“THE HALF-BLOOD DEMON”
Ten minutes after Olivia had returned home from her trip to Monterey, the doorbell rang. She groaned with despair. After spending nearly one-quarter of the day on the road, she had been looking forward to a long rest at home. Alone.
Reluctantly, she walked toward the front door and peered through the peephole. Outside stood a middle-aged woman – a stranger – with auburn hair, elegant features and strangely familiar blue eyes. “May I help you?” Olivia asked.
“My name is Elizabeth Far . . . Turner,” the woman replied with a slight Irish lilt. “I believe that you know my . . .”
Olivia immediately opened the door. “Goddess! You must be Cole’s mother. Aren’t you?” She stepped aside, allowing the demoness to enter the apartment. “I’m Olivia McNeill, your son’s neighbor.”
“Yes, I know.” Cole’s mother glanced around the apartment. “My brother has told me all about you. And your family. I understand that you were once involved with Belthazor.” Her blue eyes seemed to express no emotion.
Immediately on-guard, Olivia regretted her impulsive act. She surreptiously opened the desk’s drawer, using her telekinesis. Inside was a vial containing the remains of the potion she had used on Cole, three weeks ago. “Yes, I was,” Olivia coolly replied. “Is there a reason why you’ve decided to pay me a visit, Mrs. Turner?”
“My son is about to commit a grievous error,” the other female replied. “And it’s all due to another witch named Phoebe Halliwell. His former wife.” Cole’s mother gave Olivia a direct stare. “I believe that you are acquainted with her, as well.”
Phoebe? What the hell has she done? Olivia quickly dismissed the question from her thoughts and answered, “Yes Mrs. Turner, I do know Phoebe. What about her?”
“Please, call me Nimue. If you don’t mind.”
Olivia allowed a brow to quirk upward. “Well . . . Nimue, what exactly has Phoebe done? And why come to . . .?”
The telephone rang. The two females stared at each other, before Olivia went over to the desk to pick it up. “Hello?”
“Livy? Is that you?” Barbara’s voice rang into the redhead’s ear. “Where the hell have you been? And what’s happened to your cell phone?”
Olivia sighed. “I just got in from Monterey. And my phone’s battery went dead. Look Barbara, can we talk later?”
“But I have some important news.”
“So does Cole’s mother. Who happens to be here, inside my apartment. Now.” Olivia paused to stare at the demoness, who was busy inspecting the living room. “So can we . . .?”
Barbara cried, “Oh! Oh, then she must know about Cole and Phoebe. I’ll let her tell you. Bye!”
“Wait! Barbara!” The line went dead. Olivia stared at the cordless phone in her hand. “What the hell is going on?” She directed her gaze at Nimue. “Okay, what’s going on? Barbara said that you might know something about Cole and Phoebe. So what the hell is it?”
Nimue took a deep breath. “According to Marbus – Belthazor’s uncle – this Phoebe has convinced my son to give up his powers. I’ve tried talking the idiot out of this ridiculous plan, but he will not listen.” The demoness stared at Olivia. “Miss McNeill? Are you listening?”
Olivia, who had listened to Nimue’s words in a state of shock, finally snapped out of her catatonic state. “He’s giving up his . . . What the hell? Is he out of his damn mind? Is Phoebe out of her mind?” It did not take Olivia long to answer her second question. “Well, of course she is!” she retorted sarcastically. “This is a fucking Halliwell I’m talking about! She probably talked Cole into this mess, claiming they couldn’t have a real life, while he remained a daemon. Insecure bitch! Doesn’t she realize . . .?” After a pause, Olivia snatched her purse from the sofa. “I’ve got to stop that idiot before he destroys himself!” She marched toward the front door.
“Oh, Miss McNeill,” Nimue called after Olivia. “I can get you to Belthazor a lot faster.” She held out her hand. “If you don’t mind being teleported by a daemon.”
Olivia took hold of the demoness’ hand. “I’m already used to it. Do you know where he is?”
“Yes. Hold on.” And at that moment, the two females shimmered out of the apartment.
