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Scene 105

Sonny burst into the middle of the steamy room. His eyes found the top of Alexis's head, where her tousled hair had been twisted and pinned. He moved closer, and his eyes found her face, which had begun to slip under a scented sea of bubbles that nearly touched her nose. He fell to his knees on the thick white rug and grabbed hold of her right wrist that lay limp over the edge of the tub.

"Alexis!"

She didn't make a sound as Sonny gave her arm a powerful pull, yanking her upper body out of the bubbly water and flush against the side of the tub. He released her arm and let it completely drop over the side, deftly catching her head before it hit the hard porcelain. He brought it down carefully, setting her forehead to rest against her upper arm. And then, Sonny quickly wrapped a strong arm around her back to keep her upright and steady against the bathtub's wall. Sonny's hand clasped around the side of her neck, fingers searching out her pulse. And this time, he pushed firmly, unflinchingly, into her flesh. This time, he wasn't afraid of hurting her. He was only afraid that she'd already inhaled water into her lungs. But Sonny's forceful fingers were soon rewarded with the feel of a strong, steady throb. He closed his eyes as he took in a deep breath and heavily sighed it out. And then, he opened his eyes again and gazed down at the wet, naked, lifeless body that he held flush against the cold porcelain. He had to get her out - but he had to rouse her first. And against all odds, he also had to keep his focus ABOVE her neck.

"Alexis, wake up!" His hand moved up from her throat, grabbed hold of her wet face, and lifted it up. "Open your eyes! Come on, honey!"

Her eyelashes fluttered lightly, though her eyes stayed closed and the rest of her features stayed at rest. Sonny tried harder, bringing his hand up from her back to hold her face between both palms.

"Come on, I know you can hear me. Open your eyes. Now!"

He gave her head a quick shake, and then another. A small vertical crease suddenly appeared between Alexis's brows as a truncated groan formed in her throat. Sonny smiled and bowed his head in growing relief.

"Okay, you're trying. That's good." He let his forehead briefly touch down upon hers. "But I need you to do better…if you can. Oh God - what the hell did you take?"

Sonny lifted his head from hers and turned his eyes to the small orange bottle on the counter. He squinted, trying to make out the words typed on the label, but he couldn't even make out Alexis's name let alone the name of the pills. The bottle was too far away and the staccato flicker of the candle she'd lit in the corner of the bathtub gave him too little light. He gently brought Alexis's head back down to once more rest against the edge of the tub, slipped his arm back around her ribcage, and reached for the plastic bottle. Once in his hands, Sonny held it up over the thinning lacey veil of fragrant bubbles where it was closer to the fluttering candlelight. Alexis's name was clearly typed at the top, and the name of the drug was beneath it, in the center of the label.

"Halcion?"

Sonny frowned. He knew the drug well. He'd provided it to a few of the strippers who worked in his club during the period of his life that shamed him the most. Halcion was easy to get. It was a common sleeping pill, but he didn't understand why Alexis would have it. She hated taking drugs of any kind. It was a ten-minute exercise in verbal volleyball just to get her to take an aspirin when her head was ready to split. It made no sense that she'd have a prescription for something like Halcion, let alone take it when she was already exhausted and ready to go to bed. But she did take it…then got into a bathtub filled with water while alone in the penthouse for the night. Something had been troubling her before. He knew it, though she denied. The look in her eyes when he pulled away from her feverish kisses had told him the truth.

A surge of guilt shot through him. Why did he pull away from her when she needed him? How had that made her feel, despite his insistence that her affection was wanted? He had hurt her, and she came upstairs and found somewhere else to hide. Sonny pulled the bottle closer to his face and searched the label for the number of pills she'd been given. Ten. How many were missing? Sonny carefully let his hand slip away from the damp warmth of Alexis's skin and lifted his arm from its circle around her back. Alexis didn't move. He cursed the standard-issue childproof cap as he pushed and twisted, needing both hands to remove it, turn the open bottle upside down, and dump the contents out onto the floor. Sonny's eyes scanned the scattered spots decorating the white carpet, counting out six pills. Four were missing. He took in a sharp breath as his eyes darted back to Alexis's face - her flushed, damp face, so beautifully serene while at rest upon the cold, hard, white porcelain.

"Damn it, Alexis." He whispered harshly.

