Disclaimer:I do not own anything in relation to Charmed.

A burst of steam fills the room as Gideon steps out of the shower and into the main bathroom of Halliwell manor. Grateful to Paige for allowing him the use of the manor's amenities after vanquishing a particularly slime infested Yhsiuqs demon, he reaches for a towel to dry his hair as he exits the bathroom. I wonder if my clothes are dry yet.

As he steps into the hallway, he is instantly met with a shocked gasp and a wide-eyed gaze, an extremely impressed and interested gaze, belonging to Phoebe Halliwell. "Gideon!" she greets with a nervous giggle. "What are you doing here at this time of the morning and dressed," she waves a hand at his towel slung low on his hips, "or maybe I should say not dressed like that?"

Completely unfazed by her reaction, Gideon begins to explain himself when a very pregnant Piper suddenly waddles around the corner calling out to her family. "Okay, so what is taking everybody so long? Breakfast is getting cold!" She spies Gideon and her eyes simultaneously widen and dart to Phoebe as she inquires, "Phoebe, would you care to tell me what's going on here?"

Phoebe's giggling increases as she swivels back and forth between her sister and Gideon. "Well, I was coming downstairs for breakfast, just minding my own business, when I practically walked into Gideon here!" She takes a deep breath and looks him up and down. "Dressed like this!"

"I can see that," notes Piper admiringly as she takes another peek at Gideon.

"I think everyone can see that," remarks Cole as he appears behind a startled and flushed Phoebe. "You know, Gideon, I would think that being an Elder had taught you more about the importance of wearing a robe."

"Don't listen to him;" reassures Phoebe while she elbows Cole in the ribs, "you look fine, great in fact!" She places a hand over her fluttering heart and questions in a low tone, "Have you been working out?"

Cole throws a hand over Phoebe's face to cover her eyes and growls, "Gideon, go and get dressed!"

Taken aback by Cole's brusque manner, Gideon draws himself up to his full height and despite the situation, manages to retain an almost regal like bearing. "I am waiting for Paige to return with my clothes, Cole. She was kind enough to offer to clean them while I partook in a shower."

"Unfortunately, your clothes are a lost cause," announces Paige unexpectedly as she heads over to the Elder with a sheepish expression. "I'm sorry, Gideon. The washing machine was a bust and when I tried to use the Vanishing Spell, your clothes disappeared completely." She shrugs helplessly at Gideon's stricken expression. "Consider it a result of personal gain?"

"Personal gain?" questions Leo as he exits his and Piper's bedroom while carrying Wyatt. "Who's using personal gain?" He stops in his tracks when he discovers everyone staring at Gideon. "And why is everyone standing around gawking at Gideon while he's half dressed?" Leo shifts Wyatt in his arms as he narrows his eyes at his wife. "Especially you, Piper!"

"What?" asks Piper defensively. "You're the one who told me that I should get to know Gideon better and you can't get any more personal than this!"

"Come on, Gideon," offers Leo with a huff of annoyance directed towards Piper, "you can borrow something of mine to wear."

Not wanting to upset Leo further, Gideon cautiously eyes Leo's attire. "That's very kind of you, Leo, but hardly necessary. It won't take me but a moment to conjure up something."

Gideon is about to wave his hand when both Piper and Phoebe move forward to grab hold of it. "No!" orders Piper firmly. "There will be no more magic," she aims a quick glare at Paige, "until we absolutely need it!"

At Gideon's baffled look, Phoebe explains, "See, we haven't been attacked by any demons in the house for weeks now so we haven't had to use any magic. Now that may be a coincidence, but we really don't want to test that theory."

"Phoebe," urges Cole, "you can let go of Gideon's hand now."

"What?" she squeaks, surprised to find that she's still grasping his hand. She releases another nervous giggle before flashing an apologetic smile to both Gideon and her husband as she takes a step back. "Sorry about that."

Leo's moving back towards his bedroom when Gideon throws out his arm to halt his progress. "Leo, no!" he shouts as all eyes turn on him in surprise and confusion. "Erm…it's only that I thought that perhaps it would be best if I borrowed something from Cole."

"Something wrong with my wardrobe, Gideon?" quizzes Leo suspiciously.

