The Life and Times

Part 3: Rhymes and Reasons

Chapter 34

"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

Piper arrived at the courthouse with a Rodik who had spent the whole trip telling her about the importance of getting Willem's powers. Phoebe was waiting in the foyer with Paige and Jade who had orbed. Piper with Rodik hiding behind her in case any warlocks jumped out at him, walked up to her sisters and Jade.

Rodik greeted Jade with a large scornful sniff that he kept for lesser witches."Where's the other …witch " he asked.

"On her way " Piper said "We wait for her" she added in a don't argue tone.

"Any idea where Willem is? " Piper asked.

"Court 3" said Phoebe. "That's where Cole is, and Willem will be waiting for some action with him, not us.

"Why is he coming after your husband? " demanded Rodik.

"Shut the fuck up, " said all four witches.

They all jumped as in the corner behind them there was the tinkling of orbs and the whitelighters appeared.

"What's the fascination for the court house " asked Not-Casper. "Why is Willem here."

"Its because she knows her lover is going to show." Rodik snipped.

"Evil," said Phoebe without thinking. "Bad people and bad things happen."

"Is you husband at the courthouse?" asked Not-Casper somewhat suspiciously.

Phoebe nodded " Maybe that is the problem" she said falling back on an old half truth. "Cole was inhabited by the source, maybe Willem is…confusing him with the source, that is the problem."

"Maybe the whore has got her lover lined up to kill her husband" sniffed Rodik.

"Oh shut the fuck up " said Jade before the others could.

"I see " said Not-Casper. And then nothing else. "We'll wait." he said

To Phoebe's relief Clarissa arrived, and the conversation ended. Clarissa was  a little flustered and very excited, and breathed in anticipation" "Bombs away?" she asked.

"Maybe Rodik should wait with you?" Jade suggested to the whitelighters.

"You may not get many chances at the powers" Angela  said reasonably and obviously wishing she did not have too.

"You understood the Elders warning to respect the witches you work with," Not-Casper told Rodik who sniffed but decided it was not worth responding.

The witches, with Rodik hiding behind them, made their way into the court room 3, a sombre room, with dark wood wall lining, benches and tables and a judge with whom Phoebe flirted at a law association dinner when Cole worked at Jackman, Carter and Kline. Piper and Phoebe both remembered the last demon fight they had in this court some six years ago, when Cole had been sitting at the same table where he now sat next to an African American woman and a teenage boy, who had a wan fragile look to him.

Paige pulled the crystal from her purse. "Purple " she said.

"How in the hell can a warlock that looks like Dracula be here and no-one see him" demanded Jade.

"We're seeing him" a whispered Paige" we just don't remember."

"He's here " Clarissa told them "Sitting on the barrier just to the right of Cole."

They sat down and watched proceedings, Rodik sniffing beside them. Cole had instantly realised Phoebe and the witches were in the court room. He glanced to the door as they entered and raised his eyebrows, and made eye contact with Phoebe who smiled somewhat apprehensively.

"Cole will not interfere," said Piper confidently " He'll be smart."

"He'll be pissed," whispered Phoebe and from the sudden rigidity in the way Cole was sitting she knew his demonic hearing had picked up the conversation.

"What are you waiting for? " sniffed Rodik.

"Court to be cleared," sniped Piper,

"What's Willem waiting for?" asked Clarissa.

"Phoebe to start fighting the demons" said Paige.

"What demons?" asked Rodik.

"Shut the fuck up," hissed Piper and Phoebe while four people sitting in front of them turned around and glared.

Cole who had heard, half smiled as a court official made a shushing noise.

They watched a lawyer taking a witness through a long list of questions about the scientific properties of some chemical compound. The witness was explaining its properties and benefits in lengthy and boring detail.

"What's this about ?" whispered Clarissa.

"Mrs Collins and he son " whispered Phoebe " he had a job in a factory. Family were thrilled, he'd been in some trouble. Then he started to get sick, found out that the factory was using illegal cheap chemicals for manufacturing, so he complained and they sacked him. They're suing for illegal dismissal…"

"You don't think it's for real about the rat demons" whispered Paige in Piper's ear "Those factory owners look sort of ratty."

