Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with Power Rangers. It's not my toy box, I'm merely playing. Also I don't own anything to do with BTVS, which is mentioned.
AN: Much thanks to M14Mouse and Pockythoughts who helped me when I was trying to think of Spike's real name.
A/N2: Because for every explanation that makes sense there should be some crack too. Melissa is the girl who helped during "Different Drum" and I couldn't resist putting her with Jason after seeing how frustrated he was when he couldn't understand her. Also this piece takes place over several years, starting with LG and ending with S.
Warning: This fic contains het, slash and femslash. Any of that gonna bother you please hit the back button! Thank you! Also this contains spoilers for Power Rangers Samurai and also touches on WF, DT, SPD and OO.
Hayley stared down at her hands. She closed her eyes tightly and counted to ten. She forced herself to take a deep breath and take in her parents reactions. She wanted to scream at the smile she saw on her mom's face.
"What are you going to do?" her father demanded.
"I'm nearly finished with college," Hayley pointed out, "I'm not going to let this stop me."
"With a baby?" her mother asked, concern filling her voice.
"There's always adoption," her father pointed out.
Her mother frowned, looked like she wanted to cry, "I've been looking forward to grandchildren."
Hayley counted to ten again in her head, rubbed her forehead and told them, "This is my baby. I will be keeping him or her and I will also be finishing school. I know it won't be easy, but that's what I'm going to do."
"Who's the father?" her mother asked.
"That's not important," Hayley told them.
"Not important?" her father glared.
"Look, it was just a fling when I was visiting Melissa in Angel Grove. I got lost the one day, he was nice," she explained, "It…I can't see trying to actually try long term with him and I'm not going to ask him to change his whole life over a fling."
"Don't you think that's taking on too much?" her father tried.
"What if he wants to help?" her mother asked.
"I've made up my mind."
"Tommy you really didn't need to help me," Hayley said as she unlocked the door to her apartment. She frowned as she took it in, "What happened here?"
"You're dad came in and paid your roommates to leave and then asked a few of us to fix it up for you," Tommy explained.
Hayley carefully set her son, safely in his car seat, down so she could turn and glare at Tommy, "I can't afford this place."
Tommy held up his hands, "Hey, I just helped. I moved things where they told me to move things and I lifted boxes. The nursery looks good though."
"I have a nursery?" Hayley said, before she looked down at her son, "I wasn't gone that long."
Tommy shrugged, "You know Isaac Albert Ziktor pretty much guarantees he's going to get a nickname."
"Isaac works," Hayley told him as she went to grab her phone.
Tommy shrugged and worked Isaac out of his car seat and held him close, "Well when you're done yelling at your dad for paying your rent up for the rest of the year and getting your friends to fix this place up so it was suitable for a baby, let me know, cause I'm still having some trouble with my…"
Hayley set the phone down and turned to look at him.
"What?" Tommy asked, trying to give her an innocent look.
"Go," she told him with a shake of her hand, "Living room, somewhere. We'll do tutoring in a minute. Thank you for bringing me home from the hospital."
"Tommy, I'm fine."
"He looks like Skull," Rocky commented.
Tommy frowned confused. Adam paused to poke Tommy.
"He does!" Rocky defended, "You can't tell me he doesn't look like a mini-Skull."
Tommy stared at the two year-old who was trying to get the hang of eating his ice cream cone.
"Tommy?" Adam asked.
"Rocky's right about this one."
"It's the hair," Tommy shrugged, "but that's not a whole lot to go on."
"Isaac, can I borrow your ice cream cone?" Rocky asked.
Isaac looked at his ice cream cone a moment before handing it to Rocky. Rocky grinned and handed the cone to Adam. Then Rocky was tickling Isaac, making him shriek with laughter.
"He sounds like Skull too," Adam pointed out.
"Did you have fun with your friends?" Hayley asked as she pulled her sleeping boy off Tommy.
Tommy blinked at her groggily from, where he and Isaac had fallen asleep on the couch, "They think he looks like Skull."
"Skull?" Hayley asked with a frown.
"Yeah," Tommy said, "I told them they were crazy. You said his dad's name was Gene."
Hayley laughed as her three year old waved another toy at her.
"Where did you find that?"
Hayley set it on a nearby shelf, "You have enough toys."
Hayley kneeled down and smiled at him, "Isaac…"
"Spike," the little boy insisted.
Hayley smiled, "You still want me to call you Spike?"
"Yes!" he insisted.
"Okay, Spike," Hayley said, holding in her laughter and shaking her head, "We're here to look for a wedding shower present for Uncle Jason and Aunt Melissa."
