Previous Page   Next Page

Chapter 10

Friday, December 17, 2004


He looked up at his brother's voice and stood when Nikolas and Emily came quickly towards him. They looked much like he did, hastily dressed and still wearing vestiges of sleep.

"Thank you for calling us," Emily said somewhat breathlessly. "What's the word on Cameron?"

"I haven't heard anything since Aunt Bobbie called," he said sorrowfully. "She got called in to help on an emergency surgery, so she wasn't able to find out anything else."

"Tell me what she said again," Nikolas requested. "I wasn't quite awake."

"Cameron's heart stopped late last night. His breathing was getting worse... I don't really know everything. Bobbie thinks it was just too much for his heart."

"But they brought him back, right?" Emily asked, her face panic stricken. "He's alive, right?"

"That's what she said," Lucky nodded. "They...they revived him, but he's in a coma now."

Emily turned and pressed her face into Nikolas' shoulder and he tightened his grip around her. His brother met his gaze, devastation and concern lacing it, and Lucky looked away and swallowed. Now was not the time for his jealousy of Nikolas over Emily to flare up. He needed to be focused on Elizabeth. On being there for her however he could.

Emily sniffled and pulled back, gazing at him questioningly. "Have you seen Elizabeth?"

"I haven't," he shook his head. The blinds were closed on Cameron's room, and he didn't want to intrude on the family. He had just planned to sit outside in the hallway and wait for someone to come out, or for his aunt to join him.

"I wish there was something we could do," Emily said plaintively.

"We can pray," Nikolas told her.

His fiancée nodded and wiped at her eyes. "Lucky? Do you want to come?"

"In a minute," he said, needing a little bit of time to calm himself so he could be around them. Plus, he had a phone call to make. "You go ahead. I'll be right there."

"Okay," she said, then turned with Nikolas for the hospital's chapel.

Lucky looked over at Cameron's room, and then headed in the opposite direction from where Nikolas and Emily had gone. When he reached the nurse's station he smiled at the nurse on duty when she looked up at him. "If Bobbie Spencer gets out of surgery before I get back, could you ask her to call her nephew please?"

"Sure," she told him, scribbling a quick note.

He thanked her, then pivoted on his heel and stepped onto an elevator that's doors just slid open. Roof or downstairs didn't matter. All that mattered was he had a clear place to make his phone call. A few minutes later he was outside in the snow, pulling out his cell phone.


"Jason, it's Lucky. We need to talk."

"What's wrong?" he immediately asked.

"Cameron's heart stopped last night," he told the other man with a sigh. "They-"

"He's...he's dead?" Jason interrupted raggedly."

"No," he answered quickly with a shake of his head. "They revived him. But he's in a coma. You should come down to the hospital."

There was warning in his voice when Jason said, "Lucky."

"Forget it, Jason," he snapped back. "I'm telling Elizabeth the truth. Stop being a martyr and get down here to help your friend."

He took a deep breath and then said, "She'll want to see you, and you need to be here for her. She needs everyone's support."

Then he hung up the phone and turned to go back inside the hospital.

Jason hated gray. Especially the drab, institutional gray that pervaded hospitals and police stations. He wasn't a stranger to either place, more so the police station. Sitting in the visitor's room, Jason was particularly bothered by the gray today. It was too lifeless, and after hearing Cameron Webber's heart has stopped last night, he was extremely loathsome of the color.

Normally when he was at the police station he could easily slip into a controlled mask of his emotions. He didn't let anything the cops did or say bother him. It was slightly annoying to be locked up, but he never let it show. Today, though, he couldn't seem to find a center and project an emotionless façade.

Not when he was waiting for Sam to be brought in. He hadn't seen her since the night in Overton, and he still has so much rage and anger towards her. And it only intensified after hearing from Lucky. He had intended to go to the hospital, but he found himself outside the police station instead, determined to hear from Sam herself why she'd taken Cameron. And it allowed him to stall and not have to face Elizabeth yet.

He looked up when the door opened, and he curled his hands into fists on top of the table. When he noticed a slight tremor in them, he put them under the table and fisted them into the denim of his jeans. Sam's face brightened when she saw him sitting there, and he felt pure fury slam around inside him like a pinball machine. His face was hard and stoic and he wouldn't meet her gaze as the cop followed procedure and locked her cuffs into the pin on top of the table.

Only when the guard left the room did he let his gaze rest on her. Piercing and unforgiving, his fury being given permission to manifest.

She was oblivious to it all. "Jason," she smiled brightly, "I knew you'd come down to see me. You'd understand why I did it and you'd come help me. Sonny hired a lawyer for me, but I know that you will be the one to get me out of this."

"I'm not here to help you," he said, how voice low and dangerous. "I want to know why."

"Why?" she parroted.

"Why you would kidnap a baby. Elizabeth's baby," he growled. "She helped you after Adella died. She was good to you. Why would you steal her baby?"

"I did it for us," she said earnestly.


"We lost our baby, Jason. We were going to raise our little girl. You may have tried to act like you weren't as hurt as I was, but I knew you were. I knew you wanted for us to have a baby."

Disgust slammed into him to churn and mix with the fury. "There is no us. There never was. Not in any sense other than raising Sonny's baby. And I...I was wrong to have gotten attached. I was wrong to tell you I'd still help you after Carly knew the truth. I was never the father."

"But, Jason," she pleaded. "You wanted a baby just as much as I did. I saw you at the nursery. I saw you when you would talk to Elizabeth about her son. You wanted to be a father."

A new feeling of disgust hit him. This one self-directed. An awful, sick feeling that Sam had targeted Cameron because of him, because of his association with Elizabeth. She had twistedly tried to give him something she had seen deep inside him, the light that entered him, spreading to him from Elizabeth, when he heard her talk about her son.

"You stole him from his mother," he ground out, forcing himself to focus on what she'd done. Maybe he shouldn't focus on the why.

"We could have been a family," she said earnestly. "We could have had a new baby to take care of. But you took him away."

He stood and looked down at her, determined that the next time he saw her would be in a courtroom. He thought he could do this, that he could come to her and demand the answers he hoped to find for himself and Elizabeth. Instead, he realized that he would never understand; Sam's mind had warped into something he couldn't even recognize. "I was only helping you because the baby was Sonny's. I wasn't doing it for you."

"I thought we were friends," she said desperately as he walked towards the door.

He paused with his hand on the knob, and turned to look at her. "We were both wrong."

Then he stepped out of the room and closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose against the headache forming.


He looked up at Sonny, and shook his head. He did not need this right now. Not here. Not when he would give the police a clue about the conflicting views they held. He opened his mouth, but shut it without a word. Instead, he walked past Sonny and headed for the entrance.

"Jason," Sonny called again after he was outside. "Jason!"

He stopped and waited, but didn't turn around. Sonny walked up to him and raised his eyebrows in question. "I was surprised to see you here. You haven't been by to see Sam since she was arrested."


"Why'd you come? Did you change your mind?" he asked. The tension and the unease were thick between the two men, as it had been since Adella's death. And especially since Sam's arrest.

"Cameron Webber's heart stopped last night. I came to ask her why."

Sonny's eyes widened in shock. "He-he died?"

"They revived him," he shook his head. "But he's in a coma now."

"I...I'm sorry," he said softly. "I hope...I hope he gets better soon."

"For Sam's sake, I hope he does. Because if he dies, she'll be charged with murder." Then he paused and swallowed his anger on a sigh. "But I don't know if he will get better. I think he's just too sick."

Sonny looked down, refusing to meet his eye and Jason felt the rage and disgust from before well up again. "If Cameron does die, I promise you I will do everything I have to do to make sure she's punished. Even if that means she gets locked up in Ferncliff for the rest of her life. That's why I came here. So that I could forget Sam and focus on what's really important. Being there for Elizabeth and Cameron."

"You're still determined to see her locked up?" Sonny challenged, his voice hardening.

"She will be locked up," he answered. "It's only a matter of where. And you better not cross me on this."

Then he stepped around Sonny and headed for his motorcycle to head to the hospital.

"Are you going to be okay?"

She looked at Lucky whose eyes were filled with caring and concern and blinked. She wanted to tell him that she didn't think she'd ever be okay again. Not after watching Cameron flatline, her own heart stopping until Steven brought her son back. She would never be okay, not after seeing her son on a respirator and knowing that he may never breathe on his own again.

But she knew that wasn't what Lucky was referring to. She felt a bit numb at his pronouncement, and wasn't sure what to make of it. Jason had not only found Cameron, but he had called the police to have Sam arrested. He'd told the police the location of one of their safe houses and didn't call Sonny right away. Her head was spinning at the news.

"I...I just..." She paused and looked at Lucky with a shrug. "I don't know."

He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and squeezed softly. "It's alright, Elizabeth. It's been a long day. I just thought you should know."

"Thank you," she whispered. "I just...I yelled at him."

"He's not mad. He knew you were frightened and worried and lashing out."

She peered at him. "Are you defending him to me?"

"I'm just reminding you he's your friend," Lucky shook his head. "And it's a bit weird for me."

She allowed herself a small laugh, but it quickly died on her lips. "I think I just need some time...some air."

"You probably need some sleep too, but I know you don't want to leave Cameron for very long. Can I do anything for you?"

"No," she answered with a shake of her head. "Thank you for being here. And thank you for calling Emily and Nikolas. It... it helped to see them, to have you guys here."

"We're all concerned, and we all love you and Cameron," he told her, his voice soft and tender.

Her eyes misted up and Elizabeth wiped them with the back of her hand. "Thank you, Lucky. For everything."

He straightened with a smile. "How 'bout some lunch? I'll get you something from Kelly's that you can eat whenever you're hungry."

She wanted to say she wasn't sure she would be hungry any time soon, not with a knot of dread in her stomach, but she knew Lucky just wanted to help. And bringing her food was the only thing he could really do right now. So she nodded and whispered her thanks. "I...I think I'm going to take a walk."

"Okay," he smiled. "I'll be back in a little bit."

She stood there and watched him walk away, and let out a sigh. Then, she turned in the opposite direction and just began to walk, needing some time to herself before she went back in to sit by Cameron's bed. She had always resisted when her gram or her brother encouraged her to take a moment, she'd always been reticent to leave Cameron. Now, though, she finally felt the need for that time. It had just drained her to watch her little boy in his current state.

When she found herself in front of the chapel, a rueful smile danced briefly across her lips. She realized her aimless walking had actually brought her someplace. She pushed the doors open and stepped into the quiet sanctuary. The doors closed softly behind her, muting out the sounds of the hospital and she paused for a moment to let the silence sink in. There were no machines beeping, no intercom sounds, no nurses with their instruments, just silence. And it helped calm her frayed nerves.

Crossing to the front of the chapel, she lit a candle and then sat down on a pew. She braced her elbows on her thighs and buried her face in her hands, letting the tears come. She prayed for her son, prayed for him to get better; selfishly pleaded for his life to be spared. She couldn't bear the thought of losing him, of not having him in her life anymore. He wasn't even a year old, barely half that, but she couldn't imagine going to back to a life he wasn't a part of.

She heard the doors opened and she straightened, wiping her eyes. It was probably Lucky, back already from Kelly's and here to check on her. She really hoped he wouldn't push her right now. She swallowed and turned, putting a smile on her face to assure him she was alright. The smile faltered and slipped, though, when she saw it wasn't Lucky standing inside the doorway.


Chapter 11

Friday, December 17, 2004

Jason stood just inside the chapel, and stared back as Elizabeth turned to look at him. He knew that the reason she'd yelled at him was because she was frightened and worried for her son. But he wasn't in any hurry to have her lash out at him again. She had a very sharp tongue, and when she struck she could wound him like few others could.

