The Power of One

Original stories about your favorite television characters: Piper, Leo, Phoebe, Cole, Prue, Paige and more!
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6g
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The Power of One

Post by 6g » 02/18/06 04:16

The Power of One
by Six

Rating: PG (As series)
Timeline/Spoiler warning: Story is set somewhere relatively early in season four, though it basically stands alone.
Trailer: When her sisters get sick Piper finds herself in an awkward spot. Can she still beat the forces of evil whilst juggling her rash of problems? Itching to find out, then read on.
Acknowledgements: To the makers of Charmed who created the charmed ones, Prue, Piper, Phoebe and Paige, love the show. Aaron Spelling does it again. To Suzanne, who wrote so eloquently of Willow, thanks for the inspiration and encouragement. No breach of the copyright is intended, just a non-profitable loan. I hope this turns out the way I pictured it.
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters in this story are the property of Spelling Productions and WB. No copyright infringement is intended by the author, who receives no monetary benefit from this work. The ideas expressed here are original. All rights reserved.

The Power of One

Piper is stood at the bar of P3 cleaning out the ashtrays. Her bored expression turns to disgust as her cloth clings to a piece of congealed chewing gum. Phoebe is sat at a table by the stage. The table is strewn with books. She holds a pen in one hand and a jotter in the other. She sits up, removes her glasses and lets out an impatient sigh.

'What's up?' Asks Piper looking for an excuse to stop.

'It's just so complicated?

'What? Your latest spell?'

'No. I finished that two hours ago. It's my latest college essay. I can't decide whether I have too much information,? she says pointing at the pile of books on the table, 'or too little.' She lifts up the jotter to reveal half a dozen lines of notes at the top.

Piper turns back to her work. Phoebe leans over to grab another textbook of the pile. As she does so she knocks another to the floor. It falls open to reveal a black and white photo of a school building. Phoebe leans over to pick the discarded tome up. As she touches it a vision appears to her. She is stood outside an office door. Through its opaque window she can make out the shape of a small cowering man screaming as a much larger being looms over him with what appears to be a knife. In the far corner of the room there are two children trying to protect themselves by ducking behind a desk. Phoebe is suddenly aware of a small boy stood behind her, tugging at arm. She turns to see the sobbing child. 'The boggy man is coming.' He says.

Vision ends.

Piper and Phoebe are in their car. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining and a gentle breeze ruffles their hair as they speed through the streets of the city.

'Do you think we should call Leo?' Asks Phoebe.

'No. He said not to be disturbed unless absolutely necessary. Once we're all there we'll assess the situation. We can probably defeat this demon by ourselves. Just make sure Paige can get there.'

Phoebe picks up her mobile and rings Paige's work number.

Paige is sat in her office fiddling with her pen. She presses one key on her computer and the office printer starts to churn out another finished report. The phone rings.

'Paige. How can I help you?' She says, pleased to be relieved of the boredom of the report. A muffled voice on the other end of the line disturbs her. 'Hold on, I'll just write it down.' She grabs a scrap of paper. ' St Barnabas School. Hang on. I know that place. I've helped a number of the kids there. The headmaster is one of the best in the district.' The muffled voice continues as Paige grows ever more concerned. 'In trouble! I'll be right there.'

She swiftly picks up her coat and jacket, strides over to the printer and picks up her report. Placing it in the photocopier she sets it to print twenty copies.

'And where do you think your going? her boss says as she leaves the office.

'There's a problem at St Barnabas.'

'You can't go until that report is finished?

'Done.' She says, pointing at the photocopier smugly.

Outside St Barnabas School, looking rather different to the place in the photograph.
Piper and Phoebe pull up, closely followed by Paige.

'Are you sure this is the right place? It doesn't look like the photograph?' Asks Piper.

'Yes. It's the only St Barnabas in town.' Replies Phoebe.

'They knocked the old place down after the last quake. A massive crack had appeared in it.' Interjects Paige.

Inside the sisters have split up each checking every room as they pass it for any unnatural signs or portents.

'AHHH!? A blood-curdling scream rings down the corridor. Phoebe and Paige both here it and start running towards a nearby door, though from different directions. Reaching it almost simultaneously Phoebe and Paige almost collide. They look at each other for a split second and then, as if acting as one mind, they burst in. Phoebe kicks the large creature aside and both she and her sister reach for the child who is sat facing away from them.

'What do you think you're doing?' Says a rather gruff, if quite obviously female voice from the floor.

