Synopsis: After the events of "Ranger Green," Ziggy knows Dillon's mad at him. Thinks he knows why. Thinks he knows how to fix it. Sometimes Ziggy's an idiot. Friendship fic.
Dillon could hardly believe how mad he was. Seemed like he was mad about everything these days. Because anger was a whole lot easier to deal with than…whatever other emotions normally went with not being able to remember anything. Or being full of metal implants designed by the thing trying to destroy his planet. Or having nightmares he couldn't interpret. Or his best friend being a flipping moron.
He was used to Ziggy being annoying. Heck, that was just part and parcel with who Ziggy was. He was used to Ziggy keeping secrets. Everybody was entitled to those. What he would never ever get used to was that idiot kid being so recklessly stubborn or the stunning, clueless lack of self-preservation. So he'd been avoiding his roommate for the last couple days, and that made sense because if he didn't, he was going to explode and just grab the kid and beat some freaking sense into him. And that wouldn't—maybe, probably—do a whole lot of good, so he beat the heavy bag instead and that was likely better for everyone.
And then that lack-of-self-preservation thing showed up again because the little idiot just walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder, said his name all clueless and hesitant. He must have a death wish.
So Dillon turned, ready to verbally lay into the moron, and he had no idea what was about to come out of his mouth, and then something happened that he never would have expected in a million years.
Ziggy hit him.
Ziggy just hauled off and punched him in the face. No forewarning. No reason. Just straight jacked him in the face. And it was so unexpected, it snapped Dillon's head back and knocked him back a step. The chain on the bag rattled as his back hit it. He shook his head, and as soon as his vision was clear, there was Ziggy. Fists raised. Looking absolutely committed and absolutely like he had no idea what he was doing.
"Ziggy! What the heck are you…"
And Ziggy just swung again, and this time Dillon blocked, and what the heck? Ziggy moved to land an uppercut to Dillon's stomach, and Dillon blocked and in a moment that was more instinct than anything, he put both hands out and pushed.
There was a whoosh as Ziggy's breath got knocked from his lungs, and he flew backwards, skidding at least four feet on his back on the mat before flipping his feet up and letting the momentum carry him flailing into a back somersault that had him back up on his feet. He was moving in again before he could even breathe.
"Ziggy, stop! What are you doing, you idiot?"
Ziggy coughed and sputtered for a couple seconds, keeping his fists up in a loose fighting guard. Then he smiled. And Dillon knew well enough by now that this was not Ziggy's real smile; that this was the smile that only came out so Ziggy would have something to hide behind. "Sparring. Obviously. So let's get this going, Steve Austin. See if those little million dollar implants are worth it. 'Cause I'm pretty sure I'm already one up." And maybe because it was so ridiculous, but the kid hit Dillon again. Threw a high left hook out of nowhere that landed just above Dillon's temple. He saw red. There was a smirk. "Boom. That's two, Robocop."
Dillon didn't think. Just grabbed a fistful of that green shirt and threw him. Hard. Ziggy sailed across the gym, landed on the edge of the mat, and tumbled off onto the floor. Dillon stalked up to him. "You got a death wish?"
Ziggy pushed himself up, breathing hard. "Nope. Why?" And he moved again, and Dillon had to block a clumsy jab and another, and then Ziggy kicked and Dillon swept, and Ziggy landed on the floor again.
"Ziggy, knock it off," Dillon growled. "I'm serious."
And Ziggy smirked, and on some level Dillon knew it was fake and knew it needed figuring out and knew he could hurt this stupid little brain dead fool if he wasn't careful, but then that mouth was moving, and Dillon's blood was already boiling. "Knock it off? Oh, I think I'm 'bout to knock your block off, Iron Giant. Kapow!" And he kicked out at Dillon's knee from his spot on the ground, and Dillon blocked with his shin and grabbed the kid by the leg and flung him back up on the mat.
Ziggy was already on his feet by the time Dillon stepped up, and the kid held his ground and looked up at him, eyes defiant and mocking. "What is your problem?" Dillon demanded.
"Me? Oh, dude. I have no problem. I mean, I know you're kind of worked up over being, you know, a Cylon, but don't blame me for…" Dillon grabbed him by the shirt. And Ziggy slapped him. He just slapped him full in the face.
Enraged Dillon pulled him up on his toes, fists tightening their grip. Shook him once. "Shut up!"
"Don't…" Ziggy coughed around the grip near his throat, "blame me for the amnesia, Brainiac 5."
