Connection  - Murph

Alex opened her eyes and smiled at the sight of her sleeping husband. He lay sprawled on his back, one arm hanging off the bed. His muscled chest rose and fell slightly. She reached over and gently stroked him, delighting in the softness of his skin over the smooth muscles. Walker stirred slightly, and shifted in the bed. Alex moved over him, laying her cheek against his breast, smelling the sweet aroma of his male body. Walker opened his eyes and moved his arms to enfold his new wife.

“Ummmm….Alex.” He said softly. “I don’t know how I lived for so long without you.”

She kissed his nipple affectionately. “You don’t mind me waking you up?” She asked as her hands began roaming over his chest and abdomen.

Walker moaned softly and replied, “No, not at all!” He suddenly sat up, bringing her with him. His mouth found hers and they clung together in a passionate kiss, lips moving against each other. Both of them began to breathe heavier as their passion mounted. Alex twisted slightly to give herself better access to his hungry mouth.

“Ouch!” She stiffened as a sharp pain shot through her shoulder.

“What?” Walker was instantly concerned.

“Oh, I just twisted the wrong way.” She responded trying to rub her sore shoulder.

Walker smiled. “Let me do that, Baby.” He reached down and slipped her nightgown up and over her head. Then he had her lay on her stomach while he straddled her back, careful not to rest his weight on her. He began a slow, sensual massage, beginning with her neck. Alex sighed contentedly as his strong hands worked the muscles of her back and shoulders.

She gasped when his fingers moved up her sides and brushed against her breasts. Raising slightly, she gave him access to her throbbing womanhood, and he reached between her legs and tenderly stroked her. She was panting with desire in minutes as his hands stroked and rubbed her breasts and the center of her desire. They fluttered over her sensitive belly and the inside of her thighs. His powerful hands worked her body to a fevered pitch. Finally, he grasped her hips and pulled her up on her hands and knees. Her bottom was pressed against his groin and she felt his erect manhood quivering against her. She arched back against him letting him know what she wanted. Reaching underneath and between her legs she carefully guided his throbbing member into her warm, moist womanhood. Walker groaned and thrust into her. He pulled her hips back to meet his as he began to move in and out.

His hand reached down and began to gently stroke her. She rocked back against him in sheer ecstasy. They moved together, each wanting to prolong the incredible desire that they had created. Their moans filled the bedroom, and the bed rocked with their movement. Alex felt his grip on her hips tighten and she let herself give in to the ever-increasing pressure of his fingers. The powerful climax rocked her soul as she felt him thrusting against her. Walker gritted his teeth in utter pleasure as his passion exploded into her. They collapsed onto the bed, slick with sweat and completely spent.

“Oh, Walker…..” Alex managed to utter. “That was outstanding!”

Walker smiled, and hugged her. She felt so good he was considering a repeat performance until he heard her gasp.

“Oh, no, not again!” Alex jumped from the bed and headed into the bathroom. “Walker, get up!” She called back over her shoulder. “It’s already past seven, and we are going to be late for work again!” Walker sighed and pulled himself from the comfort of the bed. He didn’t want to be late again either. The teasing from Trivette and Gage was sure to greet him if he was.

It wasn’t long before Alex emerged from the shower and rushed into the room. “Get your shower!” She ordered him. Walker grinned and trudged into the bathroom. At first, it had been hard to get used to sharing this room. And Alex quickly took over more than her share of space. He smelled the combination of her shampoo and cologne that hung suspended in the damp air. He smiled when he realized how much he enjoyed her scents, her things, and just her in his life. He couldn’t remember ever being so happy, so completely safe in the knowledge that she was indeed his, and he hers.

“Move it, Honey!” Alex’s voice broke his reverie, and he quickly stepped into the shower. Ten minutes later he hurried down the steps and outside into the crisp October air. They climbed in the Ram and headed to work, holding hands in the cab of the truck. Each thinking about how wonderful their morning exercise had been, and looking forward to what the day would bring.

Trivette looked up as his partner hurried in the room and quickly took a seat at his desk. He picked up the paperwork there, pretending to ignore that he was a half-hour late.

“Mike Nelson called.” Trivette began. “About a half hour ago.” He added pointedly. “I told him you were running a little late, and we’d see him before lunch.”

Behind his stack of papers, Walker felt his face coloring. “I…uh…forgot to set the alarm clock.”

