and Cebrián each held onto the Ring tightly, using
all of their physical and mental strengths. Each trying to concentrate and
control what the Ring would do. Each knowing what would happen if the other
gained control of it. The Ring, almost three feet in diameter, was spinning,
first counter-clockwise twice, then reversing, and turning clockwise two times
more. Holding on to it, Phoebe and the demon were being spun around and around
From the corner of her eye Phoebe could see images appearing
in The Manor’s living room. But she knew they weren't just images...they were
real people. A girl in a metallic jump suit, flying around overhead, propelled
by a feint stream of mist coming from a small cylinder strapped to her back.
A man in a blue waistcoat, britches, and black, triangular
hat, a walking stick in his left hand. A knight in full armor, his sword drawn
above his head, a shield held in his other hand. A blonde teenage girl, with an
iPod hooked onto the belt of her tan shorts, aiming a small, flip-style cell
phone to take a picture. Each would appear and then, after a few seconds,
disappear, to be replaced by someone else.
A World War I doughboy, aiming his rifle and shooting, came
next. Phoebe felt the bullet pass by her face and just miss her. He was
replaced in a few seconds by three people wearing powder blue one-piece jump
suits with the words Mars Colony IV on their backs.
The Ring was spinning faster and faster, now only one way in
a clockwise direction. And Phoebe and the demon were being spun around with it,
their feet now raised off the floor and sticking outwards. Phoebe knew she had
to hold on and not let Cebrián take control of the ring. But the faster the
Ring spun the harder it was for her to concentrate on trying to command it.
Dizziness was combining with the centrifugal force, making it harder for Phoebe
to maintain her grip.
But if she didn't hold on, if she let Cebrián take control
of the Ring, the power that demon would summon could be un-stoppable. The past,
the future, popping in and out around her in a mixture that was breaking down
time, was but an inconsequential prelude to who Cebrián would bring through
time if the demon gained control of the Ring.
Sparks began coming from the Ring. First just a few, then
more and more sparks as they spun faster and faster. The sparks were burning
Phoebe's hands. She felt she couldn't hold on much longer just as Stuart opened
the door and walked in to The Manor.
Seeing Cebrián and Phoebe spinning, Stuart realized what has
happening. He tried to get to the Ring to grab it and help Phoebe control it.
But Phoebe and Cebrián were spinning so quickly, around and around, that he
couldn't get through them to reach it.
Desperate, Stuart took a few steps backward, took a running
start and jumped over them, trying to get to the Ring and grab on to it. Which
At the same instant that Phoebe lost her grip on it.
And then there was an explosion.
Stuart was lying un-conscious face down on the living room
floor. He began to stir and slowly, started to turn over.
"Ugh...ugh..." he grimaced, putting both his hands
to his head.
After a moment he put his hands down, shook his head and
He was lying on the living room floor near the wall. There
was no ring, no Cebrián - and no Phoebe.
Slowly, he picked himself up and took another look around
the room. Hadn’t there been an explosion? Yes...he remembered it happening. But
there was no damage to The Manor. Everything was neatly in its place, the early afternoon sun
calmly brightening the room. Nothing
to indicate anything had happened at all. It was clean...and quiet.
"Hey! Who are you?!" a voice demanded.
Stuart turned and saw a young woman standing at the foot of
"Who...who are you?" Stuart countered.
"I asked you first," the young woman said, a tough
look in her eyes. "You tell me who you are and how you got here."
"No," Stuart said. "You tell me what you're
doing here in The Manor. And...where's Phoebe? I have to get to
"Phoebe?!" the young woman repeated.
"Phoebe's...oh...I know what you are. And how to deal with you."
The young woman held out her hand and concentrated. In a
second, an energy ball materialized in her palm.
"This is for you, demon," she said and threw it at
"AGH!" he screamed and dived, barely getting out
of the ball's way.
"Paige, what's going on here?" Phoebe asked as she
came into the room.
"He's a demon," Paige said.
"Phoebe - what's happening?" Stuart asked,
crouching on the floor.
"Who?" Phoebe asked.
Paige held out her hand and another energy ball appeared in
"Phoebe - what is this...who is she?"
"I'm Julie!" Phoebe said firmly, giving Stuart a
"What...what are you talking about, Phoebe,"
Paige raised her hand to throw the energy ball at him.
"Wait!" Phoebe said.
Hearing the commotion, Piper came running into the living
"What..." she started to say, then saw the energy
ball in Paige's hand and Stuart in the corner. "Whoa...what's going on
"Piper!" Stuart said. "Will you tell her to
stop throwing those things?"
"Piper?!" Piper repeated slowly.
"He called me Phoebe," Phoebe said.
"He found out who we are," Paige said, "so
he's a demon."
"Piper...Phoebe...it's me. Stuart," he said.
"Stuart?" Piper asked.
Stuart looked back and forth between Piper and Phoebe.
"Oh my goodness," he said, "you don't
recognize me. What happened?" He stopped. "The explosion," he
said. "The explosion must have...done something. But Piper, you weren't
even in The Manor when the Ring exploded."
"OK," Piper said, "let's just stop for a
minute." She motioned to him to stand up. "Your name is Stuart?"
"Yes," he answered slowly, getting up.
"I'm Jenny Bennett and this is Julie Bennett,"
Piper continued. "And you think you know us?"
Stuart shook his head.
"Don't you remember who you are?" Stuart asked.
"You're Piper and you're Phoebe. Halliwell.
He stared at Phoebe for a few seconds.
"But your hair, Phoebe...it's different...the
style," he said. "Why...how did it change from just a few minutes
The three girls looked at each other.
"Wait right here," Piper said. She started towards
the parlor then stopped and turned around. "Don't move!" she ordered
In a minute Piper returned, holding a mirror.
"Stand next to us," she said to Stuart, motioning
for him to join them. Stuart walked over and Piper held up the mirror to the
three of them. Paige got tired of holding the energy ball, shrugged her
shoulders and orbed it out.
