The Life and Times

Part 3: Rhymes and Reasons

Chapter 26

"To expostulate why day is day, night night, and time is time, 
were nothing but to waste night, day, and time"
Hamlet, Act ii, Sc.2

Phoebe came downstairs the next morning with Whosit. She was yawning because the whole family had been woken up three times with Melinda having nightmares. Leo had kept them awake longer by ranting about killing Rodik. Patsy, still not trusted to get himself downstairs and he  resented being carried,  was straining to get out of her arms by the time she reached the kitchen and managed to get in a fairly hard kick  at her boobs as she put him in his high chair.

"I so love being a mother " she muttered." Ouch " and opened her dressing gown to examine her boobs.

"Phoebe " said Piper.

"What " said Phoebe " every-one here has seen 'em"

Rodik was not gracing the table, which added to the tension, not eased it because every-one kept glancing to see whether he would appear. Paige was reading the paper and Piper was cooking. Melinda was already in her high chair and Leo was doing his best to coax her to eat, because thanks to Rodik she flatly refused to eat anything that may have involved the death of an animal.

"Its milk Lindie" Leo said with strained patience "Cows give milk every day, they like to give it. It makes them happy. Same with eggs, chickens like to give them, makes them really happy " he said "I'm going to kill Rodik."

"You never gave birth did you Leo?" asked Piper.

"Mm" said Paige not looking up.

Cole was already downstairs his head down reading a brief for a court hearing he had in the morning. Or he was trying to. Piper was giving him a hard time over the case twhich was a hearing to overturn a taxi driver losing his licence for drunk driving after he narrowly missed a group of school children. Cole had found a technicality to get him off.

"He's a paying customer " Cole said "You're the one who is always bitching I never earn any money."

"There are ways of earning it without selling your soul" snorted Piper.

Finally he irritably shuffled the papers back in order, slammed them down and snapped "Stop picking on me for doing my job." he told Piper. "I'm sick to death of people in this family treating me like I'm some sort of freak because I'm a lawyer and defend people who pay me to defend them."

"That's another problem, they don't pay you," smirked Piper "They say they will and then disappear."

"That's what happens when you defend crooks and thieves," said Leo "Lindie, butter comes from milk, that nice friendly cows give you. For a present."

"Stop picking on me" said Cole.

Paige looked up from reading the paper " In the "World We Live In" column Jack Ellis lists all the psychological issues associated with different jobs. He says that lawyers suffer from depression, anxiety, hostility, paranoia, social alienation and isolation, obsessive-compulsiveness, and interpersonal sensitivity at alarming rates."

Phoebe pouring warm milk over Whosit's cereal, looked over her shoulder. "Gee" she said with professional interest, "Jack Ellis usually knows his stuff."

"Its not funny Phoebe" Cole muttered nastily but spoilt it by letting the special smile play around his mouth because chauvinist or not he always got a thrill watching her be mother to his child. 

"Lindie" said Leo showing his exasperation. "Bread is made from wheat. Not animals."

"Does the wheat die to make it? " asked Melinda as Leo ground his teeth.

"What doe he say about angels?" asked Phoebe.

"I don't think the guy who  understands about angels," said Paige.

"Slippery bunch, angels, hiding their nasty little sins behind curtsies and compliments, Bibles and badges." Cole quoted, something he had been saving for just the right moment.

"Eat your toast Lindie " said Leo "The woman who said that was a murderer Cole" Leo told him. "Its honey  Melinda " Leo said as she eyed it suspiciously "it comes from bees."

"Murderers have been known to tell the truth," Cole the lawyer said.

"Shut up Cole" said Piper "Bees don't die making honey Melinda " Piper told her realising what the problem was  "They go out and collect the pollen from flowers and carry it back and make honey with it. So it's really flowers. I'm going to kill Rodik."

"No-one dies." asked Melinda"

"Except maybe Rodik " Paige muttered under her breath.

"Of course not " said Phoebe brightly as she tried to coax Whosit Patsy into eating his cereal not playing splash with it. "You should have let me kill Rodik " she hissed at Leo.

"For god's sake don't let her find out how cheese is made." Leo whispered to Phoebe.

