The Gift of Life - 1
by Sheltiesong

Chapter 1

Liz Webber walked quickly toward the boxcar, eyes lighting up as she anticipated seeing Lucky. She rapped her
knuckles lightly on the door of the boxcar. Getting no response, she called out to him.

''Lucky? Are you there?''

''Lizzy?'' Lucky's voice came to her from behind, ragged and breathless, as he braked his bike to a stop beside her.

''Oh! There you are! I was about to send out the cavalry!'' Taking in Lucky's flushed and sweaty face, seeing his
shoulders heave as he tried to catch his breath, Liz looked at him, concerned. ''You look like you just biked the Tour
de France! How far did you go?''

''Not far, just fast,'' Lucky explained, brushing off Liz's concern. Finally catching his breath, he asked, ''What do you
want to do today?''

''How about we each choose something and try to do both? We have all day practically.'' ''I hear Armageddon is really
good,'' Lucky suggested.

''And I hear there's a really cool new Chinese restaurant near the theater.''

''Sounds like a plan!''

Linking hands, the two friends headed off toward the theater.


''That was soooo sad!'' Liz moaned, as tears streamed down her face.

''Pretty intense, huh?'' Lucky concurred, as the two of them walked toward the restaurant.

As Liz rattled on about the movie, Lucky remained silent. Noticing, Liz stopped and turned to face him. Annoyance
changed swiftly to fear and concern as she saw the look on Lucky's face. Lucky was having trouble breathing again,
even just from the short walk out of the theater.

''Lucky? What's wrong? You're scaring me.''

''I'm fine,'' Lucky said testily. You don't need to worry about me.''

''If you say so,'' Liz said, not at all certain.


Lucky tried to hide his growing unease. As much as he hated to admit it, something wasn't right. He couldn't even
climb a flight of stairs anymore without fighting for breath. He'd been so tired lately, and he was beginning to get

Liz, halfway through a bite of lo mein, suddenly dropped her fork. ''Oh my God! Lucky, look at your fingers,'' she said

Lucky looked down to see that the tips of his fingers had a definite bluish cast.

''Will you promise to see a doctor tomorrow? Please Lucky?''

Lucky sighed. ''OK, I will. But I'll be fine. It's nothing.''

                                            Chapter 2

Lucky felt as if he had been put through the wringer. It was the next day, and after his initial exam with Alan
Quartermaine, he had been transferred to the care of his wife, Monica, for some additional testing. That scared him,
more than his inexplicable tiredness, more than his shortness of breath, more even than the bluish color of his
fingertips. Monica Quartermaine was a cardiologist. That meant something might be wrong with his heart. He
couldn't remember ever having been more scared.

Liz hadn't left his side. It had been four hours since he came in, and still she stayed with him. Her voice whispered in
his ear again as he sat in Monica's spacious office. ''Whatever it is, Lucky, I'll be with you, I promise you that. You've
helped me so much just by being there for me, and I swear to do the same. You mean so much to me. Besides, what
else are best friends for?

Choked up, Lucky sought Liz's hand and squeezed it tightly in silent thanks.

Both turned as the door slowly opened. Monica Quartermaine strode in and faced the two teens, leaning back against
her desk as she tried to figure out what to say.

''Lucky, I have your test results. I'm afraid it's not good,'' she hedged.

''Just tell me!'' Lucky demanded, fear in his eyes. ''What's wrong with me?''

Monica walked up to Lucky and took one of his hands in hers. Liz held tightly to the other one, offering her support
and strength.

Monica cleared her throat. ''I'm so sorry, Lucky, but the EKG and the other tests showed there is something very
wrong with your heart. You have something called cardiomyopathy. Your heart muscle is enlarged and weakened.
That's why you've been so tired and out of breath lately. Your heart can't get your blood to your lungs fast enough to
pick up adequate oxygen for the rest of your body.''

''How did he get this?'' Liz asked, tears streaming down her face. Lucky reached up and tenderly brushed them away.

