Disclaimer: Saban and Disney own the Power Rangers. Any additional
characters that are used in this fanfic are fictional. All incidents are
fictional. Any coincidences with real life are purely coincidental.
Author's note: my best friend brought this fanfic's idea to my attention. The question was, "What were the Rangers like as children and how did they meet?" I told him that I didn't know, but that it was an interesting idea for a fanfic. I put my imagination to work and though that this would be an interesting fanfic if.... Well.... Read for yourself. Warning! This fanfic is rated PG-13 due to violence. It doesn't have language, but there is some violence that touch on a sensitive subject. Be forewarned.
"Mom! What do you want me to do with these?" Jason said as he was carrying a big bin full of pictures.
"Put it in the dining room," Doris Scott said. "I am going to go through those."
"Right." Jason waddled into the dining room with the bin. He slammed it down on the floor due to the fact that it was so heavy. Upon doing that however, the bin opened and a bunch of pictures fell all over the floor.
"Jason Lee, did you drop the bin?"
"I was heavy, Mom. I am picking it up though." Jason was looking through the pictures as he picked them up. Doris came into the room with a whole bunch of photo albums.
"Jason-bear, look what happened! They're everywhere!"
"Mom, I am sorry and don't call me Jason-bear. If Zack and Tommy found out that you called me that, they would be calling me that for the trip back to college." Jason was continuing to look through the pictures. Doris wanted to organize the pictures that she had and when she was done with an album about Jason, she was going to let Jason take it with him when he went back to go to school.
"How many albums are you making, Mom?" Jason said as he grabbed a whole bunch of pictures and threw them back in. Just as he did that, the doorbell rang. Jason got up and opened the door. It was Zack. "Hey, bro. What's up?"
"I was just coming by with the CD I borrowed," Zack said. "Whoa! What is all that mess in your dining room?"
"My mom is making photo albums and I am 'helping' her."
"You mean she is making you, huh?"
"I heard that, Zachary," Doris said in a stern tone.
"Afternoon, Doris," Zack said with the nervous smile. She looked at him with an angry look, but then smiled. "Jase, are you ready to go back to college?"
"Yeah, but Mom is going to be making an album before I go back. She saw some old pictures and is now in an album making frenzy."
"Jason, you were so cute when you were little, honey," Doris said and Zack started to laugh.
"Shut up, Zack!"
"Oh, look! Here is one of you when you were about six years old with the group of kids on our old block." Doris motioned the two ex-Rangers to come over and look. "See, there were the five of you when you were little and another friend from next to us on that block."
"Hey that was me when I was little," Zack said as he looked at the picture.
On the photo, there were six children posing at the camera. One of the
children was an African-American boy hugging the tallest boy in the picture
who was apparently Jason. There were two girls. One had short brown hair
and was the smallest of the six. The other girl was Asian with
shoulder length black hair. The other two were boys; one had a blond hair and big glasses. The other boy was the smallest of the four boys and had very short dark brown hair. "This was when you lived and all of us lived on that street. Jason, why did all of us move anyway?"
"It was because of the neighbors next door," Doris said. "They were nasty people, Zack. Don't you remember? We all moved because of them."
"Why?" Zack and Jason said.
"Jason Lee Scott, look at you!" Doris yelled. Doris had come out to find that her six-year-old son and a six-year-old Zack in a mud puddle in front of their house and that his clothes were covered in dark brown liquid mud. "Zack, your mom is going to have a tizzy fit. Get in here, the both of you!"
Jason and Zack took off their shoes and socks at the door. She directed them to their bathrooms and told them to wash off the mud and to get into clean clothes that she would bring them. After she brought new clothes to them, she called Cindy Taylor, Zack's mom.
"Cindy, it's Doris," Doris said. "Your son is in our bathroom cleaning off mud."
"What happened?" Cindy asked. "Was he playing in that big mud puddle in front of your house?"
"Yes, and he dragged my son also into the mud along with him."
"Oh lord! I'll be right over." The Taylors lived right across the street from the Scotts. Cindy went right over and Doris met her at the door. "Where is my naughty son?"
"Here." Doris directed them to the bathroom that Zack was in. She knocked on the door. Zack opened the door slowly. He knew he was in trouble. He was in one of Jason's red shirts and blue shorts and his hair was still wet from the shower.
"Zachary, what were you doing?" Cindy asked him sternly as she put her hands on her hips. Zack cowered behind the door. "Zack?!"
"I...was playing in the mud," Zack said quietly. "We were looking for this lizard that we found and it went into the puddle. So, we jumped in after it." Cindy looked at Doris and started to laugh.
"Zack, don't do that again. You will ruin your clothes that way, honey." Doris handed Cindy Zack's muddy clothes in a plastic bag. "Now, go play with Jason and don't play in the mud!" Zack ran to Jason's room where he found Jason sitting on his bed sulking. The two decided that they would play in Jason's room to stay out of trouble. Just then, they heard a big truck driving up.
"What's that, Zack?" Jason asked.
"Dunno," Zack said. The two looked out of Jason's window. It was a big moving truck and it was stopping right next door to Jason's house. "Wow! Someone is moving into that house. Wonder if there are kids like us moving in?"
"Let's go see!" The two boys ran out of the house and to the house next door that the new neighbors were moving into. In the car behind the moving, there was a family with two little boys and one older girl. One boy looked to be about seven or eight and the other boy looked like about the same age as Jason and Zack. The girl looked to be about ten or eleven.
