Disclaimer: No! Sheesh!
Cause with you, I'd withstand
All of hell to hold your hand
From Far Away by Nickelback
Of all people, it was Xander who figured it out first. Or at least, he mentioned it first.
"When ya gonna do somethin' about that?" he'd asked in the thick Aussie accent he spoke with.
Nick pretended not to know what the green ranger was talking about and went back to restocking the classic rock section of Rock Porium.
"Oh come on!" Xander huffed. "We all know you've got a crush on Maddie."
Nick glared up at him from where he was squatting, shoving Cream CDs on the shelves. "Not so loud," he hissed. LeeLee was entirely too close and a gossiper, not a good combination, the red ranger knew from experience.
"Alright," Xander drawled good-naturedly, shrugging. "But denial isn't just a river in Egypt."
That had been several hours ago. And here it was, closing time, and he was alone with Maddie, waiting to give her a ride home.
She glanced up at him, her big chocolate eyes sparkling. "Give me another couple minutes, K?"
Nick nodded. He didn't mind waiting, not for her.
She was singing along with the radio softly, a Nickelback song. It had become one of his personal favorites after listening to the lyrics closely because it seemed to fit so well for what he felt about Maddie.
He loved her, of that much he was certain. He had loved her since that first day in Briarwood, that first day when she had asked him to stay. She was sweet and had looked so devastated when he'd turned down her suggestion. Much more devastated than she should have been, not knowing him well at all.
And when she had shoved Chip out of the way to take the hit for him, he had wondered (and he knew he should have been more concerned for her safety) that if maybe, just maybe, she loved him too.
Then there was the way he'd always been wary of Daggeron. The older man always seemed more attached to Maddie than any of the others, always touching her on the shoulder and being gentlemanly to her, such as kissing her hand when she'd freed him from the spell. Damn him. Daggeron was old enough to be her father, the pedophile.
Nick wanted to be able to tell her how he felt. He wanted to be able to hold her. He wanted to be able to love her the way she deserved to be loved.
But he couldn't. He couldn't because being the "light" made it too risky to be involved with anyone. Supposing the terrors or the master realized he had more affection for his blue ranger than the rest of his team? He'd be playing right into their hands…er, claws. Nick knew Maddie could take care of herself, but that didn't stop him from wanting to be the knight in shining armor.
He toyed with the idea of just taking her in his arms and kissing her, the way he'd secretly dreamed of during these past few months, though he knew in his heart he wouldn't. Maddie was shy and she might not approve of his suddenness. Then there was always the fear of rejection, though Nick preferred not to think about it. That settled it then; Nick Russell wasn't about to ruin his friendship with Madison Rocca.
"Nick?" Maddie sounded concerned, like she'd been calling him for a few minutes and he hadn't noticed.
Nick snapped back to attention. "Yeah?" he questioned, feeling like an idiot. He could jump right into fighting the underworld but he couldn't even talk to his own best friend?
"Let me get my jacket from the office and I'll be ready," Madison said, her coffee eyes catching the light again and shining. God he loved it when she looked like that.
Madison came back a moment later, now sporting a baby blue suede jacket over her white T-shirt.
"Good to go," she announced, smiling in a shy sort of way at him.
Nick nodded, thought for a moment, and then spoke. "Hey Maddie, you wanna grab a slice of pizza on the way home?"
MADDICK MADDICK MADDICK
Nick had to admit he liked the way she clung to him as they sped through Briarwood. Not that she really needed to; there was no way he'd ever let anything hurt her.
It wasn't crowded in the pizza parlor, allowing the two teens to get a good booth in the back. They didn't talk much, just sat quietly, occasionally slurping at a soda, enjoying the other's company.
"You know, I think this is what happened on that date I had with Ben," Maddie said after a while, trying to get some dialogue going. "He was such a dud."
Nick smiled a little; that was good to know. "He didn't look very intelligent, did he?"
Madison chuckled lightly, tucking a few stray wisps of dark hair behind her ear. Nick liked that he'd made her smile. Once or twice their knees knocked under the table, causing Maddie to blush. Was she as nervous as Nick?
"Do you believe in love at first sight?" Maddie blurted suddenly, completely red and refusing to meet his gaze.
This caught Nick by surprise. "Well…" he began slowly. "Over the past eight months I found out I could do magic, that my mother and father were once the most powerful warriors of an entire realm, and that I've been chosen to save the world. I think I can believe anything."
Maddie grinned widely. "Vida always says I have my head in the clouds when it comes to romance. She thinks I watched too many Disney movies when I was a kid."
Nick reached across the table and held her hand. "Why do you ask?"
Madison wouldn't look at him anymore. "Never mind."
Rather than pressing the matter, Nick finished his slice and gestured towards the exit. Maddie nodded, following and looking very interested in her shoes.
MADDICK MADDICK MADDICK
Madison fumbled through her purse, searching for her keys. Nick was standing behind her on the porch, hands shoved in his pockets.
"Got 'em," Maddie announced a moment later. "Thanks for the ride and the pizza. See ya."
"Maddie…" Nick's voice trailed off uncertainly.
She turned and looked at him. When he didn't respond she moved a little closer. Without thinking Nick brought her into his arms, squeezing her so tightly it bordered on pain.
He held her there for several long minutes, as if he was trying to reassure himself that she was real, that she wasn't a figment of his imagination.
She was stiff in his arms for a moment, the hug having surprised her. But then she relaxed, resting her head against his chest. Madison could hear his heartbeat and it comforted her.
"Earlier…you asked me if I believed in love at first sight. Any reason?" Nick whispered in Maddie's ear. She shivered slightly.
Nick held Maddie closer, forcing her to meet his coffee eyes with her own. He had to make her understand.
Maddie's heartbreak showed on her face. "W-why?"
"It would have to be a secret, and I really wouldn't want it to be."
Madison reached up and gently cupped his face in her hands. "Don't fight it, Nick," she whispered.
He knew she was right; he didn't want to fight it, didn't want to keep his feelings a secret any longer.
So Nick did the only thing he could think of: He kissed her.
And as they stood there, in the dim light of the porch, kissing and holding each other, Nick wondered why he had waited so long.
My very first Maddick attempt…But we all love Madison and Nick…it's a law, practically, LOL.