Rating and Archiving~ Rated PG-13 for language, adult topics, violence and descriptions of death/suicide, and mild romantic situations. Do archive, but make sure to do it with the other parts of Allied Evil.
Corrections from Split Battle~ I realized some stuff after sending in Split Battle that I would like to change. First of all, Zhane is not carrying an Astro Morpher. He has the Digimorpher as he does in PRiS. Also, I do know that Zhane's weapon isn't the Silver Silverizer, it's the Super Silverizer, and so that's how I'm going to be describing it from now on. Oh, and one more think. When you're picturing the teleportational holes on the Megaship, I'm pretending that there are six holes instead of five. Why? Well, Zhane needs his own teleportational hole, I think. Anyway, the Digimorpher and Super Silverizer information wasn't needed for this story...I just thought I'd point that out and say that I do realize that I made a mistake, and that I'll be sure to have it corrected in future parts.
Author's Note~ I can remember starting out Allied Evil, and look at it now...part eleven...that's hard to believe. Actually, it isn't since I started sometime last spring, I believe. In a way I'm sad to see the freshness of the series die out, but, then again, I'm glad to be able to figure out new ways to keep readers interested. One of these ways was adding Zhane and Andros, another was adding Yaralla, and starting the Tanya/Zack secret relationship was another. Thank you to my readers. You are all so loyal and dear to me...especially those who comment on every single story I write and tell me how I can improve and how I triumphed in a story...I sound like a soldier looking back on a war but, in a way, I feel that way...Writing a story is like going to war...never mind, I won't go there, but thank you again to the readers. You mean everything to me. Oh yes, I was told that TJ and Carlos weren't given last names on the show, so I'm giving them names now. Too bad if you don't like them :)
Dedication~ Rachel, what would I do without you?
Suggested Reading~ All of 'em. Yep, you have to go and read The New Evil, Perfect Likeness, Blue Files, Golden Wars, Tension, Resolution, Waterworld, Return of Old Friends, Triple Ninja, and Split Battle first.
Summary~ This is a look into the Rangers' personal lives beyond the battles and the hardships of love...
Announcer: Last time on Power Rangers: Allied Evil...Tanya was tortured aboard Gasket and Archerina's ship. All of the rangers fought over what the best course of action was, and finally Trey was called to Horat from Triphoria. Rocky and Tommy's powers were decimated again, and they were aided by the mysterious Red and Silver Rangers who turned out to be Andros and Zhane from KO-35. Jason, Adam, and Emily were called back to help the new Ninja Rangers on Earth, and Jason realized how much he loved Trini after she was nearly killed by Rito. Trey, Jaime, and Emily's powers were almost completely drained, but Gasket and Archerina were destroyed before the Triphorian Powers could be lost. What has all of this done emotionally for the rangers? Find out in part 11 of Power Rangers: Allied Evil next!
Stars twinkled in the sky above the Earth as a cool breeze blew through the trees. A bird chirped in loneliness before flying into the sky. Shivering as this light wind touched his bare arms, Tommy Oliver shivered before looking at his girlfriend, Katherine Hilliard, who was gazing out at the lake and watching as the moon reflected brightly off of it. "It's a nice night," She whispered dreamily. "You know, nights like these are perfect for falling in love."
"Personally, I prefer warmer weather," Tommy told her with a grin before putting his arm over her shoulders. Kat turned to him before placing her head delicately on his shoulder and closing her eyes. "Then again, I did give you my jacket..." He glanced at his white wind breaker which she had slipped over her light pink short-sleeved blouse and blue flares. Lowering his eyes, he turned a bright shade of red after he had indulged in how the pants hugged her legs before clearing his throat and rubbing her arm. "I love you."
"I love you, too," Kat told him. She kissed his cheek before snuggling closer to him. After being on Horat, she had been ready to spend time alone with him, and now that she was Kat promised herself that she was going to make the most of it. "I'm glad you aren't the Red Ranger anymore, Tommy," she told him softly.
Tommy turned to her, his brown eyes playful. "Really? Why? Is it the wardrobe, like Jackie said when we were in LA?"
She shook her head and grinned at him. "No...when I was under Rita's spell I had the biggest crush on you, and I would let my mind wander to what we could do if we were together. Even after you became the Red Zeo Ranger, I could never dream of you in red. You were always in white...it's the color of love."
"Red is the color of love," Tommy told her faintly.
"Not to me," Kat said. "White is such a gentle color...and yet it can hold such strength when put against other colors. Your color can lighten any other...I see it white as stronger than red...stronger than convention."
How is it that Kat can always come up with the most romantic things to say, and I can't come up with squat!? The White Ranger chuckled nervously. "I wish I had a tape player, you know? The way you said that...I got chills."
Kat smiled. "Really? All this time I thought you were just cold." As Tommy shrugged, she turned towards him and rubbed his arms before wrapping hers around his neck. "Again, about what happened on Horat with you and Kim...I'm so sorry for misunderstanding."
"I'm sorry about everything," Tommy said, enjoying the feel of her arms around him. "You know, with Uriel..." His voice trailed off as he shivered at the memories.
"Tommy, I know that you couldn't help what you did," She told him. Pulling away, she forced him to look into her sparkling blue eyes before smiling. "Still, I can't keep this from you...when you told me what happened between you and Uriel, I was jealous."
Staring at her, Tommy frowned. "Really?"
Kat nodded. "Of course I was. You have your morals and so do I, but if I said that I've never thought of having sex with you then I would be lying."
"I feel the same way," Tommy told her. "Sometimes I wish that we could just go through with it...we both want to, and it hurts so badly, Kat, because I love you more than I love myself."
The Pink Ranger shook her head. "I know, but we can't. We can't go against what we said when we first started going out. Even though we love each other, I know we would regret going all the way." Seeing the White Ranger reluctantly nod, she put her hand on his cheek. "Hey, that isn't saying that I don't yearn for it, too." Kat leaned towards Tommy and kissed him passionately, smiling mentally as he returned it. When was the last time they had kissed like this? It had to have been on Aquitar when they had both thought that they were going to die. Moving to his neck, she sighed contentedly. "I love you so much, Tommy."
Rubbing her back, the White Ranger nodded. "I love you, too." Feeling her arms slide up his shirt, he closed his eyes before kissing her again, but while he was doing so a new thought popped into his mind. Those damn rules we made before we started dating. I want her so badly right now...before Uriel I had always dreamed that my first time would be with her...
Up on the moon, Rita Repulsa watched this scene before smirking. "I, personally, thought he looked better with Kim...what the hell, they're both goody goods!"
"I can sense that you're becoming jealous of the Pink Ranger," Lord Zedd, her husband, commented from his place sitting on his throne. Twirling his Z Staff in his hands, he chuckled. "You couldn't be liking the White Ranger, could you?"
"How can I when I'm married to the baddest of them all?" Rita muttered. Seeing him nod, she sighed. "Why do you always tease me when it comes to matters of that ranger? I find Tommy no more attractive than Goldar!"
Zedd shook his head. "It was your idea to let him go up your shirt--"
Rita snorted. "I wasn't married to you then, Vain Head! After being here for such a long time...trapped in that dumpster for endless years...I hadn't been touched in forever, Zeddy, so when the first guy came along I took him! Why is that so hard to believe? You were the one that had Katherine come to your room even after we were married!"
"I told you never to bring that up again!" Zedd snapped. "Just shut up for awhile and let me think of a plan to destroy the rangers! These newest rangers from KO-35 will be problems..."
As her husband began to theorize, Rita growled. How could he keep bringing up her little encounter with the White Ranger when he was under her control? They didn't even kiss, and she assumed that Zedd had gone all the way with Katherine. "Fine! Just think of a stupid plan, but you can do it on your own!" With that, she stormed out of the room leaving Zedd to watch her in puzzlement.
"Ay yi yi, Trini! I didn't know you were awake!" Alpha exclaimed, jumping back. Seeing her worried expression, he tilted his head. "It is merely a health scan. Don't be alarmed."
Sitting up, she hissed as her arms ached under her weight. "What's going on? Why am I here?"
Alpha quickly put a hand on her shoulder and gently eased her back into a lying position. "You are going to be ok, Trini, but you need to rest for now. Rito hit you pretty hard with that one blow. It's amazing that you're in as good condition as you are!"
"Rito?" Trini narrowed her eyes as she recalled the fight. All of a sudden, it came to her as if she was reliving it. She had gone to help Jason and Adam up and to see if they were all right, and Trini barely recalled Jason telling her to run. By the time she had realized what was going to happen, there was a flash of light and her body numbed. There was nothing more.
Jason...oh God, he's probably blaming himself. "Where is Jason, Alpha? Is he all right?"
"I believe Jason went down to Earth to get breakfast with Tommy, Kimberly, Jaime, and Kat," Alpha responded. As she continued to eye him, the little robot sighed. "Jason seemed ok, Trini. I wouldn't worry too much about him. He'll probably come see you today."
Trini nodded at this before looking up at the tube where her mentor, Zordon of Eltar, usually was. Surprised by the fact that Zordon's giant head was not present, Trini looked at Alpha with concern. "Where's Zordon?"
Alpha glanced up at Zordon's tube before shrugging. "He's ok, Trini. Zordon has taken a leave of absence to meditate over the latest happenings with the rangers."
"I hope they're ok," Trini thought aloud. Looking around the room, she gasped as she saw another cot set up next to hers. "What's wrong with her, Alpha!?"
Finding that her view had turned to Tanya Sloan who, at the moment, was sleeping, Alpha shook his head. "Tanya was captured by Gasket and Archerina on Horat. Luckily, she was returned to us with no life-threatening injuries, but Tanya was obviously tortured by the two machines, and she is worn out from her time there." At Trini's questioning glance, Alpha nodded. "Gasket and Archerina were destroyed by Tommy and Rocky right before the Triphorian Powers were lost."
"The Triphorian Powers were almost lost?" Trini groaned. "I can't believe I was left out of this much!"
"Don't worry," Alpha told her comfortingly. "When you regain your strength, the others will tell you all about it." Chuckling to himself, he nodded towards her before looking at a console and pushing a few buttons. Trini watched this from her cot before closing her eyes. Alpha had said Jason was all right, but there was no way she could be sure. Hopefully, he would come see her later that day so that she could find out for herself.
"DECA, I need you to run a full scan of our engine capacity. We had to push them kinda hard to get to Earth as fast as we did."
"Scanning for any malfunctions."
Yaralla nodded towards the red light that had been flashing on the wall before standing from her seat in the middle of the Megaship's control room and watching as a few graphs came up on the main screen. Pushing a strand of dark brown hair out of her face, she smoothed down her faded yellow shirt and gray pants before smiling. The engines were overworked, but there were no damages.
Hearing footsteps, Yaralla turned around to see that Alpha had just entered and was beginning to push a few buttons on a console. "Good Morning, Alpha."
"Good Morning, Yaralla," Alpha said. The droid looked around before sighing. "Andros and Zhane still aren't up?"
Yaralla laughed at this. "Are they ever? Those two are the laziest rangers I have ever worked with." Alpha chuckled before pushing a few more buttons. "I checked out the engines. There were no damages, but we're probably going to need to refuel."
Alpha nodded. "I'm not surprised. Well, later today I'll contact Zordon and ask if the fuel they have here on Earth will be sufficient for our needs."
"Wouldn't that be great?" Yaralla smiled. "It would sure beat going back and forth between Earth and KO-35 to get fuel while we're here." She frowned suddenly. "I can't believe we made this decision like we did. It seems like one moment Andros, Zhane, and I were a three-person team who went around the galaxy helping defenseless civilians, and now we're orbiting a planet we know absolutely nothing about and are trusting people we barely know!"
"Do you trust the rangers of Earth?" Alpha questioned silently.
Yaralla sighed before answering, "Well, some of them. I trust the ones we met on Horat...Tommy, Rocky, Kimberly, and Kat...but we don't know anything about the other rangers Zhane and Andros met yesterday in the Power Chamber. Plus, as if that isn't bad enough, we're in a group with Jaime of Triphoria...didn't Andros and Zhane almost die because of Trey and him on Zarok!?"
"Jaime and Trey were both willing to die for the Yellow Ranger on Horat, Yaralla," Alpha reminded her. "Besides, it seems as if Zhane and Andros have forgiven them."
"Trey and Jaime owed their lives to the rangers because they saved theirs. As far as I know, we don't owe Jaime Talsik our friendship or sympathy. He made a mistake and fixed it with one decent act," Yaralla growled. Seeing Alpha's lights flash faster, she sighed. "Yes, maybe I'm being unfair, Alpha, but that's how I feel and, deep inside, I know that's how Zhane and Andros feel, too."
Alpha was about to respond when the two heard feet moving towards their position. Seeing Yaralla grow tense, the droid chuckled. "It's only Zhane or Andros, Yaralla."
Looking at a monitor, Yaralla saw what time it was before shaking her head. "They're never up this early and you know it." At this, Alpha stepped away from the door of the control room and shivered nervously.
Bending down, Yaralla fished out something from under the main console before standing up again. In her hands was a blue Astro Blaster that she and the guys had decided to stash there in case of an invasion on board. Yaralla moved over to the door of the control room before looking back at Alpha. "Be prepared to sound the alarms, Alpha," Yaralla told him. "Make sure that Zhane and Andros know to get off of the ship."
"You've got it," Alpha whispered shakily. Walking over to one of the consoles in the middle of the room, Alpha kept its hand above a small blue button before turning back to Yaralla and hoping that pushing it would not be necessary.
Yaralla forced herself to stay calm as she heard the footsteps continue to move towards their position. As a shadow formed in front of the door, she swallowed before jumping in front of the person, Astro Blaster drawn. Kicking the form to the ground, she pointed the blaster at the person before frowning as he said, "Yaralla, it's me! Calm down!"
Instead of lowering the blaster, Yaralla kept it aimed on the target in front of her. "What are you doing here? You can't just teleport up whenever you feel like it, Rocky! Don't you realize that Alpha was ready to sound an emergency alarm and call a full attack on the Megaship!?"
"I'm sorry, ok?" Rocky DeSantos rubbed the back of his neck before moving away from her slowly. Pulling down on his light blue shirt, he frowned. "Well, can I get up or are you going to shoot me?"
"Give me a second to decide," Yaralla murmured. As Rocky continued to watch her, she sighed before lowering the blaster. "You get an extra life because you're cute, Rocky. Don't tempt me when it comes to shooting this blaster because I love shooting this blaster. While your hobby on Earth might be eating or what have you, mine is shooting this blaster, and I'll shoot it every opportunity I get. Understand?"
Rocky stood before smiling. "I thought your hobby was killing your patients with needles." As Yaralla pointed the blaster at him again, he laughed lightly before widening his eyes in horror as he saw the stone cold glare on her face. Jumping out of the way, he turned back to see that there was now a steaming dent in the wall behind him. "Holy shit!"
Yaralla shrugged. "I told you not to tempt me." With that, she lowered the blaster again and walked into the control room. Hearing the Blue Ranger follow her, she sighed. "So, what are you doing here, Rocky, besides terrorizing Alpha and myself as well as providing me with some target practice?"
"Well, I wasn't planning on being your target practice," Rocky told her. He stuck his hand into his pocket and retrieved a folded piece of paper from it. "I got a note from you last night, and I thought we should talk about it."
Seeing this, Yaralla sighed. "There's nothing to talk about. That's how I feel. You are a great guy to hang out with, and I hope to get to know you even better during my time here." Sitting down in the middle of the control room again, she pushed a few buttons on the console in front of her. "Now, I have work to do, so if you don't mind..."
Rocky frowned. This had definitely not been what he had expected of the woman from KO-35. Clearing his throat, he decided to try a different approach. "You're only going to be around Earth for awhile. Why don't I take you out of the Megaship and show you around?"
"I don't think so, Rocky. There's a lot of work to be done--"
"Leave it for Zhane and Andros to do," Rocky suggested. At her skeptical expression, he chuckled. "Yeah, I know they probably won't do it, but you've been traveling around in this ship for so long, and when you haven't been traveling you've been treating the wounded. Let me give you a taste of what life outside of the Megaship is." He flashed her a pleading expression. "Come on. You know you want to."
Yaralla looked at the ground before closing her eyes. "It's a tempting offer. Maybe later."
Rocky shook his head. "No, not later. Now. I'm starving, and I don't like eating alone."
"Get something from the ship," Yaralla suggested. She put her hands on her hips. "Look, maybe on Earth it doesn't matter if you leave some work for your Alpha to do, or for Zordon, but I have my responsibilities--"
"I have mine, too, but sometimes you need a break." Rocky grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the door. "Come on, Yaralla!"
She laughed besides herself before looking back at Alpha. "Are you going to be ok with my being gone?"
The droid nodded. "Have a good time. You've earned it."
As Rocky continued to pull her down the hallway, Yaralla tried to pull away from him. "Rocky! Are you at least going to let me change!?"
"You look like a goddess," Rocky told her, continuing to tug her along. "Hey, and if you need some new clothes, we can stop off somewhere and buy some. My treat, but we're not stopping at Abocrombie and Fitch because I can't afford that."
"Fine," Yaralla said, "but you're going to pull my arm out of my socket, so will you pay for my operation, too?" As Rocky let go of her, she smiled and took his hand in hers before walking with him to the end of the ship. Stepping up to one of the teleportational holes, she grinned playfully. "Where to?"
Rocky frowned. "We can use those?"
Yaralla nodded. "Get us to a place where there won't be many people, and there will be no problem."
"Ok, well you won't want to go to Angel Grove for breakfast. The best we get there is cereal, and even that's the cheap kind." Thinking to himself, he smiled. "They have an IHOP in LA. Adam said the one by the shelter they were staying at was good."
"What's an IHOP in LA?" Yaralla questioned with a frown. "Is that a dining area?"
Rocky nodded. "It's a restaurant. So, we can get there from here?"
Turning to a small calculator-like device on the wall with the teleportational holes, she pushed a few buttons before motioning for him to join her. "We're all set. Let's go." Putting her hands on the metal bar above the yellow teleportational hole, Yaralla jumped through it and slid out of the Megaship.
Rocky watched this before sighing. "First sinking to the bottom of the Aquitian waters and now this..." Stepping over to the blue teleportational hole, Rocky sighed and jumped in before whooping as he sped out of the Megaship and towards the Earth in a streak of blue.
"It says Raisin Bran on the front, but that doesn't taste like Raisin Bran," Kat commented. Smiling at Tommy who was sitting across from her, she put a hand through her smooth blond hair before reaching across the table for the milk that was in front of Jason's plate. This gave both the White Ranger and the Red Ranger quiet a nice view of her chest which was only partially covered up by her pink tank top.
