PROMPT: Unconventional Couple Challenge: Write a one shot, less then 5000 words, of an unconventional couple

Title: Sympathetic Character

Rating: Teen

Season: PRTF

Pairing: Jen & Eric

Word Count: 2, 289

"Meyers, explain to me please, how on Earth you could be so careless as to jump of a bridge?!" Jen demanded as she stared in annoyance at the Time Force crimson ranger.

"It was the most logical option; you of all people should understand that when faced with two evils take the lesser of the two. Besides why would you care? Your job is to defeat Ransik and return to the year 3000, I'm just a tag along." Eric said, going with the safest route, military procedures.

"There is a difference between lesser of two evils and a suicide attempt!" she yelled, running her hands through her unnaturally messy hair in frustration.

"Why does it have you so frazzled? You chose the life of a Time Force officer; I chose the life of a Marine Corp officer. Being rangers just got thrown into the mix; the same rules still apply Scotts." Eric asked, intrigued by her worry.

"Jen" was out of the brunette's mouth before she could stop it. The only person that dared to ever call her Jen had been Alex.

"I don't like to see my rangers get themselves killed. I had to watch Alex be destroyed by that monster we followed back in time. I don't want to lose another of my rangers, Meyers." Was her clipped response, tagging his last name on as a reminder that she was the leader of the Time Force rangers, including him, weather he acknowledged it or not.

"There's more to it than that, I can tell, your hiding something, Jen. What is it?" Eric asked as he sat down on the rock he had been standing in front of during the duration of their conversation.

"What if there is more to it? What would it mean to you?" Jen asked, laughing a harsh and bitter laugh causing Eric to smirk.

"You don't need a lover. You need someone who can give you want you want, no need, and still be able to go their separate way once you return to the future, something Wes wouldn't be able to do." Eric said, staring her dead in the eye.

'Blunt as always.' Jen thought as she toyed with a strand of loose hair, thinking his unspoken proposal through. 'I like that'

"Where would I find someone that would be willing to cut ties with me when I have to leave? Not many people know that we are from the future, and I don't think I should make too many friends here aside from those who know of me being a Time Force officer, it would make it a clean break when we leave." Jen asked feigning ignorance as Eric eyed her speculatively from his post on the rock.

"I mean, I'd want a real man. Not some spoiled little rich kid that thinks daddy can get him out of everything. Someone who knows what hardship is and can rise above it when needed." She continued, finally allowing her eyes to lock with his.

She could have drowned in his eyes, what a shame she hadn't noticed earlier when it would have been possible to find a way out of their depth.

"True. What fun is someone who has everything handed to them on a silver platter?" Eric mused, in a slight sarcastic tone, his opinion of Wes obvious as he allowed a smirk to grace his face.

"For all his wealth he lacks character, something I require a great deal of in possible suitors." Jen allowed; the game they were playing wearing on her patience, she wouldn't keep it up for much longer and she highly doubted he would either.

"Are you required to be back at the 'tower' for dinner at a certain time?" Eric finally asked, proving that he had grown tired of the game as well.

"No. We are free to come and go as we please. Though I doubt a curfew would stop any of us if we truly wanted to go somewhere." Jen said, watching Eric smile as she let a small laugh through her shell.

"Good. How's pizza sound?" he asked, when she nodded he handed her a small silver key from his back pocket.

"Let yourself in. I have to run to the drug store and pick up the pizza. It shouldn't take me more than thirty minutes but just in case." He said, allowing his eyes to linger on the key for a second as they started back to the main road at a leisurely pace.

Thirty minutes later found Jen dressed in a pair of loose black jeans and a pink shirt with her customary leather jacket hugging her lithe frame, standing in the foyer of Eric Meyer's home, glancing around nervously.

'Cool it girl. Nothing's going to jump out at you.' She berated herself as she slipped off her jacket and hung it over her right arm, closing the door with her left.

Walking down the foyer into the kitchen proved her previous thought wrong as she went for her gun, which she had decided not to bring, when she saw movement in the kitchen. Relaxing when she saw that it was Eric she felt a bit paranoid and annoyed with herself.

"Jen, is that you?" Eric called as he walked through the door that led to the foyer, wiping his hands on a dish towel hap hardily thrown over his shoulder. Visually confirming his visitor he ushered her into the kitchen with an unusually smile.

"You can put your coat in the hall closet so it won't wrinkle." He offered as he pulled two plates down from a cabinet to the left of the sink, setting them on the table that was behind him.

As she placed her jacket slowly on the hanger she took the time to give Eric a once over. Dressed in a pair of blue jeans, a black undershirt and a red unbuttoned pullover he looked good, very good. It seemed she had dressed accordingly which was comforting. Once back in the kitchen Eric motioned for her to sit as he pulled two glasses out of the cabinet, turning to her.

"I've got everything from water to wine, take your pick." He said as he spun one of the glasses carefully in between his fingers.

"Let's go with a coke for now." She answered, with a hidden promise for more after they ate in her eyes. Eric nodded as he opened the fridge, pulling two cokes out and the popping the tabs to pour them into their respective cups. Handing one to Jennifer he took a seat across from her at the table, opening the lid of the pizza box as he did so. Offering Jen a slice and then taking one for himself he took a bit before he spoke.

