Last Revised: August 29, 2004
WEbsite: A Blast From The Past
Summary: What if Kim wasn't the one who wrote the "Letter"? What if it was a practical joke gone wrong from someone the Rangers don't even know? Tommy and the other Rangers deal with learning the truth behind the loss of their friendship with the Original Pink Ranger.
Rated: PG-13 for language
Pairing: Tommy/Kim with mentions of Tommy/Kat
Disclaimer: Don't own PR, don't own the song. Please don't sue me.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Lessa Solarem and Jang the Defender for their support and encouragement. Constructive comments only please. If you don't like the story, then don't read it again. I appreciate all constructive comments.
When I'm lost in the rain
In your eyes I know
I'll find the light to light my way
Kristina Carlson walked slowly down the hallway of the dorm, hoping not to give herself away as she made the trek to the room she shared with Kimberly Hart. Kim hadn't been the same person Kristina had met that first day of camp for some time now, not since Mike Malone from the men's team had written the Letter, in capitals, and Boyd Hansen had had it rewritten and sent to Kim's boyfriend back in Angel Grove.
It had started out a joke, a running joke, among the group of fourteen, about Kim's boyfriend and one of her best friends. Unfortunately, it was a joke that had gone horribly wrong. When Kim had tried to call Tommy to tell him, his mother as well as several of her and Tommy's mutual friends had told her not to bother - Tommy was dating Kat now.
Ever since, Kim hadn't been the bouncy, energetic, hopeful and lively girl they'd first met, and things had only gotten worse after her last visit home. Kris knew something more than a small scuba diving mishap had happened, but Kim wasn't forth coming with any information, a fact that made the senior gymnast frown. Kim had always enjoyed sharing memories of her friends and family back home, but since the letter incident, she hadn't mentioned anything more than they were all good, keeping busy with school and after school jobs.
When I'm scared, losing ground
When my world is going crazy
You can turn it all around
Kristina slowly crept into the common room the two shared, and sighed. She could hear the stereo on in the background. Taking baby steps, Kris made her way to Kim's door, which was partially open. Inside the pink, green and white decorated room, Kim lay on the bed; the small white teddy bear Kris knew was from Tommy clutched in her arms, and tears streaming down her face. The song Kim was listening to was her new floor routine song for the Pan Global tour they were getting ready to embark upon.
"Are you going to be able to get through your routine without crying?"
Kim didn't answer her; she simply stared at the ceiling. After the song was nearly halfway over, Kim looked up and smiled slightly. "I'll be fine. I just never realized how much this song reminds me of them."
"Do they know about the tour?" Kris asked as she walked in and sat on the bed.
Kim nodded. "Jason, Zack and Trini do. Billy's not going to be able to make it, neither is Aisha. I doubt any of the others know, or care, after what happened." At the sound of her own words, her own thoughts being expressed, a fresh round of tears welled in Kim's eyes, but she reached up and swiped them away.
Kris looked at her friend, watched her try to hide what was happening, but she could see Kim's heart breaking all over again. Suddenly, a light popped on in Kris' head, which caused her to smile. "It's going to get better, Kim, you'll see." Kim smiled. 'Especially if I have anything to say about it.' "Say, do you mind if I use your computer?" Kris asked, knowing that all of Kim's friends' addresses and phone numbers were stored in the address book of her email.
"Go ahead. I'm gonna head down to the gym and work out for a while." With that, Kim shut the stereo off and left the room, leaving Kris to slowly wander out into their common room and turn the computer on. She had work to do.
And when I'm down you're there
Pushing me to the top
You're always there giving me all you've got
1 month later
Tommy's uncle shook his head as he made his way from the track to the garage. The boy's timing was way off. "Well?" Jason asked when John walked into the garage. Jason and Justin were helping tune up one of the back up cars while waiting for Tommy to finish practicing.
"His timing's off, he's swerving all over the track. This is worse than the first time he ever got in a car, period," John bluntly told Jason, who nodded. "Jason, what is it? Why is he so off today?"
Jason pursed his lips, wondering exactly how much he should tell Tommy's uncle. "It has to do with Kim, I think," Jason told him, watching the understanding dawn in John's brown eyes.
"I see. You know, he hasn't been the same since she left for Florida, and when he started seeing Katherine, I was pretty shocked. I mean, Thomas and I always joked about Tommy and Kim getting married eventually," John spoke of the conversations he'd shared with his brother-in-law as both Justin and Jason nodded.
"Yeah, so did Zack, Rocky, Adam, Billy and I," Jason started then stopped, just as Tommy walked into the garage. His face was smeared with sweat and grim from his helmet and he looked pissed. "Hey Bro, what's up?"
Tommy looked over at Jason and glared. "Bro, why did Trini call this morning, so damn early, and demand we all meet at the Juice Bar this afternoon?" Jason cringed. So Tommy didn't know why Kristina had called Trini and asked the former Yellow Ranger to round up the rest of the team. Boy, Tommy was in for one huge shock.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Jason lied, watching Justin snicker where Tommy couldn't see him. The young Ranger knew exactly what was going on, and had decided he wanted to help when Jason had told him. For someone so young, Jason mused, Justin knew exactly what had happened between Tommy and Kim, and knew that despite everything, they still loved each other. If seeing them together in the Turbo MegaZord hadn't told him that, remembering the way Tommy had freaked on Murianthias would have.
Tommy shook his head, throwing his helmet down on the counter. "Guess I'd better go get showered if we're gonna make it on time," Tommy grumbled, sweeping past his uncle and his two friends.
"Jason, what's going on?" John asked as Jason smiled.
