Home At Last
San Francisco, June 2003
The taxi rolled to a stop, directly in front of a charming three story Victorian house.
It's quaint, in an old-fashioned way. Nestled in one of the older sections of the city on a tree-lined street. Its neighboring houses are as stately but there was something extra about this one. Maybe the sun shone a little bit brighter around it, or the air was just a touch sweeter, but 1329 Prescott was different. Either way the cab driver suddenly felt like doing something nice. He looked from his meter, which read sixty-five even, to his fare and said "32.50, kid."
The dark-haired rider handed the cabby a few bills and climbed out of the car. He stood on the side walk, staring up at the house, for several long seconds after the cab had pulled off. Shrugging his duffel bag higher onto his shoulder, he started up the stairs leading to the house. When he got to the door, he paused again. Taking a deep breath, he knocked.
The door swung open, as if on its own, and out stepped a Siamese cat. It blinked startled blue eyes at him, before immediately twining itself around his legs as if sensing his distress. He bent down, scooping the cat into his arms as its owner appeared.
"Hey. What are you doing here?" she asked, ushering him inside. He stepped by her into the house, still cradling the cat. She closed the door, pulling the bag of his shoulder and dropped it onto the floor. She moved to stand in front of him, brow furrowing with worry. He hadn't answered her. He hadn't even looked at her. "What's wrong?"
He still said nothing, desperately clutching the animal to his chest. Finally, he looked up at her and she gasped. The cat squirmed out his arms, leaping to the floor.
She took a step forward, opening her arms wide. He stumbled to her, dropping to his knees as he locked his arms around her waist. She ruthlessly shoved aside her own worries and clutched him close. He buried his face in her chest, muffling his sobs. She cradled him as gently as he had the cat, rocking them back and forth. She murmured quietly to him as she carded fingers through his hair.
"Who was it?" called a sexy contralto from the other room. Her voice purred through the air, sensual as the speaker. The voice's owner followed it into the foyer. Her eyes widened in shock when she caught sight of their visitor. Terror flared briefly through her until she squashed it just as ruthlessly as her older sister had. No matter what they'd face it together.
She hurried to the couple. "What's wrong with him?"
Worried grey eyes met hers. "I don't know," she said, before returning to her litany of soothing words. "It's all right, Lexie. You're home now. It's all right."
The room was large and unlike the rest of the house had a decidedly masculine air. The king size bed in the center of the room, seemed to dwarf its occupant. Four sets of female eyes were locked on the male sleeping restlessly in it.
"God! What's happened to him," asked Phoebe, dropping his bag onto the dresser.
Prue sighed, looking helpless and enraged at the same time. "It's that place. It has to be. I shouldn't have left him there. It's killing him," she hissed.
Piper eyed her sister warily as various loose items in the room began to vibrate. "Calm down," she said, quietly; moving to stand beside her older sister. "Remember what the Elders said. It's not your fault."
Phoebe moved to stand on the other side of their big sister. She stifled a sigh. She knew Prue wasn't going to just let this go. She was the big sister. She felt responsible for all of them, no matter what. She always would. Phoebe slipped an arm around Prue's waist, resting her head on her shoulder. "I've already thought up a spell," she offered. Instead of the usual reprimand, Prue squeezed her tight.
"All of us," asked Piper, leaning down to swipe a dark lock of hair away from the face, tense even in sleep.
Prue pulled away from them and sat on the bed. Gentle fingers trailed over the empty eye socket, then the scars on his face. She couldn't see them with her eyes, but she could feel them with her magic. "All of us," she said.
Phoebe pulled out her notepad and quickly copied the spell twice. She handed one to each of her sisters. Prue took the sleeping boy's hand in her right hand, caught Piper's with the other. Piper took Phoebe's; Phoebe took the younger man's hand, closing the circle. "Hear us three. Guide our eyes to see. So health be brought to thee. Blood of our blood, flesh of our flesh. We grant thee rest."
Golden mist rose from the sisters’ flesh; it wound its way along the length of their clasped hands; traveling from Prue to Piper to Phoebe until it glowed bright as the sun and poured into the sleeping male. Almost instantly his skin took on a healthier hue, darkening to its former golden tan. Years, lines, and tension faded from his face. The flesh behind the concave lid filled out and rounded.
Before the sisters could let go, a silver mist shot from the young man racing back along the circuit. Phoebe screamed, paling until she was nearly as white as the room's curtains; Piper collapsed; Prue's eyes darkened and the ground began to tremble. All over San Francisco the earth quaked, her telekinesis beginning to rage out of control.
Leo dropped to his knees as his charges' pain ripped through his mind. Stumbling to his feet he orbed to where the feelings were strongest. He appeared right behind Prue. He quickly accessed the situation.
Phoebe was pale and shivering; Piper lay sprawled on the floor but she was coming to. Prue was the problem. Already grey eyes had shifted to black, the air around her crackled with power. "Prue, I know you’re hurting. Tell me what's wrong. We can fix it.”
She turned to him, gesturing vehemently at her brother. "It's too late. Do you know what they did to him? How they used him?"
Leo's eyes darted to the bed. He grimaced, catching sight of Alexander Harris. Though the Charmed Ones spell was powerful and had fixed nearly all the physical wounds, it hadn't even begun to heal the mental and emotional ones. The darkness had left its mark. He just hoped being here would help him.
Piper sat up slowly, shaking off the faint. She glared at her older sister, "Knock it off, Prue." The oldest Halliwell turned her dark gaze on her sister. Piper suppressed a shudder. The manifestation of her sister's growing power still creeped her out a little. "Don't give me that look. You freaking out is not going to help Lexie. And if he knew you were endangering innocents with this little tantrum, he'd give you a good seeing too."
Prue stilled, looking back at her baby brother. She took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down, letting the power flow away. The room's occupants let go their collective breaths. Piper stood, "Let's go. We can discuss this where we won't wake Lexie."
Prue nodded, leaning forward she tucked Xander in. "All right."
The sisters and their whitelighter filed out of the room.