Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Walker, Texas Ranger
Character/Pairing: Walker/Sydney, past Walker/Alex and Gage/Syd
Challenge/Prompt: beattheblackdog #58: Temper and 1_million_words Rare Pair Challenge
Warning(s): Dark Future Fic, Character Deaths, AU
Word Count: 1,089
Date Written: 26 March 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
She can remember, when she was younger, telling Gage she didn't need any damn rocking chair when they passed by some one playing the George Jones' infamous song and he'd admitted to liking it. Her partner had never exactly been known for his good taste, especially when it came to music, but she had loved him nonetheless. She had still made it a point of habit to stay out of rocking chairs for several decades after that moment.
But she's no longer the young, stubborn woman she'd been then. Back then, she'd kicked ass every day; now, she's lucky if she can get a jar to open. Her life hasn't turned out the way she'd thought it would. It definitely isn't the life she'd pictured or had wanted. Even her marriage isn't what she'd expected. Still, it's been a good life, and she sighs softly as she watches stalks of corn and wheat swaying in the breeze. Every year gets hotter, and this year's no different. It's enough to make a person not want to do anything but sit and watch time pass by, or take a nap as her husband laid down on the couch to do earlier.
It seems like the weather never changes here in Texas except to get hotter, but everything else feels different. There's a tenseness in the air that Sydney can feel creeping pass the standing hairs on her arms into her very bones. Something's coming, and it's not going to be pretty. She doesn't want to think about what she feels pending in the air. She's learned to feel it when it comes after losing so many. Of all her friends and family, all that's left now is her husband, their daughter, and her young friends. She doesn't think she can bear to watch another life go.
The door creeks behind her in the breeze. She feels her husband's approach but doesn't look over her shoulder. "Syd," he says quietly, sitting down into the matching chair beside hers.
She keeps her tearing, brown eyes focused on their fields. "We've had a good life, haven't we, Walker?"
"Yes," he answers simply. He doesn't try to draw her gaze. She can feel the pain in his voice; a tear slips down her cheek.
"You've been a good husband, a good friend." Another tear falls.
He reaches for her hand but doesn't take it. His hands hovers just over hers. "You've been everything I could have ever wanted in a wife," he says just as softly. "In a partner."
A hoarse back of laughter escapes her. "And now our daughter's leading the Texas Rangers."
"She's doing a damn fine job of it."
Sydney smiles through her tears. "She takes after you."
"She takes after both of us. She's got your flair of temper, you know."
Sydney laughs. This time, the sound rings out over their porch, tinkling with the wind chimes. "She does," she admits, remembering Alex's last car chase. Only the daughter of Cordell Walker -- and possessing of her temper -- would manage to corral an entire gang in a ten car pile-up.
"Her other father would be proud of her, too, and of you."
"You know she's your biological daughter, Cordell."
"Yes. But I know who you wanted to end up with. I know your heart doesn't belong to me. I never expected it to."
She almost turns to look at him. Almost, but she can't quite bear it just yet. "No more than you ever really loved me in that way."
"I would've married you any way, been a father to your and Gage's kids -- "
"I know," she says, her voice suddenly growing tight and hoarse with the emotions that, though they've ebbed over the years, have never entirely gone away. "And you were one Helluva good father."
"I did love you, Syd. I do. Just not . . . "
" . . . in that way," she finishes for him. "I know. I feel the same way. I always have." Finally, she turns to look at him through the tears filling her eyes.
"We were lucky to have each other."
She nods. Again, he moves to hold her hand or cup her face. She can tell he wants to brush her tears away as he has so many times over the years they've known each other and grown steadily closer, as he did the one night they made love . . . But he doesn't move except to inch closer to her. "Sydney -- "
"Don't say it," she pleads softly, wiping away her own tears. "Don't say it. I'm not ready."
"Neither am I. But . . . " He looks up toward the setting sun. "Alex is waiting. Gage is there too. He wants me to tell you he loves you."
She closes her eyes and weeps in earnest then. "I love you too!" she whispers. "I love you both!"
Sirens wail, but she doesn't open her eyes. The chair next to hers stops rocking, but she still doesn't open her eyes. Car doors open and slam. Footsteps race up the stairs. It's sounds she's heard hundreds of times over the years, possibly even millions counting the times she wore the badge and did the racing herself.
She never lets her daughter see her cry, but she does today. Her mouth opens to speak, but she can't voice words. A sob emits instead. She waves a hand behind her. One officer stays with her. Her daughter rushes into the home in which her parents have lived for years, the home that was her home as a child. Sydney hears her scream for her father. Her heart breaks more. She collapses, crying, sobbing, as her daughter does the same into her partner's arms.
Through it all, Sydney hears a hoarse whinny. She looks up through her tears and into the red and orange flares of the evening sky. For just a moment, she sees him. For just a moment, she sees them all: Walker being embraced by Alex and then looking back at her, Trivette and CD, Gage still waiting for her . . . Sydney cries and rocks. Another legend has left the world. She's ready to go with them, to be released from this world at last, but this world isn't ready to let her go. Her chair rocks beneath her, and she thinks maybe, maybe she does need a rocking chair at least for a little while longer until this life is finally ready to let her go too.