Note: Some of the dialogue in here, and a few of the scenes described, are taken directly from the PR Zeo episode that spawned this, "A Season To Remember".
Well, this is it, folks – we're done. Just like a baby, it took us nine months, from conception to fruition. : ) It was a fun ride for us, and hopefully for you as well.
Will there be a sequel/outtakes (adding a few missing scenes we decided
not to do) /another collaboration? No idea. Maybe. Then again, maybe not;
it's really impossible to tell at this point in time. Anyway, thanks
for staying with us all this time; hopefully you enjoyed our efforts. Thanks
also to everybody who reviewed; it kept us going. : ) Please pass by the
feedback box on the way out one last time, will you? Au revoir, everyone!
CR/DB, May 2003
Seasons To Remember
Epilogue: The Legacy Continues
"... so you see, Christmas isn't only about getting things," Tommy said at the conclusion of his tale. He had just finished telling seven-year-old Ricky about the Christmas when the Machine Empire attempted to destroy everyone's holiday spirits.
The two were comfortably ensconced in Tommy's favorite easy chair near the fireplace. It was an unusually cold winter in Angel Grove, so the cheery blaze was most welcome. The lights on the Christmas tree twinkled merrily, and reflected off the bright paper and shiny bows of the presents stacked underneath. It was still a couple of days before Christmas, and Jay and Lynne had asked Tommy and Kat to watch their youngest while they finished up their shopping.
"It's about giving and being with people you love," Ricky responded, his eyes shining with excitement. He loved hearing his grandfather's stories about the original Power Rangers. The only thing better was having Uncle Rocky tell stories about them; they were always the funniest – like the time the White Ranger had to eat everything in sight or the time the Red and Yellow Turbo Rangers had to sing opera all day long!
A soft chuckle from his grandfather drew Ricky's attention back to the story at hand.
"That's right, it is," Tommy commented, unaware of his grandson's train of thought. "Very good, very good. You know, you're pretty smart for a little pipsqueak."
Ricky was about to tell his grandfather that he hated being called pipsqueak, but he was distracted by the creaking of a door.
Kat peered around the door and smiled fondly at the pair.
"That's enough for tonight, Tom. It's getting late," she chided gently. Really, once Tommy got going on his stories, he lost all track of time, and Ricky needed to start settling down, otherwise Lynne would never be able to get him to sleep.
"Aww ..." Ricky pouted. He didn't want to start getting ready for bed; it was too early, and besides, he wasn't a baby and it was Christmas break after all. He gave his grandfather a beseeching look.
It was hard to resist those big brown eyes, but Tommy said, "Well, you heard your grandmother."
"Okay," Ricky acquiesced gracefully, albeit with a small, resigned sigh. He wasn't one to put up much of a fight with his elders.
However, before Kat could lead Ricky to the guest bedroom, the doorbell sounded.
"I'll get it," she said, making her way to the foyer. Opening the door, she found Ricky's older brother on the porch.
"Hello, dear," she greeted him.
"Hey, Grandma," the tall, good-looking young man said, giving her a peck on the cheek. "How you doin'? I'm here to pick up the pipsqueak."
Scott closed the door behind him as he brushed at his coat. Then, he followed his grandmother into the living room.
"Mom and Dad said to say hi and thanks for babysitting," he remarked.
"Oh, we love to do it," Kat assured him. Spending time with their grandchildren was one of their favorite things to do now that they were both retired.
"Okay, lil' bro, let's go," Scott said with a clap of his hands. Then, he took Ricky's coat from his grandmother.
Ricky pushed himself off his grandfather's lap, and Tommy gave him a gentle pat on the back as he scampered over to his older brother, who helped him put on his jacket.
Just then, a familiar chiming filled the living room.
At the tone, Tommy sat up straighter in his chair, old instincts kicking in. His expression concerned, his eyes darted to his wrist, but only found an ordinary watch there.
Kat shot him a quelling glance, putting a hand on his shoulder as he started to rise from his seat. She, too, had experienced that moment when her pulse still raced and her mind snapped to attention. Strange how the next generations of Rangers (those following their contemporaries, anyway) had reverted to using the old alert …complete with near-identical communicators. But it was a nice bit of nostalgia for those in the know, after holographic projector devices, souped-up cell phones and whatnot.
However, it was their red-shirted grandson who glanced at his wrist and muttered under his breath as he made a quick decision.
"Do you guys think you could watch him a little bit longer?" Scott asked hurriedly. "There's something I've got to take care of."
"Of course," Tommy agreed readily.
"We wouldn't mind at all," Kat assured him.
"Thanks," Scott said, relieved that his grandparents didn't ask any difficult questions. It was the one aspect of being a Power Ranger he disliked: being less than honest with those he loved.
