Charmed Role Reversal



No Thanks, For the Memories

“I can see why you like orbing," Piper said as they reached the porch of The Manor. "It's...exciting."

"When you do it all the time," Leo said, "it becomes just...very ordinary and normal."

"Orbing into Coit Tower at night when its closed and looking out at the city's lights from its observation deck is not normal," Piper said, smiling.

"Maybe it isn't," Leo conceded.  "But this is."  He placed his hands on her shoulders, pulled her towards him, and put his lips on hers.

No, she thought, I'm Holly Combs. Kissing Leo is not normal, it's not what I should want him to do.

Then she felt his lips against hers.  And now she was Piper Halliwell.  And she did want him to kiss her.

The kiss was simple, not passionate.  But it was long.  And she felt everything that Piper Halliwell would feel with Leo, everything the writers said she should feel, everything the episodes were leading up to her feeling.  It was all there now.  And she didn't want the kiss to end.

But it did end.  She opened her eyes and as Leo released her she steadied herself against the doorpost.

"Are you OK?" Leo asked.

"Uh...yes," she said, not sure that she really was.  "There must be something special about how a whitelighter kisses."

"I would kiss you that way even if I wasn't a whitelighter.  Even if I was something else," he said.

"Something else...like an actor?" The kiss had triggered memories of her kissing Brian - kissing him as they were acting in a Charmed scene - and she blurted out the words without thinking.

"An actor?" he asked, surprised.

"Oh...uh," she stammered.  "Actors...act when they do love scenes.  They don't really, uh, feel anything when they kiss.  At least, uh, not usually."

"I feel everything when I kiss you," Leo said. "Everything that's good and wonderful about you. And there's a lot of that. More than I could have imagined anyone having."

"Hommmm."  Piper made a sound of contentment.  "That sounds even better than the lines the writers give you to say to me."

"The writers?" Leo asked, confused.

"Oh, never mind that," she said, slipping her arm under his.  "Real life is just naturally better at some things than fiction can ever be."

Leo turned around, opened the door and they walked inside together.

"How did your evening-" Prue started to ask, then stopped as she saw Piper's face. "Oh, I guess I don't have to ask that question, do I?"

"Uhmm," Piper said, giving her a look as she did.  "Did Phoebe get back from the club?" she asked, avoiding Prue's comment.

"No," Prue said. "She called over an hour ago and said she was about-"

The opening of the door interrupted her.  Phoebe walked into the house, leaving the door open behind her, staring blankly ahead of her.

"Phoebs, are you OK?"  Piper asked.

Phoebe didn't reply.  She walked over to the sofa and sat down without acknowledging any of them.

"I..." she started to say, shook her head once slowly, and looked up at them.  "I just...killed someone."



Click speaker for Opening Credits Theme Song

"Start at the beginning," Prue said, as Piper gave Phoebe a glass of water.

"I...I'm not sure where the beginning is," she said. She took a sip of the water and handed it back to Piper.

"I was walking down Webster, around the corner from the club, and...I...think I heard someone... call for help.  I went down that narrow street...uh, Pixley, and...I...strangled him."

"Strangled? Who?" Leo asked.

"I...don't know... He may...I think...he was in the club tonight."

"What did you do when you walked down the alley?" Prue asked, firmly.

"I...think I saw a man.  And then...I don't know.  I...remember my hands around his neck.  And that look on his face.  That look...of pleading for his life.  That look...of begging me not to kill him.

"And then...he slumped in my hands.  And he was dead."

Phoebe looked at up Prue.  "How could I do this?  How could I kill someone? I don't understand..."

"Listen to me," Piper said, taking Phoebe's hands in hers.  "You didn't kill anyone.  You couldn't kill anyone.

"Not as Phoebe," she said, leaning closer to her so that Leo wouldn't hear her.  "And certainly not as Alyssa,"

"But...I did," Phoebe said. "Somehow...I did.  And I can't make believe I didn't...

"The police...I have to tell them...what I did. But...I don't know...why I killed him."

"Stay with her," Prue said to Piper and Leo, "and see what else she can tell you about what happened. I'm going to drive over there and see what I can find out."

 

Half a dozen stars could be clearly seen in the sky as the moon's crescent, off to one side, shone brightly above Fred Carlyle.  The lights along the silhouette of the TransAmerica Pyramid outlined the building as it pointed skyward against the night's darkness.

Carlyle had never much cared for the Pyramid, never liked its inclusion in photographs and drawings of the city's skyline.  He felt the Pyramid wasn't representative of San Francisco, had no real connection to the city.  Unlike, for example, the Empire State Building, whose art deco design reflected the prevailing style in New York City when it was built.

But the Pyramid, Carlyle felt, represented nothing more than just itself.  Certainly not Chinatown nor the Financial District, whose border between them it straddled.  Nor the unique blend of Victorian and hilly Bay Area charm that was the essence of the city.  No, the Pyramid was merely some architect's artificial idea of what San Francisco was all about.