"Tommy's about to find out the truth about what happened between him and Kim," Jason murmured as he and Justin turned to head out to Jason's red Dodge pickup which was in front of the garage. Jason himself didn't know the entire story, and knew beyond a shadow of doubt he wasn't going to like it anymore than Tommy would.
For a shield from the storm
"Guys, this is Kristina," Trini introduced the group of anxious former, or in Justin's case current, Rangers to the petite, green eyed, blonde haired southern gymnast.
"It's nice to meet the infamous gang I've heard so much about," Kris started, noting how many were present. 'Looks like Trini managed to get a hold of Billy and Aisha' Kris thought as the group looked at her in confusion.
"Huh?" Rocky muttered.
Trini started laughing. "Kris is a member of the Pan Global Women's Gymnastics team that won gold this year," Trini spoke, watching Kat, Tommy, Tanya, Adam, and Rocky's faces go surprised. Justin, Jason, Zack, Billy and Aisha didn't look too terribly surprised.
"Pan Globals?" Tommy muttered as Kris nodded.
"Let me guess, you're Tommy Oliver, Karate master, racecar driver, and white knight in shining armor extraordinaire," Kris stated, watching Tommy nod, then blush. The others merely snickered while one of the girls, the tall blonde, glared. It was no wonder to Kris why Kim liked him - he was gorgeous. 'You know very well that's not all Kim likes about him, correction, loves about him!' Kris laughed internally. However, green eyes narrowed when the tall blonde grasped Tommy's hand possessively. 'And that would be Katherine Hillard, Kim's replacement.'
"Kris, this is Billy, Aisha, Rocky, Adam, Tanya, Kat, you already guessed who Tommy was, and that's Jason, Justin, and Zack," Trini introduced the group, making the full circle from Billy who was standing next to her to Zack who was standing next to Kris.
Kris smiled. "It's nice to meet y'all, seeing as I've heard all about y'all over the last year." Kris watched the group shift uncomfortably. "I'll bet you're wondering why I'm here, huh?"
For a friend
The blonde gymnast wanted to laugh her ass off when the group nodded in unison. "It's about Kimberly, as I'm sure you've guessed. There's someone I want to introduce you to," Kris started, turning and motioning to a young man, one with jet-black hair and piercing green eyes, who was sitting at the juice bar. "This is Mike Malone, he was on the Men's team."
Kris sighed when Tommy, Kat, Jason, Rocky, Adam and Tanya's eyes narrowed at the guy. From the look on Jason's face, Kris guessed the burly teen in red and gold might not know the story behind Mike, while the other five looked like they wanted to beat him to a pulp. "Mike, why don't you tell Kimberly's friends all about yourself, and about why I dragged you away from your practice for the tour to talk to them." Kris' face was stone as she stared at the male gymnast, which surprised the group of five she'd been gazing at seconds before.
"Do I have to?" Mike asked, visibly shrinking back when he caught Tommy glaring at him.
"Either you do it like a man, or I swear to God, I'll make sure Tommy and Jason get the chance to pulverize you right here," Kris hissed in his ear, watching his eyes go back and forth from her face to Tommy's to Jason's.
"Well?" Katherine demanded. Whoever this Kris was, she was hurting Tommy just by being in the room. Of course, the guy with her was having the opposite affect on her ex-boyfriend and current best friend - he was pissing Tommy off.
Mike gulped. He knew all about Kim's relationships with these people - until his stupid joke they'd been her family - her best friends, confidants, older brothers, and her boyfriend. 'God, they're going to kill me when I tell this' Mike thought as Tommy glared at him. "Well, you see, it all started around the first January we spent together training for Pan Globals," Mike began, watching the group of friends give him their full attention. "Me and a couple of the other members of the Men's team were hanging with some of the Women's team, and we dared each other to pull some pranks on the girls. All of them went off fine, all except mine."
"And that has to do with us how?" Tanya growled.
"You see, the others dared me to pull a prank on Kimberly, except mine went horribly wrong." Mike watched the start of realization dawning on the faces of Kim's friends.
"Oh my God," Rocky muttered, closing his eyes. When he opened them again, he glared at the man before him with such hatred it would have scared anyone who didn't know him. "You had better not say what I think you're going to."
Mike looked over at Rocky, saw the anger and the hate, and took a tiny step back. The guy in red and blue looked ready to fly off the handle at any moment. "Kim had told the entire team about her life here. In fact, it was something most of us enjoyed hearing about. She was the only one of the fourteen of us to still have ties to her home and friends outside of gymnastics. My prank was a letter to her about her boyfriend."
All movement in the group stopped, except for Tommy, who surged forward, hoping to grab Mike around the neck. Jason and Rocky just barely managed to step in front of him, while Billy and Zack pushed Mike back a few paces. "You have one minute to explain yourself," Aisha's deadly whisper came as Mike nodded.
"It was never meant to hurt Kim, or you, it was just supposed to be a stupid joke. It wasn't ever even supposed to be mailed here; it was supposed to go to Kim's dorm. The only problem was, one of the other guys had a thing for Kim and figured if she didn't have an attachment to her boyfriend here, she'd be up for grabs. He took my letter, had one of the girls from the soccer team change it and rewrite it because her handwriting is identical to Kim's, and then he mailed it. He didn't realize that it was going to back fire on him; Kim became withdrawn from the rest of us, with the exception of Kris and Coach Schmidt, and when she learned the truth, she wouldn't give him or me the time of day."
