From: Diana

Fandom/Series: Walker: Texas Ranger; Sons Of Thunder

Title: Wrath

Author/Pseudo: Diana Bloomfield

Rating: NC-17

Pairing/s: Trent Malloy/Carlos Sandoval

Archive: Yes as long as headers and so forth stay put.

Series/Sequel: Sequel to "Second Chances" and the second in the Viaje de Amor (Love's Journey) series.

Author Email: HERE or HERE
Remember, feedback is not only appreciated, but craved! It's the only pay we get.

Spoilers: References to "Undercover", "Royal Heist", and "Eyes Of A Ranger".

Date Completed: 2-25-99

Warnings: N-17 for violence, language, and M/M sex. This has a high mush/romantic content so if that squicks you out, you've been warned. :o)

Authors notes: A big thanks to Bast who betaed for me. Thanks Dove! Also, a mondo thanks to Rayden who is the best technical advisor/stunt coordinator I could ask for (i.e., she gets all the credit for the martial arts scenes). Ray, hon, you're a doll and a half!

Disclaimer: No copyright infringements are intended by this and no money shall be made off of it (wouldn't it be nice though to be able to get paid for something you love doing?) Trent, Carlos, and the rest of the cast of Walker belongs to Columbia TriStar, Norris Production, Top Kicks Production, and CBS. No, on second thought, they're mine, all mine and I'm not giving them back. :o) Sure! I'll take Chuck on for them...just as soon as I make out my will!

Jarius Valdez's dark brown eyes watched the flickering screen of the television with rapt attention. His gaze followed the images on the screen as he concentrated on the voice of the news reporter. He was most interested in what the petite blonde had to say.

\\"Today, was an especially noteworthy one for the Dallas Police Department. A murder-for-hire plot was uncovered and the intended victim was Dallas District Court Judge, Marry Lou Robinson. It appears that the motivation was financial, as Judge Robinson's husband had intended to cash in a large insurance policy to cover a copious gambling debt he had accumulated.//

Valdez watched as the images on the screen changed from photos of the Judge and her husband to that of a dark haired, tanned skinned, young man in a policeman's uniform.

\\"Dallas Police officer Carlos Sandoval was the arresting officer in this case when ...//

The report was abruptly cut short when Valdez paused the tape in the VCR.

"There!" Jarius Valdez exclaimed, a finger pointing smoothly to the screen. "He is one I am in interested in gentleman. The one we shall go after."

Valdez's eyes drifted from the screen to meet with each and every pair of eyes that were on him. All together, there were half a dozen of his best men, his family, gathered before him for this very special meeting.

"But boss, what if we can't get this Sandoval guy to do what we need him to?" Miguel, one of oldest members of the 'family', asked.

Valdez waved a hand at him and beckoned him to come closer. As Miguel leaned in, Jarius patted him on the cheek.

"Oh, we can get him easily enough. We just need motive that will make him most agreeable."

Valdez met his men's eyes with a hard, penetrating gaze.

"Is it understood though that this is the one I have selected and will settle for no other?" Valdez waited for agreeing nods before continuing. "Good, I want there to be no doubt. This man owes me, owes our family and it's about time he repays his debt."

"But Sir," Miguel began, "How do we get him to cooperate with us?"

A cruel smile tugged at thin lips. "That part is quite easy. Everyone has a weakness of one sort or another. Our good detective is no different. It is up to you to discover this weakness and use it. Any questions?"

As gazes shifted around the room, it was apparent that no questions were meant to be tolerated.

"Good," Valdez said, pleased. "Marco, Franky, you'll be in charge of this matter. Find out what we can use to get Detective Sandoval's complete support. The means don't matter, the result does," he stated, letting the meaning hang heavy in the air.

Marco, a tall, lanky, Hispanic man with a goatee nodded. Franky, a shorter man who was lighter skinned, stocky in stature with a square-jawed head that was perched on a barely perceivable neck and covered with a bristly cropped mopped of hair, nodded his acknowledgment as well.

"I expect you to start immediately," Valdez stated, taking a long sip from the tumbler of brandy he held. The alcohol sliding smoothly down his throat. "Keep me posted," he said after he swallowed.

"Yes sir," the two men responded almost simultaneously.

Valdez watched as his men filed out of the room before he turned back to the television screen that still had Carlos Sandoval's image frozen in place.

"Soon Sandoval, soon, you're going to help to make up for the suffering you've caused this family." Jarius' voice dropped even lower in tone. "And if you don't, it's guaranteed that you'll learn suffering as you have never known it," he vowed.


\\BLAM//... \\BLAM//...\\BLAM//

The shots rang loudly in Carlos' ears, even with the head gear he wore to protect his hearing, the cracking of the bullets reverberating through out the enclosed confines of the police firing range. The paper target sped forward on its tracks and was snatched off the pin holding it in place.

Carlos looked at it to find that each bullet had hit the target square on in the area of the heart.

"I still can't believe this, you're a better shot than I am!" Carlos said incredulously.

The paper was promptly snatched out of his fingers by the blonde private investigator at his side.

"What's not to believe? Think about it, what's any better for hand-to-eye coordination than martial arts?" the karate instructor asked innocently.

