Beauty and the Beast

AN: Sorry for the delay! Thank you for all the reviews! Hope you like what's coming up! Enjoy!

Chapter 8

"Kimberly, I'm a man of few words and I think the words I shared last night proved that I have changed for the better and...I have changed for the better…I've changed and I'm in it for the long haul…I think my actions and my words have shown that I changed for the long haul…I'm a better man because of you…Kimberly, I don't usually do this, and I know we haven't known each other…I'm a man of few words and I….damn it!" Tommy scratched his head as he practiced his speech.

It was a pathetic sight, Tommy covered in soap, talking to himself. Last night had left him with so many questions. His evening with Kimberly had been magical, but her reaction made him nervous. He had barely slept, waking up at four in the morning and seeing a still slumbering Kimberly, decided to wash away his stress. He'd been in the shower for over an hour, talking himself into a loop of stammering, awkward phrases to explain to Kimberly how he felt.

"Captain! Captain!"

"Tommy!"

"Zack! Hold on! Don't just barge in—"

Tommy heard the frantic footsteps of his crew come barreling into his quarters. Zack and Jason yelling at each other about something, he rinsed off and stepped out into the room, towel wrapped around his waist.

"What the hell is going on?" He asked, annoyed.

Zack looked like he would explode if he didn't speak, while Jason was holding Zack's mouth shut with a firm hand.

"There's something you should know," Jason started before Zack pulled away violently and blurted, "Kimberly's gone!"

Tommy's face fell immediately, his heart sank in his chest as he ran over to her side of the room, finding it empty but scanning around for a clue as to where she might have gone.

"We thought you should know, but I wanted to tell you a bit more gently," Jason jabbed, elbowing Zack in the side.

As Zack and Jason continued to argue in the background, something caught Tommy's eye. The small novella of Fairy Tales he'd given her last night. He collapsed to his bed and flipped the pages mindlessly before noticing something else.

He ripped the note from the fold and began scanning it.

"Get out!" He barked at the two men who froze mid thought. "GET OUT!"

Jason and Zack stumbled over one another as they desperately ran out the door, shutting it fiercely behind them.

Tommy's eyes returned to the letter, feeling his chest throb as his breath shortened.

He should have said something. He should have told her… he loved her. But it didn't matter. She was gone. She ran away when he was cruel to her, and she ran away now.

After everything he'd done, after everything he said, after all the progress they'd made, he'd made. After what she asked him last night, after what he'd revealed…it didn't matter.

Tommy emerged from the cabins a few hours later, a nervous and quiet crew eating their somber meal in the mess hall.

"Finish your breakfast and then raise anchor. We set sail in an hour."

"We're leaving?" Zack asked bewildered.

"We're leaving," Tommy replied coldly.

"But shouldn't we wait in case Kim—" Billy started.

"We're leaving!" Tommy roared.

Trini crept out of the kitchen, holding a pot of coffee. "Would you like something to eat, Captain?"

"I'm not hungry, Trini," Tommy said with a sigh as he exited through the doors.

Jason chewed slowly as he and the remaining crew shared worried looks. They said nothing as they continued to finish their meal.

Tommy stared out into nothing as he took the rare opportunity to steer the sea craft himself. Jason and Zack busied themselves with deck work, mindlessly cleaning spots over and over again, anything to keep their minds occupied.

Billy had taken Mess Hall duty all day, cleaning and preparing the meals while Trini navigated. She and the Captain barely said a word to each other, save for the occasional directive.

"Crystal Harbor's almost out of sight, Captain," she said quietly.

Tommy nodded, maintaining his gaze ahead.

"Jason Scott," Tommy barked out, releasing the wheel.

"Yes sir," Jason called back, relinquishing his towel and standing up.

"A word," Tommy nodded, moving down the steps and toward the cabins.

Jason acquiesced as Tommy motioned for Trini to take over.

She and Zack watched for a moment as Jason and Tommy disappeared behind the door.

Once inside his quarters, Tommy gestured to the chair for Jason as he sat on his bed. He reached for the novella and presented the letter Kimberly had left him.

Jason took the paper cautiously and began to read. His brow furrowed as he scanned the page, unable to face Tommy until he'd finished reading and handed it back to the Captain.

