Dedicated to Chanelle Summer- Thanks for the ever going support, kicks and smacks to the head, and beta reading, lily. :)

Maladaptive Behavior


Eclipsing Flames

I strike at the air, feeling the very wind of the blow engulf my fists with each shadowed connection to a release. All I can think of is the force I possess in this moment. The ability to charge forward and strike, connect and release. Over and Over again. I'm so consumed it feels like I'm in a whole other place at once, swallowed completely by an alternate reality where I control the outcome. Where everything around me is an utter flux of the impact that's given off from me. From this moment.

Breathe and move.

Hit and connect.

I can't feel air escaping my lungs, or myself moving back and forth, in what I can only imagine from the outside must look, like some crazed stampede. Something so completely removed from the element of this environment.

I come to a wall, tempted to indent my fist against its painted surface as the light of the television captures my frame with its illumination. I forgot I had even turned it on. Whatever plays across its screen right now is merely an attempt of unnecessary distraction that I knew from the beginning wouldn't be able to commit me to its purpose.

All before my eyes, my living room had disappeared. I saw only my enemy and his blood tearing down from my pronounced knuckles beneath tightened skin.

Suddenly, this isn't enough, and I fall forward to the ground below, catching the shaggy carpet within my palms. I push myself up, spreading the burn through my arms as the muscles contract and burn. I fall back down and shove the floor away from me again and again. A string of numbers blow through my lips before they're strangled by intangible links of sentences and breaths tumbling off my tongue.

What had I fucking done?

The flame catches from my arms and trails to shoulder before engulfing back. It's my addiction and every opportunity I get to be alone, the thirst for this has me famished. Maybe it's because of my lack of the opposite sex or a long entanglement of cause from my past experiences. I forget. But like every other day, it doesn't matter.

I'm no longer here.

I am a complete inferno at this point. Every inch of me is inflamed though my body has long been drenched in sweat. My eyes begin to blur. I imagine them a blazed with fire, instead of filling with tears that swim over my vision before splattering to the floor. If I had the weakness within me to laugh, I probably would have; but the bravado to cry is overbearing. Maybe this is the real reason I chose to live in isolation. The reason I chose to not let anyone in.

Maybe from the beginning it wasn't the path I took to save the world. To be a damn power ranger.

Maybe this was the curse each of us lived with in trade of the honor we bared in our days of glory.

I don't know anymore.

I can't possess a single sense of sanity within my thoughts much less my actions.

All I have is this overbearing urge of my imagination because it's all I can control. It's all I have when reality is lost to me and hopelessness stalks my door step.

I know.

You wouldn't expect this of me. Me. Tommy Oliver. The supposedly famed leader of Earth's elite forces. But if that's all you see me as, then you really don't understand me at all. You don't understand that I am just as human as you and the cracks sometimes spread even beneath all the plaster of cement and disguises.

Every decision I make and the result of my actions affect me. Why? Because these people are my friends. These people look to me. My team whom just happen to be a group of everyday teenagers whom never asked for any of this. Their lives, and so many others, I do not know could and have suffered from decisions I have made. Others toss pebbles into still lakes and I heave stones into vast seas.

So here I am.

Who I really am that I never let anyone see.

A man that's desperately trying to regain control. Trying to breathe and reach for clarity through the hectic mess within my skull. I should be asleep. Or making better use of this time towards the next day ahead. I fucked up being a part of the experiments that created such havoc on Reefside today and I'm trying to own up to my mistakes every day, since things got so out of hand.

But instead, I'm completely devoured by this...this...part of me. The part of my imagination where every step and choice I make perfectly unravels all the insanity of each situation to bring us out of this mess. The part of me that knows the right thing to do. Or the right thing to say to everyone that awaits me.

Sometimes I don't even know if I am capable of matching up to the standards I've set or that are expected of me because everyone thinks I'm so great at this. Really, I'm frantic in my mind and terrified I could cost everything for everyone.

Maybe I am my own problem. Not monsters or enraged aliens.

Just me.

