"Tommy, when are we leaving?" a sweet, feminine voice asked.
Tommy Oliver, glanced at Kimberly Hart, his girlfriend and sighed. "As soon as Rocky and Aisha get here."
"We're here! And now the games can begin!" Rocky DeSantos shouted. He and Aisha Campbell came up, each loaded down with bags.
"How many of those are Aisha's?" Adam Park asked taking half of the bags Rocky was carrying.
"This time, I only have two! The others are Rocky's!" Aisha said sticking her tongue out at Adam.
"Rocky!" Tommy gasped, starting to laugh. "You're turning into a girl!"
"No, we're just rubbing off on him." Aisha jibed as she and Kimberly began to giggle.
"You guys," Rocky groaned as he tossed the bags into the back of the van they were borrowing.
The others followed suit, each throwing they're bags into the back. Tommy took the keys from Billy Cranston's father, who stood watching the group from the house.
"Let's get a move on it!" Tommy commanded as everyone disappeared into the van.
Rocky was the last one in the van, and sighed as he sat down on the back seat. As much as he loved his friends, he felt as though something wasn't quite right. As though he was missing someone or something. He'd been feeling this way for a couple months, but wasn't sure how to fix it.
Soon, they left the main drag of Angel Grove and headed for the highway.
After an hour of staring at the gray sky, Rocky turned and looked around the van, to see what everyone was doing. Tommy was driving, with Kimberly next to him, talking to him about something that had him on edge. Aisha had her head on Billy's shoulder, sleeping. Billy was also sleeping. His head on the window. And Adam was reading something for school, the book, To Kill A Mockingbird.
"Hey, Rocky, what's a mockingbird?" Adam asked suddenly.
"A bird that mimics others?" Rocky guessed.
"Not that type of mockingbird," Adam said sighing. "Never mind, sorry I asked you." Adam turned back to the book before Rocky could make another comment.
Rocky exhaled slowly, leaning his head against the seat. He was never credited enough. He didn't have to read that book, he wasn't in Advanced Honors English for Sophomores. He didn't know there was another type of mockingbird.
He closed his eyes, and in the next minute was asleep.
"Rocky, wake up!" Rocky opened his eyes and looked at Kimberly surprised. "We're here!"
Rocky sprung up, in the process hitting his head on the van's roof. Kimberly giggled, thinking he'd done that on purpose. He scowled, and left the van. As soon as he touched the ground, he smiled happily. He loved the snow, in fact, the whole group loved the snow. He picked up a handful of it and packed it together and threw it in the guys direction. Billy saw it coming and ducked, as did Adam. It had gone unseen by Tommy, who was hit in the back by it.
"Hey, who threw that?" Tommy demanded turning around, a scowl on his face.
Everyone pointed at Rocky, who blushed.
"Do you mind?" he said, his face slightly dark. "I'm trying to find the cabins!"
"Sorry," Rocky muttered. He sighed and turned away, and looked around the parking lot. Soon, Tommy had found the cabins and they all trooped down there. After dropping the girls at their cabin, they went into theirs.
The cabin was extensive, with four separate rooms. In the main living quarters (known to us as the living room or family room) was a huge couch, and a big screen TV. Also a huge fireplace was in the corner. The colors were okay, if you liked white and green. They were two colors Rocky loathed. For more than one reason, of course.
"I want this room," Tommy announced taking the larger of the four rooms.
"I wanted that one!" Rocky protested.
"Too bad monkey boy," Tommy said going into the room and slamming the door.
"I'm taking this one," Adam announced entering the one next to Tommy's.
"You can have that one," Billy said pointing the the third largest room on the other side of Tommy's.
"No, that's okay. You take it," Rocky said, not wanting to be next to Tommy.
Billy shrugged and went into the room.
Rocky sighed and sat on the couch. So much for a peaceful day. He'd already gotten on Tommy's bad side, and they'd only been on vacation for four hours.
In the next hour, the cabin was a flurry. Tommy and Adam rushed around the cabin straightening and putting the things they'd brought away. Mainly food.
Finally, it was time to meet the girls to go skiing. Rocky was excited about that, but when they finally met up, he was disappointed.
