Charmed Role Reversal



I Led Two Lives

"A nd there stands Napoleon, once again on French soil, returned from his exile on the island of Elba. With his Guardsmen beside him, he faces the 5th Regiment of Louis XVIII, sent by the King to capture him."

Stuart stood up and looked out at the sea of white shirts and blouses in the classroom.

"And now Napoleon, outnumbered," Stuart continued, "walks away from his guardsmen, leaving them behind him, and confronts Louis' soldiers alone."

Stuart had walked to one side of the classroom near the windows. Now he turned around and spread out his arms.

"And what does Napoleon do?" he asked. "He looks the soldiers in their eyes and exclaims
'You can shoot your Emperor if you dare!'" As he said that, Stuart pointed with his finger at the invisible soldiers.

A hand went up.

"Yes, Naomi," Stuart said.

"Napoleon was dramatic," she said.

"Indeed he was," Stuart said. "Very dramatic. Here is Napoleon standing alone, confronting Louis' soldiers. Challenging them. And what do the soldiers do in response?"

Stuart paused, looking at the anticipation on the students' faces. He could be dramatic, too, he thought.

"The soldiers look at Napoleon - and then shout Vive L'Empereur! Long live the Emperor."

Another hand went up.

"Yes, Mazal."

"So they didn't shoot him?" Mazal asked.

"They not only did not shoot him, they joined forces with him," Stuart answered. "Napoleon now begins his march towards Paris. Word gets back to Louis about what has happened. So Louis sends another regiment of soldiers to capture Napoleon. And when this second regiment reaches Napoleon...they too shout Vive L'Empereur! and join him on his march.

"So Louis sends more soldiers to stop Napoleon. And each regiment that he sends meets Napoleon...and joins him. So now Napoleon has a large army marching with him on Paris.

"And now Napoleon sends a message to Louis XVIII: 'There is no need to send any more troops - I have enough'."

Stuart stopped and waited. There was silence for a few seconds. Then one girl in the second row started to chuckle. A girl in front of her did as well. Then the whole class broke out into laughter.

A boy's hand went up.

"Yes, Teddy," Stuart said.

"Napoleon was a comedian," the boy said.

"A comedian," Stuart repeated. "And also very dramatic. A three-dimensional person.

"We look at historical figures in the text books as two-dimensional people: Napoleon was a French Consul, Napoleon became Emperor, Napoleon fought wars.

"But he was a living human being like everyone. He had more to him that just these facts."

Stuart stopped and walked over to the right side of the classroom and pointed to one of the girls.

"If I asked you to describe Zina, what would you say?" Stuart asked. "Serious, studious?" He saw lots of nodding of heads in agreement as Zina smiled in mild embarrassment.

"Who's a close friend of Zina?" he asked. A few students pointed to a girl.

"Irina," Stuart said, "Zina is known to be studious. Right?"

"Yes," Irina said.

"You're Zina's close friend," he continued. "Have you ever heard her say something funny? Have you ever heard Zina tell a joke?"

"Of course I have," Irina said.

"Exactly the point," Stuart said. "Zina is known to be serious and studious. But she can also be funny. Zina is three-dimensional, as we all are. As all historical figures were. As Napoleon was.

"And that's what I want you to take with you from today's class. These are real people we are learning about, not two-dimensional cut-outs. Dramatic, funny, impetuous, serious, driven, thoughtful. The way we are. Don't think of them as one-note figures. Think of them as real people. Think of Napoleon as a real person."

Rrrrriiiiinnnnnggggg

"Class dismissed," Stuart said when the bell stopped ringing. Twenty-three students stood up, the boys in their blue slacks, the girls in their maroon skirts and white knee socks, and headed for the door.

"Have a nice weekend, Mr. Weston," one of the boys said.

"Thank you, Ben," Stuart said. "Enjoy yours, as well."

Stuart collected his notes and textbook and followed the students out of the classroom.

"Oh, hello Miss Combs," he said, greeting her in the hallway. "How was your drama class today?"

"Very nice," she answered. "I always find the acting stimulating. I trust your class was equally interesting."

"Napoleon always is," Stuart replied, as they made their way to the school office. Opening the office door, they came upon a woman standing near a bookcase.

"Ah, Mr. Weston and Miss Combs," the woman said. "I trust everything is in order."

"Indeed it is, Mrs. Hyde," Stuart said.

"As Principal, I must tell you how really fortunate it is for Kew Forest Academy to have you on our staff," the woman said. She was in her late fifties, short but not heavy, with rimless glasses on her slightly square face, and light grey highlights in her dark hair.

"Though there are many teachers back from World War II," she said, "it would still have been rather difficult for us to fill two positions in the middle of the semester, had you not been available. Especially for history and drama - it's hard even under normal circumstances to find skilled teachers in those subjects who can motivate their students.

"And you both have been motivating them and doing outstanding jobs with those classes," she continued. "The school is fortunate indeed."

"Thank you, Mrs. Hyde," Stuart said. "That's very kind of you. I believe I speak for both Miss Combs and myself."

"You're very welcome. Have a nice weekend," Mrs. Hyde said with a small smile and left the office.

"It is indeed fortuitous," Stuart said, "that the school had two openings that we could fill just when we needed the jobs. Rather an odd co-incidence. Wouldn't you agree, Miss Combs?"

"Yes, I suppose it is," she said, "but I shan't complain about it. And now that we have been working here together for well over a month, I don't believe it's in-appropriate for you to call me Holly."

"Very well," he said, "but only if you will reciprocate and call me Stuart."

"Agreed," Holly said.

"With finding these positions, 1947 has certainly started out as a good year," Stuart said. "And I think it will continue that way. I have a feeling that the San Francisco Seals are going to win the 1947 Pacific Coast League pennant for the fifth year in a row."

Holly chuckled.

"I don't know much about baseball," she said. "But our both having teaching jobs here is more than enough to make this a good year."

"Well, then," Stuart said, "it is Friday afternoon, the school week is over and it is the start of a beautiful April weekend. Let's celebrate together with coffee at the luncheonette."

"Why yes, that would be nice," Holly said. "Celebrate, indeed. There isn't anything I'd rather be doing, or anyone I'd rather be, than Holly Combs, high school drama teacher at Kew Forest Academy."



Click speaker for Opening Credits Theme Song

Click playbutton to hear radio
     Click playbutton to hear Nicole, Marion and the choir singing    Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay,

                My, oh, my, what a wonderful day.

                Plenty of sunshine headin' my way,

                Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!  

Sitting in their booth, Stuart and Holly could hear the music coming from the radio on the shelf behind the luncheonette's counter.

Stuart spread the whipped cream over the slice of cherry pie in his plate.

