Title: "Personal Space"
A One-Shot
Written by: Shawn

Summary: Despite their unresolved personal issues, Syd rushes to
find Sky after learning of a S.P.D mission tragedy.

Rated: R
Category: Drama/Romance
Timeline/Spoilers: Everything up to and including the S.P.D finale is
canon, but after that except for the Operation Overdrive team-up is
my AU- This story takes place 3 years after that.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Power Rangers S.P.D. characters or
settings. Disney owns it all. I won't make any money off this story.

Authors Notes 1: During the Operation Overdrive team-up episode it
is learned that at S.P.D. Birdie retires, Cruger becomes the new
Supreme Commander at S.P.D. HQ, and Sky becomes Earth's S.P.D.
Commander

Authors Notes 2: Sky and Syd's relationship post S.P.D finale is
explained in the story.

Authors notes 3: As with any organization, S.P.D has changed some
over the years.

Dedicated to: My beloved sister, Kim aka Pink-Green-White- 4Ever

~~~~~~

"It is nonsense says reason ~ It is misfortune says calculation ~ It
is nothing but pain says fear ~ It is hopeless says insight ~ It is
ridiculous says pride ~ It is careless says caution ~ It is
impossible says experience ~ It is what it is says love"
~~ unknown author

~~~~~~

7700 Valiant Drive
Apartment Building
10th floor
Tuesday, April 9, 2028 9:30 PM
New Tech City

Seated behind the small mahogany desk in his modest living room, Sky
rubbed his tired eyes while typing on his Dell XPS-4000 laptop. The 3-
D holographic screen's amber glow bothered his vision the longer it
took him to write the three condolence letters to the families of his
deceased agents after today's tragic event. Of all the tasks asked of
him as the Delta Base Commander, this particular one... the first
time he's had to under his command, were the most gut-wrenching.

Nonetheless, he persevered forward.

'From the official office of S.P.D. Earth: Delta Base Commander
Schuyler Tate
Tuesday, April 9, 2028

Dear Mr and Mrs. Saunders,

On behalf of the brave men and women who serve and protect here at
S.P.D Earth, I wish to convey my deepest sympathy to you upon the
death of your daughter, Cassidy Beth Saunders.

During Agent Saunders two years of S.P.D service, she distinguished
herself among her peers and superiors by performing her duties with
the utmost professionalism, courage, intelligence, and moral
character. I can personally attest to her high-quality performance
and the wonderful camaraderie she shared with her fellow agents. She
was a valued member of my team, and you can be justly proud of her
contributions. She saved lives on a daily basis, and had earned the
respect and admiration of everyone here at S.P.D Earth.

I extend my deepest condolences to you and your family during your
time of grieving. I hope that time and memories will help lessen the
burden of your sorrow, and that you may draw some measure of comfort
knowing that others care and share your loss.

Sincerely,

Schuyler Tate
Commander, Delta Base'

Sighing as he reclined back in his office chair, Sky ran his hand
over his jaw, noting the evening stubble. His wrist burned when the
bruise warping the skin tone there awakened. In the absolute dark of
his apartment he felt crippled by the tomb-like silence surrounding
him. A shot glass full of Vodka sat within arms reach, having never
been touched. At least not yet.

Sky was exhausted after one of the toughest days of his entire life
and a grueling, three-hour debriefing with his superiors. Having been
officially absolved of any wrongdoing in his handling of today's
hostage situation, that had no bearing on the fiery guilt eating his
soul
piece by piece. Cassidy Saunders, Jonathon Rhys, and Paul
Manchester died today under his watch. C-squad agents assigned to
provide lethal force should the hostage negotiations fail. And fail
they did...

He felt as if he sent them to their deaths as surely as if he'd
pulled the trigger himself.

Shutting his eyes to block out the pain, his head bowed, cradled in
his hands. Brooding minus tears were a way of life he'd perfected
long ago, so tonight resembled a home coming. He was starving after
such a long, hard day. He was tired beyond words, his sore body
aching, and as lonely as he had ever been. For someone who'd lived a
solitary life like he had, that was saying a awful lot.

