To know Phoebe is to...


Part 2:Phoebe being Phoebe


Chapter 13


Phoebe woke early to the sound of Piper yelling about a magic emergency and the need to call the baby sitter. Piper had heard on the TV of a problem at a children’s park nearby The report said last evening in a nearby park, in sight of their parents 2 children had been approached by a strange man with an odd shaped head and in front of witnesses seemed to disappear, and there had been another sighting at a nearby park, the previous night of a similar man shortly before 3 other children disappeared. The report warned not to leave children unsupervised in the area.


Paige was also up and the girl’s waited only long enough to look at the report, then as the park was only about 10 minutes away drove there, rather than risk being noticed orbing in daylight hours. The area where the children had been last seen was cordoned off. Piper would have liked to freeze it but it was a wide open space and she could not isolate the scene, so she distracted the policeman guarding it by throwing a pretend hysterical tantrum while Paige orbed Phoebe.


“No one acts out hysteria better than Piper” Paige observed as she saw the policeman’s bewilderment and confusion.


“The place reeked of demonic activity and Phoebe had a flashing premonition of the demon, another one of the almost human kind. A little like a grimloch but the head was misshapen and red. It had a very unusual stripped crescent shaped marking on its face and it’s eyed were a curious orange slit and looked evil incarnate on the red odd face. In her premonition, she saw the demons catch the children and shimmer away.


She nodded to Paige and the two quickly orbed out. Phoebe went back to where Piper in a high shrill voice was telling two very uncomfortable policemen, that San Francisco was a hotbed of evil, not safe for decent people. Phoebe barely containing her smile told the policeman not untruthfully that her sister was always inclined to exaggerate every situation and led her away from the policeman.


Piper hissing in Phoebe’s ear “I do not exaggerate EVERY situation”


 They drove back to the house and got out the Book of shadows. They found the demon after a fair amount of work and it as not good. The demon as one of the grimloch type who preyed on innocent child creatures, it was called a Moloch and it traded children to use the power of their innocence to protect demon communities from enemies. Molochs stole children, sold their innocence to other demons and then completed the deal by sacrificing them for the other demons.


The girls all looked at each other. That meant the children were still alive if they had not been sold.  There was a vanquishing spell and the book said the demons usually did their dealing in local cemeteries. The girls scryed for the demons and the children but nothing. Paige orbed them to local cemeteries and they scryed again but nothing. If the children were still alive, there was only one place they could be.  Phoebe put her hand on the demon image in the Book of Shadows, and she had another vision this time of one killing a child with an athame, in the underworld. She fell out of the premonition, gasping in revulsion.  Breaking all laws of good and evil, all laws of demon rule, the Molochs had openly taken the stolen innocents to the underworld.


“”We need to get to them fast. Down below fast.  Piper said.


Paige shook her head. “You know what Cole said Tempus had done to protect the underworld from orbing.”


“That’s probably why the Molochs took the children there” Piper snapped.


“I can try” Paige said determined.


“And do what “Phoebe said, “get yourself injured without Leo around to heal you”


Piper looked at Phoebe and Phoebe had no doubts ”He won’t be happy, twice in one week after all, this time” she said.


“Who cares if Cole’s happy” said Paige.


“Call him” Piper said.


Phoebe glanced at the clock it was nearly 9 and Cole would probably be at work. She called nervously and reached the harpy as she privately called Francesca. She was surprised Francesca said she would put her through without the expected an argument. Cole answered almost immediately


Cole had actually been sitting in his office and working with Francesca and let her take the call. He took the phone out of Francesca’s hand when he realised it was Phoebe  “Phoebe “ he started to say” I meant all I said last night “ as he said last night he caught the look on Francesca’s face.


