TITLE: Togetherness Part 20

AUTHOR: dasame

DISCLAIMER: just borrowing, not making any money.

I hope entertaining.

Steph had been sick the entire flight. A.J. and Sikes were worried about her. She had never gotten sick during flights before. They had landed at Heathrow and then made their way to the same house she had first come to before. They would have two days to rest before the mission started.

They would be traveling to Paris and doing some surveillance at first. Steph would be in charge of collecting and analyzing data collected. Once the takedown was set, she would be in the second wave to enter with Sikes, Ken, A.J. and Toad entering first.

Once they were on the train Steph fell asleep. Sikes ended up carrying her to the truck and into the house, gently laying her in her bed. He covered her with a blanket, feeling uncomfortable about undressing her now that she was married. He left her clothes on, removing her shoes. He played with her curls for a minute before exiting the room.

A.J. looked up at him as he entered the room. "She settled?"

Sikes just nodded, then collapsed in a chair. He opened a file from the pile on the table. A.J. studied him for a minute. He knew Sikes loved Steph. Satisfied with what he saw, he turned back to the file he had been reading. They had lots of info they needed to get through in the next two days. If Steph hadn't been so sick on the plane she would be helping them sort through it. They needed her instincts on this one.

Awakening several hours later, Steph looked around. She recognized the room she had lived in before.

She made her way to the bathroom and screamed when she looked in the mirror, scary hair wasn't the half of it.

She stripped and climbed in the shower. Luxuriating in a hot, steamy shower she let the warmth wash over her. It loosened tight muscles and eased the tension she felt.

She knew she needed to wrap her mind around this mission, being distracted could be fatal. But she missed Ranger and Gabby more then she's ever felt possible. Twenty minutes later, feeling much better she pulled on a robe. After dressing she headed down to the kitchen in search of food. She was starving. She hoped somebody had gone out, there normally wasn't much she considered edible in the house.

As she was digging through the cupboard Caeser and Toad came into the kitchen.

"Hey, she's alive." Caesar said. Steph glared at him.

"Yeah, and even not pregnant all she thinks about is food." Toad added.

She stalked toward him. "Take it back, now." Steph said, glaring at them.

Toad stepped behind Caesar, they loved teasing Steph. And had really missed her after she left to have the baby. Caesar reached for her, she countered it and ended up flipping him. It surprised them all.

When she left, she hadn't finished the physical half of her training. She had been working with Ranger's men to perfect her skills since they had returned from their honeymoon. And of course she'd been nearly finished with her training in Miami before Marisa's accident.

Caesar stared up at Steph in amazement. "Wow, Steph that was excellent."

Toad pulled her into a hug, squeezing so hard she started to struggle."Man, I think she needs to breath." said A.J."What's going on?"

"Steph just flipped Caesar, you should have seen it, it was great." said Toad, gushing with pride, as if he had taught her to do it.

"Steph?" A.J. questioned. She simply shrugged, blushing from all the attention.

Ken and Sam walked into the kitchen. "We going to work or eat, because right now eating sounds good." said Ken. Sam nodded in agreement. Toad told them what Steph had done and again she was pulled into hugs so tight she had to struggle to breathe. A.J. called down the hall.

"Hey, Sikes. Do you feel like making a food run, Steph's hungry."

He walked in grinning. "Steph's always hungry." He teased. She glared at him. He played with her curls.

"What to ride with me Curly." He asked her. Steph nodded. She'd missed the guys and the way they teased her, while at the same time treating her as an equal.

In the truck on the way to food Sikes decided to question her. "Steph, you were pretty sick on the plane."

She nodded, waiting for him to continue.

"Uh, Steph. I know it's personal but it might affect the job." He paused then glanced at her. "Are you pregnant again?"

Steph just started at him. The thought had occurred to her when she was so sick on the plane. She shrugged, as she wasn't sure, it was a possibility. She and Carlos had been pretty active lately. She decided to go with the completely honest answer.

"Sikes I don't know, I don't think so. But anything's possible. I've never got sick flying before, even when I was pregnant with Gabby."

"Maybe we should set you up with an appointment with Toby to find out?" Sikes asked.

She shook her head. "We don't have time. If I get sick again, I promise I'll take a test."

He looked at her. She was stubborn, and it was her choice. He decided that he would just have to keep an extra close eye on her for right now. He pulled into the lot and Steph ran in and picked up their order.

Back at the house they sat at the table and quietly ate. Steph finished hers and looked around to see if there was any more, suddenly feeling quite hungry. Caesar pushed her some more. She smiled at him.

A few minutes later A.J. rose.

"Time for work people." And they all moved into the living room. Steph noticed they already had the map up as well as some photos. She walked over and studied them.

Michael Londick, 35, 270lb. , 6'4". He looked mean. He had served time for drugs, weapons, and assault.

Gary Stacio, 42, 225lb., 5'11". Had a blank expression on, looked like the guy next door. He maybe even looked friendly. Never served time, but a suspect in four murders, not enough physical evidence to convict.

Harvey Stillman, 33, 190lb., 6' 2". Looked amused. Suspected racketeering, attempted murder, drugs, never served time.

"These are the players we know " Started A.J. "Our job is to find out if there are any others. If there are, we need to identify them, then take them down. We'll be coordinating with Ranger's group as well as two other groups. This is big folks."

Ken handed out folders. "This is what we know so far about their group and plans. Questions?"

Steph looked thru the folder. Shit. "This is confirmed?" Ken nodded at her.

"We figure we have three, maybe four weeks to get the info and wrap this up if we're going to stop them." Sikes added.

"And the others, Ranger?" Steph questioned.

"The same, this is one of four factions all working together. That's why were coordinating it with the others. We don't want any of these guys to get away." said Sam.

Steph thought for only a minute. "Then let's get to work." She sat at one of the computer terminals and started working. Starting with the info in the folder. She knew it needed to be confirmed and verified. As well as added to.

Occasionally Sikes would hand her something to drink and she would drink it and he would hand her something to eat and she would eat it. Without even really noticing what she was doing other than the research, it felt so right this is what she had trained for. She was surprised when A.J. tapped her on the shoulder and told her she should go get some rest. She had been working for ten hours. They were due to leave for Paris in the morning.

She stood stretched and yawned. How could she have sat so long and not noticed it? Suddenly she really needed the loo. She looked at her shirt, shit, she had forgotten to take a break to pump, her shirt was caked with dry milk. Sikes took her arm and steered her toward her room. She took care of both pressing needs, then a hot shower, and she hit the bed.

She woke the next morning when Sikes, Toad, and Caesar sat down heavily on the bed. They pulled at her covers.

