, surprised, "it's good to see you ‑ but why are you here?"

"I need some information," Dan said. "About a guy named Tommy Carzio."

"Carzio," Jack said. "Yeah...I remember him."

"You do?" Dan asked, surprised.

"Sure," Jack said. "He did about ten years in jail."

"Sixteen," Dan corrected him.

"Did you have...something to do with that?" Jack asked

"Yeah," Dan said, "we got the witness to testify at his trial."

"Really," Jack said, sounding impressed. "Then you did good."

"Not good enough," Dan said. "I have to stop him from killing the witness for revenge."

Jack thought for a minute.

"He killed her?" Jack asked. "How do you know that? We couldn't find any way to connect him to it. He was there in the Marina that morning. But he had an alibi for the time Bristow was killed that we couldn't shake."

"You were investigating him?" Dan asked.

"Yeah, we had him under surveillance," Jack said. "There was the feeling that he was involved in some kind of ring selling hot goods. We tracked him for a year or so but we couldn't get anything on him. But I'll tell you...I know there was something going on with him. I just couldn't figure out what it was."

"I need to see that file," Dan said. "And all of the pictures that were taken."

"Wait," Jack said, "I can't give you that."

"And the prison records of everyone who visited him there," Dan added.

"Dan, I can't," Jack said. "I could lose my job."

"And Gwen Bristow will lose her life," Dan said.

"She's already dead," Jack countered.

"And she shouldn't be," Dan said, strongly.

"You don't know..." Jack started to say. "Look, we couldn't connect him to her death. How are you going to stop it?"

"Just trust me, Jack," Dan said. "I know we can."

"We...is Livia doing this with you?" Jack asked.

Dan hesitated

"Yes," he admitted. "Now will you get me that file?"

Jack exhaled and looked at Dan.

"I'll...see what I can do," Jack said.

 

Dan came off of the elevator and turned left into the San Francisco Register's newsroom. Some three dozen desks spread out in rows filled the cavernous twenty‑foot high ceilinged room. Some people were sitting at their desks while others were walking about doing their tasks.

"Where's the Brewer story?" a voice asked as Dan passed him.

Hugh Skillen, the large and slightly heavy Register City Editor, wearing his trademark suspenders, stood in the middle of the huge room between two of the desks.

"I'm working on it," Dan said as he headed towards his own desk at the far end, with Hugh now walking beside him.

"It's due tomorrow," Hugh reminded him.

"Have I ever missed a deadline?" Dan asked, stopping and turning to Hugh.

"Uh...never mind, don't answer that," Dan said, seeing the expression on Hugh's face.

"You'll have it on time," Dan assured him, as he left Hugh standing there and continued to his desk.

Sitting down at his computer, Dan got to the screen he wanted and typed in a name. In a few seconds, a half page of text ‑ with a picture of Prue ‑ appeared on his screen. Dan leaned forward and read the page intently, writing notes on a piece of paper as he did.

 

"You were gone for almost a day!" Katie said. Dan's wife was standing in their kitchen, a towel in her hand as she dried a dish by the sink.

Slim and almost as tall as Dan, her neck length dirty blonde hair framed her light‑skinned face with her large eyes, sharp features and sensuous mouth.

"I'm sorry," Dan said. "It seemed like it was just a few minutes. You know I can't control it."

"I know," Katie said, in a resigned tone. "But tomorrow is the PTA meeting in Zack's school"

"I'm not going anywhere until Jack comes," Dan said. "He's bringing me a file that I need to save this girl's life."

"Dan," Katie said, putting her hands around him. "Do you really believe you can save her?"

"I'm sure that's why I was sent back there," Dan said. "And this time we have help."

Ding‑dong

"I'll get it," Dan said. He left Katie in the kitchen and went to the door, opened it and found Jack standing outside.

"Here it is," Jack said, handing Dan a manilla envelope. "Everything we have on Carzio. You've got to get it back to me quickly, before anyone notices that it's gone."

"Thanks," Dan said, slightly nodding his head. "Thanks. Uh, come in and say hello to Katie."

"I can't," Jack said. Dan's house was a stately looking older house, set back from and above the street. Jack turned around and started walking down the steps that lead to the low stone wall that fronted the house. "Theresa is waiting for me." Jack was semi‑seriously dating Dr. Theresa Sanchez.

"Uh...Jack," Dan called and started down the steps after him. Halfway down, Jack stopped and turned around to his brother.

"Why would anyone notice this file was missing?" Dan asked. "This is a dead file."

"I know," Jack said. "But someone signed it out two days ago."

"Somebody else is interested in Carzio..." Dan said, trying to make sense of that. "Uh...I'll get it back to you quickly,"

Jack nodded, turned around and went down the rest of the steps to the street. Dan turned around and went back up the steps to the porch. As he opened the door to walk inside his house a bright light encompassed him.

Dan came through the doorway and looked around in surprise. He had not walked into his house.

"Who's Leo?" Livia was asking as she sat with Piper and Phoebe in the living room.

Livia had told them some of her history. How she had stopped traveling for a few years while living in Dan’s time. How they had fallen in love and were engaged to be married. How she was suddenly pulled back to her time in a way that left Dan believing that she was dead. How Katie had made a big effort in consoling Dan over his loss of Livia, and how that had led to their falling in love and getting married.

What she had not told them was that she had come to believe that her whole time with Dan had not been for her benefit, but was just to set up Dan and Katie getting together. That belief did little to relieve the heartache she still felt when she thought of, and even more when she saw, Dan.

Now Livia was getting some of the Halliwell’s history.

"Leo's a...whitelighter," Piper answered. "He's sort of an intermediary between us and The Elders. He's supposed to watch out for us and help us."

"That’s good that you have him," Livia said. "That's more than Dan and I have."

"And he has the power to heal," Phoebe added. "He's saved our lives more than once."

"Dan," Piper said, as he came into the living room.

"Uh...where am I?" he asked, startled.

"In the Halliwell Manor," Phoebe said. "Our home."

"Good morning," Livia said, with a small smile.

"Morning?" Dan asked, confused.

"The morning of June 13th," Livia said. "What did you get from Jack?"

"This," Dan said, looking around.

"Let's have a look," Phoebe said. She called the others to come down and they went into the living room. As they did Dan slipped Livia the paper with his notes about Prue.

Dan opened the manilla envelope, pulled out a stack and placed it on the coffee table.

"Some notes...and pictures," Dan said, as he started to separate the items in the stack.

Livia and Piper each picked up a photograph.

"Surveillance photos," Dan said. "Jack was part of a group that had been watching Carzio."

Livia put down the picture she was holding and started to pick up another.

"Wait," Prue said, looking at the picture Livia had in her hand.

The photograph was taken from a distance. Two men standing in the corner of an alley.

"That's Carzio on the left," Dan said. "You think you recognize the other man?" he asked Prue.

Prue nodded her head and exhaled.

"That's Neville," she said. "The warlock."

 

The fogless morning was bright as Prue waited near the cypress trees at the eastern edge of the Crissy Field path, just past the Marina Green. Wearing a t‑shirt, shorts and running shoes, she appeared to anyone seeing her to be a jogger taking a break from her run.

Stuart, Livia and Dan waited across Marina Boulevard, some distance away from the spot on the path where Gwen was supposed to be killed. But Phoebe, also dressed as a jogger, was standing close to the spot, doing a runner's warm‑up stretch while facing first in one direction, then in the other direction. And Piper, dressed in similar jogger's attire but with a large pouch around her waist, was slowly walking towards them from the western end of the path.

Their plan was to cover all of the approaches and be ready, when Gwen appeared, to intercept the demon who was coming to kill her. And now they maintained their cover ‑ and waited.

Then someone caught Prue's eye. A woman jogging slowly was coming from the Marina towards the path. From the picture in the police file that Dan had shown them Prue recognized Gwen. She waited until Gwen passed her, then began to jog, keeping a few yards' distance behind her. Now Phoebe saw them coming and gave a small nod of her head in recognition. She increased the motions of her stretching so that she was turning quickly between Gwen's direction and the opposite end of the path.

