I'm going to say this right now, I think I'll only do one more of these to wrap up the JustinKira cliffhanger and then retire the storyline. I'm having a hard time writing them and believe that the first three stories came out great. I don't want to tarnish them with extra stories that do not have the same quality of writing.
I've had a few people who have emailed me wondering if they could take the storyline and experiment with it. I'm fine with that as long as I am given some creative credit in your stories.
Thank you to Kuwa-chan for being my beta reader.
So here it is, please enjoy and review.
"They're just ordinary cars."
"No Tanya, they are extraordinary cars!"
"Are you okay?"
"Good thing you don't need a license to drive a Zord."
"Uh…Hayley left an hour ago…"
"Power Rangers, this is Divatox. Divatox, this is your worst nightmare."
"She left me the keys; she has a meeting tomorrow you know. She couldn't stay and… uh… hello? Anybody home in there?"
A hand was waved in front of his face; but he didn't notice.
"Shift into Turbo!"
Hands gripped onto his shoulders. He snapped back to reality as he was roughly shaken back and forth. He blinked a few times and looked around to see the cybercafé empty. The busy café he'd entered hours ago, bare. Hayley had cleaned around him as his table was the only one without chairs placed upside down on top of it.
It was nearly midnight. He'd gotten lost in his memories…
He glanced down to the mug of coffee he'd ordered hours ago, yet hardly touched.
It was cold, just like he felt.
He let out a sad sigh; another night waiting, another night reflecting, but most of all, another night wasted.
He stuck out his lower lip in a pout unconsciously and gripped onto the mug harder as tears threatened to fall. He had done nothing wrong in this! Nothing! Why was he being punished like this? He came here, every night since the shouting match just incase Justin decided to ever show up, and he never did.
He'd made it clear that he cared. He had chased him across the school and park! He was tired of asking why, but it was the only question he didn't have answered.
Why didn't he understand that he wanted to be friends?
Why didn't he show up? And if he really meant that little to the young man then… why punish himself like this? Why?
"Goddamnit!" A quick motion and the coffee mug smashed against the far wall, the cold, dark brown liquid running down the wall in splatters while the porcelain mug simply shattered and fell to the ground in a heap. His hand clenched into a fist and he slammed it onto the table.
This whole time, he'd just come from school and mark, and work, and wait and for what? He'd wait till it closed and Hayley kicked him out, he'd wander outside even after close, just… just in case he showed up late. Night after night he waited without response; the days at school were even longer.
It was almost as if he was possessed. He couldn't stop checking the messages on his phone
The few times Justin decided to come to class, he'd ignored the lecture completely and simply read a book in the back. When he was called on he pulled the right answer out of thin air, then continued reading his book like it was perfectly acceptable behavior. He was the last to arrive and always the first to leave
Bah! Why should he care about Justin? What had he ever done for him? He'd been a pain in the ass, that's what! Having to worry about an eleven year old kid in the middle of ranger battles and searches for detonators, he'd always been a brat! So why care now? Why? He'd survived for a long time without his help! He had other friends! He…
His train of thought got onto a new track as he suddenly realized water was dripping off of the spikes in his hair and the tip of his nose. He looked around, stunned as he tried to find the source of this new development. His eyes fell on a very sheepish looking Conner who was holding a red, half empty Nalgene bottle.
"Sorry… it… uh… works in the movies…" he apologized nervously as if suddenly realizing the idea of dumping water on a pissed off Power Ranger was leaning towards being suicidal.
Tommy blinked in response. Someone had shaken him before, but the fact that someone else was in the room hadn't fully registered, "Oh."
That's all he said.
That's all he could say.
He was the leader and he'd just lost it in front of a student.
Power Rangers had a code. It was unwritten, but always there. Mentors and leaders were not under any circumstance to lose it in front of another ranger. They just…couldn't! Truth was Conner had broken that rule already and had considered quitting a few times, but Tommy had been the fall net. The fall net wasn't supposed to lose it, it …it just didn't work that way…
"Oh, please go away," he sniffed as he collapsed back down in his chair, a loud squeak emitting as he did "just… go…"
Big brown eyes watched him sympathetically, "Dr.O, I'm not going to leave you alone like this."
The ability to bottle things up was close to being an art with him. He'd been keeping secrets for years; it was no big deal right? He like most forgot that bottles can old hold so much before they crack.
"Yes, you are," he muttered back, burying his face in his hands, the less eye contact the better. Conner had these puppy dog eyes that he whipped out whenever he couldn't get his homework done and they were potent. "You are going home and are going to forget you ever saw that, okay?"
He heard a squeak as a chair was pulled out and placed beside his, "Come on, dude, talk to me," came his soothing voice with a barely noticeable tremor under the tone "Tell me about Justin."
More blinking; Tommy lifted his head up to see that Conner had shrugged his coat off. The younger man pulled out the chair beside him and was sitting with the back of the chair forwards, straddling it. Conner stared at his teacher expectantly.
This wasn't right; he wasn't supposed to still be here, he was supposed to go home, so he could be miserable in peace. Conner wasn't supposed to have developed the Red Ranger stubbornness yet, he was supposed to have a few more weeks, at least!
"Don't call me "dude." he muttered weakly, not wanting to get into this conversation.
"Look, I don't know your past with the guy. I could guess at it, but it doesn't matter." Conner sighed, "But…I'm a stereotypical jock at the school, dude, if anything, I know the drama that comes with friends and such. Whatever happened between you two…is…well, maybe it didn't affect you, or maybe you hurt him…but-"
"It was years ago! And I didn't mean it!" he found himself defending and sounding like a little kid as he did. He felt ashamed and looked away to watch the pattern the coffee was making on the wall.
"Whatever, it's still…well, you didn't see each other a lot for a while, right? To suddenly run into each other, that has to have opened up some wounds for him, ya know? It's pretty raw…for him." He inhaled sharply and rubbed his hands on his thighs to wipe off the sweat. It had formed from the sheer nervousness of having to comfort the "rock" of the team. "He needs time to heal, seeing you everyday at school isn't helping the process. You've reached out to him and it didn't go too well…maybe let him come to you. You've done what you can."
Tommy inhaled sharply as he listened to the words. It suddenly hit him how tired he was, he was breaking down because of it…yes, and that was the reason. Or better yet, maybe he was dreaming! Maybe he was and Conner wasn't actually sitting beside him, giving him some of the better advice he'd heard in the past week. This was Conner after all…
But when he turned to face his student he could see that this was real and that right now he wasn't the leader. This team had two leaders and one of them was staring at him, a sympathetic look on his face.
As he embraced the younger man with his strength, as he began blurting out the entire story and simply told the younger man everything that had been going on in the last week he realized that he hadn't had that luxury in years. He hadn't had the luxury of being the one who could do the talking instead of the listening, the one who could let it out…
And really… that's what he needed.