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Between The Shadows
byMandi Gordon

"Tommy it's time for school." Mrs. Oliver knocked on his door. When no answer came she knocked louder. "Tommy?"

"Go away." Tommy's muffled voice reached her ears. "I'm too tired."

Mrs. Oliver cracked the door of his room open and looked inside the room. It was totally dark. The curtains were black along with the window. She sighed as she looked at her son who was huddled in his bed. Tommy groaned and hid his head under the pillow.

"Close the door mom­ it's too bright." Tommy growled softly.

"Tommy it's been four days." Mrs. Oliver sounded worried. "Your friends are worried about you. You never come out during the day, your friends have been here every day, and when you go out at night you don't come back till almost dawn. What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong mom." Tommy yawned as he pulled his head out from under the pillow and looked at her with bleary eyes.

"I just don't like going out during the day anymore."

"Tommy it's dangerous at night." Mrs. Oliver sighed. "There are rumors of a rabid wolf or something. Girls have been found dead. Tommy I don't want you going out during the night anymore."

Tommy looked at his mortal mother in annoyance. Actually a lot of things have been annoying him lately. The way people got concerned over his change in behavior, the way they tried to get him to eat, and even the way his friends wore bright colors. He would gladly leave Angel Grove for someplace less colorful and with more people. Tommy made a mental note to spend the night in the woods with his true mother Sorsha. He sighed as Mrs. Oliver walked over to him and placed her hand on his forehead.

"You're not warm." She sighed. "Actually you're very cold."

"I'm fine mom." Tommy said as he looked into her eyes and captured her heart. "There is nothing wrong with me. I just need to sleep."

"Maybe you just need to sleep." Mrs. Oliver's smiled and left the room. "Feel better baby."

Tommy sighed as she closed the door. He thought she would never leave. With a yawn he buried his head into his pillow and fell asleep. He really hated the day.

~*~

"Tommy's not coming to school again." Kim sighed as she leaned against her locker. "I'm worried about him."

"He's been acting so strange lately." Justin noted. "Sleeping all day, up all night, never eating, staying away from us. It's a good thing Rita and Zedd haven't attacked."

"Think Rita and Zedd have anything to do with this?" Tanya asked. "We really haven't had any dealings with them."

"It's possible that Zedd and Rita have put a spell on Tommy." Billy interjected. "They have focused many spells on Tommy. Maybe we should have Zordon examine him."

"When?" Kat sighed. "We have school, he's never up during the day, and he avoids us during the night."

"We are just going to have to teleport him into the Command Center." Jason replied. "Weather he likes it or not. We'll do it right after classes are over."

The eight teens nodded as the bell rang and they all went to their respective classes. Billy looked around to make sure no one was watching then teleported to the Command Center to tell Zordon the plan.

"Are you sure you want to do this Billy?" Zordon's voice boomed. "Maybe you should ask Tommy about this. He is the leader after all."

"We know Zordon but he's been acting so peculiar lately and he has been avoiding us." Billy stated. "We tried to contact him over his communicator­ he even ignores that."

"I see your point Billy." Zordon sighed. "I will Teleport him here as soon as the other Rangers are out of class."

~*~

Tommy was jerked from his sleep when his new sixth sense warned him that he was in danger. He jumped out of bed and crouched in the corner of his room defensively. Whoever was trying to hurt him was going to be drained dry when he got his hands on him or her. Suddenly a bright red light flashed in front of Tommy's face almost blinding him. Tommy snarled as he threw himself backwards. He expected to hit his wall but he just felt like he was floating on nothing. Tommy growled in anger and confusion. Then as suddenly as it started it was over and he landed on a cold unforgiving floor. The cold didn't bother him as much as the brightness of the lights in the room. Tommy could smell and hear the mortals in the room so he didn't snarl or show his true nature. His first instinct was to find darkness. Tommy scuttled into a corner and crouched there ready to attack anyone who dared harm him. He kept his head facing the floor since the light was almost blinding him.

"Tommy?!" Tommy lifted his head slightly at the voice. It was Kim. "Tommy what's wrong?"

"Kim?" Tommy asked. "What happened, where am I?"

"You're in the Command Center." Kim stepped towards him. She was about place her hand on him when he flinched away. "Can't you see?"

"No." Tommy replied. "It's too bright."

Kim looked at Zordon with a worried expression. Tommy was crouching in one of the darker corners like a wounded animal. His black boxers kept him humble but he was shying away from everybody.

"Zordon what's wrong with him?" Kim asked.

"Nothing's wrong it's just too damned bright!" Tommy snapped. "Turn the lights off!"

