The Path to Power

Chapter Thirty Six





Road to Hell




Jax slams into his suite at the Port Charles hotel and goes directly to the bar. Pouring himself a drink, his hand tightens around it and he is thisclose to flinging it up against a wall when there is a knock on the door.

"Port Charles Police. Open the door, Mr. Jacks."

Jax carefully sets the tumbler down and walks over to the door. He opens the door and walks away back to the bar leaving the officers to let themselves in. "Capelli. Lucky."

"Mr. Jacks, do you know why we're here?" Capelli asks.

Jax just gives him a look.

"There is a restraining order in place, Mr. Jacks. Do not be within 100 yards of your ex wife."

"She doesn't want you in jail, Jax." Lucky goes for the mitigation, taking a reasonable even kind tone. "All she wants is for you to give her, her space."

"But don't waste our time, Mr. Jacks." Capelli gives Lucky a shut the hell up glance. "You have contact with Skye Quartermaine and you're going to go to jail. And you'll sit there until the Judge lets you out. Do not call her, Do not email her, do not write her letters, do not come onto her property..."

"I gave her that house." Jax interjects.

"Exactly. That's what makes it her house, do not call her family, do not call her friends. If Ms. Quartermaine is the topic of conversation then you are not a part of it. Have I left anything out?" Capelli looks over at Lucky.

"I don't believe so, Detective." Lucky gives Jax a sympathetic look.

"Just in case, just so there is no misunderstanding. If it has anything to do with Skye Quartermaine it has NOTHING to do with you. Are we clear, Mr. Jacks?!"

"Very." Jax lifts the crystal tumbler in a mocking toast and waits until they've left to put it down untouched. Going over to the phone he dials an international number. "If you were closer I'd deck you."

"For what now?!" Jerry protests.

"Why didn't you ever explain women to me?"





The ribs and fixings are spread out on the dining room table. There are plates and cloth napkins. Kyle and Cole exchange a masculine smirk as they daintily flip out the napkins and place them on their laps in matching mocking gestures.

Skye rolls her eyes. "What?!" She takes the napkin and tucks it in the bodice of her tank top. "I hate the way paper napkins disintegrate and smear the sauce around." She pushes up the sleeves of her warm up suit and reaches for one of the sides to start dishing up and then passes it to Kyle.

Cole makes a she's got a point shrug and reaches for one of the ribs and passes the container to Skye. "So Faith came into the bar today..." Kyle gives Cole a pleading look. " see Zander. Looks like I'm going to have a room available."

Skye chokes on some coleslaw and coughs bringing the napkin to her lips. "Excuse me. Those two sentences didn't actually go together, did they?!"

"Nah, I just wanted to see the look on your face." Cole grins at the dirty look that Skye fires in his direction. "Been expecting Zander to move ever since he took that job as..."

"VP in charge of Paperclips at ELQ." Skye fills in the blank. "It was AJ's old job. Pays well but you have to take the heat for everything that goes wrong. There ought to be a subtitle-- Family Whipping Boy."

Cole bites into a rib and uses it to not say what he thinks of Junior. He takes his time chewing until he can get back to a reasonable topic. "Since Zander is one of the few that can go back and forth between..."

"Ah. Switzerland." Skye nods.

"More like the DMZ in Korea." Cole says more realistically. "Guess he gets enough drama at the office he doesn't need to be part of the nightly soap opera that is Jakes."





He'd been half kidding about telling Mom about Gia dating a hoodlum who'd been on trial for kidnapping and murder. That's cause it had never really occurred to him that they'd actually be dating, let alone picking out furniture together. Marcus Taggart slams an open palm against the steering wheel of the car as he drives down the suburban Port Charles neighborhood.
Then having Gia and Zander tell him about.... Taggart slams his palm again. Between the cops on the take to Sonny, and the cops on the take to Faith Roscoe or other members of the five families-- all they really needed was to have another player lining pockets. Alcazar. Thought he'd heard the last of that one after Luis had taken an assisted swan dive off a Port Charles Hotel balcony.
Course that son of a bitch had federal juice that made everyone look bad-- from the Judge, to the DA's office, to the Cops because the sonofabitch had been guilty as hell of the bombing that had killed Kristina Cassadine. They had him cold and he walked. And now if Gia and Zander are right there's another Alcazar out there and he's pulling Andy Capelli's strings. Finally when he'd gotten a detective who felt the same way he did about Sonny Corinthos and the mob in this town... Taggart hits the steering wheel again. "Damn it!"
Taking a deep breath, Taggart pulls into the drive way of Police Commissioner Mac Scorpio. And the bitch of the whole situation is... IAB is just as riddled with dirty cops as the rest of the department. Dara had finally gotten fed up and moved out of the DA's office. It's what made her so effective now working on the other side. She had a pretty good idea who was on the take and none of the cops could say anything but the truth, as she wanted it, unless they wanted their careers handed to them in open court.