Carlos lifted a dark, arched, eyebrow at his lover, Trent Malloy.

"Well, I suppose it would help," Carlos conceded, still not quite believing it.

"Trust me, in the Army, you couldn't find better marksmen than the men who knew martial arts and hand-to-hand combat," Trent supplied, removing his own eye shields and head gear.

Carlos took a hard look at the other man and could tell that Trent was looking worn out. He hadn't realized how much coming to the shooting range would take out of his lover. They had only been practicing for a little over an hour, but by the weariness in Trent's dark blue eyes, it seemed longer. He should have realized how trying this would be on Trent considering he knew full well how Trent despised guns.

Carlos felt like he should be feeling guilty, knowing that the one and only reason Trent even agreed to come down to the range was because over the last two months that they had been involved, Carlos had gently, steadily, worn down Trent's resolve about it. Finally Trent agreed to be taught the proper and safe way to use the Berreta that Carlos had bought him under Carlos' guidance. Try as he might, the Hispanic police officer just couldn't feel guilty. Was it so wrong of him to want his lover to know how to protect himself with a weapon other than his hands? He loved Trent too much to not do everything possible to keep the man safe.

"Ready to call it a day?" Carlos asked softly.

"Yeah, I think so," Trent replied.

With a nod, Carlos began putting the equipment away. Together both men exited the building and walked to the parking garage, where Carlos' car waited for them.

Climbing in, Carlos turned his eyes onto his lover.

"I appreciated what you did today, querido, I hope you know that."

Trent turned inquisitive eyes onto the police officer. "What do you mean?"

"I mean coming to the range with me today," Carlos replied.

"Oh, that," Trent dismissed. "It wasn't that big of a deal you know."

Carlos leveled his gaze sharply. "Don't give me that Trent, I know you didn't really want to be there but you went anyway because I asked you to."

Trent smiled teasingly. "Harped would be more like it. Nagged maybe? No, more like harassed, yeah, definitely harassed."

"I'll show you harassment Malloy," Carlos growled, pulling Trent forward until he covered the P.I.'s lips with his own for a long, slow, and absorbing kiss that left both of their pulses racing.

"Mmmm, I think I could get to liking that particular brand of police brutality," Trent murmured when his mouth was his own again.

Carlos recognized the blooming heat sparking in Trent's eyes and knew full well the promise it held and a warm glow of anticipation began spreading through the police officer and settled well south. With one more quick kiss, Carlos turned the car and began the journey home...to their home.

Carlos still couldn't believe that they were now living together at his loft, having only been together as a couple for two months. It seemed like a dream when he considered how thoroughly Trent had swept his way into Carlos' life and had so completely it seemed, become a permanent fixture in it.

Carlos had never before had the experience of knowing that someone was waiting for him when he came home at night, of having someone else to answer to if he was going to be late for some reason, of having someone to wake up next to in the morning. Carlos thought it was something he could definitely get to liking for a long time to come.

Carlos didn't fool himself into thinking that the relationship was perfect by any means. They'd had their share of arguments and had made adjustments when it came to the stress of living together, just like any other couple would and they had coped so far, worked things out by agreeing to always make sure the communication they had as friends still saw them through the rougher times as a couple.

But there were other forces that many couples didn't have to face, stresses resulting from the fact that they happened to be two men who loved each other.

Carlos remembered the fear and dread he felt when he had taken Trent with him to meet his mother for the first time as a couple. Accepting Trent as a friend was one thing for Carlos' mother, but accepting Trent as Carlos' companion was quite another. Carlos was sure that she wouldn't understand and that she would disown him as her son. The Dallas police officer had never been more relieved to have misjudged his mother than he was that night. Marchia Sandoval had sat there stoically, quietly, as Carlos pled his case, his hand in Trent's the entire time. At the end, she simply asked Carlos if Trent made him happy. When he said yes, the older Sandoval's face split into an open smile and Trent was immediately embraced by her in welcome into their family.

Carlos had only wished that Trent's family had been quite at accepting. When Trent broke the news to his mother, Mrs. Malloy wasn't nearly as pleased. She reminded both of them of all the challenges they'd have to face if they were wanting to make the relationship work and showed concern for both Trent and Carlos' welfare. Trent patiently explained to her how they were both fully aware of the risks they were taking being involved in an unconventional relationship and that he was certain he could handle whatever repercussions he might suffer. Grudgingly she said that if they were sure, then she wouldn't stand in their way.

What hurt Carlos the most though, was Trent's brother, Tommy's, reaction. Tommy had always looked up to Trent and the two brothers were as close as any brothers could be. It had, in fact been the type of relationship Carlos had always wanted with his own brother, Hector, before he died. And he himself, had always felt a bit of a bond between him and Tommy. Tommy was a good boy and Carlos thought a lot of him, but when Tommy found out about Trent and Carlos, things changed. Tommy wouldn't have anything to do with his brother anymore, wouldn't see him, stopped practicing at the karate academy with him, basically banishing Trent from his life.