Zordon lowered the lights in the Command Center till it looked like it was lit with a few strategically placed candles. Only then did Tommy relax enough to stand up and look at the group. He glared at them like he was too important to be bothered with them.

"What do you want?" Tommy asked finally.

"Tommy we're worried about you." Kat sighed.

"There is nothing to be worried about." Tommy yawned. Since he knew he was out of danger the need to sleep was overtaking him again. "I'm just tired."

"Then why don't you talk to us when you are up?" Jason asked accusingly.

"I've been busy." Tommy replied sleepily. "Can you teleport me back to my bed now?"

"Alpha can you scan Tommy for spells?" Tanya asked the robot quietly.

Alpha walked over to the half conscious boy with his light scanner. Tommy looked at him momentarily confused. When the light hit Tommy's eyes the boy threw his hands in front of his face protectively and backed away. He had to bite back a snarl so he didn't rouse the groups curiosity. Alpha backed away from Tommy and looked at the screen for readings.

"There isn't a spell on him." Alpha announced.

"You guys dragged me out of bed to see if there was a spell on me?!" Tommy almost growled. "Why didn't you just ask?"

"We could never contact you." Kim replied. "And you ignored the communicator."

Alpha looked at the readings as Tommy glared at the group. The readings said that Tommy was sensitive to light, not under a spell, and in perfect health except that he hasn't had food in four days. Alpha checked the readings again and then noticed that Billy was looking the readings over and cross checking them. Alpha did his equivalent of a sigh as he let Billy take over. After checking them again Billy looked at Tommy.

"When was the last time you ate, Tommy?" Billy seemed to have asked out of the blue.

"Last night," Tommy replied. "Why?"

"Cause these readings say you haven't had real food in around four days." Billy replied. "Also your body temperature is below normal."

"It's cold in here." Tommy replied.

"Then why aren't you shivering?" Billy asked matter of factly. "I also detected abnormalities in your genetic structure. You may not be under a spell but something is wrong."

"Nothing is wrong!" Tommy sighed. "I am fine! I just need to sleep."

"There is the door." Billy pointed to the door. "Have a nice hike in the sunlight."

"I can't got out there! I'll burn!" Tommy exclaimed.

"The sun never bugged you before." Jason noted.

Tommy looked at his 'friends' and sneered. They had no idea what they were dealing with. None whatsoever. The shocked expression on the Ranger's faces jarred Tommy back to reality. They were his friends and loved ones. Tommy took a deep breath and looked at Billy.

"I developed some kind of disease." Tommy lied. "I can't go out in the light, my eyes are very sensitive to it, and I have some sort of mono. It's a mutation of sorts. I'm really okay except for those three things."

"What about your body temperature?" Billy asked.

"The mono lowers my body temperature a lot." Tommy explained his mind working double time to come up with these lies that he really didn't want to tell his friends. "I'm really okay­ I just need to sleep."

"I don't know Tommy." Jason looked at him.

"Jason, look at him!" Kim exclaimed. "He's fighting to stay awake! Isn't that proof enough?!"

"What if there is an attack during the day?" Kat asked. "We can't fight one man short."

"Maybe if we give him some time he'll get better." Kim said as she walked over to the control panel and teleported him back to his room. "Please get better Tommy­ we need you."

~*~

Tommy gasped as he landed on his bed. He looked around the room for a few minutes waiting for them to teleport him back. If they did he'd rip their necks open. Once his senses told him that he was safe, the need to sleep over took him and he sank into his pillow in the death like sleep all young vampires went into during the day.

~*~

That night when he awoke he decided to leave by the window just in case he had company waiting for him. When he dressed he actually picked some clothes with color. He placed his ear on the door to listen for any voices. Kim was downstairs talking to his mother. Tommy sighed and opened the door. If it was any of the others then he would have left but Kim was special. He loved her with all his heart. The problem was­ did he still have a heart or did it grow cold as ice?

"Hi Kim." Tommy smiled as he trotted down the stairs.

"Hi Tommy." Kim replied as she looked his clothes over. He was wearing a dark blue shirt with jeans. "I was wondering if you wanted to go for a walk with me."

"I'd like that." Tommy smiled as he opened the door. "After you milady."

Kim giggled at his show of chivalry as she passed Tommy and waited for him on the porch. Tommy spoke a few words to his mom then joined her side. She smiled as they linked hands and started towards the park.

"We've been very worried about you Tommy." Kim sighed after a while. "I've missed you at school."

"I've been sick." Tommy said as he looked away from her. "I didn't mean to scare you and the others."

