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[personal profile] sara_wolf
Title: My Heart Nearer to Thee
Rating: PG
Warnings: character death
Summary: When Phoebe's husband and son are abducted to a dangerous alternate universe, the sisters must travel across reality to save them.

*****

"Actually," Paige commented, before anyone could say anything, "I have a rescue to plan. Hear me out," she added, when the protests started, "there's only three of us that can go: me, Prue, and Cole. Because there is no way in Hell I'm letting the two of you into the Underworld without any powers." She punctuated her last statement with a decisive glare at Piper and Phoebe.

"Well, then Prue and I will go with you," Cole told her, but Paige shook her head, emphatically.

"I don't think so," she replied. "What if the Psycho Sisters attack? You and Prue need to stay here to protect Piper and Phoebe."

"So, we're just supposed to let you waltz into the Underworld by yourself?" Prue demanded, and Paige nodded.

"I'm not happy about this, believe me," she said, solemnly. "I'd rather have backup down there, but I'm not willing to leave Piper and Phoebe unguarded in this crazy world."

"Excuse me," Phoebe spoke up, sounding irritated. "This is my son we're talking about. Don't Piper and I get any say in this?"

"You're both powerless, and Piper is pregnant," Paige said, meeting Phoebe's gaze, unflinchingly. "So, no."

"But-" Piper started, but Paige didn't let her finish.

"I've already lost one sister, and I'll be damned if I watch the two of you die, here," she said, her voice unwavering. Grabbing the crystal where it was lying on the table, she shot Cole a look. "Don't you dare try to follow me," she told him, and then she orbed out of the penthouse, leaving behind a trail of fading lights.

There was a moment of silence, and then Piper looked over at Prue. "You've known her longer," she remarked. "Has she always been like this?"

"You mean stubborn?" Prue asked, wryly. "Yeah, pretty much."

Another long, awkward silence fell over the room, and then Piper asked, quietly, "Hey, Prue?"

"Yeah?" Prue prompted, when Piper trailed off, staring down at her clasped hands.

"Where's Leo?" Piper finally asked, sounding like she was afraid to know the answer. "He's not – is he dead?" she forced out in a hoarse whisper.

"Leo's not dead," Prue reassured her, watching as Piper let out an explosive sigh of relief. "He, um, well, he-" She trailed off, looking like she didn't quite know how to phrase her answer. "He's just not here," she finally finished.

"Then, where is he?" Phoebe asked, when Piper couldn't seem to speak.

"He's Up There," Prue said, pointing toward the ceiling. "He – after Piper and Phoebe turned, he couldn't stay here. He was going to, for me, but I told him not to. I knew how hard it was for him, seeing Piper like that, and I-" She laughed, bitterly, "Let's just say that it was easier to avoid detection on my own."

"Detection from what?" Phoebe asked, confused.

"From us, apparently," Piper told her. "I'm glad Leo's not here," she added, softly, getting a surprised look from Prue.

"You are?" she asked, and Piper nodded.

"If this, if evil, is the path that the alternate me chose, I'm glad that Leo didn't follow," she said. "He's a better man than that. I thought I was better than that," she added, shaking her head in disbelief, and Prue cut her off before she could continue.

"You are better than that," she told her. "You and Phoebe, you moved on, you learned to live without me. You were stronger than my sisters."

A low, dark chuckle sounded from behind them, and Prue looked up in horror to see Phoebe sauntering into the room. The little smile on her lips didn't match the cold fury in her eyes as she stared at them.

"Oh, you're going to wish you hadn't said that," she told Prue, shaking her head with what looked like regret. But, Prue knew all too well that her sister was incapable of those kinds of emotions, any more.

Prue jumped up from the couch, instinctively moving between her sister and her alternate counterpart. Cole had stood as well, a hand on Piper's shoulder, ready to shimmer the pregnant woman out of harm's way at a moment's notice.

"What are you doing here, Phoebe?" Prue demanded, her voice wary.

