The Path to Power

Chapter Thirty Nine




Sleepless in Port Charles



The evening guy decided he'd rather go on a date than show up for work so Cole reluctantly pulls the night shift, knowing he wouldn't get off work until after 3am. Kyle's stuck right along with him. Cole stashes the kid back in the office off of the kitchen and tells him to read a book, or twiddle his thumbs but he isn't going anywhere.
No call; no shows are a no go at Jake's. Better be a great piece of ass because it's cost the guy his job. It doesn't matter how good the excuse. This little stunt is the difference between sleeping over at the lakehouse and crashing on the couch over at Kyle's. Can't just show up at three am with the kid in tow. Couldn't dump the kid on Skye and he sure as hell couldn't leave Kyle unsupervised at his house. Already seen where that one went.
He couldn't even close the place early. It's tournament night. All the pool players are here. Right around midnight, Skye strolls into the bar like she owns the place. Coleman had just finished delivering a round of drinks to the players and spots her out of the corner of his eye. Skye has a look in her eye that he hasn't seen before, smug as a cat in someone else's cream. Skye walks right across the bar and taking the tray from Coleman's hand sets it on a table and plants a liplock on him that wakes him all the way up. He runs a hand over her hair and nibbles on the bottom of her lip as he whispers. "What's gotten into you?"

Skye slides in even closer wrapping her arm around his waist. "Did I tell this morning you are a genius?!"

"Yeah, but I just figured that for the great sex."

"Oh that too." Skye kisses him again. "I just got back from New York City. He took the meeting on the plane. ON THE PLANE."

The way that Skye says He makes Coleman believe it was akin to an audience with God. "Who? What meeting?"

"Rupie. At least that is what Grandmother called him." Skye throws her head back and laughs. "I can't believe this. Cole, I bought a newspaper. I bought a freaking newspaper! I own the Herald! It's mine. Not Adam's not Edward's-- it's mine. I'm a media mogul!"

"Good GAWD, Woman! What have you done?!" He'd never thought that anything Skye could do would surprise him.

"I know. It's crazy, and I feel great. I feel amazing. Monday I am going to have to go to work. I have somewhere to go next week. Thank you." Skye gives him another kiss. "Can you take break?"

Cole growls and he looks around, his gaze falling on one of his regulars that is sitting up at the bar. "Make sure the place doesn't burn down and nobody robs me blind."

"You got it, Cole."

Cole tucks Skye under his arm and walks back to the office. As soon as the door is shut he frames her face with his hands and tilts her head back to ravish her mouth. Skye wraps her hands around his waist as her knees start going weak.

"Ahem." Kyle clears his throat and then just in case... "AHEM. Somebody here."

"What is he doing here?" Skye asks with her eyes still closed.

"I couldn't just leave him at the house or dump him on you."

"He's not a puppy for goodness sake, Cole." Skye sighs and takes a step back from Coleman. She looks at Kyle with cool reserve. "Do you swear to always wear headphones when playing your music?"

"I do." Kyle wonders where the hell this is going.

"Fine. I can drive Kyle back to the lakehouse. Unless you want to stay here until the bar closes, Kyle?"

"I'd love a lift." Kyle jumps to his feet he'd been bored out of his gourd for hours, trapped in this cell of an office.

"You don't have to do that, Babe." Coleman protests. "I don't want to put you out like that."

"Don't wake me up when you come in." Skye counters. "And I promise I'll wake you up before I leave in the morning."

"Promise?" Coleman's voice is a silky growl.

"Oh yeah." Skye agrees stepping back in close.

"AHEM." Kyle clears his throat again.

Skye backs away from Coleman. "I'll see you later."





The first thing that Stefan does upon arriving back to Spoon Island is go up to check on Tasha. She is sound asleep curled on her side. There is a night light midway between the bed and the adjacent bath. Stefan uses the defuse lighting to go over to Tasha's bedside table. He gives her an affectionate caress, tucking her hair behind her ear and then takes the journal from the table and goes out into the hallway to quickly read it front and back to find out if there have been any changes in his absence. The trip back from South America had been a hurried one. When he'd checked in with Nikolas that evening the first news relayed had been of Capelli's demise. Alcazar moved quickly. Before he can make his next move, Stefan wants to be right where he anticipates the next battle will be-- right here in Port Charles.

