"Thunder & Roses"
JAG/Sons of Thunder/Walker, Texas Ranger Crossover
Disclaimers: JAG, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Sons of Thunder are the property of CBS, Donald Bellisario, Top Kick Productions, et al. This is a recreational endeavor, no profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
Spoilers: (For JAG) "The Stalker;" "Father’s Day;" "Shakedown" (For SOT) "Moment of Truth"
Thanks to: Kim & Sheryl
FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA
A.J. Chegwidden looked up as P.O. Tiner ushered Lieutenant Commander Rabb and Major MacKenzie into his office. "Mister Rabb, so you think you can wrap up the Jenkins case on your own?"
Harm and Mac exchanged quick, puzzled glances. "Yes, sir," Harm replied.
"Good. Major MacKenzie, you are going to Dallas in the morning." He held out a file folder.
Mac took it and looked over the contents.
"The Commander will join you as soon as he’s able. Dismissed."
They saluted then left.
"Whatcha got, Mac?" Harm inquired, peering over her shoulder at the file.
"The request for assistance came through the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office," she exclaimed in surprise.
"Alex Cahill?" Harm asked with an equal measure of surprise.
"Yes. Seems Trent and Carlos were providing personal security for a woman who was being stalked."
Only someone who knew her as well as Harm did would notice the minute changes in Mac’s voice and demeanor as she read. He stepped a bit closer, not quite touching, just letting her know that he was there.
She smiled a little, grateful for his support. Taking a deep breath, she continued, "Anyway, they have a suspect, a Marine. That’s why they came to us for assistance."
"Have they filed charges yet?"
"No," Mac replied, "The suspect is not yet in custody."
They had reached Mac’s office. Harm followed her inside and closed the door. "Mac, are you gonna be OK with this?"
"Harm, I’m a Marine. I am quite capable of doing my job."
"I’m not talking about your ability to do your job…I’m talking about you."
"I know what you meant," she replied softly. "I’ll be all right…really. After all, I’ll have two big, strong private investigators to look after me." She smiled mischievously at her partner.
Harm just grinned and shook his head - at least Trent Malloy and Carlos Sandoval were a distinct improvement over Mic Brumby! Then he remembered Trent’s easy-going charm and Carlos’ charismatic smile - maybe they were too much of an improvement.
Trent Malloy spotted the dark-haired woman in a Marine’s uniform and nudged his partner. Carlos set down the newspaper he’d been reading and climbed wearily to his feet, wincing as he straightened up.
"You OK?" Trent asked with concern.
"Trent! Carlos!" Mac called, smiling as she caught sight of them.
Trent shook hands warmly. "Good to see you again, Mac."
Carlos, being Carlos, opted for giving her a big hug. He flinched slightly as Mac unknowingly rested her hand on a painful bruise on his shoulder.
"Carlos?" Pulling back slightly, she saw the edges of a large bruise he was attempting to hide behind his sunglasses. "My God! What happened to you?"
"Our suspect," Trent replied.
"Are you all right?" Mac asked.
"Yeah, I’m fine," Carlos lied glibly. "So, where’s that partner of yours?"
"He’ll be along in a couple of days, as soon as he wraps up the case he’s working on."
"You’re here alone?" Carlos asked.
"Yes, is that a problem?" Mac inquired, puzzled.
"No problem at all, Mac," Trent answered, giving his partner a look.
Mac looked from one to the other, wondering what was going on.
"Hey, Butch, can I get another?" Carlos asked, indicating his empty beer bottle.
"No," the big barkeep replied firmly.
"Whadda ya mean ‘no’?"
"Look, Carlos, one beer with your lunch - I’m OK with that. Another for medicinal purposes, given the sorry shape you’re in - I’m still OK with that, but I am not givin’ you a third beer in the middle of a work day without a damn good reason." With that, Butch leaned back, folding his arms across his chest.
Carlos felt the weight of his stare, but stubbornly refused to look up.