Her accusations, automatically assuming he had come to aid Sam, only reminded him of his failures when it came to her. Not doing more - anything really - when she was blinded by Courtney, not helping more to protect her from Ric, and clear back to her hurt when she walked out on him. They had worked to get their friendship back, letting go of their anger towards each other. But it was still a tenuous reconnection; they certainly weren't as close as they had been before.

This could derail them, and he didn't want that to happen. He liked that they were talking without all the anger again, and when things happened they helped the other person. She gave him support when others seemed to doubt him; she always seemed to show up at times when he needed that. He really hoped they could fix this so he could be there for her now and not just cause her more pain.


He swallowed, but couldn't seem to find words. Her eyes were large, and he could see the uncertainty in them as she stared questioningly back at his unmoving form. She shifted somewhat and bit her lip. "Jason?"

Forcing himself to move, he walked towards her and sat down on the bench she was on. There was still space between them, but it was better than standing awkwardly at the door. "Hey," he said finally.

"Hi," she answered hesitantly. "I...I'm glad you're here."


"It's okay, Jason," she shook her head, and then faced the front of the chapel again. "I understand why you weren't here. I said some pretty nasty things to you and told you to go. You were just listening to me."

"I knew you didn't mean it," he said, gripping the edge of the pew with his hands. "You were frightened and worried about Cameron. And I...I haven't given you a lot of reason to trust me sometimes."

"No," she shook her head as she shifted slightly and turned towards him. "But I didn't even give you a chance to explain. I just jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst. I'm sorry. found Cameron. I didn't even know you were looking for him."

"You were hurting, you needed your son, and your brother said you could tell the police didn't have much hope of finding him." He moved closer towards her and reached out, but then stopped short of touching her, placing his hand on the back of the bench. "I...I remembered when Michael was missing, how frantic I was to find him. I hated the thought that you were going through that. I wanted to help you."

She moved towards him, and he dropped his arm down, drawing her close to him. He closed his eyes as she clung to him and he tightened his own arms around her. They would be alright. This was only a temporary setback. They would work past this. And he was very grateful that Lucky had interfered.

He felt Elizabeth's shoulders shake a moment before he heard her muffled crying. Tightening his hold on her, he rubbed his hand over her arm, wishing there was some way he could help her. She didn't deserve to have all this pain, she deserved to be happy. Most of all, that's what he wanted for her. He whispered to her softly, not knowing if the words would really help her, but he was determined to let her know she wasn't alone.

She softened in his arms, shifting and resting her head on his shoulder. Sniffling, she brought one hand to wipe her eyes as a shuddery sigh filled the room. She didn't say anything, and he stayed silent; content to let Elizabeth lead the way.

"Thank you," she finally spoke, her voice rusty. She cleared it softly, "Thank you for finding my son, for bringing him home."

"I'm sorry I didn't find him sooner. Maybe he wouldn't be so sick right now."

"Don't, Jason," she said, touching his leg. "Don't. You didn't do this. looked for him. And it you made it possible for me to have this time with him. I got to hold him again."

She paused, and he could feel her swallow the tears that blossomed. "I can't even begin to thank you for that."

He knew she'd rebuff his attempts again, but he still had to say. "I'm sorry that Sam did this to you. You helped her for me, and I...I feel responsible that this happened. She took Cameron so she could have a family with me. I was going to help her raise Sonny's baby, and she did this. She wanted us to be a family."

Elizabeth stiffened at his words, but he was grateful that she didn't pull away. Finally she said, "You didn't ask her to take Cameron, or anyone else for that matter. You aren't responsible for her, Jason. Only Sam is responsible for herself."

She took a breath and said, "Lucky told me she was arrested, that you gave a statement against her."

"I did," he confirmed. "What she did was wrong. I...I don't know if she's sick or just pretending to be, but I couldn't... If I helped her, I would be betraying you and everything you went through. People testified for Tony Jones after he took Michael and Robin, I wouldn't do that to you."

"Thank you," she whispered, her voice thick and heavy. "That's why you stayed that night. To tell me."

"I didn't want you to hear from someone else. I...I remember when Ric told you about Courtney and how you reacted. You deserved better than that this time. I didn't want you to think it was the same thing."

"And yet that's exactly what I accused you of," she sighed, her voice tinged with regret.

"It's okay," he told her. "It's forgotten."

She sat up and turned to look at him, so he could see the sincerity in her eyes. "I still feel bad. But thank you...for everything."

Jason gave her a small smile. "You're welcome, Elizabeth."

Her face fell slightly, and her next breath was troubled as she said, "I...I should probably get back to Cameron. It's's hard," she admitted. "I just...I pray that we'll get another miracle with him. But I'm afraid, most of all, that we won't."

He stood and slowly helped her to her to her feet, steadying her with a hand at her back. "I wish there was something more I could do."

"You being here really helps. Will...will you walk back with me? Or do you have some place you have to be?"

"My phone is off and Sonny knows I'm not to be bothered unless it's truly urgent," he told her, knowing that the gesture was probably too small and too late to be anything more than symbolic.

Her smile wobbled just slightly, but she recovered quickly. "Thank you."

"Come on," he coaxed as they took a step towards the door. "I'll be there for you, Elizabeth. Anything you need."

Steven was surprised to walk into his nephew's room and find Jason there, with his sister asleep on the other man's shoulder, but he quickly got past it. He knew that she had fought with Jason, wrongly assuming that he had come to ask her not to press charges against Sam for Cameron's kidnapping. It hadn't been the case, but he hadn't worked to correct his sister's erroneous thoughts. While Jason Morgan had been helpful to find Cameron, Steven felt it was better for his sister to be as far away from him as possible.

But seeing his sister's friend in his nephew's room, watching over Cameron while Elizabeth slept, he knew that they had patched things up. Jason looked up, his face haunted as he managed to tear his gaze away from the little boy in the crib. Steven tipped his head slightly in acknowledgement, and then set about quietly examining Cameron for any signs of improvement.

Sadly, there didn't appear to be any change. Cameron's fever was still elevated, the pneumonia wasn't clearing up, and he knew the only reason Cameron was still breathing was because of the respirator. The only reason his nephew was alive was because of the machines attached to him. As a doctor, he knew the prognosis wasn't good. And he had to tell himself that he needed to temper both sides - the doctor and brother - as he talked to Elizabeth now.

He sat down and leaned back in a chair across the room, trying not to stare at his sister resting next to a mob enforcer. He knew he didn't really have a leg to stand on in regards to their relationship, considering he was trying to convince the ex-wife of a mob boss to date him. But Elizabeth was his baby sister, and he couldn't help but want to protect her and want better for her.


He looked up to see Elizabeth blinking as she shifted away from Jason slightly to straighten. Jason folded his hands in his lap, and stayed sitting right next to her.

"Hey," he smiled slightly. "I hope I didn't wake you."

She shook her head. "I wasn't really asleep; just resting"

He knew that was about the best they'd get from her, and he tried to tamp down his growing worry for her health. She leaned forward and said, "Steven, could you give us a minute?"

His eyebrows rose slightly, but instead he nodded and stood. Heading out into the hallway, he stuffed his hands into his lab coat. Leaning against the wall, he waited for whatever his sister needed to tell Jason before he was allowed back into the room. He was the first person beside family that had been inside with Cameron, and he tried not to focus too much on what the implications of that meant.

It was only a few minutes later when the door opened and Jason stepped out. "She said you can go in."

"Jason," he stopped the other man from walking away. "Thank you for getting her to rest."

"I didn't get her to do anything," he shook his head. "I just let her do what she wanted. You can't make Elizabeth do anything."

"Thank you for helping her."

The other man merely shrugged. "If she needs anything, call me. I'll be back in a little bit, though."

Then Jason turned and left, and Steven immediately focused his attention on Cameron's room. Stepping inside he crossed over to his sister standing by her son's crib. She looked up and her eyes were flat and defeated. "He's not going to get better, is he?" she asked.

"We don't know that yet, Elizabeth," he told her. "He could improve."

"Steven," she said, her attention focused on Cameron. "Don't lie to me. He wasn't getting better before the arrest; we were worried we'd have to put him on a respirator. Please tell me the truth, Steven. He's only alive because of the machines, isn't he?"

Reaching out, he covered Elizabeth's hand gently. "I...I think so. We could try...we could try to see if he would breathe on his own. But you'd have to decide, Elizabeth, if we'd put him back on the respirator in case he doesn't."

"How do I decide that?" she asked, her eyes now slightly frantic as she turned to him. "You're asking me to let my son die, or keep him alive artificially. I...I just barely got him back. am I supposed to let him go again? Knowing it's for good. How, Steven? He-he's my little boy."

"Shh, shh," he said, as he wrapped his arms around her trying to calm her. "We don't have to do this right now, Elizabeth. We can take some more time and see. We can wait."

He tucked his chin into his shoulder as she clung to him. "But you asked me to be honest with you...and I was."

Elizabeth stood, wincing as her back creaked in protest as she straightened. She'd been leaning over Cameron's crib for untold time, just gazing down at her little boy. The part of her that could think clearly right now knew from her medical training that Steven was right. It was just the machines keeping him alive.

The mother in her, however, didn't like the truth. She didn't want to admit that there was really no hope for her son. She kept hoping and praying for a miracle, that Cameron would improve and open his eyes. She just wasn't prepared for the reality that she knew she was going to lose her son. She didn't want him to die.

She reached down and touched his soft, fine hair, tears coming to her eyes. She didn't know what to do, or how she'd go on without Cameron. Jason probably didn't believe her, but she didn't know that she'd want to keep going if her son was gone. He was her life now.

Bending down, she kissed Cameron's cheek, mindful of the respirator tube. Then she straightened and stepped over towards Steven who'd fallen asleep in a chair. She touched his hand and he sprang up in his seat, instantly awake.

"What's wrong?" he asked. "Is it Cameron?"

"No," she shook her head. "I was just going to step out for a minute. Can you sit with him?"

He nodded, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," was all she said.

She stepped up onto the roof a few minutes later and wrapped her sweater tightly around her. Not wanting to cause Steven to ask a lot of questions, she hadn't grabbed her jacket, so she wanted to hurry. Pulling out her cell phone, she dialed a number and hoped she was home.


"Bobbie?" she sighed. "It's Elizabeth. I...I was wondering if I could talk to you?"

Chapter 12

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Elizabeth sighed as she pushed her hair off her forehead. She knew from having just looked at it in the bathroom mirror she should put it up in a ponytail and be done with it. But she also knew nobody would care what she looked like. Not at this time. They'd excuse her limp, stringy hair just like they'd excuse the dark circles that had taken up permanent residence under her eyes.


She stopped and turned, surprised to see Alexis walking towards her. Elizabeth looked, but didn't see Kristina or Ric, and so she wondered what the other woman was doing here. "Alexis."

Kristina's mother looked around and grimaced slightly. "I hate these drab walls. They should put some color in here, even if it's just for the parents. Staring at these walls does nothing to alleviate the worry."

"Yeah," Elizabeth shrugged, wrapping her arms around herself.

"Listen, I don't want to bother you," Alexis said, "because I know you want to be near Cameron as much as you can. But I just...I just wanted to say I'm sorry for what happened to Cameron. I feel that I'm responsible for setting Sam off."

Elizabeth sighed, and shook her head. "You're not. You're not responsible for what she did."

"I shouldn't have pushed her so hard," the older mother shook head as well. "I was focused on Kristina and I wasn't very sensitive to her fears or feelings. And daughter lived while hers...didn't. I shouldn't have pushed her."

"Alexis, listen to me; it's not your fault. Sam's placenta would have detached with or without you pleading for Kristina's life. You were worried about your daughter, and what happened was horrible, but I certainly don't blame you." Looking over her shoulder at Cameron's room she said, "If there was something, or someone, who could help Cameron, then I would do everything in my power to get it for him."