"Don't make him answer that, Leo," requests Paige while shifting uncomfortably. "By the time that he's done, well…Piper's already said that breakfast is getting cold."

"What's that supposed to mean?" grits Leo.

Cole quickly steps forward and answers for her. "Calm down, Leo. It simply means that Gideon's taste in couture matches his taste for wines." His smile becomes positively devious. "Besides, I have the perfect thing for Gideon to wear."

He clasps a hand on Gideon's shoulder and starts pushing him in the direction of his and Phoebe's bedroom. "Come on, Gideon, let's get you dressed." When Phoebe starts to follow them, he spins around and orders, "You stay here!"

"What?" yelps a startled Phoebe. "Oh yeah, of course," she apologizes while waving her hands nervously in front of her. She hazards a glance at Paige as she steps backwards next to her sister and mumbles hurriedly, "Sorry, so sorry."

"Alright everyone," announces Piper teasingly, "it's time for breakfast! So let's all go downstairs where the only thing that we have to worry about being stolen is someone's bacon and not someone's man."

Phoebe whacks her sister on the arm as she passes by with Leo and Wyatt and then turns to Paige with a sheepish grin. "She's such a kidder!" She leans in close and notes conspiratorially, "Gideon is yummy though."

"Come on, Sis," urges Paige as she throws her arm around Phoebe's shoulders, "let's go wait for our men." She gives her a sideways mock glare. "And be sure to keep your hands off my bacon."

Ten minutes later finds everyone seated around the breakfast table while Piper dishes out servings onto their plates. She bears a mischievous gleam in her eyes as she asks, "How are you doing there, Gideon? Those clothes are quite a bit of a change for you."

Gideon exhibits a pained grimace as he stares down at his maroon t-shirt that states in large blue letters, 'ELDERBERRY WINE'. He looks over at Cole and remarks morosely, "I thought that you only wore suits."

Cole waves a hand dismissively. "Those are only for work, this is my casual wear." He nods his head to indicate Gideon's shirt. "I picked up that little number at a wine festival that Phoebe and I went to a few weeks ago. I believe that we still have some of the Elderberry wine left if you want to give it a try."

"No, no thank you," replies Gideon while he shifts uncomfortably in his chair. "Are jeans always so stiff?"

"You'll get used to it," comments Leo. "The more that you wear them, the softer the material becomes."

"Yes," drawls Gideon as he plucks at his shirt and shifts once more, "I see. Well, that should give me something to look forward to then."

"Cole," requests Piper as she balances several plates, could you move that for me so that I can set these down?"

He glances down at the Book of Shadows and wryly mentions, "You know, Piper, you and Paige can quit testing me to see if I'm evil." He reaches out with his hand and flips through the pages. "See? I can still touch the book."

"Cole," chastises Phoebe, "don't be ridiculous, they're not testing you!" She gives a slight laugh which abruptly stops when she arches an eyebrow at her sisters. "Wait a minute…are you testing him?"

"They must be," he answers for them. "Otherwise, why else would they keep asking me to move the book or hand it to them?"

Paige rolls her eyes at Cole's admission. "Oh, please, we only ask you because you're closer."

"Yes, that's it exactly," assures Piper patiently. "So if you want to eat then I suggest that you move the book."

After moving the book, he takes the plates from Piper as she informs the others in a stage whisper, "Whew! That was close; I guess we're still safe."

The table erupts in good-natured laughter and Cole's suspicion causes an old memory to resurface for Phoebe. "You know, even if they were testing you, you got off lucky. I remember when Piper used to freeze our boyfriends and prick their fingers to see if they were Warlocks since they don't bleed."

"Really?" inquires Paige laughingly as Piper nods proudly and the women all share a laugh while the men discreetly check their hands for any punctures.

Piper finally allows herself the luxury of sitting down for breakfast when she notices Leo grimace after he takes a bite of his biscuit. "What's wrong, honey?"

"Oh, it's nothing," hastens Leo to reassure his wife. When his reply earns him a hard stare, he amends, "It's just a little cold."

"I knew it!" huffs Piper in frustration as she throws down her napkin and begins to ease her large frame away from the table.