There was a crash. They turned to take in several fancy water cans littering the ground and a man who looked just like her son staring at them.
"Gene," Hayley greeted.
"Hayley," Skull managed, then he frowned, "Most of my friends call me Skull."
"Yeah, it's from my last name."
"I'm Spike!" her son grinned.
"It's actually Isaac," Hayley said, "I think when Uncle Tommy visits Uncle Rocky they watch a little too much Buffy."
"I enjoy watching Buffy," her son told her seriously, before he pointed out, "I haven't had a nightmare since 'School Hard'.
"He's obsessed with Spike and wearing black now."
Skull's smiled widened, "Like black myself."
Skull looked from her son to her then back to her son, "We need to talk, don't we?"
Hayley turned down the volume of the TV as Skull joined her on the couch. She leaned in as he sat down, let him pull her close, "He all tucked in?"
"Closing his eyes, bed time story all read," Skull reassured.
Hayley smiled. A part of her was still amazed at how quickly Skull had wormed his way into their lives, picking up as though he'd always been there.
"Thank you for stopping at the day care today," Hayley told him, "Something came up with Tommy and he needed some last minute help before he went on vacation."
No need to tell Skull that it wasn't really a vacation, but a trip to the moon. Or that she hadn't been helping Tommy pack…
"Yeah, Rocky mentioned it," Skull said, "Said he was planning on going…"
"Aisha picked a hell of a time to go into labor," Hayley nodded.
Skull laughed, "He said he was on his way out the door when her water broke."
Hayley shook her head, "Impeccable timing."
They lapsed into a comfortable silence, watched the TV for a moment before Hayley tilted her head and asked, "What did Spike's teacher's want…I just called him Spike without him wanting it…this is your fault."
"He likes Spike," Skull pointed out, "I don't see what's wrong with Spike."
Hayley's eyes narrowed.
"They don't know what to do with him," Skull told her, changing subjects.
"They what?" Hayley demanded, focused changed, "He's only three!"
"Apparently they've taught him everything they can and they don't have anything left so they don't know what to do with him. They actually suggested he start kindergarten a year early."
Hayley sighed and ran a hand through her hair, "He's intelligent, but I'm not sure he'd want to start school early."
"Ask?" Skull suggested.
Hayley rolled her eyes at the big eyes expression Skull was giving her, "That's what I planned to do, talk to him about it."
Skull nodded, smiling as he brushed a hair out of her face. Hayley paused. She caught his hand and pointed out, "We would not be easy."
She frowned, looked at the TV, not quite sure how to voice her protests.
"Wouldn't be the first time I pined for the girl in love with Tommy," Skull pointed out.
Hayley cracked a smile and Skull poked her playfully. She shook her head, "You're not pining for me."
"I…" Skull shrugged.
"You can't always fit family in a neat little box," she told him.
Skull let his head rest against the back of the couch, "I'm not even sure if he is interested."
Hayley laughed, "Trust me, when he thinks no one is looking Adam can't take his eyes off you."
Skull smirked, "Tommy's got it bad for you."
Hayley shook her head, "He's still hesitant."
"His last two girlfriends got together," Skull pointed out, "Doesn't exactly boost a guys confidence."
"Kim and Kat love each other," Hayley pointed out.
"They do," Skull agreed, "But they both burned Tommy and the guy can be kinda dense. You're probably gonna have to make the first move."
Hayley laughed and shook her head, snuggling into Skull, "You're a good friend, you know that?"
"I try," Skull smiled.
Hayley glanced up at him, "One last question before we start the movie."
"Who's Uncle Bulk?"
Rocky knocked before he slipped inside the room, "About ready?"
Skull tilted his head, straightened Adam's tie and then smiled before he left them alone. Rocky found a place to sit down. Aisha was gonna glare throughout the whole ceremony if he wasn't able to figure out and fix what was bothering Adam.
"I can't believe Kim and Kat are finally getting married," Adam commented.
"I can't believe Tommy agreed to be in the wedding party," Rocky joked.
"He's their friend," Adam said, "Loves them enough to want them to be happy."
"I want you to be happy," Rocky blurted out.
Adam frowned, "I am. Even more so now that Tommy and Hayley are together and we aren't being recruited into another one of Kim and Kat's schemes to be them together."
"What about you and Skull?"
"What about us?" Adam asked with a frown as he glanced away.
"Aisha and I just want to know what's up with our best friend," Rocky pointed out, "We're worried about you."
"You're upset about something and you won't say."
