AN: I told you this was coming.
Season Finale spoilers
Jungle Karma Pizza Special 9: Red Special Redux
Casey stopped to look back at Jarrod teaching the class. He'd been genuinely worried about Jarrod after he was freed from Dai Shi, but the older boy had come through and was slowly becoming one of Casey's best friends. A faint buzzing sounded and Casey quickly pulled his phone from his pocket. The students weren't allowed things like cell phones but Casey had been given permission to keep his only because he'd saved the world.
He ducked into the woods. It was probably Fran calling to tell him he was late for Dom's going away party.
"Hello?" he asked, pressing the phone to his ear.
"What?" Casey asked, pausing and looking at the unfamiliar number. "Who is this?"
There was an aggravated sigh. "Kim Hart! Now get your rear in gear, tiger boy. The Reds are coming for you."
"What do you mean they're coming for me?"
"Do you remember what the Pinks did to RJ?"
"You mean what you did to RJ?" Casey asked, fingering the leaves of a particularly ugly fern. "Yeah, I remember."
"The Reds will do worse."
Casey's shook his head. "I'll be fine." Kim started to argue but Casey hung up quickly.
He used his Tiger powers to feel around him. He didn't hear anyone but then these were Rangers he was dealing with. Wait, no, now he heard something. Apparently Rangers weren't as awesome as he thought. He ran in the direction of the sound.
"Dude!" someone whined. "I wanna cover him in paint!"
Casey came slowly upon the men and climbed carefully into a tree above them to look down into the clearing where they'd gathered.
"Conner!" a man in glasses snapped. "We went over this already! You have to distract him with your speed."
"But --" Conner cried.
"Do you really want to piss us off?" someone asked and Casey started at the familiar voice. It was Shane, the Air Master from the Wind Ninja Academy. Then he remembered Eric/Conner, the twins who had caused all that trouble at JKP. He still wasn't sure which was which.
Conner cowered behind a man who Casey recognized as the unmasked Blue Astro Ranger, TJ Johnson. He vaguely remembered hearing that TJ had been a Red prior to his trip into space.
"Tommy?" TJ asked with a sigh. "How do you get him off?"
"Would that I knew," the man in the glasses muttered.
"Men!" someone yelled, climbing up on a boulder to gather the others' attention. "This is not the time for bickering. This is the time for humiliation! Now, we are going to go over there …"
"His name is Jason," a voice above Casey whispered.
Casey looked up to see a man lounging above him, playing with a slinky.
"I'm Rocky," the man said, reaching down a hand. Casey shook it dumbly. "I'm the only Red who didn't go on that insane mission to the moon."
"There was a mission to the moon?"
"Yeah, and it was the single dumbest thing they ever did. Sure, they saved the world, but the other colors were all kind of pissed about it."
"So, why aren't you attacking me?"
"I'm the sane one."
Casey eyed the slinky but said nothing. Jason had stopped talking by now and was leading the others toward the academy.
"Well," Casey said, "it was nice meeting you."
"You can't leave," Rocky said calmly.
"They'll find you. Just wait it out, let them get their butts kicked elsewhere, and you'll be safe. Well, you'll have to at least kick the butt of a pre-moon-mission ranger, but that shouldn't be too big a problem."
"Why are you helping me?"
Rocky shrugged. "I'm bored."
"Wait, you want what?" the little boy asked.
The rangers looked at one another. They hadn't exactly expected to be met by a seven year-old who barely came up to most of their waists. Conner, however, was not deterred. He knelt down to the boy's level and said, in the most condescending voice any of the others had ever heard, "We want to torture and humiliate your new Tiger Master. Can you go get him for us?"
The boy looked slowly from Conner to the other men and back to Conner.
"Master Rilla," the boy called uncertainly.
"Uh oh," Carter said, seeing Rilla, followed by a whole pack of students.
"We should go," Mack said, slowly backing away.
"What is it, Nale?" Rilla asked.
Nale repeated what Conner had said and Rilla's eyes narrowed angrily. "Well then, maybe you'll settle for meeting some of Casey's students?"
