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Secret message to [livejournal.com profile] lostingeekdom: I just got your e-mail and I'm on it, babe.

Public message to [livejournal.com profile] maverick4oz: Happy Birthday to the most valuable player in Oz fandom. Thanks for everything you do for us and the boys! Hope all your wishes come true.

I'm just posting a couple of old General Hospital fics I wrote for a challenge a while back. You were supposed to take a character and write about how his/her life would have been different by altering the events of his/her life at five different points.

Lucky Spencer - played by the original actor - is one of my favorite fictional characters ever, so I chose him. But I punked out and did only two points. Someone on another board asked about them, and since I don't have them posted anywhere, I figured I'd post them here. Now that I'm back, I'll try to stick around : )

Port Charles
Spencer Household

Lucky Spencer grabs hold of his brother Nikolas Cassadine, dragging him out of their sister's bedroom. He wasn't supposed to be here. There was no way his father would have allowed it, and Lucky sure didn't invite a Cassadine into the house.

"What the hell do you think you're doing, man?"

"Let go of me."

"Are you crazy? Huh?" Lucky pushes him, pumped up with adrenaline, his resentment growing. "Are you crazy?"

"Will you relax," Nikolas sneers. "I'm leaving."

He turns to go, but Lucky grabs his jacket again. He can't let Nikolas think he can just come and go as he pleases, like he owns the place. All he proved was that he could sneak in like a coward when Lucky's back was turned.

"You come here when my parents are gone. What - did you come through the window? Huh - did you come through the window?"

Nikolas' only answer is a haughty stare.

Lucky can tell he's pushing the royal buttons now. "Come on, tell me. I want an answer. Tell me."

Nikolas clenches his fists but doesn't reply. He turns to walk away, but Lucky doesn't let him go - he pulls him back. He wags his finger at Nikolas, as Luke and Laura return home, unaware of what is going on upstairs. Nikolas finally asserts his advantage, pushing the younger, smaller Lucky up against the wall.

"I'm so sick of you and your squeaky threats and your mindless paranoia," he seethes.

Lucky glares back, surprised but enraged. His reaction is instinctive - and irreversible.

He pushes Nikolas off of him.

Nikolas loses his balance, lurching back and gripping at the banister, but he can't hold on.

Lucky watches as if it's all happening in slow motion. Nikolas tumbles down the stairs, his body crumpling and landing at the bottom just as Luke and Laura enter the house.

It's his mother's horrified gaze that finally draws Lucky out of his trance.

Laura looks up at an obviously unhinged Lucky, then looks back down to her injured son. Lucky remains frozen in place.

And then Stefan is suddenly there - phoning for an ambulance.

The nightmare is becoming all too real. A frightened, teary-eyed Lucky stares down upon the scene - still unable to move. He's further chilled by his father's reaction. Luke looks up at him with an almost gloating look in his eyes - an expression that seems to shout "Way to go, Cowboy!"

Lucky is even more sickened and confused by what has happened - what he's done.

Joining the scene downstairs as the EMTs take Nikolas out, Lucky swears to his mother that it was an accident. She pulls him into her arms, trying to offer some reassurance. She says she knows, that it will be okay, but then she is out the door, eager to get to the hospital to reassure herself as well.

After Laura leaves, Stefan remains in the doorway, his back to the living room.

"Aren't you going?" Luke goads as Lucky turns away, trying to disengage himself from the continuing battle.

"Do you pray, Mr. Spencer?" Stefan asks, calmly. "If not, now would be a good time to start."

"Pray for your nephew?" Luke sneers.

The tone in his father's voice grates on Lucky and he wonders how his father can be so callous.

"For your son."

Lucky snaps to as Stefan finally turns to face him.

Luke jumps to his son's defense, countering Stefan's threat with his own. "You get out of here before I kill you where you stand," he demands.

Stefan doesn't flinch, his gaze still on Lucky as he vows, "If he dies, there will be no corner of hell for you to hide in."

