Author's Notes: This is the first in my Colors of Love Series. Yes, the series titles will all have to do with colors. This is a T.J/Cassie romance fic. I do have a Cassie/Phantom songfic too. So, if you don't TJ and Cassie, go read that instead. ^_^ Thanks to Cynthia and Ellen for putting up with my annoying e-mails about the song and fic. Comments, as always, are appreciated.
Timeline: This is set fairly early in PriS, before they met with Justin again, so no Silver Ranger either.
The sun was shining beautifully over Angel Grove. The sky was blue and clear. The nearby ocean sparkled from the reflected sunlight. Nearby, children could be heard laughing while they played.
All of these things went unnoticed by T.J. Carter as he sat at Ernie's Beach Cafe. His mood was sullen, as were his thoughts. The Power Chamber's gone, Zordon's been captured, and it's all my fault! If I had been a better leader, we'd still have our Turbo Powers! The current Blue Space Ranger had never felt completely comfortable in his new color. Once the euphoria of having powers again had worn off, he realized that he wasn't really a Blue Ranger. Blue Rangers are geniuses! Me? I'm just a second-rate has-been who isn't fit to wear his color.
"Hey T.J.!" T.J. snapped out of his daze and turned to see Tommy Oliver standing beside him. The former Red Ranger grinned as he sat down beside the current Blue Ranger.
"So, what did you want to see me about?" asked Tommy as a waitress took his order.
"Some advice, I guess,"answered T.J. He had been glad that he had been able to catch Tommy in Angel Grove. Taking a deep breath, he asked, "Did you ever feel not worthy of your color?"
"Yes," the simple answered surprised T.J. "Plenty of times, especially when I first became the White Ranger. Or even when Zordon gave me back the Green Ranger Powers. There were many times that I felt like I was not worthy of being a Ranger. I had been evil, and even though it hadn't been my fault, I still felt guilty for all the bad things that I had done. Then, when the other Rangers did take me in, I felt as if I didn't deserve to be a Power Ranger. I really didn't feel worthy of being a hero. Why are you asking?"
"Just wondering," replied T.J. Tommy looked at him skeptically.
"Are you still thinking about the Power Chamber?" asked Tommy. T.J. looked away from him, yet unable to deny the truth.
"Yeah, sometimes I feel as if I don't truly belong on the team anymore. I let the others down. How could they forgive me for that? And I'm certainly no leader. Andros is much better than I ever was."
Tommy looked at his friend and got an idea. "I'm going to take you to talk to a couple of friends
of mine. I think that they may be able to help you."
"Okay, so where are we?" asked T.J. Tommy had brought him to a dojo. The sign on the front said, 'Angel Grove Martial Arts Center'. It was nicely decorated outside with small plants in flower boxes and silhouettes of people in different fighting positions.
"This is where my friends work," answered Tommy easily. They walked inside. Tommy looked around and walked up to a young man dressed in a red tank top and black pants.
"Old habits die hard, huh bro?"Tommy asked the young man. The young man turned around, a smile on his face.
"Tommy! Hey bro, it's good to see you!" he exclaimed. The two hugged, then Tommy brought T.J. over.
"T.J., I'd like for you to meet Jason Scott. He's a teacher and one of the owners of this place."
"Hi," greeted T.J., unsure as to why Tommy would bring him to see a martial arts teacher. Tommy, sensing T.J.'s confusion, indicated to Jason that they needed a private place to talk. They all went into a nearby office room. To Tommy and T.J. sat down on a large couch, while Jason sat on a chair behind a desk.
"T.J., I thought that you could discuss some of your problems with Jason. He was the first Red Ranger, and the Gold Zeo Ranger." Both Jason and T.J. looked surprised. Jason was about to ask why Tommy would commit such a breach of trust when Tommy spoke again.
"Jason, T.J. here is the current Blue Space Ranger. He took over for me as leader and the Red Turbo Ranger." said Tommy, "Bro' I need your help. Rather, T.J. needs your help." Tommy began to explain about T.J's predicament.
"I do understand," said Jason when Tommy was finished, "It isn't easy being the leader. You have all the burdens and responsibility of the team riding on your shoulders. But it also isn't easy giving up that responsibility either. Tommy took over for me when he became the White Ranger. But it was for the best, I went to Geneva, and Tommy became the leader for the rest of the Ranger teams. It did work out in the end."
"Maybe," replied T.J., "But my situation is different. No one moved away. I just became the Blue Ranger. I just don't feel right about wearing this colour. Justin was the smart one, and he was blue. I'm not, so why am I blue?" Tommy and Jason looked at each other, both getting the same idea.
"Wait right here," said Jason, heading towards the door, "I'm going to introduce you to someone."
"Who?" asked T.J.
"Another friend of ours," responded Tommy with a grin. T.J. looked at the former Ranger.
"Tommy, can I ask you something?"
"Sure," he said, "What is it?"
"Have you ever been in love with a woman who's in love with someone else?" asked T.J. Tommy looked off into space, remembering. He closed his eyes and let out a soft chuckle.
