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Elizabeth ran down the corridor trying to get to the stairs or the elevator. She knew she had to be fast, Lucky was not too far behind her. As she burst into the main area of the 10th floor she barely noticed Epiphany and Patrick at the nurses station and Jason in the far corner. What she did notice was Max talking to Jason and then she noticed Francis who was even closer to her. She veered off her original course slightly and headed straight for him. As soon as she reached him she whipped Francis' suit jacket open to the surprise of everyone who had seen her run in and pulled his gun out of his side holster. Her movements never stopped as she turned all the way back around and aimed the gun at Lucky. Her arms were straight, her left hand supporting her right hand. her right hand wrapped around the handle just like Jason taught her and she never took her eyes off Lucky who was still headed for the elevator.

"Lucky!" He turned to look but pushed the down button anyway. Elizabeth flicked the safety off. "Step away from the elevator...now."

Lucky was on a mission but decided to do as she had instructed. He didn't know if she would actually shoot him but he wasn't tempted to test out that theory right now. As he slowly walked away from the elevators she slowly moved as well, never taking her eyes or her aim off him. She figured they all thought she was crazy as the silence stretched into a minute.

"Max?" Max was still behind her but moved a little closer so she would know he heard her. "I need your help."

"Whatever I can do, Miss Webber," was his reply after getting an almost imperceptible okay from Jason.

"I need you to guard my boys. I need them safe." was her quiet plea.

Max was stunned at her request, partly because she felt her boys were in danger and partly because her boys were still so young. He was used to dealing with Michael and Morgan but he wouldn't let her down. "Tell me what to do."

"I need you to go down to daycare and meet my grandmother and take the boys somewhere safe. I know with Jason here in the hospital there's no security at the Towers and Sonny is, well, not very supportive of me right now." She paused for a moment. "I know you helped Jason find somewhere safe back in December. Do you think you could protect them there?"

Once again Max and Jason exchanged looks and understanding. "I know exactly where you mean and yes, I can and will protect your children."

She heard him move behind her toward the stairwell but she had one more request. "Max?" He turned upon hearing his name. "Please call when you get there." He started to nod but knew she wouldn't see him when she was focused on Lucky so he answered her instead.

"I will, Miss Webber." and then he was gone.

"Epiphany," Elizabeth called, knowing Epiphany was somewhere to the side of her, at the nurses station.

"Yes, Elizabeth?" Epiphany moved far enough forward that Elizabeth was able to see her in her peripheral vision.

"Please find my grandmother. I think she's on the third floor today. Tell her she needs to meet Max Giambetti at the daycare and to go with him after she picks up the boys." Epiphany picked up the phone and started the process to track down Audrey Hardy. Elizabeth could heard Epiphany's voice but did not concentrate on her words. Elizabeth's focus was Lucky who was smart enough to stay silent, although everyone in the room could see his anger. Epiphany hung up the phone.

"Audrey was confused but she promised to do as you asked." Elizabeth visibly relaxed at Epiphany's statement, but only a little.

Patrick felt it was finally safe enough to approach Elizabeth. "What are you going to do with Lucky, Elizabeth?"

"I'm not planning to do anything with Lucky...not unless I have to. I'm just protecting my boys." She was not hysterical or emotional and Patrick didn't know what to think of that.

Moments later officers poured out of the stairwell and elevators cautiously and almost simultaneously, guns drawn. They slowed and came to a stop as they realized one of their own was being held at gunpoint by his ex-wife. One of the officers furthest away got on his radio and minutes later Mac Scorpio stepped out of the stairwell into the corridor and headed for the nurses station. He moved slowly to Elizabeth and stopped mere feet away.

"Elizabeth? What's going on?" Mac gently asked the woman holding the gun expertly.

"I'm a mother protecting her children, Mac." She still refused to look away from Lucky.

"And you think Lucky would hurt your boys?" Mac hoped by asking her one question at a time he would keep her calm and rational, although he really had no reason to believe she would go off half-cocked. But, then again, she was aiming a gun at another person so he was being cautious.

"He threatened my son." Her matter-of-fact statement chilled Mac as his gaze snapped to Lucky. "He demanded that I do what he wanted or it would be my son who paid for it."

Mac was stunned. Her comments made no sense to him. Why would Lucky threaten either boy? He had raised Cameron since he was just a baby and Jake was his biological child. Mac couldn't wrap his brain around her revelation. He turned to Lucky hoping to get some answers. "Is that true, Lucky?"

Lucky exploded. "SHE PROMISED TO STAY AWAY FROM HIM!"

Elizabeth refused to yell back. "No, I promised to protect my son. I just didn't argue with you."

Lucky refused to back down and he refused to go down alone. " I TOLD JASON I WOULD RAISE JAKE AS MY OWN BUT HE HAD TO STAY AWAY FROM YOU!"

