How to Save a Life
Blood trailing down the length of her body, Scarlet stands frozen over her mother's lifeless body, staring blankly into the emotionless eyes that stare back at her in utter shock. Her mother hadn't counted on her betrayal. She hadn't counted on Scarlet doing whatever it took to keep her half-sister safe. If she were honest with herself, Scarlet hadn't seen it coming either, never once believing she'd be the one to put an end to the woman that gave her life.
After leaving Port Charles nearly a year ago, she had found herself going through an onslaught of emotions that she couldn't sift through on her own, turning to the one thing her mother always warned her against; therapy. For months she kept with her appointments, working through the crap that is her childhood, trying to make sense of the emotions that she was drowning in, just wanting it all to stop. It wasn't until she had a full on meltdown that she came to understand just why she hated Elizabeth so much. Why she hated the Webbers so much.
Her father abandoned her to a life with Heather Webber as a mother. A woman that was beyond certifiably psychotic. Living under her constant schemes and torturous parental methods, Scarlet came to resent the children that her father had not abandoned. The two daughters that had her father's love without even having to ask for it. For years she had always wondered what was so special about them. Why were they granted something that was taken from her so callously?
Then her brother had gone and done the exact same thing. Steven had been the one thing in this world that kept her sane. That made her feel like she wasn't the freak her mother always said she was. All her life, Heather always said that she was a chip off the old block, a spitting image of her mother, and Steven had been the person to prove that wrong. He showed her that she was more than their mother. That she was everything their mother wasn't. Then one day he just up and left. No note. No calls. He was just gone.
It was then that she realized her anger and hatred didn't reside with Elizabeth, but with her father and her brother. Once she had focused on the origin of her heartache, her therapist then helped her on her journey to finding her own self-worth. Over the next several weeks, she found a way to detach herself from her family's image, from the image her family had bestowed upon her, and create a new one for herself. An image that she could appreciate. An image she could grow to love.
Standing there, staring over her mother's lifeless body, Scarlet couldn't find it in herself to regret her choice, knowing that it was the right thing to do. She could hear the sirens walling in the air, but she will not run. She will not act like she hadn't put an end to her own mother's life because that's what she did. If she could go back, she doubts she would have done it any differently, knowing her mother would never stop.
In Heather's eyes, much like it had been for her, Elizabeth Webber will always be the one thing standing between her and Steven. Unlike her, though, Heather would never learn and Scarlet couldn't allow her to do what she had been planning to do. She couldn't allow her to kill her half-sister. Steven had made his choice, he had chosen to cut all ties to Heather, to make a life for himself outside of his mother's image. Scarlet won't let his choice hurt Elizabeth. She couldn't.
The police come and they do their usual roundabout way of trying to solve the crime that had been committed. Though she wouldn't run from the accusations, she wouldn't provide them with anything more than what lays before them. Dropping her switch blade into the evidence bag held out to her, Scarlet follows the female cop to the designated area for her to change out of her bloody clothes before she is taken to the police station.
In quite a few of officer's eyes, she could see that they were actually relieved to see who the victim was, obviously knowing how loosely that term should be used in regard to Heather. Her mother was a lot of things, but a victim is surely not one of them. As she stood over her body, Scarlet almost expected her to rise to her feet, as if the slash along her throat would do her no harm.
Being the type of person to survive practically everything that the world threw her way, she almost expected Heather to laugh at her for thinking she could kill her, but she didn't. She didn't get up. She didn't move. She was really, irrevocably, dead and Scarlet had been the one to ensure it.
Sitting in the interrogation room, for hours now, her wrist begins to chafe, having yanked at the cuff that binds her to the metal table. Clearly they didn't see her as an imminent threat, the way the cops in the city did, because they only cuffed one hand to the table and didn't bother cuffing her legs to the chair. Using her free hand to gently massage her cuffed wrist, Scarlet starts to wish that a cop would walk through the door. Anything to get her out of the room and down to a cell where she can at least stretch her body.
"Lets get the pleasantries out of the way right now so we can get down to business." an extremely well dressed woman states as she walks into the interrogation room and slams the door shut behind her. "My name is Diane Miller, I am one of the best lawyers this country has to offer, hell, I could very well be the best and that's not bragging. That's fact."
"Okay." Scarlet replies a little tentatively. "You're not a public defender."
"That I am not." Diane allows, setting down her brief case on the floor before taking a seat across from her client. "Given the evidence stacked against you, trust me, the last thing you want is a public defender taking your case."
