Forever: A Carly/Jason/Sonny short Forever

The redhead strode purposefully through the corridors of the Port Charles airport, neither looking to the left or the right. Despite her obvious touch-me-not aura, there wasn’t a man she passed who didn’t follow her with his eyes. The black leather pants riding low on her hips, the forest green sweater that clung to every curve, the slight pout of her lips, determined as they were -- and all of this topped by a luxuriant cascade of deep auburn curls. She was a woman made to be noticed by men in corridors.

As she reached the end of the hallway and approached the gate, her steps speeded up until she was practically running. When she threw herself into the dark-haired man’s arms, every man watching turned away with a disappointed sigh. Two things were immediately made obvious -- one, that the woman was interested in no one but him. And, two, that the guy was ready to strike down anyone who even breathed in her direction.

Carly held him a long time, her arms a death grip around his neck. He could feel her trembling, almost imperceptibly, as she pressed herself against him, and he lifted his hand to stroke the unfamiliar red curls gently. It was then that she first made a sound.

She let out a shuddering sigh, thick with unshed tears. “Michael?” Carly asked, the one word almost the hardest she’d ever voiced, especially if the answer to her barely formulated question was one she couldn’t bear.

His fingers stilled, then resumed their tender caresses. “He’s safe, Carly. I just talked to Johnny; he and Latecia are there now, waiting for us. Michael’s safe.”

“Oh G-d,” she breathed, loosening her arms slightly, her grip on his neck becoming a real hug. “Thank you. You don’t know how much I needed to hear you say that.” Carly clung to him a moment longer, then pulled away, hugging her arms tight across her body and moving restlessly to the window. “Now what, Jase?”

He moved behind her, but didn’t touch her, just met her eyes in the reflective glass. “Now, we wait. The flight to Florida’s in about half an hour. Once we get on the plane, I’ll tell you the rest of it, but until then,” Jason paused a moment, “we wait.”

Carly lifted her eyes to his familiar blue ones. “I hate waiting,” she murmured, running her hands up and down her arms. Suddenly, she let out a short, bitter laugh as she listened to the echo of her own words in the deserted corner of the airport. “But, then, that’s pretty much par for the course. Since there’s not a moment of this whole thing I don’t hate.”

This time, he did touch her, sliding his arms around her from behind and resting his chin against her hair. Jason didn’t say anything though. It had all been said. And said and said again. They were doing what they had to do, all of them.

After a moment, Carly relaxed slightly, and slid out of his grasp, turning to face him. Her lips curved in a small smile that came no where near to meeting her eyes, but it was something. She reached up to touch his dark brown hair lightly with her fingertips. “Add this to the list of things I hate, Jase. Soon as we get -- where we’re going,” she bit her lip lightly, but forced herself to go on, “it’s gotta go back.”

“When we get where we’re going,” Jason repeated, with a small nod.

Carly’s smile faded, and she sat down heavily in a green plastic chair, drawing one leg up underneath her. After a moment, he sat down beside her. She spoke, without looking at him. Her eyes were drawn, again, to the long window, running the length and height of the wall. “You know, it’s funny. I’ve left more places than even you know, Jase. Left and never looked back, never wanted to. But, I’ve never left ‘cause I had to, knowing that no matter what and no matter who I left behind,” there was a small catch in her voice, “I could never go back. You wouldn’t think it would make such a difference. Once you’re gone, you’re gone.” She was silent a long moment, her eyes bright with tears, but refusing to let them fall. “But it does, Jase. It makes all the difference in the world.”

Jason shifted in his seat; her words hit awfully close to home. He knew about leaving; he knew about being left. It was the choosing that mattered. This thing, it was his choice. When everything broke into tiny little pieces, he had volunteered to go with Carly and Michael, to leave Port Charles. Carly hadn’t chosen anything. Or at least -- she hadn’t chosen this. But, none of that was gonna make this any better for her. “Luke’s going to tell Bobbie,” he said, abruptly. Carly looked at him. “She’ll understand, Carly.”

