At long last…

For my fellow GH fans and friends,

Here is the latest installment. It’s not action packed this time, but I hope you’ll find a few quality Robert and Anna moments, some of the relationship building stuff that we’ve been missing. Enjoy!

Previous chapters are available in the archives or at https://www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson

Endgame Chapter 8  – WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

After wasting several rounds and most of their energy, Robert and Anna sat down, defeated. It was no use. No one was going to hear them scream. No one was going to release them even if they did.

“What the hell do we do now?” said Anna, her irritation readily apparent.

“I don’t know. Yet.” Robert made his way around the chamber opening and closing all of the cabinets.

“Well, we obviously can’t shoot our way out. How many bullets do you have left?”

“Four.” He eyed the supply of chemicals he’d found. “Can we blast our way out?”

“What?”

“I know you can diffuse a bomb, but how are you at building one?” he said.

She sank into the rolling chair near the work station and bent over to check the undersurface for bugs. “If I made a bomb strong enough to blow that door, the blast would kill us both.”

“So much for that.”

“Any other bright ideas?”

“Not at the moment.”

“You wasted half your ammunition firing at a steel door. What did you think—that you had some magic bullets? Good job we weren’t killed by the ricochet.”

“Anna, don’t do that,” he said as took off his sport coat and tossed it on top of a stack of boxes. He shoved a crate into the corner and stepped up on it to examine the mounted camera.

“Don’t do what?”

“The same thing you always do,” he said.

“And what is that, Robert?” she said, moving on to the drawers on either side of the desk.

“You take out your frustrations on the closest target. It’s not gonna do either of us any good to be down each other’s throats.”

“Eeerrrgghh! I know! I know you’re right! I’m just…” She pulled a small bound notebook out from under a pile of file folders and opened it to the first page. “Robert!” she said in a voice that sounded like a mixture of joy and panic.

He was at her side in an instant. “Did you find something?”

“Just this.” She held up the book. “Robin’s journal. She was here, Robert. All of this… this is her research. They kept her here all of this time against her will,” she said, her voice trembling. The thought sickened her, but proof that Robin was alive was almost enough to compensate for it.

He took the journal out of her hand and sat down on the cot on the far side of the room. “She was looking for a cure Polonium Poisoning?” he said, flipping through the pages.

“Apparently.”

“Under the command of Jerry Jacks and his band of merry men. Dammit!” He shook his head.

“Robert, what are we going to do? We can’t just sit here. Our daughter is out there somewhere.”

“We don’t seem to have a lot of options right now, do we? We’re gonna have to wait until someone opens that door and then… then we can make a move.”

“How long do you think until someone comes back?”

“I don’t know.”

“What if they don’t come back?”

“They will.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Because… Look, you said you saw Faison and Obrecht on the boat, right?”

“Yes.”

“So Faison knows you’re here.”

“Yes.”

“And what’s the one thing in this world that he wants more than anything else?”

“Me,” she said.

“Exactly.”

“So you think he’ll come back to claim me?”

“Or someone will. At the very least, they’ll bring you food and water. Keep you alive.”

She chose to ignore the fact that he didn’t include himself in that statement. “And then what?” she said. “We have four bullets. They have automatic weapons. The odds aren’t exactly working in our favor.”

He read the exasperation in her face. He reached out and pulled her rolling chair closer to him. He looked deep into her eyes. “Listen, this is us. You and me. We just need to put our heads together. We’ll come up with something.”

She leaned in and allowed her forehead to touch his. She smiled, thinking their heads were quite literally together.

He gave a slight chuckle, knowing that was exactly what she was thinking.

“Okay?” he said.

“Okay,” she answered. “I guess we have time, don’t we?” she said with a slight smile.

“So it would seem,” he said.

They began to run escape scenarios by one another, shooting down one plan after another for one reason or another. Robert could feel Anna’s frustration growing again. Truth be told, he was no less irked than she was, but one of them had to keep a cool head.

After about an hour of fruitless discussion, Anna decided to change the subject. “Robert?”