''Have you been sick at all in the past few months? Bad sore throat and a fever maybe?''

Lucky nodded, still too stunned to speak.

''It was probably a streptococcus infection -- strep throat. The bacteria that causes it, left untreated, can cause

''Lucky, medical science doesn't know a way to repair the heart once it's been destroyed by cardiomyopathy. The only
permanent treatment is a heart transplant.''

''Now, I've already called your parents. I know you're having problems with them right now, but you aren't eighteen
yet. I can't treat you without their consent. I want to have you stay here at GH until we get you stabilized, then I'll
send you home until we find you a donor. And I do mean home, Lucky'' she added warningly. ''In a boxcar, alone for
hours each day, is no place for you right now.''

''This is all happening way to fast ...,'' Lucky mumbled. Just a few hours before he'd been a normal kid with his whole
life ahead of him. Well maybe not a normal kid. Normal kids didn't grow up on the run from the mob or live in boxcars
because they couldn't trust their parents. But he'd still had his whole life in front of him. Now all that was in jeopardy.

Liz took Lucky in her arms, stroking his hair with gentle fingers as her own heart ached with sadness. This couldn't
be happening, shouldn't be happening. Not to Lucky. He'd already been through so much in his life.

Lucky wrapped his arms around her in turn, shoulders heaving with sobs as he finally gave in to his fear.

Monica looked on, her own eyes misty at the two friends' silent devotion to each other, as Luke and Laura, bodies
bowed with grief and worry, entered the room.

                                           Chapter 3


Luke and Laura walked slowly toward their son. Luke looked as if someone had sucker-punched him in the gut, and
Laura's face was stained with tears. Luke dropped to his knees, laying a tentative hand on Lucky's shoulder. Lucky
turned to face his father, steel in his still moist eyes.

''I don't want you here!'' he snapped.

''We know you don't, but we need to be here,'' Luke said. ''Please, Cowboy. Family takes care of family.''

A million thoughts swam through Lucky's mind as he looked cautiously at his parents. His anger at them warred with
his need of them and the look of utter heartbreak on his father's face. In all his fifteen years, he's never seen Luke
wear quite that expression, not even when Stone and Mae Mae had died. Maybe he really did care ...

''OK, Dad. I'm too drained to fight right now. Maybe we can shove all of this stuff aside for a while.''

''Thank God!'' Luke choked out, as he and Laura wrapped grateful arms around their son. ''Thank God.''

''We love you, Lucky,'' Laura murmured. ''Never forget that.''

Liz and Monica looked on, relieved. The future was scary and uncertain, but at least now the Spencer family had each
other. They were whole again.


Several hours later, Luke and Laura sat beside Lucky's bed, watching him sleep.

''We'll get through this, Angel,'' Luke whispered. ''He'll be OK.''

''We don't know that, Luke. Not for sure. This disease can be fatal.''

''But not to OUR son Laura! That just ain't gonna happen!''

''I'm scared Luke. I've never been so scared for him,'' Laura gasped, tears once again coursing down her cheeks.

Face softening, his own eyes filling with tears, Luke circled the bed to draw Laura close. ''I know, Angel. I'm scared,

Luke and Laura stood like that for a long time, each drawing strength and comfort from the other.


Liz stood in the hospital solarium, staring out the window, lost in thought and silent grief. Suddenly, she felt a gentle
tap on her shoulder.

''Elizabeth?'' She spun to meet Nikolas Cassadine's compassionate, dark-eyed gaze.

''Elizabeth, what is the matter? You look troubled. How may I help?''

Liz's eyes filled with tears as she pictured Lucky, energetic, devil-may-care Lucky, lying in his hospital bed.

''Lucky's sick,'' she choked out past the lump in her throat. ''He's really sick.''

''What? How?'' Nikolas asked, a flash of concern in his eyes.

''He's got some disease called cardiomyopathy. If he doesn't get a heart transplant ...'' Liz paused, unable to go on.

''I'm really sorry. I know how much you care about him.''

