The Path to Power
Cameron waits at the docks of the Elm Street pier for the launch to come from Spoon Island. There had evidently been problems the day before and now the Cassadine Launch pilot waits on the Spoon Island side rather than the Elm Street side. Anyone wanting to get to Spoon Island would either have to have their own boat or call ahead. He takes a sip of the supersized coffee relishing the effect but not the taste. He'd been up all night doing research on DID and his stomach lining was screaming at him. Still a mixed bag where the profession stands on DID. There are still plenty of psychiatrists and psychologist who'd never seen a case of DID and didn't believe it existed. Specially since so many had been debunked as being suggestions planted by hypnosis. The Cassadines had lucked out with the selection of Judge that had granted not only that Alexis wasn't competent to aid in her defense but also her house arrest on Spoon Island. But from the look on Stefan Cassadine's face there probably hadn't been any luck involved. Now there was a man with issues, as in need of long term intensive therapy as Luke Spencer and just as likely to seek it out.
"How could you keep something like this from me!" Zander snarls at his father ambushing him right there on the docks.
"Excuse me, Alexander?"
"You know how important Alexis is to me and you didn't tell me anything that was going on. You didn't warn me."
Cameron stiffens. "What did you say to her, Alexander? What did you do now?!"
"What did I do? Oh that's just sweet! It's all my fault now? All my fault that you didn't tell me about Alexis? I could have helped! I lived with Alexis for months. She's been more of a parent to me than you ever were."
"Enough of this self serving pitying crap, Alexander. Just tell me what you did so I can assess the damage to my patient."
"To your patient?!" Zander's jaw drops. "I wouldn't send my dog if I had one to you, let alone someone that actually needed help! And I'll tell Cassadine that. If he wants Alexis to actually get better then he better get someone human treating her."
Cameron crushes his coffee cup and then throws it aside into the nearby garbage can. Alexander could always do this, even before Pete had died. Push every button he had and have each other at each other's throats in nothing flat. "It would be damaging to Alexis to change therapists at this point, abusive even. That is why it is so important that we proceed carefully."
"If you cared so much about Alexis and her getting better then you should have come to me. I know her a hell of a lot better than you ever could."
"You're right." Cameron admits with a sigh. He goes over to the bench and sits down. "But I thought she was faking." Cameron sees Zander look away. "And you did too. It would have been a savvy legal move to beat the murder charge. But I could have been wrong, I was wrong. And I had to preserve her privacy, doctor/patient confidentiality. Alexander, this isn't a two way street. I can't tell you the specifics of what is going on with Alexis. But I want to know everything you know, anything that might help me and make it easier for her."
"I'll tell you what I know but I want to know what DID is. Because I'm going to be there for Alexis and I don't want to screw things up again like I did yesterday."
Cameron sighs. "DID also know as dissociative identity disorder also know as multiple personality disorder."
"Everyone always says that." Cameron keeps going not wanting to get hung up on the television version. "Of the patients that have DID about 80% are from early onset, before the age of eight, sexual abuse another 15% are from ritualistic abuse."
"That one. Tell me about that one. The ritualistic abuse." Zander interrupts and demands.
Cameron nods more at the confirmation of his own thoughts than an agreement to discuss the ritualistic abuse. "People that suffer from DID are extremely intelligent, creative, imaginative people. DID is a reaction to a trauma so severe that it would have broken another. Initially its a form of self hypnosis. At least that is how an adult would label it. The child can't deal with what is happening so they retreat into a space where their attacker can't touch them, and create a friend, an imaginary friend, that is strong enough to deal with the abuse. And that friend takes over-- takes on a life of their own. On the average a person with DID has between eight and thirteen different and distinct alters with individual names, traits and personalities."
"Thirteen. Oh Gawd." Zander's voice is hushed and horrified.
"A minimum of two is required for the diagnosis."
"How many does Alexis have?"
"The personalities may or may not know about each other. Often times they don't. Or there might be just one that knows about all the rest. That one is called the gatekeeper."
