A Matter of Relativity

Part 2: Shame and Scandal in the Family

Chapter 18

 

"They do not love that do not show their love"
 William Shakespeare

"You want to what..  " Leo yelled when Phoebe told him she wanted him to orb her to the vault of the Old Public Library in New York.

 

"There are innocents in danger "Phoebe insisted. "Its my responsibility to protect them, as Prue reminded me" she added, dutiful little sister.

 

"That's Prue being well Prue" Leo looked at her in stunned disbelief. "You've just spent what nearly 5 weeks leaving your responsibilities for what you said was a bigger responsibility."

 

"And that five weeks has given Whosit and Cole their chance" Phoebe said " And I thank you for it and so does Whosit."

 

"And now you want to risk it all to rush down there and help innocents." Leo was close to losing it with her "What about the other innocents who missed out because you were somewhere else?"

 

"How do you know any missed out" Phoebe demanded almost belligerently "anyway, this is different because I know about these ones.  You think Whosit needs to grow up knowing mom doesn't know what's right and wrong" Phoebe said. "Whosit would want me too." As Leo's face took on an obstinate expression "Look Leo all you have to do is orb me down there and I'll see if I can get a premonition, then you can go and tell Piper and Paige. And with any luck they'll find a way to stop whatever demon it is with a potion and not a Power of Three. And Leo" she said, "Maybe its time I left here."

 

"Are you starting to feel that perhaps this will be safe for you to go" Leo asked swallowing nervously.

 

"I'm starting to feel that maybe it's unsafe for me to stay," Phoebe whispered "My baby isn't evil" She looked at him big brown eyes. "Its not evil but just in case, well a guardian thought maybe some demonic inheritance means evil or demon being. Maybe its better I start thinking about being somewhere else."

 

"Why the hell don't you just go to Cole and find out? " Leo demanded seriously thinking about orbing her straight into Cole's office.

 

"Because I'm not letting him make that choice Leo" she said determinedly "if he chose to be a .. a guardian he'd never forgive himself and maybe neither would I."

 

"The only place Cole does not seem to be able to track you is the evil realms." Leo said.

 

"I know" Phoebe said. "But I'm thinking that may be the only safe place."

 

"Aren't worried being there might make Whosit more in tune with its demonic nature." Leo asked.

 

"I'm Whosit's mother," she said she touched her belly "Whosit's learning to be good from me."

 

"All Whosit's learning from you is to be a contrary little idiot who has no sense of proportion about anything," Leo said almost petulantly but he held out his hand to orb her.

 

Leo found that his suspicions about Phoebe being held in the upper realms were not unfounded. He had the devil's own fight to orb her away, finding blocks in every direction, and it was only as a last and desperate resort he remembered that shimmering meant absorbing what was being shimmered and he had learnt to do it to please Piper. Phoebe was disgusted and furious with him. Explaining to her just how she was imprisoned 'up there' did not make her any less annoyed. "Its like I had sex with you Leo" she said with her nose in the air. "What will Cole think?"

 

"He'll forgive you anything," Leo said sarcastically.

 

She wandered around the leather bound mouldy books in the Old Library Vault and wondered if Prue was right, until she was hit by premonition of the hammer-headed demon Taskeel, holding a soul catcher and surrounded by a cordon of vanquish fodder, appearing in the midst of 7 laughing and giggling female students chanting in a dark garden with a rather ugly gorgon statue that Phoebe recognised from her days in New York.

 

She came out of her trance  "You better go get Piper and Paige." she sighed and told Leo what she had seen.

 

Cole was sitting at his desk working late, reading through a complex pre-nuptial that an opposing lawyer had sent him and wondering why mortals bothered to marry at all when Paige called and said a little excitedly that she had been scrying for Phoebe on an off chance and located her in New York. She said she and Piper were on their way and he should follow.  He stood up and was almost in a shimmer as Kline and Jackman both came into his office and started laying into him about a long list of complaints Arlene had made about him. Particularly the one about him always watching her.

 

"I'm busy," he snapped and then he stopped and gasped "I what?"

 

"Not to busy to listen to some good advice," Kline snapped. "She says she feels you stare at her all the time."

 

"I am actually to busy," Cole said. "and she's paranoid " he said. "In fact I can't bear to look at her any more."

 

"If you want to continue working hereÖ" Jackman said.

 

"Are you offering to let go my contract" Cole asked hope surging.

 

Jackman suddenly realising the amount of work they were getting because of Cole's win for the disabled people "I don't think its come to that" he said.

