Hi all. Sorry for another long delay. Please stick with me, I will finish the series… it just may take me a while. Now, to this chapter; yes, this episode sucks. I am going to rewrite it as best I can without taking the really different track I did with my One-shot story. And now, to the story…
Legends and Heroes
By Jeannine Trevizo
Chapter 22: These Dreams
“So, what did you think of the movie?” Kim asked as she and Tommy walked along the street, heading back to where they’d been forced to park, on the other side of the cybercafé.
“Do I have to answer?” he demurred.
Kim’s brow raised, and Tommy leaned over to kiss her lightly on the lips. Pulling back, he watched her eyes open again, and the look returned. Sighing, he figured he better be honest.
“It was a chick flick Kim. You know I love you, but… there wasn’t a car chase or gun fight in sight for two hours.”
“Alright handsome. Next time, we’ll go see some extremely violent, macho man film.”
Her offer made him grin, and she sighed. It was a small enough price to pay. Pseudo crisis adverted, they settled into companionable silence, Kim leaning into Tommy, his arm wrapped firmly around her waist. As they walked towards the car on the other side of the promenade, they noticed the lights on inside the Cyberspace.
“Aren’t Jason and Hayley at dinner tonight?” Kim asked warily.
“Yeah… we should check it out.”
Walking through the door, unlocked even with the ‘closed’ sign up, the black and purple ranger pushed through the interior doors and found Conner, Kira and Ethan in the middle of the café. They were huddled around two tables, books, paper and Ethan’s laptop around them.
“What are you guys doing here so late?”
“Dr. O, you know I love being a ranger, but it can really put you into a crunch when it comes with homework,” Ethan explained. “This paper on primates is taking up all my free time.”
“I know what you mean. I have a ten page report on reptiles that’s due Monday.
“Well, I’ve got you guys all beat. I’m all caught up with my homework. But my mom wants me to take her Christmas shopping all weekend.
Groans filled the room in sympathy.
“Well, I suggest that everybody go home and get a good night’s sleep.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I’m gonna hit it.”
“Night guys,” Kim said, watching the others head out. Once they were gone, she and Tommy moved to the door, preparing to close up. “So, you tired out?”
A light appeared in Tommy’s eyes at her question, and he smirked at her.
“Wanna go home and tire each other out?”
She blushed slightly, but gave him a brilliant smile.
“That sounds like a plan.”
Across town, another pair were having a similar experience, but with less romantic banter. Jason and Hayley had been out at an Italian restaurant, attempting to have a quiet meal and socialize. But things had seemed to stall around the salad course, and by dessert, Jason had sighed and offered to escort Hayley home.
She nodded simply and once he’d paid the bill, he led her out to the car and drove her back to her apartment, his mind whirling the whole time.
They’d been seeing each other following his return from Angel Grove and the memory of his stint as the evil White Ranger had begun to fade. But things had stayed pretty firmly in the friends going out – dinner, a movie, etc. Neither had made any overture to change the status quo, and Jason was wondering if perhaps he’d been mistaken in his true feelings for the pretty techie.
That perhaps watching Kim and Tommy fall back in love had made him want something like it, and his deep friendship and respect for Hayley had been misconstrued as something else.
Of course, the fact that Hayley had been polite and undemanding had him questioning her mindset regarding their arrangement too.
So tonight he walked her to her door, said goodnight and headed back to the studio apartment he’d taken over from Kim with the intentions of sleeping on the situations.
Once back in his car, Jason wove his way across town and parked in front of the unit. Locking the car, he moved to the front door, fiddling with the sticky lock and making his way into the place. Closing up behind him, he started tossing things as he headed to the bathroom. After a quick brush of his teeth, he stripped to his shorts, sliding on his sleep pants and moving to the bed.
Settled under the covers, he closed his eyes and attempted to make himself sleep.
Little did he know that his disquiet would save everyone.
As the nightmares descended, the absurdity of the monsters for the new team made as much sense as anything – a Christmas monster attacking Conner for goodness sakes.
Nothing truly scary.
Unless you had yeas of villains, evil and fears to work off of.
Like Tommy and Kim did.
For Kim, when the nightmare took hold, the star was none other than Rita herself. For every single evil thing she’d done to her, the team, but especially Tommy, Rita had become a symbol of every fear and worry.
That her friends would be hurt; that others would be injured or die. But most of all, that Tommy would fall under Rita’s spell once again. Be evil.
Be something other than her boyfriend and team mate.
And that fear fueled her nightmare, caused Rita’s cackling voice and hordes of putties to force Kim’s mind into a corner; wanting nothing else but to run and hide, and hope that Tommy and the others were safe and coming to her aid.
Yet in her dream, she was alone.
Beside her in their bed, her white knight tossed and turned as well, unable to rescue himself, let alone his pink princess.
For when Tommy dreamed of his biggest fear, the greatest villain that had haunted his mind and left the physical and emotional scars deep upon him, it had always been Lord Zedd.
Of course, that made perfect sense… Week after week, month after month, the White Ranger had been the target of Zedd’s never ending hatred.
