Join Date: Apr 2008
Hello again all. Took a pause from Power Trip for this little ficlett since it wouldn't leave me alone. Comments appreciated!
Title: Love Story
Synopsis: Jason has a secret admirer. Unfortunately, she's kind of a monster...
Warnings: Not beta’d. Also, fight scenes are really not my forte. Sorry.
Finster- scientist, monster maker and personal physician to her royal highness Empress Rita-finally had to break down an admit it. As much as it pained him...as terribly embarrassing and depressing as it was, there was just no getting around it anymore.
He was in a rut.
He sighed heavily as he wandered the corridors of the Moon Palace, lamenting over the destruction of yet another of his beloved creations at the hands of Zordon's infuriating Power Rangers. He just couldn't figure out where he was going wrong. His monsters used to be incredible forces to be reckoned with! Able to plow through whatever resistance was being
offered at the time. They were things of beauty and highly feared and he was known through several solar systems and a few galaxies for his wondrous skills.
So why was Earth, a backwater little planet such a problem? 'Is it me?' he thought. 'Have I simply gotten too old?' He wondered if, maybe, it wasn't time to retire. He knew of two or three other monster makers who could be called upon to take his place. One of them was even a cousin who would also have the skill required to care for Empress Rita as he did. He sighed. It was something he would have to seriously consider.
Cheers and music reached his ears and he looked up, finding himself near the 'media room' that Squatt and Babboo had made when they had discovered, and fallen in love with, Earth television. Wondering what had them so excited, he entered the room and looked at the television set that they had salvaged from somewhere. On it was one of the cartoons they loved so much. The one about the human man who dressed like a bat to fight odd criminals. It was a ridiculous concept but, apparently, the show was very popular among Earthlings and with Squatt and Babboo.
Currently, the man bat was fighting with a woman who had long red hair, was wearing a green leotard with leaves on it and seemed to be able to control plant life. Finster raised an eyebrow as he watched, curiosity getting the better of him. "Who is that woman supposed to be?" he questioned, causing the pair to look up at him, startled.
"That's Poison Ivy!" Squatt replied, turning his attention back to the show.
"And what does she do?" Finster asked, though he had a fairly good idea.
"She's the Goddess of plant life!" Babboo answered, a note of excitement in his voice. "She can communicate with plants and other vegetation and uses them to fight the Batman!"
"Get him, Poision Ivy, get him!" Squatt shouted and Babboo followed suit.
Finister watched for a few minutes more, a little smile playing on his lips. He was getting an idea. Turning, he left the room and headed for his lab. Perhaps he wouldn't be retiring after all.
One week later:
Rita was snoozing in her rocking chair, not having had much interest in the attacking the Earth since the Rangers defeated her last monster a couple of days prior as was usually the case. Attack the Earth, get defeated, take a break, form a new plan, attack again. Wash, rinse
repeat. It was a routine that they had fallen into at some point and no one really seemed inclined to break it.
Which was why Finster's excited calls of, "I've done it! My Queen I've finally done it!" startled her from her nap and set her on edge.
"This had better be good, Finster!" she growled as the monster maker hurried up to her, more excited than she had seen him in a long time.
"Oh, it's very, *very* good, my Queen! I've outdone myself with this one!" He turned and gestured and out of the shadows stepped a green skinned woman with white eyes wearing vines and leaves with fiery red hair cascading down her back. She moved with a fluid grace that Rita couldn't help but admire and emitted an aura of seduction.
"Hey!" Squatt exclaimed, he and Babboo having been drawn by the excited shouts. "That looks like Poison Ivy!"
"Her name is Willow," Finster introduced. "I actually got the idea from your ridiculous cartoon. She is made from the Willow tree of Porpus 8, along with a few other specimens. Like the Poison Ivy character, she is completely one with all plant life and vegetation. She can call forth plants and flowers of the most deadliest kind to use against her enemies. She is the best I've ever done if I do say so myself!"
Rita carefully examined Willow with interest. She certainly *sounded* like she would be a match for the Rangers but, then, so had so many others. Still... "Very well. The Rangers won't be expecting another attack so soon after the last one." She turned and went to her telescope,
peering through it searchingly. "Let's just see where those brats are. Ah, the park as usual. Goldar! Send some putties down to warm them up for the main event!"
