Good Times Ahead
Years after Gruumm is defeated, two rangers take the next step in their lives.
Elizabeth, also known as Z the former Yellow B-Squad SPD Ranger, smiles at her reflection as she caresses her enlarged stomach and the life growing within in. She has her yellow shirt pushed up to expose her large belly so she can get a good look at herself. She has been standing there in her underwear and shirt in front of the mirror for the longest, silently pondering on the future.
"I never would have thought," Z whispers. "That I would one day become a mommy."
Ever since she was little, she had vowed that if she had ever brought a life into this world, she would spoil the child immensely. She never had the childhood that she wanted or deserved, being on her own since she was a child. Being homeless is something that she would never wish upon a person, especially if that person is a child. No one should have to steal food or clothing because the government or anyone else for the matter didn't care enough to help.
All she can really remember about her childhood was the constant teasing from the children at the school and orphanage before she ran away. From there she had met Jack, and the two became fast friends, both having similar circumstances, both homeless children with no parents. Jack knew that his parents were missionaries, but he never saw them again after they left for what would become their final missionary journey. He was only two when they had died. Z remembers very little of her own parent's as well, she was only 4 when her father Danny was killed in a car wreak, and later on cancer from the radiation that altered her genes in which granted Z her genetic powers, eventually took her mother from her.
Jack had become her ground of foundation. The slightly older teen took care of her, always sure to make sure that Z had extra food, clothing than he did. He would even steal CD players, batteries and music CD's for her to listen to, which helped push her love of music. The two lived together on the streets for close to six years before they were arrested by Cruger and his B-Squad Rangers. There he then gave them the ultimatum, join SPD or remain in prison. It only took Z a moment to make her decision. Jack, only a day later, joined her after he broke out of prison and happen to catch the battle she was participating in on a monitor in the Command Center. Jack had become the Red B-Squad Ranger.
They spent nearly a year battling the forces of Emperor Gruumm, and after he was finally defeated with the help of the Omega Ranger from the future and the Shadow Ranger, who was known other than Commander Cruger himself. Jack had then resigned his position as Red Ranger and left SPD, wanting to make a more significant difference in the world outside of SPD. That was nine years ago.
Now at the age of 25, Z is ready to give her greatest gift to the world, her first child. Her baby boy.
"Any time now, and your daddy and I will be able to meet you face to face," Z coos as she rubs her stomach with love. "You know, I have been dreaming of you for months now. Of how much you will weigh and your looks. Will you have my looks or your fathers? Or maybe a mixture of both of us."
"Does it matter," a voice from behind Z replies as he wraps his arms around her waist. His dark complexion contrasts lovely to Z's lighter skin tone. He rests her hands on top of her hands. "It's our baby. It will be smothered in our love."
Jack Landors kisses Z on her cheek. He walks around his wife and squats down so he is face to face with her belly. He places his ear onto her stomach and closes his eyes. "Hey, there's my little guy. How's my little guy been?"
"He's doing well," Z grins as she runs a hand through Jack's long dreadlocks. For the longest, Jack has kept his hair in braids, cornrows or dreads. She cannot remember a time when he did not keep his hair as such. It wasn't until after Gruumm's defeat would he continue to let his hair grow longer; SPD had a regulation on how long a Cadet's hair could be. His dreads are now longer than her hair.
"He's been kind of moody though. He's been kicking."
"Oh, getting restless, huh little guy," Jack turns his attention back to Z's belly, which is currently housing their first child. He gives it a light kiss, earning a giggle from Z. Ever since they found out that she was pregnant, the two would lie in the bed and Jack would talk to her belly, as if the child could already hear what he had to say.
"Just like you," Z teases. "Can't stay still for a minute."
"Can you blame me," Jack stands and slides his arms around Z's waist and pulls her to him, earning a small gasp of surprise from Z at his speed. "When I'm with you, I lose all motor control."
"I know. That is how I ended up the way I am," Z motions to her midriff, grinning wildly.