With that brief farewell, Scott quickly took his leave. Behind him, his grandmother smiled proudly.
Ricky sighed with exasperation as he watched his older brother leave. "He's always got something to do."
Tommy left his seat, his leg twinging from when he'd broken it. He came to stand with Kat and Ricky as they continued gazing thoughtfully after Scott. Kat rested her hands on the younger boy's left shoulder, and Tommy patted the other lightly. His free arm reached out to encircle Kat's shoulders, and she slid her arm about his waist.
Ricky glanced up at his grandfather as Tommy spoke up, "Yeah, well, it must run in the family."
He chuckled as he and Kat exchanged knowing glances.
Sensing something more behind that remark, Ricky was dying to ask what it might be. He hated being left out of stuff. But before he could do more than open his mouth, his grandmother spoke.
"Tell you what," Kat began, hoping to distract Ricky from contemplating his brother's unusual behavior. "I have a pan of gingerbread cookies ready to come out of the oven. Would you like to help me decorate them?"
"All right!" Ricky agreed, grateful for any excuse not to get ready for bed yet. He consoled himself with the thought that one day, he would learn all the family secrets – when he was all grown up. Like, ten or so.
"Can I help, too?" Tommy asked.
"I don't know," Kat answered with mirth dancing in her bespectacled eyes. "The last time you helped, you ate more than you decorated."
A couple of hours and lots of gingerbread later, Tommy and Kat stood in the doorway, watching as Scott herded his little brother down the walk towards his car.
"Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver. Merry Christmas!" a pretty blonde girl in a pink sweater called out, waving from the front seat of the car.
Kat smiled, waved back and watched as the red jeep turned the far corner. As she turned to go inside, she faced a puzzled-looking Tommy.
"What?" she wondered.
"Who was that?" he asked bemusedly. "Scott's latest girlfriend?"
"Yes. Ashley Stewart."
"Sounds kind of familiar."
"It should," Kat answered with the exaggerated patience one reserved for small children. "After all, she's Justin's granddaughter."
"Justin? He's not old enough to have grandchildren … is he?"
She gave him a Look. "Tom … Justin's only six years younger than we are. And he married young."
"Ashley's about Scott's age, I believe. And I think she's a keeper."
Tommy guided his wife back into the living room, slightly bewildered by the fact that his grandkids were apparently old enough already to be thinking of having a serious relationship. (Completely forgetting that both he and Kat had been that same age when they found love the first time.) "How so?"
"Several reasons. A) she's by far the prettiest of the lot. B) as Justin's granddaughter, she has brains as well as beauty, and C) didn't you notice the color she was wearing?"
Tommy thought for a moment. He had been napping when Scott arrived and hadn't put his glasses back on when he followed Kat to the door. While he hadn't been able to see much in the gathering darkness .... "Wasn't she wearing something pinkish?"
"Uh huh." Kat's satisfied grin implied that was all he needed to know.
However, Tommy was just a tad slow this evening. "So?"
Kat sighed and rolled her eyes, patting Tommy's hand.
"Think, dear. Scott's the current Red Ranger. His girlfriend – who just happens to be the granddaughter of another former Ranger – likes to wear pink."
She could almost see the lightbulb switch on above Tommy's head.
"You mean ... she's a Ranger, too?" Tommy queried.
"More than likely."
"I wonder if any of the other grandchildren are Rangers," Tommy mused.
"Steve is the only one locally who is old enough," Kat responded, pondering the question. "He has been wearing a lot of green lately."
"I would have pegged him for Yellow, after his father and mother's namesake," Tommy chuckled. "Ah, the legacy continues."
"Cocoa?" Kat offered, wanting to fetch something to drink before getting settled.
"That'd be great; thanks, hon."
While Kat vanished into the kitchen, Tommy drifted over to the fireplace and gazed with affection and pride at the photos assembled on the mantel. They had quite a family.
"Will all the kids be able to make it for Christmas this year?" he called in the general direction of the kitchen.
There would be no problem with Jay, Lynne and the boys since they were still living in Angel Grove and the families would be meeting at their house. Jay and Lynne still ran the Red Dragon Dojo, and Scott was now a part-time instructor there. After college, he planned to join the family business full time. Ricky, however, seemed to have a love for cars, but he was young yet.
Trini and Ramon would be there as well with their brood. They still operated the Stone Canyon branch of the RDD. Recently, Trini had added tumbling classes for beginners to the curriculum. While she had never pursued gymnastics with the serious intent of her mother, she was well grounded in the sport, and her feeder program fed into the more advanced gymnastics centers, providing the kids with a more relaxed atmosphere to begin learning.
