A Matter of Relativity

Part 3: The impossible takes a little longer

Chapter 26


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

Part 3 of 4 Parts



Cole was already in their room when Phoebe went downstairs from the attic. He was sitting on the bed, shirt off and pulling socks off.


"Prue okay " he said.


"Probably not, I think she's pissed at you " Phoebe said  from the door then she took a deep breath "Baby " she breathed and just ran to him. He caught her and they kissed, face, neck shoulder hungry, eager anxious.


Phoebe finally came up for air and then puled at the demon robe and her unwashed hair sighed "I think  I oughta have a shower." she said.


"So do I" he grinned.


"What" she said bristling.


"Brimstone isn't my favourite perfume," he said.


"I put up with it on you." she said, "when you were a demon."


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


"Cole" she said


"Phoebe" he said.


She dropped the robe and he smiled as he saw the full expanse of Whosit.


"Whosit's growing" he said quietly.


She didn't mistake what he was saying. "You'll have the rest of Whosit's life," she said. smiling wistfully and nodded.


"Did you use magic to clean up in here?" she suddenly said as she looked around.


"Yes " he said.


"Cole " she said accusingly.


"Phoebe" he said meeting her glare.


"I think I'll have a shower" she said turning.


"Good idea" he said "I think I'll join you."


"Good Idea " she said glancing coyly over her shoulder as she went into the bathroom.


"God I'm glad to have you back" he said following.




Phoebe waddled her way downstairs the next morning. Leo was sitting watching Melinda eat, she flatly refused to let him feed her. Paige who had orbed back from Mark's to change for work was finishing coffee and Piper was making pancakes.


They looked up as she came into kitchen. She was dressed in manner of speaking, wearing leggings, one of Cole's shirts and stretching one of his sweaters out of shape because she had nothing else that fitted.


 The family looked awkwardly at each other as Phoebe wished them a hushed and awkward good morning. She glanced at the coffee pot, caught Piper's eye and made herself a cup of herbal tea.


"Where's Cole?" Paige finally asked for something to say.


"He got a call to go be a guardian a few hours ago," Phoebe said uncomfortably hugging the tea cup to her. "Better call his office so they don't start bitching about him being erratic."


Leo and Piper and Paige exchanged glances.


"He doesn't work there any more." Leo explained. "Didn't he tell you?"


"We didn't..he didn't . We talked about other things" Phoebe said "he quit" she shook her head feeling very much the outsider in her family.


"Touch and go whether he quit or got fired" Leo explained "the day you.. mm . went .."


"Shopping" said Phoebe, chin coming up.


"Whatever" said Piper. Then everyone was quiet and the only words that were said was Melinda making wawa noises and even she became conscious of the atmosphere and started to bang her spoon on her high chair.


"I'm not evil " Phoebe said not looking up " I just couldn't stand being stuck in the house with people treating me like a 3 year old and I went shopping.  So yell at me for being stupid. I just wanted to go shopping. I'm not evil," she said "neither is Whosit. Cole will tell you." she almost begging.


"Did he tell you that you were stupid," Piper asked flipping pancakes onto a plate and shoving them in front of her.


Phoebe shook her head, "Not up here. He's trying really hard not to . Its nearly killing him." she added with a ghost of a smile.


Paige looked at her and stood up. "I .. I was worried about Mark. I " she swallowed " I saw Sam with him, keeping an eye on Mark as charge." She swallowed "a future whitelighter"


"What" said Piper and Leo.


"I" said Paige "I, okay I should have told you, but " she tailed off "Everything has been so much about Phoebe" she said stronger as Phoebe flushed guiltily. Paige noticed and hastily said "I thought when Sam. I thought when you told me about that premonition, it was a very near future… I was frightened. You've done that" she told Phoebe "When you care about some-one, every-one else, everything else, you think. with family. That person becomes important" she stuttered.


"I've done that with Cole," Phoebe agreed softly "Everything, family, callings, gets in the way."


Paige swallowed then she hugged Phoebe, just a little reluctantly "I've been so worried about you," she said. "I thought, glad you'll be home for Christmas," she said.


