Charmed Role Reversal



I Know What You Did Two Summers Ago

“H ere you go," Piper said, emptying the can into Kit's bowl and placing it on the floor. "Enjoy breakfast. And I will too, as soon as Stuart gets back from the store with the milk and rolls."

Breakfast. Piper wistfully thought about other breakfasts. Breakfasts at home. In her kitchen, in familiar surroundings, looking out through her window. Breakfasts being Holly Combs.

She missed it, she thought. She missed the breakfasts, she missed her home, she missed-

Ding-dong.

She reluctantly brought herself back to The Manor - and to being Piper Halliwell. She sighed, tossed the can into the garbage and went to answer the door.

"Good morning," the man said. He was in his late twenties, a bit under six feet tall, with sand colored hair and an eager face. "Is this the Halliwell Manor?"

"Yes," Piper said. "And who are you?"

"I'm Jason Van Haag," he replied. He saw there was no recognition on Piper's face.

"Phoebe's never even mentioned me?" he asked, more disappointed than surprised.

"No, she hasn't," Piper said. "Should she have?"

"I would have hoped so," he said. "Uh, who are you?"

"I'm Piper, her sister."

"Ahh.  Phoebe certainly told me a lot about you," he said. "She knew that no matter what happened, no matter what trouble she got herself into, you were still her sister."

"Uh...yes, we are close," Piper said, suddenly feeling self-conscious. "Uh...where do you know Phoebe from?"

"New York," he said.  "Two years ago, we were pretty much together for four months, including the whole summer.  Until things just got too much for her, losing her job and being broke and feeling her life was floundering.  That's when she came back here."

"So...you were...uh, together with Phoebe...in New York," Piper said, hoping she hadn't heard what she thought she did.

"We had a great relationship," Jason said. "But...it couldn't overcome her feeling that she had nothing, except for her bicycle. And so she wanted to go home.

"But Phoebe promised me that if I ever came out to San Francisco she'd spend a day with me. And I actually got a regular job, which is part of the reason I'm in San Francisco.

"So, here I am."

"Ooooh...here you are, indeed," Piper said, her mind quickly assessing this un-expected complication.  "Uh, Phoebe hasn't come down yet this morning."

"Well - can I come in and wait for her?" he asked.

Piper started to say something, changed her mind twice about what to say, then finally gave up and motioned him to come in.

"Have a seat," she said pointing to the sofa, "I'll tell Phoebe you're here."

Piper ran up the stairs and knocked on Phoebe's door.

"I'm not ready yet," Phoebe called out.

"Yes, you are," Piper said and walked into the room. "You have company."

"Company?"

"Your past, your New York past, has caught up with you," Piper said.

"What New York past?" she asked. "I left Brooklyn when I was a small girl. I don't have-"

"Not Alyssa's past," Piper said.  "Phoebe's past.  Specifically, one Jason Van Haag.  Who Phoebe spent four months with in New York when she was broke before moving back here.  Four very close months, from the way he tells it."

"Huh? How can that be?" Phoebe asked. "That's not part of our becoming witches to save the world from demons."

"No," Piper said, "but it is part of our history on Charmed.  The very first episode gave you the background of being pennyless in New York.  And then that Cupid episode listed off a bunch of boyfriends you had.  That combination creates a logical scenario for your past before you came back home to The Manor.  A scenario that is sitting downstairs in our living room."

"Maybe he's just making this up," Phoebe said. "Maybe he's a demon who's trying to get close to us."

Piper shook her head.

"A demon who just happened to catch the first episode of Charmed?" she asked.  "He even knew about your bicycle, the one you rode in that episode.  Your one and only possession that you, uh, brought back with you from New York.

"Just tell him I'm sleeping. And that you'll tell me he came by," Phoebe said.

"That won't work," Piper said. "You promised him that you'd spend the day with him if he ever came out here. He'll just keep coming back until you do. You're going to have to see him.  Just the way Phoebe would have."

"No!" Phoebe said, making a face.

"Yes!" Piper said, grabbing her by the arm. "Because until you do, he's going to be in our way. And if he's in our way, we can't vanquish demons. And if we can't vanquish demons, we can't go home."

Piper opened the bedroom door, pulling Phoebe through the doorway as she did, and pointed downstairs.

"I don't know what I'm supposed to say to him or how to be with him," Phoebe protested.

"You're an actress," Piper reminded her. "Act!"

Phoebe gave Piper a look and took a deep breath.

"Oooooh," Phoebe said, made another face and walked into the hallway.  "Why couldn't Connie Burge have written me being pennyless on a desert island," she muttered.

"Because you would have had a tough time riding your bicycle on the sand," Piper said drolly, pushing her towards the stairs.

