You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ’cause you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me
– Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion
Friday, May 12, 2000
Cassadine Island: Beach
Elizabeth hugged Emily fiercely, then took Luke’s hand, accepting his help into the helicopter. Jason lay stretched out as Bobbie held a canteen of water to his lips. “Sip it slowly,” the nurse cautioned.
Luke climbed into the other passenger seat, and the door was pulled closed. The helicopter lifted into the air, and Elizabeth’s stomach lurched slightly.
“How long until Athens?’ Bobbie asked.
“Maybe a half hour, forty minutes,” the pilot tossed back. “Just sit back and relax.”
“We need to keep him awake and as hydrated as possible,” Bobbie told Elizabeth. She took Jason’s wrist to check the pulse. “It’s thready, and I don’t like that it’s not improving.”
“Can you hear me?” Elizabeth asked, taking his hand from Bobbie. He squeezed it, but his eyes remained closed. “I’m in week seven. Do you know what that means? The baby has a heartbeat. It’s the size of a sweet pea. The book says the ear canals start to form this week.”
“You—” Jason’s eyes opened into slits. What little blue was visible seemed glassy and unfocused. “Sick?”
“A little bit of nausea. I’ve missed having crackers delivered to me as soon as I wake up,” Elizabeth teased. She stroked his hair, then his face, her voice trembling from relief. He was still with her. Still present. “But I’m okay. I just thought about finding you, and it kept me from getting too tired or too nauseous.”
“We’ve been making her sleep,” Bobbie said gently, tilting another sip of water into his mouth. “Don’t you worry, Daddy. We’ll get you back on the job before you know it.”
Cassadine Estate: Library
“It’s not a permanent solution,” Stefan growled as he paced the room. “We can’t leave him locked in there forever!”
“I like it,” Sonny offered with a shrug. Stefan glared at him. “Hey, it’s called karma, asshole. You raised a lunatic. It’s either the cell or I dump him in the ocean.”
“Sonny,” Emily hissed at her brother’s partner and best friend. “You are not helping.”
Sonny leaned towards her, flashing his dimples but his eyes as cold as a shark. “Not trying to.”
“No one—whose opinion matters—” Laura muttered, glaring at Sonny, “—is seriously suggesting we lock Nikolas in the dungeons forever. But—” She rubbed her arms. “Stefan, we can’t just…we can’t let it go. This is completely out of control, and he’s proved he’s dangerous. If we just walk away without doing anything, he may just try again. He doesn’t seem to think what he’s done is wrong.”
“He blames Morgan and Corinthos for the loss of his brother. I don’t know how you get around that, Laura.” Stefan lowered himself into the chair, then finally looked at his sister. “What would you have me to do?”
“I think it’s clear that Nikolas can’t come back to Port Charles,” Alexis said. “As a starting point for negotiations,” she added when Sonny scowled. “Perhaps confining him to the estate. Engaging a doctor to help him. He’s grief-stricken, Stefan, and ready to destroy the world in retribution for what he’s lost. The only way forward is to keep him away from Jason and get him help.”
“And keep him confined for how long?” Stefan asked, roughly. He put his head in his hands. “I tried so hard, Alexis.”
Alexis went around the side of the desk to stand by her brother. “Stefan, none of us wanted this. You and I, we worked so hard to make our generation of Cassadines a better one. A saner one. Do you think it brought me joy to put my nephew behind bars?”
“How can he be my son,” Stefan murmured, “and be no better than my brother?” He exhaled slowly. “As a starting point, until you are all clear from the island and from Greece, I suggest we leave Nikolas where he is. I will take care of food and water. I’ll make it clear to him that his life will be forfeit if he leaves the island.” Stefan met Sonny’s gaze from across the room. “I suspect that isn’t an empty threat I’ll be making.”
“I see your nephew anywhere near Jason or his family—” Sonny rose to his feet. “I’ll give orders to shoot on sight. Sorry, Laura,” he offered as the woman choked back a gasp. “We could have negotiated something else, but the minute he went after Elizabeth—you understand, as it is, I’m going to have to talk Jason out of taking the little shit apart piece by piece. This is how it’ll have to be, and it’s only a measure of my respect for you, Laura, that we’re even discussing it.”
