Charmed Role Reversal



To Date, Or Not To Date, That Is The Question

Piper plopped down on the sofa next to Prue, her expression showing that something was bothering her.

"What's wrong?" Prue asked.

"Brian..uh, Leo, uh...he orbed in before and asked me if I wanted to have dinner and go to a movie with him tonight."

"That's not surprising," Prue said. "Leo thinks you're really Piper.  It's to be expected."

"But I'm not really Piper, I'm...I'm..."  Piper stopped, frustrated.  She closed her eyes briefly and took a deep breath.

"What's not to be expected - is that I wanted to say 'yes'.

"On the set, I never felt anything for Brian. We did our scenes and that's all there was to it. You know that. But now, every time Leo pops in - I feel drawn to him.

"The longer we're here the more I'm feeling that I’m really Piper.”

"I know," Prue said. "I'm seeing that with myself, too."

"Doesn't it frighten you?" Piper asked.

"A little," Prue said.  "I know who I am, who I'll be when we get back home.  But I know that for now, I'm also Prue. We saw that our lives depend upon our thinking instinctively like, and actually being, the Halliwell sisters. Maybe, in order to really think like them - we also have to feel like them. It's part of what The Elders did when they brought us here.

"But there is a side benefit to it," Prue continued.  "I get to have such nice sisters to live with."

Piper smiled and drew closer, placing her head against Prue's chest.

"What did you tell Leo?" Prue asked.

"I said I'd 'call' him later," Piper said.  She paused.  "I don't know what I should do.  If I go out with him, then I'm fooling him.  He thinks I'm someone else."

"Leo exists here because we're here," Prue said. "Maybe he exists in some way somewhere else, on some other plane - I don't know. But right now, he's here only because of us. You're the only Piper he knows and has. So you're not fooling him at all."

"What about - fooling myself?" Piper asked.  "I'm...I don't know...I've been...feeling things about him...but they aren't real.  Or they wouldn't be if I wasn't here.  I don't know what I should feel...what I should do.

"If I go out with Leo...what's the point? It will only be for while we're here. Once we get back to LA, he won't be there - it won't go on."

Prue thought for a moment before she replied.

"We don't know how long we're going to be here," she said. "No one said we can't try to have some normalcy in our lives as long as we are here.  Or as normal as witches' lives can be. There's nothing wrong with your having a little happiness while you're here.

"Follow your heart," Prue said. "I just want you to be happy."

"Wow!" was Prue's reaction as Piper turned around to her.  They both realized that Prue had quoted a line of sisterly advice she had given Piper on Charmed when Piper was torn between Dan and Leo.

"I really have become Prue, haven't I,"  she said, a little amazed. "But I think it's the right advice anyway."

Piper sat up and looked at her.

"No guilt?" she asked.

"No guilt," Prue said. "Not here."



Click speaker for Opening Credits Theme Song

The waiter placed their dishes in front of them and walked away.  Leo started to say something but Piper's mind was elsewhere.

I wish I knew what I was doing, she thought.  I shouldn't be feeling anything being with him...but I am.  After all, it's really Brian, isn't it?

Or is it? she thought.  This is not real. Leo's not real. Or...is he?  Is there...really a Leo? And what about things that he's said to me...that I've said to him. Things that have happened here...and I don't know what they are. What if he realizes I'm not who he thinks I am.

"Piper.  Piper," Leo said, trying to get her attention.

"Oh...uh...sorry, Leo," she said. "I just...sort of...never mind."

"Was I boring you?" he asked. "I'm sorry.  I was trying not to talk about work.  But I can if you'd rather."         

An evening with Leo without discussing work, she thought.  On Charmed, that would have been an ideal night. But here I, am sitting with him in real life. And I don't have anything to talk about except work.

I'm here only to vanquish demons. And Leo is here...only because of me. I don't really have much of a life here do I, she thought and sighed.

 

"I still can't believe we just walked in and actually got this table by the window, even on a Thursday evening," Stuart said.  "The Cliff House's view of the ocean is always in demand."

