This is the first totally original story that I wrote.
The time frame would be after the episode “Cowboy” but before “Blown apart.”
He walked out of the Captain’s office and ruefully shook his head; there were times when he wished he didn’t have the reputation as the best Ranger in Texas, especially when it meant going undercover and having to break his date with Alex. He was so busy thinking about how he was going to tell her that he collided with his partner and nearly sent both of them to the floor.
“Whoa, Earth to Walker, wake up man.”
“Not now Trivette.”
Realizing his friend was in deep thought he asked, “Did the Captain give you bad news?”
Sighing he replied, “New undercover assignment, hopefully just for a few days, but their timing stinks.”
Jimmy had a very good idea why Walker was upset but he figured it would be safer for him if he didn’t mention her name. “When do you leave?”
“Well take the rest of the afternoon off to get ready, I’ll cover for you.”
“Thanks, I do have a couple of errands to run.”
Muttering under his breath Jimmy said, “I bet one of those errands involves an ADA.”
Having heard the comment Walker started to turn around and call him on it then decided it wasn’t worth the time wasted and continued on his way.
A while later Myra looked up and spotted her favorite ranger; her eyes narrowed as she noticed he was carrying flowers and unless she was mistaken…a box of chocolate. “Already done something wrong or getting ready to?”
“Myra, not today please, I’m on a short time table.”
Sighing she shook her head and asked, “Seriously, does your Captain not believe there are other Rangers capable of doing undercover work? You better go on in and give her the bad news; I’ll try to keep her calm while you’re gone.”
Without responding he opened the inner office door and waited expectantly for her to look up; he wasn’t disappointed, her face immediately lit up and the smile he loved was quick to follow.
Standing up she walked around her desk, ready to give him a hug, maybe even a kiss, then she too noticed what he was carrying. Trying to hide her disappointment she took everything from him and placed it on the desk behind her. “When do you leave?”
“So much for dinner I guess?”
“Can I have a rain check?”
Knowing that was her way of asking how long he would be gone he answered, “I’m not sure, they seem to think it will be a fairly quick operation.”
Hugging him close she said, “I hope they’re right.”
“So do I.” He tilted her head back just enough for his lips to meet hers.
She responded before stepping back saying, “You better go get ready, be careful.”
With great reluctance he forced himself to leave her office and walked out the door.
Myra glanced up at her boss who was standing in the doorway with a worried expression on her face and said, “He’ll be back before you know it.”
“That won’t make me miss him any less.” She went back inside her office and stared out the window for a minute as she whispered, “Please come back to me Cowboy.”
TEN DAYS LATER – CD’S
Jimmy and Alex were sitting in a booth when CD walked over and sat down with them. “Any word from Cordell yet?”
“Nothing, he’s missed two check ins now.”
“Don’t you’ll worry now, he’s gonna be fine. Probably just under constant surveillance from the varmints he’s planning to take down.”
Reaching for CD’s hand she replied, “I hope you’re right.”
“Of course I’m right sweetheart.”
Jimmy slipped an arm around her shoulders, “Come on, we all know how tough he is, he’s probably out there kicking the tar out of some low life at this very minute.”
He looked at his watch yet again and hoped that the ringleader would appear soon; these people were very suspicious of him and he hadn’t been able to check in; he knew his friends would be worried…especially Alex. The thought of her caused a quick smile which he immediately shook off, he needed to concentrate. When the car pulled into the building he felt a deep sense of dread and eased his way back into the shadows. As the door opened and a man appeared he did a double take then launched himself into battle; his actions caught them by surprise but only for a second and the fight was on.
The man looked up and screamed, “He’s a Texas Ranger, kill him!”
Easier said than done as fists and feet thudded home; panicking the man clambered back into the car yelling, “Get me out of here.”
Realizing the head man was getting away Walker grabbed one of the goon’s guns and shot out the tires of the car as he yelled, “You aren’t getting away that easy.” The driver opened his door and made a run for it but was cut down.
