The Path to Power

Chapter Five




Tasha sits up on the bed in her room of General Hospital. "So it's like a cast. I can't get it wet?"

"You can get it wet if you want. You can even go swimming if you want." Taggart tells her as he fastens on a security anklet. "You can do anything you want on the island where your brother lives."

"Can I go riding? My Papa gave me a pony. It was when Kristina was born. He thought everyone should get a present cause he was so happy. And he was teaching me how to ride. Is my pony on the island?"

"Nope, but then didn't expect he would be since it's your brother's place and not your father's. But I hear tell that your brother has horses too." Marcus rises to his feet. "Okay hop down and walk up and down the room so that you can tell me if it's too tight."

Tasha bounces down from the bed and walks, skips and then hops across the room. "It's heavy."

"You'll get used to it."

"And if I wear this then nobody can steal me right? The mean blonde lady won't come and drink my blood?"

"Who the hell has been telling you stories?"

"You said hell!"

"You were talking about people drinking blood. That's worse." Taggart defends himself. "If you're wearing the anklet then if anyone tries to steal you, I can find you fast."

"And then you'll shoot them dead."

"You're a ghoulish thing aren't you?"

"What's ghoulish?" Natasha asks curiously.

Outside of Natasha's room, Cameron and Stefan watch from the observation mirror. Cameron laughs and shakes his head. Stefan looks at him and quirks a brow. "You find humor in my sister being fitted with that abomination?"

"Not particularly but since it's getting her out of here I don't find it all that abominable. It's Taggart. I've seen him cracking heads down at the PCPD. I could tell that Taggart didn't believe that Alexis had DID. He was being easy on her 'cause she took out Alcazar. And yet look at him now." Cameron shakes his head again. "If we still had tape running on Alexis he would probably consider it blackmail material. I'll go make sure that all the paperwork is taken care of. Our first appointment is tomorrow." Cameron reminds Stefan. "I want her to have a chance to get settled in, in the new place before we have our first appointment." Cameron starts to walk down the hall. "Oh and you might want to find out if she knows how to swim before she tests that anklet."

Stefan considers the last as he walks in the door. "Are you ready to leave?"

"Yes, please."

Stefan gathers Alexis's overnight bag and then puts a hand to the back of her waist to direct her toward the door. Taggart follows along. "I have it from here, Lieutenant." Stefan says tersely.

"I have to hook up the other end of this to your main phone line out on the island. So I'll be accompanying... Tasha until it's hooked up and tested."

Stefan doesn't like it but decides to ignore the officer. As he walks up the hallway he feels a hand reaching for his and realizes it's Alexis. He gives it a squeeze and keeps walking. It takes him a minute to realize that Alexis is holding Taggart's hand too.





"I'm going to kill that little putz." Ned snarls as he stalks into the house. It was bad enough that he had to go into the office but to clean up one of Junior's messes.

"You do say the sweetest things." Faith snarks. It's still quite an adjustment being in this life. Everyone was always killing this or killing that but it was all talk. Not exactly what she's used to. Where, when someone said someone was dead... then they were dead. "Who peed in your cornflakes?"


"Ah." Faith nods. "Alan Quartermaine, Jr. eldest son of Alan and Monica, working at ELQ after getting busted for RICO violations that were set up by Edward. Ex husband of Courtney Matthews whom he stalked. Suspected arson of Corinthos warehouse and the Oasis where Mrs. Q was shaking her tatas in anyone's face who had a buck. That AJ?" Ned's brows go up at that. But Faith just smiles. "Just getting the players straight, Lover. So what did he do now?"

"Trying to end run me to get over and impress Edward. He wants my job again. Ungrateful pocket of pus. I let him back in the company to give him a chance to get his wife back."

"Do you want me to take care of it for you?"

"Take care of?" Ned asks suspiciously he never knew exactly how far she'd take things.

"I won't lay a finger on him." Faith promises with a smile.

"What about your guys?"

"Them either. I won't have to. And it will give me something to do."


"Oh trust me, Lover. Just give me his phone number."

Ned does with a sinking feeling in the bottom of his stomach. "I think I'm going to go over to Spoon Island today... Alexis was being released to Stefan's care."

Faith shudders. "Better you than me." Then she frowns. "You aren't going to take the kid over there are you?"

"I'm sure that Kristina would be perfectly safe with Alexis." Ned asserts.

Faith shrugs. "It's your call. If you're so sure that the kid will be safe then you must know best. It's not like you couldn't just get another one if you're wrong." Faith grabs her fur and her purse and leaves before she tells Ned what she really thinks. She climbs into her car and then reaching into her purse grabs her cell. "It's Faith. Meet me at the Port Charles Grille." She snaps the phone shut.





After discovering Natasha can't swim, Stefan makes sure that she is wearing a life vest and that it is properly secured. While he is consulting with the launch pilot, Natasha starts dipping her fingers in the Harbor half hanging out of the boat.

Taggart comes up behind her and tugs on her life jacket and brings her back in her seat. "Keep your hands out of the water."

"Are there sharks?" Tasha asks curiously.

"No, there is oil, garbage and dead fish."

"Yuck." Tasha gets comfortable in her seat; the water no longer holding any interest. "Is that my brother's house?"

"Yeah. Well that is kinda fuzzy."

"Fuzzy how?"

"Well it might belong to your brother Stefan or it might belong to Nikolas."

"That's my brother Stavros' son right? Papa never told me about Nikolas."

Stefan comes back to the seating area of the launch. "That is because father has never spoken to Nikolas."

"Did they fight?"

"No, they are just involved with different things."