"Phoebe!" Jason called as she came down the stairs.

"Jason?" Phoebe said, unsure of what else to say.

Jason walked over to her, embraced her and kissed her lightly. Phoebe stood there but did not respond.

"Phoebe..." he said, confused, "what's wrong? You're acting like...like you don't know me."

"Uh...Jason," Phoebe said. "I...don't exactly remember everything that happened in New York."

"What? What do you mean don't remember...How can you not remember me?...us?"

"Jason...I had a very traumatic experience when I came to San Francisco-"

"What? What happened?" he asked.

"I...it's not good for me to talk about it," she said.  "But it...was traumatic."

"It certainly was," Piper said.

"So...you don't remember all of our time together?" Jason asked.

"Not...very well," she said.

"Phoebe...I came here to see you," he said. "And I'm going to see you.  Even if you don't remember promising that you'd spend a day with me if I came out here."

"I promised you..."  Phoebe stopped as something in the back of her mind suddenly came into the forefront.  "...that I would spend the day with you...didn't I."  A look of confusion crossed Phoebe's face.

"Yes," he said, a hopeful smile on his face. "You remember!"

"I...remember," she said, and looked in bewilderment to Piper. "But...how-"

"Come on," Jason said, "let's go."

"I...I haven't had breakfast," she said.

"We'll get breakfast on the way," he said, taking her hand and pulling her towards the door.  "The way we used to at Ricky's.  We'd each eat half a bagel because we couldn't afford two of them."

"Nice meeting you, Piper," he shouted as he opened the door and pulled Phoebe outside.  As he did, Stuart, carrying a bag, was coming up the steps.

"Hello," Jason said as they continued past him. Phoebe turned back to Stuart but all she could manage to do in her confusion was to look at him. Jason helped Phoebe into his car, got in on the other side and they drove off.

"What was...that?" Stuart asked as he closed the door behind him.

"Oh, just think of that as a scene from the pilot for a prequel to Charmed," Piper replied, taking the juice out of the bag he was holding.

"Thankfully," she added, "an un-sold pilot."



Click speaker for Opening Credits Theme Song


“Have you seen my nail clipper?” Prue asked as she blew into the kitchen. “It’s missing.”

“No, and Phoebe’s toothbrush with her name on it is missing, too,” Piper said.

“Hmm...that’s odd,” Prue said, then shrugged her shoulders.

"That's good that you've had breakfast already," Prue said.

"We're not quite done yet," Piper said, finishing her yogurt. "You can still join us."

"No, I'll just grab a cup of coffee. And then we have to get going," Prue said.

"Going where?" Piper asked.

"To find the demons who want to cause major destruction," Prue answered.

Stuart looked up from his cereal in surprise.

"I don't want what happened to us with Jôlét to happen again," Prue said, pouring the coffee into her mug. "And as long as we're here, as witches, something like that can happen. So we can't just sit around waiting anymore. The sooner we find these demons and vanquish them the sooner The Elders will change us back into being our real selves. Actresses, not demon targets."

"I'm all for that!"  Piper said, her hopes suddenly buoyed.  "But...we don't have a good record when it comes finding demons. We didn't exactly find Donato on our own.  And The Frubos and Driskoll found us."

"I just watched the tape we made of last week's episode of The Demon Dimension," Prue said.  "That house that Álvaro and one or two other demons hang out in looks just like a house I saw near Tallor's warehouse. We're going down there and see for ourselves."

"Uh...Prue...isn't that, uh, a bit of a stretch?" Stuart asked. "It's just a house they picked to use when they need to show the outside of the demons' lair."

"The Demon Dimension is there to give us information about these demons," Prue said. "So the house they use on the show is there for a reason."

Stuart shot Piper a skeptical look as Prue drank her coffee.

"As much as I want your idea to work," Piper said, her vision of a speedy conclusion evaporating, "we can't just barge into the house to see if there's a demon around."

"Phoebe can first try to get a premonition from touching the house," Prue said.  "Uh...where is Phoebe?"

"She went out," Stuart said.

"Out? Where?" Prue asked in surprise.

"She's re-living her carefree, irresponsible past that she never had," Piper said.

Prue looked at her quizzically then turned to Stuart, who shrugged his shoulders.

"Then we'll do it without her," Prue said.  "We'll find out what we can about these demons, come back here and look for them in The Book of Shadows.  Then we'll go back to the house and vanquish them."

"I don't think you're going to find them just like that," Stuart said, his skepticism evident.

"Watch me," Prue said obstinately, finishing her coffee. "Let's go."

 

"Jason," Phoebe said, "what we had...was before."  A gentle breeze was blowing in off the water as they walked barefoot along the beach, carrying their shoes and socks.

