Thanks moviemom44. This is a one shot for Gage and Sydney based on the Darius Rucker song "I hope They Get to Me In Time"

Flashes of life

Francis Gage laid in bed listening to the most beautiful sound in the world coming over the baby monitor. His wife was singing to their son. He smiled at the thought of her raven hair a mess and those little brown eyes staring up at her. He stretched and decided to make coffee.

He stood in the doorway of the nursery with a cup of coffee in his hand. Taking in the vision before him, he was unable to suppress a chuckle. His son lay wide awake, but cooing sweetly in his wife's arms, apparently unaffected by the lullaby. His wife, however, was sound asleep. He shook his head and walked toward the sleeping beauty. He tenderly lifted the blond-haired infant and kissed his wife.

"Syd, go back to bed. I'll take Nathan for awhile." Sydney nodded but never moved. Smiling, he laid the baby in the crib and lifted Sydney out of the rocking chair and into his arms. He carried her to their bed and covered her up. Kissing her one more time, he returned to his son's room.

Nathan's brown eyes followed him as he fetched a fresh diaper and a wipe and did the honors. When his daddy spoke, the baby smiled. "Come on, Kiddo. Let's go make Mommy breakfast."

Gage sat the baby in his swing, turned it on and proceeded to make breakfast. As expected, the gentle rocking motion lulled Nathan to sleep, allowing Gage to concentrate on the task at hand. When he was finished, he placed all the food on the tray along with a cup of orange juice, checked to see that Nathan was still dozing and carried the tray to the bedroom.

Setting the tray on the nightstand, Gage leaned over his wife's sleeping body and pushed a stray hair out of her face. He laid tender kisses on her cheeks and lips.

"Uhmmm," Sydney crooned. She liked being awakened like this.

"Good morning, gorgeous. Breakfast is served." Gage smiled as he helped her sit up and propped a pillow behind her.

"Where's Nathan?" she asked, reaching for the tray.

"Sleeping in his swing in the kitchen." Gage lifted the tray and placed it in Sydney's lap. He watched her eat and smiled as the realization that his life couldn't be any better flashed in his head. "Well, as much as I'd love to sit here and watch you enjoy my cooking, I've got to get going. I need to run to the store to pick up a few things. You eat and take your shower. Do you want me to take Nate with me?"

Sydney shook her head. "No, just let him sleep. This is really good. Thank you, hon." She looked up at him and smiled that smile that took his breath away. Leaning down to kiss her again, he said, "I love you," then turned and walked out the door.

Leaving through the kitchen door, he looked back and took one more glance at his sleeping cherub in the Winnie-the-Pooh swing. His heart overflowed with love. He pulled the door shut and locked it behind him. Tossing the keys in the air and catching them behind his back, he whistled all the way to his car.

George Strait's voice rang out from the car's speakers. Gage tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. The morning sun was warm through the window. He slowed to a stop at the red light and watched the traffic pass in front of him. When the green light appeared he drove into the intersection. He didn't see the car that ran the red light until it slammed into the side of his vehicle. Reflexively, Gage hit the brakes – or tried to – as his car flipped onto its side and skidded into a light pole.

Christmas lights lit the whole house. He loved Christmas. A knock on the door echoed through the house. The young blonde haired boy opened the door. He saw the pastor from their church and two policemen. They all looked really sad.

"Francis, I need to talk to you and your sister." The pastor spoke to him. Leading him into the living room where he and his sister, Julie, sat on the couch as the pastor told them the horrible news. " I am so sorry, but your parents were involved in an accident. They didn't survive the crash." The siblings looked at each other as tears rolled down their cheeks. Julie grabbed her little brother and pulled him into a hug. "It's okay, Francis. We'll be okay."

A crowd was gathering. Several people on cell phones reported the accident. Nobody wanted to get near the cars. The smell of gasoline and the chance of a fire frightened them. Both cars sat disabled. The driver of the first car staggered out and gazed at the scene before him. He reeked of alcohol. Realizing what he had done, he started to run off, but two of the men in the crowd tackled him.

"You're not going anywhere, buddy, until the police get here," the older of the two said. They sat there with the man as sirens wailed in the distance.

His blue eyes filled with tears as he heard his sister scream. His little legs couldn't run down the steps fast enough. He turned the corner and saw their foster father raise the belt above his head. He ran between the irate man and his sister and took the strike of the belt. His eyes didn't fill with tears but with anger as the man walked away. Looking at his sister's bleeding arm where the belt had struck her many times, he pulled her into a hug. "Let's leave Jules. Tonight we can sneak out."

She shook off the tears. " No Francis, we have to stay. If we leave we'll have no food or shelter," said the girl wiser than her years. "We stay together no matter what. Don't leave me, Francis."

