A Matter of Relativity
Part 1: Home is where the Heart is
"They do not love that do
not show their love"
It was 10 in the morning. Piper was finally alone, just her and Melinda home. As it was Tuesday the house was relatively clean. With both Phoebe and Cole earning good money and P3 actually running at a profit these days, there was enough money coming into the house to pay for a few luxuries and one was a cleaning service to come in on Mondays and Thursdays to keep the manor. Paige was at work as was Cole and Phoebe. Leo had been home but was called away after breakfast.
She put Melinda on the floor in the attic with her building blocks and sighed as Melinda sent flying them around the floor using telekinesis. Carefully keeping an eye on her daughter Piper read through the Book of Shadows, looking for demons that had connections to occult and artefacts.
She finally found an entry that was she guessed about a two hundred and fifty years old for a demon called Elisheeva.
The portrait was a head and shoulder portrait of a demon with similar cult markings to Belthezor. Elisheeva had strong connections to the dark priesthood and was reputed to be an occultist which used connections to trade in demonic artefact and ritual. Elisheeva was an upper level demon with no vanquish and a reputation for cunning and duplicity. There was a warning to be very careful in any dealings with this demon which in human form could be very genial, but no description of the human form. A later entry said Elisheeva was supposed to have turned rogue and have fallen from grace with the Source.
"Wonderful" Piper told Melinda "Another upper level demon who canít be vanquished and canít be trusted. Probably been in hiding and only come out again now there is a new Source." Piper read the entry again "Damn" she told Melinda" this is where we could really do with some-one who knew something about artefacts and museum things. Why canít I contact Aunt Prue when I want her?"
Piper barely had the words out when there was flash of light and looked up with a sudden smile on her face "Grams" she said half wanting to run to her and remembering just in time she could not hug her.
"You came about museums?" Piper said.
"That" said Grams "Donít know any thing about them" she dismissed " My darling" she exclaimed bending down to Melinda who was a little surprised at the transparent apparition but had seen enough strange beings in her short life to be mightily unconcerned.
Grams smiled with satisfaction. "Sheís a Halliwell" she told Piper. "Takes after me."
"I know" Piper said "Grams if it is not about museums and demons why are you here?"
"Oh that" said Grams uncomfortably "Well, she is just beautiful Piper, just perfect."
"I know," said Piper getting more determined "Why are you here?"
"Well my darling um" Grams looked around a little awkwardly "I um..."
"Grams" said Piper getting serious.
"I need you um Phoebe um to do something for me" Grams answered "only I needed to slip down when no-one up there would know, so this seemed a good opportunity."
"Grams" said Piper tapping her foot.
" Well Phoebe still has that tame demon lawyer floating around doesnít she?" Grams said.
Piper gulped "What do you know about him?"
"Not a lot my darling" Grams answered "it seems off the radar up there but I watch. I see things. Phoebe converted it. Is it mortal or still demonic?"
"Demonic sort of" Piper answered, "Do you know what he is?"
"No what is it" Grams asked.
"Um nothing" Piper answered.
"Its not evil though?" Grams asked.
"No not any more" Piper said.
"Are you sure?" Grams asked.
" Very" said Piper"
"Good" said Grams airily " I need it to. to um look after a problem for a f..,.um friend."
"It used to be Belthezor didnít it?" Grams asked.
"Um yes" said Piper "But..."
"You just tell it, to remember what I can do" Grams said getting ready to leave.
"Sure Grams" Piper said "but what do you want it, I mean him to do"
"Oh" said Grams "Didnít I tell you?"
"ĎNo Grams" said Piper exasperated.
" Oh" said Grams" Well thereís someone I used to know has been arrested for murder and needs a lawyer who understands evil. One that can get him off."
"Grams you want Cole to get a murderer off" Piper repeated stunned.
"Didnít I just say that" Grams answered "Didnít I just say that?"
"I am not sure Cole, likes getting guilty people off" Piper explained.
" What" said Grams "Itís a demon and a lawyer. Whatís its problem? You just remind Belthezor ," Grams answered, "that I can still make its life hell" she added sounding very like one of her granddaughters.
She started to fade.
ĎGrams said Piper getting annoyed "Whoís the murderer?"
"Ooh" said Grams "Benedict , Benedict Haslett."