The Cliff House stood perched on high ground, way above both the beach below it and the sloping Great Highway that passed by its front door. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Point Lobos, at the western tip of San Francisco's Richmond District, it was the only structure on the beach side of the wide road. Its stature undiminished over seven decades, it was still the place, for those in the know, for drinks and a view of the sun's declination.

"You usually need to have made a reservation for window seats on this side of the room way in advance," Stuart said. "Like from your grandmother's time."

"The sunset is gorgeous from here," Phoebe said.  "Maybe Grams cast a reservation spell for me for the day I would come here," she added, laughing.

"Seriously," she said. "I've been thinking about what you said Sunday night...about not making assumptions in new relationships.  Not many people share that opinion."

"I suppose not," he said, self-consciously toying with his fish appetizer. "I know I tend to be...somewhat sensitive about other people's feelings.  Too sensitive, I've been told more than once."

He looked out the window at the fading sunlight, the purple and red clouds reflecting its last glow.

"Assumptions aren't good for any relationship," Stuart said. "Even - or especially - established ones."  He turned back to her.

"When people have been together for a while," he continued, " the passion will eventually drop out of over-drive.  Of course, that's normal, as other parts of life demand their attention.

"But if he assumes that she knows how he feels about her without his really showing it - or even if she does know but he assumes that just knowing is enough for her - that will ruin what they have. The assumption will atrophy the relationship.

"You have to set aside at least an afternoon or an evening every week just to let her know what she means to you.  And every day, even if it's only for a few minutes, to show her how you feel.  How much you care about her - and about what's important to her.

"You have to be sensitive to her perspective and see the girl's view of things through her own eyes. It can make all the difference in a relationship."

"So, do you try to be sensitive to my perspective?" she asked.

"Yes, I do," he said.

"So what are you seeing now through my eyes?" she asked.

He leaned over the table closer to her, as if to whisper something private. "The end of a beautiful sunset," he said seriously. She turned to him and they both started to laugh.

 

Prue sat on the sofa, the Book of Shadows open in her hands.

"Piper is out with Leo," she said to herself, "and Phoebe is out with Stuart.  But it's OK.  I'll sit here and go through the Book of Shadows and see what's in there."

She turned a page, then another, then closed the book and put it down on the table.

"No, it's not OK," she said.  "You know," she said in a loud voice looking upwards, "I have a very active social life in LA.  The least you could have done when you brought me here was to have someone for me to go out with.  Prue would have someone."

She stopped and thought for a moment, a lonely expression on her face.  "Wouldn't she?" she softly asked.

 

"Piper, there's something wrong here," Leo said as they headed for the door.  "It's been wrong the whole night.  You're not the Piper I know."

"I'm not," she said, a wave of guilt coming over her.  "I mean...I'm not?"

"No," he said. "You're remote, you're keeping your distance, like you're afraid to come close. You're still upset about last Tuesday night, aren't you?"

"Tuesday...night," Piper said. I'm caught now, she thought. I'm supposed to know what happened Tuesday night - the night before The Elders brought us here - and I don't.

"The whole night was supposed to be just for us and I got called away in the middle," he said.

"The whole night...just for...us," Piper repeated slowly as its meaning sunk in.

"O-oh," Leo said with dismay.

"Uhh...no, Leo, it's not that," she said quickly. "It's...not even you.  It's me.  I'm..."

"Feeling confused," he said.

"Yes - confused," she said.

Leo threw his arms around her and gave her a long, passionate kiss.  Piper felt her feelings for him being let loose, and her inhibitions melting away.

"Un-confused now?" he asked.

"Yes...uh...I...certainly am," she replied as a warm feeling filled her.

 

"Thank you for a wonderful evening," Stuart said as they slowly walked from the Cliff House back to the car.

As they turned the corner they saw a couple walking towards them.  One arm over each other's shoulder, they were kissing animatedly as they walked, with no concern about who else was around and looking at them.

"Well," Phoebe said after they passed by, "they seem to be in love, even if they are making a big spectacle of themselves."

"Love?  Perhaps, but not necessarily," Stuart replied.

"I don't think they'd be kissing like that if they weren't in love," she said.

