Note from the Author: This idea came to me while I was reading a novel one day, and I just had to write it up. I had to take a break from the 'Home Guard' series for a while, I'm putting some major effort and research into the next one, and this is a pleasant break from it. This fanfic starts in late October of 1996, which I believe would be after "Good as Gold", but before anything Turbo-related, and has some flashbacks to October of 1992, which I think would be the year prior to the first five being chosen. This might be stretching things a bit, but what else are fanfics for? Oh, and the title is ripped of---er, borrowed from a Christopher Pike book of the same name. This starts off a new series for me, entitled "Resonance".
The Angel Grove Youth Center
October in Angel Grove meant the same thing year after year to the citizens: time to get things organized for the next three months of back-to-back holidays. With Halloween at the end of the month, the parents were once again organizing the teens of the area to take their kids out gathering candy. It was an organization that had worked very well over the past few years, and it looked like it was going to again this year.
In the Youth Center, Ernie was looking over a list of kids and teens and trying to match them all up. The national day of mischief was only two days away, and he had to make certain everyone knew who their assignments were. Seeing Tommy, Rocky, Adam, Kat, and Tanya's name on the list didn't surprise him. Seeing Bulk and Skull's names did.
As he checked it over again, something occurred to him, and his eyes widened. Why didn't Jason sign up? The only time he's ever missed a Halloween was when he was in Switzerland.
He glanced around to see if the young man was anywhere in the Youth Center, and was surprised to see he wasn't. The others were there, busy decorating the place for the Halloween Ball that would be held once all the teens had returned from taking the kids around. Oh, well. I guess he has his reasons. Ernie went back to checking on the lists of who would be going with who, putting thoughts of Jason Scott and his uncharacteristic absence out of his mind for the moment.
"I called his house earlier and there wasn't any answer," Rocky called from where he and Kat were setting up the stereo system.
Tommy looked a little worried. "He seemed kind of depressed when I talked to him yesterday. I thought it was just a sort of side effect," he didn't say of what, but they all knew he meant of losing the Gold Ranger powers. Tommy knew what being a Ranger meant to Jason; the young man was never more alive than when he was fighting to protect the planet.
"Think we should go talk to him?" Adam wondered. He hadn't really gotten to know Jason until the other had returned to take on the Gold Ranger powers, but he did consider him a good and true friend. If Jason was having problems, he wanted to be there for him.
Tommy thought for a moment. He'd never really seen Jason powerless before. All during his own time as a Ranger, Jason had always been either the Red or Gold Rangers, and when he had left for Switzerland, it had been so shortly after giving the Red power to Jason that Tommy couldn't really conceive of him not being a Ranger. Seeing him like this, slightly depressed, just wasn't the mental image Tommy had always had of his best friend.
"Maybe," he said finally. "If he doesn't snap out of it. He probably just has to get used to things again."
"He probably misses Billy some," Kat offered. "I mean, they knew each other most of their lives, and now he's moved." Tommy nodded, not having Billy around was a very strange feeling. He often turned around, intending to ask his friend something, only to have him be gone. And I won't count the number of times I've looked for him on the battlefield since we got the Zeo powers. I hope he's happy on Aquitar.
"Hey, guys," everyone looked over to see Emily Tesh walking towards them. They hadn't really expected to see her at the Youth Center that day, since Ernie had mentioned she had the day off when they got started. "Have you guys seen Jason?"
The Rangers exchanged muted glances, and Tommy began to wonder if maybe something was up they weren't yet aware of. Zordon had told them that Rita and Zedd had destroyed the leadership of the Machine Empire, and were moving back into their old palace. If they've done something to Jason. ..he was a thorn in their sides from the beginning, and they did try to steal the Gold powers from him. If they don't know he doesn't have them anymore. . .
"No, we haven't," Adam replied. "Why, is something wrong?"
The pretty blonde frowned for a moment. "I'm not really sure. We were supposed to get together for lunch, but he never showed. I thought maybe he came over here and lost track of time, but . .." her voice trailed off as she looked around. "I guess not."
Tommy walked over to the girl and put a hand on her shoulder. "I'll go by his place and see if he's there," he offered. "He might have overslept or something."
She nodded, her features losing a bit of their worry. "He has been kind of tired recently. Do you have any ideas why?"
