The Protector
A follow up to "No Way Out"

By: Pam

kruger@inst.augie.edu


No! Not again. Please Lord, don't let this be happening. He just got her back, don't let him lose her now. Not like this.

Trivette's mind flashed back to the wedding. He could still see it. The blood, so very much blood. It covered Walker's hands, the front of his shirt, even his face from wiping away the tears. And he had cried. They had both cried. Silently, unashamedly. Walker's only concern had been for her. Alex.


When the shot had first been fired, no one knew for certain where it came from or where it went. Then came the sudden realization that it had found it's mark. Alex's whispered "Walker" as she fell to her knees still tore at his heart.


Walker had caught her as she fell, not fully understanding, or rather, not wanting to understand. This was Alex, and suddenly it had all become clear for him. She was his life, he couldn't lose her now.


Trivette had rushed to their side, helping to support Walker as he held Alex close to his heart. The blood was still flowing, now covering his hands as well. He remembered looking into Walker's anguished eyes as the agonized words tumbled out, "Jimmy, I can't lose her."


It had seemed like an eternity, but it was actually a short time later when the helicopter had taken her away. Their only thought had been, "Will this be the last time we see her alive?" He and C.D. needed to support Walker to get him to the car for the ride to the hospital. He couldn't remember ever seeing Walker like this and it scared him. But it was Alex that had been hurt this time, it wasn't suppose to be that way.

Trent and Carlos had helped to run interference for them at the hospital, clearing the way as they made their way up to the surgical floor. And then the wait had begun. They had waited for hours while the surgeon had struggled to save Alex's life. Walker had barely moved. The one time he had gotten up to walk to the chapel it had been Trent who had caught him as his legs seemed to give out. They'd sat him back down and he had bowed his head and once again sat motionless. Trivette and C.D. had looked at each other with despair, not knowing if Walker could go through this sort of loss again. He'd suffered so much already.


Finally the surgeon had come out to talk to them. Alex had survived the surgery, but was in a coma. For how long, no one knew.

At first they couldn't get Walker to leave her side, he would sit for hours and stare at her face and hold her hand. He would speak softly to her and occasionally lean over and brush her forehead with his lips. It was often more than any of them could bear to watch. Trivette, C.D., Trent, Carlos, Kim, or Phil. Each had watched this scene reenacted and each had been deeply touched by the emotion contained in that small gesture.


Finally they'd gotten word on Karl Storm and Walker had channeled all of his anger and pain into getting the man who had hurt Alex so badly. And they had gotten him and now he was dead. Although no one wanted to voice the words, they all agreed that he deserved what he got and maybe even got off too easy.


The call had come right after they had taken Storm and his men down. Alex was awake. Trivette had held on for dear life as Walker drove back to the hospital. The door of the Ram had been left standing open as Walker sprinted inside. Chuckling, Jimmy slammed the door and ran after him. Strangely Walker had hesitated when they reached Alex's room, almost as if he feared it was a dream, that she really hadn't come out of the coma. But slowly he had walked around the corner and there she was. A person would have had to have been blind to not see the love in his eyes as he looked at her. And Alex had looked wonderful. She'd wanted to look her best when she saw him again so the nurses had helped her change and do her hair and put on a little make-up before he came.


After a quick greeting, Trivette and C.D. had made themselves scarce so Walker and Alex could be alone. When they had returned the love and excitement in the air was almost a tangible thing. The news that there was going to be another wedding came as no great surprise though. They'd expected it . . . and prayed for it. Alex had been radiant. Walker had sat on the edge of the bed and held her hand. It was like his eyes could just not get their fill of her. They never left her face. And Alex was no better. Her eyes rarely left his.

Soon Trent and Carlos had arrived along with a bottle of champagne and some sparkling grape juice. Alex's doctor and the nurses on the floor were soon included in the celebration. Of course, it wasn't long though before her doctor had shooed them all out so she could get some rest. All of them except Walker that is. He had stayed. When Alex awoke the next morning he was still there, asleep in the chair next to her with her hand held tightly in his.


From then on things had just gotten better and better and Walker and Alex had seemed happier than he had ever seen them. Although gradual, there was a definite change in Walker. When Alex would walk in a room his eyes immediately lit up. Although he still took his work just as seriously, he now realized there was more to like than his job as a Ranger. He began to open up more, he smiled more, he laughed more. Life was definitely good.


And then Caleb Hooks had returned.

This time he was determined to take out Walker and anyone who meant anything to him.

