Written in 51 minutes 😛
Jason and Elizabeth were shown into Drew’s office without another word—which Elizabeth appreciated as she knew the brothers hadn’t really come to terms with anything that had transpired over the last four months—particularly the fact that Sam had opted to officially divorce Jason and remarry Drew.
Drew raised his brows with some curiosity when Elizabeth came in, followed by Jason. “Hey. Is Jake okay? The boys?”
“They’re, ah, fine.” Elizabeth realized her hands were shaking and she turned to Jason. “Jason and I—we were at my house when we—”
“Franco had the flash drive,” Jason said bluntly. He fished it out of his pocket and set it on Drew’s desk. “I was having Elizabeth’s locks changed and one of the guys stepped on box — this was inside.”
Drew stared at it for a long a moment—a minuscule piece of plastic and metal before raising his eyes to his brother. “You—Franco—”
“He came back from the city today,” Elizabeth said. Though she still wore her white winter jacket and the office was heated, she still felt chilled, and she rubbed her arms. “He put that box down, and he was so angry when he left, I guess he forgot it.” She managed a half smile. “I threw him out.”
“Well, thank God for small miracles,” Drew murmured. He took a deep breath and pressed an intercom button. “Sandy, can—can you tell Sam to come to my office. It’s…an emergency.”
He released the button and reached for the flash drive. “I guess we’re not ready to answer the question of why the hell Franco has—” Drew closed the drive in his fist and shook his head. “Why—”
“I don’t know. It could be a coincidence—” Elizabeth closed her mouth. “But it’s probably not,” she said as both men swung to look at her with some kind of incredulity. “I’m sorry. I have to stop doing that, I know.”
“Drew—” Sam stopped in the open doorway, stared at her ex-husband and her sometimes nemesis. “Jason. Elizabeth.” She looked at her husband, shook her head. “Ah. What’s going on—”
She closed the door and skirted the duo until she joined her husband. “Drew—”
He opened his hand and held it out to her. Sam stared at it, then raised her eyes to his. “The flash drive—” She looked at Elizabeth. “Where—”
“Franco,” Elizabeth said with some irritation. “I don’t know how or why, but we found it with his things today.” She bit her lip. Looked at Jason. “Do you think he’s realized he left it behind yet?”
“I don’t know,” Jason admitted. He looked back to his brother. “I don’t know what to do with it. You could probably talk to Maddox—”
“It’s a flash drive, isn’t it?” Drew murmured. He uncapped it, revealing the small USB metal connector. He slid into the laptop that sat on his desk.
Elizabeth, with a regretful glance at Jason, circled the desk and stood on Drew’s other side. After a moment, Jason joined her—but made sure to stand next to Elizabeth—and far away from his ex-wife.
A folder popped up. There were some weird files without a file type Elizabeth recognized. A subfolder labeled Case Notes. Drew moved the mouse, then took a seat to get a better view.
He opened the folder and found several documents. His own name—Andrew Cain. Jason Morgan.
“Why—” Elizabeth pressed a fist to her mouth. “Jake’s name—”
“And Franco’s.” Sam traded a glance with Elizabeth. “What do you think that’s about?”
“Well, they’re pdfs so let’s—” Drew clicked on Franco’s first. “It looks like a case summary—subject presented to lab in—that can’t—”
“February 2012.” Sam straightened, locked eyes with Jason. “After he was supposed to be—”
“I guess that explains where he was for the two years he disappeared and we thought he was dead. Does it say—”
“He had memories removed,” Drew murmured. He squinted, trying to scan the small print. “There’s not a note of what—but there’s another—they brought Betsy Frank in a few months later. She had memories removed—and then—” Drew shook his head. “She was given new memories.”
“Why didn’t Andre tell us that you guys weren’t the first—”
“Because we were a different kind of guinea pig,” Jason muttered. “He wanted to see how well memory replacement could work, right?’
“Probably. Though there’s a lot—but I’m willing to bet—” Drew tapped the screen. “These memories—this is Franco knowing who we are.”