Tommy coughed before turning towards Jason and finding that his best friend had turned a bright shade of red. He smacked his arm. "Back off." At this, Jason looked at him and smirked before taking another bite of his cereal.
Kimberly Hart shook her head, seeing that Kat was oblivious to what she had done, before chuckling and glancing at Jaime Talsik who was sitting next to Jason. "So, are you planning on working today?"
Jaime gazed at her and quietly replied, "Probably. Um, how about you?"
What's wrong with him? "Most likely," Kim responded. Looking at Kat who had been listening in along with Jason and Tommy, she shot her a confused expression. Kat shrugged, not having a clue what was wrong with the Triphorian, and Jason and Tommy looked at each other before turning their attention to Jaime who was now staring at his cereal and swirling his spoon around in it.
"Um, I was planning on getting an early start with the construction," Kat announced, breaking the silence. "Kim, would you like to join me?"
The Pink Ninja Ranger nodded, thankful for the rescue. "Sure." She stood. "Do you guys want to join us?"
Jason smiled at her. "What, and leave this delicious meal?" Kim grinned before gazing at Jaime and shaking her head.
Kat rubbed Tommy's hand before kissing his cheek. "I'll see you later, ok?"
"All right," Tommy told her glumly. She nodded and followed Kim out of the shelter and into the glare of the sun which was already beating down on the dry earth of Angel Grove.
Having heard the stiffness in his best friend's voice, Jason elbowed him. "What's up?"
Tommy looked at him before laughing to himself. "You rubbed off on me, Bro. Last time, you were the one coming to me for advice on sex, and now I want Kat so badly I can taste it, but she wants to stick to what we decided at the beginning of our relationship."
Jason smiled. "One problem leads to another. Wait for her, Tommy," The Red Ranger advised. "Don't get so obsessed with the idea of sex that you forget your relationship is supposed to be based around love." He chuckled. "I learned that from you."
"I knew that sounded familiar," Tommy remarked. The two chuckled before glancing at Jaime who sighed heavily and had put his head on his folded arms which were lying on the table.
Standing, Tommy slid next to Jaime, and both the Red and White Rangers copied Jaime's pose before staring straight ahead like the Silver Ranger was. Jaime raised his head and glanced at Tommy before turning and looking at Jason. Finally, he sighed. "Ok, you got me."
"Yeah, we got you, and now you have to tell us what's wrong," Jason informed him. Tommy nodded.
The Triphorian sighed before smoothing down his gray short-sleeved baggy shirt. "Well, there's a couple of things." Tommy motioned for him to continue, and Jaime glanced at him before sighing. "Don't be offended by this, Tommy, but I know what happened on the moon between you and Uriel. It's been on my mind forever, but I've always been too scared to bring it up."
Tommy shrugged. "Why? If I freaked out, you know you could have knocked me out anyway." He frowned. "I knew this was going to come up at some point, because there was enough evidence proving that you knew about what happened on the moon. Uriel had a telepathic link with both of us and you knew that it was Uriel who had tried to take me out of my teleportational track from Aquitar to Earth."
"When I was broken from Uriel's spell, I had pictures of the two of you in my head," Jaime confessed, "but I didn't know if I could trust them. They were so vague."
"Lucky for you," Jason muttered and, appreciating the humor in it, Jaime smirked. Tommy glanced at his best friend and shot him a warning look to which Jason merely smiled and shook his head.
"You aren't the only one that knows about this, Jaime. Obviously Jason knows, and so do Kat and Kim," Tommy informed him, "but I would appreciate it if you didn't tell the others. What happened between us is over, and I'm trying to put it behind me. Talking about it...there are too many memories that are brought up."
Jaime nodded. "I understand. It's just that I really needed to get that off of my chest. Now, it feels like a burden was lifted off of me or something."
Jason smiled. "It's always good to talk about your problems, Jaime. No matter how small or how large...remember that. We're always here if you need to talk to someone."
"In that case, I'm having problems with Kim," Jaime told them.
Tommy gazed at him with interest. "What kind of problems?"
"I don't know how to act around her. Honestly, even though I know that I made the right choice in not going back to Triphoria with Trey, I do feel a little homesick, but I don't want to drop that on her. She could feel guilty, you know...like she made me stay here," Jaime explained.
"Yep," Jason said, "that would be Kim."
The Silver Ranger sighed. "On the other hand, I don't want to come across as too happy about being here. You know, I don't want her to think that I'm an insensitive monster."
"I know you probably hate to hear this as much as I do, but you really need to be yourself, Jaime," Tommy told him. Jason nodded.
"You don't understand," Jaime murmured. "Being myself isn't good enough for her. I want to make her happy, but I don't know how to do that." He glanced at Tommy. "You went out with Kim for a long time, Tommy. What did you do that made her stay with you?"
Seeing that Tommy was pondering the question, Jason decided to cut in. "My advice would be to give Kim time to set the boundaries of the relationship."
Tommy chuckled at this. "Yep, and you won't have to wait very long for that. Believe me. I would know."
"Ok, so I'll wait for her to set our boundaries," Jaime repeated. "What about the time up until them? Should I act a certain way? Do I let her see vulnerability or none at all?"
Jason glanced at Tommy and grinned. "Kim liked it when you showed vulnerability. She's very maternal." Tommy turned a bright shade of red before lowering his eyes. Looking at the Triphorian, the Red Ranger sighed. "As I said, Kim won't leave you just for showing vulnerability, but I do remember one thing about Tommy before they officially started going out...he was always a little shy...a little mysterious, you know. Kim told me that she was so interested in him because he was a puzzle, and it was exciting to put another piece into place."
"How come she never told me that?" Tommy asked with a pout. "Why did she tell you? It wasn't like you were going out with her or anything."
"Come on, Bro. She's one of my best friends. You are too, of course, but you don't tell the person you're dating stuff like that...especially until you start going steady," Jason replied.
Jaime listened in, fascinated by all that he was learning. "So, vulnerable and shy. Do you guys really think she'll go for that?"
"It worked for Tommy, and I'm sure it'll work for you," Jason told him.
Jaime smiled, pleased that he finally knew how to make the girl he had left his planet for happy. "Thanks, Guys. You have no idea how much I appreciate it." Tommy and Jason looked at each other and nodded, glad that they had been able to help, and silently hoping that their advice would work.
Feeling a hand fall on her shoulder, she turned around to see Kim standing there in her faded pink tie dye tank top and blue jean shorts. "I owe you one in there, Kat. Thanks for bailing me out."
"It was the least I could do to make up for being such a bitch on Horat," Kat told her. Looking down at the plans again, she sighed. "So, what's going on between you and Jaime? Are you two ok?"
Kim shook her head. "No, and I don't know why, either. We were fine on Horat!" Putting a hand through her silky brown hair, she sighed. "You know what, though? I really don't know how to act around him. I mean, we're so different!"
Kat frowned. "You really should be yourself, Kim. If he doesn't like you for who you are, then he isn't worth it, no matter if he's from Earth, KO-35, or Triphoria. The same rules apply."
"It's just that I'm afraid being myself won't be good enough," Kim told her. "Jaime is homesick, and I don't know what to do or say to make him feel better!"
"I'd say that you should help him to enjoy Earth," Kat said. "You know, show him around, make him feel loved here...give him time to think of Triphoria, but make him think of Earth as a second home, because that's what it should be to him."
Kim smiled at this. "Literally, I need to keep him busy." At Kat's nod, Kim chuckled. "I think I got the same advice from Trini years ago about what to do with Tommy to help pick him up when he was losing the Green Ranger Powers."
All of a sudden, her eyes brightened. "Thanks, Kat. I know I can do this. Well, Jaime isn't Tommy, but their personalities are similar." Grinning, she picked up the paint can that had been by her feet and turned back to the wall behind her, painting over the black streaks left from explosions. Kat watched her before shaking her head and going back to work.
"Live a little," Rocky told her with a smile before picking up his fork, sticking it into a sausage link, and taking a bite. Seeing that she wasn't touching the food he had placed in front of her, he frowned. "Come on, Yaralla. Eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes...there has to be something you like on there!"
"Well, maybe if you told me what these things were I'd eat them," Yaralla snapped back as she picked up a fork and played around with a piece of bacon.
Rocky chuckled. "I'm sorry, Yaralla. It takes a while for me to remember that you haven't had these things before. Just try something, and if you like it I'll tell you what it is."
Yaralla sighed and plunged her fork into the round brown object on her plate. Hesitantly, she took a bite before chewing it and swallowing. She smiled. "That's delicious! What is it?"
"That was a pancake," Rocky told her, "with a bunch of syrup on it."
Obviously enjoying herself, Yaralla took a bite of the yellow food before smiling. "I like that, too."
Rocky smiled. "Scrambled eggs." Seeing her try something else, he continued down the list. "That's sausage...and that's bacon...that's a hash brown...that's French toast...that's a waffle..." Soon, he decided to quit the listing and eat his own food before it got cold.
Taking a sip of his orange juice, Rocky leaned towards Yaralla hopefully. "So, what do you think of Earth so far?"
"Are you kidding me?" Yaralla questioned after swallowing some more of her pancake. "With food this good, how could I not like Earth?" Noticing that something in his eyes showed that his question wasn't posed about the food, she sighed. "After the battle on KO-35 all of my family and friends were killed. There's no one to miss."
"I'm sorry," Rocky said honestly.
Yaralla smiled. "Don't be. It was a long time ago and, believe it or not, I'm happy with Andros and Zhane. Sure, Andros can be stubborn and Zhane can be downright annoying, but I love them. I definitely see us as a family of sorts. You know, the three siblings flying around space together...my older brothers and me...sometimes I wish we really were related."
Putting a hand on hers, Rocky said, "I can relate. Someone close to me died just a little while ago. My evil double from Hirpog killed her, and I can see the Rangers as my family, in a way. I mean, I still have my family, but they're here somewhere. The Rangers have always been there when I needed them, and I love them."
He was surprised by his own words. As far as Rocky could remember, he had never said that he loved the rangers out loud. Sure, he had thought it, and at hard times he had wanted to tell them that, but he had never wanted to sound like a wimp, and yet now, saying it to this woman that he didn't really know, it felt strangely appeasing.
Yaralla regarded his hand before pulling hers away. "Thank you for taking me out, Rocky. I really needed the fresh air, but I should get back to the Megaship."
"I don't think so," Rocky said, grabbing her hand again. "Look, once we reached LA you agreed to get out of the ship the whole day, and I plan on holding you to that." Yaralla, deciding that fighting with him would be hopeless, watched as he put some money on the table before walking with her out of the IHOP.
Trini stared up at the Power Chamber's ceiling in boredom. Jason still hadn't come to see her, and, despite the occasional pains in her chest, she was growing restless. At the moment, she would rather be eating more chicken salad than lying where she was.
Hearing a small groan from next to her, Trini turned around and watched as Tanya touched her forehead. "What am I doing here?"
"You're safe, Tanya," Trini told her. "Alpha told me what happened on Horat, and Zhane and Andros brought you all home last night."
"Kat told me about them," Tanya recalled. She sighed. "How long have I been out of it?"
Trini smiled. "I'd say that you've been out since you left Horat. That's quite a while."
"Shit," Tanya breathed. She looked around. "Where's Alpha?"
"Supposedly, he's getting some medication from another room," Trini explained. "Alpha's been gone for about fifteen minutes."
Tanya sighed. "So, I guess we're stuck in here until Alpha says we can leave, right?"
Trini nodded. "That sounds about right. Zordon is meditating. He'll probably be out of it until tomorrow at most."
All of a sudden, a green streak entered the Power Chamber and Zack Taylor materialized. Seeing that Tanya was awake, he ran to her side and kissed her gingerly. "I was so worried about you, Tanya. Don't do that to me again, ok?"
"Zack, what the hell are you doing!?" Tanya yelled, staring at Trini who was watching them.
Following her eyes, Zack chuckled. "It's ok. I told Trini about us on Phaedos. Jackie knows, too. I had to tell them." Sighing, Tanya nodded before kissing him, enjoying his scent which she hadn't gotten to smell in so long.
Trini watched them before shaking her head. She couldn't understand how Tanya could do this to Zack. Letting her mind wander, she thought about Jason and how he was dealing with everything that had happened before she had been injured. I hope he's ok...Jason, you're keeping me in suspense. You'd better come soon.
Stepping into a hallway, she looked around and was almost surprised when she bumped into someone walking the other way. Looking down, Jackie saw that it was an Alpha unit. Funny...I thought our Alpha was the only one... "Hey."
"Intruder!" Alpha yelled, startled after bumping into the human. "Intruder! Ay yi yi!"
Jackie motioned for the droid to stay quiet. "Damn it, Alpha, will you calm down!? I'm not an intruder!" As the Alpha continued to shout like an alarm, she sighed and leaned against the wall, waiting for whoever the Alpha unit was alerting.
She didn't have to wait very long. Andros, in his red polo shirt and blue jeans, and Zhane, wearing a gray tank top and black jeans, both ran into the room a few seconds later, obviously alarmed by Alpha's shouting. Seeing her, the two got into fighting stance. "We're here, Alpha," Zhane told the droid.
"Identify yourself," Andros ordered.
Jackie looked at the two before smirking. You have to be serious. Come on, Guys. "Oh, I'm the leader of an evil intergalactic empire bent on taking over the galaxy, and, seeing your ship, I decided to stop in and say hi."
She was tempted to laugh at her own wit but, seeing Andros and Zhane raise their fists, Jackie sighed, seeing that the joke had gone flat. "Seriously, I'm a Power Ranger. The Purple Gem Ninja to be exact."
Zhane sighed with relief. "Good. For a minute there, I thought you were Astronema's sister or something like that."
"Astro-who?" Jackie frowned. "Should I know this person?"
"You don't know who Astronema is?" Zhane shrugged. "Forget it. I doubt you'll ever have to meet her." Glancing at Andros, Zhane smiled. "Well, we're going to be around this planet for awhile, so I'm going to scope out the scene. Want to come?"
Andros shook his head. "You go on. Yaralla is out, too, and someone has to do the work around here."
Zhane smirked. "You're a wet blanket, Andros." He turned to Jackie. "I'll see you later, um...?"
"It's Jackie," the Purple Ninja told him. "Have fun."
"I'll be sure to," Zhane told her. Walking over to the teleportational tubes, he moved towards the silver one, waved, and jumped in, sliding out of the Megaship.
After his best friend had left, Andros turned to Jackie who was still eyeing him with interest. "So, what exactly are you doing here?"
"I wanted to look around," Jackie responded. "The others were talking about how amazing the ship was, and, I guess I wanted to see for myself."
"Yeah, well, that's fine," Andros told her. "You'll have to excuse me, though. I do have a lot of work to do. Since we're going to be docked here for awhile, we need to make sure that the engines are intact just in case we have to leave in a hurry." Looking over Jackie's shoulder, Andros saw an apple sitting on the table in the teleportation room and, walking over to it, he picked the fruit up and wiped in on his red short-sleeved shirt.
He was about to bite into it when he felt Jackie put a hand on his arm. "Um, I'll probably get lost around here," Jackie murmured sweetly. "Would you mind showing me around?"
"Fine," Andros mumbled, his annoyance showing. Jackie just smiled as he put the apple down and led her into the hallway and around the ship, cursing Zhane for leaving him alone with her.
Tommy looked at him and smiled before continuing to cover a board in white paint. "I think you're allergic to construction. Can you even breathe out here?"
"It's all this sawdust," Jason told him gloomily. Sitting down on the sidewalk, he rubbed his nose again. "I hate this."
"Every single day that we've worked, you've said that," Jaime observed with a chuckle. "If it helps, my eyes are watering."
Tommy nodded. "I have a headache, but that's probably the fumes from the paint. If either of you notices that I'm starting to get a buzz off of it, just drag me away."
"Easier said than done," Jason told him. Sneezing again, he lowered his head into his hands and let all of his weight fall onto his knees.
Jaime and Tommy looked at each other before sitting down next to him. The Triphorian put a hand on his shoulder. "Cheer up, Jason. Just think...one day down, a gadzillion to go."
Jason sighed. "I'm ecstatic, Jaime. Thanks."
"Don't mention it," Jaime said. Grinning, he stood before picking up his paint roller and continuing on the wall that Jason had just put up.
Tommy laughed before nudging Jason lightly. "Come on, Bro. Try to look at life positively. Hey, we are alive, after all."
Jason looked at him before smirking. "Thank you, but I'm usually the one that picks up the team."
"Yeah, well you aren't doing a good job of it," Tommy said. "I learned my optimistic skills from Aisha. That girl was always perky about something."
"She sure was," Jason commented. "I wish I was like that. Then again, I don't think Aisha was allergic to sawdust."
Tommy sighed. "I'm sorry. Later I'll go up to the Power Chamber, get Trini, and make her kiss your nose to heal you, all right?" Seeing the cold glare Jason sent him, the White Ranger moved away from him slowly. "What's up, Bro? That was a joke."
Jason scowled. "Only you would bring her up when I'm at an ultimate low."
"I don't get it," Jaime admitted, sighing after some white paint splattered onto his arm. "Aren't you going out with Trini?"
"Yes," Jason growled. He looked at the Silver and White Rangers, saw that they were both giving him the 'I-don't-understand-what's-going-on-so-you'd-better-tell-me' look, and sighed. "Fine, fine. I guess I'm the only one that hasn't shared at the GEP meeting."
Tommy frowned. "GEP? I don't get it."
Jason smiled faintly. "Girls Equal Problems." At this, Tommy and Jaime chuckled. The Silver Ranger gave up on painting and dropped the roller, sitting down next to him again.
"While you two were on Horat, Trini, Adam, Jackie, Zack, Emily, and I had to fight Goldar, Rito, and a whole bunch of Tengas and Jagas," Jason began. "Rito powered up his sword and hit Adam and me. Trini was worried and came to help us, and I tried to tell her to run, but the blast from Rito came so fast...she was struck dead on, and that's how she was hurt. I can't help but think that if I had avoided Rito that, you know, she wouldn't have been..."
Hearing his voice trail off, Tommy shook his head. "Jason, that was not your fault. We all get hit at some point. You do, I do...a lot..., and even Jaime does! We all go down, and every one of the rangers know that we all take chances. Sometimes we get hurt. That's what we do."
"Tommy's right," Jaime acknowledged. "You shouldn't blame yourself for this, Jason. I'm sure Trini doesn't, either."
Jason shook his head. "No! This was my fault! I could have helped her!" The anger was evident in his voice, and the White and Silver Rangers weren't sure if he was mad at himself for what he thought was his fault or at them for trying to convince him otherwise.
Feeling a hand fall onto his shoulder, Tommy turned around before grinning widely at who he saw there. "You finally seeked me out, huh?"