The result had been Trivette and Alex trapped in a tank slowly filling with ice cold water. They'd tried everything they could to escape, but with the water rising, their time was short.

When Alex had gone under the first time, Jimmy had grabbed her and held her up. "Alex, don't you give up on me. You hold on. Think good thoughts." He didn't know what she had begun to think about, but she'd hung on. With frozen fingers they'd clung to the grating above their heads, both of them hoping and praying that Walker would get there in time. But trying to hold their faces up to what little pocket of air that was left, Jimmy's heart broke to hear Alex's whispered "I love you Walker." And then their time had run out. That was when he'd decided to dive down one last time and try to break out the window. It was then he saw Walker. He'd started pounding on the plexiglass to get his attention. The look of sheer terror on Walker's face said it all. In an instant he had turned and fired his gun and the water had rushed out of the tank in a torrent.

The sudden emptying of the tank had tossed Trivette and Alex around like rag dolls. Jimmy had been able to grab a hold of Alex and hang on to keep her from going out the opening and being severely cut by the edges. The water had not even finished streaming out before Walker was coming in. As enough water emptied, Jimmy and Alex had settled onto the bottom and he was able to let her go and roll onto his side to try and rid himself of some of the water he'd swallowed.

Walker gently rolled Alex onto her back. Her skin was so pale it was almost translucent and her lips had turned blue. He found a weak pulse but she wasn't breathing. "Alex, Alex, hang on honey." With that he'd begun CPR. His lips touched hers and he mentally recoiled at how cold they were. "NO" his mind screamed. "Not again!" Then just as quickly his instinct for survival kicked in and he did what needed to be done. He would not lose her!! He wouldn't let that happen! He alternated between chest compressions and breathing life back into her body. In between breaths he begged her to "come on", "don't leave me". He could hear Jimmy's agonized words, "She hung on for a long time. She hung on for a long time, Walker."

Trivette looked over at his best friends. Struggling to control his own breathing, he willed Alex to breath. "Come on... Come on Alex!" The sobs tore at his chest. He lowered his head to the floor and begged...Please don't let this happen.

Walker blocked out everything but bringing his beloved back. As he continued with CPR his mind was praying to God and to the Spirits to help Alex to come back to him. He wasn't ready to let her go. Then he saw it. The slight flutter of Alex's eyelashes. And suddenly she was coughing and gagging, her body convulsing as it tried to get rid of the water in her system. Walker rolled her to her side and held her as the spasms wracked her. "It's okay Alex, get rid of it, you're fine now." As her body calmed Walker rolled her towards him and wrapped his arms tightly around her. Never... he'd never let her go again. He buried his face in her still wet hair and said a silent thank you for the return of his love! Walker felt Trivette pull himself up next to them.

Jimmy was saying his own silent thank you as he wrapped his arms around Walker and Alex. He tightened his arms and pulled them close, "Thank God you got here in time. Another minute and we wouldn't have made it."

Walker looked up at his best friend and partner. He opened his mouth to speak but no words could come out. What could he say? Once again they'd been put in jeopardy because of him. In their line of work, things like this happened and they knew it as a fact of life. But at times like this, it was hard to accept. Walker swallowed the lump in his throat as Trivette put his hand on the back of his neck and pulling Walker's head down slightly said, "I know man, but don't worry about it. You got here and we're fine."

But Walker wasn't really sure. Both Alex and Trivette were obviously suffering from hypothermia. And how long had Alex been without air? Suddenly Alex's body started to shiver uncontrollably. Gently laying her in Trivette's arms Walker stood and removed his jacket. Kneeling he managed to slip it on Alex with Jimmy's help. "Now, let's get you two to the hospital. Wait here and I'll go get the Ram."

Holding Alex tightly to him to try to warm her and himself, Trivette nodded slightly and closed his eyes. When he opened them a second later it was to find Walker was already back and gently lifting Alex into his arms.

"Trivette, can you make it out on your own so I can hand Alex to you?"

"Yeah, no problem." Trivette pulled himself to his knees and crawled to the opening. Being careful of the sharp edges he dropped to the ground outside, then turned to help Walker ease Alex through the hole. As small as Alex was, it still strained his muscles to the limit to hold her as Walker climbed down and once again took her body into his arms. Trivette's muscles were cramping from the cold and he gladly handed Alex back. Walking to the Ram he opened the door so Walker could slide Alex inside, then he slid in after her. As Walker walked around the Ram and slid in behind the wheel, Trivette pulled Alex close and wrapped his arms around her. As he turned the heat up as far as it would go, Walker glanced over, "Thanks Trivette."