Tommy wished he could tell her the reason, the real reason, but that was impossible. I hope he comes up with something. They make a very good couple. He had to say something, though. "I'm not really sure. You know he wasn't feeling very good the other day. Maybe he's sick?"
Emily winced for a moment, remembering how he had collapsed right in the Youth Center. She hadn't ever found out just why that had happened, but Jason had told her he was all right. If he wasn't telling her the truth, she was going to have some serious words with him. "I guess," she said finally. "If he's at his house, Tommy, could you tell him I'm waiting here?"
"Sure," he glanced over at the others, who had stopped the decorating to come over and join in the conversation. "Think you can handle this without me for about an hour or so?"
"Not a problem," Kat smiled at him. The two of them had been dating fairly regularly for the last couple of months, and he was beginning to think that the true love he had thought to find with Kim he had found instead in Kat. He waved briefly to them, then headed out the door. It wasn't really that much of an imposition. He was fairly worried about Jason himself.
Jason Scott's bedroom
The curtains were closed and the door was locked, plunging the room into the deepest of darknesses. He could never have imagined it would be this bad all the other years. Then again, for the past three, he'd been busy with one thing or another. Wondering if the Rangers would be called into action for two of them. Celebrating an American holiday in another country the year before. All of them he'd been with his friends.
But this year, he was back home in Angel Grove, he wasn't an active Ranger, and he was all alone. Well, in the most technical sense of the word he wasn't alone, since he had the Rangers and most of all he had Emily. But for this, it didn't really matter. They didn't know. And he wasn't going to tell them.
You should, the nagging little voice of conscience grumbled at him. They're your friends, they should know. Especially Tommy.
He almost flinched at the thought of that. Yes, Tommy was his best friend, and knew almost everything there was to know about him. Almost. Not everything. He'd kept one thing from his friend, the one thing he had long ago sworn not to tell anyone who hadn't been there when it happened.
Jason sighed, fighting back another bout of tears. He'd already cried himself out once, and didn't want to start up again. He almost laughed at the thought of him, Jason Scott, the big, strong, massive guy, being reduced to tears once a year. If it hadn't been so starkly real, it might have been funny.
But it was real, it had happened, and on this day, he could never forget. The rest of the year he was able to push the thoughts of it out of his mind, bury himself in work or play of one type or another. But as Halloween grew ever closer, he couldn't think about anything else. And on Halloween Night itself, in two more days, he wouldn't be able to do anything by curl up and wish he could die.
Quietly he reached into one drawer of his nightstand. Inside was a box that he only opened a few times each year. He'd taken it with him when he'd went to Switzerland, not quite certain how he would react to spending that anniversary in another country. Being away from his family he could handle. Being alone with those memories he wasn't sure if he could or not.
Within the box was a photograph, yellow with age. It was of six young people, three boys and three girls. The oldest of them wasn't even fifteen yet. It showed them in a living room, one he had seen almost every day of his life. One of the boys wore blue overalls and was gazing with teenage love he thought was hidden at the girl in yellow next to him. The one in pink was giggling at both of them, while the young black wearing black was dancing in the background to music only he could hear. The tallest and most ruggedly built of them, a young boy in red, was sparring with the last of them, a girl in gray.
They all looked blissfully happen. Every last one of them. Slowly, one tear dripped onto the photograph, and Jason's mind barreled back in time to that time, to that moment when his life had changed so dramatically.
Scott household living room
He was fourteen years old and it was Halloween, and the happiest day of the year short of Christmas. Like it did for every holiday, Angel Grove was going all out. The teenagers would be taking the younger kids around, and afterwards a dance would be held at the Youth Center. It was a tradition, going back to the very founding of the Youth Center.
Jason Scott wouldn't be doing either of those things, though. Too old for trick-or-treating, too young to stay up late enough to bother going to the dance, he and his five friends already had made plans of their own. Zack, Trini, Kim, Billy and Lynn were already over at his house, playing together in the living room. Billy, shy as he had been from the day Jason had met him, was looking every now and then at Trini as she practiced her kung-fu discipline. Zack was dancing as he constantly did, while Kim was giggling at the antics of all her friends.
