A/N: A note of apology since it has taken me so long to update this piece…but I am determined to be done my Halloween. I think, I hope. A few extra pairings have made there way in here. Adam/Kira for my gf and eventually there will be a bit of Chip/V for M14Mouse.
The pout wasn’t going to convince him, Adam decided. Nor were the big brown eyes staring up at him. “Sorry Dustin,” he told the youngster, “but you really need to take a nap.”
“No, not tired,” Dustin insisted even as he struggled to keep his eyes opened.
“You’re exhausted and grouchy.”
Dustin grabbed his own legs and began to rock back and forth as he sang, “Not sleeping. Staying awake. Not missing anything!”
“You’re being mean to Cam,” Adam pointed out hoping to get through to the adult he knew was still there.
“He gave me a bath,” Dustin reminded in disgust, “Who said I wanted to be clean!”
Adam knelt so that they were eye to eye, “You were filthy.”
“So?” Dustin shrugged, “Earth Ninja Dude. I’m usually dirty.”
“We couldn’t take you to the story to pick out a costume if you were dirty.”
Adam smiled as Dustin mulled over this new information.
“Would you tell him I’m sorry?” Dustin asked hopefully, “Cause I was like mean, Dude.”
“You can tell him yourself after your nap.”
“No! Not taking a nap! And I’m not talking to him when he’s talking like that!”
Adam was confused by the sudden temper. Though Dustin had been unapologetic about soaking Cam and refusing to take a bath, he hadn’t once raised his voice. Curious to what could have the young boy so worked up he asked, “Like what?”
“Saying one thing and meaning another,” Dustin complained, “I know I like know what the word is, except right now I don’t.”
“Sarcastic?” Adam offered.
Dustin shrugged and reminded, “Dude, four.”
Adam frowned as he tried to think of a way to convince Dustin to take a nap. Who would have thought it’d be this difficult to outsmart a four year old?
“I’m going to kill him,” Kira said from the door, “I just thought I should run it by you first.”
Adam turned and stood intent on finding out what Xander had done to set off Kira now, as this was how she told him she’d reached the point of wanting to hurt him. He froze when he saw her.
“Dude, what happened to your hair?” Dustin giggled.
“Kim and Madison,” Kira growled.
“Him?” Adam questioned trying not to laugh at the oddly placed small pony tails and braids. The rest of her hair had somehow been made to frizz and in some places stick out.
“Okay, why do you want to kill Tommy?”
Kira held up a pair of scissors, “He didn’t bother to hide these.”
How was he supposed to deal with this? He wet his lips trying to think quickly.
“Xander stopped them before they could,” she reassured.
He approached her, Dustin forgotten, intent on calming her.
“I’m still going to kill him.”
He smiled and shook his head as he pulled her into a comforting embrace. She hugged him back tightly. He pulled back, kissed her forehead, cupped her face and reminded, “You can’t actually kill Tommy.”
“Well for one he’d win.”
Her eyes narrowed.
“He’s got a lot more experience fighting.”
“Mmm,” she replied, “but I’m the one with a working morpher.”
He laughed and kissed her nose as his hands moved to her waist, “He’s your mentor.”
“Drat,” she pouted, “I guess you have a point there.”
They shared a smile.
“Duuude,” Dustin declared from his perch on the bed, “You two are like so totally dating.”
They turned to look at him. Kira laughed, “We’re so busted.”
Adam swore in his head, how could he have forgotten about Dustin being there? He still wasn’t sure how he’d fallen into a relationship with Kira, it just seemed to have happened. His new team knew, but he hadn’t found a way to tell his friends, his old teammates. He wasn’t looking forward to telling Tommy.
“Stop worrying,” Kira cuffed him, “Dustin can keep a secret, can’t you Dustin?”
“Why would you want to keep something this cool a secret?” Dustin asked as he scratched his nose.
“Well,” Kira told him as she knelt by the bed, “You remember how you were nervous about telling your sensei that you were dating his son?”
