"The Conclusion" by JennC

Background:  Jax had been arrested; Sonny helped get him out; Sonny and
  are waiting at the police station for Jax to be released.

   Detective Taggert opened the door for Jasper Jacks, and glared at Sonny
Corinthos in the process.  "You're free to go," he said to Jax.  
   Brenda Barrett sighed with relief, and looked at Jax, smiling
affectionately.  Then, she raced over to him and threw her arms around him.
 Sonny could only stand by and watch, sadly.  He finally believed it.  Brenda
*did* love Jax.  She hadn't been lying all those times she'd told him that,
like he'd thought she'd been, and now he knew it.  The look on her face when
Jax had been carted away like the common criminal, when she knew that he was
innocent.  Sonny hadn't believed that Jax was involved with the dastardly
Doctor Dorman, and his drug association, anyway, so he'd helped his nemesis
out.  Besides, Jax *did* save his life, so now they were even, and he didn't
owe him anything.
   After Jax and Brenda parted from their "touching" embrace, Jax looked at
Sonny, almost embarrassed.  "Uh...thanks," he mumbled.
   Sonny only nodded.  He didn't want to wait around here any longer and
watch the woman he loved fawn all over Mr. Jacks, so he looked at Ms. Barrett
one last time, pain in his eyes, and turned around to leave...

   As Jax opened the door to his penthouse, Brenda followed behind him, took
off her jacket and threw it on the couch.  She turned toward Jax and smiled.
 "I'm *so* glad that's over," she said.
   "Yeah."  He paused.  "Uh, that was actually, uh, decent of Sonny Corinthos
to help me out.  Why do you suppose he did it?"
   Brenda's eyes grew misty just at the thought of him.  "He...He said that
you'd saved his life...after you guys found us in the cave."  She looked down
at her hands, and continued, her voice trembling slightly.  "He was being
nice, Jax."
   "I'm not arguing.  I'm just surprised, that's all."  Jax walked over to
the mantle above the fireplace and picked up the miniature sailboat they'd
brought back from his parents house on their honeymoon.  He wasn't sure where
to start.  "Brenda..." 
   "I...I saw the look on your face."
   "What look?"
   "The look you wore, when Sonny left the police station."
   "What about it?" she asked nervously.
   He sighed.  "You love him."
   She gulped in surprise.  Jax was a straight forward guy, but when it came
to her feelings about Sonny, he wasn't usually so blunt.  He must've given it
some serious thought.  So, here it was...  Straight from Jax's mouth.  She
realized that she owed it to him to be completely honest about her feelings
for the both of them.  It was the least she could do for how good he'd been
to her.  Sighing, she finally spoke.  "Yes, Jax, I do."
   He looked down at the sailboat.  "I'm not surprised.  I know I probably
should be, but I'm not." He looked up at her again.  "How do you feel about
   "I love you, too, Jax.  I really do.  I've *never* lied to you about
that."  She felt the tears welling up in her eyes.  "I never stopped loving
Sonny, though, so I did lie to you."  A tear rolled down her cheek, and she
sniffled.  "I'm sorry about that."
   He shook his head, tears in his eyes.  "You don't have to apologize for
anything.  I knew how you felt about him to begin with, you know.  Don't make
excuses for me."
   He held up his hand.  "Let's just end it this way, okay?  Nothing more."
 He swallowed around the lump in his throat.  "We'll always have Greece."
   She laughed, in spite of herself, fresh tears rolling down her cheeks.
 "You're being so wonderful about this.  You've been wonderful about
*everything*."  She walked slowly over to him, and wrapped her arms around
his neck.
   He burried his head in her hair.  "I love you, Brenda."
   "I love you, too."  She pulled back.
   "You'd better go," he said quickly.
   "Right."  She looked around the penthouse, fondly.  She'd had many
wonderful memories here.  She could vaguely remember all the times that she
and Jax had just sat on the couch, or over by the window, talking about
things, sharing secrets, hopes and dreams.  Funny, how she couldn't really
picture them, though.  And then, out of the fog, she remembered the day that
Sonny came, after he'd ruined her wedding, and she'd blamed him for Lily's
death.  And then, she remembered when the stalker stuff had been going on,
and he'd come to watch her, and protect her.  How he'd told her that he
didn't want to lose her the way he lost Lily.  Funny, how these little things
were crystal clear to her.  She could remember every word, by memory.  She
bit her lip.  What she needed was someone to talk to.  
   Taking one last glance back at Jax, smiling slightly, she opened the door,
and left...

