Chapter 51

~ Love Lights the Way ~

With the recent captures of the most nefarious criminal minds on the Eastern seaboard, Keesha should have found pleasure in her job. The Moreno and the Mancusi families had met their demise at the hands of civilians whose job had been so thorough that there was no way the racketeers would see the outside of a prison. Ever. Knowing that brought some relief to Keesha's disturbed thoughts, but the feeling didn't last for long. The image of Jason's loving blue eyes and the sound of his pleading voice always interrupted the relief and replaced it with chaos.

A large hand closed over her shoulder and squeezed. She looked up to find Taggert staring down at her with a concerned expression on his handsome face. She offered him a faint smile. "What's up?"

"I was about to ask you the same," he replied, folding his tall frame into the chair in front of her desk. "You've been distant all morning. Something on your mind?"

He was the last person she wanted to confide in about Jason. It wasn't that she didn't trust him. Marcus Taggert was an honorable man and they had become friends. However, some things were too raw to expose to anyone, especially matters of the heart. She needed to sort her feelings out before she could discuss them aloud.

"I know this isn't any of my business," he continued, "but I heard about Morgan. I know he's in the hospital and it seems that he's remembering things he's forgotten over the past two years. I won't pry, but if you need a few days to yourself, take them. The new commissioner hasn't been assigned, yet, so nobody will say anything."

Afraid to look at him and see the pity in his eyes, Keesha studied her fingernails. In a hoarse voice, she asked, "Do you really think it will be okay?"

Taggert's large hand covered hers. "It will be fine," he said gently. "If worse comes to worse, I'll cover for you. Don't worry about it. The department's on a high right now because we got some creeps off the street. They won't miss your lovely presence for a few days."

"Thanks, Taggert," she said quietly.

"You're welcome."

He walked away, but she was too busy gathering her things and switching off her computer to notice. Not bothering to put on her coat, Keesha rushed out of the precinct and went to her car.

Driving through the streets of Port Charles, she didn't have any destination in mind. Well, not one that she was conscious of. She shouldn't have been surprised when the tall white building of General Hospital came into view. It would seem the time for avoiding him had passed. With a resigned sigh, she parked and went inside.

Nothing registered for her. She moved like a moth to a flame. Unable to resist the pull that drew her to Jason and unable to ignore that a part of her heart still belonged to him. Even after the numerous sleepless nights she'd spent mourning his 'death' only to see him walk past her the next day, looking past her as if he didn't know her or never loved her.

Dammit, it still hurt!

Bitter tears stung her eyes. Blinking them away didn't help so she gave up. Taking a deep breath, she paused before opening the door to his room. "Give me strength," she prayed and then she stepped inside.

Jason couldn't believe what his eyes were telling him. Keesha had come back? He had prayed for her return since she ran out in near hysterics. From the hurt look in her beautiful brown eyes, he doubted if he would see her again. God, he was so grateful to be wrong.

"Keesha," he said softly, wanting to smile but afraid to. Wanting to reach for her, but terrified she'd bolt. He swallowed hard and forced himself to lie still, hoping that she would be drawn to him and allow him to touch her again.

God, it had been so long.

Her eyes darted nervously around the room before settling on him. She remained at the foot of the bed, close to the door and standing as still as a statue. "Jason," she choked out.

Her reaction to him blew his mind. They loved each other, but she was treating him like a stranger. What happened? What were behind the strange looks his Mom and Dad shared whenever they visited him? What weren't they telling him?

"What's happening, Keesha?" he asked, watching her closely. "I don't understand anything. Why did you run away from me? Why are you looking at me like you don't know me? You know me better than anyone. Don't you know that?"

A single tear rolled down her face and then more came until she was sobbing uncontrollably. Forgetting about his weakened condition, Jason left the bed and shuffled to her as quickly as he could. His arms closed around her. Her face pressed into his chest and her tears soaked his dressing gown. But none of that mattered to him. Keesha was in his arms again and that meant, sooner or later everything would be all right. Closing his eyes, he continued to hold her shaking body against him.


The news about Jason's accident reached Robin and like a shot, she was at the hospital. She told herself that going to see him meant nothing. It was merely an act of kindness. Something she would do for anyone. The fact they had once been in love didn't matter. It was just a coincidence.

Well, that's what she told herself.

She spoke briefly to Amy at the Nurse's Station. The nosy nurse was all too eager to give Robin Jason's room number. She said that only family members were supposed to see him, but she knew how close they were and that he'd be happy to see her. Robin didn't respond. She simply nodded and went in search of his room.