Trivette just raised his eyebrows at his partner. Walker was irritated at first, but then he broke into a chuckle.

“Geez, Trivette,” Walker leaned toward his partner so no one else could hear. “If you woke up next to a woman like Alex, you’d be late for work too!”

The two men shared a knowing look just as the woman herself breezed into the room. “Hey, you two!” Alex greeted them. She came around her husband’s desk and perched on the edge. He never remembered noticing that the sight of her shapely legs within easy touch set his heart racing before they were married. But, now, he had to make himself take his eyes off them. Looking up, he saw the slight twinkle in Trivette’s eyes. He felt his face turning red again.

“You okay?” Alex looked at him, concerned. Luckily she also stood up and removed the objects of his embarrassment from his sight.

“I’m fine, Alex.” Walker said firmly. He looked at Trivette for help.

“We were just about to go talk to Mike Nelson, Alex.” Trivette said quickly.

“That’s the FBI agent handling the bombings we had a few days ago?” Alex asked.

“That would be the one.” Walker replied as he got up and grabbed his hat off the rack behind his desk. He stepped close to Alex and planted a big kiss on her soft lips. Her arms went around him, as she began to kiss him back.

“Don’t start, you two!” Trivette retrieved his own hat and began to walk toward the door.

Walker pulled out of the kiss and grinned at his new wife. “See you tonight.” He whispered in her ear.

Mike Nelson was pounding on his computer keys when Walker and Trivette strolled into his office. He swung around and offered them a chair. They could tell from his harried appearance that he was under a lot of pressure.

“I asked you guys to come down so I could update you.” He said. “After sifting through all the forensic evidence, we have come to the conclusion that the bomber is trying to destroy evidence.”

“What kind of evidence?” Walker asked.

“He, or she, is hitting sites that are connected by one thing – a murder case that was never brought to trial years ago.”

“Why try to destroy evidence now?” Trivette queried.

Nelson frowned. “The cold case squad has uncovered what looks to be some new and very incriminating evidence. I think our suspect is trying to make sure that he isn’t brought back to trial.” He looked at the two Rangers as if to grab their full attention. The suspect is Drew Burton.”

Jimmy whistled under his breath. “The gazillionaire? Man, I had no idea he was involved in a murder!”

Walker shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “It was before you came to Dallas Trivette. Burton was accused of bludgeoning his wife to death. No murder weapon was ever found, and we couldn’t pin him to the crime.”

“We?” Jimmy picked up on the word immediately.

“Yeah, I worked on the case. The crime took place in Burton’s mansion. There were so many rooms and secret passages that you could get lost going to the bathroom. We suspected that he had hidden the weapon somewhere in the house, but we couldn’t find it.” Walker replied.

“Didn’t he donate that building to the state?”

Nelson responded to this question. “Yep. He just gave it to the state as a gesture of goodwill after the charges were dropped against him. What a guy. The building is now used as an office for the state Child Protective Services.”

Nelson looked at Walker. “The new grand jury is scheduled for tomorrow.”

Walker nodded. “I got the notice last week. I’ll be there.”

“Your testimony about how Burton looked when you got to the house is key.” Nelson continued. He hesitated for a moment, and then added, “You should consider yourself a target too Walker. Burton will not want you to testify.”

Walker nodded in agreement. They told Nelson they would keep in touch and left. Jimmy looked concerned as they climbed into the Ram.

“Hey, Partner.” He began. “Do you think this Burton guy will try to take you out?”

Walker shrugged. “It’s possible Trivette. He definitely doesn’t want to go to prison after all these years. What’s really scary is that he is using this bomber to destroy evidence. He’s been lucky so far, but I’m afraid some innocent people could be in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He put the truck in gear, and they headed back to the courthouse. No new cases came up so they gladly spent the rest of the day catching up on paperwork. Walker also reviewed his old testimony in the Burton case to prepare for tomorrow’s grand jury appearance.

The next day dawned bright and clear. Walker opened his eyes and automatically reached for Alex, but the bed was empty. He groaned loudly and muttered her name into the pillow plaintively.

Alex, who was still in her nightgown, smiled at him. “Give it up Cowboy.” She said with affection. “I have to help a client of HOPE at her hearing today, and I cannot be late!” She reached in the wardrobe to pull out the bright yellow dress she was wearing that day.

