Summary: This takes place about seven months after Kristina accused Ethan of beating her.

Notes: This will probably be about three parts and deals mostly with how Ethan reacts to what has happened. P.s. I love reviews. They make me happy in the pants.

Forgive Me

Ethan Lovette brushed his unruly, dark brown, hair out of his eyes as he scribbled notes on the clipboard he held in his hands. It was late, but he had gotten distracted going over the bar inventory and hadn't bothered to make it to bed yet. Not that he was all that anxious to get there anyway. He looked at his watch, 2 AM, still more than enough time to get rest before he had to be up in the morning. It was rare that he looked forward to sleeping. Even rarer were the times when he actually slept through the night. Insomnia had become something he was all too well acquainted with lately. He turned his attention back to the clipboard and his neat, precise, handwriting. As the old saying went, there would be time enough to sleep when he was dead.

An hour passed and Ethan found himself done with cataloguing and organizing all the booze behind the bar. He realized that he was just looking for an excuse to stay awake and be busy. He'd organized everything last night by alcohol type and tonight he had organized it alphabetically. Tomorrow he'd probably reorganize it just to keep his mind off of things. He was convinced Luke was eventually going to strangle him. Ethan had just decided that he ought to stop prolonging the inevitable and attempt to sleep when he felt his cell phone vibrate. Wondering who would be trying to contact him at this hour, his curiosity peeked, he looked at his phone to see that he had a new text. He opened it and then promptly shoved his phone back in his pocket.

Well, that had been unexpected.

Too bad. He wasn't going to let himself be bothered by it... Who was he kidding? Of course he was bothered by it. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and read the message again.

It's Kristina. I'm at the Elm st pier, can we talk? Please?

He didn't owe her anything. Certainly didn't owe her secret meetings in the middle of the night. She could rot for all he cared. He leaned against the wall trying to sort out his thoughts. She was the reason why for the last seven months his life had been a living Hell.

Ethan sighed and ran his hands over his face. He had two options, he could go down to his room, lay in bed, and probably be awake until morning or he could go see her. Regardless of how angry he was, and he was angry, she was out on the docks in the middle of the night. The knight-in-shining-armor in him was having trouble being okay with that. The other part of him dreaded, absolutely dreaded the thought of seeing her. He honestly couldn't imagine anything good coming from it. However, the least he could do was go down there and tell her to go home. With a resigned sigh he turned off the lights and made his way down to the Elm Street Pier.

It wasn't cold outside, not that it was all that surprising. It had been one of the hottest summers Port Charles had ever had, being Mid-October it was finally starting to cool down. Ethan had dreaded this moment for months. Nearly seven months ago to the day, Kristina Davis had accused him of brutally beating her. Since that day he'd had a gun aimed at him, twice. Been threatened, assaulted, arrested, restraining ordered, and generally hated, hell, he nearly had to go into hiding for fear of his life, all because he hadn't indulged her teen age crush on him. He'd been trying to be the "good" guy. Regardless of how he had felt about Kristina she had been too young for him. He hadn't, under any circumstances, wanted to take advantage of her.

Instead she had taken advantage of him. Using him as a cover to protect her scum of a boyfriend. As if he had deserved it. He'd cared about her, even been friends with her, taken her to the hospital, and she decided to protect the guy that beat her black and blue and go after him instead. So much for doing the right thing. Ethan stopped and took a deep breath. Holding onto the anger wasn't going to do him any good right now. The very last thing he needed was to unload on her. He was going to tell her to go home and that was going to be the end of it.

He made it to the pier and saw her sitting on a bench, cell phone in hand. It had been months since he'd seen her. Which meant he rarely left the Casino, not wanting to risk running into her at Kelly's or on the docks or anywhere else for that matter. He stood there for a moment trying to come up with something to say that didn't sound as hateful as he felt. He decided to go with the direct approach.

"You need to go home. Now."

Kristina obviously hadn't heard him approach because she jumped when he spoke. It looked like she had literally woken up in the middle of the night to talk to him. She was wearing a baggy t-shirt and sweat pants and her hair was pulled back in a pony tail. Ethan was actually surprised to see that she looked older. There was something about her that was just different.

"I didn't think you were coming. You didn't text me back," she said taking her phone and putting it in her purse.

"You need to go home," Ethan repeated. He was trying his damndest not to think about what he was feeling. He was angry, he was resentful, he was hurt, but he refused to think about that right now lest he say something he might regret. Or worse, say something that he might not.

"I need to talk to you," she said hesitantly, so much so that it almost sounded like a question.

"No you don't. We don't have anything to say to one another. Go home, now, or I'll call Alexis and have her come get you." It was an idle threat, he had absolutely no desire to talk to Alexis. She had apologized to him after the truth had come out but he couldn't say they were on speaking terms. He turned and walked away, telling himself that he could turn his back on her and keep walking.

"I am sorry. So sorry-"

Ethan spun around and tried to temper his anger. "I told you when you tried this the last time, I. Don't. Care." Did she think an apology was going to mean anything to him? If she was sorry she should have told the truth the next day, or the day after, or when her father tried to kill him multiple times, or when he was sitting in jail wondering how everything had got so messed up. Then would have been the time to be sorry. After the damage had been done she wanted to apologize? He hadn't wanted to hear it months ago, he didn't want to hear it now.

"Ethan, please, just listen to me," she pleaded and he almost wanted to.


"Give me one reason why I should? I know you're a kid. I know you were in a tough situation. I know that you were scared. I know all of these things but they don't change what you did. I don't want to stand here and listen to your reasons and hate you even more for them." The moment the words left his mouth he knew he had done what he had set out not to do. It was late, he was exhausted, she had the ability to make him feel nauseous just by thinking about her, let alone seeing her and he couldn't handle that. He never should have come.

"I don't blame you for hating me."

"If you hadn't "blamed" me to begin with we wouldn't be standing here."

"I know."

"What do you want from me Kristina? Do you want me to tell you that all is forgiven? That I understand? Do you need to know that I'm okay so that you can move on? I can't give you that. Kiefer beat you, and bullied you, and hurt you, and I hope that you never give him the time of day. I hope you never forgive him for what he put you through. What you don't understand is that you did to me what he did to you. I am sorry that you went through what you went through but you had no right to do what you did to me."

Ethan was surprised to find that he was getting so emotional and that pissed him off more than anything. He had spent the last several months trying to get through this as best he could. Trying not to make Kristina the enemy, trying to understand why she did what she did. The twisted part of it all was that he got it, he understood why she'd blame someone else. He just didn't understand why it had to be him. Nearly everyone in his life had turned against him. He'd tried to be strong, stay calm, let justice prevail, as it were. And justice had, after a month of being wrongly accused he'd been cleared. Only after Kristina had showed up in the hospital again, and he'd had an air tight alibi. If it weren't for that he might be in jail right now. Or better yet he'd be across the ocean on the run, away from this city that was the first place he'd been able to call home in a long time. She had almost took that away from him. It hadn't even been her choice to fix all of that. How could he not be bitter?

Tears were falling down Kristina's face and Ethan almost spared a moment to feel bad. Any part of him that could have felt sympathy for her had been crushed months ago. He'd told her to go home. It was what he set out to do, it was time to let go.

He turned around and started walking.

His heart was pounding in his chest. The last time he'd actually talked to Kristina had been shortly after Keifer had been arrested for beating her a second time. Dante and Lucky had figured out the truth and had taken Ethan down to the police station to get all of the paper work for dropping the charges squared away. He'd been waiting in one of the interrogation rooms alone, when Kristina came in.

Her face was bruised and he remembered thinking, that all he wanted to do was hold her and then he was brought back to the reality of how she had accused him of hurting her. Hurting her of all people. She had apologized and he had sat there in silence. Plagued by images of how he found her that first time. How he had held her in his arms and told her that it was going to be okay. Those feelings of such fierce protectiveness that he wasn't sure he had ever felt before for anyone.

Despite himself he was plagued by the memory of those feelings even now. He stopped walking and looked out over the water. His feelings for Kristina were so complicated, they always had been honestly. He had liked her, probably more than he should have. She was funny and entertaining and he had honestly enjoyed hanging out with her, teaching her poker, decorating Christmas cookies with her. He had allowed her to mean something to him and then it had become time to… back off. She was getting too attached, he had seen it, and that presented its own set of complications. She was too young for him, too inexperienced, she had a lot of maturing to do so he had made the grown up decision to stop things before they even started.

Ethan remembered the image of her lying on the floor. The way that she had lashed out, thinking he was Kiefer begging him not to hurt her anymore, how fragile she had felt as he carried her to the car and then into the ER. She was a hurt, scared, girl. She had been so broken.

She had broken him.

Well, he was turning his back on her the way she had turned her back on him. At least that had been the plan. The look on her face as he had walked away was bothering him, pulling at strings in his heart that he had thought were long severed.

Ethan turned around and headed back toward the pier. Maybe talking to her would help him find some sort of peace with everything. He needed to let go, he knew that, maybe trying to forgive her was the first step. It took a lot for him to admit that. Did he want to forgive her? Not particularly. Did he need to? Probably. He wasn't sure how much more he could take of the dreams, of laying awake at night going over everything in his head. How things could have been different. Maybe he needed to hear what she had to say. He was almost convinced that it wouldn't change anything, but maybe, maybe... she could say that one thing that would make a difference.

He made it back to the pier but the bench was empty.

She was gone.