Legal: I do not own Power Rangers or the associated names, characters, events etc. Anything not covered by these rights is to be presumed to be the creation of the author.
Rating: T – may be some mild adult themes.
A/N: With the season being held back AGAIN! (Grrrr!) I have one more filler piece I had in mind that I didn't think I'd have time for. Hope you all enjoy it.
The Rangers still knew something was coming. They didn't know what, but they knew that something big was coming. Dekker's little appearance gate crashing Ji's wedding had pretty much confirmed that the more powerful Nighlocks, the ones who had been laid low by Xandred's little 'temper tantrum' in their world were recovering. Dekker had been laid low by the Rangers themselves since then, but he was just as seriously injured as any of them when he left. If he was back, they were sure it wouldn't be long until they could expect Octoroo, or Dayu, or perhaps even Serrator himself to put in an appearance.
In the meantime, all the Rangers could do was make the best of things. Ji and Brenda were more than willing to forego a honeymoon, but at Jayden's insistence, they had been sent away for a long-weekend. Ji had friends in the countryside, friends who had similar protection on their lands as the Shiba House, and so he had opted to take Brenda there, leaving the Rangers to fend for themselves.
During this time, they all kept up their training, escalating it somewhat to combat the new threat. Between their decimation at Xandred's hands, and their hard lesson in taking their power for granted at the hands of their ancestors, they were more than painfully aware of the fact that they needed something new, something else to tip the war in their favour.
Mike and Emily took a little break from their hard work, heading inside to make everyone lemonade. The weather was starting to cool, and they knew the time would come soon that training outdoors wouldn't be an option, and they would be confined to the dojo once more, so they were taking advantage of the last of the summer. Mike gathered the lemons and the sugar, while Emily got together the equipment they needed.
"Say Mike, you remember running into Reece and Matthew?" She asked him. Mike smiled.
"How could I forget?" He chuckled, coming across with the ingredients. "They couldn't stop staring at you. I guess I can't blame them being sick with jealousy."
"Well, I don't think they were the only ones." Emily said, hiding a little blush. She did find it flattering that Reece and Matthew liked her. She knew they had been an important part of Mike's life. "I saw how you looked when you heard they were running that arcade."
"It actually got me thinking about the career fair and what Ji was saying to us all." Emily told him. "You know, about thinking about the future, and what we might like to do."
"Well, I know what I want to do." He told her, sweeping her in closely, holding her softly. He kissed her cheek gently as she tried in vain to carry on making the lemonade, giggling a little.
"Mike, this is serious." Emily continued. "I was thinking, there's something I've kind of been putting off, something I think you and the guys might be able to help me with."
"What's that?" Mike asked her.
"Well, the thing is, I never...learned how to drive." She informed him. Mike just let out a little bit of a laugh, but stopped when he noticed she wasn't laughing too.
"Wait, you're serious?" He asked her.
"Well, when Serena got sick, it kind of got dropped down to the bottom of the list of priorities." Emily explained as she looked a little sheepish about her admission.
"But, you took Ji's bike that time you went to fight Dekker when he took Serena." Mike reminded her.
"Yeah, getting a ticket wasn't really the first thing on my mind." She stated. "Look, I kind of know how to drive. I used to use vehicles on the farm, but that's private property. I didn't need a licence to drive there. I just never got around to learning properly and taking a test."
"Wow, I guess I never thought about it." Mike admitted.
"The thing is, once we're married, even if we do live in the city, I'll need to be able to drive to go and see my family." She stated. "So, I was wondering..."
"Hey guys, what's the hold-up?" Kevin asked as he came in, noticing them deep in conversation, the ingredients only partially prepared. "There are some hard-working Samurai out there dying of thirst."
"Sorry, we got to talking." Emily said apologetically. "I was just saying to Mike that I never got round to getting my driving licence."
"So, neither did he." Kevin replied with a shrug.
"Dude!" Mike blurted out. Emily's face lit up hearing this, turning to face him. Mike just looked to her, before breathing a sigh.
