She wasn't being nosy. Far from it. She was just curious. It was common knowledge one shouldn't surf alone, and after that last time, Blake always made sure someone from the team was with her when she was out surfing and he was out with Factory Blue. Which, you know, was usually all the time. And if worse came to worse, Marah or Kapri would hang out with her.
As it was, Blake had a free weekend from Factory Blue and invited Tori away from her teaching duties and surf shop to come out and check out the awesome beaches with him. She instantly took him up on that, eager to spend some time away from the Academy and to just chill with her boyfriend.
So here they were, at the beach, surrounded by people having a good time, and all she could see was some guy out in the ocean, staring out towards the distance. He was like that before they even got there, she figured, because he was the first one she saw when she looked out to the ocean.
He was just sitting there, on his surfboard, staring. Not at anything in particular, it seemed, just the ocean. Tori pushed him out of her mind, looking at Blake and suggesting they check out the waves and Blake grudgingly accepted. It took him a good while, but eventually he just sat back and let Tori take hold of the waves and enjoyed the look of pure bliss she had on her face.
Blake was so caught up in watching Tori, in fact, that he didn't see the devilish look in her eye as she flicked her wrist, causing a small wave of water to smash into him. He fell over, sputtering as he came back to the surface, glaring but it was in vain. Her laughing was contagious.
So, in retaliation, he tipped her surfboard.
Tori fell sideways into the water, instantly coming back to the circle and they began a small splash fight.
It was during the fight that it happened. Tori looked away for a moment, back to where the man was, but he wasn't there. His surfboard was, floating like it was always there, but no man was on top of it. Blake stopped mid-splash, recognizing the flash of panic on Tori's face and turned to look at what Tori was staring at.
He didn't see anything at first, when he registered the lone surfboard. Without even waiting for a nod, the two mounted their surfboards and started pedaling their way over to the floating piece of wood.
Tori drove under, frantically searching but not seeing anyone but Blake's legs. She resurfaced, grabbing Blake's arm, "I can't find him! I could swear he was just here! Oh, I knew I should have kept a better eye one him…!" The former Navy Ranger could only continually look around at the surrounding water, puzzled as to where the mysterious man could have run off to in the middle of nowhere.
A splash from nearby alerted Blake, Tori was still frantic, already making a grab for the abandoned surfboard, when the splash caused her to stop. She looked over the same time as Blake, and an Asian man surfaced, rubbing his face with a hand as he grabbed the third surfboard. He shook his head, water droplets falling from his hair when he caught sight of the two ex-Rangers.
"Oh! I'm sorry, was my board in the way? I'll move it. I was only diving for a whi—!"
Whatever he was able to say was drowned out by something else surfacing up, forcing everyone's attention back to the water. "Chad! Why did you—!"
A lady wearing an orange bikini top and a pink flower on the right side of her head stopped mid sentence, eyes wide as if she realized she shouldn't have been seen. She quickly drove behind the Asian, but that didn't stop Blake or Tori from seeing her bright orange… tail?
As an ex-Ranger, they were both used to seeing many things: A teammate turning into a bug before their very eyes, popcorn, alternate dimensions, brainwashing, breaking the fourth wall, popcorn, sensei turned guinea pig, evil twins, brainwashing, sarcasm, talent shows, popcorn, and, of course, getting beat down by strange looking monsters. But never in their whole time as a Ranger, or after, had they ever laid eyes on a mermaid.
They weren't quite sure how to react.
That was until something clicked in Tori's mind. When the Ninja and Dino Rangers teamed up for that brief period, Cam was intrigued by their command center, and Hayley managed to get him a copy of the Ranger database in case something happened to their command center one day, something Tommy winced at when Conner made a crude joke about how no one could ever possibly get into their lair, despite the fact that Tommy frequently forgot to lock his doors all the time, something the Dino Rangers took full advantage of later on.
Of course, Cam jumped on the chance of having a database of every Ranger, whether they lived on Earth or a different galaxy altogether. The boys on her team weren't that interested in it, least of all Shane or Dustin, who weren't allowed near any computer that Cam had ever worked on. They were still sore about it.
But despite everyone else, Tori was intrigued about the database, and after coaxing the former Green Samurai Ranger, which wasn't really that hard, he let her look around the database, where she found full articles of Rangers since the team in 1993. She spent a total of five hours piecing through each article, gasping at the information about Tommy's first appearance, raising a brow at the pizza story, the secret of Astronema, crying at the death of Kendrix, the Sixth member who was raised by demons—
Tori shouted, suddenly remembering where she saw the name Chad before. She pointed out at him, not caring if it was rude or how startled everyone looked at her loud exclamation. "You're Chad Lee! The Blue Lightspeed Ranger!" She knew Blake was looking at her with a weird expression on his face, but she was certain this was the same man she read about all those years ago. In the article, it said he fell in love with a mermaid, but there was never a conclusion to if they ended up together.
