The Mask Comes Off


matt_icon.gif sonny_icon.gif

Scene Title The Mask Comes Off
Synopsis Sonny gives Matt Parkman his real face back.
Date March 30, 2009

Solstice Condominiums - Sonny's Apartment


You probably won't see me again. Something's happened to my little girl. Gotta take care of it. If Cardinal finds who I asked him to look for, have him call me at 718-2670.



It hadn't been a hard note to write and leave taped to the desk behind the glass at the pawn shop. It'd been the most honest thing Carter had ever done, on a personal level, at least, since convincing the man to hire him. But after that came several more surreptitious tasks, such as finding out what Sonny Bianco's schedule was going to be, and breaking into his car with a slim jim.

The conference was…trying, to say the least. Strange how only a few weeks out of the social, charitable scene makes it difficult to get back in. It's like getting back into a cold swimming pool after basking in the hot sun.

It's mid-afternoon when he leaves the downtown conference center. He walks towards his parked, sleek black Mercedes. A chirp from a few strides away unlocks the door. He rounds to the driver's side, pulls open the door and slips into the plush leather seat.

Carter sits in the back seat, fingering a picture of his old self. A picnic with Kaydence, Cole, and Molly. Kaydence still had that sad look in her eyes, despite her smile, and lower level agents guarding Molly could be seen if one focused on the background. A smile threatens to curve the corner of Carter's lips when the car unlocks itself anew. Carter waits until Sonny is seated before he speaks, slipping the photo into his jacket pocket while staring at the other man in the rear-view mirror.

"Doctor," is his plain address. "You don't remember me, but I need your help again."

Sonny clearly needs to get a refund on the expensive Mercedes security system if Carter was able to break in. It's something he'll rectify. That is, if this man isn't here to kill him. He tenses, hands on the wheel, gaze in the rear view mirror.

He looks familiar. After all, he was asked to create a new face, not make him look like someone else. So the face Carter is currently wearing is from Sonny's own imagination. Faux memories or no, the man gives him a sensation not unlike deja vu.

It takes a moment, but the doc calms himself enough to murmur, "Oh?"

Carter nods in response, the face Sonny gave the alias frowning. "I need you to give me back my face. I need to be me again. Undercover job is done. You think you can do that, if I jog your memory a bit?"

The face that meets Carter in the rear view mirror is unimpressed. Sonny's lips are pursed into a thin line, his hands white-knuckled on the wheel. "You fucked with my memory." The words are flat, but it's clear that he's anything but indifferenta bout it.

"No," Carter says with a shake of his head. "I didn't. But someone else did. And believe me, it was for the best. I can't give it back to you, but I can show you mine, if you need proof." Carter tries to smile, but there is considerable strain in it, born out of haste and mild frustration. "I'm not going to hurt you."

"Apparently my years of discretion after doing work for you people isn't worth jack shit. Good to know." Sonny turns the key and puts the car into gear. "I'd rather you stay the hell out of my head, thanks."

The engine of the Mercedes roars as Sonny pulls out into traffic. "We'll go to my place. I hope you brought high resolution pictures from several angles or you're not going to look like yourself again. I'm sure I told you that when you came the first time."

The doc's not breaking the speed limit, but he is driving rather aggressively. That's not really his style, but he's understandably pissed off.

At ease to some degree, Carter nods. "Sure," he says, covering all the remarks he needs to make until they're back at the doctor's apartment. It's then that Carter pulls the envelope out from the inside pocket of his jacket and extracts several photos to make Sonny's job easier. Some of them are stills from surveillance footage. But there is also an 8x10 of Matt Parkman's federal ID photograph, as well as the family pic. "Hope these will do," he says gruffly as he hands them over, his hand already reaching for one more thing - an mp3 audio recorder, loaded with an interrogation file, showcasing Matt Parkman's dulcet tones.

The truth is, none of that is necessary. The moment he touches Carter, Sonny will know who he's supposed to be. But knowing how easily his ability can be used only invites more meetings like this. And that's something Dr. Bianco doesn't want.

He tugs off his jacket and takes the package of pictures from Carter. He looks them over and without looking them up murmurs, "Lie down on the couch." He's not resisting, but he's also not making any secret of the fact that he resents the intrusion.

Just like last time, Carter does what he's told, though he is a bit more hesitant now that the Haitian isn't here to make sure he's not turned into some grotesque monster under Dr. Sonny Frankenstein's proverbial knife. "Wish it didn't have to be this way," he mumbles as he settles himself down, folding his hands on his abdomen.

There's the extra security of this being the Mayor's son. If Sonny didn't cooperate, it would probably get back to Harry. And then Sonny would hear about it. So it's in his best interest to play nice. Well, not nice, necessarily.

He pulls up a chair behind Carter's head and sets his hands on either side of his neck. "Just stay still. And don't panic. This is going to feel strange." He grits his teeth. "I'm repeating myself, aren't I?"

The moment he touches Carter, he can feel the other man's true face. He glances a few times at the pictures, but takes the transformation process quite slowly. It's definitely not a comfortable feeling. He loses all control of the muscles in his face.

The process continues for about fifteen minutes. Truth is, he could have fixed it in about two minutes, voice and all. It takes a lot of focus for him to artificially slow the process.

Once Matt is Matt again, Sonny takes a moment to breathe. Then he curves his fingers around the agent's throat. There's a prickly, stinging sensation as he tightens up Matt's vocal chords to bring it back to its natural pitch.

Despite having done this once before, the sensations associated with changing his appearance still aren't something Carter is ready for. But it's when Sonny's fingers brush his throat that he tenses for a moment before relaxing and allowing the man to continue with his work. He lies there for a moment, letting his muscles relax and letting himself relax back into the notion that they're his once more.

After a moment, Matt coughs, lifting a fist and turning his head a moment too late, but it's not as if he were coughing up germs. "Thanks, Doc," he chokes out, swallowing a few times before he attempts to speak again, his eyes still tightly closed. "And I'm sorry, again. I just needed it fast, and it wasn't exactly easy pinning down where you'd be."

"We're done here. Whatever the hell your name is." Sonny stands and steps away from Carter, fingers pushed through his hair. That's the polite way of saying 'get the fuck out of my apartment.'

Matt. He's Matt again, but he doesn't even stop to check. Narrowing his eyes almost apologetically, Matt grabs up the envelope of photos and the mp3 recorder before he heads for the door, shaking his head. There's a moment where he concentrates before he opens it, fishing for the minds of those watching the video cameras as well as whomever may be coming down the hallway. He entered the building as one man, and he'd better leave it the same way…at least as far as memory will serve anyone other than Sonny Bianco.

Sonny is expecting that his mind will be invaded. Which is why the surgeon's deft fingers claimed one of the photographs before they're gathered up. He watches Matt as he heads to the door. "Don't take this the wrong way. But I hope I never see you again."

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