The Road Traveled

Finale of SHIMMER: An AU

"I just don't see why they're making you go," Piper complained.

"It's just for a week, Piper," Leo said, trying to console her. "You know they're only doing this so I can get some time off after the wedding."

"Yeah, but - " she broke off, finally noticing the movements in the next room.

Cole was quickly buttoning up his shirt while Phoebe tried to straighten her clothes and pat down her mussed hair.

Piper and Leo looked the other way. "Phoebe," Piper scolded, "there's a reason you have your own room."

Phoebe blushed and pulled her shirt down so it now covered her stomach. She and Cole both stood up, but Cole stooped down again almost immediately when he noticed Phoebe's bra was still in his hand, to hide it beneath one of the cushions.

"We didn't hear you come in," Cole said, knowing full well that the reason was because Leo had orbed the two in. He took perverse pleasure in making the two, especially Leo, squirm. Phoebe discreetly elbowed him and shot him a ‘behave yourself’ glare.

"Yeah, umm, we were quiet," Leo said nervously.

"Well, anyway, I should get going," Cole said. "I need to get to work."

"Here, let me get that," Phoebe said, straightening his tie.

"Thanks," Cole said. He kissed her on the cheek. "I'll give you a call."

"Okay," said Phoebe cheerfully. She waited until he reached his car before waving a final time. She closed the door and turned to face Piper and Leo. "Thanks, you guys," she said sarcastically.

"Hey," Piper protested, "if you don't want to be interrupted while making out with your boyfriend, don't do it on our couch."

"I'm more worried that he almost caught us orbing in," Leo said.

Phoebe looked away. "Umm, yeah."

"You guys are getting pretty serious, aren't you?" Piper commented. "How long has it been now? Five? Six months that you've been going out? Have you thought about maybe telling him?"

Phoebe hated how Piper could make her feel so guilty without meaning to. Months had passed since Cole had found out she was a witch and she had discovered he was a demon, and Phoebe still hadn't figured out how to tell her sisters.

So instead, she tried to change the subject. "Six months. Actually, that's why he was over here this morning. Cole wants to take me away for the weekend to celebrate our six month anniversary."

Piper and Leo exchanged a worried glance. "What if something happens?" Leo asked. "What if the power of three is needed?"

"You guys can spare me for four measly days," Phoebe said.

"Okay," Piper asked, crinkling her face in confusion. "Since when is a weekend four days long?"

"Cole's taking Friday and Monday off as well. I don't have any classes on Friday and we'll be back in time for my Monday afternoon one."

"Tomorrow's Friday," Piper commented. "Isn't this kinda sudden?"

Phoebe shrugged. "I think it's romantic. Besides, if anything happens, I'll have my cell with me. And if worse comes to worst, Leo can orb me back."

"No, I can't, actually," Leo said.

"Why not?" asked Phoebe.

"That' what we were arguing about on our way in," Piper explained.

"The Elders are sending me on a mission," Leo said. "I'll be gone all week."

Phoebe shrugged. "We'll figure something out if an emergency arises."

"But - "

"I already told Cole yes," Phoebe said, ending the argument.


"I don't think this is a good idea," Prue announced.

"I know, Prue," Phoebe said, mildly annoyed. She set her bags down by the front door. Cole was supposed to pick her up in a few minutes. "You've only told me, oh, I don't know, a million times already?"

"With Leo gone we should stick together," Prue argued.

"I'm going, Prue," Phoebe said in a voice that let her sister know she wasn't backing down on this one.

Prue followed her sister over to the front hallway mirror. "And if something happens? You don't even know where you're going?"

Phoebe looked into the mirror and put on some lipstick. Then, putting the lid back on the tube, she turned around to face Prue. "It's a surprise. It's romantic. It's our six month anniversary, Prue."

"Let her go," Piper called from the kitchen. She sounded exasperated, which wasn't surprising, considering she had been listening to the same argument ever since Prue had found out about Phoebe's plans the previous evening. "It is their anniversary, after all. Everyone deserves a break every once in awhile."

"Thanks, Piper," Phoebe said, smiling at the middle Halliwell.

"You're welcome, sweetie. So have you decided whether to tell Cole about being a witch?"

Phoebe winced and waited for the explosion from Prue. It didn't come. "Aren't you going to say anything?" she asked. "Last time I suggest it, you freaked out."

"You've thought about it before?" Piper frowned. This was the first she had heard about it.

"Yeah, well, you guys had only been going out for a month," Prue said at almost the same time. "I think Piper's right; you should think about telling him. The longer you put it off, the more upset he'll be."

