THE QUICK AND THE BLED
[the tenth in The Scorpion Chronicles]
by Nat Faul


DISCLAIMER: (February 2001) This is not posted for any profit but to
share creative ideas with other Charmed fans on this and other
websites. The characters of Prue, Piper, and Phoebe Halliwell, Leo
Wyatt, Darryl Morris, Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenburg, Rupert Giles,
Tara, and Spike are property of Warner Brothers Television. Other
characters were created by this author. Any similarities to real
persons living or dead is purely coincidental. The lyrics to Spook Show
Baby were written and recorded by Rob Zombie for his album Hellbilly
Deluxe, released by Geffen Records, 1999. The following account is
fiction. Its sole purpose is to entertain. Being conceived during the
second season of the Charmed series, this and the other stories are not
congruent with the current season. (Like Phoebe never met Cole, etc.)

Rated PG-13: some Lesbian allusions

The Scorpion Chronicles so far: Phoebe has fallen head over heels in
love with Derek ("the Scorpion") McPhillips. He came to San Francisco
to found the local branch of the American Psychic Society, which Phoebe
promptly joined and became a junior officer. The Halliwell sisters
perceived Derek displaying some power and investigated, but all warlock
and witch tests proved negative. Being so in love, Phoebe hardly thinks
about this, but Prue remains cautious.



Under the glow of a street lamp, three figures stood by the roadside. A
middle-aged man was speaking to a younger man and woman.

"When we get to the cityís core, we spread out. Nelek, you move around
the north. Antandra, you move westward. Iíll work around the south.
Make your Ďrecruitmentsí in private. Hide your Ďresultsí as well as
possible. The longer hidden, the better; especially until the following
evening, when we can gather new Ďchildrení to ourselves. We will meet
back here before dawn. Be sure you make a two-hour start for a safety
margin."

A taxicab pulled up and they got in. The older man sat up front next to
the driver, who asked, "You Agrippa?"

"Yes, sir. That I am."

"Where to?"

"Downtown San Francisco."

"Anywhere in particular?"

"Anywhere along Market Street would be fine."

He drove on and turned the cab northward.

"So, what brought you to a spooky olí cemetery this time of night?"

"We had arrived late ... from out of town ... on business ... and
wished to pay our respects to a former business associate."

"Oh! Thatís nice of you. Where you from?"

"A small town in Southern California. But we travel extensively."

"What kinda work díyou do?"

"We are ... in public relations. We work with people."

"Oh yeah? Sounds interesting."

"Yes, ... Quite. Ah ... Tell me ... are there many people out on this
night of the week?"

"Oh sure! Sure! Every night of the week people are out. We donít just
wait for weekends to have a good time. Nightclubs, theaters, and
restaurants are packed every night of the week."

"Excellent! We have been anxious to ... meet new friends."

"Good! Good! You come to the right place."

Agrippa continued chatting pleasantly with the driver, asking many
questions about the area. The other two sat in the back quietly, taking
all this in. When they reached the middle of Market Street, Agrippa
directed the driver to turn down a dark empty street.

"Here? Yísure?"

"Yes. I do not wish to step out into a crowd. We prefer to step out
where it is quiet and slowly merge with the festive throng."

"All right. Here yígo."

He brought the cab to a halt one block down from the main avenue. Nelek
and Antandra got out and looked around.

Looking at the meter, the driver said, "Thatíll be 27.60."

"Certainly. And here is your tip."

The driver looked over to see this man leaning towards him, with his
face rippled and distorted and mouth open, baring a set of fangs.

In the morning, Phoebe was preparing for school when she heard a knock
at the door. On opening it, there stood Derek in his usual khakis,
vest, shoulderbag, and Australian hat. They embraced and kissed.

Suddenly a vision burst into Phoebeís head. She saw a bare room, with
all windows broken and the walls pocked with bullet holes. On the floor
lie a bleeding figure in khakis, a vest, and an Australian hat. At the
angle of view, the hat obscured the face, but Phoebe was sure it was
Derek.

"Derek! Where are you going?"

"How did you know that?"

"Where are you going?"

"Egypt -- On business. Why?"

"What are you going to do there?"

"Iím going to a few business meetings, sign a few contracts, and be
right back. Itíll just be for one day."

"Do you really have to go?"

"Yes, I really have to go. Now whatís gotten into you?"

"I ... had a premonition."

"Of what?"

"Something ... not good."

"And what do you want me to do about it?"

"Donít go!"

"Babe, I have to!"

"Canít you send someone to represent you?"

"No way! Only I know exactly what I want and exactly what Iím willing
to give up for it."

Phoebe buried her face in his chest and whimpered. Derek held her tight
and rubbed her back.

"Oh come on, Sugar Cake! Iíll be careful! Iíll keep low profile. I can
speak Arabic. I show respect for their beliefs and customs. I donít go
into bars or drink when in Muslim countries. Iíll stay outta trouble."

"But they shoot tourists over there."

"Just a small group of fanatics do. And Iím not going as a tourist.
Instead of eating in fancy restaurants and sleeping in fancy hotels,
Iíll be eating by an open fire and sleeping on the ground with my
Bedouin friends. Iíll be safe. Donít worry!"

"But my predictions usually come true."

"Usually? That means not all. Right?"

"Well, some we can avert with conscious effort." 

