Charmed Role Reversal



Legacy

J enny took a deep breath of the clear, fresh mid‑morning air. Five‑foot‑six, with a medium complexion and a pleasant semi‑round face, she gently ran her hand over her light brown hair to be sure that it was still neatly combed. The high clouds in the blue sky did not interfere with the bright sunshine and Jenny appreciated the shade the front porch's roof provided her. She sat down on the rocking chair, one of three white rockers that sat side by side on the porch. Though it was only the middle of April, Jenny could "feel" the approaching heat and humidity that would be there in another few weeks. Summers in South Carolina started early.

The porch was the location of choice in summer's late afternoons and evenings, the place to try to catch a breeze ‑ if there was one. Sometimes during the summers Jenny wished that she lived somewhere else. Not that she didn't like Charleston. She did. But just for a while to live somewhere where there wasn't any summer, or at least a summer different from the oppressive South Carolina version.

But perhaps this year it would be different. They had a brand new electric ceiling fan installed in the living room. It was one of the first that any home in their part of Charleston had. And certainly was the first to have one with an integrated electric light fixture at its center. Jenny knew it was expensive. But Aunt Phryne had told her that it was not an extravagance ‑ they couldn't afford those ‑ but was a necessity to provide some relief and make the summer tolerable. And Aunt Phryne always found ways to pay for necessities.

But as Jenny gazed out at the street from her rocker, it was neither the electric ceiling fan nor the forthcoming season that was on her mind. It was the dream. But not the dream, the one about her parents that she had dreamt intermittently for years.

At least, she thought the people in the dream were her parents. She had been only five when they were killed. In the dozen years since then, the memories and images of her parents had become fuzzy. And there were less and less of them that she could even still recall.

She had tried to understand why she dreamed about them. She had read in a book ‑ Jenny was an avid reader ‑ that children cut off from their parents always feel the need to re‑connect with them. To the feeling of security that was lost.

But her mother's sister had taken Jenny in and treated her as her own child. Aunt Phryne could be stern but she was also fair and kind. And she had been generous in showing Jenny her love, making sure that her niece felt secure in her Aunt's love for her.

Then perhaps it was, Jenny thought, because she did not completely understand exactly how ‑ and why ‑ her parents had died. She could not, of course, at age five comprehend everything. And as she got older and asked, Aunt Phryne said that when she was old enough she would tell her about it. But she never said when "old enough" would be.

But the dream last night had not been that same one. This was a completely different dream. She saw herself in it, sharply and clearly. She was wearing something...she didn't know what it was. It was white or ivory, hanging loosely over her body, with wide, loose sleeves. It reached a few inches above her knees in the front and was even shorter on the sides. Even as she saw herself she was also in herself. She had felt it giving her freedom of movement but it also revealed her slim legs and thighs.

From where did that image of my being dressed like that come? she thought. That was not how a proper Charleston young lady dressed, even in this new century.

True, she thought, five years into the century so many thing had changed. Some of Charleston's wealthier families had automobiles. In fact, there was a maroon Buick with a cover that for some reason had been passing by their house almost daily. Suffragettes, seeking the right to vote, had become more vocal, having staged a parade in New York City earlier in the year.

The Charleston Exposition, with its "ivory city" ‑ the buildings were painted in a cream color ‑ of which the Cotton Palace was the center of the fair, and its man‑made Lake Juanita with Venetian gondoliers, had given people glimpses into fantasies and futures. But what had made the greatest impression on teenage Jenny, aside from seeing President Teddy Roosevelt in person at the fair ‑ he had visited it the day that Jenny was there ‑ had been the Court of Palaces at night, ablaze with electric lights on a scale that most people in South Carolina had never seen.

And then there was the airplane. People could actually fly! She had seen a demonstration that had been staged near Charleston last month. It looked to be quite dangerous. Nevertheless it had caught her imagination.

But clothes ‑ at least women's clothes ‑ had not significantly changed. Shirtwaists had become popular but tall, stiff collars and floor length dresses were still, as before the turn of the century, the appropriate style. So why did she dream of such an immodest and strange "dress"?

But it was the rest of the dream that had upset ‑ even frightened ‑ Jenny. She was standing in an open field but she was not alone. Someone else was there. Someone dressed in a dark red, hooded robe. Jenny could not see the face, could not tell whether it was a boy or girl, man or woman.

And then that person had advanced on Jenny. She had raised her arms, her hands grasping the other person's hands. They were pushing each other at arms' length. Or at least trying to. Jenny saw ‑ and felt ‑ that she was trying to hold that person back, not let him go any further.

The figure was strong. But Jenny saw that she was, to her surprise, strong too. She did not consider herself to be a particularly strong girl yet she felt a strength coming from somewhere inside of her, flowing to her arms and hands. And she knew that she must stop the figure and hold him back, though she had no idea as to why.

For a few minutes, Jenny held her ground. Looking at the scene from outside of herself, she saw other hooded figures had appeared. And then she felt herself beginning to weaken. The figure seemed to be getting stronger and Jenny fell to her knees. Their hands were still grasping each other's but she knew that she could not resist him any more.

The figure pushed her with additional strength and Jenny fell backwards to the ground. Her knees and thighs were up as she lay on her back, her arms helplessly splayed outwards as the figure stood over her. She felt his piercing eyes penetrating her and burning her inside. Her strength gone, Jenny felt her life slipping away and her eyes began to close.

And then she had woken up.

What did it mean? she thought. Was something going to happen to her? Or was it just a dream. But...it had seemed so real. And with so much detail.

She wanted to put it out of her mind but it wouldn't go away. She had considered telling Aunt Phryne, and letting her put her mind at ease that it was nothing. Aunt Phryne was good at doing that. But she felt she would sound foolish bothering her over a dream. And besides, something was weighing heavily on Aunt Phryne's mind. Jenny could tell that something had been bothering her for a few weeks.

When she asked, Aunt Phryne had dismissed it, insisting that everything was fine. But Jenny knew that it wasn't. Something was worrying her aunt. She wanted to help her but she didn't know how to do that without even knowing what was wrong.

Well, there wasn't anything that she could do right now about either the dream or Aunt Phryne's problem. Best then to think about other things. Such as her birthday, that would be in just two days. Eighteen was a significant birthday for young, Charleston women. And though they were not part of Charleston society, with its formal celebrations of that milestone, Aunt Phryne was not going to let the day go by without it being properly recognized, even if just within their own circle of friends.

And that was good enough for Jenny. She was not a demanding girl and was always appreciative of everything Aunt Phryne, or anyone else, did for her. She would be happy with whatever Aunt Phryne prepared for her birthday. Just as she was happy with the early birthday present she had received from her great‑aunt.

The Return Of Sherlock Holmes has been published in New York City only two months earlier. But her great‑aunt had a connection at the publisher, McClure, Phillips & Co., and had arranged for a copy to be sent directly to Charleston. Jenny held the volume on her lap with great anticipation of reading the thirteen stories it contained.

She had the prior Holmes books and loved reading the detective's adventures. There was something about Sherlock Holmes that resonated within her. There was logic and deduction that stimulated the young girl's mind. But she realized that it was more than just that.

