mysweet_time: (bomh - Dillon/K: Worry)
[personal profile] mysweet_time
Title: bounty on my heart
Fandom: Power Rangers RPM
Pairings: Dillon/K, Scott/Flynn, Gem/Gemma, Ziggy/Tenaya, mentions of past Venjix/K, and onesided Dillon/Summer and Venjix/Tenaya
Genre: Angst/Drama/Romance/Friendship
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Not even close to being mine. The textures in this wonderful art is credited to spiritcoda
Warnings: Language, violence, incest, slash, drinking, smoking, guns, government hating, mentions of attempted rape, bits of sexi tiems
Summary: They're bounty hunters, not heroes. They're not out to save what's left of the world, they're just trying to survive in it. At the end of the day, that's all that matters.
Author's Notes: I've been working on this thing for over half a year, I am so tired of looking at it, you don't even KNOW. I'm just beyond glad to be done with it, like...seriously, you have no clue. But huzzah, I finished it! This is my longest fic since like, NaNo '08, holy crapcakes. I have thank yous to give!

Firstly, to one of my lovely besties, [livejournal.com profile] bruised_candy for the EPIC freakin' art, like, seriously look at it, it's stunning, no? Secondly, I'd like to thank my betas, [personal profile] starandrea  (who actually didn't get a chance to beta, but is awesome for wanting to beta in the first place, ily!), [personal profile] dragovianknight , and my back-up beta for the fic [livejournal.com profile] the_beccaroo, who has also been something of a cheerleader, and idea giver, I love both of you, yay! Also, thanks given to [livejournal.com profile] dr_tiffy for also helping me and just being awesome, ♥!

I wasn't able to fit all of my ideas into here, but trust me, I am nowhere close to being done with this 'verse! I hope all of you enjoy this epic tale of epicness, and I don't blame you at ALL if you're just here to stare at the pretty art, hee!



Dillon was losing his fucking mind, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. He had paced, he had punched a wall a couple of times, he had yelled at anyone he laid eyes on, and he still didn't feel any better. "Everything's going to be okay, Dillon." Summer placed her hand on his shoulder.

He shrugged her off, not bothering to respond, he couldn't believe she was still trying to talk to him; everybody else had stopped trying awhile ago, even Ziggy. Everything was most certainly not going to be okay, not until they got her back. Almost everyone was silent, even the Boom twins and Ziggy, the only ones talking were Scott and Flynn. And Scott was only talking because he'd feel useless otherwise, he couldn't help locate her like the twins and Flynn could, and he couldn't come up with a plan to go rescue her until they actually managed to find her. "Have you found anything?" His voice was hoarse, like he hadn't used it in a while, or like he had been shouting too much. Everyone knew it was the latter.

"Sorry, Dillon, we haven't-" Gem started.

"Found anything yet, but we'll keep trying!" Gemma finished.

He wanted to scream at them, to tell them to stop fucking finishing each other's sentences because it was really creepy, and annoying, and any other day, he would. But today wasn't that day. They never should have left her alone, but it was just another job, just another stupid ass criminal to catch, and it wasn't the first time they had left her at the Garage alone before. It was normal, and she could take care of herself. But nobody had expected today to be the day that Venjix got in, that Tenaya would betray them, that his own sister would take away his...whatever K was to him. If he did love her (and maybe he did, so what), he certainly wasn't going to admit it to anyone but her, not even to himself. "You should really sit down or something, Dillon, you're just stressing yourself out." Holy fucking shit, was she still trying to talk to him?

"Can you please not fucking talk to me right now?" There was no trace of venom in his voice though, and he ended up doing what she suggested anyway, like his legs couldn't support him anymore, which was just stupid, what with all the machinery in his body.

The chair he ended up sitting in was hers, and he flinched a little, remembering all the times he had sat in it before. Usually with her in his lap. It was fucking ridiculous, he was pretty sure if it was anyone else, he wouldn't be freaking out as hard. Summer was still staring at him, and she settled herself on the floor next to him. He wondered what else she was going to say to him, he prayed it wasn't more bullshit about how everything would be okay, or about how worried she was about him. Later, when he had her back, then he would appreciate Summer's efforts, but right then, he wasn't feeling it. "You're really going crazy without her, aren't you?" Her voice was quiet, low enough so that only he heard her.

"What was your first clue?" He grumbled back. He hated to admit to anyone the effect that K had on him, but whatever, there it was, he couldn't change it, even though he had tried more times than he could count.

"Do you love her?" She had lowered her voice even more, like she didn't really want to put out the question out there, like she was afraid of the answer.

Did he love her? Yeah, probably. Why, he had no idea, because she still annoyed him ninety percent of the time, but what could he do about it? He finally looked at Summer, and she was staring right back at him, blue eyes seeking an answer. He was pretty sure any other girl would have her head lowered, scared to find out that the man they had been crushing on loved someone else. But Summer had never just been any other girl. He sometimes wished he could have fallen for her; it certainly would've made things a hell of a lot easier. He breathed out slowly and shook his head, he couldn't answer that question, he already knew what his response would be, but he was saving it for her, nobody else. "I'm going out for a bit." He stood up, grabbed his jacket and rushed out of the control room. He made his way outside, and leaned against the building, he wasn't going anywhere, but he had just needed some fresh air, some time away from the others to clear his head. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes that weren't his, he had stolen them out of her dresser the night before, just to see if she noticed, he had never planned on smoking them. He pulled one out, placed it in his mouth and lit it, inhaling sharply. He closed his eyes, holding in the smoke for as long as he could, before he exhaled it out through his nose. Well, he supposed he couldn't say he had quit anymore, could he?

What was he going to do if they didn't find her? He had refused to entertain the thought when he had been inside with his friends, but now that he was alone, well, he couldn't help but worry. The thought of being without her actually hurt, he couldn't believe that, that one person could do something like that to him. It had been different with his sister, that was family, and he hadn't been able to remember her, but with K...fuck, with K, it was so different. He still remembered the way she felt pressed against him, the way she tasted, the way her hands trailed up his shirt. How could he not? It had just been the night before, and God, he didn't want that to be the last moment he ever had with her. Not that it hadn't been good, it had been fucking great, but he wanted more, he always wanted more. He flicked his finished cigarette onto the ground, stomping on it and reaching for another one. If she was with him at the moment, she'd be smirking at him, saying some form of 'I told you so'. It felt like a lifetime ago since she had offered him a smoke when they first met, back when he was in prison, when he didn't have a choice between sucky and suckier. He had chosen the former, he hadn't known back then that being with them would change his life, that he would find friends, best friends even, his sister (even though she wasn't at his side anymore, he would change that, as soon as he got K back), and most surprising, love.

He reached up and ran his fingers over the teeth marks still prominent against his shoulder blade, where she had put them last night. He had never imagined they'd actually be anything other than employer and employee, he had never even thought they'd be friends, so becoming lovers had pretty much felt like a brick against the head. He let himself remember their last night together, maybe because he was just a giant masochist, or maybe because he just needed to think about her.

He found her bent over some new contraption of hers, a soldering gun in her hand, and sans familiar lab coat. He just allowed himself to stare at her for a bit, he didn't really care what she was working on, only the fact that she was still working. "You're still working?"

"Of course, what else would be I doing?"

He could imagine a number of things she could be doing, most of them involved her being naked. Instead, he went for the more diplomatic answer, the one that wouldn't get him shot at, "How about anything but this."

"This is important; it's going to help out the team immensely."

He rolled his eyes, "So let Gem and Gemma do it then."

"They wouldn't manage to bring it up to the level at which it needs to be."

He sighed, tempted to just drag her away, it'd certainly be simpler, "How about this, then? I'll give you fifteen minutes."

"And then what?" He could practically feel her smirk.

"And then you're done for the night."

She shook her head, "And then I'll take a break."

He walked further into the room and flopped into her chair, knowing that at that point, she had stopped caring, with how many times he had done it, "Whatever."

She made a face at her new gun, she knew that tone of voice of his, it was the one where he was going to get what he wanted, eventually. And that meant her taking the night off, mostly it meant taking the night off with him. She wasn't opposed to the ‘with him’ part, but there was still so much work to be done. She stared down at her gun, frowning a little, she supposed she could take the night off, she really just needed to calibrate a few things, and then she could be with him. She set down the soldering gun, picked up the other gun and carried it to her computer. She stared down at him casually sitting in her chair, and just rolled her eyes, connecting the gun to her computer and then settling herself in his lap. She wasn't giving up her chair just because he decided to occupy it.

"So," he sounded more than slightly amused, "does this mean you're almost done?"

"For now, I just have to calibrate some things, and then I have to smooth down the barrel a little, but I suppose I could just-" she stopped talking when she felt his hands slip under her sweater and shirt, settling firmly on her ribs.

He tucked his chin against her shoulder, "You were saying?"

She hated how smug he was at how he affected her, "It...doesn't matter, you wouldn't understand."

She felt him smirk, "Oh really?"

She contemplated just getting up when his fingers trailed up further, causing her to shiver. But then, that would mean he'd win, and she couldn't have that, "Yes, really."

"Explain it to me then." How was she supposed to explain anything when he insisted on doing that thing with his tongue?

It was completely and utterly ridiculous, and she decided then and there to stop playing his game. She entered the codes she needed to in quick succession, even quicker than she usually worked, which was saying something. "Forget it, just...forget it." She murmured to him, before pressing the enter key and turning around in his arms.

"Does this mean you've given up?"

"I never give up." She buried her fingers in his hair, and tugged him down for a kiss.

He easily returned it, constantly pleased with the way he could make her ignore her work in favor of giving into her base desires. As he trailed his kisses down her neck and she dug her nails into his shoulders, he decided it really was the best way to win against her.


He shook himself out of his thoughts when he realized he had run out of cigarettes. He blinked a few times, had he really smoked all of them that quickly? He hadn't just fallen off the wagon; he had been shoved off and hit a bunch of rocks on the way down. He reminded himself to replace them before they got her back, just so she wouldn't rant at him, or worse yet, withhold sex. He sighed, slipped the empty carton into his pocket and made his way back inside. He had been hiding long enough. Summer gave him a warm smile when he stepped back into the control room, one he couldn't resist returning just a little as he shed his jacket. "Anything?" He kept his question to one word as he settled back into her chair.

"We're doing better than before. We've managed to pinpoint the location of his base in this two hundred mile radius." Flynn responded, pointing to a spot on one of the maps on the screen that he had never been to before.

He was already starting to get back up, "Alright, then let's go."

"Not so fast, if we don't figure out the exact location, we'll just be wasting hours searching, and he could see us and just move her somewhere else." Scott reasoned.

Dillon couldn't help but glare at him as he sat back down, even if it wasn't his fault, and he had a good point. Not that he'd admit it to him or anything. "We're getting closer though, that's what matters." Ziggy finally spoke up, "We'll find her, we're the good guys, after all, we always win."

Dillon hid his smirk at his best friend's constant optimism at the whole good vs evil aspect. There was never an in-between with him, and he never entertained that idea that yeah, sometimes evil could win, and the good guys could lose. That was never an option for Ziggy. He never tried to make him see differently, the team could use that, Flynn couldn't do it all on his own, after all. "Yeah, I know." And he didn't know, he couldn't, but it was better to just agree with him than voice his fears aloud.

Ziggy nodded and beamed, clearly pleased with his response, and Dillon let his eyes wander, landing on the unfinished gun from last night. Maybe he'd just choose to believe him for now, it was a little easier. He clasped a hand around his dog tags, the source of his basically otherworldly powers, and he figured it was a time for remembrance, it was better than dealing with the alternative, because before he knew it, he was letting his mind wander back to how it all started. The day he first officially met her. The day his life changed forever.

------=-----

She waited patiently as the guards opened up the cell, allowing her to step into it, a guard close behind her. She sighed in irritation, looking behind her shoulder to give the guard a look that plainly said ‘leave.’ He gave her a wide-eyed look, like he couldn’t believe she was willing to stay in the cell by herself. “I’ll be fine.” She insisted, narrowing her eyes.

He sighed, shook his head and left the cell, but she knew he was just outside the door, ready to burst in at a moment’s notice. It was kind of annoying though, just because she was short and petite didn’t mean she couldn’t take care of herself. She was the unofficial leader (though she preferred mentor) of the greatest group of bounty hunters known to man after all, which was basically the reason she was in this stupid prison in the first place. She didn’t see the point in letting a perfectly good…resource go to waste, locked up in a dingy prison for no better reason than the fact he had machinery in his body.

He looked up at her with dark eyes, wrists cuffed to the table and chains wrapped around his body. Chains…really? She knew full well what he was capable of, and if he wanted to, he could easily break out of the restraints holding him, just like he could kill every guard in the prison, like he could’ve killed Scott, Flynn and Summer when she had sent them to meet him. But he hadn’t, and he obviously wasn’t going to do any such thing to her, despite his clear annoyance, “So, you must be the woman behind the voice.”

Instead of answering him, she gave a steely-eyed glare to the guard still left in the room, who constantly had his weapon at the ready, “You can leave now.”

Instead of being exasperated like the previous guard, he looked more nervous than anything else, “Ma’am, I don’t think-”

“When did I give the indication that I cared about what you thought? Leave.”

The guard shifted on his feet, clearly torn between actually doing his job and getting the hell away from the crazy, scary lady. In the end though, his fear won out, and he bolted from the cell. She allowed herself a tiny smirk at the fact that she had chased away the guards, before he let out a sound of disbelief, “Are you serious? I’ve been glaring at them since I’ve been here, and they won’t give me a second glance, but you do it and tell them to leave and they actually do it?”

Again, she ignored what he had just said and instead focused on his previous statement, “How did you know I was a woman?”

He stared at her, then laughed, “There’s no software in the world that can make you sound like a man, maybe a man that got kicked in the balls one time too many, but that’s pretty much it.”

She crossed her arms over her chest, suddenly irritated that he had figured it out so quickly, “The others thought I was male for months.”

“Who? Your little Terrific Trio or whatever the hell you call them? Wow, no wonder you guys need me on your team so badly.”

She narrowed her eyes at him, hoping to use the same scare tactic on him that had worked on the others, but he just looked nonplussed, “They’re not called the Terrific Trio, they’re called the Rangers, and please, don’t pretend that you’re the Second Coming, here to save the day, you’d be a helpful and hopefully useful member of my team, that’s all.”

“And what makes you think I’d want to join your little band of misfits?”

She gave him a half-smile, one that was more calculating and predatory than anything else, if he were a lesser man, he’d be afraid of that smile, “Have you had any better offers?”

He snorted, “What the hell do you think?”

“I’m thinking no,” she reached into one of the pockets of her lab coat, pulling out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, “so you have one of two choices, take me up on my offer, or stay here and rot.”

She lit up the cigarette, before taking a long drag of it, “Choice is yours.”

He narrowed his eyes at her, he never had liked ultimatums, “And what if I said those choices really suck?”

“Then I would reply to pick the lesser of two evils,” she took another drag, exhaling smoke from her nose, as she held the cigarette close to his lips, “smoke?”

He looked from her down to the temptation, “I quit.”

She looked vaguely amused, before stubbing out the cigarette on the metal table, “Shame, you looked like you could use one.”

He forced back his sigh of relief and raised an eyebrow instead, “I look like a smoker?”

She shrugged her shoulders lightly, “Everyone has a sign about them to tell if they’re a smoker or not.”

“You don’t look like a smoker.” And it was true. She looked so ridiculously…young, she couldn’t be taller than five three, with her chin length hair that looked like she cut herself, her school girl outfit, black Mary Janes, and out of place lab coat. Everything about her rubbed him the wrong way.

“That’s because I’m not.”

“Then what the hell were you just doing if not smoking?”

She shrugged again, “Just something to occupy my time while you decide.”

He sighed, “What would I be getting out of this?”

She smiled again, and it looked more easy, more real, “For one, you’d be getting out of here, and I’d think that’d be reason enough, two, you’d have a better place to stay, free room and board,” she smoothed out invisible wrinkles in her lab coat, “but I’ll tell you the best reason of all.”

He quirked an eyebrow, intrigued without meaning to be, as she leaned down close to him, close enough so that her breath tickled his ear, “You get to stick it to the government, the same people that stuck you in here, we catch the criminals they can’t, and they pay us to do it. We make our own rules, we pick the bounty, and we always catch them, we don’t answer to anyone but ourselves.”

And honestly, that was all he really needed to hear. He turned his head to the side, his breath ghosting over her cheek, as his lips curled into a smirk, “I’m in.”

------=-----

They walked into the building together, his hands in his pockets as he trailed after her. Scott and Summer paused in their game of pool, looking up at them, their reactions vastly different, “You got him to join us?” Summer’s grin was blinding.

“Oh, come on, Doctor K, you can’t be serious!” Scott frowned.

“He hasn’t officially joined us yet,” she glanced at him over her shoulder, getting a smirk in return, leading her to roll her eyes, “he says he has one condition, but he won’t tell me what it is.”

“Like he has any right to place demands?” Scott still talked about him like he wasn’t in the room.

“Hey, seems to me like you need me more than I need you.” He piped up.

“Excuse me, but I wasn’t the one in prison.”

“Aye, normally, I’d agree with Scott,” came a Scottish voice from beneath a blue Hummer, as he pulled himself out from underneath it, “but we have needed help lately.”

Scott gave Flynn a glare as he held up his hands apologetically, “Look, we don’t need-”

“Boys, can it,” Summer glowered, “everything will work out for the best, okay?”

“Ranger Yellow is correct, if everything goes according to plan, then we’ll be fine,” she strolled towards the control room, not giving the trio a second glance, “give him the tour, will you?”

They waited until she had exited the room and the doors were safely closed before Summer shared an amused glance with Scott and Flynn, “Well, this mission hasn’t changed her any, huh?”

“You thought it would?” Flynn shook his head.

“Guess not, not much can shake her from her ways.”

“Hold on, did she just call you Ranger Yellow?” He raised an eyebrow, glancing at Summer from head to toe, “You’re not even wearing any yellow.”

She shrugged, looking down at her own attire that consisted of a dark blue shirt, black jeans, and her riding boots, “Doctor K gave us all color coded names to go with the Ranger status, I was wearing a yellow shirt the day she recruited me, so I became Ranger Yellow.”

“Aye, and I was wearing blue, I’m sure you can guess what color I am.” Flynn added.

“So, what’s he?” He jabbed a thumb in Scott’s direction, “Pretentious?”

Summer made the effort of trying to mask her laugher as a cough, but failed, and Flynn didn’t bother to hide his smirk, earning a punch to the shoulder from Scott, “I’m Ranger Red, the leader.”

“Now, why doesn’t that surprise me?”

Before an argument could break out, Summer intervened again, “If you do join, I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up as Ranger Black.”

“Gee, whatever gave you that idea?” He questioned sarcastically.

It was clear where she got that idea, with his black t-shirt, black jeans, black leather jacket, and black shoes. She wondered absent-mindedly if he even owned any clothes with actual color in them. But she’d probably get some sarcastic response if she asked him. He wasn’t exactly that hard to figure out, and she barely even knew him. He was a bad boy, or at least that was the image he projected to the outside world, and they were still the outside world. But she had seen…something in him, something more, and she knew Doctor K had too, or she wouldn’t have actually ventured outside the safety of her home to try and personally recruit him. And she’d be lying if she said it didn’t irritate her…just a little (because she had grown out of being self-centered, after all), she had thought she’d be the one to get through to him, to get him to join their fight, but all K had to do was visit him once, and it was enough? It seemed unfair, in her opinion, but that was one thought she’d keep to herself. Any way they could get him to join was good enough for her…really.

