A Liason Friday Night Fic Series

Part One

FNF#47: The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase; if you pursue happiness, you'll never find it. ~ C.P. Snow

She didn't have morning sickness.

Her breasts weren't tender, and they sure as hell weren't growing any either. Unfortunately.

She wasn't moody... at least, none of the male doctors had made any mumbled comments about that time of the month recently, and she definitely wasn't nesting... which was a good thing considering the fact that a cardboard box would have been more roomy than her apartment.

And her hips weren't widening, she didn't have any weird cravings – yet, and Elizabeth hadn't started to show.

But everyone knew that she was pregnant. They knew that she was pregnant, and getting a divorce, and that she still had not confessed the identity of her baby's father. And all of this they knew because she had an extremely sensitive nose now.

Slamming a patient's file onto the counter of the nurse's station, she demanded to know, "alright, who the hell had garlic for lunch today?" Whirling around on her small feet encased in white, utilitarian tennis shoes, Elizabeth, hands clenched on hips, exclaimed, "I don't know how many times I've asked you guys to refrain from eating that stuff around me or to at least brush your..." Swallowing roughly, she gulped, her sentence trailing off and her stance becoming meek with deference. "Oh, hi... Epiphany."

With a dark expression, her boss returned, "and I don't know how many times I have to you, Nurse Webber, that you need to refer to me as Nurse Johnson. I don't care who your grandmother is or who your grandfather was, when you're on my shift, you're just another student nurse I have to watch like a hawk so I can fix all your mistakes. And, Nurse Webber," her intimidating superior narrowed her eyes purposefully, "you make far too many mistakes."

"I'm sorry, Nurse Johnson," she replied timidly, her now unclenched hands falling to her sides and her head bowing in submission.

"Don't apologize," Epiphany chastised, "and you certainly shouldn't be standing around here analyzing what I had for lunch today. There's far too much work to be done, and I don't have time to play your silly pregnancy games." Before her boss could launch into a long, lengthy account of all the patients who needed checked on, bathed, and medicated, Elizabeth scurried out of the nurses' station, but she could still hear the older woman barking complaints as she fled down the hall. "Now, if only that nose of yours was as good at sniffing out injuries and diagnoses as it is food, you might actually graduate from nursing school yet, Miss Webber."

Epiphany was right... about so many things. Her grades weren't the greatest, and, now, with the added stress of a baby on the way and her impending divorce, she was distracted. She needed to pass, though; she needed to become a nurse, not only because her pregnancy was forcing her to grow up and let go of her youthful dreams of being an artist but also because she needed the health insurance, she needed the steady income to provide for her unborn child, and she needed all the help she could get in fighting against her asshole of a soon-to-be ex-husband. It didn't matter that she swore up and down that he wasn't the father of her baby – emotionally or biologically, he was promising to take her son or daughter away. Whether Elizabeth's child had been conceived on accident or not during a one night stand, she wanted her child, and she refused to allow her abusive, obsessively crazed spouse anywhere near her baby.

She would do anythingfor her child – to keep he or she healthy, happy, and safe.

But the one thing that Epiphany – Nurse Johnson – wasn't right about was her attitude towards her superiors. It wasn't that she was rude or believed herself to be entitled because, in a way, she was General Hospital royalty, thanks to her Grandpa Steve and Grams Audrey; it was just that she was used to calling people by their first name. After all, she had been working as a waitress at Kelly's for years – since high school, in fact, and customers appreciated a waitress who could call them by their first name, remember how they liked their coffee, and asked about their grandchildren or their sick pet cat Paws. Being personable had always gotten her further with her job in the past, but, now, being personable – personal – with her boss was going to get her dismissed from the nursing program.

And then what the hell would she do?

Despite the fact that she was still waiting tables at Kelly's, and despite the fact that Bobbie had already mentioned a raise and a promotion to manager, the truth of the matter was that she didn't want to serve chili for the rest of her life. She loved Bobbie, and she appreciated everything the redhead had done for her over the years, but she wanted something more – something better for herself, and nursing wasn't the Taj Mahal of careers – it wasn't painting, but it sure as hell beat long hours of providing the Port Charles masses with their precious greasy, fast food. Plus, she knew that Bobbie shouldn't have to invent new positions for her, and she knew that Kelly's just didn't have the funds in its budget to cover a salary and benefits for her and her unborn baby. So, even though Bobbie's offer had been tempting, she had turned her down and was simply waiting to receive her LPN license before she put in her two weeks' notice. Her nose couldn't wait.

! & !

He was used to pain. In fact, he kind of liked it. It made him forget everything else that was wrong in his life and provided him with the anger he needed to keep fighting. But even Jason could admit that the beating he had received that evening was worse than normal. That's what happened, though, when your opponent fought dirty.

At the very thought of the challenger he had faced in the ring earlier that night, the boxer grimaced, the movement of his mouth making a cut bleed some more. Spitting out the blood, he then risked swallowing as he leaned back against the cold, wooden bench. The taste of copper was strong as bile surged up his throat, and he had to quickly squash any instinct his body naturally had to throw up. At that point, his ribs couldn't take any further abuse.

