Prolouge: We're Back, We're back in San Francisco
Disclaimers: I own not Charmed nor Firefly/Serenity, the belong to Constance M. Burge and Joss Whedon respectively.
The line: ‘Earth, Fire, Water, and Air; they may look bad but they don’t care’ was a slight change of words from the Hex Girls song in Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost.
The words in bold are from the Mary Tyler Moor theme song, Love is All Around by Sonny Curtis.
The title and the lyrics below are from San Francisco by Vanessa Carlton.
We're back, we're back in San Francisco
We're back and you tell me I'm home
“Ladybug” The statement was weak. The voice was thinning like graying yellowed paper, easily wafted through the wind. No longer was it the strong, laughing, grinning voice that had nurtured the addressee through out her childhood. The voice that had comforted. That had always encouraged. The voice that had filled with disappointment but forever-but soon no longer-with love. That voice that had always been in her memories, in the first ones and ever since, was fading. Moreover, it almost killed her. Prudence Cooper Halliwell couldn’t imagine life without that voice in it. Life without Phoebe Halliwell’s sunny, caring, empathic disposition was no life at all.
It was like if the Mary Tyler Moore show stopped going in syndication. Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Her mom could.
Prudence’s throat constricted and her eyes filled with burning tears, it was only the gentle push of her older cousin Wyatt that kept her from trying to escape “You came.”
Two words said so simply should not have been able to carry such a weight of meanings and emotions. Nevertheless, to Prudence they did. Of course from Phoebe Halliwell they would; her mother had perfected the art of coloring words with meaning. One word could mean a lifetime of things. It was a Halliwell trait her mother had once told her. Aunt Prue had showed Aunt Piper and then Aunt Piper had showed her and Aunt Paige, well Aunt Paige had been born knowing.
However, Prudence liked to think her mom was the best at it, knowing just what to say and how to say it. After all her mother was, had been, and would no longer be a psychologist and an empath and an award-winning journalist. If anyone would know what to say and when to say it, it would be Phoebe Halliwell.
That was why Prudence’s shoulders shook as she took her place as oldest by her mother’s side. Because those two words of ‘you came’ had such bevy of meanings but the most obvious being that she hadn’t been around when she should have. She had left the responsibility of their sick mother entirely on her sisters’ shoulders and she had stayed in her comfortable apartment in Manhattan and locked herself up with work; she was a photojournalist and a novelist. Her mom said she was so much like her namesake, always working, always striving to be the best. However, Prudence hated being compared to Prue Halliwell. She would never be as good as her late Aunt. After all, she failed in an area that her Aunt Prue NEVER would have imagined not succeeding. Her Aunt Prue would have never abandoned her family because she could not bare the thought of loosing her mother, not because she had just lost her father not even three months before. Her Aunt Prue would have never been so weak.
Prudence took her mother’s frail hand, too afraid to look up into Phoebe’s eyes and see the disappointment. Too much of a coward to look into them and lie as she said,
“Of course I came, mama.” She whispered as her thumb caressed over the small bluish veins that trailed under the skin of the back of her mother’s hand.
Because she was too busy looking at her mother’s hand Prudence missed the knowing and lovingly tired grin that her mother gave her. “Oh, my little ladybug you know I never asked you to be anyone but yourself. Not Wyatt, not Chris, not me, and certainly not Prue who wasn’t a saint.”
“Mom don’t.” Prudence couldn’t help but feel like a bigger heel, here her mother was dying and she could still find words to comfort her.
“Yes.” Phoebe insisted. “This is why I called the four of you here to say my piece before I can’t anymore.”
“Mom.” She didn’t want to hear it. She didn’t want to think about it, even if the fact of it was staring her right in the face.
“Prudence.” Phoebe copied her tone but she was smiling.
“I know you, sweetheart. I know you, I know how you were feeling, and I know what you’re thinking. I know that you didn’t want to come, and I understand it. Oh, baby girl I of all people would understand it. I know that Chris ripped you a new one on the phone when he thought you weren’t going to show.” Phoebe slanted her nephew a grateful look.
This Chris was so different than the Chris had come from the future to protect his older brother from an unknown evil. And yet, … at the same time he was still very much the same. He was still funny, he was still very much his mother’s son, and still family meant the world to him. Just like, it had meant to Piper and Phoebe was glad to know that it was trait that would carry down onto his descendents for centuries into the future.