"Good! Then I will do everything I consciously can to avert any danger
to me. Okay?" He could see by her face she still wasnít assured. "Oh
come on, Lady! I donít want to leave, knowing youíll just be wasting
away with worry!"

"Then donít go!"

"I am going! And youíre not spending the whole time bent outta shape
while Iím gone! Here. You can do me a favor by watching over my
motorcycle." He handed her a set of keys.

"Your motorcycle? Oh, your motorcycle! Oh, Derek! Your motorcycle!"

"I can see youíre gonna miss me."

"Oh Derek! Of course Iíll miss you! Call me when you get there."

"I will."

"And hurry back."

"I will."

They kissed, said their good-byes and her left. Phoebe went into the
livingroom and moped on the sofa, twirling the ring of keys on her
finger. Her sisters came through, conversing, when they noticed her
looking so forlorn.

Prue asked, "Phoebe, whatís the matter?"

"Derekís leaving for Egypt and I had a prediction of him getting
killed."

"What?!"

"Well, killed or wounded. I donít know. I tried warning him not to go
but he wouldnít listen."

Prue didnít quite know what to say but wanted to be of some comfort to
her. "Well, ... from what we know, ... so far, ... uh ... he can get
out of many narrow scrapes. As you have witnessed, he usually wears a
bulletproof vest, heís quick with a gun, ... and ... he has heightened
senses. Itís not going to help you to sit there worrying."

Piper asked, "Whatís that on your finger?"

"The keys to his motorcycle."

"Oh no! Oh no! Not the motorcycle! Youíre not getting on that
motorcycle! Prue, tell her sheís not riding that motorcycle!"

Prue laughed. "Why not? She can handle it all right."

"After what happened last time?"

"Last time, Derekís driving got them into three accidents and Phoebe
handled it much better."

Phoebe assured, "Iím not going to pop wheelies or burn rubber. Iíll
just use it to get around, so I wonít need to borrow Prueís car for
awhile."

"...Which I appreciate very much. So letís stop all this worrying and
start trusting each other. Youíre both wasting time by worrying. Just
try trusting and get on with living."

Piper reluctantly gave up, not understanding why sheís the only one
concerned. Phoebe started thinking Prue may be right and continued
preparing for school. After gathering her books, putting on a leather
suit and helmet, she mounted the engine and took off for the
university. There, she basked in the excitement of her schoolmates.
("Wow! Phoebe! You got a Harley? Way cool!")

She got heavily into the lectures and studying to stop thinking about
Derek. Most of the day was uneventful, until about mid-afternoon. While
studying in the student union, she was approached by one of her
teachers and two women; a blonde and a redhead.

"I knew weíd find you here," said the professor. "Here are two students
from UC Sunnydale, in your field, who are anxious to meet you."

The redhead stepped forward first and shook her hand. "Hi. Willow
Rosenberg."

At the touch of her hand, a vision flashed into Phoebeís head. She saw
several people with peculiarly distorted faces and teeth, whom she
immediately recognized as vampires.

Then the blonde shook her hand. "How do you do? Buffy Summers."

Phoebe then received a vision of this woman charging through a group of
vampires, with high kicks and fists flying, knocking them down left and
right. She did her best to stifle her reactions.

"Well! What brings you to our hallowed halls?"

Buffy explained, "Weíre on a student exchange program, reaching out to
all other students of metaphysics in the state. This week, itís the
City-by-the-Bay and weíre told youíre the top student in this field."

"Really? I didnít know I was that popular."

The professor bowed out. "I have to get to my next class. It was nice
meeting you both and Iím glad I was of some help."

Buffy responded, "You were a big help. Thank you."

Willow added, "Yes. Thank you so much."

The teacher left and the three women sat down. Buffy came right out and
asked Phoebe, "What do you know about vampire?"

She felt embarrassed. "Well ... uh ... nothing actually."

"You never covered that in any of your studies?"

"Only in passing. Itís just not my specialty."

"What is you specialty?"

"Magic, witchcraft, demonology, ghosts, ... and the like."

Buffy thought hard over something. Phoebe felt abashed that she could
offer no information of any use to them.

"But I could do some research. I have access to a large volume of
data."

"The internet?"

"More than that. I belong to an organization, which examines the
paranormal. And we have an accumulation of all sorts of information."

She gave them each her calling card, which reads:

         AMERICAN PSYCHIC SOCIETY

             Phoebe Halliwell

          Assistant Co-ordinator

        Research and Investigations

above her office telephone number and E-mail address.

Buffy and Willow were impressed. Willow exclaimed, "Wow! I never heard
of this!"

"Theyíre in nearly every major city in the country. I can get you a
brochure on how to get a branch started in you town."

"I donít think we have enough psychics in Sunnydale to start anything."

"They donít have to be psychics; just anyone interested in the
paranormal."

"Well, we have some of those; including Buffy and myself."

"All you need is a little group to get started and more will come to
you."

"Really! I might like to look at that brochure."

Buffy impatiently wanted to get back on her subject. "Yes yes yes yes!
Later! Right now what we need is the localized lowdown."

"Localized?"

"Have you heard any news, or even a slight hint of a rumor, of anyone
found dead from their blood being drained?"

Phoebe thought it over and shook her head. "Not around here. Not even
the slightest hint."

Buffy pondered and muttered, "So they havenít started yet."

Phoebe found that curious but said nothing. She was starting to piece
together for herself this conversation and her vision. These are
vampire hunters and something is going down very soon.