He tumbled out of bed and padded over to stand behind her. Alex felt the strong attraction pull at her the minute he got close. She still was amazed at how much the physical attraction between them continued to grow. He slipped his arms around her and pulled her close. She felt his erection pressed against her lower back and sighed.

“Walker,” she said softly, “I can’t….” Her panting breath drowned her words out when his hands closed over her breasts, kneading them gently. He trailed hot, wet kisses down her neck. She felt her knees getting weak as his hand slid underneath the gown and began to move toward her moistening center. His fingers found their target and she moaned in pleasure. She turned in his arms and her lips sought his mouth. They came together is a passionate kiss that seemed to last forever. He reached down and gripped her thighs, lifting her up. She felt for, and then gripped his hard member, guiding it into her dripping center. He took a step forward bringing her up against the wardrobe. She reached behind her and gripped the sturdy molding, arching her hips forward to thrust against his. Walker groaned and gripped her buttocks, thrusting in and out of her passionately. She felt so good, so warm, his hold on himself was precarious at best. Alex gazed at his lust-filled face, seeing the desperate concentration there.

“Let go,” she said softly. He looked at her and saw her desire-filled expression. Suddenly, he lost all control. His hips bucked fiercely against her as Alex fought to hold on. The sensation of his thrusting member inside her driving her to the peak of ecstasy. Walker was grunting with effort, sweat formed on his bulging muscles as they worked not only to create that incredible friction at his core, but also to hold Alex’s weight. He felt his desire build between their legs. He pumped raggedly against her, at the brink of exhaustion, but needing that sweet release he knew was coming.

“Walker!” Alex’s head was thrown back and she bit her lip as the waves of her climax gripped her. Her nails raked his shoulders adding to the deep pleasure of their joining. With a final thrust, Walker released his seed, pulsing powerfully into her. They remained standing for only a few short ecstatic moments before his legs gave out and they sank to the floor utterly sated.

“Oh, honey,” Alex panted. “We have got to get this under control. We can’t be late to work everyday!” She pulled herself up and kissed him on the top of his head, adding, “But, I sure can’t complain that you don’t pay attention to me.” She slipped into the shower, leaving him sitting on the floor grinning at her.

A while later they were both at the kitchen table. “I better get going.” Alex said, putting her empty juice glass down.

“You didn’t eat a thing.” Walker protested as he chewed a piece of toast and pushed some scrambled eggs toward her.

Alex held her hands up in protest. “No, way!” she exclaimed. “I just haven’t been hungry the past few weeks.” She gazed at her husband for a minute noting how handsome he was in his black shirt and tight black jeans. As he chewed, the powerful muscles in his neck and jaw were outlined, and she loved how they rippled beneath the soft red beard. His hair hung over his forehead and his deep gray eyes were sparkling humorously at her.

“See anything you like?” He wiggled his eyebrows at her and she burst out laughing.

“I see everything I like,” She quipped good-naturedly. Then, she shrugged as if deciding something. “Walker,” she began, “I have to tell you something.”

“Bad or good?” Walker asked with his mouth full.

“Good.” She looked at him with all the love and affection that she held in her heart. “I am leaving early this morning to stop by the doctor’s office. I…um….I haven’t had a period in two months.” She wasn’t sure how he would respond, but spitting a mouthful of eggs across the kitchen was not exactly what she was expecting. She grabbed for a towel as her red-faced husband coughed and spluttered.

When he was able to talk, Walker looked into Alex’s laughing blue eyes. “Alex, you’re pregnant? We are going to have a baby!”

Alex smoothed his hair and smiled at the boyish expression on his face. She needn’t have worried, she could tell he was as happy and excited as she was. “I don’t know for sure, honey. That’s why I’m going to the doctor, but the home pregnancy test was positive.”

Walker looked at his wife. Her face was flushed and glowing with her miraculous news. He reached out and pulled her into a tender embrace. As he held her, a slight sob issued from his throat. Alex caught the sound and looked worriedly up into his eyes.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” She asked with concern. He took a step back from her and looked down at the floor. When his voice finally came, it was soft and full of emotion.

“For most of my life I have lived without a close family, Alex. When my parents died, it was like my heart closed up, and I never let anyone in - until you. Now, you are about to give me something I never thought I deserved….a family of my own.” He looked at her, pain and joy in his face.

She gathered this complicated and simple man into her arms again. She took his hand and placed it against her abdomen. “Our family, darling.” She said quietly.

