Title: Tantrums and Cookies

Author: Hanspam

E-mail: travellingchopstick@hotmail.com

Rating: PG

Summary: A long day turns into a night that is over too soon.

OHC #4 - "It was a dark and boring night. A night you could throw tantrums on and steal cookies."

Author's Note: This is the first time I've ever tried to write anything in only an hour, from a challenge issued by Princess Destiny. My fingers have blisters, so I hope it's worth it! Please read and review.

*****

Kim Hart put down her pen and sighed. All of her homework was finished, including an assignment that didn't have to be handed in until the end of the next week, and it was still only ten past nine in the evening. This had turned out to be the longest day of her life, and it wasn't even giving her the courtesy of making her feel tired earlier than normal so she could go to bed. No, she was wide-awake and with nothing to do.

The daytime had been filled with monotonous classes during which she had struggled to stay awake (typical - why couldn't she feel tired now?), the only high point being a smile from Tommy in her math class. The schooltime hours were then followed by yet another monster attack by Rita, Goldar and many putties, the third attack this week so far. The battle had seemed to last for hours, yet a quick check of her watch once they were successfully back at the Command Centre revealed that it had lasted less than sixty minutes. Then, upon her return home, she'd been faced with warring parents and frozen lasagna for her dinner. Following three hours of homework, she was now bored.

Deeply bored, and with absolutely nothing to do.

A few months ago, before she became a Ranger, she'd have filled this time with going to the mall and meeting her fellow cheerleaders, or perhaps re- arranging her nail varnish collection. But now, she was becoming aware of the futility of these things, and could only relate totally to her fellow rangers.

Trini! She could phone Trini. They always found something to talk about, even if it was only discussing the ugliness of putties for the seventyfifth time. Kim picked up the princess phone from beside her bed, and dialled her best friend's number. The phone rang three times before being picked up.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Mrs Kwan. Is Trini there?"

"Hello, Kim. I'm afraid Trini isn't here at the moment. She said she was going to the Youth Centre to work on her kung fu, although why she couldn't do that during daylight hours is beyond me. She left about an hour ago."

Kim restrained comment, knowing as she did exactly why Trini found it impossible to work on her kung fu skills after school yet before dinnertime. "So she should still be at the Youth Centre?"

"That's right, although she promised to be home before ten."

"Okay, thanks for your help, Mrs Kwan. See you soon!"

"Goodbye, Kim."

Kim hung up the phone and made a lightening-quick decision. She would go down to the Youth centre to see Trini. After all, with her parents still taking sides over everything under the sun, one of them would surely say she could take the car to see her best friend. She would just have to rely on whichever parent took her side winning the latest argument, but anything to get out of the house and relieve her boredom.

*****

Sure enough, her father agreed to let her take the car, but it was only after her mother reminded her four times that it was a school night and she was to be home no later than eleven that she was allowed to take the car.

Kim was allowed to drive the family car so rarely that she stalled the engine on her first attempt of driving away from the house. Hoping her mother wasn't watching from the window, she successfully pulled away from the house on the second try, and drove carefully (although not quite sticking to the speed limits) to the Youth Centre.

There were few cars in the parking lot so late at night, after all, the main patrons of the Youth Centre were kids who should be at least thinking about going to bed by this time. It was too dark to see whether Trini's car was among those parked outside, but Kim didn't feel like going home even if Trini had indeed retired for the night, and resolved that if her best friend was not inside, she would at least stay for a smoothie before going home.

Upon opening the door to the main area of the Youth Centre, Kim realised immediately that Trini was not where her mother had said she would be. Her favourite area for practising her martial arts was unoccupied, as was the gang's normal table. Sighing, she began to walk over to the counter to treat herself to the promised smoothie, pushing away thoughts that said she really should be practising for the next gymnastics competition which was looming ever closer. The wild thoughts of her guilty conscience were quickly swept away, however, by a voice close by her saying,

"I thought you said you had tons of homework to do?"

She could recognise that voice anywhere, although the person whose voice it was still did much to intrigue her. Tommy had been part of the ranger team for close to three months now, after they had broken the spell Rita had held over him, but in those three months he had played his cards close to his chest. All Kim knew for sure about him was that he still felt guilty as hell over the evil Green Ranger scenario despite repeated assurances that it was not his fault, he tended to be late for pretty much everything, and he was the best looking guy she'd ever known. Oh, and he was better at karate than Jason, although Kim would never say that out loud for fear of insulting one of her oldest friends.

