General Disclaimer: I do not own Lily or Theo or Fran….Nor I own anything else related to Jungle fury.
AN: So I made a resolution-Every chapter from now on will be longer than the last. I will try to uphold this to the best of my abilities unless a chapter meets a natural endpoint and I can find no way to justifiably extend it. This means in the end, that you all can look forward to a chapter that has more than 2,021 words and is more than five pages.
Previous Parts: One Two Three Four Five
Theo looked up when the sounds of footsteps grew ever closer to his position.
“Hey,” a cheery Lily said as she joined him on the floor.
He could not believe how things had worked out between the two of them. This, whatever, it was between them was still new, neither wanting to push boundaries. They were both extremely comfortable though. Theo smirked, that was more than could be said for some other people.
“Hi,” Theo finally said turning to look at his yellow companion.
“What’s going on Lil?” Theo abruptly asked.
“What do you mean?” Lily responded a little alarmed.
“Not with us,” he quickly assured her, correctly reading her expression. He waved his arm encompassing the loft in a RJ like gesture, “Wit ne else?”
“I mean Dom and Fran are together but he’s hardly been around. Casey’s floundering over his sudden realization that he in fact does at the very least cares for RJ, which everyone knew but him,” Theo exasperatedly rambled.
“And RJ who has been the calmest out of all of us is suddenly fighting with Master Finn over him being a negative influence just because he’s fallen in love with Casey!” Lily shot Theo a tolerantly amused smile since the self proclaimed logical, level headed one of the team, was being the worry wart.
That and she had been trying to get Theo to see what has been going on without having to actually say the words for days. Lily rolled her eyes. He may have picked up on Casey’s feelings but that did not mean that Theo was suddenly the most observant when it came to other people.
“RJ’s problems with his dad are not really a new thing Theo.” Lily reminded him. “They didn’t speak at all for seven years, not until Casey brought him here.
“There is just too much irony in that.” Theo interrupted.
Lily nodded in agreement. It was funny how life sometimes worked out.
“Anyways, I think what we over heard, was the real reason they never spoke.” Lily continued.
“Gee. You think Lil?” Theo sarcastically said, “I never would have guessed.”
She thumped him in the shoulder.
“I just can’t believe how close minded Master Finn is, I mean I never thought well he’d be like this.” Lily said the disbelief was evident in her tone.
“We all knew he was strict Lil, you saw how he disapproved or RJ’s teaching style,” Theo countered. It was true, even when Casey first introduced them to Master Finn; it was easy to tell that he did not approve of RJ’s chosen teaching style.
“Though,” Theo reconsidered, “I guess some of that had to do with what else he didn’t like about RJ.”
“Yeah.” Lily nodded.
Theo mildly startled when Lily moved against him. “Lil,” his voice questioning, “What are you doing?”
“Nothing “she murmured. She had rolled on her side and placed her head on his chest, an arm wrapping around his waist.
Everything may be coming apart around him but for right now, with his girlfriend in his arms, practically lying on top of him, life was good.
RJ floated around the loft, for once he reveled in the peace and quiet that surrounded the place, and he had missed the simple feeling of just being. When he had offered the others a place to stay, RJ had admittedly not thought about how that would change his routine.
Not that he minded much.
His peace and quiet however was shattered the moment the phone rang. He answered it; the peaceful feelings making him forget that he had not been answering the phone for a reason. The reason, who was on the other side of the phone call.
“Hey RJ.” Dom’s greeting soft even over the phone as if the man knew that RJ would not at the moment appreciate anything loud.
“Dom,” RJ nodded, forgetting that his best friend could not see the simple gesture, “What do I owe the pleasure of your voice.”
“Fran isn’t here, if that is who you wish to talk to, mi compadre, she won’t be in for another hour.” RJ continued.
Dom chuckled, amused at the subtle way RJ tried to avoid talking to him.
“I wanted to talk to you actually,” Dom responded. “But you already knew that.” The certainty in that statement told RJ immediately that he would not be able to avoid this conversation any longer.
“Fran sounded concerned when I talked to her the other day,” Dom told him, “She also said that you finally talked to your father.”
Yeah I’m surprised I have avoided talking about it this long. From everyone. RJ winced at the thought. He did not relish having this conversation with anyone else.
“Yes dear old dad just wanted to make his displeasure known over Casey not training much anymore,” RJ tried to divert the conversation from where he knew it was heading.
“Right since him showing displeasure over that would cause Lily and Theo to suddenly start tossing sympathetic looks your way and make Fran unduly worried?” Dom countered.
It was worth a shot.
“Seven years, Dom.” RJ abruptly said after several moments of silence.
Dom stayed quiet, he knew RJ needed to vent and that he was the only one RJ would let go with. RJ’s idea of weakness always surprised him, no matter how long he’s known the guy.
“I thought perhaps given recent events that his issues pertaining to Pai Zua would somehow become paramount,” RJ airily noted, yet Dom could hear the slight depressed note to his friend’s voice.
“You fell in love with your Red Ranger, RJ,” Dom reminded him, “I think even Master Mao would have been surprised.”
