Chapter 30- Revenant
And this is God's own creation
What we are and what we were
So I will love without misgiving
And this is God's own creation
What we are and what we were
And it is such a familiar scene
The endless conversation of missing you
Of things not being what they seem
Will never be the same
This crooked little heart I give to you
'Cause there's order in the meaning
Of all that's innocent but true
And it could be such a perfect scene
Here the culmination of loving you
And things that are what they seem
Will never be the same
What we are and what we were
Will never be the same
What we are and what we were
So I will love without misgiving
And this is God's own creation
What we are and what we were
Jonatha Brooke- Deny
Hayley caught Tommy's look and stood to open the door in the corner of the room that the others had dismissed as nothing but a cupboard when they entered. Opening it revealed a dark stairwell that apparently led to the Cyberspace's basement area.
Hayley and Tommy led the way down with much eyebrow raising and mutterings from the rest and they swiftly found themselves in just what they'd expected- a basement. Extra stocks and shelves were here, another computer system for inventory there, a few barrels of goodness knows what and no small amount of cobwebs.
"Your contingency plan is a draughty basement? Cool man, they'll never see it coming!" Rocky joked and Aisha hit him on the back of the head. "You know, I think I liked you better in Africa babe, less painful!" At her second good natured hit he held his hands up in surrender and Tommy was allowed to explain.
"Of course it's an empty basement, you don't think Hayley's staff would be interested to come down here to find a complete Power Rangers supply cache tucked away?"
"So what is it?" Ethan asked, bouncing slightly in barely contained anticipation. Tommy nodded at Hayley who went over to what looked like another standard security alarm in the back wall and typed in a code, at which time the wall slid up and open with a grating of stone and metal to reveal a large well lit compartment on the other side- housing a long red and yellow truck emblazoned with the Dino Rangers' golden emblem on the side.
"Oh my god…" Kira gawped.
"Morphinominal!" Ethan all but squealed as Tommy's protégés approached the rig in awe.
"Very impressive Tommy." Billy nodded in appreciation from where the former teams hung back to allow the Rangers space to appreciate a new 'toy' for their battles against evil.
"Sure beats the hell outta the Shark Cycles." Jason joked.
"We figured any one of our bases could become compromised, not least of all my home, and, it never hurts to have a mobile unit just to be safe. Hence the Dino Mobile Command Centre- fully equipped to store your other vehicles and weapons and provide a handy base point that can get to the scene of an incident in moments."
Conner let out a low whistle as the three had strayed to the back and the doors into the truck had opened automatically for them. "Sweet…"
"The truck and all its equipment have been calibrated to respond to the energy signatures of your Dino Gems; no-one who isn't a Ranger can gain access to its reinforced interior without one." Hayley added proudly.
"But Dr. O, how did you get hold of this in the first place, I mean that teacher's salary…" Conner queried, turning back from peering into the shining clinical interior.
"Well, keeping in contact with previous Ranger teams in this instance proved even more useful than usual." Tommy shrugged, glancing at Hayley.
"Cam and Sensei Watanabe of the Ninja Storm Rangers had a lot of Ranger equipment and no Rangers with powers to use it, and when we finally got around to brainstorming for the mobile truck they had one already going spare! It's just a case of the right place, right time, when we contacted them they were only too happy to help a new team out. We gave it a complete overhaul and not to mention a paint job, et- voila!" Hayley grinned.
"And once the place has cooled down we can go and retrieve the rest of our arsenal and see what's left." Tommy said with a slight sigh. Kim picked up on this and rested her head against his shoulder comfortingly, feeling this Tommy turned his head to give her a gentle kiss on the head before continuing.
"Now that show and tell is over, why don't we all take a break, the last few days have been intense enough for everyone, I don't think it would do much harm if everyone relaxed and had some fun."
"Good thing I left my wallet in my pocket huh?" Billy smiled at Trini as the group traipsed back up the stairs.
"You really are a genius." She teased back with a laugh.
"Aww maaan!" Rocky smacked his hand to his head.
