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Endorphin Rush

Chapter Text

Zack was the one who pieced it all together. 

 


 

He was with Billy in physics on a sunny Wednesday morning. The teacher had just finished handing out a new problem set for the class to complete and told them they could work with others if they wanted. So Zack got up and plopped down right in the seat next to Billy’s, scooting closer and making sure not to disturb the neat pencil organization on his desk.

“Hey, Billy,” said Zack, pulling a ballpoint pen from out of his pocket.

Billy looked up and over, a bright, happy smile appearing on his face when he saw Zack. “Oh, hey! Do you want to work together?”

“That’s exactly what I’m here for,” said Zack, turning his attention down to the worksheet. “Let’s do this.”

“Are you sure it’s a good idea to use a pen to do math problems?” Billy asked him. “What if you make a mistake?”

“Easy: I don’t.”

Billy scoffed. “That’s impossible. Everyone makes mistakes.”

He glanced down at the line of pencils along the edge of his desk, and for a second looked like he was actually considering offering Zack one. But Zack sensed his discomfort and stepped in to say, “Whoa, it’s okay. Keep your pencils, I’ll just cross out anything I mess up on and make a mess.”

“Oh, okay,” said Billy, sounding a little relieved, but also very skeptical.

They settled easily into their normal routine. Usually whenever partner assignments happened Zack and Billy would be lost in their own world in the corner of the classroom, blocking out the sounds of chatter from the other students and completing the problems in comfortable silence.

Billy was a physics genius, and Zack was a little bit less of a genius but could still hold his own, so they didn’t really need each other’s assistance. Sure, sometimes Zack would lean over and ask Billy a quick question, or Billy would nudge Zack and check a couple answers with him, but for the most part Billy’s presence simply kept Zack motivated enough to finish the assignment, and Zack’s presence made Billy feel safe and at peace.

Zack was about halfway through the front page when he heard Billy start tapping his foot.

It was quiet, but it was persistent and carefully measured. The hand that Billy wasn’t using to write had begun to rub at his jeans near his knee, like he was trying to keep himself from doing something.

Without realizing it, Zack started to click his pen in time with the beat Billy’s foot was tapping out.

Billy perked up, and whatever resistance he’d been harboring evaporated then. He took another pencil into his left hand, and then just—started drumming. He tapped the ends of the pencils on every surface—his leg, the wooden desk, the metal bar connecting the desk to the seat.

Zack grinned, equal parts surprised and impressed, and kept clicking away on his pen. The two boys made eye contact and Billy smiled, wide and joyful.

Just as Billy started getting more complicated and rocking out for real, the teacher called them out and told them to stop making so much noise.

Zack ducked his head, shooting Billy a glance out the corner of his eye. “I didn’t know you could do that,” he said.

“Well, I can,” said Billy sheepishly, rubbing at the back of his neck. “Sometimes I get really jittery. Drumming helps cool me down. And I like how steady I can make the beat, because I get to control it however I want.”

“Can you do the real thing, too?”

“Yeah. I got a little set back at home.”

“That’s awesome, man,” said Zack, nudging Billy with his shoulder. Billy looked down, looking a bit proud of himself. He checked his watch.

“It’s 10:12,” he told Zack. “We have 4 minutes and 28 seconds of class left to finish this.”

“Race you,” said Zack.

Billy stared at him. Zack laughed and started scribbling away on his worksheet.

 


 

A little over a week passed after that incident.

Zack was in the hallway right before school started, walking to class with Jason and Kimberly. The boys were flanking her when out of nowhere she grabbed them both by their backpacks and ushered them into a side hallway.

“Kim—what—” Jason said, disoriented, because he’d just been interrupted mid-sentence.

Kimberly didn’t answer, not until she’d pushed them into an empty classroom and closed the door shut behind her.

“Sorry,” she said, leaning back against the door. “Just saw a couple girls from cheerleading coming down the hallway. I don’t know why, but they’re out trying to get me this week. Didn’t really want to face them this early in the morning.”

“Oh,” said Jason. “Well—we can just stay here, I guess, until the bell rings.”

“Thanks,” said Kim gratefully.

Zack spun around to take to take a good look at his surroundings. “Where are we? Is this the orchestra room? I’ve never been here before.”

“Huh.” Jason turned as well. “There’s a keyboard back there. I wonder if it works.” He dropped his backpack to the ground and started walking over. Zack and Kim shared a look before following after him.

“Do you play?” Kim asked while Jason ran his fingers over the buttons at the top, looking for the switch to turn it on.

“A little bit,” he replied, pressing the power button and plopping down on the seat. Kim and Zack stood in front of the keyboard, and Jason grinned up at them. “Watch this.”

He pressed at the keys. Chopsticks.

It was a simple tune but he played it the whole way through without making a mistake. When Zack was little his mom hadn’t been able to afford piano lessons for him so he was impressed.

“Didn’t know the school’s football star had some hidden musical talents,” Kim teased him.

Jason shrugged, grinning bashfully. “I like how it sounds. I don’t know much, everything I play I had to teach myself.”

“Not bad, not bad,” said Zack, moving over to pat Jason on the back.

“Do you know anything else?” asked Kim.

“Well—” Jason began.

The bell rang.

“Ah, looks like I’ll have to show you guys some other time,” he said, standing up.

“Boo.” Kimberly made her way to the entrance of the room, the boys right behind her. “Thanks for staying with me, guys. I owe you one.”

“What are friends for?” said Zack, wrapping his arm around Kim’s shoulders. She laughed and put her arms around both Zack and Jason, and they headed to class.

 


 

Zack
hey can I come over?? im bored

Trini
no

Zack
ok thx! I’ll be there in 10

Trini
not unless you agree to help babysit the brothers

Zack
yeah yeah yeah. o leave ur window unlocked too pls

Trini
DIE

 

“Hey,” said Zack with one leg inside Trini’s room and one leg outside.

Trini was sitting on her bed, reading a chapter from the textbook in her lap. “If you trip and crack your head I’ll laugh at you.”

“That’s mean,” sniffed Zack. He pulled his other leg in through the window and then hit his head on the top of the pane. “Ow!”

Trini managed to stifle a laugh with considerable difficulty.

Zack grumbled, slipping into Trini’s room and pushing shut the window behind him. He hopped into Trini’s bed, rocking the mattress with his big body.

“And I’m the crazy one in this friendship?” Trini asked. She still hadn’t looked up from her reading.

“You have friends?” asked Zack.

Trini smacked him with the textbook. “Get out of my house.”

“No,” said Zack. “Where are the little brothers?”

“Playing outside. I think they’re coming back in twenty minutes,” Trini answered.

Zack whistled, rolling onto Trini’s legs and wrapping himself around her. “You’re not exactly doing a good job of babysitting them then, are you?”

“Shut up.” Trini rolled her eyes but shifted so that they could both be in a more comfortable position. Zack pushed himself up on his elbows and saw something in the corner of Trini’s room.

“Dude,” he said. “You have a guitar?”

“Uh, maybe,” said Trini, and she finally pushed aside her textbook so she could look awkwardly down at Zack. “Bass. But yeah.”

“That’s awesome,” said Zack. “Dude, what a coincidence—first Billy, then Jason—”

“What do you mean, first Billy, then Jason?” asked Trini.

Zack stopped himself. “Uh, nothing. Do you play?”

“No, I just have it here in my room because it looks pretty,” said Trini. Then she sighed. “My parents wanted me to learn to play at least one instrument when I was little.”

“So you picked the electric bass to troll them?” asked Zack, grinning. “How does someone so small play an instrument so large?”

“Why are you so annoying?” Trini huffed, shoving Zack off her legs. He laughed and rolled off the bed to get a closer look at the bass guitar.

“I play too,” he said, running his thumb gently across the strings. “Both guitar and electric. Sometimes I play for my mom. I love when I play a song she likes and she gets a little smile on her face as she listens.”

“That’s sweet,” said Trini.

“And I also read somewhere that guys who play the guitar look more charming and get more girls,” Zack added.

“That is considerably less sweet.”

Downstairs, the door slammed open and then shut, and a flurry of footsteps sounded up the stairs.

“Looks like they’re home early,” said Trini. “Prepare for company.”

“Trini!” one of them yelled before they even appeared in the doorway. “We saw Mr. Zack trying to break into your room from the backyard! Is he here?”

“Come and get him,” Trini shouted back. And then the boys exploded into her room and tackled Zack to the ground. Trini watched Zack pretend like they had won by yelling in pain at their harmless punches, and couldn’t help but laugh at his ridiculous expressions.

 


 

Several weeks passed after that.

Now that the threat of monsters invading Angel Grove had lessened considerably, Jason held training sessions far less often than before. The practices had been reduced to just two in the afternoon per week, on Tuesday and Sunday, and one in the morning on Thursday.

Kimberly always arrived at the morning sessions first. Zack usually came in second, but he never truly realized how early she got there until today.

That Thursday, for some crazy reason, the other four had all arrived at the top of the cliff at the same time. It was still dark out, and it was a little chilly. Trini was clutching a mug of coffee and looking very small and angry.

“You guys are here early,” commented Zack.

“Couldn’t sleep,” said Trini.

“Me neither,” said Billy. “I was up all night building something.”

“I just woke up early,” said Jason.

“Well, then,” said Zack. “Shall we go in?”

The others nodded. Alpha 5 had figured out a way to teleport them down into the ship, because he’d gotten tired of watching them train damp and with their teeth chattering. So they joined hands and closed their eyes, feeling the energy buzz around them.

Zack heard the voice before he even opened his eyes.

The others seemed equally intrigued by the singing that was floating through the ship and echoing off the walls. They looked at one another before following the path that lead to the training area.

All of them froze at the entryway.

Kim was in the middle of the field, rocking out by herself and belting out a song at the top of her lungs. She was using a hairbrush as the microphone, and her voice—well, she sounded amazing.

She turned around and caught sight of the four of them, and to her credit, didn’t stop singing. She simply grinned wider and even threw Trini a wink.

The coffee mug in Trini’s hand shattered.

Kim ran a hand through her hair and finished the last few lines of her song. Then she turned to the others and flashed them a brilliant smile.

Billy and Jason were gaping. Trini looked completely shocked and mesmerized. And Zack’s mind was racing.

“Dude,” he said into the silence. “We should totally start a band together.”

Chapter Text

Instead of going to training the following Sunday afternoon, everyone showed up at Billy’s house.

He had pushed aside a table full of machinery in his basement and kicked a couple of stray parts on the floor aside to make room for them. They all sat down in a circle, somehow simultaneously making and avoiding eye contact with one another.

Jason spoke first.

“Were you serious about starting a band?”

“Dead serious,” said Zack. “You play piano, Trini plays bass, I play lead guitar, Billy’s on drums, and Kim sings. It’s perfect.”

“You play the piano?” Billy asked Jason.

“Trini plays bass?” Kim said gleefully.

“Shut up, you jerk,” said Trini.

“Well, first things first,” said Jason. “Is everyone okay with this?”

Nobody dissented.

“Zordon’s gonna be so pissed at us,” said Kim.

“Come on,” scoffed Zack. “We’re all a bunch of amateurs, no one’s going to notice or care about our band.”

Billy shrugged. “Zack is probably right. But I think this can be really fun, so why not?”

“Okay then. Second of all, we should probably come up with a name,” said Jason.

“The Power Rangers,” said Trini.

Kim rolled her eyes. “Ha, ha, very funny, Trini.”

Trini picked up a screw from the ground and threw it at Kim, who caught it without even batting an eye. She stuck her tongue out and Trini looked away, shaking her head.

“Hey, don’t break that!” Billy said, pointing in alarm at the screw. “I have only 37 and I need all 37!”

“Okay, guys, how about this,” said Zack. “We can be Zack and the Rangers.”

“No,” said everyone else at the same time.

“Zack and the Zords?”

“Shut up, Zack,” said Trini.

“Zack and the—”

“How about let’s not put your name into the entire band’s name?” Jason interrupted as diplomatically as he could.

They all fell into a silence.

“I can’t think of anything,” said Trini.

“Me neither,” agreed Kim.

Zack gave all of them a pointed look.

“Okay,” said Jason. “Okay, that’s fine. We don’t have to come up with a name yet.”

After that, the meeting basically turned into a party. Kim and Trini started building a tower using Billy’s leftover PVC pipe scraps, while Billy himself looked on in terror. Jason and Zack cleared away a little table so that they could arm-wrestle each other, for some weird reason.

By the time evening began to approach, they were all gathered back on the floor playing a game of spoons with a deck of cards that Zack had brought. It had gone down to just Kim and Jason, with the lone spoon lying on the ground in between them.

Kim won.

She high-fived Trini so hard, for a second Trini thought her shoulder had been dislocated. The boys patted Jason on the back as he smiled and shook his head in disbelief.

“Hey, Billy,” said Jason. “Zack said you can play the drums, right? You got a set?”

“Kind of,” said Billy. “It’s pretty beat up and um, I’m missing some parts but I can still play it.”

“Where is it?” said Jason, interested. “Do you think you could show us a little bit now?”

“Yeah, okay. Just wait here and lemme go get it,” said Billy, jumping up and heading for the stairs.

Most of the toms were dented. The hi-hat was missing an entire chunk, like someone had just cut out a slice from it as if it were a pie, and he’d had to replace the missing snare drum with a bucket. He set the drum kit up in the corner of the basement while Zack helped him find a chair to sit on. Then he joined the girls and Jason on the ground in front of Billy, looking on expectantly.

Billy grabbed two wooden rods from the shelf nearby and looked down at his drum set. He shrugged. “It isn’t much, but it’s enough for me.”

He tapped the rods together four times, and then began to play.

He was good.

Billy played and he was steady, and powerful, and sure of the beat. He bobbed his head up and down as he played and got an excited little grin on his face when he pulled off a particularly complicated rhythm.

They all clapped for him when he was done.

“You’re amazing,” said Jason.

“I could listen to that for hours,” Kim agreed.

“I felt that in my soul,” said Trini.

“Trini doesn’t have a soul,” said Zack. “But seriously, that was sick.”

Billy grinned wide. “Thanks guys,” he said, rubbing the back of his head shyly.

Time had flown by that afternoon. Before they knew it Billy had to kick them out because his mom was yelling at him to get ready to go out for dinner. They all decided to meet up again the following Sunday before parting ways at the entrance to his house.

 


 

Monday came and Jason caught up with Billy in the hallways after second period.

He had noticed how destroyed Billy’s drum kit was. Even in its withered state, Billy had drawn some truly amazing rhythms out of it. A guy like Billy deserved to play on a decent, fully functional set, and Jason had decided he was going to help him get just that.

“Hey,” he said.

“Oh, hi Jason,” said Billy, turning his head to look over at him.

“I was just thinking about some things,” Jason began. “About our meeting on Sunday. You’re really good at the drums.”

Billy ducked his head, a tiny smile forming on his face. “Thanks.”

“Don’t you ever wonder what you could do with a full set?” Jason asked.

“Yeah, I guess I do,” said Billy. “But we’re a little tight on money. Drumming’s just a hobby of mine. I think spending more on food and clothes is a lot more important than fixing a silly drum set.”

“Oh,” said Jason, frowning. “That sucks.”

Billy shrugged, unfazed. “It’s cool. I mean, I wish I knew how awesome it feels to have a real kit but I’m okay with what I have now.”

Jason wrapped an arm around Billy as they continued walking down the hall together. “I get you, buddy. I really do.”

 

Later, once he got home, he went up to his dad to talk about it.

“Hey dad,” he said, leaning against the doorframe that led to his father’s office.

His dad barely glanced up before looking back down at his computer screen. “What’s up, kiddo?”

“So, a couple of friends and I were considering starting a band,” said Jason, shoving his hands into his pockets. “Just for fun. I was wondering if we could spend a little money on a drum kit.”

“You can play the drums?” asked his dad.

“Um—no,” said Jason. “I’m playing the keyboard. My friend Billy, he’s really good at the drums, but his set is complete trash. It’s basically broken. I just thought he should deserve to play on a good set.”

His dad looked up from his laptop and scrutinized his son. “You want to buy a drum kit for your friend?”

“Yeah,” said Jason. “It’s a couple hundred, I just thought we could spare a little bit for him. And I know I’ve been a terrible kid lately but I think I’m getting back on the right track and I just wanted to do this one thing for Billy—”

“Take it easy,” said his dad. “You’re starting to sound like him.”

“Sorry,” said Jason sheepishly.

“Well, clearly you’ve got good intentions,” said his dad with a sigh. “I like that. And maybe this little band of yours’ll keep you grounded for a while longer. So, sure. We can get your buddy a drum kit.”

Jason broke into a grin. “Thanks, dad, really,” he said.

His dad just grunted.

So Jason took his dad’s credit card and his car and drove to the music store. He spent three hundred bucks on what looked like a nice shiny drum set and lugged it into the trunk of the car with the help of the cashier guy.

Then he drove straight to Billy’s house.

Jason parked on the driveway, unbuckled his seatbelt, and pulled out his phone.

 

Jason
Hey I have a little surprise for you, come outside

Billy
?????

Jason
Just do it. I’m on your driveway

 

A few minutes later, Billy’s front door opened and he stepped outside, looking both confused and wary.

Jason opened the driver’s door and stepped out of the car, waving at Billy as he approached.

“Why are you here?” Billy asked.

Jason grinned. “Come around to the back and find out.”

He led Billy to the trunk of the car and popped it open.

Billy’s eyes widened.

“Wait—did you—is this for me?” he stammered.

“Yep,” said Jason. “Convinced my dad to splurge a little bit, just for you. You deserve it, man.”

Billy jumped around in a circle, too overjoyed to form words. Jason watched him, feeling fondness and affection rising up inside his chest.

“I—oh my god—stop laughing Jason Scott, hurry up and give me a hug already!” said Billy.

Jason obliged, laughing, wrapping Billy up in a big bear hug. Billy was laughing as well, hugging Jason back hard and hopping up and down in his excitement.

 


 

Then Tuesday came and someone appeared by the window to Trini’s room and started to push it open.

Trini automatically assumed that it was Zack.

He showed up at her house so often she’d just taken to leaving the window unlocked. She was leaning back against her pillow, her legs bent and a notebook lying open propped up against her thighs.

She didn’t look up as the intruder dropped onto her floor, but in hindsight she probably should have.

Kimberly tackled her on the bed, fitting her body nicely right between Trini’s legs and resting her chin on Trini’s chest. The notebook went flying and hit the ground with a thud.

“Hi,” said Kim, grinning. She propped herself up with her elbows on either side of Trini.

“Holy shit,” said Trini, closing her eyes and letting her head fall back against the pillow. “I thought you were Zack. You gave me a heart attack.”

“That’s too bad,” said Kim.

“What are you doing here?” said Trini, while trying desperately not to let Kim know that her face was on fire.

“I wanted your opinion on something,” said Kim, and that’s when Trini noticed that she was holding a folder. “What do you say?”

“Can’t really say no, can I? Not while you have me pinned to my own bed,” said Trini.

“That’s right,” said Kim, smiling broadly. She lifted herself up a little higher so she could plop the folder onto Trini’s boobs and open it up.

Trini strained to look down at the papers on her chest. “What’s this?”

“It’s just a folder of some stuff I  wrote,” Kim admitted. “Most of it is unfinished or just bits and pieces, but I have one song I like that I’m almost done with.” She pulled out a few sheets of paper and handed it to Trini, closing the folder and setting it aside.

Trini lifted the music over Kim’s head so she could read it easier, because Kim didn’t look like she was planning on getting up any time soon.

“You write?” she asked.

“Sometimes when I’m bored,” said Kim. “Right now it’s just a solo with a few backup vocals and a guitar part. I think with a little bit of work, I could get it to be a whole band arrangement for all of us.”

Trini read through the first few lines, humming a couple notes to herself. “This is cool,” she said, looking back down at Kim. “You’re good at this.”

Kim’s smile turned soft and shy. “Thanks. You can sing too, right? I could make the backup part bigger and we can sing it together.”

“Oh—uh, sure,” said Trini.

“I can sing it for you first,” said Kim, taking the music back from Trini. “So you know what it sounds like. And maybe you can help me decide which harmonies sound the best.”

She sang the song. Her voice was clear and powerful and Trini thought the only word that could describe the song and Kim’s singing was kickass. And she told her this.

Kim laughed. “I hope that’s a good thing. Here’s the backup part, sing with me?”

“Sure,” said Trini, surprised that she sounded so calm and collected. On the inside her heart was beating so fast.

She wondered if Kim could hear it.

Trini messed up the first couple run-throughs, but eventually she got the hang of her part, and even added in a few extra notes and flourishes. Kim smiled wider every time they hit their notes perfectly.

Trini couldn’t stop smiling either. They were singing together, harmonizing, in such close proximity. She was starting to feel something, something warm and fuzzy inside of her, as her voice and Kim’s pierced the otherwise peaceful air.

When they were done Kim broke the eye contact first by sighing contentedly and resting her head on Trini’s stomach. She could definitely hear Trini’s racing heart now. Trini could feel Kim’s too, beating just as fast as hers.

“That was good,” Trini managed to say.

“Yeah,” Kim agreed. “That was really good.”

They stayed that way for a while longer until Trini’s parents came home.

Trini literally shoved Kim out the window to avoid getting caught by her parents. She heard a dull thud outside on the ground below and for a second she was worried.

Then her phone buzzed.

 

Kimberly
Screw u, is this how u treat all ur guests???

 

Trini laughed, but she couldn’t ignore the way her heart was still pounding inside her chest.

 


 

Then Wednesday came and Jason went to bother Zack from where he was sitting in the library, waiting for school to start.

“Zack,” said Jason.

“Jason,” said Zack.

“I need your help.”

“With what?”

“I need your help to steal a keyboard from the school’s orchestra room.”

A grin appeared on Zack’s face. “Did I hear you say steal?”

“Borrow,” Jason corrected hastily. “We’re going to go to the music director and ask nicely to borrow a keyboard that I can use.”

“Oh.” Zack look disappointed. “Why don’t you just buy one? I’m sure you could get something playable for one hundred, two hundred max.”

“I already spent a bunch for a new drum kit for Billy,” explained Jason. “My dad won’t let me buy anything else.”

“I see,” said Zack. “Are we going now?”

“Can you go now?”

“Sure.”

The boys got up and headed for the orchestra room.

They had to ask a couple people to find out who the director was, but they found her office soon enough, and approached her door warily.

“You knock,” said Jason.

“No, you knock,” said Zack. “This was your idea.”

“And you’re helping me so you should help me by knocking—”          

The door swung open.

“Hi,” said Jason, his eyes wide.

“Hello,” the director said pleasantly. “How may I help you two?”

“Uh,” said Jason.

“He wants a keyboard,” said Zack.

“Not permanently,” Jason corrected him, shooting Zack a glare. “Me and a couple friends are thinking about starting a band. I’m playing the keyboard but I don’t have one, so I was wondering if I could borrow one from the school.”

“Sure,” said the director. “You’re in luck, we have a few extra in our piano class. Just make sure you don’t lose it or break it and please return it before the end of the year.”

She gestured for the boys to follow her into the back room of the orchestra.

“That was easy,” Zack whispered to Jason.

“Shut up,” Jason whispered back. “You didn’t do anything.”

“I got the ball rolling. That counts as something.”

“Here we are,” said the director, opening the door to reveal a line of keyboards. “You can take the one by the door right here.”

“Thank you so much,” said Jason earnestly.

The director smiled. “It’s no problem. Close the door on your way out, please. Oh, and if you’re planning on being serious with this band you’re starting, it might be a good idea to invest in a better keyboard. The ones we have here at school aren’t exactly high quality.”

And with that, she left back to her office.

Jason picked up the front end of the keyboard while Zack lifted the back with one arm and the stand with the other.

“We can’t lug this around for the entire day,” said Jason.

“Yeah,” agreed Zack. “We could leave it in the history classroom? We both have that last period, we can take it with us to your car afterwards.”

“Good idea,” said Jason.

They got a lot of funny looks carrying the keyboard through the hallways. Luckily the history teacher was nice enough to let them drop it off on the counter in the back of the room.

 

After school was over they lifted up the keyboard again and left the school, heading towards Jason’s car in the parking lot.

“You’d think we were shoplifting, the looks people keep giving us,” Jason muttered.

“Well, we got this from the school,” said Zack, “so technically, we’re school-lifting.”

Jason groaned. Zack just laughed.

 


 

Then Thursday came and school finally finished up for the day.

“Hi, Billy,” said Kimberly.

Billy spun around wildly, looking for the source of the voice. His eyes widened when his gaze fell on Kim. “H-hey, Kim! What are you doing on my bus?”

“Can I go to your house for a while?” asked Kim. She held up the folder in her hands. “I’ve written a song and a few days ago Trini helped me polish it up a bit. I know how to add guitar parts to it but I’m not really sure about drums. Do you think you could help me with that?”

“Yeah, sure!” said Billy brightly. “Perfect timing too. Jason bought me a brand new drum set a few days ago! I’ve just been getting used to it and breaking it in.”

Kim grinned. “That’s awesome. Thanks, Billy.”

Billy smiled and scooted over so that Kim could sit down next to him. “Sorry for the mess,” he said, packing up his laptop and unplugging the mouse. “I wanted to see if I could finish writing the literature essay before we got home.”

“Oh, don’t let me stop you,” said Kim.

“It’s okay,” said Billy. “I wanna hear your song. Can I see what you have so far?”

“Sure.” Kim opened her folder and pulled out a few pages of sheet music, handing it to Billy. “Here. This one has added bass and vocals for Trini and keyboard for Jason. But I'm not sure what to put for you. I don’t really know how to notate a drum part.”

“I don’t either,” said Billy. “Well, not like officially or anything. I can write it out so that I understand how to play it but that’s about it.”

“If it works, it works,” said Kim, shrugging. “What do you think of it?”

“Sing it for me?” Billy asked.

Kim looked around the bus at all the rowdy teenagers. “Maybe once we get to your house,” she replied.

“That’s probably a good idea,” said Billy.

He spent the rest of the bus ride tapping his foot and drumming his fingers against his knees, rocking out to some imaginary beat in his head. Kim smiled at his boundless energy and looked over her song’s sheet music a couple more times.

Billy’s neighborhood was the first stop. He nudged Kim to let her know that they were getting off. She stood up and scooted into the aisle, feeling relieved when the cool breezy air blew in her face as she exited.

“Lead the way,” she said to Billy with an exaggerated grand gesture.

“You know where I live,” said Billy, confused.

Kim paused, then laughed. “Nevermind. Yes, I do know where you live. Come on.”

They reached his house and Billy unlocked the front door for her. “Ma,” he shouted. “I brought a friend over. We’re going to hang out in the basement for a while, okay?”

“Who is it?” came the reply.

“Kimberly. You know the girl I sometimes tell you about?”

“Okay,” her mom called back down. “Make sure she feels at home, Billy. We don’t want her to be disappointed.”

“I know, Ma,” said Billy, embarrassed. He shook his head and moved towards the basement door, Kim following right behind him.

She saw the new drum kit as she was walking down the stairs.

“Wow, that’s a nice set you have there,” she commented as Billy sat down in the stool behind the drum kit.

“I know, right?” said Billy. “It sounds so much better than the one I used to have. And look! Jason even bought me real drumsticks! He got me four,” he continued sheepishly, eyeing the broken one lying in two halves on the nearby table. “I, uh, got too excited on my first day with it and snapped one in half.”

Kim laughed. “Well at least everything else is still in one piece,” she said, standing in front of the drum set and clearing her throat. “Okay. Here’s what the lead singing part sounds like.”

She began to sing, the notes becoming firmer and surer as she found her groove. Billy listened on, first in delight, and then in concentration. He began to tap his foot on the bass drum, looking for a good rhythm.

“Keep singing,” he said to Kim, looking down at his drums. “I’m gonna try some stuff here.”

He did. Sometimes the beats sounded great, sometimes not so much. Every time he tried something he liked he grabbed a pen lying on the table next to him and scribbled what looked like incoherent nonsense onto a sheet of paper.

“That was awesome!” said Billy when Kim finished, throwing his hands up into the air in excitement. “Man, you have some real skills there. And a really sick voice.”

“Thanks, Billy,” said Kim, smiling. “You’re full of talent too. Did you get anything good?”

“I think so,” said Billy, reaching over to pick up the piece of paper and inspecting it closer. Kim scooted over and behind the drum kit so she could look over Billy’s shoulder. “So this means bass drum. The squiggly line means hi-hat. The bigger the circle, the lower the tom. Um, I use a line to separate the beats.”

Kim blinked. “Maybe you should write this out yourself.”

“Okay. Can we go again?” asked Billy.

Kim handed him a fresh copy of the sheet music and a pencil. “Yeah, sure. Just put your part below the bass guitar.”

“Okay.”

It took them three more run-throughs, but Billy finally wrote himself a part that he was satisfied with. He handed the music back to Kim.

“Thanks,” she said, putting the papers back in her folder. “I’m gonna start making individual parts for everyone.”

“Thank you for coming over,” said Billy. “I had a lot of fun!”

“I did too.” She closed the folder and headed for the stairs. “See you tomorrow, Billy.”

“Bye!”

As Kim left his house, she heard Billy testing out his new rhythms by himself. She smiled and pulled out her phone so she could call her parents to pick her up.

 


 

Then Friday came and Trini found herself knocking on the door to Zack’s mobile home.

“Hi,” said Zack as soon as he’d opened the door.

“Hello,” said Trini. She lifted up a little package she was holding in her hands. “I brought a slice of cake for your mom.”

Zack grinned. “Thanks. I’m sure she’ll love it.”

He stepped aside to allow Trini to enter. She’d also brought her guitar, which she left in its case leaning against the wall near the door. Zack led her down the hallway and to his mother’s room.

“Hi, Ms. Taylor,” Trini said nervously, holding out the box containing the cake. “Do you like cake? I have some for you.”

Zack’s mom broke into a smile. She held out her hands and Trini set the cake on her outstretched palms.

“Your friend is very nice,” his mom said to Zack in Chinese.

“She is,” Zack replied. “Is it okay if we practice guitar for a while outside? Only one or two hours, at most.”

“Okay,” said his mom.

Zack turned to Trini, putting an arm around her shoulder and steering her out of the room. Trini got in a wave at his mom before the door closed.

“What she’d say back there?” she asked.

“She thinks you’re really nice,” said Zack. “You have your bass, right?”

“Yup,” said Trini. “Left it at the entrance. Do you have more than one amplifier?”

“One of them sucks a lot more than the other, but yes,” said Zack.

Trini sighed and picked up her guitar case. “I call using the good one.”

“Whatever,” said Zack. “You set up outside, let me get my stuff.”

So Trini stepped out of the house while Zack went into a room off to the side.

By the time she had finished unpacking her bass guitar Zack came out with his own electric guitar and two amplifiers. He set one down next to her and plugged his guitar into the other.

Trini did the same, pulling the strap over her shoulder and sitting down on the amp so she could rest the guitar in her lap.

“Lazy,” said Zack.

Trini stuck out her tongue. She looked down and strummed a couple strings to test its intonation.

“How good are you?” Trini asked.

“How good are you?” Zack retorted.

“Why don’t we find out?” said Trini.

They started out with a few simple chords. After warming up, Zack tried playing a couple tunes, and Trini attempted to match him with a harmony.

“Do you know what we’re gonna be playing on Sunday?” Zack asked.

“Yeah,” said Trini. “Kim showed me a song she wrote. She gave me both guitar parts this morning.”

“How come nobody told me about this?”

“I dunno,” said Trini. “Go take it up with Kim, not me.”

Zack huffed. “Well, did you bring it?”

Trini looked Zack dead in the eye. “No.”

“I hate you,” Zack whined.

Trini laughed and pulled a few pages of music out from a side pocket in her guitar case. “I haven’t looked at it yet so excuse me if I sound like a dying whale.”