They found it amusing to wake her in the morning. She grumbled and groaned, before finally sitting up.

"Steph, time to get up." Chimed Caesar.

"Come on Steph, A.J. said we can't eat breakfast until you're at the table." Toad rolled his eyes." He doesn't think we'll save you any, shhhhhhh."

They all suddenly stilled, and stared at her. She looked down and grabbed the sheet. She'd been so tired she had gone to sleep without a t-shirt. She was used to sleeping with Ranger and he always pulled it off before they fell asleep, he would hand it to her in the morning, before Amelia walked in with Gabby. So the guys were staring at her enlarged breasts, which were weeping milk. Sikes handed her a t-shirt and breast pump, then he pulled the others from the room.

"Steph, we'll be waiting downstairs. Take your time, shower." Caesar moaned. "These guys can wait for you." He grinned at her and kissed her forehead before leaving pushing Toad and Caesar in front of him. He locked the door on the way out so she wouldn't be disturbed again.

She sighed. They were such good guys. Then she got busy getting ready. It took her forty five minutes but the guys were sitting patiently at the table when she arrived. They ate all talking at once, Steph sharing in the multilingual conversation.

After breakfast they all loaded into the trucks for the trip to the train station. They took the train through the tunnel into Paris.

Stephanie knew she shouldn't have been surprised, but there were black trucks waiting for them. They drove to the safe house they would be using as their base. Steph stared out the window as they passed the Eiffel Tower and she sighed as they passed the Champs-Elysees. The streets were packed, and the traffic was unreal. There were people everywhere, in cars, on foot, on scooters, on bikes. Soon they passed into one of the suburbs. A.J. pushed a button on the dash and the garage door opened, they drove in. The house looked like all the other houses on the street.

It was late and they were all tired from the travel. Caesar and Ken prepared dinner and they all ate in silence. They knew the real work would start in the morning. They were sharing surveillance shifts with another group. Steph would be busy, analyzing the data and checking it out for validity.

Steph quickly settled into a pattern, she would get up, shower, eat breakfast with the guys and work. The guys handing her food and drinks periodically. Then one of them would steer her to her room at night where she would collapse in sleep. She missed Ranger and Gabby, she had called Amelia and everything was fine. She knew that A.J. and Ranger communicated everyday coordinating the mission.

Sikes walked into the room and watched Steph. They had been in Paris four days and she hadn't left the house yet. She woke up spent the day at the computer dealing with the data and collapsed into bed at night. A.J. walked up to him.

"She's taken man, find someone else."

"She's in Paris, the city of Love she should at least get out of the house."

"The sooner we wrap this up, the sooner she goes back to her family." A..J. raised an eyebrow.

"Everyone else has taken some down time. I'm worried about her, she needs to relax...I don't want her getting hurt from being wound too tightly. " Sikes smiled at Steph. "I'm taking her out tomorrow for some R&R." Then he sighed.

"Man you got it bad." He looked him in the eye. "Just remember she's married."

"I remember." A.J. walked from the room. Sikes walked up the Steph, and tapped her on the shoulder. Stephanie finished and closed the search she had been working, before pushing back and looking up at Sikes.

He looked like he had something serious to discuss.

"What's up Sikes?"

"Beautiful, you haven't had a break since you got here."

She shrugged her shoulders."I'm here to work."

"Everyone needs a break, including you." He waited for a reaction. Steph just sat studying his face and eyes. When she didn't say anything, he continued. "Tomorrow I'm taking you out, I'll show you some of Paris."

Steph looked at all the work she had and started to object.

"Toad will be doing your work while we're out. It'll be fun, okay?" He gave her a winning smile.

Steph smiled back. "Fine, whatever. Maybe I can find something for Aly and Gabby." Then she turned and went back to work.

Early the next morning Sikes knocked on Steph's door. "Steph, are you almost ready? There's this little pastry shop I thought we could have breakfast at."

"Just give me five, almost ready."

They walked down the block and caught the underground. First stop was the pastry shop. Breakfast was awesome.

Then Sikes showed her some of the sights, they visited the Eiffel Tower going up to top observation deck. They saw the Arc de Triomphe and visited Place de la Concorde site of the guillotine that chopped off famous heads. Steph was charmed by the Opera Garnier. Then it was lunch at Au Petit Keller before hitting the Champs-Elysees to do some shopping.

As they were heading to the underground two women stopped them to ask for directions.

Steph enjoyed talking to the women, they were from home. Elizabeta and Wendy told Steph that they were taking a traveling vacation through Europe. Talking as they walked, Sikes escorted them to their hotel. They left each other with promises to keep in touch. As they walked to the underground they heard sirens. People seemed to be scrambling everywhere.

Sikes stopped a man running in the other direction and asked what had happened.

"Bomb, just went off in the underground. Lot of people hurt and dead that got on the last cars."

Steph saw black spots, and felt dizzy. She started to faint if they hadn't help Elizabeta and Wendy they would have been on the train. Sikes wrapped his arms around her, comforting her.

"It's okay Steph. Let's grab a cab." And he steered her, she was in a daze.

"Sikes, I need to talk to Carlos."

Sikes pulled out his Sat phone and pushed a button before handing it to Steph.

"Yo." Carlos answered.

"I miss you." She said through tears.

"Babe...What's wrong?" Concern evident in his voice.

She handed the phone to Sikes. Then leaned into him.

"Ranger, there was a bombing on the underground. We were almost on the train that blew up. Steph is pretty shaken up."

Steph heard him talking but simply leaned into him, accepting the comfort. Sikes helped her into and out of the cab. Then into the house, he sat her on the couch. Where she immediately curled up and went to sleep.

A..J.walked into the room and looked at Steph. "Is she all right?" He glared at Sikes, he didn't know what had happened. But Steph didn't look right and it angered him that she was upset.

Sikes nodded. "She'll be fine." Then he explained about the bombing, and his conversation with Ranger afterwards.

Steph was furious as she paced up and down. "Why did you call Toby, I'm fine. ...I..don't...need...a...doctor!"she screamed.

A.J. watched her, fighting to keep a blank face. "Stephanie, you know it's for your own good." He fought to keep his voice calm.

No way was he letting her go on with this mission until he had her cleared by Toby. Her being sick on the plane had only been the beginning, she was overly emotional and her collapse when she went out with Sikes had been the final straw. He had seen her emotions when she was pregnant, but this was different. His skin prickled it said something was wrong with this woman they had all come to love.

Steph stopped pacing. She could feel the tension and ferocity, coursing thru her veins. She knew they just wanted what was good for her, they were worried about her. The truth was she was worried also and afraid of the answer. They didn't deserve her anger. They were her friends and just looking out for her. The frantic part of her brain wanted to fight, or run, far, far away.