"I've unofficially worked with you for four months yet I know next to nothing about you. Tell me something about yourself." Eric asked, pausing to take a sip of his drink and to give her time to collect a response.

"Well, before we came back in time, I was engaged to marry Alex Drake. He was our red ranger and leader in the year 3000. He was the one that originally caught Ransik, we where taking him to be frozen when Nadira ambushed us. They then turned around and ambushed Time Force Headquarters. All rangers were put on the front lines, we where fighting to hold the main gate when Alex went after Ransik who had gotten to the top of the time portal. When I finally got there, Ransik had landed the killing blow and had left in the portal to the year 2001. Katie and a promise I made to Alex convinced me to push aside my grief and come after Ransik so he wouldn't be able to kill another person, that's why I was so upset over you jumping off the bridge. I will not lose another ranger on duty." Jen said venomously, giving Eric a very pointed look.

"Ok, I can take a hint. No more jumping off bridges ma'am." Eric said with a mock salute, breaking the darkness of the moment and earning smiles from both of them.

As Jen took a bite of her untouched food it felt like his eyes boring into her very soul.

"What is it you need?" he asked, as he watched her wipe her mouth in a delicate swipe.

Jen bit back a sigh, she knew this would come some time that night.

"I need someone who I can vent on, someone who won't run their mouth all over town, someone who can be a sympathetic character, someone that I can trust with anything, nothing too permanent as I will have to leave once our mission is finished." Jen replied, cautious as she watched his face for a hint of emotion or change for that matter, of which she got none.

"Why now? Why not when you first came back to the year 2001?" he asked after a moment, contemplating her previous answer.

"I was still deeply hurt by Alex's death. In truth I still haven't gotten over him, a part of me died with him that day yet a part of me wishes to move on and live again. I'm sick of this shell I forced myself into." She whispered softly, although in the stillness of the room it was as if she shouted the words, toying with the engagement ring that she had foolishly left on, a fact that didn't pass by Eric's keen eyes.

"And the ring?" he asked as he placed a hand over hers' to still the constant movement.

The flash in her eyes was all the answer he needed yet she offered a verbal one as well.

"I can't…not just yet…if this truly does become something then yes…but for now it stays." She answered, her voice firm and determined, matching the steel look in her eyes.

"I wouldn't ask you to remove it unless this does become serious. Take as much time as you need." Eric said as he drained the last of his drink, standing to refill both drinks, reaching for two more cans of coke he paused as his eyes caught something that he had placed in the back of his fridge about a week prior. Pulling out one he held it up for Jen to see.

"You want one or do you just want another coke?" he asked, showing her the bottle of Fruit Passion that a former fling of his had liked.

"What the heck, tomorrow is Valentine's Day, why not the Captain Morgan?" Jen asked rhetorically as Eric pulled two bottles from the fridge, popping the tops with ease before moving the pizza box to the counter and reclaiming his seat.

Taking a sip of one he then handed it to Jen, curious as to her response. Not missing a beat she brought the bottle to her lips and took a sip herself, placing it down in front of her, claming it as hers. Eric raised his bottle to her in response to her blunt reply to his unspoken challenge.

"Touché, so are we game?" he asked, taking a small sip of his before placing the lid back on as a precaution.

"What are the rules?" Jen asked, swirling the drink in her bottle around in a circle and then looking at him across the table.

"We're both adults, why don't we let the rules fall into place as the game proceeds?" Was his response as he rose from the table, motioning her to join him in the living room, smiling when she pretended not to feel the hand that was resting on the small of her back, gently guiding her through the passageways of his home.

Taking a seat on the couch she watched as he rummaged through his DVD collection, finally settling on GI Jane, earning a raised eyebrow from Jen as he settled into the seat beside her.

"Don't you think it's appropriate?" he asked, the smirk coming through in his voice, even in semi darkness as the trailers began to run.

"True enough" Was her almost inaudible response as she shifted to a more comfortable position on the couch, putting her slightly closer to Eric, who adjusted his position slightly so he was leaning more towards her as well.

As the movie progressed Eric's arm found its way around her shoulders and had begun to play with her hair as his other hand held her other hand, toying with her fingers slightly and earning him a small smile that he couldn't decipher in the darkness.

When the final credits rolled it found Jen's head resting the crock of Eric's shoulder, fast asleep with a peaceful look on her face. Deciding not to disturb her Eric settled in to sit out the night, content with holding her in the darkness of his house, even if she was asleep. Glancing quickly at the clock he realized that it was not five minutes from Valentine's Day.

Softly kissing her temple through her hair he tensed as he felt her shift in his arms.

"I'm sor.." he was cut off as Jen softly pressed her lips to his.

"Happy Valentine's Day." She whispered, resting her head back on his shoulder. "I can't promise love, not at first, but I can give you the companionship you have wanted for the longest time, if you will accept it." Jen said, phrasing her statement into a question.

Eric closed his eyes for the briefest of seconds before they fluttered open.

"I can accept that and will offer the same." Eric said, barley above a whisper as he claimed her lips with his softly, oh so softly.

THE END

AN: GAH! Talk about killer plot bunny…I started this two nights ago…got the first four paragraphs done, which was about a page including all the story info, sat down at 11 tonight added 9 pages in 3 and a half hours working non stop…I hope you love this as much as I did…I almost don't want to let this bunny go…