Sorry that it has taken me SO long to update this story. Life, writer's block and a two-week holiday in Turkey got in the way lol :P
Anyway this chapter focuses on Cole's return in Season 5, and there is some strong language in this chapter.
The Return of Cole
Phoebe continued to watch Sam as he kept vigil over his daughter. To hear Sam recall meeting his grown-up daughter as if it were yesterday was so heart-warming, especially considering that, last time they had met, Paige was not exactly happy to see him. However, they did manage to begin to form a relationship, and judging by Sam's heartfelt speech, he wanted that relationship to evolve into more of a solid father-daughter one. However, Phoebe also seemed to feel Sam's sincerity, his love for Paige. This gift of empathy is something that Phoebe had embraced and honed in recent years, although, for some reason, Phoebe seemed to be more in tune with Sam's emotions than she usually was...
Just then, Sam sighed sadly. At almost the same time, Phoebe let out a small sob and quickly turned to wipe her eyes. Sam then turned around, and gasped in surprise.
"Phoebe!" he said loudly, clearing his throat and rising to his feet, "H-hey, what's up?"
"Hmm?" said Phoebe softly, turning to him, as he made his way towards her.
"Hey, have you been crying?" asked Sam, "What's wrong?"
"Oh, nothing," said Phoebe, wiping her eyes, "I ... um ... I just heard you talking to Paige."
"You heard everything?" asked Sam, feeling slightly embarrassed.
"It was very sweet," said Phoebe, smiling.
Sam gave a small smile, and then turned back to Paige. Phoebe stared at Sam for a moment, and then grasped his arm.
"Don't worry," she said, "She is coming back."
Sam then put his hand on Phoebe's, and grasped it in reply.
"I just want to prove to her that I can be there for her, like I was on that day," he said.
"Well, when she comes back, you can be," said Phoebe.
Sam nodded slightly.
"You saved her life, Sam, and I doubt she ever forgot that. I know she loves you, even if she doesn't show it."
"Yeah ..." said Sam softly, still looking at Paige.
The two of them stood in silence for a few moments, keeping watch over Paige as she slept.
"Hey, whatever did happen to that Cole character?"
Phoebe looked up at Sam. She was completely taken by surprise by this statement.
"Why do you ask?" asked Phoebe.
"Well, it's just that he was the one who sent the darklighter, and I know that you guys tried to vanquish him ..."
"... but he was invincible," finished Phoebe, with a sigh.
"Yeah, so ... what did happen?" asked Sam.
"Well, uh, he created a whole new reality, one in which Paige didn't become a Charmed One. However, our Paige managed to orb into it, and then alternate me vanquished him once and
for all, because he wasn't invincible in the other reality."
"I see ..." said Sam, looking confused, "You know: I still don't understand ... I mean, Paige told me that you guys banished him to the demonic wasteland, so how did he come back? And how did he get so powerful?"
"Well, it's a long story ..." said Phoebe, with a small laugh.
"Well, we have time while we wait for news from the Elders ... unless of course you'd rather not talk about it ..."
Phoebe turned to Paige for a moment, and then back to Sam.
"No, it's OK," said Phoebe softly, "Come on, let's get a seat."
Phoebe led Sam to a couple of the throne-like chairs, and they both took a seat.
"OK," said Phoebe, breathing deeply, "Well, I guess the story starts when I had an appointment with the divorce court ..."
Phoebe and Darryl Morris were sitting in a judge's office. Phoebe was trying to divorce from Cole, but seeing as he was absent, she had to convince the judge that she had tried to contact him.
"I sent a sheriff to his apartment, his work, even his dry-cleaners," pleaded Phoebe, with a small smile, "Trust me, Your Honour, I didn't make a good faith effort to try to notify my husband of our divorce – I made a great faith effort!"
"But to grant a default divorce, the court requires that you put a notice in the local newspaper saying where the missing spouse was last residing," explained the judge, "Did you do that?"
Phoebe reached for her handbag, and began to rummage through it.
"I made the notice larger than legally required," she said, pulling a portion of a newspaper out of her bag, "I even used a twelve point bold font to make sure it really pops. You see there, how it really ... pops?"
She handed the newspaper to the judge, who read the notice for a few moments. He then looked up at Darryl.
"What is your business here, Inspector?"