"This pie is really good," he said, as he took a piece. "Are you sure you don't want to taste it?"

"No, thank you," Holly said. "The coffee by itself is just fine."

"As much as I'd rather be doing something else, I have one piece of preparation for my American History class that I have to fit in some time this weekend," Stuart said. "I'm doing a lesson on generals who became Presidents, comparing how well they served in the military to their years in the White House."

"Like George Washington," Holly said.

"Washington, of course," Stuart said. "And others who were in charge of the whole army or a major part of it: Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War, Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War and Dwight Eisenhower in World War II."

"Did you say...Eisenhower?" Holly asked. "General Eisenhower isn't President."

"Did I say that?" Stuart asked, surprised. "I...did...didn't I." He stopped, confused.

"No...of course not," he said. "Harry Truman is President. Of all people, as a teacher I shouldn't make that mistake. Uh...I don't know what possessed me to think that Eisenhower had been President."

"Maybe you were just thinking about what might be in the future," Holly said with a small smile, trying to ease Stuart's embarrassment. "There's been talk of his running. It's a possibility."

"The...future," Stuart said slowly, a perplexed look on his face, his mind trying to understand why he said what he had. "Yes...a possibility."

         Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay,

            Wonderful feeling, wonderful day! 

"That new Disney song is a really catchy tune," Stuart said, thankful for the opportunity to change the subject from his incredible mistake. "I expect that it will win some kind of award and become famous."

"Yes...it has." Holly said, a bit surprised at his not knowing that. "It just won an Academy Award last month for Best Original Song of 1946."

"Did it?" Stuart asked. "Hmm...I wonder why I didn't remember that." He paused and thought about it for a moment. "Well, as you are involved with acting, you probably paid more attention to the Oscars than I did," he said, though not sounding convinced of his own explanation.

Stuart took a sip of his coffee.

"Speaking of acting, I stopped into your drama class the other day," Stuart said, "and stood in the back of the room watching you."

"Oh...I'm sorry I didn't notice that you were there," she said.

"No need to be," Stuart said. "You were thoroughly engrossed in acting out the part of Mary Mathews for the class. But I didn't catch the name of the play you were doing."

"That was State of the Union," Holly said. "It's on Broadway and I like to use a play that the students could go to see with real actors, and then compare it to how we do the play in class."

"Seeing you teaching them by performing that part," Stuart said, "I say that they already have seen a real actor. You were so natural, so perfect, your timing and inflections so exact. It was as if you have been acting all of your life."

Holly exhaled.

"In my dreams," she said in a distracted tone, her eyes suddenly staring blankly un-focused.

"Ah...you have dreams of becoming an actress," Stuart said. "Good for you! It's wonderful to have dreams to aim for in life."

"No, uh...not those kinds of dreams," Holly said, her eyes snapping back and focusing on Stuart. "I mean my dreams at night...while I'm sleeping."

"Oh...that's interesting," he said.

"Not interesting...just weird," she said.

"Most dreams are," he said. "I sometimes have weird dreams, myself."

"But these are...no, never mind," she said.

"No, please," Stuart said, "tell me about them."

"No...you'll think me silly," Holly said.

"Holly," Stuart said, "you are a responsible, intelligent and mature woman. I could not possibly think of you as being silly."

Holly blushed, then took a sip of her coffee.

"I had a dream...that I was in Hollywood," she began. "At least, I think it was Hollywood because I was in a movie studio on a movie set. There were cameras, directors...and two other women. And scripts to memorize. We were in a house...I mean the set was made to look like a house. And we were looking for ...demons."

"Demons?" Stuart asked.

"Yes...I told you it was weird," Holly said. "We had to find them and...and...uh, vanquish them." Holly stopped.

"Please go on," Stuart said.

Holly hesitated for a moment and then continued.

"I had another dream...it was the same. The same two women, the same house, vanquishing demons - the demons had a different name but we were still looking for them. It was all the same, except...except that it was all real. There weren't any cameras or directors or movie set or scripts. The house was real. Everything was real." Holly paused then exhaled.

"And...I'm afraid you'll misunderstand this...you were there, too."

"You dreamt about me?" Stuart asked.

"There...you're misunderstanding," Holly said defensively. "I didn't dream about you because I had been thinking about you. I mean...I do think about you. We teach together. We see each other in school. Of course I think about you...you're an especially nice, thoughtful, warm and kind person. But..."

"It's OK," Stuart said, "I'm really flattered that you dreamt about me."

"And it's not just one time that I've had these dreams," Holly said. "They keep coming back. A little different each time - the same women, the same house but sometimes in different rooms, sometimes on the front porch."

At those last words, Stuart put down his fork with a piece of pie on it. A serious look came over his face.

"A porch?" he asked. "Can you describe it?"

"I...I think I can," she said. "It was high up. There were steps leading up from the street. They stopped half-way up for a small landing then continued to the small porch at the front door. And...there was a small stone wall separating the steps and front lawn from the street."

"I told you I've also had weird dreams," he said. "In one of those dreams...I...I was standing on a front porch. A porch high above the street below. And there was a woman with me."

"Uh...that's a co-incidence," Holly said. But there was little conviction in her voice. "Who was the woman?"

"I don't know," Stuart answered. "She was short and slim, with brown hair."

"One of the two women in my dreams was short and slim with brown hair," Holly said.

"I've had this same dream more than once," Stuart said, and paused. "A lot more than once."

Holly stared at Stuart. She wanted to say something but was afraid to say it.

"No...they can't be connected," she said. "That would be ridiculous. Dreams connected."

"Yes...I suppose that would be ridiculous," Stuart said. "And yet...this dream has been bothering me. And...I can tell that your dreams have been bothering you, too."

"They've been..." Holly stopped, closed her eyes for a second and shook her head. "What do they mean?" she asked, opening her eyes. "Why do I keep having them?"

Stuart saw the distressed and troubled look on Holly's face. Without thinking, he extended his hand across the table, took Holly's right hand in his and gave it a reassuring squeeze.

"Oh...I'm sorry," he said, realizing what he had done and letting go of her hand. "I didn't mean -"

"It's OK," she said. "I...needed that." She stared silently into Stuart's eyes for a moment.

"Maybe...we should try to see if this house really exists," he said. "Though I don't know how to go about that. It could be anywhere."

"Not anywhere," Holly said. "The name of a street was in some of the dreams. Prescott Street."

"Prescott Street," Stuart repeated. "That's not far from here. Well, it's a lovely April afternoon. Let's...take a walk."

 

They had started at about the middle of Prescott Street, walking up the street and looking at the houses on both sides. Stuart twice thought that a house they were standing by may have been the one in his dreams but Holly had disagreed both times.