Next Buffy asked, "Where are the cemeteries in San Francisco?"

"There are two cemeteries within the city of San Francisco: one at
Mission Delores; another at the Presidio. But due to the shortage of
space, there have been no new interments since 1900. So most of the
newly departed San Franciscans are buried in Colma, which is just a
mile south of the city limits."

Buffy and Willow gave her looks, wondering why she would know so much
about cemeteries. Phoebe saw this and felt the need to throw up a smoke
screen.

"Studying ghosts takes me to cemeteries a lot."

They nodded as if satisfied by her explanation, but Phoebe still felt
uncomfortable about the whole situation and just wanted to get out of
there. She began gathering her books into her backpack.

"I tell you what. Iíll go to the American Psychic Society right now and
start researching."

"Oh, no need to," said Buffy. "We already know about vampires. We just
wanted to talk shop."

"Really? Well, ... Iím usually there about this time anyway. So if
thereís anything you need me to look up for you...."

"No. We didnít mean to impose on you."

"No imposition. Really! Itís what I live for."

"We just came to contact others with our interests."

"Well, you have my card. Call me any time. I have voice mail, so if Iím
not in, leave a message and I can pick it up from home. It was nice
meeting you. I hope to see you again before you leave."

"Uh ... Sure! Of course!"

Phoebe hurried off. Buffy took out a notebook and began scribbling down
information. Willow eyed Phoebe as she was walking away.

"Wow! Sheís cute!"

Buffy warned, "Donít go there, Will."

At her office at the APS, Phoebe surfed the internet, looking up as
much as she could on vampires. She found so many contradictions among
different sources. What they agreed on were the basics, which every
horror movie fan already knows. She didnít know how to separate facts
from flights of fancy, so she took brief notes on these discrepancies
to sort out later. Next, she went to the APS library and pulled out
every book she could find on vampires. The results were the same.

When it started getting dark, Phoebe realized that vampires will be out
soon and Buffy and Willow will be at the cemetery. She knew this from
her visions. She wanted to be there too in order to help them. But
first she had to consult The Book of Shadows. Also her sisters needed
to be brought in on whatís going on.

But when she got home, the house was empty. Piper, of course, had to
prepare the P3 for the evening. Prue left a note on the refrigerator,
saying that sheíd be at a staff meeting, at the 415, most of the night.
Phoebe tried calling them both at work but neither was available to
come to the phone. She left a message with each then set out to begin
research and preparations on her own.

The Book of Shadows showed information on vampires Phoebe found nowhere
else. She got into it deeply, assimilating everything into her
knowledge of warlocks and demons. She wrote down spells and the formula
for a potion.

Then she came across a page concerning Slayers. It tells of a people
born to slay vampires. They inherit special powers and receive special
knowledge and training for this task. Phoebe remembered her vision of
this small blonde woman, tossing around these powerful monsters like
cardboard. Then she realized what Buffy is.

"She is a force for Good! We should be out there fighting alongside
her!"

With this determination, she slammed the book shut and marched
downstairs. Soon a few pots of water were boiling, several bowls of
herbs were mixed, vials of extract were opened, and many little jars
were lined up ready for use. Then Phoebe thought of something else. She
went through her sistersí bedrooms and rifled through their jewelry,
collecting everything silver.

Street lamps dotted the paved road winding through the cemetery. Buffy
and Willow passed several acres of gravestones for a cluster of tombs.
Shining their flashlights all around inside each, they used their
expertise to seek out tell tale signs of a vampire lair. Finding
nothing, they trudged up a hill. When they reached the top, they got
the full scope of the cemetery.

Buffy whispered in astonishment, "Oh ... My ... God!"

"Itís like a city!" Willow bewailed. "Itíll take us days to go through
the whole thing!"

Buffy sighed. "Well, ... Letís get started then."

Phoebe carefully loaded her backpack, filled with jars of her witchís
brew, into a trunk space under the backseat of Derekís motorcycle. She
carefully drove the Harley down quiet back streets all the way to
Colma. From her visions, she had when she shook Buffyís hand, she
remembered the background and calculated where they would be.

On arriving at the cemetery, she cut off the engine at a distance from
the target area and quietly walked the bike to a thicket. She chained
it to a tree and took out the backpack. After taking off her helmet and
jumpsuit, she packed them away into the trunk and locked it up. She
tied a cloth to head, on which she had pinned several pairs of silver
earrings and put a pair on her ears as well. Hoisting on the backpack,
she headed for the rendezvous point. Old newspapers packed between the
jars kept them from rattling and bumping. That way she could move
quickly without being heard.

Buffy and Willow had examined another grouping of tombs and found
nothing. 

Willow wondered, "How long are we going to keep this up tonight? Or do
you plan on spending a whole week without food and sleep?"

"Until I can think of something better."

"We could start by getting a map of this place."

"They have one?"

"They should. Itís big enough. Weíve never combed a cemetery this huge!
There must be over a thousand tombs, crypts, and mausoleums!"

"Mausoleums? Now there might be a place where one can easily hide a
coffin or three. We can just check the mausoleums first, then... wait!
My spider senses!"

            Swift might. Dead night.

             Thatís right for you.

            Voodoo man, Yes, I can

           Tear it all down for you.

