Disclaimer: All the characters are owned by General Hospital, Capital Cities, and ABC-TV, I claim no ownership rights only abuse rights.

Feedback: If you want more please drop me a line.

Distribution: Ask me first.

Note: This is a somewhat violent take of an alternative ending to how Endgame could have gone. It features the players from Endgame and also brings the mob aspect in as well. There is character death and violence, so you've been sufficiently warned.

It is only three parts long and a lot of people consider it the best work I've ever done. I'll give you the first part and if you want the other two please leave me a reply.

Stephanie

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The Silence of Hope

~Elevator~

Shifting in the elevator he wondered, not for the first time that day, what he was doing here. The answer he came up with was the same one he'd had all day, because he had promised. He had promised her he would do this so he would.

The elevator doors opened and but he hesitated, he really didn't want to do this. They began to close and he quickly stepped through them and into the hallway. He looked longingly at the door to his left before shifting the package he carried in his hand and turning to the door on his right.

"I would like to see Sonny."

Johnny's eyes, moved from the man, to the large thin package he had in his hands, before moving back to his face. "And that is?"

"A delivery I promised to make," he saw the dismissal in the other man's eyes and pressed on. "It's from Elizabeth Webber."

The dismissal was replaced briefly by surprise. "Wait here," Johnny told him before tapping on the door and stepping inside the penthouse.

He leaned back against the wall and waited. He was doing his best not to think about the last 24 hours. If he did think about them he would never be able to get through the next 24.

Johnny opened the door and stepped back in the hall. "Let me see that," he held his hand out for the package.

Reluctantly he held it out and watched in casual disinterest as Johnny felt through the brown wrapping paper.

"You can go in," satisfied Johnny handed the package back and stepped clear of the door.

He took a deep breath and moved inside the room, he couldn't help but notice how dark in color the room was, it seemed to suit the man who lived there.

"So Nikolas you have something for me?" Sonny Corinthos asked as he entered the room from the kitchen.

"No it's not for you," Nikolas corrected him, leaning the package against the desk. "It's for Jason. Elizabeth knew you would see that he got it."

Sonny frowned at the package given the shape of it, it was probably a painting. "Why didn't she bring it by herself?"

"She couldn't," Nikolas closed his eyes and let the memory come. "But she made me promise I would."

"Nikolas if anything goes wrong tomorrow, I need you to do something for me," Elizabeth sat beside him on the old couch.

"Nothing's going to go wrong," he answered immediately. He couldn't allow himself to think that anything could go wrong. Things had to go smoothly for all of their sakes.

"I hope not but let's be realistic, we are dealing with Helena," she sighed. "Anytime you're dealing with her there is always a chance something will go wrong."

"I know but I have to believe that this will work out, and this whole nightmare will be over soon. That Lucky will be okay and everything will be the way it once was." He kept telling himself that even though he didn't fully believe it himself.

"Nikolas too much has happened. Nothing will ever be like it used to be," Elizabeth got to her feet and rubbed her hands over her arms. "We just need to hope that we don't make things any worse."

"Do you want to back out?" A big part of him hoped that she did. He didn't want to risk something happening to her. "We can find another way to get the information from Helena."

"There is no other way," she kept her back to him and laughed softly. "We would have thought of something by now, if there was. Hopefully this will work and Helena will finally trust you and we will find out how to help Lucky."

"That is why we are doing this," he crossed to stand beside her at the window. He heard her sigh and followed her gaze. He stiffened when he saw it was trained on the rebuilt Corinthos/Morgan warehouse.

"Once this is all over with I'm gone," she murmured.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean once Lucky is back to normal I'm leaving town, I'm going to try to find my life again."

He looked at her in surprise. "But why would you leave if we get Lucky back? You love…"

"Loved," she corrected. "I loved Lucky and a part of me still does, but I'm not in love with him anymore. Even if this works, and he comes back to us, it won't change the fact that I'm not in love with him anymore. It won't change the fact that I love…"

He waited for her to finish her thought but she was quiet again, her eyes still on the warehouse. He waited for the anger to arrive, the anger that she didn't love his brother anymore. But to his surprise it didn't. "Then why are you doing this?"

"Because I owe him," she explained simply. "Lucky once saved me so I need to save him."

That reason was good enough for her to risk her life, for her to give up her dreams, and put her life on hold, while she tried to help his brother. It was more then enough for him to help her. "What's the favor?"

"If something goes wrong tomorrow, I want you to deliver this to someone," she moved over to a stack of canvases on the far wall, and removed one that was wrapped in brown paper.

"To who?" Nikolas asked moving towards her.

"To Sonny and tell him to get it to Jason," she pulled a letter out of her bag. "Along with this."

The familiar lecture was on the tip of his tongue, but he didn't give it. "Okay."

"Promise me."

"I promise," there was a strange look in her eyes, a desperation that he wasn't used to seeing. It made him wonder if she knew something was going to go wrong.

"Good," she moved to the door. "I have some stuff to finish, so I'll see you later."