"Before what?" he asked.

"Before I came home," she said. "Before I...started seeing someone."

"You're seeing someone now?" he asked, dejected.

"His name is Stuart. You saw him as we left the house."

"The one carrying the bag?" Jason asked and took a deep breath. "How long have you known him?"

"It's been only two weeks-"

"Two weeks? Two weeks?  That doesn't count," he said, feeling better.  "Phoebe, we had four months together.  I'm not someone you just met.  We knew each other.  That's a relationship."

"Jason, what we had in New York was...was two years ago. You've changed since then. I know I've changed."

"That's good news," he said. "We both know that it wasn't only because you were broke that you went home. It was also because you were afraid...of commitment. You were afraid to open up your heart long-term. I hope that's what's changed in you."

It's changed, Phoebe thought, but the other way. Phoebe's fears have become mine.

Or, she thought, was Prue right?  Were they really my own fears to begin with?

"I once saw a TV show about someone with amnesia," Jason said.  "At the end of the show he got an emotional shock and his memory came back.  The kicker was that he realized then that the memory was so painful that sub-consciously he hadn't wanted to remember.

"Maybe that's what you need, Phoebe." He stopped, took her hand and looked into her eyes. "A shock to jar your memory. So that you'll remember me. Remember us."

"No thanks," Phoebe said. "I've had enough jarring since I've...come home. And no, it's not that I'm trying to forget you. It's just-"

Something familiar. She realized there was something familiar here.

It was his hand. The feeling of his hand holding hers.

It can't be, she thought.  We've never held hands.  I wasn't really in New York with him.  He only thinks that I was because of how reality was changed.

And yet - it is. Familiar.

"Familiar," she said, very low.

"It's just...familiar," Jason repeated, a smile coming to his face. He leaned towards her and gave her a small, gentle kiss.

"That should be familiar, too," he said. Phoebe closed her eyes. What is happening? she thought. I shouldn't be feeling anything.

But Jason was right. The kiss felt familiar, too.

 

"The door is open," Prue said, pushing on it gently.  "See, I was right.  Demons aren't worried about locking their doors the way people are."

"They're not?" Stuart asked.

"Not with their powers," Prue replied.

Stuart raised an eyebrow and looked to Piper, who took a deep breath but didn't say anything.

Prue slowly opened the door and walked inside, then motioned for them to follow her.

"Look around upstairs," Prue said. "I'll see what I can find down here."

Piper and Stuart headed up the stairs while Prue walked into an adjacent room.

 

"It doesn't look like anyone's been here for a while," Piper said, running her finger across the dusty table.

"Not exactly what you'd expect demons to keep in their cabinet," Stuart said, taking out a started box of oatmeal and a half-empty package of cupcake holders.

Piper shook her head as she walked into the next room.  A bed and a chest of drawers were on opposite walls and the shade from a small table lamp lay on the floor. She was about to open one of the drawers when Stuart came in.

"Be careful," he said facetiously. "There might be a world-destroying demon inside waiting to jump out at you." Piper looked at him and gave him a half-smile.

"Prue - and Shannen - can be stubborn sometimes," Piper said, opening the drawer.  "You just have to let her do it her way until she realizes that she was wrong."

"It took her three days to realize that she was wrong about not being Prue Halliwell," Stuart said. "I don't want to spend the next three days looking in empty houses for demons who aren't there."

"Maybe we won't have to," Piper said. "She'll probably realize she was wrong after she sees that there isn't anything here."

 

"I was right!"  Prue said aloud to herself.  She was holding three silver squares, a green pentagram on each.  Their colors seemed to change as the light coming through the window shone on them.

"I know you're here, demons," she said. Suddenly, there was a low rumbling sound. She could see the two chairs in the room move slightly and the chandelier sway.

"Demons!" she said, and raised her hand.

 

"Earthquake!" Stuart shouted. "Under the table." He grabbed Piper and they ran back into the other room and got underneath the dusty table. The rumbling lasted for another five seconds and stopped.

"That seems to have been a very small one," Piper said, looking around the room after they stood up. "Nothing damaged here."

"Everything looks OK outside," Stuart said, looking through the window at the people and the building across the street."

"I'm surprised you recognized the earthquake so quickly," Piper said.

"I have experience," he replied.

"I didn't think you had earthquakes in New York," Piper said.

"I've been through three of them in LA," he said. "I can tell that sound, that certain feel of it, when it happens."

"Let's make sure Prue's OK," she said.

 "I was right," Prue said as they came into the room. "A demon knew we were here and started to do something to the house."

"You saw him?" Stuart asked.

"I felt him. Didn't you feel the house shake?" Prue asked.

