3: Home

Set in: At the end of "Kick Into Overdrive II"

"You know, after that cool pep talk and all, I was hoping we'd go on another mission immediately."

"Well, Dax, as admirable as your spirit is, I think we deserve a bit of a break now. You know, relax for a while. Try out those new zords of ours. Again. And again, and…"

"Whoa, Ronnie, chill. I have a feeling that the best of the vehicles is yet to come."

"Knowing my father, Will, I'd say that's about true."

"Whatever, whatever. I still think we ought to be doing something now, and –"

Rose's patience broke. She snapped War and Peace shut with an audible snort. "I'll tell you what you ought to be doing – just shut up. And if you're so restless, go and try to learn something about the technology you're going to be using oh-so-blindly."

There was silence after that, broken by a small wince and a muttered "Ouch" from Will. Mack laughed – an uncertain, rather weak laugh. "What's gotten you so riled up, Rose? It was just a friendly conversation."

"I think, Mack," Rose said, "that it's too early to be sitting around engaging in empty banter. We became Rangers, what? 10 hours ago?"

Will watched her, gaze narrowed, amused. Like she was some freak show at a circus. "So?"

"So," Rose said, voice clipped, looking right into his eyes (God, they're so calculating), "I think we ought to be behaving a lot more professionally."

His gaze slipped to the book in her hand. "Don't see anything professional in War and Peace, personally."

Mack had made an error in judgement when he had called Rose 'riled up' earlier, she felt. If she wasn't angry then, she certainly was now. Rose opened her mouth to let fly a suitable retort when Dax spoke up.

"Guys, guys, this is home. No need to argue."

Rose's mouth shut abruptly as she snapped her gaze onto him. Ronnie raised an eyebrow and said, half-laughingly, "What?"

Dax blinked and repeated, "You know, home. We're going to be practically living together here. So what's the big deal in trying to get to know each other?"

Home. Rose hadn't had a proper home in years. Not since she was a toddler and was recognised as a genius. Since then she had simply rushed through school, university, and now… and now… the concept was entirely alien to her, and she marvelled at how… how simply Dax spoke about it, how familiar he seemed with the word, its tremendous, tremendous implications…

Somehow he caught her gaze, and those expressive eyes lit up in a wide grin. "Things are only just beginning. Give it a chance."

Home. Friends. Team. Family. The thought infused some kind of warmth that rose in her chest, slowly, inexorably. She found herself smiling back at him. "Yeah. A home deserves one, after all."

The rest of the world faded away for an infinitesimal second as his smile – that annoyingly huge, huge smile – widened even further, before the moment was broken, and in an almost jarring note, the voices of the others leaked into her world. She smiled, put her book away and leaned forward, determined to relax.

After all, she was finally home.