“So, do I get that tour now, or later?” He drawled.

Summer blinked herself out of her thoughts, catching Scott’s scowl and Flynn’s amused look, “Right, tour, of course.”

“I don’t see why he needs a tour, it’s home, not a museum, and besides, he’s not staying.” Scott grumbled, but he was mostly ignored, only getting a shoulder squeeze from Flynn.

“Well, we call our humble abode the Garage.” She threw out her arms in a flourish.

“Try and guess why.” Flynn tapped a hand against his Hummer.

“The bedrooms and bathrooms are up there.” Summer pointed towards the catwalk, where doors lined the walls.

He let his eyes linger on the cars, Summer’s words going in one ear and out the other, “That one yours?” He questioned Scott, indicating the red sports car.

“Yeah, it is.” Scott smirked, affectionately running his hand along the hood.

He rolled his eyes, “What’s the horsepower on it?”

Scott practically beamed at the question, “700, probably way more than yours.” He cast a disdainful glance towards the black muscle car.

He raised an eyebrow, “There’s some saying about assuming, right? Something about you being an ass,” he smirked, “1200, that’s what my car has.”

Scott scowled, clearly about to say something else degrading, when Summer cut in, “Guys, can we stop with this already?”

“Stop what?” Scott frowned.

She rolled her eyes, “Stop the dick measuring contest, already,” she began waving her pool cue in the air, “like it or not, we need him, and antagonizing him isn’t going to help anybody!”

He edged away from the pool cue; the last thing he wanted was a patented Summer whack to the face, before tossing Flynn a look. He was fully prepared for a remark from Flynn regarding dick sizes (particularly his), but all Flynn did was give him an innocent look. Huh. Well, that was a first, Flynn generally never turned down an opportunity to embarrass his fearless leader in one way or another. “We do not need him,” he glowered at Summer, “the three of us have been perfectly fine in the past year.”

Before anyone else could speak a word, the hissing of the doors to the control room opening signaled Doctor K’s return. She stalked straight towards them; light eyes narrowed, and Summer, Scott and Flynn instinctively took a couple step backwards, even though she ignored them. She stopped in front of him, face twisted into a scowl, “This is your stipulation for joining the team? Him?” She slammed the picture down on the pool table.

He peered down at the photo, showing a man with wild hair entertaining a cell full of guards. He was standing in front of a white board that was covered with pictures, as he gestured wildly at them, one guard leaning forward with a bowl of popcorn. He returned his gaze to her and nodded, “Yeah, that sounds about right.”

Honestly, the look on her face made it all worth it. She crossed her arms over her chest, and narrowed her eyes, tilting her head up, “Why?”

It was a simple question, one word, and he already had the perfect answer for it, “He makes awesome shadow puppets.”

------=-----

Ziggy bounced in the passenger seat, an equal mixture of relief of being released from jail, and the absolutely amazing fact he’d be meeting the Rangers. The greatest group of bounty hunters known to man, and he wouldn’t just be meeting them, he’d be living with them. Holy shit, how awesome was his life right now? “Seriously, Dillon, I don’t get how you can be so calm right now. We’re going to be living with the Rangers, and you get to become one! How are you not excited right now?”

He merely snorted, keeping the car’s speed at a steady 80 miles per hour, Ziggy wasn’t even affected for once at the insane way he drove, he was way too excited for fear. “They’re not that great, I don’t know why you’re so star-struck.”

Ziggy stared at him like he had grown a third eye, or possibly a second head, maybe even both, “Are you serious?”

He took his eyes away from the…not-really-road, and focused his attention on Ziggy, “Yeah, I’m serious; they’re kind of pitiful, actually.”

He scoffed, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning back into his seat, “Remind me why we’re friends again?”

“We’re not friends.”

“Whatever, we so totally are, you wouldn’t have sprung me out of jail if we weren’t!”

He frowned, stepping on the gas hard enough to cause Ziggy to wince, “We’re not friends,” he repeated, “you’re just somebody I find amusing and entertaining, that’s all.”

If Ziggy was one to let comments like that hurt him, he’d never have any friends, well…he didn’t have many of them, but he knew Dillon was one of them, even if he didn’t want to admit it, “Watch the road!”

He rolled his eyes, “What goddamn road? It’s fucking desert, if you haven’t noticed, there’s not exactly a whole lot to run over around here.”

“You could run into some left-over Grinder parts and make the car explode.” He pointed out.

“How…you know what, never mind,” he wasn’t sure he’d ever figure out how Ziggy’s mind worked.

“Ooh, we’re almost there!” Ziggy resumed bouncing in his seat, the dome in plain view now.

“Finally, longest goddamn drive of my life.”

“Y’know, Dillon, you’re going to start hurting my feelings here.”

“Yeah, sure, if that was the case, you would’ve stopped bugging me in prison.”

------=-----

Doctor K glanced at him in disdain, taking in his appearance, “He looks even more terrible in person.”

“Prison will do that to you.” Dillon shrugged, not feeling the need to defend Ziggy, as far as he could tell, she was that way with everybody.

“So it’s not enough we have to have him join our ranks,” Scott grumbled, “but now we’re taking in a stray on top of that?”

Flynn looped an arm around his shoulders, “C’mon, it’s not like Ziggy’s becoming a Ranger too, he might be helpful.”

Instead of pouting at their remarks, he was too busy staring at Summer with wide eyes. She raised an eyebrow, his awestruck look didn’t exactly irritate her, in fact, she’d go so far as to say she enjoyed it, “What’s up?”

“Can I-” he cleared his throat, starting over again, sure, Summer was hot, but he was Ziggy Grover for God’s sake, hot chicks were always throwing themselves at him, no way was he going to be nervous in front of her, “can I have your autograph?”

She ignored Dillon’s snort of disbelief, grinning lightly, “Sure, come on, let me go get a pen.”

Ziggy just barely resisted the urge to squeal in utter happiness, and followed after her. Doctor K rolled her eyes upwards, sighing in irritation, great, so she would have to deal with that every day now. Like her life wasn’t hard enough. She focused her gaze on Dillon, who met her eyes evenly, “Well? Are you willing to join us now?”

If he was being completely honest with himself, he wanted to turn around and walk out rather than stay another minute with them, they all irritated him in one way or another, especially her, but they had gotten him out of jail, and he never reneged on a promise. Plus, as loathe as he was to admit it, they were probably his best, and maybe only, chance to get answers to his questions. So, fine, he was stuck with them then, he could deal with it…probably, “Yeah, sure, I’m in.”

She nodded, turned around and disappeared back into the room she had come from. When she returned, she was carrying a bundle that she shoved into his arms, “Welcome to the team, then.”

He raised an eyebrow, “So you already figured I’d be joining?”

She gave a shrug, “I like being prepared.”

He inspected what was given to him silently, noting that he had been given a leather jacket identical to his own, but with a wolf patch attached to the back, along with a cell phone, a gun, and a pair of dog tags. He ran a finger over the patch and then raised his eyes to stare at her, “A wolf?”

“It fits, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t consider yourself a lone wolf?”

He just scoffed, refusing to reply, so she continued on, “You’re going to need training.”

“I know how to shoot a gun.”

It was her turn to scoff, “I’m not talking about the gun.”

“Then what are you talking about?”

Instead of answering, she just smiled mysteriously, turning on her heel and going back into the control room, the doors sliding shut behind her. He exhaled slowly, shaking his head; he turned his attention to Scott and Flynn, “Is she always like this?”

“Pretty much.” Flynn answered.

“Great, I’m really going to enjoy being here, aren’t I?”

“Just as much as we’re going to enjoy having you.” Scott returned his sarcasm full force.

Summer came back into the room, looking rather amused, with a bouncing Ziggy at her heels, “I take it by Scott’s expression that you’re in?”

“Are you really, Dillon? Please say yes, this place rules.” Ziggy looked at him with puppy dog eyes, and Dillon frowned at him, but he didn’t cease in his pleading look.

“Unfortunately, yeah.” He ignored Ziggy’s whoop of joy, and glanced at Summer, “Which room is mine?”

“Next to Scott and Flynn’s,” she pointed up to the catwalk, “you know you’ll be sharing with Ziggy, right?”

He shrugged, “It could be worse; I could be rooming with the Doc.”

------=-----

He was blasted into the wall, leaving a decent sized dent in the metal, and he quickly rolled out of the way of another shot. “I realize your dodging skills are formidable, but that’s not what we’re testing today, stand up.”

Okay, it was official; he really, seriously hated her. He did as she commanded though, fingers clenched around the dog tags, “You never told me this is what you meant by training.”

She gave him a tight smile, “Where would the fun be in that?”

“Yeah, I bet you find it fun, throwing me into walls all goddamn day.”

She shrugged, “You wouldn’t be thrown at all if you could properly work your shield.”

Before he could say anything else, another burst of fire headed his way, and he flung out his free hand just in time, a purple light that covered him from head to toe shooting forth to protect him. He gritted his teeth as he did his best to hold the shield, he could practically feel the flames licking at his skin. He found it strange how he could tell when it was about to give out, right down to the millisecond, and he jumped to the side just as the light receded back into his dog tags. She made a little noise in the back of her throat, “Three seconds, that’s…adequate, you’re learning, but you could do better.”

And now he wanted to strangle her. Awesome. “I could do better? With the shit you keep throwing at me, I’m lucky I’m holding this shield up at all.”

And it was still something of a wonder to see her toting around a flamethrower. Who the hell even carried around a goddamn flamethrower? What would they even use it for? Obviously she found some use in it, since he was currently her little guinea pig. She gave a long-suffering sigh, like he was the one getting on her last nerves instead of the other way around, “Look, Ranger Black, I chose you for a reason. If I wanted less than satisfactory, I would’ve made your friend take your place instead.” She removed the flamethrower, setting it on the table that held all of God knows what, “As it stands, you’re physically and mentally capable of more than my other Rangers, and I need you to prove that, or otherwise, I made a terrible mistake.”

So that was the way of it then. It wasn’t so much that was helping her team, that was just an added bonus, she just wanted to make sure she didn’t look like a complete and utter fool for overestimating somebody who clearly wasn’t worth it. That urge to bolt hit him again, and he stamped it down, as much as he didn’t want to admit it, they were his best bet on helping him to find out his past. It was the whole reason he had breached Corinth’s shield, and gotten himself thrown in jail; he hadn’t heard of them before, but even he had known about mankind’s last safe haven. Finding them, or rather, them finding him, was just luck…sort of. He had to wonder what god he had pissed off to be stuck with her.

He frowned at her, the last thing he wanted to do was quit, she was right, after all. He was stronger than all of them, if he couldn’t take some prissy little shots from her weapons, then he might as well just leave Corinth right then and there. So he’d just do what he did best, take a whole bunch of hits until he managed to hit back, and okay, he wasn’t going to actually hit her, he just needed to make his shield work better, so that would be a pretty good start. He stepped back into place and she gave a half-smile as she armed herself with something he couldn’t identify, probably something she invented herself, “Are you prepared?”

He smirked, “Bring it on.”

------=-----

Summer couldn’t stop her eyes from wandering over Dillon’s body as he stepped out of the training room. His shirt was balled up in his hands, and he had actually started to break a sweat, which wasn’t surprising, since he had been holed up in there with Doctor K for the past five hours. “You look pretty miserable, are you okay?”

He stared at her, and then let out a long, aggravated sigh, “How the fuck can you people deal with her every day? She’s a goddamn menace to society.”

“Oh, you’re exaggerating, she’s not that bad, she just takes lot of…getting used to.” Summer couldn’t help but defend her mentor.

He scoffed, “She’s a tyrant, and she ruined my shirt.”

She did her best to muffle her laugh, but still earned herself a glare from him, “I’m sure you have other shirts, don’t you?”

“That’s not the point,” he grumbled, tossing the shirt over the catwalk and into his and Ziggy’s room, a feat a normal human probably wouldn’t be able to accomplish, “it’s like, God forbid if I wanted a break, or a drink of water, because any minute spent on that was time wasted, time I could’ve been used training.”

She would never admit that she had been a little impressed by that trick, “She just wants to make sure you’re safe for when you go on your mission, she did that to all of us.”

“For five hours?”

“Well…no, but she only did that with you because you could take it. She’s putting a lot into you.”

“Whatever.” What, like he was supposed to understand what she was going through and make it easier for her? Yeah, right, because she had made it oh so easy for him.

She gave him a small smile, “Are you thirsty? I can grab you a smoothie.”

He made a face, “I’m not exactly a smoothie guy.”

She waved him off, heading towards the kitchen, “That’s just because you haven’t tried one of Flynn’s smoothies. Even the most die-hard smoothie hater can’t resist one of these.”

He followed after her, settling himself onto a stool, resting his arms on the counter, “Alright, I guess you’ll have to just prove me wrong then.”

A blueberry smoothie was placed in front of him, and he eyed it suspiciously, “Oh for God’s sake, Dillon, it’s a smoothie, not a rabid animal.”

That didn’t stop him from continuing to look at it with a mixture of suspicion and distaste, “Just take a sip, will you?” Summer sighed from behind the counter, taking a long drink of her own smoothie.

He did as what was requested of him, taking a hesitant sip, before his eyes widened just slightly, but it was enough for Summer, “See? I told you!” She crowed.

“Yeah, well…I’ve had worse.” And that was about the most amount of praise he could offer.

“I’ll be sure to pass that along to Flynn, then.” She finally sat down beside him, “So, tell me about yourself.”

Was she kidding? What exactly did he have to tell her? “What’s there to tell?”

She shrugged slim shoulders, “Anything, where you’re from, what you did before, any family.”

What was with the women around here completely and utterly pissing him off? Even if she didn’t realize she was doing it, those were some stupid fucking questions, “I’m from the same place everybody else is, nowhere, since it doesn’t exist anymore. I did the same thing everybody else did, I survived, and if I have any family, I don’t fucking remember, are you satisfied now?”

Fuck, she had just made a complete fool of herself, hadn’t she? She could only stare at him with wide eyes, “Dillon…”

“Whatever,” he downed the rest of his smoothie in seconds, slamming the cup on the counter, “thanks for the drink.”

And just like that, he was gone. Summer closed her eyes, running her fingers through her hair; she couldn’t believe she had forgotten about him being an amnesiac just that quickly. She hadn’t meant to make him angry; she had just wanted to get to know him. Well, that idea flew right out the window. She’d be surprised if he even wanted to speak to her any more than was necessary now. “Way to go, Landsdown.” She muttered to herself, and proceeded to stare glumly into her glass.

------=-----

“You’re going to make Dillon go after one of the Cartels for his first bounty?” Scott looked extremely amused.

She made a face, “It’s the Yo-Yo Brothers, the lowest on the totem pole, if he can’t take care of them, he can’t take care of anyone.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Doc.”

She just gave him a look, and then indicated the multiple screens, “Richard and Antonio Akiyama, known to the general public as the Yo-Yo Brothers, upper tier enough to be part of the five cartels, but still very small time, their combined bounties equal to the amount of ten thousand dollars.”

They all lurched forward at that, even Dillon; they couldn’t help but be surprised at the amount. That would keep them fed and clothed for a long while, and even fund a few of K’s experiments. Economy hadn’t exactly been booming since the world had practically ended, the rich had fallen, but money wasn’t completely worthless, as seen by how expensive K’s new toys were. “They are, of course, dangerous, or we wouldn’t be needed, they’re protected, but you can get past them.”

“Where are they stationed?” Scott had a serious look on, and Dillon wondered if that was his leader face.

“At the very edge of our defenses, about five hours from here, I’ve uploaded the coordinates into your phones,” Scott flipped open his phone and nodded, so she continued speaking, “I suggest you all take your own vehicles, you might need to give chase.”

“When are we leaving?” Summer piped up.

“After careful viewing of their schedule, the best time to get there would be around four.”

“Then we’d better be leaving now.” Scott decided.

The four of them started to make their way out, when Dillon froze at the sound of her voice, surprisingly soft, “I’m counting on you, Ranger Black.”

And as much as she irritated the hell out of him, something about the tone of her voice made him not want to let her down. And wasn’t that something to think about. He gave the smallest nod of his head and followed after his teammates. He hadn’t been so enthused about the bounty at first, but for some reason, it sort of seemed like fun. He decided not to think too hard about that and just do his job, and make some money.

------=-----

It was a little weird to be driving in silence again, to not have somebody in the passenger seat next to him. Not that it was bad; it was nice not to have a miniature hurricane beside him. He briefly allowed himself to wonder how Ziggy had wormed his way into his life so quickly. It wasn’t like they had anything in common, and they were the complete opposites, and he got on his nerves frequently, but still. Maybe they were sort of friends, or at least, they could become that way, he wouldn’t put it out of the question. He shook himself out of his thoughts when his cell phone rang, and he flipped it open, pressing a button to put it on speaker, “Talk to me.”

“We’re about five minutes from their base of operations, we need to play this smart, we need to-”

“Yeah, yeah, I get where you’re going with this,” he cut Scott off, “you don’t want me to play the lone wolf and bust in there guns ablazing, right?”

“…pretty much, yeah”

“Right, guess we’ll just have to work together and all that crap then.”

“See? I told you this wouldn’t be so bad.” Flynn joined in the conversation.

“Right, we just needed to give him a chance.” Summer piped up.

“His chance isn’t over yet, he’ll probably screw up in the end.”

“Scott, don’t set him up to fail.” Flynn admonished.

“I’m not setting him up to fail!” He grumbled, “I’m just saying, he’s new, he’s probably going to screw up.”

“And even if he does, so what? We’ve all been there before, he just needs some experience.” Summer defended him.

“Yeah, guys, ‘cause I totally can’t hear you talking about me or anything, just continue on with your conversation.” Dillon sneered.

“Sorry!” He could hear the wince in Summer’s voice.

“Doesn’t matter now, we’re here.” He thought that was a pretty good coincidence, God forbid if Scott actually had to apologize to him for any reason.

He shut his cell phone closed and then parked next to Flynn, making sure he had everything before hopping out of the car. He came to stand beside Summer, and yeah, Scott had that serious look on his face again, that was definitely his leader face. “Okay, guys, Doc K indicated that there were at least twenty guys here, plus the brothers, if we can avoid the mooks, we should, our main concern is taking out Richard and Antonio.”

“So no going in guns akimbo, right?” Dillon smirked.

“Right,” Scott narrowed his eyes at him, “and no using our abilities unless we have to, I think you’ve figured out by now why they’re a last ditch kind of thing.”

“No shit, I’m not stupid, oh fearless leader.”

“Yeah, that has yet to be proven.”

“Oh God, you guys, don’t start now, we don’t need to start the in-fighting again.” Summer sighed.

“C’mon, save the fighting for the criminals.” Flynn backed her up.

“Oh, and try not to kill anyone, we don’t want to piss off the other Cartels, they’re not exactly best friends, but if you kill off one, the others are coming after you.” He said it for all their benefit, but Dillon had the feeling he was mostly saying it to him.