Behind the Pyramid, the Bay Bridge to Oakland could be seen stretching out into the water.  The other bridge, as Carlyle would call it.  Overshadowed by the Golden Gate's fame, it had neither the glamour nor the romance of its sister bridge.  A real shame, Carlyle thought.  It was just as beautiful, especially if you had a spot from which you could see all of its first span that connected San Francisco to Treasure Island.

Which you could see from the roof of the department store where Carlyle was a buyer and where he now stood.

But Carlyle wasn't looking at the bridge, nor even at the Pyramid.  He wasn't looking at the moon nor the stars.

He was looking at something in his mind.  Something that haunted him, something that overwhelmed him, something that would allow him no peace.

Carlyle began walking to the far side of the roof.  The revolving lounge on the top floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel came into view.  But he paid it no attention as he kept walking and approached the concrete barrier on the roof's perimeter.

As he felt his foot hit the barrier Carlyle stopped and stared at it for a moment.  Lifting his left foot, he carefully and deliberately stepped over the barrier and plunged to the sidewalk four stories below.

 

Prue parked the car on Filbert Street and walked back the block to where the police cars, their lights flashing, stood.

"Prue, what are you doing here?"  Morris asked as she approached him.

"I was driving back from the club and saw the police cars.  What happened?" she asked, trying to sound innocent.

"A man was killed.  Strangled, the M.E. says."

"Who was he?" she asked.

"Preston Hammel," he answered. "From one of the Bay Area's well-to-do families."

"Where there any pentagrams around the body?" she asked.

"No, nothing strange about it.  Except..."

"Except what?" she asked.

Morris hesitated.  "Except that there were bruises around his head and shoulders. As if he was hit repeatedly before he was strangled. A strangler doesn't normally do that."

"It must have taken a strong man to do this," Prue said, leading Morris on.

"Woman," Morris corrected her.  "It looks like it was a woman who killed him.  We have a witness."

"The witness saw the woman kill him?"  Prue asked, fearfully.

"No," he replied, "but she saw her crouching over his body.  She screamed and the woman looked up at her and ran away.  The streetlamp was shining on the woman and the victim and she got a good look at both of them.  I have her working with the Forensic Art Unit.  We should have a sketch pretty soon."

"Let me know if I can be of any help, Darryl," Prue said.

"Thanks Prue.  But I don't think you can help with this one."

Prue turned and headed back to the car.  She didn't know what had really happened.  But she knew she had to keep Phoebe away from the police until she did.

 

"The police have a witness who says she saw a woman at the murder scene," Prue said as she came into the house.

"I told you...I strangled him," Phoebe said, the pain in her voice tempered by confusion.

"What did she see?"  Piper asked.

"The woman was crouching over the victim," Prue said. "It could have been Phoebe trying to help the victim."

"Or it could have been the real killer," Piper said.

"Maybe, but we can't take the risk," Prue said. "The police are working up a sketch of her.  If it was Phoebe the witness saw the police will be here soon."

"If Phoebe tells the police she strangled that man," Piper said, "they'll lock her up.  And with that witness the case will be closed.  It'll be all over."

"Were you able to learn anything else?" Prue asked.

"No," Leo said. "She just kept saying that she strangled him. That's all she seems to remember."

"We have to get Phoebe out of here before the police come," Prue said.

"Where can we take her?" Piper asked. "The club is out.  That'll be the next place the police look after coming here.

"And they'd probably check next door, so that rules out taking her to Dan."

"There's one place they don't know about," Prue said.  "Cindy."  She pulled out her address book and picked up the telephone.

"Cindy? Hi, it's Prue Halliwell."

"Oh, hi Prue," the voice on the other end of the phone answered.

"Cindy, I need a favor. Phoebe witnessed a murder tonight. We think the killer saw her and she may be in danger. We want to get her away from The Manor.  Can she sleep by you tonight?"

"Uh...uh...my place is pretty sparse," Cindy said. "It's a furnished apartment.  But, uh, the sofa opens into a bed.  Uh, sure, of course.  Anything I can do to help. Haven't you, uh, asked the police for protection?"

"Phoebe is in shock from what she saw," Prue said.  "We think it's best to wait until tomorrow to say any more to the police.  In fact, if it's all right with you, Stuart will come too and stay with her in case her shock wears off during the night. He can sleep on the floor."

"Uh, sure," Cindy said. "If he doesn't mind, I don't."

"Thanks. They'll be over in a few minutes," Prue said and closed the phone.

"Stuart will have to stay with her," she said to Piper, "to stop her from saying anything to Cindy about the murder. Drive them over there and drop them off.  We're going to need the car here."

 

"Hello, Darryl," Prue said, opening the front door. It was almost midnight and with Phoebe safely tucked away at Cindy's apartment she was about to try to get some sleep.

