Hi all. Thanks to everyone who is still reading. This chapter is a lot of non-episode stuff mixed into the framework of Ethan’s bully story. I had planned to skip over the parts with Tommy stuck in uniform as they really don’t pertain to this, but since there was some question about the “picture” showing up in this episode, I tweaked it to fit. ;-) So with that said, let’s get to the story…
Legends and Heroes
By Jeannine Trevizo
Chapter 13: Work It Out
“When do you think Hayley will have the results?” Kim asked as she sat beside Tommy on the couch, her hands on his as she wondered what she would do if one of these times he didn’t un-morph and she wasn’t able to touch his skin again.
Hayley had arrived and started running more tests an hour or so after the team had arrived in the cave. After what seemed an exhaustive length of time, Hayley had let Tommy go, stating that she was going to run the results over some of her other earlier findings and she’d call when she was done. That had been three hours ago, and Tommy and Kim were still waiting anxiously upstairs.
“Hopefully soon. It’s been a while, and I know she likes to double check her findings once she has a solution or at leas a reason. I think she’s really confused because she used the meteorite that changed the rest of the team, and none of you had this kind of problem, so she’s not sure exactly what it did to me.”
“I’m just glad you figured out that somehow my touch can get your uniform off.”
“Well, that’s nothing new,” Tommy said with a definite leer, and Kim fought a blush that had his heart racing.
Things had been going well in that regard, what with her accepting his offer to move into his place, but both of tem been hesitant to take the next physical step… actually doing something other than sleeping in the bed that they called theirs.
As it was, Tommy was sure that everyone assumed that there was something of a more sexual nature going on when they hadn’t gotten past first base. In Kim’s mind, she was still concerned that there was something seriously wrong with Tommy’s uniform being stuck, and worried that with their luck it would pop back into existence just when they decided to… get jiggy.
And they had yet to really discuss that next step, so…
“Tommy, Kim… can you come down?” called Hayley from the basement.
Hurriedly the two moved to the kitchen trap door, climbing down the stairs and found Hayley looking at the monitor before her.
“Hey Hayley, do you have something?” asked Tommy, his hand wrapped around Kim’s tightly.
“I think so,” she said as she turned around in the console chair and regarded them both. “I ran the scans I took through a couple more scenarios, and I think I figured out what’s wrong.”
“Well?” questioned Kim anxiously.
“Based on the calculations, what we’re seeing is two radically different problems struggling against one another. When Tommy was trapped in the amber, somehow his morpher and his Dino Gem must have re-molecularized. So during the de-crystallization process, the two molecular structures coalesced into one, leaving Tommy as he was within the amber – in his armor.”
“So, you’re saying he should have been stuck in his uniform? Permanently?”
“Yeah, but what I hadn’t factored in was the properties of the meteor. When it was whole, it changed the rest of the team, allowing a part of yourselves that you keep buried to come forth.”
“Like Conner being smart and Kira being prim and girly,” Kim related, knowing that Tommy had missed that, and wasn’t about to mention her own diva tendencies.
“I’m still sorry I wasn’t around to see that. So Hayley, you think the meteor did something similar to me? I mean, I feel the same, and I don’t think I’m acting different than I normally do,” Tommy asked, and his eyes drifted from Kim to Hayley.
“I think that while I was using the meteor for its energy, it also provided you with a similar personality change as the rest of the team experienced,” Hayley said, her eyes watching Tommy and Kim, as she waited for the question that she knew was coming.
“But what kind of personality trait could Tommy have that he suppressed that would cause him to be able to un-morph, and for me to…” Kim began, and Tommy’s mouth dropped open and Hayley fought not to chuckle.
“Kim, Tommy’s had to shove down for years how he’s always felt for you; the emotions that make up his love for you. And that’s what I think the meteor tapped into.”
Kim’s eyes swung over to look at Tommy, and saw his head bowed, his free hand raking his hair.
“It makes sense… I… I’ve always loved you, and for so long I buried that under pain and anger. Even after we started dating, I still was reigning in everything you make me feel. So, maybe it targeted that part of me.”
“But how does that explain how when I touch you or you touch me you can un-morph.”
“Because you make a better *man* of me Kim.”
There was silence in the room and Hayley wondered if perhaps this was a good time to leave. Without saying anything, she snuck towards the back of the cave and slipped out the rear entrance. They could find her later…
Without an audience now, Tommy took a deep breath and let is out slowly. To tell her this last thing was to fully bare his soul and he wondered if this was what they needed to move to that next step…
“I’m two things Kim; a ranger and a man. While we were rangers, you were always there with your support. But beyond that, when I was a ranger, and when I wasn’t, you gave me your love as a man. You made me want to be a better man… and sometimes just because of you I was one. And I think that part of me; the man inside of me overcomes the ranger when you’re with me.”
