Disclaimer: Charmed isn't mine, Torchwood and Doctor Who are not mine. Paula and all OCs are mine, however.
Chapter 1 - An Interesting Offer: It was probably the only good thing the Source had done for him, this job, Cole Turner reflected as he read a case file. Work distracted him, if only for brief periods, and he needed the distraction. Anything to forget the suspicion and hate in Phoebe's eyes...
His dark musings were interrupted by the sound of his door opening. He looked up to see a woman at his door. She looked vaguely familiar, but he was pretty sure he'd never seen her before. She reminded him of... well, Paige, honestly, but that was probably just a coincidence.
"Cole Turner?" the woman asked. Her voice was light, with a hint of a British accent, like someone who wasn't native to the U.K. but had lived there for some time.
"Who wants to know?" She laughed, shaking her head.
"Oh, I almost forgot how..." She trailed off. "Never mind. I want to make you an offer. For a new job."
"You don't look like a lawyer, Miss..."
"Ravenwood, Paula Ravenwood, and I'm not. I'm a PI, actually."
"A PI? What do you want with me?"
She smiled, a strangely mysterious smile, before pulling a card from the pocket of her black duster. It was a blank business card, with a number written in red ink. "When you get sick of chasing down your ex and want a fresh start, call me." He barely glanced at the card before taking it from a hand sheathed in a black glove.
He couldn't do this anymore. He'd thought he was free of evil when Paige had given him that potion, but then Barbas had intervened. It was over. He would never get Phoebe back, and he was sick of getting his heart stepped on. He wasn't sure if she was being intentionally cruel, but it hardly mattered.
In a sudden flash of rage, he picked up the framed photo of the two of them and hurled it against the wall. Why couldn't she listen to him, even for a few minutes? She'd always listened before, why not now? How could she think he would have hurt her on purpose? He didn't understand, and doubted if he ever would.
"It doesn't matter now," he said to the empty room. He was leaving. He didn't know where he was going or what he was going to do, but he was out of here. That was when his eyes landed on the white card Paula Ravenwood had given him two weeks earlier. He picked it up, studying it thoughtfully. A fresh start sounded good right about now. He grabbed the phone and dialed the number.
"Miss Ravenwood? It's Cole Turner."
"Hi. Yeah, I was told you'd call."
"Uh, you gave me this number."
"Not exactly, Mr. Turner, but I'd rather explain in person. Are you alone?"
"Yeah, and I'm at home. I can give you the address, if you want to come by."
"No need." And the line disconnected. A few seconds later, glittering orb-lights filled the air. Cole stared, not just surprised that someone was orbing in, but confused by the color. The orbs weren't the usual color. They were a bright blue, several shades darker than a Whitelighter's ought to be, but nowhere near dark enough to belong to a Darklighter. They dissipated to reveal the woman he'd spoken to before... with key differences. The woman he'd seen had long dark red hair caught in a braid. This woman's hair was only chin length, and she was missing the black duster. She also seemed... younger. The clearest similarity was the elbow-length black gloves she wore. He decided to forgo questions about the orbing in favor of questions about her metamorphosis.
"Have you had some sort of makeover?"
She laughed, and even the laugh was different. "No. This may take some explaining. See, you've never met me before, well, not exactly, anyway. The woman who you met was me... from several years in the future."
"The future? Don't Whitelighters know better than to screw with time?"
"I'm a witchlighter, not a Whitelighter; don't insult me. As for that... Turner, I spent nearly two years traveling through time and space, so I know the risks and apparently, my future self thought recruiting you was worth them. She won't say why, though."
"Time and space? What the hell are you talking about?"
"Oh dear, I was afraid of this reaction. The Doctor said it happens a lot." She shook her head. "Maybe we should sit down. This takes a while to explain."
So they sat down at the dining room table, facing each other. Cole wasn't sure what he'd just signed himself up for, and she still bugged him with her familiarity - more so now than before, because she was younger. She really did remind him of Paige, and that was irritating. Couple that with the orbing, though, and it stopped being irritating and became alarming.
"You're not related to the Halliwells, are you?" he asked cautiously. Sharp eyes, that he now noticed were a strange gold color, widened, then narrowed.
"You're an observant one, aren't you." It wasn't a question. She sighed, running a hand through her sleek cap of hair. "Yes. In fact, I'm Paige Matthews' twin. They don't know, I don't want them to know, and that's the end of that." She shrugged, her posture dismissive. "They don't factor into this, Mr. Turner," she added quietly.