"This have somethin’ to do with that lady Marine who arrived this morning?"
"It’s got nothing to do with Mac!" Carlos answered quickly - too quickly.
"You sure?" Trent asked quietly. "Because you’ve been acting pretty strange ever since we picked her up this morning."
"Look, I said it had nothing to do with her, all right?!" He got up and stormed angrily out of the bar.
Butch shook his head slowly. "Somthin’s eating at him."
"Yeah, something to do with Mac, but I don’t know what."
"When do I get to meet her, anyway?"
"She should be along shortly. We dropped her off at her hotel so she could get settled."
"What’s she like?" Butch asked curiously.
Trent shrugged. "She’s a smart, gutsy lady…good-looking…a great lawyer…."
"She sorta like Alex Cahill?"
"In a lot of ways, yeah…probably why they’re such good friends. Hell, she’s a Marine - that should tell you a lot all by itself."
Butch frowned - nothing he’d heard was giving him any clue as to why Carlos was getting so worked up. "When did you say he started acting strange?"
"When Mac mentioned that her partner wouldn’t be here for a few days. I don’t see why that would set him off, though. He’s worked with women before and it never bothered him."
"I’ll say!" Butch chuckled. Then he sobered, recalling that last woman Carlos had worked closely with. "Trent, what does she look like?"
"Like I said, good-looking…dark hair…brown eyes."
"Kinda like Theresa?" Butch asked softly.
"Well, maybe superficially…you think that’s what’s bothering him?"
Butch shrugged. "Could be."
"I thought he was dealing with that…he brought her killer to justice."
"Yeah, but you know that something like that cuts deep."
"Yes, I do," Trent replied softly, his voice shadowed by an old pain.
"Maybe you better talk to him before this goes too far," Butch suggested.
"I think you’re right," Trent agreed.
Butch looked up as he heard a customer enter. An attractive, dark-haired woman in a Marine uniform came up to the bar. "You must be Major MacKenzie," Butch guessed, offering his hand. "I’ve heard a lot about you."
"All good, I hope," Mac answered, grinning. "I’m looking for Trent Malloy and Carlos Sandoval."
"I’ll call up to the office and let ‘em know you’re here. By the way, I’m Butch."
"Nice to meet you. And please, call me Mac."
"Well, Mac, can I get you anything while you’re waiting for the guys?"
"An iced tea, maybe? It’s hotter than D.C.…I’m not quite used to it yet."
"Coming right up," Butch replied cheerfully. He set a tall glass in front of Mac, who took a long, appreciative sip.
Trent came in and sat down beside her. "All settled in?"
"Yes, and ready to get to work," Mac answered, smiling. She looked around. "Where’s Carlos?"
"Upstairs, trying to explain his out-of-pocket expenses to our office manager!"
"Good Lord! There goes the rest of the day!" Butch exclaimed.
"No wonder he and Harm get along," Mac snickered. She took another long sip of her tea. "Trent, what’s going on with Carlos?" she asked thoughtfully. "He seemed OK, at first, but as soon as I mentioned that Harm would be a few days late, he started acting weird. Why?"
"Mac…you saw what that guy did to him. He was kinda counting on having Harm to keep an eye on you."
Mac’s eyes sparkled dangerously. "I am a United States Marine. I can take care of myself."
"I know, Mac," Trent said soothingly, "It’s just…" he paused again, drawing in a deep breath. "The case Carlos was working on when he quit the force…his partner was murdered, right in front of him. Theresa was a police detective - she could take care of herself, too."
"I…I’m sorry…I had no idea..."
"No reason you should," Butch told her. "I guess it’s just that he’s afraid of getting in that situation again and losing someone else. Just give him a little time - he’ll come around."
"I hope so," Trent muttered. He checked his watch. "I have to go pick up our client from her office. Carlos can go over the files with you as soon as Kim gets finished with him."
"Well, since you’re gonna be here that long, how about some lunch?" Butch offered.
