A Matter of Relativity

Part 1: Home is where the Heart is

Chapter 7


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

It was not a good start to the day for Cole. He had woken up fairly early, and spent a few minutes just watching Phoebe sleep and feeling there many good thing in his world, and most of them revolved around the girl lying beside him. He gently touched her breast stroking it and then moved his hand to her face, softly touching her lips with his thumb. Phoebe almost in her sleep licked his thumb opened her eyes drowsily and looked into his smiling blue eyes. Phoebe was not a morning person, really not a morning person. However she did like sleepy drowsy sex, snuggling close and letting his body become lost in hers.


"Morning Baby" he said softly moving on top of her, expecting her usual drowsy murmurs of pleasure.


 Phoebeís eyes opened wide. She put her hands on his shoulders and pushed him away as hard as she could. "Piss off Cole" she said.


"Selfish bastard" she said. " All you ever think about is sex."


"What" he said falling onto his back.


"Its what you want," she hissed" always what you want. Well what I want is sleep, so piss off."


He lay on his back feeling fairly aggrieved, as what he just asked for, was something they did at least every other morning, and just the other morning Phoebe had happily told him waking up knowing he was there wanting her made her feel complete.


"Sulking?" Phoebe asked nastily as he drew a hard breath.


"Piss off Phoebe" he whispered hurt, knowing well the manor wall did not stand up to loud private arguments. He turned on his side away from her.


She caught his shoulder and pulled him over "Donít you turn your back on me" she hissed. He tried to remove her hand and turn away. Phoebe threw herself on him, fighting to stop him turning.


The fucked each other hard. When they finished Phoebe threw herself off Cole and turned her back. Sighing but still pissed he stood up looking down at her while she kept her back to him. As he walked to the ensuite, she turned over and spate out at his back "Selfish bastard. All you ever think about is sex."


He stopped, winced and then kept on walking.


Phoebe pretended she was asleep, while he dressed. As he was ready to leave, he leant over the bed rolled Phoebe over and kissed her on her resisting mouth "See you tonight.. Baby" he said nastily.


"Bye ..Baby" Phoebe muttered just as nastily.


Piper was in the kitchen drinking coffee and enjoying a few minutes to herself when Cole still in a temper stalked into the kitchen. He said morning to Piper who murmured morning and then poured a cup of coffee before turning on Piper "Your sister is an irrational little bitch" he told Piper.


"Yeah but thatís what you say you love about her" Piper said. Straight-faced


"It loses its appeal with familiarity" Cole snarled before slamming his coffee cup in the sink and stalking off. "Bye" he said over his shoulder to Piper.


"Have a nice day Cole" Piper said to his retreating back her eyes bright with amusement.


Cole spent the morning in particularly frustrating session with the DA Alfred Krantz who was not prepared to concede one point in Benedict's case. He came back to the office, checking his cell three times on the way for a call from Phoebe.


He was barely seated when Arlene walked into Coleís office and said in her best and most pretend efficient voice, the one she kept for people she thought were important or could help her. Mr Bennett from Cromptonís would like a word" she said ever so sweetly. Her voice was not one she normally used with Cole.


Cole shut his eyes. All he needed was Victor yelling at him. Lately his relationship with Victor had improved but it was not so good it could not disintegrate at a second's notice. Victor did not know about the guardian thing, and totally distrusted Phoebeís continued a belief Cole was good and everything was going to be all right between them.


"Victor" Cole said coming around his desk "What can I do for you" he said trying to sound deferential and knowing it did not come off.


"I was in the building" Victor said sitting on the edge of the visitorís chair while Cole sat on the edge of the desk.


"Nice of you to call" Cole said "always pleased to see you" he lied.


Victor stopped pretending. "I spoke to Phoebe this morning" he said.


"Does Phoebe call you every time we have an argument?" Cole asked going on the attack.


"No" Victor said not quiet meeting Coleís eyes. "I called her to get some help organising a birthday party for Margaret."