Reaching the end of Prescott, they reversed direction, walked back to where they had begun and then continued down the other half of the street. They were in the middle of the second block when Holly stopped and stared at a house on the other side of the street.

"There...that one," she said. "That low stone wall, the steps, the porch."

"I don't know," Stuart said, as they crossed the street and stood in front of the house. "It could be the one or it could just be similar to it, like the house on the left next to it. From this angle I can't tell. In my dreams I was up on the porch looking down."

"This is it," Holly said. "I...I can sense it. I don't know how or why. But...this is the house."

She stared up at the porch and the house behind it. Then she took a deep breath and gingerly went up the first two steps.

"Wait!" Stuart said. "Look." He pointed to an upstairs window. The curtain had parted and a face was staring down at them.

"I think we'd better go," he said.

Holly looked up at the face in the window, exhaled and reluctantly stepped back down the steps.

"Let's go," he said to her and started to lead her away from the house. Holly slowly started to leave, turned back and gave a look over her shoulder at the house and then quickly followed Stuart.

 

Dinner had been a pleasant surprise for Stuart. Riding the O'Farrell, Jones & Hyde cable car on the way back from their excursion on Prescott Street, he had casually mentioned that dinner might be a good place to further discuss the matter. To his delight, Holly had immediately agreed.

They had not been able to make any more sense of their dreams as they waited to be served at the small, Italian restaurant on Columbus Avenue. After ten minutes, they dropped the subject and went on to talk about other things during their very pleasant meal.

It was not quite eleven o'clock as they approached the house where Holly had an apartment. As they stood outside her door, she brought up the subject again.

"I...have to know," she said. "I don't know why but...I just have to know." She turned to Stuart. "I have to go back to that house. I have to find out what...what this all means."

"Then...I'll go with you," he said. "We'll find out together."

"Thank you," she said, inching closer to him. "And thank you for a wonderful dinner."

Holly moved still closer, their bodies now touching, only a small separation between their lips. She tentatively put her arms around him and slowly brought her lips closer...and the separation was gone.

Stuart put his arms around her and they kissed gently but with feeling. Then their lips separated and they looked into each other's eyes.

"I'll come by for you tomorrow morning at ten," Stuart said.

"At ten," Holly repeated. They were still looking into each other's eyes and now their lips came together again, this time in a more assured kiss, their arms strongly embracing each other.

When their kiss finally ended, they let go of each other.

"Until tomorrow," Holly said with a smile. "Good night, Stuart."

"Good night, Holly," Stuart replied, a smile on his face as well. He waited until she was safely in her apartment. Then, with a warm feeling inside of him, he turned around and went home.

 

The thick San Francisco fog coming in from the bay made for a grey morning. Holly and Stuart stood at the small stone wall along the lawn of the house they had been to the previous afternoon.

"I don't see anyone," Holly said, looking up at the windows. "Let's go up the steps." She glanced at Stuart who gave her a re-assuring nod of his head.

"I'll go first," he said. "Stay behind me."

"Stop!" a voice behind them commanded. They turned their heads and saw a woman with a small girl. The child could not have been more than two, Holly thought. But the woman's face - she was sure that was the face she had seen in the upstairs window the day before.

"You were here yesterday looking over my house," the woman said, "and you're back again today." She quickly placed herself between them and the little girl.

     "Your feet can't move as in a trap, 

      Until my hands shall make a clap."

"What...what's that silly rhyme for?" Stuart asked. He tried to step forward but he could not move his feet.

"Uh...what...I can't move," he said.

"Neither can I," Holly said, struggling. "What's happening?" she asked, panic in her voice.

"You can't move because I've stopped you from moving," the woman said.

"That's absurd," Stuart said. "You can't...can't stop me from moving with your gibberish."

"Really?" the woman asked. "Then try moving."

"I...I can't," Stuart said.

"I can't either," Holly said, sounding desperate.

"Well, as you can't move then it can't be absurd," the woman said, sounding quite logical. "And you won't move until I find out what you are doing here."

"This...this must be some kind of mind control," Stuart said, "making us think something that isn't really happening. Some kind of hypnotism."

"Think what you like," the woman said, "you're still not moving. Now...what are you? Warlocks?"

"Warlocks?" Stuart asked. "What's a warlock?"

"Easy enough to check," the woman said. "She opened her small pocketbook, pulled out a pin and stuck it into Stuart's hand.

"Ow!" he screamed.

"What did you do to him?!" Holly demanded.

"There's blood," the woman said. "Not a warlock. At least he isn't. I'll have to check you," she said to Holly.

"Don't you lay a finger on her!" Stuart warned her.

"Or what?" the woman asked. "Well, as you're not a warlock it's unlikely that she is. So that means you're demons"

"Demons," Holly repeated. "uh...Frubos...demons," she said slowly, her mind somewhere else.

"You're Frubos demons!" the woman repeated.

"No, no!" Stuart protested. "That's the name of the demons in the dream."

"What dream?" the woman asked.

"Look, I'm Stuart Weston and she's Holly Combs. We're high school teachers at the Kew Forest Academy."

"I've been having dreams," Holly said, re-focusing her mind. "About this house, about what happens inside of it. And about...vanquishing demons, like the Frubos demons. We came to...to try to understand what it all means."

"This is the house that's been in Holly's dreams...and mine too," Stuart said.

"Many Victorian houses look alike," the woman. "You're mistaken."

"No, I'm not," Holly said emphatically. "I can feel it...this is the house. There's a parlor and a...a conservatory."

"Most of these Victorians have them," the woman said. "That means nothing."

"And there's an attic," Holly continued. "And...there's a book. A big book on a stand. With some strange design on the cover."

The woman stared at Holly silently. Wisdom and experience showed in her eyes as she carefully looked Holly over. Distracted, she didn't notice the little girl pull her hand away and walk over to Holly.

"Patty get back here!" the woman shouted and grabbed the little girl's arm. But the little girl wouldn't stop and came over to Holly and grabbed her skirt with both hands. The woman looked on in amazement as Holly, with difficulty as she could not move her feet, slowly knelt down. The little girl put her hands around Holly's arms and hugged her.

"Patty...Patty never goes over to strangers," the woman said, complete surprise evident in her voice. "And even if they go to her, she never hugs them."

Holly, unable to move her feet to keep her balance, awkwardly embraced the little girl, then looked up at the woman.

The woman took a deep breath, then clapped her hands.

"Uh...I can move my feet," Stuart said.

Holly tried moving her foot. Seeing that she could, she took Patty's hand and slowly stood up.

"I'm Penny Halliwell," the woman said. "Patty is my daughter."