Esteban – Steve – at seventeen had his Grandpa Rocky's liking for football (and Chemistry, believe it or not), but fifteen-year-old Caitlyn was the real athlete in the family. She played any sport she could make the team for. Her twin, on the other hand, did not care for sports. The closest Colleen came to participating in sports was being a cheerleader. She seemed to be following in Kim's footsteps as one of the most popular girls in school. Alejandro – Alex – was into the latest video game craze. If Ricky was known as Pipsqueak, Alex had inherited the title of Pest.
Oliver and Jasmine were a little more problematic in their ability to attend – not due to distance (as they were only in LA), but due to schedule conflicts. Jasmine's family law practice kept her plenty busy, and Oliver, being on the police force, was always on the go. As for their son Brandon, the fourteen-year-old favored soccer, writing and filmmaking rather than law or law enforcement, and very much like his Grandpa Adam, he was a quiet boy with dark eyes and dark curly hair.
Jared and Rachel were still in Colorado – Rachel with the University observatory and Jared with figure skating. They weren't always able to get to Southern California, which was a shame because Tommy and Kat adored little William Jason and K.K. Will was six, with blondish-brown hair, hazel eyes and was already showing signs of being as bright as his mother and Grandpa Billy. With her green eyes and strawberry-blonde curls, K.K. (Kimberly Katherine to non-family members) was daddy's little sweetheart. She was only four, but she had already started skating under Jared's tutelage and was taking to it like a duck to water.
Tommy paused at the final pictures in the row. Ah, Kim, Jason, if only you could see your family now!
Just then, Kat returned with two mugs of steaming cocoa. She handed one to Tommy, and they retired to the sofa.
"Jasmine called earlier to say they would be able to be here, and Jared e-mailed to say that no snow was predicted, so everything looked good at their end," Kat related, getting to Tommy's question at last.
"I'm glad; I missed them last year," Tommy sighed happily.
The two shared a moment of companionable silence as they sipped their hot chocolate.
"Is everything all set for New Year's?" Kat queried.
New Year's was a double celebration as they had been married on New Year's Day. That was the time when they got together with all their old friends.
Fortunately, there had been no further deaths in their circle since Kimberly had passed away ten years ago; although, nature was taking its toll. For instance, Tommy was more absent-minded now than he ever had been as a teen. Billy was having trouble with arthritis in his fingers – to his everlasting frustration, and Aisha had developed diabetes. On the whole, though, they were as well as could be expected for septuagenarians.
These days, all of them were pretty much retired. Tanya, however, continued to sing for special events, and Adam still had his hand in writing scripts and working with stunt coordinators (the reason the two had moved back west after living in New York for so long). Billy was still very much in demand in the scientific circles (and occasionally as a liaison to the interstellar community); Connie had long since retired from nursing. Aisha, though no longer a practicing veterinarian, still volunteered at the animal shelter – when she and Zack weren't spending time in Africa. Zack's public relations work for environmental groups enabled them to travel frequently. As for Rocky and Sarah, they spent most of their time spoiling their fourteen grandchildren and continuingly multiplying great-grandchildren.
"Everything is all set," Tommy replied. "Rocky, though, says he'll be handing out cigars again."
"Another one? Who is expecting this time? One of Sophia's or one of Carmen's?" Kat wondered, rolling her eyes at the prolific DeSantoses. Really, it was becoming too difficult to keep track of all of Rocky's descendants!
"He didn't say."
"I wonder if that means it's one of Melissa's or Marissa's children."
"Oh, I almost forgot. Zack says Sloan has leave, so he and Ashala and the kids will be coming after Christmas," Tommy continued. Adam and Tanya's eldest was a career Naval officer, and he had met up with Ashala Taylor in Egypt, of all places.
"That's good; Aisha will be so happy. She doesn't get to see her grandchildren as much as she'd like," Kat said happily. Then, her tone softened and her expression became sad. "All that's missing are Jason and Kim."
"And Trini," Tommy added thoughtfully. "I was just thinking the same thing, but they are still here with us."
"I know," Kat murmured softly, smiling wistfully as she gazed at the anniversary band she wore along with Tommy's ring. The diamond-studded band had been Jason's gift to her on their anniversary – their last before he died. She had passed on the Scott opal ring to Oliver and Jasmine, just as Kim's rose diamond ring went to Jay and Lynne. Trini had been given Kim's anniversary band, and Jared had inherited Jason's wedding band, now fashioned into a signet with the initials "JS" inlaid in gold on onyx. They each had a little piece of those who were no longer with them. "Jason and Kim have been with us all along, making sure we're happy and content, giving their approval whenever we needed it."