"Prue, that was an earthquake, not a demon," Piper said.

"Earthquake?" Prue asked.

Stuart nodded. "Earthquake," he said.

"There's nothing here," Piper said. "Demons didn't shake the house. They haven't even been here."

"You think I'm wrong?" Prue said, holding up the squares. "I found these in a closet." She handed one to Piper, who looked at it and passed it to Stuart.

"These...these don't have to belong to a demon," Piper said.  "There's nothing else here to link the house to them."

"We'll take these back to The Manor and find the link in The Book of Shadows," Prue said, determined.  Stuart made a face and exhaled as he and Piper followed her as she opened the outside door.  As she did they found two big men, arms folded, staring down at them.

"Here's your link," Prue said to Piper.

"What were you doing inside the house?" the first man asked.

"Who's asking?" Prue said.

"The name's Henderson. I own the house. And that warehouse across the street, too.

"Now, who are you? And why were you in my house?"

Piper saw people going in and out of the warehouse and some cars driving by.  They're too far away to be frozen, she thought.  If I freeze these two those people will see it.  I can't do it.

"I'm Holly Combs," she said cautiously and extended her hand.  "I'm a tech scout with Spelling Television in Hollywood.  This is our location manager Shannen Doherty and my assistant Stuart Weston.

"You're from television?" Henderson asked.

"That's right," Piper said. "We thought your house would make a good location for a new TV series."

"Well why didn't you say so right away," Henderson said.  "You should have called first the way the others did."

"The others?" Piper asked, hesitantly.

"The people from Warner Brothers," Henderson said.  "They just finished using the house for a supernatural TV movie they were making.  Those squares you're holding are left over from it."

Stuart turned the square over in his hand, smiled at Henderson and handed it to him.

"That's how you knew about my house, right?" he asked.

"Uh, of course," Piper said. "All of us who do location scouting...we, uh, share information."

"Don't you like that spooky look it has?" Henderson asked. "Everything is pretty much the way they left it. You probably could save a lot of money and use it the way it is."

"Yes," Piper said, "that's an important consideration. It's a good thing you dropped by."

"I was in the warehouse," Henderson said, "and figured I'd take a look here to make sure nothing was damaged by the earthquake."

"The...earthquake," Piper repeated, and glanced at a sullen and quiet Prue. "Uh...no. Uh, the house is fine."

"What kind of show will this be?" Henderson asked.

"It's about witches who have to vanquish demons," Stuart said. "Only they don't seem to be able to find them and instead they mistake ordinary people for being the demons."

"Oh. Inept witches," Henderson said. "You're doing a comedy."

Prue glared at Henderson and her lips tightened.

"Does one of the witches wiggle her nose to make her magic, like on Bewitched?" Henderson asked, half-laughing.

"No," Prue said, fuming. "She waves her hand, just like-"

"Now Shannen," Piper said, grabbing Shannen's hand as she lifted it up and holding onto it tightly. "We can't give away all of the storyline, now can we."

Prue squinted at Henderson, took a deep breath and relaxed her hand.

"Well, I think we've seen enough here," Piper said.

"Here's my number," Henderson said, writing it on a piece of paper and handing it to her.

"I left my cards back at the hotel," Piper said.

"That's OK, Holly Combs," Henderson said, smiling. "I'm good at remembering names."

"We'll be in touch after we get back to Hollywood," Piper said. "Bye-now."

"Nice to have met you," Henderson said.

They walked down the front steps and headed back to the car.

"That was the first time in over two weeks that I've been called by my real name," Piper said. "And it felt very good."

"Don't get too used to it," Stuart said. "Piper Halliwell still has demons to find and vanquish."

"Maybe...I was wrong," Prue said, with obvious difficulty, as she got into the car. "Maybe we have to have some patience and think more about who these demons are."

"Well," Stuart said as he closed the car door and smiled at Piper, "at least it took only half a day this time."

 

Jason pulled the car onto the gravel alongside the house.  Mill Valley Antique and Curio Shop the sign read.

After leaving The Manor, they had driven across the Golden Gate Bridge and over to Sausalito. Breakfast at a waterside café had been followed by a stroll past the shops that lined the marina. Then they had continued driving up a local road alongside Richardson Bay, past Marin City, towards Mill Valley and Tiburon.

"Come, let's have a look," Jason said. "Remember how we used to go through the aisles in the flea market, hoping we'd find something really valuable that everyone else had missed?

"Oh, uh, no, I guess you don't remember," he said, catching himself.

"This is a real store, not a flea market, anyway," Phoebe said, smiling.  The two-story house was old and stood by itself, on the edge of a small hill that sloped down just behind it.  They walked up the two steps to the wooden porch where a couple of rockers, spotlessly clean, sat.

