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Chapters 41 - 50

Nikolas & Laura
Nikolas and Laura,
Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-One

Nikolas and Ria hurried towards the house. They saw Stefan calmly walking out. Nikolas froze.
"Stefan!" Ria called. He turned, hoping it was Laura, but saw only Nikolas and Ria standing there.
"What are you doing here?" Stefan asked coldly.
"I was just about to ask you the same thing," Ria replied. She looked at him with concern.
"Are you OK?"
"I am perfectly fine, Miss Dubois, not that it is any concern of yours."
"Sure it is. You're the one who raised my brother."
"You know." Stefan replied.
"Yes and I'm sorry that she lied to you like this. I know how it feels." Nikolas suddenly spoke up.
"How it- I see. I suggest you go speak with your parents and not detain me any further." Stefan replied, walking away. Ah, screw the stupid Timoria plan, he thought, It was never going to work anyway; I should just cut my losses and relocate.
"What was that?" Ria asked.
"I have no idea." Nikolas replied.

"Hi Lizzie! Oh, hi, Lucky. You can wait for me outside." Sarah breezed in. Lucky raised an eyebrow at Elizabeth.
"Why would I wait for you outside when as sson as you leave, I'll be coming right back in?" Lucky replied in a confused tone.
"Why would you be coming back in, silly?"
"To see me, Sarah." Elizabeth rolled her eyes. Then she gasped suddenly.
"What?" Lucky said, rushing to her side.
"Sarah, go find Gram for me, OK?"
"A nurse?"
"No, just Gram. She's around here somewhere!" Elizabeth said, tears coming to her eyes. Sarah ran out of the room. Elizabeth doubled over in laughter.
"What's so funny?" Lucky asked.
"Gram's not working today." Elizabeth said breathlessly between laughs. Lucky smiled as he stared at the vibrant, mischievous Elizabeth Webber that he hadn't seen in a long time.
"Welcome back," he whispered.

Chapter Forty-Two

Ria and Nikolas stood awkwardly outside the house, wondering what to do. Ria held up her hand.
"Wait a second." she stood there, thinking. Stefan ingnoring us, Luke and Laura inside, Stefan shunning Nikolas' outstrech of friendship.... "Oh God." Ria rushed up the porch steps and opened the door.
Laura was sobbing uncontrollably, using Luke as her strength, entirelly supported by him. Luke was holding Laura, rubbing her back as he tried to soothe her.
"What have you done to her?!" Nikolas shouted as he saw the scene before him. Ria tried to calm him down, as she slowly suspected the truth.
"Nikolas-" Ria and Luke said in unison. The angry words of her son brought Laura back from her emotions.
"Nikolas, shut up and sit down. We need to have a talk." Laura said in that eerily calm voice she had used minutes before although she still had tears glistening on her face. She sat down next to Nikolas.
Luke stared at Laura. She was so unpredictable lately.
"What? More tales of your deciet and lies?"
"The only person who lied was Stefan. He had a paternity test done on you. He showed me the paper. It said he was the father. He forged the paternity test. He told me that the only was to keep you out of Helena's clutches was to leave you with him because only he could truly keep you safe from her. I left because she would have killed you and me if I had taken you. I'm not saying I made the right choice, but I thought Stefan was different from Stavros and Helena- but he's not. He just has different tactics." Nikolas looked as if he had just been slapped across the face. He stood up.
"Stefan is nothing like Helena. I wasn't around for Stavros, but-" Nikolas stammered.
"Nikolas, Stavros was hell." Laura's eyes glazed over and her voice became dead. "He beat me so much that I had to wear very heavy makeup, so much it felt like a steel mask. I wore long-sleeved shirts with high necks and long skirts to hide the bruises. Helena wouldn't allow him anywhere near me once I was pregnant. She cared about the heir and didn't want me to have a miscarriage. I recieved word that Luke was dead one morning. That night I had to marry him. After you were born, I would run off to a cove with you where Stavros wouldn't follow. A few months later I found out that Luke was alive thanks to Helena. She allowed me to escape. I was going to return for you, Nikolas, I swear, but once Stavros was dead, I knew if I did I would be killed on sight. I will never forgive them for what they did to me or my children. I was so weak then. If Stavros wasn't already dead I would kill him myself, beat him to death, the way I almost prayed he would have to me just so I could escape..." Laura trailed off, staring straight ahead, her voice still dead. Ria and Nikolas were staring at her in horror. Luke looked at her worriedly. She looked like Leslie; completely in a trance.
"Laura?" Luke ventured. No response. "Laura! Laura, can you hear me?" Luke reached over to touch her cheek. Laura slapped his hand away violently, jerking herself back to reality. She looked at Nikolas and Ria and began to cry.
"God, I'm so sorry. You didn't need to hear that! God help me!" she sobbed into her hands. Nikolas and Ria looked at each other. Nikolas stood and walked over to his mother and put his arms around her, letting Laura collapse into the embrace.
"It's okay." he said.

