What is Mine
~ Twenty-Six ~


“You are about to destroy that little boy's life,” Doctor Jack Whelan forced out through gritted teeth. “To just tear him away from us? From Cassie?”

“I allowed you last night,” Stefan responded, “a generosity far greater than any you granted me when you stole a year of my son's life.” He gave the surgeon a withering glare. “ You created this sorrow for your young wife. And my son as well. Now you must live with the consequences.”

Cassie Whelan chimed in from the doorway. “The same way Robby has to live with the consequences of your decision.” She held the little boy in her arms and made no effort to move any closer with him. “If you loved him-”

“If you love him,” Stefan interrupted the young woman quietly, “you will not attempt what you have so obviously planned. Perhaps you believe that if forced to physically remove my son from your possession, I will falter in my decision.” He met Cassie's gaze head-on. “I assure you, I will not.”

Cassie's instinctive hold on Robby tightened. “He's my son,” she said, horrified to hear her voice break. She'd promised herself that she would meet the stranger's strength with a show of her own. “I can't just let you take him.”

The unexpected shuffle of feet in the nearby kitchen drew Cassie and Jack's attention. Seconds later, three burly unsmiling men entered the room.

Adrian beckoned a man forward.  The silent guard stepped up and firmly removed the little boy from Cassie's arms. The young woman's resistance had no effect against the man's superior strength and he soon held the child tightly against his broad chest.

Adrian had warned Stefan that such a drastic course of action might be necessary if the Whelans chose not to surrender his son willingly. The older man agreed, confident that he would soon be able to ease his son's distress. Adrian bluntly disabused him of such hope. ‘ He doesn't know you. You'll only make things worse in the long run, ' the young spy had argued. ‘ If they try to put up a fight, just stand back and let my men take possession of the boy.   I promise they'll be gentle with him... Don't let your face be the one he associates with the trauma of separation.'

Robby's terrified cries grew fainter as the stranger carried the little boy away from the living room and outside into a waiting car.   Adrian followed closely behind.

“He's so afraid!” Cassie Whelan wailed as she tried frantically to break through the wall of human muscle that blocked her way. “Just let me hold him and tell him it will be alright!” she begged.

Stefan did not react to the woman's hysterical pleas; though like Cassie Whelan, the little boy's piteous cries cut at the very heart of him.

“At least let her kiss him goodbye,” Jack Whelan angrily demanded of Stefan. “Cassie loved that little boy for a whole year. She deserves that.”

Stefan shook his head. “A clean cut heals quickest,” he said. “The sooner we depart this place, the sooner my son can begin the life that was meant to be his before you so cavalierly decided otherwise.”

Seemingly immune to the sounds of Cassie Whelan's heartbreak behind him, Stefan turned and left.