How Quaint the Ways of Paradox
Part 1: Time and Time Again
"How quaint the ways of paradox; At common sense she gaily mocks"
(Gilbert and Sullivan. Pirates of Penzance)
Not being able to think of anything else to do Cole dressed again and shoved his wallet and phone in the pockets of his jacket. He smiled to himself. Phoebe was always griping at him for putting things in his pockets.
“If you pay that much for clothes why do you want to wreck them by stuffing things in the pockets “ she kept arguing.
“What do you expect me do “ he said “Carry a purse “ which reminded him. In the other time line he had left a brief case with the trial papers for the court cases he was defending next week at the Manor. He wondered which time line that was floating around in.
He drove over to Prescott street and watched the house. Just about dark a taxi pulled up in front of the Manor and Phoebe left the Manor and jumped in.
Cole shimmered after her and followed her to a bar on the North side where she went in and met up with a tarty blond women. The two ordered French fries and drinks with variation of something and scotch. Cole sat in a corner ordered a sandwich and beer and using the advantages of hearing manufactured with demonic powers, listened in to the conversation. Phoebe was pressing the blond for information one tall dark and blue eyed from last night. Cole assumed it meant him. The blond did not know. She had apparently found her sleazebag of the night quite early and left Phoebe drunk in one of the nightclubs down by the pier.
“Shit Darla “ Phoebe said to the blond “What’s the use of being with you if you don’t remember important details. “
Cole agreed with Phoebe. He wanted to know important details too.
“Well you weren’t so drunk you couldn’t remember them yourself when I left “ Darla protested.
Cole gathered from the way the two women talked Darla and Phoebe were doing the girlfriend thing together. That was something that caused some very difficult moments between him and Phoebe. Phoebe in her determination not to let them being together interfere with her family responsibilities, made a point of going to clubs with Paige as she had done while she and Cole were separated. As Cole understood the point of doing this was to pick up guys, he was not overly understanding. He did offer to go with them.
Paige was horrified. “How am I going to meet any guys with you hovering around “ Paige said. “They would think you were my big brother playing the heavy.”
“If you’re going to clubs to meet guys why do you need Phoebe around? “ Cole demanded.
Paige’s expression indicated she thought he was an idiot “If I went by myself they’d think I was a tart or something. “
“If you’re picking guys up aren’t you one whether Phoebe is there or not?” asked Cole.
As Cole remembered it the rest of that night was one of the least pleasant evenings he spent at the Manor and he had spent some miserable ones there.
The way Phoebe and Darla were dressed, if their aim was to pick up sleazebags, they were going to get them. Phoebe was wearing tight blue satin pants that only just covered her behind, 6 inch stiletto heels, and a piece of sparkling dark blue cloth over her boobs that barely made it worth the effort. Darla had a red satin boob tube that was not worth the effort and a white leather mini skirt that made it very clear she was wearing a black lace g string.
Cole followed the two women through 4 bars where they ordered scotch and somethings and surveyed the available prospects and danced with each other. Finally around about 1.30 at a very bad north side bar called the Red Lantern, Darla paired herself off with a particularly unattractive kid who followed her from the previous bar. Cole wondered if he was old enough to vote let alone drink, and Phoebe was left sitting by herself at a bar table. He had watched her push off three guys that night. She must have been in a fussy mood. But as she consumed another drink he decided that mood might change and he moved over to her.
He stood over her and without looking up she said “Piss off buster. I’m busy. “
So he sat down on the stool opposite.
“Piss off “ she said again then looked up and exclaimed “Oowwwwwwwwwwww Demon guy. “ She licked her lips. “You stalking me “ she asked hopefully. Then she remembered, “I should vanquish you.”
“You can’t “ he said softly.
“Oh in that case buy me a drink “ she said. He grinned and went to a bar where he paid double prices to have a half shot of whisky put in the her glass and bought another beer.
“You after the Charmed Ones “ she asked as he sat down “or just trolling. “
“Trolling “ he said.
“That’s good “ she said “I like being trolled.”
