The Life and Times

Part 1: Magic in the air

Chapter 1


"To expostulate why day is day, night night, and time is time, 
were nothing but to waste night, day, and time"
Hamlet, Act ii, Sc.2

"We are such stuff
As dreams are made on and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep..."
--From The Tempest (IV, i, 156-157).

It was a moonlight night late in February. Near the Greek town of Delphi, despite the temperature being below freezing, the ex-demon Guardian, Arturo sat on the balcony of his house nestled in the cypress glades that towered high above the Corinthian Gulf. As he sipped expensive brandy in the moonlight he was able to see snow falling on the cypress trees on the higher reaches of the surrounding hills and watch the lights of the small villages nestled in the hills above the gulf and even across the gulf on the opposite Peloponnesian side. He could also see the ships moving through toward the canal that gave them access to the Aegean Sea.


From where he sat looking over the gulf Arturo could see not only the ships but a few lights in the old ruins of Delphi itself. Arturo had settled in this place in the magic nexus of Delphi, more than 600 years ago after the passing of the demon Guardian Evald, who had until that time been the guardian called to offer the choice of an eternity of penance  the demons who tried to cross to the side of good and honour the choices of those who would not accept.  Evald had also been the guardian who held to account ,the great powers, the leaders and rulers  of Good  and Evil, and defended the great Plan. Arturo had found steeping into Evad's role difficult and painful. He had valued, relied on Evald as a mentor and friend and his passing had only reinforced Arturo's fear of eternity alone. Tired and weary of the long road he walked he had needed a place to hide.


Before he had come to Delphi, Arturo had been struggling with his calling. It was not that he had been in danger of giving into temptation or evil. He had then been a guardian for nearly 500 years but in that time never had he felt the weight of his burdens, and the guilt of his former life so strongly. He had been lost in a sense of futility, and failure and doubt and was overcome by a strong sense of loss of his witch wife, Jeanne Marie. Francesca, the guardian's whitelighter, had tried to talk to him, guide him, but Francesca had been to familiar a presence, her wisdom was not what he wanted to know, truthful though it was.


Arturo had not wanted to hear of the value and responsibility of his calling. He knew it and it was knowing this that was responsible for his pain. At that time the core of his magic soul, which as a demon had craved power had craved peace. And for many years the craving went unsatisfied. The magic nexus of Delphi the home of ancient oracles, of magic and premonitions for thousands years, and the protected time fold Arturo found, near it and where Arturo had built his house, had in many ways healed him.


Delphi with its magic core, and its history and its promise had soothed his soul and helped him find the strength to continue with his destiny when nothing else was left to encourage it. So for six hundred years Arturo had watched the lights of the ships and the unchanging landscape and ruins of the once great centre of the realm. And found something very nearly like peace.


Arturo looked at the stars and turned to the seemingly empty space beside "It never fails does it?" he asked "when my peace deserts me I watch the ships and the sky and you come to me." He raised his glass. And said as he had said so many times "Je t'aime, Marie Jeanne. I love you."


He had barely said the words when he heard the sound of orbs and the whitelighter Francesca materialised beside him. "Tell Marie Jeanne, I love her too " Francesca said dryly. She and Arturo had walked a very long path together, for over a thousand years and  it was because of her friendship  and love for Arturo's wife, Marie Jeanne, Francesca Rinaldi had chosen her calling as whitelighter and advisor to the five demon Guardians of the earth realms.


"She knows that my dear" Arturo commented unperturbed. "I feel nothing untoward in the spirit winds, merely Africa and its problems and some hyperactive warlock activity. Nothing of concern. To what do I owe the pleasure?"


Francesca smiled, her face, twisted and marked from injury and disease. The face she showed as a whitelighter was the one she had worn in her long and difficult mortal life as peasant in Charlemagne's Italy. She seated herself beside him. Arturo stood up and went inside returning with another brandy. As he handed it to her, she said, "I came to remind you that the time of the eclipse of the realms is nearly on us."


"Really, the eclipse already" said Arturo straight faced "Have five hundred and four years passed so quickly."


Francesca's crooked face took on a severe expression "That Arturo " she told him "is unworthy."