''I love him, Nik. I can't lose him.'' Liz caught her breath, trying to regain control.

''I'd better get back to him,'' she said, and walked away.


Nikolas stared after her in disbelief. Lucky, sick? It didn't make any sense. All of a sudden, Nikolas was
overwhelmed by a feeling for his half-brother that he'd never known before. Anger, resentment, and indifference had
been replaced by concern and a desire to protect him. Whatever differences he and Lucky had between them,
however they'd hurt each other in the past, he was family; he didn't deserve this. Nikolas vowed to himself that he'd
help any way he could.

                                            Chapter 4

Later that night, Lucky tossed fitfully in his hospital bed, besieged by nightmares. He was alone, having convinced his
exhausted parents and Liz to go home and get some rest.

Waking briefly, Lucky's thoughts turned, unbidden, to the future. Would the doctors be able to find a donor for him in
time? All of a sudden, the angelic face of his little sister, Lesley Lu, flitted through his mind. Would he live to see her
grow up? He tried to turn his thoughts around; this kind of thinking wasn't going to do himself or anyone else any
good. Try as he might, he couldn't help it. Caught in the riptide of his emotions, Lucky started to sob. Only this time,
there was no Luke, no Laura, no Liz, to comfort him.


Nikolas Cassadine walked quickly down the hospital corridor, ready to leave for the night. His position as volunteer
coordinator for the pediatric floor seldom kept him at the hospital so late, but there had been a crisis; a volunteer had
neglected to show up on a night she was desperately needed, forcing Nikolas to cover her shift. He made a mental
note to call her in the morning to discuss the situation.

Glancing at his watch, he noticed it was long past midnight. Uncle would not be pleased to see him arriving at
Wyndemere so late at night, but a job was a job. He refused to shirk his duties to those who counted on him.

As Nikolas paused to look over the volunteer rotation for the next day, his ears caught the faintest hint of somebody
crying. Curious and wanting to help, he walked toward the sound. He knocked on the door, and, getting no response,
knocked again. Concerned when no one answered, he saw Lucky, huddled on his hospital bed, sobbing.


Suddenly aware of someone else's presence in the room, Lucky wiped his eyes clear of tears and sat bolt upright.

''Cassadine! What the hell are you doing in my room? Either get out pronto or I'm calling reinforcements!''

''Lucky, Lucky, calm down,'' Nikolas said soothingly. ''I didn't come in here to hurt you. I heard someone crying and I
wanted to see if I could help.''

''You can help by getting out of here!''

''No one should have to be alone when they're scared,'' Nikolas said quietly.

Lucky, visibly drained of energy and short of breath, sighed. ''OK, Cassadine, do what you want. I don't have the
energy to argue with you right now.''

''Family is family,'' Nikolas said, echoing Luke's words. ''I'll just sit right here and make sure you're OK.''

''Whatever,'' Lucky whispered, and closed his eyes.

And so Nikolas remained, watching over Lucky's sleeping form, throughout the long night.

Chapter 5

Early the next morning, Laura walked downstairs, a sleepy Lulu in her arms. Glancing at the living room couch, she
wasn't surprised to see Luke stretched out, pale and looking like death warmed over. A bottle of tequila, nearly
empty, rested on the table nearby. Laura's heart went out to him.

After settling Lesley Lu in the kitchen with a bowl of cereal and a cup of apple juice, Laura reentered the living room
to sit on the couch next to her husband. Caressing him softly on the cheek, she gently shook his shoulder to wake
him, hating to do so. ''Luke? Honey, time to wake up. We'd better get to the hospital.''

''Huh? ... What?'' Disoriented, Luke looked wildly about the room. Then, sagging visably, he dropped his head to his
chest. ''You mean yesterday wasn't some kind of horrible, twisted nightmare?''

'''Fraid not.''

''Well, let's get moving then. I don't want to leave Cowboy alone too long.'' he said, barely stopping long enough to
collect Lulu for the drive over to Bobbie's, where she would be spending the day.