"What..." Stuart started to say as he stared
into the mirror. "How...you're not in...whose reflections are those?"
can see us," Piper said.
"How is that possible?" Phoebe asked. "The
spell we cast let's only those close to us see us as we really are."
"I am close to you," Stuart said.
"Don't you remember?"
"No, we've never seen you before," Piper said.
Stuart shook his head.
"I don't understand this," he said.
"Neither do we," Paige said. "Do you know
"No, I don't," Stuart said.
"I'm Jo," Paige said, then gave an upward roll of
her eyes with a slight rocking of her head. "OK, I'm really Paige
"Paige?" Stuart repeated. "And you're a
witch?" Paige nodded her head.
"I'm their sister," she said.
"Sister?!" Stuart exclaimed. "Piper, what
is she talking about?"
"We have to figure out who you are and how you know who
we are," Piper said.
"Maybe this will help," Phoebe said, taking
Stuart's hands and clasping hers around them.
"Oh!" Phoebe exclaimed, her eyes closing. She
stood that way for half a minute, then opened her eyes, let go of Stuart's
hands and tried to catch her breath.
"What did you see?" Piper asked.
"I...I saw Stuart and me in The Manor...kissing,"
Phoebe said. "Passionately." She took a deep breath.
"And..." She stopped.
"And..." Piper said. "Go on."
"We turned around and saw two people in the parlor,
smiling at us," Phoebe said. "You, Piper. And...Prue."
"Prue?" Paige asked.
Phoebe closed her eyes for a second, then opened them, took
another deep breath and nodded her head in confirmation.
"Prue..." Piper said. "Then what you saw was
in the past."
"But it never happened," Paige said.
"Of course it happened," Stuart said.
"I don't understand how..." Phoebe said.
"And I don't understand why you don't remember,"
Stuart said, taking Phoebe's hands in his. She started to pull her hands away
then stopped, changed her mind and let him hold them. "I've been living in
The Manor with-"
"You think you've been living here?" Paige
asked. "What are you talking about!"
"I'm talking about saving innocents," Stuart said.
"About The Book of Shadows, about the four of us fighting demons. The four
of us, that is, with Prue. And where is Prue?"
Piper glanced at Phoebe then looked back to Stuart.
"Prue..." Piper started to say, then hesitated.
"What?!" Stuart exclaimed. "That's
impossible. I...I was just with Prue a little while ago."
"OK," she said, "let's all sit down and try
to make some sense out of this." They walked over to the sofa and Piper
motioned to Stuart to take the chair on the side.
"You said you were with Prue today," Piper said..
"Yes," Stuart said, "we were trying to get
the Ring before Cebrián got full control of it."
"Who's Cebrián?" Paige asked.
"A powerful demon," Stuart said. "He wanted
to use the Ring - the Ring of Daldode - to break down the walls of time and
bring together demons from the past, demons who had been vanquished by witches
in their time. By grabbing them out of their time before they were
vanquished, he could use them and their powers in the present. Bring them to
the present and put them together with his own coterie of demons. The combined
power would be devastating."
"And you...with Prue...stopped him?" Paige asked.
"Together with Phoebe, too," Stuart said.
"Phoebe made up a spell to keep the Ring moving so
Cebrián couldn't hold onto it for long," Stuart continued. "But
before she could say the spell he
was able to hold on to it just long enough to bring back two demons - along
with a few people from the past and the future. The Ring just breaks down the
walls of time. The one holding the Ring concentrates on who he wants to bring
through time but once the wall is breached others can just fall through the
opening. From the past and from the future. In this case, ordinary
people. Prue made up a spell to send the people back. I was helping her find
them and do that while Phoebe was trying to come up with a way to vanquish
"And that was...today?" Phoebe asked.
"Yes," Stuart said. "But one of the
vanquished demons Cebrián brought back from the past had the knowledge of how
to keep control of the Ring despite Phoebe's spell. Somehow, both Cebrián and
the Ring wound up here in The Manor. When I came home I saw you, Phoebe, and
Cebrián, both holding onto the Ring. You were trying to keep Cebrián from
getting control of it. Maybe even being a counterbalance to him. The Ring was
spinning around and around and you were both spinning with it. I jumped at the
Ring to try to help you. I...I think you lost your grip just as I grabbed it.
"Then there was an explosion," he continued.
"The next thing I knew I woke up on the floor. And Paige was trying to
"Sorry," Paige said, giving an upward roll of her
eyes and a slight rocking of her head along with a shrug of her shoulders.
"I thought you were a demon."
"Prue..." Piper said, "...was killed by a
demon four-and-a-half years ago."
"Four and..." Stuart said. "That's
impossible. You weren't even witches back then. It's only been a month since
The Elders made you into the Charmed Ones."
"We've been the Charmed Ones for over seven
years," Phoebe said. "And The Elders had nothing to do with it. We've
been witches from the day we were born. We just didn't know about it until
seven years ago."
A look of disbelief crossed Stuart's face.
"What do you think today's date is?" Piper asked
"It's...June," he said. "June...uh-"
"And the year?" Piper asked, before he could
"2000, of course," Stuart said.
The girls looked at each other.
"It's October," Piper said. "2005."
"That's...uh..." Stuart started to say. Then he
stopped and shook his head. He knew better than to say traveling five years in
the future was impossible.
"You said there was an explosion when you grabbed onto
the Ring," Phoebe said, "and that the walls of time were breaking
down. Something must have happened that propelled you into the future."
"A future," Stuart said, slowly, "in which
you don't know me. In which you're mixed up about how you became..." He
suddenly stopped as a disturbing thought came to him.
"Alyssa," he said to Phoebe.
"Who?" Phoebe asked.
Stuart stared at her for a second then turned to Piper.
"Holly?" he said.
"Who's Holly?" Piper asked.
"Oh, my goodness," Stuart said. "Oh...my
"What?" Phoebe asked.
"You don't remember Charmed?" he asked.
"Charmed?" Phoebe repeated.
