Act One

Sonny stretched his legs as the courtroom emptied. He was in no rush. Sorel's arraignment had gone pretty much as he'd thought it would, but Sonny had been unable to resist seeing it with his own eyes. Sorel was still deep in conversation with his lawyers, oblivious to his presence. He recognized one of the lawyers as one who often worked for the Council's interests. Sonny stood and strolled up to his table just in time to overhear Sorel lashing out at his attorneys.

"You buy this judge, you buy the whole damn courthouse if you got to. But I want out of here!"

"Mr. Sorel, we've already told you, this Judge Stanford is unapproachable. And you're already charged with jumping bail once. No court in the land is going to allow you a second opportunity to do so again."

Sonny moved closer, and heard the second lawyer add in a low voice. "If you were going to jump bail, then you should have gotten out of the country at the same time."

"That sounds like good advice. Too bad it came too late. You should have gotten out while you had the chance. Of the whole business, I mean."

Sorel's head jerked around at the sound of his voice. "You." he snarled.

"Me." Sonny smiled at him and nodded. "You really should have left well enough alone, Sorel. You had your territory and I had mine. Too bad you weren't content with what you had, because now, you're about to lose it all."

"Without Zander Smith, you got nothing." Sorel snarled. "And thanks to your little lady lawyer, I know he's MIA."

Sonny's hand came up to stroke his chin and his head tilted to one side as he continued to talk to Sorel in a conversational, almost friendly tone. "Do you really think that's true? Now I admit, it took me a little time to set it up, but I got you. And if I could get you, how hard do you think it was for me to get him?" It took a few moments, but Sonny watched with satisfaction as the realization that Sonny had had Zander Smith the whole time came over his face. The smile never left his face as the blood surged into Sorel's.

"You were the cause of all of this…" Sorel began. He lunged at Sonny, but before he could take more than two steps, the courtroom officers grabbed him by the arms. "This ain't over, Corinthos! " he shouted at him. He began screaming obscenities at the guards as they dragged him from the courtroom.

The two lawyers looked from their client to Sonny, and then busied themselves putting their papers in order. As they left the courtroom, the second lawyer paused in front of Sonny.

"A word, Mr. Corinthos?" At Sonny's nod of consent, he continued. "Just to inform you, I'm here as a representative of the Council, to ensure that their interests and concerns are covered."

"You're thinking that Sorel might try and turn to save his own skin?"

"It is not my position or within my authority to insult Mr. Sorel's integrity on that subject. But as you've pointed out to the Council, he has already violated our agreements regarding our Couriers. Let's just say we are intent on covering all possibilities at this point. But the business between you and Mr. Sorel remains just that, the business between the two of you."

"Fair enough." Sonny replied. With a respectful nod, the lawyer exited the courtroom. Sonny nodded to himself. Things were going just as he had hoped.

"You enjoyed that little scene, Corinthos?" Sonny almost smiled at the sound of Taggert's voice. He turned to face him.

"It's a terrible thing to watch a man lose control of himself like that."

"And the oh-so-cool Mr. Corinthos never loses control, does he? I know you think you own this town and everybody in it, but even you can't control everything. " Taggert leaned in close. "A little birdie has been whispering in my ear. They tell me that Sorel just might be the one who attacked Eliana Salazar. Is this your payback for that? Are you always so protective of your women? Or just the ones that are really special? I would have thought you more the cement shoe kind of guy."

Sonny stared coolly into Taggert's eyes for a moment, then made a point of glancing down at his own feet. "Actually, I prefer Cole Haan. Handmade, hand burnished Italian calfskin leather. If you'd like, I'll put you in touch with my tailor. He has them shipped in special."

Taggert just looked at him in disgust before turning on his heel and walking away. Sonny allowed himself a small laugh and walked out of the courtroom.

In the hallway, he saw Alexis deep in conversation with Dara Jensen. Seeing him, she ended it, and came over to him. Dara didn't leave, but stayed there, watching the two of them.
"Dara is really getting insistent about Zander's whereabouts." She said. Alexis was doing a good job of hiding her worry, knowing that the assistant district attorney had not moved. Her eyes betrayed her, though. "I don't know how much longer I can continue to put her off."

"If he weren't safe, I would know it by now." He hoped that she could read between the lines and hear what he was really telling her. "It's only for a few more days and it will be all over."

Sonny reached out and squeezed her hand quickly for reassurance. But not quick enough. The elevator doors opened, and Ned Ashton was standing there. His eyes dropped to their clasped hands. Sonny nodded coolly to him as he stepped onto the elevator. "Counselor?"

"I'll catch the next one. Thanks, Sonny." he nodded to her again as the elevator door shut.

"Your office said you were here. I thought I'd come by to offer you some support, but I see that you've already replaced me for that."

"Ned, this is about Zander. I was worried. Sonny tried to reassure me. That's all."

"First it was Zander, then it was this Eliana." Ned said to her. "Who's next? Don't you see; it's a pattern building here. These people are hurt because they are involved with Sonny Corinthos. Why can't you see that?"

"You're involved - were involved - with a Cassidine. The same applies, Ned." Her worry made her sharp-tongued. "What about that? And with the exception of Lila, the Quartermaines aren't exactly known for their sweetness either."

"Touché." Ned said. "Maybe your Cassidine tendencies are emerging at last. Maybe you should get your name changed back from Davis."

"I could perhaps, maybe say the same about you. Maybe you should do the same with Ashton." Alexis punched at the elevator button angrily and the doors opened. "This time, let me save you the outraged stalking away. Allow me." She stepped onto the elevator, then turned to face him, staring angrily at him as the doors closed between them.