“You always sound like a dying whale,” said Zack, taking his part from Trini and glancing down at it.

“You’re about to start sounding like a dying whale if you don’t shut up,” said Trini.

They spent maybe half an hour just practicing and figuring out their parts on their own. When Trini looked over at Zack and he gave her the thumbs up, they tried to put their parts together.

She started playing, and Zack eventually joined in after listening to her part for a bit. It took them awhile to get going, but soon enough they were able to play the whole song through with fewer than ten mistakes.

When they got the hang of it, they even tried testing out all sorts of random tunes and rhythms and chords.

The two hours Zack had allotted passed by in a blur, and by the end of it they’d gotten so loud that Trini worried others would hear and file a noise complaint or something.

“That’s enough for today, I think,” said Zack, tossing his pick into the case. He was grinning from ear to ear. “You’re not so bad, crazy girl.”

“Well you’re terrible,” said Trini, but she was unable to keep the smile off her face.

Trini helped Zack pack up the guitars and amps and wires. When they were finished Zack crashed back against the grass, spreading his arms out and looking up into the sky.

Trini dropped down beside him.

“I have to admit something,” he told her. “I’m stupidly excited for our first practice.”

“That’s not stupid,” said Trini. “Honestly? I’m excited too.”

Zack sighed. “Do you think we could make it big?”

“I dunno,” said Trini. “It seems impossible. Imagine what it’d be like if we did, though.”

“Yeah,” said Zack, lying peacefully on the ground and filled with wonder. “It’d be crazy.”

Chapter Text

Sunday finally arrived and the five of them were set up in Billy’s basement with all their gear. The excitement in the air was palpable.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” said Trini.

“Neither can I,” agreed Kim. “Did everyone look over the music?”

“Yeah,” said Billy.

“A little bit,” said Zack.

Jason’s face twisted into an expression of confusion. “Wait, what?”

“Oh crap, did I not give you the keyboard part?” asked Kim, wincing.

The room was silent.

Jason frowned. “Great,” he said. “I’m already way worse than all of you, now I’m even further behind.”

“That’s not true!” Billy said. Then he paused and stared at Jason. “Wait. That isn’t true, right?”

“It is,” said Jason sadly.

“No way,” said Zack. “I didn’t steal a keyboard from the school’s music program so you could mope around at our very first band practice. Let’s hear what you’ve got.”

“Fine.” Jason squared up his shoulders and cracked his knuckles. The others all watched him intently as he geared himself up to play something.

Then he started playing Chopsticks.

Again.

Billy’s basement was quiet, punctuated only by the notes Jason was pressing.

He finished playing the last note and then looked up at the others, grinning.

“Um, Jason,” said Kim, “is that the only song you know?”

Jason kept smiling.

Zack’s eye twitched.

“I’m just kidding,” said Jason. “I can play other stuff too.”

And just like that, he launched into a full piano rendition of the Halo Theme song.

“I hate you!” Zack yelled when he was done. He reached over, grabbed Billy’s drumsticks, and chucked them straight at Jason. “I thought you were an idiot for a few minutes there!”

“Well, that doesn’t change,” said Trini. “He’s still an idiot. Just a talented idiot, apparently.”

Jason caught one of the drumsticks in between his thumb and index finger. The other went flying past his head and embedded itself half a foot deep into the basement wall.

He turned around to glance at it, then turned back and started giggling.

“What’s so funny?” asked Billy, confused.

“I dunno,” said Jason. “We’re a bunch of high school kids who found an underground spaceship together. Then we got magical powers and saved the world from an alien attack. And now we’re starting a band, we’re honest to god starting a real band, and Zack just threw drumsticks at me.”

“I don’t get how that’s funny,” said Billy.

Zack was trying to hold in his laughter.

“It’s okay, Billy,” Jason said, forcing himself to sober up. He got up and pulled the drumstick out of the wall, and then tossed both of them back to Billy. “So, can I have the sheet music?”

“Right.” Kim found a copy of the keyboard part in her folder and handed it over to Jason. “How good are you at sightreading?”

“Not,” said Jason.

“See, now I can’t tell if he’s lying or not,” said Trini.

The first play through everyone messed up a lot and Jason ended up in another fit of giggles. The second time wasn’t much better. The third time everyone listened more closely to Billy and his steady beat and at least they were together.

By the end of the practice they actually sounded pretty decent. They got through the whole song once without anyone making a mistake. It was a fast-paced tune and Kimberly had given them a lot of freedom in choosing how to play the song, so they ended up with a giant melting pot of styles and genres.

But it sounded awesome combined together.

“Wow,” said Billy, after they’d hit the final note. Everyone was breathing a little heavily from exertion.

“Do you feel that?” asked Zack.

“Feel what?” said Trini.

Jason grinned. “I feel it. It’s like that high you get after a run.”

“Yeah,” said Kim. “Like an endorphin rush.”

Billy glanced down at his drums and then back up. “That should be our band name,” he suggested.

Nobody protested. They all just looked around at each other, shrugging and agreeing.

“Alright then,” said Jason. “We can be Endorphin Rush, an amateur band filled with a bunch of high school screw-ups from the small town of Angel Grove.”

The mood was electric as they packed up, getting ready to leave for the day. And the name did make sense. Even for hours afterwards, they were all high off the thrill of playing songs with each other.

 


 

Not much changed after that.

The training sessions on Sunday afternoon were converted into band practices. Each week they sounded better and better, to the point where Billy’s mom actually came down to listen to them sometimes.

Everyone hummed a lot more often around school.

Kim started bursting into song at random moments during their remaining two training sessions. She’d be punching the living daylights out of a putty monster, or drop kicking Zack into the air, and just suddenly belt out one of the verses of their song. And after that happened, Trini would be unable to resist joining in. The others tried to sing their parts too, to varying degrees of success.

Zordon was confused out of his mind and Alpha 5 was flabbergasted.

“What are they doing?” Zordon asked Alpha 5 after Zack began miming playing a guitar and Trini copied him.

“I don’t know,” said Alpha 5. “Maybe they’re bonding? I’m not human so I don’t really know their customs and stuff!”

Take your ammunition and go,” Kim sang at the top of her lungs. “I won’t bow down to you anymore.”

“That doesn’t sound like bonding,” Alpha 5 said, alarmed.

Billy overheard and threw up his hands at Zordon and Alpha 5 in an attempt to placate them. “She’s not talking to you!” he cried. “We will still totally bow down to you. Just not to the hypothetical audience of her song!”

“Don’t sweat it, Wall Dad!” Zack called. “We’re still a hundred percent loyal, we promise.”

That just confused them even more.

 


 

 

“I think we should record the song,” said Jason at their fifth practice.

“What?” asked Billy.

“Not professionally or anything,” said Jason. “We should just play it and burn it onto a CD. It’ll be our demo. Maybe we could get a couple gigs that way.”

“Who would want to hear us play?” Trini asked skeptically.

“You never know,” said Jason. “Kim’s song is really good. Recording a demo and handing it out to a couple people isn’t going to hurt anyone.”

“We should do it,” said Kim.

“Yeah,” said Jason with a tiny smile. He turned to his backpack and pulled out a digital recorder. “I know this is pretty trashy and it’s probably going to sound a little bad,” he explained as he set the device up on a stool  in the space between the five of them, “but it’s not about the quality of the recording, it’s about the quality of the song.”

They warmed up a little, played a few parts of the song together in preparation for the recording.

It took them a couple tries and redoes to get it the way they wanted it to sound, but eventually they had a successful play through of the song burned onto a CD.

They’d played it countless times already, but the same thrill was still there when they finished on a good note.

“What’s it sound like?” asked Zack.

Jason replayed the CD recording, and it sounded decent. Everyone’s part could be heard and Kim and Trini’s singing was loud and clear. He placed the CD into a case and looked to Billy. “Do you have a Sharpie I can borrow?”

“Oh—yeah,” said Billy, reaching over to the table beside him and plucking a black marker from the cup holder. He tossed it to Jason, who caught it while looking down at the case.

He uncapped the pen and wrote on the CD:

 

Endorphin Rush demo #1

Contact: jscott0@gmail.com

 

“I wrote a little bio, too,” said Jason, grinning. He pulled a slip of paper with a few sentences of writing on it out of his pocket, and slipped it under the cover of the CD case. “Just a bit about each of us, in case they want to know.”

They all felt tense with excitement. Now they had a demo. A crappy one with only one song, but still a demo nonetheless. They could potentially get their music out to other people now.

 


 

A couple days later Trini was sitting at Kimberly’s desk in her room, her biology textbook open in front of her. Kim was lying on her stomach on her bed a few feet away. They had a test the next day and decided they would get more done if they studied together.

“I hate biology,” said Trini.

“Me too,” said Kim. She sighed and closed her notebook, rolling onto her back. “I’m bored, Trini. Come keep me company.”

“I am keeping you company,” said Trini.

“Come keep me company closer,” Kim whined.

Trini got up and flopped onto the bed with Kim. “I’m gonna bomb this test,” she said.

“No you’re not. You say that every time and every time you don’t,” said Kim.

“That’s true,” said Trini.

Kim laughed a little. They spent a few minutes in peaceful silence, just enjoying each other’s company.

After a while Kim began to hum the song.

Trini had her back to Kim, but she couldn’t hold back the smile that appeared on her face. Kim’s voice was so sweet and beautiful. Trini would listen to her forever if she could.

“One second,” said Kim, getting up and heading towards the bathroom. “I’m gonna take a pee. Please don’t run away while I’m gone.”

Trini laughed. “Yeah, yeah, weirdo. Go empty your bladder.”

While Trini waited, Kim’s phone buzzed three times in quick succession.

It was lying on the bed an arm’s reach away, face up. Trini sat up and glanced over at the screen.

 

Amanda
God you need to stop fucking using the bathroom that’s next to the cheerleading locker room

If I have to suffer through seeing your stupid ugly face again in there I’m going to force you to leave

I’ll do whatever it takes, you don’t deserve to use that bathroom anymore, so GET OUT.

 

Trini had to drop the phone because she was sure her rage would have caused her to shatter it into a million pieces.

She forced herself to calm down for Kim’s sake.

How could she let those bastards talk her down like that?

Kim came back a few minutes later, wiping her hands on her shirt and sitting down the bed, face-to-face with Trini. “Hey,” she said.

“Hi,” said Trini, her voice shaking.

Kim noticed immediately and reached for Trini’s arm, her expression morphing into one of concern. “What’s the matter?”

“That’s the matter.” Trini pointed at Kim’s phone on the bed. “Amanda texted you.”

“Oh,” said Kim, her face falling.

“Why haven’t you blocked her yet? She’s an asshole and she keeps spewing insulting lies out at you. You know she’s lying, right? None of the bullshit she’s saying is true.”

Kim looked away.

“Hey!” Trini scooted even closer, forcing Kim to look at her. “Those cheerleaders? They’re just jealous of you. You’re so smart, and amazing, and brave and powerful and independent. They’re upset that you’re so successful and they aren’t. You hear me? You’re fucking amazing, Kimberly Hart. Amanda has got nothing on you.”

Kim didn’t say anything, her eyes wide in surprise. Then she surged forward and hugged Trini.

“Thank you,” she said.

Trini hugged her back just as tight. “You deserve so much better than to be trash talked by some second-rate cheerleader.”

“I know,” said Kim in a tiny voice. “I just—sometimes I feel like I deserve it. For all the terrible things I’ve done.”

“No,” said Trini. She pulled away from Kim and looked her dead in the eye. “No way. You don’t deserve to be belittled like this. The fact that you acknowledge that you’ve done terrible things in the past shows that you recognize what kind of person you were before. But you’re not that person anymore. I’ve seen you and you’ve done so much good, you’ve worked so hard to turn yourself around, it far outweighs anything bad you have ever done in your life.”

“Do you really think that?” asked Kim.

“I know that,” Trini assured her. “You’re the most kickass person I know.”

Kim smiled. “You’re the best, Trini.”

“Damn right I am,” said Trini. “Now block the little sucker.”

Kim picked up her phone, then hesitated.

“Block her,” Trini said again.

A few seconds passed. Then Kim blocked Amanda’s number.

“Thanks for egging me on,” she said, letting out a sigh of relief, dropping her phone back onto the bed.

“What else am I here for?” Trini asked, giving Kim a cheeky grin.

Kim paused for a second to gather her thoughts.

“You know, the song’s about them.”

“What?”

“The song we’re singing in the band,” said Kim. “It was about the cheerleaders. I wrote it after I decided I didn’t want to hang around them anymore. That I didn’t want to turn into the kind of people they were. I made a pact to myself and said I wasn’t ever going to let them bring me down again, no matter how they threatened me.”

“I should have realized that,” said Trini, running the lyrics through her head. “It makes so much sense. I’m done with you not letting me grow. I’m sick of being pushed to the floor.”

Take your ammunition and go,” Kim sang, quietly, softly. “I won’t bow down to you anymore.”

“Kimberly,” Trini breathed. “You’re amazing.”

Kim hugged Trini again, as tightly as she could, as if she didn’t want to let go.

Trini didn’t want to let go, either.

 


 

Four weeks passed. At the more recent practices, Kim devoted more time to writing new songs and polishing up unfinished ones. The others helped her when they could, pitching in ideas for their own part and testing out tunes for her to listen to.

On Wednesday at school Jason approached their table at lunch and slapped a copy of the demo down right in front of Zack.

“What’s with the excessive energy?” asked Trini.

“Guess who just booked their first gig,” said Jason with a huge grin on his face.

Billy jumped up from his seat, pumping his fists, while Trini and Kim exchanged excited looks.

“It isn’t much,” Jason continued. “We’re in a long lineup of bands, performing at some club on Friday night. We got lucky, the manager wasn’t going to let us play because we were really young, but one of the other bands dropped out last second so we got the spot. Since we only have one song the pay is pretty terrible—we’re getting twenty dollars combined.”

“That’s fine,” said Zack. “We’re just starting out, it’s awesome enough that we even got a spot.”

“We got a gig!” Billy shouted. “Oh my god, we got a gig! People are going to hear us play!”

“People are going to hear us play,” Trini repeated to Kim. “Holy shit. People are gonna hear your song.”

“They’re gonna hear our song,” Kim corrected her. “We’re a group, remember?”

Trini smiled. “You’re right. We’re gonna be performing our song in two days.”

“Two days!” Zack whooped.

All the other kids in the cafeteria couldn’t understand why that ragtag bunch who ate lunch in the corner were suddenly celebrating on their feet, jumping around and shouting and hugging each other.

 


 

Over the course of Thursday and Friday morning and afternoon, that excitement gradually dissipated and gave way to extreme nervousness.

“Oh my god,” said Billy, clutching his drumsticks so tightly that one of them made an audible cracking noise. “We’re about to play in front of real people.”

They were in a private back room, in a long hallway filled with countless identical rooms housing other bands, some as unknown as them, some a bit more popular.

Trini ran her fingers impatiently up and down the strings of her bass guitar. They’d been waiting for hours—the gig performances had started at seven, but they were one of the last bands in line to go. Sure the club had provided a few sandwiches as dinner for them, but it was almost ten. If she hadn’t been freaking out so badly over the fact that she was about to perform for a real live audience, she would have been bored and annoyed out of her mind.

Someone sidled into the chair next to hers. It was Kimberly. “It’s okay,” she said softly. “We’ll be fine.”

“What if I mess up?” asked Trini.

“You won’t,” said Kim. “You’re a lot better than you give yourself credit for. And even if you do, just keep going. Trust me when I say no one’s going  to notice a tiny little mistake.”

Trini took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Thanks. I’m just kind of nervous.”

“We all are.” Kim looked over at Jason, who was pacing up and down along one side of the room, holding the keyboard sideways in his left arm. He looked absolutely ridiculous. Trini let out a little laugh.

Ten minutes later, a guy with a headset came into their room. “You’re up next,” he told them. “Pack you stuff and get ready to head on stage.”

“Oh my god,” said Billy.

“You’re gonna kill this,” Zack told him.

“Kill what?” Billy looked at Zack in alarm. “What are we killing?”

“Uh, nothing,” said Zack, his eyes widening. “I mean you’re going to do amazing.”

“Oh.” Billy frowned. “What does that have to do with killing?”

“It was a joke. Nevermind.”

 


 

The band ahead of them finished playing. They heard a bit of scattered clapping and the people onstage began to pack up their stuff.

The guy with the headset nudged Jason. “Once they step off stage you can just go on ahead and set up,” he told all of them. “When you’re done playing your song just pack up and go back to your assigned room to receive your payment.”

And just like that, he left.

“I feel like I’m gonna explode,” said Trini, gritting her teeth.

“Watch out, everyone!” said Zack. “The littlest ones always blow the biggest.”

“Shut up.” Trini punched him in the arm and he laughed. The tension broke a little.

The band playing before them had finished packing up their gear and they left the stage. Jason turned to the rest of them, nodding resolutely. “Let’s do this.”

They stepped out onto the stage.

There were very few people on the dance floor, waiting a little impatiently for them to finish setting up their instruments. Most of the partygoers were sitting at tables or at the bar. Some looked on curiously, since they were the youngest band performing at the club that night. Others looked skeptical. Most of them just seemed bored and uninterested.

The bands that played tonight must have all been pretty mediocre.

Trini forced down her nerves and plugged in her guitar to the amp, and double checked to see if her microphone was working. She looked over at Kim, who was standing in the center.

Jason gave the thumbs up to show he was ready. Zack nodded. And Billy twirled his drumsticks.

Kim cleared her throat and stepped up to her microphone. “Um, hi,” she said.

No one answered her.

She turned to the others and shrugged. “Let’s just start.”

Billy started them off with a 4-count beat.

Jason and Zack started playing.

Trini and Kimberly started singing.

The people on the dance floor perked up immediately, clearly pleased by the song. As Kim finished the first verse, a couple people at the bars and tables turned, their interests piqued.

It was an upbeat song with a powerful underlying beat. Soon most of the club had turned their attention to them.

At first Trini felt unnerved by the newfound attention they were getting. But gradually, as the song progressed, her confidence came back as a couple people cheered.

She found her groove and harmonized flawlessly with Kim. The hours of practice were finally paying off. Her fingers moved on autopilot, strumming out the chords on her bass guitar.

“This song is dope!” she heard some drunk guy yell from the bar.

“Thanks!” said Kim when she finished the line she was singing. Everyone laughed.

Then Kim reached a high note, and she hit it perfectly, and Trini hit the note a third below perfectly as well. It sounded amazing. In the back Billy was bobbing his head up and down, his whole body moving along with the beat he was drumming out. Jason’s fingers were whirling over the keys. And Zack rocked out on his guitar.

The crowd cheered. A couple people started moving to the dance floor. Trini’s spirits soared when she saw a steady trickle of people making their way towards them.

By the time they were three-fourths of the way through the song the dance floor was crowded. People who had been uninterested, even apathetic before were now jumping and clapping along to their song.

When they finished, the crowd roared. Trini looked into the stage wings and saw the guy with the headset standing there with the next band, looking thoroughly surprised.

“Play it again! Play it again!” the crowd chanted.

Trini glanced over at Kim, who looked as exhilarated as she felt. Everyone turned to Jason, who turned to the guy with the headset, asking for permission.

“Hell,” said the guy. “You’re the first band the place has actually liked. Have at it again.”

So they played it again.

They were all exhausted by the time they were finished the second time through, but the crowd they’d gathered was massive.

“What’s your band’s name?” some guy hollered from down below the stage.

“Uh, we’re Endorphin Rush,” said Kim into the microphone.

“You sure as hell gave us one!” another guy yelled.

Zack leaned over and whispered into Trini’s ear. “I didn’t even know there were this many people in Angel Grove.”

Trini burst out laughing.

Jason grabbed the microphone from Kimberly. “Sorry, guys,” he said to the crowd. “We’re only in high school so it’s already way past our bedtime.”

Everyone laughed.

“Yeah!” Zack piped in, stealing Trini’s mic. “My mom’s going to ground me for life and if that happens I won’t be able to come out and play for you guys anymore!”

The crowd let out a collective “aww!”

Trini stole the mic back from Zack and said, “So, uh, yeah. Thanks for listening to us. Bye!”

The claps and cheers continued even as they stepped off the stage.

“Holy moly!” said Billy. He was freaking out. “They loved us! Oh my god!”

“Hey, be careful,” said Jason, reaching out an arm to stop Billy from careening into the wall, laughing. “If you snap your drum kit in half I won’t buy you another one.”

“I’ll buy my own once we get rich off of gigs like these!” Billy shouted.

The people who ran the club gave them each twenty-five bucks apiece because the audience reception had been so good.

“Group hug!” Zack yelled once they were back in the room. Everyone else laughed and they hugged each other, all sweaty and disgusting from the performance.

Trini was so happy that she accidentally ripped the door to their room off halfway when she went to close it behind them.

Hopefully no one would notice that.

But one thing definitely was getting noticed: their band.

Chapter Text

The following Friday, the club invited them back to perform on the condition that they sang more than one song, and if they did, they’d get a half-hour slot for two hundred dollars total.

Some people who must have been regulars seemed excited to see them again.

“It’s the high schoolers,” one woman was saying to a man standing beside her.

“High schoolers? Are they any good?”

“Yeah, they’re great. You’ll see.”

The other two songs that they’d chosen to bring with them were still a little rough around the edges, but the crowd loved them all the same. People kept yelling for them to play all three songs again and again.

So they did. At the end of their time slot they were completely exhausted. But it was so worth it.

 


 

GROUPME CHAT: Angel Grove AP Lang
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Thurs, 7:23 PM

Terrence
hey I know this doesn’t have anything to do with lang

But does anyone want to go down to the club tomorrow night

Phillip
why…

Terrence
I heard from a couple seniors that there is a band playing who are really good

Apparently they are seniors at AGHS themselves   ❤1

mary
wait omg who?????????????????

Terrence
I don’t know who they are, but I know for sure that Jason Scott is playing the keyboard

Phillip
Jason scott

Like

Jason scott the football star??   ❤4

Allison
F real…?

Terrence
I don’t know?? Why don’t we go and find out?   ❤2

Alex
yeah all my senior friends are talkin bout them too.

One of them showed me a video. They’re actually really good.   ❤1

mary
I’m down, I guess, I have nothing to do. I’ll make an event   ❤3

 

 

Fri, 5:00 PM

mary’s event Angel Grove band performing @club is starting in 3 hours.

Can you go? Yes or No

 

TerrencePhillipmary, and 23 others are going.

 


 

The Friday after that they’d attracted such a huge crowd to the club that the owners actually had to reject people from coming in because the place was full.

During band practice the following Sunday, all they could do for the first ten minutes was just sit there, dumbfounded, staring at their growing pile of money.

“We made that,” said Trini.

“Yeah,” said Jason. “This is crazy.”

“Did the club guys say we could go back next Friday?” Billy asked.

“Hell yeah,” said Zack. “I bet we could get a regular spot there, everyone likes us so much.”

“Do you guys want that, though?” asked Kim. “We could try branching out, going to more places. Now that we have a bit of a reputation it might be easier to get other gigs.”

“I can keep sending the demo out,” said Jason. “But until we get another response from someone else, the club is the only place that wants us.”

That was fine with the rest of them, for now.

 


 

At school Trini overheard someone humming their song and she was so surprised she almost walked into a pole.

Kimberly appeared next to Trini and nudged her shoulder. “A lot of people have been giving me looks.”

“Me too,” said Trini. “Which is weird, because the club is supposed to be for people over eighteen.”

“Word of mouth, I guess,” said Kim.

“It just seems so wild,” said Trini. “To think that people are talking about us and our band.”

“Yeah. It’s crazy.”

 


 

Two weeks and another gig passed, and the band had finished writing two more songs. It was a Friday again and they were set to perform for the fifth time at the same club. By now, most, if not all of the regulars knew who they were. Some people who particularly liked their music had even started affectionately calling them “The ER” as a shortened version of their band name.

And yeah, Trini thought it was still kind of nerve wracking to get up on stage and perform original songs for people, but they were familiar with this crowd, and most people supported the band, so it helped a lot.

“Ready, guys?” Jason asked with a big smile on his face. Everyone stood around him in a little circle, huddled together backstage.

“Ready to kick ass,” said Kim.

They stepped onto the stage and were immediately greeted with several cheers.

Something about the atmosphere was different that night, but Trini didn’t know what.

“Hi,” said Kim into her microphone.

Everyone on the dance floor cheered again. Kim grinned.

“We have two new songs for you guys tonight,” she continued. “Tell us what you think, yeah?”

The crowd roared.

“Let’s do this!” Billy counted them off, and they started playing.

It was almost second nature at this point, for Trini to listen off of what the others were doing. Maybe it was their special Power Rangers bond or black magic or something, but Trini felt connected to the others in a way that she could almost anticipate the notes they played, and then match hers up easily.

Clearly she wasn’t the only person to realize this.

Because that night when they finished their forty-five minute time slot, the owners of the club let them wander around for a while.

No alcohol, obviously, because they were all underage, but as long as they stayed clear of the bar they were allowed to mess around and party for a bit, no charge.

Zack immediately grabbed Jason by the shoulders and steered him to the dance floor. The band that was playing after them wasn’t very good and it showed, but Zack still forced Jason to dance along with him. Billy wandered off to get a cup of water and Kim ditched Trini to go to the bathroom.

She was standing all alone near the tables, surrounded on all sides by a throng of strangers.

Some of them came up to her and complimented her on the band’s amazing talent. She managed to thank them politely but she’d be lying if she said she felt comfortable.

She was almost tempted to snap the arm off a dude who kept asking her if she’d let him buy her a drink.

By the time the man in the nice suit holding a briefcase approached her, she’d almost punched him out of instinct.

“Um, hi,” said Trini, looking up at the man, a little bit scared. 

“Hello,” said the man. “I’m Adam Park, a part of the indie label Pulse Records. You’re the bassist of the band Endorphin Rush, right?”

Trini’s eyes widened. “Yeah, why?”

“Where are your friends? Could you possibly round them up for me? I’d like to have a little chat with all of you,” said Adam.

“Y-yeah. Sure thing, no problem. One second.”

She raced away.

Trini bumped into Kim on her way to the bathroom.

“Hey,” said Kim. “What’s up? What’d I miss?”

“Some very important looking man wants to talk to all of us,” said Trini.

“Holy shit.” Kim picked up her pace immediately, then stopped and turned around to face Trini. “You go get Zack and Jason, I’ll find Billy.”

“Okay,” said Trini, changing course and heading for the dance floor.

Thankfully the area was pretty empty. The band playing had chosen to perform an extremely slow, sad song that was a little hard to dance to. She found Zack and Jason soon enough and promptly crashed into them.

“Whoa!” Zack shouted, gripping onto Jason’s arm for support. “What was that for?”

“Get your butts here now,” said Trini. “A guy wants to talk to us. Said he was from Pulse Records.”

“Oh my god,” said Jason. He turned and slapped Zack on the arm. “Oh my god! Are you for real?”

“Hurry up!” said Trini, who had already begun power walking back to where Adam was waiting.

By the time they’d rushed back, Kim and Billy were already waiting anxiously near him. “Excellent,” he said when Jason, Zack, and Trini approached. “Are you five all the members of Endorphin Rush?”

“Yes,” said Jason, looking at Adam in wonder.

“I’ve been listening to you perform since last week,” he said. “After hearing your new songs tonight that sealed the deal for me.”

“What deal?” asked Kim.

“Pulse Records is a fairly well-run and well-known independent record label,” said Adam. “I’d like to offer you guys a deal to sign with us.”

“For real?” said Zack.

“Yes,” said Adam. “Your songs are one of a kind. And your connection is something special. I think that with a little bit of promoting and a few calls to certain people, your band could get big.”

Trini was so shocked that she didn’t even have the brainpower to react when Kim grabbed her hand and clutched it tightly.

“Wait a second,” said Billy. “We’re still in high school.”

“You graduate in two months, right?” said Adam. When they nodded, he continued. “I completely understand if you wish to finish your studies first before pursuing a record deal. I can wait until June.”

“That’s better,” said Billy. “But also, how do we know we can trust you? How do we know that you’re any good at what you do?”

Adam spread his hands. “You’re a very thorough, smart kid. I like that.” He set the briefcase he’d been holding down onto a table and opened it up. “Here. Read this, there’s not much to it. If you sign it and give me two weeks, I’ll have your song on the radio. On the biggest station in Angel Grove.”

“No way,” said Trini, because it sounded too good to be true. She watched Jason take the contract and skim over it, then turned back to Adam. “That’s impossible, we’re still basically unknown.”

“You’ve got a lot of potential. Radio stations like that. Just give me a shot to prove I’m invested in your band. If I succeed, you can consider signing to Pulse Records. If I fail, I’ll terminate this contract and pretend like I have never learned of your existence.”

The five of them all looked at each other.

Zack nodded. Billy shrugged. Kim crossed her arms and Trini said nothing.

Jason cleared his throat.

“We’ll think about it,” he said, clutching the sheet of paper tightly. “Do you have my e-mail address? I can contact you by Sunday.”

“That sounds good,” said Adam. He did a mini-bow and smiled. “Thank you for considering us. My work here is done, I hope to see you sometime again.”

And with that, he clasped his briefcase shut and left the club.

“Holy fuck,” said Billy, which was a big deal, because he almost never cursed.

“That about sums up how I feel right now,” agreed Kim.

“I really want to trust this guy,” said Jason, staring down at the contract. “I really, really do. But I don’t know if we should. It seems too good to be true.”

“Sleep on it,” Trini suggested. “We’ll deal with it at the next practice. It’s getting late.”

“How did this happen?” Zack asked in awe.

 


 

It was Sunday.

Jason had brought the one-page contract over to Billy’s house. They were sitting around in a circle at a table upstairs.

“So did you take a closer look at it?” Billy asked.

Jason nodded. “There isn’t much. Just Pulse Records asking for exclusive rights to distribute one of our songs over the radio.”

“Which one?” asked Kim.

“And for how long?” Trini added.

“We can choose which song,” said Jason. “And well, it doesn’t say. Because if Adam manages to get our song on the radio the label’s assuming we’ll sign with them and continue to let them put our stuff on the radio.”

“What if he fails?” asked Zack.

“Then it says this contract will be terminated at the end of two weeks,” said Jason. He shrugged. “I think it’s pretty solid. And we don’t actually have to pay anything yet, because they’re going to be getting any revenue they earn while this contract’s in effect.”

Billy stared at the contract long and hard, before taking it and reading it through a few times to confirm whether Jason was right or not.

“I think we should do it,” said Billy.

“Me too,” said Kim.

“Do we all have to sign it?” asked Trini.

“Yeah.” Jason pulled a pen out of his pocket and set it on top of the contract. “So, who wants to go first?”

Zack reached for the pen and pulled the paper towards him. And he signed it.

Then Jason went. Kim was next, then Billy, then Trini.

“Five signatures, check,” said Jason, picking the contract up gingerly. “Adam e-mailed me and we worked out a place to meet up with this. So I’m going to drive over there. You guys practice today without me, okay?”

“Be safe,” said Kim.

Jason left with the contract, and the others retreated into the basement to set up their equipment.

 


 

Adam notified them later to request that instead of going to perform at their regular 8 o’clock gig at the club on Friday, they should head to the studio to record a more professional sounding version of their song for him to put on the radio.

Jason came back with an email with the address of the studio on Friday and texted the rest of the band to meet up at his house so he could drive them all together.

“Can we fit all our stuff into the trunk?” Trini asked skeptically, clutching her guitar case and looking at Jason’s car.

“Uh, I dunno,” said Jason. “Billy’s drum kit fit just fine with plenty of space left over, so.”

Zack helped Jason pack the gear into the back while Trini, Kim, and Billy piled into the backseat. A few minutes later Jason got in the driver’s seat and Zack joined them in shotgun.

“We’re heading off to a professional studio to do a professional recording,” Zack cheered.

