A/N: While updating my website (lauradugan(dot)com), I realized I had a few stories I never published on FanFiction. This one is a brief letter from Alexis to her unborn child. This was written over 10 years ago - at the time, neither Alexis nor her portrayor, Nancy Lee Grahn, had any children. In an interesting twist, I named Alexis' baby Kate before Nancy chose the same name for her child.

Disclaimer: General Hospital is the property of ABC, Disney, Bob Guza, and a bunch of people who are not me. No infringement is intended.

A few bits of wisdom and a family story for you, dear Katie, from your ever present, ever harebrained, ever loving mother, to be presented to you at some monumental occasion when you are old enough to understand from where it was I came:

There's nothing quite like witnessing your own mother's murder. Somehow, thankfully, that moment has been erased from my memory. But not the aura that surrounded it. Not the horrific pain of losing my only family. My only family that loved me, I should say.

As I sit here, writing this, with you little more than a dream seven months away, I wonder if I should even tell you this story. I don't want this to change how you view me. And I don't tell you this to worry you, or to put fear into you. I tell you so you'll understand your old mom when she doesn't quite understand what to do, having had no background to base motherhood on. Having no mother to go to for help.

She was the most wonderful singer, my mother, your grandmother. Blessed with a voice few are fortunate enough to claim. After I was taken to the compound, I'd sit outside my father's study, of course at the time I didn't know Mikkos was my father, family secrets expound in the Cassadine family, and listen to the dancing notes of a lone soprano. I'd sit and wonder. Wonder if it was her singing, wonder so hard I made myself believe she wasn't dead. She was in there, prisoner just as I, forced to sing to her captor as punishment. I didn't know he really loved her, for she was merely his mistress. I never said your family was one for high morals. On a side note: neither is your father's. I hope we've been able to instill some good values in you.

Now, my own punishment was great. Not only was I denied my mother, and my silent father, I was also forced to live within the same walls as my gentle mother's murderer. The epitome of evil: my father's wife. Forced to accept the fact that her husband no longer loved her, that even after her death he only loved his mistress, my mother, Helena took out all of her misery on me. You are fortunate that you have never had to deal with the horror of that woman.

They claim people are born evil. I know with all my heart Helena falls into this category. From the moment I first set eyes on her, I knew she was wholly without emotion. A pulse of evil surrounded her and grew with each loss she suffered. And she did suffer many, though she never shed a tear. She lost her husband, then her firstborn son. At this I claimed a small perverse pleasure for both had been murdered. By one man. A good man. This is proof that you should never give up on mankind, that someone out there will ride in on a great white horse and save all of humanity. Okay, so that may not happen, but as true as there is evil in this world, there is also good.

And guns. And cell phones. Never go anywhere without a gun and cell phone. Especially with this family.

Continuing on, the only survivor, aside from Helena, was her youngest son, Stefan, Uncle Stuffy, as your father likes to call him. He was the only member of the family to treat me as anything more than dirt. He took pity on me, my brother, and tried to add small comforts to my life. I still do not know why he chose to be kind to me. My best guess is that he wanted family for himself. Even though she bore him, Helena looked upon Stefan with distaste. He was the youngest and stood to inherit nothing.

Helena continued to make my life horrible, though with Stefan on my side, it was bearable. As a child I could do nothing more than quake at the sight of her, but now, older and with an ally, my fears shrunk from the public domain to be explored only in private.

They were the worst nights; when I let myself go, let myself feel again. I'd huddle in my bedroom in a small space between my bed and the wall. I'd sit with my knees drawn up to my chest and my arms holding them tight, my body racked with sobs. Exhausted from carrying so much inside, from far too many sleepless nights, I'd force my eyes to stay open so my hellish dreams would not be able to claim me. Dreams full of shadows that threatened to reveal the night that changed my life some ten years before. Staring at the Aegean, I'd force my entire being to concentrate on the one small chance that I may break free some day.

Never, ever give up hope, Katie, for there is always a chance that you will find exactly what it is your heart is seeking. Just as I did…

I was set free, eventually, though only for a short time. Stefan arranged for my schooling to take place in the States. I graduated from Harvard Law with the sense of having some semblance of a normal life. Helena had fallen ill and was bedridden, catatonic. I visited her only once and just long enough to stare at her listless body wishing that more than her mind would go. I wanted her dead, but I didn't take her life, refused to stoop to her level. I wanted to be the successful daughter of Katharine Bergman, to prove to Helena that she had not captured my spirit, more than I wanted her dead.

I returned to the states and got so far as setting up my own practice in Manhattan, but then Stefan called. I was needed. When the family calls, your answer is always yes. Let me rephrase that, when my family called, my answer was yes; it was a different time, a different place. Say no. Say no whenever you need to and never be afraid to do it. I missed having my own life, but I thought residing in the family with Stefan in control would be heaven compared to Helena's reign, so I went back.

As I look back on the two years I gave to him, Stefan, my savior, who later disowned me, I realized I wasn't any better under his control. I was still taking orders, putting the family before myself, claiming nothing as my own. Under the control of the family mantra himself, Stefan would not let me forget that it always loomed overhead. "When will we learn? When will we learn? The cosmic answer: Never." I had regressed.

Ironic as it may be, the catalyst that forced me back to myself was Stefan. When he disowned me, I was lost. More lost than I was at five years old when I was forced to live with the woman who slit my mother's throat. Not surprisingly, I was shocked to find that I wasn't alone. I had a friend. Your father.

He had family, same as I, though his stuck to more traditional measures of blackmail and adultery as opposed to murder. (I swear, Katie, your mom and dad are good people!) Initially I refused to let him in. I was too afraid of emotional connections. I didn't want to be hurt ever again. I eventually discovered that he didn't hurt me. What he did had been shown to me before, but never followed through. He helped me, stuck by me, refused to let me go, and made me discover whom I really was.

He came to me once, with a tape, said nothing as he slid it into the stereo. Still silent, he took my hand and led me to the couch. Wrapped in his arms, I completely broke down as I heard, as I never had before, the voice of my mother singing. I have loved him since.

Always learn, always grow, my little one, make your own mantra, about growth and living and love. Never let anyone knock you down. Nothing is more important than what you hold in your heart.

Now I am free. Free of the burdens, the sorrow, and the pain. The family mantra is no longer of my concern. I have learned. I have learned to love.

And so will you, Katharine Lila, and I know you, too, will be better for it.