Title: "Fettered Ties"

Author: Loke

Fandom: General Hospital

Rating: PG-13/R (For violence and adult situations and subject matter.)

Category: Future-Fic, Angst/Drama, WIP.

Characters/Pairings: Emily, Jason, Nikolas, Johnny, Dillon, Elizabeth, Georgie, Ric, Lorenzo, Faith, Courtney (flashbacks and mentions), a few OC's, Nem, Emily/Johnny, Journey, GQ, Elizabeth/Jax, Ric/Alexis, Faith/Lorenzo. I think that's all of them, lol.

Warnings: Character death(s). Two past, more to come. Also, this is Jason/Emily centric… but not like that! It may seem like that during parts, but I swear it's not. It's purely bro/sis. Honest!

Summary: After tragedy strikes and Jason flees in grief, Emily does the unthinkable. She takes over the Morgan Empire. But after an attempt on her life leaves her teetering on the brink, her savior returns. And that's when the trouble really begins. Future-Fic.

Feedback: Mucho appreciated as usual! You guys know I love to hear from you :o)

(a/n: Hey guys. I know SIB is still a WIP, but I've been knocking around this future-fic idea for ages, and got carried away one night when everything I seemed to write for SIB completely sucked. Anyway, this story is set in the way future (in 2013 to be exact), and also, there aren't any major past S/L changes in this fic. Emily had cancer but went through remission, all that N/E/Z drama went down, Journey got married, Carly had baby Morgan and was shot, and Sonny did leave the mob, in effect handing over the 'bidnes' to Jason. As for the current scheme of things, S&C left town a few years back happy as clams (I wish!), Lorenzo is still hanging around, and Ric and Liz are around, Lucky too.

But there is one major thing I've done, and that is after Emily finally "chose" Nikolas, I had the old AJ/Edward war over ELQ start up again, only this time it escalated beyond control and one of Edward's schemes had unforeseen repercussions, the result of which caused Emily to flip out and renounce both Edward and his name. To further illustrate her separation from the Q's, she took Jason's last name, becoming Emily Bowen-Morgan. I know it sounds really harsh and far-fetched, but she had her reasons and what exactly those "repercussions" were will be revealed later on.

As for the rest… well, you'll know how everything 'ended up' by the end of the chapter, lol. But be warned… this is not a happy-go-lucky fic by any means. It's pretty tragic with even more heartache yet to come. So, if you're an angst freak like me, I hope to make it a good read for you. Also, the main characters have undergone some incredibly traumatic events over the past few years, and as a result have changed significantly. This fic is in first person (alternating between Emily, Jason, and Nikolas POV, mostly Em), so I want to warn you that Emily is drastically different on the inside now, and for the most part no one really knows just how much her brother's absence has changed her. Again this is dark stuff, hence the R, so just tread lightly if your not a big fan of the broody bad. Oh and in case you hadn't noticed in the summary… this is basically a story centered on Jason and Emily and the role she assumed upon his exit five years ago. Its also going to be about them trying to get past what their lives have not only dealt them, but done to them, and attempting to fix the rift and heal old wounds. But, as usual, the path won't be smooth and promises to be damn near anything but pretty.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little tease and please feel free to let me now what you think. Good or bad. (Just don't savagely flame me, okay?) Take Care! --Loke


Prologue: Where The Years Find Me.

I wanted to believe him. I wanted to look into his steely blue eyes and see the man who had accepted me with open arms when I finally realized just how ugly and cruel my family had become. I wanted to see him; the real him, the true him.

But he wasn't there, not completely.

And in truth, he hadn't been for a long time. The brother I knew had died; retreated in silent agony to an armored shell safe from the world, safe from love and the people who could lure you into feeling it. I still remember that day, watching in quiet, horrified dismay as the Jason Morgan who had been my savior more times than I could remember, began a slow fall into blackness. Into a pace where not even I could reach him.

It was the day his wife died.

Courtney Mathews Morgan; the reason my brother's heart beat, the reason he even bothered to breathe.

It was tragic. But then, what death isn't, right? See, Courtney had a miscarriage years ago, one that took away any chance she had to conceive again. That discovery nearly broke her, I think. But being who she was -- a woman with a spirit so profound and indestructible -- she fought back from it, she found her life again, and set out to make a family with my brother.

She wanted it so much.

So much that she traveled everywhere, all over the States and Europe, even Canada, in search of the newest fertility treatments that would give her that dream of a real family she strived for. It was during that time that we became close, formed a bond deeper than simple friendship and closer than sisters. But how could I resist, right? I mean, Courtney was Courtney. There really isn't a proper way to explain. She was who she was. One of the most amazing people I'd ever met. Like my brother, and so many others, I couldn't help but fall under her spell.