"Cheese" said Melinda.

"Made from milk, that nice cows just love to give you, " said Leo hastily.

"Not dragons?" asked Melinda who had taken notice of daddy's problems with cheese making dragons. "No-one dies?"

"Not dragons" said Leo firmly. "No-one dies."

"I told you murderer's know a thing or two about lying angels," Cole said standing up while Leo decided the argument could wait until he was in safer ground.

"Got to be in court," Cole said escaping.

Cole kissed Phoebe and the children, wiped honey off his chin and cereal off his tie without even being aware he did it and missed the odd wry smile on Phoebe's face as she watched him.

"What " he said.

"I love you," she said softly.

"I know" he said "What?"

"Go to work and have fun being an arsehole lawyer," she told him as he shook his head, not having any idea what she was talking about.

Paige stood up an eyed Phoebe's dressing gown. "If you want a lift to work " she told Phoebe. "You going to call Jade and Clarissa about warlock hunting plans" she asked Piper.

"As soon as Marly and I have worked on potions today." Piper said.

"I thought Marly wouldn't come near Rodik " said Leo.

"We've solved that problem," said Phoebe.

"Hurry up " Paige ordered Phoebe

"Its my car," said Phoebe.

Phoebe worked away on her columns all morning after Paige dropped her off at work. Paige needed a car for work because the community centre budget did not stretch to providing employees cars and she could never explain how she got to places when she orbed. She had since her own car, was destroyed thanks to Rodik been using Cole's or Phoebe's, often Phoebe's because Cole had the same problem explaining transport when he shimmered and Phoebe and Leo needed the SUV for kids,.

Piper called and told Phoebe that Marly had come up with a potion the power of three could turn into a vanquish of Willem and override the memory block and separate the good powers.

"What's the downside?" said Phoebe who had been a witch for sometime.

"He keeps the demonic ones" said Piper. "I mean we separate the good ones but he can kill until he goes pouff."

"So if we don't time it right, we go pouff not him," Phoebe mused.

"Yep " said Piper " we thought we might have a private non whitelighter, no retriever discussion with Jade and Clarissa and just decide what we want to risk."

"Good idea " said Phoebe.

"Better than this get Willem but Rodik get his Powers at all costs" said Piper,. "Paige is meeting me at Jade's. Can you get there this after noon?"

"Only if some-one can orb me," Phoebe said " or you pick me up "

"Leo is off making cheese making dragons behave. My car started to leak oil this morning so you'll have to pick me up.'" Piper told her unhappily.

"Eeek " said Phoebe "Not the whole engine."

"I hope not," Piper grimanced. "They cost a fortune."

" Any-one would think thee was an evil plot to send us broke." Phoebe said glibly. "Eeek" she said "Won't go there. I'll get Cole's car" she looked at the picture of Cole and Patsy on her computer "How the hell can we keep running out of cars in a family where 3 people can materialise on spirit winds. Magic isn't all its cracked up to be…sometimes," she added feeling like a heretic as Piper snorted.

"Lately finding it's just wonderful " Piper said smugly.

"Oh go play with the fairies again" snipped Phoebe.

She glanced at her watch and decided Cole should have finished in court and maybe even got paid by this time and called him.

"Hi baby" Phoebe said wondering why after all the time they had been together she still felt a small choke when she heard his voice, one that was not very far from the excitement she had in those first few times he ever called.

"Why you calling?" he asked. "

"I need your car" Phoebe told him. "Paige has mine, and I have to go to a magic meeting at Jade's over the harbour, and pick up Piper and get back for drinkies over at Meet the press party Elsie just ordered me to go to. If I drive I have an excuse to not drink. Nobody wants a sober person around when they are getting dunk. And…"

"Sure" he said cutting her off because dealing with the politics of Phoebe's workplace sometimes reminded him very closely of the demon hierarchies "I can just squeeze getting it to you between clients if I shimmer. Why do you have to pick up Piper?"

"Nah " she said " I get a work taxi to go to the radio show. I can do a slight detour from that. SUV is sick."

"I got a nice big check today " Cole told her proudly/ "I guess we know where some is going." He added "Bloody cars."

"Real money?" Phoebe asked impressed.