Anxiety played games with her and her heart started to pound. "Relax," she murmured to herself. She'd survived worse. Seeing Jason now couldn't be that bad. Who knows? Maybe they could talk things over and find a common ground…to start over again…

She came to the room and grabbed the doorknob. The door opened just a crack. Just wide enough for her to see Keesha wrapped in his arms and for Robin to hear him say,

"Sweetheart, nothing's changed. I'll always love you."

Those four words pierced through Robin, sharp and brutal. She bit back the cry that wanted to escape from her lips and quietly closed the door. Not wanting to face Amy, she slipped into the stairwell and cried.


Stefan had been on edge most of the afternoon. Since leaving Alexis' office, he'd felt a sense of urgency. Something was amiss and deadly wrong. His first thought went to Nikolas in Greece. He called Petrukas who promptly reassured him that all was well. He became calm after that until a few moments later, the feeling intensified and then he knew.


He stabbed the numbers on the keypad of his cellular to reach her. Her telephone rang and rang. She never picked up. Now, ice-cold fear dripped through him, and he permitted his instincts to guide his path.

He couldn't have been more surprised when they led him to Hera, Helena's yacht. Surely, Carlotta hadn't decided to face the woman's wrath on her own?

But what did she say to him?

That she and Dawn were alike, and hadn't Dawn forged a relationship with Morgan in an attempt to avenge Nikolas' accident? He should have paid closer attention to Carlotta when she spoke those words. He should have found a way to stop her. Dammit!

Slipping onto the yacht, he prayed that he had not arrived too late. He walked past the portholes and looked inside. Damnation! Carlotta held a gun pointed straight for Helena's head. He had to bring a halt to this impetuous move before the worst happened. There was no way he could allow Carlotta to kill Helena and suffer the consequences. That would be his transgressions endure, and not those of his innocent beloved's.

He moved quietly across the deck towards Helena's stateroom. Just as he reached the door, Ari appeared. Helena's young manservant pointed a firearm at Stefan's heart and without words instructed him to enter the room.

As the door opened, color returned to Helena's ashen face. A triumphant gleam sparkled in her emerald eyes and her painted lips twitched into her characteristic smirk/sneer. "Very well done, my dear Ari. Very well done." She turned to Carlotta and extended her hand palm up. "You will no further use for that, my dear."

Carlotta's eyes flew to Stefan. Silently, she begged for his forgiveness for this blunder. She had only wanted to help him, she screamed quietly. Her actions were born of her love for him. Inhaling deeply, her dark gaze turned to Helena again. She disengaged the safety without batting an eye and kept the barrel leveled on their nemesis. "I haven't begun to use this, Helena."

Fury emanated from Helena, white-hot and raging. "ARI!" she shrieked. "Kill!"

Her order obviously confused Ari as he seemed unsure where to aim the gun. His hesitation gave Stefan all the time he needed. With a powerful chop to Ari's wrist, he knocked the weapon from the man's hands. The two began to struggle and then Helena lunged for Carlotta.

Stefan's blood ran cold as he watched the women battle. He wanted to assist Carlotta, but Ari proved to be a hard man to incapacitate. When the women fell to the ground, his heart lurched. Inhuman strength surged through him and he knocked Ari unconscious with a blow to his larynx. He rushed to the struggling bodies on the floor. His hands reached for Helena who was on top just as the sharp blast of a gun exploded.


The anguish cry came from the hidden depths of his soul. Unmindful of his own welfare, he pushed Helena away and pulled Carlotta into his arms. Tears blinded him and the echoing of the gunfire still rang in his ears. It wasn't until hands clutched him and hugged him back did he realize what truly transpired. Glancing over his shoulder, he noted the crimson blood pouring from Helena's abdomen and the lifeless stare of her green eyes.

He quickly looked at the woman in his arms. A few scratches marred Carlotta's creamy complexion, but her gray eyes sparkled with victory.

She was alive! Thank God, Carlotta was alive!


"Could we talk about this?"

Mac paused in cleaning his rifle to look at his wife. "Didn't we discuss this yesterday? I'm protecting my family and I'm doing it the only way I know how."

Dara drew in a long breath. "I understand, but isn't there a better way to handle Sonny? I don't want you become like him. You've come so far from the man you used to be. Resorting to mercenary tactics lessens you."

He stopped cleaning and gave her a hard look. "So you love me less now?"

The room became suddenly quiet. Her mouth dropped open and suddenly, she was kneeling before him. "No, Mac! How could you ask me that?"