Holmes helped people. It could be some member of a royal family but it was just as often some ordinary, innocent person whom some force of evil had targeted. He undertook, in those cases, to protect those who could not protect themselves. And Jenny felt something inside of her connecting to that. A feeling that she herself wanted to, needed to, do that.

Of course, as a simple teenage girl, she was not in a position to help anyone. But sometimes her imagination took a flight of fancy and she pictured herself as Dr. Watson, assisting Holmes and taking part in their ultimate successful defeat of evil's plan.

But for now, she would satisfy herself with reading the stories and letting Watson bring her along for the ride, as he unfolded the events of another London winter's evening in Baker Street. Jenny opened the book and looked at the title page, then at the Table of Contents. She turned to the first story and quickly became engrossed in the new adventure. And so she did not notice the maroon Buick automobile slowly driving past her house, nor the eyes inside it staring intently at the porch.




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The evening was pleasantly cool and Jenny had left the windows to her bedroom open, falling asleep to the gentle breeze. But in the early morning hours she awoke in a sweat, breathing heavily and filled with fear. It was another dream. A dream almost identical to the one of the night before.

She had again been on the field, struggling with the red robed, hooded figure, at first with strength but then, as before, ultimately weakening and submitting. But in this dream, as she lay helplessly on the ground, she saw the figure's gaze fall upon her odd, immodest "dress". It began to change into vapors, floating to the figure who consumed it, until the entire "dress" had disintegrated. And now she lay there bare.

She felt the figure's eyes burning into her and her life slip away. As in the previous dream, she was also outside of herself. And so she saw her naked, dead body sprawled on the ground.

Jenny sat up in her bed trembling. She pulled her knees up to her chest, wrapping her hands tightly around them, burying her face in her thighs. What is this? she thought, small tears rolling down her cheeks. Why do ah keep dreamin' this?

She could think of no answer to her questions. After ten minutes she slid down onto her side, her knees still drawn up. She closed her eyes and in a little while fell back asleep.


It was mid‑morning when Jenny awoke. She was not accustomed to sleeping late and the lateness of the hour threw her off balance. She took water from the basin in her room and splashed it on her face. And then the dream came back to her. The terrifying dream which had been almost, but not quite, identical to the one of the night before.

And then she realized there had been a second dream, one that came to her when she had fallen asleep the second time. Her father and mother were standing by her. Or at least the images she had associated with her parents. It had been a few months since she last dreamed about them.

Her mother ‑ at least whom she thought to be her mother ‑ was saying a nursery rhyme. It must have been a nursery rhyme, though it was harsh and not fitting for children. But Jenny had read in a book that some nursery rhymes had terrible meanings ‑ Jack and Jill and Mary, Mary Quite Contrary being two examples that seemed harmless but actually referred to executions.

Whatever the rhyme was, her mother kept repeating it. Over and over again, until Jenny, in the dream, was able to say the words along with her. Jenny shut her eyes. These dreams...am ah goin' mad?

No...ah'm not. Ah can't be, she thought emphatically. They must mean somethin'. She went over and sat down at her desk, then opened a drawer and withdrew a sheet of paper. She took her pen, dipped it into the inkwell at the corner of her desk, and began to write. The rhyme was fresh in her mind. Having heard it and said it so many times in the dream, she remembered every word of it.

When she finished, she used her blotter to dry the page, then stood up from the desk. She was about to take the page to Aunt Phryne and tell her about the dreams. Though she had not wanted to bother her with them, she felt after last night she couldn't keep them bottled up inside her anymore. But then she realized the time. It was half‑past ten and Aunt Phryne had long since gone to work. Jenny put the paper in the desk drawer, opened her bedroom door and went into the hallway.  

Fresh, wonderful aromas greeted her. As she was drawn to the kitchen she could smell the Hummingbird cake's banana, pineapple and spices and the Chess pie's distinctive sugar and vanilla. They were two of Jenny's favorites and she realized Aunt Phryne had prepared them for the birthday celebration the next day. She must have been up at five in the morning so she'd have enough time to bake them before she went to work, Jenny thought. Aunt Phryne is so good to me.

Jenny knew that her aunt would not have time tomorrow to bake. She had arranged to take the day off from work so that she could spend Jenny's birthday with her niece. In the morning, they were going to the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, the renowned South Carolina Lowcountry attraction, its informal Romantic Garden filled with many varieties of azaleas and camellias. Then around mid‑day, they were going to the Charleston Museum, the most comprehensive collection of South Carolina materials in the country. And in late afternoon would be her birthday dinner.

Her aunt's baking helped to calm Jenny and she started feeling more normal, pushing the night's dreams from her mind. Jenny made her breakfast of grits, garnished with cinnamon and butter, and scrambled eggs. After washing the dishes, she began her dusting chores, starting with the white porch rockers. As she finished with the third rocker, she turned to go back inside, just as the maroon Buick automobile drove slowly by.

 

Jenny had planned to tell Aunt Phryne about her dreams after supper. But Clara Oswald, her aunt's British friend, had come over to help with the cooking for the birthday dinner. Jenny wasn't going to disrupt their work so she decided to wait until after her birthday, when there would be more time to talk about the dreams. She had managed to push them aside for most of the day and she would just continue to do that until she could tell her aunt about them. The cooking aroma coming from the kitchen left Jenny happy ‑ her birthday would be a special day, indeed. She decided to go to sleep early and be well rested for the morrow. She made her way to her bedroom, filled with anticipation.

 

Piper Halliwell dried the last dish and put it away in the kitchen cabinet. Her sister Phoebe had experimented with a dinner of salmon latkes ‑ lightly fried mashed canned wild salmon, grated potatoes, eggs and spices mixed together ‑ pasta with fresh tomato sauce and buttered corn. As her sisters knew better than to trust Piper's cooking ‑ The Elders had not improved her culinary skills, notwithstanding their having given her the P3 club to run ‑ the division of labor often left her with the washing and drying of the evening's pots and dishes. But, she had to admit, Phoebe's dinner had been different ‑ and quite delicious.

She walked into the living room, where third sister Prue was sitting on the sofa looking at some photographs she had shot for am upcoming article in 415 Magazine, where she worked as a photojournalist. Then Piper abruptly stopped as her body did a convulsive shiver.

"What...was that?" she asked. "I just shivered and felt...something dark and awful."

"I did, too," Prue said, the photographs having dropped from her hand as her body had quivered.

"Oooh!" Piper exclaimed, as her body shivered again. "Something is wrong."

"Something is very wrong!" Phoebe announced as she came into the living room. "Did you both feel that?"

"We certainly did," Piper replied. "Our whole bodies shook."

"Mine did too," Phoebe said. "And I also got a premonition."

"Of what?" Prue asked.

"Evil," she replied. "An unbelievably powerful evil. More powerful than anything we've seen since we vanquished Argyris." The demon Argyris was the powerful demon who was going to bring major destruction to the world. To stop him was ostensibly the only reason The Elders had turned the three actresses into their Charmed characters in real life. Or so they had been led to believe.

"Maybe that's why The Elders haven't sent us back to being our real selves," Prue said. "Maybe they knew this was coming."

"I know, it would have been too much to expect of them to warn us," Piper said, peeved, "or to give us any idea of what we'll have to be up against. As usual!"

"What else was in your premonition?" Prue asked.