Nikolas shifted painfully in his chair, body stiff from sitting in the same position for the past six and a half hours.
Suddenly, he leaned forward in his chair, muscles tensing. Lucky's eyelids had started to flutter, and not in the rapid
movement of dreamsleep either. He tossed his head from side to side as if to clear it.

Lucky slowly opened his eyes and saw Nikolas sitting next to him, close uncharateristically wrinkled, his expression
eager and hopeful, with a touch of apprehension.

''You stayed the whole night?'' Astonishment colored Lucky's tone. ''For me?'' His rumpled hair and huge eyes made
him look much younger than fifteen.

''As I told you last night, family is family, Lucky. You may be a Spencer, I may be a Cassadine, but we are both
Laura's sons at heart.''

''At heart, ...'' Lucky echoed, his voice trailing off. His chin quivered and his eyes filled with tears, which he angrily
brushed away, embarrassed.

Nikolas, his own heart breaking as he watched Lucky struggle, moved swiftly to the bed to clasp his brother's
shoulder in one strong hand.


Luke stalked down the hospital corridor, desperate to reach his son, with Laura a bare step behind. Reaching the
door to Lucky's room, he opened it quietly, not wishing to awaken him to the terrors of the present if he were asleep.
Walking nonchalantly into the room, Luke suddenly stopped short, mouth agape.

The Cassadine kid, that rich, pampered, snot-nosed little brat, was sitting on Lucky's bed, apparently with his son's
consent. Stranger still, they weren't fighting. Thinking that Lucky had expended precious energy trying to throw the
devil's spawn out, Luke was about to take matters into his own hands when Laura intervened. Smiling warmly at her
two sons, she walked up to the bed, planting a kiss on Nikolas's forehead and embracing Lucky.

''Nikolas! I can't say I expected to see you here, but I'm glad you are. It's nice to see both my sons in one place at
the same time.''

Nikolas shrugged it off and mumbled that he really hadn't done much.

Luke broke in. ''That's all very well and good, but we're here now. You'd better fly on home. I'm sure Count Vlad is
wondering why your coffin was empty last night.''

At that, Laura glanced witheringly at her husband before giving Nikolas a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. ''You
probably should at least go home and get cleaned up. Try to get some sleep. You don't look like you got much last
night,'' she said, indicating the wrinkles on his normally flawlessly pressed clothes. ''You can always come back
later,'' she added, shooting Luke a warning glare before he could contradict her. Nikolas nodded, and with a parting
smile for Lucky, left the room.

''Now I've seen everything!'' Luke muttered. ''How did THAT happen?''

''Long story, Dad. I don't really want to get into it.''

''Sure, Cowboy, whatever you want,'' Luke said, heeding Laura's admonishing glance.

''So, how long am I going to be cooped up in here?'' asked Lucky.

''Monica wants to get you stabilized, and then you can come home,'' Laura replied.

''How long will it take to find me a donor?''

''There's no way to know that, son, '' Luke answered. ''You know that from when Lulu was sick.''

''I know,'' Lucky said softly. ''Did Dr. Quartermaine say how long I've got if I don't get a donor?'' he asked, afraid of
the answer, but at the same time, needing to know.

''We didn't ask her for statistics,'' Luke said evasively. ''Besides, you're going to get a donor, so you don't even need
to think about that.''

''Yes, Dad, I do,'' Lucky said with conviction. ''It's my life. It's my disease. I deserve to know.''

Luke turned to look his son directly in the eyes. Slowly, as if the words were being torn from someplace deep within
his soul, he said, ''With the extent of damage your heart has suffered already, maybe four months.'' Laura nodded in
sad accord.

''Four months ... ?'' Lucky was stunned. ''Only four months?'' He sat there, one hand plucking at his bed blanket in
agitation. ''How do I cram an entire lifetime into four months?''

Hearing a horrified gasp, he turned toward the door. Liz stood there, framed in the entrance, a look of absolute terror
on her face.