'Saving this innocent from you, you evil fiend.' Paige replies in a triumphant manner, tossing her hair back as she says it. 'Why? What did you have planned?'

'I, was putting cream on Johnny's spots.' Answers the creature, who is now quite clearly, simply a large lady in a dark blue dress, as she raises her self from the floor.
'Now look at my apron, it's covered in lotion. I can't treat his chickenpox without lotion.' She continues, turning around to reveal a nurse's uniform covered in pink lotion.

Phoebe and Paige remove their hands quickly from the boy's shoulder. A rather sick looking child with spots on his face turns round.

'Sorry.' Phoebe.

'Bye.' Paige.

The sisters beat a hasty retreat. Once out into the corridor the sisters look at each other. 'Chickenpox, URGH!? They say together, looking down at their hands.

'AHHH!? Another scream rings out even louder from the other side of the school. Quickly both sisters set off down the corridor in the direction of the noise.

'I'm taking a hot shower once we get back home.' Says Phoebe, her regular workouts paying off as she pulls out in front.

'Not before me your not?

Rounding the next corner they see Piper up ahead, also running. She stops outside a door marked and waits for a second to catch her breath and let the other two catch up with her. 'Go for it girl.' She says to Phoebe as the Halliwell answer to the Karate Kid kicks the door down. A small man, who is clearly the headmaster, cowers as a large green demon hovers over him. The demon turns to face the sisters. An ornate ceremonial dagger is clenched in his right hand, a large wooden club, not too dissimilar to an oversized baseball bat, in the other. He grunts at them, waving his club as he approaches.

As the green demon nears Paige, she responds by projecting a chair from the corner the room. It clobbers him in the leg at great speed causing the demon to cringe. Piper then freezes the situation, realising that any one of the half dozen other people in the room might be suspicious if they noticed the furniture seemingly move by itself. Thinking quickly she explodes the demon. As the dust settles she passes the dagger and club to her sisters to destroy, which they do with relish. As they reach their cars?, Piper unfreezes the room.

'Well that was easy.' Says a grinning Piper. 'Told you we didn't need Leo.'

'What shall we do with these?' Asks Phoebe looking at the broken dagger and club. 'We've got enough junk around the house.'

'I?ll hide them under those bushes across the road. I'll have to hang on anyway. I expect my boss will call soon to tell me there's trouble at St. Barnabas. At least this way I can calm the situation.' Responds Paige.

Sure enough, as Paige finishes burying the dagger and club pieces, her phone rings.

Leo orbs into the kitchen of the Halliwell mansion. There is no one about.

'Piper.' He calls out. No response. 'Phoebe, Paige.' Still no response. 'Ah good, it looks like it's my turn to cook dinner tonight again.' He says with a touch of irony, turning around to face the kitchen cupboards.

As he removes the ingredients from the shelves, Piper and Phoebe walk in through the front door.

'Oh there you two are. Busy day? You look tired.' Says Leo.

'Just the usual demon slaying.' Replies Phoebe.

'Nothing we couldn't handle.' Adds Piper.

'You're getting quite independent. You won't need my help at all soon.' Responds Leo.

'There are always certain things we'll need you for.' She says as she hugs the man of her dreams. She gives him a quick peck of a kiss on the lips. 'Who else knows how to unblock the drains?'

'I?ll just grab the shower before Paige returns.' Shrugs Phoebe, as she turns to head upstairs.

Leo is just serving dinner as Paige returns, accompanied by Cole. Phoebe comes down the stairs in her bathrobe; her hair tied up in a large towel.

'Everything sorted at the school?' She asks.

'We managed to convince everyone that they had passed out due to a gas leak, and that the green demon had been a masked robber who had fled when the others started to pass out. I told them that they were lucky to be alive. I think they all just about believed me and thankfully none of them remembered us being there.' Responds Paige.

'Dinners up.' Says Leo, pouring the pasta on to the final plate.

Cole and Piper join him in the kitchen. Phoebe takes Paige to one side.

'What about the nurse, did she recognise you?' She asks quietly.

'We were lucky there. When you took her down, you knocked her glasses off. She could only tell it was two women because of the tone in our voices.' Replies Paige.
Turning in the direction of the kitchen, she shouts. 'Can you keep my tea warm, Leo, I'm going to grab a quick shower.'

'Must have been a messy kill.' Says Leo.

'Not particularly.' Responds Piper.

Morning. Piper is preparing breakfast. Cole comes down stairs, adjusting his tie as he goes.

'Will Phoebe be joining us?' She asks.