"That's what Alexis always called herself... the Cassadine Gatekeeper. The problem solver. She'll get better right?"
"There are never any guarantees, Alexander. Now tell me everything you know about Alexis."
Faith looks at the metro section of the Herald. Not even the front page but there was plenty of time for that. This was the start. The foot in the door.
"What are you looking at?"
"This." Faith puts the paper down and points to the very small article buried deep in the paper.
"Oh you have got to be kidding me! What the hell does Junior think he's doing now?"
"Exactly what I told him to do. He's positioned perfectly. Not somewhere obvious or threatening but where he can do the most damage."
"The planning commission?" Ned snorts. "Right."
Faith's smile grows slowly and coldly. "Oh yes. Right in the place where inspections happen, where zoning variances are requested. Nothing gets built or altered in this town without it going thru the planning commission. And thanks to AJ's previous experience on the city counsel he was a shoo in when there was an... unfortunate vacancy. But the planning commission does their work on a more... administrative basis than the city council-- without a lot of publicity or grandstanding. By votes and suggestions and little work sessions that aren't attended by the public."
"Junior is a Dr.unk. He'll never hold it together long enough... he always self destructs."
"That's why politics is such a good place for him." Faith shrugs. "Americans seem to forgive their politicians. This is for you." Faith hands Ned an envelope.
"What is this?"
"AJ's conditional resignation."
"Conditional on what?"
"A seat on the board. It'll help with his career and he needs it for his resume."
"When did you start being Junior's campaign manager?"
"When did you start letting your feelings about your cousin get in the way of taking down Sonny Corinthos?" Faith leans against Ned pressing up against him and sliding her hands beneath the silk of his robe. "Deniability, lover. Can you think of a better guy? This gets him out of your hair on a daily basis and keeps Edward's knife outta your back."
Cameron hands his coat over to Mrs. Lansbury but keeps his satchel. Stefan waits for the psychiatrist to get settled in before coming over. Cameron starts the conversation. "I hear you had some excitement yesterday."
"Fortunately we were warned of their proximity and I was able to take steps to protect my sister. Mrs. Lansbury, would you please go get Natasha." Stefan keeps his focus on the doctor and misses Mrs. Lansbury's nod.
"How is Natasha? How did she react?" Cameron gets right to the heart of the matter.
"Ashton brought pictures of baby Kristina."
"Natasha took it as confirmation that Ashton is working for my father and took the baby to him."
"Ahhh. Kristina is not her daughter but her sister." Cameron's eyes narrow. It made a kind of sense considering the boundaries of Natasha's knowledge.
"What is going to happen, Dr. Lewis, when Natasha finds out that..." Stefan starts counting it off on the fingers of his hand. "... our father is dead, our brother is dead, our sister is dead, her mother is dead and my mother is still a threat albeit more toothless than before?"
"Well I hope you're not going to put it to her like that." Cam says wryly.
"Will it further fracture her mind?" Stefan cuts to the heart of the question.
Cameron shakes his head. "A piece of your sister already knows everything you just said. We just need to introduce them to each other."
"And how do you intend to do that?"
"Alexander says that Alexis is left handed."
"My son... Zander Smith. Is Alexis left handed?"
"Yes, why is this relevant?" Stefan says impatiently.
"Because Natasha is right handed." Cameron hears the sound of footsteps on the stairs and looks that way. "Good morning, Tasha."
"Dr. Cam, I'm having a tea party. Would you like to have some tea? Mrs. Lansbury made me scones."
"That sounds wonderful." Cameron agrees. "I brought you a present."
"Only the prettiest girl I know." Cameron flatters as he hands her a wrapped present from out of his bag. "Aren't you going to open it?"
Tasha rips apart the wrapping paper and sets aside the ribbon and bows for later. "Oh... it's a book."
