Chapter 53

~ Showdown ~

Four weeks later...

"This is almost too good to be true," AJ said to Scott, who was following the Private Investigator to the location of Michael and the people who had taken him. "The police told us there wasn't anything else they could do. None of their leads panned out. I'm almost scared to believe that Bruce could be right about this."

"I know you are, AJ," Scott said, not unkindly. "Just relax. If it does turn out to be Michael, one telephone call is all it will take to get the cops here."

"Can't we just get Michael and let the cops deal with it without us?"

Scott shook his head. "It doesn't work like that. I don't have much use for the cops either, but this is the best way. Whoever took Michael will be punished and won't be able to slip through the cracks. You do want the person punished, right?"

AJ nodded. "Of course, but the main priority is getting Michael back unharmed."

"I hear ya."

Bruce signaled that a right turn was up ahead. Scotty guided his Lexus into the right lane and made the turn after Bruce. The neighborhood came straight from a Norman Rockwell painting. Large Elm trees shaded the street that was filled with roomy two-story houses, some of which even had white picket fences. Bruce pulled to the curb outside of a brick home and Scotty followed suit. AJ leapt from the car before the ignition was even turned off.

"Is this it?" AJ asked, pointing to the brick house. "Is there where Michael is?"

Bruce waited for Scotty to join them before he replied. "The house is three down on this side of the street. I've been inside once. The woman of the house is a blonde with curly hair. She's got a wary way about her, but she was great with the baby."

"And the man who was with her?" Scotty asked. "How was he?"

"He wasn't there, but she spoke fondly of him. He works at clinic not too far from here. He comes around during lunch." Bruce glanced at his watch. "It's early. He won't be there. Wanna go in now, or wait?"

"What about cops?" AJ asked. "Scott says they have to be called."

Bruce shrugged. "Let's call them now. I'm good at my job. The baby in that home is Michael. He's got the same red hair. He's bigger, of course, but his face hasn't changed. Call them and we can go in."

Scotty pulled out his cellular and made the call. He informed them of the situation and the captain said he'd send over two black and whites for assistance. The town was small and they didn't want any negative press. They wanted the situation handled quickly and quietly. By the time Scotty ended the call, the two police cars had arrived. The four officers folded out of the cars and joined them on the curb.

Bruce knocked on the door. The curly blonde opened the door, but when she recognized Bruce, she tried to shut it in his face. The first policeman asked to come in. She gave up then and allowed them entry.

A baby played in a playpen and AJ ran to him. He knelt in front of the playing infant and tears came to his eyes. It was Michael! They'd found him. He reached for the baby and he smiled. AJ carefully cradled the happy baby in his arms. A hand touched his shoulder and he looked up to see Scott looking at him. AJ smiled, "This is Michael. We found him."

Scott nodded. "She's confessing over there to the cops. She admitted that the baby is Michael."

"Did she say why she did it?" AJ asked, smiling down at the red-haired cherub in his arms. "Is she a crazy who wanted a baby?"

"Not exactly," Scott replied. "It was her boyfriend who really wanted the baby back, and AJ, the boyfriend is Tony Jones."

"Tony?" AJ gasped. "I don't know what to say. He could be the father of Michael, too. I guess I understand why he took him."

"You do?"

AJ nodded. "Yeah. Carly wrecked havoc in his life the same as she did in mine. I'm not saying she's entirely to blame. Tony and I certainly helped her along the way, but the things she did... She never admits that she's at fault. Instead, she was 'forced' into the situation. Whatever. Tony's ex refuses to share custody of their son. I guess he wanted to be a father again."

"Are we pressing charges against him?" Scott asked.

"That's up to the authorities. To be honest, I'm not even angry now that I know it was Tony. He wouldn't hurt a child. What I want to do now is the DNA test. Between the two of us, I think it's time we know for sure which of us is this child's father."

"Sounds good to me," Scott said.

Leaving Tammy and Tony in the police's capable hands, Scott, AJ and the private investigator headed back to Port Charles. Scott and AJ went straight to General Hospital where the DNA test was conducted. While they waited for the results, AJ left a message for Carly on her answering service that Michael had been found and was at General Hospital. Social Services was also contacted and due to the way the baby was taken, they had decided that the baby would not be returned to his mother until she was proven to be a fit parent. AJ couldn't have been more pleased with that decision.

Later, when the results were returned, Michael's DNA was compatible to AJ's. Instead of whooping for joy, AJ cried. He was a father. It was the single greatest moment of his life.


