Author: Emeraldax PM
[Completed] Ensemble fic beginning right before Greg Madden dies on the show. Zach, Kendall, Ryan, Greenlee, Greg, and others, including three significant Returns From The Dead.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Adventure - Chapters: 25 - Words: 66,906 - Reviews: 52 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 06-13-07 - Published: 07-21-06 - id: 3058142
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Greenlee stared down at Leo, who was sleeping peacefully. Just a couple of days ago she thought he was a stranger named Max. A stranger that she had felt drawn to. In hindsight she realized she knew all along that he was her lost husband. Every time the truth was thrust into her lap she had shoved it away, unable to deal with the implications. She, Greenlee, was once again faced with a husband who had abandoned her. Pretended to be dead. That something so freaky, so fantastical could happen to her twice…
It was all so stupid, really. Ryan faked his death because he couldn't deal with the idea of being a parent. He thought he would transform into a monster. In the end he became a father anyway, and was bursting with pride and anticipation. If only she had gotten such a reaction from him a year ago.
Greenlee sighed. David said Leo faked his death because Vanessa threatened to come after her if he didn't go along with Chris's proposal. Well, Leo might have removed the immediate danger that Vanessa posed, but that didn't mean she'd remained safe and protected ever after. There was that stupid cave she fell into, then Jonathan poisoning her so that she almost took a swan dive off a building. When that didn't work, he held her at gunpoint in yet another cave. Then there were her most recent travails with Psycho Doc.
So what did it all come to in the end? Her heart had been crushed twice and she didn't even get the cold comfort of it being for the greater good. At least, that was what Cynical Greenlee would say – the same Greenlee that had taken more than enough and walked out eight months ago, planning to never look back. What a lonely, desolate Greenlee that had been. She wrapped her arms around herself, shivering at what she had almost become. "Are you cold?"
Startled, Greenlee looked up and saw that Leo's eyes were open. She instantly relaxed. The face was still unfamiliar, but those eyes…those eyes were pure Leo. "Never mind me, I'm fine. How are you? Are you comfortable? In pain?"
A smile teased his lips. "I've never felt better in my life." Greenlee felt goose bumps as she realized that the smile was pure Leo, too. How had she missed that before?
She sighed and leaned forward, resting her cheek against his hand. "The doctor says you're going to make a full recovery." She raised her eyebrows. "As long as you don't do something stupid."
He chuckled slightly, then winced. "So I got about a 50/50 chance." She balled her fist and shook it threateningly at him. He quickly changed the subject. "How's your baby?"
She lowered her fist, a beautiful smile lighting her face. "He's magnificent. Right now he's taking a nap in grandpa's arms. "
Leo shook his head. "It's still hard to believe that Jackson Montgomery is your father. I remember when I read about Erica Kane's wedding crashed by the groom's long lost daughter - one Greenlee Smythe."
Greenlee smiled sheepishly. "I guess it hasn't been too hard to keep up with what's going on with me. I always seem to make headlines." She bit her lip. "Where were you when you read about that particular scandal?"
Leo's eyes filled with sadness. "I was in Tokyo. Vanessa was romancing a Japanese businessman that was creating nasty viruses in a lab. My job was to flirt with the man's wife, who was very bored and full of interesting information."
"Did you get the goods on him?"
He nodded. "We found his lab and destroyed everything. Chris ended up shooting him when he went after Vanessa with a knife."
Greenlee shook her head. "Chris saved her life? He really does have poor judgment." She reached out and fingered a lock of his hair. "So all this time you were out there making the world a better place."
He gazed at her. "It didn't feel like a better place. Not without you beside me." Her eyes filled with tears. He reached out and touched one of the drops cascading onto her cheek. "I'm so sorry I hurt you, Greenlee. I realize now that it was a horrible mistake. At the time I was so terrified that Vanessa would get to you."
She put her hand over his, pressing it to her cheek. "I know, Leo. Believe me, I know all about good intentions and the path to hell."
They stared at each other for a few moments, then Leo cleared his throat. "So, now that I'm retiring from the spy business, do you think Bianca would give me a job at Cambias?"
