“We can’t do it. We can’t kill Angela,” Mel said, her strides confident as she made her way through the campus grounds, followed by her sisters.
“But you heard witch-Olivia-Pope. What if there’s no way to save her?” Macy gripped her shoulder bag strap. “We can’t just let civilians die.”
“I’m not saying that. I’m just saying, if there's a way to save her, we should find it.”
Maggie shook her head, hair bouncing. “I shouldn't have to make decisions like this, I can’t even pass World Lit.” Her hands fluttered around.
Macy sighed. “Look, I don’t want to… I want to save Angela too. But if she’s gone… and it comes down to the people of the world…”
“No. I’m not buying it.” Mel puffed her chest out. “There has to be another way. Maybe we can prove that Angela’s still in there.”
“What, you think Charity’s wrong?” Maggie asked, stunned.
“I think she’s too confident that she’s right. And mom would want us to be sure.”
“Well, don’t be expecting me to touch it and read its throughs.”
Mel fixed the youngest with a look, one Maggie matched with wide eyes. “You saw what you did to that rat,” she reminded. “Mace, back me up here.”
“She’s right, Mel,” Macy softly added. “That thing will fry her.”
“I mean like a spell or something.” Mel shrugged, thinking something over before stopping so abruptly, Maggie almost slammed tripped. “I’m gonna head home and check the Book of Shadows.”
“Wait, wait, no. You’re supposed to be keeping an eye on Niko. Making sure she’s not suspicious.” Maggie’s hands fluttered again, waving wildly. Macy dunked, avoiding the youngest’s manicured nails.
“It can wait.” And with that, Mel started back for the manor, her figure growing smaller and smaller as the remaining Charmed Ones watched.
Maggie looked up at Macy, who shrugged helplessly.
She knew she should be paying extra close attention to her professor and the lecture he was giving, but the words just didn’t register with her.
Maggie slumped in her seat, eyes moving to focus on the presentation and the images flitted across it. At least those looked somewhat eye-catching.
You know, in a creepy kinda way.
She thumbed the pages of her open book, smiling when Lucy, who sat a few rows in front, waved, poking Parker’s shoulder. He turned and gave her a little salute.
Maggie had to keep her cheeks from reddening. Why are all the cute ones always taken?
“That’s it for today,” the Professor announced. “We’ll see you on Friday for the midterm; closed book. Eight essay questions carefully engineered so I’ll know if you read SparkNotes.” A few students laughed. “And don’t forget: it’s 50% of your grade. Alright, everyone, have a good rest of the day.”
Maggie groaned. Half of her grade was riding on the book she was only halfway through. Perfect. Standing, she made a move to leave with the flow of her classmates but stopped when Lucy called out to her.
“Maggie! Hey, Maggie!” The blonde raced up the stairs, red lips pulled up at the corners. “Maggie! How have I never seen you in class before?”
“Oh, um, I usually sit in the back, kind of slept through a few…” Maggie admitted, clutching the thick book to her chest.
“I’m lucky; I only need four hours of sleep a night. I’m one of those people.”
While her Kappa president talked, the youngest Charmed One felt her gaze slip, looking over to where Parker stood, talking to a fellow classmate. He was nice with a sort of bad-boy look to him. Exactly my type.
“Do you want to walk over together?”
Maggie blinked. “Huh? What?”
Lucy leaned in, her voice lowering. “We’re putting the final touches on the homecoming float.”
The… oh no! The homecoming float. Maggie suddenly had the urge to slap her forehead. “Oh, my God. I’m so sorry, Luce, but I can’t make it. Look, I- I’m on the verge of flunking this class, so I have to ace the midterm, but I’m only, like, halfway through the book.”
“Well, honey, why didn’t you say so?” Lucy waved her hand. “Don’t worry; Parker can help-- Parker!”
Maggie winced. Lucy had no filter and found nothing wrong with shouting over a bunch of people to get her boyfriend’s attention. It worked too because Parker waved to his friend and came over.
Why is the world against me? Maggie gulped, feeling her stomach flip when her eyes met his.
“My bae is not only a literary genius,” Lucy gushed, locking her arm with her boyfriend’s. “He also read Dante in middle school. Mmhm.”
Parker shrugged. “It’s nothing. My dad liked to assign us a classic piece of literature to discuss at dinner. And yes, before you ask, it’s as fun as it sounds.”