Both Piper and Paige marched out of the kitchen, with the latter holding two small jars. One of them contained a green liquid that Phoebe assumed to be the potion. “Everything’s ready!” Paige cheerfully declared. Piper rolled her eyes. Phoebe noticed, but felt too nervous over Cole’s situation to question her older sister’s look.
The half-demon stood up, eyeing the potion with the anxiety of a convict about to face the electric chair. It was not an attitude that Phoebe assumed he would harbor. “Cole? Is there something wrong?”
“Uh . . . look Phoebe, I think I’m getting second thoughts. I don’t know if this is the right thing to do. I mean, it’s like Piper said – the last two times I had lost my powers . . .”
“You’re not backing out now, are you?” Everyone stared at the youngest Charmed One, who had asked the question. Phoebe realized that Paige’s attitude had grown to more than just a willingness to cooperate.
Cole frowned at his former sister-in-law. “What . . . uh, why did you . . .”
Paige shook her head. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to sound like a ball buster. It’s just that we went through all this trouble to make the potion for you. I’m just . . . well, you seemed as if you’re about to change your mind.”
Confusion whirled in Cole’s eyes, as he stared at Paige. And later, Phoebe. The latter silently pleaded with him to stick to the original plan. To her relief, he finally surrendered. “I guess you have a point. Let’s get on with it.” Phoebe could have kissed her younger sister.
Paige held out the potion to Cole. Two figures shimmered into the living room, causing Phoebe to gasp. Cole’s mother and Olivia had decided to pay a visit.
The moment Olivia and Nimue had shimmered into the Halliwell manor, the former saw Paige hold out a small jar to Cole. Using her telekinesis, she snatched the jar from Paige’s hand. “I can’t believe what was about to happen!” she declared.
Cole and the Halliwells stared at the newcomers in shock. “Olivia? Mother! What are you . . .?”
“What are we doing here?” Olivia finished. “I’d like to know what the hell were you about to do? To yourself!”
Blue eyes regarded his parent with muted hostility. “I’m sure that Mother must have told you.”
“Yes she did, Cole. Wha . . . Why? Why are you doing this?”
It was Phoebe who answered. “So he . . . I mean, both of us can have a normal life.”
Olivia stared at Phoebe with contempt. “A normal life? Gee Phoebe, does such a thing exist? Now how exactly do you plan to have this ‘normal life’, while you’re still practicing magic? And hunting daemons?”
“At least we won’t have to worry about Cole’s powers!”
From the corner of her eye, Olivia saw Cole wince at Phoebe’s words. She snickered. “No, but Cole will now have to worry about yours! And your sisters’. But I guess you feel that’s nothing to worry about, considering that your powers are . . . ‘good’.”
Phoebe opened her mouth to retort, but some semblance of common sense must have overcame her. She remained silent. Olivia turned to the half-daemon. “Tell me Cole, was this your idea? To get rid of your powers?”
“Yes, it was!” Phoebe finally rediscovered her tongue.
Once more, Olivia seared the Charmed One with a death glare. “I don’t recall asking you that question.” She faced Cole. “Well?”
Resentment and a touch of longing filled Cole’s eyes. “I . . .” He heaved a deep sigh. “All right. It wasn’t exactly my idea, but I thought it was a good one. When I heard it.”
Olivia sneered. “And how long did it take Phoebe to convince you?”
Cole snapped angrily, “How about . . . it’s none of your damn business! Who in the hell asked you to interfere?” This time, he sneered. “Oh wait! I already know the answer to that question. Mother!” He glared at his parent.
“If this is your idea of getting me to back down,” Olivia retorted, “it won’t work!”
“Butt out, Olivia! This is my choice!”
“Really? I could have sworn it was Phoebe’s!”
Cole stepped forward, his face inches away from Olivia’s. “At least she’s willing to be with me. Give our relationship another chance. She didn’t run off at the first sign of trouble!”
“Are you referring to three weeks ago? Or the two separate occasions involving first Raynor, and then the Source?”
Phoebe took a threatening step forward. “Now just a minute . . .”
