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One Shot

Rating: Teen

Season: Post Dino Thunder;

Focus: Kira Ford

Summary: You take a picture with your mind; you hope it lasts forever, yet you know that destiny can play even the strongest of people a harsh set of cards.

Authoress Note: This started as a drabble…which are 100. It ended up with

You take a picture with your mind and you hope it lasts forever. That the color never fades and that the conviction you felt the day you snapped the photo would stay with you throughout the coming years, growing with each passing year.

The picture Kira had taken nearly ten years ago still stood out the sharpest in her mind out of all her memoires but even with it being the sharpest it had dulled when the harshness of reality had set in, making her realize sometimes dreams where meant to be broken. Even if they broke the dreamer along with them it seemed like fate was against her since she stepped into the record company's hands oh so willingly.

It had started out with little things that progressed into something of a larger scale without consent from her. First it had been about how she dressed; the company had an image to uphold they had said. While they didn't want her to be the next Avril Lavinge they wanted her pretty damn close. The only exception was that Avril would be considered a 'punk' princess while they wanted Kira to go for the all out death metal/grunge appearance. Something that held neither little appeal nor any real reflection of her music or self which was the only reason she was there. Yet every time someone shook their head at her, saying that it wouldn't look good for her to be going against her record company being still an unheard of artist, she would bite her tongue and suck it up. Putting up with a change in how she was until it became who she was.

Then they started making small changes in her music until it became an entirely electronic fixed voice that came out through the speakers of the small local radio stations that where now picking up her single 'Freak You Out.' While Ethan and Dr. O had bitten their tongues, saying that if Kira was happy then they where happy for her, Conner was the one to come through for her and told her exactly what he thought of it.

"It's just not you Kira. It's a fake, electronic production. Something you used to stand against. Yet now you say you're going for it? I think you're just trying to do whatever it takes to please your record company when in fact you should be doing your music for the one person that matters: yourself."

His words rang true to her even now but try as she might she didn't feel she had the strength to go against her record company, sacred of how the outcome could possibly scare any possible listeners away from her music. Then the chances in appearance started to come through, heavier makeup, gothic and grunge clothes, chains and earrings and necklaces with skulls and crossbones. Hot neon pink mixed in with black, neon green and yellow mixed in with the pink to attract even more attention to the new clothing line her company was using her to market, something she didn't realize until after the fact.

"…and in other news this evening Kira Ford, as it turns out, is the inspiration behind the 'True Love' clothing line that hit stores last August. I t has become a huge hit among the pre-teens and teens of local areas as her fan base grows with each new purchase from the 'True Love' line. When asked what Miss Ford thinks of the clothing line and her career a spokesperson was stated in saying that Miss Ford couldn't be more content with Reefside Records and has no intention of leaving anytime soon. Well I should hope not as Miss Ford sure has made a splash in California."

Hayley and Ethan jumped when they heard Kira let out a low growl before slamming the remote down and leaving Hayley's Cyberspace in a distressed and angered state, assumedly going to talk to her manager.

Then the final straw that broke her was drawn in. Her manager had come to the conclusion that Kira weighed just a tad over what the average female teenager weighted, and stating it to be from overindulgence in food rather than her ranger training that she had kept up, assigned her to a nutritionist and a physical trainer that worked with her everyday.

"What?" her voice rang out loudly through the now empty recording studio, leaving no doubt to the fact that she was furious.

"You heard me." Her manger's voice rose slightly, making his point by giving her the once over and allowing a look of disgust to cross his face.

"It's not because I'm overeating! I barely have time to eat on the schedule you have me on, let alone over eat! I practice martial arts for crying out loud, I'm bound to have some muscle weight!" her voice began to sound more and more stressed after each exclamation.

"You can still practice martial arts and not have muscle weight. Look Kira, if asking you to loose twenty pounds is too much for you to handle then I'm sure we can find someone who would love to take your place. Rumor has it Kylee Styles is looking for a new record company." Her manger sounded on the verge of bored as if he where talking about the weather rather than Kira's average weight. "Is it a problem?"

Kira shook her head, a sudden numbness came over her as if she had been slapped in the face. It was a numbness that wouldn't leave for a long time.

Turning to the man that was laid out asleep beside her she pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pants pocket and lit it before taking a slow, steady drag.

Kira allowed a sigh to escape her lips as the nicotine eased her shattered nerves, slowing piecing her back together from the rough day she had previously had. Smoking was a bad habit, she knew that, but at times it was the only thing that kept her together. Tommy had chewed her up one side and down the other the first time he had seen her light one up, only to turn around and bum a cigarette off of her. It had been over a year since she had been to Reefside, opting to stay in New York and work on her debut album that was fast approaching its release date. After the whirlwind had died down after the debut album and tour she welcomed her trip to Reefside as a reprise from her usually jam packed days.

Thomas Oliver had been in deep concentration, grading a set of midterm papers when a shrill ring pierced the air.

"Dr. Oliver speaking," he said, pulling the receiver up to his ear, before going back to grading the papers that sat before him.

"Hey Dr. O, it's been a while," her musical voice floated to his ears, catching his full attention.

"Kira! It's about time you called, we where starting to get worried about you, how have you been doing?" he asked, pushing aside his forgotten term papers before turning his full attention to the conversation at present hand.

"I'm good, how have you been?" she asked, her voice sounding apprehensive, as if she where afraid of something.