The warning is ominous, and Lucky is too numbed to respond. Stefan exits and Lucky finally takes a breath. Luke walks over, embracing his son. Lucky wonders if it's comfort or praise his father is offering, unwilling to accept either one.

A week later
An island in Greece

Getting here had been easier than he thought. He'd been in one place for so long, he was afraid he might have lost his touch. But it had all come back. At 14, he'd already traveled the globe, often on his own. Though always with his parents' knowledge, if not their permission. They didn’t approve his cross-country adventure with Emily. But he wanted them to follow him then. He knew they would. And they had.

Everything was different now, of course. His mother and father undoubtedly knew he was gone, but he'd bet good money that they wouldn't guess where he was. And he knew they weren't right behind him this time. He couldn't even be sure they were together.

Not after what he'd done.

He tried to shake off the memory, inching his way across the Cassadine family island, relieved that he'd successfully completed this solo journey. Well, almost completed - he had one last thing to do before he could leave this all behind him. He was careful not to leave a trail on the meticulously landscaped grounds as he moved toward the compound - a gleaming white fortress rising above the lush green lawn and the sparkling blue Aegean.

A solid wall of stone. Unshakable, unyielding. Unforgiving.

But he wasn't here for mercy. He would never ask for it, and it wouldn't be offered. He was here for one reason only. For his sister. And the brother who had saved her life.

Lucky surveyed the compound, quickly determining the servants' quarters from the main house. He tried not to, but couldn't help wondering which room his mother had been held in all that time. Or what floor Nikolas' room was on. Where he slept, where he studied, where he played. If he played.

Don't think about that, Lucky told himself, checking his pocket, for probably the hundredth time, encouraged as his fingers brushed over the concealed object. It strengthened his resolve and his mission.

He had to make his move quickly, after the services but before the crypt was sealed. The whole island felt like a mausoleum, but Lucky was sure they marked some sort of separation between the crypts of the living and the dead. He smirked for just a second - his father would have liked that joke.

Then he remembered why he was here. And his smile faded.

Finally, he found the building where Nikolas was being laid to rest. He kept his distance, but through the open door he caught glimpses of the guests as they sat in what appeared to be the Cassadine family chapel. The mood was somber, serious, sad. But not grief-stricken. He heard nothing like the agonized wails of his mother as she cried over the lifeless body of her firstborn - killed on his very first visit to his mother's home.

Perhaps the same fate awaited Lucky on this, his first visit to the place Nikolas called home. He wondered if the wooden frame and homey decor of the Spencer house seemed as strange and unwelcoming to Nikolas as the compound's white walls and ornate columns felt to him.

He listened as the unfamiliar invocations and blessings filled the chapel, as the assembled participated in foreign rituals. He felt like a stranger - an interloper.

Then he waited as the last of the dry-eyed mourners left the service, watched as Stefan accompanied the procession of dignitaries and clerics back to the main house. There was no sign of Helena, the mad matriarch who perpetuated this bitter war and who would no doubt reinforce her efforts now. But Lucky assumed there were other family members and friends among the mourners. He sensed little, if any warmth, however. There were no children present - no young people at all, really. No cousins, no friends, no one Nikolas' own age.

He remembered BJ's funeral, and Stone's memorial service, both full of love and loss, shared laughter and tears. From what he could see, Nikolas' service was marked by formality and tradition, but not emotion. Everything felt very controlled and contained. Lucky knew the slightest spark could change that, and he had no desire to find out just how fast it could happen. He had to move quickly, in and out, without being noticed.

Cursing his complete lack of familiarity with Greek, Lucky waited as the servants cleared the chapel. Finally, they left, and when he was sure no one else was present, he went in.

Lucky hesitated, unsure of the customs or traditions of Nikolas' religion. His mere presence was crime enough - he had no wish to commit any sacrilege. In fact, he realized, he had no idea what religion Nikolas had practiced, if he had been a believer or a doubter. One of the many things about Nikolas that Lucky didn't know, that now he would never know.