Gideon holds out his hand as he rises from the table and offers, "Please allow me to reheat them for you, Piper." Her mouth is barely opening to form a response when he throws his hands up in the air defensively. "I won't use magic, I promise. Paige has been teaching me how to use mortal appliances and I feel quite confident in my ability to function in the kitchen."

Peeking at Paige and watching her nod encouragingly, Piper relents in agreement. "Thank you, Gideon, I will definitely take you up on that," as she leans back comfortably into her chair with a soft sigh.

Unfortunately, Piper's respite is short-lived when a loud crack and the smell of smoke fill the air. "What the hell was that?" shrieks Piper as she bats away Leo and Phoebe's hands as they struggle to keep her in her chair.

Quickly following him into the kitchen, the others are stunned to see a giant crack in the glass of the microwave door with smoke billowing out of it along with flames and sparks that have spread over to the kitchen towels on the counter.

"I'm sorry, Piper, but I believe there's something wrong with your microwave," frets Gideon as he waves his hands to disperse the smoke.

"Piper," reasons Paige, "you really shouldn't be in here; the smoke isn't good for the baby!"

"I'm not going anywhere!" She points an accusing finger at Gideon. "Not until I find out what he did to my kitchen!"

"But I didn't do anything, I swear!" avows Gideon wholeheartedly. "I merely reheated the biscuits using the same process that Paige showed me." He gazes off seeming to ponder something for a moment. "Perhaps there was something wrong with the tinfoil."

"Tinfoil?" groans Paige as she and Phoebe hold Piper back and Leo and Cole work together to put out the fire. "Gideon, we used the tinfoil in the oven!"

"I know, but the microwave is so much faster," he states reasonably.

Both Phoebe and Paige grab Piper's hands when she raises them towards Gideon. They don't know whether she wants to freeze him or blow him up but they don't want to find out. "This is all your fault!" she growls at Paige.

"My fault? How is this my fault?" she demands irritably.

"I told you no magic, but would you listen? No! You just had to go and do a Vanishing Spell to clean your boyfriend's precious suit!" grits Piper between clenched teeth.

"To be fair," remarks Gideon, "it was one of my favorite suits."

Piper's eyes practically bulge out of their sockets as Paige desperately tries to call her sister's attention back to her. "Look, Piper, I'm sorry about this but look at the bright side. At least we weren't attacked by demons."

"I don't know," opines Cole in a hushed voice to Leo, "I think Piper's doing a pretty good imitation of one right now."

Shooting Cole a death glare while she rubs Piper's back, Phoebe suggests, "Hey Cole and Leo, why don't you take Gideon out of the house for a bit until we have a chance to clean up this mess?" And calm Piper down.

"Good idea!" snarls Piper as she stares around her smoldering kitchen wondering where to begin.

Leo pats Gideon's back and claims, "I have the perfect place, Gideon, and it's not too far from here. Come on guys, let's go grab our plates and give the ladies some space."

Are you sure that I shouldn't stay and help? he sends out to Paige telepathically.

Reading her mind, he receives, Only if you want to help yourself into an early grave. Now, go, shoo, we'll be fine.

Giving her a small smile, Gideon turns back to the other two men and allows them to lead him back to the dining room to collect their meals and head out of the house.

To Be Continued…

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TV Shows » Charmed » The Best Laid Plans

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Author: enchantment1972

Rated: T - English - Romance/Humor - Reviews: 2 - Published: 06-26-13 - Updated: 12-06-13


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Author's Note: The sisters won't reappear until Paige calls the men back inside at the very end of this chapter. Sorry about that but I just wanted to show a bit more of the men's relationship and camaraderie with each other.

I think that if they were given the chance, the three of them could truly have become fast friends. Despite their different backgrounds, they still have similar experiences in both the magical and mortal world and most especially (for this 'verse anyway) their bond of loving a Halliwell witch. I tried my best to reflect that in this chapter and I hope it worked. :)

Stepping into the garage, Leo flicks on the light switch and mentions, "I hope you guys don't mind eating in here but I don't want to be too far away from Piper in case she needs me."

"No problem, buddy," replies Cole as he scans the area for a place to sit. When he spies a couple of folding chairs, he sets them up and reaches for his plate once he's settled in. Realizing that in the rush to escape Piper's wrath that they forgot their glasses of orange juice, he spots the garden hose curled up in the corner and pleads, "Leo, please tell me that you have a cooler around here somewhere. I don't mind my food being of the garden variety but not my beverages."