"Thatís nice" Cole hoping to god he was going to be busy that day.


"She was upset" Victor said.


"Margaret" Cole asked facetiously.


Victor chose to ignore it. "Phoebeís been happy lately" he said, "Iíve been waiting."


"Waiting for what" Cole asked.


"For you to do the wrong thing for all the right reasons and break her heart" Victor said. "What did you do to upset her?"


"I had sex with her" Cole answered straight faced "Consenting" he stopped "Thatís not true" he said "she had sex with me. Not consenting."


Victor chose to ignore him. "Sheís my daughter Cole and I will look after her and if you break her heartÖ"


"Youíll make my life hell" Cole shut his eyes "I get it. Why is it that every relative Phoebe has is always threatening to make my life hell? Why is it that not one person in your whole family ever understands the rules about not interfering with relationships?"


"Because no-one ever should live with the regret that they did not do enough to protect their family" Victor said quietly.

Cole caught his lip "I know Penny interfered with you and Pattie. And I understand why you are trying to make it up to Phoebe. But Victor, donít get offended when I say this." Cole uncrossed his arms and held the edge of the desk he was sitting on "Keep the hell; out of my relationship with your daughter. She doesnít need to be protected from me. Victor I promise you she is safe with me. I promise you she loves me and I love her. I amÖ. Iím good." He took a breath "What went before has gone. There is nothing wrong between Phoebe and me."


"Phoebe does not get as upset as she was without reason" Victor said


"Phoebe is an contrary irrational little b..brat who thinks its cute to keep everybody around her guessing" Cole snapped, the wake up call he had from her that morning still a very sore point. "Sometimes its not cute, its just damned irritating." Then he grinned "Mostly its cute."


""That convinces me my daughter is safe with you, how?" Victor asked angrily "I should have known better than to try and talk to you" Victor said standing up. he turned and opened the office door. " Donít you hurt my daughter" he said to Cole opening it.


'Victor" Cole said as he left "All I can tell you is you have my word that I will never hurt or harm your daughter. I love her and she loves me. She is precious to me" he said, "She is safe with me."


"Iíd need more than your word to convince me" Victor said not even remotely mollified. Cole ground his teeth as Victor left and barely registered the interested smirk on Arleneís face.


Victor had only just left when Arlene came in to tell Cole that yourÖ Phoebeís sister wants to see you.  Arlene always smirked when Phoebeís sisters came to visit, particularly Paige.  Arlene and as Cole conceded these days half the office were not convinced Coleís living arrangements were as monogamous as he claimed.


"Tell her to come in..for godís sake" he snapped at Arlene whose face took on an extremely unpleasant expression.


"What do you want?" he snarled at Paige.


"We are happy little camper arenít we" she said. "I canít stand that bitch" she added. " Why is she so snooty?"


"She thinks you share more that an house with me" Cole replied straight faced, deciding Paige could be as annoyed about the gossip as him.


"What?" said Paige.


"A bed" he answered.


"Eek" sad Paige then stopped and laughed. "Well we havenít we? Does Phoebe know that?"


"Yes to the bed and yes to the gossip " Cole answered.


"You two really do tell each other everything, donít you " Paige said interested "so sweet, true love."


"I canít stand that bitch either" He smiled ignoring the comment and coming around his desk to sit on the edge of it.  He took a breath "Victor was just here, warning me to make nice with Phoebe. I donít know why he thinks he has the right to interfere between me and Phoebe, that he can say anything he likes to me because heís her father. "


"Pretty bad isnít Cole "Paige answered with her head on the side "when an in law keeps interfering in your relationships because they think they know better than you whatís good for you."


Cole just looked at her. "Shut up Paige" he said "what do you want?"


"Is this demonic" she asked pulling a photograph of a large carved jade figurine with an over abundance of sexual organs.


He glanced at it "Very" he said slowly. "Where did you find that?"


"It was apparently in the hands of a very private collector in New York" she said "One of those collectors who donít quite keep purchase receipts. The collector is missing, no trace except for scorch marks on the wall."


