Authors: Wicked R and Charmed-Snow

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Chapter 6: Technical hitches

The creature appeared in a large cavern, where a group of demons were holding a meeting, his sledge was in his hand.

The demons glared at him. "Who are you?" one of them asked cautiously.

"I'm Dev, the God of war." The ancient creature said "Where's The Source?"

Those demons regarded him with suspicion, they had never heard of Dev. The most powerful one among them conjured an energy ball, then threw it at him.

Dev held his sledge out to absorb it. The sledge shone and radiated lightnings that dashed back to the demon. His faction saw him getting burnt in fear.

"Where's The Source?" Dev repeated.

"No… no Source. The throne is vacant."

"What do you mean?"

"We'll support you to take the throne." Another one said.

"Good." Dev commented in a harsh voice "I must defeat my opponents first. My sledge's yearning to bath in blood. Who's the strongest now?"

The demon had just answered him stepped up "Belthazor."

"Show me where he is."

Cole walked down the stairs of P3, looking to the counter where Phoebe had often waited for him before. He had spent all the day looking for Christian. Eventually he found his son and Kimber in another realm, Christian's shimmering had improved, he's going to achieve the next power soon.

Phoebe really was there with her sisters at the time. Piper noticed him and said something to Phoebe, she turned around, standing up, walking towards him. She didn't look very happy tonight, he knew they had had one more bad date the day before yesterday. He had disguised as many kinds of people when he'd been working for the Brotherhood, but he'd never worn a mask in front of the one he loved at his free will. Although his magic could shield him from her powers, the deception always made him uncomfortable.

"Hi!" Phoebe smiled slightly.

"Hi!" Before Cole could say anything else, he felt Piper's freezing floating in the air and the whole place was frozen. He did what he had done four years ago when Piper had used her powers to freeze all of the innocents in the courtroom. Phoebe turned around to see a red light appear across the place, she rushed to join her sisters.

Piper promptly blew Dev as his form was solid, but she couldn't damage him.

"Such a strong power you possess." He commented "Are you the Charmed Ones?"

"Who are you?" Piper asked, feeling odd that the demon didn't know them.

"I'm Dev, the god of war." Dev answered "Tell Belthazor I want to meet him."

Phoebe got surprised hearing her ex husband's demonic name, Piper frowned, and Paige held her arms in front of her chest "Well, you're 3 year late. We've vanquished him ourselves."

"That's not true. They told me Belthazor is with you." Dev argued "I suppose he must be here right now."

"Who told you?" Piper wondered.

The demon didn't bother to answer, he walked forwards, searching around with his hawk-like eyes.

Three sisters could do nothing but follow him. Finally he noticed Cole. "Belthazor, I want to challenge you to a duel for the leadership of the underworld."

Cole kept standing still. Phoebe ran to defend him "Don't you see he's motionless? He may look similar to him, but he's a mortal, he has no powers."

Dev released a white ball straight to Cole. Phoebe immediately pushed him down on the floor, and stood right in his spot, using her empathic power to send the ball back to Dev. Dev stretched his sledge out to absorb it as before. When his sledge emitted lightnings, he aimed it at Piper and Paige, both of them ducked, it destroyed the counter behind them.

Cole couldn't keep frozen after falling to the ground, since a smash would break Piper's freezing. He leaned on Phoebe to get up, trying his best to look astounded.

"Belthazor, you must take my challenge."

"I'm Christian Troy, not Bel… Bel… Bel… whoever you mentioned." Cole hid behind Phoebe, holding her shoulders tightly "I don't understand what you're talking about."

Piper and Paige shook their heads, they didn't think they would see this scene one day. In the first time, they felt sympathy for Cole, he could be everything, but a coward.

"You've seen with your own eyes." Phoebe murmured.

"I'll verify your identity again." Dev disappeared.

Paige read the spell to restore their counter, then she and Piper walked back to their place beside Leo.

Phoebe pulled Cole's hands off "Now look at me as how you did before the demon attacked." She instructed. A second later, everyone unfroze.

"I know tonight is too much for you." Phoebe said.

"I understand. My ex was a witch." Cole told her, so that she wasn't afraid of being exposed "But it's really too… too much. I never witnessed a fight like that. He wanted to kill me."

"No. He just mistook you for another one."

"Do I look very like the one he's looking for?" Cole asked tentatively. Dev deserved to be vanquished thousands times for reminding Phoebe of her ex husband's dark side. He reminded her that Cole and the Underworld would always have a relation. If he didn't come to them, they would come to him. Plus, Dev had mentioned the leadership, that's exactly what had broken them up.

"Not very much." Phoebe smiled hollowly. Cole couldn't know what her expression meant. Was his acting so good that she believed he and her ex husband were different people? Or she wanted to do nothing with him now, and just hoped him to walk away. "Now I should talk to my sisters about vanquishing this demon." She continued.

Vanquish Dev? Of course, the Charmed Ones would always dispose of any demons got in their way. The problem was they weren't able to vanquish him. Dev was immune to their magic, while they were not to his. Cole thought he himself had better take care of it tonight. However, it would be a vital battle. If death came to him again, he had no idea which place was waiting for him. Now might be the last time he could see Phoebe, he wished to tell her the truth, he wished to hold her tight and kiss her passionately, but the last thing he wanted was provoke her deep feelings, she had enough tonight, and he's leaving after all.

"And I should go." Cole whispered. Phoebe watched him stepping backwards, then walking up the stairs. She sighed, thinking it's impossible to have a human boyfriend while she's living a magical life. She wouldn't expect to see him again, but she wouldn't feel sorry, she didn't love 'Christian'…

Everyone gathered in the foyer of the manor, three sisters filled Leo in what's going on.