“Let’s do this!” said Billy.

Jason started the car and pulled out of the driveway.

They arrived within twenty minutes, fifteen minutes of which were spent with Kimberly belting out every single one of their completed songs at the top of her lungs.

“We should do it so like, every time we see a Krispy Kreme, we have to sing faster,” Kim told Trini.

“I hate you,” Trini replied, but she did it anyway.

It was hilarious and the occupants of the car dissolved into giggles more than once.

The building was bare save for the sign above the entrance that said “PULSE RECORDING STUDIO.” They all got off and unpacked their instruments, carrying them into the building.

Adam was waiting for them in the reception area. He brightened when he saw them stumble in, and stood up. “Good evening,” he greeted them. “I’m glad you could make it. Let’s go right on in, shall we?”

He led them into an empty booth with ample space for them to set up to their heart’s content. When they had finally settled down, Kim was standing in the middle gripping her microphone stand, Jason was off to the left with his keyboard, and Billy was situated in between them a few steps back. Trini and Zack were on Kim’s other side, guitars and, in Trini’s case, a microphone at the ready.

Adam sat a little ways off from them.

“How many takes do we get?” Kim asked.

“You’ve got two hours to try as many times as you want,” said Adam. “So make it worth it.”

 


 

They ended up taking five attempts until both the band and Adam were satisfied with the way the record sounded. The beginning and ending of the recording had to be dead silent and all of them were so full of nervous energy that it was extremely difficult to not make a single noise. But eventually, they managed to play the song through once without making a single mistake.

“We sound so professional,” said Billy in wonder as they listened to a replay of the recording.

“I should hope so,” said Adam. He looked up at the clock, which showed that it was a little bit past nine. “Good work, guys. You can pack up and head home now. The fourteen day period starts on Monday.”

 


 

“So now what?” asked Billy as they exited.

“Now, we wait,” said Jason.

 


 

On the first day excitement was running high.

Jason drove his car to school, his radio tuned in to the station Adam had promised he’d get their song onto. He strained his ears, hoping to catch a hint of their song.

There was nothing.

After school he heard nothing as well.

Billy texted all of them to say that he’d turned on both radios in his house and was planning on leaving them running the entire evening.

 


 

Day seven passed and they were all beginning to feel their hopes slip.

Zack had bought a mini portable radio just to listen and see if their song would get onto the radio. He spent the entire lunch period with headphones in his ears, but he remained indifferent the entire time.

 


 

“How long has it been?” asked Zack.

“Twelve days,” answered Trini. “Anybody heard anything yet?”

“No,” said Jason. “I’ve left the radio at my house turned on to the most popular station for hours. I got nothing.”

Billy sighed. “Maybe Adam Park was a fake.”

 


 

On the fourteenth day, which was a Monday, Jason was sitting alone in third period calculus, huddled in his seat and surreptitiously listening to the radio through his phone.

He’d installed the app iHeartRadio just so he could listen to Angel Grove’s most popular station during school. He was hunched over in the back of the room, the headphones pressed close to his arms in an attempt to hide them.

Nothing interesting played for about twenty minutes and he was just about to give up hope when the disc jockey came on again.

“Thanks for listening in. Now this next song I’m playing isn’t on the Billboard Top 100, but hell, who knows, maybe someday it will be! It’s written by a band from our very own small town Angel Grove. Take a listen, folks: It’s Endurance by Endorphin Rush!”

Jason yelled and shot to his feet.

He didn’t even care that the entire class was now staring at him like he’d just set his underwear on fire. He yanked out his headphones from both his ears and his phone, turning the volume up all the way.

Everyone was watching him. Most of the other kids were utterly confused and a little spooked, but one kid who sat in the front turned around and said, “Is that your song?”

“Hell yeah it is!” Jason shouted. “Oh my god!”

Kim’s voice blasted through his phone’s speaker. Jason spared one glance at the mortified teacher and then raced out the classroom.

“HOLY SHIT!” he yelled as he sprinted down the hallways. “OH MY GOD!”

“Jason?!” someone shouted back. Jason rounded the corner and saw Zack running down the hallway, followed closely behind by Billy. Zack was clutching the mini portable radio and he had the volume turned up too.

WE’RE ON THE RADIO!!” Zack bellowed.

“I KNOW!” Jason yelled back.

“I can’t believe it!” cried Billy, jumping around in a circle and flapping his hands wildly.

Zack tackled Jason and they crashed into a line of lockers, denting several of them, but Jason was laughing too hard to notice or care.

“Guys—we gotta—we need to tell the girls!” Billy panted.

“You’re right!” Jason got up, dusted himself off, and headed straight for the science wing. “KIMBERLY! TRINI!

“WE’RE ON THE FUCKING RADIO!” Zack was yelling from somewhere behind him.

Jason found the biology classroom soon enough and slammed it straight open, accidentally breaking the handle off. He dropped it quickly behind him and was met with the stares of thirty shocked students.

“KIMBERLY!” Billy screamed from behind Jason. “TRINI! LISTEN!”

Jason held his phone forward, which was still blasting their song at full volume. They didn’t even need to say anything else. Kim heard her own voice and her eyes widened. Trini realized a second later and promptly vaulted over her desk.

“That’s me,” said Kim. “Holy shit. Wait, holy SHIT, THAT’S ME!”

“IT IS YOU!” Jason yelled back. “IT’S YOU ON THE GOD DAMN RADIO, KIMBERLY!”

Kimberly shot to her feet, speechless, when Trini jumped on her back and barreled her over.

“Yeah!!” Trini yelled, laughing. She helped Kim to her feet and then dove out of the classroom, driving her head into Zack’s stomach.

Both of them went flying back, and Zack grabbed onto Trini’s shoulders, laughing and shouting at the same time. Kim sprinted out of the classroom soon after, and Jason attempted to close the door behind them without the handle.

“OH MY GOD!” shouted Kim. “THAT’S US, THAT’S OUR SONG THAT’S PLAYING RIGHT NOW!”

Jason rushed to the end of the hallway and flung the door leading outside open. Zack saw and sprinted out immediately, jumping and whooping in victory. He leaped too far and ended up crashing into the branches of a tree.

The others followed Jason outside and Trini immediately jumped up into the tree as well, laughing her head off at Zack. Kimberly grabbed Jason’s phone from him and scaled another tree.

“Race you!” she yelled at Trini.

“You’re on!” Trini called back.

Kim reached the top first, stood up and raised Jason’s phone high, letting the final verse of their song wash over the entire school grounds.

“WE’RE ON THE RADIO!” she yelled.

“Oh my god!” Billy cried, jumping up and down, smothered in a hug from Jason. Zack jumped down from the tree and joined in.

“Incoming!” came a voice from above. Trini dived from the tree straight on top of the three boys, who miraculously managed to catch her and drop her right in the middle of their hug. Kimberly followed shortly after with a battle cry, and then all five of them were hugging.

“We were on the radio,” Billy shouted. His voice was starting to get hoarse from all the screaming. “We were on the radio! Oh my god!”

 


 

The station played Endurance two more times that day.

When Trini got to school on Tuesday so many people were coming up to her and telling them how much they loved the song.

She was trying to get to first period with Kimberly and everyone in the hallway just started cheering and clapping.

The attention was scary, and overwhelming, but it was also so awesome at the same time.

“When are you gonna make an album?” someone asked them from across the cafeteria during lunch. “I want to buy your songs!”

Several people voiced their agreement.

“I think this is the wildest thing that’s ever happened to me,” Trini said to Kimberly. “Like, even crazier than becoming a god damn Power Ranger.”

“Yeah, I can’t believe we’ve gotten so popular,” said Kim, plucking a tater tot from Trini’s tray and popping it into her mouth. Suddenly she started giggling.

“What’s the matter with you?” asked Trini.

“I was just thinking,” said Kim with the cheekiest grin on her face. “If we get any more famous Zordon’s gonna have our asses.”

Trini laughed too. “Let’s do it.”

“Hell yeah we’re gonna do it.”

Chapter Text

“So, what now?” Jason asked, the next time they met up with Adam.

“Now, you read this contract, and if you sign it, you play at gigs all around town and even in some of the bigger cities. You finish high school, you decide if you want to become a professional band for real or not, and then you come back after the summer and start working on your first album,” said Adam.

 


 

They signed the contract.

 


 

“Hello,” said Kimberly after school one day.

“Hi,” said Trini. She stepped forward, dropping her backpack in the corner of Kim’s room and then joining her sitting on the bed. “What’re you working on?”

“New song,” Kim answered. She shifted so that she was cuddled closer to Trini and showed her the notebook she was currently scribbling into. “I’m running a blank. Wanna help me?”

“Sure,” said Trini.

“Awesome.” Kim tore out the page she’d been working on and crumpled it up. “I’ve got no inspiration. What am I writing a song about?”

“I don’t know. Love?” asked Trini.

Kim rolled her eyes. “That’s so lame and you know it.”

“Romantic love, yeah sure,” said Trini, “but what about like platonic love? The kind you have for your friends?”

“Ooh,” said Kim in appreciation. “How about this. I love Billy, I love Jason, I love Zack. Also, I hate Trini. Like, a lot.

“Brilliant,” said Trini.

Kim laughed. “We could totally do a song about that. What stuff would we put in it? Give me feelings,” she said.

“I don’t have any,” said Trini.

“Shut up and give me a couple good moments we’ve had since becoming the Power Rangers.”

“Uh…that time during lunch when Zack nailed Jason in the back of the head with an apple slice.”

“Okay,” said Kim, laughing. “How about something a little less violent?”

“Um.” Trini wracked her brain. She’d had a million great times with the Rangers, but now that she was trying to think of one they all slipped from her mind. She wanted to remember an extremely special moment. “That day we found the ship.”

“What?” said Kim, looking confused, and Trini couldn’t really blame her. “You ran up a mountain to get away from us so you didn’t have to talk.”

“I know,” said Trini, shifting a little on the bed. “I got scared that you actually wanted to talk to me. All of you.” She took a deep breath. “I never felt that before. No one wanted to talk to me, but you did. I didn’t know how to react so I ran instead.”

“Oh. Um. Wow.”

“Yeah,” said Trini.

“Well,” said Kim, nudging Trini with her shoulder, “I’m glad we made you stay.”

Trini shrugged, smiling sheepishly. “Me too.” Then she perked up. “That should be the name of the song.”

“What?”

Made You Stay,” Trini repeated, grabbing the notebook and pen from Kim. “I dunno, I was thinking it could be like—the first few verses are yours. Hell, if Jason and Zack want to sing let them do it too. You can list some nice moments we had and the main line is I’m glad we made you stay. And then—I guess, I could sing the second half of the song, and I could talk about how I feel when I’m around you guys, and I could end it saying I’m glad you made me stay.”

Kim stared at her for a long time. Then she broke into a wide grin. “That’s awesome. Wow, Trini, you’re amazing!”

“I know,” said Trini, trying to fight the blush that was starting to tinge her cheeks. She looked down at the notebook in her hands and flipped to a new page. “Okay. Happy moments.”

“Every single campfire night we’ve had,” said Kim.

“Mm, that’s true,” agreed Trini. “Especially when the boys get tipsy off beer and won’t stop calling each other ‘bro’.”

Kim laughed. “Oh my god, I forgot about that. I think I have a video of them doing that on my phone.”

For the next fifteen minutes, the two of them got lost in a sea of happy memories, reliving the months they spent together. The more they talked, the more the warmth in Trini’s chest seemed to grow.

She said she’d die for any of the other Rangers, and she was completely serious.

She loved all of them. More than anything.

 


 

Kim and Trini were in the middle of pouring out their emotions onto the paper in the form of lyrics when Kim’s bedroom window shattered.

“Holy crap!” Kim shouted, throwing an arm across Trini and pushing her back. Billy landed on the shards of glass littering the ground, decked out in his full blue Ranger armor, save for the helmet.

“Billy, what the hell?” said Trini, jumping up from the bed.

He had to take a few deep breaths before he could speak again. “Guys—you gotta come quick. There’s a bunch of putty monsters trying to blow stuff up downtown. Except there’s something wrong with them. They’ve got scary white glowing skulls for heads instead of clay. And they’re really, uh, bony.”

“You should have texted us,” Kim said, reaching immediately for her nightstand and grabbing the pink Power Coin from where it was sitting.

“I couldn’t,” said Billy. “The skeleton putty dudes tackled me from outta nowhere, everything I had on me got crushed. Hurry, Jason and Zack are already down there trying to hold them off!”

Kim and Trini had already morphed into their respective suits by the time they followed Billy out the window.

“You better pay for destroying part of my house,” Kim muttered as they sprinted down the streets.

“Yeah, yeah,” said Billy. “Hurry up! Jason and Zack are probably getting their asses handed to them at this very moment!”

Trini could hear the carnage before she saw it. Then she glimpsed a black shape standing on top of a building, stretch out its arms, and dive into the army of terrifying skeleton putties.

“Fuck, they’re hard to look at,” Trini said.

“I know,” said Billy sadly. “Come on, let’s go!”

Jason had his sword with him, but even so, was still taking a beating from the putties by their sheer numbers. People were running out of buildings and wildly down the streets, screaming and crying for help.

Zack grabbed one of the skeleton putties and swung it straight at another behind him. The arms of the putty fell off and he used them as knives to slice open two more.

Kimberly and Trini were just getting ready to jump in when Jason came flying through the air towards them, landing on his back at their feet.

Kim dropped to her knees instantly. “Oh my god, are you okay?”

“I’m fine, just a little winded,” Jason wheezed. “You have to cut their head off, they won’t die otherwise.”

“Got it.” Kim stood up and ran towards the outer wall of a nearby store, using it to push off with her feet and launch herself into the onslaught of skeleton putties.

“You’re okay with me just leaving you here?” Trini asked Jason.

“Yeah, I’ll be up in a couple minutes,” he groaned in reply.

Trini shrugged. “If you’re sure.”

A group of putties lifted up the rear end of a parked car and flung it into the air, aimed directly at a panicking family attempting to escape. Trini dashed over and the car landed on her shoulders. She lifted it up over the heads of the family just in time, grunting slightly with the effort.

The littlest kid, a girl no older than ten, was staring up at her in wonder. Trini was thankful she had her helmet visor up, because from this proximity she definitely would have gotten recognized without it.

“Go, kid!” she said to the girl. “Stay with your parents. Run!”

The girl nodded and turned tail to rush after her family.

Trini threw the car back into the crowd of skeleton putties, crushing several of them under the wheels.

She spotted Billy nearby surrounded on all sides by a group of eight putties. He was handling them just fine, but several more were starting to pile in. Trini ran over and knocked a line of three of them to the ground, giving Billy the opening he needed to clear out the rest.

“Thanks,” he said.

“Don’t mention it.” Trini inspected her surroundings. “We’ve got more incoming.”

Zack dropped down behind them, not saying a word. Trini and Billy knew he was there anyway.

“One second,” said Kim, joining them from the side. “Jason’s coming, give him a few seconds.”

Trini decapitated the nearest putty when Jason reached their little group. They looked at one another resolutely and moved to form a circle, facing outwards against the skeleton putty army.

“Let’s do this,” said Jason.

Together, they sprang into action, chopping the heads off skeleton putty after skeleton putty, while watching the monsters dissolve back into the ground and keeping an eye on one another.

And finally, after twenty minutes of relentless fighting, Zack bashed the last putty’s head in, and it disappeared into the ground with a sickening wail.

“God,” said Jason, panting, bent over with his hands on his knees. “That was rough. Where the hell did they come from?”

“I don’t know,” answered Billy. “I was just minding my own business, shopping for some groceries and as I was leaving they just appeared. Everywhere.”

“I thought we were done with Rita,” said Kim.

“My place,” said Trini. “People are starting to notice us. My parents took the boys out for the evening, so we should have the house all to ourselves.”

They all nodded and ducked into an alleyway a good distance away to morph out of their armor.

 


 

“We’ve been spending so much time running the band that I almost forgot alien attacks were a real threat,” said Jason, his eyebrows furrowed.

“Yeah,” said Kim wearily.

They were all exhausted, crashed out in varying positions across Trini’s living room. Billy and Kim were sitting on the couch, Trini was curled up in the armchair, Jason leaned heavily against the lower half of the couch, and Zack was faceplanted into the floor.

“We need to tell Zordon about this,” said Billy. “Maybe he’ll know what the skeleton putties are and why they suddenly appeared today out of all days.”

“Afternoon practice is tomorrow,” said Trini. “We can tell him then.”

Zack groaned in pain from where he was lying on the ground. “Everything hurts,” he mumbled. “Those stupid things really took a hit on me.”

“Me too,” said Jason. “I’m really out of it right now. Can I take a nap?”

“Please set an alarm for nine o’clock because I am not getting caught with you guys in my house,” said Trini.

 

They ended up all falling asleep.

And they also got caught by Trini’s parents.

 


 

The next day there were two articles about them in the newspaper.

The first one was titled MYSTERIOUS “POWER RANGER” SUPERHEROES SAVE THE DAY ONCE AGAIN.

The second one, a little further within the pages of the newspaper, had the headline UP-AND-COMING TEEN BAND FROM ANGEL GROVE?

“This is so fucking funny,” said Kim, sniggering as she scanned the paper Jason had brought with him to lunch.

“They even picked photos of us appearing in the same order left to right,” said Trini, leaning over into Kim’s space to get a good look at the articles.

“Do you think they’ll find out both of them are us?” Billy asked.

Zack snorted. “No way. No one’s going to believe that the Power Rangers decided to start a band for absolutely no reason.”

“Even though that’s exactly what we did,” said Jason, trying to suppress a laugh.

Kim turned to Trini and threw her legs across her lap. Trini rolled her eyes but adjusted her position so that Kim could be more comfortable.

“We never got to finish writing the song lyrics yesterday,” said Trini, leaning forward and resting her forearms on Kim’s legs.

“Oh yeah,” said Kim. “Because someone interrupted our roll by smashing my window in.”

“The town was under attack!” Billy protested.

Trini laughed. “We know. It’s cool.”

“Just pay me a little for the repairs, alright?” said Kim. “My mom was giving me hell last night, wondering why and how I’d broken a glass pane alone at home.”

“You can take some from my share of the band earnings,” said Billy.

“Thanks, man,” said Kim, grinning. “It won’t be much. Maybe twenty, forty at most.”

“Doesn’t matter to me, because we’re about to make a lot more,” said Billy in a singsong voice. “When’s our next gig, Jason?”

“Oh yeah,” said Jason. “I forgot to tell you guys. It’s at a bigger club in the next city over, we play on Saturday night. The crowd’s going to be massive, apparently.”

“Do we still have our spot at the club every Friday?” asked Kim.

“Sporadically,” said Jason. “Adam booked us for a bunch of bigger places that pay a lot better but we can still go back sometimes.”

Zack sat back in his seat. “Wow,” he said. “This is honestly crazy insane.”

“I’m not fully convinced this isn’t a dream,” Trini agreed.

Jason snatched the newspaper back from Kim and rolled it up. “I’m going to show this to Zordon,” he explained when he saw Kim’s confused expression. “He and Alpha 5 need to know what happened yesterday.”

 


 

“This is…not good,” said Zordon.

“Thanks, Wall Dad,” said Zack. “We kind of realized that for ourselves, but okay.”

Trini elbowed him in the side.

“I thought we killed Rita,” said Kim.

Zordon grunted. “Well.”

“Well, what?” Jason demanded.

“You told me you slapped her into space, right?”

“Yeah,” said Billy. “Just whammed her right in the face and she went bye-bye forever.”

“Well, not exactly,” said Zordon uneasily. “She may have landed on the moon and set up a temporary base of operations there.”

“Oh, come on,” said Billy. “That’s just not fair.”

“She may gain enough strength from time to time to summon a slew of monsters to Earth,” said Zordon. “Unless you figure out a way to get to the moon yourselves, there is nothing you can do but destroy these monsters before they can cause damage to your society.”

“Great,” said Kim. “Now we have to worry about these stupid ass putty monsters along with running a band—”

“What was that?” Zordon interrupted her.

Kim’s eyes widened. “Um. Ha. I didn’t say anything.”

“Did you just say you children started a band?” said Zordon incredulously.

All five of them took a nervous step back.

“I’m gonna—uh, I’m gonna run,” said Kim. “Anyone wanna come with?”

“Just give the signal,” said Trini in a tiny voice.

“Ready when you are,” said Zack, squeezing his eyes shut.

They all sprinted out of the ship, with Zordon yelling at them to come back and explain themselves gradually fading into the distance.

 


 

“Time to finish these lyrics,” said Kimberly after they’d all run home, showing up at Trini’s house and pushing up her window without preamble.

Trini had started doing her homework at the desk and didn’t look up as Kim climbed into the room. “I think I found my new favorite pastime with you guys,” she said.

“What’s that?” said Kim, settling onto Trini’s bed and flipping her notebook open.

“Trolling Zordon and confusing the hell out of him.”

Kim just burst out laughing. Trini lasted three seconds before she started laughing uncontrollably as well.

And yeah, holy crap was being a Power Ranger tiring and difficult, on top of trying to juggle homework and their steadily growing fame as a band, but as long as Trini had the other Rangers by her side, all these stupid antics they got up to were totally worth it.

Chapter Text

Angel Grove’s Resident High School Band is Truly Something
by Jennifer Kim

 

I recently had the pleasure of watching the five members of Endorphin Rush perform at the club The Summit this past Saturday night. Not only do their original songs sound new, catchy and upbeat, they have excellent stage presence and sure know how to get a crowd excited. I was jumping and dancing right along with the rest of them. And you can almost feel the special connection they have together.

They were allowed to hang around the club for a few minutes after their gig, and I had the wonderful opportunity to ask them a few questions. They were all extremely friendly and seemed thrilled to be interviewed.

They introduced themselves to me as students at Angel Grove High School. The boy who stood in the middle and seemed like the leader of the group said his name was Jason Scott, and that he played the keyboard. Next up was Kimberly Hart, the confident, dreamy lead singer. Zack Taylor was quite good as the lead guitarist, and Billy Cranston proudly told me that he was the band’s drummer. The last girl only offered her first name, Trini, and said that she sometimes sang backup, but mostly played the bass.

 

Q: I’d first like to start this off by saying that I loved all your music and thought your performance tonight was brilliant.

JASON: Thank you so much! That’s great to hear.

Q: So personally, this is the first time I’ve ever heard your band play, but I am aware that you have played other gigs before, correct?

BILLY: Yeah. We had a pretty steady spot at the club closest to the high school, played there every Friday night.

KIMBERLY: We stopped because our manager, Adam Park, started getting us into bigger places. So now we’re here instead.

ZACK: I miss those regulars already. I even made friends with a couple of them. They were our first audience.

TRINI: Sap.

Q: How did you guys end up starting this band? How did the idea come into being?

JASON: Oh god. (laughs) Zack, why don’t you tell her what happened?

ZACK: (grinning) I pitched the idea. It was just like, a crazy coincidence. I was with all of them individually and we all just happened to play musical instruments. And when I found out, I just knew that we had to at least try it out.

TRINI: He made fun of me for playing the bass.

KIMBERLY: Trini, we all made fun of you for playing the bass.

ZACK: The height comparison is just really funny.

TRINI: I hate all of you.

Q: You guys seem really close. It really does show through in your performance, how familiar you are with each other. How did you guys meet and become such tight friends?

BILLY: (sharing a look with the others) Ah…That, um, we just met…in detention.

Q: Detention?

JASON: It might not look like it, but we’re all pretty naughty kids.

TRINI: No. At first it was just Kimberly, Jason, and Billy. Then they were like, we need to meet up more often. So they made me and Zack get in trouble so we could get tossed into detention along with them.

ZACK: What the crazy girl said.

KIMBERLY: Hey! Way to pin the blame on us.

Q: Okay, last question. Do you think you guys and your band could possibly make it big?

BILLY: We’ve been asking ourselves that question for the past few months.

JASON: Honestly, it’s insane how popular we’ve gotten already. I mean, we got the attention of a record label, and Adam wants us to record a real album.

KIMBERLY: Plus that time he got our song onto the radio.

TRINI: That was insane. We all went nuts when we heard it.

ZACK: I think we’d all lose our [expletive] if we actually somehow ended up famous, though.

KIMBERLY: Yeah.

BILLY: Yeah.

JASON: Well, I guess that’s all we have for you. It’s nearly past our bedtime.

(all laughing)

Q: Thank you for sitting down to have this interview with me.

JASON: Thanks for coming to interview us! We had a blast.

 

So what I took away from my brief conversation with the ER members was that they were fun-loving, silly, and gave off a very calm, laid-back aura. I know I already said this earlier, but they’ve truly got something special with their bond. In the music industry talent alone isn’t enough, and it’s a good thing these kids have got so much more. And maybe they would be surprised if they shot to stardom, but honestly? I wouldn’t.

 


 

It was nearing the end of May and graduation was approaching rapidly.

“Is everyone okay with this?” Jason asked at their next band meeting. “Not going to college and working full time as a band instead?”

“I mean, I’m okay with it,” said Trini. “Not so sure about my parents.”

“We need all of us,” said Kim. “If one person can’t do it then none of us can. We’re a group.”

“We’ll discuss this more at the next meeting,” said Jason. “Talk it through with your parents. See what they say.”

 


 

Billy was supposed to be going to Caltech, but he didn’t want to let down the others like that. And he really did like drumming, and playing music, and spending time with his friends. If he went to Caltech he might not ever see them again.

He told his mom, who said she only wanted him to be happy, and if he was happiest playing in a band with his closest friends then what was stopping him from skipping out on college for now to go play the drums.

Billy cried and hugged his mom and thanked her profusely, and she hugged him back and told him she loved him.

 


 

Jason didn’t really have many bright college prospects to begin with, not after his little stunt leading to him getting kicked off the football team. So his dad sat him down one day and tried to talk to him about alternatives he could pursue after graduating high school, and Jason just blurted out that he wanted to stay with the band.

His dad was appalled at first, but then Jason talked about how they’d already signed with a real legit recording label, and that they were already getting famous around town. He showed him the money they’d made and the article with their interview online and that eventually sealed the deal with his dad.

“Alright, you can go stay with that band,” his dad said. “But if it fails and you come back crying, broke and starving, don’t expect me to welcome you with open arms.”

Yeah, whatever. That was a little harsh. But at least he could stay with his friends now.

 


 

Zack promised his mom that he would come home and visit often. He also promised that once he made enough money from playing in the band he would get her into a nicer house and maybe hire a couple caretakers to look after her.

He sat by her bed and played songs for her every night on his acoustic guitar, and she always fell asleep with a faint smile on her face that warmed his heart.

She agreed to let him go, with a kiss on his cheek and pride shining in her eyes. It took a lot of willpower for him not to cry.

 


 

It was rough at first with Kimberly’s parents, because she’d gotten into some pretty decent colleges. They told her they’d saved up so much money for her tuition fees and she told them she’d make enough money in the band to pay them back.

They said she already made some extremely questionable choices and that they needed to crack down on her before she spiraled even deeper into the mess she’d gotten herself into. She told them that the band had helped her stay afloat and pointed out that she hadn’t gotten up to anything bad recently, barring the smashed window from a little while back.

Eventually her mom sighed and admitted that she did enjoy Kim’s singing, and said that ever since she was little she’d had a melodic, powerful voice.

“You sang really loud whenever you showered,” said her mom. “Really loud and really good.”

“I’ll come back and visit,” said Kim.

So they let her go.

 


 

If it weren’t for Trini’s brothers she would have spent the next few years trapped at home studying at the community college.

Her parents were pretty adamant against her staying with the band. First she had to mock them by choosing to play the bass guitar instead of something more normal like the flute, or the violin, and now she had the audacity to take her bass and run off with a ragtag group of misfits and try to make a living off of playing?

“That’s not normal,” said her mom. “That’s not what a normal girl does!”

That was all she heard from them these days.

Her brothers knew how much she loved the other Rangers and how much she enjoyed playing with them. They were always spying on her and Kimberly practicing singing in her room. They were the ones who ultimately convinced Trini’s parents that maybe being normal wasn’t all that great, that Trini was special and deserved to have a shot at doing something she loved. And with those big twin puppy dog eyes, their parents eventually caved.

She promised the boys a couple trips to the amusement park over the summer before she left. They pushed her over with two big, fat hugs.

 


 

They graduated.

 


 

On the first Sunday of June, the five of them were sitting around the swimming pool in Jason’s neighborhood, decked out in T-shirts and shorts. None of them were actually going swimming but Jason, Zack, and Kimberly had their feet in the water, kicking up little waves back and forth. Across from them, a couple young boys were splashing around in the shallow end.

The previous night Adam had sent them all the way down to Anaheim to play at some giant party. Kim and Trini had just finished writing their newest song Made You Stay, and taken it out last night for a test run. The crowd reception had been wild.

And afterwards, Trini couldn’t help it. Singing up there onstage with Kim, looking right into her eyes and painfully aware of how much she meant the words coming out of her mouth, it made affection and just an overwhelming sense of gratefulness well up inside her. She had tackled Kim in a hug as soon as they’d left the stage.

“What’s this for?” Kim asked as she wrapped her arms around Trini’s waist.

“Because I’m glad,” Trini had mumbled, her face buried into Kim’s shirt. “Don’t tell the others. But I really am glad you made me stay.”

Now they were chilling by the pool, wasting the afternoon away relaxing instead of doing anything useful. The night before had really taken a lot of energy out of them.

Then Jason’s phone buzzed. Trini lifted her head wearily from where she’d been lying on a nearby lounge chair to see what it was.

“E-mail from Adam,” he said, unlocking his phone and reading the message. “He wants to know how many completed songs we have.”

“Nine,” said Kim.

“Cool,” said Jason. “He says—once we have twelve that we’re happy with, we can take it to him. If he likes them, then we can start practicing to record the songs for our first album.”

“Wow,” said Zack, kicking one leg up and sending a splash of water flying through the air. “When I said that we should start a band together I was not expecting for us to end up here.”

“What were you expecting, then?” asked Billy.

“I dunno,” said Zack. “Monthly practice sessions in Jason’s garage or something where we sounded like crap. Getting last place in the school talent show. Not, you know, getting noticed by a record label and gearing up to make a professional album?”

“How’s it going to work?” asked Trini.

“How’s what going to work?” said Jason.

“Like, where is it happening?”

“Oh,” said Jason. “Um, yeah. About that. Pulse Records’ main recording studio is in San Francisco.”

“Does that mean we’re going to have to move?” asked Kim.

“Well,” said Jason, “Adam says he can put us in a hotel whenever we need to record our album and detract all the costs from the revenue we get once it drops.”

“We could just move out?” Zack suggested.

Billy frowned. “But the Zeo Crystal is here.”

“I dunno either, man,” said Jason uneasily. “But I’d rather not have to drive two hours both ways every time we want to go to the studio.”

“We have the entire summer to think things through,” Trini cut in. “It’s nice out, I wanna enjoy the weather.”

Zack showed his agreement by planting a hand square on Jason’s back and shoving him into the water. He fell face-forward with a yelp.

Kim shied away from the resulting splash, laughing her head off when Jason resurfaced a few seconds later. “Dude!” he shouted, holding up his now blank phone. “I was holding this!”

“I have lots of rice,” Zack offered innocently.

Jason glared at him, then lunged forward and grabbed Zack by his legs. His eyes widened in surprise a moment before Jason yanked him, hard, dragging him into the pool as well.

“Screw you!” Zack swore, spitting a mouthful of water out at Jason.

The scuffle turned into a full on splash fight, and Kim got up to retreat to where Billy and Trini were chilling on the lounge chairs.

“Scoot,” said Kim. Trini rolled onto her side and Kim plopped down into the newly vacated spot.

“What? Scared of the water?” Trini teased her, turning around so that she was face-to-face with Kim.

“Says the one lying on a chair five feet away from the pool. Wimp.”