For a love to keep me safe and warm
I turn to you
Kris rolled her eyes. "When Kim found out, it was a few weeks before she came back to Angel Grove right before the games," Kris started, turning to look at Tommy, Rocky and Jason. "She said something happened when she went scuba diving with Jason, and that by the time she found a chance to talk to all of you about it, there was no point in dragging up what happened. Jason, what exactly happened? She hasn't been normal since this entire mess started but when she came back to camp, she was deathly silent about all of it," Kris demanded.
Jason sighed. "Kim and I got kidnapped, by the Power Rangers' enemy. We were sacrificed to a monster because we were pure of heart. If it hadn't been for the Turbo Rangers, Kim and I wouldn't be alive at the moment." Tommy, Kat, Tanya, Adam, Rocky and Justin winced at Jason's admission, knowing exactly WHY Kim had been kidnapped, even if Kris didn't.
"Oh God, no wonder she's been so quiet," Kris muttered, and then turned to glare at Mike. "See what you did! You ruined her life, and damaged the lives of several people she loves most in this world. Are you happy with yourself now!" Kris hollered at Mike, her voice raising an octave, drawing the attention of the other patrons of the Youth Center.
Mike simply stepped back, his hands raised in front of him to defend himself. "I didn't mean..."
"That's right, you probably didn't, but you have no clue how much damage your little stunt did to any of us, do you?" Katherine asked angrily, her heart hurting tremendously for both Tommy and Kimberly, and for herself. What she'd seen Tommy go through, what she'd tried to fix, shouldn't have ever happened, and Kimberly hadn't been the cause for it like she'd originally thought. That made her feel guilty - knowing she'd blamed Kimberly for Tommy's pain when in reality Kimberly had gone through just about as much, if not more. And to top it off, she had fallen in love with the former Ranger leader, knowing full well his heart belonged to another. She also wasn't about to think about the damage the letter had done to the team by dividing each member's loyalty between their former leader and their original Pink Ranger.
"You should be ashamed of yourself!" Adam shouted, his normal calm completely gone. Tanya stood next to him, her hand holding his, trying to calm him down, and on the inside agreeing with him totally. Zack and Billy shook their heads while their arms automatically went around Trini, who was quietly crying over learning the truth that Kimberly had held from her for so long.
Aisha and Justin stood with Rocky, who looked ready to go off on the guy. Aisha's eyes were filled with tears, but they did not fall. Poor Justin looked semi-confused and angry at the same time. He didn't know Kimberly beyond what he'd learned of her during Murianthias and on the return trip in the Turbo MegaZord, but what he did know of her told him that she was a wonderful, caring, and extremely loyal person. Kat and Jason were left to stand in front of Tommy, who looked exactly the way he had the day he'd received the Letter. The pair didn't look much better then their former leader. "Kristina, where's Kim?" Tommy suddenly asked, watching Kris' face turn toward him.
"She's practicing for the performance tonight. All of the gymnasts and martial artists that competed at Pan Globals are on a nation-wide tour to promote the games and their sports. Trini has tickets for all of you if you want to come."
"I want to see her." Kris looked surprised. She'd have figured Tommy would need time to deal, to talk things over with Katherine before confronting Kim.
Kat smiled sadly when she saw the look Kristina was giving her and Tommy. "It's not what you're thinking, and hasn't been since Kim's last visit home," Kat murmured cryptically as Kris nodded.
"I don't think I can get all of you in before the performance tonight. But we have a week off starting tomorrow, I can get you in to see her after, or tomorrow morning we can set something up. I don't want to ruin her concentration. The last time that happened, she landed in the hospital for two days." Kris looked at the stunned group and felt like she'd just stuck her foot in her mouth. Obviously, Kim hadn't told them about her fall off the uneven bars shortly after she'd returned from Angel Grove the last time. "You didn't know?"
For the strength to be strong
For the will to carry on
"What happened?" Aisha questioned frantically, her eyes searching Kristina's face for an explanation, and praying to a higher power that what she feared most wouldn't come out of the blonde's mouth.
"After she came back from her visit, we were tweaking our Uneven Bar routines; it was about two weeks before the games. She was transitioning from the high bar and fell, face first, into the mat. She was in the hospital for two days." Kris knew all too well about Kim's accident before she'd arrived in Florida. The short brunette had confided in Kris when they'd first become friends about her fear of the balance beam since the horrible accident that had almost taken her life. As her words sunk in, Kris could see the fear growing on the faces of Kimberly's friends.
Kris watched Tommy, particularly, like a hawk. The red and white dressed young man looked like he'd been run over by a Mack Truck at the news of Kim's accident. "Oh Kim," he muttered, turning his chocolate brown eyes to Jason for confirmation or denial. Jason simply shook his head, he hadn't known about it either. To think Kimberly had kept something like that from him, or even Trini or Aisha, was beyond Jason's comprehension.
Gunther Schmidt watched as the powerful, caramel haired gymnast rapidly flew across the floor, hit the springboard, and performed her vault exercise. She'd been particularly quiet since they'd arrived in Angel Grove the night before. He would have thought she'd have spent less time in the gym during this stop, to be with her friends and family, but Kimberly had not left the arena where the performance was to be held for anything but to sleep and eat, and she barely said more than polite words to the other members of the squad, the coaches, or the martial artists participating in the tour.
Coach Schmidt knew all about the infamous letter. He'd been with Kimberly when she'd heard about it. Perhaps other than Kristina, he was the only one on the team to know how much damage it had done to the Angel Grove native, as he had spent countless hours counseling Kimberly as best he could. "How was that, Coach?" Kim asked as she bounced over to stand before him.
Smiling, Coach Schmidt nodded. "You did an extraordinary job, my little Crane," he murmured, watching her face fall for a second. He'd taken to calling her that because of the pink leotard with the crane print she'd worn nearly every day during training and trials for the Pan Globals. "Kimberly, have you seen Kristina or Michael this afternoon?"
