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Chapter XII


Michael comes into the suite Bobbie shares with Stefan. "Grandma!" He goes racin' into Bobbie's room. Her bed is still made, unslept in. "Grandma?!" Michael goes back to the common room just as Bobbie is pulling on her robe and closing the other bedroom door.

Bobbie tries to make sense of her hair. "What do you need, Mr Man?"

Michael looks at the closed door. "Did Mr Stefan have a nightmare? Mama sleeps with me when I have a scary dream."

Bobbie smiles to cover her wince. "Right. What do you need, Mr Man?"

"I need somethin' for my list. I got the water, scrolls-- that's really old writing, caves and this castle called Masada. But Uncle Jason says I need something for Mama to do so she won't be bored."

"Michael, Your mother is never bored. She always finds something to do."

There is a rather undignified snort from behind Bobbie. Michael looks around Bobbie to see Stefan standing there. His robe loosely knotted low on his waist over his PJ bottoms. "Bath salts."

"What's that?" Michael looks to Bobbie.

"It's stuff ladies put in their bath to make the water smell nice and their skin soft." Bobbie explains.

"And they make that at the Dead Sea?"

"They get the salt from the Dead Sea." Stefan nods. "It's considered the finest in the world."

"KEWL!!" Michael goes racing out.

"A nightmare, Barbara?" Stefan smirks.

"It was the best option." Bobbie answers wryly. "He's a little on the young side to know what we were actually doing."

Stefan comes up behind her and starts nuzzling at her neck. "What we could still be doing."



Nik stretches out and comes fully awake when he realizes the space next to him is empty. "Gia?"

Gia calls out from the other room. "Yeah?"

Nik releases the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He grabs a robe and quickly belts it. "You're up early."

"Couldn't sleep." Gia is curled up in a chair and looking out the window to the sea. She leans back and Nik gives her a good morning kiss running the back of his hand over her cheek. "The sunrise was beautiful."

'You should have woke me." Nik pulls Gia to her feet and then steals her chair pulling her back down in his lap. "We could have watched it together."

Gia wraps her arm around Nik's shoulder. "I should get back to Port Charles. I've got some things I need to take care of before. I have to do that shoot for your mom. Are you going to try to have a private conversation with Stavros? Good Luck-- Now that Stefan is here."

"He did show up promptly, didn't he?" Nik grins slyly.

"What in the hell does he think you're going to do." Gia holds up a hand. "Wait! That's one I don't to know. Have you ever noticed that your uncle can spin a conspiracy theory as fast as Lucky's dad?"

"It has occurred to me." Nikolas glances down at his watch. "I think the best possibility would be down at the cove. My father seems to make a habit of spending time with Michael there in the mornings."

"Carly can't get out of bed before ten." Gia nods but then defends her sometime friend. "But that's cause she stays up until 2 or 3 in the morning. I'll run interference with Stefan if you want."

"Are you sure?"

"Just talk to the guy so we can get the hell out of here." Gia retorts.


Michael gathers his cove gear and stuffs a picture into it for the final needed item. Stringing it over his shoulder he goes off to Stavros' room. He knocks on the door. "You ready?"

Stavros hangs up the phone. "So what do you plan on building today."

"I'll show ya when we get there."

Stavros looks at him curiously. "You have a plan. Where is your Uncle Jason?"

"He was on the phone too. He said to go with you 'cause he needs to talk to Mama. But he is going to come down to the cove later. He's got business." Michael frowns. "That means he's leaving. He always leaves when he has business. Uncle Sonny too."

"Your mother told me as much last night." Stavros nods. "He has to return to Port Charles. I think my brother and your grandmother will be leaving soon as well. Soon it will be just you, me and your mother again."

"It was fun to make the sandcastle with Grandma yesterday."

"Did you see much of her back in Port Charles?"

"Not really." Michael shrugs. "She works all the time. At the hospital. She saves people's lives. Mama and me would see her when I had to go to the hospital for a check up."

"Mama and I." Stavros corrects absently. He takes Michael's castle building tools and holds it in one hand and takes Michael's hand in the other as they walk down the stairs.

"Right. That too."

At the base of the stairs they are met by Nikolas. "Room for one more on this project."

"I don't know." Stavros looks down at Michael. "You are in charge of today's project. Have we room for another pair of hands?"

Michael looks up at Nikolas. "Have you made sandcastles before?"

"It's been awhile." Nik says wryly.

"Okay." Michael holds out his free hand to Nikolas and starts tugging the both of them toward the cove. Nik and Stavros make eye contact over Michael's head. There is a silent communication of the need to talk. Sent and received.


Carly grimaces into the pillow and snorts. A hand comes up to brush away an irritant by her head. The irritant returns and she slaps out at it instinctively then turns over. One eye half opens. "Gees Jase." She smacks at him. "I didn't get to bed until 4 last night. Give me a break."

