Disclaimer: Characters and situations are the property of Spelling Entertainment, BVE, and Village Roadshow Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's notes: Thanks to Mandolin for beta reading, Adrienne Sekitou, Smitty's Girl, and Dragonsinger for being guinea pigs to be sure it was accessible if you'd only seen one show. This story is rated TVPG, but please keep in mind Charmed is TV14 if you're a PRDT thinking about making the jump. Though Chris isn't on anymore anyway.
This plays free and loose with the series timeline a bit. I didn't think they'd try to squeeze the first 33 eps of DT from September to Christmas. It takes place shortly after Golden Boy for Dino Thunder (spoilers really through Back in Black), and Chris Crossed for Charmed (spoilers for that episode, hints at what's to come).
Kira sat in her room, doing her homework. Specifically, staring at her science book. Dr. O had looked particularly mischievous at Ranger training today. Which likely meant a pop quiz in first period the next morning. She covered the book and started reciting the names of the amino acids.
She heard her mother yelp, followed by the unmistakable sound of breaking furniture. She frowned. Had she just heard the effects of a demon attack on the house or had her mother fallen and hurt herself?
"Chris!" she heard her mother shout.
Demon attack, Mom was calling for her whitelighter--a sort of guardian angel that looked after witches. If she'd fallen, she'd probably have just called for Kira.
Kira sighed heavily. Ordinarily, when this happened she would lock her door and light the candles that activated the special wards on her room--wards meant to protect her from demons, evil, and runaway magic. Since Kira had no magic of her own for some reason, she was a noncombatant in this fight--no matter how much the Power screamed otherwise at her. Today, however, she debated the merits of just sneaking out by climbing down the tree outside of her bedroom window instead of staying in her room like a good girl. But that climb wouldn't be fun with her backpack, and she really needed to study. She opened her drawer and grabbed the box of matches.
Then her bracelet--a thick white one with a yellow stone in the middle and yellow edging--bleeped. Kira may not have been a combatant in the battle of demons and witches, but as a Power Ranger, she had her own battles to fight. "What's going on, Dr. O?"
"There's a monster in the park. We need you to meet us there."
"On my way," Kira said.
Breaking glass clattered below her.
Kira shook her head. "What are they doing, coordinating?" She put the matches down and opened her window, shimmied carefully down the tree and dashed away from the house.
Kira got far enough away that Chris shouldn't have been able to sense her--at least, she hoped he couldn't, because then her secret would be out. Then, she ducked out of sight. "Dino Thunder! Power Up!" She moved her arms and then morphed into the Yellow Dino Thunder Ranger.
* * *
Chris Perry started as he heard Karen Ford's call inside his head. She sounded panicked.
He sighed. So much for trying to talk some sense into Paige--she might have been of more concern to him personally, but he was a whitelighter. If another charge was in immediate danger, talking Paige out of moving out of her ancestral home would just have to wait. "I have to go. One of my other charges is freaking."
Paige waved him off, clearly glad of the reprieve.
Chris dissolved into blue sparkles that rose upward as he orbed from the Halliwell Manor in San Francisco to Reefside and into the Ford home.
He found his charge, Karen, spilled on the floor. A demon with a nasty looking pick ax hovered over her. He used his telekinesis to throw the demon against the wall, then ran to meet her.
"Potion." Karen pointed at a spot on the floor as she scrambled to her feet.
Chris followed her finger and spotted a bottle on the floor several feet away. He used his telekinesis to chuck it at the demon. The bottle broke against it, splattering its contents. The demon vanished in a puff of smoke.
"That left quite a..." Chris started, but was interrupted when Karen dashed up the stairs and knocked on the door to her daughter's bedroom.
"Kira? Sweetie, are you OK in there?"
There wasn't a response. Chris followed up the stairs, giving his charge some space, but there to support her--or shout for back-up that could actually heal someone--if either form of support was needed.
Most whitelighters could heal. Chris was only half whitelighter, and couldn't. There was usually someone on call in case his charges needed that particular skill.
"Kira?" Karen opened the door and looked around for a moment. Then she noticed the open window. "Oh my god."
"She probably left to escape the demon," Chris said soothingly. He stretched out his senses, reaching. Whitelighters could always find their charges. Or they should be able to. He stretched out his senses a little farther. "I wouldn't worry..."
"What? What's wrong?" Karen grew pale.