Kim shook her head. "Not since Kris practically dragged him out of here kicking and screaming this morning. I hadn't thought she liked him that much, but I might have been wrong."
The older man nodded, getting the feeling that Kristina was up to something. Before either he or Kimberly had a chance to say anything further, a loud cry screeched across the gym. Turning, the pair watched two girls adorned in yellow come flying across the mats.
For everything you do
For everything that's true
I turn to you
Kimberly blinked rapidly in shock as Aisha and Trini threw their arms around her, pulling her into a three-way hug. "Tri? Sha?" Pulling back, Kimberly examined the rest of the group that had come in with the two girls. Jason, Zack, Billy, and the newest edition to the family, Justin, hung back not far behind them. "Guys?"
"Surprise, you little terror," Jason muttered as he surged forward and pulled her into a bear hug. Now that he had his little sister back, the last thing he wanted to do was let her go. 'Which is probably how Tommy's going to feel once he gets her in his arms tonight' Jason thought, amused and saddened that it had come down to this.
"But how?" Kim squeaked, then saw Kristina pushing Mike toward the men's equipment before coming over. "Kris?"
Kristina smiled. "Look who I ran into," Kris smiled innocently, watching Kim give her the 'yeah right' look. "Thought you might need a break from practice, if it's ok with Coach." All eyes turned toward Coach Schmidt, who smiled approvingly.
"Little Crane, you have not taken a break since we arrived. You may have the rest of the day off to spend with your friends. And they may join us tonight for the group dinner." That said Coach Schmidt walked off to speak with Mike.
"So, Miss I Won Six Pan Global Gold Medals," Zack mocked Kim, who blushed. "What do you want to do first?"
"Shower, then hit the Juice Bar if it's at all possible," Kim asked, watching the others nod and laugh.
"Go!" Trini and Aisha shooed her off.
When I lose the will to win
I just reach for you
And I can reach the sky again
The water was calm, the park quiet as Tommy stood in the familiar spot. He'd come to this particular spot at every major moment of his life since he'd become a Power Ranger. His first kiss with Kim after he'd lost his Green Ranger powers had been here. The first time he'd told her he loved her, shortly after he'd received his White Ranger powers. After the first time they'd made love, which had been a few weeks after Jason, Zack and Trini had left for Geneva.
This spot was where he'd promised to help her deal with the loss of her powers, where they'd said their last personal goodbyes before she'd left for Florida. Where he'd come to cry after her letter. He'd come after he learned about his brother, and after the Murianthias incident when he'd been so damned confused about Kimberly and Katherine and everything else that was happening around him.
'Except she didn't write that cursed thing!' Tommy thought about the letter, twin emotions - fierce joy and dismay - coursing through him as he did.
"Penny for your thoughts," the soft voice of Katherine floated to his ears. It had been a little over five months since they'd given up their Turbo Powers; five months since they'd stopped seeing each other. Kat hadn't said it, but Tommy knew their break up had more to do with his still lingering feelings for Kimberly than the distance that had separated them with him here in the States and her going to London.
"You'd need Fort Knox for my thoughts," Tommy muttered, causing Kat to laugh. She'd missed his dry sense of humor in her time away from Angel Grove.
Kat smiled at him, reaching out to hold his hand. He looked so lost, just like he had that day a little less than a year ago when his world had come crashing down on him in the form of a letter. "Jason, Zack, Billy, Tri, Sha and Justin went with Kris to see her. They should be back later this afternoon with a full report."
Tommy nodded. "Kat, I'm sorry for putting you through this," he murmured, turning to look into her beautiful blue eyes.
"You have nothing to be sorry for. None of this would have ever happened if those idiot boys hadn't interfered. You'd still be with Kimberly and we'd still be the best of friends. That was happening when she was here regardless. I'd like to think we'd still be friends, you know Red and Pink gotta stick together."
Tommy laughed at that. "That's hilarious, cause Kim and Jason were Pink and Red, then Kim and Rocky, and both of them are overprotective of her."
"It has something to do with the color scheme. Besides, it goes with White and Pink too," Kat, pointed out, watching Tommy's face darken slightly. He'd been Kimberly's white knight so long ago, and now he was on the verge of getting her back when she should have never been gone in the first place. "I'm gonna let you hang out here a bit longer, but I expect you over at my house with the others before we leave for the arena tonight, understood?"
"Yeah. And Kat," Tommy started as she turned to walk away, only to stop and turn her attention back to him. "Thank you."
I can do anything
'Cuz you love is so amazing
'Cuz your love inspires me
"Angel Grove, please give a warm round of applause for your hometown hero, and America's newest Gymnastics sensation, Kimberly Hart!" the announcer boomed over the p.a. system as Kim ran from the tunnel that led back into the locker rooms.
The crowd roared its approval of the young lady who'd put Angel Grove on the map in an International Sports setting. "Alright, Kimberly, let's talk a moment," the man with the microphone started as Kim smiled. "Now, you've put together some entirely new routines for this tour, haven't you?"
Kim nodded. "Yeah. Coach Schmidt and I wanted a few more challenging routines for me, so we've been practicing as much as possible, perfecting them."
"After the tour, what do you expect to do with your life? Are you going to continue on in Gymnastics or move back home?"
"Right now, the plan is to move back home, start college, and possibly start teaching at a local club. I just graduated high school in June, so the world is at my fingertips." The crowd laughed and applauded.
"And how about this floor routine I've been hearing so much about? Coach Schmidt said you've dedicated it, at every performance, to a group of special friends."
