Disclaimer: I don't own the Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue. Any songs used in this fic are property of Dido.

Author's Note: WARNING!!! This fic portrays what happens after the death of a Ranger. If you don't usually like these types of stories, please don't read.

At The End of Time

By: Jennifer Collins

"The Aquabase will be shut down for today. You can all feel free to leave Mariner Bay for the night, if that's what you will. I think we all need time....." Dana remembered her father's words very clearly. It was just yesterday when the captain had made his speech, right after the memorial service. It's not like it was his decision alone, the whole staff and crew had agreed that it would be best for everyone at Lightspeed Rescue to take some time off. Like that would help.

Dana remembered how Miss Fairweather had explained to everyone how security for that day would work, just in case a monster attacked at the wrong moment. She remembered all the questions...what was wrong with these people? All of them were just going about their lives. How could they when there was someone missing? Someone who'd never ask Miss F. about security again.....someone who didn't have to worry about monsters attacking.......

Dana let out a sob. She wiped the tears away from her face with her sleeve. "I think we all need time..." That one line rang repeatedly in her head. "Time...."

"Time," Dana whispered. She closed her eyes. "Time. But how does that help?" She raised her eyes to the ceiling. "Why can't we just have a little more time? Time! It doesn't matter!" She shrieked. "Oh, Carter. Why do we need time when you don't have any left?" Dana threw herself down on her bed and began to weep. Her sobs echoed throughout the empty Aquabase.

My lover's gone,
His boots no longer by my door
He left at dawn

Dana remembered how she waited for him last Friday. She knew he'd come to meet her by the lake, she knew it. She'd had it all planned out. The red-checkered picnic blanket, the seafood salad, the thirteen candles, one for every month that they'd known each other. But he didn't come. Dana's whole body shook as she recalled the eerie feeling she'd had that something was wrong. It was like a sixth sense. She'd had her wrist communicator to her lips, ready to call him when the tears had started to fall....

And as I slept I felt him go,
Returns no more. I will not watch the ocean.
My lover's gone, no earthly ships will ever
Bring him home again, bring him home again.

Dana straightened up as she heard footsteps coming down the deserted hallway. Seconds later, Chad and Kelsey were standing in her doorway.

Kelsey ran to her and threw her arms around her. "Hey, sweetie."

Dana sniffled. "Hi. What's up? I thought you guys left hours ago."

"We were worried about you," Chad answered. "So, how are you doing?"

Dana glared at him. "How am I supposed to be doing?" she snapped.

Kelsey's arms tightened around her. "It's okay," she said. "Why don't you come with us now? It might do you some good. We're meeting Joel for dinner."

Dana shook her head. She tried to swallow the lump in her throat. "I don't think so. I'm not really hungry."

"You could just come with us anyway," Chad insisted. "We'll get Ryan and your dad. Come on, we'll all be together."

"No! We won't all be together! How can you say that?" Dana yelled.

"I'm sorry," Chad began.

"He didn't mean it that way," Kelsey said.

Dana fought to pull herself together. "I know," she said. She looked at Chad, then Kelsey. "Look, why don't you guys just go without me? I just need a little more time." The tears spilled over her cheeks as she said the words.

"Okay," Kelsey whispered, fighting back her own tears. She embraced Dana fiercely, and after a moment she felt Chad's strong arms encircle the both of them. The three stayed like that for awhile, until Kelsey and Chad stood up. "We'll see you later," Chad said quietly.

Dana nodded. "Okay."


Hours later, Dana found herself wandering down the halls of the Aquabase. It was so strange to see all the equipment out in the open with no one buzzing about. Over her eighteen years, she'd never seen the Aquabase even remotely quiet, never mind abandoned. It was like all activity had stopped when his activity ended. With that thought, Dana realized that she'd never felt more lonely than she did now, walking aimlessly around what she'd come to call home, without the connection.

That's what's missing, she realized. She'd never thought about it before, but there'd been a connection. She could feel the others; Joel, Kelsey, Chad, and Ryan. Carter had been there too, but he'd left the moment she'd realized that he wasn't going to show up for their date. Now when she reached out for him, there was nothing there. The realization brought Dana to her knees in uncontrollable sobs. She held herself tightly for awhile, desperately grasping for anything she could think of that would bring a smile to her face. With horror, Dana found that she couldn't think of a single memory of Carter. No! She yelled to herself. How could you forget him? Stop it!