"Yes, my Queen!" Goldar bowed, then turned to carry out the order.
Finster could hardly contain his excitement as he turned and gave instructions to Willow. "Yes, father," she breathed in a soft, breezy voice before vanishing, leaving behind her the distinct scent of flowers.
"Father?" Rita questioned with a raised eyebrow.
Finster shrugged. "It's what she's insisted on calling me," he replied. Rita smirked and turned back to her telescope and Finster joined her, eager to watch the proceedings.
The Rangers had been enjoying their day at the park, throwing a Frisbee or playing basketball, not expecting any attacks for at least another two or three days as had become the standard norm. So it went without saying that they were caught off guard when the putties attacked.
From the cover of the trees, Willow watched the humans fight, studying their movements, learning quirks. Her white eyes travelled from one to the other before finally coming to rest on the one in red. The leader, she'd been told. She drew in a breath, eyes widening, hand moving to her throat. "Oh my," she breathed. "So strong…so handsome! I must have him."
At her mental command, vines started creeping out across the battlefield toward the Red Ranger, who was too occupied to notice the danger. Only when the vines wrapped themselves around his legs and pull him to the ground did he realize that the putties weren't the only threat around. He
struggled and called out to his friends as the vines, having securely wrapped themselves around him, started pulling him back to her. Calls of alarm echoed across the field, followed by a command to morph but she paid them no mind as she continued to draw her prize to her.
But then the black one was there, an axe in hand that he brought down viciously on the vines, easily severing the grip on her prize. Pain and rage exploded through her and she screamed out in fury, drawing attention to the trees she hid within. She narrowed her white eyes angrily, hearing Empress Rita's command to attack echoing in her mind.
"I do not wish to attack at this time," she replied. "Even though they deserve retribution for what they did to my vines, I do not wish to risk losing my precious Red Ranger."
There was a pause, then a demand to know what she was talking about. She smiled softly as she watched the Rangers, now all morphed, cautiously approaching the trees. "If I attack now, with his friends around, I risk losing him. I cannot lose him. I must court him and draw him to me so
that I can make him mine. Once I have done that, I will kill the other Rangers for you. But not before then."
Cutting off the communication, she watched the Red Ranger a moment more. "Soon, my love, soon," she breathed, then vanished.
"Finster!" Rita shouted, eyes flashing dangerously as she turned to her surprised monster maker. "What the hell was that? She was supposed to kill those brats not fall in love with one of them!"
Finister was rapidly trying to come up with an answer for the surprising behavior. He carefully went through all that he had done and used to create Willow. "Oh my," he murmured as he suddenly realized what was happening. "My Queen, I think it's the Takpina Love Plant that I used. And if it's doing what I think it's doing, then the Red Ranger being the object of her affection is not going to end well for him."
"Wait a minute," Goldar spoke up, realization in his voice. "Isn't that the plant that drains the life force of its mate in order to create offspring?"
Finster nodded. "Correct. And, If I'm not mistaken, this is right around the time the Love Plant goes into its mating cycle. It's not a wonder that poor Jason got her attention in such a way."
Rita burst out laughing. "Oh, this is just too good for words! Finster, if Willow actually succeeds in her endeavors, you will be *very* well rewarded."
"Thank you, my Queen," Finster said, bowing his head gratefully. With nothing more to do, they settled down to watch and wait.
Jason sighed and shook his head as he emerged from Math class. He was going to have to ambush Billy and get his help if he was going to have any chance at all in actually understanding the new material they had been given. A smile crossed his lips. The advantages of being best friends with a genius.
"Hey, Jase." He looked up as he reached his locker to find the rest of his friends gathered around and loitering before the next bell. His smile widened as he zeroed in on Billy and said, "Gonna need your help with some math homework. You busy after school?"
Billy, always delighted to help his friends in academic matters, shook his head. "No, not at all. We can head over the Youth Center and work on it there."
"Thanks man," Jason replied, clapping Billy on the shoulder before turning to his locker. He opened it and paused when he saw an envelope with his name written on it sitting on one of his books. Frowning as he wondered how it got there, he put his binder inside and picked up the envelope. He opened it and pulled a note out.
