Title: Simply the Best
Spoilers: Power Rangers Turbo film.
Disclaimer: Power Rangers belonged to Saban, then to Disney, and now are owned by Saban again. I'm so confused…
Relationship: Aisha/Rocky friendship, UST.
Summary: Following Rocky's injury and his subsequent hand off of his powers, he returns home to find another former ranger waiting on him.
Written for the Alpha's Magical Fic Exchange 2012 for Griddlebone.
Hi all. This was an excellent story prompt: "Aisha and Rocky meet and reconnect (at some point) after giving up their powers" and the first thing I thought of was post Turbo movie… I hope it meets expectations. Now, to the story. . .
Simply the Best
Rocky had spent almost seven days in the hospital, most of it staring at the ceiling when no one was around before the doctors were satisfied that he was fine to go home, which he was thrilled about. While he'd been injured and had to pass on his ranger duties, meaning he'd missed the whole sailboat to a dangerous island, there were other things that he could now do because he was getting released. Like go to the karate tournament, which was starting in a few hours.
He'd asked his dad when he'd signed the release papers if they could all go home so he could rest a bit before getting a ride to the event so he could support Tommy, Adam and his replacement - Jason in the tournament.
Even now as he sat in the front seat of his family's red station wagon, dressed in his favorite butter soft beige Henley and a pair of tan Dockers, he felt slightly uncomfortable. Between the fact that this was his first time in regular clothes after a week in hospital gowns and scrubs... as well as no longer being in blue... it seemed, wrong on a few levels, but he focused on the fact he was almost home and that he'd be able to walk into the karate tournament under his own power and see his friends.
During his time in the hospital, he'd been visited on several occasions by the entire team. They'd brought balloons, cards and even a well intentioned stuffed ape. He'd received stacks of cards from other friends and family, wishing him a speedy recovery and even gotten a call from Zack and Trini. Jason and Kim had also made time to come see him in the hospital following the whole Murianthias thing, which, no matter what had happened with Kim and Tommy, he appreciated a lot.
However, the one former member of the team that he'd hoped would send him a message hadn't yet.
He spent the whole time in the hospital assuaging his hurt feelings knowing that she was so far away that it more than likely was just a logistical thing; seven days wasn't all that long when you were talking about getting news to the remote locations of Africa and he knew that phone service was spotty at best. Still, it bothered him more than he liked that not having heard anything from her was affecting him this way...
He'd laughed and joked with everyone else and had tried to focus on his rehabilitation instead of wishing for something he wasn't going to get.
So as his dad pulled the family car up to the sidewalk he was taken aback to find said woman standing on the doorstep to his family's modest two story, blue-painted house waiting for them, rucksack beside her on the wooden porch floor.
Rocky's mom was out of the backseat of the car and opening the front passenger's side door to help him ease out of the seat, even as his two younger siblings, Maria and Edward piled out behind her, offering to help too before his dad corralled them. While Rocky had been given the go-ahead to come home now that he was able to get around and move, bending was still… painful, even with the pain killers. So using the frame of the car door he hauled himself up and put himself on the pathway to the front door, only one goal now in mind.
The second he'd caught sight of the dark skinned woman, long cornrows hanging past her shoulders, wearing blue jeans and a yellow shirt, a slight nod to her former status smiling at him at his doorstep, he had wanted to just run across the space and hug her no matter how he felt. So when he started up the walk, he found strength with every new step. After what seemed ages, he was finally standing in front of her, the two of them staring at one another with nearly matching smiles.
"Well, are you gonna hit me with the bear hug or not?" he finally asked with a joking tone.
"I wasn't sure if…" started Aisha, looking him up and down as he slowly walked towards the house and her.
"You won't break me…" he promised as he opened his arms out to her.
With that, Aisha gave up any pretense of not needing that hug as much as he did and walked into his open arms, wrapping her own around his waist and back tightly even as she felt his own come around her.
"What are you doing here?" he asked even as his arms closed around her, his eyes closing too even as he found himself happily breathing in the scent of his best friend, there in his embrace. All the things he remembered fondly were there in her smell: her spicy perfume buried under what he assumed was airport and travel.
