A Matter of Relativity

Part 3: The impossible takes a little longer

Chapter 24


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

Part 3 of 4 Parts

Cole blinked into his and Phoebe's bedroom at the manor. Without all his powers he was a little nervous of crashing in on top of Caleb who was inclined to keep a close and careful watch on his new charges. And he had no idea where Marly was in the house.


When he walked up to the attic he found Caleb was in the middle of a long speech telling the witches the Elder's opinion was that the Charmed Ones needed to reconstitute without Phoebe.


"Well the only that is going to happen is if Mom and Grams somehow or other hid another sister somewhere." Paige snarled.


"I don't have another sister" Piper bit out and sighed "And Phoebe isn't lost yet."


"The Elders consider you need to start looking for other decedents of Melinda Warren" Caleb suggested primly.


"Perhaps you could get back to the Elders and ask them to consider how we can rescue our sister" Piper answered just as primly.


Cole walked in and Caleb barely acknowledged him, orbing out almost immediately but not before insisting again to Paige and Piper that they needed to think of ways to reconstitute the Charmed Ones.


"Don't you just love it " Paige muttered "when they can all tell you what you need but no-one can tell you how to do it."


"Oh" said Cole


"Well" said Piper.


"She's okay at he moment" Cole said " both of them are " he said glancing at Paige. "Whosit" he said not taking his eyes off Paige.


"But" said Piper.


"Only Caleb's right" he winced "the only way they are going to stay that way is if you can find a way to reconstitute the Power of Three without Phoebe."


Piper put her head on the side and just glared at him while Paige sucked in her breath.


Cole winced "Elisheeva has a Medusa  mask on Phoebe, a block. It's a pendant that holds souls, very evil souls. Lost souls, they can mask an innocent " he said "Its an old device and I didn't know one as strong as this existed, god knows how she found it and its on Phoebe. Its controlled by Elisheeva's magic. It will kill the baby and probably Phoebe if you try and get her up here without Elisheeva magic and the only way you can get it off is to defeat Elisheeva's magic with Power of Three."


"Oh" said Paige paling a little while Cole regarded her with an expression somewhere between the sympathy of a brother and the severity of a guardian.


"And you can't get it off her? " Piper asked. 


"if I destroy" and Cole swallowed "my mother, I may destroy the magic that controls the medusa mask and god knows what will happen, destroy Phoebe probably."


"And you are so damned certain, she's not evil " said Paige tightly. Not quite ready to concede.


"She's not evil Paige" Cole said quietly. "You are going to have to trust me."


"Then why the hell did she go to meet that damned demon "Paige said.


Cole shrugged concerned. "Just being Phoebe, just being, well stupid. She just went shopping because I told her not too. Got pissed at us because we were treating her like a three year old. You can't hang some-one for stupidity."


"You can yell at her" Piper said.


Cole smiled a little " I already did."


"And Mark" Paige asked still not convinced. "How do we protect him?"


Cole nodded "It happened down there, we need to get Phoebe back, soon, and you need to find a way to do it with Power of Three" and he didn't quite succeed in keeping the tremor out of his voice.


"Did you just hear what we said to Caleb?" Piper asked. "That's not possible."


"Think about it " Cole said.


"Goody " said Paige sarcastically " The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer."


"That's what I mean" Cole answered. "I want the shimmering back, " he told Piper firmly "and then we better go rescue Leo."


Piper faced him, feeling the adrenalin rush of having the power and for half a second hesitated, and realised what she was feeling just as she saw something of the Guardian in Cole's face. '"Bloody power is addictive" she said then quietly said the spell transfer spell.


"Hope Leo will give them back as easily " Cole commented just as Marly orbed in almost on top of him, and was in such an adrenalin rush she did not notice Cole actually touched her to steady her. She looked into startled blue eyes and then took a deep breath as if she was diving and orbed again.


"What the fuck" said Cole stunned.


"Don't say that in front of Melinda" Piper said primly.


Cole glared at her.


"Marly seems to be getting a bit of a head rush from the orbing " Paige explained.