“What, love.”

“Luke ran off after Jerry because he was looking for a cure for Polonium Poisoning. Jerry held Robin hostage so she could develop the cure. I can make sense of that. But how do you think Faison and Obrecht fit in to this whole thing?”

“Obrecht ran the clinic where Robin was held to start with.”

“Yes, but is there more? How is she connected to Faison? What is his part in all of it?”

“I don’t know, but I intend to find out, one way or another. And when I do…”

There was no need to finish that statement. She knew exactly what he was thinking. She was thinking it too.

“There’s something that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about,” she continued.

“What’s that?”

“You said that you figured out that I was here because of a message from Britt Westborne.”

“Right. When she said that her mother might have brought her baby here, I figured it was—”

“How did you know that Obrecht was her mother?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, how did you know that Obrecht was Britt’s mother? I only found out a few weeks ago, but you were…”

“In a coma. Yeah. Don’t remind me.”

“So? Did I tell you that at the clinic?”

“Maybe. I don’t know.”

“What do you know?” She stood and started to pace about.

“What?”

“Or more precisely, what else do you know?”

“Anna, you’re not making any sense here.”

“Robert, I don’t think I told you about their relationship, so if I didn’t tell you, you must have got the information somehow. The question is what other information do you have, how did you get it, and how do we retrieve it?”

“Three,” he said matter-of-factly.

“What?”

“That’s three questions,” he smirked.

“Oh, shut up,” she said. She rolled her eyes, but he saw the playful grin that snuck across her face.

“What are you thinking?” he asked, intrigued. He watched her pace a while longer, obviously deep in though. He was in awe of her mind at work. He always had been. And there was nothing sexier than the gleam that she got in her eye when she was in throws of concocting a plan or solving a mystery.

“What if…” she said, still moving from one side of the room to the other. Her fingers formed a steeple in front of her lips just under her nose. “That’s it!” She crossed the room and sat down in front of him again. Turned sideways in the chair she crossed her legs.

He did his best to ignore them.

“Robert,” she started in again, leaning in toward him, “you said you saw Obrecht and Robin at the clinic before you lost consciousness.”

“Yeah.” He cleared his throat and sat up straighter.

“What if you heard them talking and somehow retained the information?”

“Subconsciously?”

“Yes. What if you heard something about what they were planning that you just don’t remember?”

“So, what do you want to do now, hypnotize me?”

“It’s not a bad idea.”

“It’s a terrible idea! Since when do you possess the skills to—”

“I’ve learned a lot of things since the last time we were together.”

“I’ll just bet you have!”

She caught the wicked twinkle in his eye. “Ah, watch it, Robert.”

“Anna, this is…”

“Come on. It can’t hurt to try, can it?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because…”

“Robert!”

“Anna, it doesn’t make any difference why I know what I know, all right?”

“But if you heard Obrecht say something, anything—”

“I was unconscious.”

“Yes, but if you—”

“Anna, drop it!” he said sternly.

“Couldn’t we just try it? Alex and I—”

“No.”

“Don’t you trust me?”

“Of course I trust you.”

“Come on, Robert,” she said with a curious smile, “what don’t you want me to find in that head of yours?”

“What? Nothing. Look, I’ve been reenacting Sleeping Beauty for the better part of a year, Anna. I’d rather not take any chances, all right?”

She considered his request and nodded, then stood and walked away again.

“I’m sorry,” he said, recognizing her disappointment.

“Don’t worry about it,” she said still facing away from him with her arms folded.

He stood and approached her. “Anna,” he whispered as he folded his arms around her from behind, “it’s gonna be all right. You’ll see.” He didn’t have to see her face to guess that tears were welling up in her big brown eyes.

She nodded again. “I know,” she said.

“We’ll figure it out, love.”

“I know,” she said again. She wiggled out of his grip and turn to face him. “I’m just so frustrated, you know?” Her lower lip quivered and the tears threatened to fall even as anger burned behind them. “Damn it, Robert!” She shoved at him.

