I only recently got back into this fandom, and was so amazed that with the number of fans that Kids Incorporated had back in the day, that there are so few fanfictions written about them. And this coupling was the most pronounced on the show (even if it was never acknowledged). Of course, there are the shippers that prefer Stacy/Rhasaan, but this is the couple I like. This story takes place in August 2000, and in this AU, the band dissolved after Ryan left, so there wasn't anything after Season 5.
Disclaimer: I do not own Kids Incorporated. If I did, it wouldn't have ended.
How Will I know?
She stared at her surroundings with a slight trepidation. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all...
Stacy hadn't been home in almost six years. Too busy with college, and now work, but she'd forced herself to take time off for this. It was her father's fiftieth birthday, and he'd wanted his family there with him. So she'd come back from NYC, and Renee had cut her book signing tour short, and home they'd come.
But now, the party was over, and they both had time to spare. Stacy had told her boss that she was taking the whole month, since she'd just finished up the last of her submissions for the new fall line, and her boss had granted her the time.
Renee's publisher wasn't expecting her next book yet, so Stacy knew the only problem there was the tour... which Renee had promised to finish in September.
And here she stood in a parking lot, just enjoying the feelings threatening to overwhelm her. It was a small rush of nostalgia, but a powerful one. She could almost hear the music again.
In their younger days, Stacy and Renee had been members of a very popular neighborhood band... One that had been as much a part of them as breathing sometimes. They had performed at The P*lace, a soda shop, which had once been called The Palace, and been a showcase for some of the most memorable names of its time. And now...
She glanced up. Someone was standing behind the bar, dishing out sundaes, and her little brother was laughing at the man's jokes. It brought back fond memories. She and Renee had decided the night before to come here, to reminisce, and she was waiting for her sister now, because she didn't think she could handle going in on her own.
"Stace? Why are you just standing there?" Renee's voice broke through her memory, and she turned to look at the other girl, who was grinning at her. She knew Renee understood though. The P*lace had been their home away from home for so long that it was almost intimidating to them now.
Suddenly, the man behind the soda counter looked up, and stared at them. They couldn't believe their eyes.
They raced for the front door, and rushed inside, as the man smiled at them. "Hey, don't I know you?" he joked, as they ran to hug him.
"Oh my god! What are you doing here?" Stacy asked, laughing as he picked her up and swung her around.
"Yeah," Renee added, "What happened to Riley?"
Mickey just motioned for them to sit down, still smiling. "He finally did it! He invented something a few years ago that the whole world went crazy for, and since I was always around, he hired me to take over for him. Then I bought out the owner, so now I am the owner."
The two girls stared in amazement. Riley had finally invented something that worked? And Mickey, who had been the leader of their group when they'd first started out, had bought The P*lace? It was like some strange dream.
"So, how long are you gals in town for?" he asked, moving back behind the bar.
"A few weeks," Stacy replied, picking up a menu. She opened it and smiled. The food hadn't changed much since she'd left. There were still ice cream names on the list that she remembered from her childhood... including Rocky Rhasaan Ripple. The flavor that had been named for her best friend.
Suddenly, she felt an ache. She hadn't thought about Rhasaan, or many of the others, in so long. She wondered what they were doing nowadays.
Renee must have been on the same wavelength, because she asked Mickey if he'd heard from any of the others recently. The girls knew he had written to Gloria a few times after he'd moved away, and he nodded, as he mentioned that they still kept in touch. And then, he pulled something out from under the counter. It was a list of all their names, with addresses.
"Apparently, Riley was the only one who kept in touch with all of us," Renee laughed, as she quickly read down the list. Stacy barely heard. Her eyes had fallen on the paper, and one name had caught her eyes. Ryan. Her first crush.
No-one knew, of course. She'd been twelve years old for crying out loud. But he'd always been so kind to her, and she'd hero worshiped him. Everyone had just taken it as her treating him like a big brother, which she'd laughed about, almost as much as everyone else had. Of course, it had hurt when he'd laughed as well, but sometimes she remembered seeing something... or maybe it was just her imagination. That had been 14 years ago. Too long of a time to remember so clearly.