Phoebe was saved from answering - and lying to her sisters - when Cole came in. "Am I interrupting anything?" he asked after seeing their expressions.

"No," Phoebe said, going over to kiss his cheek. "I'm pretty much ready. Why don't you throw my bags in the trunk?"

"Okay," Cole agreed, picking up the two suitcases.

Piper waited until Cole was safely out of hearing range before asking, "So will you at least think about it?" Phoebe grabbed her coat and purse and slipped on her shoes. "Umm, no," she said hesitantly.

"Phoebe - " Piper started to protest.

"He kinda already knows," Phoebe mumbled. She glanced over her shoulder at the car. Cole had put her bags in the trunk and was now in the driver's seat.

"What?" Prue exclaimed. "You told him and you didn't tell us?"

"Not really. He sorta figured it out awhile ago," Phoebe said, slowly backing out the front door.

"Figured it out?" Piper asked. "How'd he figure it out? Did he already believe in witches?"

"Yeah, he knew about witches," Phoebe answered Piper. She was now on the front steps. "Cole's kinda a demon," she blurted out. Her sisters were too stunned to move and Phoebe took the opportunity to slam the door closed and race to the car, exclaiming, "Gotta go!" She didn't even wait until she was fully in the convertible before shouting at Cole, "Drive, now!"

Cole didn't hesitate. He pulled out onto the road, asking, "What's the matter?"

"I just told Prue and Piper you're a demon," Phoebe said.

"What?" Cole's swiveled so that he was staring at her. Then, remembering his eyes should be on the road, he incredulously demanded, "That was your perfect time? You waited five months to tell them on your way out the door?"

"Well," Phoebe said defensively, feeling more than a little guilty, "they were going on about how I should tell you I'm a witch, and I thought 'it’s now or never,' and, well, I told them."

"Phoebe," Cole cried, sounding incredulous, "they're going to kill me."

"You?" Phoebe questioned. "You're not the one who's been hiding the fact your boyfriend's a demon for the last five months."

"No," Cole retorted, "I'm the one who's hidden the fact I'm a demon for the last six months. Ultimately, who do you think they're going to be mad at, their sister or the demon?"

"I'm sorry?" Phoebe offered.

Cole shook his head and put his foot on the brake, stopping for a red light. "Ten to one they'll just get Leo to orb them to us, and then there'll be hell to pay."

"No," Phoebe contradicted. "Leo's off on some secret mission for the week. We can't get a hold of him, not unless one of us is dying."

"Well, that's a plus," Cole said. "And they don't know where the cabin is, do they."

Phoebe shook her head. "No, we're going to have a nice, quiet, romantic weekend, without any interruptions. We can deal with my sisters when we go back. Until then, I suggest we forget about them."

Cole smiled. "Sounds like a plan. We can figure out what to do on Monday."

Suddenly, a phone rang. Both Phoebe and Cole looked down in terror at the cellphone that lay between them.

"It's your phone, you answer it," Phoebe said. She had turned off her own cellphone, but had forgotten her sisters knew Cole's number.

"No," Cole quickly said. "No way. Your sisters, you answer."

The light finally turned and Cole took off. The phone rang again.

"Maybe it's not them," Phoebe said hopefully.

Cole snorted. "Just answer it. You can't put it off forever."

"Why not?" Phoebe pouted. The phone rang a third time. "Will you answer it? Please?" She gave him a pleading look, but it had no effect as he refused to look in her direction. She sighed. "Fine," she said, grumbling. She reached for the phone. "I'll talk to them." She answered it in the middle of the fourth ring. "Hello?"

"Phoebe?" It was Prue, of course. "What the hell was that about?"

"What was what about?" Phoebe asked innocently, ignoring the look Cole gave her.

"Don't give me that," Prue said angrily. "What do you mean, Cole is a demon?"

"I meant Cole is a demon?" offered Phoebe timidly.

"And you just thought you'd drop the bombshell and," her voice rose until she was nearly screeching, "go off with him?"

Phoebe winced. "That was the basic idea, yeah. I knew you'd take it the wrong way."

"What other way was I supposed to take it?" Prue demanded. "You're going out with demon! How could you be so irresponsible? You have to get away from him. He's a demon!"

"Yeah, I know that, Prue. I'm the one who told you, remember?"

"He's a demon," stressed Prue. She just couldn't seem to get past that point. "He's evil. He'll try to kill you."

Phoebe rolled her eyes. Cole noticed and asked, "What?"

"Prue thinks you're going to try to kill me," she told him, covering the speaker with her hand.

He sighed. "Tell Prue that if I were planning on killing you, I would have done it long ago."

Phoebe uncovered the phone and relayed the message. "Cole says if he was trying to kill me, he would've done it long ago."