"I can't afford you."
"Bought and paid for." Diane says simply. "All you have to worry about is getting these charges dropped."
"Who sent you?" Scarlet pushes on, needing to know who could afford a woman of this caliber. "I need to know. Was it my brother, Steven?"
"Wrong gender." Diane shakes her head, granting the woman a slight smile when she slouches back into the chair. "Your sister sent me."
"Elizabeth?" she questions, refraining from voicing the words that always flowed from her lips when anyone mentions Elizabeth in the context of being her sister. "Why?"
"Isn't it obvious? You're her family." Diane says simply. "Shall we get down to business now?"
"Sure." she says, forcing her emotions to stay in check. "Okay."
"Good." Diane says, pulling out her notepad and pen. "Now, you're going to tell me exactly what happened, start to finish."
"Then two detectives will come in to interrogate you and they will pull out all the stops to get you to confess." Diane says seriously. "When they come in here, there's only one thing I want you to remember, just one thing. You do not speak. You say nothing. Got it?"
"In other words you want me to be silent."
"Is that going to be a problem?"
"My entire childhood had been lived in silence." Scarlet states. "So, no, it won't be a problem."
"Good." Diane says simply. "Lets get started, then."
While she sits inside the interrogation room, spilling her guts to the classy lawyer, Elizabeth can be found pacing back and forth in the pathetic excuse for a waiting area in the station. Her husband can be found, sitting down on one of the chairs, far too attached to his sense of survival to ever tell her to calm down and have a seat next to him. It had been all over the news that Scarlet was arrested for the murder of Heather Webber.
With election days coming up, it was no surprise that the media had gotten ahold of the information so quickly. The commissioner needs the public to know that she's doing her job. If it weren't for the fact that Anna happens to be Robin's mother, Jason is certain that his wife would have unleashed her anger on the elder woman. Thankfully, she came to her senses long enough to demand he call Diane and have her take on her sister's case. It didn't help her anger much when her brother refused to help Scarlet.
More than anything, Elizabeth wanted to shut Steven up by telling him that it had been Scarlet that saved her life, but it wasn't her place. She wasn't even supposed to know that she had been the one that saved her, but her curiosity just wouldn't be squelched. After a few good pleadings to her husband, he had found out exactly who had gave her the kidney that literally saved her life and she couldn't help feeling grateful to her for what she sacrificed.
The more her brother spoke, the more she was reminded of the brother he had been to her a long time ago, the kind of brother that made up his mind about things and heard nothing to the contrary. The kind of brother that was too wrapped up in his own life to care about anything else, much less his own sister. She had thought he was past that, that he had finally gained a balance, but it seems as if he didn't include his other sister in that. She can't worry about him, though, not now. Right now, the only person that matters is Scarlet and getting her out of the trouble she has found herself in.
"Diane." Elizabeth stops her pacing when the attorney gets to them. "So?"
"It's going to be a hard battle, but not unbeatable." Diane says honestly. "Right now Detective West is waiting on Detective Falconeri before they start the interrogation, should take another ten minutes."
"Thank you." Elizabeth grips her wrist gratefully before making her way into the interrogation room, uncertain of what she would really say to her, but knowing that she had to talk to her.
"You really think you can get her out of this?" Jason dares to ask Diane when she sits down beside him.
"After the hell that devilish woman put that poor girl through all her life, I'll be damned if I don't." Diane says sternly. "No one deserves Heather Webber for a mother, Jason. No one."
"Put it this way, if she wasn't already dead, you'd want to kill her." Diane says lethally, meeting his eyes before saying, "Painstakingly slow. She got off easy."
As Jason lets that sink in, Scarlet and Elizabeth sit across from each other, neither really knowing what to say to the other, this being a rather unprecedented situation, to say the least. Elizabeth wanted to thank her profusely before assuring her that they would do whatever it took to make sure she didn't pay for this, but she could see that it wouldn't be taken kindly. From what she has learnt about her sister, it was clear that she didn't take gratitude easily, much less from a Webber of all people.
"How are you?" Scarlet voices, breaking the silence that fell over them, knowing they didn't exactly have time to just sit there staring at each other and she truly wanted to know how she was. Sabrina would fill her in on the simple things, but she'd never go in depth. Her friend's way to get her to speak to Elizabeth, not that it worked.
"I'm great." Elizabeth says with a soft smile. "I've been great."