Chapter Forty-Three

"Augh!" Ria exclaimed suddenly, throwing the remote across the living room. Laura looked up from her book in alarm. "I'm going absolutely stir crazy!" Ria cried, gesturing to the windows. "First that huge storm keeps us here for a week! Then, this stupid fog has kept us from flying back for two extra days!" Laura smiled and checked her watch. She put her book down.
"We can go for a walk if you'd like," she offered. Ria grinned. "Let me tell Luke where we're going."
A few minutes later, Laura and Ria walked quietly along the waterfront. Laura felt an overwhelming sense of deja vu. The heavy fog, the sounds of the ocean... just like the night she was abducted...
"Maybe we should head back, Ria," Laura said nervously. Ria glanced at her watch.
"Yeah, we told Luke that we'd only be gone for an hour." Ria and Laura turned completely around in unison. Ria laughed at the choreographing.
Suddenly Ria stopped walking. She made a motion for Laura to stop and be very silent. Then she heard it for certain. Soft footsteps coming from behind them, getting louder.
Ria reached into her pocket to pull out a gun.
Then Laura screamed.
And everything went black.

Chapter Forty-Four

Laura looked around in confusion. She stood up from the king-size bed slowly, a realization of where she was coming over her. The memories lingering in this room made her feel nauseous. Everything in the room represented some act of violence. She could still see a dark patch on the dresser where she had fallen once. Someone had replaced the glass in the mirror that she had broken so she wouldn't have to see herself.
The door unlocked with a click and opened slowly. A man walked in, his dark hair flecked with gray, his face more heavily lined and unmoving. His dark eyes stared at her.
"Hello, Lasha." He spoke calmly and clearly. Laura's heart dropped into the pit of her stomach, feeling as a person who threw herself into the ocean, which she had so often contemplated.
A breath escaped her in the form of the whispered word "No."
Stavros stood before her.

Ria glanced around herself, trying to get her bearings and wondering who had kidnapped her. She took in all of the details of the room: the single twin bed against a wall with off-white sheets and comforter; a wooden dresser, not very tall, with four small drawers; a small circular mirror on one wall. Other than that, the room was fairly bare, no windows, except for a painting against the wall of a sea landscape. Ria somehow suceeded in not laughing.
Either her abductors were stupid or they were watching her. Or they might not know who she was and what she was capable of. Ria glanced in the mirror, sizing it up for further use. She realized that she was undisguised. Looking at her face suddenly made her remember that Laura had been with her. Ria began to wonder if she was the target, or if Laura was.
The door opened like a shot, sticking a little. Ria whirled around, ready to strike, but not wanting to tip off her captors as to her abilities.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" The woman asked sharply, confused as to the identity of the young girl standing before her. Ria realized who the target was of the abduction.
"I asked you a question, girl, and you should answer it." the woman snapped.
"My name is Ria and I have no idea why I am here."
Helena never moved from the doorway, studying the girl carefully, trying to determine whether Ria was lying about what she knew.