Prue glanced over her shoulder but no one was following Gwen. And Phoebe saw no one rushing towards the center of the path from the side.

Piper was still walking slowly so that Gwen would not pass her before she reached the "killing spot". Then she heard footsteps behind her. She turned around and saw a young woman in her early thirties coming. The jogger who reported seeing the lightning bolt to the police, Piper thought. She let the jogger pass her, then began to jog herself.

Phoebe was looking from one direction to the other. Gwen, with Prue behind her, was coming from the east. A woman jogger ‑ she realized that must be the witness ‑ coming from the west, with Piper trailing her.

But there was no one else around. Where was the demon who came to kill Gwen?

The witness jogger and Gwen were now only thirty yards apart. The jogger suddenly slowed down, walked unsteadily towards the water away from the path near some bushes, and fell on her side to the ground. Gwen abruptly stopped and hurried over towards the young woman.

"What happened? Are you OK?" Gwen asked as she approached.

The woman jogger half sat up and pointed her hand at Gwen. Prue saw that and reacted instantaneously, waving her hand and sending Gwen flying to her left out of harm's way. An energy bolt came from the woman jogger's hand and landed harmlessly on the now vacant path.

Seeing that, Phoebe dashed towards Gwen just as a second energy bolt landed at the precise spot where Phoebe had just been standing. Phoebe dove at Gwen and grabbed her, rolled her away some more and covered her with her own body.

Prue waved her hand again, sending the jogger falling backwards as Piper ran towards them.

"Who sent you to kill Gwen?!" Prue demanded. The jogger demon sent an energy bolt towards Prue but it was a wild shot and Prue avoided it by dropping to the ground.

Dan immediately began running towards the path. Then Stuart and Livia started running together and were a few yards behind him when an energy bolt landed at Stuart feet. Stuart grabbed Livia's hand and led her zig‑zag running across Marina Boulevard until they reached the others on the Crissy Field path.

Stuart saw the demon jogger raise her hand and aim it at them. He grabbed Livia and pulled her down leftwards, rolling with her on the ground. Livia looked up and saw the demon's energy bolt land just where she had been. If Stuart had not pulled her away she would be dead. He had saved her life.

Having reached the demon and Prue, Piper pulled a bottle from her pouch. After that last energy bolt, she glanced at Prue.

"No choice," Piper said and threw the bottle at the jogger demon. The glass broke as it hit her and the content engulfed her in smoke. She cried out for a few seconds and then she was gone.

"Energy bolts were flying...I wasn't taking any chances with her killing anyone," Piper said, as way of explanation.

"No...you did what had to be done," Prue said. Piper helped Prue get up, then they walked over to where Gwen was.

"You...you saved my life," Livia said to Stuart as they both tried to catch their breaths after their run. "If you hadn't pulled me..."

"I...wouldn't let a demon...get you," he replied.

"Hey...you OK?" Phoebe asked Gwen. She was still on top of the young woman but had raised herself up a little.

"What...what...?" is all Gwen could manage to say. Phoebe got off and she and Livia helped Gwen sit up.

"What's going on?" Gwen said. "Who are ‑". She stopped in mid‑sentence as she looked from Phoebe to Livia. And then she turned and saw Piper approach them.

"You...you..." She stopped, trying to catch her breath. "When I was a child...at the rotunda in the Palace of Fine Arts. You were there...you're...Livia." She paused, memories being brought back. "And you're Dan. And...Phoebe...and Piper. You were all their the day someone tried to kill me. And you all look the same as you did then. How is that possible? And why are you here? What happened here?"

Livia kneeled down next to Gwen, then sat down on the ground. She took Gwen's hand in hers and held it. "Someone tried to kill you again," Livia gently said. "But you're safe now."

"Who...why?" Gwen asked, fear in her voice.

"The woman jogger who made believe she fell down," Livia answered.

"Where is she?" Gwen asked, suddenly turning all around looking for her.

"She's gone...and can't hurt you anymore," Livia said.

"You stopped her," Gwen said, looking at Phoebe and Piper, "the way you stopped the one who tried to kill me in the rotunda. And you threw yourself over me to protect me." Gwen shook her head, then threw her arms around Phoebe and hugged her tightly.

"Why?" Gwen asked, looking from one to the other after she and Phoebe let go of each other.

"Because...we can," Phoebe said. "And...it's our responsibility ‑ of all of us ‑ to protect people like you, Gwen."

Gwen started to stand up and Livia helped.

"How can you look the same as you did so many years ago?" Gwen asked.

"You just think we do," Livia said. "Childhood memories aren't always all that...accurate."

"Who are you?" Gwen asked.

"Let's just say that we're friends," Piper said.

"Who show up whenever someone tries to kill me?" she asked.

"Something like that," Phoebe said. "But we hope that no one will try again. And you can go on with your normal life."

"Why did she want me dead?" Gwen asked. "Does this have anything to do with my testimony at that trial years ago?"

Dan looked at Livia, then turned to Gwen and exhaled.

"It was likely revenge for your testifying," he said. "Carzio just got out of jail."

"Then he can still send someone else to kill me," she said, fear in her eyes.

"Then...we're not finished protecting you," Dan said.

 

Leo had orbed in to the parlor and the sisters were speaking with him privately.

"Livia said that she and Dan were born when there was something called the Joseph Lee Comet," Phoebe said, "the only two times that it was seen in this century. Could that be why they travel through time?"

"Births can make a difference," Leo said. "Like you being born the Charmed Ones."

"We weren't born the Charmed Ones ‑" Piper started to say before Phoebe put her hand on Piper's arm and cut her off.

"What Piper means," Phoebe said, "is that we didn't become the Charmed Ones until, uh, recently."

"You were always the Charmed Ones," Leo said. "It's just that there was a binding spell put on your powers until two years ago."

"Could that be what happened to Dan and Livia?" Phoebe asked. "Why they suddenly started time traveling?

"Anything's possible," Leo said, in an ambiguous way.

"Anything?" Piper asked. "Including that The Elders are the ones who are sending them on their journeys?"

"The Elders aren't the only ones combating evil," Leo said. "There are others."

"Others?" Phoebe asked.

"You mean Keir," Piper said. Keir had sent them to stop the evil witch Abigail who was running through time. Piper did not like what she called his superior, smug attitude.

"You said others," Phoebe repeated, "that's plural. There are more besides Keir?"

"There's a lot of evil that needs to be defeated, bad things to be prevented from happening or even undone, and a lot of good that needs to be accomplished," Leo said. "There are many different ways to do that."

"You mean sometimes they need witches to vanquish demons," Phoebe said, "and sometimes they can use plain mortals to accomplish what's needed. Something like that?"

"Yeah," Leo said, "something like that."

"And are The Elders doing both?" Piper asked.

"They don't tell me everything," Leo said.

"You're being evasive, Leo," Piper said, annoyed. "It's a simple question."

"There isn't always a simple answer," Leo said. Then he turned his head and looked slightly upwards.

"They're calling me," he said and quickly orbed out into the light.

"That was certainly convenient," Piper said, even more annoyed that he left than she had been with his non‑answers.

 

It was early afternoon and the bar was mostly empty. Carzio looked around, then made his way to a booth in the far corner. As the waitress approached he waived her away, saying that he was waiting for someone.

He looked at the time on the clock behind the bar counter. He was impatient. He checked the clock again after five minutes, his impatience growing. After another ten minutes the door to the bar opened and a familiar figure came in. He looked around and saw Carzio in the booth. He walked directly over to him and sat down.

"Sorry to keep you waiting a few minutes," he said to Carzio. "Unavoidable delay."

"A few minutes?" Carzio said. "A few minutes?!" his voice raising in anger. The bartender shot him a look. He took a deep breath, then exhaled.

"You've kept me waiting sixteen years, Neville," he said, in a lower voice. "You wanted that pendant that I got. The deal was you'd get it if you kept me out of jail."

The waitress came back to the booth. Carzio ordered a scotch on the rocks. Neville ordered a Blue Hawaiian, wanting something more sophisticated to match how he thought of himself.