"Cool, there are two boys!" Jason said.
"And a girl," Zack said, "but she looks older than they are. Maybe Kim will play with her instead of us."
"Yeah! All Kim wants to play is dolls and house."
The family parked along the sidewalk and got out. The man was tall with black greasy hair, but had a small beer belly. The woman had big bushy blonde hair with all sorts of jewelry hanging of her fingers, arms and ears. The girl was in dirty orange T-shirt and some blue jeans. She had very pretty short curly red hair and blue eyes. The older boy had blond hair and in what looked like to be a brand-new green T-shirt and new jean pants. The youngest boy had dark brown hair and was wearing the same kind of clothes as the older boy, but they looked very worn out.
"Looks like the small boy is getting the other boys clothes when he is done with them, Jason," Zack whispered into his ear.
"I know," Jason said. "Kind of like you and me. You are borrowing my clothes." Zack pushed Jason with a smile on his face. At that moment, the youngest boy looked at Jason and Zack. He was looking at them with a melancholy look on his face. The boy's eyes were a carmel brown and they looked as if his happiness was gone from them.
"Well, Jason, Zack, why don't you meet the two boys while I talk to the parents," Doris said as she pushed them toward the new neighbors. Jason and Zack began to walk up to the two boys. The older one was picking up and throwing rocks back into the rock bed of their new house and the younger one was watching him.
"Hi, I'm Jason," Jason said to the two boys, "and this is Zack."
"Hi!" Zack said.
"Hello, my name is James and this little shrimp is Jeremy." the older boy said. Sure enough, Jeremy was small. He was shorter than Zack by about three inches. Jason was an inch taller than Zack, which made Jason four inches taller than Jeremy. "We just moved from San Jose."
"James! Jeremy! Get into the house!" the mother said.
"See you both later," James said, grabbed Jeremy by the hand and went inside. Jeremy looked back Jason and Zack. Jeremy looked at them not saying a word, but had an expression of sadness still on his face.
"So, they seemed nice at first, right Mom?" Jason said as he gave another stack of pictures to Doris.
"Yes, Nancy, the mother, looked liked she was nice enough, but she would only let James out to play."
"Why?" Zack said with a confused look. "I don't remember. Too far back."
"We didn't find out until about three weeks later when both she and her husband, Frank, weren't home and James was playing with some boys down the street. It was summer and Amber was taking care of Jeremy and cleaning the house..."
"Tag! Kim, you're it!" Zack said as he touched Kimberly in the shoulder.
"No!" Kimberly yelled and she turned to try to tag them back.
"Negative, Kimberly," Billy said. "Abutting the individual that initially impressed the designation of being 'it' is not permitted."
"What?!" Jason said with a puzzled look.
"No tag backs," Trini said.
"I don't like this," Kimberly complained. "I can't tag anyone. I can't run fast enough."
"Well, then what now?" Zack said disappointed. "What do we do?"
"I know," Jason said. "We can ask if Jeremy can play."
"I don't know, Jason," Billy said. "Jeremy appears to be socially challenged, and in addition, his parental guardian may possibly reprimand him from leaving his place of residence."
"What?" Zack said.
"He might be too shy to come out and his mother might be mad if he goes out to play," Trini said.
"Precisely, Trini," Billy said with a smile.
"I don't care," Jason said as he started walking toward Jeremy's house. "It doesn't hurt to try." The other six year-old future Rangers followed Jason to the front door of the house and rang the doorbell. Jeremy answered the door with a broom in his hand. He was wearing a dirty long sleeve white sweatshirt and paint-stained jeans. "Hi, Jeremy. Wanna come out and play?" Jeremy retreated a little from the door.
"I...c...can't," Jeremy said. "My mom...will be...m..mad at me...i...i...if I don't finish my ch...ch..chores. I'm......s..sorry."
"Oh...ok." Jason said a little disappointed. Just then, Amber came up to the door.
"What's the problem here?" Amber asked.
"We were wondering if Jeremy can come out to play," Zack said as he pushed the door open a little bit more.
"He can," Amber said.
"But, Amber....! Mom and Dad'll...." Jeremy said with a horrified look.
"It's ok. I will do the rest of your chores. I am almost done with mine and I know that you are almost done with yours. Don't worry. It will all be done by the time Mom and Dad get home. Go. Have fun. It is four now; so, be back before six."
"Yeah! Go!" Jeremy gave the broom to Amber and walked out the door.
"Come, Jeremy," Jason said. "Let's play in my backyard." The six little children went through Jason's house and saw Doris making chocolate chip cookies. "Mom, this is Jeremy. He is the other little boy from next door."
"Hi, there," Doris said as she bent down to look at Jeremy. "You are such a cute little boy."
"Mom, stop it!" Jason said. "Guys, let's go in the backyard."
"I am bringing cookies out to you later. Go have fun."
The six got into the backyard and Kimberly ran to the swing and sat down. "Now what?" Kimberly asked.
"Why don't we ask Jeremy?" Zack said.
"Affirmative," Billy said. "What venture would you like to indulge yourself in with your new companions?"
"What did he say?" Jeremy asked.
"He asked 'what would you like to play,'" Trini said. "He always talks like this. He is a smart kid."
"A child-prodigy," Bill said. "Well, at the minimum that is what my male parental unit stated."
"So, do you have any ideas Jeremy?" Zack asked.
