Note – It's no secret to those who know me that I love the idea of Johnny Zacchara with Nadine Crowell, and that I've loved them since they shared scenes for 0.2 seconds at the Black and White Ball on Spoon Island. I want them together as much as I wanted Liason together back in the day when they were just two headstrong kids running into each other all around town and being told to stay away from each other. To that effect, here is my first real non-Liason fic, devoted to these two. I hope you enjoy. This is dedicated to all the folks in the Johnny & Nadine thread at the Canvas for joining me in wishful thinking.
What You Need To Know:
Lulu hit Logan in the head with a wrench, he slipped into a coma, and she entered a relationship with Johnny.
Logan is still comatose.
Lulu and Johnny have been together for a while, a few months at most.
The TMK has been outed and killed.
Emily is dead, and Nikolas still has a tumor. He's back in the hospital awaiting further treatment and still has hallucinations about Emily even though he killed Diego.
Claudia and Sonny slept together, but she uses that as a way to taunt him occasionally and is not at all obsessed with him or the idea of sleeping with him again.
Luke is in the hospital recovering from his bypass surgery.
Jolene and Nadine were raised by their Aunt Rayleen after their mother abandoned them, and Jolene is currently in a psychiatric ward or a rest home in New York. Nadine is trying to make amends for her damage to GH and doesn't keep in touch with her sister anymore. Aunt Rayleen is deceased.
The Right Girl Prologue
As she crept along the dark, dirty alley, Nadine Crowell reflected that medical school really hadn't prepared her for a career at General Hospital in the sleepy little hamlet of Port Charles. For one thing, in medical school, they never taught the students how to deal with the various underworld types that seemed to prefer to do business right outside the ICU instead of in their smoke-filled bars or strip clubs. They never taught students how to deal with hostage situations involving an injured politician, a blowhard hospital administrator, a known hitman, a pregnant woman, and an infant suffering from smoke inhalation.
And they never taught students what to do when a patient decided to up and vanish into thin air.
Nikolas Cassidine was missing from General Hospital, and all of his caregivers and friends had searched high and low for him with nothing to show for it. And though Nadine Crowell was not his official medical practitioner – she was just a lowly nurse – nor was she one of childhood Musketeer friends – she had only met the man at his Black & White Ball – she knew that the Prince needed to be found and that she was just the girl for the job.
The problem was that everyone had searched for him in all of his usual haunts. Elizabeth Webber had called her ex-husband, Nikolas's brother, and told him that his Highness was missing. She then personally called Alfred the Butler – how very Batman like! – at Spoon Island and asked him to send down orders to search the house, the stables, the trails, the entire grounds for his employer. Dr. Patrick Drake and Dr. Ian Devlin had put out a bulletin for all hospital personnel to be on the lookout for a disoriented man of medium height and build with dark hair. Robin Scorpio had gone down to the park where Nikolas sometimes took his son Spencer, but had come back alone and empty-handed.
Nadine knew better. Maybe it was because she was the most objective one of the group. Robin and Elizabeth were friends with him and knew him since he came to town, and they loved him dearly. Ian and Patrick saw him as their prime patient for their experimental treatment, their next breakthrough seminar paper that was sure to be another landmark in their already accomplished careers. Lucky Spencer was doing things by the book and trying to keep a cool head, and that was his mistake: he was too close to the case, he was too close to his brother, and he was too afraid of what Nikolas's disappearance meant.
And besides all that, in Nadine's opinion and experience, Officer Spencer wasn't that bright a man or that competent an officer to begin with.
She had gotten to know Nikolas very well during his stay at the hospital and she had a feeling he would go somewhere new, somewhere he knew no one would come looking for him. Somewhere that represented the isolation, devastation, and bleakness he felt and saw in his life.
And in Port Charles, that meant the docks.
She felt kind of stupid, randomly calling out his name in the darkness, but she had to find him. His tumor had grown in size and changed its position when he last returned to the hospital after killing Diego Alcazar, otherwise known as the Text Message Killer. (Frankly, Nadine thought that reveal was cheap and anti-climactic, especially since Diego had been declared dead by all relevant Port Charles authorities. Also, she thought it was sad that Mister Jason Morgan turned out to still be responsible for his sister's death due to the fact that he was in the mob and it was his enemy that killed Emily in an act of retaliation. The whole situation had been pathetic and disappointing, and she was eager to forget it ever happened.)
