~ CHAPTER 3 ~
by Van © 1998
DISCLAIMER: All characters from the motion picture Practical Magic and the television series Charmed are the property of Warner Bros. , which has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with this fictional parody. This story is set in the First Season of Charmed.
Pru began to become aware of her surroundings. At first there was only darkness... darkness and a pounding headache. Then the darkness became a blurry... something... and the headache faded to a dull throb. By the time the world had begun to take on some degree of focus, the headache was gone altogether.
She was in her bedroom... on her bed... on her back... staring up at the ceiling. She was in her room, on her back, arms and legs outstretched, staring up at the ceiling. Staring up at the ceiling, and naked, and bound with hemp rope to the four corners of her bed. She was...
What the hell??? Pru shouted, or rather she tried to shout. What actually came out was more like "Wm'ah'he???" as she found she was also tightly and effectively gagged. She craned her neck and inspected her bonds.
Her fingers, hands, and wrists were completely covered in rope, but it wasn't a mass of hemp loops and coils. Someone had taken the time to weave her a tight set of rope mittens! They started with broad cuffs of knitted and entwined loops, then encased and covered her extended thumbs and fingers (individually and collectively, she could feel) and continued to an elegant complex of running knots at the tips of her fingers that dwindled to a final knot, then single strands, strands which each took a simple loop around the appropriate post of her headboard, and disappeared from sight towards the floor. She tugged her arms and found very little slack or play in the rope work.
Her ankles were wrapped in wide, interwoven bands (similar to the cuffs of her rope mittens,) and held splayed by single, taut strands stretched to the posts of the footboard. She was stringently, inescapably spread-eagled on her bed.
The gag felt like silk. It filled her mouth, trapped her tongue, and pressed back against the corners of her lips. It was uncomfortable, but not painful. She lifted her head as far off the bed as was possible, and her cleaved lips, stuffed mouth, and worried blue eyes just came into her view at the bottom of her dresser mirror. The gag was silk... black silk.
She inspected her "rope mittens" again. There was something about the knots and the weaving. Celtic, she thought, her education in art and artifacts coming into play as she unconsciously analyzed her captors' handiwork. Very little really old Celtic embroidery or basketry or anything made of natural fiber had survived the ravages of climate and time, but the British Museum did have a few fragments. Yes, maybe Celtic, she mused, then shook her head. I've got more important things to worry about! she thought ...but something continued nagging at her. Then she knew what it was: The knotted patterns on the "mitten's" cuffs were reminiscent of trefoil and triskelion illuminations she'd seen in the Book of Kells... and the Book of Shadows!
Pru tugged on her bonds with all her might. The bed frame creaked a little, but it was obvious that Pru wasn't going anywhere 'til her captors set her free ...or she was rescued. With a final shake of the head, the last of the fog cleared, and Pru remembered what had happened. There had been two robed women. They had mumbled something about a ceremony and had started towards her. She had gathered her Power, intending to bounce them off the far wall ...and found herself here, naked, gagged and bound to her own bed.
Pru heard voices in the hallway, her bedroom door opened, and the two robed women entered. One was brunette and the other a redhead. Both were a few years older than Pru ...and quite attractive.
"Hello, Pru," the brunette said with a pleasant smile. "We never got around to introductions before..."
"...before you knocked yourself into oblivion," the redhead interjected with a chuckle.
The brunette smiled and continued. "I'm Sally Owens..."
"...and I'm Gillian Owens," the redhead interrupted.
"...and if I may be allowed to continue..." The brunette (Sally) said, pausing to give Gillian a significant look.
"Okay, okay, I'll go get the materials," Gillian laughed, leaving the room.
Sally turned back to the very helpless, naked, and attentive Pru. "I'm afraid we don't have much time left, and I can't really explain much of this to you at this point anyway, but we're here conduct a ceremony and you and your sisters are going to help."
Pru pulled on her bonds, her eyes wide with fear. What are they going to do? she wondered.