"I am so sorry," Alexis bowed her head slightly. "You have your own worries; you don't need me shoving my guilt off on you. How is Cameron doing? Emily and Nikolas said...that his heart stopped yesterday."

Elizabeth's shoulders dropped at the silent, soft, anguish-filled words and she seemed to deflate even more. "The pneumonia wasn't getting better and it was just too much for his heart to handle."

"I'm so sorry, Elizabeth," she said. "Is there anything I can do to help you? Anything you need?"

"I don't think there's anything anyone can do," Elizabeth replied sadly. "All we can do now is wait and see...and decide."


Shaking her head she said. "Nothing. Just some stuff I've been thinking about. Thank you for coming by, I...I'm glad that Kristina is doing better."

As much as it hurt her heart, she truly was glad the little girl was on the road to recovery. Children should be healthy and outside playing, and if she couldn't watch that happen with Cameron she was glad she could watch it happen with another child. And she wouldn't wish this pain or hurt on anyone.

Alexis sighed and shifted uncomfortably. "I came to see how Cameron was doing, but I also came to see you for another reason. There's no easy way to say this except to just say it. Sonny called me after Sam was arrested and asked me to represent her."

Elizabeth flinched and wrapped her arms tightly around her stomach. Alexis quickly shook her head and rushed on. "I told him no, Elizabeth. First it would have been a conflict because Ric is the D.A. But there was no way I could have represented Sam and furthered your pain. No matter how much Sonny said I owed it to Sam for Adella saving Kristina. I...I'm not proud of what I've done in the past, defending Tony after he kidnapped Michael. Helena's threats made me weak and fearful. I won't defend another kidnapper, for anyone."

Elizabeth wanted to tell Alexis if that were the case then she probably shouldn't have married Ric, but she didn't. She was appreciative that Alexis wouldn't be defending Sam, and she was grateful that Alexis had the decency to tell her in person. It didn't surprise her that Sonny was looking for someone to defend Sam, all she cared about was that Jason wasn't helping the woman who took her son.

"Thank you," she said to Alexis. "I appreciate your concern, and your honesty."

"Yes, well," the other woman shifted. "I should be going. Ric and I, we both hope everything works out for Cameron."

"Thank you," Elizabeth said again, this time with less emotion. She wasn't sure things would.

She stood there in the hallway and watched as Alexis left. The older woman would go home to her child and husband - Elizabeth's ex - and have a quiet evening as a family. And there was a part of Elizabeth that hated Alexis for it, even as she knew it was no fault of the older woman. It wasn't that long ago that Alexis had been standing in these same hallways worried about Kristina. The little girl had been perilously close to death, and the only reason she had cheated it was due to the miracle of Adella's bone marrow.

It was a point she had emphasized to both Sam and Jason after the little girl's death. Out of horrible tragedy had come life and hope. Elizabeth still believed that. Sonny had made Adella's death mean something by helping another child live.

As she looked over at Cameron's room, that line of thought kept running through her mind.

Steven looked up as the door opened and Elizabeth walked inside Cameron's room. She crossed over to where the little boy laid, the ventilator creating the only sound in the room. He watched as his sister smoothed her hand over her son's brow, and then let her fingers play in the small tuft of hair on his forehead.

"I think his fever has gone down even a little more," he said softly. Sometime during the middle of the night Cameron's fever had stabilized, and had even gone down a couple tenths of a point. It didn't mean a miraculous recovery was happening, or even on the horizon, but Steven was pleased by the change.

"How are his lungs?" she asked, not looking up from her son.

"No real improvement," he admitted, his small dose of pleasure vanishing.

"So, he's only alive because of the machines that are forcing him to breathe."

Walking up beside her, Stephen placed his hand on her shoulder. "Elizabeth, I know this is hard, but you can't give up hope."

"And I can't stick my head in the sand either, Steven," she countered. "Sometimes hope isn't enough, prayer isn't isn't enough. He was a very sick little boy when Jason found him, who knows how much longer Cameron would have lived if he hadn't. You have been wonderful with him, you're a great doctor, but even you can't perform miracles."

The sad, defeated tone in Elizabeth's voice worried him. His sister was a fighter, always had been. Steven could remember the fights she had gotten into with their parents, how she refused to bend her iron will to anyone's wishes. This whole ordeal had been very tough on her, and he hoped it wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back and crushed her forever.

"So you're saying you're giving up?" he questioned, almost a little disappointed in her.

She shook her head. "No, I'm evaluating my options."

Turning, she took his hand and led him away from the crib. Lower her voice she said, "I talked with Bobbie last night, and I was talking to Alexis earlier."

Steven's brow furrowed as he wondered what his sister was trying to say. While the two older women might know each other and Elizabeth, he wasn't sure what they could have spoken to his sister that she would link them together. But, as crazy as it got sometimes, he knew his sister would explain her thoughts with time.

"Bobbie's stepdaughter was in an accident and they gave her heart to her cousin, Maxie Jones. Kristina is alive because of the stem cells she got from Adella."

"Right," he nodded. Narrowing his eyes slightly he said, "Elizabeth..."

"I haven't made up my mind about anything," she shook her head. "I'm just considering things, right now. I don't even know if he's healthy enough to donate anything."

Steven swallowed. Organ donation. That's what had been churning around in Elizabeth brain since she came back from her walk last night distracted.

As a doctor, Steven fully supported organ donation. During medical school he'd made the decision to be a donor himself. He had a DNR order, a living will, and it was on his driver's license that he was a donor. He knew Elizabeth held many of his same views. Yet it still gave him pause to think of donating Cameron's organs. Because the little boy was so young, and because he'd have to be taken off life support.

He looked down at his sister and wrapped his arm around her shoulder and squeezed it gently. He could read the question in her eyes. "I could run a few tests, see if there's anything viable. The most likely candidate would be his kidneys."

She wrapped her arms around him and pressed her face into his chest. "I'm not deciding yet. I just..."

"I know," he whispered, sweeping his hand over her hair.

"I just want to try to think about this rationally, make an informed decision.

"I know. But don't give up hope yet, okay."

A soft tap sounded on the door and Elizabeth stepped back. She opened the door and Steven fought to keep a scowl off his face when he saw Jason Morgan standing there. "Hi," she said softly.

"Hi," Jason said, his face drawn down slightly. "Is this a bad time? I just wanted to see how Cameron was doing. And you."

Steven stepped up behind her and placed his hand on Elizabeth's shoulder. "Why don't you go for a walk? I'm going to get started on those tests."

"Okay," she nodded as she looked up at him. "Thank you, Steven."

When the door closed he sighed and scrubbed his hands over his face. "I just told my sister to go on a walk with a mobster. I think I need to have my head examined."

Elizabeth was tense as she walked beside him, and Jason wondered what had changed since he saw her yesterday. Her brother had mentioned tests and her eyes had shadowed on the word, he really hoped that Cameron hadn't gotten worse. Jason didn't want to push her, he figured she had a lot of people around her that constantly talked, filling up the air with nervous chatter. He knew that the best course sometimes was to let her process through everything and then listen when she finally spoke.

He let her lead them through the hospital. She would set their pace and their path, he knew it would help relax her and feel comfortable. They wandered around Cameron's floor for a few minutes and then, when they reached a stairwell door, she pushed through the door and headed up. Not exactly sure where they were going, he followed silently until he realized she was heading towards the roof.

Dusk was on the city as they stepped outside and he could feel the cool air gust around them. Immediately he noticed the way Elizabeth rubbed her hands and then hugged her arms around her sweater clad frame. Taking off his jacket, Jason draped it around her shoulders, causing her to jump as if she had forgotten he was there.

"Here," he said softly as he freed her hair from the collar of his jacket. Then he forced himself to step back and not crowd her.

"Thank you," she smiled briefly at him. "I just needed some fresh air."

He nodded, knowing the clinical smells of antiseptic and death could be overwhelming. She probably wasn't as bothered by it since she was studying to be a nurse, but even she would need a break from it every once in a while. Elizabeth wandered towards the edge of the roof, and then turned around, taking a few steps back towards him.

"I'm really glad you stopped by, Jason," she said softly, yet completely heartfelt and emotional.

"I meant to come by sooner today," he apologized. "But something came up at the warehouse."

She shook her head slightly, sending her hair swinging around her face. "Don't apologize. I know you don't like hospitals, and I know there are things you have to take care of. I wouldn't expect you to sit beside me all day just staring at Cameron. It's just nice that you come by. Emily and Nikolas came by in the morning and Lucky stopped by this afternoon. I appreciate everyone's concern and support."

Pausing, she looked away briefly and pulled her chapped lip between her teeth. "But I'm really glad you came by when you did. I could use some of your famous good advice."

He tipped his head slightly to the side, watching her continue to worry her lip. "Elizabeth?"

"I need your opinion," she burst out. "I really need it, no matter how brutal or harsh."

"It sounds serious," he remarked, his brow furrowing.

"Yeah," she nodded slowly. "It is."

Chapter 13

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Elizabeth shivered and Jason worried about her, but not because he thought she was cold. There was something in her manner and tone that made him think the unease went deeper than the weather. He wanted to go to her and take this pain from her, she'd had enough pain lately and he didn't want her to have to go through any more. But the hurt radiating off her prevented him from moving forward. It was too powerful.

"Elizabeth?" he asked.

"I don't think Cameron's going to get better," she admitted sadly. "His fever hasn't gotten worse, but it really hasn't gotten better. And his pneumonia and infection aren't doing better, either."

He took a step forward, but something still kept him from reaching out for her. "I'm sorry, Elizabeth."

"And...and when his heart stopped... I don't know that he'll ever wake up. He...he may never breathe on his own again."

She looked like she would shatter at any moment, and he reached for her then. All he could hope for was to be able to hold her together any way he could. While he had never wanted her to be hurt by his job, he had always known she possessed deep strength. This was one of the few times he had truly seen her look fragile, and it made him want to do anything he could to help her find her center.

"I don't know what to do," she admitted, the puffs of her breath seeping through his shirt to warm his chest.

"What are you trying to decide?"

"How long do I keep him on the respirator?" she asked. Pulling away from him she nervously paced a few steps before turning. "Do I keep him on it forever when there's a chance he may never breathe again without it? He would have died before if they hadn't put him on it. His infection may never get better. He's weak, he's sick; sometimes people just don't get better. I know that. Everybody tells me not to give up hope, that Cameron could get better. But what if he doesn't? When do I stop dreaming and face reality?"

"I...I don't know, Elizabeth," he said calmly, hoping to slow down her frantic pacing and escalating panic. "Each case is its own. You can't base one off of another."

"You're referring to your accident."

"Maybe," he shrugged. "I woke up when doctors were certain I wouldn't."

"Monica and Alan were probably counseled, or talked about taking you off life support."

He shrugged again. "I don't know. Maybe. Elizabeth, if you're...don't base any decision you're considered because of what happened to me. Like I said, each case is its own. I wasn't as sick as Cameron is. What happened to me was completely different."

She turned and pushed her hands through her hair, then wrapped her arms around her middle. He stepped up and placed his hand on her shoulder. "Are you thinking of taking Cameron off the respirator?"

Her nod was brief and jerky. "But it's not just because I don't want him to be like that for the rest of his life. I...I talked with Bobbie and Alexis. Bobbie and Tony donated their daughter's heart to Maxie and saved her life. Kristina is alive because of Adella's stem cells."

He swallowed as he realized what she was contemplating. The twinge of pain he felt at the mention of Adella was brief, and he pushed it aside to focus on Elizabeth.

