Skin
Chapter 2: A Ray Of Hope
By: Pink-Green-White-4ever
Started: May 10, 2009
Finished: February 4, 2010

Summary: What happens when one of the invincible SPD Rangers falls ill thanks to the genetic powers they'd been born with?
Rating: T
Ship: JA, BZ, eventual SS

AN: I was looking through my Rascal Flatts' c.d.'s, trying to find something to listen to and I came across one of my favorite songs – Skin (Sarabeth). It's a song about a young girl who finds out she has cancer, and how she deals with it. I happened to be talking to Enigmaforum and CathyD and the images started hitting me. What would happen if SPD's resident Pink Princess, the world famous model and pop star, suddenly had to deal with a very real disease? What if the SPD Rangers finally came to the conclusion that their genetic powers had the ability to turn on them in a way none of them ever wanted to deal with? This is my take on that story.

AN2: Research was done at the American Cancer Society website - .org, so the information is as accurate as I can get it. It's called – Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Acute leukemia: In acute leukemia, the bone marrow cells don't mature properly. These immature cells build up and crowd out normal cells. Without treatment, most patients with acute leukemia would live only a few months. Some types of acute leukemia respond well to treatment and many patients are cured. People with other types often do not do as well. Myeloid leukemia: Myeloid leukemia mainly develops from white blood cells such as granulocytes or monocytes, but can also form from the cells that mature into platelets or red blood cells.

AN3: I'm not trying to turn cancer into a cartoon, cause let's face it - it's a reality that millions of people deal with every day. It's serious, and this story is meant to be serious. Yes, it's based off a song, but it's a serious look at how the Rangers deal with something humanizing, something that doesn't care what race, creed, ethnicity, skin color, age or gender you are. It doesn't care how much money you have, what social circles you move in, or where and when you were born. This effects people of every background.

Dedication – Angel, Cat, Enigmaforum, Shawn and Rapunzl for helping me with the story, and for being supportive as I wrote it. And to all the Syd and Sky fans out there, for the years of support, the enthusiasm, and for loving SS as much as I do!

--

3:30 pm
Friday
September 16, 2033
Heading for Resurrection Cemetery
New Tech City, CA

The ride from the Academy to the cemetery wasn't a long one, but it gave him enough time to prepare himself. For once, Bridge was driving the jeep, while entertaining Ally in the front seat. He found himself wedged in the back between Z and Jack. He had to smile at their efforts, the two of them were trying to distract him from the reality of the trip they were making. He looked down at his lap and felt his heart constrict. His hands were wrapped around a bouquet of pink and white lilies – one of her favorite flowers. Looking over, he saw a bundle of pink carnations in Jack's hands and on Z's lap rested a half dozen miniature pink roses. And nestled inside the lilies he held was one white rose with blue, red and pink ribbons braided around its stem. Z, Ally, Isinia and Kat had insisted they stop for flowers to put on her grave, and he had to admit, they were right. He hadn't brought her flowers at all during the year. It had been hard to come out to the cemetery, to see the glossy stone with its etched writings that proclaimed the final resting place of the beloved B Squad Pink Ranger. It was even harder to fathom that his wife was gone. Going to the cemetery was just another affirmation that he'd never see her again; not her smile, not her bright blue eyes, not the way she'd look at him and he'd see worlds open up before him. Some nights it was all he could do to just get to sleep, thinking about her, knowing she wasn't going to be laying next to him in their big, king sized bed. God knew, if it hadn't been for work and the little miracle that lived down the hall from him, he wouldn't be able to push through each day.

"Sky?" Z's voice broke through his silence, bringing his attention to Bridge pulling into the cemetery gates.

His throat closed, his heart stopped beating. God, could he do this? Could he mark the first year without her? He'd tried to put it out of his mind all morning, but now the reality of it was slamming down on him like a ton of bricks.

The others were silent as Bridge maneuvered the jeep through the gates and around the road to the back of the cemetery, Kat driving the other vehicle right behind them. His eyes stayed focused straight ahead, catching sight of his mother's blue Ford Focus and the white Mercedes that his in-laws had gotten two years before. When Bridge pulled up behind them, he clenched his hands around the flowers he held. He didn't want to do it, not like this. It was like saying goodbye to her all over again, and the first time had been hard enough to deal with.

Jack was the only one who remained in the car with him, while the others got out to greet the new members to their group. "You need a minute?" the former Red Ranger quietly asked, his voice trembling.