"Halliwell," Holly said. "That...sounds familiar. One of the women in my dream...her name was...uh...Prue Halliwell."

"Prue," Penny said. "That's short for Prudence. I had an ancestor named Prudence." She took hold of Patty's hand again. "Come inside with me," she said to them.

Penny led them up the steps. As she took out her key to open the door, Stuart turned around.

"This is the porch in my dreams," he said. "This is the same view."

"This is the Halliwell Manor," Penny said as she led them down the hallway into the living room. "It's been in my family for a long time."

"Oh my goodness," Holly said, shock in her voice. "This...this is the house. Most of the furniture is different, but...this is the same house that was in my dreams."

Holly looked around and walked over to a tall, wide wooden unit, a small screen set in its top.

"That's a television set, isn't it?" Stuart asked.

"Yes, it is," Penny replied. "Not many people have them. But I know someone who sells them. He gave me a good deal on it."

"That must be what I saw in my dream," Holly said. "A television set. But it was different. It didn't have a cabinet. And the screen was about five times bigger."

"And you saw it here?" Penny asked.

"Yes," Holly said. "But...I don't understand this...any of this." Her eye caught the staircase at the far side of the room. "That leads to the attic," she stated, rather than asked.

Penny looked at Holly again, thought for a moment then exhaled.

"Go upstairs," she told them. Holly led the way, with Stuart right behind her. Penny, now holding Patty in her arms, followed. Glancing at the bedrooms on the second floor, Holly paused for a second, then continued up the stairs.

Holly pushed the attic door open and they walked inside. As she looked around the room, she started to shake, turned to Stuart and held onto him tightly.

"What's wrong, Holly?" Stuart asked.

"This room...I've been here," she said.

"It's the same one that was in your dreams?" Stuart asked.

"Yes," Holly said, "but it's more than that. I...I feel...like I've been here. That I've really been here, not just in a dream. I can't explain it..."

"Come over here," Penny said. Putting Patty down but holding her hand, she directed Holly to a large, old book sitting on a stand.

"That symbol on the cover," Holly said slowly, stunned.

"The book from your dreams," Penny said. "The Book of Shadows."

As if in a trance, Holly slowly extended her hand to the Book. As she touched it, the symbol on the cover lit up.

"Uhh!" she gasped and pulled her hand back. The symbol dimmed.

Penny was silent for a moment.

"That symbol is the triquetra," Penny finally said, unable to suppress her amazement. "It lit up because you're connected to the Book of Shadows. And...only someone from the Warren-Halliwell line can be connected to the Book."

Penny paused for a second.

"The question is," she continued, "the same question that I asked you outside. Who are you?"

"I'm Holly Combs, high school drama teacher," Holly answered. Her voice was unsteady and Stuart put his arm around her.

"You're more than that," Penny said. "Much more. Touch the Book again."

Holly looked at Stuart and he nodded his head. Slowly Holly stretched out her arm and touched the Book. The triquetra lit up again.

"Keep your hand there," Penny ordered her. Stuart put his arm down and took hold of Holly's free hand.

"What is all of this?" he asked. "And what are you?"

"A witch," Penny answered. "From a long line of witches."

"A witch?" Stuart repeated, with disbelief. "What do you mean a witch?"

"Exactly what the word means," Penny said.

"You're a real witch?" he asked. "Uh...witches are evil. I saw The Wizard of Oz. They hurt people. Just like you did to us in the street."

"I didn't hurt you," Penny said. "I was only protecting Patty and me because I was afraid you might have come to hurt us. I'm what you would call a good witch, from a long line of good witches. The Book of Shadows is what we use to protect innocents and to vanquish demons and warlocks."

"That was in my dreams," Holly said. "Vanquishing demons."

"Somehow...you are a Halliwell," Penny said.

Slowly, Holly opened the Book and looked at what was written on the page.

"Power of Three?" Holly asked. "What's that?"

"A combination of powers given to three Halliwell sisters, who will be the Charmed Ones," Penny said. "They will be powerful and able to defeat evil in ways that ordinary witches cannot."

"Holly...in your dreams you said there were two women with you," Stuart said.

"Yes...there were," Holly said. "One I remember now was Prue Halliwell. But I don't know the other woman's name."

"Tell me what else you remember about the dreams," Penny said.

"Not much," Holly said. "Uh...some kind of telephone. I think it was a telephone. But it didn't look like one. It wasn't black and heavy sitting on a table and it didn't look like a telephone in a phone booth. It was small and fit in my hand. I remember Prue Halliwell had one...and I did, too. But it didn't have a dial on it. I...pressed buttons with numbers on them...and I would talk to someone."

"A television set that doesn't exist yet and a telephone that doesn't exist yet, either," Penny said. "All from the future."

"How would that get into Holly's dreams?" Stuart asked. "And why?"

"For the same reason that she has a connection to the Book of Shadows," Penny said. "But before I say any more, I want to check something. What was the name of the demons from your dream?"

"Uh...The Frubos," Holly said.

"All right," Penny said, "why don't you both sit down. This may take a while."

Stuart and Holly found a couple of chairs and pulled them together as Penny started turning pages in the Book of Shadows. Her hand free again, Patty walked over to Holly who picked her up and sat her on her lap. Stuart tried to play with Patty but she pulled away from him and grabbed a hold of Holly's arms. Penny gave a sharp look at them, then went back to the Book.

"Here it is," Penny said, after a few minutes. "The Frubos." She read the page silently to herself. "Come here, Holly Combs. You should read this for yourself."

Holly gently put Patty down and together with Stuart walked over to the Book.

"Calligraphy," Stuart said. "Beautiful handwriting."

"Though we each have had our own distinctive handwriting," Penny said, "my family has always taken great care to use a similar style when writing things in the Book."

"The Frubos have three matching daggers and use them for killing people who do good for others," Holly read. "If the Frubos place all three daggers together in their triple scabbard on the eve of the long sun, they become invincible."

"What is the eve of the long sun?" Stuart asked.

"The summer solstice," Penny said. "But read on."

"But this can only happen in the year...of...the millennium," Holly finished, saying the words slowly.

"The year of the millennium is 2000. Over fifty years from now," Penny said.

"No, no," Stuart said, "this doesn't make any sense."

"I'm afraid it does," Penny said, "if Holly is dreaming about something that already happened, something she already did - vanquishing the Frubos. Something she did in the future."

"No," Holly said, "I'm not from the future. I'm from right now - 1947."

"Holly Combs is from 1947," Penny said. "But who are you really?"

"This is crazy," Holly said. "Stuart, let's go."

"Wait," Penny said. "What did you feel when Patty put her arms around you?

