What is Mine
~ Nineteen ~


A hint of morning sun was just visible from the plane's window. Behind them, Europe grew more and more distant as they headed back to the United States.

“Thank you for your assistance last night. Your resources are quite impressive.”

Adrian Sword merely shrugged. “How is the Prince?” The young spy knew that Stefan had spent most of the pre-dusk hours alone with him.

“Sadly, exactly as my mother has molded him.” Stefan looked out of the window into the dawn.

It was obviously a subject Stefan did not care to discuss, so Adrian let the subject drop. But his dark eyes continued to study the older man.

Stefan turned his head back to see the young American staring silently at him. “Shall I guess at your thoughts?” Stefan tilted his head in an unspoken invitation to response that Adrian did not accept. “You wonder what kind of man I am, to commit such acts against my own family,” he guessed.

“No.” Adrian shook his head. “I don't judge other men. I have done too many things in the name of my country that I am not proud of; things that return to me in the form of vivid nightmares.” Adrian scratched his goatee. “I just wondered how you were dealing with it all.” He smiled sympathetically. “You've had an awful lot of stuff dumped on you these past few hours.”

Stefan shook his head. “I regret to say that in some ways, the events of not just the past hours, but the past year are merely status quo for the Cassadine family. Throughout our history, bloodshed and intrigue have been accepted behavior in the drive for power. Cassadine children fall asleep to bedtime stories of heinous acts committed by their ancestors in the name of family.”

His expression grew thoughtful. “And yet knowing all this,” he mused, “I am unwavering in my decision to remove from a happy home a child who may not remember me. Simply because he is mine.”

Adrian studied the aristocratic gentleman seated directly across the aisle from him. He twisted about in his seat to better address him. “I am adopted,” the young spy said simply. “I didn't know that until just a few years ago.” He stretched his muscled thighs out into the aisle. “I had the best childhood any kid could ask for. My parents loved me and I was happy.”

“You disapprove of my decision.” Stefan's face was neutral. He was curious about the young man's story, though truthfully he knew that nothing Adrian could say would discourage him from retrieving his son from the couple in California.

“A few years ago I settled down in Pine Valley for a rest between missions,” Adrian continued, as though Stefan had not spoken. “I got to know the people there, made friends…” A wry smile came to the young man's face. “Sat across the dinner table from my biological mother for months and never even knew,” he said. “I not only didn't know that she was my mother, I didn't know I was adopted.”

Adrian sighed. “Long story short, I love my adoptive parents. I love the brothers and sisters I grew up with. And I wouldn't change my childhood. But I had a right to know about the other half of me.”

Stefan frowned. “Your ‘story' has done little to shed light upon the decision that I have made.”

“It wasn't supposed to. It's just a reminder that what you're about to deal with is complicated. And there is no right answer. All you can do is keep that little boy's welfare in mind when you make decisions that are going to effect the rest of his life.”

“And believe me, it will effect the rest of his life.”