"Bye my darlings" and she was gone before Piper could answer. Leaving her to be suddenly distracted by Melinda who had taken advantage of her mother's bewilderment to wriggle under the sofa.
Piper walked into the police headquarters with Melinda resting on her hip and found her way to where Darryl Morris was sitting at his desk absorbed in reading a long report. She stood in front of the desk and coughed but it took him a second or two to look up. He jumped when he realised it was Piper. "What do you want?" he demanded.
" Hello Darryl" said Piper. "I may have come to say hello."
"What do you want?" he said "you never come here unless you want something" he added.
"All right" Piper said "I want something."
" I knew it" said Darryl jumping "its gonna make me miserable isnít it? Its gonna cause me hell isnít it?"
"I donít always understand what it is with you" Piper said. "And I only want some information."
" Anything to do with D words, or W words or even M words" Darryl asked suspiciously.
ĎNo" said Piper "Not those words. I just need some information about someone who is supposed to have been arrested for murder. Just if you could find out anything."
"Why?" demanded Darryl suspiciously "if it isnít anything to do with any of those words.
Piper sat firmly down in the visitorís chair just to make sure Darryl did not try to hassle her out "Itís the G word" she admitted. "Two versions of G" she said "Grams came and told me to well I had to tell Cole he has to defend this guy. I donít know whatís magic about that" said Piper "or why Grams is interested. And I havenít told Cole and I doubt heíll want to. He isnít to keen on getting murderers off."
"Whoís the guy" Darryl asked.
"Some-one called Benedict Haslett" Piper answered.
"Guilty as hell" Darryl replied.
"What did he do?" Piper asked. "Are you sure?"
"Iím the guy investigating the case such as it is. " Darryl said. " Old guyís daughter was killed a few weeks ago. He stalked some kid called Abe Franks who was a suspect. In one of the alleys down near Chinatown, Haslett produces a cross bow and fired it straight into Franks forehead."
"Eek" said Piper.
"Six people saw it happen" Darryl said.
"No doubts" Piper sighed.
"Damn it Piper" Darryl said, " if there is a problem you owe me to help. I . Iím not like some guys around here" he said lowering his voice "It isnít about getting arrests or getting convictions. It's about getting the guys who did it, getting the guilty guys."
"You want to tell that to Grams" Piper said standing up as Darryl noticeably paled.
"Nah" said Darryl "Nah Iíll think Iíll let you."
"Gee thanks Darryl," said Piper standing up to leave.
Piper called Phoebe from her car and told her to make excuses for an early lunch and meet her at the nearest McDonalds. Piper had taken to eating these days in places where other diners had to put up with children and she could find a corner to hide in while she pulled out Melindaís meal from the always-present baby bag.
Phoebe came rushing into McDonaldís. "Whatís up?" she said taking the time to reach down and kiss Melinda and then automatically wiping stewed apple and banana from her chin.
"Grams" said Piper "She wants you to ask, rather tell Cole to do something."
"Sure" Phoebe grinned "He does everything I tell him. Mostly. Fairly often. What do have to tell him?"
Piper shook her head wryly "He has to defend some old friend of Grams who has been arrested for murder for free, pro bono."
"Cole doesnít get difficult about defending innocent people," Phoebe said.
"I donít think heís innocent" Piper said" in fact Darryl thinks heís guilty as hell, and Grams didnít say defend actually, she said get the old guy off, and" said Piper "youíre supposed to tell Cole if he wonít do it to remember what Grams can do to him."
"Whatís Grams got on Cole?" Phoebe demanded.
"You ask her" Piper said puzzled "or ask Cole."
"I will" Phoebe said "he wonít be thrilled about Grams threatening him, or being ordered to get some murderer off. In fact heíll be pissed" she said.
"Call him" Piper ordered her.
Phoebe sighed and pulled out her cell. She dialled Cole and was answered by a very unhelpful Arlene. She left a message but seriously doubted that Arlene would pass the message on so she left a message on Coleís cell. He finally called back about half an hour later saying grimly that Arlene had not passed the message on.
"Whatís wrong?" Phoebe asked Cole when his voice sounded tired and decidedly irritated.
"Usual partnerís snitching about pro bono," he muttered.
"Oh dear" said Phoebe.
