Chapter Seven:
Family Ties

Luke's Club

Lucky is sitting at a table. It is around four in the afternoon, and everything is dead. He's pouring over his lap top, intently, looking more alive than he has in months. He flips through a series of "pages", clicking keys, then sits up with a jolt. A smile creeps across his face.

Lucky: Ha. Got ya. (He hits some buttons on the computer, and it begins to whir, and click, just as his father enters from the front door with Lulu. Lucky snaps down the screen on the laptop, and makes a concerted effort to look nonchalant.)

Luke: (To Lulu) Hey, who have we got here? You recognize this guy? Who's that? (Lucky grins at Lulu, somewhat chagrined by the point his father is using his little sister to prove)

Lulu: (Not impressed with her father's short attention span) It's Lucky!

Luke: Lucky? Who's that? What kind of name is Lucky?

Lucky: (getting up) Yeah, yeah. I get it. (He goes over to his Dad, and takes Lulu out of his arms) Hey, kiddo. What's up.

Lulu: I have bugs.

Lucky (looking at Luke curiously) What is she talking about?

Luke: Lice outbreak at the daycare. Actually she doesn't have bugs. But she wants them.

Lucky (to Lulu): You want bugs? In your hair?

Lulu: Jack has them.

Lucky: Oh, well if Jack has them, then I understand. (He sits Lulu up on the bar, where she surveys the action -- or lack there of -- in the rest of the club).

Luke: So, how's life, kid.

Lucky: Which one of us are you talking to?

Luke: That would be you. Lu and I already square on the day's events.

Lucky: Just doing school work.

Luke: Uh huh. Your mother would like you to make an appearance at the house one of these days.

Lucky: (a huge weight suddenly descending on his shoulders) Uh huh. (He looks up, attempting to seem casual) Any time in particular? Her schedule is crazier than mine.

Luke: Well, you could go drop Lulu off for me when I get back from running some errands. (Lucky looks like a deer caught in headlights)

Lucky: Dad, I have stuff to do.

Luke: You know, considering the fuss you kicked up about that year in Switzerland, you'd think you'd make a bit more of an effort to see the woman. (Lucky turns away from his father, not wanting to think about the whole Switzerland thing. Luke turns to Lulu) So, short stuff, you ready to train for the future? Get you brother to teach you to pour draft? (Lulu just looks at Luke blankly. She's a serious child, to a degree that can be somewhat alarming if you're not used to it).

Lulu: (heavily) Ok.

Luke: (chuckling) See ya, Cowboy. You're on duty. (Lucky nods, though his earlier euphoria has now been completely replaced by extreme tension. The door opens, and Emily enters. She looks moderately better than she did last time Lucky saw her, but that doesn't mean much. Luke smiles at her broadly) Princess! It's been awhile.

Em: (attempting to be upbeat) Hi, Luke. (she spots the kid) Lulu!

Lulu: (with rare enthusiasm) Emily! (She reaches out for Emily, Lucky grabbing her before she slips off the bar. Emily give the little girl a hug, picking her up. Lulu stares at her seriously) You look tired. (Emily laughs lightly, and nods)

Em: Well, I am.

Lulu: You should take a nap.

Em: That's good advice, Lu. (She looks over at Lucky, meaningfully. Luke notices, and decides to make his exit)

Luke: Em, give this boy a hand, will ya? I'm outta here. (He slides out the door before either of them can respond. The second the door shuts, the silence in the bar suddenly becomes unbearable. Emily smiles at Lucky, hopefully.)

Em: Hey.

Lucky: What's up?

Em: Uh... I thought... (she looks down at Lulu, who is occupying herself with slowly winding Emily's hair up into curls around her fingers. She pays the couple no mind at all. Regardless, Emily speaks softly) I wanted to say I'm sorry about yesterday. I let everything get to me.

Lucky: That's Ok. (He still looks at her, studying her face.) Did you get some sleep last night?

Em: (Not the least bit talented at lying) Uh, yeah. I got more than I did the night before.

Lucky: (jaw tightening) Exactly how long can you keep this up?

Em: (nodding towards Lulu) Lucky....

Lucky: (to Lulu) You thirsty, Lu?

Lulu (without looking up): Apple juice?

Lucky: Coming right up. (Lucky goes around the bar to get Lulu's drink. Lulu looks up at Emily)

Lulu: You have soft hair. (Emily smiles at her, and kisses her forehead lightly)

Em: Thanks Lu. (She moves over to the table Lucky was working at, and sits down with Lulu on her lap. Lucky comes up from behind the bar with a glass of juice. Lulu's gaze falls on her brother's laptop. She reaches over the lifts the top up. Lucky dashes towards it and snaps the lid shut with his free hand, causing both Lulu and Emily to jump in surprise.)

Lucky: (forced calm) Sorry, Lu. School work. I'll get it out of your way. (He picks up the computer and heads back behind the bar, where he quickly shuts the machine down. Emily watches this, and slides Lulu off her lap)

Em: You drink your juice. I'll be right back, Ok?

Lulu: Ok. (She very carefully begins to drink the juice, studying the coaster on the table as she does so. Emily walks over to the bar, where Lucky is "straightening up")

Em: (quietly) What was that about?

Lucky: What?

Em: You nearly caught her fingers, you snapped that thing shut so fast.

Lucky: (Looking up at her) It's not a toy, Em.

Em: Lulu's not exactly the kind of kid who leaves a trail of destruction in her path.

Lucky: I had school work on there I can't afford to have deleted, Ok? (She looks at him wide-eyed. Lucky remembers why he's no good at lying to her. He opts to change the topic). You should understand taking school a little too seriously.

