Written in 58 minutes.
General Hospital: Hub
“I can’t decide if I’m happy with the way Emma handled it,” Robin said, “or if I think I didn’t do it right.” She pursed her lips. “What do you think?”
Elizabeth hesitated. “I don’t know. Maybe she just feels like it’s outside of her. I mean, when you were her age, did you think anything truly terrible was going to happen to you? Before you lost your parents,” she added.
“No, I guess not. I mean, I knew people died and I’d lost Duke at that point. And other people. But even losing my parents—or thinking I did—it wasn’t the same thing as when Stone told me he had AIDs or when Alan told me I was HIV positive.” Robin reached for a chart. “I couldn’t believe it when the results came back. Even after knowing about Stone, I still thought somehow, I’d be spared.”
“Emma’s been around loss and devastation her whole life, just like my boys. She and Cameron have been through a lot. And for him, it was knowing it happened to me. I think Emma just has this…distance from the whole thing. And you’ve raised her to be smart and cautious.”
“It broke my heart listening to her list all the things she did to protect herself from people, and for me to think—well, that’s good and all, but it doesn’t always help. I couldn’t tell her that. I wanted to believe, too,” Robin murmured.
“There’s a type of arrogance that comes with being a teenager—bad things are for other people. Not you. They happen to family and friends. Not you.” Elizabeth tapped a pen. “Still, we should keep our eye on her. And Cameron.”
Morgan House: Living Room
“I don’t know why I have to be here,” Trina complained as Cameron practically towed her across the room towards the back yard. “You can tell him.”
“He’ll want to know exactly what was said, and if I have to do this, someone else has to be uncomfortable, too.” Cameron grimaced. “I am definitely not doing this alone.”
“Yeah, but your dad isn’t going to want to talk about this with me!” Trina complained but clearly Cameron was not interested in listening. He shoved open the back door and found his father on the back porch, one eye on the grill and the other on Jake and Aiden as they played soccer.
Jason turned at their arrival. “Hey, Cam. Trina.” He looked past them. “No one else?”
“Uh, no. I needed to talk to you,” Cameron said. He released Trina’s arm but sent her a glare. “You make a run for it, I’ll drag you back.”
“Ha, that’s if you can catch me.” She huffed and folded her arms.
Jason furrowed his brow, his eyes going back and forth between them. “Is everything okay? Should I call your mother—”
“Oh, no. No. I’m fine. Trina’s fine,” Cameron added. “It’s just — she heard something that she told me and I guess you need to know, but she wasn’t going to do it alone so I’m here to make sure—”
“Whoa, whoa, I never agreed to tell him anything. You’re going to tell him and then I’m here for, like, clarification—” Trina glared at Cameron who growled. “Don’t try it. I’ll just tell Emma on you.”
“Fine. Okay.” Cameron looked back at his father. “I one hundred percent do not want to have this conversation. In fact, no one here wants to do this—”
“Cameron—” Jason began.
“But if I don’t say anything and something happens, then it’s my fault, and Mom’s pregnant. I don’t really need another brother, by the way. I now how genetics work but the ones I have are fine, so if you could—” Cameron huffed. “Never mind. Look, Trina was at her house and overheard her mom arguing with the commissioner about you.”
His father’s face shuttered, taking on that strange blank look at Cameron rarely saw—usually when someone brought up Lucky Spencer, his father, or anyone else associated with the Cassadines.
“Cameron,” Jason said, flicking his eyes at Trina who was staring at the sky as if it held all the answers to the universe. “This isn’t—”
“Yeah, I know. Believe me. But she heard it, and I don’t wanna mess it up, so we’ll just tell you, and then you’ll know and then it won’t be our problem anymore. I very much need this not to be my problem, Dad.” Cameron jabbed a finger at him. “You’re the adult, I’m the kid. I make the problems, you fix it. This is how it’s supposed to be. So here’s a problem. The commissioner said she was gonna be watching you and Uncle Sonny because of Tom Baker. I looked him up, and that’s the guy—” Cameron swallowed hard. “That’s the guy. Trina’s mom was mad about it and yelled at her, but the Commissioner seemed pretty adamant. So, I just—I don’t know. There you go.”
Jason exhaled slowly, some of the tension bleeding from his shoulders. He looked at Trina. “Do you have anything to add?”
“Um, no, that mostly covers it. Like he said, Mom was pretty steamed and threatened her against dragging my dad into this which I didn’t understand, but, uh, that really is it. Unless you want word for word—”
“No, that’s fine,” Jason said. He turned back to the grill, and flipped the burgers, setting them on a plate. “Thanks. Now forget all of it.”
“Absolutely, one hundred percent. Erased from the brain.” Cameron snapped his fingers. “Gone.”
“Okay,” Jason repeated. “You staying for dinner, Trina?”
