A Battle Series Prequel Story
Series Presented By: Illyera and Pink-Green-White-4ever
Story By: Pink-Green-White-4ever
Last Revised: March 7, 2006
Summary: The Graysons reflect on where they've been as they settle into a new house.
Rating: T, for language.
AN: This one's for EK, who I know loves Dana and Carter. Also, remember, this takes place about a year or so after Lightspeed Rescue and just shortly after the Lightspeed/Time Force team up. The time line, with all the stories in it, will appear on the website Illyera and I are putting together, so you'll get a better understanding of where these fall in relation to the big stories.
AN2: The full page line breaks are flashbacks
"I can't believe you two have so much crap!" Kelsey grumbled as she hefted another box out of Ryan's truck. Chad, Joel and Ryan were in the house while Dana and Angela sat together on the furniture Captain Mitchell had brought over for the front porch of Dana and Carter's new house. Carter and Captain Mitchell were still at Dana and Carter's apartment loading up the rest of the boxes.
"Hey, most of that's baby crap, thank you," Dana protested, sighing. She hated watching her closest friends do what she wished she could be; she hated asking for help when she knew she was capable of doing stuff on her own.
She and Carter had been married for the better part of six months, and just when they'd started talking about finding a new place to live, she'd found out she was pregnant. The baby was scheduled to arrive sometime during the first part of next year, but already the others were regulating her to not lifting a thing or doing anything strenuous.
"Look at it this way, Day, it could be worse," Angela Fairweather-Rawlings spoke up, lifting the toddler at her feet to her lap.
"We could be breaking our backs lifting all that stuff," Angela grinned, and then passed her son Jacob to Dana. The Rawlings' toddler had taken quite a liking to the former Pink Ranger, and insisted on being in her arms whenever he was near her.
"The only good thing about me having to sit out is I get to spend time with my best guy here," Dana giggled, cuddling Jacob to her. She loved children, had loved them for as long as she could remember. When Joel and Angela had announced they were expecting, she and Kelsey had bought out several baby stores. She knew Angela had gotten slightly annoyed with her, but it had passed as all Dana had done had been for the baby.
And now she and Carter were expecting one of their own. How scary was that. "You're spacing again," Angela teased, watching Dana sigh and then plaster a smile on her face.
"You're terrified, Day, I can see it in your eyes."
Dana wanted to tell Angela she was seeing things, but she knew the older woman was right. She was terrified. "Don't tell Carter, he's scared enough for both of us," Dana teased.
Angela laughed but reached out to grab Dana's hand. "Joel and I were too. Remember?"
The former Pink Ranger nodded. She was about to say something when the others finally came and sat on the steps or in Joel's case, coming over to scoop his son up out of Dana's arms. "We just have to wait on Dad and Carter," Ryan smiled, leaning his head against his sister's leg. Kelsey was sprawled across the step, her head in Ryan's lap and her feet in Chad's, while Chad was sitting against the porch railing.
"I'm hungry," Kelsey spoke up, causing the others to laugh.
"You're always hungry Kels," Chad pointed out, nudging her feet. "Some days I wonder if you're not the pregnant one. Angela never seemed to eat all that much and now Dana's following the same trend."
"And how the heck would that happen?" Kelsey nearly barked, glaring at her best friend. "I don't have a significant other, remember? And I don't want one anytime soon either. I'm content playing Auntie Kels."
"What about you, Chad?" Ryan asked, trying to help Kelsey get their former Blue Ranger. "I mean, you and Marina seemed pretty hot and heavy for a while there."
Chad had the grace to blush while Joel snickered. "Score: Ryan one, Chad zero."
"Marina and I are a never gonna happen. We're the epitome of being from different worlds," Chad murmured, looking off into the distance.
Seeing her best friend get quiet, made Kelsey sigh and sit up before she moved over to sit in front of Chad, taking his arms and wrapping them around her. "No matter what, you've always got me," Kelsey told him, looking up at him.
