I do not own the characters, places, or events of Charmed
or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Summary
Phoebe gets an “Ask Phoebe” letter and has a premonition. She gets worried about her ex-husband. Cole's daughter is angry and wishes for something she may regret later. Author's Note
This story takes place shortly after the events of The Girl Who Cried “Spider”! If Wishes Were Demons; or, Be Careful What You Wish For; or, When You Wish Upon A Hellmouth; or, A Wish Is A Tantrum Your Heart Makes CHAPTER ONE Halliwell Manor
Phoebe was all set. She had her coffee. She'd managed to snag the last piece of the apple and maple caramel cheesecake that Piper had made for the housing association meeting. (Once again, that had disintegrated into behavior more juvenile than an episode of Deal or No Deal.) She'd snagged a place in the sun in the conservatory and was all set up with her computer and her pile of letters. Oh, yes, this is definitely the way to work. No office with the schizophrenic heating and air conditioning system. No reporters with over-sized libidos. No boss with an anger management problem. Just a girl, caffeine, and a sugar fix. What could possibly go wrong?
Her hand froze on the coffee cup. Oh, hell! Why did I have to go and say – think – that?! No, something'll happen! It always does. Wait! Maybe it doesn't count if you only think it. Maybe you have to say IT out loud.
“Yeah, right.” She took a deep breath, and couldn't stop herself from looking around. Everything looked alright. Maybe they didn't hear it. She cocked her head listening for anything. Silence. Well, that's good, right? She couldn't suppress a shudder, though. She'd been a witch long enough to know better. They are probably just waiting for the right time that was all.
She decided there wasn't much else she could do. She could hardly just sit here waiting for something to happen. Might as well just get as much work done as possible before... well, just before. She took a sip of the coffee, wanting some of the heat before it cooled overly much. She booted up her laptop and waited for the familiar – yet annoying – Windows boot-up tune. The only thing that annoyed her more was the tinny little tune that played every time you turned on your cell phone.
She took a bite of the cheesecake and moaned in ecstasy. It was better than sex. She frowned. Well, better than most sex. Don't think it would've beaten some of the sex she'd had with Cole when he still had the price on his head from the Source. She groaned out loud. That had been some of the best sex of her life. In their bed. In Piper and Leo's bed. In Prue's darkroom. In the mausoleum. She shuddered as she remembered the last one. Who'd have guessed? It was dark and cold and damp. But a great place to get laid!
She shook her head to dispel the lusty thoughts. No sense in crying over spilt milk. Or, in my case, divorced-and-remarried-with-children milk.
She felt her throat clog up and tears well in her eyes. She didn't really love him anymore. It'd taken her quite a bit of thinking, self-analysis, at least half a dozen self-help books, and six months of psychotherapy to learn her lesson, but she had. She wasn't in love with him. It was the idea of him. She missed the love. She missed the sex. She took a deep breath and turned her attention to the Ask Phoebe
Elise had couriered over a good thirty envelopes for her morning's work. She rummaged through them, hoping to get an idea of which one she should start with. They were various colors, sizes, and even scents. Some were handwritten, some were typed. Some were written in different color inks, some with pencil, and there was even one written with a blue crayon. She smiled. The crayon one she'd have to read. Those were always good for a laugh. Looking through the collection of letters, she sorted through them casually. She frowned. She really didn't have any preference. She moaned. She really wasn't in the mood for it. She really needed to focus.
As she scanned the pile, she felt a stirring in the air. She sighed. Paige really needed to keep a better watch on that kid. Blue and white blobs of light swirled in the room, a slight breeze swept the letters in the air. She shrieked and slammed her arms down on top of the letters, but it was too late. Several of the letters took flight and she shrieked as her coffee fell over and the cheesecake slid off the table and landed upside down on the floor. Aaaarrrrgh!
“Phoebus Rupert Halliwell!”
