Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author's Note: If you're new to the Holiday Chaos thing, you can probably survive this story without reading the others, but I wouldn't mind if you felt the need to start with St. George's Day and move forward. Also, this is going to be a Holiday Chaos arch and since I've never done that before, let me explain: I plan to post a new installment every day through this Saturday. I don't know how that'll go, but I'll at least post tomorrow, even if I don't make it past that. The new installments will be parts of this same story (as opposed to sequels or vaguely related oneshots like the other ones), so keep checking back here.
Candy Corn Day
It was close, so close that he could taste it.
Okay, maybe he couldn't taste it, but he could foresee its impending arrival--and that was close enough. He eagerly pulled a few more cotton balls apart to make cobwebs while thinking about the night that lay ahead. The laughter, the candy (not that he cared for it), the long night of being outside. He sighed. It was the best day of the year.
Phineas interrupted his thoughts. "I don't get it."
Alpha looked up from making decorations to glare at the troblin. Thankfully, Alpha couldn't really glare all that well so no one noticed.
Nikki smiled at Phineas and explained. "It is a day when all of the children dress up in costumes to frighten off bad spirits. They go from house to house and are given candy."
"I understand the scaring bad spirits part," Phineas said, "but I don't understand why you make the children do it or why they get candy."
Leelee gave his shoulders a sqeeze. "It's just for fun, Phineas."
Alpha went back to his work. There were still candy corn garlands to be made. The robot had come to Briarwood with Xander and Bridge. Adam had been unable to find a way home for the Red Ranger and since the members of the patchwork team all had lives to return to, Xander had volunteered to take him. He had said magic might hold the key to sending Bridge home, but had yet to find a way. Alpha had come along because the Rock Porium, unused to such booming business, was in need of a good mathematician to help handle all the finances.
"But-" Phineas protested. Leelee pulled him up before he could get any further and led him out to work the register.
Just as they left Toby stuck his head over the counter and into the employee's area. "Nikki?" he called. "You ready for the movie?"
"Yes." Nikki stood with all the grace expected of an ex-vampire queen and gave Alpha a small wave which he returned.
He quickly got back to the task at hand. Halloween was only hours away and these candy corn garlands wouldn't make themselves. Alpha became so engrossed in his task that he didn't notice the vent above his head opening slowly. As he put the finishing tie on his first twenty foot string another, more dastardly string dropped from the vent. On its end was a large, black, hairy spider with two inch fangs. The whole thing had been covered in a thin layer of grease to make it look more alive. Alpha reached into the bowl for another candy corn but found none. He stood and grabbed the industrial sized bag from under the counter. When he turned to dump the contents into the bowl he came face to face with the massive spider.
Fireheart, who was taking his daily nap outside Rootcore's entrance, lifted his head and looked around for the source of the screams. Finding nothing, he lay back down.
Back at the Rock Porium Vida was trying to calm Alpha.
"It's okay, Alpha," she said, leading him to the comfiest chair in the wreck room--though that wasn't saying much since most of the furniture had been found on the sides of various roads.
"Bu-bu-bi-spi-spi-ay ay ay!" he moaned.
Vida's eyes hardened and she stood, pulling her wand from her waist with practiced ease. She aimed it at the vent and said one word. Wind flowed from her wand into the vents, sending a violently cold wind down on the customers and with it--two very unhappy Rangers.
Nick and Xander helped each other up. Nick quickly pulled out his wand to warm both of them up.
Vida marched over and began circling them, her arms crossed and a look of controlled fury on her face. "You," she poked her wand into Xander's already aching ribs, "should know better. Alpha helped you, he's your friend. And if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, do not pull Halloween pranks!" Xander cowered beneath her yells and remained thus even after she moved on to Nick. "I had thought," she said, looking her leader in the eye, "that you had grown out of this rebellious faze. Now that I see you haven't, I'm going to have to reassess my support of your relationship with my sister." Nick's eyes widened and he opened his mouth to argue. "No," Vida interrupted, holding up her hand, "you'll only make it worse. Now apologize."
Xander and Nick slunk past Vida and over to Alpha, who had managed to calm down while they were being rebuked.
"We're sorry," the two said in unison.
At just that moment Chip staggered through the door. He was covered in grime and favoring his left foot. "I'm sorry too," he said.
"Man," Xander marveled, "what happened to you?"
"I ended up flying out the vent out back, the one over the dumpster."