"I guess the sword and symbol power training weren't the only things I procrastinated on." Mike mumbled. Emily just shoved him.
"And you teased ME for not learning to drive!" She called out, before suddenly thinking about it. "Wait, that's a point. In two years, I've never ONCE seen you drive. That's why isn't it?"
"Alright, so I can't drive either." Mike answered. Kevin just shrugged.
"Well, I guess I have a bit of time on my hands." He told them. "I could always spare a bit of time getting you ready for a test."
"Wait, are you sure?" Mike asked him.
"Yeah, I passed first time." Kevin told them. "Now, if you're quite finished, there's still some very thirsty Samurai out there."
"Thanks Kevin!" Mike called after him. He and Emily just looked at each other.
"I guess I never thought about how useful it might be to know how to drive." He said with a shrug. "I mean, we could visit your parents, we could take little trips on the weekends..."
"Not to mention that when we finally do...you know...start a family, it might be handy if you could get me to the hospital." Emily suggested. Mike just smiled.
"Alright, let's get this dealt with." He told her. "Then we can go online and see what we need to do to get the ball rolling."
Meanwhile, outside, Kevin was just arriving as the others were finishing up.
"So, what's the hold-up with the lemonade?" Antonio asked, mopping himself down with a towel. "Are they waiting for the lemons to grow?"
"They got distracted." Kevin told them. "Don't worry, they're minds are back on the task at hand."
"Distracted?" Terry asked, cocking an eyebrow and chuckling a little. There had been a little bit of a change of mood since the wedding. The couples had all gotten a little caught up in the emotion, and there had been one or two 'lovey-dovey' moments in the house.
"No, it was nothing like that." Kevin assured him. "They were just talking about how either of them's learned to drive yet. I just told them I'd give them lessons."
Jayden, Antonio and Terry all looked to each other, giving each other wary looks, before turning back to him.
"What?" Kevin asked them.
"Um...don't you know that the one thing you shouldn't do is teach a friend how to drive?" Antonio asked him.
"Yeah, it's a pretty stressful thing." Terry answered. "My parents outright refused and got me a professional instructor."
"But why waste that money?" Kevin asked. "I passed my test first time. If they just do as I say..."
"Kevin, you know how close Ji and I are, and even HE needed to get a professional instructor to teach me." Jayden informed him. "He tried to teach me himself, but we ended up not speaking for days."
Before he could answer, Mia came bounding in the door with a huge smile on her face. She had gone to the doctor's office for her check-up. She smiled and showed them all an x-ray.
"Well, it's official." She told them excitedly, holding up her hand. "The original Pink Samurai's back with a clean bill of health!"
"Not a moment too soon either." Terry stated, unable to stop himself taking a look at Mia's x-ray for himself to confirm what she was telling them. "It's been cool being part of the team guys, but I think we all know which Watanabe you all want for the battles to come."
He took his Samuraizer off his belt, and handed it back to Mia, who hugged him tightly, smiling broadly.
"Thank you so much for standing in." She told him as they parted. "You don't know what it means to me what you did for the team."
"It was nothing." Terry assured. "I'm just glad I could do something for you. Besides, it was pretty cool being a Ranger, even if it was only for a short time."
"So, what else is happening?" Mia asked.
"Well, when they finally get round to it, Emily and Mike are going to bring us lemonade." Antonio told her. "Oh, and your future husband has made the brilliant decision to teach them how to drive."
"You...you did?" Mia asked, looking to Kevin. He just recoiled in response.
"What is the big deal?" He asked. Mia just looked to Terry, who just nodded morosely. They remembered their experiences with their family. Mia just sighed.
"Well, it's your funeral." She answered as Emily and Mike came out, with Serena who was busy getting ready to head out to Kieran's place. She always liked to get there before Spike, Cody and Bulk to warm up and prepare her lesson for the day. Mike set a tray with a couple of pitchers of lemonade and some glasses down on the table.
