Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Power Rangers (Lightspeed OR Megaforce); they belong to Saban.
Author's Note: Here we are. The sequel to "In a Heartbeat." If you haven't read that one, I definitely recommend reading at least the last chapter. I mean, I'd love it if you read the whole thing, but I won't be picky. I don't withhold chapters for reviews, but I'd love to hear your feedback. This is in the process of being written so chapters may be a little bit in coming, but I have at least the first three done.
CHAPTER ONE: Weird Dreams/Mega Mission
"Troy!" his father, Carter, yelled through his closed bedroom door. "Hey, buddy, wake up!"
The urgency in his father's voice woke Troy Grayson out of a dead sleep, and he rolled, facing his alarm clock. Which had been steadily going off for the past nine minutes. "Oh shoot," Troy groaned, throwing the denim comforter back and hopping out of bed. He stumbled his way to his closet and yanked out a pair of jeans, fumbled in his dresser for a t-shirt, pulling the first one out he could get his fingers wrapped around, and then completely forgot socks as he reached for his backpack, which had been neatly packed last night and was now sitting on his desk.
"You decent?" Carter called through the door, and Troy barely managed a "Yeah!" as he threw his backpack over his shoulder.
The door opened, and Carter Grayson's six-foot-two frame filled the doorway, in a pair of jeans and a black HARWOOD COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT t-shirt. He went over to Troy's alarm clock and flicked it off, silencing the annoying alarm. He looked over at his son with a small grin. "Ready for your first day of school?" Carter asked with a raised eyebrow.
Troy was so not awake. "Yeah, I guess," Troy responded. He shifted under his father's gaze as Carter waited, knowing there was more his son wanted to say. "Still wish we were back in Mariner Bay," he added after a minute.
Carter's grin faded and he nodded knowingly. "I know, buddy. But your mom couldn't pass up the position at the hospital here. It's a huge step in her career."
Troy nodded. "No, I get that. I just…" He hefted his backpack on his shoulders. "First day at new school jitters, I guess," he said lamely.
"You're a good kid," Carter told him, crossing the room and giving him a one-armed hug. "You'll make friends, I promise."
Troy looked up at his dad. "Nice pep talk, Coach." He rolled his eyes. "Could that have gotten any more After School Special?"
"Guys! The bus is here!" Dana Grayson called from the kitchen downstairs. "Get a move on!"
Carter pushed his son out of the room. "Go!" he told him, and Troy flew out of the room. Carter glanced over at his desk chair and grabbed his son's black leather jacket. Why he'd bought a black leather jacket was a bone of contention between father and son-Carter had thought it was a pointless purchase and his son had bought it anyway. He'd been wearing it every day since they'd moved to Harwood a week ago. Dana figured it was some kind of security blanket, and while Carter didn't approve, a first day of school was a good a reason as any to have a security blanket. "Troy!" Carter caught his son at the bottom of the stairs and tossed the balled-up jacket at him. Troy caught it with one hand.
"Have a good day," Carter told him, and Troy nodded. "Thanks, Dad."
"Enough male bonding!" Dana Grayson came into the entryway, neatly put away in her gray slacks, light purple blouse and briefcase. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a tight bun. "Troy, get on the bus before you have to walk to school." She kissed Troy's forehead. "See you tonight."
Troy opened the door and bolted down the walk, vaulting over the fence to the bus. The Graysons watched him make his way to the back and take a seat in the second to last row. This was the first day of his junior year. Another milestone gone. Dana sighed and leaned into her husband.
"This was a good decision, right?" Dana asked Carter, looking up at his gray eyes.
Carter watched the bus rumble down the street. "I think it will be," he replied. He glanced at his wife's watch. "Speaking of late…" He ducked around his wife and ran into the kitchen, returning with a thermos of black coffee and a small insulated lunch bag. "You're going to be if you don't get moving." He kissed her with gusto, which left her laughing, and then gently pushed her out the door. "I love you," he told her, turning serious.
Dana smiled back. "I love you too. See you tonight." She took two steps, then turned. "Carter…we did make the right decision, didn't we?"
Carter stepped outside, leaving the door open a crack behind him, and took his wife in his arms. "Yes," he said reassuringly, rubbing the small of her back and giving her a hug. "Yes, we did."
"It's just…Troy starting a new school his junior year…leaving his friends behind…" Dana sighed.