'Destiny made you for me and me for you. Life itself will rejoice when we finally come together. I am always near you, you are always in my heart.'
"Whatcha got there, Jase? Jase? Jason!"
Startled, he looked up to find the other staring at him curiously. "Uh..."
He didn't resist when Zack rolled his eyes and pulled the note out of his hands to read it out loud. He raised an eyebrow when he finished, then grinned widely. "Aww, Jason's got a secret admirer!"
"A very dramatic secret admirer," Trini said, a smile on her lips as Jason blushed and snatched the note back. "Any idea who it could be?"
Jason shook his head. "No. Whoever she is, though, must be good with a lock pick. It was sitting right there on one of my books."
"Girl who know what she wants isn't going to be stopped by something as trivial as a little lock," Zack said, eyes dancing with amusement.
"I think it's sweet," Kim said with a glance at Tommy. "For such a good looking guy, you don't date nearly enough, Jason. Betting whoever she is knows it, too, and decided to make the first move."
"Plenty of girls around here with their eye on you, bro," Tommy chimed in. He made a show of looking around at the girls currently wandering the halls. "Could be anyone."
"You guys finished?" Jason asked, a note of annoyance in his voice. Zack opened his mouth and Jason held up a hand. "Two works, Zack. Training. Session."
Zack's eyes widened, then narrowed. "You wouldn't."
Jason smirked. "Try me."
Zack glanced at the others, then snorted and shook his head. "Man, you are no fun."
The bell for the last class of the day rang, breaking into the levity. Grabbing his books, Jason waved goodbye and hurried off.
Over the next few days, Jason continued to receive notes, along with gifts in the form of flowers and plants that he'd never seen before that Billy found fascinating. Despite Jason's threats of vigorous training sessions, the others gleefully discussed the mystery, even making up a list of
suspects based on what they knew.
Which wasn't much. They knew she was a hardcore romantic based on the notes, that she seemed to have a talent for getting into locked doors, and had a brilliant talent for botany according to Billy. And none of them knew any girls fitting the description.
Then, finally, after nearly a week, Jason received a note asking him to meet his mysterious admirer.
"Bout time!" Zack exclaimed. "When and where does she want to meet?"
"Today at three thirty at the park where the flower garden is," Jason replied, scanning the note.
"Makes sense given her love for flowers and plant life," Billy commented.
Jason, seeing Zack and Tommy exchange a mischievous glance, glared at them and said, "If I see you two anywhere near there, you'll be in intensive training for a week, you understand?"
Kim and Trini exchanged grins, then Kim said, "Don't worry, Jase, we'll keep these two in line. Just do us a favor and bring her to the Youth Center later, okay? You know, put the rest of us out of our misery?"
Jason chuckled and nodded. "Deal." The bell rang and he and Trini headed off to their next class together.
Jason arrived at the meeting place a few minutes before three thirty and glanced around nervously. No one was around, yet he could feel eyes on him. "Hello?" he called out, eyes carefully scanning the area. The park seemed eerily quiet, which just added to his sudden trepidation. Feeling threatened, Jason fingered his morpher, resisting the urge morph, especially since he still felt eyes on him. "Who's here?" he called.
"Me," came a breezy voice from right behind him.
Jason spun around, eyes widening in surprise when he came face to face with a green skinned female covered in leaves and vines with long red hair and pure white eyes. She smiled at him. "My beloved Red Ranger," she breathed, reaching out to touch him. Jason tried to back up only to find he couldn't move. Looking down, he found vines holding his feet in place
and his mind flashed back to that day in the park when they were attacked by putties and vegetation had attempted to kidnap him.
He looked back at the being before him in bewilderment. "You're the one who's been sending all those notes and things?"
She smiled and nodded. "I am Willow. Do not be afraid, beloved," she said, running cool fingers along his cheek. "I knew from the first moment I saw you that we were fated to become one. The offspring you sire will be magnificent."
Jason raised both eyebrows. "Offspring? Oh, lady, I don't think so. You're really not my type." 'What the hell was Finster smoking when he baked this one up?' he thought. 'Time to morph!'
