I think I would like Johnny more if he were….darker. There's already Sonny and Jason, the last thing I want to see is another "mobster with a heart of gold". Where are all the great evils and tortured minds? Don't get me wrong, I thought Anthony was more funny than threatening—but at least he didn't have any qualms with shanking a few bitches.

Anyway—look! Not only did I write Johnny as straight (yeah, it was difficult) but he's also not a stalkerish freak. Oddly enough though—there's only a mention of Spixie in this. What's wrong with me? This is about Johnny and Sam, although…not necessarily Johnny/Sam. If you're bothered by nitty details also, you probably won't like this. It skips large chunks of how. Actually, it just skips. (Also-I admit, pretty OOCness in this.)

I came close to not posting this because…I had fun. Maybe too much. It doesn't seem like the sort of thing anyone but me would like. ….But then I thought, heck, why not? So I hope you enjoy.

Un-betaed! Please point out any mistakes you catch and I will fix them.

Johnny and Sam

Claudia Zacchara was dead. Claudia Zacchara had been dead for 78 hours and 14 minutes and Port Fuck-Me-Charles was going on it's merry little way as if she'd never been alive in the first place.

Someone would pay for it. Johnny was not even sure who would dare, but he had a pretty good idea. Sonny Corinthos and his bitch Jason Morgan. Ha. Whatever sympathy or common ground or heartfelt nonsense that had kept this truce going—it was gone, along with Claudia.

He sat behind that big desk in that dark office, fingers steeped and fury building, as he tried to think of what he could possibly tear away from them that would equal what he'd lost.

Port Charles, he figured, was a good place to start. It wasn't about business anymore. It was personal.

His first act, one he hardly even remembers making, is to call dear old Uncle Rudy. "Lend me some enforcers," Johnny breathed into the phone, the first time he's spoken for days, "for Claudia."

The next act he orders is Trevor's death.

The waterfront was his now. It's the first acquisition in his new reign. Johnny stared at the papers on his desk for a long while and suddenly, maybe for the first time, he understood just what they meant. Port Charles would be his, soon, and he wanted to make sure they were watching while he stripped it away bit by bit. He didn't care about his own empire. He just cared about destroying theirs.

It wasn't like he was evil. Not in the demonic sense anyway. He was no more inclined to drown kittens or kick puppies or beat small children than he was before. It's just that—he'd been holding out. For something. Like maybe despite all his tough talk about things never changing, he'd always been waiting for exactly that to happen. But now that hope was gone, and Johnny just wanted the people who'd taken it from him to suffer.

"You've got a lot to make up for." Johnny said, and if the tone of his voice isn't relaying the severity of the situation to Ian, then the guards with guns pointed at his head should be. "After that screw up with Michael Corinthos, you owe the Zacchara family."

Ian's cocky demeanor could be surprisingly likeable when he was given the proper incentive. Ian spoke slowly. "I understand. And I'm willing to do whatever I can to make it up."

Johnny tapped his fingers on the desktop, rhythmically. Beethoven. "That's good to hear, Doctor." He watched the shorter man sweat for a few minutes. "Here's what you can do for me—help me destroy Corinthos."

When Ian looked surprised, Johnny laughed. "I won't be asking you to kill him—we all know that's a talent you haven't got. What I need is...information. Personal. I'm talking weaknesses, soft spots, and you'd better bring me something more than "he loves his kids". I want to know everything. I need to manipulate Corinthos and Morgan and until you give me what I need, consider your life mine. Understand?"

Ian pursed his lips. "I understand."

"Where's your sister?" Anthony slurred, high off the new drug regimen Johnny had ordered. He wanted to be sure his father never walked again, paralysis or not.

"Claudia's dead." Johnny said, fascinated by the immediate puckering of Anthony's entire face.

"Don't say things like that about your sister John, your mother wouldn't like it. Maria! Maria?!" the old man ranted and Johnny didn't really give a damn if he was faking or not.

Once Johnny's plan gets it motion it just rolls. It's funny, because there wasn't really that much of a plan. He knew the goal, but the part about getting there had been just do it from the beginning. But everything seems to just fall into place, click in his mind.

"Jerry Jacks." Was all Johnny said as he made himself comfortable in a seat across from Spinelli in Kelly's. The tech wiz looked around and shut his laptop carefully. Johnny continued flippantly. "I want to know everything there is to know about him."

Spinelli gaped at him for a moment. "Why—well, number one, why would The Septic Son want to know about the admittedly equally septic Jerry Jacks, and – number two, wh-why do you expect the Jackal to help you?"

Johnny crossed his arms and smiled. "The Jackal," he emphasized," is going to help me and not ask any questions, and not tell anyone about this. And if he doesn't do what I say, a certain blonde is going to have a rough time, to put it lightly."