Carlos came in to find Mac regaling Butch with a tale of one of her adventures with Harm.
"…and there was only one room left, so he ended up having to share with Bud!"
Grinning broadly, Carlos decided to announce his presence by butting in. "Hey, that’s not so bad…I’ve had to share a room with Trent a few times."
"A room with one bed?" Mac asked, one eyebrow raised.
Butch got in a good chuckle when he saw the look on Carlos’ face. Mac covered he own impulse to giggle by taking a drink from her glass of iced tea.
"So," she asked, when everyone had finally recovered, "can you bring me up to speed on the case?"
Carlos sobered abruptly. He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Like Alex told you, we were protecting a stalking victim. Trent and I were taking turns guarding her house at night. I was lucky enough to be the one on duty the night he broke in. About the only useful thing I did was to make enough noise to alert the victim, Sharon Walters, so she could call nine-one-one. He took off when he heard the sirens."
"And she identified him as a former boyfriend?" Mac asked, studying the file.
Carlos nodded. "Corporal Gary Blake, a Marine who has trouble understanding concepts like ‘go away.’"
Mac looked up from the file. "Carlos, you are very, very good at what you do, but this guy is a Recon Marine - an expert in hand-to-hand combat. Going up against Blake is like going one-on-one with Walker."
"Your point?" Carlos snapped.
"My point," Mac explained with forced patience, "is that you did your job. You kept your client safe."
"She’s right, you know," Butch told him.
"Walker wouldn’t have let him get away," Carlos snorted.
"Walker’s a Marine too…he knows a lot of the same things." Mac smiled suddenly as an idea occurred to her. "Look, Carlos, I’ll make you a deal. You stop brooding about what happened, and I’ll give you a crash-course in Marine Corps hand-to-hand. Deal?" she asked, proffering her hand.
Carlos just stared at her.
Mac smiled winningly and waited.
Finally he shook his head as a grin spread across his features. "A lesson in hand-to-hand combat from a beautiful lady. I’d have to be some kind of idiot to turn down an offer like that." He took Mac’s hand in his own and gave it a warm squeeze.
THUNDER KARATE SCHOOL
Mac patiently explained the maneuver again, then demonstrated on Walker. "OK, Carlos, ready to try it yourself?"
"On you or on him?" he asked skeptically.
"On Mac," Walker replied firmly. "I wouldn’t want to be accused of taking advantage of an injured man."
"You sure you know what you’re supposed to do?’ Mac asked as Carlos stepped onto the mat.
"OK, then. Ready?"
"Yes, Mac, I’m ready!" Carlos balanced his weight the way they’d told him, readying himself for the attack. Suddenly, Mac lunged at him and the next thing he knew, his arm was twisted behind his back and face was pressed into the mat. "Uhhhh…" he mumbled, "I don’t think that worked exactly right."
"Not for you, anyway," Walker observed.
"Uh, Mac…can I have my arm back?"
Laughing, Mac released him and got up, offering a hand to pull him to his feet. "Wanna try it again?" she offered.
"Major MacKenzie?" Tommy Malloy called.
"You have a phone call, from Washington. You can take it over here," he said politely, indicating the phone.
"Thank you." Mac headed for the phone, pausing only to grab her towel and water bottle. She picked up the phone and spoke crisply, "Major MacKenzie."
A brilliant smile lit her face as she recognized Harm’s familiar voice. "Hey, yourself."
"You know, you are one hard person to track down. I called Alex Cahill’s office and they told me you were working out of Trent and Carlos’ office so I called there. Then their office manager told me to call here."
"So you called and here I am," Mac finished merrily.
"Yeah, she’s here clobbering me!" Carlos yelled across the mat.
"What was that?" Harm asked.
"Nothing. Walker and I are teaching Carlos some of the finer points of Marine Corps hand-to-hand combat techniques."
"Oh, Walker’s there with you?"
"Yeah, he’s helping me demonstrate some moves."