"I can't do this," Sky uttered brokenly, his eyes fixed on the headstone he knew so well. It had taken him weeks to pick out the perfect stone for his beloved. He knew every detail of the marble even though he hadn't actually seen it. "I can't do this Jack, I can't say goodbye to her again. It killed me the first time."

"Then don't say goodbye," Jack firmly told him, sounding far braver than Sky knew he probably felt. "Let's go say hello. I haven't been out here since our birthday, there's a lot I need to tell her."

Sky's eyes latched onto his friend's face and felt his heart break in a way he didn't think it could. Jack was staring straight ahead, tears streaming down his face. Jack hadn't cried when she'd died, at least not where Sky or anyone else could see. This was her big brother, the same one who she'd let share her birthday, the one she'd gone to when she'd needed comfort, advice, and someone to simply sit with her. This was a man who had loved her endlessly, whose heart had bled when she'd died. Sky felt, perhaps for the first time in their acquaintance, a kinship with the former Red Ranger he never had before. "Let's go say hello."

Nodding, Jack hopped out of the jeep before reaching back to take both sets of flowers to let Sky get out. Both of them smiled the minute Sky's feet touched the ground and a tiny voice called out, "DADDY!"

Sky hit his knees an instant before the little bundle of energy barreled into his arms, chattering away as she wrapped her chubby arms around his neck. The former Ranger hugged her tightly to his chest, his breathing labored as he struggled to keep his emotions in check. Pulling back, he brought his hands up to cup the round little cheeks, to stare into the face that was almost an exact replica of her mother's. "Hi," he grinned for her, watching her giggle and pat his large hands with her smaller ones.

"Nana told me that we were coming to see you," she told him, watching his face carefully. "Daddy, why are you sad?"

Swallowing, he chose his words carefully. "We're going to go visit Mommy," he whispered, watching her face scrunch up. She still didn't quite understand what that meant, and Sky wished he didn't have to explain it to her.

"But you said Mommy was gone to heaven and couldn't come to visit," she whimpered softly.

"Sarabeth, do you remember how I told you Mommy's spirit was in heaven, but her body's here on Earth?" She nodded, watching him as big, fat tears welled in her eyes. "We're going to visit Mommy's body, and put some flowers down on her headstone, okay?"

Chubby little arms slid around his neck again, a sure sign that she wanted him to pick her up. Hugging his daughter close, Sky scooped her up and made his way over to join their family, who were all standing around a glossy black marble, heart-shaped headstone etched with white writing. Sky took a deep, calming breath as he looked down at the stone, his eyes blurring as he read the words silently.

Sydney Tate. 2007 – 2032.
Loving daughter, sister, wife and mother sorely missed.
Fierce warrior - Gone but never forgotten.

His throat suddenly closed up, leaving him struggling to breath. Z quietly took Sarabeth from his arms, cuddling her close while Sky slid to his knees, his hands resting on his thighs and his eyes shut to fight back the tears. His head bowed as he fought back the fierce pain, and then he felt them – both Jack and Bridge had knelt with him, their hands on his shoulders. "I miss her," he whispered, his voice so thin they could barely hear his words over the sheer pain in his tone.

"We all do," Jack responded, leaning forward to place the flowers he carried on the marble that marked his sister's final resting place. "She was the glue that held us together."

"It's not fair!" he hissed in response, his head snapping up. "She was so young, had so much to look forward to!"

"No matter what age someone is, it's never fair to go the way she did," Bridge spoke, keeping his words as even and calm as he could. Inside, his heart was breaking all over again. She had been his friend, his sister, his confidant. Her death had ripped a void so deep in him he knew it would never repair. "She made the days count, she gave us memories that will last us forever, and she left us the true essence of who she was in your daughter."

Sky just shook his head, his hands clenching over his thighs as he struggled with Bridge's words. He didn't even register Bridge or Jack moving away from him, nor did he acknowledge the next two presences who knelt with him. And then he smelt the two unique scents – perfume. Reaching out, he blindly gripped his mother's hand and Syd's mom's hand, squeezing them both as they leaned against him. "She may not be here physically, Sky, but she's always with you. She's in the wind, the sun, the rain, she's everywhere," Mrs. Drew tenderly told him. "As long as you love her, as long as you remember her, she's never really gone."

