Disclaimer: 'Power Rangers' belongs to someone other than me. No infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Set during 'Thunder Storm Part 2' (and after), this was a wild idea I had and decided to try it out. So here it is for people (and monkeys) to enjoy or hate. Really, it's up to you guys! And special thanks to Jepoliant for beta reading this. Cheers! --EK
By Etcetera Kit
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers…
Kira Ford stepped into the lab at Doctor O's house. The past few days had been really hectic, close to insanity. Lothor had made the Wind Rangers evil and between keeping them at bay and trying to figure out where she had seen Blake before… well, her mind had been in overdrive. The lab was quiet as she entered. Perfect. She had been looking for some peace and quiet and the lab seemed to be just the place.
She sank down onto a crate. She thought about the Ninja Storm Rangers. They seemed to be about as different from them as could be. The three Wind Rangers were extreme sports fans and teachers at their ninja academy. However, for some of them, like Dustin, it hadn't done too terribly much to raise their maturity level. The Thunder Ranger brothers, one a teacher at another secret ninja academy and one active in Motocross, had about the same mentality as the Wind Rangers, only slightly more mature. And then there was Cam… He seemed to fit into a category all by himself. He was quiet, mature and definitely intelligent. He also did not suffer fools well, as seen from the way he would roll his eyes and sigh when one of the other Ninja Storm Rangers said something extremely dumb.
Well, she knew that Tori and Blake were an item. That much was clear. The only problem was that everyone had assumed she and Trent were an item. They weren't dating. Sure, they cared about each other and were slightly closer than a base friendship, but Trent harbored so much guilt over his actions as the evil White Ranger that he had made it clear he didn't want a relationship so soon.
Somewhere in the lab, something clattered to the floor. Kira jumped to her feet, launching into a defensive stance. Her heart beat faster and she looked around for signs of danger. Cam appeared from the zord bay, holding a wrench and a rag, wiping his glasses off on his t-shirt. He stopped short to see her. Kira suppressed a groan and dropped the stance.
"I didn't hear you come in," Cam said.
Kira gave him a strange look. He was acting almost like he lived here and was a member of their team. "What are you doing here?" she countered.
"Doing some upgrades on the zords, like I promised Hayley," he replied like there was nothing wrong with him being holed away in the Dino Rangers secret layer.
He crossed the lab and put the wrench in a tool kit that was sitting on top of some crates. Kira stared at him. His jaw was set. He was annoyed. "Why aren't you with the others?" she asked. "Aren't they all hanging out at Hayley's before we all go to Blake's race?"
"Yes," he said with a nod. "However, I'm tired of Marah and Kapri and their inability to leave me alone. And the others aren't exactly my ideal group of people to hang out with." He closed the tool kit with a slam that made Kira jump and leaned over the closed tool kit, his glasses hanging idly at his side.
"Are you all right?" she asked, taking a step closer to him.
"I'm fine," he snapped. "Just a headache."
"Do you get headaches often?"
He looked up at her, pushing his glasses back on his face. "You sure ask a lot of questions."
Kira shrugged. "Sorry. I just want to know who's in the lab and why." She paused. "Call it being paranoid."
Cam snorted. "I understand that. I got to the point at Ninja Ops where I didn't want the others in there without my supervision. Chaos tended to follow in their wake."
She laughed. "That sounds like Conner."
"Just be glad you only have one Conner and not five."
"Are they really that bad?" she asked.
Cam looked thoughtful for a moment. "Sometimes. I guess I just never fit into that group. I don't like the same things they do."
"Well," Kira said. "Look at everyone on my team. Almost no one likes the same things. We have the computer geek, the jock, the drawer, the high school teacher… None of us exist on the same mental plane as one another."
He smiled at her. "I would never have thought you'd be so perceptive."
She shrugged again. "It comes with the territory."
"You know, the first time I saw you, I had you pegged as a dumb blonde who had a serious crush on Blake."
Kira gaped at him. "Who's being dumb now?"
Cam raised his hands in surrender. "First impression," he claimed.
"Well, you didn't exactly making a good first impression either, making us think that you were with the psycho ones and wanted to destroy us," she retorted.
