A Matter of Relativity
Part 4: All truth is relative
"They do not love that do
not show their love"
Part 4 of 4 Parts
Cole came home quite early that night. Piper had sent Paige upstairs for a long soak in the bath and was busy putting together her favourite meal. Phoebe was sitting in the living room waiting for him, looking after Melinda while Piper cooked. When she saw Cole Melinda ran to him and received a big hug and Phoebe flew as fast as Whosit would let her to reach up and peck him on his lips.
"How's Benedict taking it?" Phoebe asked.
"As you'd expect, stoically " Cole answered quietly "Some of the coven are with him," he said "Marly. I was not much use."
"I guess not " Phoebe said just as quietly.
"I'll just put this upstairs" Cole said warily indicating his briefcase.
Phoebe nodded as he went upstairs.
She stood still for a while and then said to Melinda "Why don't you go help mommy" and waited a minute while Melinda ran into the kitchen then followed Cole upstairs.
When she went into the bedroom, he had thrown the briefcase onto a chair and he was standing staring out the window.
Phoebe went in and shut the door with a bang. She leant back on it her hands still behind her holding the knob. Cole turned around tie undone.
"Was it you?" Phoebe asked ever so quietly.
He looked into her face.
"Was it?" she asked her voice dull " you can't lie to me " she added.
"I killed Lara," Cole said his voice shaking.
"I see" Phoebe said "and you're not even going to say it was vanquished or eliminated."
"I've already been through that " Cole said "I finished her mortal life. I call it kill."
Phoebe swallowed. "Want to talk about it?" she said. She saw the look of pain concern fear on his face. "Not here " she said. She opened the door and went to the top of the stairs "Piper, " she called.
A minute or so later Piper appeared at the foot of the stairs.
"What" Piper called " I'm cooking."
"Cole and I are going off for a night together," Phoebe yelled.
"Okay" said Piper disinterested, far more worried about how she was going to fuss Paige.
Phoebe came back to the bedroom where Cole had barely moved. He watched her nervously "You sure you want to go with me " he said " You can't.. you have to come back with me."
Phoebe walked over to the closet, she pulled out his favourite sheep skin jacket and her best snugly quilted parka coat and a scarf and gloves. "Its bloody cold in Ireland " she said smiling a little a tremulously.
Cole inclined his head and nodded then put out his hand and they shimmered to that Irish beach he loved, dark and cold as the mist fell over it and the Atlantic Ocean crash against the sands on a cold winters morning.
Both of them could feel the sea spray on their faces and the smell the kemp.
Phoebe watched as in the cold Cole walked over and stood at the oceans edge. She huddled into her coat hood with only eyes showing above the scarf.
He finally came back and sat on the sand with his back against a rock and she eased herself down beside him cuddling in close feeling his body warmth as the cold came in around them.
They were silent for a while.
"It wasn't vengeance or punishment," Cole said finally. "There is no place for a witch, for any good being, who uses those failing and needing help to further there own private battles."
"I know its outside the balance when good, supposed to be good, seduces good into evil " Phoebe said.
"I hear it in my head" Cole said "The call. The Great Plan. The messages come to me on the Spirit Winds and it's not easy to ignore."
"Do you think she's going somewhere…not good?" Phoebe asked quietly.
Cole shrugged "You have an incarnation when you were evil…not good. So did Paige. Who knows? I hope not." Cole said. "It wouldn't make sense if she was."
"Maybe you saved Lara from a worse fate." Phoebe said. "Lara had mamma… Elis…Elisheeva caught " she explained "when Mark and I arrived."
"Yeah well my experience with mamma is when she looks like she is gone then she starts fighting and gets really nasty." Cole said.
"If she had known that Lara was evil " Phoebe said "she would have used that golden athame on her and sent her to the mores of hell."
"Mamma is nothing if not vindictive. Lucky for Lara I came along," Cole said but there was no laughter on his face." I'm not looking for justifications Phoebe," he said grimly.
"is this the first witch?" Phoebe asked quietly " I mean,.."
"I know what you mean," he said "No."
He saw the look at Phoebe's face a for a second then shrivelled "When we were apart, when I was I Greece."
"Oh " she said. "I.. that was a strange time. I should have been with you."
"Maybe better not " he said "You did some thing anyway. You protected me from being tempted, I'm supposed to be so able to resist " said the guardian. "But I'm not so sure I could" said Cole.
"Resisting temptation is a bitch" Phoebe said. "I hate that it is so easy to slip. I've been so scared Paige would slip and then I damn near did anyway. It was Paige hesitating, made me realise. Ironic hey."