"Dev is the god of war in Persian mythology." Leo explained, after listening to them "He's an ancient demon who was well known as a demon of great strength. One thousand years ago, he challenged a lot of upper level demons and killed them at the end. At last, he challenged The Source, The Source wasn't much sure he would win, so he associated with many powerful demons in confining him under the ground of the deepest deserted cavern by a charm. Now I believe all of the demons that took part in this battle are dead, that breaks the charm, and set him free."

"We're the most powerful witches, are we enough to defeat him?" Paige wondered.

"He's immune to Wicca powers." Leo shook his head "And his sledge draws anything that can harm him."

"So we'll destroy his sledge first." Piper devised.

"Yes. But you're not his targets. There's no way you can find Dev if you're not his targets." Leo said.

"Wait, how come the demons told him Cole is here with us?" Paige blurted.

"They must've hoped us to vanquish Dev. It's still good for them if he killed us." Piper pointed out

"I don't think Cole's still around the house."

Phoebe looked around trying to sense Cole's presence. No, he wasn't here. She bowed her head gloomily.

Piper realized her countenance "Have you talked to Christian?"

Phoebe shook her head "It's not necessary, he's already left. I'm afraid Dev will go after him. He looks like Cole."

"Yet he isn't Cole. He's safe." Leo argued.

"Dev said he would verify it. You sure it doesn't mean he'll attack him again and see if he can fight?" Phoebe questioned.

"We should protect him." Piper nodded.

"I've a better plan." Paige grinned "We'll have Christian pose as Cole."

"Are you crazy?" Phoebe fumed "It's too risky. He's purely human, he has no responsibility to do it."

"Don't you remember Dev thought he's Cole because he's at P3 with us? If we protect him, Dev will assume he's Cole again. Why don't we take advantage of it?" Piper supported Paige's idea.

"And put Christian in danger?" Phoebe protested "I don't want another man to die because he dates me."

"We aren't asking him to fight Dev. All he has to do is lure Dev into our trap, we'll always be close to protect him." Piper persisted "Leo, how do you think?"

"It's sensible." He agreed with his wife, then turned to Phoebe "We don't have many choices, and it's really a good way. Christian won't be totally safe until Dev's vanquished. We know that, and he knows that too, perhaps he'll agree to help us."

Phoebe contemplated it for a while, finally she asked her family to promise "If only he agrees to help us."

"You can't expect me to pose as him. I don't know anything. I love my life." Cole resisted. He didn't think he would be having breakfast with the Halliwells today. Phoebe called him this early morning asking him to see them at the Manor. She sounded irresolute as if she didn't think he will accept it. Now he understood why, the Charmed Ones wanted him to pose as... himself. It seemed ridiculous, but Cole highly doubted their plan would be successful. He had tried seeking the god of war all last night with no luck, he couldn't sense Dev anywhere, but it's very important that he had to find Dev before Christian got back to Miami, in case the ancient demon mistook his son for him and harmed him.

"We won't let you risk your life." Piper promised "All you've to do is go around pretending you're Belthazor. We'll be by your side all the time."

"What will you do to… vanquish him?" Cole punctuated at the word 'vanquish' on purpose as if he wasn't used to it.

"It's hard for you to understand. But we do it everyday. Don't worry, You'll be safe." Paige said.

"I need to know what I'm throwing myself in. How will you beat him? Do you have the… shining balls? What are your weapons? Swords, knives, or scissors?" Cole asked.

"We'll use spell and potions." Piper answered.

"I don't think they'll work on him." Cole muttered, as a matter of fact, he sincerely believed their spells and potions wouldn't affect Dev.

"I said you can't understand." Paige snapped "We're able to vanquish all kinds of demons."

Yeah, and you're just talking to your greatest failure right now! Cole sniggered silently, "Is he a usual demon? I'm sorry, but I have a habit of making 100 sure of what I'm doing, that's why I always succeed in my career." He lifted his cup of coffee.

"Cup!" Paige called, his cup immediately disappeared and re-appeared in her hand. Cole dropped his jaw on purpose. Paige perked her nose up.

"Ok, it's fair to let you know our plan." Piper said "We can't vanquish Dev, but we're going to imprison him again. It's surely within our abilities."

"Look, Christian! You have all the right to say no." Leo followed "But we hope you'll think a little further and higher. I'm not talking about how good your doing is, or you becoming an angel after leaving this world. You can see it as an obstacle, obstacles get in our way now and then. We won't know what it is until it happens. And no matter what it is, we'll have to conquer it to survive. I do believe you need our help as much as we need yours."

Imprisoning Dev sounded good. Cole was thinking about venturing his life to defeat this demon, but it's still not certain he would win. The victory seemed more practical if he worked with the Charmed Ones, plus they're asking him to move in for this plan, and he wouldn't refuse a chance to be with Phoebe. However, he wondered how she's feeling about it, and how it would influence their relationship. She didn't say anything so far.

"Phoebe?" he called her, worrying she still kept hatred against him.

"I hope you'll… help us." She said haltingly.

Her hesitation upset him, "I..I don't know how to do that. I'm not him." Cole silly reminded Phoebe of him being someone else other than her ex husband. In fact, that was why she felt uneasy. If she had a choice, she didn't want anyone to imitate or impersonate the love of her life.

"No worries. We'll show you how to act like him." Piper assured him.

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A/N : Please review!