Seeing the perfect opportunity one of the henchmen threw his knife and watched in satisfaction as it hit home and the Ranger went down; he walked confidently towards his victim, grabbed the knife and twisted it before yanking it out.
Rolling over Walker pulled the trigger and saw the hole that appeared in the man’s forehead. Fighting off the pain from the knife wound and the punches he had taken he scanned the area for new threats and not finding any he turned his attention back to the car. “You might as well come on out and surrender Agent Peters.”
“Damn you Walker, you know that’s not going to happen.”
“Yeah I know, dirty or not, an FBI agent in prison wouldn’t last very long.”
“Looks like we have us a Mexican standoff.”
Closing his eyes Walker sank down onto the floor and braced his back against the wall pondering his next move; he knew he was losing blood and judging from the pain in his side he might have some busted ribs. Spotting the sub machine gun near his foot he pulled it to where he could reach it saying, “Last chance Peters, give up or I’ll fill that car so full of holes there won’t be enough left of you for a decent burial.”
Hearing the sirens approaching Peters knew there was no way out; he opened the door, threw himself to the pavement and fired in the direction he had last seen Walker.
Knowing he might only get one chance Walker took the time to draw a careful bead before pulling the trigger and as the bullets tore into his target he slipped into unconsciousness.
One of the first officers on the scene was a former DPD detective and he recognized Walker as soon as he saw him. “Get me a paramedic in here, we have an officer down. Hang on Ranger Walker, help’s on the way.”
It was a few hours later when Walker opened his eyes and he realized he was in the hospital; trying to sit up he broke into a sweat and sank back down.
“Just take it easy, you’re going to be mighty sore for a few days.”
Recognizing the voice he looked over asking, “That you Detective Cutter?”
“As there ever was…dang it Walker you must be getting old, there were only six guys in that warehouse and you look like you tangled with fifty; you have three busted ribs and quite a bit of damage from that knife wound.”
He started to laugh then gasped in pain as he said, “Damn that hurts!”
“Anybody you want me to call?”
“What time is it?”
“Almost ten o’clock.”
“Can I use your phone?” Once he had it he dialed the familiar number.
“This is CD’s, how can I help you?”
“Mabel, it’s Walker, can you get him to the phone without telling him who it is?”
“Anything for you Sugar, you know that.” Covering the phone with her hand she yelled out, “It’s for you CD, sounds important.”
Walking over he took the phone saying, “CD.”
“Did you miss me?”
“Cordell? It’s about damned time we’ve all been worried sick about you.”
“Are they there?”
“You just missed them son, Jimmy left with his latest conquest and Alex went home about fifteen minutes ago.”
He was disappointed that she was already gone but realized it might be for the best. “Look the assignment is over and I’ll be home soon.”
Reading between the lines CD sighed as he asked, “Can’t you ever go undercover without getting injured?”
“Apparently not; I’ll call you when I get back to town.”
After hanging up CD whispered, “Thank you Lord, he’s hurt, but he’s coming home!”
Debating with himself for a minute he asked Cutter, “Do you mind stepping out for a few minutes? I have one more call I need to make.”
“Sure no problem.”
Alex heard the phone ring as she walked in and running to it she picked it up saying, “Hello.”
“Sorry I couldn’t call, but they never let me out of their sight.”
With a relieved sigh she sank down onto the couch asking, “Is it over?”
“My part of it is.”
“So when are you coming home?”
“Soon as I can, I have a rain check to collect.”
Laughing she said, “I’ll even honor it more than once.”
Seeing the doctor open the door he quickly said, “I’ll call you tomorrow, sleep tight.”
Happier than she had been in days she in hung up saying, “Hurry home darling.”
“Ranger Walker, I’m Doctor Lister, normally when a patient comes in with injuries like yours I’m very concerned, but judging by the numerous scars you already have I think I’m correct in saying you’re used to it.”
“Goes with the job Doc.”
“Am I also correct in assuming that you don’t want to stay here any longer than necessary?”
“I’m ready now.”