Kim stared at this incredible man before her and fought to keep from crying outright. As it was, her eyes had misted over and she was sure that one more loving word would cause them to break. The idea that she could make him better than he already was… it was silly, but for the man who had dealt with all the guilt and pain he’d caused under the influence of evil, somehow it seemed to make all the sense in the world.
“So… I bring you back to being you?”
“I think so… it’s the only thing that makes sense as to why when you touch me when I’m stuck in my armor that it just melts away.”
“Wow. But what if…” she started, and Tommy could see the sudden concern on her face… it was echoed in his soul… if something happened to her while he was in uniform, would he ever be able to get it off? Would he even care?
“Kim, don’t... look, we know that as long as you’re here I can un-morph, so I don’t want you thinking like that. As it is, I’m gonna have Hayley keep researching until she finds a way to fix it, once and for all.”
Kim nodded, not at all surprised that he understood her concerns and had already decided on a course of action that would alleviate situation. It just made her love him more.
“Until then, we can go about as business as usual…” he started, and then stared at her intently as he let his sentence just hang.
Their eyes caught and the electricity that had been reawakened between them so many weeks ago crackled between them. They’d been taking things slowly, but now… maybe slow wasn’t what either of them wanted anymore.
“Or, we could take the next step?” Kim replied softly, her tongue unconsciously licking her lower lip.
“I was sort of hoping…”
Kim’s eyebrow arched ever so slightly as she favored Tommy with a sly grin.
“You couldn’t handle just sleeping in that bed of yours, huh?”
“If it’s too quick…” Tommy started to say as he hastily backpedaled from his previous thought.
Before he could finish what he was about to say, Kim caught his collar and pulled his head down to meet her lips in a fiery kiss that left neither of them in doubt that things had changed.
“No offense Dr. O, but you need some serious improvement when it comes to your organization.”
“that’s why you’re here. Thanks for helping me out.”
“No problem. Is Kim on her way down?”
“Yeah. She just had to finish up a call with her agent.”
Kira grinned. Ever since Jason had gone evil, the team had been watching Dr. O and Kim circle closer and closer. When she’d arrived a half hour ago, she’d knocked on the front door of the house and when Kim had answered it, everyone’s questions about when the two were finally hooking up was answered.
As it was, they both seemed deliriously happy, which considering she and Conner were felling pretty good made for an overall pretty happy team.
“What is all this stuff anyway?” she asked, waving her hand over the boxes of stuff Dr. O had been storing in the cave since moving in.
“Odds and ends. Mostly from before I joined up with Mercer.”
Sifting through the first few items, Kira fought a smile as she found something really old; a picture of the original team with Jason in red, Kim in pink and Dr. O in green with a slicked back ponytail.
“Wow. Nice hair,” commented Kira.
“Hey, it was the style back then,” Tommy defended quickly as he glanced at the picture with a small smile.
Those were good days… well, mostly.
“And it was sexy as hell,” said Kim as she came into the room and looked over Kira’s shoulder at the photo.
“If you say so,” Kira remarked before moving onto the next picture. “Is this who I think it is?”
“Man, that seems like a lifetime ago. This picture was taken at our first dig.”
“Who’s that guy?”
“His name’s Terrance Smith. Everyone called him Smitty.”
“What happened to him?” Kim asked, hearing the note of sadness in Tommy’s voice, and he swung his gaze to meet hers as she laid a hand on his shoulder.
“It’s kind of sad, really. He and I were up for the same job at Anton Mercer Industries. Anton chose me, so Smitty went to work for another company. Then there was this accident.”
“Not really a happy family memento,” commented Kira with a grimace.
“I’m not even sure where it came from. Just put it over there in that trash pile.”
“Okay,” Kira agreed, and dropped the picture in the box full of miscellaneous items.
“Please tell me you’re not throwing these in there too,” Kim asked, holding up the team picture and a photo of Tommy in his White Stranger garb.”
“Not to worry Kim. Those have a special place in my heart, and will have a box of their own.”
Smiling, Kim turned her attention to the yellow ranger, who was sifting through another pile of photos and moved to help.
“So, how are you and Conner?” Kim asked as she started to help stack pictures and papers in piles.
“Good. We’re going to dinner Friday night.”
Kim gave a sideways glance to Tommy, and he rolled his eyes.
“More work, less talk,” he stated, settling everyone into a comfortable silence as he pondered his past as Kim and Kira sorted it all into chronological stacks.