"I don't even know if anything can be donated from Cameron, except maybe his corneas," she continued. "But I just...I saw how Kristina was saved. I know that Maxie wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for her transplant. I...I believe in organ donation. If I could help another child live...then maybe it would mean something besides Cameron just dying."

She turned and looked at him, her eyes large and glassy. They were pools of pain that sliced into him. "Is it wrong to think this way?" she pleaded. "Should I keep holding onto him? It...I feel like people will say I gave up too easily. That I should have kept hoping for a miracle."

"No," Jason shook his head and stepped towards her. "First, nobody has the right to judge you."

"Just because they don't have the right doesn't mean they won't."

"I know. But this is your decision. You're not taking him off the respirator because you don't want to sit in a hospital; you want to help other children out. That...that is one of the most courageous things you could do. You're giving other parents a gift that will mean so much to them."

Jason knew how grateful Alexis was for Kristina's recovery. While he had been angry with her at first, mad that Adella had died, he had come to realize it had been a horrible, tragic accident. Sam's condition would have occurred even if she hadn't been arguing with Alexis. In fact, if Sam hadn't been in the hospital and so close to medical help, she could have died as well. Sonny had made the right decision by allowing the stem cells to be taken; there was no reason another child should have died because they were selfish.

Elizabeth was thinking beyond her pain and her own wants, and thinking about others. It was one of her best qualities. He knew why she wanted his opinion, because of his own accident and his part in Sam's decision about Adella. She needed his strength now, and he hoped it could give it to her. As well as reassurance.

"It's your decision, Elizabeth," he repeated. "And whatever you decide to do...I will stand beside you completely."

She stepped into him, hugging him tightly. "Thank you, Jason. That means a lot to me."

Audrey sat beside Elizabeth and gently picked up her granddaughter's hand. The young woman turned towards her, her eyes at the same time filled with pain, yet hollow and void. Audrey remembered another time she had seen this look. Elizabeth had told her what happened one Valentine's night in the park; it was a look the grandmother would never forget. It pained her to see it again.

Steven stopped talking and knelt down in front of them, placing his hand on Elizabeth's knee. "Lizbee?"

She sniffled and wiped her eyes. "Thank you, Steven. I...I appreciate you doing this."

"Do...can I help you with anything?" he asked.

Elizabeth shook her head. I think I need a few minutes to think about this."

"Of course."

"Steven," Audrey said softly. "Maybe you could get her some tea?"

Her grandson looked over at her and immediately nodded. He seemed to understand her request that he leave and give her a few minutes alone with Elizabeth. "Sure. What about you, Gram?"

"Thank you," she smiled.

"Anything to eat?"

Elizabeth shook her head, but Audrey nodded. Elizabeth still was hardly eating, but she would eat a little if someone brought something for her. Steven patted Elizabeth's knee and then stood, stepping quietly out into the hall.

"Darling?" Audrey asked after a few minutes of silence.

"It all seems so final," Elizabeth whispered into the quiet room. "When we were talking about it..."

"Talking seems so innocent, yet sometimes it isn't," Audrey remarked knowingly. "You don't have to make any decision right now."

"You heard Steven," her granddaughter pointed out. "Cameron doesn't have renal failure now, but that could change with the more time that passes. We couldn't donate his heart, lungs or liver, but his kidneys could still be donated. They could help save two children. You and I both know that decision has to be made sooner rather than later."

It was moments like this that Audrey considered her medical training and knowledge both a blessing and a curse. They all knew what Cameron needed and how he was doing, they knew the clinical aspects of prudence and haste in making a decision, but sometimes that clashed with the emotions of the moment. Audrey's first great-grandchild wouldn't outlive her. He wouldn't outlive his mother, and it was a hard, sobering reality they had to face.

"Don't decide something because you think you should," she said as she wrapped an arm around Elizabeth's shoulder. "There's no reason to do anything."

"I know. I just...I fear deciding something when there could still be a chance for him to recover. And then I also hate thinking that I could hold onto that hope when there really isn't. Tell me, Gram," she said imploringly, reaching out and grasping Audrey's hands. "Do you think there's a chance for him? A real chance, not just wishful hoping?"

Audrey sighed and looked over at Cameron, drawing Elizabeth close and tight in her arms. "I don't know, Elizabeth. I've seen many things in my time. People healthier than him who have died, and people who were sicker who have recovered. The human will plays a large part of it."

"So I can will him back to life?"

It wasn't said scornfully, yet Audrey could sense the skepticism. If Cameron's recovery was as simple as being willed back to health, then he would be awake and playing right now. "No, it's not that simple. Oh, that it were."

"So what would you do?" her grandmother persisted.

"I don't know," she admitted. "Only you can decide that."

"I know," Elizabeth said, sounding like a lost little girl.

"But, Elizabeth, no matter what you decide, Steven and I will support you," Audrey told her. "We will love you, and we will help you, and we will be there for you however we can."

Her granddaughter's eyes shimmered with tears. "I know. I guess that's all left is for me to decide."

In some ways it was an easy decision, and yet it was crushing in its difficulty. Elizabeth loved her son, had since the moment she found out she was pregnant. She had done everything in her power to protect him and provide for him. She had walked away from Ric when she realized that he hadn't really changed at all. Despite his claims, her ex-husband had still been all about taking Sonny down, or at least besting him. It had been easy decision to walk away from him, because it was the best thing for her child not to grow up with a man who was only out to prove something by being with his mother.

She'd read parenting books, relied on her grandmother's advice and done all she could to keep him safe. He had all of his shots, went to every check-up he was supposed to. But what was she supposed to do with something beyond her control? That was what Elizabeth was having the most difficult time with.

As she sat in a secluded corner of the hospital, she wrestled with her fears and her thoughts. They were a powerful force that threatened to overwhelm her. She saw both sides of the coin now. Bobby and Tony's selfless love, and Sam's fear and concern. At the same time, she could never forget the desperation of Alexis and the thought that there were other parents out there hoping for the same miracle.

In the end, it came down to what she would hope for if Cameron's condition was viable. She would hope another parent would be generous enough to help others, especially her son. So if that would be what she would hope for, how could she not do the same? She needed to find some good point in this whole ordeal, and she hoped that by helping other children live it would help her. That would in some way begin to accept her son's death.

Drawing her knees up to her chest, she buried her face and cried. Just because she'd made a decision didn't mean it was going to be easy to deal with it.

She didn't know how much time had passed before she heard footsteps echo in the empty hallways. Since this floor of the hospital was under reconstruction she knew she would be alone and able to think. She knew by the sound that it was Jason, but she couldn't raise her head to look at him. Soft leather creaked as he knelt beside her, and when he put his hand gently on her shoulder a sob ripped from her chest as she turned into the comfort he was offering.

He was talking to her, but she couldn't make out what he was saying. What helped most of all was just his presence. Soon she began to calm down and his gentle words began to reach her.

She pulled back slightly and sniffled as Jason shifted to sit beside her. "Th-thank you," she hiccupped.

"You're welcome," he said softly, reaching out to cradle her hand in his. "Your grandmother said you'd gone for a walk and that you might be up here. She also said you were going to make a decision."

Elizabeth nodded, then leaned her head back against the wall. "I have."

"You decided?" he asked.

"Yeah," she sighed shakily. "I-I'm going to take him off the respirator...and donate his kidneys since they're still healthy."

Chapter 14

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Being on the night shift was tough, but duty on Saturday night was at times extremely rough. People hit the bars, causing an increase in fights and drunk and disorderlies; people went out on dates leaving their homes susceptible to burglars; the police always seem to have more calls on a Saturday night. When Sunday morning rolled around, Lucky was always glad for the end of his shift. Often he's stop at Kelly's relax over an early breakfast before heading to his room to sleep.

He wouldn't be doing that today. Nikolas had called him last night to update him on the latest with Cameron after Jason had called Emily to inform her. Elizabeth had decided to take Cameron off the life support and donate his viable organs. Lucky was going straight to the hospital to see his friend.

Finished dressing after a quick shower, he snapped his locker shut and grabbed his jacket. As he made his way up to the main squad level he passed by the holding cells. He paused for a moment, tempted to go in and see Sam, to tell her what was happening this morning. But he was off the case because of his personal connection to Elizabeth and he didn't want to do anything to mess it up against Sam. So, he turned and kept going. He'd let the ADA on the case inform her about Cameron's demise.

When he reached the squad room he slowed his steps once more. Sonny Corinthos was entering the station. Crossing the room, he stopped in front of the mobster and crossed his arms over his chest.

The other man's smile was oily as he said, "Officer Spencer."

"I just wanted to let you know what was happening today," Lucky said as he leaned forward slightly. "Cameron is being taken off the respirator today. Elizabeth doesn't believe he'll recover from his infection or the coma he's fallen into. She's donating what organs of his she can to help other children since her son will never recover. I just thought you should know what was going on. The woman who helped you after losing your daughter is losing her son thanks to the woman you're helping. Think about that."

Then he stepped past the man he'd once hung out with and looked up to as a child. There were times he thought Sonny Corinthos was even more amazing than his own father. He wondered how he'd ever thought that. Both men were so selfish they had only ever let him down and disappointed him.

Maybe nobody would understand how Luke Spencer's kid could become a cop, but Lucky didn't care what others thought. He liked who he was. Being Luke's son had taught him that the only person's opinion that mattered was his own. So let Sonny Corinthos try to get Sam McCall free, he wouldn't succeed. Because the evidence and, oddly enough, Jason Morgan were on their side.

So his head was clear, Sonny and Sam already pushed out - if not forgotten, as he stepped outside. He was going to the hospital to see Elizabeth. She needed him, and that was what he was going to focus on.


He looked up, blinking as she stood before him. "Carly? What...why are you here? Are you okay?"

She nodded as she sat down beside him. Around the small waiting room others regarded her curiously, but she ignored them. She hadn't come for them, and as bad as it sounded she hadn't even come for Elizabeth. She had come to see Jason.

"The boys and I showed up at the Brownstone for our Sunday morning brunch with Mama, but she wasn't there. When I called to see if she was alright, she told me about Elizabeth and Cameron."

It had irritated her that her mother was canceling brunch with her grandchildren, especially to sit in the hospital for Elizabeth Webber. But when Bobbie explained that Cameron wasn't getting better and Elizabeth was taking him off the respirator so she could donate his kidneys and his corneas, Carly's irritation had died in her throat. She knew how deeply affected by B.J.'s death her mother had been. Carly had exploited Tony's grief when she first came to town and had listened to him talk about his daughter's heart that had gone to his niece. She understood why Bobbie had decided to stay at the hospital.

Carly knew how hard it had been for her to let Morgan come down to the hospital to be tested as a donor for Kristina. A part of her had been relieved when he hadn't matched because that meant he wouldn't have to go through the procedure. No matter how much Steven had tried to assure her it wouldn't hurt very long, it was still pain that she didn't want her baby to go through. It had been devastating for Sonny to allow Adella's stem cells to be used, and she remembered Elizabeth standing in the hallway watching as Sonny and Jason grieved and allowed the procedure to take place.

The mother in her could appreciate how hard this decision must have been for Elizabeth to make. Carly knew how much it had hurt when Tony kidnapped Michael, but at least they had gotten him back healthy. Elizabeth had been put through a longer ordeal and now she would be allowing her son to die. Carly hoped she never had to make such a decision.

But she had come down to the hospital to see how Jason was doing. He had found Cameron like he had found Michael, and though she didn't like it, he was friends with Elizabeth. Bobbie told her that Jason had been at the hospital often to see Elizabeth and Cameron, and had stayed all last night with them. She wanted to see how her friend was doing and if she could do anything for him.

"How are you holding up?" she asked as she picked up his hand.

"I'm okay," he said immediately. "I'm worried about Elizabeth. This has been so tough on her."