She forced herself to look up as Mickey came back to the counter. He smiled at her, and handed her a video. She frowned, confused.
"Apparently, Riley also kept a recording of every song we ever performed," he said. "This is just the first one."
"Oooh!" Renee squealed. "Can we borrow them? It'll be so fun to see what we looked like back then."
Mickey laughed. "Yeah, just make sure you bring them back. Those are the only copies."
That night, the girls were in Renee's old room, watching the videos. They couldn't help giggling over some of the things they had worn.
"Who thought red and purple went together?" Stacy groaned, as she saw her performance outfit.
"I think we all did, back then," Renee snickered. Then she sighed. "It was such a happy time, wasn't it?"
Then they both froze, as they saw Mickey on stage in his dreadlocked wig, singing 'Heavy Metal Madness'. "He recorded this!" Stacy shrieked. "This was the worst idea Mickey ever had!"
They joked through the next few songs, but stopped again, as they watched themselves glaring at each other behind Mickey.
"I remember this," Renee said, suddenly quiet. "Isn't this the time when we almost tore the band apart?"
Stacy nodded. "Yeah, they weren't all such happy times."
They continued to watch, as the video played on. They saw themselves performing with Siedah Garret, and at the festival. Then it was their first performance after Mickey had moved away. She remembered this so well. They had argued about replacing him, but in the end it had all worked out. Stacy had to bite back a gasp, as she saw the video of a darkened stage. When had this happened?
Then she saw Ryan moving across the stage, reverently touching the instruments. "So that was what changed The Kid's mind," Renee said. "I always wondered what made Rhasaan give him a chance."
The videos kept going. They watched themselves mature, and continued to critique their performances, but Stacy's gaze kept returning to Ryan. Then she saw it again. That small flash of... something, that she'd thought she'd imagined. She and Ryan were onstage, singing "Call Me", and he'd turned to look at her. And his eyes had lit up.
"Wow," Renee said, glancing at her sister. "Seems like someone had a bit of a crush."
Stacy's head jerked up, and she stared. "What?"
"You can't see it? Ryan looks like he had a bit of a crush on you."
Stacy stared at the screen. Had he really liked her? "No, I'm sure he was just acting out the song. We did a lot of that, if you remember. He sang some really romantic songs with you and Gloria too."
Renee shook her head. "Stace, I'd remember if he looked at me like that. We were pretty close after all, just like you and Rhasaan."
"Not now though," Stacy sighed. "I miss them. All of them."
"Well, we have their addresses, and phone numbers. Why don't we call them up, see if any of them would like to come back for a visit."
Stacy jumped up. "Like a reunion?"
As the videos continued to play, the two girls planned what they wanted to do. They had three whole weeks of free time, and they were going to do this right. They divided up the list of former bandmates, and decided to call them all the next day. They would plan the reunion for the last weekend before they had to leave, and they hoped that everyone could make it.
Before they had finished planning, however, Stacy heard the intro to a very familiar tune, and she looked up to see herself and Devyn, sitting on the stage. Her heart skipped a beat, as Ryan came and sat down in between them. She watched him singing to her, and then Devyn. The look on his face changed as he switched between them. As he looked at the younger girl, he seemed so... brotherly. But she felt her face redden, as she saw the heat in his eyes as he looked at her.
Renee, watching her sister blush, smirked. "You really couldn't see it?" she asked.
Stacy shook her head. "I had a lot on my mind back then. You and Rhasaan had both just left, Connie and Devyn were fighting, Richie fell in love, and we had to deal with Tommy..."
"Yeah, the guitarist in the wheelchair, I remember you mentioning that. Boy, you had it tough that year. Why didn't you tell me this then?"
Stacy sighed. "Because you sounded so happy every time you called. I just didn't want to burden you with our problems, when you couldn't do anything about it."
Renee opened her arms, and hugged her little sister. She'd had the feeling at the time that something was going on, but hadn't been able to do anything about it, being in England. 'But maybe I can do something about this,' she thought to herself.