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Chapter XIV

Stand in Line


Lucky pulls up to the cottage. With efficient skill he turns off the engine while setting the emergency brake of the old tempermental truck. Lucky climbs out of the cab and knocks on the door of the cottage. "WAKEY, WAKEY!!!"

"You are such a pain." Nik grimaces as he answers the door. He is wrapped in a blanket. He'd given his jacket to Gia to keep her warm in the frosty chill of the cottage.

"Hey, you were the one that called me." Lucky reminds. "Something about needing to get jumped." Lucky smirks at his older brother.

"Ha, ha, ha. You're a live riot." Gia says from infront of the fire. She'd been up and dressed since Nik called Lucky to come over to the cottage.

"Ah correction--" Lucky pauses for effect. "You need to get your car jumped."

"Did you bring coffee?" Gia ignores Lucky's 12 year old sense of humor.

"Just mine." Lucky holds up his travel mug.

Before he can say anything or pull it back to him. Gia sweeps down on him and steals it out of his hand. "Thanks."

"Damn. She's fast. I didn't think anyone could move that fast. Give that back."

"I need it more than you do." Gia hugs the mug to her. "Believe me you don't want to be around me if you take this back." She threatens making a mock snarly face.

"I'll buy you breakfast at Kelly's, Lucky." Nik interjects. "You'll get your coffee mug back then.

"So I thought you guys were living on the yacht?" Not that Lucky ever went to visit them there. Too many bad memories.

Gia starts laughing. "Not any more."

"The yacht is evidently part of the Cassadine Estate." Nik says wryly.

"And you're the prince? So?"

"I told Stavros I wanted nothing to do with the Estate."

"And he took back the yacht? How? Is he in town?" Lucky worries.

"He doesn't have to be." Nik answers. "I'll explain it all on the way." Nik goes over to the fireplace and sets the screen so there is no danger of embers escaping into the cottage. "Come on. I need some coffee too."

"And a real shower." Gia suggests wistfully.

"Lucky, you still have privileges at Kelly's?"

"Yeah, I still have a room there."

"Will that work?" Nik asks Gia.

"It'll do. You guys get the car started. I'll borrow Lucky's room. We'll meet down in the diner for breakfast."

Lucky shrugs. "Sounds like a plan." He holds the door open for Nik and Gia. "You know mom is going to freak about Stavros and you going to see him."


"Mr Jacks!" Mrs Lansbury hates when she ends up nipping at the heels of uninvited guests.

"It's okay, Mrs Lansbury. I was expected Mr Jacks." Stefan rises to hhis feet.

"Where is she?" Jax demands cutting to the chase.

"Did you bring the note." Jax throws it down on the table. Stefan winces as he reads it.

"Where is she?"

Stefan shakes his head. "I have no idea."

"You were just meeting with your brother!" Jax goes right for the you're lying and covering for your undead devil spawn of a brother posture.

Bobbie comes down the stairs. "Yes, we were. But Stavros isn't there any more and he isn't answering the phone. Believe me. We tried to call him last night. Both before and after you got in touch with Stefan."

"Bobbie. What are you doing here?"

"A question I've been asking myself for the last few days." Bobbie mutters. "I went to see Stavros with Stefan. Since everyone was convinced that Carly was with him."

"And we were right, weren't we?" Jax says smugly.

"Oh yeah."

"It's an... unfortunate alliance." Stefan replies. "As I indicated to Alexis when I called her."

"Carly's doing the same thing for Stavros that she did for Jason after Sonny left the first time." Bobbie goes over to the silver coffee service and pours a cup for Jax and then one for herself. She goes over to the dining room table and takes a seat. "Teaching him.. normal."

"Normal. Your daughter." Jax snorts.

Bobbie stiffens and her voice is cold. "It's a matter of degree and yes, Carly is closer to normal than Stavros could ever be. And since she's trying to get him over his whole kill, kill, kill take over the world attitude.... I suggest you take that smirk out of your tone when you talk about her."

"Barbara, Stavros is placating Caroline while he toys with the rest of us." Stefan explains.

"You walked out of your meeting with Stavros. How likely was that before?" Bobbie counters.

"This is all very interesting but where the hell is Alexis?!" Jax finally explodes trying to get back to the subject at hand.

Stefan shakes his head. "I have no idea. I checked after you called. The Cassadine Jet left again after it dropped us off. She could be anywhere."

"Anywhere but the Dead Sea." Bobbie disagrees.

Stefan considers that. "True. He wouldn't want Alexis anywhere around Caroline or Michael. Since he is trying to maintain his facade around them. And he wouldn't want to cut short his... vacation."

