|Beneath the Waves
Author: SparklyTree3876 PM
AU set ten years after "Countdown to Destruction." Kim and her two small children go to live with her father and stepmother in Angel Grove after she loses her husband to leukemia. She gets a job as a gymnastics coach for youths and begins spending time with her friends, especially Tommy. Things take an unexpected turn when she and Tommy become attracted to each other again.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Family - Tommy O. & Kim H. - Chapters: 10 - Words: 39,032 - Reviews: 80 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 05-19-13 - Published: 02-22-13 - id: 9037086
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Beneath the Waves
Pairings: Tommy/Kim, Billy/Kat, Jason/Trini, Andros/Ashley, Zhane/Karone, Rocky/Aisha, TJ/Cassie, Adam/Tanya, and Zack/Angela
Author's Notes: Hi, readers. Here's my newest Power Rangers fic. It's an AU taking place ten years after "Countdown to Destruction." It is a departure from "Hopeful Hearts" by focusing on real life in regards to the characters. In fact, no other Power Rangers seasons exist after In Space. I was watching Power Rangers one day and thought about Kim. I wondered what it'd be like if she was a widow with two small children who returned to Angel Grove. As a result, this fic was born. This isn't one where Tommy and Kim reunite. They've remained friends and kept in contact through the years. I wanted to do this fic because I was tired of all the reunion fics that put them way out of character. Even worse were the ones that bashed Kat. I hate that because she is one of my favorite characters and did nothing wrong, except when she was under Rita's spell. I felt it was time for something more original. I hope you enjoy this fic. Any constructive criticism is welcome.
Chapter 1: Paying Respects
The sun beamed its rays on the Hillside Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina, on a cool Thursday afternoon in late winter. Two squirrels ran across the ground. They approached a large rectangular-shaped headstone that stood upright and had two praying angel statues sitting on both sides of it. The wording read 'In Memory of Marcus Bradley' at the top, 'A Loving Husband and Father' in the middle, and 'May 5, 1975-December 28, 2007' at the bottom.
Ten years had passed since the last team of Power Rangers stopped Dark Specter's attack on the universe. Many planets suffered a great deal of damage, which took a long while to clean it up. The previous twelve Rangers learned of Zordon's death when they felt his energy wave pass through them. They were very saddened. They returned to the destroyed Power Chamber and paid their respects to him along with Andros, Ashley, TJ, Cassie, Carlos, Zhane, and Karone. Many Earth civilians figured out the identities of past Rangers. They were impressed with how ordinary humans came to defend their world and countless others from evil forces. They came to respect them greatly.
The squirrels sniffed the ground, twitching their ears. They heard approaching footsteps and saw Kim coming their way. They ran away, their tails going up and down. They disappeared behind a bush. Kim stopped before the headstone and knelt down with a light grunt. She reached out to touch it. She ran her hand along the lettering while letting out a soft sigh.
"Hey, Marcus. It's me. I thought I'd come see you before I left for Angel Grove. It doesn't feel like two months since you died. It feels like only yesterday. I miss you so much. So do Stephen, Lilli, and everyone else," Kim whispered solemnly.
Kim felt a tear come to her eye and wiped it away. She looked down at the ground for a long moment. She took several deep breaths before touching the right angel.
"Our little boy is five now. Can you believe that? It wasn't so long ago when we brought him home from the hospital. Our baby girl is getting big. She'll be three before we know it. They're a little uncertain about moving to Angel Grove, but I think living with Daddy and Anna will put them at ease," Kim said and folded her hands.
Kim touched the left angel and closed her eyes. She met Marcus not long after she arrived in Miami to train for the Pan Global Games in August 1995. They became fast friends. Marcus introduced her to another teammate named Kenny Nestor. She started spending much time with Kenny and found herself falling for him. She made the difficult decision to end her relationship with Tommy via letter in February 1996. She participated in the Pan Global Games two months later and won a silver medal. So did Marcus. He and Kim headed to the Atlanta Olympics. Both of them got gold medals.
Kim patched things up with Tommy after the incident with Maligore in March 1997. They decided to remain friends. Tommy and the others met Kenny not long after and liked him a lot. However, Kim broke up with Kenny after eighteen months of dating him. She became sad and found comfort in Marcus. They became attracted to each other during their training for the Sydney Olympics. They started dating in February 1998. Kim met Marcus's parents, Jerry and Jules, during a visit to Boston three months later. Jerry and Jules liked her instantly.