She heard the giggling and spun her head. There was her monster of a nephew on the floor, his hands scooping up the remains of her cheesecake. She grumbled loudly and glared at the toddler. He gurgled happily and smiled up at her. He stood up and wobbled over to her, his hands full of his misgotten gains. He held one hand full of squashed cheesecake up to her. How sweet. He wants to share. How generous considering it was mine to begin with!
Looking down, she saw an envelope squashed in his little fist. It was a mess. She cocked her head and hummed. Well, it was as good a method as any for picking which one to open first. Just have to get it from the little devil first.
It never ceased to amaze her. The Turner children were such delightful kids. Well behaved, sweet... everything you'd want in a kid. Yet, they were one-quarter demon and half dark witch. With all the dark magicks in that house, you'd have thought they wouldn't have turned out that good. Then there was little Phoebus. Three-quarters white lighter, one quarter white witch. And he turned out to be such a hellion! Of course, you couldn't convince Paige of that. Even Prue thought he was adorable. She and Piper, though, they knew different. Even Leo orbed out when sensed the kid around.
She leaned down to the little toddler and smiled. “Hi, Pheebers. Can I have the paper please?” She pulled at the envelope in his hand gently for emphasis. He looked up at his aunt and then back down at the paper. Shoving some more cheesecake in his mouth, he gurgled happily and slapped the envelope in her hand. It was crumpled and very sticky. She didn't notice the stickiness though. She gasped as soon as she touched the envelope. She steeled herself against it, but the premonition took her over as they always did. The zoo. There were quite a few kids here and some of the keepers. Scanning the room, she didn't see any parents. She scanned the room again. Her eyes stopped on one little girl in particular. Buffy Turner. Cole and Willow's daughter. She was standing apart from the others talking to a woman. The woman was dressed as a zoo employee. But there was just something about her that bothered Phoebe. Buffy had a serious look on her face and was talking energetically about something. The rest of the kids slowly left the building. But Buffy stayed with this woman. They continued talking a few moments, then she noticed that they were alone. She ran off, waving at the other woman. The woman waited until all were out of sight and then she changed. Her face was transformed into something hideous. She looked as if she had suffered some kind of hideous burns. She smiled evilly and spoke. “Wish granted.”
“Wish granted?” Phoebe shook her head in shock. “What the hell did she mean by that. She was no fairy godmother. And I damn well hope that wasn't a genie!” She looked around. She'd hoped she hadn't frightened. But he was no longer in the room. Damn!
She looked down at the letter. She tried to straighten it out on the table. It was still very sticky and crumpled. It was a high quality legal size envelope. Typed professionally with no return address. She frowned. Well, that helped a lot.
There was really no help from the envelope. Nothing to tell her who had sent it.
It had to be someone that had something to do with little Buffy Turner. Could Willow or Cole have written the letter? She really didn't think Buffy could've. And just what was the wish? That was the question. With a demon it couldn't really be good, could it?
She felt a breeze shift through the room and she looked up. She frowned. She really didn't want to deal with Phoebus right now. She had an innocent to worry about. As he orbed in, though, she smiled. There he was, sitting on top of the Book of Shadows. He hadn't been scared by her premonition. He'd known what had happened and what she needed.
She yelped happily and picked up the boy. She swung him 'round the room, as he squealed happily. She squealed along with him. Yes, the Book! That was exactly what she needed. She'd find the demon, she'd vanquish it, and everything would be alright. What bothered her was just what had Buffy wished for? Could having a wish granted really be so bad? She shuddered as she remembered the few times she and her sisters ran into genies. That had been bad enough. But this was a demon she was sure of it.
The envelope she had been holding fell lightly to the ground as she opened the Book. Leafing through it, she prayed the demon would be in the Book. Not everything was. She flipped past all the demons and warlocks, past spells. She paused slightly at the page she had made of Cole as a companion to the Belthazor. Gazing at the drawing of her ex-husband's demon form, she sighed. She knew that Willow loved both of him. That she made love to and slept with Belthazor himself. It always amazed her that she looked at them both as a single person. Not like her. No, she had always wanted to completely excise Belthazor from Cole. Maybe that had been her mistake.
