Chapter Ten: Underneath Fear.
Chapter Ten: Underneath Fear.
Phoebe, Fred and Gunn arrived at the mansion in Hindbark Drive before the others, parking out of sight and jumping out of Gunn’s truck, meeting at the front gate.
“There’s no one here.” Gunn said, looking at the dark house.
“You’re right, look.” Phoebe said, walking up the drive and pointing to the For Sale sign. “So why did I get a premonition of it?”
“I dunno.” Fred said, looking around.
“Maybe we were wrong, and it’s not the next crime scene.” Gunn said.
“No, you were right.” A voice said from behind them. The trio whipped around to see Barbas standing there, all in black, and hands folded to his front. “The next witch will die here. And if all goes well, her sisters will follow.” Barbas raised an arm each to Fred and Gunn, causing them to fly back off their feet. Gunn hit the trunk of a large oak tree almost half a mile down the road, passing out as he crumpled to the ground. Fred flew over the fence of the mansion, the fourteen foot high fall knocking her unconscious. Phoebe began to panic, wishing she had an active power to help her out. Barbas advanced on her, grabbing her at her shoulders.
“You’re out of luck.” She said to him, her voice shaking. “There are no elevators around here.”
Barbas laughed at her. “Elevators? That’s what you think your greatest fear is?” he said to her, waving his hand in front of her face and reading his palm. “Your greatest fear is using a sister and I’ll get three for one.”
Piper and Angel arrived at the house in Phoebe’s premonition, thinking they were the first to arrive, a few minutes passed sunset. Angel had made Piper hang back for a couple of minutes at the Manor, though she just put it to him being overprotective of her. Though there were no cars in the driveway, Piper called out anyway.
“Phoebe? Are you here?” she hollered.
Gunn and Fred’s bodies, still unconscious, were out of her view. As was Gunn’s car as they’d come from a different direction.
“I’m around back!” Phoebe’s voice rang in reply.
“You go that way, I’ll go this way.” Piper said to Angel, directing him to her right and heading through the back gate. She didn’t see anyone. Just a huge mansion and a large pool. Angel went through the gate to the other side. He knew something was behind him before he even got to the back. He turned around quickly to see Barbas standing with his hand folded in front of him.
“Hello vampire.” He said. “Come to save the witch?”
“As a matter a fact, yeh.” Angel said, swinging his arm back and forcing it forwards, hard. Barbas smirked and disappeared, reappearing behind Angel.
“Don’t you get it, vampire? You can’t save them. If I don’t succeed, there are many after me who will. Your presence will only prolong the inevitable.” Barbas said, his hands still folded.
“You’re wrong, they are more powerful than any of you people know.” Angel said.
“And yet they’ll still die…funny, that.” Barbas said, raising his hands to his sides. Though he could not use his fear-reading power on the dead, no matter how re-animated, but he could still immobilize him for as long as he needed. He closed his eyes and thrust his arms, palms out towards Angel. Angel was thrown back high into the air, slamming into the wall of the mansion. Such an attack was usually no all it too to bring Angel down, but the power of this demon caused him to fall unconscious. Barbas smirked again, disappearing in smoke.
“Phoebe!” Piper called from the back. “Phoebes, where are you?”
Phoebe was crying, hidden from Piper’s view, bound and gagged to a chair. Piper looked out to the cascading landscape.
“Isn’t that a great view?” Phoebe’s voice said from behind her.
Piper turned, and came face to face with Barbas, mimicking her sister’s voice. “Bring your suit.” He said to her, pushing her backwards. Piper fell into the pool. Barbas used his power to keep her under water.
Piper sank to the bottom of the pool, struggling to get to the surface, she managed to wriggle out of her jacket, but her breath was running out, fast.
Prue pulled her sports car up behind Gunn’s truck and she and Wesley jumped out.
“I wonder where they are?” Prue asked as she and Wesley walked up the pavement.
“Look, there’s Piper’s car.” Wesley said pointing to Piper’s SUV.
“Urghh…” a voice groaned to Prue’s left.
She and Wesley both turned around quickly, Prue spotting Gunn trying to pull himself up off the ground. “Gunn.” She said, rushing over to him.
Wesley followed and the two grabbed him from both sides and helped him up.
“What happened?” Wesley asked.
Gunn stumbled to his feet and rubbed the large bump on his head. “Bar…bas…new we was comin’…attacked Fred…took Phoebe…” he managed to say.
Prue and Wesley hobbled Gunn up to the front of the mansion and lay him in the gutter.
“Where’s Fred?” Wesley asked.
“She, ah…went over the fence.” Gunn remembered. Prue and Wesley looked at each other and rushed into the estate. Fred’s body was lying to their left; they rushed up to her.
“Ohh…” she groaned, as they rolled her onto her back. “What happened?”
“It’s okay.” Prue said, leaning Fred’s body against her own. “Do you know where Barbas took Phoebe?”
“Round back.” Fred said.
“Okay, ah, Wesley take her to Gunn and then meet me around back.” Prue said, rising to her feet and jogging around the back.
Piper was still at the bottom of the pool, struggling. Phoebe’s eyes never left the waters surface, but her vision became clouded and foggy as tears kept falling from her eyes. Piper finally stopped struggling and let herself float in the water, awaiting her own death.
