What Could Have Been
Chapter 2:
Jack's Acceptance
By: Pink-Green-White-4ever
Last Revised: March 16, 2006

Summary: Done in response to challenges by Weesta and Sierra, only I twisted Weesta's challenge just a little. Z and Jack both have unrequited love for someone, someone they can't have, and each is dealing in their own way.
Rating: T
Ship: SS, minor BZ
Disclaimer: I don't own power rangers, am not associated with anything having to do with PR. PR belongs to Disney, and whoever else runs it. This is pure stress relief for me, and I'm not making any money off of it.

DedicationTo Weesta, hope this satisfies the ZS storyline you wanted, and to Sierra, hope this lives up to the challenge you gave me with JSS.

--

You never fully realize your regrets until the thing you want most is out of your reach. Five years ago, I gave up my spot at SPD to pursue my dream of a normal life, and in doing so, I left my heart and soul at the academy. And now, I'm watching my heart and soul receive congratulations on the news of her first pregnancy with her husband, who happens to be one of my best friends.

"Penny for your thoughts."

Turning, my eyes meet the eyes of newly engaged Z Delgado, my sister in everything but blood. The party we're currently having is in celebration of Z and Bridge Carson's engagement, something that I never would have seen coming when we first arrived at the Academy, but have since accepted whole heartedly.

"Its nothing."

"You never could lie well," Z starts with me, her gaze narrowing and her face serious. "What's wrong?"

Mulling over it, I decide to tell Z, and see if she can help. Even though there's nearly three years between us, she has been my best friend and confidant for longer than I can remember. "Have you ever been in love with someone you couldn't have?"

The look on Z's face speaks volumes, and has me wondering. "I thought I was. Why?"

"Because I am, and I'm regretting never telling her."

I watch Z's gaze drift around the common room and land on Sydney, who's leaning against Sky as he talks to some of the lower level cadets. I can only feel my throat clog and my chest tighten as I see the current Red Ranger slip his arm around his wife and hold her close, leaning down to whisper in her ear. I know he's asking her if she's tired, if she wants to rest, because I hear her giggle softly and shake her head no before it retakes its place on his shoulder.

"Those are enemy waters, don't go there Jack," Z warns softly.

"I'm not going to, but I'm regretting not tell her. I mean, I thought Ally would help me forget, but she just ended up being a substitute for the real thing."

Z's face speaks her thoughts before her mouth even opens, but being the patient man I am, I let my little sister speak before I tell her I know. "Jack, listen to me," she starts. "She's happy, don't ruin that. She and Sky were meant for each other, even a blind man could see that."

I push back the pain of her words, knowing she doesn't mean for me to feel the betrayal her words cause. Z's right, I just have to accept that. "I know, but I didn't realize how much I missed or loved her until I saw her again at her and Sky's wedding."

Z just sort of smiles at me. "I use to think I was in love with Sky, until he told me, and more importantly showed me, that it was just attraction. Are you sure this isn't just an attraction you didn't act on?

"Positive," I tell her, remembering what she told me once about her and Bridge, and how she knew he was the one.

My heart skips beats when I see Sydney, when I hear her laugh or listen to her talk. She always manages to make me feel better, to make me feel like the world can be a better place. That's exactly what Z told me she felt for Bridge, so I know I'm sure.

"Then maybe you'd better tell her, in private," Z suggests, gesturing toward Syd and Sky.

"I thought you said not to tell her?" I ask now, thoroughly confused.

"If you're so sure, maybe she should know."

I shake my head, declining her advice. I contemplate what she's just told me as I watch Sky kiss Syd softly. No, I'm not going to tell her. It wouldn't help the situation; all it would do was stir up hurt among all of us. I just have to accept I love something I can never have, but it's better I live with that, then hurt the one I love.