"It seems I was wrong when I said you couldn't help solve this murder," Morris said.  "You're not surprised to see me at this hour, are you, Prue?

"And you didn't just happen to be driving by the murder scene earlier," he added.

"What do you want?"  Prue asked, pointedly.

Morris pulled a paper from his pocket, unfolded it and handed it to Prue.  "Can I come in?"

Prue stared at the drawing.

"Are you coming to arrest her?"  Prue asked, staring coldly at Morris.

"I don't want to do this," he replied, frustrated.  "The captain grabbed the sketch before I saw it. He distributed copies to every officer who was around.  They're all out looking for her.  She's better off coming with me than if someone else finds her first and takes her in."

"Phoebe didn't kill anyone," Prue said, sternly.

"I want to believe that.  You know I do."  Morris exhaled.  "But right now it's out of my hands. She has to come in for questioning." Prue said nothing and just stared at Morris.

"Are you going to let me in?" he asked.

"She's not here," Prue said.

"Prue, don't make me get a search warrant," Morris said. "Once someone recognizes that it's Phoebe the captain will come after me for not pulling her in.  He knows that I know all of you very well."

Prue stared at Darryl, then opened the door for him to come in.

"She's still not here," Prue said as they headed into the living room.

Morris looked around, walked into the kitchen and then into the parlor.  He walked back to the staircase, then stopped, exhaled and turned around.

"Where is she?"

"I don't know," Prue lied, her look as icy as her tone of voice.

"Look, Prue," Morris said, "I want to help you.  I want to help Phoebe.  But I can't help if you don't let me bring her in."

"And then what?" Prue asked, rhetorically. "Have her sit in jail while the real murderer is free? No one will be looking for him because you'll already have Phoebe.

"No thank you.  I'll find whoever killed that man.  And if you want to help Phoebe then just stay out of my way.  And leave her, and me, alone."

Morris was silent for a moment.  "It's only a matter of time before someone spots her," he said, exasperated, and walked towards the front door.  As he opened it he turned back to Prue.

"This is the information on Preston Hammel, the man who was killed," he said, handing Prue a sheet of paper he took out of his jacket pocket.  "I never gave this to you."

Prue nodded.  "Thanks Darryl," she said and closed the door behind him.

 

"I told you it was a sparse apartment," Cindy said.

"It's fine," Stuart assured her.

"How are you doing?" she asked Phoebe.  Phoebe looked at her and was about to say something when Stuart interjected.

"Not too well," he said, stopping Phoebe before she said anything.

"Is there anything that I can do for her?" Cindy asked.

"She just needs rest and sleep," Stuart said.

"OK," Cindy said.  She started to take Phoebe's hand but then seemed to catch herself and changed her mind.

"Then I won't keep Phoebe up," Cindy said.  "I prepared the sofa for her. There's an extra blanket and pillow for you so you can sleep on the floor.  Just let me know if there's anything else you need, not that there's much here."

"Thanks," Stuart said.  "We appreciate everything you're doing for Phoebe. Good night."

"Good night," Cindy said.  She gave Phoebe a curious look for a few seconds and then went into her bedroom.

 

As Prue stepped on to the porch to pick up the morning newspaper she noticed the car, with two men sitting in it, parked diagonally across the street.  Police, she thought.  They know it was Phoebe in the sketch.

She had read the information Morris had given her on Hammel twice, hoping it would give her a clue as to who had killed him.  In his late twenties, single, wealthy family, attended Stanford, he enjoyed the San Francisco nightlife.  But there was nothing there that would point to anyone besides Phoebe.  There was only the witness - and Phoebe herself.

She stared at the car for a moment and was about to go back inside when she heard another car pull up and saw Morris get out.  He started coming up to the porch and Prue turned and walked down the steps, meeting him halfway.

"Phoebe isn't here," she said.

"I know," Morris said, motioning slightly at the car across the street.  "Look Prue, this is out of my hands.  Belaccio has the case, now.  And he found a witness who saw Hammel in the club last night.  He was a little drunk and Phoebe wouldn't let him have anything more to drink and he didn't like it.

"So maybe she ran into him outside the club on her way home and he started something.  And those bruises on the body.  They could have been from some martial arts chops.  Enough to give a woman an edge on him.  Being half drunk he wouldn't have put up much of a fight."

"Belaccio couldn't have made a better case against Phoebe, himself," Prue said sarcastically.

"Prue, I'm just trying to show you what Phoebe is up against," he said.

"Why aren't you on the case?" Prue asked.

"The captain switched me to this weird jumper case," Morris said.  "Married, three children, good family life, good job.  Neighbors say there were no problems at home.  And then last night he just walks off the roof of a building downtown."

"Maybe he was pushed," she said, without interest. Morris shook his head.

"The departent store keeps the roof locked,” he said. “The maintenance man said he seemed to be in a daze when he asked him for the key.  And no one else was around.