Trivette looked at his grinning partner out of the corner of his eye. They were riding in the Ram, and it was starting to annoy him. Walker had not stopped smiling all day. Nothing seemed to bother him, and it was driving Jimmy crazy.

“What is so darn funny?” he finally asked.

Walker looked over at the black Ranger innocently and shrugged. “Nothing, did I say something?”

“No, but you have been grinning like a Cheshire cat all day, and it is starting to weird me out. What is on your mind?” Trivette demanded.

Walker didn’t want to talk about Alex’s pregnancy until they were sure, so he decided to change the subject. “Do you mind if we stop by the Child Services Building? Alex is helping a woman there on a HOPE case, and I promised to check….I mean say Hi to her.”

“Say Hi to her?” Trivette smiled. “Geez, partner, you have it bad. Next you’ll be calling her from my cell phone. I think she’s got you by the tail.”

Walker grinned again. The way he felt right now, Alex could have him any way she wanted. He turned the Ram and headed toward the Child Services Building. Arriving in front, he glanced up at the somewhat foreboding façade. For a moment he was taken back several years to the night he had been called in to investigate the murder of Christine Burton. They had searched this house thoroughly, but never found the weapon that had been used to kill her. It was one of the few times in his career that he had failed to catch a murderer.

The two Rangers climbed the steps and entered the musty smelling building. They walked down a long entrance hall to a waiting room. Alex and her friend were waiting. She stood and smiled when Walker and Jimmy strode in. Walker gave her a quick hug and looked at her face, his question silently spoken between them. She drew him close, and whispered into his ear. A radiant smile spread over his features. Jimmy watched them in confusion, but figured maybe he could get his partner to tell him the big secret later.

“I have to stay here for at least a couple more hours.” Alex was saying. “Our case won’t be heard until three at least. I promise to get home as soon as I can.” Her smile was for Walker only, and Jimmy didn’t miss it. Those two are hiding something he thought to himself.

The two Rangers strode out of the building and headed toward the Ram. Inside, Alex looked at her watch and sighed. Almost two hours to go. She decided to use the bathroom and excused herself. Somehow, out in the hall, she made a wrong turn and found herself going down a narrow, dark hallway that didn’t look at all familiar. The air was stifling, and she removed the matching jacket to her yellow dress and hung it on a convenient wall hook. She finally saw what looked like a bathroom door near the end of the hall, and headed toward it. She opened the door and was surprised to see steps leading downward. She’d already come this far, so she followed them down. Several steps later, Alex began to worry that she would never be able to get back up. The steps had surely taken her well below ground level, and there was no end in sight. She was about ready to turn around and go back up when the deafening sound of an explosion ripped through the stairwell. Alex was thrown forward, but managed to hold on to the railing. Quickly, she descended the last few steps. The explosion had severely cracked the plastered wall at the bottom revealing a hidden door. She managed to pry it open and slipped into a small room. Terrified she listened to the sounds of walls crashing and people screaming. There was a second explosion moments later, and then stillness. Alex could smell smoke and feel the heat of the fire that raged several feet above her.

Walker and Jimmy were thrown to the ground by the force of the first explosion. They quickly scrambled to their feet and found themselves surrounded by chaos. The Child Services building was in shambles with windows blown out, and walls twisted and leaning. Injured people were everywhere, some screaming, some laying deathly still. The sound of sirens filled the air. Smoke and flames leaped from the bombed building.

Walker’s eyes were riveted on the burning building. “Alex.” He said her name and began to run toward what was left of the entrance. Jimmy grabbed his partner around the shoulders and held on for all he was worth.

“No, Walker!” He screamed in his partner’s ear. “No one survived that – you’ll just kill yourself too!” The two men struggled, and despite Trivette’s advantage of youth, Walker threw him roughly to the pavement and scrambled up the front steps of the building. At that point the second blast ripped through the damaged timbers, picking Walker up and tossing him like a twig against a concrete retaining wall several yards away.

Jimmy watched in horror as his partner was thrown in the blast. He raced over to the older Ranger, who was on lying face down, but still trying to get up. The right side of his face was a dark purple scrape, and blood ran from his mouth. He held his right hand clutched to his side as he stumbled to his feet. Walker took several small steps toward the building, but his injuries were too much and he fell into Trivette’s arms. Holding his partner, Trivette motioned for a paramedic. He fought back stinging tears as he held onto Walker who was repeating Alex’s name over and over.