Dana looked up. She sucked in a painful shuddering breath as she realized that she was standing right in front of Carter's quarters. His room! She thought. There are lots of things to remind me of him in there!

Gathering all her strength, Dana pushed her hair away from her tear-stained face and slowly opened the door. She stood in the doorway for a moment, cautiously peering in. The room was half-set in the dark, with the only light coming from the one window and reflecting off the mirror that sat above the dresser. Dana's hands shook as she closed the door. I'm not ready for this, she thought.

She was about to reopen the door when something caught her eye. Dana walked the few steps to the dresser and picked it up. It was a small photo of herself with Carter. A sad smile tugged at her lips as she wistfully remembered the day the picture was taken. It was the first time he'd kissed her. Dana put her fingers to her lips as the memories flooded her mind. She remembered how nervous he'd been when he asked her out, and how her heart had pounded when she'd answered "yes." Joel had teased the new couple affectionately and he'd made them pose for a picture.

Dana closed her eyes. What had seemed like just yesterday a few seconds ago now seemed so far away. When she opened her eyes they were once again tearful, but not so much so that she couldn't see Carter's bright smile in the picture, and the lock of light-brown hair that always seemed to fall in his eyes. The Dana in the picture looked totally different, almost like a stranger. She was gazing adoringly into Carter's laughing eyes and anyone could see that she was perfectly content with being in his arms.

With a strangled cry, Dana threw the photo down. She ran the short distance to Carter's bed and wrapped the warm, red comforter around her already trembling shoulders. The realization hit her hard that Carter would never laugh again, never smile, never cry like she was doing now. All these things; the picture, the fireman's badge, the small teddy-bear she'd given him for his birthday, the Lightspeed morpher, the red sweatshirt that was left carelessly on the floor; none of them mattered now. None of them meant anything because his time had run out.

My lover's gone. I know that kiss will be
My last, no more his song. The tune upon his
Lips has passed. I sing alone, while I watch the ocean

Dana felt a chill, and she brought the blanket closer to herself. It still smelled like him, and her heart tore to pieces as her head hit the pillow he'd slept on every night for the past year. She'd thought she couldn't cry any more, but the sobs came more freely now. The tears stung at her eyes and the hurt was unbearable. Knowing that she was in a room full of him, crying on the inside and the outside, but that he couldn't hear her brought more pain than she'd ever known.

"Carter," she whispered. "Why? Why can't you just come back? Why'd they have to take you away from me? Why can't you just come back?"

My lover's gone, no earthly ships will ever
Bring him home again, bring him home again.

Dana could hear her sobs echoing down the empty hallway. Time, she thought. That's what her father had said, she just needed a little more time. But there was no time. No more time. Time is a remedy that heals all wounds. What a load of crap that was. Whoever had said that obviously didn't know. Couldn't understand that her heart had been ripped from her and that there wasn't enough time for it to be replaced. No, nobody could take Carter's place. Never. Dana's eyes snapped open. I have to get out of here, she thought. She suddenly felt sick being in Carter's bed, in his room, touching the things he'd touched barely two weeks before. "No!" She yelled. She threw the comforter to the floor and leapt up from the bed. She whirled around in circles, searching for somewhere to go, but there was nowhere. Feeling trapped, she fell to her knees once again, collapsing in a heap of unheard sobs in the middle of the red carpeted floor.

I didn't hear you leave.
I wonder how am I still here.
And I don't want to move a thing,
It might change my memory.


Dana's head snapped up at the sound of the all-too-familiar voice. It can't be....

"Sweet, sweet Dana. You're not alone. I hear you."

Dana turned rapidly around, her heart pounding in her ears. "Carter!" She cried. She watched as he slowly made his way to her, looking more radiant than ever before. He stopped once he was standing directly in front of her, then he knelt down. "Yes, Dana. I'm here." He reached for her, but she leaned just out of his grasp.

"But....how can it be possible? Why?" She asked, not trusting herself enough to believe the sight before her that she so desperately wanted to believe.

"I couldn't leave you......not without seeing you again, our date...."

Oh I am what I am, I'll do what I want
But I can't hide, and I won't go.
I won't sleep. I can't breathe
Until you're resting here with me,
And I won't leave, I can't hide.
I cannot be until you're resting here with me.

