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The Book of Drabbles

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Cole Turner knew he was dying. Even though the Source had taken him over long ago, there was still enough of him left to feel every single moment of his vanquish. There had been moments throughout the past few months where the Source had allowed him more free will, especially when it came to Phoebe and now was no exception. Of course when faced with death, the Source cowered deep within him. Cole was dying by his wife's hand so it was only fitting that he felt every moment. The flames engulfed his body, but the physical pain was nothing compared to the thought of never seeing Phoebe or their unborn child. Even in death, he knew he had to find a way back to them.

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He didn't know how it happened. He didn't know when it happened. Things went wrong. It was just another job like any other - get close, infiltrate the Charmed Ones and kill them from within. How had it gone so wrong? Cole Turner - no... Belthazor was a feared upper level demon. He didn't have time for whatever this was. He had a job to do and he couldn't let this get in the way. The Triad would have his head and he'd never gain his father's soul if he didn't finish the job. Someone else would be sent in his place anyway.

But how could he? It was Phoebe. Each time Belthazor - no, Cole thought about her, his heart raced and his stomach fluttered. He wanted to protect her. He wanted to tell her everything - give up everything. He wanted to spend the rest of his life making up his betrayal. He'd never felt anything like it before and it scared him to his core. Wrong had never felt so right as it was lying next to her and he wasn't ready to give this up - to give her up. So he'd be wrong - even if just for one night more.

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"What's the problem?" Cole asked as he shimmered into the manor, cell phone still in hand, but looking ready for a fight. Phoebe had called him telling him that he needed to come quickly and she had no more than said the words than he was right there, phone call still ongoing. She and Paige looked a little bewildered at his sudden appearance and Phoebe ended the call and replaced the handset on the landline phone she had been using.

"Honey, that was fast," Phoebe said to him, clearly impressed.

"You said you needed me," Cole said innocently. "What is it? The Source? Demons?"

"Sort of?" She said, a little sheepishly.

"What do you mean sort of?" Cole asked, looking to the other sister for help.

"Well, we sort of have a demon problem in the living room," Paige chimed in.

"Why do neither of you seem all that concerned?" Cole asked, looking from one sister to another. He thought they seemed awfully calm if they indeed had some sort of demon somehow trapped in the living room.

"That demon has done nothing but sit on the couch and watch soap operas ever since we summoned him!" Piper informed as she entered from the kitchen. She seemed like she was at the end of her rope with the situation.

Even with her explanation, Cole was even more confused than he had been before. "You summoned a demon?" He asked, just to be certain.

"And he's the laziest damn demon we've ever met!" Piper told him. "He didn't even try to kill us!"

"Was that the goal?" Cole asked, still trying to suss out the situation.

"Of course not! But when you tell a demon you're a Charmed one in this house, generally they do try to kill you," Phoebe said to her boyfriend. "No offense, honey," She was quick to add, giving him a little pat on the chest as she looked up to him with a smile.

"None taken," Cole said, but he was still wondering what this was all about. "So... what exactly is it that you need me here for?"

"Get his demon ass off our couch and back to the hell dimension he came from," Piper told him.

"I think what Piper meant to say was 'please' and 'thank you'," Phoebe added.

"I thought you said you summoned him and now you want him gone?" Cole asked.

"I found him in the book of shadows and from the entry, it seemed like he'd be willing to help with this potion we were making," Paige began to explain.

"Seriously? Do you realize how dangerous that could have been for all of you?" Cole snapped at her before looking to his girlfriend. "You two are leaving her alone with the book now?" He asked Phoebe of her newfound sister. He thought that she was too irresponsible with magic thus far and obviously, this was just another example.

"She's our sister and she needs to learn--"

"Not by summoning random demons from the book! She could have gotten you killed!"

"At this point, I'd rather have to fight him than have to get out the Cheeto stains he's leaving on the couch or listen to the awful soap operas he's watching! They aren't even the good ones," Piper said, loud enough that the demon in the other room could hear.

Cole sighed and ran his hand through his hair. He moved away from his girlfriend and walked in to see who they were dealing with. He rolled his eyes when he saw who was sprawled across the couch. "This isn't a demon!" He called out to the Charmed Ones, who followed him into the living room.

"Are you sure?" Phoebe asked him.

"Of course I'm sure! This is a Trickster. A lazy trickster," He commented, looking him over and giving his leg a kick. The man glanced up at Cole. He did a double take though and quickly stood.

"Belthazor?" He asked, recognizing him and slightly cowering.

"Oh, so you're scared of him?" Piper asked with a frown.

"Chip, give them what they need and get the hell out of here," Cole warned him.

"Chip? Seriously?" Paige asked with a little scoff. "The book said his name was Sycophantam?"

"That's Latin for trickster," Cole explained to her. "Chip is the name he goes by here," He mentioned.

"I didn't realize you were affiliated with these witches," Chip said, spitting out the word as though it were poison on his tongue.

"I am. Looks like you're out of the loop," Cole said to him. "And it would be wise for you to do whatever they ask and then clean up your mess and leave. If you're afraid of me, you should be downright terrified of them," He said, thinking that might put a little fear into him to get off his ass and do something. "They're the Charmed Ones."

"They really are the Charmed Ones?" Chip asked him dubiously.

"You dare to question an upper level demon?" Cole asked, beginning to form an energy ball in his hand for effect.

Chip's eyes went wide. "O-Of course not," The trickster stammered. "It's just they're the stuff of legends. They're not real."

"Where have you been for the past few years?" Cole asked, a little confused. Even the lowly tricksters should have heard by now about the Charmed ones.

"I don't get out much," Chip said with a shrug.

"Just go," Cole ordered him. "Paige, get what you need from him and then he'll be going. He looked to the trickster. "If you try anything," He warned, but he didn't even have to finish. Chip was already more than willing to help now that he knew for sure who he was up against.

"Thank you," Piper said. "I'd better go supervise," She mentioned, not wanting Paige to get tricked by him somehow. The entry in the book had been misleading enough.

Phoebe went over to her boyfriend and put her arms around him. "Thank you for helping," She said to him. "I think you saved Piper from blowing up the couch," She mentioned and Cole smiled a little. "You know... since you're already here..." Phoebe suggested with a grin. She didn't have to say anything else before Cole pulled her close and shimmered them both to the bedroom.