They held up their sharpened stakes and prepared for battle. They crept
forward carefully, then Buffy suddenly whipped around and rammed her
stake into a vampire who had been sneaking up behind them. He
immediately exploded into dust.

             Hunger -- Inside you!

            Hunger -- Destroys you!

She turned back around to see four more charging. She counter-attacked
into the group with a stake in each hand. A flying kick downed one,
then she whirled around in mid-air, knocking down another. Before
touching the ground, she threw out both arms, slamming her fists into
the faces of the other two. She came down, staking two at once, sending
them to dust. Willow staked another. The last one got back to his feet
but Buffy and Willow staked him from both sides. They stood back to
back, prepared for more.

Buffy informed, "More are on the way. Theyíre all around us."

"We were only prepared for three!"

"It looks like they had plenty of time to make a whole new fang gang.
Note to myself -- Get there before they do; not after."

"Itís not your fault! We got here as soon as you heard!"

"To your left!" A vampire came out from the shadow of a tomb.

        Sheís a thriller! Sheís a killer! --

                Spook show baby!

        Sheís a thriller! Sheís a chiller! --

                Spook show baby!

Buffy leaped into action, running him through with a stake. Barely had
he disintegrated into dust when more came out into the open. Meanwhile,
Willow found herself confronted by two others. Although untrained for
slaying, she had no choice but to brace for combat. However, they
suddenly staggered forward, wide-eyed with bodies steaming, then
collapsed. Phoebe stood behind them with an empty jar.

"Thought youíd need some help."

Prue sped her car down the street and came to a screeching halt in
front of Halliwell Manor. She ran to the house and burst through the
front door. Piper was coming out of the kitchen, reading the note
Phoebe left for them.

Prue ranted, "I get one message from her, saying itís urgent that I get
home! Then I get another one saying that sheís going it alone! What has
she gotten herself into this time?"

"Vampires," said Piper, handing her the note.

"What?!"

Buffy enumerated, "You had a vision of me fighting vampires when you
shook my hand."

"Right," Phoebe confirmed.

"And this is something you do often? Have visions, that is."

"Yes. Iím a witch."

Willow exulted, "Really? So am I!"

Buffy pressed on. "What did you do to those two?" She nodded to the two
bodies Phoebe felled with the potion.

Phoebe explained, "I did some research and found out that vampires are
demon-possessed corpses. Now demons I know. So I made this elixir which
drives demons out of possessed bodies; dead or alive."

"But can the demons get back into the bodies and start all over again?"

"No way. That potion is working its way into all the body cells. No
demon can get back into those bodies."

"Well, itís still the creepy that theyíre not dust. I keep expecting
them to get back up any minute."

"Donít worry. I guarantee it 100%."

Willow marveled. "Great! A new weapon! And one we can easily use!"

Buffy asked, "How much of this potion do you had with you?"

Phoebe put her backpack on the ground and took out two sizes of jars.
"These tiny jars have enough for one adult-sized vampire. I have 18 of
these. These slightly larger ones are for two. I have ... had 12; 11
now. But if youíre expecting a lot, we can use just half the needed
amount. It can still drive out the demons and be absorbed by enough of
the body to keep them out."

"Good! Because we are expecting a lot."

Willow wondered, "What are you wearing?"

"Silver," Phoebe explained. "Iíve got two pairs of silver bracelets,
three silver necklaces, three crucifixes, a pair of silver earrings,
and the rest of my sistersí silver jewelry on this headband." Buffy and
Willow exchanged amused looks. "Arenít vampires repelled by silver?"

Buffy answered, "Yes, but...." Then she and Willow broke down giggling.

Phoebe protested, "All right! I realize now that itís a bit much! I
admit Iím an amateur! This is my first vampire hunt!"

Willow consoled, "All right. Weíll let you off this time. But next time
the jokes wonít stop."

"I can imagine."

Prue floored it down the freeway to Colma.

"Slow down, Prue!" Piper demanded. "If weíre stopped for a speeding
ticket, itíll take us longer to get there!"

"Why does she do things like this?"

"Because sheís a Charmed One! Protecting the innocent is what we do!"

"She could have waited for us! Why does she always go off alone?"

"She didnít know when weíd get her message and when we could get home!
And this was way too urgent for her to wait! Itís not her fault!"

"I know! Iím just ... worried about her."

"So am I. But could you worry a little about us? Like worry we might
crash if you keep up this speed!"

Phoebe poured a half portion of the potion into an empty jar and gave
it to Willow. They each threw the fluid onto the vampires closest to
them. These staggered away with their bodies smoldering and collapsed.
Willow began reproportioning more potion into empty jars. Other
vampires were getting close, so Phoebe wrapped the silver bracelets
around her fists and began punching away at them. Several were falling
away with the braceletsí outlines burning into their faces. Meanwhile,
Buffy was behind them, staking several others coming from the other
direction.

One dove onto Phoebe, wrestling her to the ground. However, she was so
laden with silver he suddenly rolled off of her screaming with pain.
Willow quickly stepped over and poured some potion onto him. On seeing
the effects of the potion, others began retreating.

Willow helped Phoebe to her feet. "Are you all right?"

"Yes. Thanks."

"Good work!" Buffy commended. "That stuffís got them maxi-wigged!
Theyíre backing off!"

"Now what?" Phoebe wondered.

"We keep looking for their leaders. How much of that potion do you have
left?"