"I understand" Phoebe said returning the hug.


Paige said "And if Cole says the bab,..Whosit isn't evil; I guess Whosit isn't evil. I guess. I better go," she added.


"See you tonite sweetie " Phoebe said "Christmas": she said "I couldn't believe it when Cole told me the date. Christmas" she said. "I haven't bought a thing."


"Next week" said Leo sucking his breath and glancing at Piper.


"No-one really been thinking of Christmas"  said Piper. "I suppose we better, for Melinda. I mean she's old enough to understand a bit this year."


Phoebe swallowed a little. "Just " she said " just so you don't have any problems. I better explain. In that premonition, I was,  I was more pregnant than I am now and I ... I wasn't wearing the medusa head and I was really sort of relieved when Mark got fireballed so I guess I was evil."


"Things have changed," said Leo hopefully and Piper nodded.


Phoebe sighed. "Mark's going to be whitelighter. I can see some poor little witch charges hanging on his every word" she said "You know. Marks says this, Mark says that."


"Eek " said Piper.


"I didn't know" said Leo trying not to laugh and failing. "I swear."


"I wonder if the Elders know he isn't dating Paige." Piper asked as Phoebe giggled.


"God I'm glad to be home" she said reaching over to whisk a Melinda whose face was covered in orange juice milk and cereal from a high chair and hug her.


Orbs sounded in the kitchen and Phoebe looked up as the tall thin and severe form of their new whitelighter Caleb appeared.


"I've got work to do" Leo said jumping up "Caleb" he mumbled and left the kitchen in a hurry.


Piper narrowed her eyes "What brings you here?" she asked in a tight passionless voice.


"I suddenly found I was able to sense a third Charmed One," Caleb replied severely.


Piper glanced at he watch. "We got Phoebe away from Elisheeva nearly eight hours ago."


"I had to discuss it with the Elders" Caleb answered primly. Phoebe who had her head down touching forehead with Melinda brought her head up to stare at Caleb.


"Who are you?" she demanded, clutching Melinda protectively.


Caleb ignored Phoebe and spoke to Piper "How did you get her back? " he asked in the patient voice of some one who did not like the people he was dealing with.


"Tricked Elisheeva into bringing her back and used a Power of Three spell" Piper said truthfully.


"And you never considered calling me to find out what the Elders thought of this rashness, to discuss the consequences." Caleb asked in that I am good voice that set Piper's teeth on edge.


"Never even thought about it," Piper replied, also truthfully.


Phoebe juggled Melinda around on her lap so she could hold the toddler around the jutting bulge of Whosit with one hand and held out he other to Caleb "I 'm Phoebe" she said with a smile that did not reach her eyes. 


Caleb looked at the hand and took it in a flabby handshake. He sighed "I'd have come earlier " he said "but there was a lot to discuss."


"Well if you'd have come earlier there would have been a lot for you to see" Phoebe answered sweetly. "if you're into that sort of thing. Are whitelighters doers or watchers?"


"Have you bothered to make certain beyond doubt your sister isn't..evil " Caleb asked Piper "her actions with the demon certainly cause one to question."


"One" said Phoebe chin in the air "would only question one's actions, if one thought it was better to die."


Caleb shook his head ignoring her. "Not only did I sense a witch but I .. the Elders sensed a strong aura of magic about the child..she carries" he said primly.


Phoebe glanced at Piper who shrugged "well they know the answer to that, don't they " Phoebe said " I mean they booted Leo out because they know the answer to that didn't they" she said, bringing her free hand protectively over Whosit.


"I believe this needs to be discussed further with the Elders" Caleb said addressing Piper and trying not to notice that Phoebe had her eyes firmly fixed on his crotch.


"I don't believe I appreciate my .. our private family matters being discussed by the Elders" Piper said "What happens in our family is ... our family's business."


"When a child, a magic child is born" Caleb answered primly "It is of course of interest, the business of the side of good."