“O-oh. Heh.” Maggie withered. “Ya.”
Lucy rubbed Parker’s arm, her fingers teasing the cloth. “Babe, can you help Maggie ace the midterm for me? I can’t have my favorite pledge bring down our house GPA.”
“Sure, no problem.”
“Perfect. Then it’s decided.”
It all happened so fast, Maggie hardly had time to wrap her mind around it. She shifted her book, plastering on a thankful smile. Internally, however, she was a mess, trying to keep her imagination from running wild.
Just gotta ace the midterm. Ace the midterm and you’ll be fine. Don’t think about Parker. The minterm.
Macy placed the dead mouse’s DNA into a slide and slipped it under the high-tech, lab issued microscope. If Mel was going to try and find a loophole, Macy might as well try and better understand the Harbinger's powers and how it works.
Donned in protective gear, the young scientist started the inspection, watching as bright green and yellow particles swished around. They moved like water, before morphing, losing their yellow glow.
“Oh, my gosh!” Macy leaned back, lips parted.
Behind her, Galvin got up from his unit. “Something wrong?” He asked, walking over.
Panicked, having forgotten she wasn’t alone, Macy quickly draped a file over the dead mouse’s body. She scrambled to get up, the microscope hidden behind her. “Just thinking.”
Galvin arched an eyebrow. “About…?”
“Oh, you know. Utilitarianism.” She nodded, like her answer was perfectly normal, before picking something off her desk and walking off.
Her co-worker snorted, his worry fading away as he followed. “You do know daydreaming is supposed to be fun, right? Like, oh. Here’s one I’ve had. Getting trapped in Drake’s body and buying something totally ridiculous.”
Macy giggled. “I admit, that’s pretty funny.”
“You were seriously sitting over there, thinking about utilitarianism?” He smirked, pointing a thumb at her desk.
“Well, ya. M-my sisters and I like to do breakfast trivia.” Macy was about to deflect again when she thought of something. This could be the perfect opportunity to get some outside perspective. “Question. If you had to choose to kill one person, or, say, all of Hilltowne would almost certainly die, would you do it?”
“Nope.” He smiled when his co-worker tilted her head, confused. “You said “almost certainly,” so, if there’s a chance, then I’m gonna find another way.”
He said it with so much confidence that it took Macy a moment to process everything. “But- but we’re scientists. If, statistically, the risk of saving this one could kill thousands-”
Galvin shook his head. “I know it would make sense rationally, but it would feel so wrong. I don’t think I could kill someone. For any reason.”
Macy chewed her bottom lip, fingers fumbling. “No, no of course it would feel wrong.” Her chest constricted. “But, we’re scientists. It’s our job to make judgments based on facts, not emotions, right?”
“I dunno. Who’s to say emotions aren’t just as valuable?” When Macy refused to untangle her hands, he decided to elaborate. “Mace, just because we’re scientists, it doesn't mean we’re heartless or cold. You love your sisters, right?”
“Of course I do.”
“See, that, my friend, is emotion. And it’s important. Or, at least I think it is.” He offered her one last smile before leaving, going back to his work station.
Mel wasn't sure this was the right way to go about her plan, but screw it. If Charity wasn’t going to try and save Angela, then the Charmed Ones would.
Thankfully, Maggie was done with class for the day, so Mel had no qualms with pulling the youngest out of a group study session.
“Mel!” Maggie hissed, “what are you doing? I have a big test that I need to ace. And you’re the one who's always telling me--”
“Ya, I know, I know, but this is urgent. Where’s Macy’s lab?”
“Down the hall. Why?”
Mel pulled her sister along, throwing the door open, ignoring the strange looks she got from the workers in lab coats. Macy blinked, eyeing her two Veras like they had arms growing from their hips.
Maggie awkwardly waved. “Hey, sis.”
“What-” Macy pushed them both out, closing the door behind her. “What are you guys doing? You can’t just go barging into the lab like that. We work with dangerous chemicals and-”
“Tell us some other time,” Mel cut off. “We gotta go, now.”
“Go? Go where? I’m in the middle of work.”
Persistent, and not about to back down, Mel swung the lab door open, making sure it made enough noise to draw attention (again). “Hey, I’m stealing Miss. Vaughn for the afternoon. Family emergency.”
Not giving anyone time to question her, she took Macy by the elbow and was off, her steps echoing loudly.