Chapter Forty-Five

"Surprised to see me alive?" Stavros asked.
"A bit," Laura lied. "So, who faked your death?"
"Helena, of course. As soon as I was well again, I knew I had to bring you back to where you rightfully belonged - - with your husband."
"You're right. I do belong with my husband. Of course, that's a bit difficult, what with him being in North Carolina right now."
"How dare you speak of him in this house!" Stavros cried, slapping her across the face. Laura's head turned sharply with the force of his hand. She slowly brought it back to face him. She squared her shoulders and looked him dead in the eye, the red hand mark on her face rapidly appearing.
"Don't ever touch me again, or God help me, I will not be responsible for my actions."
Stavros was shocked. His Lasha would have cowered or cried, but this one, she practically threatened him. "Now tell me, is your mother aware of my being held captive? Because I am certain this will not please her. If she wants to get Nikolas on her side, she cannot afford to get him angry at her, especially this close to his eighteenth birthday."
"You seem to forget, Lasha, that because I am alive, Nikolas gets nothing on his eighteenth birthday."
"You seem to forget, Stavros, that you being alive can change at any given moment."
"Well, Laura, I do believe you are learning." Helena said from behind Stavros.
"Good day, Helena. How is my daughter holding up to her first visit to Hell?"
"Quite well, actually. I cannot believe you never brought my granddaughter to see me!"
"I cannot believe you never let me see my son!"
"Touche. I must say, I find you much more enjoyable during this visit than during your previous one."
"Oh, that's because by the time you saw me during the last visit, I was in too much pain to even stand."
"Hold it!" Stavros shouted.
"What is it, my dear?" Helena asked.
"That- that girl who was with you, she was your daughter?"
"Yes, she is my daughter."
"By whom?" Stavros demanded.
"Frankly, I don't think that's any of your business." Laura retorted. Stavros raised his arm, but Ria, who had picked the lock to her door, reached out and grabbed it. He instinctively reached his other arm around to strike Ria, but she caught that arm too.
She didn't say a word, just held onto Stavros' wrists tightly. Laura looked from Stavros to Helena, wondering what they would do. Stavros became enraged as Helena watched the scene play out before her.
"Let go of me," Stavros growled. Ria laughed.
"Give me one good reason," she replied. He suddenly moved his leg and tried to kick her in the back of her knees and make her fall, but Ria was too quick for him. She released his hands, grabbed his leg, and pulled it sharply upward, causing him to fall flat on his back, knocking the wind out of him. He tried to stand up, but Ria put her foot directly on his chest.
"Now listen to me, sweetheart. If I ever see you or hear that you so much as looked at Laura the wrong way, I will personally ensure that you won't be able to get back up. Am I making myself perfectly clear?" Ria hissed to the man on the floor before removing her foot and allowing him to stand back up.
Helena slowly smiled and began to laugh quietly.
"Why are you so amused, Mrs. Cassadine? I would have thought that you would have be infuriated with me for hurting your eldest son." Ria replied, imitating the way Nikolas spoke.
"I am amused, my dear girl, because you could have the entire Cassadine empire at your beckon." Laura and Ria looked at each other.

