Hello, everybody! This little story is an early birthday present for Jess, cause she requested a special story. Here ya go, kiddo! Happy birthday! The song I used for this story was Kenny Chesney's You Had Me From Hello, which I absolutely adore. Enjoy, everybody!

Disclaimer: Not mine!


Ranger Francis Gage always hated getting new partners. Usually the reason was never good, but when it involved something like this... He shook his head, shifting uneasily.

Ranger Sydney Cook was fairly new, and worried about meeting her new partner. She had worked with him for several months on an undercover sting, but they hadn't been partners. And now, she would be putting her life in his hands. She ran a hand through her thick, raven hair.

She stepped through the door, and Gage's breath caught in his throat. It was her. He had spent six months undercover with her, and now she was here again. Was she going to be his new partner? He found himself praying to God she would be.

Sydney instantly recognized Gage, and she crossed the floor, holding her hand out for him to shake when she reached him. "Ranger Gage, it's good to see you again."

He took her hand, squeezing it gently. "Same here, Ranger Cook."

Walker smiled, obviously pleased at how well they were already taking to each other. "Well, since you two already seem to know each other, I'll get back to my paperwork. Ranger Cook, Ranger Gage can show you the ropes, Good luck to you two." He walked away from the two junior rangers.

Gage barely heard Walker's voice. He was too lost in his new partner's eyes. He could tell already that this was going to be so much more.

One word, that's all you said

And something in your voice caused me to turn my head

Your smile just captured me

And you were in my future, far as I could see

Sydney watched Gage with trusting eyes as he settled down beside her and drew her into his strong arms. She snuggled into him.

He kissed the top of her head, gently stroking her thick black hair.

Sighing deeply, she draped her arm over his chest, pulling him closer to her.

"I love you, Syd," he whispered, closing his eyes.

Her breath caught in her throat. "I... I love you, too..."


She nodded. "Will you always love me?"

He didn't even have to think about his response. "Yes. I will."

Satisfied with his answer, she tightened her grip on him and rested her head on his broad shoulder.

His fingertips absently traced patterns over her arm, and again he wondered at the fact that she was in his bed, with him.

She yawned again, running her hand absently over his broad chest.

He kissed her head. "Go to sleep, Shorty," he whispered, receiving a gentle poke in return.

"How many times have I told you not to call me that?"

"Too many," he teased.

"And somehow you never seem to learn."

He pressed a soft kiss to her head and buried his nose in her hair. Yes, he would never be able to stop loving her.

And I don't know how it happened

But it happened still

You ask me if I love you

If I always will

Well, you had me from hello

I felt love start to grow

The moment that I looked into your eyes

You owned me

It was over from the start

You completely stole my heart

And now you won't let go

I never even had a chance, you know

You had me from hello

Gage stared up at the light blue sky, lost in his thoughts. At one time, he thought he'd never be able to love anyone again. After Jess broke his heart into shattered little pieces, he swore that was it. He was never going to get hurt like that again.

So he had constructed a wall around his heart, so high he was certain that no one could ever get inside. And that was exactly how he wanted it. He never wanted to suffer that kind of pain again.

And it had worked. He dated, but it never evolved beyond a few drinks or dinner. And that was just fine with him. His heart was intact, and it was going to stay that way.

Then he had seen Sydney, and one by one, she had torn the bricks of his defenses down, until they were laying uselessly on the ground. Then she had stepped into his life and into his well protected heart.

And she had never stepped back out.

Inside, I built a wall

So high around my heart, thought I never fall

One touch, you brought it down

The bricks of my defenses scattered on the ground

A gentle hand came to rest on his shoulder, and he turned to see Trivette studying him. He smiled.

"Are you ready, Gage?"

The younger man nodded. "Yeah, I am."

"Let's go. She's waiting for you."

Gage followed Trivette into the church, and both of the men took their places at the altar, just before the music started. As Angela came down the aisle, tossing flowers and grinning, Gage nudged Trivette.

The bridesmaids followed, and Gage's heart caught in his throat as he finally caught sight of his bride, holding onto Walker's arm. Since she had no father, and Walker was just like a father to her, she had asked him to give her away. And he had gladly accepted.

He watched her as Walker led her down the aisle, and they both stopped just in front of Gage. With trembling hands, Walker lifted her veil and kissed Sydney's cheek. Then he lowered her veil again.

"Who gives this woman to this man?" the preacher asked.

"I do." Walker smiled as Gage took her hand and pulled her in front of him, then he went to his seat with Alex and their little girl.

Gage smiled as Sydney squeezed his hand and whispered, "I love you."

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the union of this man, Francis Gage, and this woman, Sydney Cook, in holy matrimony..."

And I swore to me

I wasn't gonna love again

The last time was the last time

I'd let someone in

Gage had never been more content in his entire life. He had a beautiful wife who was sleeping curled up in his arms, and-

An ear splitting scream cut into the silence of the night, and he quickly and carefully slid out from under Sydney, pulling on a pair of boxers before he hurried out of his bedroom.

The cries grew louder as Gage hurried into the bedroom of his young daughter. "Hey, hey, what's wrong?" he murmured soothingly, hurrying over to the bed where his daughter sat upright, tears streaming down her cheeks.

As soon as she saw her daddy, Julie reached her arms out, sobbing softly. "Daddy!"

He sat on the edge of her little bed and gathered her into his arms, pulling her into his lap. "Shh... It's okay, baby," he whispered, kissing her hair.

She clung to him, burying her face in his neck.

He scooted over and leaned back against the wall, rubbing her back soothingly. "It was just a bad dream, Jules. Daddy's here now." Even as he said it, it still amazed him. He was a father.

Finally her sobs eased, and he kissed her head again. "What happened, baby?" he whispered.

"B-bad d-dream..." she stuttered.

He closed his eyes. "It's over now, baby. It can't hurt you. I promise."

She nodded, and a few minutes later, he thought she had fallen asleep.


He looked down at her, surprised. "What is it, sweetie?"

"D-do you l-love me?"

He closed his eyes. Damn Hurley for hurting his baby and making her question how much he loved her... "Of course I do, baby. I love you and your brother more than anything."


He nodded. "I'll love you forever," he promised, stroking her hair. He had loved her from the day he knew Sydney was pregnant would her, and nothing could ever change that. Nothing ever would.

She snuggled closer to him, content with his answer.

He tightened his arms around her, continuing to stroke her back until she fell asleep, safe in his arms.

But he remained awake long after she fell asleep. At one time, he had sworn never to lose his heart again. But now here he was, his heart and life long gone. No, they weren't his anymore. They belonged to his wife and his children. And they always would.

But you had me from hello

I felt love start to grow

The moment that I looked into your eyes

You owned me

It was over from the start

You completely stole my heart

And now you won't let go

I never even had a chance, you know

You had me from hello

That's all you said

Something in your voice caused me

To turn my head

You had me from hello

You had me from hello

Girl, I've loved you from hello

The End!

A/N: Well, I hope everyone enjoyed this story. Merry Christmas to everyone! Only four more days to go! Woot!