Nikolas paused in the doorway there was something about the way she was acting that worried him. It made him want to forget this whole insane plan. "If you change your…"

"I've already given up too much to quit now," she smiled at him. "Don't worry Nikolas, like you said nothing will go wrong," the smile died and she worried her bottom lip. "But don't forget your promise," she ordered before shutting the door in his face.

"Nikolas?" Sonny repeated. Nikolas had drifted off there for a few minutes. "Are you okay?"

Nikolas blinked the memory away and focused on Sonny. "I'm fine. What did you say?"

"Why couldn't she bring the painting herself?" Sonny made himself busy by pouring a scotch.

"Because," his voice broke and he blinked back useless tears. "Because she is in the hospital, she's dying."

Sonny set the scotch down with a slam, his eyes studying Nikolas hoping to spot a lie. But looking at the defeated posture of the man beside him he knew that it was true. His eyes moved to the portrait leaning against the desk and the envelope taped to the paper. The envelope only had one thing written on it and that was the name Jason.

~Two Days Later~

~Penthouse~

Sonny was in the dark. It shouldn't surprise him, he was used to the dark, he seemed to hide in it often enough. Either the dark in his mind, or the dark of these quiet rooms, it was always waiting there for him.

Bringing the glass of amber colored liquid to his lips he swallowed the fiery tasting liquid. He hadn't expected to feel like this after hearing about Elizabeth. After all the tentative friendship they had forged after Jason had been shot, seemed to have all but vanished in the last six months. But hearing that she was dying had driven him into this dark place again.

His mind kept replaying various conversations that he'd had with her and images of her face seemed to haunt him. From her collapse at the fire that "killed" Lucky, to a few weeks later when she walked into Luke's. Her eyes had been desperate then, but she had wanted him to know that it wasn't his fault that Lucky had died, because she was the one that had given him the candles that had killed him. Then the night he had told her about Lily being pregnant when she had died, her quiet understanding that night was just what he had needed. Next was their last conversation outside a nursery in the hospital. In that conversation she had asked him for help, and he had turned her down.

He had turned her down, even though he had promised Jason that he would watch out for her and help her if she needed it. Looking back now he couldn't even understand why he had said no. He had fed her some excuse that he had promised Luke never to get involved with his family but that wasn't the real reason.

No the real reason was because of Jason. His own twisted loyalty to Jason had him turning her down, because if he helped her help Lucky, it would be a slap in the face to Jason. He had known that Jason's feelings for her went deep, even at the height of his self-centeredness he had seen that. He also believed that she felt something more for Jason as well. So for her to ask him to help Lucky just seemed wrong to him, so he had turned her down.

He slugged back the rest of the liquid in the glass and didn't even feel the fire in his throat. He had turned her down and now she was dying. Now he had to explain his actions to Jason.

As if he had spoken the thought aloud, the Penthouse door opened and in he walked. Sonny got to his feet and moved closer to his friend, blinking hard when Jason flicked on the light. "You made good time."

"Has there been any change?" Jason asked.

"She stopped breathing twice, both times they were able to revive her. After that she seems to have stabilized. She's been in a coma for over a day now."

"Do they know what type of poison was used?"

"Not yet," he studied Jason closely. He saw the dampness in his hair and belatedly noticed the sound of the storm raging outside of his window. "It's a mixture, they've isolated three of the poisons, but they can't figure out the fourth. And until they do, they can't find the right treatment for her."

Jason ran a hand through his damp hair, and absently rubbed his hand on his jeans. "Is she being guarded?"

"Francis has been there ever since Nikolas told me."

"Good," Jason turned and headed for the door.

"Jason I'm sor…"

"I don't have time for the recriminations or guilt right now. I have to go see her," he cut off the apology and headed for the door.

Sonny followed him to the door and watched him get on the elevator. With a sigh he shut the door and turned off the light, plunging the room and himself back into the familiar darkness.

~GH~

For once Jason didn't feel the uneasiness he normally felt when he entered the hospital. Instead he felt a sense of determination. He took the stairs up to ICU and opened the door slowly to check the hall. He didn't want to be seen if he could help it so he waited for an orderly to pass before stepping out into the hall. Feeling eyes on him immediately he turned to nod at Francis before moving down the hall to her room.

Hesitating by the doorway he listened to the activity in the hall, it was after 11:00 so he knew it would die quickly. The next set of rounds wouldn't start for another couple of hours, so he shouldn't be disturbed. He took a second longer to brace himself and then stepped farther into the room.

Since Sonny's phone call, he had been preparing himself to see her. All through the hours on the planes, in the cars, he had thought of little else. He could remember the last time he had seen her so clearly in his mind. She had been wearing the same red and gray shirt that she'd had on when he had given her the red glass from Italy. She had been pale that night, and her eyes had been so sad when she walked away from him, it had taken a lot for him not to call after her.

Shaking the memory away he focused on the bed. The only light that was on in the room was over the bed and it cast most of the room into shadows, while it shone over her like a halo. The eerie quality of the light made her skin seem translucent.