"Kissing can be a manifestation of love," he said. "Or, it can have no connection with love at all.  But in either case, kissing is not love."

"Then you think love is all in the relationship," she said.

"The relationship is very important,” he said.  “A true relationship means that you are no longer just yourself but that there are two halves to you.  Because of that you can be in two places at the same time - and don't have to be a witch who can astral project to do it."

Phoebe smiled.

"A relationship means," Stuart continued, "that if the other half of you has a problem then you also have a problem.  If the other half has pain, then you have pain.  Just like if someone's left arm hurts, all of him feels it, even if his right arm doesn't hurt.

"A lot of people's relationships aren't true because they think of themselves as 'the two of us' instead of 'the one of us'.  Think of The Power of Three being The Power of One - that's a real relationship.

"But," Stuart continued, "the relationship is not love but only the result of love."

Phoebe stopped and turned to him.

"Then what do you think love is?" she asked, her curiosity piqued.

"Love...love is about having someone to care about," Stuart said. "Someone to do things for. It can be something big and obvious. But it can also be something small and subtle. Putting a flower on her pillow, running around to find a certain tea that she likes, picking up something from a store to save her a trip. Or just spending some time every day thinking about the little things you could do for her that she would like.

"Its about surprising her every so often with something that will put a smile on her face - and let her know how much you really enjoy doing things for her. It's about all the good things that you want to do for someone - and finally having someone you care about to do them for.

"It's about having someone to make happy," he continued, "having someone to help, having someone to watch out for.

"What is love?  It all comes down to one thing:  Love is having someone to show kindness to."

Phoebe looked into his eyes, trying to see inside of him. I've never heard anyone describe love like that, she thought.

"And this person keeps doing everything for the other one," she mused. "If you're always the one doing the things, doesn't it get to be one-sided?  That can hurt...the "love". What do you ever get and when do you get it?"

Stuart gave her a quizzical look, as if the answer was so obvious that the question need not even be asked.

"The act itself, of course," he answered. "The act of doing something for someone you care about is the greatest pleasure, the greatest joy, the greatest feeling of fulfillment in the world."

"That's certainly an unusual...but refreshing perspective," she said, smiling.

"I can't imagine it being any differently," he said, and looked at Phoebe.

"And when you finally meet that someone special; who's caring, intelligent and confident, whom you respect...and who also has such a wonderful smile..." He gave her a hint of a smile back, then hesitated for a moment. "Then you get a little nervous. Will the relationship...continue?"

Phoebe looked into Stuart's eyes, threw her arms around him and gave him a re-assuring kiss.

"It's OK," she said, smiling, as another couple walked by, staring at them.  "We made only a small spectacle of ourselves."

 

Samantha, squatting next to the dead girl, put the girl's hand back down on her chest, stared at her lying on the ground next to the shrubs, and exhaled.

"We should have done something to stop Álvaro," Samantha said, and looked up at Lloyd. "Nydia was only twenty years old. We could have saved her."

"We couldn't, Sam," Lloyd said, clearly. "And stop blaming yourself - and us. That demon's kept one step ahead of us. We didn't know his plan and we still don't know it. But we'd better find out fast what it is. Before the next time."

"The next time?" Sam asked, and stood up. "You think Álvaro is going to kill someone again?"

Lloyd stared ahead blankly at nothing.

"Yes," he said, turning to Sam after a moment. "Whatever Álvaro and the other demon's plan is...he's not done yet. And somehow...we have to find a way to stop him."

There was ominous silence as the screen faded to the Demon Dimension closing title against a black background. Prue picked up the remote control and turned off the TV. 

Pushing aside her feelings of loneliness, she had gone back to looking through the Book of Shadows. But when it was time for The Demon Dimension to begin, though the VCR was programmed to tape it, she put the Book aside and watched it as it was broadcast.

The Demon Dimension is here to tell us about these demons and why we're here, she thought. And this episode just told us that the dead young girl whose body I saw at the Ferry Building...Prue  stopped and exhaled. It may not have been an isolated case but part of some plan, she thought. There may be more killings. Unless we can stop these demons.