Sally came forward and sat on the edge of the bed. She reached out and brushed the hair from Pru's forehead. "There, there," she cooed with a sympathetic smile. "Try not to be afraid. I give you my word that all of this is for your own good, and we will not do you any harm."
Pru turned her gagged face away. She was still frightened, but somehow her instincts told her she could trust these ...witches? She turned her face back to Sally, a questioning look in her clear blue eyes.
"Blessings be, sister," Sally said with a smile. "Yes, we are witches, and although, as I said before, I can't explain what's happening right now, all will be well."
Pru turned her face away again. Her fear was fading, displaced by a slow burning anger. Pru tugged on her bonds in frustration. She was always the one in charge, the one that kept the Halliwell household on an even keel. Whatever was going on, whatever these ... sisters had in mind for her, she was helpless, and she didn't like it one bit!
Just then Gillian returned, carrying a small cardboard box. "The least you could have done is prepare the altar," she groused.
Sally kissed Pru's forehead, then moved to help her sister. Very shortly a space had been cleared on Pru's dresser, a cloth had been spread, candles arranged, and ...something placed in the central region. Pru craned her neck for a better look. The central object was a simple glass bowl suspended over a large, fat, triple-wick candle by an ornate metal rack. Despite herself, Pru's profession asserted itself. Silver, probably mid-18th century English. Could be quite valuable if they have any provenance, she mused.
Gillian and Sally began chanting and after several seconds the candle ignited with three rapid pops. Gillian lifted a glass flask from the box and poured its clear, oily contents into the glass bowl. Sally added a few thin sprinklings of herbs from several small vials and the chanting continued. Pru watched the liquid in the bowl begin to slowly turn as it was heated by the candle, green flecks of herb rising and falling in oily currents. Sally produced a small, spoon-like, glass ladle and began stirring the bowl, continuing to chant. After several seconds, she released the ladle, and it began stirring on its own. Both sisters stopped chanting. The ladle continued making slow, even circuits of the bowl.
Pru was impressed. This was a level of control she'd never been able to approach. Pru thought of her Power almost as a bludgeon, brutal and difficult to focus. In comparison, Sally's Power was like a scalpel in the hands of a surgeon.
Gillian climbed onto the bed and knelt between the splayed legs of the prone prisoner, then (with what the embarrassed and seriously miffed Pru thought was entirely too much enthusiasm) leaned forward and grabbed Pru by her narrow waist. With a somewhat unladylike grunt, she lifted Pru's body off the bed to the limit of the captive's already tight bonds. The smooth muscles of Gillian's lithe arms bunched in slender cords with the effort and the redhead locked Pru's gaze with a wolfish grin. Sally slid a narrowly folded blanket under Pru's white rump, hips, and back. Gillian dropped Pru down onto the blanket pad, then sat back on her haunches, her dimpled knees nearly touching Pru's inner thighs.
Gillian reached out and idly ran her hands over Pru's flat stomach. Pru started at the redhead's overly familiar caress and mewed into her gag. "She has such pretty skin," Gillian announced, "fair ...like Snow White."
"Fair like you, you mean," Sally said, her back to the bed as she stirred the glass bowl, this time by hand.
Gillian's hands slid down Pru's hips and grazed the captive's inner thighs. Pru shuddered under the touch of her captor's cool, slender fingers. "You're sooo pretty when you blush," Gillian remarked to her captive audience. "Did you know that?" Pru glowered at the smug redhead, flushed more with indignant anger than embarrassment. "I tend to freckle-up in the sun," Gillian continued, ignoring the prisoner's angry stare, "...but I bet you just burn, don't you?" Gillian very slowly ran the edge of her palms up and down over Pru's labia. Pru whined into her gag and pulled on her bonds. "Oh, does that burn too?" Gillian inquired sweetly. "I'm sorry."
Sally turned at the sound of Pru's distress. "Getting a little ahead of yourself, aren't you, sis?" she asked with a disapproving frown.
"Just familiarizing myself with the terrain," Gillian said with an innocent smile.
