A/N: The fourth part of the Cole series. I've really enjoyed getting in his head and writting from his perspective. I've got to set this series down for a while and finish my Hellsing story, so I won't have any new stories in San Francisco for a while. I might continue from where this story leaves off.
Disclaimer: I don't own anyone in this story, though I think that Paige is a hottie...something about redheads...
"Get down!" Paul shouted as the demon shimmered in, hauling me off the couch. The energy ball blew the back of it apart, spraying us with stuffing and bits of wood. Phoebe and Penelope raced in from the kitchen at the sound and had to duck when another shot slammed into the doorframe.
I shook some stuffing out of my hair, chuckling at this poor bastard's fate. Didn't they know by now that coming into this house was tantamount to a death sentance?
Penelope caught the third energy ball and whipped it back at him like a discus. It slammed into him and threw him back into the wall. He slumped, stunned.
That's my girl.
Paul stood up and whipped his arm to the side, flinging the demon straight into his mother's kick, throwing him across the room yet again. He smashed into the table and went straight through it.
I liked that table.
Piper rushed into the room now, Paige in tow. The demon stood, and hauled his hand back to throw another energy ball and froze in place. Paige chucked the vial in her hands at him, and we watched.
"Aw hell," she said as he unfroze and hit her with the energy ball as it was released at a lowered power. She flew backwards, her red hair wrapped around her face.
Piper was a second too slow bringing her hands up to blow him up and only managed to further demolish the table as he shimmered out.
Damn it, it was going to be hard enough to fix it without the molecules scattered across the floor.
Wyatt and Chris orbed in, their cousins being their charges. Paige sat up, a small cut in her forehead and looked at the scorched hole in her blouse.
"I just bought this blouse. It was on sale!"
I was already glancing at Phoebe. She was breathing heavier than she had in the years past. This whole gig was a young witch's game. It would be time for her and her sisters to hand the scepter over to their children. It wouldn't stop the occasional attacks on them, but it would let us start enjoying our middle age.
I looked at them, four of the five children that had shared the dangers of the destiny. Wyatt and Chris, being more Whitelighter than witch had taken those roles, and had been assigned to Paul and Penelope, Phoebe's and my twin children.
It was interesting watching as they had grown into their powers. Penelope took after me a lot, as was shown in the fact she could manipulate demonic powers and use them against them. She couldn't fling energy balls of her own, but she could - as she had a few moments ago - catch them and fling them back at a lighter power. Something about the way her powers worked lowered the voltage. She could shimmer, if it could truly be called that. She also was beginning to show signs of Mind Manipulation.
Paul was his mother's son through and through. Telekinesis, Empathy, and what we first thought was just quick reflexes but what turned out to be a type of controllable Premonition. He could see things that were about to happen in the immediate future, including attacks.
Paige's daughter, Phillipa, was still learning to use her ability to project an energy barrier to protect herself and her cousins. The teenager was still finding it tricky to orb with perfect accuracy. She had been a late bloomer.
I wondered about my children's abilities. Could it have had something to do with my demonic half? Had they received part of that side of me? I wasn't worried about them falling the same way I had – not with whom their mother and Aunts were – but I did wonder what kind of power they wielded. Could they be just as powerful as the Charmed Ones?
Ah, that swell of paternal pride always feels good.
"Nice throw, Melon," Paul said to his sister. She leveled a look at him, looking chillingly like her late Aunt Prue in that moment. She hated that nickname, derived by the last four letters of her name. Penelope, lope, cantaloupe, melon.
My son had my sense of humour. Got him in as much trouble as I had gotten into because of it too. There was that one time he managed to hold the vodka in the bottle at P3 when Piper had tried to fix a martini for a teacher that had been hard on him. The towel thrown at him had hit Phoebe.
Trying to enforce a grounding on a boy that could sweet talk his parents and sense when it was working is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do.
I wondered for a moment if that was why I also seemed to loose a lot of arguments with Phoebe.
Either that or I couldn't even lie to myself anymore.
What a thought, a lawyer that couldn't lie.