Unfortunately, he wasn't quick enough. As soon as he pulled his morpher out, Willow grabbed his wrist in an iron grip. "No, no, my love," she whispered. "None of that." She squeezed, forcing him to drop the morpher, then blew something sweet smelling in his face. He blinked, the world suddenly swimming in and out of focus before him. Dropping to his knees and struggling not to lose consciousness, he shakily pressed a button on his communicator, opening communications with the command center.
"Z...Zordon," he whispered. "I...I need...help."
Distantly, he heard Alpha's voice filter out through his communicator, but he couldn't understand the words. He tried to speak again, but everything faded away and then he knew no more.
Zack and Tommy were in the middle of a fast paced spar when Zack's communicator went off, stopping them mid strike. Glancing over at Billy and the girls, who were quickly getting up from their table, the five teens hurried to a spot where they could get a little privacy. "This is Zack, what's up?"
"Ai-yi-yi!" came Alpha's worried voice. "We just received a distress call from Jason but now he's not responding!"
Exchanging concerned looks with the others, Zack asked, "Is he still in the park?"
"We don't know. We can't get a lock on him!"
"All right, we'll check it out and report back in a few minutes," Zack replied before cutting communication. Without a word, the teens hit the teleport buttons and felt the familiar pull as they left the Youth Center and were deposited in the park, a short distance from where they knew
Jason was supposed to be. Quickly, but still with caution, they took off at a light run, each Ranger scanning the area for signs of trouble. No one was around. When they reached the spot Jason was supposed to be, they found it empty, too.
"Jason?" Zack shouted. "Yo, Jason! You hear me?"
"Guys!" Kim called in alarm and Zack turned to find her bending down and picking something up off the ground. She turned to look at them, fear in her eyes, and Zack's heart nearly stopped when he saw what she held.
"Shit!" Zack hissed and brought his communicator up. "Zordon, we got a problem here. We've found Jason's morpher, but no sign of him."
"I'd say the probability that he's met with foul play is extremely high," Billy said from where he knelt on the ground, examining some vines. He held them up. "These shouldn't be here and, if I remember correctly, they're the same type that attacked him that day at the park."
"Fantastic," Zack muttered.
"Uh...guys?" All attention turned to Tommy, who was looking at something behind them with wide eyes. "We're not alone."
They turned as one to see what he was looking at, their own eyes widening in surprise at the...being standing behind them. "Whoa," Zack breathed. "Someone up there has a Batman fetish."
The green skinned red head blinked at them, then said in a voice that made the three males in the group break out in tingles, "You seek my beloved Red Ranger, correct?"
The teens glanced at each other. "Your 'beloved Red Ranger?'" Trini repeated, a note of bewilderment in her voice.
"Wait," Kim spoke up, eyes showing her alarm. "Are *you* Jason's secret admirer?"
The others looked at Kim, startled, then at the female who smiled and nodded. "He is fated to become one with me. To sire our offspring."
Stunned silence met that declaration, then Tommy snorted. "Jesus, Jason," he muttered as he pulled his morpher out, though made no move to actually morph. "Why do you attract all the nutcases?" He was very much aware that he, himself, had once been that rapidly growing group, but he'd been under a spell at the time, so it didn't really count.
Zack glanced at Tommy, then looked back at the woman. "Okay, lady...."
"Willow," she interrupted. When Zack looked at her questioningly, she said, "My name is Willow."
"Course it is," Zack muttered. "All right, Willow, look. It's real nice that you wanna have Jason's baby and all. It kinda makes an interesting change from the usual routine of just trying to kill us, but we really need him back right now. He's got responsibilities and besides, he's way
too young to be a dad!"
Willow blinked, tilting her head a little. "I do not require his age for him to sire offspring. Merely his life force."
His life force? Zack really didn't like the sound of that. "What do you mean?"
"We are going to become one," Willow repeated. "He will give his life force to me and it will be used to sire our offspring." She closed her eyes smiled. "Even now, he is with me, giving me what I need for our children."
Zack instinctively grabbed his morpher in alarm, the others following suit. The situation, which had been a little on the funny side, was now very, very scary. "Where is Jason?" he demanded sharply.
Willow opened her eyes. "He is safe from harm." Her eyes hardened. "You will not take him away."
"Oh, I think we will," Zack shot back. "Guys! It's morphin time!"
However, before they could morph, they felt the familiar pull of teleportation. The park disappeared and the Command Center took its place. "Zordon!" Zack exclaimed in angry surprise. "What gives? That...Willow has Jason and she's going to kill him!"