Sally leaned over and smoothed Pru's hair. The captive glared up at her with wet, furious eyes. "I'm sorry about this," Sally told her, "but we have only a few hours 'til we must begin the ceremony, so this is going to have to be done by the quickest means possible." Confused, Pru fretted and twisted in her bonds. "Unfortunately, quick also means intense," Sally continued. Without further preamble, Sally used the glass ladle to dip a generous portion of warm oil, and began dribbling it over Pru's shoulders, upper arms, and breasts.
Pru squealed into her gag. The oil was hot! ...not hot enough to burn, but... She shuddered and felt a tingling down her spine and through her loins. It wasn't burning hot, it was... spicy hot ...weird hot. Suddenly, Gillian's hands were sliding over her shoulders, kneading her breasts, rubbing her upper arms, her throat, her armpits. It felt glorious , better than the best foreplay she had ever known, better than the things her sort-of-boyfriend Andy did to her when things were... perfect. She moaned into her gag and arched her back, pulling on her bonds with all her strength.
Pru felt her anger draining away, replaced by a deep, rising passion. She felt... strange. Was it the oil? Was it magick? All she knew was she wanted to be touched by this smug, nasty redhead, wanted to be caressed and teased, wanted it more than anything ...wanted it, and didn't want it. She hated being helpless, but found herself reveling in her captive condition. It was ...naughty ...kinky ...decadent ...not Pru ...not the Pru that always had to be strong and responsible and thinking about the others. She didn't want to be used like this, but what did that matter?—she was helpless, bound, naked—she was being used. She hated it! She loved it! She felt ....
"Wicked Pru," Gillian teased, seeming to read the struggling prisoner's thoughts. "Naughty Pru. Pru the slut! " Gillian leaned to the side and Sally dribbled more oil over the spread-eagled captive, this time on her stomach, hips, and thighs. Gillian rubbed the oil into Pru's porcelain skin with careful precision, with the hands of a skilled masseuse, a masseuse who knew how to probe and press, and how to prolong the delicious sensations.
The massage continued, and with every touch, with every erotic caress, Pru's arousal became more and more intense. She was becoming desperate. She should have cum by now; she should have cum long ago; but the feelings just built higher and higher and higher. Gillian grasped each of the writhing captive's erect nipples and delicately, slowly gave each a firm tug. Pru shuddered. Her reason was fading, her world becoming nothing but Gillian's hands, and the magick they were working at the lowest, animal level. ...and still she couldn't cum! Gillian shifted her attention to Pru's inner thighs ...and engorged sex.
Pru's brain exploded, her senses a kaleidoscope of erotic pleasure beyond pleasure. More oil. Gillian's hands. Time was meaningless. Gillian's hands ...everywhere. The feelings, the delicious, wonderful, dreadful, agonizing feelings went on and on and on! Oh God! Pru thought, I'm going to die! If I don't cum... I'm going to die! Oh, let me cum! Please let me cum!
Through a haze of frustrated lust Pru became aware of Sally's face hovering above her own. Sally had climbed onto the bed and was sitting with her back against the headboard, the brunette's knees on either side of Pru's head. She was using a cotton handkerchief to gently mop the sweat from the frantic prisoner's brow. Meanwhile, Sally's sister, Pru's horrible/wonderful torturer/lover, continued running her oil drenched hands over the desperate captive.
"Pru? Prudence? Can you hear me?" Sally was talking to her, but to Pru it sounded like a voice at the end of a tunnel... a long, dark, wet tunnel. Sally continued. "Pru, you have to use your Power. You have to use it to stop Gillian."
My... Power... Pru thought.
"Yes, Pru," Sally said. "Use your Power on Gillian. She won't stop unless you make her. You won't be able to cum unless you make her stop."
I... can't... Pru whispered to herself.
"Yes, you can!" Sally answered her, reading her thoughts, speaking to her between planes.
H... How? Pru asked.
"Like you always do," Sally said. "You can do it. You have to do it."