Leo walks over to his work bench and squatting down to shove aside some old junk, proudly declares, "Better than that!" as he reveals a mini-fridge and a newly built cupboard filled with various snacks. "It's tough being married to a chef, Piper watches me like a hawk so that I don't spoil my dinner. Good thing that she doesn't know about all the snacks I pick up from charges," he adds with a wide grin.

"So what exactly is the house, or shall I say the garage serving this morning?" inquires Cole.

Opening up the fridge, Leo states, "We've got soda pop and beers."

Gideon doesn't even hesitate before deciding, "Well, seeing as it is still morning, I'd best forego any alcohol."

"What? Are you mad, man?" cries Cole. "Did you see Piper's reaction to her newly remodeled kitchen?" He waves a hand at Leo and urges, "Leo, don't listen to him, give him the beer!"

Leo ignores Cole as he hands out the sodas. "Take it from me, Cole, when Piper's that angry, it's better to be sober. That way you have a clear head to plan your getaway."

"Yes…well…I'm sorry about your kitchen," apologizes Gideon, a hint of embarrassment tingeing his tone. "Perhaps Piper will allow me to restore it once she's calmed down."

"I wouldn't hold your breath on that one, pal," mutters Cole while he and Leo share a knowing look.

"So, Gideon, this is the first time that you've been out here. What do you think of my garage?" asks Leo.

Gideon surveys the room full of some familiar and some not so familiar items before answering politely, "It's very interesting. You seem to have a lot of tools here; I thought that your skills as a handyman were only utilized when approaching a charge that was new to the craft. I had no idea that you used them in recreational activities as well."

"Well, I've always enjoyed working with my hands and the era that I was brought up in always taught me that if you could repair something then there was no need to waste your money on buying something new," replies Leo wisely. He gives a slight shrug. "Besides, it's not just a place to fix things, the garage keeps me sane."

Gideon's brow furrows in confusion. "And how exactly does it accomplish that?"

Since Leo is busy chewing the mouthful of food he just scooped up, Cole kindly answers for him. "It accomplishes that because it's not merely a garage, Gideon. Take a look around and notice the distinct lack of feminine items and frills that we all appreciate on our women but not in our own private domains. No, this isn't a simple garage; it's a refuge, a fortress of solitude, a sanctuary."

Gideon's expression still carries a trace of bewilderment so Leo explains, "It's a man cave."

"I've never heard of that expression before," counters Gideon. "What does it mean?"

"It's where we hide from the girls when we're not fixing my truck," expounds Leo before he picks up his bacon and takes a bite.

"Or eventually working on my bike," reminds Cole as he casts an accusing eye at Leo. "Exactly when is that supposed to be happening again?"

"As soon as I have the time, Cole!" huffs Leo in frustration. "You know how busy I've been with dividing my time between Magic School, my Whitelighter duties and getting ready for the baby."

Cole groans, "I know that Leo but I can't ride around on that monstrosity anymore, it's embarrassing!"

"What's wrong with a motorcycle?" queries Gideon. "From what Paige has told me, I thought that mortals considered them quite flash."

"They are," grouses Cole, "and so was the one I bought until Piper blew it up during a demon attack."

"Then what bike are you referring to?" requests Gideon taking note of Leo's abrupt coughing fit in a poor attempt to cover his laughter.

Bearing an expression that reads pure misery, Cole tilts his head to indicate a bright pink Ten Speed bicycle leaning against a nearby wall. "It's Phoebe's; she's letting me use it until my bike is fixed."

"How humiliating for you," sympathizes Gideon.

"Yes, thank you, Gideon, I'm well aware of the embarrassment factor," gripes Cole as he glares at his two friends, "but not all of us can orb." He stares longingly at Leo's truck. "So when is this heap going to be ready so that we can share it?"

"It's not a heap, Cole!" defends Leo of his 1928 Ford Model AA. "It's a classic!"

"Whatever you call it, it's my passport to freedom!" Cole straightens up as an idea occurs to him. "Hey, maybe we could work on it after breakfast. Gideon could help us!"

