|Out of Time
Author: Fateless Wanderer PM
Sequel to Out of Reach: Post Dino Thunder. With Kim gone, Tommy doesn't have much to live for save a promise he made ten years before And sometimes, promises don't last. Character death.Rated: Fiction T - English - Tragedy - Words: 6,099 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 14 - Published: 04-22-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2907004
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So, since Out of Reach was such a success, I figured I'd be nice and write a sequel. I don't think its as good the original, but it's at least a bit of a happier conclusion, although its still a very sad story. I hope you enjoy. Oh, and its very recommended that you read Out of Reach first.
Disclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever own anything power ranger related. Just the plot line. So now you can't sue me.
Some days, you just know you shouldn't get out of bed, but you do anyway. You made a promise, and you've got to keep it, no matter. You promised that you'd live. You promised you'd be happy. And you promised you'd be there. As time goes by it doesn't get easier to keep the promise. Sometimes, you're not really living. Sometimes, you're not really happy, and sometimes, you really aren't there.
Ten years had passed since Dr. Thomas Oliver made a promise to the woman he loved that he'd live on for her. That he'd find a way to be happy, despite the fact that an illness had removed her from his life before he was ever reunited with her. Everyday of those ten years had been harder than the one before it, as he slowly realized he'd never see her again. He often played it off as if it didn't bother him. He made his friends think he was ok. That he had finally moved on. But the truth was, he was kidding himself, and everyone, by acting like he could live without her.
It was Alexander's sixth birthday, and Tommy was down on the floor in the living room playing with his oldest nephew, tickling the boy until he collapsed helplessly into his uncle's warm embrace. One of Tommy's friends stuck her head into the livingroom from the kitchen.
"Tommy, you're going to tire him out before the party even starts," the boys mother told her friend. Tommy just grinned, stood the boy up, and gave him a light tap to send him on his way.
"Sorry Trini," Tommy responded, pushing himself to his feet and walking into the kitchen. His eight year old niece Candace was sitting at the table eating her breakfast, while her father was reading the paper. Tommy kissed the top of her head, and sat beside her. "Anything interesting, Jase?" Tommy asked, picking up the sports page.
"Nothing much. That kid, Cole Evans, you remember him?"
"Ummm… yeah, he was the really enthusiastic one. Poor kid, nearly fainted when he saw you," Tommy responded, keeping the conversation limited, since Candace was in the kitchen. Her mother, told her if she was careful she could finish eating in the living room. The eight year didn't hesitate to leave; her favorite cartoons were on. Jason shook his head at his daughter anymore, and gave Trini a look of gratitude as the former yellow ranger sat down at the table beside him.
"Rookies. Anyway, says here he's organizing a nation wide wildlife conservation program based here in California," Jason continued.
Tommy nodded. "Looks like we all find a way to move on once the power's gone," he told his friend, and glanced out the window at the circular loop, with the crane charm on it hanging from the porch. He remembered when Candace had first asked about it. She had been sitting on the bench watching Tommy and Jason spar. Her mother had been inside feeding Alex his bottle at the time. Candace had told her uncle she wanted to be a gymnast when she grew up, after Tommy told her about Kimberly. The thought had always made him smile. She'd been so proud when she brought home her first trophy.
"We do," Trini confirmed. "And in light of moving on, I've got to finish setting up for this party. And you two should be helping," Trini told them, looking expectantly from her husband to Tommy.
"What's there to do, Trin?" Jason asked her, not taking his eyes off the paper he was holding. Tommy finally turned his eyes away from the window, and looked at her, eyebrows raised, as if to say, "I'm not his father".
"Well, I could use a hand decorating, and one of you needs to go get the cake."
"I'll get the cake," Jason said, jumping up and grabbing the car keys. "Hey Candy-girl, want to go with Daddy to go get Alex's birthday cake?" he asked going into the kitchen, Tommy glaring at him for taking the easy job, and following.
"Nope," Candace replied.