"What?" said Cole suspiciously.
"Nothing" said Phoebe casually. "Piper needs to talk to you" she told Cole gutlessly and getting a kick from her sister under the table. "Now. Weíre at McDonalds" Phoebe added.
"And would this be one of those conversations where Iím less likely to give in to my demonic nature if you ask me in public" he said sarcastically.
"Pretty well" Phoebe answered, "But its nothing disastrous. Just family stuff. Trust me."
"Canít you even pretend to lie?" he muttered. " All right Baby Iím coming" he said.
"l love you Baby" Phoebe said.
"I love you too Baby" he answered "but whatís that got to do with this."
He arrived about 20 minutes later, coming in and looking around. Phoebe watching him walk toward her, wearing a dark blue suit and lighter shirt and a red tie that said he was definitely not part of the establishment. Her heart skipped a beat as it always did when she saw him and she looked up smiling suddenly shy. Sometimes still not quite able to believe he was hers.
"What?" he said approaching the table where Phoebe and Piper sat and automatically touching Melinda gently, bent to kiss Phoebe, taking an extra second on the kiss and letting his hand trail across her neck.
She reached to quickly touch his face and whispered "Love you."
He swallowed a little remembering suddenly the times when he had all but despaired she would ever love him again. When he thought he would have to live an eternity without ever hearing her say "I love you" again.
He smiled "Me too. Okay what?
"You saw her this morning" Piper interrupted not appreciating being the third wheel. '"You screwed this morning. I heard so quit acting like you've been apart for a month."
"And this big thing I have to do for you" Cole drawled ready for battle as Phoebe giggled.
"Youíre not going to like this" Piper swallowed.
He glanced around the crowded McDonald, full from the lunch time crowd, kids, shoppers, some older people and tourists "I already donít like it" he said "Iím getting something to eat first though."
He came back and shrugged as both Piper and Phoebe glared at his tray with two large burgers, a large size fries, apple pie, Pepsi and coffee.
"I used to think demons didnít eat" Piper said.
"Iím not a demon," Cole answered.
"Weíll have salad for supper" Phoebe said, as Cole pulled a face.
"What?" he said.
"Gramís came for a visit this morning" Piper told him.
"Iím glad I wasnít home," Cole said biting into a burger.
"She wanted me to ask Phoebe, to tell Phoebe to askÖ tell you something," Piper said a little apprehensively.
Cole stopped eating "What?"
"Grams has a friend who needs a lawyer," Piper said.
"Lot of lawyers about" Cole said, without thinking holding 3 fries out to Melinda. Piper swiped his hand away but Melinda got the fries. "Why does this one need me?"
"Youíre not pissed?" Phoebe asked.
"Not yet" Cole answered.
"Apparently this old guy fired an arrow with a high speed cross bow into some guy's head" Piper said, "at least thatís what Darryl said."
"Sounds like he needs a psychiatrist not a lawyer" Cole said.
"Grams wants, insists you get him off" Piper said "and Iím pretty certain she does not means pleading insanity, or sheíll make your life hell."
Cole stopped eating. He slowly put the burger down "Now Iím pissed" he said.
"Grams says to remind you what she can do to you" Piper said.
"Sheís bluffing" Cole said unamused.
"Why is she trying to bluff? Did you ever have anything to do with Grams" Phoebe asked. "Years ago I mean before you knew me?"
"I saw her once for all of 5 seconds" Cole said. "I remember only that she very pregnant and was going to hurl me against the wall and I blew her a kiss and ran" Cole "After that I avoided her like the plague" he insisted, "She had a reputation as one scary old b-witch."
"Thatís it" Phoebe asked curiously "youíre sure?"
Cole was adamant "I never saw he again until Piper and Leoís wedding."
Phoebe knew he was telling the truth but Piper caught him glance sideways at Phoebe. She hit him hard again as more fries found their way over to Melinda.
"Donít give them to her" Piper snapped.
"Let her have some fun" Cole said" the way you're going sheíll be the healthiest most well brought up miserable kid on the block."
"Like you know so much about kids," Piper snarled ready to take the argument further.
"You better go talk to this guy Cole," Phoebe interrupted before the argument got going.