"Ummm....I...don't really... know," Jeremy said shyly. "I haven't really... been able...t..to..play with...other kids."
"What!?" Zack, Kimberly and Trini said at the same time.
"Do you have a disease or something?" Zack asked.
"Zack, that wasn't nice," Jason said. "He probably is really shy and is afraid of other people. Remember when Billy he moved in right behind you?"
"Oh yeah," Kimberly said. "I remember. Billy was really shy and always on the computer with the educational games. It wasn't until Trini accidentally hit the baseball into his window. He told us how she did it by hitting the baseball in the middle of the baseball bat and that the ball was thrown as a fast ball. He was right on."
"And he became all scared after he explained all of it," Zack said, "but we knew that he would be a good friend anyway."
"Did you guys.....move here too?" Jeremy asked the others.
"My parents and I were friends with Zack's parents for years," Jason said. "I lived in my house since I was born."
"Me too," Zack said pointing to his own house. "Only, it's that house."
"I moved her when I was three," Trini said. "I live right next door to Billy's house behind Zack. I don't remember what happened when I was three."
"They took my tale," Billy said. "I moved in about four months ago."
"I moved in when kindergarten started," Kimberly said. "That was about a year ago. I live three doors down from Jason." She pointed in the opposite direction from Jeremy's house."
"And we though that you were really stuck up," Zack said. "You acted like a little brat."
"Shut up, Zack!"
"So," Trini said looking back at Jeremy, "do you know anything we can do or play?"
"Well....," Jeremy started out to say, "how... about where some of the boys are...knights and the girls...are like princesses."
"Sounds like fun," Zack said. "Why don't we play that?"
"No!" Kimberly said. "I don't want to play a helpless princess. I want to be the one saving people!"
"Me too," Trini said.
"But that's how you play that!" Zack said. "The girls are supposed to yell for help."
"Wait you guys!" Jason said. "We need to agree on something."
"I know," Jeremy said. "How about all of us are the heroes instead of someone being the princess?"
"Yeah!" the other five said.
"But who is going to be the bad guy?" Zack asked.
"I will," Jeremy said. "I can be a monster that tries to terrorizes people."
"Or you can be an evil knight, Jeremy," Jason said. "We don't have costumes yet."
"Ok. I can be an evil knight that terrorizes people."
"Who are you going to terrorize first, Jeremy?" Billy asked.
"Your mom, Jason!" He ran into the house with Jason and the other future Rangers following right behind him. Doris had just finished putting the last batch of cookies onto a plate when Jeremy came running in and start growling at her.
"Jeremy, what are you....?" Doris said.
"I am the....the..." Jeremy said but then realized that he didn't know what to call himself. "Oops! Who am I, Jason?"
"What is your favorite color, Jeremy?" Jason asked as the others came into the kitchen with toy swords.
"Ok, you are the evil green knight that is terrorizing my mom out of taking her cookies and keeping them all to yourself."
"Yeah!" Jeremy said and turned back to Doris with a fake evil look on his face.
"Oh noooo...." Doris said jokingly. "Don't kill me, evil green knight! Have a cookie, but pa-lease don't kill me! Jason, you and your friends can have one too."
"Great!" the six children said and they took one cookie each. When they finished with the cookies, they continued to play until it was 5:45pm. At that time, Mark, Jason's father came in from work.
"I gotta go," Jeremy said with a very sad look on his face. "Sorry. Bye." He ran out the door past Mark.
"Us too, Jason," Zack said as he, Billy, Kim and Trini started going out the door. "See ya later."
"Whoa, slow down!" Mark said. He went to Doris and kissed. "How was your day, honey?"
"Bye," Jason said. "Mom, I like Jeremy. He is creative."
"I like him too, Jason-bear," Doris said as she hugged Jason as she watched the other children run out the door.
"Who is Jeremy?" Mark asked.
"One of the little boys from next door, dear," Doris said.
"Jeremy was really shy, wasn't he?" Jason asked Doris as he looked at the picture again.
"Yes, he was, Jason," she said, "and there was a good reason for it."
"All I could remember is that we were always playing either outside or in Jason's backyard and never in his house," Zack said as he looked at the picture too. "We had a great time. He was always full of ideas and was very happy, but he was always unhappy when he had to go home."
A week later, Jason woke up to some yelling. He went to the window and opened it up to hear what was going on. All that Jason could see was the light that was on in Amber's room.
"You are not to let him go out and play with those children!" Frank said. "Those children are low lives."
"He is to do his chores and to just do that and nothing else," Nancy yelled.
"He is only six years old," Amber yelled.
"I don't care!" Frank yelled. There was a loud thud after he yelled. "He cannot go out. We will give you more to do in order to keep you two busy." The light went out in her room and the door of her room slammed.
Jason was puzzled by what had happened and crawled out the window of their one story house. He went up to Amber's bedroom window and looked in. Amber was crying in her bed.
"Amber!" Jason said quietly. "Amber!" Amber looked up and went to the window where Jason was.
"Little Jason, what are you doing here?" Amber said. When Jason looked at her face, it was all red and starting to bruise. She had tears running down her face. "You should be in bed."
"I heard a lot of yelling," Jason said. "What is going on?"
"Nothing, Jason. None of your concern. I just got into trouble for letting Jeremy play with you guys. He isn't going to be playing with you guys anymore. He isn't allowed to."
"Because my parents say so. Well, they're not really my parents. They adopted us a year ago."
"Why don't they want you to play though? Everyone should be allowed to play."