“Hey, I’m doing that too,” said Billy.

“Not you, Billy,” said Kim. “You’re perfect.” She turned back to Trini and grinned.

“Rude.” Trini blew out a puff of air right into Kim’s face. Kim scrunched up her nose for a second, but then she smiled.

“Your breath smells nice,” said Kim, sighing. “It smells like Trini.”

Trini raised an eyebrow. “Are you high right now?”

“No,” Kim scoffed. “I just like being here. With you.”

Trini’s heart skipped a beat.

Kim still had that dopey smile on her face, and it was making Trini feel things.

She was going to say something back, but just then Jason let out a yell because Zack had grabbed onto his stomach and jumped like twenty feet into the air, letting go of him at the pinnacle. The two boys who’d been playing in the pool scrambled to get out after he caused a massive splash, their eyes wide in fear.

“Boys,” said Kim.

“Yeah,” Billy agreed cheerfully. “Boys. So crazy.”

Chapter Text

Summer passed by in a blur.

They kept practicing on Sundays and sometimes even on Wednesdays too when they were all free. Adam kept getting them into bigger and bigger gigs around their area of California and they made more and more money. Kimberly wrote more songs and they got more popular, and Zordon kept giving them the stink-eye the training session after their most recent gig, like he knew that they were up to absolutely nothing good.

By the time they had twelve extremely well-received songs under their belts, the tough decision had to be made. Were they staying in Angel Grove to protect the Zeo Crystal from further alien attacks, or should they collectively move to San Francisco so the commute to the recording studio wasn’t so long every single day?

“I think we should move,” said Zack.

“What if Rita tries to get her hands on the Zeo Crystal again?” Billy argued. “If we’re off playing around in San Fran who’s gonna save the town from getting blown up again?”

“Wait, you think of this band as playing around?” said Kim.

“N-No! I didn’t mean it like that!” said Billy, holding out his hands in surrender, his eyes wide in alarm. “I just, we can’t just ditch the town like that.”

“He’s right,” said Jason, frowning. “It’s two hours away, there’s no way we could get back in time if we’re notified of an attack.”

They started discussing the pros and cons of moving. In the middle of the debate, Trini, who had not said a word up until then, cut in.

“Why can’t we just get a teleporter?”

Everyone else abruptly fell silent.

“What?” said Kim.

“Like, set up a teleporter here, in the ship or whatever,” Trini explained, her eyebrow raised. “And bring the other one with us? If we hear about an attack we can just up and come back here.”

“Is that even possible?” asked Billy.

“I mean, Alpha 5 already teleports us from the cliff to the ship,” said Zack. “We could totally ask him to rig up something small for us to bring with! That’s genius!”

“Yeah, except there’s a problem,” said Kim.

“What?” said Zack.

“If we want a teleporter we’re going to have to ask Zordon, which means we’re going to have to tell him what we’re planning on doing.”

“Oh.”

 


 

“You WHAT?” said Zordon.

“Please?” Kim tried, lamely.

“Absolutely not,” said Zordon, his expression both appalled and a little angry. “You are the Power Rangers. You can’t just abandon your duties and leave Angel Grove unprotected.”

“We’re not abandoning the town,” said Jason, spreading his hands in an attempt to placate Zordon. “We’re asking for a teleportation mechanism so we can come back whenever the Zeo Crystal’s in danger.”

“No!” said Zordon. “You can’t. You have to stay here. And what happened to keeping your identities a secret? I could stomach it when you were just playing for fun, but now you want to try and become famous? Are you out of your minds?”

“Please,” scoffed Trini. “This is literally the best cover for us. Who’s going to believe that the Power Ranger superheroes would just casually start a band and work with it full time? No one.”

“Also, you don’t have a stomach,” said Zack.

Kim punched his arm. “Zack. Now is not the time.”

“I am not going to assist you with your ridiculous request,” said Zordon. “Your job as the Power Rangers is to keep the Zeo Crystal safe. And if you are not here, then you cannot do that.”

“Listen, Mr. Wall Dad,” said Billy, finally snapping. Everyone turned to look at him, completely taken by surprise. “I didn’t want to move at first, either. I was trying to convince everyone it wasn’t safe to leave this town unprotected. But then I thought about it, and you know what? You might not have a life anymore, but we’re still eighteen years old. We have an entire decades ahead of us and it is completely unfair for you to take that away from us when we can do our job as Power Rangers and enjoy what we should be enjoying at the same time! We put in a lot of work to slap Rita off the planet, and we deserve to have some fun with our lives. All we did was ask you for a teleporter which you could very easily just give us and we can still protect the Zeo Crystal, it’s a win-win for everyone so stop your whining and let us go!”

The ship was dead silent for a full minute.

Zordon’s mouth was hanging wide open, frozen in shock.

 


 

They got the teleporter from Alpha 5.

 


 

“So, who wants to keep this?” said Jason, flipping the teleporter up and down in his hand. It was about the size of a large coin, thick and shiny, with lines running down one side to another. Alpha 5 had taught them how to set it up and use it, and then showed them where he’d hooked up the other one in a side room on the ship.

“You keep it,” said Zack. “You’re the least likely out of all of us to misplace it or lose it.”

Jason laughed. “That’s not true in the slightest and you know that.”

“Give it to Billy,” said Kim. “He’d guard it with his life, right?”

“Well, maybe not my life,” said Billy.

“It’s all yours, buddy.” Jason tossed the teleporter to Billy, who caught it in both hands. He tucked it away into his jacket pocket.

“Time for apartment hunting?” asked Trini.

“Time for apartment hunting,” agreed Kim.

They were chilling together in Jason’s backyard, enjoying the evening summer breeze. Jason had brought out a bunch of blankets and they’d spread it out all over the grass and flopped down onto it. He had also brought out his laptop to search for a place to live once they moved to San Francisco.

“These are all so expensive,” muttered Jason, scrolling through a list of apartments available for rent.

“Why can’t we just stay for the recording studio that’s here?” asked Zack. “You know, the one that we used to record our song for the radio.”

“It’s too small and the equipment’s only good for something low-quality,” Jason answered without looking up from the screen. “Besides, it’s getting shut down soon, apparently.”

“Isn’t San Francisco, like, the most expensive city in the country to live in?” said Billy.

“It’s also the most gay-friendly,” said Zack, giving Trini a nudge with his shoulder.

Trini glared at him.

Kim surreptitiously rubbed her palms against her jeans.

 


 

“Three bedrooms,” said Zack.

“Zack, we can’t afford a three bedroom apartment,” said Jason, dropping his phone onto his face and groaning in frustration.

It was three days later and the girls and Billy were using Jason’s laptop while he and Zack were on their phones. Finding an apartment was proving to be surprisingly difficult. Not only were prices in San Francisco insanely high, they had to factor in location and proximity to the recording studio. And good open spots were taken fast.

“There’s five of us,” said Zack. “And you want to squeeze all of us into a tiny apartment with two bedrooms.”

“The difference in prices is over a thousand dollars,” said Jason. “We don’t have that kind of money to spare!”

“That’s only two hundred extra bucks each,” Zack argued.

“We make a lot less than two hundred bucks per gig,” said Jason.

“Once we get to San Francisco we’re going to be playing at much bigger clubs and earning a lot more money,” said Zack.

“Two bedrooms,” begged Jason.

Zack squinted at him.

“I’ll buy you a popsicle as soon as we move in,” said Jason.

“Fine.” Zack sighed and resumed scrolling through his phone. “Two bedrooms it is.”

 

A couple hours later Kim found an amazing two bedroom apartment for a relatively cheap cost, only a ten minute bus ride from the studio and two blocks away from a line of various restaurants and a grocery store. Jason leaned over and slammed the RESERVE button so fast the mousepad caved in.

He reached for the phone closest to him, which was Trini’s, and furiously typed in the phone number listed on the ad.

“If you break that, I’ll punch your lights out,” said Trini.

“How many phones have we each broken by now?” Billy commented as Jason put the dialing phone up to his ear.

“We should keep track,” said Kim. “At the end of each month the loser has to treat us all to a night out.”

“Hello?” said Jason on the phone. “Yeah. Um, hi, this is Jason Scott from Angel Grove. I saw your ad listing online and…Yeah. Yeah. Sure. Oh, really? That would be awesome! When can we come take a look? Yeah, okay. Two weeks? Cool. Awesome. Thank you so much. You too.”

He hung up and let out a whoop. “The apartment’s opening up for checking out in two weeks!” he said. “So pack your bags, because we’re moving to San Francisco!

 


 

“Hey,” said Kim.

Trini didn’t turn around. She was sitting on the ground, cuddling a half-filled suitcase in between her legs, her brothers scampering around her room and creating a mess. Kim crawled in through the window and dropped lightly down onto the ground.

“Hey,” Trini said back.

“Having fun?” Kim asked, stepping carefully over a pile of clothes to sit down on the bed a few feet away.

“No,” said Trini, staring ahead blankly. “I’m still trying to process everything that’s been happening.”

“Same,” Kim agreed. “San Francisco, huh? Off to try our hand at the big league.”

“I can’t believe I’m moving out,” said Trini. “Out of my house. Forever.”

Kim laughed. “I mean, we’re only going to be two hours away,” she said. “And I’m pretty sure Rita’s going to try to blow up Angel Grove again sometime in the future.”

“That’s true,” said Trini. She looked up at Kim. “Help me pack? I don’t know what to bring with me and what to leave behind.”

“Sure,” said Kim, hopping down from the bed and joining Trini on the floor.

“Awesome.” Trini turned to find her brothers right in front of her, playing around with all her stuff, and she sighed. “Guys, get out of my suitcase.”

The boys jumped up and charged after each other out her room. Trini watched them go, amused.

“They’re so hyper,” said Kim.

“Yeah,” said Trini, a tiny grin forming on her face. “I’m gonna miss those two when we leave.”

For the rest of the afternoon, they gradually gathered up all of Trini’s possessions and packed the stuff she wanted to keep into suitcases and a few boxes.

“Should I bring all these posters with me?” Trini asked, looking up at her completely covered wall.

Kim stood next to Trini, inspecting the posters as well. “Hm,” she said. “Not all of them. You’re only allowed to put them up on just one wall in our room.”

“Wait, did you just say our room?” said Trini.

“Duh?” said Kim, turning to face Trini, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “There’s two bedrooms, did you think I was going to let you sleep in the same room as the boys?”

“Right,” Trini muttered. “Well, since it’s your room too, why don’t you pick out some of the ones you like?”

“Okay.” Kim brightened and scanned the wall, every inch of which was plastered with various posters.

 


 

“Stop picking all the pink ones!”

“It’s your own fault for having so many pink posters in the first place.” Kim held up one of a pretty actress in Trini’s face. “You like this one, don’t even try to deny it.”

“I hate you,” said Trini.

 


 

The fateful day arrived.

Trini got tackled by her brothers and even managed a rather stiff hug good-bye to her mom and dad.

The five of them met up at Jason’s house. They’d sent all their collective stuff off with a truck already and were just waiting for the Uber to come and pick them up.

“When are they coming?” said Billy, hopping up and down, his hands stuffed into his pockets.

Jason put a hand gently on Billy’s shoulder in an attempt to get him to calm down a little. “We still have five minutes. Just be patient.”

“We’re moving,” Billy squeaked.

Trini felt someone creep up behind her and put their head on her shoulder. When she realized it was Kim, she nearly had a heart attack.

“Hey,” said Trini, because if she didn’t say something she felt like she was going to burst into flames.

“Hello,” said Kim.

“Is that comfortable?” Zack asked from a few feet away. “You know, with Trini being so short and all?”

“Fuck off,” said Trini. Kim laughed behind her, and Trini felt her spirits soar.

The Uber minivan came soon enough. The boys let out a cheer and piled on quickly, Kim and Trini following suit shortly after.

Billy and Jason sat in the two seats in the middle, while Kim, Zack, and Trini took up all the space in the back row.

“Why the hell am I the one sandwiched in the middle?” asked Zack.

“Girls rule, boys drool,” Kim sang.

“That doesn’t answer my—oh, nevermind.”

“We’re moving!” Billy yelled as the car started and took off down the street.

 

Fifteen minutes in Kim got bored.

“I spy…something black.”

“Zack’s shirt,” said Trini.

“Okay, fine, how about something red—”

“Jason’s shirt.”

“Blue—”

“Billy’s jacket.”

“Stop guessing everything right before I even finish saying it,” Kim said, pouting.

“That’s your own fault for picking the most obvious things,” said Trini.

“Well, excuse me for not having many options, seeing as we’re on the highway with nothing but trees around—”

“I knew I shouldn’t have sat in the middle,” said Zack. “It feels like I’m cockblocking you two.”

From the row in front of them, Jason burst out laughing uncontrollably. Billy looked at him, looking mildly concerned. Kim leaned forward and hid her face in her hands while Trini struggled to not let anyone see the way her face was rapidly heating up.

“Fuck you,” said Trini.

“Wrong person,” Zack said, a big fat grin on his face. “Now if Kimberly were sitting here instead of me then it would make a little more sense for you—”

“Zack,” said Kim, still covering her face with her hands.

“Yeah?”

“Do me a favor.”

“What?”

“Shut the fuck up.”

Jason started giggling again.

“Y’all are crazy,” sighed Billy.

 

The minivan fell into silence for a little while after that. It took Trini almost ten minutes before she finally got over her mortification.

Jason and Billy were up front playing some complicated word game. It was Jason’s turn and he was having a hard time coming up with something.

“C’mon,” said Billy.

“I’m trying,” Jason protested. “I’m not as smart as you. Just give me a second. Uh…”

But he couldn’t think of anything, and he drew out the uh…, longer and longer, until Billy sat back against his seat, annoyed.

Then he started beatboxing to the sound.

Within ten seconds Zack had joined in, and then Jason, and then all the boys were beatboxing and Kim and Trini were staring at each other like, these kids are nuts.

Trini tried resisting them for a while. But soon she found herself bobbing her head to the beat and it was just the perfect tempo and she’d been practicing for a while.

The Uber driver was going to be so pissed at them.

Trini started rapping.

Yeah, I know you love the way it rain down, so tell me why the hell you playin’ round…

Zack faltered for a second, taken completely by surprise, and Jason turned around to look at her, his eyes wide. Billy kept going and Trini was too focused on getting the words right to look at Kim.

I ain’t bout to be on the sidelines, Sugar, let me give you some guidelines…”

She finished the entire verse without tripping up once, jamming out with the boys, who only got increasingly louder as they continued. Jason and Billy started clapping when she was done and Trini grinned at them, feeling high from the rush she’d just gotten.

“Dude,” said Zack.

“That was amazing!” Billy said.

“Thanks, man,” Trini said sheepishly, rubbing the back of her neck with her hand.

“Uh, Kim,” said Jason. “You alright?”

Kim was gripping the armrest on the side so hard it was compressing in on itself.

“Kimberly?” Zack asked uncertainly.

“Fuck. Trini. You can rap?” Kim choked out.

“Yes?” Trini answered, starting to feel a little alarmed. “Are you okay?”

Kim didn’t answer.

“She’s fine,” Zack said airily. “Probably just extremely turned on at the moment.”

“Oh my god,” said Trini, groaning, burying her face into his side so no one could see her furious blush.

He wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer, his entire body shaking with laughter. Up front Jason was trying and failing to hold it in and even Billy was struggling not to laugh.

God, the car ride was only one more hour long but Trini needed it to end like, now. Before she died of embarrassment.

Chapter Text

Finally the Uber dropped them off in front of their apartment complex. Trini pushed her way past both Jason and Billy to tumble out of the car first, taking a huge breath of fresh air as soon as her feet hit the pavement.

“Why the rush?” asked Zack, stepping off of the car next, grinning at Trini.

Trini rolled her eyes. “I am never going to ride in a car with you again. The first time I did, we got hit by a train, and now this.”

“But what did I do wrong this time?” Zack asked innocently, feigning a hurt expression.

Just then Kimberly appeared at Trini’s side, which saved her from having to deal with Zack any longer. “Hey,” she said. “San Francisco is pretty great, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” agreed Trini.

The city was so vibrant. It was such a big change from Angel Grove, which was tiny and sparse and drab. San Francisco was crowded. Despite all the fog, the atmosphere just felt so much more upbeat and colorful.

Jason finished paying the driver and the five of them made their way up to the building, where the landlord was waiting for them at the entrance.

“Hello,” said Jason.

“Hey,” said the guy. “You Jason Scott?”

“That’s me,” confirmed Jason.

The landlord glanced at each one of them before speaking again. “Your stuff came up a while ago. Want to take a look around?”

“That’d be awesome,” said Jason.

Their apartment was on the second floor. The landlord led them there, gave them each a key, and then pushed the door open.

“Wow,” said Kim.

“The photos didn’t even do this place justice,” said Billy in awe.

It was pretty nice. After some exploring they found the bedrooms on opposite sides of the apartment. The one on the right side was noticeably bigger than the one on the left, so the boys claimed that one. Kim and Trini therefore got the other room.

“There’s only one bed in each room right now,” said the landlord, “so you guys are gonna have to figure out how to make it work. Don’t destroy the rest of the furniture and we’ll be good.”

Jason turned to the others. “You guys chill for a bit,” he told them. “Billy and I are gonna go talk with the landlord for a bit, okay?”

As they left, Trini felt Kim’s fingers wrap around her wrist. She suppressed the urge to jump ten feet into the air and instead turned to find Kim grinning at her.

“Come on,” she said. “Let’s take a closer look at everything.”

 


 

It took them two weeks to settle in completely.

They worked out the lease, rent, and other annoying paperwork with the landlord, making the apartment officially theirs.

Then they decided that since the two beds that were already in the apartment matched in size and shape, Kim and Trini should have them. So they went to the boys’ room to get the bed and move it into the girls’. Transporting the bed wasn’t the hard part, it was making sure they didn’t accidentally knock a chunk out of the ceiling as they carried it over.

Next they had to buy beds for the guys. Zack insisted on getting a bunk and wouldn’t let up when Jason complained, so they did. Billy got the single, Zack the top bunk, and Jason the bottom.

They checked to make sure all the utilities were working properly. Eventually the closets were filled, the refrigerator was stocked, and the bedrooms were decorated.

“I can’t believe we’re living in our own apartment together,” said Kim, sighing contentedly as she lay back against the couch.

“You owe me a popsicle,” Zack told Jason.

Life was going great.

 


 

In mid-August they visited the main recording studio for the first time and shortly after, Adam put them to work.

On off days they practiced, mostly in a soundproof room in a side wing, but sometimes in the booth to start getting a feel for it. Jason started taking a few piano lessons, since he’d taught himself how to play it and wanted to get better. Every once in a while inspiration would strike one of them and they’d spend the day writing songs instead.

The first time they played for a popular club in San Francisco, they’d almost gotten overwhelmed by how excited the crowd had been to see them. Word must have gotten around, because a lot of people recognized them, and so many of them cheered loudly after every song they played.

It was insane.

“Do you guys have social media accounts?” Adam asked them one day.

“Yeah,” said Jason.

“Yes,” said Billy.

“Yep,” said Kim.

“Yeah,” said Zack.

“No,” said Trini.

They all stared at her.

“Get one,” said Adam. “There’s a fan base out there just waiting to be built.”

 


 

Trini @triniER
ok well the others made me get a twitter so. hi people.

 

Kimberly Hart @kimbhart
@triniER YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

 

Zack T. @zacktayloriscool
@triniER @kimbhart date

 

Trini @triniER
@kimbhart Kim how do you block someone on twitter

 


 

Even with the busy and hectic schedule, they still had a lot of downtime to hang out and mess around.

Trini still found it disorienting waking up every morning in the same room as Kim instead of alone. Kim usually got up before she did, but on the days that Trini awoke first, it was surreal, seeing Kim there across from her still sleeping peacefully.

Today was one of those days.

By the time she had blinked away the sleep from her eyes, the clock on her nightstand told her it was a little bit past eight o’clock. She turned over, still huddled up comfortably in her light yellow blanket, and her gaze landed on Kim on the other side of the room.

Her blanket had been twisted around a bit during the night, and she always slept in a tank top. Trini stared for a while and then realized that Kim had nice arms.

She had a nice face too.

She had a nice everything.

Trini would probably be content watching Kim’s steady breathing making her chest rise and fall. And she almost did, too, instead of getting up to face the new day.

“Creep,” mumbled Kim. Her eyes were still closed, but a faint smirk was appearing on her face.

“When did you wake up—h-how did you know I was looking at you?” Trini stammered.

Kim peeked one eye open and fixed Trini with a teasing smile. “Because you’re always looking at me.”

Trini didn’t know what to say to that, so she just grabbed her blanket and covered herself with it to hide her blush. She heard Kim laughing and tentatively pulled down the blanket to look over at her.

“S’okay,” said Kim, stretching wide. After a few seconds she pushed herself into a sitting position, rubbing one eye with her fist. “I don’t mind.”

“Of course you don’t,” said Trini before she could stop herself. “It should be illegal to be that pretty.”

“Have you checked yourself out in the mirror lately?” asked Kim. “Now that’s what I’d call illegal.”

Wait.

Did—Did Kim just call her pretty?

“Um,” said Trini.

Kim stood up from her bed and took a couple steps towards Trini’s. Trini watched her approach warily, until Kim lunged forward and tackled her to the bed.

Trini squeaked, falling backwards under Kim’s weight, and Kim laughed. They rolled around for a few seconds until Kim had decided she was in a comfortable position, hugging Trini’s sides and grinning down at her.

“Hi,” said Kim.

Trini tried to say something back. It was just really hard to think properly with Kim’s face so close to hers.

For that one blissful moment it felt like everything had frozen in time, and nothing existed outside of their little bubble of a room. Trini couldn’t tear her eyes away from Kim and it seemed like Kim couldn’t tear her eyes away from Trini, with that soft dopey smile on her face. In that moment it seemed like they were the only two people in the world.

Then there was a loud crack from outside, followed by the sound of Jason yelling Zack’s name.

Kim sighed and lugged herself off of Trini, looking down at her pajamas that consisted of a T-shirt and bright pink shorts and apparently deciding that there was no need to change.

Trini relaxed her body against the bed. Her heart was racing wildly, even though she hadn’t done anything to exert herself.

“What was that for?” she managed to say.

“Dunno,” said Kim, shrugging. “I just really wanted to.”

Trini grumbled before dragging herself to the closet to get dressed for the day. She made it into the little room, where Kim’s clothes were hanging on the left side, and Trini’s on the right. She went over and pulled on a pair of jeans while looking for a shirt to wear.

Then she glanced over at Kim’s side.

Everything was so pink.

She stole a bright pink T-shirt from Kim and glanced at its front. There was a picture of a chicken in the corner and at first she was confused until she turned it around.

On the back there was a caption that read, “How to Pick Up Chicks.” Underneath that, there was a series of three pictures consisting of a stick figure standing next to a baby chicken and then bending down to pick it up. Trini rolled her eyes.

She put the shirt on and walked out of the closet.

Kim made a face as soon as she saw Trini. “Are you wearing my shirt?” she asked.

Trini stuck out her tongue. “I have literally never seen you with this on before.”

“A friend got it for me as a joke,” said Kim. She looked Trini up and down and smiled. “It looks good on you.”

Trini had to suppress the urge to shiver. Thankfully Kim had started moving towards the door, so she didn’t see.

Outside over in the kitchen, they found Zack lamenting over their toaster, which had somehow gotten cut clean in half down the center. Jason was standing over him, his hand on his forehead and looking so disappointed. Billy was watching from where he was sitting at the counter with a concerned frown on his face.

“Uh, what happened here?” asked Kim.

“Zack tried to make toast,” said Jason.

Zack winced.

“I mean, at least he didn’t blow it up,” Billy added helpfully.

Jason sighed, staring down at the pitiful mess of scrap metal in Zack’s hands. “I’m gonna go—buy another toaster. Because I wanted toast and you broke our toaster.”

“Don’t forget to get back by noon to go to the studio!” Zack called out as Jason left.

“It’s not going to take me three hours to buy a stupid toaster, Zack!” Jason yelled back.

The door closed and Zack put the broken remains of the toaster back onto the counter mournfully.

“Congratulations on becoming the first person to get a tally on the Dick List,” said Kim.

Zack blinked. “Sorry, the what?”

“The Dick List,” Kim repeated brightly. “I made up the name just now.”

“And what exactly is the Dick List?” asked Zack.

“Every time you break something, you have to get your name put on this,” said Kim, reaching over and taking a sheet of notebook paper off the small pile on the counter near Billy. “And then at the end of the month whoever’s on the list the most times has to pay for a night out for all of us.”

“So you’re saying that,” said Zack, “whoever wastes the most money has to waste even more money on everyone else?”

“Yep,” said Kim.

“That’s unfair,” said Zack.

Kim grabbed ahold of a Sharpie and tacked the piece of paper up on the refrigerator, writing the words “DICK LIST” in giant bold capital letters across the top. However, before she could write down Zack’s name below the title, he grabbed her wrist.

“What?” said Kim.

“Why do I have to be the first?” he said, pouting. “Didn’t you snap one of the legs off the coffee table last week?”

“Jason pushed me,” Kim protested, scandalized.

“Still! You broke it! You go on the Dick List first!”

“Oh shut up, who’s making the rules here?”

Trini retreated to where Billy was and pulled up a stool to sit down next to him.

“Hello,” he said pleasantly, as if Kim and Zack weren’t having a massive scuffle two feet away from him. “Nice shirt.”

“Hey,” Trini said back. “Thanks. How has your day been?”

“Well it just started, but pretty good,” said Billy with a smile. “At least, up until Zack destroyed our toaster.”

“Let go of my hand, Zack!” Kim was saying.

“I’ll let go when you let go of my dignity!”

“That doesn’t even make any sense!”

Trini sighed. “And he says I’m the crazy one,” she said.

“Yeah, compared to those two, I think you’re pretty calm,” Billy agreed.

 


 

Jason came back with a brand new toaster a while later, but less than ten minutes after that they ran out of bread to toast. So instead they put whatever they could find and fit into the toaster and ate all of that.

The Dick List now had three names scrawled onto it: Zack, Kimberly, and Jason.

 


 

Later that day, they were practicing a few of their songs that needed the most work in the soundproof room when Adam knocked on the door and entered.

He just sat there and listened to them for a while. When they finished a run-through of a song he finally spoke.

“Things sound like they’re coming along pretty great,” he said.

“Yeah,” said Kim. “I think we can play most of the songs the entire way through with minimal mistakes. But we still have a little ways to go until they sound really good.”

“I see,” said Adam. “Well, I was thinking, and I think it would be a good idea to release maybe one or two singles before the entire album drops. I’ll even see if I can scrape together a video production team to make a music video for those songs. Since you’re still a relatively unknown band, with a little bit of promotion the singles may be able to generate more interest in the album.”

“That makes sense,” said Jason.

“So, do you have any ideas on which two songs you want to focus on?” asked Adam.

“Probably Endurance,” said Kim, shrugging. “I mean it’s already been on the radio once.” She turned and looked at each of the others. “What do you guys think?”

“I’m down,” said Trini.

“What should the second song be, though?” asked Billy.

They were all silent for a few moments.

“Can we get back to you on this?” Jason asked Adam.

“Yeah, no problem,” he replied. “Just don’t wait too long, alright? I’d really like an answer before next Saturday. Oh, and you guys are going to be playing at a club two miles away on Wednesday. Someone is throwing a massive birthday party and he asked for a band with good original music. I booked you the spot; it’s one hour long.”

“Wow, no pressure,” Zack muttered.

“You guys will do fine,” said Adam. “I have faith in you all.”

He left the room after that, leaving the five of them alone to stare excitedly at one another. They’d already played at countless clubs for countless audiences since their beginnings as a band, yet landing a new gig still always gave them a thrill.

 


 

Trini @triniER
poop

 

Trini @triniER
poop

 

Trini @triniER
poop

 

Trini @triniER
potato

 

Trini @triniER
hahahahahaha

 

Trini @triniER
hello i’m an idiot hehehe

 


 

Trini @triniER
come on at least let me learn how to use twitter first

 

Kimberly Hart @kimbhart
@triniER ❤❤❤

Chapter Text

Over the course of the next two weeks they decided on two songs to record first and film music videos for. Each song took two days to record because Adam was very nitpicky about the quality. But they finally finished, and they had a couple days of rest while Adam sought out video producers and advertisers to promote their music.

For the first time at the birthday gig someone came up to them and asked for their autographs. The girl tentatively held out a small photo of them she’d clearly clipped out of a newspaper and a silver Sharpie. After freaking out internally for a few seconds, they each took turns scribbling their names next to themselves in the photo. Then Kimberly gave the girl a hug.

“Thank you,” the girl said, smiling wide. “I’m going to save this for when you’re famous.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” said Jason, laughing.

Then later Adam told them that he’d gotten a production team assembled for the first music video. He didn’t give them any details on what they’d be doing in the video, but he did say that the filming would be taking place over three eight-hour work days, starting in two weeks on a Saturday.

It was crazy to think about, that they were about to be in their very own music video.

 


 

On the morning of the first day of filming Trini stumbled her way into the kitchen, where Jason was squinting at a pan on the stove, wearing a black shirt and blue shorts.

“Hey,” said Trini, rubbing her eyes. “Where’s everyone else?”

“Zack wanted hash browns so he left to go buy some,” said Jason, “and he dragged Billy along with him. I think Kimberly’s outside on the balcony breathing in some fresh air.”

Trini made a face. “Alright then.” Then she paused. “Are you wearing Zack’s shirt and Billy’s pants?”

“Um,” said Jason, glancing down at what he had on and then shrugging. “I guess I am.”

“Weirdo,” Trini scoffed.

“Says the person who’s wearing Kimberly’s jacket. In the middle of September.”

“It’s comfortable and smells nice,” Trini protested, wrapping the jacket tighter around herself, trying to tamp down the blush that was forming on her cheeks.

Jason just grinned, shook his head, and turned back to the pan.

Just then, Kimberly entered the apartment with a big smile and stopped at the entrance to the kitchen. “Hey,” she said to Trini. Then she looked at Jason. “What are you cooking?”

“Eggs,” said Jason. “Or at least trying to.” He eyed the carton of eggs warily. “I’m scared I’m going to crack it as soon as I pick one up.”

“Do it,” said Trini.

Jason groaned.

“Hey, don’t egg him on,” said Kim.

“Was that a fucking pun?”

Kim just laughed. Jason reached for the carton of eggs and gingerly picked one up.

“BOO!” yelled Kim, as soon as he’d lifted it a foot into the air. Jason jumped and the egg exploded in his hand.

Trini doubled over with laughter and Kim shouted, “Dick List!”

“I was provoked!” said Jason, yellow goo dripping onto the floor around him.

“Too bad! You broke it.”

“That’s not even fair,” Jason whined. He flicked his hand in Kim’s direction, sending egg yolk flying through the air. Kim yelped and ducked to avoid being splattered.

Eventually, after several minutes of wild scuffling, two more things were added to the ever-growing Dick List tacked to the refrigerator door: Jason’s name, and a mysterious yellow smudge on the corner of the paper.

 


 

Jason did manage to make a full plate of eggs a short while later. Zack and Billy returned with not only hash browns but also a bunch of bacon and some bread. They set everything up at the table and sat down to dig in, Trini in Kimberly’s lap because they still needed to go out and get a fifth chair.

“So,” said Zack, after he finished munching on a bit of bacon, “today we start filming the music video for Endurance, huh?”

They all exchanged excited glances.

“What do you think it’s gonna be like?” asked Kim.

“It’s probably just something generic and simple,” said Trini. “I mean we’re part of a pretty small record label.”

“I hope they don’t hire bullies to push us around,” said Billy, frowning.

The table fell into an awkward silence after that.

“Wow, Billy,” said Zack with a sheepish laugh. “Way to kill the mood.”

“Sorry,” Billy squeaked.