 

"I'm busy" said Cole and walked away.  He tried to get to the elevator and shimmer and got caught with about three other people inside. He finally left it on the fifth floor and took a risk that if anyone noticed him they would not believe what they saw and shimmered.

 

It was only eight minutes since Paige called but eight minutes can be a lifetime for some beings. Piper and Paige arrived in the park in New York having orbed about 5 seconds before Leo arrived at the Manor. They got there just in time to see Phoebe confronting Taskeel, its almost hammer shaped head with its yellow and green demonic markings thrown back as it laughed demonically. It pointed the soul catcher and a teenager disappeared into a shrivelled heap of ash.  Five other confused and hysterical teenagers were watching and screaming "Oh god Ellie" as Phoebe, Whosit and all levitated, feet in Taskeel's face, catching a toe under its chin and hoisting it into the air while 10 vanquish fodder surrounded the teenagers, two sending fireballs at Phoebe.

 

Piper coming out of the orb didn't hesitate to freeze the scene as Phoebe rather awkwardly came back to earth. "I'd like to wring your neck" she told Phoebe as she blew up the vanquish fodder.

 

"Dammit we lost one" Phoebe screamed.

 

"Soul catchers latch onto the most evil one first" Paige answered.

 

"We need a Power of Three vanquish spell " Phoebe panted ignoring Piper. "Where is it?"

 

"We came after you, not Taskeel" Paige said.

 

"What" screamed Phoebe "Go back and get it" she ordered.

 

"Don't piss off at me, miss "Paige snapped, "After what we've been through for youÖ"

 

"How long is that freeze going to last?" Phoebe demanded.

 

"Not long enough for Paige to go back " Piper interrupted.

 

"God what were you thinking of" Phoebe snapped, " coming here without.."

 

"What were you thinking of, getting pregnant and running off, worrying us sick, worrying Cole sick," Piper said.

 

"Where's Cole?" Phoebe demanded frightened.

 

"Coming" Paige answered maliciously.

 

"Leo" 'Phoebe screamed as Piper pursed her lips.

 

Leo orbed in "I thought you might need this" he said and handed Piper a piece of paper. She flung he arms around his neck, sighed and came back to the reality of frozen teenagers. "Power of Three spell," she told Paige ignoring Phoebe.

 

"Get over here" Paige ordered Phoebe.

 

Phoebe somewhat hesitantly approached her sister's and with Leo keeping his hand on her shoulder they recited the Power of Three spell.

 

Cole was just in time to see the demon Taskeel disappear in a puff of flame that really did not do credit to its illustrious history. Leo catching the movement of a shimmer realised Cole was there. He started to orb with Phoebe when the demon Elisheeva appeared behind him and felled him by plunging a gold athame into the middle of his back. It put a long red hand around Phoebe's neck pulling her away from her sisters and observed the spot where Taskeel met its fate.

 

"Damn you Chickadee" it whispered genially to Phoebe "I had a better fate for that one than the wastelands."

 

Phoebe realising the danger for her and her baby froze, apprehensive waiting the chance to act.

 

"Smart chickadee" whispered the demon breathily.

 

Piper ran to Leo and the demon, black and red face falling into a sneer, lifted the athame to throw it at her. Paige called for the athame and it started to spin from the demon's hand.

 

Cole called slowly, deliberately "Drop it"

 

Elisheeva spun to face him, one hand still clutched around Phoebe's neck. Phoebe was dry eyed, quiet, ready to act as soon as she had a chance. She met Cole's eyes. He shrugged and she nodded "and let her go" he told the demon softly.

 

The demon almost smiling, made to flick the athame and Paige called again and this time the weapon spun out of its hand and dropped to the ground. The demon raised a fireball aimed it toward Paige. Cole with a movement of his hand stopped the fireball and disintegrated it, very close to the demon's face, while the demon started in shock and then a snarling smile came to its lips as the pressure it put on Phoebe almost bent her to the ground.

 

"Let her go" Cole said quietly. "The next one I'll mean" Cole said quietly "Don't make it a choice because there's no contest" he added "and then deliberately said, "so help me god."

 

The demon suddenly flung Phoebe to her knees and letting out a stream of inventive in demonise before it shimmered.

 

"That was disgusting" Piper said as she eased Leo into sitting position to examine his back. Leo moaned.

 

"That athame won't kill him, won't vanquish good magic beings." Cole said reassuring Piper.

 

"It stops them pretty good," Leo hissed in pain.

 

"Yeah well forgive me if I don't have a great deal of sympathy." Cole said as he walked over to Phoebe still huddled on the ground, almost hiding the bump that was Whosit from his view.

 

Piper looked to Cole and indicated Phoebe "Do what you have to," she said quietly to him.

