THE HALF-BLOOD DEMON
RATING: PG-13 Mild violence and adult language.
SUMMARY: The Halliwells, Olivia McNeill and others react to Cole's decision to get rid of his powers. Set between AU S5 and S6
FEEDBACK: - Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: The Charmed Ones, Leo Wyatt, Darryl Morris and Cole Turner belong to Constance Burge, Brad Kern and Spelling Productions. The McNeills, Marbus and Nimue are thankfully, my creations.
NOTE: The story picks up right after "Defense of the Realm"
"THE HALF-BLOOD DEMON"
Paige continued to stare at Cole with disbelief. "Why on earth would you want to get rid of your powers?"
Cole opened his mouth to speak, but Phoebe replied instead, "Because his powers have been a source of trouble for him, Paige. Since he came back from the Wasteland. You should know that."
"Are you talking about the same powers that had just saved your ass in the Whitelighter Realm?" the youngest Charmed One shot back.
Paige referred to an upheaval within the Whitelighter Realm that had ended when Phoebe, Piper - along with Olivia McNeill and Cole - managed to foil a plot by darklighters to take over the Elders Council. But the three witches and the half-demon failed to save most of the Elders recently initiated into the Council. Only two out of nine survived. Once more, the Council found itself forced to recruit new members. Leo turned out to be among the new recruits and Piper had not reacted well to this new turn of event. In an effort to bring peace within the household, Phoebe surprised everyone with news of Cole's intention to strip away his active powers.
Phoebe rolled her eyes. "Since Cole is now this all-powerful demon, he has to deal with other demons and warlocks trying to steal his powers. Like Barbas and the Crozats. Getting rid of those powers, will end the danger for all of us."
Paige retorted, "Well, isn't that peachy! And what happens if someone manages to steal powers Phoebe? Or Wyatt's? We may not be as powerful as Cole, but we're powerful enough to attract a lot of evil."
"Yes, I know Paige," Phoebe said through clenched teeth. She shot an uneasy glance at the half-demon, who tried to ignore her. "But Cole . . . well, there's the matter of his temper. He does have a temper, you know. Right baby?"
Cole managed a dim smile and muttered, "Right."
Phoebe added, "And what if he ends up misusing his powers because of some . . . I don't know . . . temper tantrum?"
"Like we do all the time?" Paige retorted. Before Phoebe could respond, the younger woman turned to Cole. "Is this what you really want?"
Again, Cole opened his mouth. And again, Phoebe beat him to the punch. "Of course he does!" the middle Charmed One protested. "Haven't you been listening?"
"Gee Phoebe! I've been listening to you! But Cole has barely been able to utter a sound. Well, except for one word."
Cole felt his face grow warm, when he finally spoke. "Don't worry, Paige. It's what I want. Really. I think this is the best decision for both of us." Phoebe's body sagged with relief. From the corner of his eyes, he noticed the shocked expressions on Piper and Leo's faces.
So did Paige. "Well, she said to her sister and brother-in-law. "What do you think?"
Phoebe began to protest. "Paige! It's not their decision to . . ." Cole squeezed her arm, signaling her to be quiet. He was interested in Piper and Leo's reactions.
The couple exchanged wary looks, before Leo said, "Well, I don't know about Piper, but this sounds like a good idea to me. And at least we'll now have the opportunity to control the circumstances of how to remove his powers."
"We?" Piper shot her husband an acidic look. "Why should Paige ask for your opinion? Considering you've decided to turn your back on this family and become an Elder."
The oldest Halliwell turned her back on her husband and faced the others. "I'm sorry Phoebe, but I'm going to have to agree with Paige. I don't know if this is a good idea."
Now Phoebe cried out, "Piper!"
"I'm sorry honey, but every time Cole loses his powers, disaster happens. First, he ended up getting possessed by the Source."
Phoebe shot back, "Well, it's nice to see that you've finally accepted the truth about what happened!"
A sigh left Piper's mouth. "Yes Phoebe, I do. But this doesn't change my opinion about this power-stripping idea. The first time, Cole ended up possessed. And the second time, Barbas ended up stealing his powers. I just don't . . . maybe you two should seriously consider this."