"I am aware of the situation, Zack. We were monitoring your conversation," Zordon replied.
"Then why'd you pull us out?" Tommy asked.
"The computer was analyzing Willow while you were talking to her," Alpha answered. "She may not look is, but she is extraordinarily dangerous! You would not have lasted long against her without more specialized weapons! Weapons which we need some time to ready."
"I'm not sure Jason *has* much time," Zack said, running a hand through his hair in frustration.
"We don't even know where she's keeping him," Kim spoke up.
"Even more disturbing," Bill added, "Is that we don't know if we won't inadvertently hurt Jason by hurting her. She indicated that they're connected now. That they're becoming one."
Kim shuddered at that thought and Trini said, "Billy's right. We need to try to find where Willow is keeping him and try to learn more about how this connection is affecting him."
"Agreed," Zordon said. "We already have the computer trying to track him now."
"Given that she's affiliated with trees, she's likely made a nest somewhere nearby where there are lots of trees and vegetation," Billy said, hurrying over to one of the councils. "We should focus on areas that fit that criteria."
"Rangers, while Billy searches for Jason and Willow, the rest of you will need to assist Alpha in readying the weapons you will need against her."
"Right this way, Rangers," Alpha said, turning and heading out for another part of the Command Center. With worried glances at each other, the others quietly followed.
Willow moved easily through the thick forest for the area she had chosen for her den. She had taken a small section of Angel Grove Forest, remaking it to her liking. Poisonous plants and trees guarded both the outer and inner perimeter, keeping her, her mate and their growing
offspring safe from the enemies who clearly wanted to destroy the life she was creating. If any did manage to make it past her defenses, well, they would have her to contend with.
"Don't worry, my love," she breathed, moving over to the tree that the unconscious Red Ranger-Jason, they called him- was securely fastened to by thick vines. "No one will take you from me...from *us.*" She looked down at the little pods, no bigger than plumbs right now, that were attached to the vines confining Jason, slowly feeding them the life energy of their sire. They were doing well. She smiled as she looked back at Jason. She had chosen a strong mate.
Willow reached out and lightly ran her fingers down his cheek, knowing she had to rejoin the tree she had made for this event and add her own energy to the process. Leaning in, she softly kissed his lips as the vines reached out and wrapped around her, gently pulling her into the tree where the connection between them was strongest.
Several hours passed, during which the Rangers managed to get some productive work done. They had successfully completed the weapons upgrade they would need against Willow. Then, after careful research on the weird plants and trees that she was composed of, came to the conclusion that Jason would likely be imprisoned in something connected directly to her and would most probably be effected if she was harmed. Therefore, he would have to be freed before they could kill her. Armed with that information, along with their new weapons, all they needed now was to find him.
Which was proving to be a problem that was perplexing Billy. From his station, his fingers flew across the controls, adding and taking away parameters and muttering to himself. "There's been no detection of any inter dimension travel so that means he's still here somewhere," he
murmured to himself. "So why is the computer having such a problem locating him?" He frowned thoughtfully, carefully considering everything that they knew. Then his eyes widened and his fingers continued dancing over the controls.
"You find something, Billy?" Zack asked, almost mesmerized by how fast Billy was going. Billy glanced up. "I'll know in a few minutes, I hope," he answered then turned his attention back to the council.
Four minutes later, Billy let out a triumphant yell. "I've got him! Look at the viewing globe!"
The other eagerly gathered at the globe, which was zeroing in on Angel Grove Forest. They watched as the image changed to show trees and plants they had never seen before, some of which actually looked alive from the way they were moving. The image moved further inward, revealing dense foliage of more strange trees and plants until, at last...
"Oh my god!" Kim gasped, a hand flying to her mouth as Jason appeared. "Billy! He looks... Is he...?"
"No, he's alive," Billy replied. "Though his life signs are weak. We're going to have to move fast."
"Rangers, use the modified blade blasters to freeze plants before they can attack," Zordon instructed.
"Do not get too close," Alpha added. "Some of those plants can kill you with a simple touch!"
"Thanks for the warning, Alpha," Zack said, exchanging nervous glances with the others.
