Filled with Good Works

The Rally, the Parry, and the Generally Displeased

Calamity was going on above Hunter’s head.

Calamity, or at the very least some slight pandemonium as cosmetic products were being thrown around the room, Choobo’s (finally) unconscious dead weight sailed gracefully into Marah, and then there was some irritated squawking from Kapri, and there was madness, chaos, and blessed, blessed, no one messing with his face.

Or his hair, but mostly his face. If Hunter had to sit through one more argument of how his complexion was clearly more winter than summer he was going to end it all. He was. The team could replace him with freakin’ CyberCam (and good ole’ regular-Cam probably already had that backup-contingency-number-twelve in place or just some shit specifically forthat, because replacing Hunter had to be near the top of one of his to-do lists. Hunter would feel insulted otherwise).

Hunter was done. Done. He hadn’t gotten any nap-time in, his ribs were still firmly on hiatus from contributing anything useful to anything, and he had tried on about eight too many lipsticks in the past ten minutes alone, let alone the past half hour. Hunter was checked out for the day.

It was with this mindset firmly in place that he took no qualms with he-who-must-not-be-named being named (heh) as his rescuer.

If this could be really called a rescue at all.

Seeing as Hunter had already suffered through the unskilled hands of one Kapri as she (failingly - that was a word now, Hunter decided) attempted to curl his hair, the crimson was willing to say too little, too late. He had standards.

Cam, as usual, had failed them. Big surprise there.

Hunter vaguely registered his helmet being tossed beside him on the bed, accompanied by the continued squeals of Kapri and Marah, whose fates, Hunter hoped, were at least as mildly horrific as his had been.

“You look awful,” Cam stated, deftly elbowing Marah in the face before rounding on Kapri with a quick jab to the throat.

“I hate you,” Hunter said, letting out the essence of whatever his normally sarcastic reply would have been.

“You look hurt too,” Cam continued easily, and ha-ha, get it, he had been referring to Hunter’s makeover- “But those colors look terrible on you.”

“See!” Marah waved an annoyed hand at Kapri. “I told you he’s a winter oof-

While Cam took advantage of their momentary distraction to viciously floor the two dumb bimbos with the ferocity of someone a little too invested, Hunter contemplated making the effort to put on his helmet.

On one hand, there was head protection and he could cover whatever monstrosities the lackiest of lackeys had committed to his face. And then there was the whole secret identity thing that could continue you know, being secret and all…

On the other hand, moving was hard.

So…Hunter would allow gravity to win, just this once.

The blond glanced over to check on Cam’s progress, registering unfamiliar feelings of pride and appreciation when he saw the green Samurai ranger tying them up with the spotted curtains they had so eagerly fallen in love with earlier.

Yes, ironic justice.

Like, maybe? Hunter wasn’t really sure; his head wasn’t in a state where it could accurately discern the correct use of the term ‘irony’.

Had to be something, at least.

“Good job,” Hunter mumbled, grinning at the indignant look on Kapri’s face when Cam straight up gagged her with a scarf (which wasn’t at all fair to whoever-the-hell’s apartment this was, but just so perfect). The blond didn’t realize his error until the green ranger’s helmet snapped over to look at him, posture screaming ‘stupidly, perfectly composed’ while his fidgeting hands said ‘what the hell, what the hell, what the heeeeellll?!!!’.

Or maybe Hunter was hallucinating.

Both were good theories.

“How hard did they hit you?” Cam asked quietly, finishing Marah’s gag with deft efficiency before moving to inspect the blond closer.

Hunter had to have been more tired than he previously thought, because the only logical answer he could think of was, “With a tree,” and that was apparently enough to confirm the worst of Cam’s suspicions.

Uggh…He could see his face in the reflection of Cam’s helmet. Damn, Marah and Kapri were just bad at everything. Just, the champions of incompetency.

Or they were purposefully making him look bad, but based on their outfits-of-choice Hunter was a hundred and ten percent sure his theory was right.

“Okay,” Cam replied seriously, allowing one of those rare instances where he wasn’t as condescending as hell. “I think you’re pretty much done with battle.”