"Of course," the person said. "Did you doubt me?"
"Not for a second," Tommy responded. The two clasped hands.
"So, I have a friend waiting to meet you in Angel Grove Park. Are you going to come?"
Tommy nodded before turning around to face Jason and Jaime who were watching him expectantly. He looked at Jason. "Are you going to be ok if I leave for awhile?"
Jason nodded. "Go ahead. I'll lament to Jaime."
"I'm thrilled," Jaime muttered. "Hurry back."
Tommy chuckled and turned towards the park. Looking at the person next to him, he sighed. "TJ, you got our group into so much shit with that one prank."
"I know, but it was fun, right?" TJ Roberts rubbed the sweat from his brow before smiling. "I kinda wish we could do it again."
"You're telling me," Tommy said. "I never remember it being this hot when Angel Grove was in one piece."
TJ shrugged. "There's no more shade. I miss that. All the buildings just shielded you from the sun."
Tommy nodded. "So, have you gotten to play any baseball since the city blew up or, hell, have you sparred at all? You can't give up on the martial arts."
"I'd never dream of it," TJ told him. "Actually, I've been practicing with the person you're going to meet in about a second after we get to the park."
"Come on, TJ, you can't make me walk all this way to meet him," Tommy said. "I'm dying with anticipation."
TJ smiled. "It wasn't my idea. She just refused to leave the shade. Smart woman."
Tommy turned red at this. "I'm sorry...she's a woman? Don't tell her I thought she was a guy, all right?"
"You thought I was a guy?" As an Asian woman walked towards them from behind a tree, Tommy swallowed before shaking his head. She grinned. "Don't worry about it. Obviously, if I said that I always sparred with the same person, most people would assume that I was talking about a girl, right?" Tommy nodded.
"Tommy Oliver, meet Cassie Chan," TJ said, putting a hand on each of their shoulders. "Cassie is one of my best friends and a great martial artist, and Tommy is the King of Kicking."
Tommy sighed. "Let's not go too far, TJ. I'm not that good."
TJ scoffed. "Come on, Tommy. Your fight makes mine seem like a kindergartner's!"
"You have to be kidding me!" Tommy exclaimed. He turned to Cassie and smiled. "He's good, and don't let him tell you otherwise."
"I know," Cassie assured him. "Hey, I spar with him. Anyway, I think we have a common friend, Tommy...do you know Tanya Sloan?"
Tommy nodded. "Quite well. Why?"
"She's one of my friends, but I haven't seen her since the destruction of Angel Grove, and I wanted to make sure she survived," Cassie told him. Pulling down on her white and pink striped spaghetti strap tank top, she looked at him expectantly.
"Yeah, Tanya survived," Tommy explained. "The reason you probably haven't seen her is that she was hurt on the job, and she's getting medical attention."
Cassie gasped. "Oh my gosh...is she all right?"
Tommy smiled. "Yeah, she's ok. It wasn't that bad. There was nothing life-threatening, and she actually should be out here again in a day or two."
Nodding, Cassie grinned. "That's good to hear." She wrapped a strand of her black hair around her index finger before letting it go and glancing at TJ who seemed to be feeling left out of the conversation. "Sorry. Are you hungry?"
"Chicken salad again," TJ muttered. "Sure. Why not?" He turned to Tommy. "I know you were working, but if you wanted to join us, that would be great."
Tommy grinned. "I'd love to. Hell, I haven't really spoken to you in so long, Man." The two nodded towards each other before walking towards the shelter with Cassie and talking about what their lives had been like since the attack on Angel Grove and Stone Canyon.
Rocky smiled and led her through the trees to the lake. Stopping, he kept his eyes on her as she walked towards it and, kneeling, dipped her fingers in and giggled to herself as she saw the water ripple. Her tanned skin seemed to glow in the sunlight, and Rocky wondered what it was about this person that was making him feel so joyous. He hadn't felt this way since he had been Cassandra.
"This is amazing," Yaralla breathed. Sitting down in front of it, she looked at her reflection before motioning for Rocky to sit next to him. "After leaving KO-35, I never thought I'd find a place that could match it, but Earth does. Imagine going to desolate planets for two years where there is barely any grass, barely any water, and barely any breathable air. I've had to live there for months at a time during battles, and it is pure hell."
Opening his mouth to respond, Rocky closed it as a hand fell on his shoulder. The two turned around to see Zhane standing there, an expression on his face that just screamed 'how-the-heck-did-I-get-this-lost?' He sighed. "Have you two seen Tommy?"
Yaralla shook her head. "Sorry, Zhane. We haven't." The Silver Astro Ranger nodded before leaving them alone again.
"I've actually gotten used to the city being destroyed," Rocky told her. "It'll be strange when it's rebuilt. First it changed by being turned into rubble, and now it's changing again...slowly but surely."
"When we were in the IHOP you told me that you had lost someone close to you," Yaralla said. "Tell me about her."
Rocky sighed and leaned back on the grass. "Her name was Cassandra Wilcocks, and I loved her so much. Doubles of myself and the rest of the rangers were attacking, and I was injured and, consequently, taken out of action. All of the doubles were destroyed except for mine, Robert. I figured that he must have gone back to the moon palace to await further instruction, but instead I found out that he had killed Cassandra. Can you imagine that? She must have thought it was me, and, in a way, I killed her."
"You didn't kill her, Rocky," Yaralla told him sternly. "Don't ever let yourself believe that. Evil killed her and, one day, evil will eat itself. Robert will be killed."
"He was killed," Rocky told her. "In our justice system, felons are put into prisons which are supposed to be high security, but someone shot him during the night."
Yaralla frowned. "Such a quick death. Felons on KO-35 would be killed, but slowly and painfully. They would pay for what they had done."
Rocky nodded. "Still, in a way, his death was satisfying. I mean, Cassandra was gone in a flash for me, and then he was gone in a flash. I've moved on, and I truly did believe the other rangers when they told me that she loved me up till the very end, and I know in my heart that she knew that I loved her."
"That's so powerful," Yaralla voiced quietly. All of a sudden, a shadow appeared over her, and, seeing who it was, she groaned. "What now?"
"Has he passed by here in the last five minutes?" Zhane asked hopefully. "I've been looking around Angel Grove for hours."
Rocky looked at him sternly before saying, "I assure you, Zhane, that Tommy has not been here. If he comes, we'll holler for you, ok?"
Zhane scoffed. "Fine." Walking away, he folded his arms over his chest. "Talk about copping an attitude..." Yaralla and Rocky stared after him before breaking out in laughter, the momentary solemness forgotten.
Well, everything was his fault, actually. Tanya had been taken because he had been lazily moving around in the Horation Castle. If he had been alert then Gasket would have never gotten her. His mistake had nearly cost Emily, Jaime, and Trey their powers and, from what Jaime had been saying about the feelings he had experienced during his power loss in the Crisis Center the night before, possibly the Silver Ranger's life as well as the Gold Ranger's.
"This isn't doing any good, Adam," the Black Ranger told himself sternly. "You need to talk to Tanya. It's the only way that you'll be sure of her thoughts."
Looking around, he ducked to the side of the shelter and, seeing no one, he pushed a button on his communicator and teleported away in a flash of black.
Reaching the Power Chamber, Adam materialized only to find the Green Ninja Ranger sitting on Tanya's cot talking to her. The two were laughing at the moment, and Adam couldn't help himself from clenching his fists at the sight.
Zack turned around and stared at him numbly before standing. "Trini, Tanya, I'm glad you're feeling better, but I promised some people that I would be working today, so I'd better do that." Nodding towards Adam, he teleported away in a flash of green.
Adam walked over to Tanya's cot and, seeing that she was shivering, wrapped her blanket tighter around her. "So, what were you and Zack talking about?"
"Zack just wanted to see how Trini and I were, Adam," Tanya explained shakily.
Seeing how nervous Tanya had become, Trini reluctantly nodded. "Yeah. He was only here for a couple of minutes when you showed up, Adam." Please forgive me, Adam. Please...
Relaxing, Adam sat down on Tanya's cot. "I'm sorry for being so uptight, Tanya. It's just that when you were taken by Gasket...I feel so guilty about that! If I had only been more alert then you wouldn't have been taken!"
"Don't say that, Adam," Tanya told him as she put a hand over his lips. "I don't blame you, and neither does anyone else. All I know is that I'm thankful to be here with you." She wrapped her arms around him and embraced him lovingly.
Adam sighed in relief, feeling as if a boulder had been taking off of his shoulders, before kissing her passionately. Feeling her return it, he closed his eyes and sighed, enjoying the taste that he hadn't experienced for so long.
From her cot, Trini watched this before lowering her eyes. She couldn't help but be angered by the Yellow Ranger's actions. How could Tanya keep doing this to Adam? What would happen if he ever learned the truth?
An male attendant, noticing how lost he looked, walked over to him and smiled comfortingly. "Can I help you, Son?" He smoothed back his spiky blond hair and watched his face expectantly.
Zhane sighed. Well, not if he was taken up to the moon palace or anything like that. "Um, I'm looking for Tommy Oliver, but I don't think he's in here. I'm sorry for bothering you."
"Well, you don't know that he isn't in here," the attendant told him. "Let me see." Walking into the dining area, he put his hands around his mouth so that his voice would be heard throughout the room. "Ok, people, listen up. I'm looking for a Tommy Oliver. Does anyone here know where he is?" Tommy, who had been eating chicken salad for the millionth time, turned around at his name before gasping as he saw Zhane standing in the doorway. Oh, I don't believe this. Standing up, he walked over to the attendant. "Damn it all to hell..." He smiled. "Thanks a lot." The attendant merely grinned before returning to his post.
"God, Tommy, I was starting to get worried about you," Zhane told him with relief. "No one had seen you, and I was thinking that maybe the moon palace had attacked!"
"Well, I wasn't expecting you to come down to Earth on your own," Tommy told him honestly. "I'm sorry."
Zhane smiled. "Well, I didn't think I'd be alone...I thought I'd be with you. Well, Earth is a nice place. I've gotten to see a lot of it."
Tommy nodded before motioning to Cassie and TJ who were looking at them from where they were sitting. "I'm with friends of mine, and they aren't rangers, so try not to give anything away about us. Later on, we'll have to come up with an alibi for you, Andros, and Yaralla."
"Fair enough," Zhane said cheerfully, glad that he had triumphed in his search for the White Ranger.
Leading the way back over to Cassie and TJ, Tommy smiled. "Sorry about that. Cassie, TJ, this is Zhane, a friend of mine. Zhane, this is Cassie and TJ. I just met Cassie today, and TJ was in my martial arts class."
"Nice to meet you," Zhane said.
Cassie grinned. "Likewise."
TJ frowned, puzzled. "Hmm...like in Billy Zane?"
"I'm not sure how this Billy Zane spells it," Zhane told him, "but mine is Z-H-A-N-E."
Tommy smiled. "I didn't know that. When we met I thought it was Z-A-N-E." Zhane just shook his head and grinned, apparently enjoying the fact that he had fooled someone.
TJ and Cassie both stood, and Cassie shook Tommy and Zhane's hands. "Well, it was nice meeting the two of you, but we should get back to work."
"Are you going to come later?" TJ questioned.
Tommy nodded. "If we don't run into anyone else then we'll be over there soon."
"All right then," TJ said. He nodded towards Zhane. "I'll see you around, Zhane. It was nice to meet you, and Tommy..." He grinned, "...watch your back. I might be in the mood for a spar real soon."
"I'll be waiting," Tommy told him, a flippant gleam in his eyes. "See you guys later."
After they had left, Zhane sat down across from Tommy and looked at him expectantly. "So, how did I do?"
Tommy smiled. "You're a natural at hanging out with humans, Zhane. I think you're going to fit right in on Earth." Taking one last bite of his salad, he groaned. "We eat this everyday...do you want some of mine, because I'd rather die than eat anymore."
"That doesn't look at all appetizing, I'm sorry to say," Zhane told him. "No offense to Earth food or anything."
"None taken," Tommy said. "I don't like it, either, but we have a whole lot more to offer on Earth than chicken salad." He stood. "Well, you've already gotten a grand tour of the city. Did you get to check out the park?"
Zhane nodded. "Yaralla and Rocky were hanging out there. Um, I didn't spend much time in it, though."
Tommy smiled. "Great. We'll head over there, then." The two walked out of the shelter together and, turning away from the city, moved towards the park.
All of a sudden, she turned around as she heard an excited voice scream her name. Seeing who it was, she gasped before running towards the woman and hugging her. "Oh my God! Ashley!"
"God, Emily, I thought that you didn't get out!" Ashley Hammond exclaimed, her yellow halter top hugging her tightly along with her gray shorts. "I looked all over for you, and I feared the worst!"
"I looked for you, too," Emily told her, "and I had give up hope of ever finding you! How's your family? Are they all right?"
Ashley nodded. "They're ok, but they stayed in LA. I really wanted to come help out, though." Her eyes sparkling, she put a hand on her friend's arm. "So, how about yours? Are they ok?"
"Yeah, they made it out," Emily replied. "Well...shit, there's so much that's gone on since I last saw you!"
"I'll say," Ashley said. "Well, um, how's Jason?" As Emily's face fell, Ashley gasped. "Oh my God, Emily, I'm so sorry!"
The Gold Ranger F sighed. "Yeah, well, don't worry about it. Jason...it isn't a big deal."
Ashley scoffed. "The hell it isn't! Did it happen during the attack? If you don't mind my asking...when did it happen?" She put a hand on Emily's arm comfortingly.
"It happened after we had returned to Angel Grove to work on construction," Emily told her sadly. "Everything happened so fast." Feeling tears threaten to spill from her eyes, she lowered her head.
"Damn it, I'm really sorry for bringing it up," Ashley said quickly. "You know I'm always here for you, Emily. We're friends through thick and thin, right?" Emily nodded. "Can you tell me how it happened? Was it as soon as you got back to Angel Grove?"
Emily sighed. "Kimberly, Trini, and Zack came back to help with the construction, and...after that...I don't know what I did to push him away..."
Ashley looked at her with concern. "I'm not exactly sure what happened, Emily, but I do know this: nothing is your fault. People come and they go, and I know that's a hard feeling to accept. If you need to cry about it, that's ok, but you shouldn't hold it inside. I know Jason was very special to you. Um...who was that guy he was friends with...Tommy...was he there when it happened?"
"Tommy didn't hear about it till later, but he knew it was going to happen," Emily explained morosely. "I mean, they were best friends. Why wouldn't Tommy know?"
Hearing this, Ashley gasped. "So, it was almost like a psychic look into the future? Was it one of those psychic hotline people, because they're all cold killers. I just know it." She couldn't believe what she was hearing! This was too much!
Emily shook her head, confused. "A psychic didn't tell him to do it, Emily. He did it himself."
"Oh my God!" Ashley exclaimed. "I don't believe it! He committed suicide!? Jason never seemed like the kind of guy to do that! Why, I mean...did he lose his family? His friends? You poor thing! You and Tommy much have been devastated! How is Tommy, anyway? Is he getting help?"
"Ash..." Emily rubbed the bridge of her nose before laughing out loud. "I don't believe you! Jason didn't kill himself!"
Frowning, Ashley's forehead creased in puzzlement. "I don't understand. You said that Jason did it himself."
Emily nodded. "Yeah, he was the one to dump me. We're not going out anymore. That's what I meant!"
Ashley put her hands over her mouth before closing her eyes. "This is so embarrassing. I misunderstood, Emily! God, I just thought that you meant that Jason had died or something!"
"No, he didn't die, but he might as well have," Emily muttered. "He dumped me for another girl. Trini Kwan." She shook her head. "I guess you can tell I'm still a little sore from the experience." At Ashley's nod, Emily sighed. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Ashley told her sympathetically. "It's understandable. If I had a boyfriend do that to me I'd have to kill him. Anyway, where are you staying? I haven't seen you at the shelter."
"I am staying in the shelter, but some nights I stay with friends outside of the city if we went out or something." Emily smiled. "Sometimes you just have to get away from this ghost town."
Ashley nodded. "Well, I'll look for you. So, what are you doing now, Emily?"
The Gold Ranger F sighed. "Nothing at the moment. I was just walking around."
"Great," Ashley said with a grin. "I'll join you." Emily nodded, and the two continued walking through Angel Grove and watching the construction, all the while talking about how the attack had influenced their lives.
"Why?" Tanya asked playfully. "Do you have a date?" At this, Trini shook her head. When Zack had told her that he was having a secret relationship with the Yellow Ranger, she had thought it was just child's play...something to toy around with, but the way Tanya was fooling with Adam...that was just cruel and wrong, and yet she knew she couldn't break her promise to Zack no matter how much she wanted to. Zack was one of her best friends.
Adam shook his head and kissed her cheek before responding, "I need to go work in Angel Grove, Tanya, but I'll come back and see you later."
Tanya smiled and nodded. "All right. I love you."
"I love you, too," Adam told her. Nodding towards Trini, he stood and pressed a few buttons on his communicator before disappearing in a flash of black.
Watching him, Tanya sighed before glancing up at Zordon's tube which was still empty. "Zordon sure has been out of it for a long time, Alpha. Are you sure he's all right?"
Alpha nodded reassuringly. "Yes, Tanya. Zordon is fine. As I told Trini, he is in a meditative state, but he will probably emerge soon." Grinning, Tanya rested her head on her pillow before letting herself drift off to sleep.
Trini watched this not out of annoyance or out of uncomfort, but out of pure anger. How dare she do this to Adam! Hell, how dare she do it to Zack, also! They were both madly in love with her! The little slut! She toyed with them both and then just went to sleep like she had committed no sin? Letting out a deep sigh, Trini looked up at the ceiling and tried to control her rage, knowing that it would do her no good to feel hatred towards the Yellow Ranger. What was the point? She knew that she wouldn't tattle on them. Zack was too good of a friend for that.
Meanwhile, mist swirled around in Zordon's meditative realm. Being an enclosed wizard, he had been able to make himself a small dimension in which he could let out his deepest fears and bask in his greatest joys. Closing his eyes, Zordon let his mind wander to his fear, and all of a sudden the sounds of battle filled his ears.
In front of him were the rangers...Tommy, Adam, Kat, Rocky, Tanya, Jason, Jaime, Kim, Emily, Jackie, Trini, and Zack. Along with them was the Yellow Ninja Ranger, Aisha, and the Blue Ninja Ranger, Billy, as well as Trey of Triphoria and Zhane and Andros, the two newcomers from KO-35.