"First you said threatening the girl would scare her off testifying. Then after she testified anyway, you promised, being a warlock or whatever you are, that you would get someone to go back in time and kill the girl before she did testify."

"What I promised," Neville said, "was to communicate with someone in the past and arrange for him to kill her. I didn't expect witches to show up and protect her. They almost vanquished...the one I got to try to kill the girl. After what happened to him, no one else was willing to take on those witches and try to kill the girl."

"So I sat in jail for sixteen years," Carzio said. "And all I could think about was getting out ‑ and then getting that girl. And then you said if I give you the pendant you'll take care of her for me. So I'm two blocks away in the marina so I could watch the aftermath of her being killed ‑ the police, the ambulance, all of that ‑ with a witness to give me my alibi. And nothing. She's not dead. Instead, I see her walk out of there with a few people."

"The...demon I sent to kill her ran into more witches," Neville replied. "They...'killed' her."

"I don't care about your witches or demons or whoever else is out there," Carzio said. "I want to see that girl dead. D‑E‑A‑D, dead."

"I want that pendant," Neville said. "I'll see what else I can arrange."

"You failed three times," Carzio said. "Three strikes ‑ you're out. I'm going to take care of her myself."

"I want that pendant," Neville said. "I wanted it sixteen years ago and you kept me waiting until you got out of jail. I paid you for it. Don't play around with me, Carzio."

"And don't try anything with me, Neville," he said. "You'll never find where I stashed it. After..." he looked around, then lowered his voice again, "I kill her, maybe I'll be in a better mood. I even have another item you'll want. A certain curved gold pin you once asked me about."

Neville drew in his breath. "You have...that pin?" he asked.

Carzio nodded his head. "Nice and safe, together with the pendant. Then maybe I'll overlook your failures and give the pendant to you. And sell you the pin ‑ for a good price.

"But not before she's dead." Carzio stood up. "I'll be in touch.

"And pay the tab," he added as he walked away.

 

"What happened at Crissy Field today?" Morris asked. He had come by The Manor and was in the living room with Prue. "We got a report of some altercation. A woman across the street said she saw lightning strike the ground in the middle of whatever was going on. Of course, there couldn't have been any lightning on a clear morning. I would discount that but it wasn't some confused person but a twenty‑something who said it. So...what did she see?"

"It's...under control," Prue said.

"When something weird happens, my first thought turns to you and your sisters," he said. "And that woman who saw "lightning" said she saw some people helping a very shaken young woman from the path. And one of the people helping her was Piper. She recognized her from the club. She goes there often."

Prue exhaled.

"The young woman is Gwen Bristow," she said.

"That name...why do I know it?" he asked.

"Sixteen years ago she testified against a man named Carzio, who had beaten and robbed a woman. You protected her and escorted her safely to the court house to the trial," Prue said.

"Right..." he said, part of the memory coming back. "How...how did you know that?" he asked.

"You don't want to know," Prue said.

"You're right ‑ I don't," Morris said. "What's the connection with what happened today?"

Prue hesitated for a moment. "Carzio got out on parole yesterday," she said.

Morris exhaled and shook his head. "I'm going to look into where Carzio was this morning."

"As I said, it's under control," she said. She looked at Morris. She knew he wouldn't back off if he felt someone was in danger. "Daryl, just...be careful. Really!"

"I appreciate the warning, Prue," he said, "I know you mean well. But I have to see if Gwen Bristow is still in danger.

"And...I will be careful."

 

The street was deserted, as were most of the residential neighborhood's streets at that time of night. The car drove slowly down the block, as if the driver was looking for a particular house. Then the car came to a stop. A street lamp a few yards away shone down as the driver looked around.

The car door opened and a hooded figure emerged, holding something in his hand. He took a few steps to one of the houses, then hurled what he was holding through an upstairs front window.

The house erupted with an explosion. Fire immediately spread through the second floor.

The hooded figure jumped back into his car and took off, tires screeching. But a second car suddenly pulled out from the curb. With a loud siren and red lights flashing, the second car followed the first car. Trying to outrun the police, the hooded driver floored the gas pedal, careening around one corner, then around a second corner.

A few blocks more brought his car to a restaurant district, where people were enjoying their desserts at outdoor cafe tables. He made another wild turn and lost control of the car, plowing into one of the tables and smashing into the cafe's glass front. The hooded driver was stunned for a moment. Then he opened the car door to get out and run away.

"Police! Stay where you are and drop to your knees," a voice commanded.

The hooded driver started to run.

"Stop!" the voice commanded but the figure ignored him. Then a shot rang out and the figure fell to the ground. He held both hands around his thigh, writhing in pain.

The policeman carefully approached the figure. He pulled out his handcuffs and put them on the figure's wrists, then pulled the hood from his head.

"Tommy Carzio, you're under arrest," Daryl Morris announced.

 

"Carzio's Parole Officer told me about the house." Morris was in The Manor, explaining what had happened. "It belongs to a distant cousin of Carzio, Johnny Caruso. Seems that he let Carzio keep some of his things in a shed behind the house while he was in jail. The cousin's not exactly an upstanding citizen so when I asked where Carzio was, and suggested his refusal to answer might draw some attention his way, he told me Carzio took his car. Told him he had some un‑finished business to take care of. I had a feeling that Carzio would come after Bristow so I had her house staked out. I had taken over the watch from the other unit about twenty minutes before Carzio showed up."

"We were also worried about her safety," Prue said, "so we brought her to spend the night here in The Manor. The top floor of her house was mostly destroyed by the firebomb but you're getting the Fire Department there so quickly saved the rest of the house. And at least she's safe and alive."

"But it's terrible about the two people he killed," Piper said.

"His car went right into their outdoor cafe table," Morris said. "A mother and her twenty year old daughter, having a night out together. They died instantly. After this Carzio will be put in prison and will never get paroled. At least Bristow will never have to worry about him again."

"What were their names?" Livia asked.

"Marla and Jenna Wendell," Morris replied.

 

"You seem to recognize those names," Prue said, after Morris left.

"That's the mother and daughter that Carzio would have killed in a robbery had Gwen's testimony not put him in prison," Livia said.

"So he killed them anyway?" Prue said, with surprise. "But you're getting Gwen to testify..."

"Was not the reason we were sent there," Livia said.

Dan shook his head and exhaled. "You were right, Liv," he said. "We weren't there to stop those murders."

"Then why were you sent there to Gwen?" Prue asked.

"To prevent her guilt feeling from leading to ‑" Livia said but stopped as Gwen came into the living room. She dropped down into an armchair, her face drawn.

"Because of me those people are dead," she said in a low monotone, staring ahead into nothing. "Because of me that mother and her daughter..." A few tears began falling from her eyes.

"It's not your fault that they're dead," Dan said.

"Yes it is!" she snapped at him. "If I wouldn't have testified at his trial, Carzio would never have come after me and...and wouldn't have..." Gwen took a deep breath.

"You told me I should testify," she said in an accusatory tone. "You convinced me I have to do what's right, because no one else can, even if I don't want to."

"Yes...sometimes we have to do things we'd rather not do," Dan said. "We told you to testify because we believed..." Dan paused and glanced at Livia. "Because I believed," he turned back and continued, "that that was the right thing that needed to be done. But sometimes something bad that's meant to happen can't be stopped. No matter how much we want to stop it ‑ no matter how much we feel that we can stop it. It's still going to happen."

Dan hesitated for a moment.

"Carzio was going to kill Marla and Jenna Wendell even if you hadn't testified," he said. "You weren't the cause."

"What!? What are you saying?" she demanded. "You can't know that! He had no reason to kill them." Gwen stopped and looked at each of them in turn.

"How can you say that," she said. "You can't know what would have been. And you never explained how you were all there sixteen years ago and are the same today, unchanged. Why don't you leave me alone! You...you all creep me out!"

There was silence in the living room. Gwen closed her eyes, then slowly exhaled.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I...didn't mean that. You've...you've all helped me. And you've saved my life...three times, now. But what you're saying about Carzio...that's impossible for you ‑ for anyone ‑ to know. How can you expect me to believe something like that?"