"What...." Holly paused and thought for a moment. "I felt...content. And I felt...secure. Very...secure."

Penny stared at Holly in silence. After a long moment she exhaled.

"That's what Patty should feel when she's being held by me." Penny said, "by her mother. But it's not what you should be feeling when Patty was holding you." Penny looked straight at Holly. "Unless..."

"What are you trying to say?!" Stuart demanded.

"Your dreams are all from the future," Penny said. "You have a connection to the Book of Shadows that only a Halliwell could have. And your feelings about Patty...you are...somehow...a future Halliwell."

Holly put her hands to her head and shook it from side to side. Then she turned around and ran out of the attic and down the stairs. Stuart looked at Penny, at the Book of Shadows and at Patty. Then he turned and ran out of the attic after Holly.

 

"We protect the innocent. We are...The Charmed Ones," Holly said, in the living room of that same house she had been in. Penny Halliwell's house. She saw Prue Halliwell and a short, slim woman with brown hair listening to her.

 ~

Holly was facing a black metal door. A large orange circle was in the door's center. "I am Piper Halliwell, I am Piper Halliwell." Holly said, her hand on the door. "OK...let's do it," she said and pushed the black door open. "Let's vanquish the Frubos."

 ~

"What it comes down to is that there is a world of innocents to be saved," Holly said, standing in a kitchen, the afternoon sun shining in. She was talking to Prue Halliwell and to that same short, slim woman with brown hair. "And we're the only ones who can, and still have to, save them."

~

"Tell me about Holly Combs," a teenage girl said to her as they stood together in a small cottage. The girl's hair was a deep gold, tied in a braid, her face fair but with a similar deep golden tone to it.

"What...what did you say, Ceres?" Holly asked.

"Holly Combs," Ceres repeated. "That is who you are."

"I was Holly Combs...I became Piper Halliwell," Holly said. "I've accepted the reality of who and what I am. And that I have to save innocents."

"AARGHH!" Holly screamed and sat straight up in bed. The images had been flipping through her dream, one after another, like film clips stitched together in a movie trailer. And the words...the new words. The words she was saying. Words she hadn't dreamt before.

Holly was shaking and hyper-ventilating. As her breathing slowly returned to normal, she got out of bed, went to her closet and grabbed her light coat.

 

 BANG...BANG...BANG...BANG

"OK, OK, I'm coming," Stuart shouted. He got to the door and opened it.

"Holly!" he said. She rushed in and threw her arms around him.

"It's three o'clock in the morning," he said, managing to reach the open door behind her with one hand and slam it shut. "What happened? What's wrong?"

"The dreams," she said, starting to shake again. "New dreams....more dreams. Hold me, Stuart. Just hold me."

"OK, I'm holding you," he said. "What did you dream."

Holly started to sob.

"I don't know what's happening to me," she said.

"It's all going to be OK," he comforted her. "It's the middle of the night. I have bad dreams, too. I just dreamt that I was teaching my class and one by one each of the students just disappeared from their desks. And I couldn't stop it. So it's not just you who has terrifying dreams."

Stuart took his right hand and gently brushed Holly's hair back off of her eyes.

"What you need now is sleep," he said. "We'll talk about it in the morning."

He took her hand and led her to the bedroom.

"Take my bed and get some sleep," he said. "I'll sleep in the living room on the sofa."

"I won't sleep. I can't sleep," she said. "These dreams..."

"You have to try," Stuart said.

Holly took Stuart's hands in hers.

"If you hold me tightly," Holly said. "If you hold me tightly the rest of the night, I'll try to sleep."

Stuart looked into Holly's eyes. They drew closer until their lips touched. And they kissed.

Their kiss ended and Holly took hold of Stuart's hands.

"Please," she said.

Stuart looked into Holly's eyes, again. He pulled away one hand and wiped a teardrop from her left cheek. He opened her coat and gently slipped it off her. She was wearing only her nightgown, not having taken the time to get dressed. Stuart exhaled, then squeezed her right hand that he was still holding. And went with her into the bedroom.

 

Penny opened the front door.

"You can't hide from it," she said in a knowing tone to Holly. "I knew you would have to come back. Come in."

"Holly had more dreams last night," Stuart said, as they walked into the living room. "They were about her becoming someone named Piper Halliwell."

"That must be the future Halliwell that you're going to be," Penny said. "That you already have been."

"How...why?" Holly asked.

"Sit down," Penny said, "and I'll try to explain it to you."

Holly and Stuart sat down on the sofa as Penny sat down on the arm chair to their side.

"You have two lives," Penny said.

"You mean this is about re-incarnation?" Stuart asked.

"No," Penny said. "Your dreams are not about things that you've done and lived through in the past, in a past life. They're about things you're going to do in the future. That you've already done in the future."

"Wait," Stuart said, "you're talking about the future as if we've been there. That's something out of
H. G. Wells. And even he didn't write about...about time travel. There's no such thing."

"Oh, there can be time travel...with a spell," Penny said.

"A spell?" Holly asked. "You mean...a witch's spell?"

"You're not still trying to tell us that you're a witch," Stuart said.

"You saw the spell that I used on you yesterday," Penny said.

"That...that was...that doesn't prove anything," Stuart said.

Penny looked at both of them, then looked down at a newspaper lying on the coffee table. She raised her hand up straight and extended her arm towards the paper.

"Newspaper be gone!" she commanded.

The newspaper took off towards the front door, which suddenly opened. The paper flew outside and the door shut behind it.

"How...how did you do that," Holly asked in stunned amazement.

"With my witch's powers," Penny answered.

"That's...not a spell," Stuart said. "At least, it didn't sound like I imagine a spell would be."

"All right," Penny said. "Let me use a simple spell and show you." She thought silently for a moment.

"Hear now the words," Penny began, "as -"

"Hear now the words...of the witches," Holly said slowly, interrupting Penny, her eyes staring ahead. "The secrets we hid in the night."

"Holly...what is that?" Stuart asked, fear in his voice.

"Bring our powers...to we sisters three," Holly finished. She stopped and looked at Stuart, confusion on her face.

"I...heard you say those first words," Holly said, turning to Penny, "and...I remembered something...from my dreams."

"You remembered a spell," Penny said. "The spell that will give you - that did give you - the powers of The Charmed Ones."

Penny was silent. Stuart saw that she was visibly shaken by what Holly had said.

"Can you recall how you looked in your dreams?" Penny asked, regaining her composure.

"Uh...I...saw myself in the mirror a couple of times," Holly said. "I looked the same as I do now. Uh...my hair...the style was long, not pinned up as it is now. But...otherwise...I was exactly the way I am now."

