Visit From an Angel III

Bo stood in front of the condemned building and stared at it, a slight smile on his lips at the gold lettering on the door from what seemed to be a life time ago. "It was," a soft voice said from behind him, "at least for one of us," it added as he spun around and stared at her in surprise.

"Isabella?" he asked as he stared at the specter in front of her. "How?"

"What is it with the men in my life?" she asked. "I said I would always be nearby, so why are you all so surprised to find me near?"

Bo laughed slightly at her, "Gee, I don't know. Haven't been in a while?"

"I've been here all along, you just don't realize it. You all close yourself off to that."

"Then why. . .?"

"Why now?" she asked, a smile playing on her face. "Perhaps because you need someone so much."

"No, I don't. . ." he said looking away from her.

"Then what do you need?"

"Answers. . . A way to. . . I don't know. . ." Bo replied as he looked back to her as he ran a hand through his hair.

"Forgive and open your heart?" Isabella asked, watching the surprise pass across his face. "Bo, I may be dead, but I still know things. . . You forget, I was a good PI."

"Only because you had good partners," Bo couldn't help but shoot back.

"Oh, puh-lease, you were too busy chasing after Carly and Tanner was. . . well, Tanner," Isabella shot back on a laugh.

"Yeah, well, at least I didn't sound like I was doing a bad imitation of Brando."

"Yeah, well if my instruction hadn't been such a jerk, and I had thought to wear a different perfume, I wouldn't have been caught," Isabella sighed. "But that's beside the point. A trip down memory lane isn't why I'm here."

"Than what is?"

"I'm here to keep you from making a huge mistake."

Bo sighed and turned his back on her, "I don't know what you mean."

"Yes, you do, or you wouldn't be turning away," Isabella replied as she watched him tense.

"I can't help it. I can't let her know how I feel. G-d, I've tried to be happy. . .tried to act like I wanted him. . . But. . . I can't get pass the fact that he isn't mine."

"Seems to me you weren't sure you wanted a child that was yours all that long ago," Isabella said softly, causing Bo to round in surprise. "You said then 'if only that baby had been Hope's. . .'"

"I guess I should've said that I wished it had been ours." Bo replied gruffly.

"But this baby can be."

"And what about when the truth about who his father is comes out? What then? And how do I raise the child of Stefano DiMera as mine?"

"Would you prefer that Johnny be the son of someone you respect? A friend? Would that really make that much of a difference, because the truth is you aren't running because of who his father is, but because you feel like Hope betrayed you."

"No, I don't. I know that she thought she was Gina. . ." Bo started to protest.

"Yes, in your head you do, but not your heart," Isabella sighed. "Bo, you've always been so in love with her. Always wanted the chance to have her back. . . You have that now. You have all you dreamed of, and yet. . . Yet it's not enough for you. You are trying so hard to sabotage it because you're afraid of what could happen. You're afraid of losing it all again. In that way you're not that much different from our father. You do the same things. You think that someone has betrayed you and you shut them out."

"I'm not. . ."

"Yes, you are," Isabella replied forcefully as she reached out and put a hand on his arm.

"I can't do it," Bo sighed as he pulled his arm away from hers.

"Can't do what?"

"Can't raise someone else's kid as my own."

Isabella stared at him and nodded before turning slightly, then turned back, knowing that the only thing left to say would be very painful for him to hear. "What would have happened if Shawn had said the same thing about you?"

"What?" Bo asked shocked.

"What if Shawn had told Caroline that he couldn't raise you because you weren't his?" she asked again.

"That was different!"

"How Bo?" Isabella asked. "Because I don't see it. . . We both know how hard it is to grow up believing that one man is our father and then learning that it isn't true. What you have to do now is decide if you're up to the job. After that, you must decide if you're going to be like Ernesto or Shawn."

"I don't understand."

"Yes, you," Isabella replied evenly, "but I'll explain it anyway. You were raised by Shawn and still consider him your father. You are a Brady, not matter what. You never have seen yourself as Victor's son.

But me, I always knew there was something off with my relationship with Ernesto on some level. And when the truth came out. . . well, I accepted Victor.