Hunter’s oh-so original, “You think?” was muffled when Cam took the ‘to helmet, or not to helmet?’ argument out of Hunter’s hands and slipped the headgear on carefully, taking great pains not to move the blond’s neck any more than was necessary.

“Where does it hurt?” the green ranger asked when this deed had been accomplished, casting a quick look to the temporarily bound badguys lingering on the other side of the room.

Clearly, the tech wasn’t reveling in the idea of sticking around, but he didn’t want to move Hunter until he had an idea of how injured he was.

Awww…look at Cam taking such good care of his tools.

Or staying on Shane’s good side, or being a decent human being, or using this as black mail to lord it over Hunter in the future…

The list went on and on and on.

“Ribs,” Hunter mumbled, saving the more accurate response of “everywhere” for when escaping wasn’t a priority. “Just give me a hand up; I can lean on you until we hit the roof.”

“Of course you can,” the green ranger replied, sarcasm radiant and so sharply present. “Because you’re so adept at moving right now.”

Despite his complaints, Cam had the older Bradley propped against his shoulder quickly and was already moving to the window by the time he finished his statement, taking great care to maneuver the injured ranger out the window before they could get to some really fun hopping and streaking and moving, joy of joys.

But Marah and Kapri would only be held up for so long, so it wasn’t like they actually had a choice in the matter.

“Brace yourself,” Cam ordered, as though Hunter could do anything besides release pained moans (which he excelled at, by the way), and one eternity later they were on the roof of the building, Hunter squinting up at the vividness of the bright, blue sky.

Okay, so Silver Hills hadn’t burned down while he was out of the game. That was something he could take comfort in.

“Cam-”

“The Wind Megazord is on its way to pick you up,” the green ranger interrupted, too impatient to wait through whatever half-cocked plan Hunter was going to come up with. “I’ll help you up reach it, but after that you’ll have to manage not to get yourself completely killed all by yourself. I know that will be difficult for you.”

“Still hate you,” Hunter muttered, shaking off the sarcasm and stubbornly ignoring how Cam was the only reason he was actually upright.

“A sentiment we share,” Cam replied, breezily. Before Hunter could attempt to rile the other teen further, Cam’s helmet tipped to the side, as though he were listening in on some conversation Hunter wasn’t privy to.

Which was exactly what was happening, Hunter presumed, or else Cam just liked spouting words like, “All good here; just go without me,” to the air for no particular reason.

Though Hunter wouldn’t put it past the tech; his mind games were nothing short of legendary.

“I’ll catch up with you later,” Cam finished his possibly imaginary conversation and signed off, head righting to its original position of abject distain for Hunter, which was good, because even the blond appreciated attention every now and again.

He also appreciated the ‘help’ he received making it up to the Wind Megazord (smoothest of rides his ass), and while he lamented the painful lack of the Thunder Megazord, he supposed this would just have to do for now.

Because nap time was finally, finally calling his name.

And not even Cam could ruin that.


“He says he’ll catch up,” Wes said, much to Justin’s disappointment. The green ranger was actually one of the few he wanted to meet in person and the delay, however momentary, was still annoying.

“Are they alright?” the yellow ranger, who had taken to hovering near Carter, asked.

Originally, Justin had suspected it had something to do with the Lightspeed ranger’s natural ability to radiate a sort of steadfastness that most found calming, but it became obvious when the yellow ranger began not-so-subtly comparing the Quantum Defender with Carter’s Rescue Blaster what was really on his mind.

Cripes, the kid got distracted easily.

“All good.” Wes’ voice was light and comforting, a tone that was obviously the result of many long hours of forced public relations.

“Good,” the yellow ranger replied with a definite nod, a far cry from the concerned mass of overrunning sentences he’d been earlier when he had first heard of his teammate’s hostage status.

The compassion and worry had been endearing, and the frantic questions, while…okay, should have been aggravating as hell because he wouldn’t let Wes even try to answer him, had managed to hit at Justin’s soft spot anyway.

There was a cruelty to this Justin was not comfortable with.