Olivia ignored the Charmed One. “As I recall, you’re the one who made the choice to run to Phoebe, after I had dumped you! While I was under that damn spell! And . . . oh yes, you stayed away, after the spell ended! Now here you are, about to give up your powers, all because Phoebe can only accept your human half!”
Phoebe cried out, “Now wait a minute!”
However, Olivia was on a roll. “Tell me, Cole. How is it that a powerful half-daemon with such a fearsome reputation, could possess such an undeniable talent for kissing ass?”
“Excuse me?” Cole looked as if he was about to pop a vein in his forehead.
Olivia glared back. “You heard me. For most of your life, you’ve always seemed to follow the dictates of others. You had tried to become the perfect demonic assassin for Raynor, while buying all that shit he told over the years.” She overheard Nimue snicker. “Then after you met Phoebe and her sisters, you tried to become some supernatural crime fighter and later, a mortal. Phoebe’s little Joe Normal. And now here you are, trying to make that same mistake again. Don’t you ever get tired of trying to be something other than yourself?”
Cole stared at Olivia, obviously stunned by her words. “I . . .”
“Has it ever occurred to you that those powers don’t belong to him?” Phoebe retorted. “They’re not his.”
“And exactly to whom do they belong, Phoebe?” Olivia shot back. “The daemons who used to own them? Oh wait! They lost the damn things the moment they entered the Wasteland. In case you didn’t know, sweetheart, between the moment those powers were separated from the vanquished daemons and the moment when Cole when Cole took them, those powers belonged to no one. Finder’s keepers!”
Nimue added, “Miss McNeill is correct. You may not have been originally born with these new powers, Belthazor, but you were resurrected with them. As of now, they are as good as yours.”
“Not for long!” Phoebe faced the half-daemon. “Right Cole?”
All eyes turned to Cole. Who radiated a helpless air. “Uh . . . I . . .” For the second time, he seemed speechless.
Olivia briefly closed her eyes and sighed. “Look Cole, I can’t tell you what to do. You have to make the coice on your own. Look into your heart . . . and ask yourself what you really want to do.” She stared at him with pleading eyes.
Cole glanced at the five women in the room. Olivia could see the struggle for an answer in his eyes. Then . . . he sighed. “Phoebe,” he said to his ex-wife, “I’m sorry.”
“I can’t go through with this. Phoebe, I’m a half-daemon/half-human hybrid. I had been born as one, I died as one and I came back as one. I can’t . . .” He shook his head. “I can’t deal with being a mortal again. It’s just not natural for me.”
To Olivia’s surprise, the potion in her hand disappeared. It reappeared in Paige’s hand. Then the half-whitelighter unscrewed the jar and flung the contents upon Cole. The half-daemon screamed in pain, as he fell to his knees.
“What the hell?” Olivia began, as she stared at Cole in horror.
Piper yelled at her youngest sister. “Paige! What the hell did you just do?”
The youngest Charmed One then orbed Cole’s powers into the empty jar and closed it. “Job completed!” she crowed, before she vanished.
Both Olivia and Nimue knelt beside the fallen Cole. “What the bloody hell just happened?” the demoness demanded.
Olivia gently patted Cole’s cheek. “Paige just pulled a fast one on us. The only thing is that I don’t know why.”
“Maybe she’s under some spell,” Piper suggested. “She’s been acting weird all day.”
A groan left Cole’s mouth. His eyes fluttered open. “What happened?” he muttered.
“That witch . . . or whitelighter . . .or whatever she was, stole your powers!” Nimue declared. She glared at the other two Halliwells. “So much for the goodness of the Charmed Ones!”
Piper protested, “We didn’t know what was going to happen! She must be under some kind of spell!”
Olivia and Nimue helped Cole to his feet. He sat down in the nearest chair, while the redhead asked his mother, “Do you think you’ll be able to track Paige?”
“Of course,” the demoness replied. “All I have to do is teleport to wherever she is. That is how my power works.”
“Right.” Olivia grabbed Nimue’s arm. “Let’s go.” And the pair shimmered out of the manor.
END OF PART 5