Chris frowned. "I'm having trouble sensing her."
"She doesn't have magic," Karen pointed out reasonably.
"Neither do a lot of whitelighter charges. She's my charge! Technically. Her lack of magical powers shouldn't affect anything--I should be able to sense her."
"That's bad, right?"
"See, if it were bad, I should know. This doesn't seem bad." Chris shook his head, wondering how he knew that. "She probably just went somewhere safe to wait out the demon attack. Why don't you call her friends and I'll try that coffee shop where she hangs out. What was the name again?"
"Hayley's Cyberspace," Karen said absently as she picked up the phone.
Chris nodded and orbed out.
* * *
As was typical with Ranger battles, when the Rangers destroyed the monster in the park, it grew to a 30 story version of itself. This was fairly routine, and the Rangers were able to make short work of it with their zords--giant assault vehicles able to combine into a large battle robot. The three Rangers who piloted these zords--Red, Yellow, and Blue--met their mentor, the Black Ranger, on the ground after the battle. The Black Ranger, Dr. Tommy Oliver, led his team to an alleyway where they demorphed.
"You OK, Dr. O? Zeltrax seemed pretty brutal today." Conner, the Red Ranger, leaned against the wall of the dry cleaners that lined half the alley.
Kira tried not to giggle. She knew he was trying to convince Dr. O that he was too tired to write a pop quiz for the next day.
"I'm fine, Conner," Dr. Oliver replied, ignoring Conner's comment about the evil hench-being that seemed to have it in for him. Dr. O was probably onto Conner. "You should all get home before your parents start wondering where you are." He started guiding the Rangers in the general direction of the street.
Kira bit her lip, hoping the coast was clear to walk onto the street--even with her teammates right there, she *hated* dark alleys.
"You all right, Kira?" Dr. Oliver asked.
"Fine," she said. "Just tired, and I have a lot of studying to do."
Dr. Oliver frowned, clearly not convinced.
"I know what your pop science quiz hints look like now." Kira grinned. "Really, I'm OK."
"Want a ride?" Conner offered, pulling his car keys from his pocket.
* * *
Chris entered the coffee shop, looking around in wonder. He'd forgotten how decked out cybercafes could be--this one was jam packed with video games, computers, foosball tables, and a big stage. The last of which was probably Kira's favorite part. A cursory glance at the patrons didn't reveal his wayward charge.
"You can sit where ever," a hispanic young man wearing a white shirt and black pants indicated.
"I'm um..." Chris started uncomfortably.
"Looking for someone?" the waiter asked helpfully.
Chris brightened. "Yeah, Kira Ford. Have you seen her?"
The boy's eyes narrowed. "Who wants to know?"
"Trent," a young woman with red hair said warningly from behind the counter.
"I'm a friend of the family," Chris explained hastily, suddenly realizing how this might look. "Look--Trent was it--she's not home and her mom's freaking out, have you seen her?"
"She left around 5:30, said she was going home for dinner," he replied, frowning. "Have you seen Kira, Hayley?"
"No," the woman behind the counter who owned the store replied. She looked disconcerted and headed for the back room.
Kira! That-a-way! Chris's charge senses, that he'd been desperately leaving open in the hope they might kick in, suddenly hit full force. He could orb right to her--well, near her, she was in public; he'd have to be careful where he appeared. Whatever had that young woman concerned had just become a moot point.
"Ok, thanks," Chris said. "Maybe her Mom found her at a friend's house." He hightailed it out of Hayley's cyberspace and went to find somewhere to orb from.
* * *
"Yeah, thanks, Conner, that'd be great," Kira said, making a mental note to make sure he'd picked up on Dr. O's hinting at a pop quiz after all. He'd probably been out practicing soccer or something when the call had come in.
"Can I hitch a ride too?" Ethan, the Blue Ranger, asked.
"Yeah, dude, more the merrier," Conner said.
Dr. Oliver shook his head. "Conner, you do realize that adding dude every other word..."
The group turned out of the alley onto the street and Kira found herself walking right into something.
"Kira! There you are!" the something said.
Kira backpedaled, nearly colliding with Dr. O in the process. "Chris? What are you doing here?"
Dr. Oliver frowned. "Kira, who is this?"
"One might ask you the same question, buddy," Chris said.
Kira rolled her eyes. Great, just what she needed, a fussing contest between her Ranger Mentor and her Mom's whitelighter. She pointed at Dr. O. "Science teacher." Then she pointed at Chris. "Friend of the family with delusions of being my big brother."