"I'm helping mommy," she replied, matter-of-factly. She took her plate and cup back into the kitchen and placed them in the sink, before getting her step stool to help wash the dishes. Jason shook his head.
"How about you Alex? Want to go get your cake?" Jason asked his son who was sitting on the living room floor playing with a toy truck. The boy head his mother's black hair, but otherwise he was the splitting image of his father, where as, Candace had much more delicate features, but her father's athletic nature. She wasn't as patient as her mother and brother.
"Ok," Alex said after a moment. He stood up and followed his father out to the car. Tommy tried to follow.
"Where do you think you're going, Dr. Oliver?" Trini teased. Tommy cringed, and turned around, running his hand through his hair.
"Uh… I was looking for the decorations?" he asked, hoping it was the right answer. Trini just smiled and hit him lightly with the dish towel.
"Nice try, decorations are on the coffee table in the living room," Trini told him, disappearing into the kitchen when she heard the sound of water hitting the floor. Obviously Candace had gotten a bit over enthusiastic with the dish washing. Tommy shook his head as he heard the sounds of Trini panicking. He'd just sat down on the couch to look through the decorations when Candace emerged from the kitchen, her pink shirt drenched.
"You should go change," he told her when she sat down next to him, picking up a pack of balloons, and pulled them open. She shook her head, and began to blow up the balloons, kicking her feet on the edge of the couch. Tommy smiled at her. Of course she wouldn't change. She was too afraid she'd miss something. Bed time for Candace was a nightmare. She just didn't want anything to happen without her. He resumed his task of decorating, and was joined by Trini, and later Jason when he returned with the karate cake Alex had wanted. The kids ran off to play outside, Trini begging them not to get dirty.
Fifteen minutes before the party was supposed to start, the doorbell rang. Tommy put down the balloon he was hanging, and went to get it, since Trini had gone to get Candace and Alex to change to party clothes, and Jason was trying to mount the piñata. He opened the door and was attacked by three little children. The force of them all hitting his legs nearly sent him backwards, and he stooped to hug each of them.
"Uncle Tommy!" The three five and a half year olds were like little monkies. They were hanging on him and jumping and yelling only moments after he'd greeted the other three members of the family behind them.
"Rocky; Your children are insane," he told the man, as Aisha escorted Toby, Margret, and Louis, the triplet terrors, at least that's what Zack called them, into the living room.
"Hey don't blame me. They get it from their mother," he told his friend, shaking his hand. Aisha looked back over her shoulder when the three kids ran to tackle their other uncle, who had jumped off the ladder the moment he realized he was at the door. She stuck her tongue out at both Rocky and Tommy, while Tommy bent down to lift the sixth member of the DeSantos family into a bear hug.
"And how is my little Allie-cat?" he asked the seven year, as she threw her arms around his neck. White the triplets and Alison all had a skin tone between their mother and father, there was no doubting that Alison looked more like her dad. No to mention the fact that she was daddy's little girl, a role she wasn't overly willing to share with Margret. Where the younger three were hyper and always ready for fun, Allie was much more reserved and quiet.
"I'm good," she replied. "Can I go play with Candace now?" she asked, squirming in his arms. Tommy gave her a mock hurt look, kissed her on the head and put her on the ground.
"Sure kiddo," he replied.
"Say hi to Uncle Jason and Aunt Trini first," Rocky called after her, as he and Tommy walked into the living room once more. The triplets had abandoned Jason who was back up on the ladder, in favor of finding ways to get into trouble with Alex. Margret was the boss, Toby the comedian, Louis the sweet one, and Alex was the mediator. Usually, they got along perfectly, at least until Margret decided they should spy on Candace and Allie. Then things usually got out of control. Aisha was in the kitchen helping Trini, with the food for the adults.
Jason finally got the piñata done, and Tommy hung up the last balloon, as they plopped down on the couch and the door bell rang again.
"Its open," Jason shouted, breaking from the conversation with his friends for a moment. The house was already starting to sound like a circus, and it wasn't helped by the sound of more running. A boy with short curly black hair launched himself into Rocky's arms.