"And he left a note. That he couldn't live with himself after what he did to her."

"Her?" Prue asked.

"The note didn't say who," Morris said. "But from the rest of what he wrote he could have been referring to the girl who was murdered in the Castro District Tuesday night.  Dina Badler. She was strangled.

"And she had bruises, similar to Hammel's."

"Really?"  Prue said, suddenly interested.  "Maybe this jumper had a dark side to him when he wasn't with his family."

"Hardly," Morris said.  "He spent his free time volunteering at the youth center in the Mission District, working with troubled teens."

"Youth center?" Prue asked. "The one on Van Ness?"

"Yeah," Morris said. "You've been there?"

"No.  But Phoebe has,” Prue said. “One of the leaders from the center was in the club one night.  He was telling Piper and Phoebe about the need for volunteers to help at the center.  So Phoebe spent a couple of hours there Tuesday afternoon.

"What's the jumper's name?"

"Fred Carlyle," Morris answered.  "Prue, I'm not supposed to even be here talking to you.  Belaccio is a good cop but he can be a bull.  Your trying to protect Phoebe will make things worse for her. If Phoebe turns herself in to me I may still be able to help her."

"You're right, Darryl," Prue said, sharply.  "You shouldn't be talking to me."  She turned, walked up the steps and went inside.

 

"Excuse me, I'm looking for Carlson Vaughn," Prue said.  Some computers sat on tables in front of her.  To her side, four teenagers, three boys and one girl, were sitting on chairs in a semi-circle facing a middle-aged man.

"That's me," the man said.  "How can I help you?"

"My name is Shannen Doherty," she said, not wanting Vaughn to connect her to Phoebe.  "I'm with Four-One-Five magazine.  I was hoping you could give me a few minutes of your time."

"Sure.  We'll continue in just a bit," he said to the teens.  He stood up and motioned to Prue to follow him into a small office.

"What can I do for you?" he asked.  He sat down at his desk and Prue took the chair opposite him.

"Fred Carlyle," she said. "From what I've learned about him, what happened last night doesn't seem to make any sense."

The chair creaked as Vaughn leaned back in it and shook his head.  "I don't understand it.  It was such a shock."

"There has to be something else going on here," Prue said. "I want to find out what it is. Whether there was another side to Carlyle that no one knew about. Or whether this wasn't just a suicide."

"You mean...murder?" Carlson asked. "But why? Who would have wanted to hurt Fred? I...I couldn't understand that...any more than I can understand his jumping off the roof.

"Fred was the most decent man you'd want to know. He was a brother, a father...a friend to a dozen teens who come in here. He had a good life and a good family. And he was dedicated to helping these teenagers straighten out their lives so that they could have those things, too."

"Was he successful?" Prue asked.

"Successful?"  Vaughn leaned forward in his chair, placing his arms on the desk.  "Fred wouldn't give up on even the hardest case.  And that's mostly what we get here.  Whether because a judge sent them, or a parent somehow forced them...these are kids who have no future, whose lives are already dead-ends.

"These are lost souls. And Fred gave them a future. He saved their lives."

Prue stared at Vaughn as she realized the meaning of what he had said.

"He...saved their souls," she said, slowly.

 

"There has to be a demon involved somehow," Prue said to Piper and Leo back at The Manor.  "A demon who goes after people who save souls and tries to destroy them."  She and Leo were standing in the conservatory while Piper was sitting at the table.

"The demon must have come to that youth center and seen what Fred Carlyle was doing," Prue continued. "He must have also come the afternoon that Phoebe was there."

"She told me she was pretty sure one of the boys was seriously thinking about what she told him," Piper said.  "This demon must have overheard her conversation with him. And then somehow made both Phoebe and Carlyle think that they each murdered someone."

"To destroy them," Prue said, "so that they would never save another soul.  But who's the demon? And how could he have made them think that way?"

"There are demons who can transfer their memories," Leo said. "They can put them into someone else's head. I've seen one do it myself."

"Who?" Prue asked.

"The demon was Orion," Leo answered.

"Let's see if he's in The Book of Shadows," Piper said, getting up from the table to go to the attic.

Leo shook his head.

"He was vanquished by a witch four years ago," he said.  But there are others."

"If this demon had a memory of the girl being killed, he could have transferred it to Carlyle," Piper said. "And done the same thing to Phoebe with the memory of strangling Hammel."

"Which means that he's the one who killed them," Prue said.

"But how do we go after him?" Piper asked. "We don't even know who he is."

"But...maybe Phoebe does," Prue said.  "Maybe a single memory can't be isolated...maybe memories are connected.  And when he transferred the memory of the murder to her it wasn't the only memory he gave her.  Maybe he can't block out everything else and more of his memory than he realized got transferred along with it."

"Like the memory of himself," Piper said.

"And it's somewhere in Phoebe's sub-conscious," Prue said.

"That's a lot of 'maybes'," Leo said.