"Oh yes, that would be splendid!" exclaims the headmaster. "Paige has been introducing me to quite a number of things in the mortal world and I would be more than happy to offer my assistance." He seems to preen a bit as he notes, "I happen to be quite handy with a hammer."

Leo hems a bit as he tries to find a graceful way out of accepting Gideon's offer. "Um…yeah, well…hey Cole, I've been meaning to ask you, what's Paige been cornering you about lately?" he questions with a tight smile and beseeching eyes.

Cole smirks knowingly at his brother-in-law's change of tactic. "She wants me to help out with some free legal aid at her old office like before. Apparently, they're extremely short-staffed down there and they're desperate for some volunteers."

"But what about that man that you hit right before you were possessed by the Source?" quizzes Leo as he starts in on his pancakes.

"That's all been taken care of," insists Cole with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Paige and Darryl were able to convince the lead supervisor that it was all due to a bad reaction to some medication." His grin is cocky as he divulges, "It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud when Paige swore that they had taken care of the 'source' of the problem and that it would never happen again."

"I'm thinking of starting next weekend, you know, put in a couple of hours here and there." He glances up from his plate and stops cutting up his ham as he notices Gideon's countenance of displeasure. "What's wrong with you? I thought that you'd appreciate the fact that I've mended my evil ways."

"Of course I'm glad that you're attempting to atone for your previous transgressions, but…" his voice trails off as he grimaces in distaste. "You were a lawyer?"

"Yes," claims Cole heatedly, "and I was a damn good one!"

"Is there such a thing?" inquires Gideon doubtfully.

The attorney side of Cole's mind is already gearing up for his next argument when Leo advises, "Give it up, Cole. I've known Gideon for a long time and he can out argue the best of them. Besides," he comments as he takes a quick sip of his drink, "I think he was less disgusted with you when you were just a demon."

"Yes," admits Gideon with that far off gaze and tone he so often exhibits when his thoughts are on other matters. Within moments he comes back to himself and confesses, "Actually, I'm glad that we were forced out here, I've wanted to speak with the two of you for quite some time."

"Something wrong at Magic School, Gideon?" questions Leo in concern.

"No, no," he denies, "everything's fine there, this has to do with Paige." A flash of frustration crosses Gideon's face as he discloses, "I find myself having difficulty acclimating to the mortal world as easily as Paige has accustomed herself to the magical one. I'm afraid my attempts at fitting in are causing her a great deal of embarrassment and distress and constantly leaving her in a state of sheer frustration."

Cole swallows down his hash browns before revealing, "Well, Phoebe told me that Paige told her that you've maintained a steady pace when it comes to the kissing and handholding stage of the relationship." He scoops up another bite of food before adding, "Trust me, buddy, it's not your attempts to fit in that are causing the frustration."

Gideon's tone is a bit haughty as he replies, "Honestly Cole, I thought that it would be obvious to anyone that I'm displaying my utmost respect for Paige by treating her like a lady."

"Yeah?" remarks Cole with a hint of laughter. "Well that may work in the Jane Austen era, but if you want to keep a Halliwell witch then you'll learn how to start treating her like a woman." He stabs another piece of ham onto his fork as he turns to his brother-in-law. "Isn't that right, Leo?"

Gideon slowly chews his food as he watches Leo squirm uncomfortably in his chair while he darts an uneasy glance between Cole and Gideon. When he continues to remain silent, Gideon scoffs, "Leo, surely you don't agree with him."

Leo's eyes widen as he takes a deep breath before answering. "Well…," he looks over to a disbelieving Gideon and a smug Cole, "to a degree." He gazes contemplatively at his breakfast before casting a chagrined expression towards Gideon. "You see, it's like this. When it comes to the Halliwell women, they're as passionate as they are powerful."

Cole attempts to hide his smile by taking another bite of food when Gideon's eyebrows rise in both surprise and interest. "It's not that they're ruled by their hormones or anything like that," assures Leo with a wave of his soda before he takes a huge gulp, "but more that they're very…," his eyes narrow as he tries to come up with the right word, "emotional!"

"But not in a bad way!" he insists fervently. "It's more like how their powers are tied to their emotions; it basically works the same way." Leo aims a pleading gaze at Cole. "Cole, could you help me out here?"