"No, not a book really but a journal." Cameron explains. As he takes the cloth covered journal from Alexis and opens it. "See I got the one with no lines on it so you could draw all the pictures you like and save them to show me. Anything at all that interests you. Anything that is different about your day that you want to remember later." Suspecting that Stefan might not have the necessary implements on the island, Cameron had made an additional purchase. Reaching into his pocket he takes out a set of markers in primary colors. "I brought these for you too."
"Thank you, Dr. Cameron." Natasha says politely taking the markers.
"And now I'm ready for tea." Cameron suggests seeing where Mrs. Lansbury has placed settings at the table. He makes his way over and seats Alexis and then himself. He leans toward the woman to show by his body language that he is interested in what she is saying and to camouflage putting the micro recorder behind the low vase of flowers on the table. "I think we should get to know each other better don't you? I'm sure your brother would like to hear all the things you did... do with your Papa. Didn't you tell me he was teaching you how to ride? Stefan, did your father teach you to ride?"
Stefan watches Dr. Lewis carefully wondering what he is up to but the presence of the recorder makes even the most innocuous conversation weighted. "No, a teacher was brought to the island. We did on occasion go for rides when Father was not occupied with business."
Natasha passes the plates and saucers around as Mrs. Lansbury fills them, very careful to not spill a drop before she retakes her seat. "I had a teacher too. Because Papa had business. But first thing when he arrived he always wanted to know what me and Mama had been doing. But he'd never talk about business cause it was boring. We'd have tea and talk and then Papa would be tired from his trip and take a nap with Mama."
Cameron leads Natasha thru as many memories as he can in the hour allotted and making sure that he isn't overtiring his patient. Finally he takes the napkin from his lap and wipes away a nonexistent crumb from the scone. He uses the napkin to cover turning off the recorder and putting it back in his pocket. "It was a lovely tea, I hope you wouldn't mind if I came back and spoke with you again?"
Natasha shrugs. "I guess."
"I'd like to." Cameron replies quietly. "I tell you what. Anything you want to talk about the next time... just write in your journal."
"But you said it was for pictures."
"It's for memories, for whatever you want to put in there, Tasha." Cameron rises.
"I will walk you out, Doctor." Stefan rises to his feet. Only once they are both out the front door and on the way down to the docks does Stefan demand answers.
"You said that you met your sister in the hospital." Cameron explains. "I take it that means you have no idea, no more idea than Alexis did, of what her childhood was like before her mother was killed. There will be times when I will need to speak to Tasha alone to see if I can bring Alexis back out. But today was for you and for your sister and to build trust." Cameron climbs onto the launch leaving Stefan standing on the dock.
Skye is waiting for AJ outside of the Port Charles City Building figuring him for taking his new civil servant job seriously and going to lunch at noon straight up. "So when you were going to tell me about this and why am I reading about it in the papers?" Skye calls out getting her brother's attention.
"Skye!" AJ double takes and then comes over to his sister and gives her a quick hug. He breathes in deeply and then grins. There are certain aromas that brought back memories: burnt coffee, cigarettes, mints. There had been a time when he had worked a program too. Done his ninety meetings in ninety days and spent many an hour with Lee Baldwin working the steps. AJ takes a step back and looks into Skye's clear eyes. "You're looking good, sis. How are you feeling?"
"Is it that obvious?" Skye says wryly with a sigh.
"Only if you haven't started smoking."
Skye groans and sniffs at her coat then grimaces. "I swear there is no such thing as a nonsmoking meeting in this town."
"Sure there are. At the hospital."
Skye rolls her eyes. "They call it alcoholics anonymous for a reason, AJ."
AJ laughs at that one. "There is more than one hospital in this town. No matter what the elder Quartermaines believe."
Skye decides to change the subject and hits AJ with the folded newspaper. "So what is the deal with this?!"
AJ takes the paper away from his sister and finds the small article on his appointment. "Phase I. And I'm going to need some help with Phase II."
"Oh you are scaring me." Skye mock shudders but the curiosity gets the better of her. "What do you mean Phase II?"