   Meanwhile, over at Sonny's penthouse apartment, Sonny sat on the couch,
staring into space.  He thought about making love to Brenda in the catacombs,
and then, when they'd been rescued, the hug she'd shared with Jax.  He'd been
wrong.  She did really care for Jax.  The realization was quite shocking, and
it was sinking in fast.  There was no way he could stay in Port Charles, and
watch Brenda with Jax.  It was too painful.  He thought of Lois in Brooklyn,
and smiled.  Maybe he could go home.  Or maybe Peurto Rico, where he could
just live with his memories.  Memories of Brenda, and sweet memories of Lily.
 He was sure he could run business down there, now that he owned Senor
Rivera's half of the empire.  Maybe that's what he'd do.  Go down there for a
while, to get away from things, and then go back to Brooklyn, and visit with
Lois, and little Brook Lynn.  The Cerullos had always been like family to
him, anyway, and he needed family right now.  
   He got up, and looked around.  There was nothing left for him here.  Jason
could do without him, although it would be hard for Sonny to do without
Jason, and Mike would understand.  Then, he smiled.  Hell, who cared if Mike
understood.  He'd keep in contact with him, which is more than Mike had done
for him, when *he* was little.  
   That's it, he thought.  It's settled.  And then, after calling the
airport, he went upstairs to pack...

   Dr. Kevin Collins opened the door to his light house, not really surprised
to see Brenda there.  "Hi," she said softly.  "Can I come in?"
   Kevin smiled.  "Sure, by all means."
   She walked in a little hesitantly, then laid her coat down on the couch.
 "I don't really know where to start."
   "You sound like you've got a lot to say."
   "I do."
   "Then, please, go right ahead."  Kevin sat down on the couch, but Brenda
remained standing, pacing.
   "I was just at Jax's.  He's out of jail, ya know."  She smiled
   "Really?  That's great."
   "Yeah, thanks to Sonny."
   "Yeah."  She placed her hands together in front of her mouth, then rubbed
her face.  "While I was at Jax's, we kinda talked about things."
   "Well, mostly Sonny.  When Jax pretty much spelled out my feelings for
Sonny, I thought to myself, he doesn't know what he's talking about.  I
wanted to tell Jax to just stop, because it wasn't something I could deal
with right now.  I just wanted to be glad that he was okay, and be happy and
peaceful with him for a while.  But..."
   "Well, as I was leaving, I started to think about things.  I...I tried to
remember...times that I'd spent with Jax there, and, while I could remember
little things, everything was really hazy, as if it were a dream."
   "Go on."
   "Uh, then I started to remember times I'd spent with Sonny there.  I mean,
I didn't spend nearly as much time with Sonny at Jax's penthouse, but, for
some reason, the times with Sonny were *so* clear to me.  I could remember
*everything* as if it'd happened just a few minutes before."  She paused.
 "Then, as I left, the memories got stronger.  I started remember every
moment with Sonny.  I could remember when we'd first met, when he'd tried to
give me a ride home all those years ago, when I was moving into the
Quartermaine's, and I'd been rude to him, and he introduced himself to me.  I
could remember harassing him at Ruby's about Jagger, practically accusing him
of murdering some guy that Jagger and Karen were involved with.  I could
remember talking to him at this car dealership, and the feelings I felt when
I was with him.  All these things, that had happened *so* long ago, were like
this video recorder in my mind, constantly playing over, and over, and over
   "And what did you figure out from all this?"
   "Well, I figured out that, even through all the disagreements, and all the
fighting, and all the jealousy, *one* thing never changed..."
   "What's that?"
   "Our feelings for each other."  She smiled weakly.  "Even when we were
fighting at the worst moments, like right after our breakup, with hatred in
our eyes, I felt it deep down.  I just wanted him to take me back, and to be
with me again...  I loved him *so* much, ya know?" she said, breathlessly.
 "Sonny once told me, that what we had was BIGGER than life, it scared us,
and we destroyed it."
   Kevin smiled slightly.  "But, you never really destroyed it, did you..."
   She shook her head.  "No...  There were times when I was *so* scared of
him.  Like, when he'd been shot, around the time we first started talking,
and I saved his life with a blood transfusion.  I was scared for him.  Then,
I found out what he was involved with, and I was scared *of* him.  Then, I
was scared with him.  In Peurto Rico, when I'd been kidnapped, and we had to
run from Rivera's men, and then, when I was shot at in the shower, and just
recently, when Harry tried to kill us.  But, we always made it through it, as
long as we were together."  She took a deep breath.  "That doesn't excuse
what he does for a living, or excuse him for lying to me about what he was
involved with, but, I still love him.  And I think that that's all that
   "Is this the final conclusion you've come to?"
   She nodded, finally sure of herself.  "Yes.  I want to be with Sonny.
 I've *always* wanted to be with Sonny.  From the moment I laid eyes on him,
I've loved him, and he loves me, too."
   "Then you should go to him," Kevin concluded, softly.
   "Yes, I should."  She wiped a sudden tear away from her eye, got up, and
grabbed her coat.  "Uh, Kevin?"
   "Thank you *so* much for listening to me, and helping me through this."
   "You're welcome," he answered graciously.