Lucky tried to refocus on his goal of delivering Lulu's gift for her brother. He forced himself to ignore the names lining the walls of the ornate crypt. Nikolas would lie here, for eternity, with Mikkos and Stavros, in a place of honor with the other fallen Cassadine princes. But Lucky was determined that Nikolas would keep a part of his maternal heritage, as well.

He had assumed that Nikolas' coffin was hidden from view by the altar, but as Lucky approached, all he could see was a silver urn. He drew a deep breath, realizing that the vessel contained all that was left of his brother. He faltered a bit, thrown by the stark simplicity of the urn. He would have expected something intricate, ornate - fit for a prince.

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

"You surprise me, Lucky. I didn't realize you were a student of poetry. Of course, that was a rather prosaic choice, but any evidence of culture or civility in you is a revelation."

Lucky's heart skipped a beat. He hadn't realized he'd uttered those words out loud. Or that Stefan had entered the chapel behind him.

"I don't know why that came into my head."

"It's the finale of Keats' most famous poem - Ode on a Grecian Urn."

Lucky detected the resonance of mockery in Stefan's tone as he remembered the passage. "You're right - that was a predictable choice. My father would be disappointed in me." Lucky took another deep breath - he didn't know why he'd said that. He sure as hell didn't want to think about the underlying truth - what Luke would think once he learned of Lucky's covert mission. He couldn't think about any of that now. He had to keep it together - he hadn't come this far to lose it all in front of Stefan Cassadine.

"I can't imagine there is anything you could do now that would truly disappoint your father, Lucky. You proved your complete loyalty and devotion to him the moment you murdered your brother."

"You never called him that before," Lucky noted.

"You object to my using the term 'brother,' but not 'murder?'" Stefan eyed Lucky, studying him in that typically cool, infuriating way.

"I don't object - I just found it interesting," Lucky observed, regaining some of his footing. Upon closer inspection, Stefan seemed just as nervous as he was.

"It is an incontrovertible fact, Lucky. You were Nikolas' brother. And you are his killer - that truth is also unassailable. May I ask in which inglorious capacity you are here?"

"I'm here as Lulu's brother," he explained, reaching into his jacket.

"Do not move," Stefan commanded.

Lucky looked up to see Stefan holding a gun - with an unsteady grip, but still, it was aimed right at Lucky's heart.

"I'm not here to hurt you..." Lucky stammered, causing Stefan to move closer.

"You cannot hurt me anymore than you already have."

"I know, I know, I'm..." Lucky trailed off, unable to confess his remorse. "I'm not here to do anyone any harm, or to disrespect your family."

"Really? And you show your respect by breaking into our family chapel, sacred ground, moments after Nikolas' memorial service. You'll pardon me if I am a little more than suspicious of your intentions."

"You have every right not to trust me, but I swear, I'm telling the truth." Stefan's incredulous glare didn't deter Lucky. "I didn't come here for myself or my father. Or even for my mother. I'm here for my sister. For Nikolas' sister," Lucky breathed, his voice shaky. "I wanted him to have something of hers, something to keep with him forever, the way that she..."

"Will always carry a part of him?" Stefan whispered, his voice cracking as he lowered the gun. "Tell me, was it jealousy that sent him down that flight of stairs - or was it just that he had already served his purpose?"

Lucky paled at the accusation, unable to answer when he couldn't be sure himself. He stepped aside as Stefan reached out to steady himself, holding onto the altar.

Stefan gazed at the urn, then startled Lucky by lifting the cover. Lucky watched silently as Stefan reached in, removing some of the ashes. He ran his fingers over the particles lovingly, reverently.

"This is all that is left of Nikolas now - his brief, bright, shining light snuffed out by your foolish, reckless temper. You might think that these ashes are light, insubstantial, but there is weight and substance here. As with Nikolas himself," Stefan whispered. "I can actually feel tiny pieces of his bones…"

Lucky was rattled by Stefan's dark mood - he seemed to be talking to himself, as if he'd forgotten Lucky was even there. He cleared his throat, and Stefan caught Lucky's expression, misreading his apprehension as horror.