It was only when they got off-campus, rounding on her car, that Mel decided to start explaining things. “Okay, we don’t have much time.”
“What happened? Is everything okay?” Maggie asked, inspecting the car, yelping when it jumped.
“I dunno, I’m just going on instinct.”
When she finally let her sisters go, they each took a step back from the moving car. Maggie grabbed for Macy, who nearly lost her footing. “Please tell me that’s not Harvey in the trunk.”
“It’s not Harvey in the trunk.”
Maggie slowly inched forward and Macy had no choice but to follow, seeing as the youngest refused to let her hand go. When both of them peered into the trunk, they saw a human-sized box, the lid nailed shut, with something banging on it from the inside.
“Mel!” Maggie snapped.
Macy felt like fainting. “Y-you kidnapped the Harbinger?”
“It’s not the Harbinger, it’s Angela Wu. I did a soul spell and she’s still in there. And when I told Charity, she couldn't care less.” Mel crossed her arms, in an 'I-told-you-so' manner.
“She's still in there?” Macy muttered, glancing over her shoulder. Galvin’s words came back, mixing in with her own hesitation. Knowing that Angela was continuous, her soul untainted by the demon’s possession… and if there was a way to save everyone… shouldn’t they take it?
Emotions are important too. If it were my sister’s, I’d want to save them.
Gripping Maggie’s hand, Macy made her decision. “I hope you have a plan, Mel.”
“I hope it’s better than driving a super lethal demon around in our hatchback,” Maggie muttered, cautiously eyeing the car.
“I literally left five minutes ago, I didn’t have time to come up with anything better than this.”
“Oh, man. What I wouldn't give to be studying right now.”
Macy patted the youngest’s arm while Mel dug around for the car keys. “Look, I have the Book of Shadows. We’ll find an exorcism spell and get this thing out of Angela before it’s too powerful to stop us.
“Ya, but I think we’re forgetting something here,” Macy interjected. When eyes fell on her, quietly waiting, she sighed. “We need to find a place to keep it. Somewhere far away from people. Somewhere it can’t hurt anyone.”
“Oh.” Maggie snapped her fingers. “I so know a place.”
“Good, it’s settled then,” Mel smirked, but it slid off half a second later. “Oh no. No, no, no, no, no.”
“Mel?” Macy touched her arm, worried. “Are you okay?” She jumped when the middle Vera grabbed her hand and pulled her down into a kneeling position.
Maggie mimicked them, frantically looking around. “What it is? What’s happening?”
“Don’t look now, but I think Trip is following us.”
“What are we gonna do?”
“I can freeze time, remember?” Mel wiggled her fingers. “We’ll just drive away and he won’t notice.”
Macy frowned. “But won’t that look like our car just vanished into thin air? Won’t that make us look more suspicious?” And that’s the last thing they needed.
Maggie groaned. “I’m gonna fail my stupid Lit exam, I just know it.”
“Well, what other choice do we have? Get caught and let Angela die?” Mel glanced up, making sure Trip was still there, and shooed the two into the car. “Get inside! I’m doing it.”
“This is a bad idea,” Macy moaned, scrambling to get her body in without standing up.
“I second that!” The youngest snapped, tumbling in.
After escaping one half of the detective team, Macy exhaled slowly, letting her body relax. Next to her, Maggie slumped, head resting on her shoulder.
“So, what were you doing all day?”
Maggie pointed at her lab coat. Mel, from what Macy could see in the rearview mirror, rolled her eyes.
“Oh, right. I was analyzing the dead rat’s DNA.”
Mel arched an eyebrow. “I thought you believed Charity.”
“I figured something like this would happen.” Macy nudged Maggie, who grinned. “So I planned ahead. I put the DNA under the microscope and found that what killed the rat is similar, in structure, to smallpox.”
“That doesn't sound so bad,” Maggie muttered.
Macy winced. “Um, I wasn’t done. It’s more lethal because it kills instantly. It’s not airborne yet, but it could be soon. And if we fail, and the Harbinger gets loose, it’s a walking pandemic.”
“... oh. Ya, that’s worse.”
Mel gripped the steering wheel tighter. “Don’t worry. We’ll save Angela and trap the demon before it gets to that.”
The Harbinger fought against its restraints, pulling at them, growling, screaming, making as much noise as possible.
