© january 2003
the charmed ones, cole, and leo, and the rest of the cast of characters we've come to know and love, belong to spelling television, inc. and possible other copyright holders. i intended no true infringement on their copyrights; i only wanted to borrow these marvelous characters for a short time in my own scenarios and hopefully return them no worse for wear; the only things i've gained from this story are the satisfaction and pleasure of having written it and in knowing that others may have enjoyed it too
there's a thin line between love and hate
two days after the events of season 5's the importance of being phoebe'
please don't without expressed permission
as with just about all my tales, no sequel is planned for this so read ahead at your own risk
something different for me - a bit dark and, while it's not quite alternate universe, it'll never happen so i figured what the heck and gave it a shotplease let me know if you enjoyed my tale and why and, if not, why notand, please, don't bother wasting your time or mine by sending any flames
Phoebe leaned back against the concrete wall and slid down to the floor as tears streamed again from her eyes. She tried to catch her breath but couldn't stop crying. She looked around the dark mausoleum and, for a moment, wondered how she even got there. The drive straight from work was a blur to her. She managed several ragged breaths before the ringing of her cell phone startled her. She stared at her bag and momentarily wondered what to do. She was still breathing heavily but fumbled with her bag as the phone continued to ring. She took a deep breath as she opened the phone and said, "Hello."
"Pheebs?" Piper's voice crackled. "Where are you? The connection's terrible."
"Battery's low," Phoebe lied as she took another deep breath and tried to speak in a normal tone. "What's up?"
"Friday night at the club," Piper answered. "That local group's playing tonight, remember?"
"Forgot," Phoebe croaked as she rubbed her eyes. "They'll play tomorrow night, right?"
"Yeah," Piper answered. "You okay? Maybe it's the connection but you sound terrible."
"Yeah, fine," she replied as she squeezed her eyes shut. "Listen, group of us from work went out. Don't wait up," she quickly said as she disconnected the phone. She brought it to her forehead and started crying again. "Why, Cole?" she cried. "Why'd you have to kill her?" She dropped the phone into her lap and pressed her eyes with the palms of her hands. After a few moments she had calmed enough to begin breathing more normally. She wiped her eyes and took a deep breath.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Cole angrily asked as he suddenly appeared before her.
"What?' Phoebe gasped as she looked up.
"Something wrong with your hearing?" he snapped.
Phoebe sniffled and wiped her eyes again. "Cole --"
"Get out," he demanded as he grabbed her by her upper arms and roughly pulled her to her feet.
Phoebe ignored the fact that her phone and bag had fallen to the floor and stared at him in shock. He was seething raw anger. She searched his eyes but only saw anger reflected back at her. "What happened to you, Cole?" she whispered in fear.
"I am what I've always been," he stated as he released her by shoving her back against the wall as though her very touch had burned him.
"No," she insisted a little more boldly, "something changed you."
"You want someone to blame, baby," he told her, "just look in the mirror."
"I loved you," she commented with a shake of her head. She bent down and picked up her phone and bag. As she dropped the phone into her bag, she began to walk away, "How did we ever get here?" She slipped her arm through the strap and looked back at him, "How did it get to the point where I wouldn't even care if you died?"
"How'd it get to the point where I wouldn't care if you died?" he countered. She gaped at him and he asked, "What, isn't that what you wanted? For me to move on? Congratulations, baby, mission accomplished."
"I" she began but she couldn't figure out what to say next.
"Don't believe me?" he taunted. "Here, touch this," he suggested as he pulled an athame from inside his jacket. Phoebe took a step back. "Go on, touch it," he ordered as he shoved it into her hand.
Phoebe staggered back as the vision flooded her mind. "Me," she whispered as she dropped the athame to the floor.
"Shapeshifter," he corrected. "Friend of Kaia. Was, anyway. She was an experiment. A successful one, actually."
"You want to kill me?" she asked in disbelief.
"One good turn" he sneered.
"Then go ahead," she suddenly shouted before she quickly bent down and grabbed the athame. She shoved it back at him and excitedly continued, "Here! Here's your chance!" Cole gripped the handle but stared silently at her. "C'mon," she shoved him, "do it! You know I can't hurt you so go ahead and do it!"
