A/N: Alright, there are a few things you need to know about this piece before we get started. The italics in the beginning are not my words. Rather, it was actual dialog exchanged between Jason and Elizabeth on the show. However, everything after the italics is my baby. I wanted to explore the idea of what COULD HAVE happened if Elizabeth would have stopped dancing around her feeling and backtracking every time she talked to Jason about their relationship and unborn child last spring. Like most of my one shots, it contains a rather ambiguous ending, but those are the breaks, folks. As always, enjoy!


The Sincerity of Love

A One Shot
Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth. - Benjamin Disraeli

"This secret was supposed to be best for everyone."

"The only thing that should matter is what's best for the baby."

With conviction, Elizabeth stated, "you matter, too," before continuing. "This baby's not even born yet, and I can see that you're not okay with this."

"I agreed to this. Have you," he paused just momentarily, recollecting himself as he advanced towards her retreating back. "Have you changed your mind?"

Turning abruptly, she answered, "you saved my life… more than once. You saved my child. You even saved my heart the night I came to you and we ended up making this baby. And, now, every time I see you, I am hit with the sacrifice you are making for me and this baby, and I know it may seem crazy, but it only makes me love you even more."

Jason looked up, his eyes a glassy blue as he held his overpowering emotions in check. Locking gazes with the woman across from him, the woman carrying his child, he stood motionless. Shocked. Startled. And, yes, slightly hopeful as well. And Elizabeth returned his stare, her own cryptically ambiguous orbs of sapphire blue filled with unshed tears as she waited for him to respond.

But how could he? What could he say? They had known each other for so long and been so important to one another, but those words had never crossed either of their lips in concern towards the other. While he had often wondered just what the brunette nurse felt for him, he had never asked, just as she had never voiced similar queries about his feelings either. But, now, when he was least prepared for the admission, the mother of his only child was laying her heart at his feet, and the normally unflappable enforcer was at a loss as to what he should do next.

So, instead of being decisive, instead of taking a stance and admitting his own feelings, he took the coward's way out, hiding behind his insecurities that always haunted him where Elizabeth was concerned. "You… you love me?"

Physically, she moved away from him. Slowly lowering her heavy with child form to the couch, her hands protectively sought to cradle their unborn baby as she, with determination, lifted her visage to confront his own. Without walls up to protect herself, the former artist confessed, "don't you know what you mean to me, Jason," using his own words from the past against him.

And, just like she had been confused and uncertain all those years before, so was he in that moment, so he just remained silent, wishing for her to continue.

And she did. Sniffing, the soon-to-be mother of two smiled crookedly, evidently laughing at something only she, in that moment, knew to be funny. "In one way or another, I've loved you for years. I've just been too afraid to tell you. At first, I loved you because you were my friend. You listened to me when no one else would… or could, you took me for motorcycle rides, told me things that you trusted no one else with, and you even let me take care of 

you as hard as that was for you to submit to. But then…"

Her words trailed off just at the point he wanted to hear the most, and Jason took a step forward, edging his way closer to her, but, still, he didn't sit down next to her or even reach out to touch her slender, slightly trembling shoulders or to reach for her pale, delicate hands. Swallowing roughly several times, he blinked in rapid succession to clear away the fog of emotion suddenly clouding his sight. When he watched Elizabeth admit to whatever it was she felt for him in the past and, now, during the present, he wanted to be able to see her clearly… just in case his ears and his mind couldn't believe what she said to be true without physical, empirical proof. And, finally, with a husky voice, he asked, "yes?"

The petite nurse shrugged, glancing away from him into the distance as if she could see herself from before just off behind his left shoulder. "And then you became my more than friend. If I had a moment to myself, I didn't want to spend it in my studio, painting; I wanted to spend it with you on the back of your bike."

He wanted to tease her about always liking him for his motorcycle, but, in that moment, nothing short of imminent death would have caused him to interrupt the woman speaking so contemplatively in front of him.

"When I had a bad day, I didn't want to tell Lucky about it. Instead, I wanted you and your uncanny ability to always make me feel better just by listening. But, I guess, I didn't understand what those things really meant, and, even when I realized that I was physically attracted to you, I made excuses, telling myself that it was just my body's reaction and not my heart's. After all," Elizabeth laughed sardonically without humor, "Lucky was my permanent lock. I had myself convinced that I wasn't even capable of loving someone else the way I once had loved him.

