Rating: PG-13 for violence
Characters: Piper, Leo, Wyatt, Chris, Phoebe
Prompt: Creation, destruction, and hope
Spoilers: Vague spoilers if you haven't seen seasons 5-7.
Summary: Hell hath no fury like a grieving mother.
Author's Notes: Thank you to koshkaphoenix and ladybug218 for the beta! I apologize for the title. Actually, no, I don't, because bad puns are canon for Charmed episode titles. ;)
The smell of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies filled the air of Halliwell Manor as Piper pulled another batch from the oven. Wyatt had sheepishly remembered just an hour before that he was supposed to bring something to school tomorrow for his fourth grade bake sale. If she had had the time to plan and prepare, she would've made pastry crisps with vanilla cream and orange caramel sauce, pear and pistachio tartlets, and blackberry and plum turnovers with cardamon. As she fretted and searched the cabinets for ingredients to make gourmet cupcakes with homemade frosting -- surely she had time for that -- Wyatt looked up at her with wide eyes and said, "Mom, just make cookies!"
"Just" cookies it was, then. Made from scratch, of course, because the world would end before Piper Halliwell used pre-made cookie dough. She set this latest batch on a rack to cool, then turned to put another tray in the oven.
"Piper!" Leo shouted from outside, where he was playing catch in the backyard with the boys. Chris and Wyatt's laughter turned to cries of fear as well. Piper dropped the cookie sheet and ran outside. As she raced into the yard, she saw a hulking brown-robed demon with a tattooed face throwing a red ball of energy at Leo, who stood protectively in front of his sons. Wyatt's shield sprang up, covering himself, his father, and his brother, but the red blast tore through the shield, and in a heartbeat, Piper's family was gone.
For a moment she stood there, frozen in shock, her lips moving but no sound coming out. This couldn't be real. This couldn't be happening. After all this time, she couldn't lose Leo and the boys just like that. Then she caught the demon turning toward her, a triumphant gleam in its red eyes, another ball of energy appearing in its hand. Part of her wanted to just stand there and let it hit, let her die and be with her husband and sons, but another part was filled with grief and rage. It was this part that acted as she threw up her hands and exploded the demon into a fine black mist. Two more shimmered in before her, and she blew them up as well. More appeared and each met the same fate. Vengeance consumed her now, like the long ago anger that had possessed her when she was goddess of the earth, unleashing her sorrow and fury with destructive storms. This time she wouldn't stop. This time she would destroy the world.
Something wasn't right. She had seen Leo, Wyatt, and Chris die. But she hadn't felt it. She remembered years before, when Cole had appeared to her in limbo, and the words he had tried to drill into her head. "Love transcends every plane of existence. All you need to do is believe in it with every fiber of your being. Think about how a person halfway across the world knows the instant their loved one is hit by a car. It's because they're struck with a sudden burst of love, a psychic shock, the kind of shock that can only come from the total loss of a loved one." She knew what he had said was true, because she had trusted him and let herself die, and Leo had felt it, breaking him out of the Elder-induced amnesia. If Leo was dead, she would've felt it in her soul.
She dropped her hands. Another demon shimmered into the yard, throwing an energy ball her way. She froze it, then demanded, "Where are they? What did you do with them?"
The demon scowled and disappeared. No more appeared. Piper numbly looked around the yard at the chaos of tree limbs and toys that had been caught up in her fury. What was going on?
"Piper! Piper!" She turned and saw Phoebe running from the house, frantic and out of breath. "Are you okay? I was at work and had a vision -- it was awful! San Francisco looked like a bomb had hit it and you were standing in the middle of the city, dressed in black leather and screaming. It was rage, I think, not fear."
"Almost," Piper murmured, still struggling to calm herself. She moved back into the house, ignoring Phoebe's questions as she pulled out a map and a scrying crystal. But as she spun the crystal above the map, it did not land and show her where her family was.
"Piper, what's going on?" Phoebe persisted. "Where are the boys? What happened out there?"
"I don't know," Piper said. "Something took them. Something that wanted me to think they were dead." She threw the crystal down in frustration. "Something's that blocking me from scrying for them."
"Maybe we can use the spell To Call a Lost Witch," Phoebe suggested. "I'll call Paige and we'll get the Power of Three to cast it. That should find Wyatt and Chris."
"Call," Piper murmured, pacing the living room. Leo was human now, but the boys were half-Whitelighter. And Wyatt had once sensed where his father was trapped when he was just an infant. Surely he could sense his mother as well? She settled on the couch, holding up a hand to silence Phoebe for a moment. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on her sons. They had both been part of her for nine months, and they were connected to her still. She was their mother, and nothing could break that bond. "Wyatt," she whispered. "Chris. Where are you, boys? I know you can feel me. Bring me to you. Bring Mommy to you." This had to work. She focused on the bond of motherhood, all love and hope and comfort and protection.
She heard Phoebe's cry of her name as she felt the familiar sensation of orbing. Opening her eyes, she found herself standing in a stone cavern. The Underworld. A cage that crackled with red energy stood before her, and inside were Leo and her sons. Wyatt and Chris were facing each other, heads bowed and hands clasped together. "You did it, boys," Leo said, his hands resting on their shoulders.
"Mom!" Wyatt and Chris cried in unison. They tried to reach through the bars, but the red energy sparked and forced them back.
"Piper, look out!" Leo called before she could begin to figure out how to free her family.
She spun around to find the same demon who she thought had killed Leo and the boys. "How did you get here?" he snarled.
"Don't mess with a mother," Piper said. "Whatever you were trying to do, it didn't work."
"He wanted you to go mad with grief so that the Elders were forced to strip your powers and destroy the Power of Three," Leo said.
"Get him, Mom!" Wyatt said. "Blow him up!"
"Blow him up!" Chris echoed.
Piper thought about making a comment about love being stronger than hate. But it sounded too cheesy in her head, so she just flicked her fingers and blew the demon up.
The red energy protecting the cage disappeared as the demon vaporized. Piper hurried over and examined the bars. "Stand back," she said, then destroyed one section of the bars. Wyatt and Chris tumbled out and ran into her arms. Tears of joy and relief filled her eyes as she hugged them close, and Leo wrapped his arms around them all.
"Heard you calling, Mommy," Chris said, clinging tightly. "Daddy said for me and Wy to try to use our powers together to orb you here."
"That's my boys," Piper said, kissing the tops of their heads. She lifted her face to kiss Leo. "I thought I lost you," she said for his ears alone.
He shook his head. "That's what they wanted you to think, but I knew they couldn't fool you."
Piper scooped Chris up into her arms as Leo picked up Wyatt. "How about you two orb Mommy and Daddy home?" she said. "I've got cookies waiting for you."
"Race you!" Wyatt said, trauma already fading as he and his father disappeared in a cloud of blue-white orbs. Chris orbed himself and his mother right after them to the safety and comfort of home.