Fandom: General Hospital
Rating/Classification: gen/darkfic, Lucky/Liz, Manny, no adult language.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters but I do totally heart Robert LaSardo and Greg Vaughan.
Summary: Do with this what you will.
Mac pulls Lucky aside one morning, after the virus, while things are quiet and calm and inching back to the status quo. His face is craggy and grim and what he tells him holds a hushed horror of the "do with this what you will" variety.
"Tom Baker was shanked this morning in the Pentonville laundry."
Tom Baker. A name Lucky has hoped would never be spoken again, stricken from the English language and scorched from the earth. All men, children, with that name should change it to something, anything, but "Tom Baker" because it means violence and hatred and sin. Blood and bushes and eternal winter. "Dead?" he manages to grind out, clenching his fists.
Mac nods. "His next parole hearing was scheduled for Thursday."
He exhales relief and laces it with sarcasm. "What a shame he won't be able to make it."
"Are you going to tell Elizabeth?"
"I don't lie to her, Mac," he assures, simply. "She'll want to know."
She'll want to know and she'll cry and he'll hold her, and then they'll give Cameron a bath and wash themselves clean with his wet laughter.
They'll put Cam to bed, counting his toes and making sure they're all still there even after the piggy goes to market, and they'll make love and move forward.
They'll inch back to the status quo.
Hector lands in the hole for a month for taking out Baker.
But he doesn't mind.
He crosses himself with tattooed fingers. Love and Hate.
His debt to the Devil is paid. It was worth it.
And he has Jesus to keep him company in the dark.
There are two kinds of women in the world: whores and saints. He knows this as surely as he knows his own name. Elizabeth Spencer is a saint. Tireless, virtuous, and loving like the Madonna at St. Cecelia's that mami used to take him and Javi to when they were young. You do not defile a saint. You do not make her bleed, make her cry. But someone did once.
He sensed it on her. He smelled her fear and counted it in the way her eyes widened every time she saw him. At first, he thought it was just him. His tattoos, as expansive as his rap sheet. Es posible. But then he *knew*. He knew she saw another when she looked at him. A demon. A monster. A man with no respect and no honor.
He's fixed it for her now. He's made it right.
"Is it done?" he asks, softly, of the voice on the other end of the line.
The one word is like a benediction. Manny smiles as he flips closed the cell phone and watches the young woman behind the counter at the nurses' station. She is beautiful, her face unlined with worry, her smile friendly for the doctor who asks her for a patient's chart.
Maybe some day, she will smile like that at him.
Maybe some day, she will know what he did for her.
Maybe some day, he will touch her…and his hands will come away pure and clean.
Maybe in her, he'll finally find grace.
And maybe she'll scream until her voice is raw.
February 19, 2006.