"Rather quaint," Jason said, "but appropriate, I guess." He opened the door for Phoebe and a small bell gently jingled.

"Hello," the woman greeted them. She was in her early sixties, Phoebe thought. Her grayish dark hair was done up in a modified bun. A few inches taller than Phoebe, she projected an air of quiet self-assurance. There was something about her that said she'd been running this store for a long time.

"Hi," Jason said. "We're just browsing."

"Go right ahead," the woman said, "and take your time. There's no rush. Let me know if I can help you."

"Thank you," Phoebe said.

Assorted types of antiques lined the shelves along one wall.  They walked slowly past them, picking up one now and then to look at.  A combination of trays and free-standing objects filled the next wall's shelves. Jason picked up a cupid figurine, aimed it at Phoebe and smiled.

Phoebe smiled back but as Jason put the cupid back something caught her eye.  It was in an open tray just below the cupid's shelf.  She picked it up and held it to the light to see it better.

"Odd design," Jason said.

"The Triquetra," Phoebe replied slowly, surprised.

"You're familiar with witchcraft?" the woman asked.

"Witchcraft?" Jason said in surprise.

"A little," Phoebe said.

"Since when?" Jason asked.

"Then come down to the basement," the woman said. "There are some things among the curios there that may interest you." She took them to an open door along the far side of the shop and led them down the stairs.

The basement's shelves were set up similar to the ones on the first floor, with large display cases running their length underneath them.  But whereas those upstairs had contained mostly antiques, these were almost all an eclectic variety of curios, knickknacks and bric-a-brac.

"Curios are too diverse to be readily segregated neatly into the trays," the woman said. "So things are not rigidly separated. But I believe...ah yes, over here."

She pointed to a tray on a shelf to their right.  Amid a 1939 New York World's Fair medallion, a Golden Gate Bridge locket and a miniature plate with a color picture of a smiling Walt Disney in its center, lay a small disc.  Phoebe picked it up and looked at the pentagram etched onto it.

"There's also one on the reverse," the woman said. "But as you can see, it's rotated just enough so that the points don't line up with the ones on the obverse."

"What is this, Phoebe?" Jason asked.

"It's-"

The rumble cut her off. They looked up and saw the fixtures begin to sway and felt the house vibrate.

"It's an earthquake," the woman said. "Hurry, we have to-"

"Arrgghh!"  One end of a ceiling beam came crashing down behind them, smashing shelves and sending their contents flying all over the floor.

The fixture and part of the ceiling above Phoebe broke loose.  She twisted around to get out of its way but lost her balance and fell sideways, her head making a loud thud as it hit the corner of a display case.

Part of another beam came down at the top of the stairs, blocking the doorway.

"Phoebe!"  Jason called out as the rumble stopped.  The air was heavy with dust as he made his way over the fallen beam to her as she lay on the floor.  He was coughing as he dropped down beside her and lifted her head in his arm.

Phoebe started to open her eyes.

"Arrgghh."  She tried to sit up but could do no more than barely lift her head.  She ran her hand up the side of her head and looked at the blood that came off on it.

"My head...really hurts," she said. "And I'm...feeling dizzy."

"When you fell your head hit that display case corner," Jason said. "Don't try to move."

Phoebe nodded and lay back in his arms.

"Are you all right," he called to the woman.

"Yes,  I'm OK," the woman said. "What about you?"

"Phoebe hit her head on the case," Jason said. "She's bleeding - it looks bad. We have to call for help."

"Cell phone...in my pocketbook," Phoebe said, coughing.

Jason eased Phoebe's head down on to the floor and crawled over her. He pushed off part of the fallen ceiling and broken shelves, reached her pocketbook and pulled out the cell phone.

"They don't work in the basement," the woman said. "The house's location gets a poor signal. And being under ground, even that doesn't reach."

The cell phone's signal indicator confirmed what the woman had said and Jason dropped it back into the pocketbook.

"We can use the store's phone," he said.

"That beam came down right on it," the woman said. "There's nothing much left of it."

"We have to find a way to get help," Jason said.

"We'll just have to wait for my nephew," the woman said calmly.  "He comes by every day at three o'clock."

"Three o'clock? That's almost three hours from now," Jason said.

"There's not much else we can do," the woman said. "That other beam is blocking what's left of the stairs."

Jason crawled back to Phoebe and lifted her head in his arm again. He took a deep breath and brushed some of the dirt off her face.

"How are you doing?" he asked.

"The same," she said.

"This reminds me," Jason said, "of the time you went skateboarding in Central Park.  You flipped over, hit your head and twisted your ankle.  I had to half carry you to the train and back to your apartment.  Remember?"

