By Julien Gregg

Book 1 - Chapter 8
The Charmed Life

"Morning, Damon," said Lacy Keaton as she poured him a cup of coffee. "Dean's still sleeping. Are you guys going to the club today?"

"Not today," he said uncomfortably as he took the cup she offered and sat at the table.

Lacy's being in the manor was just one of the changes that asking for that little favor in the past had caused. She knew all about them and had been dating Dean since before their grandfather died. That was the interesting part. There were pictures of the three cousins all over the manor now at various stages of their lives. The staircase wall was covered with school pictures of the three cousins as they'd advanced from year to year. What had changed was that they had apparently never been taken from the manor. They'd grown up with their grandfather and Damon's father after the deaths of their collective parents.

Another large shock was the apparent fact that Damon had come out of the closet in high school. It had been a shock to him all right. The bigger shock was that he and Trevor Banks from next door had been dating for almost a year. The shock to Drake and Dean was that they were supposedly accepting of his sexuality. There were so many shocks waiting for them when they'd returned from the past and one mystery. Drake had come back much later than they had and they were sent back at the same time.

Dean had asked Drake several times over the past week what had happened. Drake continued to say he didn't know what Dean was talking about and that the trip back was instantaneous but neither of them believed that. Drake had returned with a haunted look in his eyes. He also seemed to stare at both of them when he thought they weren't looking. If he'd only been staring at Damon it would have been understandable. Even Damon would have chalked it up to curiosity about his sexuality. He'd been staring at Dean just as much as he had been staring at Damon. The haunted look returned to his eyes every time he stared at them. There was something that Drake just wasn't telling.

Then there was Jason. Jason Neld was their White Lighter and had been for the last ten years. That was what got the Elders talking. When they'd returned from the past and found Jason waiting for them they'd tried to vanquish him, sure that he was a demon. After a long explanation about where they'd been and the fact that so many things were different Jason had gone to the Elders. That had caused their first meeting with an Elder White Lighter, though from the world's perspective they'd been dealing with White Lighters and the Elders for years as well.

All of it was more than enough to give Damon the ultimate migraine. There were demons that had been vanquished by them that they had no clue about, innocents who had been saved and other magical creatures and races they had made contact with. All of that with no memory of any of it happening. The Elders were in a rage over it all and there'd been talk of taking away their powers as a reprisal for altering the past. Oddly enough it had been Jason that had stopped them from doing that by arguing that future innocents would be lost if the Charmed Ones were powerless. He got them to see that without their powers they were defenseless and that punishing them in that manor would ultimately be the death of them. So they got to keep their powers and the Elders left them to deal with every little shock that came from their blunder in the past without their help.

Then there was his father to think about. He'd been so worried about what his father would have to say when he finally talked to him again. For so long his father had warned him about the family and ordered him to have no contact with any member of the family. Damon understood why now, but that was all changed with the little favor they'd asked for in the past. Now his father was living in an apartment just a few blocks from the Manor. Damon had agreed to have lunch with him for the fourth time since they'd returned from the past. He was happy with this new relationship he had with his father, but he didn't trust it. He knew there was too much paranoia in the man for it to last.

"Morning, Damon," said Drake as he came into the kitchen, passing Lacy without speaking. "You're just the man I've been looking for this morning."

"What's up?" Damon asked, turning to face his cousin.

"A premonition," replied Drake, giving him a strange look. "Can I talk to you in private?"

"Sure," replied Damon, looking at Lacy as he got up from his seat and followed Drake out of the kitchen. "What's with the secrecy?"

"I didn't want Lacy to hear this," said Drake. "I had a premonition about a girl being attacked. In that vision I saw us save her and then kill her."

"That can't be right," said Damon quickly. "We don't kill innocents."

"What if she isn't an innocent?" Drake countered. He'd thought this over for a bit before coming to talk to Damon.

"Why would we save her if she were evil?" Damon asked.

"I can't figure that part out," he admitted.

"We need to talk to Dean about this," said Damon.

"I don't want him telling Lacy about this," said Drake. "And I don't want you telling Trevor about it either."

"Why would I tell Trevor about saving an innocent?" Damon asked, looking at him as if he'd said something outrageous.

"I don't know," said Drake with a shrug. "I just know that Dean seems to be very free with what he tells Lacy."

"Well we'll just have to make him see that telling her everything isn't a good idea," said Damon as they walked out of the living room and up the stairs.

Dean was just coming out of the bedroom he now shared with Lacy when his cousins came up the stairs. He smiled at them but it slipped off his face when he saw how serious their expressions were. He wondered what was going on but at the same time he didn't want to have another conversation with Drake about Lacy and her living in the Manor. From her perspective she'd been living in the Manor for over a year. Who was he to make her leave?

