Well, I was trying to think of a new story idea, and then it occurred to me. Why not write a story using the preview for next week as the plot? So, this is what I came up with. I decided not to do stories in parts because I lose interest in them (and have trouble finishing them!) This is a complete story. Enjoy!

Murph

HOSTAGE!

“Yes, Your Honor.” Alex said in agreement with the judge’s decision. Another bad cop would be behind bars, serving out a long punishment for selling drugs. She sighed, taking no real pleasure in the outcome of this trial. Knowing how stressful and demanding the life of a police officer was, a small part of her felt pity for Tim Cheney. He had snapped under the pressure, and there was no recourse but to put him in prison. An error for a cop was simply not allowed, and now his life and career were ruined.

“He had other options, Alex.” Walker had suddenly appeared at her side. She smiled at his ability to read her mind at times like this. Wanting to put her arms around him and lose herself in his strong arms spread through her like a warm breeze. The fact that they were in a public courtroom held her back. Instead, she tilted her chin up, her sharp blue eyes scrutinizing his rugged face. She saw the slight trace of sadness in his features, and knew he too felt compassion for the guilty officer.

“I could use walk in the fresh air, Cowboy.” She said softly.

Walker picked up her briefcase and eased his arm around her waist. He lowered his head and kissed her on the cheek as he turned them around to walk down the aisle. She closed her eyes briefly, enjoying the feel of his soft beard against her face. It never failed to stir deep feelings inside her when he did those affectionate little things. Physical closeness with her man was like a magical tonic, soothing her worries away.

Her mind wandered to just last week when he had run into a burning building to save a small child. She knew why he had to do it, but waiting for him to come out had been terrifying. When he had finally appeared she had run to him, knees weak, almost desperate to touch him and make sure he was real and okay. Running her hands down his chest and over his arms, she had held her breath, searching for the telltale wince of pain. But, although he was breathing hard from the smoke and physical strain, he appeared to be fine. And later that night he had proved to her that he was indeed fine, making love to her with a passion and tenderness that moved her very soul.

Alex’s face blushed with the memory of their intimate lovemaking, and she looked up at Walker to see if he had noticed. But suddenly his arm tightened around her. She heard a commotion at the back of the courtroom and swung her head around just in time to see Tim Cheney break away from his two guards. He had pulled the gun out of the holster of one of the guards and was running full speed straight at her. As she desperately turned to get out of his way, her foot accidentally became entangled with Walker’s and he fell backward hitting his head on the wooden bench. He slumped to the floor, stunned from the blow.

Tim grabbed Alex, wrapping his arm around her and dragging her toward the judge’s bench. He pulled her behind the empty bench and began shooting at the two guards and Walker. The few people left in the courtroom screamed and shouted as they ran out. Walker had managed to pull himself behind a bench at the very back of the courtroom. He pulled his gun, but shouted at the two guards, “Don’t shoot! He’s got Alex!” The two guards leaped for the door and exited the room, leaving only Walker, Alex, and Tim.

Walker stayed quiet for a long moment, calming himself and, hopefully the distraught Tim as well. Finally, he peaked over the bench. Tim was holding Alex, the gun to her head, his eyes wild and crazed. Alex looked scared, but not hurt.

Moving slightly, Walker nearly cried out as pain ripped through his right leg. He looked down, dismayed at the sight. One of Tim’s bullets had torn a large hole in his thigh and it was bleeding profusely. Grunting in pain, he pulled a bandanna from his pocket and tied it around the wound as tightly as he could. He was now faced with a true dilemma. He felt he was the best man to try and talk Cheney into releasing Alex. He had an honest reputation, and the man would trust him more than another officer. On the other hand, if he bled to death he wouldn’t be any good for Alex at all.

It really wasn’t a difficult decision for him. Alex was his life, and if he lost her, life wouldn’t be worth living that much anymore. He gritted his teeth and moved so that he could see Tim.

“Cheney, calm down. I’m not going to try to move any closer, but you need to let Alex go.”

Tim gripped Alex tighter when he heard Walker’s voice.

“No way, Walker. I got a raw deal. I was framed! And, I am not letting her go until I get a helicopter and a trip out of here. I’m not going to prison!” His grip began to hurt Alex and she cried out in pain.

“Don’t hurt her, Cheney!” Walker shouted.

“Get out of here, Walker.” Tim responded. “Go tell them what I want.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” Walker said grimly. He closed his eyes and tried to calm his thoughts. His need to protect his wife almost overwhelmed his reasoning, and he knew he needed to think clearly. Alex had been kidnapped before, but it was different now. She lived with him now. She cooked, she sang in the shower, she lovingly decorated the ranch with little “Alex things”, she played with and teased him like a little girl, and she shared his bed with a passion that he had never experienced. She loved him unconditionally, and she was, for the first time since he was twelve, his very own family. He had opened his heart, and now the pain that caused him was worse than the physical pain.