“You think?” Carly rested her chin on her knee, hugging it tight with her free hand. “’Cause I’m not so sure.” She wiped at her eyes with the heel of her palm, rubbing the dampness at the edge of her sweater. “I wish I could’ve said goodbye to her, hugged her one last time,” she whispered, then leaned back. She glanced down the corroder briefly, then dropped her head to Jason’s shoulder. “I guess it’s a good thing, though. Saying goodbye to Bobbie is what got me in trouble the last time we tried to do this.” She tilted her chin up slightly, looking at him. “You ever think about that, Jase? If I hadn’t screwed that up, we’d be on a beach somewhere, you and me and Michael. A family.”

“And, the last three years wouldn’t have happened,” Jason responded.

There was a long silence; he could feel her body tense against him. “Maybe that would’ve been better,” she said, finally. “For all of us.”

It was his turn to meet her eyes, and his fingers slipped under her chin, waiting patiently ‘til Carly looked up. With a sigh of irritation, she finally did. “You don’t mean that,” was all he said, touching his fingertips lightly to her cheek.

Carly snatched her head away from him, her eyes flickering down the hall again. A few more people had come towards the gate, but they were still relatively isolated. “You know me too damn well, Jason Morgan,” she snapped, her voice lowered as she said his name. “Which is gonna make this thing we’re doing really -- interesting.”

“We’ll make it work,” his voice was soothing, calm. Jason had made his peace with this. “We always do.”

“Yeah we do. But, this -- this is different. This is forever, Jase,” she ran her fingers through her hair, staring, for a moment at the unfamiliar dark red. “Forever’s a really big word. Almost as big as never. As in never gonna see--” Carly broke off with a harsh noise, and her eyes drifted back to the hallway without volition or intent.

Jason watched her eyes track towards the entrance for the third time and sighed. “He’s not coming, Carly,” he said gently. “You know that, and you know why. That’s why we said our goodbyes before.”

“I know,” Carly’s tone was more than a little defensive. “I know that, Jason. I know all the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ and the reasons. Etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseum. But there are things that I--” She turned away. “There are things I forgot to say, things I wanted to tell him.” Her voice was muffled, facing away from him, and very soft.

“Carly.” Jason started to reach out to her, then stopped, resting his arm along the back of her chair. “You think he doesn’t know everything you want to say?”

“That’s not the point,” she snapped, and turned around, eyes flashing. Carly pushed herself forcibly out of the plastic airport chair, gesturing sharply. “The point is that I wanted to say them, not just assume that Sonny knows how much I love him, how much I’ll always love him, no matter how far away I have to be.”

Flight 341 for Miami now boarding at Gate 12. Neither of them so much as moved a muscle towards the announcer, but everything they both were was suddenly attuned to the tinny voice coming out of the speaker.

Carly shook her head, shook her body lightly all over. “Well,” she murmured, her voice full of unshed tears and broken promises, “this is it.” She closed her eyes for a brief moment, then opened them, holding her hand out towards Jason.

He stood up, slowly, fitting his hand in hers silently. They began walking over to the gate, boarding passes ready, when Jason’s hand suddenly tightened on hers, and he stopped still. “Carly,” his eyes were locked on something over her head, “go to the snack bar, buy a pack of gum.”

Carly turned quickly, looked where his eyes seemed to be focused, but saw nothing. “Jason?” she queried, alarm rising in her voice. “They just called our flight; what’s going on?”

His eyes dropped to hers, and Jason held her gaze for a moment. “Carly,” his thumb rubbed softly on the back of her palm, “you trust me?”

She let out an odd noise, half-laugh, half-sob, every echo from their past, ever, contained in that one question. “You asking me to?”

Carly wasn’t the only one hearing echoes; Jason almost smiled slightly. “Yes, I am.”

“Yes I do,” her response was quick and oddly light. Carly reached up to press a quick kiss against his cheek. “Be right back.”

