Disclaimer: The characters and setting belong to someone at ABC, I'm sure, definitely not me. Any mistakes or omissions are my fault entirely.
Story: This is set about a year after current events on the show. It deals mostly with Jason/Elizabeth with some Sonny/Carly, but the story is not just romance. It delves into some of the business dealings Sonny has, and the type of life this invariably leads to for all of the characters. Other PC residents may make appearances.
The night was overcast and mist drenched, one of those inky black autumn evenings so common after September. No hint of star or moonlight illuminated those streets lacking artificial lighting, and on the docks of the Port Charles waterfront, fog rolling in off the water covered everything in a light haze that made objects and people disappear after ten paces.
It was a perfect night for business.
Thibault Donetaro waited on the pier with an almost unnatural stillness. The impenetrable black of the night didn't phase him, and nor did the fog. The dark gray of the long wool trench coat he wore blended in with his surroundings seamlessly, so one would have to look carefully indeed to notice the outline of his figure. The men accompanying him were not so at ease, and their restless shifting more than anything else gave away his presence. They searched the fog shrouded docks furtively, hands poised near the guns they wore in shoulder holsters beneath their jackets. They were good men, good bodyguards, but they were also in unfamiliar territory, and unhappy with it. Thibault understood.
Still, he counted the number of times Gilen scuffed his shoes as he moved about, and Arturo's constant coughing with the cold of the night air made his lips thin disapprovingly. He would speak with them later, when they were alone. Even such a minor lack of control was not to be tolerated in those under his command. The Donetaros ran a tight ship, especially when not on their home turf. Besides, it was inexcusable that both men remained unaware of the visitor who now stood a few feet away in the fog, just outside of visual range.
Thibault lifted a hand to his glasses, calmly removing them as he pulled a white silk handkerchief from his pocket. It was the first actual movement he'd made in twenty minutes, the entire time he and his entourage had been waiting.
"You're late," he said into the fog, startling his two companions as he began to clean his lenses of the light mist which now coated them. More than visual perception was necessary in a business like this. I'll have to tell father that Gilen and Arturo are unacceptable, he thought with a mental sigh. He'll be unhappy with my report. He replaced the small, gold wire spectacles back onto his face just as their visitor stepped forward. "It is unlike Mr. Corinthos," he continued, "not to anticipate an early arrival and make arrangements for such an eventuality."
Jason Morgan frowned. He didn't like the Donetaros much. He never had. They were good business partners for Sonny's overseas ventures, and as yet every deal made with them had gone smoothly. Still, something about them rubbed him the wrong way. When he figured out what it was, he would decide what needed to be done about it.
"Mr. Corinthos was unavoidably detained," he said quietly. "His wife went into labor just as he was preparing to come meet you. I'm sure you understand."
Of course; if there was one thing widely known about Sonny Corinthos, it was the importance he placed on family. In fact, the Donetaros shared that trait. Most of the old Italian families did. Thibault frowned, but finally nodded.
"Yes, of course," he said. "I hope all is well with Mr. Corinthos and his family. I'm sure I speak for my father as well when I extend my congratulations to him."
Jason nodded slightly, to show he'd heard the statement and would pass it on to Sonny, and then he extended his hand back towards the pier entrance.
"I have a car waiting to take you to your hotel, Mr. Donetaro." That was all. Jason didn't waste his breath on the amenities; no pampering, no assurances of a pleasant stay, or questions regarding the comfort of the journey here.
But then, Thibault recalled, Jason Morgan had always been a man of few words. He was Corinthos' lieutenant. From his mouth came orders that were to be followed as if they came from Sonny himself; much, Thibault supposed, as his own words were heeded among his father's men. Morgan took care of the things Sonny Corinthos trusted no one else to do, or the things he trusted no one else to keep silent about. He greeted Thibault in Sonny's place as a measure of respect for the Donetaro family. The presence of such a man in this business meant only one of two things: you were being honored, or eliminated. He had no doubt which was the case today. He hoped never to have to face the other. Such a confrontation between them would mean the dissolution of a very profitable business arrangement, and if there was one thing his father placed above family in his concerns, it was profit.
"Then let us depart," he said, with a wry smile for the other man. Jason did not respond in kind. "The night is cold, and damp, and I've waited out in it long enough."
Jason Morgan led the Donetaro party off the pier and to the car he had waiting. His motorcycle was parked nearby; he had no desire to ride in an enclosed vehicle with a man he didn't like, much less trust completely. On a night like this, he was wearing full leathers for the ride. They might not offer much protection in the event of an accident, but they were better than jeans and skin. Elizabeth had insisted, and Jason couldn't refuse her. She worried about him. It was ironic, actually. She knew enough about the business, enough about what he did, what he was, to realize that he might not come home someday. Yet the things he did for Sonny didn't concern her as much as a motorcycle ride on a foggy night, over damp, slick roads.
She accepted, more than anyone else ever had, who and what he was. She didn't question it. She never tried to change him. It was, he reflected, one of the things that made Elizabeth Webber so special to him. Other people might hate him; many residents of Port Charles condemned him for what he was, as they condemned Sonny. But not her.
Even the thought tugged a reluctant smile to his lips as he nodded to Sonny's driver, Julian. Thibault and his two companions would be staying at one of the finer hotels in town, near Sonny's penthouse home. Once, they might have stayed at the spare apartment in the penthouse, but that was Jason's home, now, and had been for the past year. Besides, Jason knew without a doubt that Sonny wouldn't want business too near at hand when he got Carly and the new baby home from the hospital. He looked at Thibault, no trace of a smile curving his lips now. His eyes were hard and cold, as all of Sonny's business associates had come to expect.
