[SPD] Bridge and Z talk.
It felt warm. It felt safe. It felt like she could soar above the ocean, feeling the air rush past her as the adrenaline pumped through her body, giving her the oddest mesh of fear and excitement. It was like keeping a secret or waking up to realize you just turned another year older. It felt like home, a warm place where everybody knew your name and how you liked your tea. It felt like a moment with Bridge Carson ought to feel like.
It felt like love.
Turning to look at the bringer of peace in her hectic life, Z's breath caught in her throat. Bridge sat profile against the night sky, his youthful, unmarked skin glowing as the moon struck it from the front. He watched the scene, unaware that his friend was now looking at him. His messy brown hair moved gently as the wind nudged it, dancing along his forehead until he reached a gloved hand up to brush it back. Every little quirk and movement was illuminated, from the slight depression on his chin to the way his nose twitched ever so faintly, but it was his eyes that drew her attention. She was so glad to see them. They were beautiful emerald green orbs that seemed to reflect her hopes and dreams when she looked into them. She could see them sparkle with a childish sense of humor at a joke or glimmer with curiosity as he handled a new computer.
At the moment, they throbbed with deep concentration.
A small smile stretched across her face before she could stop it. He was more beautiful in that pensive moment than any amount of oceans. Z took his hand, feeling the leather of his gloves. Bridge turned to look at her and she noted a slight blush rise up on his cheeks as he donned his goofy smile. She loved the way his dimples deepened and could not resist poking one with her free hand, making his blush intensify. His eyes, however, never changed.
"I would give anything for your thoughts right now," Z commented, running her thumb along the side of his.
Bridge's eyebrows rose as his smile faltered. She knew he was searching her voice to see if she was being sarcastic. Of all the Space Patrol Delta officers, she was the only one bold enough to want to search his mind. Though the B Squad loved their new Blue Ranger like a brother, they tried to avoid getting a good glimpse into his hyperactive mind. Somehow, the discussion of how to turn a computer into a waffle iron was enough to send them running. They could even push him into an interrogation room with a stubborn criminal - one who had put up with all the other ranger techniques - and get him talking within the hour.
Not Z. The conversation might be a little insane, but Z loved to hear the many different ways his brain turned over theories - most of which came out in the same breath, but that was just the price of thinking too fast for the mouth.
"You would?" He asked, sounding surprised. "Well, I was just wondering why I bought yellow socks today. Do you know?"
Z laughed at the question but he looked back at her with such seriousness in his expression that Z halted. She scowled at him, trying to process his meaning, but failed. A star blinked out as he pulled his hand away. Z felt sad that his touch was gone, such a soft and gentle touch, and put her own hand in her lap.
"Well, I dunno. Do you like yellow socks?"
Bridge shook his head and looked back at the ocean. Even though the question was ridiculous, Z felt like she ought to say something more. She held her tongue, but just barely. His attention to detail and genius IQ would probably unravel the mystery soon enough. Or his short attention span would draw him away from the question all together. She was content with watching him search the seas for an answer.
The Blue Ranger sighed and leaned forward to press his forehead against his knees. Z watched the neck of his jacket pull down to reveal the soft pale nape and wished to pet it without seeming awkward. She had heard it was one of his tickle spots and longed to see if it was true. She only held back because she was not sure if he felt the same way. For all their friendliness - and hand holding - neither one had explored their interests beyond that.
Looking at him, Z could not say when she had started falling. It had not been love at first sight because 'at first sight' consisted of him trying to arrest her and stick her in a containment card for thievery. They did not build up emotions between them with subtle flirting, although Z sometimes wondered if that was what he was trying to do. She had, in fact, tried to put a wall up around her heart to keep the SPD Rangers from lodging themselves too deep in her emotional systems. Living most of her life on the street taught her to question everyone's motives, and that's what she did even with them. But that wall was not strong enough to keep Bridge out.
With a wiggle of the fingers, he had won her complete trust. It was such a subtle intrusion that she had not even noticed it until Bork kidnapped him. Suddenly, she could not imagine life without him.
"They look weird with my shoes," Bridge said, drawing her away from her reminiscing. She could tell he was trying to spark a conversation, but she had no reply for him. Who would? "And they don't match my underwear. I have this weird thing where if my underwear and socks don't match, I feel weird all day. You know?"
Z raised an eyebrow at the subject matter.
"So if you're socks are white, then your underwear is white, right?" She asked, watching with glee as his cheeks yet again lit up. She wondered how red she could get him and smiled wickedly. "Well, what if I let you borrow my underwear when you wear your new socks? Then they'd match."
Bridge looked a little startled by her response, but his eyes seemed more amused at the idea than uneasy. He looked directly at her until she finally decided to see how he felt. Her lashes danced against her cheeks as she winked at him. Much to her delight, his face cracked into the widest smile she had ever had the pleasure to see.