Jack smirks and kisses her lightly. "It takes two babe. And I don't recall you complaining at all. In fact, I remember you begging for more!"
Blushing hotly, Z slaps Jack playfully on the arm. She leans forward and rests her head on the crook of Jack's shoulder, sighing in happiness.
"How was work," Z asks.
"The same," Jack shrugs. "Ally and Piggy are bringing a proposition to the city today on behalf of Omega Missions. You know that we were able to acquire some land within the city for the new Mission, with some persuasion from the Commander. Ally practically kicked me out of the office this morning, saying that she had it all under control."
Even though Jack had left his Rangering days at SPD behind him, his presence within the organization is still seen and felt. When not working alongside Piggy and Ally with their business, he is paid by Space Patrol Delta to help train new Cadets as well as longtime Cadets in the martial arts. Even though Jack himself had no formal training by an instructor or a sensei, Jack is still a commendable force to be reckoned with. It was Cruger's idea for Jack to become an instructor; someone with Jack's skills would be a great asset to SPD, even if Jack was no longer a Ranger.
After finding out that she was pregnant, The Yellow Ranger morpher was also given to Sophie when Z decided that now was a good time to leave SPD. Even though she is a very independent woman, Z wants to be there for their child as much as possible. She wouldn't want her and Jacks child to ever feel the loneliness that they had to endure on the streets growing up.
"Besides, my pregnant wife is way much more important to me that sitting in some office with some older, grumpier suits who don't have any remorse in wanting to help the homeless," Jack kisses Z's forehead. "Besides, Ally is a better speaker than I. If anyone can convince those old fossils it'll be her."
"Well, I'm glad that you are here," Z smiles as she scoots closer to Jack. Well as close as the two can without her enlarged stomach in the way. "Who would have thought Jack that we'd be here, in this predicament?"
"I know. I can't wait to be a father," Jack tightens his hold around Z's waist. He breathes in the scent of her hair. It is the smell of mango, thanks to the tropical shampoo that she uses. "I hope that I'm good at it."
"You will be," Z kisses his neck. "You're too good of a man to mess up."
"I'm kinda scared. It's not something that I can morph and defeat, you know?"
"I'm scared too. But we are ready for this. We know what not to do, and what to do. We're going to be good parents."
"The best," Jack corrects. "This child will never know hunger, loneliness or the coldness of the world that we learned the hard way. I promise Z."
"You're a good man Jack," Z kisses his lips lightly. "The best."
"I try," Jack grins. "You know, we still haven't decided upon a name yet."
"I want a Hispanic name," Z replies quickly before Jack can say another word.
"Hey, I though we said African," Jack amends, an eyebrow raised. The small, yet visible grin tugging on his lips indicates his playfulness. After all, the two had long ago decided that the name with be a mixture of both their heritages.
"Please," Z pouts playfully as she leans upward and nibbles on Jack's right ear, causing the former Red SPD Ranger to squirm in her arms. She makes special note to press her full chest up against Jack's chest. "Please poppie?"
"Hey, cut that out!" Jack laughs as he pulls away and holds Z at arm distance. "And quit calling me poppie! That is what got you carrying that extra luggage to begin with!"
"But it was fun making the luggage wasn't it," Z smirks as she drags Jack over to the bed. The two lay down next to each other, Jack never removing his hands from her belly.
"Just think, any day now…"
"And we become parents" Z finishes. "You know, after everything that we have been through, I never thought that we would see this day. There were times when we were fighting Gruumm that I thought that we'd never see the next day. Time traveling, going to other planets and… and there was that time that I thought I lost you when that asteroid exploded…"
"But you didn't," Jack caresses her cheek. Z closes her eyes and leans into the caress, sighing softly. It was when Jack selflessly went on a suicide mission in space to destroy a meteor from crashing into the Earth; taking Sky's place in the mission. Everyone had thought that he was dead, but Jack had surprised them all later when he returned to Earth to aid in the defeat of one of the many aliens sent by Broodwing and Gruumm. After confessing her hidden feelings toward Jack, Z and him spent the next few weeks filtering over their feelings, deciding if they should try dating or not. At the time, they decided on the latter.
