DISCLAIMER:Saban owns the Rangers. I own Kris. I'm not making any profit for this; I wrote it for fun. Any questions? ^_^
"Going on a vacation?" said the woman standing next to her. The girl looked over and paused for a moment before answering.
"No, this won't be a vacation. I'm going to look for someone," the girl explained, being deliberately vague, not really wanting to divulge any more than that.
"Oh? Who?" the woman prodded. The girl looked down at her feet, finding them suddenly interesting.
"I honestly don't know," she answered. The woman looked at the girl strangely, but choose not to comment. From that moment on, they said nothing more to each other. The woman stepped out of the elevator when it reached the lobby, and the girl had the car to herself.
Once she had arrived at the parking garage, the girl searched for her car in the dim lighting of the parking garage.
"I've got to repaint this thing a lighter colour," she muttered to herself as she opened up the trunk on the dark blue-purple Honda. She threw her things inside and shut the trunk. It closed with a resounding thud that echoed off the walls. She unlocked the door on the driver's side of the car and got in. Once she had put on her seatbelt, she started the car and left the garage. Then she popped in a tape and prepared herself for a long, one-way drive.
~*~That night, the girl drove into the parking lot of a cheap motel. She locked up her car, grabbed her duffel bag from the trunk and went inside.
She rented a room and the first thing she did when she was inside was that she put the picture of herself and her brother on the table beside her bed. She and her brother had the same hair colour, but their eye colour were different; dark blond for the both of them, green for her and brown for him. I'm coming, she thought as she stared at the picture. You may not know it yet, but I'm coming. And I hope to whoever's listening that you'll welcome me when I find you.
She got changed and crawled into bed. Once she had turned off the light, she fell asleep almost immediately.
In the morning, she awoke in a dull gray light. Dawn, she thought with a yawn. She climbed out of bed and padded across the carpeted floor towards the bathroom. After taking a shower and changing into some clean clothes, she felt awake and ready to continue her search. She packed up the things she had taken from her duffel bag and went to her car. Once again she threw her duffel bag, minus her wallet, into the trunk, got into the car and started driving. She stopped a while later at a restaurant for some breakfast, then she headed back in the direction she had been traveling. She turned on the radio and rolled down her window for the temperature here was much warmed than it had been where she lived. The wind whipped through her medium-length light brown hair as it came streaming through the windows. The girl smiled to herself, enjoying the climate change. I could get used to this kind of weather, she thought idly, turning off the roads and onto the highway.
On the highway, she got stuck in traffic mere minutes into her drive. It's gonna be a long day, she thought with a sigh as she and the other motorists crawled forwards in the sea of exhaust-spewing vehicles. The sounds of honking horns sounded all around her, and she rolled up her windows, choosing instead to turn on the air conditionning. Sighing, she rested her elbow on the side of the door, and placed her head on her hand. A very long day!
The Arrival Early that same morning, Rocky's alarm went off. He groaned and smacked it with his hand, but only succeeded in knocking it off the table beside his bed. The clock kept ringing until Rocky finally crawled out of bed, picked up clock and shut it off. Then he put it back on his table, beside the picture of him and his sister. Rocky picked up the picture and held it gingerly in his hands, staring at it for a long time. Finally, he put the picture back down with a sigh and got up from his bed. Rocky took a quick shower, got dressed and went downstairs to eat something before going to school.
During the walk to Angel Grove High, Rocky couldn't draw his thoughts away from his sister. She was so young when the fire happened, he thought. She only lived 12 years, not long enough to have any of the experiences a normal kid should have. Rocky looked up as he walked onto the school campus. He shoved the thoughts of his sister from his mind as he entered the building. None of his friends knew about what had happened to his sister, not even Adam and Aisha. Rocky had been too grief-stricken when the fire had happened and his sister had disappeared to even talk to his mother about it, never mind the friends that he made a few months later. Even though Rocky, Adam and Aisha had been a close-knit trio, Rocky had never been able to tell them about his sister. It had always been too painful for him, and he knew the pain would never recede.
"Hey Rocky!" Tanya called as she and the others walked up to him. Rocky cursed silently to the inside of his locker. I'm not in the mood for company, he groaned mentally.
"Is anything wrong?" Kat asked as she stood beside him.
"No, nothing's wrong. Why?" Rocky asked with fake cheerfulness, plastering a phoney smile upon his face.
"You just seem kinda down. Sure nothing's wrong bro?" Jason asked. Rocky was growing impatient.
"Nothing's wrong, OK?" he snapped as he shut his locker door with such force that it flew open again, bouncing off the lock.
"Somehow, I don't quite believe him," Adam murmured as he and the others watched their friend walk away. He reached over and shut his best friend's locker door with considerably less force that Rocky just had.
"If it's anything serious, he'll tell us if he sees it fit. In the meantime, we should get to class," Tommy said. He sounded dismissive, but he was just as worried about Rocky as the others were.
The five teens started walking away from Rocky's locker, hoping that their friend would be all right.
~*~Rocky walked into his English class and sat down heavily. He dropped his bag beside his desk and pulled out his wallet. His sister's picture stared back at him. The bell rang, jerking him from his thoughts. I've got to stop doing this to myself, he thought as he put the wallet back into his pocket.
During class, Rocky sat up and stared straight ahead at his teacher, but his mind was somewhere else entirely. He was replaying the night of the fire in his mind.
He had been asleep in his bed when he had suddenly started coughing. He woke up and saw a thin gray layer of smoke near his ceiling. Fully awake now, Rocky had jumped out of bed and put his hand to the door. It was warm. Don't panic, he remembered telling himself as he realized his house was on fire. Rocky had grabbed his comforter and wrapped it around his hands, then he had yanked the door open. To his horror, instead of seeing the hallway, all Rocky saw was a wall of red-orange flames. Quickly, Rocky slammed the door, his heart beating hard against his ribs. He could hear his eldest, and closest, sister in the next room, coughing and calling for him to help her. Unable to leave his room, Rocky had only been able to shout back reassurances to his sister. Then, when he had asked if she was all right, he didn't get a response. He had called her name twice, three times, but still no answer. The only thing he heard was the cries of his 5 other younger siblings. The flames were beginning to burn a hole through the door. Rocky heard sirens in the distance, but he knew that they weren't close enough to do anything to save the house.
Without thinking, Rocky ran to his window and opened it. He grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the screen attached to the window. It fell to the ground one story below. Rocky swung his feet out the window, then his torso, and finally his head. He reached for the branch of the Maple tree that was just outside his window. Don't look down, he had thought to himself as he strained to reach the branch. Whatever you do, don't look down . Finally, Rocky felt the cool bark beneath his fingertips and he grasped the branch firmly. He fell off of his window and clung to the branch for dear life. However, the branch wasn't strong enough to support his weight. It broke and Rocky plunged to the ground. The second he hit, he fell unconscious.
~*~The morning after, Rocky had awakened with a splitting headache. He saw his mother and five of his siblings standing over him, watching him anxiously.
"Where...where is she?" he had asked groggily. His mother looked down at the bed, knowing exactly to whom Rocky was referring. That's when Rocky knew. He had buried his face in the hospital pillow and cried for hours on end, until finally the tears stopped coming.
He was released from the hospital with a broken arm and a slight concussion but he would have given his right arm just to have his sister alive again.
"Rocky?" a voice said quietly. Rocky jumped. His English teacher was staring down at him, looking concerned. Rocky noticed that the room was empty. "Rocky, what's wrong?"
