The Time Of My Life
By:
Pink-Green-White-4ever
Last Revised: July 24, 2008

Summary: Inspired by the David Cook song "The Time Of My Life". Sydney's dreams of making it in the art world have finally come true, but the most important dream of her life still hangs in the balance.
Rated: K
Genre: Romance
Ship: S/S, minor B/Z, J/A

Disclaimer: I don't know PRSPD or The Time Of My Life. Please don't sue me! I'm a poor college student! I do own Caroline, please don't use her without permission.

Author's note: For the gang at P.C.! YOU ROCK! And for Shawn, may this inspire a little SS of your own!

I've been waiting for my dreams
To turn into something
I could believe in
And looking for that
Magic rainbow
On the horizon
I couldn't see it
Until I let go
Gave into love and watched all the bitterness burn
Now I'm coming alive
Body and soul
And feelin' my world start to turn

And I'll taste every moment
And live it out loud
I know this is the time,
This is the time
To be more than a name
Or a face in the crowd
I know this is the time
This is the time of my life
Time of my life

Holding onto things that vanished
Into the air
Left me in pieces
But now I'm rising from the ashes
Finding my wings
And all that I needed
Was there all along
Within my reach
As close as the beat of my heart

So I'll taste every moment
And live it out loud
I know this is the time,
This is the time to be
More than a name
Or a face in the crowd
I know this is the time
This is the time of my life
Time of my life

And I'm out on the edge of forever
Ready to run
I'm keeping my feet on the ground
My arms open wide
My face to the sun

I'll taste every moment
And live it out loud
I know this is the time,
This is the time to be
More than a name
Or a face in the crowd
I know this is the time
This is the time of my life
Time of my life
More than a name
Or a face in the crowd
This is the time
This is the time of my life.
This is the time of my life.
-- David Cook, The Time Of My Life --

--

Wednesday, July 25, 2029
Art Right Gallery
New Tech City, CA

For the first time in her entire life, Sydney Drew was nervous. Heck, she was sick to her stomach nervous. She'd been a model, a singer, an Olympic champion, and for the last five years, a Power Ranger. None of those had ever involved nerves. She'd tackled each, knowing in her heart that she was destined to the best she could be at each of them. Here she was now, standing in a gallery in downtown New Tech City, about to unveil her first ever collection of paintings and sculptures, and she felt like she was going to throw up. What was it about people criticizing your work, pieces you'd pulled from within, that could scare you so badly? Taking a deep breath, she wished her friends were with her. Bridge and Z would be by later, she knew, after they celebrated their anniversary. It was hard to believe they'd been married for three years now, but she wished them happiness always. Jack and Ally would be coming by as well, but not until nearly nine. They had a benefit dinner to attend for the shelter they were running with Piggy. Kat and Boom were bringing Sam by later, if only for a little while, and Doggie had already sent his and Isinia's regards and best wishes. They were stuck at SPD Headquarters for a round of peace talks with several planets wishing to join SPD. She understood they wouldn't be there in body, but were always there in spirit. And as for Sky, she hadn't gotten a yay or nay out of him on whether or not he was coming. She understood as Commander of SPD Earth he had important duties, but she had hoped, as one of his long time friends, he'd be able to take a break and be with her for this.

"Are you ready?" Caroline asked, coming up to rub a soothing hand down Syd's arm. She practically towered a foot taller over her friend and artist. The Pink Ranger was dressed in a little black number from Victoria Secret – it was a matte jersey in basic black with a cowlneck and open back with rauching detail in a slight a-frame shape. It made the petite blonde look incredible, and she knew it. Like Syd, Caroline was dressed to kill in a little black dress. They made quite a statement standing together.

"As ready as I'll ever be," Syd breathed deeply, forcing a smile onto her face as the first guests began to arrive. "Showtime."

"Knock em dead, Kid," the tall red head smiled before moving to greet the guests.

--

The nerves had transformed into shock and a happiness Sydney had never expected. Guests, friends, family and critics alike were raving about the artwork. What surprised her most was it wasn't just because of who she was, it was because they genuinely liked the work. In her years as a Ranger, she'd learned to read people well, and not one of the people she'd taken time to speak with had lied to her.

"Quite a turn out, Pinkie," a voice interrupted her thoughts, causing her to spin around, a grin on her face.

"Z!" she shot forward, throwing her arms around her best friend and teammate. "You came!"

The Yellow Ranger gave her a look when they pulled back. "Of course we came. Did you honestly think we'd miss you setting the art world on fire?"