--

Sara Beth is scared to death
As she sits holding her mom
Cause it would be a mistake for someone to take
A bald headed girl to the prom

For just this morning, right here on her pillow
Was the cruelest of any surprise
And she cried when she gathered it all in her hands
The proof that she couldn't deny
And Sara Beth closes her eyes

And she dreams she's dancing
Around and around without any cares
And her very first love is holding her close
And a soft wind is blowing her hair

--

6:35 pm
Saturday
July 11, 2026
SPD Academy
New Tech City, CA

Standing around with a glass of champagne and talking shop was not on his list of things to do. All he really wanted was to find his friends and celebrate their promotions – he was finally Delta Base Commander, Bridge was now Red Ranger an Z had been promoted to Blue. The ceremony that morning had been very somber, but his friends, including Jack, Ally and Syd, had been there. Afterward, he'd been swept up in media interviews, a press conference, and the luncheon with all the officers to celebrate Biridie's retirement and Doggie's new role as Supreme Commander. In reality, he could have cared less about all the pomp and circumstance, all he really wanted was five minutes alone with Sydney but he hadn't seen her since that morning.

"Would you relax the kill lights in your eyes," Z teased when she, Bridge, Kat and Boom neared him. They were all looking happily relaxed, something Sky knew he couldn't claim.

"Sorry," he muttered, sipping his drink.

"What's wrong?" Kat asked, knowing him much better than he'd given her credit for.

He let out a sigh. "I had thought Syd would be here…" he trailed off, leaving the rest to their imaginations.

The group of four just grinned at him. "Actually, Commander," Bridge responded, ignoring the scowl Sky shot him. Reaching into his pocket, the new Red Ranger pulled out a pink envelop and handed it over.

Sky handed his glass to Kat and took the car from Bridge's fingers. His name was printed across the front and inside, he found Syd's familiar handwriting.

Dear Sky,

I'm so proud of you, Baby, for accomplishing so much. Your dad would be proud too. Sorry I'm not there, but I'm setting up your surprise. When you've had enough mingling, tell Bridge; he's got a hint to what your surprise is.

See you soon,
All My Love,
Sydney

The former Red Ranger's eyes rose to meet his best friend's and he found the Red Ranger dangling a set of car keys in front of his face. "Syd's already inputted the destination into your GPS unit. Just follow the directions." Snatching the keys from his best friend, the new Commander all but flew from the room, heading for his car which was sitting in the academy's underground garage.

--

8:45 pm
Saturday
July 11, 2026
Laguna Nigel, CA

Sky grinned when he pulled his truck up behind Syd's convertible. He sat behind the wheel staring at the beach house they'd rented earlier in the summer. Shaking his head, he quickly climbed out and headed for the door, which opened the second he was on the porch, revealing Sydney to his hungry eyes. Sky's breath caught at the beautiful black dress and heels she was adored in. "Hi."

"Hi yourself," he smiled, slowly stepping into the house as she backed up from the doorway. "What's all this?" he gestured to all the candles inside while Syd shut the door.

"We have the house for a few days, to celebrate."

"Oh?"

Syd rolled her eyes at him. "Come with me, dinner's going to get cold if you keep asking questions."

Before Sydney could lead him into the kitchen, Sky pulled her into his arms, his lips seeking hers. The former Pink Ranger whimpered at the contact, pushing herself as close to him as she could. She smiled against his mouth when his hands slid down her sides before finding purchase at her waist. "Syd…" Sky gasped, resting his forehead against hers.

"I love you," she whispered, rubbing her nose gently against his. "Come on," she urged, moving away from him.

When they walked into the kitchen, Sky's breath whooshed out in surprise. A table for two was set up; candles lit the room, wine was poured and food was on the table under two metal coverings. "What's all this?" he softly questioned.

"Our private celebration of your promotion. I figured you'd need quiet after the ceremony and luncheon, and I know you hate mingling," she laughed, her voice low and husky.

"Thank you," he told her, his tone sincere as he brought her hand to his lips. "What's for dinner?"

Syd let out a twinkling laugh as she reached over to heft the lids. "I don't have a clue, your mom ordered it," she giggled. They found two chicken dinners – roasted chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus. "Yum."

Sky nodded and helped her into her seat before sitting across from her. Quietly, they ate, the both of them enjoying the comfortable silence that seemed to settle between them. The former Red Ranger noticed his girlfriend's increased appetite – since her chemo had started she'd just picked at her food. Now she was attacking her dinner with gusto. "Feeling better?" he casually asked.

The petite blonde blushed and nodded her head vigorously. "I'll probably pay for it later, but it tastes soooo good."