Yeah, whatever, he didn’t kill anyone unless they deserved it. Or got on his nerves. But he swore to himself to actually listen to Scott, if only because he didn’t want to get lectured later, he imagined Scott was even more irritating when he was chewing somebody out. “If you manage to capture one of them, or lucky you, both of them, contact me immediately, don’t try to play hero and take them all out, like I said before, only the brothers are worth anything.”

Dillon barely resisted the urge to roll his eyes, he knew all this crap was just for his benefit, it was clear Scott didn’t trust him and only tolerated him because he didn’t have a choice. It wasn’t like he was exactly jumping for joy at being stuck with them either, but it was mutually beneficial, so, whatever, if he had to deal with them, they’d just have to suck it up and deal with him too. His hand automatically went to the gun holstered against his waist, checking to make sure the safety was on, he wasn’t worried about accidently shooting himself, because, hah, yeah right, he wasn’t exactly a normal human after all.

They proceeded to flank the doorway, Scott and Flynn on one side, Dillon and Summer on the other. Scott glanced around, shrugged and then proceeded to knock on the door. Dillon shot him a look that consisted of ‘What the hell are you doing?!’ Scott rolled his eyes, “They’re supposed to be a respectable business, it’d look kind of strange if we just kicked the door in, don’t you think?”

He didn’t really care about that, he figured trying to fly under the radar would be shot to hell eventually, sooner rather than later. The door opened a crack, and they caught a pair of eyes peering at them, before the door opened all the way, and Scott was the first to walk in, followed by Flynn, then Summer, and he was the last one in. Dillon let his eyes sweep over the burly man that had opened the door, a good six feet, three inches tall, two hundred and fifty pounds, a pistol hidden underneath his shirt, and a knife strapped to his ankle. Of course, he knew the others didn’t know that, sometimes being a cyborg boy could have its advantages. Scott strolled up to the desk, all swagger and confidence, like he had the right to be there, “We’re here to see Richard and Antonio.”

The blonde woman widened her eyes slightly, before clearing her throat, “Name?”

Dillon tried not to smirk at the nervousness in her voice; it was obvious not many people came directly to her when they wanted to see the brothers. “John Rogers.” Scott stated smoothly.

He couldn’t quite stop the corners of his lips twitching upwards, that was almost as bad as John Smith. She gave Scott a nervous smile, absent-mindedly smoothing down her hair as she checked the paper in front of her, flipping through it a few times before looking back up at Scott, “I’m sorry, Mr. Rogers, your name isn’t on the list.”

“Are you sure? Can you check again?”

Dillon gritted his teeth in an effort not to sigh as he casually let his hand drop to where his gun rested. He knew this whole thing was going to go to hell in a hand basket; they should’ve just kicked down the door in the first place instead of going through all this bullshit when the end result was still going to be the same. “I’m sorry, sir, I’ve checked and double checked, and your name just isn’t on the list.”

“But we really need to see them today, it’s vital.”

The girl swallowed harshly, eyes darting from them to the man still stationed at the door, “Again, I’m sorry, but if you don’t have an appointment, then you’re going to have to leave.”

“Look, if you can just-”

She straightened her shoulders, her nerves disappearing, her fear of facing the brothers clearly stronger than her fear of them, “Marco.”

He couldn’t help but give a wolfish grin, finally, some action. The air rippled as he turned, intercepting Marco before he could touch any of them, catching his forearm in a vice grip. He glared down at Dillon, reaching for his gun, but he was stopped with a punch to the gut. Dillon flung him back a few inches, and then kicked him into the wall, causing him to crumple to the floor. He almost pouted when the man didn’t get back up. Lame, that wasn’t even a fight. He turned back towards the desk when he heard the click of a gun and the girl’s squeak, her hand halfway towards the phone. Flynn stared at her with a sympathetic glance, “Sorry, lass, but I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Only Flynn could manage to point a gun at somebody and still look like it was the last thing he wanted to do, even if he was willing to do it. Scott motioned towards Summer, and she made a face, but traded places with Flynn, aiming her own gun at the woman. Dillon fell into step behind Flynn as they made their way into the other door, where it would undoubtedly lead them to Richard and Antonio. Well, if nothing else, it would be fun.

They found themselves in a hallway full of doors, and Scott let out a frustrated sigh. Dillon tilted his head to the side, focusing on picking up sounds, but they all melded together, and he couldn’t pick up which room held the brothers. “We’re gonna have to do this hard way.”

“Figured as much,” Scott sighed, “alright, it’d be quicker if we just split up, and considering we can all take care of ourselves, I expect the both of you to come back injury free.”

“If I don’t, will you take care of me?” Flynn gave him a wide-eyed look.

Dillon snorted and Scott glared at him, before sighing, “Flynn…we don’t have time for this.”

“You mean you don’t have time to make sure your beloved boyfriend is going to be safe?”

“That’s not what I mean, and you know it.”

“So, you would take care of me then?”

“You’re not getting hurt.”

“Of course not, but what if I get sick?”

He gave Flynn a bewildered look, “What does that have to do with anything?”

“You’d take care of me then, right?”

Scott sighed again, “Yes, Flynn, I’d take care of you.”

Flynn beamed, and kissed him briefly, “Now, was that so hard?”

Dillon shook his head, “Not that you two aren’t adorable, but can we get a move on here?”

Scott blinked himself out of the daze Flynn always managed to put him in, and cleared his throat, “Right, uh…okay, Dillon, can you pinpoint where they are?”

He shook his head, already irritated with himself about that, “I can narrow it down, I know they’re at the end of the hallway, I just don’t know which door.”

“Good enough, we’ll just keep knocking on them until we find the right one.”

Flynn raised an eyebrow, and Scott smirked, “And by knocking, I mean busting in.”

“Oh? What happened to the whole we don’t need to draw attention shit from before?”

He shrugged, “That was back when I thought we had a chance of getting in the easy way. Why, you got a problem with it?”

"Not even close, I've been waiting for a real fight since we started this thing."

"Slamming that guy into the wall wasn't enough for you?" Flynn raised an eyebrow.

"Are you joking? That was barely worth the effort."

"Come on guys, let's do this." Scott started down the hallway, gun in hand.

Dillon shrugged, whatever his wonderful leader said, and followed after him, Flynn close behind. When they reached the end of the hallway, Scott motioned for Flynn to take the door to the right of him, while he took the one directly in front of him. Dillon raised an eyebrow, if he was anyone else, he'd be slightly affronted, as it stood though, well, he just didn't really give a crap. He'd probably end up finding their bounties before the other two did anyway. While Scott and Flynn burst into their doors, he stood perfectly still, tuning out the shouts and gunfire. Those two were perfectly capable of taking care of themselves; he had bigger fish to fry. He noted that there were whispers coming from directly to his right, he still couldn't make out if it was Richard and Antonio, considering he had never heard their voices before, but he was willing to take the chance. He casually kicked in the door, amused at the startled looks on the men's faces, "Before I start breaking bones, let me just make sure I have the right men, the Yo-Yo Brothers, right?"

One of the men stood up from his desk, a gun already in his hand, "What of it?"

"I'll take that as a yes then, that's good, I'd hate to have to tear this place to shreds and not even get paid for it."

"Bounty hunter." The other man hissed, pulling out his own gun.

"You must be the smart brother." If he was a man that showed any emotions other than sarcasm and...well, sarcasm, he'd be grinning rather manically at that point.

"Look, we've been here for years, and we're not going anywhere, you think you're the first asshole to try and catch us? As you can see, we're still standing."

"Good for you, too bad it's not gonna last."

Both guns were aimed at him, and he moved before they could pull the triggers, snagging one brother's wrist, twisting it viciously, a satisfying snap of bone and a scream followed. "Tony!" Ah, so broken wrist was the younger of the two then, he probably should have figured that out sooner.

"Don't worry; I'm sure they'll take good care of him in prison."

"You fucking bastard." Richard snarled, and promptly shot at him.

He blinked and the bullet seemed to slow down, allowing him to roll out of the way. He briefly wondered if that was what it felt like to be in the Matrix. He kicked the gun out of Richard's hand, grasping him by the throat and flinging him out of the doorway, his body slamming into the wall. He gave a satisfied smile and turned back to Antonio, who was glowering at him as he nursed his broken wrist, "What are you?"

It wouldn't be the first time somebody had asked him, and he sincerely doubted it would be the last, "What, are you expecting me to say something along the lines of your worst nightmare?"

He backed up a few steps, "You're not human."

"Now, Tony, that hurts, really, I have feelings too, you know." He advanced on him.

"What are you going to do to me and my brother?"

He smirked, "Take you in, of course, and get my money, what'd you think I was going to do? Rip your skin off and wear it as a coat, or something?"

"It wouldn't surprise me."

Dillon grabbed his broken wrist and squeezed it, bringing about another scream, before pulling it against his back, along with the other wrist, handcuffing him and starting to shove him out the door. "You could be a little gentler, you know!"

"Yeah, because I'm sure that's how you and your brother became part of the Cartels, being gentle men." He shoved him against the wall, and reached down for the unconscious Richard, twisting his wrists against his back to handcuff him as well.

Once the two were secure, he pulled out his cell phone and hit the number one, "Did you catch them?" Scott's voice filled his ears.

"Yeah, they're handcuffed and ready to go, though they'll probably need some medical attention, you two good to go?"

"Yeah, we'll be right there."

"So, what are you-"

"Shut up, Tony." Dillon leaned against the nearest wall, reaching into his jacket pocket to absently fiddle with his watch.

Scott and Flynn came out of their respective rooms, and he smirked a little at their state, Flynn's shirt and jacket were ripped at the shoulder, where a bloody cut shown through. Scott had the tell-tale beginnings of a black eye, and he looked none too amused about it, "I guess I was wrong about you two being able to take care of yourselves."

"Shut up, not all of us are lucky enough to have machine parts in us." Scott snarled.

"Oh for the love of Odin's beard, we've got our bounties, nobody died, and we barely got injured, so can we just chalk this up as a win, and turn these bastards in?" Flynn sighed.

"Right, you're right, let's gather them up and go." Scott agreed, and Flynn hauled the unconscious brother up onto his shoulder, while Dillon just kicked at Antonio's leg, and he scowled up at him, but scrambled to his feet, and Dillon kept a secure grip on the back of his collar.

Summer grinned at them when they came out of the hallway, but when she caught sight of Scott and Flynn, her smile dropped, "Guys..."

"We're fine, Summer, just a couple of bumps and scrapes, nothing to worry about." Scott reassured her.

"And besides, we caught the brothers." Flynn reached out and ruffled her hair with his free hand.

She scowled at him and smoothed down her hair, "Yeah, but you didn't have to get hurt doing it."

"Aw, lass, stop worrying about us so much, like Scott said, we're fine."

"I always worry about you two, you're my best friends." She grumbled.

Scott shared a look with Flynn and then went over and looped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her into a hug, "And you're ours."

Dillon couldn't help but snort, and all three shot a glare his way, and he held up his free hand in a gesture of peace, "Are we done here, can we go now?"

"Yeah, let's go."

They started to head out, but Flynn paused, turning back to the woman he had held a gun to earlier, "Sorry about earlier, I hope we didn't scare you too much."

She shook her head and forced herself not to cry. It was never fun having guns pointed at you, but at least he seemed to be earnest in his apology. "I'm glad, have a nice day, and maybe find another job, okay?"

She nodded, and sniffled, and he frowned, rummaged through his pocket and produced a business card, slapping it down on the desk, "Try here, my Dad could always use a new receptionist." He grinned and then hurried after his friends.

She stared after him in confusion and gingerly picked up the card. How strange, people like him didn't really exist in the world anymore, but she thought she'd take him up on his offer and get the hell out of shady-ass business. Her parents had raised her better than that, after all.

------=-----

Summer cleaned up Flynn's cut as Scott held an ice pack to his eye, "Oh man, so how awesome was it? How many dudes did you beat up?" Ziggy gave them wide-eyed stares.

"It was pretty awesome until I got punched in the face." Scott scowled.

"And who knows how many guys we beat up, I wasn't counting." Flynn shrugged and then hissed when Summer applied the antiseptic to the cut.

"Oh, don't be such a big baby, I bet that barely hurt." Summer rolled her eyes.

"Wrong, it hurt a lot." He pouted, "Scott, come kiss it better."

"Sorry, you know I love you, but I'm not exactly keen about getting your blood in my mouth."

Dillon paid them absolutely no attention, his eyes fixated on the door of the control room, where the brothers resided in, along with Doctor K. 'They better not try anything, or we'll be out ten grand, because I'll fucking kill them' He blinked at himself at that thought, where the hell had that come from? He couldn't stand that irritating woman, but still...she was his boss, or whatever, and he couldn't imagine anybody laying a hand on her. Yeah, that's all it was, concern for the person who paid him.

When the doors slid open, he couldn't stop himself from bounding over, ready to smash some heads into the wall if need be. Doctor K looked up at him with a raised eyebrow, "Do you require something, Ranger Black?"

"No, I just...they didn't do anything, did they?"

"Other than curse at me, no, they didn't."

He tore his eyes away from her, and focused them on the brothers, glaring at them, they immediately huddled closer together, rightfully frightened of him. K shook her head, and then addressed her Rangers, "The Colonel and his team will be here to retrieve them in less than five minutes."

Dillon was too busy still glaring to notice how Scott's shoulders stiffened at the mention of the Colonel, but Summer and Flynn noticed it, and Flynn reached out to squeeze his boyfriend's knee, and Scott grasped his hand tightly. K let her eyes sweep over Scott, she couldn't understand what he was going through, but she did feel some small measure of sympathy for him. As long as he didn't let it affect his job, then everything was okay with her. Silence reigned until they heard the tell-tale signs of Colonel Truman and his guards coming into the building, Scott quickly stood up, and Flynn hopped off the pool table, Ziggy looked nervous, and backed up a few steps, closer to Dillon, who, for his part, didn't look impressed at all. Scott, Flynn and Summer stood in a straight-line formation, backs straight, shoulders stiff, and hands clasped behind their backs. Dillon wasn't moving, and neither was Ziggy, not because he didn't care, or respect him, but holy shit, was Mason scary. When the Colonel entered, Hicks and Vasquez at his sides, he let his eyes land on K, "Doctor K."

"Colonel." Her voice was even frostier than usual.

"I take it the criminals are ready to be turned over to me?"

"Of course," she turned her head to look at Dillon, "Ranger Black, could you please retrieve them?"

He shrugged, "Yeah, sure."

When he moved towards the door, Ziggy moved with him, and he shot him a glance, "What?"

"Don't leave me with him." Ziggy hissed.

"What the hell are you talking about? The Colonel? You're scared of him?"

"Um, hello, have you seen him lately?"

He sighed, "So you'd rather face two of Corinth's biggest criminals?"

"They're handcuffed, right? Like, they can't hurt me."

"They might try though."

Ziggy rocked back on his heels a little, and then glanced back at the others, "I think I'll stay right here."

He smirked, and then went to go get the brothers, he hauled them off their chairs, and shoved them forward, out of the door, and he didn't miss the way they glared at Ziggy as they passed him, or the way he moved away from them. "Here you go, boss."

She inclined her head towards him in her version of a thank you, and Hicks and Vasquez grabbed them, making sure they were secure. Mason handed K a briefcase, which she quickly passed to Dillon, "Make sure it's all there."

"Are you saying I'd cheat you out of your rightful earnings?" The Colonel raised an eyebrow.

"I'm not exactly trustful of the government." She gave him a tight smile.

Dillon wondered what all of that was about, but didn't question it, as he opened up the briefcase, and quickly counted it all, "Yeah, ten grand exactly."

"Good, then I imagine we're done?"

"Yes, we are, thank you for capturing these criminals."

"Of course, it was a pleasure doing business with you, Colonel."

He nodded at her, glanced briefly at Scott, then turned on his heel and strolled out of the Garage, Hicks and Vasquez close behind him. Doctor K walked over and pressed the button next to the Garage doors, causing them to slide shut. She turned back to face her team, gracing them with a small smile, "Well, you managed not to get yourselves killed, so I suppose that is worthy of a congratulations."

Dillon decided her thank you's really sucked. "We all need to be prepared for retaliation from the other Cartels. They might not like each other, but they always try to look out for their own." Scott sighed, doing his best to ignore the way his father had just treated him. It was better than their usual interactions at the very least.

"You'll all be going through extra hours of training," she ignored their collective groan, "especially you, Ranger Black."

He gave her a look, but didn't protest, because he knew there was no point to it. And okay, she was right, he did need to work on his shield a bit more. He knew he could do better than the four seconds he had managed to work up to. The powers they received worked by using up their own energy, it was why the others couldn't use theirs for too long or too hard, it could possibly kill them. Of course, the same could be said about him, but K had tested him until he had wanted to punch her in the face, so he knew what his limits were, and they far exceeded everyone else's. Dillon handed the briefcase back to K, and as their hands brushed together, he fixedly ignored the shiver that ran up his arm, and the look she gave him. The team chatted for a few minutes on how to split up the money, and it was decided that the Rangers would each get five hundred, and Dillon fought to make sure Ziggy got a cut of the share, but only two hundred and fifty. That left seven thousand, seven hundred and fifty dollars, and fifteen hundred was going towards their food, and the rest was going towards whatever it was K was working on at the moment.

Once K had pressed the money into his hands, he was satisfied. He leaned back against a wall and watched them, his fellow teammates, Scott was wrapped up in Flynn's arms, and he did his best not to listen to what Flynn was whispering in his ear, for privacy's sake. Ziggy was back to chatting with Summer, his arms flailing, and she looked amused, easily talking with him as if he didn't annoy her, and hell, maybe he didn't, it'd probably be a first for Ziggy. The only one, besides himself, who wasn't conversing with someone was K, she was glancing over her team, her head tilted to the side, and a quizzical look on her face. He didn't know what made him go over to her, but he did, and he peered over her shoulder, trying to see what was confusing her, instead of moving away from him like he expected her to do, she just looked up at him, "I don't understand it."

"Understand what?"

"Why they act like that," she furrowed her brow, "so, what are they doing?"

"What, you mean talking?"

"Yes, the job is done; they have their money, why do they insist on staying together?"

He shook his head, "Something tells me you had a shitty childhood."

Her smile was humorless and bitter, "You don't know the half of it."

It was his turn to look confused as she walked off, back into the control room. Well, he just had to figure out what was going on with her. Especially if it was going to fuck up the team. At least, that's what he told himself. He sighed, and his fingers twisted his dog tags, there was something about these people. He wasn't used to being around other people for a long period of time, but with them, well, it was okay. Maybe he'd be willing to stick around, at least until he got what he needed.

------=-----

One month later, and everything had gone to shit. They couldn't capture a decent bounty after the success with the Yo-Yo Brothers, Scott had been right after all; the Cartels were retaliating against them, just in a more subtle way. It was almost like there were no more criminals to catch, like either the Cartels had gotten smarter, or they were all hiding out. Bad for business, but it was better than being in prison. So, even though it came as a surprise to everyone else, Dillon had been more than expecting it when Doctor K announced that they needed a new Ranger. "What? Are you kidding me, another one?" Scott couldn't help but groan.

"Why would I joke about something like that?" She raised an eyebrow, "And yes, another, however loathe you are to admit it, you haven't been doing your jobs properly."