Blood flowed into his mouth, the taste making him nauseous. He blinked his eyes trying to figure out why his arm hurt so bad. The smell of gasoline startled him as he came to his senses. He couldn't move and his head hurt. His right arm was pinned against the steering wheel and his legs were trapped under the dash. He could hear the sirens as the darkness overcame him.

The bear had come out of nowhere and had him on the ground before he could react. The pain was horrendous and he thought he would die, just as Trivette ran into the trees. He didn't remember much else except waking up in a cabin and Sydney was there. He had to be dreaming. Why was she there? She was with him again as they pulled up to the barn where his sister had been held captive. Sydney had been there with him at the deaf school when he had lost his hearing. She was there when he woke up from surgery. She was always there when he needed her.

Paramedics and police surrounded the scene and blocked off the road. Detective Morales thought he recognized the car. Calling in the license plate, his thoughts were confirmed.

"We have to get in there. He's a Texas ranger," he told the paramedics. As they ran toward the car, Morales and the EMTs saw flames shooting out from under the hood. The threat of explosion was on all their minds as the medics worked quickly to assess Gage's condition. The fire began to spread along the front bumper just as the fire department rolled up.

The ringing phone broke into the quiet of the morning. Ranger Cordell Walker grabbed it before it could ring twice.

"Walker."

"Sergeant Walker, this is Detective Morales. Do you have a Ranger Francis Gage in your command?"

Walker's heart skipped a beat as he gripped the receiver tighter.

"Yes, he's one of mine." Fearing the worst, Walker listened as the detective relayed the details of Gage's accident.

"I'm on my way. Thanks, Morales." Walker hung up the phone and turned to his wife, her face etched with concern.

"Gage has been in an accident."

Alex instinctively wrapped a protective arm around her daughter, Angela, and pulled her close. "Oh, dear Lord!"

"You and Angela go to Sydney's. Stay with her until I call you." He kissed his wife and daughter, grabbed his hat and ran out the door.

His eyes fluttered open slowly. He could hear voices and see flames. He raised his left hand to his face to wipe the blood out of his eyes. He pulled his hand away and saw the blood on his wedding band. He wiped it against his shirt trying to get the blood off. That ring meant more to him then the car did. That was his link to the love of his life. His closed his eyes and remembered the angel in white on their wedding day.

White lilies lined the aisle as little Angela walked along, tossing flowers. Three-year-old Dallas walked behind Angela holding the pillow that held the two rings. Angela took her place beside her mother who was the matron of honor. Dallas came to a stop beside his father, Trivette, who was the best man. The wedding march played as Walker led Sydney down the aisle. They had agreed Walker would give Sydney away, since her father had died years before. She was a beauty in her white dress. Walker placed her hand in Gage's hand. They exchanged vows, then rings. He raised her veil and kissed her lips.

Walker pulled the Dodge Ram to a stop a half-block from the scene and ran past the barricades, flashing his badge as he went. He spoke to the first fireman he saw who wasn't busy putting out the fire.

"Chief, that's one of my men in there. How is he?"

"There's been no response. We're going to get the Jaws of Life in here and try to pry the door open and pull him out." The fire chief's gaze shifted to the dazed, but uninjured man in handcuffs standing next to a patrol car. "Apparently, he was drinking. The arresting officer said he blew twice the legal limit on the breath test. He tried to run, but some bystanders stopped him."

"Remind me to thank them later," Walker said as he stared at the man accused of hitting his friend. He wanted to punch the guy in the mouth, but instead he asked, "Is there anything I can do to help?"

"Maybe there is. Why don't you see if you can get him to respond?"

The chief motioned to the paramedics to make way for Walker to approach the wreck.

Walker leaned down close to the mangled door that held Gage captive in the car. "Gage? Man, are you okay?"

The voice of his boss lingered in the air around him. He remembered him using that urgent tone not long ago.

The bust was over as Walker came running up to him. "Come on, Gage. Sydney's in labor." Gage froze. Labor. "She's early." He panicked. Walker grabbed him by the arm and led him to the truck. They sped to the hospital with lights flashing. "Gage she isn't that early. Alex is with her." Gage guessed that a week early wasn't too bad, but he wanted to be there. NOW. He hated waiting for anything and the birth of his son was no different. Walker pulled up in front of the hospital. Gage jumped out before Walker even came to a stop and ran through the door. He stopped long enough to find out where his wife was, although the screams echoing down the hall would have told him. He ran into the room as the doctor was telling her to push. Her eyes lit up at his arrival. He grabbed her hand and kissed her cheek "That's it, baby. You can do it. Push!" He looked down to see the miracle arrive, kicking and screaming. The doctor laid the baby on Sydney's chest and handed Gage the scissors. "Here, Dad, you want to cut the cord?"

