Darkest Before the Dawn - Chapter 35
Chapter 35

"Did you find something?" Nikolas called out as he pulled Sheba to a stop. Tommy's cryptic call had sent a jolt through him. Without revealing a thing to Dawn, he had left her in the drawing room and calmly walked out of Wyndemere. As soon as the door had closed behind him, his emotions took control over his body and his feet carried at him to top speed to the stables. Poor Sheba had not anticipated her impromptu workout as Nikolas made the horse move at top speed to cross the island and reach Tommy within minutes of his call.

Nearly breathless, Nikolas slid from the saddle and ran to reach his best friend. Grasping the other man's shoulders, he whispered, "Did you find…him?"

Tommy patted Nikolas' hands and gave him a reassuring smile. "I didn't find Dominik, but I found something that was missed yesterday."

"What?" Nikolas asked, releasing his hold. Tommy turned away and he followed him down towards the shoreline. A chilling breeze swept over them and both men bristled from the assault. As the wind died down, Nikolas repeated his question, "What did you find?"

"Here." Tommy squatted down and held up his hand, indicating that Nikolas should be careful. "Look here. There's a footprint here and here." He pointed to them and Nikolas' eyes moved back and forth.

"That's a footprint?" he questioned. An oblong impression was made in the slightly moist sand. It didn't look like much of anything and Nikolas could easily see why it was missed on their earlier search. Tilting his head to the side for a better angle, he wasn't able to discern anything from it. "Are you sure? It's so small."

Tommy nodded. "I'm positive. It's a print and it was made fairly recently. From the indentation, I can tell that the person was slight and carrying a heavy object."

"Dominik," the boy's father whispered. The words were what he desperately needed to hear. They meant that there was a break. There was something that they could use to find his son, but doubts lingered. Hope scared him. Should he dare consider it? The alternative was frightening, too, but he was familiar with it. And he wasn't about to lose faith now. Logic and perseverance would be better companions. He trusted Tommy's logic and believed whole-heartedly in perseverance. He looked up from the ground to give his friend his full attention.

"Possibly," Tommy admitted. "I believe so. The footprints lead down towards the water. I've been closer to the edge and found a few more things. Paint chippings and pieces of fabric."

"Will this lead us to my son?"

Tommy held Nikolas' unwavering gaze with a look of understanding and determination. "It will lead us closer. I'm going up to analyze what I've found. I should have something in a couple of hours."

"Okay," Nikolas said with a solemn nod. "Call me as soon as you get something. I'm going to the mainland."

"Should I mention anything to Dawn?" Tommy asked as Nikolas grabbed Sheba's reins and they began to walk back to Wyndemere.

Nikolas took his time in answering. He didn't wish to alarm her or give her false hope and lying to her was something he had never foreseen. He considered them all and made a decision. "Don't say anything to her about, yet. Besides, she's coming with me so you won't have to worry about explaining anything to her." The stables were within sight and he paused. Beside him, Tommy stopped walking, too. "Whatever you find…only tell me. Okay?"

Tommy's eyes were filled with questions that he did not ask. He gave a slight nod of his head and agreed, "Okay."


Sonny stuffed the folded piece of paper inside his pocket. The list of names and offices were firmly implanted his head. The follow-up interrogation of Dr. Graham would be quick and precise. He would take up where Cassadine had left off. He would get the name of the person behind Dr. Graham's orders. He would get closer to finding the cure that would save Dara Jensen-Garcia's life. He would be closer to the personal spiritual pardon that would absolve him of Lily's death. Good deeds wouldn't bring her back. But they would ensure that her death hadn't been for nothing.

The driver closed the limo door behind Sonny and his bodyguard, Pete, appeared at his right side. Sonny raised his hand and shook his head. "Stay here. This shouldn't take more than ten minutes."

Disagreement shone clearly in the Pete's pale blue eyes. He didn't brook an argument, though. Stepping aside, he nodded and said, "Sure thing, boss."