"We can't do our jobs properly if there are no bounties to catch." Flynn pointed out before shoving another spoonful of cereal into his mouth.

"Well, that's hardly my fault, now is it?" Before anyone could respond, she continued speaking, carrying a case that clearly held another pair of dog tags, "The ability the new Ranger would have would make finding bounties much easier."

"What's the ability?" Summer snagged an apple out of the fridge.

"To put it simply, teleportation."

"Oh my God, seriously? Really? Like, actual, honest-to-God, from point A to point B without using a car teleportation?" Ziggy exclaimed all in one breath.

She gave him her patented Ziggy look, the one that clearly said you're an idiot, why do I even let you keep living here, "Yes, what other form of teleportation would I be talking about?"

His eyes lit up, "So can I-"

"No."

He pouted, "But I can-"

"No." She didn't even know why she bothered.

Before Ziggy could begin his list of reasons of why he'd be the perfect addition to the team, Summer spoke up, "So, do you have any ideas on who's going to be joining us?"

She frowned, more than slightly unwilling to admit that she had no clue, "Unfortunately, no."

Ziggy raised his hand, and when he got ignored, he raised both of them and waved them frantically, and K sighed, "Yes?"

"We could hold auditions!" He ignored the way they all stared at him; he was used to it, "Think about it, who wouldn't want to join the Rangers, right? And since none of you can think of anybody to join, and you don't want me to join, which, honestly, is kind of foolish, but whatever, it doesn't bother me, why not auditions?"

Dillon shrugged, "It's not like we have any better ideas."

K looked torn between just walking out of the room, and flinging the case at Ziggy's head, "And what do the rest of you have to say?"

"Why not? It's better than nothing." Flynn polished off the rest of his cereal and went to wash the bowl and spoon.

"Sure, I guess, I mean, what's the harm in it?" Summer tossed her apple core into the trash can.

Scott sighed, "I don't like any of this, but hey, if we need a new Ranger, then we need a new Ranger, and I can't think of anything else."

K decided then and there that she hated them all. "Fine, you can hold your auditions," she ignored his whoop of joy, "but you're not doing it alone."

"What, you don't trust me? I'm hurt, Doctor K, really hurt."

"I couldn't care less," she glanced over at Dillon but he shrugged, "We're got another training session scheduled, remember? Unless you want me to bail it on, because, honestly, I wouldn't mind."

She narrowed her eyes at him; he was a fool if he thought he was getting out of training, "Ranger Red?"

"No can do, Summer found a lead to a possible bounty, and I'm going with her."

She turned to face Flynn as he left the kitchen, and he shook his head, "It's my turn to do the shopping."

"Speaking of, could you not spend all the money on fruit? We do eat other things around here, you know." Scott reminded him.

"But, Scooott, how am I supposed to make top-notch smoothies if I don't have all the right ingredients?"

"When we bring in a new bounty, and get more money, then you can buy all the fruit you want, until then, you'll just have to make do."

He gave a long-suffering sigh, muttering about how nobody let him have full creative control. Scott just gave his boyfriend an amused look and shook his head. K looked faintly miserable, and Ziggy beamed at her, "I guess I'm doing it alone then."

If she had been one to curse, she would have been able to make Dillon blush at that moment, instead, she just stalked over to Ziggy, and glared at him, managing to look frightening despite the (small) height difference he had on her, "I am entrusting you with something worth far more than your life. Do not open the case, do not touch what's inside, and do not let it fall into the wrong hands."

She all but shoved the case into his hands, "Why are those dog tags so important anyway?" He couldn't help but wonder, nobody had bothered to tell him, he knew that's where their abilities came from, but that was about it.

Dillon decided she was about one step away from having an aneurysm and decided to take pity on her and explain it to him, maybe she'd let him out of training early, "Whoever wears them has their energy attached to them. And that's it, nobody else can wear that particular set anymore, they draw on our resources of energy to power the abilities, it's why I'm being trained the most, because I have a little more than everybody else."

"More than just a little." She corrected him.

He rolled his eyes, "Anyway, that's the short version."

Ziggy nodded, "Right, well, that explains a lot, don't worry, Doctor K, I'll protect 'em with my life!"

"Yes, I'm sure you will," She deadpanned, "come along, Ranger Black."

He glared at her back, "What am I, her puppy?" But he followed after her anyway.

"I'm sure you'll do a good job, Ziggy." Summer smiled at him.

"Of course I will, I'm the best judge of character that I know, no way will some criminal get their hands on these dog tags," he nodded, "in fact, I'm gonna go set up the auditions right now, I'll see you guys later!"

Scott watched him rush out of the Garage, a pit of dread in his stomach, "Something tells me this isn't going to go well at all."

------=-----

Okay, the fact that Tenaya was pretty much the hottest chick he had ever laid eyes on had absolutely nothing to do with the fact he was picking her to be the new Ranger. And okay, he wasn't exactly picking her, since it wasn't really his call, but he could at least bring her back to the base. He totally would have picked that old man if he had been able to pass the vision test, or raise his leg off the ground more than two inches. Hotness totally had nothing to do with his choice. Really. "You're sure you wanna do this?"

She gave him a side glance, "What, you think I'm some fragile flower that can't protect herself?"

"No, no, that's not what I'm saying at all!" He ran a hand through his hair, was he seriously already screwing up so quickly?

"Oh? So what are you saying?"

"I just wanted to make sure you're sure! I mean, bounty hunting isn't easy, y'know, not that I'm saying you can't do it, 'cause you totally can, no problem. It's just that my friends aren't exactly the most...welcoming."

She laughed, and he couldn't help but think it was a beautiful sound, "It wouldn't be the first time somebody hasn't exactly been nice to me."

He frowned at that, he couldn't possibly imagine anyone being mean to her, "Want me to kick their asses for you?"

She grinned, "As entertaining as that would be, that's okay, it's water under the bridge."

He understood that, he had never been able to hold a grudge to save his life. It was one of the many reasons he had tried to flee Corinth. "I think it's safe to say you'll be a great addition to the team."

"You really think so?"

"I know so." And he totally did. Man, just wait until he brought her back to the Garage, the others would flip out. He had told them he was the best judge of character.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, then." She laughed again.

"So, what made you want to be a bounty hunter anyway? I mean, that's not usually what somebody dreams of growing up to be."

She shrugged, "I've always had a fascination with criminals, and once the world went to hell, well, I figured, why not? And then the Rangers formed, and I just knew my opportunity was there."

"Lucky you." He hadn't meant to sound bitter.

She raised an eyebrow, clearly having caught it, "What's wrong?"

He sighed, "Nothing, you just get to do what I've wanted to do since the Rangers first came around."

She caught his hand with hers, tangling their fingers together, "I'm sorry."

He was so startled by the gesture that he almost stopped walking, "No, don't be, it's not your fault or anything."

"Still, you shouldn't feel like that, you still get to be around them constantly, you get to live with them, you're their friend, I'll just be working with them," she squeezed his hand, "I think you win in the end."

He gave her a grin, shaking off his depression, he was a happy-go-lucky guy, after all, bemoaning his fate wasn't what he did, "You're pretty good at cheering people up, you know."

"No, I'm just pretty good at cheering you up, I think there's a difference," she reached over and kissed him on the cheek, "but I'm glad I helped."

Yeah, he had definitely made the best decision. And it really didn't have anything to do with her being hot...or awesome...or awesomely hot. Really.

------=------

Okay, so maybe he had made the wrong decision. How he was supposed to know she was an evil Dillon counterpart? Like, really, who just assumed somebody was going to be a robotic operative for Venjix? Try nobody. He had been so happy too, like, he had finally done something right, he had finally been able to be of use. He had been so excited, the first person he had called was Dillon, of course, because who else would be the first person he'd tell other than his best friend? The conversation had gone something along the lines of, "Dillon, Dillon, guess what?"

"What?"

"So, guess who found the perfect Ranger?"

"I'm guessing-" he was cut off by something that sounded like some sort of blast, followed by a grunt, "goddamnit, Doc, can't you see I'm on the phone?"

He heard the irritated voice of Doctor K, "Yes, because criminals will take the time to allow you to finish your phone call."

"They would if they knew it was business."

"It's not business, you're just talking to him."

He had long ago stopped being offended by the fact she didn't call him by his name, she didn't call anyone by their names, "Dillon."

"Yeah, sorry, Zig, but I gotta go, a certain someone is being a complete bitch again."

"I'm utterly wounded by your comments, Ranger Black, however will I go on."

He sighed, "You can tell me when you get back, see you."

And that had been the end of that conversation. He had pouted at his phone for a good minute, completely missing Tenaya's amused look. He finally called up the others and told them about finding her, Scott had sounded skeptical, but stated to go back to the building where he held the auditions, that he, Summer and Flynn would be there soon. He wasn't about to risk her seeing where they lived until he was absolutely sure about her. He had thought it was completely unnecessary, but as usual, his opinion didn't matter, and he had grumbled at the dial tone. He and Tenaya had started to walk back from where they had came, when, lo-and-behold, they were attacked by Grinders. That had been so not cool, the whole reason the Rangers existed was to take care of the criminals the government didn't have the time or resources to capture, because they were too busy taking down Grinders. Tenaya had scoffed and taken care of them in no time, but when she was doing that, her hair had flipped over her shoulder, and he spotted the tattoo. The tattoo only certain people had. Nobody would be stupid enough to get that freaking barcode on the back of their necks, unless it was for one reason. He had sputtered out, "You-you're...Venjix!"

She kicked the last Grinder to the ground, and had rolled her eyes upwards, "I'm obviously not him, but close enough, I am his right hand woman," she sighed, "shame too, I had been so close to you just handing them over, guess I'll just take them."

A red light had engulfed her, and the sweet girl he had met transformed into a catsuit wearing Venjix lackey. And that had begun the game of cat and mouse. And he was obviously the mouse. But as scared as he was, he was going to make good on his promise. He wasn't going to let the dog tags fall into the wrong hands, and unfortunately, those hands happened to be Tenaya 7's. He had already been taunted, hunted, nearly thrown off his scooter, thrown out Dillon's car, and finally, she was stalking towards him, pretty, perfect, completely evil smirk on her face, "So, are you gonna hand 'em over now, or do I have to get physical with you? Because, honestly, I'd much prefer the latter."

He knew Dillon wouldn't be able to rescue him in time, having been thrown into a building and all, and God only knew where the others were, but still, if he was going to die, he had to know something, "Why didn't you just take them in the first place? Why the game? Why the screwing with my head?"

Her smirk grew into a grin, teeth showing, "Now, if I had just done that in the beginning, that would have just taken all the fun out of it."

He couldn't believe he had gotten duped by her, and he couldn't believe what he was about to do next. Doctor K was so going to kill him. He scrambled off the ground, opened up the briefcase, and pulled out the dog tags. "Don't you even-" Her snarl was cut off by him slipping them around his neck, and as soon as they touched his skin, a green glow surrounded him, and the blood rushing in his ears blocked out the sound of her scream.

He didn't remember what happened after that, all he had felt was red, hot pain, and when he woke up, he was laying in the backseat of Dillon's car. "Hey, welcome back to the land of the living."

"What happened?"

"You put on the dog tags, the ability activated, and it teleported Tenaya God knows where, if we're really lucky, she won't be bothering us for awhile."

"Why did I pass out?"

"It happened to the others their first time too, it shouldn't happen again, unless you use it too much."

He sighed, and ran a hand through his hair, "Doctor K is gonna kill me, isn't she?"

He caught Dillon's smirk in the rearview mirror, "Don't worry, I'll protect you."

------=------

There was a good reason Dillon was friends (the best friend of all time if you asked Ziggy) with Ziggy, well, more than one reason, but one of the biggest ones was being put on display at the moment. Even when he was getting berated and yelled at within an inch of his life, he still stood tall, eyes forward and chin up. A lesser man would probably be curled up in a corner, crying, especially when faced with the wrath of Doctor K, "Did I not specifically tell you not to touch what was inside the case?" He had never heard her voice so cold, so pissed off, he wasn't above admitting it sent a chill down his spine.

"I had to, Doctor K," he protested, waving his hands in front of his face, "Tenaya was after them!"

"Ziggy, you realize this is permanent, right?" Scott scowled, "you're stuck with this power now, there's no going back, you can't return it, it's with you for life."

"I know that."

"Ziggy, seriously, what were you thinking?" Summer had her hands on her hips.

"Look, you probably didn't do it on purpose, but still..." Even when he didn't agree with something that happened, Flynn was anything but a shit stirrer, Dillon respected him for that.

Still, enough was enough, "What would you guys rather have had him do? Give the fucking dog tags over to Venjix's right-hand woman?" He glowered at them.

"Of course not, but this isn't a game, Dillon," and now Scott's irritated look was centered on him, but hell, he was used to it, "what we do is dangerous, these abilities could kill us."

"Ziggy's not gonna be stupid and teleport whenever the hell he feels like it, he knows the danger, he's not a little kid."

"He isn't the best, this team, my team needs the best, and he's nowhere close it," K seethed, "in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he added onto our bevy of problems."

"Why don't you actually try and give him a chance first before deciding he's the ultimate fuck-up?" Seriously, was he the only one happy about the fact that it was Ziggy on the team instead of a Venjix lackey?

She gave him a withering look, "I don't believe I asked for your opinion, Ranger Black."

There was something ridiculously amusing about getting her angry at him, or really, just angry in general, that was one of the reasons he was glad Ziggy had became a Ranger, "You never do, that doesn't stop me from giving it though, does it?"

She ignored his rhetoric question, sighing slightly, "Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do now, the power is ingrained in his DNA now, so we're stuck with him."

Ziggy hadn't said another word, and Dillon wanted to punch the shit out of all of them, okay, so maybe he wasn't the best candidate in the world, but he could learn, and he was a good person, that had to count for something, right? "He's not just some puppy you guys found wandering on the street- who won't leave, you know, he'll learn, and he'll be a good addition to the team, just trust him."

"It's not like we have a choice in the matter." Scott rolled his eyes, before turning on his heel and stalking out, Summer and Flynn hurrying after him, though Flynn did offer Ziggy a quick, "Welcome to the team," before leaving.

It was just the three of them, and that made Dillon worry more, maybe she'd just explode on them, he wouldn't put it past her. She gave Ziggy a long look, before rolling her eyes up to the ceiling, "You're going to pay off any debts you have from your time in the Scorpion cartel, Ranger Green, the last thing I need is a criminal on my team, that would make us no better than the bounties we catch."

Ziggy shot him a confused glance, obviously not getting the Ranger Green thing, and he smirked at him, looking down towards his feet. Ziggy looked down, before grinning lightly, he had forgotten he was wearing green sneakers. He could deal with that condition though, sure, he wasn't exactly keen on going to visit the people he owed money to, but at least it would make K less angry at him, and that was always a good thing, "Sure, no problem, anything else?"

"Not to you, no," she focused her gaze on Dillon, "since you seem to be so happy at being in his corner, you're going to be giving him training, all aspects of it that doesn't cover his teleportation, I expect him to be a useful member of this team."

He gave her a sarcastic salute, "Whatever you say, Doc."

She scoffed, but didn't say anything, and followed the same path her Rangers did, leaving the room. He knew exactly where she was headed; she had been fiddling with the pocket she kept her smokes in. Once the doors slid shut, Ziggy slumped into a chair, "I really fucked up, didn't I?"

It wasn't like Ziggy to be down on himself for any reason, and he frowned, "No, you didn't."

"But if I hadn't picked Tenaya in the first place-"

"It's not like you knew, Zig, she was the best, and she acted like a regular, normal girl, how were you supposed to guess she was trying to kill us?"

He just shrugged, "At least you're on my side, nobody else seems to be jumping for joy at the fact I joined the team."

"Hey, they weren't exactly throwing a parade in my honor when I joined up, either."

"Yeah, but at least you have something to bring to the table, what do I have?"

He chuckled, "Awesome shadow puppets, or did you forget already?"

He was rewarded with a slight smile, and he reached down to ruffle his hair, "Hey, don't worry about it, Doc and I'll get you up to top shape, and you're worth more than you think, don't let anybody tell you otherwise."

Ziggy looked up at him, eyes shining with gratitude, "Thanks, Dillon."

"Hey, what are friends for, right? And I'll talk to Doc for you; see if I can get her to ease up on you a bit."

Ziggy watched his best friend leave, and grinned a little. Maybe being a Ranger wouldn't be so bad, at least he had Dillon on his side, and not many people could say that. Besides, he was Ziggy Grover, and if he could survive being in the mob, he could survive being a Ranger...hopefully.

------=------

He found her on the roof, lying down; face directed towards the sky, a cigarette held between her lips. He didn't comment on the fact that anybody could get to her from the roof, hell, he knew she already knew that, and it wasn't going to stop her, so why would he bother? He settled down next to her, a loose grip on a bottle of scotch, "So, about Ziggy..."

"I don't want to talk about it." Was her reply, exhaling a long stream of smoke.

"Yeah, well, I do."

"I don't see the point in it; I've said all I'm going to about that subject."

Yeah, because he was totally going to just leave it at that, whatever, "Look, I-"

She turned her head to the side to give him an irritated look, "You've already stated your view point on this, if he hadn't taken the dog tags, Tenaya would have, and it's better for him to have them than her, as much as I'm loathe to admit it."

He watched her take a long drag from her cigarette, before continuing, "At any rate, we're stuck with him, and there is little I can do about, so there's no use talking about it, now is there?"

If he were a cat, he imagined his fur would be standing on end in anger, as it stood, he just sighed, "What's your problem with him anyway?"

"I have no problem with him."

"Like hell you don't, you're always going out of your way to insult, you act like he's the lowest, most useless of the gene pool, or whatever," he eyed her as her expression never changed, "he has feelings, you know, and they can get hurt, even when he acts like it doesn't bother him."

"Well, it's a good thing he has you then, isn't it?"

He narrowed his eyes at her, seriously, what was her problem? "Why do you hate him so much?"

She made a sound that could've been considered a scoff, "To hate him, I'd have to care."

Ouch, well, okay then, still, he had never been one to just leave shit alone (at least, he was pretty sure he had always been that way), so he kept prodding her, "You gotta have a better reason than that."

"Forgive me for wanting my team to have efficiency on its side, I won't make that mistake again," she took another hit, "and he is the farthest thing from useful than I thought possible."

He had been part of her stupid little group for over two months, and he still didn't understand what drove her so much, what made her push harder and further than the rest of them when they had equally lost as much just as she had, "Alright, humor me for a second, why is taking out Venjix so important to you that you'd forsake everything for it, and treat the only people who stand by you like complete and utter shit?"

She stiffened beside him, and he sighed, tipping the bottle he still hadn't drank from towards her, "Consider it a peace offering."

She glanced at the bottle and then back up at him, "I'm not a drinker."

"Yeah, sure, just like you're not a smoker either."

She smirked lightly, took one last hit of her cigarette, before stubbing it out, and taking the bottle from him, opening it up and taking a long swig. He wouldn't admit that he fully admired the fact that she didn't so much as wince or let her eyes water, "Maybe I just hate him like everyone else does, did that cross your mind?"

"Okay, you hate him, same as we all do, with good reason, but you act like you can take him out from sheer will power alone, that if you don't sleep, if you don't get attached to anybody, all the better to kill Venjix with, what's the deal?"

