For the first time in his life, Sky was actually worried about Sydney. ‘Ok, so that’s not entirely true’ he thought to himself. He’d been plenty worried about her a few days before when they’d faced off with Kat’s giant simulated spider. He’d taken one look at that monster, had seen her freaked out, and had thought she was about to get herself killed. This was just as bad.
“Sydney, don’t go to sleep,” Sky reprimanded her softly for what seemed like the millionth time on the drive back to the academy. He’d already used his morpher to call ahead and let Kat know what had happened, so he knew all he had to do now was keep her awake until they got home.
“Sky, I’m sleepy, I can’t help it,” she murmured softly, her head lulling to the side before she snapped to attention.
Sky’s face softened marginally as he looked over at her when he stopped at a stop light. He may fight and argue with her constantly, but the last thing in the world he wanted to see was her hurt. “I know, but we’re almost there. When Dr. Felix gives the word, we’ll get you tucked into bed for the rest of the afternoon, okay?”
Sydney’s eyes were trained on his, and he could tell she was doing everything she could not to give in to the want for sleep. “Alright.”
Ten minutes later, Sky was carrying her through the busy hallways of the Academy, lower level cadets jumping out of the way as the mighty B Squad Blue Ranger barreled through the crowd. It was a shock for them, considering how everyone knew that Syd and Sky fought like cats and dogs.
“Lay her down here, Sky,” Kat commanded when the pair walked into the infirmary. Dr. Felix was washing his hands at a nearby sink while Sky carefully laid the nearly dozing Pink Ranger on one of the beds before he stepped back and watched on.
For a few minutes, Dr. Felix and Kat hemmed and hawed and said things in low tones before they broke apart and Kat moved to talk with Sky. “Well?” he asked, sounding more worried than he’d wanted to.
“Thankfully, it’s not a full blown concussion, so he says she can sleep for a while and then head to her room. Caitlynn called and talked to Commander Cruger already; it’s a good thing you were there, you both saved a life,” Kat told him, grinning. Despite his relationship with Syd, the feline could see how tense and anxious he was to know the prognosis on his teammate. “She’ll be fine, Sky, you can stop worrying now. Why don’t you go grab something to eat and get ready for some sleep yourself?”
“If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather sit with her for a while, just in case,” he told Kat, looking sheepish as he said it. Kat merely smiled a knowing smile and nodded before moving to leave the infirmary so she could inform the Commander of Syd’s health. ‘It’s about time,’ she thought, grinning at Sky’s antics.
Once Kat was out of the room, Sky grabbed one of the chairs and moved it to Syd’s bedside. He could tell she was fighting going to sleep still and sighed. “Sydney, just rest, its okay; you’re safe,” he whispered to her, unconsciously taking her hand in his. She looked at him through barely open eyes, before she squeezed his hand and fell asleep in an instant. Sky sat beside her, his thumb stroking her hand, his eyes on her face as she slept. The last part of his defensive wall crumbled. It was in that second, he looked at her and realized he had feelings for her that had nothing to do with her being his teammate or mortal enemy.
He was falling for Sydney.
“Well, look what the cat dragged in,” Jack quipped when Syd and Sky slowly walked into the common room together. It took the other three members of B Squad a second to realize Syd was practically clinging to Sky, whose arms were wrapped around her waist, helping to hold her up. “What happened?” The red ranger demanded to know.
“I had a small accident today,” Syd told him, her voice sounding small and tired. The Pink Ranger looked seriously ill as Sky sat her down.
“What do you want to eat, Syd?” Sky asked her, crouching in front of her.
She pondered her selection carefully. “How about some chicken soup in a cup and some grape juice?” she asked softly.
“Sure,” Sky murmured, moving toward the food synthesizer in the corner.
“You had an accident? What kind of accident?” Z asked, her eyes darting to Sky’s back.
“I was trying to save a little girl, and Sky had to save me,” Syd told them, before promptly closing her mouth. She and Sky had made an unspoken agreement to not really talk about what had happened.
