This story evolved out of a discussion about the fact that we don't like PR Canon. It's our attempt to marry our visions of PR-dom with the ending of the episode (my second most loathed episode for purely subjective reasons –CR) "A Season to Remember".
Just some other little notes. We've used real life events where it suited us (ie: Thuy Trang's death) and left them alone for the same reason (ie: Erik Frank's death). The stories are presented in a mix of chronological/thematic order ... basically, a family's rambling road down memory lane.
We'd also like to credit some sources of information, like Demetrios Brides, Pronuptia and Weddings and Flowers for our inspiration with dresses and flowers. Chris Doolaege's website and lyrics.com for some song lyrics, and the websites for Nascar and The Royal Ballet School for their helpful information on schedules. (There was also a website for info on Buddhist funeral rites, but I can't find it!) Also, dialogue was borrowed from some Ranger episodes – we're sure you're all familiar with those. : )
Thanks to Zoot and Ted for latching onto this idea and running with it. It's been fun.
Anything else? No? Then on with the show. : ) CR & DB Dec. 2002
Seasons To Remember
By Dagmar Buse and Cheryl Roberts
They were no longer young, the couple walking sedately along the paths of Angel Grove Cemetery this Christmas Eve of 2044.
The man's once mahogany-colored hair was now a dignified gray. Though old, his carriage was still tall and proud. The only thing to have ever bowed those shoulders which once carried the fate of the world was grief.
The woman was still tall and slender, silvery-blond locks having turned to pure silver with time. Her blue eyes, which used to look at the world with so much wonder, had dimmed a little, but despite tragedy and loss in her life still held a distinct sparkle.
They made several stops, to bring holiday greetings to the graves of parents, relatives and friends, before they reached their first destination – Jason's last resting place. Husband and best friend, almost-brother … dead these nineteen years.
After a few minutes of silent communion, the man smiled briefly at the woman, then went off on his own, leaving her alone with her dead love … on his way to his own special gravesite, a couple of fields over.
Katherine watched Tommy walk off slowly towards Kimberly's grave, the wreath he'd chosen dangling from his hand. His gait was still purposeful, if not quite as energetic as it used to be. Then again, they both weren't twenty anymore; just two somewhat-past-middle-aged folks mourning their spouses while their grown children waited for them to join them for Christmas dinner. For once, all five of their children would be home in Angel Grove for the holidays, along with their husbands and wives and an assortment of grandchildren. Kat could hardly wait to see them all.
First of all, though, there was something she had to get off her chest.
Just now, she and Tommy had said their hellos to Jason together, and she would join him in a little while to visit Kim as well, but for now she was grateful that Tommy granted her this private time with the love of her life while he went to be with his deceased wife. She bent to adjust the poinsettia arrangement she always brought – ever since that first year. The vibrant red of the top leaves always reminded her of Jason …
"It's just me now, love," she murmured, finding comfort as usual in the quiet – if one-sided – conversation with Jason. In her mind, she could always picture his reactions, or even hear his deep voice comment when something was troubling her. For years, she'd told no-one of this habit she'd developed, fearing that others would think she'd gone mad with grief, but when after Kimberly's death Tommy confessed to doing much the same thing … she was able to shrug and dismiss those concerns. It helped both of them to cope with their loss, so why shouldn't they continue?
"The kids have all come home this year, and I'm sure we'll have a wonderful time. If only you could still be there to share it … but fate decided otherwise for us, didn't it? I'm just grateful for the time we did have together. Those were the best years ever …" Kat let her voice trail off nostalgically, feeling her eyes grow moist, then recovered herself.
"I have something to tell you, Jason," she went on, feeling herself actually blush. "I hope you're not going to get mad at me or anything, but … I mean, it's been a long time since you left me, and with Oliver having moved to LA, Lynne married and Jared busy in Colorado Springs with the US Figure Skating Association, I've been so lonely in our house … and Tommy's lonely too, now that Kim's gone …
"The children do what they can to visit us whenever possible, and there's work, yes, but … there are still a lot of desolate evenings and endless nights to go through when I wish for nothing more than someone to hold me. Of course I still want it to be you, but …" Kat swallowed the small lump in her throat that still formed whenever she thought about losing Jason – even after all the years that had passed. "Anyway, what I want to tell you is this … Tommy and I have realized that while we will always continue to love you and Kim, we also care a great deal about each other. And life is just easier to bear when you have someone to share it with."