"I can't answer your questions about us," Livia began in a soft voice. "As you said, Gwen, you saw that we knew when you needed help, and we knew when you were in danger. And we were there to help you and to save you. That show's you that you can, and that you should, trust us. Accepting where we've been and what we've done for you is part of your trust...a trust that we've earned.

"And so is believing what Dan said about Carzio. I know how impossible it sounds. But it's true. We've seen bad things happen even when we thought we had stopped them. You're not responsible in any way for the Wendells' deaths."

Gwen sighed. "I'd like to believe that," she said. "I really would. But how..."

"That's what trust is," Phoebe said. "Accepting something that you don't really understand, that isn't how you would think about it. But accepting it because someone you trust tells you it is so."

Gwen exhaled. "You're right ‑ that is what trust means. I...haven't had a lot of people in my life that I could trust. Not like that. I want to have people I can trust." She closed her eyes for a few seconds, then took a deep breath. "I want to trust you ‑ all of you. I really do."

"Let's go into the kitchen," Livia said, "and get something to eat. And we can talk some more."

 

Dan had been nervously playing with his cell phone as they waited in the living room. He put it down on the table when, after an hour, Livia and Gwen emerged from the kitchen.

"My friend on my block called me," Gwen said. "She was frantic to find out if I wasn't home and that I was all right. Her brother is a contractor and she woke him up and sent him over to board up the windows and doors."

"You have a good friend," Phoebe said.

"Yes...I guess I do," Gwen said. She hesitated for a moment, looking at them. "Along with you," she added.

"Go upstairs and get some sleep for what's left of the night," Prue said.

"Yes...I think I will," Gwen replied and went up the stairs.

"Did you succeed?" Phoebe asked Livia.

"I think so...I hope so," Livia answered. "She sounded like she's thrown off her feelings of guilt. But sometimes...we just don't know for sure."

"Where's the police file on Carzio?" Dan asked. "I have to get it back to my brother Jack."

"It's over here," Piper said. She picked it up and opened it.

"It's...all changed," she said. "There's nothing here about Carzio's dealings and no picture of Neville. Just Daryl's report of what happened today and tonight. His going to Carzio's cousin Caruso's house, that Carzio kept things in his shed, the firebombing and the killing of the Wendells."

"Of course it's changed," Livia said. "We changed the past so what had been in the file before never happened."

"Jack told me that someone had looked at this file a couple of days before he gave it to me," Dan said.

"So now...what he saw also changed?" Piper asked.

"That's right," Dan said. "What we have here is all that he saw."

The diamond light suddenly emanated from Dan, expanding into a square all around him. And then he was gone.

"I guess he's gone home," Phoebe said.

"Yes," Livia said, standing up, "and I'm next. Maybe I did succeed with Gwen and we're not needed here."

The diamond light appeared on Livia. It expanded to surround her in a square. And then she was gone, too.

 

"I'm going over to look at my house," Gwen said as she came down the stairs in the morning.

"You can stay with us as long as you need," Phoebe said.

"Thanks," Gwen said. "But my friend on my block insisted I stay with her. She did get her brother to board up the house for me so I couldn't say no to her. Besides, I think I want to be closer to the house."

"I understand," Phoebe said. "Call us anytime if there's anything that we can do for you."

"I will," Gwen said. "And...thanks again for everything."

"I've been going over what happened with the attack on Gwen," Stuart said after Gwen left. "That jogger demon was sending energy bolts at us. That's when we were there on the Crissy Field path near her. But an energy bolt landed at my feet when I was across Marina Boulevard. That couldn't have come from the jogger demon because she couldn't have reached me. And that energy bolt landed behind me."

"And she was still sprawled on the ground when that energy bolt landed where I had been standing," Phoebe said. "She didn't even have her hand pointed at me."

"That means...there was another demon there," Prue said.

"But not there to kill Gwen," Stuart said.

"To kill you?" Piper asked. "Why?"

"Could that have been the same demon that attacked Phoebe two days ago?" Stuart asked. "But what's the connection. Why go after Phoebe and me? I'm not a witch. I'm no danger to a demon."

"That's a good question," Prue said. "We're going to have be extra careful until we learn who it is and what he's up to."

"In the meantime I've been thinking about that police file on Carzio," Phoebe said. "Whoever looked at it had an interest in Carzio and maybe in Neville too. I wonder how the way the police file is now changes whatever that person was going to do with what had been in the file before."

"It's in the future," Piper said, "so I guess we'll never know."

 

It was about thirty seconds after the front doorbell rang before the door opened.

"Johnny Caruso?" the man who had pushed the doorbell button asked.

"Who wants to know?" the man who had opened the door asked.

"Inspector Wallace, San Francisco Police," he replied, showing the man his shield.

"Yeah, I'm Caruso," the man answered.

"This is a warrant to search your shed," Wallace said.

"My shed!?" Caruso exclaimed

"We have reason to believe that there are illegal activities going on there," Wallace said.

"In my shed? No...this is harassment, plain and simple," Caruso said. "You ain't got nothin' on me. This is a crock."

"Perhaps you're right," Wallace said. "Perhaps I should have this warrant expanded to include your house, your car, your warehouse, your office that's attached to it and your trucks. Then perhaps it won't be a crock."

"Stop, stop ‑ OK!" Caruso said. "Everything I do is legal. But...having cops snooping around is bad for business."

"I'm sure," Wallace said, smoothly.

"But let me tell you something," Caruso said. "I let my cousin store his things in part of my shed. He's doin' time in San Quentin. But I don't know what he keeps in his part. And anything illegal you find there is his, not mine. I'm statin' that for the record."

"Which is your cousin's part?" Wallace asked.

"The far right corner, from behind the workbench up to the tools on the back wall," Caruso answered.

"I'll bear that in mind," Wallace said. "Now ‑ open the shed."

Caruso made a face, then led Wallace around the house to the shed in the back yard. He took out a key and opened the lock on the shed's door.

"Wait in the house, Mr. Caruso," Wallace said. "I'll let you know when I'm done."

Caruso started to walk back to the front of his house but stopped and turned around to Wallace.

"Ain't there supposed to be more than one of you when you're doin' a search?" he asked.

"That's not necessary in this case," Wallace replied. "I can handle this myself."

Caruso waited for a moment, then turned and went around to the front of his house. Wallace waited until Caruso had gone back inside, then slipped into the shed, closing the door behind him and locking it from the inside.

"Far right corner past the workbench," he said to himself. It's wonderful how the police file had everything I need, he thought to himself, referring to the Carzio file he had signed out two days earlier. That file had Daryl Morris' report from eight years earlier, the most important part being the existence of Caruso's shed where Carzio stashed his things.

He had learned that Jack Vasser had signed out the file, as well, after him. That's odd, he thought. Vasser would not be interested in what I am. But no matter ‑ I'm here and he isn't.

Wallace started going through some boxes that were in the corner. He found nothing of interest in them. He pulled away the last one then saw what looked like a toolbox hidden behind it. A simple lock was on it. Wallace held the lock between two fingers, said a few words and the lock popped open.

He lifted the cover and saw a small stack of hundred dollar bills. He took those out and put them aside. Underneath that was a watch. A Rolex knockoff, he thought. Then he examined it more closely. Maybe not? he thought. Maybe...it's the real thing. Hot, of course.

He put that aside as well, coming to the bottom of the toolbox. He felt it for a moment, then realized what it was.

"A false bottom," he said to himself. He pried it loose and removed it. And then he stared at what had been hidden below it.

Slowly he removed the pendant and held it to the light. It appeared to have an infinite number of sides, though to the touch it had but five. And it was of a pure red the likes of which he had never seen.

Then he removed the small item next to it ‑ a curved gold pin, with a small emerald green stone at its center. He carefully held both items for a moment, then put them into a pouch, placing it in his inside pocket. Then he returned the false bottom, the watch and the money and closed the tool box, covering it with the boxes.

Faking evidence to get the search warrant had been necessary, he thought. But maybe now I can stop this game of being a cop. With the pendant and the pin, I have the power to go wherever I want, do whatever I want.

Neville has been after these for many years and couldn't get them, he thought. He didn't know about Carzio's hiding place. But now I have them. A smile crossed his face as he delighted in having bested his rival warlock.