She collapsed and started crying. Her face puffy, tears flowing down her cheeks she looked at the men surrounding her.

"Okay." She stretched a hand out to Toby. "Let's get this over with."

He pulled her up and embraced her. He whispered in her ear. "It will be okay, Steph." He led her from the room. He did the initial exam in her room. "Steph, we need to go to the office. I need to run some tests."

She looked into his eyes trying to see something. She cocked her head. Suddenly feeling very calm. "What are you thinking?"

Toby watched her cautiously. He raised an eyebrow watching her visible calm. "You're not pregnant."

Steph blushed, she hadn't been sure. Part of her had hoped while another part said it was too soon. She looked up into Toby's eyes."What?"

Toby shook his head."Steph, I really not sure. I'm going to run the samples. But I want to do a few other tests." Then he sighed. He knew she was going to explode in a minute. "Until we get the results I don't think you should do field work." He waited for the explosion.

She walked to the window and stood looking out, thinking of Ranger and Gabby. Without turning she said quietly."Okay, whatever you say." Then she turned. "How long before you can have the results of the tests?"

"A few days."

She sighed. "Okay, let's get started."

Toby sat at his desk looking at the test results. "Shit." He picked up his phone, he ordered some tests redone, other tests run on samples they still had. He knew he needed to call Steph. She was waiting for the results. Then he made a decision, one as a friend instead of as doctor.

"Mr. Manoso, this is Toby. We met in Switzerland when Steph had Gabby."

"I remember. What's wrong?" Carlos knew Toby wouldn't be calling if something wasn't wrong with Steph. He sat up straighter and braced himself to hear bad news.

Toby didn't tell him much other then he should free himself and get to Paris to be with Steph. And he explained about the tests he had run, saying that he would feel better telling the two of them together.

Ranger hung up the phone and sighed, trying not to panic. He ran his fingers through his hair, then he stared at the picture on the desk. He picked it up.

The picture had been taken just before Steph left, it showed him and Steph looking each other in the eye, she had her arm around Aly and he held Gabby. The girls were smiling and laughing. But the look in their eyes was pure love. He put down the picture and picked up the phone, he had arrangements to make. Three hours later he would be on a plane to Paris.

He was pulled from his thoughts by Amelia clearing her throat. He smiled at her. She was great with the girls. She handed him Gabby and a bottle. "You said you wanted to try again." she said grinning before walking away.

So far Gabby had proved quite stubborn and had only accepted the bottle from Amelia. They had all tried at some point. Carlos found his daughter amazing just like her mother. Both strong and independent.

He looked into her clear blue eyes, she gurgled and smiled at him, reaching for him with her strong arms and hands. Her hands locked onto his hair and pulled. He laughed. He tried to put the nipple in her mouth, but she pushed it out with her tongue. Then she started blowing bubbles. She cooed, speaking to his soul. He tried again, and she turned her head away. Yet still looking him in the eyes. Smiling and laughing. He tried putting some of the milk on his finger. She sucked it greedily, evidence of her hunger. He once again tried to give her the bottle which she rejected. Amelia sat down opposite him, she held out her arms. He handed his small daughter over.

Aly walked over and sat in his lap. "Daddy, it's not you. She just misses her mommy, and Amelia is the next closest to that."

He pulled her tight and kissed her head. He loved having both his daughters with him and he knew Steph would be happy to see them all. He sighed. She would be okay. She had to be. They had a family to raise, he hoped for more children and this time he wanted to be there the whole way. He wanted to see her grow large with his child. Then he cleared his mind, right now the important thing was that she be okay. He watched Gabby sucking greedily at the bottle as Amelia held her close.

Aly curled on his lap. He felt content, if only his wife was there the world would be right.

A few hours later the private plane landed. Sikes met them as they cleared customs and immigration. He directed them to the waiting trucks. He explained that their arrival would be a surprise, Steph had not been told they were coming and as the safe house was fairly full they were going to be set up in a local B&B., they were renting the entire place. Steph would meet them there a little later after they had a chance to rest. And Toby would meet with Carlos and Steph in the morning.

A few hours later Steph cautiously entered the house. A.J. had told her there was a surprise waiting for her and sent her on her way refusing to answer any of her many questions. She stopped when she heard voices. It couldn't be. She almost ran into the small sitting room. Ranger sprung from his chair and wrapped her in his strong arms, kissing her deeply. When he released her, she looked around. Amelia was holding Gabby and Aly was sitting on the floor in front of the fire. She smiled, her family in one room. She sighed, then snuggled into Carlos. He scooped her up and carried her to the bedroom.

"Babe, I've missed you." His kisses trailed down her neck. He walked to the bed and laid her down, undressing her quickly. Seconds later he was also naked and joining her on the bed. Her mind melted as he explored her body. She moaned.

Several hours later they lay in bed facing each other both satiated. Steph pulled his face close, kissing him.

"I love you, Carlos."

"Babe, love is mild for what I feel for you."

"Carlos, I have to tell you Toby ran some tests..."

He put his finger on her lips."Shhh, I know. He called me."

"But, I need to tell you." Steph looked away. And he used a finger so she was once again gazing into his eyes.

"Babe, you never have to worry about telling me anything. I'll always love you and have your back, no matter what."

Tears started to fall. She snuffled. "I'm not pregnant, I thought maybe..."

"Babe, We already had this talk, we'll have more babies when you're really ready."

Steph sighed and snuggled into him."You're so good so me."

He looked solemnly. "Stephanie Michelle Manoso you are my other half, my soulmate." He rested his head on hers, and barely whispered. "I don't know that I could go on if I lost you."

Then he looked at the clock."I know a little girl who will be very happy to see her mommy."

Carlos helped her out of bed and helped her into a robe, then pulled on some running shorts.

They entered the sitting room both smiling. Aly ran and gave her a hug. Moments later Amelia handed her a very hungry Gabby. Then she ushered Aly off to bed. Saying they would see them in the morning.

Steph carried Gabby to their room where she sat between Carlos legs as she nursed their daughter. He ran his finger along Gabby face then Steph. "My girls are beautiful and I love having them all under on roof."

He was quiet for a few minutes. "Next time I want a son. Someone who can take over Rangeman."

Steph looked at him, and smiled. "And you don't think a girl could run Rangeman?" Then she grinned at him.

"Okay, Babe you win, I'm quite sure any girl with your influence would be able to run Rangeman. I still want a son. After all, we already have two perfect daughters."

He grinned then whispered in her ear. "But I'm in no hurry. I'm enjoying the practicing a lot."

Steph leaned back into him and turned her head looking him in the eye."What if Toby has bad news tomorrow?"