Carly sighed and wanted to say that it sounded like Jason was getting attached again to the twit, but she didn't. This wasn't the place for this particular fight. She'd just have to keep an eye on Jason. Maybe encourage him to spend more time with Michael and Morgan. His family.

"What's happening with Sonny?" she asked, wanting to move away from talking about Elizabeth Webber.

Jason looked over at her. "Sonny? Why are you asking about Sonny?"

"I just..." She shifted in her chair. "I just wondered how he was doing with all of this. I mean because of Sam and her baby."

"He's hired a lawyer for her," he said, a hardness entering his voice. "He spends his time with her, or the warehouse, I guess. I haven't seen him very much."

"He feels guilty," she pointed out softly. "He's helping Sam to ease his guilt."

"I know," he ground out quietly. "But how is this any different than Felicia or Robin testifying for Tony after he took Michael?"

Carly tensed as Jason made the comparison. She had hated how everyone made excuses for Michael's kidnapper, some even hinting it had been her fault for lying to Tony about Michael's paternity while she was pregnant. She knew Jason was telling her that he had helped Elizabeth like he had helped her, and Carly knew that he viewed Sonny in the same light as the good citizens of Port Charles who asked for leniency for Tony. Leniency that had made her pull a gun on him in a courtroom and shoot at him. She went to Ferncliff while Tony went on probation.

Before Carly could respond, Emily appeared before them. Jason's sister looked nothing like the poised young woman she'd turned into. Her hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail, her cheeks were splotchy and her eyes red and puffy from crying. "Jason. El-Elizabeth asked for you."

Jason swallowed and stood slowly. Emily briefly, but fiercely, clung to her brother before reluctantly pulling away. Nikolas stepped up beside her and she turned into his waiting comfort. "Are you going to be okay?" Jason asked.

She shrugged and he placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. Then he straightened and turned, heading for Cameron Webber's room. Carly's eyes narrowed slightly when she realized with displeasure that he'd walked away without a word to her. She'd forgive him because of the circumstances, but she was definitely going to have to keep an eye on him. Grief made Jason do funny things. Combine that with Elizabeth Webber and he couldn't be trusted to act responsibly.

The papers were signed and the transplant team was scrubbing in up in the O.R., all they were waiting on was for Elizabeth to let Cameron go. Her friends had come to offer their love and support, but she had asked for a few minutes for herself. Bobbie was going to scrub in, and Steven was going in as an observer. He said he'd stay with her son the entire time, to give him a family member present.

He was waiting outside with their grandmother, Bobbie and Monica Quartermaine, while Elizabeth held Cameron in the empty room. She brushed her lips over his forehead as she sniffled. "Hey there, sweet boy. I want you to know just how much I love you. The greatest joy and pleasure I've had in my life was to be your mother. were the greatest gift I ever received. And I have to let you go. You're going to help other children, and I can't be selfish."

She paused, pressing her trembling lips together as she fought for control. "Uncle Steven is going to be with you the entire time. And it won't don't be scared. You're going to help three very special children, and you're going to make their parents very happy. I wish I'd had more time with you, but I'm..." She broke as a sob escaped her. "I'm so glad for the time I had."

Pressing him close, she held him as her tears fell unchecked. She ignored the soft tap on the door because she wasn't ready to let him go yet. But she knew the team was waiting for Cameron, along with the families in Tampa, Boise and Chicago who's been notified. She couldn't keep him forever.

"Elizabeth," Steven said softly, gently touching her shoulder.

She handed her son over to him, grateful he was there and that he would be with her son until the end. Jason was standing just inside the doorway and he stepped forward when she looked at him. He must have seen how much she needed him, and she was buoyed he was there when she needed the support the most.

As Steven settled Cameron onto the waiting gurney, Jason stepped forward. "Could I...could I..." he asked.

"Sure," Steven nodded and he stepped aside and wrapped his arms around Elizabeth in support.

Jason stood for a moment by her son's bed and then visibly swallowed. "I'm sorry, Cameron," he said softly. "I'm sorry for what happened and that I didn't find you sooner. Mostly I'm sorry I didn't get to know you before, because I would have liked to. I...I'll look out for your mom for you, and I'll listen to her just like she listened to me once. I promise you I'll look out for her."

Then he straightened and stepped back to Elizabeth. She turned into his embrace and clung to him, even as she still watched Cameron. Bobbie and Steven got everything together and then began to wheel him out of the room.

"I love you, Cameron," she whispered, her voice thick and ragged. Her brother paused, looking over at her and he nodded, trying to assure and comfort her. Then the door closed, and her son was gone.

She turned her face into Jason's chest as a wail rose up inside her; he tightened his hold as she fisted her hand in his shirt. He said nothing, just held her, lending his strength both physically and emotionally. Right now she needed it, and so much more. She just hoped it would be enough to get her through.

Chapter 15

Sunday, December 18, 2004


Elizabeth looked up, her eyes red, swollen and puffy, barely able to focus on Bobbie who stood before her. The older woman knelt down beside her and placed a hand on her knee. The nurse looked tired, but freshly showered, and Elizabeth felt her throat close up. "Is the surgery done?" she whispered raggedly.

Bobbie nodded and sat down on the floor next to her, wrapping her arm around the young woman's shoulder. "He's...he's downstairs in the morgue."

Elizabeth gasped and cried all the harder at the news. It was over. Though she knew that other children were benefiting from her decision, it stabbed through her heart to think that her little baby was in the morgue. She wanted him out of there, out of a cold, sterile, dead room. He should be home in his crib sleeping, but she knew that would never happen.

"I...I hate..."

"The thought of him being all alone down there," Bobbie said, her voice wistful and knowing. "I know. Tony and I both wanted to stay with B.J. Do you need anything, sweetie? Can I help you with the arrangements?"

She closed her eyes. Arrangements. Elizabeth needed to contact a mortuary, a church, a reverend...she was overwhelmed by all that she knew needed to be done. Bobbie tightened her arm around Elizabeth's trembling shoulders. "It doesn't need to be done right now. It's okay to do it tomorrow. You need to get some sleep, Elizabeth."

"I can't sleep," she shook her head. "I don't know that I can go home. His...his..."

"I know," the older woman murmured softly. "His room, his's hard to think about facing it. I know."

"What am I supposed to do?" she pleaded with her friend? "What do do I do this?"

"You sleep," Bobbie told her. "You take it one day at a time. You cry, you scream, you get angry, you rely on your family and friends. You get mad at them, you beg them for help. You get through it without thinking there's a right or a wrong way, because there's not. There's just the way that you need to do things."

The door opened and Elizabeth looked up at Jason came back inside the room. He carried a cup which she eyed warily. She couldn't stand another cup of hospital swill masquerading as coffee. He looked at Bobbie and then slowly knelt down in front of Elizabeth.

"You should get some rest," he told her as he set the paper cup down.

She shook her head, not ready - or willing - to leave. Because she had always hoped that she would be taking her son home with her and she couldn't bear the thought that a funeral home would be coming to pick him up instead.

Jason shifted onto the balls of his feet and wrapped his hands gently around her upper arms. He stood and she had no choice except to follow him to her feet. "Come on," he said. "Steven said he would take your grandmother home. I told him we'd meet them there."

"Jason," she shook her head.

"Elizabeth," Bobbie broke in softly beside her. "You need to go home."

"I was going to say thank you," she said on a strangled sob to Bobbie and Jason. "Thank you both for helping me."

"You're welcome," the older nurse nodded, as tears filled her eyes. "If you need anything, you call me. No matter what time."

"Okay," Elizabeth replied numbly. Shock, fatigue and grief were catching up and overwhelming her and she could only go along with Jason as he guided her out of the room.

"When you're ready tomorrow, you call me," Bobbie told her as they neared the elevators. "And I'll help you with the arrangements if you want."

Mutely she nodded, unable to speak past the lump of emotions in her throat. The elevator dinged to signal the arrival of a car and the doors slid open with a soft whoosh. Jason had his arm around her shoulders and silently guided her on. As the doors closed behind them, her face twisted in grief and her tears started anew. By the time they reached the lobby, Jason was practically carrying her - his arm wrapped tightly and supportively around her waist. And when they finally made it outside, he did pick her up and place her in the back of a waiting car. Then she turned into his welcoming embrace and sobbed as the car pulled away from the curb.

Steven stood in the darkened house and silently paced the living room as he waited for Jason Morgan and his sister to arrive. His grandmother was already upstairs asleep. He'd given her a mild sedative to help her sleep and he was pretty sure that the same would be needed for Elizabeth tonight. His sister had not slept much since Cameron had been admitted to the hospital, and he knew that tonight most of all she needed to sleep.

He looked out the window when a car stopped in front of the house and he watched a driver get out before going around to the back. Opening the door, the man carefully helped Jason Morgan get Elizabeth out of the car. As Morgan carried his sister up to the house, Steven broke out of his stunned inertia and quickly went to the door to open it. When Jason stepped up on the porch, Steven realized that his sister wasn't asleep as he'd hoped, but was quietly crying and looking like she was in the beginning stages of shock.

"Where's her room?" Jason quietly asked.

"Second on the right," he replied. Then he shut the door and followed after the mobster carrying his sister.

When he arrived, he saw that Morgan had already placed Elizabeth on the bed and was now removing her shoes. Steven paused, feeling for a moment that he had intruded on a private scene. There was such a tenderness in the other man's actions that made Elizabeth's brother feel as if he'd walked in on the two of them in a much more compromising position on her bed. He wondered just how deeply Jason cared for his sister and if this was really the time to object to the man who had helped Elizabeth in a way Steven had been unable to.

"Thank you," he told Morgan. "I appreciate you bringing her home."

He expected the mobster to leave, and as he approached Elizabeth's bed, he frowned slightly when Jason made no move towards the door. Steven drew up the blanket from the foot of the bed and covered his sister carefully, noting with some dismay that she didn't seem to be aware of much around her.

"Morgan," he said, nodding his head towards the door. "I've got it from here."

Jason shook his head and didn't move. "I told her I would stay. I don't have any place I need to be. I'm not leaving her."

A part of Steven rankled at this criminal who dared to come into his family's house and declare that he had no intentions of going anywhere. Yet, he had seen how much his sister had relied on Jason in the past several days and had seemed comforted by his presence. If Elizabeth had asked Morgan to stay, even if she wasn't fully aware of what she was asking, then Steven couldn't go against her wants. Right now, she was the only thing that mattered; not his connection to John Durant or his personal feelings.

"Alright," he agreed slowly. "Then can you hand me my bag on the table behind you?"

Jason handed the bag across to Steven and sat down in a chair he brought over by the bed. Steven pulled out the prepared needle from the bag in his hand and set it on the table beside him. Morgan looked up and frowned. "What are you doing? You're drugging her again?"

"She needs sleep," he said softly. "She hasn't slept more than a couple of hours since Cameron was found and she's worn down. She's had a lot to deal with and right now she needs to sleep without worry."

Morgan merely nodded and looked down, concentrating on Elizabeth's hand that he held. He didn't look up until Steven put the cap on the used needle and tossed it back into his bag to dispose of later. The two of them sat in silence, each watching Elizabeth as her breathing deepened and evened out. Her tears stopped, her eyelids drooped heavily, and she soon she sleep. They both let out a breath of relief and relaxed slightly.

"She's going to be asleep for a while," Steven said. "I didn't give her very much, but combined with her exhaustion... I would be surprised if she woke up before tomorrow morning."

Standing, he brushed the hair off his sister's face and then tucked the blanket more securely around Elizabeth's shoulders. "Do you want to stay in here? I can get you a blanket or something. Or you can join me."