Spring was in the air. Gone were the dismal clouds that predicted snow and storms. Instead, not a single cloud littered the pale blue sky. The sun beamed golden rays of light onto all it touched. Children and couples filled the park and basked in the return of warmer weather. Keesha smiled as a sense of renewal washed over her. Jason's hand closed around her waist and pulled her against his hard, muscular frame. She wrapped her arm around his waist and allowed him to guide them through the park. The destination didn't matter to her only that they were together again.

"You still haven't told me what you think is right," Jason said. "You know how much I value your opinion. What should I do?"

"I can't make this decision for you," she answered. "Before the accident, you wanted to be a doctor, and even after the accident, you still retained the knowledge you had about medicine. The better question to ask is if you want to still be a doctor. Do you?"

They reached a bench and sat. Lacing their fingers together, he said, "I don't know what I want to do. Other than spending as much time with you as possible." He kissed her cheek after he said that and she smiled. "Over the last few weeks, I've been getting reacquainted with my life. I still haven't gotten used to how some people jump when I enter a room. It sickens me the kind of man I used to be. People were afraid of me. I don't like that."

Keesha nodded in understanding. On many occasions, she witnessed what he just described. She understood the reaction to him, but it still pained her to see how it hurt him. His blue eyes would darken with anguish and dismay. At first, he tried to explain that he wasn't the same, but few actually heard him. Over time, he tried to ignore it, but Keesha saw that it still bothered him. She wished there were something she could do to help him.

"How are the sessions with Dr. Collins?" she asked. "Is the therapy helping?"

He shrugged. "I think so. I can't be responsible for how people respond to me. Over time, they'll see that I'm not the man I used to be. What matters to me the most is that you know that I'm not the same and that you still love me. You do right? You love me, don't you Keesha?"

She laughed. This was a game they played. After they renewed their relationship, Jason would ask her if she loved him. At first, she wasn't able to say the words aloud. Nodding was her response. But he didn't give up. Eventually, the words came and saying them out loud sealed it for Keesha. Her Jason was back and they would be happy together.

"Yes!" she squealed, throwing her arms around his neck. "I love you! I do love you."

"That's my medicine," he said in a husky voice. "You telling me that you love me. Now, come here and prove it."

Keesha needed no further invitation. Jason lowered his head to hers and she was ready for his kiss. Their mouths slid together and their tongues slid between parted lips to press and probe. Pulsating sensations of desire shot through her. They hadn't made love yet, but the time would come for them to renew that part of their relationship. Renewal and rebirth. Spring had never been more beautiful.


Jax had listened to Brenda's advice, but he couldn't take it. Not, then. He wasn't ready to hear what she was telling him. The pain was too intense. He couldn't get past the belief that Pamela had betrayed him. Of course, they never discussed business when they were together. Deception or Christofides Cosmetics had never come up in conversation. Their time together had revolved around their mutual passion for life and for each other. Over time, Jax realized he missed that. He missed Pamela. By the time he pushed his pride aside and knocked on her door, he hoped he hadn't waited too late.

"Yes?" Pamela's brown eyes were wary as she stood in the doorway and looked at him.

"I'd like to talk," he said. "May I come in?"

She hesitated and then she stood aside. "Come in."

He brushed past her. The fragrant aroma of her perfume consumed him. His senses stood attention. Her presence made him dizzy with wanting her. One glance at her set face, he knew that he couldn't reveal how much she affected him until they got some things out in the air between them.

"What do you want to talk about?" she asked after he sat on the sofa. She chose a chair that faced him. Her body was rigid and her eyes remained distant. Her usual warm, flirtatious demeanor was hidden behind a wall. Jax would have to work hard to break that wall down.

"I want to talk about us."

She sniffed. "You waited a long time. Too long. There is no us."

"There was," he said softly, "and there could be again."

"What makes you think I want to go back to that?" she asked. "It was good while it lasted. Let's let bygones be bygones."

He leaned forward. His eyes bored into her and saw the sadness she tried to mask behind an expression of bravado. "You don't mean that," he told her. "I've never known a woman like you before, Pamela. I responded with male pride all those weeks ago. I'm here now with a response that's grounded in common sense."

She averted her eyes and didn't respond.

"I know I hurt you with my accusations," Jax said, wanting to reach for her, but knowing that he shouldn't. "I wasn't wrong to be hurt. I never expected you to go after my company-"

"I didn't go after your company," she corrected. "Christofides Cosmetics did. They were able to acquire your company through the same corporate raider tactics that you have used in taking over other companies. You shouldn't have been surprised when it happened to you."

