Chapter 5 The Power of Four
is the property of Aaron Spelling, Constance M Burge, and the WB (or is that the CW?); Buffy the Vampire Slayer
is the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy; and Godzilla
is the creation of Inoshiro Honda, Eiji Tsurubaya, and Toho Pictures. The characters of Smallville
is the property of Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and the WB (CW?). Summary
Halliwell Manor is full of sisters and white lighters. Paige and Prue eye each other uneasily. Paige has a secret for Xander. Prue drops her own bombshell. Piper is very stressed. Phoebe is attracted to a married man. Cole arrives with a problem that only the Elders can solve. Chapter Five: The Power of Four
“So. You're our sister.”
Paige looked up as she re-entered the room. She'd thrown up yet again. She really wasn't looking forward to everything, and she needed Xander. Prue was looking at her expectantly. She'd heard a lot about this sister. She felt quite out of sorts when finally facing her. Somehow it had been easier dealing with the ghost. She smiled weakly. “Hi.”
“Yeah, hi.” Prue wasn't sure about this half-sister. She really didn't want to like her. She felt that she was an interloper. What was more was she blamed her for Phoebe's heartbreak. If she hadn't been killed, if Paige had never been, would Phoebe and Cole have worked? She took a deep breath. If was such a dangerous word, it could get her in trouble. “Are you sick? You look a little green.”
“Well, I--” Paige began. She spun as she was interrupted by Piper and Phoebe coming from the kitchen.
“Phoebe! Don't be ridiculous!” Piper spat out, as she exited the kitchen. Paige winced as she looked at the sister she'd looked up to since she'd entered the family. She was pale and there were lines underneath her eyes. She had been suffering from such stress since all this had started.
“Piper, I didn't mean anything.” Phoebe followed her sister out of the kitchen. Paige noticed that she didn't look nearly as stressed. Looking at her, you'd never think that anything was going on. It was almost as if Piper shouldered all the responsibility for their family. It wasn't that they couldn't trust her or Phoebe to hold their own. “I just think Willow can help.”
Paige's eyes opened eyes. Yes! That would be perfect. She was married to a demon and she was Piper's friend and...
“Of course not! Phoebe, would you just think for a minute? This party is for upper-level demons and their families!” They all looked at Piper with varying degrees of confusion. “That means that Willow will be there.”
“She will?” Prue and Paige asked nearly simultaneously. They looked at each other and laughed nervously.
Piper rolled her eyes. Sometimes she really worried about her sisters. It sometimes seemed to her that they really didn't think. It wasn't that they weren't smart. But sometimes they just didn't see things. “Jeez! Guys! Willow is the wife... the mate of a powerful upper-level demon... the mother of his children. You do remember a nasty demon, don't you? Name of Belthazor. Member of the Brotherhood of the Black Thorn. Hand-picked by the Source. That guy?” The entire room (except for Piper, of course) erupted in a large sigh of comprehension. “Besides, I'm not at all sure she wants to go at all. I'll bet she's going to try and skedaddle out of town.”
Suddenly, Piper broke down into tears. Her three sisters rushed to her and pulled her into their arms. Prue had to suppress an urge to push the interloper of a new sister out of the way. Piper was her sister. They'd grown up together. Where the hell had this girl been? But, Piper needed all of them, so she'd decided to tolerate her.
“You can do this, Piper.” Phoebe started. “I know it seems big. But this is probably one of those times where we can bypass some of those pesky 'no personal gain' rules. You know?”
“Yeah, I'm sure the Elders won't be so pesky. Then, there's the fact that you have every witch and white lighter west of the Mississippi on your side. Free help.” Prue was impressed. Both Phoebe and Paige brought up great points.
“They're right. It's going to be alright. Just take a deep breath and...” Prue never got her sentence finished. At nearly the same time, two white lighters were orbing in. One was probably Leo, she thought. She narrowed her eyes to see who the second was. She really didn't want someone just orbing in and giving orders to Piper, making her even more upset than she was.
Leo finished his orb and was not too surprised to see his wife a basket case. He'd actually made a bet with Cole on how long it would take care to break down. He surreptitiously stole a glance at the wall clock. Damn! Cole was going to win this bet! I hate it when he does that!