She sighed, "I have my reasons to want him dead, same as everyone else, why isn't that enough for you?"

It should've been enough, it had been for everyone else, after all, but, well, he wasn't exactly everyone else, "How about this, then. I'll show you mine, if you show me yours."

She scoffed, taking another sip of the scotch, "I don't believe I ever asked for your reason to fight against Venjix."

"No, you didn't," he conceded, "but you're curious, aren't you."

It was a statement, not a question, and she gave him a sideways glance, before reaching into one of her pockets and pulling out a folded picture, which she tossed into his lap, "My reason."

He was tempted to smirk at how easily she had given in; maybe she was more curious than she had let on. He carefully unfolded the picture, and blinked at it slowly. It was her, but a couple of years younger, there was a spark in her eyes that he had yet to see for himself, she was smirking lightly, but more importantly, there was someone leaning over her, an arm draped over her shoulders. The man was clearly older than her, by at least five years; he looked like he should've been out surfing somewhere, not decked in a male version of that stupid school uniform, paired with a lab coat. He had shaggy, golden blond hair, and bright blue eyes, and a grin that contrasted sharply with her look. "Who's this?" His voice was surprisingly soft.

Her fingers twitched slightly against the neck of the bottle, "He was, for all intents and purpose, my partner. Everything I did, everything I knew, I taught him, and he helped me in turn."

"What, was he your boyfriend, or whatever?"

She let out a harsh bark of laughter, "No, he wasn't...no, not really."

He raised an eyebrow, "Complicated, then?"

"To say the least," her fingers tightened around the bottle until her knuckles whitened, "he meant a lot to me."

"Lovers?"

She shot him an almost annoyed glance, "You're awfully inquisitive tonight."

"Is that a yes?"

She shrugged, "In a way, I suppose we were, there was hardly any love involved though."

The bottle was passed back to him, and he drained a good portion of the liquor in one go, "I understand that."

She raised an eyebrow, but didn't press him on that, if he wanted to elaborate, he would, and prodding him wouldn't help her learn anything. He let out a sigh, before reaching into his pocket, pulling out two objects, "Well, I'm nothing if not a man of my word."

Cool metal and laminated plastic was pressed into her hand, and he didn't look like he had so much as moved. She stared down at whatever he had put into her hands, revealing them to be a pocket watch, and a driver's license. "Those are my reasons, my reason to fight, and my reason to come here."

She ignored the watch for the moment, immediately putting her attention on the license, "Wait...this makes no sense."

"Yeah, you're telling me."

It was a Corinth City driver's license, and it was clearly Dillon's. It had no last name, merely Dillon, his height, weight, but no date of birth, and he was listed as living in Corinth. His hair was vastly shorter than it was at present, almost military cropped. "I don't understand, I ran you through the database before you joined, there was nothing about you in Corinth, not from after Venjix, or before," she shook her head, a frown on her face, "you've never been a citizen of Corinth."

"I figured as much, the address on there doesn't even exist," he wasn't looking at her, instead staring down at the bottle still in his hands, "I tried going there, but there was nothing to go to, nothing was there."

She shook her head again, still baffled, "How long have you had this?"

"For a long as I can remember, the first memory I had, I was carrying that."

He had told her the most basic story of the first thing he could remember. Waking up in an abandoned Venjix factory, alone, with only those two possessions to his name. He had never told her much more than that, because he hadn't wanted to, and figured it wasn't any of her business, she knew what was important to know, and that was that as far as he was concerned. He finally glanced over at her when she was still silent, she was scowling lightly, clearly irritated at not being able to figure out what was up with his license. It was almost kind of adorable, not that he'd ever admit it, or anything. She met his gaze with hers, "I don't understand the point of this, but you're here now, and I suppose that's what matters."

He chuckled, "Thanks, Doc."

She held up the watch, "And this?"

His eyes darkened slightly, and he took another long drink, "My reason for fighting."

She flipped open the pocket watch and the familiar tune started playing. The one that practically haunted his every waking (and sleeping) moment. "And what is it, exactly?"

"The only clue I have to my past, a real clue, at any rate, not a lie to keep me second-guessing myself," he sighed, "I had...have a sister, I don't know what happened to her, only that I failed to protect her, and that watch is connected to her."

She closed the watch, and ran a careful finger over the metal, before returning it and the license to him. He closed his fingers around hers, maybe a little too desperate for some human contact. She didn't try to pull away or resist, merely let him hold her hand. He didn't know why he was seeking...whatever from her, and not say, Summer, but he reasoned it was only because she was the closest one to him, so why not? He didn't want to ruin the moment, but at the same time, he still wanted to know more, know who that guy was, why he was so important to her, exactly why he was her reason for fighting, "You still haven't told me who he is."

She didn't look at him, "Didn't I?"

"Not really, no."

She gave a small shrug, "I don't see why it's so important to you, you know who he was to me, so why isn't that enough?"

"Because it doesn't explain the reason, why he's so important, I mean, what, did Venjix kill him or something, and you're trying to get revenge? Is that it?"

She still wouldn't look at him, as she clenched her jaw, and he grew impatient, and he reached out with his free hand to grasp her chin, softly turning her face towards him. "Just tell me." His voice had a soft, gentle tone to it, instead of the harshness he had been going for.

Something flickered in her eyes, he couldn't figure out what it was, because she blinked and it was gone, "You already know him."

A sneaking suspicion crawled up the back of his neck, but he wanted to hear it from her first, "Do I?"

She just stared at him, her eyes watering slightly, and that was when he really knew. Because she was actually fighting the urge to cry, and she didn't fucking cry, she never had a reason to before, at least, she hadn't as long as he had been there, and that was answer enough alone. "He's Venjix."

Well. That explained everything, didn't it? He couldn't say he was surprised, because he wasn't. He dropped his hand from her chin, and she took that as a sign to try and let go of his other hand, but he didn't let her, tightening his grasp ever so slightly, "Makes sense, really."

"That's it? No blow-up, or calling me names, walking out, or blaming me for everything?" She eyed him warily, "you can, you know, do all of those things, it wouldn't be anything less than what I've already done to myself."

He laughed, unable to help himself, and she glowered at him, "Sorry, but come on, what makes you think I'd blame you for shit you didn't even do?"

"But I had a hand in it, Venjix is the way he is because of me, because of the things I taught him and the way I treated him," she practically snarled, "everything that's happened to you and the rest of the world is because of me."

If she was trying to get him to hate her, she was going about it all wrong. All she really had to do was be her irritating self to make him want to throw her out the nearest window, not be the guilty, angry looking girl she was now, "Don't be fucking stupid, you're not him, everything he did was because he wanted to, it didn't have anything to do with you," he raised his voice to drown out whatever it was she was going to say, "he's a grown man, Doc, he made his own decisions, just like you made yours, you chose to stand and fight against him, and that's all anybody could ask of you."

She dropped her gaze from his, focusing her attention on their still entwined hands, "You make no sense to me."

He smirked, "I bet you say that to all the men."

"No, just you," she replied honestly, obviously not getting the joke, "You've lost more than anyone because of this, and you're just...okay with it?"

He shrugged, "I'm not okay with it, but what can I do about it? I can't go back and change the past, so all I can do is live for now, and that's exactly what you need to do."

She blinked and then gave a small smile, "I still don't understand you, but thank you."

He chuckled, nudging her shoulder with his, "The feeling's mutual."

He was positive they had crossed a bridge in that moment, even if he didn't know what that bridge was. But whatever, he was sure it counted for something.

------=------

Well, didn't they make for a pretty sight. Dillon thought their luck lately was absolutely shitty, nothing else explained why they couldn't catch another bounty, even with Ziggy officially added to the team. He and Flynn were the only ones standing, and Flynn was starting to slow down. Dillon knew the only reason he was doing far better than the others was because he was cyborg boy, otherwise, he'd be on the ground with the other three. Scott was a few feet behind Flynn, struggling against Summer's tight grip. She wouldn't be trying to restrain him if he hadn't had a twisted ankle, "Goddamnit, Scott! Would you hold still already?" She hissed between clenched teeth.

"I'm fine, Summer, it's just a twisted ankle, I can still use the rest of my body!" He protested.

"You couldn't even keep standing, there's no way you can keep fighting."

"They need our help!"

"And you're not going to be helping them if they keep looking over their shoulders to make sure you're not on the ground again." She reasoned.

He had to agree with Summer on that. Scott being thrown back into the mix would fuck things up even more, and things were already royally fucked. Summer was relatively unscathed, at least compared to the rest of them, all she had was a deep cut on her eyebrow that constantly dripped blood into her eye, plus, her jacket was torn. He had a feeling that sucked more for her than the cut. At the moment, Ziggy was worst off, considering that he was unconscious. And it wasn't even from a goon, not really, it was just from overuse of his power to try and dodge shit. As soon as they got back home, Dillon was totally upping his training time; the guy should have been dodging that shit normally. As per usual, K was totally going to kill Ziggy. Flynn was still standing through sheer willpower alone, what with his cracked ribs keeping his mobility down. But that was Flynn for you. Dillon thought it was all pretty goddamn pitiful, the bounty was low on the totem pole, why the hell weren't they beating the shit out of him?

He flexed his fingers, before reaching up with that hand, placing it on his dislocated shoulder. It was irritating that he had two bastards gang up on him, pulling his right shoulder out of its socket. It took him only a few seconds to push it back into place, resetting it easily. Flynn tossed him a faintly disturbed look when he didn't so much as flinch, and he gave his comrade a smirk, things like that weren't exactly bothersome when you were part machine. He silently counted the men that were left, they had started out as twenty and had been dwindled down to half that amount, he could take eight easily, all ten of them if he wasn't so worried about his team. And their bounty was long gone to boot. Well, he'd just have to work off some steam on those assholes, that simple, really. As if they had read his mind, two of the nearest goons raised their guns, and had just enough time to fire them at him and Flynn, before Flynn was flinging out his arms and stopping time around them. Dillon thought it was pretty cool how the bullets froze in mid-air too, he also thought it was stupid that the other men just stood there and stared. He, on the other hand, darted forward, and knocked the bullets out of the air, ignored the heat that seared into his fingers, before he snagged the guns away from them. The ten seconds passed, and he allowed the men to share a look of confusion and disbelief, before he pistol-whipped them with their own guns, knocking them out.

He promptly turned the guns on the nearest two guys, taking them out with shots to the kneecaps. He wasn't out to kill them, just get them out of the way so they could get the fuck home. He was not looking forward to getting reamed out by the Doc, but then again, he never was, so that was nothing new. He took out another guy, before that gun ran out of bullets, and the other one jammed, he scoffed at it, before flinging both guns directly at two men's foreheads, giving a pleased smile when they were knocked out. Six down, four left to go, they were dropping like flies, maybe they'd get out of it without further injuries, that wasn't too much to hope for? Apparently, it was, considering three of them moved away, paving the way for the fourth one, the biggest one, who, lo and behold, had an RPG propped up on his shoulder. Dillon decided that was cheating, and very much bullshit, Flynn clearly shared his sentiments if his string of swears were anything to go by, not to mention Summer's gasp, and Scott's mutter of, "An RPG, are you fucking kidding me?"

He was suddenly glad Ziggy was unconscious, his freaking out would totally damage his calm. He saw it being aimed in Flynn's direction, and he knew he'd be faster with his shield than Flynn would be with his time stopping ability, especially considering the last one had worn him out, and he was struggling even more to stay upright. In the few seconds it took for the rocket to be fired, Dillon had darted towards Flynn, positioning himself in front of him, a burst of purple light emanating from his dog tags, taking on the brunt impact of the rocket. His arms trembled against the force, and he struggled to stay upright, he just barely managed to redirect the rocket to the side, only a few feet from them, his shield protecting them from the blast of it, sending him skidding into Flynn as his shield shattered around them. He was barely aware of Summer's cry of his name, and Scott's of Flynn's, as he rolled off of his friend, noting with dismay that he was unconscious too. Great, just great, it was just him standing, so to speak; anyway, since he wasn't entirely positive his legs would hold his weight at that point.

Damned if he wasn't going to try though. He wasn't going to let anything else happen to his team, no matter how much his body protested at him moving. He forced himself up to his knees, and had just started to try and stand up, when the sounds of helicopter fire filled the air. Fuck his life; if they had called in reinforcements that had helicopters, he was getting out of the bounty hunting business, and quickly. But none of the fire was centered upon them, and the shouts of their enemies proved the fact that whoever these people were, they were on their side. He looked up through the smoke and sand in the air, noting that the helicopters were starting to land, and their enemies were dead. Well, okay, that hadn't exactly been the plan, but whatever, better those assholes than his friends. The helicopters' blades kept going, as two figures jumped out of them, bounding over to them, and Dillon couldn't help but reach for his gun. Sure, it was out of bullets, but it was still a weapon, that had to count for something. When the duo made it through the smoke and sand, Dillon aimed his gun at the man, who merely regarded it with a smile on his face, "Hey, are you guys-"
"Okay? You looked like you were in trouble!" The woman finished his sentence with equal cheer in her voice.

The sheer creepiness of that alone made him lower his gun, joy, crazy twins, what fun. He regarded them coolly, as Summer looped an arm around his waist, helping him to stand, he was going to speak up when Scott beat him to it, his perfected leader voice in full effect, "Not that we don't appreciate the help, trust me, we do, but who are you guys, and where did you come from?"

"I'm Gem, and this is Gemma!"

"We saw the fight, so we-"

"Decided to jump in!"

"Do you need a lift?"

"We don't mind."

Yay, crazy twins offering them a ride, where they very well could crash them, or dismember them and eat them or something. Dillon inwardly sighed, he had been hanging out with Ziggy far too much. He looked over his shoulder, noting Scott was actually contemplating the offer, one hand gripping Flynn's shoulder, the other smoothing over his hair, "Well, we don't have much of a choice, not all of us are in a great condition to drive."

"Wait, so you're suggesting we leave our cars behind? My car?" He glowered at Scott.

"Oh, calm down, Dillon, Doctor K will send somebody out to get our rides; your car'll be fine." Summer rolled her eyes.

"Easy for you to say, Ms. I-have-more-motorcycles-than-fingers," he grumbled, "I only have the one car."

"Quit whining." She dug her knuckles into his ribs.

He contemplated pulling her hair in retaliation, but then decided against it, he wasn't five, after all, and just settled on the age old insult of, "Bitch." So maybe he was more like, twelve.

"So, is that-"

"A yes?"

Scott offered the twins a tentative smile, "It's a yes."

"Awesome!" They cheered in unison, before being distracted by the discarded RPG.

"Aw, Gemma, it's-"

"A disposable RPG, no-"

"Fair! We could've blown-"

"Stuff up awesomely with that!"

Thank God they had separate helicopters, if he had to listen to them finishing each other's sentences the whole trip, he would've just risked driving back to the Garage, even if his body did feel like it was going to shut down at any moment. He pulled himself out of Summer's grasp, knowing that he would have to carry Ziggy to the chopper, and Summer made her way over to Scott, helping him up, and keeping him standing instead. One of the few good things about having machinery in his body, he was already starting to get his strength back, able to lift Ziggy in his arms, and not topple to the ground. The twins were each shouldering Flynn's weight, his feet dragging along the sand as they made their way to one of the choppers, Scott urging Summer to hurry after them. The trio were placed in Gem's chopper, and Gemma practically skipped over to her own, waiting for Dillon and Ziggy. He sighed, glancing down at his friend, "Be happy you're not awake for this, Zig."

He had a feeling it was going to be a long trip.

------=------

He wished they had been able to contact K beforehand, to warn her about the Boom twins, as he had quickly decided to call them, unfortunately, considering there were no phone towers out in the desert, calling her hadn't exactly been an option. Halfway through the trip back home, Ziggy had woken up, and immediately launched into a conversation with Gemma, leave it to him to try and chat up every woman he could, even crazy ass ones. Dillon had stayed completely silent through the trip, resting in an attempt to regain his strength, and wondering how K would react to their saviors. She'd probably be pissed they had failed, once again, to capture a bounty more than anything else. As they made their way into the Garage, Flynn leaning on Summer, having regained consciousness, speaking to his boyfriend in hushed tones, who made sure not to put pressure on his bad ankle, refusing any help, Ziggy warned the twins about K, "The thing about Doctor K is that she can be a little bit cold, kinda icy, but don't let it bother you, she's that way with everybody, I think it's just the way she is."

As if she had heard him speaking about her (and she probably had), the doors slid open, and she walked out, hands primly folded in front of her, as she glanced over her Rangers, "I've already alerted the Colonel, he's sending his medical team right over, they'll be here in less than five minutes."
She sounded none too pleased about it, and he knew it was because she hated the fact she couldn't treat her own team's injuries, she was pretty transparent at times. "Doc, I'm fine, I don't need to be poked and prodded." He protested, he had regained most of his strength on the flight back, he felt a little tired, and sore, but that was to be expected, it wasn't anything to worry about.

She just stared at him, "You strained your power far more than we've tested for, you're going to get checked, whether you like it or not, and that goes for all of you."

"See what I mean about the cold and icy part?" Ziggy staged whispered to the twins, causing them to giggle.

Something in her demeanor changed, and her voice became cautious, "Are they the ones that saved you?"
"Yeah, they're the ones that rescued us and brought us back home." Scott spoke up.

The twins stepped out from behind Ziggy, their eyes hidden by the aviator shades they had donned before flight, and K took a few steps forward. Dillon watched her carefully, noting the hope in her gaze; did she know them, or something? When they pulled off the shades, tucking them into their pockets, her entire face lit up, her eyes filling with tears, crying out, "Gem, Gemma!" Before rushing towards them, throwing her arms around their shoulders, pulling them close.

"Hello, Doctor K." Gem murmured, a grin on his face.

"We've missed you!" Gemma wore a matching expression.

Dillon couldn't fight back the smile that crept up on him, as he watched Gem press a kiss to her temple, and Gemma nuzzle closer to her. Scott shook his head in disbelief, grinning himself, Flynn chuckling slightly, and Summer beaming. Ziggy just looked bewildered, "I guess she's trying a different management style with them or something."

It'd be an understatement to say it was strange seeing her be so emotional, but at the same time, it was nice to see, it just added more proof to his theory that she wasn't as heartless as she liked to project herself as being. "I take it they're friends of yours, Doc?"
She raised her eyes to meet his, still full of tears and joy, and she actually graced him with a smile, "Yes, we took care of each other long ago."

"We've been trying-"

"To get to her this whole time!"

"I thought you had died." K stated quietly.

"We almost-"

"Did! But-"

"We're okay now, so-"

"Stop worrying so much."

"Hey, Doctor K, have they always..." Summer tried to find a nice way to put it, "talked that way?"

"Talked-"

"What way?"

K giggled, actually honest to God giggled, and seriously, she still found ways to surprise him, "Yes, they have, it's rather irritating, isn't it?"

"I'm thinking we'll have to get used to it though, right?" Flynn sounded tired, but happy for her.

"Only if the rest of you don't mind."
Okay, that floored him, she actually cared about their opinions enough to allow them to decide if her two best friends could stay or not? "Of course they can stay! They're your friends." And that was all that mattered to Summer, she understood the importance of true friendship.