Bridge, Z, and Jack all left messages for him on his answering
machine. No doubt the former Red Ranger had been watching the news
reports covering today's hostage crisis. He hadn't listened to a
single one yet, sure that they would be filled with caring, well
wishes, and the offer of a non-judgmental ear if he needed to talk.
But he didn't need to talk. Didn't want to. Had nothing to say to
anyone.


Even less than that.

Four months ago began his descent and today was the ultimate
culmination. Four months ago almost to the day Sydney walked out of
his life claiming he just couldn't share enough of it with her. When
he thought he had given her as much as he was capable of giving...
when finally after years they'd given in to the fire between them...
what he had to offer simply wasn't enough.

On rainy nights like these he'd become accustomed to not spending
them alone. When he walked through the doors to his modest apartment,
or Syd's lavish penthouse he felt at home not because of the four
walls
and ceiling, but because of the woman who taught him how to
laugh, relax, and enjoy himself. She gave him a place to set aside
his duty and service for a real life shared with another person.
There was light in the world again, and she was the reason.

Visions of decadent nights spent thrilling her in bed drove him mad.
He had been her first lover... and had every intention of being her
last.

Now she was long gone and hadn't sent so much as a email his way
since their break-up. His stubborn nature and male pride refused to
let him chase after her. Only now in the dark, quiet of night did he
regret not trying. He didn't just miss her, he needed her. But she
needed more from him than he was capable of giving. He had tried
hard, and so did she. Sometimes trying just wasn't enough to hold two
people together. She put in for and was granted a extended leave of
absence and was on a plane before he even had a chance to say goodbye.

"Whatever," Sky muttered angrily to himself, sick to death of
stressing over his failed relationship. As if he hadn't done enough
of that already. There were families grieving the death of a loved
one tonight. He didn't feel he had the right to bitch about anything
at all.

Suddenly his attention was drawn to the front door of his apartment
when he heard it move. His hand instinctively went for the blaster
kept in the left drawer until the door slowly opened, having been
unlocked with a key. Only one person other than him had one and she
was in London.

When in fact, she wasn't.

Walking in slowly, Sydney stood in the shadows of the entrance to his
apartment, her gaze penetrating through the dark, searching until her
eyes met his. The mere sight of her left after so long Sky
breathless. Her beige jacket was dotted with dark marks courtesy of
tonight's thunderstorm. He couldn't see her face, but didn't need to.
Her ethereal beauty was etched onto his subconscious.

Even if he went blind someday he'd still be able to see her.

"Sky?" she called out to him in a soft tone, and then shut the door
behind her. As soon as her flight landed an hour ago she hadn't given
thought to if this was a good idea or not. As soon as word spread
about today's hostage situation she flew through heavy evening
traffic to reach him. Now that she was here she began questioning
why. "Are you going to turn on the lights or do I have to talk to you
in the dark?"

Her presence was the last thing he needed tonight. Unexpected and a
further dagger to his already broken spirit.
"Why are you here?"

"I've been asking myself that exact same question." Syd flipped the
wall light switch, illuminating the apartment she'd spent some of the
best times of her life in. Her personal fingerprints were everywhere,
from the upscale furniture she picked out to the oil paintings on the
wall she drew and gave to him as a housewarming gift. This was
home... and yet it wasn't. Her heart clenched at the thought. "I just
got back into New Tech City. I heard about what happened on the news."

Sky's expression remained unreadable. "I'm fine."

"Sure you are," she noted in a unbelieving tone, rounding the living
room to his desk. The urge to touch him was almost painful until she
got a good look at him and felt even worse. It wasn't just his beaten
mood, or the weariness staring back at her in his eyes. For a man so
incredibly handsome and strong... he looked old to her for the very
first time. Unthinkable considering his age, but still. "Let me
guess? You aren't answering the phone, haven't eaten, haven't slept,
and you're brooding in the dark all by your lonesome?"

He hated how well she knew him. He hated a lot of things these
days. "It's irrelevant."

"You have to take care of yourself."

"I know how to do that just fine without you."

His pointed stare bore holes through her. Had she expected that he
wouldn't be angry? No, she knew different. But it still hurt to have
him look at her like she was a stranger. "I'm worried about you."

"Don't be."