"Does this bother you?" Stefan goaded, his voice intensifying with anger and grief. "To be so close to the remains of the flesh and bone that saved your sister's life? To know that if I had never allowed Nikolas' assistance in saving your sister, that you would be the one who buried your loved one. That you would be the one in mourning. And that I would still have the only thing on this earth that was ever precious to me!"

Lucky stepped back, chilled as Stefan's emotional outburst receded into steely calm.

"Do not think for a minute that I will ever believe that it was an even trade. Or a fair one. You may leave your offering. I will see to it that it is kept with him. Then take your own leave, and do not ever darken this island with your presence again."

Lucky nodded, then turned to face the altar.

"Nikolas," he began in a hushed voice. "I... I don't know what to say. I don't think you and I ever had a real conversation, and now.... Well, now I need to say a few things, even if you can't hear me. But I hope you can, somehow. I never thanked you for saving Lulu's life. The truth is that I was jealous of you for taking my place. I was supposed to be the firstborn. I was supposed to be the hero. I hated you for taking that away from me. So I never gave you a chance.

"But Lulu would have. She would have loved you - she will love you. I promise you that. She will know that her big brother protected her and saved her and loved her."

Lucky cleared his throat and reached into his pocket, removing a small booklet. He opened it and ran his finger over the pages.

"My mom and I… Mom and I made this for Lulu when she was born. It's sort of a memory book. It has her birth date, and weight and length, her first footprints, a little lock of her hair. There's a picture, too - her first official portrait. She looks so cute, so much like you." Lucky lost the battle with his tears as he closed the book and placed it on the altar. "You missed out on so much of her life. This was the only thing I could think of to give you, so that she will always be with you. As you will always be with her."

Lucky started to leave, but turned back one last time.

"I'm sorry, Nikolas. I will be sorry until the day I die. Good-bye."

With that, Lucky left the chapel, brushing past Stefan and running, as hard and as fast as he could, past the approaching guards, away from the compound, from the unbearable reality of what he'd done.

"Do you want us to follow him, Sir?"

Stefan shook his head and smiled that inscrutable smile. "Master Spencer can run, but he cannot escape what he's done. There is no corner of hell for him to hide in."

Port Charles
Spencer Household

It's the day before Laura Spencer's funeral. Emily Quartermaine has come to visit her best friend, to try to commiserate over the awful pain of losing your mother. She recalls the anger, the emptiness, and the loneliness that can quickly overshadow everything else. Lucky was one of the few people who had seen her through all of that. Emily had tried to comfort Lucky earlier, on the phone, but he sounded distracted and detached. She was hopeful that, in person, she could help him, somehow.

Lucky walks down the stairs slowly. He dreads having to face Emily. He feels like a fraud, like a traitor. Like he's betraying something sacred.

"Emily - you want something to eat?" he asks in an attempt to disguise his unease.

Emily responds with a simple, heartfelt, "Lucky," then moves to hug him. He reluctantly accepts her embrace but quickly pulls away, unable to keep eye contact.

"I'm really sorry about your mom."

"Thanks. You know, I'm really okay."

"You know, I said that, too..."

"Yeah, but this is different, Emily," he insists. "Listen, can..." he hesitates, clearly torn. "Can you please just not worry about me."

Emily is a little taken aback by Lucky's demeanor. She's confused, and maybe more than a little hurt. But empathetic. "Okay, I just wanted to say that... You probably want to be alone."

"All I'm doing right now is packing," Lucky mutters. "You can help me figure out what to take if you want. After today, I'm not living here."

"In this house?" Emily asks innocently.

"In Port Charles," he reveals. He looks remorseful, almost ashamed.

"Oh," Emily is totally at a loss, stunned by this piece of news. She puts her hand to her mouth, as if she might cry, but composes herself. "Okay... well… bye then," she manages, then leaves, her heart in her throat.

Lucky just stands there, wallowing in self-disgust, hating himself for running her off without reason or explanation. Luke comes down the stairs and asks about Emily.

"Dad, this is wrong," Lucky declares.