Laura closed her eyes. “Respect. You’ve got a funny way of showing it—”
“Your son tried to murder my best friend and then attempted to kidnap a pregnant woman to save his own skin,” Sonny retorted. “I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I am. Especially after last year. But if we don’t find a way to neutralize Nikolas now, we’re going to have this damned fight again in two or three years. So, yeah, Laura, letting him continue to breathe after what he just did to Elizabeth, to Jason—it’s because I respect you. Do we have a deal or not?”
The clinic was contained within a nondescript gray building in the Thission district of Athens — it had no sign in the parking lot that advertised its medical services—Elizabeth’s first indication that Luke’s contacts were not people who simply lived in Greece.
She kept her suspicions to herself as Jason was removed from the helicopter and placed on a stretcher. She and Bobbie followed as orderlies and a doctor snapping orders in Greek rolled him into the building. Luke disappeared.
Soon, Jason was settled in a private room, and an IV had been inserted. He had drifted back to sleep—this time Bobbie said it would be okay to let him rest.
Elizabeth curled up beside him in bed, gently stroking his hair and telling him about all the things she’d seen as they’d raced halfway across the world—
“The airport in Barcelona was beautiful, and the plane did this dip over the sea, tilting towards the land—we should put Spain on our list. I want to see everything, and wouldn’t be awesome if the baby grew up knowing all kinds of languages?”
“He’s going to sleep for a while, honey. Are you sure you don’t want me to get you a cot or something?” Bobbie asked.
“No. I want to be right here in case he wakes up.” She looked at Bobbie. “You know, Lucky always told me about all the things his parents did before they got married. This is a WSB clinic, isn’t it?”
“Most likely.” Bobbie sighed. “I didn’t realize Luke still knew anyone from the agency, not since we lost Robert.” She rose. “You get some rest, too. I’ll see if I can rustle up something for us to eat.”
“Okay. Thank you. For dropping everything and coming all this way,” Elizabeth said.
“Always.” Bobbie squeezed her shoulder and left the area.
Wyndemere: Guest Room
Emily perched on the edge of the bed and stared out the large window overlooking the water, the breeze lifting the curtains. She was really in Greece. Her brother had nearly died from dehydration and starvation at the hands of her best friend. With one of her best friends. A man, that until a few months ago, Emily had considered family.
She shoved herself off the bed and began to pace, her arms folded as she circled the room, her stomach rolling—Jason had been nearly dead—and he might not be out of the woods yet—
There was a gentle knock at the door, and Emily turned to see Alexis stepping inside. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
“Nothing. I just—” Alexis exhaled slowly. “I’m not sure what to do with myself,” she admitted. “Laura is going through her own grief, and there’s nothing more I can say to Stefan.” She paused. “Bobbie contacted Laura — Jason arrived at the clinic, and it looks like he’ll be okay.”
Emily closed her eyes, swallowed the sob that suddenly rose in her throat. “She’s sure?”
“It was a bit dicey, but they’ve stabilized his pulse and heart rate. He’s on fluids and resting.” Alexis wrapped her arms around herself, rubbing her upper arms, looking maybe for some warmth. “They’re keeping them there overnight. Maybe another day. He’ll be tired and a bit out of sorts for a while, but we’re okay.”
“Okay.” Emily collapsed back onto the bed. “Okay,” she repeated. She stared hard at the stone floor, before raising her eyes back to Alexis. “How do you do this? How do you accept that someone you loved and trusted so deeply could do something like this? Nikolas…” She squeezed her eyes shut. “I can’t make this okay in my head. I saw it. With my own eyes, I saw my brother in that cell, and how sick he was. And I watched Nikolas wrap his arm around Elizabeth’s neck—”
“And still you can’t quite fathom the cruelty,” Alexis finished. “He’s not so different than his grandfather,” she murmured. “Stefan worries he’s like Stavros, but I think he simply can’t see it clearly. There’s too much pain for him, too many dark memories of his childhood.”
