Title: "Land of Fire"
Author: monimala
Fandom: General Hospital
Rating/Classification: NAC, angst, Alcazar/Carly-ish
Disclaimer: ABC Daytime, etc. Not me.
Summary: 4 drabbles, 400 words, that somehow became a bit of a ficlet. Lorenzo tried to glance away...

Her belly is taut, translucent. He tries to glance away as the baby ripples beneath the skin, as she yanks her shirt down over the telltale curve and soothes, "It's okay, Sweetheart. We'll be home soon."

The door hides just enough, so she won't think he's intruding. He cannot say the same for himself, for his traitorous eyes feasting upon this fierce Madonna and child.

Later, he brings her a glass of warm milk. He watches her drink every drop, swallow something he barely understands.

"Esperanza," he says, as the glass shatters. "If it's a girl, call her 'Hope.'"

***

Her watches her move...swaying awkwardly like a penguin in a nature special...and laughs, softly, when she catches herself on the edge of the seat and mutters something obscene--repeats it louder when she notices him staring.

There are no penguins in Venezuela, of course. He's heard tale of them on the islands in the south. He's never gone further than Tierra del Fuego...and fire is what he sees in her.

"Are you getting a sick thrill here?" she demands, blazing hot.

Male penguins will often keep eggs warm on their feet.

He, suddenly, frighteningly, understands the inclination.

***

Her eyes are not softer than his. When he catches her gaze, gentle, on his face, he thinks he's imagining it.

"Why?" she wonders, curling onto the opposing seat, tugging the woven blanket up to her waist, even as her other hand rests, protectively, on her belly.

"Why?" he echoes. "Why do this? Because I can."

"No." She shakes her head, the fair waves of her hair spilling forward. "Why are you so closed off? Why is it all business?"

He wants to reach out, brush awry strands from her cheek.

He doesn't. He can't.

"Because I have to be."

***

He knows she's manipulating him.

Every sympathetic smile, every steadying hand against her spine as she moves around her cabin. His oh-so amiable pregnant guest. Que bella.

It is only when her eyes flash...when her fists tighten...when she winces and rubs the soles of her swollen feet...when she whispers her husband's name...that her deceit becomes obvious.

The rest of the time it skates beneath the porcelain surface of her skin. Feeds on rich blood from the placenta. On the thought of her escape.

She's manipulating him.

He welcomes it, welcomes her.

Y esperanza.

And hope.

--end--

July 28, 2003.



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