Luke agrees, but it doesn't seem to faze him. He tells Lucky to hang on just a little bit longer, that it will all be over soon, then he reaches out to console his unpersuaded son.

Later that night
Quartermaine Mansion

Emily tossed and turned, unable to fall asleep. Or to stop thinking about Lucky. She felt so selfish - his mother had died, and all she could think about was how much she was going to miss him. And how it didn't even seem to matter - he just announced it.

I'm not going to be living here anymore.

No "I'll miss you," or "I don't really want to go." He didn't seem like he even wanted Emily there at all.

She let out an impatient sigh. She tried to tell herself to remember what it was like when her mother died. She didn't want anyone trying to help her, trying to comfort her.

But she wasn't just anyone. At least, she didn't used to be. Before the Cassadines came to town - before Lucky got wrapped up in family intrigue. And forgot about friendly company.

Everybody leaves, Emily silently reminded herself. What's it going to take to get that through your thick skull?

The sudden sound of pebbles against her bedroom window jolted her from bed. She rushed over and opened the blinds, revealing a shivering, disheveled Lucky.

Emily was momentarily thrown - it had been forever since Lucky had visited her like this. She had a flash of their adventures in Arizona, and for a brief, crazy moment, wondered if he was there to ask her to go away with him.

Lucky's insistent rap on the pane broke her from that particular reverie, and she rushed to open the window.

"Hey," Lucky tried to sound casual as he climbed in.

"Hey," she answered back, attempting to be equally blasé.

Lucky averted his eyes, refusing to look at her, the same way he had that afternoon. She tried to get his attention but Lucky continued to examine everything else in her room.

"What are you looking for, Lucky?" she heard herself ask bitterly. "Need something to take with you for the big move?"

"No, I just..."


He forced himself to look at her, and for the first time, she noticed the tears in his eyes.

"God, Lucky, I'm so sorry," she soothed, forgetting her anger and reaching out for him.

"No, no, no - don't say that," he snapped, pushing her away.

"Okay, okay, I'm sorry..."

"Stop apologizing to me. You didn't do anything wrong."

"Neither did you, Lucky. I was being too sensitive. I know what it's like..."

"Will you please stop saying that!"

His angry outburst stunned Emily, whose eyes welled up.

"God, Emily, I'm so sorry." Lucky cursed himself for lashing out.

"No, Lucky, it's okay. You're right," Emily composed herself. "I don't know what it's like for you. I hated it when people said that to me when my mom died. There I go again - making it all about me. I know it's different for you, and nothing anyone does or says can make it better..."

"She's not dead."


"My mom - she's alive."

"Lucky, I know you want to believe that. I did, too," Emily paused. She really had to stop doing that. This was about Lucky, not her. "It's hard to believe it's really happening, but..."

"This isn't denial, Emily. I don't need the five-stages-of-grief lecture. I've heard it too many times."

"I know you don't like to think of yourself as normal, Lucky, but it is something everyone goes through. It's natural."

"There's nothing natural about any of this!" Lucky blasted. "Do you think it's natural to set an explosion to make it look as if your mother and grandmother were killed, and then to tell your own brother that his uncle is the one responsible? To accuse the man who raised him of killing his mother? To do all of that, in order to protect your family from the very thing you've accused them of doing."

Emily gasped, stunned by the ferocity of Lucky's anger and guilt, shaken by the depth of the lie the Spencers were perpetrating on their family and friends. On their own son.

Lucky watched as Emily's expression changed from disbelief to anger to horror. And then to something very close to pity. Now it was Emily who averted her gaze, unable to look at her oldest friend. The room was unbearably quiet, the heavy silence full of accusation and bewilderment.

"I know how this must seem to you, Emily," Lucky finally spoke. "I hated lying to you. That's why I didn't want your sympathy. I felt too guilty. When you came over this afternoon, I wanted more than anything else to tell you. But you left, and then... I… I just couldn't leave, letting you think… "

"That we had anything in common, that we were ever friends, that you are a decent human being?"

The words stung but Lucky knew he deserved them. On some level, he even agreed with her. But she didn't understand the situation. Like everyone, she didn't see the danger lurking on Spoon Island.