"As I keep getting told " Cole said almost bitterly "getting tempted is not the sin. Damn Arturo and damn Francesca " he bit out" they didn't tell me, they never explained what it would be like, living with all this." He laughed mirthlessly "Just as well. I would have told Arturo to throw that damn fireball."
"You couldn't leave me, could you?" Phoebe asked, little girl and then swallowed as he shook his head. "You're only tempted about me" she sighed. "Lots of things don't tempt you. You don't even notice your powers. All the things you could do and you don't want them or care."
"According to Leo. Every time I use my powers, I stuff something up" Cole sighed.
"Lara she was tempted buy her power." Phoebe said
"It w as a small power " Cole told her. "It wouldn't have done what she needed."
Phoebe linked her arm through Cole's and they silently listened to the sea crash. "Do you think Paige will forgive me?" Phoebe asked after a while.
"I hope so" he said
Phoebe nodded "I do understand what it is to lose love. To have it ripped away. I hate this time of the year. Bad things happen this time of the year." She swallowed.
Cole was silent.
"Remember where we were three years ago " Phoebe said." At this time."
"Yes " he said shortly "we were happy."
"You think I'm stupid for remembering don't you?" Phoebe asked. "You think I should move on."
"No" he said "I think you're wise to remember, to know what we have wasn't easily won. Better we both remember not to take it all for granted" he added.
"You sound like a bloody guardian" she said and he laughed.
"You do realise that those witches are going to chase Mamma for a lifetime and maybe more if they get a tontine going,. Chase her for something she didn't do" Phoebe said watching the dawn light pick up the phosphorus on the sea.
"Yeah " said Cole wrapping his arms around Whosit and Phoebe "they won't catch her" he said "she's to smart."
"They'll make her life miserable," Phoebe said.
"Yeah" said Cole replied unconcerned. "I love you, do you know."
Phoebe looked an saw the smile that was hers on his face and heart leapt. "Yeah" she replied" I do know that. Lucky me. "
They watched the dawn come over a beach in Ireland "I suppose we should go back" Cole said.
"I guess" Phoebe said "You got your credit card. I want to go to Venice for breakfast " Phoebe ordered him. 'I promised myself after what you, we decided last year, I was going back to see the mists in winter."
"Not because you want to buy more clown masks?" Cole asked.
"As long as I'm there" she said thoughtfully as he stood up and put his hand out to pull her t her feet. "I love you." she said.
"Not guilty " said the jury foreman.
Benedict stood quietly beside Cole still numb. He swallowed and shook his head, and with a certain dignity nodded to the jury foreman as the judge dismissed them and declared Benedict Haslett was free to go.
The court was not very full. This was not a case that would get more than a page 5 report if it got one at all and the court reporter was only vaguely making the odd note or two. Four witches from Lara Haslett's coven and Marly sat quietly in the court and hugged each other as the judge tapped the desk with his gavel. Phoebe sat somewhat uncomfortably in a corner watching them. They had acknowledged her very pregnant presence with an awkward smile.
Benedict held out his hand to Cole in an automatic gesture that had no real emotion.
"Thank you," he said in a dull flat voice. "But it means nothing. I have nothing left."
"You have your life," Cole replied.
"As I said" Benedict answered " Nothing."
Cole swallowed. He watched as a lonely old main hanging onto his last shred of dignity, an old man who had failed in everything he had ever done, walked over to the witches.
The ADA Krantz who had prosecuted came over and keeping as much distance as possible held out his hand to shake. "You didn't deserve that win, Turner," he said bitterly.
"Take it any way I can get it," Cole said diffidently.
"We'll be after him for the other murders," Krantz said grimly.
Phoebe came up behind Cole and took his hand standing pressed against him while he packed his briefcase and Krantz glared at him. "Take my advice and leave it," Cole said quietly "You'll never find anything."
"What you think magic destroyed the evidence" Krantz said with a sarcastic sneer that was calculated to make Cole shrivel but only made him laugh as Phoebe squeezed his hand. "You're a son of a bitch Turner, " Krantz told him "You use dirty tricks and sneers to destroy the work of honest policemen and get guilty as sin offenders back on the streets. I saw you manipulate that jury and destroy those witnesses, destroy their credibility and their reputations. You dirty this court and you dirty the practice of law and you dirty the cause of justice." Krantz bit out " Do you want to deny it?"
"No " Cole said slowly "I can't deny it. I'm a son of a bitch."
"I think he' s wonderful" Phoebe said cocking her head on the side as Krantz glared at her. She smiled back sweetly.