“Haven’t got time to talk about it” Phoebe interrupted “What do you know about Molochs?” she asked quickly. Cole did not even bother to go on with the argument


“Shit” he said and caught Francesca expression “I mean damn”


“Have you seen Bay news this morning” Phoebe asked. When Cole answered no Phoebe explained “They took children at dusk last night. The Book of Shadows said they trade to the highest bidder keep children alive until they sell them. There’s a hope they, could be alive. “


Cole took a deep breath “Its not really something I should help you with" he started to say.


But Phoebe interrupted “I know we shouldn’t ask you but they’re in the underworld, we think”


Cole vaguely registered she had accepted he may say no “I’ll come straight away”


“You don’t have a problem – doing this” Phoebe asked


“Not with that”. Cole was still amazed she seemed to accept he had limits “No I don’t. I’m on my way”


Phoebe sighed to herself Cole had his good points and one was that he knew when not to argue.


“I have to go” he said unnecessarily to Francesca. “I’ll be back” and he was off out the door. Francesco noticed but did not comment on the fact that he did not take his car keys.


Cole shimmered to the manor and into the attic, where Paige was reading the Book of Shadows and Piper and Phoebe were anxiously hovering over her.


Phoebe was almost instantaneously aware he was there, and avoiding his eyes said “Thanks for coming”


“You know I would if I could” he said softly.


“You sure Molochs have turned up” he said to Piper finding it easier to talk to her.


“Yes” Piper answered “They took 2 children last night. Maybe a few more the night before. Can you get to them and get the children before they trade?”


Paige explained Phoebe’s premonition, while Phoebe stood silent, a little behind Cole, her eyes fixed on the back of his head.


Cole nodded “Give me a few minutes. If they are in the underworld, they should be easy to find”


He shimmered to the underworld. Molochs appeared when demonic wars and fighting were happening, to trade child powers for both sides. Parasites of war. Molochs set up quarters and offered their trade, their special skill of extracting the child’s innocence as they killed it.  Only they had never openly done it in the underworld before. Usually that was done in neutral realms, like earth. Tempus must have very little control, or be crazy or hell bent on chaos, if innocents were openly being taken below by lower level demon cults.


Molochs were fairly safe from attack because their wares were to valuable so they did not hide. It took Cole just a few minutes to discover their lair in a demon burial ground and he found the children. There were two younger Molochs guarding six children who were huddled in a cage. He dispatched one pretty quickly and got the second to tell him there were 4 more Molochs hunting in the earth realm. Cole dispatched him so he could not rush for help. He smiled to himself. Another test. There was no shudder of the balance between good and evil as he fireballed the Moloch.


The problem was Cole could only get two children out at a time. They were all very young under ten and they were frightened beyond reason. After they saw him blast the Molochs, they cringed away as if he was going to kill them, shrieking in fright. He knew he could not trust the children to remain touching during a shimmer. He caught hold of the two youngest who screamed in terror and wriggled like slippery eels.  It was all he could do to hold onto them long enough to get them to the attic. He came out of the shimmer with both children screaming and pulling hysterically to get free. Piper to his relief froze them almost immediately.


He quickly explained the situation and then said “I need you two “ “to Paige and Phoebe.  The girls exchanged glances. Paige noting that he did not even attempt to get Piper to go.


With me now” he added quickly. He caught both their hands and shimmered down to the children who were only marginally less frightened of Paige and Phoebe. They each grabbed two children and held tight while Cole shimmered up. To Paige’s disgust he caught her by the hair and Phoebe by the upper arm. Paige shrieked, the children wriggled and for all Cole’s power shimmering reluctant and frightened children without hurting them left him gasping for breath. The seven of then, the four children, two witches and Cole landed in an undignified heap on the attic floor. Piper summed up the situation and froze the children but she could not freeze Cole.


The witches and Cole managed to extract themselves from the heap, with even less dignity than they had landed, to Piper’s barely hidden amusement, especially as Paige’s reaction was to aim a well directed kick at Cole’s shin.


He yelled “Ouch what was that for”


“The hair. It hurt.” She snapped


Cole turned to Phoebe to appeal fro help but she smiled and turned her back to him. Piper caught Cole’s disgusted, frustrated and confused expression and met her sister’s eyes, with an amused laugh.


