Last Revised: July 12, 2005
Rating: T
Summary: After eight years, someone makes a phone call to an old friend.
Ship: T/K
Disclaimer: I don’t own Power Rangers – Disney does. I don’t own Never Gone – BSB does. Sorry!

**
The things we did, the things we said
Keep coming back to me and make me smile again
You showed me how to face the truth
Everything that's good in me I owe to you
And all the distance that’s between us now may seem
To be too far
It will never separate us,
Deep inside I know you are
**

Her students stood in awe as she moved over the area where they routinely performed their floor exercises. In the years most of them had trained with her, they hadn’t seen her perform more than a basic routine. Sure, most of them had grown up watching her compete at Pan Globals, anchoring the U.S. Women’s team and helping them bring home more medals at one Game, than the team had in all the others. They had seen her perform at the Olympics, where she had medaled as well. And they had all seen the devastating accident that had ended her amateur career, when she’d fall off the balance beam during the Pan Global Games in 2000, and which had nearly ended her life. But never had their coach performed such a complicated and heart wrenching performance in their presences.

The music from the new Backstreet Boys record swelled in the gym as sixteen tiny gymnasts stood in awed silence. Despite lingering injuries from her accident, Kimberly Hart was still the most decorated gymnast in American history, and still able to perform with a style, flair and grace untouched by anyone, before or since.

For Kimberly, her eyes were closed as she moved through the routine she’d been putting together for months for a guest appearance she was to be doing at the John Hancock Tour of 2004 Olympic Champions performance in Angel Grove. The newly minted Olympic Silver Medal Champion Men’s and Women’s teams, some of whom she’d trained years ago, had invited her to come out and share the performance with them. No one had heard from Kim since she’d taken the tumble from the balance beam during the all around competition at the Pan Globals in 2000, and she had to wonder why all of a sudden she was being asked to go to Angel Grove, her hometown, and perform with the best of the best in the gymnastics community.

The words reverberating out of the stereo had more than just bittersweet gymnastics memories clutching at her heart. She had never been one to be into the “boy bands” of the early nineties, but she had to admit, Tanya had been right when she’d told her that she’d enjoy the new c.d. from the quintet known as the Backstreet Boys. And one song in particular, Never Gone – the title track – seemed to get to her more than most.

As she headed into a tumbling pass, her heart lurched into her throat as the image of soulful brown eyes and a lazy smile exploded from her memories. It had been years since she’d thought of HIM. The imprint of those eyes and that smile of his nearly made her crash to the mat. Quickly, so as not to arouse suspicion from the girls, she ended her routine just as the song ended. After the applause had died down, she excused herself and headed into her office, sinking into her chair and covering her face with a towel.

‘I haven’t thought about him in years!’ Kim cried to herself. ‘Why now! Why, after all this time, is his memory coming back to haunt me!’

Moving closer to her desk, she set the towel down and reached into the top drawer, pulling out a silver picture frame. The picture in it brought back guilt and pain and hurt that she knew she’d never forgive herself for causing, to not only her heart but to the others as well.

It had been nearly nine years since she’d seen or spoken to him, the last time having been after their return from Murianthias. Jason, Adam, and Rocky had had Alpha lock them in a room without interruptions so they could talk. She remembered with crystal clear perfection the look of utter disbelief on his face when she’d told him the truth about why she’d broken up with him. In the nearly three years they’d been together, they hadn’t done much more in their relationship then a few, very heavy make out sessions. It had been almost as hard as writing the letter, to tell him that night, what had really broken them up.

She’s been at a party after she’d learned she’d made the Pan Global team, had gotten drunk because everyone else was – succumbing to peer pressure was a bitch – and she had committed the ultimate betrayal; she’d slept with one of her trainers. The look of hurt in his eyes had her heart breaking all over again. Lucky for her, Alpha had left her a communicator, giving her an out when the silence she faced had become too much. She remembered she had only stayed in Angel Grove long enough to see the guys save the orphanage and then had been at the airport when the celebration dinner had been taking place, getting on a plane to come back to Miami.

Taking a shuddering breath, Kimberly stuck the picture of them back into her desk and got up, heading for the showers.

**
Never gone
Never far
In my heart is where you are
Always close
Everyday
Every step along the way
Even though for now we've gotta say goodbye
I know you will be forever in my life
Never gone
**

The apartment was dark, save for the nightlight she left on in the hallway. Moving quickly and quietly, so as not to disturb her roommate and former teammate, Aisha, she went to her room, changed into her pajamas and went back to the kitchen to make herself something to eat.

Looking down at the kitchen table when she sat her plate down, Kim saw a note in Aisha’s careful handwriting.

