Written in 63 minutes. Went a few minutes over bc I really wanted the ending to be just right. No time for spell check.
By the time Spinelli had transferred the photo to the computer to study the metadata or whatever it was, Laura had sent it to Elizabeth so that she could have it for herself. Elizabeth sat on a sofa and just stared at it, tracing her little boy’s face. She felt Jason’s weight next to her and she looked at him. “It has to be real,” she managed. “It has to be. He’s—this is exactly what he’d look like. He’s just—” A tear slid down her cheek as she looked back at Jake. “He’s lost some of the baby fat in his cheeks, see—”
“Yeah.” He put an arm around her shoulder and Elizabeth curled into his embrace, angling the phone so they could both look at the photo. “He looks like you,” Jason said after a minute.
“Really?” Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “I always thought he was more like you. The blonde hair, blue eyes—” She closed her eyes. “He had this way of smiling at me, and I just—I let him get away with murder. There was just this—this twinkle he’d get that was so much like you—”
“Twinkle?” Jason raised his brows and she smiled up at him. “Don’t let Sonny hear you say that.”
She laughed. “You know what I mean—that agitating mood you get in when you’re teasing me. Remember the Christmas party? Before Nikolas came in acting like an idiot, and you stole my stupid Santa hat?” When he nodded, she continued, “that’s what I mean. Jake could get the same look.”
She looked over at the table where Spinelli was studying the photo. “Is it real?” Elizabeth asked him, raising her voice so that it carried over to him.
Spinelli blinked, then looked up. “Oh.” He leaned back. “Yeah. Yeah. It’s about—” He squinted. “It’s about a week old. And it was taken in Greece. I can’t get it any closer, but it’s real. It looks like the raw photo an iPhone would take. If it’s faked, I can’t find the evidence.” He stared at them. “And if it’s real—”
“Then Jake either has a twin or that’s him,” Sonny said. He looked at Laura. “You knew Luke was holding something back.”
“And when we land, I am going to punch him so hard,” Laura muttered. “He had an actual photo of Jake and didn’t—” She took a deep breath. “Spinelli, where are you in the rest of it? The island?”
“I’ve got all the aerial footage I can get here, and I’ll be able to put together pretty good maps and keep you out of trouble,” Spinelli said. “There’s not much else I can do until we land. I’ll be able to tap into the local—”
Elizabeth frowned at her phone lighting up with Patrick’s number. “Patrick?” she said, putting him on speaker phone. “What’s wrong? Are the kids okay?”
“The kids are now staying with Lulu and Maxie,” Patrick said. “I’m on my way to the airport with Anna. We’re meeting Robert in Athens.” He paused. “I got a message from Robin.”
“What?” Sonny jerked out of his seat, his eyes wide. “Robin?”
“She sent it through an unnamed number,” Patrick continued, his voice tinny as their connection faded for a minute, “but I know it’s her. We have a code. She used it.” His voice faltered. “She’s alive. And the Cassadines have her and the world was ending. She said I need to bring the cavalry. And she wanted Jason. She must know about Jake.”
“Okay, let me know when you’re landing in Athens,” Elizabeth said. “We’ll—we’ll make sure you get a connection to Mykonos and we’ll regroup there.” She hung up with Patrick, her pulse still racing.
Robin was alive. Jake was alive. The Cassadines had them both. “She wanted the calvary—and Jason. Patrick’s right—she wouldn’t have asked for Jason if she didn’t know about Jake.”
Laura nodded. “The calvary would definitely be Robert and Anna,” she murmured. “Robert would still know the island like the back of his hand, and no one is going to separate them from Robin. Why the hell would Helena want Robin—”
Elizabeth exhaled slowly as Laura’s voice broke off. Their eyes met. “Maybe the same reason she wanted Tony Jones,” Elizabeth said. “Robin’s done some amazing work on brain chemistry. Look at what she did for Jason—” She looked at him. “Your memories in 2005 and then last year—”
“Oh, man—” Sonny’s voice was a low moan as he sat down. “Don’t tell me the Cassadines are raising the dead again.”
“It looks like they already have,” Laura said. “Do you think it was Stavros that Robin brought back?”
“If it was just Stavros,” Elizabeth said slowly as she stood up, “then Helena would have gotten rid of Robin. And Nikolas is part of this, probably playing the same role he did ten years ago during Endgame.” She paused. “Laura—”
“Don’t say it—” Laura shook her head. “Don’t even—”
“Mikkos was frozen to death,” Elizabeth said. “What if—” she swallowed hard. “How sure are we that Helena hasn’t been searching for a way to bring him back—”
“Damn it.” Laura squeezed her eyes shut. “Robin said the world was ending. I think she might mean that literally.”
Jason just stared the both of them wordlessly, unsure how to operate in this world. He looked at Sonny who appeared as lost as he did. They worked in a world of rules—physical rules. You shot someone, they died.
He’d never really appreciated the danger Elizabeth had lived through as a connection to the Spencer family, and watching her and Laura debate the situation while he and Sonny sat on the sidelines —
“What do we know for sure?” Sonny said. “We know Jake and Robin are alive. Nikolas is hopefully a friend, but honestly—” He looked at Laura regretfully who nodded.