"How do you know that disaster will happen again?" Phoebe demanded. Then she turned to Chris Perry, their new whitelighter. "What about you? What do you think?"
Chris blinked. "Huh?"
An impatient Phoebe shook her head. "Never mind," she said contemptuously. She returned her attention to her sisters. "Paige, Piper? Our minds are made up. Okay? Now will you help us with the spell or not?"
Piper heaved a sigh. "All right. If you insist. Only I don't know if the usual power stripping potion will work."
Cole's heart sank, while a smile illuminated Phoebe's face. "What about the spell that Paige had used on Cole, last year?" She turned to her younger sister. "Didn't you make some changes with the power stripping potion in order for it to work on Cole?"
"Yeah, I did," Paige replied coolly. "Only I'm not going tell you what I did."
The youngest Charmed One continued, "I'm sorry Pheebs, but I simply refuse to help you in what I think is a serious mistake. You're going to have to do it on your own."
Phoebe's face grew hard. "Fine! I'll just check the Book of Shadows." She headed for the staircase.
"I took out the recipe for the new potion," Paige called after her older sister. "I did it last January. I didn't think he would want it in there. So . . ." Paige brushed past Phoebe and began her descent up the staircase, ". . . like I said, you'll have to find another way to make that potion." And she continued on toward the second floor.
Cole heaved an inward sigh of relief. The thing he dreaded most had been delayed.
"Are you certain about this?" Artemus asked his assistant. "About Belthazor's powers?" The daemon had recovered long enough from Prax's revelation . . . one that foresaw Belthazor removing his powers - and Artemus acquiring them.
Prax, Artemus' more-than-competent assistant, nodded. "Yes sir. This seer named Kyra had revealed the vision to me, through her chalice."
Artemus leaned back against his favorite leather chair, inside the study of his Pacific Heights townhouse. He sighed. "Can you imagine, Prax? If I had Belthazor's powers for myself? Can you imagine what I could do? I would be the more powerful than the McNeills, the Charmed Ones, the Elders and the various demonic orders, combined. I wouldn't need a Grimoire to rule as the next Source."
"What about the Halliwell infant?" Prax inquired. "On the day of his birth, all magic had stopped. None of us could use our powers."
A smug smile creased Artemus' lips. "But Belthazor could." Prax stared at him. "Kelson had actually seen him teleport from Mark Giovanni's home that day. When he thought no one was watching him."
Frowning, Prax asked, "Does this mean he and the child are equally powerful?"
The older daemon shook his head. "I suspect that Belthazor might be slightly more powerful. But I'm not certain. I wish there was a way I could find out. But not now." With a wave of his hand, he turned off his CD player. "Right now, we should focus upon Belthazor. Does this seer Kyra know when he plans to remove his powers?"
Prax shook his head. "I'm afraid not."
"Hmmm." Artemus placed his glass of port on the liquor cabinet. "Then we will have to find out. Find a chameleon daemon for me. Have him . . . or her report to me as soon as possible."
With an obsequious bow, Prax replied, As you wish, Artemus." Then he strode out of the study.
Inside the living room of Nathalie Green's townhouse, Olivia allowed the ice to swirl in her tea. The two witches had just finished a delicious meal that featured grilled lamb chops. A song from Nathalie's CD player began to play a familiar tune. Olivia frowned. "Geez Nat! What is it about you and the 70s? 'Boogie Nights'?"
Nathalie, a tall, dark-haired woman with a long, equinine face and pale skin, shot Olivia a sardonic glare. "I wouldn't sneer if I were you, Miss McNeill. I happen to know that 'Boogie Nights' is a favorite song of yours."
"Right group, wrong song. Heatwave's other song, 'Groove Line' is a favorite of mine. But my entire music collection doesn't comprise of 'the Greatest Hits of the Seventies'."
Nathalie returned her attention to her laptop computer screen and typed a few strokes. "You know, I didn't invite you over for dinner just to insult my musical tastes."
Olivia stared at the other woman. "Why did you invite me?"
"To talk to you." Nathalie closed her laptop. "About Cole."
Oh no. A sigh left Olivia's mouth. "You've got to be kidding!"