And something in Dillon snapped. And he pulled back his right fist, and through a blinding haze of fury—of the anger and the frustration and the hurt and the uncertainty and the insecurities and the fear—some detached part of himself saw the face of the person every other part of him wanted to unleash all that on. And it was Ziggy, and Dillon's fist shook. And it was Ziggy. And Ziggy couldn't take that beating. There was nothing on the planet that would stand up to that beating. And the look on that face that was Ziggy's was one of acceptance, and it looked almost the way it did when they'd been in prison, and there were those men who'd surrounded Ziggy and slammed him down on a table and told him in no uncertain terms that they would hurt him. The brown eyes wide and worried as the life and the color gradually drained out of them. It was almost like that. Except it was different. Because Ziggy was asking for this beating. Ziggy thought he could take this beating. Ziggy thought he should take this beating. From Dillon.
Dillon pulled back abruptly; dropped him like he'd been burned. Ziggy looked up at him from the floor, startled and confused. And he looked so young. And it scared Dillon. What he'd almost done scared him. And it made him angry, and now that anger scared him, too.
Ziggy started to say something, but Dillon just pointed at him, and somehow that worked to shut him up. "Don't say anything," he commanded, and good grief, he was shaking. "You…you freaking…" He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. "What is wrong with you?"
And he turned and headed for the door. He left Ziggy there on the floor, and he didn't look back. He walked through the living area to get to the stairs that went up to his room. Then he realized he shared that room with Ziggy. He turned and headed for his car.
He passed Summer on the way as she came out of the kitchen. Her smile froze on her face when she saw him. Her hand reached out. "Are you…"
"Fine." He held up both his hands and sidestepped to dodge her attempt at comfort. Didn't want her touching him. Didn't want anyone touching him. "I'm fine."
"Where are you…"
And he couldn't deal with anyone right then. Not even her. He got behind the wheel of his car, and he turned the key, and it roared to life. And he'd almost punched out Ziggy Grover like he'd never punched out anyone, and he didn't want to deal with that, and he certainly didn't want to deal with why Ziggy Grover had seemed to be trying to get him to. I could've killed him. I could've killed that stupid kid. And he felt so guilty. And he was so, so mad at Ziggy.
And he drove like he could drive away from all of that.
Summer watched Dillon drive away. She wasn't sure what was going on, but she'd never seen Dillon like that. She'd seen him angry. Lots of times. But he looked positively…panicked.
She turned as Ziggy came out of the gym. He was pale and wide-eyed and looked utterly confused.
"Ziggy, what happened? I thought you guys were going to talk." She'd been glad actually. The last couple of days hadn't been right. She'd grown to delight in and depend on the never-ending banter between Green and Black. And Ziggy being hyper and ridiculous and Dillon being exasperated and indulgent, and the two were so much like brothers, and it made the days brighter. So the tension of the past few was unbearable, and she was so ready for them to talk it out or whatever guys did, and something had so not gone according to plan.
Ziggy shook his head. "I don't…know. Where's Dillon?"
His eyes widened. "Where?"
"He didn't say."
"But he's…he's coming back, right?" Ziggy looked as upset as Dillon had. It was maybe a different kind of upset, but definitely just as upset. Summer was getting upset, too.
"Why wouldn't he come back?" she asked cautiously. How bad was this?
Ziggy was shaking his head. "He…I don't know. I didn't…I didn't think…He's really mad, Summer."
"You need to talk to him."
"But I don't know what I… I mean I don't know how to fix this! I tried! I don't…I mean I thought that if he just…I don't know, Summer." He seemed really legitimately confused.
"You need to talk to him," she said again. "Ziggy. You're his best friend. Work it out."
"I tried! He wouldn't…" He stopped. And she could see his wheels turning, and she knew instinctively what part of what she'd just said gave him pause.
"You're his best friend, Ziggy," she said again, as convincingly as she could because, heaven help them, it was so blindingly obvious.
"I'm not," he said simply. And even though what he said wasn't true at all, when he said it, it was almost as convincing as her truth was.
"Ziggy," she explained patiently. "Dillon loves you. Whatever's up with you two, whatever this is about, whatever you think you did, you'll both get over it, and you'll move on. Nobody's walking away. He's going to come back. And the sooner you talk to him, the sooner things get back to how they're supposed to be. That's how families work." She hoped Dillon would prove her right. Ziggy had no real concept of family. This she knew. Everyone had always walked away from him, hadn't they? And this past week probably sealed it for him. They'd all left him, hadn't they? They'd left him in jail to get taken by those thugs. Yes, they had to go and deal with the threat against the city, and yes, they would've been back. But she'd never told him that, had she? She'd assumed he'd know. And that was maybe the stupidest assumption she'd ever made.
