Before My Eyes
By:
Pink-Green-White-4ever
Last Revised: September 1, 2009

Summary: On a dark and stormy night, Syd finds what she's been looking for right before her eyes.
Rating: T for language
Ship: you should know me by now ;)
Disclaimer: I don't own Power Rangers, cause if I did, RPM wouldn't be the last season and we'd have gotten a lot more SPD ;)

Dedication: To Shawn, for being my sounding board, my big brother, and the one person I absolutely know who knows me better than I know myself at times. You helped me pull the emotions I was having such a hard time dealing with out of the lonely little whole in my heart -- hugs -- Rapunzl, Enigmaforum and Angel, I love you all so much! Thanks!

--

If people really knew the truth, they'd be surprised by what they found. On the surface, she had everything a person could ever possibly want, and if she didn't, her father could get it for her. The one thing she didn't have though was the one thing she wanted most.

She wanted someone to love her.

All the money in the world couldn't give her the one thing she desired most. And she wasn't sure even if it could if she'd want to buy that – love was supposed to be freely given, or it wasn't love at all, not in her mind.

Her arms were wrapped tightly around her waist as she leaned heavily against the windowpane and stared out at the storm raging around the building. The lightning streaking across the sky accompanied by the booming rolls of thunder matched her mood perfectly. Outside she was calm, but inside, she raged. She was sick and tired of being the sister, best friend, and confidant. She was tired of smiling when all she wanted to do was curl in a ball and cry. She was sick of being happy for everyone and feeling miserable in private. She just wanted to feel loved for once.

She wanted to smile when someone leaned over and kissed her cheek for no reason. She wanted to reach out and be able to hold someone's hand while she walked down a street. She wanted to be able to discuss with her girlfriends the differences in their guys. As it was, she avoided spending time with her friends lately at all costs.

Heaving a heavy sigh that blew her bangs out of her face, she closed her eyes to the world around her. Her walls finally crumbled. Biting her lip to keep her sobs to herself, she squeezed her eyes shut but it did nothing to stop the tears that leaked out and ran their course over her cheeks. Her arms instinctively tightened around her waist, as if to ward off the emotional storm but doing nothing more than reminding her she was yet again, alone.

Always alone.

Or so she thought.

She was so wrapped up in her crying jag she never heard the door to the common room slide open or the tall dark figure stride in. But he saw her. In fact, he'd been looking for her for nearly two hours. She'd not been with the rest of her teammates, who were at the movies, she hadn't been down with the younger cadets, who were having a Friday night dance in the indoor gym, she hadn't been in her room painting or singing, and she'd not been on duty. He was a little worried….correction, he was REALLY worried about finding her in the dark, staring out a window.

And she was crying. Not the superficial tears he usually saw out of her, but the heart breaking tears of a woman who seemed to have lost hope.

He hated dealing with hysterical females, he really did. It wasn't as if he understood woman under normal circumstances, but add in tears and emotions, and it was a recipe for disaster. But there was one thing on his side, in that battle for understanding – this particular female only really did this when she was truly upset. He'd seen her crocodile tears, this wasn't crocodile tears. This was something that was hurting her.

Shaking his head, he quietly strode the last few feet toward her. When he heard the muffled cries she tried to hide, the fierce expression on his face softened. He said nothing, instead reaching out and with the privilege of years of friendship, turned her around and let her bury her face in his chest.

Unsure how to proceed, he merely let her cry out whatever was hurting her, his hands rubbing up and down her back in a soothing motion while he murmured unintelligible words of comfort into her hair. She was his best friend, and there was nothing he could do to help her but be there to hold her as she cried. They stayed that way for a long time, until he noticed that she was leaning against him limply. Without a word, he shifted her in his arms, looking down into her face. Her eyelids were closed; covering what he knew would be blood shot crystal blue eyes. Her nose was red, as were her cheeks. Overall, she looked horrible. It only made his resolve that much harder at finding out what had upset her so much. "Want to talk about it?"

"No," she breathed, laying her ear against his chest, her tiny, lethal hands fisting in the material of his uniform jacket.

Rolling his eyes heavenward at the impossibility of figuring out females, he shifted her in his arms again, this time reaching down to scoop her up into his arms. She let out a small gasp of shock but didn't protest when he made the trip from the window to one of the couches across the room. Once he was there, he sat down on the couch, his legs stretched out, and tucked her in his lap while he leaned back against one of the arms. It wasn't the first time they'd ever sat like this, and probably wouldn't be the last. He didn't do it often when the others were around, simply because his job, and his own feelings toward public displays of affection, kept him in check. But tonight, tonight seemed to call for the softer side of him, the side only she really was privy to.