Tim was restless and anxious. “Walker, get out of here. Go tell them what I want!” He had no idea that the woman he held was married to the red-bearded Ranger.

Walker once again peered over the bench. The pain he was feeling showed on his stricken face. Alex was shocked to see something in her husband’s eyes that she had never seen before – fear. “I’m okay, Walker.” She managed to get out before Tim clamped a hand over her mouth.

“I can’t go without her.” Walker said evenly. “You’re holding my wife.” He stared into the other man’s eyes.

Tim saw the look on Walker’s face, and for a moment considered releasing his hostage. But, he knew that without her he would never have the leverage to get what he wanted. And, he was not going to prison.

“I ….I know what you’re feeling, Ranger. But, without her, I’ll never get out of here.” He loosened his hold slightly on Alex, and she relaxed a little. She was determined not to show fear, both for herself, and for her husband.

“I promise you, I won’t hurt her.” Tim said. “Now go tell them what I need!”

Walker shook his head in determination. He would not leave, but he had an idea. Turning toward the door, he reached out and opened it a crack. There was a crowd of officers outside the courtroom.

“Get me a phone.” Walker told them. “Get the chief of police on the other end of it. Cheney has my wife hostage, and he has some demands.”

Cheney used the time they were waiting for the phone to tie Alex securely to the judge’s chair using his tie and belt. Remembering what Walker had taught her, she tensed her muscles trying to make her wrists and ankles as large as she could. Hopefully, when she relaxed them they would be smaller and she could work them free.

Meanwhile, Walker looked at his leg wound in dismay. The bleeding had slowed, but still seeped from around the bandanna. He wouldn’t last much longer like this, and was already feeling slightly lightheaded.

Finally, the door opened, and a phone was slipped through. Walker picked up the receiver and pushed the blinking button.

“Walker.” He said tersely.

“Walker, it’s Chief Miller. What’s going on there?”

“Tim Cheney has a gun and my wife hostage here. He wants a helicopter.”

Chief Miller had rushed to the courthouse when he heard about the hostage situation. Tim Cheney had been assigned to his department. Cheney knew that the corruption and drug dealing went all the way up to his level. He wanted the man dead so he wouldn’t talk. And Walker was complicating the matter. If they could get Walker out of there, his men could gun down Cheney claiming it was in self-defense. It would be too bad for Alex Walker if she got caught in the crossfire. No witnesses, no investigation.

“Walker, listen to me. You’re too close to this one. I want you out of there. I’ll send one of my men up there to take your place.”

“Not on your life, Chief.” Walker said grimly. “I’m not leaving without Alex.”

“Walker, this is an order. Leave at once!” The chief turned slightly as a black Ranger stepped up to him.

“I’m Jimmy Trivette, Walker’s partner.” He said softly. “Let me give it a try.”

Miller handed the phone to Trivette. “Get him out of there for his own good.” He snarled.

“Walker…” Jimmy spoke into the phone. “Man, what’s going on? How about you leave the negotiating to the hostage crisis unit?”

Walker swallowed as a wave of pain from his leg washed over him. He was sweating and clammy. The hand holding the phone shook noticeably.

“Trivette,” he spoke softly. Jimmy stiffened. He recognized that tone. It was one he had heard his partner use before, and only when he was hurt.

“What’s wrong?”

“I took a bullet in the leg…”

“Geez, man, is it bad?”

“Yeah. But, I’m not leaving Alex. Cheney swears he is innocent, and that he was framed by the cops in his department. I don’t know…but it could go as high as Chief Miller. That’s why we can’t let his men in here. They’re liable to shoot both of them to cover up their crimes.” Walker slumped against the bench. The effort to explain had taxed his resources. He spoke again….

“Trivette?”

“I’m still here partner.” Jimmy’s voice was reassuring.

“Help…..help me out? Please?” Walker’s voice was weak and shaky. Jimmy knew that this was one of the few times his partner couldn’t succeed without him.

“I’m with you man.” He said softly. He hung up the phone and turned to Chief Miller.

“Due to some recently acquired information, Chief Miller, I am relieving you of command of this situation.” As Miller stared at him slack-jawed, Jimmy motioned to Gage and Sydney. Whispering to them so others wouldn’t hear, he apprised them of the situation. He sent Gage up to clear the courthouse of all the officers and replace them with Texas Rangers.