"Belthezor seems to find some peace behaving like a brat. I thought I would try " Arturo said with a smile.


Francesca narrowed her eyes and frowned. Arturo smiled. It was rare that she gave him the schoolmarm stare.


"Do you know Francesca, I believe you are almost excited by the prospect of the eclipse" Arturo commented.


She smiled a little embarrassed. "There is always something, something I can learn and feel." Doesn't it excite you?" she asked.


"No, my dear it does not " Arturo shook his head "Its not that I do not know there is more to feel and see. I believe I have tired of wanting to."


Francesca nodded "I do understand" she said. "After last time."


"Yes" said Arturo because during the last eclipse Francesca and he had exchanged lives and thoughts and they knew to much about each other and what their callings had cost them.


"What are you going to do this time, then?" Francesca asked.


"What am I going to do?" Arturo answered "I am going to stay securely hidden in my time fold away from all other magic and hope the eclipse passes me by. I have no desire to share my past or any-one else's." said Arturo.


"That would appear unlikely Arturo " Francesca said, "It needs to be a creature of similar power or emotion. Is there one of either?"


"I hope for its sakes no" Arturo replied.


"What of the future?" she asked. "It is always possible you will only see the future" Francesca said "meet yourself." Arturo eyed her with a closed expression. "Arturo there is nothing to fear" Francesca  told him gently.


"My dear, I have no desire to know my future or meet myself there." Arturo said.


"Nothing that you learned last time was anything to fear" Francesca persisted "and some was of great comfort."


"It is knowing I have a future that I fear " Arturo replied softly. "And you" he said as she nodded with some sympathy "You have no fear of meeting yourself in the future, of knowing something of your future."


Francesca laughed "After the last time, she said "So little in the future is already written, I find a certain amusement in the prospect because the visions granted were always so out of context with how it all eventually occurred, that even knowing what would happen left me surprised."


"True my dear " replied Arturo "And you have no fear of some-one sharing your past, finding your deepest and most emotional moments, your darkest secrets?"


"Arturo" she said with her golden laugh "I have no dark secrets.  My life is an open book. What is Proctor or Therold going to find out, that I don't like demon guardians. What will they discover in my past. That I once nearly fell to evil because of my hatred of demons and I learned the hard way not to hate. This I have never hidden. My life is an open book."


Arturo smiled "What about demons you do not hate? What about the ones you love? Would you like them to know? Are you sure want to risk Belthezor knowing how much you care about him, love him?" Arturo who had been a demon asked almost slyly.


Francesca sucked her lips together, unperturbed, "Of course I love him dearly" she said with laugh "But I have no desire or interest other than I care for him. Seriously she said, "I am no rival to Phoebe for his affection in any way" and then she smiled almost shyly "When I stopped hating," she explained "I learned to love unconditionally and not put a price on affection or demand it is returned." She looked at Arturo intently "This is perhaps the greatest wisdom I have learned. Those who are loved are not responsible for that love." Then she shook her head "I do not believe the great love that you and Cole have, that Marie Jeanne and Phoebe won, is my destiny or even desire. Especially after all the time I have lived" she said.


"I seem to recall a certain Giovanni Rinaldi" Arturo smiled "I even recall a whitelighter who was willing to walk away from callings and the greater realm of magic for an innkeeper in Firenze some 600 years ago."


"Giovanni" Francesca said he eyes softening "I loved him and not a day goes by without me thinking of the gift he gave me, but " she sighed " it was a, I loved him and he loved me, but it was … oh respect and caring and companionship." she sighed. "We were not children when we married."


Arturo's smiled cryptically, "So you really have no secrets in your life, Francesca."


"Well if you want to know a secret of mine there are times " Francesca said :"I envy you your love. The fact of being loved, the romance of it. It is unworthy I know " she sighed " I sometimes even envy Phoebe not her love but her romance ."


And then she stood up practical, her crooked misshapen face taking on a firm school marm expression " I know my virtues and my failings and I am not the heroine of romance. I am not " she said with a self depreciative laugh " I am not the stuff of legends and dreams and great passion" But she smiled "even I was a little girl once and we can all dream. I must be gone. Be well Arturo " she nodded and orbed.