"Leave Cole to vanquish them in court" whispered Piper.

The lawyer and the witness droned on and on about the chemical and its usefulness. Cole did not take notes. The jury seemed to be nodding in agreement. The witches kept glancing surreptitiously at the empty space where Clarissa said Willem was standing.

The lawyer finished his long and complicated questioning. It was Cole's turn. He gave the witness a piece of coloured paper.

Phoebe was distracted from magic. She loved watching him be an arsehole lawyer.

"Can you read that out ?" Cole asked the witness.

The witness read out a lit of ingredients.

"What is it you are reading from? " Cole asked.

"This is the label for Natural Happy/Healthy Family " said the witness .

"What does it say Natural Happy/Healthy Family  is?" Cole asked quietly, politely.

"A chemical free compound that will improve the health of the whole family. Using totally natural ingredients," read the witness totally intimidated.

"Is  a natural ingredient?" Cole asked just as politely.

"Its made using natural ingredients " insisted the witness. "And it has the same chemical compound as …."

'Isn't it true that all chemical's have some natural ingredients" Cole asked calmly.

"Yes' muttered the witness.

"Is XD44 a natural ingredient? " Cole asked quietly, politely "or a manufactured chemical?"

"Its made from natural ingredients " said the witness.

"It's a manufactured chemical, " asked Cole pleasantly, almost lazily.

"Yes " whispered the witness.

"Is it listed in the ingredients for Natural Happy/Healthy Family?" asked Cole.

"No" said the witness.

"Thank you" said Cole and sat down, half glancing behind because Phoebe was there, but not missing the jury nodding, and one glanced at his watch in relief because he would not have to wait on lunch while the witness droned on about the chemicals properties..

"What if Willem decides to leave before the court session finishes" whispered. Phoebe nervously. "Realises its trap."

"He's three feet away from getting what he wants" whispered Piper.

"Hasn't taken his eyes off Phoebe since we arrived " whispered Clarissa.

"What's going on?" sniffed Rodik.

"Shut the fuck up" hissed Phoebe and the people two rows forward made shish noises and a court official came and stood near them. Piper waved them to turn around.

The judge finally called a break and most of the court officials and public filed out, Cole spoke to his clients, slowly, annoyingly taking his time, the clients finally left and standing quietly all staring at each other were 6 spectators, one security guard and the 5 witches and Rodik.

"Freeze every-one so we can work out who the warlocks are" whispered Paige and Piper lifted her hands and froze.

"Yes," said Clarissa thinking this is going to be easy.

"Let's go get 'em" Jade called jumping to her feet and moving into the aisle .

Cole did not move but watched them. "Can I guess what gives? " he said to no-one in particular.

"Is Willem frozen?" Piper asked.

"We can't see him." said Paige" his magic.:."

"Is still there" said Phoebe "But not for long."

 "What " said Cole.

Clarissa pointed to the space behind Cole "There " she said, and Cole glanced behind him.

"This is weird " yelled Phoebe, half levitating, half jumping the seats and barrier that separated court observers from officials. She ran to the space where Clarissa pointed while Cole stood there and watched shaking his head.

Phoebe found herself with the oddest feeling of being grabbed and Clarissa yelled at her to be careful as she half flipped half levitated.

"Don't Cole, " Piper ordered quickly.

" I wasn't " he said suddenly remembering with regret the days when he could just go in and protect Phoebe or the Charmed Ones without a second thought.

Piper ran around the gate and Paige orbed to Phoebe, while Jade jumped the barrier and spun to face the frozen people.

"How many are warlocks" she yelled.

"All of them " Cole who had tested their auras, answered dryly unable to resist the temptation.

"Hell "said Jade.

"Just about " said Cole.

Paige threw the potion at the space where Clarissa had pointed and Piper ran to her sisters and the three of them recited the get Willem quick spell.