The new Commander just grinned and shook his head, happy to see her feeling better. Since her last stint in the hospital, she seemed to be getting stronger and stronger. The week before she'd completed the last of her chemo treatments, which made them both extremely happy; it had been hard on them both for her to go through them. Amazingly enough, whatever Kat had been giving her to help the chemo work had had the unexpected side effect of causing her hair to start growing back. It was a light fuzz, but it was growing back all the same. Sky found his hope soaring even while common sense said she still wasn't out of the woods yet.

Reaching for his napkin, Sky's fingers brushed the lump in his left pants pocket, reminding him of the jewelry there. He, Jack and Bridge had spent a week searching for the perfect ring before he'd finally found it; a square cut pink sapphire with blue sapphires and red rubies on either side of it at the base, which was a delicate silver. Both his friends had sat him down and had a long, LONG talk with him about him asking Sydney to marry him before he'd actually bought the ring. Jack had tried to be the voice of reason – they'd barely been together, she was deathly sick, they were still so young – but in the end, the former Red Ranger couldn't find it in him to tell Sky not to ask her. Bridge had simply told him if he was going to do it, he needed to do it soon. Time was not guaranteed to any of them.

"Earth to Sky," Syd's beloved voice beckoned, breaking him from his thoughts.

Looking up, Sky found her watching him in concern and curiosity. "Sorry," he mumbled.

"Am I that boring to be with?" she teased.

"NO!" he laughed nervously. "I was having an internal debate about something."

"Should have known."

Rolling his eyes, he realized they were both done with dinner. There was no time like the present for what he wanted to talk to her about. "Take a walk with me? I have a few things I want to talk to you about."

"What about the dishes?" she wondered even as he stood up, grabbed her hand, and tugged her out of her chair, through the side door and toward the beach. "Slow down, you've got longer legs and I'm in a dress!" she whined, her voice halting Sky's progress. For a moment she sounded so much like the girl he'd first met so many years before. "Thank you!"

When they reached the waters edge, they toed off their shoes and walked in the surf. The silence between them smacked of nervousness on Sky's part and a subtle tang of fear on Syd's. After ten minutes the former Red Ranger stopped walking and turned to face his beloved. "Sky?" Syd quietly asked, reaching out to take his face in her hands. "Baby, what's wrong?"

He leaned into her cupped hand, his eyes closing as he indulged in her soft touch. "I love you."

"I know."

Licking his lips, the new Commander opened his eyes, peering down into the worried face of the woman he loved. "I have something to ask you. Don't say anything until I'm done." Sydney could only nod, her eyes widening when he dug into his pocket before he sunk to one knee. "I know we haven't been together very long, and I know you're still sick, but putting all that aside, I know after this last year, there's no one else I can see spending my life with but you." Sky felt fear of rejection flair when Sydney's head shook back and forth, tears flooding from her eyes. "Sydney, will you marry me?"

The former Pink Ranger was paralyzed as she stared down into the face of the man she loved. "Oh Sky…"

He pressed his lips together to keep from stuttering and swallowed the knot of fear in his throat. "Time is never guaranteed to any of us. We could both go at any moment. I don't want to wonder or regret. I love you, share my life with me? Share your own, for however long we have?"

She recognized this as a pivotal moment, one that could change the rest of her life for better or for worse. Did she love Sky? The answer was an absolute YES. Could she imagine being his wife? Only in her dreams. Could she put them both through what might become of her life? But there in was her answer – anything was possible. Her cancer had been caught in the early stages, remission was possible. She could end up living a long, full life. And she couldn't imagine spending that life with anyone other than Sky. "I love you," she managed through the tears clogging her throat. Sinking down, she threw her arms around his neck and held on.

"Syd?" he choked, fear finally getting the better of him. He knew his heart would break if she said no.

"Yes," she whispered against his ear. "A million times yes."

The former Red Ranger blew out a shaky breath and wrapped his arms around her tightly. "I love you," he managed, burying his face in her warm neck.

They stayed locked together for a long time until sky pulled away and drew the ring from it's box. He took Sydney's left hand in his own, bringing it to his lips so he could kiss her ring finger before he slide her engagement ring on. "Oh wow!" she chirped, wiggling her gingers as she stared at the beautiful ring. Looking up, she found Sky watching her, a calm, utterly happy look on his face. "What?"

"Nothing," he murmured, standing to his feet, pulling her with him. Hand in hand they gathered their shoes and headed back to the house.

--

11:00 p.m.

"Feel better?" Syd called out when Sky emerged from their bedroom in his pajamas, hair and chest still wet from his shower.