"I led the investigation into the disappearance of Mr Cole Turner," said Darryl, "We used every method at our disposal to locate his whereabouts, and we still came up empty. It's my belief that Mr Turner's left the country."
"I must say, young lady," said the judge, smiling slightly, "in all my years on the bench, I have never seen a divorce pushed through this fast."
He signed the divorce form, and handed it and a pen to Phoebe.
"Please sign here."
"Ooh!" said Phoebe excitedly, looking at Darryl before picking up the pen, "Free at last!"
"Is this the right office?"
Phoebe was just about to sign the form when she stopped. She turned to the office door, hoping that the voice did not belong to whom she thought it did.
Unfortunately, as the door opened, Phoebe's worst nightmare walked in.
"Cole Turner, Your Honour."
He walked into the office, holding a newspaper in his hand.
"Nice ad," he said, smiling at Phoebe, "Thanks for letting me know."
Phoebe stared at Cole in disbelief. She then rose to her feet and stormed out of the office. Prue and Paige sighed as Phoebe passed them, and they followed Cole as he followed her.
"You evil bastard, why didn't you just stay where you belonged?!?" said Phoebe angrily.
"Exactly what I was thinking," said Paige, arms crossed.
"Wait a minute: I'm not evil," said Cole, as Phoebe turned to him.
Just then, Darryl walked out of the office.
"Do you have any idea what you just did to me in there?" he said to Cole angrily.
"Hold on," Cole said to Darryl, and then turning to Phoebe, "I'm not evil, I'm good."
"You're good at crushing my every hope and dream!"
"Well, I'm going to make up for that ..."
"You just made me look like a fool in front of the judge!" said Darryl.
"You are like a pit-bull with a death grip!" said Phoebe angrily.
"You know, I should arrest you on principle!"
Cole then waved his arm in front of Darryl, who suddenly transformed into a water-cooler. The water bubbled as Phoebe stared in shock.
"Oh my gosh!" gasped Paige.
"Yep!" said Prue, nodding her head.
"Too many people talking at once," said Cole casually.
"You see, Cole," said Phoebe, "this is exactly what I'm talking about – uh, good people don't turn other people into water coolers!"
"I needed you to hear me," said Cole.
"Go to hell!"
"I was just there," said Cole, "I didn't mean to stay so long, but I needed to gather enough powers to execute ..."
"Execute who?" asked Phoebe quickly, "Huh? Execute who?"
"My plan," replied Cole, "I'm here to redeem myself."
"You'd better be careful," said Phoebe, walking away from Cole, "You are stepping down a very dangerous road right now."
"I'm already on it. I got my job back at the law firm, I'm gonna use my powers to help people ..."
Just then, the water cooler bubbled again. Cole, who was now leaning against it, turned briefly to it before continuing.
"Make up for my past. In time, you'll see we're meant to be together."
"Cole, if you say that again, I swear I'll scream!"
Phoebe was now staring angrily at Cole.
"I want you out of my life!" she said.
"I'll keep my distance," said Cole, "but I'm not going away. My love for you hasn't changed."
He made his way towards Phoebe, as she turned his back to him.
"It kept me alive in the wasteland, and led me back to you."
Phoebe quickly picked up a small letter-opener from the desk in front of her, and pointed it at Cole. He looked at it, and then into Phoebe's eyes.
"You won't use that," he said, "I know you still love me, on some level, deep inside."
He grabbed the blade of the knife. Phoebe then pulled the knife free, slashing Cole's palm. A few drops of his blood dripped onto some envelops in an in-tray on the desk.
"You are seriously mistaken if you think I still love you in any way!" whispered Phoebe.
"I wasn't expecting a warm welcome, but don't you think this is a little extreme?"
Cole turned to his elevated hand, and watched the wound left by the knife magically heal itself. Phoebe looked surprised, and she then gasped as she saw the drops of blood boil.
"Wait ..." said Cole, smiling embarrassedly as Phoebe started at him in shock.
"You stay away from me, whatever you are!" she yelled. She then ran off.
Cole sighed softly, before waving his arm towards the water-cooler. It transformed back into Darryl.
"What happened?" he asked, and then sighing, "Where's Phoebe?"
"She ran off," replied Cole.
"You're lucky that's all she did," said Darryl, as he walked past Cole. Cole sighed sadly, before he shimmered away.