"Cole's there?"

"Well, yeah, Prue," Phoebe said sarcastically. "Remember? He picked me up and you called me on his cellphone?"

"Put him on," Prue ordered.

"Prue wants to talk to you," Phoebe said, offering Cole the phone.

Cole shot her a look that clearly asked if she thought he was crazy. "I'm not talking to her."

"Please?" Phoebe begged.

"No." Cole was adamant.

Phoebe sighed and brought the phone back up to her ear. "He can't come to the phone right now," she said pleasantly.

"The hell he can't," Prue said. "Put him on the damn phone."

"Prue would really like to talking to you," Phoebe told Cole, stressing the word 'really.'

"Tell her I'm driving," Cole said. "It's not safe to use a cellphone while driving. Ask her if she really wants us to get into an accident." He paused. "On second thought, don't ask her that. Knowing her, she'll probably take it as a threat."

"Chicken," Phoebe accused.

"She's your sister," Cole reminded.

Back into the phone, Phoebe said, "Cole's busy. Sorry."

"Tell him if he so much as touches one hair on your head, Piper and I will track him down and kill him."

"Prue says your not allowed to hurt me," Phoebe translated.

"Tell her I wouldn’t dream of it," Cole said.

"I'm safe," Phoebe said to Prue.

"Yeah, like that reassures me. He's a demon; demons lie."

"She doesn't believe you," Phoebe told Cole.

"Now why does that not surprise me?" Cole muttered.

"Hold on," Phoebe told him distractedly. On the other end of the line, it sounded like there was a scuffle going on. "Hello? Prue?" Phoebe asked. "What's wrong?"

"Phoebe?" It was Piper. She must have wrestled the phone away from Prue, Phoebe deduced.

"Hey, Piper," said Phoebe.

"How long have you known?" the middle Halliwell wanted to know.

"That Cole was a demon?" Phoebe hesitated before admitting, "Five months, give or take a week."

"Five months. You knew for five months and you didn't think to tell us."

"Well, I thought about it."

Piper reworded the question. "You didn't think it was important for us to know?"

"Not really," Phoebe said. "I already knew what your reaction would be."

"We can hardly be blamed for it. You're dating a demon, Phoebe."

"And you're marrying a whitelighter," Phoebe shot back.

"Oh, no. There is no way you can compare the two. My fiancé is a force for good. You're going out with an evil demon."

"Cole isn't evil!" Phoebe exclaimed.

"How do you know that, Phoebe?" Piper asked. "Did he tell you? When's the last time you met a demon that wasn't evil?"

"He isn't evil," Phoebe maintained. "I know him. I've known him for six months. I love him. I thought you, if anyone, would understand the whole forbidden love thing."

"I told you already," Piper said, "Leo and I are nothing like you and Cole."

"You can protest all you want, Piper, but you know that's not true. Just yesterday you were going on about how I should trust Cole more, and let him know about us being witches."

"Yeah? Well yesterday I didn't know he was a demon," Piper argued.

"And today you do," Phoebe said. "He's still the same person. You just know more about him." Phoebe could tell from the silence on the other end that she was getting through to her older sister. If she could only convince Piper, then Piper would work on Prue. "Please, Piper," she pleaded. "I know Cole's good. I love him. Try to understand."

"Well . . . " Piper was weakening.

"We'll have a huge talk when I get back on Monday," Phoebe promised. "You can yell at me all you want then."

"Okay." Piper sighed. "If you think he's good, if you love him, then I guess that's good enough for me. I trust you."

"Thanks Piper," Phoebe said, delighted.

"You're welcome. And I'll talk to Prue for you, too."

"You're the best," declared Phoebe.

"I know." Piper gave a long-suffering sigh. "Have fun, sweetie."

"Thanks. I will." Phoebe hung up the phone. Turning to Cole, she said, "That went much better than I thought it would."

Cole just shook his head, not saying a word.


"It's perfect," Phoebe exclaimed breathlessly when she entered the cabin.

Cole was behind her, loaded down with all the luggage. He deposited it in the doorway and looked around himself. Phoebe was right; it was just how he had imagined it. "It's nice," he said.

Phoebe turned around and, wrapping her arms around his neck, drew him in for a nice long kiss that Cole was very happy to return. "It's perfect," she repeated.

"I'm glad you like it," Cole said.

"Like it?" Phoebe threw her arms up in the air and whirled around. "I love it."

"And I love you," Cole said, pulling her in for another quick kiss.

"Mmm," Phoebe murmured. "I love you too. Seriously, though, we should probably bring our stuff in."

