Zander felt at a loss. He had escaped from the boiler room at the PC Hotel after Nikolas had shoved him into the electrical box which had knocked him out. Zander had come awake to flames surrounding him. He had made it to the door just as it had opened. Some electrician was coming to check things. Zander had pushed past him and fled. And in the ensuing confusion, he had been able to leave town, making his way to Canada by hitchhiking. He had paused only long enough to steal some money from the Haunted Star and grab some clothes that he'd had stashed there. Then he had disappeared.


A month had passed since then. Zander had found work doing odd jobs. He now had a room in a place that was somewhat isolated. But it was time to move on. The only good thing that had happened to him in months was that the charges against him for shooting Brian Beck had been dropped. Officer Capelli, who was dead, was charged with the shooting and, to top it off, he was also charged with Zander's murder. A fact which had thrown Zander for a loop. He read the newspaper article and learned that a burnt body had been found in the basement. It was believed to be *his* body. Zander was willing to let that be the truth. It was as good a truth as any. The bad news had been finding out about his father's death. He had no one left. Not that Cameron had ever really been a father to Zander, but he had at least made something of an effort at the end.


"What's the point?" Zander wondered to himself, as he picked his duffle bag off the bed and left the room. He really couldn't think of any reason why he shouldn't just off himself. Seemed to work for Peter. There was nothing left for Zander. Emily had never really loved him, everything he had believed in was a lie. Everyone he had believed in had turned their backs on him or betrayed him. There was nothing left to live for.


With that thought in mind, Zander headed for the local bar. A biker bar. He knew he could score some pills. He would have to win a few games of pool to get the money for the drugs, but that wouldn't be a problem. Then he could buy a bottle of Jack to wash them down with, lay out on the grass and look at the stars then close his eyes forever.


* * * * *


Stavros was looking for someone. No one knew he was alive. Not even his sainted mother. Stavros wanted it that way. He wanted to start over. Not so much reclaim what was his by birthright, but create his own empire to rule over. Only he needed someone he could trust to help him. Someone not afraid to take chances. Someone who had nothing to lose. And Stavros knew exactly who that person was. Zander Smith.


He had tracked the kid from the Port Charles hotel during the fire to some small town in Canada. The fire had stumped Stavros' original plans in approaching Zander before the kid became a wanted fugitive. Stavros knew about Zander's past. He even understood his grudge against Nikolas and actually approved of Zander's methods in dealing with who he considered his enemy. Even if that enemy was Stavros' own son. Nikolas was not the *Prince* that Stavros would have hoped for. He had too much Spencer in him. He would never have the edge it took to rule an empire. To be absolute in his power. But Zander Smith? The kid was a mess and had no guidance, but Stavros knew he could mold him into a worthy minion, as it were.


But first he would have to save the kid from himself. To that end, Stavros sent a few of his *People* to grab the kid. And they got to him just in time. Zander Smith had tried to off himself via an overdose of uppers washed down with a bottle of whiskey. Stavros had the medical personal and the proper equipment needed to pump Zander's stomach then keep watch over him until he came back to himself. Stavros was a patient man. Anything worth having was worth waiting for. And Stavros intended to have it all.


* * * * *


Zander came awake with a start. He had been dreaming about the past. About shooting Peter, even though that incident had not been his fault after all. Peter had killed himself. But Zander still felt a residual guilt. He should have known something was wrong. He should have tried to save Peter, the way Peter had tried to save him. Too bad he had never been worth saving. Then it hit Zander. He was alive. "Fuck!" he hissed, as he gazed about him. He half expected to be in a hospital bed. But although he was hooked up to an IV, he was in a bedroom. A very lavishly decorated bedroom. And he was lying in a huge, four poster bed. "What the hell...." Zander muttered, as he ripped out the IV. He threw back the covers and slid out of bed, only to stumble on wobbly legs. He held on to the nearest bedpost until he felt less shaky. Looking down, he realized he was only wearing a pair of light sweat pants. Nothing made sense. But even as Zander had that thought, the door opened and a man entered. Zander watched him approach. He was a few inches taller, with dark hair and dark eyes, facial hair that was well groomed and he was wearing expensive clothes. That much Zander had learned from his time with Faith. The man smiled at Zander and it made him shiver. "Who the hell are you?" Zander demanded. "And where am I?"


