A Slight Change in Destiny's Plans
Phoebe Halliwell took a deep breath as she got out of her car. She was in front of Cole Turner's apartment building and wondering, for the seventy-second time that day, what she was doing. She'd felt confident about wanting Cole back the night before, but now, in the bright sun of San Francisco, she wasn't so sure.
"You're just going to talk to him," Phoebe said to her reflection in the car window. "You don't have to pour your heart out."
She walked slowly into the building, nodding at the desk clerk, who raised his eyebrows and grinned.
Keep walking, she instructed herself silently. And for God's sake, don't let Cole see that creep leering at you or the building will be short an employee.
Phoebe made it to the elevator without incident. As if on autopilot, she pressed the button that would lead her to the penthouse--and to Cole.
The elevator went much too fast, she decided as she arrived on her floor. She didn't know what she was going to say or do, and she wished that she could orb out and think about what she was doing.
The door opened.
From the living room, the sounds of The Bold and the Beautiful blared out. Phoebe proceeded into the penthouse with caution, not knowing what to expect. The sarcastc, unflappable Cole was watching daytime soaps? That was new (and also disturbing).
"Cole?" asked Phoebe.
"Phoebe." Cole cast his gaze from the television to his semi-ex-wife. "You're certainly the last person I expected to see here."
"We need to talk. Cole-"
"Last night you proved that there's obviously no way we even be acquaintances. So get out."
"No!" Phoebe stormed over and shut off the television.
"Hey," said Cole. "I was watching that."
"Yeah, well, you can catch it on re-runs," Phoebe snapped. "Cole, what's wrong with you?"
"Wrong with me? Oh, I don't know, maybe the fact that no matter what I do, you can't see that I'm not evil."
"That's why I came."
"Wonderful. Let me guess--you whipped up a new vanquishing potion last night, right?"
"No. The reason-"
"Wait, I've got it. You've found a way to curse me into oblivion."
"Cole, I am trying to tell you that I'm beginning to trust you again. Not completely, but...but I realize that you were never willingly evil. The only reason you absorbed the demonic powers in the wasteland was because you wanted me back."
"You're thinking awfully highly of yourself, aren't you?"
"I don't understand," said Phoebe. "I thought you'd be thrilled."
"I guess," Cole said, "that you were wrong."
Phoebe shook her head. "Forget it. I should have known that this would never work out."
As she stalked back to the elevator, a premonition hit her.
A guillotine appears, and Cole lays down underneath the blade. Seconds before head and body are separated, the blade freezes.
"Can't you at least let me not die in peace?" he demands.
She was jerked out of the vision by Cole, who turned the television back on.
"I'm not leaving."
"You won't ever truly tust me, even though you say you do," said Cole. "You said it yourself--there are thousands of ways that I could turn on you."
"We--we can strip your powers."
"They'll find a new demonic home. Face it, Phoebe. The universe is against us."
There was pause.
"Looks like our roles are reversed," said Phoebe. "I want you but you don't want me."
"You think I don't want you?"
"What other possible explanation is there?"
"That I don't want to hurt you."
"You have hurt me, Cole, and I've recovered. If you were worried about hurting me, you would have thought about that before you came back from the demonic wasteland. And will you shut that freaking thing off? It's getting on my nerves!" Phoebe pointed to the television. A spark emitted from her hand and, within five seconds, the set was a molten glob of plastic.
"What the hell was that?" Cole stood up.
"I...I don't know. A new power?"
"This is exactly why you should stay away from me."
"What do you mean?"
"By definition, energy bolts are evil."
"Oh, God." Phoebe struggled for balance as she made her way to a chair.
"When we went to the future...this is how I killed Cal Greene." Phoebe stared down at her hands. "This could be the first step on the way to my execution."
"Phoebe, from what I've heard from that trip, Prue was alive and Piper and Leo were divorced."
"I've gotta get out of here," said Phoebe. "You said it yourself, I've got an evil power."
"By definition. I didn't mean that yours were evil. Think about glamouring--it's a Whitelighter and demonic power. There's a good chance yours could be ambiguous."
"Either way, I've got to get home and ask Leo." Phoebe stood up. "Think about what I said, all right?"
"It won't change anything, Phoebe. You've got enough evil in your life without me interfering."
Phoebe bit her lip. "And what do you have in your life, Cole? Chinese food? Soap operas? Your job?"
"I have the security of knowing that I won't be able to hurt you if I'm not involved with you."
Phoebe pressed the down arrow on the elevator, and the door opened immediately. The elevator was halfway down before Phoebe realized what she had done. She hit the button for the penthouse again and was surprised that the elevator didn't come to a complete stop. (She'd experienced that many, many times in New York, usually at some ungodly hour after a night of clubbing.)
"You'll hurt me because you're going to spiral downward," she said as Cole (standing over the melted television set) looked up.
"Cole, I saw you try to kill yourself! You're going to go insane. In my premonition, I felt your emotions. You were in so much pain, so much anguish, that you wanted nothing to do with life anymore. I can't let you end up like that."
"What are you talking about?" Cole moved closer to her. "You had a premonition? When?"
"Just before I fried your TV," answered Phoebe. "Look, whatever happens, I'm not worth suicide. Remember that."
"I think you'd better sit down," Cole said.
"I can't. I've got to ask Leo about this power."
"I'll be fine," said Phoebe.
"Either way, I think I'd better drive you."
"I'm not using my powers, even the neutral ones. Period."
Phoebe looked up at Cole. "Thank you."
"To do what?"
"To be good."
"Trying and not succeeding."
"I think there's a way that you can succeed," Phoebe said. "I'm going to go back to the Manor, do a little research, but I'll call you. Don't leave, okay?"
Cole nodded. "I just want to know one thing, though."
"Yesterday you hated me. What's changed?"
"I got a little help from the other side," said Phoebe. At Cole's confused look, she shook her head. "It's a long story." She patted his shoulder. "I'll be back."
As she left, Cole sat down on the sofa and wondered what exactly was going on.
A/N: I really hope this is going to develop into something interesting and unique. I've read so many good Cole/Phoebe fics (and a few clunkers, but we won't mention those) on here, and I want this to live up to the quality of what I've seen.
I'm going for weekly updates (they'll probably come on either Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday--my library days). More reviews will motivate me to get going on the next chapters!
As for notes on the story, I'm not sure if there was a television in the penthouse, but for creative purposes, this has (well, had) one.
I'm just gonna overstate the obvious here, but this is very, VERY alternate universe. I figured that since Phoebe's destiny was changing because she went to go talk to Cole, her powers would be advancing differently.
I love reviews. Glowing reviews make my day. Criticism...ehhhh, I'll deal with it. Gentle criticism is so much better than "Okay, no offense, but this is so totally wrong. Everyone's way out of character and you need WAY more details and stuff like that." But even that is better than "YOU SUCK, GO AWAY!"
So that's my babbling. Read, review, tell your friends.