It tore Carlos up because he could see just how much this had hurt Trent, the rejection and alienation he felt coming from his little brother and Carlos had no solutions to offer. Knowing that this was a tender time in Tommy's life, being in high school and on the verge of becoming a young man, Carlos didn't have to wonder too long why it was hard for Tommy to accept. After all, he was becoming familiar with his own self-identity and then to have to deal with the changes in his brother's life-style would be a lot for him to adapt to. Carlos reminded Trent of this several times and hoped that in time, Tommy would eventually come around.

Besides their family, and Walker, who was already aware of their relationship, Carlos and Trent agreed to keep their relationship to themselves for awhile yet. Not that they were embarrassed by their relationship, but both agreed they needed to become more comfortable and confident in their relationship before they told others, even their friends.

"Hey, Carlos?"

The police officer pulled himself out of his pensiveness and turned his attention onto his companion.


"Since I don't get the feeling either one of us is in the mood to cook, why don't we just go out to eat tonight?" Trent suggested.

"Sounds good to me," Carlos said amicably. "How about Maurice's?"

"Oh yeah, that would be great," Trent replied.

Carlos hid a small smile, knowing it was one of Trent's favorite restaurants. Carlos slipped his arm over Trent's shoulders and pulled the other man and drew him closer. Trent didn't object to it in the least and leaned against Carlos as the car made its way to the restaurant. Neither man noticed the nondescript brown Sedan that had been staying several car lengths behind them since they had pulled out from the parking garage.

Part Two

Franky Corvalaz was typically a very cautious man. He hadn't gotten where he had by taking careless risks. So needless to say, breaking and entering into the loft of a cop did little to steady his nerves. He knew though, that the danger of getting caught was nothing compared to what faced him if he refused the job. That thought alone was enough to bolster his resolve in getting this particular job done quickly and to get out.

With orders for him and Marco to take charge of the assignment, they had agreed that the best course of action if they wanted to run surveillance on Sandoval was to split up and take a second partner to expedite matters. Now Franky was paired up with Miguel while Marco was paired with guy named Ramon. Ramon was fairly new within the family, and though Franky didn't trust him yet, Marco said this experience would be good for the kid.

When Marco called on the cell phone saying that he and Ramon had tailed the detective to some restaurant, Franky knew that if they were going to plant listening and video devices in the cop's loft, they'd have no better opportunity than now. The boss seemed rather anxious to have the deal done and Franky didn't get the impression from Valdez that they could afford to pick and choose their opportunities.

"Hey, you 'bout done in there?" Franky called out in the general direction of the bedroom.

"Almost, keep your shorts on!" he heard Miguel call back. "This tech stuff ain't exactly kids play you know!"

"Yeah, yeah, just hurry your ass up, all right? The sooner we get out of here, the better I'll feel," Franky snapped, finishing up his business with the phone.


Carlos had his hands wrapped around Trent's waist as the elevator took them up to the loft and the peace and quiet of home.

The food had been marvelous. The restaurant had been tranquil, cozy, and had a certain ambience that was both romantic and sedate. Carlos had no complaints whatsoever about the evening so far and had appreciated a wonderful night out, but it still was good to be home. For all the charms the restaurant had, it couldn't distract Carlos from wanting to have Trent all to himself. Maybe he was selfish, Carlos told himself, but there were times he just didn't feel like sharing the private investigator's attention with anyone else and tonight just happened to be one of those nights.

Carlos tossed his keys onto the table by the door and headed to the kitchen to grab a beer while Trent checked the answering machine. From the other room, Carlos could still recognize Walker's voice coming from the machine.

\\"Hi Carlos, its Walker. Listen, we finally located a witness in the Delgato case so you need to go talk to him first thing in the morning all right? And Trent, if you're listening to this, you still owe me a workout you know."//

Carlos grinned when he heard his lover groan. "What's the matter Malloy? You sound like you're dreading the idea of working out with Walker.

Trent shot the police officer a mildly annoyed glance. "Yeah, laugh all you want. He doesn't wipe the floor up with you."

"It can't be that bad," Carlos remarked, knowing full well Trent was nearly as skilled as the older Texas Ranger.

Trent gave him a wry smile. "Remember that when you're giving me a massage afterwards to work out the damage."

Carlos came up behind him and dropped a cool kiss on the back of Trent's neck. "My pleasure."

"Sadistic, Sandoval, really sadistic," Trent mumbled, trying to hide the shiver that ran through him. Pulling away, he said, "I'm going to take a shower."

Trent shed his clothing and started the warm spray of the shower. Climbing in, he let the heat absorb him while the water beat down on him.

The P.I. thought about the call from Walker and once more counted himself lucky for having Walker in his circle of close friends.

When Carlos first told Trent that Cordell knew about their involvement, Trent had been worried that he would somehow lose Walker's respect because of his love for Carlos, and Trent realized that next to Thunder, Walker was one of the people Trent admired most in his life. He wouldn't have been able to stand it if Walker turned on him. Then Carlos had told Trent how it was Walker himself who had encouraged Carlos to talk with him and tell Trent how Carlos really felt but had been too afraid to admit. Lord, he should have known better, should have given Walker more credit than that.

