If I owned Power Rangers I'd be working this into a script, because it amuses me.

If you know me well enough, and you squint at just the right moment, this has Conner/Ethan and suggestions of Casey/Theo.

I actually wrote this right after I first saw Jungle Fury and posted it on my LiveJournal account. For some reason, I keep forgetting that it wasn't posted here yet. Oops. x.x

Casey reminds me of Conner, to the point that this wouldn't leave me alone. While Theo strikes me as Kai and Justin's love child, which brings bad images and makes me hide from Leo. And Lily has to be related to Dustin or Chip somehow; it's all about the Yellow enthusiasm.

But regardless, R.J. rules.

The Call

Casey paced the floor.

He wanted to call them. He really wanted to call them. He didn't have the slightest clue about what he was doing, and if there was anyone who knew what he was going through right now, it'd be Conner and Eric.

He made a face. Well, duh. Of course Conner knew what he was going through. He'd been there before. And Eric knew what it was like to be the new guy who's skills weren't as good as everyone else. If it hadn't been for his pointers, he'd never have made it into the Pai Zhuq school at all. He still didn't think he should have gone in the first place, but Eric and Conner had been insistent: a McKnight Brother always needed to be prepared.

He sighed, rubbing his eyes with a hand. He'd been close to his cousins ever since they'd been introduced as children. Even when he was still learning to walk, Eric and Conner had adopted him immediately, declaring him their third brother. Their parents thought it was cute, but never believed they'd actually thought they'd stay that close when they got older.

He smirked faintly. Fourteen years later, his cousins were still his best friends. Even with Conner focused on prompting Kick It, his soccer camps for kids, he never failed to respond to a call or e-mail. After all the rough patches of his training, Eric had finally became a full-fledged Earth Ninja of the Wind Ninja Academy, but he'd still made time to help get Casey into training for the Order of the Claw.

That closeness between the three of them was why they'd never been able to lie to one another. When Eric had been chosen to join the academy, he'd practically blurted it out over the phone the next time they'd called, Conner eagerly talking over him at the same time. He'd been jealous of course, and worried about what it would mean - it was hard to keep up with fifteen year old cousins when he was only eleven. But he supported Eric completely, and spent hours talking to Conner whenever he felt lonely without his twin around.

After Conner had been chosen - or 'dragged kicking and screaming' as he fondly liked to put it - into his becoming a Ranger, it had tortured him not to be able to tell them all about it. He'd dropped blatant hints left and right about 'working on a new project to help people', a project that 'might save the world someday'. He'd become freakishly obsessed with the color red, and claimed it was 'a badge of honor'. The thing with picking up T-rexes all over the place. When he'd actually tried to tell them that the Dino Rangers in Reefside were cooler than soccer, they thought he'd lost it. Which was why the moment his Power was gone, he'd demanded they both come home immediately, because he had something 'super-important' to tell them.

They showed up, exhausted and worried, and promptly beat the bright-eyed and happy Conner senseless with pillows when he told them he was a superhero - former superhero.

But now he was finding himself almost literally in Conner's shoes. Should he tell them, even though they'd probably be worried? Was he allowed to tell them? Conner had said his teacher told his team to keep their identities a secret.

"Wearing a hole in the floor, or practicing some new super-secret training technique?"

He jumped, staring at R.J. somewhat wild-eyed. "Uh ... No, sorry. I was just ... thinking about making a phone call."

R.J. cocked his head. "Ah. Well, me phone es su phone," he returned cheerfully, heading for his favored chair.

"R.J.?" he blurted out suddenly. "Are we allowed to tell other people that we're Power Rangers?"

R.J. seemed to consider this for several minutes. "Have you told these people about your training with the Order?"

Casey blinked. "Actually, one of them was the one who got me into the Order in the first place. And the other has ... experience."

"I see," R.J. said gravely. "Well, experience is always a good thing. Someone with experience can give advice you might need."

He frowned. "Is that a yes?"

R.J. shrugged. "Whatever you decide to tell them is up to you. But!" He held up a finger, making Casey jump. "Are you sure they don't already know?"

Casey stared after him, then scowled. What kind of an answer was that? He was seriously getting sick of all this secret-technique-find-your-inner-balance-whatever stuff. And how would they know? Ocean Bluff may not be too far from Reefside or Blue Bay Harbor, but it wasn't like they were going to be checking the news for any new signs of Power Rangers or something.

Then he slapped a hand against his forehead, because Conner so would.

He stared at the phone again. Did he want their advice? Or should he try and figure everything out for himself, like Conner did? Wait, Conner had that teacher of his, so he didn't exactly figure things out for himself either. But maybe he should like, try or something. But what if Conner got all protective and tried to come keep an eye on him? He did that when they found out he'd been getting into fights at school, before Eric started teaching him martial arts. And what Red Ranger needs his big brothers to help him figure things out?

This one.

Before he could stop himself again, he reached for the phone.

He called Conner, because R.J. didn't have three-way calling, and Eric had a hard time getting reception if he was at the academy. It seemed to ring for hours, and he wasn't sure if he was relieved or not when it finally went to voicemail. "This is Conner McKnight. I'm a little busy at the moment, so leave a message and I'll get back to you."

Instinctively he added on a silent "Someday," to the end of the message. He'd always wondered how Conner had managed to sound somewhat professional when he recorded that. Professional had never exactly been part of his nature.

"Hey Conner, it's Casey." He paused, clearing his throat awkwardly. Well, this was harder to say than he thought it'd be. "Look, I uh ... I'm in Ocean Bluff right now. I just moved here - something happened at the school and I got sent to a different teacher. Um ... You know they have Power Rangers here now? Pretty wild, huh? Reminds me of when you were telling us about the Dino Thunder Rangers in Reefside. The Red guy's pretty cool, don't you think?"

He leaned against the wall and tilted his head back, holding back a groan. If Conner didn't understand this, he'd think he was a total spaz. He was barely making any sense to himself. "I guess ... I'm just going through some things right now, and I thought you might be able to offer some advice or something. Since you've been through some similar stuff and all. Um, if you talk to Eric any time soon, ask him if he can e-mail me some tips on fighting in groups of three or against large groups. Y'know, in case I need to go up against one of those Rinshi things they've got running around here. Just to be on the safe side."

He searched for something else to say and sighed, feeling stupid. "Well ... Call me back when you get a chance. Don't freak if I don't call you right away - I've been busy and all." He paused, watching as Theo and Lily walked down the steps together chatting happily, and winced. "And I take back everything I ever said about you and Ethan," he muttered quickly, hanging the phone up before he could take it back or change his mind again.

Discreetly wiping his sweating palms on his pants, he went to join his friends.