"I wasn't, but I was surprised to find that you were involved. I couldn't help but wonder if you got to me to get my company-"

"We never discussed business," she interjected.

"I know," he agreed. "It took me a while to remember that, but once I did, my anger faded. The takeover was done in a logical manner. When I think about it, I can't say that Deception didn't have it coming."

"So, now what?" she asked, looking at him again. "I can't pick up where we left off. It's been over a month. I've moved on."

"But not with someone else," he said. "I know."

"You've been keeping tabs on me?"

He shrugged and gave her bright smile. "In a manner of speaking. I wouldn't dare intrude on your privacy, but I am aware that you've had more meals here alone than anywhere else. The same as me."

He stood up and went to her. Perching on the coffee table, he put his hands on the armrest of her chair and made it impossible for her to escape. "I don't want to start where we left off, Pamela Faith. I want to start over. Would you do me the honor of giving me a second chance?"

There was a moment of silence and then she nodded. "Yes."

Jax's arms closed around her and they held on tightly to each other.


A small island off the coast of Puerto Rico

The dark of night protected Mac and Robert like a shroud as they walked across the sand to the Corinthos hacienda. After weeks of planning and waiting, the right time had come to make their move. Instead of executing the man on the spot, Mac aimed to take him back to the states where he would have to face a court justice to answer for his sins. He hoped that Corinthos would be reasonable, but he was prepared for the man to not listen to reason. And if he made one move toward him, Mac had no qualms about defending himself. No qualms at all.

The brothers walked in silence until they reached the last sand dune that would protect them from view of the guards surrounding the compound. Robert sat on the sand and adjusted his night goggles. Mac followed suit. They tested their communications devices that consisted of an earpiece and a microphone that was attached to a band that circled their necks.

"Testing," Robert whispered.

"Loud and clear," Mac responded. He rolled onto his stomach and stared at the fortress that served as Sonny Corinthos' home. "If you have any second thoughts, you can leave now. No hard feelings."

"I won't let you go there in alone," Robert snapped, rolling onto his stomach, too. "We've had our differences in the past, but this isn't one of them."

"We have to be quick and precise, Robert. There won't be any time for hesitation." He pulled the goggles from his face as he looked at his older brother. "Are you sure you're ready for this?"

Robert nodded. "Affirmative. A man who holds another hostage isn't a man at all. That's how I view this Corinthos person. His plans to remove you from Dara's life and then slowly insinuate himself into her orbit again... He's obsessed and that reminds me of Faison. Cold-hearted bastards like Faison and Corinthos can only be dealt with on their level, which is sub-human. There's only one way this will end. " He removed his goggles and looked at Mac. "Are you sure you're ready for this? You're not a mercenary anymore. Killing Corinthos will take you back there. Will you be able to walk away when it's all said and done?"

"It's a little late in the game to ask that now, don't you think?" Mac asked with a faint chuckle. "I understand what you're asking. I know I won't be the same, but I won't be that mercenary again either. No matter what I'm determined to return to Dara a whole man. A man that she'll still be able to love. I'm not going in there with the intent to kill Corinthos, but if he gives me no other choice, I will. Let's hope it doesn't come to that."

"If that's what you want," Robert replied, sliding his goggles back on. "I can do it."

Mac pulled the goggles over his eyes as he nodded. "It's what Dara wants."

Staying low to the ground, the brothers ran across the white sand. Dressed in camouflage gear that blended in with the island, their presence wasn't noticeable until they stood only feet from the guards' faces. They sprayed a chemical concoction, which rendered the men speechless and motionless. The effect would last for over five hours and would give the Scorpio brothers plenty of time to conduct their business and leave.

An infrared light swam before Mac's face and he whispered, "Stop!"

Robert stood still as a statue and waited. Mac's mercenary contacts had provided them with the layout to Sonny's hacienda and the breakdown of his alarm system. The infrared light swept over the immediate area of the compound every ten seconds, and that's exactly how long they had to make it to the nearest opening.

Mac silently made the countdown and whispered, "Go!"

The brothers moved in unison to the large picture window that faced the ocean. Mac raised his small mirror to the look inside. Nothing moved or stirred. No one was in the room. "It's clear."

Robert removed the small glasscutters from his belt and quickly made a man-size hole in the window. With a suction cup, he pulled the cut glass from the window and set it on the ground. Even though Corinthos' alarm system was extensive, nothing was attached to the windows. Entry proved to be easy. They hoped that leaving would be just as simple.

"I'll take the ground floor," Robert told him after they stepped inside.

Mac said, "I'll be upstairs."