Since then, the Ranger had gone out of his way to show support in his own unassuming way, like making sure his normal routine down at Trent's academy wasn't disrupted. He'd even gone so far as to offer to talk to Tommy on Trent's behalf, which of course Trent thanked him for, but politely refused. The private detective wondered if Walker had any idea how much that meant to Trent?

Trent was so absorbed in his own musing that he didn't hear the door softly creek open or the fall of footsteps creeping closer.

The shower curtain was pulled back and before Trent knew it, a pair of warm, strong arms engulfed him as he felt himself pulled against a solid body.

"You didn't really think I'd let you get away with hogging all the hot water did you?" Carlos murmured, letting his hands slide over the soapy skin of Trent's chest, down over his hips with deliberate intent.

"As if a cold shower would have any affect on you," Trent taunted, his own body pressing back against the length of the Hispanic detective's frame.

Carlos turned the other man in his arms around and drew him close. "Can I help it if I can't get enough of you?" he whispered before claiming Trent's lips in a tender assault.

The water continued cascading over their bodies as Trent's lips softened and his mouth opened so that Carlos could explore. Carlos' fingers roamed over Trent's muscled chest, lightly brushing against the soft, golden, curls there. Drifting down Trent's stomach, around to cup a firm rear, Carlos' hands squeezed as his tongue was caught and drawn into Trent's mouth.

The steam of the shower mingled with heat rising between their bodies, combined in the climbing mist. Trent pressed Carlos back against the back wall of the shower, his forearms coming to rest on either side of Carlos' shoulder. Trent moved in closer until their bodies touched at every point, his mouth pulling free from Carlos' lips only to start gliding over the tendons of the police officer's neck, nipping and sucking down to the curve of his shoulder only to work his way back up again. Carlos murmured softly while his hands restlessly caressed Trent's back and hips, pulling Trent even closer as the P.I.. relentless rubbed his groin against Carlos' with a growing hunger.

Carlos moaned as he continued stroking the body pressing into him, meeting the undulating hips with a driving rhythm of his own. Lord, he had never known another lover that could kindle the fire in his blood so thoroughly and quickly as the blonde man in his arms managed to do. Each touch, each kiss, was an unique brand, leaving Carlos with no doubts of how completely he had been claimed by Trent's love.

Trent's lips seemed to scorch as they moved down over his wet body. The Hispanic officer was unable to stifle a small whimper as Trent's lips latched onto and began to suckle one of Carlos' dusky nipples. The other man's tongue flicked back and forth across the nub until the tautness reached near painful levels.

"Taste so good," Trent murmured, as his lips moved to the other nub of flesh to bring it equally sweet torment.

Carlos' body shivered slightly from Trent's husky tone and the exquisite agony Trent's mouth and teeth were doing to him.

Trent's lips continued their downward journey, until his knees touched the ceramic bottom of the shower as he kissed and nibbled at the fleshy skin of Carlos' stomach and abdomen.

"Oh God Trent, you drive me so crazy babe," Carlos growled, his fingers sliding through the other man's flaxen hair in encouragement, losing himself in the feel of Trent's fingertips wandering over his hips and thighs - fingertips that weren't close enough to the area that needed the P.I.'s attention most.

"Please babe, please," Carlos implored, his voice thick in his throat. "Want you so bad."

Trent took delight in running his tongue over Carlos' stomach, getting dangerously close, but not close enough to suit the police officer, wanting to draw out the anticipation a little. He enjoyed the feel of the moist, tanned, skin under his fingers, feeling the slight quivering of his lover's body, enjoyed pushing Carlos to his limits and beyond.

Carlos' firm member, aching and ready, was at eye level, making the police detective's needs obviously apparent. Carlos was out from under the direct spray of the shower, but his body was still damp and when Trent gently blew against Carlos' sensitized, inflamed skin, the Hispanic detective gasped and moaned softly.

Finally Trent decided that he had teased Carlos enough. With a mischievous gleam, he looked up into smoky dark brown eyes and drew the weeping tip past his lips and into his mouth. Gently he sucked, running his tongue back and forth over the engorged head, enjoying the familiar musky, salty, tangy flavor while making Carlos moan deep in his chest.

Carlos resisted the instinct he had to thrust his hips into the moist, hot mouth, wanting Trent to go at his own pace, letting himself just enjoy the rush of sensations that surged through him. He loved drawing out their lovemaking as much as Trent did, but it wasn't easy sometimes, not when his body cried out for more.

Trent pulled back and bathed the entire length of Carlos' throbbing member with long strokes of his tongue, running it up and down the heavily veined length with a slowness and patience that made Carlos feel like he was in risk of losing his mind before taking him in as deeply as he could.

Trent filled his mouth with his lover, taking him until he touched the back of Trent's throat. Gently, the muscles of the P.I.'s throat and his tongue worked in tune to bring waves of pleasure to his lover's body.

Carlos' hips could stay still no longer, and being heedful, let himself thrust gently into the parted lips, meeting Trent's tempo.

Trent sped up a bit, his hands continuing to distract Carlos with endless touches and feather-light caresses over heated skin. Carlos' moans grew intense, his fingers wanting to grasp and tangle in Trent's hair but somehow managing to just lightly cradle the back of the blonde head.