Arturo looked wryly the spot where she orbed "As you say my dear" he said," You still have things to learn and discoveries and future. I envy you," and he turned back to with the white ships of the Corinthian Gulf. "I do envy her at times" he said to the space beside him."




In the caverns of the realm of evil, in the great Halls and chambers of the Source since time immemorial demons hastened to the bidding of the new Source, the demon who had once been the time lord Tempus. They plotted and planned for his favour and fell to the ground in terror at his glance and knelt to earn his approval. All except the Great Lore Masters because these demons alone could stand in the presence of the Source, because they guarded the wisdom and knowledge of the Source and recorded it in the Grimoire, and he could not rule without them or the dark Book.


The lore master speaking, a tall red robed priest, towered over the anointed Source, the one-time Time lord Tempus. This did not please his master who could have used magic to alter the situation but knew that to show a dissatisfaction with his stature was to admit a weakness, a failing, a lack of strength and demons worshipped strength. Tempus who had been the time lord knew that there would be time for revenge and in the meantime he had a need of this lore master. Tempus had found when he finally retrieved the Grimoire for his coronation it lacked much of the wisdom attributed to the old Source, to his consternation, and most of the living wisdom of lore masters and priests had been lost in the Great Immolation of the Seer's demise. So he needed those he had and there would be time for retribution for slights and plots.


"And when will the eclipse of realms take place?" Tempus asked the lore master.


"In five cycles "the lore master answered with a deference that Tempus in no way believed "there is no danger my lord," it added with just a hint of mockery in its voice, knowing that Tempus needed it to rule. "The only exchanges of the past happen with cre..beings of equal power and what crea..being exists of equal power to the Source of all Evil" it smirked.


"None" replied Tempus a little to hastily "and the future?"


"You will see that which is written and that which cannot alter and that alone" replied the lore master who knew that 500 or so earth years ago at the last eclipse the Old Source had seen his demise at the hands of the Charmed Ones.


"The last time I saw my destiny," said Tempus" I saw myself as the anointed Source" This was not true. What Tempus had seen was himself breaking his time mirror in frustration when he could not locate the Grimoire. The vision of him as the anointed Source had been that of the Seer.


The lore master hid a smirk. It knew this. "Then this time I am certain you will see the greatness of your reign, your eternal reign, my lord " it said bowing as it left without being dismissed, as the lower lore masters who stood with them exchanged glances. Tempus did not take his glare from its retreating back until he became aware of a minion kneeling waiting behind him.


"What?" he snarled.


"The request for information on the warlock who aspires to…" and the minion swallowed nervously "challenge, create a faction, aspires my lord, only aspires" it whimpered.


Tempus contemplated the minion's fate "Who is it?" he asked.


"We hear tell of a warlock called Willem, proclaiming itself king " whimpered the minion but still managing a demonic sneer at the word warlock, which if Tempus had not being feeling aggrieved at the lore master may have saved it. He flicked his fingers and blasted the minion to the wasteland and then turned to the lower lore masters.


"Who is Willem?" he asked "I have no recall" which was safe to admit because recalling the names of warlocks was not the province of the Source of all Evil.


One of the lore masters flicked its hand and a great dark book appeared. It flicked though the pages, not missing Tempus' impatience. Finally it read, "A warlock of the clan Friedrich, son of Enrick, brother of Fleischer, a family that craves power but lacks the means to achieve. It has not been successful in stealing power for many years, according to the Book of Deeds. It has some powers of mind, stolen 300 hundred years ago and some Power of Electric energy from a witch who had almost demonic power about 250 years ago" explained the lore master, carefully holding the Book of Deeds in front of it because it knew if Tempus could do without a lore master he could not do without the Book of Deeds.


"A warlock does not aspire to kingship with only the power of 2 long dead witches" Tempus snapped "Find out what it has and where it got them" and he shimmered away with the red flame of the Source leaving the lore masters to contemplate how the coming eclipse of the realms and the ascension of warlock called Willem to kingship could enhance their power and chances of survival.