"Not us, Jason. Go back to your house and go to bed before my parents or your parents see you." Jason walked back to his house as he watched Amber close her window and her blinds. He climbed in, closed his window and went to bed.
The next day, Jason seemed sad as he played with Zack and the other future Rangers. They were playing freeze tag. Billy noticed Jason looking down.
"Jason, please present the explanation as to what purpose you are despondent?" Billy asked.
"Huh?" Jason said.
"He means 'why are you sad,'" Trini said. "Yeah, Jason. Why are you sad?"
"Jeremy can't play with us anymore," Jason said. "He got into trouble by his parents."
"For doing what...ouch!" Zack said as he was running from Trini and was tagged in the shoulder hard.
"Sorry, Zack," Trini said when she realized how hard she hit him.
"I don't know," Jason said. "Amber was crying last night after her parents came in and yelled at her. I talked to her after they left and she was crying. She said that we can't ask him to play."
"I anticipate that we conceivably proceed to confabulate in conversation to him," Billy said.
"What?" Kimberly said.
"Talk," Trini answered.
"Right," Jason said and the five Rangers went up to the door of Jeremy's house and rang the doorbell.
It was about a minute before Jeremy answered the door. He hid is face behind the door only poking an eye around the corner. He was wearing a huge purple sweatshirt.
"Jeremy, come out and play," the five Rangers said.
"I......can't," Jeremy said. A tear streamed down his cheek.
"Why?" Jason asked.
"I... was... late home... last night,....remember?" Jeremy said slowly. Apparently, it was hurting him to say these words. "They came...home...early. I....I'm...not....allowed out...a..an..any...anymore."
"Who is it, Jeremy?" Amber said and came up to the door. The bruise that was on her face from the night before was much bigger. It covered the left side of her face under her eye. "Jason, I told you that he can't come out."
"Why!?" Jason yelled back. "You never told me!"
"It is because we need to do chores and they found Jeremy slacking off and playing with you guys."
"He isn't allowed to play because of that?" Kimberly yelled. "That's a stupid reason!"
"I'm sorry, but he can't come out to play at all. Sorry." She pulled Jeremy away from the door and closed it.
The five children went to the front porch of Zack's house and sat. All of the Rangers were now feeling very down.
"I can't believe that they wouldn't let him come out to play," Trini said kicking a pebble in front of her. "He is very nice and he hasn't done anything wrong."
"Man, I want to play with him," Zack said. "He loves making up songs and we love to dance to music together. Why!?"
"Verily I cannot decipher that quandary, guys," Billy said. "We are obligated to just descry a means to disport ourselves sans our juvenile associate."
"Right, Billy," Jason said giving Billy a confused look.
"Oh man!" Zack said. "They were being abused!"
"Geez, mom!" Jason said. "Why didn't we come to you quicker?"
"Jason, because you were all young, honey," Doris said. "You five didn't know any better. You all wouldn't have understood what was happening and we didn't want you to until you were all grown up."
"How did they get caught, Mom?"
"You told me about it about three days later. From there, your father and I suspected a few things."
Jason had just finished his lunch. He brought his dishes to his mother who was washing the breakfast dishes as well. She noticed that Jason was a little down in the dumps.
"Jason, what's wrong? You have acted like this for days," Doris said concernedly.
"Jeremy can't come out to play," Jason said sadly. "He got into trouble because he wasn't done with his chores and they got home early."
"Well, he should have been working when he was playing with you and the others. I tell you that too."
"But mom, he is always given chores. He can never come out to play. They don't want Amber or Jeremy to go outside. Only to take out the trash."
"Honey, Jeremy got into trouble because he was not doing what he was supposed to be doing." Jason gave his mother a look of defeat. Doris took pity on him and hugged her son. "Jason, he will be able to play outside when his parents let him. He is being punished." Doris escorted him to the front door and on to the front porch. "Go outside and play with Zack and the others." Just then, Amber came out of their house with a bag of trash and that was when Doris saw Amber's huge bruise on her face. Doris was shocked. "Amber, what happened to your face, dear?" Amber looked at Doris, but then turned and went back into the house.
"Amber and Jeremy act like that all the time now since their parents yelled at her Tuesday night," Jason said. "That was when Jeremy got into trouble and couldn't go out."
Doris knew that there was something very wrong going on in the house next door. "Jason," Doris said with a very serious look on her face, "where you up when they were yelling at Amber?"
"Yeah. They were yelling really loud. They woke me up and I couldn't go to sleep."
"What did they say to her? What happened?"
"They said that Jeremy was not allowed to see us anymore because we were...were... lowlifes. Mom, what's a lowlife?" Doris was shocked at what Jason had stumbled upon. She realized then that the real problem in front of her.
"Jason, let's go to Zack's house," Doris said as she grabbed Jason by the arm. They made their way across the street and rang the doorbell. Cindy answered the door. "Cindy I need to talk to you, now. Jason, go play with Zack and the others."
"Right, Mom," Jason said and ran into Zack's backyard where the other Rangers were playing.
"Come on in, Doris," Cindy said. "I was just talking with Jean here." Jean was Kimberly's mother.
"I was just going home, Doris," Jean said.
"I need to talk to both of you," Doris said pushing both of them into Cindy's kitchen.
"What happened from there, Mrs. Scott?" Zack said who was obviously intrigued.
"Did you go over there right away?" Jason asked.
