NO MATTER WHAT

By Tammy Krumland

Tammy@clarks.net

The day was going slow for Walker and Trivette.  They both were in the office working on the last of the paperwork before heading down to C.D.’s for lunch.  “Hey Pard is Alex meeting us for lunch?” Trivette asked his partner who was tediously working on his share of the paperwork.

            “Yeah…she’s in court right now and is going to call when she’s done.”

            A few minutes later they both signed their last documents and as Walker placed the paper in his out basket the phone rang.  Smiling slightly, to himself, he answered, knowing it would be Alex.

            “Hello.”

            “Hi there cowboy.”

            “Are you done?”

            “Yeah. Judge Hollister just called a recess.  I am walking out of the courthouse as we speak.”

            “Alright we’ll meet you…” just then there was a bright flash followed by an explosion and Walker rushed to the window, just in time to see part of the courthouse crumble before his eyes.

            Grabbing his hat he and Trivette followed several other Rangers out the door and across the street.  The rubble was immense as they waded through looking for initial survivors.  Stepping over a large piece of concrete Walker caught sight of Alex and his heart sank.  She was lying on her side and upon reaching her he found she wasn’t breathing.

            Walker immediately began performing rescue breaths until she started breathing on her own.  It was only then he allowed himself to take in the extent of her external injuries.  She had acquired a large gash on her forehead, which he applied a bandage to. Thankfully that was all he could see, but he was equally frightened about internal injuries, and she was not conscious. 

            Within minutes the EMT’s had arrived and Walker took a step back allowing them to take over.  “Where are you taking her?” He asked as they began placing her in the ambulance.

            “Methodist,” and with that Walker watched as they drove off towards the hospital.

            “Walker, oh man was that Alex?” Walker hadn’t even realized that Trivette was standing next to him until he spoke.

            “Yeah, they’re taking her to Methodist.  Call C.D. and meet me there.” Trivette nodded at the statement and watched as his partner ran to the RAM and drove off.

            Several hours later the three men stood waiting in the hospital.  So far no one had come out to tell them anything and the only thing they could do was pace. It never got easier waiting.  For Walker it was becoming a routine he would much rather do without.  He and Alex had finally set a date for their wedding just two days earlier, and now she was fighting for her life.  Why her, why now…there were a million questions running through his head as the doctor finally came walking up to them.

            “Rangers, I am sorry to have kept you waiting.”

            “How is she doc?” Walker asked with a slight reserve to his voice.

            “Well she’s alive. She is one tough lady.”

            “You don’t know the half of it doc.” C.D. said smiling with confidence knowing that Alex was going to be just fine.

            “Can we see her?”

            “In just a minute.  She is resting but should wake up soon. What we are worried about is she hasn’t responded to light yet.”

            “What do you mean doctor?” Walker asked unsure of the prognosis.

            “I am afraid there is a chance that Ms. Cahill has lost her sight.  Now this may be temporary, we can’t be sure.  But her retinas suffered trauma in the explosion and they are swollen.”

            “Does she know?”

            “No, not yet.  We have her eyes bandaged to try and allow the swelling to decrease.”

            “Can we see her?” Finally the doctor relented and led down the hall.

            Entering her room Walker let out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding.  She looked so peaceful lying there in the bed.  Smiling slightly to himself he realized how much she truthfully looked like an angel, his angel.  Walking up to her bed he gently took her hand and held it willing her to wake up.

             “Wh..” Alex said finally waking up. She could hear the ticking of the clock on a wall somewhere and someone was holding her hand, but where was she? 

            “Alex…?” Walker said standing up next to her as soon as he heard her voice.

            “Walker?”

            “Yeah…I’m here.”

            “What happened?”

            “There was an explosion at the courthouse.  You’re in the hospital.” He said releasing her hand for a second to move the chair closer to the bed.

            “Walker…?”

            “I’m here…”

            “What is going on…why can’t I see?

            “Alex…just a second…I’m going to get your doctor.”

            “No…don’t leave.” She was frightened for some reason Walker was keeping something from her.

            “Alright…I’ll call a nurse.”

            “No, Walker…tell me” He could hear the fear in her voice as she demanded to be let in on the news.

            “Alex…your eyes were damaged in the explosion.  The doctor said that your retinas have swollen…”

            Taking in his words she tried to understand what he was saying. “So, I’m…blind?”

            Walker’s heart broke as he heard the pain in her voice as she spoke the words. “Dr. McKenzie thinks it’s only temporary.”