"Nothing...nothing's wrong," Rocky said, glad his voice was steadier than his emotions.
"Then why are you crying?" his teacher prodded. Rocky lifted a hand to his face and felt it dampen. He was startled. He hadn't realized he had still been so upset about what had happened so many years ago that he could be driven to tears.
"I...I was just thinking...of something...something that happened a long time ago," he explained.
"Maybe you had better go home. I'll get the nurse to call your mother," his teacher said.
"No!" Rocky exclaimed, jumping from his seat. His teacher was startled. Mom can't know how I feel, he thought to himself. It would only worry her. "I'm fine, really." His teacher looked doubtful.
"OK, if you say so. Now go; it's lunch time and those are probably your friends out there waiting for you," she said. Rocky nodded and slung his bag over his shoulder. Out in the hallway, his friends walked with him to his locker. They didn't say anything until they were all outside, sitting at a picnic table.
"OK Rocky, spill it. We know there's something wrong and we want to help you if we can," Tanya said, cutting right to the chase.
"OK, there is something wrong but none of you can help unless you can change the past," Rocky admitted, not looking any of his friends in the eyes.
"We can't do that, but we can help you in the present. Tell us what's wrong. It might make you feel better," Tommy suggested quietly.
"No, no I can't. I can't tell you. It's just...just too painful. I'm sorry," Rocky said, hanging his head. He felt somebody put an arm around his shoulders and suddenly he couldn't hold it in any longer. His shoulders heaved as he started to let out the grief and guilt he had been carrying with him all these years.
~*~After school, Rocky headed straight for his locker, hoping no one would talk to him. Unfortunately, he saw Tanya, Adam and Jason waiting for him by his locker. Rocky cursed quietly as he approached and saw their worried looks.
"Why are you guys here?" he muttered as he opened his locker and began throwing books into it.
"We're worried about you, Rocky. We want to help you get over whatever's bothering you," Tanya replied.
"I can't get over what's bothering me! I haven't been able to in the past and I never will!" Rocky shouted. Almost everyone in the hallway stopped and stared at him, but Rocky didn't care. He shut his locker and ran out of the building, his friends in pursuit. He didn't stop running until he got to his apartment. He ran up the stairs, not bothering to wait for an elevator and ran down the hall to his apartment. There, he threw his bag down beside the couch and flung himself onto it facedown. He cried into a pillow until it was wet, but he didn't care.
A few minutes later, he heard someone knocking on his door.
"Rocky? Can I come in?" Adam asked. Rocky grabbed a handful of Kleenex and wiped his face. Then he stuffed his pillow behind the couch and sat up.
"Sure, come on in," he called back. The door opened slowly and Adam walked in.
"I hope I'm not bothering you," he said as he closed the door behind him.
"No, you're not," Rocky assured him, sounding a little shaky. Adam sat down on the couch opposite his friend.
"Look, I don't know what's bothering you right now, but if you want to talk about it, I'm here to listen," he said.
With that, Rocky took a deep breath and proceeded to tell Adam everything that had happened not too many years ago.
"I still feel like I'm responsible for her death. If I hadn't been so afraid, I could have gone to her when she needed me and we could have escaped together, but I didn't. I could only worry about myself," Rocky concluded sadly.
"Rocky, you know that's not true. You can't be held responsible for what happened to your sister. The fire was what prevented you from going to her room, not your own fear, and you weren't just worrying about yourself. You told me that you called back to her and talked to her until she... until she couldn't call back. That doesn't sound selfish to me," Adam countered gently. Rocky looked over at his friend through red-rimmed and blurry eyes.
"I know you're right. I've told myself that, God, I don't know how many times. But I still can't shake the feeling that I'm responsible." Rocky wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. "Anyway, it's getting really late. You have to promise you won't tell anyone, not even the others, anything that I've told you. I don't think I could stand their sympathy."
"I won't Rocky, I promise," Adam replied. He got up and started to leave.
"And Adam?" Rocky called. Adam half-turned, his hand on the doorknob, ready to go back to his friend if he was needed.
"Thanks," Rocky said with a small smile.
"Anytime, bro," Adam replied with an echoing smile, then he left.
Rocky felt much better now that he had told someone how he felt. But that doesn't bring her back, a small part of his mind reminded him. Maybe not physically, but I'll never forget her, countered another larger part of his mind. That thought in mind, Rocky went into the kitchen to make dinner.
The girl drove into the state boundaries late the following evening. The sun was partway set, and the few clouds that were in the sky had taken on an orange-pink tinge. California at last, she thought as a smile slowly spread across her face. However, it disappeared as quickly as it had come as she remembered the reason for her visit. Where am I going to stay? she wondered as she drove down a deserted road. She glanced at her watch. 17:30 it read. Too late to start looking for him now. I'll start tomorrow morning. The million dollar question is: where do I start? Her brow furrowed as she thought. Guess I'll just start in the first city I come to.
She passed a sign. Now entering the Rocky Mountains. I'll have to get over the Rockies before I start searching, she thought.
She drove for hours, spending the night off the side of the road in her car. The next morning, she woke up, ate what little food she had brought with her, then began driving again.
On the other side of the great mountains, the first city she came to was Sanger. Seems like as good a place as any to start looking. Who knows? I might just get lucky and find him here, although with the way my luck has been for the past five years, it probably won't happen.
After a few more hours of driving, she finally found a hotel. Well, this looks a little better than the rat trap I stayed in the night before last, she thought as she pulled into the parking lot. She pulled out her duffel bag and, after locking up her car, walked into the lobby. She rented a room for a couple of days, figuring that if she hadn't found him by then, she'd just have to keep going.
After unpacking her duffel bag, she decided to go for a swim in the hotel's pool. She changed quickly, grabbed a towel from the bathroom and went downstairs. In the pool, she swam for a long time, working out the tension from her arms and shoulders. Then she floated on her back, her eyes closed. It isn't the Pacific, but it'll do, she thought. She swam to the edge and pushed herself out of the pool. She dried off and went back to her room. Her stomach growled. Later, she told herself as she changed for bed. She crawled under the sheets. Hopefully, I'll be able to find my brother, and that was the last thought that willingly entered her mind before she fell fast asleep.
That night, she dreamt that she was outside a high school, waiting to see if she could spot her brother. Suddenly, she spotted him. Quickly, she got out of her car and ran towards him.
"Hey!" she called as she approached him. He looked suspicious at first, but he smiled as he recognized her. She wanted to run into his arms, but when she tried she was repelled by a force field. She tried again, but the result was the same.
"What's going on?" she asked, confused. He didn't look at her, he looked at the ground. He didn't reply. She looked at him with tears in her eyes. "Don't you recognize me? I'm your sister!" Nothing. Choking on a sob, she turned and fled to her can and drove away as fast as she could. Her brother ran down to the street. The only thing he saw when he got there was the tail lights.
"Come back!" Rocky yelled. It was then that he realized that he was sitting bolt upright in his bed. His body was covered in a light sheen of sweat, and he was shaking. It was only a dream, he said to himself. He looked over at his clock. 5 A.M., great. I've still got two hours before I have to start getting ready for school. Suppose I could get an early start on that, but then what? Rocky asked himself as he swung his legs over the side of his bed. Hmm, I could shower, get dressed, eat something decent for breakfast for once and I'd still get to school on time. He sat there and thought for another few seconds. Well, sounds good to me, although I'm not doing this every morning. He grinned wryly. He got out of bed and headed for his bathroom. He took a long hot shower.