Nikolas checked himself back into General Hospital once Diego's body was monitored constantly for a period of seventy-hours and it was ascertained that there was absolutely no heartbeat, no pulse, no breathing, and no brain activity going on. And there were rumors circulating that the coroner had injected Diego's body with a lethal injection once the autopsy was concluded, just to be sure that there would be no horrendous re-repeat.
Once he was back, Patrick and Ian went to work and found that his tumor was even larger. Nikolas had confided in her that his worst fears had not been realized: he could still see Emily and hold her and talk to her. She was still with him, and he was glad for her presence in the darkest days of his life as his doctors struggled for the cure.
But now Nikolas was gone again, and he had to be found before he suffered any more black-outs or hurt himself or someone else. She was fairly certain that he would be found prowling these docks, and she hoped to be the one that found him. There was something in Nikolas that responded to something in her. Elizabeth Webber told her that sometimes, Nadine reminded her of a very young Emily, and she was willing to bet that was what it was that drew out the younger version of Nikolas and helped her get through to him in his rages.
A scrap of white caught her eye and Nadine knelt on the cold ground. His hospital bracelet. She was on the right track!
She hopped up and reached for her phone, hurriedly dialing the number Officer Spencer had given her and the other hospital personnel. "Hi, Officer Spencer? This is Nadine Crowell. I'm a nurse at General Hospital? Yeah. Listen, I'm down by the docks about two blocks from the old Taylor building…no, no, I'm not calling about any mob business. No. Listen, I found Nikolas's hospital bracelet on the ground here, which means he's close by. Okay. Yeah, great. Thank you. I hope so, too. Bye."
She slipped it back into her pocket and broke into a jog. "Nikolas! Nikolas, are you here? Can you hear me?"
The alleyway turned sharply and then opened out, and she found herself looking up at the old warehouse properties. She'd never been around this part of the docks before, and she had the distinct feeling that it wasn't the safest place to be for a disoriented prince or a young nurse.
Footsteps were approaching, and Nadine spun around so fast that she lost her footing. "Nik- Oh!"
A tall young man with dark hair came into view and lunged for her when he saw her fall, and Nadine barely had time to recognize him as Johnny Zacchara from the Black & White Ball before a hail of bullets forced them both down onto the ground. Johnny, who had grabbed her arm in an attempt to help her right herself, now tossed her down and leapt on top of her, and Nadine found herself crushed to the cold, hard ground by one-hundred-and-sixty pounds of muscle and heat.
She clung to him, her fingers fisting the lapels of his heavy black overcoat, and felt warmth surge all through her body as the adrenaline began to take over. Johnny lifted his head as the firing abated momentarily, most likely so that the assassins could reload, and quickly hauled Nadine to her feet.
"Go, go!" He slipped his arm around her waist, but she didn't even need the pull. Nadine ran as fast as she ever had, matching his pace stride for stride as they tore through the dark alleyways and put as many blocks between them and the shooters as they could before they finally slowed.
She gasped and sucked in a few rapid breaths, swaying on her feet as he looked frantically around and pulled out his phone. "You – You're Johnny Z-Zacchara."
His grip on his arm didn't loosen. "Nadine, right? From the ball at Wyndemere?"
She nodded hurriedly. "W-What happened? What was that?"
Johnny's expression remained grim, his strong features pulled into a dark scowl. "I have to get you out of here. Come with me."
He looked around once more to be sure of the direction and pulled her through the alley. She followed as best as she could, thinking that her legs would give out from underneath her if she didn't keep moving, and collided against him when he stopped. He led her to a tiny parking lot between the waterfront warehouse buildings and a black car was waiting for them.
Johnny grabbed the handle and pushed her into the car before the door was even fully open, then hopped in himself and kicked the seat for the driver to go, slamming his door securely shut as the tires squealed on the wet pavement and the car pealed out of the lot.
"Marco, take us home. Fast."