Kat's voice, which still carried a hint of her native Australian accent despite having spent the better part of her life in the USA, dwindled down to a mere whisper.
"Tommy has asked me to marry him, love. And I've said yes."
Tommy had reached Kim's gravesite. He stooped to place a festive wreath on the cold marble headstone.
"Merry Christmas, Beautiful," Tommy murmured, his fingers tracing the carved lettering.
Kimberly Ann Oliver
1979 to 2041
"You always loved Christmas," he went on reflectively, "and a lot of special things happened to us around the holidays. I guess that's why I come now instead of on your birthday or the anniversary of your death.
"So many things ...." His voice trailed off, and a smile touched his age-worn face. "You know, in spite of my faulty memory, I can still remember that Christmas at the Youth Center – the one before you left for Florida. We were both so happy ... so in love ... we thought nothing would keep us apart. Not Florida, not Paris ... what did we know? We were only seventeen – and you can't tell teenagers anything they don't want to hear!"
A soft chuckle of laughter filled the cool December air. "For a while there, after that letter you sent me, I thought we'd never get to have our happily ever after. But I guess we were meant to be together after all. Fate just has a funny sense of timing ....
"I miss you, Beautiful; my life without you has been so empty – at least, until recently." Absently, he rubbed the back of his neck.
"Do you remember the time you told me that Kat and I made a good couple? I hope you really meant that and weren't just saying it to be brave, because I've asked Kat to marry me, and she's said yes.
"I'm not trying to replace you," he said quickly. "Nor Kat Jason. It's just that we both need each other. And it's not just to keep the loneliness at bay. It's hard to explain ... it just feels right that she and I should get together now.
"I just hope you understand and give us your blessing," he concluded with a heartfelt sigh.
"She has, Tommy; I can feel it," Kat murmured as she joined her husband-to-be. "Just as Jason gave us his." She smiled down at her long-time friend's grave. "Don't worry, Kim; I'll take good care of him."
Then, she stepped back, allowing Tommy a little more time for private reflection. There had been a time when she, too, needed just a few extra minutes ... times when it was hard to tear herself away. Tommy was just beginning to reach the point where it wasn't so hard to say good-bye.
She waited until he appeared to be ready, then said, "It's getting late, Tommy; Jay and Lynne are expecting us, and they're liable to send out a search party if we don't show."
Tommy smiled up at her, then turned his attention back to Kimberly's grave. "Good-bye, Beautiful."
Raising his fingers to his lips, he then touched them to the name engraved in marble. Then, he rose, knees creaking a bit, and walked to the path where Kat waited. Linking his arm with hers, they headed back to the car.
"You know," he began, "I was just thinking how lucky we are to have known two such incredible people."
"You mean you hadn't realized that before now?" Kat teased him gently. She laughed when he made a face at her.
"No, I mean, every time we've needed a second chance in life, Kim and Jason were the ones who gave it to us."
Kat frowned, not quite following his train of thought.
"Jason gave me a chance to redeem myself after he'd broken Rita's spell on me by offering me his friendship and a place on the team ..."
"… just as Kimberly gave me another chance after I shook off Rita's hold on me by entrusting me with her powers when she went to Florida," Kat concluded for him, understanding at last.
"She gave her and I another shot after I knew the truth about the letter and realized that I still loved her in spite of everything."
"And Jason was the man I fell in love with, after you and I didn't work out."
"Now they've given us their blessing for a second chance at happiness between the two of us."
"They have, haven't they," Kat agreed with a gentle smile. "Of course, we've given each other the gift of second chances as well …"
"Like when you healed my heart when Kim first broke up with me."
"And when you were there for me all those years after Jason died."
"Then let's not squander this wonderful gift and make the most of our second chances," Tommy suggested, placing a gentle kiss on her cheek.
At the car, he opened Kat's door and helped her in. Once he was settled in the driver's seat, Kat asked him, "How long do you think it'll take to get to Jay and Lynne's from here?"
"With holiday traffic, it's hard to say. Why?"
"Will we have enough time to figure out how to break the good news to the kids?"
"Hmm ... good point. We may have to drive around the block a few times."
To Be Continued …