The Latino officer could feel the deep, penetrating, ache budding from his inner core and suffusing outward, gaining and growing in intensity. He knew at this pace, it wouldn't be but a fleeting moment before his control snapped altogether and it was much too soon for that to happen.

Carlos looked down and into the dark, electrifying, sapphire eyes so intensely and passionately locked onto his own and cupped Trent's face in his broad hands. Tenderly, Carlos pulled Trent to his feet and into his embrace. Carlos took Trent's swollen lips in a hungry kiss, tasting himself in the other man's mouth as one of his hands slipped between their slick bodies until he found and began stroking Trent's hard length, his fingers squeezing and fondling the rigid, yet satin smooth erection.

"Oh yeah," Trent murmured, his eyes closing at the touch, his breathing coming out in a harsh rasp.

"I need you so bad babe," Carlos whispered into the shell of Trent's ear.

"Need you too, want you so much," Trent responded.

Carlos become aware of the slight shivering of the other man and realized that it didn't only come from desire, but also from the fact that the water had cooled considerably, having gone unnoticed until now.

"Come on, let's take this to the bedroom," Carlos suggested with a husky voice, shivering himself at the look in Trent's eyes.

Turning the jet of water off, Carlos stepped out of the tub and slipped a heavy terry-cloth towel around Trent and pulled the other man to him, kissing him as he slowly wiped away the beads of water off the pale skin.

Together they made their way into the bedroom. Carlos watched as Trent crawled onto the coverlet and turned to him in expectation. A pale stream of shimmering moonlight cascaded through the open window, casting almost an ethereal glow over the lines and shadows of the P.I.'s body. Once again Carlos was struck by the sheer physical beauty Trent possessed and how the light of that beauty was only out-shined by the beauty that came from within Trent's pure, loving, and generous heart. Gods, how had he ever gotten so lucky to be a part of this man's life? He didn't feel like he had done anything in his life to be rewarded with something so amazing, but he certainly didn't take it for granted either.

"Hey lover, still with me?" Trent asked, breaking Carlos free from his rumination.

"Just thinking about how lucky I am," Carlos whispered as he moved closer.

Trent gave him one of those heart stopping smiles and took Carlos' hand, pulling the police officer down onto the bed next to him.

"Have I told you lately how much I love you?" Trent asked, rolling over to blanket Carlos' body with his.

Carlos let his hands brush up and down Trent's back. "Yeah, and I still can't believe it."

Trent's soft lips descended for a brief, but deep kiss. "Well believe it," he whispered as his body began moving over Carlos' sensuously, allowing Carlos to feel the need and hunger still claiming Trent's body and mimicked his own. "Or do I have to show you?"

Part Three

Carlos let out a soft moan, his body reacting instinctively to Trent's movements, meeting each move with a counter motion of his own. The slow, deep burning need, the unquenchable longing began growing stronger, making demands that wouldn't be ignored.

"Wanna make love to you babe, need to..." Carlos' voice trailed off but the intent was clear to Trent.

Reaching over to the nightstand and digging in the small drawer, Trent grabbed the tube of lubricant kept there. Quickly opening it, Trent poured some of the cool gel into his hand and warmed it before covering Carlos' erection that jutted out to meet him. Making sure the heated length was well coated, Carlos then watched as Trent prepared himself with some of the gel.

The private investigator then moved to straddle Carlos, raising himself until he was poised, hovering above Carlos' rigid shaft. The police officer licked dry lips, and time seemed to stop as he held his breath. His finger found the curve of Trent's hips and helped to hold him as Carlos felt the tip of his member resting at the threshold of Trent's body.

As if moving in slow motion, Trent slid his body down and onto Carlos' length until he was completely inside of the P.I.. Both men groaned with satisfaction when they were completely joined. Carlos felt himself filling Trent's body as it received him, embraced him. The engulfing heat cloaked around him, plunged him into such sweet constriction that threatened to steal his breath.

"Oh babe, feels so good lover," Carlos murmured, his hands stroking Trent's legs and thighs.

"And I haven't even started yet," Trent whispered with fire sparking in his eyes.

Slowly, Trent began moving. Carlos sucked in a gasp as his body was taken over and over into Trent's.

The motions were slow at first, both men lost in the feeling of the connection, of knowing the ultimate sense of closeness, cherishing the bond born from ardor and devotion. All too soon though it became overwhelming, their control became taxed and pushed to the bounds.

As Trent sped up, their voices became a tangle of moans. Carlos could hardly distinguish between them as endearments and encouragements, a mixture of English and Spanish, flowed from his lips. He wanted to close his eyes, let the sensations wash over him, but found he couldn't tear his gaze away from the cobalt blue eyes that held him spellbound, the passion and desire roaring like blue flames in their depths.

Carlos could feel his restraint slipping from his grasp as he clung onto Trent's hips, holding him steady as the thrusts became more and more powerful. The police officer's body rose to meet Trent's with more and more force, the urgency sweeping his away. Carlos could feel the swelling, coursing heat in his stomach growing steadily and spreading quickly like a brush fire. Carlos' body warred against itself, both wanting to make this precious moment last for as long as it could, and at the same time wanting to soar to that summit that was so achingly close.

