Thanks to everyone who reviewed the last chapter! I must say, the flow of comments sure blew me away! Anyway, here’s the second part –enjoy!
Disclaimer: Don’t own anything you recognize!
Most of the things we decide are not what we know to be the best. We say yes, merely because we are driven into a corner and must say something.
Corgan, the ride to the
She supposed it was a tie between the two.
For a girl who had literally grown up on the streets, she was living her life full of hope and without fear. She was tough, but she wasn’t bitter about her past. What set Kathleen apart from her friends was the fact that that she was able to accept her past for what it was and truly put it behind her.
She continued to bounce up and down in her seat, barely able to contain her excitement.
On her left, Ian shifted. “Stop being annoying,” her brother muttered under his breath.
She immediately stopped bouncing around. “Stop brooding,” she shot back.
“I’m not brooding.”
“Yes, you are!”
“Shut up, you guys,” Keegan cut in, stopping the argument. There was now silence in the back seat.
After about ten more minutes of driving, Kathleen spotted the Academy come into view. She started bouncing up and down in her seat again, letting out a quiet squeal. She turned to Ian. “Look, there it is!” she whispered excitedly.
“Whoopee,” her brother stated sarcastically.
Kathleen stared at Ian curiously. “What’s with you?”
“Nothing,” he grunted.
“He’s just excited,” Keegan spoke up, looking amused at their antics. Kathleen grinned at him.
Ian shook his head and rolled his eyes. “Yeah, imagine my excitement,” he said dryly.
Kathleen frowned, her excitement dimming a little, as she wondered why her brother was being so negative. She continued to stare at him as Commander Cruger pulled the jeep up to the Academy entrance, where there were already a few people waiting. She tore her gaze away from Ian, figuring that she’d beat the truth out of him later, and turned her attention to the people that were waiting for them at the front doors. As soon as the car came to a full stop, she climbed over Keegan’s lap and jumped out, rushing at the person closest to her. “Caleb!” she squealed.
Ian let out a sigh, watching his sister greet their friends enthusiastically. Together, he and Keegan exited the car slowly and quietly. As they headed toward the others, Keegan elbowed him in the side. “What’s with you?”
Keegan gave him a disbelieving look. “Yeah, right.”
Ian sighed again. “Tell you later,” he muttered. He plastered on a fake smile as they stopped in front of Caleb and Rosanna. Opening his arms, he greeted Rosanna with a hug. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed his sister carefully watching him and internally rolled his eyes and then shifted so Kathleen wasn’t in his line of sight anymore. As he released Rosanna, his gaze wandered to the people that were still standing at the entrance of the Academy. A short, blonde girl and a taller man with dirty blonde hair. He eyes them up and down, unsure of what to think of these people.
“Welcome,” Cruger was talking and Ian gave the big blue dog, his attention.
“As you all know, you will be staying here at the Academy for your own protection. We hope to be able to capture Giovanni as soon as possible, but in the meantime, please make yourself at home. If you need anything, one of our cadets will be happy to get it for you.”
Ian rolled his eyes and tuned out the rest of what Cruger was saying. So that was it, he thought crossly. Cruger just wanted them around so it would be easier to catch Giovanni. They were bait to lure out the enemy. Once they caught him, SPD would have no more use for them and they would be thrown back out onto the streets without another thought.
Ian snorted as Cruger finished his speech. They couldn’t trust SPD at all.
Bridge had finally finished fixing the control panel and now they were currently organizing the tools and cleaning up. The yellow ranger watched at Bridge carefully, suddenly noticing the large somewhat dangling ID bracelet hanging from his wrist. Z shifted so that she was able to read his name on the tag.
Her eyes widened a bit. The ID bracelet had said “Bridgey” in bold letters.
Syd had given him the bracelet.
Z felt the realization hit her like a ton of bricks. Before she knew it, she was asking him about it. “That’s a nice bracelet. Where’d you get it?”
Bridge glanced briefly at his wrist before returning his attention to his toolbox. “Thanks. It was a birthday present from Syd two years ago.”
“Oh,” she paused. “Why does she call you Bridgey, anyway?” Z shifted her position on the stool and tried to make it sound like she was curious. “She’s the only one who calls you that.”
