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Disclaimer: Not mine...belongs to Burge, Kern, and Spelling Entertainment.

Author's Note: Written for the Yuletide Ficathon. Thank you so much to Tiny Stages, who created the beautiful new dustjacket for it.

Paige Matthews slowly opened her eyes as the bright morning sun filtered into the room. Holding up her hand, she tried to block out its strong rays. When that didn’t work, she rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. However, she came fully awake when she noticed that the other side of the bed was empty.

Sitting up, she noticed a note lying on Kyle Brody’s pillow. She picked it up and read.


Got a lead on the Avatars. Will be back this afternoon. Merry Christmas.


She groaned as she tossed the note back onto the pillow. Was it really Christmas? She fell back into the bed. It didn’t feel like Christmas, not since she had fought with her sisters.

She fought back tears as she replayed the scene in her head. Piper and Phoebe wanted to trust Leo and the Avatars. Paige believed in Kyle’s side of the story. In the end, she had gathered her things and declared that she was moving out. Phoebe had tried to talk her out of it, while Piper had chosen to ignore the situation.

“If she wants to go, let her,” Piper had said, her voice filled with an anger that was threatening to spill over.

“But what about the Power of Three?” Phoebe had asked.

Paige only shook her head as she continued to pack. “Call me if you need me. That’s the only time you need me anyway.”

Phoebe tried to place herself between Paige and the open suitcase. “That’s not true, and you know it.”

Paige pushed her aside as she tossed her underwear into the case. “Maybe not to you, but Piper’s never really accepted me.”

At that point, Piper had fully entered the room from where she had been standing in the hall. “Is that what you think of me? Of this family?” She pointed towards the door. “You’re the one who wants to trust Brody over us. You’re the one who wants to leave with this man you barely know, possibly putting all of our lives in danger.”

“How do you know that trusting the Avatars won’t do just that? They killed Kyle’s parents, Piper. That might kill us, too.”

Piper crossed her arms, temper flashing in her brown eyes. “Just go,” she said, fighting to keep her voice even.

After that, Paige had taken her suitcase and met Kyle by the door. Without so much as a goodbye, they had left the Halliwell Manor.

That had been at the beginning of December. Now it was Christmas Day, and Paige had never felt so alone in her life. Kyle was gone, still trying to follow his obsession with the Avatars, and she hadn’t spoken to her sisters at all.

Paige crawled out of bed and wrapped a robe around herself. She ambled into the living room, where a tiny Christmas tree was the only thing greeting her. She sat down on the soft couch and reached for the television remote. As she did, her eyes landed on the cordless telephone. It was carelessly lying on the coffee table, where Kyle must have left it earlier that morning.

For a brief moment, she considered calling her sisters. Then she remembered the fight and decided that they probably wouldn’t talk to her anyway.

Settling back into the cushions, she pressed the power button on the remote control. Nothing happened. She flipped it over and checked the back. The batteries were right where they were supposed to be. Tossing it aside, she stood up and pressed the power button on the TV. Once again, nothing happened.

“I find that talking is a lot easier without distractions,” a female voice said behind her. Whirling around, Paige faced a beautiful woman with long, dark hair and soft blue eyes. A small smile graced her lips. She stood beside the couch, dressed in a long white robe. A soft light glowed around her.

Paige knew that face, but it couldn’t be who she thought it was. There was no way. “Prue?” she asked as she sat down on the farthest end of the couch. Even though she had never met the woman, she had seen enough pictures to be able to recognize her deceased older sister.

Prue nodded. “So, you do know me.” She perched on the other end of the couch. “I have to admit, I was shocked to find out I had another sister, but it’s nice to finally meet you.”

“But you’re…?”

“Dead. Yeah, that’s right, and still pissed that Shax got me.” She dismissed it with a wave of her hand. “But that’s water under the bridge. I’m here because of you, and I don’t have a lot of time, so we have to make this conversation quick.”

Paige wrinkled her brow. “What conversation?”

“You need to end this fight with Piper and Phoebe. They need you, especially now.”

Paige couldn’t stop the chuckle of disbelief that bubbled out of her. “Oh, yes, that whole Power of Three thing.”

Prue crossed her arms and gave Paige a steely glare. “It isn’t just about that. It’s about family. Whether you believe it or not, you were the one who healed our family after I passed away. You saw it for yourself in Cole’s alternate reality. Why are you all of a sudden the odd man out?”

“Because I don’t trust this whole Avatar thing,” Paige explained, throwing her hands into the air. “Something about Kyle’s story is sincere, and Piper and Phoebe don’t want to believe it.”

Prue smiled. “Oh, you sound so much like Phoebe when she tried to make me believe in Cole. Yes, that’s right,” she continued when she saw Paige’s look of surprise, “Phoebe pulled a very similar stunt with me.” She stood and her eyes grew serious. “However, I don’t want any of you to make the same mistake I made with Phoebe. You’re going to need each other when this brewing storm hits, and besides, this holiday won’t feel right without them.”

Paige balled her hands into fists. “Are you saying they’re right?”

“I’m not saying anyone is right, Paige. I came to you because you’re still the only one who’s allowed to see me. All I’m asking is that you call them and open the lines of communication.”

Paige relaxed a little and stared down at the phone. “I suppose I could try.”

“I know you can. I’ve always had faith in you, little sister.”

Paige glanced up to say thank you, but the room was empty. There was no trace of her oldest sister. Sighing, she took the phone off the coffee table and dialed the familiar number.

“Hello?” Phoebe’s voice filtered through.

“Phoebe? It’s Paige. Merry Christmas.”


© 2005 Crimson Idealist