"He'll make friends," Carter repeated the same thing he'd told their son. "And it's the beginning of the school year-that's plenty of time to get involved with clubs and activities at Harwood High." He held Dana out at arms' length and looked at his wife. "You wait- he'll probably be so busy soon that we'll have to worry about that instead of worrying about him being alone."
On the bus, Troy was dreaming….
There was a massive explosion. Through the fire and flame came five figures, each wearing uniforms of red, yellow, green, blue and pink. All brandished a weapon of some kind, landing on their feet. Their uniforms were untarnished, no trace of singed fabric or burns anywhere on them.
Behind them came another team, with the same sort of uniforms (boots, helmet), but these had animal emblems on the chests. The one in red was in the lead, followed by yellow, blue, white, and black. The final wore white as well, but his helmet had two pointed ears on either side. He swore he heard a growl emanate from the group.
Others rushed by him on the ground, here a team with black numbers etched into the design on their chest, there a group with capes. One team appeared to have Japanese samurai robes; yet another had tiger stripes and leopard spots. They were all running toward the same thing-but he didn't know what that was. But he could hear it in the air-it was a fight, and it was massive.
He felt the weight of the sword in his hands, and he looked up toward the top of the cliff. This was it. He looked at the group around him, uniforms of red, black, yellow and pink, with gold accenting on the chestplate and helmet. They looked to him as leader. He nodded. With a loud battle cry, they joined in the fray…
"Yo! New kid! Wake up!"
Troy's eyes snapped open, and it took a moment for him to register where he was. Brown seats…glass windows...oh. He'd fallen asleep on the bus. His bus. His new bus, taking him to his new school. He blinked, but the images stayed with him. "Weird dream," he said aloud, shaking his head to clear it.
"Are you gettin' off the bus or what?" the bus driver demanded, not even bothering to turn and look at him. As Troy woke up –again-he realized that he was the only person left on the bus, save the bus driver. Whoops.
"You'll be late for your first day of school!" The driver said it as if it was the world's greatest rule infraction.
"Wouldn't want that," Troy agreed with him, grabbing his backpack from the floor. "Thanks." He jumped off the bus and followed the crowd into the building, trying to shake the dream off.
But it was hard to shake.
He'd been having the same dream, in bits and pieces, since his father had announced they were moving from Mariner Bay to Harwood County.
There was one set of the brightly-colored heroes he recognized in the dream-his mother and father. Carter and Dana Grayson (Mitchell at the time) had been Power Rangers-part of a team chosen to protect the earth in time of need. Their photos were plastered all over Mariner Bay-they tended to immortalize heroes that way. There was even a unit in their history classes on the demons and the battle with the Rangers that eventually defeated them. Troy's parents were no longer active rangers, yet they were still saving the community. His father was a firefighter, his mother a doctor. Both had kept steady work in Mariner Bay until the chief pediatrician job opened up in Harwood and they'd moved.
Being a hero ran in the family, Troy reflected, as he followed the sign to the administrative office. His Uncle Ryan and Aunt Kelsey had been rangers too, and his grandfather Bill Mitchell had been in charge of the Lightspeed Aquabase, the installation created to defend the city.
Great legacy to try to live up to, Troy sighed as he cleared his throat to get the attention of the secretary behind the desk. "Hi. Um, I'm Troy Burrows." His parents had decided to let Troy use his middle name (he was named after his father, Carter Troy Grayson, and his late Grandma Mitchell-Maureen Burrows Mitchell) at the new school, at the risk of revealing he was the son of two well-known figures. Partly for his safety and mostly to keep people from asking a ton of questions since the Lightspeed Rangers were publicly-known figures even outside of Mariner Bay.
"Oh!" she said pleasantly. "The new transfer from Mariner Bay!"
He nodded. "Yes ma'am, that's me." As if there would be some other high school junior from three hours away standing awkwardly here.
"Wonderful." She smiled. "I'm Miss Beal." Troy waited. She clicked a few things on her computer and then turned to her printer. "This is your class schedule. Your first hour is Biology with Mr. Burley." Miss Beal handed the piece of paper to Troy. "If you have any questions, don't hesitate to stop back in the office."
"Thank you," Troy said, hefting his backpack on his shoulder.
"Enjoy your first day!" Miss Beal waved to him. Troy gave her a one-finger wave back before walking down the completely-empty hallway in the general direction he remembered Classroom 8A to be. He found the classroom, and stopped outside the door. Mr. Burley was lecturing. Great. Let's just make this more awkward by having me walk in mid-lesson. "'Enjoy your first day' my eye," Troy sighed.