“Uh, no, I’m only supposed to go do homework with Emma in the park, then straight home. Dr. Rob gets cranky when I don’t get home by five. I’m still on house arrest after the hair thing.” Trina glared at Cameron. “And how come you’re not in more trouble? You actually put the dye in the bottle! Why was I the only one—”
Cameron winced. “He didn’t know that, Treen. I had plausible deniability—” He flashed a weak grin at his father who had just arched a brow and crossed his arms. “Joss’s hair looks fine now—her hair person was able to match her natural color—”
“I’ll talk about it with your mom.”
“And that’s what you get,” Trina said with a bright smile. “For making me do this. Bye!” She waved and went inside. Cameron scowled after her.
He turned back to his father. “I’m sorry, Dad. I just—I thought you should know. And if you wanted to know more—”
“It’s fine.” Jason hesitated. “Cameron—”
“And I’m sorry if it messes things up for you. I mean, I don’t want to know anything, but I know that guy didn’t just hurt Mom, but he went after Aunt Emily.” Cameron’s heart lurched at the dim memory of his laughing, smiling aunt who had loved him and his mother. “They never should have let him out of jail. I don’t care what happens to him. I just don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“It won’t,” Jason promised. He crossed the deck to his son and put a hand on his shoulder. “I wasn’t going to do anything, anyway. Your mother wanted it left alone, so that’s what we’re doing. And that really is the end of it.”
“Great.” Cameron grinned, relieved. “So I’m gonna go make fun of Jake for letting Aiden score on him, and we’ll pretend none of this ever happened.”
Jason watched his son jog down the steps and over to his brother, where he said something to Jake, and Aiden cackled like a maniac. Most of the time, the boys could ignore who Jason was and what he’d done in his past. The business had slowed over the years, and he and Sonny were mostly legit these days with the odd shipment or business deal. Or idiot who thought he could come disrupt the peace Jason and Sonny had worked so hard for.
But memories were long in Port Charles, and it didn’t matter how inactive Jason had been for the last few years — the PCPD was never going to stop hunting him.
Port Charles Park
Emma frowned when Joss dropped down next to her at the picnic table and dragged open her backpack. “What are you doing here?”
“I know you hang out and do homework here after school,” Joss told her. “And Cameron will call you first about the whole thing. I wanted to know when it happens. I figure, if I’m sitting here, you’ll tell me.”
Emma scowled but went back to her algebra homework, ignoring the blonde sitting across from her. It was so strange to be friends with Joss Jacks without actually being friends with her. She blamed Cameron for this. And Spencer. They’d forced Joss on her for so many years that Emma had given up the good fight.
But now that Joss was here—
“I was thinking that maybe with all this going on,” Emma began and Joss looked up, “that maybe we all try a truce. I mean, other than the blue hair dye—” Joss narrowed her eyes. “Which I wasn’t involved in—”
“I doubt it,” Joss muttered. “Do you know how long it took to fix?”
“Other than that, and the stunt you pulled with Oscar Nero—we’ve mostly been getting along this year. I just—we might not like each other much, Joss, but we’ve always agreed on one thing.”
“Yeah.” Joss made a face. “And I blame Cameron for this.”
“So do I. But his mom has thing going on, and now the police are looking at his dad—and you know if they come for his dad, they might come for your brother’s dad. Which means your mom is in the middle—”
“Yeah, though I don’t think it’ll take Mom that long to be involved.” Joss flipped her hair over her shoulder. “So, what, we don’t play pranks or something?”
“You could just not say things to Trina,” Emma suggested. “Because, like, I don’t like you, but I don’t think you’re a bad person. Sometimes you’re even funny to be around. But you don’t think and you say stuff that isn’t okay. And it makes Trina mad. And it hurts her.”
Joss exhaled slowly. “Yeah, I know,” she admitted. “It’s just hard. She’s never liked me, and I never liked her, and sometimes I just want her to be quiet, and I say stuff — like I did about her hair, and then I’m sorry later.”
“Well, you need to be sorry earlier. And you need to stop. My mom said that’s what always got your mom in trouble. Being impulsive and not thinking about others.”
Joss narrowed her eyes. “And my mom said that your mother’s desperate need to always be right and set standards for everyone else gets her in trouble. So, like, I guess we’re just like them and now we hate each other.”
“Oh, you just insist on always taking the bad stuff—” Emma retorted. They were interrupted as Trina emerged from the path, a dark look cross her face when she saw Joss.
“What is she doing here?” Trina demanded.
“We’re negotiating a truce,” Joss volunteered. “Emma and I were just discussing how much you’ll have to beg me—ow—” She rubbed her leg and glared at Emma. “Fine. Okay. I wanted to know how things went with Cam and his dad, and Emma brought up a truce because we all like Cameron even though everyone hates me, and maybe we don’t fight in front of him.”
Trina sat down across from the other girls with a suspicious expression. “Yeah, okay. Things were fine. It was uncomfortable, but his dad didn’t ask questions and it was over in like five minutes. I didn’t even need to be there, but it’s done now.”