"By ‘we’, I assume you mean me," Cole said. Phoebe just grinned impishly at him. Cole rolled his eyes and picked up their bags again, this time bringing them into the bedroom. He put them down beside the bed then went back out. He leaned on the doorway before taking a look around at the surroundings.

The cabin was small, but cozy. It consisted of the main room, the bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen. Phoebe was rummaging around in the kitchen, but Cole wasn't quite sure why. It was the middle Halliwell, not the youngest, who was the cook in the family.

The décor was nice, not overly romantic, with tons of pink and red, but with more earthy tones that seemed more natural for a cabin. There was a fireplace in the corner and Cole remembered seeing a pile of wood outside. Leaving Phoebe to finish exploring, he went out to get a few logs and start a fire.

Cole knew how to start a fire the old-fashioned way. He also hated doing it. So when he came back in, he cheated. After putting a few logs in the fireplace, he stood back and shot a fireball into it, setting the wood on fire.

Phoebe came into the room. "I thought fires took longer than that to start up," she remarked.

"They do," Cole admitted, "unless you're boyfriend's a pyrokinetic. Then they don't."

Phoebe smiled and snuggled up beside him. Cole wrapped his arm around her. "Do you want me to pick you up after your class on Monday so we can face your sisters together?" He had debated whether or not to bring up the topic, but had, in the end, decided it was better not to leave it hanging over their heads.

Phoebe sighed heavily. "No, it's okay. I'll be fine on my own."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. Knowing my sisters, they'll probably just yell and scream at me for a couple of hours. Somewhere in there, at least one decapitated Barbie will be brought up, but in the end, they'll feel much better having chewed me out and forgive everything. Now, if you were there with me, they'll focus on you. They won't get the chance to yell at me and feel better about it."

"You shouldn't have to face that alone," Cole protested.

"I'm not sending you onto the battlefield, Cole," Phoebe said, not altogether joking. "My sisters love me, they aren't going to hurt me. They don't much care for you right now, though."

"But - "

Phoebe held one finger up to his lip, silencing him. "No buts."

"Are you sure?"


"In that case," Cole pulled her to him and started to kiss her, "I suggest we go check out the bedroom."

"Mmm," Phoebe said. "I like that idea."


Cole awoke the next morning to the sounds of Phoebe puking in the bathroom. He’d leapt out of bed and shimmered to her side before he had really woken up. "Are you okay?" he asked anxiously. He pulled her hair back, keeping it away from her face. "What's wrong?"

"I'm fine," Phoebe said shakily, straightening up. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

Cole stared at her, his eyes wide, a wild idea forming in his head. "Is there something you want to tell me?" he asked hoarsely.

Phoebe smiled weakly. "Cole, I think you're going to be a daddy."

Cole staggered back. He needed to sit down. The bathtub edge was the only convenient place so he fell down onto it. "Are you sure?"

"No," Phoebe admitted, "But I'm late, and I'm never late. And this feels a lot like morning sickness."

"But - but - we used protection!" Cole protested.

"The only thing that works all the time is abstinence." She looked down, biting her lip, obviously anxious. "Are you upset?"

"What?" Cole asked, running his hand through his hair. "No! No, Phoebe, how could you think that?" He leapt to his feet again and grabbed her hands. "I'm thrilled. I just didn't expect this." He raised her hands to his lips and kissed them, first the left, then the right.

"Are you sure?" Phoebe asked.

"Of course." He kissed her on the lips this time.

Cole led Phoebe into the main room and sat her down on the couch. She let her head fall back onto the head rest.

"I'll be right back," Cole promised. He ran into the bedroom, but returned a few seconds later, breathless. "Phoebe?" He got down onto one knee and opened a ring box. "Phoebe Halliwell? Will you marry me?"

Phoebe stared at the ring, shocked. "You don't have to do this," she said. "Just 'cause I might be pregnant."

Cole cut her off. "This doesn’t have anything to do with you being pregnant," he assured her. "This is something I wanted to do - something I had planned to do all along. Phoebe, I love you, and I can't imagine spending the rest of my life without you. So, will you marry me?"


Elsewhere and all around them, Fate's Children watched the two lovers and smiled.

The End
Sunday, April 1, 2001

And so it ends.  Wow.  This took me a little over two months to write.  I'm amazed.  I can't believe I wrote so much in such short time.  And believe me, this was a lot for me.

There are lots of people I should thank, but unfortunately, I don't have nearly enough room to do so.  So, thanks to everyone who sent me feedback - you're the reason I kept writing.  Special thanks go to Lizzy, who helped me work through a couple of rough spots and Ardroit, who was kind enough to beta the last few parts for me.  You're the best!