 

"OK," Phoebe said. "We'll be there in about twenty minutes." She closed her cell phone and put it away.

"That was Gwen," she told Stuart. "She said there's something she needs to talk to us about."

"A problem?" Stuart asked.

"She didn't say," Phoebe said, "but she sounded like something was bothering her."

"Prue is busy at 415," Stuart said, "but Piper's free."

"No," Phoebe said. "Gwen said she'll be more comfortable talking just to me without Prue and Piper. But she wants to talk to you, too."

"To me?" Stuart asked.

"She said she needed your insight," Phoebe said.

"OK," Stuart said, "I'll be glad to help her if I can. Is she coming to The Manor?"

"No," Phoebe said, "she wants us to meet her at the Horseshoe Bay Marina at Point Cavallo. She said she goes there when she needs to be alone in a quiet place where she can think things through."

"Something must be on her mind," Stuart said. "Let's not keep her waiting."

 

Stuart took the Sausalito exit, just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge's viewing area on the Marin side of the bridge. They drove down the hill along the slowly winding road until they reached the Sausalito turn‑off at the bottom. Instead of bearing gently to the left, which leads into the city, Stuart made the almost one‑hundred‑eighty degree right turn away from Sausalito and headed in the opposite direction.

In a couple of minutes they came down the road alongside Murray Circle, the former Army barracks, and turned left at the road's end. The cross‑road continued on some seventy‑five yards to the water's edge but instead of following it to the end, Stuart made a sharp left turn onto a gravel road.

Driving past the Coast Guard command station, they continued on the gravel road, driving in between a couple of shacks. The gravel ended and there was only a gutted, dirt "road" that took them up and then around to their right onto a narrow, one‑way short stretch that looped around a hill and then back in the direction from which they had come. The Marina was on their right and Stuart pulled the car over to the dirt parking area in front of it.

"This is picture pretty," Phoebe said, as they got out of the car. Less than twenty boats were tied up in the small marina. Behind the boats, just beyond the waters of the small Horseshoe Bay, the northern tower of the Golden Gate Bridge and the high Marin Headlands served as a picturesque backdrop.

They walked down the dirt parking area to a concrete walkway that ran off to the right. Standing on the walkway, the edge of the Marina was now at their back as they faced San Francisco Bay ‑ and the panorama of the city.

"Beautiful view, isn't it?" a female voice called out. They turned and saw a girl and a young boy near the breakwater rocks that continued off to their left past the end of the walkway. The slim girl, wearing dark blue pants, a lighter blue shirt and black flats, her dark hair just covering her neck, looked to Stuart to be about Phoebe's age, though a good half‑foot taller. The equally slim boy had dirty blonde hair and fair skin, with an ivory polo shirt, tan shorts and sneakers. He appeared to Stuart to be barely a teenager.

"It certainly is beautiful," Phoebe said, standing close to Stuart.

"You care about her," the boy said. It was a statement, not a question.

"What..." Phoebe stammered, flustered.

"I can tell that you care about her," the boy repeated.

"Uh...that's perceptive...for someone your age," Stuart said, not sure what to make of the boy's observation.

"My little brother's chronological age is but thirteen years," the girl said, "but in wisdom and ability he is twice that age."

"Indeed," Stuart said. "I'm...sure he must be."

Phoebe smiled politely at them and then, walking away from the siblings, continued with Stuart to her right a little further down the walkway. With their backs to the Marina, they looked at the magnificent view of the city, as Phoebe pointed with her arm from the Golden Gate Bridge on their right to the Bay Bridge far off to their left.

"So where's Gwen?" Stuart finally asked.

"I don't know and I'm concerned," Phoebe said. "I told her we'd be here in twenty minutes."

"And I'm so glad that you are here," they heard Gwen say from behind them. They turned around but Gwen wasn't there.

"Thank you for coming," the girl said. It was the girl with the thirteen year‑old brother with whom they had just spoken. But now the voice was not the girl's voice. It was Gwen's voice.

"My power to mimic people's voices, including their inflections and speech patterns, is something my uncle much admires in me," she said, still in Gwen's voice.

"You...that's‑" Stuart started to say.

"Bristow's voice," the girl said, still in Gwen's voice. "Or would you prefer your sister's voice?" she asked Phoebe, sounding exactly like Prue as she said it.

"It wasn't Gwen who called me," Phoebe said. "It...was you."

"You're...a demon," Stuart said.

"I tried to kill you two days ago, witch, but your sister got in the way and saved you," the girl said, in her own voice again. "Then I tried again yesterday while you were trying to save dear Gwen but you moved a second too soon. And I tried to kill your lover but he was running and I just missed him. So I had to get you and your lover to this remote place away from your sisters so that neither they, nor anyone else, could protect either one of you.

"Oh yes...and greetings from my uncle," the girl added. "Uncle Dalios."

Dalios was a member of the Infernal Council, the governing body, so to speak, of demons and warlocks and the most powerful of their kind. Dalios had personally tried to kill the Charmed Ones two weeks earlier but Phoebe had trapped him in a circle of fire. He had managed to escape but threatened Phoebe that he would kill her for what she had done to him.

"Dalios!" Phoebe said. The name was barely out of her mouth when the girl quickly raised her arm, pointed it at Phoebe and sent an energy charge into the center of Phoebe's chest.

"ARGGH!" Phoebe screamed as the force from the energy charge sent her flying backwards a few feet, landing her on her back on the walkway, her arms spread out and her legs in a figure four.

"That is for bringing Uncle to your Manor and trapping him in a circle of fire," the girl demon said. She continued sending the energy charge into Phoebe's body as she lay motionless, her body jerking from each charge, blood streaming from her mouth.

"Phoebe!" Stuart cried and started towards her.

"Stop!" the girl commanded him. Stuart hesitated then turned around and faced the girl and her brother.

"Because you care about her," the boy said, "this hurts you very much to see her dying. It is good that you have this pain first. Before you die, too."

Stuart started towards the boy just as the boy sent a small energy charge into Stuart's chest.

"ARRGH!" Stuart screamed and fell to his knees. The young boy approached Stuart and stood in front of him. Hurt, weakened and stunned, Stuart could do nothing to the boy.

"Now that you are weak and on your knees mortal, you are not any bigger or stronger than my little brother," the girl demon said. "But then again, even when you were standing tall, you were no match for him."

The boy demon held his palm out towards Stuart and an energy bolt hit him again. Stuart screamed and fell helplessly against the boy demon.

The boy demon looked down at Stuart.

"Feeling embarrassed mortal, that I can do with you as I wish?" he asked.

"Are you ready to finish him off Little Brother?" the girl asked.

"Not yet, Big Sister," the boy replied. "Uncle said I should do something extra to him."

The boy demon grabbed Stuart by his hair and pulled his head back. Stuart's eyes were half‑closed, blood running from his mouth.

"This is for when you went back in time, when you were together with Uncle in that garage in Hollywood, when you dared to touch and push Uncle," the boy demon said. Stuart had gone two years in the past with the Halliwells to save Constance Burge, the creator of Charmed, when Dalios tried to kill her so that Charmed, and therefore the Charmed Ones, would never happen, giving the real demons free reign. Stuart had come in physical contact with Dalios to stop him.

The boy demon put his palm on Stuart's chest and sent another energy bolt into his limp body.

"ARGGHH! Stuart screamed. The boy let go of Stuart's hair and Stuart fell helpless again against him. The boy demon grabbed Stuart by his neck and pushed him back off. Unconscious, Stuart's head drooped down over the boy's hand.

"Now I am ready, Big Sister," the boy said. He held the palm of his other hand up near Stuart's chest and thrust his hand outward, sending another energy bolt into Stuart. The force from the bolt sent Stuart flying backwards and he landed on his back on the breakwater rocks, just beyond Phoebe.

"Uncle will be so proud of you, Little Brother," the girl said.

The young boy approached Phoebe and kicked her body.

"Uncle will be proud of both of us, Big Sister," the boy said.

