Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Phoebe, Piper, Penny, Prue
Challenge/Prompt: gameofcards: Word List
Word Count: 1,225
Date Written: 28 September 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Spelling Entertainment, not the author, and are used without permission.
She edges carefully into the kitchen. Of all the things she expected to find on her way home (Demon attacks being chief amongst them, of course), nothing prepared her for being greeted by the onslaught of scents that hit her nose the moment she got out of her car or the sight here in her family's own kitchen. Her stomach grumbles, reminding her that she only ate half of her sandwich today. Her lips twitch at the realization that that's something her big sister would have done less than two years ago and something she would have teased her for.
Phoebe's eyes immediately moisten at the thought. She can't tease Prue about that any more, not that or anything else. There are several reasons she's pushing herself to be such a career woman, and the paper isn't one of them. Her family needs the money, but worse still, she needs the distraction. She needs the escape from a life filled with Demons and heartache. Her busy schedule also provides her with the perfect excuse for her lack of a romance life, and most days, it keeps her from thinking about Cole. But nothing can stop her thinking about her sister.
She promised herself she wouldn't think about her today. She swore she'd stay so busy that she wouldn't even let her eyes fall on today's date on her calendar. She should have known it was all lies. She can give advice all day long to the heartbroken, but she can't mend her own heart. Phoebe presses a fist to her lips to keep from sobbing aloud as Piper turns around with two trays full of piping hot cookies in her hands. Phoebe doesn't miss the fact that the cookies are Prue's favorites and are shaped into little Witches' hats. "Piper -- " she starts.
"Try one," Piper chirps cheerfully as she lays one pan down on the table and looks around for an available spot for the other. Desserts of every kind cover every spot where she could have once set her tray. There are pies of apple, pecan, blackberry, blueberry, and cherry. There are sugar cookies, lemon bars, truffles, chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate macadamias, even peanut brittle. And the cakes are so numerous and so beautiful that any food magazine would be happy to have them grace their cover. One three layered cake with a caramelized frosting in particular catches Phoebe's eye and makes her mouth water.
But instead of grabbing a spoon, Phoebe tears her eyes away from the feast and looks to her sister with more tears welling. Emotions tighten her throat, suddenly making it hard to both speak and just breathe. "Piper -- "
Piper didn't intend to look at her, but the way Phoebe calls her name finally makes her face her. She takes one look at the tears in her baby sister's eyes, and what's left of her own defenses crumbles immediately. "Oh, sweetheart," she croons and half-drops, half-lays the second pan of Prue's favorite cookies on top of two big bowls, one of snickerdoodle cookies and the other of coconut drops. She opens her arms, and Phoebe, dropping her purse onto the floor, plows into them.
Piper smoothes her hair, noting that it's longer now than it was this time last year, and kisses her forehead. "I miss her, too, honey," she finally admits. Although the kitchen is full of evidence of how much she's grieving (they both know she hasn't baked like this since before they became the Charmed Ones), she hasn't said the words aloud until just now.
Phoebe sobs into her shoulder, her whole body shaking. "Why'd they have to take her?" she cries. "Why Prue? Why after all we've done for them, for the world?!"
Piper shakes her head and kisses Phoebe's forehead again and again. "I don't know," she answers honestly and just barely stops herself from saying, It should have been me. She turned into the darkness in her grief last year. One of the things she kept yelling at her family was that Leo should have saved her sister, not herself, and although she's not said the words again since, there hasn't been a day that she hasn't looked at her reflection and thought that very thing.
Prue was always their mother figure. She was always the head sister, the one who took care of everything really important and made sure they were all okay. Piper's been trying to be a good, oldest sister, but she feels like she's failing miserably. She can't be half as good as Prue was, not half as good a sister or even half as good a Witch.
"Don't," Phoebe says, shaking her head strongly and hugging her more tightly.
"Don't blame yourself. Don't try to compare yourself to her." She backs away just enough that she can hold Piper's crying face in her hands. "I know you're doing it. I do it every day, too. But that's not what she'd want us to do."
Piper nods, but before she can speak, the sisters hear the sound of twinkling lights. Piper turns glowering, red eyes onto where a figure is beginning to appear. "Leo," she starts to grind out a warning but stops when she realizes it's some one else entirely. "Grams!" This time, a sob does break free from her.
Phoebe turns toward their grandmother. "Not that we're not happy to see you," she says, wiping her own eyes, "but -- "
"But why not Prue?" Penny asks knowingly and shakes her head sadly at their twin nods. She shoots a glare toward the ceiling. "They claim you're still not ready."
"We're never going to be ready to accept that our sister is gone," Phoebe whispers, her voice suddenly feeling hoarse.
Piper nods again in agreement. "It's not right, Grams -- "
"Oh, I know it's not right, my darlings. Very little about this awful world is." She sneers again at the ceiling. "And very little of what they think is right, too." Then she looks to her girls. They haven't needed her so desperately since Prue first died a year ago today. "But will you accept a substitute of an old woman who loves you both very, very much tonight?"
Her girls look at her and sniffle. "Neither of you can substitute for the other," Piper finds the words first, "but it doesn't mean we don't love you too." She walks across the floor of the kitchen that's been in their family for over a century, wraps her arms around her grandmother, and sobs into her shoulder.
Phoebe follows suit, wraps her arms around both her sister and her grandmother, and keeps crying. Penelope hugs her girls tightly to her and glowers once more up at the ceiling. Very little of what they think is right, her own words resound in her mind just above the sounds of her granddaughter's sobs. She knows that's true, and what's more is that They can never deserve her girls or any of the other hundreds of lives that are lost in what should be Their fight against Evil, but then, she doesn't deserve her girls either. She sniffles, tears falling from her old eyes as well, and hugs her girls to her while she can, thankful for every minute she has with them, even the sad ones.