"Mr. Cornithos has arranged a very nice hotel suite for you. He regrets the delay, but asked me to convey to you that business will be conducted after his son is born. Enjoy your evening."
He nodded once more to Julian before turning away and disappearing into the fog. Thibault had opened his mouth to speak, but Jason honestly didn't care what the other man might have said. Carly was in labor; there was no room for argument or discussion as far as Sonny was concerned, and Jason agreed. If Donetaro felt differently, that was too bad. Julian was on hand now to conduct the more ingratiating welcome. He was much more congenial than Jason by nature, and by the time he had them settled at their hotel, they'd be smiling and relaxed. It was a talent of Julian's, really, putting people at ease. Sonny had chosen him for this task with that in mind.
Jason could only think, better him than me. He started his bike and headed back to the hospital.
* * *
Elizabeth was waiting for him. She stood when she saw him exit the elevator, her face lit with a radiant smile. He was a bit surprised to find her in the waiting area, instead of in the delivery room with Carly. Despite the early antagonism between the two women, the last year had brought them closer together with the common bond they shared: their love for the dangerous men in their lives. Both Carly and Elizabeth knew and accepted the nature of Sonny's work, and therefore Jason's as well.
"How is she?" he asked as soon as he reached her. She automatically took one of his hands between hers, warming flesh that was cold despite the gloves he wore when riding. She was wearing jeans and a dark green sweater, her jacket tossed over one of the chairs beside her purse. Her smile widened slightly.
"Fine. Bobbi says things are going smoothly, and that second births are usually a lot easier than the first." She glanced behind them, toward the hospital room that housed the expectant mother. "Sonny's with her. It would be nice if you didn't have to disturb them right away."
She looked back at Jason, a question in her eyes.
"It's ok," he said. "I can wait to give Sonny my report. Donetaro isn't going anywhere for awhile."
He casually put an arm around her waist, leading her back to the cushioned chairs in the waiting area. He and Elizabeth had not always had such an easy relationship. It was only in the last eight months or so that things between them had finally started to smooth out. In the beginning, he'd been too worried about drawing her into the line of fire. Even as merely his friend, she'd been hurt because of him, because of his business. But Elizabeth Webber was nothing if not stubborn, and she'd never given up on him, even when he'd done everything in his power to push her away. And then, there was the fact that he couldn't stay away from her. She drew him like a moth to a flame, inexorably, and with a kind of deep rooted need that overrode even his own rational objections. He knew his life was dangerous. He knew that made her life dangerous. But that knowledge meant nothing to the all consuming love he felt. He couldn't stay away. He couldn't not hear her voice, or see her face, or feel her touch. Even now, his fingertips tingled where they stroked her palm.
They sat side by side, hands clasped together between them. Elizabeth turned, studying his face to judge his mood. Sometimes business went badly, and it was hard to reach Jason, then. He would come back to the penthouse apartment they shared with his feelings closed off, his eyes and face remote, even to her. She knew it was because he didn't want to touch her with that part of his life. But she also knew that even that cold, emotionless seeming stranger was Jason, and she wouldn't allow him to close her out. Not now. Not ever.
But tonight things seemed to have gone well. He was quick with a smile for her when she turned her head, and his fingers stroked her palm in a way that sent tiny tremors down her spine.
"So, how long does it take to deliver a baby?" he asked quietly. She could see the glint in his blue eyes, and knew what he was thinking. They were supposed to have had dinner tonight, just the two of them. A romantic little interlude that would be their first in too long. But, of course, life had intervened.
"I can take quite awhile," Elizabeth said, not even trying to hide her amusement. "At least a few hours."
"A few hours, huh?" Jason was quiet again, thinking, Elizabeth knew. She lifted their intertwined hands to her lips, brushing them lightly over his skin.
"I'm sure we could slip away so you could…change into something more comfortable than your leathers." Her eyes laughed at him. "We can be back before she delivers."
She could see the wheels turning in his mind, his light blue eyes darkening slightly in a familiar way as they watched her, before flicking to look at the closed hospital room door.
"Let me talk to Sonny," he said softly, disentangling his hand and stroking the side of her face with it in a quick movement she barely felt, before he stood and crossed the waiting area.
She watched him disappear into the room with amusement, and a tingle of anticipation. Jason always had that effect on her, and it had been too long since they'd spent an evening together. Bobbi would call, she knew, if anything developed, and Sonny had already urged her once to go home. The doctor would only allow so many people in the delivery room, he'd said, and what was the sense of waiting at the hospital, when the penthouse was mere minutes away? He knew, too, how much she'd been looking forward to this evening. So did Carly. The other woman had laughed when she'd called to tell Elizabeth that her water had broken.
"Trust my son," she'd said, "to have the same great sense of timing as his mother!"
When Jason came out a few moments later, Elizabeth already had her coat on. They walked to the elevator together, Jason's hand on her shoulder. He was always touching her. She loved that about him, as if he couldn't stand being in her presence without some form of physical contact. As if his hands couldn't help themselves. She almost laughed. Not that she was any better. She'd spent so long denying her feelings for Jason, that now they were together, it was as if she was constantly reassuring herself of the reality of it all. She loved nothing better than to ride with him on his bike, her arms wrapped around his narrow waist…well, maybe there was one thing she liked better.
She grinned up at him mischievously as the elevator doors closed, and he slowly smiled back.