"I don't see a problem with it; maybe we'll actually start catching bounties again with seven members instead of five." Scott added.
Flynn gave a tired shrug, tucking his face into Scott's shoulder, his voice slightly muffled by his shirt, "You're happy, lass, I think that's all that matters."

Ziggy still looked a little confused, but knew there was no point in putting up any kind of fight, "I think it's cool, it's like, K has a heart, she's not all Tin Man anymore."

Dillon smirked at the way Ziggy shrunk back at K's glare, and then blinked when she turned her full attention on him, her gaze softening, "What?"

"And what's your opinion, Ranger Black?"

He raised an eyebrow, "Like it matters? Majority rules and all that, right?"

"It matters." Was all she had to offer.

He didn't know why it mattered, but it meant something to him that it did, so he just shrugged, "It's fine with me."

"Yay, Gem, we're-"

"Staying with Doctor K again, just like-"

"Old times!" They cheered, hugging her tighter.

She smiled at her entire team, but the smile she gave him was different, he couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was, but there was just a tad bit more gratitude in her gaze. And when the medical team came to retrieve them, as she followed after them, he felt her press her hand to his back, gently. He was pretty sure he had to be grateful to the twins for this side of the Doc, it was definitely a side he wanted to see more of, at any rate, and he planned on it.
------=------

She was quiet, more so than usual, and that bothered him. They had been doing this for almost two months, and he was used to her momentary lapses of silence, but she had never kept quiet for so long. He nudged her shoulder lightly, "Hey, you okay?"

She shrugged, not looking up at him, as she took a long drag of her cigarette, "I'm fine."

Yeah, because he totally believed that, "Right."

He swirled the liquor (vodka this time) around in its bottle, allowing her to keep her thoughts to herself, at least for the time being. He didn't know what was up with her, but he intended to find out. He wondered why she didn't want to talk to him; they were something akin to friends, right? And okay, he wasn't exactly the care-to-share type of person, but he refused to let his problems screw with the team, and he was willing to talk if it helped, he had hoped she would do the same. He felt anxious, like maybe he had done something, and she just wasn't telling him, but that couldn't be it, if he did something to piss her off, she generally had no trouble speaking her mind. He heaved out a sigh in irritation, he had come to realize he didn't like not knowing what she was thinking, especially if he had no idea if it had something to do with him, "Did I do something?"

It took her a few moments to respond, "What are you talking about?"

"Did I do something to piss you off or something, and that's why you're so quiet?" He didn't know why he cared so much, why her opinion mattered at all, but he did, and it did, and that was that.

He could see one side of her mouth twitch upwards into a small smirk, "No, trust me, Dillon, if you had done something I didn't approve of, you would know."

Ah, there was the woman he knew and...cared about. And he'd never admit it unless under threat of death (hell, Ziggy would have to be thrown in too, for that matter), but he kind of liked the way she said his name, differently from how she spoke everyone else's. Like his held more meaning. "So, if it's not me, then what's going on? Now that the Boom twins have showed up, you've opened up more," he just wanted to understand what was going through her head, "why can't you talk to me?"

"You wouldn't understand."

"I understand more than you think, Doc."

She sighed, stubbing out her cigarette, as she pulled her legs up to her chest and rested her chin on her knees, finally turning to face him, and goddamnit, she was starting to cry again. It didn't matter how many times she cried in front of him, it always left him floundering, "Summer cares about you."

Well, no shit, but what did that have to do with anything? "Of course she does, Summer cares about everyone, it's what she does."

She didn't need to say anything else or give any sort of visual clue to let him know what she needed. He handed the bottle over without another word, and she unscrewed the cap, taking a long sip, a little bit of liquid courage to keep going. "It's different with you."

He raised an eyebrow, "How do you figure?"

She gave him a look, and he felt a little bit like an idiot, not that he would tell her that or anything, "She cares about you more than the others, in a different way, she thinks she can fix you."

Since when the hell did he need fixing? Like he was broken, okay, maybe he wasn't all there in the head, or whatever, but none of them were, "Do you agree with her, you think I need fixing?"

"Maybe you should let her." She turned her face away from him again, laying her cheek against her left knee, fingers loosely clasped around the bottle.

"You didn't answer my question."

She still didn't look at him, and he fucking hated the goddamn game they were playing. "For fuck's sake, Doc, just trust me already."

Her shoulders shook slightly, and maybe he had been too harsh, but he couldn't take the words back once they were out in the air, "You're not any more broken than the rest of us, to fix you would imply she doesn't like the way you are now."

"And you do?"

"You could be worse," she exhaled lightly; "you could be him."

He smirked, "Best compliment you ever gave me."

"I wasn't lying before, you know, about you and the other Rangers being my family," she furrowed her brow, "I didn't mean for it to happen, I was taught that relationships were hindrances, nothing more."

He didn't speak; instead he let himself edge closer to her, until their sides were pressed together. She didn't protest or attempt to move away, so he figured that was a good sign, "Even with Summer, Scott and Flynn, it was easy to keep my distance from them, and I thought it was better, and it was, at least until you showed up. You, and your problems, and your stupid devil-may-care attitude, and you changed everything."

Her voice grew choked, "I honestly do care about all of you, but you...you're different, I can see what she sees in you, but..."

He felt the sudden urge to touch her, and he had never been one to ignore his urges as long as they didn't get in his way. So he laid his hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently, and that seemed to give her the courage to keep going, "She's not the only one who cares about you."

It was a giant cliché, but he honest to God felt his heart skip a couple of beats, "I'm assuming you're referring to yourself?"

She finally looked up at him, gray-blue eyes wide, "I didn't expect for this to happen, I didn't plan for it, I always figured my relationship with Venjix was enough, that I had learned from that."

"Like you said, I'm not him," he kept his hand on her shoulder, a steadying presence; "I'll never be like him."

She gave him a watery smile, "I realize that, and that's what frightens me the most."

Of course she was scared. She had no plan, whatever was happening between them, she was going into it headfirst, without a clue, and that wasn't what she did, ever. The thing was, he was pretty much flying blind almost as she was, he didn't do relationships, maybe he had before, but it wasn't like it mattered, a past wasn't worth a whole hell of a lot if you couldn't remember it. But still, he was willing to try if she was, "I think it'd be worth it though, don't you?"

Her smile grew, and she leaned closer towards him, and he knew it was coming, counted every millisecond between the time she closed her eyes and when her lips pressed against his. It was a chaste kiss, just pressure against his lips, like she was testing the water before diving in, and she was pulling back, a slight blush staining her cheeks, and he couldn't help but tease her, "What was that?"

She narrowed her eyes at him slightly, "I believe it's called a kiss."

"Really? That was more like a peck."

She huffed, "Are you saying you can do better?"

"I guess we'll find out." The hand on her shoulder migrated to the back of her head, fingers tangling in her hair, and he pulled her in, kissing her softly. He kept his eyes open for the first few seconds, memorizing the expression on her face, every line, and the way her eyelashes fluttered slightly, he needed to remember it, he would never allow himself to lose it. When his tongue slid into her mouth, he tasted old vodka and new cigarettes, and it wasn't some cliché out of some shit romance novel. There were no fireworks exploding behind his eyelids, his heart didn't stop beating for any amount of time, and it wasn't like coming home. But it was good, damn good, and he didn't realize he had wanted to kiss her until he was actually doing it.

When they parted for breath (more needed on her part than his), he pressed his forehead to hers, noting with a sense of smug satisfaction that she had a bit of a dazed look on her face, "Still doubt me?"

She smiled lightly, eyes still closed, "Whoever said I doubted you in the first place?"

And that meant a lot to him, more than he could put into words, so he just kissed her again instead. Her fingers curled into his jacket, and he brushed his nose against hers, "What does this mean?" Her voice was whisper soft.

"It means whatever we want it to mean."

He was pretty sure any other girl would be pissed at that answer, but she just smirked instead, "That's all I required."

Okay, it was official; he definitely didn't hate her anymore.

------=------

Dillon slammed his car door shut, leaning against it and placing his hands on the hood as he took in deep breaths. Fuck, fuck his life, fuck it all. Tenaya 7 was his goddamn sister. The bitch who had tried to kill him, his friends and his girlfriend more times than he cared to remember, and they had all tried to return the favor at one point or another. He closed his eyes, viciously fighting back the stinging sensation behind his eyelids, how had he not known? Why couldn't he recognize his own damn sister? It all made sense though, she had always been more human than she had realized, the fact that she hummed the same tune from his pocket watch, and the fact that she bled just confirmed it. She had run off after he revealed the truth to her, and he had waited right where she left him for hours, until she came back to him, telling him that she had run her DNA through Venjix's database, and it had confirmed what he told her. They were siblings, for better or worse. So why wasn't he happy? He finally had the truth, it wasn't his entire past returning to him, but as far as he was concerned, it was the most important part. But instead of satisfaction, he just felt angry. Sure, there was some relief there, he had found her, he had been searching for her for so long, and he had finally found her, she just wasn't who he had been expecting.

He sighed, finally pushing himself away from his car, and turning to face the catwalk. The entire Garage was dark, not that it surprised him, it was past midnight, after all. Not everyone was asleep though. He shook his head, and smirked slightly, he never thought he'd have people waiting for him to come home, worried about him. He clambered up the stairs, pushing open the door to his and Ziggy's room, not at all surprised to see him listening to music instead of sleeping. His eyes brightened, and he pulled off his headphones, "Dillon, I was wondering when you'd come back!"

He gave his roommate slash best friend a small smile, grateful for the fact he didn't pester him with questions, "What are you still doing up?"

"Oh, you know, just a small bout of insomnia, just decided to listen to some music."

Dillon just smirked, tossing his keys onto his dresser, before kicking off his shoes, and shedding his jacket, if he didn't know Ziggy so well, he'd almost have him fooled, "Did you try warm milk?"

"Man, no way, I hate warm milk, it's good when it's cold, but when you heat it up, it's all disgusting." He gave a loud yawn, "But I guess it doesn't matter, the music must have worked, I'm starting to feel sleepy."

He just barely resisted the urge to laugh, yeah right the music had worked, he knew Ziggy had been tired for hours, but had just stayed up to wait for him and didn't want to admit it. "Good, it's pretty late, and you, my friend, have training in the morning."

Ziggy let out a low whine, flopping backwards onto his bed and pulling the covers over his head, "Can't we skip it?"

"And get my ass handed to me by Doc? No thank you."

He tugged the covers down his head just enough for his eyes to be visible, "You could take her."

"Not so sure about that, she can be very crafty." He pulled off his shirt, tossing it into the pile of laundry that was his and Ziggy's dirty clothes, before heading back towards the door.

He knew Ziggy was smirking by the way the corners of his eyes crinkled, "I do need my beauty sleep, you know, can you try and be a little quiet?"

He shot him a mock glare, "Just shut up and go to sleep." He left their bedroom, closing the door on his laughter.

He made his way down the stairs, tilting his head to listen for her; he smiled lightly when he heard the clearly audible sound of typing. Of course she'd wait up for him too, and of course she'd be doing work instead of something else, if she wasn't sleeping, then she was working, that was just the way she was. She didn't look up from her computer, even as the doors slid shut and he moved closer to her, content with just watching her, enjoying the way the computer bathed her features in white light. He let a few minutes pass before he spoke up, "You know you can strain your eyes that way."

She smiled lightly, "I'll take my chances," she typed a few more things before swiveling around in her chair to face him, "welcome back."

"It's good to be back," he took in her appearance, smirking at her alphabet pajamas and her bare feet, one leg tucked underneath her, "have you been waiting up for me?"

She scoffed, "Of course not, I did have work to do, you know."

"That's always your excuse."

"It's not an excuse; I always have work to do." She crossed her arms over her chest, pouting.

God, she was adorable. He couldn't help but move even closer to her, leaning down to kiss her gently. He was pretty sure that was the best perk of being with her, he could kiss her whenever he wanted to. She trailed her hands down his bare chest, freezing when her right hand brushed against his wound that had almost healed up, and she reared back from the kiss, "When did you get this?"

Leave it to her to notice any and all wounds he acquired, no matter how small they were, "Does it matter?"

"Of course it matters, when were you in a fight?" She frowned, "Is that what you were doing?"

"It's not like I intentionally got in a fight, I was only defending myself." With anyone else, he'd feel like he was being interrogated, but with her, he just felt like he was cared about.

She pursed her lips, "It was Tenaya, wasn't it?"

"How'd you know?"

"Because if it was a bounty, you would have called the others."

"I just love how well you know me." He settled at her feet, cross-legged, and he rested his hands on her thighs, as her fingers made their way to his hair.

"I'm sure you do," she stated evenly, "now are you going to tell me exactly why you were fighting, or rather, defending yourself from her?"

"Like Tenaya needs a reason to pick a fight?"

She sighed, "Stop evading the question, Dillon."

He was tempted to pout, but just sighed instead, "I'm not sure you'd believe me, hell, I barely believe it myself, even though it makes sense."

"Just tell me," she gave him a smile, "trust me."

And how many times had he said that to her? She was right, he could trust her, he did trust her, "The reason Tenaya decided to try and slice me open was because I told her something she didn't like."

"Which was?"

He thought about dodging the question again, but he'd just be prolonging the inevitable, so he just came right out and said it, "Tenaya's my sister."

Her fingers stilled in his hair, ceasing the massaging of his scalp, "You're positive about this?"

"Yeah, my pocket watch, when I combined the keys together, they played a new song, the one she always whistles when she's going stalker on us, I knew then," he removed one of his hands from her thigh, replacing it with his cheek, the fabric soft against his skin, "she just confirmed it when she ran her DNA against mine in Venjix's database."

Apparently, that was proof enough for her, and she went back to sifting her fingers through his hair, allowing him to close his eyes, "At least now you know, it doesn't have to consume you anymore."

"Yeah, that's something, at least."

"You don't sound particularly pleased about this turn of events, I know the situation between you and Tenaya hasn't exactly been ideal, but you didn't know back then," she soothed him, "things can change now if you want them to."

"That's the thing, I don't feel happy about it, I just feel pissed off," and the anger was there again, simmering beneath his skin, "I mean, there's relief, but all I can think about is all the times she tried to kill us, kill me...you. And I can't forgive her for it, even if she didn't know."

"It'd be ridiculous to think forgiveness would instantly appear just because you found out she's your sister," she reasoned, "but I think it'll come in time, in the meantime, what do you plan on doing?"

He hesitated, he knew she would hate the plan, she'd probably even try to stop him, but it was their big chance, surely the need to take down Venjix would override her worry for him, right? "We're going to be working together."

She raised an eyebrow, "How? The others won't exactly be any more forgiving of her than you, and they certainly won't trust her, and that's assuming Venjix would just let her go, which he wouldn't."

"That's not what I meant. We have a plan, she's going to pretend to capture me, and swear to bring in the rest of us. It'll cause a huge distraction, everybody will be too busy either crowding around Venjix for being awesome, or guarding me," he traced circles against her thigh, already trying to calm her, "nobody will pay any attention to her, she'll be able to download everything we need to bring him down."

Her reaction was immediate, and expected, "No."

He had sort of expected her to explode, that would've been better than the ice dripping from her voice, silly him for thinking they had gotten past that, "Listen, Doc-"

"No, Dillon, you listen," her tone made him open his eyes and stare up at her, her eyes holding fear instead of anger, and he hated himself for causing that reaction in her, "you have no idea the cruelty Venjix is capable of. You and Tenaya have only gotten a small taste of it."

He felt her shiver beneath his touch, like just the thought of him being in her worst enemy's hands terrified the shit out of her, "If he got his hands on you again...this time, it'd be personal, before, you were just another experiment to him, but now you've caused him far too much grief. Dillon, he would rip you apart, in the most horrendous way possible, and I refuse to let that happen."

Any other time, he'd think she'd just wanted to keep a valuable tool out of Venjix's hands, and not deprive herself of her trump card, and a few months ago, it probably would have been true, but the way she said it was so...desperate, like she really couldn't handle the idea of him being taken away from her. He couldn't protest, he wanted to, but it was like he couldn't think of any words to say, but Venjix knew Tenaya knew the truth, what would he do to her if he didn't go along with their plan? His facial expression must've given him away, because the frightened look in her eyes melted to one of sympathy, something he'd hate if it was anyone else, "Don't worry, your sister will be fine, he knows she's still his most valuable pawn."

And everyone knew any pawn could become a queen, given the right advantage, "I'm not going to let her rot in there." He vowed.

"I wouldn't expect you to, we're going to get her out, but we're not using your plan."

"Promise me you'll do whatever it takes." It was his turn to sound desperate, but he was talking about his sister, the sister he had just found again, he thought he had the right.

"Short of serving you up to Venjix on a silver platter, I'll do everything within my power."

It was enough, it had to be enough, even if it didn't stamp down his anger, or force away his worry, and, as if sensing it (she was getting freakily good at deciphering his moods), she leaned down and kissed him. He surged upwards, returning the kiss with as much force as he was willing, and that was more than usual. He didn't mean to be so harsh with her, but she pushed the anger and fear to the back of his mind, until he was consumed only in her, he didn't want to lose that feeling. Her hands moved from his hair down to his shoulders, gripping tightly, blunt nails digging into his skin, her teeth nipping at his bottom lip, and he couldn't help but moan slightly. He gripped her hips with strong hands, still unfailingly gentle with her, same as always, as he trailed his kisses down to her neck. He wouldn't so much as give her a hickey, not wanting to mark up her skin, and she breathed out slowly, pushing him away. He glanced up at her, confused, and maybe a little hurt, "I'm not a china doll, Dillon," she traced a hand down his bare chest, "I'm not going to break if you get rough with me."

His eyes darkened slightly; did she have any idea what his version of "rough" equated to? "I don't think you get it, Doc."

She jutted her chin out, looking stubborn and determined, and that just made him want her more, "I get it perfectly, you think I can't handle it, that I can't handle you, all of you. Well, you're wrong."

His smirk was devious, "You really think you can?"

The smirk she gave in return was equal parts reassurance, and predatory, "I know I can."

And really, that was all the permission he needed. His mouth returned to her neck, sucking greedily, teeth nipping at her skin, he needed it, he needed to lose himself in her, so he wouldn't lose himself in the worry of leaving his sister behind, probably thinking he had turned on her or something. She sighed lightly, leaning into him, fingers pulling roughly at his hair, and he returned the favor by reaching down, and ripping open her shirt, buttons scattering onto the floor. She gave him a look, part dismay, part amusement, "That was my favorite pajama top."

"Mmm," he gave her shoulder a long lick, "I'll make it up to you."

"I'm sure you will." In an impressive show of strength, she tugged him down so that their chests pressed together, pulling him into a rough kiss, as she wrapped her legs around his waist.

He finally stood up, taking her with him, as he gently settled her down on a metal table that was free of her experiments. God forbid if he screwed with anything, even if sex was involved. She shifted her hips against his, and he took in a shuddering breath, as her fingers fumbled for his belt buckle. It was only when her hand had reached into his boxers and started to stroke him that he was struck with a horrible, ridiculously stupid realization. Every curse known to man (and a few he was pretty sure didn't even exist) ran through his head, as he allowed himself to jerk his hips forward into her touch for only a few seconds, before he reached down, and snagged her wrist, pulling her hand into sight. It was her turn to look confused, and he couldn't help but bring her hand to his lips, kissing the fingers that had just been wrapped around him, "I can't do this, Doc."