'Later possibly. She doesn't have to be in college until 11am. and I didn't want to disturb her. She had a bit of a sleepless night?

'Her throat still soar.'

'And a hacking cough.' Cole takes a bagel, rips it apart and starts to spread strawberry jam on it.

'Where's Paige this morning. Isn't she going into work with you.' Asks Piper.

'No, she's booked the morning off. Something about a delivery.'

'Do you mean like the Amway box that arrived five minutes ago?' She says pointing at package on the living room table. 'You may want to wake her. She could still make it if she wanted to.'

'Probably not a good idea. She was out with her old school friends. Didn't get back in until 3am.'

'How do you know?'

'With Phoebe's coughing and fidgeting, I didn't get much sleep either.' He finishes of his bagel and leaves.

Paige awoke her head pounding, her stomach churning, her throat dry and her skin tingling. 'This is definitely the worst hang over I remember having.' She says to no one in particular. Leaning over she grabs at the glass of water on her bedside cabinet. Taking a swig, she returns it, coughs to clear her throat, scratches herself and goes back to sleep.

Leo orbs into kitchen.

'Busy night, sweetie?' Asks Piper.

'You could say that. Apparently a rather nasty demon called the Million has been on the prowl. He preys on teachers. I've been discussing the matter with a White-lighter from Colorado. Apparently he's headed this way.'

'Sounds like the guy I vanquished two weeks ago at St. Barnabas. Was he rather tall, green face carrying a dagger and a club?'

'That's him. You say you vanquished him. Remind me again of what you did with his weapons.'

'Paige buried them. Why do you ask?'

'Because he can come back. He's like a germ or pond slim. Even if only a tiny portion of him is left alive he can gradually come back. The only way to truly vanquish him is to melt down the dagger and burn the club. If what you say is correct we only have five days to act before he returns. If you don't destroy them by then he'll be back and wanting revenge on you for trying to vanquish him in the first place.'

'That's ok. Paige knows exactly where she buried them.' Says Piper hugging Leo tightly.

Phoebe wakes from her fitful sleep. She looks at the clock. Almost 1pm. 'Oh damm.' She mutters. 'That's another missed lecture.' Her stomach rumbles, at which point she realises she is about to be sick. Grabbing her stomach she hauls herself out of bed. Her old pair of pyjamas look even more creased than they normally do. She heads for the bathroom just as Cole comes in through the front door. She lifts the toilet lid and starts to throw up. Cole, realising that someone is unwell, dashes to the bathroom. There he finds a very sick looking Phoebe with vomit in her hair and all down her pyjama front.

Piper is outside St Barnabas looking in the bushes for where Paige has buried the broken weaponry.

'It's no use. I can't find them.' She says to Leo as he orbs in beside her. 'Not the best day for Paige to have a hangover.' They get into the car and drive back to the mansion.

In the bathroom of the mansion. Cole helps Phoebe up. Resting one hand on his shoulder, she scratches at the stained pyjamas.

'You'll have to take those dirty things off.' Says Cole, noticing just how itchy she seems to be.

'Mm...Ok.' Replies Phoebe in a near daze.

As she removes her top, Cole has a look at where she has been scratching. Her stomach is red raw and very spotty. He leads her back to bed. He goes down stairs to see if he can summon Leo.

'Leo. Leo. Phoebe needs you Leo.'

'What's up?' Asks Leo, in concern as he walks in through the front door, closely followed by a slightly bemused Piper.

'It's Phoebe, she not at all well. She has been sick and now she is all spotty and itchy.' Replies an almost frantic Cole. 'I don't know what sort of magic it could be or which demon might do it.'

All three dash upstairs. Whilst Cole and Piper hold each other in concern over the clearly ill Phoebe, Leo attempts to use his healing energy. However he quickly removes his hands.

'Well, this isn't something I can fix, its natural.' He says with some regret. 'However, I can sense that she is no immediate danger. If I were you Cole I'd call the doctor.'

'Pathetic. Mike. Pathetic.' Cries out Professor Johnson to his assistant, who is sat at the other end of their small wood panelled office.

'What is it Professor?'

'It's the term papers on schooling in San Francisco. They're awful. Take this one for example.' Says the annoyed professor, tossing his assistant one of the reports. 'You'd think she had never attended one of my lectures.'

'Actually Professor, This student has a very poor attendance record. She even missed this morning's lecture.'

'Right, I'll speak to her about that after my next lecture.'

As the Professor speaks a shadowy form moves past his office window, though no one seems to notice.

