The thing he loved about this part of General Hospital was the quiet. Yes, in the
background there were the standard beeps and hums of machinery. And
occasionally there was the sudden din of hospital personnel as they rushed to
some emergency or other. But for the most part, there was quiet here. He could
sit and just listen to the quiet.

A familiar sound reached his ears. It grew louder as each step brought its
maker closer and closer to where he sat. Steeling himself, he made his face a
blank mask and waited for the confrontation.

“Psycho Granny's been gone for months now, Nikolas.” Gia Campbell stood
with her hands on her hips and glared at her estranged boyfriend. “How long
are you going to carry on this little charade?”

Nikolas Webber opened his eyes and stared over the angry young woman's
shoulder as he tried to pretend a nonchalance he did not feel. “We are through,
Gia,” he said tiredly. “What will it take to make you understand that?”

He wanted desperately to reach out to her. But he had come too far in his plan
to break away from the Cassadine legacy. Only a few months more and then he
would feel safe about allowing Gia back into his life again. Everything he'd
done was for them, so that they could have a future together. A future they
could not have if he remained Prince Nikolas Mikhail Stavrosovich Cassadine.

So he walked away from it all. But it wasn't all for Gia's sake. Nikolas had tired
of all the Spencer/Cassadine machinations. His uncle Stefan faking his death
was probably the straw which broke his back. Nikolas renounced the
Cassadine name, inheritance, title and legacy. For awhile he had considered
himself Nik Spencer, in a desperate attempt to feel like a part of his mother's
family. It hadn't taken long for Luke to point out that Nikolas would never be a
Spencer and in truth had no claim to the Spencer name. Their truce ended with
Helena's disappearance and Lucky's return to the bosom of his family.

And so these days he went by Nikolas Webber. “Gia, why are you here?” he

“Because I knew you'd be here waiting for Lucky to finish his session with
Doctor Collins.” Her colorfully beaded braids clacked noisily as she
emphasized her words. “You can't hide from me forever, Nikolas.” Her
attention was distracted. “Oh, great!” Gia muttered. “Just what we need.”

Nikolas turned to look behind him. Approaching from down the corridor was
his uncle, accompanied by a strange young man about their age. Nikolas
steeled himself for the inevitable encounter where Stefan would reemphasize
his regret at his actions and plead for Nikolas to rejoin the family.

“Miss Campbell, Nikolas,” Stefan greeted them quietly as he walked past.

Nikolas stared in disbelief at his uncle's retreating back. What was going on?

“Humph! Maybe Stefan has finally gotten the message!” Gia turned back
around stare at the still speechless Nikolas. “You see,” she complained, “there
really is no reason for us not to be together. Even your Uncle has accepted your
decision not to be a Cassadine.”

Nikolas could not explain just why her words disturbed him so.