"Yeah "He answered "Insurance company finally paid up over Mrs Leeson's claim

"See I told you threats work better than nice request's" said Phoebe who was a good witch.

Cole laughed "They finally worked out that they haven't got a leg to stand on with the Livingston case and if I go to court on that it will cost them  more than the Leeson one. So I think they figure I might be more willing to negotiate it if they paid up on Mrs Leeson."

"So you're going to make nice on the Livingston one, to get the money out of them for Mrs Leeson?" Phoebe asked trying to hide he disappointment in him.

"No, you know me better than that " said Cole picking up on the disappointment "I'm going to do what's best for Livingston, but I guess there's no need to tell them that."

"Sorry " said Phoebe " I really do trust your arseholedness but you know. I am Good."

"I know " said Cole.

"Funny how things work " Phoebe said. "Because the insurance company refused to pay for the fire and staff injuries at the fire at Livingston bakery on a technicality that turned out to be illegal, Mrs Leeson finally gets paid for car accident that should have been fixed months ago. "

"Yep " Cole said/, not finding it funny.

"What we do we get ?" Phoebe asked .

"About $35,000 " Cole sighed. "Enough at least to pay the rent and Eduardo's wages for the quarter and put away for the tax bill."

"What do we get?" Phoebe asked.

"Well" Cole thought about it "Anything I get his quarter is real wages now  so I thought we could rob the tax account to help Paige with a new car and put it back with wages."

"That would be good." Phoebe said, "$35,000 and most gone before you cash the cheque," she sighed.

" I told you I was working for nothing," Cole muttered.

"We get anything " Phoebe sighed."

"Thought might keep back a thousand " Cole said " maybe spend half of it on a really good restaurant and night for the five of us when Rodik finally disappears. "

"Babysitter for the kids and grownups only, " Phoebe planned quickly, because she couldn't remember the last time they did that.

"And half on us " said Cole.

"That would be nice." said Phoebe "Gotta go."

"That was a damned sensible conversation" Cole said "I miss the nonsense you know before we married."

He put he phone down. It rang about 30 seconds later.

"If you have to light a stove, a fire and water heater and you any have one match, what do you light first?" Phoebe asked.

" The match" he said "Love you baby." and put the phone down.

It rang again 30 seconds later. Cole picked it up.

 "Why can't people living in the southern hemisphere be buried facing north?" asked Phoebe.

"Because they aren't dead," said Cole. "You want to go somewhere and just fuck, you know just us, no magic, no family nothing but us, "

"There'd be magic " Phoebe sighed " Yes, I want you baby, I love you baby" she whispered "I want to fuck so bad at the moment " she sighed. "Love you baby" and hung up.

A minute later the Phoebe rang again. Cole picked it " Honest baby " Cole said "talking just isn't enough. I 'm coming over an we can just shimmer somewhere and fuck the day away."

"What does shimmer mean in connection with fuck? Its not one I've heard before" said the unmistakable gritty voice of Judge Agatha Bernstein, the 70 year matriarch of the San Francisco court house and sitting judge in the case Cole had in court the next week where he was representing mothers from local school who were insisting a large billboard of a naked woman with insects on her lower regions advertising something called "Sects" was obscene.


Cole decided he better concentrate on being a lawyer and spent the rest of the morning paying attention to 2 little old ladies, about their wills. He left the radio on because so he could hear Phoebe's show and didn't turn it off when as he worked away, jacket off, Mrs Williams demanded to see him without an appointment.

"My wife " he explained a little proudly to 80 year old Mrs Williams, a very sweet grandmother, then hastily turned it off when he realised Phoebe was talking about spicing up familiar relationships with graphic examples from her marriage.

He swallowed uncomfortably.

"Does that work? " Mrs Williams asked as he showed her out the office. "Bert and I found a little cross dressing did the trick " she said with a wistful expression of memory on her face. "Bert died of a heart attack you know."

"Really " said Cole " I'm sorry." and jumped when he saw Francesca in his outer office. Eduardo glanced at Francesca, prim school marm in place and then at Cole.

"You'd be surprised, Eduardo," Cole thought to himself as he waved his hand toward his office and Francesca proceeded him.