"Tread carefully, Rangers," Zordon added. "The further in you proceed, the more aware Willow will likely become of you. Sensors indicate that she is currently within the tree that Jason is secured to."
"That tree is also the key to killing her," Billy said from where he was studying readouts. "According to this, that tree is literally a part of her. A vital part, too. Kill that and she'll follow suit. It's also what's connecting her to Jason."
"All right," Zack said. "We get in there, draw Willow out, then Tommy, Kim and I will engage while Trini and Billy free Jason and kill that tree."
Receiving nods of agreement, Zack took a deep, calming breath. 'Hang on, Jase, we're coming,' he thought, then called out, "It's Morphin time!"
They arrived at the outer perimeter of Willow's sanctuary, drew their blade blasters and approached cautiously. "Remember to keep your distance, guys," Billy warned just before he opened fire on a plant that was slowly creeping toward them. They all shuddered as it let out a
shriek before it shriveled and turned to ash.
"Gonna give me nightmares for a week," Zack muttered, then proceeded to fire on all the hostile plants and trees, slowly carving their way into the inner perimeter. The further in they went, the darker it got as the denseness cut off the light of the sun. It wasn't long before they were
forced to rely on their helmets special resources to see what they were doing.
"Slowly, guys," Billy cautioned. "This is the area that'll be the most dangerous." Just seconds after he said that, Kim called out a warning, fear in her voice as what looked like a monstrous Venus Fly Trap came straight at the Blue Ranger. Billy dived out of the way as the other opened fire, but wasn't quite quick enough to avoid a thorny vine that wrapped itself around his leg, bringing him down to the ground hard. He let out a yell of pain as the vine squeezed, managing to penetrate his uniform.
"Billy!" Trini shouted, spotting his dilemma. "Hold on!" She left the others to finish off the fly trap and hurried over to him, using her daggers to hack the vine and force it into a retreat. It disappeared back into the undergrowth, trailing a greenish white liquid after it. Trini
shuddered and then turned her attention to Billy. "You okay?" she asked, reaching out and carefully unwrapping the vine on his leg, wincing at the blood staining his leg.
Billy was breathing hard and fumbling around with one of his gloves. "I...I don't think...so, Trini," he panted. "I...I think...I've been p...poisoned."
"Poisoned!" Zack exclaimed in alarm as he, Kim and Tommy joined them, casting wary glances around the forest as an enraged scream pierced the air.
Billy nodded, trembling hands finally producing a vile of yellow liquid and an injection gun. "Tr...Trini..."
Trini, quickly catching on to what Billy needed, snatched the vile and gun away, expertly loading it and then injecting Billy with it. A moment later, Billy's breathing calmed and the tremors stopped. "You okay, man?" Zack asked from where he knelt next to Billy, a hand on his shoulder.
Billy nodded. "Yes. We can move on now."
"Uh, I don't think you're going to get very far on that leg, bro," Tommy spoke up, nodding to the blood soaked limb.
"He's right," Zack agreed, taking a closer look. "You'd better teleport back."
Billy shook his head. "No, I can handle it. The wound's not that deep and the Grid is helping." With Trini's help, he struggled to his feet, putting careful weight on his leg.
"You sure?" Zack asked, clearly ready to order Billy back if he had to, though hoping that he wouldn't have to. They were going to need everyone for this. Especially since he was fairly certain Willow knew they were there if that scream was any indication.
Billy's only reply was to start walking, though with a heavy limp. Tommy and Kim both followed after him, leaving Zack and Trini to bring up the rear. "Trini," Zack murmured softly as he watched Billy. "When you and Billy get Jason free, have Alpha teleport them both back right away. I hate to say it, but he's not going to be much help with that leg, despite whatever the Grid may be doing. He'll be of more help back at the Command Center with Jason."
Trini nodded in silent agreement and the pair turned their full attention back to their surroundings.
Ten minutes and three more close calls later, they found what they were looking for. Fighting the desire to race up to Jason, the five teens quietly spread out, using hand signals to communicate with each other. Once Billy and Trini were in position closest to the tree, ready to free Jason while the others kept Willow busy, Zack gave the signal to draw the monster out. "Fire at will!"
