Always a Ranger - Part 25

The I in Team

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

With the threat from Zeltrax stopped for the moment and the Shield of Triumph safely in Conner’s hands, Tommy assured everyone that they could head out. As the team exited upstairs, Conner offered to give Trent a ride home like the rest of the team, but he passed. He still wasn’t fully comfortable with everyone yet, and the appearance of the White Terrorsaurus and the white ranger clone didn’t help.

 

Kira looked at him with a frown, but followed Ethan and Conner to the red muscle car. As the three rangers drove off, Trent frowned and started home by foot, his mind circling around the issues weighing on him.

 

While he’d been offered a place with the team, there was still a lingering mistrust. They’d started to get along and work together, but there was still an underlying willingness on the team’s part to believe that he could go back to his ‘evil’ ways. Of the group, Kira was the most accepting while Conner and Ethan continued to have deeply ingrained doubts, no matter how much they had ‘accepted’ him among them.

 

And his inability to be fully honest with them didn’t help matters.

 

When Kira had said that there were no secrets between them, he had cringed inwardly. He wondered if they knew that he hadn’t told them everything. He got the feeling that even though Dr. O trusted him and that the black ranger knew that he hadn’t been totally upfront with him about his time as the evil white ranger.

 

Dr. O’s behavior and what he’d shared with him continued to gnaw at his soul. When he’d gone to his teacher to talk about his unease at his evil past, he never expected that he could find not only understanding, but a kindred spirit. Of all the things he would have believed about the black ranger, the fact that he’d been evil and that he knew the kind of guilt and fear of not being trustworthy by his fellow rangers was not one of them. The shock he’d gotten when Dr. Oliver had explained what he’d gone through when he’d been evil had been overwhelming.

 

He had realized that if Dr. O could get through it, so could he. But when they’d talked, he hadn’t been fully honest. Dr. O had asked if there was anything he could offer to help in the fight Mesogog, and he’d stayed silent. Even though his teacher nodded his head and accepted his reply, he still felt like the black ranger knew that he wasn’t telling the whole truth about his time as the evil white ranger.

 

Which he wasn’t.

 

He couldn’t tell Dr. O about his father. There were lines that you just couldn’t cross. His word to his father outweighed any loyalty he had to Dr. O and the rangers. And based on his father’s comments, he knew that Anton was fighting to break free of the control Mesogog had n him.

 

He needed to give him the time to do that.

 

Yet at the same time, it ate at him that maybe he was wrong. These were power rangers. They had access to such amazing things. If they knew that Mesogog was part of his father, maybe they could find a cure…

 

But he couldn’t take that chance.

 

Before he realized it, Trent looked up and saw that he was home already. Hopefully his dad would be there…

 

-

 

Kira sat at one of the circular tables at the Cyberspace café. She was nursing the café latte that she’d ordered, thinking the flavor and caffeine would keep her awake. Unfortunately, all it was doing was making her think too much. Ever since Trent had shown up, free of the evil influence that had been on the dino gem, she’d had this bad feeling. Like something still wasn’t quite right.

 

“Earth to Kira,” said Ethan, coming over with his own drink, a chocolate milkshake and sat beside her.

 

“What?”

 

“You seem preoccupied. Everything okay?”

 

“I guess. I just have this feeling…”

 

“Oh no, please don’t tell me you think we’re gonna get attacked again already,” asked Conner, arriving at the tail end of her comment.

 

“No, just… I feel like there’s something we don’t know still. You know, like the other shoe hasn’t dropped yet.”

 

“Ah, that feeling. I’ve been having that one too,” Ethan commented.

 

“So, what do you think it is? Maybe the white ranger clone really Trent, and vice versa?”

 

Kira and Ethan both glared at Conner, and he smiled at them. Sure, it was a really bad joke, but humor really kept him from freaking out on a regular basis. It was bizarre enough that he was a power ranger. The things they saw were just so crazy, he felt if he didn’t laugh about it he’d go crazy.

 

“Okay, so no on the switched Trent theory. What else could it be?” questioned Ethan before taking a sip of the shake.

 

“Maybe I’m just overreacting,” Kira offered, trying to smooth over the issue.

 

“I don’t think so. You have good instincts Kira. I think there’s something to it,” Conner remarked seriously, reaching over to cover one of her hands with his own.

 

Kira stared at the red ranger and smiled. He was the one with the new cool powers, but here he was making sure that she knew that he believed in her and her instincts. He had grown up into a good leader.