"I know," Prue said. "But it's the only thing we have that we can try."

"If more memories were transferred to Phoebe's sub-conscious," Leo said, "you'll need a spell to make her remember them."

"Looking for one in The Book of Shadows will take us a long time," Piper said.

"I know," Prue said. "You're going to have make one up quickly without The Book."

"Me? I haven't done that before," Piper said. "That's a power the writers gave...uh...that was given to Phoebe."

Prue turned Piper aside so that Leo could not hear her.

"This is your chance," she said to Piper in a low voice, "to show your versatility and range as an actress. Stretch and play the part of Phoebe."

"Show my range as an actress?" Piper said, and squinted. "Show it to whom? It's not as if JP and Brad are going to drop by to take notice of what I can do."

"Let's go into the living room, Leo," Prue said, turning back to him, "and let Piper concentrate on the spell.  You can tell me about Orion while we're waiting. Maybe there's something about him that will help us with this demon."

 

"Take the thoughts...

"Take the ideas...

"No," Piper said to herself.  She had been sitting at the table trying to come up with a spell for almost fifteen minutes.  "Take the memories.  That's better.

"But I have to test it."  She sat up straight in the chair and took a deep breath.

    "Take the memories buried in my head,   

     And let me remember what was done and said."

She was silent for a moment.  Then her eyes darted from side to side as something started to come to her.

"Rome isn't Green Bay," she began.  "Things are different here.  And being the sheriff's daughter...means that I'm different, too."

She stopped, her mouth half-open, her eyes squinting.

"No," she said. "This spell isn't any good.  Remembering my Kimberly Brock dialogue from a five-year old Picket Fences episode is not the memory I'm looking for."

Frustrated, Piper sighed and tried some more.

"Hmmm. Maybe..." she said after a few minutes.

     "Let a thought I didn't know I had    

          That was placed inside my head,    

      Come out now from my sub-conscious    

          And be remembered and said."

Piper stared ahead for a few seconds as something stirred inside her mind.

"In a medium heavy saucepan," she began, "...pour the water, caster sugar, and the juice of the lemon...mix together and bring to a boil."  Piper tried to stop herself but more kept coming.

"Let simmer for three minutes, then put in the pears, cover with a lid and let the fruits poach for five minutes, turning them upside down once or twice. The Pear Belle-Hélène will-"

"OK, OK," she said, regaining control.  "One of super chef Piper's recipes.  Something The Elders put somewhere deep in my sub-conscious that I didn't know about. And likely along with a lot of other things...that I'm probably better off not knowing are there."

Piper felt a feeling of satisfaction as she wrote the spell down on a notepad.

"This spell seems to work," Piper said coming into the living room. "I tried it out but I'll have to change a word or two to get into Phoebe's sub-conscious."

"We have to get you to Cindy's apartment without the police seeing you leave The Manor," Prue said. "One of them followed me in his car this morning when I went to the youth center."

"There is a way to leave the house without them knowing about it," Piper said, turning to Leo. "Looks like it's time for you to take me orbing again."

"Don't orb into Cindy's apartment," Prue said.

"Right," Leo said. "We'll orb into the hallway."

Piper walked over to Leo and he put his arms around her.

"Ready?" he asked.  Holding her tightly brought back all of last night's feelings - but she wasn't complaining.  She allowed herself the moment's enjoyment and just nodded.  The light came and they disappeared together.

"It's best if Cindy doesn't see you," Piper said.

Leo nodded his head in agreement.

"Good luck," he said and slowly orbed out.  Piper walked up the stairs and knocked on the apartment door.

"Piper," Stuart said, with relief, opening the door. "Did you and Prue come up with anything?"

"We think so," Piper said.  "Where's Cindy?"

"She went out a little while ago," Stuart said.

"Good," Piper said, and walked over to Phoebe who was sitting on the bed.

"How are you doing?" she asked her.

"I still don't understand how I could have killed him," Phoebe said.  "Or why."

"You didn't," Piper said.  "You didn't kill anyone.  A demon killed Hammel and gave you his memory of doing it."

"Who's the demon?" Stuart asked.

"I don't know," Piper said, "but if this spell works Phoebe will tell us." She sat down on the bed and took Phoebe's hands.

    "Let thoughts you didn't know you had    

        That a demon placed inside your head,    

     Come out now from your sub-conscious    

        And be remembered and said."

Phoebe didn't move but after a moment her eyes focused and she started to shake her head slowly.

"I...I didn't kill him," she said, and gave a small sigh of relief. "Mordun...the demon's name is Mordun. He...transferred his memory to me...so I would think I killed Hammel."

"And now you see that it wasn't you who killed him," Piper said. "It was Mordun."

"No," Phoebe said, shaking her head again. "It...it wasn't Mordun who killed him."

"What?!" Piper said. "It had to be Mordun."

"No," Phoebe said. "It was...someone else."

"Who?" Stuart asked.