Phoebe counted the jars and calculated. "Using half the needed amount
on each vampire, Iíd say we have enough for 72 more."

"Good! It might not come to that, but itís best to be prepared. Divide
it up between you and Willow. Iíll stick with Mr Pointy." She held up
her stake.

They moved onto the next grouping of tombs.

Phoebe asked, "What exactly are we looking for?"

Buffy explained, "Three newly arrived coffins."

"Oh. That could take awhile. Do you have a map of this place?"

"They have a map of this cemetery?"

"They should. Itís big enough."

Willow piped, "Thatís what I said!"

Prue turned her car up the road through the cemetery to the area Phoebe
had indicated in her note. She and Piper got out of the car and viewed
the carnage all around.

Piper grimaced. "Ew! Ew! Dead bodies all over the place!"

"This is a cemetery; the right place for them."

"Yes, but theyíre suppose to be underground, not just scattered around!
Ewww! And they stink!"

Prue thought of something and ran from one body to another, looking at
each one carefully. Returning to the car, she informed, "The good news
is that Phoebe isnít among them."

"What do you think happened?"

"Theyíre all vampires. Phoebe must have worked some magic on them.
There are more ahead on the road. If we follow the trail of cadavers,
weíll find Phoebe."

"Oh! This is going to be so pleasant! So pleasant I could just puke!"

Buffy, Willow, and Phoebe each stood at a tomb, shining their
flashlights between the bars of the iron gates, seeking any sign of a
recent addition. Suddenly Buffy turned to the others.

"Uh-oh! Spider senses!"

Phoebe asked, "What does that mean?"

Willow explained, "Thatís her power to sense that vampires are getting
close. She calls it that after Spiderman."

Phoebe took off her backpack and prepared the jars of potion for
action. "Thatís a cool power. I wish I had something like that. Usually
I donít know if a warlock or demon is near until itís too late. Then
Iím scrambling for a last-minute defense."

Willow helped unpack the jars and line them up. "How horrible! Donít
you get visions to warn you about them?"

"Not always. It has a very peculiar way of working."

"Do you have any other powers?"

"Just the power of casting spells."

"Know of any for vampires?"

"I brought one with me."

"Really? When are you going to use it?"

"As soon as my sisters get here. It takes the three of us to use it."

"How about you and I trying it?

"Iím afraid weíre not the same kind of witches."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, ... for one thing, ... do you have your own copy of The Book of
Shadows?"

"Uh ... No."

"Do you have a whitelighter?"

"Whatís that?"

"Never mind. That answers my question. How long have you been a witch?"

"About ... two years."

"My sisters and I were born witches, from a long line of witches; just
like Buffy was born a slayer, from a long line of slayers."

Buffy turned to her in surprize. "You know about slayers?"

"I read up on you in The Book of Shadows."

"Iíd like to see that book!"

"So would I!" Willow dittoed.

"Heads up! Dusting time!"

They looked around to see themselves inside a circle of vampires. Buffy
quickly mapped out the battle plan. "Iíll take the west. Willow, you
cover north and east. Phoebe, -- south and east."

They took their positions and prepared for the fight of their lives.
Suddenly a car came roaring up the road. Some of the vampires had to
jump out of the way and it entered the circle. Piper jumped out of the
passengerís side and threw out her hands, freezing time among one row
of them. Prue jumped out of the other side and, with a sweeping gesture
of her arm, sent another row flying through the air and crashing to the
ground. Buffy and Willow were astounded by this display of power. Prue
and Piper ran to Phoebe and threw their arms around her.

Prue asked, "Are you all right?"

Phoebe said, "Yes. Youíre just in time."

"Whatís going on?"

"Vampires are taking over San Francisco unless we stop them."

"What are you using against them?"

"Aside from my two new friends, a potion and a spell. The spell needs
the Power of Three."

"Quick! Where is it?"

The vampires had reformed their circle and resumed their advance.
Phoebe quickly whipped out the written spell, focused her flashlight on
it, and the three sisters began chanting loudly.

             "Evil eyes, look unto me!

           May they soon extinguished be!

        Bend thy will to the Power of Three;

        Eye of Earth -- an evil and a curse!"

They repeated the spell until the legion of the undead turned, feebly
attempting to flee, and collapsed. Buffy ran around among them,
searching for the originals.

Prue commented, "This sound familiar."

Phoebe explained, "We used it to vanquish Javna. Remember? He was
disguised as Stefan, the fashion photographer. He was a vampire of a
sort."

"Oh yes! I remember that one."

Piper then noted, "What are you wearing? Is that my silver?"

"And Prueís silver and my silver. I needed them for armor." She
sheepishly held up one of Piperís bracelets, twisted and mangled. Piper
looked at it, wide-eyed and fuming. Phoebe tried some kind of defense.
"It was sacrificed in our war against Evil!... Just write it off as one
of our demon-vanquishing expenses!... Iíll ... get you a new one."

"You better get me a new one!"

Buffy came back and informed, "The leaders arenít among them."

Piper asked, "So what does that mean?"

"We keep looking."

"Looking where?"

"All over this cemetery."

Prue told Phoebe, "Weíre not leaving you here without a better plan
than that."

At the Halliwell Manor, the five women sat around the kitchen table.
Piper served tea. Willow leafed through The Book of Shadows, in awe of
the secrets of power before her. Buffy was giving a synopsis of her
mission.