"We need to get Leo back" Piper said raising her eyes .She retrieved the Power stripping potion they had stored carefully in a hidden corner of the attic. "For every-one's sake" she said glaring at the space where Marly had been.


"Start thinking of a way to get to reconstitute the Power of Three" Cole ordered Paige in something of the guardian voice as he held out his hand to Piper and shimmered.


"Think of a way to get the Power of Three back" muttered Paige angrily "who made you boss Cole goddamned bloody demon Turner. I'd have gone shopping too just to spite you too" she glared at the place where Cole had been.


Marly orbed back three seconds later, her hair awry her eyes flaming. " I never .." she breathed.


"Don't go " Paige started to say but Marly was off again.


"Shit. They better get Leo back " Paige sighed. She saw Melinda watching her with interest. "Its perfectly justifies to say "shit " sometimes" she told Melinda.


Marly came from the orb " No its not " she said "You shouldn't say shit in front off Melinda ever" she said in a surprisingly firm voice  to Paige.


Cole and Piper found Leo with a little difficulty. He was hiding in the shadow of a rocky outcrop, the ground around him was blistered and scorched and the sulphur smelling remains of the smaller beasts surrounded him.


Leo looked at Cole and Piper standing there, his eyes wide with pain and his hair almost on end, his clothes were awry and his expression caught between awe anger and fear.


"Leo" Piper started to say as Cole held her back from running to Leo.


"Leo, I want the powers back," Cole said in the deadly calm voice of the Guardian.


Leo shook his head. "I think," he said in a voice that was deeper and darker than his normal one "that what you have is just a little to dangerous for a demon.


"I'm not a demon" Cole said his voice still very quiet.


"You could do good with these powers " Leo said. " I never dreamed, you know" he said. "The power to rule, in the hands of good" he laughed strangely "He doesn't want that," Leo told Piper as he pointed at Cole "he's just as frightened of good having the power as the rest of them."


"Shit" said Piper.


"Leo, you know the Great Plan " Cole said his voice getting deadly.


"Leo" said Piper "you want to leave me, you want the power, you want to be the ruler of the world, or you want me and Melinda, you want life." She me his wild staring eyes. "Leo" she said holding out toward him."We have a good life. Damn the power, let Cole rule the world, let any one. We have a good life. Together. Living."


There was suddenly a hissing sound behind them as a beast forced its way out of the ground. Leo swung and using the lightning and fireball power he struck the Beast until it disintegrated into a puff of smoke.


Leo looked t the damage he had done, what the power could do, then he met Piper's eyes and glanced at Cole.


"You know how the Great Plan works" said the Guardian "You know about the balance."


Leo gulped, his eyes widened and flashed dark and very quietly, held out his hand to take the potion from Piper. He drank it without a blink and she said the spell so  the black cloud ascended from him and Cole moved quietly as it fell over his body and was slowly absorbed. He sagged back as the core of his soul became replete. "That feels good " he said slowly to Piper and Leo. "I don't want to use them you understand, I just feel ..incomplete without them."


"Yeah I do understand that" said Leo quietly. "It isn't the powers that make you what you are, is it ?" Leo, in his normal voice,  said to Cole.


"No " Cole said dryly "apparently not.  We better get out of here" he added reaching for Piper and Leo. It was only minutes before Cole got them back to the manor, feeling a decided third wheel in that shimmer.


They arrived back at the manor and found Paige lost in the Book of Shadows


"Find anything? " Cole asked.


"God. Give me some time" snapped Paige.


"I'm not god" said Cole.


"Shut up Cole" snarled Paige.


With a little hunting and calling they finally located Marly. She looked at Leo with a resentful quivering lip when he asked for the orbing back and for a second Piper saw the same resentment on Marly's face that she had felt when Cole asked for the shimmering back. Marly finally sullenly agreed and swallowed the potion while Paige and Piper said the spell.


Both girls said a grateful "Thank you " to her and she sniffed a little but when Cole said the same thing she looked at him with total resentment. Leo offered to orb her home but she sniffed that she had her car and left gathering her belongings in a defensive gesture that caused Piper to glance at Paige with concern.


"That probably wasn't good " she said.