"Uncle." Nik say softly from down the hall. He'd been notified as soon as the Cassadine jet had landed in Port Charles. Stefan holds up a cautioning hand and silently goes back into Tasha's room to return her journal. When he comes back out he carefully closes the door. Nikolas gives him a quick hug. "Lets go downstairs."

"Have there been developments?"

"More details perhaps. You believe this was the work of Alcazar?"

"The timing is too curious for it to not be." Stefan says simply. "Within hours of telling Alcazar his tool would no longer be useful, he disposed of it."

"Lucky was with Capelli." Nik pours Stefan a brandy and then one for himself. At Stefan's interested gaze, Nikolas continues. "He's fine, but I'm sure annoyed at us once again for not informing him of our suspicions. Don't be surprised if you hear about it later. I'm sure I shall."

"Your brother will understand." Stefan indicates casually. "As you would if it pertained to Lesley Lu."

"Ah that is where you are wrong." Nikolas counters. "If I were left uninformed of a threat against Lulu I would be furious."

Stefan nods and changes the subject. "Tasha?"

"Penny kept everything normal around here." Nik says wryly. "Penny has been sticking close to the island anyway waiting for the calm and the press to move on to another story."

"There is a silver lining." Stefan suggests. "Penny should be able to increase her activity while the press is preoccupied with Capelli."

"I don't think that's a good idea." Nikolas shuts down that avenue promptly. "Not with Grandmother being more active."

Stefan glances at his nephew. More going on there. "Any word on Helena? Or has Taggart's time been with Capelli as well?"

"Taggart was pulled from the Capelli case."

Stefan quirks a brow and snorts. "Of course he was. That makes perfect sense when dealing with the PCPD."

"According to Dara, before he was pulled as lead investigator he did manage to eliminate Tasha as a suspect. Because of her ankle monitor, she has a better alibi than any of us. But with the rest of us as suspects, I do not know how long we will be able to keep them off the island."

"Any attempt to search Spoon Island..."

"... Would upset Tasha and accomplish little." Nik finishes. "How immediate a threat is Alcazar?"

Stefan frowns. "I still need more information. Alcazar never left South America. If he ordered Capelli's... termination, then he already has another operative in place."

"I'll talk to Lucky tomorrow. It's overdue anyway."

"Very well. I will see you in the morning."





Seems like old times Lucky thinks as he turns over and tucks his arm under his head. Cept Elizabeth's floor at her grandmother's had been better padded. Or maybe I'm just getting old?

"Lucky, are you asleep?" Elizabeth whispers.

"Nope." Lucky whispers back before adding wryly. "You?"

Elizabeth leans over and flips on the bedside table light. "Maybe I should just go back to the studio."

"Are you ready to deal with Ric?"

Liz falls back against the pillow. "No, but I'm being such a chicken hiding out here. I haven't done anything wrong. He is the one who is being...."

"Freaky?" Lucky suggests helpfully. "Schizo?"

Liz throws a pillow at him which Lucky accepts gratefully tucking it under his head. "You don't know him, Lucky."

"Oh Puleeze. Didn't you have to deal with me? Wasn't that enough? Hell, Lizabeth, Zander Smith has less drama in his life and he's dodged felonies."

"Oh like we haven't done a few of those too." Liz reminds wryly. "How did you get on the police force?!"

"Mac wrote a letter, but that isn't going to do much good now." Lucky is resigned to his fate. His career at the PCPD is done; all that's left is sticking a fork in it. "Course I think he only wrote the letter because part of him is still ticked because of my Dad and Felicia."

"Would Mac do that?" Liz asks.

