Legal Disclaimer: Any Ranger characters mentioned in here aren't mine; this fic was the result of a bargain between my muse Windflame and myself, and was the only way he'd help me plot out a new fanfic I've been working on. This is my first piece of true fluff, and I don't take it seriously in any way. Neither should you.

The Bargain
by Cynthia

"Windy, I don't wanna!" I groaned, leaning back in the chair and closing my eyes. "I want to work on my new fic. know, the one we've been trying to plot for three days now?"

The dragon perched calmly on my TV just looked at me, fiddling with the crystal in his claws. "Yes, I know," he replied. "But that was the agreement. First the walk, now this. Or no ideas."

I groaned, pulling up a fresh document. I swear, ever since I gave him a shape, a name, and a graphic on the Command Center Archives, Windflame has been a major pain, demanding more and more out of me. "All right. One fic, starring you and me, since I'm the one doing the typing here, then we get cracking. That idea's been in my head for six months now, and I have to get it out."

"You know they're not going to like another original Ranger," he liked teasing me about my near-obsession with that particular genre, despite the fact that he's the one handing out the ideas. "And you've got how many other series already?"

"I know perfectly well how many I've got," I retorted. "And you know just as well as I do how many there's going to be in them all. It was your idea to start closing some of them down, too. It's going to take a while, but---"

He cleared his throat. "Don't go giving away plotlines, you know better than that, Suz," all that got him was a very nasty glare from me. I only allow certain people to call me that, and as much as I love my muse, he wasn't one of them. "Don't look at me like that."

"Fine, fine, fine," I shook my head and started typing the first bit of fluff I'd ever done. "This is going to ruin whatever reputation I have," I muttered. "What a way to spend a morning, writing about my muse, who's supposed to be giving me ideas."

A talon got waved dangerously close to my hair. "Look, I took a three day vacation trying to work up this plotline for you, the least you can do is write a page and a half about me. Every--"

I reached out and slammed his mouth shut, a dangerous thing to do to a dragon, even if he was my muse. "If you say 'everyone else is doing it' I'm going to do something incredibly violent to you. I am so sick of doing what everyone else has done I'm about to throw up, and all you've been feeding me the last six months is recycled ideas. That's why I want this new fic to have some new twists. If you're going to give me an original Ranger, we're going to do it differently than I've ever done one before, and hopefully different from what everyone else has too. And then when that's done, we've got 'Quest for Truth' that needs working on. That has been backed up for months now."

As I released him, Windy gave me a look that might've been more impressive if he hadn't been trying to catch his breath at the same time. "What about 'Purple Cheers', 'Old Friends to the Rescue', 'Blood Born', 'An Old Shade of Pink',---," he cut off his list of upcoming fics when I raised my hand like I was about to slam his mouth shut again.

"I'm going to get to those," I closed my eyes for a few moments, just letting my fingers do the typing. "Oh, and if you give me one more Billy idea, especially with him evil, I'm gonna look into replacing you with a Fruit Loop muse."

Windflame looked highly offended at that, and I couldn't blame him. But I wasn't going to give any ground on this one. Currently up for writing were ten fics that either starred Billy Cranston completely or had him as a major character. Ten out of twenty-two, and those were just the ones I knew he was in. I didn't know yet which ones he might sneak into. "I thought you loved Billy, though?"

"As much as you can love someone who isn't real," I grumped. "But there's seventeen other Rangers to write about, not to mention Goddess only knows how many villians that could use some character exploring. The guy needs a break."

He waved a claw in agreement. "Deal. You finish up those fics you've already got planned out, then we can start working on some things with the others. I've got this rather romantic Kat idea that might be fun to play with."

I almost winced. "Romance?" I was praying with all my soul he wasn't talking about what I thought he was talking about. He'd told me something about this a few days ago, and I hadn't taken him seriously. "You're not talking about what I think you are, are you?" He didn't say anything. "You are. Don't you dare make me write that! You can't make me write it! I'll go on strike!"

He didn't look impressed. That fic had just about everything I hated writing about in it, short of outright murder. "Give me three reasons you shouldn't, and I'll forget about it," he said, or at least I think that's what he said, considering I had my hands wrapped around his neck, demanding he not use that idea.

"First, I completely and utterly suck at fics that have song lyrics in them," he wanted reasons, he was going to get them. "Second, that particular song doesn't fit any romantic coupling, and I refuse to create a couple just for it. Third, it originally showed up in another fandom's television program, and I think there's either a rule against that, or there should be, at least where my writing is concerned."

Windy managed to twist away from me and flapped over to perch on top of my stereo. "All right, all right," he glared at me. "Don't worry about that one then. How does a nice little T.J. fic? Something in the Turbo flavor, perhaps?"

Another glare shot across the room. "It better be a good one this time," I growled just as harshly as I could. "You totally messed me up on 'Red Memories'."

"What about 'Birthday Blues'?" he retorted. "That was a good one, I think. And you do, too."

I threw my hands up in surrender. "Fine, fine. It was a good one, but it was also in Space. T.J.'s different in the two eras, which means---" he cut me off this time, he'd heard enough of my theories on how each Ranger changed and matured depending on the era.

"You're right. And it is a good one," he explained it out to me, and I almost wiggled in pure pleasure. Now that was a good idea, and I couldn't wait to write it up. But there were other considerations first.

"First the new Ranger fic," I called up the proper files and cracked my knuckles, then delivered a stunning glance to Windflame as he took his place back on the TV, where he usually sat to watch me write and help with the ideas. "And once that is done, I've promised Kahva a full week of straight work on 'Quest for Truth'. No more ideas until that's done with. Got it?"

He looked a little abashed, and I got the severe notion he'd been thinking about taking over my brain with a killer idea. I could survive the loss of it, though, I thought as I saved the muse-fic and started straining for a title. Windflame waved his tail a little.

"How about 'The Greatness that is Windflame'?"

"Don't push your luck, muse," I growled. A slow smile suddenly spread across my face, and I quickly typed up the disclaimer and the title. The Bargain. By Cynthia.

I grinned, opening up my mail program next. Time to send this thing out. I took a long look at Windflame. "Bargain done. Let's get to work."

The End