A Matter of Relativity

Part 4: All truth is relative

Chapter 32

 

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

Part 4 of 4 Parts

The demon Elisheeva prowled her lair. She was a very unhappy demon and dissatisfied. The capture and impalement of that weak and foolish evil witch should have made her feel a surge of power through the Apollyen Blade and instead she felt disorientated, almost weak, and her cunning somehow seemed to desert her. She was having trouble meshing her plans and deciding her actions and she was worried because the demon Elisheeva was nothing if not decisive.

 

She rethought and sought blame and as it was not in the nature of a demon to blame its own actions, she started to blame the evil little witch that had so besotted her beloved and very weak son. That little..witch, she wanted everything, she wanted Elisheeva's son and she wanted her grandchild, because Elisheeva still believed that it was her grandchild. Belthezor was a terrible liar, among his many failings. Elisheeva had checked the rumours of the evil little witch and the parentage of the child, and come to the conclusion the little ..witch was having it both ways. Making sure the child could insinuate itself into the world of good, and cover any dark magic.

 

"Smart little Chickadee" thought the demon bitterly and she knew there would be revenge on the little bitch.

 

Elisheeva summoned a minion, one of the living dead souls she had captured in the Apollyen sword, and nothing happened. She cursed the sword and the Chickadee and whatever magic she was using and then she summoned one of her minions in the underworld. It took a great deal of time coming and on its knees told her it hardly heard the call.

 

"To late to learn now " she said and flung a fireball at it. Only the fireball went out and the minion and Elisheeva were left starring at the space. The minion did not react quickly enough as Elisheeva picked up the nearest blade, the golden athame that her son had returned to her and shimmered beside the minion stabbing it through the back of the neck as she came out of the shimmer. The minion exploded in a burst of green goo, leaving a shaken and concerned demon staring at her hand and the golden blade she held.

 

She started to shake her head when she heard on the spirit winds the summons of a very weak witch

 

"Magic forces black and white, reaching out through space and light, be it far or be it near, bring me the demon Elisheeva here."

 

Elisheeva laughed out loud. She was often amused by the arrogance of witches who thought they could test their powers against her when suddenly she was sucked into the winds unable to find any power to resist the call.

 

.

 

"Shit " said Phoebe as she scryed for the demon.

 

"What " said Mark.

 

"I found it.. her" said Phoebe.

 

"Good" said Mark

 

"Not good " said Phoebe "It..she's at Lara Haslett's house. We have to hurry."  she told Mark. " before they kill each other and we can't get the lost souls back.".'

 

"Let's go" said Mark as Phoebe held out her hand.

 

"You don't have to" she said

 

"Yeah I do" he said simply "End of argument. You know how to,  what dematerialise."

 

"Its Whosit's power" Phoebe explained "But I can use it' and she transgleamed away with Mark.

..

 

Lara was smiling with a smug surety when Elisheeva materialised in front of her.

 

"Stupid witch" hissed Elisheeva  "Stupid weak witch " and she tried to raise a fireball. Only nothing happened. She swallowed convulsively and then smiled and still clutching the golden athame she moved toward the witch.

 

Lara all business and very sure of herself, still smug said a wrapping spell and Elisheeva was stopped in her tracks bound by Lara using a mind meld that in her weakened state she could not resist.

 

Lara was laughing as the demon was stopped. She walked over to the demon and removed the golden athame from her hand.

 

"This makes it easy" Lara smiled feeling destiny on her side. Lara raised the athame and stopped enjoying the demon's fear and pain, gloating at her victory. She made sure the demon she was about to kill knew how clever she had been trapping it, made sure it knew that it was condemned to the mores of hell for eternity at the hand of Lara Haslett.

 

Phoebe and Mark transgleamed as Lara finished the rant. Elisheeva was in demonic form and Mark who had never seen a demon gasped.  The captive demon hissed pain and vengeance and venom at Lara. Elisheeva struggled to break free of the weak spell, to break away and writhed as the witch raised the golden athame that would condemn it to the mores of the underworld for eternity.

 

 Phoebe letting Mark go walked to Lara and as the witch approached the captive demon to stab it. Phoebe put her hand out and summoned Whosit's power to turn metal into another substance so the base of the athame turned into a harmless rubber that bounced off the demon. Then Phoebe lifted herself into a not very elegant levitation and knocked Lara unconscious, breaking the mind meld and Elisheeva was released.