"And you're really not a genius." Adam patted the former Red Ranger's back sympathetically.
"But we love you anyway." Aisha comforted him with a kiss on the nose.
"Hey Kim, you wanna come paint the town red, Ranger style?" Jason asked as four of the original five Rangers stood by the doors determined to recreate the good old times in Reefside.
"Um, we'll catch you guys up, I want to talk to Tommy." She replied with a tight smile. She was answered back with a number of teasing hollers and wolf-whistles before the teams of Rangers departed, Hayley resigned herself to helping out 'slowly and carefully' in the café under doctors orders, and the three newest members of the legacy went to go and watch Conner play some ball in the park for a break.
"So, guess it's just you and me tiger." Kim grinned as Tommy shut the door behind the awkward gait of a burned Hayley and turned back to gaze upon Kim with the same undisguised awe the Dino Rangers had just used while gazing at their newest upgrade, only perhaps a little more lovingly.
"The way it's supposed to be." Tommy smiled lightly as he approached her and snaked his hands round her waist.
"God this is all so much," Kim sighed, running a hand through her hair reflectively, "I mean, two weeks ago I never thought you'd talk to me again, then we were living together, then I was comatose, now…what, where do we stand? I need to know, to have it spelled out for me Tommy, or I can't believe it."
Tommy looked thoughtful for a moment then nodded, "OK. I l-o-v-e y-o-u K-i-m-b-e-r-l-"
"Okay, okay, wiseass. Guess there's more to that PhD than just a pretty face." She teased with a roll of her eyes, lifting a hand up to grasp the front of the black shirt he wore and giving it an insistent tug. "Seriously Tommy, what's going on with us, you said you'd never be able to forget what I'd done, that maybe someday it wouldn't always be there, but for now…"
"Things change. Sometimes- especially for someone as slow as me, you need a big deal to give you a proper perspective. I was blinded then, by a lotta past feelings and past hurts, and at that point I was just reeling from the revelations that you… fabricated a boyfriend to get out of our relationship," He said still with no small trace of bitterness on that point, "but God Kim, I loved you so much then and I still love you so much now, it's just, not as important as it was when I was alone at night wallowing in self-pity and doubt and a lot of 'what if' ruminations. These horrible past few days have only reinforced what I knew all along, I can't live without you Beautiful, and I don't even want to attempt it. Thinking I would never see you again today, that it was all over, I just wanted to give up right there- stop fighting, stop trying. I realised just how much I need you and that life isn't worth living if you're not there to share it with me."
There were tears in Kimberly's eyes by the time Tommy had finished this heartfelt admission, reinforcing what she'd thought but needed to hear, what she'd hoped for and dreamed for every moment since she'd first laid eyes on that mysterious man in green at the Angel Grove Karate Tournament. That's why it killed her inside to say what she had to say.
"Then I can't be with you Tommy." Tommy's callused hand gently stroking up her spine froze in mid ministration. Whatever words he had been expecting to hear after that confession, the ones he received were certainly not them. His mouth worked soundlessly for a moment before his brows furrowed and he finally articulated,
Kim smiled weakly and placed a slender hand on his stubbled cheek regretfully.
"Tommy, I love you more than anything else in this world, I would die for you in an instant and I would do anything for you, but I can't stay right now if you can't be what you need to be."
"What are you talking about?"
"Tommy, those kids need you now more than I do, you're their teacher, their mentor, what is most important right now is defeating Mesogog before he does to someone else what he did to me, and actually succeeds in destroying the world. You need to give them everything you are, you have to fight with them and not be worrying about me all the time, not have me on your mind. If I'm here, I cloud your judgement, its plain for everyone to see. You already have a massive messiah complex, you'd throw yourself on the sword for the world in a second, and for me in a fraction of a second, Mesogog and his goons know that and they'll manipulate you if they can. Conner already filled me in on Randall being Elsa and trying to turn me into a human kebab in the hospital, and it ended up with you trashing the room and having your staff thingy stolen. I love you so much handsome, but I will not let you risk yourself for me and put yourself in more danger than you need to be. I can't do that to you, I care about you too much for that."