 

Paige suddenly choked and moved toward Phoebe. Cole just held her off by using his hand to press her back. "Its between Phoebe and me" he told Paige "Look after Leo, that athame is meant to damn demon spirits to the pits of hell. It won't vanquish whitelighters but its pretty painful, torturous on good souls." he said ice cod. He moved to Phoebe standing over her as she was on her hands and knees.

 

She looked up as he towered above her. "Iíll never forgive you," she said eyes as big as saucer. "I'll stop you."

 

"Perhaps" he said as he bent to put a hand on each of her upper arms shimmered.

 

"Piper" Paige started to plead.

 

"She's certain its not evil," Leo said gasping still in pain.

 

"Its mortal?" Piper asked hope rising, "Not demonic."

 

"I didn't say that, " Leo hissed in pain, "she thinks maybe a little."

 

"I'm going after them," Paige said.

 

'No you're not " said Piper " Heal Leo and then we fix up these damned stupid kids, and then we give Cole Öand Phoebe some time."

 

Cole shimmered into the kitchen still holding Phoebe by the arms. Without a word he turned her around and she submissively let him push her into the hallway. Marly who was babysitting appeared from the parlour and eyed Phoebe standing passivey as Cole held her upper arms. Cole quietly asked Marly if Melinda was asleep and she swallowed nervously and said yes and Cole told her to go home. Marly glanced at Phoebe who nodded. They both watched while Marly gathered purse and jacket and as soon as the front door shut Cole shimmered Phoebe to their bedroom. She was standing almost against the bed as he turned her to face him towering over her.

 

"I wonít let you do anything Cole" Phoebe said quietly.

 

He laughed and it wasn't pleasant, angry cold. "How are you going to stop me Phoebe? " he said softly. He let go her arms and stepping back touched her stomach gently.

 

She slipped her right hand down the front of her pants and pulled out the golden athame she had retrieved from the ground where Elisheeva had dropped it.

 

"I won't let you hurt Whosit" she said and plunged the athame upwards into his body as hard as she could. She meant to run but was stopped by the sight of the acid blood burning a huge hole in his shirt. She gulped as he fought to control the demon power. He put both his hands on the wound, and the bubbling acid blood slowly turned red and he went to his knees from the pain of the demonic weapon on a body manufactured out of demon powers.

 

"That hurts" he whispered.

 

Phoebe turned and ran for the door, she wrenched it open and ran down the stairs. She sighed in relief and then found herself in a shimmer and back in the bedroom. She came out of the shimmer to see Cole holding out bloodied fingers he had flicked "Little trick Arturo taught me" he said "Shimmering things I can't see."

 

"Let me go or I'll use it again," Phoebe said holding up the athame.

 

"Oh Phoe..be " he sighedí "you couldnít kill me with it. Iím beyond evil."

 

"I donít want to kill you," she said. "I want stop you. You do anything to hurt Whosit" she said vehemently " I'll never forgive you."

 

"I know, " he said "isnít it.... lucky I donít have to." She stared at him open mouthed "Youíre safe Phoebe " he said "So's Whosit"

 

"Oh God Cole" she said her voice shaking and ran to him, kneeling to touch the gaping wound.

 

"Shit that hurts," he said in pain.

 

"Fix it," she ordered him, as he nodded smiled wryly and let demonic power take hold of him enough to heal.

 

"Shit that hurts," he said in pain but not as much.

 

Still kneeling she flung her arms around his neck kissing him on the mouth, on his face, finally crawling onto the bed with him so they could press closer in a tangle of arms and legs while barely pausing for breath. They finally stopped when he had to gasp "shit that hurts" as she leant to hard against the wound, that now healed looked like a spectacularly deep back bruise.

 

Phoebe lying beside him looked into his eyes "Thereís nothing wrong with Whosit" she said swallowing. "You can't feel anything evil in me or Whosit."

 

"Well as far as I can tell from the aura, itís a human baby with some magic. There is some ah demonic nature but that does not a demon make" he said sucking his lip "the kid is just going to have to learn some restraint, may be more open to temptation but nothing worse " Cole answered grimly his face almost in hers "But you knew that didn't you and you still ran."

 

She fell back on the bed " I couldnít take the risk" she said " for the baby and for you" she whispered.

 

"You couldn't trust me not to do anything until I was sure" Cole asked almost sulkily bitter.

 

 She turned to put her hand on is face and he kissed the fingers as they touched his mouth. "I couldn't trust you not to do anything if you were sure. What's a demon Cole " she said " the nature, the spirit, the evil being. You're a guardian what do you call a demon."