And when I need a friend
Kim nodded and smiled sadly. "It's done to 'I Turn To You' by Christina Aguilera, and I dedicate it to Jason, Zack, Billy and Trini for being the first to be my shelter in a storm, to Rocky, Adam and Aisha for giving me strength to be strong through the storm, to Katherine, Tanya and Justin for being my friends when I needed them, and to Tommy, for being my everything for the last four years." That said, Kim turned around and proceeded to step onto the floor. She shrugged out of her Team USA jacket and stretched quickly.
The music started, the sound of rain and thunder and car horns echoing in the arena as Kimberly began a complicated dance of strength elements, actual dance moves, and feelings from her soul.
As the first chorus started and then transitioned into the second verse, Kimberly moved into her first tumbling pass. It wasn't as powerful as the others she would perform; it was more of a testament to building up strength, both for things in and out of the gym.
You're always on my side
Just beyond where Kimberly was performing, a group of familiar faces watched on in awe as their tiny, bouncy, bright as sunshine Kimberly broke their hearts with such a beautiful routine.
Giving me faith, taking me through the night
When she finished her last tumbling pass, she was facing the section of the crowd right where they were sitting. She smiled, until she caught sight of the group, which automatically brought tears to her eyes.
All eleven of them were present, sitting in the stands right near the entrance to the locker rooms. Kim hadn't been expecting all of them, and figured, with a hint of anger, that Kris was responsible for this, but that tiny emotion flew out of her mind when she saw Tommy standing there, clutching two dozen roses - a dozen white and a dozen pink - and the look on his face said everything he couldn't at the moment.
Taking her eyes off her friends, Kimberly moved from the mats to where her teammates were at as one of the guys came onto the floor and began his routine after talking to the announcer.
"Kris!" Kim hissed in the blonde's ear as the other gymnast turned to look at her.
"Uh surprise?" Kris started, watching Kim narrow her gaze. "I told ya things would work out."
"Does he know?" Kim nearly demanded, watching Kris gulp and then nod. "How?"
"I made Mike tell 'em the truth," Kris informed her, her voice deadly serious. Kim watched in amazement as the blonde moved onto the mats to perform her own routine, one Kim had created and choreographed for her.
For a shield from the storm
For a friend
For a love to keep me safe and warm
I turn to you
When Kimberly walked out of the locker room, she was bombarded by a wave of familiar and much beloved voices shouting her name. Looking up from her feet, the young gymnast saw eleven people she wanted to see most - her friends. "You snagged backstage passes too, huh?" Kim quipped as Aisha and Trini threw their arms around her and brought her into the circle of friends she'd help start. When Kat and Tanya moved to hug her, Aisha and Trini moved aside. The three girls shared their first hug since Murianthias.
When the two former female Turbo Rangers stepped back, Adam and Rocky moved in, each giving Kim a crushing hug before stepping back and letting Tommy take their place. Kim stood in front of him, her eyes on her feet. Gently, Tommy reached out a hand, grasped her chin, and lifted her gaze to his.
What the former Red Turbo Ranger saw in her eyes nearly undid every ounce of will power he had. Her beloved, doe like eyes were filled with tears, and a pained expression marred her beautifully tanned skin. "These are for you," Tommy murmured, handing her the roses he'd been holding onto for nearly three hours. Kim nodded and took them as he handed them to her, but she couldn't seem to find her voice for more than a quick thank you.
"Who's hungry?" Justin asked, hoping to break the tension and silence. The Blue Turbo Ranger immediately closed his mouth and hid behind Jason as his four older female counter parts shot him nasty glares.
"Don't hide behind me!" Jason hissed. "I'm not standing between you and them. I'm not that crazy, or that stupid."
Kim watched the pair, and laughed. It was nice to be back with her friends again. "Aww, come on Jase, we aren't that bad, are we ladies?" The girls shook their heads.
Jason quirked an eyebrow at her as the other guys all backed off, except Tommy. "Five former female Rangers," Jason murmured for their ears only. "All of which I know have attitude problems when provoked or during that lovely time of the month? Of course you're not that bad," Jason sarcastically replied as he grinned evilly at his little sister.
"Watch it, Goldie," Kim teased, watching Jason wince at the nickname she'd given him when she'd found out he had taken on the mantle of the Gold Ranger. "Justin's got a good idea though, I'm starving. Are we eating with the team or do you guys want to go somewhere a bit more private?"
"Privacy is probably best, all things considered," Zack spoke softly, watching the others nod in unison.
"Then lead away, Mr. Taylor, lead away," Kim smiled, but inside she felt like dying. She really didn't want to talk about this as a group, hell, she didn't even want to have the following conversation with Tommy, but she knew there was no escaping the inevitable.
For the strength to be strong
For the will to carry on
For everything you do
I turn to you
Kim stared up at the sign above the door to the restaurant, frowning. The gang had brought her to the Youth Center, but it was after hours so Kim wondered exactly what they had in mind. "We pulled a favor with Ernie," Jason murmured as Kim nodded and followed the group inside.
As the group of twelve passed under the main archway, Kimberly noticed the long table set up in the middle of the gym floor. Standing around the table were two boys and two girls, each dressed in familiar colors to Kim. 'Must be the new Turbo Rangers' Kim thought as she and the others approached the four teens.
"T.J. Johnson, Ashley Hammond, Cassandra Chan and Carlos Valerte, allow me to introduce to you her Original Pink-ness, Kimberly Hart," Jason introduced the group to Kimberly.
"Thank you, your Original Red-Royal-Pain-In-My-Ass-ness," Kim grumbled as the four younger teens laughed along with Kim's own teammates. "What's going on?"