 

"Well, well little Chickadee" hissed Elisheeva "what have we here. I thought you were good."

 

"Obviously not mamma" Phoebe said smiling. "You think I'd let the nasty witch vanquish my beloved mamma, especially when she can be so useful to me.'

 

"You ran away with my son Chickadee," said Elisheeva, acknowledging Phoebe's point.

 

"You shouldn't have put the bloody collar on me" Phoebe said.

 

"And what's that?" Elisheeva said looking at Mark.

 

"That,:" said Phoebe "is my sister's cheating boyfriend. Little present for me. He's going to help fix the problems that you took on with that damned blade. Aren't you sweetie?" Phoebe said reaching up to pinch Mark's cheek while he simply swallowed.

 

"You could do better," said Elisheeva sneering at Mark.

 

"Yes" said Phoebe " but better wouldn't be my sister's boyfriend."

 

"I do love you Chickadee" Elisheeva said touching Phoebe's chin while Mark's eyes opened wide.

 

"How is this evil, I assume it is evil, little gift going to help solve my problem?" asked Elisheeva both suspicious and sly.

 

"Because I made sure he carries the antidote to your .. ah ..impotency".. Phoebe told Elisheeva "and what he wants is me and the only way he is going to get it is to fall on your blade. Aren't you sweet?" she said to Mark patting his cheek again.

 

"Such a dear Chickadee"  said Elisheeva picking up the golden blade "Pity this thing will only hurt the witch like hell, won't condemn her there."

 

Phoebe was very tempted to tell Elisheeva it would but condemning Lara to the mores of hell was not her role. "Leave the witch mamma" she said " harm her and you'll never break the impotency of those souls."

 

Lara on the floor started to come to. She shook and then tried to pull herself to an upright position, eyes shining with venom and anger.

 

"Tell me what do you want Chickadee?" Elisheeva asked.

 

"Me" said Phoebe with a convincing brightness. " I want my baby, I want power and I want fun and I want your son. I want everything."

 

Elisheeva laughed "I really do love you Chickadee " she said "I even understand what Belthezor sees in you. You are so like me."

 

"Can you shimmer?" Phoebe said "all three of us. Because I can't get to the underworld with this power."

 

"Just about" said Elisheeva smirking in Lara's direction. Then she threw a fireball at Lara and it passed harmlessly through her. "The evil is gone "Elisheeva said sadly "I have shimmering and not much else."

 

..

 

Piper and Leo arrived home with Melinda a little while after Phoebe and Mark left. Both were ready to collapse under the strain of keeping Melinda under control. They put Melinda down for a nap and fell onto their bed.

 

"How are we going to keep this up until she's old enough not to disappear? " sighed Piper to tired to even get angry.

 

"She's pretty mature for he age" Leo said hopefully.

 

"Well unless we can find something in a week, I don't believe being mature for her age is going to help us " Piper said in pain. "Is it all possible the elders might have some solution to manage baby whitelighters?" she asked Leo.

 

"You really are desperate aren't you honey" Leo said, "I don't think baby whitelighters are really something they have a concept about " Leo considered it "Whitelighters are usually made not born."

 

"Couldn't you risk going up there to ask?" Piper said at wits end. Then she sat up "'The house is very quiet " she said getting off the bed. She went to the bedroom door " Phoebe " she called. "Cole."

 

There was no sign of either

 

"Phoebe" Piper called again. "I'll phone her" Piper said and grabbed her cell to dial Phoebe's and swore as they heard it ring in Phoebe and Cole's room.

 

"'Phoebe" Leo called as he pushed the bedroom door open. The room was empty. He pulled the bathroom door open but there was no sign of Phoebe.

 

''Damn her" Piper said. "Maybe we better call Manuel."

 

"I think we better wait in case she's off shopping." Leo suggested.

 

"Shopping" Piper snorted "Very funny."

 

Leo orbed down to the kitchen. There was no sign of a note on the refrigerator, the usual place they left messages. "No note" he called up to Piper.

 

Piper checked Melinda then came downstairs" Where the hell are they?" she asked Leo.

 

Cole shimmered back into the kitchen.

 

"Where's Phoebe?" demanded Piper.

 

"Not with me " he said looking behind him.