It's a blur between the time I was staring down to the floor to when I find myself laid out on the carpet, staring up at the ceiling. The flickering glows of light play with my thoughts coming to, but I can't seem to fully take it in or feel the need to respond from it.

So why do I continue to be a ranger? The stray thought entered my mind, but I'm not sure if it were against my will.

There's always the given reasons. For mankind, justice or goodwill. For honor.

Earth is my home. There's no denying any of these things, but sometimes, all these reasons push me to forget that I am only a man. Now, every part of this life I've led rules how I live and all that I am, to the point where I sometimes wish I could ascend above even myself.

The tears had long dried along the sides of my face, where they were once brooks towards my ears and over my cheeks. The strain and burn is waning out, and my body feels broken and heavy on top the carpet itching against my bare back. I feel almost numb, as if I've fallen between the inseams of two worlds. One of reality, and the other of my overactive imagination constructed to contain a whole other self centered existence.

The wind outside is breathing harder. I can hear debris from the clusters of trees hit against the front porch and windows of both stories of the house. My eyes slip closed and the stinging possesses them from the inside out, clashing components of exhaustion and ache.

At this moment, I feel what I can only interpret is peace and tranquility. I knew there was never any escape from all the pressures of this life I've lead, but a desperation to find this place within me. From all the chaos and instability. I needed some relief from the edge I sometime teeter on from not always knowing what to do, or where I'm at within myself. Everything outside of me seems to pass at a blurring pace at times and I feel too crazed to cope with it.

The utter silence grasps hold of me and amplifies the sound of my heartbeat and my storm of thoughts. A calm slowly starts to creep within my body and I no longer feel like some splitting vessel being filled with the demands of others and occurrences.

There's just me.

I inhale, allowing the intake of air to cleanse through me. This almost poetic thought flutters through my head, and sadly enough, offers a sliver of sanity to my heart where I compare myself to being the very house I live in. Everything else being the vast currents of winds and debris crashing against me.

The mistakes I've made in this day, I will make amends for and I will take from the broken pieces to start anew, the next. That's just the hard lesson of life, I think. One that reminds me that even after thirty- one years of life, and half of those years of that as a ranger, that there will always be a lesson I have to learn.

There are no short cuts or hiding from that.

I roll onto my knees and lift myself up to stand using the back of the couch to pull myself up. I feel almost beside myself as my lips flex and loosen into a small grin along the corner of my mouth. An abashed chuckle escapes. It didn't sound as if it came from me, though I almost shyly raise my hand to massage the curve of the back of my neck.

I slowly spread my attention to the mundane surroundings around me. The sound of the television playing early morning news sharpens to my ears as the anchors go through the weather forecast. A week's worth of newspaper articles perched on the coffee table featuring illustrated reports of attacks throughout the city.

I catch the sound of birds chirping from outside; dawn is peaking between the rims of the drawn curtains with a crisp blue welcome. I feel eager for the fresh air to wash over my skin and through my senses after being so contained inside and out. Morning clings to me as I feel my mood come into a new awakening.

My eyes drift close as I inhale, taking in every little thing around me, the very world swirling within my chest. This was all that I was and all that drove me to be the man that I am. I am imperfect, even vulnerable at times, but I know I have all the power in me to keep standing and fighting. Darkness falls like prolonged shadows; but even those, as the ones within me, fade and clench to a pulse that is worthwhile in the end.

I think of the pledge I made to Zordon so many years ago and all the lessons I've come to learn every day since. But there was one thing that we each in turn had to learn and embrace.

No one ever asked me to be more superior than I am, but to give every bit of my capability. My capability. My inability at anything was just the pressures I placed upon myself to obtain something that would never be within my reach.

A smile lifts my face and I feel myself brighten with hope as I slap the surface of the banister as I turn away from it. I'm suddenly full with dexterity and accord as I let go of everything that consumed me only moments before.

I am mission ready. "It's time to get back to work."

The End

A/N: I wanted to write an introspective character piece in first person POV and this is the result. It definitely something I can relate to from my own personal experiences and so, in the late hours of the night/very early morning, I wrote this story. Hope its made some sense.

~Eclipsing Flames