Mac is out washing his car when Marcus arrives taking advantage of the lengthening days after a long day at the PCPD. He'd been expecting his number one Detective and from the tone of Marcus request knew it wasn't something he wanted to discuss in doors around the girls and since they were both grounded until their kids would be old enough to vote that meant he was the one who had to move outdoors. Wearing cutoffs and sneakers that had seen better days, Mac wets down the car and starts taking his frustration at the cold shoulder he'd been receiving at home on the grime built up since he'd last washed the car.
He doesn't notice the sudden proliferation of neighborhood ladies deciding that now is the time to be working in their front yards. "What was so important?" Mac asks when he looks over from doing the top of the car.

"Capelli is on the take." Marcus' voice is low and carries only as far as Mac.

"Sonny?" Mac makes the obvious assumption.

"Alcazar." When Mac looks at him in surprise Marcus nods. "Yeah. I can't decide whether it was a plant all the way back to get Sonny. Or if this is a recent development to get over to Spoon Island and take out Natasha. Zander Smith says it's both."

"This came from Zander Smith." Mac is incredulous.

"I know. I know. The boy's credibility is zero. Except when it comes to Alexis, Mac. He believes what he overheard." Marcus picks up the hose and starts rinsing the section that Mac had finished. After the first splash back, he steps away from the vehicle and pulls his shirt off over his head and tosses it on the fence. Grabbing another rag from the bucket he starts washing another section of Mac's car.

Mac grimaces. "Any chance of nailing him?"

Marcus gives Mac a look. "Who are you going to give it to? IAB? the DA office? The Feds? That's worked so well in the past."

Mac grimaces. "There are times when I just want to go back to working at the Outback and doing a little PI work on the side."

"I'm almost there." Marcus agrees. He grabs the hose and starts rinsing what he'd washed down. "We are doing mine next right?"

"Seems only fair." Mac agrees. Next door a couple of ladies pour themselves a tall glass of ice tea and set the porch swing rocking as they enjoy the view. Hopefully, the commissioner could make this a weekly routine.





AJ gives his copilot a quick pat as he pulls up to the lakehouse. Skye had been quick to leave after Tracy had shown up and that wasn't like her. Skye was normally more than ready to go toe to toe with the Wicked Auntie of the East. Climbing down from the hummer he holds the door open for Rosie and starts up the stairs. Rosie goes immediately over to the porch swing where a young man sits just looking out at the lake. Rosie goes for the standard introductions and presses her nose into his crotch.

"Hey Rosie, come here." AJ calls the dog back. "Sorry. She's a little friendly." AJ laughs. "I'm AJ Quartermaine. My sister, Skye, lives here."

"Kyle Radcliffe. Me and my uncle brought dinner over."

"Your Uncle." AJ gives a half grin half shrug, guess Skye hadn't been fibbing when she claimed Coleman had family business tonight. "So Cole is your uncle. Is Skye here?"

"Yeah, they were just doing clean up and kicked me out. Didn't have to tell me twice." I've already cleaned enough grease traps today.

"You keep an eye on Rosie? While I have a chat with Skye?"

"Sure, but if you're going to ask her about the cops showing up here because her ex husband was hanging around you're just going to upset her. And Uncle Cole just got her calmed down. You really don't want to see her when she's pissed off." The voice of experience speaks.

AJ leans back against the railing of the deck. Maybe he needed some more information before going inside. "Jax was here."

"I guess." Kyle shrugs. When Rosie comes over to visit with him again he is more prepared and is leaning forward to hold the dog off while petting it. "If that's her ex's name. Uncle Cole and I overheard a call on a police radio when we were getting dinner at Eli's. He was already gone by the time we got here."

"Is Skye alright?"

"Yeah, she's had a little time." Kyle guesses. AJ starts to go into the house but Kyle's next question stops him in his tracks. "Did your grandfather really sell Skye when she was baby?"

AJ turns around and says very carefully. "That's the rumor. But I don't think that Skye would have talked about that with you."

"She didn't know I heard."

"What else did you hear?"

"Nothing." Kyle says defensively.