"I'm leaving today." Jason says quietly. "Michael already knows. After I talk to you then I'm going to the cove to say goodbye."

Carly sits up in bed. She slides back so she is resting against the headboard adjusting the pillow behind her. Jason is sitting next to her on the bed on top of the covers. He is already dressed in a tshirt and jeans. Clothes that would be much too hot for the island.... traveling clothes. "Jase, you don't have to go. You could just let things be. Let it shake out however it's going to. You don't have to have anything to do with it." Carly's voice has a pleading tone to it.

Jason quirks a brow. "You? You suggesting doing nothing? Where is my calendar?"

Carly swings out with a quick fist to his upper arm. "I don't want anything to happen to you. I feel like I just got my best friend back and I don't want to lose you."

Honest to the core, Jason doesn't correct her of the possibility. "Carly, it has to be handled now. Later could just be worse... and more dangerous for all of us."

"Tell me what I can do to help."

Jason shakes his head. "It's business. Take care of Michael." He leans over and gives Carly a kiss on the forehead.

Carly can't let it be at that and gives him a hug unwilling to let him go. "I love you."

"I love you too." Jason says wryly. Then he pries her arms away from him. "Change your bank account number. Sooner or later you and Cassadine's agenda aren't gonna mesh." Carly looks like she is going to protest. "Take care of Michael, Carly. That means planning for the shit you hope never goes down." Jason rises to his feet. He picks up the duffle he had sitting beside the bed. "I'll keep in touch."

"You better, Morgan. Or I'll hunt you down myself."

Jason laughs. "Yeah, I know." He leaves the room without looking back.

Carly hugs her knees and puts her head down. Suddenly it seems like a good time for a cry.


Michael starts piling sand up mounding it into a distinct shape. Stavros tilts his head to the side already having an inkling where this is going. "What are we building today?"

Michael reaches into his beach bag and pulls out the picture that had been the last thing to go in. "This."

Stavros takes it and then hands it to Nikolas. "Masada." Nikolas murmurs.

"Yeah, it's on the Dead Sea." Michael says significantly to Stavros. "I copied the picture off of the net. It's a really old for-tress." Michael stumbles over the unfamiliar word. "That's kinda like a castle right?"

"Is this one of your many?" Stavros asks him. Stavros takes the picture back and weights the edges so it won't blow away.

"I got the water, and there are so really old scrolls that are suppose to be really cool and they found these scrolls in a bunch of different caves where people were living and this Masada place. It's like you said yesterday. The people who built it made it really hard for anyone to get to it." Michael figures he's got the shape right and starts leveling the top off so that if forms something looking like a mesa. "And Mr Stefan says that Mama would really like the bath salts there that they are the bestest in the world."

"When did you talk to Stefan?" Nikolas asks.

Michael is focused on what he is doing and doesn't look up at Nikolas. "This morning. I was gonna ask Grandma but she slept over with Mr Stefan 'cause he had a scary dream last night. So he told me."

"He told you he had a nightmare." Stavros tries to hold back the chuckle. He knew putting Barbara in the same suite with his brother would bear fruit. Stefan is really so predictable.

"No, he told me about the bath salts." Michael runs over to look at the picture and then comes back to his mesa. With his tongue between his teeth he carefully traces out the diamond shaped layout of the fortress on the top of the mesa. And then he traces another diamond inside the first. "There is really two sets of walls. That's so the bad guys had to get thru both, right Stavros?"

"Yes, that makes sense." Stavros nods. A shadow falls across the project. Stavros looks up to where Jason is standing.

"Mr Man, can I talk to you a minute."

Michael stands up and brushes the sand off of himself. He already knows what is coming but that doesn't mean he likes it. "You're leaving." He says accusingly.

"Yeah. I have to go see Uncle Sonny. He needs me back in Port Charles."

"Then Mama and me will go too." Michael interjects.

Jason shakes his head. "Not this time, buddy." Jason puts a hand on Michael's shoulder. Together they walk a distance away from the sandcastle so they can have a private goodbye.

"Gia and I are leaving too." Nikolas says quietly. He hollows out inside the second diamond shape, continuing to work on the castle while he talks to Stavros.

"I suspected as much." Stavros says sadly. He sits back. "It was good to see you, son. And I meant what I said. You are always welcome here. You and Gia both. This is your home."

"Port Charles is my home." Nik corrects. "This is where I was born and lived for the first seventeen years of my life. I have friends, a job, a home of my own back in Port Charles. A life of my own which you know since you still have someone in Port Charles keeping an eye on things." Stavros lifts a brow at that. Nik explains. "The pictures in the study. They are more current than when you were in Port Charles."

Stavros nods. "You are my son. I had to make sure you were safe."