"That explains that" Cole said.


"Yeah" said Paige getting up to go. "Have a nice day Cole" she said sweetly as a parting shot.


A few minutes after Paige left Arlene with great pleasure told him the senior partners wanted to see him. He remembered the smirk on Arleneís face when Victor left as he went to Klineís office and was not offered a seat. Henry Kline and Arthur Jackman both sat at the meeting table in the office regarding him severely. The other partner Harold Carter was absent. He tended to avoid Cole since he had caught him out a year ago dealing with some very bad people.


"You were warned to be very circumspect with your dealings with people from Comptons" Jackman said prissily coming to the point.


"I donít deal with people from Comptonís" Cole said.


"Then why were you heard arguing with Victor Bennett, who is one of Comptonís senior sales executives." Kline asked.


"I am going to kill Arlene" Cole thought furiously.


"Victor calling on me was nothing to do with Comptonís" Cole answered.


"When the person involved represents one of our most respected clients" Jackman said even more prissily" It is to do with our clients."


"Victor is my father in law" Cole answered barely containing his annoyance. "Sort of"


"I see" said Kline "So youíre back into the erratic behaviour, only this time its seriously effecting the relationship with one of the firmís most important clients."


"Iím going to kill Arlene" Cole thought.


"Youíre not a real asset to this firm" Kline told him dismissively" and if there is one more instance, we will need to reassess whether you are a liability."


"Iím going to kill Arlene" Cole thought as he walked away without answering.


Arlene was gone when Cole returned to his office. He settled into some work on the court cases coming up to at least make some point to the day. He had his head down buried in the arguments for the coming appeal for the disabled people against a government department when he was disturbed by the sound of orbs in the outer office. He looked up to see Francesca at the door.


" Mrs Rinaldi" he said. He never could find the nerve to call her Francesca. "You here to make my life hell too, or wish me a nice day, when it isnít a nice day. Itís a b..pretty damned awful day if youíre interested. "


"I wasnít " said Francesca. "But Iím glad youíre having a b.. bad day. I would hate to think you were have a good day when mine was.. not nice" Francesca sat down on the sofa "you still keep alcohol here?" she asked.


"Yes" Cole answered.


"I need it," she said.


He went to the cupboard behind his desk and poured two glasses of expensive port that was supposed to be used in small quantities to flatter favoured clients.


" More" Francesca said as she watched him pour.


'"What do you want?" he said sitting on the visitorís chair.


"I had a really bad day, week actually" she said sipping the port and curling her legs under her.


"Durand?" Cole asked not able to conceal a smile which Francesca did not miss.


"Youíre male" she said" tell me why is it that males always resort to insults about sexual performances to ..um..assert their superiority over other males?"


"Youíve been around a thousand or so years and you donít know the answer to that" Cole said. He caught Francescaís severe glare. "Because it works" he said contritely " Durand?"


"Monks" she said" devout monks" she said "who clearly understand the difference between impotence and celibacy."


"Oh" said Cole.


"Iíve had a really bad day, week" said Francesca sipping on the port. "Why was yourís.. pretty damned awful?"


"I want to kill some-one" Cole said.


"Resist the temptation" Francesca advised in her best school marm voice.


Cole smiled "I want to kill some-one really badly"


"Resist it" Francesca said" who?"


"Any-one" Cole "people I work with, partners, Arlene. Especially Arlene "


"Strangling one assistant could be seen as an accident" Francesca said "Two may look like a pattern. Leave" she suggested.


"Iím thinking about it" Cole answered "as soon as I finish up some cases"


"You never quite finish everything Cole" Francesca said seriously "sometimes you have to choose to walk away, regardless of unfinished business."


"Not yet" he said "but I think the time is coming."


" Good" Francesca said.


"Why did you come?" Cole asked.


"To ask about that sudden turnaround on the relocation of farms in India. Was that you?" Francesca asked.


"Yes" Cole said. " You have a problem?"