Spinelli blinked rapidly," I know you and the Fair Lulu separated, but the Jackal did not know everything was so volatile between—"

"No," Johnny interrupted, "you're not getting it."

"I'm not talking about Fair Lulu." he said slowly. He wanted to make sure the other man understood exactly where his threats were going. "I'm talking about your precious Maxie."

He watched with a small amount of satisfaction as Spinelli flinched like he'd been struck. Somewhere behind them the new waitress dropped a plate, glass shattering. Spinelli's eyes stayed focused on Johnny, a solemn intensity in them.

"I'm sure a guy as smart as you can figure it out." The dark man said, "Find me everything you can on Jerry Jacks, or I'm going to show you how wounded your Wounded Blonde One can get."

With a shuddering breath, Spinelli clicked open his laptop.

Sam was in the shadows of Dr. Devlin's apartment. Her hair was tousled and the crumpled shirt that touched the thighs of her jeans was definitely not hers. Johnny met her gaze for just a second as he looked past Ian and in her eyes it seemed she knew exactly what was going on.

It was ingenious, what Dr. Devlin offered him, and Johnny had to wonder why such an asset had been left to flounder for so long. Samantha McCall was a potential wealth of information. Not mob business, no, but personal knowledge. Sam smiled at him in Ian's dark apartment, brimming with bitterness and a slow-burning hatred, and Johnny wanted to shake his head at his rival's stupidity. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, after all.

Johnny and Ian were both tense, the air was thick with do we have an understanding?, and Sam sipped a beer on the couch like it was a lazy Sunday afternoon. Johnny knew that ease, had felt it many times before--it was the kind you get when you start to think you've got nothing left to lose.

"What's the matter with you?" Johnny asked her lowly when she limped past him as he was waiting to talk with Dr. Drake.

"What do you mean what's the matter with me?" she snapped, irritated, and it was the first time he'd heard her like that. "I got hit by a car, what do you think is the matter with me?"

Johnny raised his eyebrows and she sighed, "Sorry. Sorry. It's just—this stupid physical therapy."

"Tiring you out?" he asked, leading her to the waiting areas. She sat down slowly and shook her head.

"I don't even care about that. But each time I go, each time, they add another month to the recovery time. More and more and more—I'm never going to get better."

Johnny smiled grimly at this. His situation was a lot the same. Not as physical. But mentally, that just about summed him up.

Johnny was finishing up paperwork for some business with the Alvarado's—another family that was tired of seeing Corinthos at the top—when one of the new guards poked his head in. "Mr. Zacchara? Samantha McCall is here to see you."

Sam came by a lot. She didn't have a job, didn't have many friends, could only spend so much time with her family before she started to feel like an intruder—Johnny figured she just didn't have much else to occupy herself with than sitting on his couch and drinking his liquor. "Let her in." Johnny waved the guard away, "and next time don't bother to introduce her."

Sam was a mess. Not emotionally; she smiled at him dryly, leaning against the doorframe like she hadn't a care in the world. But her hair was tangled and her shirt was ripped and there were holes in the knees of her pants. Johnny dropped the papers in his hands and stood, sucking in a surprised breath. "Jesus Christ, Sam—what the hell happened?"

He was by her side in a few steps, helping her in her seat. A good thing, because by the look of it she'd lost her cane.

"Oh, you know." Sam chuckled, tired. "I guess somebody noticed us talking and decided they didn't like it."

Johnny looked at her sharply. "Corinthos did this to you?"

Sam let him lift her feet onto the footrest. "Of course not. He wouldn't want to get his hands dirty. But I recognized the guys who did it, and their message didn't exactly leave much to the imagination."

He called the guard back in and ordered a first aid kit. He could feel that anger, that constant anger, boiling up again. "What was the message?"

"Stay away from the Zaccharas." Sam tried to imitate a man's voice. It almost made Johnny smile. Instead he peeled back some of her shirt to see the scratches beneath and asked her. "And?"

"And I hate doing what I'm told." Sam smirked. "Especially if it's an order from them."

He'd never really do anything to Kristina or Molly. One crippled kid was enough for this mob war. And he'd never hurt Alexis either. Maybe at one time, not so long ago when the pain was still startling and new—but now he couldn't even look at that woman without seeing bits of Sam, and that was enough to put her off limits.

Jerry didn't know that, though. Jerry Jacks was stubborn. He was smart, and two-faced, and instilled with a strong sense of self-preservation, but he was also very clingy to the things he's come to care about. Johnny figured out all those subtle connection that weren't quite visible to the naked mind, thanks to that computer geek. Dr. Moreau and Jerry Jacks and James Craig and James Brosnan. The man should have known that having that many secrets just gave your opponents that much more blackmail material to use against you.