“Who is Alex?” The young paramedic asked as he tried to stem the flow of blood from the Ranger’s mouth.

“She’s his wife.” Jimmy answered. And, softly he repeated, “She was his wife.” His grief gave way, but in the melee surrounding him, no one noticed the kneeling Ranger whose arms surrounded a prone figure. No one saw the tears of sorrow that fell without shame.

C.D. ran into the hospital emergency room. Trivette’s phone call had scared the hell out of him. “C.D.” The voice had been tight with stress, and something else. “Come to the hospital right away. Walker’s hurt.” C.D.’s blood ran cold when he realized that the something else he had heard in the younger Rangers’ voice had been unfathomable grief.

Jimmy stood at the end of the main hallway. As C.D. neared, he could see him visibly shaking. His shirt was torn and a bloody scrape snaked down the side of his head. “Good Lord, Jimmy! Are you okay?” He took Trivette’s arm and made him sit down.

“C.D.” Jimmy began. “The building Alex was in was bombed. No one survived. Walker tried to get back into the burning building, and was hurt. You’ve got to help them calm him down, C.D.!” Jimmy’s voice was almost hysterical. “I can’t do anything, and they say it could kill him if he doesn’t let them treat him.”

The old man wrapped his arm around Jimmy. He talked to him calmly for a few minutes, and then rose to go in the direction of the screams he knew were coming from the man he had grown to call son.

Walker thrashed around on the treatment room table. The restraining straps were tested to their limit, but they held. The doctors were desperately trying to hold him still long enough to inject him with a powerful tranquilizer, but Walker was crazed and desperate to get free himself. In his mind he could hear Alex calling him. He had to find her, he knew she was alive. He pulled mightily against the straps, groaning at the pain it caused him.

C.D. took in the situation immediately. He knew his friend was not thinking rationally, and he knew that he would hurt himself further if he didn’t stop fighting the doctors. Leaning close to Walker’s injured head he spoke slowly and softly. His hand smoothed the red hair, as his words tried to smooth Walker’s terror. “I’m here now Cordell. It’s okay for you to rest a bit. I’ll find Alex for you. But, you have to be well for her when she comes back. You know she hates it when you get hurt. Let these doctors fix you up son. I’ll stay right here. I’m right here Cordell.”

Walker’s exhausted muscles began to relax at the older man’s words and actions. He slowly stilled, and finally, with a sigh collapsed into unconsciousness. The doctors quickly began to work on his battered body, x-raying and taking blood samples. A nurse cleaned and bandaged his head and face. She gratefully looked at C.D. and smiled.

“Are you his father?” she asked.

C.D. nodded and quietly replied, “I am tonight young lady. And for as long as he needs me.” His shoulders slumped, and he shuffled from the room, feeling much older than he really was.

Several hours later Walker regained consciousness. The nurses had removed the restraining straps, and he sat up in bed, trying to remember where he was. Memory returned with a vengeance, and he lowered his head into his hands and prayed for it all to be a bad dream. But, it wasn’t, his beloved wife, and their unborn child were dead. The thoughts slammed into his aching head unbidden. Tears streaked down his face, and his shoulders shook with grief. For a few minutes his world seemed over, and he saw no point in living. But, then, the anger set in. The pain inside his chest was more than just from his injuries. His heart, his soul, fought valiantly against the thought of his family being gone. He couldn’t accept it, he couldn’t give up on them.

Sliding off the side of the bed, he limped over to the locker on the hospital room wall. Opening it, he was thankful to see his clothes hanging inside. He began to dress, ignoring the pain slashing through his side from the broken ribs. He groaned aloud at the effort as he pulled on his boots. Then, using the wall for support, he opened the door and glanced into the hall. He slowly began to walk toward the elevators at the far end. He hadn’t gotten more than a few steps when he heard a familiar voice behind him.

“Oh, Lord, Cordell. Don’t do this to yourself!” C.D. was beside him in a moment. “The docs said any little bump could send one of those broken ribs through your lung. Son, you need to be in bed.”

Walker stopped and turned to look at his old friend. “C.D. she’s not dead.” He said through gritted teeth. “I would know it. I would feel it. I have to find them….”

“Them?” C.D. picked up on the word.

Walker looked at him. “I have to go home.” He said simply. “Will you help me, C.D.?” His eyes pleaded with his former partner. C.D. struggled with his choice. He knew his friend belonged in a hospital physically, but he also knew Walker needed to be home mentally.

