He could barely speak. What had started out as a hallucination rapidly became a possibility and finally, a reality. She existed. She always had. He knew from the moment he stepped from the vehicle that she was one of them. A lifetime separated, however, had created a wall that would not crumble without a fight. He could see the distrust that radiated from her.
"Athena?" he asked, noting the tremble in his voice. She shifted against the trailer door, finally nodding. Stefan's face conveyed the multitude of emotions that swirled within him. "I'm Stefan Cassadine," he started before she roughly interrupted him. "I know who you are," she said angrily. Stefan nodded slightly, acknowledging her upset state. "So you found me. What do you want?" She glared at him, but silently knew her curiosity would win out over her pride. Stefan pulled a photograph from his jacket and gingerly took a few steps towards her. "I thought you'd might like to have this. I understand," he said before Athena quickly cut in again. "Don't presume to tell me what you understand," she bit out. Snatching the photo from him, her dark eyes cast on the sea of faces before her. "What is this?"
Stefan chose his next words carefully. "Your family." Athena bristled slightly, but perused the picture carefully, examining each face, trying to find something she could connect herself to. "Who's this?" Stefan leaned forward and smiled, "Sabrina, she's my sister. May I?" Athena nodded, handing the picture over and allowed Stefan to identify each person in the picture, saving the crucial last few until the last. "This is Nikolas." He kept his voice calm and quiet. "Lucky and LuLu's half-brother," Athena supplied, getting a feel for it. Stefan nodded, taking a breath before proceeding, "your brother."
Athena said nothing but her reaction spoke volumes regardless as she examined Nikolas's features closely. "Your twin brother," Stefan added. "This is Laura, your Mother." Athena's gaze blurred as the tears began to well up, but Stefan continued, determined to deny nothing. They had all been kept in the dark by Helena for too long. "My Father. Which one?" Athena asked, her voice trembling. Stefan swallowed hard, "that would be me." Athena turned sharply towards him, his emerald eyes glistening at her with unshed tears. "You?" she asked breathlessly. Stefan nodded, offering a quick smile to her, unable to speak. "You found me," Athena whispered. Stefan blinked, the tears cascading down his cheeks. "I found you, and I promise that I will never let you go," he said hoarsely. Athena gazed at the Nevada landscape and smiled, the first that Stefan hoped would be many to come. "I'm found."