Gasping loudly, Jayden was pulled from his nightmare and shot straight up. He panted heavily, hoping to catch his breath while Antonio rolled over and flicked on the lamp. Blinded by the light, he squinted as he turned to Jayden.
"Are you okay?"
Jayden nodded his head, "Bad dream. Mia's dad…"
"Not a nightmare," Antonio sighed. He sat up and leaned against the headboard, "It happened."
"I saw it happen again," Jayden said. He turned and looked to Antonio, "I saw it all over again."
Antonio wrapped his arms around Jayden. The red Ranger tried to stay strong and willed himself not to cry. It wasn't his place to cry. That right belonged to Mia, and she was nowhere to be found. The Samurai had tried well into the night to come up with a plan to find her and bring her home, but ultimately had come up with nothing good. They decided to sleep on it, hoping something better would come in the morning.
"It's okay to be upset," Antonio gently stroked Jayden's back as he held him, "That was… tragic."
"I shouldn't have let him come with us."
"Jay, you heard him. This was something he wanted to do. He wanted to take Mia's place."
"He'd still be alive if I had refused to let him come," Jayden shook his head.
"Dayu would have grabbed someone else. Knowing Mia, she still would have made a deal. Dayu still would have betrayed us. In a way, we're lucky we're not dead."
"Lucky," Jayden scoffed, "That's the word I would use right now. Mia's father's dead and she's with the monster who murdered him. She could be dead too! She could have spilled all our secrets and Dayu could have killed her too!"
"Mia's stronger than that. Jayden, you have to trust your team. Mia had a plan, we can be sure of that."
"And her plan involved her father dying?"
"She's not going to say anything. She tried to save his life. Jayden, its okay. Dayu will get what's coming to her. You saw Kevin, he's pissed. She won't know what hit him, once he gets his hands on her."
"Ji's practically on his deathbed, so is Kate. Serena's terrified of Serrator. Emily's pregnant. Mia's gone. Her dad's dead. What kind of team am I leading?"
"I think we're an amazing team," Antonio said. "We're hitting a few speed bumps, but we'll get through them. We always do."
"There's a first time for everything."
"Except giving up. We won't give up," Antonio kissed Jayden's forehead, "Get some sleep, okay? I'll be right here."
Jayden nestled into Antonio's arms, hoping he could keep the nightmares away for the rest of the night. Antonio wanted to sleep as well, but he couldn't close his eyes. He too had had a nightmare reliving Simon's murder. He looked out the window, up at the moon and sighed.
Something wet licked Kevin's face, pulling him from his sleep. Lifting his hand, he swatted Storm away and sat up, only to find Mike and Emily were both in his room.
"I made you breakfast," Emily held out a tray with a big breakfast for Kevin. Pancakes, fruit salad and a protein shake, everything Kevin loved to eat in the morning. A breakfast he claimed spoiled him. Mike had a different version of a delicious breakfast, which included a lot more maple syrup and protein in the form of greasy bacon, but he knew what made his best friend happy.
Kevin looked at the breakfast as it was placed on his lap, and then looked up at Emily, "Stop smiling. Mia was your best friend."
"Mia is my best friend. She's not dead."
"No, but her father is, and where is she?" Kevin muttered. He leaned back, away from the tray, "I'm not hungry."
"We made this especially for you. We even got up early to do it," Emily said. "I cut up all the fruit myself, and Mike made the pancakes from scratch, and we used your special scale."
"I'm not hungry."
"Doesn't matter, dude. We're going to save Mia today and you need all the energy you can get."
"You're going to be her rock," Emily beamed.
"I shouldn't have let her go," Kevin shook his head.
Mike chuckled, "You didn't. You tried to stop her, remember? Now eat up. I'm sure prince charming or the knights in shining armour or whoever saves the princess eats a gourmet breakfast before slaying the dragon."
"Are the fathers dead in fairy tales?"
"Why do you think step-mothers are so evil?" Emily nodded her head. "C'mon, Kevin, don't sulk. Mia wouldn't want you to sulk. Your dad's not dead. She needs you. Get up! Get up! Get up!"
She grabbed his legs and started to shake them, threatening to spill his breakfast. Kevin didn't seem motivated to move at all. Emily crossed her arms over her chest, "Alright, fine then, sour puss, I'll go be prince charming or whatever, and I'll save Mia. I'll bet no one's heard that fairy tale before."
"Dude, she'll do it," Mike looked to Kevin a little worriedly, "Baby and all. It's bad enough Mia's dad's dead, do you want to kill our child too?"
"Hey, I said I was going to rescue Mia," Emily looked to Mike and pouted, "Why do you always jump to worst case scenario?"
"Because I'm the worried father to be," Mike shrugged his shoulders, "Honestly, Em, if I'm not going to worry, who will?"
"Certainly not Kevin," Emily turned back to the blue Ranger, "C'mon, Kev! Last night you were all fight. Now you're… kind of stinky. You didn't even shower, did you."
"Leave me alone."
"Fine," Emily huffed. She grabbed his bowl of fruit, "You sulk all you want, then. Baby and I will save Mia, we'll get true love's first kiss, and then we'll live happily ever after. C'mon, loyal steed, someone will have to carry us off into the sunset."
Emily walked out of the room, with Storm at her feet, begging for Kevin's fruit. If he wasn't going to eat them, she would.
Mike looked to Kevin, shaking his head sadly in disappointment, "Dude, I know this is rough, but you can't…"
"We couldn't come up with a single good idea last night, Mike. She's screwed!"
"Because you're giving up! We rescued Serena; we'll get Mia back too. We'll get her back faster, I promise. But you're going to have to get out of bed. So c'mon, get up! Get up before Emily takes this fairy tale thing seriously and we both lose our girlfriends. You know she'll do it."
Kevin lazily rolled out of bed. Mike gave him a look.
"Dude, you're making me look like the disciplined one."
Serrator dropped a bowl before Mia, just outside her cage, and reached in to remove the gag from her mouth. Mia looked down at the bowl and then up at Serrator.
"What is that?"
"You eat it," Serrator answered her. "You'll eat, and you'll enjoy it, because it's the only meal you're getting today."
"This is what you did to Serena, isn't it?" Mia asked. She pushed the bowl away. "I won't eat it. I won't let you break me, and I sure as hell won't give answers to the monsters who murdered my father! I'm not letting you control me. I make my own decisions."
"Decision made, then," Serrator picked up the bowl, "You will not eat. Daddy must be proud."
"They're coming," Mia grabbed the bars of her cage and glared intensely at Serrator as he walked away, "You're not getting away with this. Dayu's not getting away with this. We don't take betrayal kindly. For your sake, I hope you're ready."
"It will be a blood bath," Serrator nodded, "I'm sure."