"As for the rest," she finally returned to the present, letting go of their child hidden safely away in her abdomen to run her, no doubt, sweaty hands against the knees of her dark jeans, "you already know all about that. We tried, it didn't work, and we ended up not talking for a long time. I don't think I ever told you this," the young mother admitted wistfully, "but that was one of the loneliest times in my entire life. Until you were no longer a part of my world, I didn't realize just how important you and our friendship were to me."

"But we eventually found our way back to each other," he argued, feeling the need to make her continue talking. She still hadn't gotten to the part he wanted, no needed to hear; she still hadn't told him what she felt for him now.

"Yes, we did," Elizabeth agreed, smiling brightly up at him. "We became friends again, and we started helping each other once again. It was nice."

Prompting her, he pressed, "and then…"

"And then," she repeated his words, her smile falling into a contemplative look of both wonder and awe, "we spent one… life-altering night together." Choking back a sob, the brunette admitted, "in just a few short hours' time, you managed to save me, once again, and, in the process, we made a baby together, but you also managed to completely destroy the very foundation my entire life was built upon."

That he had not expected her to say, and, even though, on the surface, the admission seemed devastating, Jason knew that nothing was ever what it seemed to be with his more than friend.

"I became a nurse for my son. I started dating Lucky again and married him because he was good for me and my little boy. He was safe, and reliable, and he could make us happy… or so I thought, and, if I had spent the night of the blackout with any other person but you, I'm pretty sure I would have easily gone back to my husband to try again and my heart would have been in my actions." On a whisper, the beautiful mother acknowledged, "but you aren't just anyone for me. You're… you're the man that represents everything I gave up long ago when I settled for marrying Lucky. You're passion and danger and excitement and adrenaline and desire and everything I shouldn't still want at this point, but I do, and that one night that we spent together, it unleashed all these feelings I had deeply buried years before, and I don't know how to push them back away, how to hide from them anymore."

They were finally there, and he knew that all she needed was just a little push to tell him everything he had always wanted to hear and the very thing that scared him more than anything else. "But what does that mean, Elizabeth?"

She stood, her movements towards him measured and sure. She never blinked, she never looked away, and, when she was just a pace away from leveling their two bodies against one another, she stopped, reaching out with both of her hands to clasp his much larger, more calloused ones. "It means that I love you, Jason Morgan," she murmured tenderly, tears of what he knew to be both regret and sadness marring the otherwise breathtaking confession. "It means that I'm in love with you."

And then the words started falling from her plump lips faster than he could fathom.

"And I know that you're not in love with me, that I'm just your friend, the woman you care about because she's carrying your child, and that you're in love with Sam, but that's okay. I didn't tell you this so that you would feel sorry for me and insist that we be together. I'm not expecting you to propose or to make some grand declaration of love back to me; I simply told you because I couldn't keep lying to you anymore. We've always tried to be honest with each other, even when it hurt, but I haven't been doing a very good job of that recently, and I want that to change.

"In about a month, we're going to be parents together, whether the rest of the world knows it or not, and you're going to have to trust me to take care of our child, just as I'll have to trust you to allow me to do that without your presence in our lives every day. I'm sorry for just dumping this on you, Jason, but I just… I needed you to know the truth, the whole truth, no matter how selfish that was of me."

Before he could process everything that she had just told him, before he could come to terms with her declarations, and before he could make sense of what her professions had made him feel, there was one more thing they needed to discuss. "And what about Lucky? How do you feel about him?" Narrowing his gaze and unconsciously squeezing her hands tighter, he pressed her, "are you in love with him, too? After all, you did marry him again, and you want him to the father of our baby, so…"

"I'm not in love with Lucky," the soon-to-be mother of two interrupted him, catching him completely by surprise and making him feel as if she had knocked the wind from his very lungs. "Lucky… I'll always love the idea of him, the memory of him, but that's all. He's the sweet boy from my past, the one who saved me after my rape, and, for better or worse, I still feel indebted to him. Maybe it's guilt,' she suggested, shrugging her shoulders. "While I know that Lucky loves me the way a husband should love his wife, I also know that I love you that same way, and, perhaps, subconsciously, he picked up on that during our 

marriage, and that's why he turned to drugs."

"It's not your fault that Lucky got addicted to painkillers, Elizabeth."

