On Common Ground

Chapter 18


Zander stared at Helena in disbelief. "What do you mean...insane?"

Helena stopped laughing and locked eyes with Zander. "Stefan is a Cassadine, dear boy. You have no idea what that means, especially for him. And it doesn't concern you other than in regards to you doing exactly what I tell you to do."

"Like what?" Zander would not hurt Stefan in any way. He would die first.

"Like convince him that your love for him is nothing but a lie. That it was a set up all along."

Zander shook his head. "No way. I won't do that!"

Helena leaned in to Zander and grabbed his chin in one hand. "You will do it or Alexis and her little daughter will die."

"NO!" Zander felt a chill creep over him. He saw the look in Helena's eyes and knew that she meant it. "No...you can't hurt them. Kristina is just a baby."

"Do you think I give a damn about Alexis' spawn?" Helena countered. She released Zander's chin, only to stroke his cheek with one fingertip. "You will do what I say, dear boy. Or Alexis and her daughter will die. And I won't stop there. Anyone you care about...or have cared about...I'll get them too. Like Elizabeth...you were close to her once."

Zander couldn't believe this was happening. "Why would you do that? It's insane!"

Helena shrugged. "Because I can. Just think how sad little Kristina would be without her mother?" As she spoke, Helena tangled her fingers in Zander's hair. "As a family member, I could take her in and raise her as my own."

"NO!" Zander snapped his head back from Helena's touch. "Please...please don't hurt them."

"That's entirely up to you, sweet boy," Helena purred.

Zander knew, without a doubt, that Helena would do as she threatened. But the thought of hurting Stefan with such horrible lies, made Zander feel ill. "Don't make me do this," he begged. And to protect Stefan, he was willing to beg.

Helena sighed and rose from the bed. "Hmm...let me think. What would be more horrific, do you think? Poisoning Alexis or having someone slit her throat?"

"You bitch!" Zander hissed, then he buried his face in his hands.

"I am that," Helena allowed, amusement in her tone. "So...do we have an agreement, Zander?"

He nodded. "I'll do what you want. But then what happens? Do you kill me in the end?" At this point Zander almost wished that she would do it now.

Helena chuckled. "I don't want you dead, sweet boy. I have so many plans for you." She headed for the door only to stop, digging something out of the pocket in her dress. She tossed it on the bed. "This was taken this morning and faxed to me. Precious...isn't she? Just remember...I'll be watching you." With a smile, Helena turned and breezed out of the room.

"No.." Zander whispered, as he picked up the paper. It was an image of Kristina with her nanny. Zander knew that it was a warning. If he didn't destroy Stefan with lies, then Alexis and Kristina would die. Zander crumpled the paper in his hand as he blinked back tears.

* * * * *

At dinner that night, Helena made an announcement. She tapped her spoon on her crystal water goblet to get everyone's attention, then she rose to her feet. "I would like everyone to know that you will all be free to go in the morning. Transportation will be made available for you." That said, she sat back down and waited.

Luke was the first one to speak up. "Just like that, Morticia? You're just sending us all home? And what? No goodie bags?" He shook a finger at her. "There must be a catch."

"No...catch, dear Luke," Helena replied. "I had my fun so now you may go."

"You don't honestly expect any one of us to believe it's all over, do you?" Luke shot back. "You don't make anything easy."

Helena shrugged. "This time I have."

Everyone chatted amongst themselves for a time, as Helena smiled at them. Then the room cleared and Stefan was alone with his mother.

"What do you have planned. Mother?" Stefan queried. "I know you too well."

"You don't know me at all, darling," Helena purred. "You never have, you never will." Pushing back her chair, Helena rose then said, "I have to take of some things. Goodnight, Stefan. Sweet dreams."

Stefan watched his mother sweep out of the room, a frown on his face. He knew she was planning something. But he told himself to let it go for now. Not to wish for trouble. But it was easier said than done. Stefan left the dining room and headed for his room. Thinking of Zander put a smile on his face. "Are you packed and ready to go?" Stefan asked, as he entered the room. He stood there, after closing the door, to enjoy the sight of Zander reclining on the bed. He was dressed casually in black jeans and a dark shirt and he had kicked off his shoes and had a book in his hand. Stefan loved watching him read. Loved the way he would be so focused on each page, biting at his lower lip sometimes, other times running his fingers through his hair when he got to something that frustrated or excited him. "We're going home," Stefan stated.

Zander put the book down. "I'm not leaving."

"What?" Stefan moved to the bed.

"I said...I'm not leaving." Zander locked eyes with Stefan. "I'm staying here, with your mother."

Stefan shook his head. "I won't let her keep you here, Zander. You're coming home with me, don't worry about it."

Zander tossed the book aside and slid off the bed. "Pay attention, Stefan. I'm not going with you because I don't want to leave."

"You don't mean that."

"It was the plan all along," Zander stated, a cold smile curving his lips.

Stefan frowned, and it hit him suddenly how detached Zander was. His eyes were cold and he wore a smirk. "What are you talking about? What plan?"

Zander sighed. "Getting you to fall in love with me. It's been a game. I'd say it was a challenge, but you were pathetically easy to seduce. Almost too easy. Your mother dared me to do it. She offered me money and a new car. She said it was so much fun to watch that she gave me double what she promised."

