Written in 34 minutes. Would have been less except my bloody parents decided to have a conversation and ask me questions with five minutes to go. It’s hard to use I’m writing fanfiction on a self-imposed timer as an excuse.
So this scene picks up a few weeks after the Stefan/Andre scene. Assume that the Jason stuff in Russia is happening, the Drew stuff with Sonny and Sam — where he quits, etc. is happening. There’s also no Oscar and I’m killing off Audrey.
Elizabeth Webber jumped as a leather handbag was dumped unceremoniously on the other side of her table, and Carly Corinthos all but threw herself into the chair across from her.
Elizabeth frowned, set down the cup of tea she’d been sipping as she perused a magazine, enjoying one of her hours. “Carly, you know where you are right now, don’t you?”
“Yes,” Carly said, with a huff. “With you. You know, I’m beginning to think I’ve had it all wrong, you know?”
That was too easy a shot to take, so Elizabeth nodded. “Okay. About what?”
“You.” Carly leaned back against the chair. “I always thought you would take Jason from me. Which is insane, stupid, immature, petty—pick your garbage adjective. I just knew that when Jason was with you, I didn’t matter as much, and I hated that.”
“Okay,” Elizabeth said with sigh. She closed the magazine. “What’s wrong?”
“I was so happy when Jason woke a few weeks ago. When we knew he’d be okay. That’s all I wanted. I wanted him to be with his kids. To be happy with Sam. Because it was just—it was everything to have him alive, you know?” Carly’s eyes glittered with unshed tears. “And I’ve ignored all the signs. All the voices inside telling me it wasn’t right. That it was never going to be like it was.”
“I know those voices,” Elizabeth murmured. “I heard them every day I lied to Jason. But…I guess I could just focus on the fact that I didn’t need it to be like it was. Jason wasn’t…the same. But I loved the man he was. I loved Jake Doe.”
Carly bit her lip. “He told Sonny and me today that he’s walking away from Sonny. He claims it’s not walking away from the friendship, that if Sonny needs him—but I don’t know. It feels like it’s missing something. And I guess…maybe it’s selfish. Maybe it’s just who I am, and I can’t that Jason isn’t—that he’s not the same. But—”
Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Jason…walked away from you and Sonny. From the business.” Her chest twisted. “He never…that was never an option. He never, ever…made that an option before. It wasn’t supposed to be—”
“Don’t….” Carly leaned forward. “That’s what I’m saying. He never, ever put that choice on the table before. And it’s not about Sam. Or that he didn’t love you back then. God, Elizabeth. That’s exactly what I mean. Jason never offered that you because he never saw it as a choice. So why is that something he can do now?”
“I don’t—” Elizabeth twisted her fingers together, stared down at them. “I don’t know what you want from me, Carly. Because it sounds like—”
“I don’t even know what I’m saying. I don’t know what I thought you could tell me. Except…that I’m not crazy, I guess. Sonny keeps putting on a face, but you know how his life spirals out of control when Jason isn’t here. And it’s not…it’s not about Jason fixing things, though that’s it—”
“Jason knew how to be strong for Sonny,” Elizabeth said, with none of the bitterness she’d once felt about it all. “And Sonny needed that the strength. I know what you mean, Carly. I always felt like…” She hesitated, because showing any weakness to Carly was always a risk, but the other woman had had a horrible year. “I always feel like we all took more from Jason than we ever gave to him, you know? And I don’t just mean you and Sonny. I mean, me.”
“Yeah.” Carly sighed. “I guess I can’t be too mad he’s finally learned how to stop letting us take. I guess…I don’t know. It just…it doesn’t feel like Jason. He never really did, but I guess I was so happy to have him alive, I ignored it all. And I kept thinking if he just—if he went back to Sam, back to work for Sonny—”
“He’d be Jason again.” Elizabeth nodded. “Yeah.” She slid her fingers over the glossy cover of her magazine. “I guess…the thing is that he was gone for two years, lost his memory for another—had his brain played with by Helena Cassadine and the WSB…I know firsthand that to keep looking for the person you used to love—to keep hoping if you just keep everything the way it was…you can go back—God, Carly, it just kills something inside of you to keep hoping like that.”
“Lucky?” Carly asked with a tilt of her head. She sighed when Elizabeth nodded. “Yeah. Yeah. I guess you’re right. It’s just hard to admit that my Jason—our Jason—he’s never coming back. But he’s happy. So…okay.” She pressed a fist to her mouth. “I’ve decided to stop hating you by the way.”
“Oh, well, I guess…thanks.” Elizabeth sighed. “I thought that would last longer.”
“Yeah. Well, what did you really do?” Carly said. “You did exactly what I would have done in the same situation, so maybe that’s why I hated you so much. And it’s not like the truth gave us back Jason. Not really. So what’s the point? Besides, I like your kid.”
“Yeah?” Elizabeth raised her brows. “I like yours, too. Wonders never cease.”
“The thing about Joss is…she’s the same age I was when I started to go off the rails.” Carly chewed on her bottom lip. “She’s got Jax in her, which means she’ll probably be okay. But, God, she’s got me in her, too. His confidence, my recklessness? That scares the shit out of me.”
“I know exactly what you mean.” And this was easier ground. Safer. “Cameron’s been having a rough time lately. These last few years…there’s been…a lot of changes.” Elizabeth sipped her tea, not really wanting to fill in the blanks.
“Thinking his brother was gone, then Jake coming back. Then Jason coming back into his life—” Carly hesitated. “Does…he spend time with the other boys?”
“No. Just Jake.” Elizabeth shrugged a shoulder. “And that was hard on him. Jake—Jason—” she corrected. “Was going to adopt him. We talked about doing something about Aiden, too—but he walked away from them. And then Jake last year with all the Chimera stuff, my grandmother died…”
“Franco moved in,” Carly finished. “Look, I’m not one to cast stones about Franco, because God knows, it’s my fault anyone takes him seriously as a human being—”
“And I get it. I do.” She hesitated. “Because he came into my life when I was struggling, too. Jason was gone. I was struggling with Michael and AJ. And Franco was there. He…once the tumor was gone, it felt like he was a different person. The problem is that…once the unsteadiness passes, once the world tilts back and goes straight—he doesn’t know how to function. He looks for something to be wrong—”
“Carly, you cheated on him—”
“I did. And…that was wrong. I know it. But instead of confronting me, Elizabeth, he deliberately destroyed my son. He wanted to hurt me, and he used Michael to do it. And you know I’m right. He’s in your life because everyone else walked away.” Carly picked up her bag. “I like your kid, Elizabeth. He’s good for Joss. So…just be careful.”
“About Jason, Carly—”
“You’re right.” Carly got to her feet, looped the strap over her shoulder, and sighed. “I have to stop looking for the man he used to be. We did the tests. The DNA says it’s Jason. So that’s who it has to be.”