"Even so, that doesn't change the fact that I feel responsible for him. If I can't be with you and our child, then, at least, I can repay the favor that Lucky once paid me and help him through his recovery process. And he's good to me and Cam, and I know he'll love this baby, too." She smirked knowingly, rolling he eyes. "It's not the best solution, but it's the best one I can think of. You'll be happy with Sam, my kids will be healthy and safe, and Lucky will stay clean and sober."

Jason wasn't ready to let her get away with that. Dropping her hands, he lifted his own palms to cup her impossibly soft cheeks, bringing their faces even closer together as he leaned down to rest his forehead against hers. "But what about you? You're not going to be happy, and the kids will pick up on that sadness surrounding you."

"I wouldn't worry about that, Morgan," Lucky Spencer's voice shattered the private spell the two of them had been existing under for all that time. Hastily, Elizabeth pulled away from him, turning to face her husband, and, involuntarily, his grip fell from her face only for his hands to fists into angry, tight orbs of fury. "Now that I know the truth, that my wife only married me out of pity, I'm not going to stick around long enough to dampen your little perfect family." The cop chuckled grimly, shaking his head in realization. "Everything makes sense, now, Elizabeth – why you fought me for so long before finally accepting my proposal. You were waiting for your precious Jason to step up and claim you for himself, but, when you realized that he didn't want you, you settled for second best, right? And, now, I also know why you really wouldn't consummate our marriage. Even after you let me put my ring on your finger, you were still saving yourself for him."

The last word was thrown out there harshly, all the hate the younger man felt towards the enforcer more than evident. But, still, neither he nor the woman he was standing behind so supportively said a word. Rather, they allowed Lucky the chance to rant, knowing it wasn't the first time he had railed against them and that it certainly would not be the last. Eventually, though, as his rage sputtered to a close, the dark haired detective left, turning abruptly on his heels and exiting his family home through the back door in the kitchen, the sound of the screen slamming shut allowing Jason the first real chance to breathe comfortably since he and Elizabeth had been interrupted. However, he wasn't even given a chance to make sure that the mother of his child was alright before he witnessed her falling to the ground, her pale fingers holding onto her swollen stomach in a death grip as she quickly lost both strength and awareness.

"Call 911," she begged on a pained moan, and that was when he noticed the rapidly growing pool of blood beneath her, and he did as she ordered, frantically dialing for help.

Finished and with the knowledge that an ambulance was on the way, he knelt down beside her, feeling more helpless than he ever had before in his entire life. Without knowing what else to do, he searched blindly for her hands, eventually finding her right one and holding it desperately in the both of his.

"The baby," the petite nurse requested, gasping in both fear and anxiety. "You… save…"

"Ssh," he interrupted her, releasing his death grip on her trembling palm to gently slide one of his hands against her forehead over and over and over again in what was supposed to be calming gesture for her but, in reality, was probably helping him more. "Just relax, 

Elizabeth. Help will be here soon, and everything will… just… Help will be here soon."

"No," she protested weakly, already losing her will to fight him. "Promise me, Jason, if it's me… or the baby…"

Without meaning to, he stiffened, his gaze hardening. "I can't do that."

"Ja…" Her voice died away, effectively silenced as she slipped into an unconscious state.

Her feeble objections broke his heart, but, still, he couldn't give her what she wanted. He refused to. While he loved their child with every single last fiber of his being, he had only known he was going to be father for a couple short months, and, despite the fact that he had wanted her baby to be his when he first found out that she was pregnant, his attachment to it was relatively brief compared to his attachment to its mother. Elizabeth had been his friend first, then his more than friend, and, somewhere along the line, she had come to mean so much to him that he couldn't quite put what he felt for her into words. However, the one thing that he did know was that, while he could go back to a life without the prospect of having a son or a daughter, he couldn't live in a world where Elizabeth Webber wasn't around to make him laugh, to ask him for another chance to see the wind, to save him even when he didn't want to be saved anymore.

So, decision made, he watched as the EMT's arrived, carefully lifting the woman who was the mother of his child and so much more onto a gurney before addressing them. "No matter what," he pleaded, forgetting his pride in the face of the reality of losing the one person he just couldn't let go of. "You do whatever you have to in order to save her."

"Who," the head paramedic asked, confusion evident on his face, and Jason realized he wasn't sure if he was talking about Elizabeth or the baby she was carrying, because, at that point, no one knew if it was a boy or a girl. "The woman or the child, Sir?"

"Elizabeth," he answered with determination and resolve. "No matter what, you save Elizabeth."