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The Source was eating away at him. Bit by bit the man who used to work for the Source was slowly becoming him and there was nothing he could do to stop it. In the beginning, Cole tried his best to fight him off, clinging to Phoebe and his love for her, but it hadn't been enough. The Source was too strong, too overpowering. He felt more of himself slipping away into the void and the Source pushing himself to the surface instead. Still, the Source needed him. If Cole gave up completely, the Source wouldn't be strong enough to survive in the body that didn't belong to him. So the Source allowed him moments - feelings. The strongest part of him was also his biggest weakness and the Source used it to his advantage to keep a stronghold on him. Cole took what he could like scraps, sustaining him for another day while the Source continued to drain him dry.

Cole hated him. He hated what he was being forced to become. He hated that he couldn't tell Phoebe what was happening to him. He hated that there was no means of escape - no retreat from an enemy now so deeply embedded within that he wasn't sure where the Source ended and he began. He hated the Seer, who had tricked him into this whole mess in the first place and who kept ensuring he'd never be free from the evil inside him. Perhaps most of all, he hated himself for not realizing it sooner - for not doing more or fighting harder in an already impossible fight. He knew there was only one way this would end. He knew it deep down and he was certain the Source knew it too. He sat down in a moment of clarity, writing the letter for Phoebe while the Source still allowed it. When he was finished, he tucked it away in the safe, waiting for the day when it would all come crashing down and both man and monster would be vanquished once and for all.

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Cole felt the Source leaving his body and into the Wizard. The spell had completed without interruption and he fell to his knees, finally free of the evil that had taken him over. He felt so drained, so mortal. The Seer and Phoebe shimmered into the room and he looked over at them.

"Cole?" Phoebe questioned, looking concerned for her husband. She ran to him and knelt down beside him, looking him over to see if he was hurt.

"You're too late," The Wizard said with a satisfied grin - the power of the Source of All Evil already coursing through him.

"No," The Seer said, looking from one to the other. "You've ruined everything," She snapped at Cole, but he didn't even look up at her. He was still focused on his wife.

"Phoebe, I'm so sorry," He apologized to her. "I tried. I tried to fight him off, but he was too strong. I never meant for any of this to happen," He admitted to her desperately, needing her to understand.

"Baby, it's okay," Phoebe said to him. "We can fix it. We can get your powers back from him in time for the coronation," She assured, already looking at the Wizard like she could murder him.

"No! Phoebe, stop," Cole reached for her to keep her next to him. "Stop. This isn't you. You don't have an evil bone in your body," He told her for the second time that night. "You don't want this. I don't want this," Cole told her.

"As touching as all of this is, I really have a coronation to get to," The Wizard stated, grabbing the Grimoire from the podium. "Don't be late, Seer," He warned before he flamed out of the room.

The Seer glared again at the couple still hunched on the floor. "This isn't over. That baby inside her belongs to the Source. It isn't yours. It was never yours--"

"If you come anywhere near our baby or my wife again, I'll kill you," Cole warned.

"With what power?" The Seer challenged him. She knew he'd been returned to his completely human form. "I warned you your feelings for the witch would be your undoing. They still will," She said to him before shimmering out of the room.

Now alone with his wife, Cole sighed. "Phoebe, we need to find your sisters. We need--" He paused, just as the other two Charmed ones and Leo orbed into the apartment.

"Thank God we found you," Piper said to her sister.

"Honey, get away from him," Paige urged her.

"It's over," Cole informed them, still holding onto Phoebe's hand. "We need your help... please?"

"Baby, we can still stop the coronation. There's still time. You can still become the Source," Phoebe insisted, much to the horror of her sisters.

"The Source?" Piper asked. "You're the new Source?"

"Not anymore," Cole said to them. "I was possessed after I took in the Hollow and vanquished him. I was only just able to transfer the Source to the Wizard. I don't have any powers anymore. I'm human," He assured them.

"We have to stop the Wizard--" Piper began, but Cole stopped her.

"We have to help Phoebe and the baby. She comes first. We were married in a dark ceremony. That was something the Seer and the Source wanted to ensure our baby would be susceptible to evil. The baby has the potential to be the greatest force of good the world's ever seen, but not if we don't fix this."

"How do we know this isn't just another lie?" Paige asked.

"Because no matter what you think about me, we can all agree how much I love Phoebe. She's everything," He said before looking to his wife. "My love for you was the only thing that kept me going. I promise we'll make this right." Cole was going to do everything he could to make sure he'd see both the Seer and the Source vanquished and to see his child become a powerful force for good. He wasn't going to allow evil to take anything else from him. Never again.

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It had finally rained. After months of desolate dryness, the skies had finally opened, drenching the streets of San Francisco. Tiny droplets on their own were nothing, but together they could create a torrential downpour swift enough to cause a flash flood. Everything that had been ebbing away at him finally broke free. What good had being good ever done him anyway? No one believed he was capable of being a good man no matter what he did, so did it really matter if he kept trying? What good were all the demonic powers he'd acquired if he couldn't use them to get his life back or even end it? He didn't want the powers to begin with. They had been a means to an end he'd never see fulfilled. If the Charmed Ones wanted a villain, they had one. That's all he'd ever be to them anyway. The thunder crashed outside as the rain pelted the windows of the penthouse. Cole Turner had made his decision. He was through holding back.

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Belthazor wasn't used to this. He had spent so much of his life being taught to suppress his human side - his weaker side - and now, he was being asked to cultivate that side for the sake of evil. The Source himself had tasked Belthazor's mother with getting him educated in the mortal world so that he might be able to better blend in and infiltrate when needed. He was to go by his human name Cole Turner and he was to eventually pursue a career in mortal law.

The schooling itself was a test. Belthazor had been home schooled by his mother Elizabeth and by demonic tutors brought in to prepare him for life as a mortal. He had always excelled at those lessons, ever studious when it came to impressing both his mother and the Source. Being only half demon, he'd always had twice as much to prove. Now he was heading off to college and law school, expected to live as a normal mortal young man for years. Obviously, he'd be able to shimmer to the underworld as needed, but for the most part, he was to be on his own. He needed to strike a balance between his mortal cover and his demonic instincts.