   At Luke's, Sonny carried a suitcase in with him, and over to the bar.
 Mike was behind it, wiping a glass clean with a rag.  Mike stopped when he
saw Sonny, with the suitcase.  "Where are you going?" he asked.
   Sonny took a deep breath.  "I'm gonna go down to Peurto Rico for a while."
   Mike frowned.  "What for?"
   "I just need to get away.  That's all."
   "Does this have anything to do with Brenda?"
   "She loves Jax," Sonny blurted out.  "You were right, Mike.  Are you
   "Listen, Michael, I never meant that she didn't love you.  I just meant
   "Forget it.  It's too late.  I've gotta do this, I have to get away."
   Mike nodded sadly.  "I think you should go and talk to her, though."
   Sonny shook his head.  "No...  I'll call you when I get there."  He went
to leave.
   "I...uh, I love you, kid."
   Sonny felt unexpected tears form in his eyes, but he widened his eyes, to
keep them from spilling.  He spoke, his voice hoarse, "Me, too, Pops."  Then,
he picked up his suitcase and walked out the door...

   Brenda flew over to the door at Luke's, anxious.  Nobody had answered at
Sonny's pent house, and she *had* to find him.  She flung the door open,
desperately, half expecting to see him sitting at the bar, but he wasn't.
 Mike was there, though, looking extremely distraught.  "Hey, Mike," she
   "Have you seen Sonny?"
   "He went to the airport."
   Panic shot through her.  "The airport?  What do you mean?" she asked with
   "He's leaving, Brenda."
   "Leaving?  I...I don't understand."
   "He's takin' off to Peurto Rico tonight."
   She didn't think twice, taking off for the door.  She heard Mike say,
"Good luck," behind her.  

   Sonny sat at the airport terminal, his elbows on his knees, wiping his
eyes with his hands.  He remembered when he'd been shot while helping Frank
Smith escape from prison, and Brenda had saved his life:

~~~   “Look, this man is going to die if you don’t just shut up and start
working.  Now do it!” Cusack had ordered.
   “Yes!” Brenda agreed.
   “Well, I guess under battlefield conditions a close blood match is
better than nothing," the doctor finally gave in.  "Now, you’re sure you want

to go through with this?”  He turned to ask Brenda.
    “Yes, I’m positive.  You think I’m going to let him die?” Brenda
    Sonny, who had been watching, stated, “I won’t forget this, babe.” ~~~

Sonny shifted his position in his chair remembering more:

