General Disclaimer: No I don’t own RJ or Casey or Dom. Dang.
AN: So who else saw PR: RPM? It was epic, one of the better premieres in my opinion.
“May I have a moment of your time, RJ?” Master Finn asked the purple ranger. There had been no greeting, nor warning of his arrival.
RJ felt the multitude of attention that was suddenly zeroed on his person. However, RJ knew he could not avoid his father forever, evidence to the contrary. He had tried, for seven years he had tried, only to have it thrown in his face when his red ranger had shown up with a new Master.
“Hello to you to dad,” RJ blithely answered, “Nice of you to drop bye,” he continued sarcastically.
Lily and Theo, the only other occupants on the main floor with RJ, glanced at one another.
“I’m thinking we should go somewhere else,” Theo murmured to Lily. He had never seen Master Finn, like he was this morning. RJ wasn’t much better but he wasn’t afraid of the wolf master.
Lily nodded, she had caught the tension between the two as well. She did catch RJ’s eye before leaving, she knew he could handle himself but there was no harm in asking. RJ gave her a small shake of his head and a small smile.
He appreciated her offer but he was okay, for now. He hoped. Lily smiled and joined Theo in the kitchen.
“What’s wrong, Lil?” Theo asked.
“Theo!” Lily said, “What’s wrong is that RJ is out there with Master Finn, alone.”
Theo glanced from his blond friend to the door, “I’m sure RJ’s fine. It’s not the first time he has had to talk with Master Finn. Besides, Finn’s his father, he won’t do anything.” Theo calmly stated.
Lily glared at the jaguar. “Did you ever think there was a reason RJ’s been avoiding his father lately?” She asked.
“What can I do for you, dad?” RJ asked his usual cheery matter somewhat dim.
Finn watched his son, he knew that RJ was not happy to see him, but he could not blame his son. Things had been better between them, yes. However the present could not change the past. Finn had thought, unlikely though it was that over time RJ would see the error of his ways.
“I wish to speak to you,” Master Finn responded.
“I gathered that, otherwise the two of us would not be in our current predicament that would in fact show an observer that we are indeed, talking.” RJ spoke in an offhand matter, though his posture was anything but. Arms crossed over his chest as he leant across one of the tables, his stature radiated a soft defiance and readiness for anything that would come his way.
“Perhaps we should discuss this elsewhere?” Finn questioned, well aware that though the floor itself was empty that Theo and Lily could easily over hear their conversation.
“I would think that anything you wish to discuss with me would not need to be kept secret from my friends.” RJ said, tone indicating that, no they were not moving, here was just fine. RJ enjoyed the brief flicker of discomfort that flickered over his father’s face. He was well aware of what his father wished to talk about.
“I see.” Finn promptly countered.
RJ waited, this was his father’s game, and therefore RJ would let him make the moves.
“Casey has not come to practice with me as much,” Master Finn stated at last. It was a weak start and if RJ had not known the reason for this little visit, his father’s statement would have clarified it.
“Casey has other priorities, at the moment” RJ gestured towards the entrance of JKP as though indicating that Casey’s priorities were indeed elsewhere.
“So do the rest of my erstwhile employees,” RJ continued. “They are choosing their own life be it with Pai Zua or not. Lily and Theo no longer rely on Swoop and Phant.”
“Lily and Theo have been with Pai Zua longer, they do not need much training.” Finn retorted.
“I would think, Dad,” RJ planted his father with a firm stare, “That since all three have earned their master’s ranking, that none of them need constant training. Especially since none are in fact teaching at the academy.”
“Perhaps you should say what you have been wanting to since you decided to visit.” RJ left no room to maneuver. He would not have anyone question the abilities of his teammates.
Finn looked at his son. RJ’s stance had barely shifted during the whole conversation but Finn could feel the annoyance that was slowly coming from his son though his face reflected none of it.
“I have never claimed to understand your chosen life style RJ,” Master Finn acknowledged. “But I will not allow you to negatively influence another with it.”
“You choose not to understand,” RJ said his father did not see the flash of hurt that appeared in his eyes at the second part of that statement. “There is a difference.”
“He is your student.” Finn sharply said.