Maggie kept pacing, eyeing the demon every now and then, chewing on her thumbnail while Mel and Macy looked through the Book of Shadows, but so far, they found nothing.
“How big is this book?” Macy asked, quickly glancing over random spells and potions.
“There are a dozen exorcism spells in here,” Mel lamented, trying to read two at a time.
“Find one that won’t hurt the Kappa float,” Maggie called over her shoulder, refusing to take her eye off the Harbinger. “Lucy’s sure it’s gonna win.”
Macy took that into consideration, shoulders falling when yet another page held nothing useful. “This is taking too long.”
“You’re right. Book of Shadows, show me an exorcism spell strong enough to take down the Harbinger.”
And just like that, the pages started turning on their own, increasing in speed the closer it got to the end.
Macy arched an eyebrow. “And you didn’t do this in the beginning because…?”
Mel ignored her.
When the book finally stopped, it was set on two blank pages, crisp with the edges worn down.
“It’s blank.” Mel frowned, turning to Macy, who was equally as confused. “What’s that mean?”
“I- I have no idea.”
Her chest tightened and her palms grew sweaty again. Did that mean this was hopeless after all?
Thankfully, she didn’t have to dwell on that too long, because Harry orbed into the warehouse, his sudden appearance scarring Mel and Maggie. Macy gasped, relief filling her stomach.
When he found out his girls stole the Harbinger and ran off, he feared the High Council would rain fire down on them. While he was happy to see the three unharmed, standing around in a warehouse, with the Harbinger shackled to one of the floats, it was quickly replaced with fear.
“Girls.” His voice was low and daunting. “What the hell are you doing.”
Mel stood defiant, her back straight, shoulders stiff, chin up. Maggie was less so, shrinking back from his hard glare. Unlike the two Veras, Macy had a small smile tugging at her lips.
He felt his headache intensify.
“Angela is still in there,” Mel spoke up. “I cast a spell and I saw her.”
What? Angela was alive? Harry swallowed thickly. “You did?” He turned to Maggie, who nodded, and Macy, who tilted her head towards the book. “But the…”
The Harbinger rattled, and Harry looked over at it, brows furrowed. Tapping into the timelines, he watched as they meshed around the demon’s head, fluctuating. It seemed hopeless, but if what Mel said was true.
He closed the distance between himself and his charges, putting his hands on Mel’s shoulders. “Are you sure?”
“I saw her, Harry. Charity was wrong and we can’t kill Angela. Not now.”
Those big, brown eyes practically sunk him. Her voice softened, losing its hard edge, and Harry was overcome by the determination swimming within this young woman. She was sure of herself, backed up by both Maggie and Macy.
And what sort of Whiteligher would he be if he abandoned them now?
“The full moon is rising and soon the containment spell will wear off. I suggest we do something before then.”
His declaration had the headstrong Vera wilt under his touch, but she quickly composed herself and pointed to the book. “We’re stuck.
That’s not a good start. Harry inspected the pages over her shoulder, Maggie and Macy coming closer so that they could all watch.
For what felt like a millennium, all four of them just stared, hoping the book would reveal something. No such luck.
“It had to have flipped there for a reason,” Mel thought out loud. “Maybe it’s invisible magic ink?”
“No. No, I don’t think so.” Harry tapped his chin, mind working quickly. The book was passed down from generation to generation, filled with handwritten notes by those it protected. So it only stood to reason…
“Girls, put your hands on the page.”
Mel arched an eyebrow. “How is that going to help?”
“Just trust me.”
With no other options, no other ideas, the three pressed their fingers to the page, all at once, and just as he predicted, the blank surface started to glow, revealing golden letters.
Maggie gasped, eyes wide. “That’s mom’s handwriting!”
“All of our names are on it,” Macy whispered, eyes misting over.
“It’s in Spanish.” Mel traced the writing.
Harry nodded, watching as the images sprouted to the next page. “It looks like a Santer-based spell. Unsanctioned by the Elders.”
“She wrote it for us, but why?” Mel looked to her sisters for answers, but they had none. Thankfully, Harry did. He smirked, slowly taking the warehouse in. Finally, it was starting to look familiar.
“It was so you three would find it.” Undeterred by the sudden spotlight, he pressed his palm to the book, letting the warmth sink into his bones. His mind went back, pictures of Marisol forming. “She knew this moment would come. Her power was prophecy. It only stood to reason she’d do this.”