" I want to own Port Charles." The Zacchara said, enjoying the clenching of the older man's jaw. "And you'll help me—or else you'll lose everything. And so will your brother, and your sister-in-law. And…Alexis Davis too."

"Family, Jerry," Johnny shrugged," It's an important thing."

"Yes." Jerry curled his lip. "I am aware of that."

"Then you should be happy to do this for me. You're insuring your family's safety and happiness through your actions." Johnny watched Jerry, silently daring him to talk back in that pompous accent of his. He did, of course, "Oh, well, excuse me for being ungrateful—"

"No," Johnny interrupted. "I won't. I want to hear you say Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help you , Mr. Zacchara."

Jerry stared at him impassively and Johnny urged him, "Go on. Say it." Seeing the older man making no move to speak, Johnny leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers together. "Don't be stubborn, Mr. Jacks. Say it, or else…"

Jerry sneered at him, disgust in his eyes. "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help you, Mr. Zacchara."

Johnny smiled. "You're welcome."

"It was almost like…Sonny gave me this amazing gift, you know?" Sam sighed, and Johnny bristled at the slightest praise for Sonny. But then Sam continued, sadly," And then he and Jason took it away from me."

"I think you would have made a great mother." Johnny offers as consolation, not sure why, although mothers and fathers weren't exactly his strong point. Sam beamed at him, an honest to god smile.

They'd been having a slow day in his office—the business stuff turned out to take a lot of waiting—and Sam had been trying to cajole him into a card game when a guard knocked on the door and peeked in. "Jason Morgan is here to see you, Mr. Zacchara."

Johnny straightened up in his chair, the ghost of a smile that had been teasing his lips fading away to be replaced by a scowl. He looked at Sam and when she nodded, he told the guard shortly. "Let him in."

Whatever Jason had been expecting to see – probably someone else behind the desk, some other relative come to take Johnny's place as head of the family—Johnny figured it wasn't this. Him with his sleeved rolled up and Sam shuffling cards in her summer dress across from him, some old music playing quietly on the radio.

"Sam." Jason said, and since it was Jason talking, Johnny couldn't tell if he was surprised or what. "What are you doing here?"

Sam turned to look at him, raising an eyebrow and lifting the cards. "Well obviously I'm about to play a game."

"Not that it matters," Johnny started as soon as she'd finished, not giving Jason any time to talk, "since I'm assuming you came to my home to speak with me, not Sam."

Jason looked momentarily at a loss, looking between him and Sam. "Yeah. You- your boats are in our shipping lanes. And several of your men have been seen on our ports."

Sam laughed at this, beginning to lay cards down on the cleared space of Johnny's desk. Solitaire. Johnny scratched at a bit of stubble under his chin. "Well, that's how a hostile takeover starts, right? I'm staking out the territory."

"Hostile takeover?" Jason repeated.

"That's right. I'm taking over-so you should run along and tell Corinthos to watch his back."

Sam was flipping cards and smiling, and Johnny figured she could feel Jason's gaze on the back of her head. "And what do you have to do with this, Sam?"

"Why?" Johnny asked. "So you can send more thugs to rough her up, teach her a lesson?"

"What-what are you talking about?"

"Oh Johnny, don't you know?" Sam quipped, laying the cards down. "Jason isn't privy to all of Sonny's business—and he's much too good of a person to let guys beat up a crippled woman."

Jason held his hand up, "No, I had nothing to do with that."

"Well that's good." Johnny said, "because otherwise it would have really dropped all my respect for you." And Sam chuckled.

Jason, seeing the futility of the situation, began to back out. "You're making a mistake. Both of you."

"My sister wasn't around to take care of me." Johnny offered one afternoon, feeling strangely social. He had recently come into possession of a large bunk of peers. The shipping lanes of Port Charles seemed to be falling into his lap. Sam lounged on the sofa in his office, cane propped up near her like it was the hottest accessory of the season, and waited for him to continue.

"She tried to take care of me when she was around, but…she got sent away when I was pretty young."

"Yeah." Sam nodded, maybe a little drowsily. "My brother didn't take care of me either. It's was more like I took care of him. Not that I minded."

Johnny's interest was caught. "You had an older brother?"

Sam shifted on the couch, maneuvering her hip slowly so she could face him. "His name was Danny. He was special."

Sam lit up. Everything about her changed, in that moment, when she began to talk about her brother. "He was special in every meaning of the word. Oh god, he was just—just the sweetest guy in the world."

Johnny leaned back in his chair. For the first time in a while, he felt something other than that quiet enragement that had been nestling in his chest. He tried, instead of thinking of horror and loss, to imagine what this man who'd fostered the love and admiration of Samantha McCall had been like.