"He's on vacation." Jax grinds his teeth.

"It's more of a field trip. Michael wanted to go." Bobbie explains and then winces. It had been awhile since she thought like a Cassadine. The last time had been while she'd been really married to Stefan and they'd talked about going to Switzerland to take Lucas skiing for the weekend. "Stefan, how long do you think they'll be at the Dead Sea?"

"Three, four days." Stefan's eyes narrow. "Perhaps a week. Stavros might contact you before then." Stefan nods toward Jax. "But it is unlikely we will be able to contact them before that time frame expires."

"So you think this is about me." Jax catches.

Stefan holds up the note. "Don't you?" He reads the front of it. "Natasha Cassadine Jacks."

"That sonovabitch." Bobbie mutters. "Sorry. First I'd heard that part."

"What are you thinking, Bobbie?" So far Stefan hadn't been much help.

"Stavros takes that whole Cassadine's don't divorce thing to a ridiculous degree. I couldn't tell how much he was playing and how much was serious. But he's really having a good time with it. How did Stavros grab Alexis? I thought Sonny still had guards on her?" Jax growls his response. "Nevermind. I'll find out." Bobbie sighs.

"How is Kristina?" Stefan asks.

"Scared for her sister. But I've got her stashed in a safe place. I'm more worried about Alexis and it's really starting to tick me off that you aren't."

Stefan straightens. "I am concerned for my sister. But I have been considering the problem since you called last night. The Cassadines have holdings all over the world. Alexis could be at any one of them. You couldn't examine all the holdings within a week, hell within months. Stavros will contact you long before you could possiblely find Alexis."

"Stavros wants you to sweat. It's what he was doing with Stefan-- toying with him wondering what was going to happen next." Bobbie nods. She holds up two fingers. "Stavros would be in one of two places... the compound or at the Dead Sea. It's a safe bet, Alexis is in neither of those places."

Stefan winces at Barbara's characterization of him being sweated. "And if you confront Stavros because he would be easier to find than Alexis... the outcome would be unfortunate for you and for my sister. You lack information. The only thing we can do is wait until Stavros contacts you."

"That may be all you can do." Jax threatens. Then he turns away and stalks out of Wyndemere.

Stefan watches him leave. "Barbara, I suggest you keep trying to get hold of Caroline."

"I have been. I tried before I came downstairs. It's still set on voice mail. Stefan, what do you think... What would Stavros do to Alexis."

Stefan answers absently stroking his beard. "Stavros hates Alexis. He always has. His cruelty only escalated after our father's death. While Stavros had little use for me; he was active in his persecution of Alexis. It was one of the reasons I got her off the island as soon as I could. She was safer in boarding school. Not that she was out of Stavros' reach just that when she wasn't around he occupied himself with other things."

"Like kidnapping Laura." Bobbie mutters. She picks up the note again and reads it. "What does Alexis have to account for?"

Stefan half laughs but there is no humor. "Her existence. Barbara, I will be in my... in the study."

"In your study. I'm not living here, Stefan. As soon as Lucas comes down... well after breakfast. We'll be going back to the brownstone. I told your brother on the island that I wouldn't play his games. And I won't." Bobbie goes up the stairs to check on Lucas.

"You might have little choice." Stefan answers in a low tone talking to himself. "Neither of us do."


Lucky and Nikolas both have togo cups of coffee and lean over their respective vehicles. Lucky connects the jumper cables and then leaning over his engine gives it a little goose. The old engine roars in response. They let the connection run for awhile before attempting to start the jag and make conversation to kill time. "Mom is going to freak. Hell Dad will be on the first plane out of here. He thought for sure Stavros was dead this time. Really dead."

"Guess the bottomless pit wasn't as bottomless as everyone thought."

"Bottomless is a stupid concept... what the hell? Does that mean you end up in the firey core of the world? Or wind up in China?"

"Or wind up a greek island building sandcastles with your cousin's son." Nikolas says wryly.

Lucky straightens. "Carly is with him? You're kidding right? Carly is with him?!"

"Yeah, has been for months. Evidently a semi-positive influence-- Father went after Helena first before starting on everyone else."

Shaking his head in disbelief, Lucky tries to get his mind around it. "How in the hell did those two connect?"

"Lucien Caine. He made contact with both Carly and Gia under his alias. She knows who he is and is up to her ears in whatever he's doing. Hell she answers his phone and doesn't go anywhere without a laptop that has all of their plans on it. I got a look at the laptop but couldn't figure out what they were up to. Needed you about then. Although Stefan checked too and couldn't figure what they are up to."

