Disclaimer: I own no one. So please, *pretty* please, DON'T SUE ME. Okay, thanks.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: PLEASE READ! WARNING, this is an Alternate Universe type of story.... I've just changed a few things about the guys past (mainly Carlos'), and Carlos is still a cop. Remember this is FICTION, so don't go all crazy like on me, telling me that's not how things were portrayed in the WTR episodes or the SOT series. This is the way I want it, so deal with it. This is NOT slash. None of my stories between these two will be. I'm focusing on brotherly love. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE R&R.
"Trent!" Carlos yelled, storming up the steps of his best friend's family home.
"What?" Trent yelled back, busily digging through a box, Tandi by his side.
"Why did you tell Maria I was out with you last night?" He accused, shaking a finger at his friend. Trent looked up from his crouched position.
"Cause you were," he stated simply, before handing the ball he'd dug up to Tandi.
Carlos rolled his eyes, quickly swinging Tandi up into his arms. Kissing her cheek, he then plopped her back down to race to the backyard where Tyler was waiting with his glove.
"Yeah? Well thanks to you, she isn't talking to me. I told her I was busy with work last night. Now that she knows I lied, she won't trust me."
Trent looked at his friend incredulously. "First of all, it's a lot better than what she THOUGHT you were up to. Secondly, she shouldn't trust you if you're gonna lie."
Carlos groaned, "Trent! I wasn't REALLY lying. We were working... You were giving me info on Big Red..."
"Yeah, and then we played pool and threw darts."
"That's not the point. You're my best friend. You're supposed to cover for me."
"Pal, I'm not gonna lie to that poor girl. She deserves better than you skipping out on her, and I was doing you a favor. She thought you were with another girl. I had to assure her you weren't and never would."
"Of course I wouldn't. I'm not THAT low."
Trent smirked and shook his head. "No, not THAT low. But lying to her didn't do you any favors either."
Carlos groaned, "I know, but I am SO sick of going to Shakesperean operas and stupid stage shows. I needed a night out having fun, rather than falling asleep to yodeling women or screeching violins."
"Then tell her that. I'm sure she'll understand."
"And if she doesn't?"
"Then she's not the one for you, Buddy."
"I'll never find the one for me."
Trent chuckled. "I thought you were afraid of commitment," he commented.
They made their way to the Malloy's backyard.
"I am... The one for me is the one who isn't looking for commitment."
Trent laughed, clapping his Cuban friend on the back. "You're right. You're never gonna find the one for you."
"Ha ha ha, " Carlos said, but grinned anyway. He perched himself on the porch railing, as Trent started up the barbecue. "So, how's the PI work going?"
Carlos raised an eyebrow. "And that's to be interpreted as...?"
Trent smiled, "It's fine Carlos. A little lonely, and not bringing in much in the way of cash, but at least I have the Dojo for that."
"Not bringing in much? Fifty dollars an hour isn't much?"
Trent had a guilty look about his face.
"Trent? Are you doing what I think you're doing?"
Trent cleared his throat. "It depends... What do you think I'm doing?"
"Knowing you, you're giving all your "clients" either a major discount or a free ride."
"Not all of them..."
"Oh, but the majority."
"Look Carlos, they don't have the money-"
"YOU are not gonna have the money if you don't quit doing charity cases."
Trent sighed, "I know, I know... But..."
Carlos sighed as well. "You know, you're too damn nice."
Trent grinned, "Gee thanks."
Carlos rolled his eyes. "Unfortunately you wouldn't be you if you weren't, and you would have run the other way the first day we met."
Trent chuckled softly. "Well, I was tempted...tough guy..."
Flashback 23 years ago
September 5, 1978
"Give that back!" A young, curly haired Carlos yelled at the older boys from the high school downtown. They had taken his red ball and were tossing it back and forth.
"Make us, pip-squeak."
Carlos fumed. For a six year old, he held a world of anger. His father had left a few months earlier, because of him... It was his fault. Everything was his fault. He placed a well aimed kick at the tallest boys shin.
