Title: "Life Lessons"
Author: monimala
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: NAC, angst, Jason/Liz, ficlet.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, etc.
Summary: We know what Goody Goody Muffin Face...er, *Liz* wants and needs--to have her cake and eat it, too--but what does Jason need?

"Jason...Jason, I need you to make me understand!" she pleads, her huge eyes filling with tears and sparkling with the weight of them, with the weight of her guilt and her questions and her needs.

It is always about what she needs.

He gets that now.

Not what he needs...because what *he* needs is to not feel her soft hand curling around the sleeve of his jacket. What *he* needs is for her to let go...to let *him* go. To let him process what he can't have.

Because he knows the rules now. Robin taught them to him good. You don't just have sex with people. You don't just want people. There are ways to be. Things you can have and things you can't.

And Elizabeth Webber is one of the things he can't have.

So why can't she leave him alone?

He wonders that even as he is held still, fascinated by her red, red, mouth. When he held her face the other day and wiped away her make-up, her mouth stayed this same red. Moist and bright and full of color. Like he thought she was. She brought color into his life. But his life is black and white.

He remembers that now. Sonny and the Organization taught that to him good. You don't care too much about people. You hurt people before they hurt you. There are ways to live. Ways to fight and to keep surviving.

And letting Elizabeth Webber get to him again and again is not one of them.

"How can the Jason I know do something so violent?" she is asking.

He half hears it...even as he watches her hands clench into fists and her lower lip tremble. Carly is always moving...Carly almost vibrates with noise she moves so much. But Elizabeth moves slowly, deliberately. Every motion a part of some play he hasn't seen or won't understand because he can't read between the lines.

He does violent things all the time. It's business. It's kill or be killed. And it's bad business to get yourself killed. Even more bad business to get yourself killed in front of women or kids. And that's why women or kids are not supposed to see him hit someone or get hit. Why Elizabeth shouldn't have been on that dock that day.

Because she doesn't understand business. She doesn't get it. She doesn't get him.

But he gets her now. All her hours of talking and sharing have taught him about her good. You don't get in her way...you let her believe what she wants to believe and feel what she wants to feel. You let her need you. But you don't...you *can't* need her. There are ways to care about her. Ways to stay polite and accessible while she cares about you and Lucky and refuses to choose.

And wrapping his hands around her slender, white throat is not one of them.

But he does it anyway.

And her skin is so soft. Soft like he sometimes dreams.

Her eyes widen....making them even bigger and sadder than usual. She's surprised. This is not the Jason she knows. Not the one she needs.

"J-Jason?" she whispers as her hand *finally* slips from his arm. As the heated crease in the leather is finally allowed to breathe.

"Leave me alone," he pleads. "I told you to leave me alone. Why can't you?" He wonders if his eyes are filling with tears and sparkling with the weight of them, with the weight of *his* guilt and *his* questions and *his* needs.

When she nods, limply, he knows he must've done something right. That he must be as effective as she is at begging and crying and telling.

Because, finally, she understands what he needs.

He breathes a sigh of relief.

He finally got through.

And he learned how to do it from her.

After all, he learned everything from someone. Robin. Sonny. The Quartermaines. Michael. Carly. They've all taught him and shaped him and made him who he is.

But he's learned the most important lesson of all from Elizabeth Webber and it's one he won't forget. She taught him good. She taught him excellent, he thinks, dispassionately, as he watches her slip from his fingers and tumble to the ground.

She taught him how to kill someone he loves.

--end--

April 3, 2001.



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