“Mikkos.” Alexis cleared her throat. “He was charming and handsome. He could smile at anyone and make them do his bidding. And he could be extraordinarily kind,” she continued. “Stefan comes by that streak in his nature honestly. But Mikkos also had a very firm view of the world. It was his to control, and his kindness only existed if you were playing your role. If you stepped out of the place he’d given you, then he could twist and turn on you so cleanly and coldly, you’d doubt your own existence and wonder what you’d done wrong. Elizabeth didn’t act as Nikolas expected, and so she became an enemy.”
She swiped angrily at a tear that slid down her cheek. “That’s who I saw today in that cell, and I fear there’s nothing we can do to turn back the clock.”
Medical Clinic: Office
After making sure Bobbie and Elizabeth were settled and watching over Jason for a few hours, Luke decided to take care of some unfinished business. He wandered out of the medical area of the clinic and into the administration area. He pulled open a door and waved off a woman at a desk who objected. He spoke to her in Greek, and she subsided.
Inside the office sat a man with salt and pepper hair, hunched over a map. “Some things never change,” Luke said, leaning against the door frame. “Thanks for the assist.”
The man stretched to his full height and sent Luke a sour look. “Bloody Cassadines,” he said, his accent suggesting a youth spent in Australia. “We ought to have burned the island to the ground and salted the Earth behind us.”
“Ah, well, you lose some, you win some. I don’t think we gotta worry about world domination. Just another sick, twisted bastard who has obsession in the blood. I’ll let you know if that situation changes.”
“You do that, Spencer.” The man paused, focused on the maps again. Then he met Luke’s. “Have you seen my daughter lately?”
“Not in about a year. But you’d be proud of her. Studying medicine in Paris. She’s going to change the world.”
He exhaled. “Yes, well—” Robert Scorpio’s smile was bitter. “Don’t forget that I’m supposed to be dead. That hasn’t changed. You can’t be calling me every time you need a hero.”
“Well, you’re the only one I know, so—” Luke held out his hand. “Thank you again. This girl—she’s like a daughter to me. I needed to make this okay for her. You let me know when you’re ready to start breathing again, and I’ll be there.”
Cassadine Estate: Terrace
The sun began to dip below the horizon. Laura stood at the railing, watching as it sunk below the water, the streaks of pink and orange fading into an inky black.
“How many times did I catch you watching me back then?” she murmured, turning, unsurprised to find Stefan silently approaching.
“About as many times as when you didn’t. You were so often lost in your own thoughts.” He stepped up to the railing beside her. “Perhaps I ought to have remained here in Greece four years ago and not brought Nikolas to Port Charles.”
“I want to say you’re wrong. That I’ve treasured the time I’ve spent with Nikolas, but as much joy as it brought me, I fear it’s given him nothing but grief and pain. To be confronted with the choices I made—” Laura closed her eyes. “And how I still chose my children with Luke time and time again. Even today. He’ll never see this as anything other than choosing Elizabeth.”
“Cassadine men—” Stefan grimaced. “We seem to have an obsession with the women in the Webber family. You’ll offer my apologies to Elizabeth. She did nothing to deserve any of this, and for all that Nikolas talks of his brother, I suspect it was her rejection of him that triggered this.”
“Isn’t that always the way? A man is rejected, and yet it’s the woman who pays. Over and over again. I certainly have.” Laura turned towards the house, the sconces illuminating the light stone. “I loved Nikolas. I want you to know that. I didn’t expect to, but every movement, every kick—it broke my heart to leave him. If I had thought for one moment I could have escaped with him, I would have done it.”
“But the man he’s grown into, the man I fear he’s becoming—I can’t find any love for him. Perhaps it’s because he’s grown to look just like the man who raped me every night.” Laura squeezed her eyes. “Maybe the lack is in me. I simply can’t find it in me to love someone who looks so much like a man who haunts my nightmares.”
