Chas and the Warriors assembled in the changing room, resting up after the first brutal period of play.
"Okay guys, that wasn't great, but they're only one point ahead." Hicks said reassuringly, trying to encourage his players.
"They're only one point ahead because they scored an own-goal." Ziggy reminded him. "And they completely ignored me on that play they mugged Chas."
"That doesn't matter. You're still within one point of equalising." Hicks stated. "Did you get those points because they let you? Sure you did, but that could be what costs them."
"Get real Hicks, this game was only ever meant to be an exhibition." Lee Forbes stated, grabbing a cup from the cooler and drinking deeply. "No one expected us to win."
"Just because no one expected us to win is no reason to say we can't." Hicks stated. "Sure it's an exhibition match, but why does that mean we have to stop trying?"
"You think we haven't been trying?" Ziggy asked him incredulously. "Are you watching the same game here?"
"I know you're all trying, but you're still approaching the game with the attitude that they're going to win." He implored them, gesturing to a chalk board, bringing their attention to a plan of the rink. "Anyone can win one game. How much sweeter do you think it'll be if we win? All we need is a little strategy. Chas, how is the leg holding up?"
"I'll live." He replied. "I'm still standing."
"Right, I think I have an idea. Gather around." Hicks told them. "This is what we're going to do."
Brie was taking a walk out to the car during the interval. She had just watched her fiancé being pummelled mercilessly throughout the first period, and wanted to take a little break and stretch her legs.
She had already passed Scott and Gemma in the corridor, running around the like maniacs attacking each other with condiments. She hadn't really seen Scott acting like that before, and so she had to wonder if there was something going on between them. She had only met the twins a couple of times, and she had found them to be a little full-on. Sure, she could admit that Gemma was attractive, but she wasn't sure she could see the attraction.
She furrowed her brows as she turned the corner, finding a couple of soldiers surrounding the car.
"There's nothing to see here, move it along." One of the soldiers told her.
"Excuse me, but what are you doing to my car?" She asked them. Two of the soldiers just stared at her.
"This is your car?" He asked her for confirmation. "We have a warrant to search this vehicle."
Brie took the document from him, checking it over in disbelief. She couldn't understand what they wanted to search for.
"It says you're also entitled to search our apartment." She gasped. "What are you looking for?"
"Just open the vehicle please." The officer barked at her a little aggressively. "We have the right to force our way in if you do not comply. I believe it would be in your best interests to just do as we say."
Brie just dutifully pulled out the car keys and opened the trunk, exposing the contents inside.
"It looks like that tip off was good." One of the soldiers stated.
"I've never seen any of this stuff before!" She shrieked in response. "This isn't ours..."
"Are you sure?" One of the guards asked her. "Are you trying to tell us that you weren't aware of your fiancé's drug use?"
"He's been taking some painkillers for his injuries, but that's all." She replied. "I don't know where any of this stuff came from."
"We'll talk about this more in the interview room." He answered. "In the meantime, would you accompany us to your apartment?"
Brie just nodded and left with them. Chas was due back in the rink, and so he still didn't know about the trouble that was waiting for him at the end of the game. His behaviour had been erratic for a long time. People knew about his injuries, and his fight with Ryker at the carnival had been covered in all the papers. Now the guards had found a large quantity of drugs and stolen prescription pads in the car. It didn't take a genius to figure out that things didn't look good for him.
Summer was over at the refreshments table, quietly sipping some coffee when Dillon approached her. She turned her back on him as she noticed him, pouring herself another cup.
"It's a good game huh?" Dillon asked her. "I've never seen it played before."
Summer didn't answer though. He sighed as he realised she was ignoring him, but all things considered he couldn't really blame her. He knew he'd have a lot of work to do to get her to even talk to him again, never mind forgive him for what he had said.
"Ziggy's doing well." He complimented his friend. "I would have thought he'd be getting creamed by now."
"He's impressed me." Summer replied, not even looking at him. She gestured to where Tenaya was standing by the window, looking out over the stadium. "He has at least one fan."
"Summer, I wanted to talk..."
"It's almost time for the second period." Summer interrupted him. "I'm going back to my seat."
