Author: aethra PM
NiCo. A different take on Courtney's disappearance.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Courtney M. & Nikolas C. - Chapters: 13 - Words: 23,332 - Reviews: 48 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 08-10-08 - Published: 02-24-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2816276
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"Mr. Cassadine.""Yes, Alfred," Nikolas looked up from his correspondence at the intrusion. "Is my son awake?" he asked, guessing the most likely cause of the interruption. Since the moment his son was brought home Nikolas had left standing instructions to interrupt whatever he was doing when the baby woke up. For the moment business was addressed only while his son slept.
"No, sir," Alfred denied quietly. "There is someone here to see you." He hesitated for a moment before continuing. "He claims to be an agent from Interpol."
"Interpol?" Nikolas maintained a carefully neutral expression as he leaned back in his chair. "By all means, show him in," he said.
"Mr. Cassadine," the man who followed Alfred into the study a few minutes later looked tired, he had come here directly from the airport, and it had beenn a long flight from Athens.
"Good evening, Officer -?" Nikolas stood up to shake hands with his visitor.
"Petersen," the other man supplied.
"Officer Petersen," Nikolas acknowledged. "What can I do for you?"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Cassadine; I'm afraid I must be the bearer of bad news." Petersen replied. "There has been an incident at your home in Greece."
"An incident?" Nikolas repeated, his apparent curiosity conveyed only by a lifted brow.
"With your grandmother."
"My grandmother," Nikolas sighed. "What has Helena done now?"
"She's dead." The words were blunt and to the point, intended to shock some reaction out of Nikolas that would give the investigator a clue about whether Nikolas was responsible for the death.
"Ahh . . ." Nikolas let out a slow breath as he sank back into his chair.
"Murdered." The inspector added still watching Nikolas carefully.
Nikolas nodded his acknowledgement of the words and was silent for a moment before replying. "My grandmother had a great many enemies."
"If you're concerned about retribution," he continued noticing the intense way the Inspector observed him, "don't be. I won't be avenging my grandmother's death. Helena may have been my grandmother but there was no love lost between us."
When the expression on Petersen's face became only more intense, Nikolas knew that his admission came as no surprise.
"Ah, I see," he concluded. "You were aware of that."
Petersen nodded but still didn't speak.
"You aren't here to inform me of my loss," he surmised. "You are here to question me about my grandmother's murder."
"Well, I will not deny that whoever killed Helena did me a tremendous favor; however, it was one that I neither asked for nor appreciate."
"You didn't want your grandmother dead, then?" the Inspector asked.
"Of course I wished her dead," Nikolas acknowledged bitterly. "I only regret that her killer robbed me of the opportunity to handle her myself."
Nikolas's smile was chilling and his eyes burned brightly as he regarded the officer investigating Helena's murder. "How did my grandmother die?" he asked after a moment. He leaned forward just far enough to encroach on the other man's personal space and make him a little more uncomfortable. "Tell me, did she suffer?"
"It . . ." the Inspector hesitated, unsure of how to best respond. "Actually, it appears to have been quick. Two shots to the chest from a revolver, small caliber." He was a little sickened by the disappointment he saw in the face of the Cassadine prince, but he forged on determined to learn as much as he could. "One thing though, that was a little strange," he said. "Maybe you can explain it to me."
"I'll try," Nikolas agreed.
"Any idea why the shooter would have used silver bullets?"
"Silver bullets?" Nikolas repeated his smile returning. "Someone who knew her then."
"So, you recognize some significance in the choice. Anything you care to share?"
Nikolas laughed out loud this time. "Only that silver is a symbol of purity and protection against evil. According to legend creatures of the night can only be killed by pure silver – werewolves, vampires, that sort of thing. Kill them with something else and they'll rise again, but silver's like poison to the undead. And Helena, all the Cassadines really, but especially Helena, are famous for their tendency to rise from the dead. My own father, for instance, reappeared suddenly right here in Port Charles after having been dead for more than twenty years. And his body has never actually been found. So, who knows?"
Acknowledging to himself that he was suddenly frightened of this young man, Petersen nevertheless brought them back on track. "I need to ask where you were three days ago," he said.
"You may ask," Nikolas granted waiting a moment to watch the investigator's reaction before he relented. "Three days ago?" he confirmed the date with a slight smile. "Is that when my grandmother was killed? I was in Russia; I went there to retrieve my son."