Leo and Piper went to check on Melinda and stook considerably more time than Cole and Paige thought they needed to check she was okay.


They came up to the attic to find Cole and Paige deep in a snarking argument about finding a way to get Phoebe to be able to use the Power of Three.


Leo looked up and said, "That helps" as the two of them snarked away.


"There has to be some other potion , some way to get at Elisheeva's magic. Although I don't see why he won't just summon Elisheeva and blast her to the mores of hell" Paige sneered.


"Because it wouldn't help get Phoebe back" said  Cole "Could send Phoebe to the mores of hell  too, and besides which I have a slight problem doing that to my mother, just a small one."


"I don't " said Paige.


"She's a damn demon" Piper said


"That's the problem for me " Cole answered.


"Well I take it you have no problem with us vanquishing her " Piper said


"If you can catch her" Cole said almost resigned. "Just for god's sake find a way of getting Phoebe back" then he asked softly "Are you going to try?"


"You wonder whether we're going to vanquish her" Paige said "Lets see which do we choose. Mark getting fireballed or Cole's demon mother. Jeez pretty damned hard choice" she bit out. "Or perhaps you want to see my boyfriend fireballed " she smirked at Cole.


"I thought he was just a friend you were screwing around with" Cole said snippily.


"Shut up Cole," said Leo and Piper automatically.


He raised his eyebrows "Power of Three" he said, "reconstitute it remember."


"Gee Power of Three " said Piper  " 2 here 1's in hell. Used to be another one but the she's dead, unless you know something about mom we don't."


Cole raised his eyebrows. "Get Phoebe back." he said. "I love her Piper."


"Well so do I. She's my sister and you don't have sole ownership rights" Piper snapped because she was tired frustrate and worried.


Leo looked at Piper "Phoebe claims she saw Prue while waiting round up there, and you have summoned her before " he said.


"Summoning her won't make Power of Three" Piper said.


"Why not" said Leo "she only has to say the spell. No other powers needed."


Leo saw Piper's lip tremble, the idea of being with a sister Prue, seeing her. Prue being real, being Prue's sister, then she glanced around and she said "It doesn't work that way, one of us is not available so we call back the dead."


"One of you is for all intents and purposes not of this realm" Leo said  "That makes a difference. I mean" said Leo "Grams was able to come back and help and say spells after what 2 years or so."


"Pity " muttered Cole.


"Shut up Cole " said Leo automatically "it's been longer with Prue." Leo said.


"What about the Elders?" Paige said "summoning a dead witch" she said " Caleb will be pretty pissed " and saw the grim look on Piper's face.


"Oh well in that case " Piper said, "let's summon Prue " as Leo smiled and Cole raised his eyebrows then rolled his eyes.


"She came back once before" Piper said with a deep breath and a small shudder and walked over to the Book of Shadows to open at the summoning a witch.


Paige stood for a second, then her face intense and pale, without another word she went to the chest where they kept ritual objects, opened it to remove the blue candles to make the summon a witch circle and joined her sister.


Cole said shit very loudly and turned to leave. Leo grabbed his sleeve and hauled him still "You're just s scared as I am" Cole muttered at Leo  and received a filthy glare from Piper.


"Scareder" said Leo but manfully held his ground.


For seconds that seemed like hours nothing happened, but as Leo let out a damn and Cole a Pheww, a shadowy luminous figure in a transparent blue robe cut like a somewhat stylish sheath, her hair was flicked back, appeared in the circle of candle light.


Paige gasped, a quick intake of breath and Piper froze.


"Took you long enough to call " Prue said in a brisk staccato tone.  Then she reached out stretching her hands toward Piper and said with a little shudder in her voice " Piper ."


Piper whimpered a little "Oh" then stepped toward Prue a tear running down her face and holding her hand out almost trying "Prue" she said not hiding the tremor in her voice . "Oh god Prue " she choked.


Prue flicked one small tear from her eyes smiled somewhat smugly back, green eyes a little moist. 