Nick, Xander, and even Vida winced.
"Come on," Xander said, throwing an arm under Chip's shoulders, "let's get Claire to give that foot of yours a look."
When they had gone Nick turned to Alpha. "Listen, we were just trying to get you ready for tomorrow night."
Alpha stared at Nick. "Is there going to be some large scale spider invasion I don't know about?"
Vida laughed. "No, but tomorrow is our annual horror-fest. Everyone--except Chip--hangs out here all night and watch old, scary movies, not the gore-filled kind you get today."
"What about trick-or-treating?" Alpha asked, his voice small.
"We're too old for that."
"Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" Alpha's cry was once again enough to wake Fireheart from his slumber.
Nick, not wanting to be stuck with the bill for a broken alien robot, called Adam who told him that his best bet was Bridge. The boy was from the future and would have a better idea of how to help Alpha until they could get Billy, though he hoped it wasn't that bad. Bridge was at the comic book store when Nick called and couldn't get to the Rock Porium fast enough.
Bridge ran into the record store and made a bee line for Alpha. The poor robot was still in the same position he had been in for over an hour: eyes to the heavens, arms up in pleading. Bridge grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him until Alpha's visor lights fixed on him.
"Tell me it's not true," Bridge whispered.
"Wha-?" Alpha asked.
"Tell me this was all a joke to freak me out, tell me that they're not planning to just sit around all Halloween."
Alpha's voice was heavy as he said, "I wish I could."
"It can't be," Bridge sighed.
Alpha grabbed Bridge by the shoulders and shook him with every word he said. "Bridge!" he cried. "We have to go trick-or-treating!"
Bridge grabbed Alpha's arms. "I know."
The two ran out of the Rock Porium as fast as they could, giving Nick and Vida only cursory good-byes. They raced into the forest, heading quickly towards Rootcore. Fireheart snorted at them as they passed beneath him, covering them in soot and snot. They ignored it and continued inside.
"Claire!" they cried. They both ran for the sorceress, knocking the still-hurt Chip out of the way.
"Ow!" Chip moaned, hopping up and down on his good leg and cradling his bad ankle in his hands.
"Tell us it's not true!" Bridge said.
"Tell us it's a lie!" Alpha said.
"What?" Claire asked, backing quickly away from the gooey boys.
"They're not trick-or-treating!" they yelled.
Xander stepped between the boys and Claire. "Of course not, we're too old and most of the kids don't see the point since half the town is always in costume."
"You'll just have to live without," Xander said.
"What about the candy?" Alpha asked.
"There's gonna be a big party on main street and all the shops are giving some out."
Chip stood. "What--are you talking about?"
Claire grabbed Xander's hand in fear. She had never heard Chip sound so--dark.
"Well," Xander said slowly, "since the traditional costumes are fairies and goblins and sorcerers, and half of the townspeople are now--those things--the town decided not to have a normal Halloween."
Chip's voice rose to a level that was both squeaky and utterly terrifying. "And when were you planning on telling me?"
"Tomorrow," Xander said, attempting to be brave in front of Claire.
Chip looked around Xander and met Claire's gaze. Pointing to his foot he said, "Fix it."
Claire said a few words and a shower of sparkles covered his ankle. In seconds it was as good as new.
Chip turned to Bridge and Alpha. "Give me five minutes. I'll get my costume and we'll take my car to a town that hasn't gone mad!" Chip ran out of the room, his final word still echoing through the room.
Bridge's smile fell when he looked at Alpha. "Maybe we should get cleaned up."
Claire nodded vigorously from behind Xander, who added, "And get your costumes. You don't want to drive a hundred miles and then have to come back."
The two shuffled slowly out of the room, lifting their limbs to see the full extent of the slime.
Tommy sighed. This had turned into the perfect day. School had been horrible. The new Conner, as Tommy had taken to calling one of his students, had been unable to grasp the concept of gravity. Not the part that kept his feet on the ground, the part that said all things have gravity--that had been too much for him. Tommy was considering calling him the new Rito, or something--he was having trouble coming up with someone dumb and benign enough from his past to fully encompass the boy's character. Tommy just hoped no evil threat showed up and forced him to create a new team because he could not take any more of the new Bulk than absolutely necessary.
When he had come home Kim was sitting on the porch swing, reading a baby book. He took a seat next to her and explained his horrible day.