"The show," Stuart said. "Hollywood. Being
brought by The Elders to San Francisco."
The girls shook their heads slightly and gave him blank
"Oh, my goodness," he said. "This is a future
without its past."
"We have a past," Paige said.
"Yes," Stuart said, "only it's not the past
that really happened. It's a Charmed only past. With...a Charmed only
The sun had set some ten minutes earlier and the sky was
partially pink. Standing on The Manor's top step, Stuart watched a plane fly
by, silhouetted against the day's last light. Though it was getting a little
chilly, he felt he needed to be outside where he could think.
"Hi," a familiar voice said. He turned around and
saw Phoebe coming outside and closing the front door behind her. She was
wearing a blue pullover sweater and was holding a brown sweater in her hand.
"It can get chilly at night this time of year,"
she said. "I thought you could use this. It's Leo's."
"Leo's," Stuart said. "Uh...I don't think
"It's OK," she said, smiling as she handed it to
him. Stuart hesitated, then took it and slipped it over his head.
"Thanks," he said. "So...you’ve faked your
deaths and are hiding out under aliases."
"We're not exactly hiding," Phoebe said.
"We’re living here in The Manor. The spell just makes us look different to
everyone else. Piper is still running P3, albeit as her distant cousin Jenny.
And I've picked up where I left off - uh, where Phoebe left off - as her cousin,
"My Phoebe - and Prue and Piper too - longed for being
normal people," Stuart said. "And now, you've accomplished that
"I remember how we felt back then," Phoebe said.
"That's in my past, too."
Stuart looked at her for a moment.
"But in my past you...uh, they recognized
that they were given a responsibility," he said. "A responsibility
that no one else could carry out. And they accepted, at least for a time, that
they had to save innocents. And save the world."
"We did, too," Phoebe said. "But that time
has passed. We've paid our dues."
"Don't you ever worry about what the demons are
doing?" he asked. "About what evil is happening that you're not
"It can't be helped," she said. "There was no
other way. It was either being fake dead or really dead." She hesitated
again. "Like Prue," she added.
Stuart didn't understand that. The thought of Prue
dying was too much for him to accept.
Yes, Prue had died in his time but that was because the timeline
had been altered. Once they corrected the timeline she was alive again, as she
was supposed to be.
Piper told him Prue had died a year later. That is, a year later in his time,
in the time he came from. In May of 2001. But once those demons planning major
destruction, the ones Shannen, Holly and Alyssa had been turned into witches to
stop, were vanquished, they hoped The Elders would make them back into
actresses, again. And that would be much sooner than a year later.
But there had been no way to explain all of that to them. He
saw it was beyond their comprehension - and he couldn't blame them. Whatever
the Ring did to time somehow altered both parts of the future and memories of
the past. Or had the past truly been changed, changed now for the sisters the
same way it was changed for everyone else when The Elders made The Halliwells
Stuart didn't know - he just had to accept things the way
they were. And if he didn't understand it he couldn't expect them to
understand it, either. So he let it go and hadn't mention Charmed again.
He turned and looked up at the sky. The pink was starting to
turn a dark purple.
"You know you're welcome to stay here," Phoebe
"In the extra bedroom," he said, turning back to
her, "just like last time."
"Uh...the extra bedroom is being used by Wyatt,"
Phoebe said. "And occasionally also by Billie."
"Who's Billie?" Stuart asked.
"An inexperienced witch we're sort of training,"
she said. "But, it's OK. I'll move in with Paige and give you my
"Paige will not be happy sharing her room
because of me," Stuart said.
"She's lived in worse conditions," Phoebe said.
"Are...you sure?" he asked.
"It's the least I can do for someone who's saved my
life," she said.
"Except...that you don't really believe that what I
told you about it ever happened," he said.
"I believe that...some place...in some timeline...you did
save my life," Phoebe said. "Twice," she added, with a small
"You know...this is deja vu," Stuart said.
"Last time it was Prue who didn't trust me. Now, it's Paige and Piper
who don't trust me."
"Piper does trust you," Phoebe said.
"She's just...being careful. As for Paige...she'll learn to accept
"Piper is different here," Stuart said. "She’s much more in
"The older sister," Phoebe said and Stuart nodded his
head in agreement. "Piper’s changed since Prue died. She’s had to."
"I used to come out here with you...uh, with...my Phoebe,"
he said. "Just to take a break for a few minutes from our demon hunting,
demon evading world. We'd take a deep breath of the night air and you...uh,
Phoebe, would put her arm around mine and hold my hand."
Phoebe edged closer to Stuart, looked up at the sky and took
a deep breath.
"You mean...like this?" she asked, as she slid her
arm around his and took his hand.
Stuart turned to her and looked into her eyes. Then he
closed his eyes, held them shut for a few seconds, opened them and exhaled.
"This...this is so hard," he said. "You're
Phoebe...but you're not Phoebe. At least, not the Phoebe I
"Kiss?" she asked. She drew herself closer to him
and brought her lips next to his. For a few seconds they didn't move.
And then they both moved - and their lips touched. Then
their arms came around and they embraced each other as they held their kiss.
As their kiss ended they drew back slightly and looked at
"You are Phoebe," he said.
"But not your Phoebe," she said.
"I...I'm involved with someone."
"Oh," he said.
"That is, I'm sort of involved," she said.
"Uh...trying to get more involved."
Phoebe saw the look on Stuart's face.
"I...had this premonition," she said, "about
Dex - that's his name - about him marrying me. And I felt it was time to be
married so...I set about trying to make my premonition come true."
"Obviously it hasn't," he said.
"Not yet," Phoebe said. "But...it's getting
closer. Or, at least he and I are getting closer."
Stuart exhaled. Phoebe saw small tears form in Stuart's eyes
as he tried to hold them back.
"I know this is hard for you," Phoebe said.
"It's confusing for me. After what I saw in my premonition of the past.
And...what I just felt when we kissed. I felt something that...transcended
timelines. Something that confirms the image in my premonition. That other
Phoebe from the past is one lucky girl."