Greenlee raised her eyebrows. "Bianca would do anything for you, and you know it. But really, it's Ryan that you need to ask because he runs the Pine Valley office. I'm sure he'd be more than happy to give you a job there."
Leo shook his head. "No, Bianca's the right person to go to for the Paris branch."
Greenlee sat back, frowning. "You're staying in Paris?"
"Isn't that for the best? I've hurt you enough, Greenlee. Besides, I don't know if I can watch from the sidelines while you and Ryan raise your son."
Greenlee dropped his hand and stood up, taking a step back. "I don't believe this. Are you really that much of a coward?"
Leo blinked. "Coward? What are you talking about? I'm trying to be noble."
Greenlee looked skyward. "Noble? You think it's noble to run away from a challenge? Sure, it would be unconventional, but even Zach Slater was willing to go along with it and you know how much of a control freak he is."
Leo frowned. "Zach Slater? What does he have to do with this?"
"Well, he doesn't have anything to do with us, but when everyone thought Spike was Ryan's child, he was okay with Kendall and Ryan sharing custody of him. She told me that he didn't feel threatened by the arrangement."
"Of course he didn't feel threatened, because Kendall and Zach are married. She told me all about the blackout and how she forgave him for betraying her. If she hadn't, I don't think he would have stayed in town. I doubt he would have stuck around to watch her and Ryan make a family together."
Greenlee held her hands up. "Wait a minute, wait a minute. You think that I don't forgive you? You think I'm going to get back together with Ryan because he's the father of my baby?"
"I think that you would be justified not to forgive me. You left Pine Valley last year because too many people had betrayed you."
"And look how well that turned out for me. You saw how pathetic and miserable I was in Paris, facing the prospect of raising my baby alone."
"I remember, Greens. That's why you made the decision to go back to Pine Valley. To get back together with Ryan."
Greenlee sat down. "I was going back to Pine Valley so that my son could have his father in his life. It's possible I would have gotten back together with Ryan. I loved him once and I could have loved him again."
"Could have? You can't now?"
"Leo, after all that we've been through, don't you know by now that you have my whole heart?"
"But I broke it, Greenlee. I..."
She put her hand over his mouth. "Yes, you did break my heart. But you still hold all the pieces. Sure, I could say that you've hurt me too badly and I never want to see you again. But wherever you went in the world, you would still be holding those pieces of my heart. It's the lesson I learned when I left Pine Valley and the people I loved." She traced her fingers over his cheek. "As painful as it is to work on mending a heart, it's still better than forsaking it altogether."
He stared at her wonderingly. "I don't believe it. Motherhood has turned you into a softie."
She rose from her chair again, and the fingers that had been tracing his cheek shifted to his ear, squeezing together into a pinch. As he scrunched his face in pain, she lowered her face to his, growling, "Don't ever make the mistake of thinking I've lost my edge, buster." She loosened her grip and whispered, "I love you, Leo. Please say that you'll finally come home."
He slipped his hand behind her neck, tangling his fingers in her hair. "I promise, Greenlee." He pulled her head down gently, pressing her lips to his.
Kendall gave her sister one last hug, then climbed aboard the jet. Zach and Ryan were talking, Spike's infant carrier on the seat in between them. Ryan was making funny faces at the baby and it was hard to tell whether Spike was amused by his antics. Kendall leaned over and softly brushed her lips against Spike's forehead, then tucked his blanket a little tighter around him. She looked around. "This is the first time I've been aboard the Seasons jet. Very nice."
Zach smiled. "The high rollers seem to like it. I managed to piss off a couple of them when I had it rerouted to Paris."
Kendall waved her hand. "Too bad for them! After all that I've been through, there was no way I was going to fight my way through security and customs and other passengers giving me dirty looks because I dared to bring a baby on board."
Ryan chuckled. "I could have lent you the Cambias jet."
Zach shook his head. "It was better this way. It left you with the chance to offer it to Tad and Dixie instead. That was very generous of you."