“Dude, he’s like Sensei and yeah I remember,” Dustin said and then he pouted, “Oh cause Dr. O. is kinda like your sensei and you…oh, okay, I like won’t say anything dude. I promise. I triple promise. I’ll even pinky swear.”
Kira shook her head with a smile as she took Dustin proffered pinky, “Thanks.”
“Anything for my favorite fellow yellow,” Dustin grinned.
Suddenly there was a wail. Both Adam and Kira cringed. Dustin hopped off the bed, “What’s wrong with Blake?”
“Blake?” Kira asked with wide eyes. Up until that point Blake had been the quietest of the whole bunch. He’d mostly stuck close to his brother or his girlfriend and simply watched all of them.
Adam scooped up Dustin and deposited him back on the bed. Firmly he told the four year old, “No, stay here. Don’t leave this bed. Kira and I will handle it.”
As they set off towards the wail they met Jason running up the stairs. He paused when he caught sight of Kira, “What happened to your hair?”
“You’re wife,” Kira deadpanned.
“Oh, sorry,” Jason managed as they started forward again. As they got to the room he said, “I’m almost afraid to know what could keep a little kid screaming like this.”
“Same here,” Kira said as they entered the spare room. Blake was standing in the middle of the room still screaming. Nick was standing a bit too close to Hunter with his hands over his ears. Hunter was staring at his brother with wide eyes and Shane was glaring at Nick, though he also had his hands over his ears.
Blake cut off his scream the moment he saw Jason, Adam and Kira arrive. He toddled over to Adam and wrapped his arms around his leg, burying his face against Adam’s jeans. He let out a sigh, “Dustin was right, you can tell you’re a Ninja.”
Adam blinked as he stared down at the three year old wrapped around him.
“He says Dr. O. is too, but I doubt it,” Shane put in.
“Can’t you control your brother?” Nick piped in.
Hunter turned from watching his brother to glare at Nick. His hands balled into fists as he declared, “I am so!”
“You are not!” Nick screamed back.
“He is too!” Shane yelled.
Blake whimpered and burrowed in against Adam.
“Okay,” Adam gasped, “someone stop them before Blake cuts off my circulation.”
Kira bent down to retrieve Blake with a suggestion that they could find Tori while Jason stepped in to separate the boys.
“No!” Blake whimpered, “You’re not a Ninja.”
Kira gave Adam a bemused look, “Looks like you’re stuck with him.”
“Lucky me,” Adam muttered as he attempted to lift his leg and managed to take Blake with him.
Blake blinked up at him, “Tell Nick that my brother is too.”
“That he’s what?” Jason asked as the boys tried to keep arguing by peeking around his legs.
“Crimson is a shade of red you idiot!” Hunter screamed.
“Doesn’t make you a red!” Nick yelled back.
“Oh for the love of,” Jason trailed off with a groan.
“It does so!” Shane countered.
“Stop!” Jason yelled. The three boys paused for a moment.
“Why should we listen to you?” Nick muttered.
Jason bent down, “Because I was the very first red ranger.”
The boy’s faces lit up and Blake turned to blink at Jason.
Shane and Hunter exchanged a look before they went back to staring at Jason with wide eyes. Nick frowned before he asked, “Then can you tell Hunter he’s not a red?”
Jason pretended to think about it for a moment. He smiled at the hopeful look on Hunter’s face before he told them, “I think if Eric, who is the Quantum Ranger, is considered a red then Hunter would be considered a red too.”
Shane grinned. Hunter gave Nick a smirk. Blake stepped away from Adam making his way towards Jason as Nick started to stomp from the room. Adam caught him, “Okay, slow down.”
“No!” Nick told him shaking.
Adam knelt down, “Nick…”
“I want a nap!” Nick declared as his hands balled into fists.
Kira joined Adam next to Nick as she pointed out, “That’s all you’ve been doing. Except for the few times you done something with your mother, all you’ve done is sleep.”
“You might be oversleeping,” Adam told him.
Nick stopped shaking. He took a deep breath and stared at the floor for a moment before he told them, “I hate being a kid. I hate forgetting things I should know already. That argument with Hunter, I know we already talked about it, but I got so mad at him. How come they can enjoy being little and I can’t?”