"Hell I just had a free-for-all with the partners over pro bono this morning" Cole said. "Phoebe donít asked me. The one thing I always get away with is that these shit cases I take on are for people who really need a damn good lawyer, because theyíre more or less innocent. Public defenderís are there for cases like this" He sighed, "You sure this guy is guilty."
Piper replied, "Grams called him a murderer and Darryl said he was guilty as hell. I couldnít be called up as a witness could I."
"No hearsay" Cole answered mechanically "But I'd sure like to be around when a DA called a ghost as a witness. Phoebe, donít ask me, please. This will .. not be good."
"Iím not asking" she said" Iím telling. If you donít Grams will make your, and by association, my life hell. Turning up at all hours watching nagging, sighing. Grams doesnít bluff. "
Piper grinned evilly "Maybe sheíll get Prue to help her, after all enough time has passed for it to be okay for Prue to show up."
Cole just looked at her "What is it with everyone named Halliwell. This mission to make my life hell."
"Its 'cause we love you" Piper said sweetly.
"Its not fair Phoebe" Cole sulked "All you get out of this is me. I get stuck with all the bloody in laws."
"My problem exactly" Piper told Melinda.
"Nothing comes without a cost" Phoebe answered smugly "Not even me."
Much against his better judgement and own wishes Cole went to meet Benedict Haslett in prison. He found an elderly man in his 70ís who was adamant he was not going to plead guilty and a little surprised at a smart arse lawyer turning up, claiming he could help him and for no payment. Cole was used to clients being very glad to get his help but Benedict was not keen on the idea and Cole had to do some fast-talking to get the old man to agree to let him represent him and felt like an ambulance chaser doing it.
The old man seemed determined ton his course but there was something that struck Cole as odd. He had seen people incarcerated many, many times. He saw guilty people, people wracked with remorse, he saw guilty people defiant, or resigned. He saw innocent people in shock and disbelief. But Benedict was showing a resistance that Cole in his experience only ever saw in martyrs. The reaction he often got in people who had decided to take a wrap for someone else. He touched auras with the old man briefly and that was what he got, an aura of righteous martyrdom that was so strong it shocked him.
"Why did you do it?" He asked Benedict
ĎIt was necessary" the old man said quietly.
Cole visited the old manís daughter Lara, a woman of about 40, with her father in jail and her sister dead, living quietly alone in one of the older suburbs near the ocean. She was less than thrilled to talk to him and did not understand Coleís offer to represent her father. He was very reluctant to say defend.
"I donít understand why you are here Mr Turner" Lara said. "My father has a lawyer, a public defender."
"PDís are busy" Cole answered " and I doubt in a case like this they will be willing to do more than try and not try very hard to negotiate the sentence."
"And what are you willing to do" Lara asked still at the front door, not willing to let Cole in.
"I donít know at this stage" he said promising himself if he ever found a way to get back at Grams he was going to do it.
"Thatís what I donít understand Mr Turner" Lara said "why you are here, and telling me my father has agreed to take you on as a lawyer. This is not a case for publicity or any public relations benefit and if it is pro bono as you insist no money, and while my father has every intention of pleading not guilty, which I support," which statement immediately struck Cole as very odd, "what could you possibly get out of this."
Cole resisted the temptation to answer "A little less hell in my life" He told Lara bluntly "Your father is 73 years old. Heís going to die in jail. If he does not get help."
"We know that" Lara said quietly and dismissively. "But that does not explain why you want to help."
Cole seriously considered the consequences of magic on the woman but decided long term his only hope was to get her to trust him. "I donít normally chase work Miss Haslett" he said "I was asked by a family connection, who apparently once knew your grandfather and believed he needed help. They knew I do quite a bit of pro bono work in my firm and felt I could do something." He met Laraís rigid expression. "Iíll leave you with some references if you like " he said "Your father has already agreed to accept my services but I feel you may need some confidence in me."
"My father can unagree" Lara said.
Lara called him back the next morning and said in a very tight voice that she had checked his references. "I still donít understand, why you are willing to help," she said. "If you are as good as the references say, you don't need the work?"
"I don't need the aggravation from your father's friend either" Cole answered and had to mutter about confidentiality when Lara asked who the friend was.
Cole was forced once again to use magic to get the partners to agree to the case. He had this dream that just one day he could say I have a case the needs our help and all the partners would smile and say "Only to willing to help the needy" but he knew it was only a dream.
