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Abadoned in the Storm

Title: Abandoned in the Storm
Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Charmed
Character/Pairing: Phoebe, Prue, implied Phoebe/Prue
Rating: PG-13/T
Challenge/Prompt: fan_flashworks 191: Abandon
Warning(s): Very mild hints of Phoebe/Prue
Word Count: 2,095
Date Written: 13 May 2017
Summary:
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Spelling Entertainment, not the author, and are used without permission.





It's the middle of the night. She should be sound asleep or out partying, but instead she's found herself home alone again in an apartment that's far too big for one. Phoebe rocks quietly in the room that seems so huge, her arms wrapped around her knees. She won't pull out her box tonight. She won't look in the album on all the smiling faces of the people she once thought loved her.

She did believe they loved her once, but that time seems now like so long ago. If they loved her, they would call. Piper is the only one who calls her, and Phoebe knows her sister does it not out of devotion born by love but rather dedication. Piper's always been loyal to a fault, and no matter how many times she hurt her, stole her boyfriends, or made fun of her, Piper always forgave her. She always forgave her, always tried to make peace between her and Prue and her and Grams, and always cared about her.

But she didn't care about her out of love. She cared about her, because she knew she was supposed to care. They are sisters, after all, and whereas that doesn't mean anything to Prue, family has always been important to Piper. Phoebe wonders how her sister came to be the way she is, so different from Prue and herself, so much more caring, so much more giving, so devoted to being a good sister, a good family member, a good person. Phoebe shakes her head as she mulls the concept over. Yeah, Piper's definitely a far better sister and person than she and Prue will ever be.

Even now, Piper makes excuses. She doesn't call her often, but she calls her just enough to make Phoebe think she genuinely cares about her -- if Phebs didn't already know better. She almost told Piper that once. One night, when Piper's phone call caught her as she was just coming into her apartment after having had too much to drink, she almost told her she didn't have to call her, that she shouldn't take time out of her busy schedule to talk to some one about whom Phoebe knows she doesn't really care. She shouldn't take time out of her busy schedule to talk to her.

She did say it one time but didn't tell her then to outright stop calling her. Piper laughed it off, telling her of course she cared and calling her Phebs as though everything was normal. Everything hasn't been normal in years. Phoebe wonders sometimes, like tonight, if her life was ever truly normal, having never really known her mother or father, the first because of her premature death and the other because he left them. Prue always said their father didn't really care, and maybe he didn't. Maybe he didn't care about them, because she wasn't worth caring about.

Phoebe's bottom lip trembles. She grabs her phone but hesitates. Piper tells her every time she calls to call her any time, but it's the middle of the night. Piper, Prue, and even Grams are all sound asleep, and her sisters have important jobs to go to in the morning. They won't be happy to be awakened at this time of the night. Prue and Grams won't be happy to hear from her regardless. Piper makes excuses for the reasons why they don't call her every time they talk, but Phoebe knows they're just that: excuses. They don't want to hear from her. They don't care about her! Only Piper does, and that's out of her fierce sense of dedication and loyalty, not out of any genuine love for her.

Phoebe rocks back and forth as thunder bellows all around her apartment, shaking the thin walls and making her cringe inwardly. Maybe she should have gone out earlier before it started raining. She could still go out. She does have an umbrella. It's not like she couldn't reach the club without getting soaked, or that the club ever closes. This is New York, after all; there's always something to do here, no matter what time of day or night it is.

But again, Phoebe's mind goes back to her family. Again, her thoughts return to the sisters she wishes missed her but are better off without her. Again, she thinks of Prue and of being held by both her and Piper at various times of her life during storms such as the one currently belting her walls. Piper was always comforting, but Prue was stronger. Being held by Prue used to make Phoebe think nothing could touch her, but how wrong she had been! Prue didn't keep her safe; she made her long for something that couldn't be instead.

Phoebe had once thought that she wanted to be like Prue. That was what had started her copying her older sister, dressing like her, talking like her, even stealing her boyfriends which, surprisingly, wasn't all that had to do. Most guys would follow a good set of teats anywhere, and she and Prue had both certainly been blessed in that department. But there was more to her desires even then than that. It had just taken her a while to figure it out. She wanted to be loved by Prue, to genuinely be loved by her, but Prue had a wall around her that seemed impenetrable even to Piper. She hadn't let herself genuinely love any one, Phoebe suspected, since their mother.

A fresh roar of thunder makes Phoebe jump. The whistling winds sound like fists knocking on her walls. Phoebe's dialing before she even realizes what she's doing. She braces herself as she listens to the phone begin to ring. Piper said repeatedly to call her at any time. Even if she's upset about being awakened, she won't take it out of Phoebe. She won't even mention it; she just do her dutiful thing as her sister and listen to Phoebe ramble. And she will actually listen, Phoebe knows as she waits for Piper to pick up.

"Hello?"

Phoebe's heart goes still in her chest. Her breathing stops. Her brown eyes widen in unexpected surprise.