He began to open his mouth to speak when he heard a squeal of delight. Paige had disengaged herself from her sisters, who had gone on the defensive at the sound of her scream. He turned to see Xander materializing in the room. Of course. It's about time the boy showed up.
He watched as Paige threw herself at him.
Prue had thought they were being attacked. As soon as Paige leapt up, she had been ready to... Well, whatever it was former kick-ass witches and current defenseless white lighters did. Then she saw the expressions on Phoebe and Piper's faces. They were amused and were practically rolling her eyes. She turned to see Paige embracing the other white lighter that had orbed in. She narrowed her eyes. He sure looked familiar. She just couldn't place him. It's just too bad Andy wasn't here, but his charges were all on the other side of the country.
She sighed. Her sisters turned from watching Paige to her. Piper raised an eyebrow. She smiled. “Oh, it's nothing. I just miss Andy. Most of his charges are in Washington and New York. It's so bad, I even miss his Bash the El--- That's it!”
Everyone jumped at Prue's outburst. Even the two kissing across the room. Xander looked up from Paige – with regret – and smiled into Prue's eyes. “Hiya, Prue. How's Andy?”
“Hi, Xander.” Prue laughed. “Oh, he was okay last I heard. Having problems with one of his charges.”
Piper and Phoebe whooped. They swarmed Prue and jumped and down. “Yay! Prue's got a guy! Prue's got a guy! Prue's got a guy!” Prue blushed and tried to shut them up.
Leo smiled. “That's great, Prue. All's well that ends well. Right?”
“Yeah, Leo. I just wished we didn't both have to die first. A girl really doesn't have fantasies about wedding after
death.” She flinched as she heard yet another shriek from her sisters. “Sorry, I couldn't invite you. They've got these rules. Mom and Grams were there though.”
“GRRRRR!!!” Phoebe spat out. “I could just kick those darn Elders!”
Prue laughed. “Maybe you should join Andy and Xander's group – the Bittees.”
She turned at the laugh coming from Xander. “Nah, only white lighters are allowed.”
exactly is a Bittee?” Piper asked. She looked to her sisters, Paige and Phoebe, they too were curious. She stole a glance at her husband and was shocked to see he was distinctly uncomfortable. Looking at Prue, she saw that she was amused.
“The Bittees actually stands for BTE. Bash the Elders. Or Badmouth the Elders. Or...”
“Prue!” Leo exclaimed. “That is enough! We should show respect.”
Xander snorted. “Ya got that wrong, Leo. I learned along time ago, you need to earn respect. I haven't met any Elders have done that in my point of view.”
Leo groaned. He still really didn't understand. Why had the Elders even called this guy? He rolled his eyes, then noticed Xander smiling at him. He did like him though. He never really got offended, or held a grudge, and he was great with the boys. “Hey, sorry, Leo. I know it bothers you. All I can say is if you'd ever met or dealt with the Watchers' Council – you'd have issues too.”
Paige had had enough. She needed some time with Xander. She had to tell him. She grabbed at his arm. “Xander, I need to talk to you. Please?”
Looking down at Paige, Xander smiled happily. It was hard to believe that such a pretty girl liked him. After being considered some kind of disease carrier all through high school, it still affected him. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. Looking around, he frowned. Where were the boys? He really should check on them before he dealt with personal issues.
“Leo? Where are the boys? I really should check on them first.” He smiled down at Paige, hoping she'd understand. “Sorry, baby.”
“Oh, they've gone camping with Morris' kids.” Piper interjected. “He has an RV or something. So, they've gone down to Pinnacles. They figured that was far enough away.” She froze as a large roar filled the air. The china hutch shook and several pictures fell off the wall. The creature was getting closer. It hadn't attacked yet. But it was only a matter of time. She wanted to think that it would be no problem for the military with all the hardware they had. But she wasn't sure. That's why she had jumped at the chance to get rid of the kids. If only she could've gone with them. “I hope.”
Leo strode over to his wife and pulled her into his arms. He didn't blame her for being frightened. The creature frightened him too. He looked to Xander who was holding Paige and Phoebe – who'd jumped at the sound of the roar and buried her head into his shoulder. Yes, the thing frightened all of them. He'd seen a flash of blue-white light at the roar. Even Prue had orbed away. Scanning the room, he'd narrowed his eyes at Xander.