The excitement returned in full force, though, after they’d finished with breakfast and headed out for the day. Billy kept bouncing up and down in his seat on the bus ride to the studio and Jason had to put a hand on his shoulder to get him to stop, before he attracted too many strange looks from the other people around them. Kim had her head on Trini’s shoulder a row in front of them, humming their song in anticipation for the upcoming music video.

Zack leaned over next to Trini’s ear and whispered, “Date.”

Trini punched him in the shoulder, careful not to move to avoid dislodging Kim on her other side.

 


 

They retrieved their instruments from the studio and piled onto a transport bus. They were filming all the pretty outdoors shots first, apparently.

Their first stop was at a simple grassy meadow.

There was so much equipment that needed to be set up. The director told Billy where to put his drum kit in the middle of the meadow while the crew prepped the cameras and lighting and other stuff. The rest of the band moved to join him, but were stopped.

“It’s just him in this shot,” the director explained. “You’ll all get your own in unique locations.”

“Why?” asked Jason.

“Because it looks pretty.”

“Aesthetic,” Trini whispered to Zack, who sniggered in response.

For the next thirty minutes they played the soundtrack of the song out loud and had Billy mime playing along on his drums. They took several shots of him doing that, giving him a few suggestions every once in a while to make it look better.

The others sat on the side and watched him. Even though Billy was faking it they could still see how passionately he played, how he steadily and consistently bobbed his head up and down to the beat.

They all clapped and cheered when he finished.

Next they ended up at a rather large rocky outcrop. Zack slung the strap of his guitar over his shoulder and climbed up the side of the rock until he stood at the top. The crew gave him a cord to stick into his guitar but it didn’t connect to anything, because they weren’t actually going to be hearing him play.

“Move a little bit more!” the director shouted up at him. “Make it a bit more dramatic! You should look like you’re really enjoying it!”

“I feel stupid,” said Zack.

“It won’t look stupid in the finished video,” said the director. “Now let’s do it again!”

He took nearly twice as many takes as Billy did because both Trini and Jason couldn’t stop giggling. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if Zack’s frown hadn’t deepened every single time he heard them laughing.

After Zack’s part was finished, they were given a break for lunch and a couple sandwiches that were surprisingly good.

“How was the experience?” said Jason.

“Not bad,” Billy replied.

“I still feel like an idiot,” said Zack.

“That’s because you are one,” said Trini.

Zack frowned and ripped off the corner of his sandwich to chuck at Trini, who caught it in her mouth. That only made his frown turn into a pout.

“I hope Jason’s spot is in a dumpster,” Kim commented, just as Jason went to take a bite. He choked.

“Thanks,” he spluttered.

“No problem,” Kim said brightly.

“Who do you think is going to go next?” asked Billy.

“Me,” said Trini. “The director already told me like half an hour ago.”

Kim perked up, glancing over at her in interest. “Really? What location did you get?”

“It’s a secret,” Trini told her.

Kim pouted.

There seemed to be a lot of pouting going on that day.

 


 

They found a two story building in the middle of the city and the crew actually partitioned off that entire block so that no civilians could wander in. People walking by watched them, clearly curious as to what was happening. One guy actually recognized them and asked if he could take a selfie with the set. The director agreed so long as he stood outside the block.

Trini got put up on the roof of the building, where the director told her to sit down on the edge with her legs dangling over, her bass guitar nestled in her lap. They put a mattress on the sidewalk directly under her.

“How is this supposed to prevent her from turning into a pancake if she falls?” Kim asked, folding her arms and staring down at the pathetic little mattress lying on the ground.

They had the cameras attached to long extendable rods that could twist and shift to follow Trini at eye level. She was told to look “introspective” as they filmed her, whatever the hell that meant. Instead she just glared off into the distance and hoped that it was enough.

It was kind of awkward, sitting up there by herself, the breeze gently blowing her hair to the side, pretending to play her bass with a camera whizzing past her twenty feet off the ground. Especially since Zack was down with the others yelling his head off, obviously trying to get back at her for distracting him during his take.

Trini basically knew the chords for the song by muscle memory at this point, and they insisted on having several takes, so that gave her a lot of alone time to just think about things.

For example: How the hell did they manage to get here?

One second she was moving to this lame town in the middle of nowhere called Angel Grove with her helicopter parents and hyperactive brothers, and before she knew it she’d gotten magical superpowers and been slapped onto four other kids for life.

And then instead of continuing to focus on being Power Rangers and staying undercover as a weird gang of teenagers, they thought it would be a good idea to start a band—which actually got noticed, for some crazy reason, and now they were actually on the brink of fame.

Oh, god. Was there actually a possibility of them becoming famous now?

Holy crap.

 


 

They had to redo the take because the director had informed Trini that her eyes had suddenly gone wide halfway through the song.

Zack roared with laughter when he saw the clip. “You were all angry and pissed off,” he wheezed. “It looks like you started having an aneurysm!”

“Some very surprising things came to my attention up there,” Trini grumbled.

“Like what? The fact that you have a massive crush on Kimberly?”

Trini jumped on his back and tackled him to the ground. “Not everything is about me having a crush on Kimberly, you moron,” she said.

Zack squirmed around a bit, still laughing his head off. Trini had her foot planted on his back and his arms locked together behind him, but he was grinning like nothing was wrong in the world. “So you do admit that you have a crush on her,” he said triumphantly.

Trini had to let go of him to cover her rapidly reddening face with her hands.

“Kimberly, are you alright?” Billy asked.

Kim jumped. “What? Oh, yeah, peachy,” she replied. “Just, uh, enjoying the view. These brick buildings sure look great."

“Jason,” Zack called out from where he was lying on the ground. “If Trini breaks my arm does that count as an offense for the Dick List?”

“I guess so,” said Jason.

Zack twisted his head so he could flash a bright smile up at Trini. A few days ago Billy had accidentally torn a hole in his shoe trying to undo the shoelace, so she was now the only person remaining who hadn’t been marked down for breaking something yet.

"Careful, or else you'll lose your Dick List virginity," he told her.

“You kids ready yet?” the director asked, sighing.

 


  

After Trini they emptied out an underground subway tunnel and stuck Jason in it.

It was pretty uneventful compared to the others, because he stayed so calm and collected the entire time and nobody felt like bothering him when he looked so at peace.

He finished filming in just three takes, which put them ahead of schedule, so they made it to the next and final stop early.

Kim got the beach.

“Why does Kim get the beach?” Zack complained the entire time the crew was setting up.

“Want to make a sand castle with me?” Billy asked, sitting on the ground a few feet away with a large pile of sand forming in the space between his legs.

Just like that, Zack was instantly distracted. Jason joined them a few minutes later, leaving Trini standing alone next to Kim as she waited for her turn in front of the camera.

“How’s my hair look?” Kim asked.

“Fine,” said Trini.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“You don’t sound very sure.”

Trini snorted. “Kimmy, you literally look fine twenty-four seven. You could show up to the studio one day in a trash bag and you’d still look better than the rest of us combined.”

“Aw, thanks,” said Kim, a soft, affectionate smile forming on her face.

“Yeah, it’s whatever,” Trini said, turning her head away. Suddenly she couldn’t seem to look Kim in the eye anymore without feeling nerves flutter up in her stomach.

They gave Kim a mic stand to play with. She’d been twirling it around in circles but now she leaned forward into Trini’s space, tilting the stand along with herself. “Testing, testing, one two three,” she said into the microphone, looking down at Trini with a dopey smile. “I wish that Trini was gay for me.”

Trini was well aware of the fact that absolutely nothing coherent came out of her mouth for the next ten seconds.

Kim laughed.

It was a clear, sunny day, especially out on the beach. The temperatures were dropping a little as the afternoon wore on and the breeze was blowing through Kim’s hair. She was barefoot in the sand wearing shorts and a tank top, and Trini couldn’t help but look at her in wonder.

“For the record,” Kim said, lowering her voice conspiratorially and leaning even closer towards Trini, “I wouldn’t mind.”

“Oh,” Trini responded, very, very faintly.

For once she was so grateful for Zack’s antics interrupting her conversation with Kim. He sneaked up behind her and swept her off her feet into his arms, slinging her over his shoulders in one swift motion. “Hey, Crazy Girl,” he said. “I just bet Jason that I could build a sand castle a million times better than him. Would you like to help me?”

He carried her away with a happy nod to Kim before she could even answer.

“Thought you looked like you were gonna blow,” he said once they were a fair distance away, dumping her down onto the sand. “So I decided to come and rescue you.”

“Thanks,” Trini managed to say, and she actually meant it.

Zack just gave her a knowing smile and tossed her a seashell. “Now get building. Billy’s helping Jason out so we’re already at a disadvantage.”

The handiwork kept her distracted and busy for the remainder of the shooting. Zack kept telling her to do things and she’d heed his requests, and taunt Jason and Billy whenever they made fun of her and Zack.

But even so, every few seconds she couldn’t help but glance over to where Kim was standing, watching what she was doing and the gracefulness with which she carried herself.

She couldn’t help it.

Kimberly was so beautiful.

Chapter Text

They finished filming the first music video. There was a shot of the whole band playing together in a parking deck, as well as a few other random group shots. Kimberly got a couple more than the others, being the lead singer and all.

After roughly two weeks Adam showed them the finished video and Trini almost died right then and there. It looked so amazing. She couldn’t believe that was really them, playing their own original song, screwing around in rapidly-changing shots that were timed to switch with the beat.

“Is that really us?” Zack asked, his mouth open in awe.

Adam laughed at all of them, who were just as stupefied.

“It’s not decided yet, but we’re thinking an early November release,” he told them. “Which leaves us roughly four weeks to start getting your name out to more than just California. If this goes well, I’ll arrange for your second song choice to be filmed.”

“Is this even real life?” Jason asked dreamily.

 


 

Trini woke up one morning several days later to the sound of clattering from outside her room. She pushed herself up with her arms, groaning. Kimberly was still passed out, her face half-buried into her pillow, but at the sound of Trini getting up she began to stir as well.

“Mm, hey, what’s up?” Kim asked, rolling onto her back and stretching.

“I heard a noise out there,” Trini muttered. “Think the boys are up to no good again.”

“Oh.” Kim got up, then, and shot Trini a grin. “Let’s go check it out, then, shall we?”

“Duh.”

They left their room to find Billy bent over something in the kitchen, the counter obscuring whatever it was he was staring at. When he saw the girls coming, he perked up.

“Oh, hey guys,” he said, a little sheepishly. “Sorry, did I wake you up? I don’t think I’m as good at baking as I’d like to think.”

“Baking?” Kim asked, confused. “Why are you baking?”

“Well,” said Billy. He looked down at the thing he’d been working on again, then back up at Kim. There was a smudge of red icing on his cheek, so Trini reached out and rubbed it off for him. He smiled in thanks and then continued. “I, uh, happy anniversary?”

“What?” said Kim.

He motioned for the two of them to come over. Then Trini saw what he was struggling to make – a cake. Billy had painstakingly squeezed out icing onto it to form the words “HAPPY ANNIVERSARY” as well as five drawings of the Power Rangers lightning bolt in each of their colors.

“It’s the one year anniversary of when we first met,” said Billy. “Well, at least the day we found the ship together. October 12th, right?”

“Billy, this is amazing,” said Kim as realization dawned on her. “You made this for us?”

“Yeah, I mean, I wanted to do something nice for you guys,” he said earnestly. “You guys are the greatest friends I could ever ask for. You’ve done so much for much for me and I wanted to show how thankful I am. I hope you like it. Or I guess it’s okay if you don’t like it, I’m not really that good at this kind of thing but maybe I did alright enough that—”

“Billy,” said Kim. “Thank you.”

Billy paused. Then his face slowly split into a grin.

“Where’s Jason and Zack?” asked Trini.

“I think Jason is awake but they’re both still in our room,” said Billy. “You can go get them up. I need to add some more stuff to this cake.”

“Okay, thanks man,” said Trini, shoving Kim to get her to move her feet, because she was still staring in wonder at the cake.

“Billy is the nicest human being to ever exist,” said Kim as they walked away.

“Yeah, he is,” Trini agreed. “But we already knew that.”

They made it to the boys’ room. Trini stepped up to the door and knocked twice. When no one answered, she sighed and pushed it open and went inside.

Zack was still passed out on the top bunk, lined up on the left side of the room. Jason was chilling in the bottom bunk, reading something on his phone with his earbuds in.

“Did you not hear me knock?” Trini asked.

Jason looked up, momentarily surprised. He grinned and pulled out one earbud. “Sorry,” he said. “Zack snores louder than a jet engine. I was blasting music into my ears to combat that.”

“Did you know that on this day exactly one year ago the five of us met together for the first time?” Kim asked.

Jason blinked. “Really? That’s awesome. How’d you know that?”

“Billy,” Kim answered. “He’s actually got a present for all of us out there, if you want to get your ass out of bed.”

“Right,” Jason muttered. He looked up at the top bunk above him, where Zack was still snoring loudly on the other side. “Hey, stupid. Wake up!

He punctuated his statement with a swift kick up to the bunk. The mattress jumped two feet into the air, and Zack woke up screaming.

“Fuck you, Jason!” he shouted. “Fuck you and your stupid ugly cow!”

Jason fell back against the pillows, laughing his head off.

Zack frowned, putting one hand dramatically over his heaving chest. Then he reached over, grabbed his black stuffed teddy bear, leaned over the railing, and nailed Jason square in the face with it.

No! Not Bearnardo!” Jason cried, his voice muffled by the teddy bear’s fur.

“Did you seriously name your stuffed animal Bearnardo?” said Trini.

“I thought it was clever,” Zack said, feigning hurt. He grumbled and rolled around a bit, then half-climbed, half-rolled down the bed to head towards the closet.

Jason picked up Bearnardo from where he was resting against his chest and tossed it over to Kim, who caught it with an expression of confusion on her face.

“When did he get this?” she asked.

“Dunno,” said Jason. “It just showed up one day and I didn’t feel like questioning him.”

“Hey, boss man,” Zack called from inside the closet. “Whose socks are these lying by the doorway?”

“What color are they?”

“White.”

“Oh yeah, that doesn’t help.”

“Well I guess I’m assuming these are mine, then,” said Zack. Shortly afterwards he stumbled his way back into the bedroom with a fresh set of clothes on, ready for the day.

“You boys done here?” said Trini.

“Yeah, sure.” Jason clicked his phone off and tossed it aside. He got up and followed Trini, Kim, and Zack out the door and towards the kitchen.

Billy was waiting for them at the table, wringing his hands. When he saw them coming, he jumped up and said, “Happy anniversary, guys!”

Jason’s eyes widened. “Billy, did you make this?”

“Yep,” Billy said proudly. “Took me all morning, but I think it’s totally worth it for you guys.”

Jason walked up to Billy and hugged him.

“Billy, you are the most amazing human being on this planet.”

“Thank you Jason, but I’m covered in frosting so you probably are now too. Just saying.”

“Oh god!” Jason jumped back, looking down at his shirt, which was now stained with five different colors of frosting. Then he burst into giggles.

“I got plates!” Zack called out from the kitchen. “Let’s dig in!”

Billy cut the round cake into five gigantic slices, making sure to divide them up by the icing color.

“I want the pink slice,” said Trini, reaching out for the plate Billy was currently holding across from her.

“Well, that’s telling,” said Zack.

“No it’s not,” she snapped, even as she began to blush. “It’s the closest one to me and it’s a nice color.”

“Sure,” said Zack skeptically, taking the black piece from Billy with a nod of thanks.

“Why eat the pink slice of cake when the real deal’s sitting right next to you?” said Kim.

The fork in Trini’s hand splintered into three pieces.

Jason had to write her name on the Dick List for her because Zack was too busy laughing hysterically and Trini wouldn’t let anyone come within five feet of her while she covered her face with her hands.

 


 

Jason Scott @jscott0
Look out

 

Zack T. @zacktayloriscool
for our new single!

 

Billy Cranston @billycranston
It’s called Endurance

 

Kimberly Hart @kimbhart
and it drops on

 

Trini @triniER
are you kidding me guys this is the stupidest idea you’ve ever come up with

 

Trini @triniER
how are people supposed to know which one of you to start reading the message at

 

Trini @triniER
like literally all Jason’s says is “look out”

 

Trini @triniER
what are we looking out for? a murderer? a tornado? a swarm of aliens descending onto the earth to destroy us all????

 

Kimberly Hart @kimbhart
What she means to say is November 5th!

 

Zack T. @zacktayloriscool
honey it’s called retweeting

 

Trini @triniER
what the fuck is that ??

 


 

“Hey!” shouted Kim.

Trini jumped and yanked her headphones off. “Jesus, I nearly fell off the balcony.”

“We’re on the second floor and you’re a superhero,” said Kim. “You’d live.”

“Whatever,” said Trini. “What do you want?”

“Do you know what tomorrow is?” said Kim.

“No?”

“Do you even know what day it is today?”

“Uh,” said Trini. “No.”

“Tomorrow’s Halloween,” said Kim in a singsong voice. “Which means we have to go trick or treating.”

“Aren’t you a little too old for that?” said Trini, raising an eyebrow.

“You’re never too old for candy.” Kimberly grabbed Trini by the wrist and dragged her back into the house. “Come on, we should all get matching costumes!”

“I already know what I’m going as,” Zack called out from where he was lounging on the couch. He had his feet kicked up on Jason’s back, who was on the carpet in front of him doing push-ups. Billy was curled up on the armchair fiddling with something in his hands.

“And what’s that?” said Kim.

“The black Power Ranger,” he said proudly. “Free costume, free candy.”

 “You can’t do that,” said Jason.

“Why not?” asked Zack.

“Because it looks too real. People are going to think you showed up on their doorstep to bust their houses into firewood,” said Jason.

“Then I’ll go without the helmet,” said Zack, shrugging. “Jason, seriously. Why would a Power Ranger go from door to door asking for candy?”

“Zack.”

“Oh, we could totally all go in our armor together,” Zack continued. “Then we’d look like a bunch of Power Rangers fanatics.”

“We’d look like the damn Power Rangers, Zack.”

“Jason,” Zack whined.

Trini felt Kim grasp her wrist to lead her into the kitchen area, away from the boys.

“You don’t want to dress up as the Power Rangers, do you?” she asked.

Trini snorted. “No way.”

“We should go as something together,” said Kim.

“What makes you think I want to dress up for Halloween?” said Trini.

“Please?”

Trini stared long and hard at Kim, who was pouting. She could feel her resolve slowly breaking down the longer she looked, and sighed in resignation. “Please don’t be embarrassing.”

“Yes!” Kim grinned and hopped up to sit on the countertop. “We should do something superhero-y. Like, oh, you could go as Harley Quinn!”

“Okay,” scoffed Trini. “And what would you be? The Joker?”

“No,” said Kim, looking extremely disappointed. “That’s gross. I’d be Poison Ivy.”

“Oh.”

 


 

The next day after dinner Zack dropped by a store with Billy and came back with a rather oddly shaped blue costume.

“Good news,” he announced. “They had Power Rangers costumes. Bad news, they only had blue left.”

“How is that bad news?” Billy asked, offended.

Zack stuck out his tongue and slung the bag over his shoulder. “I’m off to change, it’s getting dark out. Meet in the living room when we’re all done, okay?”

Kim reached over and grabbed Trini’s wrist. “Come on,” she said. “You have to help me do Poison Ivy’s swirly designs.”

“Your what?” said Trini, even as Kim dragged her back into their room.

 


 

“Quit twitching.”

“Sorry,” said Kim, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I'm sorry.”

They were sitting cross-legged across from each other on Kim’s bed. Through the shut door on the other side of the apartment, Trini could just barely make out the sound of Jason laughing his head off about something and Billy going on and on about how lame Zack looked in his costume. But it all sounded muffled, as if their room was blocked off from the rest of the house.

The silence was making Trini hyper aware of every little thing. And that was not helping, not when she was alone in the dim room with Kimberly sitting next to her. She was holding a bit of dark green face paint and attempting to draw swirls along Kim’s skin.

“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” Trini asked, a little concerned when Kim seemed to tense up.

“Yeah.” Kim smiled, but it looked forced. “I was the one who came up with this idea, right? I should be asking you if you’re fine.”

“I’m—I’m great,” said Trini. Her voice was shaking. “Don’t worry about me.”

“Okay. If you’re sure.”

She dipped her finger back into the paint and brought it up to Kim’s face, determined to finish dressing up before the boys did. But then she started to trace a pattern on Kim’s cheek, and Kim was sucking in a deep breath but trying to hide it, and Trini’s hand nearly slipped.

It shouldn’t even have been a weird thing, because they touched all the time without either of them freaking out like this. But Trini didn’t know why she was so on edge.

Why did everything feel so weird?

She was vaguely aware of the fact that her mouth had fallen open just a little bit, but she was trying to focus on the task at hand, and not on how she could hear her own heartbeat thumping loudly in her ears.

It was dead silent in the room.

Trini drew a swirl, slowly, painstakingly, onto Kim’s skin. Kim was trying to fix her gaze on Trini, but it seemed kind of splintered, like she was in a daze. Trini felt her chest tightening.

“Kim,” she managed to say.

“Yeah?” Kim answered, a little breathlessly.

“I—I gotta go for a sec. I—”

She couldn’t stay there any longer. She felt like she was burning up, like she was going to combust if she kept sitting there alone with Kim.

She stood up and raced out of the room.

“Crazy girl!”

Zack was the only one crashed out on the couch, wearing his scrappy blue Ranger outfit. He grinned when he saw Trini approaching and spread his arms to show off his costume.

“Look, I’m Billy!” he told her. “What do you think?”

“You look great.”

Something must have been off about her voice because Zack’s smile melted and he stood up immediately.

“Hey, you alright?”

She didn’t say anything for a few moments, feeling too unsteady to answer, so Zack took that as an invitation to step closer.

“I don’t know,” she finally admitted.

“Would you like a hug?”

“Y-yeah. Sure.”

Zack hugged her.

“Think of the candy,” he said when he released her. “Don’t worry about anything else. Just imagine that giant pile of candy you’re about to come home with.”

Trini let out a weak laugh, covering her face with one hand. “Thanks, doofus.”

“No problem,” said Zack. “If you ever feel overwhelmed tonight, just come hang out with me, alright?”

“Okay.”

 


 

Kim joined them in the living room a few minutes later, after Jason and Billy had appeared as Superman and Spiderman, respectively. She immediately made her way over to where Trini was standing.

“Is everything okay? You, um, you left kind of suddenly back there,” she asked.

“Yeah. I think I’m good. Sorry.” Trini took a deep breath and forced herself to look up at Kim, resolutely ignoring the way her heart skipped a beat when she did.

“Oh. Okay.” Kim looked away, her words trailing off awkwardly.

Trini felt like she was suffocating.

She needed to say something, to break the tension before she went crazy.

“I’m just…thinking of how much more candy I’m going to get than you.”

It worked.

“Is that so? You really think you can beat me?”

“I know I can beat you.”

“Oh, you are so on, Harley Quinn.”

And thankfully, after that, Trini was able to forget about everything that had happened and just enjoy taking to the streets with her four best friends.

Sure, they were some of the oldest kids going from door to door trick-or-treating, but the boys burst into giggles so often during the night that they might as well have been five. At one point Jason swung his loaded pillowcase right into the back of Zack’s head, who retaliated by dumping all his candy onto Jason. They’d had to spend five minutes scooping it back up again and Zack nearly started a brawl with Billy on the accusation that he was trying to steal from him.

A lot of people came up to Trini and Kim to tell them how much they liked their matching costumes. Trini was glad that it was nighttime because otherwise Kim would have seen her blushing furiously every single time.

“Can you even read, Kim? Do you see how the sign says ‘Take two’? You know how much is two pieces of candy? Not that giant handful you just grabbed.”

“Shut up and let me live my life, Trini.”

“I’ll hit you with my hammer.”

“Try me, babe.”

If Trini didn’t count the number of times she turned into a mess around Kim, she would say she had a pretty successful and enjoyable night.

Chapter Text

November 5th arrived.

The single dropped.

For the first few days, the studio was relatively quiet. They freaked out when the first person bought their song online, and after that there was a steady trickle of purchases that Adam seemed satisfied with.

Then, on the eighth day, everything exploded.

None of them knew how it happened, but just like that, the number of people who bought and listened to Endurance skyrocketed. Reviews from both small and more notable news websites started cropping up all over the Internet. The views and overwhelmingly positive comments started piling up on their music video on YouTube.

Trini woke up in the middle of the night once because Kimberly had left her social media notifications on and they’d gone wild at three in the morning.

They heard Zack screaming in the distance so clearly it was happening to all of them.

“My Twitter follower count just quadrupled,” Jason said in a daze at breakfast the next morning.

 


 

Top 50 Up And Coming Bands To Look Out For

.

.

.

3. Endorphin Rush

They’re young, they’re talented, they’re unique, and they’re not too shabby-looking either. What more could you ask for?

 


 

Quick Song Reviews: Endurance (Endorphin Rush)

Pulse Records’ newest band Endorphin Rush has just released its first single titled Endurance. In a turn of events that rarely ever happens in the music industry, the public has immediately taken to the song and run with it, making Endorphin Rush practically a musical sensation overnight.

The song itself is actually quite good, though at first glance it seems like it shouldn’t be. Each band member clearly has their own style and leanings towards certain music genres, and when they all blend together, the combination sounds like it shouldn’t work. But it does, and it works so well. Endurance completely ignores current pop music trends and carries a unique tune of its own that listeners just can’t seem to let go of, which may be one of the reasons it shot to the center of the public’s attention so quickly.

Producer Adam Park has hinted at a second single release sometime in December, followed by the full album in the new year. Endorphin Rush’s fame is still quite small and only a few days old, but at this rate, these five youngsters could be big in no time. We here at Quick Song Reviews are certainly looking forward to what else they have in store for us.

 


 

It was nearing the end of November and the band’s popularity was still continuing to grow. Something about their single must have struck a chord with people because they’d gone from being only locally known to a topic of national interest in an alarmingly, possibly record-breaking short amount of time.

Then one day Adam cornered them in the studio.

“Someone wants you to open for them on their tour,” he told them.

What?” Jason nearly shouted.

“Already?” Billy asked excitedly.

“Yeah,” said Adam. “It’ll be great promotion for the album drop. His name is Blake Bradley, he’s a pop singer with a relatively small but dedicated fanbase. His current opening act has scheduling issues around the time when he comes to the West Coast, so the spot’s yours if you want it.”

“Jason?” said Billy. “Jason, I’m really excited about this, but thinking about performing in front of a concert-sized crowd is making me really nervous.”

“It won’t be that bad,” Adam reassured him. “The gigs you guys have been playing at have had pretty massive crowds. The concerts on the tour will just be a little bigger, and there’ll be giant bright lights shining in your face. Otherwise it’s pretty much the same.”

“When is this happening?” Kimberly asked.

“The first city in California he’s coming to is San Diego on December 28th,” said Adam. “Then he’ll make a stop in Los Angeles and here, San Francisco, then move on to cities in Nevada.”

Billy was jumping around in circles and Jason looked extremely tempted to join in with him. Kim slapped Trini on the arm multiple times.

“We’re gonna go on tour!” Zack yelled. “Oh my god!”

 


 

cabooseachievables @cabooseachievables
Has anyone heard of the band Endorphin Rush?

As a pansexual, I feel extremely attacked watching the music video for Endurance.

 

Julie @AnnoyedAndGay
@cabooseachievables DUDE SAME

 

 

BisexualPowerRanger @ShayLovesOreos
i saw a woman so beautiful i cried

[kimberly_hart_endurance_music_video.gif]

 

 

Moo @nevercansaygoodbye
Real talk tho guys if you haven’t listened to the song Endurance by Endorphin Rush GO DO IT NOW!! Kimberly Hart’s voice is angelic

 

Seniah @no-im-fine
@nevercansaygoodbye and Trini’s

 

Moo @nevercansaygoodbye
@no-im-fine YES!! God their voices sound SO GOOD together

 

 

jusus @MoonTeaCup
Why is literally every single member of Endorphin Rush so god damn hot???

 

Zack T. @zacktayloriscool
@MoonTeaCup thx bb, we all appreciate it <3333

 

jusus @MoonTeaCup
@zacktayloriscool ASDJAOIFJDSKFJLDFSLKKJKL GUYS ONE OF THEM RESPONDED TO ME

 


 

It was a Friday evening and the five of them were sitting in various places the living room, either lazing around or checking their social media accounts, basking in their newfound popularity. Kim left the room and returned a few minutes later clutching a folded piece of paper. She walked over to where Zack was crashed out on the couch and slammed the piece of paper down onto the coffee table in front of him.

“What’s this for?” he asked, squinting at the paper.

“It’s the end of November,” said Kim. “And you have the most offenses on this month’s Dick List.”

Zack groaned and dropped his phone onto his face. “Do I have to take you guys out tonight?”

“Yes,” said Kim.

“I don’t wanna.”

“Too bad.”

Zack got up from the couch, grumbling as he headed back to his room. “Well, give me some time to find a place to go to.”

“I hope he doesn’t pick somewhere too scary,” commented Billy from where he was snuggled up against Jason’s side.

“I do,” said Trini. “We’ve been cooped up in the studio for ages. I want time to relax.”

Kim went over to the armchair and pushed Trini aside so that both of them could fit on it. “I’m tired,” she announced.

“That’s great,” said Trini. “People keep following me on Twitter.”

“That’s probably because you’re a little shit on Twitter.”

“Rude.” Trini felt Kim scoot closer to her, resting her head on her shoulder and snaking her arm around her waist. Trini let out a sigh and relaxed into Kim’s touch.

They stayed like that for a while. Trini wanted to punch Zack when he told them he’d found a place to take them to, because she didn’t want to leave Kim’s embrace.

“Come on, sleepyhead,” Kim murmured in her ear, gently pulling Trini up by her arm. “Let’s go.”

 


 

Three bus stops and five blocks of walking later, Zack led all of them to a small but packed club.

“Why?” asked Jason.

“It has karaoke,” said Zack. “Kim can’t have the spotlight all the time.”

“Watch your mouth, asshole,” said Kim.

Zack grinned and pushed them all inside.

The place was crowded and someone was singing very loudly and not very well at the mic. Luckily there was an empty table in the back so the five of them were able to sit down and order something for dinner.

“I’m not that hungry,” said Kim, leaning over Trini’s shoulder to look at the menu in her hands. “What are you planning on getting?”

Trini shrugged. “Probably something simple? I’m not really hungry either.”

“Can we share?”

“Sure.” Trini scooted the menu closer to Kim. “Knock yourself out.”

“With what?” said Kim. “Cheese balls?”

“If you want,” said Trini.

So they got some cheese balls, which were little rolls of bread filled with cheese on the inside. The boys each ordered their own thing, and then the waiter took off. Zack immediately turned to Jason.

“What?” said Jason warily.

“Let’s go sing!” said Zack. He shoved Jason out of the booth and then got up himself.

“Zack I’m not really sure you want me to be singing—”

“Look, the mic’s vacated!”

The two of them left for the karaoke stage, leaving Billy sitting alone opposite Kim and Trini.

“Hey,” he said.

“Hi, Billy,” said Kim.

Over by the stage, they could hear Jason yelling, “Zack, we are not going to sing our way through an entire One Direction album!”

Billy stifled a laugh. “Poor Jason.”

Eventually they seemed to settle on That Thing You Do, although Trini wasn’t entirely sure that Zack hadn’t just picked that song at random. He actually wasn’t too shabby at singing either, although Jason looked like a deer caught in headlights up there standing next to him.

The three of them at the table clapped and cheered when they finished. Zack did a mock bow before Jason dragged him off the stage as quickly as he could.

“See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” said Zack as he slid back into the booth.

Jason plopped down heavily beside him. “I need the food to come so I can stuff my face with it to hide how embarrassed I am right now.”