She wasn’t angry at him. He knew that. She would much rather have been laying into Faison, but in his absence, Robert was the stand in.

“That man has destroyed every chance we’ve ever had at happiness and now he’s doing the same thing to Robin and her family!”

Her fists came at him, one after the other, pummeling him like a human punching bag. If he’d been stronger, he’d have let her have at it for a while longer, but currently that wasn’t an option. He rushed in to scoop her up into his embrace again before she could swing again. She didn’t fight him. Instead, she crumbled into him, sliding her arms under his and wrapping them up over his shoulders. She clung to him, soaking his shirt with salt water as he swayed slowly and shushed her softly.

“We were so close,” she murmured. “So close. She was here,” she cried. “I just want to hold my baby, Robert.”

“And you will. I promise. Come here.” He let go and took her hand, leading her over to the cot. They sat side by side, backs to the wall. He put an arm around her as she rested her head on his shoulder. “Now, look at it this way. A week ago you thought she was gone. Now you know they have her, but you know she’s alive, right?”

“Right,” she said, taking his free hand. She squeezed his fingers between hers. She sniffed. “She’s alive.” She wiped her eyes with the other hand as she sat up. “Do you think that we should—”

His face stopped her midsentence. His head rested on the cement block wall behind them. His eyes were closed. The dark bags around them spoke volumes. He lifted his head when she fell silent.

“Do I think we should what, love?”

“Ah… Do you think we should try to get some sleep? I mean, the circumstances aren’t ideal, but I am rather tired,” she said, knowing he wouldn’t admit that he was exhausted, but he would sleep if he thought she needed to.

“You are? How’s your head? You don’t think it’s a concussion, do you?”

“No. It’s fine. I’m fine. It’s just been a stressful day. Maybe if we get some rest we’ll be able to think more rationally about this whole thing.”

“You’re probably right about that.”

“Okay. So, you take the cot,” she said, getting to her feet.

“Where are you going sleep?”

“I can sleep in the chair.” She found an electrical pannel on the opposite wall and turned off the overhead lamps, leaving them in the soft glow of emergency lighting.

“Or we can both sleep here,” he suggested, patting the mattress next to him.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Robert.”

“What? We’ve occupied smaller spaces than this. Remember Beirut?” he said with a wry smile.

“I do,” she laughed. And I also remember that we damn near lost our mark because you couldn’t keep your hands off me.”

“Hmm. Well, I was younger then and much more flexible. And Lavery wasn’t part of the equation.”

She eyed him skeptically.

“Your virtue is safe tonight, my dear. Scout’s honor,” he said, raising his right hand.

She smiled at him. “Fine, but you take the wall,” she said, slipping off her heels and hanging her jacket on the back of the chair.

He removed his shoes too and lay down on top of the blanket, turning on to his side.

She positioned herself next to him facing away but was not surprised, nor bothered by his arms encircling her waist.

After a few minutes he heard her giggle. “What?” he said.

She covered her face with her hand, still laughing. “This just reminds me of that bloody train ride, that’s all.”

“The honeymoon train to hell?”

“Yes! Trying to fit into the upper berth. God, it was awful!”

He gave a small chuckle. “At least this time we don’t have to deal with motion sickness.”

“Thank God!” she said with a sigh. “Robert?”

“Hmm?”

“Do you ever wonder what might have happened with us? You know… if Faison hadn’t happened. Again. Do you think we could have made it work the second time?”

“I don’t know, Anna,” he said quietly. “I know that when we said our vows, I meant them.”

“Me too. Every word.”

“We had our share of trouble. God only knows. But we certainly had a lot of good times, didn’t we?”

“The best.”

“Those memories of you and me… Robin… they got me through some pretty dark moments.”

“Sometimes they’re the only thing that get me through the day—memories of Robin,” she quickly clarified.

“Name one,” he said.

“What?”

“A favorite memory.”

“Right now?”

“Why not?”

“All right…” She thought for a second. “The day I we told her we were her parents.”

“Good one.”

“Your turn.”