No matter how hard he tried to think of something else, he couldn't shake the memory of his dream. As he was in his kitchen, eating breakfast, he replayed it in his mind. I wonder why she couldn't hug me? he wondered, lifting a forkful of eggs to his mouth. Wonder what that force field business was all about? I'll talk to Adam later, see if he can make any sense of it. He winced as he remembered how he had acted yesterday to his friends. Well, it isn't my fault that the fire happened. With that, he grabbed his bag and left for school, happy that he was finally able to think positively about that incident,
~*~Outside Angel Grove High, Rocky met up with Adam and Jason.
"Er, hi guys," he said quietly.
"Hey Rocky. Feeling better bro?" Jason asked.
"Yeah, thanks. Sorry about how I acted yesterday," Rocky apologized.
"Don't be sorry Rocky. What happened wasn't your fault, and feeling sad about it is only normal," Adam consoled. Rocky smiled gratefully at him, and the three of them walked into the building togehter.
Once again on the road after an unsuccessful trial at Sanger and its neighbouring cities, the next city she drove into was Angel Grove, near Monterey Bay. Door number two, she thought dryly as civilization started to make an appearance. After a long drive, she finally came to a hotel which offered cheap prices but great service and a pool. Being exhausted, she immediately drove into the parking lot and rented a room for a couple of nights.
She took the key and went to her room. Not bad, she thought as she went in and closed the door behind her. Not bad at all. It was a small room with a bathroom, small kitchen and a twin bed. It wasn't much, but it was all she could afford.
She ordered in a small pizza, ate, then changed and went to bed. Before sleep overtook her, she prayed that she would find her brother here.
~*~The next day, the girl was sitting in her car outside Angel Grove High, watching everybody that came onto campus intently. Suddenly, she did a double take. No, it can't be! she thought as she scrambled to find her binoculars. She focused on the guy in question.
It is him! It's my brother! Frantically, she dropped the binoculars and jumped out of the car, banging her wrist painfully in the process. Calm down, she told herself. You won't get anything done if you kill yourself before you get there. Massaging her wrist, she locked her car door and walked up the path to where he was standing. A few feet away, she leaned against a tree and waited for his friends to leave. She was in luck, they did a few minutes later. Then, the bell rang. She cursed. I was so close! she thought. I've got to keep track of him! She got an idea. I'll follow him to his locker, then I'll stick a note in it telling him I want to meet him after school. Hopefully, he'll accept. Quickly, she picked up a discarded piece of paper and ripped off a clean piece. After borrowing a pen from a passer-by, she scribbled a short note telling him when and where to meet her, then she returned the pen and followed him inside the school.
I hope I don't get caught, she thought nervously as she wandered down the halls in as casual a walk as she could manage. He stopped at his locker and turned around. Quickly, she dove for the nearest water fountain and bent over it. She had to drink enough water to float the Titanic, but he finally closed his locker and left for his class. She waited until she heard the door close before she stood upright. She walked over to his locker and slipped the piece of paper inside. Then she turned and hurried out of the building.
She hadn't taken two steps out the door and onto the soft grass when she heard somebody call, "Excuse me!" She turned, ready to face whoever it was.
"Yes?" she asked politely. She knew that she sounded calm, but inside her heart was thudding against her ribcage. A middle-aged man with gray hair dressed in a suit came over to her.
"What are you doing out here? For that matter, who are you?" he asked. She began to panic. What do I do now?
"I'm...," I'd better tell him the truth, she thought. "I'm an old friend of Rocky DeSantos."
"Are you from Stone Canyon, then?" the man asked curiously.
"Yes sir, I am," she lied. "But you can't tell him you saw me," she added hurriedly. The man looked confused. "See, I'm here on a surprise visit. I haven't seen Rocky in a long time." That's all true, she thought.
"Mr Caplan, please come to the office. Mr. Caplan," said a voice over the P.A. system. When Mr. Caplan looked back towards the school, Kris took off for her car. She heard Mr. Caplan calling her, but she didn't stop. Kris jumped into her car and sped off towards her hotel. That was a close one, she thought as she braked for a red light. Her heart was pounding in her ears, and she forced herself to take a deep, calming breath. The light turned green and she stepped lightly on the gas. I'll go back to my hotel and wait until I have to go meet Rocky, she thought as she drove. I hope he comes!
~*~After school, Rocky went to his locker to throw some books in and take some books out. A small scrap of paper fell out of his locker. Curious, Rocky bent down to retrieve it. He stuffed his bag in his locker, leaned against the smooth metal and read it. Rocky, Meet me at the juice bar at 3:45 tonight. You'll know me when you see me. K.D.S.
Rocky was both astounded and confused at the same time. I wonder who left this for me? he wondered. And who's initials are K.D.S? The only person I know- or rather knew-who had those initials was...my sister?! Quickly, Rocky shut his locker and ran over to the Juice Bar.
There, he skidded into the place and scanned the tables and the surrounding area. He noted somewhere in the back of his mind that his friends were there and they waved to him, but he didn't consciously see them. The only person he saw was a girl sitting alone in a corner of the room, staring at him as intently as he was staring at her.
"Oh my God," Rocky whispered, astounded at what he was seeing. His face turned ashen, and his eyes went wide. He slowly walked towards her, unable to believe that he was seeing her, sitting there before him. She stood and moved out from behind the table she had been sitting at as he came within talking distance.
"Rocky?" she asked, her voice quivering ever so slightly. And in the brief moment that she had spoken, Rocky saw the fire replay in his mind. He remembered thinking about her burning to death, in terrible agony because he had been too afraid to go rescue her. And from the haunted look in her eyes, he could tell she was going through the exact same thing.
"Kris," he murmured. She got up from behind the table and they hugged each other tightly. He felt her shoulders shake as she started to cry.
"Rocky, I never thought I'd find you," she sobbed quietly into his shoulder.
"Kris, we should go outside and talk. We've got a lot to talk about," Rocky said before they both broke down, although he knew that he already had tears running down his face. Kris nodded and the two of them walked outside.
~*~"I wonder who that was?" Kat whispered as she and the others watched Rocky and his sister leave, Rocky with his arm around the girl, both of them in tears.
"That could be the answer to all of Rocky's problems," Adam replied, watching them go, a small smile on his face.
~*~Outside, Rocky and Kris sat under a tree just beyond the Youth Centre building. They were discussing everything that had happened that fateful night 5 years ago.
"Kris, I need to tell you something," Rocky said suddenly. Kris looked up at him, her eyes rimmed red. "Kris, after the fire, I felt really guilty that I hadn't been able to get to your room. I thought you had died in the fire, and it was all my fault. I tried, I tried so hard, but in the end the truth is, I was afraid. I was afraid of getting burned. That's why I never made it to your room. And then, when you stopped calling back to me, I was afraid that the fire had gotten into your room, and that..." Rocky couldn't continue. He lowered his head and tried not to show his sister exactly how terrified he had been. He felt her put an arm around his shaking shoulders.
"Rocky, it wasn't your fault that you didn't get to my room. The fire was going along the entire hallway. And when I stopped calling back to you, well, I hadn't burned to death, I had escaped. I climbed out my window and shimmied down the tree. Then I ran until I collapsed from shock. When I woke up, I was in the hospital, but I couldn't remember anything. Doctors said it was because I didn't want to remember anything, and they were right. I remembered what had happened a year and a half later. I remember thinking how much of a coward I had been, running away like I did. I remember telling myself that you guys had died, and it was all my fault because I didn't go for help once I had gotten out of the house.