"I gather Bert went happy " Francesca said as she turned to Cole.

"So it seems, " he said, not keeping the sulkiness out of his voice "I've got a bone to pick with you."

"Oh good god what's wrong now?" Francesca asked, with some irritation.

"Why do you think Phoebe decides who my friends are?" he demanded furiously.

Francesca raised her eyes, then gave him a very school marm glare "Don't you two know that its keeping secrets and not discussing issues that keeps a marriage healthy " she asked with a sigh. "Sort your problems with your wife Cole." she told him bluntly.

"I don't have a problem with my wife," he snapped " I have one with you."

"Do you know the very first thing I was told as a whitelighter was that you had to love your charges and keep the whole relationship totally impersonal " Francesca told him dryly" I wonder why I forgot that?"

Cole opened his mouth.

"No " Francesca interrupted, her expression decidedly peeved" Let's just be very clear. I care a great deal about you and Phoebe but the only relationship I am prepared to have with either of you is one where I am not the bone of contention. End of conversation. And discussion."

"You think? " he started to say and took one look at her expression and changed the subject "Why are you here?" he demanded like a sulky school boy.

"Proctor is at his...home if you wish to see him." she answered business like.

He nodded knowing he was not going to win the other discussion.

"What do you think Proctor can tell you that you don't know? " she asked all whitelighter and no nonsense.

"He can see something in Africa I'm missing.  I hope " said Cole less than confident.

"Cole this source has just found something in Africa that he thinks will establish his credentials as the power of Evil. You are not there to stop him tempting those who would be tempted. You're there to ensure in doing so the balance is not lost in the process. That good is not corrupted and seduced. Not fix it." Francesca repeated for what seemed to her the hundredth time and he responded with an irritated, frustrated shake of his head, for the hundredth time.

Before she could speak again there was knock at the door and Phoebe still very nervous came in.

"Hi baby " said Cole still annoyed "Mrs Rinaldi is just…."

"I heard" Phoebe said" hello Francesca s" she greeted her, carefully keeping a big smile on her face that did not quite remove the apprehension in her eyes.

"Hello dear" :Francesca answered not missing the apprehension and for a second the thought crossed her mind that Durand was easier to manage than these two.

"Mrs Rinaldi was enjoying herself giving advice " Cole muttered petulantly.

"Cole " said Phoebe. "I just came for car keys" she explained. "Honest" she said desperately " Not checking up ..or anything .Honest " she said.

"I believe you dear" said Francesca smiling a little and proving she really was an angel.

 "What were you telling Cole about the source and evil?" Phoebe asked. "I want to know. please " she said because it was all she could do was to say it was all right with her they were talking and Francesca did not have to pull away from Cole's friendship.

"I was trying to explain to him. Again" said Francesca deciding to take advantage of opportunities offered while Cole ground his teeth "that Africa and the Source's actions are not unusual and that the guardians who are called seem to be called because they can hold the balance."

"So you think he'll find a way?" Phoebe commented, interested.

"I'm sure of it ," said Francesca as Cole hissed his breath.

 "I'm not deaf" he ground out between his teeth.

"Something like this happened before?" Phoebe asked ignoring Cole.

Francesca also ignored Cole and spoke to Phoebe "The Source before last one used the crusades and inquisition, worked through greed and ambition and called it religion. For a time, he seemed to be winning, but a guardian of the time Esther found a way to encourage witches to find great power in community. In the absence of men at war, many women, many witches rose to great power and influence, although some paid a high price." Francesca added her expression darkening momentarily as she remembered, that everything came at a cost, even good.

"They did?" Phoebe asked who was always interested in hearing from Francesca about the history she had lived. Phoebe ignored Cole who was stamping his feet at the history lesson.

"Eleanor of Aquitane, Joan of Arc" said Francesca grimly.

"No " said Phoebe. "They were witches?"

"It was a time of some very powerful women." Francesca told her remembering.

"Who cares" said Cole reverting to about 5 years old.

"I do" said Phoebe genuinely interested and pleased she could do something for Francesca.

Francesca narrowed her eyes and turned back to Phoebe, thinking she may not get the chance to push so hard again "The next source, the one you knew tried to make his mark by destroying witches, fighting women, burning them, nearly succeeding in wiping out witches but this time there was a guardian. ."