"As soon as you're seated, we have a special presentation for you and we'll be serving you dinner, compliments of Ernie," T.J. informed Kim, who smiled at him. Slowly, the group of twelve sat down. Jason was at one end of the table, opposite Tommy. Kat, Justin, Rocky, Adam and Tanya sat on one side while Zack, Billy, Trini, Kim and Aisha sat on the other side.
"Don't worry, Ernie isn't in the building, so he won't find out anything," Aisha whispered as the lights dimmed and a transparent figure appeared, lit from the bottom up by two strategically placed lights at the base of the steps leading to the Juice Bar.
"Hello Rangers," Dimitria greeted, smiling at them. "Kimberly, do you know who I am?"
Kim nodded. She'd heard all about Dimitria from Adam, whom had been the one to inform her of Zordon leaving and the passing of the powers. "You're Dimitria, a friend of Zordon's and mentor to the Turbo Rangers."
"I am. Do you know why you've been brought here?"
"No, but I have the distinct feeling you're going to enlighten me," Kim laughed, causing Dimitria to grin at her.
"Did you not feel the loss of Zordon's absence on Earth?" Kim nodded. "Then do you not know why you were brought here?"
For the arms to be my shelter
Through all the rain
Kim glared slightly at Dimitria. Did the woman always talk in questions? "I have no clue, please tell me."
"Your friends have brought you here, because Zordon left gifts for all of you. They wanted you present for this. Alpha 6."
Kim watched the android, who looked almost identical to the much-loved friend she'd grown to know and love so long ago, walk from the darkness of one corner of the room, baring a wooden box Kimberly had seen only a handful of times before. Alpha 6 stopped directly behind Kim's chair, causing Kimberly to twist to see what was happening. Alpha 6 opened the box, revealing seven circular coins resting on a bed of black velvet. "The Power Coins?"
"Not just any power coins," Dimitria started. "Do you not recognize their symbols?"
"A Tyrannosaurus, a Saber Toothed Tiger, a Triceratops, a Mastodon, a Dragon, a Tiger, and a Pterodactyl," Kim whispered as Alpha 6 picked up the coin in the very center, handing it to Kimberly. As the former Pink Ranger looked at the coin in her hand, the android walked around the table, handing four to Jason, Zack, Trini, Billy and the final two to Tommy.
"Zordon wished for you, his six hand picked Rangers, to have this small memento of your tenure of service to your planet. They once held vast power, but now only stand to represent what was." Kim nodded.
When Alpha closed the box, a bright light was seen in the crevices of it, and then Kim noticed Alpha opening it again. Inside was another set of coins; six more to be exact. Kim's eyes welled with tears when she realized which six coins were now resting on the crushed velvet. "Do you recognize these symbols of power, Kimberly?"
"Our Ninja Coins, the ones Billy told me had been destroyed."
"These are exact replicas of the ones you, Aisha, Tommy, Rocky, Adam, Billy, and later Katherine, bore."
"Why are there only six coins, when there were seven of us that carried those powers?" Kim suddenly asked.
"Can you not tell me the answer to your question?" Kim looked over at Dimitria, her face voicing her disapproval of Dimitria's response.
"I don't like guessing games, Dimitria. Please just tell me what I asked to know." The group of current and former Rangers looked at Kim in shock. Not one of them, not in all their time as Rangers, had ever spoken to their mentor in such a tone.
"The answer is in your heart, Kimberly, is it not?"
"Six coins," Kim started, swallowing her anger, feeling the spark of fear well in her that she might be reading this wrong. "For six animal spirits, which represented six of us; Rocky, Adam, Aisha, Billy, Tommy and me."
"Very good. Katherine may have controlled the Pink Ninja Powers, and the Pink Morphin' Powers, but the Spirit of the Crane has always been exclusively yours. She is an extension of you - your personality, your talents, your abilities - your soul. Katherine declined to have a copy of that coin, for she felt it should belong solely to you, just as the Crane has solely been yours since she was awakened."
Kim's eyes went to Kat's face, the blonde sitting across the table from Aisha. "She's yours as much as she's mine," Kim murmured.
Kat shook her head, blinking back the burning tears. She had never felt quite right as the Pink Morphin' Ranger or Pink Ninja, that title should have been and always would be Kim's, and Kim's alone. "My Zeo mantle is mine, and I share the Turbo mantle with Cassie, but the legacy of the Ninjetti and the Morphin Rangers should be yours, and yours alone," Kat whispered back, reaching across the table to grab Kim's hand. The two girls blinked when Cassie placed her hand over theirs.
"Pinks have to stick together," Cassie quipped, which elicited giggles from the two former Pink Rangers. Alpha silently moved to hand out the six coins to their respective owners.
"You have been away for a long time, Kimberly, but do not think that your absence has destroyed the place you hold in the hearts and lives of each member of this team," Dimitria told her, her voice serious. "The bond between you cannot be broken; not by time, space, distance. Nothing and no one can understand, appreciate, or come close to having what you have with the members of this team, with those you have worked with and along side, have loved and befriended."
"Why now?" Kimberly suddenly asked.
For truth that will never change
"Welcome home, Kimberly," Dimitria informed her, watching as the realization dawned in the former Pink Ranger's eyes. While Kimberly sat in silence, the four elder Turbo Rangers began to move around the table, dishing out the first course of the meal Ernie had prepared for the occasion.