“I said it before, and I’ll say it one last time, Aunt Pheebs.” Hank said despite the glares his cousins were shooting in his direction, a wide and ready grin spreading across his features. “You are almost as freaky as mom when you do that. This morning she scolded me on my socks.”
“It’s not something you should be happy about, goofball.” Chris said sharply, but a similar grin was on his face too. Hank was all the best of his Aunt Paige and his Uncle Henry; he was a big kid with an even bigger heart.
Phoebe gave a shaky little laugh. She could remember a time when Paige would have freaked if you had told her she was going to be scolding any child, let alone her own over his socks. Now all she did was cluck over her children, even though they all had children of their own. It was funny how life went about and changed you without so much as a ‘How you do?’ Paige’s motto was that one would never be too old (or senile) to embarrass their children. Many times that feeling extended towards her nieces and nephews along with their children. Everyone was fair game for her sister’s teasing fashion comments, even Paige herself. It was a joke in the family to wear something outrageous just to hear the much-loved joking voice give out pithy insults and snarky comments.
Yes, her family was strange, Phoebe knew it and she loved every minute of it and she loved knowing that this closeness, this affection, this bond that has made them near invincible in all the ways that mattered thus far would continue.
And that was why they were here the oldest children of the Halliwell Sisters, although they didn’t know it yet, to hear tale of their future. A future where in less than five hundred years they would begat something extraordinary. Just as Melinda Warren had predicted the Charmed Ones she would predict a group of young adults even more powerful. A group of Halliwells that would descend directly from Chris, Wyatt, Henry Jr, and her Prudence. They would be known as the Fierce Ones and live in a world where the Avatars were near destroyed and there were barely enough Elders and Whitelighters. A time where there enemies were as much the humans they should protect as the demons; a place where the rules of magic that governed now hardly applied. In fact many of the laws that governed men today would hardly apply; it would be in a way we know but not. However, Phoebe wasn’t afraid for her Halliwell descendents. After all they would be Halliwells. Hardhead, stubborn, powerful, and united. Also an odd combination of strength and vulnerability, not to mention unlucky in love. Really unlucky in love. However, she saw that too, and she knew that it would all be alright. Moreover, she had to laugh because the ones who ended up with Chris and Wyatt’s descendents had better be ready to have their worlds tilted upside down.
“What is it mom?” Prudence couldn’t help but smile at the look on her mother’s face.
It was one of utter happiness and excitement.
“Last week. I had a vision.”
Phoebe didn’t have to look to know that Chris had instantly straightened from his slouching position against the wall and that Wyatt’s eyes had sharpened with alertness.
If Chris was his mama’s boy then Wyatt was most definitely his father’s son. All slight and shy smiles, open warmth, and avid mind. Of course, with a little something else that made him a bit of Piper, though Phoebe had to admit that Wyatt’s innate bossiness reminded her of someone else beside her older sister.
“A vision, Aunt Pheebs? Will ya FINALLY tell me the winning numbers?” Hank’s teasing yet nervous tone brought her attention back to the situation.
“Don’t you think if I had those numbers I’d use them for myself?” She laughed huskily, biting back a cough. She wouldn’t let death take her until she had told them. The man owed her that much.
“Aww Aunt Pheebs. I thought I was your favoritest nephew.”
Chris let out a loud snort and Wyatt just quirked a brow and grinned. Both men deciding that if it had been an urgent and dangerous vision their Aunt have gently, but firmly, avoided Hank’s joking and told them.
“Sorry guys but I got the dibs on the seer woman. You can have my mom Chris and you’re so Aunt Sheila’s Wyatt, but everyone knows that Aunt Pheebs can’t resist my dark looks. Hence I’m her favorite nephew.”
“You know.” Chris shook his head. “One day, I really am going to find a way to put you permanently mute.”
“If you that,” Wyatt laughed. “we’ll be out of entertainment. Better to find magical duct tape.”
“Har, har, har.”
Prudence rolled her eyes at their antics. Usually she would join in but she wanted to know about the vision.
Feeling her daughter’s impatience, Phoebe continued, “I had a vision of the future. You could say overall that it’s a good future.”
Wyatt frowned. “How soon of a future?” He asked with a raised brow.
“Ohhh, as soon as five hundred years.”
She smiled at her nephew.
The boys (men, she had to remember that they were all grown up) shared a look. “This is a prophecy then. Like Melinda Warren’s had for you, Aunt Prue, Aunt Piper and mom?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Well hot damn!” Henry grinned, whatever tension that had been lingering in the room dissipating. “Well come on, tells us.”