"Aw, I almost feel sorry for him," said Paige, "It's just a shame he tried to, you know, kill me!"
"Yeah," said Prue, "but remember: he did save Phoebe when she turned into a mermaid ..."
The two sisters then vanished, re-appearing on a beach. There were large jagged rocks scattered over the coast, and the waves of the sea crashed against the shore. A soft wind blew across the coast, and even Prue and Paige felt the coolness.
"Over there," said Prue loudly, pointing over to a group of the jagged rocks in the distance. Paige turned, and there she saw Cole standing by the rocks, his arms stretched outwards.
"Wait, I think I remember what he's doing," said Paige, as she and Prue walked towards Cole.
Just as they reached him, there was a flash of red light upon the rocks. A moment later, it had cleared and Phoebe was lying upon the rocks, in front of Cole. However, she had a golden, scaly mermaid's tail instead of legs, golden scales covered her breasts and her hair was tied into a bun.
"How did I get here?" she said, looking around the beach. She then noticed Cole, who lowered his arms and opened his eyes to look down at her.
"I brought you here."
"This isn't happening," said Phoebe, shaking her head, "This can't be happening. This goes beyond stalking!"
"I'm not stalking you," said Cole, with a small shake of the head, "Paige sent me."
"You showed him how much Phoebe really loved him, remember?" said Prue.
"Yeah," said Paige, "I cast a spell, to show him Phoebe's true desires, and he was literally in tears."
Paige gave a small smile, and then she and Prue turned back to see Cole now kneeling beside Phoebe.
"I know why you ran, Phoebe," he said.
"You don't know anything about me," said Phoebe.
"You thought you could escape into this big ocean ... that the waves would wash away your pain. But they won't, until you admit what drove you here in the first place."
"I know what drove me here," said Phoebe, "You."
"Yeah, but why?" asked Cole, "And don't say because you're scared of me, because you're not."
Phoebe averted her eyes from Cole's, staring at the sand.
"Come on, you don't want to spend eternity alone, just to avoid the truth," continued Cole, "If not for me, be honest for your own sake. Don't lose yourself because of me."
"What do you want me to say?" asked Phoebe, looking back at Cole.
"You don't have to say anything. All you have to do to free yourself is admit how you truly feel about me ... in your heart."
Phoebe stared at Cole for a few moments in silence. She then sighed, and looked down her body, which suddenly began to flash golden. As it did, her tail slowly began to change back into legs, and the scales upon her breasts vanished. As the flashes faded, Paige looked away from Phoebe's naked body. Prue saw this, and rolled her eyes, smiling.
Meanwhile, Cole had risen to his feet and was now holding out his hand to Phoebe. She put her hand in his, and he pulled her to her feet. He then took off his black jacket.
"How could you be so sure?" asked Phoebe, as Cole draped the jacket over her shoulders.
"I had a feeling," answered Cole, as Phoebe pulled the jacket around her. She smelt the fabric, and then looked up at Cole, smiling.
"It's alright, Paige, you can look now," said Prue, smiling.
Paige turned back around, and was relieved to see that Phoebe was covered.
"I do love you," said Phoebe, "and I always will."
Cole gave a small smile.
"But it doesn't change anything," continued Phoebe, with a sigh, "It doesn't matter. It's over between us."
The two of them looked sadly at one another. Prue sighed sadly.
"It's a shame, really," she said, "Before we found out he was a demon, and before I had my suspicions, they were actually quite a nice couple."
"They certainly did love each other," said Paige.
"Yeah, but unfortunately Cole's inner demon was too strong."
As Leo, Piper and a still red-headed Paige orbed in beside Phoebe and Cole, Prue summoned the magical screen. It showed Phoebe in her office at the Bay Mirror, shuffling through some of the letters sent to her advice column.
There was a knock on the door. Phoebe turned to see Cole enter her office through the open door.
"Hey," she said, smiling and walking towards him, "Look who's back to using doors."
"Yeah," said Cole, "I'm, uh, trying to limit my use of powers."
"Probably a wise decision."
Cole nodded, and then Phoebe resumed looking through the letters in her hands.
"So, uh, did you get my flowers?" asked Cole.
"Yup," said Phoebe, as she sighed and looked back up at Cole, "Sorry I tried to strangle you? Probably not a card that the florist gets to write every day, huh?"