"Uncle told you that he would kill both of you," the girl demon said to the un‑conscious and dying Phoebe and Stuart. "And now, through us, he has."

The girl demon walked over and stood next to her young brother. They looked down at Stuart and Phoebe and at the blood flowing from their mouths. The brother and sister smiled, turned towards each other, and were gone.

 

Livia first put her right arm and then her left arm through the sleeves of her tan, crew‑neck sweater. She pulled it over head, then straightened it out, pulling the bottom of the sweater neatly over her light brown skirt, her cell phone from the future still safely hidden and tucked into the skirt's pocket. I have to always keep that cell phone with me, she thought. I never know when I'm going to 'travel'.

Walking out of her bedroom and into her living room, she passed a stack of records standing neatly upright on a shelf near her phonograph. Stopping, Livia turned to the shelf and picked up one of the records.

"Lullaby of Broadway," she said to herself, reading the label. "All of these records are 78s and low fidelity ‑ eight minutes of music. Nothing at all like a CD." She paused as her mind switched to another time ‑ a time in the future where she had lived for many years. A future to which she still traveled.

"But CDs don't exist in 1948," she said, and sighed.

"Just like some people don't," she added with a touch of sadness, thinking about Dan. About how they had been engaged to be married until she was pulled out and sent back to her own time in 1948. About her realizing that they were destined not to marry by whoever is controlling their 'traveling'. And about the love for Dan that she had tried to suppress and bury ‑ but that nevertheless was still in her heart.

Livia sighed again. She gave the record another look and was about to put it down when a square white light appeared in the living room, spread out and encompassed her.

Livia was facing a small marina. To her left, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands towered above her.

OK, where am I now? she thought to herself. That's the Marin end of the bridge so this must be Horseshoe Bay at Point Cavallo. But why am I here? And when is this?

Livia slowly turned to her left, the 78 rpm record still in her hand. As she turned to face the waters of the Golden Gate, she saw two bodies lying on the ground at the breakwater. Recognizing them, she gasped, dropped the record and rushed to them.

Livia looked down in shock at the blood flowing from Phoebe's and Stuart's mouths. In a stunned slow‑motion, she knelt down and placed her hand on Phoebe's neck.

There's still a pulse, she thought. Not that strong but it is there. She stood up and was about to go to Stuart but stopped instead. I have to get help right away, she thought.

She looked around but there was no one in the marina, nor in the dirt parking lot, nor anyplace that she could see that could help her. What do I do now? she thought. Feeling her skirt, her hand quickly pulled her cell phone out of the skirt's pocket. She went through the few phone numbers in its phone book until she found the one that she wanted and pressed the dial button.

"Hello," came Prue's voice on the other end.

"Prue, it's Livia."

"Livia?" Prue asked, surprised. "Uh...why are you here ‑"

"Phoebe and Stuart are hurt badly," Livia said, cutting Prue off.

"What?...What happened?" Prue asked.

"I don't know...they must have been attacked by a demon," Livia said. "We're at the Marina at Point Cavallo. Get Leo here fast!"

Livia closed the cell phone and put it back into her pocket. She glanced at Phoebe and the blood still flowing from her mouth, then hurried over to Stuart. She kneeled down on her knees and placed her hand alongside his neck.

She felt nothing.

She moved her hand up and down Stuart's neck.

Nothing.

Frantically, she moved her hand sideways, then diagonally, then up and down again.

Still nothing.

In desperation, she moved her hand all around his neck again. And then she thought her fingers felt something. Something very faint. Something barely there. Is that really a pulse? she asked herself, just as Leo orbed in.

Livia looked up at Leo who, without saying a word, hurried over to Phoebe, knelt down and placed his hands on her chest. Livia wanted to say something to Leo, to tell him that Stuart needed his help first. That Stuart might not last until Leo finished with Phoebe.

But she knew it would not help. Leo was going to take care of Phoebe first, regardless of Stuart being barely alive. So she sat down on the ground, her legs partially underneath her. She lifted Stuart and with her left arm cradled his head in her lap.

This would have been me at Crissy Field yesterday, she thought. Lying on the ground dying. If Stuart had not saved my life. If he had not, at the last second, pushed me out of the way of that demon's deadly energy bolt.

"He's going to die if you don't save him," Livia shouted at Leo as she turned towards him, unable to hold herself back any more. "Hurry up!"

"And Phoebe will die if I don't save her," Leo said, annoyed. "And Phoebe comes first."

Livia stared at Leo for a few seconds, then turned back to Stuart.

"Hold on, Stuart!" she implored him, lifting him up more and holding him closer to her chest. "You have to hold on!"

 

Weakness. No...Stuart realized that what he felt was more than just weakness. All of my strength has been drained from me, he thought.

Stuart looked down at himself lying naked, his legs straight and together, his arms spread out at forty‑five degree angles. On what he was lying he could not see, as he was completely surrounded by a dark gray mist.

At a short distance in front of him, an image of Piper appeared. After a few seconds she disappeared and in her place Stuart saw an image of The Manor, then an image of his home ‑ his real home in New York. That was followed by an image of Prue and then an image of Phoebe.

Phoebe, he thought. He did not have the strength to move and try to reach her.

No matter. He did not have the strength to even want to reach her.

"A few seconds more," he heard a voice say. An image began to appear. It was the thirteen year old boy demon. "A few seconds more and it will all be over for you," the boy assured him.

His image was sharp now. Stuart could clearly see the boy demon's dirty blonde hair, his ivory shirt his tan shorts and sneakers. He could even see his fair complexion. And he could see the boy demon's sardonic smile as he looked down at Stuart.

"You have no strength left to resist," he heard the boy say to him. "You have to submit and give in. All you can do is let go."

Submit...and give in, Stuart repeated slowly in his mind. I can't resist what that demon boy has done to me. All I can do is let go.

The gray mist surrounding Stuart turned darker.

"Hold on, Stuart!"

Stuart didn't "hear" the voice. It was just suddenly inside of his head.

"You have to hold on" the voice "said" in his mind.

Hold on? he thought. To what? No, I can't. I can't resist. I have to let whatever the boy demon is doing to me happen. Submit and give in. All I can do...is let go.

The dark gray mist surrounding Stuart was now almost black. He gave no resistance. But then he felt something...a hand squeezing his hand. He looked to his right and saw a hand holding his. He saw part of an arm connected to the hand. The almost black mist prevented him from seeing any part of the arm above the elbow, from seeing whose arm it was that was holding his hand.

It looks like a girl's arm, he thought. And it feels like a girl's hand.

"You have to hold on for me!" he "heard" the voice in his head again. A girl's voice. Who are you? he thought.

From the hand ‑ and the voice ‑ Stuart felt something. Was that a momentary tiny bit of strength? he thought. Was that hand holding me back from letting go? The almost pitch black mist did not start to brighten. But it did stop getting any darker.

 

He's going to die in my arms and I can't do anything to save him, Livia thought, taking his hand in her right hand.

"Hold on for me!" she commanded him again, squeezing his hand harder.

It seemed to Livia as if it was forever but it was really only another thirty seconds until Leo finally stood up from Phoebe.

"Phoebe's OK," he said as he moved to Stuart. Kneeling down beside him, Leo placed his hands on Stuart's chest.

Fifteen seconds went by and there was no change in Stuart.

"Why isn't it working?!" Livia demanded. Leo did not respond to her. But his expression hardened as he concentrated, his hands not moving from Stuart's chest.

Another half‑minute went by. And then Livia thought she saw a faint stirring. And then another thirty seconds...and Stuart opened his eyes.

"Uh...Livia?" he asked, surprised and confused. "How did...uh...why are...you here...uh...what happened?"

"You were attacked by a demon," Livia said.

"Livia found you and called Prue," Leo said. "If not for Livia, you...and Phoebe, would both be dead."

"Is he going to be all right?" Livia asked.

"It was very close," Leo said, "but yes, he's going to be all right. And Phoebe is, too."

Livia had still been holding Stuart's hand. At hearing Phoebe's name, and remembering there was some relationship between her and Stuart, she became self‑conscious and tried to let it go. But Stuart did not let her and held on to her hand firmly.