"Figures in dark red, hooded robes," Phoebe replied. "The source of that evil power."

"We'd better start looking through the Book of Shadows and hope that we can find them in it," Piper said. "And fast. It feels like whoever they are they're already here."

The girls quickly ran up the stairs to the attic. Piper and Prue stood on either side of Phoebe as she opened the Book of Shadows and they looked into it together.

"In a Charmed episode we'd find this in a minute," Phoebe said. "But finding anything in the Book of Shadows in real life takes time. Which I feel we don't have much of."

As Phoebe started to turn the pages something on the wall caught Piper's attention. She looked up at a grandmother clock that was on the far attic wall. The clock had never worked, neither on Charmed nor in real life. But its hands were now spinning. And the wrong way.

"Uh...we may have even less time that we thought," Piper said, pointing to the clock.

"That clock...it can't be going. It's broken!" Phoebe said.

"Apparently not anymore," Piper said. "And the last time clocks around here started going backwards, The Elders sent us..." Piper stopped in mid‑sentence as swirls of light began to surround them. "...back in time. Without our needing to use the spell for it."

"And these are the same swirls of light as when they did it last time," Prue said. The swirls became broader and they could no longer see the attic.

 

The sisters found themselves standing in what appeared to be a living room. Looking around they saw a brown sofa and two wing chairs. In the middle of the room stood a mahogany coffee table. Phoebe slowly edged closer to it, taken by its craftsmanship. It had two drawers under the top and a wheel on each of its exquisitely carved legs. Piper looked up and saw above them a ceiling fan with an integrated light fixture.

"Who are you?!" a voice demanded. They turned and saw that a woman had entered the room. She had dark brown hair, green eyes and a no‑nonsense expression on her face. She wore a tailored, white blouse and a long, dark grey skirt. Phoebe guessed her to be in her mid‑thirties.

"Uh...I know this looks strange that we're in ...your home," Prue began. "Um..I'm Prue and these are my sisters Piper and Phoebe. And we, uh..."

The woman looked at them intensely. "Were you sent to help?" she asked.

"To, uh...help? Prue repeated.

The woman looked from one sister to the other. "Do you have powers?" she asked bluntly.

"Powers?" Piper asked. "What do you mean?"

Prue decided that whatever was going on, it would not be helped by being cagey.

"Yes, we do," Prue answered directly.

"Prue!" Piper said sternly.

"I'm Phryne," the woman said, "and I frankly hadn't believed that part of the dream. But I see it was true ‑ you've come to help Jenny." She saw no recognition on the sisters' faces. "My niece...you don't recognize the name? What about Saunders?" She paused but saw no change. "Jenny...Saunders?"

"I'm sorry," Prue said, "but we don't. And we don't know anything about a dream. We're not even sure...why we're here."

"Or where 'here' is," Phoebe added.

Phryne took a deep breath and exhaled. "You're not from this time. Not with those clothes," some antipathy in her voice as she looked at their pants, and their blouses with more than one open top button. "Hmm...so you were sent from the future, weren't you."

"Uh..." Phoebe said.

"Mother said there was a spell for time travel," Phryne said, "but she would never show it to us. She said time travel was too risky. But you've obviously used it. When in the future are you from?"

The girls looked at each other, not knowing how much to say.

"From which year?!" Phryne demanded. "We don't have time to play games."

"From...2000," Prue replied. "And though we have used the time travel spell before, we didn't use it this time."

"Then how did you get here?" Phryne asked.

"The Elders sent us here themselves," Prue answered.

"The Elders?" Phryne asked. "They actually talk to you and work with you?"

"Not exactly," Piper said. "It's more...indirectly. And I wouldn't call what they do working with us."

"They've never so much as left a by‑your‑leave here," Phryne said. Prue detected some bitterness in Phryne's voice.

"Look, Phryne, we really don't know what's going on," Phoebe said.

"Please make yourselves comfortable," Phryne said. "I'll bring you sweet tea and then we can talk."

The girls sat down as Phryne went to the kitchen.

"We don't know who she is but at least we know what she is," Piper said. "And she seems to have the same opinion of The Elders as we have."

"This coffee table is magnificent," Phoebe said. "I can tell by its style that it's either a well preserved antique from the turn of the century, or...it's actually contemporary furniture."

"Based on Phryne's clothes ‑ and her less than favorable reaction to ours ‑ I will say the latter," Piper said. "Which means we've gone back a lot further than the sixteen years we did the last time."

Phryne returned carrying a tray with a pitcher of sweet tea, glasses and a plate of large, dense cookies. She poured the iced tea for each of them as Phoebe examined one of the cookies.

"Teacakes," Phryne said. "That's a standard Southern cookie. As you don't recognize it that rules out your having come from the South. That...and your lack of the accent."

"You don't have the accent, either," Prue noted.

"We moved here from up North when I was ten," she replied, "so Priscilla and I never picked it up."

"Priscilla?" Phoebe asked.

"My sister," Phryne said.

"You seem to know ‑ or think you know ‑ why we're here," Prue said, "but we're completely in the dark. Why don't you tell us where we are and what is going on here."

Phryne took a sip of her sweet tea. "You're in Charleston. The year is 1905 so you've traveled a long way. Jenny is my sister Priscilla Saunders' daughter. As you've realized, I'm a witch like you. And so was Priscilla."

"Was?" Prue asked.

"She's dead," Phryne replied.

"I'm...sorry," Prue said.

"Jenny has lived with me since Priscilla and Daniel, her husband, were killed," Phryne continued. "Back around '89 , we became aware of a group of demons who had joined together. We knew nothing of their purpose but we did know that they were not just ordinary demons. They were demons with more than the usual set of powers."

"Who were they?" Prue asked.

"We didn't know ‑ and I still don't know," Phryne admitted.

"But they were very strong demons," Phryne continued, "stronger than other demons against whom I had used my limited powers. When powers passed from our mother to us, Priscilla got the much stronger ones. Mother didn't purposely do that ‑ it was just how it happened."

"We understand that," Prue said. "We each received different powers, too."

"These demons kept getting even stronger," Phryne continued. "And not just individually. When they were together, their powers would boost each other's, expanding their collective strength. I couldn't go up against even one of them.

"But Priscilla could. At least that's what she believed. She felt the strength of her powers better than I could know them but...I was afraid for her. She was my older sister but...but I still worried about her.

"Priscilla had a premonition ‑ that was one of her powers ‑ that if not stopped these demons would keep gaining so much power that in one hundred years they would rule the demonic realm and reek unstoppable havoc on the world. We argued about what we should do about it and I finally convinced her not to take them all on.

"Then one day I came home and found Jenny here, with a note from Priscilla. It said she had a premonition that one of the demons would be attacking a woman that afternoon, but that he would be doing it alone without the others. This was an opportunity to vanquish one of them and greatly weaken their collective power. She was leaving Jenny for me to watch ‑ my niece was only five years old ‑ while she went after the demon.

"Of course, Daniel, her husband, went with her. They were so in love...he wouldn't let her go after demons without him. He was a normal person without any powers. But they were a team. He always went with her to help as best he could ‑ and to protect her."

"There's someone just like that where we're from," Piper said, thinking of Stuart. "He does the same thing."

"What happened?" Prue asked.