“Sydney, I want you to find Judge Smith. He should be around since he handled this case.” As he watched her go, Jimmy picked up the phone and dialed Walker back.

“Yeah?” His voice was even weaker, and Jimmy knew he was slipping. They had to hurry.

“Walker tell Cheney that the Texas Rangers are in control of the courthouse now. Miller has been relieved of his command, and Judge Smith is being called back to the building. He’ll be ready to hear his story in just a few minutes. Anything else?” Jimmy listened as Walker relayed his words to the distraught officer.

Walker came back on the line, relief in his voice. “He says he will give up his gun if Judge Smith will agree to come inside and hear him out. Then, he’ll let Alex go.”

Hanging up the phone, Walker painfully pulled himself to his feet. Cheney tensed when he saw the Ranger stand up. Walker held his gun in the palm of his hand. Slowly, he placed it down on the bench and took a step into the aisle. He was now in full sight of Cheney and Alex and she gasped when she saw the bloody bandanna and blood running from the open wound.

“Oh, God, Walker….” She almost moaned in despair and fear.

Walker gritted his teeth as he limped down the aisle toward them. Cheney watched his painful progress, and despite his desperate situation, he couldn’t help but admire the determination of this man. His love for his wife superseded any thoughts of personal danger. No wonder Walker had such a heroic reputation.

“Stop there.” He said when Walker got to the last bench. “Sit down, before you fall down.” As Walker sat heavily, Alex squirmed, managing to release her feet. She was careful not to let Cheney see that fact.

Walker quietly spoke of what Trivette had arranged to Cheney. The officer balked at first, but Walker was able to make him see that there would never be a helicopter. His best chance was to go before some honest men and take his chances that they would believe him.

Just as Trivette appeared at the door with Judge Smith, Alex freed her hands. She slipped around Cheney’s back and went directly to her husband. Surprised, Cheney turned and looked at the open exit door she had passed to get to Walker.

“You could have escaped!” He said incredulously.

Alex was making Walker lie down on the bench. As she carefully lifted his injured leg up, she turned her face toward her captor.

“Escaped to what?” She said simply. “A pretend world where I’d have to live with guilt and shame over leaving my husband to die?” She shook her head as she sat on the bench, cradling Walker’s head in her lap, gently smoothing his hair. “You can’t escape responsibility, Tim. Life would be worthless if you could.”

Cheney glanced from Walker and Alex to the judge. He looked at the gun in his hand.

“I guess you can’t.” He said more to himself than to the others. Slowly he bent down and laid the gun on the floor. Then he straightened and laced his fingers above his head in a gesture of surrender.

Trivette stepped forward to cuff him, and then lead him out of the courtroom. Paramedics, who had been waiting outside, rushed in to care for Walker. As they lifted him onto the stretcher his eyes never left Alex’s face. His hand gripped hers tightly.

“Are you okay?” He asked weakly.

Alex looked at his pale face and bloodied leg. With her free hand she reached down and gently smoothed his beard. Her lips sought his, as the bemused paramedics looked on. Their kiss was long and deep and sweet. Finally, Alex came up for air, blushing slightly when she saw the smiling faces.

“Ma’am, if you drain any more blood out of this poor cowboy, he might not make it.” One of the smiling men said suggestively.

Alex broke into a wide grin. She squeezed Walker’s hand and fell into step with the stretcher as they made their way down to the ambulance.

Outside, Trivette, Sydney and Gage waited impatiently. “Is he okay?” Gage said worriedly.

“He’s going to be fine.” The paramedic responded. They stopped to open the doors to the ambulance and Trivette edged up closely to his partner. Walker’s eyes were closed, but he spoke softly, knowing somehow that Jimmy was there.

“Thanks, Trivette.”

“No problem, partner.” Jimmy said quietly as he touched Walker’s hand. “You’d do the same for me.”

Alex climbed into the ambulance and they watched it roar off for the hospital.

Syd shook her head in amazement. “I can’t believe all these bad things keep happening to them….”

Jimmy cast a sharp look at her. “That’s not how they see it, Sydney.” He corrected. “Only once in a lifetime, or maybe even never, we find a perfect mate. Someone to love and cherish, to share with, to enjoy all the joys of this world. Walker and Alex have that. So they see themselves as lucky, because they have the support and love to get them through any situation.”

Syd looked at the seasoned, mature Ranger. She felt a little ashamed that she had tried to portray Walker and Alex as perpetual victims.

Trivette grinned at her, wanting to mute the sting of his words a little. “Hey, look at it this way. When Walker gets better, they will have a lot to celebrate. And, believe me, those two know how to celebrate!”

He winked at the younger Rangers and walked away, thinking of how he might celebrate too that evening……

THE END