"Well, your Mom's freaking out," Chris pointed out. "She couldn't find you after the d... er, dinner, after dinner."
Kira paled, realizing what her Mom was probably thinking.
"I was just going to give her a ride home--Ethan and I were. Weren't we Kira?" Conner asked firmly.
Dr. O smiled, clearly relieved to have some back up from the rest of the team.
"Yeah," she said. "We'll just head that way." She dragged Conner in the direction of his car before anyone could say anything.
"Coming, Ethan?" Conner tossed over his shoulder.
"Wait up!" he called.
This left Chris faced with the daunting prospect of talking to Kira's science teacher. "I'll just go... let Kira's Mom know she's OK."
"Delusions of being her big brother?" Dr. Oliver raised an eyebrow.
Chris shrugged, as if he didn't get it, then walked off. Taking several sharp turns before finally orbing back to the Ford home.
* * *
"Friend of the family?" Conner asked once the three teens were buckled into his car and heading for Kira's house.
"Brother?" Ethan added, leaning into the front seat to examine Kira's face.
"Dude, you need to sit down. I can't see out the back," Conner pointed out.
Kira sighed and shook her head. These two were almost as bad as Dr. O. Or Chris. "He's a pain. I don't know why Mom lets him hang around."
"If he's just a pain why did he have you so freaked out?" Conner asked.
"I wasn't freaked out," Kira replied evenly.
"Kira, you nearly backed into Dr. O," Conner said. "I get the instinct, really I do. But he's our teacher. Not to mention I've rarely seen you back off from anything since we got our powers."
Kira shrugged. "I bumped into Chris without recognizing him and jumped backwards. Is it my fault Dr. O was hovering right behind me? You know how he gets!"
"Uh-huh," Conner said dubiously as they pulled onto Kira's street.
* * *
Chris orbed back into the Ford kitchen. Karen was sitting at the table, drinking a cup of tea.
"She's OK," Chris said. "I can't explain it, but suddenly I could sense her again and she was on a street. She's coming home with a couple of friends. It was kind of weird, they were with her..."
"...science teacher," Karen finished. "He called a little while ago to apologize. They'd had a meeting about the science fair--and he had no idea that I didn't know where Kira was. She probably was going to tell me on her way out the door except that the demon attacked."
Chris frowned. It certainly sounded plausible, but it didn't quite track. He didn't want to tell Karen about the dark alley though--he wasn't sure if he could because whitelighters had to maintain a certain degree of confidentiality about their charges. Even from their parents--in some cases, he thought wryly, especially from their parents. He would, however keep a closer eye on Kira. Magic or no magic, she was still a charge.
"It's all right, Chris, really. Thank you. You must have other responsibilities."
Chris was glad of the break, actually. Being around the Charmed Ones--Paige and her sisters--was harder work than he had expected. But he knew it'd be worth it. "Yeah, I should be getting back."
With that he orbed out.
* * *
"Hey, Mom," Kira said, entering through the door.
"Kira, sweetie, in future it might be a good idea if you tell me about your science fair project meetings in advance," her mother said. "I was pretty worried when I couldn't find you."
Kira stared at the floor. Her mom's worst fear was Kira being kidnapped by a demon or getting caught in the crossfire of an attack. Kira wished she could tell her mother about the Pteroscream. She might worry less. But that wasn't her secret to tell. Well, it was--her secret. But it was for her to know and her Mom to find out. Or not. Preferably not. "I'm sorry, Mom. Sometimes these things come up unexpectedly. Conner's brain suddenly kicks into gear and Dr. O gets excited and... I wanted to tell you, but there was the demon and you were shouting for Chris and..."
"Ok, I get it. But leave me a note next time, you scared me half to death!"
"Sorry, Mom. I will." Kira made a mental note to have one ready to go. Ranger duties would call again. And she really didn't need Chris showing up looking for her in the middle of a battle. She wondered who would freak out more to find out she was a Power Ranger--her Mom or the Elders.
She hoped she never had to find out.
* * *
Chris sat on top of the Golden Gate Bridge, listening to the wind as his-*Leo* had taught him. Elder, boss. Charges' ex-husband/brother-in-law. Not anything else from the future, Chris reminded himself.
"Thought I'd find you here," Leo said from behind him.