Ryan shrugged. "They've got a rough road ahead of them. As hard as it was getting the names of the adoptive parents, the next step will be much harder."
Zach stood up. "That reminds me, I want to go say goodbye to Dixie." He hugged Kendall, tangling his fingers in her abundant hair. "I'll be back soon," he growled into her neck.
"You better," she whispered.
When Zach had disembarked, Kendall gave Ryan a speculative look. "So when the Cambias jet drops them off in Berlin, will it come back here?" Ryan nodded. "And then what will be its next destination?"
Ryan gave her a look that said he knew she was on a fishing expedition. "Pine Valley, of course. Some of us have been away from home long enough."
"So Greenlee and the baby are coming back with you?"
Ryan nodded slowly. "And Leo. We're not making the journey until he's recovered enough to fly."
Kendall gave him a sympathetic look. "I know this is hard for you."
Ryan held up his hand. "Don't, Kendall. Don't feel sorry for me. Yes it's hard, but… Greenlee has been through so much. And Leo is my best friend. I know what he went through; I've been down that road. But for him it dragged out for years. If anyone deserves a happy ending, it's him.
Kendall sat down, reaching her hand out to caress Spike's forehead. "What about your happy ending?"
Ryan smiled. "I have a good life, Kendall. Running Cambias is an exciting challenge I look forward to every day. I have a new son to watch grow up." He looked down at Spike. "I hope I can watch this one grow up, too. He has a special place in my heart."
Kendall tilted her head. "Of course you will. You won't have a choice – he and your son will be inseparable."
Ryan chuckled. "I'm really glad you and Greenlee mended fences. I saw how much it tore you apart when she left."
Kendall shook her head. "She and I have been through so much together. It's kinda strange that at one time we fought viciously over you, and in the end neither of us ended up with you."
Ryan shrugged. "It just wasn't meant to be. Don't worry about me, Kendall. There's a woman out there for me. I'll be minding my own business, and then BAM! I won't know what hit me."
Kendall's eyebrows shot up. "Sounds painful."
Ryan nodded thoughtfully. "That's the way it is with all relationships." Kendall knew he was thinking about Chris. Ryan stood up. "I'm going back to the hospital. You have a safe trip." He leaned down to kiss Kendall on the cheek.
"Are you going to say goodbye to your father? I heard he's leaving today, too."
Ryan shook his head. "I'm still too angry, and I'm afraid I'd say something I'll regret. I have enough of those already. When the time is right, we'll connect again."
Chris enveloped Erica in a hug, his heart aching at the feel of her delicate frame in his arms. He'd felt tremendous relief when she told him that she didn't harbor any bad feelings for his part in Dr. Madden's escape and her kidnapping. He pulled back and cleared his throat. "Where's Jackson?"
Erica gave a tiny shrug. "He's pretty enchanted with his new grandson. I told him he should stay here and make sure Greenlee and the baby get back to Pine Valley in one piece."
"Isn't that what Ryan is for? I would think he'd want to escort his recently kidnapped wife back home."
She tilted her head. "Family is very important to the both of us. Jack hasn't seen Greenlee in months and he wants to catch up. I'm anxious to get back and work things out with Josh, now that he knows the truth about being my son. We've always understood that our children are our priority. Jack and I had our reunion, and I'll see him again soon enough."
Chris put a hand on Erica's shoulders. "Look…it wasn't in the cards for you and me. I think deep down you knew and that's why you went to Jack. But the other reason you went to him is because you two belong together. You're meant to be, I can see that now. So don't blow it, Erica. Don't take each other for granted."
She reached out and grasped his hand, pulling it down and holding it between hers. "The same goes for you and Ryan. You've wasted enough time already. Come to Pine Valley and stay for awhile. Get to know your son and your grandson."
He put his other hand on top of hers. "I will. Eventually. I just have one more loose end I have to wrap up. One more wrong I have to right."
She shook her head. "The only wrong you have to right is when you made Ryan think that Patrick was his real father. It really messed with his head, Chris."
He nodded slowly. "That's true. So I have two wrongs I have to right. I promise that I'll make things right with Ryan."