The Pink Ranger bit her lip. "I wasn't sure, you know, in case there was an emergency or something…." She trailed off, her eyes widening when she saw the couple that just walked in. Z and Bridge turned then and smiled. "JACK!" Syd let out, enveloping both him and Ally in a hug when they were near her.

"Look at all the people," Ally smiled. "Your showing is a success, Syd."

A bright smile lit the Pink Ranger's face as she nodded her thanks. "I'm surprised by how many people are here, to be honest. I've already sold half my collection, including the really nice bust of Commander Cruger I did."

Caroline neared them then, smiling. "Hello gang," she grinned, and then turned to Sydney. "I just thought I should let you know that the painting you've got on the back wall, the one you won't sell, it's gotten several bids so far, and everyone's disappointed you aren't selling it."

Sydney's eyes grew large for a moment before a smile blossomed again. "Really?"

Syd's friends were at a loss as to what the pair was talking about, but remained quiet. "Of course, Sydney, it's such a wonderful piece. Are you sure you won't sell it?"

All eyes were on Syd, who shook her head in her usual answer. "I can't Caroline. Of all the pieces I've done, that's the one I won't part with. It means too much."

Sydney's agent nodded. They'd had this discussion before, plenty of times before. And Sydney was right, that piece meant too much, even Caroline could see that. "I should know better by now. Do let me know when the inspiration for it gets here, won't you?"

"I don't think he's coming, or he'd have been here by now," she sadly whispered, turning to look toward the door, as if trying to will him through it. Caroline patted her shoulder before turning to go mingle with the rest of the guests.

"Syd?" Bridge asked softly, reaching out to take her hand. "What's she talking about."

Turning back to her friends, her eyes shining with unshed tears, Syd smiled for them, though it never reached her eyes. "It doesn't matter, Bridge; it doesn't matter."

--

The night was beginning to wind down when the door to the gallery opened and a tall figured walked in. Dressed in a black Sean John suit with navy accents, he drew the attention of every person within five feet of him, especially if they were female. No smile graced his features, his blue eyes alert and searching for his quarry. He spotted her standing in the middle of the gallery, surrounded by friends, chatting with an older gentleman who looked like he was trying to talk her into something. He'd almost thought he'd be late getting back from Angel Grove, but he'd made it just in time. Her showing was going on for at least another hour, so he counted himself lucky that he hadn't been too late.

He just stood there a moment, watching her. Her hair spilled around her shoulders in a mass of blonde curls. Her make up was minimal, which made him smile. She'd learned a long time ago that less was more, especially when you were one of the most beautiful women in the world already. She wore a little black dress that accented her curves in all the right places, and yet, was modest. Until he saw her turn and noticed the daring plunge to her butt it made. She was a thief of hearts, stealing the very air from his lungs, taking his very breath away.

"I was beginning to wonder if you'd forgotten about her tonight," a voice startled him from his thoughts. Turning his head, he spotted Caroline coming toward him and smiled.

"Not a chance; I got caught in traffic coming back from Angel Grove. How'd she do?" he asked.

"I think she's sold all but a handful of pieces, but the night is still young," Caroline laughed. "There's one in particular I want you to see, as I'm sure you haven't yet."

His brow wrinkled in confusion; he'd thought Syd had shown him the entire collection the last time they'd had a few hours together a week or so ago. "I'll be sure to talk her into showing me."

Caroline grinned. "Better take her that pretty flower before it starts wilting. She's been looking for you all evening."

Nodding, he turned and began striding toward Syd, bringing a finger to his lips to make sure the others kept quiet while he snuck up behind her. Silently, he slid his arm around her, offering the pale pink rose to her. Even though they weren't touching, he could feel her suck in a deep breath of air, her body freezing into place as everyone looked on, smiling. "Congratulations, Ms. Drew. Your agent just told me you had one hell of an evening."

He watched her trembling fingers wrap around the stem of the rose before she whirled around to face him. Her face was lit up like a kid at Christmas before she threw her arms around him. "You made it!"

His arms wrapped around her in a tight hug. He frowned slightly when she trembled in his grasp and that worried him. Sydney never trembled, not like this. "Are you alright?" he softly whispered in her ear, pulling back when she let out a shaky breath.

"I am now, and Caroline's right, I've had one hell of a night," she laughed, bringing the rose up so she could inhale its perfumed scent. "Thank you."

"You think I'd miss my best friend's art world debut?" he joked, the smile on his face disappearing momentarily when he saw the look of disappointment flash across her face for a second before it was gone.