Neither said a word as they lay there in the dark, the room illuminated only by flashes of lightning. He couldn't help the satisfied smile when he felt her shift in his lap to curl tighter against him. He realized in that moment how much he'd missed being with her like this, quietly sitting in the dark, each of them lost in their own thoughts. Ever since he'd been made Commander, there hadn't been a whole lot of time for all the activities they'd pursued when he'd been a Ranger. In fact, he barely saw any of his friends anymore outside of debriefings in the command center. It was nice to be able to sit with her, even if she still hadn't spilled about why she'd been alone and crying in a darkened room.

Sooner or later, she was going to do one of two things – she was going to spill her problem to him like she always did when they were alone or she was going to fall asleep against him and he was going to have to find a way to discreetly get her to her room without anyone noticing. He was really hoping she'd just tell him what was wrong so he didn't spend the entire night in his room worrying what was bugging her. Not only was it not good for her to be like this for the sake of the team, it wasn't healthy for her to feel like this period. Besides, it was really starting to bug him that she hadn't said anything to him yet. "You still awake?" his voice rumbled up from his chest, the sound vibrating in her ear.

"Yeah."

"Gonna tell me what's wrong?"

"Nope."

He rolled his eyes and silently cursed all females the world and galaxy over. Why was it he was surrounded by stubborn women? He just didn't get it. First his grandma and mom, then Kat and Z, and especially her. Honestly, did he just attract stubborn women or what?

"Come on, just tell me what's wrong. You weren't crying your eyes out in a cold, dark room all on your own for no reason. Besides, maybe I can help solve whatever's bugging you," he spoke, his hands moving again to soothe her. He could feel her trembling, as if the tears were going to start again.

"You can't fix my problem, and even if I didn't have one, what makes you think I just didn't want to have myself a good cry for no reason?" she argued stubbornly, but he'd already heard the hitch in her voice.

Frowning in concern, he reached for her chin and gently angled her head back so he could look into her eyes. She stared up at him, those crystal blue orbs swimming in tears, and he simply felt his breath rush out of his lungs. She'd always been beautiful, he'd freely admit it, but right in that moment, with watery eyes and a heartbroken expression, even when he was so worried about her, he couldn't help but notice how beautiful she truly was. His best friend was breath-taking. And at the moment, sadder than he'd ever known her to get. Cupping her chin with his hand, he drew her face forward, his lips brushing her forehead. Without a word, he guided her head to his shoulder and the pair of them sat in the silence again. If there was one thing he knew about her, it was despite the very public image everyone else saw, she was a very private person. He couldn't force her to talk to him, he merely had to give her his strength and support and wait for her to open up.

"I know you don't want to talk about it, and I'm sorry if I pushed, but I want you to know, I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere. When you're ready, I've got two perfectly good ears to listen to what you have to say, and you know I'm not going to judge you on it," he spoke in a steady and soothing voice, his hand rubbing her back again.

She said nothing, could say nothing, as the tears had backed up in her throat, causing her breathing to hitch again. Of all the people she knew, he was the one she trusted most to be truthful with her. He'd come a long, LONG way from that stuck up blue ranger who had a stick up his behind a few years before to the man and friend he was now. In her heart, she knew whatever she told him was safe; he wouldn't divulge her secrets. Perhaps, she sighed, that's what she needed most right now. Someone who wouldn't judge her, wouldn't tell her she was being fanciful and melodramatic. She needed someone who would listen to her fears, to let her spill them without interruptions, and who wouldn't judge them as stupid or unreal.

The real problem was she feared speaking her feelings out loud, feared that he'd tell her that they were true. She didn't want to hear anyone, particularly him, tell him no one was ever going to love her; that she wasn't worthy enough to be loved. She didn't want all the stupid things she'd done over the years to come back and haunt her in the form of her being alone for the rest of her life. "I went with Z to the dress shop today," she started softly.

He nodded and continued to rub her back, knowing she was finally ready to spill. Z and Bridge had finally set a date for their wedding, and as Z's maid of honor, Syd had been running herself ragged helping the future Mrs. Carson get everything ready. "Glad you didn't ask me to go. Bridge already dragged me to two tux shops looking for the right shade of green. I figured he'd wear red, but he said he and Z are going with the colors they were when they fell in love."

She cracked up at that and nodded. "Ally and Kat met us there. Ally's looking beautifully pregnant, by the way." They both grinned at that, shaking their heads in wonder that Jack was going to be a father in a few short months. "I finally got to see Kat's engagement ring, it's gorgeous."

