Title: "Reasonable Doubts"
Author: monimala
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: SAC, Alexis, angst, humor.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters!
Summary: Takes place after a typical day in the life of successful lawyer and neurotic woman Alexis Davis. She's not moving out of town to start a new life with her unborn baby, she IS quitting the services of the married mob boss she slept with, her sister is dating her ex-boyfriend, and her evil Greco-Russian relatives are so quiet they might be plotting against her again...will she ever find a moment of peace?

Kristina's idea of take-out appeared to be something involving tofu. And Ned's idea of being good company was incessant hovering. All things considered, she was amazed by how gracefully she'd managed to exit, murmuring something suitably vague about being a third wheel on her sister's bicycle-built-for-two.

She loved her family dearly, but they could try the patience of...well...the saint she apparently wasn't.

And, of course, neither did she particularly relish the thought of Sonny and Carly just across the hall, discussing her non-move to Manhattan to death. Her life had, somehow, become public domain. Wrapped up in other people's drama. And she could not, *would* not allow that to happen to her child.

Which was why, she reflected, she found herself at Luke's, stirring whirlpools into her club soda with the bright green swizzle stick. It had been the most sensible choice for some space, clarity...the Grill being too formal for her yellow pullover and jeans, Kelly's being all-too full of nosy but well-meaning neighbors, and the Outback being, well, practically nonexistent. She didn't know why Mac hadn't just closed the place down and given up. Of course, there was always Jake's...but as the legal counsel--*former* legal counsel--of a mob boss, it was better not to be ankle deep in potential criminal activity.

Yes, that's why she'd chosen *Luke's*.

She smothered an inappropriate giggle against the palm of her hand, half-expecting the hideous half-naked portrait of Helena to scowl at her before she remembered it had been ceremoniously removed.

She slouched down on the stool, glad for Claude's casual disinterest in her state of affairs as he mixed drinks for a few of the PCPD secretaries. Everyone else in Port Charles was a well-meaning busybody. Reminded of her traumatic trip to the drugstore for a pregnancy test, she fervently she wouldn't turn around and face somebody who would ask her "why club soda?" and "why jeans?"

"You ever get tired of the hypocrisy, Miss Davis?"

The voice was low and scratchy, Southern and city all at the same time, and infinitely mocking, and it made her groan automatically. And the question was far worse than "why club soda?"

PCPD secretaries meant PCPD officers. Where there was smoke, there was fire.

She would take a busybody over Detective Marcus Taggart any day.

And *twice* in one day meant she was being punished.

Somehow, he'd managed to slide onto the stool right next to her without her noticing. A longnecked bottle of Corona sweated between his honey-brown fingers, a jaunty lemon slice floating around in it's depths. But there was nothing lighthearted about his eyes. They were darker, she realized with a sick swallow, than Sonny's. Not black and opaque, but black and reflective... like mirrors.

"Miss Davis", he'd said, with that sardonic gentility. If it had indicated respect, she suspected she wouldn't be so damned annoyed.

"I know I served you with papers earlier this evening, but you CAN call me 'Alexis'," she pointed out, tersely, sitting up straight.

A flash of the anger and the vindictive vehemence he'd displayed at the police station...and then it subsided. "Fine," he drawled, a dark grin quirking at the corners of his lips. "You ever get tired of the hypocrisy, A-lex-is?"

Her belly fluttered and she resisted the urge to stroke the barely discernible weight and whisper "there, there." She was a Cassadine. One arrogant cop with a vendetta was nothing compared to relatives who tried to kill you at least once a week. "I think you know the answer to that already, Detective," she bit off, sharply, rotating back to her tumbler of club soda and introspection with the aplomb of an Ice Princess.

And he laughed. A real laugh. It was surprising to hear something warm and completely without malice...so surprising that she let herself meet his speculative gaze again. He shrugged, looking altogether too sheepish for his brown leather jacket and smoothly shaved skull. "I know I busted your chops earlier this evening, but you CAN call me 'Marcus'."

She struggled not to smile. So, behind that visage of driven hostility and violence, there was a man with genuine humor. He had charm, he had passion, and, from what she knew, he loved his sister intensely. He was more like the man he despised than he realized.

She winced. Thinking of Sonny in any context now was purely counterproductive. Not to mention borderline psychopathic.

A gentle poke with two fingers against her arm. "Hey...we're on the same side, you know."

"Are we?" she asked, bitterly.

"I'd like to think so." Taggart was playing Good Cop/Bad Cop without the benefit of a bad cop. Or maybe he wasn't playing at all. Either way, she couldn't afford to knuckle under to it. "We both value the law."

"You'd like to think so, but we each value the law as it suits us. I value it to defend people I care about even when their actions may be questionable and you value it to prosecute and *persecute* a man you perceive as having murdered someone you admired." It struck her odd that she was still defending Sonny, after all this time, after everything she'd been through, but the words would not stop. As the expression on Taggart's face grew more ashen, her torrent of admissions picked up speed. "Deacon Woods was an abusive husband and an abusive stepfather. He may have been a good cop, but he was emphatically NOT a good man. And he may have taught you how to be the cop you are today, but I think the *man* in you knows better. Don't you?"

The bottle of Corona slammed down on to the bar. "Miss Davis...Alexis...you...I..." He wanted to call her a "liar". She could see that struggle, hear it. He wanted to tell her to "fuck off" despite the niceties and names traded. The mirrors, she thought with considerable alarm, looked like they were going to shatter.

She interrupted, giving in to the temptation to discreetly rub her stomach and calm the baby--herself, really, as she gentled her voice and took deep breaths. "I know my failings now," she assured, evenly. "I don't think we'll be on the same side until you recognize yours."

It was his turn to wince. His jaw was still tight, the muscle in his cheek twitching with barely concealed rage. It was as if she'd summarily kicked over his Deke Woods shrine and he didn't know whether to pick up the pieces or just let them lie.

She knew, all too well, what it was like to have illusions shattered. What it was like to have a hundred people telling you that someone you loved wasn't what you thought. But she'd had the luxury of seeing Sonny's work firsthand ...of counting Zander's broken ribs. Taggart had never seen the bruises on Adela Corinthos Woods...never heard the cries of a boy locked in a closet. Maybe he would never see...

And that would be his choice, not hers.

"Goodnight, Detective," she murmured, slipping off the stool and grabbing her purse.

For one haunting moment, she recognized herself in his turbulent gaze. Pale, frightened, wavering. Her *old* self. He swallowed, convulsively, nodding with something partly like defeat...and something more like respect. "Goodnight, Alexis."

And as she walked towards the door, the correction was almost an afterthought, sotto voce. Almost. "*Marcus.*"


July 4, 2002.    

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