"I'm sure that before you were dispatched to Port Charles you were informed of our recent family incident, my son's kidnapping?"
"I was informed," the Inspector acknowledged. "I understood that you believed your grandmother to be responsible."
"My grandmother was responsible," Nikolas's voice was firm.
"And yet you expect me to believe that you went to Russia when you must have known your grandmother was in Greece."
"My grandmother was responsible," Nikolas repeated, "but I wanted my son back more than I wanted revenge for what she'd done."
"And the child was in Russia?" the disbelief was evident in Petersen's expression.
"Of course," Nikolas affirmed. "Helena had no interest in raising an infant. Having taken him from me to insure that I would not corrupt my son with my weak emotions, she found a 'suitable' family to foster him until he was old enough to begin training properly. She would have taken him back when he was about four and taken over his instruction then. She would have molded him in my father's image, a sociopath of the first order. I couldn't let that happen."
"A 'suitable' family, Inspector, could only mean one thing - Cassadines. So when I discovered what my grandmother had done I went to the family myself. I put out the word that the child was mine and my cousins contacted me within hours. I flew to Russia immediately."
The story was rehearsed, Petersen knew it in his gut, but it was plausible. And something told him that it would check out, that if he caught the next flight to Russia and started asking questions he would find dozens of Cassadines who remembered getting phone calls from the Prince, and one family that would probably be able to show him an empty nursery which they would swear had recently housed the stolen infant.
"Why take Luke Spencer with you if you weren't planning to kill your grandmother?" he pushed on despite the fact that he had already given this case up as a lost cause; Helena's murder would undoubtedly go unsolved. "The animosity between you is well known, as is his history of violence towards your family."
"Luke hates Cassadines, and he's killed more than one member of my family." Nikolas agreed. "That's why I asked him to come with me. I wanted to make a statement that my family would understand."
He smiled. "There is no one in the world who makes a statement quite like Luke Spencer, and my publicly allying myself with my father's murderer . . . No one doubts now that I will do whatever is necessary to protect my son."
"I certainly don't doubt it," the acknowledgment was quiet. Petersen wondered if this cold young man had actually killed his grandmother himself or had asked someone else to do it, perhaps Luke Spencer.
"Your son," Petersen asked suddenly, "what's his name?"
"He needs a name," Nikolas reminded Courtney as he watched her hold the baby. He had returned to the hospital before visiting hours technically started but the nurse had taken pity on them, or perhaps been unnerved by the way he lurked outside Courtney's door and permitted them early entry.
"Helena, she called him Stavros, but I don't want to name him for my father."
"I know," Courtney said again.
"Do you, what did you want to call him?" Nikolas stumbled over the question. "Isn't that what pregnant women do, debate over names."
"Women who think they're going to get to name their babies, sure. I didn't really think I would have any say in it. Helena was pretty honest on the whole leaving me to die front, so I didn't really plan ahead," Courtney reminded him.
Nikolas winced, unsure of how to respond, but positive that another apology from him for his grandmother's evil wouldn't be helpful at this point. "I'm sorry," he heard himself say the words again anyway.
"It's not your fault," Courtney acknowledged, more forgiving this morning than she had been the night before.
"Helena debated names," she continued. "Every day while I was pregnant, Helena would come and visit me, well visit the baby, really. And I heard her debating names: Stavros, Mikkos, Alexander - names fit for prince, she said. And I hated them, I hated all of her names because they weren't names for my little boy, they were names for her prince."
"I just - just when I was alone, I called him Joe. It wasn't really that I wanted to name him that - it was really just that I knew she would hate it. It's too . . . ordinary, too American. Certainly not a name for her precious heir."
'Joe' Nikolas was repeating the name in his mind when Courtney continued. "But he's not . . . He's not some heir, Nikolas. He's just a baby. He's our baby, Nikolas, not her heir.
"Joseph Spencer Cassadine, his name is Joseph Spencer Cassadine."
"And now, Inspector Petersen. I believe I have answered all the questions I intend to tonight. If you have any further requests you know where you can find me. I hope that you will keep me apprised of any developments in your investigation."
"Of course," Petersen acknowledged, knowing that he wouldn't be getting anything else from the Prince that night, or any night.