It wasn't just his ribs, though. His face was a mess... as was common for fighters. Luckily, he would heal quickly, though. He always did. But then there were his kidneys, too. Over and over, his opponent had punched him in his lower back until the point where Jason had started to fear internal damage. That's why he was sitting outside of General Hospital's emergency room. After he had been knocked out in the eighth round, his manager, fearful of getting any more involved than just an anonymous drop off outside of the medical facility's automatic doors, had literally propped him up on a bench. Or, at least, that's what Jason imaged the older man had done. Who knew, though. He might not even have gone that far out on a limb for his number one boxer. He might have simply told one of his flunkies to handle it. No one would have been stupid enough, however, to actually take him inside of the hospital. Not in their world.

Their world was illegal. Hush-hush. Forbidden. While Jason might have called himself a boxer, the sport of boxing didn't recognize him or his competitors. Rather, their matches were all underground. They weren't sponsored by any multi-billion dollar corporation and aired on pay-per-view television; instead, they were fought in top-secret locations with only a select group of men and women – but mostly men – invited to watch. They were tied to organized crime, and they were dangerous.

Initially, that – the danger – had been what attracted Jason. Fresh out of the hospital after waking up without a single memory of his past and angry because everyone was trying to tell him what to do, he had refused any help or money from the Quartermaines and struck out on his own. He found a job parking cars for Sonny Corinthos, rented a room above Jake's bar, and bought a motorcycle. But it hadn't been enough, and that's when Sonny had come to him, offering him something better than being a glorified valet.

However, Jason had been leery of actually working for the mobster. While he liked pushing his bike to its limits on the cliff road, and while he liked train surfing, it was a whole different story to commit himself to a life of crime. Perhaps he had been reckless, but he wasn't stupid, and he saw what the mob did to people. If they actually lived long enough to reap the benefits of their crimes, those people around them did not. They died and most of the time tragically. Although he was pretty much alone in life, he did have his grandmother, and he did have his sister Emily, and, at the time, Jason had been hopeful that maybe, someday, he'd have other people to care about as well. So, going to work for Sonny in his organization had been one risk even too big for him to take.

The compromise had been Corinthos' underground fighting ring. The booze sold and bets lost were how the kingpin made his money from the endeavors, and it didn't hurt matters that nearly all the fights were fixed. He would bring in a new guy, allow him to accumulate several impressive wins, and then, once the regulars trusted the new fighter enough to put up big money, Sonny'd tell him to throw the fight. Then, the process would start all over again. For compensation, Jason and all the other guys were paid well.

It was brutal, though – fights every other week, putting his body through that kind of constant torture, not to mention the training. There were some nights when he went into the ring with his ribs still broken from his last fight, but he couldn't show those weaknesses, and he couldn't tape his injuries, and forget about health insurance. After all, how could Sonny put his guys on his medical plan if there was no paper trail of them even working for him? All the fighters were paid under the table to keep the authorities off their trail, and, even though Corinthos kept a doctor on twenty-four hour call for his bodyguards, that luxury was not extended to his fighters.

Usually, such things didn't bother Jason. He wasn't someone to dwell on the things in life that he didn't have. Plus, he hated hospitals. Living in one for weeks on end as you were told that you were brain damaged tended to do that to a guy. And it didn't help matters either that Alan and Monica both worked at General Hospital, that Edward was on the place's Board of Directors. Going to GH meant running the risk that he would see someone from Jason Quartermaine's life, and that was something Jason Morganalways tried to avoid doing.

But his injuries that evening even made him nervous. While he had lost fights in the past, never had he taken a beating as bad before. And there was also the fact that he wasn't as young as he used to be. Recently, Jason had started to notice that he wasn't healing as fast as he once had, that, when he got up in the morning, his body was stiff and sore where, years ago, it had always been full of energy and raring to get back in the ring, no matter how humiliating a loss he had suffered the night before. The truth of the matter was that, for a boxer, he was getting old. In fact, he probably should have retired at least a year before, but what the hell else was he supposed to do with his life? How else was he supposed to live?

"Jason," a soft, tentative voice asked him from off to the side. With his face so swollen, though, he couldn't see out of his left eye, and it hurt too much to turn his neck in order to look at the woman who had called his name. Her voice did sound familiar, though, distantly.

He knew that he had stayed too long sitting outside of the hospital. He knew that, eventually, the mistake of being brought there, even if it was against his will, would catch up to him and bite him in the ass, but the truth of the matter was that he had simply been too exhausted to move. Now, though, he had the motivation he needed to run away.

Before he could finish pushing himself up into a standing position, using the arms of the bench to assist him in what felt like a nearly impossible endeavor, the voice moved until it was coming from right in front of him. "Oh my god, Jason! What happened to you? Here," the woman offered, rushing forward to no doubt prop him up upon her diminutive frame. "Let me help you."

But, before she could touch him, he flinched away from her, and he kept on moving as fast as he could, even though he could hear her calling his name and insisting that he allow her to take care of him. He ignored her, however, and, fighting through the pain, he finally got away from General Hospital.