"There, drinks are served as promised." Mike told them, gesturing to the drinks. "Hey Mia, you're back."
"It didn't take long, the doctor was really happy with my results." Mia told them, presenting her Samuraizer. "Look who's back in action!"
"Mia, that's great!" Emily shrieked, immediately throwing her arms around her. Mike patted her on the shoulder, but Serena wasn't quite as quick to come across to congratulate her. She was, of course, happy that her best friend was fully healed, but it did also mean one thing that she hadn't wanted to think about. Now that Mia was back in action, there was no reason for Terry to hang around. She hadn't meant to make things so difficult between them, but thinking about all that had happened in the house, she couldn't imagine why he would want to stick around. She had certainly given him more than enough reasons to think that it wasn't worth the aggravation to hang around.
"Yeah, great to have you back." Serena finally managed to say, before looking to Terry. "You did a great job."
"I did what I could." Terry answered, pouring himself some lemonade, and taking a sip, before spitting it out almost as quickly. He looked to Antonio, who had much the same reaction.
"You guys did remember to put sugar in this right?" Antonio asked. Emily and Mike just looked to each other, before backing away towards the house.
"We'll uh..." Emily began. "We'll be right back with..."
Just then, the Gap Sensor sounded, drawing all their attention. Mia just sighed.
"What do you say Terry?" Mia asked. "Do you want one more turn?"
"I think the team's had the wrong Watanabe for a while." He answered. "I think it's time for you to get back into the saddle."
"That's not a bad idea." Jayden stated, checking his Samuraizer. "The Nighlock attack's over at the ferry port."
"Go Go Samurai!" They all called out, morphing into action. "Symbol Power Horse!"
They all leapt onto horses, all except Antonio, who still had his issues with hoses and opted for a motorcycle, heading out of the Shiba House. This left Serena and Terry alone in the house. Terry looked to Serena and shrugged.
"Well, I guess that leaves us on the bench." Terry stated.
"I guess so." Serena answered. She was more than a little used to it by now. Unlike Terry, who was only ever intended to be a stand-in, she was really meant to be the Yellow Ranger. Although she didn't really regret her decision to allow Emily to stay on, seeing how much she had gained from the experience, she did know what it was like to just sit back and watch the others run off, risking their lives for the world. Although Kasamune did give her some power, she had yet to finally harness it properly. Terry saw her looking at her, and waited for a while, before speaking.
"What?" He asked her.
"I'm sorry?" Serena said in response.
"You look like you want to say something." He stated. "Well...?"
"I think it's time I was going." She rushed out, picking up her bag. She knew what she wanted to ask him, she wanted to ask him if he was going to stay now that he no longer had to take up the morpher. She knew it was already too late for him to go back to medical school this term, but she guessed he probably had a lot of other stuff he could do with his time. She just couldn't bring herself to ask, partly because she feared the answer, and partly because she still couldn't bring herself to accept that maybe, just maybe, she was starting to think that Terry meant too much to her to risk opening her heart, only to have it taken from her again.
Watching her go, Terry just shook his head in confusion.
"No matter how long I live, I'll never figure her out." He commented, before a little smile crossed his lips. That was just the way he liked it. Taking a sip of lemonade, he spat it out on the lawn.
"OK, that DEFINITELY needs sugar." He spluttered, taking it back inside. "I guess I can make do with refreshments duty."
Over at the ferry port, some moogers were attacking the workers there. The Rangers rode out onto the pier, seeing that they had fortunately gotten word to the ferries coming in from Manalua, and so they were floating out in the ocean, safe from the Nighlock attack. They quickly dismounted and rushed to the attack.
"You, get to the warehouse and lock yourselves in." Mia told some of the workers as she cut down some moogers, clearing a path for them.
"Alright, there haven't been this many in quite a while." Mike chipped in. "I think we can safely say things are heating up again."
"Check that guy out." Kevin stated, pointing down the pier at a Nighlock, who stood waiting for them.