Stuart closed his eyes for a second and sighed.
"Given all of that...are you sure you want me staying
in The Manor?" he asked.
Phoebe took Stuart's hand and squeezed it.
"Yes," she said. "This is where you
"I just can't accept what he says happened," Leo
said. The moonlight illuminated his face as he lay in bed, his right side
propped up by his right arm. "Everything is as it should be. Time has
continued all along without any change."
"He told us you would say that," Piper said, lying
on her back next to him on his right. "He said time got changed once
before and you said the same thing about it then."
"Then maybe he's making it all up," Leo said.
"For what reason?" Piper asked.
"I don't know," Leo said. "I don't trust
"He told us you felt that way about him five years ago,
too," Piper said. "At least until you realized how committed he was
to fighting evil with us."
"He's making good guesses about what I'm saying and
feeling about him," Leo said.
"Either that," Piper said, "or he really does
"How can you believe that?" Leo asked.
"Hmmm...he has an intimate knowledge of everything
about The Manor," Piper said, "the Book of Shadows and our lives.
Including the specific innocents we saved and the specific demons and warlocks
we vanquished during the first two years we were the Charmed Ones. Everything
up until June of 2000, which is when he says the Ring of Daldode sent him here.
I don't think he could guess all of that."
"Maybe," Leo said, "but -"
"And," Piper continued, "he can see us as we
really are. Who we really are. The spell doesn't let anyone we aren't
close to see us that way."
"Exactly," Leo said. "He can't really
see us. So he's somehow figured out-"
"And then there's Phoebe's premonition from the
past," Piper said. "We know her premonitions of the future can be
changed. But the past is the past. What she saw really happened." She exhaled.
"Somewhere...in some past," she said.
through time more than once," Phoebe said the next afternoon as they sat
around in the living room. "So we know how confusing and changeable time
travel and timelines can be."
"You change one small thing in the past," Piper
said, "and that can cause very big changes in the future."
"That's the same thing you said when my timeline got
changed before," Stuart said.
"Well," Piper said, "it's good to know I'm
consistent across both timelines."
"Or...it can change a small thing in the past,"
Paige said. "Maybe what you think you remember as your past was
actually what got changed."
Stuart shook his head 'no'.
"The Ring of Daldode was breaking down the walls of
time in the past and in the future," Piper said. "A small change to
the future, a small change to the past, put it together and wham! It all gets
"Into something that maybe is not exactly what was
supposed to be," Phoebe said.
"Wait a minute," Paige said, "do you know
what you're saying? You're saying that we're...not really who we are."
"And Stuart is the link," Piper said. "When
you grabbed the Ring, you were the catalyst for what happened."
"Are you saying it's all my fault?" Stuart asked,
sounding a little upset.
"No," Phoebe said, "you didn't do anything
wrong. You were trying to stop Cebrián. And trying to save...me."
"Maybe Phoebe was still holding on to it with one hand
when you grabbed it," Piper said, "and the combination of the two of
you against Cebrián made the explosion."
"Or maybe you grabbed it," Phoebe said, "just
as Cebrián got control of it and caused some kind of..."
"Short in time," Leo said, coming into the room.
"I thought you were playing a game with Wyatt,
Honey," Piper said.
"We were," Leo said, "but he got a little
tired so he's taking a nap."
"So you believe me now?" Stuart asked.
"I believe...that it's theoretically possible to short
out time," Leo said. "If something was causing a temporal change and
the time circuits got overloaded just at that instant."
"The Ring was sparking when I grabbed it," Stuart
said. "Shorts cause sparks."
"I didn't say I believed that is what
happened," Leo continued. "That would mean that us...that
Wyatt...shouldn't exist. I won't accept that our son-"
"It doesn't mean Wyatt wouldn't exist," Stuart
said. "The surroundings, or how you got to this point in the
timeline...just might be a little different. Look, Wyatt is already different
from the future child you once saw, Piper. From the timeline you were
"Let's not go there," Piper said. "Let's just
say that your past, Stuart, was somehow also real. And that Cebrián and
his plan to bring back pre-vanquished demons was real, too."
"Then everyone is in great danger," Phoebe said.
"If Cebrián succeeded," Paige said, "if he
really brought all of those demons together, and controlled all of that power,
then we shouldn’t be here like this. If he caused that much devastation we
would know about it. Right?"
"Maybe he didn't do anything," Phoebe said.
"That explosion could have destroyed the Ring."
"Or the explosion could have been part of Cebrián's
success in controlling it," Piper said. "With a demon with
potentially that much power, we can't leave any loose ends."
"Oh, I'm so glad to hear you say that," Billie
said as she came into the room. "We have demon loose ends and we can't
leave them around."
"What are you talking about?" Leo asked.
"Anastos," Billie said.
"We vanquished him," Leo said.
"And only because you were about to get yourself
killed," Piper said. "We could have blown our cover doing that."
"But there was another demon," Billie said.
"You don't know that," Phoebe said.
"Yes, I do!" Billie insisted. "I followed
Anastos around. He wasn't smart enough to do that stuff on his own. He had to
be working for a smarter, and a more powerful, demon."
"We can't worry about that," Phoebe said.
"But all you have to do is go over to Mission and see
if another demon is lurking around," Billie said.
"We can't risk being exposed," Piper said.
"We can't go there."
"Uh...but I can," Stuart said.
"You?" Paige asked.
"I have enough experience around demons that I could
spot one," Stuart said. "If he's there."
"That's dangerous," Phoebe said.
"Fighting demons always is," Stuart said.
"What was Anastos doing?"
"Taking the good out of people," Piper said,
"and replacing it with demonic evil. He did that to four or five people in
the Mission District."
"Had he continued," Billie said, "he could
have destroyed countless innocents. But we stopped him."
"At the risk of our being unmasked and all the demons
who want to kill us knowing that we're still alive," Piper said,
"But I won't pose any risk to your cover,"
Stuart said. "No one knows I have a connection to you. Hmph...I don't have
a connection to anyone in this time."