Freshman year had been a rough transition for him. What time he wasn't spending in class, he'd spent shimmering back to the underworld. Belthazor had no desire to embrace his humanity. Why should he? Perhaps it was an act of rebellion from the young demon, but after being admonished by Elizabeth and getting word about the Source's displeasure at his constant appearances, he knew he needed to spend more time at his university.

The following years at college were easier, though he did focus more on his studies than socializing. That wasn't to say that he hadn't partaken in the usual college experiences every once in a while, if only for his cover and to better understand the humans he was looking to infiltrate.

One thing that had surprised him most about living with humans was how romantically infatuated people seemed to be with his human form. It wasn't something he'd ever thought of before, but he quickly realized his appearance was something he could use to his advantage when needed. Much like his demonic form was intimidating, his human form was intimidating in a much different way.

By the time Cole Turner had graduated from college and had made it into law school, he was far more acclimated to the human world than he would ever admit - even to himself. It did have some benefits over the underworld. His humanity might have been considered a weakness, but he knew that he had certain advantages with it over other demons. He felt more comfortable moving through either world in either form now, seamlessly shifting from his red and imposing demonic form to his attractive and charming human form. His quest for higher education had provided him a crash course in his humanity and another tool to become the most feared demon the underworld had ever seen.

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”I was dead before I met you. I was born the day you loved me…”

Cole penned the letter to Phoebe, knowing eventually she would find a way to vanquish the Source and subsequently himself in the process. He was thankful at least there was enough of himself left to tell her how he felt. Phoebe and her sisters had been just another assignment, but somehow she'd stolen his heart and awakened within him the humanity he'd tried so hard to lose. Day by day, he'd fallen more and more in love with her without even realizing it. She made him want to become a new man… a better man - a good man. She'd changed him forever and he suspected she was the only reason why the Source hadn't taken him over entirely. She'd made him better and he hoped one day to be worthy of her again.

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He thought they were being reckless again. Part of him knew that it was because they were relatively new to all of this, but it angered him all the same. Cole didn't think any of the sisters were taking the threats against them as seriously as they needed to. He knew what they were up against. He knew because he'd been a part of it not so long ago and if they wanted to have any chance of survival, let alone claiming victory against the Source, they would need to really buckle down and stop taking things so lightly. None of them knew. None of them understood the magnitude of what they were really up against. He could talk until he was red in the face from transforming into Belthazor and it didn't matter. Perhaps it was his years of suppressing his human side that had made him hardened to his emotions or maybe it was his literal lifetime of experience working for the Source himself. He was getting more short tempered with Phoebe as he tried to train her in hand to hand combat and with her sisters as they continued to interrupt. Growing increasingly frustrated, he shimmered away, giving them both time to regroup before starting again.

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Benjamin Coleridge Turner's only crime had been falling in love with a demon and for that he'd paid the ultimate price. Benjamin had fallen for Elizabeth the moment they'd met. She was beautiful and charming and everything he'd ever wanted. The romance had been a whirlwind for the young state assemblyman, but he'd been taken with her instantly and was more than happy to spend his life with her. Not long after they were wed, Elizabeth discovered she was with child, and Benjamin had been over the moon at the idea of starting their family so soon. In 1885, their son Coleridge was born and it seemed like their lives couldn't have been any better.

By 1888, things weren't quite so picturesque. Benjamin had become increasingly suspicious of his wife over the years. Sometimes she would disappear with their child at all hours without so much as a word to him. Strange friends would show up for her as well - people she didn't like to talk about and that he didn't know and there were all sorts of odd things showing up at the house that Elizabeth would be cross with him if he deigned to touch them.

One night, he followed her into the woods where she'd taken little Coleridge to meet one of her strange acquaintances. He overheard the two conspiring and witnessed them creating things out of thin air. He knew his eyes didn't deceive him when the acquaintance she'd met disappeared into thin air and Benjamin knew what he had to do. He confronted his wife that night in the woods. He hadn't known how apt he'd been in calling her a demon as he tried to get their boy away from her. He needed to protect him and it cost him his life - struck down by an energy ball from his beloved wife.

Cole could barely remember his father, but he knew he was a good man - an innocent man blinded by love until it had been too late for him. He knew his mother had been using him for his status at the start. He didn't know if Elizabeth had ever truly loved his father or if it had all been a farce. What he did know was how much his father had loved him. He remembered that night that he'd lost so much and part of him hated his mother for what she'd done. Even worse than killing his father before his eyes, Elizabeth and the Source himself had made certain Benjamin's soul couldn't even rest in peace. They'd taken it for leverage, just in case Cole's human half ever stepped out of line. His father had been his weakness and he was still determined even now to make things right. He had to get his father's soul back no matter what the cost. He deserved that much.

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"What the hell's going on?" Cole asked as he materialized in the attic of Halliwell manor. He had been shimmering through different dimensions to avoid the demonic bounty hunters when he was forcefully summoned back. He saw his girlfriend and her sisters standing around the book of shadows. "Phoebe, is something wrong?" He didn't think she'd have brought him there unless it had been an emergency.

Phoebe rushed over as music from seemingly nowhere began to swell, filling the room. It had an urgency to the melody with plucking strings and a piano. Cole looked around confused as to where it was coming from.

"Cole, there's something seriously wrong. It's not been happening for long but now I think we might be in real trouble," Phoebe sang, much to his surprise.

"Trouble," Both Piper and Paige harmonized behind her.

"Is this some sort of joke?" Cole asked them, looking incredulously from one to the other.

"It's not a farce. It's not a joke," Phoebe sang.

"Joke," The other two sang behind her again.

"All of this started when we woke."

"Woke."

"We started bursting into song and the urge is strong to dance along," Phoebe sang and her sisters stepped forward, 'ooohing' a harmony to back her up as she continued into the bridge. "We don't know what we're facing. We've never seen it before. The book has nothing in it about a soaring score."

"A soaring score!" Piper and Paige echoed.

"So can you help us? Does any of this seem right? Do you remember anything that just might help us win this fight? Do you know if this is demonic or someone's spell gone awry?" She hit a high note on that last word. "Please help us baby or at least try," She finished as the music faded away around them.

"Oh my god," Paige groaned, rolling her eyes and thankful that ballad was over.

Cole was still standing there a little dumbfounded by the situation.