He didn't look at all convinced. But the way he was wound so tight at the moment was proof enough that he really wanted her to be right. "But…" He wasn't sure of his argument at all.
"He was going to go back for you, you know," she said. "I had to talk him out of going back and busting you out just so we could make it to the lobby. He was going to go back and fight with you. All of us were." Regardless of what Dr. K thought, the team would've gone back. Dr. K hadn't had any lessons in having any type of faith in people at that point. Actually, this thing with Ziggy was probably the first time in a long time that she'd been proven wrong about something. And Summer had a feeling the young doctor secretly loved it. She was already just a little bit not the same. But even if Ziggy had been exactly who Fresno Bob said he was, the team still would've fought for Ziggy. He was theirs.
He swallowed and just looked at her for a minute. And his eyes were bright, and he looked really tired. Not just tired. Just…maybe a lifetime's worth of exhaustion. And under all the tiredness and the disbelief there was an unimaginable hopefulness that he couldn't hide completely. It made her eyes sting and she had to clear her throat. "You really do belong here, Ziggy. Both of you do. You know that, right?"
He nodded. "Yeah," and it would've sounded a lot more like the nonchalance he was trying for if he hadn't choked on the word. She smiled softly. He hadn't known. Not at all. No one had told him.
Summer reached out impulsively. Hugged him tight for a moment because good grief, someone should. He froze and hardly hugged her back like he wasn't sure he was supposed to. As she pulled back, she held both his shoulders and said, "Now go talk to Dillon."
"I don't know where he went."
"I can help you with that, Ranger Green," Dr. K said from the doorway of her lab. How did she do that? They both looked at her. "He wears a morpher," she, for once, stated the obvious. "I can track those."
Ziggy nodded and looked at Summer. "I…need you to leave the room for a minute."
Summer pursed her lips. "…Why?"
Summer left the room and was confused until she heard an engine rev a few moments later. She would always remember it fondly as the first time she saw Ziggy Grover hotwire a car. Even though she technically didn't see it.
She immediately made for Dr. K's lab and saw the young doctor with eyes on the black and green blips on her screen. "You're helping," Summer observed.
"Unfortunately, babysitting is presently one of my duties as…"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, you hate everything but world peace," she said, not unkindly. "I get it." Summer smiled and listened to Dr. K direct Ziggy's path with barely-there patience. She smiled wider"At least…I think I get it.
Dillon sat on the trunk of his car, feet on the bumper, and watched the flames jump from the exhaust vents in the city wall. He was close enough he could just feel the heat on his face. His watch was in his hand, singing it's all but familiar lullaby that meant something he might never remember. He sat there, watch in hand, wishing he could willingly trade some memory, any memory, for the one of Ziggy's face in that one brief moment when both of them thought Dillon was going to pound it in.
He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. What am I even doing here?
He heard the rumble of a car engine long before he heard it come to a stop behind him. He didn't look back. Didn't have to. He knew that engine.
Dillon pocketed the watch and didn't turn when he heard the car door open and footsteps settle in the gravel. Wished he'd just go away. "You get lost?" He expected some witty comeback.
"Um…no?" He also expected a different voice. Dillon spun around because that was Ziggy's voice, and that was Ziggy, and Ziggy didn't have a car, and Dillon knew what car he'd heard, and when he turned around, his eyes confirmed what his ears already knew. That was Scott's car. Ziggy was standing by the driver's side door of Scott's beloved red sports car, and Scott was nowhere in sight. Just Ziggy looking all kinds of uncomfortable and uncertain.
"That's Scott's car," Dillon said dumbly.
Ziggy winced. "Yyess…"
"Does he know?" Ziggy gave him a look, and Dillon nodded. "Stupid question." Wow. "He's going to kill you."
"Almost certainly," Ziggy agreed. He stayed rooted to his spot, near enough to the car that he could make a quick getaway if he needed to, looking down at his feet. He moved a piece of gravel with his toe and didn't say anything for a minute. Then, "I'm…sorry. And I…won't…do it again, and…you…I didn't think that you would…I mean, I understand…"
"Ziggy." The kid was trying, he'd give him that. "What. The heck?"