                                            Chapter 6

Liz dashed to Lucky, kneeling at his bedside. Looking wildly from him, to Luke, to Laura, she sought some denial of
the words she'd just heard. ''There's got to be some mistake!''

Luke, his eyes bleary from last night's tequila, but even more so from sorrow, shook his head. ''I wish there were,''
he said slowly, eyes filling with tears. ''Excuse me,'' he muttered, and fled from the room.

''I'll be right back,'' Laura said quickly. ''I want to make sure he's OK. Stay with Lucky, Liz.''

''You can count on THAT, Mrs. Spencer!''

As Laura left, Liz leaned her head into Lucky's shoulder, sighing deeply. ''Lucky? I have something I need to tell

Lucky held up his hand. ''OK if I go first?''

''Of course!'' she replied, taking his upraised hand in hers.

''It looks like things are a lot worse than I thought they were. I know you said you'd stick around, but that was before
we knew it was this bad. It isn't fair to you to make you sit by my side, holding my hand, watching me die. You should
be off living your own life.''

Liz put her hands on Lucky's shoulders and gave him the gentlest of shakes. ''My turn.'' Screwing up her courage,
she said, hesitently, ''I ... I love you, Lucky. I think I have for a long time, but it took this for me to admit it, even to
myself. You are the guy who picked me up out of the bushes after I was raped. You brought me home; you got me
help, and you stood by my side when I had no one else. When my self-esteem was shattered and I blamed myself for
what happened, you were there to tell me I was a good person, that I was worthwhile, and that what happened to be
wasn't my fault. I love you, Lucky Spencer, and I will be at your side no matter what happens. I need to be with you,
for my own sake, as well as yours.''

''I love you, too, Elizabeth,'' he said, eyes bright with emotion at Liz's impassioned speech. ''Come here,'' he
beckoned, patting the bed and opening his arms.

Liz willingly sank into his embrace, laying her head on his chest. The labored beating of Lucky's damaged heart
echoed in her ears as he tightened his arms around her.


Nikolas walked quietly into Wyndemere, wondering if his absence had somehow gone unnoticed. Glancing into the
drawing room, he saw his uncle, stern-faced, sitting in one of the armchairs.

''Nikolas.'' Stefan turned to face his ward.


''Your absense was noted last night. Did you believe that you could spend a night away from the island without my
knowledge? Where were you that you couldn't come home, or, at the least, call to inform me of your impending

''Lucky is ill.'' ''And you were required to be at his side? Considering young Spencer's attitude towards you, I find
that difficult to believe.''

''I was preparing to leave the hospital after the late shift had concluded. You'll recall that I informed you of the
absense of a volunteer?'' Stefan nodded. ''Good. As I was walking down the hall, I heard weeping. As there was no
nurse or volunteer within the immediate area, I decided to investigate. As I opened the door, I discovered that the
person crying was Lucky. He was alone, and scared, so I elected to spend the night with him. Uncle, you have always
taught me that my first responsibility as The Cassadine is to my family. Lucky and I do share bloodties, so I was
merely excercising the perogatives of my training. Can you honestly fault me for doing so?

''Very well, Nikolas. I cannot say I was pleased by your unannounced absence. I sincerely hope that this will not
become a pattern. That will be all,'' he said dismissively.

''You are not even going to inquire as to my brother's condition?''

''Lucky Spencer is of no consequence to me at the moment.'' Seeing the injured look on his nephew's face, Stefan
sighed. ''Oh, very well. What is it that ails Laura's other son?''

''His heart has been seriously damaged, Uncle. Without a heart transplant, he will die.''

''I'm sorry, Nikolas,'' Stefan said awkwardly. ''Inform me if I may be of assistance.'' With that, Stefan rose and walked


Laura followed Luke out of the hospital room. She watched, shocked, as he slammed his fist into the wall, his face a
mask of rage.

''Luke? What can I do? Please, tell me!''