The green ranger shrugged. “I don’t know, it just happened. Syd’s always called me that. It’s her nickname for me.”
“Oh, really?” Z crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah,” he nodded, oblivious to the sudden change in her mood. “Syd and I used to hang out a lot before we met you and Jack. Sky was always off doing his own thing, and Syd and I were the only other members of the B-Squad. She just became my best friend.”
Now, she felt a little confused. “I thought Sky was your best friend?”
“He is,” Bridge answered, shrugging once more. “It’s kinda hard to explain though. Syd and I tell each other things that we don’t tell Sky or anyone else.”
Z nodded and fell silent. The yellow ranger frowned a little at the sudden feelings that were sprouting up at this newfound revelation.
“You wanna hear something funny?” Bridge suddenly started up the conversation again, making Z smile brightly.
“Sure,” she replied.
“I used to have a crush on Syd.”
Z felt her smile fade away in an instant. “You did?” Why did her voice come out sounding like someone had run her over? Something in Z began to rise and suddenly she felt her pulse quicken.
“Yeah,” Bridge nodded and smiled, looking thoughtful. “I was fifteen back then and Syd had just started her first year at the Academy.”
Her eyes widened. “Oh,” she said numbly. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to hear the rest of the story.
The green ranger nodded once more. “She was really glamorous, you know? There’s just something about Syd that pulls you to her. I think just about every male cadet in the Academy had a crush on her.”
Z’s heart was beating rapidly and she didn’t know why. She felt hot all over and without realizing it, the yellow ranger had clenched her fists. “Even Sky?”
Bridge let out an amused laugh, still oblivious to what the yellow ranger was feeling. “Are you kidding? Especially Sky! I think he was the one who had a massive crush on her the most, and that fact irritated him. Sky was so harsh on Syd that first year of training together.”
“Did Syd ever find out that you liked her?” The yellow ranger sucked in a deep breath and waited for his answer.
“Eventually I told her,” he replied, his face scrunching up into the cute look that he always had. “By the time I told her, I was over that crush. We laugh about it every so often, nowadays. Besides,” Bridge shrugged. “It wouldn’t have worked out anyway.”
Without realizing it, Z let out a sigh of relief. “Why not?” she asked.
“Well… we lacked the chemistry. We made better friends, trust me on that. She was like the older sister I never had. And besides, I started sensing that she had deep feelings for Sky and vice versa.”
“Oh,” Z nodded. But before she could comment, there was a loud swooshing noise and Syd burst into the Command Center with an excited look on her face. “There you guys are!” she exclaimed, grinning widely. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you guys!” The pink ranger turned to Z, “Ian, Kathleen and Keegan are here!” she told her. “They’re in the common room waiting for you!” Syd then turned to face Bridge and grabbed his gloved hand. Z felt an indescribable emotion wash over here as she watched the pink and green rangers.
“Come on Bridgey,” the pink ranger tugged his hand. “I need to tell you something!”
“Uh… okay,” Bridge looked confused as he allowed himself to be dragged away. “See you later, Z!” he called.
As Syd pulled the green ranger out of the Command Center, all Z could do was glare at the pink ranger’s retreating back.
The common room was filled with noise, but Z took no notice. The yellow ranger sat in between Keegan and Rosanna as she tried to pay attention to the lively conversation that Jack and Kathleen were having. It was like old times, but Z found that she couldn’t have cared less. It was unbelievable. She hadn’t seen Keegan, Kathleen and Ian for a long while and now, when she finally had a chance to see them and catch up, all she could think about was the way Syd had grabbed Bridge’s hand.
She glowered as her mind kept replaying the image.
The yellow ranger knew she was being absurd. After all, she knew that the pink ranger was madly in love with Sky and that she was the best of friends with Bridge. And she had seen Syd and Bridge interact with each other before and it hadn’t bothered her then. So why was she suddenly feeling this way?
Because you’re jealous, her mind told her.
Z immediately froze at the thought.
“Hey Z, are you okay?” Keegan’s voice cut into her thoughts. “You just kinda went ridged on me.”