Moving closer his eyes drank in the sight of her. There wasn't a trace of color in her face, even her lips that were always so full and bright seemed to be pasty. Her eyes were closed and were sunk far into her head. Her hair had lost the shine, and hung dully close to her shoulders.

The blanket that covered her barely moved as she breathed, but it was a sign of life, and it reassured him. She wasn't hooked up to any machines, so there was no monotonous beep of a heart machine. She was breathing on her own, and that was a good sign. What wasn't, was the IV bottle that was hooked on her hand. Her stillness unnerved him, and he moved closer.

Taking her right hand in his he couldn't help but notice how cold it was. She was always so warm. He didn't like to think of her as cold. "Elizabeth," he whispered her name, hoping for a response but there was none.

Settling in the chair beside the bed he kept her hand in his. "I'm here now Elizabeth."

~Hallway~

"Has there been any change in Elizabeth Webber?" Dr. Tony Jones stopped a doctor who he knew was working on the case.

"No," Dr. Richard Bauer replied wearily. He had been working nonstop for days trying to identify the poison that was used on her, but so far he couldn't define it. In the 25 years he had worked for the Centers for Disease Control, he hadn't come across a poison like this before.

Francis heard them talking and moved closer so he wouldn't miss anything. Mrs. Hardy had only allowed him to do a loose surveillance on Elizabeth, so he was relegated to the hall, and monitoring who came in and out of the room. But maybe being banished to the hall was finally going to pay off.

"Have there been anymore episodes?" Tony was trying to work on his guilt. He knew that Helena and no doubt Stavros were responsible for what had happened to Elizabeth. And since he was the one that had brought Stavros back, he was indirectly to blame as well.

"No she's stabilized," Dr. Bauer rubbed at the kinks in his neck. "Most of her organs, especially her kidneys, have been damaged. I expected to lose her yesterday, but she managed to stabilize and then slipped into the coma."

"How are her brain wave patterns?"

"You're the neurosurgeon you tell me," Dr. Bauer held out a chart to him.

Tony frowned down at the chart, he didn't like what he was seeing. The readings were weak, as you would expect from someone in a coma. But they were higher then normal. Normally that would indicate that she was waking up, yet the rest of her stats didn't agree with that assessment.

"You see it too," Dr. Bauer spoke after seeing the frown.

"There is a chance that she is aware of everything that is going on." Tony was horrified. If that was the case and she remained comatose, he couldn't imagine a worse hell to be in.

"I know, if we can't reverse the effect," Dr. Bauer shook his head. "Well speaking for myself, I would rather be dead then live like that." With that he walked away.

"God Elizabeth. I'm so sorry," Tony said brokenly. "I didn't know what they would do to you. I didn't have a choice, I'm so sorry you were hurt because of me," he turned around and blinded by his tears ran into someone.

"You mind telling me what exactly you meant by that?" Francis asked coldly keeping a firm grip on Tony's arm when he tried to pull away.

"Let me go," Tony ordered.

Francis took a look at the closed door, knowing that Jason would probably be in there for a while, he checked the hall for other people. "We'll talk about this elsewhere," he told Tony before he decked him.

Francis picked him up in a fireman's carry and moved to the stairs. He dug the cell phone out of his pocket and broke one of his rules and used it in the hospital. "Max bring the car around to the service entrance and get Stu to relieve me up here on 4," he shifted Tony. "We have to handle something."

~ICU~

"You told me that you were going to be happy," Jason broke the silence in the room. He was used to silence, he even relished the quiet, but this silence was beginning to make his skin crawl. She was never quiet or even still. She liked to talk, to laugh, to move, to sing, something. He knew from when she had stayed at the studio with him, that she was even an active sleeper. If she hadn't been zipped up in the sleeping bag on the floor, she probably would have rolled out of it, so it was very unnerving to see her still body in the bed.

"You told me that you needed Lucky to make you happy," his eyes were focused on her lifeless hand. "I didn't like that, I didn't really believe it. But I respected your decision and didn't press you. God I wish I would've pressed you, if I had would you still be here in this bed?"

He looked up at her face and saw that her eyes were open. Hope surged through him only to fade when he saw their fixed and blank stare. Some part of his brain that still retained the medical knowledge of Jason Quartermaine kicked in and he remembered that comatose patients would open their eyes, even twitch their bodies sometimes, and it didn't mean anything. It was only an involuntary muscle reaction, it didn't mean that they were waking up or even that they were aware of anything that was going on.

Jason pressed her hand against his cheek, he just needed to feel her touch him. Her hand was cool on his skin and it felt strange. Other then when she checked him for a fever, after he had been shot she hadn't touched his face. But he was used to touching hers, he had needed to touch hers. He reached up and traced a thumb down her cheek, again her skin was cool, too cool. She used to be so warm.

"I wish that you would wake up," his eyes were bright with unshed tears. "Please Elizabeth I need you to wake up. Even if it is only to kick me out of your life again, I can handle that. I can even handle you wanting to be with Lucky. I can handle anything if you just wake up."