"I can't help it," she replied while coming around his office chair.
Peeking over his shoulder, she read the document he was writing on
his laptop and sighed. "I knew Cassidy. She was getting married later
this
year. We were invited before..." Sky rose from his chair, grumbling
loudly while separating himself from her. He marched towards the
terrace doors overlooking the city. Rain showered against the window
glass while he stared out, his arms behind his back. "Talk to me?"

"Why should I? You don't want to be here."

"If I didn't want to be here I wouldn't be here." Roaring to his
side, she longed to reach out and touch him, but feared his
rejection. Ever mindful she rejected him first months ago, what hope
did she have now? Their emotional holding pattern had returned with
renewed force. Still, she had to try. "I care about you, Sky."

Silence. He had nothing to say. Even as her presence was...
comforting.


"I wanted to check on you."

Soft footfalls closed in on him from behind. Thunder boomed in the
distance. Sky didn't move a muscle. "Like I told you, I'm fine."

"No, you're torturing yourself over what happened." The flash of
anger that came over his face didn't deter her in the least. "You're
feeling guilty. You think this is all your fault."

"Get the fuck out of my head!" Sky shoved the terrace double-doors
open, walking directly out into the pouring rain, his red shirt
soaking almost instantly. When he spun to face her the emotion
swirling inside him dared to explode "YOU DON''T UNDERSTAND!" he
shouted at her, his hand coursing through his hair as pain swept over
his face.

Patiently, she had waited for and received exactly what she expected
of him. Walking out onto the stone terrace, she almost enjoyed the
rains downpour as it seemed appropriate for their
confrontation. "Make me understand?" she asked while standing in
front of him, ever his equal. Her hands lifted, coming to rest over
soaking fabric covering his belly. She tenderly focused on his face,
wondering if there were any tears cloaked behind the droplets falling
down his cheeks. "Talk to me?"

Gazing in spite of himself, Syd was poignantly beautiful to Sky. The
soft curtain of blond curls he used to run his hands threw framed the
most lovely face he had ever known. How ironic that the same woman he
loved with all his heart had utterly broken it. "You walked out on
me."

"You tuned me out long before that. What I did, I did for me."

"Then why are you back at all?"

"Because I made some mistakes too. I'm not perfect. Never have been
and never will be," she confided as the blustery rainfall swept over
them, drenching both. "Enough about us for now. Tell me about the
mission?"

Sky rubbed his tired eyes, soaking wet and drowning in despair. "The
Zanatos high-rise building was attacked on its top floor by a small
extremist group using alien weaponry. They took the entire floor by
force and held twelve people hostage. They wanted the company's C.E.O
to transfer a massive amount of money to a off-shore account. They
hoped they could do this quietly, but someone was able to trip a
hidden silent alarm not attached to the buildings power supply. When
the extremists cut the power to the floor they thought it would be a
easy operation. Twenty minutes later they were surrounded on all
sides."

"Go on."

"I had snipers on rooftops adjacent to all four corners of the
building and two heli-choppers circling at all times. I told the
extremists they were surrounded and had no hope of escape. If they
gave themselves up peacefully my men wouldn't shoot. They pretended
to be considering the deal, but one of my men caught sight of them
attaching bombs to the hostages chest's." Sky slowly shook his head,
moisture dripping off his face. "I ordered my teams to go in. They
were able to take out all of the extremists except one. He detonated
a bomb he was holding in his hand. The blast killed three of my
people."

Syd swallowed hard, nodding. "And the hostages?"

"
All of them alive and accounted for."

As terrible as the loss of the agents was, Syd took his strong hands
in hers, curling around them. Binding them. "What happened wasn't
your fault."

A tightness constricted Sky's chest. "I doubt their families would
say that."

"No, not today." Syd continued, "Their grief is to fresh. But they
know, just like your agents that when you sign up for this life there
are no guarantees for anyone. People have died before, died today,
and will die tomorrow somewhere in the world trying to serve and
protect the public. That's a sad fact of our job."

Sky roared, "I SENT THEM TO DIE, SYD! DON'T YOU GET THAT?! I SHOULD
HAVE USED ANOTHER PLAN OF ATTACK!"