"Josh, you're going to kill your uncle if you keep doing that," Tanya told her son, as she entered the living room. She placed the birthday gift on the table beside the ones from his parents, Tommy, and the DeSantos family, and moved to help Rocky disengage the four year old from his neck. No sooner was Rocky free, than the child latched onto to Tommy. Tanya gave up, as Adam finally got the baby stroller into the house. The former ranger just shook his head at the boy who was sitting on Jason's lap talking about everything in the world.
"I swear, that boy isn't mine," he remarked. While Tanya wasn't nearly as reserved and shy as Adam was, no one knew exactly where the talk-a-tive nature of the toddler had come from. Tanya lifted the eight month old baby girl from the stroller, and pulled a bottle out of the bag.
"Course he's not; I told you about the mail man, didn't I?" she joked, kissing the stunned Adam on the cheek and disappearing into the kitchen with baby Lillian. Adam stared after her.
"Give it up man, she won," came a voice from the entrance way. The guys looked from Adam to the new comer in the doorway.
"Hi Zack!" all three women called from the kitchen.
"Hey ladies. Angela says hi, and she's sorry she couldn't come, but being sick and all, she didn't want to be around all the kids," Zack told them, placing three year old Jessica on the floor and adding another gift to the pile. She and Jessica took off down the hall toward the kids rooms, as Adam and Zack joined the other guys on the couch.
Conversation resumed before the doorbell rang again. Trini went to answer it, as the other women entered the living room. Trini returned carrying a six year old girl in her arms, leading two more of their friends. The moment the child saw Tommy she reached out towards him. Trini handed her over to the child's other favorite "relative". Tommy just bounced the very quiet Abigail on his lap, as Haley plopped down next to him, hugging him around the neck.
"So, the genius family decided to join us common folk after all?" Rocky said, as Billy added a gift to pile and went to sit beside his wife. Tommy had released Abigail who went to find Alex and the triplets. Together the five of them were dangerous. Unfortunately, dangerous wasn't what they had to worry about. Once single mother Kat had arrived with her son Brandon, they were all doomed. Tommy had always said the six of them reminded him of themselves.
Billy glared at Rocky for a moment as the group laughed. The party was in full swing, even without the remaining guests, and the children were running around, getting underfoot, and making royal pains of themselves, well before Kat arrived. No one noticed Brandon until they heard crying. Josh sat on the floor, bawling his eyes out, pointing at the larger six year old blond boy who was holding Alex's fire truck and glaring at him. It took them all a few minutes to get Josh to calm down, and Brandon was put in time out for stealing the fire truck. Margret had taken it upon herself to scold him, and as a result found herself in another corner, her father standing over her.
"Is it safe to come in?" a new voice asked from the doorway. Tommy who was closest looked to see Conner and Ethan standing in the doorway. Tommy nodded, and the two entered, adding more gifts to the ever growing pile.
"We could hear you all the way down the street," Trent said, helping Kira into the house, as the two followed their friends.
"Next time I vote we all just take one big bus," Kira told them. "It'll save parking spaces," she added, placing her and Trent's gift beside the rest, and then finding a seat on the couch beside Aisha and Tanya.
"How are you feeling, Kira?" Trini asked her as Trent brought his wife a glass of punch.
"Huge," Kira responded, causing all the girls to laugh.
"When's the due date?" Adam asked her, knowing it was soon.
"The doctor said any day now. I'm so ready for this to be over," she said, laughing a bit.
"Can we please talk about something other than my former student being pregnant?" Tommy asked, looking uneasy. "It makes me feel old."
"You are old," Ethan told him.
"Gee, thanks." Tommy said dryly, as the party resumed.