She then went back to scanning the letters.
"I didn't ..."
"I know," said Phoebe, again sighing and looking up at Cole, "I know you're sorry. I know you were under the Siren's spell."
"You do know her magic feeds on love?"
"She couldn't have lured us if we didn't love each other," said Cole.
"Right," said Phoebe, "So, once again, our love was nearly fatal."
"I never would have hurt you if I wasn't under her spell."
"Most men don't try to kill their wives when they're under the Siren's spell," said Phoebe, "Most men just kiss and die. But because you're a demon ..."
"I'm not ..."
"Ok, well, because you have demonic powers, and a lot of them, you became a bigger threat than the Siren," said Phoebe, "And that's only one way out of a thousand that your powers can turn against me."
Cole stared at Phoebe sadly and Phoebe returned the look.
"I guess I didn't want you to be right," he said softly.
Phoebe looked at Cole and a small sad smile formed on her face.
"Neither did I."
"And do you remember the first time you fought Barbas?" asked Prue, "When he stole Cole's powers?"
She waved her arm over the screen, and now they could see the attic of the Manor. Piper was making a potion and Leo was healing Paige as Phoebe and Cole watched.
Paige gasped as she awoke. Leo then made his way over to Piper as Phoebe hugged Paige, smiling widely.
"Paige, you're OK, thank goodness," she said.
"What happened?" asked Paige.
"Good thing we were already trying to orb in when the barrier came down, otherwise ..."
Leo stopped as he and Piper turned to Phoebe and Paige.
"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," Phoebe said loudly.
"Uh, you're suffocating me!" said Paige.
"Oh, I'm sorry!"
Phoebe helped Paige to her feet, and then hugged her again, as Piper smiled warmly.
"Um, well I hate to break this up," said a bearded Cole, "but Barbas will be back soon."
Everyone turned to face Cole, and Phoebe stopped smiling.
"Well, I'm ready," said Piper.
"Are you?" Leo asked Cole.
"To take evil back? No," replied Cole, "but I'm not doing it for me..."
Phoebe separated from Paige, and walked over to Cole. The others looked on sadly.
Suddenly, a grey-haired demon appeared in the centre of the group in a flash of white light. As he did, he sent shockwaves throughout the attic, sending the five of them to the floor. The vial containing the potion fell to the floor and smashed.
"Miss me, my babies?" grinned Barbas, as the others rose to their feet.
Piper then flicked her hands at Barbas, but the blast was absorbed by his hand.
"Whoa," said Barbas, blowing the resulting smoke from his hand, "I'm a very quick study!"
"What do we do?" yelled Paige.
"Ah, still alive, I see," Barbas said, grinning evilly, turning to Paige.
"You leave her alone!" yelled Phoebe.
The others began to make their way towards him, but Barbas raised his arms and conjured force-fields in front of Phoebe, Cole, Piper and Leo.
"Naughty, naughty, naughty – wait your turn!" said Barbas mockingly.
"Paige, orb the potion," yelled Phoebe.
"It's in a puddle," said Paige, looking down at the blue potion.
"You can do it," said Piper, "Prue did."
"Aye, there's the rub," said Barbas. He then turned to Paige.
"You're no Prue, are you?"
Paige leered at him and Barbas grinned. As he turned away, Paige quickly yelled "Potion!", and orbed the potion onto Barbas' chest. Barbas groaned as the liquid hit him and he fell to his knees. The force-fields disappeared as Barbas then fell onto his side. Cole walked towards Barbas as a black entity rose up from him. It then flew into Cole's body, and Cole groaned as it did. The sisters and Leo looked at him sympathetically.
Barbas then rose to his feet, and tried to summon an energy ball. However, nothing happened. Cole then summoned an energy ball.
"Looking for this?" he said, as Barbas looked at him in shock.
Cole then threw the energy ball at Barbas, who gasped as his body flashed blue and white. He then screamed and roared in agony as the energy surged through his body, before he was destroyed in a flash of fire.
Phoebe then looked at Cole with fear in her eyes. She then walked towards Paige, and they hugged each other. Cole turned from them to Piper and Leo and back again, frowning. Although Piper, Leo and Phoebe looked at him in fear, Paige wore a look of sympathy. Cole then sighed sadly before he shimmered away.