"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Stavros Cassadine, and you're in my home...Zander."


"You know who I am?"


Stavros chuckled. "Of course."


Zander thought about the name for a moment then shook his head. "Wait a minute. I thought you were dead?"


"Don't believe everything you hear, Zander. Everyone thinks you're dead...right? But you're very much alive."


"Why am I alive?" Zander felt frustration wash over him. "I know I took enough pills to off myself."


Stavros sighed. "That you did. But I've been watching you and I sent my people to get you. They made sure you didn't succeed at dying."


Zander was angry now. "Why? You had no right to do that!"


"Do you really want to die?"


"Pretty much," Zander shot back. "I can't really think of anything that makes my life worth living."


Stavros stroked his chin. "What about power and money? Would that make your life worth living? Because I can give you those things, Zander. More power and more money than you can ever imagine."


Zander frowned at the other man. "Why would you do that? I'm nothing to you. I'm nobody. Hell…I'm sure everyone in Port Charles celebrated my death."


"I know the feeling," Stavros drawled. "But does it really matter what those fools think about you?"


"No...I don't give a shit. That part of my life is over."


Stavros nodded. "As it should be." He walked a slow circle around the boy. "You have so much anger and pain inside of you, Zander. It blocks your potential. Not that you can't use it to your advantage. But that's the trick. Using the anger and the pain to get what you want. What you need."


Zander turned with Stavros then glared at him. "You have no idea what it is I need! Hell…I don't even know."


"I understand you better than you understand yourself, Zander," Stavros drawled. "He reached out and trailed a fingertip over Zander's bare chest, laughing when his hand was batted away. "You're full of fire and passion. You need someone to challenge you. To push you. You need someone you can be yourself with. Someone who won't be afraid of your anger but will relish it."


"You're full of shit." Zander started to back away. "Look...I want out of here."


Stavros shook his head. "I won't let you run away again, Zander. You can’t run away from who you are. From what you are meant to be. And you sure as hell can't run away from me." Stavros moved with the speed of a snake striking out at its prey. He pushed Zander back against the wall, pinned him with his own body and kissed him.


Zander was stunned by the attack. By the time he could formulate enough thought to react and try to push Stavros away, the kiss was broken. "What the fuck are you doing?" Zander demanded, as he wiped his mouth with the back of one hand.


"Giving you a taste of what you need," Stavros drawled.


"What I need?" Zander was astounded. "I sure as hell don't need you to kiss me. You bastard!"


Stavros fisted one hand in Zander's hair, tugging the boy's head to the side so he could suckle on the strong neck. Then he pressed his lips to Zander's ear and whispered, "Could Emily ever match your passion?" As he spoke, he pushed one leg between Zander's and pressed in.


Zander could feel Stavros's erection against his thigh. "I like women!" he hissed, trying to push Stavros off him. But the other man wouldn't budge and Zander wasn't exactly up to full strength.


"I like them too," Stavros replied. He nipped at Zander's jaw line then licked a trail from his chin to his sweet lips, feeling the rasp of stubble against his tongue. "Women have their use and their place, Zander. But sometimes a man needs more. He needs to be broken to truly be strong."


"You're fucking whacked!" Zander snarled. Then he shivered as he felt Stavros kiss his way down his chest. "Leave me alone!" Zander struggled again, but he still couldn't break free.


Stavros chuckled. "You're terrified that I can break you, and that I'll leave you broken."


Zander knew he was being challenged. "I'm not afraid of you!" he shot back. Not completely the truth and not completely a lie.


"Then take a chance, Zander. I can give you everything you need. Everything you want, only you don't realize what that is yet." Stavros nipped at Zander's lower lip. "Prove to me that you can't be broken...that you're worthy to be with me...and I will give you the world to rule by my side."


"Tempting offer," Zander drawled. And he meant it. Nothing else in his life made sense. Maybe this would. Maybe he could prove himself in this way. He smiled at Stavros. "You can't break me...but go ahead and try."


Stavros licked his lips then whispered, "My pleasure," before pulling Zander over to the bed. He pushed the boy down onto his back then made short work of stripping off the sweat pants, leaving Zander naked and exposed. But when he tried to move over the boy, he found Zander on his feet and hands fisting in his shirt. Stavros chuckled as he heard the material tear. But the chuckle caught in his throat when sharp teeth bit his nipples. Zander was a fast learner. But Stavros would always be the one teaching the lessons.