"Summer can you just hear me out for a second?" He asked her.
"Like you did with me?" She snapped in response.
"I know I've behaved like a jerk." He replied sadly. "Could you please just..?"
"Dillon, I'm really not in the mood for this." She said coldly, putting her cup down on the table. "I just need a little time by myself. I'm not feeling too good, tell Ziggy I went home."
"Let me give you a ride..."
"Dillon, I just want to be by myself." She said sarcastically.
"Maybe we could talk later." He suggested.
"Maybe." She said in a sigh. He felt his heart deflating a little as he watched her leave. He knew he had a lot of grovelling to do before he could expect her to forgive him, but right now she wasn't even willing to let him explain. All he could do was give her time and hope that she would eventually talk to him.
"Hey, they're starting again!" Tenaya called out, pointing down into the rink. "There's Ziggy!"
The players made their way back into the arena, taking their positions. Chas hobbled over to his spot, glancing to Ziggy to communicate their next play. Ryker lined up opposite Chas, signing to his team mates the play they were to perform. The buzzer sounded, heralding the first launch of the second period.
The ball launched far into the Rocket's zone as the players rushed each other. As predicted, three of the players immediately all rushed towards Chas. Ziggy and the two Forbes brothers intercepted them, taking them to the floor hard, leaving the way clear for Chas to run into their half of the rink.
He managed to avoid the defender on his way around the flank, before facing down their guardian, who stood, holding the ball, waiting for one of his team to get clear. Seeing Chas running towards him, he tried to throw it to the defender, only for Chas to intercept it. He quickly faked his way around him, throwing it with unerring accuracy into one of the vacant scoring pods. The crowd all cheered as he threw his hands up in triumph.
"That makes us all even!" He sneered at the Guardian. "Thank Ryker for me!"
"Thank him yourself Winchester!" He responded, pointing behind him. Chas turned to prepare for an attack, which came instead from behind as the Guardian smashed his bo staff into Chas' thigh as hard as he could. An alarm sounded, and the rest of the Warriors crowded around Chas as he collapsed in pain.
"For attacking out with active play, the Rocket's Guardian, Mike Kennedy has been sent off for game misconduct!" One of the referees announced over the announce system. The hulking player made his way out of the arena as he was booed relentlessly by the crowd. Hicks ran onto the arena floor to check on Chas.
"Chas how is it?" Hicks asked him. "Can you go on?"
"Forget it Hicks, he's done." Ziggy responded as he unhitched some of Chas' armour, exposing his thigh. "There's no way he'll be able to walk on this."
"I'm not giving up Hicks!" He screamed in response.
"You're not getting a choice in this Chas." He replied. "I'm the coach here; I'm not letting you cripple yourself. They're already a man down; we can handle it from here."
Hicks signalled to the medical team to get onto the arena floor and help him to the back. Hicks left with him, leaving the other eight players to finish the game.
"One down four to go boys!" Ryker laughed as the doors closed, sealing them in.
"Right guys, Chas got us this far, let's not make his effort worth nothing." Ziggy told them, taking on the role of captain.
"Just let them get close enough for me to get a few shots in." Ross told him. "We'll soon be back on top."
"No, we don't want to play their game." Ziggy told him. "We've got the score even; all we need is to get the remaining two points. That's what'll really hurt them. Hit them where it hurts, up there on the score board!"
"Do you have any ideas?" Lee Forbes asked him. Ziggy smiled.
"I think I have an idea." He told them, gesturing for them all to huddle closer. "Listen, this is the play."
Summer arrived back in the Garage a little while later. She wanted to know how the rest of the game was going. She really wanted to be there for moral support for Ziggy and Chas, but being in such close proximity to Dillon just made it impossible for her to stay. She still couldn't understand what had happened between them. What could possibly have changed between them that had caused the rift?"
He had tried to talk to her, but any time he got close to her, all she could hear was the savageness in his voice, and the vindictiveness of his words. She couldn't push through how much it hurt to think of how he had spoken to her. He had said probably the one thing she wasn't sure she could forgive him for.
