Carlos looked across the courtyard. And that was when he saw her.

She was walking with two men, heading towards the elevators. Her hair shimmered in the afternoon sun, and it was shorter than it had been the last time he saw her. He watched, slightly confused as she stopped in front of the elevators, put a set of headphones on, and stepped in with the men as the doors opened.

Carlos snapped out of his shock and nearly ran to the elevator. He wasn't positive of what he was seeing, not sure if she was the person he thought it was.

She looked up just before the doors closed, and he knew, without hesitation that it was her. He saw the recognition in her eyes as she noticed him, and he watched as she tried to hide it. The doors closed just before he reached them, and he slammed a fist into the hard metal in frustration.

He spun, headed for the stairs, and took them two at a time. He burst through the doors on the second floor, looked up and down the hallway, then ducked back in.

He searched the next two floors before he saw them walking around a corner on the fourth floor.

"Hey!" he yelled after her as he exited the stairwell. The two men with her turned, but she kept on walking. He could see the headphones on her as she walked out of sight.

"That woman," he said as the men approached him.

"What woman?" one of the men asked.

"This is a restricted floor," the other man told him. "Go back to the elevator, and leave."

Carlos stared at them. "If I could talk with that woman, then I'm sure that…"

"This is a restricted floor," the man repeated. "Go back to the elevator, and leave." He pulled back his jacket to reveal a gun in a holster.

Carlos turned slowly and headed towards the elevator. He pushed the button, and got in under the watchful eyes of the two men. He rode down in silence, his mind reeling over what he had just witnessed.

He pictured her again as he remembered the last time he saw her. The woman in the courtyard had the same walk…the same body language…the same beautiful brown eyes. Before today, it had been nearly seven months since he had seen her. But, there was no mistaking those eyes.

No, it was her.

She was here.

She was alive.

********

Trent Malloy yawned as he leaned back in his chair. He rubbed his eyes wearily, then went back to the papers in front of him. He jumped slightly as the door to the office flew open and his business partner ran in.

"I saw her," Carlos said. "I saw her, Trent."

"Saw who?" Trent asked.

"Tiffany."

Trent tried to stop the frown that threatened to appear on his face. He stood slowly and walked around the desk. "Carlos," he said kindly. "Tiffany's dead."

"I saw her," Carlos insisted. "Today. At the courthouse."

Trent sat on the edge of his desk as he looked at his friend. It had taken a long time for Carlos to come to terms with Tiffany Chambers' death, and had taken him even longer to finally accept that he had to move on with his life.

"Carlos…"

"Trent. Honest." Carlos sat on the desk beside his longtime friend. "I saw her." He stopped as Trent went to talk. "Please, let me finish. This isn't like I was after she…after she…" he swallowed hard. It was still difficult for him to talk about that night. "This isn't like after the explosion…I'm not imagining things. I was at the courthouse, and I saw Tiffany. She got on the elevator, got off on the fourth floor, and two guys with carbon copy suits and big guns told me the floor was restricted, and asked me to leave."

Trent leaned back slightly, grabbed the telephone, and dialed. "Alex?" he asked. "It's Trent. I need a huge favor."

Carlos put his hands over his face and exhaled deeply. He listened as Trent asked Assistant District Attorney Alex Cahill-Walker a few things. He stood, walked around the small office a few times, then sat on the huge couch.

-----------

Protective Custody---testifying against drug cartel dealing in "Precious", a stronger crack-like drug----finally comes face-to-face with Carlos----comes back to Dallas.

Alex Cahill-Walker dropped her pencil when the woman entered her office. She stood so quickly that her chair fell back against the wall. The man with the woman walked to the desk and offered his hand.

"Special Agent MacDowell," he said.

Alex shook his hand blindly, her eyes never leaving the other woman's face. "You're suppose to be dead," she finally said.

Tiffany frowned. "Uhh..not to my knowledge." She looked at Agent MacDowell. "Why does she think I'm dead, Tim?" She turned back to Alex. "Didn't you get the letters for Carlos from him?" she motioned to the Agent.

Alex shook her head. "What letters?" She finally noticed her chair against the wall, and bent down to straighten it. "Seven months ago you were killed in a warehouse fire. We had to identify the body by dental records."

Tiffany stared at her. "Everyone thinks I'm dead?" she whispered. "And you were never given anything from me to give to Carlos?" She sighed when Alex shook her head. "Alex, could I borrow your office for a few minutes?"

"Of course," Alex said kindly. She walked to the door. "I'm glad that you're still alive."

Tiffany turned to the man after the door closed, anger burning in her eyes. "You promised me!" she hissed. "You promised that you would get Carlos the letters."

The man shrugged lightly. "Sorry, but there was nothing that I could do. You're under protective custody, and I had to make sure that everyone thought you were dead. Besides, he'll get the letters…eventually."

"You fucking son of a bitch."

The words, laced with venomous hatred, caused the man to take a step back. "Now, listed here," he began.

"No!" Tiffany approached, and stabbed a finger to his chest. "You listed to me…I want to see Carlos, right now. I don't give a fuck about your case, or about you. I want to see him, or I am outta here."

"You leave, and you're good as dead."

Tiffany took a step closer, so she was less than four inches from the man's face. "I'm already dead…remember?"

-------

"I'm so sorry," she whispered. "I wrote you a letter, and explained everything. I wrote letters to you every week. I was told that they would give them to Alex, and she would pass them on to you. If I had known they lied, then I would have found some way to contact you."

Carlos stared at her, not sure of what to say. He had spent the past seven months alternating between missing her so badly that it hurt, and hating her so much that he felt ashamed.