Chad smiled. "Gee, thanks. That's reassuring," Chad teased, before he moaned after Kelsey elbowed him in the stomach.
Dana was just about to tell them to knock it off when her dad and Carter pulled up at the curb. "Give Dana the baby, and let's go help them unload the rest," Angela told Joel even as the others got up and moved to the truck.
Joel grinned, kissed his son and then handed the toddler to Dana before whooping and sprinting down the sidewalk.
"Are you alright?" Dana asked as she emerged from the master bath and found Carter face down on their bed. His shirt and jeans were on the floor in a pile, and his legs were hanging off the end, his arms wrapped around a pillow.
"No," was the muffled reply. Dana smiled softly and then crept over and onto the bed. She reached out and gently began to massage his back and shoulders, knowing he was sore and tired.
Carter groaned and felt his muscles relax as his wife's delicate hands worked wonders on him. "Day," he managed right before Dana's lips found the back of his neck.
"Sorry I wasn't much help today."
Sighing, Carter rolled over so he could face her. Leaning up on one elbow, he brought his free hand up to cup her cheek. "Dana, we've been over this already. You're in no condition to be lifting heavy things."
"Carter, I'm pregnant, not crippled!" Dana argued.
"I know that, but I don't want to take any chances that something could happen to you, either of you," Carter told her, his eyes pleading. Dana hated it when he looked at her like that, it made her want to agree to anything he wanted.
"Which is why I let myself be regulated to babysitter," Dana pointed out.
Carter grinned. "And what a great babysitter! Besides, you need the practice," he teased, and then felt the air being knocked out of him as Dana socked him in the stomach. "God, why did I ever teach you to fight?"
Dana gave a smirk and then moved to cuddle with him, stretching her body out next to his. She sighed happily when his arms came around her. "Can you believe this is our first night in our first house?" she asked.
"Weird, huh?" he chuckled. "Tired?"
"Not as much as you are," Dana yawned, snuggling closer to him. Her head moved to lie on his chest, right above his heart. For the millionth time, it amazed her that she could be here, lying with him like this, especially after everything they'd been through.
"Day, stop thinking so hard."
She giggled softly, and then sighed deeply. "Carter, do you remember when we first met?"
A soft rumbling roared through her ear, telling her Carter was laughing. "Oh yeah. One minute I'm facing what I think is a ghost in a burning building, next thing I know there's this beautiful blonde haired blue eyed woman getting in my way."
"Getting in your way? You were delusional from the fire and that civilian needed assistance!" Dana argued.
"Then you were telling me that I'd been chosen for a top secret project and what I had seen was a Demon. I thought you were high on something, but then I noticed the two suits with you and your uniform and figured if you were from the military it probably wasn't a joke."
Dana's throat seemed to clog up with emotion as memories seeped through. They had struggled to learn to work together as a team, all of them, right on up to the day Ryan had joined them. She and Carter had butted heads more times than she cared to count, each one unwilling to bend, but gradually that discord turned to mutual respect, then friendship and finally love.
"Do you remember the day I asked you to marry me?" Carter whispered. He let the arm that was wrapped around her back slowly stroke the skin that was closest, which was her arm, while his other hand came up, his fingers softly gliding across her cheek before he tucked several strands of blonde hair behind her ear.
"How could I forget, everything that could go wrong did go wrong," Dana sighed.
"DANA! CARTER'S HERE!" Kelsey shouted from the front door of her and Dana's apartment. The former Pink Ranger was in the bedroom dressing for her date with her boyfriend. Today was her and Carter's one year anniversary, and she knew that he had something special planned, she just didn't know what.
Turning, Dana stared in the mirror. For once, she was pleased with her girl next door looks. She'd had one brief stint the year before as a model, only a couple days, but it had turned out very badly. She'd learned from that. She didn't need to be obsessive about her looks, but she could be attentive to them. She wore a floor length, black satin skirt, a pink camisole, a black satin sweater, and a pair of black flat sandals. Her hair was pinned back from her face with small, pearl decorated combs that Kelsey had gotten her on her birthday, and her face was dusted lightly in makeup.