''Tell you what?'' Luke spun around to face her, his features twisted with anger. ''Tell you that I feel like I'm being
ripped in two? Tell you what it feels like for me to stand there, knowing my son might die and there's not a damn
thing i can do about it? Tell you what it was like for me to tell Lucky that he might only have four months to live?
What can you do, Laura? You can't stop this, babe. You can't wave a magic wand and flash that angelic ol' smile of
yours and make it all go away.''

''No, Luke. I can't stop this. But maybe, just maybe, if we lean on each other, we can make it a little easier.'' Laying a
hand on his arm, she slowly said, ''If Monica is right and Lucky might only have four months to live, I want them to be
the best four months they can be.''

''He's only fifteen, Laura ... only fifteen. Why does it have to be this way?'' Luke's emotions finally overflowed past
his ability to contain them. Clutching Laura desperately to his chest, his shoulders heaved with the sobs of a broken

                                            Chapter 7

Monica Quartermaine knocked softly on Lucky's door, then walked inside, a smile lighting up her pretty face.

Lucky and Elizabeth, curled up in each other's arms on Lucky's hospital bed, guiltily broke apart, Liz scurrying off the

Monica laughed heartily at the two teens' discomfort. ''I've got some good news for you guys.''

Lucky looke hopefully up at her. ''I could sure use some of that! What is it? Have you found me a new heart?''

''I'm sorry, Lucky,'' Monica said softly. ''Not yet. But I promise you we won't give up looking.''

Liz spoke up then, breaking the tension. ''So what's the good news?''

''Lucky, how would you like to go home? Today. Physically, you're about as stable as I can make you, so there's really
no more need for you to be stuck in the hospital.''

Lucky grinned up at Monica and pumped his fist in the air. ''Yeah! Dr. Quartermaine, you are the BEST!''

Liz threw her arms around Lucky and hugged him close. ''Oh, Lucky, this is wonderful!''

''So, I can just leave? Like, right now?''

''Not so fast, Lucky,'' Monica cautioned. ''There are still some things I need to discuss with you and your parents.
They should be here in a few minutes.''

As if on cue, Luke and Laura walked through the doorway, Bobbie at their side. Lucky looked from his mother to his
father to his aunt, puzzled. ''If all three of you are here, and Aunt Amy's working too, who's watching Lulu?''

Coming up to give Lucky a hug, Laura grinned at him. ''Nikolas is.''

''Cool,'' Lucky said slowly. ''He can actually be a pretty nice guy sometimes. Never thought I'd say that.''

Much to Lucky's surprise, ever since that first night his half-brother had stayed by his side, Nikolas had been one of
his most frequent visitors. It was strange what kind of circumstances caused people to forge relationships, Lucky
mused. Before he'd gotten sick, he couldn't even stand to be in the same room as Nikolas. Now, they were actually
taking a stab at being brothers.

Monica cleared her throat, tearing Lucky from his reverie.

''OK, Lucky, before you can go home, we need to lay down some ground rules. First of all, take it easy. I know you're
excited to get out of here, and you might even be feeling better than when you were first admitted, but your heart has
still been compromised. I don't want you doing anything physically demanding, is that clear?''

''Now, Lucky, I know how much you Spencers like to travel. That isn't an option in the forseeable future. You must
remain close to the hospital, because when we find you a heart, you need to get here ASAP.''

''So, will you call us, or what?'' Lucky asked.

''I was just getting to that,'' Monica replied. ''I'm going to give a beeper to both you and your parents. When that
beeper goes off, it means a possible donor has been found and you need to get to GH as quickly as you can. Once a
heart has been harvested, we only have about four hours to get it into you.''

''How will they match him up with a donor?'' Laura asked. ''Will it be through a database like we tried with Lesley

''Yes. The specific criteria that Lucky's match must meet are already in the UNOS database. UNOS stands for the
United Network for Organ Sharing. As soon as the UNOS computer matches the right donor for Lucky, we can
perform the transplant. Any questions?'' she asked. as Bobbie handed out the beepers.