"So was I," Stuart interjected. "I remember one time the brown-haired girl had a pocketbook mirror with her on the porch and I saw myself in it."

"The year 2000 is some fifty years from now," Penny said. "Time enough for Patty to grow up and have children. One of them, a child who would be the same age as you are now, Holly."

Penny leaned over to Holly and took her hands in hers.

"You're my child," Penny said, emotion breaking through into her words. "You are...Patty's child."

Holly and Stuart stared at Penny in disbelief.

"That...that can't be," Holly said. "I'm...I'm Holly Combs. I know I am. I remember...my life."

"Do you remember all of it?" Penny asked.

"Remember..." Holly repeated. "Of course I remember..." She hesitated, her mind racing through her life. "Uh...most of it."

"You remember the essence of Holly Combs - whoever she really is," Penny said. "And Holly Combs had some strong connection to acting - therefore you're a drama teacher. Then someone added the pieces you needed to live and work here. The pieces that lead specifically to this point in your life."

Holly closed her eyes and started to shake. Stuart quickly put his arms around her.

"And you, Stuart?" Penny asked. "What do you remember?"

Stuart was silent for a moment. Then he exhaled.

"A lot of history," he said. "And baseball."

"Whoever Stuart Weston really is, those are part of him," Penny said. "Again, someone saw to it that you had only the other memories you needed for you to fit in and live in 1947 San Francisco."

"I...don't know some things that...I should know. That other people know," he said, thinking back to the luncheonette and his surprise at not knowing who had won the Oscars.

"Because Stuart Weston, wherever and whenever he's really from, didn't know them," Penny said, "and didn't need to know them here to survive. But what you and Holy did know brought you both to Kew Forest Academy. So that you would stay together."

Tears were forming in Holly's eyes.

"I am all confused," she said, as Stuart held her tighter. "I can't be somebody else."

Penny let go of Holly's hands and sat back in her arm chair.

"Every person has a pathway in life," Penny began, "through which life flows. Everything you do, every place you go, everything in your life - when you do it, when you live it - you are going through this pathway of life.

"Picture a very narrow tunnel and a ball being hit down through it. The narrowness of the tunnel would keep the ball's momentum going straight until it came out the other end of the tunnel.

"If someone came along, someone who could access your pathway, the pathway of your life, and hit you very hard back down your pathway. Back through the life you had lived. Just like the ball in the tunnel, you'd be going backwards through your life. And the momentum would carry you all the way and out the other end. Before you were born."

"Before being born..." Stuart said, trying to make sense of it. "I wouldn't exist. I wouldn't...be alive."

"That's right," Penny said. "You would not be alive. And that's exactly what a demon would want to happen to Holly. To happen to Piper Halliwell. To happen to one of the Charmed Ones.

"But what if you had another life," Penny continued, "a life that somehow existed for you at the same time. A life with its own pathway that could catch you when you fell out of Piper Halliwell's pathway. A life...as Holly Combs."

"How...is that possible?" Holly asked, tears still in her eyes.

"I don't know," Penny said. "And I don't know why you're Holly Combs. Nor the connection between this life and Piper's."

"And me?" Stuart asked.

"I don't know that, either," Penny said. "You didn't dream you had another name. I don't know how there are two Stuart Westons. But...there are."

Penny exhaled.

"What I do know is that it is the only explanation that fits the circumstances...and that makes sense," Penny said. "Your dreams...that's your future. And your past, because you already lived it. And there have been more of those dreams lately, haven't there?"

Holly nodded her head.

"And new ones, too," Holly said, sobbing slightly

"It's kept an attachment to you," Penny said. "It's calling you back. Stronger and more often as time goes on. And someone was watching out for you. Somehow giving you what you needed to live here - and to find Stuart."

"If...I'm not really from this time," Holly said, slowly, "then...how long have I been here?"

"When did you start having the dreams," Penny asked.

"Just before I started teaching at Kew Forest," Holly said. "And that was about six weeks ago."

"Then that's probably when you came here," Penny said.

"For argument's sake, let's say what you've said is true," Stuart said. "That could explain the two positions at Kew Forest suddenly becoming available just when Holly and I needed them. But why did we come to 1947? Why not right before this Piper Halliwell was born? According to you that should be in what...about twenty-five years from now?"

"To knock you back down your pathways would have taken a lot of force and power," Penny said. "You wouldn't just stop when you both fell out of your pathways. It would take time for that momentum to slow down and run out. Apparently until 1947."

Stuart exhaled.

"Look...do you really expect Holly and I to believe all of this?" he asked.

"It is the only thing that will explain the dreams," Penny said. "And explain Patty's attachment to Holly." She turned to Holly. "And what you feel when Patty holds you. And you know, inside of you, that it does explain all of it. You can feel it in your mind - and in your heart - that it's all true. That it does make sense out of your dreams."

Holly was still sobbing slightly. She exhaled and closed her eyes. After a moment, with her eyes still closed, she nodded her head in agreement.

Stuart looked at Holly, then pulled her closer to him. As he did, she let her head fall on to his shoulder.

"And which demon are you saying did this to us?" he asked.

"No ordinary demon could do this," Penny said. "This had to be an extremely powerful demon. And who knew how to open someone's pathway without being in it himself. There's only one demon that could be. Joris." Penny paused.

"I remember my mother Patience going up against him," Penny continued. "She trapped him and tried to vanquish him but he was too strong and her spell didn't work. She just managed to get away from him. But not before he almost killed her and severely hurt her." Penny paused for a second. "She never fully recovered from it."

"I'm sorry," Stuart said. "That must have been difficult for both of you."

"It's the risks that come with being a witch," Penny said. "We have to try to vanquish demons and warlocks in order to protect and save innocents."

At those last words, Holly lifted up her head and sat up straight. Those were the words in her dream. The words Holly herself had said in her dream. Penny was right about her.

"Joris thought my mother had died and didn't know about me," Penny said. "But if he found out that the Charmed Ones were her decedents, he would come after them. Come after you, Holly."

"And how do you explain my being here?" Stuart asked, "and my dreams? I'm not one of the Charmed sisters."

"Isn't it obvious?" Penny asked. "You're close to Holly here. You must have been close to Piper, too. When she was attacked, you must have been with her. In your dreams you're also in The Manor. The demon attacked everyone who was there, in The Manor. You were with Piper so you were knocked back through your pathway, as well."

"Then where is Prue Halliwell," Holly asked, "and that short woman with the brown hair?"

"She would be the third sister," Stuart said. "If everything you said is true."

"It is true," Penny said. "The three sisters are The Charmed Ones."

"Then what happened to them?" Stuart asked. "Did their momentum carry them to some other year?"