"No" Francesca smiled" I sometimes forget that when you're not being annoying you can be very smart."


Cole shrugged "I know how the Brotherhood works" he said.


"Be careful the powers of good or evil for that matter donít start to suspect something more than mortal conscience is involved" Francesca advised. "Especially Evil. If they start thinking a few to many mortals are rejecting their deals they may very soon suspect another power. Good is a little more complacent about its influence." She added straight faced.


"Iím careful" Cole said.


"Good" Francesca said. "ĎBy the way I talked to Leo."


"He said you did" Cole answered.


"I advised him" she said "he probably did not like what I advised him.


Cole looked at her. " He seemed okay."


"Did he" Francesca nodded "I told him his destiny may be somewhere else than where he is now. He may be looking at a different path" she said.


"Not whitelighter" Cole said.


"Thatís not something you walk away from" Francesco said" But whitelighter have other callings. I didnít plan on spending eternity baby sitting.. er ..guiding demons, ex-demons. I told him consider his choices but not to rush into anything."


Francesca finished the port and stood up. "Call me if you need me" she said" and get Arturo to tell you how to use crystals that warn you about magic so that damn magic bar doesnít stop me orbing into this office."


"Yes maím" Cole muttered as she left.


It was nearly nine when Cole arrived home, back at the manor. He parked in the street. Paigeís car was missing but Piper and Phoebeís were there. Leo and Piper were sitting on the sofa watching a film. Phoebe was curled on a chair idly flicking through a fashion magazine.


ĎHi" Cole said to no-one in particular as he dumped his briefcase on the hall table.


"Hi" said Leo and Piper who both glanced at Phoebe who jumped to her feet.


"Hi Baby" she said almost running to him to kiss him.


"Hi Baby" he said awkwardly.


"IÖ" he said glancing at Piper and Leo who were both watching them with amusement.


"You eaten?" Phoebe asked.


"Iíll get a sandwich" he said.


"Iíll make you something" Phoebe said catching his hand and leading him the kitchen.


He sat on a stool at the island while Phoebe hovered.


"Some wine" she asked "Red or white."


Cole nodded "Red:" he said as Phoebe made a big show about opening a bottle and pouring him a glass.


"You having one?" he asked.


" I really donít feel up to alcohol" she said pouring herself a mineral water.


She dug around in the freezer and said "Thereís lasagne, gnocchi chicken and spinach or pasta and something orange" she told Cole.


"Youíll make me something, will you?" he commented dryly "Gnocchi. Lucky Piper cooks and microwaves were invented" he grinned as Phoebe put the gnocchi in the microwave.


Phoebe smiled and then swallowed "I" she said Cole looked at her. "This morning I ..I didnít  mean you we oversexed or anything. "  She said" I like I mean I like .. I really want you to, donít not askÖI mean."


"What do you mean?" he said enjoying the moment.


"I was a bitch this morning" Phoebe said


Cole shrugged smiling gently. "I know.' He said.


"I" she said "I was just in a mood. I donít know what got into me."


"Me, as I recall" he said "Got into you."


She giggled. "I .. you ought to be flattered" she said.


"Iím going to hate myself for asking" he said. "Okay why?"


"That I feel safe enough with you to be an absolute bitch and know youíre going to love me no matter what I do" she said knowing she had him.


"I" he said shaking his head "Iím flattered."


"You knew I wasnít perfect when you fell in love with me" she said.


"So its my fault" he said.


"Itís always your fault" she answered pushing herself in front of him so he could wrap his arms around her.


He smiled, the one he saved for her. Phoebeís eyes brightened with relief as she recognised it. "I know youíre not perfect" he said "It s not conditional on you being perfect" he said "Its conditional; on you being you. I love you, and there is nothing you can do or say or be, including being the biggest bitch this side of Hades and that will make me stop loving you."


She leaned in to kiss him hard, hands resting on his shoulders.


"Only" he said.


"Only what" she said worried.


"Just if you are going to be a bitch, try and give me some reason, let me know why" he said. "Promise?"