Jason, dressed in the red he preferred in all his clothes, was doing a little sparring with Lynn, his best friend and girlfriend all rolled into one. She was beautiful, at least to him, though Bulk and Skull teased her often by calling her 'horseface'. She was tall and thin, with a strong nose, high cheekbones, and enough muscles and skill to break bricks in half. He didn't care, though. Let them chase girls, unsuccessfully, who were fashion models. In his plain girlfriend, he had found the love of his life.
"You're getting better with age, Jase!" Lynn giggled as they brought the match to a draw. "I don't know how much longer I can beat you!"
"You haven't yet!" he teased right back. Neither of them had ever beaten the other in a straight out bout, and neither knew if they even could beat each other. They were both good. Beyond good.
All six of them looked up when Mrs. Scott entered the room, a camera in her hands. No matter the holiday, she always loved to get pictures of her kids and their friends celebrating it, and Halloween had always been a special one to drag out the camera for. "No costumes this year, kids?" she asked, almost frowning.
"We discussed that custom some months ago and came to the unanimous conclusion that we had attained an age at which such an activity is immature," Billy spoke up. "We also have other plans which do not require garbing ourselves in such outfits, indeed, that would be detrimental to them."
The older woman blinked a little bit, then Trini giggled. "He said we're too old for it, and we've got other plans anyway."
"Oh!" Mrs. Scott blushed; Billy always had a way of speaking that made her and most of the other people of Angel Grove feel inadequate. To cover up her slight embarrassment, she lifted up the camera and snapped a quick picture of all six of them.
"Mom!" Jason complained; having her take their picture every few months was getting to be somewhat embarrassing.
Lynn chuckled almost wickedly. "What's the matter, Jason, afraid of getting your picture taken?"
"No," he blushed even deeper than his mother had. "I just think it's kinda weird!
His girlfriend laughed, and as he looked at her, he marveled at the depth of life and joy that sparkled within her. She was one of the most wide-spread people she knew, having something in common with all of them. She did karate with him, kung fu with Trini, danced with Zack, played guitar with Kimberly, and could 'techno-babble' as well as Billy could. She had a rare comedic wit when she wanted it, and was an accomplished poet as well. He had never imagined finding a girl half as perfect for him as she was. He couldn't imagine needing to. They would all be together forever.
Mrs. Scott smiled briefly at her son and his girlfriend. Most fourteen year olds in Angel Grove were still at the 'cootie' stage, but all of these seemed to be more mature than their years declared them. She would never have imagined that her son would be dating before he was even in high school, but if she had, the only person she could see him with was Lynn. They meshed at every level.
Lynn punched Jason on the shoulder lightly, barely noticing the ringing of the phone as she did so. "So what are we going to do tonight?" she asked, turning to the others along with Jason. Everyone calmed down a little and turned to look at them, everyone's eyes on Jason, their unofficial leader.
"Well, I was thinking we would---" Jason was broken off by his mom calling in from the other room.
"Lynn, you need to go home, your dad wants you for something," Mrs. Scott said. "He said it was kind of important."
The young girl blinked for a moment, then nodded. "I'll be right there," she said. "Guys, I'll be back in a little while, I just have to go see what he wants."
"I'll go with you!" Jason offered, and Lynn just smiled, giving him a stroke on the arm.
"I'm a big girl, Jason," she told him warmly. "I'll be all right just running down the street and back again."
With that, she planted a quick peck on Jason's cheek as she headed out the door. He smiled as he looked after her. It was the last time he ever saw her alive.
Jason Scott's bedroom
Jason dragged himself out of his thoughts at the sound of a knock on the door. Wonderful. Probably Emily or one of the guys. I knew I should've left the house. Or told them I just wasn't available until later. Now I'll have to face them with tearstains and hope they don't ask me to explain them.
He was glad right at that moment he was the only person at home. His parents were visiting his aunt and uncle in Santa Monica for the week, which left him alone until after the turn of the month, except for his sister Jennifer, who was out shopping just then. That was just what he wanted for right now, too, to be alone. His parents and Jenny had been every bit as devastated by Lynn's death as he had, but they hadn't felt the same gnawing guilt that he had over the years.
"Who is it?" he tried to make his voice sound normal, and as far as he could tell he was succeeding.
