Eden Revisited

It was a kind of cruel irony that the day presently unfolding in that part of the world would likely be considered a perfect one. The sky was clear and blue and the temperatures moderate for that time of year. It was a jolting reminder of all that would soon be lost. Everywhere.

Viktor Cassadine raised a glass of vodka to his lips. There was less than an inch of the special family reserve inside the heavy glass…nearly the original amount. Viktor's desire for the vodka had been an impulse. In light of upcoming travel plans, he felt a need to toast the abundance of memories that filled his home. Instead, he had gotten lost in thoughts of all the memories that should have been.

Well, he had no one but himself to blame for that, Viktor admitted. He had allowed his brothers to control his future, and had stupidly pushed away the one woman he wanted to build a future -and a family- with.

Celeste’s continued presence in his life was an unexpected thing, Viktor reflected. Especially after all she had endured at the hands of both Mikkos and Tony. His powerful brothers had gone to extremes to demonstrate to Celeste how very unsuitable they found her. And Viktor had done little to defend her.

"I would suggest the villa in France," Stefan interrupted Viktor’s thoughts. "And soon. The majority of the family has already begun to flock to the primary ancestral estate in Greece. A return home, as it were."

"It is an understandable sentiment." There was a pause as Viktor once again considered the map that was spread across the dark wooden desk. It was weathered and old, a map collector's treasure. Passed down through generations, the map displayed lands with names that only remained in the memories of historians. "Will security at the villa be sufficient?"

Stefan nodded. "It has been substantially fortified in anticipation of your occupation there." He correctly deciphered his uncle's raised brow. "Yes," Stefan admitted. "I suspected that this might be your ultimate course of action."

Viktor shook his head. The action caused a lock of white hair to fall across his brow. Absently he swept it back into place. "I hope that I have not been so transparent where my daughter is concerned."

"No." Stefan's voice was heavy with regret. "Sabrina will be caught completely unaware. Perhaps you should revisit your decision to inform her as you intend. While I concur that Bauer will feel no great loss where you are concerned, his love for Sabrina has proven genuine. As is his regard for Celeste."

"There are things I wish to say to my daughter alone." Viktor fell silent. There was a peculiar quiet to the place now that the small staff of servants had been dispatched back home. A three-man security detail had been left in place to protect them long enough to make their way to the unmarked jet that would carry them to their destination. “Bauer has no place in such a conversation.”

An ocean away from where Viktor stood, the microphone of Stefan’s laptop began to pick up the faint murmur of Sabrina's voice as she hailed each of the guards along the way to Stefan’s study where she had been summoned. Thanks to proprietary software developed by Faith for Cassadine Industries, their Internet connection was light years ahead of all the other technologies currently in place across the globe. The signal was flawless, even in light of the upheaval all around the globe.

“You sent for me, Stefan?" Viktor saw his daughter glance over and spy his image on the laptop computer screen. "Papa?"

“Paidi mou.”

The childhood address brought a brilliant smile to his daughter’s face. After a lifetime, Sabrina's worship of her father still shone through. Even at her most angry and defiant, Viktor reflected, he had never worried about losing her love. Theirs was a sometimes difficult - but unbreakable - bond.

"Hello, Papa! Where are you? Is Mama there with you?"

"Celeste is in telephone conversation with your sister," Viktor replied. “She will be joining me shortly."

Unlike Sabrina, Viktor's younger daughter made no secret of her animosity towards her father. He was only given the courtesy of her grudging obedience because Celeste would allow nothing less. Viktor did not mistake his rebellious younger daughter’s obedience with respect. Viktoria had not been raised with the benefit of his presence. Her loyalty was to Celeste alone.

"In light of all that is happening,” Viktor asked, “how are you, Little One?"

Sabrina moved closer to the screen. "I'll be better when everyone I love is together here at Wyndemere."

Viktor knew that his daughter's remark was as much about her wandering husband as it was about her father and mother. According to Stefan, Bauer had gone off in search of his daughter. He'd only been heard from once in the thirteen days since his departure.

“Stefan says that travel is becoming more and more difficult,” Sabrina continued. “Pretty soon everyone will have to stay where they are. Even he won't be able to do anything. Please tell me that you and Mama are ready to leave there!"

"We are set to depart as soon as this conversation concludes," Viktor said.

"Good!” Sabrina nodded vigorously. “So just grab Mama and come on. We can talk when you get here.”

There was no way to ease into what he would say next. "There is nothing I desire more,” Viktor answered softly, “than to be with you for this conversation.” He placed an elegant fingertip against the screen. “I have chosen not to join you in New York… And your mother has chosen to remain at my side.”

"What?" Sabrina's voice was a strangled whisper. "No! We promised we would all be together when the end came!"

"Our place is not at Wyndemere. Your mother and I are reassured that Stefan has taken all things into account.” Viktor’s voice grew soft. “Do not cry, little one. There are things I desire to say to you and I cannot do so if you are in distress.



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