"We've both put ourselves through pretty much the same thing, but there was no need. Now that we're together again, now that we know that the other is all right, we can put those feelings behind us," Kris said. Rocky didn't look over at her.
"You're right," he said with a sigh. "But I don't think I'll ever be able to forget how scared I was when you stopped calling back to me."
"Rocky, stop it. You're torturing yourself. It's not good for you," Kris stated with such vehemence that Rocky glanced over at her in surprise. Suddenly, the two became aware of the presence of others beside them. Rocky and Kris looked up and saw Tommy, Jason, Adam, Tanya and Kat standing over them. Rocky looked away quickly and wiped his eyes. Kris instinctively shifted closer to her brother. She stared at the newcomers, but one in particular. He had dark brown hair, an earring in his left ear and he was dressed almost entirely in black. He was looking at her, too. Kris reddened and looked down at the grass.
"Hey there, bro. Can we sit down, or do you want us to leave you alone?" Tommy asked. Rocky shook his head.
"It's OK, have a seat. That is, if it's OK with you, Kris?" Kris shrugged, and the five sat down. The guy she had been looking at sat down closest to her.
"OK, I think I had better introduce you all before this gets complicated. Tommy, Jason, Adam, Tanya, Kat, this is...this is my sister Kristina. Kris, my best friends," Rocky said. Everybody was too shocked to even move, except for Adam. He shook Kris's hand warmly.
"Hi Kris. I'm glad you're OK," he said. Tommy looked at Adam sharply.
"You knew he had another sister?" he asked.
"Yeah, Rocky spilled his guts to me a few days ago, but I didn't tell you guys. It wasn't my place," Adam replied. "Besides, Rocky would have taken my head off my shoulders if I had told you guys." Adam grinned.
"How come you're getting so worked up over seeing your sister?" Kat asked, a tad bluntly.
"See, about 5 years ago, there was a fire at my place. We were all asleep when it started. I think I was the first one awake, but I'm not sure. I smelled smoke, so I got up. I'm not sure what I thought it was, but I certainly didn't think my house was on fire. I put my hand against the door; it felt warm, so I wrapped my hands up in one of the blankets from my bed and opened the door. I wanted to go make sure my sisters and brothers were OK, but the entire second floor hallway was in flames. I closed my door and thought for a second. I could hear Kris calling me, but I couldn't go to her; I was too scared. So I stayed in my room and called back to her. At least that way I'd know she was still alive. But one time, she stopped calling back. I thought for sure she had been burned to death by the fire. So I cut open the screen on my window and grabbed onto a tree branch, but it broke and I fell.
"The next morning, I woke up in a hospital bed. I saw my mother and 5 of my 6 siblings. When my mom told me that they couldn't find Kris, I lost it," Rocky explained.
"So what happened to you?" Jason asked, looking at Kris.
"See, the reason I stopped calling back to Rocky was that I had escaped through my own window. I told him I was going to, but I guess he didn't hear me. I climbed down the tree and started running. I collapsed from shock. The next morning, I woke up but couldn't remember anything that had happened," she explained.
"How come?" Jason probed.
"Doctor said it was a mental block; said I couldn't remember because I didn't want to remember." Kris grinned slightly. "They were right."
"So, how come you came to find Rocky if you couldn't remember anything?" Kat asked.
"I remembered everything about a year and a half later. I finally got so lonely living alone that I decided to find my family."
"You were living alone? But you were only 12 when it happened," Rocky interjected.
"Yeah well, what else was I supposed to do?" Kris demanded softly.
"Good point," Rocky admitted.
"So now that you guys have had your reunion, what are you going to do now?" Tommy asked. Rocky and Kris looked at each other.
"Beats me," Rocky said finally.
"We should probably tell mom I'm alive," Kris suggested.
"Good idea. I'll drive you over there later."
"Or I could drive us, if you gave me directions."
"You can't drive."
Kris dug her wallet out of her pocket and showed her driver's licence to Rocky. He whistled softly.
"You forgot, I turned 16 in April, last year. I'm 17 now," she reminded her brother.
"Well, it's been a while since I've celebrated your birthday," he replied, looking down at the grass. He plucked a few blades and let them run between his fingers.
"Well, there's always next year," Kris said brightly.
"We should probably get going," Rocky said, breaking the uneasy silence that had claimed the group.
"OK. Maybe I'll see you all later," Kris said as she stood. Although she addressed the entire group, her glance lingered briefly at Jason.
"Yeah, sure. Bye, Kris," he replied. Kris and Rocky walked down to Kris's car.
"OK, so where am I going?" Kris asked once she and her brother had settled in. Rocky gave her the directions and she drove away.
~*~At their mother's house, Rocky knocked on the door while Kris nervously stood behind him. Their mother answered.
"Rocky!" she exclaimed. "This is a surprise. And who's your friend?" Kris came out from behind Rocky so her mother could see her.
"Hi, mom," she said quietly. Mrs. DeSantos's hands flew to her mouth and she grew pale.
"Let's go inside, mom. I'll explain everything," Rocky said, leading her into the living room. Kris shut the door behind her and followed her brother inside.
In the living room, Rocky lead his mother to a chair and sat down beside Kris on the couch.
"Kristina...is it really you?" their mother asked. Kris nodded. "Oh...I can't believe this! My eldest daughter is alive! Everybody, come downstairs quickly!" Rocky and Kris heard five sets of feet pounding on the stairs.
"What is it, mom?" asked the eldest boy as he and the others came into the living room. Their mother pointed silently at Kris.
"Who's that, Rocky's new girlfriend?" he asked.
"Not exactly, Lucas," Rocky said with a wry grin.
"Wife? Fiancee?" Lucas guessed. Rocky shook his head.
"Not even close," he replied.
"Well then, who is she?" Evan, the second youngest boy, demanded.
"This, this is your sister, Kristina," Mrs. DeSantos said shakily.
"I have another sister?" the youngest girl asked, stepping forwards.
"Yes, Katie, you do. Remember how Rocky and I told you about the fire that happened in our house when you were very little?" their mother said. Katie nodded, and crawled up into her mother's lap.
"You mean, this is that Kristina? But I thought she was dead," Lucas said. He sounded confused.
"So did I, Lucas. How did you manage to stay alive Kristine?" their mother asked. Kris took a deep breath, and proceeded to tell her story. At the end, her mother had tears rolling down her cheeks.
"What's wrong, mama?" Katie asked.
"Nothing's wrong sweetheart, not anymore. Our family is back together again," Mrs. DeSantos replied, wiping her eyes delicately.
"Hey Kristina?" said the youngest boy as he sat down beside Kris.
"Yes?" she asked.
"Are you going to come live with us, or are you going to live with Rocky in his apartment?" he asked her. Kris looked at Rocky, then at her mother.
"Well, um...," Kris began.
"Jonathan," the boy supplied.
"Right, Jonathan, sorry. It's been a long time. Anyway, I think that I'll probably go live on my own. Mom's already got the four of you to look after and Rocky's got his own life. I'll find a cheap apartment and stay there until I get a job," Kris replied.
"No way. That's out of the question. Kris, you're staying with me. I've got an extra room that I can turn into a bedroom. I won't have you staying at some apartment where you won't be able to have someone to talk to whenever you need," Rocky objected. Kris smiled gratefully at her brother.