Cole Turner entered the front door of the manor, pulling his tie loose. He called out hey, not Phoebe's name which he usually did when she was in the house. He already knew she was still at work. He tossed his briefcase onto the hall table and more carefully put his laptop down. He glanced at the chandelier and thought how little the entry to the house had changed in the five years plus he had lived in the manor on and off and that was all he had time for because he was hit by the blond haired, going darker, green eyed tornado that was in some incarnations known as Piper and Leo's daughter, Melinda.


Melinda always precocious in her development had reached the hopping skipping jumping stage and made no effort to walk calmly despite all attempts from her parents to occasionally slow her down. She hit Cole full force babbling madly. Melinda spoke like she did everything else, at twice the rate necessary. Cole, sometimes, was the only one in the family who could grasp what she was saying when she took off which had greatly impressed  everyone else until Phoebe caught him slowing time down to understand her.


He picked her up while she babbled to him about her day and tightly clutched his jacket collar. He walked through the dining room and made it with experienced timing into the kitchen passage as his son Whosit Patrick who had just started to walk was making his way to the doorway. Cole put Melinda down with a quick cuddle and scooped Whosit Patrick up while Melinda made sure she was not lost by holding onto his jacket. Cole held Whosit above his head while Whosit muttered dada and enjoyed the aeroplane.


"Good catch" Piper said as Cole walked into the kitchen with both children. She was sitting on a kitchen chair breast-feeding 4 month old Wyatt. She looked a little thin and tired as she held the baby.


"Its all in the timing " Cole answered sitting down "Leo home? " he asked managing the neat trick of playing bounce baby with Whosit and horse rides with Melinda. Piper smiled wryly "Its all in the timing " he said.


"Leo is 'up there' visiting the Elder's " Piper said "It seems they need his advice " she added facetiously. "On warlock conspiracy and the unusually acute activity lately."


"Hmm" Cole snorted.


"Hmm " said Melinda.


"Blah" said Whosit Patrick.


"Exactly" said Piper. "Phoebe's not home" she added.


"Got called into an emergency meeting" Cole said. "Go I can manage" he said.


"Unca Cole, watcha bring me?" demanded Melinda.


"Just wait  a minute " Cole told her.


Melinda stamped her foot and her going green eyes flashed.


"Whatcha got me " she demanded.


"Guess?" he said grinning.


She put her hands in his pockets and finally in the pocket on the left side of his jacket she found her favourite chocolate.


"Cole don't encourage her to be wilful," Piper ordered him. Melinda was showing every indication of passionate nature that reminded Piper of her sister Prue.


"Half of that is for Whosit " Cole told her firmly "I mean it Melinda" he added as she eyed him balefully then carefully broke it into 2/3 and 1/3 and smiled smugly as Cole put Whosit Patrick down. She sat beside Patsy on the floor and all good girl gave the smaller part of the chocolate to him before eating hers.


"Cole" said Piper.


"Chocolate is good for them " he said "Ask Phoebe."Piper turned her nose up "You get any sleep?" he asked seriously.


"Yeah all afternoon" Piper said. "Leo has been home most of the day." She finished feeding Wyatt and held him over her shoulder. "You know its damned inconvenient of Reggie to go and get married and want a honeymoon too."


"I'd say it was damned amazing of Reggie to get married " Cole said of the absent manager of P3 "and knock the bride up too."


"Cole do you know how many laws you just broke, making fun of an employee's sexuality" Piper muttered.


"I'm a lawyer of course I know," he said.


Piper felt Wyatt "He'll need changing soon" she said putting him in his pram.


"I can manage " Cole said and stood up "you go get ready. I'll change and take care of him."


With Reggie away on a three week honeymoon some-one had to be at the P3 club every night, which meant complicated babysitting arrangements. Piper said it was her club and with all the problems they had had with P3 over the last months insisted it was her responsibility. Which left her family doing everything they could to make her think she was managing but keep her resting.


Piper had had a difficult pregnancy with Wyatt. Realising all the problems Melinda had cause her with super powers she had strongly resisted Wyatt's efforts to control her magic and endow her with a sense of reckless invincibility. While she had not fallen under the trap of evil convincing her of her own importance and power the effort had drained her. She took a long time recovering from the birth, and sometimes the effort of being a witch, a Charmed One and a mother, left her looking pale and thin and fragile.