“Alright then,” the newbie chirped, thrusting his fist into the air. “Onward!”

Without waiting for their acquiescence, the yellow ranger vanished in a streak of bright light up the side of the nearest building, bounding onto the rooftop before Justin could even blink.

Frick’n ninjas.

“You coming?!” he called, persistent in his perpetual cheer, before he blurred off into the distance, off towards Justin’s original destination.

“Umm…” Wes trailed off, unsure of how to respond to what exactly just happened.

Justin waved him off. “Just get on your damn bike.”

“Okay,” Wes replied, almost sounding relieved. “I can do that.”

“And get in the car,” Justin pointing a hand in Carter’s general vicinity, refusing to listen to the other ranger’s input, whatever it was. He just wanted to get this over with.

Carter, to his credit, remained silent as the drive began, making the inconceivably strong urge for Justin’s pent up streams of “thank you for being a decent human being” to release in a messy and unprofessional torrent all the more appealing.

But he fought it, deciding to give Carter what the Lightspeed ranger had given him.

Silence.


Things were not all quiet on the Western Front.

Assuming, of course, that the ‘Western Front’ in this case applied to ‘That portion of Silver Hills with all the Coffee Shops and Plazas and fancy streets’ that were beginning to exceed in the collective amount of property-damage-per-henchpeople ratio in a spectacularly stunning way.

Now that Leo thought about it, there was a chance that they were actually in the northern part of the city, but that was ultimately irrelevant.

Case in point, Leo’s ten minute time-out for goading one lone Doompot was beginning to feel like more of a distant, hallucinated memory rather than an actual thing that happened…however long ago. Felt like years at this moment, it was probably minutes though.

Time keeping had never been one of Leo’s strongest suits, was his point.

Wait, nope; his point had been that the entirety of the shit had hit all of the fans, and if they, by some form of wizardry, managed to survive this event, Leo was going to have to amp up his game on the pranking-Eric front, because a bucket of goop on the head was not serious enough compensation for fighting an all out-war.

Maybe two buckets of goo, but not one.

Now Leo just looked foolish.

“Ranger check!” he shouted, leaping over the husk of a burnt out mini van to assault the newest herd of henchman gangling in the distance. “Is everyone still alive?”

“The ninjas are all good!” an aqua streak, supposedly the blue fangirl from before, shouted from somewhere above Leo, dashing off to bounce around with the other blurs of red and navy as they covered the grounded rangers’ backs.

“Black Mighty Morphin’, okay!” Adam shouted from further down the road, fending off the lone Doompot that remained on the offensive with his Power Axe. “Time Force?”

“I’m good!” Aside from the new ninja rangers, Lucas was probably the best off stamina-wise, out of all the veterans. “A little annoyed,” the blue Time Force ranger continued. “But good.”

“Q-Bear?!” Leo shouted, allowing a small hint of concern to edge into his voice as he failed to catch sight of Eric’s disgruntled posture.

It almost came as a relief to hear a new flurry of expletives coming from around the corner, the Quantum Ranger following closely on its heels as he literally barreled through a mob of henchmen.

“They all die!” Eric shouted, too distracted by his new bout of rage to complain about Leo’s nickname. “Everyone dies!”

“That’s the spirit!” the red Miranoi ranger replied cheerfully, unleashing a wave of fire as he slashed out with his Manga Talon, hench-peoples falling left and right. “Keep it up!”

“Zhane!” Adam called, disregarding a codename for the publicly-known ranger. “How are you managing?”

“Gonna be honest,” the silver ranger replied, having shaken off his earlier vexation with stunning agility, now managing to sound, dare Leo think it, cheerful. “Pretty sure I’m doing much better than you guys.”

There was some scoffing from Lucas’ general direction. “Brag about it, why don’t you?”

“Nope,” Zhane replied brightly. “You’re not going to get me down, not now that I have an actual fight on my hands.”

“Weren’t you fighting in space earlier?” Eric called, aggravated. “Zord combat? You know, a battle?”

From the corner of his eye, Leo could see Zhane’s previously enthusiastic slashing come to a startled halt.

