Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Phoebe, the next generations of Halliwells
Warning(s): References Character Deaths, Future Fic, AU
Word Count: 1,526
Date Written: 12 September 2017
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters within belong to Spelling Entertainment, not the author, and are used without permission.
After all these years, she can’t help but to smile as she feels the magic in the air tonight. She still remembers vividly how angry she was sometimes in her younger years at everything magical, including her own powers, but she long ago came to realize that magic has given her far more than it’s taken. She loved being a Witch at first, but it seemed to take so much from her. They’d lost Prue, Cole, Andy, and eventually, she’d lost her other two sisters as well. Right now, however, she can’t be mad at the magic, because she’s looking at thirteen of its greatest blessings right now.
“You took the ride last year, Melinda,” Phoebe says gently, looking at her niece who has become a beautiful, grown woman. “You did well. You know how to do it now.” And it’s the right time, she knows in her bones, to pass the broomstick to her. It’s time for Melinda to take the ride that’s become a family tradition, marking the annual passage between realms.
“I know how to do it,” Melinda agrees with a nod, but then she shakes her head. “I just don’t want to do it by myself.”
“The others don’t have the same gifts we do,” Phoebe says gently. “We could create a spell perhaps.”
“No.” Melinda shakes her head again. This time, she reaches out her hand to her aunt. “I want to do it with you, Aunt Phoebe.”
“Melinda, I -- “ Phoebe straightens as she hears her daughter’s chorusing that she should do it, that they want to see her fly over the Halloween moon, not their cousin, but she feels the bones in her back pop and crackle. She’s not as young as she once was, and this ride is no longer hers to make. “You should do it,” she says again.
“Not alone,” Melinda insists. Jutting out her chin, she reminds her aunt of every Halliwell Phoebe has ever known for they’ve all been stubborn when they’ve chosen to be. She looks up to Chris and Wyatt for help, but the guys are just grinning.
Chris nods. “One more ride,” he says gently, encouragingly.
“One more!” Phoebe’s daughters chorus, not understanding the true meaning of her last ride over the moon.
Looking up to the stars, Phoebe sees them twinkling, but she sees beyond that too. She sees the smiling faces of her sisters, her mother and father, her grandmother, even her husband, all long departed from this mortal life. Next year, she’ll be up there with them, and their children and grandchildren will be by themselves.
“Please,” Melinda urges.
“One more! One more!” her girls chant.
Wyatt suddenly pumps his fist into the air. “One more!” he agrees.
Chris joins in. “One more! One more!”
Her two granddaughters throw themselves at her legs and hug her tightly, almost making Phoebe stumble between them. “One more! One more!” they cry too. She feels like she’s about to fall, but Chris is suddenly there behind her, helping her to stand.
“One more,” he insists again.
“Fine! Fine!” Phoebe relents, laughing.
Her grandchildren release her, and she would indeed fall if it wasn’t for Chris’ hands steadying her. “Yay!” they cry, having no idea that they’ve disturbed her balance so badly.
“One more ride.” Once she’s steady again, Chris releases her, and Phoebe takes back her own broomstick. “But next year -- “ She pauses, wondering how to break the news to them. She knows she won’t be here next year. She can feel it in the tiredness of her soul, in the heaviness of her bones, in the blessing that sometimes doubles as a curse of her precog powers.
Melinda lifts her broom. Her eyes meet her aunt’s again. “Next year,” she says in that same gentle, peacemaking tone that reminds Phoebe so much of the girl’s mother, her sister, “I ride alone, but this year, we go together.”
Phoebe nods, although she’s taken aback by the understanding she witnesses in Melinda’s big, brown eyes that also resembles her mother’s so clearly. “For one last time,” she agrees.
“So,” Chris calls with a grin, “what are you waiting for? Go for it!”
“Fly!” Wyatt orders.
“Fly, sister Witch!” Phoebe’s youngest cries. Her grandchildren join in, “Fly, sister Witch! Fly!”