She had the start of tears in her eyes.

He traced her face with his thumb. "Then we deal with it Babe, together." He kissed her neck. "Babe, together we can deal with anything."

"Carlos, togetherness is a great thing. I love you."

"Love you, Babe."

Gabby let go and looked at her parents cooing as if agreeing with them, before latching back on and sucking loudly

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

TITLE: Togetherness Part 21

AUTHOR: dasame

DISCLAIMER: just borrowing, not making any money.

I hope entertaining.

Stephanie sat up and looked around. What she saw made no sense to her, so she rubbed her eyes. She was on a beach, sitting in sand and she could see a clear blue sky with white fluffy clouds. You didn't get that color of blue in Trenton. There was too much pollution and smog. She felt rested and at peace. She stretched, no pain anywhere. She looked down at herself, shit, she was naked. Looking around, the only thing she could wrap in was the blanket she had been laying on. She felt something and looked down the beach, in the haze of the heat she could see someone walking toward her. Her breath caught, it couldn't be, Grandpa Mazur? But that didn't make any sense, he was dead! Suddenly she wondered just where the hell she was.

"Stephanie." He said as he wrapped her in his arms and kissed her. "We need to talk."

Shit, she hated those works, they never meant anything good.

He looked her in the eyes. "Knowing you, my little Wonder Woman, you have a million questions and we don't have that much time."

Suddenly shy about her nakedness she reached to pull the blanket around herself. Her grandfather stopped her.

"Just think of what you want to have on and you will, try it."

Steph thought of a bikini she had seen in Macy's and thought about buying but hadn't because she was still conscious of the slightly rounded belly she had left from her pregnancy. She looked down and she was wearing it.

She gasped. "But how?" she looked at Grandpa Mazur. "Where am I? How are you here? You're dead.." Her breath caught suddenly. "Am I dead? Is that why I'm here?"

Grandpa chuckled softly. "Still my same angel with all the questions." He pulled her up off the blanket. "Let's walk while we talk."

He looked at her."It's a beautiful place you picked here."

Steph looked around, suddenly she recognized where they were. It was one on the beaches she and Carlos had made love on during their honeymoon. "I picked..."

"Yes, Angel, this is a reality you created. That way you're more comfortable here."

He stopped for a minute. "Time to get started. Steph, you have a lot to do still. I'm here to give you a brief glimpse before you go back."

"Go back...where are we?...Am I dead?" Suddenly she felt a wave of nausea, if she was dead... Carlos, Gabby, Aly, her family and friends... She jumped and pulled away. "I can't be dead..."

"Steph, calm down...you're not dead." She could hear a beeping coming from somewhere, it was grating on her nerves. She looked around but couldn't figure where it could be coming from.

"We need to finish Steph, our time is almost up." He started talking, reassuring her, explaining something he said she needed to know. And what seemed like hours later they stopped walking. "Stephanie, remember what we've talked about. And remember I've always loved you. Give your Grandma a kiss from me and tell her to keep it up."

The next thing she felt was total darkness and that irritating beeping sound. She fought to open her eyes, why were they so heavy? She felt like they weighed a million pounds. She felt a familiar tingle... Carlos, suddenly she felt him holding her hand. He was talking to her. She couldn't quite make out the words, but she could feel the love coming from the man. Where was she? She let the darkness take her.

"Babe, I love you so much. We all need you. Fight, Babe, I know you can do it." Tears ran down his face. It had been two weeks since the surgery and Steph had not come out of the coma yet. As the days passed he knew that the doctors were losing hope that she would. They were already talking about transferring her to a long term care facility. He ran his thumb along her face, trailing it with kisses. He started just talking, telling her about the kids, her family and his, Lula's latest takedown. She had done it without ending in garbage or shooting the FTA. Lula was really getting good. He sighed and lay down in the bed next to Steph, wrapping her in his arms. This is where he had slept and spent all his time the last two weeks. He fell into a troubled sleep. What would he do if Steph never woke up? Tank had talked to him last night. The business was suffering without him at the helm. He needed to return to work. Amelia had pointed out that he had two daughters who needed him, more so since they were both currently without a mother.

How could his world have fallen apart so much in the last two weeks? Was it only two weeks ago that Toby had given them the news? Steph had a cerebral aneurism and would require surgery to repair it. He had explained that it could rupture at any time or it might never rupture but that if it did Steph could die before she could receive help. It was simply a ticking bomb waiting to go off. They had decided together on the immediate surgery that Toby had suggested.

The vessel had burst while Steph was on the table, then her heart had stopped twice. After surgery they had placed her in a chemical coma so that her brain could heal better, but after the drugs had been stopped she still hadn't woken up. According to the doctors it was now a waiting game. Either she would wake up or she would remain in the coma. There was no more they could do medically. He'd had the best doctors flown in, they all agreed they had to wait and see. His famous patience was being severely tested. He had never believed that he deserved someone like Steph, with her beauty and courage. She was such a good person and he had not always been good. Morally right hadn't always been his motto. Legally gray was a laugh, until Steph it had more been, whatever served Ricardo Carlos Manoso best. He had not really cared who he hurt as long as he got what he wanted.

Steph could feel Carlos arms around her holding her tight. She felt his tears running down her face. She fought to open her eyes, tried with all her might to move a hand she needed to tell Carlos she was okay. She needed to heal his pain. She needed to know why he was crying. Was he okay, the kids, her family, friends? As much as she fought to move the more the darkness moved in, until once again it won and she fell into the darkness. But not before releasing a sigh.

Carlos felt the sigh and immediately sat up. "Babe, babe. Stephanie, wake up." He leaned down and kissed her, then leaned his head on her forehead.

Tank walked in, he blushed. He hated interrupting what had obviously been a private moment. He looked at Ranger. "Anything new Boss?"

Carlos looked at Tank. He was a good man. Tank had taken over and finished the mission while he had stayed at Steph's side.

"She just sighed, I know it's not much. But I know she's fighting, trying to come back to us."

Tank laid his large hand on Ranger's shoulder. "Carlos, she's a fighter. I've never seen a stronger woman. She'll be back giving you hell soon, worrying you about her safety."

"She'd better." He ran his fingers through his hair. "Tank, what will I do if she doesn't come back to me?"

Tank had seldom seen fear in Ranger's eyes. The man had faced death and laughed at it, but now he saw fear.

Lester and Bobby picked that moment to walk into the room. They stopped. They could feel the tension. They both spoke. "What's going on?"

Tank and Ranger looked at each other and put on their blank faces. Ranger answered. "Nothing, report."