"I can see him," Phoebe said.  "He's hitting Hammel.  Now his hands are around his neck...wiry, in his late thirties...medium height, brown hair...with a distant look in his eyes.  And...a scar under his right ear."

"What's his name?" Piper asked.

"Dinky," Phoebe said. "That's what he's called. Maybe it's a nickname.

"And...I see him strangling a girl."

"That must be Dina Badler, the girl who was killed Tuesday night," Piper said. "The one Carlyle thought he had killed."

"Carlyle?" Phoebe asked. "Fred Carlyle," she said slowly, staring ahead. "He's...at the youth center. And...Mordun found him and...transferred his memory to him."

"Mordun must have the power to transfer memories to himself, too," Piper said.  "He must have transferred this Dinky's memory of killing the girl to himself first and then to Carlyle," Piper said.  "But how does he know to be where Dinky is going to kill someone?"

"He...transferred his memory of a place to Dinky," Phoebe said. "And then the memory of someone to kill. And the feeling of...of how it feels to kill someone. And Dinky...he's excited...and he does the rest."

"How does Mordun find Dinky?" Stuart asked.

"He finds him...on streets where he...hangs out. I don't know where...I don't recognize the neighborhood."

"Now that Phoebe knows what really happened she can tell the police," Stuart said.

"And have them look for a demon?"  Piper asked.  "We have to find Mordun and stop him before anyone else is killed.  I'm going back to The Manor. Stay here until we come up with a plan."

 

"Mordun targeted Carlyle and Phoebe from the youth center," Prue said. "So he must be dropping in there in the afternoons looking for people who are saving souls."

"And we can find him there," Piper said. "If we knew what he looked like."

"He knows what Phoebe looks like," Prue said.  "Maybe she can flush him out if we set up a scene."

"We'll have to look through The Book of Shadows for a spell to vanquish him," Piper said.

The light began to form in the living room and Leo orbed in.

"I have it," he said, handing Prue a sheet of paper.

"You don't have to go through The Book of Shadows," Leo said, pointing to the paper.  "You have the spell.  This is the one that was used to vanquish Orion.  I got it from Lindsay Pearson, the witch who made it up.  It will work on Mordun because he's the same kind of demon as Orion was."

"It's nice to have some witch connections, for a change," Piper mused.  "But what I don't understand is why didn't Mordun transfer a memory of Carlyle, or Phoebe, to Dinky and let him kill them."

"Transferring the memory of a place as a suggestive thought of where to go is one thing," Leo said. "But to get someone to kill that way is another.  A person always has a choice between doing good and evil.  Mordun had no guarantee that Dinky would kill them or anyone else in Mordun's transferred memory.

"And there's another reason," Leo continued.  "Demons who can transfer memories not only want to destroy good people but want to see these people destroy themselves.  Having Dinky kill them would deprive him of that."

"Even though Mordun targeted Phoebe," Prue said, "her coming by the alley and being seen by that witness were just luck. He couldn't have known that would happen."

"He didn't need it to happen," Piper said.  "Mordun could have followed Phoebe and transferred those memories to her anywhere.  They were enough to make here think she killed Hammel.  Having the police arrest her would have just been a bonus."

"Or maybe the call for help Phoebe heard wasn't real," Leo said. "It could have been only a memory from Mordun to get her into the alley."

"We'd better get moving," Prue said. "I'll call Phoebe and tell her what to do."

 

Prue and Piper were walking up Van Ness the half a block from where they had parked to the youth center when a car pulled up beside them and Morris jumped out.  He stared at Prue and Piper for a second and exhaled.

"Someone spotted Phoebe in the youth center and called the precinct," he said. "I heard it come over the radio. Belaccio is on his way over here. Let me get Phoebe before he does."

"Someone just happened to spot her and called the police?"  Prue asked.  "How convenient."

She gave Morris a steely look and then turned to Piper.

"Go ahead inside," she said to her.  "I'll talk to Darryl."

"There's nothing to talk about, Prue," Morris said, as Piper opened the door. "I don't know what you're up to. But if you don't let me take Phoebe in Belaccio will."

"You can't take Phoebe in," Prue said. "You have to let us finish this, Darryl.  And you have to stop Belaccio from taking her."

"Stop him?" Morris asked. "How am I supposed to do that?"

"Anyway you can," Prue said, "but you can't let him go inside."

"Damn it, Prue. You're asking me to put my badge in jeopardy."

"And if Belaccio stops us people's lives will be in jeopardy," Prue said.  "People like Dina Badler.  People like Preston Hammel."  She stopped, hesitated and took a deep breath.

"The one you're looking for," she said, "is in his late thirties, wiry, medium height, brown hair, with a scar under his right ear.  He has a distant look in his eyes.  He's called Dinky.  Phoebe described him."

"Phoebe...she saw the killer?" Morris asked.

Prue looked straight at Morris. "The killer's memory was transferred to her," she said.