"Kim and I are going to go ski by ourselves." Tommy announced as he grabbed her hand and headed off.
"Bye!" Kim called over her shoulder.
"I'm staying in tonight." Adam said sadly. "I have a couple more pages of my essay to write, then I'm done."
"I'll help you." Billy said, smiling. "I have to finish my essay too, and I'm not much of a skier."
"Me too." Aisha agreed.
With a wave, they left Rocky standing alone in front of the lobby of the ski resort. Rocky threw his arms up in disgust and headed into the lodge.
It was dinner time, maybe he could find something to eat, before he met with the others for skiing.
He wandered around the room for a minute, checking out some of the girls in warm parkas drinking hot chocolate. He went up to the counter and sat on one of the stools. Another girl came up to a stool too, and sighed as she sat down. Rocky glanced at her, and was struck by her beauty. She had long red hair, and was wearing a green parka.
"Hey papa," she called. A portly man appeared at the counter and smiled at her.
"Yes dear," he asked.
"Can I get a hot chocolate?"
"Yes," he disappeared and returned a minute later, holding two mugs. He handed one to her, and looked at Rocky. "You look down, have one on the house."
Rocky smiled. "Thanks, and you're right, I am kinda down."
"Talk to my daughter here," he winked and disappeared.
Rocky turned to the redhead, and smiled when he noticed her staring at him. "Hi, I'm Rocky DeSantos."
"Ariel DeCosta," she said sipping the drink.
"Are you Spanish?" Rocky asked, noting her last name.
"No, I'm Italian," she said grinning, her voice in a pretend accent.
"That's not a real accent, is it?"
"No, I was born here in the US, but my parents were born and raised in Italy." Ariel explained grinning.
"Cool." Rocky said. He looked away, afraid if he continued to look at her, he'd get himself into trouble.
"Rocky, do you want to ski with me?" Ariel asked, looking at him through dark blue eyes.
Rocky nodded, smiling happily. "I'd love too, we just need to get my skies from my room."
"Sure, just let me tell my father we're going." she went to the back room, and came back a minute later, a smile on her tan face. "He's says to have a great time, and to tell you to come back later, and he'll give you dinner on the house."
Rocky nodded and they departed the lodge, heading to his cabin.
"Rocky, are you here by yourself?" Ariel asked as they walked in the fresh snow.
"No, I'm with some friends." Rocky said shrugging.
"I'd love to meet them, are they out skiing?"
"Half of them might be, and the other half is probably finishing their essays for school."
"The book, To Kill A Mockingbird."
"Good book, you should read it sometime," she commented as they reached the cabin.
"Maybe," Rocky said entering the cabin, to his disappointment, everyone was gone and a note was taped to the door.
Adam, Aisha, and I decided to go skiing. Catch ya later for skiing.
He grabbed his skies and joined Ariel for their skiing.
"No one in there?"
"No, they're all skiing."
"Maybe we'll catch them."
Rocky agreed and they got in line for the ski lift. "What's the best advice you can give me about skiing?"
"Always remember to watch where you're going. Keep your eyes wide open."
They grinned at each as they fell back into the chair. Rocky gazed down at the Earth before him. He'd never seen it looking like this. Sure he'd been high in the air lots of times as the Red Ranger, but that didn't count, for two reasons. One he was with a gorgeous girl, and two, everything looked magical with snow covering it.
"What's wrong?" Ariel asked noting his quiet form.
"Nothing," he said. The lift came to the ground and they jumped off. They skied to a trail.
"This is a beginners trail, do you want to try it first?"
"No, I'm good enough for intermediates," Rocky said.
"OK," she led the way to another trail and led him slowly down it. "You're good," she commented as they finished.
"Thanks, you're not so bad either."
She blushed and nodded.
For the next hour, they skied down the slopes. Finally Ariel said she was exhausted.
"One more time?" Rocky asked.
Ariel nodded, grinning at the expression he gave her. "Sure, one more."
Rocky grinned and led her to the ski lift line.