"They'd be too big," He said, the ends of his lips curling up as wickedly as hers had. Z was at first insulted and a little upset, but when she saw his eyes sparkling, she realized he was trying to get a rise from her. Z playfully hit him on the shoulder and the two shared a chuckle. "Besides, I think my next roommate would worry when he sees me in frilly yellow panties."
As soon as he finished speaking, the oddest expression crossed Bridge's face and he turned to look out at the ocean again. Z could not tell by his reaction what had been going through his head - whether he was embarrassed, amused or something else - and wished for that moment that she had been psychic. After thinking it over for a bit, she realized she did not have to be.
"How did you know they were frilly?" She asked, even though she already knew the answer. "Do I look like somebody who'd wear frills?"
Ever since meeting him, Z had watched Bridge's powers grow. When they had first met, the most he could do was pick up on the color of their aura. With a wave of the hand he could tell you if somebody was angry, sad, happy or even pregnant, but that was as far as he could go. Then somewhere between that first day and the visit from Katana he had developed the power to read energy thoughts and could tell you why somebody was feeling a certain way. However, it only worked when he was concentrating on that person's energy. But it wasn't until recently that his powers had been strong enough to really read somebody's mind.
Even though it still required some form of meditation, Bridge could tell what people felt, thought, intended to do and even what underwear they put on that morning. Z did not hold it against him, though. It was not as though her own powers were easy to control. Sometimes a second Z just slipped out without her even realizing she had replicated. One morning she had woken to find several Z's crowding her room.
It was almost as hard being a meta-human as it was staying mad at Bridge.
"Sorry," He said, clasping his hands together. "I don't mean to read your mind. It just sometimes happens. Like this one time I was in the Rec Room and Syd came in all angry and stuff. I knew right away that Sky..."
Z held up a finger and her friend halted. He did not even turn to look at her finger. She was not going to let her romantic, flirty atmosphere dissipate so quickly. She had worked to build it up and the mentioning of the other female ranger seemed to knock off a large enough chunk by itself to leave the feeling wobbling.
It was not that she was jealous or spiteful, but she had always considered Sydney Drew to be strong competition. She hated the fact that even though they both had curls, Syd's had body and shine and hers were greasy tangles. She hated the fact that even though they were both thin, Syd was perfectly petite and Z had embarrassing curves that made her feel fat. The Pink Ranger had flawless skin but Z had awful pores that stood out. The Pink Ranger had a fair, milky complexion, and hers was not just dark, but it looked almost dirty. She did not have that pretty olive complexion of her parents, just a light orange glow that everyone else had after a day of training.
If anything, Syd was perfect. Z was not.
The only real victory over Syd was the fact that Z had never seen Bridge watch Syd read. Z had turned around on several occasions to find him staring intently at her, as though her reading was the most entertaining thing in the world. It was just enough to keep Z from lashing out at her friend with sheer hormonal rage.
She looked at the back of Bridge's head - traced the soft sugar spot on his neck with her eyes - and sighed. Without hesitation, she placed her extended finger on his neck and ran it up to the end of his hairline to back down. He shivered in response, making Z smile.
So it was true after all.
"You know, I have green socks," She said. Bridge turned and raised an eyebrow at her. "I always thought that green looked really good on me, but now I think I'll get some blue ones. Blue looks much hotter."
The innuendo was not lost on him. With a sexy grin, Bridge unzipped his SPD jacket to reveal the blue tee shirt beneath. Z frowned at the shirt. It was handsome against his skin with a small black pattern all along it, but it did not seem to suit him. The colors meant, to everybody else, power; it meant that the useless weirdo kid had excelled to second in command in the highest ranking Ranger squad. It meant that he now had the second biggest gun in the base, and that thought squelched the sniggers and taunts that floated around him in quiet whispers - things that nobody had noticed until he donned blue and they were suddenly absent. But they meant something else to Z. His progression from green into blue meant that he was growing up. She enjoyed his promotion as much as he did, but she would miss the green and everything that came with it; including his drawn out questions and his childish complaining.
His eyes lowered as he laid down, folding his hands on his stomach. Z could see his muscles beneath the sheer fabric of his shirt and sighed. He had once been almost too lean, having focused on speed and strategy than strength. But now his arms were toning up. He was not anywhere near as buff as Sky - who spent his mornings working on his physique - or even Jack - who seemed to get that way without trying - but he was getting thicker and stronger. He was not going to need protecting anymore. That kind of made Z sad (she enjoyed rushing to his defense), but she thought his biceps were far sexier toned than soft.
Suddenly, Bridge smiled and Z lost her thoughts. She only took a moment to roll over and wrap her arms around his chest.
She felt the strong chest beneath her rise and fall with his breath, like the waves of the ocean. She could hear his heart thumping as it picked up speed, the sound drowning out even that of the nocturnal insects. She could smell the coconut scented soap he had showered with laced with the salt from the ocean. She could imagine herself staying in that position forever, and as he wrapped his own arms around her, she wished she could.
"You think I'd look good in frills?" He asked.
Z closed her eyes, pulling the image of Bridge's new wardrobe to mind. Unexpectedly, she began to like the idea of giving her underwear to him.
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