He visited Lara again that afternoon. She was hardly a help. She claimed her father had never discussed or mentioned any form of vengeance for her sisterís death, which as Cole touched her aura knew was true. She said she knew nothing about her fatherís intentions but that apparently was a lie and she did not believe her father to be guilty of any crime which was not entirely true. Cole immediately had no doubts that the person her father was protecting was Lara.
"How did your sister die Miss Haslett?" Cole asked.
"She was stabbed Mr Turner" Lara replied.
"Why?" Cole asked.
She was in the wrong place at the wrong time, Mr Turner" Lara said.
He left her, feeling very unhappy with the case. He checked the police reports and all he could find was that Frances Haslett, Laraís younger sister was killed in a parking building late one night. The police arrested Abe Franks near the scene but he was released two days later, apparently with no evidence that he had anything to do with the killing, which should have been the end. Except Benedict Haslett stalked him down, and fired an arrow from a crossbow straight through his head.
At the bail hearing for Benedict Cole felt old 120 years old. One of the many things he was discovering about being good or not being evil was a connection with other good beings that he had never previously shared. It was one thing to want to do good it was another thing to share the feelings and fears and pain of those beings around him. Benedict for all his stubborn stance was feeling the pressure and the pain and it was one thing to believe his action was justified. It was another thing to sit and listen to other beings prosecutorís arguing and calling him names like murderer and worse.
The bail hearing was getting quite heated and the prosecution's reasons for not setting bail were brutal and in Coleís opinion unnecessary and calculated to score points on the case because Benedict was not a risk, at least as long as Lara was not murdered. Cole finally got fed up and used magic to get the judge to agree to a bail that was manageable if Benedict mortgaged the house.
Benedict watched him carefully and suspiciously and Cole smiled "Trust me" with his most charming smile and got absolutely no response.
The next hearing was set at six weeks away and Cole could only think that the prosecutorís determination to take this case all the way meant it was going to be a long drawn out one.
Lara sitting quietly and grimly in the court room behind her father leaned over to hug him. She turned toward Cole and stiffly said "This is something, a bonus we did not expect so we thank you for whatever time my father has."
Cole would have believed both Lara and Benedict had no more emotion than as if he had got off parking fine, except that he felt their auras and was amazed to discover deep in their souls both were trembling with emotion.
Darryl Morris sat at the back of the courtroom, his face grim as he watched the proceedings. Cole saw the prosecutor Albert Kratz walked up to Darryl and reassure him that the case was open and shut. Darryl inclined his head toward Cole and Cole smiled as Kratz indicated there was no problem. Darryl met Coleís eyes and nodded grimly.
In the following weeks Piper spent her time when not being a Charmed One, looking after her daughter and her husband, running her club and arguing with her sisters over who made decisions about managing the house and everyone in it.
Paige passed the time in a rush between total involvement with her supposed part time job, not dating Mark while she went out with him to the total exclusion of any other men and reading and rereading everything she could find on the demon hierarchy and role of the dark priesthood.
Leo spent the next few weeks running between his charges, accepting that he had long since passed unquestioningly heeding the Elders' advice and trying to find what the gurgle, thump, bang, thump gurgle thwack gurgle, gurgle that had developed in the plumbing of the manor was and getting very suspicious that the noise was at least partly something to do with magic.
Cole lost himself in the next few weeks with the preparation for a high court appeal over the case of disabled peopleís access, trying to fathom some sort of reason behind Benedictís actions, arguing bitterly with partners at the law firm over his "shit" cases and occasionally and quietly ensuring the balance between good and evil.
Phoebe passed the weeks, working very hard, renegotiating a new contract with The Bay Mirror that allowed her great deal more latitude about working from home or any other place and being in love and loved. She also spent the time ignoring head spinning mood swings, constant stomach upsets and counting to the second when her next period was due.
The witches spent also spent the time 3 steps behind the demon Elisheeva. Elisheeva was smart enough to leave total innocents alone but its cleverness in providing temptation to the not quiet innocent, and getting hold of their souls was almost commendable. With the help of some of Prue's books, and a great deal of searching museums and archives lists of items, it was clear its actions were not random. The demon was building a very solid faction based on myth, ritual and legend and was willing to go to any lengths to do so, manipulating demon spirituality and demonic worship by mortals. To the consternation of witches, Elders and quite a few collectors of occult.
