Title: "For Alone I Fear the Tide"
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: SAC, Carly/?, angst.
Disclaimer: Nope. I don't own them.
Summary: Heavily inspired by Circe's MonaBoyd tale, which was heavily inspired by Annie Sewell-Jennings' "The Last Summer", which was heavily inspired by Neville Shute's On the Beach, this is the way Port Charles ends.
The water is red. Whether that's the reflection of blood from the Pier or
the sun through the haze, she doesn't know, but the harbor glistens like
overripe peaches crawling with ants.
She wraps her arms around herself, wanting to turn from the windows, but unable to move just yet. The penthouse is coated in reinforced glass. The
elevator stopped working three days ago. She's keeping it out. Keeping herself in. But it's only a matter of time before it comes. She sees it out there ... throbbing... like something alive. No hitman, no enforcer, no legion of cops. It's something bigger, more powerful, than her husband could ever have imagined. Something that even the Great Sonny Corinthos couldn't control, couldn't protect his family from.
He called from the island the day he arrived there. His cell phone
crackled and died and she heard a woman's voice in the background. She
hopes whoever it was held Sonny in the darkness. She hopes he died feeling
safe, free...and not behind the confines of a locked door. She hopes the
woman reminded him he was loved.
She knows he called her "Brenda" with his last breath. She knows it
might have *been* Brenda.
She knows he wouldn't think "Carly." She knows that's simply too much.
The children are asleep upstairs. They might wake up soon. They
might not. Leticia went to visit her mother on Cortland Street and never
came back. There's death there. Rotted skin and eyes unseeing. She told
Michael that Leticia was in Heaven... knowing, privately, that it was more
likely Hell. The nanny was more a parent to him than she ever was. Than
she'll have a chance to be... but she'll rock her boys in their last hours. She'll hold them close, carry them, just like she did in her womb. It's the least she can do.
The power has been spotty for a while. It actually gave up and went out
two days ago, but the freezer is still cold enough to keep the frozen pizzas edible... and she's pretty sure she can work the gas stove. If she can work a 9mm handgun, she can work the stove.
Max is dead, too. Like Leticia. He didn't want to leave them... but the curiosity killed the bodyguard and the elevator shaft was like a Siren's call. She didn't listen for the crunching of bone when he fell. She just went back inside and shut the door. At least it wasn't what's Out There. At least he still had his skin and his teeth and his unwavering loyalty.
Although, by now, rigor will have set in...and rot is next. Not that
it matters, because the building all ready smells like decay. The hallway
is stale with death.
There are big red Xs on the wall calendar. Two and a half weeks since
Jason and Courtney were coming back from Niagara after renewing their vows for the millionth time... and it was over. Like that. She doesn't like to think about Jase dead. Instead, she remembers him beautiful, sweating and
naked, above her in his bed at Jake's when they were two dumb kids who didn't know any better. She remembers playing pool with Zander until close. AJ's dirty jokes. Tony's pasta primavera. Lorenzo's rare smile and the endless backgammon games on the yacht last summer.
Everyone she knows is gone. Besides the boys. She's had to accept
that. Anyone outside is a lost cause. And, soon enough, she'll be lost, too.
"Did you ever think we'd be here...? On the edge of the world together?"
"Port Charles isn't the edge of the world," she counters,
sharply. Too sharply. Because even she isn't sure about that anymore.
The man on the sofa is lying with his feet crossed at the ankles,
relaxed, as if he's on a pleasure cruise. To him, maybe this is. The
ultimate vacation. The ultimate adventure. "It might as well be," he
says, with a shrug. If he crosses his arms, too, he'll be ready for burial.
He, of all people, shouldn't be here. He should be on a beach
somewhere, digging his toes into the sand and meeting the inevitable with
this same devil-may-care calm. Blond and tanned and perfect. Hanging
ten. She pictures him body-surfing all the way to the horizon line and
disappearing. Life's a beach and so am I. Should she giggle or sob? She
doesn't know and stifles the strangled sound against her palm.
"What...what is it?" he wonders as she finally turns from the windows.
She almost smiles. She's too weary to make the effort. "We...Courtney
and I... we used to call you Malibu Jax behind your back."
"Well, I'm glad you didn't say it in front of my back. It has a very
fragile ego." His eyes twinkle. He doesn't look offended. And he has
enough energy to smile. She doesn't know where it comes from. He must
have a reserve. A battery pack that runs the lights in his eyes and keeps
the corners of his lips up. "Was this a comment on my personality or my
"A little of both." Although, she knows now that he's definitely
anatomically correct. She likes to think his personality still leaves a
bit to be desired.
They've been fucking for two weeks.
Since the night he arrived.
"Bobbie," he'd whispered, ashen, as Max let him in. "She wanted me
to...she wanted me to make sure you and the kids were all right." The
phones had been out by then. The cellular network demolished.
The radiation sickness had just begun to send a few people to the
hospital. Momma was working double shifts. She likes to think that in the
days since, Bobbie just went to sleep on a gurney, exhausted, and never
"Skye or Sam?" she'd asked.
"Sam. I carried her...I carried her the whole way...God, she's so
light... and there are cars stalled in the streets...and I don't know where
Skye is...I don't know..." That was the only time he'd cried, covering his
face with one large palm and shaking as she led him to the couch. By the
time they were tearing at each other's clothes, scrambling for something to
hold and hold onto, his eyes were dry.
Miracle of miracles, Michael didn't come downstairs and, since then,
they've been more careful. Her son catching her having sex seems like a
small problem in the grand scheme of things, but it's one thing she can
control. Maybe the only thing.
So, now Jax shares her bed. Her dead husband's mortal enemy makes love to her quietly and they listen for the creak of doors, Morgan's whimpering
cries, or the patter of feet. They're all ready in tune enough to stop when the door opens and Michael appears wanting comfort. He doesn't seem to mind the man who isn't Daddy in his mom's bed. He just climbs up between them and listens to stories about diving the reefs and wild dingoes and aborigines. The rhythm of Jax's voice, his husky accent, usually sends him right to sleep. But not her. Never her.
Did she ever think she would be holding a wake for the world with Jasper
She joins him, stretching out next to him on the sofa. Her head fits,
perfectly, under his chin, and he pretends strands of her hair don't come away as he threads his fingers through it.
The water is red.
She remembers when she never used to think at all.
January 13, 2004.