"Right." AJ knocks on the door and doesn't wait for an answer before going in. He figures with a teenager out on the front porch even Coleman wouldn't be stupid enough to start something he'd be finishing with an audience. "So did you save any ribs for me?"

"Not a one." Coleman ties a knot in the garbage bag going out to the can. Out this close to the lake you had to take all precautions otherwise the raccoons would spread garbage from house to the road. "I'll just take this out, Babe."

"Thanks." Skye puts the last dish in the dishwasher and starts it.

"So you weren't kidding about Coleman have some family business going on. And he's moved in? Or is he just having a sleepover because of Jax?"

Skye winces and then she makes a big deal of looking at the calendar that is open next to the phone. "Hmmm 2003 that makes me how much over 21? Or did you want to start discussing you getting busy with Lydia Kerinan when you're supposed to be getting a house for when you get your son back?"

"Okay. You've got a point there." AJ admits. "Sex life is off limits."

"Agreed. It's too ookie to even be thinking about anyway."

"Agreed." But then AJ shrugs. "What's going on, Skye? You barely said anything to Dad before you left the Grille without staying for dinner. And then Jax showing up here? I thought you said you had that nipped in the bud with court this morning?"

"Whose got the big mouth that told you about that?"

"Same one that has the big ears who overheard you talking to... I'll assume Cole about Grandfather selling you as a baby."

"Oh hell." Skye mutters. "KYLE! GET Your Butt in Here!"

Coleman is just coming back from the garbage can when he hears Skye's very ticked tones. "What did you do now?" He demands of Kyle.

"Nothing." Kyle protests but he goes into the house keeping a firm hand on the dog and really hoping that this isn't going to be a repeat. He already knows that his uncle isn't going to lift a finger to save his ass on this one either.

"Kyle?" Skye says thru gritted teeth. "Have you ever seen this man before? Ever talked to him before? That you would feel comfortable telling him my business? For all you knew he could have been a reporter from the Intruder!"

"What?! I didn't tell him about your grandfather pimping you out to Sonny Corinthos!"

Skye's eyes go wide at that. AJ winces. Coleman puts Kyle in a less than friendly headlock. "I've got this one, Babe." Coleman tells Skye. "You ever. EVER. Talk about anything that happens inside the walls of this house to anyone I will get those negatives from Wynonna. Are we clear?"





Nikolas has grown increasingly antsy watching the clock.

"When is he supposed to call?" Penny asks knowing that is what is on Nikolas' mind.

"About twenty minutes. He wouldn't call until after Natasha is asleep. He wouldn't want her to be involved." Nikolas explains. "He shouldn't have gone alone. He shouldn't have gone at all."

"Nikolas, your uncle survived in a family that had your grandmother and your father in it and warred with the Spencers for how many years? I think it can safely be said that he's a survivor. He knows what he is doing." Penny says reassuringly hoping that Stefan doesn't make her a liar.

"Good point. If he can survive my family, then a sit down with a potentially homicidal arms dealer should be a piece of cake." Nikolas says wryly. He comes over and takes a seat next to Penny. "Thanks for keeping Tasha distracted. I'm afraid I wasn't much assistance."

"You know what's going on. She doesn't. That made it easier." Penny replies with a shrug. She can feel Nikolas tensing next to her and knows that he is about to stand back up and start pacing so she makes a quick move that has her straddling him on the couch and resting her hands on the back of the couch so he's totally surrounded.


"As a former waitress..." Penny grins at that. "...I think I can safely say that the old saying about a watched pot never boiling feels just about right most of the time." She kisses Nikolas along his jaw, at the mole at the corner of his mouth. She nibbles on his lower lip.

"Penny, I shouldn't; we shouldn't..." Nikolas growls but even so his hands are resting on her thighs at either side of his body. He kneads his fingers into the aged denim like a cat getting comfortable.

"We're not going anywhere, we aren't even going to take our clothes off." Penny whispers in his ear. "We'll hear the phone. And you know it takes you a hell of a lot longer than twenty minutes. Just killing time and this will feel a lot better than pacing, I promise. Just make out. Just a smidge."

"You're trying to distract me."

"And you're doing a sucky job of distracting me." Penny retorts. "You're used to this. I'm not. The least you could do is get with the program."

"Take one for the team." Nikolas grins.

"Exactly. I try to distract you. You try to distract me and we'll see who wins." Penny sets forth the rules of the competition.