"You have to admire a demon that understands the advantages of long term planning " Piper said.
The Book of Shadows said demons put great faith for want of a better word in lore and legend and dark magic, so priests, alchemists, lore masters were held in high regard for the power they could find. It said demons depended on spirituality to justify their existence and any demon that could control that spiritual existence was a very powerful demon in the hierarchy."
"Great idea" said Piper over Sunday brunch, "Now we have Evil using religion to manipulate the minions."
"And this is new?" said Cole, "How?"
"The Elders are getting paranoid about the damned demon" Leo commented "and with the number of witches getting caught up in this."
"Its odd you never think of demons as spiritual." Paige murmured.
"Why?" Cole asked. "I grew up with demon ritual and spirituality. Shoved into my head as a means and a reason to exist. As a power and purpose."
The witches looked at him.
ĎMy mother was a very spiritual demon" Cole answered. "Insisted it was the path to power. " What" he said" looking at the girls horror "donít act like you didnít know I grew up as a demon."
"Is that what the alter and everything was about" Phoebe asked" when I first met you?"
"Did you believe it?" she asked almost frightened.
"Its not so much a matter of belief as purpose" Cole answered. "Black magic exists, satanic worship is about power for demons and about tempting souls as trade and defeating good when mortals use it."
ĎI donít.. " Piper said.
"You donít get it" Cole said. "I know. Its not.., for demons, its not about worshipping a higher being, more about a higher existence a more powerful and evil one in the hierarchy." He laughed but without humour "You know the whole demon world is about, power, using magic, dark magic, to create greater evil, to become higher in the order. The purpose of the spirituality is power and you have no idea what the craving for power, and evil can be to a demon. The spirituality is the worship of evil and power."
"Thatís an awful way to live" Paige said quietly.
"I know" Cole answered looking at Phoebe who just smiled softly at him " So awful I got out" He shrugged "Itís what was drummed into me from when I was very little and you know my mother was right. If I was evil. She gave me a plan to succeed, a plan to be powerful. The only reason to exist for a demon is to fulfil the craving for power. It obsesses your whole existence, so worshipping it, making it a force of spirituality, justifies the pain. If being a powerful demon was what I craved, my mother did the best she could for me. Only it wasnít."
"And you never get those..cravings" Piper asked.
Cole shook his head "No Iím beyond it, thank god. Thatís the joke on Evil you know, the craving never goes. There is never any peace for Evil. One of the most overwhelming memories I have from the Source, the one that's mostly left in me was the overwhelming disillusionment. The discovery, even at the ultimate level of demondom, the craving could not be sated."
"So this damned demon is just doing what all demons do," Piper said. "Seeking power, only its so damned smart. Dammit. It's bloody clever, always keeping away from witches, sending minions to distract us from it , wasting our time."
"I hate smart demons" Phoebe said grizzly, moody. "Well with one exception" she said smiling at Cole.
"Eek" said Paige "And youíre going to say forget about the demon. Protect the innocents, arenít you?" she said to Cole.
"If you know what Iím going to say, you donít need to ask, " he said self-righteously. "Demons plot. If one demon gets vanquished another will just take up the plot. Stop the plot working, but you know that so why ask?" he said.
"You were less of an arsehole when you were a demon" Piper told Cole sweetly.
"Youíve always been a bitch," he told her just as sweetly.
"All that being true" Paige said" why does that damned demon want with the swords and knives with twisted blades? Thereís nothing in Prueís books that says what they are used for."
"Largely ceremonial" Cole told them.
"Are you sure?" Piper demanded.
"I .. understood their spiritual life" Cole said smugly "Iím sure."
"Whatís sort of ceremony?" Paige asked.
"You donít want to know" Cole said.
"Donít be an arsehole Cole" Piper said.
He looked at the girls. They had finished eating, only Piper had a cup of coffee in her hand. Cole told them what it was used for. Phoebe grabbed her stomach and started to heave. Paige gagged and choked and Piper snorted half a cup of coffee out her nose. When she could finally speak again Piper hissed at Cole "You arsehole."
"You asked" he said defensively.