Tommy and Kimberly stood impatiently with Adam, Billy and Aisha under the ski lift. They were waiting for Rocky, who was ten minutes late for their skiing.
"Where is he?" Aisha asked, taping her foot on the snow.
"I don't know," Tommy said sighing and checking his watch again.
They all looked up when they heard Rocky's laughter.
"Who's he with?" Aisha wondered, they didn't see anyone, at least not well enough to identify.
"Who knows? Since he OBVIOUSLY isn't skiing with us, we might as well go our separate ways again." Tommy said sighing again. They all agreed and separated once again.
"I can't believe you were so stupid!" Ariel said helping Rocky into the lodge and onto a couch. "I told you you weren't ready for the harder trails!" Ariel said shaking her head.
"I should have listened to you," Rocky said grimacing as they put his sprained ankle onto a pile of pillows on the coffee table.
"It'll be okay, I'll go get us some hot chocolate." she said walking into the kitchen. A minute later she returned holding a tray of hot chocolate and a plate of warm cookies. "Antonio made some cookies! You'll like them very much."
"Who's Antonio?" Rocky asked taking one of the mugs.
"My older brother," Ariel explained grinning. "He's a very good cook. He also happens to be the chef here at our resort."
"Cool, what's it like living here all year long?"
"Oh, I don't live here all year. I go to high school in Stone Canyon. I come up here for my three week break and most of the summer."
"You live in Stone Canyon?" Rocky exclaimed breaking into a huge grin. "I used to live there, but now I live in Angel Grove."
"How can you stand living in Angel Grove? I mean it's nice most of the time, but with all the monsters roaming around?"
Rocky grinned. "It's not so bad, the Power Rangers protect us from monsters."
"Yeah I heard about them. Is it true that they just got back on a trip and have new Powers?"
"Yeah, but I haven't heard very much about them,"
"Oh, well, I don't really care, too much anyway. What's your family like?"
Rocky's face darkened. "I don't like to talk about my family."
"I'm sorry, did a parent die?" Ariel asked softly.
"No, but let's just say it would've been a lot easier if my father had died."
Ariel decided to change the subject, he obviously didn't want to talk about it. "How's the ankle doing?"
Rocky grimaced. "Okay, I guess, it's been better."
"I know how to get your mind off it," Ariel said grinning.
"We can get dinner!" she said grinning. "We have a wonderful dinner planned."
"Sure," he agreed. He grabbed the loaned crutches and followed her slowly into the dining area and sat at a booth, propping his leg on the chair in front of them.
"What can I get you?" a waiter asked coming over to them as Ariel sat down next to Rocky.
"Dinner Special 2, for two." Ariel said before he gave them the menus.
"Right away Miss DeCosta." he said leaving them behind giggling.
"Are they always this formal with you?" Rocky asked as his face returned to normal.
"Yeah, it's the pits being bosses daughter. You're never treated equally."
"Well, I'd love to be the son of your father. It must be great to have a vacation like this planned for every year."
"It's okay, but I've never been anywhere warm during Christmas."
"Neither have I."
A minute or two later, the waiter returned, carrying two trays of unknown food.
"What is this?" Rocky asked wrinkling his nose.
"I'm not going to tell you until you tell me if you like it or not."
Rocky shrugged and lifted a forkful to his mouth. He closed his eyes and tried it. To his surprise, it wasn't bad.
"What is it?" he asked again after he had swallowed.
"Frog's legs." Ariel said as she brought a forkful to her mouth.
Rocky gulped. "Frog's legs?"
"Yeah, I love them. I know they're French, but I just...love 'um!"
Rocky shrugged and finished off the plate.
The waiter returned again, carrying two huge bowls of ice cream. It was covered with chocolate syrup with nuts and cherries sprinkled along the top.
Rocky dug into the ice cream. It was so cold, but so good.
"Rocky, do you have plans for tomorrow?"
He shook his head. "No, I _was_ planning on skiing with my friends, but I'd rather be with you."
"Are you sure?" Ariel asked self-consciously.
"Does this answer your question?" Rocky asked boldly. He leaned over and kissed her softly.
Ariel nodded and kissed him back.
