See Virus Hunters: Part I for Disclaimer]
**This story takes place near the very beginning of Saban's timeline–the Rangers have just received their powers and Billy is still incredibly nerdy. Yes, nerdy, but endearing. ; )**
The Fan is Mightier than the Sword
By Akiko and Aya
By Akiko and Aya
Trini Kwan rushes into the Youth Center carrying a heavy load of books. She looks down at her watch.
"I'm late! Hope Billy didn't decide to go home." She scans the floor for Billy but doesn't see him anywhere. Trini ducks down one of the back halls–one of their favorite hiding spots when Zordon needed them quickly. At the end of the hallway she sees a large, wheeled garbage can. Out of its top Trini sees two blue, high top sneakers.
"Billy?" Trini says, coming closer.
The high tops wiggle around until the trash can falls over. Out tumbles a stained, disheveled Billy.
"Billy! What happened?" Trini squats down beside Billy as he adjusts his crooked glasses.
"Oh, I just dropped something in the garbage," Billy explains quickly while getting off the floor. "My homework, yeah. I dropped it in the garbage by accident and when I went to retrieve it…." Billy shrugs and then grabs the first piece of paper off the floor he can find. "Yep, here it is."
Billy crams the piece of paper into the pocket of his overalls without looking at it. He turns the garbage can back up and begins to refill it.
"It was them, wasn't it?" Trini says softly with concern.
"Oh no. Just me being my usual clumsy self," Billy answers never looking Trini in the eye.
"C'mon, Billy. You can lie to the others about all your recent 'accidents', but I'm not buying it," Trini says. She stops Billy's tidying and turns him to face her. "Jet and his gang stuffed you into the garbage can, didn't they."
Billy's cheeks redden. "It's no big deal, Trini. I'm used to it. Kids have been picking on me since I was a little kid. It doesn't bother me," Billy lies.
"Well, it bothers me. I'm going to talk to Ernie about them. He's been nice enough to let the Stone Canyon karate team practice here while their gym is being renovated, but we shouldn't have to put up with their bullying," Trini seethes.
"No, don't. Like I said, I'm used to it. No big deal." Billy throws the last piece of trash away and then adds, "Besides, Jason is giving me a private lesson today at 5. He's teaching me how to defend myself when I'm in Nerd Mode."
Trini sighs, defeated. "Too bad the Blue Ranger's skills seem to disappear when you aren't morphed. I guess it's a good thing for Jet though. Other wise you'd kick his butt to Kingdom Come."
Billy gives Trini a small smile.
Billy thinks, "I really wish I wasn't so inept in Nerd Mode. Where does the Blue Ranger's fighting knowledge go when I'm not morphed? Surely it is here inside me somewhere trying to get out."
"C'mon," Trini throws a supportive arm around Billy's shoulders. "We'd better get to studying."
"Did you use Ohm's Law for problem number 16?" Trini says, brushing her silky black hair over her shoulder. She looks across their small table to look at Billy's scribblings.
"No, it wouldn't work for this type of problem," Billy mumbles through a mouthful of chocolate sundae the pair are sharing.
Trini giggles and leans across the table. She wipes a smudge of whipped cream off of Billy's nose. Billy reddens again at his lack of social grace.
He swallows and says, "I used…this…formula…."
Billy's voice trails off as Jet and his gang appear behind Trini.
"You're sitting at our table, Geek Boy," Jet snarls, cracking his knuckles.
"Funny, I don't see your name on it anywhere." Trini pretends to look under her books for Jet's name.
"Your girlfriend is a real comedian," Angel, a member of Jet's entourage, says running a hand through her spiky, bleached-blond hair.
Billy and Trini answer in unison:
"She's not my girlfriend."
"I'm not his girlfriend."
"Gee, it looks like study time is up," Jet says and in a sweeping gesture, knocks all of their books onto the floor.
Trini's brown eyes flash with anger. Billy squats down into the floor to quickly retrieve their belongings.
"Let's go, Trini," Billy says. "It's almost 5 o'clock anyway. Jason will be here soon for my lesson."
Trini slowly stands up and says firmly but very politely, "If you wanted our table, all you had to say was 'Please.'"
"Oh, _please_," Angel says insincerely.
Trini and Billy leave the table. Angel sticks out her foot as Billy passes, causing him to slam into Trini. Trini straightens herself and Billy, and the pair leave, both burning inside.
"Are you sure you don't want me to speak to Ernie about them?" Trini asks when they are in the hallway.
"Yes," Billy says before retreating into the Boy's Locker room.
Trini sighs in frustration and heads home.
"You're not concentrating, Billy," Jason says the next day at Billy's now daily lessons. "Try it again."
Trini stands patiently on the side of the mat. She twists the edge of her gi nervously. She winces when she sees Billy collide with Jason's kick and crumple to the floor.
"You're leaving yourself wide open, man," Jason says.
Billy slams his fist into the mat in frustration and then pulls himself off the mat. He straightens his gi and lunges at Jason again. Again, collision then crash.
"Look everybody, Geek Boy is trying to learn karate," Jet says to his gang who have suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
"Ignore them," Jason counsels. "They're just jealous because they lack your natural talent."
Billy doesn't believe Jason's flattery but does his best to ignore Jet's taunts.
"Why can't I find the Blue Ranger's knowledge?" Billy thinks desperately.
"Okay, dorks, time to call it quits for the day." Angel tightens her brown obi. "We've got some real work to do."
"Excuse me," Trini says. "We were here first. We'll be done in another half an hour. Then it is all yours."
Angel snorts and then pushes Trini out of her way.
"Don't start with me today, Jet," Jason says. "This is our training time."