            Walker sat there for a few minutes allowing her to take everything in.  He could tell by her body that she wasn’t taking the news well.  “Walker…” she finally said making sure he was still there.

            “Yeah?”

            “Hold me?” He could feel her fear as she wrapped her arms around his neck and held him.  Seconds later he could hear her crying.  All he wanted to do was take away the pain she was going through, but he couldn’t.  Instead he was once again forced to sit there and help her deal with it.  She was his life, had been for a very long time, and he would be here for her.

            Two days later the Alex was released from the hospital.  She was to return in a week and they would remove the bandages.  It would be at that time they would find out if she would have her sight back or not.  So for the time being Walker took the week off and told her she was staying at the ranch.

            “Walker, really you don’t have to do this.” Alex said as he helped her into the truck.

            “Alex, there isn’t going to be any discussion.  You are coming out to the ranch and that is final.” She relented, he was right after all how could she function without her sight, but she had to argue with him, even if it was just for heck of it. 

            The remainder of the drive to the ranch was in silence.  Alex was listening to the sounds around her as they drove.  Everything seemed so different and it frightened her.  What would she do if she could never see again? Would she be able to continue working or would she have to give that up?  So many questions were running through her mind and she just prayed that things would work out in the end.

            “Ok Alex, we’re here.”  Walker said stopping the RAM.  She heard him get out of the truck and waited for him to open her door.

            Taking Walker’s arm he gently guided her in the house  He was so wonderful going out of his way to do this for her. Knowing it was out of love she relaxed in his arms as they entered the house.  Taking her into the living room Walker took her to the couch and sat her down.

            “Is there anything I can get you?”

            “No, thank you.”  He could tell how hard this was.  She hated relying on anyone even him.  But he wouldn’t let her down, this was Alex and he was her “self appointed guardian”. 

            “I’m going to get your bags from the truck, I’ll be right back.” Walker watched as she nodded her head and after kissing her on the forehead she heard him walk away.  Once he was gone Alex decided to get up.  She knew the ranch and wasn’t going to let the fact that her sight was gone to deter her from doing anything.  For the past several days they had coddled her and she had had about enough. 

            After getting her bags from the truck Walker headed back into the house.  Just after he opened the door he heard Alex cry out in pain.  Rushing into the living room he found her lying on the floor next to the chair.  “Alex, what happened?”

            “Nothing!” She replied in defense, only wishing afterwards she could take back the harshness of her tone. “I’m sorry,”

            “If you need something Alex…”

            “What I need is my sight!" Giving into her emotions she began crying again and allowed Walker to guide her back to the couch where he wrapped his arms around her and held her. 

            “I know Alex and you will…”

            “How can you be so sure?”

            “Because, I just am.” His answer appeased her and they dropped the subject.  Reaching up Alex touched his face, she felt his soft beard.  As her fingers gently moved across his lips he tenderly kissed them.  Then framing her face with his hands he gently kissed her.

            “Thank you.” Alex said after they parted.

            “For what?”

            “Bringing me here…taking care of me.”

            “Alex, you should know by now that there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you” She did know that but her greatest fear was that he wouldn’t want her now, but she couldn’t allow herself to think that.  Her plan was to stay there for a couple of days and then leave.  She wasn’t exactly sure how she would leave but there was no way she could put Walker through this.  He didn’t need the stress of taking care of a cripple, she didn’t want that sort of pressure. This was something she wasn’t sure if she could get used to…being completely dependent upon someone.  There was no way she was going to allow herself to become that dependent on anyone.  Her plan was to stay at the ranch for a couple of days and then go home.  If her sight wasn’t restored she would have to figure out how to live on her own.

            “Come here.” Walker said later that night after supper.  Waiting for her to take his arm he led her out the door to the porch. 

            “What are we doing?” Alex asked as Walker guided her to sit on the porch swing.

            “We’re going to sit.”

            “But Walker, why?  We can sit inside.” 

            Walker understood why she was apprehensive.  Awhile back Alex had told him one of her favorite things to do was to sit out on the porch, in his arms, and look at the stars.  It was relaxing for her and time always seemed to stand still.  She loved looking up at them and marveling at the wonders of the earth. 

            “Walker, why did you bring me out here?”

            “So you could relax.”

            “But I can’t even see the stars.  What good does this do?”

            “Just because you can’t see them with your eyes doesn’t mean you can’t see them.”

            “What is that supposed to mean?”