"You know?" she questions when a flash of emotions shines through her eyes. "How long?"
"A few months after my wedding." she admits. "Sorry. I know you didn't want anyone to know."
"That's okay. It hardly matters at this point." Scarlet says simply. "Sorry I didn't make it to the wedding."
"Didn't expect you to come." Elizabeth says honestly. "I know how you feel about our family."
"I never really had that, you know...a family." Scarlet says quietly her gaze dropping to her hands. "Was...was he a good father to you?"
"No." she replies, waiting for her gaze to lift back to hers before saying, "He never wanted me. I barely know our father, much less my mother. Usually they pawned me off on one of our neighbors while they lived their lives. Jeff Webber was no model father. Trust me."
"I know that should make me feel a little better, but it doesn't."
"Can I ask why you did it?" Elizabeth questions, having been curious as to why she had done it now.
"Diane said not to talk about it." Scarlet gives as her excuse, a legit one, but still an excuse and she knows that. "Sorry."
"That's okay." she replies with a slight smile. "We probably don't have much time left before they come in to interrogate you anyway."
"Yeah?" she replies when she doesn't continue.
Before Scarlet could voice the words that had hanging on the tip of her tongue, the classy attorney makes her way into the interrogation room to usher Elizabeth out just before the detectives make their way into the room. Like Diane had instructed her, Scarlet remained silent through the interrogation, not a single word slipping past her lips. Not even when she wanted to tell the detective to take the stick out of his ass and talk like a normal human being. Whoever had the unfortunate luck of marrying this man, clearly they deserved some kind of award for their sacrifice.
After the painstaking interrogation, she's transferred to the holding cell, where she'll remain until her arraignment hearing the next morning. Before nightfall, she's visited by the always sweet Sabrina, who was surprisingly a whole lot more understanding than Scarlet had thought she'd be. Though she couldn't bring herself to tell Elizabeth, she explains to her friend why she had killed her own mother, knowing she needed to understand just why she did what she did.
"You know, for only being a half-sister, you sure act like a real sister to Elizabeth." Sabrina had commented as she got ready to leave. "You gonna tell her?"
"Don't have to. It's bound to come out in court." Scarlet said simply. "Thanks for coming, Sabrina. I've missed you."
"I've missed you, too." Sabrina said wholeheartedly before taking a deep breath. "I'll see you soon."
Morning brought with it her arraignment hearing and she had to admit that she could see just why she was the best in her field. Watching Diane in all her glory, Scarlet had to be grateful that the woman was fighting for her freedom rather than her incarceration. If it had been the other way around, there's no telling if Scarlet would ever breathe a breath of free air again.
After a damn good fight, on her attorney's side, Scarlet finds herself being released once her twenty thousand dollar bond is paid for by her sister and brother-in-law. While she's released, however, she's to have a permanent address until the case is settled. Not having anywhere to go, she accepts Elizabeth's offer to stay in her home until the court situation is handled. A part of her felt like this was pushing things, but she really didn't have much choice in the matter. She's on trial for murder. There's not much leeway with that.
She's introduced to the children as Aunt Scarlet by Jason and she wanted so desperately to stop them from calling her that, but all protests vanished when the little boys ran to her with open arms. Aunt Scarlet, they had exclaimed, running to her and hugging her tightly, as if it had been the most natural thing in the world to them. Then the oldest one said something she had not been expecting, thank you for saving my mom, and that did her in. She barely held in the tears long enough for Jason to take the boys upstairs before she bawled her eyes out.
"Sorry." Scarlet voices apologetically as she wipes her eyes after removing herself from Elizabeth's embrace, still not certain how she came to be in her arms. "I don't usually cry."
"Its okay. No one can stay strong all of the time." Elizabeth says softly. "You're allowed to break down every once in a while."
"Not when your mother's Heather." Scarlet counters before letting out a deep sigh. "If she hated anything, it was crying, she saw no point in it."
"I'm sorry you had to suffer with a mother like Heather."
"If you only knew." Scarlet shakes her head. "It doesn't matter now. She's dead. Its over."
"It matters." Elizabeth says seriously, taking her hand into hers before meeting her eyes firmly. "I may not be able to empathize, but I can listen."
"The last thing you need is to hear about what I went through growing up with Heather." Scarlet states. "Trust me, it'll give you nightmares."
"You're my sister." Elizabeth says simply. "I want to be here for you, if you'll let me."
"You really mean that."