"I wasn't sure if something had come up or not…." she trailed off.

"I got caught in traffic on my way back from the new academy," he explained. "I broke several traffic laws to get here."

Her laughter rang out before she leaned against him in another hug. "Sky, I'm glad you're here."

"Took you long enough!" Z teased as the group finally cut in on the moment. "Where the heck where you?"

Sky waved it off. "Long story. If you all don't mind, I'm going to steal our star here and get an official tour of this place." They all shook their heads or laughed when Sky started steering Sydney toward the back of the gallery.

For the first few minutes, they didn't say much of anything to each other. Instead, Sky stayed by her side as people came up, asked for pictures with her, discussed buying pieces, and a few people asked about getting her to do a commission. When she wasn't posing for pictures, his hand stayed at the small of her back, his fingertips brushing the warm, soft skin there. He noticed with some wonder how she shivered each time his hand brushed against her. When they were finally at the back of the gallery, he watched Syd start worrying her bottom lip between her teeth. "So, Caroline said there was a piece back here you wanted to show me."

Sydney's eyes widened in what Sky could only describe as panic and terror. He watched her, worriedly, as she struggled to swallow. "Um…"

"Syd, you know you've got talent. You know I know you've got it. What's so bad about this piece that you don't want to show me?"

Taking his hand, she led him to the corner of the room. "Just promise me something," she started, craning her neck so she could look up into his eyes.

"Anything?"

"That if you don't like it, or don't understand it, you won't get mad?" she pleaded softly. Sky had to wonder what exactly was so bad that she'd extract that kind of promise from him before showing it to him.

"I promise."

Nodding, she turned and pointed to a small nook in the corner where he saw a painting was hanging from the wall. Letting go of her hand, he wandered over to see the painting. He was absolutely blown away by what he saw. It was a painting of him, standing on the roof at the Academy, staring off into the sunset. Mixed into the sunset were two images – one was of his father and the other was of the B Squad Red Ranger. He was pictured from the shoulders up in a profile pose, the trim on his uniform shoulder blue. The look she'd captured on his face brought an ache to his heart. It was if Sydney had taken a snapshot of him in the moment when he'd finally accepted his father's passing. She'd carefully painted the moment when he'd been on the roof with her, telling her that he knew, accepted, that heroes come in all colors. It was one of the first moments where he'd truly been comfortable wearing blue.

"Oh Syd," he murmured, tearing his gaze away from the painting to stare at the woman who had been teammate, best friend, confidant. She stood there, arms wrapped around her waist. She didn't look like the confident, mature, beautiful woman he'd seen when he'd walked in. What she looked like was a scared, barely breathing girl.

"It took me nearly a year to finish it," she explained, stepping close to him before her eyes looked up at it. "Every time I got started, something was wrong about it – coloring, texture, a million artistic things wrong with it, but mainly, I never could quite capture that look on your face the way it had been that one afternoon." He said nothing, his eyes locked on her face as she turned to look at him. "I finally finished it a few weeks ago. The night we were standing on the roof at the Academy."

He nodded. That night had been significant in more ways than one. Sydney, Bridge and Z had finally come back from a grueling undercover case involving a well known crime syndicate. The beautiful Pink Ranger had looked too pale, thin, and tired for Sky's liking. After the Rangers had filed their reports and briefed him, she'd gone up to the roof. Sky had followed her up there, and they'd talked. It was the first time he'd let his emotions where she was concerned run free. He'd always been attracted to her. He enjoyed her friendship and company, but he'd carefully kept his love for her tucked away. They had jobs to do, and he'd long since given up the idea of telling her he'd fallen in love with her. That afternoon on the roof had changed everything. He'd held her in his arms as she'd cried out her fears and worries about the assignment she'd been on. He remembered feeling the chilling way she'd talked about her cover being blown and how she'd thought she'd never live past that moment. Her regrets had come spilling out; Sky was amazed she had so few. The one that had scared him most though, was her telling him how she knew she'd have regretted never telling him how she felt about him. She'd looked up at him, and spilled her heart to him. He'd stared down into the eyes he knew as well as his own, and the world around them had ceased to exist. For that sole moment, it had just been him and Sydney, their lips slowly caressing each others.

The kiss had been brief, and afterwards, he remembered he'd let her go. He'd turned to stare at out the sunset, like he had with her an afternoon four years before that. Only this time he'd been thinking about how he'd lost so much time with her, instead of having to put his father's memory to rest. They hadn't spoken of that night since, both of them too scared to sacrifice their comfortable friendship to explore the possibilities of an intimate relationship. "Sky say something, please?"