"Training? Him?" Jet jabs Billy in the chest with his finger. "Don't make me laugh. Geek Boy wouldn't last one minute in the ring with me."
"Maybe not now, but some day," Trini says defiantly, her fists clenching.
"Oooh, looks like your girlfriend is getting a little angry. Whatcha gonna do? Cry?" Jet gets up in Trini's face.
"Leave her alone, Jet," Billy says angrily.
"Don't provoke her, Jet," Jason adds. "You don't know what you are getting into."
"Oh, don't hurt me little China girl," Jet feigns fear, sticking his arms up protectively around his head.
"Okay, tough guy, I challenge you to a fight," Trini growls.
Jet and his gang laugh heartily.
"If you win, we'll vacate. You can have the Youth Center until after the tournament next week. If I win, you all leave," Trini continues and then adds, "AND, you stop bullying Billy."
Jet and his gang laugh harder.
This time Trini gets up in Jet's face. "What's wrong? You chicken?"
Jet's laughter ceases. "I don't believe in fighting girls."
"Make an exception," Trini challenges.
"I'd leave now while your head is still firmly attached to your shoulders," Jason goads Jet.
"You're next, Jason," Jet growls and then roughly shoves Billy. "Then Geek Boy."
"I hear that you think you're good at weapons," Trini taunts.
"Nobody's ever beaten Jet with a sword," Angel acts as Jet's personal cheerleader.
"Swords it is then," Jet says.
"No. You use your best weapon, and I'll use mine," Trini says, grabbing her backpack.
"Uh, Trini. Not that." Billy fears that Trini will whip her morpher out and spill her secret.
To everyone's surprise, Trini pulls out a flimsy-looking, wooden fan.
"What are you going to do with that?! _Wave_ me to death?" Jet and his gang laugh.
"Let's go, Jet." Trini adjusts her gi, tucking the folded fan into her Kung Fu sash.
"This shouldn't take too long," Angel says as Jet and Trini size each other up.
It seems to be a very unfair fight. On one side stands a 6-foot, beefed up giant and the other, a willowy, petite girl.
"Order me a smoothy, Angel. This fight will be finished by the time Ernie has got it ready," Jet says conceitedly. "Remember: you're turn's coming, Geek Boy."
"Can we get started?" Trini stands with her hands on her hips. "I have a Calc test to study for."
Jet enters the fighting space and pulls out a wooden sword. He swings it around dramatically in figure eights while laughing menacingly. Jet continues his bravado dance for almost a minute. A small crowd gathers around to watch. Jet's supporters hoot appreciatively.
Trini steps into the fighting area with a yawn. The crowd laughs when Trini unfolds her weapon, a simple wooden fan. She fans herself like a Southern belle while Jet finishes showing off. Jet's theatrics don't impress Trini, much less intimidate her. If only Billy felt the same way.
"I know that Trini is an accomplished martial artist. I've seen her dispose of scores of Putties, but this guy is a GARGANTUAN. And all she chose for protection was a flimsy fan?!?" Billy bites his lip in concern.
Jet finally decides to stop showing off and get down to business. Trini closes her fan and assumes a defensive fighting stance. With a powerful thrust, Jet lunges at Trini. Lightning-fast, Trini slides to her right, the sword missing her by inches. Jet's momentum causes him to stumble past her. Trini calmly turns to face Jet as he tries to recover. Mad, he sharply turns so that he is within a foot of her. With a quick snap of her wrist, Trini unfurls her wooden fan and cracks Jet soundly across the bridge of his nose.
"OW!" Jet grabs his throbbing nose. "I think you broke my nose!"
Jet dabs at the trickle of blood dripping from his nostrils and tries to nonchalantly wipe the moisture brimming from his stinging eyes. With a bellow, Jet then lunges at Trini for a second time. Again, she gracefully steps to the side and lets his lack of control cause him to stumble. But this time, as Jet takes a second to collect himself, Trini takes the offensive. Her spinning side kick takes advantage of his momentary loss of balance and nails him in the solar plexus. He crumples over upon impact. In another dizzying spin, this time low to the ground, Trini takes Jet's feet out from under him.
"OOF!" Jet says as he hits the mat, the wind completely knocked out of him.
Trini quickly folds her fan and lunges toward him. She jabs the end of the closed fan right up underneath his bleeding nose.
"Hey, Ernie!" Jason shouts over his shoulder as the onlookers begin to applaud. "Are those smoothies about ready yet? Jet's buying."
Jet wheeze-growls a complaint and then makes a vain attempt to grab at the fan.
"Uh uh uhhh," Trini warns, shaking her finger at him and using the fan to push Jet's head back via his nose.
"That would be an unwise move, Jet," Billy says as he comes over to Trini's side. "One focused blow to the septum can cause irreparable damage to the cranium."
"What?" Angel looks confused.
"One blow to the nose at this angle and you'll be a vegetable…if you're lucky enough to survive." Trini clarifies. "So, Jet, from the terms of our deal I do believe you and your friends will now be exiting the Youth Center, not to return. And…"
Trini smiles at Billy. "And…you won't be 'sparring' with Billy again unless you happen to meet him in a tournament. And if you do, you better beware. We 'geeks' can really pack a punch. And this guy in particular has the makings of a Power Ranger."
Trini releases her death lock from under Jet's nose and walks quietly away. Jet slams his fists down on the mat in frustration. Angel's dabbing at his nose with a tissue just irritates him more.
Billy momentarily wrestles with his shyness in the few steps it takes for him to catch up with Trini. With a deep breath, he somewhat awkwardly throws his arm around Trini's shoulders in a celebratory hug. Jason jogs over to meet them, and the two guys lift a giggling, shrieking Trini to their shoulders.
"One smoothie, to go!" Ernie laughs holding up a glass.