"Not yet," Doris said as she stopped trying to make the photo albums and talk at the same time. "In order for Jean, Cindy and I to catch Nancy and Frank Burke in the act, we need to document what was happening and what we were hearing." Just then the doorbell rang. "Jason, get that."
"Right, Mom," Jason said. He got up and opened the door. "Kim! What's up?"
"Not much, Jason," Kim said as she hugged him. "We are just visiting. What are you up to?"
"Helping my mom before summer break is over. I have one more year before I graduate."
"I just wish that Trini was coming back with us. It was sad that she died in that car crash last year."
"Come in," Doris said to Kimberly. "Don't dwell on Trini. She wouldn't want that. We were just talking about why we moved away from our old neighborhood. Well, I almost had a heart attack after what you all did."
"Ok, I talked to Officer Ron," Doris said to Cindy and Jean. All of the parents of the future Rangers were having a meeting at the Scotts' home in their living room two weeks after Jason's shocking discovery. "We need one more incident in order to turn the Burkes in. From there, they will be answering to the law."
"That's great," Jean said. "What they are doing to poor Amber and Jeremy is horrible."
"That's not so great either," Cindy said. "We are just waiting for them to do it again and either Amber and/or Jeremy is going to suffer as a result."
"I know," Mark said. "Those poor children. What is James's role in all this?"
"From what I can see when I would come home," Darrel, Zack's father, said, "James is their real child and the boy is a spoiled brat. He does nothing, but play with the children down the street. I don't think that those children know anything because he can't bring anyone inside either. No one is allowed in that house."
"I have often seen Frank come home with big boxes almost everyday," Thuy Kwan, Trini's mother, said.
"I ponder if he is endeavoring to falsify his objectives," Mitchell said. He was obviously Billy's father.
"What?" Darrel asked.
"He means that he might be hiding something," Thuy said.
"We need to do something, quick," Doris said. "They might be dead the next time." Unbeknownst to the parents, Jason and the other Rangers were listening in.
"Jeremy might get into real trouble next time if our parents don't do something," Jason said.
"We need to do something," Trini said. "What?"
"How about when our parents go to sleep tonight we sneak over and get into the house to take a look?" Zack said.
"That would be great, but how do we get in, genius?" Kimberly said. "They probably lock their doors and windows when they go to sleep."
"Wait," Jason said. "Their house is like all of ours, right?" The other Rangers nodded. "Then they have a basement that we can sneak into. From there, we can go inside and get Jeremy out ourselves."
"Great," the other six-year-old Rangers said and the six of them waited until their parents ended their meeting. They all went home and when to bed right away. At around midnight, Jason woke up to the sound of tapping. Billy was tapping on Jason's window.
"Jason, wake up!" Zack said quietly. Jason went up to the window and opened it. "Come on! This was your idea."
Jason crawled out the window quietly and went to the gate of the Burke's house. They quietly opened it and went into the back yard. They found that there were no toys on the ground, no swing set, no kiddy pool, no fun things. All that they saw was that the grass was so green that you could tell it was in the dark.
"Man, I haven't seen a lawn that green before," Trini said obviously amazed. Billy went up to the lawn and started to fell the texture of the lawn. Zack, Kimberly and Jason tried to find the big wooden doors that lead to the basement. Meanwhile, Billy examined the grass.
"Temperately omitted in condensation," Billy said as he picked up some of the grass. He rubbed it between his fingers and then sniffed it. "Too much botanical supplement and...a curious smell?" Billy didn't recognize the unfamiliar odor. "It does have a rather interesting effect!" He shook his head to shake off the feeling.
"Guys, I found it, but...." Kimberly said. They all went up to the doors; all but Billy gave a crushed look. There was a lock on the door.
"Darn!" Trini said. "We can't get in now."
"Negative, we possess the capability and the means," Billy said and took out three paper clips and a pocket knife. "We just need to align the tumblers in the closure and - ah, objective obtained." Billy had picked the lock.
"Man, you'll be handy if we ever get locked out of the house," Zack said and he and Jason very carefully and quietly opened the basement.
The five continued to go down into the basement and noticed that there were crates and packages all over the floor. A few of the packages were spilled over and there was white powder and pebbles spilled onto the floor.
"What is that stuff?" Kimberly said. "Flour?"
"I don't know," Jason said. "Billy? Do you know what this stuff is?"
"Forget that stuff," Zack said. "Let's go!" The little Rangers walked up the stairs and as quietly as they could, opened the door and went into the Burke's kitchen.
"Man!" Jason said softly. "Their kitchen is clean! Spotless! God, my mom would be so proud."
"Jason, let's not divert our thoughts from our prevalent destination," Billy said just as quietly as Jason did.
"What?!" Zack said. Jason, Trini, Kim and Billy gave panicky faces and movements telling Zack to keep it down.
"Do you want us to get caught?" Kimberly said in a whispering voice.
"Sorry." The five made their way across the living room and the TV area. Jason was in awe on how clean it looked compared to his house which was always messy because he and his older brother lived there. They came up to a hallway where there were two doors. Jason knew that one went to Amber's room because the layout of the house was the same as Jason's house and that Amber was staying in what would be his brother's room. The other which would have been his room had to be Jeremy's. The room that was near Nancy and Frank's room was James', which was on the other side of the house.