I...do, Phoebe thought.  How can that be?  Am I imagining that I remember?  Is this 'memory' from hitting my head?  Or am I somehow getting some of Phoebe's memory.  Or what would have been Phoebe's memory.

"Arrgghh!"

"Phoebe...I can't let you lie here like this," Jason said. "You need a doctor - a hospital."

Jason looked at the staircase leading upstairs. Two steps under the fallen beam were gone.

"I'm going to get you out of here," he said to Phoebe. "I can jump from that last step and grab onto the beam. I'll crawl over and squeeze between it and the door jam and get upstairs."

Phoebe nodded her head.

"It'll work," Jason said and squeezed her hand.

Phoebe froze, her eyes staring ahead, her mouth open. She saw Jason jumping on to the beam, then his weight pulling the beam down, bringing the crossbeam down with it. She saw him fall the eight feet to the floor and the two beams and the ceiling crashing down on him.

"No!" she shouted. "Don't! You'll be killed."

"I'll be OK," he said.

"Jason...listen to me...I have...a gift," Phoebe said. "I get premonitions."

"Premonitions?" he asked. "You never told me anything about premonitions."

"It began...after I moved back to San Francisco," she said. "I don't know when I'm going to have them.  But when I do have them, they're always right."

"I don't pay attention to premonitions," he said, scoffingly.

"I know you want to do this for me," she said. "I know you want to show me that you care for me. But I don't want anything to happen to you."

"Nothing will happen to me," he said, confidently.

"Don't do anything," she implored him and tried to sit up. "Arrgghh!" The pain was intense and she fell back into his arm.

"For me," she said. "Please."

Jason hesitated and looked into her eyes.

"OK," he said reluctantly. "You always were able to get me to do what you wanted."

They were silent for a moment, Phoebe with her eyes closed and Jason lost in thought.

"Sitting here like this," he said, speaking softly, "reminds me of that time in Far Rockaway.  After we went bar hopping all night and wound up on the beach."

He paused, gently wiping the blood from her head with his handkerchief.

"I held you like this as we watched the sunrise," he said.  "And you told me that was the most wonderful sunrise you'd ever experienced in your life."

Jason leaned closer and kissed her.

And suddenly it was all there for her. The memory of being held by him.

And the feelings.

And she kissed him back.

A small apartment, makeshift furniture.  And Jason lying next to her in bed, his arms around her. And a feeling of comfort and serenity.  That memory was suddenly there, too.

Jason saw the look on her face and knew she was remembering something from their past together. He leaned over and kissed her again.

Filled with the feelings of the memory, Phoebe put her hand behind his neck and kissed him back, again.

 

"It's going to take a little while," the emergency worker called down to them.  "If we touch this beam here it'll bring down the crossbeam and half the ceiling with it.  We'll shore it up and then get you out."

Jason stared at Phoebe in disbelief.

"You...you were right," he said. "You knew what would happen. I don't understand how..."

"I told you...my premonitions are always right," she said.

"You...saved my life."

"I wouldn't want any un-nice thing to happen to you," Phoebe said.

Rain beating relentlessly on the window.  An ecstatic night together. And those words in the early hours of the morning.

In her mind she heard herself saying those same words.  The memory, the feelings, the...happiness.

"I remember," she said. "I remember saying that to you once before."

"No un-nice things," Jason said, and smiled.  "I remember exactly when and where we were."  She slid her hand behind his head, pulled him closer to her and kissed him with feeling.

 

"I'm coming with you," Jason said to Phoebe as they lifted her gurney into the ambulance.

"Are you her husband?" the para-medic asked.

"Not yet," Jason said, "but just as close."

"You can ride in the front," the para-medic said.

"I'll be with the driver," Jason said to Phoebe.  She nodded and he leaned over to her and they kissed.

 

Piper pulled the car up by the hospital and they quickly jumped out. Running in, they saw Phoebe being wheeled down the hallway. Stuart was about to go to her when he saw her put out her hand and take Jason's hand in it. Jason leaned close to her and they kissed.

"How is she?" Prue asked.

"She's stable," the paramedic answered as he walked past her to go back to his ambulance.

Stuart stood there for a few seconds, swallowed hard, and then turned away.  Seeing the look on his face, Piper took his hand and squeezed it.

"Maybe it's just from the shock," Piper said, not really knowing what to say to him.  "She can't change that drastically in one day."

"She did the day she became a witch," Stuart replied.

 

"The wound to the side of her head isn't as bad as it looks," the resident told them. "It didn't require stitches.

"The trauma to her head from the impact is another matter. The x-rays are negative but she has a slight concussion. We're going to keep her for observation over night."

"Can we see her?" Prue asked.