Phryne closed her eyes. Even now, over twelve years later, it was very emotional ‑ and very difficult ‑ for her to think about that day.

She exhaled and opened her eyes. "It was a trap. They had learned of Priscilla's power of premonition and somehow manipulated it and used it against her. I said they were exceptionally strong." Phryne paused, took another breath and then continued. "When my sister got to the field where she had seen the attack in her premonition, there was a young woman there. Then one demon appeared and threatened the woman. Priscilla and Daniel rushed towards them. Suddenly the other three demons, in their dark red, hooded robes appeared. The young woman screamed and ran.

She told some nearby farmers and they came back to see what was it was all about. They found Priscilla's and Daniel's bodies. There were burn marks on them. Daniel's wallet was gone as was Priscilla's ring. They called the sheriff but not knowing what else to do he decided that those "people" who had threatened the young woman had killed Priscilla and Daniel in the process of robbing them. Which was exactly the cover for their killings that the demons wanted."

Phryne closed her eyes again. She took a deep breath, opened her eyes and continued.

"I took Jenny in and eventually adopted her as her my own daughter. And I did what I had to do to protect her from those demons finding her, or even finding out about her." Phryne took another deep breath. "So I bound her powers."

"That's not a simple spell," Prue said. "We're...familiar with someone who did it," referring to Gram's binding the sisters' powers when they were very young to protect them, too. "That takes real power."

"More power than I have," Phryne said. "I couldn't bind them permanently. Only until she reached the age of eighteen."

"Which, I expect, has just happened," Phoebe said.

Phryne nodded her head in agreement. "I even refrained from using my powers against demons. Once in a great while, if the situation was desperate and I could work in the shadows without being noticed, I would use a spell to vanquish a demon. But otherwise I did nothing. That's not what a witch with a responsibility to protect innocents is supposed to do. And you may well think poorly of me for it. But my first thoughts ‑ my first responsibility ‑ was to Jenny. And not to bring any demon's attention to me. And through me to her."

"We can't ‑ and won't ‑ judge you for that," Prue said. "You did what you felt was right. And maybe it was. Maybe under the same circumstances...I would have done the same."

"These demons think she's a threat to them?" Piper asked.

"She is a threat. If she knew about them, about her powers...about her legacy," Phryne said. "I've kept all of that from her. But it's her powers...they want them. They took Priscilla's power ‑ not the specific powers themselves, such as premonition ‑ but the power itself, which they could, and did, twist and subvert to enhance their evil abilities and make them stronger. And they want to do the same thing with Jenny's powers."

"You mentioned a dream," Phoebe said.

"Jenny hadn't wanted to bother me with them but after having another dream last night it was too much for her. She came to me this morning and told me about them," Phryne said, telling them the ones from the first two nights. "Last night's dream was the same one with the hooded, red robed demons. But this time she heard my sister saying a spell - Jenny called it a children's rhyme - and she saw three pairs of hands supporting her, holding her up. She didn't fall down and die as she did in the other nights' dreams. But then she woke up without any conclusion.

"Those hands...that's why I asked if you were sent to help her. But I don't understand how she could even have those dreams. Her powers were bound so she couldn't have a premonition."

"Sometimes things can break through in dreams without that power," Prue said. She was thinking of the dreams Piper had about her Charmed daughter needing help in the real world. Dreams, and a daughter, about which Piper's memory had subsequently been erased.

"The white dress she wore in the dreams was a symbol of her witch's power," Phryne said. "Priscilla once had a dream about herself dressed like that and Mother explained what it meant.”

"What did you tell her?" Prue asked.

"She wrote down the spell and showed it to me. I told her they were just dreams and not to be concerned about them," Phryne replied. "I have been suffering with stress as today, her birthday, approached and her powers would be returned to her. And when she told me this morning about her dreams..." Phryne was shaken. She took a deep breath and regained her composure.

"And I could see on her face this morning a radiance, if you know to look for it," Phryne said, "that confirmed that she had her powers again."

 

Jenny did not feel any better after telling Aunt Phryne about the dreams. As she sat on the front porch rocker thinking about it, she knew there were things that her aunt was holding back. She could see it in how tense she had been. And in her aunt's admonition for Jenny to stay "close by" today. But Jenny was too well behaved and respectful to argue with her aunt. She would wait until an opportunity came along when she could politely bring the matter up again.

As Jenny sat staring out at the street, the maroon Buick automobile drove slowly by, then suddenly stopped. Jenny could make out two eyes within the automobile staring at her. Their eyes locked on each other's and Jenny felt a shiver go down her back. Then the automobile started to move and quickly drove away down the street.

 

Phoebe took a drink of her sweet tea. "Jenny deserves to know the truth," she said to Phryne, "about her family...and about herself. Coming from you will make it much easier for her to accept it. I wish someone we loved and trusted had told us about our powers." Phoebe was thinking of how they had learned about their powers ‑ both on Charmed and in real life. Neither way had been pleasant.

"And she needs to know what her powers can do if she has to defend herself," Piper added. "If demons...may be coming after her you can't leave her exposed."

"I told Jenny to stay close to me today," Phryne said.

"But you said your powers aren't strong enough to go up against those demons," Piper said.

"If my niece...my daughter...will be facing death, I won't let her face it alone," Phryne said. "Regardless of what happens to me."

The scream from outside the house startled everyone.

"Jenny!" Phryne exclaimed. She jumped up and ran towards the front door. Prue and her sisters did the same.

"Jenny! Jenny!" Phryne shouted. There was no one on the front porch. And no response to her calls. One of the white rockers was still rocking, as if someone had been sitting in it and had suddenly gotten up.

"Jenny!" Prue shouted. "Stay with Phryne," she ordered Phoebe, then ran with Piper around to the back of the house. They continued around the other side and came back to the front porch.

"The demons took her," Phryne said. She started to shake, fear taking control of her body.

"Stop it!" Prue commanded her. "You're a witch, Phryne. And you know how to focus your thoughts, how to concentrate them. Focus now on what we have to do to find Jenny."

Phryne closed her eyes, then took a deep breath. After a few seconds her body became calm. She opened her eyes, her face showing that she was focused and determined.

"They would have taken her to the field," Phryne said, "the one in Jenny's dream. I recognized it from her description. It's the field where they killed Priscilla. But I don't know why that field is important to them."

"You said they wanted Jenny's powers," Prue said. "There may be some evil energy in that field. Energy they need to help extract her powers. That's why they had to trick Priscilla into going there so that they could kill her there. We've come across something similar."

Phryne thought for a moment. "Land around there has been bought up for farms. Some even to build houses. But not that field. It's remain unchanged. And...there were two people who had planned to buy it and build on it. They both died."

"The demons were protecting the field so that they would always be able to use it," Piper said.

"We have to get there," Phryne said.

"Wait," Prue said, "we need the spell. You said Jenny wrote it down."

"I'll get it," Phryne said, and ran back into the house. In a few seconds she was back, the paper in her hand.

"The carriage is behind the house," Phryne said. "I had it prepared for the trips we were going to take today." She led the sisters behind the house and into a small barn. The carriage, with the horse bridled, stood ready. They jumped into the carriage, Phryne grabbed the reins, and they were off.

Prue was not an expert on early twentieth century transportation but she doubted the horse, or the carriage, had ever gone that fast. "We have to memorize the spell," she said, and the three sisters began to read the page.