To her eternal surprise, Cam laughed. His laugh was warm and sincere, conveying his true appreciation for what he found funny.
"What is so funny?" she asked.
He stopped laughing, but a smile lingered. "I wish I had a camera when we showed up and claimed be on their side. You three looked horrified."
She gave him a withering glance. "So aside from being amused and helping Hayley out, have you actually enjoyed yourself on this trip?"
He thought for a moment. "I don't know. I didn't come here with the idea that this was going to be a vacation and I needed to have fun."
Kira glanced at her watch. "We need to go if we want to make it in time to meet them for the race."
"I don't really want to go to that," Cam said with a sigh.
"Cam," Kira cajoled. "It'll be fun. Besides, if we stay here debating about it, then we'll miss them and will have no way to get there."
"That's the main idea."
"Fine, you can stay here and work on the zords. I'm going to the race."
He looked resigned. "I'm coming."
"So is Christmas," she muttered.
"So is Brad," he countered.
Kira gaped at him for a moment. She would never have pegged Cam as a fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. He seemed way too straight-laced for something of that ridiculous nature. "You like Rocky Horror?" she asked.
He shrugged. Kira grinned.
"Let's go," she said and they both left the lab.
The race was the normal blend of noise and chaos that Cam Wantanabe had come to expect from these events. He remembered to a time when he came to these kinds of things with the others, just to promote unity as a team once he became a ranger. Before he became a ranger, he would have just stayed hiding in Ninja Ops, avoiding the rest of them. But his heart wasn't in these things like the others.
He let his thoughts roam to what had happened. He had hoped that they wouldn't have to go into the Abyss of Evil to get their powers, but they had. Hayley had said their powers were drained now, so there was no way they could be any more help to the Dino Rangers. The Dino Rangers… they were and weren't what he would have expected. Well… he did have five Conners on his team, so it was strange dealing with competent people. Ethan and Trent had their heads screwed on straight and it was awe-inspiring to work with the legendary Tommy Oliver. Even if a ranger team didn't know anything about their history, they at least knew who Tommy Oliver was. And Kira… he had to admit that he had never met anyone like Kira before in his life. She truly cared about others, even dumb jocks like Conner, and had a flare of independence that was enough to make anyone admire her.
The subject of his thoughts wandered next to him. "Hey Kira," he replied.
"Not having the time of your life?"
"Do I look enthused?"
"You look like somebody just read your death sentence."
"Does it show?"
She laughed. "Want to go get some air? They're still running heats and we just saw Blake's heat, so he won't be up again for a while."
"Sure," he replied and let her lead the way, away from the race track and towards a cluster of vendors selling refreshments. She sat down at one of the small picnic tables in the area. He sat across from her.
"How did you get dragged to these things?" she asked. "When you guys were active rangers, I mean."
"Not by choice," he replied. "I used to come because it showed support. Now I just come because certain people talked me into it." He gave her a pointed look.
"I'd think you could have found an excuse if you really wanted to."
"I probably could have. But then again, people would accuse me of being antisocial."
"Do you have better things to do?"
"I haven't had too many 'better things to do'," he countered. "Since we thought Lothor was gone… I wasn't needed to run Ninja Ops. I just became another teacher at the school and spend most of my time hiding from Marah and Kapri because they seem to think we need to spend quality time together."
Kira laughed. "That sounds frightening."
She smiled at him, her hazel eyes sparkling with laughter and gazing at him appreciatively. He could stay under that gaze all day. There was nothing critical or hidden in her eyes. She seemed to truly like him for what he was. "So tell me," she started, propping one elbow on the table and leaning her jaw against her hand. "You have a girlfriend?"
"That's a big question."
"No," he replied. "I was always too busy or preoccupied for one. Plus I never met anyone I was interested in." He paused. "So what about you? Conner and Ethan said you were friendly with Trent."
She rolled her eyes. "Those two wouldn't know a real relationship if it came up and smacked them in the face. They mistake close friendship for a relationship." She made a face. "I like Trent, but he's told me on more than one occasion that he is not ready for a girlfriend after all that's happened with the white Dino-Gem and things."