"Hilma" interrupted Phoebe "She stopped it."

"How did you know that? " asked Francesca. Genuinely surprised"

"Something you said" answered Phoebe quickly not lying.

"Okay, okay," snapped Cole "I get it. I'm called, I can fix it, the balance of good and evil depends on me but I don't have to worry, you don't have to worry. I'll find a way."

"If history is any guide, Francesca answered calmly .

"Can we go?" Cole demanded.

"Certainly" answered Francesca businesslike "Thank you dear" she said to Phoebe.

"You're very welcome " Phoebe answered sincerely as Cole threw his car keys to her somewhat harder than was necessary. As his back was to her she met Francesca's eyes and mouthed, "I'm sorry " and Francesca nodded.

Cole walked out ahead of Phoebe and Francesca without bothering to pick up his jacket and muttered something to Eduardo about being a while. Francesca followed him to the corridor while he waited impatiently for the elevator and then swallowed uncomfortably as Francesca gave him her best school marm stare.

Phoebe followed them into the elevator. "See you baby," he muttered as Francesca said goodbye and orbed. Cole shimmered after her.


Paige arrived at Jade's house a little way ahead of her sister's. She rang the door bell and Jade answered

Jade was wearing some-what faded and baggy leggings, a large sweater with the sleeves pushed up and her hair had the just had time to rush a brush though it look.

"Hi " she said. She saw Paige glancing around the untidy house, although she tried not to judge.

 "Not even trying today " Jade explained with a grin "No in laws expected. My oldest daughter had her basketball team over last night. Some crisis with the coach and they wanted to talk. Ever figured out why teenagers can't sit on chairs but need to throw cushions and everything else on the floor. Lucky those kids eat home made pizza and my second oldest likes making it or we'd be mortgaging the house from the food bill last night. "

Paige nodded not quite sure what to say.

"Kitchen's worse," said Jade unfrazzled "Come on in."

Jade was not joking. Dishes were stacked everywhere, clothes were drying on wracks and she had an ironing board set up with ironed clothes over half the chairs and 3 large baskets of unironed clothes spilling out of them.

"Just an average day " Jade explained not joking. "had to go and do my duty at the school used book shop this morning and got a bit behind. And had visit from my whitelighter Caleb. He doesn't the Charmed Ones" she told Paige.

"Phoebe and Piper will be here soon. Clarissa is on her way." Paige told Jade. "We didn't like Caleb when he was our whitelighter last year, so we're even."

"Do you mind if I go on ironing until then?" Jade asked, picking up the iron before Paige could reply.

"I wondered how you coped with normal life and being a witch" Paige grinned. "Now I know "

"I don't cope," said Jade. "I keep looking for a non personal gain ironing spell but haven't found one yet. I think that would be my ultimate success as a witch. Fortunately my kids are pretty good at putting this away, even if they think it is cool to claim they don't."

"That's good," said Paige carefully.

"Well I don't put them away so some-one sure does," Jade replied, ironing away.

"Maybe its brownies " said Paige slowly.

"That would be nice to think magic was doing something to help " Jade said ironing hard.

"You ever regret being a witch?" Paige asked suddenly.

"No " said Jade "You know I'd kill for a full night's sleep and maybe an hour to do absolutely nothing" She laughed "I like to bitch but its…. I feel I've been given a special privilege and it's made my life…better."

"Do you really?" Paige asked leaning forward.

"Don't you?" Jade eyed her curiously..

"Cost me a bit," said Paige carefully " But I found some thing too. Your husband is seems okay with the magic."

"He deals " Jade said. "You lost a few…. friends because of the magic.:" she asked intuitively.

"Lost the love of my life " Paige acknowledged, her head on the side.

"Couldn't take it?" Jade asked in a matter of fact tone " or turned out to be demon guy on the make?"

Paige met Jade's eyes questioningly.

"Well its one way they know we're all vulnerable " Jade said. " Nearly fell once myself. You think the fairy tale could really happen. One would turn away from evil for a good witch." And the comment seemed a little forced "Like Phoebe's story with Belthezor could have a happy ending."