Morgan looked up, his brows raised in question. Steven answered the unspoken query by saying, "I plan to get drunk right now. As a doctor I can't really agree to sedate myself as I have Elizabeth or our grandmother. I plan to medicate myself another way. You're welcome to join me."

Without waiting to see whether Jason would agree or not, he turned and left Elizabeth's room. He desperately needed to drown the image of Cameron on the operating table. Although he had a feeling that was an image he would never forget, no matter how much time passed.

"Carly, I'm sorry," Bobbie sighed as they walked into the Brownstone. "I just don't think I'll be very good company right now. You didn't have to wait at the hospital for me; you should have spent the day with Michael and Morgan."

Right now, Bobbie really wished her daughter had gone and spent the day with her children. Because Bobbie just wanted some peace and quiet. A good friend of hers and a girl she loved like family had just lost her child today. It was a sad enough occasion on its own, but with all the memories of B.J. that it had brought up, it was just too much. She wanted to think about the daughter that she'd lost and still loved. She wanted to spend time with her children to count the blessings she still had, but judging by the look on Carly's face she didn't think that was going to happen.

Carly was steaming even as she tried to pretend she wasn't. Bobbie heard the mutterings under her daughter's breath against Elizabeth Webber, even as Carly feigned concern about the grieving mother. Bobbie knew she didn't have the patience to deal with her daughter right now, and she was on the verge of saying something that would anger Carly even more and make the situation worse.

"Mama, I just want to make sure you're alright," Carly said in a tone that made Bobbie doubt the sincerity of the statement.

"I think I'll be alright after I get some sleep. Lucas is with Tony right now. Maybe I'll call and see if Lucas can stay there tonight as well."

She was sure Tony would understand when she told him what had happened. He would be able to explain the situation to Lucas until she could pull herself together by tomorrow and be there for her son.

"I could take Lucas," Carly offered and Bobbie looked at her in disbelief.

"Lucas is fine where he's at. Tony will help him with this and it'll be good for Lucas to be there for Tony as well." She didn't know how to tell her daughter that her son hated his sister. That Lucas would go with his Uncle Luke before he went with Carly.

"Are you sure you'll be alright?" Carly asked. "I could send the boys to stay with Sonny and I could stay here with you."

Bobbie smiled at Carly and stepped up to cup her daughter's cheek. As much as she was exasperated by Carly's sudden attention, she knew her daughter meant well. At least she hoped that was the case. "Carly, I just need some sleep. Go spent time with your boys."

"You're sure?"

"I'm sure," Bobbie nodded. Exhaustion filled her and she just wanted to send her daughter home.

Carly didn't look entirely convinced, but she finally accepted it. "Alright," she kissed her mother's cheek. "Call me if you need anything."

She followed Carly to the door and locked it behind her, and then Bobbie turned off the lights and headed up to her room. The bed looked inviting and she hoped that she wouldn't be plagued by nightmares, but she wasn't entirely hopeful for the success of such a night. But before she could sleep, she had some calls she needed to make. She wanted to check on the Webbers, and then she needed to call Tony. For al the anger she'd felt towards her ex-husband, she really thought that he'd be the best one to help her right now.

Chapter 16

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Carly Corinthos couldn't believe she was here; sitting in the back pew of a funeral for Elizabeth Webber's brat. What made her even angrier was the fact that she came because she figured it was the only way she was going to get to talk to Jason. Her eyes narrowed at that thought, and it made her hatred burn even brighter.

Jason wasn't avoiding her; he was too busy talk for very long. He never answered his phone at the penthouse, and she doubted he was even aware of the fact that his answering machine there was full and wouldn't accept any more messages. She hardly ever saw him around town, or at the penthouse. And she would know that he wasn't at his house based on the amount of time she spent sitting across the street from it, or dropping by Sonny's looking for things she'd forgotten when she and the boys moved out.

His cell phone always went to voice mail indicating it was off. He returned her phone calls, but only called her once a day. No matter how many times she called him, he could only spare the time to talk to her once a day, and he certainly hadn't stopped by to see her. He was polite when he called and asked how she and the boys were doing; but he always ended the conversation much too quickly and he never had time to get together despite her many invitations. He was busy; with Elizabeth Webber.

He seemed to spend every spare moment he had with that whiney waif. When he wasn't there, he was at the warehouse - but only when Sonny wasn't around. He didn't seem to be spending any amount of time in his usual places, or with his usual friends. He didn't make any time for her or the boys. And it was all Elizabeth's fault, because she was the noble, selfless mother who took her son off life support and donated his organs. In Carly's mind, Elizabeth had done what she'd done simply to garner sympathy and once again look like a saint. After all, what's more sanctimoniously pious than martyring your own child?

Sonny, her soon-to-be-ex-husband, was even less available than Jason, but oddly it didn't bother her as much. She was used to Sonny disappointing her, so it hadn't surprised her that much that he was spending all his time with Sam or her lawyers, or at the warehouse. He seemed determined to get the kidnapper cleared, but oddly it didn't put as sour a taste in her mouth as Bobbie thought it would.

Her mother and John Durant couldn't understand why she was more upset about Jason than Sonny. Bobbie had lectured her, telling her to get over her petty jealousy of Elizabeth and show a little compassion to the woman who had just lost her child. And that made Carly even more upset because now her own mother was once again singing the praises of Saint Elizabeth. Would this woman ever stop being the bane of Carly's existence?

So now she was sitting in a place she didn't want to be for a woman she didn't like all so she could see her friend. She had to look out for Jason, get him away from Elizabeth because she could already tell he was getting pulled back into that little tramp's web. Jason was simply too good-hearted and kind to realize that the blood-sucker would only take advantage of him, and when she was bored with Jason or found somebody new Elizabeth would walk all over him in her effort to be rid of him. Carly refused to let Jason be hurt again, and as soon as he showed up she planned on making him see what Elizabeth was really doing.

Alexis nervous smoothed her hands over her thighs and looked over at Ric as they stepped into the church. A part of her felt guilty for her presence, but she knew she couldn't stay away. This was the second funeral, for a second sweet, little child that wasn't her own. Her little girl, who had once been so sick that Alexis was certain she'd be making funeral arrangements for, was home with her nanny getting stronger every day. And another mother was burying her child.

It didn't seem fair. Elizabeth Webber was the last person who deserved to lose a child. Not that any mother deserved to lose a child. Except maybe Helena. But Elizabeth had only ever been a good person, especially to Alexis and her family. She was a good friend to Nikolas, had bravely taken on Helena and Stavros a few years back, and had survived more things than any young woman should have had to deal with.

Even though Elizabeth had told her there was no reason for her to feel guilty, Alexis did. Sam's baby had died, Kristina had lived. It didn't matter if Sam's placenta would have detached even if Alexis hadn't been arguing with her, she still felt horrible for what happened. And she still felt that people blamed her. So would they also blame her for Cameron's death? Sam had kidnapped the little boy because her own daughter died. Alexis felt the stares of the people in the outer room of the church and imagined them to be accusatory. So she stopped in her tracks.

"Maybe this isn't a good idea," she whispered to Ric. "Maybe I should go."

He clasped her hand, preventing her from leaving. "You have no reason to leave. You aren't to blame for Cameron's death, any more than you were to blame for Adella's. And Elizabeth isn't Sonny, she would never make a scene and tell you to leave. You said yourself she doesn't blame you. Believe Elizabeth when she says that.

Alexis wanted to, but she still felt uneasy. "I don't know."

"Then don't worry about anyone else. Besides, if I know my brother, he'll do something stupid like show up and nobody will look twice at you being here."

"You really don't think he'd show up, do you?" she asked, looking around as if expecting him to suddenly materialize.

"Sonny lives by his own rules," Ric said in a slightly bitter tone. "It wouldn't surprise me if he did something completely arrogant, and thoughtless, by showing up."

"And if he does, you can't let him go in," she implored him. "Elizabeth doesn't deserve that."

"I agree," he said with a frown. "Carly is here and I can only imagine how well her presence is going to go over. I can't imagine adding Sonny to the mix as well. Maybe we should wait here in case he shows up."

Alexis frowned slightly, recognizing the tone that had entered Ric's voice. It was the same edge he had when they'd been battling Sonny over Kristina. "Ric," she reproached gently, "this is not the place for one of your fights with Sonny."

"Elizabeth is my ex-wife who has suffered enough at Sonny's hand. I will not let him ruin this day for her any more than he already has. It's the least I can do for her now; I won't let Sonny in."

"Then I'll wait with you," she said.

Audrey felt old. This past month had made her so weary, so tired, so aged. Watching her granddaughter go through the horror of her only child being taken, watching Elizabeth grow thinner, paler, sick with worry had affected Audrey profoundly. She had felt Elizabeth's pain acutely, crying with her granddaughter, despairing over never seeing Cameron. All the hours and worry had worn on her.

She had tried to reach out to Elizabeth, take care of her, get the young woman to eat and sleep. In all her attempts, Audrey felt more a failure than a victor. This was one moment she hadn't felt that she helped her granddaughter. Audrey felt like she'd blindly grabbed at anything that might help her granddaughter, if only for a little while.

But the thing that would help her the most was the one thing that was completely out of Audrey's hands. She feared that Elizabeth would never be able to get past the loss of Cameron. No mother ever really got past the loss of a child, they just found ways to cope and move on. What Audrey feared the most was that Elizabeth might not be able to move on from this. While her granddaughter was strong, Audrey really feared that this would be the one thing Elizabeth wouldn't be able to survive.

And for that reason Audrey hated Samantha McCall, and Sonny Corinthos. They, through their selfish natures, had destroyed her granddaughter. Elizabeth had helped them. Had always tried to find the good in situations and people, or at least would overlook the past. Elizabeth had a kind heart, and it had hurt her time and again when it came to Sonny Corinthos and the people that surrounded him. If Sam McCall had not been associated with Sonny or Jason Morgan, Elizabeth would have never done so much to help the mother after the loss of her child.

With a sigh, Audrey shook her head. Elizabeth would have helped Sam even without the other woman's connection to Sonny or Jason. Elizabeth would have seen and sensed the pain in the devastated mother and reached out to her. Her granddaughter was a tender-hearted woman who would have remembered the pain she'd felt when she miscarried her first baby and instinctively tried to lessen the hurt the other woman felt.

And what had Elizabeth gotten for her generous nature? The woman whom she helped had turned on her. Sam had calculated and planned and stolen Elizabeth's child. She tried to replace her child with Cameron. Audrey knew that grief affected people hard, but nobody would ever convince her that Sam McCall was too sick to be held responsible for her actions. Sonny Corinthos and his high-priced mouthpiece could claim depression, post-partum or diminished capacity all they wanted, but Audrey would never believe it. And she hated Sonny even more for not respecting her granddaughter enough to not deliberately inflict further pain on her.

The one thing that gave Audrey a small amount of comfort was Jason Morgan. And she was not so lost in her grief that she wasn't able to recognize the irony of that thought. The man that she had railed against, spent years lecturing her granddaughter against, and had rejoiced when Elizabeth got away from him, was now the same man Audrey was so grateful to see. He was the one person who would be able to stand up to Sonny. He would not let the Latin mobster get away with running over her granddaughter simply because Sonny Corinthos deemed her insignificant. Jason would not let Sonny buy Sam's freedom; he would do everything in his power to see that Sam paid for her crime. She'd heard him swear it to Steven.

As much as she hated to admit it, Audrey also knew that Jason was good for Elizabeth. Oh, she still believed that Jason was dangerous and it wasn't that she wanted Elizabeth to fall in love with or marry the criminal, but she saw things differently now. Elizabeth responded differently to Jason, ways that she didn't to others. He was able to get her to react, to move out of the shroud of grief that had wrapped around her. And right now Audrey would gladly welcome anyone who could do that for the granddaughter she loved.