She raised an eyebrow in disbelief, eyes straying down to the prominent bulge straining against his boxers, and he couldn't help but let out a huff of laughter, "I don't mean I'm physically incapable of it."

"I don't understand, what's the problem, then? I believe I made it clear where I stood on this." She was about two seconds away from pouting.

He decided then and there he really hated himself. He was hard, she was more than willing, and he wanted her, but he just had to have a goddamn bout of conscious, didn't he? "I don't want it to be like this."

She shook her head, still not understanding him, "Look, neither of us are virgins, so that's not what this is about," he sighed, "but I'm pissed, and scared, and I don't want this to be about me taking it out on you, and you trying to comfort me. It shouldn't be based on that."

A slow smile overtook her features, and she reached up with her free hand to press her palm against his cheek, thumb brushing against his jaw line, "I never took you for such a romantic."

He scowled at her, "I'm not."

"Of course you're not." Her eyes sparkled, and he decided her teasing was better than her being disappointed in him.

"I am sorry, you know."

She gave a light shrug, "There's nothing to apologize for, you can't help the way you feel," the cheeky look on her face made him beyond curious, "although, there's nothing wrong with continuing what we were doing."

"Doc, c'mon, I just said-"

She gave him a look, and it dawned on him, "Oh. Right then." He hoped she wouldn't hold that momentary lapse against him.

She merely placed her hands on his shoulders, getting a solid grip, and nuzzled her nose into his throat. He grinned, pressing a kiss to her hair, before lifting her back into his arms, and carrying her to her room. She was right, after all, there was absolutely nothing wrong with finishing what they started.

------=------

Tenaya slipped back into base, eyes reflexively darting around, she didn't see, nor hear anything out of the ordinary. She didn't know what she was supposed to feel. There was anger, and anxiousness, and bitter, cold disappointment. Everything she thought she had known turned out to be one goddamn lie after another. She was not truly Tenaya Generation 7 Infiltration Attack Bot, she had all the parts, but everything else, that was all human. She bled, and she thought, and she felt, and it wasn't fair, not even close to it. The man she had come to trust, and even love, had done this to her, had taken everything away from her, her previous life, her memories, her brother. She couldn't forgive him for that, not ever. What was she supposed to do now? Sure, she and Dillon had made a plan, bring him to Venjix, distract him long enough to download everything they needed to take him out, but he hadn't contacted her like he was supposed to, and she couldn't go looking for him, it would look suspicious. She had no doubt in her mind that Venjix already knew she had figured out the truth, he did keep tabs on every part of technology in his main base of operations, after all.

She walked the hallways, making her way to her room, silent as a mouse. He had given her everything she had asked for, always indulging her whims with a smile, and a kiss to the forehead. She had thought it meant something, that it was a form of affection, she knew now that it was just a way to mollify her, keep her as his tool, he had never cared about her. She thought that maybe that was what hurt the worst; he made her feel things for him that she shouldn't have felt, and didn't even reciprocate it. For some reason, her mind flashed back to when she had first met Ziggy. Now, there was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve for the entire world to see, whether he meant to or not. His interest in her had been genuine, and maybe hers had been too, even if she did have fun chasing him down, the mouse to her cat. He had only known her for a handful of time, and it hadn't even been the real her (but maybe it had been, at the time, she had thought she was making it all up as she went along, but maybe everything she said had been true, it wasn't like she actually knew), and he had acted like she had meant something. Just that fast, he had seen something in her, something she hadn't known existed. She just wished Venjix had been able to do the same.

She froze in her tracks, startled to see Kilobyte leaning against her doorway, blocking the path to her room. She quickly masked her features into a well-practiced look of nonchalance, "Well, hello there, my dear runaway, what brings you back here? Come to try and kill your creator?" His British accent had thickened slightly in his amusement.

"I have no idea what you're on, Kilobyte, because you're trippy as hell."

"Oh, am I now? So I suppose I'm wrong in assuming you've met up and plotted with your dear brother then."

She hated the fact he could see through her so easily, not that she was going to let him know that, she wasn't an idiot, "You know what they say about assuming."

He pushed himself off of the doorway, leaning into her instead, completely invading her personal space, "Are you trying to tell me you don't have some form of memories? The past you shared with your brother? You honestly don't want revenge on Venjix."

If he had been anyone else, she'd almost think he was offering help, but it was Kilobyte after all, all that man cared about was getting, and staying, in Venjix's good graces, he wouldn't turn on his boss for anything in the world, "I couldn't care less about him, he doesn't mean anything to me, the past is exactly that, the past, it doesn't define who I am now."

He laughed, and it sent tendrils of fear down her spine, she wasn't above admitting he scared the shit out of her, she just wouldn't admit it aloud, that was what mattered, "Smart girl, then. It's good to know where your loyalties lie."

She rolled her eyes, "I've been nothing but loyal to Venjix, and he knows it," she delivered him a glare, "is there any particular reason you've posted yourself outside my room, or are you just waiting for me to get naked so you can sneak a peek?"

He smirked, traced a finger down her cheek, and she slapped his hand away, "You're adorable, Tenaya, has anyone ever told you that?"

"Go get fucked, asshole." She sneered.

"Is that an offer?"

"You wish," she continued to glare at him, "if you're not going to tell me what you're doing here, then get the hell out of my way, before I move you out of the way."

"You could try, that would be rather amusing to see," but he did step to the side, and she started to enter her room when he spoke up again, "I had almost forgotten, imagine that. Venjix requests your presence, immediately. I think it's best not to keep him waiting, don't you?"

He was gone before she could reply, and she squeezed her eyes shut, her hand still on her doorknob. Great, just fucking great, how could she face him and still hold up the ruse that hadn't even fooled Kilobyte, however much he had acted like it did. She had never dreaded seeing him more than in that moment. Tenaya shook her head, inhaling sharply, she was better than that, she knew she was, she could handle it, and she would, just perfectly. She dropped her hand from the doorknob, rotated her shoulders back, and steeled herself, prepared to do whatever it took to protect her brother.

------=------

Venjix looked up when Tenaya entered the room, "You wanted to see me? I hope this is important, because I need my sleep."

He let one side of his mouth curl up into a smirk, as he removed glasses that he didn't even need, setting them on his desk, "I'm glad you've arrived, Tenaya, first, I must say welcome back."

She raised an eyebrow, "I didn't go anywhere."

"Didn't you? That was why it took you so long to come back, because you contemplated joining your brother."

She visibly stiffened, "I did no such thing."

"You care about him, don't you?"

"Why would I care about somebody who's my enemy?"

Oh, his sweet, dear Tenaya, he had conditioned her well. If he hadn't known her inside and out, he probably would have believed her, she was trying so hard, and almost pulling it off. "Then I guess it won't matter what I'm about to you show you, it certainly won't sway you, will it?"

She gave a one shoulder shrug, a look of practiced disinterest on her face, "Probably not, unless it's something that will allow me to actually get some sleep around here."

"Of course you can get some sleep, just as soon as I show you this," he pressed a button on his computer, leaning in to speak, "Kilobyte, please bring in the hybrid."

A crackle of, "Right away, sir," sounded, and he leaned back in his chair, waiting.

Tenaya rolled her eyes heavenward, coming over to sit on his desk like she always did when she was impatient, and/or bored, "Seriously, this better be good."

"Oh, I think you'll enjoy it." His doors slid open, and Kilobyte shoved in one of his more recent, useless slaves, one he had turned into a hybrid simply for the very purpose he was about to show her.

The hybrid showed no emotion whatsoever, just stood in the center of the room, eyes vacant, "Kilobyte, you have the remote?"

"Of course, sir, here it is." Instead of bringing it to him, he tossed it, as it sailed his way, end over end, and he caught it deftly.

"Observe, my beloved Tenaya." He pressed the bright red button on the remote, and watched with an amused fascination as the hybrid doubled over.

He let out a scream, his first show of emotion since he had entered the room. He began bleeding out of every orifice, gurgling slightly as he started to choke on his own blood. His arm started to turn a shade of blue, as the skin began melting off, showing meal beneath instead of bones, as that started to spark, short-circuiting. He only lasted a few more seconds before he collapsed to the ground like a sack of potatoes, a pool of blood surrounding him. Tenaya stared at the former hybrid with wide eyes, before fixing the same expression upon him, "What was that?"

"That, darling, is what I'll do to your brother if you don't do exactly as I say." He noted Kilobyte glancing down at the mess with a look of distaste; he'd have someone clean it up later.

Her eyes hardened, "Again, what makes you think I care what you do to him?"

He thought maybe she could've been an actress if he hadn't gotten his hands on her first, shaped her into what he needed her to be to serve his own purposes, "You think I didn't know about your clandestine meeting? I know the truth, Tenaya, you were planning on leaving me, and I won't just let that slide by unpunished."

He was amused by the flicker of fear in her eyes, "I don't know what you're talking about."

"You can keep up the charade for however long it pleases you, Tenaya, I only want one thing from you, and I'll consider it water under the bridge."

She eyed him cautiously, "What do you want me to do?"

Cute, and clever, she didn't even admit to him being right, "All I ask it that you live up to your name and infiltrate their base," he laced his fingers together, placing them on top of his desk, "bring Doctor K to me, and I won't lay a finger on your brother."

She gave a bark of laughter, "Is that all? You didn't even have to show me that freaky shit to get me to do that, I've been looking forward to getting my revenge on her anyway."

"I figured as much," he gave her a slow smile, "as soon as the Rangers are gone, off chasing one of their pointless bounties or what have you, that's when you strike."

"You don't want me to capture the Rangers too? Shame." She gave a sigh, hopping off his desk, "Is that it then?"

"Yes, that's all," he stood up, moving around his desk to face her, as she blinked up at him, "I'm glad we've come to this understanding, Tenaya."

He grasped her chin with one hand and pulled her into a harsh kiss, she stiffened for all of a few seconds before sinking into the kiss, eagerly responding. He ignored Kilobyte's scoff of disbelief and annoyance, of course he had known about how Kilobyte was constantly trying to get Tenaya into his bed, it was about time he showed his General just who exactly she belonged to. When they parted, she licked her lips, and cleared her throat, "Well, I'll just...be going then."

He watched her walk out, closing the door behind him, before he smirked, leaning against the same spot on his desk that had just previously occupied, "It's so nice when everything falls into place, don't you agree, Kilobyte?"

"Of course, sir." Was the dutiful reply.

As long as he held a form of blackmail over Tenaya's head, he knew she wouldn't be going anywhere, but more importantly, he'd finally be face to face with his mentor and ex-lover again after all these years. He just couldn't wait.

------=------

Finally, a successful bounty under their belts, Dillon had almost forgotten what that had felt like. Luckily, they weren't particularly dangerous, so they had been able to just hand them directly over to Colonel Mason instead of having to keep them at the Garage and wait for him to retrieve them. He carried their briefcase of money, an easy smile on his face as he listened to his friends chatter about what they would do with their share of the bounty. Personally, he was just going to store it, rainy day funds, so to speak, who knew when he'd need money again. As soon as they entered the garage, he knew something was wrong, and the smile fell from his face. The others continued to talk, as his eyes darted around frantically, the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. He couldn't figure out what was wrong with all of his friends' voices in his ears, "Guys, shut the hell up."

His demand was forceful enough that everybody did what he said, even Scott, without a word of protest, and he exhaled slowly, "Something's wrong."

"What are you talking about?" Flynn asked in a hushed voice.

He shook his head slowly, stepping further into the Garage, inhaling sharply, "Someone's been here."

"What? Like, my dad?" Scott's voice sounded hopeful.

"No, not even close," one scent he recognized, the other he didn't, but he knew who it belonged to anyway, and then he heard the noises that didn't belong, "fuck me."

The others watched as Dillon dropped the briefcase to the floor, and took off in a sprint, Gem and Gemma close behind him, because even if they didn't know what was up, they knew it had something to do with Doctor K; therefore, it had something to do with them. Ziggy picked up the briefcase, exchanging a panicked look with his teammates, "What do we do?"

"Figure out what's going on, that's what." Summer declared, and she took off too.

Scott and Flynn were close on her heels, and Ziggy grumbled to himself, throwing up his free hand. They didn't even know what they were walking into, but he got it, it was Doctor K, after all, so he could do nothing else but follow them. He stopped dead in his tracks when he entered the control room, nearly plowing into Flynn, just barely managing to stop himself. He couldn't believe what he was seeing, and apparently, neither could anyone else, because they weren't moving an inch. There was Doctor K, their Doctor K, held firmly in the grasp of Venjix, Tenaya casually leaning against a table, "Ah, I was wondering when you guys would show up." Venjix practically purred.

Scott was the first to react, of course, that was the leader in him, "Let her go, Venjix."

"Oh, and why would I do that?"

"She's no use to you, and you know it," he bargained, "she's not going to tell you anything you want to know."

"That's not what this is about, boy," Venjix sneered, "she just deserves to pay for what's she done to me."

"Oh, boo hoo, you big fucking baby," Dillon snapped, "Doctor K ruined my whole life, wah wah, she has to suffer for it."

So maybe provoking the man who had practically taken over the world was a bad idea, because he squeezed his fingers around her throat, causing her to start to choke, "I'd be careful of what you say to me, D44, unless you want to watch your precious girlfriend die in front of your eyes, if that's the case, you need only ask."

He was actually trembling with rage, fingers curled into tight fists, oh God, he was going to rip this smug bastard apart. "What do you want, Venjix?" Summer looked pensive.

"Just her, I'm not here for all your secrets, nor anything she has invented, all I want is her," he loosened his grip on her throat, and she gasped for air, tears in her eyes, "that's reasonable enough, isn't it?"

"We're going to-"

"Kill you where you stand, Venjix." The twins' voices were colder than anyone had ever heard them.

He just laughed, and before Dillon knew what he was doing, he was charging at him, desperate to get her away from the man who had stolen so much from them. Tenaya swiftly stepped in front of them, effectively blocking him, and they started one of their fights that he thought would be over by now, "You fucking bitch," he hissed, grasping her by the throat, "you swore to me, you swore we'd work together."

Tenaya broke the chokehold he had on her, kneeing him in the ribs, "And that's why you and I will always be different, I'm not a sucker like you."

"I swear to God, I'll make you pay for this." He snarled, viciously shoving her away.

She didn't come at him again, because Venjix was already at the back door, a gun held to K's head, preventing the others from following, "I look forward to it."

Their joint laughter was overlaid by her screams, and Dillon chased after them, but by the time he got outside, they were already gone. It felt like his entire world had crashed around his feet. His sister had betrayed him, and had taken K away from him. Now what? What was he supposed to do? He didn't realize he was screaming until Summer had wrapped her arms around him, holding him close and shushing him, "It's gonna be okay, Dillon, we'll get her back, we're going to get her back."

If only he believed her.
------=------

"Guys, we've-"

"Found Venjix's base!" At the twins' exclamation, Dillon was out of his seat, and pulling back on his jacket. It took him only a second to memorize the flashing red dot that indicated where Venjix's base was, and he was out the door.

Scott hurried to catch up to him, "Where do you think you're going?"

"To get her back, where the fuck else do you think I'd be going?"

"Not alone, you're not."

"Well then, I guess the rest of you better hurry the hell up, because I'm not waiting for you." He punctuated his statement by getting into his car and slamming the door shut.

He'd take satisfaction in Scott's angry expression if he wasn't so focused on saving her, the Garage doors opened up, as he gunned the engine and sped out, tires marks left on the floor in his wake. It wasn't hard to find the base, and it didn't take as long as he thought it would, probably because he was going over 90 miles an hour, even more than his usual speed. He was plotting a way to get in, grab her, and get out, because as much as he just wanted to bust in and kill anyone that so much as breathed in his direction, he knew that would just put her in unneeded danger, and he'd be damned if he did that to her. He wasn't expecting the roar of cars and motorcycle so quickly, sure, he knew they'd break the speed limit getting to him, but they had almost gotten there as quickly as he did. "Are you out of your fucking mind?" Yep, Scott was definitely pissed if he was resorting to cursing.

"Yeah, pretty much, but I thought we established that months ago."

"That was really reckless, Dillon." Summer admonished him.

"Does it look like I give a shit? Either help me think of a plan, or get the fuck out of my way."

But neither of those things was necessary, considering Tenaya was strolling out of the building and making her way towards them, her hand firmly wrapped around Doctor K's. He didn't wait for them to make it up the hill; he practically flung himself down it, and met them halfway. He pulled K away from Tenaya and let his eyes sweep over her, her lab coat was gone, along with her sweater, her skirt was ripped on one side, and her face and neck were covered with cuts and bruises. Anger built in him until he thought he would implode from it, but he kept it in check, barely, and shrugged off his jacket, draping it over her shoulders. She looked even smaller than usual in it, but finally looked up, normally composed face crumpling, "Dillon..."

"Hey, Doc," he forced a small smile for her sake, even though all he wanted to do was storm into Venjix's base and kill him, he had never wanted to kill anyone more than he wanted to kill that bastard, "I've got you now."

She reached up and curled her hands into the collar of his t-shirt, her gray-blue eyes filling with tears, "You found me."

"Course I did, we need you," he curled a hand against her cheek and she leaned into his touch, "I need you."

Her eyes widened, like she hadn't been expecting him to say that, and okay, he hadn't expected to say it either, but whatever, it was true, and her tears spilled over. He wiped them away with his free hand, feeling his heart clench, this wasn't the woman he was used to, she didn't cry so easily, or need to be touched in front of others, and goddamnit, she was so fucking broken, and he was going to rip Venjix apart piece by fucking piece. "I need you, too." The soft admission startled him; what startled him even more was the way she roughly tugged on his shirt, pulling him into a kiss.

It was a desperate kiss, her tongue gliding against his own, her teeth nipping at his lower lip, and fuck, if she wasn't so screwed up at the moment, and if they weren't in the middle of the desert, right in front of Venjix's base, with their friends and his sister surrounding them, he'd...well, he could always do it later, when he got her back to normal. It was hard to pull himself away from her kiss, and she pushed herself closer to him, body pressed flush against his own, and he exhaled slowly, "Doc... we gotta go, we can't stay here."

She nodded, and dropped her head to rest on his chest, she didn't try to fight against him lifting her into his arms, and that bothered him. Any other time, she'd snark at him, telling him she was perfectly capable of walking on her own, thank you very much. The others had been looking away until then, which surprised him, it wasn't like they had never seen them kiss before. But he guessed the moment had just been too private. They were all silent as they made their way back to their vehicles, and Dillon paused when he noticed someone missing, "What the hell are you doing still standing there? Come on."

"What? You want me to go with you?" Tenaya sounded surprised.

"You know what happened to her, not to mention you're still my sister, you're coming with us," he stated this as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, "so get in the fucking car."

She didn't protest, and hurried to catch up with them, clambering into the backseat of his car. He settled K into the passenger seat, and buckled her in, when he got into the driver's seat, her hand immediately found its way back to his t-shirt, and he covered it with his own. He could drive with one hand anyway.

------=------

She had fallen asleep as soon as he tucked her into bed, and he waited a few minutes to make sure she was sleeping soundly before he made his way to the control room. His sister was casually leaning against a table, doing her best to look nonchalant, but failing when he stepped into her personal space, "Talk."

