SPD. Jack reflects on life after the series. Rated for sexuality; sequel/companion fic to "Paradise on Earth." Thanks to Art, Colin, and yellow2thegirl for the betaing.
Back when I was still a ranger, Kat would always say stuff like, "When you find the right job, you're not working; you're getting paid to have fun." I don't know about what she does holed up in that little lab of hers, but what I do? It's work. There's nothing I love more than helping the homeless, but after a long day I'm tired. My muscles ache, my head aches, my heart aches, in a way they never did at S.P.D. Handing out clothes and food is tedious, repetitive. You stand in one place and you stay there as a line builds. I don't miss the drama back at S.P.D., I don't miss the danger... but God do I miss the excitement.
Excitement's missing in my life lately. Allie's getting weird on me. Normally at this stage in a relationship, you'd think a girl would be dropping hints. And before that stupid conversation, she was. And then we talk about my mutation and all of a sudden it just stops. I never should have opened my mouth.
So she's asleep, in bed, the bed we still sleep in... I wouldn't use the word "share" anymore... and I'm sitting here watching TV. Some dumb Tokusatsu show, like Boom used to make us sit through at the Academy. God, I miss that kid. He was weird, but funny.
Everything at S.P.D. was weird. I think that's why I loved it so much. And that's the secret, isn't it? That I loved it... I loved S.P.D.; I loved every person who lived inside those walls. I loved my job. We got paid, we rangers, but I wouldn't have cared. I loved what I did. It wasn't a perfect fit, but I loved it. I wish I could have done both... I mean, being a ranger, and what I do now. Together, it'd be perfect.
I miss everyone. I miss sparring with Bridge in the middle of the lounge and listening to him ramble about toast. I miss horoscopes with Syd. I didn't believe a word of them, but she was such an actress about it, and oh so beautiful. I miss hanging out with Z, and that goes back to before we were rangers. Most of all I miss laser tag with Sky, and talking with him all day over combat training. Every day I want to go knock on the next door down the hall and say, "Hey, let's go do target practice." But the next door has some little old lady, and I don't think I want to put a gun of any kind in her hands.
I miss the routine. Wakeup at 7, report to Cruger at 8. Training on Monday, Wednesday, Friday morning; classes and paperwork on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday off. I miss lights out at midnight. I miss knocking on the wall I shared with Sky in the middle of the night just to mess with his head. I miss knocking on the wall I shared with Z to make her turn down the damn music. I even miss the damn music; it was a lot better than this vapid pop Allie listens to. She doesn't even like Vida Rocca. How can you not like Vida Rocca?
The routine here sucks. Wake up, shower (alone), tense breakfast with Allie, whom Sky and Bridge have begun to call "wifey" in our brief conversations, go to work. Hand out clothes to addicts, runaways, and prostitutes. Come home. Get shut out of the bedroom. Watch TV. Fall asleep on the couch. Stumble into the bedroom and crash in the middle of the night. Wake up and do it again.
Who knew that being a Power Ranger would make everything else so boring?
Sometimes things get mixed up a little. Sky and I go out sometimes, although he's pretty boring and never does anything. I've gone shopping with the girls and Allie once or twice, and I was happy to be the bag man, just to be able to hear Z and Syd argue again. Allie wasn't too pleased. I went to that stupid convention with Bridge and Boom a while ago, and it was actually pretty fun, although Bridge called me a munchkin a couple times. What does that mean, anyway?
The biggest mix-up was that time I had dinner at D.C.'s though. I had visited the base the day before and ran into Mrs. Cruger there, and she invited me to dinner. I knew it was a bad idea, but I liked the poor old gal, so I went anyway. It amazed me how sad she was. She was so much like the Commander, but... not. She was quiet, calm, nice, just like him, and angry too... but she didn't seem like a ticking time bomb like the Commander. So when she asked me to dinner it was like, hey, what's there to lose?
But I forgot that even though she invited me, he was still there. How do you deal with someone when you left everything that mattered to get away from him? It seems funny, I hate even admitting it to myself, but I left because of Cruger. He got too close, too personal. He tried too hard to be my father. If he wanted to be my father, he should have found me when I was a kid... Not...
Bridge tossed out, jokingly, once, that he could be my dad. Something about dreadlocks and blue undertones... Luckily Sky was there or I would have punched him. That's not even funny. I remember my dad, if barely, but... it just isn't funny. Not from my view of things, and not from Cruger's. Cruger, who passed up a chance to be with the lovely Dr. Manx for someone he was sure was dead.
Only she wasn't.
I think she wishes she were though. I remember her watching us as we didn't argue, the Commander and me. I remember she kept on trying to make eye contact with me as Cruger and I tried to avoid talking about the way I left. Growing up on the streets, you have to be able to see out of the corner of your eye, so I avoided it. Why was she looking so hard to see me suffer? I keep on asking myself that.
Of course, I know the answer. Good old D.C. can't let go of anything. He can't let go of me, he can't let go of Kat, just like he couldn't let go of Aisynia. So now he has both women trapped. I don't know this, no one has told me anything, of course. But I can just see it, in my heart. I can see it the same way I saw where Bridge was trapped when that Bork guy came to town; I can see it the same way I saw through Kat and Cruger... My eyes didn't see anything, but I knew. I just knew.
Sadly, I know, but I can never do anything. I'm starting to hate being right. I'm starting to hate being able to see inside other people's souls the way I do... because I can't do anything anymore. I wish I were back in S.P.D., where I could put this to use. I wish I were back in S.P.D., where in a way, I was free. I was free from the world. I had the war, I had my team, I had Cruger to worry about, nothing else. Out here there's girlfriends and taxes and what to watch on TV, and going to dinner with people who are so miserable it makes me want to cry.
Manly tears. God, I can never let Bridge or Boom see this. They'll probably home in on that bit about Sky and drag the poor guy out of the closet, kicking and screaming. My life is awkward and scary enough, thank you... Luckily, though, I don't think Bridge understands the idea of "paper."
Paper... Mrs. Cruger sent me a letter a couple days ago. I didn't open it. I shudder to think what it might be. It ain't Christmas or anything, so it's not a card, although it might be for some Sirian holiday. What could it be? An invitation to dinner or some other thing? Something more personal? Something about the letter, just the way it felt when I touched it, fills me with dread. No matter how much my brain mulls it over, I know in my heart what it really is-a cry for help. A cry that I have to answer. A cry that'll probably put me head to head with D.C. yet again.... And that's a place I don't want to be. Because he tried too hard to be like a father... but dammit, he was one.
I'm writing this, when I should have already written back to the poor lady. ...Time to stop procrastinating.