"And Chris keeps his promises, no matter what." They turned and saw Dixie standing there. Chris grinned and strode over to her, enveloping her in a hug. Erica narrowed her eyes.
"Hey, babe! I'm glad I get to see you one last time before you head off to Berlin."
"Mmmm, it's good to see you too." Dixie smiled up at him. "So now that you've been outed, will I ever see you again?"
Chris cocked his head. "If Hayward and I don't kill each other first."
"Music to my ears!" They looked over and saw that Tad had joined the group. "Feel free to tell me, in exquisite detail, why our favorite heart surgeon might soon shuffle off this mortal coil."
Chris ran his fingers through his hair. "Hayward and I are going to hunt down Vanessa. We may not agree on much, but we're both pretty damn sure that she won't stay in hiding for long. David wants to make sure that she doesn't hurt Leo or Greenlee again, and I want to make up for the fact that I let that viper loose in the first place."
Tad narrowed his eyes. "Well, if you can manage to 'accidentally' dispose of both David and Vanessa, you'll have paid mankind back in full." He pivoted and walked over to Erica.
Dixie turned to Chris and gave him a tender smile. "If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be on my way to see my baby."
Chris returned her smile with a rueful one. "I think you're the only person in the world who still sees me with rose-colored glasses. I've managed to shatter everyone else's delusions. So it's a good thing I'm leaving - I'd hate to see the light leave those gorgeous blue eyes, too."
She frowned. "Are you ever going to come back to Pine Valley?"
He reached out and squeezed her shoulder. "Oh yeah. If I don't resolve things with Ryan, Erica will have my head on a platter." He looked over at Erica, who was a few yards away talking to Tad and Zach.
Dixie gave him a speculative look. "You still love her, don't you?"
Chris ignored her question, choosing to focus on Zach's approach. He watched as Zach gave Dixie a bear hug and then spoke softly to her for a minute. She kissed his cheek, then came over and kissed Chris's cheek. She trotted off to where Tad was standing, a displeased expression on his face.
Zach cocked his head. "I hope that they resolve their differences before they find their daughter."
Chris shrugged. "Tad got real used to being the hero in Dixie's eyes for many years. It was hard for him to deal with watching David and then you and then I help her in ways that he couldn't. I'm willing to bet that he'll be too preoccupied with being his little girl's hero to stay angry at Dixie for much longer. "
Zach gave him a strange look. "What are you, a psychiatrist now?"
Chris smirked. "You get to know a lot about the human condition when you're in my job."
"Is that how you got to be such an unfeeling bastard?"
"I deserve that."
"You deserve a lot of things. Finding Vanessa isn't going to absolve you of your sins."
Chris glanced over at Zach. "I guess you've been filled in on my upcoming adventure with David."
"Better you than me." The words came out more roughly than Zach had intended. He knew why. With all the mistakes that he'd made in his attempts to maintain control over uncontrollable circumstances, was he really any better than Chris? The thought made him cold inside. As much as Zach hated Chris for playing games with his life, had Ethan hated him in the same way?
Zach fought against the wave of misery that threatened to engulf him by reminding himself that there was one major difference between himself and Chris. Zach had been given a second chance. Kendall had forgiven him, married him again, and was asking him to be her child's father. Chris didn't have such blessings in his life. He might someday, if Ryan ever forgave him.
Zach didn't want to feel sorry for Chris. The old wounds, recently reopened, still felt raw. But he couldn't help but feel convicted that if he hadn't experienced the amazing blessing that was Kendall's love, he could have ended up just like Chris. Zach cleared his throat. "When you do get back to Pine Valley, look me up and we'll go hoist a few." Chris's eyebrows shot up. Zach shrugged. "I've learned a little about the human condition, myself. Specifically how not to be a control freak with your child."
Chris nodded slowly. "You're right. I'll need all the advice I can get. Thanks."
Zach reached out and put his hand on the other man's shoulder. Maybe Chris's soul could be resurrected. He found himself hoping so. After a moment, he silently turned and walked towards the Seasons jet and his waiting family.