To know Phoebe is to...


Part 1:Better to have loved and lost


Chapter 4


Cole also worked late, partly because he wanted to get some contacts he knew on the waterfront outside work hours, partly because he had 2 other court cases going and 4 contracts to write. Jackman, Carter and Kline, to say nothing of Francesca were getting their pound of flesh out of him. Sometimes he was tempted to wave his hand and get the writing finished but he resisted the temptation partly because he had tried that once and at the resulting meeting he had barely a clue what was written on the paper and made an awful ass of himself and partly because when he worked he did not have to think about anything else.


After he finished work, Cole returned to the apartment, first stopping at a small café where he ate alone. He left the café, went out to the parking area, and stood and watched as some one backed their car into another one in the car park. They made a huge dent in a red sedan, got out, surveyed the damage and then jumped in their car and drove off. For a second Cole was temped to stop the driver and then he sighed. One of the things he knew about being the most powerful being in the realm was the danger of being a vigilante. It could not be done and remain good, so he took the easy way out and flicked a finger as he passed the red sedan and watched with amusement as the huge dent undented. People who had heard the squealing brakes came out and the owner of the red car examined it then turned to his female companion and said, “They must have missed it”:


Cole grinned and got into his own car and drove off.


Cole spent a long and miserable night alone in the apartment, drinking most of the night. Something he had not done for quite some time, but Phoebe contacted him and he was back to where his guts felt like they had been torn out. He had a number of these nights in the last six months but they had been less and less of late. Partly because Francesca made his life so miserable when she knew he had been binging and partly because it had not been necessary. Lately he had been surviving.  Since the day, THAT Day, as he thought of it when he had faced the fact that he could, had to, resist the evil, he had mostly, as he told Paige when he “reported in”, been all right.


He had even come to terms with what he was and who he was. And he had learned some very hard lessons about good and evil. His powers were demonic, they were a legacy of evil and not in the eternity Cole faced as an immortal being would he easily forget the six months when he had feared that he had created a magical being of evil, so powerful he was stronger than the source, stronger than witches and warlocks and Elders combined. But he had learnt some things in the months that come and one of the things that he had learnt thaws that the creature he had become was meant to be good.


He had failed badly in those first six months, failed to understand and control what he was. When the Charmed Ones had saved him or convinced him to save himself, it came as a shock to know the danger to the realm was not him. If he was evil his fate was to be vanquished, at the cost of turning the Charmed Ones evil, of turning Phoebe evil. But then he was also tied to Pheobe and she was meant to be good. When she had been able to find her way back to being good, so had he.


After he pulled himself from the brink of evil and madness, he had at first been frightened to use the powers but as he got control of them the stunning realisation that the powers were only demonic, not evil came to him. He had finally learned to control the powers her had, he was no longer feeling the overwhelming temptation to evil when he made a discovery that explained much.


One temptation that Cole had never had the remotest trouble resisting, was trying to absorb any more powers. He had enough problems with the ones he had. And he was not seeking out evil because he was listening to a sense of vague disquiet that he felt at such action. However he did have some problems with evil locating him, sniffing out the powers even if they did not know who or what he was. Consequently he accidentally got caught in a fight between a middle level demon and a rogue warlock who were out of control of the new source.  They had both confronted him as he was walking back to his car after working late one night obviously chasing his powers and decide to fight each other for them


The demon was a middle level demon who possessed the power to use a ray of light to cut victims to pieces. The warlock had won the battle and was extracting the power of the demon and Cole had misjudged the action and had unintentionally got between them, He had been caught in the movement of the power and had absorbed it. The warlock had attacked him and Cole in almost impulse reaction had destroyed the warlock with the laser power.


And then he had spent a week in a very bad way fighting a desire to be evil, so strong that he dared not work, or go near any-one else for days. He had felt for a few days that he was being dragged back to where he had been when the evil took over when he first returned from the wasteland And then after some very bad days, he noticed the impulse to use the power for evil had faded.. He simply absorbed it into his arsenal, so that within a week he had was able to draw on it selectively with no more impulse to hurt or destroy or be evil than before.