It was only a five hour party, but it felt like forever. Alex had enthusiastically opened his presents, throwing wrapping paper everywhere. Jason who'd agreed to be on trash duty had to race around the living room to collect it so that Trini wouldn't glare at him from leaving a mess. Trent and Kira had bought the six year old a portable CD player; Conner had bought him a soccer ball; Ethan had given the boy a video game for his game boy; From Kat and Brandon, Alex got a red watch; Billy, Haley, and Abby got him a set of books on karate; Zack and Jessica gave the boy dance CD, which he immediately wanted to put in his CD player; Adam, Tanya, Josh, and Lily got him a pair of soccer cleats; Rocky, Aisha, Allie, Toby, Margret, and Louis got him a punching bag; Candace gave her brother a home made card; Jason and Trini had redone his whole room with a mixture of Karate and Soccer themes; lastly, Tommy gave the boy a ticket to the Angel Grove Karate and Gymnastics finals in a month. When Candace looked jealous, Tommy handed her an envelope revealing another ticket. The eight year old had immediately launched her self against him, and then run off to go call her friend Susan.
By the time they'd all eaten cake, and broken the piñata (during which Brandon had given Rocky a black eye with the bat), Lily, Josh, and Jessica were sound asleep, Kira was falling asleep; Brandon and Margret were being more bossy than usual, Abby and Alex were even quieter than they usually were, and Toby and Louis were just plain cranky. Allie was looking through Jason and Trini's wedding album on the table, with Candace. The party broke up slowly, eventually leaving only Jason, Trini, Tommy, Billy, and Haley in the house. Abby and Alex had finally fallen asleep on the couch, and Candace had curled up in front of the TV watching cartoons again, while the adults cleaned up the mess.
"So, when are you going to settle down, and add another Oliver to world?" Haley asked Tommy, who was helping Jason get the remains of the piñata off the ceiling. He looked at her and shook his head. "Come on, even Kira and Trent have started a family. Ethan and that girl Megan he's been seeing are getting really serious, and I caught Conner looking at engagement rings at the mall. I think he's going to ask Annie soon. What about you?"
"I'm perfectly content being the fun loving uncle with no commitments," Tommy retorted, stepping off the ladder.
"What about that nice girl Stacey?" Trini asked him, bringing in coffee for them all. "You seemed to be getting pretty serious about her. I'm sure she'd love to go with you and the kids to the finals."
"No," Tommy told her. "I don't think so. It's not right," he said sitting down. Jason and Billy had brought Abby and Alex into the boys room so their conversation wouldn't wake them.
"What was wrong with her?" Haley asked, as her husband sat down beside her.
Tommy shook his head, and sat back, looking at the cartoons on the tv. Candace seemed lost in them. It was her favorite one. The main character was a teenage gymnast who could transform into a pink super hero, who fought aliens along with her four friends: a girl in blue, a boy in green, another boy in yellow, and the last was a good alien who was red. Candace had told him that the girl had a crush on the new kid at school, but she didn't go out with him even though he liked her back because she didn't want him to know she was the pink super samurai.
"Tommy, no one is going to be exactly like Kimberly," Billy told him. Tommy's eyes flashed with anger, as he glared at his friends.
"You think that's what I want?"
"Well, yeah bro, we do," Jason told him.
"You're wrong. I just don't want to go out with Stacey, or anyone else for that matter," Tommy told them.
"Alright, fine," Haley snapped. "You don't have to be so defensive."
"I wouldn't have to be if you'd all keep your noses out of my business," he yelled back, startling Candace, who jumped and looked back at the adults.
"Candy-girl, go finish watching your show in your room please," Jason told her.
"She doesn't have to. I'm leaving." Tommy said, getting up and walking out of the house. Just as he reached the car he felt someone tug on his pants. He turned around and saw Candace standing beside him, tears in her eyes.
"Aww, Candy-cane, I'm sorry I scared you," he told her, kneeling so he was eye level with the girl.
"You really miss her, huh, Uncle Tommy?" the girl asked. "Mommy said you never loved anyone as much as you loved Aunt Kimberly."
"That's not true," Tommy told her, hugging her. "I love you just as much."
"Yep. You're my little crane," he told her, standing and kissing her head again. "No go back inside. Tell your parents, Aunt Haley, and Uncle Billy I'll talk to them later. I'll see you in a few weeks for the finals."