“We’re going to fix this,” Adam promised.
“How about we find your mom?” Kira suggested.
“No, I want a nap,” Nick told them stubbornly.
Adam shrugged, “Maybe if he takes one Dustin will too.”
“It’s worth a try,” Kira said as he picked Nick up.
Adam looked over to see how Jason was doing with the rest of the boys. They’d gotten him to sit down and all were sitting near him asking questions about his days as a ranger. Hunter stopped abruptly and turned to his brother, “Why were you screaming so loud?”
Blake shrugged, “You three were about to fight, I figured it was the fastest way to get an adult in the room.”
“Good thinking,” Shane told him.
“Yeah,” Hunter agreed before he pointed to Jason, “You got him here.”
Adam laughed, “Guess we can leave Jase with his fan club.”
As they got Dustin and Nick tucked in the doorbell rang.
“Ethan no!” Xander’s voice filtered up to them.
The words were followed by a wail. Dustin sat up and started to scramble from the bed, “Someone red is here.”
After they reinforced to Dustin that he wasn’t to leave the bed they rushed down the stairs.
“I thought Dr. O. said Danny was coming by with his daughter.”
“That’s tomorrow I think. Ashley was supposed to send Andros too.”
“Bet you a kiss that’s Andros.”
Adam laughed, “But I’d lose.”
“Yeah and you’d get to kiss me,” she pointed out with a smirk.
They both froze as they almost ran into Hayley at the bottom of the stairs. They exchanged a worried look. Hayley rolled her eyes, “As if I hadn’t already figure out you two are dating. I have eyes you know.”
Adam and Kira exchanged another worried look.
“No, my husband hasn’t figured it out,” Hayley told them before she smirked, “Come on, I obviously didn’t marry Tommy for his brains.”
“He’s smart,” Adam countered as the three of them made their way to the front door.
“About certain things,” Hayley agreed, “That doesn’t mean he doesn’t miss most things that are right in front of his face.”
Adam smiled and shook his head, “Have to agree with you there.”
They found Andros hovering in the doorway looking at a sobbing Ethan worry etched on his face. He turned his gaze to them and asked, “Should I leave?”
“Yes!” Ethan screamed at him.
“No!” Kim countered as she ran past them with Madison.
“No!” Maddy echoed as both she and Kim latched onto Andros’ legs and leaned back to stare at them with bright grins.
Andros’ eyes widened as he stumbled back and then recaptured his balance.
“Quit being a cry baby!” Vida declared.
Adam shook his head as he resisted the urge to put his head into his hands.
Ethan stopped sobbing long enough to yell back, “I am not!”
“Yes, you are,” Vida told him hands on her hips and a scowl on her face, “Oh wow, another red showed up. Big deal!”
“There are already seven reds here! Eight if you count Hunter,” Ethan screamed back.
“So what?” Vida asked with a roll of her eyes.
“We don’t need another stupid red!” Ethan sobbed.
“But he has pretty hair,” Kim pointed out still staring up at Andros with a wide smile. Madison giggled her agreement. Kira groaned and shook her head.
“You should let us play with your hair,” Madison told Andros with a wide smile.
If possible Kim’s grinned widened as she nodded her agreement, “It’d be so much fun.”
Hayley snorted, then picked up Ethan and took him from the room telling Kira as she left, “I’ll leave you to warn the poor unsuspecting soul.”
“Just say no,” Kira advised Andros.
Andros’ gaze went from the two little girls latched onto him to take in Kira. He blinked and his face disintegrated into confusion.
“Well unless you want to end up looking like this,” she clarified.
If possible Andros’ eyes widened farther.
“Don’t listen to her,” Kim advised, “It’ll be fun.”
“Lots of fun!” Maddy tempted.
“Kim, Maddy,” Adam started.
“What?” Kim challenged.
“Don’t you think you should be nice to our guest?” he suggested.
“We are being nice,” Kim defended.
“He’s pretty,” Maddy pointed out with a dreamy sigh, before she grinned, “We’re going to make him prettier.”
