"Tell them about Nikolas," Alexis urged Laura who stood quietly, her face almost ashen with fear.

"Leave her alone," Luke Spencer ordered as he strolled into the room, Helena's guards flanking him. "Hi Honey," he greeted, seeing the terror in her eyes. Luke looked at Helena who was holding his daughter, and he knew a sudden urge to commit murder, realizing how she'd duped his family with her Lesley Webber face. "Damn, Helena! You look so much younger. Now, give my daughter back to her mother."

"You are in no position to be giving orders," Helena smiled evilly. "Now, Alexis, what were you saying? Something about Nikolas? I'm afraid that we already know about him."

Alexis smiled back, matching the older woman in sheer grit and determination. "I doubt that, Helena. You thought that Nikolas was Stavros’ son, didn't you?"

Helena laughed, her tone grating on Luke's ears, but he held his ground, kept his expression carefully neutral even as his stomach began to churn. Seeing the pain in Laura's eyes, he forced a smile, knowing that she needed to believe in him, in their love, regardless of what happened in the next few minutes.

"I've known for some time that Nikolas was Stefan's son. Do you think that will make a difference to me?"

Alexis smiled and shook her head. "If he were Stefan's son, of course not. But, he isn't." She turned to Laura, and ordered. "Tell her, Laura. Tell her whose son Nikolas is, and this time, tell the truth. Tell Helena that her carefully laid plans have come to nothing."

Dead silence covered the room as all eyes turned to Laura's, and as the tears began to form at the corners of her eyes, Lucky said, "Give 'em hell, Mom. We know why you did what you did."

"You're right, Lucky," Laura began, her voice hardly more than a whisper. "It's time I faced the consequences of my actions."

"No!!!" Helena screamed, as Alexis looked on, a smile on her face. "This cannot be!"

"But it is," Alexis taunted. "All your plans, all your hopes and dreams—gone. Now, it falls to my daughter."

"Never!!" Helena cried out, reaching into her pocket. In one hand, she held Lulu, and in the other, a small caliber gun. "I've worked too hard for this, too hard to fulfill the prophecy for it to end like this."

"It's turned to sh**," Luke whispered into a small button on the collar of his shirt. "Helena has flipped."

"Put my daughter down," Laura said, and for the first time, Luke heard something different in her voice. "Helena, put her down."


"Put the child down," Alexis ordered, concerned for the little girl. "You don't need to hurt her."

"Helena," Faison began, seeing a chance to make points with Laura. She was the key, he realized, the key to everything. "Give me the child. Alexis doesn't understand the prophecy."

"What prophecy?" Luke demanded, feeling out of touch with whatever was going on.

"You know nothing about the prophecy," Helena told Faison who was approaching her slowly. "I never told you."

"Rasputin was my grandfather, too. Of course I knew. We're family, and as such, the prophecy pertains to both of us."

It happened so fast that there was barely time to react, but suddenly, Faison was lying dead on the floor, a bullet through his forehead, his eyes staring sightlessly at the ceiling while Lulu screamed in terror.

"Bastard," Helena said to the dead man. "You bastard! You used me to get to her, all the while planning to take her for yourself, but your plans are dead with you." The older woman still clutched Lulu to her side, as the little girl screamed, and wiggled. "Hold still, Anna," she ordered.

"Put her down, Grandmother," Nikolas began, easing towards her. "She doesn't understand."

Turning the gun to Nikolas, Helena screamed again, and fired, but Lucky dove for Nikolas, knocking him out of the way just in time to take the bullet meant for him.

Luke moved to take the gun from Helena, but she aimed at him, holding the gun directly towards his chest. "Lucky?" Luke asked, his eyes never leaving Helena's. There was an unholy glow in hers; Luke knew that Helena had abandoned all semblance of sanity, and that there was nothing that she might not do.

Stefan knelt beside Lucky, noting the blood that was quickly staining his shirt, and hastily opened it, drawing it back so as to expose the wound. Jerking a handkerchief out of his pocket, Stefan used it to staunch the wound, his own face white with shock, as he saw something as familiar as his own face.

"Lucky?" Luke asked again, carefully placing himself between Helena and Stefan who was now shielding the boys with his own body.

"It's not serious," Stefan managed. "He will live."

"NO!!" Helena shrieked again. "It's all wrong!! Nikolas was supposed to be The Cassadine and the heir. Damnit to hell! I'll kill them all!"

"Not in this lifetime," corrected Anna Devane Scorpio, who had crept up behind Helena. It only took a split second, but Lulu was safe, and Helena was laying on the floor, wailing as if her heart would break. Her mind already had.

Anna quickly radioed. "It's over, and Lucky is hurt—minor gunshot wound to the shoulder. Faison is dead, and Helena—she's quite mad." Suddenly, the room was filled with WEB agents, and former WSB agents.

"So what is all this about a prophecy?" Luke asked Laura, who was standing, face to face with Stefan. Sensing something both terrible and wonderful taking place, Luke stood and listened.