He took her hands, gently tugging until she sat beside him at the dining room table. "I wasn't sure. For a moment, I didn't know. You seem to go back and forth about this. Don't you know I'm going after Sonny so that he doesn't hurt you? This isn't about me, Dara. I'm not on some overzealous macho kick. This is about Corinthos not understanding the word 'no' and having no respect for you or our marriage.

"He invaded our home and scared you on more than occasion. He's lived in the mob and he's capable of anything. He would do anything. For him and men like him, the ends justify the means. It always has. It always will. In order to end this, so that you're safe and our future children are safe, I have to confront him on his level. This isn't something I want to do. It's something I have to do. Why can't you understand that?"

"I do," she said, holding his hands. "I understand, but it's not easy for me to reconcile it. I don't want to lose you...either to prison cell or death. The risk is so great, Mac. And it scares me. I watch you cleaning your guns and I know why you're cleaning them and I'm terrified. I always thought I was a strong woman, but this weakens me. The thought of losing you... I don't want to lose you, Mac."

Her body shook as she said those words to him. Her fear was real to him, but until now, he'd been able to cast it aside and focus on his goal. But he couldn't ignore her words, not anymore. He pulled her into his lap. Burying his face in the curve of her neck, he rocked her within the circle of his arms. "It will be all right, love," he promised. "Everything will be fine."

They held each other for a long time. A knock at the door interrupted them and Dara rose from his lap. Sniffling, she smiled and said, "I'll get it."

"Don't open it unless you recognize whoever it is!"

"Aiy, Aiy, sir!" she said.

Mac watched her as she peered through the glass. Her back became rigid and in stiff movements, she turned to face him. His nerve endings stood on end at the surprise and disbelief that registered on her face. He strode to the door and looked out.

"Oh, my God," he mumbled.

Dara stepped backwards and Mac unlocked and opened the door. His mouth dropped open and he couldn't stop himself from staring.

"Hello, little brother."

"Robert?!" Mac managed to shout and then the men hugged. Tears gathered in Mac's eyes as they pulled away and looked at each other. He couldn't believe it, nor did he want it to be a dream. It had to be real!

Mac quickly closed and locked the door. The motions gave him a moment to collect his thoughts. When he faced Robert again, he found his older brother staring at his wife. Mac grinned. "This is my wife, Dara. Dara, this is Robert. My brother."

"I've heard a lot about you," Dara said, giving her new brother-in-law a brief hug. "Welcome back."

"Thank you," he said, smiling. "I've heard a great deal about you, too."

"Oh really?" she asked, a quizzical frown on her face as she looked from Robert to Mac and back again.

"No, not from Mac," Robert explained with a faint chuckle. "From Robin. Could we sit down? I have a great deal of explaining to do and it wouldn't seem so awkward if we weren't standing."

"Please." Mac gestured towards the living area. He took Dara's hand and followed Robert. The couple sat on the sofa and Robert faced them when he sat on an easy chair.

"Would you like coffee or anything?" Dara offered.

"No thank you. I'm fine," Robert answered. He looked around the home, smiling. "You've done very well for yourself, ex-Commissioner Scorpio. I'm proud. Thank you for raising Robin. She's become quite a young lady. I wonder if Anna and I could have done the same."

"I'm sure you would have been much better," Mac answered. "You keep mentioning Robin. When did you see her? Where have you been all these years? How long have you been back? Where's Anna?"

"Anna's gone. She didn't survive the explosion. As for the rest, I've been in captivity. Faison held me there until I found the means to escape. It took some time, but I found my way back here. I've been in Port Charles far longer than I care to admit. I simply wasn't ready to resume my life and then, I started to. Slowly. I saw Luke and Robin and now I'm here."

Mac squeezed Dara's hand. "I won't ask why I was last on your list-"

"It wasn't like that," Robert quickly interrupted. "I had to go in stages, and quite honestly, I didn't know what to say to you. If I could turn back the clock, I would have come to you long before now."

Mac laughed softly. "I won't hold this against you. I'm happy to have my brother back. We have a spare room and you're more than welcome to it. We've already had dinner, but there's plenty left-"

"I will not intrude on newlyweds. I have a room and for now, that's enough for me." He looked around again and he frowned as he noticed the small arsenal in the dining area. "What's all that?"

"Preparation," Mac answered.

"For?" Robert asked, turning to look at him again. "It looks like you're prepping for a mini-war. Why?"

"My family has been placed under attack," Mac answered, "and I am preparing for war."

"Where can I enlist?"

General Hospital and Port Charles ©ABC
Wiseguy © Stephen J. Cannell Productions
Magnum, PI © Universal Studios
Spenser: For Hire © ABC
The Right Way(and all original characters) ©2000-2001 niklovr
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