 Phoebe pretended to ignore what was happening asked “Got the spell written “Paige said she would work on it and Cole was left staring at Phoebe and Piper. And the frozen children.


“Did you get all the demons?” Piper asked.


“4 more about.  I’ll go get something you can scry with” Cole answered and shimmered to the underworld again, coming back with a piece of burned paper that smelled like brimstone. Piper wrinkled her nose but they were able to use the paper to scry and Paige quickly came back with the idea for a spell that would totally block the experience for the children.


Piper renewed the  freeze on the children while they scryed for the demons. Of the four 2 were together and there was two others in a separate locations.


There was a quick discussion. Cole bluntly said he could not fight for the girls and surprisingly they accepted it without argument . Time was to precious. Piper asked if he could shimmer Phoebe about and he grimly said he could do that.


They decided that Phoebe should go with Cole and Paige orb Piper and separately go after the two Molochs who were working alone. Paige and Piper caught one demon in act of trying to take a child from the front of a suburban house. Paige distracted it by orbing in between it and the child and Piper blew it up.


Cole shimmered Phoebe into an alleyway where a group of children were playing unsupervised. The Moloch appeared about two seconds later and Phoebe attacked it, kicking it to the ground and saying the vanquishing spell before it recovered. The demon disappeared in a satisfactory explosion of green goo and ash. Phoebe was in no real danger, but even so Cole would have loved to interfere. Once he raised his hand half thinking about using a fireball and was immediately caught with the peculiar nauseating dizzy feeling that he recognised was the balance between good and evil being disturbed. He slowly lowered his hand. The children were openly staring at slim covered Phoebe standing over a pile of ash that had once been a demon and Cole barely keeping the smile off his face at the sight of her, silently held out his hand to shimmer her away. Phoebe enjoyed every second of the shimmer.


They met again at the manor. Piper added another freeze to the children as Paige scryed again and they located the last two Molochs near a school. Cole waited with the children and Paige orbed Piper and Phoebe and in few second they were able to make short work of the demons. When Paige orbed them back, Phoebe was covered in even more goo and Paige also had it dripping out of her hair and down her face. She gagged as some of it touched her mouth.


Cole openly laughed as she spat it out “ Its not funny “ Paige snarled at Cole.


“If you say so” he answered but he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.


Piper interrupted the snarking between Cole and Paige to demand they work out a way of getting the children back without anyone realising the Charmed Ones were involved, given the missing children were front news headlines.


Cole finally rang Darryl from his phone He called Darryl and said “you know who this is” and asked if Darryl could get a patrol to a downtown toy store  in 15 minutes.


Piper kept the children frozen until Darryl called to say the patrol was in the area. Cole magically wiped the traces of the calls.


“Handy power” Paige commented dryly.


Cole grinned.


Piper unfroze the children, the girls quickly said the memory block spell and while the children were disorientated they managed to orb and shimmer the children to the store where Darryl had sent the patrol. Phoebe held onto two children while Cole held onto her and another child. Paige held onto one child and orbed Piper who held onto to another.  The came out of the orb and shimmer in the store. Piper quickly froze the scene


Paige was breathing hard at the struggle she had to hold onto the children. She looked across at Cole who had struggled himself. “That was a bitch” she said to him in a natural friendly tone.


He nodded laughing. “Tell me about it.”


Paige smiled at him a little awkwardly while Piper ignored Cole.  Phoebe became aware of a peculiar sense of relief and jealousy that Paige and Cole seemed to be slipping back into the snarking relationship they had before every thing went to hell. She looked back at Cole who was watching her with an expression that said he thought he was seeing her for the last time.


“That’s what you think you gutless bastard” Phoebe thought. As Cole went to shimmer away before Piper unfroze the scene, Phoebe stopped him “Thank you”  she said.


He nodded but did not answer.