The skeleton rose high over him, and he supposed to a child, it might have looked threatening. It didn't to him, however. He'd seen things much worse than that. He closed his eyes for a moment. For a short time he'd been something far worse than that.
That's NOT you anymore, he half-growled to himself. And you were only touched by Maligore's fire for a few minutes, how can it affect you so deeply? I'll bet you anything Kim's already shaken it off. She's always bounced back faster than anyone else.
Jason Lee Scott forced himself to keep walking through the museum, ignoring the exhibits for once. He had come here mainly for the peace and quiet. He'd wanted to get his thoughts in order on recent events. And there had been quite a few of those.
In a sense, he decided as he walked without seeing past the goldmining exhibit, it had begun when he'd returned to Angel Grove six months earlier. He hadn't had any idea at the time why he had come back. He'd simply felt an overpowering urge to return. Then, two days after he'd moved back to town, his best friend and former fellow Ranger, Tommy Oliver, had approached him with an offer: did he want to become a Ranger again?
Jason had been totally, completely, and utterly bowled over. He hadn't had any idea on what to say, until the word had burst out of his mouth, almost without asking permission from his brain. Yes. He'd been given the Power again; the Gold Ranger power this time around.
And that almost wound up killing me, he remembered with a shiver. If Zordon and Alpha hadn't figured out how to give Trey's powers back to him in time, then he would have been done for. It was entirely possible that the final battle with Mondo might have ended far differently as well.
Jason took several deep breaths, trying to concentrate. Then we got lucky enough to have a few months of peace. Well, peace from Power Ranger battles, anyway. Just after he had returned the power to Trey, he had went to walk with Emily at Tommy's urging. What had happened next, he hadn't told anyone. Well, at least not any of the active Rangers. They had their own problems to deal with, with Rita and Zedd back on the job.
Emily had looked him dead in the eyes, then said she was going back to her old crowd and breaking up with him. She wasn't going to be a punk; he'd seen how her old friends had started to improve under her influence, and she and he were still friends, though it had been some weeks before he could look at her. It hurt.
When Kim had returned to Angel Grove, she and he had talked, and ended up going scubadiving together, just like old times. They'd wound up being kidnapped by Divatox, and turned evil by the power of Maligore's volcanic lava. Things had come out well in the end, though, with the newly made Turbo Rangers saving them both. He'd helped them save the shelter, and then had watched as they'd turned inward and away from him, from Kim, and from Rocky, as if no longer being Rangers or being in danger made them somehow unworthy of being noticed anymore.
The former Ranger clenched his fists harshly, shaking as he leaned against a wall. "They've just got things to do," he whispered as he had so many times before. "They can't stop to watch out for everyone." he'd been almost the same way when Tommy had lost his Green Ranger powers, he understood. But being on the receiving end SUCKS!! Completely!
Once he had managed to regain his composure, Jason started through the museum again. He was surprised, taken completely off guard, something that had almost never happened since he had begun his karate training so many years ago, when a sudden wave of weakness washed over him, one that was all too familiar. He had to sit down; if he hadn't, he would have fallen down.
What's going on? he thought. I thought I was over that! It had felt just like what had been happening when he was being tormented by the Gold Powers, his body rejecting them. But he hadn't felt that in months! He swallowed harshly; he knew that he had gotten over that. What was going on here?
When he finally felt strong enough to get up again, he thought about going to the Power Chamber, to see if Alpha and Zordon could help him. Then he remembered.
Zordon went home. And I don't know this Dimitria person. She must be someone good, Zordon wouldn't leave someone he didn't trust, but still. . .he couldn't help but feel that only Zordon and Alpha could help him, of those who were on the side of good.
He paused for a moment as that thought went through his mind. What? On the side of good? Why did I think that? he shivered for a moment. I am NOT thinking about going to Rita, Zedd, or Divatox for this! Dimitria's probably got her hands full trying to adjust to Earth and the Rangers anyway, I'm not going to bother my friends or THEIR friends with this. I gave them more than enough trouble when I was losing the Gold Powers. This is probably just a flashback or something, a slight relapse. I'll get over it.
Jason slowly made his way home, and with every step he took he felt stronger and stronger. He was right, he knew he was. All it took was just a little self-confidence, he didn't need to bother anyone about any little problems he had. His friends were the Power Rangers; they had a world to defend, and he had his own life to lead now.
My own life, he smiled to himself as he settled on the bed in his newly rented apartment. That had been one of the first things he'd done after the events of Murianthus. He'd rented an apartment in Angel Grove. His own little place.
Another sudden spurt of emotion ripped through him when he thought of how his parents had reacted, to his return, his illness during the time of the Gold Ranger, and all else that happened to him.
With complete indifference. Or more precisely, complete anger when he had returned from Switzerland. They had been furious that he had, in their words, wasted this opportunity that they had let him go on. They hadn't even seemed to care when he'd been falling down almost in front of them because of the Gold Ranger powers! And when he'd vanished overnight, due to his kidnapping by Divatox, when he'd gotten home, they'd given absolutely no sign that he'd even been gone! That was when he had known that it was time for him to go. How the warm, loving parents he'd had all his life had become this cold, unfeeling monsters he didn't know. But he wasn't going to stay around to deal with it any longer than he had to.
He had given no sign of it to the others, but the last few weeks that he had spent in his parents' home had been very tense and tight. He'd been going with Kim scubadiving to get away not just from Emily's breaking up with him, but from the tension of his family as well. Just like with what Emily had done, Kim was the only person he had told about the problems he was having. And she had understood. She always does. She cares so much about everyone and everything. . .I really need to talk to her again.
He glanced at the phone, pondering calling the perky young woman, then shook his head to himself. She's probably training at this hour, he mused, checking the time and adding three hours to it. I hope she does good, the Pan-Globals are . ..he paused for a moment, then grabbed for the television listings next to him. A quick check, and he felt himself both strangely tensing and relaxing. The Pan-Globals are TOMORROW. How could I let that slip up on me? I should BE there with her! She's all alone. . .during her big moment.
Jason knew what he had to do. He was dialing as fast as he could a moment later. He gritted his teeth as the phone rang, and a voice on the other end said, "Angel Grove Airport, how can I help you?"
"I need a round-trip. . .," he paused for a moment. Why come back? It's not like anyone here is going to miss me or anything. The Rangers have Divatox to deal with. My parents don't even want to see me anymore. I don't have a girlfriend. And it would be safer, really. No telling what Divatox would try, I'm a former Ranger, and she used me as a sacrifice once. I'd really rather not have her try something like that again. "No, make that a one way ticket to Tallahassee, Florida."
As he made the arrangements, Jason took a deep breath, wincing over the slight wave of pain that swept through him as he did. He knew what he was doing. For the first time in quite a while, he thought he knew what was doing. His parents might not want him around. The Rangers couldn't afford a dead weight like he was around. But maybe. . .just maybe. . .Kim would like to have him around.
It was time to leave Angel Grove, he thought as he started packing once the arrangements were made. It was past time. He knew where he was going. He was going to one of the best friends he'd ever had. He was going home.