Title: "Three Blind Mice"
Author: monimala
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: PG-13, angst, Sk/Co, LoCa, St/Ly,
Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own the characters or the folk song or the Shakespeare reference..
Summary: Coleman, Lorenzo, Stefan. See how they run.

"She cut off their tails with a carving knife."
**

No one asks where he's been. No one ever does. He vanishes for weeks at a time, leaving the bar in Jimmy's tender hands, and finds himself anywhere from Myrtle Beach to Cincinnati to Boulder. Anywhere, everywhere.

He hops in his car and drives, hoping he'll find a stretch of sand or a length of concrete or the swish of a chick's hips that says "hey, Man, this is *home*."

But nothing feels quite so right as a shot glass balancing on his knuckles or the weight of the bottle as he pours a perfect shot without one of those stupid automatic pourers that most of the places in Port Charles have invested in.

Nothing feels so right as being back in Hell.

Where the kids come in and get plastered and he can't do anything to stop their pain. Where the hoity-toity ladies step out with their ex-cousins and pretend they never had his dirty hands on their white, white, skin. Where he's just a guy behind a bar...and below it.

***

He doesn't like the weight of the gun in his hand. Even when he wraps a blanket or a pillow around it in lieu of a silencer. It feels alien, heavy in all the wrong places...at the tip and where the ammo clip goes in. And never...never on the trigger.

His brother is the one who taught him how to shoot. And there was a beautiful woman who tried to teach him more important things. But that was in another country. And besides, the wench is dead.

He tries to make amends. The smooth silver surface of an offered pen. A dozen roses. A boyish smile. But large dark eyes don't reflect his foolish devotion back to him. The pen...the pen is not mightier. No. Not for him. Not anymore.

Not when he has chosen to carry heavier burdens against his heart.

When all he has done is a betrayal of his love of learning, his soul, his childhood dreams. When all he is doing is playing a dangerous game with an even more dangerous adversary. When all he wants to do is make love...and keep it.

***

He loathes the bitter taste of ouzo. He despises vodka even more. That sharp, eye-watering tang that feels like it belongs on bleeding wounds, not sliding down his throat. He remembers vin ordinaire with meals, choking down the watered-down wine as his father's eyes passed over him like one of the plagues of Egypt and came to rest on his more revered siblings. He remembers and he wants to forget.

Were it his choice, he would never indulge in alcohol again. Were it his choice, he would be in a monastery somewhere, inhaling deeply of incense and drinking the purest water he's ever tasted.

But he has no such luxuries. Not in this life. Not with the decisions he has been forced to make.

With the destiny his family name has handed him. With the well-being of a child he raised from birth weighing heavily on the conscience others think he lacks. With his shadow existence... where his own soul has long been obscured... by a duty that damns him.

***

Skye doesn't acknowledge him when they pass on the sidewalk, give any indication that she sees his reflection in the Wyndham's display window, and she leans over the stroller and murmurs things like "that's my baby, my sweet darling" to an angel-faced kid that isn't even hers.

Things she never said to him. Because he was never her baby, never her darling...and definitely never sweet.

Just bitter, lingering on her tongue.

***

His arm slides around Carly's ample waist as he catches her on the steps and keeps her from tumbling...but too soon she pulls away and her little boy stares up at him like he doesn't belong.

He refuses to admit that may be true. He can do that under a child's accusing eyes.

He can't when her husband levels the same possessive stare.

***

The glass clinks as Lydia fills it with ice and vodka and he watches her drink half the shot in one fluid gulp...the white expanse of her throat, with it's gaudy junk necklace, working overtime just to keep the liquor down.

He pretends to enjoy it when he pours his own drink. He pretends to savor the cool, tart, flavorless, poison as he warns her just how easily he could bury her.

He ignores how easily he could bury himself inside her.

***

Dawn breaks gently over the slumbering city of Port Charles and three men toss in the midst of broken sleep and fitful dreams. Morning isn't kind. The red-orange streaks across the sky, fading into the horizon, aren't merciful.

And when they turn and reach out...there is nothing there to hold. No soft, feminine shape under the sheets... no bright head on the pillow.

No redemption.

Nothing to look forward to.

Nothing to see at all.

--end--

September 1, 2003.
Title graphic gifted to me by Lerdo.



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