"Here," Jason said pointing to the room. The others nodded and Jason opened the door. To Jason and the other Rangers surprise, Jeremy's room was not like the rest of the house, which was full of expensive things and clean as a whistle. Jeremy's room had only a dirty mattress in it stashed in the corner and three broken toys next to it. The floor looked like it hadn't been cleaned at all and the windows had cobwebs all over it. The walls had nothing on them. Nothing suggested in this room that a little six year-old boy slept here. On the old heap of a mattress was Jeremy with a blanket that Jason knew wasn't keeping him warm. Jeremy was in a fetal position and was shivering.
"My goodness!" Trini said astonished. "Where are all of the fun things that he likes? No posters or anything."
"Don't know," Zack said. "How can Jeremy live like this?"
"Affirmative," Billy said who was also surprised.
"Come on, guys," Jason said. They went up to Jeremy who was huddled up in the blanket facing the wall. Kimberly turned Jeremy over to try and wake him up. When his face was in plain view, Kimberly screamed with shock.
"He isn't breathing!" Kimberly said. "His face is purple."
"Negative, Kim," Billy said. "These are severe contusions inflicted on the cheekbone and much of the face."
"What?" Kimberly asked.
"He has bruises, Kim," Trini said, "and bad ones at that. These are horrible. Who did these? Amber? James?"
"I doubt it," Billy said. "No one can establish abrasions of this magnitude unless it was an grown individual."
"A grown up?" Jason asked.
"So, you are saying that either Jeremy's mom or dad did this to him?" Kimberly asked with a look of shock on her face. Billy nodded. The Rangers looked at Jeremy with a look of sadness. They didn't understand why this was happening to him.
"Are our parents upset because Jeremy's parents do this to him?" Zack asked.
"Let's get him out of here," Jason said and walked up to Jeremy to wake him up. At Jason's house however, Doris and Mark were looking at papers that the other neighbors given them about what they saw the Burkes doing. At that moment, Doris looked up out the window and toward the Burke's to where Jeremy's room was. When she looked again after a brief second, she saw five little silhouettes of children in Jeremy's room. She recognized one of them, her son.
"Mark, what is Jason doing at the Burke's house?" Doris said horrified.
"WHAT?" Mark yelled and looked to where Doris was looking. They did indeed see Jason's silhouettes outlined on the closed blinds of Jeremy's window.
"Oh my lord! Jason is in deep trouble when he gets home! What is he doing over there?"
"I don't know honey! He is in big......Oh no!" Mark and Doris's faces went pale. They saw someone else approaching the door of Jeremy's room.
"Jeremy," Jason said as he shook his shoulder. "Jeremy, wake up." Jeremy stirred and opened his watery eyes.
"J...J...Jason!" Jeremy said. "Kim, Z...Zack, B...Billy, Trini! W....what?"
"Come on, we are getting you out of here," Zack said as he grabbed Jeremy by the wrist.
"Wh...Wh...Why? I don't....u...un...understand."
"You are not going to stay here anymore," Kimberly said. "Your parents are bad people."
"What? They.....love me. They.....aren't....bad."
"Why are they making you stay inside all the time?" Jason asked.
"And do this too you?" Trini said as she touched Jeremy's bruised face. Jeremy flinched when Trini touched it because it was so tender. Jeremy realized that Frank and Nancy didn't love him, but that he and Amber were their servants more than a son and daughter to them.
"Ok, let's go," Jeremy said with more confidence in himself than he had ever had. Just then, the door swung open with a loud bang. Frank was in the doorway with an angry look on his face and a rifle in his right hand. Frank glared at the children evilly when he saw them in Jeremy's bedroom. The six children knew that the situation that they were in was extremely bad. Kimberly hid behind the others afraid that she was going to be shot. The rest coward behind Jason out of fear and Jason was shaking in the red pajamas that he was in.
"What are you brats doing here?" Frank said yelling through his teeth. "You little rugrats are trespassing on my property!" The five Rangers and Jeremy hugged tighter in their group. Frank went up to the group and grabbed Jeremy very violently by the upper arm. Jeremy yelped do to the fact that Frank was grabbing him on a new and very tender bruise that was made the previous day. "As for you, I am taking you somewhere so that you aren't with these low lives." He threw Jeremy out of his bedroom door and into the hall. "As for you five, I am getting in touch with your parents!" He shut the door and locked the five into Jeremy's room.
"Oh no, we're trapped!" Trini said as she and Jason were trying to pull the door open.
"We are in some serious doo doo," Zack said as he sat up against the wall. Just then, a spider crawled down the wall and Zack jumped to the other side of the room where the others were trying to open the locked door.
"Gracious, why would Jeremy's parents force him to reside in such deplorable environmental factors?" Billy asked.
"Yeah, would they make him live with spiders?" Zack said as he pushed up against the other Rangers trying to stay as far as he could from the tiny, little spider.
"I don't know, but we have to get out of here!" Jason said as he tried as hard as he could to pull.
"I remember that," Zack said. "I was so afraid that Frank might have shot us."
"Yeah," Kimberly said. "And the fact that you were afraid of the spider. Arachnophobia."
"Kim, shush!" Zack said as Jason laughed.
"What happened after that?" Jason said. "What happened to Jeremy and what made the police come so fast?"
"Frank took Jeremy outside and was beating him with the pipe of the rifle," Doris said. "Very furiously I might add. Poor Jeremy was being beat to death, but that's what made everything that we wrote about the Burke's be enough evidence to put them in jail. Your father, Jason, called the police when we saw Frank beat up on Jeremy. After he went inside to get something, but we don't know what."