“That’s Granny Witch to you, little ones!” Grinning and cackling, Phoebe reaches out and quickly tackles her granddaughters, tickling their sides, before drawing back and flipping her broomstick around. She’s prepared to jump it but is quickly reminded she can no longer move with the speed and elegance she once possessed. She doesn’t cry out from the pain the arthritis sends flaring through her body, but Chris is almost instantly there once again, holding her hand and letting her squeeze his with what little strength she has left.
Wyatt appears at Phoebe’s other side and pulls her broomstick down. He keeps it low as Chris, still holding to her hand, helps her straddle her own broom. Phoebe remembers helping these children do everything from brushing their teeth to casting their first spell; yet, now, they are the ones to help her with something so simple. Life really is a round circle, she thinks as she mounts her broomstick with their assistance.
Once Phoebe is settled on her broom, Melinda, who’s been waiting and bobbing up and down on her broomstick the whole time Phoebe was getting settled on hers, calls out gleefully, “I’ll race you!” She zooms over Phoebe’s head.
Phoebe can feel the magic in her broom itching to rise and fly. She leans a little lower across it this year than the years before, her wrinkled hands holding on to its handle with her apparent, expert ease. “You’re on!” Zipping up into the sky, she quickly catches her niece and surpasses her.
Their laughter drifts back down to their family as they soar higher still on their broomsticks. Chris and Wyatt watch, standing side by side. “Next year,” Wyatt whispers to Chris, his eyes moving to their cousins.
“Sh! I know.” But they don’t have to yet, his dark eyes tell his brother.
Wyatt nods. “It’ll be up to us.”
Chris shrugs as though he doesn’t care. “The circle continues,” he whispers back, and so it will not just after their beloved Aunt Phoebe passes but after they pass, too, and their children after them and theirs after them and theirs, so forth and so on for the rest of time.
He looks up, hearing Phoebe’s joyous cackling as she passes over the moon.
“She let her win,” Wyatt comments.
Chris smiles. “I know.”
Phoebe descends from above the moon, holding on to her black, cone hat as she flies swiftly down. Melinda follows just behind her, smiling and laughing and refusing to think about what is to come in the new year. She manages to hold those thoughts at bay, too, until they finally come to a stop back on the surface of the Earth.
Wyatt and Chris are there to help Phoebe descend from her broom. Melinda wordlessly passes her current broom to Chris at the look Phoebe gives her; she’ll pass it to one of Phoebe’s daughters later when it’s time, although they’ll never be able to ride, or levitate and hover, over the moon as they have. She looks solemn and teary-eyed at her aunt as Phoebe hands her broom. “I’ll take very good care of it,” she whispers.
Phoebe strokes her back and dark hair. “I know you will. You are your mother’s daughter.”
“And your niece,” Melinda murmurs into Phoebe’s blouse.
Gently, Phoebe pushes the girl away from her. Her footing’s unsteady, but no one seems to notice Chris’ gentle hand at her elbow. “Now enough with all these tears! Halloween isn’t a time to cry! It’s a time to celebrate! And we have children here,” she says, looking at her grandchildren, two girls and a boy, “who need to go trick or treating!”
“Grandma, I’m too old -- “ Leo starts to protest.
“Hush, child!” Phoebe commands him. “You’re never too old for free candy!” That gets her children, both her own daughters, her niece and nephews, and her grandchildren, to laughing, and Phoebe smiles as she basks and joins in their laughter. Halloween is a time for Witches to celebrate, and they will celebrate it this year, even if next year they’ll be celebrating it without her.
Melinda reaches over and grabs Phoebe’s hand. She squeezes it. “Thank you, Aunt Phoebe,” she whispers.
“For what, squirt?”
Melinda just beams. “For teaching us how to be real Witches, good Witches.”
“We are what we are,” Phoebe tells her. “It’s in our blood. You would have found out how sooner or later anyway.” She grows serious for a moment as she speaks solemnly, “But it’s been an honor teaching you.” Then she breaks into another wide grin. “But now, candy for everybody!”
Prue, Phoebe’s youngest grandchild, shrieks her eagerness, and the family follows suit though not without Phoebe casting one last glance up at the stars. She won’t be here next year, but next year, she’ll be celebrating with the rest of her family. She smiles.