"She isn't god either," whispered Cole to Leo, who tried to hush him. Piper and Prue both turned on him, eyes flashing. Cole stood up to Piper's glare but as Prue's flashed on him disdainfully he found himself automatically backing behind Leo, who held his ground, just, but could not meet the flashing green eyes either.


As Piper strained her body toward Prue, every line longing to hug her, Paige hung back, taking in the features of the sister whose death had changed her life, whose heritage was both a constant reminder of her limitations and expectations, and occasional successes. She sucked her breath and caught her bottom lip, uncertain of her role and uncertain of Prue's reaction. She remembered the times she had slipped into P3 just to catch a glimpse of this woman, to see Prue with her sisters, part of family loved and cared for. Paige, alone after the death of her parents both resented and envied this woman and had desperately wanted to know her. Watching Prue she thought of the time drunk and desperate she had come to the manor to be treated .. not well by Prue. Thrown out the house in fact by this woman, this sister. Paige let out a little whimper.


Prue half turned to her, and  a cloud descended over the green eyes "Paige " she said tightly.


"Prue " said Paige just as tightly.


Piper sighed a little apprehensively and the thought crossed her mind that this may not be aentirely joyful between Prue and Paige. To much baggage on both sides. 


Prue looked at her family from Piper's tearful relief and pleasure to see her, to Paige's hesitation and apprehension and Leo's determination. She crossed her arms and smiled cynically as she saw Cole huddling down trying to pretend he wasn't there. " Leo" she acknowledged, "Cole" she said, "long time no see," she added smugly.


Cole swallowed "Yeah " he said trying not to instinctively duck. Prue turned her back on him and addressed her sisters.


"You know what the problem is?" Piper asked, her voice hesitant and longing.


"Sort of" said Prue "Phoebe's pregnant with an evil demon kid and stuck in the underworld with some demon magic keeping her there and the only way to get rid of the magic keeping her there is Power of Three."


"Our whitelighter doesn't know that," gasped Paige.


"I'm not a whitelighter," said Prue pointedly.


"That's about it" Piper said intervening.


"The baby's not a demon" Cole said finding his voice and his temper "and its not evil."


"I thought it was yours " Prue said "You're a demon " she added "and last time I saw you, you were evil, you were killing witches."


"Prue" said Leo "Things have changed."


"Have they?" Prue asked dryly "so you don't kill witches any more" she said to Cole with a smirk.


"I'm not evil," he said in an angry voice.


"Haven't killed any witches lately?" Prue pressed, pulling his strings.


Cole, hesitated, remembering the witch to whom he had arbitrated justice. "I'm not a demon" he said grimly.


"What are you?" asked Prue crossing her arms.


"Not a demon" he said matching her body language.


Paige moved beside Leo. "Cole snarks more at Prue than he does at Piper" she whispered surprised.


"I know " whispered Leo.


"Shut up Cole " said Piper. "Prue please" she begged.


"Why don't you just vanquish the demon?" Prue asked sure she had won.


"Because its Cole's mother" said Piper


"Why don't you just vanquish the demon?" Prue repeated.


"We think, we're worried that magic its using on Phoebe will take her with it " Piper said justifying, asking for guidance.


"Then you better have a plan to break the magic" said Prue taking charge, while Cole bristled, Paige bit her lip and Leo shook his head." What's the plan?" demanded Prue.


"Get the demon to bring Phoebe up here and say the Power of Three spell to break the magic" said Paige not quite meeting Prue's green eyes.


"That's a plan?" Prue said.


"Best chance we've got " said Paige awkwardly.


"Prue stop snarking at Paige " Cole started to say "She doesn't know you."


"Doesn't sound like we can guarantee to get rid of the demon" said Prue ignoring him.


"Why can you think of something else, that won't get Phoebe and my child killed?" Cole snapped.


"Prue, Cole " said Piper.


"Cole, Prue" said Leo.


"You should have kept Phoebe on a leash" Prue told Piper.


"You know what Phoebe's like " Piper said " she's impulsive, she acts without caring about the consequences."


"I know" said Prue glaring at Cole "that's why you should have kept her on a leash."


"Phoebe's not a dog" Cole snapped "unlike some bi.."