With one last look in the mirror, Dana moved to leave her room. Just as she passed over the threshold of her room, she heard a ripping sound. Looking down, she felt her eyes start to water. Her favorite skirt had gotten caught on a loose piece of wood in the doorframe and had ripped.
"Oh no!" she cried out softly. She sighed in defeat, knowing she'd have to go with a pair of pants, since all of her skirts and dresses were in the wash or at the dry cleaners. "Not the impression I wanted to make tonight," she muttered, pulling her skirt off where it had snagged and going back to her closet.
She emerged from her room ten minutes later, looking forlorn. "Dana, what took so long? I yelled for you nearly ten minutes ago? And I thought you were going to wear your skirt?" Kelsey interrogated her.
Dana glared at her roommate. "I snagged it on the doorframe, it's ruined," she started, turning to pay attention to Carter, who was standing there in a suit of charcoal gray, and holding a dozen pink roses. Obviously, he had planned on going someplace fancy. "Am I suitable for wherever you have dinner reservations for?" she asked, suddenly feeling like she didn't want to go at all.
Carter merely smiled at her, handed her the roses, and pulled her into his arms. "No, but we can change plans if you want," he told her, kissing her lips briefly. She was wearing a pair of blue jeans, her cami and her sweater.
The former Red Ranger shook his head. "Let's swing by my apartment, so I can change out of this monkey suit, and then we'll just wing it this evening, ok?"
"Are you sure?"
"Dana, as long as we're together, I don't care where we go or what we do."
The former Pink Ranger smiled and blinked back the tears. "Kels..."
"See you later, I promise I won't wait up," Kelsey teased, ushering them out the door.
A half hour later found Carter and Dana walking along the board walk in Mariner Bay. Carter had changed into a pair of blue jeans and a red sweater, so that Dana didn't feel so bad about being dressed down. "What would you like to do first?" Carter asked, gesturing to the carnival games and rides that surrounded them. Dana shrugged, still upset that she'd ruined his plans. "Come on Day, it was just dinner reservations. To tell you the truth, I'd rather be doing this than sitting in a stuff restaurant any day."
Carter had to sigh, knowing he wasn't getting through to her. Mentally, he planned his attack strategy, his left hand once again going into his pocket and brushing the little velvet box that was nestled there. 'Ok, first, we'll go on the fast rides, then we'll play some games, then I'll take her on the Ferris Wheel to get the mood going, and then…'
His thoughts were interrupted when Dana snatched her hand out of his and rushed forward. It was then that Carter saw the frantic mother crying and screaming for help as her young daughter choked on something.
Quickly Dana snatched up the little girl and began to try to help her while Carter moved to calm the mother down. "What's she doing!" she screamed at Carter.
"Ma'am, Dana's a paramedic, she's studying to be a doctor, give her a chance to help!" Carter told the worried mother, who seemed to be slightly appeased by his explanation. The woman was just under frantic, so Carter did something he knew he shouldn't. "She's also the former Pink Ranger for the Lightspeed Rescue team."
The woman's eyes seemed to glaze over at that. If there was one thing that could calm down just about any one in Mariner Bay, it was something to do with one of their famous Rangers.
"That's a girl," Dana murmured to the little girl as she helped her drink some water down from a bottle she'd snatched from the bench. The child seemed to settle a bit, leaning heavily against Dana but breathing much better.
"She's fine," Dana replied, shifting so she could hand the little girl to her mother. "Smaller pieces of hot dog, so she can still chew but won't choke, ok?" Dana told the mother, who nodded and then hugged her.
Dana stood and watched the mother take her daughter toward a bathroom before she turned to Carter and saw the look on his face. "Dana?"