"I…" Adam paused and frowned, "I really like…I just…Spike called me dad."
"Rocky, this is serious," Adam frowned.
"That kid loves you, that kid's always loved you."
"But I've always been an uncle," Adam pointed out, "Tommy's always been the one he called dad and then Skull realized he had a kid and he became a father, but…I'm just…it's a bit more responsibility than I first throught about."
Rocky grabbed Adam by the shoulders and forced him to stop pacing, "Do you love Spike?"
"He's wonderful," Adam told him, "One of the smartest kids I've ever met, of course I love him."
"Do you love Skull?"
Adam nodded, "He makes me happy."
"Then stop over thinking this."
"I…but I don't want to hurt either one of them."
"You will if you let yourself get overwhelmed to the point that you're over thinking this."
Hayley sat back as she watched Skull pace, "I'm worried too."
"I've lived in the city getting attacked by monsters," Skull told her, "the one being defended by the Power Rangers."
"I know it's dangerous to be in Reefside right now," Hayley tried and frowned as the thought about the risk for her son, "I just got my business going and…"
"I'm not asking you to leave," Skull broke in, "I know you can't."
"I can't," Hayley agreed.
"But Spike could be somewhere safe," Skull pointed out.
Hayley opened her mouth to protest and then closed it.
"Just…just until these monsters are gone," Skull told her, "I…I can't think of anything bad happening to him."
"I guess it would be safer for him to be in Angel Grove," Hayley agreed, "but he's my son."
"Mine too," Skull pointed out, "And also Tommy's and Adam's."
Hayley wet her lips. She couldn't believe she was considering this.
Skull took a slow deep breath and told her, "You can't leave cause you're helping and Tommy can't leave because he's black."
"Besides knowing Billy, you're the smartest person I know," Skull told her, "You're probably even smarter than Billy, but don't tell him I said that."
Hayley shook her head, "I think we might be equally smart."
Skull shrugged, "I also took Jason's classes when I was younger, didn't get very far, but watching him teach Spike and watching Adam, Tommy and a lot of your other friends teach him, or spar each other, you learn to recognize someone's fighting style and…that's Tommy in black."
"What are you saying Skull?" Hayley frowned.
"I'm just saying that I understand why you and Tommy can't leave, but why I think it would be safer if Spike did."
Spike hovered, not sure what to say, not sure what to ask. He watched as his father ran a frustrated hand through his hair and clicked the TV over to the news. He hesitated, glancing at the table that still needed to be cleared off, the table set for two.
Where was Adam?
"Where's Dad?" he asked.
Spike cringed, he'd meant to ask slowly, carefully and it had just come out. His father turned to him and Spike wanted to cringe again at the look of pain and concern he saw on his father's face. His father opened his arms and Spike rushed over to hug him, not protesting when he was pulled into his father lap.
"I…" Skull frowned and stared at the TV, "I'm not sure it's my place to tell you."
"Did he leave?" Spike asked, trying not to cry.
"No," Skull told him, "Adam will be back."
His father didn't sound convinced.
"Then why are you so jumpy all the time," Spike asked, "You're always trying to watch the news and you're always on edge and I don't understand why except that he's not here."
Skull stared, eyes darting over his face before he nodded, "If I tell you, you can't tell anyone."
Skull pointed at the TV. Spike turned as he took in the mismatched team over Power Rangers that had taken over for Operation Overdrive.
"Adam's in black."
"Hey," Justin greeted softly as he entered the room. He watched Spike peek out from under his covers, then pull them back up.
"Adam called me," Justin tried as he sat down carefully on the bed.
"It's not fair!" Spike told him.
"No," Justin told him, "It's not."
The covers came down and Spike stared at him with a tear-streaked face.
"I was twelve when I started high school," Justin pointed out.
"It's was two whole grades!" Spike pointed out, before fresh tears streamed down his face, "I'm smaller than everyone."
"I was too. It sucks."
"Do they ever stop mocking you?"
Justin frowned, "Some days are better than others."
Spike swiped at the tears in his eyes, "I wish I was stupid."
"You'll get through this," Justin pointed out.
"Want to see if we can get Storm Blaster to take us to the moon?" Justin tempted.
Spike smiled slightly.
"I think he would," Justin smiled.
"Can we take Bridge?" Spike asked.
"He's the kid of one of the future rangers my parents are working with," Spike explained.
"Hayley and Tommy?" Justin asked.
"Yeah, SPD," Spike said, "They're so working on a morpher project. Just don't tell them that I know."
Justin smiled and shook his head, "And Bridge is how old?"