“Laura, you’re upset. You’ve lost Lucky, and this terrible kidnapping—Nikolas’s abuse of Elizabeth—” He reached for her hand, but she stepped away. “But I implore you, we must not give up on him. He’s done nothing before this to deserve our abandonment—”
“As if this isn’t serious enough—” She laughed, even as she wiped her tears. “You’re right, of course. I’ll feel better in the morning when I go to visit my son in his cell. Just another day on Cassadine island.”
WSB Medical Clinic
Jason stirred, opening his eyes, and for the first time in days, his throat wasn’t on fire. It was still sore, but—he attempted to swallow, then started to cough—
Beside him, Elizabeth sprang up, climbed off the bed—he hadn’t even realized she was with him—then there was water, a straw at his lips. He drank and would have drained the glass if she hadn’t pulled it away.
“The doctor said we shouldn’t let you drink too much,” she said, apologetically. “You could get sick.” She touched his face, and he closed his eyes, leaning into her touch. Her fingers glided through his hair, brushing his scalp and he nearly drifted back into sleep, lulled by the sensation.
But then he had a flash of Elizabeth, an arm around her neck, and Jason looking up from the ground—
His eyes snapped open. “You’re all right,” he said roughly. He raised his hand to her, but he couldn’t tell in the dim light. “The—Nikolas—”
“It’s okay. I’m okay. He let me go. He’s back on the island. Sonny’s still there, but you needed more help than we could manage on our own. So Luke got a hold of some contacts and we’re in Athens. But we’re both okay.”
He closed his eyes, then leaned back, trying to take it in. It all kept swirling in his head—being in the cell, not leaving—his hands around Nikolas’s neck—falling—the darkness—
He felt a dip in the mattress, then Elizabeth stretching out beside him. He relaxed again because it felt right to have her there, curled up next to him, just like all the other nights before she’d left, and the ones he still wanted to have.
“Five days without food and water,” Elizabeth murmured. “The doctors said it was a miracle you were lucid. That you were still moving. I didn’t tell them you were choking Nikolas, but that’s probably another minor miracle.”
“Well, you taught me how to keep myself awake,” he told her.
Elizabeth leaned up on an elbow, her eyes slitted in a scowl. “Excuse me?”
“You used to sing and talk to yourself at the studio,” Jason reminded her. “So I talked to myself.”
“You talked to yourself?” she repeated. “How—I mean—” She laid back down. “What did you talk about?”
“Anything I could think of. After the accident. Meeting Emily for the first time. The hotels I stayed out. All the names I’d ever called the Quartermaines—”
She snorted at that, and he found himself smiling. “Finding out I used to eat this disgusting oatmeal because it made my grandmother happy. I was mean about it—after the accident. I don’t know if I ever apologized.”
“You know Lila probably forgave you the moment you left the room.”
“She still deserves an apology. She was never anything other than generous with me. One of the first people who didn’t make me feel like I was suffocating.” He exhaled slowly. “Robin, Michael. I tried to remember the first time I ever saw you.”
“Lucky introduced us at the boxcar,” Elizabeth reminded him. “When you came to tell him about the garage.”
“That wasn’t the first time. Was it?”
“Well, I remember the first time I saw you—” Elizabeth tilted her head up, resting it on his chest so that their eyes met. “I snuck into Sonny and Brenda’s wedding, and you came to jilt her.” He winced, and she smiled. “Sorry, I know it’s not a fond memory. But you were in this tuxedo, and, you know, I almost swallowed my tongue. You looked very hot.”
He arched a brow. “Oh, really?”
“Mmmm—” she snuggled closer, then closed her eyes. “I only had eyes for Lucky then, and you were older and out of my league, but man—a couple of extra years, and I might have considered it.”
“I remembered Jake’s,” Jason murmured. He closed his eyes, too, letting his body settle. He felt his mind drifting. Back to that night. He smiled. “How angry you were. And the way you smiled after the ride.”
“Changed my whole life,” she said softly. “Best decision I ever made.”