Lester looked at him."Carlos, you might be able to hide behind that blank face with others, but man we've been through too much. Now spill it. Is the Bombshell worse?" He prayed the answer was no, they all loved Steph and finishing the last mission without her had grated on them all. Trying to keep their head on the mission while worrying about their fallen partner.

"She sighed."

Bobby walked up to the bed. He took her pulse, blood pressure. Then he checked her eyes. He could find no change. He tested her reflexes, no change. Toby walked in as he was finishing. He smiled at him, he had found that Bobby, although he had not finished his schooling, knew his stuff when it came to medicine. He had encouraged him to get some more formal training in his. Bobby was to sit for his testing, once he passed he'd be able to take up his education where he left off. Toby raised an eyebrow in question at Bobby.

"No changes." Bobby answered.

Toby looked at Carlos."She's being released tomorrow. We'll move her to her house, and a physical therapist will visit, if we don't keep her muscle moving she'll have problems when she wakes up."

Carlos gave a bare nod. He was glad she was finally coming home, he just wished she had woken up first. Then he heard a barely discernible moan. He leaned down close to her ear, and whispered. "Babe, open your eyes. Squeeze my hand, anything, just let me know you hear me."

He waited. The others stilled. Suddenly she moved a finger, just barely. But it was more then she had done in the past two weeks. "Carlos." It came out as barely a whisper.

They all crowded around the bed. Toby shined a light into her eyes. She turned away. Toby laughed softly, smiling wide.

"She's waking up." They all breathed a sigh of relief. The last weeks had been hard on all of them.

Tank spoke first. "I'll go tell the others." And he walked out of the room.

Lester sighed. "He's going to need some help, especially with her family." He followed Tank from the room.

Toby looked at Bobby. Bobby grinned. "Okay, I'll tell the other guys." Then he grumbled. "Sometimes they're as scary as her family, especially when it comes to Bombshell."

Toby laughed. "She sure has a lot of admirers. We all love that curly headed woman." Then he sighed. "I'm glad she's finally coming around."

A week later she was sitting up in her bed. "Carlos I'm tired of being in this damn bed." Then she blushed, okay it hadn't all been bad. Especially the times he had been in the bed with her. But damn, a woman could only spend so long in bed. "I'm feeling much better, I want to get back to work. And doing research on the laptop in bed doesn't count."

A low chuckled escaped. "Babe, as soon as you're strong enough to walk, we'll talk about you doing more."

Steph grinned. "I was strong enough last night."

She saw him blush, if that was possible. The last week had been a repeat of their honeymoon. Carlos had even put an alarm on the door so they would know before somebody knocked. She suspected that he had even put a sign on the door, they hadn't been disturbed that many times.

She had remembered talking to her grandfather, and all he had told her. She smiled to herself, then she glanced at Carlos. If he knew... How would he react to the news when it came?

"Babe, what's the smile for?" He leaned over and wrapped her in his arms, kissing her senseless.

"Uhmmmmm, I'm still getting out of this bed." Although that kiss had given her a few other ideas. After all, they had to work on that future she had seen. "Later." She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down. A moan escaped her lips. His hands traveled over her, finding a breast and kneading it. A humming sound interrupted them. Someone was heading their way. She groaned. Interrupted again.

Carlos leaned his forehead on hers. "Later, Babe. Promise."

Seconds later there was a knock at the door. The door opened, in walked A.J and Sikes.

They both walked over to the bed, leaning down and kissing Steph on the forehead. Carlos scowled. He liked the men and respected them, which didn't mean that he couldn't be jealous of the closeness they shared with Steph. He also knew that Sikes was in love with Steph, but knew that the man would never act on those feelings as long as Steph was happy with him.

"Steph, we just stopped by to say good-bye. Our plane leaves in a couple of hours." Sikes hugged her tight. Then in her ear so only she could hear it he said. "If you ever need anything, I'll be there for you, just call." She nodded.

"Steph. " Then A.J. choked up."Shit. Steph we're going to miss you. But don't you ever scare us like this again." He held her tight. Then he put out his hand to Carlos, and they shook. "Take care of our girl. Or we'll come back." Carlos acknowledged the threat. And wrapped his arms around Steph.

"Don't worry. I'll take care of her."

Tears flowed down her face as they walked from the room. "Babe, you'll be back working with them in no time."

She looked into his eyes and smiled as he wiped the tears with his finger. "No Carlos, I won't be working with them again. They'll always be my friends but we won't work together again. I have another path to follow now." She cuddled into his embrace, smiling at the knowledge she had. Yes, life would be interesting. She had a family to raise. Then she looked Carlos in the eyes. "I'll be busy working with my husband, and raising our children."

He leaned down and kissed her. "If that's what you want. But remember if you ever want to work with them, I'll understand, Babe."

"Thanks, Carlos but ..." She thought for a minute, how could she explain the rightness she had felt since waking up? Somehow the future didn't scare her anymore. She knew that it wasn't all going to be easy, but being together with Carlos, she knew it was going to be okay. After all hadn't Grandpa Mazur told her it was going to be okay? She sighed. "Carlos." She said in a low, seductive voice. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down into a passionate kiss. He moaned. She started in kissing his neck and working down pulling at his shirt. He was over dressed in her opinion. His hands moved under her shirt, okay it was one of his shirts. He tossed it to the floor. His hand found her breast. Now it was her turn to moan. She pulled back. "You have too many clothes on, sir." And she nipped his neck. In seconds he had stripped to his mocha latte skin, she sighed as her hands explored.

A couple hours later satiated and entangled, Steph fell into a satisfied sleep. Carlos watched her sleep. What a woman, and all his. His woman. Even in sleep she was so alive she glowed. Then he looked at her. She really was glowing. Of course sex did have that effect on her. Slowly he followed her into sleep.

Two months later he was sitting at his desk frowning when Steph walked in carrying Gabby, Aly following her. Steph had started back to work last week and already had a new stalker. Her training had worked and she never went out without a partner. And he knew for a fact that she now carried more than one weapon, he smiled, she was more like him than made him comfortable sometimes. He looked up and smiled.

Steph pulled him from his chair. "You have to see." Then she put Gabby down near the coffee table. Gabby crawled over and using the table pulled herself up. Then turning she let go of the table and in slow steps walked to Carlos, her arms out to him."Da..da..da..da" She said as she walked.

He swooped her up, and into an arching circle. She giggled. "Steph, she walked, she said daddy!" Carlos was babbling to Gabby. Then he looked up to see Bobby, Tank, and Lester grinning at him.

He stood up tall, grinning. Giving a dark look to the men. If he had given that look to a skip the man probably would have wet himself. They all just laughed at him. "Man, you have it bad. That little girl has you wrapped around her finger." Tank said.