"Good," Harm muttered under his breath.
Mac heard anyway. "What?"
"Uh…nothing…it’s just ah, good that you’re getting to see Walker again."
"Whenever you manage to wrap up the Jenkins case and get your six out here, he’s invited us to have dinner at C.D.’s with he and Alex."
"More like I have orders from C.D.!" Walker called.
"I heard that, and I can just imagine!" Harm replied.
"So?" Mac asked with a hint of impatience.
"So what?’ Harm asked, slightly confused.
"So when do you think you’ll make it out here?" Mac prodded.
"Oh, yeah…that’s why I called in the first place. I think I can get a late flight out tomorrow."
"Good. We can use all the help we can get."
"Is the suspect in custody yet?"
"No, not yet. There’s an APB out on him, so it shouldn’t take too much longer…I hope."
"Mac, do me a favor?"
"Sure, Harm. What?"
"Take care of yourself, OK? I’ve read the files…this guy is dangerous."
"I know, and I’ll be careful," Mac promised.
"All right then, I’ll see you soon." He broke the connection.
Mac stood there for a moment, still hearing his voice in her mind, until the phone started to buzz. She softly replaced the receiver in its cradle. Her reverie was broken by a thump and a muffled curse. Turning, she saw Carlos sprawled on his face with Walker crouched over him.
"He still doesn’t have the hang of it?" Mac asked.
"Nope," Walker replied.
Carlos just lay there and groaned. Loudly.
Carlos was driving Mac out to meet his client. "What I don’t understand," he was saying, "is how Tommy managed to pick up the moves so fast."
"Maybe because Tommy was paying attention," Mac suggested, grinning.
"I was paying attention!" Carlos insisted.
"I meant, paying attention to the lesson!"
"Can I help it if I got a little distracted?"
Mac groaned in exasperation - he could be so much like Harm sometimes. "So you have guard duty tonight?"
"Yeah, after you’re finished interviewing to Miss Walters, Trent will take you back to your hotel. Is anyone meeting Harm?"
"No, we’re not sure what flight he’s on."
Carlos noticed how Mac’s face lit up when she thought about Harm…it was very much like being around Alex Cahill when Cordell Walker was mentioned. He looked at her side-wise. "You miss him, don’t you?" It wasn’t really a question.
"Yes, I do," Mac replied quietly.
Carlos looked over at her and grinned. "You two make a helluva team, you know that?"
"So we’ve been told," Mac grinned back.
Carlos pulled into a spot in front of Sharon Walters’ house. Trent’s convertible was parked a couple of spaces down. They got out and started walking up the path. Suddenly, Mac stopped.
"What is it?" Carlos asked, immediately on alert.
She caught his arm. "Shhh…do you hear that?"
He listened intently and heard the sound of shattering glass. It was emanating from inside the house. Wordlessly, Carlos drew his gun. "You armed?"
Mac shook her head negatively, dropping her purse and briefcase on the lawn.
Carlos stepped in front of her. "I know you won’t stay out here…just watch yourself, OK?"
Mac nodded tightly, and Carlos kicked in the door. The house was a shambles. Trent Malloy lay unconscious amidst the splintered remains of a table. Mac knelt at his side and checked for a pulse.
More sounds of breakage issued from the dining room. Carlos carefully edged his way inside. A very hysterical Sharon Walters was attempting to keep her attacker at bay by throwing anything she could lay her hands on at him. She’d evidently had some success, but Gary Blake was in the throws of an almost incoherent rage and was slowly inching closer to her.
"Hey, pal, why don’t you pick on someone your own size?" Carlos called, carefully aiming his weapon.
"Shoot him! Please, just shoot him!" Sharon begged tearfully.
"You shut up!" Blake bellowed. He turned to face Carlos, flexing his large hands menacingly. "You again," he snorted, a tinge of cruel laughter in his voice. "Didn’t you get enough last time?"