They were fighting an army of monsters diligently although he could tell that they were far from winning. One by one, they fell to the hands of evil and were killed. This sight was too much to bare, and Zordon wished it away, enjoying the calm mist again. He had never felt this strongly about a team of rangers before, but the innocence of this group had indeed made him feel for them...perhaps even love them...There were emotions inside of him that he had not experienced since his own time fighting with the Order of the Meledan, which was a fighting group much like a large squadron of rangers that fought evil throughout the Universe except that they counted on their mystical powers, not the Morphing Grid, to save them.
In the Order of the Meledan he had met Dulcea, and she was the first being that he had ever cared for besides his own family and friends on Eltar. She had been a fine student...receptive and open, and had listened to him for hours. Before her aging had begun, they had talked on the battlefield. Zordon knew that he had loved her as more than a pupil, but he had never said so. It was too risky to fall in love in those days. Hell, it was still risky to fall in love now, but the feelings were still there. He trusted Dulcea more than he had trusted anyone in the whole Meledan. She had been the compassionate part of the group.
Now, he felt love towards his rangers, but it was different from what he had felt for Dulcea. It seemed like only yesterday that he had told her on Phaedos after she had informed him that she would be leaving the Meledan since they had defeated most of the evil in the galaxy that he would never have children...they would ruin his chances for adventure, and now he found himself loving his rangers as if they were his children...sometimes rash and sometimes stubborn, but always innocent.
Suddenly, the sounds of battle filled his mind again, and he watched in horror as the seventeen rangers fell to the ground, bleeding and on their last breaths. That will never happen... Zordon told himself strongly. They won't die. I won't let them. They are all too priceless for that...
Zhane smirked. "You're funny. Personally, I think it looks like an Aquitian." At this, Tommy snickered before lying down on the ground and closing his eyes. The Silver Astro Ranger watched this before shaking his head. "Comfortable?"
Tommy nodded. "I am. Thanks." Feeling Zhane lie down next to him, he sighed. "It's been awhile since I've been able to just sit around without having to think about anything else. After Angel Grove was destroyed, we switched from Zeo to Dino, and right after that the doubles from Hirpog appeared. Rocky was taken to jail, and we were moved to LA where all of us nearly went insane.
"After that, we returned to Angel Grove and were immediately involved in the battle between Veron and Triphoria. Uriel turned Jaime and me evil, we were changed back, and then the Aquitians needed help. My teleportational track messed up and I ended up in DC, and after all of that was fixed we were called to Horat, and you know the rest."
"I can relate," Zhane told him. "After KO-35 was destroyed, Andros, Yaralla, and I have had no rest. We've traveled from planet to planet helping people who needed us, and the horrible thing is that I don't even know if my family is alive."
Sympathetically, Tommy mumbled, "I guess I've taken the fact that my family survived the Angel Grove attack for granted. Believe me, I'm sorry that you don't know about your parents. That must be really tough."
Zhane smiled. "I've had it the easiest. Andros is the one that fate has used as a punching bag. His parents died in the KO-35 attack, and his sister was taken away by Darkonda and, most likely, is being held prisoner by Dark Specter."
"Who exactly is Dark Specter?" Tommy asked. "You told Kat and me a little about him on Horat, but, I mean, who exactly is he...or she?" He blushed at the memory of his first meeting with Cassie.
"Dark Specter is a he," Zhane told him, "and is the monarch of evil. If you thought Gasket, Archerina, Rita, Zedd, Uriel, and Rashell were bad then you haven't seen anything until you've seen Dark Specter. He's nearly impossible to beat."
Tommy whistled low. "Man...how do you beat him? Have you ever?"
Zhane shook his head. "Never. Unlike Darkonda, he only has one life, but no one has ever dared challenge him. Legends say that a wizard was close, but Dark Specter overcame him and continued his reign as evil leader of the Universe. I wouldn't worry too much about him, though. He's on the other side of the Universe right now and doesn't pose any threat to us."
Letting out a sigh of relief, Tommy smiled. "That's good to hear. This Dark Specter isn't someone I particularly want to meet."
The two turned around as there was a crack behind them. Standing, Zhane looked around. "What was that?"
"I have no idea," Tommy replied quietly. Hearing another snap, the two moved closer together and got into fighting stance. "It's coming from the trees." He took a step behind the large trunk of one. "Whoever or whatever it is seems to have found us. I'll take him down, and you cover me."
"Funny...that's what Andros usually says," Zhane quipped. Becoming serious, he moved back and waited for the stranger to appear.
Tommy held his breath as the person emerged from the bushes and, not allowing himself enough time to see who it was, he flipped the person over his shoulder and raised his fist over him. Hearing a grunt, he looked down before cursing himself and bending down near the newcomer. "Shit!"
Zhane looked at him before shaking his head. "You know him?"
"Yeah," Tommy said. "Damn it, Jeff, I'm so sorry!"
Jeff Fowler rubbed his eyes before smiling weakly at him. "Well, forget about surprising you, Tommy. That's a shame, too. For your next birthday I was thinking of throwing you a surprise party." Rubbing his shoulders in pain, he sat up and winced before shaking out his arms. "Remind me never to get you mad."
Tommy helped him up before smiling sheepishly at Zhane. "Well, I feel like an idiot. Zhane, this is Jeff, one of my best friends. Jeff, this is Zhane. He's an Angel Grove newcomer."
"Why you'd want to come here now is beyond me," Jeff told him as he shook the grass blades out of his brown hair, "but it is nice to meet you."
"Likewise," Zhane said, unable to help himself from chuckling at the White Ranger's redness.
Jeff stretched his back out before sitting down by the lake. As Zhane and Tommy joined him, he smiled. "Well, what were you two talking about before I rudely interrupted, might I ask?"
Grinning, Tommy motioned towards the Silver Astro Ranger. "Zhane and I were getting to know each other a little better. He told me about his friends, and I told him that I hung out with a buffoon."
Looking at him, Jeff snickered. "I guess you weren't talking about Jason, huh? Thanks a lot, Tommy. That was appropriate." Turning to Zhane, he winked. "This guy is a vicious liar, Zhane. Never believe a thing that he has to say."
"I'll be sure not to," Zhane said with a chuckle. "Thanks for the warning."
Tommy pouted. "Great, Jeff, so you're turning my friends against me now?" At Jeff's nod, he sighed. "Everyone picks on me." Jeff and Zhane smiled, and the three laughed among themselves before engaging in conversation about wanting to kill the person who made the chicken salad everyday.
Jackie grinned at him before picking up a strange looking device off of the table where Andros was working. Fiddling with it, she frowned. "I've never seen anything like this before. What is it?"
Looking at her, Andros watched in horror as she pushed a sequence of buttons on the device before jumping out of the way just as a spark shot out from it and hit the place where he had been sitting. Jackie licked her lips. "Oops." Putting the device down, she smiled apologetically. "Sorry, Andros. Do you want me to get you another chair?"
"I'll stand," Andros mumbled. Watching as she continued to look around, Andros took a bite of his apple before sighing. "Haven't you seen enough yet? You've been up here for hours!"
"Nope, I'm still curious," Jackie told him. Putting a hand through her hair, she sat down in the seat across from him and, taking his apple, took a bite of it before putting it back down. As Andros glared at her, Jackie frowned. "You're a real bore, Andros. Do you know that? I mean, come on! There has to be some way to have a good time on this ship!"
Having had enough of her, Andros folded his arms over his chest. "A good time!? You want to have a good time!?"
Jackie put her hands on her hips. "Yeah, I would!"
Not even thinking of backing down, Andros rubbed his chin in thought. "You may think that now, but wait until you see what fun is on KO-35. Have you ever played Gingazook?"
"Huh?" Jackie shook her head. "Is that a type of gum or something?"
Instead of answering, Andros took her hand and led her down the hallway to the elevator in the ship. Pushing a few buttons, the door opened, and he pushed her inside before walking in himself. "DECA, take us to Megadeck 5."
"Are you sure about that, Andros?" DECA questioned. "You told me that you I was never to permit--"
"That was Zhane," Andros told DECA sternly. "I said, take us to Megadeck 5."
"You don't have to shout. Transport to Megadeck 5 activated."
Jackie smiled falsely. "What are we doing now, Andros? Working on your engines again?"
Andros growled at her, "Shut up." As the door opened, he stepped out of the elevator and turned back to her as she didn't follow. "Well, are you coming or not?"
"What is this?" Jackie stepped out of the elevator and looked around. The room was dark except for a small light on the right side of the room and mist floating around over the floor.
Handing her a strange looking vest, Andros slipped one on before sighing. "Just put that on." Taking a headset off of a rack, he put one over his own head before handing one to her. After that, he picked up two laser guns, put one in two different sections of her vest, and handed her a third before taking three of his own.
Jackie laughed in amusement. "You have to be kidding me! We're going to play laser tag? I haven't done this since I was a kid!"
"I don't really know what laser tag is, but if it is the same thing, then you haven't played against me." Andros smiled slyly. "Prepare for the fight of your life." With that, he ran off into the mist. Looking around, Jackie threw her hands up in the air, exasperated, before sprinting in the opposite direction.
At this, Rocky frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Oh, nothing degrading, Rocky," Yaralla told him, still giggling. "You just seem like a very upbeat person." Deciding to accept this, Rocky took her hand in his before looking out at the construction teams. "They've done a lot of work. From what you said about the destruction of Angel Grove, I'm surprised that they are this far."
Rocky nodded. "I am, too." Suddenly, he spotted a small boy working along side the teens and adults in the construction. "What the hell? Who would send a little boy out here?"
Yaralla frowned. "I don't know. He could get hurt!"
Getting a better look at him, Rocky gasped. "Oh my God."
"What?" Yaralla questioned. "Do you know him or something?"
Gaping, Rocky slowly nodded. "Yeah, I do." Letting go of her hand, Rocky ran towards the boy with Yaralla right his heels. Reaching him, Rocky put a hand on his shoulder gently. "Justin!?"
Hearing the familiar voice, Justin Steward pushed his bangs away from his eyes before smiling brightly. "Rocky!" He wrapped his arms around him. "I didn't know you were here!"
"I didn't know you were, either," Rocky said quietly. He looked down at him seriously. "What are you doing here? You should have stayed in LA where it was safe!"
Justin shook his head. "My dad is busy in LA making business arrangements. He sent me to Angel Grove so that I would be with people that I knew instead of in the homeless shelter by myself all day."
Rocky smiled faintly. "Well, that's cool, Justin. Who else is here with you? Your siblings? Some friends?" "I don't have any brothers or sisters," Justin informed him proudly. "My dad let me come by myself."
"You..." Rocky stared at him in shock. What kind of a father lets a twelve year old boy come to a city where he barely knows anyone all by himself!? Feeling someone touch his arm, he motioned to Yaralla. "Justin, this is Yaralla, a friend of mine. Yaralla, this is Justin. He was one of my martial arts students before Angel Grove was destroyed."
Yaralla smiled. "It's nice to meet you, Justin."
Justin nodded. "Yeah." He turned to Rocky again. "I get it. She's your girlfriend." As the two turned red, he grinned. "It's ok. I understand these things." Yaralla shook her head and chuckled to herself.
Rocky coughed before rubbing the back of his neck. "Look, Justin, I know you're working and everything, but we were just walking around. Do you want to join us?"
"Sure!" Justin exclaimed excitedly. "Wow, I haven't really gotten to be around anyone I know since I left my dad!" As he hyperly walked ahead of them, Rocky shook his head, still not believing that Justin had come to Angel Grove alone. Didn't Mr. Stewart know how dangerous it was to be young and alone in the city? He could get hurt! As Yaralla touched his hand cautiously, he nodded towards her, showing that he was fine, before quickening his pace along with her so they could catch up with Justin.
Before it could, she heard the door to her room open and, sitting up with a start, she growled at the being she saw there. "Goldar! How dare you barge into my room without notice!"
"I'm sorry," Goldar told her, "but there are questions I need answered." Placing his sword against the wall, he sat down on the bed next to her. "Very important questions."
Scorpina sighed before leaning against the wall in annoyance. "Go ahead. What questions do you have, Goldar?"
The space monkey took a deep breath before cautiously asking, "Why didn't you take me along with you, Finster, and Uriel when you were leaving us?"
"That's easy," Scorpina said with a scowl. "I don't like you, and I don't trust you. Is there any other question that you have, Goldar?"
"You must feel something when we are together, Scorpina," Goldar tried. "I feel it."
The evil woman snarled at him. "I never have, Goldar. You need to get a life instead of poking your ugly head into mine."
Goldar sighed and turned to leave before facing her again. "Just one more question. What were you planning to do with the White Ranger anyway? You know that Rita and Zedd would kill you if you killed him, don't you?"
"We weren't going to hurt him," Scorpina told him honestly, "but you shouldn't ask me about it. This wasn't my call. Uriel was the one that invited Finster and me along. Now, I think you should leave, Goldar. If you have questions, go to Uriel. I'm not at liberty to answer." Goldar stared at her before nodding reluctantly and leaving the room, making sure to take his sword with him. Scorpina watched him go and shook her head with disgust. Goldar liked her? Gross...she'd have to kill him one of these days just so he'd stop getting on her nerves.
Hearing someone question, "Is anyone sitting here?" Adam shook his head before looking up and smiling faintly at the person he saw there. "Hey, Adam. I'm here to annoy you since soccer season has been canceled."
"Hey, Carlos," Adam said. The two shook hands, and Adam pushed his salad at him. "Are you hungry?"
Carlos Rodrigez nodded. "Yeah, I am, but not for that." He pushed the salad back. "Where have you been, Adam? I haven't seen you at all since I got back from LA!"
The Black Ranger sighed. "I've been hanging out with some other friends, and I guess we just kept missing each other." He grinned. "So, how is everything? Is your family ok?"
"Um, yeah..." Carlos' voice trailed off, and he lowered his eyes before shaking his head. "No, they aren't. In the attack, my little sister was killed. I guess I blame myself for that. Maybe, if I would have been faster, I could have pulled her away from the blast that killed her." He sighed. "There's no point in dwelling on it, I guess. She's gone. It's time to move on."
Adam shrugged. "I can relate, in a way. Well, no one died, but Tanya was hurt on the job because of me, and I feel horrible about it. I know I shouldn't blame myself, but it's so hard not to. There's a pit in my stomach, you know?"
Carlos nodded. "Yeah, I do, but you shouldn't blame yourself, Adam. Tanya probably doesn't blame you, and neither does anyone else. You need to work this out with yourself."
"Well, you shouldn't' blame yourself for your sister's death, either," Adam told him. "If she were here, she wouldn't blame you, and you shouldn't blame yourself. My thing with Tanya needs to be dealt with by me. Only I can bury the hatchet. That's what you need to do."
Carlos stared ahead of him in a daze before turning to the Black Ranger and nodding. "You're right, Adam. I need to let her go, and I need to remember the good things about her instead of focusing on what could have been done to save her. It's better to concentrate on life instead of death."
Adam smiled and took a bite of his salad before thinking about this. He needed to concentrate on getting his relationship with Tanya off the ground and back to where it used to be instead of dwelling on his guilt. It seemed so clear to him. Glancing at Carlos, he smirked. Who would have ever thought he would get the best advice from the most prideful person on his soccer team?
Reaching the park, Jason looked around before shaking his head as he heard voices coming from the lake. "Of course, he's in the shade while Jaime and I were in the sweltering heat."
The Red Ranger easily spotted Tommy talking to Zhane beyond some trees, and he was about to walk up to them when he heard a familiar voice say, "I don't know how you can think that she's unattractive!"
Sneaking behinds a few of the trees, Jason looked past the bushes and found himself staring right at Jeff Fowler...the only person that he had ever thought of murdering. Jeff, Tommy, and Zhane were standing around and laughing, and Jason decided that he'd see what was up before joining them or not.
"You're insane," Tommy said with a chuckle. "She's not hot, Jeff. You're delirious."
Jeff smirked. "I think she's fine."
"She seems older than you," Zhane observed. Jeff shrugged at this.
Tommy laughed. "Yeah, Jeff. She seems at least ten years older if not fifteen. Twenty tops."
"Is this a bad thing?" Jeff questioned innocently. "She's experienced!" Both Zhane and Tommy snickered at this.
Zhane sighed. "He's got you there, Tommy. Personally, I don't like anyone right now."
"You have to like someone," Jeff said. "Come on, Zhane. You're a guy! All guys are obsessed with a woman at some time. I have my experienced woman, and Tommy has Kat..."
Tommy nodded. "Yeah, Zhane. There has to be someone." Thinking about this, his eyes narrowed. "It better not be Kat, though."
Zhane shook his head and Jeff laughed. "You'd better watch out, Tommy. Zhane has his eyes on your girl."
"Maybe he likes your construction girl...I'm sorry...experienced woman," Tommy retorted. Jeff smirked and Zhane chuckled.
From the trees, Jason frowned, unable to stop himself from being jealous. Everyone was having so much fun without him...and Jeff was involved! He still hated Jeff, no matter what Tommy or the others said about him. Jeff was a sneaky rat-bastard who shouldn't be trusted, and no one would ever convince him otherwise.
At that moment, Tommy turned around and waved at Rocky who was walking towards them with Yaralla and a boy that he thought looked familiar, but he couldn't put a name to his face. "Hey."
"Hi, Tommy," Yaralla said with a smile. Seeing Zhane, she grinned. "So, you finally found him, huh?" Zhane shook his head and blushed.
Jeff looked from Rocky to Yaralla and back to Rocky again. "Ok, I've been left out of this." He glanced down at Justin. "Rocky got married and had a kid. Am I right?" Tommy smirked.
Rocky glanced at him before shaking his head with a chuckle. "Not quite, Jeff. This is Yaralla and Justin. Yaralla is new to the area, and Justin used to be in my martial arts class."
Tommy smiled. "That's right. I'm Tommy, and this is Jeff and Zhane."
Justin's eyes brightened in remembrance. "I remember you, Tommy! You came to our karate class and did a demonstration with Rocky...you were so cool...almost as good as Rocky!" Hearing this, Rocky stared at him in shock before looking at Tommy who just shrugged flippantly.
"So, Justin, you take martial arts," Jeff noted. "Feel like showing us some moves?"
The younger kid blushed. "I'm not very good."
Rocky sighed. "Don't say that, Justin. Never underestimate your own ability, remember?" At Justin nod, he smiled. "Good. Now, just show them a simple kata. He didn't ask for anything hard."
"Yes, Sensei," Justin said, and Rocky grinned somewhat proudly, happy to hear the respectful term. Getting into position, Justin bowed before beginning a complicated series of kicks and punches, his voice blending in with the movements.
He's pretty good... Jeff thought to himself before looking at Yaralla and Zhane, both of whom were staring at the younger kid in shock. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks that.
Leaning towards Rocky, Tommy murmured, "He's gotten good."