“If Franco always knew there was a brother—maybe he always knew it was a twin.” Elizabeth frowned, trying to fit the pieces. “Maybe that’s why he got obssessed with you in the first place, Jason.”
“Yeah, because he couldn’t find the actual brother he grew up with,” Sam murmured. “It still doesn’t explain why Betsy dumped Drew, but—” She exhaled slowly. “That doesn’t really explain why Franco has this—”
“There’s another note here at the end of the file.” Drew looked at Elizabeth with some regret. “He was released and his study was terminated because of an anomaly that developed in his brain.”
“What—” Elizabeth closed her eyes. “The brain tumor. It was because of the experiments.”
“Which means that he did all of those—”
Her stomach lurched and she pushed past Jason, rushed out of the room.
Jason watched her disappear into an adjoining room—thought about going after her, but Drew sighed.
“She’s okay. It’s the bathroom—” Drew printed Franco’s case summary, and then went to the other files in Case Notes and printed the rest. “I’ll read mine, you can read yours—and—”
“I’ll read the rest of Franco’s,” Sam said. “Elizabeth or Jason should read Jake’s.” She crossed to the printer to start scooping the papers up but her hand was trembling. “I don’t understand any of this. How did Patrick miss this? How did he not know the brain tumor wasn’t there all along? How could that they have let him—”
Elizabeth emerged from the bathroom, her face pale, her coat over her arm. “We can make Andre tell the truth now,” she said faintly. “He knows the brain tumor wasn’t there before they started their experiments. We can—we can make the courts listen this time.”
“Elizabeth—” Sam shook her head, looked away. “I think it’s too late for that.” She held out a sheaf of papers. “This is Jake’s case summary.”
“It’s probably about the Chimera,” Drew said, as he took his own file from and handed some more paper to Jason. “Or maybe from Andre’s sessions—”
“It doesn’t look like the—this calls Jake by name.” Skimming the first few paragraphs, Elizabeth sat down in the chair and looked at Jason who hadn’t even glanced at his own file. “Andre says he’s a juvenile subject and he writes about why—why Helena picked him. Why Jake was supposed to kill us all last year.”
Jason leaned over her, trying to read the file behind her. “Why?”
“The Chimera was supposed to kill you and me, Drew. And Jake. Because Helena—Helena didn’t know you weren’t Jason.” Elizabeth swallowed hard, continued to read. “Because Andre was supposed to switch the two of you back. After Helena found out she was dying. He was supposed to terminate the experiment.”
“He failed to mention that,” Drew muttered. “Why did he let me wander around without any memories for a year—”
“Helena wanted to pull the plug because it was taking too long for her revenge.” Elizabeth exhaled slowly. “But Helena died. She sent Jake back to me, thinking that Jason would be there. The Chimera was supposed to be triggered when she died.”
“But it wasn’t for more than a year—” Drew set his file aside. “I don’t understand.”
“Me. It was me she wanted to destroy,” Elizabeth managed to force out. “It doesn’t say why—but she took my son to turn him into a weapon and she suggested you and Drew for Andre’s experiments because of—” Her throat closed. “And she wanted our son to kill us. Failing that, Jason, you were supposed to have a trigger that—”
When she couldn’t continue, Jason reached for the papers she was holding. “It’s a letter to Elizabeth,” he told Drew and Sam. “Explaining everything. That device you had in your head that made you help Faison escape?”
“You have one, too?” Drew said. He managed a wry smile. “Identical in every way except our faces, I guess. And you were supposed to kill Elizabeth.”
“Jesus Christ, that woman was insane. Why would she do all of this after she was gone?” Sam demanded. “Why wouldn’t she want to see her revenge?”
“I bet she was supposed to.” Drew tapped the name of the last file they hadn’t printed. “Cassandra. That was the woman Anna was hunting, remember? That Valentin Cassadine was involved with.”
“You don’t think—”
“You think Helena Cassadine was trying to figure out to supplant entire memories into a new person for the hell of it? I bet she was supposed to be here to watch it in a younger and healthier body.”