“Ah, the day I gave her the puppy.” He laughed. “You were fit to be tied. You and Duke.”

“No we weren’t!”

“Were too. You covered it well, though. Next.”

“Robin’s dance recital.”

“Ooh… and the delayed-gratification dress. That’s high on my list too. How about our second wedding? I think Robin was as happy as we were. Go again,” he prompted her.

She smiled. “Robin’s wedding. Having you there to walk her down the aisle.”

“And after the wedding,” he chided.

“Robert!”

“You were drunk on champagne and I was drunk on you. Intoxicated by the radiant beauty of the mother of the bride,” he went on.

“I thought we agreed never to talk about that,” she said in a hushed tone.

“Who’s going to hear it?”

They both had to laugh at that. Neither spoke again for quite some time, each lost in thought. Finally she broke the silence. “Thank you,” she said.

“For what?”

“For the trip down memory lane. It was nice.” She yawned and stretched. Her hand came to rest on his, their fingers intertwining.

“My pleasure,” he said. “Sleep now, love. Tomorrow we can get back to work. Find a way out of this mess.”

“And we find our daughter… and take her home… to Port Charles,” she said sleepily.

“Damn right.”

“To Patrick and Emma…”

“To Patrick and Emma,” he repeated. He felt her inhale deeply and let it out. Her body relaxed against his. He kissed the back of her head and whispered good night. He allowed himself to relax too, but before drifted off to sleep, he made a promise—a promise to himself, to Anna, and to Robin and Emma. This time, he would reunite mother and daughter. Faison would not win again. Robert would die before he would let him win again.

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Don’t Do This to Me – Endgame Ch 7

“I never thought I’d step foot on this bloody island again,” Robert mumbled to himself as he entered the Cassadine compound, closing the door quietly behind him. He moved stealthily through the maze of darkened hallways, listening carefully for any signs of life. He made his way to the top floor with the idea of checking rooms from top to bottom. Each time he came to a new room, he flung the door open, gun drawn, prepared for anything. He found nothing. Every room was tidy—empty.

He entered the deserted kitchen. After a quick sweep he paused to catch his breath. “Damn!” he grumbled, beginning to feel discouraged. But as he leaned on the counter near the stove, he found a glimmer of hope radiating off of the back burner on the electric stove. It was still slightly warm. Not hot, but definitely not cold. It had been used recently, probably within the last half hour. That gave him all of the encouragement he needed to keep moving. Even if Obrecht and company had already left, he might find a clue as to where they’d gone next. He briefly considered going back upstairs to check the rooms more thoroughly, then decided against it. He’d check downstairs first. With a cryogenic chamber, a lab and God knows what else, that area was a treasure trove of evil genius.

Cautiously Robert side-stepped his way down the stairs into the basement of the compound prepared to engage at any moment. All was relatively quiet except for two armed guards who sat playing cards outside of a large steel door in the antechamber of the lab. He wouldn’t be able to take on both of them at once. Robert needed a diversion. It would have to be simple. Time was of the essence and he had virtually nothing in the way of supplies. He moved quickly in the opposite direction toward the cryogenic chamber, plotting as he went.

* * *

“What’s that?” one guard said to the other, detecting a strange beeping sound.

“I don’t know. Sounds like it’s coming from Area C. I thought we were supposed to be here alone.”

“Yeah. Mr. Jacks said the others were all evacuating, but…”

“So, what do we do now?”

“What do you mean, ‘what do we do now’? We go check it out! He said there was a possibility that we’d have more visitors. That’s why we’re here, right?”

“I guess so.”

“So…”

“So… what?”

“Go check it out, little brother!”

“You go check it out.”

“I said it first.”

“Let’s both go.”

“No way. One of us has to stay here and guard the lab the make sure the woman doesn’t escape.”

Robert listened to the argument echoing through empty halls. He chuckled to himself. It was almost too easy. “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb,” he smiled.

“What’s the matter? You scared, Roy-boy? Geez, come on!”

“Fine!” Roy snapped. “You know what? You suck Dale!” He headed off in the direction of the beep, glancing back several times.