 

Having showered after an early dinner, Stuart Weston and Kelly Anderson sat at their dining room table wearing their matching silver‑blue robes. The young witch’s blond hair, out of its customary ponytail, lay loosely across her back. Earlier that evening, Kelly had been reviewing material for a traveling exhibit that was coming to San Francisco. It would be on display for three weeks at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, where Kelly worked as Assistant Curator.

Stuart, meanwhile, had been looking over inventory notes he made that afternoon at P3 . After he and Kelly returned from the alternate reality where they had lived for two years, and where they had fallen in love and become engaged, Stuart had moved in with Kelly in her Russian Hill house. No longer being a part of the Halliwell household, he now needed a regular job. Piper gave him one at her club - P3 ; tracking inventory was part of his responsibilities.

But then Kelly had suddenly felt something, something she could only describe as "very bad". She said it was her witch's sensitivity that reacted to whatever that "bad thing" was. It was bothering her that something had happened but not knowing what it was, she couldn't do anything about it. And because it was bothering her she could no longer concentrate on her museum material.

Trying to get her mind off the unknown "bad thing", Stuart had suggested a game of Scrabble. But after ten minutes of play, he realized, as he stared at the board, that this had not helped. The letters that had come up had given them the words "demon", "warlock", "infernal", "destroy" and the connected words "powerful" and "evil".

"Phew!" Stuart exhaled. "That's almost like having a Ouija board," he quipped in jest. The Halliwells had a Ouija board, its letters used to send its user a message, and Stuart had seen it really work.

Kelly sighed. "I wish I knew what I sensed," she said, "what it means. It has to be something big." She thought for a moment. "I'm going to call Phoebe and see if she got a premonition of what this is." Kelly got up, went to the phone and dialed the Halliwell Manor number.

"No answer," she said to Stuart. "I'll try her cell phone." After a couple of minutes she put down the phone.

"No answer on any of their cell phones. That's not right. Something's happened," she said.

"Maybe I should go over there and have a look," Stuart said.

"You mean we should go over and have a look," Kelly said and started to remove her robe. She was naked under it and was heading to her closet in the bedroom to get some clothes when Leo began orbing in. Kelly quickly slipped back into her robe, closing its belt securely.

"I would mention that some sort of warning before suddenly appearing at this hour would have been nice," Stuart said. "But I suspect there's something terrible going on that can't wait."

"There is," Leo said.

"What is it?" Kelly asked. "And I can't reach The Halliwells."

"No...they're not here," Leo replied.

"What's happened to them?" Stuart demanded.

"Nothing...I hope," Leo said.

"What do you mean‑" Stuart began but Leo cut him off.

"Just listen!" Leo said strongly. "There is a group of four evil demons out there, more evil than anything we've seen before. Their power has been building for one hundred twenty‑five years, and growing even stronger by feeding off of each other's powers. Tonight, they've finally reached the level of power which had been their goal, the culmination of what they have been planning for all of these years.

"They're trying to take control of, and rule all of, the evil out there. Demons, warlocks and most everything else."

"Wait a minute," Stuart interrupted. "The Infernal Council rules them."

"Yes ‑ until now," Leo said. "But they are challenging the Council for supremacy."

"Who are they?" Kelly asked.

"They call themselves the Quadrad," Leo answered.

"There's going to be a war between the Quadrad and the Infernal Council?" Stuart asked.

"It may come to that, eventually," Leo replied. "For now, the Quadrad wants to win the allegiance of the demonic underworld by showing how powerful they are ‑ that they're more powerful than the Infernal Council. And therefore everyone should accept their mastery. And they're going to show that by bringing destruction greater than what the Council has done. Destruction without any restraints."

Kelly let out her breath. She stared ahead at nothing, her mind racing.

"They have to be stopped," she said in a flat but resolute tone, turning to Leo. "They have to be vanquished."

"They're too strong for that," Leo said. "At this point, no witch can go up against them and survive."

"Where are Prue and her sisters?" Stuart asked.

"They've been sent somewhere to something related to this," Leo replied.

"Some where or some time?" Stuart asked.

Leo hesitated. "To an earlier time," he finally said. "But we don't know how much success, if any, they'll have."

"So we can't rely on them. We have to do something here and now," Kelly said.

"You can't go up against the Quadrad!" Leo insisted. "Even the Power of Three wouldn't protect Prue and her sisters against them now. They are too evil and too powerful."

Evil and powerful, Stuart thought. The Scrabble board's words. That game was telling them what was coming.

"I can't just sit by and let evil destroy and kill at will," Kelly replied.

"There is one thing that you can try," Leo said, "and maybe it will help. Come at them from the side, not head on. Take some destruction they've set in motion and undo it. If the demonic underworld sees that, they may not rush to abandon the Infernal Council. And it would show the Quadrad that they don't have free rein to do as they wish. Maybe that will slow them down and they'll think twice before leaving themselves open to letting the demonic underworld seeing them fail."

"How do we find the destruction that's going to happen before it does?" she asked.

"There's a spell in the Book of Shadows," he replied. "It...should help you find it."

Leo began to orb out but then reversed course and re‑appeared.

"And...The Elders said to take Stuart with you," Leo said.

"What? After all of this time that they've been saying that I was in the way, that I was a liability to the Halliwells ‑ and to Kelly ‑ and that I always put them in danger. Now they want me?"

"They said that Kelly can't be any more endangered than she already will be by doing this," Leo said. "So she needs any help you might...actually...be able to give her."

 

Though he had moved out of the Halliwell Manor, Stuart still had the key to his former home. Kelly parked their car in the Manor's driveway and Stuart let them in through the back door.

"This is just unbelievable," Stuart said, as they quickly ran up the stairs to the attic. "We're actually trying to help ‑ to save ‑ the Infernal Council."

"I've seen the Book only once," Kelly said, as they went over to the stand on which the Book of Shadows lay. "I was able to look through only a small part of it before Grimaldo showed up." Grimaldo was the demon who sent Kelly and Stuart to the alternate reality.

"I haven't gone through it that much myself," Stuart admitted. "But no matter. I do know this can take a long time. We don't know whether this spell is there by itself or part of something larger that was written about some other demon. We'll have to look at every page carefully."

They began reading each page, page after page. After forty‑five minutes Kelly stopped and closed her eyes.

"We need a break," Stuart said, feeling the same mental numbness as Kelly did. "This is about as long as Prue and her sisters could search through it at any one time."

"You're right," Kelly admitted. "I've read about so many demons, warlocks, spells and potions that I'm not sure I would even recognize the right spell now if I saw it."

"Let's go down to the kitchen and get something to eat and drink," he said. "That will help."

Kelly closed her eyes again and took a long, deep breath. "Time. We just don't have the time to stop."

"And we'll lose even more time if we go past the right page and miss it because we're so...tired," Stuart countered. "Come on, honey. Just a short break."

Kelly let out another breath, then nodded her head in agreement. Reluctantly she let Stuart take her hand and lead her out of the attic.

They were on the stairs going down and so did not feel the breeze flowing through the attic, nor hear the ruffling of pages behind them.