Phoebe giggled, Henry always made her think of an overeager puppy, this time falling into a coughing fit. “No, no. I’m fine.” She said waving away their urgent and worried looks. “This must be said and it must be said now.”
“Of course, it does Aunt Phoebe.” Wyatt murmured. “Just have some water first okay?”
Phoebe nodded, there was no point in arguing since Chris was already pouring a glass.
Squatting down next to his Aunt, Chris carefully placed the glass to her lips,
Doing as she was told Phoebe took a few careful gulps before pushing the glass away.
Putting the glass on the lamp stand, Chris sat back on the floor his knees up and his long arms hanging over them. “Divulge to us tales of the future.” He ordered softly with a small smirk.
“Thank you for permission oh great one.” Phoebe murmured, light sarcasm evident in her soft tone..
“That’s his title.” Chris says with no bitterness whatsoever as he jerked his thumb towards his older brother who in turn rolled his eyes.
Phoebe flashed them a dimmer version of her customary sunny grin, before beginning.
The sight caused a twinge in all their hearts.
“In five centuries Earth as it is now, will no longer be. Life will be about stars, planets, doing what one must to live, and alliances. There will be those for the alliance and those against it, and as usual when mankind has dissension there will be a war. A rather grand war, as changing for those peoples lives as the Battle of Gettysburg was for us, as D-day was for the world. Your descendents will be born in this time and they will grow up knowing the war. Whether or not they support this alliance of worlds,” Phoebe said with a small smile. “will be the life changing question. The answer I can’t determine for them but I can say that they will be both in the crux of the aftermath, no matter how unwilling, and deeply involved with those that are.”
“What do you mean by involved with those are?”
Chris frowned, all ready strongly worried for children of his he would never know.
Phoebe’s smile grew as her eyes seem to glaze over and she was caught in a trance like she usually did when she received a vision. "They shall fly the wave of serenity. Waves of stars and moons that reach beyond what the eyes can see. Four they will be alone but known seeking haven in the fire that flies when they have no where to go. The Lord is his Shepherd and he shall not want, He walks hand in hand with me and the one with the dark past will water the seeds to help them grow. There will be no burning in special hell for me. Not for me because I will be one of them. But the hell will be no longer on earth only now out in space in it's own place where it can make an alliance with the shell. Peek-a-boo Reaver, you see me but you won't kill us too. Two by two hands of blue. One will help the other see, five pair of eyes that can never be controlled. Four other pairs who do not know. Nine woods in the cauldron go. A doctor, a mechanic, a big-hearted man with bigger guns. Time to begin the fun. Are you a reader little witch? How far into the gray will a leader go to scratch his itch? How far will he walk before he excepts how the earth quakes? Earth, Fire, Water, and Air; they may look bad but they don't care. Will the flying five be willing? Would the good doctor be willing to share? Fire will keep them warm at night, start her engine and beat his heart. Oh, air how you tickle and laugh and roll like a big bear. And Earth, what's to come never fear. Earth, Fire Water, and Air ... they will kick ass. They're known as the Fierce ones." She sing-songed the last words. Phoebe took in a deep and shaky breath. She had cheated death ten times but now all that she had to do was done, now it was time to go for good.
A loud silence filled the room as the four eldest Halliwell children stared at the elderly seer on the bed.
Two by two hands of blue?, Prudence wondered.
One of their descendents was going to be in a threesome?!, a deep red spread over Wyatt’s features.
The prophetic vision did nothing whatsoever to alleviate Chris’ worry.
And Hank, “Oh shit, our kids are going to be badass rebels! What?!” He exclaimed when his older cousins turned to look at him with varying degrees of irritation and exasperation. “They are. Aunt Pheebs even said it herself, ‘Earth, Fire, Water, and Air … they will kick ass.’ I don’t know why you’re all surprised. I mean it’s in our blood to be rebels. Melinda Warren? Burned at the stake. Patsy Bowen and her sisters? They ran a saloon type-thingie in this very house! Great-Grams? A flower child and more husbands than I need to know about.” Henry ticked the points off on his fingers.
“Sometimes I wonder if you’re fourteen or in your forties.” Chris muttered in mild disgust.
Henry just beamed at him.
Prudence shook her head and returned her attention to her mother,
“That’s some vision mama. Mama … mom?” She frowned when she saw that Phoebe’s eyes were closed and she didn’t seem to be breathing. Her mother had passed. “Oh mom ….” She began to softly weep, leaning in and resting her head lightly on her mother’s chest.