The sound of knocking never registered with Tommy or Kimberly. They had no idea that Jason had been pounding on the door for long minutes, wanting to talk to them about his situation with Hayley and unable to wait until morning, had come to their door, planning on annoying his oldest and dearest friends.
Instead, he heard what sounded like a terrified, muffled shriek; one that he remembered from years of being on a team with the former Pink Ranger when Kim was attacked or in trouble. And those years of being a team and a friend launched Jason into action. Without another thought, he struggled to turn up the house key Tommy had given him when it was him staying at the house and Kim at the apartment. Shoving the key into the lock, he twisted it and forced the door open with a shove, hurrying to the main bedroom.
There he found both his friends, eyes shut tightly and arms and legs flailing as if fighting agains t something. Quickly he moved to Tommy’s side, roughly taking his friend’s shoulder’s in hand and shaking him violently.
“Wake up! Come on bro, wake up!”
Tommy’s eyes flickered, and lazily opened as the spell broke and his mind cleared.
“Jase? I was having this awful nightmare…” Tommy moaned as he wiped his hands across his face.
“I get that… so is Kim,” Jason replied quickly as he moved to Kim’s side, and Tommy whipped his head around to see Jason shake Kim’s trembling, moaning form.
Again, as with Tommy, Kim slowly awoke, and recounted the fact that her dreams had been less than pleasant, and Tommy and Jason looked to one another with knowing looks.
“Do you have the kid’s home numbers? I’m not sure we can just show up or that the communicators are enough to wake them,” remarked Jason worriedly.
“In the kitchen... we should hurry.”
In a near blur, Tommy, Jason and Kim all moved for the phone book and their phones.
Once woken from their nightmares, it seemed that everyone had naturally gravitated to the basement command center. It might have had to do with not wanting to be alone, not wanting to fall asleep again or just the need to share.
For the three teens had opened up and talked about their nightmares, Conner taking more than a little ribbing over his nightmare than the others. But the Black and Purple Rangers had simply listened and consoled but not offered much of anything.
Jason watched them closely, huddled together, Kim leaning against Tommy’s shoulder and Tommy propped up against the wall. He knew that the kids had more than likely gotten off easy, based on how his friends looked.
He could only guess at what would have happened to him had he fallen asleep tonight.
“So, you guys dreamed about monsters too, right?” Ethan finally asked when he, Kira and Conner had finished their sharefest of nightmares.
“Yeah,” said Kim distractedly, rubbing her arm with one hand while the other held a cup of coffee.
“Was it boring monsters, like Conner’s Christmas monster?” asked Ethan enthusiastically.
“I still can’t believe that you dreamed about a Christmas monster,” joked Jason as he stifled a laugh, hoping to lighten the situation.
“Hey! All that shopping and stuff terrifies me!” Conner complained forcefully.
“I’m sure it was truly horrific,” soothed Kira before focusing on the two older members of the team.
Outwardly, she thought that Dr. O and Kim seemed somewhat composed. However it was little things that gave away how much this had affected them. They were both jittery, and it was obvious it wasn’t from the coffee. Kim’s hands slightly shook around her coffee cup, while Dr. O’s eyes darted between Kim and Jason, his expression harder than usual.
Of course, there was probably a really good reason for their behavior.
While she, Conner and Ethan had been rangers less than a year, Kim and Dr. O had years of experience and years of evil to have their minds feed upon… And more than likely, the spell had used all that to hit them in spades.
“Was it bad?” she asked them, stunning Tommy into looking up from his place against the wall in the command center, nearly jostling Kim from his shoulder.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he answered dryly.
“Sure we would,” insisted Ethan, leaning forward to stare at their mentor and co-rangers.
Tommy looked to Kim and saw the same haunted look in her eyes that he was sure was in his. Neither of them really was interested in sharing…
“It was bad. And I think we can leave it at that.”
“Tommy…” Jason interjected, causing both his friends to look in his direction. “You should tell them.”
“Why? Kim asked plaintively.
“Because they need to know what could be laying in wait for them ten years down the road. And because I think you both need to get it out in the open - for your own peace of mind.”
“Really?” Tommy questioned with slight hint of a sneer that Jason dismissed as fear and anger. “Would you?”
Jason sat there and regarded the question. If he had been asleep, what would he have seen…
“I can only guess that the guest of honor in my nightmares is Goldar,” Jason said simply, bringing Kim and Tommy up short and causing the teens in the room to stare.
He looked around and decided that maybe the nightmares he’d had over the years, while not magically induced could have their exorcism here. And with it, prompt Tommy and Kim into doing the same.
“Ever since that fight in the Dark Dimension, trying to get you and the green candle out… Goldar has figured prominently in my nightmares. Sometimes instead of failing to get the candle, I fail in rescuing you. Sometimes I find you standing with Goldar, a solid, evil team I can’t beat.”
“Jason,” began Kim quietly, and Jason waved her concern aside with a slight gesture.