At that RJ smiled, “Some would say my issues with authority would now seem apparent.”
“Your issues with authority being you want to sleep with the person in charge?” Dom’s question had a hard note to his voice.
“In the eyes of certain people,” RJ said, “Exactly.”
“Don’t let your dad run your life RJ,” Dom ordered him in no uncertain terms.
RJ grinned, “I would undoubtedly worry if my father still had any say in my life at this point.”
RJ tilted his head, “Or at anytime given our past.”
Dom laughed outright, “RJ your worse than me when it comes to listening to authority figures. I don’t think you ever did one thing you were told without questioning why it was important.”
“Indeed.” Was all the answer Dom got in response.
RJ sighed, “In truth my friend, I am more worried about what Casey will think of all this.”
“Has your dad talked to him?”
“About not training anymore, yes he has.” RJ noted, “Has he said anything to Casey about how he things I am ruining his life?”
“Not even Master Finn has come up with a way to take my former student to task for that.”
“You worried about what Casey would say?” Dom asked his friend.
“My father and Casey have a good relationship with each other; it is something Casey never achieved while he was at the academy.” RJ defensively said. “I would not want that to go to waste.”
“You don’t give him enough credit.” Dom retorted. “Casey isn’t going to let anyone push him around, not anymore. Especially your dad.”
“Will he?” RJ questioned even as he moved to sit in his arm chair.
“If he does, he isn’t worth the trouble RJ.” Dom clearly stated.
“That’s the problem un amigo,” RJ quietly told the phone, “I don’t think I could give him up.”
“At this time, it is our understanding that our students can compete in any of the tournaments or demonstrations that the Expo will contain.”
Casey sat along with all the other teachers of his dojo, waiting to see if any of students would be eligible to even be in the Martial Art’s Expo that would take place in a couple weeks time.
“There will of course be age limits for the tournaments and many are ruled out because they are for advanced levels. I will leave the choosing to your discretion and will only say that we shall meet again in a few days time to make our final decisions.”
At this Sensei Park nodded to Casey and his colleague, “I will however say with certainty that I would like to include several of your students in an expo to showcase their abilities. They are beginners but their talent and progress should be appreciated.”
Casey bowed, “Thank you, Sensei.” The sentiment was echoed by the other man.
Casey kept his composure until he was out of sight of the older Sensei’s who would see fit to censure his outburst. Casey felt the grin on his face widen until it was a full smile. His student’s had not stopped asking about the Expo, and he was extremely happy and proud that he could tell them the good news.
Even if he had to wait for tomorrow.
As he was walking towards one of the practice rooms Casey was brought up short by a figure near the exit doors.
“RJ!” Casey exclaimed, very surprised to see the purple clad man. Surprised but glad. The contented feeling that suddenly flowed though his body went unnoticed by the Ranger however his warm smile did not.
“I see I’ve interrupted a celebratory moment,” RJ commented even as he waved a hand in his direction.
“Just added to it,” Casey answered.
“Some of my students will be able to participate in that Expo I told you all about,” Casey responded to his unspoken question.
“Congratulations,” RJ grinned at him then bowed, “The student has surpassed the Master.”
Casey laughed. “Thanks RJ.”
RJ nodded he did not have to ask what Casey meant by that.
“What’s up? Casey asked as he turned from the practice room and headed towards the exit. “You usually don’t come up this way.”
“I am merely extending my knowledge of my surroundings,” RJ dryly told his red clad teammate.
“Uh uh.”Casey said even as he glanced at RJ out of the corner of his eye. He could tell something was bothering RJ, there really was no other reason he would have dropped by the dojo.
The two walked in silence back to JKP neither seeming to care that their arms were in constant contact. Casey flushed at the warmth RJ’s touch brought to him, he was beginning to miss the feeling when it was not there.
“Dom should be home soon,” RJ randomly said.
“I know, Fran told us,” Casey said. RJ hummed in response.
“I…uh,” Casey started, “I figured we could throw a welcome home party.”
“I would not be surprised if Fran and Lily have not already started planning.” RJ replied. “I would not be surprised if Dom gave them a few ideas.”
Casey laughed. He would not have put it passed the Rhino Ranger to have done so.
“Are you planning on training with my father anytime soon?” Casey blinked at the non sequitur.
“I was going try to make it this weekend,” Casey answered. “I know Master Finn isn’t happy with my decision though.” Casey said, his hand rubbing the back of his neck.
RJ grinned at the understatement. “No he isn’t.”
They had made their way back to JKP in record time, neither paying much attention to where they were walking. Casey observed his companion and saw to some surprise that the tension that had filled RJ before wasn’t present. The wolf was more relaxed than Casey had seen him in awhile and Casey was glad.
RJ had gone to the dojo simply because he had wanted Casey. RJ grinned at the thought. He had wanted Casey for months, which was nothing new. But, after the talk with Dom he had just felt the need for Casey’s presence. So he had made his way towards the dojo.
“I’ll talk to him, RJ,” Casey apologetically said, “It’s me he’s mad at; he shouldn’t take it out on you.”
RJ watched Casey’s back as the tiger walked through the entrance.
“Yes you will.” RJ murmured.