Kim met Andros, Ashley, TJ, Cassie, Carlos, Zhane, and Karone when she returned to Angel Grove to pay her respects to Zordon. She became friends with all of them. She took Marcus to visit Angel Grove for Spring Break in March 1999. Marcus met Tommy, Jason, Zack, Trini, Rocky, Adam, Kat, Justin, Andros, Ashley, TJ, Cassie, Carlos, Zhane, and Karone. The same went for her father, Robert, and his new girlfriend, Anna Nickerson. Everyone liked Marcus almost immediately. Billy and Aisha met him four months later after they returned from Aquitar and Africa respectively. So did Andre and Caroline while they were on vacation.
Marcus and Kim participated in the Sydney Olympics and won two gold medals each. He proposed to her on international television after winning his second gold medal overall, and she accepted it immediately. They told Coach Schmidt they were retiring from competitive gymnastics. The news saddened him, but he gave them his blessing. Robert, Anna, Andre, and Caroline were uncertain about Kim marrying at twenty-two, but they understood she loved Marcus. Marcus and Kim married on November 20, 2000, surrounded by their family and friends in Angel Grove. They met Tommy's new girlfriend, Megan Lester, whom they liked instantly. They moved to Raleigh and got jobs as gymnastics coaches for children. They attended Robert and Anna's wedding three months after theirs. That was followed by Tommy and Megan's four months later. Jerry was killed in a car accident on December 15, 2001. Jules died following a seven-month battle with breast cancer on March 29, 2002.
Marcus and Kim welcomed Stephen Joseph Bradley into the world on January 18, 2003. Lilli Julia Bradley followed on May 28, 2005. In June 2007, Marcus began experiencing fatigue and weakness. He developed bruises on many parts of his body. The lymph nodes in his neck became very swollen. Marcus was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. He was given six to ten months to live. The news devastated Kim. She and Marcus learned about Megan's death in a drunken driving crash a month later and revealed his diagnosis at her funeral. Everyone was shocked and expressed their condolences, especially Tommy. Marcus died peacefully with Kim at his hospital bedside. A week after the funeral, Kim decided she wanted to return to Angel Grove. Robert and Anna offered her, Stephen, and Lilli to live with them in which she accepted. Much of the family's stuff was sent to their home over the next seven weeks. They would be leaving Saturday morning.
Kim opened her eyes and stood up. Footsteps caught her attention. She looked over her shoulder to see fifty-seven-year-old Paula Rudolph approaching. Paula was African-American. She was petite and had dark brown eyes. Her ebony black hair was in dreadlocks. Her eyebrows were very thin, almost invisible. She had very few wrinkles on her face. She wore a light red sweater, dark blue jeans, dark brown socks, and light brown sneakers. She stopped next to Kim.
"Hey, Paula," Kim greeted.
"Hey, Kim. How are you?" Paula wondered.
"I'm doing okay," Kim answered and looked toward the headstone. "I wanted to visit Marcus before I left."
"I figured you might. I decided to come see him myself," Paula said and let out a quiet sigh.
"That's sweet of you," Kim replied and touched her friend's shoulder. "If you're wondering where Stephen and Lilli are, they're spending time with Taylor and Ester's kids. I figured it'd be good for them before they said goodbye."
"I understand," Paula said.
Paula crossed her arms. She had been Marcus and Kim's next-door neighbor ever since they moved here. She was very fond of their children and always offered to babysit them. She gave them advice whenever they needed it. She occasionally played pranks on one or both of them. She was shocked to learn about Marcus's leukemia and comforted Kim the best she could. She attended his funeral. She felt very sad when she learned Kim, Stephen, and Lilli were leaving, but she eventually accepted it.
Paula and Kim heard cooing and spotted two doves sitting on a branch near the middle of a tree on their right. The doves flapped their wings to air them out. They shook their heads and ran their beaks through their feathers. Paula and Kim watched them closely until they took off flying. They returned their attention to the headstone.
"I can't count the number of times Marcus pointed out the doves that sat in the trees in our backyard. He thought they were the most beautiful birds in the world," Kim said.
"There's no arguing with that. He was a huge fan of other birds too," Paula said.