Paige swallowed.

"Okay I'm pushing " said Jade "But you see I'm a an upfront person and I just want to know I'm not risking my children growing up without a mother to protect evil. I shouldn't asked " said Jade uncomfortably. "Caleb was muttering warnings this morning."

"You've a right," Paige told her. She took a deep breath "You're not risking your life to help evil , at least not because of any demon relationships me or my sister might have. Whitelighters insisting on getting powers and Rodik are another thing," she said. "Do you believe me?" Paige asked awkwardly.

Jade put down the iron determinedly. "Look " she said "We've fought together, I've trusted you with my life and you've trusted me with your's and we haven't betrayed that trust. Only I have children and a husband and I need to ask."

"Well with the things you've heard the whitelighters saying you'd be a fool not to " Paige answered slowly.

Jade smiled, pushing her hair back "Never been involved in magic like this before. Most exciting thing I've ever done." she said "Heard all the stories about the Charmed Ones, never thought I'd live it." She took a breath " but you see I know that witches have died being with you. Jenna Brown was a friend of my cousin's" Jade said and Paige clearly understood Jade had been working herself up to ask.

"Jenna Brown? " asked Paige.

"A witch who was killed a few year's ago by a demon who was stalking the Charmed Ones, or seducing one or something like that. All a bit vague, only the things I'm hearing about Phoebe and Belthezor at the moment, or really not hearing make me wonder " Jade said. "Or was that before you…"

"I know about It " said Paige slowly.

"Are Clarissa or I in any danger of being killed by a demon who seduced a Charmed One?" Jade asked bluntly.

"No" said Paige firmly.

"How about one who's married to a Charmed One? " asked Jade determined.

Paige swallowed "No" she said "Anyway what makes you think..." She asked her voice wobbling

"Always was a romantic at heart " Jade replied pressing her lips together. "Always did believe in true love. Hell I've got 5 kids to prove it" she said "You see things. I've trusted you with my life, you've trusted me with your's." she added.

Paige shuddered "You can trust us, but you know the….Elder's think .

"News to me they think " said Jade "Is Cole the demon Belthezor? " she asked bluntly.

"Used to be," said Paige slowly opting for trust.

Jade was silent. She picked up the iron and put it down.

"Well" asked Paige nervously.

"You know It gives me hope that one even one could cross" Jade said pensively " makes it…justified it. Explains why he can be such an arsehole lawyer " said Jade. "Clarissa told me what he did about the insurance." she grinned.

"Actually said Paige " the arsehole lawyer comes from the part of him that used …that is mortal.. human, the part that used to be a demon can be a sanctimonious prig."

Jade raised her eyes.

"Scared the hell out of my boyfriends" Paige explained.

"The one magic cost you too?" Jade asked because she was a mother

"No " said Paige " Mark, he wasn't scared of Cole, or wouldn't let Cole scare him off. Mark was nice, really good, smart, sweet," Paige looked at her "Funny." She took a  breath because she had never talked about Mark outside the family." I... you know, I like… dating. Really enjoy it and I really enjoyed it with Mark but I fell in love with him because he was sweet."

"What happened?" asked Jade.

"Demon got him" said Paige hurting because she had never said it to any-one outside the family.

"Not Belthezor?" Jade asked grim "I mean Cole.. I mean."

"No " said Paige "Just destiny. Didn't realise how good he was. Future whitelighter whose future was a bit sooner than I planned."

"I'm glad" said Jade as the doorbell rang "There was some-one."

"What?" said Paige."

"I was concerned you were the Charmed One who wasn't…loved, your sisters seem…complete. You don't." Jade finished, opening the door to Piper and Phoebe who both tried to avoid noticing the mess in the living room.

"Don't know how you cop with being a witch a wife witch and raising five kids" Piper said as they followed her. "We struggle to look after three little ones and there are five of us."

"Oh that's easy " said Jade grinning at Paige as she indicated to sit at the table " I don't cope. I sometimes have to remind myself how glad I was when I found out I was pregnant. How badly I wanted kids" she smiled.

