Hi all. Moving to our next victim…No really. PR always centralizes episodes around people. But while we’re doing that, I’m gonna start moving parts of the plot forward. Wow, I know… we’re moving way fast. Hold on! That being said, I hope you enjoy, and now, to the story...
Legends and Heroes
By Jeannine Trevizo
Chapter 4: Addicted
Jason was perched on his ATV vehicle, the white paint catching the light coming through the trees as he studied the scene before him. Or at least the part of the scene where Kim was lounged against her raptor bike staring at Tommy, under the impression that no one was watching her doing it.
He grinned slightly… he had the best seat in the house.
Things were rapidly changing, like global warming on fast forward, and Jason was standing back, watching the ice thaw around his best friends under the heat of passion and emotions that had been there since day one.
In truth, he’d wondered what exactly had taken them so long.
He had always known that Tommy had never had the depth of feeling for Kat that everyone thought he should have. He’d been there for his friend as girlfriend after girlfriend failed to meet up to Tommy’s expectations, and they simply drifted apart, hampered by Tommy’s aversion to creating ties with them; open up to them. All because of one girl that Tommy never really got over.
In Kim’s case, she’d screwed herself. The man she’d met in Florida had only been using her to make his ex girlfriend jealous. And once she was back in the picture, he’d let Kim fall hard. After that, Kim had avoided the majority of her friends in shame, having been deceived like that as well as hurting Tommy so horribly. She had known that she should try to apologize, but never got the courage to ask for his forgiveness. So she ended up drifting from relationship to relationship, much like Tommy, but looking to recapture what she’d lost when she’d lost him.
And no, fate had finally stepped in forced the issue; Hayley calling Kim to Tommy’s rescue nearly a decade later was just the break they both needed to mend things.
Now, Jason was finding himself engrossed in watching his best friends nearly repeat the kind of nervous looks and conversations as they’d had in their early relationship. It was obvious to anyone who knew them, maybe anyone with eyes that while both of them were afraid, they were starting to feel again what had once been between them.
Since their arrival, he’d been watching and waiting, and just recently he’d started calling a few people, old friends, to let them know that maybe everything might go back to the way they were supposed to be with Tommy and Kim...
But right now, he reminded himself with a slight rebuke, he was supposed to be paying attention. There was training to hold, and from the sounds of it, Tommy wasn’t very happy.
“So where’s Ethan?” asked Tommy as strode back and forth.
Kira and Conner, who stood before him next to their raptor cycles in the forest behind Tommy’s house gave him dual looks of unease.
“We should have grabbed him from the cybercafé. Sorry Dr. O,” said Kira with a wince.
“What’s the big deal anyway? Do we really need to practice? I mean, with you, Kim and Jason, we’re like surrounded by super ranger experience,” Conner remarked.
“Training is just as important as the real deal. And this is exactly the time for us to impart some of that wisdom to you instead of trying to teach you in the middle of a battle.”
Kira and Conner groaned at that.
“Besides, you never know when you might be attacked.”
As if on cue, Tommy was struck in the back by a TyranoDrone, sending him flying forward into the arms of Conner and Kira. Instantly Jason and Kim were up and away from their vehicles and running to join them as a group of TyranoDrones along with Zeltrax appeared not 20 yards from their position.
“Couldn’t have planned that better,” quipped Tommy, and Kim gave him a look.
“You had to say something,” Jason complained as he took up a fighting stance beside Kira. “I would have thought that you knew better by now, oh greatest living ranger.”
“Guys, less banter, more ass kicking please?” asked Kim from her spot beside Conner.
“Attack!” yelled Zeltrax, as he and his forces rushed the rangers.
Planning to meet them halfway, Tommy charged as well, leading the others into the fight. Tommy attacked Zeltrax, the evil armored being slicing at him with his sword while the black ranger dodged and leapt away from the blade, looking for his opening. Conner and Kim worked together, as did Kira and Jason; the younger rangers getting the opportunity to learn from their older counterparts as Dr. O had hoped, but in a more intense and live action setting than he’d wanted.
But they were being overwhelmed. The odds were at least four to one, and with Tommy sidetracked with Zeltrax there was always the possibility that things could get even worse unless they did something drastic now.