Bridge, Z and Jack all looked incredibly surprised by her admission. The three of them shot Sky questioning glances when he returned, handing Sydney a mug with Chicken soup in it before sitting down on the couch next to her, a glass of grape juice in his hands.
Sky paid them no attention, his eyes and thoughts on Sydney as she gingerly brought the soup to her lips and sipped. She still looked tired and that worried Sky more than he cared to admit. “Better?” he softly asked, handing her the grape juice to drink. After a good swallow of it, she nodded and shyly handed him back the cup. Sydney managed a dazzling smile despite the dull throbbing behind her eyes. She still had a massive headache from being knocked unconscious, but decided she could deal with that now that there was a truce of some sort between the two of them. “Yes, thank you.”
“Wow, looks like we got ourselves an honest to goodness hero,” Z teased, leaving forward and swatting Sky’s leg. She was debating on whether or not to flirt with him with Bridge in the room and considering Syd’s condition but… she figured a healthy dose of jealousy might not hurt the Pink Ranger so much. “You’re awesome, Sky!”
Bridge and Jack did not miss the narrowed look Sky gave Z, nor did any of them miss the darkening of Sydney’s eyes. If only looks could kill… the thought ran through their minds and they laughed inwardly. “So hero, what are your plans for the rest of the day?” Z started again, watching Sydney slowly lower her cup of soup.
“I don’t know. Maybe shower and stretch out with a book. Why?” Sky shrugged, handing the juice to Sydney so she could finish it.
“Just wondering. I was thinking about dinner and a movie, you interested?” Z asked, smiling up at him.
The Red and Green Rangers looked shocked that Z had not included Sydney in the invitation and so did Sky. Sydney, on the other hand, looked downright hurt and looking full blown mad. “Uh, sure, I guess,” Sky mumbled.
A low, definitely feminine growl could be heard, two seconds before Sky hollered in surprise. Sydney was on her feet like a shot and stomping toward the door, her half full cup of chicken soup suddenly in Sky’s lap. Jack and Bridge shared a look while Sky glared at Z who was trying to look surprised while trying not to laugh at the predicament. ‘Well, that explains it,’ Z thought, turning a sidelong glance at her Green and Red counterparts.
“What the hell was that about?” Sky demanded to know of Z. Just from the look he was giving her, the others obviously knew he wasn’t talking about Syd dumping her soup in his lap.
“What do you mean?” Z asked, trying to play innocent.
“You know what I mean, Elizabeth. What the hell has gotten into you? Were you lying to me when you told me you had feelings for a certain someone?” Sky demanded angrily, wiping his pants with a towel he’d gone and gotten from a table nearby.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Z replied, praying to God he wouldn’t say anything further and put her and Bridge in a bad position on what the hell she’d been doing flirting with him. She glared at Jack and then Bridge, letting them both know they were on her shit list now.
Sky shook his head. “You know what, I’ve had about all I can take of psycho female teammates and their weird mood swings today. I’m going to go shower and go to bed,” he announced before stomping out of the room.
“Nice one, Z,” Jack sarcastically replied.
Bridge, being the smart man he was, kept his mouth shut as his sorta girlfriend got up and stuck her finger in the face of her ‘brother’. “Shut up, Jack! That was your entire fault! Both of your faults! Aren’t you the two who told me to flirt with him to get a rise out of her?” she insisted. Neither male answered her, both sitting on the couch slightly terrified of the look in her eyes. “Need I remind you, I have to share a room with her and now she thinks I like Sky, which I don’t, thank you very much!”
“You know, you two make a cute couple,” Jack nonchalantly told her.
“No, we don’t! And besides, why would I settle for him when I want Bridge?” Z argued, then turned and stomped off toward her room.
Bridge and Jack shared a look before both of them broke out smiling.