"Transferred?! Memory can't be transferred!" Morris exclaimed and stared at Prue for a moment.

"No!" he said. "Don't use the d-word!"

Prue hesitated for a second.  "The same thing happened to Carlyle," she continued.  "He had the killer's memory of killing Badler.  A full, detailed memory with all of the feelings and sensations of the killing.  And of the victim's struggle and succumbing in his hands.  That's why he thought he had killed her even though it made no sense that he would do that.  That's why he jumped off the roof.  He couldn't fight the vivid memory of-"

An unmarked car, it's cherry light flashing but its siren off, screeched to the curb.

"What are you doing here, Morris?" he asked before he was halfway out of the car.  He was in his late forties, a couple of inches under six feet in height, broad and heavy.  A cop right out of central casting, Prue thought.  "This is my case, now.  You're off of it and you know it."

"I'm still on the Badler case, Belaccio," Morris said.  "And it's connected to Hammel.  I got a tip.  The same person is involved in both murders. We're looking for a wiry man in his late thirties, medium height, brown hair, scar under his right ear. A distant look in his eyes.  Called-"

"Dinky," Belaccio said.

"You know him?" Morris asked.

"Yeah," Belaccio said.  "I know that psychotic creep.  I've pulled him in a few times for assault. He likes to knock people around.  Even booked him once on suspicion of murder but he walked.

"How reliable is your tip?"

Morris hesitated for a second.

"Very," he said. "You know where to look for him?"

"I know where he hangs out," Belaccio replied. "I'll find him after I take in Halliwell."

Morris took a deep breath. "She's gone," he said. "I already checked."

Belaccio silently eyed Morris for a moment.  Prue, standing off to the side, couldn't tell from Belaccio's face what he was thinking.

"I'll go pick up Dinky," Belaccio finally said.  "If he's involved, the sooner he's off the streets isn't soon enough."

Belaccio got back into his car and drove off, this time with the siren on.  Morris turned to Prue and they stared at each other without either saying a word.  And after five seconds, there wasn't anything that still needed to be said.  Prue turned around and went inside the youth center.

"Sometimes we have demons inside of us, making us think the worst of ourselves.  Making us think that we've done the most terrible things and that life isn't worth living anymore."

Phoebe was speaking, sitting in a chair in the center of the room.  Three girls sitting in a semi-circle opposite her were listening to her carefully.  So was a boy, standing and leaning against the wall.  Three adult men across the room were also intently listening to what she was saying.

"And that's when we have to remember that life is always worth living," she continued.  "That life is hope.  That life is possibilities.  The possibility of making ourselves better.  The possibility of finding our souls.

"What we've done is never as bad as our demons tell us they are. And no matter what we've done, we can make something of ourselves. We just have to want to. And there are lots of good people around to help us do just that."

"Hello Mr. Vaughn," Prue said.

"Hello again, Ms. Doherty," he said. "Back for more material for your magazine story?"

"In a way," she said.  "Tell me, has there been anyone, besides teenagers, who's been dropping in afternoons this week?"

"It's not unusual for people to drop in," he said.  "Sometimes they're looking for a boy or a girl who hasn't been home for a while, hoping they'll find him or her here. Sometimes they come just to see what we do here."

"Anyone who's been coming in regularly this week? Say, the last three days?" she asked.

"Well...um, two of those men standing across the room," he said, pointing to the ones listening to Phoebe.  "They've both been here this week but I can't tell you for sure which days they were here. How are they connected to your story?"

"I'm not sure yet," she said. "Did you notice if either one made a telephone call in the last half-hour?"

"Uh...actually, yes," Vaughn said.  "They both did. The one in the tan jacket asked me if he could use the phone in my office.  And then  a few minutes later the one in the black shirt asked me, too.  How did you know?"

"Reporter's confidential sources," Prue said. "Excuse me."

Prue walked towards Phoebe and catching her attention, motioned towards the men across the room. Phoebe stood up and started walking towards them.

"And we each have our own powers," she said aloud, looking straight at all three men. "Powers we can use to identify and vanquish the demons of our minds."

The three men watched Phoebe getting closer to them.  Then the one in the black shirt gave her a cold stare, turned and started to walk away.  When he saw Prue looking at him and walking towards him and saw Piper and Stuart coming towards him from the other side, he turned and hurried towards a small corridor that went to the back of the center.

A door at the end of the corridor led to a back exit and as he opened it Prue waved her hand at him and sent him flying outside into a small enclosed alleyway. A locked gate at its end led to the street.  He looked up at the gate, then turned back to face them.

"It's not just you, I see." he said to Phoebe. "You're all witches."

"Yes, we are Mordun," Phoebe said.

"You know who I am. And you overcame Dinky's memories that I gave you," he said, amazed.

"And we're going to stop you from doing that to anyone again," Phoebe said.