Speak of the dev... er, Elder.
"Hi Leo," Chris said, eying the Elder skeptically.
"You all right?" Leo asked.
"I don't know," Chris replied, honestly. "I lost track of a charge this afternoon."
Leo's jaw dropped. "You lost track of Karen?"
"No, Kira," Chris said. "She left her room in the middle of a demon attack, Karen of course freaked out, and I couldn't sense her for a good ten minutes."
"That's weird," Leo said.
"That's what I thought," Chris replied miserably.
"Your powers are tied to your emotions," Leo reminded him. "Anything bothering you lately?"
"You mean other than losing my fiancé?" Chris let out an exasperated sigh.
"Point taken. Though it seems like there's more to it than that."
Chris shrugged, stalling for a way to explain what was bothering him without explaining everything that was bothering him about his current situation. "I miss my family. Karen was so upset when we couldn't find Kira. I just couldn't let them be broken up like that. And I couldn't do anything!"
"I know that's frustrating," Leo said, "but sometimes you just have to let your charges work things out for themselves."
Chris nodded. "It's just... I found her with a couple of guys and her science teacher. Karen says it's some kind of school project, but something about it... just felt weird. And that teacher was awfully suspicious of me."
"Well, Chris, you looking for a teenage girl isn't exactly what you would call an everyday experience. He probably thought you were some frat boy trying to take advantage of a high school girl." Leo pointed out.
Chris nodded. "You're probably right."
"You sound unconvinced," Leo said encouragingly.
"My instincts seem to have other ideas." Chris frowned and shook his head.
"You're part witch, Chris, you should probably trust your instincts." Leo patted Chris's shoulder.
"I just don't have a lot of time, I have to..."
"Protect Wyatt," Leo finished. "Chris, you'll burn out if you work on this 24-7. Your instincts are probably setting you on this for a reason."
"Thanks, D--er, Leo."
Leo frowned. "What did you almost say?"
"Dude," Chris said firmly, though he didn't meet Leo's eyes. "I'm going to go talk to Kira." And with that he orbed out.
Leo frowned. He wasn't sure what Chris had almost said, but he was fairly sure it wasn't "dude". He shrugged it off and orbed to the Manor to check on his son, Wyatt.
* * *
Chris orbed directly into Kira's room. She knocked her science book off her desk in shock.
"Do you knock?" she asked testily. "I could've been naked in here or something."
Chris had the grace to blush--why did he always forget that little issue? "Sorry, I'll do that next time."
"What do you want?" Kira asked, turning her swivel chair around and crossing her arms.
Chris held up his hands in an "I'm harmless" gesture. "I just thought we should talk about this evening is all."
"Can it wait? I probably have a pop quiz tomorrow morning," Kira said.
Chris eyed Kira skeptically. "If you know about it, then how is it a pop quiz?"
"Dr. Oliver was dropping hints in class," Kira said.
"Look, Kira, about your teacher..." Chris started, then paused, unsure how to continue.
Kira frowned. "It's a school project. It's not a big deal. Now if you don't mind, I need to study."
Chris tried to change tactics. "Look, Kira, as your whitelighter..."
"My whitelighter? Chris, I'm a squib! Go away!" Kira turned around and stared at her notes.
"You know your Mom doesn't like you reading Harry Potter," Chris scolded.
Kira didn't bother to turn around. Her voice grew cold. "Not the subject. Leave me alone."
Chris sighed, realizing he'd get nowhere with Kira worrying about a quiz the next day. He orbed out.
"Finally, some peace and quiet around here," Kira grumbled, settling in with her books.
* * *
Kira walked into Dr. O's lab through the back door. "Did you want help with a project, Dr. O? 'cause I'd think Ethan would be better able..."
Dr. O turned around from the console where he was going over zord maintenance data. "I want to know what's going on, Kira."
Kira looked at her mentor quizzically. "What are you talking about?"
"Chris," Dr. O said simply.
"What about him?" Kira asked, trying not to squirm or get nervous. She couldn't explain to Dr. O about her Mom being a witch, no matter how much she wanted to.
"What's going on?" Dr. O repeated.
"I told you, he's a friend of the family," Kira said. If Dr. O could repeat himself, so could she. "I didn't have time to tell Mom I was leaving, and she freaked."
"So I noticed when I called her," Dr. O said. "Look, Kira, this isn't like you. Who is this guy? Why'd he scare you last night?"