For a second nothing happened then a sudden pouff of white fire appeared as the good powers separated and the frozen figure of the Dracula warlock appeared. As the vanquish worked Willem began to spin consumed by the swirling wind as the good powers separated .

All five witches took a mighty sigh of relief that in the end it had all just been so easy while Cole stood still his lips pursed, understanding what they were doing, every line of his body showing how pissed he was.

"Say the vanquish one more time for the evil powers," ordered Piper just as the warlock stated to wriggle.

And then it went wrong.

Rodik cowered at the back of the room for the few second it took the witches to get to Willem, then sidled around through the gate and the edged to hide behind the empty jury box to the right of Cole and Willem.

Screaming almost orgasmically, the power, the powers, Rodik rushed to get them as they separated from the wriggling Dracula warlock, breaking the concentration of the power of three. At the same time there was a huge flapping sound as four great gargana demon power retrievers appeared in the room.

The witches instinctively ducked the huge flapping creatures swooping them in the low space and when Piper gestured to blow one up the warlocks started to unfreeze and suddenly the Dracula warlock seemed to pull himself out of the vanquish spin as the garagnas swooped him. He used a blast power of some sort to blow up another of the garganas that exploded over the room with a shower of black goo.

"Who's bloody idea was this? " asked Cole the only on not ducking from the garganas.

"Damn it "screamed Piper "He's using his evil powers to get out of it,.

The witches threw the last of the potion and trued the spell again but it was to late.

The other seven warlocks pulled from the freeze, joined the fight. Two grabbed Piper trying to hold her down and stop her freezing.

"Don't Cole" yelled Phoebe. She levitated as high as she could and called "Duck." Piper ducked and Phoebe kicked the two warlocks holding her apart.

Willem, cackling like he was a bad actor in a Dracula movie, free of the freeze lifted his hands dramatically just before Piper went to freeze the scene. Piper moved he hands to refreeze and nothing happened.

"He used demonic anti freeze" Cole told her, still pissed.

Piper moved to blow Willem up and the powers bounced off him. Willem seeing Rodik at the freed cloud of good powers pulled out some sort of kinetic power and swiped Rodik away bouncing him off the defence table, where he landed hard on the floor with a resounding and somewhat pleasing thump.

Willem then turned to the starting to dissipate cloud of the power and he held his hand up and made a come to me gesture as Rodik screamed in aching disappointment, " He's getting the powers back, the powers, the powers."

As Willem sucked in the powers, he seemed to disappear from view.

The seven other warlocks in the room didn't. They came at the witches.

Phoebe managed to levitate and kick two warlocks to Piper who exploded one and Paige caught the other midair with an orbed athame. Jade blew up another,

As the vanquished warlocks powers separated the remaining garaganas swooped on the evil ones, and Rodik seeing them moved toward the centre of the vanquish to find the good powers.

"Where the hell is Willem?" yelled Piper.

"Still there" called Clarissa. "Not doing anything."

"Where?" called Phoebe. And the security guard warlock who was apparently there for a purpose pulled his very mortal gun out and aimed it straight at Clarissa who may have been immune to magic but was not immune to mortal guns.

Cole pursuing his lips and standing there hating being beyond it, saw the gun being raised and stepped straight in front of the warlock and with great satisfaction used his mortal fist to punch the warlock into the barrier which broke with a crunch. Piper blew it up

Phoebe and Paige turned toward the other warlock and the remaining two warlock's turned their attention to Rodik fighting the garaganas off the power clouds.

Rodik taking in the powers with an orgasmic pleasure suddenly realised what trouble he was in. He spun and with a speed and strength only fear could bring he caught hold of Piper and Jade and pulled them in front of him.

One of the warlock's used some sort of stolen lightening power and the other some form of fire disc. The lightning caught Piper on her right arm nearly severing it and the fire ball disc hit Jade almost in the stomach and she just doubled and fell.

Phoebe yelled out an all purpose warlock vanquish as the two warlocks aimed again and sent one to the wasteland. Paige caught Jade, sinking to the ground with Jade's head in her lap.

