How to Breathe (and Other Useful Skills)
Disclaimer: Hi. I don't own the Power Rangers RPM.
Right. So. Basically, nothing happens in this. There will be several chapters, but they will be filled with little to no suspense, just a hellova lot of hurt/comfort, flirting, team bonding, and sleeping. Oh, will there be sleeping. Anyway, the story isn't explicitly slashy, per say, but it ismeant to be leaning in that direction, so here's your warning if you can't abide slash at all. I'll give another disclaimer if/when it does evolve from hinting to reality.
It starts after a rather anticlimactic battle with the latest Venjex attack-bot. The power rangers are heading back to their cars, victorious as usual, when Ziggy starts to feel a bit light-headed. He's lagging behind the group, having been the unfortunate victim of the bot's failed attempt at using its main weapon. The offender had looked a bit like a mix between an elephant and a trash can and had used its long, nose-like contraption to shoot a powerful, but ultimately harmless, gust of air at Ziggy. Losing his untied shoe from the sudden burst had been the only setback and the rest of the rangers had managed to overpower the attack-bot and destroy it before it even had a chance to upgrade. Heck, Ziggy hadn't even morphed.
Having finally located his wayward shoe in the aftermath, Ziggy begins jogging back to join the group when the dizziness hits. He stumbles a bit and stops moving to take a few deep breaths, trying to clear his head. The tightness in his chest is growing when he hears footsteps approaching.
"Ziggy? You alright?" says Summer, placing a soothing hand on his back as he gasps for breath.
Body loosening perceptibly, Ziggy lets out a sigh. "Yeah, yeah I'm fine, must be the heat. Only a momentary glitch," he tells her, and it's true. He's starting to feel a bit better already, head clearing and breaths evening out.
Summer watches him closely as they rejoin the team, but soon seems satisfied that he isn't going to pass out and hops on her motorcycle shouting, "Race ya!" to Flynn.
Dillon gives him a questioning look, one that he's perfected in a way that lets him convey worry for another person while still maintaining an air of nonchalance. How he does it, Ziggy would kill to know.
"What? A guy can't suffer a little heat stroke in peace?" he jokes and Dillon drops the subject, sinking into his car and waiting patiently for Ziggy to do the same.
Back at the garage, the group splits up. Gem and Gemma shoot straight for K's lab, babbling about rotors and chutes and vacuum spaces. Ziggy gives up following the conversation, instead heeding the magnetic call of the refrigerator. Maybe after he gets some food in his system (that isn't the can of soda and bag of chips he had for breakfast), he'll be up to joining the others in the gym. Well, up to watching while they spar. The Green Ranger isn't really into the whole "expanding energy unnecessarily", if he can get away with it.
Ziggy still feels a bit unsettled by the occurrence earlier. It had been strange, like he was suddenly lacking in something he desperately needed. It had disappeared quickly enough, though, and he'd felt fine during the ride home so he puts it out of his mind.
Flynn sees his intent and veers abruptly on his way to the exercise room, ignoring Scott's disapproval. "I'll be there in a mo'," he announces, waving a hand dismissively. Ziggy can see Dillon grinning behind the Blue Ranger and changing his direction as well, no doubt in an attempt to get under Scott's skin.
Making a tsk-ing noise, Ziggy feigns superiority as he tells them, "Well I never! I wouldn't dream of skiving off on a workout just to satisfy my stomach." He's getting mustard on his fingers as he says it, the bottle overflowing and oozing out as he twists it closed. "Pass the ham, would you?"
Sidling up with the requested meat, Dillon bumps their hips companionably and then again a bit rougher just to see Ziggy squawk. "K wants me to check the Southeast border today if there aren't any more emergencies; said some workers have been complaining about potential threats in the wall stability. Want to come?"
There are few things Ziggy likes more than a three-cheese, double-decker, ham-salami-mustard sandwich. Cruising with Dillon in his beloved car makes that short list by a wide margin. "Only if I get to pick the music."
"In your dreams, Green."
Ziggy sighs dramatically, still perfecting his creation. "I suppose I can make an exception. This time." He collects a smear of mustard from the plate and sucks on it while turning to give Dillon an assessing look. "You're lucky my schedule is free," he tells him, garbling the words around his finger.