Chapter Forty-Six

"Where's Elizabeth?"
"Nikolas? She's about a foot away. Why? What's wrong?" Lucky asked in alarm.
"Laura and Ria are gone; don't leave her side for a second, understand me?"
"They're WHAT? When did this happen? I'm coming down there."
"Last night they went for a walk and never came back. You can't come, Lucky, you need to rest your leg."
"My leg's fine. Wait, they? I guess Mom managed to talk her way out of the whole paternity thing, huh?" Nikolas shuddered as he recalled Laura's painful memories of the island.
"You could say that. Lucky, I mean this, don't let Elizabeth out of your sight; we aren't sure why they took Laura, but keep an eye out for Stefan, okay?"
"Stefan?! Why? Hell hath no fury like a man scorned all of a sudden?"
"I'll tell you later. Let's just say Laura didn't know."
"And I hear that Laura yelled at Stefan, so we aren't exactly sure who in my twisted ex- family has them."
"Oh God. Um, okay, I'll keep an eye on her and report on any Vlad-sightings."
"Thanks. Bye."
"Bye." Lucky hung up his phone. He glanced at Elizabeth.
"Well?" She asked. Lucky grinned.
"Looks like you won't be able to get rid of me for a while."

Nikolas sighed as he hung up the phone. Laura and Ria had been missing for nearly twenty-four hours now, without a single clue. It was fairly obvious that a Cassadine had taken them, but the only question was Which Cassadine?
The telephone rang suddenly. Nikolas picked it up on the first ring.
"Hey, Nikky Boy. Vlad just walked by on his way from a hospital board meeting. He seems pretty normal, except he's kinda depressed.... Oh wait, that is normal."
"Funny, Luckless. All right, thanks for the tip."
"No problem, man. See you later."
"Bye." Nikolas hung up and glanced around him. He sighed; he should probably tell Luke about the information.
"Luke!" Nikolas called, walking into the living room. Silence. Nikolas walked into Lesley Lu's room-- no Luke, just Lulu asleep in her bed. He walked into the room where he had been staying and spied a note.
"Went to retrieve the girls. -Luke." Nikolas' eyes widened.
"Oh shit. He went to Greece."

Chapter Forty-Seven

Stefan dialed a number on his office telephone.
"Raimsey? This is Stefan Cassadine." Stefan sighed. "I'd like the guards on Laura Spencer removed."
"Before or after she returns from Greece?"
"Greece?!" Stefan did some quick thinking. "Raimsey, is my brother awake?"
"Yes, sir. He's the one who escorted Ms. Spencer to the island."
"Keep the guards on her!" Stefan ordered, slamming down the phone. He exhaled before picking up the phone again.
"Jonas, ready the jet. We are returning to Greece."

Nikolas dialed another number from his phone.
"Jonas, this is Nikolas Cassadine. Please prepare a jet for my trip to Greece."
"Mr. Cassadine, please excuse my insolence, but why must you and your uncle always take separate jets?"
"Excuse me?"
"Did you not know that he left for Greece ten minutes ago?'
"No, I did not. Have the jet ready in ten minutes. I will be bringing a guest."

"Lucky, Stefan left for Greece ten minutes ago."
"It's worse. Luke left an hour ago."
"Oh, man!"
"I'm leaving in ten minutes and I want you to come."
"What about Elizabeth?"
"I have already ordered several guards on her. Anyway, she's in the hospital still."
"Actually, she was released three days ago. I'm at Mrs. Hardy's house."
"Great. Do me a favor, will you?"
"Sure. What?"
"Call Jason and get his people on her; they'll protect her from any Cassadine influence."
"Good thinking."
"I'll be in Port Charles in thirty minutes. Meet me at the airport then, OK?"
"OK. Bye."

"What did Nikolas want?" Elizabeth asked, walking into the room.
"I'm going to Greece in a half an hour."
"Chill out, I'm coming back. I just called Jason to get some guards on you."
"Why? I want to come with you."
"Why not?"
"Let's see. One, you were just released from the hospital. Two, my mother and sister have already been kidnapped and I don't really want you to be. Three, Nik and I will be going to Greece where the trigger-happy Stefan and Dad will be fighting. Four-"
"I get the point, Lucky." Elizabeth sighed. "Can I at least drive you to the airport?"
"I guess so." Elizabeth grinned and kissed Lucky on the cheek.
"Let me go get my keys!"