“Why aren't you frightened?”
Xander laughed, breaking the spell that had frozen the women. “Yeah, right. On graduation day, the Mayor turned himself into a giant demon snake and was going to eat the graduating class – after
he made us listen to a speech on good citizenship. I've been attacked by a hell god and the First Evil. What's a giant radioactive lizard? As long as he's not packing dark lighter venom, what's to worry?” He looked down at Paige. She really didn't look well at all. Maybe he shouldn't have been so flippant. Leaning down he kissed her gently on the lips. “C'mon baby, let's go upstairs and you can tell me what's so important. Maybe you should lie down too, you don't look so good.” Later that day...
Leo glanced towards the stairs again. He was worried about Paige. He knew how complicated... how stressful a witch-white lighter relationship could be. Of course, Paige was half-white lighter so that should make it easier. Still, she was primarily a Charmed One. Still... “Why does it have to be so complicated?”
Phoebe looked up from the notes she had been making. “Because we're the Charmed Ones. I think there's some kind of rule that if being good is more complicated than evil.” She had volunteered to help with handling the games. Prue had some friends come down and they were handling logistics. The Elders had even let Mom and Grams come down and they were helping quite a bit. They'd even had one of the witches from the meeting earlier in the week just dropped by to help with her hubby.
Phoebe had nearly drooled when faced with little Chloe Kent's very masculine and desirable husband, Clark. She nearly laughed out loud to hear that this gorgeous man had such a boring name. It made his sound like an accountant or a librarian or even an absent-minded professor. He was none of these things. And his wife was a real spitfire. She'd nearly attacked Phoebe when she'd seen her reaction to him. But, hell, she was only human wasn't she? Of course, it was really hard to seduce a guy that was holding a three-year old girl in his arms.
So, things had been progressing pretty well. Piper hadn't had a nervous breakdown yet. Leo and Xander hadn't come to blows. Paige and Prue hadn't come to blows. But she had never seen so many people in the Manor at one time. What's more she believed it had been the longest they'd ever gone without being attacked by demons. Maybe Godzilla should show up more often. No, that wouldn't be good. He scared her more than the Source ever had... more than evil Cole or Belthazor ever had.
She looked up as she saw her mother and one of the women Prue come in the room. “Joyce, I'm sure it's a good point. I'm just not sure how practical it is. Dealing with demons isn't as simple as you...”
The woman with her mother snorted loudly. “No, Patty, don't you go acting all superior on me. My daughter had her virginity taken by a vampire who then lost his soul and tried to destroy the world. I think I might be just a little more experienced than you think I am.”
“She's got you there, Mama Halliwell.” Xander laughed out loud as he orbed in the room. He had gone to check on the boys.
“Xander!” The woman exclaimed and rushed her nephews' white lighter. “It's so good to see you. Jenny! Jenny! Look who's here!”
Every one rushed out of the kitchen at that. Piper, Grams, and the other woman. Watching Xander, Phoebe was surprised to see him go completely pale. “Ms-- Ms. Callendar! Oh my God!” He went speechless as the woman ran over and hugged him.
“Why, Xander!” The woman called Jenny laughed. “You'd think that you thought I'd taken the down elevator.”
He blushed and looked at his feet. “No. No. That's not it. It's just that Giles-- well, he lives just over-- he'd want to--”
Paige came in the room just to see her lover stammering at a rather pretty woman. She frowned. The woman took Xander's hand and got a rather sad look on her face. She knew Giles. This Jenny has obviously loved that rather funny little man. “No. Xander. They told me that I wasn't to see him or any of the others.”
“But...” Xander didn't finish as the air started shifting. The witches and white lighters stiffened. No demons would dare attack, would they?
“Damn it!” Piper yelled. “How do they expect me to cater a party if they're going to--”
The demon shimmered into the room. Every one breathed a sigh of relief as they saw who it was. “Cole.” Piper breathed. “Thank God.”
Cole raised an eyebrow at his ex-sister-in-law. “You usually don't thank God for me.” Laughter filled the room as the four sisters laughed together. He turned to Leo. “Leo, I've got a problem. I need the Elders to do me a favor. Did you know one of your White Lighters is living in the Underworld?”