Zack laughed and put his arms around both Billy and Jason. “Cheer up, man. I’m paying for all of this so you better enjoy tonight.”

“Well then make it enjoyable.”

The food came a short while after that, and true to his word, Jason promptly began stuffing his face with the burger he’d ordered. Zack just stared at him funny for a while before turning to his own dinner.

“Billy, aren’t you going to eat anything?” asked Kim.

“Oh no, it’s fine. I ate before we came here,” he replied. “Actually, could you get me a magazine from behind you?”

Kim turned and saw a shelf filled with rows of different magazines and reached out towards it. “Which one do you want?”

“I don’t really care. Pick one for me.”

“Okay.” Kim grabbed the one closest to her, the most recent issue of Billboard, and handed it off to Billy. He thanked her and opened it up while the others continued eating.

A few minutes later, Trini stabbed her fork onto the last cheese ball.

Kim stared her down.

“I feel like I’m about to witness something miraculous,” Zack whispered to Jason, who glanced up in time to see Trini and Kim with their eyes locked on each other.

“Do you really want to do this again?” said Kim, grinning.

“Do you?” said Trini.

Kim lunged forward and grabbed Trini’s wrist. But before they could get any further, Billy let out a surprised yelp and threw the magazine he’d been reading down onto the table.

“Jason!” he shouted. “Oh my god, Jason, look!”

“What’s the matter?” said Jason, leaning over Zack to get a good look at what Billy was wildly gesturing towards.

“Look!”

They all scrambled over each other and saw Billy pointing at one of the Billboard Hot 100 pages. There, near the bottom, they saw what he was freaking out about:

 

83. ENDURANCE--------------Endorphin Rush
Adam Park—Pulse Records

 

“HOLY SHIT!” Jason shouted, jumping up from his seat, pressing his hands to either side of his face in shock.

Zack was already ten feet away, shaking some poor terrified stranger by the shoulders and yelling his head off. Billy was dancing in his seat and pounding on the table so rapidly that the wood was starting to dent. Kim vaulted over Trini’s head so that she could pull Zack aside, but then they just ended up grabbing onto each other and jumping around in circles.

“We’re gonna go celebrate!” Zack screamed.

“Hell yeah!” Kim shouted back. “Oh my god! Let’s go!”

The two of them disappeared into the throng of clubgoers, screaming at the top of their lungs.

“They won’t mind if I tear this page out, will they?” Billy asked. He stared at the magazine for a few more seconds before abruptly ripping out the page of the Hot 100 that they were on. “Jason, I can’t believe that’s us! That’s really us!”

“It is! Oh my god!”

  


 

It took them nearly half an hour to completely calm down. Trini had stolen the torn-out page from Billy and stared at it the entire time, almost too numb to process the fact that their song had actually gotten onto the Billboard Hot 100. The remaining food lay there on the table, completely forgotten in their joy.

“Where did Kimberly and Zack go?” asked Jason, his voice a little hoarse from all the yelling.

“Dunno,” said Trini. “Didn’t they vanish like a while ago?”

Jason frowned. “I hope they’re not up to anything bad.”

“Knowing them, they probably are,” said Billy. “Trini, are you done looking at the page yet? I kind of want it back.”

“Sure.” Trini slid the piece of paper across the table, and Billy picked it up excitedly.

“You guys stay here. I’m going to go try and find them,” said Jason, getting up and wandering into the crowd.

  


 

Jason didn’t return until eleven o’clock, almost two hours later. Trini looked up from her phone game to see him standing in front of the table, glowering and holding onto Zack and Kim by their arms.

“Found these two in the back of the club doing shots,” he said, his voice heavy with disapproval. “Trini, would you mind taking care of Kim? Zack is enough of a handful for me and Billy.”

 “Um, sure.” Trini stood up and came face-to-face with Kim, who smiled down at her.

“Hey,” she said.

“Hi,” said Trini. “Move out of the way, we’re going home.”

“But we just got here,” said Kim.

“No we didn’t. We’ve been at this club for hours and it’s close to midnight. Hey, get back here.” Trini reached out and grasped Kim’s hand, holding on tightly to keep her from wandering off. She turned around and saw Jason and Billy both put a half-conscious Zack’s arms around their shoulders.

“Ready?” asked Jason. “Let’s move out.”

“Kim. Kim. Quit getting distracted,” said Trini, tugging on Kim’s hand.

“Wait,” said Kim. “I wanted to sing karaoke with you.”

“We can do that another time,” said Trini. “It’s getting late. How did you even get your hands on a bunch of shots?”

“That’s not important,” said Kim, hiccupping slightly. “I think I took too many though.”

“No shit. Are you drunk?”

“Probably.”

Trini led Kim out of the club and into the musty night air, following Jason, Zack, and Billy up ahead.

“Did you know that we’re on the Billboard Hot 100?” Kim asked Trini, her expression a little distant, like she wasn’t paying much attention to her words.

“Yes, I know,” said Trini. “I was there when we found out.”

“I can’t believe people like my voice that much,” Kim continued. “Seems like a weird thing to like.”

“It’s a nice voice.”

“Yours is nicer.” Kim smiled her dopey little grin. “I would listen to your voice forever and ever.”

Trini didn’t know what to say to that. She felt her heart skip a beat.

“Why were you even taking shots?”

“I dunno. You’re like ninety percent of my impulse control, so.”

Trini sighed and kept dragging Kim down the sidewalk. Kim couldn’t seem to stop talking, rambling on and on about anything and everything as they walked back to the apartment.

“Why’re you holding my hand?” Kim teased her. “I’m not that drunk.”

“Is that so?” said Trini, stopping at the end of the block and gesturing in front of her. “Which direction do we need to go in to get home, Kim?”

Kim looked around, craning her neck a little so she could glance past Trini’s head. “Shit.”

“That’s what I thought.” Trini laced her fingers with Kim’s even tighter and pulled her along to the left, across the street.

“You know, my mom didn’t really want me coming here,” said Kim. “But now that I did and got a song onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart, I wonder if she still doesn’t want me doing this. I wonder if she knows about the single we released.”

“Me too,” Trini admitted quietly.

“You’re sad.” Kim frowned and squinted in Trini’s face. “That’s not a good thing.”

Trini forced a laugh and pushed Kim away. “I’m fine. Now focus on getting home before you pass out on the concrete.”

 


 

“Trini I’m tired.”

“You’re a pain in the ass is what you are,” said Trini, grunting slightly as she kicked open the door to their bedroom. She shoved Kim inside and tried to let go of her hand, but Kim only whined and held on tighter.

“You’re mean,” she sniffed.

“Just get in bed.”

“You first.” Kim turned to face Trini, who only got a split second warning before Kim had leaned down and swept her up into her arms.

“Jesus. Kim—”

“Shh,” said Kim, grinning, walking over and dropping Trini onto her bed. She bounced a bit and struggled to get up, but before she could, Kim dropped down on top of her, grabbing her wrists and slamming them against the mattress up on either side of her head.

“Dude.” Trini tried to push her head further back into her pillow, as if that would help put more distance between her face and Kim’s, which was dangerously close.

“Is there a problem?” Kim asked innocently. She pinned Trini’s legs together with her knees and leaned down even closer. Trini felt her heartbeat start to pick up.

“Kim—what the—what the fuck,” she managed to say, all the while staring up at Kim and that damn bright, mischievous smile.

“I have a secret to tell you,” said Kim. “Do you want to hear it?”

“I—sure?”

“But you have to promise not to tell the others,” Kim said slowly, her voice dropping to a whisper. Trini had to suppress a shiver. “Here’s the secret: You’re my favorite Power Ranger.”

“T-that’s—” Trini couldn’t even finish her sentence. Her muscles were involuntarily jumping wherever her body was touching Kim’s.

“Am I your favorite?”

“Y-Y—”

Trini felt something tingling by her wrists. She turned her head and saw tiny pink tendrils starting to snake around Kim’s hands and up her forearms. “K-Kim. You’re morphing.”

“Sorry.” Kim smiled again, and Trini swore that soon it was going to be imprinted into her memory to haunt her forever. “I can’t help it.”

“Oh.”

“Hey, Trini.”

“Yeah?”

“Did you know that I’m bisexual?”

Trini closed her eyes and forced herself to take a deep, shaking breath. “I didn’t want to assume.”

“Well now you don’t have to,” said Kim. “Trini, I think—I think I really—”

Yooo,” came a slurred voice by the doorway. Trini whipped her head around and saw Zack stumble into view, slamming his hand onto the doorframe for support. “Have you guys seen B—Holy shit.”

He stopped short, staring with wide eyes at Trini and Kim on the bed. Kim hadn’t even budged when Zack appeared and Trini was powerless to do anything underneath her.

“Were you guys about to have sex?” Zack asked, taking an uncertain step back. “Sorry, man, I didn’t realize. Next time you should close the door, you know—”

“Zack!”

Jason appeared next, immediately reaching out to grab Zack by the arm. “I’ve got Bearnardo, he was under Billy’s bed, now come on.” He tugged on Zack’s arm and turned to face Trini and Kim, evidently to apologize for the intrusion.

Then he froze.

Without another word, Jason dragged Zack away and back to their room.

Kim looked back down at Trini.

“Are you going to get up now?” Trini asked, gritting her teeth.

Kim pretended to think about it for a while. Then she shook her head, grinning.

Trini balled her hands into fists and attempted to push Kim off of her. She made it a few inches off the bed and Kim’s grip seemed to be loosening on her wrists, but then Kim smiled even wider. She let go of her arms completely and shoved her back down with her hands on both of Trini’s shoulders.

“Quit fighting,” said Kim. “You’re ruining all my fun.”

Kim’s armor was slowly forming and traveling its way up towards her elbows now, and the heat emanating from her palms felt like fire on Trini’s shoulders. It was getting harder and harder to breathe properly, and Trini knew she was starting to slip on the edges of her sanity, on Kim

“Aren’t you—aren’t you going to regret this?” Trini forced herself to say. “When you’re sober?”

“I don’t think so,” said Kim, and Trini was shocked by how genuine she sounded. “Why would I?”

“Because you’re drunk.”

Then Kim let go of Trini and sat back on the bed, sighing, and Trini didn’t know whether she felt more relieved or disappointed. “You’re right. I am drunk.”

Kim flopped onto her side, and Trini turned over so that they were facing each other. Kim’s hands had gone back to normal, but Trini’s heart was still thumping rapidly inside her chest.

“Maybe later,” said Kim, a little wistfully.

“Yeah,” Trini echoed. “Maybe later.”

“Good night, Trini.”

“Night.”

Chapter Text

Trini woke up the next morning with her face inches away from Kimberly’s.

She was still passed out cold, her mouth slightly open and her head half buried into the pillow.

Trini watched her sleep peacefully for a few minutes. Then she turned her head to glance at the clock on the nightstand, which read 10:12 AM.

“Hey,” said Trini, leaning forward and booping Kimberly on the nose with her own. “Wake up.”

Kim groaned and flopped around a bit, scrunching up her face when Trini came near again.

Trini laughed.

“I dun wanna,” Kim mumbled.

“It’s ten o’clock.”

Kim cracked open one eye and then closed it shut immediately. “Ughhh. Too bright.”

“Good morning to you too,” said Trini.

“Please turn the lights off,” Kim whined.

“There are no lights on.”

“The sun is on.”

“You want me to turn the sun off?”

“Yes.”

Trini sighed. “Wake up.”

“No.” Kim pulled the blanket over her head, curling up closer to Trini.

“You’re like a baby when you’re hungover,” said Trini, grinning as she put her arm around what seemed like Kimberly’s shoulder under the blanket.

Kim sniffed and burrowed further into Trini’s chest. “Shut up.”

“If I bring you water and food, will you get up?”

“Fine.”

So Trini gently extracted herself from Kim’s hold and rolled out of bed, changing into a new set of clothes before exiting the room.

She found Zack outside lying curled up into a ball on the floor of the kitchen. Billy was standing above him, looking half-exasperated, half-concerned. There was an untouched glass of water sitting by Zack’s head.

“Not dealing with the morning after very well, either?” Trini said as she approached.

Zack groaned, long and drawn out and pitiful-sounding.

“He asked me to come here with him to get some water,” Billy explained. “But before I could, he, uh, decided it was too much effort, and you know. Here we are now.”

Trini knelt down beside Zack and poked his cheek. “Come on, big guy. The kitchen’s not for sleeping.”

Zack groaned again.

“Billy, do we have straws in the apartment?” Trini asked.

“Straws. Yes. I think we do,” said Billy, rushing over to a nearby drawer and jerking it open. He rummaged around for a few seconds before he triumphantly pulled one out, rushing back to Trini’s side to pass it off to her.

She took the straw and stuck one end into the glass of water, curling the other so that she could get it to reach Zack’s mouth. “Open up.”

Zack latched onto the straw and drank maybe five drops before he gave up and let it pop back up into its normal state.

Trini sighed and turned to Billy. “Can you make sure he gets the entire cup?” she asked him. “I need to go take care of Kimberly.”

“Yeah, sure.” Billy sat down cross-legged on the ground next to Zack’s face and took the straw, trying to stick it back into his mouth. “Thanks, Trini.”

“No problem,” said Trini. She got up and headed over to the refrigerator, looking for something she could make relatively quickly for Kim. Eventually she settled on eggs and took out two from the carton on the top shelf, sticking two slices of bread in the toaster before grabbing a pan and cracking the eggs into it.

After that all got going and cooking she poured a glass of water for Kim and power walked back to their room.

Kim was still wrapped up in the blanket, but she was now half-sitting and leaning heavily against the headboard, straining to keep her eyes open.

“Hey,” said Trini.

Kim blinked wearily. “Hi,” she said back.

 “I got you some water,” said Trini, moving to sit down next to Kim and holding the glass out to her. “Breakfast is cooking but that’ll be done soon.”

“Thank you.” Kim poked a hand out from under the blankets and took the glass of water, taking a slow sip out of it.

Trini watched and made Kim finish as much of the water as possible while Kim cuddled up to her the entire time.

When she was about halfway through Trini tried to get up to go check on the eggs and toast.

“No,” Kim said immediately. “Don’t go.”

“I have to get your food before it burns.”

“Don’t leave me,” Kim whined. “Don’t go, don’t—”

“Kim don’t you want breakfast?”

“Trini,” Kim said in a tiny voice. “Trini, noo—”

Trini dodged past Kim’s hand and rushed out of the room, heading back into the kitchen.

Zack was now unconscious against Billy’s front, snoring loudly and drooling onto his shirt.

Billy gave Trini a look as she passed by and raised his hands up in defeat. “Don’t ask me. I don’t even know how this happened.”

The food actually turned out pretty well. Trini grabbed a plate and quickly put the two slices of toast side-by-side on it, and then put one egg on each for Kim.

She shot Billy one last sympathetic glance before booking it right back to the bedroom.

“Trini,” Kim mumbled when she appeared in the doorway.

“See, that wasn’t so bad, wasn’t it?” said Trini. “And now I bring food.”

Kim pushed herself up into a full sitting position and Trini set the plate onto the blanket in Kim’s lap.

“Thanks, Trini. You’re the best,” she said, rubbing her eyes and yawning.

“Don’t mention it.” Trini settled down again next to Kim and pushed the plate closer to her. “Now eat. You look like shit.”

“I think I may have taken more than just a few shots too many,” Kim agreed. “Remind me never to let Zack keep giving me alcohol nonstop.”

“Then don’t run off like that and give me a chance to catch up,” said Trini. She took an egg on a slice of toast and held it up to Kim’s mouth. Kim recoiled a little.

“I changed my mind. I don’t wanna eat.”

“Kim come on it’ll make your hangover better.”

Kim pouted for a few seconds, her eyes slightly unfocused as she tried to glance down at the toast, then leaned forward and took a small bite.

“My head hurts.”

“You’ll get through it. I know you can.”

For the next twenty minutes, Trini gradually coaxed Kim into finishing up most of the toast and eggs and water. Somewhere along the way Kim had started nodding off against her shoulder, and Trini was honestly a little strained and cramped in her current position, but she didn’t dare move for fear of dislodging Kim.

A while after that Trini was disrupted from staring at Kim’s face by a gentle knock on the door. She looked up and saw Jason standing in the doorway, rapping his knuckles on the frame.

“Hey,” he said.

“What’s up?” asked Trini.

“We should head to the studio soon,” said Jason. “We’ve got a little bit more than a month before the first tour date and we need to practice.” He glanced over at Kim. “Is she asleep?”

“Yeah,” said Trini.

Jason sighed. “Zack’s out like a light too.”

“I guess we could let them stay in today. Three band members is better than none.”

“That’s probably the best plan,” Jason agreed. “Are you all set to go?”

“Sure—just lemme—” Trini shifted, wincing whenever Kim shifted or nearly slipped off her shoulder. She managed to get her tucked away back under her blankets and then stood up, smoothing out her shirt a little before following Jason out the door.

 


 

“So, uh,” Jason began awkwardly, sitting next to Trini on the bus.

Trini stared out the window and pretended like she hadn’t heard anything. Unfortunately Jason seemed determined to continue.

“About—you know, about last night—”

“Jason, my buddy.” Trini put a hand on his shoulder without looking at him and gave it a menacing squeeze. “Do you really want to talk about what you walked into last night with me and Kim?”

She turned her head and watched Jason’s face turn scarlet. “N-no, I mean, I just—I was curious—”

“Relax,” said Trini. She sighed. “Nothing happened, okay? Kim just got super drunk and did things a super drunk person would do. That’s it. She fell asleep like five minutes after you left.”

“Oh,” said Jason. “Oh.”

Billy popped his head over the seat behind them a short while later. “Are you guys okay?” he asked. “You’ve been oddly silent.”

Neither Trini or Jason dignified that with a response.

 


 

Practice started getting much more intense.

Even though it wasn’t their own tour, they still had to learn how to play nonstop for almost an hour, with few breaks in between. They’d been doing similarly rigorous things in their recent gigs, but there was never a very important need to get everything perfect.

Some of their newer songs were still pretty shaky, so Adam made them double down on those and play them over and over and over again.

Meanwhile, the band’s single Endurance continued to climb the Billboard Hot 100 chart, drawing the attention of people and media outlets all across the country. The song had reached #57 when the studio decided to drop the second one, and that one instantly got a ton of praise as well.

It was the craziest thing ever, watching their follower counts rise as more and more people began to talk about them and the band and the song. They got recognized in public walking around town a few times when all five of them were together and were even stopped once for a photo.

 

One day Trini was walking past the living room in the apartment when she spotted Zack hunched over his laptop on the couch. She halted in her path and decided to take a peek at his screen.

“What’s that?” she asked.

Zack turned and grinned when he saw it was her. “Oh, hey. Just deleting some embarrassing videos from my YouTube channel.”

“Your what?”

“My YouTube channel,” he said. He grabbed his laptop and showed her the page. “I used to upload clips of myself doing stupid stunts on it. I just thought it’d be cool to rename it, make it an entire band account, you know? And then we could post vlogs and updates and stuff on it!”

Trini stared at the screen for a couple more seconds, then at Zack’s excited expression. She reached out and ruffled his hair. “Well, have fun with that.”

“Oh you bet I will.”

 


 

[The video starts. Zack is holding out his phone on what looks like a selfie stick, vlog-style.]

ZACK: Hey wonderful people of the Interwebs! My name is Zack Taylor and I’m the lead guitarist of this stupid little band called Endorphin Rush! I–

JASON [off-camera]: Zack are you vlogging with a selfie stick?

ZACK: Yeah! It was really cheap. And look—I can do this!

[Zack takes the stick in both of his hands and starts to twirl it. The camera view goes wild. Then suddenly—]

ZACK: Oh, SHIT!

[The camera crashes to the ground.]

 

[New clip. Zack is holding the phone by the selfie stick again, looking sheepish.]

ZACK: Okay. Take two. No more spinning around my phone. So—Welcome to the Endorphin Rush crib! It’s pretty sweet, right?

TRINI: No it’s not.

[Zack swivels the camera so that Trini is in view, sitting behind him on the couch, looking at something on her phone. Kimberly is curled up beside her, her head resting on Trini’s shoulder.]

ZACK: Don’t listen to the buttface, guys. She likes to piss in my cornflakes for fun. Anyways, here’s Trini and Kimberly Hart, bassist and lead singer of the band, respectively. Although Trini sometimes sings backup. I think? I’m not sure what she does in this band.

Trini [without looking up]: Shut up. Asshole.

[Zack grins at the camera and walks into the kitchen.]

ZACK: So this is where all the food happens. None of us know how to cook very well, but we try our best. And, oh—here’s Jason Scott, all cozy up in his natural habitat!

[Zack turns so that the camera can capture Jason, who is standing in front of a wide-open fridge, looking for food.]

ZACK: I guess playing the keyboard makes a guy hungry. [shrugs] Anyways, how you doing, Jason?

JASON: I’m not paying for your broken phone.

ZACK [scandalized]: They weren’t supposed to know I had to get a new one!

[Jason turns to look at the camera. He looks exasperated, but he’s grinning.]

JASON: Oh well. Looks like you’re going to have to edit this part out. And I’m telling Billy not to help you.

ZACK: Uh, I can totally manage on my own, thank you very much boss man. Speaking of which—let’s go find the last member of our band now, shall we?

 

[The video cuts again to a new clip. Zack is now standing in the kitchen with Billy. Jason is gone, presumably off to munch on his snacks.]

ZACK: I found him! Say hi to our drummer!

BILLY [waving]: Hello!

ZACK: We got an afternoon shift at the studio today, so most of us are just moping around the apartment until we eat lunch and head out.

BILLY: Yeah!

[Just then, Trini walks into the kitchen. Billy turns, and grins when he sees her.]

BILLY: Hey, Trini!

TRINI: Hey.

[She turns to Zack.]

TRINI: Are you still vlogging?

ZACK: Yeah.

TRINI: Cool.

BILLY: Hey guys, what are we eating for lunch?

ZACK: I dunno, I was thinking just fast food. I want a burger.

[Billy turns to the refrigerator and opens it up as Zack and Trini watch on.]

BILLY: I wonder if there’s anything left in here.

BILLY: Wait.

[There’s a pause.]

BILLY: Jason, did you take the last cinnamon roll?!

[Billy sprints off screen, barreling towards the other side of the apartment.]

TRINI: Oh my god.

ZACK: [laughing] A day in the life of five idiots in a band, folks.

[Trini sighs and leans up against the counter. Zack moves to stand next to her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. She shoots a glare at him, but neither of them budge.]

ZACK: Hey, isn’t Kim still in the living room?

TRINI: Um, yeah, why?

ZACK: Don’t you think she’s going to miss you? You know, with you over here and her all the way back there.

[Trini’s glare intensifies.]

TRINI: What the heck? No, why would she?

KIMBERLY: [off-screen, whining] Triniiii, come baaack!

TRINI: Fuck.

[Zack hands the camera off to Trini so he can promptly drop out of view and burst out laughing at the top of his lungs. Trini glares at the camera before the shot blacks out.]

 

[The video cuts to the final clip. The five band members are seated at the kitchen table, a bunch of to-go fast food lying in front of them.]

ZACK: Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed the first Endorphin Rush vlog, even though it was pretty bad! Don’t forget to like this video anyways and subscribe to this channel for longer and better prepared vlogs in the future! Say bye, guys!

[The view swivels to reveal Trini, Kimberly, Jason, and Billy. Billy waves excitedly, Jason nods, Kimberly smiles, and Trini glares at Zack. Then the view returns back to Zack.]

ZACK: Oh, and one last thing before I forget!

[Zack pauses dramatically. He looks up, presumably at Jason.]

ZACK: One of you guys wanna spill the beans? Jason, how about you?

JASON: Oh yeah! We’re opening on Blake Bradley’s tour!

ZACK: [excitedly] Did you hear that? We’re gonna be performing on Blake’s tour! Come give him and us a visit if you live in San Diego, LA, or San Francisco. Check their website linked down below for more information.

ZACK: And on that final note see ya later, friends! Zack Taylor, out!

[Zack does a two-fingered salute at the camera, grinning. The video ends.]

 


 

Top Comments

 

Leviathanjules +102
idk smells gay

 


 

“Argh!” Zack shouted in frustration, slamming out a random chord on his guitar.

“Whoa,” said Kim. “Take it easy.”

“I keep messing up on that one spot,” he said. “It’s so embarrassing. The first time I get something resembling a solo and I can’t even handle it.”

“Hey, don’t push yourself too hard,” said Trini, frowning. “We’re all struggling a bit here. You’re doing fine.”

“I don’t think messing up every single time counts as doing fine.”

“No, Zack, seriously. If you’re going to beat yourself up about it you and I can practice one-on-one after we’re done running the whole thing through.”

Zack paused. “Really?”

“Yes, really,” said Trini, rolling her eyes.

“Hey, the concert’s in one week,” said Billy.

“I think that’s what’s making me so nervous, Billy,” Zack groaned.

“Don’t think about failing,” said Jason. “Think about how we’re going to rock everyone’s socks off.”

Zack had to stifle a laugh. “I can’t believe you actually just said that phrase out loud.”

“Oh, shut up,” said Jason. He held out his hand for a fist bump. “One week man. One week till we hit the big stage.”

“Oh man, we got one week! Yeah, baby!”

“Billy no don’t trip over the—”

There was a loud crash.

“I’m okay, I’m okay,” said Billy as Kim and Trini helped him back up to his feet. “Sorry about that. Hope I didn’t break anything.” He scrambled to pick his fallen stool back up and get seated again behind the drums.

“Alright, one more time from the top,” said Jason. “Let’s get practicing, Rangers!”

“I stand corrected. That was the lamest thing you’ve ever said.”

“Zack!”

Chapter Text

Sats
HEY GUESS WHAT

Caro
…what

Sats
I GOT TWO TICKETS TO BLAKE BRADLEY’S CONCERT
Wanna come with??

Caro
i dunno, i don’t really know much about him or his music…

Sats
endorphin rush is opening

Caro

well damn you got me there

Sats
YES!!!

 


 

December 28th, the date of the concert in San Diego, was rapidly approaching, and all five of them were starting to feel the pressure.

“How many people are gonna be watching us again?” Zack asked Adam one day.

“Uh, Blake managed to sell out, so roughly five thousand?”

“Awesome. Thank you.” Zack grinned, snapped his fingers and flicked two finger guns at Adam, all while walking backwards to the door. “I’m going to go to the bathroom for one second, excuse me.”

He took a few steps outside to a place that was way too close to be the bathroom and then screamed.

The twenty-third was the last day they had before the minibus was taking them down to San Diego on Christmas Eve. They’d decided to take the day off from practicing, which left them with a little more than twenty-four hours to pack up and freak out.

By the time Trini awoke that morning, Kimberly’s bed was already empty. She tossed and turned for a bit before deciding to just get up and face the day.

Jason was the only other person outside the bedrooms, sitting on the kitchen countertop and staring ahead at nothing in particular.

“Sup,” said Trini.

“Oh, hey,” said Jason, jumping a little when Trini came into view. “Sorry, I didn’t see you there.”

“It’s cool,” said Trini. “The apartment seems unusually quiet this morning.”

“That’s probably because Zack and Kim aren’t home,” said Jason.

Trini raised her eyebrows. “Oh, yeah? Why’s that?”

“They went back to Angel Grove to visit Zack’s mom,” Jason explained. He pointed over at the kitchen table, and Trini realized that the teleporter Alpha 5 had given them was attached to the surface. “So don’t touch that unless you want them to teleport back half-embedded into the wall.”

“Sounds tempting.”

Jason laughed, but it sounded slightly strained. “I’m not sure they’d agree with you.”

“What’s Billy doing, then?”

“Last time I checked he was trying to install a pull up bar in our room.”

“And you?”

“Just sitting here.” Jason kicked his legs back and forth a few times, staring down at his feet. “Thinking about things.”

“You mean thinking about the concert,” said Trini.

Jason looked over at her. Trini noticed for the first time how tense his shoulders were, how tight his expression was. “I mean, well, yeah,” he admitted, unable to make eye contact with Trini. “I know the main spotlight isn’t even going to be on us, but I still can’t help but worry about all the things that could go wrong. In front of ten thousand people.”

“Jason,” said Trini, thinking.

“Yeah?”

“When was the last time you did something with the sole intention of just letting yourself relax?”

“Uh,” said Jason.

“You should try that sometime,” said Trini. “Kim and Zack are back home and Billy’s exercising. Even a leader’s gotta find a way to de-stress every once in a while.”

“I’ll be fine,” Jason insisted. “Besides, I need to pack soon, so there’s no time to do that.”

Trini stared at him. He continued to stay motionless on the countertop.

“Alright,” she said, sighing. “I’m going to go check up on Billy.”

She left him alone in the kitchen and went to the boys’ bedroom.

Evidently Billy had already finished setting up his pull up bar because Trini heard his huffs and the creaking of the bar as she entered the room.

“Whoa,” said Trini, because she didn’t realize how close he was to the door.

“Sorry!” Billy did one last pull up, then dropped to the ground, rolling his shoulders a few times. “Hey, Trini. What’s up?”

“Nice bar,” she commented.

“Thank you.” Billy smiled and looked up proudly at his makeshift contraption. “But I know you didn’t come over here just to compliment me.”

“You’re right.” Trini walked over to Jason’s bunk and plopped down on it. “Listen, Billy, do you know anything Jason likes to do when he’s stressed out? Or something he would like to do if he wasn’t so dense?”

“Huh. I don’t really know,” said Billy. “I like to just do some stretches. It helps warm me up and gives me time to think too. Maybe he’d like something like that.”

“Like, exercise-related?” Trini asked. “Got any ideas?”

“I’m pretty sure he brought a football with him on the move here.”

Trini broke into a grin. “Awesome. Thanks, Billy.”

“No problem,” he said, and he began to smile as well. “Go check the boxes in the back of the closet. Jason’s are all marked with red Sharpie.”

So Trini went into the boys’ closet, which was surprisingly neat despite how packed it was. She pushed aside a couple of shirts and kicked away a pair of Jason’s pants before finding a large cardboard box that read “JASON’S STUFF. DO NOT TOUCH” on it in large red letters. Someone had taken a black marker, crossed out the word “STUFF,” and written “TRASH” over it.

Trini opened up the box and rummaged around in it for a while. It was mostly filled with what looked like random junk—broken trophies, a few paperback novels, keychains, playing cards—and wedged at the bottom, a still fairly well-inflated football. She pulled it out and tossed it a couple times into the air, brushing the dust off its surface.

Then she left the closet and the boys’ room. Billy gave her a grin when she passed by him on his pull up bar.

Jason was still sitting at the same spot Trini had left him in, his eyes unfocused, lost in his own thoughts. But as soon as Trini chucked the football at him, his reflexes kicked in, and he caught it in both hands before it could hit his face.

He turned to her, his eyes wide. “Dude. Where did you—why—?”

“You need to relax,” said Trini, holding out her hands expectantly.

“Trini, you know I don’t like playing football anymore, right?”

“No, you don’t like the stress of the competition and the long hours of nonstop training,” Trini corrected him. Jason sighed and threw the football back, and Trini caught it without breaking eye contact with him. “But I know you love tossing around a ball with someone, just for fun.”

“You got me there.” Jason grinned bashfully and hopped off the countertop. Trini threw the ball at him again, and he nearly knocked over the toaster as he dived to catch it. “Although, maybe we should take this outside.”

“Not gonna argue with that.”

 


 

They ended up on a grassy field at the nearby park, far enough apart so that they actually had to make an effort to throw the ball at each other, but close enough so they didn’t have to yell to talk.

“So,” said Jason, winding his arm back and letting the football fly. “Thanks, you know. For making me come out here with you. It’s nice to get a breath of fresh air.”

“The fearless leader’s always taking care of us.” Trini grinned as she neatly snatched the ball out of the air. “Someone’s gotta take care of him.”

“Yeah. Ha.” Jason stepped back to catch Trini’s throw one-handed, then tossed it back immediately.