 

"Smart arse " said Piper "Can you sense her?"

 

"Within limits.  Why don't you go scry for her?" He asked. "She's in the realm" he added.

 

"Oh" said Piper running upstairs while Leo and Cole shook their heads and silently agreed to wait.

 

Piper still running on adrenalin went to the attic and noticed the scrying map and crystal out "Not good" she said picking up the crystal . She tried for a few minutes" Nothing " she said. She went to the door, "Cole" she screamed.

 

"What "he yelled back as the phone rang "I'll get it" he called.

 

Leo came upstairs. "Not good " said Leo looking at the Book of Shadows which Phoebe had left open at the Apollyen Blade page.

 

"She's been obsessed with that thing," said Piper.

 

Cole came into the attic with the phone. "Lara Haslett" he said grimly "Won't talk to me."

 

Cole walked closer to Leo but keeping his distance from the Book of Shadows which still had a tendency to react to his demonic powers.

 

"Phoebe?" Leo asked.

 

"Not in the realm" Cole said "Now. She was a few minutes ago."

 

Piper kept saying to the phone, "Yes Lara, all right Lara.   We'll be right there Lara."

 

Without explaining to Leo and Cole, Piper dialled Paige "Get home Paige, now " she said then turned to Cole "Phoebe stopped Lara vanquishing your damned mother" she told Cole "Then she and Elisheeva shimmered down to the Underworld. With Mark." Piper added grimly.

 

"What" screamed Paige orbing in.

 

"Calm down" said Leo.

 

"Shut up Leo" said Paige.

 

"I will not" said Leo quietly "Maybe she had a reason to go, maybe Elisheeva was pulling her back." Leo added glancing at Cole.

 

"Lara says it was Phoebe's idea to go " Piper said grimly.

 

"Are you going down to get them?" Paige demanded of Cole.

 

"No" he said quietly "I'm not. Its off limits to me."

 

"I see" said Paige " you won't even try to save Mark."

 

"No Paige " he said quietly. "I won't."

 

"Bastard" said Paige viciously.

 

"Paige" said Leo.

 

"Its okay" Cole said quietly. "Mark told Phoebe he was seeing the angel of Death" he said.

 

"What " screamed Piper and Paige.

 

"Why didn't you tell me? " Paige demanded.

 

"Thought you might over react?" Cole said sarcastically and raised his eyebrows "Can't imagine why."

 

"Cole" said Leo.

 

"Paige he wanted ..time 'good ' time with you in the time he had" Cole said relenting.

 

"Don't you talk about Mark like he's gone" Paige snarled. "I'm going after Mark."

 

"You can't " Leo told her. "You can't orb down there."

 

"I'll find a way" Paige declared. "Are you going to try and tell me Phoebe isn't evil again?" she demanded of Cole.

 

"Lara Haslett is the one who has gone evil, corrupting innocents to get mamma " said the Guardian son of Elisheeva " as if she had a hope, and, I assume, Phoebe is trying to fix it."

 

"You knew that and you let her?" demanded Piper.

 

"I told Phoebe to talk to her sister witches " said the Guardian "As I understand it she tried and they didn't listen. Witches forgetting their role or destiny being decided? " asked Cole somewhat protective of Phoebe. 

 

Piper stamped her foot and Paige paled "I'm going to save him " she said "I'm going down there."

 

"You can't orb down there" Leo told to Paige.

 

"Paige" said the Guardian "Mark's destiny is written."

 

"Not if I can help it" whispered Paige.

 

"Do you want the blinking?" Cole asked casually.

 

Piper looked up "isn't that a guardian interfering?" she asked sarcastically because now she feeling like a 'bad' witch as well as a 'bad' mother.

 

Cole shrugged "A crummy warlock power " he said. "She'll find a way, so I'm just speeding up the process, not stopping anything."

 

"Letting them go down there encouraging witches to go where witches shouldn't." Leo said

 

"The underworld is not the business of the guardian Belthezor:" Cole said primly. "Family business" said Cole and raised his eyebrows. "You couldn't stop me going for Phoebe" he said.

 

Leo muttered "Damn you" under his breath raised his hands and slapped them against his thighs.

 

"Give it to me?" ordered Paige,

 

Piper without a word went over to find the rest of the power exchange potion. She found the spell that they had recorded in the Book of Shadows and as Cole and Paige sipped it and Piper said the it the blinking power exchanged into Paige.