"I'm sorry," Jason said with a sad grin.

Tommy said nothing. His face revealed nothing. He simply slipped the note back into the pages of the book and stood up.

"I'd like to set our course for Lunar Bay," he said firmly.

Jason nodded, "Take the northern route between Lake Ashley and Mountain Grove, yes?"

Tommy shook his head and crossed his arms. "No. We'll take the Eastern pass over to Reacher's Canyon and take the detour through Devil's Hollow."

Jason sent him a worried look. "Devil's Hollow is notorious bandit country. We can't make port there and we'll need to if we're taking the long way toward Lunar Bay."

"I know. And we will."

"Tommy, I know you're upset right now and I'm just as devastated about Kimberly, we all are, but risking—"

"I didn't call you in here for your advice, Jason. We'll set course for Lunar Bay after lunch. We'll take the detour and drop anchor in Devil's Hollow for supplies. That is all."

Jason stood up and gave a nod before retreating back upstairs.

Tommy buried his head in his hands before collapsing back down onto his bed.

Three weeks had gone by, and the Captain had taken a vow of silence since last speaking to Jason about their travel plans. The crew's morale had never been this low, ever.

With their course set, Tommy remained in his cabin most days, retreating out onto the deck for air at night and eating meagerly and at odd times when the rest of the crew had long since eaten.

No one could speak to him either. Not under orders, but simply unable to console him in such a way that would matter.

When they passed Reacher's Canyon, the crew began staying up later, nervous for the waters they knew they'd be crossing soon. Jason was right, Devil's Hollow and the outer lying ocean was indeed, bandit country. Not swashbuckling pirates and vagabonds from the movies; but honest to goodness, dirty, scary, thieves who were more than happy to take what wasn't theirs if it meant a profit. Food, clothing, money, supplies, sex; it didn't matter. The lousy band of misfits Tommy had saved Kimberly from in Angel Grove were punks compare to the creatures these impending waters offered.

"How far?" Jason directed Trini, implying their location by his tone.

Trini compared her gauge to the map. "Approximately, three degrees."

"We'll be hitting it in a few hours then," he confirmed.

"Just in time for sunset. Great," Zack chimed in bitterly.

Billy rang the bell, signaling the crew for lunch. Tommy emerged from the cabin as the crew headed for the mess hall. Jason shot Tommy a humble smile as the captain merely nodded and approached the wheel.

Trini rubbed his back consolingly as Jason shook his head before disappearing behind the door. Once alone, Tommy inhaled a sharp breath as he closed his eyes, unable to rid his mind of Kimberly's letter.

If you're reading this, I've already left. I'm so sorry but I just can't stay here anymore. I miss my home and my friends. Thank you for taking me in even though it was a bit of a burden at first. I'm so grateful for the experiences I had. Thank you all for letting me into your lives for awhile. I'll miss you but I just can't do this anymore. I don't know how or when I'll make it back to Angel Grove but, if you should find yourself there again, please come find me. I'd love to know how you're all doing.

Love,

Kimberly

No specifics, not once did she single him out in her note and yet; she'd left it with him, knowing he'd find it and read it. Knowing the grief it would cause him. Surely she had to have known. No mention of the things they'd shared and revealed during dinner, the gift he'd promised her, nothing. She'd even left the letter inside the book he'd offered, denying him even the pleasure of knowing she still had something to remember him by.

Tommy shook his head in self admonishment. How could be so stupid? How could have let himself reveal that much about his past to a girl he barely knew? Sure she was beautiful and smart and funny and charming but she was also bossy and……trouble. She baited and beckoned him out of his comfortable solitude and then left him.

He groaned inwardly once more. Again, foolish thinking; assuming she'd left because of him. Assuming he'd made the same impression on her as she had on him.

Katherine's vague and elusive termination hadn't even quelled this much anguish from his heart, and he'd slept with Katherine. He'd been emotionally invested in the blonde on more levels than he'd ever been with Kimberly. He hadn't even kissed the tiny brunette.

Though he wished he had. He wished he'd done so many things that night. And now his desire to forget was compelling his heart to remember, analyze and plot.