Gillian smiled, a cat playing with a mouse. "You're too weak, Prudence," Gillian gloated. "I can keep this up for hours and hours, and you never... will... cum." Pru gazed with horror at her redheaded tormentor. "And when I'm tired of torturing you with pleasure... I'll play with your sisters ! Brave little Piper? And Phoebe? It will be so much fun toying with poor, helpless Phoebe! I can almost hear her begging for me to stop, can't you?"
NO! Pru shouted with her mind. Not... Not Phoebe! I won't let you! She gathered her Power and—Pru's entire body went completely rigid and her eyes glazed ...then she slowly sank back onto the bed, limp in her bonds, eyes closed, every muscle relaxed. Sally leaned down and kissed the unconscious witch's forehead, then untied her gag. It had been a dirty trick to make Pru use her own power to complete the spell, Sally mused, but it was probably the kindest thing to do in the long run.
Sally heard a soft moan from the foot of the bed and looked up to witness the spectacle of her sister clumsily reaching under her robe and hungrily caressing her body with her oily hands, breathing heavily, panting and moaning. "You let your protection lapse, didn't you," Sally accused.
"Ask... ask me later," Gillian gasped, basking in the afterglow of what had to have been one very intense orgasm.
"Just don't spend yourself, Gillybean" Sally cautioned. "We're both going to need all our strength for the ceremony."
"Yes, Auntie Sally," Gillian answered with a mocking lilt.
Sally shook her head with mock dismay and climbed off the bed. "Come on," she ordered. "We have work to do." Gillian finally composed herself enough to climb off the bed. Sally gazed at her sweating, still deeply breathing sister with an indulgent grin. "I ought to forcibly enroll you in 'Hedonists' Anonymous,'" she said, "...but you'd probably enjoy the intervention too much." Gillian smiled weakly. "Let's get you cleaned up," Sally sighed.
Sally and Gillian left Pru's bedroom arm in arm, Gillian's head resting on her sister's shoulder. Behind on the bed, Pru remained a tightly bound, unconscious prisoner, her skin slick with oil and sweat, her engorged sex glistening with her own musk ...a calm, peaceful expression on her sleeping face. Pru's eyes darted behind closed lids and her slightly parted lips trembled. No one was present to hear her whisper the single word, "Andy."
Across town, Andy Trudeau suddenly started at his desk. He was a little chagrined to have nodded off in the Precinct, but... Did I really fall asleep? he wondered. It was more like I was daydreaming... and... something... He shook his head and looked down at the stack of case files and reports scattered before him. It had been a more or less typical S.F.P.D. day watch, and he had decided to stay late after his shift and catch up on the endless paperwork that was the bane of every policeman, especially, it would seem, an Inspector of Homicide. He glanced at the wall clock across the half deserted squad room and felt his empty stomach grumble. It was getting to be a little too late. Time to grab a bite and...
Pru, he thought. I was thinking about Pru Halliwell. Pru, the smart, beautiful, great-in-bed, secretive , mysterious, Pru. Always popping up with her two cute sisters in the middle of his strangest cases, always quick with a semi-plausible explanation, never ready to tell him what the hell was really going on; the one he promised himself to stop thinking about.
So why am I thinking about her? he thought. Her voice, he mused. I dreamed she was calling my name. He reached for the phone, and... No! he resolved. Not again! He quickly locked up his desk, grabbed his coat, and went to check out with the watch desk. Not again!
He signed the log and headed for the parking lot. Time for a quick bite, then... maybe a drive by the Halliwell house? No! This is ridiculous! ...Then why did I 'dream' about her? Why now? Well, he thought as he unlocked his car, it won't hurt to just drive over there... later... much later... after a good meal. I don't have to stop.
The cat settled into one of her favorite warm, comfortable spots in the front hallway, one of the several stations from which she monitored the Halliwell household (while remaining inconspicuous.) She watched through slitted eyes as the Owens witches carried the smallest Halliwell witch up from the cellar, past her hiding place, and (grunting and chattering like the nearly hairless primates they were) on towards the attic. The Phoebe-witch was unconscious, bound in hemp coils of Ouroboros' Magick, and (from the color of her aura) more than ready for the imminent ceremony.