Jason had helped Elizabeth when they all thought Lucky was dead. At first Audrey had been appalled at the teenage girl's claim that the man was her friend, Audrey had balked in shame and horror. She claimed Elizabeth didn't know her own mind, that she was acting out for spite and attention. What she had refused to see at the time was that her granddaughter had begun to come alive again. She had lost the pained, withdrawn, almost shrunken shell she had retreated into and was learning to go forward and find a measure of happiness again.

If Jason could help Elizabeth now, even in the smallest way, then Audrey would never try to force him out of the young woman's life. She wouldn't do that to Elizabeth. She wouldn't fight her about the one thing that could possibly keep her granddaughter sane. So she would fight the natural urge, the immediate ingrained reaction that made her want to purse her lips in distaste and tell Jason Morgan to go away and leave her granddaughter alone. She would do it for Elizabeth.


She pulled herself back from her thoughts and looked over at Steven. His face was pale and thinner than it had been even just a week ago. This ordeal had been difficult on him and had taken a hard toll. His eyes flicked to the rearview mirror and said, "They've arrived. We should go in."

Nodding, she took a deep breath and collected her purse. Steven came around and opened the car door for her, helping her climb out. Jason was helping Elizabeth out of the car behind them, and Audrey watched as he put a comforting and steadying hand around her granddaughter's waist when she seemed to sway at the sight of the church.

No, Audrey may never approve of Jason's Morgan's lifestyle, but she could now acknowledge what Elizabeth had tried to tell her for so many years. There was a difference between Jason's job and the man he was. And that was what mattered right now.

Chapter 17

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Elizabeth was grateful for the steadying presence of Jason as they approached the church. She knew that with him, and her brother and grandmother, beside her that she would be able to face the day and not completely fall apart. She hadn't wanted to come to the service early and accept everyone's condolences while waiting for the funeral to start. She just wasn't up for that. Instead, she decided to arrive just before the beginning. Let everyone murmur quietly as they looked at the closed casket and the pictures of Cameron that Bobbie and her grams had helped arrange. She didn't want to sit there slowly going insane.

She knew nobody would blame her for not being there early, and even if they did she refused to be affected by it. Jason had reminded her that it was okay to deal with her grief in her own way. He gave her the strength to not feel like she had to hide her feelings, or apologize for them. When she and her grandmother had gotten into a fight about packing up Cameron's nursery, she had refused to feel like she was doing the wrong thing. And when Steven had joined Jason in supporting her, her grams had nodded her acceptance and lent her help to Elizabeth instead of criticizing her and insisting she wait some more.

After that day, her grandmother hadn't fought with her about Jason's presence in the house. He was there almost every day, and sometimes even fell asleep downstairs on the sofa. He sat with her when she needed quiet support and time with her thoughts, and held her when she broke down as she packed up Cameron's blanket he'd come home from the hospital in. He helped her get the furniture in the nursery ready to either be put back in storage or picked up by Goodwill. Jason listened to her stories of her son and sat with her as she shared her pictures of the too-short time that she had with Cameron.

As wonderful as it had been to have Jason with her during this time, last night she forced herself to act. She told him she was afraid she was taking advantage of him. She understood he had things that needed to be done, and he couldn't allow her to be the reason he neglected his responsibilities to Sonny. Elizabeth understood that he was mad at both Sam and Sonny; she was too. She hated them both and she was honest with Jason about and the fact that it hurt that Sonny was defending Sam and making excuses for her, but she was also honest about the fact that she had done the same thing for Ric to both Jason and Sonny. Sonny felt grief over the loss of his daughter, and knowing him he probably felt guilt that he hadn't done enough for Sam or that he was even responsible for her actions because he'd turned his back on her and gone back to Carly.

She told Jason she wasn't saying he needed to forgive Sony, but she didn't want him to avoid his job. She didn't want Jason one day to regret his actions, or come to resent her. While she was deeply touched, and even a little pleased, that Jason was so vocally on her side, she would never be comfortable if she was the source of Jason's split with Sonny. It had been a little uncomfortable talking with him, but she had done it to make sure he knew she would never ask, or expect, him to choose her over Sonny.

Once upon a time she had been foolish to hope that he might stand up to his so-called friends and put her first. But she had long given up that thought. Her romantic feelings towards Jason had cooled and she was merely grateful for his friendship. And she knew that Jason's relationship with Sonny, as well as Carly, was an important part of him. Elizabeth was just hoping that he would be able to make some space in his life for her, but she certainly didn't expect him to spend all his time with her. She wouldn't fall apart completely if he had to be gone for work or other things.

When she'd finished her stumbling, rambling speech, she'd at first been upset that Jason was smiling at her, even hiding a small laugh. He instantly sobered when he'd seen her anger, and told her he wasn't laughing at her, but that it was nice to see a bit of her old self for a moment. The part that gave big impassioned speeches and stood up for her friends. Then he also told her that whatever problems he was having with Sonny were not because of her, they were because of Sonny. If Sonny refused to see why Jason couldn't help Sam, or was upset by his friend's actions, then there wasn't anything either of them could do about it. Sonny would always act exactly how he wanted and refuse to consider other's feelings. This was one time Jason refused to just accept it and go along with it. This was one time Jason was going to let Sonny know he was wrong.

When she had continued to say she felt she was causing problems, he sternly told her to stop. He made his own choices in life, and he was making this one. He knew she would never demand that he choose her and turn his back on Sonny, and he wasn't turning his back on his mentor. But Jason couldn't support him in this action; he couldn't help Sam. Because Jason had lived through the same pain Elizabeth had, and it had reminded him of a time when he had lived out from under Sonny's thumb and demands and been his own man. He was going to live that way again and it was up to Sonny to recognize, accept it, and deal with it.


She blinked, shaking off the memories of their conversation from last night and her discomfort she still had over Jason's assertions and looked up at him. "What?"

"Are you alright?" he asked. She realized that they were stopped outside the church, and that he, along with Steven and her grandmother, were all looking at her with concern. "Do you need some more time?"

Shaking her head she cleared her throat that had been raw and sore from emotion all morning. "No. No, we can go it. I...I can't stop this from happening. matter how..."

Elizabeth trailed off and Jason squeezed her hand in support. "It's alright. We're all here for you."

"That's right, Darling," her grandmother told her, as she put a comforting arm around Elizabeth's shoulders while placing a kiss on her cheek. "Everyone inside is there for you as well."

She doubted the truth of that. Somehow she doubted that everyone was there for her, some were probably there for the spectacle. After all, it was Sonny Corinthos' former mistress that had been charged with kidnapping and murdering her child. Curiosity was bound to draw in people otherwise not likely to come just for her. And even that little bit of information hadn't been able enough to bring her parents to her side. Although they'd sent a lovely floral arrangement.

But Elizabeth understood what her grandmother was trying to say and she smiled her thanks and then nodded to show she was ready to go inside. Jason covered her hand that was tucked into the bend of his arm and squeezed it gently. It was that grip that seemed to be keeping her standing and she looked up at him to let him know she was grateful he was there. Steven opened the door for them and they all stepped inside the church.

The quiet inside the structure grew when they walked in. And in that stunning silence, Elizabeth was able to hear the hushed argument of two people whose voices were unmistakable. Her eyes were instantly drawn to Ric who stood angrily facing Sonny. Jason stiffened beside her and she made the fatal mistake of gasping her hurt and her shock. Which caused Sonny to turn around and see her.


Jason felt her flinch at the sound of Sonny's voice and his own grip tightened momentarily on her hand until he released her and turned her towards her brother. "Go in with your brother."

He looked at the doctor. "Go ahead and start."

"Jason," Elizabeth's eyes pleaded with him not to leave her. He tried to, wanted to reassure her, but he had to get rid of Sonny.

"Go with Steven," he nodded. "I'll be back as soon as I can."

Then he turned glared at Sonny who was being kept from Elizabeth by Ric and Alexis and looking none-too-happy at the interference. He stepped up to the older man and grabbed his arm forcefully. "You're leaving. Now."

Pushing Sonny out of the church, he fought desperately not to give into the desire to lose his temper. In the end, he lost. As soon as they were near the street he let go of Sonny's arm and growled, "What are you doing here?"

Sonny straightened his suit and said with a straight face, "I came to pay my respects."

"You're defending her son's killer. How is that respectful?"

His friend's mouth turned down sharply. "Sam didn't kill Cameron. Elizabeth decided to take him off life support."

"Because he was in a coma that he slipped into after his heart stopped because of an infection he got after Sam kidnapped him. Don't even try to say that it's not her fault." Jason stopped and shook his head. "I'm not doing this today, Sonny. Today is not the day to argue about Sam or your actions. This is not the day to deal with your guilt. Do not force Elizabeth to deal with you right now. Don't make this day any worse for her by mocking her child's death. She came to Adella's funeral out of pure respect for you and Sam. Respect her now and leave."

Without waiting for Sonny to reply, he turned and headed back to the church. Tomorrow he'd deal with Sonny, but not today. He had too much anger to do it today, and his primary focus was helping Elizabeth cope with the funeral. He opened the door and stepped inside, pausing to collect himself before he walked into the chapel where everyone was sure to be seated.


He looked up, automatically stiffening and going on guard at the sound of Ric's voice. He said nothing, just warily recognized the D.A. "Thank you," Ric said. "I tried to get him to leave before Elizabeth arrived, but he wouldn't go. She didn't need to deal with him today."

Jason never thought there would be a time he would so readily agree with Ric Lansing, but it had just happened. Elizabeth didn't need to deal with Sonny, especially today, and so Jason was reluctantly grateful for the help Ric had given. Keeping Sonny out in the vestibule made it easier for Jason to get him outside without causing a scene in front of the whole town. But he was in no hurry to thank Ric or let him know he agreed with him. That wasn't something Jason was sure he could do.

But he was spared from having to deal with the D.A. any further by the sound of Elizabeth's voice. "Jason?"

He turned and was surprised to see her there. "I thought you were going to go in."

"I...I wanted to wait for you," she said, her voice small. "I wanted you there. Please?"

Swallowing past the lump that formed in his throat at her honest, and vulnerable, plea, Jason nodded. He wouldn't let Elizabeth down if she was asking for his help, for his support. He put his arm lightly on the small of her back, but slid it slightly to tighten around her waist when she heavily leaned into him and seemed to go pale as she looked deeper into the church through the open doors.

"Do you need a minute?" he asked, but she shook her head.

They walked through the inner doors towards the front of the chapel, and the respectfully quiet whispers ceased immediately. Audrey Hardy and Steven were right behind them, and Jason could feel the eyes of everyone on them as they made their way to the front pew and sat down. The stares of people were not normally unsettling to Jason, but this wasn't a normal circumstance. This wasn't his job or his life that had brought the curious gawkers out in force. He was a supporting player at the moment. People weren't really looking at him, all eyes were on Elizabeth and he wondered how she was dealing with the scrutiny.

She sat silent beside him, even as the evidence of her grief rolled endlessly down her cheeks. Jason couldn't seem to detect any other emotion or reaction from her, except for the occasional tightening of her grip on his hand when the reverend spoke. As her grandmother and brother stood up to speak, loving words and memories of Cameron and Elizabeth, he wondered if she would as well. He would understand if she didn't, but in reality he fully expected her to. Or at least try.

When she did stand up and slowly make her way to the front of the room on shaky and unsteady legs, he was once again struck by the amazing strength she possessed. He knew she was barely holding herself together and was standing in front of everyone by sheer determination, tapping what amazing reserves of strength remained. She didn't speak out against the people who had wronged her as some may have expected her to do. Instead she did as he had figured, and spoke simply and heartfelt of her love for her son and the joy she'd received from being his mother and the lessons she'd learned from him. As Jason listened to her, he once again regretted that he had never taken the opportunity to get to know her son.