"I'll say," Rocky acknowledged. "He must have been practicing even after the city was destroyed. It shows." Frowning, he added, "I can't believe that his father sent him here alone."
"He what!?" Tommy exclaimed, doing his best to control the volume of his voice. "That's horrible! He's just staying in the shelter without any family or friends?"
Rocky nodded. "That's what he told me." Hearing this, Tommy shook his head.
As Justin finished, the five teens clapped, and Jeff held out his hand. "Awesome, Justin." He slapped his hand excitedly, and Jeff bent down in front of him. "You're really good. I bet you could beat me up, huh?"
"Probably not," Justin told him. "What belt are you?"
"I've lost track," Jeff lied, smiling at him. "I'll tell you what...once the Youth Center is rebuilt you can teach me some of those moves, all right?"
Justin grinned happily. "Sure! I'd love to!"
Tommy looked at him before leaning against a tree. Seeing his pout, Rocky sighed flippantly. "What's wrong with you? Is the chicken salad making your stomach upset?"
"I wish Jason was here," Tommy muttered. "After seeing that, I'm in the mood for a spar."
Rocky scoffed and motioned towards himself. "Hello! What am I? Chopped liver? Why can't you spar with me?"
Tommy frowned, his eyes betraying his playful mood. "Well, you know, you're better than me. Justin said so. I'm afraid that you'll hurt me."
"You're such a--" Cutting off, Rocky smiled proudly. "Yeah, you're right. I can beat you...easily..."
Jeff grinned. "Oooh, I sense a good spar coming on." His eyes sparkled playfully.
"You think so, huh?" Tommy crossed his arms over his chest. "I think you just got lucky that time, Rocky. I can beat you now."
Zhane and Yaralla glanced at each other before looking down at Justin who was eyeing the two in awe. "Teach him a lesson, Rocky," Yaralla said, getting into the spirit. "He can't beat you."
"Come on, Tommy," Zhane countered. "Are you going to let him talk to you like that?"
The White and Blue Rangers circled each other threateningly before moving in and beginning the spar. Jeff, Justin, Zhane, and Yaralla sat down on the grass and watched as they kicked and punched at each other. "Get him, Rocky!" Yaralla yelled.
"You've got him, Tommy," Zhane said. "This is child's play for you." Yaralla and Zhane looked at each other before standing. "I'm trying to watch the spar in peace."
"Yeah, well I can't watch it with you yelling like that," Yaralla muttered. "Sit down, Zhane. I can take you down easily."
He's really getting into this. Zhane looked down at Justin before smiling slyly. "You think so, huh? I'd like to see you try."
Yaralla nodded. "Gladly." With that, the two were engaged in a fight leaving Justin and Jeff to watch.
From the woods, Jason watched this before shaking his head, wishing more than anything that he was out there and that Jeff would just turn into dust and float away. Just seeing him made Jason sick. Stupid asshole. If I were sparring against him, I could take him down in a second. Taking in a shaky breath, he sneezed before backing away slowly as the pairs stopped fighting and looked around.
"Did you hear that?" Rocky asked from where he was looking around.
Yaralla shook her head. "No...maybe it was just an animal or something." The two, continuing to gaze around the area, didn't notice the looks Zhane and Tommy shot each other before knocking their opponents to the ground.
"Foul play!" Jeff announced. "Tommy, Zhane, I disqualify you."
"It was a good hit, Jeff," Tommy argued. "Can I help it if my opponent was distracted?" Jeff thought about this as Justin laughed. From the ground, Rocky shook his head, smiling, before standing up.
Zhane turned around as Yaralla remained on the ground. "God, my back! Shit, it hurts!"
"Damn it!" Zhane exclaimed, running to her side. "I'm so sorry, Yaralla. It was a joke! Can you move?" Checking her for injuries, he was caught off guard as Yaralla stood and knocked him over before raising her hands in the air triumphantly and giving Rocky a high five.
Helping Zhane to his feet, Tommy shook his head and snickered. "You know what they say, Man. Trust no one..."
The Silver Astro Ranger sighed as he painfully stood again. "You would think that I would have learned by now."
Jason watched this from the trees before turning around and walking away. How could they just act as if he didn't exist? Well, sure they didn't know that he was there, but Tommy didn't even bother checking for him in the city.
Leaving the park, Jason turned back one more time before lowering his head and sneezing again. Rubbing his nose, he sniffled. "Damn that Jeff...and damn all this fucking sawdust!"
"You're a pretty good shot, Jackie," Andros acknowledged through the headphones.
The Purple Ninja Ranger nodded as if he were standing right next to her. "You aren't so bad yourself, Andros." Spotting him again, she fired, missed, and ducked as his laser flew by. "We're tied. Next point wins."
"You're dead," Andros told her confidently.
Jackie scoffed. "I don't think so, Andros. I really don't think so." As a red flash passed her, she hid before firing out towards the place where she had seen it.
"That wasn't even close," Andros taunted with a laugh. "Try aiming before you shoot."
"You're going down," Jackie told him, following the red flash as it passed her again. "I'm closer than you think."
Andros chuckled. "No...I'm closer than you think."
Spotting a flash, Jackie fired and looked down at her vest as it shook a second later. "I don't believe this!" Looking at the readings, she laughed. "Ah! We tied!"
"A tie!?" Andros ran up to her in shock. "That's impossible. No one has ever tied me at this game! I can beat Zhane by a mile, and we won't even get into Yaralla!"
Jackie smiled at him. "I guess you got more than you bargained for shooting against me, eh?"
Andros nodded in admittance. "You're a terrific shot, Jackie. Where did you get those skills?"
"Before I became a ranger I would watch Tommy when he was in battle," Jackie explained. "I learned, and now I can beat him in both long and short distance shooting."
"Well then," Andros noted, "I'll have to try him out sometime."
Jackie grinned. "Don't forget, Andros, that I had to beat him in order to beat you. You'd kill him in this game."
Andros frowned. "Are you sure?"
"Definitely," Jackie responded confidently.
Reenergized, Andros took off his vest and headset. "Well, I'm starved. You must be, too...do you want to get some food from in here?"
Jackie nodded. "Sure. That's a good idea, since we've eaten the same thing in Angel Grove for quite awhile."
"The exact same thing?" Andros shook his head. "Ok, then. Let's go." Leading her out of the room and into the elevator, they traveled down to the main deck before going to get some food.
Tommy shook his head after Rocky made an attempt at telling a good joke before looking down at his watch. "Well, I guess I have to go work in Angel Grove at least for an hour. Jason, Jaime, and I worked for a little bit, but only for a half hour or so. The sun is is going to go down soon, and I want to be able to shower before seeing Kat."
Jeff nodded. "I'll go with you. Today I didn't do my work, and I guess I should."
"Don't forget me," Zhane said. "I'll go, too." He wasn't exactly sure what he would do when going to help in Angel Grove along with Jeff and Tommy, but he was confident in his ability to do it, no matter what the task.
Rocky nodded. "Well, I'm going to stay out here for a little bit longer and watch the sunset. The day it so clear...it'll be a beauty."
"Can I stay?" Justin asked him. At Rocky's nod, he smiled and put his head down in the grass.
Yaralla grinned at this before looking up at Zhane. "I'll see you later, all right?"
"Sure," the Silver Astro Ranger replied. With that, Tommy, Jeff, and Zhane left Rocky, Yaralla, and Justin by the lake.
They had just reached the edge of the park when Jason stepped in front of them, his eyes dark. Zhane glanced at him in confusion, not particularly sure of who he was, but almost positive that he was a ranger. Jeff, seeing him, rubbed the back of his neck nervously. As he had told Tommy when he was in the hospital, it was no secret that Jason hated him and his attitude had obviously not changed.
Oblivious to the discomfort of the two, Tommy smiled. "Hey, Jason. What's gong on?"
The Red Ranger crossed his arms over his chest. "Can I talk to you privately for a moment, Tommy?"
Tommy nodded slowly, not having expected this from his best friend. "Um...sure...Guys, do you mind going on without me?"
He expects me to go on to Angel Grove and try and fit in without him!? Zhane gazed at the White Ranger before nodding shakily. "Sure."
"Hurry up," Jeff said. After saying this, the two left Jason and Tommy alone and entered Angel Grove to begin working on construction.
"So, what's up, Jason?" Tommy asked cautiously. "Look, I know that I said I'd be back later, but I met up with TJ and his friend Cassie, and then I met up with Zhane, Jeff, Rocky, Yaralla, and Rocky's student Justin. Don't be mad about that."
Jason glared at him angrily. "Is that all that you can say!?"
Tommy shrugged, confused. "Say about what?" As the Red Ranger sneezed, he sighed. "Bless you."
"You're hanging out with him again!" Jason exclaimed, ignoring the fact that his voice was completely nasal. "I can't believe you still trust him!"
The White Ranger thought about this and frowned. "Zhane? Yeah, I trust him."
Jason groaned. "No! You know I'm talking about Jeff!" Sneezing again, he lowered his head and sniffled before looking back at him.
"Yeah, I'm hanging out with him, Jason. He's a good friend of mine...what's your point?" Tommy asked, still not getting what the Red Ranger was trying to tell him.
"How can you not realize that he's just playing off of you!?" Jason exclaimed angrily. I don't understand how he can be this oblivious and, frankly, this stupid. This is ridiculous. Tommy knows what Jeff has done to us!
Tommy smirked. "Playing what off of me? There's nothing for him to play! Look around you, Jason! What could he possibly want from me? I have nothing more than him. No one does!"
Jason threw his hands up in the air angrily. "Have you forgotten everything he did in school...how he picked on Billy!? Hell, how he picked on all of us!?"
"Your hating Jeff was a joke a little while ago...after he changed to the extent that he did I thought you were kidding about disliking him so much...why are you making such a big deal about this? I'm not forcing you to hang out with him, but you aren't even giving him a chance!"
"I'm saying this for your own good, Tommy--"
"I'm saying this so that you'll understand, Jason..." Tommy interrupted. "I realize your concerns, and I've taken them to heart. If I sense that Jeff is making a move on me or anyone else, I'll be on top of him in a second, but if you're asking me to stop being friends with him just because you want me to, then the answer is no. I refuse to do everything you say."
Jason shook his head. "It's your mistake. I'm just trying to correct it before you or anyone else gets hurt by him like I was..."
"You aren't my leader, Jason," Tommy told him icily, "and you've never been in personal matters like this. First of all, you should try something called a decongestant, and second of all, I'm going to go catch up with Zhane and Jeff...my friends...in the city. If you want to come, fine. If not, don't bother whining about it."
Jason stared at him in disbelief before shaking his head angrily. "I'd rather make out with Goldar than spend one more minute than I have to with that jerk."
"Fine," Tommy said, his voice low. With that, he began to walk away.
Looking after him, Jason growled. "Fine," he muttered coldly before moving in the opposite direction.
Reaching Angel Grove, Jeff and Zhane watched as Tommy kicked an empty paint can angrily before picking up a hammer and nail and pounding it into the wall. Jeff put a hand on his shoulder cautiously. "Is everything ok? What did he say to you?"
"Forget it," Tommy told him quietly, the fury evident in his voice "I just got finished talking to a complete bastard, but besides that..."
Jeff stared at him before shaking his head. "Jason doesn't want you hanging out with me, does he?" As Tommy nodded, he sighed. "Look, I'm coming between you two, and I don't want to do that. If it would make your life easier, I'll just try to get together with a group in the shelter so that I don't see you that much."
Tommy glared at him, his eyes dark. "Don't you dare. I told you to forget it. Jason is an asshole anyway. If he can't accept who I'm friends with, then who needs him?" Both Zhane and Jeff watched as he pounded a nail with a hammer and pulled his finger away quickly before wincing as he saw how red it was. "Damn it all! Piece of shit!" Zhane looked at the two and sighed, having no idea what was going on as Jeff turned away. He kicked a few pebbles by his feet, hating the feeling of knowing that his best friend was miserable because of him, and not knowing what he could do to change that.
The evil sorceress shrugged. "I really don't know. Do you have any ideas?"
Nodding, the big bird suggested, "Perhaps Jija or Tropor would be good names. Jija was the name of my sister who was killed on Twupor, and Tropor was our top warrior on Hirpog for many years before being killed by Horation troops."
"Um, maybe we should wait until the baby is born to decide names," Uriel suggested, doing her best not to cringe. Tropor or Jija...names for HER beautiful child? No...she knew those wouldn't do.
Rashell touched her hand softly. "That's a good idea, Uriel. Perhaps a better name will come when we see our baby's face." He sighed. "Well, I wanted to talk to Goldar about his battle plan from the last fight on Earth. Rest, My Dear."
"I will," Uriel assured him. She kissed his beak before watching him as he walked to the door of her room and opened it.
Suddenly, screaming filtered in from the outside hall. "I never went all the way with Tommy!" Rita yelled angrily. "He just felt my breasts, and that was years ago! Kat probably went all the way with you!"
"What!? Are you mad!?" Zedd hollered. "You're just jealous because your cat was prettier than you!"
"Her!? Prettier than me!?" Rita laughed mockingly. "That's a laugh! You're jealous of Tommy because he can turn me on more than you!"
Zedd smirked. "Oh really!? Why don't you go down to him now, then!? Have him feel your breasts again, or why not have him go all the way with you!? I'm sure you'd enjoy that!" Rita scoffed and entered one room, slamming the door behind her. Zedd did the same.
Rashell shook his head, amused by the whole ordeal. "Pitiful." With that, he left in search of Goldar.
Uriel watched him go before putting her hands on her stomach. "I wonder what Tommy would want to name the baby if he were here..." She laughed to herself, knowing that Jija and Tropor wouldn't be at the top of his list. Uriel knew that she was nervous about having this baby...there were many risks involved in having a mortal child, and she hoped that he or she would be all right.
At the same time, she was excited. Finally, she would hold the key to Tommy's heart in her grasp. All she needed to do now was wait, and he would come to her willingly...
Really, Jason? You wouldn't? If Tommy was in a place of terrible suffering, you'd be the first one to offer to trade places with him and you know it. He's your best friend no matter who he's friends with. Jason thought about this for a moment before throwing another rock into the water. "Damn conscience!"
Standing up, he looked up at the sky. The sun had set a little while ago, and he knew in his heart that the only one who had ever been able to help him through things like this was Trini. Looking around, he pushed a few buttons on his communicator and teleported away in a flash of red.
He reached the Power Chamber and found both Trini and Alpha staring at him. Tanya was fast asleep on her cot. Walking over to his girlfriend, Jason sat down next to her and sighed. "I wanted to see you."
"That's good," Trini said quietly. She laughed weakly. "I thought you had forgotten about me."
Jason shook his head before grabbing her hands in his own. "Am I a horrible person?"
"Is this an open-ended question?" Trini smiled and put a hand on his shoulder. "What's going on?"
"Well, first you risked your life to save Adam and me--"
Cutting him off, Trini shook her head. "I don't blame you for this, Jason. We're rangers, and sometimes we get hurt. It comes with the job description."
Jason nodded, and stared at her in wonder as he recalled what Tommy had said earlier:
We all go down, and every one of the rangers know that we all take chances. Sometimes we get hurt. That's what we do.
Burying his head in his hands, he let out a shaky breath. "I'm such an idiot."
"Well, I'm going to have to disagree until you give me a reason to believe otherwise," Trini told him. "What's wrong, Jason?"
The Red Ranger sighed. "I saw Tommy with Jeff again, and I don't know why I can't accept the fact that he's changed, but I can't, and I just blew up in Tommy's face about it. We left each other pretty worked up."
"You have to look at why it is that you hate Jeff so much, Jason," Trini told him. "Yes, you were wrong. Tommy can choose his own friends, and you have no say in his choices, but I truly don't think that you hate Jeff as a person anymore."
"Really?" Jason frowned. "What is it, then?"
Trini smiled faintly. "You're jealous of him. Tommy has two best friends...before it was just you and him...best friends forever, and you think that Jeff is your replacement, but you have to realize that he isn't. You and Tommy will always be best friends. I can't think of anything that would change that, but you have to accept the fact that you were gone for a long time...Tommy found new friends, also. Let him live a little. Don't hold him back." Seeing Jason nod, Trini touched his cheek softly. "Does that help?"
Jason grinned weakly. "Does this support the fact that I'm an idiot?"
"No," Trini responded, shaking her head. "It supports the fact that you're sensitive and a great friend."
At that moment, Alpha walked up to Trini with a needle in his hands. "I have more of the pain killers, Trini."
The Copper Ninja smiled. "Thanks, Alpha." As the blue fluid was injected into her, she looked at Jason. "Hopefully, this will be my last night in this state. I've been feeling a whole lot better."
"That's good to hear," Jason told her. As she began to drift off, he kissed her forehead and helped her to lie back. "I love you."
"I love you, too," Trini said. Closing her eyes, she let out a deep breath before letting the darkness consume her.
"Well, I've had a long day, so I think I'm going to go down to the Crisis Center," Jason told Alpha. "Goodnight." The little droid nodded and watched as he teleported away before leaving the room.
After he had done this, Rocky, Jaime, Kim, and Zack returned to the Power Chamber. "Well, I guess we should go to the Crisis Center," Kim suggested seeing that both Tanya and Trini were asleep, and Alpha and Zordon weren't present. The others nodded and teleported away in flashes of blue, silver, pink, and black.
As soon as they had left, Emily teleported into the Power Chamber. Looking around, she frowned as she saw Trini lying on a cot fast asleep. Emily walked over to her and clenched her fist angrily. "I hate you," she whispered harshly. "I hate you more than I hate Rito...more than I hate the moon powers...if ever I get the opportunity, I will kill you for taking him away from me, you whore." Turning away, she teleported, unable to stand the sight of the Copper Ninja Ranger any longer.
"I was looking for him," Zhane told her. "Maybe he's still on Earth."
Yaralla frowned. "That's funny. I didn't think he had even left the Megaship. Then again, I can't be sure."
Stepping into the teleportational room, Zhane looked down as his foot hit something. Backing away, he put his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing. Jackie and Andros were curled up together, asleep, and the Red Astro Ranger was holding a book in his hands. Yaralla looked at Zhane with a smile. "What do you know...a lot did happen today."
Zhane took the book from Andros and, looking at it, he shuddered. In the middle of the page was a huge picture of Dark Specter. "Talk about something you DON'T want to see this late at night."
"Well, what should we do?" Yaralla asked quietly. "Should we wake them up?"
Looking down at the two, Zhane shook his head. "Nah. Let them sleep. It's obvious their day was as interesting as ours. Besides, I don't feel like wasting the energy. I'm tired as it is."