"Hello?"

Her sister's name sticks in her throat as her mouth opens. Her breathing returns heavy, but she still can't so much as squeak Prue's name out of her mouth.

"Who is this?" her sister demands, and Phoebe knows she's getting angry.

Lightning flashes deadly, jagged fingers into the room with her. Phoebe jumps again and almost squeals. With one hand, she covers her mouth just in time; the other slams her phone down. That was close, she thinks, panting hard as she heartbeat hammers against her chest, now louder than the rain drilling on her roof, too close.

She stares at the phone, almost as though she can will it to ring, as though she can will Prue to care enough about her to realize that that voiceless person waking her up in the middle of the night was her little sister and call her about, but of course, the phone doesn't ring. Of course, Prue doesn't call. She never calls. She never calls, because she doesn't care, and Piper only calls not because she does care but because she cares so much about doing the right thing, even when she doesn't feel the way she should -- or the way the world thinks she should. Everybody always says that sisters care about one another, that they have such a special bond, that their love for each other is stronger than any attraction to any one or thing else, but Phoebe knows better.

Her bottom lip trembles. Her jaw quivers. Tears sting her brown eyes. But she knows better, she tells herself again and again. She knows better. Her sisters don't love her. Even Grams has given up on her. They don't want her. They're glad she's all the way across the country from them now, and they'd be even happier if she was further. They don't care about her. They don't love her. They never have.

Tears spill down her face. Only her hand still covering her mouth keeps her sobbing out loud. She jumps up from the couch, all but runs to her door, and grabs her hoodie and her umbrella. She's not dressed for the club tonight, but she doesn't care. It's still storming outside, but a little wind, lightning, thunder, and rain will be worth her while to get from here to there, to get somewhere where she actually feels wanted even if it, too, is a lie. In a few minutes, she won't care that her sisters no longer want her, because she'll be surrounded by people who do want her for her body if nothing else.

Phoebe's mouth still trembles. Tears still speed down her face. The storm still rages outside. But her hand's grip on her umbrella is tight and firm. She no longer hesitates to slip outside and face the storm. After all, in a few minutes, she'll be with people who want her. She won't be abandoned any longer. She won't be a discarded person unwanted by her family, even her own sisters. She'll just be another face in the crowd, another chick with great boobs, another mistake drowning her cares away in partying and drinking . . . But she won't feel this pain any longer, and that makes it, including all the mistakes she'll make before daylight, worthwhile.

Across the nation, Prue stares at the phone in her hand. "Phoebe?" she whispers wonderingly. She hesitates just a few minutes before punching the numbers to her sister's apartment, the numbers she knows by heart though she never calls them, but when the phone rings, no one answers. Prue lets it ring and ring and ring, but no answer comes. Finally, she lets go, knowing Phoebe's out partying all night long again, knowing her little sister need her, and lays back down to return to sleep. Her cheeks aren't wet with tears, and her restless dreams that night are not filled with Phoebe -- or, at least, that's what she tells herself in the light of the next day with a steaming cup of coffee pressed into her hands by the sister who does care.

"Do you ever think about Phoebe?" she asks quietly, looking up at Piper through red and swollen eyes.

Piper gazes steadily back into Prue's hurting eyes. "Of course I do," she answers. "I call her every week. You should call her, talk to her."

Prue's eyes trail to the phone on the wall. "No," she almost whispers. "I'm sure she's way too busy partying to want to talk to her dull, big sister."

"I'm sure she's not," Piper retorts. "Why don't you call her?"

"Maybe. Maybe sometime when I'm not busy," Prue returns, moving her eyes from the phone to the kitchen clock. "Like now," she says, pushing herself up to her feet. "If I don't leave right now, I'll be late."

"Prue -- "

"Later. I'll see you this afternoon."

She nearly runs from the kitchen, but she's still not fast enough to keep from hearing Piper call after her, "Call her!" By the time she gets off work this afternoon, she'll have forgotten about last night's strange call, and she won't call her sister. She never does. She sees no point in bothering somebody who clearly doesn't want her in her life, and besides, the phone works both ways. Phoebe could call her.

But when Phoebe awakes that afternoon, her head is pounding, the light is blinding, and there's a strange but cute guy in her bed whose name she doesn't even remember. She doesn't think of Prue. Right now, she feels wanted. She feels desired, if not needed, and that is good enough for her. She's lucky to be wanted by some one so hot. She doesn't need her sisters to love her when they don't, and she certainly doesn't need them to need her. This guy, whatever his name is, is enough for now. Tomorrow, there'll be a new guy in her bed, and a new one the day after, and a new one after that, and a new one after that . . . until she doesn't remember needing her sisters at all. Or, at least, that's what Phoebe tells herself every time Piper calls, every time she thinks of the family who doesn't want her, every time Prue's beautiful image skips across her mind. They don't want her, but she has people who do, and that is all she needs.

The End

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