He stopped speaking the lump in his throat making it difficult for him to continue. A single tear got through his walls and dropped on her hand. "But what I can't handle is you in this bed. I can't handle you being still and quiet, when you are so full of life. I just can't handle that."

Shifting so he was perched on the side of the mattress he looked down into her sightless eyes. "You once willed me to live. You fought for me even when I wanted to give up. So now it is my turn to will you to live. I'm here Elizabeth. I'm holding your hand," bringing her hand up to his mouth he pressed a kiss on her knuckle. "You have so much fight in you, and I need you to use it now. When you get tired and you think you can't fight anymore, I'll be your strength then, like you were mine when I was shot. All you have to do is fight," his eyes searched her face. "Please just fight."

~Penthouse a.m.~

"Nikolas Cassadine is here," Johnny announced.

"Let him in," Sonny got to his feet.

"You wanted to see m…" His voice trailed off when he saw Tony Jones tied to a chair. "What the hell?"

"Sit down Nikolas we have some news for you," Sonny was once again full of purpose. His demons had been beaten back again. "To begin with your father is alive."

"What?" Nikolas looked at him in shock.

"It seems Helena put him in cryonics for the past 20 years or so," his voice softened, realizing that it was Nikolas' father he was talking about. "A few months ago Tony over there, revived him for her."

Nikolas looked to Tony for confirmation. "This can't be true."

Tony took a breath only to stop when he felt the pain in his ribs. Sonny's people had been very persuasive. He felt Francis move closer and bowed his head, speaking quickly. "It's true Stavros is alive and has been walking around for the past few months," he looked up and went on desperately. "I had to do what she wanted Nikolas. She had Lucky poison Lucas, and the only way I could save my son's life was to bring her son back."

Somehow Nikolas found himself sitting in a chair. "Lucky?"

"You already knew that Helena was controlling him, now you know how deep that control is," Sonny took a sip of his coffee. "Lucky is clearly capable of anything."

Nikolas nodded slowly, what had happened here was his fault. If he hadn't wanted to stay in Port Charles, none of these people would have been hurt. Helena and Stavros wouldn't have been able to hurt anyone, especially not Elizabeth.

"There's more," Sonny went on casually but he kept a close eye on Nikolas to judge his reaction. "Tony has seen Stavros with Gia on more then one occasion."

That forced him out of the blame game, he was indulging in. "No that can't be right," he shook his head.

"It is. Believe me when I say Tony wouldn't lie about this," he smirked at Tony. "Would you?"

"No," Tony managed a sneer.

"Did Gia know what you were planning?" Sonny asked the question, needlessly it seemed because judging from the expression on Nikolas' face he already had his answer.

"She didn't know what Elizabeth and I were up too, with faking her death. But she did find out that Helena wanted me to kill Elizabeth and I agreed," he replied. "But Gia wouldn't help Helena, she hates Helena."

"Would she have told someone else what you were planning?"

"Gia was desperate to stop me, I think she even went to the police but they didn't believe her," he spoke softly trying to process what had happened. "She found me on the docks when I was moving Elizabeth. I thought Elizabeth was okay then, that she was just under the effects of the drug that Laura had given me to fool Helena, but then the seizures started." He stopped then he didn't want to relive the memory of those awful seizures. He blocked that image from his head and concentrated on the memory of Gia when she confronted him. He had seen her coming towards him, and she had been talking with someone, a man. She had called him Lucien, after she had seen Elizabeth, she had called for him, but he never came.

"Tony said her and Stavros looked pretty tight. I did some checking, they've had several candlelit dinners at the Grille, and it looks like they've gotten pretty cozy. She calls him Lucien, maybe she told him what she had found out."

Nikolas bowed his head and rubbed his eyes, it was true. "If Gia did then he must have told Helena and she…" he trailed off.

"She what?" Sonny prompted.

"She must have ordered Lucky to switch drug packets with me," he said dully. "After Laura gave me the drugs the only time they were out of my sight was when Lucky confronted me, when I was on my way to the yacht. He was the only one that could have switched the packets."

"Jesus," Sonny rubbed a hand over his chin. He didn't want Lucky to be responsible for what had happened. He had watched the kid grow up, and didn't want that boy to be responsible for this, but it looked like he was.

"I can't believe he would have killed Elizabeth. He doesn't remember her anymore, but to kill her, to kill anyone," Nikolas had clung to the belief that there was still a part of his brother left. A part that he could salvage from Helena's manipulations. But if this was true he now knew that even if there were a part of Lucky left, and he ever found out what he had done to Elizabeth, to Lucas, it would kill him.

"He didn't," Tony chimed in.

"You really don't want to speak right now Tony," Sonny warned him. "I haven't forgotten about your part in all of this, and believe me neither will Jason."

Tony swallowed hard at that threat.

"She's not going to die?" Nikolas ignored the threat to concentrate on the important part.

"No it seems Helena really doesn't like Elizabeth. This little old poison that's in her, is going to keep her comatose. So she can't move or speak, but she will be alive, and what's worse she is fully aware of what is happening," Sonny's words were bitter. "Does that sound like something your Grandmother would do?"