"There was a prophecy that through a member of our particular line of the Cassadine family would come the salvation of the Cassadine family, and of the country," Stefan told them. "Helena didn't know that I knew—but I never took it seriously." His eyes met Laura’s, searching for answers. "Was she right? Are you Anastasia's great-granddaughter?"

"Uh, I'm not following you, Babe. What line of the Cassadine family? What country? Who the hell is Anastasia?" Luke questioned. "You're going to have to fill in a few blanks here for me."

"Yes," Laura admitted to Stefan as Luke looked on, mystified.

"Then the prophecy has been fulfilled." Stefan smiled, his face alight with joy.

"This is one hell of a time to go getting all happy on me," Luke complained. "Laura, I need some answers."

Wordlessly, Stefan opened his shirt, and showed Luke the odd birthmark that he'd only seen before on Lucky's shoulder. "Anastasia was the last Grand Duchess of Russia—the youngest daughter of the royal family of Russia, Czar Nicholas and his wife Alexandra."

His mind reeling from the implications, Luke turned away, watching in shock as Marty and the others took control of the mansion, making arrangements for the incarceration of the others. It was as if everything moved in slow motion, as he turned back to Laura. "It's true? You're……and Lucky's……Stefan's son?"

"And Nikolas is yours," Laura told him simply. She motioned to Nikolas to come to them, while Luke looked on helplessly. "So is Lulu."

"Mom?" came a half-strangled, horrified question from Lucky who lay as Kevin treated his wound. "You mean that I'm…a Cassadine?"

"Never," Luke injected. "You're a Spencer, Lucky. You're my son—got that? I don't care who your natural father is, you're my son."

Nikolas turned to Luke, and asked, "Does that mean that no matter how my natural father is, that I'm a Cassadine?"

"Hell, no," Luke told him, his heart swelling at the thought of another son. "You're a Spencer. Just because you had the misfortune to have been raised by a bunch of nutcase Cassadines doesn't change that, but your mother and I are going to have to get a few things straight."

"No, Luke," Laura told him. "And, you, too, Stefan. You're both going to get a few things straight. I did what I had to do to save my sons, and I'd do it all over again. Stefan, if I'd told your family that I was pregnant with Luke's child, I shudder to think what they'd have done. An abortion, or maybe they'd have used him against Luke. When I left the island, I didn't know that I was pregnant with your child."

"You used me," Stefan accused. "I thought you cared, but you used me."

"I did care," Laura told him. "Before I knew the truth about Luke, I came to care for you. Then, when Helena discovered that we were involved, she told me about Luke, knowing that I still loved him. When I tried to take Nikolas, she—I don't know what she did to my mother—but I knew that she'd do whatever it took to keep Nikolas. Had I told you, Luke, you'd have gotten yourself and possibly Nikolas killed in the process. I couldn't allow that—especially not when I was pregnant with Lucky." Laura looked at both men, and then continued. "I did what I felt was the best thing. I trusted you, Stefan, to raise my son as yours. I knew you were a good man, not corrupted by Helena, and that you'd believe that he might be yours. You knew that he might belong to Stavros, but you loved him because he was mine. For that, I'll always be grateful. And, I did the best thing I could for your child—I gave him to a man who I knew would protect him with his life, who would love him, and who would teach him to be a survivor."

"A wise woman," Marty injected, coming over to talk with them, "A wise woman looks after the needs of her children before the needs of her man." There was a wealth of understanding in her tone, and she continued. "For what it's worth, I had to give up my son when he was born. My life was too dangerous, too uncertain for me even to acknowledge him. He'd have been a target—especially had my enemies known his father's name. His safety was paramount to me."

"And both of them count themselves lucky to have been even a small part of your life," Jared said, coming to stand beside her. "And both of them hope that you'll be a part of the wedding that we're planning. You get to be the bride, by the way."

"I think that I know someone who'd love to be maid of honor," Suzi added, as she walked over to enter the conversation. "Chrissie will be miffed if she gets left out."

"If this is a proposal," Marty blushed, "I accept." She and the others drifted away, leaving Luke standing with Stefan, and Laura.

"Okay, Cassadine," Luke began. "Most of this is starting to clear up, but what was the Timoria thing all about?"

"It was a diversion to keep Helena out of my hair while I rounded up what was left of the Romanov family fortune. Revenge was something that she understood, that she would applaud. If she thought for a moment that I planned to get even with your family, with any Spencer, she would stay clear of me. Had she realized that I knew about Laura's heritage, she would have made what I accomplished an impossibility."

"And what did you accomplish?" Alexis asked, still stunned by all the things she'd learned in the last several minutes. "What did you find?"

Stefan smiled. "Not that it benefits us as I had planned, but the Romanov family will rank among the wealthiest on the planet. You are aware that prior to the war, much of the family's wealth was smuggled out of the country and deposited in Western banks. It was estimated that nearly four billion cash alone was secreted away. This doesn't include estates, jewels and the rest. What I did was trace much of the cash which is now available to the heirs, which include Laura, Nikolas, Lucky and Lesley Lu. I had thought that this would add to the coffers of the Cassadine family, that Nikolas would be both The Cassadine, and the heir to the Russian throne."