"You," Billie said, "you'll go and find him.
And then we'll vanquish him."
"No!" Piper said, "Stuart's not going to go
looking for him and we're not going to vanquish anyone. We don't do that
"Well someone has to!" Billie said.
"Isn't that right, Stuart?"
Stuart looked at Billie, then at Piper and Phoebe.
"Look," he said, "I'll just go over to the
Mission District and look around. That's all."
Piper looked at Phoebe and Paige. Then she turned back to
Stuart and reluctantly nodded her head.
"Good," Billie said. "And I'll come with
"No, you won't," Leo said. "You'll stay right
here. If you want to do something useful there are three books on spells and
potions in the attic waiting for you to start studying them."
A few people passed Stuart as he stood on the corner of
Mission and 20th Street. This was near the buildings where, Billie told him,
Anastos had taken his victims. A few schoolgirls that appeared to Stuart to be
about twelve or thirteen years old, walking singly or in pairs, were strolling
across the street and turning the far corner. They were enjoying the sunny
afternoon, early October being part of the mild and pleasant summer in San
Francisco's peculiar seasonal calendar.
Stuart crossed Mission Street, walked a few yards down 20th
Street and then stopped. He hadn't seen any demons, nor anything that seemed
even in the slightest way suspicious. Stuart looked down the street but saw
nothing out of the ordinary. He was slowly stepping backwards, the better to
see all of the building and alleys on both sides of the street when he bumped
into someone behind him.
Startled, and immediately suspecting a demon, he quickly
"Billie!" he said. "What are you doing here?
You're supposed to be back at The Manor studying."
"I forgot to tell you about the Pentarod," she
"Pentarod?" he asked. "What's that?"
"It's a silver rod about eighteen inches tall,"
she said, "with a pentagram on top. That's what Anastos used to replace
the good with evil in the innocents. You have to be looking for someone holding
"OK, you've told me," he said. "Now go back
to The Manor."
"No," Billie said. "Now that I'm here I'm not
going to just leave."
"Billie," Stuart said, "you're a witch in
training. You're not ready to take on this demon."
"I'm more of a witch than you are," Billie said.
"You're not a witch at all. You don't even have any powers to use
against this demon."
"What I have," Stuart said, "is the
experience to know how much I can do. And when not to try to do anything but to
call for help, instead."
"You mean...like now?" Billie asked, motioning
with her head towards the alley behind him.
Stuart turned around and saw a man about thirty yards away
near the alley approaching a schoolgirl. He stood about five foot-nine, had
curly grey hair and was wearing an olive-grey jacket over a drab mock
turtleneck. In his right hand he held a silver rod with a pentagram at its top.
"See," Billie said, "I was right. Let's
"No!" Stuart said.
"No?" she asked. "We can't let him make that
girl into someone evil."
"And we can't stop him," Stuart said. "I just
told you about knowing when not to try anything but instead to get help."
"It will be too late," Billie said.
"We don't have the powers to stop him," Stuart
"Some of us don't," Billie said. "It's
a good thing I'm here." She moved in front of Stuart, put her fingers in
her mouth and gave a loud whistle.
"Hey you, demon," she called out as she started
moving quickly towards him. "Over here."
The demon looked up at Billie. Stuart thought he saw a look
of recognition on the demon's face. Stuart gritted his teeth, shook his head
slightly and exhaled. Then he hurried after Billie.
Closer to the demon now, Billie took two things from her
pocket, put one in each of her hands and threw them on the ground in front of
him. Two small explosions erupted.
Seeing that the demon was distracted, Stuart made a dash for
the schoolgirl. He grabbed her and fell down with her, rolling with her towards
the corner of the alley away from the demon. Frightened, the girl pushed Stuart
away, jumped up and started running away from him in the direction of Billie.
The demon had recovered and now stood between Stuart and
Billie, his eyes following the schoolgirl.
"Grab the girl and get her out of here," Stuart
shouted at Billie. The girl had just reached Billie and she grabbed the girl
with both hands.
"Let me go!" the girl cried.
"Now, Billie!" Stuart commanded. "Run!"
Billie hesitated for a second. Then she took the girl's arm
securely in her hand and began running, pulling the terrified girl behind her.
Stuart was cornered, the demon standing between him and his
only way out of the alley. The demon turned to him, his face full of fury, and
pointed the Pentarod at him.
"Stuart hasn't called," Phoebe said, as they were
sitting at the table in the kitchen having a snack. "So it must be OK."
"Uh, no, it isn't OK," Billie said, rushing in.
"What do you mean?" Phoebe asked slowly, giving
Billie a stern look.
"The demon was there," Billie said.
"How do you know that?" Phoebe demanded.
"Because...I was there, too," Billie said.
"I told you to stay in the attic and study," Leo
"I know," Billie said, "but I forgot to tell
Stuart about the Pentarod."
"What happened?" Piper asked firmly.
"The demon had an innocent, a young schoolgirl that he
was going to use the Pentarod on," Billie said.
"Don't tell me," Paige said, "you tried to
stop the demon."
"I know, I shouldn't have tried going up against the
demon," Billie said. "Stuart told me not to, that we should call for
"But you didn't listen," Phoebe said.
"She was an innocent," Billie said, in defense.
"What happened?" Piper asked.
"I distracted the demon," Billie said, "and
Stuart ran right past him, grabbed the girl and pushed her away. The demon
started to recover and Stuart told me to get the girl out of there. Which I
"And Stuart?" Phoebe asked.
"He was on the other side of the demon," Billie
said. "He couldn't get away."
"You left Stuart there-" Phoebe started to yell.
"Look...I feel bad, very bad," Billie said.
"I know I messed up."
"You did more than that!" Phoebe said, angrily.
"Stop," Piper said. "There'll be plenty of
time to yell at Billie later. Right now our concern is Stuart."
"That demon must have been really mad that Stuart got
that schoolgirl away from him," Paige said. "I don't think there's
any doubt he used the Pentarod on Stuart in revenge."