"My Melinda is enough of a handful now, and Phoebe's Patsy isn't much better. Waiting on Wyatt " Piper told Jade as she started to make coffee and pull out home made cookies from the stove. Jade apparently had no problem maintaining a conversation, making coffee and cooking and ironing.

"Take my advice " said Jade bringing coffee over to the table and offering cookies. " don't see let them see the Wizard of Oz "

"Why?" asked Piper.

"Because" explained Jade pushing her hair back." Before they're 11 or 12, the first time you refuse to let them sleep over with a friend whose parents are not the most responsible parties you've come across, no matter how much they promise to behave, you're going to be called the wicked witch of the west and every variation. Oh or watch reruns of Bewitched. My eldest likes to called me Endora whenever I've done what she calls interfering."

"I'll remember," said Piper raising her eyes.

"Clarissa is on her way " said Phoebe. "We have a potion that we think can get Willem but there are some risks and we think we need to talk about them, and what we are not going to do."

"Like not get killed protecting Rodik? asked Jade.

"Among other things" said Phoebe.

The door bell rang and Jade got up again.

"Jade asked me about Belthezor and Cole " Paige whisper " it told her the truth"

Before Phoebe could answer Jade came back with Clarissa.

Piper explained the potions and the risks and said very firmly that they were not going to risk getting killed for Rodik or take unnecessary risks to get the powers back.

They all nodded.

"Bet we do though " said Jade. "Take the risks"

"What do you mean?" asked Clarissa.

"Same reason Phoebe went out with Rodik last week when she knew it was stupid" said Jade as Phoebe bristled. "Can't help ourselves," she explained. "Got this calling to be Good witches, fight evil. Can't help ourselves Can't resist doing what we're called for." she shrugged self depreciatingly.

"You're right " said Clarissa "I know I will. I can't help thinking what whitelighters say. I really would hate to think of some damned warlock using my not magic power for evil. Sort of destroys everything I have done for Good, so I will take the risk for other witches. Hope some-one would take it for me."

The Charmed sisters looked at each other and nodded reluctantly.

Jade nodded too " My mother she was finally killed by a demon. I was always glad it was not some warlock stalking her just for powers but in a real battle over and good and evil, protecting innocents doing something good . " She fought back some emotion and then shrugged.

"Bastard Elders for being right " said Piper.

"Bastard Elders could get us killed for being right " said Phoebe " you think they'd cry at our funeral."

"I don't want any-one to cry at my funeral " said Jade, while the other four eyed her nervously "I've been fighting evil since In my mother first explained what it really meant being a witch was when I was 16. " she smiled " She did a good job my mother, you know, with me and my sister because she didn't burden us with magic when we were young, she just prepared us. My sister was killed a couple of years ago by some bloody flux demon when things were going crazy."

"Things were bad a few years ago " agreed Piper "Out of control cults."

"Yes" said Clarissa " Two of my cousins went."

The charmed sisters glanced at each other.

"I thought about it, " continued Jade "You know when my mother died and my sister. I don't want to, you know ,be cried over and then fade out of people's lives." She smiled a little awkwardly "I thought about it. I hope my friends; my family will do something special in memory of me. Have just the greatest time, do something that makes them really happy, so whenever they think about how happy they were all their lives, they'll remember me and I'll always be part of their lives."

She took a deep breath "More coffee " she asked.

The witches stayed about another half hour, discussing details of taking Willem that they did not want to talk to whitelighters about.

"So" said Piper as they were leaving" we're agreed. We are not going to take stupid risks, protecting Rodik or making sure Good gets those powers."

"Unless we don't have a choice" said Jade.

"Unless we have no other way" said Clarissa.

As she left Paige turned back and said quietly to Jade. "There's something I want to say"

"You're secret is safe with me" said Jade leaning on her front door.

"No "said Paige awkwardly "Its just, you know, not that it will happen but your children, I mean, I couldn't replace you or anything but I'd make sure, they had some-one magic to be there for them, you know to help them….I" she stopped uncomfortable.

Jade smiled, pushing her hair back from her face, then reached out to put her hand on Paige's arm. " That boyfriend of yours, you said he was nice and sweet. You two must have been a good pair."

Paige nodded a little teary as she left and Jade shut the door so she could go on not coping in her very messy house.