"Drake had a premonition," said Damon as they came to stand in front of him. "One that needs to stay private for a while."

"What are you talking about?" Dean asked.

"I can't tell Trevor about it and you can't tell Lacy about it," replied Damon. "We have to promise."

"Fine," sighed Dean, rolling his eyes.

"Dean if you don't think that having those two know our secret is somehow dangerous I don't know what to do to make you see it," said Drake. "Even Jason thinks that it might not be such a good idea and from his perspective they've known for years!"

"Can we not argue about Lacy and Trevor right now?" Dean asked. "I promised, didn't I? Now what was your premonition?"

Dean listened intently as Drake explained the premonition he'd had that morning. He agreed with Damon that the only way they would kill an innocent was if they found out later that the innocent wasn't who they said they were and ultimately evil. He didn't have any explanation to offer for why they would save a dark witch, for that's exactly what she would have to be for them to kill her the way that Drake was describing.

"So what do we do now?" Damon asked, looking from one of them to the other and back again.

"We find the girl in the premonition," said Dean. "With Drake now able to look around in his premonitions we should be able to find her fairly easily."

And so they set out to find the girl with red hair and striking green eyes. What they had to go on was another ally behind yet another shop. This time it was a bakery, and the girl was wearing a blue apron. Drake wasn't able to tell them what the name was on the apron, but he was sure that she at least worked in the vicinity. Dean only hoped he was right. He wasn't in the mood for running around looking for a red headed woman.

"All right," said Dean when they pulled up behind the bakery. "Are you sure this is the place?"

"This is it," replied Drake, pointing to a dumpster. "It happens right over there."

"Well then where is she?" Damon asked, looking around at all of the back doors to the businesses that lined the drive.

"She'll be here," insisted Drake. "She'll be here very soon."

As if that were her cue a door opened and out she came. She was everything Drake had described right down to her brown deck shoes. She was carrying two trash bags and headed for the very dumpster that Drake had pointed to. Seconds after she'd thrown the bags into the dumpster a nearby black trash can morphed into what looked like a human man.

"Freeze it all," said Dean, and Damon rose his hands and the girl, the demon and a bird that was flying over them froze.

That wasn't all that froze though. Dean saw two more demons morphing out of crates and a trash can. One was actually morphing into the girl in her uniform. Dean thought he understood Drake's premonition now. Shapeshifters. Before he could say anything about it Drake had formed a fireball in each hand and threw them at two of the morphing demons. One of them was the one morphing into the girl. As everyone came to life again Drake was running at the girl.

"Freeze it again!" cried Drake as he ran. The girl turned to look at him with wide eyes as Damon froze them all again. As soon as Drake reached her he and the girl were surrounded by flames and then they were gone.

Dean still wasn't used to Drake's new powers. He didn't have time to think about them though. He had two demons to face. Damon could freeze them but that was all. He put his hand to his lips, kissing his palm and then blew it at the closest demon. The demon exploded but that unfroze the scene again. The other demon threw a fireball at him. Dean reacted quickly by raising one hand and using telekinesis to move the ball out of his path as he put his other hand to his lips and blew his ice kiss back at the demon. The demon screamed when the kiss touched him and then he exploded like the other.

"That was close," Damon said as they scanned the area to make sure that all of the demons really were dead an no others were morphing out of anything.

"We have to find out what's so special about that girl," Dean agreed as they left the ally and headed for the car.

They were both silent all the way back to the manor. Three shapeshifters coming to attack one girl was completely crazy. A normal human girl would be no match for one of their ranks. Why would three come to kill her? It made no sense. Dean wondered if she was a witch. Could she be a witch and not know about it? That didn't really sound plausible to him. If she was a magical witch surely she would know it.

"And I told you to stay away from me!" cried a woman's voice as Dean and Damon walked into the manor. "You're evil!"

"I'm not evil," came Drake's voice. "I'm a Charmed One. I saved you!"

Dean and Damon looked at each other in confusion. Was that Lori? Dean remembered the voice. They'd saved her once before. How had she gotten to the manor and why was she screaming at Drake? They were shocked when they heard an explosion and then glass breaking. The next thing they knew Drake was stumbling out of the family room.

"What's going on?" Damon asked as he grabbed Drake's arm to steady him.

"She's gone crazy," Drake spat. "She threw fire at me."

"Fire?" gasped Dean. "Lori?"

"She's a witch," replied Drake. "And she still thinks I'm evil even after saving her twice."

"Oh for crying out loud," said Damon as he walked into the family room. "Lori, stop this."

"Keep that demon away from me!" she cried. She was standing behind the couch watching the doorways with fear in her eyes.

"Drake isn't a demon," he replied. "We've told you this before. Why would a demon save you from other demons twice?"