Leo worried and fussed her and annoyed the hell out of her during the pregnancy and had to fight himself not to fuss after the birth. Paige and Phoebe had had a long hard talk with him, explaining upsetting Piper and fussing her was not helping her, so reluctantly he had joined the family conspiracy to convince her she was managing and still make her rest.


He took over most of the secondary management of P3, as well as being whitelighter to the the Guardian Durand because Francesca Rinaldi had after nearly 700 years decided she could no longer deal with Durand's crudity, bluntness and insensitivity to the feelings of those around him. Leo also managed, just, to find time to study philosophy follow his calling to understand the lore of the realm . Fortunately most of the staff at P3 and Reggie cared enough about Piper to play the game and deal with Leo for most smaller problems but not tell Piper, even if they could not protect her from the big ones, such as Reggie getting his girlfriend pregnant and wanting a honeymoon when they got married.


Piper insisted on managing P3 in Reggie's absence so most nights Cole and Phoebe or Paige stayed home with children and Leo went with her to the club. Or Cole and Phoebe looked after the club, while Paige baby sat and Leo did his best to get Piper to rest. To the whole family's great relief they only had to survive to this weekend and Reggie would be back on duty when P3 opened again on Tuesday.


Cole followed Piper upstairs carrying Whosit and chased by Melinda who hated him being out of her sight. Cole put Whosit down on the floor. He pulled on very old jeans and sweater and scooped Whosit up wiping chocolate off his face.


With Melinda still skipping ahead using up energy that Cole hoped would send her to sleep when she got to bed, he carried Whosit back downstairs and put him in the play pen, surrounded by his favourite toys, all things he could happily pull apart or put in his mouth without to much danger. Wyatt needed a change and Cole had only just finished when Leo orbed back.


"Dad " said Melinda jumping up " what ya got me?" she asked coyly as Leo smiled in delight.


"They both just had chocolate." Cole said.


Leo put his hand out and threw orbs in the air. This amused Melinda for quite some time as she chased them around the kitchen while they hovered just above her head. Leo bent and picked up Whosit Patrick then held him in the air.


Whosit said wah.


Leo sometimes wondered if the kids had the slightest understanding of who their parents were..or cared.


"Piper's upstairs getting ready to go to P3. Paige and Phoebe aren't home," Cole said handing Wyatt over to Leo.


"We won't be home until 3" Leo said "Can you make sure Wyatt gets a night feed if he wakes. Piper is going to need to get some sleep?"


"Sure" Cole replied.


"It would have been all right I those damned warlocks had not turned up the other night " Leo said. "You know she just got to sleep and bang."


"I can make sure that won't happen tonight." Cole said. "Put a magic zapper on the place. Don't orb."


"Isn't that…" Leo said.


 "No" said Cole "it straight personal gain."


Piper and Leo arrive at P3 just before the change of shifts when the staff who stayed right though until the early morning closure were arriving. Leo went to check on the upstairs renovations because they were hoping they could lease it as a restaurant and maybe take some of the pressure of P3 to pay the mortgage.


"Get the key don't orb" Piper ordered.


"Yes dear" said Leo straight faced.


Piper settled herself down to check accounts, check booze suppliers matched delivery requests and invoices and juggle staff rosters. Leo had sorted out a confusion over who was rostered on late and early shifts while she slept that afternoon but he did not tell her.


Over the last six months P3 had been a massive headache. Piper blamed it on the fact that two months before Wyatt was born the family celebrated finally paying off the mortgage on the house and having P3 in the black. Or at least the overdraught down to realistic proportions. It seemed like they had not put the glasses down but it was really two days later that the agent called to tell Piper that the family trust which owned the old warehouse P3 occupied had received an offer for the building and would probably accept it.