Carlos grinned. "You wait man, someday it will be you."

Steph reached up and took Gabby from him handing her to Lester. "Carlos and I need to talk, would you guys mind watching the girls?" She winked at Aly. They shared a secret.

"Yeah Uncle Tank, you owe me a game of chess." Tank groaned. Aly took after Ranger and was always beating him at chess. Being beaten by the child wasn't his idea of fun. And he couldn't figure out how she always did it.

"Okay." He sighed, resigned to his fate.

Lester was talking to Bobby. "The next diaper is yours, I did the last one..." Their voices trailed off as the door closed behind them.

Carlos sat and pulled Steph down on his lap. "You said we needed to talk?" He raised an eyebrow, he knew that she had been talking to the guys a lot lately. And he was slightly worried that she had decided to leave on another mission. "Babe?"

She leaned down and kissed him. Then she reached into her bag and pulled out something and handed it to him.

He looked at it, then he looked at Steph, a question clearly in his eyes. "Babe?"

She nodded. "We're having a baby."

He was speechless. He looked at the test in his hand again. His face was blank. Steph started to get worried, maybe she had been wrong, she thought he would be happy. She started to get up. He tightened his hold on her, then he laid a hand on her belly. And looked into her eyes, he smiled his full smile, all two hundred watts. "A baby, our baby and this time I get the watch it grow." Steph nodded. "Babe, I'm so happy."

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TITLE: Togetherness Part 22

AUTHOR: dasame

DISCLAIMER: just borrowing, not making any money.

I hope entertaining.

Steph sat behind the wheel of the bronco and thunked her head on it.

"Steph, you can't drive." She looked up into Tank's shocked eyes.

"Tank, how do I tell Carlos?" The silly big man just grinned. In fact she could swear as she watched him, that the grin was getting bigger.

"Move over Bombshell. You have big news for the boss."

Steph slid across the seat and groaned. Carlos was protective enough as it was. This new news would push him over the edge. Ever since she had told him she was pregnant he had one of the guys glued to her hip.

She had thought it was sweet at first, but now it was just driving her crazy. She had given up trying to go after FTAs when old Mrs. Jargens had out run her last week. She knew she had no right being out on the streets if she couldn't keep up with an eighty-year-old woman.

She rubbed her protruding belly, well now she knew why she was so much bigger than she had been with Gabby. She turned and looked at Tank, well now the guys would have to let up on the teasing. At four months, she appeared to be about due, and the guys had been teasing her about it.

"We won't tease you any more Bombshell. After all your eating for more than two." And he reached over and rubbed her belly.

She glared at him. Damn ESP. Damn men. They were all fascinated with her rapidly expanding midriff.

Tank smiled at Steph. "Admit it Bombshell, this is going to shock Carlos."

Steph narrowed her eyes at Tank."You're sure twins don't run in his family?"

"I already told you Steph, I don't know of any twins in his family."

She let out a large sigh. And mumbled. "Why me." She was just about to doze off when the bronco swerved. "Shit, Tank what the hell..." Tank reached over and none too gently pushed her down in the seat. Holding her down with one hand while steering madly with the other. She heard him mumble. "Shit."

"Steph, grab the phone and hit the panic button." She hit the button and reached for the phone, it flew out of her hand when they were hit from behind. Then she heard the unmistakable sound of bullets flying. Shit, who was after them now?

Tank looked in the mirror. Shit, this wasn't good. How had she gotten out and how had she found out about Steph?

He glanced at Steph. When she found out, the shit was going to hit the fan. Carlos should have told her, then he decided that the important thing right now was to keep Steph safe as well as the twins. Wow, twins. Carlos was going to be delighted. Well at least until he told him that Carla was after him again.

The shooting stopped. Suddenly they were surrounded by broncos. Tank pulled to the side of the road and stopped.

Ranger was at his door. "Tank, what happened? Did you see who it was?"

Tank nodded. Then he opened the door and stepped out. He put his arm around Ranger, steering him away from the truck.

Steph was still laying in the seat totally confused. Men, they never wanted to tell her anything. She sat up and watched Tank and Carlos talking. Then she saw Carlos visibly tense before turning and looking at her, then she could swear he was trying not to meet her eyes. Well that wasn't good. What was he going to try to hide from her now?

Ranger looked at Tank. Shit. "You're sure it was Carla." Tank nodded.

He ran his fingers through his hair. He looked Tank in the eyes. "How do I explain this to Steph? She's going to cut off my balls."

Tank grinned at him. Then he did a little laugh. He'd just remembered that he knew something the boss didn't. With a shake of his head he walked away. This was between Steph and Carlos, and he didn't want to be too close when the fireworks started.

Over his shoulder he said. "I'll update the other guys." Then he kept heading for the other guys who had been waiting by their trucks. They gathered around Tank to find out what was going on.

Carlos looked at Steph and sighed . Time to get this over with. He knew he should have told Steph about Carla before, but damn the woman had been locked up for the last ten years and wasn't supposed to ever get out. He was going to have to look into that.

He reached out and pulled Steph into his embrace. "Babe, are you and the baby okay?" Then he rubbed his hand over her belly. The guys had been teasing her a lot lately because she was so huge already, she still had another five months to go.

Steph nodded then together they both said. "We need to talk." They stared at each other.

Carlos spoke first. "You first."

His hand was still on her belly. She laid hers on top of it and smiled into his eyes.

"Carlos, I had the ultrasound today." He nodded, he had wanted to be there but his lawyer had called at the last minute and he had to meet with him.

"Is everything okay?" Then he stopped. They had agreed not to find out the baby's sex until it was born, maybe she found out during the ultrasound. He grinned at her. "You found out the sex."

Steph laughed out loud. She had been so stunned to find out she was pregnant with twins she had forgot all about asking about sex. Carlos took a step back and just stared at her his eyes darkening.

Steph put her arms around his neck and pulled him close. Looking into his eyes she said. "Carlos, we're having twins."

He looked at her stunned. Twins. He swept her up in his arms and spun them around. "Wow, really. Two, were having two."Then he stilled, getting serious. "Are you and the babies okay?" Concern evident in his voice. He had treated her tenderly since she had come out of the coma. He was silent for a minute then he scowled. "Is it okay for you to be carrying twins?"

She simply nodded. He lifted her and kissed her belly. "Now you know my news. What's yours?"

All the sudden he sobered up. It was like someone had dipped him in a barrel of cold water.

Suddenly she shivered. Something was very wrong. She felt it down to her bones. Ranger sat her down. And turned so he wasn't looking into her eyes.

She put a hand on his, and tried to pull him to face her. "Carlos, what is it your scaring me."

He mumbled quietly. "It was my wife who was shooting at you."

