Jason entered the house as quietly as he could. It was late and the boys were certain to be asleep. Elizabeth might be as well. He carefully walked upstairs, avoiding the squeaky step he kept meaning to fix. He first checked on Cameron, who needed covered up. The little boy wiggled so much that the blanket would soon be at his feet again. Jason bent over and kissed the top of head before heading to Jake's nursery.
Elizabeth was just laying the baby in his crib. Jason took a moment to caress his son's back before taking Elizabeth's hand and leading her to their room.
They each got ready for bed silently. Jason wasn't sure how to explain it all to Elizabeth and Elizabeth was afraid of what Jason had to say. Once she was curled up against his side in the dark, she felt safe enough to talk.
"Is he…Is Nikolas gone?" she whispered.
Jason held her tighter. "Yes."
Elizabeth began to cry. She hated that since her return almost all she had done was weep. "I'm sorry. I'm so furious with him and I definitely don't want him near Cam and Jake. But still he was one of my best friends. We grew up together. I thought we'd all grow old together, too."
Jason rubbed her arm. "Elizabeth, I didn't kill him."
She kissed his chest. "I know. You promised and you always keep your promises to me."
He tipped her head up to meet her eyes in the dim glow from the streetlight outside. "Sonny didn't either."
Elizabeth closed her eyes. "I don't need the details, Jason."
"Look at me." When she did, he continued. "Nikolas is still alive."
Elizabeth's jaw dropped. "What?"
"Sonny sent him to a sanitarium in Puerto Rico. It's not fancy but he'll get treatment."
Elizabeth dropped her head to his shoulder. "Thank you."
Jason rolled her onto her back. "You're welcome." He began to nibble at her lips. When she sighed, he kissed her more fully.
Sonny arrived at Greystone to find Emily on his couch. "I thought you might stop by."
"Don't," Emily said, raising a hand to stop him from coming closer. "Don't come near me. Just please explain to me how you could do this. How could you kill Nikolas?"
Sonny leaned against his desk. "It's not that simple, Emily. You told Jason about the rages. Nikolas was a danger to Elizabeth and her boys. He was a danger to you and Spencer, too."
"He loved us! He would never hurt us!" Emily began to sob.
"You can't know that. Supposedly the guy loved Elizabeth and look what he did to her."
Emily shook her head. "He was framed!"
Now it was Sonny's turn to shake his head. "No, he confessed everything. He knew things that we didn't even know."
Emily stood and walked over to the French doors. "This can't be real."
Sonny crossed the room and put his arms around her. "I'm sorry."
Emily pulled back. "If he did this, and I'm still not sure he did, but if he did, he's sick, Sonny. He needed help. You of all people should understand that."
Emily's eyes widened. "Then how could you kill him?"
Sonny sighed and walked over to the bar. Grabbing a bottled water, he faced her again. "I didn't."
Emily looked to the ceiling. "Of course not," she said with disbelief.
"I didn't," Sonny protested. "I sent him away, to someplace where he can get help."
Emily stared at him. "Please tell me the truth."
"That is the truth." Sonny walked over and put his hand on her cheek. "I sent Nikolas to a sanitarium. He'll be kept there until Jason and I can be sure that he's no longer a threat." Sonny leaned close to her face. "He's alive because you love him. I care about you. I'm sorry that you're hurting."
Emily knew he was being honest with her. His face was open and regretful. He may have wanted Nikolas dead but hadn't killed him. Emily bit her lip. "Am I supposed to thank you?"
"No," Sonny sighed as he stepped away.
Emily left without another word.
Sonny's next visitor was Luke.
Luke poured himself a scotch without greeting the mob boss.
Sonny threw out an arm. "Make yourself at home, Luke."
Luke drained the liquor in one gulp. "Where's the demon spawn?"
Sonny arched an eyebrow. "How do you know that he's not dead?"
Luke laughed harshly. "Sonny, my old friend, I know you." Luke poured himself another drink. "You wouldn't kill a guy who'd lost his marbles." Luke pointed with his glass. "You're not that big of a hypocrite."
Sonny smiled. "You're right."
"So, where's the demented prince?"
Sonny sat in the chair. "Getting some much needed help."
Luke nodded. "And then?"
Sonny shrugged. "And then we'll see."
Luke finished his second drink. "Fair enough." Luke saluted Sonny and left.
Sonny sighed. He had a feeling this was just going to get messier.
Lucky stared into the fire. His father's call to let him that Nikolas was still alive had done nothing to reassure him. He believed it was only a matter of time until Jason finished the job. He knew he needed to find Nikolas but the vodka from earlier was making it hard to think. For now, he just wanted to sleep.
Elizabeth stared into the fire. Jason soon joined her on the floor. She leaned into his side. "I don't know how I feel. Everything that's happened over the last couple of days, it's just too much, you know?"
Jason exhaled slowly. "I know. You're back, Jake's mine, Nikolas…"
Elizabeth pulled back to look into his eyes. "That's the hardest part. I still want to believe that we're wrong. I loved Nikolas like a brother. I just don't understand."
Jason kissed her forehead. "Neither do I."
Elizabeth closed her eyes and settled back into his arms. "We haven't really talked about what comes next."
"Do you want me to move back to the penthouse?"
Elizabeth chose her words carefully. "No, I don't ever want you to leave. But if you want to or if you think you should…"
Jason kissed her. "I want to stay here."
Elizabeth smiled and brought a hand up to stroke his cheek. "That's settled then." She kissed his the corner of his mouth and raised herself up to straddle his legs. "I love you."
"I love you."
Author's note: I want to say thank you to everyone who encouraged me throughout this story. Whether you took the time to review or added this story to your alerts or favorites, you brightened my day! I was going to list you all but there were many and I'm afraid I'd accidentally leave someone out. Just know that you're appreciated very much.
As for a sequel, it's in the beginning stages. Give me a little while to hammer out the details. Then again, if you think it would be a waste of time, just let me know and I'll trash it.