As a small bubble of blood came out of Jade's mouth she smiled " it was fun…my children "she whispered Oh god," she whispered and that was it, no grand gesture, nor last speech, no long goodbye.

The last warlock knew it was in trouble and blinked.

As the powers of the vanquished warlocks separated the garganas plunged for the demonic ones and Rodik plunged to get  the good ones. Phoebe fell to her knees beside Jade and Paige while Cole held onto Piper clutching her injured arm.

Phoebe called for the whitelighters.

Both came, snorting in disgust at the sight of Rodik and the garganas jumping at the powers like vultures feeding.

Not-Casper without hesitation bent down and put his hands on Jade, while Angela gently touched Piper's arm.

Seconds later , Not-Casper stood up shaking his head bitterly. "I cannot heal the dead" he said angrily and his face contorted into the blank numbness that Piper had seen on Leo's face when charges passed beyond him.

Clarissa thumping her sides with her hands awkwardly said " Willem has gone. He cackled something about Belthezor and power and disappeared. Thanks for throwing the punch " she said to Cole "Seems I'm always in your debt."

Rodik finally finished sucking the good powers in and the garganas disappeared to take what ever they had retrieved "Stupid witch " he sniffed glaring at Jade's body.

All four remaining witches regarded him with downright hatred.

"That was the best chance we had to get that warlock king's powers and you ruined it. Just as well it wasn't a total loss. I got back something from its cohorts." Rodik sniffed twice, his face caught in the intense afterglow pleasure that sucking in the powers had given him.

Phoebe stood up and held her hand out to Paige who reverently laid Jade's body flat and stood up, her clothing covered in blood.

"Jade's dead" Paige said flat voiced.

"Its all right " sniffed Rodik" "I collected her powers before she went so nothing is lost."

 The witches and whitelighters stared at him speechlessly.

Paige stepped toward him but she wasn't fast enough. Cole hit Rodik as hard as he could and there was a bone cracking thump as he crashed to the floor.

Paige shuddered, then shaking with emotion stood over Rodik whimpering in pain, as he huddled on the floor and clutched his jaw.

"Thank you " said Not-Casper to Cole.

"You son of a bitch " Paige screamed at the prostrate Rodik, "you son of a bitch. You are going to die for this. You killed her, I swear to god, you will die for this." She started to sob and Piper held hand out to her sister. Paige shook her head, large most hysterical sobs coming out of her and then she pushed Piper's hand off her, bent to touch Jade's body one more time then suddenly unable to bear it she orbed leaving the whitelighters and sisters and Clarissa and Cole to glare at Rodik. Bitterly.

Rodik whimpered and then he shuddered as the second wave of orgasmic pleasure overtook him, he smiled stopped rubbing is jaw and arched his body as the spirit winds sucked him away.

"Little bastard is enjoying the jerk-off" Phoebe said flatly almost for something to say.

Cole put his arm around Phoebe as she caught Piper who was already holding Clarissa.

The whitelighter s indicated at the court room, broken furniture, green and black goo and blood everywhere.

"We'll fix this," Not-Casper said quietly and Angela  nodded "and we will confer wit h Jade's whitelighter about… her disposition, for her family."

He made a sort of shooing movement and reluctantly and nervously the three witches and Cole allowed themselves to be shuffled out the room. They stood silently outside, Cole still with an arm around Phoebe, Piper with her arms around Clarissa who was crying.

Phoebe stamped her foot "Shit " she hissed "Dammit I want to kill that little bastard. " She put he hand on Cole's "Aren't you going to say anything about what we tried, using you?" she demanded.

"No" he said quietly holding her closer.

"Damn you," said Phoebe softly.

"You can say something, " Piper told him, her voice shaking as Clarissa sobbed on her shoulder. "You'd be right."

"Worth a try "Cole replied slowly. "You were doing pretty good until Rodik…got involved."

"Yeah," said Piper "Do you think whitelighters fixed it in there." She indicated the court room door."