"My family isn't a breeding farm for soldiers in the battle of good " Piper answered firmly as Caleb's concern and dislike and disappointment showed. "if Melinda or Whosit want to join the battle fine" said Piper "I'll…we'lll support them but if they want to raise chickens in Minnesota or bum around surf beaches or " and she swallowed hard "study economics we'll support them " she said firmly glancing at Phoebe.


Caleb also glanced down at Phoebe who finally lifted her eyes from his crotch. Phoebe smiled brightly "Tell me Caleb "she asked "Do you asked the Elders permission to pull your zip up " and as he frowned she added "and down."


Caleb swallowed and orbed.


"I don't think he likes us" Phoebe said happily to Piper.


"I hope not sister " Piper answer " I hope not".


"Maybe I won't be so happy about either of the kids studying economics" Phoebe said.



Cole sat at a table in the small outdoor coffee house on the edge of the Market. Mostly the men, no women were there, were wearing robes, a few wore western clothing. The locals smiled and nodded but were more interested in their own business. Cole flicked the last $5 note he had managed to palm back from being stolen by the fourteen year old boy he had just saved from demons posing as soldiers. The man who had come to take his order nodded at the currency and went to get him coffee.


Cole started to laugh as some of the local people stared at him. The idea of sitting in a market town on the edge of the Sahara desert with nothing more than $5 in American cash because the child whose life he had saved had pick pocketed everything else he had struck him as funny.


The man bought the coffee and curiously did not have change of the five dollars.  Cole sipped the coffee still laughing to himself and wondering at the life of a guardian. He suddenly stopped cold as he felt the familiar spinning of the spirit winds that announced the presence of another Guardian. He looked up a little apprehensively not really welcoming a lecture from Arturo and instead saw the thin dark figure of Proctor standing by the table. Proctor said with  the sneer that was almost a smile "Well met Belthezor" and extended his hand.


Cole stood to take the hand and then asked Proctor to join him, rather hoping he would not.


"You were called too?" Cole asked.


"Merely in the vicinity" Proctor answered spooning five heaped spoonfuls of sugar into his coffee as Cole tried not count. "The business of Belthezor is not the business of Proctor."


"I don't even know why I was called " Cole said "I just stopped a child getting himself in trouble with some demons pretending to be the law and I did not even recognise any magic in him. Little bastard pinched all my cash, " he added.


Proctor laughed. "I have no idea why you were called. We are, thank all the Powers above not inflicted with gift of vision."


"No, thank the powers above" said Cole thinking of all the problems Phoebe's premonition of Mark's death had caused.


"I watch" said Proctor "I see you have resolved your business with Elisheeva. To my friend Arturo's satisfaction."


Cole pursed his lips and Proctor's thin dark satanic features pulled into the sneer that substituted for a smile. "It is no easy calling when your better instincts sometimes prefer to damn the consequences and consequently damn you." Proctor said.


Cole swallowed.


Proctor drank his coffee and was silent. Cole finally to fill the silence asked "You have not been to San Francisco since our last conversation."


"No" said Proctor "there was nothing for me to see. To my satisfaction. I have seen things in San Francisco that disturb me."


Cole looked at him.


"Things close to your family Belthezor " said Proctor "Some years ago I saw a witch use her powers to injure mortals but fate and the demon Shax intervened before I had to."


"Phoebe's sister was always …rash " said Cole uncomfortably.


"Yes " said Proctor "I believe my brother, if he believes it." The sneer that was almost a smile was still on his face."And I saw a witch shortly after, a sister witch, try to reek vengeance but fortunately the demon Belthezor and her sister witches intervened before I had to. I am grateful to the ex demon Belthezor." said Proctor "I dislike Furies " he added.


"I se," said Cole.


"Yes" said Proctor.


There was silence while Proctor drank his coffee "I had business in San Francisco some years previously," he mused, "Which did not have entirely fortuitous results."


"Oh" said Cole.


"A witch" he said "who felt the need to reek vengeance on evil. The loss of a lover I believe."


"I see" said Cole.


"Yes" said Proctor "she sought vengeance, she entrapped demons, with bait. She seemed to believe when innocents were tempted it meant they were no longer innocents. It is not the role of witches to  lead their brethren to vengeance, to encourage innocents tempted by the dark nature of their souls to… concede."