Dana turned away from him. "Oh, Carter."

Carter reached for her again. "Dana? What's wrong?"

Dana shook her head. "No, Carter. You can't touch me. I'm sorry."

"Why not? Dana, I can't.......um....."

"I know, Carter. You can't stay. It's okay, I know." Dana bit her lip to keep from crying out.

"Dana, please." Now Carter was the one with tears in his eyes. "I need to be with you."

Dana covered her face. "What's the matter with me? I must be seeing things."

Carter put a hand on her shoulder. "You're not seeing things, I promise. I'm really here."

Dana leaned into him, unable to refuse his longing and innocence. She felt a little surprised that he felt real. That she could touch him and it was as if nothing had changed, that he was really here to stay and that he wouldn't be forced to leave her. Dana relaxed into his embrace and took in his sweet scent, the same scent that she'd recognized in his blanket. She wanted to stay here forever, in his arms, just the two of them.

I don't want to call my friends
'Cause they might wake me from this dream
And I can't leave this bed, risk forgetting
All that's been.

She leaned against his chest and for the first time that day, her tears weren't filled with pain and hurt, when she felt his heart beating out her name. She slipped a hand under his shirt and was relieved to find that his skin was warm.

Oh I am what I am. I'll do what I want,
But I can't hide, and I won't go. I won't sleep.
I can't breathe until you're resting here with me,
And I won't leave. I can't hide.
I cannot be until you're resting here

Dana could feel Carter shivering in her arms. She led him over to the bed, his bed, and covered him with the comforter. Carter smiled. "Thanks," he said. He paused for a moment. "Dana, um, when you told me to meet you last week......what were you going to say? I-I have to know."

Dana put her hand over his. "I was going to say that it doesn't matter what Ryan thinks," she said quietly. "That you can still be a friend to him and that we'll find a way to be together..."

Carter wiped at his wet cheek and squeezed his eyes shut. "I thought you were going to say something like that. I saw. The picnic and the candles, I saw them all. You did all that for me."

Dana tilted his chin up towards herself. "Because I love you."

Carter leaned into her. "I love you too, Dana." He took a deep breath. "It's not fair," he sobbed. Dana pulled him as close to her as they could possibly get and his tears joined her own.

I won't go, and I won't sleep.
I can't breathe until you're resting here with me,
And I won't leave. I can't hide.
I cannot be until you're resting here with me.

Carter leaned down and kissed her. Dana eagerly received his kiss, the kiss she'd been longing to taste again for almost two weeks. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and Dana wondered how long it would be before she could hold him like this again.

Oh I am what I am. I'll do what I want,
But I can't hide, and I won't go.
I won't sleep. I can't breathe
Until you're resting here with me,
And I won't leave. I can't hide.
I cannot be until you're resting here

All the rest of the world faded away as they kissed, holding on to each other like they always should, like it always could have been, and it seemed as though they were the only two in an existance all their own, where body and soul, life and death, reality and time were all the same.

I won't go. I won't sleep.
I can't breathe until you're resting here with me,
And I won't leave. I can't hide.

Carter looked at his beautiful Dana, wanting to remember every detail of her face for all his journey into eternity. He could feel himself slipping away from her world in this reality. A world where he no longer existed as she did. "Close your eyes," he whispered painfully.

"No, I can't," Dana cried.

"Why not?" he asked, although he already knew the answer.

"Because you won't be here when I open them." Her voice shook as she spoke the words she hated.

Carter's sobs sounded into the night with Dana's as he once again thought on how unfair it was that he wouldn't get to stand beside Dana on her wedding day. He took her hand and raised it to his lips, wanting to savor the taste of her skin forever. "It wasn't supposed to be like this," he said quietly.

"Don't......" She whispered.

Carter slowly leaned toward her.

"No," she cried. "I need time. I just need more time. Please, there isn't enough time to-"

"Sssshhh." Carter's lips met hers one last time in a sweet goodbye kiss. Dana closed her eyes and she could sense that he did too. The only difference was that she would open them eventually and he wouldn't. Ignoring the thought, she opened her mouth to his and clung to him. I'll wait for you, their minds spoke together.

I cannot be....

All was silent when Dana's eyes finally opened. Not a soul was on the Aquabase at the time, not even Carter's. The presence that she'd felt so strongly in the room was gone.

Until you're resting here with me

And she was once again alone.