Chapter 18

Without Honor

Stefan wanted answers. Jason wanted Dawn. And all Nikolas wanted was vindication.

"What is the meaning of this?" Stefan lashed. His steely gaze cut from one bleeding man to the other. "Why is Morgan here?"

Nikolas inhaled a sharp breath and winced. He hugged his middle and Jason fought back the urge to smile. The prince had at least two injured ribs, courtesy of Jason. The elder Cassadine barely seemed to notice as he spoke again.

"Answer me!"

Using the wall for support, Jason pulled himself into a standing position. "I'm here for Dawn."

"She's not here," Stefan replied, his pale eyes glittering with disbelief.

"Yes, she is," Jason said, as calmly as he could muster. "He," he said, jutting his chin toward Nikolas who was attempting to stand, too, "went back on his word and took her from our home. She's here." He leveled a steely, hate-filled glare at Nikolas. "And I want her back."

Nikolas snorted. Stefan advanced to the prince and grabbed his shoulders. "Is this true?"

"She is my wife!"

Stefan released Nikolas as suddenly as he had grabbed him. As the older man stepped back, Nikolas had to regain his balance. "You were to leave her in peace," Stefan said, his voice grating and hard. "You gave her your word."

"I changed my mind--"

"A man without honor is nothing!" Stefan said through clenched teeth. "Your word is everything. To do this… You dishonor me, our family and worst of all yourself."

"You dare to scold me?" Nikolas wheezed. "In front of him?"

"You're the reason he's here," Stefan fired back.

"I am the Prince!" Nikolas snarled. "No one is above me!"

Stefan's faced twisted with disappointment. "We both know that is not true. We will discuss this further later. Where is Dawn? Did you abduct their child, too?"

"No!" Nikolas spat, his brown eyes blazing with disgust. After a moment of dry heaves, he finally told Jason and Stefan what they longed to hear.

Stefan turned on his heel and strode briskly from the room. Jason moved right behind him. The pain from his injuries took a back seat to his immediate goal: getting to Dawn and making sure that she was okay. As they stalked toward their destination, Jason passed the same men who had captured him. With Stefan leading the way, these men shrank back and looked away. Jason frowned as he processed this information. As far as he knew, Nikolas was the Prince and had absolute control. If that were the case, why then would these men fear Stefan? The older Cassadine presented an intimidating figure, but without power he could not govern them. Or could he?

As they descended the staircase leading to the basement, Jason stole a glance at Stefan's rigid profile. All wasn't as it seemed in the Cassadine world. But that wasn't Jason's concern so he shrugged the thoughts off. He wanted his family back, and the sooner Stefan led him to Dawn's cell, the sooner he could make his wants a reality.

"Open the door!" Stefan commanded the guard.

The imposing figure's hands shook as he searched for the appropriate key. Stefan wrenched the keys from the man's hand and unlocked the door himself. Before they stepped inside, Stefan said, "Gather the others and wait for me in the ballroom."

"Yes, your Highness." The guard bowed and quickly took off.

"Your Highness?" Jason repeated, but the words were lost as seconds later, he held Dawn in his arms.

"Your face…you're bleeding," she said through her tears. Her hands cupped his face and felt like a soothing balm to Jason's wounded flesh. "My God, what did he do to you?"

"He's worse," Jason assured her.

She slipped her arm around Jason's waist and extended her free hand to Stefan. The older man grasped it between both of his. "I knew you didn't know about this. Thank you, Stefan."

"You're welcome, my dear child." He drew her to him for a brief hug and chaste kiss on the cheek. "Please accept my deepest regrets for what Nikolas has put you through. I trust he did not hurt you."

"Not physically," she responded. "He needs help. I can't fix what's wrong with him. Please… Stefan, we can't live our lives on guard, waiting for the next time he comes. My baby deserves better than that, so does her daddy and so do I. Will you help us?"

Stefan dipped his head in a nod. "Consider it done." He looked past her to the Mylonas cousins who were struggling to get to their feet. "You will be compensated. Your discretion will be rewarded."

To Jason's surprise, the cousins offered no protest. What was the deal with Stefan Cassadine?

He looked to Dawn for clarification. She must have read the questions on his face. She smiled and mouthed, "Later. I'll tell you later."

Stefan directed his attention to Dawn again. He gently cupped her cheek. "Your divorce will be granted and you will never have reason to fear for your happiness or safety. If there is anything else you desire, you need only ask." His gaze turned to Jason. "The same is extended to you."

"My sister is here," Jason said. "I don't want her to know about this."

"As you wish," Stefan replied with a curt nod.

Jason frowned. He trusted Dawn's judgment, but Stefan was a Cassadine just as much as Nikolas was one. How could they take him at his word?

"Why are you going against Nikolas to help us?"

"Because I am man of honor," Stefan stated, "and I know that you are, too. As long as you are kind to Dawn and love and cherish her, you will never have reason to fear me."

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