"But Kim, I-" Kimberly cut him off before he could even start by pressing a passionate, desperate, heat-filled kiss upon his lips, and the world blurred out of focus as he regained his senses enough to deepen the kiss. In some back recess of his mind he could feel her hands wrapped around his neck as her body pressed tightly against his as if she were the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle and the fact she had backed up against the wall but he was too wrapped up in the sensations and longings she stirred in him to notice.
Finally after too brief an eternity she reluctantly pulled away, planting one last butterfly kiss on his parted, breath swept lips before stepping away and removing all contact completely. Tommy was now glad she had thoughtfully pushed him to the wall as he wasn't sure he would be able to stand independently without its support.
"That kiss, and those feelings are still going to be there after you've kicked Mesogog's scaly butt. But I won't stay while you can't keep your mind on that, I won't have you worrying about me, and while I'm here I don't think you can help it."
"After a kiss like that- duh!" Tommy retorted sardonically with a light smile. "But I get your point, believe me I get it. Maybe it's not a good idea to rush into things again, I mean, we can survive as housemates for a week which is nothing short of miraculous as I don't do well cohabiting…" Oh he had some memories, mentioning no names, "but you're right, the focus should be on ending Mesogog once and for all, and the kids to deserve the best I can give them....though you know it would be even better with you here right?"
"Nice try Oliver, and believe me I'm tempted, but it's for the best. I've got a lot of stuff to do back home, and some explaining about what happened at school to Stacy and the girls. At least now with Randall out of the way that's one less person to apologise to and one less bad guy for you to defeat, two birds one stone huh?" She shrugged brightly. "So what are you gonna do about the evil principal's strange disappearance anyway?"
"Well, I've gotta go see the school board and let them know the facts, and I guess we'll take it from there." Tommy sighed, running a hand through his spikes and pursing his lips in thought. "I just can't believe we didn't see it sooner, I saw her almost every day and it never registered, I mean apart from the glasses they were identical! And they call me the best." He shook his head despairingly.
"Aww baby," Kim pouted sympathetically, wrapping her arms around his firm waist and resting her head against his chest, where she was perfectly sized for him to rest his chin on her head as she nuzzled into the spicy scented crook of his neck. He wanted to stay like this forever, it pained him more than she knew to admit she was right to leave, but he'd let her go once for her own good and now he had to do it again for his. He knew that this time she'd be waiting for him when it was all said and done, and that was what was important. They'd grown up, and it was time to do the adult thing and do what was right for everyone, by doing what they had been trained to- act unselfishly and for the good of the world, putting others above their own wants and needs for as long as they needed to, and trusting in each other enough to wait and see their duties through.
"You better not leave me again Kimberly." Tommy murmured quietly, sounding more vulnerable than he probably would have liked, but with good reason to. Kim inhaled sharply at this, it almost sounded like a repressed sob, and she looked up at him with shining eyes.
"There is not a day that goes by that I don't wish I could take that letter back, and take back what it did to you. I will be trying to make up for that one mistake and its consequences for the rest of my life, but please tell me you can trust me Tommy, without trust we don't have anything." She said sincerely and emotionally, her hand placed over his rapidly beating heart.
"I trust you Kim, for a long time I didn't think I would be able to, but there's no doubt in my heart. I know you're sorry for what you did, and I'm gonna put myself out on the line, just like I know you are- 'cause you're just as scared as me. There's nothing to make up for, I love you, I've forgiven you. We're in this together, always." Tommy responded without hesitation. A part of him would always remember that letter and what it had meant for him, but it was as any battle scar, faded and rendered insignificant through the wear of time. Some things were far more important, and Kimberly was and would always be one of them, stronger than hurt, or fear, or doubt or insecurity. Kimberly had more than anyone else made him what he was today, in many good ways and some bad, but of all the relationships and experiences he had forged to make him into Dr. Tommy Oliver, Ranger legend, doctor of palaeontology and mentor to a new and promising team of Power Rangers, it was the part of him that was just plain old 'handsome', Tommy- Kimberly Ann Hart's soul-mate that had most influenced and shaped him to become all of the rest.