He took his hand away, and with it, Marisol’s image vanished. “Ladies, it’s fated you three should unite in this mission.”
Maggie giggled. “Harry, you’re disobeying the Elders?”
“Not all of them.” He winked at Mel, who beamed.
“Mom,” she breathed, and from where he stood, Harry could see the way her chest filled with passion.
The youngest whipped at her eyes. Macy chewed her bottom lip, pushing away a few stray hairs.
“So, what are you waiting for?” Harry folded his hands behind his back. “It’s time to save Angela Wu.”
After sending Macy and Mel away to the labs, Harry watched as his youngest charge ventured out to get rid of whoever it was parking outside the building.
He paced around, eyeing the text, occasionally listening to the Harbinger struggle against its chains. The demon didn’t scare him, he’d encountered far worse, so when it started growling, shouting obscenities, Harry waved his hand, sending a pulse of energy at it. The Harbinger winced, shaking its head.
“Oh, do pipe down.”
“I will eliminate all who stand in my way!”
“Yes, so I’ve heard.”
The backdoor creaked open, the youngest emerging, arms wrapped around her like a vice. Harry frowned, she seemed tenser now, her skin tight and legs moving stiffly. “Maggie, are you alright?”
“Ya, ya I’m fine.”
“You should know, lying to one's Whitelgither is never a good idea.”
Maggie sighed, rubbing her arms. “It’s nothing, I… I’m just thinking about Angela. Must be horrible, trapped like that.” She gestured to the hunched over demon. “I can’t imagine it.”
She’s terrified. Harry felt his gut stir. He knew all three sisters harbored a vast level of fear towards the Harbinger, but Maggie was completely petrified, frozen in place, her mind a whirlwind of ‘what-if’ scenarios.
Earlier, she’d been fine- er, no, not fine, but alright. Like Mel and Macy, Maggie was confident enough to be around the Harbinger.
So what changed?
… oh. Harry, you’ve been quite thick.
Carefully, the Whitelighter held his hand out, palm up. “Maggie, may I tell you something?”
Maggie shrugged, shifting on her heels. “Okay.” She took his hand, her small fingers sliding against his. “Wait, is this another lecture, because no offense Har, I’m not in the mood.”
He suppressed a chuckle. “No, nothing of the sort. I wish to give you some insight, if I may.” With a gentle tug, he pulled the young witch closer, positing them so that his body hid Maggie from the chained beast.
Up close, Harry could make out her worry lines and the ever-present crease of her brows. “This will be different for you,” he started, voice soft and somber. No use in sugar-coating it. “Unlike your sisters, Maggie, you possess the gift of the mind. And seeing as your abilities are vastly untested, there is no telling how deep you’ll see into the Harbinder’s thoughts.”
Maggie shivered. “Gee, thanks for that, Har. Like I didn’t have enough to worry about.”
He ignored her tone. “A demon of its caliber holds dark memories. Death, pain, sorrow, blood. It will all flood you at once, so be prepared.”
“... Harry, if this is supposed to be a pep-talk, it’s not helping.” His charge swallowed thickly, her skin ice-cold and void of its natural color.
“I’m not trying to scare you, Maggie. I want you to be as prepared as you can be.” He rubbed her hand in what he hoped was a comforting gesture. “With all that said, after, I will help clear your head of the Harbinder’s presence.”
That caught her attention. Maggie’s head shot up, eyes big and hopeful. “Wait, what? You- you can do that?”
“Of course. As soon as the demon is secure in the paint can, I will rid you of it.”
Maggie exhaled slowly, gripping his hand. “Will it hurt?” She asked, voice small. Harry shook his head, smiling. “I assure you, it is painless-” He was cut off, the air shoved out of his lungs, when his charge pushed forward, burying her face in his chest.
Harry stumbled, caught off guard by the brisk hug. “Maggie?”
“You can really do that?” She asked, words muffled by his suit.
Slowly, Harry lowered his outstretched arms, patting the young woman’s shoulder. “You have my word.”
“Thank you, Harry. I… you don’t understand how scared I am! I want to get that thing out of Mel’s friend, I do, but I really don’t wanna read it’s nasty mind.”
It was a shame, subjecting someone so young and inexperienced to this sort of thing, but it was the only way. Harry held his charge close, wanting to suddenly hide her from all the evil in the world.