Tommy brushed his tears back, refusing to acknowledge their existence before standing back up and gazing out onto the sea ahead of him. Two hours until they'd reach Devil's Hollow. He knew he was charting toward dangerous territory, but he liked it. Something inside of him felt reckless and cavalier. He didn't care anymore. Why should he? His crew could handle themselves. There was no one on board who needed his protection;

no one on board who could get in his way.

Despite the captain's silent protests, which included pacing, pouting, glaring and scoffing; the crew took their dinner onto the deck. They needed the sustenance, but no one dared to turn their back on the waters they were approaching.

Devil's Hollow was a bizarre, horn shaped island, disconnecting itself from the California port towns the crew normally ventured toward. Around the outer arc of the island, where the Falcon was headed, were a few simple trading posts, collector's shops and seedy taverns. The commerce there was minor, thanks to the major demographic that inhabited the shoreline. The island had been developed on long before any of the crew were born and was rumored to have been a luxurious vacation getaway at one time. But as the popularity of the land grew, so did the crime. Wealthy tourists and merchants, simple people who had moved there and settled; prime pickings for restless thieves that simply didn't want to work for anything. And while the inner beach of the twisted land mass still served as a fairly decent commute, the outer shore was not a place to go voluntarily.

But here they were, insisted upon by Tommy, gaining on the apex of the island's most notorious port. Billy stood as he completed his meal, taking the time to notice a few other vessels parked in the water as they began their approach.

"That's an awfully small fishing boat," he remarked as they slowly drifted by.

"Or a really big hauling craft," Zack retorted with a shake of his head. Hauling crafts were medium sized boats, similar to the Falcon without the fancy provisions Tommy's father had installed. They were used primarily by pirates, the hull was large enough to stow away their collections and their speed was unmatched for their size.

"We're already in trouble, I can feel it," Trini mumbled as she finished off her food.

"Guys, settle down. We'll just get what we need and get out," Jason soothed.

Tommy had migrated to his cabin once dinner had begun for the crew. He'd spent the last twenty minutes composing his own letter, to Kimberly. Not that it'd ever see the light of day, but he felt it appeased his soul to write down his thoughts as if the girl would read them someday.

As the ship was directed to a stop, Tommy committed his final thoughts to the scrap of paper and raced up toward the deck.

Zack and Trini prepared the ship for anchoring as Jason awaited Billy's return. Upon seeing Tommy emerge from the cabin, Jason sighed heavily before announcing an ultimatum.

"It's too dark to abandon ship," He began as Tommy crossed his arms in intrigue. "Do not question my motives," Jason directed specifically to the captain. "We stay aboard 'til morning."

The crew dispersed as Tommy approached Jason, rage brimming beneath his icy glare.

"Your motives?" Tommy spoke at long last with a harsh whisper to his first mate.

Jason returned his stoic expression and shrugged. "Someone's gotta run this ship," he challenged.

Tommy spun around to face the rest of the crew, who had undoubtedly been listening to the two men bicker.

"Your first mate Jason has graciously agreed to man the deck this evening. Billy, be so kind as to provide Mr. Scott with any necessities he might need while he makes camp outside for the night. The rest of you, have a good rest. We'll assume our supply run tomorrow morning and then head out. Lunar Bay is our goal. I suggest you take my advice and actually rest tonight. Dismissed."

Jason rolled his eyes as Billy nervously went about his task of rounding up blankets and cushions for Jason to sleep with as Zack finished anchoring. Trini approached Jason and placed a loving hand atop his shoulder.

"This has nothing to do with you, you know?" Trini said softly.

"I know," he breathed back, taking her other hand and gave it a soft peck before smiling.

Trini's cheek felt flushed as she stepped away. "Maybe I'll stay out here with you," she suggested.

"No. Stay inside. If anything should happen, I want you safe," he kindly admonished.

Trini nodded and smiled once more before retreating back down to the cabins.

Zack bid Jason a fond farewell also before returning to his quarters. Jason kindly took the blankets from Billy and set up shop. Once satisfied his friend was made comfortable, Billy bid adieu and joined the others in their rooms.

Jason spread the blankets out and set the cushions at the end of one, only to sit down and simply stare out at the ocean. He wouldn't be resting any time soon; between the shiftless surroundings and his own anxiety about Tommy's well-being, he'd be lucky if his foot fell asleep.