The men separated without glancing at each other. Mac moved quietly as he took the stairs two at a time. With his firearm raised, he was ready for anything. He reached the second floor without incident and moved stealthily down the tiled passageway to the master suite. The lack of activity on the floor bothered him, but he was in too deep to turn back now. He went in knowing that there would one of two possible outcomes. Death or success. He'd already decided that he was too young to die and success meant having a life with his wife. The choice was simple. He chose success and dammit, he meant to have it!

All was quiet when he reached the suite. He turned his earpiece to the hypersensitivity level. He couldn't hear anything. It was almost as if no one was on the other side, but he knew that wasn't right. He and Robert had seen Corinthos return to the hacienda. They knew he was there.

Mac adjusted the earpiece to the regular level and then tried the doorknob. It turned easily in his hand. He inhaled a sharp breath and went inside. The room was pitch black, but with the use of the goggles, he clearly saw Sonny Corinthos' silhouette against the far wall. "Looking for me?" the voice in the dark murmured.

"What do you think?" Mac asked. His grip on the semiautomatic pistol tightened.

"You were wasted on the force," Sonny said. "How's Dara?"

Mac's jaw clenched. He wouldn't let Corinthos bate him. No matter how he ached to pull the trigger, he wouldn't make that move unless it came down to that.

"Too bad she's not here. She basks on a tropical island. Did you know that?" Sonny asked. "Do you have any idea how beautiful she is with orchids in her hair and a bright sarong wrapped around those luscious curves of hers?" He released a low whistle. "If I had known what she was like underneath those power suits, I would have been more receptive to the ADA."

"It's not working," Mac bit out.

"What?" Sonny asked with a humorless smile. "We're just two men engaged in conversation about a beautiful woman. Has she gotten tired of you, yet? I offered her a life with me, you know. Right now, she's a little intimidated by my lifestyle, but I think she'd fit in nicely. The wife of a casino owner won't afford her the same amount of respect as that of a private investigator, but it would be a step up."

"You're deluded," Mac said. "My wife is not interested in sharing a life with you. She's chosen the man she wants."

Sonny shook his head. "Dara's confused about that. I'm giving her a little time to think things through. I don't plan to hold the delay against her. Love is kind and patient and forgiving. After I bring her here, I'll give her all the time she needs before she shares a bed with me." There was a slight pause and then he added, "Again."

Mac's empty hand flexed at his side. The desire to beat Corinthos into a bloody, mangled pulp pumped through him, but he made a promise to himself. He wouldn't sink that low. Malcolm Scorpio was an honorable man and he was determined to remain that way.

"If you're done, I have a warrant for your arrest-"

"You're not a cop anymore-"

Mac laughed humorlessly. "That's where you're mistaken. I'm not a member of the Port Charles police department, but I still work for the law. That's right, Corinthos. FBI. Your day of reckoning has arrived. Are you ready to answer for your crimes?"

Sonny stiffened. "I don't believe you."

Mac shrugged. "It doesn't matter. Come peacefully or not. Either way, you're not running away. This is it, Sonny. This is how it ends. You can decide if you're going out in a body bag or a pair of handcuffs."

"What do you have on me?" Sonny barked. "Nothing! You don't have a damn thing!"

"We have witnesses, documents, recordings. We have enough to send you away for the rest of your life. A nice dreary cell with no windows has already been picked out for you. It's just waiting for you-"

"I won't go to jail!" Sonny yelled. He reached inside the waistband of his pants and whipped out a .38 Special at Mac.

Gunfire exploded in the room as shots rang out. In the end, only one man was left standing. Mac kicked the gun away from Michael Corinthos' motionless body and then he alerted his brother to the fact that Corinthos was down and their mission was accomplished.

With blood oozing from his wound, Sonny stared at Mac with hatred burning in his coal black eyes. In a steely whisper, he croaked, "This isn't how it ends."

As he faded out of consciousness, Mac stooped down beside him and whispered, "Oh, but it is."

Special Note: SPECIAL NOTE: The next chapter of The Right Way will be the Epilogue. I know it's a surprise, but you had to have known this day would come. lol! My question for you is...

Is there any interest in a sequel? The sequel wouldn't be as broad as this story and would only feature 2 or 3 groups of the characters:

1) Jason/Keesha and by extension the Qs (AJ/Carly/etc.)

2) Mac/Dara and by extension Robin, Maxie & Georgie & Flea, Ned & Brenda, and Sonny *g*

3) The Cassadines (Maybe. I'm not sure about their role, yet.)

Let me know if there's an interest in reading more.

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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