-1Disclaimer: I don't own Ralph, Bullet, Zero, Fixit, Bugler, or Dark Angel.

Spoilers: none really. Maybe Bag 'Em

Setting: After Bag 'Em and after my fic "I'm Fine..."

Characters: Ralph, Bullet, Fixit, Zero, Bugler (Max mentioned)

Summary: Ralph and Bullet discover how they feel about each other...

Rating: PG

Author: Ty

Archive: Ask first, Track

I can't believe it! It's been two hours 13 minutes and 22 seconds, but I still can't believe it. I'd sort of imagined it before, but the fact that it actually happened...

Bullet kissed me.

Zero, Fixit, and Bugler were all gone again. Such a rare occurrence for us to be totally alone. I was saying something stupid, I don't even remember what. And then, all of a sudden, he kissed me. Neither of us really knew what we were doing because we'd never done it before, but it was so perfect anyway. He had one hand on my shoulder and one on my cheek. His lips were soft. I still get a little shiver when I think about it.

I don't know what I should say to him now. He hasn't said a word to me since he kissed me. He broke off the kiss and ran out the door. I thought about going after him, but decided to give him his space. I know he'll come back. I just wish I knew what to do when he does.

"Think, Ralph, think." I muttered to myself.

I had to come up with the exact right things to do, the exact words to say. This was more difficult than any mission I'd been on.

Suddenly, the door opened. I froze. Bullet walked in. He stopped two paces from me, saying nothing. He looked at me questioningly.

Not knowing what I was doing, I quickly covered the distance between us and kissed him. We separated slowly, neither of us taking a step back.

"Ralph." Bullet breathed my name.

"Bullet." I replied.

I rested my head on his shoulder. He put his hand on my hair. We stood in silence for what seemed like forever. I lost track of time. Not like me.

Suddenly, the door was being opened again. Reluctantly, I moved away from Bullet as Fixit walked in.

"I can't believe it took that long to find a simple converter." she muttered as she closed the door.

"Hi, Fixit." Bullet ventured.

Fixit looked up.

"Oh. Hi, Bullet. Hi, Ralph." she said with her small embarrassed smile that she always gets when she's caught being distracted by technical things.

I really do love Fixit. As much as I understand the word. She's family, just like Max said. But right now I would have done almost anything to get rid of her.

"Fixit..." I began, frantically trying to think up a reason for her to leave, "...could you...go to the store for us?"

"What? Why?" she asked, confused.

"We need...milk." I lied.

"Are you sure?" she asked, heading for the fridge.

I hurriedly shoved a few bills into her hand.

"Could you please just get some?"

She gave me an odd look, but nodded and headed out the door.

"Milk?" Bullet asked with a raised eyebrow.

"It's good for you." I shrugged.

Bullet laughed and I blushed at how stupidly I had behaved.

"No, Ralph. You are good for me." he said, smiling.

I looked up at him, wondering if I'd heard right. He was still smiling at me. I blushed even more and retreated to the holey couch. Funny how, now that I'd gotten my way and Fixit was gone, I was wishing that she were here and I wasn't making such a fool of myself.

The couch shifted and I knew Bullet had joined me without having to look. I felt him put his arm around me and pull me towards him. Still, I didn't dare to look at him.

"Ralph, would you stop." Bullet complained, "You always do this. You have nothing to be embarrassed about."

I didn't immediately comply, so Bullet lifted my chin, forcing me to look at him. He smiled reassuringly at me. Slowly, I smiled back. Bullet smiled wider and I curled up against his chest. His arm tightened around me.

"I like you, Bullet." I said quietly.

"I like you, too, Ralph." he replied.

"I'm sorry for being embarrassed."

"Don't be silly, Ralph."

We were both quiet again for a long time. It was getting dark. Zero, Fixit, and Bugler should all be getting back any minute.

As if on cue, I heard the door unlock.

"I love you, Bullet." I whispered and got up.

Bullet was frozen on the couch as Zero and Bugler walked in. I stood on the other side of the room, pretending to inspect something.

"Where's Fixit?" Zero asked as he set down the bag he was carrying.

"She went to buy some milk." I said, "Should be back soon."

"Good." Zero nodded.

He took Max's words about us sticking together to heart. He always likes to know where we all are.

"I'm gonna go for a run." I said shortly and disappeared out the door.

I actually felt pleased with myself. I had stunned Bullet. I knew that much. I was slightly worried about how he would respond, but I knew he felt the same. I've always had the ability to read Bullet. The only thing I really had no idea about was how the others would react. That was what really worried me. Would Zero approve? What would Fixit think? Little Bugler probably wouldn't care.

For the third time in 24 hours, I lost track of time. I hurried home once I realized how long I had been gone, lost in my thoughts. I apologized for making the others wait for me. And they had been. Fixit had gotten home with my milk. Everyone gave me a weird look. Well, everyone except Bullet. Bullet didn't look at me at all.

I ate in silence. Bugler told us about something that happened today. Fixit explained her problem finding parts. We split into our separate spaces again as soon as the food was gone. And, as usual now, Bullet joined me near the holey couch.

"You surprised me today, Ralph." he said, being cryptic so the others wouldn't understand.

"So did you." I replied.

"You more, though." he insisted.

"Figure out a response?" I prodded gently.

"I think you knew my response before you even said it." Bullet said, staring at me intensely.

"I was hoping."

"So what should we do about this?"

"Well, usually when you engage in a new mission, you debrief all the soldiers involved." I said.

"That's true. But are you sure this isn't classified?"

"I'm sure it wouldn't be for long anyway."

"You're probably right." Bullet nodded, "Who should debrief them?"

"You're the higher ranking officer."

"Not anymore. No more ranks, remember."

"I still think you should do it."

"Alright." Bullet agreed.

"What are you talking about?" Zero demanded, finally fed up with us.

"Well, Zero..." Bullet said, standing up.

I was surprised to see he actually looked nervous. I stood up, too, to give him moral support.

"What?" Zero pressed.

"We...we thought that you guys should know that..." Bullet stopped, apparently unable to say what he wanted to say.

"Spit it out, soldier." I whispered in his ear.

"Ralph and I..." Bullet tried again.

"Ralph and you what?" Zero demanded.

"I love her." Bullet said finally.

Zero's eyes narrowed and he looked both of us over critically. But his inspection was interrupted by Fixit hugging us both.

Zero said nothing to me for the rest of the night. Bugler demanded an explanation of love from Bullet and I; that took awhile. Fixit seemed happy for us, but she, of course, was too much in love with her work to bother with us.

I approached Zero that night, late, when everyone else was asleep.

"What's the matter, Zero?" I asked cautiously.

"You're losing track of the mission, Ralph." he said stiffly.

"There is no mission, Zero. There won't be anymore." I reminded him.

"There is so a mission. The mission is to lay low and be safe. Remember what Max told us?"

"How does Bullet and my situation..."

"If we get in a bad situation, you two will endanger all of us to save the other. You know you will. That's bad, Ralph."

"Don't act like we're still in Manticore, Zero." I said angrily.

"Don't act like we have nothing to worry about, Ralph." he returned.

"You're not my C.O. I'm not asking for your permission, Zero. I would have liked your approval, but if this is the way you're going to be..."

"Now you're creating division in the ranks."

Too angry to speak anymore, I whirled around and disappeared into my room. Maybe Zero just needed to get used to the idea. Maybe he didn't understand and that's what his problem was. I should give him time. I should calm down and be rational. Soldiers don't loose their cool. Great, now I sounded like Zero.

Zero couldn't be more wrong. I wasn't losing track of anything. Well, nothing besides my heart.