Lucky grins. "Oh yeah. Course he knew I really wanted in. He kinda buried my psych profile. Would have saved himself a lot of trouble if he hadn't I guess."

"Psych profile?"

"Brainwashing, little claustrophobia, doesn't do well with authority." Lucky calls off some of the little quirks documented in his prescreen psych eval for the academy.

Liz flips around in the bed so she is laying on her stomach at the foot of the bed with a pillow tucked under her chest, resting on her elbows. "That's not fair. You didn't ask to be kidnapped by Helena."

"Yeah, but the doesn't do well with authority is down to the bone." Lucky grins at her.

Genetics is a funny thing, Liz chews on her lower lip. She'd always felt like a cuckoo in the Webber nest but she'd seen it often enough in the other families of Port Charles. Genes are character. There are certain things you could expect: from a Spencer, from a Cassadine, from a Quartermaine. "Ric is Sonny's brother, half brother." She blurts out adding the last to be accurate.

Lucky's jaw drops. "You are kidding me."

Liz shakes her head. "And remember how you were when Nikolas first came to town? Same thing. I don't think Sonny knows. Ric has always blamed Sonny for not being with his mother, evidently his dad is a really cold guy who really fanned the hate. Sonny might actually know now, he and Ric had it out on Martha's Vineyard."

Lucky whistles and winces. "Sounds too familiar. Right down to a staircase being involved."

"Ric tried, Lucky. Tried to get to know Sonny. Wanted Sonny to trust him. Worked with Carly at the Cellar. Sonny just never..."

"Trusted him because Ric was lying to him?! Ric, is slick-- educated. Just the kind of guy who puts Sonny on the defensive, Elizabeth. Sonny isn't stupid." Lucky rolls over so that he is staring at the ceiling both hands behind his head as he pieces everything together. "This whole thing with Courtney doesn't make sense. Especially since she's Sonny's sister. That's just close. It would be like Lucas dating Georgie or something." Lucky says with distaste. "And why did he kidnap Courtney to start?"

"I'm not saying he did!" Liz protests.

"And why would Courtney say yes?" Lucky muses, ignoring Liz's automatic defense of the guy. "She's knows Sonny doesn't trust the guy. Jason definitely doesn't trust him."

"Jason doesn't trust you either."

"I tried to kill Jason." Lucky reminds. He sits up abruptly. "I need food. I think better with food. You want to raid Kelly's?"

"Sure. I can't sleep anyway." Liz rolls off the bed and goes over to Lucky's dresser. She picks thru the coins on top of it, pulling out the quarters. "For the juke box."





Ric Lansing knocks on the door to the studio. "Elizabeth?! Let me in. We have to talk. Elizabeth?!" When there is no answer, Ric leaves. She isn't at her Grandmother's. He checked the studio and Audrey's as soon as he was released from police questioning. Lucky. Elizabeth had been with Lucky when Capelli had been killed. Stop messing with her life, Ric. Haven't you already screwed it up enough?! "It wouldn't hurt to stop by Kelly's. Just to be sure she's okay." Ric says to himself.

As he is coming out of the building where Elizabeth's studio is, he is jumped from behind. The beating inflicted lands on top of the bruises still tender from his conversation with Sonny in Martha's Vineyard. His vision is fading around the edges and is about to pass out when he hears an accented voice, hissing in his ear. "Your debt to the Alcazars didn't end with Luis. One way or another you will pay." Ric passes out on the dock of the Harrison pier, the victim of an apparent mugging.





The porch light is the only light on at the lake house when Coleman pulls into the drive. Letting himself in with his key, Cole flips off the porch light and carefully makes his way in the back to the master bedroom without turning on any other lights. Knowing he reeks of smoke and spilled booze, he heads straight for the shower. Only after he has showered, shampoo'd and shined does he crawl into bed next to Skye.

"Hey." Skye murmurs as she adjusts to his presence in her bed, rolling onto her side with one arm across his chest.

"Go back to sleep, Skye." Cole says softly.

"'Kay." Skye agrees never really waking up.