"You know," Nick muttered, "I think I hear Mystic Mother calling."
"Me too," Mack said, stepping closer to his friend. The two disappeared just as Rilla ordered the crowd of students to attack.
"Can we fight little kids?" Wes asked.
"I don't think so," Andros said fearfully.
"Why do I have to beat up a ranger?"
"To gain their respect," Rocky said, twisting the slinky between his hands.
"But -- I saved the world."
Rocky sighed. "We've all saved the world."
"I don't want to beat up a ranger!"
"Do you want to be hounded for the rest of your life? Never being able to turn a corner without wondering if there's a Red on the other side? Trust me, this is the only way."
Casey rolled his eyes. He highly doubted that this was the only way but Rocky had already called Kim for a character reference and Casey couldn't disagree with his sister's old friend, especially since his sisters didn't know he was a ranger yet.
"Ooh, that'll work," Rocky said suddenly. Casey pulled his eyes away from the sight of Eric and TJ being thoroughly beaten by his new cubs. Camille was standing between Cole and Jarrod, who looked torn between the desire to fight and the desire to hold onto this current good streak.
Rocky smiled at Casey and handed him the slinky. "Go beat up Cole."
"With the slinky?" Casey asked.
"If you want. I just thought you wanted it."
Casey slowly approached the three, carefully negotiating his way through the students who were eager to join the fight closer to the main entrance.
"Casey!" Camille cried when she saw him. "You have to run, they --"
"I know," Casey sighed. "Apparently I have to beat him up to keep from being humiliated."
Cole paled. "I didn't -- I never wanted to --"
Jarrod growled. "You said you were going to strip him to his underwear, cover him in red paint, and leave him in the middle of a highway."
"And," Camille added, "that you had more planned for after he got picked up by the police."
"You bring shame to all lions," Jarrod said just before Casey attacked.
Several minutes later Cole was tied up in Rocky's slinky.
"Nice one," Jason said appreciatively. His clothing was ripped and it looked like he'd been tossed in the nearby swamp, but he was smiling widely. He slapped Casey on the back. "Welcome to the club."
"Thanks, I think."
Casey's phone started buzzing once more and he quickly pulled it out. "It's probably Kim calling to make sure I'm alive," he explained to the others. "Hey, I --"
"Casey! Where are you? Dom is leaving in a few minutes and --"
"Fran!" Casey gasped. "Oh man, I totally forgot. The reds distracted me with their initiation! I'll be there, I promise." He turned to run out of the academy and saw Rocky. Inspiration hit him and he hurried back to Cole before rushing to Ocean Bluff.
"Wait," RJ said, "you got initiated?" Fran had just told them Casey's excuse and Dom had mentioned his own initiation.
"Oh yeah," Dom said. He pulled a letter from his pack and held it out.
RJ unfolded the letter and read it aloud. "'Dom. This letter is to inform you that you are now a member of the elusive Sixth Rangers (yes, we are aware that you are not your team's sixth ranger, that's just the name we go by). We do not have meetings. We do not go out to party. We do not embarrass our members in idiot initiation ceremonies. We live our own lives until danger strikes and we have to come in and save the other Rangers' sorry behinds. We hope to see you in battle.'" RJ paused. "There's not even a signature."
"I know," Dom said, "they're really weird. But at least I didn't get dressed up like a girl."
RJ frowned and pushed the letter back into Dom's pack before following the newly transformed Flit into the kitchen.
Dom just shook his head and checked his pack, making sure RJ hadn't wrinkled his plane tickets. He smiled, imagining the look on Fran's face when he told her about the second one.
"Hey," a soft voice said and Dom whirled to see Casey.
"Hey! I didn't think you'd make it!" The two embraced.
"You thought I'd miss your going away party? Who knows when I'll see you again?"
"I'll be around," Dom said with a shrug.
"Here," Casey said and handed him a small object.
Dom blinked at it. "What do I need a slinky for?"
"You never know when you'll need a slinky, my friend."