 

A quick cup of coffee with half a corn muffin and Kelly was feeling better. Stuart had a glass of milk with the other half of her muffin. They had taken out only fifteen minutes but Kelly was feeling guilty about even that short a break ‑ so much was at stake.

"Enough," she finally said, then hurried back up the stairs as Stuart quickly cleaned up in the kitchen. Then he rushed up to the attic to join her.

He expected to find Kelly pouring over a page, or turning a page to see the next one. Instead, she was just staring at the Book of Shadows.

"Stuart...here it is," she said, with astonishment. "The spell...it's part of this page about the Treller demon. But...the Book was open to this page when I came in. I know this wasn't the last page we looked at before we went downstairs."

"Phew!" Stuart exhaled. He'd seen that happen once before. On a Charmed episode. But everything that happened on Charmed had really happened here. And could, in the right circumstance, happen again. And so he knew how the Book of Shadows came to be open to the page that had the spell they needed.

"The Elders have lent a hand," he said. "Something they refrain from doing except in the most exceptional, or desperate, circumstance."

"I don't believe it gets any more desperate than what we ‑ and they ‑ are up against tonight," Kelly said.

"The Treller demon does things that have an affect afterwards to make things look natural, thereby covering up his being the cause," Stuart said, reading from the page. "But the only thing in this spell that is specific to that demon is the inclusion of his name. This should work with the Quadrad."

"If they do something evil similar to how the Treller does," Kelly said.

"Leo, and by extension The Elders, seemed to think they do," Stuart replied.

And then they both saw the warning at the bottom of the page.

"This spell will affect the connection between the Treller and the evil act that will happen," Stuart read, "and alert him that you know of it. Beware he may go there to stop you."

"That's a risk we'll have to take," Kelly said. She looked at Stuart and he nodded his head in agreement.

"We won't know if they're right about their acts being similar until we try the spell," Kelly said. "And we can't do that until we have the potion that's used together with it. These ingredients...I don't have all of them."

"But Phoebe might," he said. "She makes up most of the potions they use and I know where she keeps the ingredients." Kelly picked up the Book of Shadows and followed Stuart down to the basement. He led Kelly to a cabinet in a corner.

"Not everything is labeled," he said as he opened its two doors, "but I expect you'll recognize all of them anyway."

Kelly took a quick look at the four shelves, each one lined with containers filled with different items, many of which Stuart could not identify. She looked at the potion ingredients in the Book of Shadows, going down the list item by item and searching the shelves for each of the requisite elements. As she found each one she handed it to Stuart, who put the container on a small table nearby. In a few minutes, five containers stood on the table.

"Is that all of them?" Stuart asked.

"No. There's one more we need and I don't see it here," Kelly replied. "But I have that one at home. I'll go get it."

"I'll come with you," Stuart said.

"No...it's better if you stay here," Kelly said. "Maybe the Halliwells will return. In any case, watch the ingredients and keep them safe."

"Kelly...be careful," Stuart said. "We don't know what the Quadrad are doing tonight. They may know about the Manor. They may know about our home."

"And that's why you have to be here to...protect the ingredients," Kelly said. "I'll be back quickly." She came closer to Stuart and kissed him gently. "And I'll be careful."

The Halliwell Manor was only ten minutes from Kelly's home but she managed to make it there in half that time. She rushed into her house and went straight to her cupboard where she kept her ingredients. She found the one she needed, put the container in a small bag and dashed out of the house to her car.

She drove two blocks but then slammed on the brakes. About twenty‑five yards in front of her she saw someone in a hooded, dark red robe. He pointed at a manhole cover and it came off and went flying down the block, breaking through a second floor window.

The figure then pointed down the manhole and a burst of water came spewing through the street at the end of the block. He pointed down the manhole again and a second water geyser broke through the pavement a block behind Kelly.

He's part of the Quadrad, Kelly thought, showering disaster upon the city. If he keeps doing this they'll not only be no water for this area but all of these streets will collapse into a large sinkhole. Kelly wanted to make up a spell to stop him, to do something to help. To do anything and not just sit idly by. But Leo's warning played through her mind. As did her promise to Stuart to be careful.

It took every bit of self‑control that Kelly had to restrain herself and let the destruction continue. Then with anger and determination, she backed up to the corner, turned down the side street and raced the car back to the Halliwell Manor.

 

Kelly had added the final ingredient into a vat, which caused the mixture to bubble and sizzle, and then had said the spell. As she and Stuart looked into the vat, they saw an image of a hooded figure in a dark red robe, sparks flying from his outstretched hands.

"It's working," Kelly said, "but where is he?"

"He's under a bridge," Stuart replied. "He's...he's weakening the support to the approach. Not enough bring it down yet. But weakened enough so that when repeated stress is placed on it, the support will fail. He wants that to happen in the morning when there are lots of cars crossing over it. That would be a disaster."

"And without any chance of his being seen so it will seem to be natural," Kelly said.

"Or he has some other destruction that he wants to cause at the same time, which requires him to be somewhere else," Stuart added.

"I can't tell which bridge's approach he's under," Kelly said.

"I can tell which one it's not," Stuart said. "I'd recognize the ones to the Golden Gate Bridge and that isn't either of them. So it's to one of the Bay Bridge's spans, the eastern or the western."

"We'll have to go there to see which one looks like this image," Kelly said.

"But first you have to make up a spell to counteract what that demon did and reinforce the support," Stuart said.

"Give me a little time," Kelly said. She went to the far side of the attic, sat down on a stool, and began to think.

 

An hour later, Stuart and Kelly were driving across the city to the South of Market District, where there were approaches to the Bay Bridge. But when they examined them none looked like the image the spell had shown them. Then they got onto the bridge's western span, the section of the bridge that connected San Francisco with Yerba Buena Island in the bay. The bridge's eastern span, at the far end of the island, completed the connection to Oakland.

They took the off‑ramp on the island, then circled back to look at the underside of the span's approach. There was a dead‑end behind it, closed off on two sides, the third side being the bridge approach's support. Though it was dark, being almost three a.m., just enough street light shined in through the fourth side's opening through which they had walked so that they both recognized the area as the one in the spell's image.  

"Let's do this before any of the Quadrad decide to come here," Stuart said.

Kelly nodded her head in agreement, focused on the approach support, and began the spell.

"That which has been weakened and set to fail

  And cause so much harm on a grand scale;

  Undo its frailty and restore its strength

  To support what is above in its full width and length."

Pink vapors appeared and quickly completely covered the support. They thickened over it until the support could no longer be seen. Then they dissipated and the support glistened for a few seconds in a golden light, before returning to its normal dirty, grey color.

"The spell worked," Kelly said. "It's back to normal."

"OK ‑ let's get back to the car," Stuart said, turning around, "and get out of here before ‑"

A hooded figure in a dark red robe stood fifteen feet away facing them.

"I knew you were coming here to interfere with my plan, witch," he said. "For that, now you both die."

The area being a dead‑end, there was no place to run on the three sides. The only way out was the way they had come in. And that was where the demon was standing. Kelly knew there wasn't time to make up a spell. And even if she could do it, she knew it would not be strong enough against the Quadrad to save them.

The demon raised his arms, pointing one each directly at Kelly and Stuart, and energy bolts came forth from both his hands.