"He didn't scare me, he startled me," Kira said smoothly.
"You didn't seem to relax once you recognized him." Dr. O crossed his arms, studying her carefully.
Kira's stomach sank. She hated lying to him. It was as bad as lying to her Mom about her Ranger activities. But this one wasn't her secret to tell. "I thought he was going to embarrass me in front of you, Conner, and Ethan."
Dr. O frowned, standing up and moving closer. "Look, Kira, I want to help, but you have to let me. Something's frightening you. Please, tell me what it is."
"Nothing's frightening me, OK?" Kira snapped, taking a step backwards. "Do you mind if I go home now? Mom's going to be worried."
Dr. Oliver frowned. "I just wish you'd trust me."
Kira gulped. Nothing like a good guilt trip. "I trust you. There's just nothing to tell you."
"Okay. I guess you'd better get going," Dr. O said glumly. He turned around to look at the screen again.
Kira couldn't see his face, but she knew by heart the look of disappointment on it. She saw it every time she, Conner, or Ethan made some stupid mistake that Mesogog took advantage of. The knot in Kira's stomach tightened, and she desperately wanted to spill her guts so Dr. O wouldn't be disappointed anymore.
But she couldn't.
* * *
Kira walked off of school grounds at the end of the day tired, but feeling optimistic. She and the band had an afternoon gig at the Cyberspace, and coffee noises aside, she was looking forward to losing herself in her music. Even if it meant walking four blocks with a heavy backpack and her guitar slung over her shoulder. She wished Conner didn't have soccer practice so she could get a ride.
It could be worse. I could have to lug all of my junk without Ranger strength.
"Want some help with all that, Kira?" Chris asked.
He was leaning against a phone pole across the street from the school driveway--waiting for her. Chris was turned in such a way that she couldn't recognize him until she walked right by.
"I'm fine, thanks," Kira snapped. "Don't you have some bad guys to chase or something?"
Chris stood in front of her, blocking her path. "Not right now. I do have a charge who's in trouble though."
"Maybe you'd better go help them," Kira suggested, trying to push past him.
"Is there a problem here?" asked a voice from behind her.
Inwardly, Kira swore. Just what she needed. "Every thing's fine, Dr. Oliver. Know how I said Chris has delusions of being my big brother? That *really* includes being a pain in the a--butt."
Chris moved off, leaving Kira's way clear. Now, if only Dr. O would back down as well. She hightailed it down the street, glancing back after walking half a block--to find Dr. O and Chris still standing there.
"Great, just great," she murmured. She was going to get it on both ends now.
* * *
Chris got out of Kira's way. If she was going to react like that, he wouldn't get any more information out of her. Especially with her creepy science teacher standing right there. Her creepy science teacher who was acting like Kira needed rescuing from Chris.
Kira booked it down the street, clearly in a hurry to get away from them. Chris frowned. If she was angry before, she was going to be worse now.
"You want to tell me why you're harassing one of my students?" Dr. Oliver asked. He suddenly seemed about three inches taller and his arms were crossed.
From the glare he was receiving, Chris was glad that Kira wasn't the type to act up in class.
"You want to tell me why you're socializing with your students?" Chris fired back.
"I wasn't socializing, we were working on a project," he returned smoothly. Too smoothly, like he'd been practicing. "And you didn't answer my question."
"Kira's mom helped me out of some rough spots," Chris said. "The least I can do in return is look out for Kira. And that means I'm watching you."
And with that Chris stalked off.
* * *
Conner managed to get hurt during the monster attack that afternoon. Which so sucked from Kira's perspective--that meant she had to go back to the lab and make sure he was OK. She and Ethan helped Conner onto the medical couch and then backed off as Dr. O and Hayley started examining him. Her eyes fell on a rolodex in the corner.
Suddenly she wondered if there were any other Power Rangers that came from magic families. They might know how to deal with pesky whitelighters--not to mention overprotective teammates. She wandered in the general direction of the rolodex, trying to look unobtrusive. She flipped through it casually.
"Looking for something, Kira?" Dr. O asked, without looking up from whatever test he was running on Conner.
Kira snapped her hand back. "Sorry, did you not want us in there?"
"No, it's fine." Dr. O pressed a couple buttons on his scanner. "I just thought I could help you find something."
"Just looking," Kira replied, as if it were merely a distraction from Conner's injuries.