“Frickin’ had to remind me, didn’t you?” the silver ranger grumbled. He motioned towards Leo. “I left Kai piloting the Mega Winger.”

Leo let out a bark of laughter at the thought; picturing Kai flailing around the Mega Winger’s cockpit all on his lonesome. He held onto the image, knowing that if he let go of the humor the overwhelming feelings of concern for his boyfriend would completely shut him down.

He needed to have faith in Kai’s abilities.

As lacking as they were.

Eric’s helmet tilted in Miranoi ranger’s direction. “Isn’t that the guy who’s notoriously-?”

“Shut up,” Zhane muttered, striking out a little more fiercely with his Super Silverizer than was strictly required. “It was necessary.”

“Your loss.” The casual drawl would have been more humorous were it not for the slight strain to the words; Lucas deciding that tackling ten henchman at once was an outstandingly good idea.

“Damon will fix it,” Leo offered, rushing over to the Time Force ranger’s side, complementing Lucas’ oversized cannon with the finesse of his Quasar Saber.

Zhane’s mournful response of, “So I’ve been told,” was enough to provoke another round of laughter from Leo, giving him the distinct feeling the silver ranger had already been informed as much by one Kai Chen.

Ideally, not having to fear for your zord’s utter destruction would have been the best reward, but Damon’s skills were a solid runner up by way of consolations.

You know, sort of.

Leo’s musings were interrupted by a shout further down the street, where Adam, the determined son-of-a-bitch that he was, had just managed to combat roll his way out of the Doompot’s attack.

“Have we managed to reach any of the other teams yet?” the black ranger called, strictly on the defensive now, attempting to wear the monster back down into useless monologuing. “Or is there still no luck?”

It was worth it to note, even with the ninjas running interference when needed, that Adam’s evasions were cutting it closer and closer toan injury-free escape. Luckily, Leo wasn’t the only one keen to end this and Lucas, with a quick nod of his helmet, was winding his way through the destroyed main street towards the black ranger in no time flat. He inserted himself between the Mighty Morphin’ ranger and the Doompot without so much as a word, picking up the battle with the smoothness of a well-practiced veteran.

Damn show off, in Leo’s opinion. But you couldn’t really hate a guy for having style.

The ninjas - the red one especially, Leo thought - were familiar enough with subtle maneuvers that they (he? maybe) already had Adam shepherded to a new battle, far out of reach of the old one, where he wouldn’t be as vulnerable to Doompot attacks.

A risky maneuver, but effectively done. Adam nodded his thanks and then they were back into the grind of endless bodies, destruction, chaos, and explosions raining down with ruthless perseverance.

They were going to run themselves into the ground at this rate. If Carter and Justin didn’t get their butts in gear soon they would have to commence plan Really Big Cannon (because there had to be a stupidly oversized cannon; it wouldn’t be a team up if there wasn’t) without them.

It might not work without them, but it wasn’t going to work at all if everyone had run themselves ragged before trying.

Adam would make the call, if it got out of hand, Leo was sure, but it was something worth paying attention to.

Zhane’s calling interrupted the red ranger’s thoughts; the Space ranger answering Adam’s earlier question mid-fancy somersault.

“I reached Angela!” Zhane shouted, exiting his maneuver with a cocky strut. “But I haven’t been able to make contact with the other teams. She says Justin and Carter are en route though-”

Still?!” Aside from the disbelief, there was a good deal about Eric’s tone that indicated he was not pleased with this news. “Frickin’ you got here before they did and you were in space.”

“Can’t argue with superior transportation!” Leo sung, forcing a laugh to keep spirits high and praying Justin would never hear of this. He did not want to face a blue ranger’s wrath; he knew what they were capable of.

“There were mentions of a detour,” Zhane continued, almost distracted as he took out his newest pack of minions with a wave of his sword. “But it’s been taken care of; they should be here soon.”

“Damn right they should,” Eric grumbled, low enough that the ninjas (if they even had the time to listen), wouldn’t have picked it up through his external speakers.