Paige wakes again. If anything her headache is worse than before. She reaches for the last of the water. Drinking it, she lightly drops the glass on the floor. 'I'll pick it up later when it doesn't hurt to move.' She slumps back onto the bed and tries to settle, but however hard she tries she cannot get comfortable. Deciding to get up instead, she staggers into the bathroom. Boy does she feel rough. Looking in the mirror only makes matters worse. 'A hangover, greasy hair and acne.' She mumbles noticing two small pimples on her forehead. She reaches over to her toothpaste and brush. Perhaps this will help.

'Mm.' says the doctor thoughtfully, as he examines Phoebe. She is propped up in bed, a thermometer stuck in her mouth. She isn't exactly happy. The doctor examines behind her ears and on her neck where more spots have appeared.

'Well?' Says Cole, starting to lose his patience.

'Its as I first thought.' Replies the doctor, removing the thermometer from Phoebe's mouth.

'What?'

'Chickenpox.' Says the doctor, closing his case to leave. 'Plenty of bed rest and lots of fluids. I'll leave you a list of the medication she will need.' As he leaves he turns to Phoebe. 'No scratching, it will only make things worse. I'll be back to examine you in five days. Until then you are not to leave the house. We don't want anyone else getting sick.'

Paige shuffles out of the steam filled bathroom. The shower hasn't helped. She turns the corner in the hall back to her room, but before she can get there she passes out.

The doctor closes the door on Phoebe's room. As he turns around he sees Paige collapse to the floor. The sound of the fall brings Leo and Piper upstairs. Cole emerges from Phoebe's room.

'What's the noise?' He says. 'I'm trying to get Phoebe to sleep.' Only then noticing Paige's crumpled body lying on the floor.

'What happened?' Asks Leo.

'I'm not sure.' Says the doctor, leaning over Paige as she regains consciousness. 'I think you had better put her to bed, I'll examine her there.'

At St. Barnabas school a staff meeting is in progress. The headmaster is discussing improvements to school security. Whilst many of the assembled group seem bored with the topic, certain people are listening, and one shadow hangs on every nervous word being spoken.

'Finally, I would like to thank Paige Matthews for her help over the last two weeks. I was going to present her with this thank-you card and box of chocolates at this meeting but for some reason she couldn't attend this afternoon's meeting, so I will go and see her in person early next week. See you all on Monday.'

With that the headmaster got up and left the room, followed by the rest of the staff, happy to see the start of another weekend. No one saw a hand emerge, and take a mislaid copy of the headmaster's notes.

Saturday morning. Leo walks into the kitchen with a bag full of groceries.

'Did you get everything on the doctor's list?' Asks Piper, walking over from the oven to greet her husband.

'Twice as much, after all we have two patients to deal with now.'

Leo places the bag on the table. He embraces his wife. The two kiss.

'Leo. Is that you back?' Calls out a plaintive voice from upstairs. 'Did you get that cream?' Paige appears at the top of the stairs. Her face is now covered in spots, and from the way she is itching they are not just on her face.

Leo and Piper look at each other knowing that the moment has passed. Each takes a couple of items from the bag.

'You take Phoebe; I'll take Paige.' Says Leo.

Cole is sat at his desk in his cramped little office. He is half-asleep and he cannot concentrate on his work. A large pile of work is sat in a tray at the side of his desk. In walks his boss and places another even larger pile of work next to it.

'Just because it's Saturday, there is no reason for slacking. You've got the rest of yesterday's work to do, as well as your share of Miss Matthew's while she is off.' Says the grumpy authoritarian. Cole resists the urge to hit him.

In the park a little girl is skipping. She trips, falls, and grazes her knee. She didn't see the hand emerge from the oily puddle, or feel it strike her ankle.

Phoebe is sat up in bed. Piper is leaning over her buttoning up her pyjama top.

'There. Now all we have to do is your face.' Says Piper, picking up a tube of cream and some cotton wool from the bedside cabinet. 'Tell me where it itches?'

'All over.' Replies a miserable Phoebe.

Piper starts dabbing Phoebe's pox ridden forehead.

Meanwhile, in a small flat across town, a young woman is sat at a desk. She is one of the teachers at St Barnabas. Busily marking papers, she notices that it has suddenly got quite dark. As she fumbles for the light switch on the desk-side lamp, she cuts her hand on her letter opener. Running into the bathroom to get a bandage, she does not notice the gloom lift. A shadowy figure moves across the room, examines the knife and then leaves.

Evening draws in on the mansion. A rather tired looking Leo slowly trudges down the stairs, where he encounters Piper with her coat on about to leave.