Sydney sighed happily as she drove her neon pink Malibu down the highway toward Mariner Bay. It had been a stroke of luck that Commander Cruger had given B Squad a rare weekend off. They had to keep their morphers with them at all times (just as a precaution) but they were free to leave New Tech City. Syd, having heard that news, immediately made plans to head home and spend the weekend recouping at her parents’ house. Her grandfather and her aunts and uncles and their spouses would be stopping by for dinner, ‘and best of all,’ she thought happily, ‘no Schuyler Tate Collins for the whole weekend!’
“Can a girl get any luckier?” she asked herself, pulling into her the driveway of her parents’ house, of the home she’d spent some of her happiest years in. It never failed to amaze her how much she liked the fact that this place never changed. The world around her might, but home always remained the same.
After grabbing her duffle bag, she sprinted from the garage to the back door and promptly announced her arrival. “I’M HOME!”
“Sydney, indoor voice!” Dana called out laughingly as she entered the kitchen where Syd was standing, grinning. The two women hugged tightly, Sydney burying herself in the secure and loving embrace of her mother.
“How’s the head, Munchkin?” a new voice asked, breaking up the mother daughter moment. Sydney grinned and peered around her mother’s form to see her Uncle Ryan leaning against the kitchen door.
“You know me, Uncle Ry, I have a hard head. Other than some mild dizziness, I’m fine.”
“I want to take a look at that before you head back to the academy, young lady,” Dana admonished her daughter, giving the patented ‘Mom’ look.
Sydney just grinned. It was so nice to be home, but she sobered; there were two people missing from the equation. Frowning, she looked at her mother, who was moving toward the refrigerator. “Where’s Dad and Grandpa?”
Dana gave Sydney a look, like she was pondering exactly what to tell her daughter. Deciding to test the waters, Dana opted for the truth. “Visiting Wes.”
Sydney’s eyes darkened much the same way Carter’s did when he was angry, Dana noted, and her daughter’s expression tightened. “Oh?”
“Yeah. Your dad’s extending an invitation for the Collins’ to come over for the barbecue tomorrow night.”
The pink ranger rolled her eyes and sighed. I should have known. “Lovely,” she muttered.
Looked like it wasn’t going to be a Sky-free weekend after all.
Grinning, Sky punched in his personal access code for the front gate before easing his navy blue Jeep down the driveway toward his parents’ house. His only thought was that he planned on enjoying the Ranger free weekend at home – he hoped. Cruger had given them a full three days off and he had decided to come home and get his head together. Too much Gruumm, too much activity and entirely too much Sydney. Now he could kick back and relax, and recharge his batteries. And the best part? No Sydney Drusilla Grayson for three whole days.
Once the Jeep was parked in the garage, Sky headed in through the side door, wondering if both his parents were actually home, considering their cars were not in the garage. “I’m home!” he called, tossing his stuff at the base of the stairs.
“Master Sky, welcome home,” Phillips greeted him, emerging from the living room.
Sky grinned and rolled his eyes. “How many times do I have to say it, Phillips, it’s just Sky. It was cool when I was eight but I’m too old for the master bit now.”
Phillips grinned at him, and then spotted the bag lying next to the stairs. “I see what wonderful manners your academy has been teaching you.”
“Sorry. I’m going to take it to my room. Are Mom and Dad home?” Sky asked, turning to grab his bag before he headed up the staircase.
“Your father is on his way home from Silver Guardians Headquarters and your mother is shopping with your Aunt Taylor. Dinner is at six, so you have time to shower and take a small nap,” Phillips informed him, watching the young man he’d helped raise race up the stairs.
An hour later, Sky was descending the stairs when the doorbell rang. Skipping the last two steps, he all but raced to the door. What he found on the other side both surprised and annoyed him slightly. “Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Grayson, come in,” Sky gestured.
“Hello Sky,” Carter grinned at him. “Your dad home?”
Sky shrugged. “Not sure, I just woke up from a nap. Follow me.”