He nodded. She'd been busy with an undercover case when Kat and her longtime boyfriend had finally gone for broke and bought the ring, then Kat had gone on vacation for a week, so she hadn't gotten to see the massive rock the Rangers' technical advisor was sporting on her ring finger. He frowned as he thought about what she was saying; he had the sinking suspicion he was starting to get a clearer picture of why she'd been crying but he was still a guy. He needed exact words, not just supposition.

When he didn't respond, she took a deep breath and chose her next words carefully. "We were trying on dresses, and one of the clerks recognized me, not as a Ranger but from my singing days." He wanted to ask what that had to do with it, until he realized the clerk had to have said something that set her off. Instead of speaking he hugged her a little tighter, letting her know she could continue when she was ready. "She started making all these cracks to one of the other clerks in the store, about how she knew being rich and famous couldn't buy love and happiness, about how I hadn't dated in eons because I must have been a pretty ugly person on the inside for men to avoid me, and that I was on all the un-datable celebrity lists. And how guys were probably afraid to date me because of my genetic powers."

His jaw dropped open as she sobbed out the last part, his mind flashing back briefly to their rookie year as Rangers when he'd called them all freaks. He just couldn't understand how the woman he was holding, the one who was ALWAYS confident, always self assured and always helping others believe in themselves could let some nitwit sales clerk completely break down her walls till they shattered.

"She's right, Sky!" she wept into his chest. "No one loves me; no one's ever going to love me!"

Horrified, he reached for her arms and jerked her into a sitting position on his lap, his navy blue eyes going hard as he stared into her face, which was scrunched up and red as she continued to cry. "Syd…."

"All my friends are getting married, starting families, moving on with their lives! And I'm standing still! I don't date, I don't socialize anymore! I've let SPD become my life and it's all because I know no one's going to ever want me!"

"Syd, come on, that's not true," he started reaching out to her in the only real way he knew would get through to her. His own experience.

"It is too. When we were fighting Gruumm and his goons, I didn't give it much thought, because hey, we were Rangers and we were fighting to make sure there was going to be an Earth. It wasn't until after, and then everyone started drifting off, doing their own thing. I've had so many failed relationships the last year and a half it's not even funny."

Drawing in a deep breath, Sky attempted to word his comments carefully. "Having a life outside of SPD is hard, no one understands that better than me," he started, angling his head so he could look into her downcast eyes. "Our friends have been lucky enough to find people who understand that SPD and the job have to come first, because we are Earth's last and best line of defense. But that duty, it makes it impossible to be with someone who doesn't understand."

"I just want someone to love me!" she cried out angrily, her head snapping up. "Is that such a bad thing to ask for?"

"No, no it's not. We all want someone to love us, the real us; it hurts like hell when it seems like no one seems to be getting that message," he told her honestly. "You're human; you're going to feel that way. As long as you don't dwell on it so much that it ruins your life, then yeah, it's okay to feel that way. As for what that woman said today, I don't have the slightest clue why you let her get to you. Sydney, you are a beautiful, intelligent, compassionate woman who has a lot going for her. Any man in his right mind would be lucky to have you, but you just haven't found the right one yet. Give it time. You're not even twenty-one yet, you have your whole life ahead of you."

"I don't want to wait," she mumbled, drawing an eye roll from Sky.

"Would you stop with the pity party already," he grumbled, causing her to jerk away from him, shock settling over her features.

"Excuse me? Pity party?" she uttered horrifically, staring at the one person she thought had understood.

Closing his eyes, Sky prayed for patience. He had to get her out of her funk, and if pissing her off was going to do it, he'd risk bodily harm to do so. "Yes, pity party. You aren't the only one who feels like this."

His jaw dropped open when she reached out and slapped him. The cracking sound of her palm against his cheek echoed in the dark around them. "You cold-hearted, son-of-a-bit…"

"Sydney, do not finish that sentence!" he growled, working his jaw as he carefully rubbed his own hand against the skin she'd just bruised.

"I thought you'd understand, for once, I thought I could count on you to understand. Apparently I was incredibly wrong. You don't get it, because you're married to SPD. Always have been, always will be. I hope to God you end up lonely and alone!" she hissed at him before pushing up out of his lap and rushing for the door.

She almost made it through the common room doors before his fingers locked around her slender wrist, the force of him yanking on her arm spinning her around and into his arms. Before either of them could think, they were pressed closed together. "Let me go," she furiously snarled.

"No."

"Schuyler Tate, so help me, if you don't let me go, I'm going to march my ass to the command center and file a complaint."

Every moment she struggled, it caused her body to unintentionally rub against his. Sky had to bite back a groan, feeling his body respond to hers in ways he did NOT want to think about. Staring down into her angry face, he drew in a shallow breath. Jesus, now was not the time to finally realize what he just had. She was mad at him, furious to the point that if she could, she'd be reaching for her iron pellets and knocking him on his ass.