'Where are you going?' He asks in bemusement.

'To P3. That club doesn't run itself you know.' She answers angrily.

'But what about Phoebe and Paige?'

'They can't come. They've got Chickenpox.' Her mocking tones unsettling the usually calm White-lighter.

'That's not what I meant.'

'I know that is not what you meant.' Her angry tones upsetting him further. 'I can't stay away for two nights in a row. Plus I need a break away from here.' She shouts as she leaves, slamming the door behind her.

The shadowy figure moves through the darkened hallway of St. Barnabas School.

Sunday morning in the Mansion. Cole is asleep on the coach in the living room. Piper gently places a blanket over him. Leo orbs in on the far side of the room. His wife puts a finger to her mouth and then points down at Cole, indicating that she wants quite so that Cole is not disturbed. Leo gently makes his way over.

'Is he ok?' Asks Leo softly on reaching Piper.

'Yes fine, just tired.' She answers equally softly. 'He couldn't sleep properly while Phoebe was really ill and unable to sleep properly herself. Even when she was able to sleep properly last night she kept tossing and turning in the bed.'

'Oh.' Replies Leo, turning to look Piper in the eyes. 'We're ok right, I mean I'm sorry that said the things I did last night. I should have thought. I know now that you were under a lot of stress.'

'It was me that should apologise. I was the one who was unfair, not you. I shouldn't have shouted at you or said the things I did.' Says Piper hugging her man.

'So how are the scratchy twins?' Leo asks, changing subjects.

'Well I'm going to see if I can stomach breakfast.' Says Phoebe poking her head around the kitchen door.

'It's only cooled down porridge.' Says Piper. 'Nothing too solid yet.'

'Oatmeal is supposed to be good for Chickenpox.' Interjects Phoebe.

'I thought that was oatmeal baths?' Asks Leo.

'I'm having one of those later as well, after Piper's finished getting ready for all the digging you two will be doing today. Something about unearthing that dagger and club that Paige buried a fortnight ago.'

'I haven't forgotten.' Says Leo. 'Thankfully Paige was able to give me better directions this time. We should be able to find them.'

'What if we don't, honey?' Asks Piper.

'Then we'll need all the power you can muster. If we don't get them today then the Million will be powerful enough to retrieve him for himself tonight, even though he won't be able to use them until Wednesday night. Phoebe, you had better start working on a spell.'

'Right, where do we start looking?' Asks Piper, as she and Leo pull up outside St Barnabas.

'Paige said in was buried behind one of the trees opposite the main school entrance. Lets start looking for disturbed ground.'

A rather grumpy and dishevelled Paige enters the kitchen. She slumps down on the chair next to Phoebe. Phoebe has a pen in her hand, but isn't writing anything.

'What are you trying to write?' Asks Paige.

'A spell to vanquish the Million.' Replies Phoebe, clearly frustrated.

'What's the problem?'

'Chickenpox. Every time I try to get the spell worked out I either cannot think of a suitable rhyme because my head starts hurting, or my spots start itching. I think the rash has spread to my back.'

'You're lucky. At least you can levitate so the spots aren't rubbing against anything. That has got to help.'

'I tried that this morning, when I first felt the rash had spread. I can't seem to do it at the moment. The disease seems to be effecting my powers. It's probably drained you of your ability to use yours.'

'I wouldn't know. I've been too sick to even try.'

'See if you can teleport that sugar bowl from the side dresser to the table?'

'Ok. Here goes.' Paige focuses on the sugar bowl, but however hard she tries the bowl will not move. 'It's no good. I can't do it.'

'Oh boy, are we screwed!? Says Phoebe, using her pen to scratch her back.

Piper is stood over a shovel. The ground all around her has been churned up and turned over. Leo is walking back to the car.

'Well, it's getting dark.' Says a muddy and exhausted Piper to an even dirtier Leo.

'Let's head for home.' He replies, placing his shovel in the trunk of the car.

Cole is stood in the kitchen preparing supper. Phoebe and Paige enter the kitchen, wearing their bathrobes.

'Was the oatmeal bath worth it?' He asks.

'Definitely!? Says Paige.

'Very soothing.' Agrees Phoebe.

The front door opens. Two very scruffy and disappointed individuals enter.

'Piper! Leo! Is that you?' Asks Phoebe, surprised to see either of them in such a state. 'I'm guessing you had no luck.'

'You're right there. How did your day go?' Replies Piper.

'Good news and bad news.' Says Paige.