She went up on the balls of her feet as she prepared to confront her sister, hands raised in front of her to deflect anything Phoebe threw at her. Paige's warning about staying to protect her sisters was suddenly much more real.

"Don't call me that," Phoebe snarled, her face twisted with fury. "You betrayed us. You don't get to use that name any more."

"And you don't deserve it," Cole countered, a challenging tone in his voice. Prue glanced over to see an energy ball in the palm of his hand, ready to be thrown.

"Look at you, Phoebe," Prue entreated, even as she wondered if her sister even had any humanity left to appeal to. "What have you become?"

"What I've become is stronger than I've ever been in my life," Phoebe told her, coldly. "After Piper became the new Source of all Evil, I became her right hand, as the new Seer. We control the Underworld."

"And the sad thing is," Prue said, shaking her head in disgust, "you actually think that's something to be proud of."

Phoebe – no, she wasn't Phoebe, any longer, she was the Seer – the Seer growled, raising a hand. A stream of fire left her hand to fly straight at their heads. Prue shoved Phoebe behind her even as she telekinetically threw the fire out of the way, shattering the glass of the French doors. Cole was a second behind her, throwing the energy ball in his hand and knocking the Seer backward.

"Get Piper out of here!" Prue snapped, and Cole wrapped a hand around her arm to shimmer her away, but Piper shook her head.

"We can't leave without Prue and Phoebe," she insisted.

"I can't shimmer you all out of here," Cole told her, "and you've got your baby to think of."

"We'll be right behind you," Prue told her, meeting Piper's eyes. "I promise."

Piper nodded, and Cole pulled her close as he shimmered them away from the penthouse. Prue looked around at a sound, to see the Seer getting back up, a hateful expression on her face.

"Okay," Phoebe said, from behind her, "now what?"

"Leo!" Prue called out, glancing quickly toward the ceiling. "Leo, I could really use some help, right about now!"

A swirl of bright, white lights filled her vision as the Whitelighter orbed between them and the Seer. He blinked in surprise to see two Phoebes standing in the room, but Prue shook her head before he could say anything.

"Orb now, explanations later," she told him, shortly.

Leo grabbed her and Phoebe's shoulders, and the penthouse disappeared in front of their eyes in a wash of bright light. When they reformed, they were standing in the middle of white nothingness. It seemed vaguely familiar, and after a moment she remembered their battle with Eames, and masquerading as Elders to vanquish the warlock.

"You know," Phoebe commented, looking around, "I'd almost forgotten what this place looks like."

"You and me, both," Prue told her. "It's so peaceful up here. Unlike down there," she muttered, glancing down in the direction of the Earth.

"Not to interrupt this moment, or anything," Leo spoke up, "but I'd like an explanation, please. Now."

His voice was hard, and he was glaring at Phoebe like she was the enemy. Not surprising, considering everything that had happened, and luckily Phoebe didn't look offended by his distance.

"Alternate universe," she said, with a small smile at Leo. "I'm serious," she added, when he looked surprised. "We came here from an alternate universe."

"Who's we?" Leo demanded.

"Me, and Paige, and Piper," Phoebe started to explain, but then she looked around. "Wait a minute. Where's Piper?"

"I'm right here," Piper called out, before Prue could start to panic. She turned to see Piper and Cole walking toward them. Cole was looking around at the clouds in curiosity.

"So, this is what it looks like up here," he remarked.

"You can't be up here!" Leo exclaimed, looking scandalized. "You're a demon."

"No," Cole corrected him, drawing the word out, "I've got demonic powers. Trust me, there's a difference."

"Still demonic," Leo muttered, and Prue stepped on his foot, shooting him a glare when he looked offended.

"How did you guys get up here?" she asked, before Leo and Cole could get into some kind of good-versus-not-so-evil pissing contest.

"I tracked Phoebe up here," Cole replied, as he crossed to his wife's side and pulled her into a tight hug. "Are you okay?" Prue heard him murmur, quietly.

"I'm fine," Phoebe reassured him, holding on just as tightly. "But, we have got to figure out a way to stop our crazy alternate selves before they take over the world."

Continued here
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