            “With your mind.  Alex, you don’t have to see the stars with your eyes to enjoy them, picture them in your mind.”  Walker could see the concentration on her face as she listened to him describe the night stars to her.

            “I can see them!” Alex said as her face lit up for the first time since the accident.    

            “I knew you could.” Taking her in his arms again they sat together as the night air engulfed them.  Alex began relaxing as she listened to the sounds of the night.  The crickets were singing and off in the distance she could hear an owl.  Without even knowing it Walker was giving her back her sight.

            Late the next morning Alex found herself out on the porch.  Sitting on the steps she felt the warm sun casting its rays down on her, and a gentle breeze danced through her hair. Listening, the sounds of birds could be heard in all directions.

            "Hey there cowboy," Alex said amazed she had heard him come up to her.

            "Hello," Walker responded taking a seat next to her.

            "What are you doing?" Alex asked as Walker took her hand.

            "I have a surprise for you."

            "Surprise?" Alex asked as her curiosity heightened.

            "Come with me." Taking his arm Alex allowed Walker to lead her in the direction of the stables.

            "Walker, where are we going?"

            "Alex, just be patient.  You'll find out soon enough."  After a few more feet Walker stopped and Alex felt the nudge of a horse.

            "Is this Angel?" She asked stroking the horse's nose.

            "Yes, and we're going for a ride." Walker could only chuckle as Alex shot him a look.  "Don't look at me like that, we'll ride double.  Angel is all saddled and ready."

            Walker helped Alex mount up and then he followed suit.  Taking the reins he allowed Alex to lean back against him as he led Angel to their favorite spot.

            "Walker, where are we?" Alex asked awhile later.  Angel was drinking down by the water edge and Walker was holding Alex. Together they sat on a beautiful Indian blanket under a huge tree which provided shade from the blazing Texas sun.       

            "Guess."

            "Oh, Walker, can't you just tell me?" Alex asked knowing he was trying to help her.

            "Alex, guess."

            He was so relentless and difficult at times.  Calming down Alex listened. It was then she heard the soft rippling of water.  The soft scent of wildflowers danced past her in the wind.

            "Walker, are we by the water?" Once she allowed herself to use her other senses Alex found she could begin to figure things out.  It was amazing how different yet very exciting the world was after you lose one of your senses.

            "I can't believe how wonderful this afternoon has been." Alex said lying in Walker's arms.  He had taken her for a walk along the riverbed.  Taking off her shoes she waded in the water.  Releasing Walker's arms for a minute, she wanted to go on her own.  It had only been a few steps farther and Alex had lost her balance.  Walker hadn't been able to catch her in time and they both fell into the water.  At first Walker had been frightened that she had been hurt but then he heard her laughing and helping her up they each stood in each other's arms.

            Now they were finally dry and after eating their lunch Walker decided it was time to head home.  He could tell Alex was exhausted, but neither of them wanted to leave.

            "Come on Hon, we need to get home."

            "Okay." Alex took his hand as he helped her stand up.  As soon as she was on her feet she was surprised as Walker claimed her lips in a passion filled kiss.  For the first time since the accident Alex felt at ease and relaxed.  But she also knew one day Walker would have to return to work and Alex was going to figure out a way that he wouldn’t have to worry about her.

            "Can I help?" Alex asked feeling her way into the kitchen.

            "Well…" Walker said setting down the wooden spoon and gathering her in his arms, "How is this?"

            "Nice, but not exactly what I had in mind." She replied moving her hands up along his arms until she wrapped them around his neck.  Leaning forward Walker gently kissed her.

            "Well you're helping me." Walker chuckled as Alex cast him a frustrated smile.  She knew he was joking with her but she need to feel as though she could help.

            "Ok here, how about you stir the soup as I chop up the rest of this onion?" Walker handed her the spoon and then helped guide her hand to the pot on the stove.  As she stirred Walker grabbed a cutting board and brought it to the counter next to her.  For several minutes they joked easily back and forth.  Suddenly the soup splashed up and slightly burnt her hand.  Alex jumped and flung her hand out to her right side where it landed on the cutting board.  Walker wasn't ready and brought the knife slicing Alex's hand.

            "Ah!" Alex screamed out grabbing her hand.

            "Alex!" Walker called out grabbing a towel and wrapping her hand in it he walked her to the table where he helped her sit down.

            "Alex, I'm so sorry." He said kneeling next to her.