Shaking his head the doctor replied, “I admire your determination, but the answer is no, not for at least 24 hours.”
“Look Doc, whether you officially release me or not I WILL leave this hospital tomorrow morning and that’s longer than I would normally stay.”
Seeing the determination in the Ranger’s eyes the doctor said, “Okay, will you at least give me the name of your doctor so I can talk to him about that knife wound, it did quite a bit of damage, you have stitches inside and outside…you’re probably going to need some therapy.”
He relayed the information then asked, “Would you mind asking the detective to come back in?”
“Okay, I’ll have pain medication ready for when you leave tomorrow.”
A few seconds later he returned the phone and said, “Thanks for all your help.”
“No problem,” with a big grin he added, “Next time how about picking some other city to take down a dirty agent; I’ll probably be knee deep in paper work and Feds for days.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
Once he was alone he carefully sat up, got his feet under him and walked into the bathroom; he looked into the mirror and winced at the bruises he saw. “Damn, I do look like I took on an Army instead of just a few guys.” Walking back out he stopped in his tracks at finding a woman sitting in the chair by his bed. “Are you lost?”
“That depends on whether or not you’re not Cordell Walker.”
Intrigued he replied, “That depends on why you want to know.”
With a laugh she pulled out her ID saying, “My name is Kathy O’Roarke, I’m supposed to officially thank you for all your help and see if there’s anything I can do for you before you disappear back to Dallas.”
“The only thing I need is the stuff from my motel and a flight home tomorrow morning, but I doubt that’s what you had in mind.”
Giving him a doubt filled look she asked, “Are you sure you’re going to be ready to leave tomorrow?”
“I’m going whether I’m ready or not.”
She observed him through lowered lashes and a part of her wished there was time to get to know him better, but there had been something in his voice, something that told her he was anxious to get back because of a woman. “She’s a lucky lady.”
Giving her a startled look he replied, “Who?”
“The woman you want to get back to.” Standing up she said, “I’ll be back later, get some sleep.”
Watching her leave the room he wondered how she knew what he was thinking. Carefully he crawled back in the bed and while he knew he needed sleep he couldn’t seem to get his mind and body to cooperate; between the pain of his injuries and the fact his mind was running at full speed he didn’t have a chance.
A couple of hours later his door opened and Kathy walked back in with his suitcase and handed him a plane ticket; glancing at it he saw that it was for first class and raised a questioning eyebrow.
“It’s more comfortable than coach and with your ribs you’ll need all the help you can get.” She handed him his badge saying, “I suggest you wear this, the way you look they might not even let you board otherwise. Take care of yourself Cordell.”
“Thanks.” He watched her leave and going to his suitcase he took out some clean clothes and changed out of the hospital gown; dutifully he pinned on his star and sat back to wait until he could leave.
A few hours later he somehow managed to stumble off the plane sure that anyone who saw him would assume he’d had too much to drink; the reality of it was that he was exhausted and though he hated to admit it…he was in pain; he made his way to the baggage claim area and sat down while he waited for his luggage to arrive as he fought to keep his eyes open.
Walking inside the airport she was told where he would be picking up his suitcase and made her way in that direction; she had volunteered to pick him up, ignoring the looks that CD and Jimmy had given her. At first she didn’t see him and when she did it was all she could do to choke back her cry of distress; this was not her strong confident cowboy, but a man who looked like he could literally keel over at any second; making her way to his side she sat down and gently put her arm across his shoulders as she said, “You look like Hell.”
Giving her the endearing half smile she loved so much he answered, “I’ve been through it; I don’t even remember when I slept last and I think every bone in my body aches.” He clamped his lips shut as he realized what he had just revealed to her.
Sighing in exasperation she asked, “I can see the bruises on your face, suppose you fill in the rest?”
Knowing she wouldn’t drop the subject he replied, “Bruises, cracked ribs, a few stitches…the usual.” Hoping to distract her he asked, “Are we going to CD’s?”