"Your momentums brought both of you to the same exact time," Penny said, "so theirs would have brought them here, as well." Penny thought silently for a moment.

"Unless...unless they weren't in The Manor when you were attacked," she said. "Then they're still in the future. And that demon is still waiting to attack them, too."

"What can we do?" Holly asked. She had stopped sobbing and her voice was very calm. Stuart sensed in her tone an acceptance that they had to do something to stop the demon.

"I have to get you back into your future pathway," Penny said, "and back to when you came from...and who you are then."

"I'm not sure about all of this," Stuart said, and gently turned Holly's face towards him. "Are you?" he asked her.

Holly took a deep breath.

"Yes," she said. "Penny's right. I can feel that she's right. And that...my dreams were right, too."

Stuart looked into Holly's eyes for a moment, then gently kissed her. Holly put her arms around him, holding him tightly until they ended their kiss.

"Holly is sure," he said. "That's good enough for me."

"Good," Penny said. "We have to work quickly."

"How are you going to send us back?" Stuart asked. "You said this demon had to be extremely powerful to send us through our pathways."

"Time flows forward," Penny said, "and you'll be going forward in time. It doesn't need as much power to do that. It's like swimming upstream. The current helps to move you along.

"But I'll still need help to do it," she said. "And I know where to get it."

 

Holly was looking into Patty's eyes, the little girl's hands on Holly's arms, when the doorbell rang. If there was one thing she would miss being sent back, Holly thought, it was the contentment and security she felt when Patty held her.

"This is my good friend Gail," Penny said, coming into the living room. "She's just like family to us. And she's also a witch. Gail, this is Holly and Stuart."

"Hello," Stuart said.

Holly reluctantly turned away from Patty and looked up at Gail. "Hello," she said, and slowly stood up.

"These are the two we're going to send back to where they came from," Penny said.

"I told you I don't know if we can do this," Gail said. "It would take a very powerful spell. And even then I'm not sure it would work."

"I have a powerful spell," Penny said.

"From The Book of Shadows?" Gail asked.

"Not exactly," Penny said. "I couldn't find a spell to do this in the Book."

"I'm not surprised," Gail said. "No witch has ever attempted this before."

"I made up the spell," Penny said. "And I included parts of two different spells from The Book in it."

"Then you don't really know whether this will work?" Holly asked.

"And what happens if it doesn't work?" Stuart asked.

Gail looked at Penny with a look of apprehension

"Never mind," Penny said, "it will work."

"Assuming it does work," Stuart said, "what's to stop the momentum from taking us way into the future, past the time we came from?"

"This," Penny said. She picked up two rolled up pieces of paper from the coffee table and gave one each to Holly and Stuart.

"Hold the paper tightly in your hands," Penny said.

They took the papers and opened them.

    "Go no further than whence you came

      So that the future will remain the same," Holly read aloud

"This will really stop us at exactly the right time?" Stuart asked.

"It should," Penny said.

"It should?!" Stuart repeated.

"Well, at least close to it," Penny said. "It may take some time for the brakes to kick in"

"The brakes?" Stuart asked.

"No one's done this before," Gail reminded him. "But it sounds good."

Stuart exhaled and shook his head.

"What's this on the bottom of the page?" Holly asked.

"It's a spell from The Book of Shadows that will vanquish Joris," Penny said. "He's going to be waiting for your sisters. He's going to be somewhere in The Manor. But you probably won't see him. He'll be invisible."

"Invisible?" Stuart asked. "Now that is something out of H. G. Wells. But he could be anywhere. How will this spell help?"

"You don't have to see him for the spell to work," Penny said. "Just use it as soon as you get back. As long as he's in The Manor, which he will be, it will work. Trust me."

Gail gave Penny a quizzical look.

"Yes," she said, nodding her head, "trust her.

"But you said Patience...your mother, wasn't strong enough to vanquish him," Holly said.

"But you are The Charmed Ones," Penny said. "and you have the Power of Three. Using it will make the three of you strong enough to vanquish Joris."

"You wrote that just above the spell," Stuart said, "to use the Power of Three immediately. Don't you trust Holly to do that?"

"Holly is not going to remember to do it," Penny said, "and neither will you. You somehow have these two lives...and two pathways. When you return, you won't remember anything that's happened here. Just like you don't remember anything here from that life in the future."

"Except in my dreams," Holly said.

"Yes," Penny said. "Your future was attached to you and trying to get you back. It's unlikely this past will do the same. And anyway, you must use this spell as soon as you get back. You'll all be in danger. There isn't time to wait for a dream that will likely never even come."

Penny picked up two more pieces of paper from the coffee table and handed one of them to Gail.

"We can't wait any longer," Penny said. "Are you ready?"

Holly looked down at Patty, then knelt down and took her hands one more time.

"OK," Holly said, standing up.

Penny walked over to Holly, looked into her eyes, then put her arms around her and squeezed her. Then she gave Holly a small kiss on her head and stepped back and away from her.

"Roll up the papers and hold them tightly in one hand," Penny said. "And hold on to each other with your other hand. This will probably hurt...a lot."

"What...what do you mean it will hurt?" Stuart asked.

But Penny was not paying attention to Stuart. She and Gail took each other's hand and began the spell.

     "Hear these words, Hear this rhyme     

          Through this their future selves they'll find,   

      Through two pathways into their time    

          Let them return safe and sublime."

There was a loud roar. Holly and Stuart felt as if they had been punched in their stomachs. They held tightly on to each other as they felt themselves hurtling forward, There was a loud bang as they felt themselves hitting a large hump. Then what felt like another punch to their stomachs and they were over the hump. And rushing forward.

 

"I haven't been able to reach Piper since I left this morning to go to Four One Five," Prue said. "It's almost eleven o'clock at night and she's not here. I am more than worried about her."

"I am too," Leo said. "I can't sense her anywhere."

They heard the front door open, then close and footsteps heading towards the living room.

"Piper?" Prue called out.

"No, it's me," Phoebe said. "I got stuck at school trying to straighten out my records. And then I stopped by Lorna Palmer's house and she insisted I stay for dinner with Nicole and Marion."

"Piper's missing," Prue said. "I haven't heard from her since eight o'clock this morning."

"Uh...neither have I," Phoebe said, "nor from Stuart. Is he upstairs?"

"He's not here either," Leo said.

"This isn't good, Leo," Phoebe said. "They're in danger and we've got to find them."

BOOM!

"What was that?" Prue asked.

"It came from the parlor," Leo said.

They looked at each other for a second then ran to the parlor to see what had happened.

"Piper! Stuart!" Phoebe exclaimed. They were both starting to get up from the floor and Phoebe rushed over and hugged them.