Black dots floated around her. His wife. She was his wife, they had a baby, she was pregnant with two more. What the hell was he talking about, wife. She sank into the seat. Then she started going into rhino mode.

She stood up and poked him in the chest with her finger. "What...the...hell...do ...you...mean...WIFE?"

Tank, Bobby, and Lester moved closer. They had sent the rest of the guys back to their assignments.

"Steph, lets go back to the house and talk about this. Calmly."

Steph glared at him. "You tell me your wife was shooting at me, and tried to run us off the road. And you want me to be calm." She rammed her knee between his legs. And as he crumbled, she turned to the guys. "Who's driving me back..." She looked back at Ranger. "To ...MY...house."

Lester stepped forward. "Bombshell."

Steph followed him to his truck. She didn't look back at Ranger. She was fighting to hold back the tears that were fighting to get out. Once they were in the truck Lester started to talk.

"Steph, you need to let Carlos explain."

Steph looked at him, if looks could kill he knew he would be dead.

He tried again."Steph..."

She cut him off. "Just drive Santos, or I'll get out and find a cab."

The rest of the trip was quiet.

When they reached the house, Steph opened the door and went directly to the office. She sat at the computer. Twenty minutes later she was done. She had deleted all of Carlos' codes. She had no doubt that he would still be able to get in, but he would have to work to do it and she hoped that by that time they would be gone. She reached for the phone.

Forty five minutes later she and Gabby were on their way to the airport. Lester was driving and he clearly wasn't happy that Steph was leaving. When she had threatened to shoot him if he didn't either get out of her way or drive he had decided that the safest thing would be if he drove.

Steph had left a letter behind for Aly, and she planned on calling her parents once she arrived at her destination.

They arrived at the airport and went to the terminal for chartered flights. They were immediately approach and greeted. Steph grabbed Gabby while their luggage was loaded onto the plane.

"Steph, don't do this. Let Carlos explain." She let out a large sigh.

"Lester, he said she was his wife...What's that make me...the other woman." She turned to walk onto the plane.

"Steph, he needs you now. Don't run away."

She turned around. "Santos, did you know?" Lester looked at his feet. Shit, he didn't want to answer that question.

"That's what I thought. Good-bye Lester." And she walked onto the plane. The door closed and it was in the air in minutes.

Lester watched the disappearing plane. His phone started ringing. He looked at it, and sighed. This day just couldn't get any worse could it?

"Hey Connie, tell me you have good news for me?" There was silence at the other end of the line. He had obviously stunned Connie. Rangemen never showed emotion. But it had been a hell of a day so far and it wasn't even dinner time yet.

"Sorry Connie, what do you need?"

"Uh, well. I can't reach Steph or Ranger and they wanted to know if I got any info on Richards."

Lester groaned, they had been after Richards for weeks. He was actually Steph's FTA, but they had all been helping her lately.

Every time they got close he slipped through their fingers. And their time was almost up on him, in fact it was up at midnight tonight.

"What do you have Connie, I'll make sure somebody acts on it."

"Well Vinnie's having a fit on this one you know."

"Yea, Connie, I know."

"I just heard that he's going to be at Luther's tonight."

"Thanks Connie." And he hung up. He made a couple of calls setting things up to get Richards tonight. He knew he needed to call Ranger. Let him know that Steph was gone.

His phone started ringing again. He looked at it, shit here goes. "Ranger."

"Lester, tell me Steph is with you."

"Sorry, man. Her plane's already gone. And before you ask I don't know where she's headed. She wouldn't tell me."

Ranger hung up on him without saying anything else.

Tank watched Ranger as he closed the phone and put it away. His eyes were blank, if he hadn't known the man so long he wouldn't have seen the heart breaking underneath. He laid his large hand on his friend's back.

"You'll find her man, and you'll explain. Or next time it will be me kicking you in the balls."

Ranger glared at him. "How was I to know she would get out?"

"Man, you should have told her, things just happen with Steph around."

That though brought a small smile to his lips, yeah, things did happen with his Babe around. Now if he could find her so he could explain...

"Let's look around, try to figure out where she's heading to." It had taken them almost an hour to get through all the security and get into the house. Ranger sat at the computer and went to work resetting the security systems and putting his codes back in. He smiled. Steph had done a good job. Then he grinned it showed just how upset she was.

How could a day be so good and so bad? First he finds out their going to have twins, then Carla has to show up and ruin it all.

He had two teams looking for Carla. Now if he could just figure out where Steph had run off to. He'd already had the phones dumped he knew that Steph had called the General as well as the guys in England. He had called them all and they had all admitted to talking to Steph but denied knowing where she was heading.

The General had even chewed him a new one for not explaining all this to Steph before. A.J and Sikes had told him flat out that if they had been on a different side of the Atlantic they would be ready to shoot his ass. Even after he had explained everything they still weren't happy that he hadn't told Steph before. They had agreed that they were also worried about Steph, and agreed to call him if they heard from her.

Steph paced up and down. Gabby had been fussy since they had left Trenton. Every night she had cried herself to sleep asking for her Daddy. It had been a week and Sikes was due to arrive any minute. Steph had finally told him where they were, and he had convinced her that she needed to talk to someone. She felt the hair on her arm raise. She knew he was there before she turned around.

"Carlos, what are you doing here?"

"Babe, we need to talk."

"Ranger, let me talk to Steph first." Sikes said.

She heard Carlos walk out the door. She turned. "You told him where I was."

"Steph, you both need to talk. But first we're going to talk, okay?"

Steph nodded.

"Steph, I've been through some really bad things in my life." He looked at her to see if she was listening. Satisfied, he continued."I went to India, lived with some Buddhists for a while. They told me something that helped. They said that pain is your teacher, your friend. It's what brings you to greater awareness in life and ultimately, to greater happiness, if you're willing to learn from it. Steph, I know you're hurting, I know you're in pain, you love Carlos. Are you willing to hear what he has to say? Maybe it will help, maybe it will bring you some peace, some happiness."

"Steph, just listen to him." Then Sikes turned and walked out of the room.

A few minutes later she felt Carlos walk back in. He walked up until he was very close she still didn't turn, she couldn't bring herself to look at him.

"Stephanie, I'm not going to lie to you. As far as Carla knows we are still married." She started to move away, she didn't want to hear how he was married to some other woman. He reached out and pulled her to him. "Babe, the only woman I'm married to now is you, the only woman I love is you. Will you please let me explain?"