Mac knew he was only getting a small piece of the big picture but he knew his priority at this time was to disarm Elizabeth even though he was starting to understand the situation. "I need you to give me the gun, Elizabeth. Doing this isn't helping anybody."

"I will, Mac, just as soon as my boys are somewhere safe. I am protecting my boys." Her voice never shook and neither did her hands. "They are on their way to someplace safe and when I get that information I will let him go."

Mac didn't know how long that would take so he asked another question. "So, Jason's a father, huh?"

"Yeah," her mouth curving at the right corner, "but we kept it quiet to protect our son. I didn't know what to do and I know I went about it all wrong but I was just trying to protect Jake." She stopped and sighed. "I just didn't know I would have to protect him from Lucky." Her voice was sad but resolute. Before Mac could ask another question a phone behind Elizabeth rang. She heard Francis answer it and then she felt his hand on her left arm.

"It's Max," as she took the phone with her left hand.

"We made it. Your grandmother is confused but has been a good sport. Cameron got sleepy on the way so she put him in the bed when we got here and Jake is sleeping in his car seat. We'll stay here until you figure out what to do next. I'm gonna call a couple more guys so that we're a little more protected, okay?"

Max's report was comforting, given the situation. "That sounds great, Max. Thank you, really. This means the world to me. I'll call Gram later." She passed the phone back to Francis. She breathed a sigh of relief. She had one final piece of advice for Lucky.

"If you even think of either of my children, I will hunt...you...down." She finally looked away from Lucky to look at Mac. She slowly lowered her arms and passed the gun back to Francis as she and Lucky were surrounded by cops. Both of them were handcuffed as Mac tried to sort through what he knew.

...................................................


Lucky was long gone. He had been taken to the PCPD for questioning while Elizabeth was led over to the waiting area to be questioned there. It was a bit difficult to sit down with her hands behind her back but she managed. Jason and Francis had worked their way over to where Mac was questioning Elizabeth. Elizabeth noticed Jason standing off to the side and motioned for him to sit down next to her. Mac wasn't thrilled but figured nothing about this situation was conventional so he let Jason stay.

"I need you to tell me what happened today to lead up to you pointing a gun at Lucky, Elizabeth." Mac asked as he pulled out his notebook as Detective Harper sat next to him.

"Lucky asked to speak to me while I was filing some charts at the nurses station. I led him down the northern corridor because I knew it had the least number of patients. He seemed upset so I asked him about it. He was furious, said he had heard me talking to Jason about spending time together and had realized that Jason and I were seeing each other. He was getting louder and more agitated the more he talked. I told him it wasn't his business and nobody was supposed to know so that myself or my boys wouldn't be targets. He told me that I should have thought of that before I slept with Jason and that it would be my fault if something happened to my boys. He said I had to stay away from Jason, that he would protect me from Jason. He said he was protecting Jake from Jason. I told him Jason wasn't a threat to his own son, that Jason would never hurt Jake. He grabbed my arms and put his face right up to mine. He said...He said--" She broke off at the reality of what she was about to say. "He said I had to stay away from Jason or that I just might end up a childless mother." Her voice became a hoarse whisper. "He said accidents happen all the time...a baby could fall down the stairs while learning to walk." Jason couldn't hold her hand because of the bandages but he wrapped his arm around her and pulled her to him anyway. "I was terrified but I had to get to my boys before he did. I shoved him the best I could to get him to let go of me and then I ran. My goal was to get to my kids but I saw Francis and Max and changed my mind. There are a lot of children, not just my own, in the daycare and I didn't want to risk any of them."

Mac thanked her and put his notebook away. "Because you actually threatened him in front of witnesses Lucky has the option of pressing charges. I doubt you will be found guilty but you could spend a night or two in jail."

Detective Harper's phone chimed signaling he had received a text message. He addressed the small group. "That's timing for you. Lucky's not pressing charges so you're free to go." He uncuffed her and she sat back down.

"Unfortunately, Elizabeth, we can't really hold him or arrest him at this time," Mac informed her. "I believe you but all we have is your word. I would advise you to take out a restraining order if you feel you and your children are in danger."

Elizabeth thanked him and he and Detective Harper left. Elizabeth and Jason sat there giving comfort to one another just by being together while Francis stood guard.

"I know this makes things difficult--" He cut her off with a quick kiss. He leaned his forehead against hers and breathed her in.

"You have no idea how scared I was to see you run in here today and pull that gun because I know you wouldn't use a gun unless you felt threatened. But I was proud of you, too. You never gave up control. You stayed calm and collected." He pressed a kiss to her temple.

"I had a good teacher," she whispered. She closed her eyes and let his presence wash over her. "Are we going to be okay?"

"Yes," was his quick and firm reply, "because we'll be together."
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