Yaralla sighed before moving behind him and massaging his shoulder as he walked down the hallway towards their bedroom. Zhane groaned in content before putting his hand on hers. "You'd better watch it, Yaralla, or I'll tell Rocky that you can make me moan."
"You're all stiff, Zhane," Yaralla said, ignoring him. As he climbed onto his bed and closed his eyes, she rubbed his back soothingly. "Poor thing. You just worked so hard today."
"I did, but I could tell that was sarcastic," Zhane told her groggily. "Goodnight, Yaralla."
She rubbed his arm before smiling. "What? Don't I get to read to you?"
The Silver Astro Ranger smirked. "Yeah...read me the Old Code of the Just Powers again..." At this, Yaralla shook her head before kissing his cheek and returning to her cot. Putting her head down on her pillow, she closed her eyes and easily fell asleep.
"Well, you might be sore, but I can help work the kinks out," Kat told him lustfully before slipping off her shoes and getting on the bed. Tommy followed suit before kissing her hungrily, nearly losing it as she continued to touch him everywhere.
As she kissed up and down his neck and ear, he closed his eyes before murmuring, "It's so hot."
Kat put her hands up his shirt and smiled. "You're right. You are." Watching as he slipped off his shirt, she giggled before embracing him tightly and kissing along his shoulders and chest.
Tommy caressed her breasts before unbuttoning the pink blouse she had put on after showering. She watched him and put a hand on his arm. "What are you doing?"
"Playing Hide and Go Seek," Tommy told her softly. "Your shirt is hiding things, and I intend on finding them." With that, he continued to unbutton her shirt. Slipping it off, he kissed along her shoulders before reaching behind her and unfastening her bra.
Kat let out a deep sigh and shook her head. "Tommy, stop. We agreed...we agreed not to do this..." No, Kat, what are you doing!? We'll regret it...I know we will... No you won't...you love Tommy and he loves you. Plus, he feels so good.
Tommy licked his lips before slipping her bra straps off of her shoulders. "Do you really want me to stop, Katherine?"
"No..." Thinking about this as Tommy removed her bra, she nodded. "Yes, Tommy, you need to stop...I want you, but we can't..."
"If you want me like I want you, why can't we?" Tommy questioned lustfully. Kissing her breasts for the first time, he sighed. "I'll take it slow, Kat."
Damn it, he feels so good! Stop, Tommy! No! Don't! "Stop."
The White Ranger just smiled before kissing her naval. "I love you, Katherine. God, I love you so much."
You'd better not stop him, Kat... I need to...this is going too far... He feels soooo good!!! No, Tommy! Pushing him away, Kat sat up. "No."
"What?" Tommy questioned. It was obvious he was out of it, as her comment didn't reach him at first. "I'll do anything you want me to, Kat. Anything." Leaning forward he kissed her cheek.
Kat pushed him away again, knowing that if she let him go on one more minute that there would be no hope of turning back. "Stop it. I don't have to have sex with you, Tommy."
Tommy stared at her for a minute, her words burning him inside, before getting a good look at her. The zipper of her shorts was slightly undone, and her breasts were completely exposed. Kat's hair was up and, her nipples were swollen. Glancing down at his bare chest, he shivered involuntarily. "Oh God, no..."
"Tommy?" Kat frowned worriedly. "What's wrong?" No. Don't take this the wrong way, Tommy! Please?
"Kat...no...I don't believe it...I could have...I was going to..." Tommy gaped at her in horror before quickly slipping his shirt on. Putting on his shoes, he made a break for the door.
Watching him, Kat covered her chest with her discarded shirt. "Where are you going!?" As he walked hurriedly out the door, the Pink Ranger lowered her head in sadness. "I sounded so horrible...shit, I must have broken his heart." Curling up on her bed, she shook her head and felt a tear fall from her eye before forcing herself to go to sleep.
You're such an idiot, Tommy! Why did you force yourself on her!? I wanted her so badly! You could have raped her, Tommy! As this thought crossed his mind, Tommy stared at the clear water of the lake and easily remembered Kat's face as she pulled away from him...the terror in her eyes had been apparent. "Oh God...I almost raped her..."
A tear fell from his eye, and he wiped it away before sitting down on the grass and throwing a stone into the water. Lying down, he closed his eyes and tried to force himself to sleep...or die, whichever came first, but no relief came for his emotional pain.
Tommy shuddered as a cool breeze touched his arms before standing and looking around like a lost dog trying to figure out his way home. On one hand, he knew he could go to the Power Chamber. No...too many questions will be asked...
Then, he considered going up to the Megaship, but, knowing is luck, Tommy figured that some alarm would sound and he would piss everyone off. The obvious choice was to go to Jason...he wouldn't care about the hour. Hell, he never had. No, Tommy! You screwed up your friendship with Jason earlier today, remember? That was when reality hit him...there was no place for him to go.
He wondered to himself why the idea of being alone was so frightening to him, but he didn't have to ponder that question for very long. Tommy knew that after hurting so many people in one day, he couldn't stand to be alone. Great, Tommy, so you'll go to someone else and hurt him or her? Being alone is what you deserve...
Tommy smiled to himself. "I could go to Jeff." At this thought, he chuckled faintly. He felt bad about fighting with Jason so now he was going to talk to Jeff. Yeah...good one... Still, he knew that it was the only thing left to do. Tommy didn't want to go back to his room for fear that Jackie would be there. His mind was made up. He didn't plan on bothering Jeff for long. Taking a blanket from the extra cot in Jeff's room and going back outside would be good enough for him. He wanted to be alone anyway.
Turning around, Tommy's body shook as he slowly walked back to the shelter. Stepping into the warm building sent chills up his spine, but he continued down the hallway towards Jeff's room and, opening the door, he grinned as he saw that his best friend was fast asleep. Walking over to the empty cot next to his, Tommy slowly pulled the cover off of it and walked back towards the door. He was sure that Jeff hadn't heard him when, all of a sudden, he heard a groggy voice behind him mutter, "What the hell are you doing here this late?"
Tommy sighed and faced Jeff who was rubbing his eyes and standing. "Don't bother getting up. I was just on my way out."
Jeff frowned. "Why do you need that?" He pointed at the faded green blanket in the White Ranger's arms.
"Um..." Tommy lowered his head in resignation. "I'm going to sleep outside tonight."
Sleeping outside? What the hell is wrong with him? Flipping on the light, Jeff easily saw that his eyes were red. "Why?"
Tommy searched for an answer to his question. "I need the fresh air." He smiled weakly, hoping that Jeff had believed him, and reached for the door, but before he could open it completely, Jeff pushed it back down. Gazing at his best friend's hand, Tommy shook his head. "I need to go. There's no way I can stand being in here tonight."
Jeff frowned. If Tommy was all right he would have just pushed him out of the way and kept going. "Tell me what's wrong, and I'll let you go."
"It isn't important," Tommy argued. "Let me go." As Jeff refused to budge, he trembled before walking away from the door and sitting down on Jeff's extra cot. Putting the blanket next to him, he rubbed the back of his neck before shaking his head. "I knew I shouldn't have come here."
"Then why did you?" Jeff asked, his mind completely off of the sleep that he was missing and on his best friend's misery.
"I didn't have anywhere else to go," Tommy told him, his voice weak. "Jason...is pissed to all hell at me, and Kat...oh God..."
"What happened between you and Kat?" Jeff inquired quietly. Whatever it was, he could easily tell that it was bad. Could she have dumped him? Why would Kat do that?
Tommy shook his head before glancing at the door of the room and wondering if he could make a quick escape. Feeling Jeff sit down next to him, he sighed. "I was in Kat's room, and things were starting to get a little passionate..." He took in a shaky breath. "We made each other promise at the beginning of our relationship that we would never go all the way, but I really wanted her Jeff. God, I love her so much, and she's so beautiful and kind, but I got out of control."
"What do you mean?"
"I forced myself on her and literally undressed her without her consent. If she hadn't stopped me...I would have raped her." Burying his face in his hands, Tommy shuddered at the memories.
Jeff took a moment to swallow this information before putting a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Did she come out and say that you were raping her?"
Tommy shook his head. "No, she didn't...she's too kind for that, but there was a fear in her eyes that I'll never be able to forget."
First, he goes along and gets beaten up by some mob, then he fights with his best friend, and now he thinks he raped his girlfriend? Jeff opened his mouth to tell him that he hadn't raped Kat but, seeing that he was trembling again, he sighed. Now isn't the time to tell him that he's the King of Guilt. Tommy just needs support. "You're shivering." As the White Ranger nodded, he sighed before shaking his head and forcefully saying, "You're staying here. I don't want to hear any complaining or excuses. Do you understand?"
"Sure..." Tommy gazed at him as he stood and turned out the light before walking over to his own cot and mumbled, "Jeff, you won't tell anyone that I'm here, will you?"
Looking back at him, Jeff sighed. "No, I won't."
Tommy continued to stare at him. "Promise me," he whispered pleadingly.
Turning around, Jeff saw that his eyes were large and betraying his already obvious sadness. Damn him... Slowly, Jeff nodded. "I promise. Get some sleep." With that, he closed his eyes and listened to the sound of his best friend's breathing before drifting off to sleep.
I don't even remember falling asleep when she was here! Andros thought frantically to himself. Standing, he smoothed out his shirt before fixing himself some breakfast from the synthetron in the room and sitting down at the small table to eat it.
Hearing a movement behind him, Andros turned around to hear Jackie sleepily say, "You really shouldn't leave a girl while she's sleeping."
"I'm sorry," Andros told her sincerely. "It's just, well, I wasn't planning on your staying here last night." Putting a hand through his long brown and blond hair, he smiled faintly at her.
Jackie nodded and fixed her own hair. "Yeah, well, I hadn't planned on it, either, but I'm kinda glad I did." Seeing Andros send her a questioning look, she merely smiled. "I should go."
Andros frowned. "Don't you want to eat something first? You'll be hungry if you go back to work on Angel Grove without having breakfast."
"My brother will completely freak out if I don't show up for breakfast," Jackie explained thinking of what Tommy's reaction would be to finding out that she had been with Andros the whole night. "Besides, I'll be ok with having my normal breakfast at the shelter. I guess I've gotten used to it." Walking over to him, she touched his arm. "Thanks for showing me around, Andros. I hope you enjoy Earth." With that, she teleported away in a flash of purple.
Sighing, Andros watched her go. "Bye, Jackie." He turned back to his food and immediately turned a bright shade of red as he saw his best friend standing in the doorway.
Zhane smiled flippantly. "I don't believe what I'm seeing." Touching the Red Astro Ranger's shoulder, he sighed. "The morose one finds love. Aww, our little boy is growing up!" As Andros frowned at him, Zhane quickly ran into the hallway and tried to get a head start on his best friend who was preparing to chase him around the Megaship.
"No!" Trini yelled, running to their sides in a panic. "Are you all right?" The concern in her voice was evident.
Jason looked at Rita's brother who was powering up his sword again before frantically motioning for her to get away. "Run, Trini!" Please, listen to me! Get out of here! "Run!"
"Too late, Red Ranger," Rito said, shooting more fire at the three. Trini plummeted down while Jason and Adam, already on the ground, were able to avoid it. The Copper Ranger let out a horrible cry before her body went limp.
Sitting up, Jason inspected Trini gingerly. "Say something." When the Copper Ranger made no move, Jason shook her, trying to stop tears from falling. "Damn it, Trini, say something!"
Adam stared at her before shaking his head sadly, his Black Ranger mask hiding his face. "I think she's dead, Jason."
"No!" Jason yelled. "She's not dead!" Feeling tears stream from his eyes, he cried out in anguish. "Trini, no!"
Rito watched this before smirking. "Haven't you learned yet, Red Ranger?"
Jason stared at him with fury. "You killed her!"
"No, Jason," Rito told him softly. "You killed her..."
"What!?" This was making no sense to him! All of a sudden, Jason watched as the other rangers circled around him. They backed away with fear.
The Blue Ranger held up his hands in opposition. "Jason, don't!"
"No!" Tanya screamed. "Stop it!"
"It's us, Jason!" Adam shouted. "Get a hold of yourself!" Jason could only watch in horror as they unmorphed and fell to the ground with blood pouring from their stomachs. Sick, he watched in horror as Jaime, Emily, Jackie, Andros, and Zhane fell to the ground next to the other rangers.
The Red Ranger looked around in horror. "What the hell is going on!?" Before he could question any further, the rest of the original rangers appeared, unmorphed, in front of him. "Guys! What's going on!?"
Seeing him, Zack backed away in horror. "Hey, Jason, chill, all right? We can talk this through!"
"Talk about what!?" Jason screamed. All of a sudden, he watched as the Green Ninja Ranger began to cough up blood and fell to the ground while holding his throat. "No! Zack!"
Looking down at him, Kim and Billy gasped in horror. "Jason, how could you do that!?" Kim exclaimed. As Billy fell next to Zack, she shrieked before watching in horror as blood began to pour from her chest like a small stream. "No!!!!!" Plummeting to the ground, she coughed a few times before becoming numb.
Trini, from her spot next to Kim, looked down at her dead best friend's body before walking up to Jason and kissing him passionately. "It's ok, Jason. I know you didn't mean to kill them. That's just the way you are. I forgive you, and I'll forgive you for what you did to Kat."
"Katherine?" Jason stared at her numbly before watching as their setting changed to an illuminated white scene. Looking beyond his girlfriend, the Red Ranger saw a hospital bed set up in the background. Jason left Trini side and gasped as he saw Kat lying in the bed with Tommy kneeling by her side sobbing.
The Red Ranger could only watch in horror as Tommy stared at the heart monitor in disbelief when Kat flatlined. "Don't leave me..." Tommy whispered pleadingly. In his white tank top and white pants, he seemed to match the rest of the room around him. "I know Jason didn't mean to hurt you, but...no..."
Wiping his tears with his hands, Tommy stood and looked over the dead body of the Pink Ranger. Jason gazed at her as well before sighing. "She looks so peaceful." Trini, who was still standing behind him, nodded and slowly faded away.
"That's because she's finally free of you," a voice whispered in his ear. Turning around, Jason saw that it was Jeff Fowler, and the dark-haired boy was shaking his head. "You ruined everyone's life...and look at what you did to Kat! You killed her!" Turning around, he watched as Tommy pulled a gun from underneath the mattress of Kat's hospital bed and put it up to his temple. Jeff ran up to him in protest. "No! Tommy, don't!"
"Don't try to stop me, Jeff," Tommy told him quietly. "I can't live without her."
Jeff shook his head. "No! I won't let you!" He could only freeze in horror as Tommy looked at him through teary eyes and, pointing the gun at him, killed him with one shot.
Glancing at Jason who had been watching him with awe, Tommy smiled faintly. "No more pain...no more guilt...I'm sorry for hanging out with him. He wanted to be my friend, but I was yours...I should have put a sign up or something saying that I was your friend and couldn't be one to anyone else." The White Ranger laughed at his own pun before putting the gun up to his own head again.
"Don't!" Jason yelled in horror. "You can't!"
"I can," Tommy breathed weakly, "and I will." Clicking off the safety, the White Ranger let out a shaky breath before staring at Jason, a tear escaping his eye. "Know that if you ever were in a place of suffering, I would take your place in a heartbeat. Always remember that, Jason." With that, he pulled the trigger, and the Red Ranger could only watch as Tommy fell to the ground with a bloody hole through his temple.
Running to his side, Jason stared at him in terror before watching, amazed, as his body disappeared in a flash of white. He felt a hand touch his shoulder and, looking up, he saw that it was Trini, and she was holding a knife up above him. Tears were streaming down her face. "Zordon says I have no other choice but to stop you, Jason. You've destroyed too many lives." Plunging the knife down, Jason felt the sharp point pierce his skin...
"No!" Sitting up on his cot in the Crisis Center, Jason took in a few deep breaths before looking around the room. The other rangers were fast asleep. Good. At least no one had heard him cry out.
Getting off of the cot, the Red Ranger sighed. Why had the dream felt so real? Maybe that's because you have been killing everyone lately... Looking up at the ceiling, Jason sighed. He knew that he had to see Trini. Pushing a few buttons on his communicator, he teleported up in a flash of red.
Reaching the main room of the Power Chamber, Jason nearly bumped into Alpha who was working on some consoles Stepping back apologetically as the droid jumped, Jason looked at Trini who was asleep as well as Tanya. "How are they, Alpha?"
"Good morning, Jason," Alpha said. "They'll be on their feet in no time. Hopefully, they will be well enough to leave by tonight." Smiling as he saw how peaceful Trini's face was, Jason put a hand on Alpha's shoulder and watched as the robot faced him in confusion. "Um...is there something I could help you with, Jason?"
The Red Ranger nodded. "I had a question for you, Alpha. Do you think it's, well, normal to question the friendships that your friends have?" As the droid's lights blinked faster, he tried to explain what he meant. "What I mean is, uh, let's say I have a friend and that friend is hanging out with another friend that I don't like because I don't think he is safe to be around. Do you think it would be right to confront that friend and tell him that he might be making a mistake by hanging out with this person, or should I just leave the situation alone?"
Thinking about this, Alpha sighed. "I'm not programmed for this type of question, Jason, but what I will say is that every person deserves a second chance. If there were no second chances in life, most of us would have been destroyed long before now." Seeing Jason nod his thanks and begin pushing a sequence of buttons on his communicator, the robot tilted its head. "Just talk to Tommy, Jason, and keep an open mind." He chuckled as the Red Ranger stared at him, startled, before teleporting away. After watching him leave, Alpha shook his head. "Humans have the strangest lives. Ay yi yi."
Standing, Jeff walked over to the other side of the room and, eyes still half closed, shook Tommy to get him awake. "Hey...get up." Jeff sighed as the White Ranger continued to shiver and talk in his sleep before shaking him again. "Wake up, Tommy."
"Sorry," He said, slowly opening his eyes and glancing at him while getting his bearings. "Was I bothering you?" He shrugged timidly.
"Not really, but you were definitely having a nightmare," Jeff informed him, sitting down on the cot. "Are you ok?"
Tommy smiled weakly and rubbed his eyes. "I deserve it after last night."
Jeff sighed at this. "Come on, Tommy. You are being way too hard on yourself about this." He put a hand on his best friend's arm. "Look, Kat probably didn't think of it as the beginning of rape."
"She may not have thought of it, but I know it was," the White Ranger mumbled softly. "God, I can't believe I did that."
Well, I thought he was going to be in better spirits this morning, but I guess I was wrong. "Um, I was going to go get some breakfast. Do you want to come?"
Tommy shook his head. "I don't deserve to eat after what I did."