 

Shrugging her shoulders in answer, Kira glanced over to see Hayley moving out from behind the counter. The brains of the ranger technology had been a good mood for weeks. First there had been the former blue ranger’s appearance, and then with Trent being freed from the evil influence on the white dino gem, he’d come back to work and patched things up with the red-headed woman.

 

“Hey guys, I was wondering, how is Trent doing, coping with not being evil and all? He seems okay, but…” Hayley asked as she set down Conner’s smoothie on the table.

 

“Okay I guess. We haven’t talked as much as I thought we would,” Kira sighed, and Hayley nodded and walked over to help some other customers.

 

That was something Kira was getting used to… the fact that as much as she wanted to help and be there for him, the one person that really could talk to was Dr. O. He was the only one of them who could really empathize with Trent.

 

As Kira took a sip of her latte, Ethan shot a look at Conner and he raised his eyebrows to show a facial shrug. Neither of them truly knew what Trent’s evil ways might have done to him. But his behavior still wasn’t really ‘normal’. Both of them were still a bit hesitant about his reformation, even if they’d all hung out the week before after his turn to good. They knew that they should be more understanding, but it was hard.

 

They both just hoped that Dr. O could help.

 

“It probably takes some time,” Ethan remarked, trying to put things into perspective. “Did Kim ever mention how long it took Dr. O to get over being the evil green ranger back in the day?”

 

“No, but I got the feeling that it was a while, and it was hard on everybody.”

 

“Well, at least Trent’s got Dr. O to talk to. That’s got to count for something,” said Conner, and Kira and Ethan both nodded in agreement, shelving the conversation for the time being.

 

-

 

Tommy Oliver paced the living room of his house, wondering just what new twists were in store for his new team. Trent coming over to the side of good was a big adjustment. Conner with enhanced powers was another. And the evil white ranger clone was something that reminded him of a log time past when it was his evil clone running around Angel Grove, both in the present and the past.

 

All of those things were equally significant, but he couldn’t keep from thinking about the changes that affected him on a more… personal level.

 

Like Kim moving in with him and him asking her to marry him.

 

Still, those were future realities that were his and his alone. What he and Kim did wouldn’t affect the team. What happened with Conner and Trent did.

 

And most worrisome was still Trent’s hesitancy to be truly part of the team, and the lingering distrust of the guys in his reformation. He was glad that Trent had come to talk to him, and he hoped that he’d been able to give the young man something to help him cope.

 

But making people trust you wasn’t always easy. And getting past the violence and pain you dished out on people that didn’t deserve it wasn’t something that went away in a day or a week.

 

Hell, to be honest, it still was with him, even if it was now an accepted part of what made him who he was.

 

It still amazed him that he’d gotten through being under Rita’s spell as well as he had. Something like that could scar a man; make him forever doubt himself, his motives and his behavior. But he’d had Kim, Jason and the rest of the team. They all had helped him in one way or another to find the hero that was within him. Helped him reconcile the fact that you needed an edge, and that you could always walk the fine line between good and evil and come back.

 

His friends had been the reason that he was here today. He just had to hope that this new team could do as well with Trent as Kim and the others had done with him.

 

Just thinking of Kim again drove him to break his pacing and head for the phone. He hadn’t called her, and knowing his love, she probably would be checking the news for ranger activity and give him hell if he didn’t call her with his ‘report’.

 

Picking up the cordless phone, he started to dial.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Hi Beautiful,” Tommy said, and heard Kim’s sigh on the other end of the line.

 

“Hi yourself handsome. Are you calling to tell me that you guys had some fun today?” she asked in a knowing way.

 

“Please don’t tell me we were on TV again,” Tommy sighed as he moved to sit on the couch, stretching out along the soft fabric and wishing for the thousandth time since he last saw her that the Olympics were over and she was there.

 

“East coast evening news. Hey, you fight in downtown, you get publicity. You know, I think some days that I spent more time on TV between being a ranger and the Olympic trials than most actors do.”

 

Tommy laughed, and heard her voice join his.

 

“Well, I know the feeling Kim, although I don’t think I had more than one or two races filmed by a sports show or local news crew. Of course, you have a lot more face time still to come. You’ve got less than a month before you have to be in Athens.”

 

“I know. And I hope they have the power grids fixed before then. I am not looking forward to baking in 105 degree heat with eighteen teenage girls.”

 

“Well, that is something I can’t help you with. I will however be glued to my TV as they show the Women’s gymnastics events for a glimpse of you.”