Zander felt a bit heady as he ripped open Stavros' shirt. As if he were in control. But the moment didn't last. He found himself pushed back again and this time as he was laid out on the bed, Stavros moved over him. He felt the other man's mouth seal to his, then a tongue was inside, tasting him. Two could play that game, Zander decided, as he let his own tongue duel with Stavros's. Then his hands were between them, working on removing the other man's clothes. Zander didn't want to be the only one naked.


"You catch on fast," Stavros purred, as he broke the kiss. He let himself be undressed, helping at times, then they were both naked and Stavros waited for a moment, to see what Zander would do next. He smiled as the boy reached out and touched him, his fingers tentative at first, then more certain as they stroked down his chest.


"You can't break me," Zander whispered, as he pushed Stavros off him. It was his turn to move over him, then he was kissing his way down the taut chest, until he reached the hard cock. Zander knew what to do in theory. He knew what he liked, and he applied all of the knowledge as he took Stavros in his hand. He would break him instead. A smile curved Zander's lips at that thought, before he took the tip of Stavros' cock into his mouth.


Stavros moaned as Zander's tongue licked at the tiny slit at the tip of his cock. He moaned again when he was sucked into the warm mouth, then again as fingers kneaded his balls. The kid was good. But Stavros knew what Zander was trying to do. He wanted to control him, but that would never happen. Stavros knew his limitations so he let himself fuck Zander's mouth for a long moment, but he pulled out before he could cum. He took advantage of the fact that Zander was distracted by what he had just done and pushed the boy down onto his stomach, moving over he strong thighs before Zander could react.


Zander felt Stavros lean over his back, felt the erection that brushed across his ass. He bit his lip when strong hands parted his cheeks then he felt a slick finger pressing inside him. He wasn't ready for this. "No.." Zander hissed, as he tried to push up to his hands and knees. Wrong move for it drove Stavros' finger in deeper then a jolt of pleasure shook Zander.


"Don't fight it," Stavros whispered in Zander's ear. He added another finger even as he kept the boy on his hands and knees. "Don't let me break you," Stavros drawled, even as he pulled out his fingers and lined up his cock. A snap forward of his hips and he was partway inside Zander. He could feel the boy's thick muscled walls putting up resistance. But Stavros would not be denied. He thrust forward again till he slid all the way inside the velvet warmth. Zander's walls closed around his shaft like a glove. "Perfect fit," Stavros whispered.


"Fuck!" Zander hissed. The stretch and burn of Stavros's entry brought tears to his eyes. He felt invaded and the cock was too thick and too hard inside him. He panted through the pain, and as it eased he tried to pull forward, to pull off the shaft that breeched him. But strong fingers gripped his hips and pulled him back And Zander realized that this was the moment that could break him. If he let it. But he wouldn't. He pushed himself back, easing onto his knees and pressing down so that he was sitting in Stavros' lap.


Stavros smiled as he wrapped an arm around Zander's slender waist. He used his free hand to grip the boy's cock and was pleased to find it semi erect. A few strokes brought it full to life, and then Stavros began thrusting his hips. He was pleased when Zander matched his rhythm with counter thrusts. It was a dance that belonged only to them.


Zander let his head fall back as Stavros stroked him to his release. And when cum soaked fingers pressed against his lips, Zander tasted himself. He felt Stavros shift him, then he was on his hands and knees again. One final moment to prove he would not break. Zander felt his body rock with each hard thrust into him, and when Stavros shifted again, he felt pleasure jolt through him with each thrust in as Stavros' cock brushed, repeatedly, over his hot spot. By the time he felt something warm and wet flood his insides, Zander was on a pleasure overload. When Stavros slumped over his back, Zander's arms quivered, but held them both up. He did not break. When the cock inside him slid out and Zander moaned at the burn, he felt a strange sense of pride as well. He let himself be turned onto his back. He let Stavros kiss him until they were both breathless.


"Will you stay with me in Exile?" Stavros asked, as he broke the kiss.


"Will you let me fuck you the next time?" Zander countered with a grin.


Stavros smiled indulgently. "You'd have to break me first, Zander. And that will never happen."


Zander shrugged then whispered, "I love a challenge." Then he pulled Stavros' head down, for a kiss.