"No its not" said Cole quietly.


"Its in their eyes. The witches, the other minions of good who fall, who corrupt" said Proctor "Only when they face the ultimate consequence, do they understand, do they accept …responsibility."


"I saw that in the witch I ….the one for whom I had to arbitrate justice." Cole said.


"I take comfort that this understanding gives them a chance to consider and meditate on their actions in another plain, another realm, to act more wisely in another calling " Proctor said.


"It is to be hoped" said Cole.


"My success in this instance was limited " Proctor said "But you know this."


"Yes" said Cole quietly.


"I am grateful" said Proctor " that the business of Belthezor is no longer the business of Proctor."


"Yes" said Cole just as quietly. "Tell me friend Proctor, does it ever stop tearing your soul apart, tearing your guts into pieces."


Proctor who had walked through a fire of his own making and turned to the light four hundred years ago for reasons he was not prepared to discuss, was silent for several moments "No" he said " Each time it tears your being into pieces. That is both our penance and our salvation."


There was silence while Proctor ordered more coffee and insisted that Cole had another.


Cole hastily swallowed the strong bitter coffee "I must go " he said. "Hopefully all will be quiet for the next week."


Proctor eyed him.


"Christmas" Cole said suddenly feeling very naïve.


"This is would be …pleasant " said Proctor "Your witch celebrates Christmas."


"She, her, my family celebrate the spirit of the holiday," Cole said a little protectively.


"Peace and goodwill to all men" quoted Proctor. "Very xenophobic " he added.


"I think the phrase incorporates women too" Cole said.


"Yes mortals only" said Proctor "very xenophobic."


"Oh" said Cole.


"Francesca loves Christmas" said Proctor.


"Oh" said Cole "I didn't know."


"Now you do" said Proctor. "Yes" said Proctor " the celebration and frivolity gives her great pleasure."


"it does?" said Cole.


"Yes" said Proctor "she justifies her pleasure by finding some gift to the realm that slides by those who arbitrate the Great Plan."


"Oh" said Cole.


"Last year" said Proctor "she went to considerable effort to encourage that unexpected cessation of hostilities in the Balkans, if I recall correctly."


"I remember that," said Cole.


"Yes" said Proctor with the satanic sneer that passed for a smile  "she enjoyed the Christmas festivities greatly I believe. The year before if I recall correctly, the rice crops did very well in parts of South East Asia where previously they had not done well for several years. I believe Francesca enjoyed the Christmas festivities that year too."


"Really" said Cole.


"Yes" said Proctor "Francesca goes to a great deal of trouble to justify the enjoyment that Christmas gives her."


"She does?" said Cole. He shook his head  "I.. I am gone " he said


"Be well" said the demon guardian Proctor. Cole left him sitting in a street coffee shop in market town by the edge of the Sahara desert spooning several heaped spoonfuls of sugar into his coffee.



Benedict Haslett sat in his living room watching his daughter talk to, or more factually at, the little witch Marly. Benedict looked at the timid, nervous forty and more face of the witch. He did not admire her. Benedict admired strong women. He had admired that quality in is wife, his second wife. He had loved it in Penny Halliwell, his first wife. He admired it in his daughter. Lack of frailty was a quality he greatly admired in women. It was his discovery of the frailty in Penny Halliwell that had destroyed their marriage.


"Look at me Marly " said Lara as Marly lowered her eyes to avoid the strong words "its your responsibility to our calling to destroy evil."


"I'm not  a very strong witch " whispered Marly " I only.."


Lara was firm, "The reason you don't feel empowered as a witch," she said "is because you aren't living up to your responsibility, you are not living up to your destiny. You are not taking your calling and following it to the best of your ability. Its your duty Marly, its your responsibility. Its your calling, to fight evil. Its your duty to find the power in yourself  to take the power, the opportunities the gifts you have to fight.


Marly looked up and whispered to Lara "I had power a few days ago" she said "for just a little while " she said " I could orb" Marly said "It was .. a " she whispered "It was wonderful. I felt .. magic." she said.