"Timmy I know you're sick. I am not sure you should even be out tonight." Kim sighed as she pressed his hand to her cheek. "You are so cold. Almost as if you were dead."

Tommy closed his eyes as he savored the warmth of her skin next to his. The warm living blood that coursed through her veins heated his cold skin. He smiled at the feeling as he felt a purr build up in his chest. The thoughts of her blood coursing down his throat snapped him out of his trance-like state. Kim was looking at him funny.

"What's wrong?" Tommy asked.

"I think you were purring." Kim whispered.

"Me?" Tommy feigned shock and surprise. "Why would I purr?"

"I don't know Tommy." Kim sighed as she dropped his hand and kept walking. "You've changed­ Something is different about you."

Tommy jogged to catch up with her. It wasn't that hard with his new speed and stamina. When he caught up with her Kim turned towards him and balled her fists

. "What's wrong Kim." Tommy said as he reached for her. "Tell me­ please."

"Who are you?!" Kim yelled as she pulled away from him. "You're not the Tommy Oliver I fell in love with. He never lied to me before!"

"Kim­ I'm not lying­" Tommy tried to reason with her.

"Another lie!" Kim cried as she pounded his chest. "Stop lying to me! I love you and I thought you loved me!"

"I do love you!" Tommy declared as he hugged Kim close. "I would never hurt you Kim. I'd die first."

"You are hurting me Tommy." Kim sobbed. "This secret you are keeping is breaking apart the Rangers­ keeping us apart."

Tommy stroked her hair as she sobbed into his chest. She was right. The secret has kept them apart. But the truth could kill her. He kissed her on the top of her head as he held her close. She relaxed a bit in his embrace. Tommy soon became aware of her scent. She smelled like roses and fresh peaches. Tommy groaned softly as his mouth began to water. He felt his eyes change as his eye-teeth started itching. Kim moaned in replied and kissed his neck. Tommy felt a shudder deep in his soul at the feel of her lips on his neck. He reached his face down to kiss her back but stopped himself when he found that he was going for her neck.

"No!" Tommy gasped as he pushed Kim away. He staggers from her covering his mouth.

"Tommy?! What?" Kim gasped as she hit the ground. She stood and was about to yell at him when he saw that Tommy looked like her was going to vomit. "Tommy are you okay?"

"Yes." Tommy choked out as he tried to fight back the beast. "I'm just hungry."

"I'll take you to Ernie's." Kim suggested as she grabbed his arm. "There is plenty of food there­"

"No you don't understand!" Tommy yelled as he pulled away from her. He could feel his fangs descend the hunger was growing too great. "Kim I have to go­"

"Where?!" Kim asked. "Tommy don't leave­ and don't lie!"

Tommy panted as he fought the beast inside him. He could smell Kim getting closer. He didn't want to scare her but he didn't want to kill her either. He had to make her leave, but how?

"Kim please leave, please!" Tommy begged.

"No!" Kim growled. "Whatever is wrong we will get through this together."

"Kim­ I-" Tommy cut himself off as he looked up. He could feel his mother approaching. If Kim didn't leave she would die. "Kim you have to leave now!"

"Tommy, who is this young beauty you have with you?" A soft voice asked.

Kim turned to find herself facing a beautiful pale woman with golden hair holding a bottle with some sort of red wine. She looked at Kim with her piercing blue eyes and then smirked as she walked over to Tommy. Kim felt a flash of jealousy as the woman handed Tommy the bottle. He took it and drank from it greedily. After he finished the bottle he seemed to relax and looked at Kim. The woman smiled as she looked the former Pink Ranger over.

"Kim this is Serena." Tommy introduced. "Serena this is Kimberly Hart, my girlfriend."

"A pleasure to meet you Kim." Sorsha smiled as she extended her hand. "Tommy has told me much about you."

"Who are you to Tommy?" Kim asked as she shook it noting how cold Serena's hand was. "He's never mentioned you to me."

"I am a distant cousin." Sorsha replied. "He likes to keep me secret."

"I see." Kim replied as she turned to Tommy. "Tommy are you feeling better?"

"Yeah." Tommy replied as he stared at the bottle appalled. "I'm okay, still a little hungry."

"Then eat." Sorsha said as she looked Kim over. "There seems to be plenty of food around here."

Kim looked at 'Serena' and backed away. The blond woman gave her the creeps and the way Tommy treated her with so much respect spooked her. Tommy was never one to give that much respect to anyone except his mother and Zordon. Something was wrong with Tommy and this woman had something to do with it. Kim looked at her hand as she remembered how cold the woman's hand was. She had to talk to Zordon next time she saw him.