Nathalie shot back, "No, I'm not. I heard what happened. From Barbara and Bruce." She paused. "So, you're just going to leave it like that?"
Sighing, Nathalie continued, "You're just going to allow Phoebe Whatshername take Cole without a fight?"
Olivia snorted with derision. "As I recall, Cole had deliberately returned to Phoebe."
"Only because you had dumped him, while you were under that spell!"
Keeping her patience in check, Olivia declared, "Don't you understand, Nat? Cole ran right back to Phoebe, after he thought we were through. And I don't recall him making any effort at reconciliation, after he found out about Paul's spell. Now what does that tell you?"
"It tells me that Cole must have rebounded with Phoebe!" Nathalie retorted. "Which means they're simply wasting their time, because their new little romance won't work."
Olivia frowned. "Why not?"
"Didn't you hear what I had said? Cole is using Whatshername . . ."
Nathalie continued, "Yeah, well he's obviously using her for rebound. Frankly, I don't think he's very happy at the moment."
Olivia took a sip of her tea . . . and tried to ignore the glimmer of hope within her breast. "Meaning?"
"Hey, I was at Quake, a few nights ago," Nathalie said. "With Igor Petrov. I saw Cole and Phoebe. He didn't look very happy, and both seemed to be a little uncomfortable in each other's company. If you're still in love with Cole, tell him. Do something before you lose him for good."
A silent Olivia finished her tea, while she contemplated Nathalie's words. Do something, her friend had advised. But do what? Beg Cole to leave Phoebe and take her back? What if he did not want her back? What if any action on her part would accomplish nothing? Believing the futility of any action on her part, Olivia shook her head. "I don't know," she said. "I don't know if there's anything I can . . ." She broke off. "Never mind." Then she changed the subject. "By the way, what were you typing?"
Nathalie snapped open her laptop. "Nothing much. Just a few notes for my new book. You know, the one I had told you about, last spring."
"Oh yeah. Something about the shadow self. Are you using only mortals as subjects?"
Typing a few strokes on the computer's keyboard, Nathalie replied, "A few daemons as well. In fact, anyone who's willing to become a subject."
Olivia hesitated. "What about whitelighters?"
Nathalie snorted. "Knowing them, they probably wouldn't acknowledge that they have a dark side. Besides, I haven't had a whitelighter since I was seventeen. And that relationship didn't last very long. Two years, at the most."
"I know an Elder who might cooperate. Her name is similar to yours. Natalia Stepanova."
Nathalie blinked. "Wait a minute. Why does that name sound familiar?"
Olivia replied, "Because you had met her six years ago, in Scotland. She used to be Cousin Keith's whitelighter for a few years. Then they became friends."
"And she's an Elder now?"
"Yep! It happened a few days ago, as a matter of fact. There was an . . . altercation in the Whitelighter Realm." Olivia told Nathalie about the destruction of the old Elders Council, the culprits responsible, the Eregor medallions and the new Elders. "Before I came here, Natalia showed up at my apartment. She told me that Leo is now an Elder."
Nathalie frowned. "Huh. What about Gideon? Is he still alive?"
Her hostess' question took Olivia by surprise. "Yeah, he's still alive? You know Gideon?"
"Remember that magic school that Harry had attended for about two months?" Nathalie asked. "The one operated by the whitelighters?"
Olivia hesitated. "Yeah. Harry hated that place. He ended up getting expelled. I think he had deliberately made sure it would happen." Olivia snorted. "Gideon sure remembered him."
Nathalie added, "Yeah, well I remembered Gideon from the year I had spent there. And I also hated it. Hell, I've learned more about witchcraft and magic in general from my grandmother and my coven, than I did at that school."
"Hmmm." Olivia drained the last of her tea. "As for Natalia Stepanova, I'll see if I can summon her. Ask if she'll talk to you. Or maybe I can get Dad's former whitelighter. They're still friends."
In a low voice, Nathalie said, "May I assume one cannot say the same about you and Leo?"
"You may assume," Olivia retorted.
Nathalie shook her head. "Wow Livy! Cole and Leo. Two close relationships down the drain in such a short space of time. How do you do it?"
Olivia decided to ignore her friend's last remark.
END OF PART 1