Morning came and with it, a whole host of drama; carried over from the last few weeks at sea. Tommy was belligerent as ever, barking out commands and directives that defied logic. Upon seeing how cozily Trini and Jason had greeted one another during breakfast, Tommy sent Trini out to scout for supplies while he and Zack would deal in trading.

Jason held his tongue against his better judgment as Trini dismounted the boat, carrying only a small pouch with her. Billy had managed to slip a small dagger inside the woman's pocket, just in case. The locals were not above violence and the crew was mortified that Tommy hadn't the clear minded reason to send Trini off with an escort.

Zack said nothing as he and Tommy parted ways with the girl once they arrived on land. Tommy briskly walked past in search of exotic commerce. Carrying a small pack with him as well, Tommy had furnished the bag with a few tradable items that were sure to keep the merchants happy.

"I'll track her if you want, Jason?" Billy offered, though he knew his suggestion was useless. Between the possibility of Tommy finding out and Billy's obvious lack of stealth, it wouldn't matter anyway.

Jason gave the boy in blue a sad smile. "Trini will be fine," he repeated to himself. "She'll be fine."

"So, where to first, Captain?" Zack asked as Tommy continued to walk ahead of him.

Tommy said nothing as they approached the town center. Even in the morning, the atmosphere was shifty; unnaturally calm and quiet, save for a few random patrons wandering aimlessly.

Zack rolled his eyes as Tommy stopped in front of him.

"Check out that store," Tommy pointed as he fished something out of his pack and handed the rest to Zack.

"I'm going to this one," he continued. "And roll your eyes at me one more time and I'll grant you a reprieve."

Zack clenched his jaw and scoffed, playing off the moment. "Ay yi, Captain."

"Hey, you know if you ever need a shave again, I'm always here!" Zack dared to add as he skipped away.

Tommy snorted and shook his head, scratching the beard that had already begun to grow again. Regarding the small book in his hands, Tommy sighed as he approached his designated store.

Trini was having a hell of a time focusing on her task. The supplies they needed weren't hard to acquire, but the leers and snickers she was receiving were enough to keep her distracted.

Devil's Hollow was a man's territory. Certainly women roamed, but they were usually prostitutes, shopkeepers and hostesses; the latter two restricted to a much older age range.

Trini would be lucky if she wasn't solicited for sex, dressed in merely a t-shirt and jeans.

And she was Asian, which for the predominantly white, male population, only added to their intrigue.

Trini grimaced and found herself feigning retching noises as a couple of older men whistled as she passed.

"Just get in and get out," she repeated quietly. "Just get in and get out."

Jason and Billy had found themselves sharing an uncustomary, long conversation aboard the Falcon. With nothing else to do but worry, the two engaged in a raging discussion about Kimberly and her whereabouts.

"We have to find her!" Billy repeated for the hundredth time.

Jason shrugged, "Who knows where she is by now, Billy! She could be anywhere."

"And Tommy would certainly be suspicious if we entertained the idea of returning," Billy concurred.

"Yes, he would, Billy. But I agree with you."

"I just don't understand why she left so suddenly. I thought everything was going so well," Billy said with a huff as he collapsed his shoulders.

"Especially between her and Tommy," Jason added.

"He was the happiest I've seen him in….well, ever."

"Tommy had a letter," Jason began again as Billy looked at him inquisitively. "A letter from Kimberly. He showed it to me. She said she was sorry but she couldn't stay."

"That's it?" Billy asked.

"No, she also said she's grateful for having met us and she'll miss us. And then she apologized some more."

"Oh," Billy nodded in understanding.

"She didn't mention Tommy once," Jason remarked.

"She did say all of us. Perhaps we were too preemptive. Maybe Kimberly did not share in Tommy's affection as we thought she did."

"She said something that intrigued me. Well, I guess it wasn't what she said so much as how she phrased it. She said, if you should ever find yourselves in Angel Grove again, come find me."

"Do you think she's leaving a clue of some sort?" Billy wondered.

"No, nothing like that. But it definitely makes me think she was torn about leaving. Something must have happened. Something must have happened that night between her and Tommy to spook her."

"Do you think he told how he feels about her?" Billy guessed.

Jason turned to his friend with a curious smirk. "And just how do you know how Tommy feels about Kimberly?"

