What is Mine
~ Twenty-Seven ~


It was nearly ten a.m. when the trio of black Impalas pulled onto a private airstrip whose existence was known by a mere handful of people. The eighty-minute drive had been a tense and anxious one for nearly everyone involved.

The three silent bodyguards exited the first car and moved swiftly to examine the area before signaling their permission for the others to disembark. They took up positions about the sleek new jet and turned all their attention to safeguarding the perimeter.

Stefan climbed from the back seat of the third Impala. Despite the emotional drain of the earlier scene at the Whelan house, he felt energized. The missing part of his life had been found.

He watched Adrian emerge from the back door of the second car. The young spy held Stefan's son cradled gently in his powerful arms.

“He cried for a solid hour,” Adrian acknowledged softly as Stefan walked up to them. “Poor little thing cried himself to sleep.”

Stefan felt a pang of regret that he had been the cause of the tears whose evidence lay dried on the little boy's cheeks. But he knew that given the chance to reconsider his decisions of the past week, he would change nothing.

Adrian eased the little boy into Stefan's arms. He smoothed the little one's dark hair with a gentle hand. “I'll say a prayer for you,” he murmured to the sleeping child. “And you, too, Stefan.”

“Thank you. What you have done for me cannot be repaid. You have helped me reclaim all that is mine.”

“Just take care of your family. That will be repayment enough.”

Stefan nodded soberly. “From this moment on, I consider you a part of my family as well, Adrian. Should you ever need me, you have only to call.”

Both men turned at the smooth hum of the jet's door as it opened. It settled into place on the runway with a muted thud. As they watched, a somber, but curious Prince climbed slowly down the stairs and crossed the tarmac to where they stood.

“Is this him?” the Prince asked.

Stefan read easily the mistrust and wariness that Helena had made second nature. It would take time and patience, but Stefan believed that one day the shadows would be removed from the dark eyes. With Helena no longer present to control and manipulate them all, the seeds of a reborn Cassadine family could take root.

“Yes, Nikolai,” Stefan answered, crouching down before him. “I have returned with your little brother. Now we can be a family.”