            "It's my fault. I forgot you were there." She could feel Walker guiding to towel back to look at the wound. Thankfully it was pretty superficial. "Is it bad?"

            "It's not too deep, but we should take you in and have it stitched."

            "Would you have it stitched?"

            Walker sat there for a second before responding. "No, probably not."

            "Then I'm not either." They sat there for a few minutes until Alex drew her hand away from him. "I'm going to the other room."

            "Alex," Walker took her in his arms as she tried to walk away.

            "Walker, I'm fine it's not your fault." He let her go and watched her slowly exit the kitchen.  Cleaning up Walker finished fixing the soup and left it to simmer. Then he headed out to find Alex.

            Entering the guest bedroom he found her putting her clothes into her suitcase.  Standing just inside the door her watched her as she packed.  Suddenly she stopped and stood still.  Shaking her head she sat down. "Walker?"

            "You heard me?"

            "Yes." She said upset he had caught her.

            "What are you doing?" He asked walking up next to her and taking her hand.

            "I'm leaving…" she responded matter a factly.

            "Why?"

            "I can’t stay here, you don’t need this burden."

            "Burden is that what you think you are?" Walker asked moving the suitcase and sitting down next to her.

            "But I am.  I can’t do anything on my own.  How can you want me anymore, Walker? Do you expect to take care of me 24x7, are you going to stop working to take care of your crippled fiancée?"  She stopped for a few seconds to compose herself. She could tell he was worried that she would leave, but she had to. "Walker, I love you and I don't want you to resent me.  If I'm blind permanently, I'll just hold you back.  Do you need that kind of pressure?"

            "Alex, you know this is probably temporary.  Dr. McKenzie said by Friday the swelling should be down and your sight restored."

            "I know…but, Walker, what if…what if it doesn't. My mind keeps going to this what if…I would miss seeing you look at me with those wonderful blue Cherokee eyes. What if we have children…I would never know how beautiful they are…" She couldn't go any farther…this was too hard.

            "Alex, listen, we'll face that bridge when we get there. You will always be able to see with your mind and your heart. I can tell you honestly that no matter how Friday turns out I will do whatever needs to be done to take care of you.  When I asked you to marry me I asked your heart…not your eyes.  There is no way I could ever think you are a burden, I love you too much.  No matter what happens I will always be here supporting you Alex…I need you too much."

            Alex gently moved her hands to his face and touched his lips, as he gently kissed them.  Walker bent forward and captured her lips a she held on to him.

            "I don’t deserve you." Alex said softly when the kiss ended. Gently she rested her head on his shoulder as they sat in each other's arms.  Alex was beginning to heal and move forward.  Neither was sure what Friday would bring but she now knew that whatever happened Walker wouldn't leave her.

            Friday came quickly.  Walker had spent the rest of the week sharing the world with Alex.  Her sense of sound and smell had been heightened so much that Walker couldn't sneak up on her anymore.  Alex loved it, but Walker had grown frustrated.  With the understanding that nothing would happen between them Alex relaxed and learned more than she ever thought she could about the world around her. 

            But now they both sat together in the Dr.'s office waiting.  They each were becoming anxious waiting for Dr. McKenzie.  Alex held Walker's hand so tight he began losing circulation.

            "Alex, you know I'm here regardless."

            Nodding her head she smiled. "Yes, and thank you."

Just then Dr. McKenzie came in and dimming the lights he sat down in front of Alex. "good afternoon Ms. Cahill."

            "Good afternoon."

            "Well I guess we can get started." Ever so slowly Dr. McKenzie snipped away the white gauze bandage, and then unwound it so all that remained were the saucer-shaped bandages covering her eyes.

            "OK, Alex, cover your eyes for me." Alex brought her hands up to shield her eyes as the doctor removed the bandages.  Slowly she moved her hand away and at first everything was fuzzy and out of focus.  But turning her head to the right she saw the most wonderful sight, Walker was smiling at her.  Tears came to her once again sight-filled eyes. 

                Reaching out she took Walker's hand in hers and squeezed.  Once again they had overcome the odds. Through each obstacle their love grew stronger. Working together every task was made small.  Leaning on this truth they both knew that no matter what they would always come out on top.

“Walker, Texas Ranger” and all of it’s characters belong to CBS Inc., Norris Brothers Entertainment and other copyright holders. This piece of fiction and its’ author have no connection to any copyright holders that may exist. No infringement is intended. The story is strictly for entertainment. This story may be distributed and copied freely, in its’ entirety, for personal use.