"I guess that's just something we have in common." Johnny noted, as if they needed another reason beside their dislike for Morgan and Corinthos to get along.

"Yeah." Sam agreed. "And also-red."

Johnny raised an eyebrow.

"Your sister—she always wore those red shoes, right? And my brother, he had this baseball cap, a red one that he always wore."

They were quiet for a while.

"I still have them." Johnny admitted. "Her shoes. I still have all of them."

"That's okay." Sam smiled oddly. "I still have the cap."

"Lucky was a lot like me." She confessed, "But not in the right ways."

Johnny gestured for her to continue, sipping at his gin.

"He was just like me…because he couldn't let go of the past." Sam continued. "But he also wasn't like me because –ha-- he was such a good guy."

"Being good." Johnny said, after they'd both been quiet for a moment, "It's overrated."

"Amen to that." She laughed, and they clinked their glasses together in a cheer to being the bad guys.

"The last time I heard about the infamous Johnny Z. he was in love with Lulu Spencer." Sam said after taking a long sip.

"He was." Johnny agreed.

"And..." Sam prompted, making hand gestures that made Johnny's lips twitch.

"And I decided that I didn't want her as much as I thought I did. She was great then, but things are different now."

Sam poured expensive cognac from his crystal tumbler into her never-full glass. "Was she one of those things that are everything you want—until you have it?"

"Something like that." Johnny agreed, offering his glass for a refill.

There was a darkness in the Cassadine castle that reminded Johnny of his home. Not just the shadows in every corner or the curving smile of the gargoyle's mouths, but the feeling that vibrated through the building's very bricks. Now he had time to think as he walked down its hallways, and he tried to imagine what events had put the gloom and despair in the place. Surely it was more than one strangled woman and a left-behind lover's loneliness.

Maybe, he thought, when he met Nicolas's disapproving gaze from across the grand table, saw little Spencer's eyes regarding him carefully, maybe the Cassadine's were just like his own family--fucked up and born that way, cursed and doomed to always and forever repeat every mistake ever made before them. Sam smiled at him from her seat, a dark beauty that fit perfectly in that place.

It was really too bad she couldn't have kids, because with their combined genes who knew what sort of beast they would create.

Sam was defensive about her family, touchy about her blood, but she laughed when Johnny told her that Nicolas reminded him of his dad.

"He's losing his mind." she said, while on the other side of the room Nicolas gestured animatedly to someone who only continued to exist for him. "But we still love him."

Little Spencer had the same dark eyes and genes for ruin as the rest of his family, but as Johnny swept him up like an airplane he realized that he was wrong before. The Cassadine's weren't really like his family at all. They were a different kind of fucked up. He thinks he could get used to it.

And Spencer liked him. Then again, Johnny figured, it must have been nice to see people at all who weren't the butler, nanny, or crazy daddy who talked to ghosts. But Sam was impressed, in that way that crinkled her nose and changed the way she looked at him for a bit. He liked it.

"I'll get you one." Johnny offered, breezily, like he was going to stop by the nearest 7/11 and pluck one off the shelves.

"You'll get me a baby?" Sam repeated, tone light and humored while her eyes watched him quietly.

"Sure." Johnny shrugged. "What kind do you want? White, black, Asian, blonde, brunette?"

"You're sweet, Johnny." She said, laughing and looking sad. "But it's just not the same."

That made Johnny angry, inexplicably angry, because that was just another thing that he wanted to fix but had no control over. "Let me know if you change your mind."

"I will," she promised, although he figured she wouldn't.

"Mine." Johnny sat a paper on his desk with a flourish. In a singsong voice he continued, setting more papers down. "Mine, mine, miiiiine."

Sam clapped happily, amused by his antics. "And what are those exactly?"

Johnny smirked and paused for effect. "Each of these," he said slowly, running the tips of his fingers over the neat stacks," is a piece of the Corinthos shipping lanes."

Dropping her hands, Sam stared at him, obviously surprised. "You mean that's really…"

"I told you it was only a matter of time." Johnny shrugged. "The Corinthos organization is weak. They've been on the top for too long and have forgotten how to protect themselves."

Sam pressed a hand to her mouth and stepped around the desk to stand next to him, a sort of amazement in her face. "Wow."

"Didn't think I could do it?" Johnny asked, curling an arm over her waist.

"I don't know." Sam laughed, turning to look at him with wide eyes. "I guess I just never thought I'd see it happen."

Johnny hoped that somewhere, miles away, Corinthos was receiving news about his lost assets. He hoped Morgan was realizing the depth of the situation and Sonny was panicking , that they were both regretting with all their being, everything they'd done to the Zacchara family. "This is only the beginning." Johnny promised, dark Cassadine hair brushing against his cheek.