She had worked so hard in her therapy sessions. She had faced things that she had long since buried deep inside. Things so painful that it had taken everything she had to confront them and work through them. More than that, she had also given him something precious, something that for long enough she wasn't sure she could give to anyone. She loved him so much; she had been able to trust him completely with her heart and her body. He had been the first man she had ever made love to.
However, things just soured after that. Something about him had changed since he found out about Tenaya. He had accused her of betraying him by not telling him about her relationship with Ziggy. He had screamed at her at length about it, and in his anger had taunted her about the time she had spent in therapy.
Her head was pounding, and she could barely focus, the tension had gotten so intense. She went into the lab, hoping to find some headache tablets in the medication cabinet.
As she poured herself a glass of water to wash them down with, she noticed a report sitting on Dr. K's printer. Figuring it was probably something to do with the offensive they were planning on the Alpha Project factory; she picked it up and started reading.
Her headache got worse and she started stroking the bridge of her nose to try and focus. She wasn't sure what to make of what she was reading. Far from a tactical briefing, it was a medical report. More accurately, it was the readout from a fertility test.
Late in the second period, the Rockets managed to pull an equaliser, squaring the score at four all. Ziggy called all of the Warriors in for another huddle as the two minute warning sounded.
"Right, we only have time for one play before the end of the period." Ziggy told them. "I have an idea, but it's going to take all of us to make it work."
"What can we do?" Lee asked him. Ziggy thought about it for a second.
"Make sure you keep the defenders off me." Ziggy told them. "That only leaves the two forwards."
"I'm not allowed out of the scoring zone with the staff." Ross told him.
"Then ditch it. I'm going to need all the help I can get." Ziggy replied, signalling to the referees. One of the referees came in to take the staff away. "I need you to take care of the left scorer."
"But that leaves you with Ryker to take care of!" Ross questioned him. "Are you sure about this?"
"I'm sure about this." Ziggy replied with a smile. "Ryker's made it clear he doesn't think much of me. If I'm right, I can use that to get him to underestimate me."
The players took their positions, preparing for the launcher. The process seemed to take hours as the players prepared for the dying seconds of the period.
The launcher fired the ball out, almost directly into Ziggy's hands. He immediately switched around behind Ross, who barrelled forward, almost decapitating his man with a harsh lariat, sending him to the floor. Ziggy followed the big man as the Forbes brothers concentrated on the defenders. Ziggy circled round, running directly towards Ryker, who put his head down, rushing straight towards him.
Ziggy was hit hard with a body check, taking him to the ground. Ryker smirked at him, shoving his face aside as he laughed.
"Nice try Ranger boy!" He teased him. "You're nowhere near a match for me on this field!"
"Don't you think I know that?" Ziggy asked him, showing him his hands. Ryker's eyes opened wide as he saw that they were empty. "You've got to love sleight of hand."
Ryker turned around in time to watch Ross standing next to the last scoring pod. Ziggy had slipped him the ball when he ran behind him, but Ryker had been so focussed on Ziggy he hadn't noticed the switch. He clamped his hands over his face as Ross slammed the ball in, causing the final siren to sound seconds before the period ended.
The Warriors started the celebration as the Rockets left the arena, clearly disappointed at the loss. Hicks ran into the rink, breaking up the moment.
"Guys, we need to get going." He told them. "Chas was just arrested."
"What?" Ziggy asked him. "What for?"
"A considerable volume of narcotics and prescription pads were found in his car and his apartment." Hicks told them. "He was tested in the locker room by the military during the last period. He tested positive for dangerous levels of prescription painkillers."
"The press are here." Ziggy stated, pointing to the reporters swarming into the rink. "Come on, we need time to get our facts straight. Everyone into the locker room, no one talk to the press until we know what's going on."
Hicks and several soldiers escorted them past the press as questions were barked at them from all directions. Right now all they could do was try not to enflame the situation. All they could do was get out of there.
Up in the V.I.P. box, the Rangers started to file out of the room, leaving Mr. Winchester and Fresno Bob alone. Mr. Winchester looked at the mobster.
"So when exactly does this ingenious plan of yours take effect?" He asked him. "Chas' team won!"