"A little," he yawned, plopping down on the couch next to her. With a happy grin, he slid his arm around her, drawing her against his side. "T.V. or movie?"

"I want to watch the news really quick then a movie," she smiled mischievously. Sky missed the sparkle in her eyes as he flipped the television on.

"It was a day of celebration as SPD ushered in a new era of leadership. Supreme Commander Fowler Birder retired, Commander Anubis Cruger was picked to replace him at SPD Headquarters. Here on Earth, succeeding Cruger as Commander of Earth's Delta Base is second generation Red Ranger Schuyler Tate, a member of the infamous B Squad who took down Emperor Gruumm and the Troobian Empire. Also receiving promotions today were Bridge Carson and Elizabeth Delgado, now Red and Blue Rangers respectively. Commander Tate's first order of business will be to pick new Green, Yellow and Pink Rangers…" the newscaster spoke excitedly.

"Oh brother," Sky groaned, leaning his head against Syd's.

"It's still unclear what this promotion will do to Commander Tate's relationship with Pop Star and former Pink Ranger Sydney Drew, who is currently battling cancer. Stay tuned while our very own Sarah Porter breaks down the relationship between New Tech's golden couple."

Growling, Sky flipped the t.v. off, plunging the room into silence. "Real mature, Commander," Syd teased, poking him in the side.

"Why are we such a fascinating topic for them?" he asked, his frustration evident. Most of the networks had given them plenty of space once news of their relationship and Syd's illness had gone public, but still, there was at least one piece a week about them.

"SPD equals Power Rangers, and my singing. They find us fascinating to talk about because they don't have anything else interesting to report."

Sky rolled his eyes and cuddled his fiancée closer. Unbeknownst to him, his fingers slid off her arm and were currently caressing a much more sensitive spot of her body. Sydney bit her lip, debating whether or not to tell him what he was touching was definitely NOT her arm. Sky had never made a move to push her farther than she was willing to go. So far, between work and her illness, they hadn't gone any further than light petting during their make out sessions. "Syd?" he questioned when she shivered. "Cold?"

"N-no," she stuttered, moving her hand to his.

When Sky felt her tiny hand press his down, he realized where his fingers were. "Oops, sorry," he mumbled, obviously embarrassed.

The former Pink Ranger wiggled around, moving to straddle her fiancé's lap. She pressed as close to him as she could, letting him feel the tight points at the tips of her breasts. Quietly, she leaned in to kiss him, whimpering when he nipped her bottom lip with his teeth. Feeling bold, Syd moved her kisses across his face, gently scraping his jaw with her own teeth. "I really want you to touch me," she huskily moaned, her hot breath caressing his ear. Sydney knew if she was going to get his control to break, she had to push him passed his idea that he was going to hurt her and that she wasn't ready to be physically intimate with him.

"Baby…" Sky groaned, feeling her butt wiggle against the part of him that was rapidly hardening with her every feathery caress. He'd done his beset over the last few months to keep himself in check – a lot of cold showers had accompanied the mantra that they weren't ready, that she was sick and didn't need anymore stress, like those that would come from a physical relationship. Sometimes it worked, other times it just frustrated him more.

"Sky…" she whined softly, her fingers digging into the back of his neck.

"We really shouldn't…" he uttered.

"Why?" she whimpered. "Sky?"

He pulled back and brought his hands up to cradle her cheeks in his warm palms. "Because," he started, noticing the pout forming on her lips. "Are you really ready to go there?"

Sydney rolled her eyes at him. "You're ready to get married but not have sex with me?"

The former Ranger chuckled at the way she said it. "Honey…"

She let out a huge sigh, knowing where he was coming from, even if she didn't like it. "Sorry."

Sky tugged her against his chest, his lips finding her ear. "Don't ever think I don't want to be with you. Trust me, I do, but I don't want to hurt you."

"You wouldn't," she responded, wiggling her hips when she felt him beneath her.

"Right now I would, I don't think I can be gentle enough."

Resigning herself to her fiancé's need to be a gentleman, Syd laid her head on his shoulder and cuddled against him. Sky's arms wrapped around her, holding her tightly, while he softly groaned; she was still sitting in his lap and his arousal for her was almost too painful to bear. "Want me to move?"

"Absolutely not." Turning his head, he brushed his lips against her temple. "I love you, and I really, REALLY want you."

Syd giggled. He was right – now probably wasn't a good time to take their relationship there – just yet. "I can feel how much you want me," she murmured. "I love you."