"Why do you think your... future self wanted me?"
"I don't know exactly. You matter to her, I assume you're friends or something with me in the future, but like I said, no details. A smart move, actually. Risking a paradox is... well, if you meddle with your own past you have to play it carefully, or you may rip the universe apart."
She paused, considering. "Practically... I know a lot about the supernatural world, Mr. Turner. I've spent years traveling, ever since I left the Doctor. He gave me the wanderlust bug, and even grounded, I could indulge. I've learned a lot about various types of magic, but you... Especially when it comes to demons - if you'll forgive my stating the obvious - you know far more than I ever will. For what I plan to do, I need experts of multiple kinds, and I definitely need a demonologist. You certainly fit the bill."
"Who's the Doctor? And what, exactly, do you intend to do anyway?" Cole leaned forward, thinking he was about to get to the bottom of all of this. Time-traveling witches, ambiguous job offers... He wanted to know what the hell he was getting himself into.
"The Doctor is an alien. He looks human, but he's not. He's a Time Lord, and the simplest way to tell what he is to check his heartbeat. He's got two hearts." She paused when she noticed that Cole's chest had stopped moving. "Cole?" Nothing. So she slapped him.
Cole sucked in a sharp gasp of air, blinking. That slap had hurt. Granted, not much, and it had gotten him to breathe again, so... But this was too much. Aliens? "An alien," he said skeptically.
"Yeah," said Paula, unperturbed by the skepticism. She'd once been a skeptic herself. "Look, I don't expect you to believe me right off the bat. The only proof I have..." She smiled again, pure amusement this time. "Well, I guess I'll just have to show you." She held out a hand. Cole stared at it.
"I don't like orbing."
"I'm sure you don't, but where we're going, they only expect one person to teleport, and they expect the form of teleportation to be orbing. Let's not complicate this any more than it already is." It was true, Jack only expected her to orb in, with her companion - she'd said she was bringing one - riding shotgun, as it were. And it was a good thing she'd gotten his permission to bring a civilian into Torchwood, because it looked like she was going to need the visual.
Why had her future self pushed Turner on her? Anyone else she might approach would at least know about aliens - once you knew about aliens, she'd found, you were more likely to accept magic. And if a demonstration was needed, she'd orb. Damn it all, but she hated the explanation phase.
A large hand closed over hers, and she looked up into blue eyes. "Let's go then," he said calmly. She gave him a slight smile and orbed them out.
When they rematerialized, they were in front of a Weevil cell at the Torchwood 3 Hub. Cole's eyebrows shot up so far they nearly disappeared into his hair. "What the hell is that?"
"A Weevil. It's an alien." She watched him with mild amusement as he looked at her, then back at the Weevil, eyes narrowing as he studied it further. She looked at the Weevil too, remembering the first time she'd seen one.
It came hurtling out of the dark Cardiff alley, and Paula's only warning was the flash of a mind that was barely a mind at all. It was animalistic, only thinking in terms of ATTACK! She leapt back, shooting a blast out with her telepathy, but since she'd never encountered something like this, it wasn't coordinated enough to knock the thing out, only disorient it. Luckily, River picked up something - it looked like an empty beer bottle - and hit the thing over the head. It went down like a stone.
"Thanks, River," Paula said. Then, raising her voice, "Hey, Doctor, I thought you said we were only here to refuel, not get jumped by psycho aliens!"
The Doctor, who had been doing... something around the back of the TARDIS, walked over, grinning as he ran a hand through his tousled red hair. "Oh, that's a Weevil, that is, or well, Jack calls 'em that," he said in his cheerful Irish brogue.
"And what's its real name?" River wanted to know.
"Oh, now, you don't need to know that! Wouldn't want you telling Jack later. And speaking of Jack, we'd better go before Torchwood shows up. It's only 1974, so even the Cardiff branch still hates me. Come on, we're going to Argenta, a whole planet of silver! No, really, all silver. Even the people, their skin is silver. Eyes are purple though, not sure why... Don't you want to see that? Let's go, girls!" And he disappeared into the TARDIS.
Paula and River grinned and exchanged glances before following him in. "I swear, he's such a child sometimes," River muttered.
"And we wouldn't have it any other way," Paula replied with a laugh.
Shaking the memories away, Paula turned when she felt a familiar presence behind her. "Hey, Jack."
"Well, well, it's my favorite fallen angel," he said, smirking. Jack found the fact that she was half-angel a constant source of amusement. "So this is the new recruit, huh?" he continued, eyeing Cole. "Nice choice, if I do say so myself."