"Thanks Rocky, I'd really appreciate it," Kris told him with an appreciative smile. "I don't think I'll get a job yet, anyway. I should go to school, like other normal kids my age."
"I'll arrange a meeting with Mr. Caplan. He's our principal at Angel Grove High. I bet I can get you into classes there, even thought we're partway through first term," Rocky suggested eagerly.
"Rocky, you're a godsend. I don't know how I'll ever be able to repay you," Kris said.
"You already have, sis. You already have," he replied as he hugged her tightly. Suddenly, Kris and Rocky felt other arms encircling their bodies. Kris looked down and saw the brothers and sister she used to know hugging them. And for the first time in what felt like forever, Kris knew what it was like to feel home again.
~*~That night, Kris slept on the couch in Rocky's living room. She slept soundly, and had no dreams. In the morning, she awoke feeling relaxed and refreshed. She went into the kitchen and rummaged around until she found some instant coffee in a cupboard. Kris brewed it and sat down at the kitchen table. Rocky stumbled into the kitchen a little later.
"Morning," he said sleepily. Kris handed him a cup of coffee. He took a sip and sat down heavily.
"Hey, this is pretty good. I may have to keep you around," he said. Kris laughed.
"I'm not going anywhere," she replied. "Want anything to eat?"
"Um, sure, whatever you're having will do," Rocky said. Kris opened up the refrigerator and took out some eggs and cheese. Then she proceeded to make up two of the best omelettes Rocky had ever tasted. By the time they had finished breakfast, he was fully awake.
"Rocky, you're going to be late for school...if you're going that is," Kris added.
"Oh geez, you're right!" Rocky exclaimed. He jumped up and dashed out of the kitchen and into his bedroom. He returned minutes later, dressed with his bag flung over his shoulder.
"Sure you don't want to come today?" he asked, his hand on the doorknob.
"No, I'm just going to stay here thanks. I want to relax. See you tonight, though," Kris replied. Rocky nodded and left. Suddenly, the apartment seemed very quiet to Kris. Now what? she wondered to herself. Guess I could clean this stuff up. Kris proceeded to clean up the kitchen, get dressed, make up the couch, stuff her things into an empty closet and she watched T.V. for the rest of the day.
~*~That afternoon, when Rocky got home, he looked around in amazement.
"Am I in the right apartment?" he asked. Kris laughed.
"Yes, you're supposed to be here. I just sorta cleaned up a bit. Hope you don't mind," she replied uncertainly.
"Mind? Are you kidding me? This place is cleaner now than it has been since I bought it," Rocky said, throwing his bag into the hallway. He was about to settle in and talk with his sister when his communicator sounded.
"What was that?" Kris asked, confused. Rocky groaned inwardly.
"I've got to go meet my friends. I'm really sorry Kris," he said as he stood up.
"Think they'd mind if I came along?" she asked eagerly.
"Kris, um, I hate to say this, but you can't come. It's not that I don't want you to, but there's something me and the others have to take care of. I'll be back as soon as I can," he said. Then he left. Kris was hurt. He's got his own life, she thought sadly. You didn't exist to him until a couple of days ago. Kris got up and went to the window that faced outside. She saw a figure clad almost entirely in blue run out from the building and stand under a tree. That's Rocky, Kris thought. She saw him lift his wrist up near his face, then she almost fainted when he disappeared in a flash of blue light. I didn't see that, she told herself as she turned away on shaky legs. My brother did not just disappear into thin air! Unable to handle it, Kris collapsed on the couch.
~*~"Zordon, this had better be really important," Rocky growled as he arrived at the Power Chamber.
"Rocky, we've got a swarm of cogs in the park," Tommy told him.
"Oh this is great. I really need this now. Well guys, let's go throw those recycling bin rejects back where they belong."
"It's morphin time!"
"Zeo Ranger One, Pink!"
"Zeo Ranger Two, Yellow!"
"Zeo Ranger Three, Blue!"
"Zeo Ranger Four, Green!"
"Zeo Ranger Five, Red!"
"Gold Ranger Power!"
The six teens materialized as the Power Rangers in a swarm of cogs. Rocky went after them with a passion that the other rangers hadn't seen before, but they didn't have time to think about it for they were attacked by the cogs. They split up, taking five or six cogs with them each to deal with.
~*~Up on the moon, Mondo watched the rangers fight.
"I wonder why the Blue ranger is fighting so well today?" Sprocket asked, gazing down at the fight below.
"I know why. It's his sister. She was just reunited with him, and he wants to get back to her. Well, I'll just have to bring her to him," Mondo replied. With a wave of his hand, Kris was transported from the apartment to Mondo's castle on the moon.
"What...where am I?" she asked, disoriented.
"You, my dear, are in the company of King Mondo, future ruler of the universe," Mondo said. Kris jumped.
"I know you. You're the one behind all those attacks on the Zeo Rangers and the one who brings all those creepy monsters down to Earth," Kris said accusingly, her green eyes narrowing.
"Guilty, as charged. But now, I won't be bringing another monster to Earth," Mondo replied.
"Why not?" Kris asked suspiciously.
"Because I'm going to destroy the Zeo Rangers. Or rather, you are," Mondo answered.
"Me? Destroy the Zeo Rangers? You're out of your metal mind, Mondo. I'd lose in a second if I ever tried to fight the Zeo Rangers, which I never would," Kris retorted, hands-on-hips.
"Ah, maybe not in your current frame of mind, but I can change your mind," Mondo said. He snapped his metallic fingers and some cogs surrounded Kris. She kicked and punched at them, but they still got hold of her arms and held her tightly. She tried to struggle, but they held her tighter. In this sort of situation, there was only one thing Kris really could do. She screamed as loudly and shrilly as she could.
"Leave me alone!"
"That's looks like the end of the cogs," Tommy commented as he destroyed the last one standing. The metal bodies of their opponents disappeared shortly thereafter.
"Guys, look!" Adam said, tapping Rocky on the shoulder. The Rangers turned, and looked in the direction that Adam was pointing. Kris had materialized along with another army of cogs and Sprocket.
"Kris!" Rocky shouted. He started to run to her, but his friends held him back, although it wasn't easy.
"What are you doing with my sister, Sprocket?" Rocky yelled, straining against his friends.
"Why don't I let her tell you?" Sprocket said. He gestured to Kris, who nodded once.
"Kris, Kris run! Get away from them!" Rocky cried, still not realizing what the others already had.
"Why would I do that?" she replied coolly. "I'm here on behalf of King Mondo, your future ruler of the universe. I want your Zeo crystals and access to the Power Chamber."
"Kris, you know we can't give either to you," Jason called, trying to buy some time for a reason that wasn't quite clear to him yet.
"Maybe not now, but you will change your mind. You have 24 hours to decide. Your powers, or the life of Rocky's sister!" Sprocket tossed back casually. With that, Kris disappeared, along with the cogs and Sprocket.
"No!" Rocky shouted. His friends let go of him, and he ran to the spot where just moments before his sister had been standing. His shoulders slumped. "And to think I thought this was turning out to be a good day."
"Look man, we'll find a way to get her back," Tommy said. "I promise."
~*~Up at the moon, Kris had returned to the castle. She collapsed to her hands and knees on the floor. Her head was pounding and the room was spinning crazily.
"What just happened?" she groaned, holding her head in her hands, looking up at Mondo from her place on the floor.