"I think we'd better head back to your apartment, Carter. I need to get out of these clothes." Carter winced when he saw that the little girl had thrown up all over Dana. 'My poor baby,' he thought, reaching out to take Dana's hand, only to have her shake her head. "I need to wash my hands first."
Carter nodded and the pair walked over to one of the bathrooms where Dana washed her hands. Once she was done they headed for Carter's truck and then went back to his place.
Carter sat on the couch in his living room twenty minutes later, phone book in hand. Dana was in the bathroom showering, but he knew she was upset. An idea struck him and he wondered why he hadn't thought of it sooner. Quickly dialing a number in the phone, he kept one ear open for Dana and prayed the line would pick up soon.
"Bella's Bistro, how may I help you?"
Carter grinned. "Yeah, do you still do delivery?"
Dana smiled for the first time that afternoon when she got out of the shower and saw that Carter had set out a pair of his old red gym shorts and a plain white t-shirt on the bed for her and had taken her dirty clothes and put them in the washer. She felt a little funny wearing Carter's clothes, as they hadn't ever gotten that intimate before, but somehow the funny feeling settled into something that felt right.
If there was one thing Dana Mitchell had ever been sure of in her life, it was that she wanted to spend the rest of said life with Carter Grayson.
The living room was silent, almost eerily so, when Dana emerged from Carter's room. Frowning, the blonde looked around for her boyfriend and found him no where to be seen. Sighing, the former Pink Ranger moved to sit on the couch but stopped mid move when there was a knock on the door. Rolling her eyes, Dana moved to open the door and was surprised to find a delivery guy on the other side.
"Can I help you?" Dana asked, confused.
"A Mr. Grayson told me to come in and set this up for you," the guy said, gesturing to the bags in his hands that looked suspiciously like carry out.
"Ok…" Dana muttered, gesturing toward the dinning room table that was between the kitchen and living room.
"Can you point out where the dishes are?" he asked.
"Cupboard on the right of the sink are plates and glasses, silverware is in the drawer on that same side."
He nodded and set about unloading his bags. Dana watched in amazement as he got out two plates, two of Carter's nice wine glasses and silverware before he set the table and then served up the food. When he was done, he put the extras in the refrigerator and moved to leave.
"Have a lovely evening, Ms. Mitchell," he grinned, winking, before letting himself out.
Dana sat on the couch in shock, until a few minutes later, Carter walked in carrying what looked like the roses he'd gotten her before their date. "Carter?"
"Dinner here?" he asked, laughing.
"Good, let's eat," he grinned, pulling Dana to her feet before handing her the flowers. "For you, lovely Dana."
She grinned and rolled her eyes at his corniness. "Carter, what did you do?"
The former Red Ranger grinned back and chuckled. "Well, since dinner reservations and our backup plan failed, I figured third times the charm. The restaurant I had reservations for delivers, so I took the liberty of ordering dinner for us."
Dana seemed to melt at his thoughtfulness. The former Pink Ranger smiled and almost laughed when he boyfriend pulled out her chair for her and then pushed it in before he went to sit down at his own place. Quietly, they dined on salad and steak and shrimps with sauteed vegtables and baked potatoes. When they were done with dinner, Carter put the left over food away while Dana did the dishes. Once their chores were done, the two of them went to sit on Carter's couch.
Music was playing softly while the two of them snuggled together. Dana sighed, wondering how the day was going to end when most of it had been horrible. "Feeling better?" Carter asked, kssing her temple softly.
"Yeah. I'm sorry our anniversary turned out so horrible."
"Dana, it was fine. I'd have loved for it to be more romantic for you, but I had fun, for the most part, and it was pretty us considering what happened," Carter chuckled.
Dana looked up at him, tears pooling in her eyes. "I'm better now then I was earlier. Thank you for a nice anniversary, Carter, oter than the bad parts, I had a good time."
The former Red Ranger grinned down at her and kissed her nose. "I have one more surprise for you." Shifting slightly, Carter dug down into the pocket of his jeans. "Dana, sit up a minute."