Sonny gave a slight smile at the old title. Straightening his shoulders, he glided briskly up the sidewalk. He reached the clinic's glass doors and moved in as if he owned the place. A quick glance around the waiting room revealed that the doctor had a good practice. The overstuffed furniture, framed commendations on the wall and the overall ambience of the room would have an instant impression on anyone seeking assistance in having a child. A person would feel comfortable and at home here. Trust would be easily given. Too damned easy, Sonny thought. Way too damned easy.

Anger at what Dara was going through washed over him anew. She came there for help, but instead she was harmed. The thought sickened him and he used it to toughen him. Taking a deep breath to dampen his rage, he stormed past the receptionist and went straight to the doctor's office. The frantic receptionist called out to him. With a steely glare and a raised hand, she was silenced immediately. Sonny then turned his attention back to the office. His hand twisted the doorknob, but it was only the sound of a familiar voice that prevented him from walking through the door.

"So everything looks good, right?" an agitated masculine voice asked.

"Jason, relax," came his wife's comforting tone, "she just said that we're doing okay."

The sounds of someone shifting in a chair came through the partially opened door to Sonny. He could easily envision Jason as he turned to look into Keesha's big, brown eyes. He would take her hand as he said, "Baby, I know what she said. I heard her. I'm sitting right here. Don't persecute me for wanting to be sure. There's nothing wrong with wanting guarantees."

"But, there aren't any," she replied in a tight voice. "Right, Dr. Graham? Anything can happen. We just have to take each day as it comes."

The soft note of fear in Keesha's voice made Sonny's heart ache. She and Jason wanted their own child so much that it was clear to all who loved them. Of course, they never made their adopted children feel unwanted, but still. Their need was plain to see. Knowing that they had put their trust in Dr. Graham's hands brought a cold chill to Sonny's heart. He hoped that he had gotten there in time.


Nikolas' silence unnerved Dawn. He sat beside her in the Jaguar. As he drove them away from the docks to meet Stefan and Noelle at the park, she could not shake the feeling that something was not right. Tommy had been there. Maybe, they knew more about Dominik than they wanted her to know. Maybe there was something that she wasn't ready to know. Something that no mother was ever ready to know.

"Nikolas," she choked out when the quiet had become too much for her. "What's going on?"

"We're meeting Father and Noelle," he said, the words rolling off his tongue.

Dawn thought the words rolled off too easily. "No, that's not what I meant. I saw you and Tommy talking at the stables. Did something happen that I should know about?"

"Our son isn't dead," he whispered, "if that's what you're asking. Dominik is very much alive."

Nikolas steered the sports car into a parking space that was near the park's entrance. He turned off the car, but didn't make a move to exit it. His right hand shot out, taking her left hand and pulling it into his lap. Covering her small hand with both of his, he said, "I've changed my mind. I want you and Noelle to leave Port Charles. I don't want either of you here until our son is found."

"No," she said. Dawn twisted on the bucket seat to face him. "I won't leave you. I won't leave here. I know that he's still here. I won't leave him. Never again."

"This isn't the same as before-"

"Nikky," she said as she pressed her right hand against his mouth, "I won't go. I know that you're scared for Noelle and me. I'm scared for us, too, for all of us. We'll just have to figure out something for her. Right now, we shouldn't separate. It's what they want us to do."

"How do you know this?" he asked after she had taken her hand away from his mouth to let it rest against his cheek.

"They tried to separate us before," she said with a shrug. "I just get the feeling that's what they want and then they can lay down another blow. We have to turn the tables on them."

He gave her a wry smile. With love shining in his eyes, he asked, "You are such a Cassadine."

"Thank you," she whispered.

Nikolas leaned towards her. His mouth claimed hers in a kiss that warmed them both, adding another layer to the bond they shared. When the kiss ended, they left the car. Walking so closely that their arms brushed together, they entered the park.

As they passed the iron gates, Nikolas placed his hand on the small of Dawn's back. At his touch, a chill zipped up her spine. Unlike most of his caresses, the tingle had nothing to do with her husband's touch. No, it wasn't love that caused her body's reaction. It was hatred. Cold and unrelenting.

Dawn didn't have to turn around to know that they were being watched. She could feel it all around her, enveloping her. And whoever it was out there, hiding in the shadows, was none too pleased. Quickly, she said a prayer as one thought came to mind. Their time was almost up.