 

Jenny was kneeling on the ground on both her knees, a hooded demon in a dark red robe stood just in front of her. Three hooded demons in dark red robes stood about ten yards behind him.

"Why are you doin' this to me?" Jenny asked through tears.

The demon did not answer, instead raising his arms and spreading them out in an arc to encompass the field. Black mist began to slowly rise from the ground.

"Jenny!" Phryne shouted as she and the sisters ran onto the field.

"Stop!" the demon standing near Jenny commanded. "Leave here now!"

"We'll leave," Prue said, as she and her sisters slowly approached them. "But not without Jenny. She's coming with us."

"No ‑ she remains," the demon said. "But if you remain here you will die."

"Really? I don't think so," Prue said. They had reached Jenny and Phoebe put her hand under the young girl's arm and slowly started to help her up.

"Who...who are y'all?" Jenny asked.

"We're friends," Phoebe said. Jenny looked at Phryne, who nodded her head slightly.

"You have no idea how powerful I am and what I will do to you," the demon taunted Prue.

"Are you?" Prue asked. "Are you really so powerful? Your robe looks like some second‑hand costume."

"You dare to mock me?" the demon asked. "Then you will be shown how powerful we are."

"We?" Prue asked. "You mean you're not so powerful by yourself as you think you are. You need help from others."

"No ‑ I am very powerful!" he roared. "And I will show you."

"Or...maybe I'll show you," Prue replied.

"You? You can do nothing to me," the demon answered back. "I am part of the Quadrad."

"The Quadrad?" Prue repeated. "What a mundane name. That doesn't even sound powerful."

"You know the rhyme from your dream," Phoebe whispered in Jenny's ear, as Prue bantered with the demon, keeping him distracted. "Take my hand and say it with us."

"Ah don't understand ‑" Jenny started to say.

"Just trust me and say it now! We have to do this together," Phoebe whispered to her. Phoebe's other hand took Piper's hand, who in turn took Prue's hand. And the four, holding hands, began to say the spell together.

   "You who are evil with plans to destroy  

     It is you who will be destroyed today,

     Your power is strong but our's is stronger

     And with it we vanquish you as these words we say."

The demon looked smugly at them for a few seconds. Then his expression changed as a ball of fire appeared over him. It split open, lowered itself to the ground and went around him, then closed with the demon in its center. The ball began to compress, the demon's screams growing louder as the ball's diameter shrunk more and more. And after some five seconds the ball and the demon were gone.

Jenny let go of Phoebe's hand and ran to Phryne. Prue saw disbelief followed by confusion on the faces of the remaining three demons. She could also see their realization that their powers, with the loss of the fourth demon, were now greatly reduced.

Prue waved her hand at them, sending them flying backwards. Phryne pulled Jenny behind her so that she was between her niece and the three demons. She turned towards them and stretched out her arm. She opened her hand and an energy ball flew out of it towards the demons. As she heard one of them scream, she dispatched two more balls, with two more resulting screams. Prue then waved her hand again and the demons went flying a second time.

"If you come back here again we'll vanquish you too, just like your fellow demon," Prue shouted at the three remaining demons as they scrambled to get away.

"So that's your power," Phoebe said to Phryne, after the demons were gone. "I wish I had an active one like that."

"It's not common for a witch to have that power and mine's not all that strong," Phryne said, "but it is effective on lower‑level demons. These were still strong enough to resist being burned up by it but it did get their attention. As did your power, Prue."

"After this, I believe you're not going to have to worry about them for some time," Prue said.

"Aunt Phryne...what is goin' on?" Jenny asked, confusion on her face and fear in her voice.

"When we get home Jenny we're going to sit down and have a long talk," Phryne replied. "There's a lot that you should know. And it's time I explained it all to you."

"What are we going to do about this field?" Piper asked. The black mist had settled back down into the ground.

"Rid it of its evil energy," Phoebe answered. "And I believe I can come up with just the spell to do that."

 

The energy bolts had reached Stuart's and Kelly's bodies. But then the bolts suddenly vanished. The two of them stood immobile for a few seconds, having expected to die and finding that they had not. Kelly looked towards the demon but he was gone as well.

She collapsed to the ground from relief but Stuart remained standing. He looked around in confusion, then kneeled down to Kelly. She threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly, then pulled his lips to hers, kissing him with overwhelming love and emotion. They were alive - and they had each other!

"What...where are we?" Stuart asked after their kiss ended. Kelly looked at him intently.

"You don't know?" she asked.

"No...I'm feeling confused," he replied.

"It's the timeline," she said. "Prue and her sisters altered it. They vanquished that demon so he couldn't be here to cause the destruction he wanted. Nor be here to kill us."

"Kill us?" Stuart asked. "I'm sorry, honey. I just...don't remember."

"If a timeline is changed normal people don't realize that anything is different," Kelly explained. "But I'm a witch, with a witch's sensitivity, so I do remember." And then she told him everything that had happened.

 

It was a different Jenny who joined the sisters in the living room after her long talk with Aunt Phryne. She was no longer confused. She had the answers she had sought for so long about her parents' deaths. And she knew, and was comfortable with, who she was and who her mother had been.

And she understood the feeling she had when reading the Sherlock Holmes stories. The need to help people in danger. It was her legacy. And her new found powers would let her do just that.

"That's a lovely triquetra medallion you're wearing," Piper said.

"Aunt Phryne just gave it to me," Jenny said. "It was Momma's when she was about mah age. See, her initials are the same as mihne." She turned the medallion over to show Piper. Engraved on the reverse were the letters PJH.

"But...those aren't your initials," Piper said. "You're Jenny Saunders ‑ JS."

"Jenny ‑ of course that's really Jane ‑ is mah middle name. Momma didn't much lahk mah first name so she always used mah middle name. But those are mah initials. PJH ‑ Patience Jane Halliwell."

Piper was stunned. She looked at the initials, then looked at Jenny. Halliwell!

"Gran'ma Pamela insisted on mah first name because it was some kihnd of a family tradition," Jenny continued. "But Momma always called me Jenny and Aunt Phryne has done the same."

"Halliwell? But...Saunders..." Piper stumbled.

"When Aunt Phryne adopted me, she changed mah name to her last name ‑ and Momma's maiden name. I always thought it was because it made mah adoption easier. But now ah know it was to protect me so the demons wouldn't know ah was Priscilla Saunders' daughter."

Patience Halliwell. Piper recognized the name. And therefore knew who Jenny was to her. To her? She knew that she was really Holly Combs, and that Jenny was no relation. But her feelings had evolved so that she was also really Piper Halliwell. And she began to feel emotional about this.

Despite being the one who complained the most about what The Elders had done to them, nevertheless it was Piper who was the most emotional when they had met the Halliwells' ancestor Melinda Warren. Her ancestor. And she was feeling that emotional feeling now with Jenny.

She took Jenny's hands, clasping them tightly between her own. "You would have made your mother proud," she said. "And I know that you'll make Aunt Phryne proud of you. And of your decedents, too."

 

"Where do y'all live?" Jenny asked. It was fifteen minutes later and Phryne had finished what she had been doing and joined them.

"We live in San Francisco," Prue replied.

"Your Great‑Aunt Petula lives in San Francisco," Phryne said. "I've written to her often about you, Jenny.