"You'll feel magic if you follow your destiny" Lara said "you don't have to be weak:" she told Marly "To be born a witch is to be born with a gift and a calling to fight the fight, to stop evil, to defeat evil. Have you any understanding how special that makes you, how important that is. Do you realise where this place would be, what would happen to this realm if we did not fight evil? There is evil around us Marly" she said "and unlike others we have the calling, the responsibility, the duty to stop it."


"I'm not a powerful witch " Marly whispered.


"You can b " Lara told her " if you want to be, we can all find the power if we need it."


"If we were meant to have the power wouldn't we be born with it " Marly whispeed "Don't we receive the power according to out gifts. I'm not a powerful with . I'm not meant to be..."


"That is a myth" Lara told her "The whitelighters, they listen the Elders and they tell stories of boogie men and ogres to stop us taking control of our destiny, to stop us taking the fight to evil and winning. What ..good does that do " said Lara "I went to a meeting of witches and I heard Phoebe Halliwell talk about saving innocents and not taking the fight to evil, and now I hear, that same witch, a Charmed One has been seduced by evil."


"She's back" said Marly. "And they all act like she did nothing wrong. Except Paige. Paige doesn't really trust her. Paige thinks she's evil. I heard her say Phoebe wouldn't vanquish the demon Elisheeva."


"The Charmed Ones are weak" said Lara " we are not. We will vanquish the demon Elisheeva. We will use its own evil to vanquish it. Look at the damned museum director, the fool supplying that demon with artefacts, how many witches do you think got killed because of him supplying the demon with evil tools of magic."


"Many" said Marly.


"Well these fools who worship demons and invite them to our realm. We will make sure they pay their debt." Lara  told her.


"I know a lost soul" said Marly brave, feeling the power of vengeance. "She was Cole's, Phoebe's , the man… He frightens me " said Marly "She was his secretary before he was fired. Arlene, she isn't nice, she wasn't nice to me. She worships demons, she calls demons.'


"Then she will serve by calling demons. We will use her evil to defeat Elisheeva" Lara answered.


"I wish you, I wish we could call Cole to serve" Marly whispered " I don't like him. He may be mortal but he frightens me."


"He's a lawyer" said Lara showing her to the door,  "they are evil. His time will come. Blessed be Marly " said Lara shutting the door in Marly's face.


Lara turned to her father "Even the weak have a calling to serve." she said as he pursed his lips "it takes a witch to make the demons magic turn on it. That is her destiny."



Piper refused to let Phoebe do anything that first day home until she had seen a doctor to check that everything was normal with the pregnancy. The doctor confirmed Phoebe was a little anaemic, gave her a long list of vitamins and things she should have done, leaving Phoebe wondering whether there was a nation wide conspiracy to treat pregnant women like they were morons, incubators or a uterus without brains.


The doctor asked her if she wanted to know whether it was a boy or girl and she glanced at Piper who shrugged. Phoebe shook her head, "I'll see what Cole says, wants. I think that should be for him to decide" she said.


"Never worried" she told Piper later "so many other things to worry about Whosit. I guess boy or girl is the last thing I cared about."


Phoebe then had to front up to Elise at her work. Elise looked at the very large bump that was Whosit, and Phoebe's pale face and unstyled hair. "Hmm" said Elise "I would have sworn that partner, ex-husband" Phoebe's chin came up "whatever he is" said Elise "was lying when he produced those medical certificates. You really aren't well are you " she said with no sympathy whatever "Can you start the radio interviews again after Christmas?"


"Yes " replied Phoebe not trusting herself to say anything else.


She and Piper had some time together buying clothes that actually fitted her. Phoebe came out from the change rooms wearing a long scarlet dress with a deep cleavage and bias cut that showed every bit of Whosit. "What do you think for Christmas?" she asked 


Piper looking at the big white rose pattern across the front and the bump said "Wonderful" and then smiled "You really want this Christmas don't you sweetie?"


Phoebe burst into tears. "I haven't been part of a family for ever. I know it was me who chose. I want my family. I miss my family. I want Christmas with my family " she said.