"She needs rest," the doctor said, "so just for a few minutes. Only one person at a time. But someone is there with her now."

"Jason," Stuart said, feeling jealous.

 

"I'm so relieved that you're all right," Jason said with a smile.  "You're looking better.  How are you feeling?"

"I guess not as good as I look," Phoebe answered.

"Have you been resting?"

"That's all I can do here," she said. "That and think."

"About me, I hope," he said and Phoebe nodded.

"I've been thinking about you, too," he said.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and took Phoebe's hands in his.

"Thank you," she said. "For taking care of me. And...for caring about me."

"I never stopped caring about you the past two years," he said.

He leaned over and put his lips on her's.  As he began to kiss her gently he felt her hands pull away from his and slowly go around him.  He slid his hands under her back and their kissing became stronger with more feeling.

As they let each other go he sat up and looked into her eyes.

"I...I think I need to rest a little," she said.

"OK," he said, nodding.  He leaned over and kissed her lightly.

"I'll come back in an hour," he said as he stood up and looked at her.

"It's so good to be with you again," he said.

As he turned to leave the room he walked right into Prue who was coming in.

"She wants to rest," he said.

"I'll stay only a minute," she said.

"Uh...who are you?" he asked.

"I'm her sister Prue."

"Oh," he said, with a somewhat disdainful look. "That sister."

Prue's eyes narrowed and followed him as he continued past her down the hallway.

"You're two seasons' episodes behind in our relationship," she muttered, insulted. Then she turned around and walked over to Phoebe.

"How are you doing," she asked her.

"My head is all mixed up," Phoebe answered.

"We're going to find Leo and bring him here," Prue said. "He'll make you better."

"Leo can't make this better," Phoebe said. "It's not from the concussion."

Prue looked at her.

"Jason?" she asked and Phoebe nodded.

"I'm remembering things that never happened," Phoebe said, "and I'm feeling things that were never there...before."

"But they're there now," Prue said.

Phoebe exhaled. "It's part of our becoming The Halliwells, isn't it. Starting to get...their memory."

"And their feelings," Prue added.

Phoebe propped herself up and looked out the window.  She saw a tall young woman standing across the street.  A young man approached her and Phoebe could see, even from the distance, the young woman's face light up.  The man took her hand, gave her a peck on her cheek and they began walking away together.

"For some people it's so simple and easy. Why is it so complicated for me?" she asked.

"Jason thinks he cares about you because the combination of a couple of episodes on Charmed made it that way now in real life," Prue said.  "But once we're back in LA and reality is changed back to how it was he won't even know you.  There's no commitment to anything that happens here between you."

"No commitment," Phoebe repeated. And no vulnerability, either, she thought. "No responsibilities. It's all temporary."

She leaned back and was silent for a while.

"Maybe that's what's best for me now," she said.  "A relationship that's as temporary as who I am."

Prue wanted to say something but the nurse interrupted them before she could.

"She needs to rest now," the nurse firmly told Prue.

"OK," Prue said to her. "I'll be back in a little while, Phoebe."

"How is she?" Stuart asked when Prue came out of the room.

"She seems OK," Prue said. "She's resting."

"Good," he said.

But there was no relief in his face, Piper thought. Only pain.

"What about you?" Piper asked him.

He closed his eyes and exhaled.

"It...doesn't really matter," he said.

"We don't...really know that anything's changed," Piper said.

Prue said nothing but the look on her face told them otherwise. Stuart's mouth tightened and he nodded his head as if he was accepting it. Piper saw a small tear form in the corner of one eye.

"Come on," Piper said, taking his hand and squeezing it to support him. "Let's go find Leo."

 

 Prue and Piper entered Phoebe's room but stayed near the door when they saw Jason by her bed.

Phoebe was sitting up in the bed and now she took a deep breath.

"Jason, today...when you held me...things came back to me that I...hadn't remembered."

"I never forgot them," he said.

"I know," she said.

"Jason...this is...so hard...I..." She took another deep breath.

"Jason...I can't...I can't see you. I...I have this relationship...with Stuart."

"For all of two weeks," he exclaimed. "That's not a relationship. That's barely an introduction!"

"I...I can't make believe that...it isn't there," she said. "It is a relationship."

"Tell me," he said as he took her hand, "Do you have feelings for him? Can you honestly tell me that you do?

"Can you honestly tell yourself that you do?"

Phoebe looked at him silently for a while.

"I don't know where this relationship is going," she finally said. "I don't even know if I want it to go anywhere.

"But I do know that...I feel that...I shouldn't stop it. That I have to let it go on and see where it will lead. And along the way, maybe I can figure out what I really want...and what I'm ready for.

"To do that I have to...give it a chance."

"What about giving me a chance?" he asked.