Piper seriously considered winding the club up, and decided against it. She and Leo had no other means of income that would allow them the freedom to pursue magic lives, and they all relied on P3 to keep the manor from falling down in a heap around them, and repair the never ending list of trashed furniture, demonic blood acid stains and scorch marks. Leo one Sunday night calculated how many drinks they had to sell to pay for the front door every time it was smashed to the horror of the witches. It started a long and sobering tradition of calculating demon damage against drinks sales. Another, non-magical, reason for keeping the club going was that closing it meant Piper came out of the 7 years she had run the club with nothing to show, as all her investment was tied up in the club's good will. They seriously considered shifting the location, but could not find anything.


With much discussion with Phoebe about all the reasons she had originally set up the club, with Leo saying do what you want and Cole saying you'll do what you want regardless of what I say, Piper finally came to the somewhat nervous decision to buy the building. With some trepidation Phoebe asked Cole about using the money he had earned when he first came back from the wasteland after the Source was vanquished and had put in trust for her when he had finally accepted she did not want him and he was better off vanquished.


Cole looked surprised "Its yours" he said "if it makes you happy to help Piper, help Piper."


So with the trust fund and another mortgage on the manor, they scrapped up enough for a reasonable deposit and took another mortgage on the warehouse.


Piper nervously signed the mortgage on the building a few days before Wyatt was born. She shook her head after signing and told Leo " You know I sometimes used to just wish I was rich, wish I had this much money but never thought I would get it. Now I'm a success, I owe this much money."


When the implications of the debt hit, Paige who had already lived one life where she had parted with everything and the security of a home was very apprehensive about the mortgage. Even through Phoebe assured her they would be all right and that she trusted Piper to keep P3 working and Piper had done it the past, Paige had the memory of herself clearing out her bedroom in her parents home, when she sold the house after her parents death. She had the memory of  saying goodbye to her childhood home as she handed it over to strangers. She had memories the first night she had spent alone in her lonely little loft, that was a place to live and never a home.


Phoebe and Piper became somewhat exasperated at her concerns, probably because they were worried themselves. As Paige became quieter and quieter about what was happening at P3, Cole took her out to lunch and told her to stop worrying.


"I'm frightened " Paige told him. "I've lost so much. Phoebe and Piper, they lost Prue I know and Mom but they kept the house and the Charmed Ones and you and Leo " she said bitterly. "I'm scared, it won't be the same if the house went..if.."


"Paige " Cole told her "they won't lose the house and you won't lose the family. You think if we didn't all Iive....together..I know the Charmed Ones would go on, don't you."


"That's witch's business" said Paige "Its not a home and family. You and Phoebe have a family and so do Piper and Leo, even if you don't live together. I don't. So even if the Charmed Ones stay together, I won't live with a family."


"It isn't being a Charmed One that make you a sister, Phoebe and Piper's sister and mine and Leo's. It's being a sister that make you a sister. You wouldn't stop being a sister if the family lost the manor. And " Cole told her " you're not going to lose the Manor because I'm not going to let it happen. Regardless of all possible disasters, financial crisis, changing fashions in the nightclub industry, San Francisco earthquakes, rat demon attacks, demon Brotherhood schemes and lousy bank managers."


"That sort of personal gain really worries " she said nervously. "Especially when you are doing it for.. me."


"It isn't all personal gain and I'm not saying that just for you " Cole told her firmly. "It's personal protection. I need to hide from the.. um virtuous wrath of Good and a magic nexus is the best place I know."


"There are other magic nexus " Paige said. "And the upkeep costs are a hell of a lot less."


"I've got used to this one " Cole answered. "Paige stop worrying."


"Kay " she said "You can be …kind " she half whispered. She swallowed "You going to tell Piper not to worry."


"Since when does Piper listen to anything I say," Cole asked dryly.


The next crisis of P3 had happened about 3 weeks after the mortgage was signed and a week after Wyatt was born. On the day she was due to leave hospital, while she waited for Leo to come Piper had been lying on her bed reading a promotion magazine for San Francisco. In the magazine she discovered a review that described P3 as rapidly becoming a San Francisco institution which she interpreted as it being two steps away from so totally out of date that no—one would come.