“She did this because of me.” Elizabeth got to her feet. “All of this was revenge on me. I don’t—I don’t understand.”
“I bet Andre would know.” Sam tapped her husband on the forearm. “And we need to figure out if your memories can be recovered.” She bit her lip. “I mean, this sucks, Elizabeth. But none of it happened that way. Andre didn’t terminate the experiment. You guys are safe. And I’ll tell you that Helena Cassadine wanting revenge on you and kidnapping Jake and Jason makes a hell of a lot more sense than Victor Cassadine wanting a body guard.”
“And it explains Faison’s involvement,” Jason told Elizabeth. “We should talk to Maddox.”
“You—right, but Franco’s out there. And if the brain tumor wasn’t holding him back—” Elizabeth swallowed. “I want to take the boys somewhere safe.”
“Yeah, I’m with Elizabeth on this. If you broke up with Franco today—and he realizes he left this disk drive laying around—you know he’s going to go for your weak spot.” Sam leaned over and ejected the disk from the computer. “Drew and I can track down Maddox.”
“We can take the boys to Sonny’s,” Jason told her. “You know he’d look out for them, and then I can track down Franco—” He hesitated. “To make sure I know where he is.”
“Good. Good. Let’s do that.” Elizabeth drew on her coat, but somewhere inside of her—she thought they’d already missed something crucial.
The elementary school was their first stop, and Jake and Aiden were pretty excited to be signed out of school—until Jake saw his father and he immediately scowled.
Elizabeth ignored his protests, signed the boys out, and then they went to the middle school.
“Cameron Webber,” she said to the secretary behind the desk who looked frazzled and irritated. “I’m signing him out for a family emergency.”
The woman scowled at her and looked past her, at Jason and the boys who had come in with her. “Don’t you people ever talk to each other? I am so tired of you divorced people putting the kids in the middle—”
Elizabeth’s heart started to pound. “Where is my son?” She demanded, leaning forward. “He’s not supposed to leave with anyone who isn’t me or Jason Morgan. And since we are both right here—”
The woman looked down at the sign out log. Just as she started to snatch it off the desk, Elizabeth slapped her hand down on top of it. Because there was her son’s name.
And Franco Baldwin had signed her son out an hour ago.
Her vision dimmed as red filled her line of sight—the rage flared and she reached across the desk and grabbed the woman by her sweater. “Who the hell signed him out?”
“Who let someone who isn’t authorized take my son out of this school?” Elizabeth growled.
“Elizabeth—” Jason stepped up to her and his face settled into granite lines, his eyes sharpened into flint. “Franco signed Cameron out an hour ago?”
“He’s not authorized to pick up my boys.” Elizabeth let the woman loose, and she stumbled back ,gasping for air. She snatched the sign out of sheet from the clipboard.
She had to focus on the rage, had to focus on the anger—because if she stopped to think—
Oh, God. Her baby was with a monster.
A monster she’d allowed into their lives.
“Mom?” Jake asked, hesitantly. “What’s…what’s wrong?”
“Let’s go,” he said to Elizabeth who seemed frozen to the spot. “Let’s get the boys to Sonny’s, and we’ll figure out—”
“I can’t—” Her chest tightened. “I did this. I did this. Carly warned me. They all warned me. Oh, God. Jason—” She closed her eyes. “I can’t breathe.”
Jason tossed a furious glare at the shell-shocked secretary. “We’ll come back and deal with the school later,” he told her. “Let’s—let’s go figure this out. We’ll call Spinelli, okay?”
“Spinelli. He can track Cam’s phone.” Elizabeth let the sign-in sheet paper slide to the floor as she suddenly yanked her phone out of her pocket. “I can do that, too. I can find him—”
But when she tried to locate her sons on the Find Friends app—she saw that Cam’s phone merely said Location Not Available.
“Jason?” Jake said, his blue eyes wide, his arm around his frightened brother’s shoulders. “What’s going?”
“Let’s go to Sonny’s,” Jason said again, and this time Elizabeth followed him, too numb to protest.