“Will you stop trying to change the subject; no we are not going to CD’s; no I am not going to drive you home; you are coming home with me tonight so I can make sure you’re okay.”
Totally surprising her he said, “Whatever you say; I’m in no shape to argue with you about it.”
That’s when she knew for sure that no matter how he tried to make light of his injuries he was in bad shape.
Once they retrieved his suitcase she left him at the curb to go get her car and called CD to let him know they wouldn’t be by.
“How is he darling?”
“You know Walker, he’s trying to play it off like he’s fine but he agreed to come home with me for the night.”
Whistling through his teeth he responded, “That bad huh? Well you take care of him honey and if you need anything I’m just a phone call away. I’ll let Jimmy know what’s going on and I’ll talk to you later.”
Walker slid into her car when she pulled up and choking back the moan of pain; he fastened the seatbelt and put his head back where he was almost instantly asleep.
After parking her car at her apartment she took his luggage inside then came back and carefully woke him up saying, “Ok Cowboy, let’s get you inside; just lean on me.” She helped him to the couch and watched as he gingerly sat down. Going to his side she helped him remove his boots, socks and shirt then carefully pulled his t-shirt over his head. Sucking in her breath she looked at the multitude of bruises and saw the bandage around his ribs as well as the one below his shoulder. “Damn you Walker; are you even supposed to be out of the hospital?”
Shaking his head no he responded, “Danged doctor wanted me to stay, but you know me; I hate hospitals.”
Fighting off the impulse to scream at him she went into the kitchen and heated up some soup and poured him a glass of tea then carried it to the living room. “You need to get something in your stomach; where are your pain meds at?”
“Don’t you Alex me you stubborn mule-headed Cowboy! Believe me if you don’t cooperate I’ll get Jimmy and CD over here and have them rope and hogtie you before I take you to the hospital myself.” She turned away hoping he hadn’t noticed the tears in her eyes.
He had seen them and he cursed silently to himself at having caused her pain; it was one of the many reasons he had tried to keep her at a distance for so long. Shakily climbing to his feet he wrapped his arms around her saying, “I’m sorry; I’ve just been alone for so long…”
Placing her finger against his lips she whispered, “Well you’re not alone anymore and I’m going to take care of you whether you like it or not.” She removed her finger and replaced it with her lips as she kissed him with loving tenderness. “Now eat your soup while I find your meds.”
From past experience he knew that he might as well give in; with a loud sigh he sank back down as he said, “They’re in the zippered compartment on the inside; but I’m not due to take any more for a while yet.” He ate the soup she had given him as she searched for and found the bottle.
Reading the directions she shook her head, glanced over at him and said, “Just as I figured; you’re giving me your idea of when you should be taking these instead of the directions the doctor put on the label.” Shaking two of the pills out she handed them to him saying, “Down the hatch they go.”
“Alex if I take two of these, as tired as I already am, I might not wake up until tomorrow.”
“Oh you’ll wake up later; if it’s only long enough to take more of these.”
“You know I hate being drugged.”
“Walker, do you trust me?”
As his eyes flew up to meet hers he said, “Of course I do; what kind of question is that?”
Being careful where she put her hands she gently placed them on his shoulders and squeezed as she said, “Then let me take care of you; I promise I won’t think any less of you if you actually admit you need some help right now. You have always been there for me; let me return the favor, okay?”
Standing up he framed her face with his hands gave her a gentle kiss and whispered, “I’m supposed to be the strong one, but in you I think I have met my match; you win this time, take care of me.” He swallowed the pills.
Taking his hand she led him into her bedroom; after turning back the covers she said, “Off with the jeans and into bed you go.” She laughed when he actually blushed and couldn’t resist teasing him, “I promise I won’t take advantage of you while you’re drugged.” She added a saucy wink to watch him squirm a little.