It seemed like it had been hours but it had actually been only a few short minutes since Walker had fired the shot that had saved them. Now sirens could be heard and the first patrol cars were pulling in. Walker ignored them and sped out of the lot and headed for the hospital. Let them clean up the mess, he had more important things to do. As he radioed information to headquarters he glanced again at Trivette and Alex. Both were breathing easier but still shivering uncontrollably.

In minutes they were pulling up to the emergency entrance of the hospital. Having radioed ahead, there were attendants waiting to whisk Trivette and Alex into exam rooms. Standing outside the room, Walker took the opportunity to call C.D., then once again returned to stand just outside the cubicle where Alex lay.

"Ranger Walker?"

"Hmmm?"

"Ranger Walker, please, we need some information from you. And then the doctor will come out and speak to you." The nurse gently took Walker's arm and led him away. Being fairly new, the nurse didn't know the history of these two though. After giving the information and allowing the nurse to lead him to the waiting room, she was surprised to once again see the Ranger standing at the cubicle. "Ranger please, you need to wait out here." She drew back in alarm at the look he turned on her. The intense look of pain and grief was impossible to miss.

Another nurse touched her arm and advised, "Forget it. He's not about to leave her side." Turning to Walker she added, "Ranger Walker, it's fine, you just stay right there."

Walker remained watching even as C.D. arrived. "Son, what's going on?"

"I don't know yet C.D. Jimmy's across the hall, would you go check on him for me?"

"Sure thing, you just hold tight."

C.D. was back shortly to report that Jimmy was doing fine. They were just warming him up and monitoring him for a little bit longer, but then they were going to let him go.

Dr. David Sanders, who was working on Alex, turned and walked over to Walker and smiled reassuringly, "Walker? How are you? Alex is going to be fine, but I want to keep her overnight. She's had quite an experience and I'd like to be able to keep an eye on her for awhile. Her brain wasn't deprived of oxygen long enough to do any harm. You saved her life."

Walker just continued to look at Alex but glanced up at the doctor long enough to make one simple statement, "She is my life."

Dr. Sanders, somehow realizing that he had just gotten a glimpse into the soul of this Ranger, softly laid a hand on his shoulder, "We'll be taking her upstairs, but if you'd like to go in and be with her, go ahead."

C.D. turned to shake his hand, "Thanks Doc."

Walker slowly walked over to Alex's bedside. As he stared down at the pale face a wave of such love rushed over him that it almost left him weak. As he watched, her eyes slowly fluttered open.

"Hi."

"Hi yourself. How are you feeling?"

"Cold, and a little fuzzy, but other than that, I'm fine. "

Walker gave her a look of doubt.

"Walker, honest, I'm fine! How's Jimmy?"

"He's fine. They're going to cut him loose in a little while. You on the other hand, they would like to keep an eye on for a night."

"Walker, no, I'm fine. I don't want to stay here. Please?"

Walker stared at her in surprise. This wasn't like her at all. He was the one that had an aversion to staying in a hospital, but Alex was beginning to get very upset. "Alex, it's okay."

"No, I don't want to stay here. Please Walker, get me out of here!" Her eyes filled with tears and she began to shake. As Walker tried to calm her she became more and more agitated. Her heart began to race and she began to hyperventilate. Walker began to panic, "Doctor!"

Dr. Sanders rushed back into the cubicle. "What's going on here?" he asked as he placed an oxygen mask over Alex's nose. "Alex, you need to calm down. Please, breath slowly and deeply."

Alex's breathing slowly calmed and after assuring himself she was once again okay and a nurse was with her, Dr. Sanders pulled Walker aside, "What was that all about?"

"She doesn't want to stay here, Doctor. The minute I mentioned it she started to panic."

"Do you have any idea why?"

"My guess would be the shooting. After what she went through after being shot, the coma and the rehabilitation. She wanted out of here so badly towards the end that I thought I'd have to post a guard to keep her here."

"Well, that's probably it. I really don't want a patient becoming that agitated, but I don't want her going home alone. I'd like to have her monitored for a time. Not only are there some physical problems she may have to deal with, there could be some emotional ones. It's not unusual after a scare like this."

"Doc, if it's alright with you, I'll take her home to my ranch. I'll take a couple days off and stay with her and keep an eye on her. Just give me any instructions and I'll take care of it. That's the natural solution." The intense look Walker gave Dr. Sanders convinced him that Alex would probably be in better hands with him than even what she would have been staying at the hospital overnight. It was mainly a precaution anyway.