"YOU DID WHAT YOU WERE TRAINED TO DO. I KNOW YOU! NO ONE COULD HAVE
COME UP WITH A BETTER PLAN OF ATTACK THAN YOU. BUT BAD THINGS HAPPEN.
YOU KNOW THAT!" Shouting wasn't getting them anywhere. Sydney knew
this was the burden of all commanders. When you're in charge and
people die under your command, its just a different form of grieving
then if you simply knew them or even worked alongside them. She blew
out a breath, concluding that, "You did your best."

"They're still dead."

"They were killed by that extremist group. Its their fault, not
yours." She watched his face wince painfully as he tried to deal with
the deaths and her heart went out to him.

It was so hard for him to show his true feelings... being vulnerable
wasn't easy for any man, especially him. But here and now, he opened
himself to her. "I feel like I failed them, Syd."

"You didn't, love."

"
I wished I'd done something differently. Anything. I just... I don't
know. I've never lost anyone since I became Delta Base Commander.
And... I'm scared. I admit it. I'm worried I'm not cut out for this.
Not like I thought I was."

In the midst of a thunderstorm Syd entered his personal space, her
hand smoothing away the moisture on his face, the pad of her thumb
soothing over his cheek. His eyes sparkled, evidence that he had been
crying. Typical that he could only do it when he didn't think she'd
notice.
Still, he'd given her all that she had wanted. All that she
had ever asked of him.
"I love you."

Her beloved declaration cut through his soul, leaving him
breathless. "But you still left me."

"Then its time I rectify that."

Without warning, her mouth possessively claimed his.

Syd melted against his strong frame when he hauled her tight to his
chest, the heat of him curling around her. With rainfall dousing them
constantly Sky hungrily worshiped her soft mouth, having ravenously
craved the sweet taste since the day she walked out of his life. For
an endless moment they purged the darkness around them, lost in the
seductive passion that had always lived between them.

For a brief, perfect moment in the rain... all was right in the
world.

Upon breaking their kiss, Sky was overcome by the reality of holding
her in his arms again. He gently stroked her cheek, grazing the
smooth, soft skin. She was so beautiful sometimes it hurt to even
look
at her. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Peering into the night, the rain gave way to a cool, misty drizzle.
Sky shut his eyes. "I tired of the dark."

"Then let me bring you back into the light." Taking his hand in hers,
Syd led Sky out of the rain and back inside his apartment... back
into the light. Symbolic, in a manner of speaking.

Together they sought the mahogany leather sectional couch. She sat
while he took the small glass coffee table, facing her. Neither were
sure where to begin. Perhaps it was enough that they were going to
begin at all. Something that was broken between them needed to be
fixed and they intended to fix it. The only question was how.

Unable to come up with anything else, Sky blurted out, "You're
dripping all over my couch."

"Wow, Captain Obvious. That's such an astute observation. " Syd rolled
her eyes sarcastically, all the while measuring a small smile she
hoped would elicit one from him. So far she was treated only to a
mild turn of his lips. Good enough for now. "I missed you."

"You had a really funny way of showing it by not contacting me once
in four months."

That stung, but at least now she had the opportunity to explain. "I
needed time away from you to think about my life. Where it was, is,
and where I want it to go. You were a distraction. "

Scowling again, Sky tensely noted, "You do any thinking two weeks ago
on the night of the symphony premier in London when you were with
that guy?" She didn't feign ignorance, and was seemingly more curious
than caught off guard. "I saw you holding his hand. It was all over
the news. People were speculating he was your new boy toy."

"Boy toy is right," Syd muttered humorously half under her breath,
trying not to laugh at his obvious jealousy. "John was my date for
the evening, my shopping buddy during the day, and took me to my hair
appointment. I've known him for years. We've even done each others
nails. He's as sweet as they come and couldn't be any less interested
in me if he tried."

Sky snorted. "Yeah, like any straight guy could resist you."

"If you think hard enough, you've answered your own question." The
splash-of-ice- cold-water realization that dawned on his face made him
smirk, edging ever so closer to a actual smile. She had him on the
ropes and she knew it. "I couldn't think of anyone but you while we
were apart."

"Well... I am unforgettable. "

She gave him a tiny kick in his leg. "You're such a ass, Sky."

"Yeah, but you love me..." he tapered off, awaiting her reply.

