Series presented by: BloomingViolets and Pink-Green-White-4ever
Challenge: Home – written by Pink-Green-White-4ever
Last Revised: October 23, 2006
Summary: He's finally back where he belongs – in her arms.
Disclaimer: We don't own 'em, wish we did.
AN: Done in response to the Ars Amatoria's Ranger Romance Themes Challenge. This is it guys, the last of the theme challenge from BloomingViolets and I concerning Syd and Sky. Granted, we're both thinking of doing other ones for other couples, and I know BV's sister challenged her to something, so be on the look out for those. Thanks for taking the journey with us!
It was dark. It wasn't a "the lights are out" kinda dark; it was pitch blackness, and it had been for some time. He wasn't stupid, not by any means. He knew what the blackness meant.
The light inside him had been dimming for years, ever since Jack had left them. As much as he'd been opposed to the cocky street thief having the Red Ranger mantle he had so desperately coveted all his life, he had grown to love the loyal, caring, and skilled man like a brother, and respected him all the more when Cruger had handed him Jack's mantle when he'd left to pursue other dreams. When Z had gone, the light had burned a little less brightly. Bridge had been next, not being able to withstand too many months without the love of his life.
In less than four years, he'd lost three of his family members – both of his brothers and his only sister. He had counted his blessings, though. The three of them had had children, eight between them that he was still able to visit with and see, and share memories of them with, but it hadn't been the same. He'd had his own family, his son and his daughter, and their families. But it hadn't been the same. No, the only thing that had gotten him through those years of loss had been his pink angel.
And then the sickness had come.
It had been slow at first, and she'd hidden her weakening state from everyone. Including him. He hadn't known she was sick until she'd collapsed just days after their last grandchild had been born. Then came the hospital stays, the medicines, the therapies, the endless stream of doctor's visits, second opinions, you name it.
And then one night, while they were lying in bed, she'd shared what was in her heart with him. She had told him it wouldn't be long now, and she'd be gone, and he'd be left holding the torch. He remembered trying to tell her to think positively, as she always had when he'd been broody and pessimistic in their youth. That night she'd started talking through the haze of the medicines she was on; started talking to Bridge, Z and Jack, who'd been gone for years, more years than he'd wanted to count.
He'd known that night, just from the way she'd kissed him goodnight, that when he woke up in the morning she'd be gone.
He'd been right, and so had she.
He had held her all night, had felt her life slowly leave her body. There was nothing left of his spirited Pink Ranger than the empty shell of an old woman who'd lived a long, full life. Monsters, time travel, super powers, and even him pushing her away for years hadn't killed her.
What had killed her was a disease that humanity had been fighting for years with no success.
He had wound up hating the word cancer. When asked why, when he still had some form of consciousness about him, he'd told the asker that it had taken away his reason for living, had robbed him of the one thing he'd never truly been without.
It had taken Sydney from him.
He could hear their children, talking in hushed tones around him, debating what course of action to take to keep him alive. He wished he was more physically able to help them decide, but he couldn't. He'd been stuck in the confines of his mind for the last five years, slowly losing his link with the world outside his body.
He wanted to tell them to just leave him be, to let him go in peace. He knew it was harsh, but while he loved his children, they had their own families, and he had been separated from his for so long. Jack had been gone how long now? Ten, fifteen, twenty years? Sydney had been gone for ten that much he was sure of; it was one fact that was still crystal clear. His heart and soul had left him ten years ago, nearly to the day. Had left him an empty shell of the man she'd helped create.
All he wanted was for the pain to end, so he could leave this world, the one he'd defended with his very life more times than he cared to count, and rejoin the only family he'd ever known.
"It's ok, Daddy. We understand. You don't have to keep hanging on, you can let go. We know you're ready, and so are we." Their daughter, sweet as ever, just like Sydney.
"We love you Dad. As much as this hurts, we know it's time. There's nothing holding you back now. Tell Mama, Uncle Jack, Aunt Z and Uncle Bridge we love them." Their son, strong and steady, a chip off the old block.
"We love you." Nieces, nephews, grandkids, family.
The light finally went out, and for the first time in years, he felt comfortable. And then there was another light, so bright and blinding he had to shield his eyes.
He just about passed out. Standing before him in all his glory was his long gone father.
Racing forward, father and son hugged, holding on to each other tightly after so long a separation. When he stepped back, he brought his hand up to wipe away the incessant tears that came at being reunited with his father.
His dad grinned, and then stepped aside as others approached.
"Damn man, it took you long enough!"
He lowered his hand, his jaw dropping open as he stared at his long gone friend, a surge of long forgotten joy racing through him.
Jack stood there, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, wearing a pair of jeans and red shirt. They merely smiled at one another, and then he felt Jack pull him into a hug.
"Finally! Of all the things you could have been late for, you had to choose this!"
Z. Fun loving, sarcastic, and yellowy Z, standing there in a pair of black jeans and a black and yellow t-shirt. He grabbed her up into a bear hug when she was within reach, savoring the feel of his little sister in his arms. "I missed you too."
"HEY! You made it! Wow, it's been a long time since we last saw each other. It's been what, nearly fifteen years?"
Bridge. Bumbling, rambling, always there for you if you need him Bridge, clad in a pair of jeans and an old SPD shirt in green.
They hugged, for the first time in years, before they pulled back and stared at one another.
And that's when he saw HER.
She looked like an angel, a real, honest to goodness angel. She was wearing a pair of blue jeans and her favorite white peasant top with pink accents. Her hair tumbled down around her in a mass of blonde curls, and her blue eyes sparkled as he hadn't seen them sparkle in forever.
Syd. Sydney. His heart, his soul, his joy, his sorrow, his LIFE.
He uttered one sob, which turned into another, and another, and another, before he was crying so hard that he could barely breathe. She was there then, wrapping her arms around him, holding on for dear life as he cried out his loneliness and sorrow.
"I'm so sorry I had to leave you like that," she whispered for his ears only. "I didn't want to; I never wanted to leave you."
"I know," he stuttered, trying to regain his breath. "I've missed you, all of you."
Standing up, his arms still wrapped around Sydney, he looked at his family. Beyond the others, he saw many more that had passed before him, many more who had shared a part in the legacy very few had.
"They're other Rangers, all of the ones who came before and after us," Jack explained.
"Wow!" he smiled his first real smile in years.
He felt a nudge in his ribs and looked down at the angel in his arms. "What?"
"Welcome home, Sky. Welcome home."