"Thank you, Livia," he said, looking into her eyes. "It was you I heard and felt in the darkness ‑ you held me back. You stopped me from giving in and..."

"I'm...just returning the favor...you saved my life from the demon yesterday," Livia said, staring intensely at Stuart.

Phoebe will probably never commit herself to a relationship, Stuart thought to himself. So if we lived in the same time, Livia, I'd want to become involved with you. You are...very special.

They looked into each other's eyes silently.

Stuart saw the expression on Livia's face. That's...it's as if she knows what I'm thinking about her, Stuart thought. Could she be...feeling the same way about me?

"Ugh."

At the sound of Phoebe's moaning, they both turned to look at her. Phoebe was starting to get up. Stuart and Livia looked back at each other for a few seconds. Then Stuart exhaled and tried to get up.

"Easy," Livia said, and with her arm under Stuart supporting him stood up with him.

"How are you feeling ?" Stuart asked Phoebe as, still unsteady, he moved to help her up. Reaching Phoebe, he turned back just in time to see a white light expand into a large square. And Livia was gone.

 

Dan gave Zack a goodnight kiss and sent him up to bed. Then he turned around and went into the living room, where Katie was adjusting the pillows on the sofa.

"The Tennants invited us to come over Saturday night," she said. "It's their fifth wedding anniversary. It will be a small celebration, just us and the Tylers."

"Our babysitter said she's going away this weekend," Dan reminded her.

"Jack said that he and Theresa would stay with Zack," Katie said, referring to Dan's brother and his sort of serious girlfriend.. "It will give Theresa some quality time with Zack."

"Oh, I hate that phrase," Dan said. "All time with Zack is 'quality time'. "

"Yes...and you should spend more of it with him," Katie said, a serious look on her face.

"Honey," Dan said, taking Katie is his arms. Then he kissed her lightly on her lips. "You know I want to spend time with Zack ‑ and with you. But what I do is important. It's‑"

"A calling," Katie said, finishing Dan's sentence. "I know."

She gave a small sigh.

"What should I tell the Tennants?" she asked.

"Tell them we'll come," Dan said.

"I would if..." Katie said, then hesitated. "...if I knew that it would be 'we' and not just 'me'".

Ding‑dong

Dan looked into Katie's eyes and gave her another small kiss.

"I'll get it," he said.

Dan turned towards the hallway, went to the front door and opened it.

"Hello," Phoebe said.

"Uh...uh...hello," Dan said, surprised. "I...didn't expect..."

"To see me," Phoebe said, finishing his sentence.

"Uh...no, I didn't," he said. "And certainly not here."

"Honey, who is this?" Katie asked as she came to the door and stood beside Dan, looking Phoebe over.

"Uh...this is my wife, Katie," Dan said. "Katie ‑ this is...Phoebe Halliwell."

"Hi," Phoebe said.

But Katie didn't say hello. She didn't say anything. She just stared wide‑eyed at Phoebe. Phoebe could hear Katie's breath leaving her.

"You're...from the past," Katie said, with a little difficulty. "You...were the one helping Dan."

"Yes," Phoebe said, "together with my sisters."

"Uh...come inside, please," Katie said, recovering, and they went into the living room.

"Why...are you here?" Dan asked.

"You left something behind," Phoebe said, and extended her hand. "Your cell phone ‑ the one that works in the past. That is, in your past. I think you're going to need it."

"It would appear that way," Katie said, resignation in her voice.

"Thanks," Dan said. "I didn't remember where I left it."

Phoebe slowly looked around the living room, taking everything in.

"Is something wrong here?" Katie asked.

"No...it's a lovely house," Phoebe said. "It's just...I looked at your house from the outside and it's just like the house next door to The Manor."

"The Manor is Phoebe's home," Dan explained to Katie.

"Even the steps, the lawn, the colors," Phoebe said.

"Builders built similar Victorian houses in this part of San Francisco," Katie said.

"It's not just similar," Phoebe said, "it's identical! And the inside of your house...I don't remember the other house's living room very well, but..."

"It's...just a co‑incidence," Katie said.

"And the man who owns the house next door to The Manor..." Phoebe said. "His name is also Dan."

"Whoa, that's not me," Dan said defensively and quickly glanced at Katie. Her expression had become serious and tense.

"No, it's not you, Dan," Phoebe said. "It's a different Dan ‑ Dan Gordon ‑ who doesn't even know that we are witches." She thought she heard a slight gasp of relief from Katie as she saw her relax.

"But as my sister Prue says, when it comes to the Halliwells there aren't any co‑incidences," Phoebe added.

"And you think..." Dan started, then glanced again briefly at Katie. "You think there's somehow a connection between us because of that?"

"I don't know," Phoebe said. "There's certainly been a connection between us the past few days."

"Do you travel through time the way Dan does?" Katie asked, still somewhat awed by Phoebe's presence.

"No, I usually don't travel through time," Phoebe said. "But when I do...it's a different way than how Dan travels."

"With a spell?" Katie asked in a flat tone, still looking Phoebe over. "Dan told me...what you are."

"That's, uh, right," Phoebe said, with a small, self‑conscious smile. She glanced at Dan and noticed something small, sitting over the top of his right ear, a blue light pulsing from it. He realized she was staring at it and pulled it off.

"That's a Bluetooth ‑" he began.

"Don't tell me," Phoebe said, stopping him. "It doesn't exist in 2000 and it's not good to know about the future. I learned that from my...uh, great grandmother," she added, recalling what Melinda Warren had told them the day that Keir had brought them together.

"And something could change the future, this future, anyway," Phoebe said, "so it wouldn't help to know it."

"That's what frightens me," Katie said.

"Honey," Dan said, "nothing is going to change what we have together."

"It changed Zack," Katie said. "You didn't tell me how but I know that something about him changed because of what happened on one of your 'trips'. You let it slip."

"It...wasn't anything important," Dan said, lying. He well remembered how something he did in the past had indeed changed his son Zack ‑ into a girl. "And it was changed back anyway so the three of us are OK."

"Katie," Phoebe said, "what Dan does is very important. There are a lot of innocents that my sisters and I save. And a lot of people whose lives Dan saves."

"And it almost got him killed," Katie said. "When Aeden Bennett shot him."

"What?!" Phoebe exclaimed.

"I changed something in the past," Dan said, "and it had repercussions. Bennett came here and shot me. But the worst part was that he traumatized Katie."

"That's over," Katie said, and took a breath. "What's not over is what's happening to our lives."

"I understand what you're going through," Phoebe said.

"No, you can't understand," Katie said, defensively. "You don't know what it's like to have your world turned topsy‑turvy. To not be able to plan on doing anything, the way normal people do. Because I don't know if Dan will actually be here ‑ or disappear right in the middle of whatever we're doing. Or wherever we are. To not be able to do...normal things."

"I understand exactly," Phoebe said. "I used to have a normal life, too. We weren't always witches." The words came out of her mouth before she realized what she was saying.

"You weren't born witches?" Katie asked, surprised.

"Not exactly," Phoebe said. "It's complicated...I can't explain it to you. But I miss my normal life that I had. I want to be able to have some time with Stuart ‑ that's someone I'm sort of seeing who Dan met ‑ to see if our relationship is going anywhere. I need some normal time ‑ just like you do. But I can't get it. At least not until we accomplish what we have to."

"You know what you have to do?" Dan asked, surprised.

"We know part of it," Phoebe said. "There's one particular demon we have to find and stop from...from doing something terrible. But there's always some other demon coming up in the meantime that we have to vanquish."

"I wish we knew what Dan had to accomplish to end this time traveling," Katie said.

"I'm all witch, 24/7," Phoebe said, "but you can have some normalcy. The way you have with Dan right now."

"So...I should consider myself lucky, then," Katie said, with a hint of sarcasm.

"Yes, very lucky," Phoebe said. "You have someone wonderful like Dan."

"I can't argue with that," Katie said, giving Dan a small smile.

"I really should be going," Phoebe said. "Staying in the future too long is not a good idea."

"Will you be back here again?" Dan asked.

"I don't know," Phoebe said. "I try to avoid time travel but when I have to go I don't have a choice."

