Changing His Mind

Summary: He wasn't going to fall in love again. Nothing she did would change his mind either.

Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.

A/N: Just listening to Kenny Rogers sing 'Lay Down Beside Me' made me want to write it into a story. Then the mental image of Walker and Buffy dancing to it gave me the bunny. The first part is basically from Walker's POV; the second is Buffy, with a little third person.

Thanks to my betas: unbeta'd, so sorry for any errors.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Walker, Texas Ranger characters belong to Leslie Greif, Paul Haggis and Columbia TriStar Television. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission. Kenny sang it (at least this version), but Don Williams wrote it.

After the serial killer escaped and murdered Alex Cahill, his fiancée of three days, Cordell Walker wasn't going to fall in love again. It tore him up that the man escaped their jurisdiction before they even found her body, disappearing from the face of the earth. Only CD and Trivette's friendships kept him from swearing vengeance. But a part of him died with her, and nothing could bring it back to life.

Even when his Uncle Ray Firewalker told him the spirits whispered Alex found peace in the 'Summers sun' and that he should too.

It wasn't until four years later when those words came back to him in the form of the newest Ranger in the office, a petite, perky blonde by the name of Buffy Summers. She refused to be called Summers, saying it brought back bad memories of college.

But he wasn't going to fall in love again, and nothing she did would change his mind either.

Not her bright smile that rivaled the beauty of the stars shining.

Not her hair that reminded him of golden sunlight.

Not the way her laughter caused his heart to skip a beat.

Not the even way she could take down Trivette within five seconds during a fight – or himself inside a couple minutes.

Nope, none of those things would make him risk his heart again.

Losing Alex still hurt too much. His nightmares were still filled with flashes of what he guessed were her last minutes alive…her eyes searching for her knight/cowboy to ride to her rescue, only to dim as the life drained out of her. Then her face would change; those baby blues turning to sparkling emeralds. It was Buffy's death that woke him in a cold sweat now.

As if to taunt him, the serial killer came back and stalked him again…just like before. Somehow that monster guessed what Buffy meant to him – despite all his efforts to fight it – and sent Walker a message that he was going to do the same thing to her that he did to Alex five years ago…to the exact day. With his heart in his throat, Walker yelled for Trivette, and they raced to Buffy's small ranch home out in the country.

Seeing blood on her front porch almost made him shut down, but he had to try to save her. When his phone rang, he ignored it, not wanting to lose precious seconds as he searched for a way into the house that wouldn't give his position away. Then the door opened, and he yanked the hand that reached out, using his strength to toss the murdering SOB into the yard. Only, when he looked at the person he threw, he saw Buffy glaring up at him.

Apparently she subdued the guy, and he was tied up in her living room. She tried calling him for back-up, then came outside when she heard his phone ringing on her front porch.

That night, they were at CD's, celebrating the end of the serial killer's reign of terror. Walker watched as Trivette two-stepped with Buffy to some George Strait song. CD reached over the bar and smacked the back of his head, telling him to get off his butt and go cut in.

Nobody was blind to how he felt. They all watched him fall in love, even though he wouldn't admit it was happening. At first his mixed signal attitude bothered Buffy, then CD confided what happened to Alex. So even though she was very attracted to the scruffy Texan, she vowed to be patient and wait for him to finish mourning. She knew from personal experience that mourning didn't follow a set timeline.

Now her patience was being rewarded. She tracked him from the corner of her eye as he weaved through the crowd towards her and Jimmy. Her heart sped up in anticipation as he drew closer, but she still feigned surprise when he asked his best friend if he could cut in as the song finished.

He led her in a more intricate version of the Texas two-step as Kenny Rogers began singing 'Lay Down Beside Me'. With Jimmy, it was just the basic steps and a little promenading. Cordell was twirling her all over the place. But then the second verse started, and he pulled her into a tight promenade, close enough that she could hear him singing the words to her:

'…Mornings and evenings all were the same
And there was no music till I heard your name
But I knew when I saw you smile
Now I can rest for awhile

So lay down beside me
Love me and hide me
Kiss all the hurtin' of this world away
Hold me so close that I feel your heartbeat
And don't ever wander away'

Over at the bar, Trivette and CD cheered quietly as their friend's heart was mended by the tiny blonde who could kick his butt – much less any bad guy that tried to harm her to get to him. Their kiss at the end of the dance seemed to melt years of tension out of his body and eyes. Somehow, they felt that Alex would approve of the former California girl-turned Texas Ranger.

A/N: I'm a big pile of goo, imagining Buffy and Cordell dancing together to this song – especially with him whispering the words to her.