"Oh, yeah. He loved pointing out the hawks that flew overhead. He even managed to catch a glimpse of an owl sitting in a tree one night. He got very excited and brought Stephen and Lilli out to see it. Their eyes lit up when they saw it," Kim murmured, chuckling to herself.
"He could identify what type of bird he saw, even if it was in the distance. He had that keen eye for detail," Paula said and smiled lightly.
Paula and Kim saw another dove fly in and land on the ground on their left. The dove poked its beak into soil. It pulled out worm and swallowed it very quickly. It flew to a large boulder nearby. Paula and Kim looked at each other.
"Marcus was such a great father to Stephen and Lilli. He couldn't imagine life without them. He loved the kids we taught gymnastics to. They were always great students. He reminded me a lot of Tommy and Jason. They are just like him," Kim said.
"He was always full of life. He could make you smile when you felt sad. He could make you laugh, even if his jokes were dumb," Paula said warmly.
"He liked playing pranks on people. He teamed up with Rocky and Zack a couple of times. They made the perfect team. Of course, some of their pranks backfired on them. Their priceless reactions were fun to see," Kim whispered, allowing a snicker to escape her lips.
"No doubt about that," Paula agreed and laughed.
Kim became serious very quickly. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to keep tears from forming. Paula noticed and expressed much sympathy for her. Kim opened her eyes slowly.
"I never imagined Marcus dying at such a young age. He'd been healthy all his life. He always took care of himself," Kim whispered, looking down at the ground.
"You can appear to be the picture of perfect health, but you can still have something very wrong with you," Paula responded truthfully.
"When he learned he had terminal leukemia, he looked like he had been punched in the stomach. It was as if his world had ended. He remained strong, even as he weakened rapidly during the last four weeks of his life," Kim muttered, choking back a sob.
Kim put her hands over her eyes and began to cry. Tears streamed down her cheeks. Paula slipped her arms around her to give her a hug. She rocked her back and forth, shushing her. She rubbed her arms while kissing her temple.
"Cancer is such a terrible disease. It can strike without warning," Paula whispered, taking a deep breath.
"It doesn't seem fair Marcus was taken from my children and me. He had so much to live for," Kim muttered, still crying.
"Life isn't always fair. Neither is death. Bad things do happen to good people," Paula said honestly.
"Marcus was a wonderful man. I knew he was the second I met him. I was so happy to have my first real friend in Miami. He was helpful in showing me around town. I never thought I'd marry him someday," Kim commented, sighing heavily.
"Life is full of surprises, isn't it?" Paula asked.
"Yeah. The way he proposed to me was incredible. He was so courageous to do it in front of the whole world," Kim answered.
"He wasn't afraid of taking risks. That's for sure," Paula said. "He may be gone, but he's with you and your children. He'll always be with you. God will take care of him until the end of time."
Kim gave Paula a small nod. She managed to stop crying, though some stray tears fell from her eyes. She started to feel better. Paula released her hold on her and patted her back.
"Now, what do you say we go get something to eat?" Paula suggested.
"Okay," Kim replied.
Paula and Kim walked away from the headstone. They glanced over their shoulders at it. They looked ahead, humming to themselves. A dove flew in, landing on the headstone.
Paula and Kim sat together in a back booth at Arby's around twenty minutes later. Both of them had beef-n-cheddar sandwiches, large curly fries, and large cokes. They heard screaming and spotted a girl banging her fists on a table across from them. The girl's mother tried to quiet her, but she didn't have any luck. Paula and Kim turned to each other.
"Talk about a temper tantrum," Paula mumbled and rolled her eyes.
"Tell me about it. Stephen and Lilli never act like that whenever we go out. They're always good at sitting quietly," Kim said, sipping her coke.
"That's because you and Marcus taught them how they should act in public. Many parents don't do that. They just let their kids do whatever they want," Paula said and popped a fry into her mouth.
"It's not just young parents. Older parents are letting their kids get away with a lot too. They'd rather be their friends than their parents. Is it so hard to say no?" Kim asked, holding up her hands.
"It's not when you teach it to your kids at an early age," Paula said.
"Of course, even the best-behaved kids will act out sometimes. Nobody is perfect. All you can do is your best," Kim said as she propped her head up with her elbow.
"You've done that with your kids. I don't think I've seen anyone better behaved," Paula said with a smile.
"Thanks," Kim replied in much warmness.