Warring with himself between curiosity and fury, AJ walks into the Port Charles Grille. What the hell did that woman think she was doing demanding that he meet her at the Port Charles Grille? Who did she think she was?! Looking into the main dining area he sees Faith lounging across one of the chairs. Lounging was about the only way to describe it. The hair goes up on the back of his neck. Faith is a beautiful woman and she knew it. But there is just something about her that made little precious parts shrivel. Maybe he'd always been too drunk before to trust his instincts. Or maybe it was because Carly had been a better liar and made him believe at the start that she was his friend. But this woman is dangerous. And Ned had brought her into the family.

Faith sees him enter and makes eye contact then slowly smiles. She indicates with a hand to the seat across from her. "Thank you for coming."

"I don't recall being asked." AJ takes the seat. He waves off the staff not planning on staying long enough to have food or drink with his woman. "I really don't appreciate what you said to my mother."

"Which part-- the part about Jason being a murderer or you being an arsonist?" Faith leans in allowing her assets to be on display. AJ doesn't even look in that direction but continues to eye her carefully and keep his distance. Her smile becomes more real. Caution. How interesting and how unexpected. "I admire you."

"Excuse me?" That startles AJ.

"You're the only one in the Quartermaines that has actually gone up against Corinthos and keeps trying, no matter how often you get slapped down. Eye always on the prize. And you've got the..." Faith pauses and eats the olives out of her martini. "... to actually do something about him."

"He has my son." AJ says flatly.

Faith nods. "So I don't understand why you are undermining Ned. Isn't that undermining your own efforts? Ned wants the same thing you do even if he doesn't have the balls to take the more direct approach."

"But you do." AJ suggests with a raised brow.

"I waited too long." Faith regrets. "Now I care too much about getting caught. I should have killed him after Roscoe went missing, after.... anyway it's too late now for that. I still want him dead but I want to live."

AJ nods. "I want my son away from Sonny but I also want to be around to make sure that Carly doesn't hook up with someone worse next time."

"How sweet. You still think that Carly should be your son's mother."

"My son hates me. Carly and Sonny have accomplished that. I don't have any other choice." AJ says bitterly.

"I don't think that is quite the case." Faith leans in again but this time it has nothing to do with an attempted seduction and everything about putting another phase of her plan into place.

"What about Ned? About Grandfather?" AJ finally says at the end of Faith's pitch.

"Ned will be happy to not have you breathing down his neck at ELQ. And Edward? Why don't you let me... handle him."

AJ shudders at that but he has to consider Faith's plan. It made too damn much sense and nothing that he'd been doing had worked long term anyway. "Don't do anything to hurt Grandmother."

Faith grimaces. "You all say that. I just got one question for you. What has the old bird done for you lately? I know. I know. You love her. I loved my grandmother too and made her all kinds of promises. Promises I never would have made to anyone else. Promises I kept until the day she died. Your hands are clean. Nothing you're doing screws with her precious Jason... directly. And as for Edward... well if he wants to hurt his wife that's up to him isn't it? How much of your money do the Feds still have frozen? I hear you only got back a quarter of a million."

"I'm already in, Faith. You can quit the pitch." AJ says shortly. He rises to his feet.

"Don't be low profile about it, AJ, your kid is old enough to read." Faith declares. "I'll makes sure what needs to stay on the QT stays there."





Taggart is just climbing back out of the launch after setting up the rest of the ankle monitor setup. He glances down at his watch. Still time to pick up something at Kelly's before heading back to the detective's bullpen at the PCPD. If he was really lucky, Scott Baldwin would forget he existed for the day and he'd actually be able to get some work done.

"Taggart! I mean Lieutenant."

"Mr. Smith." Taggart turns to face the man that is coming down the stairs two at the time.

"I was just at General Hospital to see Alexis but they said she'd been released. Kristina is gone from the NICU too. What's going on!"

Normally Taggart would blow the punk off but he remembers how close the kid and Alexis had been when Zander had been on trial for his life both literally and when he'd testified against Sorel. "Kristina went home with her father. Considering you work for Ashton surprised you didn't know that one. And as for Alexis..." Taggart shakes his head.

"What? What about Alexis?" Zander barely restrains himself from grabbing the two sides of Marcus' jacket and wanting to beat the information out of him. Only the certain knowledge that he would be paste and still not know where Alexis was stops him.

Taggart looks across to Spoon island. "She got house arrest on an ankle bracelet. Some kinda deal that Dara Jenson made with the judge."

"She got house arrest for killing Alcazar?"

"No, she got house arrest because she's not competent to stand trial."

"This can't be right. Alexis is the smartest woman I know." Zander mutters. she's got to be faking to beat the charge.

Marcus reads in Zander's face what he is thinking. "Yeah, that's what I figured. That she had to be faking. Maybe learned a lesson from Carly Roberts all those years ago on how to put one over on a shrink. I'm telling ya, kid.... if I were on the jury... well she's got me convinced." Taggart's voice is sad as he continues. "It's kinda sad. But now I'd say she's mentally about the sweetest seven year old I've ever seen."

Ned walks up in time to hear the last. "Then she hasn't gotten any better?"

"You knew! Why didn't you tell me?!" Zander demands.

"I thought you'd already know since your father is treating her."

"I need to see Alexis." Zander ignores the mention of his father.

"I'm going over to Spoon Island myself." Ned nods in Zander's direction. Together they walk toward the launch.

Marcus watches them climb aboard and then wondering at his own actions pulls out his cell phone. "Yeah, Zander Smith and Ned Ashton are on their way to Wyndemere. Should be there in about five minutes. Just thought you should know." Taggart slams the phone shut. He wasn't doing it for the Cassadines. No how, no way. But Tasha, well that girl just wouldn't understand those two and it would confuse the hell out of her.


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