"Is, uh... is this only affecting the three of you?" He asked them finally.

"No. You should have seen Leo's swinging breakfast shuffle this morning," Paige mentioned.

"I've never seen him get so emotional over cereal before," Piper admitted.

"Okay, let me rephrase that," Cole said, realizing he wasn't clear before. "Is it happening to other people outside of the manor?"

"Yes. It's been all over the news," Phoebe admitted to him. "It's all of San Francisco."

"Has Leo found out anything from the Elders yet?" Cole asked, figuring they would have sent him for information.

"He's not come back yet," Piper admitted. "He left just after he finished his reprise, which was a few hours ago."

"Does any of this sound demonic to you?" Phoebe asked him desperately.

"There are a few demons in other dimensions that might be able to cause this, but I'm not sure if any of them are powerful enough to do it on such a large scale if it's affecting the entire city," Cole explained.

"What could that even accomplish? What kind of demon sings?" Paige asked him.

"Not this one," Cole said flatly. He didn't intend to get caught in the musical madness. "Phoebe, I'll shimmer around - find out what I can about this," He offered.

"Thanks," Phoebe said to him, giving him a passionate kiss before pulling away. "Please be careful?" She asked of him. She worried about the demonic bounty hunters still after him.

"I will," He promised her before shimmering away.

Phoebe sighed and a dreamy violin melody filled the air. "I miss him already..." She began to sing and without warning, Piper blew up a nearby box.

"If I have to listen to or back up another ballad, I'm going to lose it," She snapped before stomping off downstairs with Paige not too far behind, leaving Phoebe to her love song.

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"Phoebe, no," Cole told her before she even began.

Phoebe was playfully incensed as she sat on his lap. "You haven't even heard me out yet!" She pouted a little giving him her best doe eyed stare.

"I've heard enough," Cole insisted, putting his arms around her to keep her close. "C'mon, don't do that. Don't give me that look. You know I can't say no to that look."

"That's exactly why I'm giving it to you. You've figured out my devious plan," She teased. "It'll be fun. I promise. And I'll make it worth your while later," She seductively whispered in his ear.

"You'll make it worth my while whether I go or not," Cole countered. He knew his girlfriend well enough to know that much.

"That's true, but you're no fun," She said, playfully swatting at his chest. "What is it? Big bad Bethazor afraid of a little party?"

"It's not the party I'm afraid of... And I'm not really sure you can call it a party. Besides that, I don't know those people."

"But I do," Phoebe reminded him. "And to be fair, you don't know most people and you'll continue not to know anyone if you don't put yourself out there."

Cole sighed, seeing the look she was still giving him. "How do you know them again?"

"Kat was in a lot of my classes and we studied together and her husband Nick was in my economics class. They're nice. It's just a baby shower."

Cole felt like a sheep being led to slaughter, but he knew it was important to Phoebe. Resigned to his fate, he relented. "Alright, I'll go with you."

"Yay! Thank you!" She said before planting a kiss on his lips. She stood up and held out her hand for him. "Let's get going. We've still got to buy a present," She suggested and Cole knew he'd gotten himself into more than he'd bargained for.

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"You don't ever talk about you."

The statement seemingly out of the blue from Phoebe had taken Cole aback for a moment. Earlier they had been discussing some of her family background, as the topic of her estranged aunt and drunk cousin on Victor's side had come up during the wedding planning and the conversation had gone on from there.

"What do you mean? There's not really much worth telling," Cole insisted. At least there was nothing he really wanted Phoebe to hear. He was determined to leave his demonic past behind and become a good man worthy of spending the rest of his life with the woman he loved.

"Well, it's just you know so much about me and I don't know much about your past. It couldn't have been all bad," She insisted.

Cole sighed. He had known that the day would come that she'd want more answers than he wanted to give. "I was a demon. Bad is kind of what we specialized in."

"You're telling me you don't have one happy memory you can share in all of your hundred plus years?" Knowing the man he was now, Phoebe refused to believe that.

"I think most of them probably included murder... And that wasn't really happiness, just victory," He admitted, but he saw the look she was giving him. He knew he wasn't getting out of this so easily. "You know that I was a member of The Brotherhood of the Thorn," He mentioned and Phoebe nodded. "Well, back in the day, we really were like brothers. They were the closest thing I had to a real family."

"Cole, I'm so sorry," Phoebe apologized. She'd known they were close, but she hadn't known just how close they'd been.

Cole shook his head and waved off her concerns. That loyalty had died off long ago. "It's okay," He assured her. "But anyway, I was one of the younger members. Not by much, but when I turned fifty, Tarkin insisted we have a party. We'd just... Well, that part isn't important, but let's just say there was cause within the group for celebration," Cole mentioned, glazing over some of the more unsavory details. "So Tarkin, Jassa, Trigg, and I got some liquor and ended up at my place. Vornac, Raynor, and Klea weren't exactly the partying types," He stated. "So the rest of us got pretty wasted and near the end of the night, we started trading stories about these mythical immortal demons that were supposed to have the power to drain any demon of its powers for a short time and it was supposed to temporarily replace them with this sense of euphoria. We were all pretty sure they were made up, so Jassa gets the bright idea that we should try to summon them. We'd all heard the stories and we all thought they were a load of bullshit, so at three in the morning, completely drunk, we raided my kitchen for the ingredients. I didn't have everything, so we had to make some substitutions - like Trigg thought yellow mustard instead of mustard seed would do. Whatever it was we made, it wasn't part of the potion in the legend to summon them, but we drank it anyway before we started chanting the spell. Let me tell you something, demonic constitution or not, drinking anything with mustard and vinegar on top of a couple of bottles of malt liquor will get you sick," He said with a smirk and Phoebe giggled.

"So you guys didn't get your demon high?" She asked him, amused.

"We didn't even get halfway through the chant before Tarkin was puking on my carpet. We called it and I never did get my security deposit back on the place," He admitted with a chuckle.

Phoebe smiled. "Thank you," She said to him and Cole looked a little confused.

"For what?"

"For sharing," She said before leaning in and giving him a kiss.

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It should have been one of the happiest days of her life. She was finally graduating from college after taking such a long break and working her ass off to finish while fighting demons. Still, Phoebe couldn't quite feel much about the impending ceremony. She knew why Cole had to go infiltrate the Brotherhood, but she was worried. He was missing everything and she was missing him. How had things gone wrong so fast?