There's an odd pause in the banter during which Ziggy waits expectantly for a comeback and Dillon only stares at him with bizarre intent. Ziggy raises his eyebrows at the Ranger, removing the digit from his mouth with a pop to wave at him. Blinking rapidly a few times, Dillon finally says, "You're lucky my passenger seat doesn't have an eject button."
"You're lucky I have a soft spot for brooding robots."
"You're lucky I like having you around enough that I can overlook your absurd penchant for mustard."
"And I'm lucky you're both so in love that no one notices when I finish off the apple juice," chimes Flynn loudly, expression caught somewhere between exasperation and amusement. He's lounging against the sink, almost empty juice jug in one hand.
"Hey!" exclaims Ziggy, lunging for the last gulp. Apple juice is like coffee in the Ranger garage. All of them drink it, even Dr. K. Speaking of… "K's going to be livid when she finds out," the Green Ranger tells Flynn as he grapples futilely for the bottle.
"Good point," responds Flynn. He downs the last of the juice to the sound of Ziggy whining and tosses the jug in the recycling bin. "Which is why I'm not going to be here when she finds out." Saluting Dillon, he adds, "I'll let Scott know you'll be joining us when you finish making out with your boyfriend!"
Flynn trots away chuckling after dodging a half-hearted swipe from Dillon. The Black Ranger makes a rude gesture at his back causing Ziggy to stifle a laugh of his own. "With all the making out he alleges we get up to, it is all the more depressing that I haven't locked lips with anyone since joining this team."
Snorting, Dillon says, "And who would you kiss? K?"
"She'd likely relieve me of the burden of possessing testicles if I tried." He turns thoughtful. "Though I might have taken a shot with your sister if she hadn't turned out to be certifiably evil."
"I'd be obligated to kick your ass then."
"Try me, tough guy. I've got moves so awesome they'll make you weep."
By the time he and Ziggy finish an absurd conversation about the difference between ninja moves and karate, Dillon has already missed most of the workout Scott had planned. He shows up for the last bit, getting some stretching in and a few reps on the free weights. Scott gives him a look when he arrives, but Dillon just shrugs. "What? I was busy."
"Mmhmm," responds the Red Ranger skeptically.
Dillon rolls his eyes. "When did this 'after battle exercise routine' become mandatory again?"
"Oh, it's not," Scott and Flynn are both smirking hugely, though Scott is doing his best to keep a straight face. "If you and Ziggy needed some quality alone time, all you had to do was say so."
Sometimes Dillon hates his friends. Though possibly he should stop encouraging them. He's been getting a few grumpy looks from Summer as of late (another thing he should really deal with soon) every time Blue or Red crack a joke about he and Ziggy, but egging them on has never seemed to bother Ziggy and it's just so much fun.
"In that case," he tells them while lying on his back to stretch his legs, "You should probably be warned that the kitchen counters are going to need a good scrub down before they'll be sanitary enough for food again."
He considers adding a leer to this statement, but he's pretty sure he got the point across well enough because Flynn is exclaiming, "Oh, mate, I did not need that mental image," and Scott is rolling his eyes and exiting the gym.
After a few rounds of sparring, Flynn calls it quits and Dillon accepts, though he hasn't even broken a sweat yet. He waits for Flynn to grab his towel and they exit the training room together. The main part of the garage is strangely peaceful and Dillon mentally catalogues where the other team members are—lab doors closed, clanking noises coming from within, indicates that K, Gem, and Gemma are tinkering with some new device; the sound of a shower running is probably Scott; Summer is on a weekly phone call to her folks; and Ziggy… Dillon feels instantly unsettled. Ziggy should have been the first person he noticed. The Green Ranger isn't prone to things like 'alone time' or 'peace and quiet'. If everyone else was busy, Ziggy should have shown up at the gym, badgering Flynn and Dillon as they sparred. However, there had been no sign of the ranger. Dillon tries to shake off the weird feeling that something is amiss.
His instincts prove correct as he and Flynn turn into the small kitchen area. Ziggy is slumped against the refrigerator, clutching his chest and breathing hard.
"What's wrong?" he asks, immediately at the Ranger's side. Ziggy shakes his head weakly and then, alarmingly, his eyes roll back and Dillon has to reach out to catch him as Ziggy tips forward, a dead weight in his arms.
"I'll get the doc," says Flynn, panicked. Dillon works to hold his own dread at bay as he scoops up the Green Ranger and carries him towards the lab.