Trent was on a tightrope, on the verge of the abyss, as he drove relentless on, taking Carlos' body harder and faster as the fervor consumed him. He strove onwards heedlessly, seeking the sweet release he knew was hovering near.

Carlos' fingers wrapped around Trent's length and began pumping in time to the other man's rhythm. Throbbing, pulsating blood pounded through Carlos' body, his heart hammering in tune to Trent's as he finally let go of the last strand of restraint and tumbled head long into the chasm. The Hispanic officer called out Trent's name as the explosion of pleasure roared through his body, a crescendo of bliss crashing through him causing his muscles to tremble and shutter as his seed flowed into his lover's body.

A heartbeat later, Trent followed him over the edge, crying out as his essence flowed hot and thick onto his lover's stomach.

Trent stilled, his muscles quivering in the aftershock as the haze slowly dissipated and left him slowly drifting back down into himself once more. When his breathing became more stable and his heart no longer thundered in his chest, Trent gently, regretfully, severed their bond and released himself from Carlos' body.

Carlos ran fingers through Trent's sweat drenched hair and pulled him forward for a tender kiss and Trent came down to rest on top Carlos' chest, snuggling into the warmth found in the embrace.

Kissing Trent's temple, Carlos murmured softly, "Oh querido, love you so much babe, so amazing..." Carlos' words trailed off as his hands stroked Trent's shoulders, back, and rear.

"Love you too," Trent whispered back, dropping several kisses onto Carlos' chest.

Trent moved over and Carlos spooned up behind him, drawing him tightly to his chest. The moon stood as a sentry over the two lovers as they drifted off to sleep secure in one another's arms.


The next morning, Jarius Valdez was having a leisurely breakfast of croissants and coffee when there came a knock on his door.

"Enter," Valdez barked.

The door opened and Miguel poked his head inside and into the room.

"Sir, Franky is here to see you, Mister Valdez."

Jarius clapped both of his hands together, not unlike an excited child. "Excellent, send him in right away."

"Yes sir," Miguel said and promptly left.

A minute later Franky Corvalaz entered.

Valdez gave a predacious smile. "Ah, Franky! I'm assuming you have some good news for me on the assignment I sent you on?"

"Yes sir, I have, I think you'll be pleased," Franky informed his boss.

"I had better be," Valdez warned. "Now come, tell me what you have found and don't keep me in suspense, my time is a precious commodity."

"Yes, of course Mister Valdez," Franky said quickly and held out a video tape. "May I?"

Jarius waved his hand impatiently towards the direction of his VCR. Franky popped in the tape and then stood to the side and out of the way of Valdez's view.

"You see, sir, last night after putting surveillance in Sandoval's loft, we managed to get this," Franky explained.

Valdez watched with a mixture of amusement and discomfort as the tape played and Valdez watched the man he was interested in getting to help them being rode, hard, by a very attractive blonde man. Accompanying noises filled the room as Franky shifted uneasily on his feet.

Valdez chuckled. "So our good Detective Sandoval has secrets of his own no?" Valdez paused the tape with the remote, freezing the blonde with a beautiful 'O' on his lips. "This is good for us, very good."

"Yes sir," Franky murmured, pulling his eyes away from the screen. Then in a more sure voice said, "We figured that he just might be the weakness we were looking for."

"Yes," Valdez nodded in agreement, folding his hands into his lap. "I believe we can use this man to get Sandoval's assistance. You'll get him for me," Jarius ordered.

"Yes sir," Franky responded, all ready trying to work out the details in his mind.

"Good, now I'll leave you to it," Valdez said and dismissingly waved Franky away. Taking the cue, Franky left.

Jarius approached the still frozen television screen, his finger trailing over the flat surface of Trent's image. "Like any good hunter...find the weakness, attack the weakness, and snare your prey. So simple isn't it? Yet the thrill of the hunt still remains."


The next afternoon, Trent finished up his routine with his students at the Thunder Academy.

"Very good class, you have all been doing exceptionally well and I feel certain that all of you will do well at the tournament next week."

The karate instructor could see several apprehensive gazes aimed his way and gave his pupils his most reassuring smile. "Now I know some of you feel you aren't ready for the tournament, but rest assured I feel you are. Nervousness is natural, it just means you are still having some doubts and that's good." Trent slowly walked through the lines of the students who stood at rapt attention. "It's good because it means you're questioning, seeking to better yourself and that means you recognize the need to continue learning, and learning class, is something you never complete, there is always more to be studied if you search for it. Just remember that whether you win or lose, you have made your Sensei proud with all of the hard work and dedication you have shown." With that, he bowed to the class and in unison, the class returned the bow.

After the class was dismissed, Trent noticed that everyone had left except for Leon Dosheva. Leon was a small boy for his age, shy and reserved, but very attentive and one of Trent's most diligent students. Trent had been so pleased when Leon started taking his class, as he had gotten to know the boy through Carlos, who was a member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. Carlos had taken Leon under his wing nearly a year ago when the now twelve year old was close to getting into trouble with a local street gang. Because of Carlos, Leon had resisted joining the gang and now had a few close friends that studied at the academy. When Leon had first discovered from Carlos that Trent owned a karate school, the kid took an immediate interest and after only one lesson with Trent, Leon had decided he truly wanted to learn all that Trent could teach him. Of course Trent had been more than happy to oblige. Carlos had been more than a little surprised that Leon had stuck with it, so certain it was only a passing interest, but Trent hadn't been surprised. When he had seen the look in Leon's eyes, he saw how badly the boy wanted it.