 

"I call a demon a demon," he said. "What you're carrying doesn't have demonic aura. Its not a demon. Not by what Francesca tells me is a demon anyway."

 

"If it was " she said softly "I'd look after my baby. I'd impersonate the archangel Gabriel to protect my baby or Tempus. Would you?"

 

He lay on his back and was quiet for a while "Do you know?" he almost whispered, "I think I would. Francesca seems to think I would."

 

"Which is why I had to go " Phoebe said " I wasn't going to risk letting you betray what you've fought so hard to be."

 

"So its my fault you had to go" he said dryly still staring at the ceiling.

 

"Its always your fault for everything " Phoebe answered.

 

After a minute or so silence Cole turned his head to Phoebe. "Don't take this the wrong way baby " he said " but I don't think you could pull off impersonating the archangel Gabriel."

 

"Oh" she said. A second or two later she asked seriously " Cole I haven't felt you touch auras. Are you sure about Whosit?"

 

"Felt it while we shimmered " he said.

 

Phoebe sat up angry "God Cole" she said "why didn't you say something straight away."

 

"Gee I don't know " Cole replied sitting up "It must have been getting skewered in the gut by the most evil athame in demondom that distracted me."

 

Phoebe was saved from answering by Piper calling from downstairs.

 

"Up here" Cole called standing up.

 

Piper appeared at the door with Paige just behind her "Well?" she asked looking at Cole.

 

"I can't find anything evil, only irritating, annoying, difficult, contrary" he said with  a sly smile slowly walking toward the door and ignoring Phoebe's pleading eyes as Piper followed by Paige entered the bedroom"

 

"How could you?" Piper demanded.

 

"You thoughtless little bitch" Paige said.

 

Leo standing at the door stepped back to let Cole leave the room.

 

Cole walked a few steps past him and then stopped " Leo" he said "you know how I said I wasn't going to sympathise with you for getting the athame in the back."

 

"Yeah " said Leo a little cautiously.

 

"I take it back" Cole said, "I do."

 

Phoebe finally managed to escape her sister's wrath by bursting into overwrought and hysterical tears. "Bed for you missy" Piper said not even relenting. She insisted Phoebe shower while Paige made her a light supper and they finally left her to fall into a restless sleep. She woke up when Cole came to bed, listening to him shower and shave, familiar sounds that both comforted her and made her nervous. She pretended to be asleep lying with her back to him as he got into bed but a little sniff gave her away.

 

"What's wrong? " he asked putting his hand across her to touch her belly

 

"Just happy to be home" she said.

 

"Even with Piper and Paige pissed at you" Cole asked dryly.

 

"I mean really home " she said "with you."

 

PhoeÖ.be" he sighed still a long way from being not pissed at her as she turned over to snuggle into the familiar scent and feel of him, asleep almost immediately. The first safe and restful sleep she had had since the day she had first suspected she was pregnant.

 

When she woke up Cole was not there and she panicked a second then when she saw the time she realised if he was going to work he would be already dressed. Phoebe went downstairs nervously. Leo was missing but Cole in a suit was finishing off coffee and talking to Paige who was dressed for work.

 

"Morning" she said apprehensively.

 

Melinda was amusing herself soaring her toys around her head. She held out her arms to Auntie Phoebe for a hug that Phoebe was very grateful to get. She finally put Melinda down and went to Cole to kiss him, which he accepted with a bemused smile. Then when she nervously pulled back he put his head down to take what he wanted. When he finished she smiled nervously and reached for the coffee pot  "Put it down" Cole said in a voice he would not have used on Melinda.

 

"Breakfast " Piper asked

 

"Just toast'' Phoebe said.

 

"Not likely " said Piper putting a large bowl of high fibre tasteless muesli covered in yoghurt in front of her. Phoebe looked appealingly at Cole and he ignored her.

 

"I think I'll go into work to see if I still have a job," Phoebe said.

 

"You still have a job, one you can do working from home" Paige said. "Not that you deserve to " she added.

 

"I don't " Phoebe said

 

"Get it," said Piper'. "Cole gave them a medical certificate saying your pregnancy was causing problems," she said.

 

Phoebe glanced at Cole who smiled smugly and flicked his fingers. "I don't have  a problem with personal gain.'" He said

 

"Mind you" said Piper " that did not stop Elise turning up here to check the rumour you had run off with my husband."

 

"You're not leaving the house," Cole said.

 

"What " said Phoebe getting seriously annoyed at the way they were treating her "Don't you try to tell me.."

 

"There's still the small problem of Elisheeva being after you," he said steeling himself for this.