Phoebe glanced over at her cap and gown hanging in her closet and sighed. She would need to get ready soon if she still intended to walk at graduation. It just didn't feel right. None of it felt right. It wouldn't until she knew Cole was safe.

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The penthouse had never felt so empty. It had been months since the Charmed ones had vanquished him, but this was the first time he was coming back to his own place - technically the Source's place. It had never really been his. Cole looked around the apartment. Everything seemed to be tidy and in order, but going into the bedroom told a different story. Gone were all the stuffed animals he'd bought for the baby. Despite having been possessed by the Source at the time, that had been all Cole. What little of him that had been clinging on had been excited about starting a family with Phoebe and now all of that was gone.

He went over to the closet, trying to find some semblance or trace that hadn't been erased of the child they'd lost - the child that the Seer had claimed was never theirs to begin with. He knew Phoebe well enough to know she wouldn't get rid of everything and he was proven right when he found the big teddy bear tucked behind a box in the back of the closet. He pulled it out and held it close as he went to sit on the edge of the bed. Everything was wrong. He held tight to the teddy bear as tears began to fall. He didn't know Phoebe had done much the same after losing him. Phoebe didn't want him around now and their unborn son was just gone. Maybe tomorrow he'd start to try to make things right, but now he had to grieve everything he'd lost and everything he never really had.

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In all his life, Cole Turner had never really had anyone he could call a friend. He had belonged to the Brotherhood of the Thorn for nearly a century, but their alliance and claims of brotherhood didn't run as nearly as deep as their name would have one to believe. They were demons and demons didn't have friendships - at least not in the mortal sense of the word. Friendships were a weakness they had no need for and weakness would get you vanquished.

Now, he supposed that Darryl and Leo were the closest thing he had to friends, but that was more out of circumstance than much else. Phoebe's sisters certainly weren't his friends. They tolerated him, he supposed, and he couldn't really blame them after everything. Being tolerated was far better than being vanquished and he knew Phoebe wanted them to put up with him, so they did.

It was all still a work in progress though, which led him back to Darryl and Leo. Since asking Phoebe to marry him, she'd already been talking wedding details and he would need groomsmen to stand with him at the ceremony, since Piper and Paige would be her bridesmaids. Of course, Leo would be one of the groomsmen. It was just a given, since he'd soon be Cole's brother-in-law too. There really wasn't much of a choice there. As for Darryl, he'd worked with him for a while when he was assistant DA and even though they didn't always see eye to eye, Cole respected him. Hell, since becoming fully mortal himself, he was even a little envious of Darryl's job.

Maybe Phoebe was right. Maybe he needed friends. He'd ask the two to stand with him at his wedding and maybe before then they could get together and watch one of those baseball games Darryl and Leo were always talking about. He'd technically already been to hell. It couldn't be worse than that.

Chapter Text

"Have you ever thought about past lives?" Phoebe asked, completely out of the blue.

"Past lives?" Cole asked her, not really sure where she was going with that.

"Yeah, I mean... It's just something I've been thinking about lately. I've been to my past life before and the way I understand it, souls tend to find each other throughout the years," She admitted.

"When did you go to a past life?" That was the first he was hearing about that. "When did you end up?"

"Last year and the year was 1924," Phoebe told him.

"I was 39 then," Cole mentioned to her. It hadn't been a past life for him. He was still living it.

"Really? Maybe you knew me..." Phoebe mused.

Cole shook his head. "I think I would remember you," He told her.

"Maybe. Maybe not. My last name was Russell and I was evil then," She informed him.

"Evil?" Cole looked at her skeptically. "Phoebe, you don't have an evil bone in your body," He assured her. "You never have," He wholeheartedly believed that.

"No, I was. I swear! I might not be evil now, but P. Russell was. And she was even in love with an immortal warlock," She mentioned. That was what was really on her mind. Even though Cole was a half-demon and not a warlock, maybe the story was playing out the same.

That caught his attention. "Who was the warlock?" He asked her.

"His name was Anton," She admitted and she saw the instant change in Cole's demeanor.

"You're telling me you were the witch Anton fell in love with?" He asked her.

"Well, technically, me but not me..."

"I met her once," He realized. "He brought her to the underworld once. How could I not realize..." He shook his head as the memories flooded back.

It was New Year's Eve 1923 and things were business as usual underground. The Brotherhood of the Thorn had been in a meeting with the Source of All Evil, getting their orders on what schemes he wanted them to enact next. Belthazor had a bit of time before he needed to go above ground for his next assignment, wanting to avoid all of the mortals celebrating the new year. He was in his human form, just biding his time for a bit.

"Anton, I don't know about this. It seems unseemly."

Belthazor heard her voice before he saw her.

"Everything's fine," Anton assured the young woman as they turned the corner, finally coming into view. Belthazor knew Anton only in passing, but he didn't think much of him. The young woman, however, was new and gorgeous. Anton was keeping an arm around her waist to keep her close. "I just need to get some supplies, that's all. You want this to work, don't you? You want us to be together?"

"Of course I do," She was quick to insist. "But did you really have to drag me down here? It's a cave. It's barbaric," She said, taking stock of the place as she looked around. She caught sight of the tall, dark haired man in the corner and gave him a smile. "Still, perhaps the view isn't all bad," She mentioned, looking Belthazor up and down appreciatively.

"You know there are no visitors allowed, Anton," Belthazor told him, going over to the pair. "Neither of you should be here."

"It's none of your business, Belthazor," Anton insisted to him, keeping a firm grip around his girlfriend.

"Belthazor? Why, that's an interesting name. I'm--"

"Just leaving," Anton said, pulling her away from the demon. "Don't talk to him," He chided her. "He's dangerous."

"You know that's how I like my men," She insisted, stealing another glance as they walked away.

"I'm how you like your men," Anton reminded her, getting a little angry now, but she just gave him a seductive smile.

"Especially when you're jealous," She teased, knowing exactly how to press his buttons. She moved in close to kiss him, but he held her at her shoulders before she could.

"Not here. Not now," Anton growled at her, noticing Belthazor was still watching them.