The following day, the kids were back in class and Ethan found himself wandering alone from his Trig class to run into Conner with his soccer pal that had nearly destroyed his laptop. The two were leaned up against the wall by the stairs, and Ethan wondered again what charity case this guy was that Conner was being nice to him, considering what an ass he seemed to be.
They were the team mates, not Conner and this jerk.
“Hey Conner, did you get the answer to number 5 on Dr. O’s homework? It’s gotta be a trick question.”
“Do you know this guy,” stated the jerk with the bad kick as he looked at Conner.
“What’s that got to do with you?” asked Ethan, waiting for Conner to speak up.
“Look geek boy, isn’t there some kind of sci-fi convention that you need to go to?”
“Oh you really are cliché, aren’t you? Your parents must be so proud.”
Conner looked on at Ethan with a new found respect. He was taking it to Derrick, and maybe with everything they’d learned, he could actually clean his clock. But Derrick was his soccer team mate… he needed to let the two of them sort this out on their own.
“What did you just call me? What did he just call me?” questioned Derrick, looking back to Conner.
“Why are you asking him? Can’t you figure it out for yourself?”
“That is it, you’re in need of a serious lesson.”
“Oh! Fine – bring it,” replied Ethan, taking off his backpack in preparation of taking this guy down a peg or two.
“Ethan, are you sure you wanna do this?” Conner said quickly as he began to move between the two, knowing that Dr. O wouldn’t condone this kind of behavior.
“Look, stay out of this McKnight,” growled Derrick, putting a hand against Conner’s chest and nearly pushing him away. “This is between me and the geek.”
Suddenly the bell rung, sounding the end of the break and the need for everyone to get to their next class. If they stayed, they’d be sent to detention or worse…
“You know what? For the first time in my life, I actually wanna go to class,” interjected Conner as he moved the two potential combatants away from one another. “So come on guys.”
Moving Derrick along, Conner headed towards one hall, leaving Ethan standing there. But Derrick broke away briefly to catch Ethan’s ear.
“You and me… after school. Your friend won’t be there to protect you.”
With a hard slap of his hand on Ethan’s shoulder, he rushed off to get to his class, leaving Ethan to wonder exactly how far high school team loyalty really would go with Conner. Picking up his back pack, he started to turn towards his class before hearing something outside. Moving to the door, he saw Zeltrax and a monster making their way through the school grounds.
“What now? Great, like I don’t have enough to think about,” he complained before going out to see what was up.
Behind his desk, the white ranger tapped his fingers on the hard wood surface and tried to not let his mind wander to his friends in Reefside. Because when he did that, other, less appealing thoughts seemed to come along with them for the ride.
A sudden knock at the door brought his head up, and Jason Scott found himself back in the moment – in his office in Angel Grove.
The door pushed open, and an Asian, raven haired beauty poked her head around the door, causing Jason to grin.
“You still moping?” she asked with a tone that said she knew very well he was.
“Fine, I’m lying. Are you going to just bust my chops from there, or are you coming in here and telling me what’s so important that you’re knocking on the door,” Jason complained as he made a show of picking up a stack of folders containing the recent projects the company was bidding on and flipping through them.
With that gracious invitation, the former yellow ranger walked into the small office and sat down on the only chair in the room. She crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back on the upholstered cushions. Nailing him with an even stare, Jason dropped his act as he struggled to not wince under her scrutiny.
“You’ve been back for a week, and you’ve barely said ten words to anyone at a time unless they were about work. Kim said things were bad, and that you needed to get away, maybe unload on some friends who would understand, but Rocky says you haven’t talked to him, and you sure as hell haven’t spoken to me.”
Jason did wince this time, as one of the other reasons he had been avoiding discussing what had happened in Reefside with Trini was because of his growing attraction to a certain business owner and sometimes technical advisor to the team. When he’d left Reefside, he’d promised Hayley that he would be back, and when he came back, that he’d express his increasing appreciation for the red headed woman. But before him stood the other woman who had held sway to him for more years than he could count…
He wasn’t sure what to do and what to say.
“Sorry Trini, I just… things happened and I’m still trying to figure out what it all means.”
“You remember when it was Tommy feeling like this. You and Kim spent the most amount of time with him, helping him realize that he wasn’t to blame for anything he’d done under Rita’s spell.”
“I remember. But it’s different when it’s you.”
“Bullshit,” she said, and Jason’s eyebrows rose. The soft spoken yet tough as nails woman rarely ever swore, but when she did, it meant that all hell was about to break loose. “You just don’t want to burden anyone. Just like Tommy didn’t. But Kim made him, and you helped. She said you might be stubborn, but I chose not to believe her. It looks like I was wrong.”