"Who's side are you on? Me or Rocky? He _was_ the one being the jerk," he grumbled.
"This time, I'm on Rocky's." Kimberly said softly.
"What?" he exclaimed dropping her hand.
"Tommy, you yelled at him for throwing a snowball at you! You made fun of him by saying he was turning into a girl, and you didn't even offer to help him when he was struggling with the bags."
"Adam helped him," Tommy pointed out.
"Yeah, after he practically fell carrying them." Kimberly sighed. "I thought you were doing such a good job by not getting angry at him. I know it hurts you to see him in red, and not Jason anymore."
"That has nothing to do with it." Tommy said, he was beginning to get angry. "I just don't like him. He's a goof ball!"
"No he's not! He's a very nice person. You're the only one who doesn't seem to want to get to know him. Billy and I have each spent time with him, and have concluded that he's a good person to have on the team."
"Name one good quality about him!"
"OK. Let's see, he's likable, charming, sincere, attractive, funny, outgoing...I can continue if you like." Kimberly offered smirking at Tommy's expression.
"No, I see what this is all about! You like Rocky!" he said yelling at her. Kimberly turned a dark crimson. They were in the middle of the hallway, and people were beginning to look at them.
"I am not, I love _you_ Tommy!" Kimberly yelled back. "I'd never love anyone but you."
"Yeah," Tommy said sarcastically. He stormed out of the room, before Kimberly could stop him.
"Great!" Kimberly said throwing her arms up in the air disgustedly.
She walked into the room, and sat on the couch in front of the fireplace and began to cry.
Rocky watched amazed as Kimberly and Tommy came into the room.
"No, I see what this is all about! You like Rocky!" he heard Tommy yell.
"I am not, I love _you_ Tommy! I'd never love anyone but you."
"Yeah!" Tommy muttered and stormed out. Kimberly threw her arms up in the air and went to the couch and began to cry. Rocky turned crimson as Tommy's words sunk into his head.
"Were those two of your friends?" Ariel asked motioning at Kimberly and where Tommy had stood.
"Yeah, that was Tommy, and the crying one is Kimberly."
"Maybe you should go talk to her." Ariel suggested. "I'll go with you."
"Sure," Rocky agreed. He limped over to the couch and put an arm on Kimberly's shoulder. She jumped a mile, and smiled when she saw who it was.
"Hi Rocky." she said sniffling.
"What exactly happened?" he asked her softly.
"I was telling Tommy how he was being a jerk to you earlier, and he exploded and came to some sort of conclusion that I liked you."
"_You_ defended _me_ to _Tommy_?" Rocky asked surprised.
"Why so surprised? You know I would. You're my friend. Besides, Tommy does have a dark side, we just never see it anymore. Well, I've seen it on a few occasions, but most of the time, it's nowhere near him."
"Mmm! Rocky," Ariel whispered to him.
"Oh, right." Rocky said nervously. "Kim, meet my new friend Ariel DeCosta. Ariel, meet Kimberly Hart."
Kimberly's face broke into a huge smile. "Ariel, is that really you?" Kimberly demanded.
"Kimmie?" Ariel gasped. They moved to hug each other, almost knocking Rocky to the floor as they hugged.
"God, it's been such a long, long time!" Kimberly said as they parted.
"Yeah, and we lost touch when you moved to Angel Grove in the first place!"
"Yeah, I know."
"Wait a sec," Rocky said confused. "You two know each other?"
"You could say that," Kimberly said giggling.
"We were best friends, and partners on our old gymnastics team in Seattle. Then Kim was offered to train at a school in Angel Grove, so she and her family moved there. Then a year later we moved to Stone Canyon, then my dad opened this resort."
"Wow." was all Rocky could say.
All of the sudden Kimberly was tapped on the shoulder. Kimberly looked behind herself and Tommy stood with there with a sheepish look on his face. "Can I talk to you Kim?" he asked.
"Are you going to bash Rocky again? 'Cause if you are, I'm not going to talk to you." Kimberly said stubbornly.
"No, I'm not." he turned to face Rocky. "Friends?"
Rocky nodded. "Yeah, I always wanted to be your friend."