"I just knew you were so mad at me," Ziggy blurted. "And I knew it was my fault and things couldn't be like before, but I thought…I thought if you could just work it out, get it out of your system, that things would be…better." He was looking at Dillon now, eyes begging for some hint, some sign of approval, anything that wasn't Dillon hating him.
But Dillon was just too blown away. "You thought things would be better if I beat the crap out of you?" That wasn't quite what he'd said, Dillon realized. "You thought I'd feel better if I beat the crap out of you."
And whatever Ziggy saw on Dillon's face, it looked like he didn't understand it at all. "Yes…?" Like it was all so reasonable.
And Dillon's first reaction was anger. That how could Ziggy think something so messed up? How could he think so lowly about Dillon? How could Ziggy think he'd ever do something like that? But then he remembered the past few days following the Scorpion debacle. The times he'd brushed the kid off or brushed by without acknowledging he existed. And Dillon knew where Ziggy came from, knew probably more than anyone else in the world. Knew better than anyone where Ziggy got his mouth and why he could be so loud and why he wanted attention almost constantly. Because Ziggy knew what it was to be invisible. And he saw Dillon doing that to him, and he'd figured, hey, getting smacked around beats not existing. Oh, geez. Dillon rubbed his eyes. "Zig."
Ziggy's eyes widened, and he took a step forward that almost looked involuntary before he caught himself. Went back to looking worried. "I'm sorry," he blurted again.
Dillon shook his head. "You wanna know why I was so mad?"
"I know why," Ziggy insisted.
The kid had no idea. "Why?"
"Because I'm a criminal." Dillon raised an eyebrow. Ziggy amended. "I mean, more of a criminal than you originally thought. I let you think that…I wasn't that bad. But I am. And…you just shouldn't trust someone who worked for the Scorpions. And I didn't tell you; should've told you. I understand, Dillon. I do."
Dillon shook his head, frustrated. "The truck, Ziggy," he said. "You didn't tell me about the truck. You sat there in jail, saying everything that didn't need to be said to everyone who didn't need to hear it, and you couldn't tell me the one thing that you so obviously needed to tell someone, and I was right there, and for once, at the worst time possible, you kept your big mouth shut." It made him mad still. It made him mad after everything. Because it stung, dang it. "And you make us leave you there, and those goons come and grab you, and nobody even knows it! I don't know it. And then Doc K of all people has to go out and pull you out of there. And none of it had to happen, Ziggy, none of it."
"But I couldn't tell you…"
"Bull! You didn't trust us. You didn't trust us to keep your secret, and it almost got you killed. And when it didn't, you come up and ask me to finish the job!" And that part was Dillon's fault, but it was all coming out now, and it was so much easier to blame Ziggy for all of it. Because he'd thought he had that trust, and he thought he'd earned that trust, and he'd taken it for granted right up until Ziggy got himself landed back in jail in that stupid orange jumpsuit, and it hadn't occurred to him to tell Dillon the truth.
"Sorry," Dillon barely heard the whisper, and Ziggy was fumbling for the car door and sliding behind the wheel and reaching for wires under the dash because, good grief, the kid had hotwired the thing, but Dillon was already there. He grabbed him by the jacket and yanked him out of the car.
"Hey, I'm not done!"
And Ziggy honest to goodness flinched. Ducked his head away. Pulled his shoulders up tight. Reacted the way people did when they thought they were about to get hit and didn't want to get hit and couldn't do anything to stop it. And Dillon couldn't stand it. He took him by the shoulders, and he shook him once.
"Would you stop? I'm not going to hurt you! I'm not! I don't care what you do! Just let me…let me yell at you. When you're an idiot. Or when I'm just…a freaking jerk. Just let me yell at you, please, and don't think that way. Ever. Not even for a second. Geez, Zig," he let go and dropped his hands to his sides. "I stop people from hurting you. You remember that?" And it was true. And Dillon realized it right then, too. He'd been scared he would've hurt that kid. He wouldn't. He absolutely wouldn't. No matter how mad he was. No matter how hurt. He would not have hurt that kid.
Ziggy stood there with his head ducked so his mess of hair covered his eyes and his breaths going quick in and out through his mouth. "Sorry," he choked.
Dillon shook his head. I knew it was my fault and things couldn't be like before… That's what Ziggy had said. "What did you think, Zig?" he asked, softer. "You thought I was done with you? Figured this whole friendship thing was just maxed out?"