“Okay Cowboy I can take a hint, I’ll leave…for now, but you better be under those covers when I get back.” She went out and looked in her refrigerator to see what she could fix them for dinner that night and after making sure she had all the ingredients for what she planned she stuck her head back into her bedroom and smiled when she noticed the jeans folded neatly on the chair; as she started to go back to the living room she realized she now had the perfect opportunity to find the answer to a question she’d been wondering; after satisfying herself that he was completely out she lifted the sheet and smiled as she whispered, “Boxers.”
Waking up later he looked at his watch and frowned as he realized he’d been out for nearly five hours. He reached for his jeans and smiled when he noticed there was a pair of sweat pants in the chair instead; they would definitely be easier to get on and off; he pulled them on and carefully made his way to the living room where he saw her with a pile of papers strewn around her. “What are you working on?”
Looking up at him she smiled and said, “If I told you that I’d have to kill you.”
“Wow, sounds like someone is in a good mood.”
Getting up she carefully wrapped her arms around him as she said, “Very true.”
Putting his arms around her he asked, “Any particular reason?”
Tilting her head back a little she stopped with her lips a fraction of an inch from his as she replied, “I’m sure it has something to do with the fact my Cowboy is home.”
“Your cowboy huh?”
“Do you have a problem with that?”
Lowering his lips to hers he said, “No.” Only the need to breathe made them reluctantly pull apart and as he stared at her he whispered, “So if I belong to you…does that mean you belong to me?”
Gazing deep into his eyes she replied, “I’m definitely yours.”
Their lips met again and she tightened her arms around him totally forgetting about his ribs until she heard his gasp of pain. Pulling away she said, “I’m not doing a very good job of taking care of you; I better feed you so you can have some more of your pain meds.”
Catching her hand before she could make her escape he said, “Alex…”
The knock on the door startled both of them and she laughed when he muttered, “I swear I’m going to kill them one of these days.” He went to the door and opened it to allow Jimmy and CD to come in.
Both of the men took note of the fact that Walker was unclothed from the waist up and looked from him to Alex. CD cleared his throat asking, “Ummm, are we interrupting something?”
“He just woke up CD, I was getting ready to fix dinner.”
Jimmy had to fight hard to hold back his grin as he saw the look in his partner’s eyes; he was definitely NOT happy to see them and a quick study of Alex showed that her lipstick was quite smudged. His curiosity was killing him and he wondered if he could find a way to poke his head into the bedroom.
Studying his young partner Walker silently groaned at the speculative look and decided to put an end to it. “Trivette…I was asleep, Alex was working on a case.”
With a guilty start he said, “Hey man, I…”
CD laughed as he said, “Cordell, you know he’s just meddling like…”
She laughed when he started sputtering in denial and going over to him she kissed his cheek saying, “You know Walker and I love both of you, but don’t expect us to share the details of our relationship with you, it’s not going to happen.”
Grinning in triumph Jimmy said, “It just did, you admitted you’re in a relationship.”
Realizing a distraction was in order Walker exclaimed, “Hey CD, how about giving me a hand to change the bandage on my back.”
Both men turned their attention to him and almost in unison said, “Are you okay?” They immediately moved behind him and looking over at Alex he gave her a quick wink as if to say, “Mission accomplished.”
“Guys there are plenty of bandages under the sink in the bathroom, I’m going to start on dinner while you’re doing that, soon as I get some food into him I’ll make sure he takes his medicine.”
In the bathroom CD carefully pulled the old bandage off and began counting the stitches as he asked, “How did you let someone get close enough to put a knife in you?”
“He threw it while I was distracted by the realization that the man in charge was none other than FBI agent Ben Peters.”
“Dagnab it Cordell; we worked with him on several cases, hard for me to believe he turned bad.”
“I know I didn’t want to believe it either.”
Once the bandages were changed Jimmy said, “I guess that’s our cue to get out of here and let you and Alex enjoy your dinner. Will I see you at the office tomorrow?”
“I have to check in with the doctor, I’ll stop by after to let you and the Captain know what he says.”
As they walked out of the building Jimmy asked, “I wonder which one of them will be sleeping on the couch tonight?”
“Dang it Jim, they just told you to stop your meddling.” Giving his young friend a playful swat in the arm he added, “Hopefully neither one of them.”
