What is Mine
~ Twelve ~


“Then it was an accident?”

“Ariana grew suddenly ill and I grabbed for the wheel.” Stefan did not allow his mind to probe too deeply for additional details of the accident.

“Not knowing the circumstances, I chose to err on the side of caution. As soon as the paramedics contacted me, all your tracks were covered and misinformation was released.”

“So my family believes me… dead as well?”

Dimitri did not miss the way Stefan stumbled over the word ‘dead'. It was the only reminder to the Count that the man opposite him bore the weight of an unimaginable sorrow. “Yes,” Dimitri confirmed. “As far as they are all concerned, you perished in that accident.”

Stefan's mind reeled. Since awakening from his six months of unconsciousness, he had been battered by wave after wave of horrendous news. “I must return to Greece,” Stefan declared urgently.

“If that is what you want,” Dimitri shrugged. “But I do not believe that it is the wisest decision for you.”

The words drew the first sign of fire in Stefan that Dimitri had seen. The injured man weakly snatched a glossy magazine article from the pile of documents on his lap and waved it beneath Dimitri's nose. “ Look at them !” Stefan railed angrily.

It was a picture that Dimitri knew well. Helena Cassadine, in all her icy glory, sat smiling a cool little smile toward the camera. Standing beside her was a somber Prince Cassadine.

Dimitri rose from his seat and walked silently into the suite's bathroom. He returned with a large mirror that he held directly before Stefan's face. “ Look at you !” he demanded in the same tone Stefan had used earlier. “Do you truly want to face them this way?”

Stefan was shocked into silence by the gaunt, sunken appearance of his face. Despite the excellent medical care Dimitri's staff had provided, Stefan's body had paid a dear price for six months of virtual inactivity. “No,” Stefan whispered, looking away. “Not this way.”

Dimitri lay the mirror face down on the bed. “A team of therapists is prepared to begin your rehabilitation tomorrow,” he informed Stefan. “They believe you can be ready to walk out of Wildwind in six months.”

“Very well.” Stefan clenched his fists in an unconscious show of determination. “But I will do so in three.”