"All right," Dr. O replied dubiously.
Ethan approached her cautiously. "So what are you looking for?" he asked conspiratorially.
"Nothing," Kira replied.
"It may work on Dr. O, but it won't work on me, Kira. What are you looking for?"
"I'll know if I see it," Kira said irritably.
"Okay," Ethan said, holding his hands up defensively.
Kira barely noticed. She was too busy mentally cursing Dr. O for sorting the thing by team and color, not last name. Lee Scott, Hart, Taylor, Cranston... she kept digging through... Stewart? No. Justin Stewart. The Stewart family traditionally started first names with the letter F. All the Stewart witches had names that began with an "F". The trend was falling out of fashion, but most witches whose names fell out of the pattern were less than five years old.
Kira kept looking. Corbett, Leo and, later in the same team, Corbett, Mike. Corbett was promising, but again the first names didn't track. Eric Myers. Time Force. The whole name worked. However, the mini-profile on Dr. O's video diary seemed to indicate he wasn't... no, no one from a witch family would be more worried about having the Power than the good they could do with it.
Plus from what Conner and Ethan had later pried out of Dr. O about the guy, she didn't think he was the most well-adjusted person to ask advice from. She skimmed through the rest of the names. Evans, Enrile... Baliton, Watanabe... No. No help.
Drat. She was on her own.
* * *
Dr. O asked her to wait a moment when Ethan and Conner headed for the car. Hayley remained as well.
"Find what you were looking for, Kira?" Dr. O asked, indicating for her to take a seat at the console.
Kira shook her head. She wasn't sitting if Dr. O and Hayley weren't--and no one was moving for one of the spare chairs.
"Is there a particular reason you can't talk to either of us?" Hayley added, taking a step towards her.
Kira sighed heavily. Just what she needed. Were they going to start playing good cop, bad cop? "You too, Hayley?"
"Chris did a pretty good job of worrying Trent," Hayley said, putting a hand on her shoulder. "And Trent barely knows you. Do I need to tell you the story about when I was at MIT and..."
Kira jerked away. "No, thank you. Chris and I aren't dating. He's a friend of the family. That's it. I'll see you two tomorrow." And with that she left.
* * *
Kira was trying to do her homework. Trying being the operative word. She was looking at her English reading, but all she could think about was the disappointed look on Dr. O's face when she wouldn't explain about Chris--again. Or the way Chris had been stalking her lately. Which was probably what was worrying Dr. O so much.
There was a knock on the door. "Kira?" Chris's voice said through the closed door.
"You're supposed to come when I call, not when I think," Kira muttered under her breath. Louder, she said, "Come in."
"Hey, Kira, I..."
"Shut up!" she snapped. "What were you doing stalking me at school like that?"
"Look, Kira I just..."
"Look, I don't have magic, OK. You're not my whitelighter. You're Mom's whitelighter, so I'd appreciate it if you'd just butt out."
"Is someone I trust," Kira said firmly. "OK, yeah, he probably goes out of his way to keep an eye on me, Conner, and Ethan more than your average teacher--but there's a line between teacher and friend that he's very careful not to cross. I appreciate your concern, but all you're doing is freaking out my friends. You're not my whitelighter, so butt out."
"I am your whitelighter, Kira," Chris said softly.
"I don't have magic! I'm not a witch, I'm a squib. I don't need you."
"Not all whitelighter charges are witches," Chris said. "Some of them are just good people with important destinies; usually future whitelighters, but with you... Look, Kira, nobody's really sure why it is you didn't inherit your family's magic, but the Elders are sure that it's meant to be. That there's some other purpose you're meant to serve..." Chris paused as Kira's eyes widened. "Did something click?"
"It's nothing," Kira said. Was it possible that she wasn't a witch because she was meant to be a Power Ranger?
"You're sure?" Chris asked.
"No one ever told me that before is all," Kira said honestly.
Chris frowned, his eyes darkening. "Maybe someone should have."
Kira nodded. "Look, Chris, if I was in trouble I'd tell you. Well, I'd tell you if I couldn't tell Mom. But I'm just not in trouble. So if you don't mind, I have a lot of studying to do."
"Okay," Chris said, he turned to leave, then stopped. His tone softened considerably. "Don't sweat the not having the magic thing, OK? Sometimes being a witch isn't all it's cracked up to be."
"I noticed," Kira said simply.