Cole shrugged and opened the court room door, to reveal a pristine courtroom, no broken furniture anywhere.

"You going back to court?" Phoebe asking Cole who nodded.

"You know the rules," said Piper "Go on as if it had not happened. Keep the magic quiet. Whitelighters will fix it up with family and explanations for mortals why she went."

"We've done this before " said Phoebe as tears started to fall down her face.

"Whitelighters have done his before," said Clarissa with a little whimper. "


Paige sat in the hall of the manor waiting with a calmness that almost frightened her. She knew what she was going to do and how to do it and she was not going to be deterred. She watched the hall calmly, quietly, Arturo's crystal in her hand flashing its colours, as it sat on the dining room table. Paige had decided on her course and damn the consequence.

Rodik had put his ego ahead of his concern for his peers once to often To many witches, to many lives, had been lost, to many a families had been broken. Every thing had to come to an end and Rodik's turn had come. He killed Jade, he came close to killing Piper and it would stop.

She sat quietly, calmly watching the crystal flash, little mauve lights, sparkling orange, the brown ones. Musha and friends, the brownies hard at work she thought. The magic surrounded her and to late, through the beauty she had found in the realms she had visited during the eclipse, Paige had discovered just how much it meant to he. Part of her deeply regretted what she would lose when she did what she was about to do but she was determined it had to be done.

The crystal flashed the particularly ugly magenta shade that announced Rodik was about to appear sated from his orgasmic pleasure during the retrieval of warlock powers and smug with self satisfaction. Paige moved herself into an orb, a cold determination all over her and waited.

She heard the hissing sound that announced Rodik's appearance at the edge of the spirit winds and she reached him before he materialised. It hardly took an effort to draw him back into the winds and drag him to the grey nothingness of the Rim.

He was screaming as she caught him, screaming, blustering and abusing her. It vaguely occurred to him as she move thorough the spirit winds and through the light places that he may be in danger.

Paige came out of the orb in the darkest corner she could find in the nothingness of the Rim, letting Rodik go as he spat his venom at her.

"Take me back " he ordered her " You snivelling witch"

Paige said nothing just watched him.

"Take me back" Rodik ordered " And I'll explain you were distraught with grief and guilt and interfered with the magic."

"You won't tell any-one anything, ever again," Paige said he voice calm. "You can only die by magic. Guess what Rodik. I'm magical and more deadly than any warlock you care to name.

"You're just a witch, a nothing snivelling" said Rodik.

Paige just gazed at him, the calm on her face so quiet, so confident, so deadly. "Shut up " she said pleasantly.

"I'll call my whitelighter" Rodik screamed. "Angela, Angela."

"She can't hear you" Paige answered" We're off the radar. I want to kill you. We all want to kill you. I intend to do it." she said calmly.

Rodik shuddered and shrivelled, then disbelief hit him that she meant it. "You're a good witch. You know how important I am to the cause of good. The cause would be lost without me. You saw your friend killed " he said "It was your mistake and you want to blame some-one. Look to yourself, stop trying to put your hurt onto me." He added grandly and unwisely.

Paige smiled, but it did not reach her eyes. She pulled out the athame that she hid inside her jeans, "Its the end Rodik " she said quietly " the last witch has died to give you a jerk off retrieving powers. The last family is going to be broken up by you. No more witch children left with out a mother."

"That's the risk that they take, answering their calling. I risk it everyday." hissed Rodik backing off and tripping over a hidden nothingness. He tried getting up and fell again, then began scrambling backwards.

"You're dead" Paige told him. "Jade was my friend and you have killed enough witches."

She lifted the knife and walked toward him across the dark grey nothingness of the rim, watching bitterly as he suddenly realised she meant it and he cringed, pleading and ordering her stop.

"Wanna meditate " she asked bitterly. "Wanna to take some time to think about all the good ones who have died because of you, who have passed on before their time, who have gone, to feed your…cravings."

She towered over him, glaring down at his huddled figure. "How good are you?" she asked. "This athame sends evil creatures, bad creatures to hell. Where you going Rodik?"