He stood at about eight feet tall, with a large, muscular build, standing with his hands on his hips. He had a bizarrely human face, with smooth, he dared say, handsome features. A domino mask covered his nose and eye region, and he flashed a toothy grin at them. Long hair billowed out behind him, along with a cape which whipped in the wind.
"Is he...is he wearing spandex?" Antonio asked. "That is SO ripping off our look!"
"Does he think he's Captain Marvel or something?" Mike chipped in, smashing some moogers into the sea.
"You have been a thorn in the side of Octoroo's side for too long foul humans!" The Nighlock declared in a baritone voice that made all of them stop and stare.
"OK, someone DEFINITELY has watched too many superhero movies." Emily stated. "Octoroo sent this freak?"
"Fine, then we send him back!" Jayden called out, running in to attack him, swinging his Spin Sword in practiced arc. The Nighlock dodged this way and that, before catching the blade in his bare hand. Jayden just looked at him, dumbstruck.
"You think you are a match for me?" He asked. "Now, you'll find out what my true power is." He then stuck Jayden in the chest with his free hand, sending him flying the entire length of the pier, into a warehouse where he smashed through the wall.
"OK, I think we can safely say he's strong." Mike stated. The Nighlock seemed to almost take this as a challenge, grabbing Jayden's Spin-Sword in both hands, before tying it into a knot with ease.
"OK, he's definitely strong." Kevin agreed, drawing his Hydro Bow. He fired it, but before the arrows could even hit, he found the Nighlock disappearing. It appeared right behind him.
"Time for you to feel my true power." He replied, grabbing Kevin, and sending energy coursing through him. The Blue Ranger fell to the ground unconscious.
Mia, Emily, Mike and Antonio had seen enough and ran forward, all taking out their frustrations on him. The Nighlock, however, seemed to be able to avoid most of their attacks, and those he didn't, had no effect at all by the looks of things. Grabbing Antonio, he sent him tumbling backwards, energy crackling around him. Mia could barely cry out when she did the same.
Mike and Emily teamed up, powering up their Spin Swords, attacking him, but again it seemed like he didn't flinch. Grabbing them both by the throat, he just smiled. His energy flared up once more, before he threw them both down, smashing them through the pier and into the ocean.
"My work here is done!" He declared in his heroic baritone, striking another pose. "And not a moment too soon, I'm drying out. To the Netherworld!"
He flew off, disappearing from sight as Mike and Emily got to the shore, climbing out. Mike helped Emily out of the water, onto the pier.
"Are you guys alright?" Kevin asked them as he and Mia came over to help them. Mike just nodded.
"We got our bells rung pretty good, but we'll be..."
They all looked around in horror as they saw a warehouse collapsing. Realising it was the one that Jayden had been thrown into, they all started to panic.
"Jayden!" Antonio yelled as they all ran towards the rubble. He fell to his knees, beginning to struggle with the rubble, throwing some pieces aside. "Guys, we need to..."
"Jayden's fine." Mia told him.
"No, Jayden's fine." She assured them. They all looked to her. "I just know it."
"Mia, this is no time for..."
Just then, the rubble started to move. A moment later, they all had to move as a huge section of wall toppled over, and Jayden stepped out, dusting himself off.
"I take it the Nighlock's gone." He surmised.
"When the building fell, I must have got caught in a pocket or something." Jayden told them. "So, what...?"
"Jayden...how did you do that?" Antonio asked him.
"Do what?" Jayden asked with a shrug. "I just moved a..."
His words tailed off as the others parted ways and pointed to the section of wall Jayden had just thrown off himself. It was massive, and clearly had to weigh at least a few tons. Jayden's jaw just hung open.
"Even morphed we can't do stuff like that." Emily told him. "Hell, I'd have difficulty moving that with my Symbol power."
"OK, something weird is definitely going on." Mike commented. Just then they heard some sirens.
"We'll need to figure this out back home." Jayden told them. "Come on guys, these people will be safe now."