She needs my help. She needs my help.

One phrase repeated like a mantra inside his head. She needs my help. She
needs my help.
She was somewhere, maybe hurt, and she needed him to do
this. So he had set off alone across the country to seek help. He would not
repay her lifetime of love and tenderness with failure.

Almost E. The needle crept relentlessly toward Empty. And his pockets were
bare except for a few coins. He was grateful the old automobile had gotten
him this far. He slowed and checked the road map once more. His
destination should be close nearby. Had he somehow read the map
incorrectly? No. There it was, he sighed, releasing a breath.

The large sign read General Hospital. He had come to the right place.
Nervously, the young man parked and looked around before leaving his car.
He summoned his courage and walked quickly through the parking lot
toward the hospital's entrance doors.

The guard noticed the young man as he came through the doors. Just a little
over six feet tall, the youth was dressed in a crisp white shirt and impeccable
black slacks. His sandy hair was windblown and in disarray. "I am looking
for someone," he told the guard. "Can you help me?"

The guard looked down at the scrap of paper the youth held in his hand.
Creased and worn, it was almost to the point of disintegration. "Eighth floor,
straight outta the elevators," he muttered, and gestured toward the elevators.
"Last office on the right." Momentarily interested, the guard watched the
young man's departure. Soon, however, he turned back to his crossword
puzzle book.

As the elevator traveled upward, the young man rehearsed anxiously his plea
for help. He tried to remember everything he'd been taught. Whether he got
any assistance depended on the impression he would make. He feared that it
would not be a good one, not with his stomach as nervous as it was.

The motion of the elevator, though smooth, left him feeling queasy. Please, not
, he thought, desperately fighting the urge to be ill. With a sickening jolt,
the elevator came to a stop. The young man exited and paused to lean
against the wall until the wave of nausea passed. Straightening up, he
walked resolutely to the office the guard had directed him toward and
rapped sharply upon the door.

"Enter," came the firm, cultured voice from within. The nervous youth
pushed the door open. Sitting behind a large ornate desk was the man he
sought. It had never occurred to him during his journey here that he would
actually have an audience with him. The shock left him tongue-tied.

"Yes?" the man asked impatiently.

The young man lowered his head in deference. "I apologize for contacting
you this way, sir, but I did not know what else to do."

Stefan Cassadine stared curiously at the young man who stood before him.
His posture was one he had seen often in the people of his home in Greece.
Someone had reared the young man in the ways of the Old Country. "What is
it?" Stefan asked.

"I have not heard from my grandmother in several weeks," the youth twisted
his hands nervously before dropping them to his sides. "I am worried about

Ah, now he understood. The youth wished him to use his European contacts
to ascertain his family's well-being. "Have you tried the Embassy, or the Red
Cross?" Stefan queried.

"No," the youth replied, startled. "I thought of no other save you to help."
His eyes pleaded with Stefan's. "Are you not the head of the Cassadine

The Cassadine Regent rose from his chair at the boy's question. Locking
gazes with him, he asked, "Who are you? Who is your grandmother?"

Unblinking green eyes stared back at him. "I am Darius. And my
grandmother is Helena Cassadine."