“Do you?” he said and gulped. Cole was feeling very odd and disturbed being with her and it took him a few minutes to realise what it was. Ever since he had touched their auras he was used to being aware what she felt for him, he was used to playing silly games, telling silly lies which she knew about, just to make sure of the connection, used to their souls being joined. Being with Phoebe when he could not feel her aura, gave him an eerie sense as if she was dead.
“I like demons “ she said “Demons aren’t boring. Had one guy had ‘em all but I like demons.” The dead brown eyes in front of Cole lit up “Demons are interesting and it really pisses my sister off when I have fun with demons.”
“You’re pretty brave pissing your sister off “ Cole commented.
“I am you know that, I really am “ Phoebe slurred, “How come you look like that demon that screwed my sister Prue?“ she demanded suddenly.
The sharpness of the question caught him “I Um sort of. A little while ago I reconstituted, had to take what I could get “ he said and smiled slyly “Beggars can’t be choosers. “
“You’re not lying are you?” Phoebe said contemplatively and Cole’s heart skipped a beat.
“Not that its any of my business “ Cole said carefully “but is it all that wise getting drunk, picking up demons, then telling them you’re one of the Charmed Ones minus the Power of Three. “
Phoebe suddenly jumped to her feet. ”Jeez what are you the preacher demon?”
She started to stalk off and made it half way across the room before Cole caught her wrist. Which he thought was a pretty good effort for a girl who was half way to being plastered and wearing six-inch heels. She tried to shake her wrist free and he held on.
“I levitate “ she said “You know what a stiletto heel feels like in your face. “
He smiled, he tried to leer but the problem was that the was the girl in front of him did not seem dead any more. He was getting a very strong sense of the Phoebe he loved, so he just smiled and the brown eyed, dark haired, soul dead girl in front of him saw something in a man’s eyes she had never seen before.
“I’m the annoying demon “ he said “The one that pisses people off.”
“You’re good at it “ she breathed.
“You wanna know something “ she said. I hate being a Charmed One. “
“Some things you can’t run away from “ Cole said.
“No “ said Phoebe looking at the intense blue eyes. “We coulda given it up last year. Angel of Destiny said if two of us wanted to we didn’ have to be Charmed Ones. “
“Why didn’t you give it up?” Cole asked.
“You the nosy demon too?” Phoebe said
“I can be any demon you want me to be” he said with his best leer that was nowhere near as good as it used to be.
“What the hell who cares what demon knows what” Phoebe said "I was gonna give it up my but my whinin’, bitch, half breed sister Paige didn’ wanna and Piper said she did so that she could finally throw me out the Manor”
Cole winced at the word half-breed.
“An'” continued Phoebe “I thought you’re not gettin’ away with that bitch. "She reached up so she was close to Cole’s face "I decided we were gonna keep the Charmed Ones going just to piss Piper off. Best day I ever had with Charmed Ones, Piper was pissed that she could not get rid of me and we found out she was stuffed, banged up and dumped all on the same day. “
“Did you?” said Cole gulping. “Sounds like a great day .“
“The greatest “ Phoebe said, “You dance?” she asked.
He nodded and she walked towards the small dance space, while he still kept a firm hold of her wrist. The music was soft and slow. She put her free arm around his neck and he let go her wrist and she locked her hands so he had to bend. He put his arms around her back and swayed with her enjoying the feel of her body moving against him.
Phoebe lost herself in the music, in the feel of him against her, moving softly gently. He slide his hand down until he felt the satin pants, and then slowly moved it under the satin until he could feel all of her buttock. She murmured into his throat slightly and he could not help saying softly “Panties being optional.“
He moved his finger against her just under the ridge of her buttock and she arched towards him. He could feel every part of her getting warm under the satin pants. It was a reaction with which he was not unfamiliar.
“Where have you been all my life?” Phoebe sighed.
And Cole gasped because what he felt coming from her was an emotion that he was as familiar to him and normal as the air he breathed.
He asked her if she wanted to go for a walk.
She giggled “These shoes aren’t made for walking Mr demon guy. You wanna take me home. Come in for coffee “ she asked suggestively.
And it occurred to Cole if something changed, if the timeline changed the best and safest place he could be was beside Phoebe at the Manor.
Phoebe pulled his head down to her level and whispered “You one of those demons that shimmer .”