She would take me with her on her gallivants to hospitals near and far, and I would just soak it all in, learning as we went, applying what I saw to the career in medicine I wanted so badly. And though I know part of her would have preferred if Jason filled my seat for those trips, I'm more thankful than she'll ever know for that time we had together. Because now those memories of inside jokes, favorite spots to eat, must-see movies, to-die-for boutiques, and all the little things only best friends know are all I have left of her. Those things and the memory of the last trip she ever took… the one I couldn't make.

See, that weekend Courtney received a call from Dr. Meadows, telling her about a new treatment based out of Paris that looked extremely promising, more so than any of the others. I can still remember the pure glee in her voice as she retold to me all of what Dr. Meadows had said. It really looked like that treatment was going to be it: the miracle she'd been praying for going on five years. And, as it would go more oft than not, when Jason had to decline due to 'business', she asked me along for the ride. Except this time I couldn't go. GH was understaffed, and me being a lowly intern, had to due my newbie duty and fill the void. So Courtney went alone.

Only, this time, she never came back.

Her jet never even made it past the border, not even ten feet past the runway. It exploded over the tarmac, just at the onset of its climb, killing the two pilots onboard, and Courtney, instantly.

The only comfort I could take was knowing that it all happened too quickly for her to have suffered. A person like her never should have suffered. She deserved the best of everything, and maybe, just maybe, if she had made it to Paris, she would have finally gotten it.

But it doesn't make much sense to dwell now. Those days are gone and so is she.

Youthful innocence fled from me that day in a blaze of orange fire and a sound I'm not likely to forget.

And with that innocence went the life I planned for myself, the future I spent so many years envisioning. But, of course, as drastically different as things are now, some still ended as I suspected.

Nikolas and I married. I, a Morgan reborn, became a Cassadine one winter night in freshly fallen snow, with just my two oldest friends, my brother, and my adoptive sister to witness the transformation.

That night, and the night my son, Demetri, was born, are days I hold very near to my heart, and are often all I have—save my husband's loving arms—to pull me through the terrible burden I brought upon myself all those years ago.

The night the sheer weight of Jason's grief finally drove him out of town, out of the Life, and away from me. It was the night I officially took the reins. The night Emily Morgan came to rule the Port Charles Underworld with a swift and ruthless hand.

That one day marked at once the birth of a new era, and the death of a childhood. Once it passed and the sun set over the lake that night, nothing ever was the same again. Shadow overtook light, secrecy reined in place of truth; violence became law when all others failed us. I became what I despised, but also what I loved with such fierce and fatal loyalty. I became my brother, for my brother, in his name, and in pursuit of what he wouldn't take.

And it nearly killed me.

I cannot stress enough how deeply I regret the decision I made to pick up where an abandoning Jason left off. I, childish, wounded of heart, and lost in grief, believed I was being noble, sacrificing the future I had worked so very hard for to carry on in his place. But, see, I thought he would be back; it was the only thing that made those initial years bearable.

But then, as I said, I had been young and believed with youthful naiveté, that all would be right again as long as he did come back, as I so believed he would. But those were thoughts coming from a young woman who -- despite the rampant tragedy she had encountered over time -- had no clue of what it was to be truly tested, no idea of just how brutal her new world could be.

I couldn't have found out that truth in a more vivid manner.

Pregnant, happy and enjoying a careless moment of simple joy playing in the snow with my husband and my son, my world once again crashed around me. In one instant, one horrifying instant, I learned what it was to be a hunted mark, and what it was to a be successful target, just as Courtney had been. In the fury of bullets, and the havoc they wreaked on my body, I miscarried. But, strange as it may seem, the ugly moment that took away my unborn baby and nearly claimed my life, gave me back what I hade been desperately hoping for since the nightmare first began.

The strike against me brought my brother home.

Empty and broken, staring up into familiar eyes of gentle ice from the confines of a hospital bed, I believed my reprieve had arrived at long last.

But, as I would soon learn, just because he was home again, didn't mean he was back. It may have looked like him, if not a little older, his past weighing a little heavier on his handsome face. His arms still may have felt the same wrapped around me as I grieved for the child I would never know. His voice may have sounded the same as he cooed soothing whispers against my ear. But his eyes betrayed the façade with rigid and heartbreaking clarity.

They cracked the mirror.

They set in front of me a truth that broke my heart yet again: The brother I desperately needed to bring me through the fire, my leather-jacketed angel, didn't dwell behind those eyes any longer. He had been lost somewhere along the way.

And restoring him…? Well, that was a battle I never saw coming, and also, as I would learn, the only one that ever really mattered.