“Come on, son.” He said. “I’ll take you home.”

C.D. helped Walker up the steps and into the dark house. He turned on the lamp that Alex had bought to replace that ugly one Walker had been fond of. Lying on the back of the rocker was one of Alex’s sweaters. Walker crossed the room and picked it up. He held in against his face, closing his eyes. Tears sprung into C.D.’s eyes.

“Can I get you something, Cordell?” he asked, hoping to ease the other’s pain if only for a moment. But, Walker shook his head and sat in the rocker. His expression far away. Finally, his attention focused on C.D.

“I….have to find them…” he said softly. Thinking that Walker meant find Alex’s body, C.D. replied…

“The police are working on identifying everyone who was killed.” C.D. looked down and finished, “It may take awhile.” He remembered Walker’s use of “them” and asked, “Cordell, you said ‘them.’ Do you know whom Alex was with? Is that who you have to find?”

Walker’s large hands gripped the wooden sides of the rocker with such force that his knuckles turned white. Intense, deep pain permeated his features, and C.D. rushed to his side.

“What is it?” C.D. didn’t know how to help his friend. “Tell me, Cordell.”

“She….was pregnant…” Walker’s soft words fell like a hammer against C.D.’s ears.

He turned, not even knowing where he was for an instant, and managed to find the couch. Sitting, he looked at Walker, disbelief in his eyes. How could this happen? How could this man deserve so much pain and suffering in his life? Hadn’t he done enough for this world? Hadn’t he saved countless lives? Why was this now happening to him after he had finally been given the happiness he deserved? But, no answers came to him. He finally moved over to his friend, and gently began to help him from the chair.

“Let’s get you upstairs to bed, son.” He said as tears fell unnoticed from his eyes.

When he woke up again, it was in his own bed, and sunlight was streaming through the open window. He reached for her automatically, and drew his arm back when he remembered. Rising painfully from the bed, he stumbled into the bathroom. He was immediately assailed with all that was Alex. Her cologne, her shampoo, her comb, her toothbrush. He gripped the sides of the sink as a wave of memories washed over him, bringing tears to his eyes. He gasped at the intense pain they caused. Then he straightened, and quickly showered and dressed, taking care with his right side, which still throbbed painfully.

C.D. watched as Walker came into the kitchen. He looked like an open wound, stiff with grief and pain. As if even a single touch would shatter him into a million pieces.

“Can I get you some breakfast?”

Walker’s eyes focused and he nodded his head to indicate he wasn’t hungry.

“C.D., I have to go to the site of the bombing. I could use a ride.”

“Cordell, I don’t think that’s a good idea. You have suffered enough.”

Walker’s eyes flashed fire. “I don’t matter!” He said angrily. “I need to find Alex.”

Seeing that arguing would be fruitless, C.D. put down the dish he was washing. “Let’s go.” He said quietly.

The bombing site was total devastation. Only a few walls still were standing, and the police had cordoned off the area. Teams were sifting through the rubble, trying to find the remains of the 15 people who were known to have been in the building. As they pulled to a stop in front, C.D. glanced at his friend. Walker’s face held no emotion, and C.D. wondered at the incredible control the Ranger must have to be seeing this grisly site. They exited the car and walked toward what was left of the building. Several officers recognized Walker. They knew about his wife and no one challenged him as he started to step through the rubble.

He spent several minutes looking around, picking up pieces of broken wood and glass and peering beneath them. Finally, he pushed into a room near the back of the structure, and a small swatch of yellow cloth caught his eye. He pulled it from the hook it was stuck on and looked at it intently. C.D. came up beside him.

“This was Alex’s.” Walker said softly. C.D. sighed and took Walker’s elbow.

“Cordell, let’s get out of here. Please.”

But Walker pulled free and began a thorough search of the room and surrounding area. “She’s here, C.D. I know she’s here.”

Several feet below where they were standing Alex awoke with a start. She was in complete darkness in the small room, and knew that there was no way out. Her air was beginning to get stale, and she wondered how much longer it would last. Somehow, she didn’t know why, she knew her husband was near. Every fiber of her being cried out to him and she yelled as loudly as she could, hoping against hope that he would hear and rescue her.