Cole barks out a laugh before apologizing to the exasperated Whitelighter. "Sorry, buddy, it's only that I've never been called on for counsel before someone's been accused."

Gideon lets out a loud, "Ha!" and even Leo has to join in their laughter. "Anyway," begins Cole as he returns to the topic at hand, "Leo's right about the sisters, their every decision and instinct is tied to their emotions. They'll rely far more on their emotional responses than they ever will any piece of logic or reasoning that's presented to them." He leans closer to Gideon and urges, "That's why you've got to forgo any pre-conceived notions or plans of attack that you might have and just go with your emotions."

The ex-demon settles back in his chair and recalls, "Early on in our relationship, I tried a lot of planning and it never worked out, it only served to cause a lot of problems between us and her sisters. So just go with your gut," he advises as he takes a quick bite of his eggs, "a true emotional response is what Paige will relate to best, regardless of your misguided ideas of being a gentleman."

Gideon's expression is dubious as he mulls over Cole's recommendation. "But didn't your problems with Phoebe and her sisters stem from your plotting to kill them?"

"Okay, yes that was part of it," concedes Cole as Leo smirks at him, "but my point still stands. Besides," he gestures at Leo with his fork, "Leo had the same problem with Piper."

"Really?" asks Gideon in a doubtful tone.

"Well, not as drastically as Cole, obviously, but whenever I held back with Piper by trying to maintain a strictly working relationship, it never worked out. Either I kept trying to push her away to maintain a professional and emotional distance or my need for her became so great that I'd basically use any excuse to see her." Leo shakes his head sadly in regret. "There were a lot of mixed signals, Gideon, and that caused a lot of mixed feelings which caused a lot of grief. So please, if you can learn anything from mine and Cole's mistakes, just be honest with how you feel about Paige and follow your instincts." He offers his friend an encouraging smile. "And more importantly, follow your heart."

Gideon bears a soft grin as he considers Leo's words and Cole nods in agreement before adding, "Yeah, that's great advice, Leo." He exhibits a devilish smile as he faces Gideon and notes, "Especially the part about your heart. After all, I don't think that Paige is exactly interested in your mind at the moment."

Gideon blushes fiercely as he seeks to avoid Cole's teasing gaze until he notices that Cole's laughter is instantly quelled when Leo interjects, "From what I saw this morning in the hallway, it looks as if Phoebe's of the same opinion."

"Shut up, Leo," mutters Cole fiercely before digging into his eggs with more force than necessary.

Gideon chews the last of his food thoughtfully as the men eat in quiet companionship. "I must say that you two have given me some food for thought," jests Gideon as he sets his empty plate down on an old wooden crate. "I may have to work on my physical approach with Paige but at least I know that our social engagements have been going quite well."

Leo and Cole share a silent communication with each other until Leo relents and shifting in uncomfortably in his seat and clearing his throat nervously, he forces himself to inquire, "Gideon, Paige hasn't just been talking to Phoebe, she's been talking to Piper as well and there's something that she wanted me to ask you about." He bites his lip and plows ahead. "Is it true that you're using your dates with Paige as an excuse to vanquish demons?"

Gideon's does a fair impression of intimidating the men with his full height while managing to maintain his seat in the chair as he perceives Leo's question as an insult to his character. "I would not tarnish the pleasure and privilege of Paige's company with an excuse to eradicate a few demons!"

Leo and Cole both cast apologetic expression towards their friend until he finishes, "I purposely plan it that way so that we can share in the joy of ridding the world of evil as well as basking in each other's company!"

Both Halliwell husbands are rendered speechless by this passionate declaration until Cole breaks the silence by practically doubling over in laughter. In between catching his breath, he remarks, "That's great, Gideon! Even at my most evil, I didn't have a plan that topped that!"

Gideon merely stares back at him in befuddlement while Leo offers a compassionate smile. "Maybe we could talk it out a bit, you know, give you some ideas on where you could go without fighting evil?"

"How about back in the house?" pipes up a feminine voice from behind them. They all turn around to see an anxious Paige clutching the door frame. "Leo, you better hurry back inside, your wife's in labor!"

To Be Continued…