But there's more to this than just. . . Just who we accepted. Shawn stayed with Caroline. Ernesto killed my mother. Now I know you wouldn't kill Hope. But, you can do it emotionally. She needs you Bo. She needs you so much. They both do.

And, well, there is one other thing. In the end, I was used as a pawn. He tried to kill me to hurt Victor. Now, you may never intentionally hurt him, but you have to. . . have to think of him as yours. You have to look at him and see your child instead of that of an enemy. You need to see him as his own person. He's just an innocent baby, Bo. He didn't ask to be born. He didn't ask to be put into this craziness anymore than we did."

Bo looked at her, tears in his eyes, "But I don't know how to. . . I look at him and all I see is the pain we went through."

"Most people look at a baby and see the future."

"I want to, but. . .he's sick, Izzy. He's going to have such a hard road ahead of him. . ."

"We all do, Bo. Some of us just learn about it sooner."

"And what about when he learns that he wasn't mine?"

"But he will be. He'll be yours in love," Isabella replied easily. "Bo, there are so many other ways to be a parent than blood. I know from experience."

"It still. . ."

"Still won't make you less afraid that he'll turn away from you? What do you fear, that history will reverse? That instead of shunning his biological father as you did, he'll shun you?" she asked all too wisely. "Bo, if you raise him right. Teach him about love. About family being more than blood. If you hold him close and yet let him go to be his own man, you will never have to worry.

Besides, you've been where he will be that day. The understanding you can show him. . ." she paused as she reached out and touched his arm, smiling into his face. "Guide him as you did me."

"But what about Hope? She doesn't even know. And I. . . I can't tell her. I mean. . . G-d Izzy she has too much to on her mind to handle that as well. The guilt she'd feel..."

"Isn't that knowledge enough to let go of your own anger towards it? Because if you can empathize with her guilt you know it wasn't a true betrayal. As for the other, on some level she knows. Although I think it's best to let the truth be known. . . I can't tell you what to say about that. You have to decide that on your own. I don't know her well enough to tell you how to. . .to get through to her. I can only be here to help you deal with it. To lead you towards making the right decision."

Bo only nodded, "How do I know what the right decision is?" he asked as a baby's cry was heard behind him.

"By following your heart," Isabella replied as she stood on tip toe and kissed his cheek.

"I don't. . ." he started, and then turned slightly as the sound grew and he recognized it.

"You do more than you think," Isabella's voice echoed around him as he moved towards the sound.

"Hope what are you doing?" he asked as he neared where she was standing on the docks with Johnny.

"Brady. . ." she said a bit surprised. "I. . . well, he's so fussy that I thought maybe. . ."

"Yeah," Bo said as he took the baby from her surprising her. "You know the boat's docked over there. Why don't you go below and lay down for a little while and I'll take him?"

"I don't know. . ."

"I am his father Hope, I think I can handle him," Bo chided teasingly.

Hope couldn't help but smile slightly at that, "OK, but only for a little while," Hope replied as she started towards the boat then paused turning towards him. "What were you doing out anyway?"

"Just thinking about some things."

"Oh," she replied with a slight shrug as she continued.

Bo watched her go and then smiled down at the baby. "What? I couldn't exactly tell her the truth, could I? What do you think she'd say if I told her I was talking to a ghost?" he asked on a laugh. "She certainly wouldn't have left you with me, and she needed to because she needs her rest. And we. . .well, we need to get to know each other. See, the ghost I talked to was your aunt, Isabella, and she was one smart lady. One day when you're older I'll tell you about her. Point out her star to you," Bo continued as he started to pace to try to soothe the baby. "Anyway, she made me realize something. No matter what I am your poppa. I will never let you down if I can help it. I will never make you feel like you don't belong. That you're less than your older brother. . . I know I haven't been doing that lately, but. . . well, I'll change that. I'll be there for you and never use you as a pawn in some type of revenge game. I will keep you safe, and I will make sure your life is as easy as it can be. We have a long hard road ahead of us, but we also have each other and our own, very special guardian angel watching over us."