 

"That was just the Charmed thing," Phoebe said.

 

"No itís the bab.. Whosit" he said. 

 

"What?" said Phoebe, Piper and Paige.

 

"What do you know about Elisheeva?" Paige asked suspicious "you always say demon attacks aren't your business."

 

"Its an upper level demon that canít be vanquished by spells, and potions" Cole said straight faced, "used to be close to the source but it went rogue about a hundred years ago"

 

"Thatís in the Book," said Piper.

 

"Wow" said Cole.

 

"It looks a bit like Belthezorí" said Piper suspiciously. "What is about all those markings?"

 

"Decoration" Cole said.

 

"Cole" said Piper.

 

"Piper" said Cole.

 

"What does it look like in human form" Paige asked feeling very nervous.

 

"A bit like me " Cole answered. "Only female."

 

"Why do all upper level demons look like you" Paige asked sharing Piper's suspicion. "Female?" she asked really nervous.

 

"They don't" said Cole "Only this one. It happens to be my mother" and he thoroughly enjoyed the girls' expression. "Well you knew I had a demon mother," he said.

 

"Why is she, your mother, after Phoebe?" Pipe asked horror all over her face.

 

She must have realised when she and Shiva kidnapped Phoebe in June that she was my witch " Cole answered amiably "and somehow found out about the preg" he saw Phoebe's face " Whosit. She thinks she failed with me. I'm the greatest screw-up in demondom, wants to do a better job with Whosit. She actually was very good mother" he added.

 

He stood up and pecked Phoebe on her lips. "Cheer up baby " he said "now Paige and Piper are as pissed at me as you." And he left for work leaving all three sisters starring at his back.

 

"That settles it " Piper said firmly to Phoebe. "You aren't leaving the Manor unless its with Cole or all three of us."

 

Phoebe did not bother to change out of PJ's all day. She filled the time on the phone with work, using Piper's connection to get her files and e-emails and regretting she had left her notebook 'up there' and considered calling Cole to get him to ask Francesca to retrieve it. Eventually, she decided it just might piss him off. Late in the afternoon Piper had had enough of the PJ's and sent her upstairs to change.

 

"Shut up Phoebe" Piper said when Phoebe hissed she was not Melinda's age.

 

Cole arrived home from work not long after and found Phoebe standing in the middle of their bedroom  "Why did you move the aspidistra" she demanded glaring at the plant pot that was now in the far corner of the room.

 

"Because it gets in the way in the corner" Cole, leaning against the doorjamb, answered calmly after a second.

 

"I prefer it in the corner near the door," Phoebe said firmly.

 

"You weren't here," Cole answered holding it together.

 

"You know how I like my room, " she said not noticing. She walked over to her dresser and spun around, no easy feat given the balance problems she was having with Whosit. "Where are all my things?" she demanded looking for all her bottles and potions, and creams.

 

"In the top drawer " Cole said flat voiced. Phoebe pulled the drawer open and saw all her creams and bottles lying in a heap and turned again "Cole" she said horrified "why did you do that?"

 

"I don't use them" he said still flat voice.

 

She shut the drawer, pulling open her underwear drawer. When Cole had come back to the Manor and Piper had thrown a basket full of Phoebe's laundry that was left drying and ordered him to put them away. "You put my bras in the sock part and my good things with my every day knickers" she said really annoyed.

 

"Gee sorry " he said not moving or taking his eyes off her.

 

"Cole " she added really getting cross. She stalked in to get ensuite and stood at the door. "This place is filthy," she said "couldn't you have made some sort of effort to clean it at least once in the last month."

 

Coe walked slowly across the room, offended because he actually used magic to clean the room and bathroom up four days ago when Piper complained.

 

He came over to her and put his arms around her pulling her so close that in order to see his face she had to arch Whosit right against him.

 

"Promise me something, " he said ever so quietly

 

"What" she said apprehensively wondering if she had pushed him to hard.

 

"Promise me" he said slowly.

 

She gulped "I promise" she said looking into dancing blue eyes.

 

"Don't ever change," he said as he bent down to kiss her.

 

"You're really are pissed at me aren't you?" Phoebe said unhappily when he lifted his head " I thought you loved me" she said looking into his face and trying to read it.

 

"I do love you " he said " and I'm pissed as hell at you. Believe it or not I can manage to do both at the same time."

 

"Cole" she said.

 

"Phoebe" he answered.

 

"We going to make love " she asked hopefully.

 

"I'm to pissed at you to make love," Cole answered

 

"Oh" she said just as hopefully " we gonna fuck."

 

"Oh yeah " he answered.