"Why you little-" The big guy picked Carlos up by the shirt front and shook him hard. The boys teeth clacked together, making his jaw ache, but he continued to put up a fight.
Five year old Trent Malloy, watched in fear for the young Cuban boy, as he came a cross a group of teenagers picking on him. Knowing he could do nothing alone, he raced around the corner to a traffic cop he knew stood there.
"Sir! Sir! There are some big guys hurting a boy over at the park!"
The officer nodded, and jogged in the direction of the park, Trent close behind.
Carlos held back a sigh of relief as a traffic cop came toward him and the teens, yelling at the top of his lungs.
"Hey there! You put that boy down before I call in to have you arrested for public mischief and harassment. Now scram."
The youths quickly complied, but not before shoving Carlos to the ground. The cop knelt down before the boy. Carlos jutted out his chin, dark eyes shining with stubborn pride. He glared at the blonde boy a few feet behind the cop.
"You all right there son?"
Carlos grunted, getting to his feet and retrieving his ball.
"I'm fine," he muttered, brushing off his ragged jeans.
The officer looked him up and down, then sighed. "Whatever you say kid. Why don't you go with your friend here and get on home. It's getting late, and your parents are probably worried."
"He's not my friend, and they don't care."
The cop shrugged, rising to his feet. "Well, this boy probably saved you a beating, and I'm sure your parents do care. Now get on out of here. Go on."
With that, the cop turned and headed back to his post.
The blonde boy looked at him, blue eyes showing true concern. "Are you sure you're all right? That was quite the shake that guy gave you."
Carlos sniffed disinterestedly. "Ah, that was nothing...believe me. Now get lost, I don't even know you."
Trent was taken back by the boy's abrupt rudeness. As a minister's son, he rarely came across such manner. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get in your business. I just didn't want to see you get hurt... My name is Trent."
Carlos looked at the boy curiously, but kept up his stand offish attitude, not wanting any "friends" to worry about.
"Carlos... Why do you care?"
Trent shrugged, "I dunno. I just do... My Dad tells me everyone has the right to be treated with respect."
Carlos snorted, "Your Dad is nuts. You don't get no respect around here white boy. You're in the wrong part of town if you think like that."
Trent looked at him evenly. "Or maybe not. Maybe we were sent here by god for a reason. To bring respect for one another to the people of this community."
Carlos almost dropped to the ground laughing. "You...have...got...to be...kidding...me." He wheezed out.
Trent remained silent, a serious look on his face. He did not seeing what was so amusing.
Carlos finally calmed down, wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes. "Oh man, you are so gonna need looking after. You say you live here now?"
Trent nodded. "Just moved in the other day. My father is trying to rebuild the church. He's a minister."
Carlos chuckled, placing a hand on the boys shoulder. "Come on you crazy white boy, I'll walk you home so you don't get yourself killed."
Trent looked at him strangely. "Hey! You were the one that was getting beaten up, not me... I helped YOU."
Carlos rolled his eyes, "Details. I was fine, I didn't need your help. Now move it, the gangs will be out by sunset."
"Gangs?" Trent asked, innocently.
Carlos shook his head. This kid sure was naive... Or maybe Carlos just knew too much for his age.
Carlos face quickly became a blank mask as they walked in silence, Trent slightly in the lead. The blonde boy shivered. This boy was really hard to read. He seemed so cold and callous, but Trent couldn't help but not buy his tough guy act. At the same time, he didn't want to mess with him. He was bigger than him and tougher looking. Part of him wanted to run ahead, away from the stoney gaze and clenched jaw.
"So where do you go to school?" Trent asked, attempting to be curteous.
The boy ignored him, and Trent didn't think he'd answer. After a few moments however, he spoke up.
Trent couldn't help but grin. "Me too! What grade?"
Carlos scowled. "Kindergarten."
"What's wrong with that? So am I."
"Yeah well, I failed it last year. I should be in grade one... How old are you?"
Trent gave him a friendly smile, "Cool."
Carlos sighed, why did this boy have to be so darn nice? Carlos didn't want to like him, but it was getting harder and harder not to.
