Falling

All the King's Horses
Part I: Chapter 2

He couldn’t find a reply to that statement, so he stopped trying and just remained silent, holding her while she cried. She was shaking with sobs, and he didn’t try to stop himself from wrapping his other arm around her, pulling her closer to him. Holding her tightly, somehow knowing that it was all she wanted at the moment. To be held by someone so tightly she thought they’d never let her go.

And he didn’t want to let her go. The last thing in the world that he wanted to do was let her go and get away from him. He’d be more than happy to sit on this bench holding her for the rest of eternity. Did she know that? Could she see it? Wasn’t it obvious and clear to her? It was obviously very clear to the man she was in love with, so it only stood to reason that she’d know too.

His fingers lost themselves in the long blond strands of silk, finding a rhythm calming to them both. From her temple, behind her ear, down and out. The process was repeated over and over, he concentrated on the gentle, soothing motion to keep his thoughts from wandering elsewhere. It was much safer to think about how to make her feel better than, oh say, just how closely he really was holding her, or the way she smelled like a flower he couldn’t quite place.

Alison sighed shakily, out of tears, and not wanting to find the energy to move from this embrace. His fingers moving through her hair made her now puffy eyes heavy, and still she couldn’t think of a single reason to move away from him. It was easy being here, being like this, with him. And it would be so easy to just drift off right now. How long has it been since she’d slept for more than an hour at a time? “You know, if you keep that up I may just fall asleep on you.”

There are worse fates in the world, he thought. His fingers paused in her hair and he quickly clamped down the thought before it gave itself life through words. No, telling her that he’d be more than happy to just hold her would not do either of them any good.

He wasn’t going to reply to that, maybe because he sensed that she hadn’t meant to let that admission slip. She wondered briefly how it was he always managed to know just what to say or do. How just being around him could make almost anything in her life better. How he always made the hurt disappear. Then of course, the obvious answer came to her. He’s an angel. And if he could read her mind they were both in a lot of trouble.

An equally shaky giggle passed her lips, and she turned her head slightly, resting her cheek on his shoulder. “No magic dust that can turn crabby, jealous boyfriends into angels huh?”

Rafe shook his head, smiling down at her. “Nope. Sorry.” His eyebrows lowered in thought. “You love Jamal just the way he is, Alison. I know that as well as you do.”

“What don’t you know about me?” she muttered, sighing again. She pulled away slowly, reluctantly, and not bothering to dwell on why she was so reluctant. Some part of her seemed to know the answer, but she figured it might be best to let that part of her keep it a secret. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“Crying all over you?”

Tilting his head, Rafe smiled again. “Don’t be. That’s what I’m here for!”

“No it isn’t. You’re here to get all the messed up couples of Port Charles back together, and after that happens… You’re leaving aren’t you?”

He nodded. Frowning in response to the look of sadness in her eyes. Words escaped him at the site of tears filling those beautiful blue eyes of hers again. He wanted to swear to always stay right next to her, that too was pushed down.

She nodded back. Trying to clear away the sudden rush of emotion when she cleared her throat and swallowed hard. “Right. Well… You know, I’m sure that ‘listening to Alison babble and cry and whine’ isn’t in your job description or, you know, on your time table. You’re a very busy angel, I know that. So I should probably just let you get back to work and stop trying to hog the miracle.”

“I think you’re the miracle.”

Alison smiled, and it held a hint of shyness. “You’re really sweet to me, Rafe.”

“You’re easy to be sweet to.” He looked away for a second, and when he looked back he wore a smile again. “You went shopping to blow off steam?”

“No!” she replied slightly defensive in the face of his teasing tone. “I went shopping to get in the Christmas spirit again. I thought I’d decorate some more. Plus I got stuff for Christmas cookies, and more syrup for the muffins, and I thought I might try to make a gingerbread house. You know, you never did take me up on that offer to help me bake. Besides, I had time to spare before you could meet me.”

Rafe chuckled lightly. “I can’t bake. Sorry. The last time I tried to cook I nearly burned down my kitchen. It was a pretty scary. Luckily I had a drawer full of take out menus for places that thought the tip was worth the visit to the horror house handy.” He paused, shaking off the memory. “Besides, you might get some bright idea since I surrendered the last food fight.”

Her innocently smile was easy to see through. “I told you that was an accident!”

“Oh, and I believed you.”

“I don’t think you did,” she replied, pouting slightly. “I think that you actually think I am capable of starting a food fight. Sweet little innocent me!”

Rafe laughed again lightly. “Oh, right, I’m sorry. I’d call you angelic but…”

She joined in his laughter, bumping his shoulder with hers. “Well you know, I can’t say you’re anything like I expected an angel to be. You’re like… normal, and… stuff.”