"Actually yes," he replied nodding, "An old girlfriend of mine. She sent me a letter, breaking up
with me, saying that she had found someone else. I was still in love with her then. But time
helped to heal that wound. She and I talked, and we both realized that we cared for each other,
but we didn't love each other anymore. Who are you talking about?"
"Cassie," whispered T.J., "I don't know why I'm still hung up on her. She obviously doesn't care about me that way, yet, I can't help it!"
"Love is a very odd thing," replied Tommy, "I'm sorry that I can't help you. I can only tell you that, unless you do tell her how you feel, it may never go away." What T.J. might have said in response was cut as Jason came back in, with another young man behind him.
"Hey Tommy!" the young man said, "How you've been?"
"Great," replied Tommy, "Rocky, I'd like you to meet T.J. He went through a colour change recently, from red to blue. Sound familiar to you Rocky?" Rocky laughed, and began to explain to T.J. what Tommy meant.
Katherine Hilliard and Cassie Chan were just entering the dojo when T.J. left. Cassie greeted him with her usual cheerfulness, but he didn't do the same. She looked at everyone in surprise.
"What's wrong with T.J.?" she asked. The boys looked at each other. They didn't know if they should betray T.J.'s confidence. Finally, Tommy spoke up, deciding that maybe Cassie might be able to help.
"T.J.'s feeling a little depressed." he said. He relayed the discussion that he just had with the others, leaving out T.J.'s feelings for Cassie though. Cassie's face formed a frown as she heard what Tommy had to say. She hadn't realized that T.J. felt that way. She wished she knew of some way to cheer him up. She then turned to Katherine.
"Kat, I'm sorry but I just remembered I had to do something. You can tell the guys what we planned for the Ranger reception okay?" As Kat nodded, but looked at her confusedly, Cassie walked out the door.
"What was that all about?" said Kat. Tommy looked to where Cassie had been.
"I think I might know," he said as he began to lead Kat away.
Cassie realized that she had left something with Kat. As she headed back to the dojo, she overheard Tommy talking to her.
"...There was something else that T.J. and I talked about that I didn't tell Cassie. He loves her Kat. But he's afraid that she doesn't feel the same way towards him. Apparently something to do with the Phantom Ranger. I didn't know how to help him......" The two began to walk out of earshot. It didn't matter though, Cassie had heard more than she needed to. She closed her eyes as she leaned against the wall of the dojo.
He loves me. Oh, why didn't he ever tell me? Then, then I'd tell him how I'd feel too.
The Ranger reception was a blast. It had been a get-together that Katherine and Cassie had planned. All the Rangers, current and old were to attend, no matter where they were. After finding out that Ernie was the owner again, the two girls had decided to hold the reception at the Youth Center. They had been surprised when he told them that he knew the real reason for the reception.
Everyone was having a good time. They were all talking, reminiscing about their times as Power Rangers. Many introductions had been made, new Rangers meeting old ones; friendships made and renewed. The entertainment was well received as well. Soon, singers were asked to go up onto the stage. Tanya was the first to go. Afterwards, Tommy, then Kimberly. Eventually everyone had a turn to sing.
As Kat and Aisha left the stage, Cassie walked up. She looked at everyone a bit nervously, as they looked at her expectantly. She hadn't realized that doing this song would be so difficult for her. But she knew she had to, for T.J.
"The song I'm going to be singing, is a little thing that I wrote. It's for someone who means a lot to me. I hope everyone likes it." A low melodic introduction began, then Cassie began to sing.
T.J. looked at Cassie, wide-eyed. Was she saying what he thought she was saying? Did she really mean it?
Did she really? Did she truly feel that way for him? T.J. knew that he and Cassie would be having a talk when the song was done.
Much applause met Cassie ears. She smiled shyly and put the microphone back into it's holder. After she stepped off the stage, a slow song began to play. Couples began to form and dance to the music. Cassie walked over to one side of the room; she knew that he would eventually find her. She wasn't disappointed.
"Did you mean it?" he asked coming up beside her. She looked down at the floor. She knew what he was asking.
Taking a deep breath, she said, "Yes, I did mean it. I have meant it for quite a while now. I care about you T.J., a lot."
"What about Phantom?" he asked quietly.
"I....I cared about him too," she replied, still staring at the floor, "I won't lie about that. But lately, I don't know. Maybe it's because I haven't seen him, but I don't feel like that anymore. I suppose it's just reality hitting me on the head, telling me that I shouldn't be having a relationship with him. And it was weird, as I realized that I didn't care about him that way anymore, I found that I was caring about someone else instead. Someone who has always been there for me, a shoulder to cry on you know? You. And I wanted you to know, that no matter who you are, you'll still be T.J, the one I love." As she finished, she looked up at him. He took one of her hands into his.
With a light kiss to the back of her hand, he looked into her eyes, "I love you too, probably from the moment I met you. I have been so afraid these past few months that you cared for Phantom."
"But I don't, not anymore," she whispered, "I love you." With that, their lips met in a sweet kiss.
Later that night, under the light of the moon, they walked hand in hand through the park.
Unknown to them, a figure in black watched them as they passed by. He raised a hand to them; a
silent goodbye. He then placed a hand upon the ruby on his chest; turning invisible, he silently