"I am... now. Safe and happy. I have everything I want. Especially since you are taking back the estate and I have no intention of being any part of it."

"That is what you want?" Stavros says softly. Nik nods. "Then so be it. When you change your mind let me know."

"I won't change my mind." Nik says confidently.


A couple of hours later at the private runway on the island. Carly gives Bobbie a hug. "You've got all my numbers to get hold of me right?"

"And you mine." Bobbie reminds. She hugs Carly close and whispers in her ear. "Be careful. Be very careful. And if you need me call."

"I'm fine." Carly shrugs off Bobbie's concerns. "I'm more worried about you." Carly glances over at Stefan who is supervising the storage of the luggage onto the Cassadine jet. "Once wasn't bad enough? Luke is gonna shit."

"I have no idea what you are talking about." Bobbie stonewalls. "Call once in awhile." Bobbie insists and then with a glance over her shoulder she boards the plane.

Carly goes over to Gia. Nikolas is doing his public farewell to Stavros. "So what are you going to do?"

"Play it by ear." Gia sighs. "Don't worry I won't tell anyone what you are up to."

"If she finds out she finds out." Carly shrugs. "I don't care if she sees me coming. It's more courtesy than she ever gave me. She should have known when she went along with Sonny's scheme that I wouldn't go quiet. If she didn't then that just proves how stupid she is."

Gia winces. "That's Nik's mother remember."

"Tell you what. I'll remember when she does."

Gia glances over at Nik. "Yeah. Take care, Carly. Try not to burn down any buildings... especially if I happen to be in them at the time. Where is Jason anyway?"

"He already left the way he came." Carly says softly. "Gia... I know I have no right to ask but..."

"If I hear anything I'll let you know."

"Thanks. I know the guys won't tell me anything. I need to know what is going on."

"We don't travel in the same circles but I'll keep my ears open."

Nik walks over to Gia and Carly in time to hear the last. "Ears open for what?"

"Whatever AJ is planning." Gia covers. She is about to step onto the plane and pauses. "You know with Stavros' big deal about divorce why doesn't he think you're married to AJ rather than Sonny? You were married to AJ first."

Stavros comes up behind Carly and rests his hand on her shoulder. "One problem at a time." His slow smile sends a shiver up Gia's spine. She turns and goes onto the plane. "Be well, Nikolas."

"You too, Father." Nikolas nods as he goes up the stairs.

Stefan is the last to board. He looks at Carly and Stavros. "I don't know what to say to you." Stefan admits.

"Be well, brother." Stavros says finally.

Stefan nods. "Be well." Stefan boards the plane and the on board staff shut the door behind him.

Carly and Stavros move back to one of the jeeps that is well off the runway. And Stavros adds to his final farewell to Stefan. "And may you live in interesting times."

"Isn't that some kind of ancient chinese curse?" Carly muses as she waves to the plane.

"Yes. Come we have things to do."

Carly climbs into the back of the jeep. Stavros takes the front passenger beside the driver. "What kind of things? Did you have enough time?"

"It was sufficient." Stavros says confidently. The engines start up on the jet and they watch as it turns around and begins taxiing down the runway and smoothly lifts off. "My brother and son will find things much changed when they return to their home."

"You going to fill me in?"

"Depends. Are you going to fill me in on what you are going to do regarding your husband and Morgan?"

Carly puts her hand on Stavros shoulder. "I'm so glad you asked. 'Cause I'm going to need your help... but Jason has to know it's all me so he won't come back on you."

"I'm liking the sound of it already." Stavros takes Carly's hand and presses a kiss to the back of it. "But I also think we should take the phone off the hook for a few days."

"Chicken." Carly teases. "You just know they are going to freak."

"Perhaps a quick jaunt to the Dead Sea. What is a cosmetic company without a bath line?" Stavros tempts.

"How about a quick jaunt to the Dead Sea?" Carly counters. "You can add another castle to your collection. You ever think that maybe if you weren't being groomed to take over the world that you might have been aces as an architect? You do seem to love buildings."


Both Bobbie and Gia exhale sharply once they are in the air. The weight of the island lifted from them. Bobbie glances over at Gia and shakes her head ruefully. "Well that was a first and last for me." Gia gives her a thumbs up in agreement.

"It wasn't that bad." Nik protests.

Gia snorts. "Sorry I'm just a little leery of any place where women get locked up with little chance of escape. Give me the good ole USA any day of the week."

Stefan puts down the phone. "That's odd."

"What?" Nik asks.

"I was trying to call your aunt and tell her our ETA-- but was unable to get thru." Stefan uses the phone as an intercom to the pilot to ask his question and then hangs up. "The pilot says there is solar flare activity that is interfering with communications."

Nik shrugs. "So we'll get to surprise her."

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