It was the annual movie night at the Ninja HQ, and as usual the group that had become like a family had gone all out. Half-empty snack bowls littered the floor, the third movie of the night droning on in front of the group. Shane and Tori were chatting about some sport competition that was coming up in the next few weeks, the two settled back on a blanket fort that Dustin insisted on making every time. Dustin, Hunter and Blake were all watching the movie with rapt attention, the three lying on their stomach’s as they commented on the movie from time to time, grins on their faces.
Lying curled up on the couch in the back of the group was Cam, having fallen asleep during the second movie, and no one had noticed until Cam began to whimper softly in his sleep.
“Run Cameron, find your father!” One of the many masters commanded the technically inclined 24-year old, dispatching one of the strange beings that had just appeared out of thin air. “Get out of here!” Cam gave the elder one last look before running into the fray, dodging enemies left and right as he scanned the crowds for his father, heart racing when he saw him fighting some man dressed in black.
“Father!” He cried, running until a well-aimed kicked sent Cam crashing into a nearby wall, debris trapping Cam as a portal suddenly appeared over the school. He was helpless as students and teachers alike were lifted into the air, kicking and screaming as they were sucked up into the black portal, their cut-off screams sending Cam further into a state of panic as he tried to be freed from the stone keeping Cam tethered to the earth. The building he had known since childhood began to crumble, concrete and stone lifted alongside terrified tumbling bodies, until with a loud bang there was utter silence. Cam grunted in pain when pieces of the building rained down upon his trapped form, blood trickling down his face as he was hit by some stone that caused a cut alongside his left temple.
He was going to die alone, trapped in the dust and remains of his temple.
“Guys, what’s wrong with Cam?” Tori’s concern cut through the movie’s audio, the blue ranger’s eyes trained on her team member asleep on the couch. He was shaking, face screwed up in what looked like pain as he seemed to be struggling against something even though nothing was lying atop him. Shane quickly got to his feet as the others sat up, Cam now beginning to flail around with a terrified expression on his face.
“Hey Cam, can ya hear me?” Shane said gently, trying to shake his teammate awake. “You’re okay…” The shaking only seemed to agitate Cam further, the male lashing out as punching Shane so hard he fell back in surprise more than anything.
“I can’t help you!” Cam choked out, some tears now escaping him as Blake took Cam’s right hand into his, more to make sure he wasn’t punched.
“Cam please wake up.” Tori took his other hand into hers, squeezing it gently as more tears made their way down Cam’s face. It was so unusual to see the usually stoic and snarky technical ranger crying, let alone showing emotions like fear.
“Cam wake up!” Their combined shout seemed to work, brown eyes snapping open as Cam jerked his hands from Shane and Tori’s grip, the ranger hitting the arm of the couch when he tried to scramble away from the group surrounding him.
“W-What? What are you all doing?” Cam was confused as to why his teammates were surrounding him, their faces all mirroring concern as they watched him. “Why are you staring at me?”
“Cam, you were having a pretty bad nightmare dude.” Dustin spoke up, Cam frowning at the teen, about to say something when he felt something wet on his face. “It took us some tries to wake you up.”
“You really had us worried there.” Hunter piped up, Cam frowning when he realized there were tears on his face, unaccustomed to such a thing.
“I am fine, dreams are merely that, dreams.” Cam felt bad for snapping at his teammates, but the thought of having them see him cry, it was humiliating.
“Hey, we’re not judging you or anything. We all have nightmares, it’s a human reaction to something unpleasant we experience during the daytime.” Shane spoke up, Cam looking away as he suddenly felt like a child being chided for doing something naughty. “Remember you need to talk to us, don’t keep it all bottled up.”
“We’re all here for you dude, just remember that.” Blake smiled, arm around his brother as Cam hugged his legs close, wishing for the earth to swallow him whole.
“You…when Lothor attacked, I was told to run. I tried to find my father, but I was trapped when I was attacked. I could do nothing to save my teachers nor the other students, and I thought I was going to die in the dirt, alone when the portal vanished.” Cam decided to rush out what he had seen, remembered, in his dream, but his shaky voice made it easy for the others to hear exactly what he had said. “For the first time in my life, I was afraid…”
“Oh Cam…if only we had been there sooner.” Tori gushed, placing a hand on Cam’s shoulder with a comforting smile. “Maybe we could have helped…”
“No, you would have been taken like the others…” He muttered, still not looking up as she squeezed his shoulder.
“But we weren’t, and we helped you get freed.” Dustin smiled, his voice soothing instead of being full of excitement like it normally was. “We would never leave a teammate, someone who’s family, behind.”
“Even though I was less than amicable for the first several months we worked together?” He questioned, finally looking up to see his teammates all nodding.
“I mean, you were kind of in the right, we weren’t exactly the best students.” Shane chuckled, sitting beside Cam with a shrug. “And you gave us a power you wanted as well.”
“But we all know it’s tough for you right now, and even though we haven’t stopped Lothor yet, we’re stronger than ever because we’re all fighting now.” Hunter grinned, Cam feeling his lip twitch up in a faint smile as Tori gave him a quick hug.
“We’ve got your back Cam, have since this all started, don’t you forget that.” Dustin grinned, giving the male a soft punch as Cam chuckled softly, suddenly feeling much better.
“Thank you…all of you. I just, I find myself unsure of what to do…but thank you.” He wasn’t sure what else to say, but the reassuring smiles he got from everyone as they settled around the couch to continue their movie night was all he needed, the exhausted ranger eventually falling back asleep against Shane. His fellow rangers and friends said nothing, all of them following his lead one by one as the late hours dragged on, soon everyone sleeping against each other with soft smiles on their faces. Cam looked the most relaxed however, his father proud to see his son had connected with his team, and seemed to be finally happy for once.