Cole picked up his briefcase and walked over to where Benedict was talking to the witches from Lara's coven. "Can I just talk to you for a second?" he asked quietly "won't be long" he told the witches and still holding Phoebe's hand ushered Benedict out the court room into one of the small private rooms used for client interviews.
"Sorry baby " he said to Phoebe" this is going to be privilege. Can you wait?"
Phoebe looked at him hesitantly and then smiled and walked toward Darryl Morris who was standing alone, his face grim and angry clearly waiting his chance to talk to Cole.
Cole deliberately avoided eye contact with Darryl and followed Benedict into the room.
"What is there that you feel you can say to me?" Benedict said.
"I wanted to say to you that its over," Cole told him in a voice as cold as any guardian's before him. "I got you off when in almost any-one's language you murdered that man, killed him with malice."
"He was possessed of evil" said Benedict his voice faltering.
"He was an innocent, possessed of evil " Cole said with ice in his tone " and I have some experience in that area."
"Would you prefer evil won?" Benedict asked quietly.
"Benedict when the innocents are lost "Cole said quietly " evil does win. And it cost you a wife and two daughters."
"The witches," Benedict aid "Lara's coven will get that demon."
Cole shrugged "If they can, as long" and Cole spoke very softly so Benedict almost strained to hear him speak and it frightened him more than all the loud voices "as long as no innocents are sacrificed in the fight. They can try to catch the demon." Cole smiled and it was the Guardian who smiled "but there are two things you must understand from now on. " he said "Firstly the business of witches is not the business of mortals and you know I am well qualified to tell you that" Cole smiled dangerous, deadly "No matter how much you love a witch, its part of their lives you can't share. Try and you will fail and be destroyed. I had to destroy a friend's credibility in that court room. That policeman is a friend of mine, and I destroyed the credibility of that forensic scientist, because both were to good, to decent to lie under oath. To protect some-one who is nowhere near as innocent as some who have been lost."
Benedict stared at Cole with dead eyes.
The ice remained in Cole's voice "The second thing is" he said" you're not going to confess to anything. No don't even try to tell me " he interrupted Benedict who started to speak. "They'll never find anything. And you will not confess to protect yourself. You're not going to confess because all that will do is cause others pain, the witches, the police and the innocents caught up in the mess. You want penance" Cole told Benedict " you got it. You can't ease your conscience by confessing. You can't take away your pain. You do, you make the person you confess to an accessory, maybe in law and certainly in morality."
Benedict just looked at Cole his elderly eyes watering and not so focused/
"And there's no easy way out " Cole said slowly still glacial. Still guardian "That just makes those left behind pay the price for your sins in guilt and pain. That just leaves the innocent to suffer."
Benedict half nodded.
"That's the choice," Cole said "when you are a good person, all you can do is repent and accept the penance. I hope you live to 93 " Cole told the old man.
Cole left Benedict and walked out the room. He noticed as he left that the members of the coven led by the witch Marny entered the room. He shrugged and taking a deep breath walked over to where Darryl Morris was standing with Phoebe.
"You son of a bitch" Darryl told Cole " Do you want to deny it?"
"I'm a son of a bitch," Cole answered quietly "Do you want me to say I'm sorry?" he asked.
"Are you sorry?" Darryl said angrily as Phoebe reached out to touch his arm.
"No" Cole answered "I'd probably do it again tomorrow. You could have lied, said that magic was a myth a fantasy. The old guy was totally motivated by revenge."
"I couldn't lie under oath and you know it " Darryl said between his teeth "and a serial killer got off because of it."
"I know it, " Cole said.
"He gets away with it. What about justice?" Darryl demanded.
"He gets away with it in the eyes of the law" Cole said and thought of the broken lost old man he had left a few minutes go "but if it makes you feel any better, justice is served. The punishment has fit the crime."
Daryl looked at Cole. Phoebe reached out top put her hand on Darryl's chest.
"He's a son of a bitch," Darryl said to her.
"I know " Phoebe whispered as Darryl stalked off.
Cole put his arm around Phoebe's shoulder, rubbing his thumb on the back of her neck. She leant her head against his arm. "Not a lot of fun being a son of a bitch is it? " she said.
"Not a lot, " Cole agreed.
"Can you fix it for Darryl?" Phoebe asked.
"I can make the consequences of being an honest man, and telling the truth about your belief in magic and demons, under oath, of setting yourself up to be ridiculed in the eyes of the jury a little less drastic." Cole said. "Save one more innocent a little."