Four pills were missing. And Alexis was as out of it now as he'd ever seen her be in the hospital after getting a shot of Demerol. It scared him. How many Halcion had she taken, and how many would be enough to do her harm? Sonny brushed the wet tendrils from her cheek before his hand wrapped back around her throat to check her pulse once more. It was still strong, still thumping rhythmically against his fingers. He turned his wrist and checked his watch. It hadn't been quite an hour since he'd left her. The effect of the pills couldn't have taken too deep a hold on her just yet. He was sure he could wake her. He HAD to wake her, if only for a minute, so she could tell him how much she's taken. And then he'd have to make a call - to either Tony Jones, or 911. Sonny began to panic all over again, remembering all too vividly the last time he'd seen paramedics at work on Alexis. He grabbed her head and pulled it up, rather un-gently, as he yelled.

"Alexis! You have to wake up!"

Sonny suddenly shivered violently, his heart skipping a beat as he realized that his hand had begun to rise up - and why. He had just felt the sudden instinct to lightly slap her face in his desperation to rouse her, and it scared him that he'd already moved to act upon it. Instead, his hand clenched into a fist. Sonny knew he had to wake her, and he couldn't worry about being too forceful if he had to be. But the thought of striking her in any way, for any reason, made him ill. Sonny took a cleansing breath and stared down at Alexis's closed lids and the dark curves of her lashes. She shouldn't be there, in that tub full of water. She should be in her bed. And Sonny should get her there before he did her more harm than good in a bathroom awash in slippery, soapy water. He was already soaked himself, and struggling to keep a firm hold on Alexis's smooth, wet back as he braced her against the wall of the bathtub to shield her modesty from his own immodest eyes.

Sonny turned his wanton eyes away from her and glanced up at the pair of fluffy white bath towels hanging from a brass rod on the wall beside the sink. He reached up and pulled one down onto the floor beside his knees, then plunged his hand through the thinning blanket of bubbles and into the now tepid water surrounding Alexis's body. In moments, he'd found and pulled the stopper from the drain, and the whooshing sound of water being sucked into the pipes hit his ears. When the water level had lowered from her shoulder blades down to her waist, Sonny could wrap the towel around her without getting it soaked. And meanwhile, he would bring Alexis back to consciousness as best he could.

"Okay, Alexis. That's enough sleep for now, okay?" He gave her head a shake. "I mean it! Open your eyes!"

She didn't move a muscle. He shook her head again. Nothing.

"Damn it."

Sonny muttered, looking toward the faucet as an idea hit his brain. He let go of Alexis's right cheek and reached for the brass handle marked "C", giving it a sharp turn and sending a thin flow down into the film of slowly descending gardenia bubbles. He cupped his hand under the stream and splashed Alexis's face with the bracingly cold water. She flinched, a small groan sounding out from deep in her throat.

"Come on, honey, wake up!"

He splashed her again. Alexis's shoulder jerked up slightly as she weakly tried to turn her face away from the cold, wet assault. But Sonny's hand held her firmly, and he continued to splash. She flinched, and groaned again.

"Don't…"

"Atta girl." He murmured with a smile, taking her face in both hands. "Now open your eyes, Alexis." He kissed her forehead. "Please open your eyes."

Her head began to drop as the sleeping pill reclaimed its briefly lost hold on her.

"Alexis!" Sonny bellowed, giving her head a shake.

Alexis was silent, the weight of her head fully releasing into his hands. Sonny swallowed hard and shifted his eyes to the stream of water still running from the faucet. He cupped his palm beneath it and brought an icy handful around behind her, releasing it at the top of her spine. Alexis took in a sharp, ragged breath, her whole body jerking at the feel of the cold shock shooting down her bare back. Sonny's jaw tightened, but he kept his focus making her wake up. He sent another splash of cold against her face, sending another strong shiver through her body.

"I'm sorry, baby." He whispered.

She whimpered, and tried to pull way from the renewed chill against her cheek. "Stop..."

"No! I need you to look at me. Look at me, Alexis!"

Sonny's wet palm moved back to hold her face. She whimpered again, lids fluttering rapidly as her brow furrowed.

"I'll stop if you open your eyes. Honey, I promise I'll stop if you look at me. Okay?"

"Mm hmm..." She groaned and let Sonny's hands tilt her face upward.

"Okay then. Open your eyes, Alexis!"

Sonny watched closely as her lids fluttered again. She was trying - struggling to open them. He brushed his thumbs back and forth across her cheekbones, coaxing her.

"You can do it. Show me those big browns!"

Alexis ran her tongue across her lips. "S-Sonny?"