"Damn it, Tommy, you're out of control!" Jeff exclaimed in amazement at his friend's guilt. "It was one mistake, and you didn't even go all the way with it! I don't see what you're so worked up about!" As the White Ranger lowered his head and took in a shaky breath, Jeff forced himself to calm down before saying, "I'm going to tell Kat that you're here."
"If you tell her, I'll leave before you can get her back to the room," Tommy said coldly. Glaring at Jeff, he muttered, "I came here because I thought I could trust you. Don't ruin my trust."
Jeff threw his hands in the air, exasperated. "You can trust me, but you need to trust me in this, because I know you're making a big mistake by keeping your feelings from Kat. I know you'll be happier in the long run if I tell her where you are."
Tommy smiled at this before shaking his head. "Jeff, you sound like Jason. That's funny. I always thought you two were so different."
Good person to bring up, Jeff. Seeing that this was a lose/lose situation, Jeff sighed and said, "I won't tell Kat that you're here, but I'm hungry so I'm going out. Do you want me to bring you something?"
"Whatever..." The White Ranger turned around on the cot and let out a deep sigh. Watching him, Jeff nodded to himself before standing and exiting the room.
The Red Ranger walked inside before stopping right inside of the dining room. Not seeing Tommy, he continued down the hallway towards the White Ranger's room. Ok, Jason, don't get nervous about apologizing. It isn't like this is the first time. He smiled, knowing that he had been apologizing to Tommy about letting his mouth get the best of him just a few weeks ago when he had accidentally brought up the Uriel incident.
Knocking, Jason frowned as there was no answer. "That's funny," he thought aloud. "Tommy wasn't in the Crisis Center last night..."
Jason opened the door and looked inside, shaking his head as he saw that Tommy wasn't there. He was never up very early, and since he was still recovering from his weakened condition on Horat, Jason had guessed that he would be in bed even longer than usual. Where could he be? All of a sudden, it dawned on him. Kat's room.
Walking further down the hallway, Jason stopped in front of Kat's room. He was about to knock when the door flew open and Kat appeared in a tight pink halter top and tight black pants. Stopping abruptly as she saw Jason, Kat smiled faintly. "Hi."
"I'm sorry for bumping into you," Jason told her sincerely before looking over her outfit. She looks good today...I wonder what the occasion is... He was about to say something else when Kat pushed past him and moved quickly towards the exit of the shelter.
Jason frowned in confusion before running to her side and forcing himself to keep up with her quick pace. "Why are you walking so fast, Kat? Is something wrong?" He looked at her in concern as she didn't respond and put a hand on her arm. "Kat?"
The Pink Ranger halted and regarded his hand before pulling him into a corner of the shelter. "I know that you're coming here as Tommy's messenger, Jason, but I'm not ready to see him, all right? When he ran out like that, I was scared out of my mind!"
Hearing the waver in her voice, Jason shook his head at this. "Kat, I'm not hear as Tommy's messenger. In fact, I was looking for him. He wasn't in his room this morning and he didn't come to the Crisis Center so I thought you might know where he was." Leaning towards her, he gazed into her eyes worriedly. "What happened between you two?"
"So, he isn't with you?" Kat shook her head in confusion. "If he isn't in his room, he isn't with you, and he isn't in the Crisis Center then where is he?" She lowered her eyes guiltily. "Tommy was in my room last night, and we were heating up, but Tommy...he started going a little further than I was ready to go, so I pushed him away from me. After that, it all happened so fast. He stared at me as if I was some kind of monster before mumbling incoherently to himself, and after that...he just left, and I don't know where he went. Jason, he seemed so scared, and I'm afraid that I broke his heart!"
Jason sighed. "You know what? Maybe he went to the Megaship. Lately, he's been getting along really well with Zhane, and since he needed someplace to stay--"
"That's probably where he is." Kat smiled. "I'll contact Zhane later to see if Tommy's there. Jason, you are so smart. Thank you." She motioned towards the dining hall. "Well, I'm kinda hungry. Do you want to eat with me?"
"Sure," Jason said. He rubbed her arm comfortingly, and the two walked into the large room and found that it was already bubbling with hyper workers ready to start the day.
Grabbing a bowl of cereal, Jason sat down at a table next to Kat only to find that she was staring at something and shaking her head. "What's up?"
"Look at this." She pointed towards a person sitting alone at one of the tables. "Have you ever seen him by himself before?"
Jason, following her gaze, shook his head at who he saw. "Jeff was born with a group of friends around him." Seeing how tired and upset he looked, Jason smiled to himself. Good. It's what he deserves after all that he did sophomore year. The Red Ranger thought about this before sighing. He is Tommy's best friend. The least you could do is care a little bit about him. "I wonder why he's alone." Kat just shrugged, proving that she didn't know any more than him.
The two watched as Jeff motioned for one of the attendants to come over to him. When she did, he sighed. "Um, I'm planning on working all day, and I don't think I'll be able to come back for lunch. Just in case I'm busy, could I have another packet of cereal so I won't faint out there?"
"Sure," the woman said. She walked into the large kitchen of the shelter and, five minutes later, came out with a small box of the 'Raisin Bran'. "Here you go."
Nodding his thanks, Jeff stood. "I appreciate it."
The woman smiled. "It was no problem. Hey, just be careful out there. Don't dehydrate yourself." Jeff grinned before walking out of the room with his cereal in hand. Kat shook her head, not missing the fact that the young attendant had been watching the lower half of his body as he had left the dining area.
Turning back to the Pink Ranger, Jason looked her over once more before grinning faintly. "Mind if I ask you a question?" As Kat looked at him with interest, he sighed. "Um, why are you dressed like that today?" Kat's face fell at this, and he quickly tried to cover for himself. "Kat, believe me. You look really nice. I'm serious. It's just that, you know, you never wear clothes like that...the outfit looks fabulous. Believe me, it does, but--"
"I know what you're saying." Kat frowned. "Please don't tell Tommy I said this, but I think he walked out on me last night because he knows how conservative I am. Seeing that we had gotten that far...he must have thought I was ashamed of showing him my body, when I really wasn't, and I want him to know how much not going all the way hurts me by giving off a message that says 'I'm not the conservative person you think I am.'" She looked at Jason for approval of the statement.
Jason just eyed her before shaking his head. "Promise me that you'll be yourself, Kat. Tommy loves you for who you are. He's my best friend, but if he can't accept your limits then he isn't the right person for you. Don't feel like you have to change your image to please him."
Kat nodded in resignation. "You're right, Jason. It's just that I love him so much, and I want to please him. Ever since I became good again...when Rita's spell was broken...I've wanted to please him. When Kim dumped him, I did everything I could to make him happy despite the fact that I wanted him for myself. Ever since we've been going out, I've wanted Tommy to know how much I love him, and I want him to be himself around me. Despite what happened between Uriel and Tommy, I want him to be happy no matter what.
"The sad thing is that my life is built around him completely. When there was that small period of time when I thought that he was going to dump me for Kim, I was devastated, because if he left me my world would be destroyed. On Horat, dumping him was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but I thought he would be loyal, and he was...but I don't even know why! He has all these beautiful people around him everyday...Kimberly, Trini, Tanya, Emily, and even Yaralla!"
Jason smiled. "Your forgetting that most of those people are either going out with or have crushes on lucky guys in our group." As his thoughts turned to Emily, he sighed and forced his mind to discard the pictures in his head for a moment. "Trini and I have been going through hard times too, Kat, but I know that we'll pull through, and so will you and Tommy."
"If ever I find him," Kat quipped to herself. She looked around before quietly asking, "Should I try contacting the Megaship?" At Jason's nod, they both stood and left the room in search of a quiet place to use their communicators.
Walking into the control room, Zhane glanced at Yaralla who had the monitors set on the construction workers in Angel Grove. He sighed, knowing that Yaralla was probably back to her 'all work and no play' mood. "So, what are we working on today?"
Zhane frowned when she didn't answer and, moving over to where she was sitting in the middle of the room staring at the screen, he put a hand on her shoulder. "Yaralla, are you ok?"
All of a sudden, the tan woman came to life. She looked at him with a playfulness that Zhane had not seen in her for years, and stood, shaking him with excitement. "I've been waiting for you to show up, Zhane! Andros is being such a wet blanket!" Yaralla hugged him tightly. "So, have you eaten, gotten dressed...I guess that's obvious, brushed your teeth, showered--"
"You wouldn't be suffocating me like this if I hadn't showered," Zhane choked as she nearly squeezed the life out of him. "Are you feeling ok, Yaralla, because you seem...a little hyper."
Yaralla giggled. "You know what? I love Earth! Angel Grove might not be much to look at, but the scenery and all the people have made me feel alive! I haven't felt this good in two years!" Grabbing his hand, she tugged on it expectantly. "So, will you come down to Earth with me? Huh? Will you?"
Zhane stared at her in shock. Ok, who is this person, and what has she done with Yaralla? "Um, I'm still a little tired. Actually, I was thinking of going back to sleep for a little bit--"
"Don't you start acting like Andros!" Yaralla chided. She dragged him out of the control room and towards the teleportational area. "Come on! We'll have fun! Plus, it's a gorgeous day out!" Practically lifting him up the stairs to the teleportational holes, Yaralla pushed him in front of the silver one. "Cheer up!" With that, she pushed him down before he could get a word in. Laughing to herself, Yaralla slid down after him.
Reaching the Earth, Yaralla saw that Zhane was sprawled out pathetically on the ground of Angel Grove Park and, smiling, she pounced on top of him. "Awww...poor Zhane! Not a good landing?"
"Not after pushing me out of the Megaship like that!" Zhane exclaimed, still amazed by Yaralla's giddiness. "Um, how long have you been this...happy?"
"I've been happy all morning!" Yaralla told him. Sticking a hand into the pocket of her tight blue jeans, she pulled out a square object with silver foil around it. Pulling the foil off, Yaralla showed it to him gleefully. "Rocky told me to try some Earth chocolate, and it is the best thing I've ever had!"
The chocolate couldn't have... Taking a small bite of it, Zhane the chocolate melt in his mouth before swaying dizzily. "Whoa...that stuff is jammed pack with something that caused your hyperness this morning. I don't think you should eat anymore."
Yaralla laughed and hugged him again. "You're so funny, Zhane! Have I ever told you that you're like a big brother? I love you!" Kissing his cheek, she giggled and grabbed his hand. "So, where are we going first? The shelter? The city? Do you want to hang around here?"
Still feeling dizzy, Zhane looked down at the chocolate in his hands before lowering his eyes in thought. On one hand...we should both be examined by Alpha to see what about this Earth food is making us respond like this...but, then again, it did taste really good, and there isn't any threat to Earth right now. Being a little hyper for a couple of minutes wouldn't hurt... Taking another bite of the chocolate, he swallowed it before eating some more. Yaralla took some from him, and the two finished up the whole bar before looking at each other playfully. "Maybe the others will be in Angel Grove and we can hang out with them!" Zhane said, obviously having the same reaction to the chocolate that Yaralla had.
She nodded excitedly. "Yeah! Mmm...that stuff is sooo good! Hey, Andros has some Earth money, doesn't he? Do you think we could buy some more?" Putting a hand through her silky hair, she smiled before bouncing around like a small child. "Maybe Rocky will be around! He can tell us where to buy more!"
"Good idea!" Zhane exclaimed. "Hmm...I bet that Tommy knows where to get it, too. He said something about Godiva, and that's supposed to be the best of all!"
"The best!?" Yaralla asked in awe. At Zhane's nod, she jumped around him happily. "Oooh! This is going to be sooo fun! Hey, let's go into Angel Grove and scope out the construction scene! Then I can see Rocky!" She pulled down on her cotton white tank top. "Do you think I'm pretty, Zhane?"
The Silver Astro Ranger nodded. "Of course I do! You're beautiful!"
Yaralla giggled. "I think you're cute! You look like Wellen Traporad!"
"I do not!" Zhane told her, hearing the name of the famous holographic film star. "He always gets the girl! Who do I have?" This thought upset him, and he lowered his head morosely.
"You have me!" Yaralla said excitedly. "Come on, Zhane! Wellen Traporad wasn't always in those lovey dovey movies! He was in those gangster movies, too! See, you could be him, and I could be your lovely sidekick!" She thought for a moment. "Andros could be the brains of the operation! We'd have our own little gang!"
Zhane smiled at this. "You're right! The Astro Gang!"
Yaralla grinned widely. "Yeah!" Taking his hand, the two began to walk towards Angel Grove, not knowing exactly what they had gotten themselves into by innocently trying Earth chocolate.
"So, um, have you been all right while working on Angel Grove?" Kim questioned cautiously. "You know...no injuries?"
Jaime glanced at her before looking at the ground. "No, I've been ok." Turning a little red, he gazed ahead of him again before smiling faintly. "How about you?"
Kim sighed. "I've never been better." Puh...yeah, right. Stopping abruptly, she put a hand on his arm. "This has gone on long enough, Jaime Talsik!"
Hearing the use of his full name for the first time off of her lips, Jaime looked at her with shock. "Kim, what's wrong? What did I do?"
"What did you do!?" Kim threw her arms in the air with exasperation. "I asked you if you wanted to walk around with me this morning so that we would actually get into a conversation instead of saying nothing to each other! If we're going to have a relationship, then it needs to be two ways!"
Jaime sighed. "Kim, I'm just waiting for you to start the conversation. I'm being as open as I can!"
Kim smirked. "Why do I have to be the one to start a conversation!? Just because you aren't from Earth you can't say something!?" All of a sudden, she began laughing at her own words.
"What?" Jaime looked at her with concern. Either I'm missing something, or she's gone off the deep end... "Kim, what's so funny?"
"I feel like I'm talking to Tommy sophomore year!" Kim chuckled. "He was very reserved, and I had to coax him into talking to me."
Jaime smiled at this. "Well, um, I was kinda nervous about talking to you, and so I asked Jason and Tommy how I should act, and they both agreed that I should act shy because you liked that in a guy!"
"Yeah, I liked that in Tommy, but you aren't Tommy," Kim told him. She sighed. "Kat told me to make sure that we always did stuff together in order to open up communication." Laughing, she rubbed his hand. "I've tired myself out. Yesterday we walked for about two hours, worked together, and hung out together, all the while accomplishing nothing!"
Both the Silver and Pink Ninja Rangers laughed at this. "Can we start over," Kim asked, "as Kimberly Hart of Earth and Jaime Talsik of Triphoria. You know, instead of me trying to be Kat and you trying to be Tommy?"
Jaime nodded happily. "I would love that." Hugging, the two smiled before continuing down the street. They had been talking for about five minutes when a frantic Kat and Jason stopped in front of them. Jaime frowned. "What's wrong?"
"Nice outfit, Kat," Kim said with a smile. "It looks great on you! Do you mind if I borrow it sometime?"
Kat quickly replied, "Yes, you can borrow it, and I'm glad the clothes look good. Listen, Guys, we've been looking all over for Tommy, and we can't find him. Have you seen him?"
"No," Jaime told her worriedly. "I've been with Kim the whole day, and we haven't seen him. Didn't he stay in his room at the shelter last night?"
Jason sighed. "That's what I thought, but he wasn't there when I went to talk to him this morning. Tommy wasn't in the Crisis Center or on the Megaship either, and so far we've checked the shelter twice, looked in Angel Grove Park, and checked out the area where he would have been working in the city today and there has been no sign of him."
"That's really weird," Kim acknowledged. She shook her head. "Where could he be? Do you think the moon powers have something to do with his disappearance?"
"I don't think so," Kat commented, her voice showing how upset she was at the whole situation. "Zordon would have contacted us. Plus, Jason checked with Alpha this morning, and the droid hadn't seen him."
Jason nodded. "Yeah, we're going to keep looking for him. Thanks anyway, Guys."
Jaime stepped towards him with concern. "Do you want us to come with you?"
"It's all right," Kat told him honestly. "Just keep your eyes peeled. If you see him, contact us. After a little while, if we can't find him, we'll contact you."
"Contact us if you find him, too," Kim told her. "If you don't, I'll be worried the whole day." Jason nodded, showing her that they would, before running off with Kat down the street. Jaime watched them go before lowering his head and hoping that the White Ranger was all right before continuing down the street with Kim.
Yaralla shrugged. "I'm not sure. It's good to be around different guys...no offense of course, Zhane, because you know I loooove you." She sang out the word 'love' and put her arm around his waist. "Well, he's cute. In a way, Rocky is you with brown hair and an earring."
She looked around before letting go of him and walking a few steps away before looking down at the ground in interest. "You can tell where the blast hit. See?" She jumped into a bunch of dirt which matched the ground of most of the city. "The blast hit here." Jumping to the left, she landed on a patch of grass. "It didn't hit here!" Yaralla jumped back and forth a few times before giggling. "I'm so smart!" Running back over to Zhane, she put her arm around his waist again. "You're so tall! How come I can't be as tall as you?"
"I'm a guy," Zhane said proudly. "Besides, Rocky's tall, too." Yaralla nodded before poking him and giggling to herself. "Anyway, I'm happy to be around different people, too. Tommy and I have a lot in common, and Rocky seems like a nice guy." He was surprised by how good he was feeling. While Zhane wasn't as hyper as he had been before, he was happy to be alive and happy to be around the woman that he considered a sister. In a way, he felt on top of the Universe.
Hearing someone call her name, Yaralla turned around to see Rocky waving towards them. "Look, Zhane! It's Rock-y!" She ran over to him. "Hey! We were looking for you and the others!"
"I didn't think you were going to come down, so I went to the Megaship," Rocky explained. "Andros told me, quite glumly, that the two of you had left him to do all the work on the ship today."
Yaralla nodded. "So? He's a bore. It isn't like he has anything better to do." Waving to Zhane, she smiled. "Will you be ok on your own?" At Zhane's nod, she grinned. "Keep your eyes open, Zhane. You might find what you're looking for." With that, she walked away with Rocky and excitedly began telling him how much she loved Earth.
Zhane sighed before turning around and bumping into someone who had been walking in the other direction. "Oh, I'm sorry! Let me help you up!" He lowered his hand to her. "I didn't see you coming."
"I didn't see you, either," The woman said. Standing with her brown clipboard in hand, she gazed at him before pushing back a loose strand of her blond bun. "Do I know you?"
"Do I know you?" Zhane asked, looking her over. She definitely looked familiar. "Um, I just got into Angel Grove." He hoped that he hadn't given away too much, but that was what Tommy always said.
The woman thought about this for a minute before extending her hand. "It's Zhane, isn't it?" At his nod, she smiled. "I'm Emily, the Gold F Ranger. It's nice to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you, too," Zhane said. "Um, I'm sorry, again, for knocking you over."
Emily grinned. "Don't worry about it, Zhane. It wasn't like I saw you." She looked down at her clipboard before gazing at him again, her blue eyes clear. "What are you doing right now?"