It was going to be good to have this current round of insanity over with, to be able to relax for a change. There was only so much a cat could do, after all, and keeping the Halliwell witches alive long enough for this to happen hadn't been easy. Warlocks, demons, even things that weren't in the book—No, it hadn't been easy.
Just then, a globe of blue light zipped down the hallway and swirled to a stop in front of the cat's resting place. It pulsed for several seconds, like a small, luminous, beating heart, and coalesced into the form of... one of them, one of the fey folk. What does this one want? the cat sniffed, yawning in a careful display of studied indifference. Most of the fey take little interest in the affairs of this plane, it's dominant, superior life-form (the cat, of course), or even the more semi-advanced, non-feline species... like the humans; however, those that do take an interest often cause all sorts of trouble, and bear close watching. (Mundane humans, poor, almost sightless things that they are, can't see feys at all (unless the little mischief makers want to be seen) and often cause their feline hosts great embarrassment when they openly wonder (in their mocking, monkey-like way) why "their" cat is staring intently at what to them is... nothing.)
The hovering fey gracefully leaned close to the cat's face, and (wrinkling its tiny, turned-up, human-like nose) sniffed the cat's breath. Well, if she's going to be civilized... the cat conceded, and delicately returned the greeting. (...Not that it really meant anything, or accomplished anything. Feys don't ever have much of a real odor, so you can't tell what they've had for recent meals, confirm that they are the ones marking up the neighborhood, find out whether they've had sex recently, or discover any of the other things one can from a proper greeting sniff. (...but it didn't hurt to be polite.))
The fey agreed that the ceremony was going to be a very good thing and that the Halliwell witches and probably this region of the Many Planes in general would be much better off for it. (The fey folk are fluent in all nine levels of feline discourse ...unlike poor, gawkish humans, who can barely follow the first two levels ...the first three if they're gifted.) The fey was grateful the cat had protected and fostered the Halliwells to this stage in their development, and expressed a special fondness for the Phoebe-witch, who (apparently) the fey had known before the Phoebe-witch had even become a witch, when the Phoebe-witch was little more than the human equivalent of a blind-kitten.
A human-fey bond, the cat sighed. Oh joy! As if things weren't crazy enough in Halliwell House. Such bonds were rare, but not unheard of ...and they always resulted in lots of mischief, years and years of mischief... legendary mischief. The fey winked at the cat and shot up the stairs towards the attic. Of course it would want to watch the ceremony, the cat reflected... then stretched and nestled into a compact, relaxed ball. She was going to really need her sleep now, she knew... for later.
The ceremony, fey folk flittering about, more unfocused, frustrated lust polluting the area than there'd been at the start of the last full moon Feline Conclave (...that had been a good one...); yes, as always, it was the only thing to do: nap (...and be ready to help pick up the pieces when it was all finally over.)
What a dream! Pru thought. I was the prisoner of these two witches, and they were doing naughty things to me... especially that nasty redheaded bitch , and... I'm still dreaming... and it's... delicious... and I'm going to cum soon... cum like crazy... and it's the wet dream to end all wet dreams... and...
Pru's eyes shot open and she became aware of several things:Pru could feel that her "rope mittens" were still intact, but her arms had been folded behind her back, and the free ends of the mittens' ropes had been intricately woven around her elbows, upper arms, through her armpits and across her shoulders, above and below her breasts... God I have to cum! she thought.
- It wasn't a dream!
- She was still naked and bound and gagged!
- Phoebe and Piper were here, and they were bound, gagged, and naked as well!
- "Here" was the Halliwell attic!
- The Owens sisters were here! (Very much not bound and gagged, and wearing the same robes.)
- ...and she still... had... to... CUM!
Her sisters were similarly bound: hemp, lots of hemp, intricate patterns; Phoebe, on her left with her arms bound behind her back in a double hammerlock; Piper, on her right with her arms behind and completely covered in a sleeve of rope; thick, tight, silk cleave gags... and she had to cum!