Paula winked at Kim, who took a bite out of her sandwich. She watched her chew it up and swallow it. She drank some of her coke, smacking her lips. She moved the straw up and down after laying it on the table.
"So, where are Stephen and Lilli going to daycare?" Paula wondered.
"I'm enrolling them at Pearly Gates Daycare. Ashley works with the older preschoolers there. Frankie is in her class. That's where Stephen will be. Anna takes care of the toddlers. She'll have Lilli," Kim explained.
"It's good familiar people will be caring for your children," Paula responded and placed her hands in her lap.
"Yeah. Ashley and Anna love being around children. They'll help Stephen and Lilli adjust," Kim commented.
"Aren't Andros and Ashley expecting their first child?" Paula asked curiously.
"Yes, they are," Kim said, smiling widely. "Their baby is due in June. They're very excited about it."
"I remember when you and Marcus were expecting Stephen," Paula said sweetly. "You looked so excited. You were also a little nervous."
"We were first-time parents. We didn't know what to expect, though Mom and Daddy kept telling us what would happen. Thank God that Stephen was an easy-going baby. That made caring for Lilli much easier," Kim said, eating a fry.
"You told me Jason and Trini had an easy time with Frankie," Paula commented.
"Oh, yes. He was a calm baby. You could touch him when he was asleep without waking him up," Kim said, a warm laugh coming out of her mouth.
"I wish all babies were calm like Frankie, Stephen, and Lilli. Some scream so loud that you think you'll lose your hearing any second," Paula muttered and cringed badly.
"Mm-hmm," Kim agreed. "Every baby is different. You can never be sure what you'll get."
Paula shrugged her shoulders. She ate two more of her fries before sipping a little bit of her coke.
"I'm going to wait a couple of weeks before I enroll Stephen and Lilli in the daycare. I want them to get settled in at Daddy and Anna's house first," Kim said.
"That's good. You shouldn't rush things for them. It's a huge change of environment for them after all," Paula pointed out.
"That house has an upstairs area. Ours didn't. Stephen and Lilli will have to get used to going up and down the steps all the time," Kim commented.
"I'm sure they'll get the hang of it," Paula said confidently.
"Me too," Kim replied.
Kim watched a boy and his mother pass her. The boy waved at her and gave her a sweet smile. Kim winked at him, getting a chuckle from his mother when she saw that. She turned back to Paula.
"I'm going to miss you and your children dearly, Kim. The neighborhood won't be the same without you three," Paula whispered, her voice showing some sadness.
"I'm going to miss you too, Paula. I think being near my family and friends in Angel Grove will help me a lot. Besides, I haven't spent much time with Daddy since he and Mom divorced. Moving in with him and Anna will give me a chance to be with him more. The same goes for her," Kim said.
"It was nice of them to offer you to move in with them," Paula said.
"They were always welcoming whenever Marcus, Stephen, Lilli, and I visited them. They love Stephen and Lilli a lot and are eager to spend time with them. Mom and Andre are closer in Caribou, but I know very few people there. Angel Grove has Daddy, Anna, Tommy, Jason, Trini, Billy, Kat, Andros, Ashley, Zhane, and Karone. Even Bulk, Skull, and Lt. Stone are still there. Ernie returned from his volunteer work in South America four years ago and is running the Youth Center again," Kim said and laid her hands on the table.
"You know many people in that city," Paula laughed.
"Angel Grove has always been a tight-knit community. The people are friendly and willing to help you if you don't know your way around. There are many attractions to see, including the famous Angel Grove Aquarium. I think I'd do better in an environment I'm familiar with than in one that I've been in only a few times. I love Mom and Andre a lot, but Caribou is too unfamiliar for me," Kim commented.
"That's understandable," Paula murmured and exhaled slowly.
Kim reached over to take Paula's hand into hers. She squeezed it very gently. Paula patted her friend's arm, giving her a light smile.
"You and your children are always welcome to visit me here in Raleigh," Paula commented.
"You're always welcome to visit us in Angel Grove," Kim responded.
Paula and Kim stood up and hugged each other. They stayed this way for a moment before pulling apart. They sat back down, looking at their food and drinks.
"Now, we better finish our lunch before it gets cold," Paula suggested.
"Yeah," Kim agreed.
Paula and Kim picked up their sandwiches and bit into them. They chewed them up, swallowing with big gulps. They ate more of their fries as people came and went.