Dale just gave him a disgusted look and shooed him off with a few flicks of the wrist.

When Roy came around the corner, Robert was waiting for him. One quick chop and Roy was down without a sound. Robert pulled his phone out of his pocket and turned off the alarm. “That came in rather handy,” he said, rather pleased with himself.

Had he waited long enough, the other brother might have come looking and Robert could have taken him out the same way, but he was getting impatient. Not only that, if his intel was accurate, the lab would be thumbprint protected. Robert was banking on the fact that all of the guards had access, but he would need to take one out in close proximity to the entrance. He left Roy there in a heap and made his way back toward the lab.

Just outside the entrance to the antechamber, Robert paused again. Taking a chance that Dale was as dull as he appeared, he cleared his throat and spoke, “Dale, come quickly. Roy has been injured!”

“Mr. Jacks, Is that you?” came Dale’s response, followed by footsteps as he rushed across the floor.

Seconds later Dale was surprised by Robert and met with a fate not unlike that of his little brother. “Works every time,” Robert muttered. He dragged Dale’s limp form to the lab door and stopped for a breather, slightly distressed that he was so out of shape.  With no time to waste, he didn’t dwell on it. He took hold of Dale’s arm and with a yank, pressed his thumb to the keypad.

“Ha ha! Still got it,” he smirked as the keypad recognized the print.

Robert peaked in as the door  squeaked open and was horrified.  “Anna!”  He rushed to her side as she lay motionless on the floor. “Anna!”

There was no response.

He put a hand on her cheek. “Anna, come on baby, don’t do this to me.” He moved his hand to her neck and was relieved to find a pulse. He leaned closer and felt her breath on his cheek. “Thank God!” he whispered. She had no noticeable wounds at first glance. Robert put his arms around her and pulled her close, cradling her limp body.  “Anna! Anna, can you hear me? Anna, sweetheart, I need you to wake up now. We need to get you out of here before those goons come around.” He patted her face. “Anna, come on.”

She began to stir, slight moaning sounds coming from her throat.

“Anna,” Robert said, getting more excited.

“No,” she whispered.

“Yes. Come on, Anna. It’s me.”

“Robert?” she questioned before opening her eyes.

“Yeah baby. I’m here. But we need to go.”

“My head.”

“You’ve got a nasty bump,” he said, after further examination. “Do you know what happened?”

“Where are we?” she said. She glanced around, blinking to regain focus as she opened her eyes.

“Cassadine Island.”

“What? Oh. The boat,” Anna said, still trying to get her bearings. She struggled to sit up.

Robert let go, but stayed by her side, prepared to grab hold again if needed.

“Robert, what are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in hospital. God, are you all right?”

“I’m fine. I’m more worried about you.”

“You found me. How did you find me?”

“You left me you a clue, didn’t you?”

“I did?”

“Your phone. Outside Steinmauer.”

“Oh. Right. I kicked it under the bench. I didn’t know if anyone would find it.”

“How did they get you?”

“Chloroform , I think. From behind. I didn’t know who it was, but…

“Obrecht.”

“Yeah. I saw her on the boat. With Faison!” She gulped as she said his name. “She broke him out.”

“I know.”

“She drugged me and broke him out,” she continued, sounding aggravated.

“Any news on Robin?”

Anna shook her head. “I tried to make a break for it when we docked and something… someone… hit me. That’s all I remember. How did you even know to look for me?”

“That’s a long story. We can talk about that later. We need to get out of here first. Before Chip and Dale wake up.” He glanced quickly over his shoulder at the open door. The coast was still clear. “Listen, Anna, can you walk?”

“Of course I can. Help me up?”

He stood and took hold of her under the arms, hoisting her up. Once she was on her feet, he pulled her into his embrace.

She let him hold her for a minute, relishing the sense security before forcing the end of the moment. “Robert…”

“Hmm?”

“Let go, then.”

“Right,” he said. He backed away cautiously.

She took all of three steps before the room started to spin and she collapsed into his arms again.

