“Are you okay?” Hayley asked.
“No… I don’t know” Tommy sighed, “I got a phone call this morning, Kira’s mom pled guilty to the charges. She said she was drunk but also said it was no excuse for her behavior and the judge is giving Kira two options emancipation or spend the next few months as a minor and with me.”
“Kira can’t support herself as required to be emancipated by California law.” Hayley protested.
“Exactly and I’m sure Kira would agree, they asked if I would continue as her guardian until her 18th birthday, as if that was a question that needed asked.”
“Yeah, I would have asked but I would have already known you’d never turn her out. You wouldn’t turn any of those four away if they needed you.” Hayley’s tone was casual, it was obvious to her that Tommy would continue to care for Kira, he’d be there for her as long as she needed him.
Tommy looked the three boys seemed to gather around Kira in a protective group. Conner and Ethan had known about Kira’s problems at home for quite a while, Trent was just learning about what was going on in Kira’s life but that didn’t mean he wasn’t right there by her side when she needed him.
Kira was leaned against Trent, Conner had a hand on her arm and Ethan had her right hand in his. Trent kept a firm grip on her left hand.
Tommy wondered what she would say to remaining at his house. Did she have any other place to go? He was pretty sure the answer was no or the CPS workers would have found it by this time.
“At least now she knows she has a place to turn. Before she became a ranger she wouldn’t have had that.” Hayley pointed out. “She would have ended up in foster care if it weren’t for you…then again I think things might have been a lot worse if it weren’t for this development in her life.”
“True,” Tommy sighed “Her family life was bad, I’ve heard of so many girls in her place turning out so bad I don’t even want to think of what Kira would have turned into if I hadn’t been here to intervene in her life.”
“Kira I’m sure Dr. O won’t mind you stayed with him, he did take you in after all.” Ethan said.
“I think so too, but…” Kira didn’t know if the courts would allow her to stay there or if it was meant to be temporary. She hoped she could remain, she liked where she was. It was a lot better than with her mom. She leaned her head on Trent’s chest and just rested there.
“Don’t worry, Kira, you know we’re here for you.” Conner said.
“Yeah, he’s right; we’re a team, that’s all that matters.” Trent chimed in.
“Thanks guys,” Kira said looking at the trio that had quickly gathered around her in her time of need. She felt as if she was in the middle of a storm and her fellow rangers, Tommy and Hayley were the only ones keeping her from being swept away.
That evening, Tommy and Kira started home. Tommy knew she was worried about what the future after the CPS case closed held.
“So, after all of this dies down, what are we going to do?” she asked.
“Keep going with our lives.” Tommy replied simply.
“Wait, so this situation is permanent?” Kira asked.
“If you want it to be, yeah it is.” Tommy replied with a shrug.
Kira was stunned.
“Do you?” he prompted after a few minutes of silence.
“Well yes, of course I do” Kira replied as if that answer were completely obvious.
Tommy just smiled slightly; he should have expected that answer. She was better off with him than she was anywhere else at this point in her life.
“You’re aware that you won’t be allowed to continue in my class, right?”(A/n: I know Trent was in the class with Anton as a teacher but that didn’t seem like it would ever really happen given their relationship.)
“I know.” Kira sighed “But I’ll take a slight schedule change over the prospect of living with complete strangers and the risk that I’d have to leave the guys and not get to see any of you again.”
“Sounds reasonable,” Tommy conceded.
Tommy had never wanted to bring the teenagers into the fold as rangers but Mesogog and the dino gems had given him little choice. The gems had chosen the trio and Mesogog wasn’t willing to let them live normal lives with the power in them so he had to teach them to fight against this evil and protect themselves. He had stressed that more with Kira because he knew that she might have to protect herself from more than just the tyranno drones and other monsters Mesogog sent out. There were others that would hurt a girl like her he just never dreamed one of those people would be her own mother. He hated that the one person that she couldn’t fight back against was the one that hurt her in more ways than he could imagine.
They got to the house and a strange smile crossed Tommy’s features.
“You realize that if you aren’t my student you don’t really have to call me Dr. Oliver anymore, you can call me Tommy.” He said as they got out of the jeep. His tone carried a humorous edge and his smile was light, more like what she had seen when she went back those eleven years and met Tommy as a high school student.
“That would be a little too weird.” Kira replied with a chuckle.
“It was a thought.” He shrugged.
Kira went into her new bedroom and sat on the bed before falling backwards onto the pillows so she was staring at the celling. So much had changed in the past couple of days. She hadn’t wanted CPS to be called but the more she thought about it the better this was for her. Her mom couldn’t hurt her anymore, physically or emotionally. She couldn’t threaten to wreck her guitar again and Tommy definitely wouldn’t as he knows that is one of her prized possessions and he respected her and praised her talent. She sighed, it felt good to know she was with someone who actually cared about her and let her know it. She didn’t always feel that way with her mother. She sometimes got the feeling she was a burden to her mom or that her mom didn’t care that her daughter was a gifted musician whereas Tommy did know her talent, he’d heard her sing and encouraged her to keep singing even when it seemed he was the only one listening.