"He's three, but he's totally gonna end up being smart than I am."
"I only turned my back for a moment," Tommy stressed.
Hayley frowned, "He knows better than to get into my experiments."
Spike looked up at them from the corner of the couch he had curled into, "How bad is this gonna hurt?"
"We hadn't found a way to make it temporary yet," Hayley told him.
"I know," Spike told him.
"They why?" Tommy asked.
"So I can look like I belong in high school!" Spike regretted the words as soon as they were out of his mouth. His parents looked so hurt. Spike starred down at his hands, "I knew your experiment would age me about three to four years and I'm tired of looking younger than everyone."
"You are younger than your classmates," Tommy pointed out.
Spike stared down at his hands, wondering how much bigger they would get, "I'm tired of looking younger."
Hayley nodded, "We can move."
"What?" Tommy asked.
"It's the beginning of summer," Hayley pointed out, "We can move closer to Adam and Skull, cut down on our drive time into New Tech and give Spike a fresh start at a new school."
Spike sat up, eyes widening in hope.
"You're still in trouble," Hayley pointed out.
They were trapped. The foot-soldiers hadn't ventured into the cave yet, but he and the pink ranger were trapped. Her weapon was jammed and Spike reached into his bag, surprised he'd managed to hold onto it, and relieved that he still had his tool kit in it.
Spike wet his lips, worried as she positioned herself between him and the opening of the cave, her stance protective.
He'd have to give up his carefully constructed persona if he helped. Spike took a deep breath, wished for the best and told her, "I can fix it."
She turned her head.
"You're weapon," he clarified, "I can fix it."
She tensed, but said nothing.
"It's not exactly a blade blaster, but I'm sure I can figure it out," he teased.
"I've taken the Quantum Defender and put it back together," he reassured.
"Time Force," he tried, "the Quantum Ranger's weapon."
She looked down at her weapon and cautiously held it out to him. He began working on it the moment he had it. He glanced up when he realized she was taking off her helmet. He blinked. He knew her, vaguely.
"Mia?" he guessed.
"Spike," she greeted with a frown, "You're supposed to be stupid."
Spike smiled faintly, "I know. It's easier to blend in."
"My mom was the tech for the Dino Thunder team," he said.
"You're changing the subject."
He glanced at her, not wanting to explain.
"Can you fight?"
"My dads taught me and some of my uncles," Spike said, "Though I've kinda inherited my father's klutz factor."
"My mom has a husband and so does my biological father," Spike explained.
She nodded and glanced towards the entrance. He held out her weapon. She put her helmet back on, tested her weapon and thanked him.
"You're welcome," Spike smiled, "Ready to get out of here."
She nodded, "Stick close to me as much as possible."
He followed her out, fighting when attacked.
"Doing good," she encouraged.
"Yeah, sure," he grumbled, "I've got about two more moves before my klutz factor kicks in."
He lasted six more moves before he tripped over his own feet and went down hard. She hauled him to his feet and warned him, "Going to teleport us out of here."
Spike sat back in his chair as he listened to his parents discuss moving, a way to keep him safe. He gripped the side of his chair. Did they really want to live?
"We could always go to New Tech," Adam suggested, "It would cut down on the drive for Hayley and Tommy."
"I'm sure they'd hire you," Tommy pointed out to Adam.
"I could ask for a transfer," Skull put in.
Spike looked up. They could really make this happen.
"I don't see why you couldn't get a job at SPD too," Hayley told Skull, "We are a police force after all."
"I can't," Spike told them.
Adam was the only one who stopped contributing and regarded him. Spike frowned. Adam mouthed 'louder' at him and Spike felt his frown melt away as he nodded.
"I can't," he tried again, a bit louder this time.
They all stopped and turned.
"It's be safer," Tommy pointed out.
"Maybe we could get Bulk to go with us," Spike suggested.
"You're friends can come visit, it'd be safer for them too," Hayley tried to reassure.
"I'm not giving you reasons I don't want to move," Spike pointed out, "I said I can't."
Spike sat back as they continued looking at him in silence. It was confession time he realized.
"You remember how I said the pink ranger saved me? I kinda downplayed my helping. I fixed her weapon and they've kinda had me helping fix other things and building thing and…" Spike stared down at his plate.
"You're a tech," Hayley said.
Spike looked up. He stared. They looked proud of him. He squirmed, "I'm actually working on a way to unfreeze Jayden and Mike right now."
"Go," Adam encouraged, "You're allowed to miss dinner for saving the world."
Spike smiled, nodded and pulled out his communicating device. He pressed the button that would teleport him to his team.