“How do you feel about a ride in the country?” asked Kira as she was knocked to her raptor cycle.
“Great day for it,” replied Conner as he punched back another TyranoDrone.
“Let’s hit the road!” called out Jason, as the team all moved to their bikes except for Tommy.
“You guys go, I have company.”
Nodding, the all paused long enough to transform their gauntlets into their morphers, and make the change to give them some more advantage.
“Dino Thunder, power up!”
“White Ranger, power up!”
“Purple Ranger, power up!”
With a series of light flashes, the team found themselves transformed into their armor. Hurriedly, Jason, Kim, Conner and Kira jumped on their vehicles and sped off, leaving Tommy with Zeltrax in a more even footing. As the team rode through the TyranoDrones, they fired off their lasers, slicing through the battalion before them.
“Sweet!” exclaimed Conner as he realized the damage their bike’s weapons could do.
As the rest of the team dispatched the TyranoDrones, Tommy’s battle against Zeltrax continued, until his foe realized that he had to escape. As Zeltrax ported away, Tommy moved to join the others, who had gotten off their vehicles and were heading his way.
“That was seriously random,” remarked Conner.
“Probably a diversion. Go to the café and get Ethan,” said Tommy. “Conner, take Jase, Kim and Kira with you and meet me at the lab when you’re done.”
“You got it.”
“Back soon bro.”
With a nod, Kim acknowledged their marching orders, and the four of them headed to the cyber café to hopefully retrieve Ethan before he ended up on the receiving end of a solo sneak attack.
“Think he’s still here?” asked Conner as they arrived at the café.
“Let’s find out,” answered Kira as the four walked to the door.
As they all approached the door, a hideous laugh echoed behind them, causing the foursome to turn. In the street behind them, an eight foot tall monster waved its arms at them, and Kim and Jason sighed.
“Could these villains get a new playbook?” Kim complained.
“At least we know what to expect,” replied Jason.
“If you’re looking for your friend, you’re too late,” spoke the monster with glee. “Unless you want to join him.”
Conner and Kira raced forward and attacked, throwing kicks and punches. As the monster evaded them, Kim and Jason waded into the battle as well.
Conner backed up while the other three kept the monster occupied and tapped his gauntlet, opening up the communications channel in the bracelet.
“Dr. O, we found one of Mesogog’s buddies, but no Ethan.”
“I’m getting a reading on him. Keep looking while I pinpoint the signal.”
A sudden blast of sound/light energy blasted from the arm of the monster, sending Kira and Kim tumbling to one side of the street and Jason and Conner to the other.
“Easy for him to say,” complained Conner quietly as he shoved his way up off the pavement.
Again and again the four of them were blasted at by the monster, sending Conner and Kira behind a series of crates for cover. On the other side of the street, Kim and Jason were using a double parked car as their shield.
“Now would be a good time to find Ethan,” said Conner to Kira as they ducked again as another blast passed over their hiding spot.
“See if you can draw his fire and maybe Kim and Jason can help you keep him occupied while I check inside.”
“I don’t know how long we can hold him off. You be careful in there though, okay?”
Kira nodded, and as Conner launched himself into the line of fire, Kira jumped away towards the cyberspace’s front door. Seeing the split in the team, Jason realized that Conner had to have decided to keep the monster sidetracked while Kira went in looking for Ethan.
“Good plan,” he said aloud, and Kim nodded, realizing the same thing Jason had.
“Let’s give the kid a hand,” she said as she rushed out to join the red ranger, Jason right behind her.
Little did any of them know that in sending Kira alone into the cyberspace, she was bound to locate Ethan. Just not the way they thought, as the malfunctioning codebreaker that had already sucked Ethan as well as Cassidy and Devin into the Wizard’s World game was doing the same to her.
While battles raged in the game, so did the battle outside.
Conner was knocked back again towards the crates and crashed through them with a loud thud. Achingly he pushed himself up while Kim cart wheeled across the street, making the monster’s blasts miss her. As she huddled beside Conner, helping him sit, Jason used his drago dagger to fire off his light arrows at the monster, staggering it.