"Cole" said Piper sagging against Leo. "Prue, Phoebe's not a child, she's thirty and you can't tell a thirty year old…"


"She's our baby sister" Prue said.


"Your sister who I happen to love beyond,.. above . Phoebe is in trouble. Piper and Paige called you to say the Power of Thee spell, to get Phoebe back." Cole told Prue. "Anything else you have to say is …of very little Interest."


"Cole" said Leo and Piper.


"Why in the hell are you here anyway?" Prue asked him nose in the air. "Funny how nothing has changed. Last time I was here.". she coughed the nervous cough she always had. ":it was all about Phoebe and you and Phoebe being in the Underworld because of you. Guess what its about this time."


"Things have changed" Piper said. "Cole's family" Piper explained as Prue looked incredulous "And he isn't a demon any more."


"What is he? " said Prue.


"Not a demon any more" said Cole firmly.


"What is he?" she said to Piper.


"Not a demon any more" said Leo hastily.


"Ha made it into the freedom fighter for good, finally has he?" Prue smiled the smile that was close to a smirk  "that was the aim wasn't it. You were going to single handed take on the world of evil for Phoebe."


"Didn't work out" Cole muttered.


"How about that" said Prue.


"Yes Prue" said Piper "but…"


"We need to get the Charmed ones reconstituted " Prue said just a touch dismissively but bestowing a smile on Piper that warmed her heart while Paige and Cole exchanged glances.


"Yes Prue" said Piper " But…"


"You need to call me back downstairs" Prue told them.


"Yes Prue" said Piper "but.."


"Prue" Leo said.


"What" she said.


"You're right" Leo said " but "


"I know I'm right " Prue said. "


"We need the Power of Three reconstituted" said Prue.


"Yes Prue" said Piper. "Under the cha…"


"Downstairs" Prue said "Under the chandelier to reconstitute the Power of Three."


"Pheww" said Paige as Cole moved a finger behind Prue and flicked out the candles.


Wordlessly Piper gathered the candles and went hesitantly down stairs, Leo glanced at Cole and Paige "Phoebe better appreciate this" he said.


"She will" Cole answered as Leo pursed his lips "in her own way"  Cole added.


Paige looked at Cole and swallowed.


"I thought that went pretty good " Cole said as Paige shook her head and followed him downstairs bringing the Book of Shadows with her.


Paige helped Piper light the candles in the hall under the chandelier.


"Prue's pretty um.." Paige said to Piper " isn't she?"


"Oh yeah" said Piper.


They called again for Prue while Cole and Leo stood near the front door watching. Prue materialised on command but the chandelier remained still. Piper and Paige looked at each other.


"Say the witches three spell," said Prue.


"I was just about to do that" Piper told her, picking up the Book of Shadows opened the first page and read the spell.


"Piper" said Paige.


"That's not working," said Prue.


"No I think you have to be full.." Piper said.


"I think I need to be fully materialised" Prue said, "Look in the book for another spell that will materialise me."


"I don't think there is one to materialise you " Piper said. "Mom was only able to d it at my wedding through the Elders and Grams did once through Melinda when she was in the womb but that was Melinda wish thinking and.. "


"Maybe we can use .. Melinda's magic" Prue said.


"Melinda is nothing to do with the Power of Three " Piper who was now a mother ahead of being a sister, almost snapped "I'm not putting her at risk, even to help Phoebe."


Prue recognised the tone "I'm not saying risk your daughter. I'm saying we need to be together." Prue said "I'm saying you need to.. "


"Prue" said Piper going back to being middle sister.


"Guys" said Paige


"You think it's a choice between Phoebe and Melinda" Prue said  "its not.."


"No" said Piper "There would never be a choice. Phoebe knew what she was doing."


"Phoebe never knows what she's doing" said Prue.


"Sisters" said Paige.


"I still don't understand how that demon got her" said Prue.


"Prue, Piper" said Paige looking helplessly at Cole and Leo.


"Piper, Prue " said Leo.


Cole whistled through his fingers.


"What" said Prue and Piper.


"Paige want's to say something" Cole said.


"What?" said Prue and Piper to Paige.