“Good.” Pleased, Emma sat back. “Now we don’t have to worry about it. We did the right thing—”
Joss opened her mouth, then shook her head. “Nope. Not even doing it. That’s me being a truce-keeper.”
“This is not how a truce works—” Trina began, but then there was a rustle and they all turned towards the sound. “What was that?”
“I don’t know. Maybe some kids—” Emma began, but Joss wasn’t going to speculate. She shot up from the bench and went over to look.
“There’s nothing here. Maybe it was a bird or an animal.” She shrugged and returned to the table, where they proceed to snark and bicker for another hour before going home.
Morgan Home: Kitchen
Sonny leaned over to kiss Elizabeth’s cheek. “Hey, kid. How are you feeling?”
“Tired mostly,” Elizabeth said, pouring herself a glass of water. “Jason’s outside with boys, cleaning up dinner. I didn’t know you were stopping by.”
“Yeah, Jason had something he wanted to run by me in person.” Sonny put up his hands when she just frowned at him. “Hey, you probably know more than I did. I’m a legit coffee exporter these days.”
“Yeah, I know. Jason said things have been quiet since things with Julian and Ava Jerome calmed down.” She shook her head, wiping down the counter. “Wild that he’s alive, and that he’s Sam’s father.”
“Yeah, well, we sent her running back to New York, and he’s down there harassing Sam in Llanview for as long as McBain will let him.” Sonny folded his arms. “I spent my whole life looking over my shoulder. It’s strange I don’t have to do it like I did once.”
“I’m certainly not complaining,” Elizabeth said dryly. “Moreno, Sorel, Alcazar, the Ruizes, the Zaccharas, the Russians—” she shuddered. “I’ve been happy for this break.”
“Considering you brought the Cassadines with you,” Sonny said with a grin, and she rolled her eyes. “I guess we’re about even.”
“Yeah, sure. Can you send the boys in when you go out? They need to do their homework.”
Sonny did as she asked, leaving him alone on the deck with Jason as he cleaned up the grill and finished packing up the leftovers from dinner.
“Thanks for coming by tonight,” Jason said. “I could have—”
“But I don’t still have little kids at home,” Sonny pointed out. “And you spent years coming to me.” He sat at the table. “What’s up?”
Jason explained what Trina had overheard and Sonny’s face darkened. “Are they seriously going to use this bullshit with you? Jordan knows what that asshole did—”
“Yeah, I know.” Jason sat across from him. “The thing is, I think the kids probably undersold it. Or maybe they don’t know. If the PCPD is going to be watching, then they’re going to be watching the hospital and Baker, too. If I send any of our guys in, it’ll just convince Jordan’s she’s right. I can’t have our guys on this.”
“Yeah, they’ll be treating Baker like a goddamn protected witness instead of a raping asshole—” Sonny dragged his hand through his hair. “All right, I guess we’ll have to think outside the box. Maybe get Spinelli to come up with some surveillance that isn’t so obvious. Christ, most of the kids work at the hospital, not just Cam. And Elizabeth.”
“I don’t want him near anyone, but Elizabeth wants it left alone and with this PCPD—” Jason grimaced. “I’ll talk to her about it. Whatever she wants, it’s what we’ll do. But Cameron has been through enough. I don’t want him to worry about this. It was…painful…knowing he felt like he had to tell me.”
“First time I had that conversation with Michael, then with Morgan, it was like torture. At least Dante was brought up knowing what I was,” Sonny muttered. “And Kristina, I guess, it was in the air. But Michael and Morgan knew things, you know? They saw things.”
“Michael lived through the worst years. Cameron—I just want him—and the others—not to know a little longer. But he already knew who I was. One day—” Jason stared down at his hands. “One day they’ll know more.”
“Hey, my kid was working undercover to take me down and forgave me for shooting him,” Sonny reminded him. “Don’t worry so much. At least you can say you didn’t nearly kill any of them.”
Baker’s House: Dark Room
Baker hummed to himself as he clipped another photo of his pretty girl in the park to the drying rack. It was almost like magic seeing her face emerge from the whiteness of the paper, with her lovely eyes worried as she spoke to the blonde who had sat with her.
His pretty Emma had so many lovely friends, and it was worth looking at them twice, but there was something about her.
Baker slid the photo a bit closer to another that he’d developed, one of his sweet Elizabeth from the day before as she’d stood in her backyard with a cup of coffee with one of her children. Pretty Emma looked just like her, with her dark hair and sweet smile. They could have been mother and daughter.
It was a shame sweet Elizabeth didn’t have daughters of her own, but Baker had watched and heard enough to know that Emma was practically family to her. Maybe that was why he’d been drawn to her over the others.
One day, he’d find out how deep the similarities were, and if he’d have the same fond memories of Emma as he did of Elizabeth.