Title: "550 (A Pleasure to Burn)"
Author: monimala
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: NAC, angst, Jax/Carly, drabbles, 'shippy.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, etc.
Summary: They were drabbles...and then they turned into a 550 word filler fic about the would-be couple of Jax and Carly with Zander and Skye issues thrown in.
Notes: For a visual... http://ats.malisita.com/jaxcarly1.jpg

Metaphorical match stick lighting against the crumbling stone banister outside the police station. Spark. Flame. He sees her on the other side of the light and his chest constricts and he can't breathe.

He can't picture her making love to Sonny.

He won't.

It is how he gets through each meeting about the club, each casual conversation about the weather or her latest scheme. The mental equivalent of clapping his hands over his ears and singing "lalalalalala".

But he *can* picture her making love to *him*.

Lalalalala.

Spark. Flame.

*Damn*.

And he burns in a fire of his own making.

***

She respects him as a partner and friend. This blue-eyed hulking Australian pretty boy who hates the man she loves with a fiery passion. She respects him anyway and she tells him so.

How much sense does that make?

None at all.

Not that she's ever made a whole hell of a lot of sense.

Crazy Carly. That's her. Never thinking before she acts. Always defending people she cares about--no matter what other people think. Always doing something wild and stupid.

Like wanting him to put aside his vendetta for her.

Like wanting him at all.

'Respect'...?

*Ha*.

***

He's a rescuer of damsels in distress. A knight in shining armor.

Or so he's told.

But he looks into the mirrors of her eyes, and all he sees are layers and layers of tarnish and wear. He sees that he's so tired of being the hero. Of picking them up when they fall, gluing back their pieces when they break. Of always choosing the fragile.

Skye, with her bitterness and mistrust, is wrong. He has not moved on to his next damsel yet.

He couldn't possibly.

Because Carly doesn't need rescuing.

*He* does.

From *her*.

From choosing her strength.

***

Zander tastes the powder on his tongue. The dull, dry, sensation of the coke he never sold but licked once or twice for identification.

In another life.

In this life, he doesn't sell drugs...he just sells advice. For free.

To pigheaded, beautiful, sexy, women WAY out of his league.

"Don't go after Sonny," he tells her.

"Listen to me," he pleads.

But she ignores him. Again.

And his heart is in his throat as he watches her leave...knowing that he's not even second choice.

He's definitely not Sonny.

He's not even Jasper Jacks.

He's an afterthought.

He's inconsequential.

***

Carly Roberts? Carly Benson? Carly Spencer? Carly Quartermaine? Carly Corinthos?

Carly.

*Carly*.

She knows who that is now.

She's not defined by the dead friend's name she took on. Or the mothers she left behind and found again. Or the mistake made with AJ that led to her beautiful son. Or the breakneck speed with which she arrives at her ex-husband's door.

She's defined, now, by what she wants.

What she'll do to get it.

Who she'll befriend. Who she'll dream about.

She looks up at Sonny with determination.

And ignores the subtle echoes of Jax.

Of the possibilities.

***

He walks home, alone, singing nonsense syllables to himself, shutting out silence and nothing else.

His fingertips are singed, edges of his jacket charred. Not by a Skye the color of muted flames, and words far more scalding, but by an inferno.

Of his own making...

And Carly's, too.

*Lalalalalala.*

--end--

April 4, 2002.



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