Doing as she was told, Dana sat up and watched as Carter got off the couch and moved to sit on the edge of the coffee table in front of her. She noticed he took something out of his pocket but that he was keeping it hidden from view. "Carter, what's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong," he assured her, smiling the megawatt smile she'd fallen in love with. "I've been planning this for a few months now. I already talked to your dad and Ryan about it, because I was pretty sure you'd appreciate the tradition of that."
"Carter..." Dana wasn't sure what he was getting at, and it was making her nervous. She watched in shocked silence as Carter pushed the coffee table back and slid to one knee, the object in his hand finally revealed to her. Dana stared at the princess cut diamond ring like it was a foreign object, but deep down she knew what it meant; it meant Carter wanted her to marry him.
"Dana, will you marry me?" Carter asked simply, raising the velvet box in his hand up so that she could get a better look at the tiny but very expensive treasure inside. He was only slightly worried when she didn't say anything after he initially asked her. Carter had never doubted Dana's feelings for him, or his for her, but now he was slowly becoming worried she didn't want a family with him just by the look on her face. "Dana?"
"You asked my father and my brother?" she asked, her voice cracking with emotion even as she moved her gaze from the ring to Carter's face. He looked terrified and worried that she was going to turn him down.
Carter nodded, not trusting his voice to hold out if he tried to verbally answer her. He watched in amazement as more tears leaked down Dana's face but her mouth turned up in the brightest smile he'd ever seen grace her lovely lips. "Dana?"
"I love you," she whispered, sliding off the couch and moving to both knees in front of him, her arms sliding around his waist as her head leaned against his shoulder.
"Dana?" he asked again, this time his voice strangled. He didn't care if he made a fool of himself, he wanted to hear her say what he saw in her eyes, have her confirm it for his ears so his heart would start to believe.
"I was never happier to hear you say that one little word," Carter whispered in her ear.
"Hmm, I'll bet. You looked so worried when I didn't answer you immediately."
Dana managed to look up into his eyes and saw what she'd seen then, fear. "Why did you wait so long?"
"Because you had me speechless. You'd gone and asked my dad and Ryan before you asked me, and that made me happy, and then to see that pretty ring after all the crap that had happened that afternoon," Dana told him, smiling up at him. "And I was really surprised you wanted to spend the rest of your life with me when we'd barely even talked about it. It was only earlier that afternoon when I'd finally admitted to myself that I wanted you for good."
Carter grinned. "What made you realize?" he asked, leaning down to kiss her neck.
"Believe it or not, you having laid out your old gym shorts and a t-shirt for me," Dana giggled, her hands shifting; one moved to Carter's back, holding him to her while the other moved to shift through his hair, her fingers twining with the strands.
The former Red Ranger just gave his wife a look, before leaning forward and kissing her, unleashing nearly a week's worth of unspent passion for her. Between packing and moving, they hadn't had the time, or the energy, to be together intimately. Despite his soreness and tiredness from moving, Carter was bound and determined to make love to his wife. "Day," he rasped softly, his lips leaving hers and seeking her neck.
"Hmm?" she hummed, thoroughly enjoying the feel of Carter's lips on her skin. It amazed her that she could feel like this, that Carter alone held the power to make her feel this good.
"Let me love you," he whispered in her ear, his body beginning to rock against hers in a now familiar rhythm.
"Always," she responded.
Together they rid themselves of their clothes, taking time to slowly love each other, enjoying the simple fact that they were together. When it was all said and done, when they reached that point of no return, their hearts soared. Afterward, as Dana lay in the circle of Carter's arms, she couldn't help but let the words she desperately wanted to say tumble from her lips. "Carter?"
"Thank you for rescuing me," she whispered before she slid into sleep.
Carter stared down at her, her head resting on his chest, and smiled. "Thank you for rescuing me right back," he told her, dropping off into a worl of new dreams.