Time kept moving forward and since Kira’s mom didn’t dispute the charges but admitted to what she did, the case went quickly. This made it easy for Kira, Tommy and the other rangers to settle into a new state of normal. Kira’s school schedule changed so she was no longer in science class with the other rangers and while the others didn’t particularly like this fact they didn’t see her as often. They knew that she was better off living with Tommy than she had ever been at home with her mom. She was enjoying living with Tommy and of all of them she knew him better than the rest. She got to benefit from his casual confidence more than the rest and it showed in how her new songs came so easily.
Tommy’s sinus infection was easing away quickly when he noticed something wasn’t right with Kira. She seemed exhausted and that cough sounded bad. He didn’t want to believe it, she had been with him less than a month and she was already getting sick. He could tell she didn’t have the sinus infection he just recently got over. She had caught something else from someone else and with the fever she was running school was out of the question. He knew this meant another visit to the doctor and more medication, but given the fact that his insurance changed when he took her in he didn’t think it would be a problem.
Tommy contacted the school and told them that Kira couldn’t come he had a doctor’s appointment set for her. He honestly didn’t feel right leaving her at home alone. The only reason he went to work is that Hayley volunteered to leave the Cyberspace in the hands of employees and stay at the house with her to make sure she was okay until he could get her to the doctor that afternoon.
Trent came into the classroom a confused expression on his face, he hadn’t seen Kira all day even though he knew for a fact Tommy was there that day.
“Dr. Oliver; is Kira okay?” he asked.
“She isn’t feeling well; she’s going to the doctor this afternoon.”
“I hope she gets better soon.”
“Me too, Trent,” Tommy replied.
The message soon got around to the other rangers that Kira was out sick.
That afternoon Tommy drove Kira to the doctor’s office her breathing had gotten worse and both her throat and her chest were sore from the coughing, which had begun to bring up mucus from her chest. These developments had Tommy worried more than before he wasn’t sure what she had and the diagnosis of bronchitis seemed 100 times better than what he feared.
They went home with the recommendation to take something for pain and maybe something to get the mucus out of her chest. The doctor had also told Tommy that if her breathing got worse he might have to take her to the ER where there was a chance she’d be admitted.
Worry ate at Tommy on the drive home. He was sure she would do okay but something in the back of his mind kept telling him a ranger’s luck was never that good, and his luck was second-rate at best and could arguably have been the worst of any ranger in history. He looked over at her as she dozed on the way back home and a sigh escaped him, he was worried about her in that moment and could only hope things wouldn’t get any worse.
Hayley was at the house with the boys when Tommy and Kira returned home.
Trent walked with Kira back to her room to get her settled in to get some rest.
“What’s the diagnosis?” Hayley asked.
“Bronchitis,” Tommy replied dropping heavily into a chair.
“Oh,” Hayley winced. Conner and Ethan were in another room doing homework, they would find out later that day what the diagnosis was.
“Her breathing was bad; they said if it got worse she might have to be hospitalized.” Tommy sighed “With all the singing and fighting she does why did this hit her so hard?”
“I don’t know.” Hayley admitted taking a seat beside him placing a hand on his shoulder in an attempt at comfort.
Tommy rubbed his face with his hands, “Right now they said she needs to take something to get the mucus from her lungs and she could take something for pain if she needs it.”
“Well at least they gave you a plan of attack, that’s more than you had when you went up there. Sure it isn’t as satisfying as a cure all pill or something but at least bronchitis is something she’ll recover from.” Hayley replied rubbing slow circles on Tommy’s shoulder blade.
“True.” Tommy sighed jadedly.
“Tommy, you can’t forget it hasn’t been that long since you got over that sinus infection that had you kicked for a few weeks.” Hayley pointed out casually, “We can’t have you getting sick again as well, those boys are good but they still need a mentor.”
Tommy sighed and shook his head, she was right he needed to be careful after that as he was still recovering.
Trent returned after he was sure Kira was settled in and had all she needed within reach.
“She’s set for now, she said she’d call or text us if she needed anything.” He said “But I really doubt she will do much more than sleep for a while. I think the medication has made her drowsy.” Trent’s expression reflected the same kind of worry Tommy’s did and Hayley quickly realized both of them cared for Kira even if they looked at her in different ways.
“Good,” Tommy replied, “She needs the rest.”
Suddenly the alarm in Tommy’s morpher went off.
To Be Continued…</b