They both began laughing and shared a high five.
Walker sat on the couch after Alex had refused his help with dinner and putting his head back he shut his eyes.
She put everything on the table and walked to his side; he was sleeping so peacefully that she hated to wake him up but knowing that he needed to eat she leaned over and kissed him. “Time for dinner Cowboy, you can sleep later.”
Following her to the table he sat down as he said, “It looks and smells fantastic, so what is it?”
“I’ll tell you after you try it.”
Recognizing the challenge he had been issued he dutifully took a bite and as the taste registered he glanced up saying, “I don’t care anymore what it is; this is fantastic.”
Hearing the sincerity in his voice she responded, “It’s my Mom’s meatloaf recipe, only I always use turkey instead of beef.”
“Honey, don’t you dare tell CD, but this has just become my favorite meal.”
Knowing he was sincere she flushed with pleasure. “I’ll make it for you any time you ask.”
Laughing she replied, “Of course not, you’d get tired of it.”
After they finished eating she retrieved his pain medication and ignoring his look of distaste she said, “No arguing allowed.”
Sighing in defeat he swallowed them before saying, “You know these things are going to knock me out so you should probably go ahead and make the couch up for me.”
“Forget it! You’re not sleeping on the couch; in case you’ve forgotten you have some busted ribs, you’ll be much more comfortable in bed.”
“I’m not letting you sleep on the couch in your own apartment.”
“Why do you always have to be so damned stubborn?”
The situation suddenly struck him as being funny and he started laughing before saying, “I guess there’s only one acceptable solution.”
Giving him a suspicious look she asked, “What’s that?”
“Well you did promise not to take advantage of me while I’m drugged and we have slept in the same bed before so we might as well do it again tonight.”
Her heart kicked into overdrive at his words and silently she wondered if she could keep her end of the bargain; it was getting harder and harder for her not to push for a more intimate relationship with him. She noticed the look of triumph on his face and throwing her reservations to the wind she said, “You’re right, we’re both adults here we can do this.”
Realizing he had backed himself into a corner he searched for a way out before shaking his head and asking, “Why do I even try to win these battles with you?”
Going to his side she leaned over and kissed him before saying, “I don’t know; go ahead and get ready for bed; I’m going to try and finish making my notes on this case then I’ll be in.”
She finished what she wanted to get done then grabbed what she needed and took a quick shower; going back into her bedroom she was amazed at how nervous she was. In just a few seconds it dawned on her that he was sound asleep; she carefully climbed into bed and after turning out the light she rolled away from him and closed her eyes.
During the night he opened his eyes and was completely disoriented for a minute before remembering where he was; being careful not to wake her up he pulled her closer and smiled when she shifted position so her head was on his shoulder. He grinned as he remembered the one other time they had shared a bed and couldn’t stop thinking about what he had told her about getting used to it…he liked the feeling of having her in his arms and tightening his hold he allowed sleep to claim him yet again.
They awoke in the morning and both of them were a little flustered at the fact they were tangled up like lovers; she hastily put some distance between them before saying, “I’m sorry, I really was on my side of the bed when I went to sleep.”
“I know you were, if my memory is correct I decided you were too far away and pulled you over here around 3 AM.”
Amazed she said, “You did?”
“You sound surprised.”
“I am, but surprises like that I can deal with.” She closed the distance between them and captured his mouth with hers; reveling in the fact that not only did he not pull away but was deepening the kiss.
He rolled with her and gasped in pain from his injured ribs. The sound jolted them both back to reality and she scrambled out of bed saying, “So much for not taking advantage of you.”
“Hey I started it.”
Looking down at him she said seriously, “One day soon you’re going to finish it as well.”
At the stunned look on his face she laughed out loud saying, “I better get ready for work stop by after you see the doctor later.”
Knowing she had bested him once again he watched her leave the room and couldn’t stop the smile that appeared on his face; there was no doubt in his mind anymore that they would become lovers, it was just a question of when.