Sonny gently pushed back the wet strands of hair clinging to her skin. "Yeah. It's me."

Finally, her lids began to lift. Sonny smiled as he looked down into her sleepy little eyes.

"Okay. I'll settle for squinty browns."

The dimples began to etch into her cheeks, and she spoke slowly, haltingly.

"Y-you have…big…b-browns."

He laughed lightly. "Yeah. I do."

Alexis sighed and turned her face toward the feel of Sonny's fingers grazing her forehead. "I…I like…"

"What? What do you like, honey?"

She swallowed, blinked slowly, and looked right up into Sonny's eyes. A moment later, he saw her left hand rising up from its resting place along the edge of the porcelain. Her unexpected movement startled him. He'd been too intent on keeping his gaze above her shoulders. But Sonny allowed his eyes leave their restricted field of vision for a moment, and he watched as Alexis's hand continued on a languid path through the empty air until her fingertips touched his jaw.

"I like…th-the way they…l-look at me."

A strange sting began to hit his eyes. He took her cold, damp hand and held it firmly against the warmth of his cheek, and Sonny's big browns became wells.

"How do they look at you, Alexis?" He whispered with a catch in his voice. "What do you see in my eyes?"

Her dimples deepened, half-lidded eyes still gazing up at him as if in a trance. And then, she answered simply, in an airy whisper.

"L-love."

Sonny's heart leapt into his mouth. And then it leapt out.

"Good." The wells began to spill. "Just so long as there's no misunderstanding."

"Mm hmm." Her lids gave in to the pull of gravity and drifted closed.

Sonny let go of her hand and took her face back up between his firm palms.

"Honey, not yet! You can't sleep again just yet."

She blinked her eyes back open with a frown and mumbled. "I wan-wanna s-sleep…"

"No, honey!

Alexis closed her eyes and laid her palm flat against his chest.

"You can sleep after you tell me how many pills you took."

"Hmm."

"How many pills did you take, Alexis?"

"I…I t-took..." Her head began to release forward.

"One?" He firmed his palms against her skull. "Two?"

"N-no."

"Three?"

She frowned again. "Mm mmm."

"No to two?"

"Hmm…"

"You only took one? Alexis, did you only take one pill?"

She made an unintelligible sound as her palm slid down his chest, forearm coming to an abrupt landing on the edge of the tub. Alexis was out cold once again.

"One…or maybe two. Okay. That should be okay, right? Even if you took two, that shouldn't hurt you…I think."

He would call Tony, just to make sure. She'd had so many chemicals pumped through her body in the last three weeks that Sonny couldn't take any chances on what the Hacion might do. But first, Sonny had to get her out of the tub. His gaze lowered to the light film of fragrant bubbles floating atop the shrinking body of water skirting Alexis's hips. The water drained more quickly that he'd expected. His jaw shifted.

"Oh boy."

He just realized he had to get her clothed as well. Sonny laid her head gently down upon the cold porcelain, turned off the cold water, and took the bath towel up from the floor. He wrapped it around her back, lifting first her lifeless left arm to slip one end of the terrycloth underneath it. And then, he lifted her right arm to do the same. She made another small sound, and Sonny glued his eyes to her face as he lifted her head with one strong hand and pulled the two ends of the fluffy towel together in front of her body.

"Piece of cake." Sonny muttered to himself as his fingers innocently brushed against the top curve of her wet, bare cleavage. "I AM a gentleman."

He worked quickly, twisting one corner of the thick terrycloth and tucking under the other end of the towel that covered her chest. Sonny ran his tongue across her lower lip and squinted as he quickly glanced down to check that his handiwork looked secure. It did. But now came the really tricky part - gracefully getting her out of the tub while keeping the towel in place. He cleared his throat and gave the logistics of it a moment of thought before pulling Alexis's left arm up from the edge of the bathtub and settling it upon his right shoulder. He switched hands against her head, then lifted her right arm and settled it over his left shoulder. So far, so good.

Alexis suddenly took in a deep, long breath. And as she did, her head begin to release forward. Sonny's strong, supportive hand moved with her, bringing her face down to rest fully against his chest. He smiled as she gently nuzzled her nose into him. And as Alexis slowly exhaled, his eyes drifted shut at the feel of her warm breath finding his skin through the thin cotton of his shirt. It made him shiver, and Sonny's arms quickly made their way around her delicate, terry-wrapped body. He held her tight, readying himself to lift her up. But when Alexis's arm began to tighten around his neck, Sonny halted. Her body was reflexively responding to him and he couldn't help but respond to her, bowing his head down to rest his cheek upon the soft hair twisted loosely on top of her head.