Now the boy was sitting on a bench, his dark head bowed to the floor. Trent came over and put a hand on the boy's shoulder. Doe brown eyes looked up at him with surprise, apparently not knowing he had been watched.

"Leon, are you all right?" Trent inquired, kneeling down to become eye level with the sitting boy.

"Yes, Sensei," Leon answered, still avoiding Trent's eyes. "I guess I'm just nervous."

Trent gave the small shoulder a squeeze. "Didn't you hear what I said in class? It's perfectly natural to be nervous."

"Yeah, but I really feel like I'm just not ready for a tournament yet," Leon confided, looking for understanding in his teacher's eyes.

Trent was quiet for a moment as he thought. "What if we met this weekend, outside of class, and you practiced with me. Do you think that would help?"

The boy's face brightened up. "Do you mean it?"

"Of course Leon," Trent responded. He knew that the boy just needed a confidence booster to make him feel ready, for he already knew the moves.

"Thanks Mister Malloy," the boy said with a grin.

"Anytime," Trent answered and slung his arm around Leon's shoulders. "Now lets go outside and wait for your mom to come for you."

Together they walked out to the empty parking lot.

"Mister Malloy, my mother wanted me to ask you if you and Carlos would like to come to our house for dinner next week," Leon said as they walked.

"That would be nice, Leon. I'll ask Carlos what he thinks and then give your mother a call all right?" Maria Dosheva was a very sweet, gentle lady and a close friend of Alex's and Carlos'. Judging from just the few brief conversations they'd shared, Trent felt that Maria was someone Trent would like to get to know better.

"Sure," Leon answered and then suddenly stopped. "Darn it, I left my school books back in the dojo."

"Go ahead and go get them and I'll wait for your mother," Trent told him.

"'Kay," Leon said, already sprinting back across the parking lot.

Part Four

As Trent stood there waiting, looking up into late afternoon sky, a black van pulled into the parking lot and stopped in front of him. The door slid open and three unfamiliar men stepped out. The men were of various heights, ages, and coloring, but they all had a similar look in their eyes...a look that raised the hair on the back of Trent's neck.

"Can I help you gentlemen?" Trent asked, his eyes narrowing just slightly, but he kept his body posture to look open and non-confrontational, at least for the time being since he didn't know their intentions for sure.

A thin man with a goatee stepped forward. "Yea, you can help us out all right, you can help by getting into the van with us." Beside him stood a another man, slightly larger build, who's shoulder-length hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail.

Trent gave them a thin smile. "Thanks, but I don't need a ride anywhere."

The goatee man stepped to Trent's side while another man came to stand in front of him. This man was much larger, looking like he had been carved out of a brick wall. In the middle of his face was a beak-shaped nose that could have only been made better looking by the several times it had been broken. It was perched in-between beady, deep set eyes. "Look, we can either do this the easy way or the hard way. The choice is yours," the graveled voice informed him.

Instinctively, Trent felt the man with the ponytail approaching from behind. "Well, since you put it that way..." Without looking back, Trent thrust out into a high back kick, hitting ponytail boy in the stomach, making him double over. Trent took that opening distraction to move between the goatee man between himself and Beak-nose. Goatee man made a half-hearted attempt to swing at Trent, fighting obviously not one of his "better" intimidation skills. Trent effectively blocked the punch then hit goatee man with a wicked roundhouse punch to the jaw, knocking him into a bunch of cardboard boxes.

Beak-nose was really unhappy now. "Look little man, I don't want to start something' here that you can't finish, so just come along quietly."

"I told you, I really 'don't' need a ride home." Trent was aware that ponytail boy behind him had recovered enough from the back kick and was moving to his right; just enough to become a threat again.

Again, without taking his gaze off beak-man, he struck out again, this time with a side kick that knocked ponytail boy back into goatee man, both men falling back into the cardboard boxes.

Beak-man was not amused as he pulled out a small .22-caliber gun. "Now come on, blondie, let's go."

Trent knew that if he got into the van, his chances for survival would be limited. That's the number one lesson in self-defense: never get into a vehicle with anyone you don't know. He'd have to take his chances with the gun. Using his peripheral vision to make sure goatee man and his companion were still struggling to get out of the cardboard boxes, he made his move. With a swift inside crescent kick, he struck Beak-nose's gun hand, causing the gun to go off as it flew from his hand, the bullet grazing Trent in the upper arm. He shook off the initial pain, knowing it wasn't life-threatening and kept his attention on the very irate man in front of him. Inside crescent kicks weren't all that powerful, just enough to piss this one very large man off.

Leon came outside the dojo in time to hear a bit of the scuffle and then the gunshot. Fearing the worse, he ran inside to call 911, hoping he wasn't too late to help his friend and teacher. Within seconds, the 911 operator was reassuring him that help was on the way and for him to stay put and to stay on the line.