"You're lying!" Stefan hissed. He felt anger twisting inside him at Zander's words.

"You wish." Zander moved closer to Stefan and let his fingertips brush over his chest in a tease. "I played the victim and you couldn't wait to rescue me. Your mother knew about the other...men...in your life. I didn't think you'd fall for me so fast though."

Stefan would not accept what he was hearing. "This wasn't a game, Zander. What we have is real."

Zander rolled his eyes. "Real? It was set up from the start, Stefan. The men on the docks with the knives? Me playing hero and getting wounded? All a set up. Which you fell for, hook...line...and sinker."

"No!" Stefan shook his head. He was hurt and angry now and he knew it was a lie. Somehow his mother was behind this. She was making Zander do this. Stefan would make him tell the truth. "Don't do this, Zander. I know this isn't you talking. My mother is making you say these things. But it's okay. I won't let her hurt you...or hurt us. I promise."

"There is no us!" Zander hissed. "Get that through your head, Stefan. I played you!"

Stefan felt something inside him snap. "You love me!" He shouted. "I saw it in your eyes. I felt it in your body when we made love..."

Zander snorted. "You mean when you fucked me...because that's what it was to me. Just another fuck. And you were just another guy..."

"STOP IT!" Stefan roared. He could not take one more lie coming from Zander's mouth. "Don't do this," he pleaded. "You can't lie about the fact that I am the only man you have ever been with, Zander. You can't fake that."

"Sure I can," Zander drawled. "I faked everything else." His tone was ice cold as he spoke.

Stefan had had enough. He fisted his fingers in Zander's hair and kissed him. He would get an honest reaction out of him. Stefan felt Zander's resistance and ignored it. He pushed his tongue into Zander's mouth and tasted him, ravishing the sweetness of him. But there was no response and after a moment, Stefan broke the kiss. He was furious when Zander simply smiled at him. Amusement glittered in the hazel eyes. Smug amusement.

"You love me!" Stefan snarled. He felt angry and hurt beyond reason. He felt his heart shattering in his chest. He knew that this was a lie. He knew that Zander loved him.

"It was a lie," Zander whispered. "All of it was a lie."

Stefan's reaction was fierce. He grabbed handfuls of Zander's shirt and ripped it open, then he pushed the boy onto the bed and crawled on top of him before he could react. When Zander started to struggle, Stefan pinned him with his body. "Your body won't lie to me, Zander," he hissed. "It can't!" To prove his words, Stefan began to kiss and caress Zander, and he became furious when Zander kept trying to push him away.

Zander glared at Stefan. "The sex meant nothing to me," he stated. "Nothing. You weren't even the best fuck!"

"Liar!" Stefan raged, then he reacted without thinking and he struck Zander across the face. Hard enough to stun him. Then Stefan moved quickly, using the ragged pieces of Zander's torn shirt to bind his wrists together in front him, then he pulled them over Zander's head and used another strip to bind them to the head board.

"NO!" Zander snarled, as he struggled against his bindings.

Stefan was like a man possessed as he ripped open Zander's jeans, then tugged them and the briefs off the boy's legs, tossing them aside. He gripped Zander's cock and stroked him to hardness. A smile curved Stefan's lips. "I knew you couldn't lie about this, Zander. Your body can't lie." He brought Zander to release, ignoring his pleas to stop. Then Stefan used Zander's cum to slick his own cock. He pushed open the strong legs and lined himself up at Zander's opening. As he plunged inside, Stefan whispered, "I'll make you feel me, Zander. No more lies...between us."

Zander bit his lip, but whimpers of pain escaped him as his body was rocked by Stefan's hard thrusts. Eyes locked on Stefan's face he hissed, "You're just another cock, they all look alike..." He didn't get to say more. A hand cracked against his cheek. He fell silent as the assault upon his body continued.

"You love me...you do love me," Stefan whispered as he pistoned in and out of Zander. Then he felt his release hit him like a tidal wave and he slumped over the boy for a long moment. Then sanity returned in a rush and Stefan was horrified by what he had just done. "My god...oh my god.." He pulled out of Zander then made quick work of untying him. "Zander...I'm sorry...I'm so sorry..." Tears filled Stefan's face. He reached out to touch the bruise on Zander's cheek but pulled back when the boy flinched away.

"You can't force me to love you, Stefan," Zander gritted out as he rubbed his wrists. "You can't fuck the truth away. I don't love you...I never did."

Stefan shook his head. He saw wetness in Zander's eyes, but there was a cold detachment there as well. "Forgive me," Stefan whispered, then he fled the room.

Zander watched Stefan go. Once he was alone he drew his knees up to his chest, then he gripped the comforter and pulled it over him as best he could. He felt bone cold as he rocked himself. He had pushed Stefan past his limits. Had known that he would have to do that. But he had never expected this to happen. Zander was too numb to even cry.

* * * * *

Helena smiled as she watched the TV screen. She had watched it all play out and she was pleased. She had a glass of sherry beside her and she raised it in a toast. "Welcome to the dark side...Stefan."



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Shelly 2004