“Whoa. Looks like we’d better take it slow,” he smiled. He managed to get her over to the small bed in the corner.

“I’m all right. I’m just a little dizzy. That’s all.”

“Okay. Give it a minute and we’ll try again,” he said, his arms still wound around her as they sat.

Anna nodded and rested her head on Robert’s shoulder. “I can’t believe you found me,” she said again.

“Of course I found you. Robert said. “You know I’d move Heaven and Earth before I’d let anything happen to you.” He felt her nod again. He held her bit longer, and then said, “Okay, love. We’ve got to try this again. Are you ready?”

“I think so.”

“Okay. Here we go.” He rose slowly, bringing her with him. “Hold on to Bobby now,” he said in a playful voice.

“Yes dear,” she said. Her tone was sarcastic, but her lips curled up with the tiniest smile.

Suddenly a voice boomed out, “Well, well, well… Look what we have here. Two super spies for the price of one! I hate to spoil your plans, but you two are not going anywhere!”

Jerry Jacks maniacal laughter reverberated through the halls as the lab door slid shut, leaving a startled Robert and Anna staring after him in disbelief.

 

** All previous chapters are available in the archives or at www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson **

Not This Time – Endgame Ch 6

By the time they arrived at Steinmauer, Robert was wishing he had given Agent Tom Jacobs the famed WSB chop and left him prostrate on the floor at the clinic. His incessant chatter was getting on his last nerve. Unfortunately, Robert knew he needed Jacobs at the moment, or at least he needed his badge. His own status as self-proclaimed Agent of the World, who’d only recently come out of a coma, did not exactly give him jurisdiction here and he wasn’t about to waste a second waiting on his connections at various agencies to process the necessary paperwork.

Robert rolled his eyes as Jacobs attempted to give him a final warning about following his lead. “I know it may not be the way you’re used to doing things, but—” Jacobs was saying. But Robert was out of the car and half way to the door before the agent could finish his rant on protocol.

By the time Jacobs caught up with him, Robert was already at the front desk, preparing to launch a full scale verbal attack. Jacobs put a hand on Robert’s shoulder and stepped in front of him, flashing his credentials. It nearly killed him, but Robert forced himself to hang back and allow the young one to speak to the guards first. Only after his presence was explained, did he step up to speak again.

“I understand that a few days ago Ms. Devane arrived here with a request to visit Cesar Faison.”

“Yes, sir. She had clearance from one Frisco Jones at the WSB.”

“Right. You were on duty at the time?”

The young man, Schaub, nodded sheepishly.

“What else can you tell me about that visit?”

He cleared his throat. “Well, she—”

The older of the two men cut in. “You mean other than the fact that she somehow managed to tamper with our security system, take out two of my men, and usher the criminal out of here?” he growled in a Germanic accent. He glared at Robert, obviously irritated by his line of questioning.

“Listen, I know all of that.”

“Mister… Scorpio… is it? It has been all over the news. Worldwide coverage. I do not see the point in rehashing what we have told all of the authorities already.”

“I understand what it looks like, Mr. Zeller,” Robert said, eying the man’s name badge. “But I’ve had a lot of experience with this woman, and my gut tells me that things are not as cut and dry as they appear to be.” He glanced around Zeller to look at young Schaub again. “Now, I need you to tell me everything that you remember about that visit, and don’t leave anything out.”

Both guards looked toward Agent Jacobs who nodded in silent support of Robert.

The young guard cleared his throat again and started in. His voice was shaky. His English, though grammatically accurate, sounded strained. He seemed to struggle with stringing the words together. “She was admitted at nine-forty.  I processed her credentials and she entered the visitation area. Mr. Faison was brought in—”

“Hold on a minute,” Robert interrupted. “Tommy Boy,” Robert said to Jacobs, “What time does your report say she entered?”

Jacobs consulted his notes. “Nine thirty-two, sir.”

“How do you explain that?” he asked Schaub.

“Yes, sir. That was the first time.”

“What do you mean, the first time?”