Em: Oh, let's not go there.

Lucky: (getting a headache) Fine. I'll just add it to the list of things we don't talk about.

Em: What's the supposed to mean?

Lucky: Emily, could you just give me a break today?

Em: (hurt) I wasn't trying to make things hard on you, Lucky. (Lucky doesn't say anything. His mind is racing over too many points of pressure at the same time. Besides that, he fells sick for lying to her about the computer. An icy fear is beginning to creep up his spine.) Look, if you're mad at me that's no reason to take it out on your little sister.

Lucky: (frustrated) I'm not mad at you, Emily. Believe it or not, I have moods sometimes that have nothing to do with you.

Em: (getting angry) Don't act like I'm being unreasonable here, Lucky. I'm just trying to talk to you.

Lucky: (snapping) Just leave me alone, Ok? I have work to do, I have to watch Lu, and I don't have time to have some big deep conversation with you. (Emily looks at him, getting increasingly distraught. She can never handle it when Lucky pulls away from her, and it really is the last thing she needs right now).

Em: I'm sorry. I'll get out of your hair. (She starts to leave)

Lucky: Just... Em! (She stops and turns back to him. He exhales heavily). Just get some sleep, Ok?

Em; Whatever. (She turns and walks out without saying good-bye to Lulu. Lulu watches her leave, looking immediately injured. Lucky swears at himself under his breath, and goes over to the girl)

Lucky: Come on, runt. Let's find some fun for you.

* * * *

The Docks.

Feeling restless, and once again unable to shake the uneasy feeling that comes along with all this silence, Hannah has come to the docks, this time in daylight, to get a better look at the home of her most direct threat. She looks out at Spoon Island, and can make out a gothic mansion clearly this time. It immediately gives her the chills. She turns to walk away, and runs smack into Nikolas.

Hannah: (Why me?) Oh, God...

Nik: (Far too amused to find her here) Alright. This time I know you're spying.

Hannah: (annoyed) Spying? I'm taking a walk.

Nik: This is a favorite venue of yours.

Hannah: (Crossing her arms across her chest) I told you. I have an affection for bodies of water.

Nik: Ah. I thought perhaps you were looking for me.

Hannah: (Shaking her head) You are a piece of work.

Nik: See.... I considered seeking you out, but I'm not exactly a welcome guest at Luke's.

Hannah: So you said. (leaning closer) Don't flatter yourself. I'm just getting some air. (Nikolas narrows his eyes at her. This is a very different vibe than he got the other evening. He's not easily swayed, however. He crosses to the water, and looks out at the house.)

Nik: It's not as foreboding as it looks.

Hannah: (torn between gaining information and giving him the wrong idea) Any place looks foreboding with that much mist.

Nik: (Turning back to her) Any place that large.

Hannah: (digging) Well, with you and your siblings it must feel small.

Nik: Siblings?

Hannah: Didn't you tell me you have a brother and sister?

Nik: (somewhat encouraged by the fact that she remembers this) They don't live there. It's just my uncle and aunt. (his face clouds, momentarily. Hannah notices this, and is immediately guilty for her snooping. She decides she'll find out whatever there is to know eventually. She sits down on the bench, wrapping her coat around her.)

Hannah: Well, it's family.

Nik: (snapping back to the moment) Yeah, it is that.

Hannah: You kind of struck me as an only child anyway.

Nik: (smiling at the idea that she gave this thought) I did?

Hannah: Well, you have that... air of never having to share.

Nik: You mean, I get my own way.

Hannah: You get your own way without apology. There's a difference.

Nik: Why should I apologize? It's always a fair fight.

Hannah: Really?

Nik: Fair enough. What about you? Only child?

Hannah: (she stares at him a moment, then clears her throat) I told you, I don't have any family.

Nik: Everyone has family.

Hannah; I had parents. I don't anymore.

Nik: And siblings?

Hannah: You are getting very personal now.

Nik: No more than you got with me.

Hannah: Fine. I have a sister. Somewhere.

Nik: Sounds like you guys get along as well as my brother and I do.

Hannah: She's older than me. She was almost grown up when I was born. (She shivers suddenly, realizing she's telling him far too much about herself. She decides to turn the tables). What about your brother? Younger or older?

Nik: Which would you guess?

Hannah: Younger. You don't look like you've had too many people telling you what to do.

Nik: (Laughs) You obviously haven't encountered my uncle. (pauses, and regards her carefully before speaking) He's younger.

Hannah: And your sister too?

Nik: Yeah.

Hannah: Are they back in Greece?

Nik: (furrowing his brow) How did you know that I'm from Greece?

Hannah: (Looks at him blankly. Her heart begins to pound, but she manages, through sheer force of will, to maintain a cool exterior) I guessed. You spoke of it so fondly.

Nik: (now cautious) I also said that my brother and sister were in Port Charles. (another pause) They aren't Cassadines. (Smiles at her in such a way that her mouth goes dry. She's seen an almost identical look in the eyes of someone else, and she'd rather not think of it) How much do you know about that name?

Hannah: (Caught and bad. She knows it. She decides to fake it as best she can). Luke's mentioned it. Not fondly. Russian family that ended up in Greece. (smiles) Ok, you caught me. I was intrigued. (Inwardly, Hannah curses herself. She has no choice, though, but to pretend it's a personal interest. Nikolas seems to buy this).

Nik: So you were spying.

Hannah: I was lingering. You are... different, Nikolas Cassadine. (she touches his arm lightly) Thanks for the conversation. (She stands up, and gives him a heart-stopping smile. Nikolas, for the first time in his life, is actually speechless. He watches her walk off in silence.)