Paige stared down, her expression blank as Rodik whimpered and she raised the athame. No family here to stop her, no guardian behind her, nothing, She smiled bitterly. Nothing.

"He isn't worth it pet " said a voice softly behind her.

Paige hesitated and then froze. Rodik cringed away, crawling back from her as she suspiciously turned ready to defend herself and saw her lover Mark standing there in his whitelighter robe, a somewhat grim smile on his face which did not hide the concern in his eyes.

"He isn't worth it " Mark repeated.

"He got my friend killed" Paige said clutching the athame as Rodik hastily crawled backward out of her reach. "Oh Mark" she mouthed softly torn between running to him and watching Rodik crawl.

"He isn't worth it, pet" Mark repeated this time stepping toward her. He looked like Mark, the one she had known, hair sandy receding,  concern for her written all over his plain, intelligent ,good humoured face, soft gentle grey eyes that he never took her face as he stepped between her and Rodik. Finally with a deep shudder and a bitter sigh that took forever she lowered the athame.

"He deserves to die" she said bitterly.

,"He deserves something" Mark smiled gently "How about we get rid of the temptation and then we talk about It." he said nodding his head toward at the cowering Rodik.

 "Where?" Paige asked her lips tight and her eyes watery. "How?" she asked.

"He can orbed outside the realm I heard " Mark answered. He grinned suddenly "Us whitelighters in training always learn about the lowest of the low first "

Rodik sniffed and his head came up "Do you know what I am?" he demanded but stayed cowered on the ground.

"As I do know what you are "Mark replied cheerfully "Consider yourself lucky I'm wiling to save you."

Mark went over to Rodik and catching his collar he disappeared in a cloud of orbs while Paige waited in the nothingness of the Rim staring at the spot where Rodik had been. In seconds or maybe a lifetime, Paige didn't know, Mark returned alone.

"Where is he?" she asked quietly  .

"Tijuana " said Mark "Middle of the tourist district. "I sorta. dropped him there" he said. "Hard to judge the landing with something that is not suppose to orb."

"Oh I used to have trouble with the landings" said Paige "What if evil finds him?"

"How in Tijuana Tourist district?" asked Mark grinning "Pet why worry. You were going to kill him, ….weren't you?"

"He doesn't have any money or a passport and he can't be orbed in the earth realm. " Paige persisted standing frozen 2 feet away from Mark in the nothingness of the Rim, breathing deep harsh breaths.

"I know" said Mark with a grin " his whitelighter will work something out if he's nice to her. You were going to kill him weren't you?" he asked.

"He isn't nice to his whitelighter" said Paige "She hates him."

"Then I guess he's going to have to wait in Tijuana for a few days until she feels like doing something about him " said Mark. "Were you going to kill him?" he asked.

"Oh " said Paige still standing there and then she stepped forward to put her head against him, before looking up into his face. "I wanted to kill him Mark " she said "I wanted to kill him so bad. " she said "It would have been so easy "she said " just one plunge. The bastard deserves to die Mark." she said "He's evil. He's worse than evil, he's good and he just hurts people and he ought to know better. He deserves to die Mark" she said "He killed my friend."

Mark nodded understanding, then put his arms around her while she sobbed into his whitelighter robe. He let her cry on his shoulder until she ran out of tears .

"Got Jade killed " she amended. "Because of him."

Mark looked down at her a quizzical expression on his face. "It may," he said gently "have been her time."

"Is that always the answer? " Paige asked bitterly.

"Don't know enough yet to answer that, " Mark said "I only know enough to say that lots of witches didn't get killed when he sure did his best to get them killed. Your sister Phoebe for a start so maybe Jade's time had come."

"What possible good could it do for… how could it be in good's interest for Jade to die?" said Paige bitterly.

"I don't know," said Mark. "I have no gift of the future."

Paige sniffed and then half laughed as he led her to somewhere Rim the nothingness that was sandy not rocky and they sat down. Mark pulled her close so she lay half across him.