"You just delivered a message to the Zeo rangers telling them that if they don't give you the Zeo crystal and the Power Chamber, I'll kill you," Mondo replied, standing over her ominously.
"No...how could this have happened?" Kris moaned. "Why don't I want to help you now?"
"I put a spell on you that puts you under my control whenever you go down to Earth. Your freewill only returns when you're up here, with me," Mondo answered.
"How could you do this to me?" Kris shouted. She jumped up from the floor and tackled Mondo. Then she got up and ran out of the room.
Kris ran down several hallways. She heard the pounding of footsteps behind her, coming closer, then distancing themselves. I've got to find someplace to hide, she thought frantically. She stopped at the first door she came to and opened it. Kris stepped through the doorway and found herself in a room, entirely black but well lit. Kris started to back away, but the door had disappeared. Where am I? Kris thought, standing in the middle of the room and looking around apprehensively.
~*~"Perfect!" Mondo laughed. He had been watching Kris's progress through the castle on a small crystal ball. "She's in the Dimension of Doom! I knew I left that thing there for a reason! Cogs! Go down there and keep our visitor occupied!" The cogs that had been searching for Kris took off down the hallway.
"Sprocket! Get down to Earth with a message for the Zeo rangers. Tell them that I have the girl in my Dimension of Doom, and I'll keep her there to torment for eternity unless I get their Zeo crystals."
"Yes father," Sprocket said, and he teleported to Earth.
~*~The Rangers had been ready to teleport back to the Power Chamber when Sprocket showed up.
"What do you want?" Tommy demanded angrily.
"I've got a message from King Mondo. Your sister has been taken to the Dimension of Doom, and she will remain there forever unless we get the Zeo crystal," Sprocket said, then he disappeared. The other Rangers took the news hard, but none harder than Rocky, Tommy and Jason. Rocky was Kris's brother, and Jason and Tommy had had personal experiences in the Dimension of Doom.
"We've got to get her out of there," Jason said quietly, indicating how furious he was with the Machine Empire.
"But how?" Rocky asked, frantic. He started pacing in anger and worry. Not again, he prayed. Please God, don't take her away from me again.
"We'll figure out a way. We've always been able to in the past. Why should now be any different?" Tommy said. Then he indicated that they should teleport back to the Power Chamber.
"Zordon, we've got a serious problem. Apparently, when King Mondo took over, he didn't eliminate the Dimension of Doom from the castle, and now Rocky's sister is trapped in it," Tommy explained tensely the moment he had solidified.
"This is indeed a grave situation," Zordon agreed.
"Billy, you've got to come up with a way to get Kris out of there before Mondo tries to use her against us again," Jason said. Billy thought for a moment.
"I might have an idea. See, I kept most of the old stuff that we used to defeat Rita and Zedd. Maybe I kept the devices that allowed us to rig the porthole that allowed you to go through and rescue your friends all that time ago. I'll go check." With that, Billy hurried away.
"Don't worry Rocky. Kris will be safe soon," Jason said quietly, patting his friend on the shoulder.
"I hope you're right, Jason," Rocky replied quietly.
~*~Meanwhile, in the Dimension of Doom, Kris was surrounded by cogs. She was scared that they would attack at any minute, and she knew that she would probably be powerless to defend herself against so many opponents. Suddenly, one of them came at her and she knew that her time was up. Taking a deep breath, Kris launched herself at the cog and knocked it down. She proceeded to pummel it until it was surrounded by blue energy, then it disappeared. With a renewed sense of strength and purpose, Kris stood and faced the other cogs. However, her newly developed ego allowed her to be over-confident, and soon there were cogs holding her motionless at her arms. No matter how she squirmed, no matter how had she struggled, Kris couldn't break free. Suddenly, she was up with King Mondo.
"What do you want now?" she demanded, trying again to free herself. Failing. Well this is just peachy!
"I want you to help me defeat the Power Rangers and join forces with me to rule the universe. Think of it. Absolute power," Mondo replied.
"No way! I'd never join forces with you! Forget it Mondo. You can send me back to that weird dimension for all I care, because I'll be dead before you'd get my services!!" Kris shot back. Smooth move, Kris, she thought to herself. I've got to do something about this huge mouth of mine.
"I think you're wrong. Cogs, take her to the chamber and restrain her. Make sure the straps are secure. I wouldn't want her getting away from me now," Mondo ordered and before Kris knew what was happening, she was in another room. It was empty, except for a table with leather straps and a weird-looking computer. Kris was hauled over to the table and strapped down. Her head was held in place by a strap that went under her chin. She couldn't even talk. Her arms and legs were immobile, rendering her completely helpless and totally vulnerable. I'm going to complain when I get back to Earth. The accomodations in this place are horrible.
Minutes later, Mondo and a few of his henchmen appeared. They walked over to Kris and leaned over her. Scared but trying desperately not to show it, Kris glared at them until they moved away. Suddenly, the chin strap was loosened and a piece of machinery was placed over her head. Kris tried to scream, but it came out muffled. She heard the whirr of the machine being activated, then her mind slowly went blank as she was robbed of her consciousness.
"Perhaps sire, if we could concoct a potion that would give us total control of her mind, we could make her fight the rangers and weaken them enough so that the cogs could defeat them," a monster suggested from somewhere in the background.
"An excellent idea. Do it!" Mondo ordered. The monster bowed and scurried away.
~*~A while later, it returned holding a vial filled with a greenish liquid. It removed the machine from Kris's head and poured the liquid into her mouth. Kris swallowed it, and groaned. She lifted her head and opened her eyes. They glowed green. Seconds later, she was engulfed in a greenish-black light, and she had changed from her street clothes to a silver-with-black-trim Zeo Ranger suit.
"It worked!" the monster crowed exuberantly. The others cheered.
"Good. Now Kris, your enemies are the Power Rangers. Your only purpose in life is to defeat them. Now, go to Earth and do just that! I will help you anyway I can" Mondo ordered. Kris was unstrapped and she got to her feet.
"Yes master," she replied before she disappeared.
She arrived on Earth with a crowd of cogs behind her.
"Now we wait," she murmured, an evil smile playing across her lips, which were covered by a silver-and-black helmet.
~*~Rocky was standing off by himself on one side of the Power Chamber while the others worked and stood around the computers. He was so lost in thought that he didnt even notice Adam come over to him.
"Rocky?" Adam asked aprehensively. Rocky jumped. "Sorry. I just thought you might want some company."
"Thanks Adam," Rocky said, attempting a smile, but failed.
"Need a sounding board again?" Adam offered.
"We've got to get her back, Adam," Rocky said determinadely. "I lost her once, and it was hard enough then. I don't think I could stand to lose her again, not after all we've been through. I...I've never needed anyone as much as I need her. I know it sounds crazy since I really barely know the person she is now, but I know who she was. I want to get to know her again. I need my sister back."
"Don't worry, Rocky. We'll find a way to get her back," Adam said, trying to console his friend.
"We'd better. Otherwise, I don't know what I'll do," Rocky said softly, meaning every word.
"You'd get by, Rocky. You did once, and you could do it again," Adam said.
"Thanks for the confidence," Rocky mumbled. Adam winced, then laid a hand on his friend's shoulder.
"Rocky, that's not what I meant to say," he said. "We'll get her back."