"I am a gentleman." He whispered softly. "And you, my love, are in SO much trouble when you wake up."

Sonny sighed and shifted his weight as he finally pulled Alexis up and sat her down on the edge of the tub. She was dripping wet, and he was pretty doused himself. He didn't want to take any chances on slipping and hurting either one of them, so Sonny proceeded with caution - and an appreciation for the white cotton throw rug beneath him that was quickly drinking in whatever water fell its way. He swung Alexis's legs over the side of the tub, slipped his other arm behind her shoulders, and picked her up from her perch to set her down upon the thick rug. He carefully leaned her back against the porcelain wall, and she made a small sound as her bare skin met the cold surface. But she stayed where he put her, and Sonny turned away to go find a robe to wrap around her. He didn't have to go far. Alexis's deep blue velvet robe was hanging right on the back of the bathroom door.

He quickly freed it from its brass hook and knelt back down on the floor, pulling Alexis's head back to lean upon his chest while he slid the open robe behind her back. He set the soft velvet down upon her shoulders and slipped one arm at a time into the sleeves. Sonny then carefully moved forward to let Alexis's back come to rest against the porcelain once more. He crossed one panel of her robe over the thick towel modestly covering her bare skin, and tied a small bow with the underneath tie. The second front panel was crossed over the first, and Sonny made a large, thick knot with the long velvet belt. Again, it was a piece of cake. And again, he'd managed to hold back the temptation to look where he shouldn't be looking.

But Sonny did give in let his gaze wander up the length of her slim, tan legs as they lay, bent-kneed, against the white carpet. They glistened with dampness in the dim, flickering light of the candle, and they were exquisite. And his gaze continued traveling upward, drinking in the shapely beauty they beheld. But the diagonal draping of blue velvet across her thighs halted the wanton caress of his eyes. He felt…caught. And his eyes quickly darted up to Alexis's damp, flushed face, as if expecting to find her watching him as he stared at her innocently naked skin. But her lids were still closed. Alexis still slept and knew nothing of his lustful stolen glances.

Sonny was ashamed of himself. How could he think such thoughts of her after the scare he'd just had? He couldn't help it. Alexis was so damned beautiful. And Sonny was so damned grateful that he'd found her before she'd slipped any further underneath the surface of the water. Just one more inch - that's all it would have taken for her to drown. Just thinking about the unthinkable possibility sent a chill up his spine. And it made Sonny want to gather Alexis up in his arms, cover her sweet, serene face with kisses, and hold her safe and close against his body until she awoke. He sighed heavily and whispered to unhearing ears.

"Why do you have to be so damned beautiful?"

He reached out and pulled the panels of Alexis's robe closer together, until they covered her knees. And as sat back on his heels, firming his balance in preparation to pull both of them to their feet, he cast a final glance at Alexis. A wave of déjà vu hit him hard, taking him back to worst throes of her hospital nightmares when she was on the floor, leaning against a wall while under the influence of a drug…and utterly unaware of what happened to her while she slept. It was disturbing. And Sonny knew it would disturb Alexis too, if she could see herself right then. Why she would do this to herself. Why would she take those pills? When she did wake up, Alexis would have some serious explaining to do.

Sonny reached out and pressed his fingertips firmly against the side of her throat, just to pacify him self one more time. Her pulse was still strong. He leaned forward, wrapped his arms around her torso, and pulled her up with him until they were both standing. Or, until HE was standing, with most of her weight of Alexis's body resting against the length of his. Sonny held her tight with one arm around her ribcage while sneaking a hand into the deep blue velvet "V" below her throat, searching out and finding the tucked and twisted ends of the bath towel still wrapped around her body. Sonny's fingers worked quickly to loosen the towel, and then he raised his eyes heavenward as he slipped his fingers up under her robe to find the edge of the terry cloth. He gave it a firm yank, and then another. The towel gave way, releasing down to the floor in a white semi-circle at Alexis's feet.

Sonny smiled as he picked her up in his arms and carried her to her bed. He laid his precious armload down upon the comforter and slid his arms out from underneath her. She's gone completely slack just as the towel came free of her body, as if his tugging on the terrycloth had been to release HER to gravity's pull as well. She hadn't even made an instinctive move to tighten her arm around his neck, as she'd done before. Her reflexive response to Sonny's manipulations of her body surrendered to the Halcion, and she became dead weight in his arms. He'd expected Alexis to at least give a sigh of contentment as she sank into the softness of the down comforter - or to stir and settle into a comfortable position. But she didn't move a muscle. She lay still, right where he put her. And she looked anything but comfortable.