Everything inside of him opened up. She looked so scared, so unsure of his reaction, of his feelings, of her own feelings. He'd kept his feelings tucked neatly inside for so long that it almost physically hurt his heart to finally let them out. And then he realized, he'd been slowly letting Sydney in for so long that he knew he could give her what was inside of him and know he was safe. "Thank you."

She looked startled by his words. "Sky…"

He said nothing, instead reaching out to touch her cheek before leaning down, his lips feathering her own. She gave a small whimper before threading her arms around his waist. Sky's right hand slid around, cupping the back of her neck while his left went to her waist, anchoring her body to his. They lost themselves in those first lush, wet kisses that signaled the beginning of something much deeper than either of them ever expected. It was like sticking a key in a lock and turning it to open up a new world that neither of them had thought was possible, but that they'd both wished for.

They were startled out of their embrace by the sound of music piping through the speakers overhead. Sky grinned down at a blushing Sydney, whose eyes seemed to glaze over. Cocking her head to the side, she closed her eyes and listened to the soft sound of the song playing around them, echoing off the walls of the small nook.

I've been waiting for my dreams
To turn into something
I could believe in
And looking for that
Magic rainbow
On the horizon
I couldn't see it
Until I let go
Gave into love and watched all the bitterness burn
Now I'm coming alive
Body and soul
And feelin' my world start to turn

"I love this song," she told him, her voice lifting in time with the words of the song.

Taking her hand, Sky quietly led her from where they'd been standing back toward where their friends were, until he saw the glass door in the corner where the moonlight was spilling in from outside. "Syd?"

"Hmm?"

"Come with me?"

Nodding, she let him pull her out the door and onto the terrace. Luckily for them, no one else was there. With the music floating out the open door, Sky took her in his arms and began swaying to the beat of the song. They were quiet through the length of it, holding each other close as their bodies moved to a rhythm all their own. Finally, as the last strains of the melody wove a peaceful quiet around them, Sky leaned back and cupped her face in his hands. "Sydney…"

"Hmmm?"

He knew how she felt, even if she hadn't said it. How could he not after seeing the painting she'd done of him? But he also knew why she hadn't said it – she was terrified her feelings wouldn't be returned. The reason she was scared was because Sky knew, all too well, that he was good at hiding what he felt, and not speaking up about his feelings. Sydney had always been the instigator in every interaction they'd had over the last eight years, it was time he stepped up to the plate and told her exactly how he felt about her.

Staring into her beloved blue orbs, Sky felt the fear that had surrounded him began to lift. "I'm a loner by nature, Sydney," he spoke softly, watching her eye him with a look that just said 'duh, as if I didn't know that'. He smiled down at her. "I'm a soldier, a Ranger; I know all about duty, honor, pride, how to fight, how to protect. That's been the one constant in my life since my father died, and until now, I've never wanted to change that. But you, you've changed my life in more ways that I'll ever be able to comprehend."

"Sky…."

"Shhh," he shushed her, laying a fingertip to her lips. "I don't know when it happened. I couldn't give you an exact date or moment. Perhaps that's because there isn't one. I couldn't tell you when I stopped seeing you as my best friend and when I started seeing you as the one person that completes me. You fill that void in my soul, Syd; the one I didn't know was there. No matter what we've been through, you've always seen me, the real me." Quietly, he brushed her hair back from her face and lowered his forehead to hers, so that they were staring into each other's eyes. "I can't promise I'm always going to have the answers, I can't promise I'm not going to do something stupid and screw this up, but I can promise you this….I love you."

Sydney's eyes closed, tears streaking down her cheeks and over Sky's hands in a tiny river of moisture. He frowned as her body gave an involuntary shudder. Her eyes opened when she brought her hands up, laying them on his wrists. In those eyes, he saw a world of feeling; she loved him. He waited for her to speak, needing to hear her say it as much as he needed to see it. "It feels like I've loved you forever," she murmured softly, her tongue peeping out to wet her dry lips. "I can't remember a time when I didn't love you; I loved you as a girl, when I was just learning what love was. But I know I've never loved you like I do right now."

"Where do we go from here?" he asked uncertainly, looking down into her eyes.

"One step at a time," she smiled up at him. "Let's just see where right now takes us."

Leaning down, Sky laid his lips to hers. The brush of lips, soft as a summer breeze, was filled with hope for what was to come, and a certainty of what was.