"Think so?" he said.  "Think again.  And I'll give you just what to think."  He was silent for a second, then turned his head quickly from one side of the alley to the other, looking at each of them as he did.

"AGGHHH!" Phoebe screamed. She squeezed her eyes shut, threw her hands up to the sides of her head and fell to her knees.

"AGGHH...AGGHH..." Stuart started to quiver and shake, his eyes and mouth wide open in fear.

Their minds were filled with the image of a dungeon, their hands chained to its wall.  And creatures, nightmare creatures unlike any they had ever seen, were clawing at their bodies.

A smile crossed Mordun's face as he saw their torture.  But the smile quickly turned to shock when he looked at Piper and Prue, standing with neither pain nor fear, holding a paper in their hands.

   "Demon of memories of the mind,    

    Be gone to a place no one will ever find."

Mordun started to shake and scream. Then, in a flash, he was gone.

Prue put the paper into her pocket and rushed to Stuart as Piper ran over to Phoebe.

"It's OK," Prue said to him, throwing her arms around him and holding him. "It's not real. It isn't happening to you. It's only in your mind."

"You're all right," Piper said as she held Phoebe.  "It's Mordun's thoughts.  None of it is real. Just like Dinky's thoughts weren't real."

Stuart was crying and shaking from fear and he squeezed Prue tightly.  Piper held Phoebe and rocked her gently back and forth.  After a few of minutes, they both were able to regain control of their minds and began to calm down.

"Why weren't you affected by Mordun's memories?" Stuart asked, still breathing heavily.

"When Lindsay gave Leo the spell for vanquishing Mordun," Prue said, "she also gave him the formula for a potion to block out any memories he'd try to transfer to us.  We had barely enough of the ingredients, and enough time, to make two portions of it."

"Forgive us for letting you go through all of that," Piper said.  "But we had to use the potion ourselves to be sure that either Prue or I would be able to withstand Mordun's memories and cast the spell."

"It's OK," Phoebe said, her breathing almost back to normal. "It was the right thing to do. Mordun had to be vanquished."

"I understand now what Carlyle, and Phoebe, were feeling," Stuart said.  "The memories of wherever that place was, that Mordun had taken from whoever was being tortured there and given us... They were as real as any memory I have of anything I've ever done."

"Thank you for saving me...from myself," Phoebe said.

"If only we could have saved Carlyle, too," Piper said.

"We didn't save him," Phoebe said.  "But there are others that can be saved. Carlyle left some unfinished business inside.  Excuse me while I have a talk with a few teens and try to complete, at least with them, what he started."

 

"That was Morris," Prue said, putting away the cell phone. "A hair they found on Dinky's shirt matched Badler's. And they found Hammel's gold watch in his apartment. And someone who was at the club last night remembers seeing Dinky in the area when she went home.

"They still want Phoebe to come in but only to get her statement of what she saw. She's not a suspect anymore."

"Good," Stuart said.  "We can stop hiding here and go home.  That is, as soon as Phoebe finishes talking to Vaughn.  He was quite impressed with her.  I think he's trying to convince her to come again."

"That was more Alyssa talking to those kids than it was Phoebe," Prue said.  "She does have an ability to communicate with them."

Stuart saw an uncomfortable look on Piper's face.

"What's wrong?" he asked her.

Piper hesitated and exhaled.

"Did we really do the right thing?" she asked.  "We gave the police Dinky just like that.  Mordun was really the one behind the murders."

"How could we have not given him to them?" Prue asked. "He killed Badler and Hammel."

"We don't know that he would have killed them, or anyone, without Mordun giving him those memories," Piper said.  "He was under the influence of a demon."

"And we don't know that he wouldn't have killed them," Prue said.  "Dinky has a history of assaults and felonies. Maybe even a murder. And Mordun's influence only encouraged him to kill them. He didn't, and couldn't, force him to do it. Dinky still had a choice."

"That's just it," Piper said. "We don't know what he would have done on his own. And we didn't tell the police what his circumstances really were."

"We couldn't exactly tell them that a demon was orchestrating the murders," Stuart said.

"I know," Piper said. "But it still feels like...like we took a shortcut. We judged that Dinky would have killed on his own. And we gave him to the police to punish without their consideration of the true facts. It's not our characters' job to judge people and decide their punishment...only to stop the demons."

"This isn't Charmed," Prue said, taking Piper's hand. "And this isn't a script that ties everything up neatly at the end of the hour, and that conforms to Charmed's bible about what our characters should do."

"Then what about ourselves," Piper said. "What about what Shannen Doherty and Holly Combs should do? We can't forget - we can't lose - our own morals, our own sense of what's right."

"It's real life," Prue said. "We can't write it to be the exact way we want it all to work out.  We tried to do the best that we could."

Piper was silent for a moment and then sighed.

"I'd feel better if I knew that we really did do the best that we could," she said.

She paused and looked at Prue silently for a few seconds.

"But did we?" Piper asked.