“No,” Vida decided, “He should help everyone fix Bridge.”
After exchanging a worried look with Kira Adam dropped down so he and Vida were at the same level before he asked, “What’s wrong with Bridge?”
Had someone broken the no touching Bridge rule?
“That demon did something to him,” Vida said before she frowned, “We’re not supposed to tell you cause Udonna’s gonna fix him.”
Kira had knelt down beside them. She told him, “I’ll take Andros, keep the girls from scaring him too much. You take Bridge.”
Adam looked up at Andros. While he was uncomfortable leaving a friend who was as socially anxious alone with a person who was a complete stranger to him Adam also trusted Kira. He also needed to know what had happened to his teammate. Bridge was a red, he could have attempted to lead, but he’d stepped aside, insisted that Adam lead. Bridge had trusted him enough to let him lead. The future had trusted him enough to let his team have Bridge. He was not going to sent the young man back to them broken.
“Bridge is on my team,” he explained.
Andros nodded, “Go.”
He gave Andros a grateful look before he went into the living room. Chip was coloring while Rocky and Connor were both each standing in a corner again, obviously another time out where they could be observed.. Xander was on the sofa, Bridge cuddled up to his side asleep. Xander gave him a startled look.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Halfrek put a spell on him,” Xander explained.
“How? I though Udonna had her bound.”
“To keep her here and to not be able to do more harm to the children,” Xander explained.
Adam crossed the room and gave Bridge a careful shake, “Bridge?”
Bridge stirred slightly and mumbled, “Five more minutes Sky.”
Then he snuggled back down against Xander, which caused Xander to joke, “You know I’m beginning to think he’s dating Sky.”
Adam shook his head with a slight strained smile, “So, what exactly happened?”
“No one’s really sure,” Xander explained, “He went to go take his turn watching Halfrek and she recognized him.”
Adam raised his eyebrows in question.
“Apparently she can travel through time too,” Xander continued.
Adam nodded, “Considering his powers I can’t imagine him having an easy childhood. Did she just put him to sleep?”
“Without being able to wake up,” Xander said, “As far as we can tell that’s it. Everyone that’s not watching the kids is down in the lair trying to find a counterspell.”
“Which means they aren’t looking for ways to defeat Halfrek,” Adam concluded before he stood and made his way down the stairs into the Dino Lair.
“Adam,” Tommy started, an obvious attempt to slow him down.
“The girls did Kira’s hair,” he stated, “Now they want to do Andros’. You forgot to hide your scissors.”
With a startled swear Tommy pounded up his stairs. No one else tried to stop him as he crossed the floor and yanked the demon to her feet. She sputtered as her back hit the nearest wall. He effectively pinned her and demanded, “Undo what you did to Bridge.”
She started to smile. She was going to stall.
He pressed her more roughly into the look, “Now! We’ve accepted what you did to our friends, we’ll take them trick or treating. Bridge is on my team. He’s been entrusted into my care. You had no right, end your spell.”
“But that would…” Halfrek started with a pout.
He had to actually intimidate her, Adam realized. Right now, to her, this was just another game. He had to bluff. His hands closed around her throat, cutting off her taunting. He leaned in close as she scrambled against him, “Now.”
“Don’t,” he heard Tori say, “Let him do this.”
He tightened his hold. She closed her eyes, her brow furrowing in concentration before she gave him an angry look and mouthed, ‘Done.’
Adam released her and headed back up the stairs, intent on checking on Bridge. His legs gave out partway up the stairs, just out of sight of anyone in the lair. He leaned his head against the wall, shaking, hoping Bridge was returned to normal and that he’d done the right thing. His measures had been drastic, but this demon was playing games with them and had to know they wouldn’t accept her causing anymore trouble than she already had. Otherwise she’d just find ways to pick them all off one by one until she could get her hands on the children. That was not going to happen, could not happen, on his watch. He took a shaky breath, in an attempt to calm himself.
Clare’s voice floated up to him, “I thought you said he was a frog.”
“Obviously she meant a poison dart frog,” Halfrek responded.