"I told you not to let them talk you into teaching Physics," she'd said, "you're a Paleontologist. Just because you've been to outer space doesn't mean you can explain how it all works to kids."
He'd agreed and was now enjoying watching the sunset from his porch with his wife's head resting gently in his lap. He could hear the waves lapping the shore as he brushed through her hair with his fingers.
"You know," he said, "if I'd known having a wife would make my life so much--" Kimberly waited for him to find the right word, if he was going to mess this up, he'd do it on his own. "--better, I'd have married you a long time ago."
Kim turned so she was looking right up at him. "So, you're not angry that Jason forced us into marriage under false pretenses?"
"How else were we going to get together?"
Kim smiled. "Since you're so happy, I do have one request."
Tommy tried not to show his fear. Even after all the years he had spent saving the planet, there was one thing that still terrified him: Kimberly. She knew every button, every jab that would push him over the edge, and she was the only one who could use them and not get killed for it. "What?" he asked.
"Tomorrow? Scariest day of the year?" she asked.
"No Green," she said. "It's scary enough."
Tommy relaxed. "No problem," he said, kissing her temple. "But I thought you said you liked the Green?"
Kim blushed. "That was just when we're--"
The screeching of tires and frantic cawing of gulls cut Kimberly off. She sat up with a start and Tommy leapt to his feet, putting himself between her and whatever was coming closer. Through the trees came a broken-down station wagon. The paint was peeling off the sides and there was a thunderbird silhouette burned into the hood. The car jumped over the small incline separating Tommy's property from the main road and swerved as it stopped so that it had turned all the way around, it's back bumper stopping mere inches from the porch steps. Alpha staggered out of the back seat, clutching the side and bending over as if he was going to be sick--that was a sight no one wanted to see. Bridge and Chip came out of the car much less scathed.
Chip took the porch steps two at a time and slid to a stop on his knees in front of Tommy. "Tell me we can do it here," he said, holding his hands up in pleading.
"Do what?" Tommy asked, not sure what two Rangers and a robot would need a place to do, but not wanting to find out.
Bridge came up the steps, holding a toaster in his arms--he wasn't about to leave her alone in Briarwood. "Trick-or-treat," he said.
Kim giggled, "You guys need a place to trick-or-treat?"
Chip nodded. "Briarwood's being all progressive this year because of the magical citizens. Please say we can?"
Tommy rubbed the back of his neck, looking at the three boys. "I would," he said. "But that was one of the perks of living so far out in the middle of nowhere: no trick-or-treaters."
"What?" Kim asked, her voice hard.
And the horrible day was back. Tommy's eyes widened and he turned to his wife. "Well, this way no one eggs us and no one keeps us up all night asking for candy and--"
"But the little kids in their little costumes!" Kimberly said, her voice reaching the high-pitched squeak that preceded the angry outburst Tommy knew was coming.
"But-" Tommy stopped. He had absolutely nothing to combat little kids in little costumes.
"We are moving!" Kim said, storming into the house.
Chip and Bridge looked at each other. "In twenty-four hours?" they both called.
Kimberly gave an angry cry.
"So," Bridge said, "I guess that means we can't?"
The sun had finished setting while they spoke and in the dim light the two boys could clearly see Tommy's glowing green eyes. They were in the car and pulling out of the drive in under five seconds. Bridge pulled Alpha in through the window as they drove and said, "He has the best costume ever."
"Yeah," Chip agreed. "But I think Kim's scarier."
"Now where do we go?" Alpha asked, adjusting his head which had gotten turned wrong when Bridge got him back inside.
"Any ideas?" Chip called from the front.
"How about Overdrive?"
"Yeah," Bridge agreed, "Hartford's sure to have great candy."
Chip smiled from the front seat. "Saint Angeles is a ways away. We won't get there until after midnight and I can't drive all that way."
"I can drive," Bridge offered.
Chip raised an eyebrow in the rearview mirror.
"Just because I don't have a valid license--I promise, it'll be fine."
Two hours later the flashing lights in the mirror proved him wrong. The officer was especially eager to hear why the two boys were attempting to switch places over the backseat before he got to the window. The explanation took fifteen minutes since the boys both ended up stuck in the small space between the top of the seats and the roof. Alpha just shook his head. All he wanted was a wonderful Halloween.
AN: Reviews make me happy. The next part will be up tomorrow if I have to stay up all night writing it.