"Walker, I can't think of a better solution either. Do you want to break the good news to her?" Dave grinned as Walker was already returning to Alex before he had finished his sentence.

Alex could sense Walker next to her. Without even opening her eyes, she knew he was sitting next to her. She lay for a moment just enjoying the closeness. She knew she was being unreasonable, that they only wanted the best for her and to them that was staying in the hospital overnight. But she couldn't. She just couldn't bring herself to stay here again. Laying here in the emergency room was bad enough. Her mind kept flashing back to her recovery after the shooting. Laying there for days on end, she had felt so terribly helpless. And she hated feeling helpless. That had happened more times than she cared to remember. Between her enemies and Walker's, she'd been put in enough positions that she had no control over. That was one of the reasons she had asked Walker to teach her some martial arts. At least enough to defend herself if need be. And it had helped a time or two.

This, of course, was different. She was just so tired and weak after her ordeal, but that didn't alter the fact that she would not stay in this hospital. She needed to convince Walker that she was fine. She decided the best defense was a strong offense in this case, so assuming a stern look she asked "Walker, are you going to get me out of here or not?"

With a small smile, Walker said, "Well, I'll make you a deal. You promise to be a good little girl and I'll take you home to the ranch. You can stay with me for a couple of days until you're feeling more like yourself." He was surprised by Alex's sharp reply.

"Walker, I said I was fine! You don't need to coddle me!"

"Alex... I'm not coddling you. But if you want to get out of here, it's the ranch or nothing. Doctor's orders." He paused to study her face. She had turned slightly away as if in embarrassment. "Hey, what's wrong? You don't want to spend some time alone with your fiancée?"

Alex turned back and studied the face of the man she loved. She knew her words and attitude had hurt him. She gently reached up and brushed her fingers through his beard. He in turn reached up and caressed her cheek. "I'm sorry Walker. I don't know what's come over me. Yes I want to spend time with you. I just wish the circumstances were different. And to be perfectly honest, I just don't like feeling like I can't take care of myself."

"Alex, you are a bright, beautiful and very self-sufficient woman. And you are perfectly capable of taking care of yourself. But everyone needs someone once in awhile   . . . even me. And right now, I need you! I need you to come home with me. You see, as much as you need to feel independent, I need to feel that I'm there to protect you. I guess in that aspect, we're always going to be at odds with each other aren't we?"

"Oh Walker, maybe that's why this is so difficult for me. As much as I value my independence and hate the helplessness I feel sometimes...I love knowing you're there for me and that I can count on you to take care of me. I'm a modern woman. I'm not suppose to need anyone to take care of me!"

"Alex, you've got it all wrong. There's a big difference in needing and wanting someone to take care of you. I know you can take care of yourself and I'm not so sure it's even a matter of taking care of you as much as it's simply a matter of loving you. I love you Alex Cahill! Do you think it's any different than you protecting and taking care of me?"

"You? When do I protect and take care of you?"

"You do it every day Alex. You're always there to take care of me. Whether it's hounding me to make sure I eat after a stake-out, worrying when I'm on a dangerous case, or being there to listen to me, or just be there to hold my hand when the seedier side of my job starts to get to me. But more important, each and every day you protect my heart from being alone."

"Oh Walker, I love you!"

"And I love you, Alexandra Cahill."

Walker reached over and pulled Alex tightly to him and kissed her deeply. It was at that moment that C.D. and Trivette peaked their heads around the curtain.

"Hey, I thought she was suppose to be resting," Jimmy said.

"She is. She's still laying down isn't she?"

Alex chuckled at Walker's reply. "I'm fine Jimmy, C.D." Looking up into Walker's eyes she added softly, "I'm going to spend a couple days 'resting' out at the ranch with my fiancée."

"Right," Jimmy replied "you'll get LOTS of rest doing that!"

C.D.'s head swung up, "Now what's wrong with that, why wouldn't she get plenty of rest out at the ranch."

Trivette started laughing as both Walker and Alex started blushing. C.D., noticing the red faces and the looks exchanged between the three said, "Bunch of smart alecks we've got around here if you ask me. Honey, you just remember, you've had quite a scare, you need your rest. Walker, you make sure this little gal of ours takes it easy. You hear me? Or you'll have me to answer to!"

"Yeah C.D., I hear you. And don't worry. She'll do as she's told." he said, then added "After all, I'm here to protect her."

Alex looked up with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes, "That's right C.D., I've got my protector right here. He'll make sure nothing happens to me."


“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.