“He could be either,” she agreed.
“Luke definitely knows more than he’s saying, and I don’t think the picture is all he’s holding back,” Sonny continued. “He said Lucky threatened to kill Nikolas?”
“The last time Lucky threatened to kill Nikolas,” Elizabeth said, with a light flush, “wasn’t when he found out about the affair. It was when he was being controlled by Helena.” She pressed her lips together. “How did Luke and Lucky find out Jake was alive?”
“Could Helena have wanted this?” Jason said finally. Their eyes turned to him. “I don’t have a lot of experience, but this is a lot of things happening at the same time. Robin finally manages to get a message to Patrick the same night Luke calls us about Jake? We’re all going to Greece at the same time? Stavros Cassadine is alive. You think there’s a chance Mikkos might be, too,” he continued.
“She’s trying to play the game again,” Elizabeth realized. “She never really forgave Nikolas for betraying her, and she blamed me for it.” She hesitated, focused on Laura. “She kidnapped Jake because of me. Not Luke. To hurt me. And, oh, God, she might mean for Lucky to kill Nikolas. As revenge.”
“Well—” Laura took a deep breath, squared her shoulders. “The Cassadines have already aimed at my family more than once. We’ve always won.” She offered Elizabeth a faint smile. “We’ve done this before, Elizabeth, but we didn’t finish it. We thought it was over when Stavros died, but—”
“But this time Helena has to go,” Elizabeth agreed. “We need to cut the head off or it’ll just grow back.”
“I would really like to retire from hunting Cassadines,” Laura said fervently. Her smile broadened, turned a touch mean. “We’ve left it up to the Spencer men a little too long, haven’t we? I think it’s time for the Webber women to do some damage of their own.”
Mykonos, Greece: Airport
Sonny and Laura went to go take care of the customs officials — Sonny had money and Laura knew how to bribe officials in most European countries thanks to her years on the run while Spinelli started working on getting a local connection so he could hack into the Cassadine estate’s cameras.
This left Jason and Elizabeth standing with their luggage, waiting for them to return. Elizabeth frowned at him slightly. “Are you okay? You didn’t say much on the plane.”
“I am—” Jason paused. “Processing,” he admitted. “This time yesterday, Jake and Robin—” He looked out over the hills barely visible through the morning fog. “And now—” He met her eyes. “I’ve gone against some of the most dangerous men in the world, but I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never really had to deal with the Cassadines, and now—” He cleared his throat. “I think about all the times I pushed you away because of the danger—”
“And I’m sorry,” he continued, “because it’s clear that you’ve faced worse. Because the Cassadines? They’re not like anything or anyone I can predict.”
“It’s scary,” Elizabeth acknowledged, “and they’ve been haunting Laura her entire life. They stole her away from her life—Helena and Stavros forced her to marry him. For years, she endured that abuse. And I wish it could be over for her.”
“I just don’t know how much help I can be in a situation like this,” he continued.
“Can you still shoot?” she asked, dryly. “Pilot a boat if we need it? Keep Spinelli from getting distracted? Move quietly? Jason—Luke and Laura didn’t know anything about them either, and they saved the world. I don’t need to save the world. I just want my son back. And I want my friend to come home.” She leaned up on her toes, pressing her lips against his. He wrapped his arms around her waist, dragging her closer, deepening the kiss.
“We’re going to bring Jake home,” Elizabeth told him when she drew back. “That’s what matters. Jake and Robin. And yeah, I want to make Helena pay for putting us through this. For putting Patrick and you and everyone who loved Jake and Robin through hell these last few years. I need you to be strong in all the ways I can’t be.” She searched his eyes. “Can you do that?”
“Yeah,” Jason said, leaning down to kiss her again. “I can do that.”
“All right, we’re good to go,” Sonny said as he and Laura returned. “The jet is heading over to Athens,” he continued, “where it’ll be waiting for the rest of them. We’re going into the city to meet with Luke?”
“Yeah, I told him I want to meet him in a public place.” Laura paused. “Sonny, you and Spinelli should find somewhere safe to set up. I don’t trust Luke, not if Lucky’s been compromised. Spinelli—”
“Get the security feed—number one priority,” Spinelli agreed with a firm nod. “Mr. Sir?”
“Jason,” Laura said, turning to him. “I think Elizabeth and I should meet Luke alone—” Jason opened his mouth to argue. “You can be nearby. “I’m sure you know how to blend in if you need to.”
“I can manage it, I’ve been to Greece,” Jason replied. “But—”
“If Helena is watching,” Laura said, “she probably already knows we’re here. So we need to throw her off. And if she isn’t—then Luke will never talk to you the way he’ll talk to Elizabeth.” She looked at her former daughter-in-law. “Play him with the guilt. Rub it in. Helena might have kidnapped Jake, but Luke was still driving the car. And he lied to you. Kept the photo back.”
Elizabeth nodded with a clench of her jaw. “Yeah, it’s not hard to find the anger,” she told Laura.