To the whole families concern, Piper not well from Wyatt's birth was plunged into discussion, arguments and more crisis meetings with Reggie and gate crashed by Leo. Phoebe was worried that Wyatt's bonding period with his mother was in a night club and business meetings.


"That kid is going to have serious problems," she told Leo.


"What and Patsy's parents trotting him off around the world, having sex in the room where he sleeps at all hours and forgetting when his bedtime is won't  effect him" snapped Leo who was worried.


A week later Phoebe and Cole were doing their Friday night duty at the club, because Piper did not believe that the family should be owners in absentia ".


"You know Piper " Cole explained to Reggie. "Won't trust any-one."


"I do " said Reggie rolling his eyes. "Know Piper."


Piper didn't trust Cole and Phoebe either apparently because she made Leo orb her over to the club about 10 pm when he felt she should have been sleeping before Wyatt's two o'clock feed.


Because it was 'early', P3 was only just filling up as Piper well knew, "Look at them all " she demanded of Phoebe waving her hand around.


"So it's a little quiet on numbers" said Phoebe "it's early and they all look like they are having a good time.


"Look at them " said Piper "They're my age. Old."


"Could be worse," said Cole."


"How" said Piper falling for it because she was hormonally overcharged, tired and worried.


"They could all be Leo's age, or mine. Ouch " he said as Phoebe hit him.


"Ha " said Piper " the young twenties are the ones who club, who don't have families to worry about, or spend money on, are all at "hip" flavour of the month places."


They finally had a few choices because of good luck, Piper's flare for resurrecting old ideas and Danny Kial. Danny worked as a relief keyboarder for one of the bands that had a regular gig, he was small, long haired punkish. He finally revealed he had also graduated from the music conservatory and some-how in discussing the different music he mentioned big bands. Piper remembered a very successful 40's night they had had at P3. Danny talked her into letting him lead a regular big band night when he convinced her he could get students to do the band at minimum rates. The whole thing took off and Danny was installed at P3 as the official talent manager They had nights of 'new' bands to encourage the younger clients thanks to Danny's punk contacts and Reggie started heavily promoting P3 as the place to see them before they came became famous after the second band who played got a lucky break less than a month later. The break was nothing to do with P3 but no-one thought it was worth mentioning that. They still had the odd well known groups and sometimes during the early evening and quiet nights, Danny tied his hair back, put on a jacket and played piano, giving the place a new reputation as a piano bar which bought people in before normal club hours. P3  may not have been the 'hippest' place but it was still going and paying the mortgage and wages and booze bills and stretched occasionally to cover damages at the Manor. In fact Piper's only fear about Danny was that the opposition would realise how much of P3's survival was due to him and her only complaint about him was that Danny introduced Reggie to his sister.


Leo came back fussing Piper about running around trying to do to much.


"I'm fine Leo" she said "I had a baby I'm not an invalid."


"I worry this us all to much for you ," Leo said.


"I don't want to lose it Leo." she said "Did you hear what the guys here called me?"


"They called you Piper " Leo said. "Nothing else."


"Yeah" she said "Piper, not somebody's mother, sister, not the keeper of the family, not witch, I'm me here" she said "Piper a person who is.. well a person. Ahead of all these other things. This just gives me a small chance to keep in touch with Piper.


"Some of us are very proud to call you those other things "Leo said a little hurt. And was stopped from saying more when Danny came in to show the flyer he was putting out for next months bands and theme nights. "There's a band called the Fucking Bread Heads." Leo said taking it.


"They figured if the name got banned it would get them some publicity " Danny explained. "Great little band though. They just need a break."


"And being great isn't enough to get a break " Leo asked.


"Not that I'm aware" said Danny "By the way I saw Phoebe the other day on that talk show. Giving advice." he grinned.


"Oh" said Piper and Leo .


"It's a wonder Cole hasn't killed her" Danny said still grinning.


"Well if everyone who wanted to kill Phoebe tried, the jails would be full and places like P3 would be empty " said Piper.


"Well if I had a wife who made me the butt of every cautionary tale she told in public I'd kill her " Danny said.


"Cole thinks its funny," Piper said.


"He must be a saint," said Danny shaking his head.


"No" said Piper "I would never confuse Cole with a saint."