They opened fire on the surrounding trees and plants, avoiding the one Jason was tied to for fear of hurting him. Within seconds, screams of grief and pain erupted from the tree and Willow emerged, beautiful face contorted in her rage. "Stop! Stop!" she shrieked, launching herself straight at Tommy. "Monsters! Murderers! I'll kill you all for attacking my babies!"
Tommy just barely managed to avoid her attack, noticing that one of her arms had changed into a tree like spear which she used to slash at him viciously. "Watch out for her arm, guys!" he warned, nearly getting slashed in the chest as she continued to come at him.
Zack and Kim quickly jumped in to take the pressure off Tommy, slashing at Willow with their modified blades. Willow screamed in pain and turned to face them, eyes widening as she mentally assessed her wounds. "What is that?" she demanded. "What have you done to me?"
"It's called weed killer," Tommy answered, striking her with his own weapon and drawing another shriek from her.
"I am no weed!" she snarled, and lashed out with her other hand, little projectiles shooting out.
"Duck!" Zack shouted, hitting the ground and rolling to avoid another tree that had suddenly come to life and tried to step on him. 'Shit!' he thought, quickly shooting the tree with his blaster. 'Really don't need this right now!' He came to his feet to find both Kim and Tommy engaging Willow, who just seemed to be getting madder and not slowing down. He
chanced a glance over at Trini and Billy, seeing that they almost had Jason freed. 'Gotta get rid of that thing,' he thought. 'Come on guys, hurry up!' Knowing they needed to keep Willow's attention away from what was going on with Jason, he hurriedly launched himself into the fray,
hoping she wouldn't try to poison any of them.
Trini and Billy, meanwhile, were working as fast as they could to free an unresponsive Jason. Neither voiced their concerns that Jason looked worse than he had on the viewing globe, both worried that they might be too late to save their friend and leader. Neither voiced to the other how frightened they were, they just concentrated on getting Jason out of there. After a few minutes, both were startled by a pained gasp from Jason, who took a shuddering breath and went absolutely still. Billy quickly reached out and pressed his fingers to the side of Jason's neck while Trini held her breath.
"Shit!" Billy hissed a few second later and started frantically tearing at the vines. "He's not breathing!" With a thrill of fear shooting through her, Trini took out her daggers and slashed viciously at the vines, no longer concerned with drawing Willow's attention which, judging from the scream from the monster and the shouts from her friends, they had.
"Keep her off us!" she shouted into the communication channel. "Jason's not breathing! We have to get him out now! Alpha! Teleport the instant I give the word!"
Zack, Tommy and Kim, using their fear at Trini's shout, were no longer struggling with Willow but working together like a well-oiled machine to keep her from interfering with their other two teammates. Plants and vines that she tried to send after the pair wound up as shriveled husks on
the ground, though each of them took sever blows from Willow with Kim feeling the effects of a poison making its way through her system. She refused to acknowledge it, though, and fought on like a mother bear protecting her cubs.
After what felt like hours, Trini and Billy pulled Jason down, Billy wrapping the Red Ranger firmly in his arms as Trini shouted for teleport them. As Billy and Jason disappeared, Trini turned to the Trini and started taking her anger and fear out on it. She hacked into it with her
daggers until she had created a decent hole, then fired her weapon into it until she had a fire going. As the fire started to consume the tree, a hideous scream was torn from Willow and Trini spun around just in time to get nailed in the shoulder with a wooden missile. The impact threw her back and pinned her to another tree. For a few seconds, she hung there, mind cloudy with shock, then screamed in pain as the spear like weapon was pulled out, dropping her to the ground.
"Trini!" Gasping and putting pressure on her wounded shoulder, she looked up as the other three joined her. "You okay?" Zack asked, taking in her condition.
Trini, despite the pain, nodded. "Y-Yeah!" she gasped. "We gotta finish this and get out of here before that fire spreads!"
"Good thing we modified the power blaster then," Zack said as Tommy helped Trini up. "Let's bring em together, guys!" Moving quickly, they assembled the Power Blaster with help from Zordon to compensate for their missing teammates. "Ready! Fire!" Zack shouted and the blaster activated, hitting the now severely weakened Willow full force. With a terrible shriek, she exploded, causing bits of plant and other things to rain down on them.