Nikolas felt physically ill, it seemed that Helena's cruelty knew no bounds. "Yes it is like her and it makes sense," he went on slowly. "After what happened I tried to bluff my way around her. I demanded to know why the poison she gave me didn't kill Elizabeth. She told me that Elizabeth would be more useful where she was, she would be a reminder to me what would happen if I ever crossed her. I demanded to know what the poison was, and what she did to Lucky but she refused to tell me," he snorted. "We did it all for nothing."

"We need to find an antidote," Sonny began to pace. "Tony told me where the lab is that Stavros once was, we might be able to find a clue there."

"I doubt that. She would have destroyed or moved anything that was helpful there by now," Nikolas disagreed. A desperate idea was forming in his head. "No we need to force Helena to talk."

"Okay then how? Threaten something she cares about?"

"She doesn't care about much, her vendetta with Luke, but with what she's done to Lucky, she has already beaten him," Nikolas got to his feet and crossed to the wet bar. "She says she cares about me, but she really just wants to control me. If it is true that my fat… that Stavros is alive he's our best chance. If she kept him 'alive' for 20 years, she would do anything she could to save him."

"Then what?" Sonny asked coming to a stop beside him.

"The only reason that Luke didn't kill Helena months ago was because of a doomsday effect she claimed to have set up in Lucky. She told him that her death would trigger something in Lucky that no one would ever recover from," he kept his voice low so only Sonny could hear him.

"But if I allow her to live, she'll only find another way to hurt people. She was comatose herself for 10 years and look at the damage she has caused after she woke up. From what I hear Stavros was just like her, if not worse," his eyes were focused on the decanters in front of him. While he tried to find the courage to finish this once and for all. "They can't be allowed to hurt anyone anymore."

Sonny was quiet while he studied Nikolas. He wondered if he knew what he was saying.

Nikolas turned to meet his gaze. "We need to find Stavros and use him to get her to talk, if what she says works, then I need to end it."

"We will end it," Sonny corrected when he realized Nikolas was serious.

"There is one other thing," Nikolas sighed. "I need to see Jason."

"I don't think that's wise. He won't be receptive to you, especially now."

"I know," he smiled slightly. "I realize that there is a good chance that he will kill me because I was the one that handed her the poison. But I need to tell him something Elizabeth told me. Once I do he can do whatever he wants."

Sonny pinched the bridge of his nose and let out a breath. "I'll tell him."

"Thank you," he looked back at Tony. "I don't like him, and I will probably never forgive him. But Helena poisoned his son to get his help. What would you have done if you were in his shoes?" With that he headed for the door. "Let me know when we take the next step," without waiting for a reply he walked out the door. While he waited for the elevator he couldn't help but wonder if he had just signed his brother's death sentence.

~Cottage p.m.~

Nikolas stared in his glass and waited. He was waiting for several things. Waiting for the phone call to tell him it was time to see his dead father. Waiting for the inevitable confrontation with his Grandmother. Waiting for the deaths that he had helped to arrange. Waiting to see if her death would be the last straw for Lucky's already fragile brain. He was waiting for all of that, but mostly he was waiting for a visitor.

He didn't doubt that Jason would show up, but whether he would still be alive when Jason left was questionable. He glanced towards the door when he heard a noise but didn't see anything. The storm that had been on Port Charles for days now was still raging. He turned back to his glass and continued to wait.

"You wanted to see me."

Nikolas jumped in spite of himself, spilling his glass on the couch. "Jesus Jason." He couldn't help but feel nervous looking into Jason's expressionless face. He had asked to see him, so he couldn't back out now. "I needed to tell you about Elizabeth."

"Sonny already told me," Jason cut him off. He had wanted to kill Nikolas but he knew he couldn't. Nikolas had only been doing that Elizabeth had told him to do. He knew that but he still felt the need to punish Nikolas, for being able to walk while she was lying in a bed in the hospital.

"He didn't tell you this," Nikolas set the glass on the table and looked up at the man he had never really liked, and would probably never like. "She gave me the painting and a letter to give to you. Did you get them?"

Jason nodded but didn't reply, he hadn't even opened them yet, his only concern was in getting to her, and trying to help her.

"She also told me something that night that I think you should know," Nikolas got to his feet. "She told me that once this was over she was leaving town, leaving Lucky."

Jason blinked in surprise but other then that he had no reaction.

"She said she wasn't in love with Lucky anymore," Nikolas crossed his arms over his chest. "She started to say she was in love with someone else, but stopped herself. She stopped herself from saying your name, but her eyes were locked on your warehouse the whole time."

Now the surprise did show on his face. "Why are you telling me this?"

Nikolas shook his head. "I don't really know. I don't like you, I don't think you're good enough for her. But who am I to judge? It's because of my family that she is in this mess to begin with," rubbing tiredly at his forehead he went on. "All I know is that she deserves the best, and for some reason she seems to think that is you."

"Now you suddenly care about what she wants?" Jason asked. "Where was all this concern a few months ago?"