Tommy looked at Kim longingly. He wanted to hold her close and kiss her tenderly. He wanted to banish any fears she had. He wanted her body and soul. He wanted her life's blood. He blinked at the final thought and looked at Sorsha. His mother was looking Kim over as if evaluating her. Sorsha then looked at Tommy and smiled.

"She is a sweet looking one my son." Sorsha said to Tommy in their link. "I think he blood would taste very sweet. Don't you?"

"Don't make me kill her Mother." Tommy replied his eyes conveying the pain he was in. "I love her. I can't kill her."

"I can bring her across." Sorsha offered. "Her beauty and passion as eternal as yours."

"I can't bring her into this hell." Tommy's eyes showed unveiled anger. "And I will not let you force this life upon her."

"If that is what you wish my love." Sorsha smiled as she looked at Kim. "But don't you want a taste? To feel her blood run through your veins? To know her every secret?"

"Yes­" Tommy looked down defeated. "But I won't."

Kim looked at them and then away. She didn't like how it seemed that they were conversing without talking. It was all to strange to her. Tommy looked at Kim with eyes that were not his own. His eyes were those of a hunter's. The eyes of a killer. Not Tommy's eyes. Kim didn't like this turn of events.

"Maybe I should go." Kim whispered. "You and your cousin look like you want to be alone. I'll see you later Tommy. When you are less­ busy." She turned on her heel and ran from them as fast as she could before Tommy could answer. It was too creepy. Almost like a horror novel. She had to talk to Zordon and she had to talk to him now.

~*~

Bulk and skull looked up as they heard the door open. A man who looked to be in his late 20's early 30's with blond hair walked into the Juice bar and looked around. The two best friend scrambled over each other to get to him first. The man looked at them with a puzzled face.

~*~

"May I take your order?" Skull asked as he reached the man.

Bulk pushed him out of the way and smiled to the man. "May I take your order?"

"I'm not really hungry." The man replied in a soft voice. "I'm actually looking for someone. An old friend."

"Maybe we can help you find this friend." Skull piped up. "We used to be detectives." The man looked at the two of them and chuckled softly. It was hard to believe that these two were detectives. The smaller of the two was about to say something when he looked over the man's shoulder and frowned.

"Hey Kim­ you okay?" Skull asked.

"No Skull I'm not." A slightly familiar voice sighed.

The blond man turned around to look at the Pink Ranger. His eyes widened in astonishment at the young woman in front of him. "Kimmy?"

Kim looked at the blond man and gasped. "Nick?!"

The man smiled as he took two giant steps over towards Kim and swept her up in his arms laughing. Kim hugged him tightly and kissed him on the cheek. The man laughed and looked her in the eyes as he put her down. "You look­ incredible."

"I look incredible?!" Kim asked flabbergasted. "You look like you haven't aged a day!"

"Um­" Skull broke in. "Kim's your old friend?"

"Oh! I'm sorry I haven't introduced you." Kim smacked her forehead. "I'm sorry. Bulk Skull this is a dear old friend of mine Nicholas Knight." The two boys nodded to Nick. "Nick these are my friends Bulk and Skull." Nick nodded back, as Kim looked at him. "What bring you to Angel Grove?"

"I felt it was time for a change." Nick smiled sadly to her. "A lot of bad things happened and Toronto had too many sad memories."

"Natalie­?" Kim whispered, her eyes widened when her friend nodded slowly. "Oh Nick I am so sorry­"

"It was her time." Nick whispered as he looked at Kim. "Why are you so sad?"

"I'm having trouble with a friend of mine." Kim sighed. "He's changed­ and I don't know what to do."

"Want to talk about it hun?" Nick asked.

"Not at the moment." Kim sighed. "I need to do something. How about tomorrow night?"

"That sounds fine." Nick smiled as he lightly kissed her forehead. "I need to get going, I will see you around?"

"Yeah I'm always around." Kim smiled as Nick walked out his long coat swirling at his ankles.

~*~

Nick inhaled deeply as he started walking towards the woods. He hated lying to Kim like that but there were things about him she didn't need to know. He did move to Angel Grove because Toronto held to many bad memories. But also there where whispers in the community about a renegade vampire claiming this as his own territory. Nick sighed and shook his head, he didn't need another vampire to deal with. It was bad enough that LaCroix had followed him here. Now he needed to deal with another vampire that seemed to not care for the well being of his kind. He moved through the woods silently as he headed towards the old mansion he bought and redecorated to suit his tastes. Nick had started up the drive when the feeling of one of his kind hit him. Nick knew it wasn't LaCroix by how it felt. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise as he turned towards the feeling.