"I wanted to kill him Mark, " she said. "And "she sniffed back tears " I thank you " She was silent for a second "Damn Cole "She said suddenly.

"Why? " he asked with just ghost of smile on his plain intelligent face. "I mean why damn Cole?"

Paige gave Mark a watery smile "Yesterday " she explained "I had this awful argument with Cole, we all did. and you see he demanded to know what I said after I killed my first demon. I ran from the manor screaming at my sisters, 'What have you turned me into?' "

Mark pulled her close to him "What did they turn you into pet?" he asked

"They turned me into a witch Mark " she said reaching up to put her hand on his shoulder and shuddering as she felt the warmth of him, the life of him through his whitelighter robe. "I told Cole that and he said what killing his first demon turned him into him a killer. " Tears poured down her face " that bloody bastard fucking shit Rodik nearly mad me a killer Mark " she said "I hate him."

"Shush" he said "Didn't happen doesn't count."

"It count's" she sobbed.

"Trust me," said Mark.

"I do," she said sniffing back the tears.

"Good," he said gently quietly, soft grey eyes bright with orb lights "Isn't there something you ought to be doing seeing we haven't …seen each the in a .......while," he asked.

"Yeah " she nodded with a shudder and a little whimper she turned herself and fell back pulling him down to her, tasting him, sucking at him, reaching, taking, more, arching against him, straining to get close to him as she pushed the whitelighter rob away. Sighing as he pulled her shirt open and pulled her jeans and her panties down, feeling him against her, feeling him want her, feeling him in her. She held on to him tightly fearing he might be sucked away from her as in the misty grey nothingness of the Rim they declared their passion and their love.

"God," said Paige after wards, as he rolled pulled her on top him "

"No just an angel" Mark replied as she half laughed and half cried.

She suddenly tried to pull away and he held onto her so she had to strain to look into his face "I've waited a year for this" she said hurt " I've waited a life time for this. Why did I have to wait Mark? Why in the hell did I have to wait?"

"I told you not to wait " Mark said gently pulling her against him.

"Don't," she started to say, struggling a little then collapsing against him.

"I couldn't connect with you Pet " he said slowly "The only connection I have is through magic and you lost your connection to magic. I was getting very frightened that you would never find it again." he nuzzled against her bare shoulder and moved his lips against her" But you did connect and here we are."

"I should have tried to kill Rodik earlier" she said.

"Better you didn't," Mark told her "If you weren't connected to magic, you might have succeeded."

They kissed long and hard and slowly made love again. They lay together for a little while or maybe forever in the nothingness of the Rim connected with magic before they reluctantly stood up, kissing gently, unwilling to separate.

"Here we are " Paige whispered "I. never thought that all it would take was swapping lives with a unicorn."

"What ?" Mark asked perplexed "

"You know " she said "The eclipse."

"I guess its another one of those things I don't know as much about as other…magic creatures " Mark said slowly, looking round for his whitelighter robe.

"Are you going to tell these one up there about this?" Paige asked quietly watching him with longing in her eyes.

"Not unless they ask" Mark said slowly "And they probably won't unless they have a reason. You know. Don't ask, don't tell policy."

"I heard they asked about Leo," Paige told him. "And Piper and didn't like the answer."

"They had reason too ask" Mark answered, "as it was explained to me, or warned to me."

"So" said Paige eyes big and frightened

"We only break the safe rules" Mark decided. "We don't give them reason to ask. About any of the things I know about your family, about anything."

"We can't be like Piper and Leo" Paige agreed.

"Only if I was a selfish bastard who wanted to cause pain and distress to my family, those who are just recovering mourning me.". Mark answered

"You're not a selfish bastard" sighed Paige.

"No " he said reaching for her. "We'll workout something, now we've connected."

"At least I know one thing now, after meeting you like this" Paige said with a watery smile"

"What?' he asked perplexed .

"I know what whitelighters wear under the robes." She said. "Piper could have told me before. I wouldn't have blabbed I know what you wear under them."