“You don’t understand…”
“How can I when you won’t say anything?”
“I nearly killed them!” Jason yelled, standing up and dropping the files to the floor in a huge mess as he did so. Leaning over the desk, he looked at his friend and one time girlfriend and stared back at her with all the anger he’d been directing at himself. “I turned Tommy into a massive frozen Popsicle and I nearly fired a laser directly into Kim’s chest at point blank range. I would have killed them and the others if Kim hadn’t figured a way to free me.”
“And Tommy didn’t try to kill you? That’s what happens Jason. This isn’t the first time you went through that. When you and Kim got back from Murithanis… you said nearly the same thing. But that wasn’t you and this time it wasn’t either. You have to let it go or you’re never going to get past this,” Trini said soothingly as she got up to round the desk and put one of her hands on his.
Jason looked away, but didn’t pull his hand from hers. This was the same thing he’d been trying to get his mind around for days. But his heart and soul kept arguing that he needed to suffer some more.
Except that suffering wasn’t helping anyone… not him, Kim, Tommy, the team, Trini… Hayley.
“It wasn’t just that,” he finally said quietly and Trini moved to catch his eyes as he started to look up at her. “I also feel like I betrayed you too.”
Trini shook her head in confusion. “How…”
“I met someone in Reefside. We sort of… clicked. The more I was around her, I found myself becoming… attracted to her.”
“And this affects me how?”
“We, you… I… I thought…”
She smiled indulgently and moved to get Jason back in his seat. Once he sat down again, she sat on the edge of the desk, facing him.
“If this was a year ago, then yes, maybe you might have betrayed me. But Jason, we tried being a couple and it just didn’t work. When we went our separate ways, I didn’t expect that some day you would come to your senses and run back to me. I knew that one day you would meet someone, and that’s fine. We both moved on.”
The way she said moved on, he looked at her intently and saw her eyes dart off and the faintest blush stain her cheeks. She was dating someone? How had he missed it?
She instantly knew what he meant, and gave a small grin that was both wry and sweet at the same time.
“We didn’t mean for it to happen. I mean, what with working together and us having the same ‘background’… we’d end up talking about the old days and then…”
Jason stared at her for a while, his already confused mind getting more puzzled. Then everything she said finally fell into place and his mouth flopped open like a fish, his eyes widening.
“You and Rocky?” Jason said with shock.
“What? He’s a really good guy, funny, loyal, a fair martial artist,” she stated with her own brand of chauvinism, as she had long surpassed most of the guys who had been rangers in that field years ago, “we have a lot in common, and enough not to keep things interesting.”
“No, I mean, that’s great, he is a great guy. I wouldn’t have hired him otherwise. I’m just… wow, surprised as hell. When did this happen?”
“A few months back.”
Nodding, Jason realized that things with him and Trini had truly been over when they’d called their relationship off a year ago. Only his misconception that they might get back together again had kept him from moving on. Now that he knew that his relationship with Trini was a non-issue, it was up to him to go back to Reefside and see if he and Hayley really did have something.
Which meant getting out of his funk and going back.
“I’m glad for you both. And thanks for listening. You were right, I did need to get over a lot of this. Now that I think I can manage, I… I’m going to go back and finish what I started.”
The former yellow ranger smiled and patted Jason’s hand before getting up from her place on his desk.
“I’ll let Rocky know he’s back to being the boss.”
Nodding, Jason turned to clean up the files along with his desk before planning to head back to his place to pack up his things before driving back to Reefside.
Having been lured out to meet the monster, the team had used the combined Z-Rex blaster on it, destroying it, only to have Mesogog reconstitute it bigger. Now they faced both Zeltrax and the super-sized monster.
“You go take care of that… Zeltrax is mine.”
Kim looked to Tommy, and he nodded. Usually they stayed together, but this time, with Zeltrax’s previous demands for Tommy to meet him on the battlefield alone, Tommy had hoped t o perhaps finally finish this rivalry for once and for all.
Once the team and Kim were gone, Tommy and Zeltrax pulled their weapons and faced off. With a short run, they launched at one another, clashing in the center of the abandoned warehouse lot. Falling apart, they landed on their feet and began to battle in earnest, weapons and feet flying as they continued their on again, off again battle.
Spinning into the air, their weapons sparked as they struck, and then they landed on the ground again, now separated by ten or so feet. When Tommy’s feet hit the pavement, he stood and shook his head in continued amazement at why Zeltrax always seemed after him.
“I’m getting pretty sick of meeting like this. I wish you’d just tell me what it is you have against me,” Tommy said loudly, expecting more of the same rhetoric he was used to from the cyborg before him.