"Oh, you can hurt me," he quietly informed her as he tightened his grip. "Worse than any vanquishing potion ever could."
"Consider it returning the favor," she snapped. "Well? What are you waiting for? I'm right here. Do it! Break the Power of Three. You can finally complete your original mission." She saw him hesitate and continued to taunt, "What? Losing your nerve? You can do it. I saw it in the vision. You want me dead, well, go ahead! Do it!"
Cole yelled and pushed Phoebe up against the wall. He blocked her upper chest with one arm and held the blade in front of her face with his other hand. His hand shook.
Phoebe locked her eyes with his but her voice wavered as she ordered in her normal tone, "Finish the job, Cole. I'm dead already."
"What are you talking about?" he asked in unexpected confusion. He was taken aback by her words. Not just by her words, he realized, but by what he saw in her eyes. Darkness and despair. She meant every word.
"I died the day you forced me to vanquish you," she answered. Suddenly she laughed and pushed past her stunned ex-husband. "That's the first time I actually said that out loud," she admitted with ironic relief. "Something shut down inside me that night," she told him as she turned around to face him again, "and, after all this time, I still haven't come back to life. In spite of everything good in my life, I still feel dead inside."
"Phoebe, I --" Cole began as he stepped forward.
"Just do it," she interrupted with a sigh. "Do it or leave me the hell alone."
"Amazing," Cole muttered as he threw the knife to the floor. "Typical, really. You've done it again. Congratulations."
"What?" she groaned in frustration. "You know what," she decided, "I don't care. I don't care anymore." She stalked towards the stairs. "I'm out of here."
"Sure, go on," he called after her. "Just like you. You twist everything around so you can be right and when you don't get your way, you walk out. You never listen. Never try to see the other side if it doesn't meet the great Halliwell double standard."
"How dare you!" she shouted as she spun around and rushed towards him. "Do you have any idea what I sacrificed for you? How many times I went against everyone and everything I believed in for you?"
"But you didn't mean it, did you," he challenged. "You never believed in me. What was I to you, some sort of stepping stone in your rebellious stage against your sisters? Just some test to the limits of your sisterly ties?"
"I loved you!" she screamed. "With every fiber of my being and you threw it away!"
"I saved your life!" he shouted back. "I gave up everything for you to save you and your sisters over and over until I literally lost half myself in the process. All to save you from the Source."
"You became the Source!" she yelled at him.
"And I hated it!" he shouted as he grabbed her upper arms and shook her. "I hated every minute of it!"
"Was that before or after I married you," she cried out, "or got pregnant?"
"Don't go there," he warned.
"I hate you!" she screamed as she pounded his chest. "I hate you!"
"Back at you, sweetheart!" he retorted as he grabbed her fists to stop her. He glared at her, radiating anger, before he suddenly pulled her close and kissed her hard.
Phoebe struggled in his grip and tried to shift her head but his mouth was clamped down on hers and he had her pinned to the wall. His body pressed close to hers and she felt every taut muscle. Phoebe moaned and suddenly stopped struggling.
He knew he was losing control and didn't care. He wanted her and, when he pulled his head back, he saw the matched desire in her eyes. He kissed her hard again and felt her arms wrap themselves around his neck. Her fingers weaving through his hair was driving him wild. Without thinking, he faded them out of the cold mausoleum and into the penthouse.
"Cole," she groaned as she barely registered the change of location. She dug her fingers into his back as he pressed her closer to him. Somehow, she managed to pull off his jacket.
As his jacket fell to the floor, Cole lifted her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist and tore her skirt in the process. He continued to kiss her as he carried her to the bedroom. He felt her tug his turtleneck out of his waistband and slide her hands underneath. He felt her nails scrape his back and he stopped and set her down. As he pulled his shirt over his head, he felt her hungrily explore his chest. He threw his shirt to the side, quickly grabbed her again, and pulled her close. As he brought his mouth back down on hers, his hands grabbed each side of her blouse's collar.
Phoebe didn't care that he tore her brand new blouse in half. She didn't care that she would probably have bruises after this. She didn't care that her fingertips stung from where she had scratched his skin. She didn't care that she was losing control. All she cared about was the fire coursing through her. "Cole"
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