So I've finally managed to get out another Phoebe/Coop story out--there's many more where this came from, but writing these two always ends up being delightfully hard. This was originally supposed to be a post-finale story but somewhere along the way, I decided it would be interesting to tweak it to fit into the storyline of final episodes of the show. Regardless, enjoy!
Spoilers: Set immediately after 8x19, "The Jung and the Restless," and before 8x20, "Gone with the Witches," with allusions to the rest of the season.
Disclaimers: Charmed is the property of Spelling Television and all the wonderful people who made the magic possible. I'm just a fan trying to keep the memory alive.
The kettle hissed softly as she set it down on the metal grill of the stove. Phoebe propped her elbows on the countertop and rested her chin on her palms, watching thin wisps of steam curl upwards, thoughts floating somewhere far away.
Muscles tensing, she twisted around. "Coop! You startled me."
"You look like you could use someone to bore."
"Why do you say that?"
He just smiled. "It just feels like one of those days."
"Hmm." Most likely he had been watching, always watching and waiting, but she didn't say so. Still, he was right—it had been one of those days indeed. "I can't sleep," she confessed.
"Billie?" he guessed.
"Billie… Paige… everything," Phoebe sighed. "I can't stop thinking about those dreams." She immediately regretted her words. He looked intrigued.
"Tell me about them."
She cleared her throat uncomfortably and stared at an invisible spot on the floor. The memory rushed at her, refusing to be pushed away. Her and Coop. Kissing. Almost kissing. Her and Coop. Talking about children. Their children. "They were nothing," she mumbled even as the sultry images clung to her, trying to find a meaning.
Eyebrows raised, he gave her that same odd look Piper had given her. "You just said you can't stop thinking about them."
"Yeah, well, what I meant was… they were… I mean…" Her hands could barely stay still. She let out a frustrated breath and finally looked up at him. "What if I'm not meant to have both? What if I have to choose between love and that little girl?"
He was in front of her in an instant, impending frown tugging at his handsome features.
She was seized by the sudden urge to hold his face and see if it fit in the curve of her palm and fingers the way hers seemed to fit in his. Her hands curled into fists and she hurried to continue. "I know what you're going to say, but there's just no time. There's never enough time."
"It's not about time, Phoebe. It's about what you want. For yourself. For that little girl."
She shook her head. "You can't imagine what today was like for me. Seeing Paige almost die. Realizing that Piper was right and that somehow, Billie is now the enemy. Sometimes I feel like it'll never end. Sometimes, I feel like that's all my life is—one big battle after another."
"Love," he said firmly, "is above all that. Love always finds a way. But you have to believe in it. Love is all about believing."
"I try," she whispered. "I want to believe but sometimes I can't and the only thing I can see is everything slipping away."
"It's destined, I promise you." The way his voice dropped several pitches made him feel closer even though he hadn't moved at all.
Her nails dug into her skin and she reminded herself to breathe and not imagine things. "How can you be so sure? How do you keep believing?"
He did step closer then. "Close your eyes."
"You said you wanted to believe." He held out his hands, palms up. "And take my hands."
Her closing eyes flew open and regarded him suspiciously. "Coop…"
He slipped his outstretched hands beneath hers and squeezed gently, smiling. "Trust me."
Her eyes drifted to his and stilled. "Okay," she said finally. "But no more showing me my past. I've seen enough of it."
"No," he agreed. "This isn't about your past. Now, what do you want more than anything?"
"The daughter I was promised."
"Think of how much you want her." He tightened his hold on her hands. "Remember how it felt to see her. Hold her. Love her."
His ring buzzed warmly against their skin and whooshed to life. When they were standing on solid ground again it was among pink-and-white striped walls bathed in golden warmth. To their right, lacy, white curtains brushed their arms, riding the cool, fragrant breeze.
Puzzled, Phoebe looked up at Coop. "Where are we?"
They both jumped, joined hands falling apart. They turned simultaneously toward the feminine chuckle by the opposite wall. Coop smiled; Phoebe just stared.
Familiar brown eyes stared back, twinkling. Her future self smiled broadly as she watched them, creaking back and forth on a white chair, pink blanket draped over the arms and across her lap. "Hello."
Phoebe shook her head in disbelief. "We do this a lot, don't we?"
Her future self laughed. "We do it enough." She folded her hands over the blanket, watching as Phoebe drifted toward the crib.
Phoebe touched the smooth, painted bars lightly, sometimes pressing down as if to make sure it was real. Frowning, she reached in and ran her hand over the downy, unwrinkled blanket. "Where is she?"
Her future self looked delighted. She pushed the pink blanket aside. "Right here."
She grinned. "Don't look so surprised. Everyone's been telling us that it would turn out okay. You should listen to them."
Phoebe suppressed her own smile. "Did you?"
"Doesn't matter. The point is, we have a lot to be thankful for." She looked to Coop. "We have a lot to thank him for."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I'm not alone." She rested her hands over her stomach, wedding band flashing as she moved. "We're not alone. Who do you think did all this when he found out I was pregnant?" She gazed out the window. "He'll be home soon. He's going to want to talk to the baby. Maybe read to her. Or sing. He likes that. We picked out a name already you know."
"Sounds perfect," Phoebe said quietly.
Her future self turned back to her, serious and unblinking. "You're not really afraid you won't be able to juggle love and a family."
"Don't think about it so much." She leaned forward and held Phoebe's gaze meaningfully. "Go with your heart."
There was a rustling outside and the sound of footsteps. Phoebe's forehead creased—she hadn't heard the door.
Coop was suddenly behind her and unexpectedly close. "We should go."
Phoebe turned to glance at her future self one last time as Coop scooped up her hands in his. She was alarmed to see her watching the two of them with interest but before she could decide what to make of it, they were whisked away.
The condo settled into place around them and Phoebe's eyes flicked up to Coop's at the same time his looked down to hers. She swallowed. "Thank you. For listening and for what you did." She didn't let go of his hands.
"Of course. It's my job." He made no attempt to move away from her either.
She studied his dark eyes looking at her in an exhilarating way. The dream nagged at her. The emotions, the feeling of closeness colored the memory and seeped into the present. "Coop, I—"
The whistle of the kettle jarred the moment, scattering her thoughts. Their hands slipped apart and reality came crashing back down. She was dizzy with the anticipation of what had almost happened.
Coop smiled—forgivingly it seemed to her—and stepped back. "Good night, Phoebe."
She watched as he dissolved into warm pink and floated away. "Good night, Coop."
She twisted a dial on the stove and the kettle sputtered into silence. The images swirled round and round, pressing for answers she didn't want to give. The storm of protests roared.
Don't think so much…. Go with your heart….
She was alone. What harm could it do?
"Love you," she whispered to the stillness of the condo. The overwhelming sense of impossibility vanished. She shivered at how right the words tasted. She would never be able to sleep now.
Reviews are welcome and definitely appreciated. If there was any confusion at all (especially in the conversation between the two Phoebes), please feel free to point it out--I'm always open to constructive criticism. Finally, thank you for reading!