Behind them, the Harbinger howled, and the distinct sound of chains breaking caught Harry’s ear. Thinking fast, he shoved Maggie away, pushing a fob watch into her cold hands. “Summon Elder Callahan,” he shouted, “and stay back.”
Maggie fumbled with the watch, nails scraping to get it open.
Harry held his hand out, his insides clinking with the activation of his powers. The Harbinger blinked, moving away when it saw a golden shimmer leak out from under Harry’s nails, but before he could do anything, a portal opened and Charity stepped through, capturing the demon with lavender leash.
“Time’s up,” she hissed. “Witches.”
Macy and Mel came rushing when they heard Charity’s voice mixing with the Harbinger's screams. They stopped when they reached Maggie, who stood behind Harry, rooted in place.
Charity shoved the leash at Harry with more force than necessary, conveying her disapproval. Harry winced, taking the cold object, keeping the demon at bay. Suppose it’s safe to say, Callahan is not amused.
“We have to hurry, once the full moon rises, the Harbinger will be unstoppable.” The Elder tried handing the Charmed Ones the dagger’s from earlier, but the sisters shook their heads, rejecting the metal weapons.
Harry motioned to the Book of Shadows. “Marisol saw this coming. She left this spell for them.”
“Let me see that.” Charity walked over, hand on the page, eyes quickly scanning the cursive text. “She had the power of prophecy, but her predictions didn’t always come true. You of all people know that. We can’t risk it.”
Harry frowned. “It will work.”
“You don’t know that.”
“No, but I trust Marisol, as well as her daughters.” He made sure to look his superior in the eye, trying to establish a connection. Charity faltered, weight the dagger in her right hand with the page pressed into her left index finger.
“You don’t have to trust us,” Mel chimed in, gripping the gloves from Macy’s lab. “You knew our mother well; trust her.”
Something must have clicked because the Elder ripped her hand away from the Book. “Hurry up, before I change my mind.”
The demon sat, strapped to the parade float, held on either side, arms and legs restrained with thick chains. Harry stood opposite Charity, struggling to keep the demon from breaking free.
The Charmed Ones approached it cautiously, safely gloves covering their skin, Maggie leading the charge with purpose. She recited the complex spell perfectly, faltering only at the beginning when the Harbinger lunged forward, it’s mouth open unnaturally wide.
Then Macy spoke her part, hand outstretched, palm connecting with the demon’s chest, Harry felt his heart squeeze. The sensation intensified when Mel touched it, and Maggie, who dove right in when the spell had a hard time reaching Angela.
“I heard her!” Maggie shouted over the swirling wind. “I heard Angela!”
Mel and Macy quickly rushed forward, taking Maggie’s hand, their thoughts culminating in the youngest’s head.
It took time, longer than Harry was comfortable with, but eventually, Angela’s skin started cracking through the demon’s shell, until it took over.
The exhilaration was short-lived when Trip held up a gun, having snuck in through the back. “Angela!” He pointed the weapon at everyone around her. “Hands in the air!”
Charity rolled her eyes, muttering something under her breath, and held up her hand, disintegrating the gun. She reached for the paint can and quickly trapped the retreating Harbinger, smirking when the lid clicked shut.
Angela slumped forward, the faux-exorcism too much for her to handle. Mel caught her, holding her securely. Macy crouched on her left, inspecting the fallen innocent.
Harry, after determining both Mel and Macy were unharmed and in control of the situation, he made a beeline for the youngest, who spun her hair around her wrists, tugging at the strands.
“Oh, Maggie.” He gently pulled her hands free of her hair and erased the lines from her forehead. “I’m so proud of you.”
She beamed, despite the pain building up behind her eyes. “You are?”
“Yes,” Harry affirmed, his touch moving to her temples. “You were so brave. The spitting image of Marisol.”
“M-mom? I was… like mom?”
Her shaky tone grated at him, and the feeling of protection came flooding back. “Just like her.” He had to keep her talking, keep her relaxed while he dove into her head. If the events caught up to her, adrenaline giving way to fear and stress, her mind would be more difficult to sort out.
“Brave. Strong. Exceptional.”
Just as he predicted, remnants of the Harbinger floated in and out of Maggie’s head, coating her essence in dark ink. He worked on eradicating it, pushing the demon as far away as possible. The raw edges of her mind, he helped heal, smoothing them out as much as was allowed.