“Kira’s not back yet?” Kim remarked with a touch of worry.
He shook his head negatively. The fact was she should have been out by now, unless he’d sent her into an ambush. If that was the case, he’d sent her in alone, and if anything happened to her… it would be his fault.
The blond haired musician had become a team mate, a friend, and if he had to be pressed to answer truthfully, something more than that. The fact that he’d attended every single gig she’d played since they met had to say something…
But he had to focus. There would be time for thinking amorous thoughts about Kira later. Rescuing her now was what he needed to do.
“I’ll go after her, you help Jason” said Kim as Jason blocked a swing by the monster and rushed towards the cyberspace’s door.
Kim rushed inside to find the place empty, just as Kira had. As she stepped closer to the computer screen that was emitting a bluish glow, she felt herself being pulled into the same vortex that the others had gone through, and found herself deposited along with Kira and Ethan.
“Kim!” the two yelled as they continued to fend off the strange creatures that Ethan had been besieged with.
“You guys okay?” she asked as she pushed up off the forest floor.
“Yeah. Just getting bored with these things,” replied Ethan.
“How about we show them what rangers can do?” Kim remarked, flipping her morpher into place. The others nodded and suddenly where two teens and a late twenty something woman had stood, three rangers awaited the next attack.
Outside in the real world, Conner and Jason had started to get pissed off with the constant attacks of the monster.
“I’m so over you,” complained Conner as he jumped from the spot he’s been taking cover at and leapt before the monster, intending to morph.
Instead the monster blasted him, sending him flying backwards and through the door of the cyberspace. The blast had given him so much momentum that Conner flew across the room, his body landing heavily on the computer terminal, and causing sparks to fly.
“What the…” Conner said as he got up and watched device next to the computer terminal start to sputter.
For a moment Conner wondered what had happened to Kira and Kim, before a blue light flashed behind him, and he turned to see Kim, Ethan and Kira in their uniforms battling with some unknown bad guys. They all paused for a moment as they realized that they were no longer in the game, but when their opponents attacked again, they instantly returned to the fight.
“What’s going on?” yelled Conner over the din.
“Don’t ask,” cried out Kira as she held the staff of one opponent as she high kicked backwards into the head of another.
“Oh man, Hayley’s seriously gonna lose it,” Ethan whined as he threw a bad guy across the room, and it tumbled into some stools and over the main counter, causing crashing sounds to be heard.
“Conner, morph and meet us outside, okay?” Kira said.
“And get Jason suited up too,” added Kim.
Conner morphed quickly and rushed outside to prompt Jason to do the same. Behind them, Kira, Kim and Ethan herded the strange foes into the street where the monster they’d been fighting was already engaged with Jason.
With the added power of their morphed forms, the monster decided he no longer wanted to play, and called up a portal and disappeared.
“Good riddance,” said Conner. “We’ve got to check out that game.”
Nodding, they all followed Conner back into the café where Ethan tried to make sense of what had happened.
“It’s doing it again,” complained Ethan worriedly.
“Dude, what’s going on?” asked Conner as the image of the wizard on the screen disappeared.
“I kind of don’t know where to start.”
“The truth is always best told from thine heart,” came a voice behind them, and they turned to see the embodiment of the wizard now in the room.
Kim sighed and ran a hand over her face.
“Oh boy…” Jason murmured and looked at Kim with a look that recalled one too many memories of screw ups in their teenaged ranger days.
“Maybe Dr. O and Hayley can help,” Conner said anxiously, and they all nodded, Ethan grabbing his code breaker and the others leading the little wizard into the street to somehow find their way to the command center cave and some solutions before anything worse happened.
After having admonished Ethan, gotten Beldorf back to his game and beaten the monster, it was nice to just sit at the cybercafé and relax.
Sitting on the couch closest the window, Kim let out a long sigh. Winding down after a battle felt more like coming home than she’d expected. Of course, the fact that the cybercafé had a decidedly community center/juice bar feel to it was one part to that sentiment. The other wholly resided with the fact that she was back in uniform along with Tommy. She focused her gaze to watch the object of her thoughts at the counter, letting them linger for a moment before her eyes drifted away to watch the rest of the team, minus Jason. They were at the table that seemed to be theirs as much as a table at the juice bar had been the ranger’s back in the day.
