Disclaimer: I don't own anyone, don't sue me.
A/N: So I'm back. And having been absent for so long, I'm disappointed to see the lack of Cole/Phoebe stories present. I suppose I'll have to change that. . .
This one is based, once again, before Cole's character was annihilated in Season 5. A little while after he came back from the wasteland. Hope you guys like it.
She let out a slow, bored breath. The darkness outside her office indicated that everyone had left work. Everyone but her. She glanced once more at her computer screen, willing an ounce of inspiration to come to her. Nothing. She sighed. Standing up, she turned to look out of the darkened window. A thin layer of cloud, shining eerily against the black background, covered the stars. She was so lost in thought that she failed to notice as the demon shimmered silently into the room behind her.
Phoebe spun around, poised for action, her heart beating wildly. Her eyes fell on him, and she couldn't help but sigh in relief. "What are you doing here?" She questioned suspiciously.
"Not happy to see me?" Cole asked, giving a wry smile. He crossed his arms, holding on to a large box, and leaned casually against the doorframe.
"I'm serious, Cole." Phoebe said, suddenly losing all sense of control. Something that usually happened when she was in the presence of her ex- husband. "I told you, you can't just keep shimmering in here like this. . .there's nothing between us anymore." She glanced away as she fought to believe her own words.
Cole stared at her, his eyes piercing hers. For a moment, Phoebe thought that he had seen straight through her obvious denial. But then, the look was gone, so fast that Phoebe thought that she had imagined it. "I know." He replied softly.
Phoebe glanced at him "Then why are you here?" She questioned, not fully convinced. She eyed the box he was holding, wondering if it was an attempt to lure her back into his life. She felt a shiver run up her spine, and ignored the outrageous, inward hope that it was.
As if in reply to her stare, he held up the box and shook it slightly. "It's for Piper and Leo. I thought you could give it to them for me. . .it's for the baby."
Phoebe was taken aback. "Oh." She replied, for lack of anything else to say. She accepted the box.
"I thought that they may no be too happy if I visited them in the manor." Cole explained.
"You're probably right." She held up the box. "Thank you."
Cole gave her a small, forced smile. "No problem."
Phoebe glanced at her watch, and realising that she wouldn't be able to write any more despite how hard she tried, she switched off the computer. "I should get going." She said, glancing at Cole. She slipped on her coat, then picked up her bag in one hand, the gift box in the other. Suddenly, she paused, and swore inwardly.
"What is it?" Cole questioned, noticing her hesitation.
Phoebe looked at him for a moment. "I was late for work this morning. . .Paige orbed me. . ." She said simply.
Cole gave her a wry smile. "You can't get home." He realised.
"I'll call Paige. . ." Phoebe began, reaching for the phone on her desk. Cole was faster, placing his hand flat over the receiver. She looked up, confused.
"I'll take you." He said, as though it was an obvious solution.
"You don't have to do that." Phoebe replied, straightening up.
"It won't take me more than a second." He said with a small smile. He held out his hand. Phoebe hesitated. "I won't bite, I promise." He added, his smile growing wider. She returned it half-heartedly.
Walking around her desk, she switched off the office light, plunging them in darkness. Her eyes quickly recuperated, as she reached out to take his hand. She hesitated once more, but didn't have time to pull back as his hand covered hers. A breath caught in her throat as they touched, the familiar feel of his soft skin surprisingly familiar to her. She shivered as he gripped her hand tighter, and faded them both from her office. They reappeared moments later in her bedroom. She hurriedly let go of his hand, placed her belongings on her bed, and flicked on the light switch.
"I felt that." He said with a slight smile.
"What?" She asked, genuinely confused. Her heart was still beating wildly from when he had grabbed on to her. He was out of her life now. He wasn't supposed to mean anything to her.
"You shuddered. When I took your hand. . .I felt it." Cole said, a half smile playing on his lips.
"I did not. . .shudder." Phoebe said, looking away.
"You didn't?" Cole questioned, obviously not convinced.
Phoebe shook her head defiantly. "No." She said simply, unable to conceal the amusement she felt. His smile suddenly vanished, and she felt as though she knew exactly what he was thinking. "Don't." She warned.
"Don't what?" He asked, stepping away from her.
"Whatever you were about to say." She tried to explain. "It's barely been a month since I've seen you again. . .I'm not ready to talk about everything that happened."
He shook his head after a moment. "I don't want things between us to end like this. With us just going our separate ways and not ever speaking again."
"That's never what I wanted." Phoebe said quickly.
"It is." Cole said, gazing at her. He wasn't angry, merely sympathetic. "And I don't blame you. You wanted to turn your back on everything that happened and hope that it wouldn't come back."
"And it hasn't." Phoebe said, giving in. "Not until now."
"That's because it always comes back, Phoebe." Cole said. "Listen to me." He urged, stepping towards her. "You have to face it. We both do. I have to realise how much I hurt you and your sisters, and you have to realise that none of it was your fault."
She shook her head defiantly, willing away the tears that were now, after so much time, threatening to flow. "Don't do this."
"Don't hold it all in." Cole said, ignoring her plead. "I'm sorry. . .I'm so sorry. If I could take back any of the pain that I caused you--"
"Cole." Phoebe said firmly, interrupting him. "Stop."
"It wasn't your fault." He finished, his eyes piercing hers.
She nodded, the tears welling up in her eyes. "I could have stopped it. I could have stopped him." Cole didn't need her to tell him that she meant the Source. "Then none of it would have happened. . .and we wouldn't have lost--" She broke off, unable to say the words.
"Our baby." Cole finished gently. He reached out and gently caressed her cheek, his heart rising slightly when she didn't pull back or brush away his hand. "Listen to me." He urged gently. "There was nothing you could do. Nothing. Don't blame yourself for my mistake." He let his hand drop back to his hand, looking away. "If anyone could have stopped it, it was me. Only me."
"Cole. . ." Phoebe said softly, trying to make him look at her. When she finally met his eyes, she continued. "I know what it's like to be possessed by something without any control. It's happened to me. . .to my sisters. . ." She paused momentarily. "And to be suppressed by the Source of all evil. . .I couldn't even begin to imagine how hard it was." She gave him a small, faint smile. "I don't blame you. Any more than you apparently blame me."
They stared at each other for a moment, relishing in the silence. "I should go." Cole finally spoke.
Phoebe nodded. "I'll see you soon." She said, half questioning.
Cole hesitated. "I'm actually. . ." He paused. "I'm leaving San Francisco."
"What?" Phoebe asked, confused.
"We've finally let go, Phoebe. We've let it all out." He said. "Now I'm going to give you the space you need. The time you need." Phoebe could see the determination in his eyes, and knew there was no changing his mind. "Not for good. I'm not sure when. . .but I'll be back."
"I hope so." Phoebe replied truthfully.
"You mean that?" Cole questioned. Phoebe nodded, giving him a half smile. After another moments silence, he held open his arms in invitation. She glanced at him wearily, and he grinned sheepishly. "No ulterior motive, I promise." She couldn't help but smile in return. Releasing all sense of doubt, she stepped into his embrace. She rested her cheek against his chest, and let out a comfortable sigh as his arms swept around her tightly. She wrapped her arms around his waist, and relished in the warmth of his body. She almost screamed out in protest when he pulled back. She gazed into his eyes, and noted the familiar spark in them that had been absent for so long. She smiled.
"I'll see you, Cole." She said softly.
He nodded slowly. "Goodbye, Phoebe." He whispered, as he faded silently from the room.
So, just like a lot of my other stories, here starts a story bound to carry on somewhere in the future. . .in the next chapter. Review and give me your thoughts.