"I buried it, I let my dislike of you, and my loyalty to my brother cloud my judgment," Nikolas retorted. Now that he was talking he wasn't as afraid of Jason as he thought he would be. "My first real memories of you Jason was when I was shot for standing next to you, so believe me I never wanted Elizabeth anywhere near you. I let that memory blind me to the fact that you helped her when no one else could. You saw she was drowning and you gave her a way out. She needs that again, she is drowning and she needs a way out. And you are her best chance."

"I'm going to help her, there is no way you could stop me," Jason warned him.

"Good," Nikolas waited for a minute. "That was all I just wanted you to know," he held his breath and waited for what was going to happen next.

Jason could see the fear in Nikolas' eyes but he could also see and respect that fact that Nikolas hadn't backed down from him. Jason nodded his head and turned to leave.

"That's it?" Nikolas couldn't help but ask.

"For now," Jason kept his back to him. "I want to hate you, to blame you, but if I did that I would have to hate her too," he turned to face him. "That being said, if anything else happens to her, because of your family." He left the threat unfinished but knew Nikolas read the intent in his eyes.

Nikolas waited until the door closed before sinking onto the couch. Well he had done it and was still alive, at least for now. As much as he disliked Jason he did mean what he had said to the man. If anyone could pull Elizabeth out of this it was Jason, he just wished he hadn't wasted so much time before allowing himself to see that.

He got to his feet quickly when he heard the phone ring. "Hello."

"We got him."

"Where was he?" Nikolas asked.

"With Gia," Sonny sighed. "We're heading there now."

Gia. He felt the bitter sting of betrayal. "I'll be right there, wait for me."

~ICU~

Jason stepped out of the stairway at GH and immediately tensed something didn't feel right. Glancing around the deserted hall he tried to place what was wrong. He found it almost immediately, Francis wasn't here, in fact none of the guards were here.

He began to move to her room, when his cell phone rang. "Morgan."

"We got the information," Sonny was brief in his words. "But she managed to make a call before we stopped her. It sounded like code."

"Are the arrangements we talked about ready?" Jason asked pulling his gun out of the holster with his free hand.

"Yes."

"We're moving tonight then," Jason was at the door, he switched off the phone and shoved it in his pocket.

He pushed on the door opening it slightly, his sixth sense told him that no one was behind the door so he opened it further. Scanning the room, he saw Lucky by her bed, he had a syringe in her IV bottle. Jason wasn't even aware that he moved, one minute he was by the door, the next his hand was around Lucky's throat and he was slamming him against the wall.

The syringe clattered to the floor, but Jason didn't hear it, he continued to slam Lucky's head against the wall. All the hate and anger he had in him had erupted into rage, and its target was Lucky. Shifting his grip on Lucky, who was unconscious at this point, he brought the gun up and pressed it against the bottom of Lucky's chin. Cocking the hammer back he prepared to fire.

It didn't matter to him that he was in a hospital, that there were witnesses' everywhere, the only thing that mattered to him was stopping Lucky before he could hurt her again, and punishing him for what he had already done.

His finger was tightening on the trigger when something stopped him. Looking over to the bed he saw that her eyes were open. They were fixed, but looking in his direction.

"She is aware of everything that is going on around her, what you say, what you do."

Sonny's words came back to him and he turned back to Lucky. Lowering his gun, he let go of Lucky and watched him slide down the wall to the floor. He took a deep breath before tucking the gun away and moving back to the bed. Her eyes were still vacant. "I'm sorry Elizabeth, I shouldn't have scared you like that," he pulled the IV from her hand, and pressed a Kleenex to her hand when he removed the needle there.

"He's alive, and I'll let him stay that way for you," he told her. "But we're going to leave now. We're going to go somewhere that you can recover and be safe." While he was speaking he pulled the covers free from the bed.

Looking at her face again, he ran his hand softly through her hair. "I know you can understand me, so hear me now. We know how to make you better, you are going to get better. I promise you that," he bent down and picked up the syringe Lucky was trying to put in her IV and put it in his pocket.

She didn't move, she didn't even blink, and there was no reaction to his vow. He picked her up, and he couldn't help but marvel how light she felt in his arms. There was nothing to her anymore. He lifted her arm around his shoulder and pulled her higher up on his chest. He moved to the door and checked the hall but it was empty. Leaving Lucky bleeding on the floor he moved to the stairwell. In less then two minutes he was in a car and they were speeding to the airport.

He kept her on his lap while the car sped away, not wanting her to feel afraid, and also because he needed to hold her. He stared blindly out into the storm. Lightning lit up the sky and he looked down in surprise when he felt moisture on his neck. His arms tightened around her and he couldn't help but smile at what he saw. A single tear had made it out of her eyes. She was still there, she was fighting, and she would be okay.

~Penthouse~

It took two weeks but the call finally came. He didn't say much. In fact he only said two words. But they were the some of the most important words anyone had ever told Sonny.

"It worked."

Sonny hung up the phone and the burden he had been carrying around with him for weeks finally started to ease. "Johnny."

"Yes," Johnny entered the penthouse. He could tell from Sonny's face that it had finally happened, and he allowed himself a smile.