-And…” Becoming annoyed with the interruptions, Zhane tossed a henchman in Eric’s general direction, letting it bowl into the mob the Quantum Ranger had been preparing to attack with unapologetic accuracy. “…They have company.”

“Good company?” Lucas spat, jaws clenched together as he abandoned his cannon in favor of his more close-combat-friendly Chrono Sabers. “Or is this company we would have preferred stayed on the other side of the city?”

“Good company,” Zhane confirmed, bouncing over one of the two grounded Doompots and throwing himself into Lucas’ fray, giving the blue ranger time to breathe. “Red Time Force and Yellow Ninja-”

Awesome!” a blur, navy this time, cheered; literally running across the shoulders of unoccupied minions, sweeping them down left and right with that staff of his. “Finally, that’s four-”

“Green and, what, Crimson-” Zhane trailed off, thinking, reaching for that last color. “Yeah, Crimson; they should be following soon.”

“And that,” the red Ninja ranger came into view with a satisfied jaunt, scattering henchmen in his wake with a smooth flourish of his sword. “Is the best news I’ve heard today.”

“To be fair,” Leo muttered, struggling to duck out of reach of some particularly grabby minions, all aiming for his throat. “It’s been a pretty awful day.”

“Also,” Lucas interrupted, having left the Doompot fight to Zhane as he went about minimizing the number of increasingly blood-thirsty henchmen numbers. “At some point, it would be nice to get a little back story on what the hell led us to this. Because I think - and this is just a feeling - I think you guys know.”

“You know what we do,” the red ninja offered with a helpless shrug.

“B knows,” ‘T’, the aqua ranger, offered.

“B wished he didn’t know.” The grumble somehow came from both above and behind- stupid ninja speed- and Leo didn’t even bother with the headache of trying to catch the navy ranger’s movement because that in itself would only lead to migraines. “And it should be noted,” the blue streak continued. “That B doesn’t know everything that happened.”

From somewhere on the side of a building (because it came from the side and up okay, but not up enough because Leo knew how tall the buildings were) there came a scoff that was probably the red ranger. “What about this do you not know?”

“Well, there was the meet up,” the navy ranger offered wryly, explaining his ignorance.

“The meet up?” Oh hey, there was Eric’s miffed sputter, Leo had missed that. “You mean the thing where we gathered all the rangers because of you guys-

“Us guys?” the navy ranger replied, sounding indignant.

You guys,” Eric repeated and woah, this was going to become a Three Stooges bit any second now, Leo could feel it.

“And because of you guys-” Eric continued, working himself into a fine huff-

“Now isn’t the time!”

Poor Adam, trying to be the voice of reason through the already rising tensions. Leo should be helping him, he should, but he had nothing. He was beginning to run on empty here. There were no sarcastic quips to be had.

“It’s never going to be the time!” Eric snapped, which, while accurate, did not make his mid-battle break down thing-to-be all that justified. “In fact-”

“Death from above!”

It was a new voice.

The new voice was swiftly followed by a new blur (or opposite, because the ninjas traveled so much faster than their voices could manage so maybe it had been the blur then the voice), and before Leo could really process what was going on there was a yellow streak dashing around the battle field in a proper frenzy, laying down henchmen easily in its wake.

“Laser blast time!” the voice declared and there, Leo finally saw it- him- the yellow guy/ninja/person standing remarkably at ease on top of an overturned Silver Guardians SUV, eagerly blasting left and right with-

“Is that my-?” Eric began, tone disbelieving with a tiny dash of strangled to bring it on home.

“Yep,” the kid replied blithely, unconcerned with the Quantum Ranger’s…concern. “Blast, blast, blast, blast, blast, blast, blaaaast.”

He punctuated each word with a short burst of light from the Quantum Defender, aiming for the feet of his targets so he could knock them to the ground.

“This,” the yellow ranger continued, judging the borrowed (stolen) weapon resting in his palm thoughtfully. “Would be a lot better if it was a sword.”

As if on cue (and it probably was, but Leo was having a difficult time registering what was actually going on) a metal extension, some might have even called it a blade, distended from the mouth-end of the Quantum Defender, the gun’s handle shifting until it resembled, dare Leo think it, a sword.