Their sighs of relief were interrupted by Tommy calling out, "Kim!" as the Pink Ranger swayed and slipped to the ground. "Alpha! Get us out of here!" Zack ordered and the burning world around them vanished to be replaced by the cool air of the Command Center. Which was currently filled with shouts as Billy and Trini worked frantically on Jason, who lay on a med table nearby.
Alpha appeared next to Tommy, who held a now unconscious Kimberly in his arms, and injected her with something. "She'll be okay, Tommy," the little android reassured before Tommy could say anything, holding a scanner up to her. "Put her on that med table over there," he added,
gesturing to a second table. Tommy did as instructed, then turned to the scene on the other side of the room, which Zack had joined. "How is he, Alpha?"
"They got him breathing again, thank goodness," Alpha answered, turning to watch as well. "But there's something in his system that's causing a problem. They're trying to purge it before it kills him."
Tommy chewed his lower lip fretfully, staying where he was, knowing he'd just get in the way. He'd never been very good with the medical side of things, though he knew basic first aid well enough. He knew enough to know that Trini's shoulder was a hell of a mess and that she was going to need tending to herself very soon if her color was any indication. He didn't move to interfere, though. He stayed where he was, watching and waiting.
Finally, the frantic movements and talking stopped and Tommy took that as the signal to made his way over. "Guys?" They all looked up, tired and worried but with hints of relief in their eyes.
"We got him stabilized," Billy reported. "He's not out of the woods yet, but...I think he'll be okay."
Relief flooded Tommy and he looked down on his friend, eyes tracking the slow rise and fall of his chest, remembering how his own heart had stopped when Trini had shouted that Jason wasn't breathing. "Trini," he murmured, remembering her injury, "You'd better get that shoulder taken care of."
"Good idea," Billy agreed. "Come on, Trini, Alpha and I will patch you up over there," he added, nodding to where Alpha had set up another med table.
"How's your leg, Billy?" Tommy asked, gaze still locked on Jason.
"Better than Trini's shoulder," Billy replied as he guided the Yellow Ranger over to the empty med table.
"You sure, Billy?" Zack asked, followed the pair.
"Yeah, I can wait," Billy reassured. "How's Kim doing?"
"The poison has been purged from her system," Alpha reported as he moved over to assist them. "She'll probably sleep for a couple of hours."
Once Trini and Billy were patched up, everyone found a spot to rest and wait. None were willing to leave the Command Center until they knew for sure that Jason would be all right.
It would be a long wait.
It was three days, and several scares later, before Jason finally showed signs of waking up. The other five had hardly left except when absolutely necessary, especially with the scares Jason had given them. Kim, who was currently sitting next to him and quietly reading to him, looked up at a soft intake of breath. "Jason?" She leaned in closer, her eyes widening as he displayed signs of coming around. "Guys!" she called, standing up and leaning over Jason.
As the others hurried over, Kim took Jason's hand and called, "Jason? Jason, can you hear me?"
"Come on, bro, time to wake up," Tommy added.
They watched anxiously as Jason struggled back to consciousness, slowly opening his eyes and blinking at them. "G-Guys?" he whispered weakly. "Wha...happened?"
The others exchanged glances, their relief so strong that it made them break into smiles. "You scared us half to death, that's what happened," Tommy replied.
"Jason," Zordon spoke. "What do you remember?"
Jason frowned, wading through foggy memories. "The park," he finally whispered. "F-Feeling threatened and...green skin." His confused eyes found Zack. "What happened?"
"Um, well, Jase, you remember your secret admirer?" At Jason's nod, he said, "Well, it turns out she...wasn't really your type."
Jason frowned, then his eyes widened in remembrance. "She wanted me to father her children."
"Yeah, and not in the fun way either," Tommy said, earning a slap from Kim.
Jason's eyes were starting to drift shut as sleep came back to claim him. "Rangers," Zordon said, drawing their attention to him. "Jason is now out of danger and will be all right. He needs rest now and so do you."
The teens looked a little reluctant to leave, but knew Zordon was right. They also knew that they'd all end up back there within a few hours. Zordon knew it too and, as the others vanished in teleportation streams, he looked down on Jason with deep fondness and affection. It had been a very close call but, once again, the team had managed to pull through and were whole once more.
'Rest well, my Red Ranger,' he thought. 'You have earned it.'