Title: "Forever With You, Forever In Me"
Author: monimala
Fandom: "Charmed," "Nip/Tuck"
Rating: AC
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Summary: 1475 words. Written for the Doppelgangland challenge. The prompt: Christian Troy, Phoebe Halliwell; paradise. How could those eyes be so blue and so blank?
Spoilers/Warnings: For the entire series of "Charmed," and general for "Nip/Tuck." Language, adult content, crossover.

The doctor has his back to her when she is ushered into the office. The black leather chair hides everything except the top of his dark -- maybe slightly graying-- head. "Tell me what you don't like about yourself," he says, like he's reading from a script… like it bores him to even say it. Maybe he's said it a dozen times today already. Her research tells her this little clinic is where the Who's Who of Hollywood comes to get their butts tucked.

She's still rolling her eyes at that little tidbit when he turns the chair around. And then her stomach flips over and her mouth goes dry and she's gasping, "Oh my God, it's you."

"I'm what you don't like about yourself?"

Phoebe's knuckles are white and she sees it again, the premonition that rocked her back on her heels and made her down almost half a bottle of Excedrin: Cole saying her name, asking her if she was "okay with this," as they stood in front of the building she now knows is McNamara/Troy's private practice in Miami, Florida.

She swallows as she looks at the face she thought she was going to wake up to every morning for the rest of her life, the hands that were going to hold their child. The body she almost sold her soul for.

"No," she whispers, before she can help herself. "You're what I hate about myself."

"Listen, Miss…" He glances down at his paper. "Halliwell. I don't know you, but if you're some kind of crusader against elective cosmetic surgery…"

No, she's no crusader. She's just… Charmed. And cursed.

"I'm a journalist," she hedges, because writing an advice column doesn't necessarily count in some circles, but it's still credentials. "I'm not on any kind of witch hunt." Except that she is. She stifles a hysterical giggle against her palm.

He doesn't know her. How could he not know her? How could those eyes be so blue and so blank? This has to be Cole. He's under some kind of spell or enchantment, some kind of time capsule curse that allowed him to get a medical license and allowed him to… forget her. If only she had the Book of Shadows…

"Miss Halliwell?" he prompts, none-too-subtly tapping at his watch. "I do have a two o'clock, so if we could proceed with this consultation sometime this century…?"

The panic rushes through her --somewhere in San Francisco, Piper is wincing and muttering "this can't be good"-- and Phoebe reaches for the first thing, anything, that will keep him from hustling her out the door before she gets a handle on this. "My breasts!" she announces, somewhat triumphantly. "I hate my breasts."

And she pulls off her shirt to prove it.

**

Her face is pretty. Not remarkable, but pretty. The nose could use work. Her mouth is what polite circles call "bow-shaped," but when has he ever been polite? They could use some collagen injections at the least. Her breasts, though… they're actually spectacular.

Christian rises from his chair just as she's dropping her blouse on the ground and it's no surprise to him that her hands are shaking when she unhooks her bra. Perfect lift, perfect shape, perky pink nipples… and absolute sheer terror in her eyes.

He arches an eyebrow as he comes out from behind his desk and looks her up and down. She's all boutique chic and espadrilles… five foot nothing and a northern California tan. And he has no idea why she's naked in his office, but when he puts his hands on her shoulders, she flinches and calls him, "Dr. Troy."

The first time she's said it since she walked in. And it sounds like a lie.

"Who are you, Miss Halliwell?" he asks, watching the blush creep down from her neck. "And what do you really want?"

Her skin is cool to his touch. Even as he clinically brushes down her collarbone and tests the weight of her supposedly hated tits. But when his thumb brushes over one nipple, she gasps and her big brown eyes flutter closed. "Y-you really don't know me, do you?"

Maybe he picked her up in a bar somewhere. It's happened. One of those stupid nights before Kimber or after Kimber or maybe even between Kimbers where there was X involved and he didn't ask why.

Maybe she's pregnant. Maybe she wants money. Maybe she wants his abortion. He has no idea. All he knows is, "Look, Lady, I don't know you and there's nothing wrong with your tits."

"Okay… I lied." When she's looking at him again, Christian has to revise his opinion of her face. Because she gasps, "Please… please, just… don't stop touching me," and she's absolutely fucking remarkable.

She rocks into him with a tiny sound of desperation. No, it's desire. He's heard it enough to know the difference. And it surprises him that he lets her. This strange woman, this crazy person, who suddenly covers his hands with her own tiny ones… and kisses him fiercely enough to put the buzz of a little X to shame.

**

It's only when Phoebe's kissing him that she remembers she's married, because the stone on her ring catches against his thumb and she sees the sparkle out of the corner of her eye. But that doesn't make her stop. Remembering Coop, remembering the future that's written in the cards, it doesn’t matter at all when she's tasting what she never thought she would again: brimstone and darkness and everything that was Cole.

They can't be the same person. They can't. Every rational molecule in her body is telling her that. But then Dr. Troy slides his hands down, beneath the waistband of her capris, stroking the sharp points of her hipbones and it's the irrational molecules that win, that tell her, "God, yes, this is him. It's him."

"Miss Halliwell…"

"Phoebe. It's Phoebe."

And he repeats it, breathes it against her jaw, making the hairs on the back of her neck prickle. When he undoes her pants, he chuckles roughly that he's going to make sure "nothing's wrong with your pussy either." It's not something Cole would ever say… it's too crude, too blatant… but the fingers that bury themselves inside her make her come just like he used to.

"Who are you?" he gasps, pulling back just enough to gaze down at her… maybe to recognize her just the tiniest bit.

"Let me show you," she sighs against his cheek.

She stops him from reaching for the condoms in his desk drawer and pulls him inside her, with her. Into Cole and her on one, simple night when they were happy… curled up in bed, feeding each other ice cream out of the carton and speaking to the baby that, for that brief blissful period, was just a baby… just hope.

"You asked what I don't like about myself?"

"Yeah."

"It's that I miss that every single day."

**

Christian whispers her name again and she looks up. Her eyes are clear, not vaguely insane like they were when she first walked in. She's smiling -- not that he's surprised, because he almost always leaves the ladies smiling. It's just the ten minutes after she leaves and the potential psychotic break that he's worried about. "Are you okay with this?" he asks, steering her towards the parking lot with a polite hand at the small of her back.

She laughs, softly, shaking her head. "Yeah. I know you might not believe me, but I am. I really am."

He watches her sporty red rental peel out of her spot and thinks about his palm splaying against the flat of her flawless stomach. About how that flat is going to curve. He can still taste the faintest hint of sulfur on his tongue… though he has no idea how he recognizes the flavor.

And he has no idea how he's okay with this, too.

**

When Phoebe introduces her daughter to the family just hours after her birth, she makes a face at Piper and laughs, "See… look who had a girl first and got this Charmed thing right."

"Show off," Piper retorts with a grin.

Coop and Leo share good-natured eyerolls as they pass out cigars, while Wyatt peeks over the side of the bed and surveys them both with an expression way too serious for his age, but spot-on for his abilities. "She looks like her daddy, Auntie Feeb!" he pronounces, in that guileless way that kids have.

Her mouth ghosts over the top of the baby's head, the fine dark hairs brushing her lips as the baby fusses and looks up at her with big blue eyes that she knows won't change in the coming weeks.

Parrish Prudence Halliwell is beautiful, like one perfect afternoon in paradise.

--end--

May 12, 2007.



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