The Halliwell sister's were each about five yards apart, and their legs were splayed wide and held that way by three separate, hemp ropes, each of which joined a pair of captives ankle-to-ankle in a wide, equilateral triangle: Pru's left ankle bound to Phoebe's right, Pru's right to Piper's left, and Piper's right to Phoebe's left. The ropes' wide, intricate cuffs around each ankle were tight, but not terribly uncomfortable; but the thick, multi-layered, running knots joining sister-to-sister were wound onto themselves as taut as steel springs, making the ankle-to-ankle runs of the bindings as rigid as wooden poles... and Pru had to CUM!
Phoebe and Piper were a mess: hair tousled and damp, faces flushed and sweaty, everything flushed and sweaty, writhing in their bonds, mewing through their gags, fidgeting and attempting to flex their splayed legs. Pru knew she must look just as frazzled and pitiful, if not worse... but was that a hint of a smile on Phoebe's gagged lips? Piper certainly didn't seem to have found anything humorous about their current plight, but all Pru knew for certain was that she... had... to... CUM!
The Owens sisters finished lighting the last of several dozen candles placed about the attic and stepped inside the sweaty, wriggling, mewing triangle of Halliwell Sisters and rope. Pru noticed for the first time that the Halliwell family copy of the Book of Shadows had been placed on the floor at the centrex of the triangle. This was obviously the ceremony the Owens had so darkly hinted about, and Pru and her sisters, the Halliwells themselves, were a part of the altar. This was Powerful Magick ...nearly as powerful as Pru's need to CUM!!!
The Owens sisters began chanting, and after only a few seconds, Pru became aware of a blue glow, a blue aura that was emanating from the Owens... the book... her sisters... and herself. Pru had to... She had to... She had to do something, but she couldn't seem to remember what it was.
The chanting continued, and suddenly, the cover of the Book of Shadows opened, as if by an invisible hand. It happened to be facing her, and Pru could see the familiar first page. After several seconds, the book began to slowly spin in place. When it came back to its original position with the page facing Pru, the leaf turned, and Pru could see the second page (and, of course, facing the second page, the blank back of the first page.) The slow spin continued. It was as if the book was presenting itself to each of the bound sisters in turn. The pages continued to turn, and the book's spin began to gather speed. Page after page, faster and faster, soon the book was actually hovering in midair, a blur of ruffling pages.
The Owens sisters opened their robes and let them drop towards the floor, but the robes fluttered away, as if blown by a strong wind, a wind blowing in all directions from the center of the attic, from the center of the bound Halliwell sisters, from the pages of the spinning Book of Shadows. Sally and Gillian stood, bracing themselves into the impossible wind with arms outstretched, their hair blown straight back, their naked bodies ghostly pale in the erratic, pulsing, blue light. The Owens sisters' chat become more intense, almost labored, their brows knitted in intense concentration. Pru noticed the chanting witches nipples becoming swollen and erect, and the blue aura began pulsing its brightest and most intense around their breasts and loins.
Above and around the Owens, a luminous shape was taking form. The blue light was taking the form of a triangle... no... three circles of light, circles that intersected at three points... then overlapped to intersect at six points... then back to three points... then rotated away like spinning hoops... and came back together again... and expanded, and the three points of intersection became... the hovering book... Sally Owens... Gillian Owens... and the chanting, naked, Owens sisters began to writhe in agony — no—in ECSTASY!
The circles expanded and rotated and now, one by one, the Halliwell sisters became part of the pattern; first Phoebe, then Piper, then—Pru convulsed in a colossal, intense orgasm... and then another ... and it was glorious... it was pleasure-beyond-pleasure ... it was wondrous ... and she felt another... and another ... and yet another ... and another... and another ... another ... another... another ... another ...
Someone was... was slapping Pru's face.
"Pru? Pru? Can you hear me? Pru? Pru?"