"Whatever... Are we almost there?" he asked, stuffing his hands in his pockets as the chill of evening began to set in.
Trent nodded, pointing to a weathered old town house. A woman was standing on the steps gazing about, an anxious expression on her face. "Yeah, right there. That's my mom. Want to meet her?"
Carlos began shaking his head, but Trent had already grabbed his hand and dragged him over.
The woman's head snapped around in their direction, relief flooding her features. "Trenton Daniel Malloy, where have you been? I was worried sick. You shouldn't be out late in this kind of neighbor hood."
Carlos smirked. At least the kid's mother had some sense.
The pretty blonde woman crouched by her son, giving him a quick hug. Trent frowned, hating the affection in front of his new friend.
"M-om," he groaned. Then straightening , he said, "This is Carlos. We met at the park. Some guys were giving him a hard time."
Carlos was about to protest, but didn't have a chance as the woman zeroed in on him.
"Oh dear! I'm sorry, how rude of me. I'm Katie Malloy, Trent's mom. Are you all right sweetheart?"
Carlos was surprised by the woman's genuine concern as she checked him over. She looked at his hands, his elbows, his neck and his face. Finally running a gentle hand through his soft, dark hair.
"I-I'm fine...Ma'am." Carlos said, shyly.
Trent grinned at the tough boys sudden vulnerable look. He quickly hid the grin at Carlos' fiery glare.
"Now none of this Ma'am stuff. You can call me Katie, darling. Would you like to come in for some juice? We can call your parents to pick you up, it's getting dark-"
"No Ma'am. I'll just be heading home now."
"Oh, but dear it's awful late for you to be walking these streets. We can-"
"We don't have a car Ma'am. I have to walk..."
That wasn't a complete lie. His mother didn't. His step father did, but he sure as hell wouldn't waste gas on Carlos.
"Well then, my husband will drive you. Come on."
"No buts. In the house, young man. You can have a drink and a cookie, then Thunder will take you home." With that she headed into the house, the two boys following behind.
"Thunder?" Carlos whispered to Trent.
"My Dad," Trent whispered back. "Don't worry, you'll like him. Trust me!"
Carlos smiled. "You know, I didn't like your Dad... I loved him. He was everything I ever wanted in a father. I miss him too." He finished softly. He noticed his friend's distant look, as they both thought about the man who had meant so much to them. He had died two years earlier, shortly after Trent and Carlos had found each other again.
"Yeah, I bet a lot of people do. He was a great man," Trent said, flipping a burger.
"He raised a great son, Pal."
"I don't think he did too bad with you either," Trent said, grinning.
Carlos laughed. "No, he did really straighten me up didn't he? Kind of like Walker did with you."
"Mmmm, but I was never as bad as you my friend...and that was in my later years. I also never had an excuse."
Carlos smiled softly, looking at his hands as he twirled a leaf in between his thumb and index. "I didn't have an excuse Trent. There is no excuse for doing awful, hurtful things. I was a bad kid... No if, and/or buts about it."
"If you hadn't been subjected to everything you had as a child and had a caring, loving family from the start... Well, you probably would have been less likely to get into trouble."
"But not totally. You still had your stage of rebellion and you had an incredible family."
"Yeah, well... It's part of being a kid, part of growing up."
"Funny, Tommy was never as bad as you and me... And he's almost through his teens. Of course he's had all the guidance and support a kid could hope for." Carlos said thoughtfully, chewing on the leaf he had been playing with.
"But Tommy still had, and I'm sure will have his moments..." Trent reasoned.
They jumped as Tommy spoke up, appearing through the screened door. "Moments of what?"
"Insanity," Carlos quipped, not missing a beat.
Tommy's jaw dropped, and his gaze narrowed. "All right, that's it. You and me Sandoval, let's go."
Carlos laughed, sliding down off the railing and following Tommy onto the grass in the Malloy's backyard. Before Tommy even turned around, Carlos tackled him, and it became a wrestling match between the teen and the older man. Trent just laughed, shaking his head, as he continued flipping burgers.
Look for the sequel, 'Childhood Nightmares'.