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Second Chances

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Jason pulls and pulls and pulls on the rope, Zack right beside him doing the same. There's a desperate edge to Jason's grip that Zack doesn't share; that none of them do. They're scared, all of them; afraid of what just happened, of going up against Rita and losing, of what she's done to Billy. But he can hear the hope in their voices, too, that they'll get him back up in time. That Billy will be okay.

They won't. He won't. Jason keeps pulling, helps Zack and the others pull Billy onto the deck, but he already knows it's too late.

He can feel it.

Of all the ways to realize he's found his soulmate, feeling Billy's death like a crack in his chest is the last thing he expected. Like there's a gaping hole left behind that Jason hadn't even known had been there—and he hadn't. They're too young for their names to appear; Jason still has another year before he'll be eighteen.

God, he doesn't even know when Billy's birthday is.


Kimberly shoves Jason back and out of the way. He allows himself to be moved. Stands back and watches as she touches Billy's chest and head, his face. Trini says something, but Jason can't make out the words. He's focused on Kimberly and on Billy, hoping—wishing, praying—that the ache in his chest is wrong. That it's in his head; that Billy is going to spring up like characters do in movies all the time, coughing up water but ultimately alive.

Then she says the words that Jason already knows are true, "He's dead," and Jason stands and stares—even as Zack hits his arm and Kimberly yells at them to pick Billy up—and knows that this is his fault.

Getting Billy—Billy's body—back to the cave is the hardest thing Jason has ever done. He loses the battle not to cry when they pass Billy to him to hold; when he insists that they do. All of them drop down together, but Jason has to be the one to hold him. He hasn't said anything—can't, not when it's so fresh, not when he can hardly think past the gaping invisible wound in his chest—but he doesn't have to.

At least the water they have to swim through helps to hide the evidence.

None of it can hide the desperation in his voice when he tells Zordon to do something, to help somehow. He doesn't expect it to work; not any more than he had actually believed Billy would pop back up, coughing up water on the docks. They may be superheroes—a poor excuse for them, clearly—and Zordon may have technology advanced enough to have uploaded his own consciousness into the ship itself, but that doesn't mean he can fix death.

Beyond that, there's no reason why Zordon would. It's been clear since day one that he doesn't believe in them; in their ability to take on the mantle of his old team. His old family. Jason can't even blame him. The only one of them who's been able to form a suit of his own was Billy and now that he's gone...

But then they finally come together as a team in their wish to trade themselves for Billy; in their hope to do better for him. Everything around them is in chaos and Jason knows, even before Alpha 5, before any of them, what Zordon's done. One second, Jason's chest is empty. The next, the hole that's been there since Rita released them from their binds is filled back in with warmth as though it had never left.

Zordon's only chance to have a body and he's given it up.

Billy jerks, emptying the water from his lungs and somehow Jason is the one who can't breathe.

That feeling subsides when he pulls Billy into a nearly bone crushing hug. Jason barely has time to feel bad about how much Billy dislikes physical contact because he's being held just as tightly in return. He wonders if Billy knows somehow, if he felt even for a moment what Jason had before he came back.

Jason leans back, puts his hands on Billy's shoulders and really looks at him. At his soulmate; his somehow living, breathing soulmate.

"Welcome back, my friend," he says, and it isn't enough. Not nearly; it's nothing compared to how he feels right now. But they don't have enough time for Jason to break down. They've used what little time they have all welcoming Billy back. Now they need to finally, finally become what those coins have made them; to become Power Rangers.

If, somehow, they live through the coming fight with Rita… If they do, Jason will tell Billy what he felt; what he still feels. Maybe he'll be lucky and Billy will feel it, too, even though it's too soon. And if he doesn't, Jason won't mind waiting.

He's got a second chance with his soulmate and if they make it through this, he isn't going to waste it.