"Can I buy you lunch?"
"Sure. As long as it's not the Grille, or Kelly's, or anything owned by either of our ex's."
"That's starting to severely limit our choices." AJ realizes.
Zander thumbs thru the selections in the psychology section of the local book store at the mall. There wasn't much. He'd already been to the library and picked up everything he could there and put a hold on everything that was out. There were a few horrifying accounts that he put back on the shelf as soon as he read the back page. When Rabbit Howls 92 personalities; Minds of Billy Madigan twenty four personalities but one of those personalities had been raping and robbing. Sybil that one seemed better if possible- only sixteen personalities. Just reading the back of these books was making him want to throw up. Alexis couldn't be this bad, right?!
"I see we had the same idea." Nikolas interrupts Zander's thoughts.
"I can't do it, man." Zander admits. "I mean I know Alexis is sick. And I want to help but I can't read these." Zander hands Nikolas a book. "92 that's nine- two personalities. How in the hell does a person function? Get anything done? This isn't Alexis, man. It's not." Zander denies the possibility.
"These are extreme... exaggerations." Nikolas reads the back of the book and then wincing hands it back to Zander. He can't read it either.
"Yeah, according to my dad the average is between eight and thirteen." Zander says bitterly shoving the book back into the shelf. "You were there. At the hospital when Alexis lost it. What happened?"
"Faith Roscoe happened."
"Faith? What did she do to Alexis?"
"She didn't have to do anything. All she had to do was pick up Kristina."
"I don't get it."
Nikolas sighs. "And I don't know if I can, if I should, even try to explain it to you. The easiest way I think would be to take you to Luke's."
"A picture of my Grandmother. Or at least there was before Luke went insane himself and started giving away all his possessions. Maybe he still has it. Maybe he doesn't." Nikolas shrugs.
"Well lets go find out." Zander brushes a hand down his jeans as he rises to his feet.
Nikolas winces. "Might as well. Even if the portrait is gone... nobody knows Helena Cassadine better than Luke, except my uncle. And I think Luke would be more forth coming."
About twenty minutes later, Nikolas and Zander walk thru the doors of Luke's club. Luke is behind the bar and Claude is in the back getting supplies for set-up. Luke calls out in a loud voice. "Claude! Remind me to call the exterminator. We're having that vermin problem again!"
Nikolas winces. Zander realizes that maybe he should have come on his own. Nikolas tries to start getting things back on a civil footing. "Luke, all I want is some information on Helena."
Luke snorts. "What? Has the evil bitch queen broken her identical cousin out of prison? Could have told you that one was coming." Luke pours himself a whiskey and gets comfortable behind the bar.
"Not that I know of." Nik denies. "Do you still have that portrait of her?"
"Oh hell no. I gave it to the neighborhood weeney wagger so he could whack off at home without freezing his balls off this winter."
"Okay that's just disgusting." Zander makes a face.
"Nah, that's karma. Felicia and Roy wouldn't let me kill the old hag. Figured one way or another I was going to put her in a sticky situation."
"Have you heard about Alexis?" Nikolas tries to change the subject.
Luke shrugs. "Heard she was playing the psycho card to get out of jail free. Criminal Justice system is screwed. The world would be a much better place without some people in it." Luke glares at Nikolas but stays on topic. "Nobody is crying for Alcazar. Tasha should have gotten a medal."
Nikolas straightens even more if possible at Luke saying Tasha.
But it is Zander that blurts out the truth. "She's not playing the psycho card."
Luke tilts his head to the side and then looks back at Nikolas. "Well then it looks like you've got your hands full, Little Prince. Maybe you better just sign Laura's care back over to me so you can take care of your aunt."
"You will gain more information without me." Nikolas says in a low voice and then he leaves without another word.
"So. How long you been hanging with Cassadines?"