“I can’t say anyone has ever accused me of being normal before… Should I thank you or be insulted?”

“Oh, you should definitely thank me. If it weren’t for the light, and the energy, and the miracles, and all that stuff, then I never would have known you were an angel! But it’s cool, you know? You’re cool.” Alison batted her eyes and smiled sweetly. “You wouldn’t happen to like, need an assistant today would you? Because I think I might like to maybe stand in line and fill out an application.”

“In other words, you want to have something to do to hide from your boyfriend.”

“No! Yes. Maybe just a little?” She sat back and sighed again. “I don’t want to see Jamal right now. And I should probably go and find Livvie and try to straighten everything out, you know? Because I don’t want to like be the one to blow your cover. But I’d much rather just spend the day with you,” she added hopefully. “You just like, make all the bad stuff go away for a little while and you make me laugh and smile, and I want to do that today.”

“I like making you smile,” he whispered. “You have a beautiful smile.” Rafe looked away, breaking the look that passed between them and held them both firmly in place. It was his turn to clear his throat. “So anyway, Kevin has this mystery woman, and Lucy doesn’t trust him, or me when I say he isn’t having an affair.”

“He’s not though, right?”

He smiled and looked back at her. “No. But I can’t tell you who she is. He wants to surprise Lucy, and surprised aren’t fun when everyone knows.”

“Oh, gee, thanks.”

Again he had to laugh. “Not that you would tell everyone! You’re keeping my secret pretty well considering. But it has to be really special when he tells her, or shows her, I haven’t figured out what his plan is just yet. It’s going to be great, and she’s going to love it, but for now she has to trust him, and I haven’t figured out how to make her do that yet.”

“No miracle cures that will make people trust someone?”

His look said it all. “No. Stop with the miracles already. The only miracle will be if I manage to pull this all off. I can’t make people feel anything, or do anything, I can just point them in the right direction.” Rafe felt his smile taper off into another laugh. “Ok, except with Chris. That one was a miracle. He cannot tell a lie.”

Alison joined in his laughter. “That must be breaking his heart. Or his sanity. Does he have a heart?”

“Yeah, it’s just buried pretty deep. That man’s been burned all his life. Lies and schemes are a way to forget that.” Shifting on the bench, Rafe turned face her, not failing to notice she moved to sit the same way. “His attitude is a way to hide the fact that he’s hurt. It’s a defense mechanism, and he doesn’t realize he’s his own worst enemy.”

“Well, but you know, if you think about it, that’s pretty easy to see. And like I told you before, having him making progress with Jack is like totally amazing, because that can’t stand each other-”

“They love each other,” he corrected, shaking his head slightly. “Despite everything, they really do love each other.”

“Well… yeah. You always love your family, even if you, you know, don’t get along all that great or something.”

Rafe tilted his head, studying her for a moment while she squirmed under his gaze. “When was the last time you talked to your grandmother? It’s pretty clear that you miss her.”

“I… She sent me a Christmas card.”

“You live in the same town, Alison. Stop in and say hello. Go over there and tell her ‘Merry Christmas’ sometime, ok? I bet she misses you even more than you miss her.”

Alison started to nod then stopped herself. “I’ll make you a deal. I’ll go see my grandmother, and you let me help you today.”

“How are you going to go see your grandmother if you’re with me?”

“I’ll see her tomorrow. Come on, please? I can help! I really can! Do you need to work with Ian and Eve again? I can offer to watch Daniel, because he’s the prettiest baby.”

“No, I don’t. Those two are doing just fine on their own. You were good with him though. You’re going to make a great mother someday.”

She started to tuck her hair behind her ear but he beat her to it, leaving her hands with nothing to do. “Well, I hope so… Someday. I really like kids. And you were good with him too! He loved the light show!” Her eyes darted away briefly before landing on him again. “So, what do you say? Need a helper?”

“Jack and Livvie are doing good, Ian and Eve are going down the right road, Chris can’t lie, Karen and Frank are in heaven with each other, and her health is improving. Kevin and Lucy are still a little rocky, but those two will work out without a doubt. There’s really only one more couple I’m supposed to be making sure is happy, and I don’t think you spending time with me is going to help that.”

“Me and Jamal.”

“Bingo.”

Alison started to pout then changed her mind. Grabbing his hand she stood and pulled him up as well, gathering her sacks with his help. “Come on, we’re going to drop all this stuff off, then I’ll help you with Kevin and Lucy anyway I can.”

Smiling and shaking his head, Rafe let her pull him behind her. “I take it ‘no’ isn’t an option?”

“Nope. You’re stuck with me for at least a little while.”

“I think I may be able to handle that.”


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