'We finally finished our parts of the vanquishing spell.' Says Phoebe. 'That took us most of the day.'

'Good. What's the bad news?' Enquires Leo, wishing he didn't have to know.
'We can't use our powers. All our bodies? energies are focused on fighting off the pox.' Replies Phoebe, mournfully.

'You two concentrate on getting better. The three of us will work together to tackle the Million.' Replies Leo. 'However, Piper and I are going to have a quick shower.'

'Don't be too long you two. Supper is almost ready.' Says Cole.

'What are we having?' Asks Piper from half way up the stairs.

'Well you two and me are having a vegetable lasagne with a side salad, followed by apple pie, if you're still hungry.' Says Cole. 'Whilst Phoebe and Paige will be having chicken soup and ice cream, as they can't seem to manage anything more solid.'

Monday morning. Piper is in the attic looking at the Book of Shadows. Leo walks in carrying two empty bottles.

'I'm going to the shop. We've run out of the lotion. Anything you need?' He asks.

'Inspiration.' Replies Piper. 'I can't see any mention of the Million or anything like him in the book. At least the vanquishing spell is finished.'

'I'm sure you will think of something to help.' Says Leo, as he orbs out of the room.

Cole is sat in his office. Saturday's pile of paperwork is hardly any smaller. There is a knock on the door.

'Who is it?' Asks Cole.

'My name is David Granger.' Says a rather plump man entering the room. 'I believe you want to see me about one of my employees at the foundry.'

Cole smiles for the first time in days.

A shadowy figure sits behind the dustbins outside the university. He picks up two pieces of metal and holds them together. As he concentrates his face starts to turn green. Nobody notices, few would care.

Tuesday morning. Piper is working on a potion at the kitchen table. Paige is spread out on the sofa in the living room having the spots on her feet treated by Phoebe. There is a small bang followed by a puff of smoke. Piper throws down the remaining ingredients in disgust.

'Do you two have to do that in here?' She says redirecting her anger at her unfortunate sisters.

'Still no further with the potion?' Replies Phoebe, ignoring the original question.

'Hardly. It's hard to come up with one when we have so little to go on. Anyway, as I was saying, can't you two go somewhere else to do that? Your getting lotion all over the furniture.'

'Not really. We're bored of staying in our rooms, the bathroom's a mess, you didn't want us in the kitchen and we can't go out.' Answers Paige.

Leo orbs into the kitchen carrying two large bags. Placing them on the table, he turns to Piper and gives her a gentle kiss on the cheek. She cheers up immediately.

'Did you get everything we need?' Enquires Piper with a broad smile on her face.

'Let's see now.' Replies Leo producing a long shopping list from the top pocket of his shirt. 'Arrowroot, dried lizards feet.' He says, pulling items out of one of the bags. He looks down the rest of the list. 'Yep! Everything's here.'

He pushes the first bag, minus the containers of arrowroot and dried lizards? feet, to the other side of the table where Piper has been preparing her potion.

'How's the potion progressing?' He asks tentatively.

'Slowly.' She replies, her mood turning toward depression. 'Lets hope these will help. What's in the other bag?'

'Oh, that's not for you. Its for Phoebe and Paige.' Says Leo, picking up the second bag and walking through to the living room.
-
'That's nice. Presents.' Says Phoebe smiling.

'Let me see now. Acetaminophen; Acyclovir; Decongestants.' Says Leo reeling off a list of medicines as he removes them from the bag. Phoebe frowns. 'And finally cream.' A smirk appears across the White-lighter's face. 'Mint ice cream.'

The sun is setting at St Barnabas School. In a classroom, a teacher is going through a filing cabinet. Distracted for a second by a noise outside, she does not notice a hand emerge from the shadows and push the draw shut. The teacher lets out a piercing scream as her fingers are trapped in the draw.

'Wednesday at last.' Says Piper; a broad smile on her face as Leo enters the kitchen.

'What makes you say that?' He says, puzzled by his wife's statement.

'Our Chickenpox dilemma is almost over. Phoebe and Paige have had no new spots since yesterday morning. The doctor will be here soon to lift their quarantine. They seem to be getting better. I've even managed to crack the potion for vanquishing the Million, I hope.'

'You're forgetting something. Whilst the doctor will probably lift their quarantine, it does not mean that they will be better, just not infectious anymore. They won't be one hundred percent until every spot has scabbed over and every scab has fallen off, and that will be at least another week away. As for their powers, who knows when they will return?'

'You really know how to depress a witch, don't you Leo.' Piper scowled.