 

Kim went quiet on her end, and Tommy knew he’d embarrassed the hell out of her. But what could he say… he wanted to wake up to her every day for the rest of his life. And with them separated by nearly two continents, he was looking forward to any opportunity to see her.

 

“So, once the Olympics are over, do you think that you can handle not being a celebrity?” he asked, redirecting the conversation to somewhere he knew she was comfortable.

 

“I would be more than happy to never be on a TV screen or interviewed for the rest of my life. All I have to do is get through all the press junkets when the team arrives in Athens, and all the press conferences during the games. Then I can settle down in Reefside and only read about the news, not be it.”

 

“Except I’ll be running off at every turn,” he reminded her.

 

“I know. But that’s the job. I know about that. I even miss it sometimes,” Kim replied simply, and Tommy sighed on his end.

 

“I miss you with me Kim… both in uniform and out.”

 

“Out of uniform and in your bed, you mean,” she said with a smirk in her voice.

 

“Hey! I wasn’t thinking…”

 

“Sure you weren’t. Tell me now that you weren’t thinking of you and me under the covers of your bed…” Kim challenged.

 

“…Okay, I can’t… sue me,” Tommy replied grudgingly as images of the last time Kim had shared their bed floated up to the surface and made him want to close his eyes and groan. “We’ve had so little time together Kim, and what time we have had since we got our relationship back on track is what keeps me going. The promise that one day I won’t have to let you leave to go home, because you will be home… with me.”

 

“I know Tommy,” Kim answered quickly, her own longing discernable in her tone of voice. “It’s hard to have you there and me here. I know we both have our responsibilities, but I just want to live a somewhat normal life with my not so normal boyfriend.”

 

Tommy considered telling Kim that he didn’t plan to be just her boyfriend for very long, but stopped himself. He’d just started talking with Jason about his desire to ask Kimberly to marry him. He didn’t want to get too far ahead of himself when Kim was still a month away from stepping off the plane in Reefside and staying forever.

 

“Enough about us for the moment, how is the team, and how is Trent doing?” inquired Kim

 

“Fine I guess. We had a talk, and I hope that it helped, but things with him are still very difficult,” Tommy explained, thoughts of his feeling that Trent was keeping something from them him and the team coloring his reply.

 

“And Kira and the team? Are they getting through to him?”

 

“I don’t know. I get the impression that Trent is still being removed from not only Ethan and Conner, but Kira too.”

 

“Oh… I hope that’s okay with her.”

 

“I think that Kira and Trent won’t find what you and I did Kim,” Tommy stated bluntly.

 

“Well, maybe it’s for the best… being in love with a ranger isn’t easy.”

 

“You made it look easy. You still do.”

 

“Flatterer,” Kim said laughingly. “So did you.”

 

“I was lucky. Between the shorts and skirts and you in pink spandex, how could I ever look at another woman?”

 

Kim laughed, and Tommy joined her, but he wondered if she ever compared herself and her pink spandex with Kat…

 

“Good. I expect the same dedication to my legs and other non-spandex assets when I get to Reefside.”

 

“That I can guarantee,” Tommy stated, when a knock at the door brought him up short. Who would be there at this time of day?

 

“Kim, there’s someone at the door,” he stated as he got up from the couch.

 

“I’ll let you go and talk to you later,” Kim said quickly, before adding, “I love you.”

 

“Love you too Beautiful.”

 

Shutting off the phone as he crossed the room, Tommy opened the door to see a mail carrier there. The man smiled and handed him a package, and then turned back to the path. Juggling the box and the phone, Tommy turned back to sit on the couch, dropping the phone to the side as he looked at the brown cardboard with a white envelope with his address on it taped to the front.

 

It only took a second before he recognized the return address and was more than a bit surprised at it. He had no idea what they were sending him… Taking the envelope off the front, he ripped it open and unfolded the letter.

 

‘Tommy,

 

Sam asked my permission to send this to you, saying that you should have it now. It was our mother’s and I figured since you have so little of our parents in the first place that you should have it. Speaking of which, if you really do need this, you need to call me and tell me what’s going on.

 

Take care,

David’

 

Placing the letter aside, Tommy opened the box, carefully pulling away the shredded newspaper until he reached a smaller box. Taking hold, he pulled the small cubed item from the paper. Carefully, he realized the box had a lid. Popping the hinges, he stared at the contents and smiled.

 

Yeah, exactly what he wanted, he thought happily. He’d have to call Sam and David to let them know it was perfect.

 

-End-

 

To be continued…

GO TO CHAPTER 26

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