"Just remember this is the 21st century. People still have categories - and sexual orientations."
"Oh, damn," Jack said good-naturedly before walking over to Cole. "Hi. Captain Jack Harkness. And you are?"
"Cole Turner," Cole answered, shaking the offered hand. "Are you in charge here?"
"Hey, where's the rest of the band anyway?" Paula asked.
"Paula, it's about 5 AM over here," Jack pointed out. "They won't be in for another few hours."
"Oh, time difference, I forgot."
"You spend two years with a time-hopping alien and forget about time differences?"
"Oh, shut up, Harkness."
"Make me, angel girl."
"Do you two do this a lot?" Cole cut in.
"Yeah," Paula admitted.
"All the time," Jack said.
"So, what do you think?" Paula asked Cole, turning back to him. "You wanted proof, I think, so now you have it."
Cole shook his head, trying to think about what to say. "Well, I definitely believe you now, I'll say that much."
"So are you going to take my offer?"
Cole paused, thinking it through. He glanced at Jack, who was smirking, and looked back at the Weevil. This was definitely not something he was used to. Still... it was something new, which was what he'd been intending to find. It was still the world he knew - Paula had said she needed a demonologist, after all - but with a new twist added. Best of all, he'd be based in Boston. On the East Coast, about as far as he could get from San Francisco - and Phoebe - without leaving the country entirely.
"You know what? I think I will."
Meanwhile, in a place far from Cardiff, three Elders watched the scene unfold in a large pool of water. "I told you this would go horribly wrong!" Sandra snapped at her two colleagues. "We should have never interfered with Cole Turner and the Halliwells, we should have simply let things play out!"
"And risk him reconciling with Phoebe? Now you know we couldn't have that," Silas retorted, irritated by the female Elder's squeamishness.
"They wouldn't have needed reconciling if we'd done the right thing in the first place and informed the Charmed Ones of Cole's possession by the Source," muttered Sandra.
"Now, now, all the Elders but you agreed that was the proper course, my dear," Gideon cut in silkily. "And now, well... Turner's association with the Charmed Ones is finished."
"Yes, but now he's joined up with a rogue witch we have no sway over! I highly doubt having Cole connected to the Charmed Ones would have been as disastrous as this could be!"
"Anything is better than the chance of the noble Warren-Halliwell line being corrupted by demonic blood," Silas declared. "It's finished now, and nothing you can do or say will change that, Sandra!"
Just outside of the room where the three Elders argued, Leo Wyatt stood, frozen with shock and a growing level of horror. Possession, not corruption? And the Elders had known... and done nothing? And, apparently, worse than nothing, actually increasing the damage? No, this couldn't be. But if it was true... God, what a mess. And how was he going to tell Phoebe? And would any of them get the chance to tell Cole? What was this about a rogue witch? Rogue witches were really rare, why would one of them be interested in Cole?
First things first. Confront them, find out what exactly was going on. So he pushed the door open, and the sound of it brought the Elders' argument to a screeching halt.
"Leo..." Silas began, looking alarmed.
"Is it true?" Leo said, cutting off his superior.
"At the time," Sandra said, her voice regretful, "we thought we were doing the right thing. But -"
"We were right," Gideon said firmly. "And I'm afraid I cannot allow you to remember what you have found out, Leo," he added, stretching out a hand to his former protégé. Leo fought against Gideon's power, but he knew it was hopeless. As the world faded to black, he wondered how beings meant to be all that was good could do something that seemed the polar opposite.
When he opened his eyes, he was lying in bed, in the room he shared with Piper. His wife was getting dressed, but she seemed to feel his gaze on her and turned around. "Hi, sleepyhead. You OK? Because you seemed out of it last night."
"Yeah, fine. I was just really exhausted, for some reason." He paused. Some stray thought was niggling at the back of his mind, something he thought he ought to tell Piper and her sisters. "Piper..."
"I'm not sure. I was about to say something, but then I forgot."
"Oh, well, I'm sure if it's that important you'll remember later. I've gotta go, I've got to call P3, make sure everything's running smoothly. Just don't stress over it; it'll come to you."
"Yeah." But he had a feeling it wouldn't, and worse, that whatever it was, it was important.
A/N: OK, I guess I've made it clear I don't like the Elders. And yes, this will be important later - I'm generally not a militant shipper, but one of the ships I'm firm on is Phoebe/Cole, so this fic will be Phoebe/Cole - eventually. Other ships will become apparent as the story moves on, though they will be generally canon.