The Life and Times

Part 4: The truth will set them free. More or less.

Chapter 44

"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

In the parlour Leo had managed to keep the children f quiet during the fight until a particularly vicious kick from Phoebe sent one of the warlocks into the parlour and it realised while it could not use its powers it wasn't dead. Leo muttered to himself and picked up the athame he kept for safety.

"You don't want to" he told the warlock and only just realised that Melinda had snuck very close to the entrance to watch the action going on in the hall.

She stared at the warlock "Warlock guy daddy" she said as Patsy sitting upright under the table watched with interest.

"Melinda gets back" Daddy ordered quietly as the warlock made a grab for her.

Melinda was unconcerned. She levitated just the way Unca Cole had taught her and she flung her hands up and pushed the warlock away as Cole had taught her to do. The pressure of holding the warlock away and the realisation she was doing it excited her. She levitated higher using the excitement to move forward and thrust her legs out and kick out so the warlock flew back into the hall and crashed back into the hall table. It flung out a hand and smashing the television as it went.

The warlock seeing Phoebe right behind it knew it was in trouble and opted for its best hope. It blinked. And the power Melinda was exerting was released with bang as Melinda was high in the air.

She plonked down as hard as possible from what was a great height for a little girl and landed mightily on her bottom. She glared at the ground, shocked and stunned. She moved her hand to rub her bottom and winced with pain and started to cry.

Leo swooped on her totally without sympathy because he got a fright and plonked her on the sofa" Stay there "he ordered without any sympathy.

Melinda sniffed and then her face contorted and she angrily looked around for some-one to blame.

Whosit Patrick was half under the table, his little hand in the air mimicking Melinda's hand and trying hard to mimic her levitation, his face crumpling in annoyance and frustration.

He hissed his breath in anger and Melinda rubbing her sore behind and plonked on the sofa with daddy ignoring her found her victim. She raised her hand and Whosit screamed and clutched his side as she pinched him magically with a snip of her fingers, then he screamed even louder as she pinched his cheek and then his behind.

"Melinda" roared Leo.

Melinda had tears pouring down her face, she was angry and hurting and crying in temper. Whosit was in big trouble and he knew it as she got a doubly whammy pinch on his face. He screeched out loud and before Leo could stop him he ran for the only safe place for a boy who was the target of one all mightily angry and very powerful little witch.

No matter what else was happening, despite the noise in the conservatory and hall. Despite flapping garganas and the sound of shattered furniture; despite the exploding of warlocks and shrieking voices, the smell of green goo and burnt furniture; the only safe place in the world for a little mortal boy being chased and pinched by an angry witch cousin was hiding behind mommy and mommy was in hall in the middle of a warlock fight.

Whosit Patrick up and ran, ran for mommy just landing after she kicked a warlock into a demon gargana and Auntie Piper blew them both up.

Cole seeing Patsy run into the room was too far on the other side to get him. He roared to Phoebe as  Patsy toddled as fast as his little legs would go, screaming all the way as Melinda came after him. He toddled past broken furniture, demon mess, green goo, even though a combination of black and green goo. Leo gave chase but wasn't fast enough. He caught Melinda but not Patsy who toddled past Auntie Paige in the middle of an energetic spin. He was going one place and the place was mommy. Warlocks exploded around him. He didn't care, he was focused on Mommy. He made it just as she landed and flew behind her screaming as the once great warlock Willem finally exploded into a trillion atoms and the screeching garganas flocked onto his evaporating demon powers sucking them up like vultures at a kill.

Patsy caught Phoebe's skirt while Leo removed Melinda screaming hissing at her cousin and mightily in tears.

There were still four warlocks there as Clarissa half crying lay on the floor and seeing the cowering and half prostrate Rodik near her they headed for him and decided killing a retriever would salvage something from the mess. Phoebe comforting Patsy and Paige half kneeling by Clarissa watched them run toward the retriever and ignored them and Piper shrugged.