“Piper…Piper…” a voice came to Piper’s head. She opened her eyes and saw a bright, white light appeared, revealing the body of a woman in a white, flowing dress with dark, cascading brown hair. And even though she too was under water, she did not beat remnants of it at all.
“Piper…you have to face your fear…you must trust in the greatest of all powers…love.”
“Mum?” Piper said in her mind.
“Save yourself…” she said. “Save your sister…”
Her mother held out a glowing hand to Piper, she took it and let herself be pulled to the surface.
Prue arrived around the back and saw Barbas trying to leave the compound with Phoebe, who was in tears. Prue was about to use her power when she saw someone floating in the pool.
“Piper…” she said, a new fear washing over her.
“Piper!” Angel’s voice rang from the opposite side of the grounds, his eyes, too, fell upon Piper’s body. Barbas turned and saw the audience he had acquired.
“I never thought I’d win this easy.” He said, tossing Phoebe to the ground.
Before he could attack, there was a loud gasp as Piper broke the waters surface, grabbing for the side of the pool.
“It’s over.” Piper said, tossing her hands above the water and freezing the demon. Prue jumped into the pool and to her sisters’ aid. Wesley appeared from the front of the house and halted by the pool.
Barbas unfroze, knowing he was undefeated. “Nooo…!!!” he yelled as a hole opened up beneath him, sucking him back into the fiery pits of the Underworld.
Angel was untying Phoebe and Wesley lent in to the pool to help Prue get Piper out. Angel and Phoebe rushed over to Piper, who was slumped to her side, exhausted. Angel picked her up in his arms and Phoebe and Prue kept hugging and kissing her.
“Did I vanquish him?” Piper muttered.
“Yeh, yeh you did.” Phoebe told her, kissing her sister’s forehead.
“For the next thirteen hundred years at least.” Prue added.
As the Manor was a shorter drive then the Hyperion, everyone drove there to check out the damage. Prue was surveying wounds, Wesley was dressing them and Phoebe was in charge of heating them all up. Gunn was resting in a chair in the Halliwell living room, ice-pack to the bump on his head and blanket around his arms. Fred had a few cuts and bruises that had been bandaged as well as a twisted ankle that lay elevated as she rested on the couch. Angel had a large gash on his forehead that Wesley had bandaged quickly, knowing that it would heal sooner than the others and not wanted Piper and Prue to be suspicious. Phoebe gave coffee to everyone and then sat on the armchair in which Piper was sitting, woolen blanket around her and Phoebe’s Ugg boots on her feet. Prue sat holding the ice-pack to Fred’s ankle and Wesley was dressing a cut on Piper’s arm.
“So, an hour to midnight and we didn’t lose any more witches.” Prue said.
“Yeh, but I still wish we could’ve done more to save the first ones.” Fred said.
“We can’t save everyone, honey.” Phoebe said to her.
“So, your vision was right; the house was where the next murder was supposed to happen.” Wesley said to Phoebe.
“Yeh, I just wish I knew the victim was me before we’d got there.” Phoebe said.
“At least you found out your not afraid of elevators.” Piper offered. “That’s a plus.”
“Yeh, so is realizing that my worst fear is, well, worse than that.” Phoebe said.
“Well, we should take off.” Gunn said, rising slowly to his feet. “Try and get some rest before we do this all over again tomorrow.”
“Are you sure? We could make room here.” Phoebe offered.
“No, don’t trouble yourselves. This isn’t the first time we’ve all nearly faced death.” Wesley said.
“Way to be morbid.” Prue quipped to him. “Come on, I’ll help you to the car.” Prue said, holding her hands out to Fred. Wesley took Gunn by the arm and helped him along. Piper stayed in her seat. Angel rubbed her arm as he left, but then came back. He knelt down to talk to her.
“Piper? Can I ask you something?” he said to her.
“Sure.” She replied.
“What happened to you in that pool? I mean, Phoebe said you were under there for over two minutes and…and I saw you under there.” Angel said.
“Well, and I know that this is going to sound crazy, but…it was my mum.” Piper said. “It was just like a dream. She was this…incredible, peaceful vision and she took my hand and pulled me to the surface.”
“That doesn’t sound crazy. It sounds amazing.” Angel told her. “I’m just glad you’re alright.”
“Yeh, me too.” Piper said.
Angel stroked the back of her head and kissed her forehead as he got up to leave. When he was gone, Piper rose from her chair and shuffled her way up to the attic. Prue and Phoebe came back inside and noticed that Piper was gone. Not worrying, they began to clear up the cups. When Prue arrived in the kitchen behind Phoebe, she spoke.
“Hey…um, what happened to Piper in that pool.” She asked.
“I don’t know.” Phoebe said, placing the cups in her hands into the sink. “But whatever it was it must have been incredible.”
Piper sat on an old chair in the attic, the Book of Shadows laying open to the page about Barbas and resting on her lap. She sadly looked over her mother’s handwriting. Then, out of thin air, a light like the one that she’d seen in the pool earlier. Underneath the passage Prue said had appeared about letting go of your fear, a new sentence was written. Thanks for letting them into your heart. Piper looked at the words. “I miss you, mum.”