"Those plans we made," Sonny spoke with a grin in his voice. "It's time to do it."

Johnny nodded and stepped back in the hallway. "With pleasure."

Sonny sobered as he made the next call. The respect he had developed for Nikolas in the last few weeks, made him call him directly.

"Hello."

"I just wanted to let you know that the storm is finally over," Sonny's voice was serious.

There was a long pause on the other end, before he spoke. "Thank you."

Hanging up the phone, Sonny marveled at the change in attitude he had for Nikolas. He had to admire the way Nikolas had stood up over this whole situation. Nikolas had been solid on the yacht, when they confronted Helena. At one point he had even been the one to hold the gun to his father's head. To this day he didn't know if he would have shot Stavros or not, but Helena had seen something in his eyes, because she had given them the information. And apparently it was the correct information.

Moving back to the window he stared out into the stormy night. It had been raining in Port Charles for over two weeks now, in fact the storm had arrived the night this all started. The days were drizzly, and every night there was a light show. But tonight it was the loudest it had been, the storm had been building these past few weeks and tonight he had a feeling it would break. And when it did it would break badly for some.

~Cassadine Yacht~

"Andreas, did you draw my bath yet?" Helena called when the door opened behind her. "Really you have been most disappointing as of late," she went on when he didn't respond.

Moving into the bathroom she sank into the tub that was filled with her scent. She really needed to get ready for her next step. Nikolas had been a disappointment thus far, he had even went so far to work with that thug Corinthos. She was not going to tolerate much more of his behavior. Now that he knew about Stavros, she sighed in regret, now that everyone knew about Stavros, thanks to Nikolas, it was time to step up their plan. Eventually they would find Elizabeth Webber, and that deplorable Mr. Morgan and take care of them, as well as Mr. Corinthos. But first they would concentrate on the Spencer's, not that they had to do much.

"Andreas where is my wine?" She called and froze when she felt the muzzle of a gun pressed to the back of her head.

"Mr. Morgan sends his regards."

"What?" Was all she was allowed to say. The silenced gun fired twice, a double tap into her skull.

Professional to the end he checked her for a pulse before letting her sink below the water that was rapidly becoming red.

~Cottage~

Nikolas hung up the phone slowly. He had been waiting for that call, now that it had finally he was relieved. Relieved because Elizabeth was going to be okay.

Opening the drawer to his desk he identified the other emotions he was feeling fear and worry. This was the day he had been dreading as well, the day that he had been trying to prepare himself for. Reaching in the drawer he pulled out the gun that was there. He knew what he had to do. What he needed to do to finally end this. He took out the clip for the gun and slammed it into place. He only hoped he had the courage to do it when the time came.

~PC Hotel~

Stavros let himself in his room, but kept the lights off, he still preferred the dark. He still dressed in all black, and tried to keep out of sight. He had grown used to sneaking around and he kind of relished it. There was no need to hide anymore, everyone knew who he was thanks to his son.

Grimacing he crossed to the window. Nikolas had been deprived of his influence for too long. He had been raised soft because of Stefan, that wouldn't be tolerated anymore. Once he had Laura back, he would concentrate on righting Stefan's mistakes with his son. He smiled when he remembered the way Nikolas had pressed the gun to his head to try to get the information to help the Webber girl. That was a true Cassadine move, Nikolas was more like him then he wanted to admit. The boy had such potential and he would help him harness it.

Stavros was so wrapped up in his plans for his son that he never even saw the end coming for him. The lightning crashed and illuminated the room behind him, his eyes widened when he saw the man standing behind him raising a gun to his head.

The glass in his hand hit the floor the same time the man fired. The bullet passed through Stavros and into the window shattering it. The man lowered the gun to the man on the floor, and even though Stavros' eyes were open and unfocused, he still pressed the gun to his temple and fired again.

He was paid to be sure.

~Spencer House~

"Repeating our top story of the evening. Two murders have rocked Port Charles. Stavros Cassadine was found dead of a bullet wound in his suite here at the Port Charles Hotel. The hotel that is owned by the Quartermaine family, has come under fire recently. Most notably for letting Mr. Cassadine, a man under investigation for several murders, and most recently an indictment for the attempted murder of Elizabeth Webber, still stay here. When asked to comment about the murder at their hotel. Mr. Edward Quartermaine offered no comment."

Laura walked out of the kitchen and caught the tail end of the report. She was relieved that Stavros was dead. She looked at her children, Lucky had moved back home trying to recuperate from the beating he had received at the hospital and also the mind game that Helena had been using on him. She looked at Luke who had come over and was sitting by Lulu, he met her eyes and shrugged. Well at least Luke couldn't be accused of this crime.

She continued to set the table only half listening to the report until a name caught her attention.

"Heiress Helena Cassadine, who was recently indicted for attempted murder, was also found dead this evening. Reports are her manservant an Andreas Popodopoulous discovered her dead body in the bath. We have sketchy reports that Mrs. Cassadine was shot in the back of the head execution style. Attempts to receive a statement from investigating officer Lt. Marcus Taggert were denied with a terse no comment."