"Oh sweetie " Piper said going to Phoebe to put her arms about her.


"This is the first time" Phoebe said sniffing "that I've been able to enjoy being pregnant, to enjoy Whosit. Mamma wants you precious" she told Whosit "But she hasn't had much fun with you so far." She smiled at Piper" at least we got to work with Prue again" she said.


When Piper did not look as happy about it as Phoebe thought she should, Phoebe asked "What?"


"Nothing" said Piper.


"What" said Phoebe.


"It wasn't the same" Piper said. "Prue was the same but.."


"You weren't "said Phoebe.


"I guess I've got used to being big sister" Piper said.


Phoebe put her arm around Piper. "I guess " she said "At the moment you're supposed to go on living, to grow. And Prue, Prue is supposed to not grow, to look back to reflect where she's been. Bound to be a bit different." Phoebe said hugging Piper.


Piper returned the hug, the she pulled away and pulled herself together, all big sister. "You know whatever Cole says about how much he loves you for that " she told Phoebe "Its damned annoying."


"What ?" said Phoebe.


"Being so damned stupid and so damned smart in the same sentence" said Phoebe's big sister.


Piper decided that the dress would do, as would three very stretchy sweater tops, and  3 pairs of  different coloured pants that almost did the job , then she dragged Phoebe to the beauty parlour where the two indulged in an afternoon of facials and hair care and Phoebe had her hair properly styled and cut for the first time in four months, getting it layered and different coloured streaks of blond  and red so it satisfactorily changed colour when she tossed her head or move  into a different light .


 "Now I feel like I look like me" she said. "What" she said as Piper shook her head.


Phoebe came home and found Cole sitting in the conservatory chair lost in thought. He looked up when he saw her, wearing one of her skirts slung under the belly, and black sweater that once wasn't tight straining over Whosit, not missing the new hairstyle.


"Hi baby" she said approaching him a little awkwardly because it was the day after the night before and there were many things he had not said last night and while she admired his restraint, she worried about them being unsaid. She stood in front of him and leant in for a long kiss.


"Very nice" he said, "I like the hair too."


She knelt down in front of him to lean her hands on his knees looking at him "How did it go "she asked "the guardian thing. Or aren't you supposed to tell me. Guardian business."


"Well if you don't tell Arturo I won't " he said stroking her cheek gently.


"What did you do?" she asked.


"Don't know" he said "I get a call and pulled a kid away from some demons and the little bastard pinched all the US cash I had" he laughed, "I wonder what I did. Don't even understand why I was called."


She laughed and Cole swallowed a little as he realised how much he had missed laughing with her.


"Saw the doctor today, mostly okay, anaemic" she said "asked me if I wanted to know if Whosit's a boy or girl. Didn't want to do it without you " she said a little uncomfortably.


Cole smiled a little, not sure "I.. I can wait " he said finally.


"Kay " she said not loosing his stare. She gulped "Thought about names " she asked nervously.


"Gertrud or Egbert" he said . "not Quillon."


"Not likely" she said puffing up.


Cole move his head down and they touched foreheads."Something Benjamin Victor.


"Something Victor Benjamin" she said.


"Something Elisabeth Patricia" he asked.


Something Patricia Prudence Penelope " Phoebe said firmly. "Why don't just stick Whosit with Elisheeva and be done."


"That would be evil" he said.


She took a deep breath "about " she asked.


"I love you " he said.


"I know you love me " Phoebe whispered asked her face in his "Are we still friends" she asked" I've been , I know difficult and haven't sort of made it easy for you" she asked pleading.


He sighed "that's what I get for loving you " he said his lips almost against hers.


"Know you love me" she repeated. "Are you still my friend?" Phoebe asked again nervously "I could almost stand not .. no sex., but if I lost your  friendship, I think I couldn't stand that" she said.


"Being your friend" he said" that's that I get for loving you " he said smiling "I don't do so good alone baby . I love you but I miss you when... Its not just loving you. Its being with you. Damn it Phoebe" against her lips. "Just be Phoebe will you, just be there with me will you."