"I hope you're right, Adam," Rocky said. "'Cause if we don't, I'm going to go out of my mind." That's true, Rocky thought to himself, reflecting on his words. I'd go crazy with rage towards the Machine Empire, and probably get myself killed. But I'd make sure to that all of them with me. Rocky's hands clenched into fists.
Suddenly, the alarm began to sound. The rangers turned anxiously towards the viewing globe.
"Who's that?" Rocky demanded
"Another ranger?" Tommy asked, turning to look up at their mentor.
"I do not understand. That ranger should not exist," Zordon replied.
"We'd better go check it out," Jason said quietly to Tommy. Tommy nodded, and the six teleported to the park.
"Who are you?" Adam called to the mysterious ranger.
"In time, you will know. For now, all you need to know is that you do know me," she replied.
"Guys, you need to get back here right away. I found out something you definitely have to know about that ranger you're facing," Billy said through the communicator. Tommy looked over his shoulder and the rangers disappeared in a rainbow of lights.
"What is it Billy?" Tommy asked once they had arrived. Billy pointed to the viewing globe.
"I used a thermal scanner on that ranger, then I scanned the city to see if I could find a match for the readings. I did," he replied. There were gasps and murmurs as the image appeared on the globe.
"That Kris!" Rocky exclaimed, and before anybody could stop him he teleported away with the others close behind him.
"I'm so glad you all decided to come, rangers. This way you will not have to witness the suffering of one another. Cogs, attack them!" Kris ordered, pointing at the rangers. The cogs obeyed and within seconds, the rangers were separated and fighting the cogs viciously.
Kris stood back and watched, the grin on her face hidden by her helmet. Suddenly, two cogs were tossed away. Kris followed their trajectory and saw that the gold ranger was the source. She ran at him and tackled him from behind as he turned to face another set of cogs. They went down, with Kris on top. She quickly stood and went to stomp and the gold ranger's chest, but he grabbed her ankle and flipped her backwards. She landed easily on her feet.
"You cannot defeat me so easily, gold ranger. Try as you like, but you will eventually succumb and serve King Mondo and the Machine Empire!" Kris cried as she rushed the gold ranger. He dodged her and hit her back with his elbow. The momentum made her stumble and fall on a protruding root. Her helmet clasps were tripped and the helmet fell from her face and rolled a few feet away. She rolled over just in time as the gold ranger was about to grab her and haul her to her feet.
She disappeared and reappeared behind the red ranger. She tapped him on the shoulder. When he turned, she kicked him in the stomach. He rolled away and kneeled a few feet away, gasping for air. The gold ranger ran over and stood in front of him.
"She's good," Tommy panted, getting unsteadily to his feet.
"She's not. Mondo's got her under a spell. Have you looked in her eyes? They're an unnatural green," Jason replied, not taking his eyes from Kris.
"She must be under a spell by Mondo. He probably used a potion to turn her evil!" Tommy exclaimed.
"But how are we going to turn her good again?" Jason asked.
"She should see who we are. It worked for me," Tommy said, and he reached up to remove his helmet. Jason stopped him before he could remove the helmet.
"We shouldn't do it, just in case she decides to spring a surprise attack on us," he warned.
"Good point. I guess this is so different than what I'm used to. Not used to fighting people. Mondo's creations, sure. Rocky's sister, not exactly the norm," Tommy said. Jason could hear the smile in his voice.
Kris stood and watched the gold and red rangers interact and protect one-another. This doesn't seem right. Why am I fighting them? she wondered. Then she felt a surge of evil go through her. Because King Mondo demands it!
She ran backwards, away from the clearing in which they had been fighting. The rangers followed her. Kris ducked behind a tree and when they ran past, she stuck her foot out. She managed to trip the pink ranger, but the others managed to dodge her foot and their fallen comrade. Kris jumped out into the open, now that she had been discovered. Suddenly, more cogs appeared.
"Attack them, but leave the Blue Ranger alone. He's mine," Kris ordered. "I need a challenge." Why the Blue Ranger? she thought to herself as she advanced. Who cares? They're all the same under those suits. The Blue Ranger and Kris circled each other, oblivious to the other fights going on around them.
"Kris, come back to the Power Chamber with me. Zordon can help you," Rocky coaxed. In response, Kris got a running start and aimed a flying kick at Rocky's head. He met her in the air and punched her in the stomach. She fell to the ground on her side, choking and gasping for air while Rocky landed gracefully on his feet. He stood over her. Kris looked up and saw him looming over her. Kris disappeared, although it was against her will.
"Why was I brought back here?" Kris demanded.
"Cogs, take her back to the chamber and give her another dose," Mondo said in response. Kris was led back to the chamber where she had been earlier. She was against strapped to the table and a potion was forced down her throat. This time, the machine was not placed over her head, as it had been initially.
"Your power has been augmented. Now go and defeat the rangers!" Mondo ordered.
"As you wish, master," Kris muttered. She teleported back to Earth and once again faced the gold ranger, who had been helping his friends dispose of the cogs. She took a swipe at the backs of Rocky's legs with her heel, but he flipped backwards and avoided her. She stood up and glared at him. Suddenly, she felt dizzy. Another wash of evil spread through her body and she glanced up through her fingers at Rocky, who had relaxed and was coming towards her. She lunged and almost punched him in the stomach, but he blocked her and grabbed her wrist. Blinded by an almost uncontrollable rage that wasn't her own, she screamed and swung with her other arm. She connected with the side of Rocky's helmet. He loosened his grip and she broke away, kneeing him for good measure. Then she felt someone's presence behind her. She whirled just in time, for the red ranger had lunged at her. He stayed upright, and turned, ready to go at her again. Kris got an idea. She slumped her shoulders and hung her head. She made her shoulders shake, hoping the rangers would think she was crying. It worked. Rocky approached and cautiously moved closer to her. She snapped her head up and prepared to attack, but instead he grabbed her shoulders, whirled and held her against a tree trunk. Kris was breathing heavily. She could feel anger radiating from the gold ranger, but it only served to further the disgust for the power rangers that lay inside of her
"Nice try," she muttered, just before she disappeared.
"What the...?" Rocky said, confused. He looked over his shoulder just as Kris aimed and kicked at his head. He ducked, and blocked the kick with an arm.
"Cogs, arise and be ten times more powerful!" she shouted. At her command, the cogs rose up from the ground and advanced on the Rangers, who formed themselves into a tight circle, standing back-to-back with one another.
"We're outnumbered," Jason said quietly to Tommy.
"I know, but I still think we can beat them and rescuse Kris," Tommy replied.
"You have a plan?" Jason asked.
"Nope, I'm playing it by ear," Tommy told him, smiling faintly under his helmet. Jason chuckled.
"Cogs, what are you waiting for? Attack them!" Kris shouted as she became aware that her army of cogs was advancing too slowly for her tastes. No sooner had the words left her lips than the cogs began running at the Rangers.
Kat and Adam pulled out their blasters, and Rocky caught the movement out of the corner of his eye.
"No, you might hit Kris!" he shouted, never taking his eyes off of the cog he was currently locked in combat with.
"Not with all these cogs standing between us and her!" Adam called back, not putting his blaster away. "Trust me, Rocky. If I hit her, you can shoot me."
"If you hit her, I'm holding you to that," Rocky said, his tone at a cross between grim and wry.
"Everbody spread out!" Tommy ordered once a little less than a third of the cogs had been destroyed. At his command, the Rangers ran, flipped and rolled into different sectors of the clearing they were currently occupying.