Lucky winces. "Really not good. Carly doesn't think the way other people do. Look what she did at Deception... locking mom on the roof while she made her big announcement about the Face. Mom could have frozen to death up there."

"Lets not get into freezing." Nik stomps his foot trying to restore circulation. "And it's such a joke... Carly doesn't think like others do... she thinks like a Spencer. So what do you think she is up to?"

"I don't know Carly." Lucky shakes his head. "Okay so I know she got me hired at Deception as a photographer. But that was really about getting over on Mom and set up a battle between us about Elizabeth and Gia. Which worked. Sandcastles?"

"Yeah, my clue as to where they were. Bobbie has been getting pictures from Carly... to let her know they were okay. One of the pictures was of a sandcastle Michael built... in the cove back home. I recognized it right off. I didn't want to tell Mother before I'd checked it out for myself." Nikolas nods. "Every day... Stavros goes down to the cove with Michael and builds sandcastles, swims, goes sailing."

Lucky shakes his head. "The scourge of the western world is building sandcastles. I'm having a tough time picturing it. What is he up to? What the hell is Carly thinking?"

"He says
he is reclaiming the Cassadine Estate."

"Where does Mom fit in to his plans?"

Nikolas exhales. His breathe frosty and visible. Nik shakes his head. "I don't know. He was making a big deal about Cassadine's not divorcing but he seemed... happy with Carly." Nik shrugs. "Stefan probably has a better guess."

"We have to warn Mom."

"Yeah, but I really don't want to get into it around Luke because I know how he is going to react. Lucky, he went after Helena. She's broke. She called Stefan collect for goodness sake. I never would have expected that one. They were always a team. Maybe he's changed." Nikolas says hopefully.

Lucky snorts. "Right. Come on. I think the jag is ready to go." Lucky glances down at his watch. "Mom should be in the office by now. Lets go."

"I want to pick up Gia. She was there and she talked with Carly more than I did. She might have a different take."

"Meet you at Kelly's." Lucky disconnects the cables.

Bobbie waits until Lucas has finished his breakfast. "You are in big trouble, buddy."

"Me? Why?"

"How could you go off with someone you didn't know? Damn it, Lucas you could have been kidnapped. Remember that whole stranger danger thing we talk about? You never go with someone you don't know. You don't get in their car. You sure as hell never go on sleep overs! Not when you haven't talked to me, or your dad. I had no idea where you were when I went home last night."

"But... but... You were with Nikolas and uncle. You and Stefan are back together. We're going to be a family."

"No. Stefan and I are divorced. Your dad and I aren't going to get back together. And I'm not going to get back together with Stefan."

"You got back together with Roy." Lucas says accusingly.

"And it was a big mistake. Everything that was wrong before was still wrong. Same thing with Stefan. Everything that was wrong before... the reasons why I left him before are still true."

"It's not fair! You always mess everything up. Always!" Lucas screams, tears running down his face. He pushes back from the table and goes racing out of the room.

Bobbie stands up to go after Lucas but Stefan who'd heard the whole conversation from the doorway blocks her path. "Let me talk to him."

"I'm going to kill your brother." Bobbie threatens. She wipes at her own tears.

"Stand in line." Stefan says grimly. He follows Lucas out toward the stables.

Bobbie picks up the phone. She listens to Carly's too cheerful voice on the recording. It is really starting to grate on her. "Carly. Call me as soon as you get this. Stavros wants to play his games with adults... fine. But he's messing with Lucas' head and I won't have it. I'll kill him first."

Out in the stables. Stefan follows the sound of muffled sobs. He looks over into one of the stalls. Lucas is there hugging a pony and crying into it's neck. "Lucas."

"Go away." Lucas' voice is muffled against Thunder.


"Why not?" Lucas turns around. His eyes are red and furious. "You always go away. You all do. Dad, You, Jerry, Roy. You all go away. That's what you do. I don't care. I hate you. I hate you all!"

Stefan recoils. It hits him for the first time the true cost of his Timoria. "Lucas. I'm sorry. It was never my intention... I wish..."

"Yeah, right." Lucas wipes at his eyes with his sleeve. "Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which fills first."

Wincing at the vulgarity. "I hope you don't talk like that around your mother."

"What do you care? You aren't married to her. You left us. We were suppose to be a family." Not being able to have a cry in peace, Lucas decides to make a run for it. He tries to slip under Stefan's arm and get away. Stefan grabs him and picking him up hugs Lucas close. Holding him until Lucas stops kicking and hitting at him and just sobs in Stefan's shoulder. "It's not fair. It's not fair."

"I know. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Lucas."

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