They sat there for a long, long time before heading to bed. While Sydney slept against his chest, Sky lay awake well into the night, feeling happier than he could ever remember feeling.

--

6:20 pm
Saturday
December 12, 2026
SPD Academy
New Tech City, CA

"This place looks wonderful," Ally gushed, looking around at the multitudes of decorations that were adorning the academy's gym. Sydney, Z and Kat had spent a better part of a week decorating the room for Syd and Sky's reception. There were twinkle lights decorating an array of potted palms that were strategically placed throughout the room. The walls were decorated in flowing steamers of white, pink and blue tulle. And every available surface had votive candles and rose petals.

"Thanks. I can't believe we put it all together in such a short amount of time," Sydney grinned happily. They really hadn't given themselves very long from the day they got engaged until their wedding; pulling off such a large event had required the help of family and friends.

Ally smiled. "Your wedding was beautiful, Sydney. You looked stunning during the ceremony."

Z laughed, sliding her arm around Syd's waist. "I thought Sky was going to swallow his tongue when he saw your dad walking you toward him."

The four women erupted in laughter at the mental picture Z's words brought on. Guests were eating, mingling, drinking, dancing and having a great time as they celebrated the milestone of Syd and Sky's lives and relationship. The wedding ceremony had been short but had gone off without a hitch. Their closest friends had stood beside the pair of them as they pledged their lives to each other. Now, they were at the academy celebrating with a simple cake and champagne reception.

Once they'd announced their engagement, neither Syd nor Sky had really wanted to wait longer than necessary to tie the knot. Less than three months later and now they were Mr. and Mrs. Schuyler Tate. Turning away from the group, Syd's eyes roamed the room in search of her husband. She found him on the dance floor with her mother, the two sharing a good laugh as they spun together. Smiling, Syd watched them before her mother gestured toward her. Sky turned and the look on his face lit the room. Biting her lip, Syd disentangled from Z and slowly began walking across the room toward him, their eyes locked the entire time. When they reached each other, he brought a hand up and cupped her face. "How are you feeling Mrs. Tate?" he grinned, leaning in to lay butterfly kisses on her lips.

"A little tired, but happy," she murmured against his lips. "How are you?"

"Itching to get you alone," he chuckled at the little moan she let out.

"That's not fair," she softly whined.

"I figure another hour or so and we can escape."

Sydney nodded and snuggled into his arms as he swayed back and forth to the music. Sky smiled down at her, his arms banded around her tightly. He wanted the moment to last forever. When she'd come walking down the aisle on her dads arm, his mouth had gone dry; she was a vision in white, those baby blues shining brightly. That moment didn't come close though, to the moment when he realized she was actually his wife, her last name now Tate. Dancing with her, he felt the world shift into place. Outside her arms, he was the stalwart, disciplined Commander of the SPD Earth Delta Base; in them, he was just plain old Sky, her husband.

"What's wrong?" she drowsily asked, looking up at him through her thick lashes.

"Nothing. Let's dance," he suggested, leading her onto the dance floor.

--

Shivering, her body weak as a newborn, Sydney had only enough conscious thought to keep her grip on Sky's strong, muscular shoulders. Her husband's face was buried against her neck, his body straining as he tried to keep his full weight off her. "Jesus!" he panted, his lips caressing her ear.

The former Pink Ranger blew out a shaky breath that was half sigh half laugh. "Ditto."

Sydney felt his soft lips moving down her neck to her shoulder, nibbling and laving her skin as he went. "Give me a minute, and as soon as my muscles start working again, I'll move."

She clung to him, her les starting to move slowly. Very gently, she caressed his calves with her toes. "You're fine where you are," she sighed happily, and then shivered again.

"Cold?" he breathed.

"Nope," she knew he could hear the smug smile in her voice. "Thank you."

"For?" he wanted to know as he rolled to his back, pulling her with him so that she was plastered against him.

"Loving me," she yawned, pecking a kiss to his chest. Quietly, she settled her head on his shoulder, her arm curled around his waist and her leg thrown over his.

Sky pecked a kiss to her forehead. Neither of them had been innocent, but Sydney had certainly fried his brain. Her breathy cries, her nails scratching down his back, and her tightness had drive him right over the edge. The only thing that worried him was that they'd been in such a hurry they'd forgotten about protection this first time. Despite that they were married now it wasn't safe for Sydney to get pregnant. 'YET' Sky reminded himself as he followed his beloved into the land of dreams. 'Yet.'

--