"Of course I do." Elizabeth smiles slightly. "We're family."
Sitting across from each other, Scarlet pours her heart out to Elizabeth, telling her roughly everything she had been through at the hands of Heather. The time when she had Steven by her side, things had gotten a lot easier, but it had gotten a million times worse once he was gone. She tells Elizabeth about the times that Heather had pimped her out as a teenager in order make a decent buck. Clearly she had no real skills to speak of, much less to get paid for, so, that left her only asset. Scarlet.
At first, she fought back against them, but they always got what they wanted in the end. Before she knew it, she just laid there, motionless as they got their money's worth. When she was old enough to runaway from Heather, she had done so readily and as quickly as she could manage. Her mother always found her, though, without fail. No matter where she ran, no matter how hard she worked to hide her tracks, Heather always found her. Her mother always did her best to make up for the her brief lapse in judgement, her way of explaining away the rapes, but Scarlet never believed in her apologies. They meant little to nothing where her mother was concerned.
By the time she was done spilling her guts to Elizabeth, she had somehow found her way back in her sister's embrace, arms wrapped around each other as Elizabeth gently strokes her hair soothingly. It was then, as she clung to her, that Scarlet realized she had been crying again. As the words fell from her so did the tears. All the years of pent up emotions had come flooding out of her as she clung to her sister. Before long, she was sound asleep, her head resting on Elizabeth's lap as she fell into a deep slumber.
"Everything okay?" Jason questions his wife when he makes his way downstairs to find her gently running her fingers through Scarlet's hair.
"Why do bad things always happen to good people?" Elizabeth voices as she stares down at her sister. "She doesn't deserve any of the crap life throws at her and yet it still keeps coming."
"I know its hard to believe, but not everything happens for a reason." Jason says softly, leaning over the back of the couch to place a soft kiss upon his wife's forehead. "She has us now. That's all that should matter."
"You're right." she says quietly. "She has us now. Her family. We'll make it okay for her. I don't know how, but we will."
"I don't doubt it." he says softly. "The boys love her already. She's all they can talk about when I set them up in their room. I think Cam's even sketching something for her."
"That's good." she smiles at that. "They deserve to know their aunt. Just like she deserves to know her nephews."
"It'll all work out." Jason says firmly. "Trust that."
"I know it will." Elizabeth replies before dropping her gaze to her sister. "It just has to."
The trial is as long and strenuous as Diane had claimed it would be, at some points it had been far worse than the woman predicted, but it didn't last for long. By the end of the trial, Diane had painted a rather vivid picture of the life Scarlet had with a mother like Heather Webber. The moment she had delivered her closing statement, it had been clear to everyone in that court, the DA included, that no jury in the state of New York would ever convict her.
"Thank you for everything, Liz." Scarlet voices as they stand by the door, having been thoroughly shocked that they had transformed the living room into a small congratulatory party.
"Hey, what's family for, right?" Elizabeth says softly, giving her a soft nudge. "The boys did most of the work, anyway."
"Aunt Scarlet?" Cameron walks over to her, holding out a piece of rolled up paper. "I made it for you. I hope you like it."
"Thank you, Cam." she says with a soft smile before she unrolls the paper. "Its so beautiful. I love it, thank you, so much."
"I just wanted you to know that I'm glad you're in our family." Cameron says after a long moment. "I know your mom wasn't really nice to you."
"She wasn't." Scarlet admits before shaking her head. "But that doesn't matter now. Not when I have such amazing family like you guys."
"You mean that?" Elizabeth questions when Cameron runs off to help Jason and Jake with lunch.
"Yeah." she says wholeheartedly. "If not for you, I wouldn't know what being family really meant. I can't thank you enough for that."
"That's the best thing about being family, saying the words is more than enough."
She could never really fix things with Steven, not since everything came out in court, but Elizabeth's hopeful and, in turn, she kind of is, too. As she celebrates her freedom with her family, Scarlet can't help being thankful for the connections she has made in that wayward town. To think it had all started by a unprecedented phone call from her brother with a plea to save their sister. From her friendship with Sabrina to finding a way to embrace the love her sister was giving her freely, Scarlet finds she had found the one thing she was looking for the one time she wasn't looking for it. A family of her very own.
A/N: To The Jackal's Vixen, again, much love to you my dearest friend. I hope you enjoyed part two. It hadn't been easy to put all your ideas into words. I hope it worked out how you wanted. Tons of hugs.