Cole looks at the bedroom clock. Drubbing his fingers on the dresser, he checks the time against that on his watch.

'Remind me again why you aren't at work today?' Asks Phoebe, sat up in bed, her head propped against the backboard.

'I wanted to be here when the doctor came.'

'Well he's not due for another hour. Why don't you get yourself an early lunch? I'm sure Piper wouldn't mind.'

'Am I annoying you or something?' Says a clearly agitated Cole.

'A bit.' Replies Phoebe, apologetically.

'Thank you doctor.' Says Piper smiling as the doctor leaves.

'As long as they rest they'll be fine. I could have told you that.' Cole is clearly upset.

'Look, they're over the worst. Why don't we just relax?' Suggests Leo.

'Sorry.' Says Cole. 'I'm just so frustrated. I just want to help Phoebe.'

'You've already done all you can. It's just a matter of patience. Phoebe and Paige will be well again soon. We just have to wait.' Replies Piper. 'Why don't you see if you can get some sleep? You look shattered.'

Cole pauses before answering. 'Ok. If I must.' He heads upstairs, passing Paige on the way.

'Be quiet in there. Phoebe's asleep.' She whispers as they pass.

'What are you doing up. Didn't you here what the doctor said?' Says an annoyed Piper to Paige.

'I'm bored, not tired.' Replies Paige.

'Uh-oh.' Says Leo looking up. He turns to Piper. 'Got to go.' Kissing her on the cheek he orbs out.

'Doesn't that annoy you?' Asks Paige.

'It used to, but I'm used to it by now.' Piper lies unconvincingly.

'Professor Johnson.' Says Mike as he walks over to the professor's desk at the end of the lecture.

'Yes Mike.' Says the professor to his assistant. 'I need to see this errant student.'

'Well professor, it's about her.'

'Well Mike, which one is she?' The professor interrupts.

'She's not here again.'

'That's it. I've had enough. If she can't be bothered to turn up for lectures then I don't want her on my course.'

'I?ll prepare a letter at once.'

'Don't bother I'll tell her in person.'

Paige is sat at the kitchen table, eating on a banana. Piper brings over two glasses of water and sits down next to her.

'Having no powers is annoying.' Says Paige.

'Tell me about it. Been there, don't want to go there again.'

'Doesn't it concern you that we might all get too sick to fight?'

'I try not to worry about future possibilities.'

'But what if you have chickenpox when we face the Million?'

'Won't happen.'

'Why not?' Paige seems surprised at her sister's seemingly unconcerned attitude.

'Had it. Prue gave them to me when we were little. I must have been about four or five at the time.'

'How come Phoebe didn't get it then?'

'Do you know? I can't remember. I must sound like an awful sister.'

'Ok. So you're safe, but what about Leo?'

'Well apart from being a White-lighter, which I suppose gives him some sort of immunity, he's already had it when he was young.'

'How do you know?'

Piper takes a large sip from the glass. 'He told me?

The end of another school day at St Barnabas. The headmaster and his secretary are just about to leave.

'Did you get in touch with Miss Matthews?' Asks the headmaster.

'No. Apparently she has chickenpox and hasn't been in work since Thursday.'

'I think I'll call around this evening. Make the presentation in person.'

Sun sets on the Halliwell mansion. A tall green man lurks in the undergrowth. He feels his power resurfacing. Soon he will be whole again. The million has returned.

There is a sharp knock on the front door of the mansion. Piper looks out but does not recognise the stranger stood there. Cautiously she opens the door.

'Are you Phoebe Halliwell?' Demands Professor Johnson storming into the house.

'No.' Says Piper concerned. 'I'm her sister. Piper.'

'Where is she? Take me to her. I must speak to her now.'

'You can't. She's asleep.' Piper says, regaining her composure.

'Well wake her then woman. I must speak to her.'

There is another knock at the door. 'Sit down a second. I'll just answer that.' Orders Piper to the Professor. He complies.

'Good evening, I'm the headmaster of St Barnabas School. Is it ok to see Miss Paige Matthews? I understand she has been rather unwell.'

'Of course you can come in. She's ok to have visitors. In fact I think she would be delighted to see you if only to relieve her boredom. She is still rather spotty I'm afraid, but no longer infectious.'

'Have we met before?' He asks.

'I don't think so.' Piper says, hoping that he won't remember. 'Please take a seat. I'll just call her for you.' She turns toward the stairs and calls out. 'Paige, you have a visitor.'