There was a little sound that escaped, and Ziggy's head ducked lower and shook negatively. And Dillon had known him long enough to know that that was exactly what Ziggy thought. And just like that it was oddly difficult to hold onto all that anger. Because Ziggy did the best he could. But he didn't know friendship, and he'd never learned family, and Dillon could hate all the things that had happened to Ziggy and all the people who had hurt Ziggy, but Dillon couldn't be mad at Ziggy for this anymore.
Dillon sighed. And he wrapped a hand round the back of Ziggy's neck and tugged him closer, and the kid didn't hug back, but he buried his face in Dillon's shirt and stood very still and very much did not pull away. "Idiot," Dillon practically sighed, all exasperation and fondness. Ziggy wasn't an idiot. Not by any stretch. He'd just learned a lot of the wrong things. "I'm sorry, kid."
And after a moment, "'m not a kid," was muffled somewhere in his chest. And then, petulantly, "I'm a Power Ranger."
Dillon grinned. That was the real Ziggy. "With a shockingly good left hook." It hadn't done a lot of damage, of course. Dillon, after all, was Dillon. But still it actually wasn't unimpressive.
Ziggy backed away immediately to look at him. "I'm really sorry about that. I thought it was a good idea at the time." He did. He really did.
"That was a terrible idea."
"Yes. Yes, it was. I know that now. Hindsight, right? 20/20."
"Yeah. Well," Dillon scratched the back of his head, "I never should've let you get as far as you did."
Ziggy shook his head, sobering. "I knew what to say," he said simply. And he had. He'd known all the right buttons. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. I just knew it'd make you mad, and…Ow." He rubbed his newly smacked head.
"That was for the Cylon crack," Dillon smirked.
Ziggy smiled. Rare and bright and unguarded. "That was practically a compliment."
"I will kill you." And the best part was, Ziggy didn't believe it for a moment.
"Yeah. Whatever you say, 3PO." It earned him another light smack upside the head.
"Come on. You should probably get that heap back before Scott notices it's missing."
"Yeah…what do you think the odds are of that happening?"
Dillon gave a slight wince. "I'll pick up pizza on the way home. Peace offering."
"Eh, what am I worried about? If he tries to kill me, you'll stop him, right?" Ziggy grinned as he slid behind the wheel, and after a moment's fiddling with the wires, the engine roared to life. Dillon refused to marvel. Yeah, that kid was not anything close to the fool he liked to play so well.
"I'll at least make sure he doesn't permanently maim you."
Enter the patented Ziggy whine: "Dil-lon."
That night the Rangers stayed up for a few rounds of cards. Scott had pretty well flipped out over the whole car thing. There had been a lot of shouting, much of it unintelligible. He had actually grounded Ziggy. Not grounded as in no missions. Grounded as in no TV and no phone and no going out. He'd even assigned extra chores. None of them were actually sure he had the authority to do that. But none of them were actually sure that he didn't. Hence card game night instead of movie night. But that was fine.
Ziggy did a lot of watching of his teammates' faces. And there was a lot of fun and familiarity and warmth, all amid eye-rolling and protesting and bickering. Things were back to normal. No tension, no awkwardness. And everyone there saw him, and he wasn't a thing to be ignored or endured. He was a part of this. And it was amazing. And in it he felt safer maybe than he ever had, and it was so ironic because he was sitting in a garage under a dome that was under constant threat. But it was so, so easy in those moments to forget all of that.
He'd been surreptitiously keeping an eye out for Dr. K to see if she'd react to the present he'd left in her lab. So far, nothing.
Flynn came out from the kitchen then, carrying a tray of smoothies with an umbrella behind his ear. "Refreshments are served. Where's Dr. K? She ordered hers extra sweet."
She appeared then, dressed as always in her white lab coat, and as she padded past the other team members, something like a hush fell among the group. She reached Flynn and retrieved her drink. "Thank you Operator Series Blue." And without another word, drink in hand, she headed back in the direction of her lab, and every single pair of eyes was on her feet.
"Uh, Dr. K," Scott said from the couch. "Are those…bunnies?"
"Of course not, Series Red." She spun on one heel of her brand new fuzzy animal slippers to face him and said with pristine stoicism, "They're puppies." And she absolutely did not look at Ziggy and absolutely did not acknowledge the package that had been wrapped in pink with a bow and absolutely said nothing of the card that simply said "In case you forgot to have these sent in," before marching back to the lab.
And everyone smiled, but not like Ziggy.