"I know, I just kinda resented you when you and Adam and Aisha came and became fast friends with Kim and Billy when Jase and everyone left."
"We had a feeling it had something to do with that," Aisha said as she, Adam, and Billy came up to them.
"You did?" Tommy asked.
"Yeah," Adam confirmed. "We both felt that you didn't trust us enough when Jason and Zack and Trini left, so you took out your frustrations on Rocky, because he's such an easy target."
"Should I be insulted by that?" Rocky asked playfully glaring at Adam.
"No, buddy. We know you well enough, that we can throw insults back and forth," Adam said laughing.
"I hate to interrupt this, but I need to get Rocky back onto the couch." Ariel declared pulling him away from the others.
"What's wrong?" Kimberly asked, immediately concerned.
"I kinda sprained my ankle skiing when I was showing off for Ariel." Rocky said blushing a dark crimson.
"Ariel?" Aisha asked confused.
"I'm Ariel DeCosta." Ariel said smiling at everyone.
"Aisha Campbell." Aisha said grinning. "Is your last name the DeCosta as in the last name of this resort?"
"Yeah, don't remind me," Ariel said making a face.
"I think it'd be cool to own this place," Adam said. "And by the way, I'm Adam Park."
"Tommy Oliver, if every ones being formal," Tommy said joining in on the conversation.
"Billy Cranston," Billy said quickly.
"Nice to meet ya all," Ariel said smiling at everyone.
"Ariel!" a voice called.
Ariel turned around to see her father yelling for her.
"Can you work the front desk for me? There was an accident at the ski lift."
"Sure," she waved good bye to everyone and headed to the desk.
Rocky glanced at his friends. He wondered what everyone thought about Ariel.
"Nice girl," Billy commented.
"Yeah, she's cool," Tommy added quickly.
"Yeah, she is nice." Adam agreed. "Are you going to be able to see her when we go back home?"
"Yeah, you'll never believe it, but she lives in Stone Canyon when she's not here at the lodge!" Rocky said excitedly.
"Really?" Aisha asked looking puzzled. "I wonder why we never met her when we lived in Stone Canyon."
Rocky shrugged, he didn't care, he knew her now, that's all that counted.
"I have some marshmallows in my room, want to roast them in front of the fire in our cabin?" Kimberly asked.
"Sure," everyone agreed. So they slowly left the lodge, walking slowly for Rocky. Soon they were at the cabin and Kimberly got out a huge bag of marshmallows, along with graham crackers, and chocolate bars. "We can make smores!" Kimberly explained as she passed them around.
"You know, I think this is the perfect time to introduce ourselves to each other," Aisha said coming up with an idea.
"Huh? Don't we already know each other?" Rocky asked confused.
"Not well enough. We don't trust each other, we still have doubts with our abilities." Aisha explained. "Let's start fresh."
"I like that idea," Kimberly said smiling energetically. "Who wants to go first?"
"You go, Kim," Aisha suggested.
"Sure. My name is Kimberly Ann Hart. I'm 15 years old and my boyfriend is Tommy Oliver. I'm a gymnast, and the Pink Ninja Ranger."
"I'm Aisha Campbell. I'm 15 and a half and I'm the Yellow Ninja Ranger, and I trained as a Ninja with my best friends Rocky DeSantos and Adam Park when we lived in Stone Canyon."
"I'm Rocky DeSantos and I'm the Red Ninja Ranger. I'm 15 too. And my uncle is Joe Haley. And I trained as a Ninja too, and I happen to be a black belt in Karate."
"I'm Billy Cranston and I'm the Blue Ninja Ranger. I'm somewhat proficient with Karate, and am a certified baby genius. I'm also 15."
"I'm Adam Park and I am the Black Ninja Ranger. I trained as a Ninja too, and I am very, VERY shy. I love the game soccer and I can play the piano, a little."
"I'm Tommy Oliver and I'm the White Ninja Ranger, and I'm the leader of the team. I'm often forgetful and late, and I also played for the AGHS football team."
The group grinned at each other. They still had a ways to go, but if they worked together, anything was possible.