Piper walks off to the kitchen. She will let the Professor wait a little. Paige emerges from her room. Her baggy pyjamas hidden under her dressing gown. There is a gust of wind from down stairs. Something doesn't feel right. Paige wraps herself up tighter and starts to descend the stairs.

Suddenly the door is flung open. The Million stands there with his club and dagger at the ready. Piper, also sensing the danger returns from the kitchen, with a vile of the potion and a copy of the spell. On entering she freezes the room. Whilst this works on the headmaster and the professor, the Million quickly shakes it off. She tries again, but to no avail. She starts to throw flame balls but the Million simply parries them with his dagger and club.

Paige retreats upstairs. She runs into Phoebe's room to warn her sister and Cole, but, whilst Cole is asleep in the chair, Phoebe's bed is empty and Phoebe is nowhere to be seen. Paige shakes Cole to wake him.

'Where's Phoebe? The million is here.'

Cole stirs. 'She's up there.' He says groggily, pointing at the ceiling.

Paige turns around and looks up at where the ex-demon is pointing. Phoebe is levitating just below the ceiling; a small blanket wrapped around her the only thing protecting her dignity. She is, despite all the noise coming from below, still asleep. Paige leaves quickly and heads for the stairs.

Piper is tiring. As the Million slowly advances on her, she tries reaching for the potion, but realises that he is getting too close. Paige comes dashing down stairs. Summoning all her power she attempts to orb the Million backward, but only manages to orb a small ceramic vase off the coffee table. The Million senses her presence and turns to face her. The vase reappears behind him, falls to the floor and shatters.

Phoebe wakes with a start, banging her head on the ceiling. Not realising where she is and what she is doing, her concentration and falls back on to the bed with a thud. Regaining her senses she gets up, still wrapped in the blanket, and heads out of her room.

The million turns around again. Piper seizes her chance, removes the cork from the vile of potion, and hurls the contents at the demon. As he recoils in pain, she takes out her copy of the spell, which she starts to recant. Phoebe joins Paige at the top of the stairs. Paige produces her copy of the same spell from the top of the pocket in her dressing gown, so that she and Phoebe can accompany their sister. The million goes up in flames and disappears. His dagger and club fall to the ground.

In a darkened factory on the far side of town all is quiet. The only light comes from a small furnace, still glowing from a hard day's work. Suddenly the room lights up as Leo orbs in with Cole.

'Still got everything?' Asks Leo.

'Yes.' Says Cole, holding out the dagger and club.

'Right, what do we do now?'

'Throw them in the furnace, it should still be hot enough.'

Cole hands Leo the dagger and club. He picks up a welding mask and gloves from a nearby table. Putting them on he opens up the furnace door, and taking the dagger and club from Leo he hurls them into the fire. Coughing as fumes come off the burning weaponry, Cole retreats to where Leo is standing.

'Is it me or is it hot in here?' Says Cole removing the mask and gloves to mop his brow.

It is a sunny afternoon in San Francisco. Paige is reclining on one of three sun beds in the back garden. Her small red bikini shows that while she is still not one hundred percent, she is a lot less spotty than she was before. Piper walks out with three glasses of lemonade. Setting them down on a nearby table, she turns to Paige.

'Where's Phoebe?' She asks Paige.

Paige points to a stake in the ground to which a cord is attached. Piper follows the cord with her eyes as it snakes through the grass and then rises twenty feet in the air to where it is tied around the top of a pair of denim hot pants that Phoebe is wearing. Phoebe is reading a book resting on her chest, whilst listening to music on her personal stereo, which she has clipped to the side of her cut off top. She is levitating under the shade of a tree. Like Paige she looks far healthier than she did.

'Hey! Phoebe!? Piper shouts up at her.

Phoebe removes the headphones from her ears, and gradually lowers herself on to the second sun bed, grabbing one of the glasses on the way.

'Well you two seem a lot better.' Says Piper, passing Paige the second glass of lemonade.

'We are.' Replies Phoebe, with a smile.

'That's easy for you to say.' Says Paige, squirming on her sun bed. 'When you start to itch you can simply levitate out of it.'

'True.' Phoebe says with a grin.

'I thought you would want to be with Cole?' Enquires Piper.

'Not really. I wouldn't want to miss this great weather. As he can't come out and is fast asleep anyway I thought I would make the most of it and keep Paige company.'

'And get a great tan.' Interjects Paige.

'Ok. And get a great tan.'

'Well I hope you feel sorry for yourself. He was with you when you got sick.' Says Piper slightly annoyed.

'But he's got Chickenpox.'

THE END.

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