Justin sat up, his eyes overflowing with tears again. Quickly the former Blue Ranger wiped them away and he sniffed. He had to be quiet, he couldn't let his father know what was going on. Dean Stewart would never understand. The loss of the Power was something that could only be understood by another former Ranger.
Too bad there aren't any around here. Justin sighed as he turned over and closed his eyes, trying to get back to sleep. The emptiness in his soul, redoubled since his once brief adventure with the Astro Rangers, was preventing that, however. He trembled, wondering if all the former Rangers had felt like this. How do they ever sleep at night..
His dreams were filled with images of his days as the Blue Turbo Ranger, of the triumphant moment when he had learned the Rangers' secret and when Rocky DeSantos had trusted him with the power. Zordon had interviewed him, and determined that despite his age, he was indeed fit to be a Ranger. And later, Dimitria had chosen to let him remain on the team when the others had went on with their lives.
His life as a Ranger had been one of constant change. First Zordon had moved on, returning to Eltar. Then he had entered high school, years ahead of his peer group, and had to put up not only with an increased load of school work, but with having Piranatrons and monsters gunning for him, as well as a psychotic pirate queen. He'd forgotten how many nightmares he'd had to deal with over the year and a half of his tenure. But it had seemed worth it then. Even when the original four he knew had left and he had had to make friends with T.J., Carlos, Cassie, and Ashley, things had been all right. He still talked with Tommy and Kat on occasion, and he was going to be the ringbearer at their wedding next year.
Everything had seemed fine during those days. His father had come back to Angel Grove and they had moved in together, getting a house in the suburbs. Dean had even been dating one of his teachers, Mrs. Applebee. Everything had seemed fine. He even had a strange friend all his own, Storm Blaster. Oh, the nights those two had had together, riding all over! He had never told anyone, but he frequently had sneaked out of bed to go out with his car counterpart.
Then the other changes had come. Divatox's brother had arrived, and captured the Turbo MegaZord. They'd had to get new Zords. He could handle that, he knew the Rangers had changed Zords many times over the years. It was the first time he had, though. Then, only six weeks after the arrival of the RescueZords, he had come. The being Justin still had nightmares about, even now.
In the space of twelve hours, both the RescueZords and the TurboZords had been reduced to scrap metal. When he had finally been destroyed, the Rangers had hoped they would be able to rest, and search for new Zords. Instead, they had returned to find that Dimitria and the Blue Senturion were leaving. Another change. Another one for the worst. Justin had covered up his fear and had given the Senturion his lucky coin, hoping that they would be all right.
Minutes later, the Power Chamber attack had begun. And nothing, nothing was ever the same after that. A wound had opened up in his soul with the blowing of the Chamber, and all was lost.
That had only been the first move, however. Since then, Justin had not been in the same place for more than a few weeks, before his dad's company had them pull up stakes and move again. Justin was starting to wonder if something was wrong, if maybe his dad was in trouble....but he could never ask, because any time he even hinted at it, Mr. Stewart changed the subject and ignored the mere thought that anything could be wrong.
If only I could talk to him....to someone...to anyone...Justin stared down at the pillow he could half-see in the darkness and shivered. He wasn't even certain just where he was at the moment. Some motel or other; he and his dad were on another trip. He thought Dean had said something about being in Ohio....or was it Oregon? He couldn't remember....and he wasn't really all start certain he cared anymore.
All he wanted was that emptiness to be full again, the agony that was his daily companion to stop. If I ever see Divatox again, I think I'm going to do ....something to her for what she did to me. If he ever saw her again....if he ever felt like doing anything again. As each day passed, it was as if another small portion of his strength faded away, never to return.
"Justin," Dean Stewart looked at him. "Are you ready to get moving again?"
His son sighed. "I guess, if I have to be. Where are we going again? I don't think I remember. I didn't have a good night." he spoke honestly, hoping Dean would ask him why.
"You're going to the South Promise Boys' Shelter," Dean sighed. Justin stared at him in disbelief. "I can't keep uprooting you like this, Justin. I'm not doing you any favors. You need to stay in one place and get your education, and make some new friends. You can't keep mourning over those runaways forever."
Justin's eyes hardened. His father had never liked the other Rangers, though he had been mildly grateful that there had been people who would his son's friends. After his return to Angel Grove, Mr. Stewart had urged him to hang out with those of his own age every now and then, but Justin had steadfastly refused to. The only ones who understood him were the other Rangers.
"Oh." was the only thing he said before turning back to his breakfast. Another children's home. Great. And this time, no chances of finding out a wonderful secret and meeting some of the finest people in the universe. He kept his eyes dry and paid attention only to the food in front of him. He didn't want to think about anything else.
As he came to the room that had been set aside for him, a strange feeling came over him and he paused. It wasn't that of teleportation, he knew that too well. It was just...weakness. Slowly he leaned against the wall, waiting until it passed. Then, he went on to his room. Surely it was nothing.
Surely he couldn't be hurt. Surely he couldn't be dying.