"Stop it... Stop," Pru mumbled. Her eyes focused (...God she felt... good...) and she found Phoebe kneeling over her. Pru's hands, arms, and upper body was still tightly bound, but her thick silk gag had been pulled down and was hanging loosely around her neck. Her right ankle was still bound to Piper's, but her left was now just sort of... tangled in a loose mass of hemp coils. Phoebe was completely free... and naked, and slick with sweat, and panting like she'd just sprinted a mile (...or had the most glorious multiple orgasm of all time, and... God Pru felt good!)
Pru looked around. Piper was also still bound, and slowly showing signs of life. The Owens sisters were collapsed and semi-conscious, now as naked, flushed, and sweat soaked as the Halliwells. Pru felt a strange crawling sensation around her right ankle and heard a quiet, rustling noise. Lifting her head and looking to the right, Pru watched as the rope joining her ankle to Piper, and Piper's bonds themselves... melted into a heap of loose, hemp coils. Piper weakly pulled one arm free from the tangled mass and, with some difficulty, pulled down her gag. She looked at her panting sisters and smiled. "Wow!"
"Wow is right!" laughed Phoebe.
Pru was still dazed. "What...?" she began.
"It'll become clearer as time passes," Phoebe explained, "but we've been initiated into a higher coven."
Pru struggled to sit. Phoebe helped her up, then pulled her bound sister's ankles free from their former hemp bindings. Pru pulled on her still very securely bound wrists, hands, and arms. "Why am I still...?"
"You'll be the last one free 'cause they were able to use slow invoking spells with me and Piper but had to use a quick one with you," Phoebe explained. "It all has to balance with a multi-spell system, you see."
"No I don't see," Pru said crossly, tugging on her bonds, "...and how the hell can you see? How do you know so much about..."
"She's the one with the vision, remember?" Piper asked.
Phoebe sat back on her haunches and smiled smugly.
"...Oh, right," Pru conceded.
Phoebe kissed Pru's forehead. "Like I said, it will all become clearer as time passes."
Phoebe went to Sally Owens and cradled the the sweat covered, shuddering witch in her arms. She kissed Sally's lips and smiled down at her slowly recovering former captor. "Blessings be, sister," she said.
Sally smiled up at Phoebe, still very weak. "Blessings... be..." she whispered. Phoebe helped her to her feet.
Piper hugged and kissed the still dazed Gillian. By the time Pru had managed to pull herself up onto her knees and slowly stand (...God she felt good...) all five witches were standing.
"I still don't understand," Pru complained.
Sally embraced the still tightly bound prisoner and lifted Pru's chin with one hand. "It will become clearer, very soon," she promised, "but to make a long... centuries long story very short, you are now stronger, more powerful, and better able to defend yourself and your sisters than you were yesterday. Even now, forces that were about to make their try for the Halliwell Magick, that were preparing to take you and your sisters... are turning away. They know you are no longer their prey."
"We're... safe?" Pru asked.
Sally gave Pru a tired smile. "There is no 'safe,' I'm afraid. Old enemies turn away, and new enemies begin to stir."
"However," Phoebe interjected brightly, "we have new strength,..." She picked up the Book of Shadows and held it before her "...And more." With a dramatic flair, she reversed the book and Pru could see, embossed and illuminated on the formerly blank back cover, the words Book of Ouroboros , and the emblem of a serpent, eating it's own tail. Phoebe opened the book, and Pru could see... new writing, new illustrations, new spells and knowledge, all written on the reverse, formerly blank pages of the Book of Shadows .
"It was there all the time," Piper said.
As the aftereffects of the ceremony continued to fade, Pru found she was beginning to understand something of what had been done to them, something of the way Pru and her sisters had been... changed. Pru found she was better able to comprehend the Magick at work around her. She hadn't gained new knowledge , but rather a new way of looking, as if she had been given the use of a new sense, a sense that 'til then had laid dormant. Pru turned her face to Sally, tears welling in her eyes. "Thank you," Pru whispered.
Sally hugged Pru close and kissed her on each cheek. "Blessings be to my new sister, ally, and friend," Sally said. Phoebe, Piper and Gillian brushed tears from their own eyes, and with a laugh embraced each other, then joined Sally and Pru in a tight, group hug, the still bound Pru trapped at the center.