She groaned. Some mistake. That was the one thing she could never do. Her therapist was right. She needed to just accept things as they were and move on. She took a deep breath and flipped the pages again. Her eyes snagged on something on one of the pages she flipped past. She backtracked to a page with three different demons. Two were female and one male. One of the females looked quite like what she had seen. The hair and the clothing were a little different, but the face. Vengeance demons.
The title of the page read. Hmmm. That doesn't sound too good.
She had just begun to read the page when she heard her sister and white lighter screaming Phoebus' name. “Oh, no.” She breathed. She looked down at her nephew. “You little monster. Somebody was using the Book when you grabbed it, weren't they?” The toddler didn't respond, he just scooped up more of the destroyed cheesecake and stuffed it in his face. Phoebe rolled her eyes and prepared herself. “He's in here, Piper!”
She tried to turn her attention back to the Book when she felt a breeze stir in the room. She spun and glared at her nephew. “Don't you dare, you little monster! You stay and face the music!” It was too late, he'd orbed out of the room, leaving quite a mess in his wake. Damn that kid
, she thought.
Piper and Leo ran into the conservatory after they heard Phoebe's call. Piper was furious. Why the hell she agreed to watch Paige and Xander's son, she didn't know. Even Leo lost his celestial patience where that kid was concerned. As they entered the room, Piper shrieked. The room was a disaster. Phoebe's letters were strewn all over the floor. Her eyes narrowed as she noticed the remains of the cheesecake. Her eyes raised up to Phoebe whose attention was on the Book. She seemed quite serious. Her eyes narrowed again. She recognized that look. Phoebe had had a premonition. Damn! Like we don't have enough issues!
Phoebe looked up at her sister and smiled sheepishly. “Where the hell is that kids' parents, Piper? He's a one-toddler disaster area. You know we can't handle him.”
Leo chuckled. She had that right. He looked at the disaster Phoebus had left in his wake. He shook his head, praying he'd grow out of this. His powers would only get stronger with age. He was dangerous enough as a toddler. He dreaded the kids' adolescence. Looking back at the sisters, he took a deep breath. “Phoebe. We need the Book. We have problems.”
Phoebe glared at her brother-in-law. “You have problems. Don't tell me about problems. I had a premonition. Little Buffy Turner is up to her pretty red-headed neck in trouble. With one of these!” She concluded her outburst by jabbing her right index finger at the picture of the vengeance demon that she recognized from her premonition. “Remember when we had our wishes granted by the genie? Well, this looks to be much, much worse!”
Leo and Piper looked down at the page she was pointing to. Leo groaned. He'd heard of these demons of course. They were infamous. The torment and grief they had caused over the centuries could never be underestimated.
Piper looked down and read aloud. “Vengeance demons. Also known as justice demons. These demons are drawn to feelings of anguish, resentment, and vengeance. They approach in a human guise and encourage the innocent or victim to voice their resentments in the form of a wish. This wish is then granted. However, the result are normally horrific. Gruesome dismemberments and creations of an alternate dimension have been known to occur.”
“Eeeww.” Phoebe interrupted. “Dismemberment?”
“These vengeance demons,” Piper continued. “were quite often originally human females who were hurt or scorned and used magic to exact their own revenge and were rewarded with immortality and the urge to inflict vengeance for others. These demons are led by the demon D'Hoffryn, and two of the most destructive were the demons Halfrek and Anyanka. Halfrek is known for focusing on the resentments and anguish of children, while Anyanka focused on scorned women. Avoid these at your peril.”
Piper paused, taking a cleansing breath. What would either of these have to do with Buffy? She wasn't full of resentment. She frowned and looked down at the last few lines. “There is no vanquishing spell and most powers would have no effect against her. They are usually very powerful witches in their own right. The only offense is to remove their power center and destroy it, thus returning them to mortality.”
Phoebe grabbed her head and groaned. No vanquish. Immune to powers. What were they going to do? If only she knew what Buffy wished for. And why would a vengeance demon be drawn to her anyway? What possible resentment could she have?