It was only when Elizabeth was finished and started back to her seat that she faltered. Jason watched as the last of her reserves gave way and her strength was gone. Her legs buckled and he surged from his seat to grab her with Steven right behind him. As they swept her from the room and he saw Steven care for her, he saw her precarious façade crumble and fall away completely. And in that moment, Jason became deeply concerned for Elizabeth.

Chapter 18

Friday, December 24, 2004


The cop looked up and paused as he was buttoning his shirt and raised his eyebrows at the D.A. standing in the locker room of the PCPD. "Yes?"

"I know you're getting ready for your shift," Rick said. "But I was just wondering if you had any word on Elizabeth?"

Lucky shook his head, causing Ric to sigh. "Sorry," he said regrettably. "I haven't seen her since the funeral. I tried calling Mrs. Hardy today, but there was no answer."

"I know," Ric leaned against the lockers. "I got the same thing. I don't want to intrude on them since it's Christmas Eve, but I've been worried about her since the funeral."

"I have been too," Lucky admitted as he straightened his uniform and closed his locker. "I might stop by tomorrow night. Help Aunt Bobbie put together some food and we'll drop it by, see how they're doing."

"Alright. Will you let me know if she needs anything?" the D.A. asked and ignored Lucky's odd look.

He may not be married to Elizabeth anymore, but he was concerned about her. They'd had a complicated relationship that nobody ever seemed to understand and he hadn't always done right by her, but he couldn't stop himself from worrying about her. Watching her collapse at the funeral and be whisked away by her family and Jason Morgan had been painful to see. It wasn't seeing Jason catch her, he knew it wasn't the time or place for his dislike of Jason; it was simply knowing that she was in so much grief and pain that she hadn't been able to stand any longer.

As he walked back to his office, he was surprised to see Sonny standing in front of his door. One look and he could see his brother's black mood was rolling off him in waves. Ric refused to act intimidated by the posturing and pacing in front of his office, so he straightened his shoulders and barely glanced at the short mobster as he unlocked his door and stepped inside. Sonny followed right behind him and slammed the door shut.

"Something I can do for you, Sonny?" Rick asked as he walked around his desk.

"I spoke with Sam's lawyer today," his older brother seethed. "You're charging her with murder?"

"I'm not charging her with anything," he said as he sat down. "I'm not prosecuting her case. That would be ADA Jennifer Cole. If you're looking for someone to threaten, you're barking up the wrong tree coming here."

"Jennifer Cole?" Sonny asked.

"I recused myself because of my connection to Elizabeth and you," Ric said simply, yet he secretly loved the shock that fluttered across the other man's face.

"Recused yourself? You've never done that before."

"This time I don't want any problems," he said as he leaned forward and crossed his arms on the desk. "You see, I don't intend to give Ms. McCall's lawyer any grounds, no matter how small, to appeal her conviction. So ADA Cole will be prosecuting this case."

"Murder Two?" Sonny growled.

"ADA Cole obviously feels she can prove depraved indifference to human life," Ric shrugged. He personally thought it might be a stretch, Man One would be easier. But Jennifer said she'd offer that as a plea, or possibly an alternate on the indictment. It was her case and he wasn't going to interfere. But he had no qualms rankling his brother a little before he went home to Alexis and Sonny's daughter for Christmas. "In the future, you should direct your inquiries to her. But since you don't have a law degree, I doubt she'll tell you very much."

Ric picked up a file and didn't look at the other man in the room. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a few things to finish up before I head home. It's Mac and Cheese night and I promised Kristina I'd be there."

He held his breath wondering what Sonny would say. Instead, the frames on the wall rattled under the force of the slamming door as Sonny stormed out.

Audrey sighed and put her cup of cold, half-finished tea on the coffee table and stood. The gentle, yet firm knock still resounded in the room and she crossed the floor to the door. Opening the glass and wood structure, her shoulders slumped in relief when she saw the young man standing there. "Jason, thank you for coming."

"Mrs. Hardy," he shifted slightly. "I got your phone call. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get here sooner, I had some meetings today."

"It's alright, Jason," she smiled briefly. "Won't you come in?"

He followed her quietly into the house and when she turned, she could see he was scanning the room. Looking for someone. Sadly she gestured to the couch. "She's not here. That's why I called you. I think we should sit down."

He nodded, not really understanding, but not pressuring her with questions. "Mrs. Hardy, are you alright?"

"Elizabeth moved out yesterday," she said softly and knew she would surprise him.


"Yesterday morning she came downstairs with her suitcase and said she was leaving. Steven and I tried to stop her, but she insisted on going. Said she needed to leave. You know how she can be."

He nodded with a rueful look. "Do you know where she went?"

With a shake of her head Audrey said, "She said she was going to see if her old studio was available. She...she says she's going to quit the nursing program and..."

Audrey trailed off and looked down at her weathered and aged hands that couldn't comfort her granddaughter. "Elizabeth has been receiving alimony from Ric, even though she said she never wanted it, he set up an account for her and puts money in there every month. She said she's going to take it and figure out what she's going to do."

"Have you heard from her since she left?" Jason asked.

She shook her head sadly. "She doesn't have her cell phone turned on. Steven's gone to her old building, but because she's an adult they won't tell us if she's rented a place…even when we explained the circumstances. We've knocked on the door of her old studio, but either she's not answering, or somebody else rented it and wasn't home."

Jason leaned forward on the couch and looked at her earnestly. "Do you want me to look for her?"

She nodded quickly and emotion-filled. She knew that Jason would have ways to search for Elizabeth, and it would be easier to convince him to help her than it would be for the police. Most of all, Audrey was worried about her granddaughter and wanted to make sure she was alright. Jason Morgan was the only person who seemed able to get through to Elizabeth and Audrey felt certain that not only would he be able to find her, but he would be able to convince her to open the door.

"She responds to you," she told him. "I...I'm not asking you to bring her home. I'm asking you to help her. Make sure she's alright and that..."

"Mrs. Hardy," he said softly as he gently touched her arm. "I'll look for Elizabeth. I'll see how she's doing and I'll see if I can get her to come back. She's stubborn, but right now I think she really needs to be around her family right now."

"I just want to know how she is."

"I'll call you," he promised her.

Jason stood and Audrey did as well. She knew that he was anxious to start searching for her granddaughter and she didn't want to delay him. She walked him to the door and wished there was something more she could say, but knew there weren't any words. Jason seemed to understand what she was feeling, and she knew he would do everything he could for her and for Elizabeth.

"I'll call you when I know something," he assured. She knew enough of Jason's character to know he wouldn't waste superfluous words or make empty promises and she was okay with that.

"Thank you, Jason."

Then he headed down to the street where his bike was waiting. Audrey sent up a silent prayer that Jason would find her granddaughter quickly, and that Elizabeth would be alright when he did.

Jason was worried. Elizabeth had moved out of her grandmother's house, and nobody knew where she had gone. She was hurt and acting blindly in her grief and it definitely worried him. He didn't think she was weak or incapable under normal circumstances, but these weren't normal circumstances. She had lost her son and only just buried him a couple of days ago. Nobody could think clearly in a situation like that. He hadn't thought very clearly when he'd been forced to turn Michael over to A.J.

He had his men tracking down rental records and any dirt on the manager that Jason could use in case the man was reluctant to cooperate. But in case she wasn't in her old building, they were looking everywhere in Port Charles. He didn't believe she would leave the town, at least not yet. Her son was buried here and he knew she wouldn't go far from him. He even sent a man out to the cemetery in case he was there and not at her apartment if they found out where she was staying.

As he drove to her old building, Jason had to push the worry away. He couldn't focus on it too much right now because it would overwhelm him. Until he heard from his men, or until he arrived, there wasn't anything he could do.

So he let the anger in him slowly push the worry to the side. The ever-present anger at Sam and Sonny settled in to its accustomed place, but what really raced through him was his anger at Carly. Carly, the reason he didn't show up at Audrey Hardy's house until eight hours after she'd left a message on his phone.

Carly had called him yesterday and asked him to come over today to play and visit with the boys. She laid a guilt trip on him about how he hadn't been around, and Sonny was too busy with Sam to be bothered with his own children and Michael was really missing his family. She had called the day of the funeral and wanted him to come over the next day, but he'd ignored her. He had called her yesterday and said he had a day full of meetings at the warehouse and couldn't come, but would show up the following day. He could have rearranged his schedule and gone over to see them yesterday, and the thought of Michael and Morgan nearly made him do it. But he knew something was up with Carly's request, so he held back. He didn't want her to think that he would jump every time she called and come running. He knew if he gave in now, that she would constantly use Michael and Morgan to get him to come over; it was her pattern and had been for a long time and had taken him a while to realize it.

When he showed up at Carly's today, the boys were ready to play. Morgan, of course, couldn't do as much but they played on the floor with his toys until he tired and Carly took him for a snack and then a nap. Then Michael dragged Jason up to his room and showed him all the toys he kept away from Morgan's destructive tendencies. When the playing was over and Leticia took the boys out to Kelly's for lunch, that was when Carly had pounced.

She pouted and asked him to stay for lunch, for old time's sake. Reluctantly he gave him, because he could see the gleam in her eyes and knew she wanted something and he figured it would be best to just get it out of the way. So it wasn't really a surprise when she did jump in and begin lecturing him, and it wasn't really a surprise that it was about Elizabeth. Carly wanted him to stay away from the younger woman. She was convinced that Elizabeth would try to take advantage of the situation and the time he was spending with her and try to get back together with Jason. Carly said he was already falling into her trap because he was spending so much time with Elizabeth.

Even though he knew that this was standard Carly practice, a part of him couldn't believe what he was hearing. Elizabeth had barely buried her child, and Carly was accusing her of trying to seduce him. Only the twisted mind of Carly would think up something like that. After listening to her go on and on, he finally had enough of her accusations and interfering and told her in no uncertain terms that she had no right to interfere in his life and try to tell him who he could be friends with.

"Elizabeth isn't like you," he told Carly. "For which I'm very glad. Only you would think of using your child's death to your romantic advantage."

"You think I'm wrong?" she sneered. "Go ahead and run to your precious Elizabeth and you'll see I'm right. She'll have you in her bed in no time with that attitude."

He'd walked out of her house and told her he wouldn't be back. He was not going to listen to her, and he knew she would never give up. Not on this. It wasn't going to be resolved any time soon and he didn't want to have the time to deal with Carly. Not now. Not with the business and the warehouse on top of Sonny, Sam, and especially Elizabeth.

When he stopped the bike in the alley near the studio building, he saw Marco waiting for him. "Marco. What did you find?"

"Ms. Webber did rent a studio here," he said as he handed over a piece of paper with a number on it.

"Thanks, Marco," he said with relief that she had been found. "Do you know if she's there?"

"She's not at the cemetery, but that's all we know."

"Alright," he nodded and dismissed the guard, turning for the building. Elizabeth hadn't rented her old studio, but on the floor above it. Jason wondered if her old one hadn't been available, or if she'd purposefully chosen a different one.

He knew that he wouldn't know until he talked to her, so he stopped in front of her door and knocked. Minutes passed and the door didn't open, but it didn't surprise him. He knocked again, louder this time, "Elizabeth? It's Jason. Please…I'd like to talk to you."

There was no reply and Jason reached into his back pocket to pull out the slim case he kept there. He knew he'd probably anger her by what he was about to do, but he was worried about her and figured that overrode everything else. He'd apologize to Elizabeth later.

"Elizabeth," he called out. "Open the door, please, or I'll let myself in."

When there was still no answer he shook his head and took out a lock pick. "Alright," he mumbled under his breath. "Have it your way."

Continue On

Head Back to the Main Page