Disclaimer; I still don't own Power Rangers
A/N: This is the night before and morning of the episode 'Whispering Voices'. There's just something about Chip and the toliet plunger ya know? Also "Warning" references underage drinking...
"Chip," Andy said when he came in, "how was the wedding?"
Chip glanced in the living room, and slumped into an empty arm chair, "Never again," he said, kicking off his shoes.
"What?" Andy asked.
"I am never going to a wedding with Vida again," Chip said, running a hand through his short hair. "Especially when her mom isn't there."
"Oh dear," Andy said, covering a smile, "what happened?"
"Before or after they started serving wine?" Chip asked, unclipping his tie and untying his cape. "Before, she wouldn't stop complaining, the music, the food, the dancing, she didn't like any of it. Once she started sneaking wine, she decided to do something about what she hated. At first, she just made me dance, which was awkward yet hilarious. Once she got bored with that, she kicked the DJ off the tables and took over. By the time Maddie and I got her out of there, she'd managed to piss off the bride's whole family."
"Oh," Andy said, laughing softly, "What did Charlie say?"
"He avoided me," Chip replied, "but the best man asked me if we did birthday parties. He was, apparently, drunk enough to find it all very entertaining." He slumped for a moment longer, then stood up, "I need to get out of this suit. I'm not hungry, so I'll probably just go straight to bed."
"Sleep well," Andy said and kissed his cheek.
Chip carried his things upstairs and barred himself in his room. Methodically, he undressed, pulled on a pair of bright green sleep pants with yellow rubber ducks on it, hung up his suite and draped his cape over his desk chair. Then he threw himself onto his bed and let his mind replay the last half hour of the wedding. Madison had led the DJ and a few guests to retake the tables so that some slow, romantic music could be played, and Vida had retreated, following Chip outside for some fresh air. They were barely outside the security light when Vida had stopped him, pushed him up against a conveniently parked car and kissed him.
He knew she was a friendly drunk, could remember distinctly their forays into alcohol as teenagers. He had never pegged her as the type to ram someone up against a car, much less shove her tongue down someone's throat. Not to mention her hands.
Madison's timely arrival had made them pull apart and now, it left Chip even more confused than he had been twelve hours ago. He had thought he was ok with Xander, and his not-so-straight feelings, until Nick had started poking at those feelings. He never pictured Vida as available, same as Madison. Not until last night. His eyes drifted shut and he let sleep pull him into dreams.
They were in the woods, him and Vida. They'd been sparring, when Vida suddenly trapped his arm. "You'll have to choose one day, Chip. You can't be in love with both of us."
Chip jerked awake to the sound of his alarm and then groaned softly. The dream slid into his mind and he sat up, Why me? He thought, looking around his room, why me? He turned off his alarm and got up, getting his things together and heading for the bathroom, smirking at Nicole's shriek of outrage when he beat her to it.
Showered and dressed, Chip packed his backpack, put his Rock Porium shirt on top and headed downstairs. Aunt Andy was making breakfast when he entered the kitchen, "I swear," she said, smiling at him, "you and Nicole are more like siblings than cousins."
Chip smiled as he opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of apple juice, "It's not my fault she's slow in the mornings." He shut the fridge and slid around his aunt to the pantry.
"Are you going to eat breakfast?" Andy asked.
"No," Chip replied, grabbing a handful of granola bars and dropping them in his bag, "I'll just take a Pop Tart," he slid a package of the breakfast pastry and added it to his bag. He kissed Andy's cheek, "It's pay day, and Madison owes me lunch. I have to go to the bookstore before work."
"Be careful," Andy replied, "I think Kara and I are going to take the troops to Water World today."
Chip sucked air between his teeth, "Man, I wish I didn't have to work, I'd go with. Be nice to get away from Briarwood for a while."
"Yes," Andy agreed, "but you do, so be careful. I don't want to come home and find that you've been turned into a bug or something because of the monsters."
Chip grinned, "Don't worry, I'll steer clear of the monsters. That's the Power Rangers' job." He pressed a kiss to Mandy's forehead and ruffled Tyler's hair on his way past the kitchen table.
Nicole was in the hallway, waiting for him. "Cassie had another nightmare," she whispered, "just like the others. She still insists there's something in her room at night."
Chip nodded, "Look, I have an idea. I need you to keep an eye on things tonight." He eyed her for a moment, "Cassie likes crocodiles, right?"
"Right," Nicole replied.
"Then leave everything to me," Chip said. He let himself out of the house and headed, not for the bookstore, but for the toy store. He walked back out with a large and rather ugly crocodile. Glancing at his watch, he realized he didn't have time to go to Rootcore and get back for work. Looking at the crocodile, he grinned, because it wasn't so much that he needed an excuse as that he liked having fun.
Vida was on the tables again, and Xander on the register, while Madison was stocking CDs. She'd put the CD boxes out where she could both keep an eye on them and reach them easy. "Hey Chip," Xander said, "What's with the alligator?"
"Alligator," Chip said, his mind spinning a story to cover his real plans, "This is no alligator, my good man. This is a crocodile, and a fearsome one at that." He held it up, "I found him all alone and sad because he had nothing to protect and I told him I would help." He put the crocodile on the floor, "For now, he can guard the store while I get ready to go on shift."
He dove into the back room and pulled on his work shirt, glancing around, he spotted the new plunger and the paper hat one of the children had given him. He fitted the hat on his head and leaped back out onto the main floor. Xander glanced at him, and sighed, "What are you doing now?"
Chip waved the plunger, "I'm going to help my friend the crocodile defend the store!"