She moved quickly, heading to the nearby snack bar, managing with difficulty not to turn her head and look back at him. Carly moved towards the candy counter, in the back corner of the store, fingering a pack of gum disinterestedly. When the hand lay itself against the small of her back, she was half-prepared and didn’t make a sound, didn’t even move.

“Don’t act surprised,” murmured the low, liquid voice that Carly knew she’d recognize if she were eighty, deaf and senile. “I couldn’t do it; I couldn’t stay away.”

Carly turned around slowly, so slowly. Her eyes met his, and the breath she’d been holding let itself out in a whisper that became his name. “Sonny,” she breathed, her hands slipping into his, sliding up his arms and down again, the only kind of caress she could offer. “The tail?”

Sonny shook his head dismissively. “Luke’s handling it. As far as AJ’s guy knows, I’m in my office counting coffee beans.” His deep, dark eyes traced her face, hungrily. “I didn’t know how to-- I couldn’t let you walk away without one last look.”

“One last goodbye,” Carly whispered, the tears that had been threatening finally starting to spill despite her best efforts. “Sonny, I don’t think I’m strong enough to say it again.”

“Querida,” one hand lifted to brush her tears away, his fingers lingering for long moments against her cheek, “you don’t have to say anything. I’m selfish as hell; I just wanted to see your eyes,” he traced them with one fingertip, “needed to see your eyes. Everything I’ve ever loved,” Sonny whispered, his voice cracking, even though he’d sworn to himself he was not gonna do this, “is in your eyes.”

She couldn’t do it. Not anymore. Her heart had broken the day she’d sat in that courtroom and heard the judge order her son be delivered to AJ, had broken again when she and Sonny and Jason had come up with this plan. The thing about hearts that she kept forgetting -- they could break over and over again. And, every damn time it hurt more than she could bear. Carly closed her eyes, leaning her forehead ‘til it rested against Sonny’s. “Come with us,” she whispered, without meaning to. Cursed herself ten different ways as she felt his body stiffen.

“I would give my life to come with you, baby,” his hands slid up her arms to rest against her neck, his fingers twining gently in her hair. “But I won’t give yours. Or Michael’s. And, if I run, if I leave, that’s what it’ll come down to. The man with the day he’d be waiting for us.” Sonny lifted his head from hers; how many times, how many ways was this thing going to break his life in half? “I made a choice a long time ago, Caroline,” he drew out the syllables of her name, every breath, every nuance saying ‘I love you’. “No going back.”

Last call for flight 341 for Miami boarding at Gate 12.

Carly lifted her chin high, tossing her hair back behind her shoulders. She met his eyes, dark calling to dark. Did she need to say it? No. No. It was all there, everything. Jason, once again, had been right. She laughed once, deliberately, then leaned forward, kissing him once, fiercely, fully. Trying to memorize, one last time, the feel of his lips against hers. “I’m gonna go do this thing,” she said. “I’m gonna live my life, hold my son, watch him grow. Maybe I’ll even find a way to be happy. Stranger things, right?” Carly laughed again, briefly, then quickly stopped. Time was running out now; this was it. “But know this, Sonny Corinthos. Every moment of every day I’m gonna miss you and love you. Forever. I swear to god I am.”

He nodded. “Be safe. Be happy. Te amo..” Sonny gripped her hand tightly then slid his own hand to the small of her back, giving her a small push towards Jason, waiting at the gate. For the rest of his life, long as he lived, he would remember that in the end, he had pushed her away.

Carly ran across the hall, sliding into Jason’s waiting arm. She pressed her tear-stained face into his shoulder as he handed the waiting attendant their boarding passes.

She tore them briskly and handed the pieces back to Jason with a smile. “Have a nice flight, Mr. and Mrs. Morris. Better hurry; the pilot’s about to request clearance.”

Jason nodded, and bent his head to Carly’s. “You ready?” he asked.

For a long moment there was no reply, then Carly’s head lifted. She didn’t look at him; she didn’t look anywhere but straight ahead. She didn’t look back. Carly nodded. “Yeah. I’m ready.”

“Let’s go home.”