“Huh,” the yellow ninja muttered, helmet cocked to the side innocently as he re-examined his borrowed (stolen) weapon. “Sweet.”

“You-” Eric began, voice cutting off with a frustrated strangle before he turned back to his battle, charging his way through the swarms of henchman that dared to oppose him.

“Slashing time!” the kid cheered, and just like that he was off like a rocket, weaving through rubble and wreckage and striking out with the Quantum…sword with the eager narration of, “Swish, swish, stab.”

“I have,” the Quantum ranger grumbled quietly over the inner headset, sounding at a total loss. “I have no words.”

“You think that’s the kid that broke into your house?” Adam asked, prompting the Silver Guardian back into the present.

Or, you know, attempting to.

“Definitely,” Eric confirmed. “Voice is the same.”

“Then which one is the other one?” Leo asked, thinking back to the mini-Eric spawn he had left bewildered in his yet-to-be-destroyed kitchen. “They have to be on the same team, right?”

“If this much carnage always follows them around,” Lucas drawled, switching back to his heavy cannon to take out the remaining packs of henchman the yellow blur had missed. “It would not surprise me.”

“What color was he wearing?” Adam asked.

Now that Leo thought about it…

“Blue,” he said, remembering the kid had almost reminded him of a young-Kai, if only because of the blue and Asian business.

Or entirely because of that.

“Sounds like we’ve got a fit,” Lucas decided, helmet tilting towards Eric who, it seemed, was finally managing to catch a breather.

“That little shit.” The Quantum Ranger’s fists clenched together at his sides, rekindling the abandoned anger from earlier at the state of his home as his helmet whipped in the direction of the navy ninja. “He better tell me what the hell happened-”

“We’ve got incoming-!”

The red ninja didn’t finish the sentence, or maybe that was all he had intended for sake of efficiency, but either way the private helmet conversation immediately ground to a halt when, low and behold, Storm Blaster came screeching around the corner. Wes followed closely behind on a motorcycle, and there was another SUV behind that, Silver Guardians flooding out as soon as the vehicle was motionless, taking care of the remaining henchmen.

“We picked up some more help on the way!” Wes shouted happily.

They would all ignore the way the red Time Force ranger made an instant bee-line for Eric’s side the moment he was able, doing a cursory once-over for obvious injuries before offering his Co-Commander a squeeze on the shoulder, if just to offer some silent support.

Leo was less likely to ignore the way Eric took that support immediately, the tension in his shoulders melting away as he leaned into the touch, if only for a second, before nodding, indicating his thanks.

If there was any word to describe Wes’ body language after this, Leo would guess it was ‘bashful’.

Those two were too damn adorable.

Ooh, I get it.”

The voice probably followed after the landing, but with the ninjas being the sneakiest of sneaks, Leo hadn’t noticed the navy ranger until he was standing beside him, hand poised on the bottom of his helmet as though he were scratching his chin thoughtfully.

Further in the distance, the red and aqua ninja rangers were fussing over their enthusiastic yellow, allowing themselves a moment for hugs and back pats now that the Silver Guardians were taking over the enemy foot patrols.

An elbow nudged into his side, informing Leo that the navy ranger was not done yet, and the kid motioned to the reunited Time Force rangers.

That’s the guy he’s dating.”

“If only kid.” This came from Lucas who strolled up beside them languidly, trying to disguise his slight limp. “If only.”

Ah,” the navy ranger replied, sounding thoughtful. “Yeah, we’re familiar with that.”

Lucas scoffed. “Are you? What, you’re like, twelve?”

“You wanna say that again?” the ninja asked, a dangerous threat edging into his tone as he leaned towards the other blue ranger.

“Sure,” Lucas replied, unperturbed. “You’re twelve.”

“I’m glad we’re bonding,” Leo noted, feeling some of his hope return with the reprieve from battle, his adrenaline ready to hold him through to the end. “I think this is a good day.”

His statement was met by absolute silence, and probably two strong glares of incredulity that Leo never had any chance of feeling.