"If you do come back again," Katie said, "...you're welcome to stay with us."

"Thank you," Phoebe said, and smiled at Katie. "I appreciate that." Maybe she is coming to accept what Dan does, Phoebe thought.

"Oh," Phoebe said, as she stood up, "thank Livia, when you see her, for saving Stuart's life ‑ and mine."

"Livia saved your life?" Dan asked. "When...how...I didn't see anything."

"You weren't there," Phoebe said. "There were two demons trying to kill Stuart and me. Demons are always trying to kill us but these were...special demons. We were left to die but Livia was sent back to our time to get help that saved our lives."

"Demons are trying to kill you?" Katie asked, stunned.

"That's part of our daily life," Phoebe said, "until we can vanquish all of the demons we need to. At least Dan is not in constant danger."

Katie just stared at Phoebe, her feelings a mixture of shock and admiration.

"I'm glad..." Katie started to say, "...that Livia was sent to save you." She paused, looked at Dan and exhaled.

"I would not have complained had Dan been the one sent back to save you," she added.

"Thank you," Phoebe said.

Phoebe started for the door when Katie stopped her.

"Would you mind?" Katie asked. "I've never seen Dan disappear. I'd like to watch."

"Uh...sure," Phoebe said. "Here?" Katie nodded her head.

"I'm glad that I got to meet you, Katie," she said. "Goodbye, Dan."

Phoebe took the spell out of her pocket and started saying it. Swirls of light began to encircle her.

     "...And turn back time

      To when it was begun."

As Phoebe finished the spell the swirls completely enveloped her ‑ and she was gone.

Katie exhaled.

"That's not how Daddy disappears," a voice said from behind them.

"Zack," Dan said, turning around to the staircase, "you're supposed to be asleep in bed."

"Daddy has a big, bright square light when he disappears," Zack said

Katie turned to Dan.

"He's seen you disappear," she said.

"Come here," Dan said, walking over to the staircase. He picked up Zack and held him in his arms.

"That has to be our family secret," Dan said. "You can't tell anyone about it."

"OK," Zack said. "But I can tell Uncle Jack. He's family."

Dan and Katie glanced at each other. Dan's brother Jack had thought something was seriously wrong with Dan because of his disappearances and the strange circumstances in which Dan would be found. He thought he either had mental problems...or that he was involved in robberies or worse. But he had finally come to believe and accept that Dan traveled through time.

"He's family," Dan said, and kissed Zack on his head.

 

The Bing Crosby 78 record spun on Livia's phonograph.

Click playbutton to hear Livia's record
Click playbutton to hear Livia's record

Livia took out the note Dan had given her with the information he found about Prue on The Register computer. She hadn't needed it, having learned all she wanted to know about Prue during their conversation that first night in The Manor.

She turned it over slowly between her fingers. As she looked at Dan's handwriting on the note, the thoughts of him brought back the feeling of emptiness and loss she'd had for the past nine years. Since they were ripped apart when she was sent back to her time.

She thought about their times together, their engagement and plans to be married, the happiness she'd felt that now seemed to have been so long ago. The song's lyrics echoed her thoughts. She lifted her head, exhaled and stared off into nowhere.

The record ended and Livia stood up and shut the phonograph. She walked over to the closet and took out her tan raincoat.

"I need to take a walk...and get some air," she said to herself.


Stuart flipped through the pages in the telephone book. The "B" pages. Each name spelled out on its own line, not the abridged style of the directories of 2000.

Stuart glanced down the page. There were seven of the same last name listed. But the right one stood out.


He stood outside her door, not sure how to proceed. He thought it would be simple but now, confronted with it, he wasn't sure what to do. There were footsteps behind him and as he turned in the darkening twilight, the light from the street lamp resolved his dilemma.

"Stuart?" Livia asked. "Is that you?"

"Hi Livia," he said in a low‑keyed reply.

"Uh, what...how did you get here?" she asked.

"There was something...you saved my life," he said. "I couldn't just let it go like that. I had to...had to see you."

Livia's reaction to seeing Stuart was muted. But he could see enough of her face in the limited light to tell that she was not unhappy to see him.

"Kelly Anderson is a young witch and a friend of ours," Stuart said. "I couldn't ask Phoebe...or her sisters for that matter, to bring me here to see you. But Kelly understood. She borrowed the time travel spell and brought me here."

"Why did you come, Stuart?" she asked.

"I think you know the answer," he replied.

Livia looked into Stuart's eyes, started to say something, but stopped herself.

"Relationships across decades can't really work," Stuart said.

"No...they can't," she agreed, with a tinge of sadness.

"When you were together with Dan you had stopped traveling ‑ and it did work," he said.

"And then I traveled back here again and our relationship ‑ our engagement ‑ ended," she said. "That was...a long time ago."

"Dan said you've started a relationship with Henry," he said.

"We have to try to go on," she answered.

"Are you in love?" Stuart asked.

"That's premature," Livia answered. "Henry is sweet and charming." She paused and looked at Stuart. "Your relationship with Phoebe seems to be...there."

"Not as much as it appears to be. There's no commitment from her," Stuart said, looking away for a moment. "And frankly, I don't know that there'll ever be one. It's been undermining the relationship. There can't be a committed relationship unless it's from both sides. And because she can't make that commitment, she's made our relationship to be an 'open' one. We can see whomever we want, without any restrictions ‑ on either of us."

Stuart turned back to Livia and took her hands in his. She started to pull her hands away. Then she stopped and let him keep holding them.

"When I was lying on the rocks, it was your caring, and your feelings, that brought me back," he said.

"I just...you saved my life at the Marina. I was...I was just trying to ‑" she said but Stuart put his finger on her lips.

"I was as close to being dead as one can be," Stuart said, "and you pulled me back. It wasn’t just your words. Your feelings pulled me back. Your feelings...for me."

Livia reached for Stuart's hand, making a half‑hearted effort to pull his finger from her lips to protest but he grabbed her hand again and held it tightly.

"That won't work," he said, gently shaking his head.

Caring, kind, reliable, sweet and, yes, selfless. You're all of that, Stuart, she thought to herself. All of the things that she had seen in Dan ‑ and why she had fallen in love with him.

"Lying there just this side of being dead, your feelings broke through and reached me," he said. "Everything that I felt then was real. Your feelings that I felt...were real."

Livia was no longer protesting as she looked into Stuart's eyes.

"Relationships won't work across time," he said, "so all we have is this one instance. This one and only chance to be open and honest with each other."

Time, Livia thought. We can do so much across time...and so little. Be honest with each other? Can we afford to be honest? she asked herself.

Stuart released her hands and slid his hands around her tan raincoat and across her back, drawing her closer to him.

Livia didn't wait for her mind to answer her question. She ran her hands around Stuart and they kissed. The yellow light of the street lamp gave their embrace a hard‑edged but romantic image.

"We should go inside," Livia said, after their kiss ended. "I don't much care for being on public display."

"Good. That will give us our...our chance to...talk," Stuart replied.

"Talk?" Livia repeated, her eyebrows slightly raised. But she knew that "talk' was not what Stuart meant. He wanted something that would make more of a connection between them, something much more intimate. And so, she knew, did she.

Livia turned towards her house but then stopped.

"Oh...what about your witch friend?" she asked, turning back to Stuart.

"I told you Kelly understood why I needed to see you," he answered. "So she told me to take my time. Time, after all, is relative.

"If I don't meet her in an hour, she'll go home, then use the spell to come back here ‑ in the morning. Very late in the morning."

A smile crossed Livia's eyes and lips. She took Stuart by the hand, turned towards her house and led him up the steps. She opened the door, ran her free hand gently down his cheek, and they went inside.

 




JOURNEYWITCH



~ Notes ~

• Phoebe's remark that Dan and Katie's house looks just like the house next door to hers is true. The house used in JOURNEYMAN for the Vasser's home really was next door to the house
used on Charmed for The Halliwell Manor.

• All of the JOURNEYMAN
episodes can be seen here

• Moon Bloodgood (Livia Beale) and the rest of the JOURNEYMAN
cast can be found here



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