Beak-nose threw a glare at Trent, then threw his ham-sized fist at the general direction of Trent's head. Being big meant Beak-nose wasn't that light on his feet, and Trent was able to side-step the punch and get in a roundhouse kick to Beak-nose's stomach, doubling the big man over. It was then Trent noticed that goatee man and his companion had extricated themselves from the cardboard boxes and he knew he needed to take at least one of them out. Goatee man became his target. Goatee man came up to him while his companion circled around. He pulled back for a solid punch to the face, telegraphing what he was going to do all the way. Trent caught the punch and using the punch's own momentum, pulled goatee man into an arm bar joint lock and tossed him to the ground, then without hesitation, punched him right behind the ear, effectively taking him out of the game.

Ponytail boy saw this and advanced upon Trent, only to become victim again to one of Trent's vicious back kicks, this time landing hard against the dumpster that was along one wall of the parking lot. Knowing he didn't hit ponytail boy hard enough, Trent knew he had to take Beak-nose out next if he was to stand a chance of getting out of this parking lot alive and 'not' in their van. He turned to confront Beak-nose, but was surprised when Beak-nose was closer than he had anticipated. Trent was picked up as the air was squeezed out of him.

Having one arm free, Trent pulled back to hit Beak-nose with a palm-heel strike to his well-broken in nose, feeling the cartilage underneath his palm break once again. Beak-nose dropped him and grabbed at his now-bleeding nose, and Trent rolled away from the mammoth. He jumped up when he noticed ponytail boy advancing on him, and ignoring the pain from his upper arm and his ribs, he took a ready stance when he noticed ponytail boy pulled out a knife.

Slashing the air in front of him, the third man advanced on Trent, Trent efficiently dodging the knife and looking for an opening to disarm the man. His opening came, and he grabbed the knife arm and shifted his weight, pulling the ponytail boy over his shoulder and into a judo throw to the ground, never losing sight of the very sharp knife. Applying pressure to the wrist, ponytail boy relinquished the knife and Trent threw it into the dumpster so it would not be used against him again. He then twisted ponytail boy's wrist to cause sufficient tendon damage but not breaking it...he just wanted this guy out of the fight, not maim him for life. He dropped the ponytail boy to writhe in agony and confronted his last hurdle...a very enraged Beak-nose.

Eyes blazing, anger mixed with blood on his face, Beak-nose was not one to mess with right now. Trent started to kick out with a roundhouse kick, but Beak-nose was a bit faster this time. Slamming down on Trent's leg, Beak-nose watched in satisfaction as Trent went down to one knee.

"Don't feel so good, does it, blondie?" Beak-nose was getting ready for the final count when he heard sirens fast approaching. "Damn! We gotta get out of here!" Ponytail boy quickly picked himself up and Beak-nose dragged goatee-man to the van, then the van sped out of sight as cop cars pulled up to the dojo parking lot, finding a very much alive, but very hurt Trent Malloy.

The ambulance and several police cars pulled into the parking lot, the sirens blaring loudly in Trent's ears. The pain in Trent's arm was now radiating through his whole body and was definitely much more noticeable now that he was coming down off of an adrenaline rush. He heard people milling around him, and from somewhere in the background, he heard Maria Dosheva's voice and knew she must have finally come to pick up Leon. As the paramedics loaded Trent onto a stretcher and into the ambulance, Maria said that she and Leon would follow him to the hospital.


Walker was currently talking to Trivette and Carlos. The Delgato case was going to be going to court next week and they were going over the finer details before they would be called in to testify. As they talked, a uniformed officer, someone that hadn't been with the force long and Walker didn't recognize, approached.

"What can I do for you?" Walker asked, mildly annoyed at the interruption.

"Sir, you have a friend that owns the Thunder Academy, right?"

"Yeah Robins, we do," Carlos answered. “Why?"

"We just got a disturbance call from there, someone calling 911 and reporting gun shots," the officer told him.

Carlos felt his blood crystallize in his veins, his heart starting to pound heavily in his ears, the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. 'Oh dear god, no, do 'not' let it be what I think it is,' he pleaded silently, even though deep inside, he had little doubt of what he was about to be told. His gut level instincts told him what his heart refused to listen to.

"Was anybody injured?" Walker asked, noticing the drained color of Carlos' face and the slight shakiness in his hands, knowing he was thinking the worse case scenario.

"Yeah, one man was taken to the hospital and I think it's the owner of that academy but it hasn't been confirmed."

"Which hospital?" Trivette asked.

"Parkland Memorial," the rookie responded.

'No, you can't do this to me, not now, not when we just found each other. God, don't take him away from me!' Carlos' thoughts roared through his head.

"Come on, let's go," Walker said, grabbing his coat off the back of his chair.

"You can follow me," Carlos said, grabbing his own jacket.

Walker wanted to ask Carlos if he was all right enough to be driving, but something in Carlos' eyes told Walker to leave it be for now, that Carlos could handle it.

As the Hispanic officer moved quickly out the door, whispered prayers passed his lips in a steady, relentless, string.

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