"Yes, I do," she reassured him, noting that he exhaled deeply. She
thought that was sweet. "With all that free time to myself, I found
this incredible book that's helped me understand my life and our
relationship in ways I never imagined."

"A book did all that?"

"Let's just say the author had already walked the path of my life. I
got a chance to see things from a different perspective, both
professionally and personally."

Syd meant every word she said, so he took her seriously. "Tell me
about the book?"

Smiling inwardly, Syd began, "Its called 'Chronicles of the Crane',
and was written by Kimberly Ann Hart-Oliver back in 2010. The
foreword talks about how she felt compelled to write it after the
birth of her first son, James."

Knocking that name around his mind a bit, Sky asked, "Wasn't she the
first Pink Ranger?"

"Exactly," Syd nodded. "She talked about wanting to chart her journey
through life up until the incredible moment she became a mother. It
reads almost like a diary, but it has a lasting message of love and
acceptance of whatever life throws at you. In particular she had a
chapter titled 'Loving A Complicated Man Without Killing Him.' She
dedicated that to her husband, Tommy."

"I'm sure he was overjoyed with that one."

"He reminded me alot of you," Syd added to his surprise, and then
sighed. "They had a very long, very hard road before they were
finally together. It took them a very long time, was never easy, and
they had a separation that lasted years. But the book talked about
love and life not being promised to anyone and how you have to grab
whatever makes you happy and hold on tight. I saw alot of myself in
the author and I came to the conclusion that it takes two to tango. I
may have broken up with you, but I was every bit as responsible as
you. And I want to tell you how sorry I am for not trying harder to
work things out. I made a rash decision when I broke up with you. I
reacted instead of expressing to you how hurt I felt." She
finished, "This is my first adult relationship and I made alot of
mistakes. I'm just learning as i go. But even the former spoiled
princess had to grow up."

This was as far away from Sky's comfort zone as it could be, and
probably the most important conversation of his entire life. He took
a deep breath and pressed forward. "I... I should have been more open
with you. I wanted to be, its just... I struggle with letting people
in. And that includes you. I know why and I'm dealing with it, but I
should have tried harder. Sometimes I just get caught up in this
Ranger life and it consumes
me. Sky the soldier knows what he's supposed to do and say at all
times. But Sky the man... the young man at that... he still a work in
progress."

Bowing her head briefly, Sydney felt she had to tell him exactly what
was on her mind. "At the end I just felt you were never serious
enough about me to try and change. I just didn't think you loved me
enough to be the man I needed you to be. I felt like maybe I was an
after thought to you." When her gaze lifted she found the most
serious expression she had ever seen settle his face. He looked so
disappointed that she could tell it wasn't in her, but himself. And
then his usual guarded emotions seemed to trickle away when he
softened before her very eyes.

Without saying a single word, Syd watched him rise to his feet and
exit the room. She wasn't sure what was happening until he returned
from his bedroom, took his seat on the coffee table again...

... and placed a small black jewelry box next to her.

"That's how serious I was about you. And still am."

Syd had no clue how she was still breathing because her heart flat-
out stopped beating the moment she saw that box. That very small,
very familiar box that could only hold one thing.
For the longest
time she questioned his dear heart and if she there were a place for
her in it. She worried that when the passion of having longed for
each other for so long was finally fulfilled the heat wore off and he
wasn't nearly
as interested. She hated feeling as though they were just going
through the motions.

Feeling like this was a life changing event, Sky began nervously
pacing in front of Syd while she continued staring at the box. "Look,
I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. To be perfectly
honest, I can be a world class jerk sometimes. But I have always
loved you. Always. I just don't know how to act like a normal guy. I
mean... I'm not sure what I mean. I want to romance you and make you
feel special and never doubt that you are my whole world. But I'm a
soldier and a loner. I'm not much for flowers and candy. I just love
you like crazy. I swear it."

Every single insecurity she had ever had about their relationship was
answered by what was inside of that little box. Syd swore she hadn't
blinked in over a minute. Her mouth was dry and if she were
breathing, well, that was God acting to keep her alive. Her mind was
absolute mush.

"I bought that two months before we broke up," Sky told her, his
hands practically shaking at his sides. He couldn't stand still to
save his life. "I knew we were going through a tough patch, but all
couples do. In my simple male mind I was sure we'd get through it and
then I would... well, you know."