Cole toys with her silky hair letting it twine around his fingers as he combs a hand thru it. Anyone who messes with this is going to have hell to pay. But still he is worried. He'd come into Skye's life at the lowest point in her life: her marriage was breaking up; Jax rubbing her nose in it; falling off the wagon, driving drunk, sleeping with Luis Alcazar. He'd never known Skye when her life wasn't in the crapper. But piece by piece, she'd put it back together: climbed back on the wagon; trumped Jax's divorce papers with a restraining order of her own; now buying the paper, and building a career separate from her lunatic family. Yep, as far as he could see the only thing left for Skye to do, to really get back on track is dump his ass.

Skye cuddles closer and sighs.

Cole presses a kiss to the top of her head.





AJ pauses at the entrance to the park. The sun is just starting to come up and the light drives the shadows back to the trees. Rosie is impatient and ready to go but waits braced for action as AJ checks the laces on his running shoes and does a final stretch. Before taking custody of the retriever, running hadn't been his thing. Instead it was trips to the gym: weights, kickboxing, and treadmills. His whole life now, he realizes, is about getting off the treadmill. He'd been running as fast as he could and getting absolutely nowhere. But that is all going to change.

"Let's go, Girl." AJ sets a brisk pace down the path starting at a jog and then opening it up into a run with Rosie running along side. This was definitely a better way to start the day.





Bobbie starts the coffee at Kelly's and flips the sign around. She would be so glad when school was out and the kids would be able to pick up some morning hours although, if the kids were anything like she was when she was that age, morning hours would start around noon. Course with Lucas being grounded he'd probably be volunteering to pick up some hours just to get out of the house and be in a place where his friends could stop by and visit.

"You have the coffee on?" Penny asks from the door.

"Come here!" Bobbie gives Penny a big hug. "How are you?! I haven't seen you since you and Nik swapped cars to pick up your mail."

"And I've been reading it ever since." Penny says wryly giving Bobbie a hug back and then sits down at the counter. "It was three bags the first time and then it started tapering off until I picked up the check. I might be off the front page for the Herald but I swear there must be a website out there that lists people who've come into a stupid amount of money."

Bobbie pours them both a cup of coffee. "You get much sympathy with that line?"

"Not a bit. And I'm back in school again-- The Stefan Cassadine School of Money Management."

"Oh now you have my sympathy." Bobbie laughs as she shakes her head. Then she leans in resting her weight on the counter. "They aren't like other people."

"You can say that again. At least working here, I did get a little bit of a head start. I've had a front row seat for a lot of years."

"Are you still staying out at the Summer house?"

"Not since there was a Helena sighting."

Bobbie straightens away from the counter and gets serious. "Excuse me?"

"Nik should be by any minute, he was just parking the car." Penny nods. "He wants to talk to Lucky too."

As if by cue, Nikolas walks in the door. Bobbie looks at him. "Helena?! Don't you have enough on your plate?"

"What better time?" Nikolas says wryly. He looks at Penny to find out how much she has filled Bobbie in.

"I told Bobbie I was staying out on the island because of the Helena sighting."

"It was in Monaco a few months ago." Nik tells Bobbie reassuringly.

"So she could be anywhere now." Bobbie sighs not buying it. "Do you want me to let it slip to Luke?" Nik gives a lopsided smile and doesn't say a word. Bobbie nods. "Done."

"Is Lucky upstairs?"

"I haven't seen him, but there is evidence of a late night kitchen raid."

"Very well." Nik takes a deep breath. "Anything hitting a wall will probably be a Spencer or a Cassadine."

"Stay away from the stairs." Bobbie offers helpfully.

"Good idea." Nikolas runs up the stairs passing Elizabeth on the way up.

Liz looks at Bobbie kind of sheepishly when Bobbie gives her a significant look. "Sorry I'm late."

"I suspect you didn't get much sleep. I've seen the kitchen." Bobbie reminds.

Liz winces. "I've got it from here. I'll clean up." Liz grabs a clean apron from under the counter.