"It's me, Tommy," there was a faint aura of relief in the Red Ranger's voice, very clear to Jason. It was obvious he'd been thinking the worst had happened. Jason growled faintly under his breath, then swung the door open, not bothering to even put a fake smile on. Tommy's eyes widened at the sight of his tear-ravaged face. "Jason!? What happened?"
The former Gold Ranger looked calmly at him. "I've been crying, what does it look like?" if he wants to come over here and bother me, then he's going to have to deal with the consequences. Somewhere in the back of his mind there was also the nagging desire to tell someone, anyone, about Lynn. He was doing his best to ignore that, though.
"Why?" Tommy gasped. "Everyone's been wondering where you are, what's going on?"
Jason's reddened eyes looked coolly at his friend. "I hate to be rude, Tommy, but it's really none of your business. It's no one's business but my own anymore. I'll be fine after Halloween. Now go away and leave me alone."
"Jason?" Tommy's voice was literally shaking. He'd never seen his friend like this before, and it was starting to scare him. "Jason, please talk to me!"
"No," the former Ranger rather pointedly turned his back. "I don't want to talk to anyone."
He literally marched back to his bedroom, slamming the door and hoping Tommy would take the hint. The last thing he wanted or needed was to talk to anyone about how he was feeling. Once Halloween was over, then he would be 'sociable' again. God, I wish the others were here. They knew. They understood.
Tommy stood in the front hallway for a couple of minutes, not quite certain what was going on here. Never before in the three years he had known Jason had he acted like that. Something was most definitely going on here, and the Red Ranger wanted to know what it was.
He started down the hallway to Jason's room, intending on teleporting in there if he had to, to get him to talk, when a picture on the wall caught his eye. He'd been in Jason's house frequently over the past few years, but usually he'd just went straight to Jason's room or to the workout center he kept in the basement. He'd never lingered to look at the rest of the house.
The picture was obviously of Jason, Zack, Trini, Kim, and Billy, along with a young girl he didn't recognize. Those he knew looked almost as they had when he'd first met them, if somewhat younger and more innocent. This was probably taken before they became Rangers. You lose that innocence really fast after you've kicked monsters around a few times.
"Tommy?" he glanced up to see Jenny, Jason's older sister, looking at him curiously. "Come to see Jason?"
"Yeah," he nodded. "Didn't do me a lot of good, he's refusing to see anyone."
She shrugged casually. "I'd be surprised if he wasn't. He doesn't like outside company this time of year."
"What are you talking about?" he'd been confused before, now he had hit complete befuddlement! What Jenny said struck him like a lightning bolt.
"Thursday is the fourth anniversary of the day his first girlfriend died."
Tommy blinked, feeling a mixture of pure sorrow, understanding, and pain all at the same time. He'd suspected something was wrong, but he'd never had any indication that someone had died. "W. .who was she?"
Jenny touched the picture he'd been looking at. "That's her. Lynn Jefferson. She'd lived here about two years before it happened, and she and Jason were tight almost from the moment they saw each other. She got along really well with the other kids too, Zack, Trini, Kim, Billy."
"What happened to her?" Tommy asked softly, beginning to understand why Jason had been so adamant against speaking. He had been hurt badly enough by Kim just breaking with him, but at least she was still alive somewhere in the world, even if she was with someone else. He'd long since come to the conclusion that he wished both of them very well, though he was still confused as to why she'd broken up with him in a letter and not in person. He'd never understand why she did that, it just wasn't like her.
Jenny took a long breath. "It was Halloween evening. Everyone was over here just kidding around, you know how they did it. Still do, too," she flashed what might have been a grin at him, though one tinged with sadness. It was plain Lynn had been her friend too. "Then her parents called, they wanted her home for something. I can't remember what it was anymore. She never came back, though. She never made it to her house, actually."
She paused, remembering. Tommy was about to ask her not to go on if it hurt her, when she started speaking again. "She wasn't that far from here. Just out of sight, really. A driver lost control of his car. He wasn't drunk, he wasn't insane. ..his brakes just went out at the wrong moment. He skidded across the street and slammed right into her."
"She died on impact," both of them looked up to see Jason standing there. Neither of them had heard him come in. He looked almost as he had before, but with a strange vacancy in his eyes that Tommy had never seen before. "The driver was almost completely unharmed, he had his seat-belt on at the time. He cracked an arm bone, I think, but that was it. Lynn died. She was fourteen, she was my first girlfriend and my first best friend, I loved her more than I've ever loved anyone else in my life, and I've missed her more and more every day."