"Gage, c'mon man. You gotta answer me!" Walker yelled one last time before the firemen motioned him away so they could pry open the door. As the Jaws of Life began ripping the door off the car, the creaking sound of the twisting and tearing metal was deafening. Walker barely heard his cell phone ring. Stepping farther away from the scene, he answered it.

"Alex, honey, I don't know. They're using the Jaws of Life to get him out of the car. I will let you know what hospital. How is Sydney? Yeah, I imagine. I love you, too. Bye."

Brown eyes stared up at him, the same brown eyes that he fell in love with, just in a smaller version. Blonde curls and brown eyes, a mix of both of them. He rocked the small infant as he sucked greedily on the bottle. The baby wrapped his little hand around Gage's finger and closed his eyes. Gage's heart beamed as his son fell asleep in his arms. His son. Wow. He would never have thought he would be holding his own son in his arms.

He felt hands on his neck. "He's alive," a voice said. The paramedics prepared him for transport and lowered him onto the stretcher. Walker walked to his friend and grabbed his hand. "You're gonna be okay, buddy."

"Hey Walker, tell Syd I love her," Gage stuttered through the pain.

"You can tell her yourself." Walker released his friend's hand as they loaded him into the ambulance.

Sydney sat in the waiting room. Nathan was in his car seat on the floor in front of her. Alex held Angela in her lap as the five-year-old ate crackers. Walker exited the elevator and saw the two ladies sitting in the waiting room with matching anxious looks on their faces.

"Daddy!" Angela hopped out of Alex's lap and ran straight into her daddy's arms. "Is Uncle Gage okay?"

"They're bringing him in now through the ambulance bay. He's talking and coherent." He looked at the expression on Sydney's face. "Come on I'll take you to him. He was asking for you."

Walker set Angela down and grabbed Nathan's car seat. They all followed him into the emergency waiting room. The paramedics wheeled Gage past them as they entered.

"Gage, honey." Sydney reached for his hand. She walked with him until they got to the double doors. She stared at the doors as they closed. Taking a deep breath, she returned to Walker. "W-what happened? He just went to go get milk and bread," she asked in shock.

"Witnesses at the scene said a driver ran a red light and t-boned his car, causing it to flip on its side and skid about 50 yards. The other driver's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit," Walker stated as he followed them to their chairs.

"A drunk driver this early in the day? That's horrible," Alex stated.

Gage was never so ready to go home in his life. The doctor had stitched his head wound, set the broken bone in his arm and put a cast on it. Gage had argued against a sling, until the doctor said he'd tell Sydney he was being a bad patient.

"Okay, okay, I surrender!" Gage whined in mock defeat. "Does it come in blue? I want it to match my eyes."

The doctor rolled his eyes at him and handed him the only sling he had, which was black.

"Now can I go?"

"As soon as I see the last set of x-rays, if everything looks okay, you can leave," the doctor answered.

"Can my wife come in while I wait?" Gage asked, twirling his wedding band.

"Yes. I'll go get her." The doctor smiled and exited the room. Walking into the waiting room, he asked, "Who's here for a Francis Gage?" He glanced at the chart in his hand to be sure the name was correct.

Four people stood up, including a little blond haired girl who looked to be about five. "We are," they all said at once.

"He is asking for his wife."

"That's me," Sydney said, stepping forward with Nathan in her arms.

"This way, please," said the doctor, as he held open the door leading to the examining rooms.

Sydney followed the doctor down the short hallway, her sleeping infant cradled on her shoulder. Walker and Alex remained in the waiting room with Angela.

Gage's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw his wife and son.

"There you are." He reached for the two most precious gifts in his life.

"What about your arm?" Sydney asked.

"I don't care about my arm as long as you and Nate are wrapped in them. Come here." Gage smiled and embraced his family as he fought back tears at the realization of what he could have lost. Looking at Sydney, he saw those same tears shining in her eyes.

"It was so weird, Syd. You know how they say your life flashes before your eyes? Well, mine did. I saw brief images of everything that has made me who I am." He took a deep breath and gently tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

Sydney smiled and touched his cheek. "You are a wonderful person honey."

"You help make me that way." He sat up and slowly touched her cheek. He tenderly kissed her.

Walker walked into the room followed by Alex carrying Angela who saw the kiss. "Eewww." She covered her eyes with her little hands. Walker and Alex laughed and Gage and Sydney both blushed. Baby Nathan slept through the whole thing.

"Glad to see you're feeling better, Gage. " Walker said, smiling at his friend.

Gage never took his eyes off Sydney and the baby. "Oh, I'm much better now."


A/N: Hope you enjoyed.