Nikolas brings up a hand to frame Penny's face but then tilts her head to the side and slowly and thoroughly kisses her. His tongue dances with hers drawing her even closer to him. The hand that had been resting on her thigh slides up her back underneath her shirt caressing her warm bare skin. Penny's hands fumble for the buttons of Nikolas' shirt so that she can get even closer. Nikolas slides his other hand beneath her shirt and moving them both up her back bring her shirt up with it. Penny gives a mewling protest that is quickly cut off as the shirt is brought up over her head and thrown aside to the floor. Nikolas runs a thumb over one of the lace cups of her bra, feeling her body respond under his hand before tucking an index finger behind the hook between the two cups bringing his fingers together he unfastens the bra and parts the cups bringing his mouth to one breast...

The phone rings. Nikolas lets it ring twice to bring his breathing back under control. "Nikolas Cassadine." Penny rocks back and starts hooking her bra back together but Nikolas stops her. He rests his free hand on her ribcage continuing to caress her while he listens to his uncle. "How did it go?" At Stefan's answer he gives Penny a nod. Penny lets out the breath she had been holding and gives a smile. "Everything is fine here. Penny is going to stay up here at the house while you're gone... to keep Tasha distracted. We won't let our guard down. When will you be back?" Nikolas eyes narrow which has Penny frowning in reaction to his nonverbal cues. "Very well. The same time tomorrow, Uncle." Nikolas clicks off the phone and leans back to put it in the cradle.

"He's not coming straight back?"

"Uncle said it was too easy, and he is suspicious. He is going to check things out a little more. Now where were we?" Nikolas slides his other hand up Penny's ribcage

"You're feeling a lot better all of a sudden." Penny suggests with her head cocked to the side.

"Yes." Nikolas agrees. "You are right. My uncle is a survivor. I overreacted. Everything is going to be fine, just fine." He gives Penny a lingering kiss.





"What are we doing?" Lucky asks as he takes a sip of coffee from the convenience store. As they sit in car that had been appropriated out of impound on a shadowed side street with a clear view of the comings and goings at a high end apartment building, the next best thing to the Harborview Towers.

"Stakeout." Rooks Capelli does an eye roll at the Cadet's missing of the obvious.

"It wasn't mentioned at briefing."

"Briefing is for the routine stuff. Things have a way of getting back to certain players in this town. Which should be no surprise to you since your cousin is married to one of them." Capelli covers.

Lucky winces. "You going to bring up my Father's many felonies next? Because that is getting really tired."

"Watch your mouth, Cadet." Capelli snaps back. Then he becomes all business. "Subject in sight."

"Ric Lansing?" Lucky frowns. Elizabeth's new boyfriend put his back up but as long as he treated Elizabeth like a goddess then he couldn't have much to say about it. He'd been the one to screw things up and in the most cliché way possible... by sleeping with her sister. "What is Lansing doing?"

"Trying to start a war between Sonny Corinthos and Faith Roscoe."


"Whatever. Way Taggart and I figure it, Lawyer Lansing there kidnapped Courtney Matthews and maybe, just maybe, killed Faith's lieutenant-- Fowler."

"Elizabeth-- his girlfriend, she doesn't know about any of this." Lucky insists.

"And you're not going to tell her. Because we only talk to civilians about things we can prove, not what we suspect, Cadet." Capelli reminds. The two fall silent as they observe a fight between Elizabeth Webber and Ric Lansing in front of the building. Finally Liz rips her arm from Ric's grasp and stalks away.

Lucky starts unbuckling his belt taking off his sidearm and pulls his uniform shirt off and the kevlar vest as well. Leaving him dressed in a t-shirt and his uniform navy pants.

Capelli gives him a look. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"I'm going to find out what just happened."

"And how do you think you're going to do that?"

"Elizabeth and I were once as close to married as you can get without a priest. She's upset. She'll tell me what's going on." Lucky eases out of the door careful to make sure that the dome light doesn't come on and draw attention to the parked car. He might not have been a cop for long but he's been a Spencer forever. "I'll call you when I'm clear and it's safe to pick me up." Lucky leaves without further comment blending into the back alleys which is amazing enough in that white t-shirt.

Capelli is about to go after his cadet and tear him a new anal orifice for daring to think while still a rook when his cell phone rings. "Capelli."

This is Lorenzo Alcazar.

"Mr. Alcazar, you really shouldn't be calling me at this number. I'll call you back from a payphone."

"Don't bother." Lorenzo says grimly. "Your cover has been compromised."

Capelli doesn't see the bullet coming.

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