"Ok, Uncle Tommy," she replied before running back onto the porch and waving goodbye like she always did. He waved back, knowing she wouldn't go inside until he was out of sight. Tommy sighed and climbed into his car, and started the motor up. He put the vehicle in reverse and began backing out of the driveway and onto the street. He never saw the eighteen wheeler come barreling down the road. He never heard the screech of tires. He heard the sound of crunching metal as truck slammed into the drivers side door, shattering the windows. He never felt the airbags attempt to cushion his body on impact. He never heard Candace scream, or the shouts of the other driver, or the thundering of footsteps. All he knew at that moment was that there was a white light, and a hand reaching out to him. He didn't know what would happen, but he was so cold at that moment and the hand seemed warm. He reached up and clasped the hand in his own, his fingers melding with the others, and he felt himself being lifted up towards the light.
Jason, Trini, Billy, and Haley had heard the crash followed by Candace's scream. They knew she'd followed Tommy out like she always did, and fearing the worst, they took off towards the door, only to find the little girl staring open mouthed at the site on the road. A crumpled jeep was turned on its side, completely destroyed, while the front of an eighteen wheeler looked crunched up. Candace collapsed into her mother's arms sobbing, as Billy and Jason ran to the jeep to help the driver of the truck get Tommy out. Haley ran back inside to call 9-1-1, her eyes flooding over with tears as well.
Many other ranger teams were in attendance; some just partial teams, many of them former red rangers who had fought alongside Tommy and Jason on the moon mission. Finally, the priest finished his speech, and all of the former rangers, save the remaining original nine, walked up and deposited their rose into the casket. Trent had to drag Kira away, as she almost collapsed beside the wooden box.
Jason asked that everyone else leave at that point. When the priest hesitated, Conner and Ethan insisted, nearly dragging the ma away. Everyone else complied, knowing that Tommy's "family" would want to be with him alone. Haley leaned up and kissed Billy on the cheek. Angela did the same to Zack, and together the two women joined the Dino Thunder rangers beside the black limo with the children. The six of them leaned against it, watching Jason step up beside the casket. From the car, they could still hear what was going on, but they were giving the first rangers their privacy.
Jason turned and looked inside the casket. Billy had made sure Tommy's old communicator was in place on the man's wrist that morning. Haley had had to search for it in the mess Tommy'd called home. It had been hard going through all his things. He was dressed in a black suit, with a white shirt, a green tie, and a red rose pinned to the jacket. Three roses surrounded his head: red, green, and black. Jason felt the first tear fall, as he turned back to his friends, his daughter, and his niece.
"I don't even know where to start. Tommy was more than a friend to me. He was my brother. He was the god father to my children. He was the best man at my wedding. He was the one person I would blindly follow into any battle and not be scared because I knew if he was there I'd be alright. I knew from the moment we became friends that it was a friendship that would last, one that wasn't going to end, no matter what. And despite the fact that we did lose contact with one another for a while, our friendship returned stronger than ever. He helped Trini through the birth of Candace when I got stuck in New York on business. He was there when Alex was sick. He was always there when one of us or our kids were in danger. He never missed a birthday, or a Christmas. He was the hero, the leader, the one that held us all together. We could call him at all hours and he'd be there.
"Tommy was all of our leaders at one point. He lead us into countless situations we didn't know we'd come back from. But we never doubted him. We never once thought he'd get us killed, because we know he'd risk himself for anyone of us without second thought.
"He never gave up on us. Not once. No when were arguing, or when Kimberly and I were kidnapped all those years ago.
"And when we were young, and he was broken hearted, he pulled himself together for the good of the team. Not because he wanted to help himself, but because he knew he needed to be there for us.
"These past ten years have been hard on him. They've been hard on all of us. When Kimberly died, it was as if part of Tommy died too. But again, he pulled himself together, and stayed in our lived because we were a team, and he knew we needed him. I can't imagine what life would have been like this last decade if he wasn't in our lives.