Once everyone was happily munching on salad or sipping the chicken noodle soup, Jason stood from his chair, clearing his throat to get all their attentions. Kimberly looked down the table to where he stood, instantly knowing the discussion was about to once again center on her, and what had happened after she'd gone to Florida. "If I could have everyone's attention," Jason started, watching his friends place their silverware down and turn their eyes to his face. Even the four new Turbo Rangers tuned their ears into what was happening.
Trini, Zack and Billy stood slowly at Jason's silent command, each of them turning to stare at Kimberly. "We are so sorry," Jason started, causing Kim to bite her lip. "We have been your friends since grade school, some of us longer than that, and we only took half the story we heard and accepted it as truth. Kimberly, you have always been one of us, and you always will be. We just wanted to ask for your forgiveness, for believing someone else over you."
For someone to lean on
Kim's lips trembled as she tried to calm her out of control emotions. She had hurt for a long time after she had found out about the letter and had experienced its repercussions. Jason had just told her one of the things she'd wanted to hear most in the world - her friends were still her friends. "Considering the situation Jason, you have nothing to be forgiven for; you didn't do anything I probably wouldn't have done in your situation."
Jason frowned at her, as did Trini and Zack. Billy merely nodded, acknowledging that Kimberly in fact forgave them for any trespasses they had committed against her. The group of four took their seats, giving the attention of the group to the three that stood - Aisha, Adam and Rocky. "Adam, Aisha and I wanted to apologize for anything we may have said, done or didn't do after everything started. We didn't have any reason to doubt you, Kim, because we all knew deep down you wouldn't do something like that, but we saw the devastation it caused, and took what had happened at face value. Like Jason said, we hope you can forgive us."
Kimberly swallowed hard. It wasn't hard to forgive Aisha, the former yellow Ninja Ranger had not said anything hurtful to Kimberly, unlike Rocky and Adam had after the letter had arrived. While Kim knew they were simply defending Tommy and looking out for the team, their words had hurt all the same. Kim looked at the table then looked back up to the two former Rangers and smiled. "Rocky, Adam, you didn't know the truth. I know you well enough to know you were only looking out for the team, and I respect that. I forgive you." The three former Rangers smiled then sat down, which prompted Kat and Tanya to stand.
The group of former Rangers watched Kimberly stiffen. This would be the hardest part, next to Tommy speaking, for Kimberly to sit through. Kat moved around the table, kneeling just next to Kimberly and Aisha's chairs while Tanya started. "I'm sorry, Kim. I hadn't even met you, and I completely believed everything that was going on. I was blinded by my friendship with Kat, and my concern for Tommy, to see past the surface."
"It's ok, Tanya. Like you said, you didn't know me. I wouldn't have expected anyone in your position to believe anything other than what you saw going on." When Kat cleared her throat and touched a hand to Kim's wrist, the brunette gymnast shifted her attention to her successor.
"You gave me everything," Kat started, choking back the tears that threatened to spill out. "After everything I did to you, everything I did to the team, everything I did to Tommy; you gave me the chance to prove myself worthy. You gave me your powers, your spot on the team, you gave me a reason to keep going. Then to repay you, I believed everything I was seeing and hearing and not the truth that was screaming inside my heart. And to top it all off, I took the one thing you cherished most."
Kimberly's eyes were locked with Katherine's watery blues. She couldn't deny what Kat was saying, nor did she want to acknowledge it. Seeing that Kimberly wasn't going to say anything until she was finished, Kat forged on. "I am so sorry, Kimberly, for everything."
Kat was startled, just as the others were, when Kimberly leaned over and wrapped her arms around the blonde's shoulders, hugging her tightly. Kat wrapped her own arms around Kim and the two of them sniffled and sobbed quietly for a few minutes, before they pulled back, smiling at each other as they wiped away the tears. No words were needed; Kimberly merely nodded and smiled at Kat, who then got up and took her seat on the other side of the table.
For a heart I can rely on through anything
For that one who I can run to
The smile that had been lighting Kim's face suddenly disappeared when Tommy stood up. This was going to be potentially ten times worse than Kat's apology, especially since Kimberly wasn't as sure about being able to forgive him like she'd forgiven the others. She had loved him beyond all measure, and at the first sign of a crack in their relationship, he'd done nothing to mend it, to get the truth from her own mouth; he'd simply believed what was presented to him and had gone on with his life.
It wasn't that Kimberly didn't think he loved her. She knew he did, could feel that love whenever he was within ten feet of her, but she sincerely doubted how much he really trusted her, how much faith he had had in her to begin with.
Kimberly made no qualms about keeping a straight face when Aisha stood from her chair, moved it out of the way, and then sat in Tommy's vacant one, while Tommy moved to kneel where Aisha's chair had been. She flinched away from him when he tried to take her hands into his, which caused soft gasps from the others present and an ocean of hurt to well in Tommy's eyes.
"I'm sorry just isn't going to cut it for me," Tommy told her, watching her eyes look deep into his. He could tell she'd done everything in her power to school her face to stone. She was pretty good at it when she wanted to be, he recalled. "I know that, and I accept that. I could sit here for the next twenty years of my life apologizing but it won't make up for what happened; so I won't. All I'm asking is for you to try and forgive me, to understand my side of this, and for you to tell me if we still stand a chance."
Their friends watched on in worried silence as Kimberly continued to stare at Tommy, her face unmoving. Inside was a different story. Her heart shouted at her to just fall back into Tommy's arms, while her brain told her to rationally think about what was going on before she did anything. He had hurt her, beyond comprehension, when he chose to believe the letter instead of contacting her immediately about it. He had betrayed her by dating her successor. But what hurt the most was, he had given up on them, plain and simple. They had spent three years fighting along side one another to make the world a better place. They had spent three years fighting for their relationship, and in the end, he'd just given up.