"Earth to Kim?" Tommy said laughingly, and Kim jolted out of her thought phase, realising she had spaced out once again through thoughts of him.

"Homework? Oh yeah. Finished that." Why couldn't she formulate a sentence that actually made sense around him? He couldn't fall in love with a space cadet, surely. "What about you, what are you doing here?"

Tommy shrugged. "I finished teaching a class, and didn't feel like going home. Trini and Billy were here, but they left about ten minutes ago. I was thinking about making a move, but now that you're here... you wanna grab a smoothie?"

"Why not?" They moved closer to the counter, and ordered smoothies from Ernie. Once they were ready, by unspoken agreement they sat at the table normally used by their group of friends.

"You never said why you were here," Tommy reminded her.

"Didn't I?" Kim said, suddenly flustered, although she didn't know why. And was it just her, or was it starting to get hot in there? "Oh. I phoned Trini, but her mom said she was here, so I thought I'd come down and see her in person. And things were a little tense at home, so..." She let her sentence trail off, aware that Tommy didn't know about her family's current situation, and unsure of how much to reveal. He didn't fill the gap in the conversation, so she sighed, and said "My parents are currently planning how World War 3 would go in a family situation. By re-enacting it in an all too real manner."

"That's not good," Tommy said, unsure of what to say. His parents enjoyed a happy marriage, and he didn't know how to reassure Kim that things would be alright, assuming that her parents would sort their troubles out. "Will they..."

"Get a divorce? Probably," she said bitterly. "Are your parents still married?"

"Yeah."

"Pray that they stay that way," Kim told him, then wondered where all this anger was coming from, and why she was venting it all on her crush. She blushed red, and quickly said, "Sorry. I'm sure that everything will be fine, it's just hard to see it that way. I didn't mean that the way it sounded."

"It's okay," Tommy assured her. There was another long pause in the conversation as they both drank more of their smoothies for something to do. Both desperately wanted to say something - anything - to find out how the other felt for them, but it hardly seemed the right time.

The silence was in danger of becoming seriously awkward, until Kim finally thought of something to say. "This is going to sound seriously weird, but did it seem to you that the fight today lasted absolutely hours?" she said in a hushed voice. There were still a few people dotted around the Youth Centre, and the last thing she wanted was to be overheard.

Tommy nodded. "This whole day has felt really long. Didn't math today seem to go on for about five hours, yet when you looked at the clock only half an hour had gone by?"

"Exactly!" Kim agreed, glad that they had found something to talk about that didn't involve her showing her bitter side. "I don't normally come to the juice bar this late, but I wasn't even feeling sleepy. I got everything done so quickly that I had nothing else to do."

"I'm glad you came here," Tommy said shyly and smiled, then prayed to god that his cheeks weren't as red as they felt. Kim smiled back, which put paid to that prayer, and agreed.

"Me too. We've never really, you know. Talked properly or anything. There's always monsters to fight, or classes to teach..."

"Or backflips," Tommy countered, and Kim nodded, laughing.

"And backflips. Although I really should be practising for this meet I have in a couple of weeks. You should count yourself lucky I'm here at all."

"I am, believe me."

Did he just say what she thought he said?

Could it be that he liked her? Properly?

Luckily, Kim's racing thoughts were interrupted by a not-quite-discreet cough coming from Ernie at the counter. "Sorry kids, but I'm gonna have to kick you out of here. Place shuts at ten."

The two teenagers quickly finished off the remains of their smoothies, and made their way out of the Youth Centre. It was only when the balmy California night air hit her that Kim realised how tired she had become, and she struggled to stifle a yawn.

"So now you're tired? Is that what ten minutes of conversation with me does to you?" Tommy asked, only half-jokingly, and secretly terrified that he had bored her to sleep.

"No!" Kim hastily reassured him. "I guess the long day just caught up with me, that's all. I swear you didn't make me tired."

"You sure?"

"Yeah," Kim said. In fact, although little of major importance had been said, the ten minutes with Tommy had been amazing. She had finally managed to have a proper conversation with him, without using one syllable words or wanting to say 'You're the best-looking guy I've ever seen' whenever he asked her a question. Although that didn't mean she wasn't thinking it in her head.