He took a step back, examining his work, before dubbing it complete. Easing out of Maggie’s head, Harry tapped her temple, letting her know the job was done. “Okay?”
His charge nodded. “Ya… I can’t feel it anymore.” She smiled, grateful. “I didn’t know you guys could do that.”
“It’s nothing special.” Harry waved the thought away. “Comes standard with all us Whitelighters-” He paused, feeling something shift. His chest constricted, his ears burning.
“Um, guys?” Macy’s voice brought everyone’s attention to the far corner of the warehouse. Maggie frowned, tugging on Harry’s hand. The two of them followed Mel.
Dread built up, capturing everyone when they realized what had happened. During their scuffle with the Harbinger, a pipe broke loose and fell, landing on Trip, breaking his neck. The man lay motionless on the ground, his walkie-talkie inches from his outstretched hand.
Maggie gasped, hands flying to cover her eyes. Mel shook, dropping to her knees. “Trip,” she sobbed, “Oh god, he’s not breathing!”
Harry eyed the body, watching as the detective’s lifeline faded. The man had passed away moments ago.
Doing as they were. Trying to save Angela.
By Mel’s reaction, Trip had been a good person, someone she must have liked well enough.
Charity walked over briskly, taking the crying Vera by the shoulders. “The police will be here any minute. You have to go.”
Mel shook her head, clawing to grab the dead man’s wrist. “No, no. Trip, he’s dead. He’s dead.”
“Mel, I’ll handle it.” Charity pushed her up and towards the others. Mel shakily stood, eyes never leaving Trip’s body.
Harry exhaled slowly, moving to pick up Angela. A tragedy, when one life is saved, but another lost. His charges were all rattled; Maggie hugged herself, warding off the chills, Macy hid behind her hair, fighting back tears, Mel just looked lost, her chest expanding quickly.
Harry waited in the kitchen, letting the girls catch up with their long lost friend, a cup of horrid tea in hand. There were many things he had to do before the week was up. A mental calendar appeared in his mind's eye, the boxes filling with agendas.
He blinked, vision clearing. Before him stood the three Charmed Ones. “For pity’s sake, you’d think with such frequent visits from an Englishman, you could at least stock your pantry with tea that isn't absolute rubbish.”
Maggie giggled. Mel rolled her eyes.
Harry lifted his cup. “But also, congratulations, ladies. You did it.”
Macy shrugged bashfully, pushing a curl behind her ear.
“Angela’s asleep,” Mel informed, looking around. “Where's Charity?”
“She left with the sacred vessel. The paint can.” Harry brushed himself clean, standing. “She’ll store it somewhere safe.” Never to be seen again, I hope.
Maggie gleaned, rocking back and forth, hands behind her back. She innocently eyed him.
Harry grimaced. Dear lord, he knew that look.
“Sooo, what’s the deal with you and that Elder? Kinda sounds like you two have a past.”
And there it was, the question he’d been anticipating since Callahan’s arrival. “I was born in 1920, so yes, I have a past, one that is none of your business.” He groaned when the Vera sisters exchanged private looks.
“Anyhow, despite Callahan's assistance, the Elders will be displeased we disobeyed their orders. Even though we know now they were wrong, they're still the governing body, and there’ll be consequences… but that’s tomorrow’s problem,” he amended, not wanting to burden the girls anymore.
They had a long, grueling day. Rest was in order.
He moved to set the teacup away when Mel called his name. “Yes, Melanie.”
His charge played with her fingers, lips turned up. “Congratulations to you, too. You were rad tonight.”
Her approval felt nice. He offered her his thanks and picked up his coat. “It’s getting to be that time.” He held out his arm. Macy nodded, hugging her sisters before wrapping her hand around his elbow.
In a flash, they were gone, reappearing in their shared flat. “Quite a day,” Harry offered. Macy nodded, leaning on him. “Ya…”
Silently, under the darkness of the living room, Harry let his coat fall, wrapping his arm around his charge. “We’re alone now.”
He felt Macy’s head bob up and down, her hair weak from the day’s events. She snapped her hands around his waist, holding tight, face hidden in his chest.
Deceased animals were one thing. Macy stopped crying over them a long time ago, but today was the first time she saw someone die. It was made worse knowing the death could have been avoided.
Harry rubbed her back, smoothing out the wrinkles of her shirt.