She glared up at him, crossing her arms over her chest, "I did it for you."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Venjix said he would kill you if I didn't bring Doctor K to him."

"So, what, you just believed him? Just like that?"

"He already proved it with another of his cyborgs, so yes, I believed it," she gritted her teeth, "what the hell was I supposed to do, Dillon? It wasn't a choice for me, if I had to sacrifice my brother's girlfriend to save my brother, then I was damn well going to do it."

He clenched his fists in an effort not to punch her in the fucking face, she could certainly take it, but there was that whole little sister thing, and despite it all, he did love her, "Did you protect her at all?"

"She's still alive, isn't she?"

The others finally decided they were done with being silent, "Dillon, I need to check on her as soon as possible." Summer spoke up, being the one with the most medical experience on the team.

"She's sleeping, don't bother her, you can do it when she wakes up."

"My dad's going to be here any minute to check on her." Scott sighed.

"Well, don't let him in, genius."

"He's my dad, Dillon, and oh yeah, the highest military authority in Corinth."

"I don't give a shit, we'll gang up on him if we have to, he's not bothering her."

"Uh, is it really safe to have her here? Y'know, what with all of K's equipment?" Ziggy sounded more than a little nervous.

"She won't try anything, will you, Tenaya?" His voice held more than a slight edge to it.

"Who, me? Never."

"Yeah, sure, 'cause she's just so trustworthy and all." Ziggy grumbled, but didn't press the issue.

"I hate to add more onto your plate, Dillon, but we really need to know what exactly he did to her." Flynn stated.

"And we need to know when we-"

"Can blow Venjix up to holy hell!" How the twins still managed to sound completely cheerful while promising a horrible death was beyond him.

"You can find that out from K, and you're not waking her up to do it," he responded to Flynn, "we'll be giving Venjix everything he deserves and then some when we get more info." How he managed to take Scott's role for the moment, he'd never know, it definitely wasn't a role he was willing to keep, he was handing that shit back to Scott as soon as possible.

"I can help out with both of those." Tenaya piped up.

"Then by all means, take the floor." They switched places, and he leaned back against the table, anxious to hear what she had to say, and more than anxious to get back to K.

She inhaled slowly, making sure to glance at all of them, "What Venjix did, and tried to do to her was terrible, and I'll always regret my part in it," she tugged at one of her braids, clearly not happy about what she was about to say, "he tried to rape her."

The metal table was crushed underneath his hands, and some of the equipment clattered to the floor. Summer was already crying, one of Flynn's arms wrapped around her, his free hand tucked tightly in Scott's, they wore equal expressions of rage. Gem and Gemma's unfailingly cheerful expressions were replaced with murderous ones, and Ziggy spoke up, "We're going to kill him, right?" Instead of sounding resigned at having to kill another human being, his voice was equal parts rage and eagerness.

"Yeah." His reply came less than a second later.

"I managed to stop him though, I got her out, I couldn't let her keep getting hurt, even if it.." she swallowed harshly, "even if it meant your death, Dillon."

"Yeah, well, I'm still standing, so, thanks for protecting her, thanks for bringing her back to us."

"But I-"

"It's over, what's done is done, what we need to focus on now is making sure she heals, and killing him in the most slow, gruesome way possible." It was as close to forgiveness as he could give her at the moment, but it was obvious she would take it and be happy with it.

Scott sighed again, running his free hand over his face, "You said you could help us with info on his base?"

"Yeah, I can download all the information I have onto your computers if you'll allow me access."

They all glanced at Scott and he nodded, "Go ahead."

As Tenaya went over to K's main computer, he glanced over at Scott, who gave him a nod, and he left the control room, going back into her room. She began whimpering slightly, and he quickly kicked off his shoes, crawling into bed with her. Once his hand burrowed into her hair, she turned into him, and calmed down, sighing slightly. He pressed a kiss to her temple, whispering, "I've got you, I won't let you go." She must have heard him, because she brushed her lips against his neck, and curled her hand into his shirt again.

He was going to fix it, he was going to fix her, and then he was going to make Venjix pay. For everything.

------=------

It was two nights later when they were ready to take Venjix down. Dillon had practically moved out of his and Ziggy's room and into K’s, half his shit was stuffed into her closet and dresser, and she never protested. He debated ignoring Scott's knock entirely, because he was really fucking comfortable, one of K's pajama-clad legs wrapped around his waist, and half her body resting on his chest. He honest-to-God did not want to move from his position. He grumbled when Scott ceased his knocking but didn't actually go away, whatever he wanted had better be fucking important. She looked up at him with sleepy eyes, yawning a little, "Go see what he wants."

Ah, and there was the Doctor K he was used to, "Fine, but I won't like it."

"You never do," she disentangled herself from his body, but not before leaning up and giving him a long, slow kiss, "just come back as soon as he stops talking."

"Done." He climbed out of bed and slipped out of the dark room, his eyes taking only seconds to adjust to the light.

Any other time, Scott would've snarked about how long it took him, but considering the circumstances, he let it slide, "We've finally got enough information to take him down."

"So we're doing it tonight?"

"As soon as possible."

"We've got everything we need, weapons, bombs, everything." Flynn commented.

Ziggy was practically vibrating with excited energy, "Oh man, we're totally gonna tear his place apart."

"Along with him." Summer stated evenly.

He let his eyes travel back to the door that he had just came from, and Scott shook his head, "Don't even think about it."

Scott could order him to do, or not do, a lot of things, being the field leader and all, but when it came to his girlfriend, all bets were off, "She's going to want in on this."

"She's not healed yet, Dillon." Summer backed Scott up.

"Yeah, I realize that, and I agree, but I know her, and come on, if anybody deserves to put a bullet in his fucking skull, it's her."

"And you're sure she's up to this?" Tenaya raised an eyebrow.

"If we don't let her come along-"

"She'll never forgive us!" The twins spoke up.

"See?" As far as he was concerned, that was all the confirmation they needed.

"They're right," she exited her room, smoothing out her spare lab coat, "none of you will be able to keep me out of this, so I'd suggest you don't even try."

She could rarely surprise him anymore, but he couldn't believe how put together she looked when he had left her only five minutes ago. Other than the cuts and bruises still marring her skin, she looked just the same as always. She gave him a look, like so, what are you waiting for, let's go, so he sighed, took her wrist and pressed a kiss to it, "Let me go put on a shirt."

------=------

They parked a mile away from the base, and hiked their way back to the hill Dillon had watched from. Gem, Gemma and Ziggy were conversing in quiet voices, well, quiet for them anyway, exuding excited energy. Flynn and Summer flanked Scott's sides, and Dillon kept K firmly behind him, their hands tangled together. "Alright, if we're gonna do this, now's the time." Tenaya spoke up.

It was a simple plan as far as plans went; they were just going to, more or less, storm the castle. They were going to try and avoid using their abilites if at all possible. They were going to split up into three groups, Scott, Flynn and Summer, Ziggy, Gem and Gemma, and Dillon, K and Tenaya. The idea of K being in any group but Dillon's hadn't even been a possibility, no way was he going to let her out of his sight with Venjix anywhere near her. "We ready to do this, guys?" Scott voiced.

At their nod, he gave them all a smile, "Just remember, we've got thirty minutes to do this before the whole place explodes, and guys, however this turns out, I've been honored to be leader of this team."

"Oh for fuck's sake, Scott, none of us are dying tonight." Flynn huffed.

"Yeah, just because we're killing Venjix, doesn't mean we're not still needed." Summer nudged Scott in the ribs.

"Right, can we have these sappy moments after we kill Venjix, does that work for you guys?" Dillon broke in.

"Right, right, let's go." Guns were prepared, along with one of K's giant guns, and it would never fail to amuse him how she carted around weapons that were almost as big as her.

They ran down the hill, guns akimbo. It was easy to kill off the Grinders that guarded the door, easier still to get inside. With a small hand gesture from Scott, the three groups split up, heading in different directions. Tenaya was leading them straight to Venjix himself, while the others were going after the other two Generals, Dillon could feel an anxious energy thrumming in his veins, and the steadying presence of his girlfriend at his side. Tenaya straightened up when they encountered a dark haired man, "Ah, so our little traitor returns."

"I'm not the traitor here, Kilobyte." She sneered.

Dillon narrowed his eyes, already ready to step in and defend his sister, but she held up a hand, "Venjix is down the hall, to the right, don't worry about me, I've been waiting for this for awhile."

"Alright, if you're sure.

"I'm positive."

Kilobyte didn't even glance at the couple, "I've missed you so, Tenaya."

"Yeah, I'm sure you have, asshole."

K tugged on his hand, clearly impatient and done with Kilobyte and Tenaya's little stand-off. He gave her a little smirk, and headed off down the hall with her. He wouldn't worry about Tenaya, his sister could take care of herself. When he kicked open the single door at the end of the hall, there Venjix was, sitting casually in a chair. Dillon felt K tense beside him and curled his hand onto her shoulder, Venjix still looked the same as he remembered from the picture, the golden boy, sun-kissed blond hair and bright blue eyes, and Dillon could see how he could fool so many people, bring so many onto his side. Venjix smiled at his former mentor, "Hello, Kalea, it's good to see you again."

"Don't call me that, you don't get to call me that." She hissed.

"But it's your name," he blinked innocently, "I truly have missed you though."

"Don't fucking talk to her." Dillon aimed his gun straight at his forehead, "Not after all the shit you did to her."

He tossed his head back and laughed, and Dillon felt his blood boil in his veins, "It's only fair after everything she put me through over the years."

She stared at him coldly, "I was young, and foolish enough to believe conditioning you was the right thing to do, yes, I set you on your path, but you didn't have to follow it."

He smirked, gave a one-shoulder shrug, "It's all water under the bridge, right? We did have some good times in our youth, didn't we? All those stolen kisses, those touches, it was good, wasn't it."

If he was saying that shit just to make Dillon angry, he was doing a horrible job at it. Whatever Venjix and K were was in the past, she had him now. She sighed, "At the time, it was just research for me, a way to feel more...human, as it were, something Alphabet Soup couldn't take from me."

Blue eyes flashed red, as he narrowed them at him, "Shame, then." And with that, he fired his gun at them.

He raised his shield without even actively thinking of it, the purple glow melding around them and protecting them. The bullets bounced harmlessly off the sides, embedding into the walls, "I've always been fascinated by that power of yours, D44, I can't wait to test it further."

"Too bad you'll never get the chance to." He was tired of hearing this asshole speak, and squeezed K's shoulder.

She raised her gun, twisted a knob on it and aimed it at him, he merely raised an eyebrow, "And what do you expect to do with that, dear? I've seen it before, you've never made it lethal."

"No, I haven't, but it doesn't need to be." She fired at him, and four strands of heavy duty steel cable shot out of the gun, and pinned his wrists and ankles to the wall.

He frowned, struggling against his bonds, before realizing he couldn't break them, "How clever of you."

She tilted her head at him, "Thank you," before raising Dillon's gun to his forehead.

"Tell me something, before you kill me, consider it a last wish."

"Fine." Dillon didn't think he deserved that much, but it wasn't up to him.

"Did you ever love me?"

She titled her head to the side, "I could have, maybe I even should have loved you, if I had known what love was then."

He nodded, and smiled, seemingly more willing to accept his death, "I always loved you."

When she cried after shooting him in the forehead, he just tugged her against him and pressed a kiss to the side of her neck, "We need to go; we're running out of time."

"Yes, of course." She stepped out of his embrace long enough to tug off her lab coat and cover him with it, dropping her only picture of him onto his corpse, "I'm ready now."

"Then let's go." He took her hand and they ran out of the room.

They met the others in the middle of the compound, none of them looking injured, "We only have-"

"Two minutes left!" The twins informed them.

"Plenty of time left to-" Scott cut himself off with a sigh when the left-over Grinders filled the hallway, led by two lone Generals.

Dillon made a split decision and pressed a heavy kiss to her mouth, before shoving her into Ziggy's arms, "Get them out of here."

Ziggy gave him a startled look, "But, what about-"

"We'll be fine; we'll be finished with these guys in no time." Dillon tossed his best friend a reassuring grin.

He nodded, before wrapping an arm around K's waist, grasping the edge of Summer's jacket with his hand, and clamping onto Tenaya’s shoulder with his free hand, "Ranger Green, don't you dare." K hissed.

He winced; he was not looking forward to whatever punishment she had cooked up for him, "Sorry, but I have to do what he says."

"I outrank him!"

"Well, on the field, you don't outrank me," Scott pointed out, "Ziggy, get them out of here."

Before they could make anymore protests, they were gone, and Dillon watched the flash of green light fade out, not hearing them anywhere in the building, he was satisfied enough to be able to fight without distractions. Just a few more stragglers to kill and he'd be able to go home with his girl. "Ready, you guys?"

"Of course." Scott grinned, his body already starting to glow a vibrant red as he began storing up energy.

"Ready when you are." Flynn stated.

"Alright, Gemma, it's-"

"Boom time!" Gemma cheered.

Dillon smirked at this friends and teammates, "Let's do this."

------=------

Ziggy had to let go of Tenaya and Summer to hold onto K, "Let me go right this instant, Ranger Green!"

"Guys, a little help here?"

"You can handle it." Tenaya was clearly distracted, her eyes on the building that was a mile away.

"Do you have any idea what I can do to you?" She hissed to Ziggy, still struggling.

"Yeah, I've been there before, K, it's not any worse than what Dillon would have done to me if I hadn't gotten you out of there."

"I don't need to be protected; I am more than capable of taking care of myself."

"Ow! Did you just bite me?"

"I'll do a lot worse if you don't let me go!"

Before he could say anything else, the explosions filled the air as the building lit up in flames. They all stared at the crumbling building with wide eyes, before K renewed her struggle, "Dillon!" She howled, nails digging into his hands.

He barely felt the pain, no way could they have died in that explosion, there was just no way, Dillon had promised him..."Dillon..." Tenaya whispered, barely audible over K's screams.

Summer's eyes were filled with tears, but she refused to say anything. Minutes passed, without a sign of them, as K's screams turned into sobs, and Ziggy had never seen her so broken, not even when they had rescued her just 48 hours ago. "Guys..." Tenaya whispered, and K looked up, unable to see through her haze of tears.

"Oh man, Gemma, that was so-"

"Awesome! We TOTALLY killed them!" The twins made their usual sound effects as they bounded up the hill.

"That was not fun at all." Scott grumbled.

"How do you think I feel? I was the one that had to stop time, do you have any idea how taxing that is?" Flynn pouted.

His boyfriend laughed, looping an arm around his shoulders, "I'll make it up to you, later."

Dillon just rolled his eyes, strolling casually up the hill, as if he hadn't just been in a life-threatening explosion. Ziggy automatically let go of her, and she ran down the hill, throwing her entire body at Dillon. He couldn't help but laugh as he caught her, not even stumbling at her sudden weight, "You-you..." it was obvious she couldn't think of a good enough insult, and settled with punching him in the shoulder instead, before pulling him down into a searing kiss.

He pulled away when he noted her need for breath, licking the blood off of his lower lip, "Does this mean you were worried about me?"

"No, of course not, I knew you were perfectly capable of returning to me, I've trained you, after all."

He snorted, running his thumbs under her eyes, wiping away her tears, "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Doc."

"I'm giving you extra training for this."

He shrugged, "Bill me."

"Oh, please, as much training as you owe me, you'll never make up for it at this point."

"Well, I can certainly try, can't I?" The glint in his eyes sent a shiver down her spine.

"Yes, I suppose you can."

"Hey, do we get in on this, or what?" Came Ziggy's impatient voice.

K rolled her eyes and stepped away from Dillon, and Ziggy and Tenaya both threw themselves at him at the same time. He chuckled, curling one arm around his best friend, and the other around his sister, "I'm fine, you guys."

"Yeah, well, Doctor K certainly didn't think so." Ziggy pointed out.

"I will kill you, Ranger Green."

"Please don't, I'm kind of fond of him." Tenaya stated.

Ziggy pulled away from Dillon, glancing over at her, "Really?"

Tenaya followed suit, offering him a tentative smile, "Yes, really, that was never a lie."

When he leaned over to kiss her, the only reason Dillon didn't fling Ziggy across the desert was because K had him occupied again with her lips on his. It seemed to be a night of kissing, as the twins were wrapped up in each other, quiet for once, and even Summer got in on the act, as Scott and Flynn covered her face with kisses, and she was unable to stop her giggling. When they finally managed to settle down, they were left staring at the wreckage of a building that had claimed some part of all of them. "So, what now?" Ziggy voiced his concerns, "I mean, Venjix is dead, there's no need for the Rangers, now, is there? The government can take care of the criminals now."

"Yeah, right, they could barely even deal with the Grinders, you really think they're gonna be able to deal with the Cartels and all the other criminals?" Dillon snorted.

"I don't know if I should feel insulted by that or not." Scott frowned.

"Everything I say is some form of subtle insult to you, oh-fearless-leader." Dillon grinned.

"Hey, just because Venjix is dead doesn't mean our job is over, there's still plenty of bounties to catch." Summer gave a devious smile.

"Uh-oh, is that the rich Summer rearing her head?" Flynn teased.

"No!" She punched him in the shoulder.

Tenaya stared up at the ceiling of the dome, at the manufactured sky, "And even without bounties to catch, there's still plenty of work to do. Filters for the air outside of the dome, a way to revitalize the Earth, maybe see if there are more people out there."

"Yeah, it'd be nice to get the fuck out of this dome." Dillon's voice took on the same wistful tone as his sister.

K frowned a little, that sounded a lot like he was leaving her, and if wanted to go, well, who was she to stop him, really? His job was done, and he wasn't exactly known for staying in one place for too long. So what if her heart ached at the thought of it, she'd be fine...eventually. He glanced down at her, and settled a hand on her hip, "I'm not going anywhere, Doc, I told you that, didn't I?"

She tried not to bite her lip, "That was in a moment of comfort, I didn't expect you to-"

"I meant it then, and I mean it now, I'm here for as long as you want me."

"And what if that's an indefinite amount of time?" She challenged.

"Then I guess I'll be here for an indefinite amount of time," he smirked down at her, leaning down to brush his lips against her neck, "besides, you need me."

"Oh, I do, do I?" She turned her body to face him, sliding a hand up his shirt, "I believe it's the other way around."

"You would." He quieted her by kissing her again.

"Ew, they're not going to start having sex right here in the desert, are they? Because I really don't want to see that." Ziggy scrunched up his face.

"So, then ignore it." Tenaya scoffed.

"And how am I supposed to do that? Look at 'em!"

"Easily, like this." And she pulled him into her own kiss.

Gem and Gemma completely ignored them, grinning at Scott, "So, now that we have more time-"

"Can we build more bombs?"

"Why would you need to build more bombs?" Scott frowned.

"There's always room-"

"For more bombs!" And there went the sound effects again.

Scott sighed good-naturedly, looping his arms around his best friend and his boyfriend, the original three, "They're never going to change, are they?"

"Like you would want them to?" Summer leaned her head against his shoulder.

"It wouldn't be quite as...interesting, that's for sure." Flynn stated.

"Yeah, I guess you're right, I wouldn't change them for the world."

------=------

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