"You're no fun," She pouted. "I can't believe we're missing the party for this."

"That's why you shouldn't fall in love with mortals, Anton," Belthazor said to him. "No matter how beautiful they might be," He said, giving her one of those appreciative glances she'd been giving him. "Get her out of her, Anton," He warned him. "Now."

"I never got the chance to properly introduce myself," She said to him.

"Charmed, I'm sure," Belthazor said to her.

"Maybe someday," She agreed, giving him another smile before Anton blinked them out of the underworld in a jealous huff.

It would be over 75 years before their souls would meet again.

Chapter Text

The manor was a source of great power all on its own. Beneath the dingy concrete floor lay a great power that was coveted by both good and evil, as it could benefit either side, depending on who controlled the manor. Cole felt a little uneasy living in the house. Once upon a time, he would have relished in the potential power boost and might have even hoped to use it for more nefarious purposes, but now that he was using his powers for the side of good, he worried about the temptation. Had he not known all he did, it wouldn't have been a problem, but now he knew what to look for. He could feel it. Distractions helped. If he kept his focus on Phoebe, he could ignore the pull of power. He intended to do just that. Nexus schmexus! Phoebe's love was the most powerful influence on him anyway.

Chapter Text

"You're giving me homework?" Cole asked, looking at the magazine his girlfriend had plopped down in front of him along with a pencil. "Phoebe, what is this?"

Phoebe tried her best to look innocent. "Well... I was just thinking that you know how Piper and Prue are still a little wary about you and your intentions?"

"You mean how they still think I'm trying to kill you all and that I'm evil? Yeah, I think I'm pretty clear on that," Cole said with a sigh. He knew he had a long way to go to earn their trust, but he was trying his best.

"Well... I just thought if you took this alignment quiz it might help show them that you're not evil," She said simply. "It can't hurt."

Cole really didn't think some quiz from a magazine was going to hold any weight with them, but he saw the way Phoebe was looking at him. He supposed she was right that humoring her wouldn't hurt. He picked up the pencil and looked down to the quiz. After a moment of reading, however, he looked puzzled and back up to his girlfriend. "What in the hell is this?"

"I told you... A quiz."

"Phoebe, all of the questions and answers are about sex!"

Phoebe looked a little guilty. "Yeah... But..."

Cole unfolded the magazine so he could see the opposite page with the title of the quiz. "Is your guy lawful good or chaotic evil between the sheets? Find out in this hot and steamy quiz?" Cole read out loud. "What kind of magazine is this?" He closed the magazine and looked at the cover. "You're trying to convince your sisters I'm not evil with a sex quiz from Cosmo?"

"Well... I thought maybe the sex questions could sort of be metaphorical, " She told him. "It's not like they make quizzes for our situation."

"A magazine with "J-Lo's 9 secrets to your best butt ever" on the cover isn't going to convince anyone of anything... especially your sisters," He said, setting it aside.

"It was worth a shot," Phoebe said with a sigh. So much for that plan.

Chapter Text

There was always a demonic chain of command as far as Cole could remember. The lore passed down through the ages had changed a bit over the years, depending on who was telling the stories and what their part in the chain entailed, but it was generally agreed upon that there had always been a Source of All Evil. Whether or not the Source was the end all be all of evil, despite the name, was quietly debated among different mystical circles. In any event, there was a hierarchy of evil set by the demon that the others believed to have the most power. Cole had never really questioned if the Source was the highest ranking evil. He had no need to. He answered to him via the Brotherhood and as an upper level demon himself, he had pledged his loyalty in blood. He had had his place in the hierarchy and that was that.

Now, suddenly mortal, things had changed. The hierarchy he answered to was no longer the Brotherhood or the Source or any other number of demons in between. He was living in the manor with his girlfriend and her sisters and he found that these days, Piper seemed to be the end all be all of everything in the household. It made sense. She was now the eldest sister and thus the head of the household. Without much to call his own anymore, he was beholden to asking to borrow Piper's car on occasion, but it was entirely up to her as to whether or not to honor the request. He also had to answer to Phoebe. Of course, he was far more willing to do whatever she asked of him.

As a mortal, he was also subject to follow the local laws in a way he'd never had to before. Despite the fact that he knew the local laws, as a demon he'd never really had to abide by them much. Now, however, he was expected to just like any other mortal. It was quite the adjustment, but he was trying his best.

Chapter Text

Barbas had been playing on his greatest fear for days, gnawing away at him until he'd began to slip down a slope of pure madness. Cole Turner was absolutely terrified that he was evil and the demon of fear knew how to press his every button on that issue. He didn't want to be evil anymore. He longed so desperately to be good and had been trying so hard not to use his powers for evil. Just because they were demonic in origin didn't mean that was all he could ever be, right? After Barbas' interference, he wasn't so sure.

Chapter Text

"Mother?"

Cole stood slack jawed at the sight of Elizabeth Turner before him. She was appearing in her human form and, of course, she didn't look a day older than the last time he'd seen her.

"Mother?" Piper asked, just as shocked that Cole's apparent demonic mother was showing up in their living room.

"Cole has a mother? I thought demons were just spawned," Paige muttered and Piper nudged her sister.

"Mother, why are you here? How are you here?" He asked her, absolutely dumbfounded and ignoring the comments around them. He was under the impression she'd been vanquished long ago.

"My boy... My darling Belthazor," Elizabeth said to him, reaching out, but Cole was keeping his distance and making sure that Phoebe and her sisters stayed behind him. Elizabeth looked troubled. "I've come back for you. To warn you. To protect you," She insisted.

"My mother is dead," Cole said coldly. "Whoever or whatever you are - you need to leave before I vanquish you myself," He warned, already forming an energy ball in his hand.

"Cole," Phoebe said to him, worried about the off-chance he was wrong. What if it was somehow actually his mother?

"It's not her," Cole insisted. "She never cared about me. She only cared about the power and acclaim I could bring her by way of the Source."

"Well that explains a lot," Paige said, which earned her another nudge by Piper.

"Not the time," Her eldest sister said to her.

"You're wrong, Belthazor," Elizabeth chided him. "You were the reason for everything I did. You were the reason for--"

"I don't want to hear it," Cole snapped at her, lifting his arm to throw the energy ball.

"But my son! I love you, my boy," She pleaded and he paused.