“Sh-sh-she entered and was searched at nine thirty-two, but while I was verifying her credentials, she received a phone call. There was no service.” He looked sideways at his superior, who showed no signs of surprise at this admission. “So, she exited to take the call and returned at nine forty. At that time, I processed her and the visit began.”

“What time did she receive this call?”

“I don’t know exactly, sir.”

“Approximately… what time did she receive this call?” Robert asked, his temper starting to flare.

“Maybe it was two minutes after she arrived.”

“Which would be about what? Nine thirty-four?”

“I believe so, sir.”

“Let me make sure I have this right,” Robert said. “She left to take a call and returned six minutes later?”

“Yes, sir.”

“When she returned, how did she look to you?”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, I mean… did she look nervous? Was her hair mussed? Did she look… different? In any way?”

“No, sir. She looked just the same.”

“And when you searched her again—”

“I did not search again.”

“What do you mean you didn’t search her again?”

“I had already done that.”

“She left and came back six minutes later, and you didn’t think that you needed to search her again?”

The senior guard broke in again. “What are you implying, Mr. Scorpio?”

“What am I implying? I’ll tell you what I’m implying. I’m implying that a hell of lot can happen in six minutes and —”

“Ms. Devane was—as far as we knew—a trustworthy officer of the law! Our procedure is none of your concern, Mr. Scorpio,” Zeller reminded him.

“That’s exactly my point!” Robert shouted.

What is your point?” Zeller asked.

Robert looked at Jacobs, who’d been watching the entire exchange, and then back at the guards. “What if the woman who entered the second time was not really Anna Devane?”

“That is absurd.” Zeller grumbled.

“Is it?” Robert said.

“Yes,” Zeller nodded.

Robert shook his head. “I don’t think so. You see, from the footage that I saw—now it was only from behind, mind you—but from the footage that I saw, the woman who left here with Faison did not look like Anna Devane.”

“Her face was identical,” Schaub countered.

“That may be,” Robert said. “I’ve seen some pretty convincing disguises in my time, but some things can’t be imitated.”

The men regarded him, still skeptical.

Robert continued. “Anna Devane is one of a kind. This woman… she didn’t act like Anna. She didn’t hold a gun like Anna, she didn’t walk like Anna, and she sure as hell didn’t wear a skirt like Anna,” he said with a bit of a snicker. When no one responded he added, “And she was taller!”

“She was?” Jacobs finally said.

“Yes!” Robert answered.

“And just who do you propose this imposter was?” asked Zeller.

“I haven’t figured that out yet.”

“Unbelievable,” Zeller shook his head.

“Humor me,” Robert said, looking at him with one eyebrow raised ever so slightly.

Zeller folded his arms in protest, but allowed Robert to continue with his questions.

“So, after this woman entered—the second time—what happened then?”

“I returned her weapon,” Schaub said.

“Why the hell would you do that?”

“Ms. Devane was authorized to carry. Faison is considered a dangerous criminal.”

“Tell me something I don’t know!” Robert barked.

“Within minutes our system issued a virus alert and several terminals began to shut down.”

“A virus? I thought you said the system was hacked?” Robert asked.

Jacobs looked confused. “I… ah…”

“It was a virus,” the guard went on, “introduced into our mainframe forcing a system shutdown. In the chaos, she waited long enough for the shutdown to affect the cameras, most of them. Then she took out our men in the room with the butt of her pistol, stole a keycard and—”

“All right, I’ve heard enough,” Robert said. “Jacobs, what the hell kind of investigation are your people running here? If I were you I’d get some men to trace the source of that virus. If the two issues are actually connected, you might actually get some answers.”

“Of course,” Jacobs answered, already commandeering the desk phone.

With Jacobs distracted, Robert took the opportunity to slip out for some fresh air. He sat down on the aluminum bench just outside the door and let out a sigh that was combination of exhaustion and frustration. Truth be told, he was nowhere near ready to be out of hospital, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. As long as Faison was on the loose, Anna wasn’t safe.