"Aunt Petula doesn't have children. That's probably why she's become quite fond of you. So much so that in her last letter she wrote about her house. The Halliwell Manor, as she calls it. She wrote that she is leaving it to you, Jenny. So you have a place to stay if you visit San Francisco."

"To me?" Jenny asked, stunned. "That's...so kihnd and...generous. Ah...ah don't know what to say. Just...ah have to write to her and thank her.

"What are summers lahk in San Francisco?" she asked.

"June and the first half of July are pleasantly warm," Prue said. "When it gets closer to August it becomes cool, even cold."

"Cool summers," Jenny said, dreamily. "No humidity?"

"Very low," Prue answered.

"That sounds so nice," Jenny said. "Ah'd lahk to visit Great‑Aunt Petula next summer. Could ah do that Aunt Phryne?"

"It will be a lot easier to get there when President Roosevelt finishes building his canal through Panama," Phryne said, "and that's still a ways off. But we can talk about it, honey.

"But now, I need to talk to our friends. Go make up some cold sweet tea for everyone and set it down in the dining room. We'll be in shortly."

Jenny smiled and went to the kitchen to prepare it.

"There's a lot that will happen in the future fighting demons ‑" Phoebe started to say.

"Stop!" Phryne commanded her. "It's not good to know about the future."

"We've been told that a few times by...grandmothers from our past," Prue said. Melinda Warren had stopped Piper from telling her the future when they had met two months earlier. And "Grams" had told them that on a Charmed episode. Which, in this modified world, had really happened here.

"And now you've been told again," Phryne said. "Heed your family elders."

"Family..." Prue paused. "You...know who we are?"

"As I told you, Mother's powers were divided between us. I didn't have the powers to stop the Quadrad. Only Priscilla and her daughter ‑ Jenny ‑ could. And in turn, only Jenny's descendents."

"So we're..." Phoebe started.

"As I calculate it...you're Jenny's great‑grandchildren," Phryne continued.

"I haven't told you our last name," Prue said. "It's Halliwell."

Phryne gave a small smile. "I'll make sure if...when Jenny moves to the Halliwell Manor she'll bring the Book of Shadows with her. So everything will happen as it should ‑ as it has ‑ happened.

"And now you'll join us for Jenny's birthday celebration."

"We'd love to," Phoebe said, "but you'd have a lot of explaining to do to your other guests about our...strange clothes."

"That won't be a problem," Phryne replied. "I'll lend you some of mine. They'll be a little long on you but I can adjust it slightly and no one will notice."

"Then we'll be happy to join you," Piper said.

"Uh...maybe not," Phoebe said and pointed to a clock on the mantel. Its hands had begun to spin forward. "That's The Elders deciding to bring us back home." Yellow swirls of light began to appear in the room.

A stern and determined look came across Piper's face. "We said we're staying for the birthday party," she said sharply in a loud voice. "And we are! Or the next time you want us to vanquish some demon who's out to destroy the world I'll just sit on my hands. And you know that I would do just that!"

The clock's hands continued to spin for a few seconds more but then slowed down, until they once again showed the correct time. And the yellow swirls of light disappeared.

"There," Piper said. "That's much better."

"Wow!" Phoebe said, astonished at Piper's having bested The Elders.

"Now, tell me more about this Hummingbird cake," Piper said to Phryne.

 

Jenny had enjoyed her birthday celebration. Her friends had come over, as had Phryne's friends, including Clara Oswald, who told a few stories of her strange adventures with a mysterious doctor. Jenny wasn't sure she believed her as the stories seemed a bit fanciful. But no matter. The birthday party had been wonderful.

Jenny especially liked that her three new friends ‑ Phryne had not told her who they really were ‑ had also been a part of it. Phryne had told the other guests that Prue and her sisters were her distant relatives from the North where she had lived before coming to Charleston.

The sisters had changed back into their own clothes, had said good‑bye to Jenny and were now alone with Phryne in the living room.

"Are you sure there's nothing about the family's future that you want to know?" Prue asked.

"As I said, seeing the future is dangerous," Phryne replied. "But the little that I've seen, knowing that Jenny will have great‑granddaughters like you, has been more than enough. You've made me very happy. For Jenny ‑ and for you."

Once again, Piper felt herself becoming very emotional. She went over to Phryne, threw her arms around her, and hugged her tightly.

"I'll miss you Aunt Phryne," Piper said. "You are my aunt ‑ our aunt ‑ too."

Phryne hugged Piper back, then gently gave her a loving kiss on the top of her head. Piper held on for a few seconds more, then let go, tears in her eyes. Prue and Phoebe in turn hugged Phryne and received a kiss on their heads, just as the hands of clock on the mantel began to spin forward. The swirls of yellow light appeared in the room, covered the sisters, and then they were gone.

When the swirls vanished the sisters were in the Halliwell Manor attic. And so were Kelly and Stuart, standing by the open Book of Shadows.

"Welcome back," Stuart said.

"Uh...we're home," Prue said, looking at their surroundings. "The Elders sent us back almost one hundred years," she said to Kelly and Stuart. "To deal with ‑"

"The Quadrad," Kelly said.

"Uh...yes," Phoebe said, surprised.

"And you vanquished one of them," Kelly said.

"Uh...yes, again," Phoebe said, even more surprised. "How did you know?"

"One of the Quadrad was about to kill us," Kelly said, "when he suddenly disappeared. I knew you had been sent back in time so I understood that you must have vanquished him in the past. You saved our lives."

"It's a good thing you vanquished the right one," Stuart said. "How did you know which one of the four demons to pick to vanquish?"

"We...didn't," Piper admitted. "We didn't pick one of them. He picked us." Stuart hesitated for a few seconds. "Oh," he said, realizing that if it had been one of the other demons who had confronted the sisters they would not have vanquished the one who was about to kill them. Which meant that he and Kelly would be...no, better not to think about that.

"The good thing is that we don't have to worry about them," Prue said.

"Not quite," Kelly replied. "Leo filled us in, though he didn't realize the timeline had been changed. Apparently The Elders don't tell him everything, either. There are still three of them in a group. And though they're not as strong as when they were four, and they're not about to challenge the Infernal Council for supremacy, they will still make their presence felt."

"What are they called," Phoebe replied.

"The Triad," Kelly answered.

"Triad," Piper repeated. "They were the Quadrad when there were four of them so they're the Triad when they are three. I guess that makes sense."

"Come on," Stuart said, "let's go downstairs and we'll tell you what we know about them. I expect that we will be hearing a lot about the Triad." Stuart closed the Book of Shadows and they started to leave the attic.

"Now," Stuart began, "one of those nasty hooded, red‑robed demons..."






~ Author's Notes ~


The Charleston Exposition ran for seven months from December 1901 through June 1902. The "Ivory City" buildings were designed in Spanish Renaissance style. President Teddy Roosevelt visited the Exposition in April.


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Magnolia Plantation & Gardens is one of the last large scale Romantic Gardens in America. Romantic Gardens are informal rather than formal gardens. They are designed to take the person to a place where emotion takes precedent over reason and to express the inherent beauty of nature in opposition to the strictly symmetrical, formal gardens. Magnolia Gardens has been open to the public since 1870.

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The Charleston Museum opened to the public in 1824. Its focus is to preserve and interpret the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry.


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