"I'm not going to defend myself or my family to you. I know everyone thinks we're paranoid, that the Cassadines are just this kooky clan of eccentrics. But they are much more than that, Emily. They are dangerous. They are killers. And they are after us."

"What about Nikolas?"

"What about him?"

"Is he dangerous? Is he a killer? Because I could have sworn it was Nikolas who saved your sister's life. Or did you forget that?"

"How could I? He reminds me every chance he gets."

"And because of that, because he could do the one thing you couldn't, the one thing you wanted most in the world, you don't feel any remorse for letting him think his mother is dead?"

Lucky tried to shrug it off. "He won't care. He lived his whole life without her. He tells her that over and over again."

"And you believe him?"

"Why shouldn't I?"

"Because he's your brother, Lucky. You said so yourself, just now."

"I did not. Nikolas Cassadine is not my brother. He never will be."

"Certainly not after this. Congratulations, Lucky - you win. You get to keep your family, your mother, your sister. And tear his heart out in the process."

"Better his than mine."

"God - I don't even know you anymore. You know, before you got here, I was trying to figure out how you could just cut me out of your life so easily. But now I know. If you're not family, if you're not a Spencer, then you're no one. You don't matter."

"Yeah," Lucky admitted. "That's what I grew up believing. And what I still believe. I'll do whatever I have to..."

"Whatever your father says, you mean."

"Whatever we have to, to keep our family safe. But it's not true that you don't matter to me, Emily. Why do you think I'm here?"

"I don't really know, Lucky. What do you want me to do with this information? You think I'm going to keep this secret, that I'll be able to see Nikolas and not shout out the truth to him?"

"Emily, you can't tell him," Lucky panicked. What the hell had he been thinking, rushing over here, explaining himself to Emily. Breaking practically every rule in the Spencer handbook. For what? To clear his conscience? It would take more than that. "You just can't," he insisted, less forcefully.

"If you didn't want me to tell him, then why the hell did you tell me?" Emily questioned. Lucky had no answer - he just kept insisting that Nikolas couldn't know. With each utterance, he sounded less and less certain. "Oh my god," Emily blurted. "You want me to tell him. You know this is wrong, but you can't bring yourself to betray Luke. And you knew if you told me, then I would tell him."

"No way," Lucky shook his head vehemently. "You're crazy."

"Maybe, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. Look at me, Lucky." Emily lifted his chin so she could peer into his eyes. Those beautiful blue pools that she spent way too much time thinking about, that reflected every tortured or joyful emotion he felt. The eyes that she would do anything for.

Except this.

"I won't tell Nikolas," she promised, noting the relief and then the wariness reflected in Lucky's gaze.

"Why not?"

"Because you will."

"I will?"

Emily nodded an unwavering smile of reassurance and support.

"I don't think so, Emily… "

"I do."

"Why would I do that?"

"Because you know it's the right thing to do. Because you are a decent human being, Lucky. And you want to be a good brother. And son."

Lucky winced at the implication. "He'll never forgive me."


"My father."

"You're just doing what he taught you, Lucky. You're protecting your family."

"I don't even know what that means anymore. And if I do this," he paused. "When I do this, I'm not even sure I'll have a family."

"Of course you will, Lucky. Your father loves you more than he hates the Cassadines."

"You're sure about that?"

Emily's heart ached at the uncertainty in Lucky's voice. "I'm sure."

"Well, I guess we're about to find out."

"What - where are we going?" Emily let out a little yelp as Lucky reached for her hand, dragging her to the window.

"To find Nikolas. I can't do this on my own, Emily. I'll lose my nerve. Please - come with me."

"Right now? Don't you need like a plan or something?" Suddenly, Emily wasn't so sure Lucky should do this. She knew it was the right thing, but she also knew it would change everything.

"Rule Number One…"

"Do the unexpected," Emily recalled, turning to get her coat. She swallowed her doubts and gave Lucky a reassuring smile.

After tonight, who knew what to expect?
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