The trio walked back into the living room, where voices could be heard. When they entered, they say Wes and Eric watching TV and fighting over who was winning the football game while Jen and Taylor were shaking their heads and laughing at them.
“Sky! Carter! Mr. Mitchell!” Jen greeted, jumping up to hug her son and then Carter before shaking Mr. Mitchell’s hand. “What brings you over?”
Carter grinned. “Well, Dana took it into her head when Syd said she was coming home to throw a last minute party. I was wondering if you guys wanted to come and of course, the invitation includes Eric and Taylor.”
Jen and Wes shared a look and then saw the scowl on Sky’s face. They couldn’t pass the opportunity to hang out with some of their friends up. Besides, if Kat’s call earlier that morning was remotely true, then there was a mini truce between their son and Carter and Dana’s daughter. “Sure, we’d love too. What time?”
“Come over around five or so, Ryan and I are starting the burgers around six.”
Sky inwardly groaned, knowing he wasn’t going to get away with skipping out on this trip. ‘Great. Just great.’
She couldn’t help but giggle when she felt familiar hands pushing on her lower back. Grabbing the ropes of the homemade swing her dad had built for her, she looked over her shoulder and grinned at her uncle. “Higher Uncle Ry!” she laughed.
“You’re too big to go much higher, Brat,” Ryan told her lovingly.
If there was one thing Sydney loved, it was spending time with her uncle. He always made life seem so fun and worth living, despite all the hardships she faced on a daily basis.
“Did Dad and Grandpa really go over and invite Wes, Jen, Taylor and Eric to dinner?” Sydney asked, her face scrunching up. She liked Mr. and Mrs. Meyers and she loved Mr. and Mrs. Collins, she just really didn’t want to deal with Sky and if Wes and Jen were coming, it was a given that Sky would be too. Especially since she knew he’d gone home for the weekend just like she had.
“I’m afraid so. Sydney, try to get along with him, for once, please,” Ryan begged.
“I’ll just avoid him,” Syd muttered, continuing to pump her legs while Ryan continued to push her on the swing.
He could say one thing for sure – Dana Mitchell Grayson knew how to throw one hell of a party. It seemed more like a Ranger Reunion than a family get-together. All of the Graysons’ teammates and their spouses were present, their kids running around and laughing. His parents, Uncle Eric and Aunt Taylor, and his aunt’s teammates, minus Merrick and Shayla, were also present with their spouses and children. And in the midst of it all, stood the one person he’d wanted to avoid this weekend.
She looked good, dressed in a pair of tight jeans and a pink and blue tank top. Her hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail, small curled wisps framing her face. Her eyes seemed to sparkle every time she swung up one of the younger kids onto her hip or hugged them tightly.
“She’s great with kids, isn’t she?” a voice announced, slightly scaring Sky. Turning, the Blue Ranger found Carter Grayson standing next to him.
“Yes Sir, she is.”
Carter just grinned. “Sky, I just wanted to thank you. Dana and I both want to thank you.”
“For what, Mr. Grayson?”
Carter fixed the young man with a look. “Commander Cruger called and let us in know what happened at he children’s school the other day.”
The Blue Ranger’s face flushed a deep red. He and Sydney hadn’t spoken about what had happened, not between them or to anyone else. “Sir?”
“You’ve saved my daughter numerous times in the last couple of months, Sky. I appreciate it, and so does her mother,” Carter told him.
“Sir, I didn’t do it for thanks. She’s a fellow Ranger, one of my teammates, and…”
“She’s becoming one of your friends now too.”
Sky shrugged and found Syd with his eyes. She was standing with her mom, his mom, her Aunt Kelsey and his Aunt Taylor, laughing about something. “In a way, yeah.” His eyes followed her when she moved to talk to her younger cousins.
The former Red Ranger nodded. “I’ve always wondered how long it would take you two to work out your differences. What started this whole business, anyways?”