Rodik started to scream and Cole felt the sprit winds shudder and recognised it was because of the witches' reluctance to save a very nasty innocent. He listened to his guardian calling and his need to protect his family from evil, knowing the refusal to save an innocent no, matter how despicable was evil, and he blasted the warlocks into the wasteland showering Rodik, the rest of the living room and most of the varnish on the steps with more black/purple burning goo.

Patsy let fly with a huge bawling WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, out noising all the warlocks and garaganas and demons and witches.

Phoebe picked up her distressed and very angry son who bawled even louder gasped great breaths and turned his face in distaste at the evil power floating around. He was furious and upset and nothing Phoebe could do calmed him he sucked the air in great gulping breaths waving his hands and shrieking.

The family looked around at the devastation of the conservatory the broken furniture the broken chairs.

They also saw Rodik unconscious on the floor.

"Damn you Cole damn you" screamed Piper. "What did you have to do that for?" She raised her voice several decibels and roared "You saved him." She half aimed a kick in his general direction. "How the hell did he get out of the freeze? I double whammied him."

"Me" Clarissa whimpered. "I touched him."

"Why?"asked Paige.

"Slapped his face actually" Clarissa confessed..."

"Oh" said Piper "Okay then no problems."

"Sorry" said Cole trying to keep his guardian voice down "It was a reflex action"

"Why is killing the solution to every problem you have "Leo demanded forgetting Clarissa's presence."You can't help yourself, you just have to kill."

"I do not "spat Cole."Not now anyway."

"You damned shit arsehole." said Paige lifting a groggy and disorientated Clarissa onto her lap. "Look what you've done. If you just let the warlocks kill him."

"I'm sorry" he said hanging his head as Phoebe glared at the prostrate form of Rodik "Phoebe" he pleaded.

"I'm pissed at you" she said "Saving that shit. What for? Hell" she said cuddling a still screaming Patsy while Melinda firmly held in daddy's arms sobbed. "You couldn't stop Willem choking me but you could save that little shit."

"I couldn't help it" Cole pleaded confronted by three very angry witches.

Leo stared at the ceiling was firmly holding onto Melinda. "Next time find a way to solve the problem without killing" he suggested while Cole growled angrily.

Leo eyed the mess the house was in" There goes the college fund" he said" don't Cole " He added for safety even if he didn't believe Cole would try to fix it in front of Clarissa "Do you have any idea what it will cost to fix it."

"I'm pissed at you too" Phoebe told Leo as Paige reassured Clarissa nothing looked broken "Can't even trust you to look after the kids" she said. She cuddled Patsy, "Why didn't you watch the kids better Leo?" she said as she swallowed guiltily. "Hell if the pair of you can't help, did you to have to try and sabotage it."

"I." said Cole remorsefully" I only.:."

"Damn well interfered" said Phoebe sniffy as her son who had reduced the noise to sobs just gulped in the air and then in a weepy heap buried his head against her.

Rodik finally woke.  He took in the smell, the mess and the whole effect. He struggled to his feet. "You got the warlock" he said accusingly.

"We got lots of warlock's" Piper told him crossing her hands and tapping her feet.

"Where are the powers?" screeched Rodik.

"Ask Cole" sniffed Phoebe.

"Where are they?" demanded Rodik "The demon stole them, didn't you?" he screeched at Cole as Clarissa starting to struggle to her feet looked concerned.

 Leo gave Melinda to her mother and helped Clarissa stand "I used to be a doctor" he said gently.

Paige shook her "Garganas got the bad one. I guess the good ones flew out the window."

"You're evil, you're all evil" screamed Rodik "You say you're not evil and you lost 200 years worth of power that warlock was keeping, the most powerful warlock, the collector of some of the greatest powers of good. He waved his hands in the air.  "You'll suffer" he screeched. "You'll all suffer.

"Shut the fuck up" said everybody.

Rodik glared at them then stalked up the stairs screaming his whitelighter" Angela's name.

"Thank s for saving me Cole" Cole mused. "Gee Rodik no problem. Anytime."

"Bastard" said Phoebe cuddling Patsy. "I have to face that bloody tribunal now because you saved him."

"It isn't just because of Rodik" Cole started to say.

"Shut up Cole" Leo warned him as Phoebe looked furious.

Piper waited for Rodik to go.

She angrily waved her hand at the mess "See what you caused" she told Cole. "You'll suffer." she added

"Don't talk to me," Phoebe ordered Cole as he started to say her name. She gathered a still sobbing and gulping Whosit to her.

"You'll suffer" said Paige turning her back on Cole. "Well I guess we get you to hospital." she told a very groggy Clarissa.

"Why are you all so pissed at Cole?" Clarissa asked confused.

"We're always pissed at Cole" said Leo as Cole ground his teeth. "Nothing looks broken" he said "But Paige and I will take you to hospital."

"I'll call Mike" said Piper."We got Willem because of you "she said gently touching Clarissa.

"Thanks" Clarissa looked around" I think they trashed this place worse than my shop. The way I thought they trashed my shop at first" she said.

"It's been worse" said Phoebe.

"No it hasn't" said Piper" even the banshee didn't do this much damage."

"Banshee?" said Clarissa.

Phoebe swallowed uncomfortably "Its long story" she told Clarissa. I'll call over and see how you are tomorrow."

"I can walk Leo" Clarissa said as he went to pick her up.

"No need" he said picking her up as Paige opened doors and grabbed bags.

"Maybe real magic is not my calling:" said Clarissa weakly" I don't think our insurance would cover this."

"Well your non magic is why we got the bastard" said Piper again. "Neither does ours."

"I've got a feeling elder's won't be to pleased" whispered Clarissa and she looked ill and guilty" I sort of shouldn't but I wish you'd not quite saved Rodik" she whispered.

"Me too " said Phoebe tapping her foot and glaring in Cole's direction.

Piper called Clarissa's husband Mike, who was not very happy she had been hurt again and did not hesitate to say what he thought of this level of magic and barely eased his anger when Piper told him it was over. Piper did her best to reassure him but he was barely polite when he hung up, just saying sharply he was going to meet his wife at the hospital.

Piper sighed and caught her somewhat chastened daughter by the hand. "We need to get you and Patsy a bath and put Wyatt to bed" she said mother again.

"Big fight, mommy" said a now subdued Melinda looking around the mess.

"Don't do anything about this" Piper ordered Cole "I mean it we need to talk about it.

"Sure Piper" he said "Phoebe" he started to say.

"I'm pissed at you" Phoebe said. Following her sister and Melinda upstairs with patsy snuggled against her.

"You think we should call the whitelighters say we got Willem." Phoebe asked Piper.

"You want to listen to them preach about losing the powers" said Piper. "Tomorrow."

"Tomorrow" agreed Phoebe. "At least we got the bastard Willem."

"We didn't get the bastard retriever" grumbled Piper "Thanks to Cole."

Cole half smiled to himself as he watched her go upstairs.

"God I love you Phoebe" he said out loud. He felt the spirit winds call and shrugged sitting down on the one upright chair in the conservatory and taking the time to realise that he could remember the whole scenario with Willem and decided very quickly it was better Leo did not know how he got out of the warlock realm. He also realised that he had crossed some sort of bridge where he was apart from the life he had once lead. He was aware of Africa calling but still sat there, knowing Africa would exist as Africa whether he went now or later.

He had barely decided it could wait when orbs sounded and a very displeased Francesca stood there looking at him. She was in her whitelighter robe and the expression on her crooked face should have made him shake. She started to speak then looked around and her eyes opened wide as she took in the mess.

"The girl's got Willem." said Cole "I had to save Rodik:" he added shamefaced.

"You do realise your time is excruciating " Francesca told him.

"I know that" Cole said. "Everybody is pissed at me" he moaned.

"Well you shouldn't have saved Rodik" said Francesca not remotely sympathetic "Why did you have to save him?"

"To save the Charmed Ones. He's an innocent" said Cole" For the Charmed Ones to ignore him would be evil."

"You pick the most annoying times to listen to your calling" Francesca told him. "Perhaps you could pay the same attention to Africa."

"You would have saved him" Cole accused.

"I would have advised them to save an innocent even if it was a retriever" Francesca conceded with a slight smile. "Why aren't you in Africa?"

"I was busy with my family" he answered. "And some things I had to think about.  Africa is always there."

"You're not busy now" she said. "Don't do anything stupid, when you get there" she added her eyes dancing which Cole did not miss.

Cole looked at he guardian like, "I know how to manage Africa" he said.

"What do you mean?" Francesca asked quietly.

"Africa will take care of Africa" the guardian answered her. "There isn't an answer. I can't find it and I was the Source of all evil. So neither can Tempus. Its very contradiction is what protects it. in magic terms and only some-one who can deal with it in mortal terms will ever fix it. There is no magic solution to Africa, and Tempus will probably never accept that. I even suspect it exists to torture him, to be just out of reach, just like destroying the race of witches remained just out of reach of the Old Source, despite witch trials, plagues and magic wars."

"That is very wise "Francesca said wryly.

"I know" said Cole in his guardian voice. "I just found out how powerful I am."

Francesca contemplated him thoughtfully.

"That warlock Willem, "all the powers of Good and evil and it…it was a gnat. I knew I had the powers but never felt them the extent of them before" Cole told her. "I am turning into a bloody ogre Francesca... Mrs Rinaldi."

"As you g row into the role you know you'll feel more, understand more grow in wisdom." She said not quite hiding her amusement.

"Well I hate it, I hate being an ogre and I hate having to be wise. I wanted to kill the bastard retriever too." he snarled little boy and then caught the wry smile on Francesca.

"Understanding the extent of your evil may be your salvation" Francesca said firmly without any softening," or rather may be the means of your salvation, understanding your mortal nature and hanging on to it will be the means of maintaining your sanity."

"Damn that's wise" he grinned with a somewhat false bravado because he still was not certain what their relationship was any more, friend, guide, teacher. "I wonder if I will ever be as wise as you" he asked a touch facetiously.

"I sincerely doubt that" she said severely but her eyes were twinkling. "But you may need me less. It's a little like watching your child grow" she said as he pouted. "You're glad and proud for them but it is very hard letting go."

"I am not a child" he said and then suddenly laughed well aware he was putting on his brattiest mood with her.

She shrugged revealing just a little of her soul when she explained "You may be angry with me backing away but I have to understand my own wisdom well enough to accept being needed less."

"You're needed" said Cole firmly "You... you keep it in perspective. And it's not just me "he added.

"Oh I have guided guardians long enough to understand at some level my guidance is always very much needed" she said calmly.

Cole thought of the Francesca who was Giovanni's wife, who worked in his tavern to support a family because she was loved and wanted by him and the passion in her soul when she had spoken of her desires to Arturo and he pursed his lips that she could be so blind. "You're wanted, even when you're not needed. And its not only me " He added somewhat petulantly.

"I am sure Proctor wants me "she said sarcastically.

"Do you know I think he does" Cole told her "Annoying you is one of his great pleasures."

"Did he tell you that?" demanded Francesca.

"More or less" said Cole brazenly.

"Go to Africa" she ordered in her best school marm voice "And leave me to consider my purpose is to provide Proctor with the pleasure of some-one to annoy" She met his blue eyes a trifle belligerently and it finally occurred to him he had gone too far.

"I better go" he said and started to shimmer then stopped "You don't decide when you're wanted or not " he told her and escaped before she could reply.

"I hate it when they finally learn how to be guardians" Francesca sighed.

She looked around the trashed manor walls dripping with black/purple and green goo, stained varnish, broken furniture, light fittings and stained cloth covers, Francesca shook her head "I hope you enjoy your life and family while you have it Cole "She smiled " but I think something changed today. I think you grew today."

Phoebe and Piper took the children upstairs for a somewhat belated bath Piper bathed Wyatt in the baby bath while Phoebe carefully supervised Pasty and Melinda in the big one. She washed Melinda's hair and then Patsy's. Patsy and Melinda were playing with rubber ducky squeeze it and Patsy's favourite ship and the bath had several other favourite toys all up Melinda's end. Patsy in a snit at Melinda splashed too big and she hit the water and orbed his ship away from him.

"Melinda" said Phoebe as Patsy splashed louder and more angrily. "Give Patsy his toy. I mean it."

"I still want to kill Cole for saving Rodik" said Piper.

Phoebe half turned toward her "It was just an instinct" she said trying to defend him "He just acted without thinking."

"You can't defend the indefensible" said Piper "When I think the witches that are at risk because Cole saved that little shit" Piper said working herself up to a temper until Wyatt started to cry.

Then Melinda started and Phoebe turned back to the children, "Good Melinda" she said noticing Patsy had his ship back. Melinda sniffed and waved her hand.

"No Melinda" said Phoebe firmly.

"Honest to God Piper told Phoebe" sometime I think Cole is more a pain in the butt than her used top be when he was evil. At least you didn't expect anything better of him then."

"He trying" said Phoebe.

"He sure is" snapped Piper.

Melinda went wahh "and Phoebe turned back "You didn't have to give him all the toys sweetie" she said "And gave the duck back to her. But you're a good girl" she added giving Melinda a special hug and making Pasty say wah.

Piper lifted Wyatt out of the bath and put him in his wrap towel. "Where's that special cream?" she asked.

Phoebe glanced around, " Over on the shower stool" she said and turned back to Melinda and Patsy "Melinda " a she said severely as she saw all the toys at Melinda 's end of the bath "I said share. I mean it "and Melinda started to cry.

Piper took Wyatt into his nursery and Phoebe lifted Pasty out of the bathe and wrapped him in a towel and then did the same for Melinda who some what spitefully pinched at Patsy.

"Don't Melinda" said Phoebe firmly, and then Melinda crinkle up her face and let cried out Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

"And that won't help" said Phoebe.

She dried the children down and put Melinda in her lemon teddy bear pyjamas neatly folder and freshened with lavender by Musha and friends Phoebe supposed, and put Whosit in his night diaper.

Melinda knew wearing diapers was only for babies. She thumbed her nose at him and flicked the diaper tab and it half fell down and then she screamed another loud wahhhhhhhhhhhhh. And Phoebe gave Whosit another cuddle.

"You young lady and Patsy need to sleep. You're tired and cranky" she told Melinda. Melinda sniffed and then whimpered.

Holding Melinda's hand she picked up Whosit Patsy and took him to bed. She put him down and glanced around the room which was relatively tidy for once because she had fixed it before the vanquish. She gave Patsy a kiss while Melinda sat on Phoebe and Cole's bed sniffling to herself and occasionally yelping.

"Bed missie," Phoebe told Melinda who grumpily followed Phoebe over to her room, and then squealed again as she got into bed.

"Be a good girl. Go to sleep" Phoebe said. "Mommy will be in to say goodnight in a few minutes." She went over to kiss Melinda who crumpled her and pulled away" What’s the matter?" said Phoebe genuinely hurt.

"Mean Auntie Phoebe" said Melinda.

"What did I do?" Phoebe asked.

"I hurt and you yell at me" she sniffed "Mean Auntie Phoebe."

"Who hurt you?" asked Phoebe.

"Him" whimpered Melinda waving at the door.

"Warlock didn't hurt you sweetie" said Phoebe firmly "Just a sore bottom. Be a good girl."

"Am good" said Melinda sniffing. "He hurt me."

"Oh Melinda " said Phoebe as Piper came in. "Don't think seeing the warlock fight was a good idea" she told her.

"Now you agree with me "said Piper

Piper went to sit with her daughter and Phoebe sighing walked back to her room as Cole came upstairs.

"I'm pissed at you" she told him" and. Why didn't you come to help with the kids?"

"Africa" he said, going into the bedroom.

"When?" she asked."

"Just then" he said.

"Fix it?" she asked reaching to kiss him lightly.

"Can't fix Africa" he answered "I solved the immediate problem. Shut a portal evil was using to suck fire. Good wanted to invade and get it back. "Didn't bother explaining why it was not a great idea."

"Ogre scare them?" she asked.

He nodded.

"I'm still pissed at you" Phoebe told him" Long night" she said. And he smiled understanding her. She looked longingly at their bed "I better go check some things in the Book of Shadows for, the tribunal hearing" she snarked.

Cole nodded. He checked his son for the pleasure of looking at him. Patsy was already asleep lying on his tummy making wuffling noises. And then went to his the closet. With all the smashed glass downstairs the place was freezing. He looked for the red sweater, a favourite. He pulled his closet apart and could not find and then went to his top drawer. He could only find a blue one. He wanted the red one.

He went to the bedroom door. "Phoebe where's my red sweater. " he roared upstairs.

"I put it away" she called back from the attic.

"I know you did" he said "Where?"

"Where it ought to be" she called back.

"Where's" that?" he said leaning on the jamb.

"In the bottom drawer left side" she called back. "And don't leave everything on the floor" she added "Unless you want me more pissed at you."

"Not possible" muttered Cole. He found the sweater in the bottom of the lower drawer after pulling the drawer to pieces. He put it on and went to leave everything on the floor and decided it was possible for Phoebe to be more pissed at him so he stuffed everything back in the drawer and shut it tight hoping Phoebe would not look in it or the brownies Musha and friends would fix it.

He went downstairs and winced a little as Piper glared at him and ordered cleaning duty in the conservatory. "Not even one flick" she told him "clean it properly."

"You want the burn marks to stay on the floor?" he asked getting cranky at being yelled at. "Or pay some-one to fix it?"

"Just don't attempt something you don't know how to fix" Piper snarled as she went back upstairs.

"Yeah Piper and I really appreciate the thanks for saving you from the consequences of letting an innocent get killed because you don't like him." Cole muttered flicking his fingers so the worse of the acidic burns caused by the black goo came out of the woodwork.

Leo and Paige came home from the hospital "Those marks look all the wrong colour" Leo told Cole. "It needs staining."

"You want to do it" said Cole managing to get the hall cupboard in something like its original condition.

"Don't you dare touch the piano" ordered Paige.

"Then use your powers for some personal gain and fix the place yourself" snarled Cole "And suffer the consequences."

"Jeez why are you in such a snitch?" demanded Paige.

Phoebe stalked downstairs as Cole did his best to straighten the potted plants.

 You bastard "She said angrily.

 "What the hell did I do now"? he snarled back because he had been yelled at once too often.

"I asked you" she said hand on hips "I asked you nicely not to put your stuff on the floor. I told you where the sweater was in the bottom drawer. I asked you not to throw everything on the floor" Phoebe raged at him "I asked you Cole. I asked nicely:" she screamed. "It isn't funny and I'm not cleaning up after you."

"I didn't throw them on the floor" he bit out "I'm not lying Phoebe" he said.

She looked at him.

"I. am. not. lying" he said again.

"I know" she whispered going pale and she spun around. She ran upstairs to their room. It was a mess. Every drawer pulled out, clothes over the floor, her bras, knickers Cole's sweaters, everything. The closet doors were open and all their clothes were in a heap.

"What’s been here?" she asked Cole who was just behind her, his eyes popping at the disaster the room had become since he went downstairs.

Phoebe crept over to Whosit who was snuffling happy. Relieved she muttered "He's okay Cole" and then screamed.

"What?" said Cole, as Phoebe could only point at Patsy contentedly asleep.

"What" said Coe looking at Patsy lying on his tummy the way he always slept.

 Cole started "Shit" he yelled.

Downstairs Leo and Piper and Paige looked at each other and ran for the stairs followed by Paige.

In the bedroom Phoebe and Cole were staring at the sleeping little boy.

Piper went over to them. "OMG" she said looking at Patsy.

"What?" said Leo coming over.

"Shit" said Leo.

"What?" said Paige coming over.

"Shit" said Paige "He."."

"Yes" said Phoebe bursting on tears against Cole.

"What do we do?" Cole asked Piper in choking voice.