"I canít." she said. "I donít know why I do it sometimes. If you wanted reasons you should have fallen win love with some-one else."


"Damn you:" he said.


"Why, damn me?" she said as the microwave bell rang.


"Youíre right" he said.



As Elisheeva, if it was Elisheeva trying to collect the artifacts, seemed to have a certain fascination for San Francisco and became more and more successful and harder and harder to locate, the local covens in San Francisco became very nervous. With more and more concern for the innocents, or near innocents, or the not so innocents who could be tempted by evil magic, particularly witches who were not so aware of the danger of losing their calling as the Charmed Ones in danger, Piper finally suggested to Leo maybe they should talk to some of the witches about how they could deal with Elisheeva. Leo arranged with the Elder for several covens in San Francisco should meet informally at the manor one night just to make sure they all understood the real danger that Elisheeva posed and not let it sidetrack them in areas which could lead to dangerous and dark places.


The meeting was organised for a Wednesday night at the Manor and Phoebe was actually a little excited because not only 8 witches were coming but 3 of their whitelighters. To Coleís amusement and Leo's disgust.


As they cleared up a scratch meal before the witches arrived "What are you going to do while the witches are here" Phoebe asked, "I mean. " 


"I know what you mean" Cole said watching Piper who was  busy making pastries and arranging chocolate dipped fruit on a tray.


Both Cole and Paige got into trouble for pinching strawberries "Better than chips and dip " Paige said.


Leo orbed in "Piper doesnít do chips and dip" he told her. She used to be a chef" and Piper stuck her tongue out at him.


"You sure you havenít somewhere else to go" Paige asked.


Cole who once would have been hurt at being pushed out just laughed. "No Iím planning on staying home and reading and listening to music. The kind that you wonít let me listen to when youíre in the room." he added.


"Good" said Piper wiping chocolate off her nose" you can put Melinda to bed."


""Yes míaím" he said "Put Melinda to bed."


"And put on the coffee and turn the oven on when I tell you to" Piper added.


"Yes maím" he said "Put the coffee and oven on when Iím told"


"And donít be an arsehole" Piper finished.


"Yes maím donít be an arsehole" he laughed looking over to Phoebe to share the laughter only she wasnít laughing. She had her lips pressed together and her face was very strained. She smiled back at him but it did not reach her eyes.


He went over to her and put his arm around her. "Are you okay?" he said.


"Of course Iím okay" she snapped.


"Only asked," he said. "Whatís the matter Phoebe?" he said seriously but she just looked at him a little teary and said " I love you" and when he just shook his head. "PMT" she said almost hopefully.


He shrugged not believing her. "If you wonít tell me I canít.. Phoebe" he sighed as she pulled away. She pulled away because she had a period due in 3 days and if it didnít come, she was going to tear apart the happy home he had and she was overwhelmed by guilt. But then she looked at him smiling. Of course it was going to come. Cole catching the smile shook his head in frustration.


Cole put Melinda to bed as he promised Piper, holding her up so Mommy Daddy and both aunts could kiss her goodnight. He was somewhat amused as he came downstairs to hear a whitelighter who had orbed into the conservatory and did not understand he was in range of demonic hearing, demanded to know who Cole was. Leo explained he was Phoebeís partner.


"Mortal" said the whitelighter.


Leo nodded as the whitelighter shrugged dismissively. Mortals apparently were only of interest as future whitelighters or innocents.


Cole sat himself down in the parlour with a beer, playing his 40ís band music that the rest of the family complained about and set about losing himself in a book about political assassinations, which both amused and interested him, as a guardian, demon and lawyer. He had his feet on the table but knowing Piper could see him through the glass door to the conservatory he deferred a little and took his shoes off.  More than an hour and a half later he was pulled out of the book by Pipe tapping the glass door and indicating her watch.


He went into the kitchen and turned on the oven, the came back leaning on the door of the conservatory to catch Piperís attention to tell her he had been a good boy and done what she had told him. One of the witches was vehemently arguing to destroy the demon and attack evil.