"We'll have to make up the potion to reverse it,"
"Wait," Paige said, "I didn't know we had a
"We didn't make it up for Anastos' victims,"
Phoebe said, "because we could not walk in to their homes and tell their
families to give them a potion to drink that would suddenly make them all
better without revealing who we are."
"And because the potion can't reverse the process
without aiming the Pentarod," Piper said, "which we didn't
"And still don't," Paige said.
"But we can get it," Leo said. "This is the
second time Billie has interfered with this demon, whoever he is. He's going to
want to find Billie and kill her. He's used the Pentarod on Stuart so he has a
simple way of finding Billie."
"Follow Stuart to The Manor," Paige said.
There was the noise of the front door being flung open.
"That...should be Stuart," Piper
They hurried out of the kitchen and saw Stuart walking down
the hallway towards them. He looked very different to Paige. Gone was the
goodness she had seen in him. In its place was a look of hate.
"Stuart," Phoebe said, tentatively approaching
him. "What happened?"
"What happened," he said, "is that I can
sense that you reek from kindness."
"Stuart," Phoebe said, "you've been- AGH!"
With the back of his hand, Stuart hit Phoebe across her face
and knocked her down. Piper quickly raised her hand and froze him.
"OK," Piper said, "we know what's happened to
Stuart. Let's get him into the kitchen."
Paige went to close the front door as Phoebe got up. Piper
and Leo pulled Stuart with them and put him down on the kitchen floor.
"Do we have all of the potion's ingredients?"
Paige asked as she rejoined them.
"Fortunately, yes," Phoebe said.
"How fast can you make the potion?" Billie asked,
with a sense of guilt.
"Not fast enough," Piper said.
"Uh...you can just keep re-freezing Stuart until
Phoebe's ready," Billie said.
"He's not the one I'm worried about," Piper said.
There was the noise of the front door being flung open
"He's the one I'm worried about," Piper
said, pointing towards the front of The Manor.
"The demon!" Paige and Phoebe said together.
"We need the spell you used on Anastos," Paige
"I still have it here," Phoebe said, grabbing her
purse from the counter.
"I told you this demon is more powerful than
Anastos," Billie said. "That won't work on him. You need a stronger
"We don't have time to make up a new spell," Paige
said firmly. "That demon is in our living room!"
"Then we'll change the words from singular to plural
and say the spell together," Piper said, "using the Power of Three. And
hope that will make up the difference."
"Got it," Phoebe said, pulling a folded paper from
"Ready?" Piper asked.
"And with our new selves we were supposed to be safe
from demons trying to kill us," Paige said, wistfully.
"Let's do it," Billie said.
"Not you," Leo said to Billie. "That demon is
"I can-" Billie started to say
"Stay here and watch Stuart," Leo said, cutting
her off. "We can't have him in there together with that demon."
"Well...what do I do if he unfreezes?" Billie
"You've been practicing your fighting skills," Leo
said. "Stuart's human. Knock him out."
"Oh," Billie said, an un-comfortable look on her
Leo and the three sisters hurried out of the kitchen and saw
the demon standing at the end of the hallway. He looked them over and, not
seeing Billie whom he was after, raised the Pentarod.
"Watch out!" Leo said.
Paige pushed her open palms at the demon and hurled two
fireballs at him. But the demon only hissed at them as the fireballs bounced
off of him. Piper then raised her hand to freeze him but nothing happened.
"Ohhh," Phoebe said, "he's a lot stronger
than Anastos." The girls and Leo quickly ran to the sofa and, using it as
cover, crouched behind it.
"This had better work," Paige said, as the three
sisters held hands.
"And make sure that Pentarod doesn't get vanquished
with him," Phoebe said, as she held the spell with her free hand.
now, this spell we say,
To make this
demon go away;
of old to times of modernity
this demon for all of eternity."
A fire suddenly surrounded the demon. A look of fear came
over the demon's face as he realized what was happening. Leo quickly orbed in
between the demon and the fire. He grabbed the Pentarod out of the distracted
demon's hand and orbed out just as the fire reached the demon.
Three loud screams came from the demon and then he was gone.
"Got it," Leo said as the sisters stood up.
"Phew!" Phoebe exhaled. "It worked."
"You know, we don't even know the demon's name,"
"An anonymous demon is just as good," Phoebe said,
"as long as he's a vanquished demon."
"Stuart...and Billie," Piper said, concern in her
voice. They hurried back into the kitchen to see Billie land her right fist
across Stuart's jaw. Having been sitting up, Stuart now fell backwards, his
head hitting the floor with a loud thump, his arms spread out on either side of
"Oh!" Phoebe said, rushing to his side.
"I told you to knock him out, not to kill him,"
"Well...how was I supposed to know he couldn't take my
punch," Billie said.
"Leo," Phoebe said.
Leo knelt down next to Stuart and put his hands on Stuart's
"He's OK," Leo said. "There's no damage to
his head. He's just knocked out."
"Let's make the potion," Piper said, picking up
the Pentarod, "and get Stuart back to being himself."
"I want you to know how much I appreciate everything
you've done for me the past three days," Stuart said. "You've made me
feel at home here. You've let me be part of the family, again. But...I...don't
belong here...I have to get back to my time."
"Because of Dex?" Phoebe asked cautiously.
"That's part of it," he said. "But it's also
the feeling that I've...abandoned the people who need me. The people I can
help. The time I can help. Whenever, or wherever, that time is."
"You still feel that Cebrián is a danger?" Piper
"I don't know," Stuart said. "But...I just
have this feeling...that I have to stop Cebrián before he does something."
"But even if Cebrián did something," Leo said,
"or will do something, there's nothing that we can do about it.
Besides the risk of blowing our cover, we're here. In the now...the future...in
this timeline. We're not then, whenever this happened."
"But...we can be," Piper said.
"What do you mean?" Phoebe asked.
"Paige made some changes to a spell she found in the
Book of Shadows," Piper said. "She changed it so that it would take
Stuart back to his past."