"Jeez!" Kimberly said shocked.
"Now, it amazes me what Jeremy did for us next," Jason said.
"Come on!" Jason said as he put his feet on the side of the door and pulled with all of his might.
"Jason, its useless," Kimberly said. "He locked us in. We can't get out."
"What I am more concerned about is the state of Jeremy," Zack said. "What do you think he is doing to him?"
"I don't know," Trini said.
Just then, something crashed through the window opposite to the Rangers and the window shattered. They went up to the thing that was thrown into the window. It was a rock about the size of a small book. Jason looked outside and saw Jeremy breathing very hard. The other Rangers looked out and saw that Jeremy was bleeding in a few places and that their were more bruises now.
"Come on, climb out!" Jeremy said as he went to the window. The Rangers climbed out. Jeremy collapsed into their arms because he was exhausted.
"Jeremy!" Jason said. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah,...I'm...fine. Run! Run! My dad is going... to catch us if we don't run." Jeremy started to run down the street. The others followed him running as fast as they could, but for no more than five seconds after they started, Frank came out of the house with the rifle and began running after them.
"Get back here!" he yelled. A few seconds after, Jeremy tripped over his feet and fell face first into the ground.
"Jeremy!" Zack said as he turned around. Frank pointed the rifle about three feet from Jeremy's head.
"How dare you run away from me!" Frank yelled. Jeremy looked at Frank with a horrified look. "You are going to do what I say from now on, Thomas." Jeremy froze. Just then, a body came in between the rifle and Jeremy....Amber.
"Amber, get back in the house!" Frank yelled.
"NO!" Amber said. "You will not kill him! I won't let you!"
"OUT OF THE WAY!"
"No!" Jason said as he went in front of Amber. "You can't treat kids like this, Mr. Burke! It's bad!"
"I don't care what you say, low life child! They are my children and they do what I want!"
"FREEZE!" a male voice said behind him. A police officer was standing behind Frank with a gun in his hand. "Put the rifle down and back away from the children!" Frank put the rifle down and the other Rangers ran up to Jason, Jeremy and Amber. They have a group hug of relief. Amber looked at their house and saw more police officers going into the house. Just then, Doris along with Mark and the rest of the little Rangers parents came running to the children and began to hug them.
"Jason Lee Scott, you are alright!" Doris said balling her eyes out.
"I'm sorry Momma," Jason said as he hugged back. "You all were saying that Mr. Burke was going to kill Jeremy and we thought that he was going to be just in deep trouble."
"You almost gave us a heart attack, son," Mark said as he hugged his son. Jason looked back at Jeremy and the other Rangers. Amber was hugging Jeremy and the Rangers were all getting the same treatment that Jason's parents were giving him.
"Am I in trouble?" Jason said innocently.
"No, son. You're not."
Just then, they saw police officers escorting Nancy and Frank into a police car in handcuffs and James out of the house. One of the officers came up to Jeremy and Amber.
"You two," the officer said. He was a tall man with a mustache. "You have to come with me."
"Why?" the Rangers said at the same time.
"Because we need to find them new homes. These parents are not fit to be parents. Let's go." Amber and Jeremy took the officer by the hand and walked toward an ambulance that had arrived there. Jeremy turned and waved goodbye to them with a very sad face, but then smiled when he made the gesture that he had a sword in his hand.
"Mom, where are they going?" Jason asked.
"They are taking those two to the hospital and then...I don't know, honey," Doris said.
"Will we see them again?"
"I don't know Jason.....I don't know," Mark said and hugged Jason as they watched the ambulance roll away.
"What happened to them, Mom?" Jason said.
"Well, they found out that the two children were actually foster children and that they were taken to another city for protection," Doris said. "Who knows were they are now. They also found cocaine in their basement."
"That's what that stuff was?! Did Jeremy and Amber use any of it?" Kimberly said shocked.
"Man," Zack said. "And we all moved because you didn't want us to remember what happened until we were old enough to handle it better?"
"Right. Your family moved with us to the same street here, but Kim and Trini moved to the other side of this neighborhood and Billy went somewhere in the middle. Kim, the police told me that that Frank was so tight with dealing with the cocaine that he made sure that they weren't getting any. They were both clean." The doorbell rang.
"That's good," Kimberly said with a smile.
"Another visitor?" Zack said. "Who is it this time?"
"I got, Mom," Jason said as he, Zack and Kim went to the door. "With all the interesting friends we make, it could be anybody." He opened the door and his best friend was there. "See. What I tell you?"
"Tell you what, Zack?" Tommy said who was obviously confused.
"Nevermind, Tommy," Jason said. "What's up?"
"Not much, bro. I was on my way to give my mom a birthday present and decided to see what you were up too."
"A.K.A. you were bored," Zack said.
"Zack!" Kimberly said as she bumped him in the shoulder.
"We were helping my mother go through her old pictures," Jason said. "My mom told us a story about something that happened on our old block."
"What happened?" Tommy asked.
"Something bad, but we don't want to say what happened right now," Kimberly said. "Bad things."
"How about I make use a few drinks and we can catch up on old times?" Jason said. "It has been a while since....well...you know...since we were Rangers." The four smiled at each other and Jason went into the kitchen with Kim and Zack. Tommy went to where Doris and all the pictures were.
"Hi, Tommy," Doris said. "How are you?"
"Just fine, Mrs. Scott," Tommy said. "I heard that you are looking through pictures."