"You looked as if you felt sorry for him," said Prue.
"Yeah, I did," said Paige, with a sigh, "He just ... without his powers, he finally had a chance to be good. And then he had to go evil again ..."
"This of course led to him going insane ..."
"... and sending the darklighter on us," said Paige.
"And then you tried to vanquish him," said Prue, "However, as you'll remember, it didn't go quite to plan ..."
By now, Phoebe had orbed away with her sisters and Leo, and Cole had shimmered away. Prue waved her arm again, and the screen now showed Cole's penthouse. Cole was sitting at a table, writing a note to Phoebe.
He finished the letter and put it in an envelope. Just then, two tall men in black robes flashed in.
"If this doesn't work," said the grey-haired man, "you'll have nowhere else to turn."
"It'll work," said Cole, not turning back.
"But what a waste," said the second man, "Especially when you could have so much more."
"I don't want anymore ..."
"You're not even curious?" asked the grey-haired man, smiling mysteriously.
When Cole did not respond, the men flashed away. Cole then placed the envelope in front of a picture of him and Phoebe. He gazed at the photo, smiling slightly.
Just then, Phoebe, Piper and Paige orbed in behind him, each of them holding a potion vial. Cole sat up straight and sighed deeply.
"Stand up!" said Phoebe loudly. Cole remained seated, looking at his wedding ring.
"I said stand up!"
Cole took off his wedding ring, and put it on the table. He then rose to his feet, walked in front of the balcony doors and faced them.
"Come to vanquish me, have you?" he said.
"Where's your hit man?" asked Piper.
"Oh, you know those darklighters – they're just so difficult to work with. Can't even kill a lousy whitelighter, let alone you."
"But you could have," said Phoebe.
Cole smirked at them.
"You son of a bitch," said Paige, as she threw her potion at Cole's feet. As the vial smashed, smoke rose from the ground.
Piper then threw her potion, and there was a small explosion as her vial hit the floor. She then turned to Phoebe, who had not thrown hers.
"Phoebe, come on," she said.
Phoebe looked at the letter and the photo of her and Cole. She then turned to Cole, and she suddenly realised something.
"I know what you're doing."
"Phoebe, throw the potion!" said Paige.
"You never really wanted to kill us, did you?" said Phoebe.
"What are you talking about?" asked Paige.
"He could have killed you back at the manor, he had you alone," Phoebe explained to Paige, and then, turning to Cole, "but you needed all of us to survive for your plan to work. Including Sam."
"Phoebe, have you lost your mind?" said Piper.
"No, you said it yourself – it wasn't a smart plan. Unless you didn't really want to kill us. You wanted us to be so blinded by hate that we couldn't see what you were really up to."
Cole shrugged, smirking.
"Well, it's the only way out for me ...and you want it too, so ..."
"Yeah, but on our terms, not yours," said Phoebe, "We won't help you commit suicide."
"You already have."
Phoebe stared at Cole, confused. Cole then suddenly stretched his arm out and pulled back, magically pulling the potion from Phoebe's hand. As the vial smashed at his feet, he was consumed by an almighty explosion of fire. The blast knocked the sisters to the ground, as the balcony doors were blown open, their windows shattered.
Phoebe was the first to rise to her feet, and as she looked at the site of the explosion, her eyes grew wide in shock.
"Oh my gosh!" she gasped, as Piper and Paige rose to their feet.
There stood Cole, gasping for breath, but unharmed. He looked around, looking just as shocked as Phoebe.
"I don't understand, that should have worked," said Paige loudly.
"Why didn't it?" said Piper.
Cole continued to gasp for breath.
"They knew it wouldn't work," he gasped.
"Who knew?" asked Phoebe, "What are you talking about?"
"You can't vanquish me! Nobody can!"
The screen then vanished, and Prue turned to a shocked Paige.
"Wait a minute, Cole was visited by the Avatars?" she gasped.
"As you can probably guess, they knew how powerful he was, and wanted to make him an Avatar," explained Prue.
"And ... did they?"
"We'll come back to that," she said, "For now, let's pay a visit to another invincible being ..."
He appeared in the Manor attic in a shimmering golden light. The dirty-bearded man looked around, and the first thing that caught his attention was Piper, staring at him.
"Well, I guess I should have seen this coming."
"I want my sisters back now, Cole," said Piper.