"Make Lucky help you." Bobbie orders. When she passes Liz, she runs an affectionate hand over the younger girl's shoulder. "Good to have you back."

"I'm not really back, back. Not really. Lucky and I were just up late, talking."

"Right." Penny and Bobbie say together with matching grins. Bobbie leaves pausing just briefly at the door to grab her coat from the tree.

"Really!" Liz says defensively. As she grabs the pot to refill Penny's cup. "Oh Gees." She starts turning green as the aroma of the fresh brewed coffee hits her nose.

Penny grabs the pot away from Liz. "Are you alright?!"

"Oh Gawd." Liz swallows hard. "I don't know. Do you think that Luke made the potato salad?"

"Only over Bobbie's dead body. Not after the last time." Penny watches Liz carefully and wonders when it's going to happen. She mentally starts counting one, two, three.... She isn't even to three when Liz is making a run for the bathroom. Penny just shakes her head and then starts to take a sip of coffee. Just then there is a rap on the door.

AJ sticks his head in. "Sorry, I've got Rosie with me. Any chance of getting a cup of coffee to go?"

"Sure." Penny hops up from the counter and going behind it grabs the to go cup quickly pours a cup and doctors it up the way that AJ likes it. She brings it over. "Here you go. Hey Rosie." Penny pets the dog then takes the money from AJ.

"I thought you quit?"

"Just helping out for a minute." Penny explains.

"Thanks." AJ toasts Penny with the cup.

"Thank you. Have a great day. And I didn't get a chance to tell you before but I had a really great time at the Ward House fundraiser."

"It's a good cause."





Lucky opens the door to Nik, rolls his eyes and turns around going into his room. He leaves the door open. Nik comes in and closes the door. Lucky pulls a shirt on over his head after sniffing it experimentally. Then he gathers the bedroll from the floor and throws it on the neatly made bed. "Better late than never I guess."

Nik winces. "How bad is it?"

"You mean that I am the primary suspect in my training officer's murder? Not too bad." Lucky retorts sarcastically. "Everyone knows that Cassadines and Spencers don't speak. There is no way I would have known that Capelli was just using me to get out onto Spoon Island and whoever fed him that idea must have been smoking crack."

Pretty bad. "May I sit?" Nik asks.

Lucky shrugs.

Nik shoves the bedroll out of the way and sits down on the bed. "We, not even we, my Uncle found out about about Capelli..." Nikolas looks blank for a second. "...only a couple of days ago. Stefan immediately went to Alcazar to..."

Lucky interrupts to offer helpfully. "Kill him?"

"No." Nik denies quickly. "But he did tell Alcazar that Capelli would be of no use in the future."

One of Lucky's brows go up at that. "Oh that puts a spin on things."

Nik nods his agreement. "My Uncle concurs. The timing is too curious to be coincidence."

Lucky rolls his eyes. Conspiracies always seemed to bring out Nik's inner Cassadine. But then his own Spencer comes out. "That means Alcazar already has someone here. Someone either working with Capelli and/or replacing him."

Nik leans toward Lucky resting his elbows on his knees. "When Zander overheard Capelli on the phone to Alcazar he didn't just mention Alexis, but also Sonny, Jax, Ric Lansing."

"So whoever is picking up Luis' grudges." Lucky muses. He leans back against the desk half sitting on it. "Taggart said that Capelli was on an unsanctioned stake out on Ric Lansing. It didn't have anything to do with the PCPD." The phone rings on the desk and Lucky reaches over and grabs it. "Yeah? Hey Aunt Bobbie, you calling me from downstairs?" Lucky frowns. "Okay. I'm on my way. Thanks for the heads up. I'll let Elizabeth know." Lucky hangs up the phone.

"What is it?" Nik asks curiously.

"Ric Lansing was brought into GH overnight. Looks like he was mugged down by Harrison Fishing pier."

"Right, a mugging." Nik shakes his head in disbelief. "Alcazar's new operative is hitting the ground running."


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