Tommy's eyes filled with friendship and caring as he looked at his friend, and almost stepped towards him. Jason backed away, eyes burning with something between rage and hatred. "Now that you know, stay away from me until this is over. I've gone through this every Halloween for three years, and I can handle another one. After all, I've got my entire life to deal with it."
Without another word, he whirled around and marched back to his room. Jenny and Tommy both heard the door slamming shut, and the snap that meant he'd locked it. Jason most definitely didn't want to talk.
Angel Grove Youth Center
Tommy stared almost despondently into his smoothie. Out of respect for Jason's privacy, all he had told the other Rangers and Emily was that Jason got depressed around Halloween, and that once the holiday was over with he'd be back to normal. Jenny had told him that he usually snapped back to himself on November first like clockwork, but Tommy wasn't really going to believe it until he saw it.
I've never really noticed Jason being like this before, he thought. He'd spent two Halloweens around the first leader of the Rangers before Jason had went to Switzerland, and on neither of them had he been like this. He hadn't been quite as outgoing as he normally was, but on both occasions either Rita or Zedd had been sending down monsters during the day, and he'd chalked Jason's reluctance to hang out much to simple exhaustion, something he could relate to very well. Then again, Tommy sat up suddenly, realizing. He had the OTHERS with him. He had Zack, Trini, Kim, and Billy. THEY all knew her, they knew what he was going through, because they'd been there themselves, they all knew her. He NEEDS them today. More than he's ever needed them in a battle, he needs them now. And I know how to get them here.
He headed quickly for the hallway they traditionally used to teleport from, and glanced around quickly, making certain no one else was around at the moment. The place looked absolutely magnificent, decorated for Halloween from top to bottom, but he found that since learning about Lynn and the horrible reason behind Jason's annual depression, he just couldn't take any pleasure in it. Finding no one else around, he quickly teleported to the Power Chamber. He had a very large favor to ask Zordon.
Angel Grove Cemetery
Jason stared quietly at the headstone, trying not to think so hard about who was buried there. A few quiet tears splashed down onto the ground as his fingers brushed it gently. The words didn't change one bit, any more than they ever had during every other visit he'd made here.
Nothing, Jason? the voice was like a whisper on the wind, the pure sound of purest life and laughter. He looked up, not wanting to believe his ears, not really.
Standing just across from him, hovering as if it were the most natural thing in the world, was Lynn. As transparent as a soap bubble, but with that same light to her eyes he had always seen before. It took him three tries before he was able to speak.
"L. ..lynn? Is that really you?"
Of course it is. Who else would it be? she smiled as she had always done. You're still hurting, Jason. I've been dead four years, and you're still hurting over it.
Tears still stood in his eyes. "How can I not? I love you!"
You love Emily, she corrected calmly. And don't look so startled. I'm dead, it's in the contract for me to know things. Red Ranger. Gold Ranger. Whatever you want to call yourself. You'll always be Jason to me.
Jason just stared, unable to speak for shock, and she sighed for a moment, just as she had in life. Jason, it was my time to go. Yes, I had a short life, and it ended violently, but you have a very long life ahead of you, and it's one destined to bring great things to the world. I just don't happen to be the one you're going to share it with, a tinge of regret touched her voice. And believe me, Jason, I wish I was. But it just isn't meant to be.
"Who is it then?" he whispered, almost being afraid to ask, terrified she was going to say he was to be alone. Even more than living without her, he was scared of being alone. And scared that with a good part of his heart still bound up in her, he wouldn't be able to give a prospective girlfriend or mate the love she would require.
Now that, my love, would be telling, she smiled quietly, and her fingers touched his cheek gently as she came over to him. Just accept that I'm dead and you have to go on with your life. Even if I'm not in it anymore.
"Lynn," he whispered softly, wishing he could touch her hand. "Oh, Lynn. . .."
For one moment, she glowed briefly, then was as solid as she had been that last day. She pulled him into a deep hug, kissing him hungrily as they so seldom had back then. He almost burst into fresh tears as she slipped back into insubstantiality. I love you, Jason, and a part of me will always be with you. But you have to let me go. So long as you are hurting the way you are, I can never truly leave.