"So the answer would be a 'no'?"
She nodded. "That's about right."
"It's just hard to imagine that you don't have a boyfriend. I'd think someone would snap you up right away."
Kira gave him a look that seemed to suggest something. "Would you like to be my boyfriend?" she asked.
His neural functions registered what she said faster than they would have under any other normal circumstances. "I could get used to the idea," he replied.
"I cannot believe you are going to the junior prom with Cam!"
Kira rolled her eyes at Conner's outburst. They were sitting in Hayley's before their dates arrived and Conner seemed to think the mere fact that she had asked Cam was ridiculous. She shook her head. Conner was going with Krista—he had patched things up with her. Ethan was going to the movies with a girl he met while in line for tickets. Trent was staying home. Kira was starting to wish she had stayed home or gone to the movies rather than volunteering to go to dinner and ride in the limo with Conner, Krista, Devin and Cassidy.
She could recall a time in her life, when she had wanted to date Trent and had prayed that he would ask her out. But then again, she wouldn't be with Cam like she was now and would not be having this conversation with Conner. Perhaps some of God's greatest gifts were unanswered prayers.
"Conner," she said in the tone of voice she would use when explaining something to her five-year-old cousin. "I asked him if he wanted to go with me and he said yes."
"Yeah, but how old is he?"
"We have already had this discussion," she snapped through clenched teeth. "Two years is not a huge difference." She didn't want to tell him that she and Cam had decided that their relationship was boyfriend-girlfriend. They just hadn't gotten around to telling anyone on either one of their teams that this was the case. Cam reminded her of Ethan, but where Ethan lacked maturity, he didn't. He was intelligent, had a dry sense of humor and, once he committed himself to something, he put his whole heart in it.
"I guess so," Conner groused. It was touching in a way to know that he felt so protective of her, but at the same time it drove her crazy.
The door to the café opened. Cam walked in and a small smile floated on his face when he saw her. She had spent lots of time going through all the racks of dresses at the different formal shops, before finding one she could live with. She had settled on a pale yellow dress with a fitted bodice, spaghetti straps and a full skirt. Braving the hairdresser's, she had her hair piled on her head in soft curls. Cam had a black suit with a white collarless shirt and a forest green vest. She smiled. No one else would understand why that particular choice of color except for maybe Conner… who was still fuming about her and Cam.
He came to the table they were sitting at and planted a kiss on her cheek. Hayley had closed up early tonight so the place was empty. "Hi, Kira," he said softly. "Conner," he nodded in the direction of the still grouchy Conner.
Conner nodded back. Kira shot him a death glare. She took the small box that Cam offered her and opened it to find a wrist corsage of yellow flowers.
"It's beautiful!" she breathed, standing up to throw her arms around Cam's neck. He stiffened a little at the impulsive gesture, but soon relaxed and hugged her back. If there was one thing Kira had learned about Cam in the few weeks they had been together, it was that he wasn't used to spontaneous displays of affection.
Conner opened his mouth to say something, but Krista burst in at that moment, distracting him from his displeasure over her and Cam. "I'm sorry, guys!" Krista gushed. "I got stuck at the hairdresser's and then my sister's car wouldn't start!"
Kira tuned out the rest of Krista's excuses. Cam gently put the corsage around her wrist, his arms going back around her waist as they watched Conner change from a sullen young man to Mr. Charm as he gave Krista the corsage he had for her and Devin and Cassidy burst into the café, late, but there all the same. The others trooped out to the limo, but Kira hung behind, grabbing Cam's hand and making him wait.
"You don't have to do this if you don't want to," she said. "I mean I know you've graduated from high school and don't really want to go to these events."
He smiled. "What if I want to?"
"I don't want to force you to do something."
"Look, I know this is a huge event. I never went to anything like this when I was in high school, so you can look at it as my junior prom too."
She smiled. "I never thought about it that way."
He stepped closer to her and planted a quick, but firm kiss on her lips. "Don't worry about me."
"HURRY UP!" they heard Cassidy screech from the limo.
"There's still time to back out," she whispered.