Chris orbed out, and Kira returned to her reading. She actually managed to make some progress.
* * *
After training the next day, Dr. Oliver again asked Kira to stay behind a moment.
"Why do I feel like I'm in detention?" Kira asked irritably.
"I'm not angry, Kira, I'm worried," Dr. O took a step towards her, looking her straight in the eyes. His voice softened. "Look, I don't know what's going on. All I know is that ever since this Chris guy turned up you've been on pins and needles."
"Well, yeah ever since you two met you've both been giving me the third degree. It's driving me crazy! Look, you have to admit our relationship looks pretty shady from the outside."
Dr. Oliver crossed his arms. "So what aren't you telling me?"
"I can't tell you." Kira stared at the floor. She couldn't bear to see Dr. O looking disappointed again.
"Don't you trust me?" Dr. O's voice was so quiet, Kira barely heard him.
"Of course I trust you!" The twist in her stomach finally snapped, and bile flooded out of her mouth before she could stop herself. "This isn't my secret to tell! Look, I can tell this is hurting your feelings, and I'm sorry. But some secrets just have to stay as secrets. You've been a Power Ranger long enough to know that."
Dr. O stared.
Kira tried to remember when she had last rendered a teacher speechless.
"I just want you to know that you can come to me if you're in trouble," Dr. O said quietly.
"I do know that. And if there was ever something I couldn't go to my Mom about, you're at the top of my list, but I'm not in trouble. I just need you to trust me on that."
"Kira, you coming or what?" Ethan asked, sticking his head down the staircase that lead to Dr. O's house.
"Coming," Kira said shortly before Dr. O could change his mind.
* * *
"Oh, man, can you believe Dr. O?" Conner asked as the three drove back to town.
"No kidding," Ethan said from the passenger seat, ticking off the offenses on his fingers. "First he gives us a pop quiz three days in a row, then he has us training like crazy."
"At least he's not giving you the third degree," Kira muttered. She was leaning against the window, staring more outward then ahead at Ethan or across at Conner.
"I don't know what his problem is, if you say it's cool, it must be cool." Ethan shook his head, as if this were another grave offense.
"Plus you're like, too seriously into Trent to be dating this Chris dude," Conner added.
"Sorry, Kira, I can't hit him. He's driving." Ethan half turned around in his seat, hands in front of him, palms up.
"From what Hayley says, you should've seen Trent when Chris showed up at the Cyberspace," Conner said conspiratorially.
"How do you know that?" Kira asked, intrigued.
Conner and Ethan exchanged glances.
"Let me guess, Hayley gave you guys the third degree?" Kira sighed.
"Adults freak out at the strangest things, Kira," Ethan said sagely. "Sometimes you gotta figure it's because they care and try not to worry about it so much."
"So back to you and Trent." Conner tossed Kira a mischievous grin before quickly returning his eyes to the road.
"There's nothing..." Kira started.
"Yet," Conner and Ethan chorused.
Kira rolled her eyes. "Jeez, guys, he draws one single lousy super hero picture..."
"I thought it was a good picture," Ethan put in.
"Not what I meant!" Kira said indignantly.
"He's putting the moves on you," Conner said confidently.
"He's just got low risk tolerance or something," Ethan added.
"Your point being?" Kira asked, crossing her arms.
"Be careful," Conner said.
"And let us know if you ever need help beating him up," Ethan added.
Kira chuckled. At least someone had some confidence in her.
* * *
"It's just... I don't know what to go with here," Chris said. "My instincts are screaming that there's more to this Dr. Oliver guy than meets the eye--but Kira insists every thing's on the up and up."
"Do you sense danger from him?" Leo asked.
Chris closed his eyes in contemplation. "No, I sense danger *around* him. That's what worries me."
"How's Kira about asking for help?" Leo asked.
Chris frowned. "She doesn't like me. Actually, she keeps calling herself a squib, which..."
"Squib?" Leo echoed.
Chris stared. "It's a Harry Potter term. Someone who's born into a wizarding family but doesn't have any magic. Not the most polite of terms... You haven't read the Harry Potter books? How can you not have read them? Wyatt and," Chris paused, clearly stopping short of something, "Wyatt loves them."
"He's a little young for them yet," Leo said absently, "but back to Kira."
"Right. I'm just a little worried that she uses that to describe herself-- and she was pushing me away, saying I wasn't her whitelighter."