“Huh?” Six pairs of eyes stared at her with curiosity. The yellow ranger quickly shook her head. “It’s nothing.”
The others shrugged and their conversation resumed.
Z continued her train of thought with a puzzled feeling.
Was she really jealous?
“Syd, can you please stop pulling my arm?” Bridge complained as the pink ranger dragged him along the hallway. “I kinda need it for future uses, you know.”
“Sorry Bridgey,” Syd continued to grin as she let go of his hand. “I’m just so excited!”
“You’ll see!” The pink ranger stopped near a closet and pulled open the door to retrieve an umbrella.
He looked at her strangely. “What do you need an umbrella for?”
“You’ll see!” Syd repeated before moving behind him to push him forwards once more. “Now, come on! We’re wasting time!”
“For what?” he protested as Syd kept pushing him.
“Just keep moving!”
“Syd! I can walk, you know.”
The pink ranger ignored his protests and continued to push him from behind. Bridge was sure they made a strange sight as they walked along the hallway, because people were staring at them strangely. The green ranger didn’t really care though, he more concerned about the pink ranger. Had Syd finally lost it?
He continued to allow Sydney to forcefully push him around the Academy as she collected more and more strange items. Aside from the umbrella, she also managed to find a mop, a dust pan, a small bag of strawberries, a fluffy white towel and a rubber ducky. What in the world was going on?
As tiny as she was, Syd managed to hold onto all the items she found and still physically push him around. Bridge was beginning to feel awkward. People were staring and were now beginning to whisper and point. Syd ignored everyone and pushed him until they were going through the entrance of the common room.
If he hadn’t been so embarrassed, Bridge would’ve laughed at the looks on everyone’s faces. They did make a strange sight after all, Syd pushing him from behind and carry all the items she was holding… he didn’t want to imagine what they looked like. He winced a bit; the handle of the mop was beginning to dig into his side. Jack and Z’s friends stared at them like they had grown two heads. Jack look like he wanted to burst out laughing and Z…
He didn’t have time to register Z’s expression as Syd pushed him forward.
“Hi guys!” The pink ranger greeted everyone cheerfully, waving the dust pan around as she attempted a wave. Before he could utter a greeting, he was pushed forcefully into his bedroom with Syd following him. “Pick up your pillows!” she ordered in a bossy tone. “And bring something personal with you too!”
He gave his best friend a puzzled look, but did as she asked. He picked up his pillows and reached for his favorite photograph from his nightstand. Syd smiled, knowing exactly which photo he held in his hands. Then without warning, she started pushing him back out into the common room.
“Syd!” the green ranger exclaimed, finally feeling irritated. He ignored the stares that they were receiving. “I can walk! Maybe if you –“
“Hush!” The pink ranger hissed. “Keep moving!” She gave a quick glace at everyone in the common room that was watching them. “Bye guys!” Then she gave him a look as she pushed Bridge into the room she shared with Z. “Move it!”
Bridge was sure that Syd would make an excellent sergeant for the military one day as he stumbled into Syd’s room. He let out a huff of annoyance as the pink ranger deposited all the items she had collected in a corner of her room.
He then turned and was shocked to discover Sky sitting on the pink ranger’s bed, waiting for them.
“It’s about time you guys got here,” Sky looked annoyed as he crossed his arms. “I’ve been waiting for almost forty-five minutes!” The blue ranger shot Syd a significant look. “You said you would only take fifteen minutes!” He accused.
“Sorry,” Syd apologized; turning her lips into a pout and her eyes widened a bit. Even though he didn’t know what was going on, Bridge fought the urge to snicker as he watched his friends. Few could get past the pink ranger’s puppy dog expression and he knew that Sky wouldn’t be able to stay mad any longer once Syd turned the expression him. Sky was doomed.
Sure enough, after a minute or so, Sky’s frown left his face and the blue ranger let out a sigh. “I hate that look,” he grumbled. “What took you guys so long anyway?”
“Had to track him down,” Syd nodded at the green ranger, “and I had to grab random stuff so we could test out our theory.”
“Ah,” Sky nodded.
