Title: The Broken Road to You
Written For: elementalfey
Author's Note: This is sort of a prequel to my yuletide fic After Life. Many thanks to storydivagirl for the beta :)
To say I was shocked to find myself dead would be a gross understatement. In the three years since my sisters and I learned we were witches, I'd successfully battled what seemed like hundreds of demons. There had been some close calls, but Leo always managed to heal us in time. Why was this time different?
"I can't be dead," I began to argue the moment the Angel of Death appeared to me. He rolled his eyes and pointed at my lifeless body lying next to Piper. "Well what about Piper?" I asked, refusing to believe that a demon had finally bested me.
"It's not her time," he said as Leo orbed in, took stock of the situation and held his hands over Piper. They glowed for several long minutes before she finally coughed and regained consciousness. I could see that Leo and Piper were speaking, but I couldn't hear what they were saying. When Leo held his hands over me and they refused to glow, I saw the terror grow in Piper's eyes. "Come along now, you've seen enough." The Angel of Death took my hand and led me to a swirling vortex of light.
"But wait," I argued. "Can't I at least say goodbye to Piper? What's going to happen to her and Phoebe? How can you split up the Power of Three? Won't that tip the scales in evil's favor and upset the balance? You told me you were neutral!"
"It's your time, Prue. Your name is on my list and I have to take you with me. I don't know about the grand design, but I am certain the universe will adjust accordingly."
I opened my mouth to argue some more, but he yanked me into the vortex and I was unable to speak as we traveled. I was nervous and scared and even a little excited. I knew there was an after life and I hoped I'd get to see my mom, my grams, and maybe even my old boyfriend, Andy. But the big sister in me was worried about Piper and Phoebe and what was going to happen to them without me there to protect them.
We stepped out of the vortex and I was surrounded by light.
"Hello Prue," I heard a soft, familiar voice behind me. I turned and saw my mother standing there.
"Mom." I ran into her arms. It felt good to hug her. She'd died when we were so young that I had trouble remembering what her hugs felt like.
"Darling, it's so good to see you. I'm sorry it's so soon, but I’m glad I finally get to spend some time with one of my girls."
"It will be nice to spend time with you too, Mom," I said honestly. "But I'm worried about Piper and Phoebe. What's going to happen to them now that the power of three is broken?"
I saw a flash of something on mom's face. I somehow knew that whatever she was about to say wasn't going to quite be the truth.
"I'm sure they’ll be okay. They are still the most powerful witches in the Warren line. Perhaps there has been a comparable loss in the underworld that we aren't aware of yet."
Her words were hesitant and I knew she was definitely hiding something. I didn't push though; I figured I had all of eternity to find out her secret.
"Come along, darling. I've been assigned as your spirit guide and there are a few people who are anxiously awaiting your arrival."
"My spirit guide?"
"Every soul is assigned a spirit guide, someone to help you make the transition from life to after life and show you the ropes so to speak. You have an advantage to the mortals I usually assist because you knew there was an after life."
I nodded because it did make sense. I thought it was pretty nice for whoever was in charge to help people make the transition. Suddenly, my brain caught something my mom had said.
"Wait. You said there are people waiting to see me? And you said you'd been assigned as my guide. Does that mean you all knew I was going to die today?"
She gave me her serene smile. "Yes, darling. The Angel of Death did tell you it was your time."
I tried to wrap my brain around that. I'd always thought we had free will and that the future was mutable. Those were lessons we'd learned as Charmed Ones and now it seemed they weren't true at all. I couldn't make sense of it.
My mother obviously noticed the confusion on my face. "I'll explain it all in time. Just relax."
We entered a house. I had been trying so hard to understand all of the mental aspects of my death that I'd failed to notice my surroundings. The after life resembled a regular neighborhood. We'd been walking down a street with houses on each side. I almost asked mom about it, but decided my brain was on information overload and it could wait.
The house looked an awful lot like the manor inside. We entered the parlor and I saw Grams and Andy sitting on the sofa waiting for me.
We sat and chatted for a while, catching up. Mom brought out a tray of tea and the three of them answered some of my questions about the after life. I was still worried about Piper and Phoebe. I wished there was a way I could let them know that I was okay, but Grams told me there were rules about how soon a spirit was allowed to contact a living family member. She did tell me that there were ways to watch over my sisters but she said she'd show me the next day so I wouldn't get too overwhelmed.
It had gotten pretty late and I was a little surprised to find myself tired. Mom explained that the after life wasn't all that different than life, except that depending on what kind of a person you were when alive would dictate where you spent your after life. I definitely wouldn't have to worry about demons or cheating ex-boyfriends in my afterlife.
Mom and Grams showed me the room I would be staying in and they went to bed. I was a little nervous about being alone with Andy. We'd had a pretty tumultuous relationship when we were alive, especially after I moved back to San Francisco. He'd known my sisters and I were keeping a secret from him but I'd been afraid to tell him about our heritage because I didn't think he could handle it. It led to more fights than I could count. He finally learned our secret and ended up getting killed by a demon shortly thereafter. I wasn't sure if he'd forgiven me for not telling him sooner.
"So where do you live?" I asked, trying to make conversation.
He flashed me the smile that had always made me weak in the knees. "My house is just up the street. Your mom was my spirit guide when I first got here and I decided to stick close to her and Grams."
I wasn't sure what to say. I wanted to apologize that his association with me had been the cause of his untimely demise, but the words wouldn't come.
"Prue," he said softly, taking my hand. I met his eyes. "It wasn't your fault I died. It was my time. I've long forgiven you for keeping your heritage a secret. I understand why it was so important for you and your sisters to keep it to yourselves. You've done so many amazing things in the last two years."
"You've been… watching?"
"Of course. I had very mixed feelings when I found out you'd be joining us here. I was selfishly happy because it meant we'd finally have a chance to have a normal relationship. But I was also sad because it meant that you wouldn't be able to protect innocents any more."
"You… you want to have a relationship with me?"
He chuckled. "Of course I do, Prue. We are meant to be together. I wish it hadn't taken death to get us there, but I can't imagine spending the rest of eternity without you."
I smiled. "It's been a long road for us."
He held me close and I sighed, happy to be in his arms again and looking forward to beginning our after life together.