Alexis's head was tilted back too far back along the flat surface of the bed, and her left arm had landed at an awkward angle to her body. If he left her that way all night, she's wake up with a seriously stiff neck and an arm that was still painfully asleep. Sonny sighed as he slipped a hand under her head, lifted it up, and tucked a pillow beneath. He set her back down with care, smoothing the damn strands of hair away from her face as he pulled his hands away. She didn't respond to the feel of his fingers brushing her cheek. He wished she'd respond, just a little. It worried him that she didn't, though he understood why.

His eyes drifted to her arm, bent back and up, curving alongside her head. Sonny took hold of it and gently moved it down close to her side. He let his hand linger at her wrist, fingertips lightly dancing along the plane of delicate skin. And still, her body showed no sign of feeling his touch. Again, a twinge of worry hit him. If Alexis had taken two sleeping pills instead of one, maybe it wasn't okay. He lifted her hand up and pressed a kiss to the soft underside of her wrist, where his fingers had just laid a kiss of their own. And then, he lowered her hand down to rest upon her abdomen, picked up the phone, and dialed.

"Dr. Tony Jones, please. Then I'll need you to page him. This is Sonny Corinthos, and it's urgent that he calls me back right away regarding his patient Alexis Davis. I'm with her right now, and he can reach me at her home number. No, it's not an emergency, but it could be if I don't hear back from him soon. No, I'm not bringing her into the - look, just page him NOW and tell him to call me back NOW. Or am I going to have to call Stefan Cassadine and tell him that his sister's doctor is being made unavailable to her? Davis. Yes, that's the correct number. Thank you."

Sonny shook his head in frustration as he hung up the phone. His gaze shifted back toward the nightstand, settling on the brass clock. It was a little after seven, and Tony should be returning his call soon. He'd left GH several hours ago after working an early shift, but through the miracle of pagers a doctor never really left the hospital behind. Though while Alexis was under Tony's care, it seemed to Sonny that the he never left the hospital behind in the literal sense. He was always there, always attentive to her needs. The quality of care and depth of compassion that he gave her put Sonny into his debt. It was a debt he begrudged…at first. The pain that Tony brought to Jason, Carly and Michael was still fresh in Sonny's heart when Alexis was first brought into GH.

But in the long and difficult hours Sonny spent by her side, watching her struggle to recover and grow strong, he couldn't help but think and reflect on a myriad of things in his life. He thought about how people he hated had stepped up to the plate when the woman he loved was at risk. Taggart…and Tony Jones. And Sonny had to admit to the truth that Taggart could be a decent man, and Tony's abduction of Michael had been provoked. Carly lied, as was Carly's instinct to do, and another child was lost to the good doctor Jones. That one heartbreaking lie sent him crashing, out of control. Sonny also lost a child, and Sonny also crashed. He just didn't break the law or take anyone else with him when he did it. But Tony kept Alexis from crashing, and Sonny's debt to him was anything but begrudged.

Sonny looked down at Alexis as he sat upon the edge of the bed. Her face was turned away from him, but the scrape on the right side of her forehead was clear to his view. He lifted a long lock of hair up and away from the corner of her eye, letting his hands continue moving back into the softness of her hair. The casual knot she'd made at the top of her head had almost come undone and the freed chestnut strands lay sprawled across the pillow. Sonny's fingers traveled gently against her scalp, loosening the last of the twisted hair and searching for the pins that lay hidden within. Hairpins were sharp at the ends, and she could hurt herself in her sleep if he left them in. His fingers found just three, and they were carefully removed and set down on the nightstand.

Again, his hands went to her hair. Her hair was like a magnet - an irresistible force pulling at his willing hands. And his eyes were just as irresistibly pulled to her face, still searching for a glimmer of response to his touch. There was none. But Sonny knew that she felt it, and that it gave her comfort. Caressing her this way always did, even if she didn't outwardly show it. It let her know he was there, and that she was loved. She felt the love in his touch just as she saw it in his eyes. A warm rush suddenly overtook him. Alexis liked seeing the love in Sonny's eyes. She told him so. And it moved him to tears to hear it. Tomorrow, Alexis would hear something from Sonny too. She would hear the words from his mouth that his touch and his eyes already silently spoke to her. It was time. And Sonny hoped it would move her to tears to hear it.