"No one's going to care once they read the papers tomorrow." Fresno Bob informed him. "He's just been arrested for narcotics offences."
Mr. Winchester looked at him a little puzzled. Fresno Bob just smiled.
"The thing is, sometimes when people get hurt badly, they can start taking a few too many painkillers, especially when they have a busy schedule." Fresno Bob explained, taking out his ear piece. "He'll probably get a slap on the wrist and a stay in rehab since it is his first offence, but who do you think will really want a junkie for their mayor?"
"I think I underestimated you." Mr. Winchester said with a grin as one of the Cartel henchmen handed him a glass of champagne.
"Enjoy the rest of the election race." He replied, getting up to leave. "If you'll excuse me, I have some business to attend to."
Back at the Garage, Dillon arrived back with the others, finding Summer sitting in the main room, holding a report in her hand.
"Summer, are you alright?" Scott asked her, seeing the expression on her face. Summer shook her head gently.
"Dillon, could I speak to you for a minute?" She asked him. The others all made their excuses and left the room. Dillon approached her, smiling hopefully, though a little nervous.
"Summer, I'm glad..."
"I found this on Dr. K's printer." She interrupted him, handing him the report. Dillon sighed as he saw it. She knew about the tests.
"Is this what this is about?" She asked him. "It never clicked with me until I saw this, but all this started after I teased you about kids."
"Summer, I was scared." He told her. "I saw how much you loved holding that baby. I could tell how important it is to you to have a family. I just wasn't sure if that was something that would be possible. I'm still not sure how much of my body is biological."
"So you belittled everything I've been through for that?" She screamed, getting into his face. "You hurt me because you thought I was teasing you?"
"No, it wasn't anything to do with that." He replied. "I know what I did was hurtful, but I didn't want to risk you growing to resent me because I couldn't give you the life you wanted. I didn't want you to miss out because of me."
He took her hand in his, looking down at her, trying to catch her eyes.
"Flynn called me on it, and I explained. He convinced me to take some tests." He informed her. "He and Sam got these results. I'm really sorry about this; I didn't want to hurt you. I was just so scared you'd hate me, but now I know that I was worried for nothing."
"Flynn." She whispered, sniffing back some tears as she heard this. "You talked to Flynn and Sam about this?"
"Summer, there's nothing to worry about, we know that this isn't an issue." He told her. "I'm sorry, I know what I said was nasty and hurtful..."
"You don't get it do you?" Summer asked him. "You still think this is about kids?"
"Dillon, that was all just talk!" She yelled at him. "Every couple talks about stuff like that at times. Of course I want to start a family, but not right now!"
"Summer, I know that." He replied. "I know you want to wait..."
"Dillon, I want a family some day, and if they could be our kids, that would be even better." She interrupted him angrily. "But I'm not with you because I want kids! If we can have kids, I'd have been happy, but there are dozens of kids looking for a good home. I'm with you because I love you."
"Dillon, all of this just hurts too much." She interjected. "I can't think right now. All of this is just...I can't think straight."
"Summer, whatever you need me to say or do, I'll do it." He replied. Summer reached around behind the chair, picking up a duffle bag full of clothes. Dillon felt tears starting to form in his eyes as he saw this.
"All I can feel whenever I'm around you is angry and hurt and betrayed. I can't figure out what I want while I'm like that. I need to get some space." She told him. "I've got my morpher in case Dr. K needs to contact me, but I can't stay here."
"Summer, please don't do this." He begged her. "It can't end like this, please!"
"Please don't make this any harder than it already is." She asked him tearfully as she made her way towards the door. She stopped and turned back to him. "I'll be staying at my parent's apartment until I can straighten out my head. Please, if you love me, do me a favour. Don't try and follow me."
Dillon just ran his hands through his hair in frustration as he watched the woman he loved walking out the door. He slumped into the chair, feeling the tears beginning to overtake him. He loved her so much; he couldn't bear the thought of losing her. Right now though, he had no idea if she could ever forgive him.
A/N: Now that the season has FINALLY returned, I'll be able to get back to the action. Beginning with the next story, the assault on the Venjix factory. Hope you enjoyed the filler chapters.