Sky looked embarrassed by the question. “To tell you the truth, I don’t remember.”
Carter shook his head. “Well, whatever the case, I’m glad you two are getting along. See you later.”
Once Carter walked away, Sky shook his head. He had the sudden urge to check on Sydney. Downing the rest of his drink, Sky started toward her and her cousins. “Sky!” Nina Mitchell, Ryan and Kelsey’s 16 year old daughter, called out, jumping into his arms for a hug.
“Ni, it’s been a while. How’ve you been, Shorty?”
“Good. I’m getting ready to enroll at SPD.”
Sky couldn’t help but grin and chuckle at that. Nina was as bad as he was, wanting to be like her parents - she wanted to be the Yellow Ranger like her mom as bad as he wanted to be Red like his dad. “Look me up when you get there, okay?”
Nina nodded before raising an eyebrow when she noticed Sky’s attention was elsewhere instead of on her. Turning, she saw who had his sole attention – Sydney. “Go say hi, but be nice would ya,” Nina ordered, nudging Sky toward her cousin.
Sky rolled his eyes at her but moved toward his teammate. Sydney was kneeling down to talk to Nina’s youngest sister, six year old Bailey. “Hi Sky!” Bailey chirped, startling Sydney, who looked up over her shoulder and tried to smile though she wasn’t happy to see him.
“Hi Bails,” Sky flirted with the little girl, who looked more like Sydney than Nina. She smiled back at him, liking the fact that he was being nice instead of scary.
“Sky,” Syd started, standing to her full height, which wasn’t much when compared to Sky’s.
“Can we take a walk and talk?” Sky quietly inquired. Sydney nodded, and then grinned at Bailey. “Why don’t you go ask my dad or yours to push you on the swing?”
Sky inclined his head toward one of the gates when Bailey raced off toward Carter and Ryan. Syd nodded and they moved to walk out front where it was quieter. “How are you feeling?” Sky asked, trying to figure out what to talk to her about. He’d never really attempted to have a normal conversation with her before, so this was new territory for him.
The blonde shrugged. “I’ve been a little dizzy here and there, but Mom’s looked me over and said I’m okay. How about you?”
“My wrist finally stopped throbbing,” he grinned at her, reminding her of their time in the cave with Broodwing not long ago. “Can I ask you something?”
“How’d we end up hating each other so much?”
Sydney’s face turned stony and her eyes grew angry. “What?”
“How’d we get this way?” Sky started, gesturing to each of them. “We were friends when we were little.”
“You’re really a piece of work, Schuyler!” Syd nearly screamed at him, blinking back tears. “Think about it, Sky! Think back to my first visit to SPD!”
The Blue Ranger stood there, wracking his mind for an answer. “Sydney, give me a clue, please?”
“The simulator, Sky!” Sydney barked at him before spinning away from him and running into the house.
Sky shook his head, trying to figure out what she’d meant. Realizing he wasn’t coming up with any answers, Sky headed to the back to ask his father a few questions.
The door was flung open, followed by Sky’s tall form bursting through and heading for his closet. He’d always kept a journal, ever since he’d learned to write, so he knew the answers he was looking for would be in the one from the summer he’d been eight and the summer Sydney had been six, when she’d first visited SPD.
That summer had been the first time he’d been allowed to go with his father to SPD too. He remembered spending an afternoon with Sydney and Carter before her dad had driven him to SPD to drop him off. He remembered that he and Sydney had been poking around the simulator where the Rangers had been training while their dads talked. But he couldn’t remember much more than that.
Shaking his head, Sky dug through some boxes in hopes he’d find what he was looking for. After looking in several of his journals, Sky finally found the one from that summer. For an hour he read through it until he came to his entry from that night.
The Blue Ranger paled when he read what he’d written. He was the one who had accidentally closed the simulator door, and in the process of trying to open it, turned it on, with six year old Sydney inside, facing a giant simulated criminal in the form of a spider.
“Oh God, no.”