"Hey!" Pru protested after several seconds. "Enough is enough. I'm getting a couple of broken ribs here." Her sisters, all four of her sisters laughed and backed away. "Why did we have to be tied up?" Pru asked.
"This is animal-level Magick of a very high order," Sally explained. "It's almost impossible to submit to such Power by force of will alone."
"Your animal self would force you to flee...," Piper began.
"...Which would prevent the passage to the higher level," Phoebe finished.
"Exactly!" beamed Sally.
"Besides," said Gillian, with her now very familiar feral grin, "it's kinda fun that way, isn't it?"
Pru blushed and tugged at her bonds, then gave the redhead a good-natured grin. "Fun?" she asked pointedly. "I'll show you fun," and kicked the startled redhead in her rump. The rest of the Halliwell/Owens coven laughed as Pru chased the giggling Gillian around the attic, doing her bound best to deliver even more kicks.
Suddenly, Pru skidded to a halt, staring up at the attic rafters in wonder. "Oh, look!" she exclaimed.
"What?" the others clamored.
"There, up in the rafters... a fairy!" Pru gasped. Gwynona was sitting on one of the rafter beams, her crossed legs dangling in the air, leaning back on her arms, her wings slowly, gracefully, opening and closing behind her. She smiled down at the coven, and gave Phoebe a mischievous wink.
"Fairy?" Phoebe asked. "What fairy?"
Piper started to point towards the little fey, but (after Phoebe gave her a surreptitious poke in the ribs) turned to her little sister instead. Phoebe winked and Piper took her clue. "I don't see any fairy." Piper said, a deadpan expression on her face. The Owens sisters exchanged knowing glances and did their best to hide their amusement.
Pru took her eyes from the wondrous creature and glanced at her sisters. "Up there she nodded. She's up there in the..." Pru turned back towards the ceiling. The fairy was gone.
"Really," Phoebe exclaimed, "an invisible friend at your age. I outgrew such nonsense years ago."
"No! It was there!" Pru protested. "It was naked and beautiful and had little butterfly wings and..."
The Owens sisters could take it no longer, and doubled over with laughter. Piper gave Phoebe a questioning look. "I'll explain later," Phoebe whispered, very smug and pleased that for once little sister was holding the winning hand. Pru was still staring up at the ceiling, more confused than ever.
"Come on," Sally said, wiping tears of glee from her eyes. "If you'll allow us to use your shower, we can all get cleaned up, and then find something to eat."
"Now she asks permission," Piper laughed.
"Food!" Phoebe exclaimed. "I'm starving! We can order some pizza... with sausage, and pineapple... and anchovies!"
The sisters started down the attic stairs, all except Pru, who continued to gaze up at the empty rafters.
"We'll also introduce you to an old family tradition,..." Gillian said.
"Midnight margaritas!!!" the Owens sisters said together.
Pru continued to stare upwards. "Where did she go?" she asked the now empty attic.
Phoebe came back up the stairs and, picking up a loose length of hemp, draped it around the neck of her bound, older sister, and started back towards the waiting showers, food, and celebration. "Come on," Phoebe said, affectionately, "before all the hot water gets used up."
"She was there," Pru said, following the gentle tug of the impromptu leash, shaking her head, "I know she was." Suddenly, Pru realized her current situation. "Hey!" she protested. "Get this thing off my neck... and how long 'til these damn ropes come off?"
"Only three, maybe four more hours," Phoebe explained with a smug grin.
"Three or four hours!" Pru halted, then (when Phoebe gave her "leash" another firm tug) continued down the stairs. "I don't want to be tied up for three or four more hours!
"Stop being such a baby," Phoebe scolded, "or I'll put that gag back in your mouth."
"You wouldn't dare!" Pru responded.
The sisters were soon out of sight, but their arguing voices echoed back up into the attic, growing weaker and weaker as they continued to descend the stairs. Up in the dark rafters, Gwynona rolled on her winged back, her tiny legs kicking the air, laughing and laughing.