Lucky leaned back in his seat as the jet leveled off. He began to laugh.
"What?" Nikolas asked, glancing up from his laptop.
"I'm riding in the Cassadine jet on my way to Greece voluntarily," Lucky replied. Nikolas began to laugh.
"I really don't see what's so funny," a voice whispered in Lucky's ear. He flew out of his seat.
"Elizabeth!" he cried angrily.
"How the hell did you get on here?" Nikolas cried.
"I told the guards that Mrs. Cassadine was going to be very angry if they didn't let me on." She smiled. Lucky and Nikolas glanced at each other.
"What are we going to do now?" Lucky asked Nikolas, who sighed.
"There's nothing we can do now. For safety, we're going to have to take her with us-"
"For safety?! What are you nuts?" Lucky cried.
"Lucky, if we leave her here, who's going to protect her?" Nikolas reasoned.
"Excuse me, but don't talk about me like I'm not here!" Elizabeth exclaimed.
"You aren't supposed to be here!" Lucky exclaimed, turning to her.
"Well... I am. Deal with it."
"Fine. We need to get you up to speed," Lucky replied. "My mom and Ria have been kidnapped. Dad went after them, presumably to Greece. Stefan left for Greece about an hour ago. Dad left an hour before that."
"So, right now you think Stefan has them and Luke's gunning off as usual," Elizabeth concluded, sighing. "You know, you two have one screwed up little family."
"Speaking of our screwed up little family, Nikolas, man, what's the story on the paternity issue? Who knew?" Nikolas sighed sadly.
"Laura told Stefan to have a blood test done on me before she left the island. When he gave her the results, they said that he was the father. He told her that she should leave me with him because she couldn't protect me from Helena."
"So, what? The lab screwed up the results or-"
"He knew," Nikolas replied, the words like an epitaph on the grave of his former life.

Chapter Forty-Eight

Laura and Ria glanced at each other and rolled their eyes in unison as Helena and Stavros argued loudly. They settled back into the comfy chairs to watch the scene play out, as Laura and Stefan had done so many times on the island. Helena and Stavros' yelling matches were not something to be missed.
"Stavros, I do not care if I did allow you to marry her at one point! Nikolas will be infuriated at this, driving him further from the family!" They successfully tried not to laugh.
"She is my wife, Mother!" Ria sighed. Stavros was so damn repetitive in his arguments. It was like an intelligent person yelling at a broke record.
"She WAS your wife, boy! WAS! You are obviously not thinking clearly yet; you have not recovered completely-"
"I am fine!" Stavros cut off Helena. "I have been fine! I am furious that you allowed Stefan to raise Nikolas! How dare you-"
"How dare I? You kidnapped Nikolas' mother AGAIN! He will NEVER bring us back to the family inner fold! He will not trust you or me because of this!"
"She is my wife!"
"Oh, I beg to differ," Luke drawled, leaning against the marble staircase. Laura and Ria sat bolt upright; Laura was smiling. Ria had a look of horror on her face.
"You!" Stavros cried.
"Lord, Helena, can't your family even die properly? Ya don't have Mikkos thawing out in the kitchen do you?"
"Watch your mouth, Luke," Helena said coldly.
"I must agree with my mother for once, Spencer. As much as we all enjoy your sparkling commentary, why don't you just take your wife and child and go home?" Stefan asked, having come into the room a few moments earlier. Luke, Laura, and Ria stared at Stefan like he was a raving lunatic. Helena looked from Luke to Stefan to Ria, trying to compute the facts.
"Please tell me that Lucky Spencer is roaming the shore." Helena said. Luke glanced at his watch.
"Not yet, but give 'em a few more minutes."
"WHAT?!" Laura and Ria cried.
"I see." Helena spoke quietly. Stavros looked confused, wondering what the big deal was. "Who knew?"
"Not me!" Luke replied.
"I'm not a fool, Luke. I can see that. I was speaking to them." Helena gestured towards Stefan and Laura. "Did both of you know or just one?"
"Just one," Nikolas replied, walking calmly into the room and standing next to Luke, followed by Lucky and Elizabeth. He glanced around the room. His calm facade dropped as he caught sight of Stavros. A look of disgust, shock, and anger came to his face. "My God."