 

"Use the orbing power to dematerialise Piper and then blink" Cole told Paige and then told her how to find Elisheeva's lair.

 

"Leo can you go talk to Lara" Piper ordered him " Cole you damn well look after Melinda."

 

"I won't let her out of my sight" Cole told Piper.

 

"Don't" Piper ordered as she and Paige disappeared.

 

Elisheeva shimmered Phoebe and Mark into her lair. She materialised into Elisheeva and then as she caught Phoebe's turned up nose and to Mark's barely concealed shock turned into Elisabeth.

 

"Well, well Chickadee " Elisabeth said smiling behind the peek a boo hairstyle. "I wondered when we cwould met again" and then almost hesitantly the demon put her hand out and touched Phoebe's belly. "

 

Phoebe smiled " I always thought fairly soon " she said.

 

"I really suspected you were good" Elisabeth said contemplatively.

 

"Cole wants me to be good" Phoebe answered.

 

"I see" she said "And of course you were only going along with it to.."

 

"I told you. You should have trusted me without the necklace mamma " Phoebe said " I want, I want what you want, but I'm nobody's slave."

 

"Why should I believe you?" Elisabeth asked in her breathy Boston accent "Why should I trust you?"

 

"Truthfully, if I were you I would neither believe me or trust me " Phoebe said "Unless what I want is what you want."

 

"The only thing you have that I want is my grandchild" said Elisabeth.

 

"Your son and grandchild " Phoebe answered. "Didn't you believe Cole?"

 

"He's a terrible liar" said Elisabeth sadly.

 

"He was lying" said Phoebe "Wanted to protect Whosit from you, from evil."

 

"Hmm" said Elisabeth and Phoebe could see in her eyes she wanted what Phoebe was offering. She badly wanted her grandchild and her son, and Phoebe was horrified for a second to be caught by a sense of compassion.

 

Mark made a short cough. Phoebe looked at him and he nodded.

 

Elisheeva turned to him "So this one wants you does it. Are you evil?" she asked "Why should I believe you are evil. I can tell when you are lying " she said.

 

Neither Phoebe nor Mark had any idea whether Elisabeth could but Mark choked his voice faltering because he was genuinely frightened of the demon " I steal " he said.

 

"That's bad" said Elisheeva picking up the Apollyen sword and turning to Mark. "But that's not evil."

 

"I steal from money supposed to be used for the needy" Mark said guiltily as he went to his knees from the force of the glare of Elisabeth's blue eyes."

 

"What do you want? " asked the demon turning the sword to him.

 

"I want" he said looking at Phoebe.

 

"Mark" whispered Phoebe.

 

"Its allright " he whispered hoarsely " I want it all and it seems I can't have it. I want love and life and I want ...everything  Can you give it all to me?"' he asked the demon.

 

"He isn't lying is he Chickadee?" breathed Elisabeth. "And he can fix my problem?"

 

"He has the power to free you from the infestation the witch Lara Haslett put in those souls." Phoebe answered. "I'm not lying mamma" she said

 

"I know Chickadee" replied Elisabeth "Come to me" Elisabeth said to Mark in her soft breathy voice. Mark slowly approached her and she held the sword point at his throat.

 

Mark swallowed.

 

"What do you want? " asked Elisabeth.

 

"I want my love" said Mark and Elisabeth plunged the sword.

 

Phoebe stifled a scream as it went through him. The demon pulled the sword out of Mark and he fell back on his knees face pale, sandy hair almost on end his grey eyes grim with pain.

 

Phoebe waited expectantly for some sign that the souls were free but nothing seemed to happen. Elisabeth staggered and then dropped the sword.

 

She lifted her hand and slowly a fireball appeared on it. "The evil has returned, " she said with a self-satisfied smile.

 

Mark hopefully looked at Phoebe who shook her head.

 

He nodded . "I guess its the ultimate sacrifice." he said "Do you know I almost believed she could give it to me Phoebe. Give me everything. I almost did."

 

Phoebe as fast as Whosit would let her picked up the Apollyen sword that Elisabeth had dropped.  She could hardly lift the sword from the weight of evil. She took her chances "What do you want mamma?" she asked holding the sword at Elisheeva.