"Cool," Tommy said, and realised that his time with her would have to come to an end. He had promised to make it home before ten fifteen, and his house was at least a ten minute drive from here. Although, if Kim needed a lift... "You okay for getting home?"

"Yeah, my car's just over there," Kim pointed to her dad's car, barely visible in the dark that was descending around them.

"I didn't know you drove," Tommy remarked curiously.

"Hardly ever. I don't have a car, so I'm only allowed my dad's when he doesn't think about the damage I'm liable to do on the insurance."

"Are you that bad a driver?"

"My parents seem to think so," Kim laughed, and he joined in. When the laughter stopped, Tommyaged in his jacket pocket for the keys to his truck.

"Well, I'd better get going," he said reluctantly.

"Yeah, me too," Kim said, realising that their conversation had to end sooner or later. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow in math."

Without any warning, and hardly knowing that he was acting upon his wish, Tommy moved closer to her, then bent down and kissed her lightly on the lips. A short kiss, that led to a longer one. And then another one...

Neither of them could think straight while they were kissing, and the state of their minds hardly improved once they had broken apart to breathe, except to mentally thank fate or whoever was controlling the actions of the universe. And to realise that they felt so right together, it seemed as though nothing could ever be as good.

"I'd... I really have to go," Tommy said awkwardly, although what he wanted more than anything was to stay with Kim.

"Yeah.." Kim trailed off, staring at him and noticing that a huge grin was creeping across his face. "Wait a minute. You've been wanting to kiss me as long as I've been wanting to kiss you, haven't you?"

"How long's that?"

"Since..." Kim decided to go for broke and admit the sordid details of her long-harboured crush. "Since I first saw you when you were against Jase in the karate tournament."

"You too?"

Soon they were both sporting grins of the Cheshire Cat, as they realised just how much heartache and time they could have saved by admitting to their feelings earlier.

"See you tomorrow then," Kim said. He looked hurt, until Kim added, "Do you have to be home by any particular time, say, in ten minutes?"

"That! Yes," relieved that she hadn't grown tired of him already, or was so disappointed by his kissing technique that she was trying to let him down gently. An idea came to him in a flash, and he quickly asked Kim, "Do you want a ride into school tomorrow? I could pick you up at about seven fortyfive if you want."

"Isn't my house completely out of your way?" Kim asked confusedly.

"Yeah, so? I don't think I could last waiting to see you til fourth period," he admitted bare-facedly.

Kim nearly jumped for joy. She was definitely going to have to call Trini as soon as she got through the door of her house. "Seven fortyfive it is then. Just don't be late!"

"I'll try," Tommy vowed, and leaned in to kiss her one last time. "See you tomorrow."

"Bye..."

*****

Kim's father would definitely be more worried about the state of his car insurance if he had seen how his daughter drove home that night, with not a care for traffic lights or using her indicator. Only the thought of getting home to call Trini and go to sleep so she could see Tommy quicker made her concentrate on the road, although her idea of concentration was something like fifty percent less than that of the average driver.

When she got home, she ignored the yells of her parents emanating from the kitchen at the back of the house, and raced straight to her bedroom and dialled Trini's number once again, hoping she hadn't gone to bed already. Luckily, her best friend answered the phone.

"Hello, Kwan residence?"

"Trini? It's Kim."

"Kim, I'm so sorry, Mom called and said she thought you might have gone to the Youth Centre to see me. We must have just missed each other. What was it you wanted?"

"Oh, nothing really," Kim said dreamily. "Anyway, no offence Trini, but I'm kind of glad you weren't there."

"Why? What happened?" she asked.

"Let's just say... It was a dark and boring night. A night you could throw tantrums on and steal cookies."

Trini held the receiver away from her ear and shook it, unsure that she was hearing Kim right. "Kim? What is that supposed to mean?"

Kim sighed, and flopped onto her bed, ready to tell her best friend everything. "We kissed, Trini. Tommy and I kissed."

Trini also sighed, and snuggled into her chair. Much as she was glad Kim and Tommy had finally gotten together (how many bets had the rest of them had as to how long it would take them to get together? More to the point, who had won?" she had a feeling it was going to be a very long night. She may even have to throw a tantrum to get Kim to shut up about it. But she was her best friend, and despite herself and her tiredness she was eager to know how this turn of events had come about.

"Well? What happened?"

"It started off with me sounding like a complete space cadet..."