Billy rolled his eyes. "As close as I am to a rocket scientist, I don't need to be to figure that one out."

Jason nodded and laughed, "Fair enough." Billy grinned proudly as the two sat in comfortable silence for a time, still trying to assess.

"Billy," Jason said suddenly, standing up. Billy followed suit as Jason turned to him.

"I think I might know why Kimberly ran off. But you must promise me that what I'm about to show, stays between us, okay?"

Billy gave his friend a worried look, but nodded accordingly.

Jason nodded in acknowledgement and motioned for the man to follow.

Zack was sprinting, running from a fight he knew he'd provoked. He couldn't help himself. Some joker made a crack about him and Zack retaliated the only way he knew how, with words.

He might have been safer just hauling off and slugging the bastard, at least that would have stalled him. Had the brutes been smarter, they could have thrown Zack's acerbic quips right back at him, but alas, one smart ass comment from the boy in black and they barreled out the door.

The pack slung over his shoulder kept clanking, driving him insane as he dashed through the narrow alleyways, kicking up sand along the paths.

He'd only managed to trade a few items, Tommy was sure to be pissed, if the toothless roughnecks didn't get to him first. Zack was a mover and a talker, hence why Tommy usually called on him to deal in trading. He could charm his way out of a room with no door, but a fighter he was not. Zack stole a quick glance behind him, noticing the thugs were gaining. He had to either lose them now, or confront them. He prayed for the former.

The shopkeeper's steady eye had been on Tommy since he entered the store, trailing him to make sure he didn't attempt to steal his wares. The tall Captain glanced out of his periphery and noticed a puukko knife attached to the man's belt. Not primarily used as a weapon, but certainly kept sharp enough to act as one should a man feel threatened.

Tommy took this opportunity to face the man and smile, assuring him that his sole mission inside his shop was to dispense in honest trading. He approached the counter and set a small book atop it.

The man gave Tommy a raised eyebrow before picking up the book and flipping through its pages.

"A book of Fairy Tales, huh?" the older gentleman snorted. "What are you, a queer?"

Tommy resisted the urge to grab the man's collar and just laughed. "That book's an antique. Victorian."

"So?" The man snickered.

"So, I'm offering it to you with no monetary gain in return. That book's worth more than every other book in here," Tommy told him.

"What's the catch?"

"How about that puukko knife on your hip?"

"You expect me to give you this in exchange for a book of kiddy stories?"

"Why would a bookstore keeper need a knife?" Tommy posed.

"You're not from around here are you?" The man laughed.

Tommy ignored the question and changed his tactic, "You know I saw another bookshop around the corner here, perhaps I'll just go elsewhere."

"Now hang a minute, I can't give you the knife but that don't mean you gotta go deal at somebody else's store! What else you want? Tell you what, I'll take your lousy Victorian book and I'll give ya anything else in the store. Clean deal, no questions, nothing."

Tommy gave the man a bashful grin and shrugged. "I'd really like the knife," he reminded.

"Well, you can't have it!"

"You know, I bet Birch's Bookstore would know the real value of what this book actually costs," Tommy said with a nod. "Sorry to have wasted your time. Perhaps we'll make trade some other day," he said with a wave, picking up the book and heading for the door.

"Hold on there!" The man called out. Tommy smirked and stopped, turning to give the man an innocent look.

"How much you thinking that book's really worth?" The man asked him.

Tommy shrugged, "I really need the knife, and I came in here hoping to just sell the book and purchase one at another merchant's. But you seemed like a gracious fellow and when I saw the magnificent tool I thought perhaps a trade could be made. Now I see I was mistaken. Again, sorry for taking up your time."

The man grabbed Tommy's arm to stop him from leaving again. Tommy turned and glared at the man for a moment, silently ordering the stout figure to release his grip.

The older gentleman did so and cleared his throat.

"Tell you what, how much money you got?"

"One hundred," Tommy lied. He carried much more than that, but the stakes were steep when dealing in greedy commerce.

"Throw the cash in with the book, the knife is yours," the man offered anxiously.

Tommy feigned uncertainty before nodding his head and handing the man the cash.

The man counted it silently before a simultaneous hand off was made of book for knife.

"Try selling the book further south. They'll pay you twice at much as it's worth," Tommy suggested before nodding and leaving.