"So the Order of Aurelius, the vampire clan of Sunnydale, sent three of
them to restart the order here. There use to be one here, the Order of
Domiducus, but the slayers did such a good job long time ago, that
there havenít been any vampires in San Francisco for several decades.
Since the slayers moved on, the Order of Aurelius decided to secretly
start it all over again. Fortunately, I got a tip."

"From Giles?" Willow guessed.

"Spike."

"What?! Since when is Spike giving you tips?"

Phoebe asked, "Whoís Spike?"

Buffy carefully paraphrased, "Someone whoís not usually in the habit of
giving helpful information ... unless itís to his advantage."

"I know the type."

Willow pondered, "What can be the advantage in this case?"

Buffy said, "I donít know. Heís been very attentive to me lately. Iím
watching him carefully; more carefully then before."

Then Phoebe took out her notes and asked Buffy to clear up some of the
contradictions she found in her research. "Can vampires shape-shift;
like turn into bats or other things?"

"No."

Willow reminded, "Dracula."

"Well, yes, there are exceptions. Those of Eastern Europe and over 500
years old can. Over time, as they spread throughout the world, they
lost that ability. So those from more recent centuries and in America
canít."

"Is it true they canít enter a house unless invited by someone who
lives there?"

"That is true. And once invited in, they can return without an
invitation."

Willow added, "...Unless you cast a spell to Ďuninviteí them."

"Right. If you invite one in, not knowing heís a vampire, and he or she
leaves, you need to cast a spell to keep him or her from coming back
in. Willow can teach you that one."

They continued as Prue went to answer the telephone. Morrisí voice came
across. "Prue, weíve got a situation here."

"What kind of situation?"

"Weíve got bodies coming in, drained of blood and with two punctures on
their necks. Talk of vampires on the streets are spreading."

"I know. Weíre on it."

"Then itís true?"

"Yes, but weíre on it right now. Weíll soon have a plan together."

"It better be sooner than soon. The talk in the streets is reaching
panic proportions."

"All right, Darryl. Weíll keep you informed." She turned to the others
and announced, "Police are finding the vampiresí victims and the public
is becoming unhinged."

Buffy inquired, "Were you just talking to the police?"

"Yes. We have an inside man, who letís us know when something
supernatural is going on in town."

Willow interjected to Buffy, "Hey! We could use someone like that back
home!"

"Yeah, but who do we know inside the Sunnydale Police Department
willing to do that?"

"Well, itís just something weíll have to work on. After all, Iím sure
their inside man didnít just walk right up to them."

"Uh ... Actually, he did," Prue corrected. "He was a friend of a friend
... who became our friend."

Buffy said to Willow, "Then weíll definitely have to work on it. Weíll
discuss it with the gang when we get home." Then she thought of
something and turned to Phoebe. "Now you can see someoneís future by
touching them or something theyíve touched."

"Right."

"If you were to touch the bodies in the morgue, could you see where the
vampires who killed them will be next?"

"I canít guarantee anything but itís worth a try."

"But the more you touch the more the chances youíll see something? And
would your police friend let you in the morgue?"

"Probably and yes."

"Good! Weíve got a new plan then."

"And we need to get my potion onto those bodies to keep them from
turning into vampires."

"Good idea! I didnít think of that."

Then Willow looked up from the book. "Whatís a whitelighter?"

Phoebe answered simply, "Itís a guardian of witches; just like a
watcher is for slayers."

Buffy looked up in surprize. "You know about watchers too?"

Phoebe went to The Book of Shadows and turned to the pages concerning
slayers and watchers. Buffy and Willow looked them over.

Buffy nodded. "Yes. Thatís ... fairly concise."

Willow turned back towards the beginning of the book. "And you are ...
the Charmed Ones?"

"Thatís us," Piper acknowledged.

"How come I never read anything about you before?"

Phoebe shrugged. "You just havenít been looking into the right books."

Buffy decided, "Speaking of watchers, I really should be reporting to
mine right now. Could I use your phone? Itíll be a collect call."

"Sure. You can use the one in the hall for privacy."

In the main hallway, Buffy placed a collect call to Rupert Giles in
Sunnydale. "Bad new. They got a head start.... Yes, Iíve got a plan.
And Iíve got a lot of unexpected help.... What can you tell me about
the Charmed Ones?" As she listened to the answer, her eyes grew wider
and wider.

The three sisters stood in Inspector Morrisí office. "You want to
what?!"

Phoebe explained, "You know how I can see someoneís future by touching
what theyíve touched? Well, if I touch these bodies, I could see where
their killers will be next."

"Are you sure this will work? Have you done this before?"

"There is a chance. And the more I touch the more I increase that
chance. If we can at least find and vanquish the original three, who
started all this, the rest will be left without leaders and teachers.
Plus weíve got to get this potion onto those bodies to keep them from
turning into vampires themselves. You wouldnít want a vampire outbreak
right in your own station."

"How am I going to explain this to the coroner?" 

"Youíll think of something. You always do."

Buffy and Willow waited outside the office.

Willow was asking, "Then what did he say?"

"He said that the Charmed Ones are three of the most powerful witches
in the world."

"My God! For real?"

"They are the results of a 400-year-old breeding program. For
generations, witches carefully chose husbands for their genetic
contributions for a stronger breed of witches. Then, from birth, they
intensely trained their daughters in the craft."