Cole frowned pursing is lips and listening as he felt a slight ripple in the balance and Phoebe looked up seeing him there.


"Thatís not what we do" she said firmly "We protect the innocents. Look it doesnít matter which demon is plotting. Thereís always a demon plotting something. Reeking vengeance on the demon isnít going to stop it. Get that one and another will take its place. What we have to do is protect the innocents, the near innocents from giving into temptation. Getting innocents, taking souls makes demons powerful. Trust me" Phoebe said, "They make evil look so attractive, even the best of us can be tempted."


She glanced toward Cole watching her intently. She winked at him and he smiled.


"We help innocents resist temptation, guide them away from evil," she repeated "we make sure witches and good mortals donít get seduced by dark magic. And that's how we stop Evil winning, that's how we stop the demon because it canít get any power from what its doing. Thatís how we defeat it," she said the intensity in her voice making the room stop to listen to her "Demons are demons," she said " nothing so special that one makes a difference. We find a way to stop the plot. Because that saves the innocents."


Cole mouthed "I love you" to Phoebe and turned away, missing the distress that crossed her face.


He went back 15 minutes later and obeying instructions put the pastries in the oven but apparently Piper did not trust to him. She came out to organise him.


"Enjoying the night" Cole asked.


"Do you get totally frustrated with the side of Good when they just want to rush and fight and forget about innocents?" Piper asked Cole.


"Yes" he said simply.


She laughed" I donít know which pisses me off more. The witches wanting to rush in and fight when it wonít do any good or the whitelighters to scared to even say the word demon without asking permission from the Elders. Well all of them except Leo." She shrugged "You know Cole Leoís come along way from where these others are, you just take it for granted until to you see them, scared to blow their noses without permission."


"So have you Pip" he smiled "Be careful itís a dangerous road."


"Whoís saying that?" Piper asked he head on the side "you or the guardian."


"Some guardian, a little me and quite a bit of Francesca, Mrs Rinaldi" Cole answered. "Here Iíll take that." he said taking a tray loaded with coffee pots and cream and sugar while Piper put hot pastries and on to a fancy tray.


"Put that down on the big table in the middle and get the cups for the side table" Piper ordered Cole as he moved away.


"Yes míam" he said over his shoulder.


He put the coffee down where he was told more or less ignored by the whitelighters and witches, was tempted to leave and then thought Piper would make his life hell if he did. He picked up a coffee pot and asked the nearest witch " Coffee" and nearly dropped the pot as he came face to face with Lara Haslett.


Lara had obviously had a few minutes to recognise him because she quietly and calmly said "Cole, youíre not some-one I would have expected to meet here."


"Small world" he said.


ĎYouíre not a w.." Lara asked.


"No" Cole answered. He nodded toward Phoebe talking to a dark haired witch "Phoebe and I are .. weíre .. we live.. I live here" he said lamely "with Phoebe."


"Small world" Lara said and turned away.


Cole offered coffee around, largely ignored by the witches And whitelighters. He moved near Phoebe and offered the dark haired woman coffee. Phoebe looking rather drawn and pale refused the coffee and asked him to get her weak tea which he did.


The dark haired witch, plump and wearing glasses and a severe hairstyle said to Phoebe ignoring Cole. "I could stand the demon attacks" she said "if the bastards would just stop trashing the store every time they come. In the last 15 years Evil must have trashed the place 10 time and I donít think Iíve been able to claim more than 3 time on the insurance policy" the women turned her nose up and she said sotto voce "damned whitelighters preach personal gain when I want to use magic to fix it." The woman looked around the manor which despite the fact  there was a child and five adults living there, one of whom had no concept of the word tidy, still looked like it was intact. "How do you manage?" the witch said.