Chapter Forty-Nine
**NOTE: Before I go on, here's a brief general description of the room. Luke, Nikolas, Lucky, and Elizabeth are all standing next to the infamous marble staircase that Stefan won't shut up about. Directly across the room from them are Ria and Laura, sitting in two chairs in the living room type area. Diagonally, in the staircase's direction are Stavros and Helena, Stavros being closest to Ria and Laura. Stefan came in from a balcolny behind Laura and Ria and is now standing near Laura's chair. The entire room looks more like a museum than anything else, but I guess you have to find something to go with that marble staircase! :) **

"Who are you?" Stavros demanded, not having ever seen pictures of Nikolas since they were all sitting on the coffee table at Wyndemere. He thought the boys at least were Luke's children. They were related at least; he could see the resemblance. Nikolas gestured with his arm to silence Lucky and Elizabeth.
"That is not pertinent right now. We know who you are, Stavros Cassadine, and the rest does not matter." Lucky's eyes began to have the same look in them as Nikolas': hatred, shock, disgust, anger...
"That is Nikolas. Who, I am sure, is now aware of the newest truth about his past," Helena said.
"Nikolas? My son, Nikolas?" Stavros replied.
"No!" Nikolas replied angrily.
"Finish your statement, boy. You said just one knew. Which one? And look me in the eye when you speak to me. You may not be a Cassadine anymore, but you must at least treat elders with respect!" Helena commanded. Nikolas glanced at Stefan and Laura before looking Helena dead in the eye.
"Give me one damn good reason why I should betray either one for you."
"Not a Cassadine anymore? That is the Nikolas you had raised as my son!" Stavros cried, turning and walking angrily towards the chairs. He slapped Laura hard across the face. Ria had a gun in her hand within a second.
"I warned you, sweetheart," Ria said. Stavros grabbed a gun out of a Taggert-style holster that had been covered by his jacket. Ria held her gun steadily, aimed directly at him.
Without warning, Stavros turned towrds the staircase.
Two shots went off, one from each gun.
The smoke cleared.
Then Laura screamed.

Chapter Fifty

Ria didn't even have to look at him to know the truth. Stavros was dead, by her hand.
Laura was nearly hyperventilating; she hadn't made a sound since her single scream seconds earlier. She just stared in horror at the marble staircase, where four bodies were lying, at least one bleeding, two of them were her sons, and one was her husband. Stefan kept looking from his brother's corpse to the staircase to Ria. He couldn't believe what he had just seen.
Helena calmly walked over to her son and checked his pulse, reaffirming what everyone already knew. "He's dead," she announced.
All eyes turned to the staircase, wondering who Stavros' last victims were.

The scene played back in her mind in slow motion.
Ria's sharp words, a flash of metal...
Someone yelled "Get down!" although she couldn't say who.
She suddenly found herself face to face with the stairs; someone's arms around her as they kept her low to the ground.
Two loud noises in succession. Then a woman screamed.
Then it was over.
Elizabeth took a shaky breath and turned her head to the right just as Lucky looked down at her. He closed his eyes in relief, although she, not understanding what had happened, didn't know why. He slid off of her and glanced around before standing up and helping Elizabeth to her feet.
Helena, Stefan, Laura, and Ria just stared as though they were watching a play unfold before them.
"Lucky!" Elizabeth gasped, pointing to Nikolas and Luke, lying next to each other, blood everywhere. As if on cue, Nikolas shakily propped himself up.
He touched his shirt; it was wet; and his hand was covered with blood. He glanced up at Lucky and Elizabeth and shook his head, indicating that he wasn't hurt.
All three stared at Luke.
"No," Laura whispered.

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