"Tommy was our light in the dark. He always will be. And even though it hurts that he's gone, we know he's finally happy. He's with Kimberly again, where he belongs. We've got to be happy for them, because they wouldn't want us to feel like it was our fault. One day we'll all be together. Death does not mean the end." Jason was crying fully by the time he'd finished his speech. None of his friends had dry eyes. Allison and Candace had turned to grab their parents tighter. Jason constantly thought they were too young for this, but the girls had been Tommy's favorite and they had both loved him so much. He looked down at Tommy's body again, and tried to smile. "I'll miss you bro," he whispered, kissed his rose and laid it down. Trini followed and added her own. Next was Billy, and then Zack. Rocky went next, followed by Aisha and then Adam, and then Kat, and Tanya put hers in last, reforming a group on the other side of the casket. Jason looked back at the two little girls. He pulled a untied thread loop from his pocket and went over to him, hugging both of them in his arms. Both girls were crying but they stood straight as Jason untied the loop and handed it and a white falcon charm to Alison. She tied the falcon beside the already existing crane and handed the loop to Candace, who handed her the pink rose she held. Alison put the roses together, and Candace wrapped the tread the roses, knotting them tightly together, and then took the small bundle from her "cousin". Together, the two approached the casket, and Candace set the two roses on top of Tommy's heart. Jason sent them back to their mothers, and finally closed the top of the casket, glancing at the tomb stone beside it. "Our leader in life; Our hero; Our spirit; Our freedom; Our love", he murmured, reciting the words carved on the white marble beside the pink stone. He turned to see that the other had left him alone with the two graves. They'd piled into the cars, leaving one for him to take back when he was ready.
Jason knelt at the base of the two graves, and let the tears fall for a few minutes. He felt a slight pressure on his left shoulder.
Jason turned to see who was with him, but all he saw was a bit of transparent white. He lifted his own hand and touched his shoulder, a small smile creeping on his lips, as the white mingled with a bit of pink. "Thanks guys," he whispered. "Thanks for telling me you're together. I'll miss you, but we'll be together one day." He stood up and walked back to the last remaining car.
Beside the graves, two semi-transparent bodies stood side by side, their hands linked. Neither of them looked over the age of seventeen. One wore a light pink sun dress. The other wore a pair of black jeans and a white muscle shirt. Both had long hair pulled back.
"He's going to be ok," the girl told her companion who nodded.
"I know," he replied, watching as Jason walked away. "But I'm going to him. I'm going to miss them all."
"We'll be together again one day," she told him, reaching up to kiss him on the lips. "I missed you, handsome."
He smiled down at her and kissed her forehead. "I missed you too," he added, looking down at the communicators on their wrists. "We should go," he whispered.
"You catch on quick," she laughed, and together they turned and disappeared as the cemetery staff arrived to lower the casket into the freshly dug gave.
The eight of them looked at one another. The one in pink spoke first. "Dad said if we had any doubts about doing this, this is where we should go," Candace told her friends. "Are we ready?"
Abby rubbed her hand over her blue wrist band, "Affirmative," she muttered. The others all nodded and they walked toward the two grave stones at the back of the Angel Grove cemetery. Once they reached the graves, Candace stood in front between them. Alison, in gold, took her right hand, while Alex, in white, took her left. Margret, in red, took her older sisters other hand. Abby joined hands with Alex and held her other one out to Toby in black. Bandon, in yellow, took Margret's last free hand, and offered his hand to Louis in green. Together the eight of them stood and closed their eyes, silently asking if they would be strong enough for what lay before them.
Two transparent figures who often visited the graves when old friends were there stood in front of the eight of them once more. Though a decade had passed, both still looked seventeen.
The boy smiled at the girl, and she nodded. He stepped forward and placed hand on Candace's shoulder. She stiffened but didn't move. "Hey Candy-cane, Allie-cat," he whispered, resting his other hand on the other girls shoulder. "You're all going to do great," he whispered, although each of them felt him. He stepped back and the girl wrapped her arms around him, seeing tears in his eyes. The ten of them stood there silently as the wind surrounded them, and ten communicators went off, the sounds mingling with the sounds of the air.