"Corporal Blake, you are in violation of a restraining order. Step away from her, now!" Carlos sighted carefully, but Blake was standing very close to Sharon now…if he missed…
"Corporal! Stand down!" Mac’s voice rang out from the kitchen doorway.
Instinctively, Blake turned towards the sound of an officer’s voice. A shot rang out at the same time that Mac’s arm blurred into motion. Blake grunted in pain. He swayed on his feet momentarily, then fell. Blood spread from a bullet wound in his abdomen and from his the jagged tear in his shoulder, where one of Trent’s throwing stars protruded.
There was silence for a long moment as everyone tried to catch their breath. Then Carlos stepped over to Blake’s body, still holding his weapon at the ready. "Sharon," he instructed, "step away from him."
She did, going quickly to Mac, who wrapped her arm comfortingly around the other woman’s shoulders.
"He’s still breathing," Carlos reported.
"So’s your partner. I’m gonna call for help." Mac led Sharon into the kitchen.
Carlos gaped at the vicious-looking blade Mac had thrown. "Where’d you learn to use those things, Mac?" he asked curiously.
The door opened, admitting a spill of bright sunlight. Butch looked up from polishing the bar to see a tall, dark-haired man in a Naval officer’s uniform silhouetted against the glare. "Good afternoon!" he called out pleasantly.
"Good afternoon," the officer replied, removing his cover as he stepped indoors. "Maybe you can help me…I was looking for Thunder Investigations?"
"You take the outside steps, just around the corner."
"Thank you, sir." Turning to leave, he almost bumped into a vivacious, redheaded woman. "Excuse me," he said politely.
"No, I’m sorry…my fault." She looked up at his face for a long moment. "Are you Commander Rabb?" she asked finally.
"Yes, I am, but I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage," he replied with his most charming grin.
The woman stuck her hand out, smiling. "Kim Sutter. I saw your picture in the paper during Walker’s trial," she explained.
Butch wandered over. "Kim, this gentleman here was lookin’ for the office."
"Butch, this is Mac’s partner. Commander, Butch McMann."
The two men shook hands.
"Please, call me Harm, both of you."
"Pleased to meet you, Harm. Kim should be able to tell you where your partner and those fellas have gotten themselves to." He looked at Kim expectantly.
"Well, actually, they’re in the local emergency room."
"What?!" Harm exclaimed. "What happened? Is everyone all right?"
"Mac is fine," Kim hastened to assure him. "She’s fine, Carlos is fine, Trent got a little banged up - they want to keep him overnight for observation. Sharon Walters - that’s the stalking victim - was treated for minor injuries and released."
"And the stalker?" Butch asked.
"He’s in the hospital, under armed guard. They dug one of Carlos’ bullets and one of Trent’s throwing stars out of him."
"And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy," Carlos quipped, coming through the door with Mac.
"Are you OK?" Harm asked quickly, concern for his partner written all over his face.
"I’m fine, Harm. Really," she laughed, laying a hand on his arm.
"And the victim, she’s all right?" Butch asked.
"Yes, she’s fine," Mac assured him. "And Trent’s awake."
"And complaining that they won’t feed him!" Carlos added.
"Hold it - back up a minute. Kim said they pulled one of Trent’s throwing stars out of him. How’d he do that if he was unconscious?" Butch wanted to know.
"He didn’t…I did," Mac replied, grinning impishly. "I stopped to check on Trent and saw the case on his belt…I didn’t have a weapon, so I ‘borrowed,’" she concluded sheepishly.
"Given the circumstances, I’m sure he won’t object," Butch stated.
"Now, there’s one thing I want you to explain to me, Mac," Carlos began, "Walker’s been trying to teach Trent to use those things for weeks…you said you’d never been taught."
Mac shrugged innocently. "It just seemed the right way to do it."
Harm smiled down at his partner. "It’s a Marine thing, right?"
Copyright © 1999 Kathleen Klatte
All Rights Reserved