“And other times, I kill Goldar in my dream, heading for the candle, determined to save you. Only to turn back to the portal to find you in Goldar’s place; my sword in your chest. That’s my nightmare… sound familiar?”
Tommy’s eyes closed and his head dropped forward. Beside him, Kim shed a silent tear and caught her lower lip in her teeth. It did sound familiar. And to Kira, Conner and Ethan, the idea that Jason had shared his darkest nightmares with them, even without having been under the spell was overwhelming and frightening.
The idea that this could be their future, like he suggested was even more daunting.
“Wow Jason, that’s…” Kira stammered, completely taken aback by the White Ranger’s admission.
“It’s what it is.”
Kim turned to regard Tommy with a look of understanding. She caught his hand and squeezed it once before turning to look at the younger members of the team.
“Mine is Rita. Rita Repulsa. She was the first villain we ever faced. She was evil. Not so much in the fact that she wanted to take over Earth or destroy the rangers, but that she took such great delight at hurting us, and others. And that she hurt Tommy,” Kim ended in a whisper.
“Kim…” Tommy started, and she shook her head in response, denying his automatic habit of trying to suspend her guilt and pain.
“No, you can’t tell me that maybe it was my fault. That because I liked you, talked to you that she chose you,” Kim stated darkly. “And that there was always that fear that she could take you away again, like she did before… and I will always be frightened in a small part of my soul because of that. And I will always hate her because of that.”
Jason swallowed hard as he watched Kimberly’s eyes close and her head turn to bury into Tommy’s chest. The Black Ranger wrapped his arms around his love’s body and held her to him. In all, he wasn’t surprised. Just taken aback at how deep the scars ran.
He guessed that while the power had protected them physically, mentally…
Slowly Kim pulled slightly away, and Tommy eased up on his grip around her. Across from them, Kira found her way closer to Conner, the Red Ranger hugging her tightly against his side while Ethan frowned darkly.
The demons of being a ranger seemed to have a long shelf life.
Jason reached over and laid a hand on Kim’s, causing her to look up and smile weakly at her friend. A lot of what she’d said, she’d let on in one way or another to Jason over the years, but she’d never spoken of it out loud. And with it said… she actually did feel a bit better; a bit more free.
Tearing her eyes from her friend, she swiveled them to level onto her boyfriend, her lover and the man who she feared for in her nightmares for years. He regarded her warily, knowing her intentions with the look in her eyes.
Sighing, he let a hand run through his spiky, rumpled hair and glanced briefly at the others before resting his gaze on Kim.
“Zedd,” was all he said, and Kim closed her eyes tightly and bit back a curse.
“Lord Zedd? From the video diary?” questioned Conner suddenly. “What makes him the bad guy in your dreams? I’d think you’d have a running gallery of villains.”
“Conner…” Jason began, thinking to cut the young man off, but was stopped by Tommy.
“It’s because of all the bad guys I fought from Rita to Mesogog, Zedd has been the only one to personally target me. To attack me specifically. And to go after the ones I loved to hurt me.”
Kim gripped Tommy’s hand tightly and Kira watched the action, her memory searching for something…
Then it clicked.
“Zedd took Kim away from you,” she said softly, in startled awe.
Tommy’s eyes widened, and he quickly schooled his features. But Jason caught it.
“The draining ray,” he stated simply, and Kim’s face went pale. “Kim gave up her powers after that, and left… and then she broke up with you. You…”
“Blame Zedd for the break up? Sometimes, in a weird way. If that whole incident hadn’t happened, maybe…”
“Oh Tommy,” Kimberly murmured, and reached up to cup his cheek with a hand.
“I know it’s not rational Kim, but… everything he did to me; all the pain and suffering culminated with his hurting you and then you leaving me. So he’s always haunted me. Not just for what he’s done, but what I felt happened because of him.”
“But, isn’t he gone?” asked Ethan curiously. “I mean, all of these bad guys, you defeated them and they’re gone. Shouldn’t that mean something?”
Tommy, Kim and Jason all considered that fact seriously. It was true… the people that they feared in their dreams were gone. Destroyed in a way by Zordon’s sacrifice. Shouldn’t that knowledge that they could never hurt anyone ever again be enough to vanquish their fears and nightmares?
“Yeah, it should, and now that we’re faced with that truth… maybe it can be enough,” replied Tommy with the ghost of a smile.
“Good, ‘cause I am not wanting to carry that kinda baggage into my later post-ranger years,” stated Conner, bringing a variety of smirks and smiles at his words.
“Don’t worry. I’m sure that short term memory of yours will kick in to prevent that,” snarked Ethan, prompting Conner to glare at the Blue Ranger and stick his tongue out at him.
With the exchange, the atmosphere in the room immediately lightened, and Tommy and Kim looked to Jason with honest smiles, each reaching out to catch a hand with theirs. Friendship had beaten back the dark again, leaving the rangers to once again prepare for the next day’s battle with a lighter heart and renewed spirit.
Again, my apologies in the length of time between chapters. I wish I could promise a new one soon, but it’s coming when it feels like it. So if you’re still out there and reading, thanks. Ms. J.