And the secret finally came to him of the powers. They were demonic but not necessarily evil but it took him a very few days before what he ruefully thought of as his better nature was able to control the powers. And he needed to be very careful during that time. It was no wonder that the amount of powers he took from the wasteland had overwhelmed him.


And then he did something that changed what he was. He simply wanted to make sure about the demonic powers and how they affected him. He found some spites who had demonic powers that were not lethal. They were annoying creatures who had a simple power to discover what others were feeling by touching their auras. Cole hung around watching until one of them annoyed a more powerful demon into vanquishing it and he was able to absorb the power during the vanquish. He had been prepared for the temptation to evil, but not for the level of it from what was supposed to be such a simple non-lethal power. For a week he fought a battle that was followed by more complaints by senior partners about erratic behaviour. Cole promised himself he would never willing absorb another power again.


The power did not work for Cole h as it did for spites because as his own nature took over the power, the ability to join auras connected to his soul. Cole’s human form had always been slightly empathic. He was not so powerful that he could absorb emotions from other people but enough to sense some things about them. When the very first time he talked to Phoebe and told her he sensed she was a goods person struggling with the truth, he had not been lying.


He inherited the power small as it was, from his father one. Cole’s father had been mortal but possessed of low level magic empathic abilities, and this inheritance was one he had hidden from the demonic world all his life. It was a proof of a good magic soul and it would have been his death warrant in the underworld. Mostly it was a power so small Cole had to concentrate very hard to access it, usually to understand good beings when he needed to and often using that knowledge for demonic purposes.


However this time the power of the spite seem to merge with the empathic ability and he found himself caught in connections about which he had no true understanding. With some concentration he could touch auras and understand what others were feeling , which was something he very rarely wanted  to know. But more than knowing whether a particular creature was good or evil, it seemed in the joining of the powers he had connected with some higher realm or greater being and he became more and more conscious of the balance of good and evil around him and some times he could almost feel that balance shudder. It frightened the hell out of him.


But he learned to listen to the feeling, and discovered he could use his power to keep a job, or finish some work or fix a court case and nothing seemed disturbed. He could use the powers to counteract his own legacy from the time the Source. When any the laws of the old order were contravened, and beings both good and evil interfered with the Angels of Fate, Destiny, Time, Death, or dragged opponents to realms they had no right to take them, Cole experienced no terrible feeling of the balance shifting if he intervened. However even thinking of interfering with the battle of good and evil, siding with one or the other, left him with such a strong feeling of foreboding, unease and disquiet that he learned very quickly to leave it alone. It seemed he could protect and defend but not fight. 


Cole worried about the connection; he feared he was associated with something well beyond the magic world he had known, and then as he listened to those feelings he found a consequence was he could almost live a normal mortal life, and from sheer self defence he stopped worrying and just let destiny take its course.




One of the controls he had developed in all the powers he had taken out of the wasteland was the ability to control the way his blood could turn acid. It was very much tied to the ability of his body to heal itself and a side effect of keeping it under control was that alcohol affected him, or he could let it. And he needed it to get through a whole night after hearing Phoebe’s voice.  A couple of seconds with her being bitchy, just being Phoebe and he was an alcoholic basket case again.


He fell into a drunken sleep about 5.30 and woke up three hours later with a hangover that would have done credit to a month long binge, and left with the alternative of acid blood and control, he chose to live with the hangover. He fell into the shower and as he was still in it after 9 he could hear the phone ringing. Francesca! He called and told her he would be in late.


When he arrived at work, looking grey around the eyes and mouth, and the worse for wear, Francesca made no secret of her disapproval. She told him he had missed a partner’s meeting. Cole knew he would be in trouble with them again. Francesca handed him a list of phone messages. Two of them were from Phoebe. Cole went into his office and the senior partner Jackman rang and told him off or missing a meeting and he had to listen to an ear full about how the firm had stood by him and how he needed to prove he could be responsible. Cole put the phone down and sighed. He was not overly fond of the Arthur Jackman, a pompous man who could not tolerant opposition. Cole had resorted to magic a few times to just push things like pro bono work into the firm's schedule.