"Walking around by myself," Zhane explained. "Yaralla just ran off with Rocky."
Laughing at this, Emily took his hand and led him towards the construction workers. "Well, we're down a few people because most of the builders have been going AWOL over the last couple of days. Do you want to help us out?" At Zhane's nod, she smiled. "Good! Um, I'll show you around, and then I'll give you something easy to do, ok?"
Zhane nodded. "Well, I did work yesterday with Jeff and Tommy."
"You worked with Jeff?" Emily smiled. "I haven't seen him in awhile. Anyway, we're ok on the lifters and nailers for right now, but we do needs some painters."
"I have no clue whatsoever what that is, but I'll help out anyway," Zhane told her. She just chuckled and led him closer to the workers with a feeling that they were going to get along just fine.
"No, it won't," Jason told her forcefully. "We're going to find him, Kat, and he's going to be all right." Do you know that for sure, Jason? Really? Or are you just saying that because you don't want the guilt placed on yourself if Tommy really is hurt? At this thought, the Red Ranger shook his head fiercely. No! We're going to find him, and he will be in perfect condition!
Spotting Yaralla and Rocky walking together past the shelter, Kat ran up to them with a worried expression on her usually smooth features. "Hey, Guys."
"Hi, Kat," Rocky said with confusion, already sensing that something was wrong. "What's going on?"
Catching up with them, Jason shook his head before saying, "We have no idea where Tommy is. Have you seen him at all today?"
"No," Yaralla told him. "I just came down from the Megaship a few minutes ago."
Rocky nodded. "Ever since I left the Crisis Center, I haven't seen him. Why? Do you think he's in trouble?"
At this, Kat lowered her eyes and pulled down on her pink halter. "I hope not, Rocky."
"Don't worry too much," Jason told them, forcing himself to sound optimistic. "There are a lot of places Tommy could be in this city. We haven't checked many spots, so until we do, we aren't going to fear the worst." It's a little late for that, isn't it, Jason?
"Yeah," Kat said. "Thanks anyway, Guys." With that, the Red and Pink Rangers continued on leaving Rocky and Yaralla to stare after them, speechless.
Kat skimmed the workers near the entrance of Angel Grove with her eyes, but frowned when she didn't see Tommy. "This is like looking for a needle in a haystack." All of a sudden, she heard someone call her name and, turning around, Kat sighed with relief as she saw it was Emily.
The Gold Ranger F saw the troubled look in her eyes instantly. "What's going on?" As Zhane walked up behind her, she watched as he, too, noticed the worry on Kat's face.
Stepping behind Kat, Jason sighed. "Tommy's missing. Have you two seen him?"
"No," Emily told him. "Hell, I didn't even see him yesterday!"
"I was going to look for him earlier, but I figured that he was probably busy," Zhane told them, his eyes widening. "Do you think he was attacked?"
Kat shook her head. "No, Zhane. I'm sure he's all right. Maybe he's just working at a different spot in the city. Jason and I are going to check out some more areas first before morphing or doing anything else that would be rash."
"That's a good idea," Emily told her. Gazing at Jason, she smiled faintly. "Let us know if you find him or if you need help looking. We'll keep our eyes peeled." Zhane nodded.
"Thank you," Jason said. With that, he and Kat walked further into Angel Grove together. Zhane watched them go before sighing. I hope he's all right... He then followed Emily back to the area where he had begun to pain the wall of a building.
Meanwhile, Kat turned to Jason. "I'm really getting worried, but I want to go down a few more streets before calling Zordon and getting the rangers involved."
"I feel bad for working them all up like this," Jason admitted, "but it needed to be done. You're right, though. We should hold off on calling Zordon. He's in a meditative state, and I wouldn't want to pull him out of it." Nodding in agreement, Kat looked around the bleak Angel Grove streets and spied more workers before sighing. Tommy, where are you?
Zedd walked up to her before smirking. "You're using your Repulsascope, I see. Am I interrupting your daily viewing of the White Ranger?"
"Go back to hell and rot there," Rita told him scornfully. "I wasn't even looking at the rangers!"
"You're my wife, and you can't talk to me in this fashion!" Zedd roared in anger. She had never talked to him like that, and he was going to make sure that she never did again. Rita put her hands on her hips and growled. "You can't talk to me in the way that you have been for the past couple of days because you're supposed to be loyal to your wife!"
Zedd laughed harshly at this. "Loyal to my wife!? You're the one sleeping with a ranger!" As the two continued to argue, Uriel walked into the room and covered her ears at the horrible screaming.
Stepping, unnoticed, into the throne room, she moved easily past Zedd and Rita and put a hand on Rita's Repulsascope. This is the best time to check on him...when no one else notices... Leaning towards the Repulsascope, she smiled as Angel Grove came into view. Moving it around, Uriel found the White Energy and, zooming in on it, she found that he was sitting on a cot nibbling absently on a small bit of food while talking to someone that she had never seen before. Could he be another ranger? Oh, who cares...as long as he's all right.
Meanwhile, in the shelter, Jeff sighed. "Tommy, you need to talk to Kat. There's no other way to get past it!"
"You're right," Tommy admitted softly as he took a few more pieces of cereal and stuck them in his mouth. "When I get up the courage to, I'll talk to her, and we'll straighten this whole thing out."
"Come on, Tommy!" Jeff countered. "By that rate, you'll talk to Kat in a few years!" I can't believe he's letting one misunderstanding ruin his whole relationship with Kat!
Tommy smiled faintly and looked down at his communicator which he had switched off while Jeff had been gone. "I'll probably never talk to her again. You're right, Jeff. Maybe it's better this way. All things happen for a reason, right?"
"Not when they can be changed," Jeff told him icily. Taking his hand, he pulled him up with more force than Tommy had ever experienced from the less-than-expert martial artist and tugged him out of his room and towards the exit of the shelter.
"What the hell are you doing!?" Tommy cried, trying to get his hand free of Jeff's iron grip. "Let me go!"
Jeff sighed. "This is for your own good, Tommy. Believe me." Pushing him outside, he grabbed his hands again before yelling at the top of his lungs, "Kat! If you can hear me, come to the shelter! Kat!" Hearing him, Tommy tried once again to pull away from him.
A couple of streets away, Kat turned around as she heard a faint voice call her name. "Jason, do you hear that?"
"Yeah, we'd better get back," the Red Ranger said with concern. The two began to run back towards the shelter.
"You bastard!" Tommy hollered angrily. "I can't believe you! Asshole!" Finally getting free of him, he ran as fast as he could away from Jeff, who took a moment to get his bearings before chasing after him.
The White Ranger scurried ahead and rubbed his eyes to push away the tears that were now falling from them. Looking around as he reached the back of the shelter, he shook his head. "I'm sorry, Zordon." With that, he pushed a few buttons on his communicator and teleported away.
A few seconds later, Jeff reached the back of the shelter and looked around in shock as he saw that Tommy was out of sight. "That's impossible!" Jeff muttered, gazing around. "I was only a few feet behind him! How did he get that far ahead!?" Shaking his head, he felt the impact of Tommy's words for the first time before walking back to the shelter and wondering if he had done the right thing.
As his teleport ended, Tommy landed on his knees in the middle of a barren street. He lowered his head to the ground before letting the dust assault his eyes as he cried into the warm ground. "I can't believe him..."
The White Ranger was so involved in his own emotion that he didn't hear a voice murmur, "Oh my God." He did, however, feel the hand on his back and, looking up, Tommy gasped as he saw that Jason was standing above, his expression fierce. The Red Ranger's glare faded quickly, however, and he turned around. "Kat, he's here." Looking down at Tommy again, he shook his head before lowering his eyes, but not fast enough for the White Ranger to see a tear escape one. Tommy then glanced back at Kat who was walking towards them, a shaky smile on her face, before burying his face in his hands so that she couldn't see him. He wasn't sure if he deserved to have her look at him ever again.
The Copper Ninja Ranger smiled. "I feel great. The injury really wasn't that bad. I was stunned, and there was some burning, but besides that, I'm great." Seeing him look away and lick his lips, Trini frowned. "What's on your mind, Zack?"
The Green Ninja Ranger shook his head. "It's nothing, really. Well, I know I told you that I didn't care that Tanya was going out with Adam, too, but the truth is that I don't know how she could still go out with him after he almost got her killed when she was kidnapped by Gasket."
"There was no way Adam could have stopped her from being abducted," Trini told him. Seeing that this had not appeased him, she sighed. "You're playing a game, Zack, and in this game you have to be willing to take chances, and you have to be willing to make sacrifices. I hate to say it, but you were the last one to come on. If Adam finds out about you two, you'll probably be the one that is forced to give up Tanya." As Zack frowned, Trini shook her head. "You need to decide if she's worth all the pain that you're going through."
Zack nodded slowly. "Tanya is worth it, Trini. I love her, and I can't just give her up. We're too deep together." As the two rounded a corner, Zack turned away quickly and ran towards Angel Grove Park.
"Zack!" Trini called, not quite sure what had set him off. Turning back around, her question was answered. Adam and Tanya were standing in front of the shelter making out. That bitch...
Catching up with the Green Ninja, Trini embraced him tightly and, feeling him tremble under her touch, quietly said, "I don't agree with your decision to stay with her, Zack, and if there was anyway I could talk you out of doing this to yourself and to Adam then I would, but I know there isn't.
"What I will say is that if you feel like Tanya is worth all this pain then you have to be prepared for more and more as you and she get deeper. This is what happen when you play with fire. You get burned." Zack gazed at her before nodding, knowing that she was right...things would get worse...and she couldn't talk him out of it...
Bending down next to him, Kat grabbed his hands with her left hand and threw her right one around him, embracing him tightly. "I love you, Tommy."
"Why?" The White Ranger asked quietly. "Why do you? I don't deserve it."
"You do deserve it," Kat told him gently. "About that one night...I'm so sorry for dropping you like that. I want you, Tommy. You don't know how badly I wanted to let you keep going, but I know that we must have made the decision to stay pure when we first started going out, and I want to honor that choice for as long as I can."
Tommy nodded slowly. "I know, Kat, but I want you so much...that night, I could have raped you if you hadn't gotten through to me!"
Kat laughed at this before gazing into his sad brown eyes and kissing his cheek softly. "Is that what you truly think? Did you think I pushed you away because I was afraid that you were going to rape me?" At his nod, she shook her head, a small smile gracing her features. "Tommy, there was no way that I considered that night to be the beginning of rape, because when I told you to stop, you did. If you were going to rape me, you wouldn't have honored my decision and kept going!
"I love you, and I know you love me, too. Tommy, I trust you, and I know in my heart that you would never rape me."
"I'm so sorry, Kat," Tommy told her. "From now on, I'll be sure to honor your decisions."
Kat giggled lightly before saying, "I don't know for how much longer my decisions will matter. They might change. You never know, but for now I would prefer to wait."
"I'll wait with you, then," Tommy told her. Kissing her gently, they both stood, and the White Ranger faced Jason who had turned away and was making a pattern in the dust with his foot.
Stepping behind the oblivious Red Ranger, he put a hand on his shoulder before looking down at the ground. "It's either a drawing of a sad person, or a really messed up version of Zordon's tube." Hearing his best friend chuckle weakly, Tommy sighed. "I'm sorry that I snapped at you that one day...plus, the decongestant comment was really low. Believe me, Jason, I know you're looking out for my best interests."
"I can't choose your friends for you, and I know that now," Jason told him, turning towards the White Ranger. "If you want to be friends with Jeff, that's your decision. There's just so much anger in me towards him...I can't--"
"I don't expect you to be friends with him just because I am, Bro," Tommy told him seriously. "If you don't like him, I can understand that."
Jason nodded before shrugging. "I'll try to have an open mind, but for now I'd rather let you two be friends with me on the side."
Tommy sighed. "Jason, you aren't on the side, ok? Don't you realize that I'm better friends with you than I ever have or ever will be with Jeff?"
"Seriously?" At the White Ranger's nod, Jason frowned. "Why? I thought you two were best friends!"
"We are," Tommy told him, "but you're supposed to be able to share everything with your best friend. I can't share everything with Jeff. He's not a ranger and you are. In that way, I'll always be closer to you. Plus, rangers aside, I can tell you more. We've been friends longer." He shot Jason one of his patented 'Well-what-do-you-think-of-that?' looks.
Jason smiled. "Thanks."
Tommy shrugged. "Plus, you're a better sparring partner than Jeff. He's so easy to beat."
"Are you serious?" At Tommy's grin, he nodded. "I had a feeling that was the case."
As Kat walked up to him, Tommy put his arm around her before looking up at the sky. "It's getting dark already?"
"You were gone for awhile," Jason told him. "Anyway, where were you?"
Tommy smiled sheepishly. "Um, I was with Jeff." The Red Ranger stared at him for a few moments before smacking his arm flippantly and smiling, obviously accepting the news well. The three turned back towards the shelter, and Tommy put his other arm around Jason. They all laughed and the Red and Pink Rangers went on to tell Tommy about what they had gone through trying to find him.
They're such sickening creatures Zedd thought to himself before continuing to scan the area. Rocky was excitedly telling Yaralla about how the city had been destroyed. Tommy and Kat were toasting marshmallows together and, after they had become brown, both rangers pulled them out. Taking hers off the stick she had been using, Kat was about to put it in her own mouth before turning to Tommy and holding it up for him. He looked at her questioningly before taking a bite and swallowing the smooth bite before offering the Pink Ranger his. She took a bite and, he watched with enjoyment as it slid down her throat before saying, "I love you."
"I love you, too," Kat told him. Putting her arm around his waist, she kissed his chin before looking at him expectantly.
Tommy touched her cheek gently before kissing her lips. Pulling away a few seconds, he smiled shyly. "I didn't say it before, but you look really good today. I've never seen you wear anything like this. It was an interesting change, but I liked it."
Kat smiled before inquiring, "So, you like this better than anything I've worn before?"
"I love you...I'd love you if you wore rags and your hair was matted against your face, Kat. Whatever you want to wear and makes you feel good will make me feel good in turn." She kissed his cheek before snuggling closer to him and putting her head on his shoulder.
Zhane and Andros, who had been putting some finishing touches on a wall near them, snickered at this. Dipping his paint brush in white paint, Zhane flicked some at Andros' arm and, seeing the Red Astro Ranger stare at him angrily, shrugged. "Sorry. It was an accident."
"An accident, huh?" Taking his roller, Andros rolled some of the white paint on him before smiling smugly. "Well, that was accidental, too. We're even."
"I don't think that was accidental," Zhane said slowly. As Andros' eyes glimmered, he smiled slyly before jumping on top of him. The two wrestled with each other on the ground, laughing and playfully rolling around in the dust.
Yaralla groaned before standing from her place by Rocky and walking up to them. "Guys, this has gotten out of control. Will you please stop? You're are embarrassing me!" As she had asked, the two Astro Rangers stopped and looked at her.
Seeing their sweet smiles, she gaped at them in horror before they both jumped her and tickled her to no end. Though she cried for them to stop, they showed her no mercy. Jackie, Zack, and Emily laughed at this as she glanced at them between giggles.
Rita watched this before turning to her husband. "Kat loves Tommy."
"Tommy loves Kat...they all love each other..." Zedd observed, realizing that he had never really said the 'L' word before.
Thinking about this, Rita lowered her head. "Tell me honestly, Zeddy. Did you have sex with her?"
Zedd shook his head. "No. It was the same as you and Tommy, pretty much. She felt me, but nothing more than that happened." Gazing at her, he sighed. "I'm...sorry..."
"I am, too," Rita told him, surprised by how good it felt to apologize to him. Walking over to her husband, she kissed him passionately, happy that they were back together again.
From the doorway to the throne room, Rashell and Uriel clapped. Rita and Zedd glared at Rashell who was cawing softly before grumbling and leaving the room. "I'm glad that things will finally go back to normal around here," Rashell noted. "Are you going to come to bed now?"
"No," Uriel told him, also glad that Rita and Zedd were no longer fighting. "I think I'm just going to stay up for a little longer and watch the Earth." Rashell nodded and pecked her cheek before leaving the room. Staring after her husband, Uriel sighed and sat down on Zedd's throne, letting her mind wander to her child again.
Uriel stood and walked over to the Repulsascope, her black skirt flowing gracefully over her long smooth legs, and looked through it, spotting Tommy and Kat kissing each other by the fire. Putting her hand on her stomach, Uriel smiled evilly. "Just wait, Katherine. Wait until I have this child, and then the White Ranger will be mine for the taking..."
Andros nodded slowly. "Yeah, I do. The rangers are really great people, and the scenery is beautiful. I'm really going to like it here." He yawned. "Still, I am tired."
"I have to do a quick check on the thrusters," Zhane told them, "but I'll be there in a second."
Yaralla nodded. "I've got to look at the results from the main engine scan. You go on ahead, Andros."
"That's what you get for not doing your work earlier," Andros told them with a chuckle. Wishing them both a good night, he left the room and went to his cot.
In the control room, Zhane frowned at Yaralla. "You looked at the results from the main engine scan this morning. I know because when I walked in, DECA was saying something like 'main engine is online and in perfect condition.' What are you doing?"
Motioning for him to be quiet, Yaralla went through her pockets and pulled out two bars of chocolate. Holding one up to him, she smiled faintly. "I couldn't resist."
"You're amazing," Zhane breathed in wonder. "Did Rocky get them for you?"
"He sure did," Yaralla said. "I'm not going to have mine now, though, since I'm going to sleep, but tomorrow is another day." She stuffed her bar back in the pocket of her jeans.
Zhane followed suit before smiling. "You're the best, Yaralla." She merely smiled and waited for him to check the thrusters and gather the results before walking with him back to the sleeping area of the Megaship. They hid the chocolate in different areas of the room before grinning as they went to sleep and dreaming of the smooth food going down their throats the next morning. Earth was definitely going to be an enjoyable place to stay...
Darn it! One page away from beating Golden Wars as the longest story in AE! Oh well...so, what did you think of an Allied Evil story without any real physical fighting? Was it an interesting change? Did you miss the action? I really want to know, so that if you didn't like this type of story then I'll know not to do it again. So...new plot developments...Rocky and Yaralla are getting closer...what do you want to see happen between Andros and Jackie. This idea was played with, but it isn't set in stone yet. Let me know if you like this idea, or if Jackie isn't Andros' type...whatever. Remember, my Andros isn't like the Andros on PRiS. Unlike PRiS' version of the character, mine has not been alone for two years. Instead, he has been with his two best friends after KO-35 was attacked. Well, any comments you have for me should be sent to Rkacat@aol.com I look forward to seeing what you thought of this story, and thank you for reading! I really appreciate it!