"Or what?" asked Cole, "You got nothing, Piper. You can't even vanquish me."
Piper flicked her hand at Cole, who staggered as a small explosion hit his chest.
"Doesn't mean I won't try," said Piper, with a smile.
"OK, if that's the way you want to play it ..."
Cole then threw an energy ball at Piper, but a force-field from her stomach blocked it. Piper also staggered as the energy ball split in two, colliding with odd objects around the attic.
"Ah!" cried Cole, smiling widely, "Impressive!"
"Wait ...," smirked Piper, before flicking both her hands at Cole. This time, the explosion knocked Cole off his feet, and as he hit the floor, he slid into some old wooden furniture.
He struggled up to his knees, and looked up at Piper, who continued to stare at him. He laughed madly.
"Well, looks like things just got interesting ..." he said, before throwing another energy ball.
Piper ducked, and the energy ball destroyed a wooden cabinet on contact. She then retaliated, flicking her hands at Cole, who had risen to his feet. He jumped out the way, and the small window in the wall shattered.
The battle continued, as Cole and Piper took shots at each other, never harming the other. The attic, however suffered great damage: wooden furniture, family ornaments and numerous boxes were destroyed by energy and fire.
"At this rate, they'll tear the attic apart!" cried Paige, as she and Prue stepped back from the battle.
"Don't worry, Paige, it won't get that far!" yelled Prue.
Just then, Cole threw another energy ball, and as the force-field deflected it, Piper was knocked back into a chaise sofa, as the energy ball shattered the roof light. Piper then flicked her hands, and sent Cole flying through the air, and he landed in a pile of boxes.
"Hey!" yelled Leo suddenly, as he entered the attic, "What are you guys doing?!?"
Piper and Cole began to rise to their feet.
"You're both invincible! This is just pointless!"
Cole coughed as he settled himself into a wooden chair.
"Man's got a point, Piper," he said, "The sooner we stop this, the sooner you can save one of your sisters."
"What do you mean one?" said Piper, as Leo turned to her.
"I mean that you're gonna have to choose between them, and if you don't, they'll both die."
Paige shook her head, and Prue leered at Cole.
"Why?" asked Leo, "Are you gonna kill them?"
"No, I'm not going to do anything," replied Cole, "The cards have already been dealt. I'm just giving you guys your options."
"You're delusional if you think that I'm going to choose between my sisters," said Piper.
Cole smiled madly as he rose to his feet, staring at Piper.
"Am I? Isis is the only one that knows how to revive Phoebe, and she's not going to do that unless you cast a spell to eject Paige's spirit from her body."
"I won't do that – Paige would die," said Piper, as Paige smiled lovingly at her.
"Fine ... then eject Isis's spirit instead," shrugged Cole, "But, of course, you'd be saving Paige and killing Phoebe, because without Isis ... there's no way to revive her."
"What about Jeric?" asked Leo, "He mummifies, can't he de-mummify?"
"He traps spirits," said Cole, walking towards Leo, "He doesn't bring bodies back to life – that's Isis's job!"
He then walked away from Leo, talking again to Piper.
"So, of course as you can see, you ... have to make a choice!"
"You sick bastard," said Piper softly but angrily, "I can't choose, and I won't!"
"Oh, well ... then they'll both die ..." said Cole, shrugging. Piper stared angrily at him, and then looked at Leo as he spoke.
"Come on, you're not going to kill Phoebe."
"That is why I am banking on your lovely wife choosing to save her," grinned Cole, looking at Leo.
He then laughed nervously, before turning to Piper.
"I mean, c'mon, after all, she's like your what? Half-sister? You didn't grow up with her or anything; you've only known her for like a year and a half, right? So compared to Phoebe, she's like ... a stranger."
"She is still my sister, and I will find another way," insisted Piper, turning away from Cole.
"There is no other way," said Cole, "and if you waste time looking for one, they'll both die."
Everyone in the attic stared at Piper. Except for Cole, everyone wore a sad look, and Paige even had tears in her eyes. The fact that Piper cared for her just as much as she did for Phoebe left Paige breathless with emotion. Prue appeared to notice this, as she placed her arm over Paige's shoulders.
Piper then slowly turned to Cole, and stared back at him.
"How can you be so evil?"
"Hmm ... it's a gift," shrugged Cole.