Cole found some grim amusement in the fact that the man thought he was dressing down a junior partner when he was really dressing down a being of such power that he could vaporise him in an instant. Only vaporising the man would give Cole about 2 seconds satisfaction and an eternity to face the consequence so he ruefully agreed to try and be a better asset to the firm The partner informed him it was lucky Reynolds had made such a fuss and the contact was the only reason Cole’s termination was not being considered. Cole grimanced.


Cole also rang Darryl Morris who was not as unhappy to hear from him as he had once been although Darryl actively winced when Cole mentioned corruption. Cole had kept his promise to help if Darryl really needed it. Over the last few months Cole had regularly seen Darryl, partly through work and partly because Darryl was the only person who knew what he was but managed to not treat him as something other than a freak. Darryl bitched and complained but over a few beers he had offered Cole some very good advice which he did not always take and for Cole it as a relief to talk and just be with someone who did not need explanations or pretence.


“Just check out Reynold’s connections and see if you can find out what the feds really want with him” Cole asked.


Darryl agreed and said he would call back.


Cole glanced at the messages from Phoebe and moaned out loud. He speaks to her once in three months and the life he had created such as it was, was spinning down around him. Francesca was obviously bent on making him miserable, the partners were furious with him and he was back to drowning painful memories with copious amounts of alcohol.  


Phoebe, Phoebe, Phoebe, just knowing Phoebe seemed to him to be a reason to have his life, good, evil, human, demon spun around and turned upside down. He looked at the message s.  He loved her but he did not want to know her. Knowing Phoebe was the cause, as far as he could see of every problem he had had in the last three years. He would cut her out.


He walked out to the outer office and told Francesca that he was no longer available to Phoebe Halliwell. Francesca asked if he meant all Miss Halliwells, and Cole hesitated a second then said not all Halliwell’s just Phoebe, and he felt like he had cut off his right arm as he did it.


And knowing Phoebe she was not going to be very happy when she found out.


Phoebe called Cole twice before she went to work. All she got was the terribly efficient assistant who said she would pass the message to Cole when he returned.


She got to work and there was no answer. She called him again and the efficient assistant simply said she would tell Mr Turner Phoebe had called. Phoebe insisted she be put through and there was a hesitation, which made Phoebe strongly suspect Cole, was there.


In fact he was, Francesca silently indicated who it was to him as they worked on notes for a case of a drug dealing kid who had such a bad time, Cole was working to keep him out of the jail system, in between depositions for firm clients. As Francesca indicated it was Phoebe, Cole stretched out his hand to take the phone and then quickly withdrew it shaking his head. He pulled a face and settled back to work, wondering why if he was the most powerful being in the realm he felt so nauseous from a hangover.


If Phoebe had been annoyed with Cole when he hung up on her, it was nothing to what she felt when it dawned on her that Cole was refusing to accept calls from her. She reserved for herself the right to judge his actions, tell him how to behave and to monitor what he was doing and for him to put himself beyond that she felt was a betrayal. And worse was the nagging feeling of hurt, bone aching agonising, unbelievable hurt that he could break the connection with her. Because behind all of it, good or evil, agony, ecstasy, pain, joy and beyond she had always been very secure in the knowledge that this powerful creature, this man loved her beyond redemption, beyond time and beyond all hope.


To accept that maybe he did not love her as much, she refused to consider the idea he did not love her at all, was a hurt that beyond her bearing. He had always been the one asking and it suddenly felt to her that she had lost the years their lives had been intertwined and it was not a feeling she had ever considered would happen. Cole loved her, she breathed oxygen, Cole loved her, she was a witch, Cole loved her, she was Phoebe Halliwell . Cole loving her was a fact of her existence.  Her loving him was not a consideration. Because no matter what her life became she had been the object of love of one the most powerful beings in existence. Cole had to love her because it was who she was. Only she dared not say the words out loud so she just got angry and decided he was going to pay attention to her.