There should be a movie.
I spoke up before the regulation teasing would carry into business at hand. "Anyone want to guess why the potion didn't vanquish him?"
Phoebe glanced at her sister. "Book?" she said.
Paige nodded. "Book," she said before orbing out.
There had been a small bit of trouble lately with a handful of demons not going poof like they should when the potions had hit them. It couldn't be that they were all like me, requiring a bit of their flesh to be defeated.
That would be a gory job. And hard on Piper's set of Henckel knives. They were like her third child.
Piper looked at the couch, table, and walls. She sighed visibly. She hated the mess that they always wound up with in routine business. "Leo," she called.
He came, Phillipa with him, the grey in his hair showing up a bit. Whitelighters didn't age, but he had expended a lot of power in rescuing the sisters and the Elders that hadn't been destroyed when the Titans had been released. His new position as an Elder had been short lived when he had stepped down to help raise his children. He looked around, and I saw the momentary flash of annoyance at the appearance of the place.
He had stepped into the sisters lives under the guise of a handyman, and now it seemed like he couldn't get out of the role. But his priorities were straight. He, like me, would rather spend eternity fixing furniture and walls then having to bury a loved one. I couldn't think what that would be like, having to bury Piper, or Paige.
The thought chilled me to the bone. I had come to think of all three of them as being just as important as the next. I could no sooner bear to loose Piper than I could Phoebe.
And there was always the selfish thought that at least if that happened I'd still have her. A human thought, but I still almost felt wrong in thinking it.
I remember helping with Prue's funeral, the pain, the anguish. And I hadn't really liked her all that much. Would I survive if I had to bury another sister?
Would I want to?
Penelope tossed her long hair behind her shoulders. It was a light brown, with highlights like honey shining in sunlight. She was as almost as beautiful as her mother.
Almost. Nothing would, could, top Phoebe. Not even my own daughter.
"Hi, Uncle Leo, Phil. Is it nice outside?"
Ok, so she was a smart ass too. She was my kid too, after all.
Paige returned at that point with the book. She handed it to her daughter and the kids went off to leaf through it, looking for anything that would help. We all sat down and looked at each other.
"It feels weird, doesn't it?" asked Piper.
"What does?" her husband asked.
"Sitting back and letting them take over a job we've done for years. It's almost like we're giving up our duties."
"Not giving them up," I said, easing onto the battered couch with Phoebe dropping across the armrest and leaning up against me. "Just letting those who are posed to carry it on start to take up their end of the rope. Like it or not, one day it is going to be their job."
Paige sat down, passing a hand over the hole in her shirt, healing it. "It still feels weird." She flipped her hair out of her eyes. "I mean, was this what it was like for Grams when Mom started coming into her powers?"
Phoebe shrugged. Her hair was showing a few streaks of grey in it as well. It gave her a distinguished look that I thought fit her status as an author perfectly. And it was just sexy. She was like a fine wine, better with age.
And for the last twenty-two years we hadn't wavered in our faith of each other a bit.
I looked back into the kitchen and watched as the five kids flipped through the book, looking for anything. I smiled as I thought how much like me and Phoebe our kids were.
Four of a kind.
Between them and their cousins, the world was in some pretty safe hands. And all those sitting around here knew it.
Everything was so different, but the more I thought about it, the more it was the same.
Demons kept attacking.
Demons kept getting vanquished.
Phoebe and I still loved each other.
Our kids were two of the strongest witches of the time.
I could only wonder at what the future would hold for them.
Phoebe caught my train of thought and used the last ability she had developed to talk to me in our minds. Borrowing trouble again? she asked me telepathically.
I smiled. Not really. Just wondering if they are going to have things as rough as we did.
As long as they don't have to vanquish their loves a couple of times, I think they'll be ok.
I laughed at that. I could see Penny vanquishing her husband. She had my temper too.
Their future looked very bright indeed. I was proud of the way we had raised them.
And who knows, maybe, just maybe, they would have a mostly normal life.
Well, ok, maybe not with who they're related to, but hey, a man can dream can't he?