“What theory?” Bridge interrupted, before Syd could say another word. He stared at both the pink and blue rangers. “What’s going on? Is there a reason that Syd is dragging me around the Academy and making us look like we’re crazy?”
His friends exchanged glances and that brought up the green ranger’s guard. “Guys?” he said, slowly. “What’s going on?”
Syd and Sky shared one more glance, before the pink ranger took a step forward. “Bridgey, we think we’ve found a way for you to go without your gloves,” she said gently.
There was a long silence and for a minute, Bridge was sure that he had heard things incorrectly. “What?”
Now Sky spoke up. “We think we’ve found a way for you to control your powers without wearing your gloves.”
Bridge felt something collapse inside of him. He stared at his friends, possibly speechless for the first time in his life. He glanced at Syd. The pink ranger was grinning from ear to ear, Syd was hopeful; he didn’t need to take off his gloves to see that. His gaze then shifted over to Sky. The blue ranger looked apprehensive, but like Syd, he also looked hopeful. Bridge then glanced down at his hands. Sturdy leather gloves stared back at him. Had Sky and Syd really found a way to break him from his prison? He had been waiting for this his whole life… Could he finally be free?
The sudden realization of this struck him like a slap in the face and he took a step backwards. Sky and Syd’s expressions grew concerned as Bridge began shaking his head. “No…” the green ranger said slowly. “No, you guys, I appreciate everything you’ve done, but I don’t think it’s going to work. It’s not going to happen.” Turning, Bridge unlocked the doors and fled.
“I thought I might find you here.”
Bridge stiffened at the sound of the pink ranger’s voice, but made no move to turn around. Moments later, he felt Syd sit down next to him and they sat for a few minutes, watching as the sun set. After he had run away from Syd’s room, he had come up to the rooftop and done some thinking. Now he felt bad for running out on his friends when they were only trying to help.
Syd watched her best friend out of the corner of her eye for a few minutes, wondering what the green ranger was thinking. He had to be thinking about what happened earlier, Syd told herself. After a minute longer, she spoke. “So, why did you run out on us earlier?”
Bridge kept silent and looked down.
“You know, it’s okay to be afraid.”
Finally, he looked at her. “I’m not afraid, Syd,” he whispered. “I’m terrified.”
This time, the pink ranger kept silent, letting Bridge gather his thoughts.
“I mean, I’ve wanted this my whole life! And all of a sudden it seems like it might be a possibility. I don’t know what to think,” he continued to hold the pink ranger’s gaze. “You have no idea how much it hurts to look at these gloves everyday, knowing that I’d never be able to do the things everyone else can. These powers go crazy on me every time I touch someone or something without my gloves.”
“Oh, Bridgey,” Syd whispered.
“But, even though these gloves were my prison, they also made me feel somewhat safe,” Bridge paused, trying to find the right words to explain. “These powers were with me my whole life – it’s all I know.”
“You have to take risks, Bridgey. You can’t hide behind those gloves all the time, don’t you want to try?”
“I don’t know,” Bridge replied, shaking his head.
“What about Z? I know you love her, Bridge. I can see it, Sky sees it, Jack sees it, heck, even the Commander can see it! If our theory is true, think of all the wonderful things that can happen! You should at least try!”
“But, what if it doesn’t work?”
“If it doesn’t, then we’ll find another way.”
Both Bridge and Syd turned to see Sky shutting the door of the rooftop. The blue ranger headed toward them and sat down on the other side of Bridge. Sky stared at the green ranger, the expression on his face told Bridge that the blue ranger was more serious than he had ever been. “Syd and I have been researching nonstop for the past month and a half,” Sky told him. “We’ve questioned every set back, looked up every possibility and we think we’ve finally found an answer.”
“What if it doesn’t work?” Bridge repeated his earlier question.
Sky met his gaze evenly. “What have you got to lose?”
He stared at the blue ranger for a few moments, and then shifted his gaze to Syd. The pink ranger gave him a reassuring smile. They were right, Bridge reasoned. What did he have to lose? The worst that could happen would be that things would keep going as they were. The green ranger let out a shaky sigh, trying not to get his hopes up and also feeling terrified. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s try out this theory of yours.”