When in the hell had his friendship with her gone past a normal friendship? Yes, she was attractive, hadn't he already admitted to finding her beautiful? But God, right now, he was fighting the urge to lean down and kiss her senseless. When he'd seen her tear-stained face earlier it had arrowed straight through his heart. He took a deep breath and keeping her arms pinned to her sides, he leaned his head down so that their faces were less than an inch apart. Syd was trembling from head to toe, vibrating with anger and something more, something he was slowly realizing was desire; one that matched his own.

For once in his life, Sky acted without thinking, closing the gap between them. Gently, so gently, he nudged her head back with his own, his lips feathering hers. He took it as slow as he could, keeping a firm grip on the choke chain he'd placed around his desire. He didn't want to scare her, but he couldn't stop. He had to kiss the sadness from her face, erase it from her heart. She wanted someone to love her, and while he wouldn't call it love, he knew he felt about her like he'd felt about no one else. For once, he had to show her.

The second he pulled back from her to give them both room to breath, Syd stopped struggling and stared at him, tears filling her eyes again before she shut them. "Sky…" she gasped, her tongue peaking out to wet her suddenly dry lips.

"You honestly have no idea, do you?" he ground out, moving his hands down her arms to her hips, pulling her tighter against him. He watched, even with her eyes closed, as the awareness of what he was talking about swept across her face. She couldn't mistake his feelings with his arousal pressing hard against her soft belly. Not waiting for an answer, he leaned down and feathered kisses at the corners of her lips, across her cheeks, on her eyelids, before finally coming to her lips. He grinned when she whimpered, and then leaned in to touch the seam of her lips with his tongue. Instantly, her lips opened and allowed him access to the cavern of her mouth.

The storm outside continued to rage on, illuminating the room with nearly continuous blasts of lightning as the storm between them started to heat up as well, only this time it was in passion and not anger. Sky's fingers tightened against her hips while he slanted his mouth against hers. He barely noticed she'd slipped her arms up and around his neck until he backed her up to the wall behind them, pressing her between him and the flat surface. He groaned when suddenly her legs came up, locking around his waist while her arms viced around his neck. "Sky!" she chirped when he moved his kisses down her throat to her collarbone, nudging the straps of her pink tank top out of the way so he could have access to the soft skin.

Syd purred as his lips trailed wet kisses across her skin, her legs flexing around his hips as she strained for contact. Part of her was at a loss for words at the fact that here she was, pinned to the wall, acting so wantonly, with SKY of all people. But the other part of her was sobbing Thank God as he had his way with her. She had freely admitted once to Z that she thought he was hotter than hell, but because of his attitude, she'd never given thought to being with him as more than friends.

While Sky attacked the underside of her chin, Syd sifted her fingers through the short strands of his hair, holding him to her. Her back arched in invitation, but he only kissed his way back up to her lips. Passion seemed to shimmer and calm as he caught her mouth with his. The urgency had died down, leaving the feelings arching between them gentler than they were mere moments before. And then it happened. While their tongues dueled with each other, twin beeps sounded. "Fuck," Sky grumbled, tearing his lips from hers before he rested his head on her shoulder while she buried her face in his chest. "They have horrible timing."

Syd giggled and reached for his communicator for him, holding it up. "Go ahead," she told him, watching him take the device and bring it to his mouth.

"Go for Tate."

"Commander, Rangers Carson and Delgado just called in an armed robbery in progress down near the New Tech City Bank headquarters," Kat's voice drifted over the communication. "I called Sydney, but she hasn't responded."

"I'm right here, Kat. Tell Z and Bridge I'm on my way," she spoke up, looking apologetically up into Sky's face.

"I'm on my way up," Sky told Kat before closing his communicator.

With a sigh, they pulled apart, both of their minds turning quickly to Ranger business, leaving no room for either to be embarrassed. Syd reached for her morpher, took a deep breath to prepare herself, and found Sky reaching out to grab her hand. "Sky?"

He licked his lips and stared into her eyes. "Do something for me?"

"What?"

"Go out with me tomorrow?"

Syd looked surprised. "Like a date?"

"Yes. On a date. You, me, no morphers, no communicators. Dinner, a movie, possibly a walk in the park."

The Pink Ranger looked contemplative for a moment, before she took a step toward him, leaning up. He smiled when she kissed him softly. "What time do you want me ready?"

"Six."

"I'll meet you downstairs then." She watched him grin at her before she turned and raised her morpher. "SPD EMERGENCY!"