But how do we stop them? she asked herself. And who...and where are they?

 

"You're all dressed up just to go to the club," Phoebe said.

"I'm not just going to the club," Piper replied.  "Leo's coming over.  We're going to stop in the club first so I can check on a few things because it's Saturday night.  And then we're going out."

"On a date?"  Prue asked.

"Yes, on a date.  Why does that surprise you?" she asked half squinting at her.

"I didn't know you were letting yourself get that close to him," Prue said.

"We've only gone out once so far, Thursday night," Piper said defensively.

"That was only two days and you're going out with him again, tonight," Phoebe noted.

"That doesn't mean anything," Piper responded. "We're not getting that close." She looked at Prue and Phoebe, stopped and exhaled.

"OK....maybe we are...sort of," she admitted. "Every time Leo is around I feel drawn to him. It's a lot different being around him in real life than it is on Charmed."

"I'm sure it is," Phoebe said.

Piper cocked her head.  "Speaking of being close, what's happening between you and Stuart?  You seem to be getting pretty close, yourself."

"He's so different from the other men I've gone out with," Phoebe said.

"Different - yes," Piper said. "He's not a Hollywood hunk.  Not even close to being any kind of a hunk."

"I've gone out with...regular men, too," Phoebe replied, indignantly.

"There was such a rumor that you had, but it was never confirmed," Piper retorted, as Prue chuckled.

"Look, I know...if you stood Stuart next to - Greg...no one's going to confuse Stuart with Greg," Phoebe admitted.

"If you stood Stuart next to Greg, no one would even notice that Stuart was there," Piper said, pointedly. For that matter, if Stuart stood next to Brian, no one would notice him, either.  Or even next to Roger-"

"Roger?"  Prue said.

"Or Jack, or-" Piper went on.

"Stop," Phoebe said. "There's nothing wrong with Stuart's looks. It doesn't matter that he's...uh-"

"Not very sexy," Piper interjected.

"Not as handsome as an actor," Phoebe continued, giving Piper a  look.

"This isn't like you," Piper said.  "Before we came here, you wouldn't have given someone like Stuart a second thought."

"Maybe it takes his saving my life twice to get my attention," Phoebe said, "that maybe I shouldn't be looking for another hunk again.  That for once, I should be looking more at what's really inside, instead. That's a lot more important. And what's inside Stuart is sincerity.

"His thoughts and his perspective on relationships, are so different.  He's...so caring, so sensitive. And there’s respect...for me...for who and what I am.  He's not trying to be anyone other than...just himself. He's genuine.

"And he's romantic, too. We're going out again tonight."

"Maybe you should be the one...slowing down,” Piper said.  “I...I just don't want anyone to get hurt."

"Hurt? You're afraid of Stuart hurting me??" Phoebe asked.

Piper shook her head.  "I'm afraid of you hurting him."

Piper exhaled.  "He just isn't your type, he isn't your style.  At least, not Alyssa's.

"We're in an artificial environment here," Piper continued. "This isn't how you, how we, really live back home. And when we do go home, and you're back in your real life as Alyssa Milano, TV actress...you'll look at him and see that he doesn't fit into your lifestyle. Maybe being Phoebe is affecting how you're looking at him."

"Maybe being Phoebe is helping me look at him a lot clearer than I ever would have being just Alyssa," Phoebe said. "And maybe seeing someone who's not 'Hollywood' is what my life needs right now." She stopped and thought for a moment.

"And what about you," Phoebe asked. "You're setting yourself up to be hurt when you're back in LA. You'll have a problem when Leo isn't there."

For a moment Piper was silent.

"I'll have a problem," she said slowly, "if Leo is there."

"Right now, we have to deal with what is here," Prue said. "What are you really feeling for Stuart?"

"I can tell you what his feelings are for me," Phoebe said. "He's falling in love with me."

"I don't need your power of premonition to know that," Prue said.  "That's been obvious. But what are you feeling?"

Phoebe hesitated.  "I don't know.  I thought..." She stopped, unable or unwilling to express the thought. "I feel so comfortable when he's around," she continued, "so...happy.