"I don't know," she snapped. "Maybe so he can kill me himself."

"Jason!" cried Damon with a sigh.

Lori's eyes grew wide as she saw Jason appear in his swirl of blue-white lights. Jason looked at them for a moment and then Lori threw fire at him. Damon watched with wide eyes as the fire left her hand. Jason was prepared for it though. He orbed out and appeared behind her. Damon lifted his hands and froze the fire marveling over the fact that he could freeze just one thing instead of everything. At that moment Dean came into the room and waived his hand at the frozen fire and sent it to the fireplace where it made a hissing noise. Then the wood in the fireplace was burning. Jason put his hand out, touching the side of Lori's neck and her eyes closed as her body relaxed. He caught her and lowered her to the couch.

"What did you do to her?" Damon asked.

"She's sleeping," Jason replied. "What is going on here?"

"We saved her from thee shapeshifters," said Damon. "We saved her once before but she's convinced that Drake is a demon. She won't believe otherwise."

"Damon she threw fire from the palm of her hand," Jason said. "That's a demonic power."

"Demonic?" he asked, looking at Lori with wide eyes.

"She's not a demon," said Drake as he came into the room. He looked at them for a moment and then sighed. "She's infected by a power ball."

"What's a power ball?" Damon asked.

"How do you know about power balls?" Jason asked at the same time.

"I have premonitions remember?" he lied, thinking fast. He didn't want them to know about the future. He still hadn't figured out how to keep Damon and Dean alive yet. He couldn't say anything to them about the future until he knew how to stop their deaths from happening.

"You had a premonition about power balls?" Jason asked, looking at him hard.

"No," sighed Drake. "I had a premonition about Lori while I shimmered her here. She was infected with a power ball before the demons came for her this time."

"Well that explains the fire," Jason said with a sigh of his own. Drake was just happy that the White Lighter believed him.

"I think I know a way to get it out of her," Drake said, trying to remember the spell they'd used in the future to remove a power ball from Tory.

"We have to find a power broker to get it out of her," said Jason. "Everyone knows that."

"Well I think we can get it out of her," Drake said evenly. There was no mistaking who he was referring to. "Let us try at least. We can't hurt her."

He walked out of the room and into the dining room. He grabbed the note pad that Lacy had been using to make her list for the grocery store and began to write the spell down. He hoped he could remember all of it. When he was finished he joined his cousin and their White Lighter in the family room again.

"We have to touch her as we say it," he explained, ignoring the questioning look in his cousins' eyes. They knelt on either side of her and each put a hand on her.

"A power that was given we now take away," they read together. "Restore her now to who she was. Take the evil power away."

Lori began to shiver just like Tory had. When her shaking became violent Drake told his cousins to hold her. As they held her an red-orange ball floated up from her chest. It drifted there above her and Dean waived a finger at it and the ball slowly floated to the fireplace where it exploded in a shower of fiery red sparks.

"How did you know this spell?" Dean asked as they stood up.

"It just came to me," he replied, trying to look his cousin in the eye as he spoke. "What does it matter? It worked."

"Jason can you take her home?" Damon asked as he eyed Drake.

"Sure," replied Jason as he stepped up to the back of the couch and reached over to touch her shoulder. Then they disappeared in a shower of bluish white lights.

Drake became aware of the fact that his cousins were staring at him and he sighed. Should he tell them about his time in the future? Would they accept it if he only told them that he'd gone to the future but didn't tell them what he'd seen and done? Of course they wouldn't. They'd want to know everything. Yet how could he tell them they were dead in that future and that Dean's triplet sons were the Charmed Ones?

He couldn't tell them. He had to think of something else to explain how he knew about the power ball and the spell to remove it. He'd told Jason that he'd had a premonition when he'd shimmered Lori to the manner. Jason had accepted that so he knew he had to stick to it. Did his cousins believe that he'd come up with the spell on his own?

Luckily Lacy picked that moment to walk in the back door with groceries, calling out to Dean for help with the rest that were in the back of her car. Dean looked at Drake for one more second before sighing and taking off to help his girlfriend. Damon simply stood there with a look on his face that Drake couldn't identify. He wasn't telling him anything about the future no matter what happened next. He hated not telling them something this important but how could he? How was he supposed to tell them that they were going to die? Damon would die before Dean and then Dean would die right after the birth of his sons. How could he tell them this?


Sorry for the short chapter. We're moving into the main story arch for this book with Chapter 9. It will take us all the way to the end of Book 1 with Chapter 15. Then I'll move away from this story for a while and get back to other things before beginning Book 2. This story is supposed to be posted in 7 Books with 15 chapters per book. I hope we make it to the end. I also hope you like this version better than the original version which can still be found on Nifty. I don't plan to finish that version though.

Julien Gregg

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