"Now you think I can help you raise your kid?" she snorted "Shit."

Patsy sniffled happily on his sleep levitating some inches above the mattress apparently sound asleep but occasionally waving his little hand and smiling happily as another drawer went crashing and things flew out.

"Sleep telekinesis" Leo explained "It's been known to happen to baby witches when they get upset."

"He isn't witch" whimpered Phoebe.

"Melinda chased him in" said Paige "Just as Willem was vanquished."

"The garaganas" said Piper.

"Got the evil powers" said Phoebe "the good ones were floating.

"Shit" they all hissed.

"How many do you think he got, he sucked into his core" asked Leo apprehensively.

Paige and Piper looked at him.

"All of them" whispered Phoebe. "Cole" she moaned but he just looked at her his face a picture of panic. He only knew all the answers when it wasn't his child.

"Hell we don't even really know what powers Willem had" Cole asked "I mean there's the memory and the transmergence. What else."

Leo told them the list he knew. Power to burn with his eyes, communicate telepathically. Telekinesis, the power to absorb great knowledge whatever that is. The power to smell evil But Willem could have been boasting" He added.

"Levitation" said Pipe practically.

"Shit" breathed everyone.

"No-one knew" whimpered Phoebe.

"Shit" said Cole.

They watched Patsy for nearly an hour hoping they were wrong, but when he called his favourite toys to his cot they knew they were not. The family went to bed, to tired to decide anything after a long night.

Phoebe lay under the comforter on her side, and with a hand held across Cole's chest. He lay on his back staring at ceiling.

"It's been a long day" she said. "I."

Yeah "he agreed" "You know" he said "Rodik. It a was..."

"Yeah" said Phoebe.

"Nothing I could.. " he said.

"It's just..." she said

"Yeah." said Cole.

"He's going to out us big time tomorrow" Phoebe said. "At the tribunal..."

"Secrets leaking like a sieve anyway" he said.

"No" she said. "Just wish..."

"Me too" he said.

"It's damned..." she said.

"Yeah" he said almost angry "And over a little..."

"That's it" she said " and all to over a..."

They lay quiet for a while.

"I love being magical Cole" Phoebe said.

"You'll still be magical" he said" even if they try taking away your powers."

"Clarissa hates not having powers, even if she is magical." Phoebe said

"Phoebe" he said "What I saw in the future. Whatever happens tomorrow, it isn't the end of it."

"Oh" she said "You saw the end, I mean…."

"Just enough" he said.

"Don't suppose you saw how I make it to be with you for eternity?  she asked.

He was silent.

"Cole" she said.

"What" he said.

"You can't lie to me." she told him.

"I know he answered.

"Will you ever tell me?" She asked.

"I don't want you to do it." he said

"How does it end" she asked quietly.

"The way you already know it ends" he told her conceding

She thought for a while. "Old Phoebe" she asked.

He was silent.

"What are we going to do about Patsy" Phoebe asked after a while.

"I have not got one bloody clue" Cole answered his voice trembling."

"I mean Melinda has telekinesis and all that strong magic and she can orb and levitate like a white lighter and she's nearly impossible."

"I know" said Cole.

They were silent."

"At least when the tribunal is over we'll be rid of the bastard retriever" sighed Phoebe.

"I know" said Cole "Go to sleep baby."

"You to baby" she said snugly into him tired beyond caring." I'm still pissed at you for saving Rodik" she said.

"I know" he said. Just as she started to fall sleep he asked. "I f you're so pissed at me why do you want to find a way to be with me for eternity?" he asked.

"I can be pissed with you and want to be with you at the same time" Phoebe murmured.

"You do know I love you" he said.

"You mentioned it once or twice" Phoebe said. "I think we're doing okay." Patsy whiffled and something in the room crashed." Sort of" she sighed as she fell asleep.

What is love? 'Tis not hereafter,
Present mirth hath present laughter:
   What's to come is still unsure.
In delay there lies no plenty,
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty:
   Youth's a stuff will not endure.
(William Shakespeare Twelfth Night II.iii. 39-44 & 47-52)