"Wow! Good thing theyíre on our side!"

"To say the least. Imagine! Each a genetic storehouse of tremendous
power!"

"And each so lunchable!"

"And each so straight."

"Yeah. Very likely."

"You and Tara losing sparkage?"

"No! No, weíre not! Itís just ... Iím in the big city ... and looking
for some fun."

"Some fun, huh?"

Phoebe popped her head out the door. "Itís on!"

The coroner paraded Morris and the five women into the morgue. He
handed a clipboard with a list of the victims to Morris. "All the
bodies of this case are on the right. And weíve made room for more."

"All right. This might take some time, so if you have something else
you need to do, I can watch over things around here."

"Thank you, Inspector. I appreciate that."

He left the room, leaving Morris surprized. He turned to Phoebe with
raised eyebrows. "Thatís the first time that was that easy."

"First time for everything."

Morris went down the list of victims, one by one, opening the drawers
and uncovering the bodies. Phoebe touched each on the neck wound. If
she received a vision, she would dictate a description of the killer
and the surroundings to Buffy and Willow, who alternately wrote down,
creating two lists. And, whether she received a vision or not, her
sisters anointed each body with the demon-repellant potion. After
completing this with all of them, Buffy formed the next part of the
plan. "Weíll split up into two groups, each taking a list."

The carpets were red and the walls black marble. The furniture was of
exquisite polished wood. Several elegant chandeliers hung from the high
ceiling, illuminating the establishment. Portraits of prominent
citizens and historical figures adorned the walls. Buffy walked through
the high double doors, leaving Phoebe and Willow as back up. She looked
at all the men, sitting in comfortable chairs, smoking cigars and
sipping cognac and brandy. When she spotted Agrippa, she went straight
over to him. He was startled when he looked up at her approach.

"Slayer!"

"Hi, Creechy Face. Enjoying your vacation? The culture? The scenery?
The Happy Meals on legs? Especially the Happy Meals on legs."

"I must commend you, young lady. In a city of this size, you still
manage to find me."

"I have my resources."

"Would you mind waiting outside until Iíve finished, before we Ďget
down to businessí?"

"And you take a few quick bites before you come out? Not a chance."

"You wouldnít do it here, in this fine establishment, in front of all
these people."

"Why not? Itís my specialty."

He put down his glass then suddenly grabbed a tray and hurled it at
her. As she threw up an arm to block it, he swooped down, grabbed her
ankle, and pulled up, flipping her upside down. But she landed on her
hands and flipped herself over back onto her feet.

From the inside his jacket, Agrippa pulled out a dagger and braced for
battle. Buffy ran and did a flying leap, slamming both feet onto his
chest. This sent him over his chair and crashing over a table. She
leapt over the fallen chair and brought her stake down on him. He
rolled out of the way in time so she stabbed the carpet. In turn, he
thrust the dagger upward at her. She turned her head in time so that it
missed her face. He was quickly back onto his feet again and they both
moved in a circle, closing in on each other, with weapons poised for
the kill.

          Red rain, No pain,

         Falliní down over you.

          Wicked man, yes I am

         A-walkiní all over you.

Patrons were moving back against the walls or leaving the room
entirely. An attendant ran in shouting, "What are you doing? Stop this
now!"

Phoebe grabbed ahold of him. "Wait! That manís a dangerous criminal!
And sheís a ... a bounty hunter ... trying to bring him in!"

"Couldnít she have waited until he got outside?"

"Heís too dangerous to wait for! She has to stop him now before he
kills again!"

The manís indecision kept him from taking any action. Willow admired
the way Phoebe handled that.

Buffy and Agrippa moved in on each other, each wary of the otherís
defense and looking for an opening. Buffy feigned a thrust and Agrippa
reached out to grab her wrist. But she pulled her arm back and kicked
him in the belly. As he doubled over, she landed a roundhouse kick on
one side of his head. However he managed to remain standing and
suddenly barreled forward, thrusting out the dagger. She sidestepped
him and pulled his arm, which sent him crashing through more furniture.
She then attacked with upheld stake. This time, he caught her in the
midriff with both feet and sent her sailing over him. She went slamming
into a table and fell flat on the floor.

He side had hit the corner of the table, cracking a few ribs. Agony
burned into her side then shot through to every nerve ending, from the
top of her head to the soles of her feet. She got up onto the hands and
knees, gasping and holding her side. Phoebe and Willow looked on in
horror as Agrippa triumphantly strode towards the fallen slayer.

          Hunger -- Inside you!

         Hunger -- Destroys you!

Phoebe put down her backpack and ran across the room. She jumped and
bounced off of a chair like a trampoline, sending her feet flying
towards Agrippa. But her caught her by a foot and hurled her back,
plowing her through more furniture. Phoebe lie dazed, battered, and
with the wind knocked out of her. She held her sides, gasping for
breath. Willow ran to her aid.

    Sheís a thriller! Sheís a killer!

           Spook show baby!

    Sheís a thriller! Sheís a chiller!

           Spook show baby!

Buffy quickly crawled under the nearby table, then rose up, lifting it
over her head, and threw it at Agrippa. This sent him tumbling to the
floor. However, it also re-intensified the pain. As she doubled over,
panting, he got back to his feet, confidently chuckling.

"You are wearing out, Slayer."

"Iíve had worse."

As Willow helped Phoebe to her feet, she saw him moving in on Buffy,
dagger raised. "Buffy! Look out!"