He reluctantly let his fingers slide the down her hair until they slipped free of the cold, damp ends. The back of his hand pressed against her cheek, and Sonny smiled at the healthy warmth of her skin. His gaze drifted down the velvety blue length of her body, wondering if she was warm enough all over. The panels of her robe were parting company at her calves, and Sonny scooted down to the end of the bed to pull the soft material down over her legs. As he laid the velvet down at her ankles, his hand brushed against her foot. It felt cold - too cold. He paused a moment before wrapped one hand around her arch and the other over her toes to let his own warmth infuse her skin. Within seconds, Sonny felt her toes move under his fingers. His eyes darted up to her face, and were rewarded with a small fluttering of her lashes. He grinned and firmed his hold on her foot.

"I won't tickle. I promise."

He felt another light muscle twinge against his hand, and Sonny leaned down to press a light kiss to the inside of her ankle before he let her go. And then, he moved his attention to warming her right foot in just the same way. She didn't wriggle her toes this time, but Sonny heard her response to his warming hands in the sound of a deep exhale. He kissed the outside of her ankle. A moment later, the sound of the telephone claimed his attention away from her. He released her foot and quickly grabbed the phone.

"Hello." He smiled. "Tony. Thanks for calling back so quick. No, it's not an emergency. I told them that when I called. Look, it's just that Alexis took a sleeping pill - maybe two, and she's really under it. Halcion. I have no idea what she's doing with it! But she's got a prescription for ten of them and four are missing, so…no, she didn't. Because I was able to wake her up enough to tell me she didn't take ALL the pills that were missing. I got her narrowed down to a 'yes' on having taken one or two. No, she was totally unconscious when I found her…in a bathtub filled with water that almost came up to her nose."

Sonny closed his eyes and rubbed at the light throb in his temple. Tony was as stunned and upset as Sonny had been, and it made Sonny feel it all over himself again to explain it.

"She's in bed. I got her out, got her covered up, and put her in bed. No, she only came to for a minute, and she was really groggy. She knew who I was, and she knew what I was asking her about the pills. I'm sure of it. Yeah, I checked it right away, and then again about five minutes later."

Sonny moved his fingers to the pulse in Alexis's throat for a third time.

"It's still strong now. Yeah, she's breathing fine. She has been since I found her. Uh…not since lunch. Five, maybe 6 hours ago. What, you mean alcohol? No, she wasn't drinking. She hasn't had a drink since she got home from the hospital." Sonny released a heavy sigh. "Good. Thank you. I was pretty sure that - I mean, I'm familiar with Halcion and I knew that under normal circumstances that one or even two probably wouldn't be dangerous. But I was worried that after what her body had been through with the heroin and the Demerol and whatever drugs they pumped through her with the detox…well, it's just not normal circumstances for her and if you thought I should get her to the hospital, then I…"

He nodded slowly as he listened to Tony put his worries to rest. He was relieved and grateful that his instincts were right - the other chemicals were well out of her system and the pills she took shouldn't hurt her. They only scared Sonny half to death.

"Of course I'll stay with her." Sonny laughed lightly. "No, you don't have to put a gun to my head. Yeah, very funny. She probably would think so, wiseacre that she is."

Sonny's eyes wandered to the penguin perched beside the clock - the furry, dimple-making present from an unconventional doctor to a wiseacre patient. Tony meant well with his levity, but Sonny couldn't make light of what had happened that night. And for some strange reason, the sight of that black and white creature watching over Alexis from not two feet away made him uneasy. He flicked his tongue across his bottom lip and turned his gaze away from the penguin, moving it own to the rise and fall of Alexis's chest as she breathed in a normal, steady rhythm of deep sleep.

"I will. What time will you be in? All right. I'll call you then. Oh - Tony? Should I wake her up myself or let her sleep the whole thing off, no matter how long it takes? My call, huh? Okay. I can roll with that. Yeah, well, I hope she DOES have a headache! A doozey, so she'll never do something this stupid again. On second though, I won't be the one calling you tomorrow. ALEXIS will let you know how she is herself."

Tony's next words were unexpected…but they struck a chord.

"Yeah." Sonny murmured. "A little tough love might be good."

It just wouldn't be easy. Not with those big brown of hers looking up at him they way they always did. It wouldn't be easy at all.

"So much trouble…" Sonny murmured. "Damn those big brown eyes."