"Yeah, I am making scrapbooks. Want to see some pictures of your friends when they were little?"
"Sure," Tommy said with a laugh. He knew that if you were in any family, your mother had embarrassing pictures. Doris gave a whole bunch. Tommy laughed at some of the pictures that he was looking at, but one of them caught Tommy's attention more. The one with Jason, the other little Rangers and Jeremy. Doris saw the puzzled look on his face.
"That is a picture of a little boy named Jeremy. He was an orphan that lived next door that had to be taken away from his foster parents. I was just talking to the three of them about that." Tommy looked at the picture intensely. "Well, I need to get more pages for the scrapbooks. I will see you around, Tommy."
"Yeah. See ya, Doris."
"Mr. and Mrs. Oliver, this is Thomas," the doctor said. "He is from a foster family that abused him and another child. They named him Jeremy to hide the fact that he wasn't really their child and the fact that they were smuggling and selling cocaine in their house."
"He looks so sad," Maria Oliver said. "Why?"
"He had friends there and he wants to go back, but for his safety, I told him that he couldn't. They sent the both of you to adopt him?"
"Yes," John Oliver said. "We can't have any children; so, we are adopting. They told us about him and we gladly said yes."
"We felt bad for him and we want to help him get over this," Maria said.
"Well, this is Thomas and I will leave you three alone," the doctor said and he went out of the room. Maria and John Oliver went up to Thomas and pulled chairs up to sit next to him.
"Are you my new foster parents?" Thomas said.
"Nope, your new parents," John said as he put his hand on Thomas's little hand. "We want you to be our son."
"Are you going to be like my last parents?"
"No, honey," Maria said. "Those parents were bad people and they took you away because they were....ummm...."
"It's ok, Maria," John said. "I think he knows. Hey, what do you like to do Thomas?"
"I don't know," Thomas said looking down. "I never got to do anything really. I tried to play with my friends when I could but they....stopped me when...."
"It's ok, Thomas," Maria said as she offered Thomas a hug. "We are going to let you play as much as you want."
"Well," John said with a slight laugh. "You can't play all the time. You have to do what we say too, but we are going to make sure that you are happy too, Thomas." John noticed that every time he said his name, Thomas flinched. "What's wrong? Do you like being called Thomas?"
"I get called Thomas when I am bad," Thomas said. "Am I in trouble?"
"Oh no, honey, no," Maria said as she too put her hand on Thomas's. "You're not in trouble. We know that your real name is Thomas and that they called you Jeremy. Would you liked to be called Jeremy?" Thomas looked up at John and Maria. He shook his head slowly.
"Well then," John said. "What do you want to be called?"
"I don't know," Thomas said. "I...don't...know."
"Well, let's see here," Maria said. "Tom? Do you like Tom?" Thomas shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, we don't have to discuss this now, Maria," John said. "What would you like to do? Do you like art? Dancing? Music? Sports? Karate?.....Do you like karate? I know someone that can teach you. We can do it together." Thomas looked up. He made a small smile. "You would like that, huh?"
"We have something that he might like. That's good. Now, what else?"
"I....very rarely....put music on while I was cleaning," Thomas said. "I like making up my own words to music."
"Music, he likes music," Maria said to John. "He'll fit right in our family. I can teach him to play the piano."
"He can play what he wants, Maria," John said. "At least we have things in common. I sound like he is an intelligent little boy."
"Let take you home," Maria said as she extended her arms to Thomas. "We have an hour drive to your next home." The Olivers signed papers at the front desk of the hospital and took him to the car. Even though he still had some bruise that were on his body, he was looking much better and the doctors said he was good enough to be released. The Olivers put Thomas in the backseat and Maria sat with him.
"John!" Maria said. "I know! Tommy! We can call him that!"
"Do you like that?" John said as looked back at his wife and his new adopted son. Thomas smiled and nodded. He liked it. "Then Tommy it is." He started the car and drove home.
'So you were the friends that I had long ago,' Tommy said. 'I never knew.'
"Tommy, what are you doing?" Jason said from their back porch.
"Just a sec, bro," Tommy said as he picked up a pen nearby. He turned the picture over and wrote a note on the back. "Coming!" He went outside and say that Jason, Zack and Kim were having lemonade and had started talking.
"Where were you?" Kimberly said.
"Bathroom," Tommy said.
"Oh!" Jason said embarrassed.
"So what are you talking about?"
At that moment, Doris came running into the house with her keys in her hand. She grabbed her purse that was on the table. As she grabbed her purse, she noticed a note on the back of one of the pictures. She turned it over to see what the picture was. It was the same picture Tommy was looking at. Then, she flipped it over and read.
Dear Scott Family,
I am grateful for what you have done. It is hard to believe that you were the ones that saved me from the Burkes. Doris, thank you for spotting the fact that I was in trouble. Mark, thank you for the support that you gave everyone and me. And Jason, I thank you most of all. You have done so much for me already. I can't repay you enough. You befriended me and stuck by me when I was in trouble. The others helped me too, but you helped and trusted me the most. Thank you so much. From Tommy aka "Jeremy."
Doris gasped. She looked out the window to where Jason and the other former Rangers were sitting. She looked at Tommy.
"Oh my!" Doris said quietly, "Tommy, are you....?"
Tommy looked at Doris in the window and she held up the picture. He smiled and nodded. The others looked at Doris and waved and smiled. Doris gave the biggest smile of happiness.
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