After the final battle with the Troobians, Jack left SPD. At the time, he had begun dating Ally Samuels, his current business partner. But after a while he felt that he was leading Ally on for he was not being true to his heart. One day after taking both Z and their self claimed adopted 'brother' Sam out for a day in Newtech City's most extravagant theme park while in a picture booth, Z had lightly kissed him on the lips the same moment the camera took the photo. And as they say, the rest was history.
From that point on, the close friends became lovers, and have been since. "There was always a threat of being killed while being an active Ranger. But we don't have to worry about days like that no more. It's all in the past, don't be concerned about that. The only thing we have to be concerned about is our future now. And our child."
"Our child," Z repeats, smiling with happiness. She opens her eyes and connects with Jack's. "I'll never get tired of hearing that."
Before Jack can respond, the phone beside their bed rings. Jack releases Z's hand and turns around and picks up the cordless phone off the dresser. He presses the talk button and brings it up to his ear before turning back to his wife. "Landor's residence, Jack speaking."
"Hello Jack," Bridge's voice over the receiver speaks. "Just wanted to check up on you guys."
"We're good," Jack assures him. "In fact, we are about to leave shortly. We have an appointment with Z's doctor in about an hour."
"Cool, cool. Well, I'm not going to hold you up. Had a feeling, ya know?"
"I don't like it when you get feelings," Jack chuckles at the current Red Ranger. After Jack left SPD, Sky was promoted to Red Ranger and Bridge to Blue. Three years ago, Sky was promoted to Commander of Earth's Delta Base as Cruger was promoted to Supreme Commander. The Squad needed a Red Ranger, and since Bridge was the next in Rank, he was promoted to Red. "Last time you had a feeling, Sky nearly rung your neck. I had to practically knock him out to keep him off you."
"What can I say? It was an accident. How was I supposed to know that my toaster would have turned Sky's hair pink after it exploded?"
Jack rolls his eyes at the memory. The former Red Ranger sulked for nearly a month because of his pink hair, when Bridge's new toaster overloaded from upgrades that Bridge deemed necessary to be made to it. Bridge had built it from scratch, and he had built a device that would change the color of the butter on it when it began to heat the bread. It was coloring the butter pink when it overheated and the food coloring splashed all over the new Commander's office. Water or shampoo wouldn't clean his hair. He simply had to wait for it to wash out. "Was it a good feeling at least?"
"Yeah, it was."
"Then I have nothing to worry about." Jack can practically see Bridge smiling on the opposite side of the phone. "How's the missus?"
"Syd is fine. She is still kinda jealous that Z beat her to have children first though." Bridge laughs.
Jack chuckles as he switches the phone to his other ear. "Looks like you better get busy buddy. You know how impatient Sydney can get."
"Of course, of course." Bridge laughs. "I know all to well! I'm married to her remember?"
Z giggles as she listens in on the conversation. Bridge was always the goof of the team, and after all the years that have passed since they were a team, Bridge has not changed at all personality wise at least, even after being promoted to Red Ranger.
"You and Sydney are going to come to the hospital when it's time?"
"Don't even have to ask buddy," Bridge responds. "We'll be there. With gifts, balloons, candy, cards, toys and toast! It won't be a party with out my world's famous buttery toast…"
"Bridge," Jack cuts his off. "You're doing it again."
"Heheh… what can I say; old habits die hard."
"That they do," Jack chuckles, thinking back on the times when they were SPD Rangers. "Tell Syd that Z and I send our love."
"Will do. Bye Jack."
"Later Bridge." Jack presses the talk button and lays the phone between him and Z. The two merely lay beside each other, holding each others hands for the longest. Their wedding bands glimmer in the light from the ceiling light. The two have never really been materialistic, as proven by their wedding bands that each wears on their wedding finger. Simple gold rings to other people, but for them, the rings hold more reason and connection than anyone else could imagine. Sydney had tried to get Jack and Z to buy the biggest and brightest rings for each other, but both of them had stuck with their decisions.