 

"So he was meant to give the power to you" Elisabeth sneered, blue eyes flashing behind the peek a boo hair. She shimmered "I want everything " Elisabeth sneered and raised a fireball as Piper and Paige blinked into the cavern.

 

Paige saw Phoebe with the sword and Elisheeva with the fire ball. She saw Mark standing there almost smiling and she screamed "You evil bitch."

 

Mark turned to her and called "I love you" as Elisheeva sent the fireball flaming into him and his daffy duck tie.

 

Phoebe holding the sword felt the weight lift from it and shook in relief as she could actually see the souls leave it and fade away.

 

Elisabeth looked at the pile of ash where Mark had been and realised in an instant what had happened, that the souls had been freed, and that Phoebe had deliberately induced a good person to throw himself on the sword to take it from her.

 

"And now you" Phoebe whispered almost triumphant hugely, hugely relieved that the souls were free and very, very angry at what it had cost, almost glad almost wanting to go after the demon. She called her sisters  "Power of three " she smirked at Elisheeva.

 

Only Paige froze, not looking at her sister, looking at to the spot where Mark had been. And Phoebe followed her glance and swallowed, lowering the Apollyen blade, knowing the next step was a price she dared not pay, not taking the demon in the Underworld, not when she and her sisters were where they were not supposed to be.

 

"Not me yet, Chickadee you evil little bitch" answered the demon with a smile and flashing blue eyes. She shimmered, coming out of the shimmer behind Phoebe , "Rot in hell you evil bitch" Elisabeth said demonic anger overriding everything.

 

'I'll be coming for Quillon later" she added. The golden athame appeared in her hand and she struck Phoebe in the back and then again in the side as hard as she could. Piper screamed as Phoebe fell to the ground gasping clutching at her bloody side and back.

 

The demon laughed. "Power of three be damned " she said calmly and raised a fireball at Paige.

 

"Paige " called Piper. And Paige almost as a reflex orbed and the fireball bounced off the wall.

 

"No Power of three down here" whispered Phoebe. "Not here... Must not."

 

"I know" said Piper and started to be frightened of the cost of saving innocent souls.

 

 Elisabeth staring in horror at Phoebe still there not vanquished to the mores of hell. 

 

She started to raise the fireball at Phoebe when she stopped with the ball half formed and glanced around her blue eyes bright with fear and shimmered.

 

Piper ran to Phoebe, while Paige just stared at her sister, still there when she had been stabbed by an athame that vanquished evil souls to the mores of hell, still there and very, very pregnant.

 

"Shit that hurts" Phoebe said as she produced her hand covered in blood. "Stop looking like that Piper" she said " I'm not evil, couldn't die. Shit that hurts" she said.

 

"I know sweetie " Piper said gently "Its okay sweetie" she said. "Paige" she ordered "Paige."

 

"Its was his choice Paige "Phoebe whispered " he chose; Mark wanted it. He was going anyway. Mark wanted to go true to himself " She met Paige's eyes " I'm not evil Paige.  Whosit's not evil. I'd be dead. I'd be rotting for eternity and so would Whosit if we were evil." Paige did not answer "Mark wanted it Paige, it was his calling, his destiny, his choice. Paige" Phoebe pleaded. "Paige."

 

"You're not evil " Paige said in a dull flat voice. Before Phoebe could answer the light of a shimmer filled the cavern. Piper spun ready for Elisheeva's return and then literally shrunk back clutching Paige and Phoebe who whimpering in pain, as the witches were confronted by the Guardian Arturo, an expression of such annoyance on his face that the sisters huddled together for protection.

 

"I felt good witches and innocents where they should not be" Arturo commented his voice like ice.

 

"My sister, we had to come to save the innocents" Piper started to say.

 

"Indeed " said Arturo his eyes going to Phoebe's bloody side and hands.

 

"There was a witch using innocents as vanquish fodder, outside the rules" Phoebe whimpered in pain.

 

"Indeed " said Arturo dryly.

 

"It had to be fixed" Paige said stretching her hand out to Phoebe and easing the bleeding a little but not the pain. "My sister is hurt:" Paige said to Arturo. "My powers aren't strong down here."

 

"And you mistake me for a whitelighter how?" said Arturo flicking his hand and all three witches found themselves dragged in a shimmer through the spirit winds, feeling the pain of being dragged back none to gently from where they should not have been.

 

....................................................