"Love?" He asked her and she smiled at him, just before he threw the energy ball, igniting her. During the vanquish, she transformed into the demon she really was - certainly not Elizabeth Turner - before bursting out of existence. "She always said love was weakness - and weakness wouldn't be tolerated," Cole explained. She had tried so hard to stamp out any humanity within him. She had failed, just as the demon impersonating her had.

Chapter Text

Cole sat in his usual spot at the demonic strip club, taking advantage of the dark and loud atmosphere to try to drown out the thoughts in his head. The last time he'd visited, he'd vanquished Kaia's friend with an athame to the gut and he noticed none of the other dancers were so eager to take him on as a client now. Maybe they were smarter than what he gave them credit for.

He sat back, making himself comfortable on the plush couch as he kept an eye out for a dancer desperate enough to take him on. It didn't matter what she looked like so long as she was able to shapeshift into exactly what he wanted - Phoebe. All of the other women were just faces in a crowd. They didn't matter. None of them mattered but her.

His mind was already far gone - coming undone at the seams and it didn't matter who he hurt. At least this way, he was vanquishing demons instead of innocents - even if they were low level Kieran demons. Still, he doubted it would win him any points with Phoebe. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered without her. He spotted a brunette eying him from across the room. He had the photo of Phoebe in his pocket, nestled safely with his favorite athame, just waiting to be used.

Chapter Text

"Are you sure we should be here?" Cole asked as he looked around. The room was bright and there was a calm stillness in the air.

"Where else did you expect me to take you to keep you safe?" Leo asked him. They had orbed in from the manor. With Barbas after them, the sisters had agreed that Cole was an innocent that they needed to protect and it had been up to Leo to do so.

"And where exactly is here? I mean, are we...?" Cole pointed upwards. He thought he already knew. He could just feel the goodness and light surrounding them there, but he had to be sure.

"Yeah," Leo said with a shrug, as though it were nothing. "What is it?"

"Well, it's just... for a guy like me, I would expect the Elders to smite me on sight," Cole admitted, trying to keep his tone a little lighthearted, but he was being entirely serious. He was nervous just being there, despite the warm, safe feeling that was surrounding him.

"You mean because of your demonic past?" Leo asked him.

"Take your pick, Leo," Cole said to him. "The fact that I was born half-demon... My years in the Brotherhood, becoming the Source of All Evil, all those powers from the demonic wasteland," He listed off. "I would think I'd be the very last person they'd allow up here."

"Right now at this moment, you're an innocent. You're not evil," Leo told him.

"Aren't I? Do you really believe that?" Cole challenged. "No matter what I do everyone seems to think I'm evil anyway." Cole was more than a little fed up with the way he'd been treated. Without any demonic powers coursing through him, he felt lighter but still the same man he had been.

"My powers don't lie, Cole. If you were evil, I wouldn't have been able to heal you," Leo insisted.

"And that's the only metric that matters, right? Let's just throw intent out the window if demonic powers are involved." Cole paced the length of the white room they were in.

"What do you want me to say? We're trying to help you," Leo told him.

"Now maybe, but what about then? What about a few months ago when I came back with all of these powers? What about when I was possessed by the Source?" Cole snapped.

"Possessed?"

"And what is it about up here, huh? Why am I saying all of this?" Cole asked, not really sure why he was venting so much to Leo. Normally these were things that he kept to himself and if he was going to talk to someone about it, it certainly wouldn't have been Leo.

Leo was a little flustered by all the information coming at him. He figured he'd address the last thing first. "In order to achieve peace and serenity in the afterlife, you have to let go of everything that plagued you in your mortal life. I brought you to one of the rooms used for that. It seemed like the best place," Leo offered with a shrug.

"You brought me to a heavenly confessional?" Cole was even more incensed at hearing that. "Jesus, Leo, I think I would have been better off taking my chances with Barbas."

"I didn't know where else to bring you to keep you safe! I couldn't exactly put you into the general population here with all of the Elders--"

"So they do have a problem with me being here. I knew it!"

"Cole, what did you mean when you said you were possessed?"

Cole rolled his eyes. "Why don't you ask the Elders while we're here. I'm sure they already know," He said, fighting the urge to say more. He felt like he was giving the Elders and whoever else that might be listening the satisfaction of hearing his deepest secrets and he was stubborn enough that he wasn't going to spill everything.

Leo sighed. "Fine, you don't have to say anything else if you don't want to, but it might help," He said to him and Cole scoffed as he continued to pace.

"We should be down there helping them you know," Cole finally said after a few moments, breaking the silence between them.

"You don't have any powers now. You're no match against Barbas," He reminded him.

"How long has it been down there? I assume time works differently here too just like it does in the underworld, right?" Cole asked him and Leo gave a nod.

"We can go ahead and try to head back," Leo told him. Though for Leo it only felt like minutes had passed and for Cole it felt a bit longer, it had been hours on Earth. He knew he was taking a risk with Cole's life by taking him back already without having heard from the girls, but he was a little worried that they hadn't been in contact at all. He went over to Cole and grabbed his arm again to orb them back to the manor. Cole felt the warmth and light feeling leave and he was certain he'd never feel anything quite like that again as they settled back into the cold mortal world.

Chapter Text

“Are any of you going to take this seriously?” All Cole wanted was some assurance that they weren't brushing off these attacks that had been increasing in intensity and frequency since they'd started.

“All of us are taking this seriously, honey,” Phoebe soothed, trying to be the mediator as she placed a hand on his chest.

“All of you are in danger. As long as the Source keeps sending demons after you, you're not safe,” Cole emphasized.

“Alright already,” Piper groaned, rolling her eyes at the warning from the half demon. “Anyone want to tell me something I don't know?”

Chapter Text

"What the hell are all of these?" Piper shouted as she was swatting at the surrounding swarm. Paige had screamed for help in the attic and Piper had been the closest one to come to her aid.

"I don't know! I was just up here minding my own business and they just appeared!" Paige said quickly, the panic already rising in her voice. She was squinting her eyes closed against the magical insects, barely able to see her older sister for the buzzing pests.