"Youngest sister should say the chant," Paige said.


Piper and Prue looked at her.


"Worth a try " said Prue nodding her approval and made Paige blush.


Cole and Leo looked at each other and both sucked in their breath but managed not to say anything.


"Spread the candles so that all three of us can be in the circle" Prue ordered.


"I was going to say that" Piper said, making Paige glance at Leo who made a shush face at her.


Piper move the candles and Paige read the spell, the chandelier started to spin and as the blue light fell on the two mortal witches and the spectral form of Prue, all three witches sighed in relief.


"See" said Prue "I told you that would work, all we had to do was move the candles. "


"Yes  Prue" said Piper.


Paige took a deep breath and went to open her mouth and Leo made another shushing face at her.


"Okay" said Prue " we have the Power of Three. We have to get Phoebe up here."


"We have to get Elisheeva to bring her here" Cole interrupted quickly "Try and pull her through the realms and it will kill her and Whosit, the baby, or worse."


"How do you know  that? " Prue demanded.


"Trust me" said Cole turning his nose up and crossing his arms.


"Cole" said Leo.


"You know " Prue said " you never were the most trustworthy ..demon I ever met."


"I'm not a demon," he said.


"What are you?" Prue demanded.


"Not a demon" he said.


"Prue" Piper interrupted "things have changed. We trust Cole, we have reason to," she said.


"Yeah " said Prue crossing her arms and tapping her foot, disbelief in every part of her not body.


Paige moved across to Leo " Were they always like this?" she asked.


"This is pretty good" said Leo "I think Prue has mellowed."


"Have you looked up the Medusa masks in the Book of Shadows " Prue asked ignoring them.


"I was about to" said Piper.


"Doing it" said Paige hurriedly before it started again.


"Hurry up" ordered Prue " Phoebe must be frightened out of her wits."


"We have to make sure Phoebe's not evil before we get her back, and protect Mark" said Paige interrupting.


"Phoebe's not evil," said Cole.


"Whose Mark?" said Prue.


"An innocent" said Piper 


"Has to be protected at all costs" said Prue immediately.


"Yes Prue " said Piper not quite as meekly as she used to say it.


"I don't believe Phoebe would ever be totally evil," Prue said.


"You haven't been around , Prue " Piper started to say " what we went through wit the Source."


"I saw enough " said Prue " he " and she pointed at Cole "made her evil, with a bit of help from that demon the Seer."


"Prue, if you knew that, why didn't you or Grams or some-one do something?" Piper said remembering her guilt and feelings of failure to her family.


"We didn't know at the time, things sometimes get very hazy and things suddenly sometime become clear after and that is what happened" Prue said "but I know it was him."


"That's what the Elders say when you ask them" Leo snorted.


"Leo" said Cole "Leave it."


"Leave what?" said Prue.


"Things have changed" Piper said.


"Not that much " said Prue folding her arms again. "What happens to the souls if the Medusa heads are destroyed?" she said.


"They're free" answered Paige "that's what it said in the Book of Shadows."


"So you're planning on letting loose tens of thousand of the most evil and most tormented souls in the realms loose here in a magic nexus " Prue said to Cole.


He winced "Probably not a good idea" he conceded.


"Can we.." said Paige.


"We have to think of some way of releasing them where its safe " Prue said.


"Can't we.. " said Paige.


"Prue I think.. " said Piper.


"Cemetery " said Prue.


"Good idea" said Piper raising her eyes.


"Yes" said Paige looking at Piper.


"Shit"  said Leo and Cole under their breathes.


"You still get into your family mausoleum, Cole?" Prue asked.


"Gee great idea Prue" Cole said.


"You don't change do you Cole " said Prue " How you going to get Elisheeva to bring Phoebe up here?"


"Hadn't even thought about it" Cole said sarcastically "I thought you'd know:"


"Cole" said Leo and Piper together.


"You really expect me to think of everything" Prue demanded "You're the ones who have been chasing this demon" The arms folded again "At least Phoebe has some imagination."


Cole pushed, waived his hand and the candles went out and Prue disappeared.


"I have limits " he said daring anyone to argue.