“He is no longer my student, and one could argue that he never truly was,” RJ airily responded, “The academies represent student/master relations, this is not the academy. Ergo Casey and the others were never in that regard, my students.” RJ tilted his head. This was not a road lightly traveled with his father. However it was one he had been on before. Just not with the same significance as the current situation called for.
“Semantics do not change the fact that Master/Student relationships are unwelcomed and frowned upon, not to mention how one such as this would look.” Finn snapped all attempts to stay level headed gone.
“Casey can make his own choices,” RJ murmured.
With that simple statement Finn knew RJ would no longer tolerate his presence.
He had truly hoped that his son would see that his chosen life style, however unique, was not the way of Pai Zua. He had hoped. But he did not regret the words spoken to his son; the present could not change the past. Nor would he wish it to.
Things had been said on both sides. Things that could not be taken back, no matter how long the passage of time.
Fran hummed as she practically glided from place to place out on the main floor. She had the evening shift that night and was in the process of clearing the tables.
“How are things going back there?” a static voice asked.
“Okay I guess,” Fan smile would have lit up a dark room. “RJ’s been a little tense since his father stopped by this morning.”
“What happened?” Dom queried, he had not been able to contact his friend that day. RJ had simply chosen not to answer his phone.
Fran shrugged forgetting that Dom could not see the gesture over the phone.
“I don’t know, Lily and Theo were here but they won’t talk about it, but they keep giving RJ sympathetic looks,” Fran’s face wrinkled in thought, “ Which would indicate that whatever was said was not good and that for some reason they think RJ will have a belated reaction to whatever was said.” Fran rambled on.
“Well whatever it was, RJ’s good at keeping things bottled up,-” Dom started.
“Of course he is,” Fran murmured as she cut him off.
Dom chuckled. “But he is good at dealing, for the most part.”
“He should be fine.”
“If he is so good with dealing, he would not keep his emotions bottled up around his friends.” Fran said as her voice rose in indignation.
“I mean we’re here to help him,” Fran told the phone a bit dejectedly, “That’s what friends are for.”
“RJ doesn’t always remember he can ask for help, Fran.” Dom told her.
“Actually, RJ doesn’t know when to ask for help half the time.” Dom amended.
“Tell me about it,” Fran grumbled.
“It’s what makes him such a great friend.” Dom said.
“He will help anyone he can, but when it comes to himself he thinks he is expendable.”
“It’s what makes him so hard to take care of you mean.” Fran replied.
Dom laughed out right. “Yeah that to. But he’s worth it.”
“Yeah,” Fran agreed gently, “He’s worth it.”
There was several seconds of static on the line.
“I...uh…I’m going to have to go soon,” Dom said reluctantly, “Reception’s getting pretty bad.”
“When are you coming home?” Fran quietly asked. “I know before you said soon and I know that didn’t mean right now but…” Fran stumbled.
“I will be back soon,” Dom firmly reassured his girlfriend. He smiled at the thought; it would be nice to have someone to come home to.
“A week, no more than two and I’ll be home.”
“Really,” There was no disguising the hope in Fran’s voice.
The smile on Dom’s face could be heard through the phone, “Promise.”
“Keep an eye on RJ for me.” Dom asked her.
“I always keep an eye on RJ,” Fran promptly responded even though she sounded a bit affronted that Dom would think otherwise.
“We look out after each other. Always have, always will,” Fran told him.
Fran knew Dom was concerned so was she. RJ had barely acted different today, she knew him to well for RJ to think he could fool her by acting like nothing had happened. RJ’s behavior had not been so worrisome.
It had been Theo and Lily who had been responsible for the sudden increase in Fran’s worry for her friend and employer. Something bad had happened earlier with RJ and his dad, she just didn’t know what.
“I’ll call you tomorrow?” Dom’s voice pulled her from her thoughts.
“Yeah,” Fran answered suddenly quiet her spirit down a little at the reminder that Dom was not physically near her.
“Hey, soon okay. Remember that.” Dom reassured her.
Fran smiled, “Promise.”
“Bye.” Dom said, suddenly quiet as well.
“Bye.” Fran whispered.
As the call ended, Dom felt his good mood dim even more at the thought of his best friend. Now all he had to do was get RJ to talk to him. That would require him to actually answer Dom’s call easier said than done. For someone as talkative as RJ, the purple ranger was exceptionally good at not talking about what actually needed to be said.