* This fic was produced with the help of a song-fic challenge from SilvorMoon, using the song "Stay For Awhile" by Amy Grant. :) Thank you to Kari for the beta-read. ^_^ Go Skittle Woman! :)
Ryan Mitchell walked casually down the empty sidewalk of Terrace Avenue, the early morning ray of first light raining down upon him and the rest of the quiet city of Mariner Bay. Stopping in his tracks, he pulled one of his hands out of his pockets to pull open the door to the establishment before him.
As he entered the small shop, the heavenly smell of freshly baked and glazed donuts mixed with the scent of strongly brewed coffee hit Ryan's senses at a hundred miles an hour. "Mmm..." He inhaled deeply, savoring the sweetness that teased his nostrils.
Taking a seat at a table in the back corner niche of the donut shop, Ryan leaned back and took in his surroundings for the moment.
Ever since becoming the Titanium Ranger and a vital part of Lightspeed Rescue, that very donut shop had become his literal home away from home. He made a part of his morning routine to take the Lightspeed hummer out early before any of the other rangers were up and grab a cruller and a cup of black coffee in the quaint little shop. He couldn't explain the pull he felt to the shop in particular, other than the fact that it felt intimately homey.
"I take it you want your usual, Ryan?"
Ryan tugged himself out of his thoughts to see Charlie, the morning baker, leaning out over the counter and looking at him intently.
"Yeah, that'd be great, Charlie," Ryan replied while fiddling with the sugar shaker in front of him.
"Is your pretty lady friend coming in this morning, Ryan?"
"She's supposed to, but I have a feeling she might be a little late."
Ryan was halfway through his cruller and nursing his second cup of coffee when she finally showed up; the dangling bells on the doorknob of the front door chiming happily.
"It's our little lady," Charlie greeted as she approached the counter that he stood behind.
Her pretty and yet sharp eyes glittered with amusement. "Hi to you too, Charlie. I'll take one jelly-filled and a cup of decaf, please."
"You got it."
Ryan studied her in fascination as she took her order from Charlie and then headed towards him at their "reserved" table in the back of the shop.
That day she was wearing a pair of worn stonewashed jeans and black turtleneck, her donut in one hand and her coffee in the other. It never ceased to amaze him how different she looked outside of her work. She was just so much more down to earth - almost normal, if there was such a thing for her.
"Am I interrupting a one-sided conversation here?" She sat down across from him at the table and easily grinned. "Or do I have lipstick on my teeth?" She slid her tongue across the front of her teeth in hopes of removing any lipstick.
He chuckled softly, taking in another drink of his coffee. "No; no lipstick. You're in the clear for now."
They talked intimately for hours on end, going through five cups of coffee, two jelly-filled donuts and three crullers. The shop around them filled and emptied, but their banter and laughter never ceased, keeping them oblivious to the world around them.
They touched on many subjects ranging from his job to her job, to their friends and eventually their childhoods. They spent most of their time reminiscing on their childhood shared together: terrorizing birds, mutilating little ants with magnifying glasses and basically being two bratty kids with terribly wild and rambunctious imaginations.
Their laughter echoed soundly through the empty shop as they recalled on the memories. "Remember, when I just turned fourteen and realized you actually had breasts?" Ryan half-whispered, struggling to stifle his chuckles.
"Oh yeah." She winced playfully as she recalled the time. "If I do remember correctly, I got pinched on accident in that area a few dozen times that year." Giggles overcame her and soon she was shaking with laughter once again.
After many minutes, the two of them began to calm down slowly, allowing a silence to befall them. "I wish things were still as simple as they were back then," Ryan mumbled regretfully while taking a sip from his cup.
"We grew up and things got complicated." She shrugged slightly, nibbling at her donut. "Granted, they got immensely complicated, but that hasn't stopped us so far."
"But still, I wish..."
She nodded mutely, understanding completely what he meant.
Polishing off her last cup of coffee, she stood up and pulled ten dollars out of her back pocket and placed it down on the tabletop. "That should cover my part of the bill." She paused awkwardly, stuffing the rest of her wad of bills into her pocket. "I'd better get going, Father's going to be looking for me..."
Before she could take off, Ryan grabbed a hold of her wrist and effectively stopped her escape. "You're always rushing off after we talk; they can survive a few more hours without you. Why don't you stay a little longer?"
"Higher, Ryan! HIGHER!" She screamed giddily as Ryan pushed her stronger and higher on the swing until she was just about to fly over the top of the entire swing set.
"Enough!" He gasped with a laugh and stopped pushing her, hunching over to catch his breath. "Push yourself!"
She laughed teasingly, jumping off of the swing and landing sprawled out in the sand. "Oh, come on, Ryan! Don't be such a wimp! You're the one who decided to come to the park in the first place!"
"Sure, I did," he agreed, standing up to look down on her. "But I thought we were gonna play! I didn't expect having to push your big behind on the swings!"
She gasped at his declaration and quickly pushed herself out of the sand to stand. "You just asked for it!" She howled wildly, running after Ryan.
He took off in a mad dash to escape her clutches and they ran childishly around the "sandbox" of the park until Ryan resorted to grass and started pulling the greenery up in handfuls and throwing it at her. She then resorted to clumps of wet sand in her OWN retaliation. Soon enough, the two were rolling around in the grass laughing their heads off while covered in sand and weeds - adults and children alike staring wide-eyed at them.
"I miss this." She sighed quietly after their laughter had died away yet again.
"So do I," Ryan murmured, staring up at the clear late morning sky brightened by the sun. "It's like you said though, things are just too complicated now."
"Fun is rare thing in our lives and our lines of work." She peeled her eyes away from the sky and glanced at Ryan. "Just like spending time like this with your best friend is."
"Definitely is." He sat up in the grass and smiled softly. "But you have to admit, we reverted to the kids we used to be today; best friends who didn't care what the world thought of them."
She grinned lightly, sitting up as well and brushing as much of the sand and grass off of her that she could. "I don't regret it."
"I never said I did," Ryan restated, just as his morpher chimed. She watched him intently as he lifted the device to his lips. "Ryan here."
"Ryan, get downtown. Diabolico sent down a monster and some battlings that are fighting the other rangers right now; they need your help." Captain Mitchell's voice emitted strong from the small wrist device.
"On my way, Dad," Ryan replied, cutting the connection and glancing back at his companion who simply smirked to herself.
"Looks like my father decided on attacking without me today."
He nodded his head, a few pieces of grass falling from his blond hair. "Seems so. Are you gonna go?"
"I don't have much of a choice. I mean, you're leaving, right?"
"Right." Ryan watched her stand up and followed her lead. "Before you go though, can you answer a question of mine?"
"Sure." She shoved a hand into her jeans' pocket. "As long as it isn't about our plans or anything."
"No, it's not about that. It's just that, you act really stupid when you're fighting us sometimes...why do you do that?"
Her almond brown eyes flashed mysteriously and she tossed her bronze hair over her shoulder. "Someone has to help you guys win. If I acted all smart, Father would be jumping all over me to beat you guys to a bloody pulp." She winked as she began to walk off, but then quickly stopped and faced him for one last time. "Oh...be careful with that cobra, Ryan. You and I both know what it can do."
Watching her as she made her way out of the park, Ryan smiled privately to himself. "I will, Vypra. I promise I will."
No matter which side she was on, Ryan would always treasure his friendship with Vypra. After all, they had only grown up together...besides, he wished she could just stay a little while longer.