"My best friend gets hurt… you think I'm not coming back to see him?"
Rocky was stunned. With the inclusion of Kimberly as well as the other members of the team, he'd thought that the role of best friend was permanently reassigned to the former pink ranger. But here was one of his oldest, dearest friends saying that she'd traveled halfway around the world just to see him.
Slowly he eased them out of their hug and he found he couldn't take either his eyes or hands off her, his hands now settling on her upper arms as he looked her over even as his mind cheered at finally having all the people he cared about in his life here for him.
"I can't say I'm not happy to see you, 'cause I am. But how did you know I was getting home…?"
"I would have been back earlier but getting a flight back wasn't easy and, when I called Adam from the airport, he told me you were getting sprung today and just to come here."
Rocky nodded, thinking now on Adam's call saying he would see him later and that he wasn't going to come to the hospital to see him home. Obviously his old buddy had been plotting…
"Well I am glad you're here. But we need to go inside…" Rocky noted, having realized that his parents and siblings had all trooped past them into the house while they'd engaged in their hug and talk.
"That would be good. I am kinda tired…"
Rocky nodded and started to bend down to get Aisha's bag but stopped when he felt an unpleasant twinge in his lower back. Quickly he straightened up and gave her a rueful smile.
"Yeah, yeah, back injury and all. At least you tried to be a gentleman," remarked Aisha as she reached down and picked up the small duffel and tossed it over her shoulder.
"Did you pack anything?" asked Rocky as he walked over the threshold, his eyes watching Aisha as she followed.
"A few days worth of clothes. Just enough to get by."
Once inside, Rocky's mom shooed the other kids away to let Rocky sit down, albeit a bit gingerly, on the sofa, letting him relax with his friend rather than be overwhelmed by rambunctious kids. Aisha dropped her bag at the other end of the sofa and settled on a cushion, tucking her legs up underneath her as she turned to face her friend. She reached over and caught his hand in hers, smiling at him in a way that made Rocky's chest warm with emotion. He gave her a slight smile that briefly reflected the stress and pain that still plagued him, with his healing injury and the emptiness where the power had once resided both threatening to overwhelm him if he let them.
"How are you holding up?" she asked, referring to his new 'neutral' status in the now privacy of the empty living room.
"I have no idea how you or Billy or Tommy did this before," Rocky said, his mouth twisting into a partial grimace. "I feel... rudderless."
"It isn't easy, and you don't wake up one morning and feel different. But eventually... you see that there's more ahead of you than there is behind you."
"Wow, that's pretty profound. You find wisdom on the desert plains?"
"I had to..." Aisha said seriously, her hand tightening ever so slightly around Rocky's at his words. "I was alone out there, with none of you to lean on as I dealt with not having powers. But I got through it."
Rocky nodded, recalling the flurry of activity that had been the rearrangement of the Campbells' and Sloans' lives following the shift in the timeline. While many people didn't remember the Campbells living in Stone Valley, Adam and Rocky retained their memories and had worked with Zordon to be sure that all the members of the team could reach Aisha, and passed that information on to others who no longer wore the uniform as well.
But Aisha had been alone for the months following the switch, geographically separated from the people who understood what she was going through. And calls and cards and letters only could fill so much of the gap. Still Adam and Rocky had been determined to be there for their friend... and now here he was in the same predicament and she was here for him.
It meant the world to him that she had come... maybe more than it should have. Staring at her smiling face, weary from travel, made him wonder just how much it had mattered to him that she was there. Those horrible first days in the hospital had made him really take measure of his life and he found that maybe, over time, the lines between friend, best friend and something... more had blurred.
It wasn't until he'd been forced to stare at a ceiling contemplating his life that how he felt about his best female friend had... changed.
Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Rocky decided that maybe Aisha's arrival was a sign for him to speak up about his evolving feelings towards her. So when he finally opened them and found that, in the silence of the long pause in conversation, she'd fallen asleep, he simply smiled softly before getting up and walking over to press a soft, brief kiss on her forehead. Then, as quietly as possible, he turned around to go find his dad to head for the tournament.
Their conversation could wait until he got back.