Then he was surprised to actually have Zeltrax start to speak… something other than threats.
“Does the name Terrence
Smith mean anything to you?”
Stunned, Tommy lowered his head as he remembered the picture he’d just thrown away, “Smitty?”
Looking up, he found that Zeltrax had used his distraction to advance on him, and sliced his sword across his chest, throwing up white sparks. Hurriedly he brought his staff up to parry, the force of Zeltrax’s attack making him backpedal.
Then with a driving, violent attack, Zeltrax struck Tommy hard twice, sending him flying into a stack of drums, rocks and other industrial trash. As Tommy fought to get up, he watched the cyborg standing in front of him with new eyes.
“Smitty?” he asked carefully as he stood. “But, you were lost in that accident?”
“I was on a verge of a breakthrough… when it all went wrong. Mesogog found me and put me back together again. He’s a genius with cybernetic reconstruction.”
“Oh man… Smitty.”
The moment of Tommy’s guilt and concern was over in an instant when Zeltrax attacked again, forcing Tommy to defend himself from the person he remembered as a good guy and good friend. Perhaps, he thought there was something left of that man inside Zeltrax’s armor.
“Genius or not, he’s the enemy!” Tommy argued as he locked their weapons together to keep them close as he made his case. “You shouldn’t be fighting for him!”
“He game me life. Life you stole from me. And now you will repay him with your own!”
Breaking the lock, Zeltrax launched another attack, his sword sweeping through the air with a angry frenzy, forcing Tommy to once again block and backpedal.
“Don’t do this Smitty! Revenge is never the answer!”
“It’s all that has kept me going!”
With that, he landed a brutal kick to Tommy’s chest, sending him flying into the building’s far wall.
“Revenge is mine.”
“My advice is to find another hobby,” Tommy said as he shoved himself up.
As Tommy ran towards him, Zeltrax fired lighting bolts at the black ranger’s advancing form, which Tommy deflected away with his staff. He jumped in the air and landed a double heel kick to the torso of Zeltrax, sending him flying. As the cyborg struggled to get up, Tommy waited, hoping that he might stay down.
“Give it up Zeltrax.”
“I hate to do this Smitty. Dino Energy Orb! Fire!”
Tommy whirled his staff in a 360 arc and produced the violet orb and sent it at Zeltrax. The energy orb struck his sword, which he had put up to try and deflect the attack, but it was too much power, and sent dark lighting strikes through Zeltrax’s armor, dropping him to the ground.
Zentrax slowly pushed himself to a standing position, and defiantly said, “I’ll be back – I’ll promise you that.”
Then he called an invisiportal and disappeared, leaving Tommy to consider what his friend had become.
After finishing the monster, the team had gone back to their respective lives. Ethan had resolved his confrontation with Derrick with a technical solution to Derrick’s kicking problem, and Kim and Tommy had met back at the house after he’d finished up all his paperwork at school. They had discussed Zeltrax’s claim, and while Kim wasn’t sure if they should believe him, Tommy assured her that he believed the cyborg’s story. After what was a long and heartfelt discussion, Kim had gotten Tommy to acknowledge that Smitty’s anger at him was totally misplaced, and that he shouldn’t feel anything but pity for the insane cyborg.
Finally they’d settled in for the night, having some dinner and then curling up on the couch, Kim’s head resting on Tommy’s chest as he turned on the TV. Just as he flipped the station to a new game show that looked sort of interesting, they heard a thud and then a rattle at the door and they jumped up immediately from the couch, ready to fight.
“Hey guys, guess who’s back?” announced Jason as he strolled into the front door of the house to find Tommy and Kim nearly in battle ready stances.
“Wow, déjà vu…” remarked Kim with a slight laugh as she relaxed, recalling another time when a white ranger had come back to the fold, and her eyes swung to the man beside her as she watched him remember the same thing.
“Yeah, but at least you didn’t faint this time,” ribbed Tommy quietly, and she smacked him hard on the shoulder before moving to give Jason a huge hug, Tommy following right behind her.
Once Kim released Jason, Tommy and Jason shook hands and came in for their traditional one armed hug.
“It’s good to have you back bro.”
“Good to be back. So, who’s going to fill me in on what’s been going on while I’ve been gone?” Tommy and Kim looked at one another guiltily and Jason groaned. “Please tell me you still have the lease on your apartment Kim… I really don’t want to go check into a hotel.”
Kim blushed and Tommy glared at his friend, before the three broke into laughter.
Wondering why the delay – see my LJ. Otherwise, see you next week! J.