"Paige...did that for me?" Stuart asked,
"After you risked your life to save that schoolgirl
from the demon, Paige realized that you really were on our side," Piper
said. "And that you deserved the chance to go back to your timeline."
"I told you she'd accept you," Phoebe said.
"You're sure you want to do this?" Piper asked.
"Yes," Stuart said, nodding his head. "I have
"When Stuart goes back he'll have knowledge of the
future," Leo said, watching Piper prepare Wyatt's lunch in the kitchen.
"Of a future," Phoebe said.
"Even if only part of this is their
future," Leo said, "it's still dangerous for him to have that
"Leo's right," Piper said. "It needs to be
"I can erase it," Leo said.
"Without Stuart knowing?" Phoebe asked.
"No," Piper said, "that wouldn't be fair. He
has to agree to it."
"I'll talk to him," Phoebe said.
"Time can be so unbending and yet be so delicate,"
Phoebe said to Stuart. They were walking in Crissy Field, near the waters of
San Francisco Bay, along a path partially shaded from the afternoon sun by a
grove of Monterey cypress trees.
"Past and future can be changed so easily," Stuart
said, "if you do something in the right circumstances."
"Or have the right knowledge," Phoebe said.
She stopped walking and turned to him.
"You have knowledge of the future," she said,
"a knowledge involving us. Of what happens to all of us."
"Including, of what...may happen to Prue,"
Stuart said. He still couldn't bring himself to accept her future death.
"That knowledge...can be dangerous," Phoebe said. "It
can change things...that mustn't be changed. Things that have to happen.
That knowledge can't be used."
"Like when you went back in time and had the chance to
warn your Mom about the demon at the lake," Stuart said. "You wrote
her a note but then didn't leave it for her."
Phoebe was silent for a few seconds thinking about her
mother. Then nodded her head in agreement.
"I know that was hard for you," he said.
"And I know it would be hard for you, too, with
Prue," Phoebe said. "Look, I want so much for my sister to be
alive..." Phoebe stopped, closed her eyes for a second and exhaled.
"But...she can't be," Phoebe said. "Not if it
means the timeline will be disturbed. That's why...it's best if your memories
of being here, in this time, are erased before you go back."
"So Leo's going to 'heal' my mind for memories that
would make me 'ill'," he said.
"You know he can do that?" she asked, a little
"I've seen him do it before," he answered.
"There were innocents who were taken into a story by a demon named Donato.
It was a harrowing experience that was best for them not to remember so he made
"Leo's not going to do it to you without your
knowledge," Phoebe said. "And your agreement."
Stuart turned away and looked out at the water and at the
Golden Gate Bridge spanning the Bay. Some things, he thought, hadn't changed in
the future. The bridge's orange coating, the Bay's blue water.
But Crissy Field had changed. The former Army
airfield was a completed park now, with the trees, grass, walking and bicycling
paths and the Warming Hut, with its gifts and snacks, all in place. Not in its
initial stage of development, as he had last seen it.
It was different from the Crissy Field he had known.
And so was Phoebe...different from the Phoebe he had known.
He thought of the walks he'd taken with her over the bridge.
Of the view of the Bay they had shared. And of the feelings they had shared as
well as they looked down upon the water and the city.
He sighed and turned back to Phoebe.
"My memory of you...of us not being together,"
Stuart said, "is not one I want to keep. Tell Leo he can erase
As Phoebe looked into Stuart's eyes, he could see a hint of
a smile on her face. And in her eyes.
"My memory of my premonition of...us is one I want to
keep," Phoebe said. She placed her hands on his arms, brought him closer
to her and gently kissed him on his lips.
"And one that I will," she said.
will vanquish Cebrián," Paige said, "and he won't be able to use the
"How will Stuart use it?" Phoebe asked. "If
we send him back to when he left it will be too late."
why we're sending him back to just before he left," Piper said.
"When he comes into The Manor but before he goes for the Ring."
"Wait a minute," Leo said. "Since Stuart's
memory of being here will be erased, how will he know to use the potion?"
"He won't," Paige said. "That's why I'm going
back with him."
"What?!" Leo exclaimed. "You can't!"
"Someone has to be there to use the potion and stop
Stuart from grabbing the Ring again," Paige said. "Piper and Phoebe
can't go because they're already in that time. We don't what problems their
being there together with themselves could cause. And we have enough timeline
problems as it is."
"How will you get back here?" Phoebe asked.
"The same way Stuart got here," Paige said.
"Using the breach in the walls of time that the Ring will make."
"But," Leo said, "there's no way to be
certain that the affect of the Ring will be the same the second time. Your
vanquishing Cebrián could change how time's walls are broken down. He won't be
trying to control what the Ring does. The temporal breaches could be
"I won't be relying on that," Paige said.
"I"ll orb myself back here through time. I'll just be using the Ring
to open the time walls so I can orb through them."
"Paige, you can't do this," Leo said. "This
is too dangerous. You don't know that your orbing will get you back here."
Paige shrugged her shoulders.
"If we've given up saving innocents here," Paige
said, "maybe we should try to save some innocents in another time."
"Changing what happened in that past," Stuart
said, "could...you may not get back here."
"If it doesn't change our existence here," Paige
said, "then I'll get back to all of this. And if it does change it...then
it won't matter. None of this will exist to come back to."
"I...don't know what to say," Stuart said.
"Thank you...but if this doesn't work and I'm the cause of something
happening to you..."
"Over the past four years, since I found out I was a
half-witch half-whitelighter," Paige said, "I've seen that things
have a way of working out. And anyway, there's your world of innocents that has
to be saved."
Sparks began coming from the Ring. First just a few, then
more and more sparks as they spun faster and faster. The sparks were burning
Phoebe's hands. She felt she couldn't hold on much longer just as Stuart opened
the door and walked in to The Manor. For a split second Stuart had the odd
sensation that there were two of him there coming together. But the sensation
Seeing Cebrián and Phoebe spinning, Stuart realized what has
happening and tried to get to the Ring to grab it and help Phoebe control it.