They went back and forth for a good half hour. Time passed and more people began to trickle in, forcing them to move closer together. Eventually Jason called it a day, tucking the football under his arm and dropping down onto a nearby bench.

“That was good,” said Jason, watching Trini settle down beside him. “Did you manage to break a sweat?”

“No way.”

Jason grinned. “I know you’re lying.” He reached out to put the back of his hand on Trini’s forehead, laughing when she slapped him away.

“Shut up.”

“It’s okay, I’m a little sweaty too,” said Jason. “We haven’t had a training session in a while. Feels good to be moving again.”

“Yeah,” said Trini.

“Hey, Trini?” asked Jason.

“Yeah?”

“Now that we’re out here, I kind of have another favor to ask you.”

“Sorry,” said Trini. “I only do one favor a day. You’re out of luck.”

“Wait, what?” said Jason, his eyes widening in surprise.

Trini laughed. “I’m just kidding. What’s up?”

“Oh. Right, ha.” Jason took the football into his hands and started playing with it as he spoke. “So, I know we’ve been crazy busy with the band, trying to prepare for the concert. So I haven’t had much time to go out and do other stuff, right? But I just feel like it’d be unfair to the rest of you guys if I show up to San Diego without any Christmas presents.”

“Jason, it’s fine, you don’t have to get all of us gifts.”

“But I want to,” Jason insisted. “And I know for a fact that Billy, Zack, and Kim have already gotten presents for all of us. I also know that Christmas may have slipped your mind too.”

“Shit,” said Trini. “And now you want us to go present shopping together.”

“Yes.”

Trini sighed. “I can’t believe they all got presents.”

“Well, now we’re gonna too.” Jason jumped up from the bench and started power walking backwards. “Come on, let’s go!”

Trini shook her head and let him run off by himself for five seconds before reluctantly getting up and chasing after him.

 


 

Jason ditched her halfway through their adventure in the store, bouncing off to the toys section like a little kid. So Trini wandered by herself along the aisles, planning on keeping her presents short and simple. She still needed to go back home and finish packing for the trip.

A little bit before noon Jason dragged her to the food court and bought both of them hot dogs to eat for lunch. After they were done with that, Jason ran off one last time to find a present for Zack, and then they were both done with buying their Christmas gifts.

When they made it back to the apartment Jason kicked the door open and Trini tumbled in first, immediately alerting Kimberly, who was sitting at the kitchen table, phone in hand.

“Hey, you’re back!” she said, standing up with a smile. “Where have you been? I texted you an hour ago and you didn’t respond.”

“I left my phone here,” said Trini. “I didn’t realize you guys would be returning so soon.”

Kim made a face. “We left at like six in the morning, you know. Anyways, what’s that you got there?”

“Uh, nothing,” said Trini, shoving the shopping bag full of stuff behind her back. “Absolutely nothing. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna head back to our room and finish packing.”

She hurriedly made her way to the bedroom, turning her head just in time to see Jason toss the football at Kim, who barely managed to catch it.

“What the hell, Jason?”

“Thanks,” he responded with a grin, disappearing into his own bedroom.

Trini crouched down beside her open suitcase and shoved the bag of gifts in. She’d find a way to wrap them in San Diego later.

By the time she had packed all of her clothes in on top of the presents, Kim appeared in the doorway, standing there flinging the football up and down in the air with one hand.

“Is this what you ran off with Jason to do?” she asked.

“Yes,” said Trini without looking up. “He needed to chill and everyone else was busy doing their own thing.”

“How chivalrous,” said Kim. “Always looking out for everyone. Who knew Trini was the real mom friend of the group?”

“Don’t you have anything else better to do than bother me?” Trini huffed.

Kim fell backwards onto her bed, still playing with the football in her hands. “Nah. Messing with you is my favorite pastime.”

“You suck.”

“Too bad for you.”

“Yeah, too bad for me,” Trini agreed. “I’m about to be stuck with you on a bus for eight hours.”

“It’s gonna be so much fun,” Kim said in a singsong voice.

 


 

By nine o’clock on the morning of December 24th everyone in the apartment was wide awake with their suitcases packed and ready to go for their miniature road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles. They’d eaten a quick breakfast and were now standing outside in the parking lot with all their instruments and luggage, waiting for the minibus to come pick them up.

Finally the bus pulled up into the space in front of them. Billy let out a small gasp when he saw it, watching as it came to a stop. The door opened and Adam hopped out, smiling and shaking his head when he saw all five of their starstruck expressions.

“It’s just a bus,” he told them.

“No it’s not,” said Jason in wonder.

“Yeah,” Kim agreed. “It’s our bus.”

“I rented this,” Adam snorted, reaching out to start grabbing their suitcases as the driver went around to the back to pop open the trunk. “If you get even more famous and start to headline a tour the label will buy you your own tour bus.”

“Wow,” Billy said softly.

Trini moved forward, preparing to get on the bus, but Zack stopped her. “We should take a picture,” he told all of them, grinning. He ushered everyone closer and pulled out his phone, holding it out in front of them. “Smile!”

He snapped a photo and brought his phone down to inspect it while everyone else began helping Adam and the bus driver fit all their stuff into the back. “Looks awesome,” he announced. “I’m gonna post it to my Twitter account!”

“Not now,” said Adam, shoving him lightly towards the door. “Get on the bus, we need to get going.”

Trini settled into a seat somewhere near the middle, and even though there were roughly fifteen other seats on the bus, Kim decided to take the one right next to her.

“Hey,” said Kim, pulling her phone and a pair of earbuds out of her pocket.

“Hi,” said Trini. She turned around in her seat to get a good look at the bus surroundings. Zack and Jason had taken the two seats in the very back, and Billy sat a bit timidly in the row in front of them. Adam was up front, in the spot directly behind the driver.

When the engines revved and the bus began to take off for San Diego, Zack let out a whoop.

 


 

Zack T. @zacktayloriscool
[endorphin_rush_selfie.jpg]

Ready to roll out for our first opening on tour with the one and only @Blakesbradley!

 

HurricaneKat @HurricaneKat
@zacktayloriscool Me and my friends can’t wait to see you guys in San Diego!!

 

Zack T. @zacktayloriscool
@HurricaneKat Can’t wait to see you too!

 


 

Besides a brief stop for lunch around noon, the bus ride went straight to San Diego without pause. At first in the morning energy and excitement ran high. Zack spent the hours alternating between playing Go Fish with Jason and then belting out his own rendition of each of the songs on their upcoming album. Billy for the most part just drummed his fingers against his legs, bobbing his head up and down to the beat of the song playing through his headphones.

“What are you doing?” Trini asked Kim.

Kim pulled out one earbud and showed Trini her phone screen. “I dunno. Just watching random cooking tutorials.”

“Why?”

“It’s fun.” Kim held out the earbud to Trini. “Wanna join me?”

“No.”

“Liar,” said Kim, reaching out and sticking the earbud into Trini’s ear. Then she shifted and scooted closer. “Come on, it’s more interesting than it sounds.”

Trini rolled her eyes but settled in against Kim’s side, and Kim shifted her phone closer towards Trini so that the both of them could watch the video comfortably.

 


 

By late afternoon they were all exhausted. They weren’t due to arrive until five-thirty, and sitting still on the bus for eight hours nonstop had made them restless.

“We’ve only got thirty-eight minutes and twenty-seven seconds left, if the current traffic situation keeps up,” Billy said.

“My throat hurts,” said Zack.

“You shouldn’t have screamed every single one of our songs as loudly as you did,” Jason told him.

Earlier Trini had fallen asleep in Kim’s lap. When the boys started talking she stirred awake again, groaning as she lifted herself back up into a sitting position.

Kim was staring at her with a tiny smile on her face. “Welcome back, sleepyhead,” she said affectionately.

“How long was I out?” Trini grumbled.

“I wasn’t keeping track,” said Kim. “But you did make my leg fall asleep.”

“Shit,” said Trini. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright. Your cuteness more than made up for it.”

Trini let out a half-exasperated, half-embarrassed huff and turned to stare out the window.

“Jason, do you think they’ll like us?” Billy asked nervously.

“I dunno, buddy,” said Jason. “I really hope they do.”

“Oh my god.” Zack leaned forward and buried his face in his hands. “I almost forgot we’re about to perform in front of five thousand people in four days.”

The bus fell into an awkward, tense silence.                          

“Come on, guys,” said Kim. “Tomorrow’s Christmas. I don’t want to be thinking about this kind of stuff right now.”

“We need a distraction,” Billy suggested. “Anyone have any ideas?”

No one responded.

Then Zack started singing.

There’s a moment in your bones when, when the fire takes oooover.

“Really, Zack?” Trini said, groaning, but Kim immediately jumped in.

Blood is running, heart is pumping, as the battle gets closer,” Kim sang at the top of her lungs.

Billy mimed playing the drums while he made crashing sounds.

They can say what they want now,” Jason joined in. “Ooh-oh, cause we’ll be screaming out—”

Kim paused just long enough to nudge Trini. She turned her head and realized that all four of the others were staring at her expectantly.

“No,” said Trini.

Kim pouted.

Trini sighed.

We can be heroes—!

 Kim broke into the biggest smile as she and the boys picked up the rest of the song along with Trini. “—everywhere that we go! We can have all that we ever want…

Swingin’ like Ali, knocking out bodies, standing on top like a champion,” Jason sang.

Adam turned around to look at the five of them, sighing and shaking his head. They could see the driver struggling not to smile in the reflection of the window.

Keep your silver, give me that gold, you’ll remember when I say—

The bus coasted down the highway, and inside the five members of Endorphin Rush jammed out in their seats, their hands in the air, singing as loudly as they could together.

We can be heroes, everywhere that we go! Keeping us down is impossible…

Cause we’re unstoppable!"

Chapter Text

The bus stopped in the parking lot of a fancy-looking hotel. When the five of them got off they were all too in awe to realize that Adam was shoving their suitcases at them.

“Let’s get you into your rooms,” he said, dropping their bags down in front of them. “And then I’ll leave you guys to figure out dinner while I bring all your band gear to the concert venue.”

“Check it out!” Zack shouted gleefully, charging forwards and into the revolving door.

“He left his bag,” said Billy.

“Of course he did.” Trini reached over and picked it up. “Sometimes I swear he’s more excitable than a five-year-old.”

“Well, so am I,” said Kim, breaking out into a huge grin. “See you suckers inside!”

The interior lobby was beautiful and decked out in holiday decorations. Trini, Jason, and Billy made it into the hotel to find Zack crashed face-first into a sofa and Kim raiding the free lemon water stand.

“Hey,” said Kim when Trini got closer. “Want some?” She held out a decorated paper cup filled with water up to Trini’s mouth.

Trini leaned forward and Kim tilted the cup so she could take a sip.

“I still don’t understand why people put lemons in water,” said Trini.

Kim took her own sip from the cup and then shrugged. “It makes it classier.”

“Classy water. How fancy.”

“Indeed.” Kim laughed.

“Hey! Guys, come over here for a second,” said Jason from where he was standing next to Adam at the front desk. Billy dragged Zack off the couch and the four of them headed over to Adam, who had turned to face them with a frown on his face.

“So, there’s, uh, a slight problem,” he began. “It’s too close to the holidays and this place is completely packed.”

“Do you mean, like, completely completely?” asked Billy. “Or just slightly completely?”

“Completely as in if we are to stay here for the full five nights, I would only be able to get you guys four rooms, one of which is on a different floor. And they’re all single beds.”

“That’s okay,” said Kim. “Trini and I can share a room.”

“No, you shouldn’t have to do that. I’ll take a room with Zack,” said Jason, clapping Zack on the shoulder as he spoke.

Adam blinked. “I was just going to suggest going to a smaller hotel a bit further away—”

“Listen,” said Kim, “you three already spend every single night sleeping in the same room as each other. Take the break, guys. Let me and Trini have a room together.” She turned to Trini and flashed her a grin. “That’s cool with you, right?”

“Uh, yeah, sure,” said Trini, averting her gaze.

“Fine.” Jason threw his hands up in surrender. “Your loss.”

Adam stared at the five of them. “You’re sure about this,” he said incredulously.

They all shrugged.

Adam sighed and turned back to the guy at the counter.

Ten minutes later he tossed them all keys to their hotel rooms. “I have to leave now,” he told them. “The rest of tonight and tomorrow is yours to do whatever you want. On the twenty-sixth and seventh you’ve got afternoon rehearsals. Final sound check on the twenty-eighth is in the morning, and your performance starts at 8 PM. Got it?”

They all nodded, brimming with anticipation and excitement.

As soon as Adam had left the building, Zack let out a giant whoop, pumped his fists in the air, and then sprinted straight for the elevators.

“Stop leaving me your bags, you asshole!” Trini shouted after him, struggling to keep up.

She caught up with him as he was smashing his hand onto the UP button. While they were waiting for the elevator to arrive, Zack pulled out his key card and checked the number printed on the back. “I’m on the sixth floor,” he said. “Where are you guys at?”

“Me too,” said Billy.

Jason made a face. “I’m on the eighth floor.”

“We’re on the sixth too,” Kim said to Trini.

“Wonderful,” sighed Jason. “I love being the odd one out.”

The elevator dinged and the five of them piled on. “Hey,” said Zack, giving Jason a nice big slap on the back. “Billy and I promise to visit you every single day. Right, Billy?”

“Sure,” said Billy.

“What about Kim and Trini?” Jason asked.

“I mean, I could ask them, but they’ll probably be too busy having s—”

“Finish that sentence and I’ll throw you down the elevator shaft,” said Trini.

Zack shut his mouth but his expression remained delighted.

When the elevator opened up to the sixth floor Trini grabbed her suitcase and shoved her way out first, to get away from the suffocating heat.

“Are we doing dinner on our own?” Jason asked.

“I am,” said Trini. “I have a few things I need to get done.”

“Alright.” The doors began to slide closed. “See you guys tomorrow, then!”

“Bye, boss!” Zack called. He checked his room number one more time, then waved to the girls and headed down the left hallway with Billy.

“Looks like we go the opposite direction,” said Kim.

They walked along the carpeted, dimly lit hallway until they reached their room. Kim swiped the card over the scanner, turned the handle, and pushed the door open with her shoulder.

Trini went in first and dumped her stuff down by the desk. “Well, at least it’s a pretty big bed,” she told Kim, then immediately flopped face-first down onto the covers. “God, we didn’t even do anything today and I’m exhausted.”

“Eight hour bus rides are pretty draining,” said Kim, smiling as she went to lie down beside Trini. “Wow. This is a nice hotel.”

“It is,” Trini agreed, her voice slightly muffled because of the pillow. “I still can’t believe that this is really happening.”

“What? The hotel or the concert?”

“Everything,” said Trini. “The band. The fact that we started this as a joke, and instead it’s become our life. I was expecting a miserable future after high school and instead I’m about to go up on stage in four days with my best friends to perform for thousands of people who actually want to listen to our music.”

“I’m pretty sure most people are here to hear Blake sing,” said Kim.

Trini let out a weak laugh. “Yeah. Thanks.”

“Sorry,” said Kim. She shifted on the bed, and Trini turned her head to see Kim smiling at her. “Honestly, I feel the same way too. Like it hasn’t hit me yet, you know?”

“Yeah,” said Trini.

Kim got up and walked over to Trini’s suitcase lying on the ground, opening it up and rummaging around in it. “I hear there’s a really fancy restaurant on the second floor, I think I’m gonna go check it out. Wanna come with?” She stood up, slinging a rumpled shirt over her shoulder, grinning at Trini.

“Uh, I’m gonna pass,” said Trini. “I’ve got some stuff I need to do.” She pushed herself up into a sitting position and looked over at Kim. “Wait—did you just steal my flannel?”

Kim just winked and walked to the door. “See you later!”

Trini groaned and brought a hand up to rub her face. When she heard the door open and then click shut, she scrambled off the bed and over to her suitcase, which Kim had left lying wide open. She sighed and moved aside the layers of clothes on top to uncover the bag of Christmas presents underneath. At least Kim hadn’t dug deep enough to find those.

For the next half hour she took her time wrapping up each present and writing each of the others a little note to go with. Jason’s and Billy’s came easy enough. Zack’s took a little longer to scribble down. When Trini got to Kim, she didn’t know what to write.

She wrote out a note, then crumpled it up and tried again. And again.

Kim returned sometime later, the little buzzing of the lock giving away her arrival a few seconds before the door opened. “Hey,” she said, appearing into the room holding a little takeout box. “Miss me?”

“Tons,” said Trini, immediately covering the little slip of paper she’d been writing Kim’s note out on with her hand.

Kim walked over to the desk, leaning over Trini’s shoulder and trying to get a good look at what she was doing. When Trini didn’t let up, she dropped the box down next to her and walked away. “What are you doing?” Kim asked.

“Nothing,” said Trini. She reached over and opened up the box. “What is this?”

“I dunno, some shrimp thing,” said Kim. “Try it. It’s pretty good.”

So Trini took the fork Kim gave her and munched on the leftovers from the desk while Kim crashed back onto the bed, then caught sight of the wrapped presents lying at the edge. Her face lit up. “Trini, did you get us Christmas presents?”

“No,” said Trini, putting on a sour expression. “Not for you. Only the boys.”

Kim laughed. “That’s a shame. I was hoping you’d like the gift I got for you.”

Trini felt her heart skip a beat. To avoid having to keep talking, she shoved another forkful of food into her mouth.

Kim reached out for the stack of presents and Trini had to get up to slap her hand away. “No,” she said. “You are not allowed to touch these until tomorrow.”

“Party pooper,” Kim said, pouting.

“Kim this is not how Christmas works. Also please stop making that face at me.”

“Is it working?”

“Of course it is, stupid. Now scoot over.”

Kim shifted and Trini plopped down next to her with the food in her hands.

For the rest of the evening they mostly fooled around on their phones and social media, too exhausted from the bus ride to do anything else. Trini went back to the desk at some point to finish the note she was writing for Kim.

When Trini finally shut off the desk light late at night, Kim had already fallen asleep. Trini stood at the side of the bed, a little surprised she wasn’t more apprehensive about having to share with Kim.

She sighed, climbed into bed, and fell asleep soon after.

 


 

Trini woke up in the middle of the night to find something heavy weighing down on her.

She tried to shift and quickly realized that she couldn’t, because Kimberly’s arm was resting over her stomach. Trini was lying on her back but Kim was curled into her, her head resting in the crook of her neck. Trini’s right leg was trapped in between both of Kim’s.

Her phone, which had somehow gotten stuck underneath her during the night, vibrated three times in quick succession. Doing her best not to disturb Kim, Trini dug out her phone from underneath her and turned it on to find a few text messages from Zack.

 

Zack
hey
wanna go exploring?
im waitin on the roof c:

 

Trini squinted against the harsh light, struggling to type out a response single-handedly because her right arm was trapped under Kim.

 

Trini
it’s two in the morning, why couldn’t you have asked earlier??

Zack
…u have never complained about our late night adventures before

Trini
I’m stuck. Literally.
Kim’s turned into a koala

Zack
and what? U think it feels too nice to get up?

 

It took her a while to respond. Trini typed and erased her message several times before finally hitting send.

 

Trini
it does.
it does feel nice

 

Zack
aight then. it’s k if u wanna stay in

Trini
no, no, just…give me a few minutes

Zack
u sure?

Trini
yeah.

 

Trini shut her phone off and stared up at the ceiling, reveling in the feeling of Kim pressed close to her side. She could feel Kim’s slow, steady breaths rising and falling in sync with her own.

It was almost enough to make her not get up.

But Zack was waiting for her, and she didn’t want to let him down, so she started to extract herself from Kim’s embrace as gently as possible. It took a few minutes and Trini nearly tripped stepping onto the ground again.

Just before going to throw on some pants and a jacket, she turned to look back at Kim sleeping soundly on the bed with the covers thrown back. Trini sighed and pulled the blanket over Kim’s shoulders.

 


 

It took Trini a while to figure out how to get out onto the top of the roof, since it was twelve stories up. She pulled open the door, praying it wouldn’t set off an alarm, and stepped out onto the windy roof. Almost immediately she spotted Zack on the opposite end, sitting at the edge with his legs dangling over.

Zack turned around and grinned at her when she had reached him. “Hey,” he said. “You took your sweet time, didn’t you?”

“I’m here now,” said Trini, using one hand to hold herself up while she sat down next to Zack.

“I know,” said Zack. The goofy grin never left his face. “You abandoned your most favorite person in the world to be with me. I’m honored.”

“Kim is not my f—” Trini began to say, but she cut herself off.

“That’s what I thought.”

Trini turned to Zack, inspecting him suspiciously. “What’s up with you tonight?”

“What? Nothing,” said Zack, even as a huge smile broke out onto his face.

“You’ve been grinning like an idiot since I got here. What’s up?”

Zack squirmed around in his spot, giddy with happiness. “Ah, I didn’t want to tell anyone before it was set in stone, but I guess I can make an exception for you.”

“Uh-huh. Spill.”

“I got a phone call a few hours ago,” said Zack. “It’s not confirmed—but the doctors are pretty sure they found a cure.”

“For your mom?” Trini nearly shouted.

“Yes! Yes, they can cure my mom!” Zack yelled back.

“Zack, that’s amazing!” Trini tackled Zack in a hug and they fell backwards away from the edge, rolling a bit around on the floor. Trini was laughing and Zack was laughing and crying at the same time, tears of joy and relief streaming down his face.

He flopped onto his back, throwing his arms and legs wide out beside him. Trini lay down next to him, staring up at the cloudless night sky.

“I just need a little bit more time,” said Zack. “Just a few more months and I’ll be able to afford it.”

“I’m happy for you, man,” said Trini. “Really.”

“It just—” said Zack after a short pause, “—it just feels like I can finally take a breath again.”

“You deserve it. You definitely deserve it.”

“Thanks, crazy girl. You’re the best.”

They stayed there side-by-side for a while longer. Zack’s smile never wavered until Trini began to wonder if it was hurting his face muscles. The wind blew past them on the rooftop, and Trini struggled to stifle a yawn.

“Sorry for calling you out here at two in the morning,” Zack said immediately.

“No, it’s fine, I’m not tired,” Trini protested, rubbing at her eyes.

“You can go back to sleep. I don’t mind.”

“What the hell kind of adventure was this, then?”

“Fine.” Zack rolled onto his side, facing Trini, a giant grin on his face. “You want adventure? Come over here.”

He stood up, dusting his hands off, and then helped Trini get to her feet.

“What are we doing?” Trini asked, following Zack to the edge of the roof.

Zack pointed down below, where the hotel’s shining, fancy swimming pool glittered in the moonlight twelve stories below them. “The little part jutting out there to the side?” said Zack. “That’s a ten foot deep diving pool.”

“No fucking way.”

“What? Too chicken to do it all of a sudden?” Zack teased her.

“You do realize that if either one of us misses we become pancakes. Permanently.”

“I’m not gonna miss.” Zack took a couple steps back, hopping from side to side in preparation and anticipation. “I’m a Power Ranger.”

“Unfortunately, being a Power Ranger does not save you from cracking your head open after falling onto concrete from two hundred feet up,” said Trini, stepping in front of Zack and pushing him back with a hand on his chest. “Step aside, big guy. I’m going first.”

Zack whistled and threw up his hands, moving aside so Trini had a clear path.

Trini walked to the edge of the roof, leaning over and inspecting the tiny section of the pool that she was supposed to be diving into. Her mind raced and she tried to come up with how fast the running start should be, how far she should leap.

“Any day now,” said Zack from behind her.

Trini rolled her eyes and went back to where Zack was standing, turning around and rolling her shoulders. “If we get busted by hotel security I’m throwing you under the bus.”

Before Zack could answer she bent down and sprinted towards the edge.

Her feet landed perfectly on the corner and she pushed off, hard, doing a graceful turn in the air before beginning the plummet down towards the pool. She brought her hands up together above her head, the windows of the hotel flashing past her.

“Woohoo!” she shouted, mere seconds before she hit the water, hands first. Her fingertips just barely scraped the bottom of the ten-foot diving pool, bubbles swirling and rising all around her, before she oriented herself right-side up again and kicked towards the surface.

She scrambled out onto the concrete, soaked and shaking, and looked up to see the faint silhouette of Zack peering over the roof’s edge. Trini didn’t know if he could see her from up there but she flashed him a thumbs up anyway, stepping back from the pool to avoid the inevitable splash from Zack’s jump.

A moment later Zack yelled and came cannonballing down through the air.

He landed in the pool and caused a massive splash, sending water flying everywhere. Trini laughed openly when he resurfaced again, spitting water out of his mouth and dog-pedaling to the ladder.

“That was awesome!” Zack cheered.

“Yeah, yeah,” said Trini with a reluctant smile. “Come on, let’s go get dry before we freeze to death.”

They had to jump over the fence and loop around to the entrance because the pool doors were locked after hours. The one person manning the front desk gave them an astounded look when they came in, but they ignored her and headed straight for the elevator, dripping water onto the marble floors.

When they reached the sixth floor and went to part ways, Zack stopped and said, “Wait. Trini.”

“Yeah?” said Trini, turning around to face him.

Zack grinned. “Merry Christmas.”

“You too,” said Trini, smiling as well.

Five minutes later she was back in her room and changed into a dry set of clothes. Kim was still fast asleep and Trini eagerly joined her in her wonderfully warm embrace under the blankets.

 


 

By the time Trini awoke the next morning, sunlight was filtering through the window and Kim was no longer in bed. She groaned a little and stretched, her arms poking out from under the blanket.

“Good morning,” came a voice from the bathroom. Kim appeared in Trini’s line of sight, fully dressed and grinning. “Merry Christmas.”

“Right, that’s a thing,” said Trini. She pushed herself into a sitting position and rubbed her eyes. “Merry Christmas to you too.”

“The boys are already down in the lobby for free breakfast,” said Kim. “Zack demanded food before opening up each other’s presents.”

“Good plan,” said Trini. She slipped out of bed and stumbled over to the bathroom to get ready for the day. Kim watched her go, an affectionate smile on her face.

 


 

The lobby was crowded. Trini spotted Zack sitting at a table by himself while Kim went to join Jason at the food line. Billy was walking towards them with an empty cup in his hand, supposedly to refill his drink.

“Hi, Trini!” he said when he caught sight of her. “Merry Christmas! The food here’s really good, you should try it out.”

“Thanks, Billy,” she replied, leaving to grab a plate at the end of the line.

Suddenly Zack shouted out across the entire lobby. “AHA!”

Trini turned and saw him standing up on his seat, triumphantly pointing at both Billy and Jason, who had been walking towards their table with a full plate of food in his hands. He’d stopped to talk to Billy and now both of them were frozen in place, staring at Zack in shock.

“Uh, Zack, why are you—” said Jason. He paused, followed Zack’s line of sight, and looked up. “Oh.”

“Okay, it’s a mistletoe,” said Billy, confused. “I know people hang it up around Christmas time and couples are supposed to kiss when they’re under it together, but why is he making such a big deal about it?”

“Billy, we’re under the mistletoe,” said Jason.

Billy’s eyes widened. “Oh. Right, haha. Does that, uh, does that mean we have to kiss?”

Zack was still yelling in glee and attracting the attention of almost everyone else in the lobby eating breakfast. Trini made eye contact with Kim, who was putting a slice of bread into the toaster, and shrugged. Kim just glanced at Zack and rolled her eyes.

Jason had put his plate of food onto the table closest to where he and Billy were standing, smiling sheepishly and shaking his head.

“Jason—Jason I don’t know if we should do this—”

“It’s just a little kiss, Billy,” said Jason, grinning. “It’s the rules, after all.”

Then he reached up to cup Billy’s face and pressed a tiny, quick kiss to his lips.

Zack screamed.

Billy froze in place, even as Jason stepped back and picked up his plate of food again.

“Am I really that bad?” he joked.

“I—I can’t think properly right now, so I couldn’t give you an answer if I tried,” said Billy, flustered. “So I’m just going to—I’m just gonna go get some more orange juice.”

He walked away and Jason prepared to go back to their table, but just then, Zack hopped off his seat and charged towards him. “Wait!” he called, coming to a stop right in front of Jason. “Can I get one too?”

Jason looked up at the mistletoe, then back at Zack, and laughed. “Sure, why not?” He held his food in one hand and used the other to pull Zack towards him by the back of his neck, kissing him for a split second before letting go.

“Wow,” Zack said in awe.

“Come on.” Jason patted Zack on the back and steered him to where he came from. “Back to the table we go.”

Eventually Kim and Trini had loaded plates of breakfast as well, and the five of them sat together around their circular table, talking and laughing. Billy seemed a bit distracted during most of the conversation and both Jason and Zack looked happier than usual.

“They’re such big idiots,” Kim sighed when Jason tried to throw an entire hard-boiled egg into Zack’s mouth and instead knocked him out of his seat.

“They’re our idiots,” said Trini.

Kim laughed. “You’re right. Our big stupid lovable idiots.”

“I think you’re my favorite idiot, though,” said Trini.

“Aww, thanks.” Kim stole a piece of bacon from Trini’s plate and took a bite out of it.

Breakfast wrapped up soon enough. Kim and Trini waited for Zack to finish the last of his hash browns before the three of them got up and started to leave the lobby, Jason and Billy a few feet ahead of them.

“Ooh.” Zack burped. “That was some good food, man. I love the tour life.”

“You’re disgusting,” said Trini.

“Thank you.” Zack grinned and patted both Kim and Trini on the shoulder. “Have fun, you two.”

“What?” said Kim.

But Zack had already walked away, skipping over to Jason and Billy with the biggest grin on his face. Trini turned to Kim, confused, when she realized that Kim was staring at something above them.

The mistletoe.

“Oh shit,” Kim whispered.

Trini’s first instinct was to run, to run away as far as she possibly could, but her feet were stuck in place. She couldn’t move. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears and she was getting tunnel vision—all she could see was Kim and her smile and her kind and gentle expression.

Kim was looking at her and it hit Trini that she might have to kiss her and she realized she didn’t really know how she felt about that. She tried to steel herself for it, but she couldn’t. Her hands were shaking and then Kim took a step closer—

But then she didn’t do anything else. Trini chanced looking up into Kim’s eyes only to find that Kim was staring down at her feet. She was acting shy and hesitant and Trini’s heart sank just as quickly.

Kim didn’t want to kiss her.

“No,” said Kim, as if she had read Trini’s mind. She reached out and took Trini’s hands into her own, leaning in close enough so she could rest her forehead against Trini’s. “It’s not that, I promise.”

“Then what is it?” Trini said, her voice barely above a whisper.

Kim’s eyes had closed, and Trini stared at her hands, where Kim was making little circles with her thumbs. “Trust me. I’ve—um, I’ve thought about it before. I just want it to be more—special, I guess.”

“Oh,” was all Trini could manage to reply.

“There’s people watching us, and we’re about to work our asses off on tour with Blake,” Kim said quietly. “The timing—it’s not right. You deserve better than this—I—I want to give you better than this.”

Trini felt like the ground was slipping out from underneath her. The sounds around her were muted, and she had to take a deep breath to try and calm her racing heart.

Then Kim lifted her hands, turning Trini’s head to the side just a little bit and leaning forward, pressing her lips to Trini’s cheek.

Kim pulled away after a long moment, and Trini’s brain fried itself.

“Come on,” Kim murmured, giving Trini a faint smile. “We’ve got presents to open.”

She took Trini’s hand and intertwined their fingers together, pulling her gently in the direction of the elevators. The boys were waiting for them there. Miraculously, all of them somehow kept their mouth shut.

Even when Kim hugged Trini from behind while on the elevator, lifting her chin to rest her head on Trini’s, Zack didn’t say a word. He just kept a respectful distance from them, leaving Trini to suffer in silence alone.

Chapter Text

They all went back to their rooms to get their presents, then everyone met up at Jason’s, sitting around together in a circle on the ground.