“Yeah “ he whispered back “It so happens I am. “
She moved so that her groin was thrust into his and her head was back. She could see his eyes. “ I shimmered a few times" she said. "I liked it. I really liked it. Its like having sex but with every pore in your body not just your cunt. “
Cole very nearly choked.
He shimmered them into Phoebe’s bedroom.
“I liked that “ Phoebe said “Can we do it again some time? We missed coffee. “
“The fifth stair creaks “ Cole said “Easier to come straight here”
“How do you know that?”Phoebe asked.
“You told me" he said.
Phoebe ripped the satin pants and blue top off and flung herself on the bed. She lay there on her back legs apart, arms open, calling him. Cole decided he was not that brave and knelt down and removed the stiletto heels.
He undressed and threw his clothes on the usual chair. He missed the usual glare he got for doing that. He stood still a little way from the bed watching Phoebe lie there, naked, wetting her lips, inviting him.
When he took his time she lifted herself on one arm and said “What’s the matter demon guy don’t you wanna fuck?”
“No Phoebe “ he said quietly "I don’t wanna fuck. “ She started to sit up, anger on her face. “I want to make love" he said.
“Oh hell “ she said and fell back on the bed “I don’t do that so good .”
“I’ll teach you baby ?” he said lying down beside her and pulling her against him.
Tempus sat on the throne of the Source, as the minions knelt and stood before him, each as low as their place in the demon hierarchy decreed.
He turned to the Dark Priest and asked, “The Grimoire you have it safe?”
Many thoughts crossed the Dark priest’s mind. This priest had only held his position by consequence of the Great Immolation but he had heard stories of the madness that had overtaken the holders of the throne in recent years. The obsession’s that took them and nearly destroyed demondom. The priest wondered indeed if the insidious tyrants of Good had found a way to infect the throne with the madness of obsession. The Old Source, the great Source who had ruled for 500 years, turning crazy obsessed at all costs, even to the craziness of releasing the hollow to destroy the Charmed Ones, the half breed demon Belthezor, possessed of the old Source obsessed with his witch, the Seer once the pride of demondom, sage, wise, obsessed with the spawn of Belthezor and now Tempus obsessed with the lost Grimoire.
“The Grimoire was lost Liege “ he explained patiently “At the Great Immolation, taken by the Accursed Witches .”
Tempus roared his anger and roared his pain.
But he had to find a way to stop the Accursed Trio destroying the Grimoire and he was running out of time. Setting them against each other failed. Somewhere in their past was the key.
If he searched hard enough.
Tempus stalked back to his quarters and summoned his dark mirror. He found the moment where he changed the life of Belthezor’s witch.
Phoebe open the front door. “New York thata way “ she said out loud.
“You walk out with that, don’t ever bother coming back “ Prue said behind her. Phoebe spun around and saw Prue and Piper watching her. Anger cursed through Phoebe.
Far away in the future Tempus watching waved his hand and a spiral of blue light spun into the dark mirror where he watched the small drama. Phoebe jerked as if she had been hit by a bolt of lightning, for a second she looked at her big sister Prue who she really loved and remembered all the times Prue had been there for her.
“You haven’t even got the guts to face Grams have you “ Prue snorted, because she was only 22 and not always as wise as she could be. “I’d like to slap your face you thieving little bitch “ she added.
“You wanna try Prue “ Phoebe challenged stepping toward her. “Go on I dare you just try, and see what you get. “
Prue lifted her hand and slapped Phoebe as hard as she could across the cheek.
Piper gasped “Prue! “
Phoebe lifted her hand and tried to slap Prue back. Prue ducked and then hit Phoebe back, harder. As the pain and humiliation caught Phoebe, from behind them Grams gasped “Prudence Halliwell, what do you think you’re doing?”
“Grams. She’s a thieving bitch “ Prue said feeling hard done by.
“Back to bed you two “ Grams said firmly to Prue and Piper who both wordlessly walked to the stairs, each stopping to give Phoebe a filthy glare.
Phoebe through her tears looked up at her grandmother and silently held out her hand with the $500 in it.
“Oh Phoebe “ Grams sighed, taking the money, then reaching out for her errant grand daughter pulled her into a hug.