"Promise " she said.



The Friday before Christmas, Cole shimmered back to the manor from spending a depressing afternoon justifying to Arturo why he went to the underworld to save his Phoebe. When no amount of justification worked all he could do was promise he would never go there again.


"No you won't" said Arturo firmly and Cole swallowed like a schoolboy.


Leo was babysitting because Piper and Phoebe had gone shopping.


"No Marly " Cole said coming out to the yard where Leo was playing kick the ball with his daughter"


"She was busy" Leo answered.


"Doing what?" Cole said because Marly was never busy with anything.


"God knows" Leo answered.


"Not to early for a beer" Cole asked. 'I won't tell Piper she played ball in the house if you don't."


"Why not" Leo said "wanta play in the sunroom" he asked Melinda. She eyed him balefully but finally ran ahead of him into the conservatory where she consented to sit down and play her own version of skittles which involved spinning them around her head and telekineticing a ball into the air.


Cole got a couple of beers from the refrigerator. As he went into the hall he walked into Mark and Paige coming in from the other direction.


"I'll just go and get a few things together" Paige told Mark "we're going down the coast for a few days," she told Cole daring him to say anything.


"That'll finish your night," he said to Mark. "Want a beer or three while you wait."


Mark nodded with a smile and went into the conservatory "Paige's packing for a few days down the coast " Mark explained to Leo.


"Take a seat," said Leo. "You've got a long wait."


Mark openly grinned. He watched Melinda orbing he toys in the air. "That's an interesting game" he said.


"Yes " said Leo the proud dad. "And she's not two yet."


"Really," said Mark.


Cole came in bringing the whole six pack and handed Mark and Leo a  beer.


"You missed Caleb again to day" Leo told Cole.


"Something had to go right today" Cole said.


"Whose Caleb?" Mark finally asked.


"Girls' new whitelighter " Leo answered.


"What's a whitelighter you ask" said Cole


Mark eyed him off. "Paige tole me actually" he said but Cole was on a roll.


"Sort of angelic adviser to witches" Cole explained ignoring the answer "Takes advice from the Powers that Be, angelic know it alls, by the rules, by the book types, do-gooders " said Cole. "Leo used to be one till he saw the error of his ways" he added.


"Paige is part whitelighter." Mark said.


"Can't hold the kids responsible for the sins of their father's" Cole said straight faced. "or mother's "he added.


Mark took a swallow of beer and considered what he had been told "Damn " he said "You mean do-gooders, by the book guys are still around in the hereafter " he asked.


Cleo shrugged and Leo nodded.


"Curses" said Mark. "I spend most of my working life pissing off do-gooders, by the book guys who don't get anything done. Fiddling books just to get enough money to get these guys a haircut before they go for a job interview or a cup of coffee and donut while they wait until you talk to them." he laughed "You'd think that eternity would be better planned."


"Not that I've noticed" said Cole.


"Isn't it a bit risky" Leo asked him. "fiddling the books, even if it is for good reason."


Mark laughed "No risk, no gain " he said' "you got another beer." Leo handed Mark and Cole another beer and took one for himself.


"What does not being a whitelighter qualify you to do" Mark asked taking a swig.


"Looking at my options " Leo said.


"Good luck" Mark said.


"What a re you gonna do , now you're not working for that shithouse law firm" Mark asked Cole.


"Looking at my options" Cole said grinning.


Paige called out Mark's name saying she was ready .


"Congratulations " said Cole.


"Why?" asked Mark suspiciously.


"First warren witch who ever packed anything to go anywhere in less than an hour" said Leo. "Enjoy it " he added "it won't last "


"Trust us" said Cole as Mark put down the empty beer bottle and left. Cole looked at Leo. "No risk no gain " sighed Cole "Shit Paige has fallen in love with Phoebe, or the next best thing."


"There's something I ought  tell you" Leo said to Cole.


"What" said Cole.


"Paige told us the other morning that her..Sam her birth father is watching over Mark as a future whitelighter" Leo grinned.


"Oops" said Cole.