"Jason...what we had...was in New York.  But now we're in San Francisco.  I promised you that I would go out with you for a day if you came out here.  I never promised you that we'd pick up where we left off."

"Phoebe...when I held you today, I could tell what you were feeling," he said. "I could feel the passion in you.  How can you deny it?"

Phoebe hesitated.

"I felt..." she said and looked into his eyes.  "I felt something...something special.  Something comforting.  Something..."  She stopped.  She didn't want to say what she had really felt.  She knew it would only make this harder.  And she knew that despite how strongly she had felt it...what she felt was still only part of this temporary reality.  It wasn't her reality.

"And when we kissed, didn't that trigger memories?" he asked.

Phoebe nodded. "Memories."

She took a deep breath.

"But memories are of the past. The present isn't always the same," she said.

"I know you, Phoebe," Jason said. "He isn't your type. He's not your style."

Where have I heard that before? Phoebe thought, and shot Piper a look.

"I've changed, Jason.  I'm not the same Phoebe you...knew.  I'm more stable.  I look at life differently.  When I look at people now I look below the surface."

"And just what have you been able to see in him 'below the surface' in just two weeks?" he asked.

"His soul," she said. "I've seen his caring soul. Something...I've never seen, not really seen so openly, in anyone else.

" Maybe...if I hadn't seen it...maybe it would be different...for us."

"You're still afraid of commitment, aren't you," he said. "Still afraid of leaving yourself open."

Phoebe looked into his eyes and slowly shook her head. If only you knew, she thought. You're the safe harbor for my fears. It would have been so easy to let you keep seeing me here.

"You walked out of my life once, Phoebe," Jason said. "I'm not going to just sit back and let you walk out of it again."

"I'm not in your life, Jason," she said, "We're not in New York now.  What we had...was...very good. But it's not something that we have now."

"We had it today, Phoebe," he said. "I know it.

"And so do you."

Phoebe looked at him silently for a moment. Yes, she did know it. Her mind knew it, her body knew it.

And her heart knew it.

But whose mind was it really? she thought.  And whose heart?  Was there a difference anymore between Phoebe's and Alyssa's?

There had to be a difference, she thought. And I have to keep it that way.

"I can't, Jason...I have to see what will come of this relationship with Stuart. I...can't explain it to you...I can't even explain it to myself.

"I just know that...I have to give it some time. And let it work its way to a conclusion...one way, or the other."

Jason looked at her for a while then gave a deep sigh.

"That's twice now that you've broken my heart, Phoebe," he said. She could see small tears in his eyes.

"You're going to be OK," she said, as she took his left hand in hers. "You're going to get over...this."

"Is that coming from your premonitions?" he asked.

"In a way," she said as she slowly nodded. "And from my heart."

"I'll always be there for you, Phoebe," he said.

"I know you will," Phoebe said. "Like that time I wound up broke in Greenwich Village and you came down and paid the tab and took...me...home." Where did that come from? she thought, as she realized what she had said.

"You remember that," he said.

Phoebe nodded. "And I'll always be there for you," she said.

Jason leaned over, hesitated, then kissed her on her cheek. He turned around and walked to the door.

"Prue, Piper," he said.

Stuart and Leo were standing just outside the room.  As Jason passed them he stared at Stuart for a few seconds, shook his head slightly in disbelief and walked away.

"How are you feeling," Prue asked as she and Piper approached the bed.

"Better than before," Phoebe answered.

"What changed your mind?" Prue asked.

"The feelings I had for Jason were so strong," Phoebe said.  "They felt so good...and they were safe. I just wanted to submit to them. It would have made things so much easier.

"But I realized that those were Phoebe's feelings." She stopped, looked at Piper and then back at Prue.

"I can't let myself forget who I really am," she continued. "I can't let Phoebe control me.  Those feelings...they were what I felt as Phoebe.  But they weren't what I felt as Alyssa."

Stuart, standing with Leo behind Piper, moved to Piper's side.

"Hi," he said, quietly.

"Just 'hi', that's all?" Phoebe asked.

"Well, under the circumstances, I didn't know what else to say," he said.

Phoebe saw the confusion on his face.

"Because of Jason?" Phoebe asked and Stuart nodded slightly.

"I've been confused too," she said.  "Jason is from Phoebe's past.  It's hard enough to deal with the consequences of my own decisions in life without having to deal with those of Phoebe's, too.

"I'm not going to let Phoebe's past take over and complicate my present."

She paused for a few seconds.

"So, do we still have a date for tomorrow night?" she asked.

"I wouldn't miss it for anything," he said, with a smile.

Nor would I, she thought. I have to see where this will lead me. And whether I'm ready...or want...to go there.