“Who wants to go first?” Jason asked.

Zack pulled the biggest present out of his own pile and tore open the wrapping. “Jason? What is this?” He picked up the purple T-shirt and held it out in front of his face, squinting at it.

“It’s a purple T-shirt,” said Jason, like it wasn’t obvious enough. “I have decided that you need something in your wardrobe that isn’t black, white, or gray.”

“I have plenty of stuff that isn’t,” Zack protested.

“No you don’t. You have like, one pair of pants that are tan.”

Zack stared at the T-shirt some more, then shrugged, dropped it to the ground, and pulled off his current one. Trini and Billy looked away, Kim whistled, and Jason stared.

“What?” Zack took the purple T-shirt and put it on. “How do I look?”

“Hot,” said Jason.

“Thanks, babe,” said Zack, grinning. “Who’s next?”

“Wait,” said Billy, squirming in his cross-legged position in excitement. “You guys should all open my presents together. Like at the same time.”

“Uh, okay,” said Trini, picking up the meticulously wrapped package as the others went to do the same.

“What is it?” asked Kim, feeling the edges of her present for a place to tear it open.

“Open it and find out,” said Billy with a huge smile.

So they opened it up.

Billy had made all of them a miniature figurine version of their Zord animals using mechanical parts. They were shiny and bronze, with highlights of their respective Ranger colors and mounted on a stand.

“Billy, this is insane,” Trini said in awe, holding her sabertooth tiger gingerly in her hands.

“That’s a good thing, right?”

“A great thing,” Trini reassured him.

Kim held up her pterodactyl figurine right in Jason’s face. “You see this? Mine is so much cooler than yours.”

“I don’t know about that,” said Jason. “I can wiggle the T-rex’s little arms.”

“Mine floats.”

“How does that even work?” Zack said in wonder, leaning over to look at Kim’s figurine while cradling his own mastodon in his hands.

“Oh, the bottom of the pterodactyl and top of the pedestal are magnets of the same pole,” explained Billy. “It took a little tinkering to figure out how to hold it in place. Don’t shake it too hard, though, because it might still fly off.”

“Billy, these are amazing,” said Kim. “Thank you so much.”

“Now I feel bad,” Zack laughed. “Like the rest of our presents are going to be nothing next to Billy’s.”

“That’s not true!” said Billy. “I’m sure everyone else’s gifts are just as cool!”

“Jason got me a purple T-shirt,” said Zack.

“You like it, don’t even try to deny it,” Jason shot back.

Trini picked up a lumpy package from her own pile and ripped it open. A stuffed animal fell out, and Trini picked it up skeptically. It was a yellow tiger with pink stripes on its back.

Zack was staring at her gleefully.

“Why do you look like you’ve just pulled off the greatest prank in the world?” Trini asked him.

“I’m just really proud of it,” said Zack. “Do you know how long it took me to find a tiger in those colors? Now you can have a stuffed animal of you with Kim all over it—”

“I thought this was cute at first but now I’m gonna need you to shut your mouth—”

“It can be like a constant reminder of your dying thirst for her—!”

Trini chucked the stuffed tiger at Zack and it hit him in the stomach so hard, he went flying and crashed into the wall behind Jason’s bed. Jason burst out laughing, Billy had to stifle a smile, and Kim fiddled with her pterodactyl figurine, grinning.

“Jason,” Zack groaned from behind the bed. “Jason, can you put Trini on the Dick List for me?”

“What? Did she break something?” Jason asked.

There was a pause.

“My heart,” Zack whined.

Trini laughed and dived behind the bed, reaching out to pick up the stuffed tiger from where it’d been sitting on Zack’s stomach. He was lying sprawled out on his back on the floor, pouting. “Oh, get up, you big baby,” she said, holding out her hand.

Zack squinted at her before reluctantly taking her hand and getting back up to his feet. They went back to join the circle, and the present-opening continued.

Trini got Jason a red mug with the words “#1 Mom” printed on it. Jason got Billy some very complicated card game. Within five minutes of opening it, Billy had already migrated to the corner of the room with Jason, poring over the rules with Jason figured out how to deal the cards out.

Zack got Kim a stuffed pink pterodactyl with yellow stripes on its back.

He took one look at Kim’s face, then Trini’s, and then burst out laughing so hard he didn’t even seem to care that Trini was tackling him to the ground.

“How did you even find something like this?” Kim asked, looking half-dumbstruck.

“I have my ways,” Zack told her, jerking his head to the side to avoid Trini’s fist.

Soon enough they had opened up most of their presents. Billy and Jason were now completely engrossed in the card game, and Zack was lying on the bed fiddling with the trunk of his mastodon figurine, leaving Trini and Kim together on the floor with their presents.

There was only one unwrapped gift left in Kim’s pile, the one Trini had given her. But when Kim reached out to open it, Trini hesitated.

“What’s the matter?” said Kim, noticing her expression.

“Uh,” said Trini. “Nothing—I just—can you maybe open it back in our room? When the boys aren’t around?”

Kim smiled softly. “Sure.”

“Thanks.” Desperate to change the topic, she picked up her last present—an extremely lumpy package from Kim. “You seem to be really good at wrapping presents.”

“Shut up,” said Kim. “It was not easy to wrap the thing that I got you.”

“What did you get me?”

“Why don’t you open it and find out?”

So Trini ripped open the wrapping paper and found a beanie inside.

“I never made up for making you lose that beanie in the pool of water under the cliff,” said Kim sheepishly. “So I finally decided I should just get you another one.”

“That happened like, over a year ago,” said Trini.

“That’s why I said finally,” said Kim, grinning. “Don’t put it on your head yet. There’s another present inside.”

“What?” Trini reached into the beanie and felt something hard inside. She pulled it out and realized that it was a small bracelet.

“It’s nothing too flashy,” Kim explained. “I just thought I’d keep it simple, it’s got a yellow bead and then a pink one, you know, for girl power, you don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to—”

“Shut up,” said Trini, because she was already fastening the bracelet around her wrist. “I love it.”

“Oh. Right.” Kim tucked her hair behind her ear and laughed. “Right, sorry.”

“Hey,” Zack called across the room to Billy and Jason. “You got another space for another player?”

Billy looked down at the pile of cards in between him and Jason, then over at Zack. “Sure, we could probably make it work.”

“Awesome.” Zack hopped off the bed and joined Billy and Jason in the corner.

Kim turned to Trini. “Guess like it’s time for us to head back to our room,” she said.

“Okay,” said Trini. She gathered up all her presents in her arms and followed Kim towards the door. “Please don’t—please don’t laugh when you open my present.”

“Why would I laugh?” asked Kim as they stepped out into the hallway.

“I dunno.” Trini shrugged, suddenly unable to look anywhere near where Kim was standing. “I thought it was a good idea last night but now it just seems corny.”

“I can’t wait to open it then.”

Trini sighed, which only made Kim laugh.

They used the elevator to get down to the sixth floor of the hotel and eventually made it back to their room. Kim dumped her presents atop the desk while Trini put hers into her suitcase.

“So,” said Kim, and Trini stood back up to see her holding her last wrapped present in her hands, “can I open this now?”

“I mean, sure,” said Trini, trying to sound nonchalant.

Kim opened the present.

Trini had gotten her a necklace with a little yellow lightning bolt on it.

“Trini, it’s beautiful,” said Kim.

“Yeah, it’s whatever,” said Trini, looking away.

“You wrote me a note too?” Kim picked up the slip of paper at the bottom of the package. “That’s so sweet.”

Trini didn’t say anything back, because she probably would have died of embarrassment. She just stood there, her gaze fixed on the ceiling, waiting as Kim read the note.

 

hey Kim,

there’s a lot of things that suck
about being a power ranger. but
if I had to pick what I liked the
best about it, I would say that I
get to spend more time with you.

thanks for being in my life,
Trini

 

“Trini,” said Kim.

“Yeah?” asked Trini, her voice cracking a little.

Kim walked up to her and pulled her into a hug.

“Thank you,” she said quietly.

Trini buried her face into Kim’s shoulder, holding onto her tightly.

She didn’t know how long they stayed like that, but she figured she didn’t want to be the first to let go. And neither did Kim, it seemed.

 


 

The next few days after Christmas passed by in a blur of stress and nerves and adrenaline.

They met Blake Bradley for the first time on the twenty-sixth. He seemed to be easygoing and friendly enough and thanked them for coming to open on his concert.

Blake’s crew gave them a tour of the venue, which was an open air theater. They spent a good half hour figuring out how to properly navigate the backstage halls and get from their break room to the stage, bumping into Blake practicing a few of his songs in his own room.

Then they were led to the top of the stage itself, where they stood, frozen, looking out onto the rows and rows of seats ahead of them in awe. Despite the fact that it was early afternoon, it was a little chilly out, the breeze blowing through the empty theater. But the view was still breathtaking.

“You said this concert sold out, right?” asked Jason.

“Uh, yeah,” a crew guy answered after flipping through a few papers on his clipboard. “This place is gonna be packed in two days. Roughly five thousand seats.”

“I think I’m gonna pass out,” said Zack.

“You got two hours before Blake comes on to warm up,” said the crew guy. “So the stage is all yours till then if you wanna get a feel for it.”

So they went and got their instruments and set up onstage while Adam and a woman from Blake’s crew were talking about something underneath them.

Trini plugged the cord into her bass guitar, plucking absently at the strings while watching Kim tap on her microphone a couple times.

“Hi, does this work?” she said into the mic, a little nervously. Her voice sounded across the entire theater, echoing slightly towards the back. Her eyes widened. “Holy shit.” She turned to Trini, grinning, and then brought the microphone back up to her mouth, whispering, “I think somebody farted.”

Zack burst out laughing mid-setup and Jason planted his face square onto his keyboard, the cluster of notes drowning out his loud, exasperated groan.

“How do we look?” Kim asked when everyone had finished setting up their instruments and hooked them up to the theater’s sound system.

Adam flashed them a thumbs up. “Billy, I’d say move that drum set a few feet forward. The people in the front rows are going to have a little trouble seeing you back there.”

“On it!”

They spent a while practicing and warming up on their own, slowly getting used to the sound of playing on such a massive stage in front of a real venue.

“Alright,” said Jason, grinning at each of them. “Let’s see how we sound on a real stage, huh?”

“You got it, boss man,” said Zack. “Which song first? Endurance?”

“Hell yeah,” said Kim, stepping up to the mic stand. Trini did the same.

The acoustics were definitely a lot different than the ones they were used to practicing in back in the studio, but soon enough they’d gotten the hang of it.

Time flew by, and before they knew it, Blake had appeared in the side wing, watching them play with obvious interest.

“You guys sound amazing,” he told them earnestly when they finished the song they’d been practicing. “Like, wow. I’m honestly impressed.”

“Thank you,” said Jason. “Do you, uh, need the stage now?”

“No, it’s fine. You can keep using it if you want.”

They ended up running through two of their more weaker songs once before giving the stage over to Blake, and after packing up all their stuff, they headed back to their back room for a break.

 


 

On the twenty-seventh, as they were finishing up a quick dinner with Blake in the break room, Adam came in with a couple of people and sat down to talk with them about what they were going to wear during the concert.

They eventually settled on something simple—solid colored T-shirts and jeans. “Just so you’re matching,” Adam explained. “Do you guys have any ideas on which color?”

“Black,” Zack said immediately.

“Red,” said Jason.

“Pink,” said Kim.

“Blue,” said Billy.

“Yellow,” said Trini.

Adam stared at all five of them.

“Why do those colors sound so familiar?” Blake asked, pausing mid-bite in his sandwich to frown.

Adam sighed. “Who knows why I’m agreeing to these crazy kids? Because I sure don’t,” he said, getting up and leaving the room to talk with some people from Blake’s crew.

It was silent for a few seconds.

“I’m just saying, I think Jason would look great in pink,” said Kim.

“Shut up,” said Jason.

Kim just smiled and stole another grape from Trini.

 


 

Zack would not stop screaming all throughout the morning and afternoon of the twenty-eighth, the date of the concert.

Sometimes Trini could hear it all the way from her own room.

“I’m getting exhausted just listening to him yell,” Kim sighed. “Do you think I have enough time to take a nap right now before we have to grab dinner?”

“How the hell are you not nervous enough that you can even think about sleeping?” Trini asked her from where she was sitting on the bed, leaning on the headboard and scrolling through her phone.

“Actually, I’m nervous as fuck,” said Kim. She got up from the desk and flopped onto the bed, putting her head in Trini’s lap. “Sleep is just my way of coping. Can you wake me up in thirty?”

“Fine,” said Trini, exasperated, but her expression softened when Kim closed her eyes and smiled up at her.

“Thanks. Love you, babe.”

Trini’s heart stopped.

If Kim noticed that Trini had suddenly frozen up, she didn’t show it. She just rolled over in Trini’s lap, completely oblivious to the fact that Trini was now sitting above her, simultaneously thinking about and trying desperately to ignore the way Kim’s words had made her feel in that moment.

She heard Zack scream again and almost felt tempted to join in. Especially when she caught sight of the necklace Kim was wearing, with the little yellow lightning bolt poking out from underneath her shirt.

 


 

After a very tense, silent dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, the five of them headed back to the open air theater. There was already a long line snaking out from the entrance of people waiting to get into the concert. Trini had to snap herself out of her awe and terror and hurried after the others, finding Adam waiting for them in their room in the back.

“Hey,” he greeted them. “How are we feeling?”

“I’m going to puke,” said Zack.

Jason made a face. “Please don’t.”

“Your stuff’s still on the stage where we left it this morning,” said Adam. “You can go on at seven-thirty to prep and warm up. Don’t be worried if most of the theater is full, just ignore them and do your own thing.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Zack said in a strangled voice.

“Come on, get changed.” Adam walked to the door and turned back to face them. “We don’t have time to sit around doing nothing.”

“Oh my god,” said Billy after Adam had left. “Oh my god. We’re performing at our first concert in forty-four minutes and twenty-six seconds.”

Trini left the boys crowding and freaking out together at the front of the room and went up to Kim, who was by herself, leaning against the wall in the corner.

“Hey,” said Trini. “How’s it going?”

“Not gonna lie, I feel pretty awful,” Kim admitted. “I’ve never sang to so many people before.”

“Maybe you should take another nap,” Trini suggested, grinning.

Kim laughed. “I wish,” she said. She put her arms on Trini’s shoulders and pulled her close. “It’s okay. I think I’ll be fine, as long as I have you guys all there with me.”

“Yeah, don’t worry,” said Trini. “I got your back.”

“Thank you.” Kim smiled and pushed herself up from the wall. “Oh, also, I changed my mind. I don’t want to wear a pink T-shirt tonight.”

“Wait, what?”

 


  

“Something is not right here,” said Zack, squinting when Kim and Trini appeared backstage to join the boys.

“Everything is fine,” said Trini. She pulled at the hem of the pink T-shirt she was wearing and glanced over at Kim, who was sporting a yellow shirt and a cocky grin.

Behind them, they could hear the rumbling of the crowd, the noise steadily building as more and more people found their way into the theater and their seats. Anticipation was running high. Billy was jumping up and down in his excitement, and even though Jason had put his hand on Billy’s shoulder, it did nothing to help.

“Well,” said Jason, “shall we head onstage?”

“Let’s do this.” Zack took a deep breath, steeling himself, and held out his fist. “Go, go, Power Rangers!”

Everyone laughed and bumped fists, and then they all left the side wings to walk onto the stage.

It was dark out, further emphasizing the harsh glare coming from the stage lights. Most of the seats were already filled, and the crowd cheered when they appeared. Billy managed to wave cheerfully at everyone. Zack looked like he was going to piss himself.

Trini slung the strap of her bass over her shoulder but stepped back from the mic, joining Kim in the center of the stage for some warm up exercises. Her voice was shaking at first, feeling the stares of the audience on her. But the longer she stood there, singing a few lines from a couple songs with Kim, the more at ease she felt.

This was just another gig. A super big gig, but they’d always done fine before. They’d do fine tonight.

Kim reached out to take Trini’s hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “We got this,” she whispered.

Over the noise of the crowd, she could hear Billy double-checking his rhythms on the drums. Jason was playing a couple chords, adjusting the volume of the keyboard until he was satisfied with how loud it was. And Zack was going over his toughest spots on the guitar, looking queasy but resolutely pushing through.

“Yeah,” said Trini, and in that moment, she’d never felt as close to the others as she did.

They were a team, a band, a group of friends.

It was a few minutes after eight o’clock hit when they got the signal to start, and they all took their spots up, facing the excited crowd with just as much enthusiasm.

Kim turned her head to look at Trini, who gave her a thumbs-up. She nodded, smiled, and then stepped up to the mic, ready to start off their first concert together.

Chapter Text

The concert went great.

It took a little while, but by the second or third song they played the entire audience had turned their attention to them. The crowd got super into it, which was both exhilarating and more than a little nerve-wracking since they were only supposed to be the opening act.

The more people screamed and cheered, the more their nerves began to evaporate up on that stage. Every time Trini looked back at one of the others, they would always be grinning their heads off. And it got easier. They’d played these songs a million times before—everything was just muscle memory at this point.

Kim caught Trini’s eye halfway through the set and blew her a kiss.

If Trini had been paying more attention, she might have noticed that the crowd had gotten just a little bit louder after that.

Even after they finished their entire set people were shouting for more. It was almost overwhelming, especially when they looked over and saw Blake standing there in the side wings looking sheepish, one hand shoved into his pocket, the other gripping his microphone tightly.

And even though they technically did have an encore song, it would be kind of insensitive to play it. This was Blake’s concert, after all, not theirs.

So Kim stepped up to the mic, a little out of breath, and addressed the crowd. “Thanks for coming out tonight. We’re Endorphin Rush, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to Blake Bradley and his crew for letting us open for him on his tour!”

The crowd cheered. Blake grinned at them as they began to pack up their gear to get it off the stage.

“You guys were awesome,” he told them when they moved into the side wings. “Really. I feel kinda nervous going out there now, I think you’ve put me to shame.”

“No way, dude,” said Zack, reaching out to slap Blake on the back. “We heard you sing during practice. They’re here for you and your talent!”

“Thanks, man,” said Blake. He hopped a little from side to side in anticipation, waiting as a few crew members pushed aside a few speakers and cords on the stage. “You guys staying till the whole thing’s over?”

“Of course,” said Jason. “But first I’m raiding the snack table. I’m about to die of thirst.”

“Understandable.”

As soon as they were safely backstage again, Kim reached out and tackled Trini in a hug from behind.

“Kim,” Trini protested, sinking into the hug nevertheless. “Get off me. You’re all sweaty and disgusting.”

“So are you,” Kim pointed out, pulling Trini in tighter. “Do you see me complaining?”

“Gross,” said Trini.

“Yeah, what the crazy girl said,” said Zack, showing up in front of them with several packs of fruit snacks in his hands. “You guys are gross.”

“Can I have one?” asked Trini.

Zack rolled his eyes but still tossed her a pack. Trini caught it, ripped it open, and fed one to Kim before taking one for herself.

“Come on, guys,” said Billy, breezing past the three of them with Jason by his side. “I wanna see Blake perform!”

All in all, it was a very successful night.

 


 

The next day there were videos and photos of the concert posted all over the Internet.

Some of it was focused on Blake.

But most of it featured the band instead.

Everyone was talking about them and how awesome they were and how good their songs were. There were comments on Twitter like

 

Andy @wegoawayand
came for blake, stayed for endorphin rush. Lol

 

or

 

saira just can’t @ladyofthesun
yo who are these endorphin rush kids. where did they come from. why are they both hot and talented.

 

or even

 

disappointitty @herpigisanicon
HEY HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT BEFORE ENDORPHIN RUSH GETS THEIR OWN TOUR

 

And that wasn’t the only thing that fans were focusing on, either. There were quite a few people who went on grainy YouTube clips or Instagram videos and commented on another topic of interest.

 

ImInSoup
I can’t be the only one who thinks Trini and Kimberly look like they could be…more than just friends, right?

 


 

[The video starts after a cheesy new logo pops up on screen for a few seconds. Upbeat music is playing in the background and Zack is grinning at the camera.]

ZACK: Hello inhabitants of the internet! My name is Zack Taylor, resident guitarist of Endorphin Rush, back here on this hell website doing another vlog, apparently! But before we get into the topic of today’s video, I just wanna thank everyone who came out to support both us and Blake Bradley at his concert in San Diego yesterday! It was an amazing experience to get to play for so many people, honestly, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

JASON: You nearly shit your pants like, three hundred times beforehand.

[Zack plants his hand on Jason’s face, still grinning at the camera.]

ZACK: I thought I told you to get out of my room.

JASON: [laughing] Sorry. I left my shirt in here.

ZACK: What the fuck is your shirt doing in my room? Do you realize how bad this makes us sound?!

[Jason just sticks his tongue out and leaves the room. Zack sighs, turning back to the camera.]

ZACK: Sorry about that. And, for the record, I did not have sex with Jason Scott. I hate him with a burning passion.

[There’s a split second pause.]

ZACK: ANYWAYS, moving on! So, we’ve got the morning and afternoon to ourselves before our manager’s shipping us off to LA tonight for the next concert on Blake’s tour. But until then, I’ve decided that I’m gonna see how many pranks I can fit into one video! [He holds up a can of whipped cream, looking extremely proud of himself.] You guys ready? Let’s head on out then!

 

[Cue a fast-paced montage of Zack wandering through the hotel’s hallways, assembling supplies for his pranks and chilling in his room, waiting for the others to settle in.]

 

[Then the clip slows down to reveal him in front of Jason’s room, twirling a small can in his hands.]

ZACK: So I know for a fact that Jason’s a morning shower person. He went down to get breakfast earlier, so I’ve only got a couple minutes before he comes back.

[He grins, showing the label of the can to the camera. It’s green hair dye.]

ZACK: He’s gonna look beautiful.

[Zack breaks into Jason’s room and sneaks into his bathroom. He finds Jason’s travel bottle of shampoo and cracks the top open.]

ZACK: [sniffing the bottle] Ugh. Of course he’d have something that smells like manliness. Well, I guess I can’t put too much dye in this, or he’ll notice the color change.

[When Zack is done putting dye into Jason’s shampoo, he gives the camera a thumbs up, smiling like an idiot.]

ZACK: Alright. Now we just gotta sit and wait!

 

[The camera cuts to another clip. Zack’s sitting outside Jason’s room now, his face lit up in anticipation. Then—]

JASON: WHAT THE FUCK???

[Zack bursts out laughing uncontrollably. Seconds later, the door slams open, revealing Jason in nothing but a towel, looking both mortified and furious, his damp, messy hair a nice light green color.]

JASON: ZACK, WHAT THE FUCK!

ZACK: Hey, you look great!

JASON: Zack!!

[Jason starts running towards Zack. Terrified, Zack gets up and sprints down the hallway, shouting along the way.]

ZACK: It washes out in 24 hours, I swear!

[The clip blacks out.]

 

[In the next shot, Zack has a streak of green across one cheek and his once-white shirt now has greenish handprints all over it. It looks like he got beat up.]

ZACK: That was totally worth it.

[He winces in pain. Then he looks at the camera and waves the audience off.]

ZACK: Don’t worry about me, guys, Jason and I get into fights all the time. It’s all just a friendly throwing-each-other-around sort of deal. I’m good. We’re good.

ZACK: …

ZACK: We need to move on to the next prank. I suck at this.

 

[Now he’s standing in front of another doorway. He’s playing with a key card in his free hand.]

ZACK: I don’t actually know for sure what I want to do yet, so I’m just here to scope the territory. Kim’s probably dragged Trini off to go explore the hotel so I’m pretty sure their room should be empty.

ZACK: Only one way to find out. [He waggles the key in his hand, a huge smile forming on his face.] Let’s do this.

[He inserts the key into the lock and opens the door. When he rounds the corner and turns the camera to face the room—]

ZACK: OH N—

[He has to clap his hand over his mouth to shut up. But it’s too late. Trini’s there in the room, leaning up against the bed and Kim is curled into her, fast asleep in her lap. Trini had been combing her fingers through Kim’s hair, but when she notices Zack, she immediately retracts her hand, glaring daggers at him.]

TRINI: [mouthing] You little bitch.

ZACK: I’m toast, boys. I’m dead meat. See you on the other side.

[As he turns the camera back towards himself, there’s just enough time to see Trini contemplate Kim for a moment, then lean down to press a kiss to her forehead. Then Zack’s sprinting out of the room, the footsteps sounding in the background making it obvious that Trini is following.]

ZACK: I FUCKED UP! I FUCKED UP!!!

TRINI: YEAH YOU FUCKING DID, HOMEBOY!

 

[The clip cuts right there. Zack’s alone again. It looks like he’s back in his room, sporting a suspicious-looking tear right in the middle of his shirt.]

ZACK: So uh, lesson learned, how many pranks can I fit in a vlog?

ZACK: One.

ZACK: I was going to prank Billy but then I realized how heartless I’d have to be to do that. So I just put a box of cookies on his desk.

[He grimaces a little, then looks up at the camera, the upbeat expression back on his face.]

ZACK: Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed this video at least a little! I sure did. I also suffered a lot for this so you better give me at least one like. Please? And one more thing before I go—to all you peeps living out in LA—come to Blake’s next concert on January 2nd! We’re gonna be there and it’s gonna be a blast!

ZACK: I gotta go and get cleaned up now, so! Peace out!

[Then the video ends.]

 


 

Top Comments

 

GayHacker+202
do I smell…a NEW SHIP?????

 

Choked to Death+149
IM WH EE ZING THEY SHARED A ROOM???  ? ? AND THEY WERE CUDDLING AND O H MY G OD !!

 

 

EndorphinRush+110
really guys. u could at least pretend to focus on something else besides the gay

 


 

In what seemed like no time at all, they were checked out of the hotel and boarding the bus again. It was evening now, and they’d grabbed some fast food to eat while on the two-hour drive to Los Angeles.

Jason had spent almost a full hour in the shower after Zack had finished filming his vlog, trying to wash the hair dye out of his hair. He’d gotten most of it out, but there was still an obvious green tint to it, and he sat with Billy two rows in front of where Zack was sitting.

“They’re so dramatic,” said Kim, leaning over to steal a French fry from Trini. “Fighting and then ignoring each other like elementary school kids.”

“I mean, I beat him up too,” said Trini.

“You did?”

“Yeah,” said Trini. She grinned. “He sneaked into our room while you were asleep in my lap. Stole your key card right under your nose and then tried to use it to prank us.”

“Damn.” Kim whistled. “I should’ve stayed awake for that.”

Trini just rolled her eyes and took a sip of Kim’s drink. “I didn’t do much. Only accidentally tore a hole in his shirt.”

Accidentally?”

“Ranger power’s hard to keep under control when angry.”

“You’re so cute,” said Kim affectionately.

“I—wait, what?” said Trini.

Kim grinned at her. “You heard what I said. Protecting my honor and all of that.”

“Who said I was protecting your honor?” Trini said with a huff, turning to stare out the window so she didn’t have to look anywhere near Kim.

Back in the last row of the bus, Zack plugged his phone into a speaker and started blasting music at the loudest possible volume, which was enough to distract everyone for the next few minutes.

 


 

Trini @triniER
this is revenge for that goddamn vlog he posted earlier.

[zack_snoring_on_bus.jpg]

 

Zack T. @zacktayloriscool
@triniER ASJFLAKFJIAIDJASLKDJ NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

 


 

The hotel in Los Angeles wasn’t as nice as the one they stayed in at San Diego, but it was still pretty cozy and high quality. And they got their own individual rooms, all next door to each other on a single floor.

Adam told them to leave their band stuff on the bus while they got checked in and then headed up to the third floor. It was only a little bit past nine o’clock, but the thrill and craziness of the past few days had left most of them exhausted.

Trini had barely had time to drop her stuff off in her room before someone was knocking at the door. She opened it up, vaguely expecting and hoping that it was Kim, but instead Zack immediately pulled her into a headlock, ruffling her hair with his free hand. “Hey, homie!” he said with a giant smile on his face. Trini had long since accepted the fact that he’d keep doing this to her no matter what. “Want to go exploring with me and see if we can find a vending machine somewhere around here?”

“Uh, sure,” said Trini. “Do you have spare change?”

Zack stuck his hand into his pants pocket and jingled the coins inside. “Yep. I’ll even let you borrow some, with ten percent interest, of course.”

“You ass.” Trini made sure she had her room key with her, and then stepped out into the hallway, closing the door behind her. “Let’s go.”

So they left Kimberly, Jason, and Billy to get settled into their rooms and wandered the floors until they found a small room at the end of the fifth floor’s hallway with a vending machine in it. Zack whooped in glee and began inserting quarters into the machine, while Trini stepped back, deciding on what she wanted.

When Zack was done, he dropped a bunch of coins into Trini’s palm, waiting for her at the entrance to the little room with the soda in his hand.

“Um, hey,” he said out of nowhere.

“Yeah?” said Trini.

“I just wanted to check with you on something,” said Zack. “You saw that vlog I posted on the YouTube channel, right?”

Trini rolled her eyes and hit the button for a bottle of water. “Yeah. I sure did.”

Zack shuffled his feet a little, staring down at the carpet sheepishly. “Do you want me to take it down? I know I didn’t really ask before I posted it, but you’ve seen what most of the comments are like. If they make you uncomfortable, please tell me. I don’t want to keep doing it if you don’t want me to.”

The vending machine let out a loud clunk as Trini’s selection hit the bottom. She bent down to pick it up before sighing and turning to face Zack. “It’s fine, honestly,” she told him.

“Really?” said Zack, surprised. “Even with all the people who are screaming for you and Kimberly to get together?”

Trini tried not to let Zack see the way her face set itself on fire at that. “Yeah. I—I can handle it. I think.”

“Okay, then.” Zack didn’t seem too convinced, but he let the subject drop. He took a long swig from his soda and then grinned, tilting his head back towards the hallway. “Well, we should start heading back now.”

 


 

Trini couldn’t sleep that night.

Earlier they’d all gathered in Billy’s room to watch a movie together, the five of them somehow fitting onto the tiny bed at once. After that was over they dispersed to their separate rooms to go to sleep.

Except Trini was now lying wide awake at eleven-thirty at night, tossing and turning until she wanted to punch something in frustration.

If she strained her ears hard enough she could hear Zack snoring from the room next door. It didn’t do anything to help her growing unease. Something felt off—it kind of just felt like something was missing and she didn’t know what it was.

After ten more minutes she finally gave up and rolled out of bed so she could leave the room.

Her feet took her right to Kim’s door.

Trini knocked and knocked until Kim finally opened it up, rubbing at her eyes, clearly having just been woken up. She looked surprised to see Trini standing in the doorway. “Trini? What are you doing here?”

“Couldn’t sleep,” Trini muttered. “Can I come in?”

“Yeah, sure.” Kim yawned and then stepped aside so that Trini could enter. She headed towards her bed and flopped face-first down onto it. Trini watched her, feeling apprehensive all of a sudden.

“Uh—”

“Get over here,” said Kim without even opening her eyes. She scooted over and patted the empty space in front of her, a lazy smile playing on her face.

So Trini ignored the way Kim’s smile made her feel and settled onto the bed, pulling the already-warm covers over her. “Thanks.”

“Mm,” said Kim. She poked open one eye to look at Trini and grinned. “You brought your tiger with you.”

“Yeah,” said Trini, hugging the yellow stuffed animal.

“That’s cute. You’re so cute,” said Kim, taking the tiger from Trini’s arms. She turned the stuffed animal over so that it was facing Trini and then booped her on the nose with it, her expression teasing and filled with adoration.

Trini pouted and closed her eyes. “Stop it.”

She heard Kim laugh softly and pull closer to her, wrapping one arm around her waist. Eventually Trini did manage to fall asleep like that, with Kim hugging her and the stuffed pink-striped tiger cuddled in between them.