Luke's eyes whipped to Lucky while he listened to that report. He tensed waiting to see if Lucky exhibited any reaction to the news of her death. He was still worried about Helena's threat of what would happen to Lucky if she died. But his son hadn't even looked up from the computer game he was playing. Luke watched him closely for another 10 minutes before finally letting his guard down.

Lucky stretched and got to his feet. "I'm going to hurry mom up," he patted his stomach. "I'm hungry."

"Daddy it's your turn," Lulu said holding out the dice to him.

"Sorry," Luke took the dice while Lucky disappeared into the kitchen. "Now which one am I again?"

"The one in jail," Lulu said.

Luke frowned down at the game. "Figures."

He heard the door swing open but didn't look up. "Now how about I buy this here Reading Railroad for $20.00."

"Daddy it costs $200," Lulu told him. She had learned at an early age to be the banker when she was playing with her father.

"I know but I'm good for it," out of the corner of his eye he saw Lucky coming closer to him. "You're sister has a mean streak."

"What do you expect she's a Spencer," Lucky answered.

Something in the tone of his son's voice tipped Luke off and he looked up. "Jesus," his son was covered with blood and he had a knife in his hands. His eyes whipped to the kitchen door where Lesley and Laura were. "What did you do?"

Lucky smiled. "What had to be done."

"Lucky," Lulu cried when she spotted her brother. "Are you hurt?"

Lucky turned his attention on her and moved closer, raising the knife while he walked. "No, I'm finally free."

Luke jumped from the couch and intercepted Lucky before he could reach Lulu. "Run," he screamed at Lulu, while they grappled over the knife.

"Cowboy," he got the leverage on his son and looked down into his eyes.

"Your Cowboy is dead," Lucky twisted his right arm. "Just like you," he shoved the knife deep in Luke's side.

Luke felt the knife enter his body and his strength ebb. Lucky shoved him off easily, and Luke could only watch as his son got to his feet and moved towards his daughter who was still sitting on the couch. "No," he tried to scream the word but it came out as a gasp, along with a bubble of blood.

"L-lucky," Lulu whispered.

"It's for the best Lulu," Lucky told her raising the knife. "You're going to be free."

Lulu closed her eyes tightly and prayed that this was just another dream.

The first bullet caught Lucky in the shoulder causing him to stumble away from the couch and Lulu. The second one caught him in the throat and caused Lucky to drop the knife, he looked at the door, before collapsing on the floor.

Nikolas lowered the gun and moved into the house, it was hard for him to breath, it was hard for him to believe that he had just shot his brother. He crouched down beside Lucky who was still gasping for breath. "You're free now Lucky," he told him while he watched his brother take his last breath.

"Nik…" Luke started then coughed hard. "Nikolas."

Nikolas looked over at him, the sound of the gunfire, and the storm outside still echoed in his ears.

"Take care of your sister," he ordered. In that minute all the hate he had held in his heart for Laura's other son vanished. "I give her to you."

Nikolas nodded and turned back to the couch, where Lulu was sitting with her eyes still closed. "She'll be the best of us all," he vowed.

Luke couldn't help but grimace at that. "Jesus don't do that to her, she's still a Spencer."

~Hardy House a.m.~

Audrey opened the door and couldn't hide the surprise when she saw the man standing there. "Mr. Corinthos."

"I have a letter for you," Sonny held it out to her. "It's about Elizabeth."

Audrey nodded and took it from him.

"When you have something for her, let me know," Sonny spoke quietly and then left.

Audrey closed the door and made her way to the couch. Since the night she had discovered Elizabeth missing and Lucky injured in her hospital room, life seemed to be unreal to her. The idea of being on speaking terms with the local mob boss would have terrified her a month ago, but now she looked forward to seeing him.

When she had found out that Jason had saved Elizabeth's life, it was hard to hold on to the anger she had felt for him. She was still terrified but for a different reason. She knew Jason wouldn't hurt her granddaughter, but she was still afraid someone else might hurt her to get to him.

But the most important thing in her life was helping Elizabeth live, and she was honest enough to know that Jason offered her the best chance. Putting on her glasses she opened the letter.

Mrs. Hardy,

Sonny tells me that he told you what we were doing to help Elizabeth. I'm sorry that I frightened you, but my only goal was to help her, and to do that we needed to leave. We managed to isolate the poison, and have been working on the antidote for these past few weeks. The mixture we tried two days ago, is working. The effects of the poison are slowly being reversed. She is going to get better.

If you want to send something to her, please give it to Sonny and he will get it to me and I'll deliver it to her. I'm not holding her prisoner, when she is ready and she is able she will come home. I'm just tying to protect her and give her a safe place to heal.

I know you do not like me, but please know this. I will protect her with my life if that is necessary and I will bring her home to you.

Jason

Audrey brushed at the tears that were sliding down her face. Elizabeth was going to be okay that was the most important thing to remember. Elizabeth was going to be okay. Moving to the window she looked out at the bright sunny day. The storm that had been upon them had finally broken.