Kim – Jason called again. Reunion coming up. Wants to know if you’re going. Told him still trying to talk you into it. Says its time for you to talk to you-know-who again. Laughed at him for ya. Night. – Sha

Kimberly shook her head. Jason had been trying unsuccessfully for years now to get her to go to the bi-annual team reunion, and every time she made an excuse not to. The first time, Zordon’s death had been entirely too fresh on her heart for her to go and be with the others, especially since it had been her choice to leave them behind. The second time she was still recovering from her injuries and couldn’t attend. The last time, she’d just flat out told Jason she was too busy to go. This time, she had no excuse. The reunion would be taking place during her month long summer vacation, just a few days after her guest performance in Angel Grove, and she knew that Jason knew that.

Her biggest reason, however, wasn’t because she was so busy she couldn’t go, it was because she didn’t think she was strong enough to face the legendary Ranger himself after how their last face to face meeting had gone.

“I see you’re home,” Aisha’s soft voice called out to her.

“Yeah, got your note. I’m not sure if I’m going.”

“I think you’d better rethink that. I’ve got ticket and hotel confirmation numbers here, from Jason, with your name on them.”

**
No no no

I walk alone these empty streets
There is not a second you’re not here with me
The love you gave, the grace you've shown
Will always give me strength and be my cornerstone
Somehow you found a way
To see the best I have in me
As long as time goes on
I swear to you that you will be
**

Kimberly sat on the bed in her hotel room, staring at her pink and white phone, which sat just in front of her, along with a piece of paper from Jason with a nine digit number and the words Tommy Oliver on it.

For the millionth time, she debated actually calling him. It’s not like she’d been pinning for him for nearly nine years. In fact, she hardly ever thought of him. And on the rare occasion when she did, it brought fond memories, even if they were wiped clean by the heartache.

“Just call his ass and ask him why the hell he hasn’t bothered to call Jason or show up for this reunion!” she growled to herself, finally picking up the phone and dialing the number.

It rang four times before a hauntingly familiar voice responded. “This is Tommy Oliver.”

“Tommy, its Kim.”

“I’m not home right now, so please leave your name, a number, and a quick message, and I’ll get back to you when I can. And Jason, if it’s you, we’ve already discussed that; the answer’s still no.”

Kim sighed and waited for the beep to sound before she began to record her message. “So the good doctor’s too busy to come see his friends? I should have known Jason’s been badgering you about coming, just like he’s been doing to me since forever. It’s me, Tommy. I just wanted to call and talk to you for a few minutes, but I guess you’re not home right now. You missed one hell of a party. Aisha and I are heading back to Miami in the morning, so I guess I’ll try you once I get home. Later Handsome.”

**
Never gone
Never far
In my heart is where you are
Always close
Everyday
Every step along the way
Even though for now we’ve got to say good-bye
I know you will be forever in my life

Never gone from me
If there’s one thing I believe (I believe)
I will see you somewhere down the road again
**

Aisha found her standing on a rock at Angel Grove Lake. The former Yellow Ranger and Ninja knew that this spot was particularly special to Kimberly – it was where she and Tommy had kissed for the first time and where he’d first asked her out.

“Did you call him?”

“I got his answering machine; I left a message,” Kim bit back a sniffle as Aisha wrapped a sisterly arm around her waist and laid her head on Kim’s shoulder.

“You ok?”

“Yes and no. I steeled myself to see him and then he didn’t show up, and when I finally gather enough courage to call him, I get his answering machine. I’m not sure what I feel or think or want to do at this point Aisha.” Soft brown met midnight black as their eyes locked. “Part of me wants to just go back home and forget about this part of my past, and yet, the other part of me is screaming to try and mend the bridges I burned. If there’s one thing Zordon’s death taught me, it was to never hold back what you feel.”

“And that’s just exactly what you’ve been doing with Tommy all these years,” Aisha continued for her. “You still love him. It may be different than when you were seventeen, but you still love him. None of us can blame you for holding onto that last part of your innocence. He was the first man you loved.”

“He is the only man I’ve ever loved,” Kimberly admitted. “Sure there have been others in my life; men I’ve given my body and mind to, but never my heart. After I broke Tommy’s so cruelly, I never gave mine to another – because ultimately, it’s always been his; my penance for ruining our future together.”

Aisha nodded, but stayed quiet, lending her strength to Kimberly in her time of turmoil. They stayed that way for a good half hour before Aisha noticed the time. “We’re going to be late if we don’t go.”

“Are the others coming to see us off?” Kim asked as the pair made their way to their rental car.

“Rocky told me they wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Kim smiled and followed her friend, before stopping and throwing one last look at the spot near the lake where so many memories were made for her.

**
Never gone
Never far
In my heart is where you are
Always close (always close)
Everyday (everyday)
Every step along the way
Even though for now we've gotta say goodbye (yeah yeah)
I know you will be forever in my life (in my life)

Never gone,
Never far
In my heart (in my heart is where) is where you are (you are)
Always close, everyday
Every step along the way

Never gone, never far
In my heart is where you are
**