Disclaimer: I do not own PR or its related characters and whatnot.
AN: Wow, that angst bug that crawled up my butt just won't leave. Rated for mentions of murder.
He Loved Her
Ryan Mitchell walked slowly through the Aquabase. The guards had been easy enough to get past. His father was certainly confident. At night the men only patrolled the land based perimeter. There had been nothing to keep him from sneaking in through the ocean.
He kept his steps light as he moved down the hall. The crew and ranger quarters were not the best place to sneak through, but the morpher had to be in the Captain's office at the end of the hallway. Part of him hoped that his father would be up this late just so he could see the look on the old man's face. There was a sound from the closest room and Ryan backed up a step and pressed himself against the wall beside that door. The sound repeated itself, louder and longer this time.
After several minutes no one emerged from the room and Ryan moved on, only to be stopped once again by the sound. He sighed. Whoever it was would probably emerge just as he was entering the office and raise the alarm. He decided to go inside and make sure the person wouldn't interrupt him. The door slid open with an all too loud hiss and he hurried inside. He was halfway to the bed before he realized the person was sleeping. The door slid shut, cutting them off from the dim hallway light. Now all he had to see by was the glow from the underwater lights outside. Luckily, he was used to dark places. He stepped slowly forward as the woman in the bed moaned again.
"Ryan," she said quietly.
Ryan froze. Even after all these years he knew that voice. He hurried forward and took in his sister's face for the first time in over a decade. Despite the pain etched there she was still beautiful. She looked like their mother -- at least what he remembered of her -- that same nose, same curve of the chin, same frown. He hated her.
Before he knew what he was doing his hands were above her throat. It would be so easy to kill her now -- snap her neck or strangle her. Snapping had a particular appeal, it would be quick and satisfying. But strangling meant she would probably wake up -- if only for a moment -- and he would be able to see the fear in her eyes, perhaps she would even realize who was killing her. Yes, strangling would be best. If only she would stop tossing and turning. The nightmare had begun again, it seemed.
"Diabolico," she muttered, her hands twining about the covers as if grasping for a weapon. "Vypra." She turned and her face was caught in a shaft of dim light. "Stay away from him! Ryan!" She relaxed some and he could see tears on her cheeks. "Ryan, no," she muttered.
Ryan pulled his hands back. They still itched to ring the life from her, but that could wait. Now -- now he was conflicted. He had no idea what Dana was dreaming of, but he could guess. There were very few possibilities that appealed to him and even those weren't particularly good for his mission. He hurried out of the room and towards his father's office.
Dana smiled at Ryan over the birthday cake. It had been a year since he'd come back into their lives and his twenty-first birthday was already proving to be one for the history books. Everyone was excited about the upcoming wedding and the Galaxy Rangers had come early so they could celebrate both occasions. The park was the only place they could think to gather so many people who had a tendency to get in sparring matches. Kelsey, Maya, and Kendrix were alternately torturing the boys and gushing over Ms. Fairweather. Kai and Chad were having angsty Blue bonding time, while Leo terrified Joel, Damon, and Carter with stories of married life. Captain Mitchell and Mike were watching the final conversation and trying not to burst out laughing. But despite all the fun, Ryan didn't seem happy.
"What is it?" Dana asked, reaching across the table to poke Ryan playfully. "You should be excited. This is your big day. Not only are you twenty-one, but it's one year to the day since we got you back."
"No, it's not," Ryan said, looking up at her. There was something in his eyes that reminded her of when he'd been battling the cobra. She grew quickly serious.
"What is it, Ryan? What's wrong?"
"You didn't even know I was alive until the day after my birthday and it was weeks after that before you really got me back for good."
"Ryan," she said, reaching across the table to take his hand.
He pulled away, quickly jumping to his feet. "I tried to kill you that night! Before I stole the morpher I stopped in your room and I was going to kill you!"
Everyone was looking at them now, but he didn't care. He stalked off into the trees to blow off his anger and escape the look on his sister's face.
Captain Mitchell stood to go after him, but Dana held up a hand to stop him. His children needed to work this out on their own. She followed the path he had taken, keeping her pace slow. She didn't want him to blow up at her again and there was less chance of that if he had time to work things out in his own mind. When she found him he was sitting beneath a tree in a meditative position and she was loathe to break his concentration.
"I would have thought Dad would follow me," Ryan said, sparing her the trouble of deciding what to do. She hurried forward to sit beside him on the fallen leaves.
"I stopped him. I think this is our problem."
Ryan sighed and opened his eyes so he could see her. "I really was going to kill you. I'd even gone through all the possibilities just to figure out the most satisfying one."
Dana looked down at her hands in her lap. "You heard me talking in my sleep, didn't you?"
"Yeah, something about Diabolico and Vypra and -- me," he finished with a sigh.
Dana tilted her head back and shifted her shoulders. Ryan narrowed his eyes. Whatever she was about to say, it was difficult for her.
"After you -- were taken -- Dad sent me to dozens of doctors. I had night terrors. Sometimes I'd dream about the accident, but mostly it was you and me playing the way we used to. It would be nice for a while but then I'd look up and you'd be gone. It was horrible. Every night was like the whole thing happening again." There were tears running down her cheeks but her eyes were closed as if she couldn't say these things if she looked at him. She reached blindly for him and he quickly took her hand in his, squeezing tight to reassure her that he was still here. "All the doctors said the same thing: she'll get over it. As I got older I let Dad think that was true. I told him the nightmares had stopped. It was easier since the night terrors did stop and without the screaming there wasn't much for him to notice. But the dreams never went away. After I became a ranger I started dreaming about you, a little boy, with all of those demons. That must have been what you heard that night." She looked at him with a sad smile. "I don't care what you wanted to do. All I care about is that I have my big brother back." The tears were coming faster now and her face was turning red. Ryan pulled her to him and held her close as they cried together.
They stayed like that for some time before they both seemed to realize that they should be getting back to the party. Ryan helped Dana up from the leaves and both made sure the other wasn't showing evidence of their emotional moment.
"You know," Ryan said as they walked down the path, "I'm glad it was me."
Dana looked up at him sharply but let him finish.
"I mean -- I'm not glad it happened; I'm sure I'd be much happier if we could have grown up together like normal kids. But I don't think I could have handled losing you. And if you'd shown up to kill us -- I wouldn't have been able to fight you. I'd have just stood there, paralyzed."
"You think I wasn't? I saw your eyes, Ryan. I didn't believe it could possibly be you, I thought it was coincidence or some sort of trick. Then when Dad told us that story -- I just wanted to hurt something. It wasn't fair that we lost each other like that. I needed my big brother to fight with and to scare off would-be boyfriends. But I think this was good for us -- in some ways. We're closer now than we ever would have been without all of the hard times."
"Yeah," Ryan said, throwing an arm around her shoulders, "I guess you're right."
Dana pulled out of his hold and turned to face him, her smile growing mischievous. "And I know why you really didn't want it to be me -- you're just afraid I would have kicked your butt if I was evil."
"You think so?" he countered, chasing after her into the midst of their friends. No sister of his was going to beat him, no matter how much he loved her.
AN: You should always review oneshots, otherwise I won't know how many of you made it to the end.