Disclaimer: The usual. Don't own anything you recognize.


By Etcetera Kit


"So what did you guys need the map for?"

Sky reached up, lifting Syd around the waist and setting her on the path once more. Coming from the other side of the pond, underneath the big bridge, had its advantages. However, he had failed to factor in the simple possibility that Syd might be wearing a short skirt and shoes inappropriate for crawling around under bridges. He could have kicked himself for that lapse in forethought—he had just asked her to marry him and he had temporarily forgotten that she liked to dress up for every occasion. But his fiancée wasn't complaining. On the contrary, she seemed pleased with the next venture of the evening.

"Remember when we used to come here as D-Level cadets to play Capture the Flag?"

"How could I forget?" Syd responded, using his arm as extra momentum to hop over a particularly large mud puddle. He wasn't sure what she was bothering for—her shoes were already ruined.

"They'd always give us a map of the park."

"Orienteering," she filled in. "Get to the point."

"Earlier today, I had the D-Level cadets out here and thought of something." He paused, remembering their first days at the academy. Almost from day one, it seemed, the three of them had been paired together. At first, he had believed that to be because, at the time, they had been the only three with civilian powers. But even then, as new recruits, the three of them worked well together—won every round of Capture the Flag Cruger sent them on. Bridge was good at tracking, able to find the opposing team's flag in a matter of minutes. Sky would come up with an attack strategy and Syd would normally run in to get the flag. Between force fields and iron fists, they had become unbeatable at the game.

"And?" Syd prompted.

"Z has got it bad for Bridge," he replied. "And Bridge has a crush on her. So I decided, with a little help, their first date could be a picnic in the park."

"Schuyler Tate, the matchmaker—I didn't know you had it in you." He rolled his eyes. "That still doesn't explain the map."

"Bridge and I found the perfect spot for the picnic—secluded, but comfortable."

"And now you're a real estate agent?"

He chose to ignore that comment. "So we set up things before tonight. And I happen to know the blind spot where we can see the date's progress."

"So now we're spying on them?"

"No—I want to see if Bridge has discovered my gift and if he'll give it to Z."

"What gift?"

Sky didn't answer, just motioned Syd to the ground. She had his shirt tied around her waist, so that she could crawl in the short skirt and not give anyone a show. He was left wearing the wife-beater he had on underneath it. She stole his clothes all the time, just not normally straight off his back. They ended up, after ranger-crawling for a few yards, in some bushes behind a few trees. Bridge and Z were already there.

"What did you buy?" Syd hissed.

"Z was eyeballing this necklace when we went to buy your ring."

"Why did you need Z there?"

"I wanted a female opinion."

"She doesn't count as a female half the time—have you seen her half of the room?"


"Hush!" she commanded. Z had glanced over in their direction, a frown gracing her features. Sky felt his heart begin to pound. This had been a good idea. Besides, he didn't want to watch the whole date, just make sure that the necklace got delivered. Syd wiggled closer to him, forcing him to put an arm around her. He didn't mind. After this, he had planned on going back to the academy, cooking her dinner and then… the possibilities were endless.

"I'm hungry," Syd whispered.

"I'll fix something when we get back to the academy."

"Not a chance. We're going out and my father is treating us."

That meant she was going to put the bill on the credit card that her father footed the bill for. The thing was supposed to be fore emergencies, but Syd had no problem calling her father and requesting permission to put certain charges on it… like dinners out.

"Like this?" he asked, indicating that they were both covered in dirt, grass stains and sweat. Not to mention the mud that coated their shoes and the bits of leaves in her hair.

"Yes," she retorted. "You're the one that dragged me out here. Besides, I'm sure the restaurants have seen worse than this."

The places she had in mind would blanche, but would keep quiet about it, seeing as she was Sydney Drew, daughter of Glenn Drew and no one wanted to be on his black list. Sky remembered his first meeting with her father. He had been expecting a no-nonsense business man, who spoiled his daughter, but, instead, he got a warm, loving father that was genuinely interested in his daughter's life, especially in her boyfriend.

"Look, look! He found it!" Syd nudged him.

Sky watched as Bridge pulled the jewelry box from the backpack and stared at it in confusion, before finding his note. The former Green Ranger crumpled up the note and shoved it in his pocket, before offering the gift to Z.

"That's so romantic!" Syd sighed as they extracted themselves from the hiding place and found the path through the park once more. She gave him a critical look. "You are one weird man, you know that, right?"

"I've been told," he replied dryly.

"Besides," she continued, in that split second moving off the subject of Bridge and Z and back onto the subject of them. "Daddy will be so happy. We could stop by his office and tell him—he works late Tuesdays."

"Like this?"

"We've already had this discussion," she said in a patient tone of voice. "No one will care—besides you, that is. I'll just tell Daddy we were helping out a friend."

"Our gift to him?"


To Be Continued...

Author's Note: Now it's down the counting on one hand and not using all my fingers... stay tuned!