“Six minutes,” Robert mumbled. He still wasn’t sure what had occurred during those six minutes, but Anna had clearly been compromised. He stood up and began to pace slowly in front of the bench, his fingers occasionally stroking his face over his upper lip as he thought. At one point, he wandered a few feet away, consulting the reach and angle of the security cameras. When he returned to bench and sat down again he noticed a strange sound. It was an intermittent buzz of sorts and for a moment, he thought he could feel the vibration. He checked his cell phone out of habit. That wasn’t it. The sound continued for a few more seconds and then stopped. He glanced around and saw nothing at first. But when it happened again, he followed the sound more carefully until he found it. There, on the ground, wedged between the building and the foot of the bench, was a phone in a white plastic case.

“Anna!” Robert grunted as he practically dove for it. He pried it out and looked at the display. The screen was cracked, but it was still legible. It read: Duke Lavery. Slide to answer. Robert quickly answered before it could disconnect. “Duke!”

“Robert!”

“Yeah.”

“Robert is that you?”

“Yeah, Duke it’s me. What’s going on?”

“That’s what I’d like to know. Have you seen Anna?”

“Well, she came see me at the clinic…” Robert trailed off, unsure as to how much Duke knew.

“Have you seen the news? The reports are saying that she’s broken Faison out of prison.”

“Listen, Duke, about that…”

“Do you have any idea what happened or where they could have gone?”

“Not yet, but I’m working on it.”

“Where are you? I can come and help you.”

Anna’s comment about sending an amateur to do a professionals job replayed in his head. “No!” Robert shouted. “Ah, what I mean is, it I could really use your help there. I need someone in Port Charles to keep me apprised of the situation there. In case Anna calls. I need you to stay put and call me the moment you hear anything.”

“Robert, Faison is incredibly dangerous! Do you honestly expect me to just sit around and wait while he does God knows what with Anna—”

“Lavery, please, let the professionals handle this.” There was a long pause. “I will update you as soon as I have something concrete,” Robert added.

“Fine. See that you do,” Duke said curtly, his pride damaged. He hung up without another word.

Robert took a deep breath, relieved that he had managed to dissuade Duke. He took a few seconds to regain his bearings and then looked at the phone again, hoping to find a clue of some kind. Aside from the large crack across the screen, the case was also scratched up. It had obviously been dropped or thrown. Was that before or after the escape? Had there been a scuffle? Was she hurt, or had she hurt them? Robert hit the button on the phone, hoping it would contain some clue.

He slid his thumb across the screen to unlock it. Faced with a passcode screen, he paused momentarily, then tried four numbers. One-zero-one-two. He was granted access and greeted with a low battery warning. He dismissed it, thinking it was a miracle it had any power left at all. He scanned the long list of received calls. Most of them were from Interpol and other law enforcement agencies. Several were from Duke. Eventually, he scrolled far enough to find two calls received at nine thirty four two days earlier, from Dr. Brit Westbourne, the second of which included a voicemail. Robert pressed play and listened with bated breath.

“Commissioner, it’s me again. Our call got lost. As I said before, my mother recently made contact. We have reason to believe that she has my son and she’s holding my son on Cassadine Island. Nicholas and I are on our way there now. Please call me when you get this message.”

“Her mother. That’s it! Obrecht!” Robert said. Faison’s partner in crime. Why hadn’t he thought about her before? Hostages, kidnappings, medical procedures, she would stop at nothing for that freak! She had to be involved. And if Britt was right, they were hiding out on Cassadine Island.

Robert stood and slipped the phone into his pocket. He didn’t even consider going back in for Jacobs. Why bother. Interpol still believed Anna was responsible for this mess. Robert knew better. With no time to lose, he headed for the car that had dropped him and Jacobs off earlier. If his instincts were right that madman had taken her again, and he wasn’t about to let him get away with it. Not this time!

Ready or not, Robert forced himself to break into a slow jog. “Hang in there, Anna, sweetheart. The cavalry is coming!”

** All previous chapters are available in the archives or at www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson **