Possible Jack/Kristina or Jack/Molly, as well.

Starr Manning walked into her bedroom, closing the door, quickly and pressing her back against it. Her eyes squeezed shut as she took a few deep breaths, in. She was mentally trying to prepare herself for what she'd see, when she opened her eyes. Finally, her eyes fluttered open, taking in her childhood bedroom. It was exactly as she'd left it. There was still a shirt thrown haphazardly over a desk chair. a little blonde baby doll was still on the floor, where Hope had left it, when she'd played. Picture frames with photos, showing her life were scattered in various places around the room.

A strangled sob escaped her lips and tears streamed down her cheeks, shaking hand going to cover her mouth. She felt as if she might vomit. She had known it would be hard to come back here, despite the fact that her mother, brothers, sister, aunt, and grandmother were here. What with her father's upcoming trial, and the fact that the last time she'd really been home, Hope and Cole had still been alive. What a cruel hand fate had played the three of them. They were supposed to be a happy family. Cole was out of jail, Hope was happy, and healthy. They were supposed to start a life together. And all of that was taken by someone's carelessness. What was worse, her daughter and the boyfriend's killer couldn't be punished for his crime. It was so unfair. Slowly, she walked farther into the room, grabbing the baby doll from the floor, hugging it to her chest. She headed torwards her bed, climbing ontop of it and messing up her comforter as she curled up into a ball and closed her eyes.


Back in Port Charles, New York, Michael sat in his empty apartment, the cd that Starr had left behind in his CD player. Her voice filled the room. He had no idea why he was listening to it, in the first place. It seemed kind of crazy that he was already missing the girl, and se hadn't even been gone a whole day. But he did. He'd felt...connected to her, for some reason. She understood him and he had understood her. That was something that he hadn't had, since Abby's death. Michael knew that he'd hurt Starr, when he'd voiced that distrust in her. That wasn't something that she'd been expecting. He regretted ever asking her. Maybe if he hadn't done that, she'd have stayed. He let out a laugh and shook his head. No. She'd have still left. It was something that Michael should've expected. After all, she had family back in Llanview. She couldn't stay away from them, forever. The only thing he hoped for now, was that things would work out for her. He pressed the stop button on the CD player, standing up from his desk chair and grabbing his jacket, keys, and wallet. He was supposed to take his sister, Jocelyn out for some ice cream and to the park, today. He'd promised her, about a week ago. He walked out of the apartment, locking the door behind him.

Once Michael parked his car, he walked up to his mother's house and opened the door, stepping inside. The smell of frozen pizza filled the air and it transported Michael back to his childhood. Carly was a great woman. An amazing mother. She could win at Monopoly, without even trying, an expert at hide and seek, but if there was one thing that she wasn't good at, it was cooking. As a result, there'd been a lot of frozen pizza and junk food, always in the house.

On the couch, Jocelyn sat in her mother's lap, giggling happily, as Carly read her one of her children's books. They both glanced up, when they heard him shut the door.

"Hey, Michael!" Carly said, beaming a smile at him, as she shifted Jocelyn off her lap and stood up. She walked over to him, combing a long, slender hand through her son's hair. "How are you?"

He gave her a smile and hugged her, tightly. "I'm fine, mom." He stated, pulling back. "It's just strange, living in my apartment alone again."

She gave him a look of sympathy. "That poor girl. When I heard her tell her story on the stand, I just couldn't bare it. I don't know what I do, i I lost you, Morgan, or Jocelyn. Starr shouldn't be going through such a horrible tragedy."

Michael nodded. "I know. I'm hoping that her family can help her. I mean, the main reason she and I connected was because I didn't walk on eggshells around her. I understood her."

Carly sighed again and cupped her son's face, pressing a gentle kiss to his forhead. "She'll be okay, eventually. Her family needs her and she needs them."


"Starr?" A soft voice asked from the doorway, causing the girl curled up in the bed, to lift her head.

"Dani." Starr murmured, brokenly, trying to smile as she swiped at her red and swollen eyes. She didn't see how it was possible that she had any tears left. It seemed as if she had been crying enough for ten lifetimes.

"Mom told me that Blair said that Hope and Cole's killer's weren't charged. My God Starr, I am so sorry. It's not right. I wish that I could've been there for you. You shouldn't have had to go through all of that, alone." Dani said, regretfully, feeling tears sting her own eyes. It hurt to see her older sister like this.

Starr shook her head. "You had school, Dani. It's not your fault. Besides, I didn't go through it alone. The guy who tried to save Hope and Cole helped me. His name is Michael."

"Oh." Dani whispered simply, raising an eyebrow, hesitantly.

"He got what I was going through." The older sister continued. "His girlfriend died, awhile back, in a freak accident. He got the anger that I felt. He didn't act like he felt sorry for me or as if he had to be careful about what he said. He made me feel as normal as I possibly could, given the situation."

"It seems like you two became good friends." The older girl, replied.

Starr nodded, smiling a little bit. "I guess we did."


Two Months Later

Michael laughed as he sat at a table at Kelly's, Kristina, Morgan, Molly, and Jocelyn surrounding him. Kristina had just returned home, from college and Morgan and Molly had decided that it would be a good idea if all the siblings and cousins went to the diner. It was a celebration, of sorts. Michael and Morgan had brought Jocelyn with them, because their mother was busy at the hotel and the nanny was on vacation. Dante had been unable to attend, since he was busy at work.

Just then, he heard the bell on the door ring and someone walk into the room. He glanced behind him, mouth falling open as he spotted a familiar girl standing there. Her blond hair was tied back in a messy bun and she wore a dark blue sundress and brown sandles. A dark haired girl and boy stood on either side of her. He raised his eyebrow. It couldn't possibly be Starr. Why would she be back here?

"Michael? What's going on? Why are you looking at those people, like that?" Kristina questioned, curiously, dark eyes twinkling as she stared at her older brother.

Instead of answering, Michael stood from his seat, walking over to the table where the three teens had just sad down. "Starr?" He said, confused.

The blonde looked up, eyes widening and mouth dropping as their eyes locked.

To be continued: Starr tells Michael why she's back in Port Charles. Kristin meetings, court cases, and secrets.