Eventually, Lucas broke the quiet. “You’re psychotic.”

“Definitely,” the navy ranger finished with a nod and there, just like that, the two blue rangers were united, executing a fist bump without ever looking away from Leo.

Leo, who was just happy this stuff had to be almost over with.

“It’s part of my charm,” the red ranger offered, turning with a small shrug as he made his way towards the two would-be lovebirds, Adam already at their side with the red ninja and Carter, preparing their next plan of action.

Oh yes, the day was going to be theirs.

And after that, maybe they could get smoothies or something.

At the very least, Leo thought he had earned himself a beverage.


“So,” Wes began, taking care to inspect each of the other rangers thoroughly. “How do we wanna do this?”

“We hit them with a line up,” Leo proposed, the Miranoi ranger moving into their huddle with exaggerated casualness before he settled on draping himself across Eric’s shoulders. “Can’t mess with the classics man.”

Wes noted - because he was doing such a good job getting a handle on everyone’s conditions - that Eric didn’t bother pushing the brunette ranger off, which indicated that he was too tired to (or he didn’t want to), or he recognized it as a useless bother and decided to conserve his energy.

Of the two (three) of these options, Wes decided to forgo choosing one and instead reminded himself that Leo already had a boyfriend. An overprotective boyfriend. A boyfriend he was happily boyfriend to.

So, there were no worries.

None.

“A line up,” Adam decided, picking up Wes’ silence and moving their plan forward. “Heaviest hitters in the middle, everyone else takes up positions flanking them.”

A solid strategy, Wes observed, grateful for the Mighty Morphin’ ranger’s expertise.

Even if he wasn’t a red, Adam knew what he was talking about.

“Do you have any idea who’s the strongest?” the red ranger - the new one, since there were about five of them here now - asked. “Because we have no basis for comparison.”

“Fancy talk,” Leo muttered, sounding delighted. “Nice. Ten points.”

The ninja, to his credit, wasn’t phased by the Lost Galaxy ranger’s prompt for a high five, and responded without turning away from Adam.

Without having to ask, Wes knew this would only make Leo like him more.

“In this instance,” Carter began, stepping in to answer the new ranger’s question. “The rangers who have been fighting for the least amount of time will be considered ‘stronger’.”

“More energy,” Adam concluded with a thoughtful nod. “It will make the attack more effective.”

“Svelte,” Leo chirped, sounding pleased. “That shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.”

There was an irritated cough from over Carter’s shoulder, where Justin had taken up residence, posture annoyed. “First of all, that’s not how that word’s supposed to be used, and second of all, based on Angela’s data, the least-active in this battle have been myself, Wes, and Zhane, followed by Carter and ninjas red, aqua, yellow and green-” The Turbo ranger added after a pause, “if he ever gets here; followed by navy and lastly, you guys.”

“The original responders,” Eric noted bitterly, clearly displeased with the arrangement.

While Eric seemed less than satisfied with how the events had played out, Wes couldn’t help but be glad he got to be near the middle of the formation. Finally, he would actually get to contribute to the mess that was slowly pulling his city apart.

Eric might not be happy, but he rarely was when it came to these things.

“Then that’s the order,” Adam decided. He turned towards the red Ninja Storm ranger. “Did your guys get all that?”

“I’ll pass on the word,” the young man/teen/guy offered, and moved away, already tracking down his team.

“You could also try to get my gun back,” Eric drawled, freezing the ninja in his tracks. “If that wouldn’t be to much for you.”

None of them had to look up to know that the yellow ninja ranger was still bouncing around the fight, too energetic to be appeased by things like strategizing and battle plans (which could have, Wes realized, been a major contributing factor to all this). He had yet, to Eric’s chagrin, deigned to give up the Quantum Defender, and continued weaving through the henchmen- Kelzaks, whatever, that the Silver Guardians had yet to hit, making exaggerated battle noises all the while.

He was… a handful. Yellow was an appropriate color for him.

Note to self, Wes thought, never introduce him to Trip.

No good things would come of that.