"Or at least I did. The last few days...I feel like I'm going backwards. It's as if Phoebe's fear of opening up her heart, her fear of being hurt, has taken over me."

"Piper and I also have also discovered that we have new feelings," Prue said.  "It's part of our becoming who we have.  The feelings are part of The Halliwells so they're a part of us now, as well.

"But they could also be building upon our own feelings and our own fears," Prue continued. "Fears we didn't know that we had - or didn't want to admit that we had. You have to separate your heart from your mind -"

Ding-dong

"That will be Leo," Piper said and went to the door.

"Darryl," she said, surprised.

"Hello Piper," he said.

"Come in," she said, and closed the door behind him.

"What's wrong?" she asked. "You don't look very happy."

"I'm not," Morris said. "There's been another murder.  And the victim's body was surrounded by pentagrams."

"And you want one of us to come with you," Piper said rather than asked, the thought of losing her evening with Leo flashing through her mind.

But something else was flashing through Prue's mind. That Demon Dimension episode Thursday night was a warning of what may happen - another demon killing, she thought. And now...it has happened.

"I'll go. I have nothing else to do," she said, fearful and frustrated. "I seem to be the only one around here without a date - again."

 

"It was all based upon his not really meaning what he told her," Stuart said as they walked down the street after leaving the theater.  "He never really believed what he was telling her though he sure sounded like he did when he said it.  Seems a bit contrived."

"I don't agree," Phoebe said.  "I've known people like that.  People who have said things, even convinced themselves that they believed what they were saying.  But over time, their real attitudes became obvious."

They walked down the block to the Powell-Mason cable car stop and waited near the corner.

"You really believe all of those things you said about love and relationships, don't you," she said.

"Believe?" he said. "It's more than believing, it's...who I am. Everything I said...that's...that's me."

"Good," she said, "just checking."

Stuart smiled. "Of course, they weren't right for each other, anyway," he said, getting back to the movie. "If she  had been looking for the important things in him while they were going out she would have seen it."

"I don't know about that," she said. "She seemed to know exactly what she was looking for."

"Well, it's not what I'm looking for," Stuart said, shaking his head. "People don't look at it the right way. They go out together and have a good time, have fun.  Throw in a little romance, some sex and they think 'this is it - we're right for each other'."

"Those can be pretty good indications," Phoebe said.

"That’s a starting point," he said, "but that's not life.  Life is complex.  I look for a companion, a partner.  Not just to have a good time with...but to have life with.”

"So what do you look at?" she asked.

"What's inside the person," he said. "You have to take the time to really look and see what's beneath the surface. I look for someone who has that...that intangible inner radiance...that’s connected to a good, warm, caring heart."

"That's all you look for?" she asked, a bit surprised.

He thought for a moment. "And...for someone who is intelligent, who is capable and confident...and outgoing," Stuart said.

"But there's no substitute for a good heart.  Without that, those other things don't mean anything. And if someone has that kind of heart, then anything...everything, can be worked out."

“You haven’t rejected romance, or the other things, with me,” Phoebe said with a smile.

“No,” he chuckled, “I guess I haven’t. They’re fine...as long as they’re also a way to see if the important qualities are there." He smiled and looked into her eyes.

"And...those qualities most certainly are,”  he said. And as the cable car approached they softly kissed.

 

She was about the same age as the dead girl Prue had seen at the Ferry Building. Her auburn hair,   plum-colored turtleneck and black pants were all so neat. Had she been lying in bed or on a couch, she could have been taken for sleeping, Prue thought.

But she was lying on the ground - and she was dead. The pentagrams on the ground all around her and on her chest made that clear. The same pentagrams in the same places as had been with the first girl.

And it wasn't any easier seeing the body this time than it had been with the first girl. Or touching her. Prue had taken the girl's hand in hers. As she put it back down on the girl's chest, she realized this was the same thing Samantha had done on that Demon Dimension episode. Life imitating art... or art predicting life?

Prue sighed.

This is the work of demons, she thought. Just as the first girl's death was. But why? And what are we supposed to do about it?