Tommy didn't need the knife, but he certainly didn't need another book; especially that one. He tucked the knife inside his boot and started for the dock again.

"How long has this place been down here?" Billy asked amazed as Jason led him through the under layer of the Falcon's hull.

"As long as Tommy's had the boat. Now, I'm the only one he's told about it so, please don't say anything!"

"Affirmative," Billy nodded eagerly, examining all the items the room had to offer. "These are all the things his parent's collected?"

"Yep."

"And you think he showed Kimberly this room?"

"Without a doubt. He found the letter inside an old book his mom had given to him. There's no way she would have had it if he hadn't showed her this place."

Billy nodded slowly, "That would certainly explain why she perhaps felt overwhelmed."

"Come on; let's get upstairs before they get back."

Trini was walking quickly, holding onto her satchel so fiercely as if it were a child. She'd had enough stares and cat-calls to last her the rest of her life. As she hurriedly walked down the path, she was bowled over by a young man, shouting coming from behind.

"Zack?" Trini gasped as she turned to see the source of the yelling.

"We need to book it, now," Zack ushered her, grabbing her hand.

"My pack broke!" Trini sighed, bending down to collect the fallen supplies.

"Trini, we don't have time, come on!" He insisted, stumbling as he attempted to grab random pieces of fruit while running.

The shouts called out again; with Zack and Trini glancing back to watch as they made their escape.

"What'd you do?" Trini yelled to him as they kept their brisk pace.

"A little misunderstanding," Zack called back.

"Zack!" Trini scolded as she struggled to keep up.

"You know me!" He chuckled as he kept running.

"The son of a bitch is getting away!" One man shouted.

"He's got a friend!" The other howled.

"Get them both!"

Neither Zack nor Trini bothered looking behind them anymore. They had to get to the boat fast enough to warn everyone and lift anchor before the men could get a hold of them.

Tommy had waited twenty minutes for Zack before he returned to the boat, knowing the young man would return eventually. Trini, on the other hand has still not returned; which worried him greatly.

Yes, he'd been a bit heartless to send her out on her own, his jealousy of seeing her and Jason's more than friendly greeting had set him off.

But now he was climbing aboard, upon seeing Jason his soften expression turned cold again. He couldn't admit his guilt to his crew, though he'd managed it to himself.

"Where are Zack and Trini?" Billy asked, returning from the Mess Hall.

"There's still not back yet?" Jason fumed.

"Their tasks were closer together, Zack's probably just taking his sweet ass time," Tommy rationalized coldly.

Jason rolled his eyes and stormed over to the railing. Tommy looked at him in awe.

"What are you doing?" the captain asked incredulously.

"Preparing to lift anchor, Captain," Jason said snidely. His tone was not lost on Tommy. "We should get out of here as soon as possible and I want to be ready when they get back."

"There's not much you can do short of setting the boat adrift," Tommy countered smugly.

Jason and he shared a brief glare before the desperate sounds of Zack and Trini called out to them.

The trio aboard the Falcon looked out, seeing their friends running at a mad pace with two large men on their heels.

"What the hell?"

"Why are they running?"

"They're being chased!"

"Damn it, Tommy!" Jason scolded as he returned to his original plan of hoisting the anchor upward.

"I had nothing to do with this!" Tommy defended as he ran for the wheel, directing Billy to the ladder, to aide their companions in climbing aboard.

"Guys! Hurry!" Billy called out to them as they drew in closer, reaching out his hand.

Zack held back for a second, grabbing Trini's hand and assisting her onto the boat first.

"Go aboard!" One man instructed the other, suddenly changing his direction as he ran off the path, "Call Sully! Cut them off!" he added as he closed in on Zack.

"Holy shit!" Zack yelped as the man's knife nipped at his heels. "Get me up!" Zack beckoned to Trini and Billy as they struggled to retrieve Zack while keeping the thug at bay.

"Get off of me!" Zack barked as the man grabbed a hold of his ankles, swinging against the hull as Zack attempted to fend him off.

"Tommy! Jason! Help!" Trini screamed.

"Kick him, Zack!" Billy urged.

"I'm trying!" Zack shouted back as he and the man continued to tussle against the ropes.

"They've got a boat!" Trini gasped, seeing the hauling craft they'd spotted yesterday, drifting toward them.

