Disclaimer/Note: The Charmed characters are owned by Aaron Spelling, the Buffy characters by Joss Whedon. This really isn't connected to my "Allied Powers" Series elsewhere on the archive, but I did take the name of the series from the fic.
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"Hello," the voice said over the phone. "Are you alone?"
"Yes," the Source (but you can call him Cole) said, recognizing the voice as that of D'Hoffryn, the leader of the vengeance demons.
"I'll be right up," and then there was a click on the other end of the phone.
A few seconds later - true to his word - D'Hoffryn manifested himself. His method of teleportation was similar to no one else's; a blue-gray mist appeared and D'Hoffryn stepped out of it. With most demons, or other supernatural beings, the Source would have been defensive, even if he'd been fairly certain the visit was benign or neutral. He adopted no such stance with D'Hoffryn.
Not that D'Hoffryn wasn't a power to be reckoned with; it was just that he was accommodating to a fault, unwilling to be caught up in the factionalism that plagued most of the rest of the greater demons. He participated in demonic politics with the greatest of reluctance; he hadn't even shown up at the meeting of most of the other factions, although he had sent his regrets.
"Hello, D'Hoffryn," the Source said. "Have a seat. And if anyone comes in - you're one of my demonic contacts. The world at large doesn't know of my dual existence and I'd just as soon keep it that way."
"Very well," the vengeance demon rumbled, bowing slightly and then sitting down. "So, what do I call you now? Source? Cole? Belthazor?"
"Source is fine," he said said. "I was sorry you couldn't make it to the meeting." He sat down as well, on the other side of the table.
"I'm not," D'Hoffryn said bluntly. "After what I heard of the repercussions . . . there's shake-ups at the heads of more than one other faction. Not to mention that fool who thought she was a vampire and called herself Queen."
"They don't recognize the half-demonic variety as true vampires," The Source said. "The half-demons return the favor. But at least THEY know their place in the world, which is why we've never isolated them the way we have their more surly brethren." He sipped from his coffee, then offered D'Hoffryn a cup, which he accepted with gratitude. "I trust you, you know. I wouldn't casually chat about this with just anyone."
"Everybody trusts me," D'Hoffryn said. 'That's because they know I'm not ambitious. All I want to do is be left alone . . . or as alone as possible . . . and guide my chosen demons in their paths of vengeance. I'm THIS close to winning back one of my favorite demons to the cause."
The Source smiled at that. "Anyanka. I like her. She helped me . . . through my annoying bout with full humanity. If you need any additional sales pressure, I'd be delighted. I'd like to see her back on your team."
"Thank you," the other demon said, "But no. She still has some . . . affection for humanity. A sudden visit from you in your current guise could push her back the other way. But I do have hopes for her. She's caused a great deal of suffering in the world . . . and occasionally quite a bit of good along the way." He looked at the Source as if expecting him to object.
"Good's necessary," he said, and was rewarded with a surprised look from D'Hoffryn. "I'm not the old Source. I want evil to come out on top . . . but I don't think the way to go about that is to eliminate all good from the world. Even I've been known to do good things on occasion. If you don't believe me, ask the Vampire Queen."
"This is . . . good to hear," D'Hoffryn said. "I did not get along well with your predecessor. He told me on a number of occasions he wanted my demons doing more to advance the cause of evil. Fortunately, in the last few years, he was distracted. I have the Charmed Ones to thank for that."
"Occasionally they have their uses," the Source said. "And - much as I'm enjoying the chat -" and he was; there weren't many beings out there he felt he could talk to as equals - and who would answer him the same way - "I do have other business I need to take care of. So if there's anything else -"
"Actually," D'Hoffryn said, standing up, "You've already answered my questions. You said you trust me. I return the favor. If you complete your rise to power I assume we'll have more or less free rein?"
"Not complete," The Source said. "But I think you guys do more as independent agents than you do under tight control."
D'Hoffryn nodded. "Still a better offer than I've ever gotten before. If you need us, we're yours." He smiled. "We'd prefer you not need us, of course."
"Of course," the Source said as he stood up. "I do appreciate the support, though." He shook D'Hoffryn's hand and the head of the vengeance demons vanished in the same way he'd appeared.
The Source sat down and poured himself another cup of coffee. "One down, dozens to go," he sighed.