Syd finally looked up at Sky, noting the intense fear and insecurity
she'd never seen on him before. He was visibly shaken and pouring his
heart out. She hadn't the words to say. She was utterly lost.

And then it hit her.

Blinding light, fucking bolt of electricity hit her!

She knew what she wanted.

"Now I know me springing that on you was sudden and..." Sky stopped
mid-sentence when Sydney stood to her feet and walked past him right
out of his apartment without so much as uttering a single word or
shutting the door behind her. He stood there stunned, his eyes as
barren as the desert itself. To much. It was all to much to fast.
He'd pushed to hard and now she was off and running. He couldn't
blame her. She was trying to have a talk with him and work things out
when BAM, he laid down the gauntlet of all gauntlets.

As bad a day as he'd had, Sky felt much worse now. When maturity and
perspective were helping him cope with the tragedy, his heart began
hoping again. He should have known otherwise. She left before and she
left again. Maybe he'd better start wising up.

Minutes passed with him just staring at his open front door.

His wet clothes stuck uncomfortably to his skin. He felt achy,
hungry, pissed off, and sad all at the same time. "What a day its
been," he mused darkly to himself until he heard noise coming from
just
down the hall. Walking across the room, by the time he reached the
open door Syd marched in past him carrying her luggage.

The absolute look of shock he wore was worth her running back into
the building, and then to his apartment out of the
elevator. "Sweetheart, you're gonna need a whole lot more closet
space."

Blue eyes followed her every step into his bedroom with her things.
He heard her throw them on the floor and then return to the living
room to grab the little black box off the couch. She was either crazy
or she truly loved him. Maybe she was crazy for truly loving him, but
he wasn't about to complain. "Uhm..."

"Sky," Syd spoke his name softly, walking up to him. She held the box
out in the palm of her hand. "If you're going to do it, do it right."

Inhaling a deep breath, Sky slowly took the box from her trembling
hand, and then opened. He'd dreamed of her eyes glistening with tears
the moment she saw the ring, and as his dreams were answered she was
more beautiful than he had ever seen her before. A two carat
princess cut diamond with a blue and pink sapphire on opposite sides
was as much a sentimental nod to their beginning as the ring itself
was a promise for the future.

Syd's hand covered her mouth the second he fell to one knee before
her. This day would never come. That's what she thought. Not for
them. Not with the lives they led and the years it took them to even
admit their love. But lo and behold, a miracle. She was undone,
weeping softly while gazing into his blue eyes.

"Sydney, I'm not a poet. I can't recite you a poem because I honestly
don't know any. I'm not a writer or anything special, really. I'm
just a not so normal guy who is madly in love with you. And it would
mean the world to me if you would be my wife. So please marry me? I
need you to marry me."

Brushing a stray tear off her cheek, Syd smiled brightly. "Do you
promise to let me decorate our new house without any of your input?"

"I wouldn't want to go shopping with you if you threatened to hang
me."

She laughed softly behind her tears. "Will you cook for me?"

"Trust me. You wouldn't want that."

Finally, there was her big, luminous Sky smile. The one that lit up
his whole face and made her heart flutter.
She didn't get to see them
all that often, so when she did she knew it was special. "Yes, Sky. I
will marry you." She watched him slip the diamond ring on her finger
in awe. Tears fell, cascading of the side of her cheek. She couldn't
stop them if she tried. And when she found his handsome face beaming
at her... well, it was Christmas morning. "You are so lucky to have
me."

"And you are ever so humble," he laughed while drawing her into his
arms.

"I'm lucky too. And very, very happy."

"Really?"

"
Yes." When he slowly lifted her off her feet, her legs wrapped
around his waist, intimately securing her body to his. Her arms slid
around his neck, their lips a breath away. "Take me to bed," she
whispered before grazing his lips with her tongue, and then a soft
kiss.

Walking them towards his bedroom, Sky confessed, "You saved me."

"I think we saved each other."

"We'll argue about it later, honey."

"Sky, did you just call me honey?"

"... no."

Yeah, he did. And he was smiling when he said it. "I love you too,
honey."

******

The End
For Kim - Happy birthday, sis