"Anchor's up!" Jason yelled to Tommy. "Get us out of here!"

"Zack's not aboard!" Billy pleaded as he reached his hand out to the young man.

"You smart mouthed bastard!" The thug clawed at Zack's leg, his dagger dangerously close to slicing into Zack.

Trini returned to the scene with a broom and jutted the handle onto the man, causing him to flinch and drop his dagger into the water.

"Bitch!" he cried as he held his head with his now weaponless hand. Zack saw his chance as he pried one free leg from the man's grasp and kicked him in the face.

The burly man scowled and spit his losses at Zack, reaching his hand out to retaliate, his mouth and head bleeding from the knocks.

"Jason, Take over!" Tommy commanded as Jason ran for the wheel.

"Billy, watch their boat!" Jason directed as Billy ran to him.

Trini attempted another hit with the broom's handle before the pirate grabbed the other end and pulled. Trini stumbled and started to fall before Tommy ran and caught her by the wrist.

As he pulled her back up, Zack took another kick to the man before finally evading his hold. Zack scurried to the railing and climb aboard, panting.

"Jesus, this guy just won't quit!" Zack cried.

"Watch out!" Trini screamed as the man clutched the edge of the railing, clumsily hopping over.

Zack backed away slowly, moving to protect Trini as Tommy crossed and headed for the man.

"Tommy!" Trini shouted out to him.

"We're in serious trouble, guys!" Jason called out as the hauling craft gained on the Falcon's starboard side.

"Trini, Zack, get whatever you can to hold them off!" Tommy yelled back to them.

Trini and Zack took off in search of makeshift materials as Tommy continued to stare down the brute.

"I'd ask what your problem is but it's a little late for that," Tommy quipped.

"You city kids need to know your place," the gruff smirked.

"Take one more step and your crew'll be down a man," Tommy warned.

The man laughed as he hurdled toward Tommy.

The pirate's vessel had matched the Falcon's pace and was now mere inches from colliding with the boat.

"Back off!" Jason yelled as he tried to steer away without damaging the boat against the reef. "Direct the sails!" He yelled to Billy.

Billy made quick work of the tall flaps, trying desperately to help his comrade.

"These guys obviously don't know how to take a joke!" Zack said quickly as he and Trini fended off objects being thrown at them from the pirate's side.

"Tommy!" Trini gasped as she looked back to see the goon ran toward the captain.

The burly man sent Tommy down with a knock, only to groan in pain as their bodies collided and slumped over, rolling off as Tommy pushed him to the side.

Trini covered her hand to her mouth as Billy ran to Tommy. Zack stole a quick glance behind him; panic struck his eyes as he resumed blocking the impeding attacks from the enemy's boat.

"This isn't funny anymore!" Zack shouted, sending the items back with a hearty fling of his arm.

"Sully!" the shorter man from the earlier chase called out, "They got Grayson!"

"Stay on 'em!" the man evidently known as Sully yelled back.

"Get out of here!" Trini pleaded to Jason.

"I'm trying!" Jason snapped, still trying to navigate the narrow passage.

Billy helped Tommy up from the floor as Tommy held his shoulder tenderly, he'd been rammed by the assassin when their bodies had crashed together, then crushed when the man landed on him.

Tommy limped over to the fallen man and kicked him over onto his back. Reaching down, Tommy drew the puukka from the man's gut with a firm tug.

Billy grimaced as he held his hand to his mouth, feeling nauseous.

"Billy, a hand?" Tommy asked as he knelt down to grab the man's wrists.

Billy nodded reluctantly and went for his feet as the two dragged the man toward the railing and pushed the body overboard.

They watched in amazement as the body hit the water with a splash, hovering and bobbing for a moment before carried under.

"Open water!" Trini breathed with a sigh of relief.

"Tommy, which way?" Jason asked pleadingly.

"We'll never make it to Lunar Bay at this rate!" Zack scolded.

"When we get passed Devil's Hollow, take a sharp right. We'll cut them off at Reefside," Tommy instructed calmly.

Jason nodded as he kept a firm grip to the wheel.

AN: Wow! What happens next? Will the crew escape? Where's Kimberly? AGH! The suspense is maddening! Catch ya on the flipside!