"We were so worried about you," Prue said, as Phoebe helped them up and Leo ran to Piper and hugged her.. "Where have you been since breakfast? And how did you suddenly get here in the parlor?"

"Uh...I...don't know," Piper said. "I...don't remember."

"Neither do I," Stuart said. "I remember you leaving to go to the magazine and Phoebe leaving to go to school. I was taking care of something in the parlor and getting ready to go with Piper to the club. I think there was a rumbling sound. And...that's the last thing I remember."

"And neither of you have any idea where you've been for the past thirteen hours?" Leo asked.

"No...uh...I..." Piper said. Then she realized she was holding something in her hand.

"What's this?" she asked, opening the rolled up piece of paper.

"I...have one, too," Stuart said, opening his. "Go no further than whence you came..." he read. "What is this?"

"Mine says the same thing," Piper said, as Phoebe looked at the paper.

"Look here in the middle of the page," Phoebe said. "It says to use the Power of Three immediately."

"Let me see that," Prue said to Stuart and took the paper from him. "That's a spell underneath it. In Gram's handwriting."

Suddenly there was a rumbling sound. Everything in The Manor started to bend and become wavy.

"What's happening?" Phoebe asked.

"It's a demon doing something," Leo said.

"Who is it?" Phoebe asked. "How do we stop him?"

"I feel something starting to push me backwards," Prue said.

"We have to do something quickly," Phoebe said. "And we don't have time to look for a spell."

"This spell, on the paper," Prue said, as everything around her bent even more. "I don't know what it's for but it's all that we have. Hurry and hold hands."

Phoebe grabbed a still confused Piper and pulled her over to Prue.

"Now...together," Phoebe said.

        "In the circle that is home,   

             Safety's gone and evils roam, 

         Rid all beings from these walls,   

             Save sisters three now heed our call."

There was a loud noise that sounded to them like an explosion.

"Aghh!" Phoebe screamed as she too felt something pushing her.

Suddenly, The Manor stopped waving and bending. Everything around them was back to normal.

"It worked," Prue said. "Whoever that demon was, he's gone."

"And this spell did it," Phoebe said. She looked at the words again. "This spell is familiar. I...know I've used it before."

"How did you get these?" Prue asked.

"I...don't know," Piper said.

"I don't either," Stuart said, too.

Prue read the top of the paper.

"Whence you came," she said aloud. "This looks like a spell, too. And it was somehow sending you back here...where you came from.

"But where were you that you came back here from?" Leo asked.

Prue exhaled.

"With Grams," she said.

"That can't be," Phoebe said. "Grams didn't really -"

"Send people through time," Prue said, cutting Phoebe off. She motioned slightly towards Leo, reminding her to be careful what she said about what wasn't real with the Halliwells.

"You're saying that we...went back in time?" Stuart asked. "How...why?"

"I don't know," Prue said.

"I'll see what I can find out from The Elders," Leo said, and orbed out.

"You and Stuart going back in time to Grams would explain the spell," Prue said, "even if it doesn't explain why you went back."

"But there wasn't really any Grams," Piper said.

"Piper, you know we have a whole history here as Halliwells," Prue said. "And we saw that even included Mom. It isn't any more difficult to believe that Grams existed here. And that she wrote these spells for you and Stuart."

"That spell," Phoebe said, "I remember it now. It's from an episode from Charmed's first season. There were supposed to be some demons in The Manor. And we said this spell to protect us and vanquish them."

"Another Charmed script's spell working in real life," Piper said. "I guess I'm not surprised any more."

"Whatever happened, I'm just glad that we're all safe," Prue said.

"Thanks...to Grams," Piper said.

 

Piper was in the kitchen with Stuart the next morning. She was sitting at the kitchen table, having just finished her breakfast. Phoebe had gone out on an errand and Prue had left to go to Four One Five.

"Leo had no explanation from The Elders of what happened to us," Piper said.

"Either they didn't know or they made believe they didn't know," Stuart said. He noticed Piper looking at him intensely as he put away the last of the breakfast dishes.

"Uh...is something wrong?" he asked.

"Wrong? No, nothing's wrong," Piper said, continuing to look at Stuart intensely.

"Uh...you look like you're trying to look inside of me," he said.

"Was I?" Piper asked. "Uh...it's just...a dream that I had last night. And you were in it. But it's only a dream so it doesn't mean anything."

"You dreamt about me?" Stuart asked. "I'm really flattered that you dreamt about me."

Piper's expression turned serious and she stared at Stuart.

"That's...that's exactly what you said in the dream," she said.

"You mean it was a dream about a dream?" he asked.

"It was complicated and I don't remember all of it," she said. "Just certain parts."

"I'd love to hear about," he said.

"Uh...I think I'll keep it to myself," she said.

A dream about what I did with Stuart is not something anyone need know about, she thought, as the dream played in her mind. How exciting it had felt in her dream kissing Stuart, how secure she had felt when he held her in his arms, and how marvelous it had been spending the night with him. And then waking up in the morning with her head on his shoulder, feeling him next to her - and then being together again.

"Uh oh...it must have been a really bad dream," Stuart said. "I must have done something terrible to you."

"No, it was not bad at all," Piper said. "And you certainly didn't do anything terrible. Quite the contrary. It was...interesting."

A lot more than just interesting, she thought..

But it would be awkward to tell him of the dream, given Stuart's relationship with Phoebe and her relationship with Leo. Yes...her relationship with Leo made her feel awkward even thinking about the dream. Especially as it had all felt so wonderful in her dream. And, she realized, even though she was awake...it still felt wonderful, now.

"But that's the good part about dreams," she continued, trying to ease her conscience. "Anything can happen in them but since it's all a dream it didn't really happen. I don't have to worry about any consequences."

Stuart thought he saw the small smile on Piper's face again as she said that.

"Yes, that's certainly good that our dreams never happen," Stuart said. "I've had a very stressful dream a couple of times, recently. About teaching a class."

Piper's expression became serious again.

"And your students...they suddenly disappeared, one at a time, from their desks in your classroom," she said, sounding rattled.

"Uh...yes," Stuart said. "How...how could you know that?"

Piper exhaled and regained her composure.

"Maybe dreams...aren't always just dreams," she said, slowly.

"That's a disturbing thought," Stuart said. "Imagine what it would be like if what you dreamed about became real and had actually happened."

"Imagine, indeed," Piper said. A small smile returned to her lips as she looked intensely at Stuart as he closed the pantry door.

As long as no one knew about it, she thought, her smile getting a little bigger. As long as no one knew about it, then the dream being real and having really happened would be just fine, indeed!