Phoebe thinking of the lousy plumbing, the trashed furniture and Leo spending more time as a handyman than a whitelighter and Coleís somewhat misguided attempts to fix things with magic when he did not understand how it worked, smiled brightly. "Leo is pretty good as handy man" she said" and its been better with insurance since Cole renegotiated the insurance contracts." She smiled at him proudly as under Piperís supervision he managed to offer refreshments without dropping them. "Coleís a lawyer:" Phoebe explained.


"I should have known the trick was to marry lawyer" the dark haired witch said.


"Weíre not.." Phoebe started to say.


Paige who was trying to look interested in a long story a whitelighter was telling about the wisdom of Elderís, glad for an excuse to turn away interrupted  "Canít you look at the policy Cole?" Paige asked.


The witch was unable to hide an expression on her face that said she clearly had no need for advice from mortal. Cole smiled amused and said "I can look it but I canít do anything." He turned to the witch "If you want drop it off and Iíll tell you if there is anything you can do."


"Why canít you help her?" Phoebe demanded.


"Because" Cole replied patiently "I work for a law firm which has a contract that says my services for doing legal work belong to them."


"Theyíre a pack of shits" Phoebe said Cole leaned on the back of her chair.


"I know" he said to the dark-haired witch's amusement "but once insurance companies get involved the firm would know what I was doing."


"So" said Phoebe.


"Anything you get from the insurance company gets eaten up by lawyerís fees" He turned to the witch" Thatís what many insurance companies do. They bank on you not being able to understand how to fight them and that you wonít hire lawyers because the costs would eat into anything they paid you, and the time would be so long before anything comes through, it isnít worth it to you"


"Wonít any lawyers do that sort of work" Paige asked curiously.


"Just ambulance chasers" Cole answered.


"Hmm" said Paige "Mark says that the people use that excuse, its to small, it isnít viable to help are the perpetrators of evil, more than the ones who profit by the inactivity."


"Does Mark say that?" Cole asked quietly, to quietly.


"Shut up Cole" Phoebe intervened quickly.


Coe sighed, he turned to the witch "Ignore the bickering, family thing. Come over one day and Iíll look at your insurance policies as a friend."


The witch was clearly surprised "You donít mind doing that?"


Cole laughed "Call it my contribution to the battle between Good and Evil."


After the meeting, as Cole lay on the bed while Phoebe cleaned her teeth, she came to the bathroom door. "I thought they were pretty damned rude to you" Phoebe said.


"Who?" Cole asked her.


"Those witches and whitelighters" Phoebe said. "They thought you were mortal and treated you like you were some sort of non-person."


"I thought they treated me like the butler actually" Cole answered. "I thought it was funny Phoebe" he added.


"They claim its all about protecting mortals and innocents but when one is about they act like youíre not there."  Phoebe said insulted for him  "Especially the whitelighters. They were the worst."


Cole shrugged "Good practice for being a guardian. Unappreciated by the force of Good." He laughed "Its one thing to love mortals and innocents in the abstract. Dealing with them is another. A bit like clients. Defending innocent clients loses its magic when you have to deal with what shits some of those innocents are. Anyway if they knew I was the source Öonce inhabited by the source of all evil, I doubt they would consider me innocent."


Phoebe threw herself on the bed, lying on her side, her head supporting her head on her hand. "When you offered that blond witch coffee while she was poncing on about taking the fight up to the demons I so wanted you to do the 'Cream? By the way Iím the guardian chosen by destiny to smite you if you go that path. Sugar?' thing, just to watch her squirm."


"That would not be good" Cole said straight faced.


Phoebe just looked at him.


"Alright I was tempted" he said, "I so hate being able to resist temptation.


"Who is Lara?" Phoebe asked changing the subject so rapidly Cole was not ready for it.


 "Youíre gong to love this" Cole said.


"What do you mean?" Phoebe asked.


íSheís Benedictís Haslett's daughter. Gram's murderer friend." Cole said.


"Shit" breathed Phoebe


"Oh yeah" said Cole


"That changes things a bit" Phoebe answered. " His daughter being a witch. I suppose the one that was killed was a witch too."


"Yeah" said Cole.