Chapter 2

Piper was bent over the Book of Shadows when Prue walked through the door into the attic.

"Well, it's not the circuit breakers. Must be a short in the wiring."

But Piper was absorbed in the Book of Shadows. "I'm sure Leo can fix it… Look, I think we found our demon…you're not going to like it," she said, staring down at the open page.

Prue crossed the floor, "Since when do I like any demon?" She looked down at the page where Piper pointed, then frowned. "An Elemental Demon. Great."

Piper looked at her sister. "A water demon. Kind of explains the mess, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," Prue agreed. "It says here that his name is Malachi and he has the power to imprison others in spheres of water." She read further. "Oh no, this can't be right. If we banish Malachi while he holds Phoebe in his sphere of water, we lose her as well…she'll drown."

"I told you that you weren't going to like it."

Prue read the rest of the page. "There's nothing here about what he might want from us. I mean, he's not your average demon. He lives in the deeper parts of the underworld and they usually keep to themselves, content with ruling their lesser demons. What could he possibly want with Phoebe?"

Piper shrugged. "I don't know. But there is a recipe for a potion…a pretty potent one at that."

Prue rolled her eyes. "A lot of good that's going to do us while he has Phoebe."

"We'll figure something out," Piper said, going to the chair and curling up with the blanket. "I'm so tired. You know, I think I'm just going to get a few hours of sleep up here." She didn't want to go back to her dark bedroom across from Phoebe's empty one.

Prue nodded; she went and pulled another chair close to Piper's. "You're going to have to share that blanket," she said, tugging on the end of the blanket until they were both covered. And within a few minutes both were sound asleep.

xXx

The ringing of the doorbell woke them both later. Piper looked at her watch. Seven-thirty. Barely four hours of sleep.

"Who?—" Prue asked groggily.

But they both hurried down the stairs to the front door and opened it.

Andy stood there grinning. He glanced down at Prue's sleeveless black dress from the night before, then at own his jeans and athletic shoes. "I feel a little under-dressed for our breakfast date."

Prue held her forehead, "Oh, Andy, I forgot about that."

Andy looked disappointed. "You forgot? I reminded you just yesterday."

"I know. I know."

"So what's the problem? Get some shoes on and let's go." He said, smiling.

Prue winced. "I can't leave right now."

Andy cocked his head and was just about to say something when behind him a voice called out. "Hey, Andy." They all looked to see Leo coming up the walkway, blond hair almost blinding in the sun.

Piper waved at Leo over Andy's shoulder. She looked down at her own dark blue dress from the night before. She smoothed her hand over the silky material. It was clingy and wrinkled. But what did she expect?—she'd just slept in it.

With his hands on his hips, Andy nodded at him. "Good morning, Leo."

Piper leaned over and took Andy's arm. "Come in, Andy. You too, Leo."

Leo stood at the door and smiled down at Piper. "I wasn't going to come by until tomorrow, but I was in the area."

"No, I'm glad you stopped by. We have an electrical problem." Piper closed the door behind him. "We've been up nearly all night. You know how it is…every little noise wakes you."

Hearing this, Andy seemed to lose his agitation. He turned to Prue. "You should've called me. I got off work around midnight; I could've come over."

Prue shook her head. "You worked late and I didn't want to disturb you."

"I'd rather you call me when something like this happens—"

Prue couldn't help but smile. He was so protective. But then, he'd always been like that, even when they were kids.

And after three months of recently being broken up, she didn't want anymore secrets between them. Today was to be the day when she finally told Andy the truth. Their breakfast date was to serve that purpose—and he knew there was something she wanted to talk to him about, and he knew it was serious. But he didn't know just how serious or life-changing it would be. She prayed he would take it in stride. You're in love with a witch. Nevermind that you don't believe in such things, witches and demons. But I am what I am. So will you accept me or will you turn your back on me? She was supposed to find out today, this very morning. But now she didn't see how they were going to have that talk—not the way she'd wanted it: in their favorite restaurant, just the two of them.

Piper was making her way to the kitchen. "I'm going to put coffee on and scramble some eggs." She looked back at her guests. "There's no reason why we can't have breakfast here."

Prue stared after her. No, no reason at all.

xXx

"Ah," Leo said. "Here's the problem." He had taken the light fixtures down from the wall in the upstairs hall. Wires protruded from holes like black worms.

Piper had just come from her bedroom, freshly showered, clean clothes. She tucked her long, damp hair behind her ears and stood up on her tip-toes to see what he was talking about.

"See?" he pointed to the dark circle on the wall with his screwdriver. "Water stains, just like downstairs. There's a leak somewhere." He put his screwdriver back in his tool belt. "Is there a door to the attic around here?"

Piper sputtered, "Umm, yeah, but you don't want to go up there. It's a mess." And there's a certain book up there that you wouldn't know where to begin to understand.

Leo grinned at her. "Attics usually are messy. People use them for storage and stuff."

"I know, but the water didn't come from the attic…it came from somewhere else."

Leo looked at her as if he didn't know whether she was kidding or not.

"Prue and I were just up there this morning and the roof was fine." Why was he still looking at her that way? It was the truth, damn it.

"Okay, okay. If you don't want me to go up in the attic, I won't. But people usually hide their skeletons in the basement, not the attic," he laughed.

Piper crossed her arms and looked at him. "Funny, I thought it was the closet."

He leaned against the wall, a little closer to her, "You got me there."

His nearness was intoxicating. She breathed in the smell of fresh-cut grass and leather.

There was nothing she could think of to say. Maybe words didn't matter. Maybe words only got in the way as she noticed that his green eyes didn't waver from her face. Oh surely he felt it too, this strange sensation, this magnetic pull whenever they were together.

He reached over and tucked a stray strand of damp hair behind her ear, his finger grazing the lobe and sending shivers down her neck. He leaned in and her eyes half shut in a dreamy haze. She watched as his lips formed her name, and then he gently kissed her.

xXx