Carlos closed his eyes briefly. "I'm sorry, Tiffany…" He opened his eyes and looked at her. "I thought you were dead. They found a body, and matched it to your dental records."

Tiffany sat on the arm of the couch. "I'm not really sure what happened, Carlos. I remember being shot, and the next thing I remembered was being in a hospital."

"Shot?" Carlos echoed. He vaguely noticed that he was keeping a distance between himself and her.

She nodded. "Uh, I had an appointment to meet with Agent MacDowell at the warehouse that night. When I got there, someone else…I can't remember who…was there. He shot me, and left me to die." She looked down at her hands. "Uh, Tim arrived a few minutes later, found the building in flames…found me, and dragged me out of there."

"But, the body…"

Tiffany looked up at Carlos. "I have no idea where that came from." She stopped, breathed deeply, then stood. "I'm sorry, I thought that you had been given my letters, and I explained everything to you."

"I never received anything," Carlos said, annoyed that his voice was getting angry. "Why don't you explain it to me now."

"Fine. I was told, in the hospital, that I was going to be held in protective custody. And that I could have no contact with the outside world, in case whoever tried to kill me found out where I was. I agreed to that, but only under the condition that I could write to you, and explain what had happened."

Carlos looked at the floor, deep in thought. His memories of that night, and the weeks that followed collided with the truth that he now knew. He tried to make sense of the facts, but found them difficult to accept. But, he knew that somehow he had to accept them.

"And now?" he finally asked while still staring at the floor. He didn't want to look at her…not yet, at least. If he did, then he knew that his anger would melt instantly. He wanted to hold onto that anger for a little while longer, wanted to make these past months of pain mean something.

"Now," Tiffany said with a sigh. "Now, I have informed Agent MacDowell that I hate him, and that once I give my deposition to the courts, I will be returning to Dallas."

"Will you be safe?"

"I really don't care anymore," Tiffany said wearily. "At the least, I've lost seven months of my life. I've lost my house, my job, my identity, and worst of all, I've lost you."

Carlos finally looked at her, still desperately trying to hold onto the anger. It disappeared, in an instant, when he saw the pain in her eyes.

"I should go," she said. She grabbed her purse and jacket, then headed for the door.

"Stop," Carlos said as her hand landed on the doorknob. He waited until she turned to face him. "I have a few things to say first."

Tiffany nodded. "Okay."

Carlos inhaled deeply, exhaled, then began. "Just who the hell do you think you are? You disappear for over half a year, make everyone think that you are dead, then waltz back into our lives." He held a hand out as she started to protest. "Just shut up and let me finish. Okay, you wrote letters that some ass never delivered. Okay, you didn't know that you were declared dead." He paused slightly as he tried to get his thoughts in order. "You have no idea what you put your friends through…of what you put me through."

"Are you done?" Tiffany asked.

"No, I'm not," Carlos informed her. "I have just one more thing to say."

"Then, by all means, go right ahead." Tiffany tried to quell the sick feeling that threatened to overcome her.

"Please don't leave."

*********

********* Tiffany watched in confusion as Jason Habyre lit his cigarette, turned, and tossed the match into the large ashtray.

The memory hit her like lightening as her mind pulled her back to the warehouse: the man lit a cigarette, turned, and threw the match to the floor. She looked up as Jason leaned against the wall, and pictured him as he had been on that night, seven months ago…pictured him as he raised a gun and shot her twice.

"Tiff?" Jenny asked with concern. "Are you all right?"

"You son of a bitch," Tiffany hissed as she stormed towards Jason. "You fucking bastard!" She pulled her arm back, ready to pound him.

"Trent!" Jenny called, and motioned to Tiffany.

Trent reached her in two steps, and put a hand on her arm. "Stop."

"Trent…not now," Tiffany said as she lunged towards Jason. Trent put his arms around her from behind and held on.

"What the hell is her problem?" Jason asked as he backed away.

"I remember," Tiffany said dangerously. "It was you in the warehouse. You shot me."

"You're crazy."

"You left me for dead…you destroyed my life!" She lunged at him again, but Trent held tight. Jenny appeared in her peripheral vision, and Tiffany looked at her.

Jenny struck out suddenly, connecting with Jason's chin. His head whipped back, and he staggered to the wall. Jenny jumped on him, knocking him to the ground, then started to pummel him.

Trent paused for a few seconds before he reached out and pulled his girlfriend off of the hapless detective. "Power down, Jen," he said.

Jenny kicked at Jason a few times, then broke free from Trent's hold. She stormed away, muttering under her breath.

******

"What happened?" Walker asked.

"She attacked me!" Jason said as he pointed at Jenny and Tiffany.

"Which one attacked you?"

"They both did!"

"I did not!" Tiffany claimed. "Trent stopped me before I could punch your face in."

"Watch it, Chambers," Jason warned. "I could have you arrested."

Tiffany jerked like she received a shock. "Have me… Why you fucking little prick!" She side stepped around Carlos, and lunged at Jason.

-----

"Control your woman," he told Carlos.

Carlos held onto Tiffany and whispered into her ear. Tiffany relaxed slightly, but her fists stayed clenched.

Walker stood between them. "Tiffany?" He waited until she looked at him. "Why do you think that Detective ???? was the person who shot you?"

Tiffany inhaled a few times, forcing herself to calm down. "Because I remember what happened now," she said in forced calmness. "It came back to me when I saw Jason light his cigarette and flick the match away."

All eyes turned to Jason. He took a step backwards. "She's wrong," he said.

"Is she?" Carlos asked in a hard voice.

"I don't have to stay here for this." Jason turned and headed for the door.

"Are you just going to let him go?" Trent asked as they watched Jason leave. "After Tiffany identified him?"

"It's not enough proof," Tiffany answered bitterly.