But Phoebe and Cebrián were spinning so quickly, around and around, that he
couldn't get through them to the Ring.
Desperate, Stuart took a few steps backward, getting ready
to take a running start to jump over them and grab the Ring.
Suddenly someone grabbed Stuart and flipped him over and
away from Phoebe and Cebrián. Landing on his stomach on the floor, Stuart
turned over and got a fleeting look at a young woman.
Paige grabbed onto Cebrián and spun around with him for a
few seconds as Phoebe lost her grip on the Ring. From the momentum of her
spinning, Phoebe went flying across the room, hit the wall and fell face down
on the floor, stunned.
Paige had the vial with the potion in one hand, using her
finger as a cover to keep its contents from spilling out. Now she lifted her
finger and threw the potion on the demon.
"Arghh!" Cebrián screamed as he began to burn up.
The Ring hovered in mid-air, and Paige put her hand through
it. A white light formed around her, mostly but not completely hidden from Stuart's
view by the growing fire consuming the demon. Sparks were still coming from the
Ring as Paige grabbed it and orbed out with it.
"ARGHH!" Cebrián gave a final scream and then he
Stuart slowly got up. He looked around the room, saw Phoebe
and hurried to her.
"Phoebe," he said, turning her over and lifting
her head. "Phoebe, talk to me."
"Agh..." she said.
"Tell me you're all right," he said.
"I'm...all right," she said. She wanted to get up
and Stuart helped her.
"What...happened?" she asked. "Where's
"Gone," Stuart said. "Vanquished."
"Vanquished?" Phoebe asked. "How?
"I don't know," Stuart said. "I tried to grab
the ring to help you. But just as I was about to, someone flipped me over and
threw me down."
"Someone?" Phoebe asked. "Who?"
"I don't know," Stuart said. "I thought...I
think I saw someone...a woman. But it was just a glimpse."
"Someone brought through time by the Ring?" she
"I don't know," Stuart answered. "And then I
saw Cebrián suddenly start to burn up."
"She vanquished him?" Phoebe asked.
"Maybe," Stuart said. "I was on the floor. I
got just a glimpse of her with Cebrián."
Phoebe looked around The Manor.
"No one from the past is still here," she said.
"Nor from the future, either," Stuart said.
"I saw some people when I came in who couldn't have been from the past. Or
even from the present. Like this girl with a strange combination of a cell
phone with a built-in camera."
"Where's the Ring?" Phoebe asked, with concern.
"It's...I don't see it," Stuart said. "Do you
think it burned up with Cebrián?"
"If he was vanquished," Phoebe said,
"the Ring should have remained." They slowly walked around the room,
looking for it.
"It's not here," Stuart said.
"Maybe without Cebrián trying to control it,"
Phoebe said, "it flew away."
"Let's hope so," Stuart said.
The telephone started to ring. Phoebe made her way to the
coffee table and picked it up.
"Hello," Phoebe said.
"Phoebe?" Piper said on the other end of the
connection. "Are you all right?"
"Uh...yeah, I think so," she said.
"Those two demons that Leo and I were following,"
Piper said, "they suddenly burned up. As if someone vanquished them. But I
didn't do it. And there wasn't anyone else near them to do it, either."
"Huh," Phoebe said. "Uh, yeah. Someone just
vanquished Cebrián. He used the ring to bring those two demons here across
time. They were probably tied to him so when he was vanquished they were
vanquished with him."
"Who vanquished him?" Piper asked.
"We don't know," Phoebe said. "And the Ring
"Gone," Piper repeated. "I guess that's
"Uh...call Prue and let her know," Phoebe said.
"OK," Piper said. "We'll be home soon."
Phoebe, Piper and Prue were sitting on the sofa. Stuart was
sitting in one armchair holding Kit. Leo, having just put down his now empty
glass on the coffee table next to the open newspaper, sat in the other chair.
"So, we don't know how Cebrián was vanquished,"
Prue said, "nor who that woman you saw was."
"You're not even sure you did see anyone," Leo
"I think I saw her," Stuart said. "And
someone definitely flipped me over to keep me away from the Ring."
"Maybe you just got knocked over by Phoebe's or
Cebrián's legs as they spun around with the Ring," Piper said.
"I...don't think so," Stuart said, shaking his
head. "I think it was done deliberately to stop me from getting to the
Ring. And...I don't know, but I thought I saw the edge of a white light behind
Cebrián as he was being vanquished."
"A white light, as in a whitelighter?" Piper
"Your imagination," Leo said. "You were
knocked down and surprised by the fire consuming Cebrián. That's what you saw.
If a whitelighter had been here I would know about it.
"And besides," Leo added, "whitelighters
can't vanquish demons."
"Well, it's not something we should be worrying
about," Phoebe said. "The demons are vanquished, however it
happened. And all of the people who fell through time are back where they
"You're right," Stuart said. "But...I don't
know why but something about this is...gnawing at me. I just...I really want to
know who I saw."
"OK," Piper said, "I think we've all had
enough for one day. Let's call it a night."
"I agree," Leo said. He stood up and everyone
"Huh," Stuart said, as something in the opened
newspaper on the coffee table caught his eye.
"Uh...you're probably going to think I'm silly,"
Stuart said, "but this girl in the paper...she reminds me of that
girl...the one I saw."
"Think you saw," Leo said.
Piper turned the newspaper around to her, looked at the
picture and recognized the girl.
"You're right," Piper said, "I do think
you're silly. I know who that is and I guarantee you this girl is most certainly
not a witch
who can suddenly appear out of nowhere, vanquish demons and then...orb
Stuart shrugged his shoulders, put Kit down on the coffee
table and together with the others went upstairs.
Kit edged over to the newspaper. The headline above the
picture read "Good Reviews For Young Actress' Role In Movie The Last
Stop." Kit meowed as she looked at the girl, then put her left front
paw near the picture.
Below the picture was a name.
Rose Mc Gowan.