“Exactly. We’ll signal you,” Laura told Jason, “when we’re ready for you to join us, but I want Luke to feel outnumbered. I’ll go after him on Lucky, Elizabeth will kick him with Jake, and we’ll find out what we’s hiding faster.”
“I’m just the muscle,” Jason said. “You obviously know this better. Just tell me where you want me and who to shoot.”
“I like a man who can take directions.” Laura beamed at him. “Let’s get to work.”
Cosmo Cafe: Outdoor
Luke got to his feet when Laura and Elizabeth approached, his hesitant smile fading as the women approached. He cleared his throat. “No Morgan?”
“He went to get set up with Spinelli,” Elizabeth said. She drew out an iron chair and took a seat. Laura sat next to her, then Luke gingerly lowered himself back into his chair across from them. “You’re going to need a good excuse when you see him, by the way.”
Luke grimaced. “Darlin’, I know I held back the photo, but—” he spread out his hands. “I wanted to make sure Laura would come—”
“There wasn’t a chance in hell I would stay at home,” Laura cut in ruthlessly. “Cut the bullshit, Luke.”
“Are there more?” Elizabeth asked, her voice trembling slightly. Laura glanced at her, but Elizabeth didn’t look at her, didn’t even glance at Jason who had taken a table ten feet away, dressed in tourist clothes, complete with a pair of sunglasses and a hat. He really did know how to blend — he was sitting behind Luke, completely out of his eye line.
“More photos? Of my little boy? I haven’t seen him—” Elizabeth pressed a finger to her lips. “He’s two years older, and they stole that time from me. And Nikolas—he’s sitting next to him. I need—”
Luke pulled out his phone, started rifling through them, then shoved it across the table. “Here,” he said in a rush. “I know, kid, I know it hurts. When I found out the Cassadines took Cowboy—”
Elizabeth stared at a photo, looked at the date underneath it, then looked up. “You’ve known my son was alive since December. At least.” She clutched the phone tightly. “While I was buying him gifts and hiding them in a closet so no one would think I was crazy—you knew Jake was alive—”
“Luke!” Laura said, her eyes bulging. “How could you—”
“I knew Jake was safe enough,” Luke said. He put up his hands. “Let me—let me explain—”
“How can you possibly explain this?” Laura demanded. She planted her hands on the glass table top and leaned forward. “Three months. Three months! Of all people—you drove the car that started all of this—”
Elizabeth squeezed her eyes closed. “Why? Why call now? What’s changed?” She looked at Laura, saw the other woman adjust her self. Back to the plan. Back on track.
“Lucky,” Luke said slowly. “At first, we were doing recon. You know, trying to find the weak spots. We got that picture just before Christmas. The first—” He sucked in a deep breath. “The first real proof. I wanted—I wanted to call you. Lucky wanted to call you,” he told her. “He’s got this idea he’ll give you Jake, and it’ll be like it was again—Lucky and Liz.”
“That’s over,” Elizabeth said flatly.
“I know it, but he—he couldn’t get it out of his head. And then—” Luke nodded at the phone. “He saw Jake with Nikolas. And it was—” His voice shook then. “It was like a switch in his head. Like before.”
Laura nodded grimly. “Helena.”
“We never broke it,” Luke said with a shake of his head. “It’s always been there. Always in his brain. Like a bomb. Lucky nearly killed Nikolas that day. I’ve spent the last three months trying to fix it, trying to talk him down, trying to find the trigger—” He looked at Elizabeth. “You need—you need to save my boy. Just one more time, darlin’, save my son.”
Elizabeth stared at him for a long time, then shook her head. “It’s not my job to save Lucky,” she said. “You took Jake from me. The night of the accident, you hit my little boy. He didn’t die, but that doesn’t matter, Luke. You put him in that hospital, close to death. And then you stole three months from me. It’s not my job to save Lucky,” she repeated.
“Angel—” Luke switched his attention to Laura. “You gotta see, if we can break the control—”
“We’ve got bigger problems than that,” Laura told him, regretfully. “Because Robin Scorpio is alive and being held by Helena.”
Luke bowed his head, all the fight sinking out of him. “So you know. You know that Mikkos is back.”
“Wait—” Elizabeth jerked up and Laura stared at Luke. “Wait—he’s actually—it’s not something Robin is working on?”
“No—” Luke nodded at the phone. “Go to the last photo. It’s why I called.”
Elizabeth handled Laura the phone and she scrolled to the last one, her face paling. She showed it to Elizabeth.
She’d only seen Mikkos in photographs, but there was no mistaking the people in the picture, clustered around a dining table. Helena and Mikkos. Stavros and Nikolas. Jake. And Stefan Cassadine. Her little boy surrounded by the darkest evil she’d ever known.
“All alive,” Laura breathed. “All four of them.” She raised her eyes to Luke. “All the Cassadines.”
“Yeah, and I got word from a contact—” Luke’s smile was grim. “Valentin is on his way to Greece. The Cassadines are about to have a family reunion, and Jake is in the middle of it all.”