"Like when we moved into our own place," Tommy said, recalling how torn they had been when they were first married about where to live: his place or Kat's. In the end, they'd opted for something smaller where they could create new memories without old ghosts lurking in every corner.
Basically, they'd traded houses with Jay and Lynne. With the addition of Ricky, the younger Olivers had needed more space. They took up residence in Jason and Kat's larger house. However, Tommy couldn't bear to part with the house he and Kim had shared for so long; since the mortgage was paid off, they decided to keep it for the kids to use whenever they were in town, and it would be theirs to sell in the future.
"You know," Tommy began hesitantly, "I never mentioned this, but when we were first married, I had some doubts that it was the right thing to do even though I had – have! – strong feelings for you,. Not that I regret it, never that, but … I wasn't altogether sure that we would be completely happy together as a couple again. It was more like … I was afraid I'd let you down again – that I wouldn't do as good a job as Jason, and I was afraid that you wouldn't make me as happy as I had been with Kim – and I wasn't sure I wanted you to. Does that make any sense?"
Kat patted his hand, understanding his feelings. "Yes, it does, funnily enough. To be honest, I had many of those same doubts. I couldn't see how you could ever measure up to Jason, but then I realized that you weren't trying to be Jason; you were just being Tommy, and in my life, both of you made me happy in very different ways.
"And yes, I was nervous about being in Kim's shadow again, but you never tried to compare me to her ... to make me into her replacement. You let me be me, and that was a good thing."
They smiled at each other, secure in their relationship which over the years had run the gamut from friendship to love back to friendship, then to love again at last.
"Speaking of good things ...." Tommy began suddenly, both grateful to have those thoughts off his chest and to leave the topic behind. "I wanted to give you one of your Christmas presents early."
"Oh, Tommy, you shouldn't ...." Kat demurred, although a pleased sparkle lit her eyes.
"Actually, I have to give it to you early," he said enigmatically, with a mischievous grin. He leveraged himself off the sofa and disappeared down the hall.
Have to .... What on earth could Tommy have gotten her? Flowers? Something perishable? And if he had hidden it in the back bedroom, why hadn't she seen the package while preparing the room for Ricky?
Tommy seemed to be taking his sweet old time, and the anticipation was just beginning to get to Kat when he returned, bearing a large, festive hat box. Kat regarded him puzzledly as he sat the box in her lap. Her brow furrowed as she noted the holes punched into the lid.
"What in the world ...." she began; it obviously wasn't a hat. The package was much too heavy.
"If you want to know what it is, just open it," Tommy suggested, all innocence itself.
She shot him a dubious glance, then did as he bid. She pulled the lid off, peered inside and exclaimed, "Oh, Tommy! How sweet ...!"
Inside, curled up in a contented ball, was a small cat. Kat carefully lifted the purring bundle from the container and nuzzled the soft, sleek white fur. Sleepy eyes opened, revealing crystal blue orbs which regarded her with feline approval.
"She's adorable, Tommy; thank you!"
"I know you like cats but couldn't have one because of Jason's – and later the kids' – pet allergies," Tommy explained. "When I saw those baby blues in the pet store ... they reminded me of your eyes."
"What a sweetheart," Kat murmured, but since her attention was focused on stroking the silky fur, Tommy wasn't sure she was talking to him or the cat.
"So, what are you going to name her?" he wondered.
"Oh, I don't know ... how does P.C. strike you?" Kat asked, her expression full of mischief.
"P.C. ... that sounds familiar," Tommy remarked thoughtfully.
"I should; it's what Aisha named me when I was in cat form," she reminded him. "Only, this time, instead of standing for Park Cat, it stands for Pretty Cat."
"Aisha will think otherwise," Tommy warned her with a chuckle, remembering now.
"I don't care; let her," Kat decreed.
Tommy watched his wife bond with her Christmas present and was suffused with a great sense of satisfaction. Thirty-seven wonderful years with his high school sweetheart. Six years with an equally terrific woman. Two beautiful children and nine lovely grandchildren (between the two of them), and the best friends anyone could ever ask for ... yes, life was good!
"I am a happy man," Tommy sighed as he resumed his seat beside his wife. "I am a truly happy man."
She laughed merrily. "You sound like Bob Cratchit!"
They had watched A Christmas Carol earlier in the day, and Tommy's words echoed Bob Cratchit's words in the scene where the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come showed Ebenezer Scrooge Tiny Tim's death (though the script took liberties with the original text).
"Maybe I do," he agreed, "but it's true nonetheless."
"Then I guess I'll quote Tiny Tim and observe, 'God bless us, everyone'," Kat quipped.
"He has, hon; he already has."