The Hot Zone
After leaving Nikolas, Zander went to his room. He didn't expect to sleep but he got ready for bed and slid under the covers. He fought back tears and, surprisingly, he fell asleep. He slept the night through without dreaming, yet he woke up feeling worn out. After a shower, Zander made his way downstairs to the dining room. He almost turned around when he saw that only Angela was there. But she saw him.
"Good morning, Alex. Come join me," Angela invited.
"I prefer Zander," he replied.
Angela shrugged. "Whatever makes you happy. Did you sleep well?"
Zander forced a smile. "Great." He moved to the side table and poured himself some coffee. Then he sat down at the table, a few seats away from Angela.
"I missed you...Zander," Angela said, rising from her seat to move closer. "Why did you run away?"
"What do you care?" Zander shot back. He did not want to have this conversation with her. And when her fingers combed through his hair, he stiffened. "Don't…" Zander pushed her hand away.
Angela sighed. ""Don't be like that, Zander. We were so close once."
Zander stood up and returned to the side table. He stared at the breakfast buffet laid out and his stomach churned. "It was a long time ago, Angela. I was just a stupid kid. Everything is different now."
"Not really." Angela laughed as she moved into Zander's space again. "Your father hasn't changed. I haven't either. He wants the same thing as before." Angela stroked her hand over Zander's forearm.
"Angela..." Zander began, but fell silent when he heard voices and his father entered the room. He wasn't alone. Another man was with him. Angela's brother, Leo. Zander remembered him, although they hadn't crossed each other's paths that often in the past. Leo had spent most of his time *out of town* taking care of business for Zander's father.
Tony smiled at his son. "You look rested, Alex. Have you eaten yet?"
Zander shook his head. "Not yet. I'm not really a breakfast person."
"You need to eat." Tony grabbed a plate and filled it, then he held it out to his son. "Sit...eat."
"I'll eat later," Zander replied. He knew he was pushing his luck in refusing, but he felt the need to test his boundaries.
Tony's face turned red as his temper flared. "You'll eat or I'll tie you to a chair and shove it down your throat! Do you understand me?"
Zander did. He said nothing, but he took the plate and brought it over to the table. He sat down but he didn't pick up his fork. He settled for taking a bite of toast. It came close to gagging him.
"Alex...do you remember Leo?" Tony asked, as he filled a plate for himself. His anger was gone as quick as it had come.
"I remember," Zander replied.
Tony sat down at the head of the table and dug into his eggs. A few bites later he stated, "You're going to be working for Leo. He'll show you the ropes of my *legit* businesses. You can start tomorrow morning."
Zander could feel Leo's eyes on him. "That's fine," he replied.
"I look forward to teaching you all I know," Leo stated with a grin. "It's hard to believe you're all grown up now, Alex."
"I prefer Zander."
Leo shrugged. "Whatever. You're what? Twenty-two now?"
Zander felt uncomfortable under the intensity of Leo's gaze. He shifted in his chair as he replied, "That's right."
"Eat, Alex," Tony interjected.
"I'm sorry." Zander took another bite of toast. A phone started ringing and Zander watched Leo pull out a cell. He talked for a minute then leaned in to whisper something to Tony. Then he stood up and excused himself. Soon after, Angela did the same. She was going shopping. Zander was almost sorry to see them go. Now he was alone with his father.
Tony scarfed down his full plate of food in record time, then he pushed his plate aside and drained a glass of orange juice. "Do you remember Dr. Benson?"
Zander felt himself grow pale. "I remember him," he whispered.
"Good. He'll be here soon."
"Why?" Zander didn't want to think of the possibilities.
Tony leaned back in his chair and studied his son. "You've been through alot of traumatic things since you've been gone, Alex. I found out about Sorel and the dead cop trial. You could have gone to death row. I know about everything, son. You were messed up before you ran away, and to top it all off...Arroyo rapes you. You're going to need help dealing with that alone."
Zander shook his head. He felt fear but he also felt anger. "I assume that means you want me drugged up again?"
"It helped you the last time."
"It made me compliant." Zander glared at his father. "Don't worry...I'll do whatever you want. You won't need the drugs this time."
Tony was out of his seat and standing before his son in the blink of an eye. Anger glittered in his eyes. "You will do as I say! Do you understand me?" he snarled, as one hand lashed out and cracked across Zander's face.