"Do it," Phoebe ordered linking her arm through his as they left the courthouse.
"Do we tell Grams?" Phoebe asked Piper that night, while they were doing the washing up."About Benedict."
"Don't know " said Piper "just you know how I love Prue but I just guess I learnt a few things about..letting go, you know when she came back and maybe…" Piper shrugged " I mean Grams must know. She looks at things like that and..I just think calling from the other side sometimes isn't really the best way in the long run."
"But then think of the times we really have needed her." Phoebe said "wouldn't want ..She's one cranky witch when she gets mad."
Piper thought for a while. "We tell her" she said taking a deep breath "I don't want her mad at me" and she caught Phoebe's handed dragged her out of the kitchen.
"Paige?" said Phoebe.
"Maybe she doesn't need Grams opinions right now," said Piper.
"Just checking some magic stuff," Piper said to Leo as he passed them in the hall.
"Just getting beer," Leo said.
"Use glasses," ordered Piper.
Phoebe and Piper set the candle circle and carefully chanted the summon a witch spell.
"Grams " said Phoebe happy.
"Grams" said Piper a little more cautiously.
"My darlings" Grams said "Where's my little precious?"
"Asleep" said Piper "with a whole lot of magic in the room to stop her orbing."
Grams sighed. "Such a smart little witch. You can just tell she's a Halliwell."
Phoebe very brightly said "Cole got Benedict Haslett off."
"We thought you would like to know," said Piper.
"Yes" said Grams. "I knew."
"Do you ant me to get Cole so you can thank him? " Phoebe asked.
"What, to say thank you to a demon for the doing the least he could?" Grams said.
"Cole's not a demon," said Piper and Phoebe in unison.
"What is he?" said Grams.
"Not a demon" said Pipe and Phoebe in unison.
"Grams" said Phoebe "You have to be fair. Cole did almost the impossible to get Benedict off. He was guilty as sin. He fired an arrow through that guy's head."
"He was only destroying demons," Gram said.
"He was killing mortals who were controlled by demons," said Piper.
"The mortals were evil and they chose their path." Grams insisted.
"Grams" said Piper.
"All right " Grams conceded, "he shouldn't have done it. " She shrugged "But he had extenuating circumstances."
Phoebe and Piper exchanged glances.
"I really loved Ben" said Grams "It was wonderful with him" she said. "The best ever sex. But I suppose in those days I wasn't the most stable person around."
"In those days " said Piper.
"I disappointed him" Grams said. "and he decided, I think that we were over before we were really over. He married Tarryn, on the rebound. I think because she was the opposite of me. It's the only reason I can think of. It wasn't a happy marriage, even if they did have two daughters. She was big on duty, didn't stop her taking a lover though." Grams snorted "Loathsome little man. Got killed by one of those guardian demons. Some demon got Tarryn when she got, well a little to proactive."
Piper and Phoebe exchanged glances.
"I think Ben felt he let her down. Compared her a little to much to me" said Grams with a tone that said the comparison was not to Tarryn's advantage. "I think Ben felt her drove her to it and well he owed her memory."
"Grams neither you nor Benedict are responsible for Tarryn Haslett going over the top proactive and getting herself killed." said Piper.
"And it would have been a damned sight better for everybody if Benedict had realised that," added Phoebe.
"We all have some responsibilities for the consequences of our actions." Grams said " Well my darlings I've got to thank you for fixing my loose ends."
"And Cole." said Phoebe loyally.
"Hmm him " said Grams. "Can't move on until I tie up the loose ends"
"Doe this mean you're moving on?" asked Piper with regret.
"No" said Grams "I have other loose ends."
"Oh" said Piper and Phoebe.
"Benedict's daughter was lost," said Grams.
"To a demon, Elisheeva" said Phoebe hastily.
"Are you going after it?" asked Grams.
"No" said Piper "Her coven are."
"Well If they need any hints on how to chase one. Tell them to summon me " said Grams. She smiled at her grand daughters. "Those rumours about the father of your baby" she said to Phoebe.
"Not true" said Piper hastily.
"Whosit's Cole's" said Phoebe also hastily.
"Whosit" said Gram raising her eyes "and Cole's.."
"Not a demon" said Phoebe.
"So the baby is " Grams said.
"Not a demon" said Phoebe.
"In that case," Grams smiled happily " I can look forward to the next few months. Whosit " she said.
"We're thinking of names," said Phoebe defensively.
"We have traditions in this family," said Grams ." Blessed be, my darlings."
"Yes Grams," said Phoebe and Piper obediently.