"I'm keeping you here?" horror filled his voice at that thought; the last thing he'd ever wanted was to hurt Lynn in any way, even after death.
Not really, she clarified. But I can't be happy unless I know you are. And I think you're about to be happier than you can imagine. Farewell, my love. I'll see you again one day. . .in the far future.
"Good-bye," he whispered, hearing a car door slam faintly, but not caring. "Good-bye, Lynn!"
No, Jason. Not good-bye. Just. ..see you later. Remember me.
"Always," he whispered. She smiled, that smile he knew so well, and then she was gone. Jason stared at where she was for several moments, unable to believe he'd had her in his arms after four years and now she was gone again. He felt like howling out his grief in purest tones.
"Jason?" he almost broke his neck whirling around, and his eyes bugged out almost a good three feet when he saw just who had gotten out of the car he'd heard closing. Standing in a small knot were Zack, Trini, Kim, Billy, Aisha, Tommy, Rocky, Adam, Kat, Tanya, and Emily. He slowly stood up, not quite understanding why the others were there, but his eyes flying straight to the other original Rangers. It was Kim who had spoken. "Jason, we should've come back sooner, for today," she continued. "We all knew what it was, and how you'd be reacting without any of us there."
He shook his head, feeling a lightness suddenly invade his heart from who knew where. "I'm glad to see you all," he said as the other four came over, leaving the rest of them still standing close together. Then he was in a group hug, their arms all tight about each other. "How'd you all get here!?"
"Tommy called us," Billy said. He looked taller and stronger than he had the last time Jason had seen him, not to mention about sixty years younger. "He told us he found out about Lynn, and about how you were taking it, and asked if we could help. The teleportation unit did the rest."
Jason looked over at Emily for a moment, biting her lip quietly as she watched them. Billy had spoken silently enough so that she couldn't hear it, but he'd been thinking about telling her about his days as a Ranger anyway. He'd have to clear it with Zordon, of course, but something said their mentor wouldn't mind very much. Emily could be trusted, and it would give them another back-up, like David, if it became necessary.
"We miss her too, Jason," Zack said, drawing his attention back to them. "She was a part of our lives, and we don't have to forget her. Just. ..go on."
Jason smiled for the first time on a Halloween in four years. "I think I finally can," he said. "I really think I finally can. I'm glad to see you all again," he raised his voice on the last sentence. "Are you just visiting?" this was directed to all those who had left Angel Grove before.
Blushes were evident all around suddenly. "Um, not really," Kim muttered. "I quit the Pan-Globals."
"You what?" Jason stared at her. "Why?"
"Personal reasons," she looked away, and he frowned for a moment. Something was going on here, and he made a note to check into it as soon as he could. His gaze turned to Zack and Trini; when he'd left the Peace Conference, they'd both told him they were going to be staying there.
"It's time to come home," Zack said simply, answering for both of them. "We did a good job there, but we've done enough. We've been there for two years, Jason, it was time to come home."
Billy glanced down at the ground for a moment, then only whispered something about he and Cestria not working out after all. More than that he wasn't going to say, and Jason could tell there was a story behind that every bit as deep as whatever it was Kim was hiding. Arm in arm, the five of them were heading over to the others.
"What about you, Aisha?" he asked. He barely knew her really, but he knew from what the others had told him that she'd stayed in Africa after the Zeo Quest to deal with a plague there.
She shrugged for a moment. "Found the cure. It was easy, actually, it was just a contaminated spring the animals had all been drinking from. We got it purified, and they all got better. I was already coming back when I found out Tommy was calling everyone in."
Jason nodded, turning his glance at last to Emily, who simply stood there, a faint smile on her lips. For a moment, he thought he saw Lynn standing behind her, and the ghost gave him a thumb's up. He smiled himself, then reached out to take her hand. "I'm sorry for how depressed I've been lately, and how rude I've been to you," he said quietly. "And I'd like to know something."
"I know it's kind of late, but would you like to go with me to the Halloween Ball tonight?"
Emily smiled warmly, wrapping her arms around him. "I'd love to, Jason!" she declared. He looked down at her, then quietly bent and brushed his lips against hers. Lynn hadn't said who he was going to be with, but at that moment in time, he knew exactly who he wanted it to be. Emily Tesh.