~~~“You’re going to be all right, you know?” Brenda said
      “Don’t go," Sonny whispered.
       “I won’t, I promise.”
       “Stay with me.”  He looked deeply into her eyes, intensely.~~~ 

Sighing, Sonny thought back to the night he and Brenda had first made love,
smiling slightly:

~~~"Here you go," Sonny said, handing Brenda a glass of champaigne.
      "Did you mean it when you said you've always been straight with me?" 
she asked.
       "Like I said, I can't help myself."
       "Sonny, I'm not a kid."
       "I know - I look in your eyes..."
       "I've done a lot of things and I've seen a lot of things and I've made
a lot of mistakes. 
       "We both have."
       "One mistake that I keep on making over and over again has to 
do with trust - trusting in myself and trusting that other people mean what
they say to me."
       "What do you mean, other people?" Sonny asked.
       "Mainly men. See, I don't trust myself, and I don't trust in anyone 
else, so I don't invest. And I just wake up lonely. And I want so much 
to do something different. I want so much to just tell you the truth." 
       "You can do that."
       "When I came here tonight, I__"
       "Shhhh..." Sonny interrupted, and kissed her.  "Starting out means
from this moment on. If we keep looking back, we won't get anywhere."
        "I want it to be different."
         "It will, Brenda."
         "I want it to be important."
         "You are important. And tomorrow, when the sun comes up, we'll 
still be who we are - except without the loneliness."  They smiled at each
other.  "The Nearness of You," by Sheena Easton, started to play in the
background, and Sonny took Brenda's hand.
         "You're shaking," he said.
         "I can't seem to help myself with you."
         "This time it's different: no turning back."
         "I won't break a promise."  He took her face in his hands and kissed
her, and they began to make love...~~~

After returning from that distant land, Sonny shook himself out of his
memory, tears forming in his eyes.  He couldn't do this to himself.  It was
all over.  That's just the way it was, and he'd have to deal with it...

   Brenda's car was slowing down, and she pounding her hands roughly on the
steering wheel.  "Dammit!" she exclaimed.  "*Not* now!  Don't do this to me
now!"  But as she looked at the fuel gauge, she saw that she was, indeed, out
of gas.  She put the car in park, took a deep breath, then grabbed her purse,
and flung open the car door.  She had to get to the airport before that plane
took off!  Locking the door, and shutting it behind her, she took a quick
look around.  Well, what was she going to do now?  There was a house just
down the street, so she picked up her pace and practically ran up to the
person's house.  She could only pray that the people would be kind enough to
give her a ride...

   Sonny hadn't moved from his seat, and the memories of Brenda were still
coming fast and furiously.  He thought of Valentine's day, a couple years
back, when Brenda had given him the pocket watch:

~~~"I can feel your heart beat," Sonny said. "Thump, thump, thump.
You hardly notice that, and then someone invents Valentine's Day, 
and somebody gets the idea that hearts are articulate."
      Brenda laughed. "Some are."
      "Yeah, well, anyone can sling bull. That doesn't mean you can
count on them. What I'm trying to say is I want to take care of you,
 Brenda. I told you that in Puerto Rico, and I'm telling you that now. 
No matter what happens, I'm here for you." He kissed her shoulder.
      "I wish we could stay here, like this, forever."~~~

He looked up when the flight attendant called for his flight, and he stood
up, wiping his forehead, still remembering:

~~~"I'm giving you an out right now," Brenda said.  "Everything's 
going to be so good for you.  I'm not as strong as you are, and," she 
caressed his face gently, "I'm a lot more selfish."
      "I -- I know the way out, and I'm taking it."  
      "What?"  Brenda gave him a puzzled look.
      Sonny whispered, "You."~~~  