"Master, the cogs are quickly being defeated!" Kris called, glancing skyward when she noticed that the battle wasn't going in her favour. "Could you send down more of them?"
"I'll send a weapon down to aid you in the conquest!" Mondo said, his voice echoing throughout the park.
A small, sharp dagger appeared in her hand.
"This is the only other assistance you'll get from me," Mondo said. Kris gripped the dagger. She approached the gold and blue rangers, slashing the air before her. "Who's first?"
"Look Kris, this is stupid. Give me the knife!" Rocky shouted, stepping forwards, hand outstretched. Kris grinned, then let the knife go. It sailed through the air and Rocky ducked just before it cut his head off, but it still managed to graze Jason's shoulder. He fell to one knee, clutching his bleeding shoulder.
"Well, it's not my fault you can't catch," Kris called nonchalantly, grinning though she knew her facial expression wouldn't be seen by the other Rangers.
"Jason!" Tommy called. He broke away from the fight he was in with the cogs to help his friend. The pink, yellow and green rangers were still fighting the last of the cogs.
"Kris, I know that you aren't thinking straight right now, but you almost killed someone. The Kris I knew wouldn't have harmed a fly. I'm your brother, Kris, the one person you came to Angel Grove to find." Rocky removed his helmet to prove his point. "Don't let Mondo rule you, or you'll end up trying to kill each and every one of us. Once that's done, Mondo will let you go and you'll have our deaths on your head. Is that really what you want?" Rocky said softly, slowly approaching Kris. She stared at him in disbelief, skepticism written all over her face. "Or worse, he won't ever let you go, and you'll be evil forever. Mondo will probably want you to kill hundreds of innocent people. You're not a killer, are you Kris?"
"No," she said quietly. "But...but Mondo is right. The Power Rangers are evil."
"We're not Kris. You know that. Look into your heart," Rocky replied. He was within arm's reach of Kris. Kris, looked deep into Rocky's eyes, and she saw the truth. Suddenly, everything she had done under Mondo's rule flashed before her eyes. She saw herself fighting the Blue Ranger, demanding the surrender of the Zeo crystal and every other act she had committed. Tossing the dagger aside, she threw herself into Rocky's outstretched arms, sobbing. Rocky looked back at his friends. They nodded and teleported to the Power Chamber, leaving the brother and sister alone. Rocky stood in the park with his sister in his arms. Kris broke free of his embrace and stood a few feet away, her back to him and the rest of his friends.
"I...I can't believe what I wanted to do to you guys. I'll never be able to face any of you again. I'll never live it down," Kris said, her shoulders sagging.
"Kris, you can't blame yourself. You didn't want to do any of the stuff you said. You were under one of Mondo's spells. You didn't do anything, it was all Mondo," Rocky replied. He powered down, then walked over to Kris and placed a hand on her shoulder, but she shrugged and walked a few steps before facing him.
"Can...Do you think that any of them will ever be able to forgive me?" she asked, tears running freely down her cheeks. Rocky moved over to her and now she fell against him again, burying her face in his shoulder.
"Believe me Kris. They'll forgive you," Rocky said, and he teleported the both of them to the Power Chamber.
There, Kris moved away and wiped her face with the back of her gloved hand. She took a deep breath before she began.
"You guys...I'm really sorry for what I wanted to do. I understand that it was Mondo's doing, but I still feel responsible because it was my mind he had taken over," Kris said apologetically.
"Don't worry Kris, most of us have been there," Jason said sympathetically, holding a bandage to his wounded shoulder while Billy got the device to heal it.
"You have?" Kris asked, surprised. Tommy nodded.
"I was taken over by Rita, and Jason was taken over by Rita and Zedd," Tommy replied.
"Glad I'm not the first," Kris said with a weak smile. Jason, Tommy and the others smiled back. Then she turned to Rocky. "Can we go home? I'm really tired."
"Sure Kris. We'll see you guys tomorrow at school," Rocky said before he teleported himself and his sister back to his apartment.
~*~In his apartment, Kris fell onto the folded-out couch and fell fast asleep. Rocky picked up the phone and ordered out for some pizza. When it came, he paid the delivery guy and set the box on the table in the kitchen, then sat down to eat. Kris came in a while later. She grimaced when she saw the food.
"I think Mondo's potions had a nasty side effect on my stomach," she groaned as she sat down.
"Maybe you'd better drink something," Rocky offered. Kris shook her head.
"Hey...I just thought of something," she said a while later.
"What's that?" Rocky asked.
"I know the Zeo Rangers," she said with a small smile. Rocky winced slightly.
"Yeah, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. See, as far as anybody else knows, you don't know the Zeo Rangers. You've met them, but you don't know who they are, OK?" he said. Kris laughed.
"You thought I was going to tell everybody your secret identities? I wouldn't do that; then I'd never get to see you guys at all," she replied.
"Good. I know we all appreciate it," Rocky said, wiping his hands on his jeans. He reached into the pizza box and pulled out another slice.
"Hmm, maybe I will have some pizza after all," she said, taking the pizza from Rocky's plate and taking a huge bite.
"But...Oh, who cares?" he said with a smile which Kris returned.
~*~In the morning, Kris and Rocky arrived at school early.
"First time for everything," Rocky joked. Kris laughed, and the two went into the school office. Mr. Caplan was waiting for them there.
"Rocky, Kristina, good to see you," he said, leading the way into his office. Kris and Rocky sat down, as did Mr. Caplan.
"Now, I understand you want to transfer into Angel Grove High School permanently. I think we can arrange that. Since you skipped grade 7, you'll be in classes with Rocky and his friends. They'll help you catch up on whatever you've missed during the first few weeks. OK?" Mr. Caplan asked. Kris nodded and smiled.
"That'll be perfect. Thanks Mr. Caplan. When should I start?" Kris asked.
"Tomorrow, if that's OK with you. I'll inform your teachers, Rocky, and you can bring your sister to your classes with you for today," Mr. Caplan replied.
"Thanks sir. Come on Kris, let's go," Rocky said, standing up. Kris did the same, and they left the office.
Out in the halls, they went to Kris's new locker.
"This is going to take some getting used to, having my sister in my classes," Rocky confessed.
"Well, just pretend I'm not there and do the stuff you normally do. I'll make my own friends, and then leave you guys alone. Don't worry. If I can live on my own for 5 years, I can definitely make it at a new school," Kris replied, tossing her jacket into her locker.
"Kris, that's not what I meant. You don't have to leave me and my friends alone. Matter of fact, I think they kind of like having you around," Rocky explained, thinking of one person in particular.
"Good, 'cause they seem like really nice people," Kris said, shutting her locker. Tommy, Jason, Adam, Tanya and Kat walked up at that moment.
"You've got another locker, Rocky?" Kat asked.
"Nope. This is Kris's locker. She's officially a student at Angel Grove High," Rocky said.
"Hey, that's great," Tanya said, smiling at the younger girl.
"Best part is, Mr. Caplan put her in our classes, so we can help her catch up on what she missed."
"But aren't you younger than us?" Adam asked.
"Yeah, but she skipped grade 7, so Mr. Caplan stuck her...I mean put her in our classes," Rocky replied, grinning. Kris swatted him on the arm playfully. Then, the bell rang.
"This is gonna be really great," Rocky said, putting his arm around Kris shoulders as he and the others walked down the hall. Kris glanced up at Jason, who was walking beside her. He caught her eye and they both smiled.
"You are so right, Rocky."