"Oh hey... the only one worth anything is Alexis. The rest of them are..." Zander makes a circling motion with one finger by the side of his head. "I'm just trying to figure out what happened to Alexis. Because she's not playing crazy, man. And I owe her. I owe her more than I can ever repay." Zander says earnestly.
"So why did the little prince bring you to me?" Luke pours Zander a whiskey and refreshes his own.
"He says Faith Roscoe triggered Alexis's melt down. She picked up the baby, you know-- Kristina, in the hospital, in front of Alexis, and Alexis lost it right then and there. He says it has something to do with his Grandmother?"
"Come with me." Luke demands. "Claude, come cover this bar or I'll fire your ass." Luke stalks back to his office closely followed by Zander. Once there he pushes a button at the red light at the base of the picture of the Statue of Liberty smoking a cigar. The picture goes up into a recessed area behind the desk and reveals another portrait. This one of a long golden haired nude.
"I take it this is the portrait that you told Nik was with the perv?" Zander winces at the resemblance between Faith and Helena. Okay so Helena's hair was more golden in the portrait. And Faith's was paler more platinum. And Helena had a more lush figure than Faith. But there was something about the eyes. Not even the eye color or shape but something behind the eyes. Something beautiful, carnal, and evil.
"May I introduce you to Helena Cassadine. The most evil bitch to ever walk on this earth. She took Lucky from me. Made his mother believe he was dead. Played games with his mind. He hasn't been the same since he's been back. I still see flashes of my old cowboy but..." Luke looks up at the portrait. The damn thing seemed to haunt him. No matter what he did to get rid of it. It always ended back here in the club.
"My dad said..."
"Oh that's rich." Luke fires up a cigar and going over to the bar offers Zander another drink.
Zander shakes his head no. One was already going to his head. "Anyway. My dad says that this thing that Alexis has. This DID that it's triggered by abuse... extreme abuse before the age of eight. 80% sex abuse, 15% ritualistic abuse."
"That leaves five percent. My handwriting might suck but my adding is just fine." Luke takes a swig of his drink.
"What did Helena Cassadine do to Alexis before the age of eight that would have destroyed Alexis?" Zander starts muttering to himself. "No, that's not right. It didn't destroy Alexis... it created Alexis. What did Helena do?"
"What was that witch not capable of doing?! She brainwashed my son into poisoning me and worse... listening to boy bands." Luke shrugs it off. He goes over to his record collection and thumbs thru it finally grunting and pulling out an LP that he drops on the turn table bring the needle arm over manually and carefully setting it down. Then he turns up the sound. "It's a beautiful voice isn't it? Song's not my cup of tea. Love music but operas not in my top ten."
"It's alright I guess." Zander wonders where this is going.
"Kristen Bergman. One of very few records of her professional career. Alexis' mother. Helena slit her throat right in front of Alexis. Alexis probably ended up with blood and pieces of her mother's larynx all over her. Last time that Alexis saw her mother, saw her baby sister for that matter. Cause Helena ripped the blood splattered ruby and gold necklace off of her nearly decapitated rival and snatched up the kid to take back to her husband as proof of how she was going to handle any further dalliances."
"Holy Shit." Luke's graphic description creates a too detailed picture in Zander's fertile imagination.
Luke's eyes narrow. "From the time Alexis was seven until..." Luke shrugs "... a few years ago... she went by the name of Alexis Davidovich. A so called distant cousin of the Cassadines. When she was sent off to college she changed it to Alexis Davis.... thought it would be better for her law career. I actually think that for the longest time she didn't even remember Natasha Bergman or what had happened to her mother. That she believed that her parents had been killed in a car accident. I just figured that for amnesia... for blocking things out. Who wouldn't?" Luke rubs his index finger along the edge of his whiskey glass creating a low vibrating hum. "But there is no way that Helena would have relied on that."
"What do you mean?"
"After what she did to my son.... looking back on it now... You have to figure that Helena made sure that Natasha wouldn't remember."
"Can you burn me a CD of this?" Zander refers to the album.
Luke winces. "I'll make you a tape."
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