"I'm doing well, I was working on grading some mid-term papers but I needed a break anyway. What's got you calling so late," a quick glance at his watch proved the time to be eleven o'clock at night. "is something wrong?"

Kira paused before taking a deep breathe and spoke.

"I was wondering if it would be alright if I crashed out at your place tonight? I wasn't expecting my flight to get in so late." Her voice sounded even meeker if possible as she humbled herself to ask her teacher for a place to stay.

The mention of Kira even being in California let alone Reefside jarred Tommy fully awake with a start.

"I thought you where staying in New York for your birthday?" he asked as he began to move around his house, gathering his keys, wallet and shoes as he walked towards the front door of his house.

"So did I but we finished the last recordings earlier than expected so they decided it was ok for me to zip home quickly for my birthday, a treat I believe they called it." Her voice had taken on a bitter tone, something that didn't slip past Tommy's notice.

"Something's bothering you."

It wasn't a question and there wasn't a way around it, Kira knew both of these facts as soon as the words left Tommy's mouth.

"You know me so well; you'll understand when you get here." Her voice sounded distant, as if she where miles away. Tommy started to attempt to keep the conversation on what was disturbing Kira but thought better of it at the hidden plea that was etched in Kira's voice. Something was seriously wrong.

Making it into town in a record ten minutes he maneuvered his jeep to the Reefside Airport with relative ease. Getting through the slow lines of parking and security made him anxious, a gut feeling told him he needed to get to Kira and soon.

Tommy saw his former student and ranger before she saw him and what he saw shocked him to his core. Kira, who had been a healthy active student while attending Reefside High School, had withered away in the year and a half she had been in New York. From one look she couldn't weigh more than 105 and that was dripping wet. Suddenly she turned, as if she had felt his silent observation of her, and allowed a hallow smile to grace her face as she reached to hug him. Tommy returned the hug gingerly, scared to shatter her more.

"It's good to see you Dr. O" her voice came out barely above a whisper as her voice came out laced with emotions she had hidden so well in New York.

"Tommy, I'm not your teacher any more and it's good to see you too Kira. Now let's get you back to the house and some food in you." His voice held a teasing tone, but his eyes betrayed how deeply worried he was about her.

"I know, I'll explain everything after I've had a nice, hot shower and some food. I'm trying to do better, I promise." Her voice, once so strong and sure, sounded meek, tired and worn out.

They had broken her before her twenty first birthday.

The ride to Tommy's house had been filled in an uncomfortable silence that seemed to stretch on forever. Somewhere along the forty five minute drive Kira had drifted off into a light sleep, allowing Tommy to see how truly exhausted she had been and to examine her thin frame without worry of reprimand from the fiery spirited woman in the passenger seat of his jeep.

"Kira wake up, we're here." His voice barely registered in her over processed brain but she finally began to move, following him into his empty house. Directing her to sit down on a stool in his kitchen Tommy began the process of making grilled cheese sandwiches. It wasn't until he set the sandwich down in front of Kira that he noticed that she just picked at it, cutting it into tiny bite size pieces before she even attempted to eat it.

"They where onto you about your weight weren't they?" Tommy said, phrasing it into a question even though they both knew the answer to it.

He took her silence as a yes as he watched her fidget with her hands.

"I need a damn cigarette." She muttered, more to herself than Tommy before she dug through her purse pulling out a cigarette and a lighter before stepping towards the door that led outside.

"You can smoke in here. Just give me one." Tommy said, his eyes showing his disapproval of her new habit before taking the cigarette she held out to him, taking a deep breath to catch the flame and light his before using his cigarette to light hers.

"Didn't think you smoked" Kira said, locking eyes with him as she took a deep drag ,allowing a smirk to cross her face when he matched her drag, never loosing eye contact.

"I quit, but when I'm around other smokers I'll smoke one or two, just depends on who I'm with." Tommy allowed his eyes to roam over her body for a brief second, sure he got his point across when she gave him a pointed look.

"So you smoke with a chick in the hopes you'll get laid, is that it?" she asked, her voice purring as she stood up from her stool and walked over to the other side of the island where he sat, stepping in between his legs before forcing them closed around her. She allowed a smirk to grace her face when he gasped.

"Yeah…it's something like that." Taking a deep breathe he closed his eyes monetarily to regain control, when he opened his eyes Kira could see the lust that he had hidden so well. A look of surprise crossed Kira's face as Tommy seemed to regain control of the situation "Question is, is did it work?"

Kira was snapped from her thoughts when she felt a pair of arms warp around her waist.

"Morning." His voice was raspy, but he managed a brief greeting before leaning in to steal a kiss. "You taste like a cigarette."

"Very astute observation Sherlock" Kira said, her voice deadpan before she allowed a laugh through the hard exterior.

"So when do you plan on going home?" Tommy asked, pulling her to face him fully so she could not easily extract herself from the conversation.

Kira took a breath before letting it out in a rush of air, giving Tommy a perplexed look.

"I thought I was already home…but if you don't want me to hang around here I'm sure my…"

Whatever the rest of her sentence would have been Tommy cut her off with a harsh, demanding kiss.

"You're already home, Terra. You're already home." His whispered into her hair as he ran his fingers through the loose strands that had fallen from her ponytail during the restless night's sleep she had gotten.

Kira's face brightened at his exclamation before kissing him with a reignited passion.

"It's good to already be home."