"Get out!" said Piper softly, who was now close to tears, "Get out now!"
"OK," said Cole, stepping back, "but when you've made a decision, you call me, OK?"
Piper shook her head, leering at Cole.
"Paige, Phoebe, Phoebe, Paige, Phoeb, pheb, bib, bib, bib ... call me, OK?"
He grinned madly once again, before he walked out of the attic and shimmered away. Leo turned to Piper, and both of them sighed sadly.
Piper walked past Leo, and out of the attic without a word. Leo watched her leave, and then he walked to the Book of Shadows and began to flick through the pages.
"She never told us about this ..." said Paige softly, "I had no idea ..."
"You shouldn't be so surprised," said Prue, with a small smile, "You helped keep this family together after I died, and Piper especially never forgot that. Besides that, Piper has always had the biggest heart in this family, and there was always room for you."
Paige smiled at Prue, and Prue pulled Paige towards her in a one-armed hug.
"I don't know what I would have done if I was Piper," said Paige, with a sigh as she wiped her eyes, "How do you choose between your sisters?"
"Well, as I recall, she didn't actually have to choose ..." said Prue.
"Yep, she ejected Isis's spirit from my body, and then, thanks to Isis, I knew the spell needed to revive Phoebe."
"And then Piper vanquished Jeric ..."
"... which just left Cole..." said Paige.
Prue nodded in agreement.
"Hey, speaking of which, did Cole actually become an Avatar?" asked Paige.
"Yes, yes he did," said Prue, as Paige's eyes grew wide, "That's how he gained the power to alter reality."
"His final plan to win Phoebe back: change reality so that I never became a Charmed One," said Paige, sighing.
"He thought that if you never became Charmed, he could win Phoebe back. Unfortunately for him, though, Phoebe still would not love him the way he loved her."
"And, of course, there was the small matter of me entering this reality, and gaining the trust of Piper and Leo ..."
"... which led to you making the vanquishing potion for Belthazor, as that was the identity Cole took in that reality," said Prue, "He sacrificed his invincibility and wide array of demonic powers in creating the new reality."
"And then came the final showdown ..." said Paige, as Prue took her hand and they disappeared from the attic.
They re-appeared at the foot of the long staircase in the Manor. It was dark outside, and inside, the lights shone red, which was unusual, as was the cocktail bar below the staircase.
"Oh yeah, Cole also took over the Manor," Paige thought aloud.
Just then, Prue and Paige could hear footsteps. They turned towards the dining room to see a younger Paige, Piper and Leo walk towards them. Paige's top was torn, Piper was dressed in a black leather outfit, with knifes placed in holders on her legs and Leo was dressed in a dirty tracksuit. Paige was also holding a potion vial containing a red liquid.
As they reached the bottom of the staircase, Phoebe ran down in her dressing gown and red night-dress.
"What are you guys doing here?" she said, "You have to leave now!"
"Where's Cole?" asked Piper.
Everyone turned just in time to see Cole throw a huge energy ball towards them. It hit younger Paige, Piper and Leo, who were all sent flying backwards into the cocktail bar.
"No!" yelled Phoebe, running to them as they fell to the floor. At the same time, Cole opened his hand, and the potion vial flew into it.
"What do you do to them?!?" yelled Phoebe, turning to him, as Paige raised her head.
"Exactly what they were going to do to me," replied Cole.
Paige leered at Cole, before reaching over and feeling Piper's wrist.
"She's still alive!" she yelled to Phoebe, "Grab her hand!"
"What?" said Phoebe, turning to Paige and then back to Cole.
"I don't know how you got here, Paige," said Cole, "but if it's any consolation, I know exactly where I'm going to bury you ... right next to yourself."
"Grab her hand!" Paige said again, turning to Phoebe. Phoebe hesitated for a moment, and then grabbed Piper's hand.
Almost immediately, the chandelier above began to glow, and a blue light shone over Phoebe, Paige, Piper and Leo. Cole stared at the light, as Phoebe looked at Cole. Cole then threw an energy ball towards them, but the light acted as a shield, deflecting the ball. Cole ducked as it flew back towards him, and it smashed through one of the doors in the conservatory.
The light then faded, and Phoebe rose to her feet, as Cole turned to face her.
"The Power of Three ..." she said softly.
"That's us," said Paige, and then holding out her hand, "Potion!"