"What's going on up-- AHHH!" Phoebe yelped once she entered and Cole was right behind her. Both were a little disheveled, having been engaged in other activities that had been interrupted by the screaming upstairs. She hurried behind her boyfriend and Cole looked around the attic as he buttoned the last few buttons on his shirt, quickly realizing what had happened. Without a word, he conjured an energy ball in his hand and the bugs flew to it, zapping themselves out of existence as quickly as they came.

"Was anyone stung?" Cole was quick to ask the two sisters that had first encountered the bugs.

"I was. What were those things?" Paige asked. Her skin was littered with little red bumps.

"Call for Leo now," Cole urged. "Those were demonic bees sent by the Source. They'll drain the magic of anyone they sting for about a day if they're not healed immediately."

"So we'd be powerless against an attack," Phoebe said from behind him.

"Exactly. He's getting ready to make a move," Cole reasoned.

"Then we'll be ready," Piper said. She looked up to the ceiling. "Leo!"

Chapter Text

"This line is taking forever. I don't know what the holdup is," Piper said as she peeked around to see the front of the queue. She and Leo were waiting to buy tickets to a film for a much needed date night.

"We've got time before it starts," Leo assured, having much more patience than his wife.

"I know, but we've got to get our popcorn and get settled and this is the only night that neither of us have anything planned and--" Piper paused, seeing the look Leo got. "Oh no…"

"That's my cue," Leo said apologetically, having heard the whitelighter jingle.

"Leo! Don't you dare leave me in this line," Piper warned him.

"I'll try to be back before the movie ends," He said to her before giving her a kiss and then going to an alley to orb out.

"So much for date night," Piper muttered.

Chapter Text

In the dark of the night… in the deep of the woods, Phoebe stood alongside the bonfire and looked skeptically at her boyfriend. "Are you sure about this?"

Cole looked over at her as he was gathering the supplies they'd need. "Absolutely sure," He said confidently, but Phoebe obviously wasn't so certain.

"I just don't know that this is such a good idea. And besides, we're not really camping people-"

"It's only for one night and we're not really camping," Cole reminded her.

"Hey, we're in the woods and you built a fire and I brought marshmallows in my bag. I think it counts as camping."

"You brought marshmallows?" Cole asked her, unable to hide his amusement.

"What?" She asked him innocently. "I thought we might want to toast some over the fire if we got hungry."

"Phoebe, this is a ritual fire," He told her.

"And I watched you build it and other than the fact that you started it with an energy ball instead of a match, I'm pretty sure fire is fire," She countered.

Cole sighed, knowing even as a lawyer that this was one argument he wasn't going to win. "If you're going to toast marshmallows, do it before we start the ritual to prevent the Source from resurrecting the Triad," Cole suggested to her.

"Why? Will it mess with them? Like create evil marshmallows or something?" She asked him.

"For the fifth time, the ritual itself is totally neutral. That's why it needs both light and dark magic to work together to do it."

"Fifth? I only asked you once," Phoebe defended.

"Piper and Leo both asked me once. Prue asked twice," Cole admitted to her with a heavy sigh. "Go ahead and get the marshmallows. We've got to wait until midnight to start anyway," He conceded.

Chapter Text

Cole had only gone out to run an errand. That's what he'd told Phoebe when he'd left early that morning and that he'd be back later. In truth, he'd needed some time alone to think. Everything had happened so fast. Vanquishing his demonic half had left him relieved but more than a little terrified to be merely mortal and he was still trying to process the loss. He'd driven himself out of the city, not really having a clear destination in mind. He just knew that he needed a few hours away. That's how he'd found himself in the middle of nowhere, having parked his car at the edge of the road in order to walk off the beaten path for a while.

He'd been gone for hours now and it was starting to get dark outside. He had been walking around in the woods for so long and he felt practically as lost as he already had been. Cole could see a house in the distance. It was more like a run down mansion really and he was strangely drawn to it, having gone deeper into the woods in order to check it out. It seemed like the further he went towards it, the further away it was. Thoughts of returning to the city and Phoebe had all but left his mind. He had to go to that house. He needed to go to that house. It was like some primal urge was driving him towards it with all other thoughts forgotten. He was no longer preoccupied with the reality that he was only human. There was only the house and the house alone.

It was getting close to midnight now and he was finally nearing it when bright lights in front of him interrupted his stride.

"Cole!"

A woman stood before him with another man by her side. Before he could process what was happening, the woman had ran over to him and put her arms around him and it was then that something finally clicked.

"Phoebe?" Cole asked her and it was like a heavy fog was lifting from his mind.

"Baby, you never came home and I was so worried. I had a premonition that you were lost," She said to him before kissing his cheek and then planting one on his lips as well.

Cole glanced over, finally realizing that the man with her as Leo. He had orbed them there.

"I'm sorry," He apologized. "I don't… I don't know what happened," Cole admitted. "There was this house and--" He looked off into the distance where the house had been but it was nowhere to be found. There was nothing there but the trees.

"Baby, what house?" Phoebe asked, confused, looking around. They were surrounded by forest.

"Guys, I think we'd better go," Leo advised the couple. "Something's not right here," He told them.

"What is it?" Phoebe asked, still staying close to Cole.

"You're sure there was a house?" Leo asked Cole and he nodded affirmatively.

"It's probably a lure for mortals. It keeps them there and feeds off their energy until they're too weak and then it finishes them off once they reach it," Leo mentioned, having heard word about those kinds of traps. "Magical beings are immune, but…" Cole wasn't magical anymore.

"I should have realized," Cole said, unable to believe he had fallen for such a cheap trick. "That's why it disappeared when you two showed up. How the hell could I have fallen for that?"

"Don't beat yourself up over it. It's designed to disorient and to consume-"

"Yeah, I know, Leo. I'm not some clueless innocent. I'm a goddamn upper-level demon! I should know a lure when I see one!" He angrily snapped at him.

"Hey," Phoebe soothed, putting a hand on his chest. She knew where all of this was coming from. "It's okay. We've all been duped before by something and it sounds like this was one of those you don't have a choice types of things. Let's just go home."

Home. Cole wasn't sure if the manor really felt like home, but when Phoebe put her arms around him, that felt like home. It was a far greater lure than any evil force could produce. He and Phoebe latched onto Leo to orb them back to the manor, leaving his car for another day. They'd return for it soon enough and this time, Phoebe would be by his side, reminding him where he could always find home.