Suddenly she heard someone coming her way. She looked up and smiled as she took the cup of latte that Tommy had brought her along with his own black coffee.
“Thanks. So, are you glad to have your mouth back now?” she joked as he sipped his coffee before moving away to the other sofa.
“Very funny,” he replied as he sat down across from her heavily, one arm thrown along the back of the couch while the other held his cup. “At least we were able to fix things and Ethan seems to have learned his lesson.”
“We all have to learn the hard way. You know that.”
“Where’s Jason?” he asked as he recalled that he had seen Kira, Ethan and Conner at their table working on homework, but Jason hadn’t been there with them.
“He headed back to your place. Said he had a call to make.”
“Okay…” he trailed off, taking a swallow of his coffee.
“I’d bet that he’s calling Trini to let her know how things are going here,” she said with a wink before drinking some of her latte.
“Trini? Did I miss something?”
“They went out a couple times last year before she started doing the books for his construction company. I don’t know if they’re still dating although they still hang out…”
“He didn’t mention that he was dating Trini. How do you know? Hell, how is it you two know so much about each other anyway. You aren’t…” Tommy trailed off, his heart catching in his throat as he contemplated what he would do if she said yes.
“Eeww, no. I have no interest in ever dating a man who’s all but my brother. We just got to be the only other person we could talk to. When things imploded in Florida, Billy was unreachable, as was Aisha and Trini. I ended up on the phone with Jase more often then not, and the same sort of happened for him after the gold ranger fiasco. For the last six years or so, I trusted him to be there for me.”
“So he was there for you when you met the guy you called me a brother for?”
“You mean the jackass that was using me to get his ex-girlfriend back, and dumped me once she was back in his bed? Yes,” she bitterly said, and then took a gulp of her latte.
“I got played. I let him use my loneliness against me, and I did something stupid. I let him all but seduce me, making me feel like I had to make a choice between you two, so I broke up with you without thinking things through. Without calling you. Without me realizing I really wasn’t in love with him more than I was in love with the idea of being in love with someone.”
“So… you really don’t think of me as a brother…” Tommy started, his mind fixated on the one part of her conversation that he wanted to hear.
“No... I was just trying to come up with a way to make it… easier. Which turned out so well in the end didn’t it?” she complained sarcastically before drinking from her cup again, and then wondered why he had phrased his statement like that, “Anyway, why do you ask?”
Tommy took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He had to have learned a few things in the last decade, and surely courage where this slight woman was concerned had to be one of them. He’d been fighting down what he’d been starting to feel the moment he’d seen her back in his life, until he’d finally realized that he really didn’t want to fight it anymore.
“I thought, maybe we could start over,” he began, and saw Kim’s head tilt to the side, questioning, since they’d already started over as friends, “and I could take you to dinner this Saturday.”
There was stunned silence for a minute while Kim’s mouth opened and closed like a fish. Across from her, Tommy was wondering if he’d just damaged the fragile friendship that they’d reformed for his desire to see if what they’d had before was still there.
“I… you. You’re asking me on a date?” she quietly asked, still surprised.
“Yeah. You think we can do that?” he questioned cautiously, the hope in his voice evident to her though.
Kim looked at the man who had always held a special place in her heart and wondered. Could they recapture what they had?
Considering that she’d come rushing to his aid the second that Hayley had called her, and thought her world had crashed and burned when she thought Zeltrax had killed him, she knew that her feelings for him weren’t as gone as everyone might think they were. Since her arrival it had just been one memory on top of another reminding her of the buried feelings she still had for him. And with each moment they spent together as ‘friends’, those feelings and memories just made it more clear that she still wanted what they’d had.
“Great,” Tommy said as he smiled and took a sip of his coffee, his heart pounding in his chest. He had a date with the prettiest purple ranger, and maybe, if he got really lucky, they might just build something better than they’d had before.
Another chapter down and we’re starting the T/K ness. It’s been a long time for them, we have to be patient - I promise we’ll get to the good stuff soon.