Buffy suddenly fell forward, landed on her hand, somersaulted a body
slam into him, and flipped over onto her feet again. As he staggered
backwards, he hardly had time to react as she brought the stake home.
The vampire exploded into a cloud of dust.

Phoebe and Willow rush to Buffyís sides, as she was once again doubled
over with pain.

"Come on, Buffy, " said Willow. "Weíll get you to a hospital."

"No! No time! Weíve got to get the others!"

"Youíre in no condition to fight anymore!"

"I will be! Letís just keep going!"

As they were leaving, Phoebe told the attendant, "When you call the
police, ask to speak with Inspector Morris. You can tell him everything
without being called crazy."

Prue and Piper entered a dimly lit, smoked filled bar. They looked
around until Prue drew Piperís attention to a woman in red, standing
with a few men at the bar. 

Piper asked, "How can we be sure? We donít want to stake an innocent."

"Thereís one positive test." She pulled out a pocket mirror, turned her
back, and looked into it. She handed it to Piper. "Take a look."

She also turned around and looked into the mirror. She kept looking
back and forth, noting the reflections of the other around her but none
of the woman in red. "Ew! Creepy!"

"All right. Freeze the whole room."

Piper threw out her hands and time stopped in the entire establishment.
Prue pulled out a stake and, by her powers, sent it flying into the
vampireís heart. Piper grimaced. They went back to the door to leave.
Piper turned, wiggled her fingers, and restarted time. The woman
exploded into a cloud of dust. The other patrons looked around,
wondering what had happened, but soon shrugged it off and went back to
what they were doing.

Both teams worked down the list, eradicating each menace Phoebe had
envisioned. By midnight, they were back in Morrisí office. "So, are
they all gone?"

"Not all," Buffy explained. "But most of them, including the leaders.
The rest will be too busy, for some time, fighting among themselves for
leadership. But once theyíre established and on the move again, Iím
sure these three can handle it. I can go home assured that this problem
is left in capable hands."

As they left the police station for their cars, Willow asked Buffy,
"Now will you go to the hospital?"

"Donít have to. My slayer powers kicked in and Iím healing well
enough."

Phoebe remarked, "What a cool power! I wish we had that. But then that
might put our whitelighter out of a job."

Piper mentioned, "The club is still open for two more hours. Youíre
welcome to come as our guests." 

"The club?" Buffy asked.

Phoebe explained, "The three of us own a nightclub called the P3, which
stands for ĎPartners Threeí, but Piper is the one who runs it. Come on
over. Weíll treat you to drinks and you can dance to a live band."

"Great. I could use a drink."

Willow added, "And Iím ready to boogie the night away."

The following afternoon, Prue was making a cup of tea in the kitchen,
when Piper came in from the livingroom.

"Weíre watching the local news. So far, nothing about vampires."

"Itís going to be awhile before we hear about them again."

"Itís not enough we have to fight warlocks and demons, we also have to
watch out for vampires."

"With Phoebeís potion and the spell, it should be hard."

"I noticed something peculiar last night. There were plenty of cute
guys at the club, but Willow spent most of the time dancing with
Phoebe. You donít think sheís ... you know?"

"Hard to tell. Could be just shy around men."

"Yeah. I know the type."

"She could be avoiding relationships, like you were before you met
Leo."

"Yes, but I didnít go around dancing with women."

Suddenly they heard Phoebe crying out in alarm. "Prue! Prue! Come here!
Come quick!"

They ran to the livingroom where they found her pointing to the
television set with a horrified look. On the screen they saw a bare
room with broken windows and bullet holes all over the walls. On the
floor lie a bleeding figure in khakis, a vest, and an Australian hat.
At the angle of view, the hat obscured the face. The news anchor was
narrating, "...Casualties were high on both sides, as with this young
mercenary. Fighting continues in this tiny African nation...."

Prue switched it off and held Phoebe, who was on the verge of tears.
"Phoebe! You canít tell that itís him for certain! His face was
blocked! Anyone can were an outfit like that!"

"But I saw that exactly in my premonition, before he left!"

There was a knock at the door and Piper went to answer it.

Prue went on. "Besides, they said Ďcasualtyí. That doesnít necessarily
mean dead. He could just be wounded. Iím sure thereís someone we could
call and find out."

Piper came running back in. "Phoebe! Derek is here!"

Phoebe ran to the front door, threw herself into his waiting arms, and
burst into tears.

"Hey, Babe! What happened?"

"Oh Derek! I was so scared! I thought you were dead!"

"Me dead? Why?"

"I just saw you on TV all shot up!"

"Phoebe! Iím here and Iím not Ďall shot upí!"

"This guy was dressed exactly like you!"

"I donít own the monopoly on this ensemble. In fact, I copied this from
many men Iíve seen in the Middle East, India, and South America."

"But I had a premonition of it -- exactly!"

"Maybe you had a premonition of seeing it on TV and thinking it was
me."

"It doesnít work like that!"

"Phoebe! Iím here! Iím all right! All right?"

"Iím checking your body for bullet wounds." 

"Youíre free to check my body any time for anything."

They stood in each otherís arms awhile, Derek tenderly soothing her.
She kept wondering why she had that vision is it wasnít Derek. The old
question came back. What is he?

*******************************************

End

[ Next episode: The Champion of Lovers ]