"Not on your life," he replied.
Kira laughed as he took her hand and they dashed out to the waiting limo and the impatient fellow prom-goers.
The prom went as well as can be expected for an event like that. Cam had not been expecting anything spectacular. He had agreed to go because it seemed to mean so much to Kira. Like him, she had probably never taken an interest in those events and, now that she had, doing it properly was the only sensible thing to do. For him, at least, from the perspective of someone 'older' to all the high schoolers, he had been a hot topic. 'Kira came with an older boy,' went around like wildfire. He snorted to himself. He wasn't that much older than her.
He crossed his arms over his chest and gazed out the large window in the café that looked out onto the street. The streetlamp cast a pale yellow glow on the street beyond. They had come back to the café after the dance. Cassidy and Devin had already gone their own path. Krista was asleep on the couch, waiting for Conner to come back in. He and Kira were outside, having a talk. Cam knew he was the subject of the 'talk.' For some reason, it didn't worry him as much as it might have. The way Conner acted towards Kira was the way that all of the Ninja Storm male rangers acted towards Tori. She had had to fight them every step of the way during her relationship with Blake. It wasn't surprising that Conner was doing the same thing.
Conner and Kira walked back into the café. The Red Dino Ranger gently shook Krista awake and they silently made their way out of the café. Kira stood next to him, following his gaze out the window.
"How did it go?" he asked softly, giving her a sidelong glance.
"Conner's being an idiot," she sighed.
"Give him credit for trying and caring."
Kira snorted. "Since when are you so magnanimous?"
He shrugged. "Since now."
She sighed and sank down onto the couch. He gingerly sat down next to her, forcing himself not to stiffen as she scooted closer to him and wrapped her arms around his middle. He placed an arm over her shoulder, resting his cheek against the crown of her head.
"How can we make this work?" she whispered.
"Conner will come around," he assured her, his fingers stroking the bare skin of her shoulder. He had been surprised for a moment, upon first seeing her, that she didn't have any jewelry on. He had always thought that girls wore all kinds of jewelry to events like the prom. But then again, Kira really didn't need any of that. She had an inner beauty that so many others failed to see and appreciate.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out his samurai amulet. It no longer held any power, any of the power to morph him, but it was still special. He remembered meeting his mother in the past and her giving him the amulet. It was impossible for her to know that he was her son and that the promise his father made to her was a moot point. It had almost been destiny for him to find that amulet. But now… he felt like he no longer needed it.
"Kira?" he asked.
"Hmmm?" she murmured, sounding almost asleep and relaxed, almost too comfortable as she lay against him.
"I want you to have this."
She sat up completely and took in what he was holding out to her. Her eyes widened and a strangled noise came from the back of her throat. "Cam…" she trailed off. "Your amulet… I can't take your amulet."
He shook his head, laying a finger on her lips to silence her protests. "It no longer holds the ranger powers. I want you to have it." He gently laid the amulet in her palm and closed her fingers around it. "It was my mother's," he said softly.
Kira opened her curled fingers and looked at the amulet. She then put it around her neck, the black cord clashing with her pale skin. The cord was long and the amulet fell between her breasts. "Cam, what if we break up? Or something…"
"I want you to have it," he said firmly, hoping it would be the last time he said it. "If we break up, it will be a reminder of the time we had together." He shook his head. "Nothing in life is consistent or predictable, especially in love."
"You sound like an old wise man," she whispered. "I'll take good care of it."
"I'm not wise," he replied softly. "Just logical."
Kira smiled and settled back against his chest where she had been. He wrapped his arms around her and welcomed the embrace. This moment was perfect and nothing in the entire world could spoil that. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head, smiling as she raised her head and her lips met his. Soon, a soft, sweet, innocent kiss, turned passionate and almost violent in its wake, sensations soaring through him.
There were no guarantees in life. He knew that. He respected that.
They would have problems, no couple was perfect and without that element. He lived in Blue Bay Harbor and it was a slight commute to Reefside.
But now, right here, in Hayley's Cyberspace Café, with the streetlamp giving dim light to the dark café, life was perfect.The End