Alexis almost laughed. "Don't worry, cousin. I spent an equal amount of time rounding up a good part of the family fortunes so that the Cassadines are going to be in reasonably good shape." She shook her head. "I still can't believe this. Laura is the Grand Duchess?"

Luke sat down in the closest chair. "Then this is all for real? I've been consorting with royalty all this time and didn't even know it? Hell, I feel like a scene out of 'Lady and the Tramp'!"

"Dad?" Lucky asked, and to his surprise, both Stefan and Luke answered. Shaking his head in confusion, he began. "I can't believe this mess, though if Rasputin was involved, no wonder they're all nuts!" He grinned suddenly, and Luke was relieved to see the natural resilience, the survivor instincts he'd worked into Lucky come to his aid. Lucky continued. "See, Nikolas and I have decided that since we're brothers that this feud thing has got to end. And, since he's no longer the heir to the throne, and I've got the crummy job of The Cassadine, unless I can palm it off on Alexis' daughter—I want to meet her ASAP—that our families are at peace. Permanently."

"I can live with that," Luke nodded. "Laura?"

Before she could answer, Lucky piped up, "Anybody got a calculator?"

"What are you trying to figure out?" Ned asked as he entered the room. He smiled at Alexis who smiled back. "Are we discussing money?"

"Trust a Quartermaine to arrive in the middle of a financial conversation," she gently jibed. "Yes. I rather think that Lucky and Nik are trying to figure out what four billion dollars, deposited prior to 1916 might be worth in today's dollars. Am I right?"

Ned's eyebrows raised, and he grinned. "We're talking about serious bucks, boys."


And then, it was over. The WEB of DECEIT had come unraveled at last. Apparently Helena and Faison had used Stuart Matthews and his medical research facility to fund their endeavors, though Matthews had thought it strictly for financial gain, never dreaming that Helena's mad quest for the heir to the Romanov fortunes and the Russian throne were behind everything. Many questions would never be answered, as Faison was dead, and Helena was beyond giving answers of any kind, though it was thought that the fake Tom Hardy was a plant to facilitate Helena's entry as Lesley Webber into Port Charles, and into Laura's life.

Yes, there were tough days ahead, as the residents of Port Charles began to sort out the lies with which they'd had to live, and as they began to incorporate many others into the fabric of the city. General Hospital found itself awash in lawsuits when it was revealed that "Tom Hardy" hadn't really been Tom Hardy, but Kevin Collins was reinstated with full privileges as soon as it was revealed that "Tom" had set him up, that he'd never done any stalking of Felicia. Tom had engineered everything, partly to learn whatever he could about Frisco's whereabouts, and to discredit Kevin so that he could have the top job as Head of Psychiatry at GH. Luke and Laura had much to discuss, while Stefan was finally free to reveal his feelings for Bobbie. Lucky suggested that they make Kathryn Bell some sort of an honorary noble as she'd helped deceive Helena and saved Bobbie from the old lady, and Nikolas thought it an excellent idea. Mac and Miranda restored Miranda's true identity, much to Mac's shock, and Lucky decided that his cousin would make a better Head Cassadine than he would, though he realized that due to the patriarchy laws that he was really stuck with the job unless Stefan and Alexis could find a way to break the codicil to the family fortunes. Mac and Miranda eloped while the entire extended family made plans to visit Russia.

Suzi and Peter became full partners in NETCo, as well as in WIN, which went legitimate as a subsidiary of WEB. Marty and Jared married, with Jack and Chrissie as best man and maid of honor. Felicia spent a lot of time eluding Jake and Frisco who were both bent on putting a wedding band on her finger. Brenda and Jax remarried while Sonny went to prison for life. Robin and Jason went on to have many more adventures, eventually marrying and going to medical school. It was revealed that Robin had never had HIV, that this was part of Faison's plan to make certain that Robert and Anna were indeed dead, that his agents had tampered with Robin's blood tests with the expectation of luring her parents out of hiding, if they had survived the wreck as Faison had. Robert and Anna went back to the WSB where they cleaned out the organization which had been compromised by Faison, bringing Connor back as one of their top agents. Lucy and Kevin got married, while Sean and Tiffany returned to Port Charles to their former jobs as PCPD commissioner and television studio owner, where Tiffany broke the story on the Return of the Romanov Family, complete with Faberge Eggs and Fine Art, while Gilbert Andrews wrote the definitive book on the subject. Justin and Rosemary were married and continued to manage the Andrew's Vineyards and Winery. Stuart and Angela spent the rest of their years behind bars while Helena was taken to a secure mental health facility, where she remains, unwilling, or unable to communicate with anybody. She has yet to speak since the night her plans went awry. Yet, we wonder if the gleam we see in her eyes from time to time might mean anything…..

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