Disclaimer: Characters and situations are the property of BVE and MMPR Productions. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's notes: I'm silly. And thanks to kaikos_ai for the beta. This story takes place during the Wild Force episode Forever Red
"But Dana, can't we just go two aisles over and buy the cookies?" Ryan asked as his enthusiastic sister dragged him into the baking aisle.
"They're much better right out of the oven," Dana said. "And besides, this way we get to eat the cookie dough."
"Don't they sell cookie dough in big tubes in the refrigerator section?" Ryan pointed behind them. "All the fun, none of the work."
Dana pouted. "You don't get to lick the bowl. Really, Ryan, you show up wanting to hang out all of a sudden, then you don't like my choice of activity. What's with you?"
*Stupid Carter had to go chasing robots on the moon and asked me to distract you,* Ryan thought. *Why I'm going along with this guy is beyond me.*
Dana mistook his silence for something else and pouted some more.
*Oh yeah,* Ryan thought. *I'm trying to keep that look off her face.*
"Sorry, Dana." Ryan half heartedly perused the bags of chocolate chips on the shelves. He reached for a yellow bag.
"Ew, not those," Dana said, picking up a foil bag instead.
"So other than two dollars, what's the difference?" Ryan asked as Dana put in her hand basket.
"It's all about the chocolate, Ryan. And the vanilla." Dana picked up a large bottle of real, gourmet vanilla.
"Whatever you say, sis." Ryan rolled his eyes as his sister dragged him towards the refrigerated aisle and the butter.
* * *
"Here, start with this while I get the cookie sheets ready." Dana handed her brother two canisters of sugar and two sticks of butter.
Ryan looked at her blankly.
Dana showed him the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag. "Here, just take the mixer and cream them together."
"Right." Ryan stared at the mixer and butter.
Dana went to preheat the oven. Then she came back to the table and picked up the cooking spray, watching Ryan tentatively unwrap the butter. "Is something wrong, Ryan?"
"No, nothing." He put the first stick into the bowl.
"You used to love doing this--and now you're so tentative," Dana said.
Ryan looked at her skeptically. "I don't remember ever baking cookies in my entire life."
Dana stared. "Mom and Dad used to do this with us all the time. Before..."
Ryan shrugged. "Maybe. I don't really remember much before being raised by Diabolico. And he didn't exactly encourage me to remember the good times."
"Oh," Dana said quietly.
Ryan tried to remember why it was they'd never had this discussion before while he unwrapped the second stick of butter and placed it in the bowl. He then dipped the measuring cup into the brown sugar.
"Don't forget to pack it."
"Pack it?" Ryan echoed.
Dana showed him how to press the brown sugar so that stuck together, filling the measuring cup. She kept looking up at him.
"It's OK, Dana. I've learned to cope with it."
"You should never have had to," she replied.
Ryan shrugged again. "Except if I hadn't been through what I had, I never would have had the nerve to wandering in the desert to figure out how to put Diabolico and the rest back in their tomb."
"We'd have found another way."
"Destiny, Dana. You can't avoid it. Especially when your destiny includes being a Power Ranger."
"I guess so."
Ryan smiled at her. "At least I get to make new memories now." He started the mixer.
Dana smiled back. Especially when Ryan pulled the mixer out of the thick batter while it was still turning-- spraying cookie dough all over them.
"Starting with the rookie mistakes, apparently." Ryan blushed.
Dana giggled. "Centrifugal force."
"Don't tell Angela I forgot about that," Ryan grinned.
"Oh, no, the whole team's going to get to share this story."
Ryan picked up a piece of the sugar and butter mixture and flung it at Dana.
"Oh no you don't!" Dana reached for the bowl.
* * *
Carter got home later that evening to find his wife and brother-in-law hanging out in the kitchen, eating homemade chocolate chip cookies.
"Cookies for dinner?" he asked.
"Sure," Dana said.
"Why not?" Ryan added.
Carter could've sworn he was being met with innocent looks. He shrugged, sat in another chair at the kitchen table, and took a cookie. Then he leaned back in his chair. "Um, Dana, honey, why is there cookie dough all over the ceiling fan?"
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