The tension was cut with a lazy chuckle from Leo, who batted at the side of Eric’s helmet playfully. “Don’t ruin the kid’s fun Q-bear; he’s just getting into the swing of things.”

“It is but one of his many talents.”

The fact that Wes did not give himself whiplash/a fierce heart-attack at the newest surprise entrant to their conversation was something he felt remarkably proud of. That being said, the undignified ‘guh’ and reflexive jerk away were not particularly graceful in themselves, but the fact that everyone else, sans the red ninja and Adam, responded similarly (even Carter), was something the blond took comfort in.

The Samurai ranger made no apologies for his intrusion, electing to continue speaking instead. “Give him time, he’ll-”

C!”

And speaking of blurs coming out of nowhere, the yellow ranger finally abandoned his previous task and, for lack of better description, tackle-hugged the green Ninja Storm ranger, using enough force that Wes was honestly surprised the Samurai had remained standing.

By the way the tech simply welcomed the hug, the Time Force ranger guessed he was used to it.

“Dude!” the yellow ranger chirped, somehow bouncing happily in place while stubbornly continuing his hug. “I followed the battle plan!”

“As did I,” the green ranger replied, hand patting the back of the yellow ranger’s head carefully. “It is unfortunate that your partner-in-crime did not.”

The yellow helmet, from where it had been contentedly buried in the green ranger’s shoulder, snapped up, posture shifting from happy to worried.

“Is he-?” the red ninja ranger and Wes begin to say at the same time, finally realizing who the Samurai ranger was referring to.

That stupid Crimson kid. He should have just let Wes help him.

The red Ninja Storm ranger glanced in Wes’ direction briefly, distracted and worried, but the blond kept his gaze on the green ranger.

“His pride has seen better days,” the Samurai offered. “But he’ll live.”

The red ninja sidled up beside his teammate quietly, movement a fluid glide, turned away from the circle. “I want a full story later.” He looked down at the yellow ranger. “From all of you.”

With that he strolled away, not bothering to wait for their replies. They followed after him wordlessly; green guiding yellow by the shoulder until the entire ninja team (sans Crimson) were huddled up.

Leo was the one to break the silence that followed. “So, that was…”

“Intense?” Justin offered. “Yeah, I’m not surprised.”

“What, do you know these people now?” Eric scoffed, sounding half-sympathetic, half-annoyed at the idea.

Justin shrugged. “Talked to their missing Crimson ranger enough to realize he’s the kind of guy who gives you headaches.”

“Rich,” Eric muttered, and Wes should stop this now because he knew where it was going- “coming from-”

Focus.” Adam’s interruption was strong and unyielding, refusing to waste anymore time on pointless arguments. “We might have taken two of these monsters out of the game-”

“Three,” Carter cut in, helpful though, to bring them up to date. “If we count the airplane monster.”

“Gorilla plane,” Leo and Justin may-or-may-not have corrected at the same time.

At this point, they were all wise enough not to comment on it.

“Three,” Adam agreed. “But there are still four of these things out there that we know of, less if the other teams managed what we have.” His helmet turned towards each of them, intentionally giving each ranger a few seconds of attention before moving on. “To play it safe, we need to stay under the assumption that this big attack of ours is going to have to be repeated four times. And because of this,” he continued, driving his point home. “We need to conserve energy.”

“No more arguments,” Wes added, feeling the clarification was necessary.

Adam nodded approvingly. “No more anything that doesn’t need to be done. We have an accomplishable goal here; let’s end this.”

“Sounds good to me.” Leo shrugged, thrusting one hand into the middle of the circle lazily. “So, ‘Screw you guys’ on three?”

“Let’s just stick with ‘Go rangers’,” Adam countered smoothly.

Sure, sure,” Leo replied, smile in his voice as Wes’ and the others’ hands joined his in the center. “If you like being boring.”

“On three,” Wes commanded, interrupting further complaints by jumping the gun on things. “One, two-”

Three. Go rangers!”

It was tired from some, tried and forced and stretched a little too thin for Wes’ taste, but it was a rally nonetheless.

And what was more, it was almost over. They had almost reached the end.

It could only go up from here.


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