"What did Bridge say about Syd? I couldn't hear the entire conversation?"
"Just that Syd is jealous that you are beating her in having children."
Z laughs. "Well, if she wasn't so worried about selling more music records and keeping her figure intact for her tours, I'm sure she would have had a baby by now."
The two continue to make small talk. They never really had to talk very much to understand each other. Years on the streets in each others company, constantly made them experts on the other. Before they realize it, half an hour passes before Z makes note of it.
"We should get ready to leave Jack," Z sighs as she sits up, slowly, and looks at the clock. "It's almost 3."
"Okay baby," Jack slides off the bed. He slides into his shoes and grabs his jacket, which is red. Even though it's been years since he was an active Ranger, like many of the Red Rangers before him, find it hard to part with the color totally. He walks around the bed, where Z is busy pulling some sweatpants up her legs and over her swollen stomach. Jack grabs her favorite leather coat and places it over her shoulders.
"Go on out to the car. I'll grab the bag."
"And my purse?"
Jack rolls his eyes. "And your purse."
"You're such a sweetheart."
"Only for you baby," Jack replies as he grabs both the baby bag and Z's purse. When he turns around, his arm knocks over a picture off the small table next to the bed. Thankfully, the soft black carpet prevents the glass from shattering. Jack quickly picks the picture up and looks at it for a moment.
He smiles down at the picture. It was taken right after their wedding. One of the invited cadet's had taken the image. It was of himself, Z, Bridge, Syd, Sky, Ally, Sophie, Boom, a young Sam, Kat, Piggy, R.I.C., and Cruger and his wife Isina. Jack had been dressed in his a black tux, with his hair done in corn rolls and Z was in a bright white dress, which was so long that it took Syd and Sophie both to carry the ends of it as she walked down the isle. Jack gently places the frame back onto the small table, next to the lamp.
"Jack!" Z yells from the front door of their home. "Quit lagging around, we're going to be late!"
"Coming baby," Jack jumps on the bed and rolls across it to get to his side. He grabs his keys off the table next to his side and hops to his feet. He darts out the front door, after making sure that it is locked and walks over to their car. Granted it is a red sports car with a sharp yellow V strip on it, a mixture of both their colors as Rangers.
"You know, we're going to have to get a family car real soon. There isn't any room in the back for a car seat. Groceries yes, children no." Z remarks as the two straps in and Jack starts the car.
"We can go looking after your appointment," Jack suggests. "Sky gave me the whole day off so I could be with you at your appointment and Ally already told me that she could handle Omega Missions for the day. No reason to let it go to waste."
"That'd be great Jack," Z smiles as she relaxes in her seat, after making sure that the seatbelt is comfortable around her middle. "And afterward, we can go visit Sam at the academy. Wake me when we get there?"
"Sure thing honey," Jack runs a hand through Z's loose, soft dark hair. Jack then shifts the gear and backs their car out of their driveway. Their house, through not overly large, is well enough big for a family of three, or four. Maybe even five.
Before they are even on the interstate, Z is already asleep. Her soft breathing is very relaxing to the former B-Squad Red Ranger. Once merging in with traffic, Jack takes in another glance of his wife, gently laying one hand on her stomach, where he feels his unborn son kicking lightly.
With a large smile on his face, Jack turns his attention back to the road.
"Good times ahead baby," Jack whispers lightly to his sleeping wife. "Good times ahead…"
Okay, this is like the forth revision of this fic. When I originally wrote this fic, it was around the airing of the episode "Samurai." The second was after "Reflections," and the third was after "Endings". And now after seeing a pic of the 15th Anniversay Episode that takes place during Power Rangers Operation Overdrive and learning that Bridge becomes Red Ranger, I had to alter the fic once more, lol!
I'm a sucker for continuity.