~~~"Brenda, my marriage is over.  Lily can't say it because whatever 
strength she had I took from her.  So I've got to say it.  I've got to put 
things right with her and with you, if you'll let me."  Brenda stared at him
incredulously.  Then, she laughed, not quite believing what she just heard.
       "You're leaving her?"
       "I mean, if you don't want to, I don't blame you."  Brenda grinned
ear to ear, laughing.  "I won't beg.  Just tell me."
       "If I don't want to???  Are you kidding me??"  She smiled and laughed,

throwing  her arms around him hugging him tight. He hugs her back, just as 
tight.  "Oh! Oh God.  How could you ever," she kissed him, "ever doubt me."  
Sonny held Brenda's face in his hands and kissed her, still talking.
       "Well, after everything I did --"  He kissed her again.
       "You never did anything," she said, while Sonny kissed her neck. 
"You were so perfect and I was the one who ruined it, and I'm so sorry.
I'm going to be so much better, honey.  I'll be different."  
        "No, no, don't be different."  They share another long, hot, 
passionate kiss.  He leaned down  and enveloped her in a huge hug.  
Brenda closed her eyes, completely happy, and they swayed back and 
forth hugging.
        "And I'll be happy.  Oh, God, Sonny, I'll be so happy with you
I promise, Sonny, I'm going to make you happy for the rest of your life." ~~~

~~~As the kiss ended, Brenda stayed there, motionless, for a minute.  She 
tipped her head forward so that her nose rested on Sonny's cheek.  Her eyes
were half closed. "No...don't," she whispered.
     "Why not?"
     "Sonny, I can't do this.  I'm with Jax now and I don't want to do 
anything to hurt him."
      "Brenda, so stay with him just so things don't get messy?"
      "Listen, if I was afraid of messy I would have never got involved with
you in the first place."
      "But you did."
      "That was my mistake.  I'm gonna, uh, I'm gonna answer the...the 
question that you want me to answer.  I just don't love you anymore.  
Okay? Okay," she whispered. 
      After she left the car, Sonny just sat there, not moving, tears in his
eyes, and whispered, "Liar."~~~

~~~In the cave, Brenda said, "I wonder how long Jax will wear my ring?
You know, we're not even really married, just in our hearts.  You know 
the last thing I ever wanted was to hurt him. I wanted so much to love 
him back the way he loved me."
     Sonny answered, "Someone comes into your life and loves you, you 
don't expect to get it and earn it  but they say you're better than you 
know…maybe they're right."
     "I hated that Lily could give you peace."
     "I hated that Jax made you feel safe."  They smiled.
     Brenda became serious.  "I almost lost myself so many times in you…
I always stopped myself."  She paused.  "Remember when I told you that
 I didn't love you? I lied."
     "I know…I know."~~~

It was the last call for the flight, so Sonny grapped his small travel bag,
and his plane ticket, and began his way down the hall toward the plane.  The
loud humming of the plane engine echoed in his hollow ears.  As he was about
to step onto the plane from the platform, he stopped.  For a second, he
thought he'd heard someone call him.  Then, he shook his head, thinking he
was delirious, and stepped on.
   He spun around.  "Brenda?"  
   The flight attendants who'd helped him onto the plan looked at him,
exasperated.  "Are you getting on, or not?" the woman asked.
   He didn't answer.  He stepped back into the hallway, and saw Brenda at the
end of it, tears in her eyes.  A couple security guards ran up behind her and
grabbed her.  
   The flight attendants stepped off the plane, to see what was going on.
 "The young lady doesn't have a ticket," the one security guard explained.
 "We were trying to stop her, but she got away from us.  Feisty little
thing," he grumbled.
   Sonny wasn't paying attention.  "What are you doing here?" he asked her.
   "Sonny..."  Her eyes filled up, and she took off from the guards again,
running down the hall toward him.  Once she reached him, she threw her arms
around him, grasping tightly.
    He held her, his heart heavy from the pain, and confusion, but he didn't
let go.  "What's going on?  Why did you come?"
    She pulled back to look into his eyes, caressing his face.  "I love
you... Sonny."
    That was all she needed to say.  He grabbed her, and swung her around,
happily, kissing her as much as he could.  "I love you, too, sweetheart."
    And so they continued hugging, and kissing, the security guards and the
flight attendants just stood, watching...


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