Zander felt his head rock back then he lifted a hand to press against his stinging cheek. It felt like old times. He held his father's glare and whispered, "Perfectly." Zander watched as his father backed off, returning to his chair.
"Did you visit your friend, Nikolas?" Tony asked, as if nothing had happened.
"Please let him go," Zander countered, forgetting about his cheek. "I'm back home to stay...Nikolas isn't a part of this."
Tony smiled. "You're right, Alex. Which is why, as we speak, Nikolas Cassadine is on his way back home, to Wyndemere."
Zander felt relieved, yet sad. And he realized what his father's words really meant. He knew where Nikolas lived and would be able to get to him at anytime. That thought terrified Zander. He would do whatever was necessary to protect Nikolas from his father's wrath. "Thank you," Zander whispered.
"Ah...Emil...come in." Tony gestured for Dr. Benson to join them.
Dr. Benson entered the dining room and accepted a cup of coffee. He looked at Zander. "It's been a long time. It's good to see you again, Alex."
Zander nodded, but he felt himself grow tense. "I prefer to be called Zander now." He knew his father would never call him that, but he took a perverse pleasure in getting everyone else to do so. So far his father seemed accepting of it.
"Your father told me what happened to you. The rapes." Dr. Benson's face was impassive as he spoke. "I want to do a full physical and psychological exam of you...Zander."
"No...no physical exam," Zander protested. "I'm fine." He knew he couldn't avoid both and the psychological exam was preferable.
But Tony had other ideas. "You'll allow it, Alex," he stated. "I want to be sure you're all right."
Zander opened his mouth to protest, but closed it with a snap. He knew if he refused his father would force him. Restrain him if necessary. Zander didn't want that. This was going to be humiliating enough as it was. So he simply nodded.
"Why don't we go to your room," Dr. Benson said. He turned to Tony. "I'll call for you when we're done with the physical exam."
"Take good care of Alex," Tony instructed, as he stood up to pour himself a cup of coffee.
Dr. Benson smiled. "Of course...as always," he drawled. Then he headed for the door.
Zander stood up and followed. Fighting every instinct in him that screamed at him to run.
* * * * *
The moment they reached his room, and the door was closed, Zander turned to Dr. Benson. "Look...I told you I'm fine. The...rape...it happened a few weeks ago so I'm...I'm healed. Okay? You can tell my father you examined me and that I'm fine."
Dr. Benson had his medical bag with him and he set it on the bedside table. Then he opened it. "I need to examine you for myself…Zander. Don't make me call for your father."
"Please don't do this," Zander begged. And he was more than willing to beg.
"You need to strip for me and lie down on your stomach." Dr. Benson pointed to the bed.
Zander shook his head. "I'm not doing this."
Dr. Benson sighed then headed for the door. A guard was just down the hallway. He called him over.
"Wait!" Zander was at the door, pulling Dr. Benson back inside. He closed the door again. "Fine...I'll do it," Zander gritted out, between clenched teeth. He walked over to the bed, kicked off his shoes then stripped off his pants. He watched as Dr. Benson put a pillow in the middle of the bed. Zander knew what it was for.
"Take off your boxers," Dr. Benson ordered.
Zander glared at him. "You can pull them down." He couldn't believe he was having this conversation.
Dr. Benson held Zander's glare. "They come off," he said calmly.
"Bastard!" Zander hissed, as he stripped off the briefs. He felt glaringly exposed as he laid down on the pillow. He closed his eyes as he felt the bed shift, then he felt hands parting his buttocks and a finger probing at his opening. Zander gasped as he felt a slick finger press inside, then another. Then he whimpered as a knuckle brushed over his prostrate. He figured it was just an accident until the jolts of pleasure continued. Dr. Benson was stroking him on purpose. "Stop it!" Zander snapped, trying to push up.
"Lie still!" Dr. Benson commanded. "I can still call your father."
Zander went still at once. He bit his lip as the doctor continued to probe him, then the fingers slid out and Zander felt as if he could breathe again. Until he felt his legs spread open further and fingers were groping his balls. Zander shifted, trying to pull away, but Dr. Benson was suddenly over him, his heavier body weight pressing Zander down into the mattress.
Dr. Benson pressed his lips to Zander's ears. Then whispered, "Shhhhhh..."
© Shelly 2004