Stephanie nodded. "Steph, I met Carla after my divorce. We got married on our second date. It was crazy. Things went downhill fast. I found out she was bipolar. I was still in the Rangers and I was gone most of the time. When I came home she accused me of running around on her. She was so jealous that she imagined me having an affair with every woman I met, even something as casual as a stop at the market for milk became a nightmare. One minute she was all happiness and love, the next she was trying to kill me. She got on the base somehow and attacked a couple of women she thought I was seeing. Babe, I didn't even know them. Then she attacked the General's wife, and killed a couple of privates trying to get away. After she was arrested I filed for divorce. She was tried and convicted. Until last week I though she was still locked up. Babe, she was never supposed to be released."

Stephanie turned and looked at him. Carlos pulled her close. "Why didn't you tell me before?"

"Steph, she was locked up. We were divorced. It was a long time ago. I didn't think it would ever come up. Really, if I had known it would be an issue I would have told you long ago."

Steph eyed him."You have other secrets I'm not going to like, don't you."

Carlos sighed. Then nodded. "Babe, I'll tell you everything I can. But there are some things that I can't tell you about and there are others I don't want to remember."

He put a finger under her chin and looked into her eyes. "Steph, I didn't keep this from you to hurt you. I just..I didn't want to think of it, or of her. Babe, please tell me we can get past this."

Steph sighed. Then she smiled, while reaching her arms around his neck. She had missed him and being this close her hormones were dancing. "I already am. I'm sorry I didn't give you the chance to explain." Then her lips met his.

"Daddy." Carlos pulled back and looked across the room. Gabby was toddling toward him her little arms out to him, a smile on her face. "Daddy."

He smiled. He kissed Steph then reached down and lifted Gabby, kissing her cheek. With one arm holding Gabby and the other around Steph. He said. "I'm happy I have two of my girls." Then he looked at Steph. "I would never have thought to look for you here."

Steph smiled. "Yeah I know, that's why I came back here." Then she blushed. "The memories of our honeymoon helped."

"Babe, maybe we can make some new memories."

Sikes walked back into the room. "Looks like you don't need me."

"Sikes, thanks for everything." She paused. "Would you mind watching Gabby, while Carlos and I get reaquinted?"

He took Gabby from Carlos.. "Anything for you Angel." Then he winked at her."Have fun." And he was out of the room.

"Babe." Carlos voice was deep, and low, sultry.

"We still need to talk, you know." Steph said as she took his hand and laid it on her belly.

He swept her up in his arms. "Later, Babe, later." She expected him to carry her into her room but he headed out the door. Then she noticed he was heading to a private clearing that had a pool they had found while on their honeymoon.

"Steph, do you remember the last time we were here?" Carlos asked as he walked into the natural pool. He let her slide down his body, holding her to him. She felt his hard arousal. He kissed her, his tongue invading her mouth. They both moaned. He pulled off her shirt and tossed it, lowering his head to her breast. He pulled a nipple into his mouth, suckling her. Steph pushed her hand under his shirt, he helped her and pulled it off tossing it also. He moaned as she latched onto a nipple. They sank into the water wrapped around each other.

Carlos carried her out of the pool and laid her on the soft grass removing the last of their clothes. Steph looked around, she loved it here. There was a waterfall, with the pool at its bottom. The meadow was surrounded with exotic flowers. Her eyes moved back to Carlos. Yum. His broad muscular chest had droplets of water running down it. She licked her lips smiling at him. Then she moaned as she moved closer, licking a drop off his bare chest.

"Babe."

"Uhmm." Was all she could say as she moved her tongue down his six pack.

They spent the next several hours making love, over and over and over again. Steph sighed. She could feel the sun warming their skin, then she noticed that it had shifted they must have been here for hours. She turned to look at Carlos. He was watching her smiling.

"Babe, I love to watch you sleep." He pulled her closer and started tracing small circles on her belly. Her nipples tightened and she felt a rush of wetness. She blushed. All the sex she'd just had and she was responding to his hand on her belly.

"Babe, we still need to talk." She moaned as he kept on with his rubbing her belly. "Did you have Toby check you out? Is it okay for you to be pregnant again? With twins?"

Steph groaned. Carlos had been treating her as if she was fragile since she woke from her coma. Sure she had still been doing skip tracing and working at Rangeman, but she was never alone which was why Tank had been with her at the doctor's.

Steph looked into his eyes. " Toby and the doctor both agree. I'm fine. We're all fine." Her hand went to her belly. She was already feeling protective of these new lives she carried.

He lifted her hand and kissed each finger. "Babe, I'm happy about the babies. I'm just worried about you. I love you."

Steph leaned over and caught his lips with hers kissing him. After she had woken up from the coma she had tried talking to him about having another baby and he had avoided the subject. He had even started using condoms when they made love. Although they had not always used them, especially that time in his office.

Steph intertwined her fingers with Carlos'. "Carlos, I love you." She moved their hands to her belly. "Our babies."

Carlos smiled. "Our babies." He smiled into her eyes. "Babe, time we got back."

They walked back to the house hand in hand. Steph sighed. "Something wrong, Babe?"

Steph nodded. "We're going to have to go back, right?"

Carlos gave her the bare nod, looking into her eyes.

"The guys haven't found Carla, have they?"

"No Babe, but it'll be okay. I'll keep you and the babies safe."

"I know you will. But, well...I've been a little worried."

"Babe." He raised an eyebrow in question.

Steph looked at him before pulling her hand away and separating them. Walking a few steps away looking out at the ocean, she took a deep breath and let it out. "I never wanted to be a 'burg' housewife."

"I know that Babe." He stepped closer and Steph moved away.

Steph ran a hand over her belly. "How am I going to be a bounty hunter, when I'm a mother to four?" She turned and looked into Carlos' eyes. Worry clear in her eyes.

"Babe." He cupped her face in his hands. "You will always be Wonder Woman to me." And he kissed her.

"Babe, you will never be a 'burg' housewife. But you are a wife, I love you. And you are a wonderful and loving mother." He trailed kisses down her neck as he spoke. "We have Amelia, to help with the babies. You will always be able to work. I'm giving up some of the Rangeman contracts. So I won't be going off on missions any more."

He pulled her in front of him, her back to his front. They stood and watched the sun fade into the ocean, colors flashing and disappearing until it faded from sight. Then they turned and walked into the house together. The next day they returned to Trenton.

In the next months leading up to the birth of the twins Steph worked for Rangeman doing computer work and helping in the planning of takedowns. Ella's sister moved in and took over kitchen duties. Carla was apprehended and returned to custody.

The End

Thank you the reader I've had much pleasure bring you this story. And it is my hope that in the future I'll have the time to do a sequel. We'll have to wait and see what RL brings. I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. A big thanks to Tiina without her efforts this story wouldn't be here in its present form. I look forward to your feedback and wish to thank you in advance. dasame