Walker stopped and dropped to his knees. C.D., thinking he was reacting to his injuries was instantly by his side. But, Walker ignored him and began to pry up a large dresser that had been thrown against a wall.

“She’s here, C.D.!” He said excitedly. The older man prayed silently that Walker was wrong. He didn’t think he could stand seeing Alex’s burnt and broken body.

Walker suddenly cried out in pain. He clutched his side and went down on one knee. One of the broken ribs had snapped and driven into his lung, puncturing it. He gasped for breath, as he tried to ride out the wave of pain. C.D. knelt and held his handkerchief in front of Walker’s mouth as he coughed and spit up blood. Several officers had heard the cry and were gathering around.

“Call an ambulance!” C.D. yelled at one, who turned and ran back to his black-and-white unit.

“She’s here,” Walker gasped and amazingly began to pull at the dresser again. The other men looked on, some with pity in their eyes. But, a couple felt so sorry for the distraught Ranger that they helped him pull the dresser back. C.D. gasped when a door was revealed behind it. Walker grabbed the knob and pulled the door open. A narrow stairway filled with debris lay exposed. He began to pull boards and rubble away, as the other officers helped. His face was ashen gray by now, and he fought for breath. But, nothing was going to stop him from reaching Alex.

Alex heard the men beyond her prison room. She screamed loudly, and tried to make noise by beating on what she hoped was a door.

Walker stopped digging. “Listen!” He panted. The others were quiet, and in the stillness a woman’s voice could be heard yelling for help. C.D. swallowed in amazement.

“That’s Alex!” He yelled triumphantly.

One of the officers jumped in the stairway and began to help Walker. Between them they managed to uncover another door. It was jammed, and they grabbed some nearby pipe and inserted it into the warped frame. Walker groaned loudly as he put his weight into prying the door open. Finally, with a loud crack the door gave. Dead silence fell over the group as the two men gazed into the black gloom of the small room.

Suddenly, a flash of yellow appeared, and a dirty, but very much alive Alex practically leaped into her husband’s arms. Walker’s arms went around her, and he openly cried as he held onto her tightly. Alex closed her eyes and buried her face in his chest, glad to be alive. Suddenly, she felt a jolt of anxiety run through her. Searching for a reason, she realized it was for Walker. She instantly knew he was hurt, and hurt bad. She looked into his bruised face and made him look at her.

“You’re hurt,” she said. Walker let his body relax against hers. He tried to smile weakly, but wasn’t successful. Alex heard the sound of the ambulance’s siren in the distance. “Help me get him out of here.” She ordered the young policeman. Together, they managed to get him out of the stairwell before he collapsed. C.D. looked on in concern.

“What’s wrong with him?” Alex demanded, angry that her husband was not in a hospital if he was this hurt.

C.D. put his arm around her and hugged her. “Honey, he’s got some broken ribs, but you know him. He wouldn’t stay in the hospital. He knew you were alive somehow, don’t ask me how. He wouldn’t stop until we found you.”

Walker looked up into Alex’s blue eyes. He tried to tell her how much he loved her, but couldn’t get the words out. She put her fingers over his lips and looked sternly at him. “You be quiet.” She said softly. “We’ll deal with this later, Cowboy.” Hearing her voice was enough for Walker, and he finally drifted off into unconsciousness, secure in the knowledge that his family was once again safe.

Several weeks later Drew Burton was convicted of the murder of his wife. The little room that had saved Alex was also the hiding place for the baseball bat that he had used. Amazingly, his fingerprints were still on the murder weapon. The police were also able to connect him to the bombing that he had ordered to try and remove evidence. Texas seemed certain to get another death row inmate.

Alex and Walker had finally officially announced their impending parenthood. Jimmy and C.D. were strutting around, proud as peacocks and looking forward to being an Uncle and Grandpa. Walker’s ribs healed slowly, and Alex didn’t stay mad at him for not staying in the hospital.

No one talked too much about how Alex had been found. Walker’s deep connection to his wife was marveled at, but not understood by anyone save the two of them. They spoke of it only once. Alex was in the bathroom and Walker came in behind her. He looked at their reflections in the mirror as she leaned back into him. She noticed his sad expression and asked what was wrong.

“I thought I lost you.” He said simply, knowing she would understand. She took his hands and brought them together over her heart.

“I will always be here darling,” she said softly. She turned in his arms as they came together in a poignant kiss. Their love, their connection, not only in their hearts, but also in their souls. For always.