Tommy saw the internal war she was waging, saw the doubts and uncertainties she was having, and knew that the damage might be too great to repair; that the distance between them too far to bridge. He felt his heart breaking all over again as she questioned what they'd had, and if there was a future for them.
"Why?" Tommy was shocked by Kim's emotionally charged one word question. He wasn't sure what she was asking, so silently he begged with his eyes for her to clarify what she was asking. "Why Tommy? Why didn't you call me? Why didn't you come see me? Why didn't you demand an explanation?"
"I..." Tommy started, at a loss for words. He truly didn't know how to answer her.
"Why did you give up on us so easily when we'd spent three years fighting for what we had?" The rest of the team bowed their heads, not wanting to see the heartbreak in Kimberly's eyes or the answering emotions in Tommy's, for it was bad enough to hear the anguish in their voices.
"I don't have a suitable answer for that, Kimberly, beyond I was terrified of hearing out of your mouth that you didn't love me anymore."
"I've never known you to be a coward, Thomas Oliver, that excuse doesn't fly with me," Kimberly growled, watching Tommy flinch. "I loved you, I knew you loved me. Did you doubt me that much to think something like that would happen? Did you not believe in us enough to even try getting the truth, no matter how hard it would have been to hear it?"
Tommy could only look up at her helplessly, not sure how to respond. "I love you, I have always loved you. You are the only one who knows what I've actually gone through over the years. I trusted you beyond belief, but that's the problem," Tommy passionately told her, reaching out and grasping her hands in his, his grip tight but not enough to hurt her. "I loved you so much that I was scared, Kim. For the first time in my life since you had gotten hurt, I knew what real fear tasted like, and I knew if I heard straight from your mouth that you didn't love me anymore, I'd die from the heartbreak. Hell, I am dead inside; I have been since the day I got the letter."
"Look, I know it was stupid of me not to call, not to come down and demand to know what was going on, but right now I'm asking you, do we stand a chance of rebuilding what we had? Is there still a possibility for us?"
Kimberly closed her eyes and concentrated on her link with him, on the Ninjetti power she could still feel inside her, on the power from the Morphin' Grid, no matter how miniscule, that she still had. What answered her were Tommy's feelings and emotions, as well as those of the others linked to her. She loved him. That was never a question. She wanted him; that was a no brainer. The problem was, could she trust him again? When Kimberly opened her eyes, her mind was made up. "I've missed you, more than words could possibly say," she whispered to him as she slid off her chair and into his open arms. When her face was against his chest and his arms wrapped tightly around her, she started sobbing, heart wrenching sounds that brought tears to the eyes of the entire team.
For a shield from the storm
For a friend
For a love to keep me safe and warm
I turn to you
The two of them sat on the floor, rocking back and forth. Kimberly, for the first time in nearly a year, felt the contentment she could only remember in wispy dreams of her years at Angel Grove High and on the team; the years she'd been with Tommy.
Tommy suddenly felt his world tilt and refocus. His Kimberly was back in his arms - all was right with the world again.
Justin stood abruptly, bringing his hands together in soft clapping. The rest of the Turbo team came forward from the shadows, clapping as well, which caused all of Tommy and Kim's teammates to stand as well, their hands coming together in applause.
"A team divided, a team united," Dimitria whispered before she and Alpha 6 disappeared in two streaks of white light, leaving the Rangers to finish their dinner.
Slowly, Tommy helped Kimberly back to her place between Aisha and Trini and the group sat, silent, waiting for someone to speak. Kim laughed to herself as she thought of what extraordinary lengths her friends had gone to yet again for her. "Alright, let's eat!" she quipped softly, watching her friends bust into laughter at her comment before they did as told, digging into the elaborate meal the Turbo Rangers were serving them.
The air was slightly cool as she stood on the beach, over looking the water of Angel Grove Harbor. From her view point at the tip of Harbor Park, she could see out into the middle of the water, where three miles exactly from where she stood, she knew a green giant slumbered, exactly where he'd been left some years before by the man behind her.
"Penny for your thoughts?" His breath was warm against her ear as he held her close to him, watching out over the water with her.
"What do you always tell me when I ask that when we're standing here?" she asked with a twinkling laugh.
"Staring out at the Dragon Zord, right where I left him," Tommy sighed, longing for the millionth time for those days, when he'd been wearing the green armor, wielded the Dragon Dagger and Dragon Zord, had been the rebel of the Ranger team, and had been shyly getting to know Kimberly.
'And if I hadn't become the White Ranger, our relationship would have fallen apart more than likely' he thought again, thanking Zordon silently for the mantle he'd been given upon the loss of the Green powers, for giving him his spot on the team back, for giving him his friends back, but most of all for giving him that second chance with Kim.
"Penny for your thoughts," Kim turned the tables on him, watching as he turned her around in his embrace. His eyes were serious, emotionally so, and it had Kimberly wandering just what he was thinking about.
"You know, the one thing I regret about Zordon leaving was me never getting to tell him thank you," Tommy told her, watching her brow furrow in confusion.
"Thank you for what?"
"For making you and the others Rangers, for accepting me onto his team, for giving me the White Ranger mantle and leadership of the team, but most importantly, for giving me that second chance with you after I left the first time."
Kim's brilliant smile warmed Tommy's insides like her body warmed his arms as she moved closer to him. "He knows, Tommy, he knows, because I told him exactly what you're feeling, because I felt it too," Kim murmured.
"Welcome home, Beautiful, welcome home," he whispered, kissing her forehead lightly.
For the strength to be strong
For the will to carry on
For everything you do
For everything that's true
I turn to you