But here, they were in the ocean, together, which had to mean something and this was so awesome because she finally met some more Rangers and it was by pure accident!!
Blake kept looking between this surfer—Chad—and Tori, trying to figure out just what was going on. Go figure being out of the loop would cause him to be confused while his girlfriend was having a freak attack. He put a gentle hand on Tori's shoulder, getting no reaction, and just sighed, "Ah, I'm sorry about her. I think she just spent too much time in the sun."
Chad just nodded, shooting a worried look at the woman behind him. The woman just clung to Chad, peering over his shoulder at them.
Tori was still silent, eyes wide, finger pointing, waves crashing lightly against everyone when she abruptly put her arm down, shutting her mouth before opening it again, "Uh, oh wow," she ran a hand through her hair, seeming embarrassed now, "you uh… You wouldn't happen to know a Tommy Oliver, would you?"
That had a reaction. Chad sharply turned all attention on the former Blue Wind Ranger, "You mean the same Tommy Oliver who called all the Red Rangers to the moon?"
"Uh…" She shared a look at Blake, who just shrugged, before turned back to Chad. "I'm not sure about the moon… but I'm pretty sure it's the same Tommy. Except," she paused, pondering, "when we met him, he was definitely not a Red Ranger. The Red Ranger in his team was Conner. Tommy was the Black Ranger, right Blake?"
Blake only shrugged, again, but Tori only saw it out of the corner of her eye. Chad still looked royally pissed. "I don't care what color he is now. How would you feel if your team's Red was called away and they didn't tell you where they went?"
Tori crossed her arms over her surfboard, "Well, first I'd kill him." Then she stopped, seeming to be thinking of something. She looked over at Blake, "Hey Blake, Hunter's like a Red too, right? Same color, just a darker shade…" She grinned, "Like you are to me."
Blake just looked away from their little group, but it did nothing to hide the color on his cheeks.
Chad just looked on, waiting.
Tori smiled, laying her chin on her folded arms, "Our team is a little weird. We have two Red Rangers, and two Blue Rangers." She jerked her head in the direction of Blake, "He's our Navy Ranger, and his brother, Hunter, is our Crimson Ranger."
"Ah." Chad nodded. Then he took a closer look at her, "And let me guess, you're… the Blue Ranger?"
Tori just grinned where she was. "I was also the only girl in my team. I had to teach those boys who was boss." Her smile turned fond as her eyes dipped towards the water. "Yeah… They were a crazy bunch." She looked over at Blake, who at this point managed to keep his blushing down.
Chad smiled, recognizing the look. He felt Marina loosening her grip on him, and he transferred his attention back to her. She was wearing her sad smile, the one she only uses when it's that time, the time when she must return to the sea and her duties and then they must wait that long time before they see each other again…
He sighed, alerting Blake and Tori back to him. Chad took a deep breath, and held Marina's hand in a firm grip. "As… as much fun this has been… Marina and I… we're not exactly right for each other. At least… that's what everyone else thinks, but we know we're right together… and we can only spend so much time together…" He locked gazes with the mermaid now next to him, and it was both evident how deeply in love they were with each other.
It made Tori feel like she was trespassing on something sacred…
But she nodded, breaking the trance, if by accident. "I see…" She looked at the mermaid, "It was very nice to meet you, Marina. You have a fine man, here."
Marina smiled a genuine smile that caused even Blake to return it, "Thank you, uh…"
The Blue Wind Ranger blinked not getting it when she suddenly caught on, "Oh, oh! My name's Tori. Tori Hansen."
Marina nodded, "Thank you Tori, and you also have a fine man." She winked, "Don't lose him."
Both Blake and Chad blushed at that.
As Marina began to sink back into the ocean, she called out, "Do not be strangers here, it's always interesting to meet friends of Chad."
The Lightspeed Ranger continued to gaze out where Marina sank, not particularly eager to look away yet, but eventually he sighed. "I guess we should return to shore…" The two ninjas nodded, and they began to pedal behind Chad as he started back to the shore.
Tori quickly caught up to him, leaving Blake somewhat behind, but all the while keeping an eye on him. "So, Chad, you like to surf?"
Chad smiled, "It's how I met Marina."
The Blue Rangers shared a smile, both seeming to realize they were both Blue, loved to surf, and had someone they loved.
It was surely a small world.