The vial in Cole's hand disappeared, re-appearing in Paige's hand in the usual blue orbs.
"I do hate long goodbyes," said Paige, as she prepared to throw the vial.
"No!" yelled Phoebe, grabbing Paige's hand and taking the vial from her. She then turned back to Cole.
"Phoebe, are you crazy?" cried Paige, "Throw it before he shimmers out!"
Phoebe didn't move.
"She's not going to throw it," said Cole, smiling, "Are you?"
"Throw the potion!" said Paige.
Again, Phoebe did not move, but merely looked at Cole.
"We've been through so much together," said Cole, his voice shaking slightly, "haven't we? It's a love so strong; nothing can destroy it, not even this."
Phoebe smiled slightly, as Paige shook her head. Meanwhile, Prue looked sadly at Phoebe, and older Paige looked from Prue to Paige to Phoebe, and then to Cole as he began to speak again.
"We're meant to be together."
Cole and Phoebe looked into each other's eyes; Phoebe still wearing a small smile, and Cole wearing a pleading look. For a few moments, everyone stood in silence, and then...
"I don't think so!"
Phoebe threw the vial straight at Cole, and as it hit him, fire began to spread throughout his body. Phoebe gasped and narrowed her eyes against the glare of the fire, and the two Paiges and Prue did the same.
"AARRRGGHHH! NOOOOOOOO!" Cole roared, as the fire continued to consume him.
Moments later, with an almighty explosion, he was destroyed. Only small flames remained in the spot where he stood, which quickly faded away.
Phoebe stared at the spot in complete shock, and Prue sighed sadly. Suddenly, younger Paige's body began to glow white, and moments later, she had vanished. Phoebe gasped as she turned round and saw that Paige had gone. She then turned back to the spot where Cole had stood, as Piper and Leo began to awaken.
"It's actually quite sad in a way," said Paige, sighing, "I mean, I'm glad we no longer have to worry about him trying to kill us, but at the same time ..."
" ... it's obvious how much they cared about each other," said Prue, as Piper and Leo began to rise to their feet.
"Oh ..." groaned Piper, "What happened? Where's Paige?"
"She's gone ..." said Phoebe, no emotion in her voice, "She disappeared in a white flash."
"She'll have gone back to her own reality," groaned Leo, "which means that the potion worked."
Piper looked at the spot where Phoebe stared, and sighed
"Are you OK?" asked Piper, turning to her sister.
"I don't know ..."
Piper put her arm around Phoebe, and hugged her. Paige did the same to Prue, as the two vanished once again.
Piper, Phoebe and Paige had just walked out of the elevator in Cole's penthouse. It was completely silent, except for the sound of a partially destroyed door being blown open and closed by the wind.
"I'm telling you, he's gone," said Paige softly, "For good."
"Yeah, that's what we thought last time," said Phoebe, as they walked into the penthouse.
"And the time before that," said Piper.
"This time was different," said Paige, walking over to the broken door, and locking it shut, "He straddled two worlds, just like I did, but he wasn't invincible there."
She turned back to Piper, as Phoebe walked back from Cole's bedroom.
"Cole's not coming back ... ever."
"Just seems far too easy," said Piper, "I don't know how I feel about that."
"I think you should feel good about it," said Paige, walking towards Piper, "You know, we don't have to watch over our shoulders any more. It's over!"
Phoebe knelt down to pick up a picture of her and Cole, and stared at it.
"I guess it just wasn't meant to be," she said softly, turning to her sisters. Paige smiled.
"Let's go," said Piper.
The sisters then made their way back towards the elevator. As Piper pressed the button to summon the elevator, Phoebe placed the picture on a small table. She then turned back to the penthouse, and smiled before joining Piper.
As Paige reached the doors, she too turned back to the penthouse. The elevator doors opened, and Piper and Phoebe walked in. Piper held the doors open as Paige sighed.
"Happy birthday, Cole."
She then turned round and joined her sisters in the elevator. Phoebe leaned against the banister as Piper released the button, and the elevator doors closed for the final time.
Prue and Paige walked out into the moonlight shining through the windows, eyes on the closed elevator.
"The end," said Prue softly.
Paige turned to her, and they both smiled sadly. They then held hands, and left the penthouse as the curtains flapped softly in the cold night wind.