''What about his room at home?'' Laura asked. ''It's on the second floor. Is that too much for him right now?''

Turning to Lucky, monica gave him a sympathetic smile. ''I know that this is going to be hard on you, Lucky. You're
going to have to get used to a lot of limitations, I'm afraid. As i said, keep your excercise level to an absolute
minimum. To answer Laura's question, if and only if, you feel able, you may climb the stairs to your room, but only
when absolutely necessary. Short walks are OK, but taking Foster out for a run isn't. I know you've always been the
one to take care of him, but when he needs to be walked, either have your parents or Liz or Nikolas do it, or call
Emily and have her take him out when she excercises Raoul. The bottom line is, if you need anything, ask. Are we
clear on that?''

Lucky solemnly nodded. ''No can I go home?'' he asked hopefully.

Monica's hearty laughter was echoed by Bobbie, who walked over to her nephew and fondly ruffled his hair.

''Awww, Aunt Bobbie!'' Lucky complained, attempting to brush his sandy locks back into place.

''With that kind of treatment, maybe I should just go shred your discharge papers, then!'' Bobbie quipped.

''Never!'' Lucky shot back, making a playful grab for the forms she held in one hand.

Laughing, Bobbie handed the forms to Laura to fill out and settled Lucky into a wheelchair for the trip out to the car,
and home.


Nikolas couldn't supress a laugh as he watched the antics of his little sister. Silky brown hair wind-tousled, clothes
muddy from a day spent playing outside, Lulu was merrily chasing (and being chased by) the litter of three month-old
German Shepherd puppies that Stefan had bred as an investment. Her eyes danced as she was pounced on, nipped at,
and licked by the playful mob of fur.

Her canine cohorts tagging along behind her, Lesley Lu dashed up to her brother and hugged him tightly around the

''Nikky? Can we go see Lucky? I miss him,'' she said simply. Her huge brown eyes looked up at him pleadingly.

''I'm sorry, Little Sister. We can't right now. Hey! Do you want to go visit Sheba again? She really liked those sugar
cubes you brought her the last time you visited the island.''

''It's not fair!'' Lulu cried. She stamped one small foot, eyes flashing with anger. ''Lucky's been gone forever and
ever! Has he forgotten all about me?''

Stunned, Nikolas realized how long it had been since Lucky and Lulu had seen each other. Because of the previous
estrangemnet between Lucky and his parents, he hadn't seen Lulu more than a handful of times since she and Laura
had returned to Port Charles. Her fear of being forgotten by her brother wasn't really that difficult to understand after

Nikolas hesitated, torn between a need to be honest with his sister and a burning desire to protect her. His thoughts
turned tro what Laurah had said to him when she'd dropped Lulu off. ''Don't volunteer any information, but I don't
want her lied to. If she asks to see Lucky, tell her the truth as gently as possible.''

Picking up Lulu and settling her onto his lap, he rocked her gently. ''Lucky hasn't forgotten you, Princess. He could
never forget you. He is not feeling very well right now. He is in the hospital, and you are too young to visit him there.
But he is doing his best to get well quickly so he can come back home to you.''

''OK,'' Lulu said, getting off his lap. ''Nikky? Can we go back home? I want to show you my dollies, and I want to
draw a picture for Lucky.''

Nikolas bowed to the little girl, a twinkle in his dark eyes, so much like her own. ''Your wish is my command!''


As Nikolas pulled into the Spencer's driveway, he was surprised to see Luke's pink Cadillac parked in front of the
house. Laura had told him that they had planned on being at GH for most of the day.

As Nikolas opened the front door, he and Lulu were greeted by the sight of Lucky, thinner than usual, pale from the
exertion of the trip home, but still, umistakably, Lucky, seated on the living room couch.

''Lucky!'' Lulu shouted, gleefully bounding up to him.

''Lulu!'' Lucky cried, kneeling on the floor, arms spread to catch his sister, as he reassured her that he really hadn't
forgotten all about her.

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