"Must be pretty hard," Leo said. "Growing up in a magic family and not having magic powers."
Shadows crossed Chris's face.
"What?" Leo said.
"Nothing," Chris said. "You think maybe she just needs some space?"
"Well, she's more likely to come to you for help if she doesn't think you're going to automatically overreact," Leo pointed out.
"So I back off--and hope she calls me if she finds herself in real trouble," Chris added.
* * *
There was a knock at the door.
"What?" Kira asked irritably. Given Dr. O's sudden pop quiz spree, she was *not* going to sleep unprepared for another one. Her science notes littered her bed.
"It's Chris, can I come in for a minute?" he asked through the door.
"I've had enough lectures for one day!" Kira snapped, standing up with every intention of locking the door.
But Chris didn't come in. He spoke through the door again. "I don't want to give you a lecture; I want to call a truce."
"OK, you can come in," Kira said, crossing her arms.
Chris came in, closing the door behind him.
"Well," Kira said, "I'm listening."
Chris rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Look, magic isn't really your world. I get that. And you seem to want your privacy, and I'm willing to respect that."
"It's about time!" Kira snapped.
"But there's a condition," Chris said.
"What is it?" Kira asked. She was willing to do anything--reasonable--if it meant getting at least Chris off her back.
"I want you to promise me you'll call for me if you get into trouble," Chris said.
Kira knew she could handle a lot--but Mesogog's buddies weren't what Chris was worried about. That was a promise she could keep, if she reworded it a little bit. "If I need you, I'll call. Promise."
"Okay." Chris headed for the door. "I'll let you get back to your homework. Remember to get some sleep."
"Hey, I have a mom!" Kira called after him.
"Lucky you," Chris shot back, closing the door after himself.
* * *
The next day was Friday. Kira had a gig, and Conner had a soccer game--and had managed to talk Ethan into coming. It might just be a thinly disguised attempt to convince the computer geek to get some fresh air. Kira thought it was a conspiracy to leave her to deal with Dr. O on her own. Trent had his Dad's car for once and offered her a ride to the Cyberspace so she wouldn't have to drag her guitar.
"So who was that Chris guy looking for you at the Cyberspace earlier this week?" Trent asked as they pulled out of the school parking lot.
"A friend of the family," Kira said casually. "He has delusions of being my big brother or something."
"Oh," Trent said, suddenly a little nervous.
"You OK?" Kira asked.
"Yeah, fine," Trent said. He pulled into the back lot behind Hayley's where employees stashed their cars. "Excited about your gig?"
"A little apprehensive actually," Kira said.
"Any particular reason?" Trent asked.
Kira bit her lip. How did she explain without being too obtrusive?
"Hayley giving you a rough time about Chris?" Trent guessed.
"She was giving Conner and Ethan the third degree earlier in the week," Trent said as he got out of the car. "And I got a few questions too."
"Really?" Kira sighed, hefting her guitar case and backpack out of the back seat. "Man, everyone's freaking out about nothing."
Trent shrugged. "Adults. Gotta love 'em."
"Tell me about it!" Kira said as they made their way through the back door.
* * *
Kira spilled into a chair after she'd helped her band mates load up their equipment. She was supposed to meet her mother at Hayley's so they could go to dinner nearby. In theory, Kira had about half an hour to wait. Barring work emergencies and demon attacks on her mother's end and monster attacks on her own.
A bottle of apple juice with the pulp still in it appeared in front of her.
"Thanks, Trent," she said absently.
Dr. O sat in the chair across from her. "Nope, sorry, wrong person. But thanks for playing."
Kira sighed and buried her face in her hands. "What did I do now?"
Dr. O gently pried her hands away from her face. "Don't you recognize a peace offering when you see one?" He held up the juice as an example.
Kira raised an eyebrow.
"Look, I'm sorry I've been so hard on you. I just..." Dr. O lowered his voice. "Teammates are supposed to be close. I can't be everything to you three I'm supposed to be--but I can be someone you can come to. So when you didn't..."
Kira nodded. "It's hard on us sometimes too."
"Just... promise me..."
"I'll come to you if I need your help. Promise," Kira interrupted.
"Thanks," Dr. O grinned.
"That goes for me too, by the way," Hayley said, coming and sitting at their table.
Kira opened her juice. Chris, Hayley, and Dr. O might have been real pains the last week, but at least she knew if she ever really needed help, there were plenty of people willing to provide it.
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