"God Tommy, I have had the worst three days in the history of the universe, literally, try and think of a person who has had a worse three days than me and it's impossible to do. I mean, I have been attacked, kidnapped, used as a human battery, comatose, the target of an attempted assassination, clinically died twice and then reincarnated only to almost be deep fried and blown up, all in three days!"
Tommy opened his mouth to try and think of anyone who could honestly say that they had experienced three successive days worse than that, or indeed most people who had experienced an entire lifetime worse than that, and he was hard pushed to do it, it did indeed seem impossible. "Okay, you win." He nodded. "So what's your point?"
"Everything you've said to me in the past hour has led me to believe I am the luckiest person in the universe, and nothing else. I don't know what you'd have done without me Tommy Oliver." She grinned and hugged him.
"No Beautiful, I don't either." Tommy murmured, squeezing her back just as fervently. "I don't either."
"Hey Kira!" Jason called as the past and present Rangers cleared the parking lot of the Cyberspace and started out onto the streets of Reefside looking like a rather non-confrontational multicoloured street gang.
The blonde rocker halted and turned to regard Earth's first Red Ranger with a raised brow of interest. "Yup?" She replied simply.
"Hey, I've got a favour to ask of you as I hear you're quite the talented musician."
"Anything for the legendary first Red Ranger, I'm listening." She nodded keenly.
"Good, 'cause I've got just the thing to really make this day complete, walk with me…"
Ethan and Conner had finally noticed Kira was not completing their trio and paused to glance round where they saw her talking closely and animatedly with Jason who had an arm slung over her light shoulders conspirationally and both boys raised their brows in surprise.
"I knew she had a thing for the red and the matureness after all!" Conner muttered darkly with no small hint of annoyance.
"Jealous?" Ethan smirked knowingly. Conner had the good grace to look shocked and indignant, although it was a delayed reaction as his eyes were still trained on the Red and Yellow Rangers.
"Oh, as if! The only one who's jealous is her, you know, because of my moves with the ladies. She knows she can't get with the Conner, and so now she wants it, that's all!"
"Sure dude, yooou keep telling yourself that." Ethan smirked brightly and patted the footballer patronisingly on the shoulder before walking off, leaving Conner to recover himself before charging after him, protesting all the way.
"So when are you leaving?" Tommy asked with a slight pout that made Kim giggle.
"Tomorrow morning I guess, though where we're all going to sleep is still a happy little dilemma isn't it? Especially seeing as a lot of personal belongings, money and credit cards went up in that place- oh my god!" She ended on a high shriek,
"What, what?!" Tommy's eyes widened in worry at her outburst.
"All those clothes… I practically maxed out my credit cards in those trendy boutiques and now I'm never gonna get to wear them…the discounted Jimmy Choos…no!" Kim put her head in her hands and shook it about in despair while Tommy heaved a great sigh of relief, thinking it was something of monumental importance. Unfortunately for him, Kim picked up on this.
"Hey, do not act like this is nothing, it is not nothing!" She snapped up at him with narrowed eyes.
"Kimberly, you have plenty of clothes in Angel Grove, it was only because you didn't pack enough for here anyway."
"Oh how little he knows," She muttered despondently before looking up, "Discounted pink suede JIMMY CHOOS Tommy!" She reiterated significantly.
Tommy looked at her askance for a moment then dropped to his knees and clutched the edge of her skirt-
"Not the pink suede Jimmy Choos!? NOOOO- ow!" He glanced up at her frowningly from his dramatic reaction as he rubbed the sore spot on his head she had just whacked. Then they both began to laugh good naturedly as Kim patted the area better for him.
"Okay, this is gonna sound kinda silly, promise not to laugh?" She said sheepishly, fiddling with the ends of her hair uncertainly.
Tommy nodded, arching a brow, intrigued as he got to his feet and dusted his knees off.
"Alright, I spent all the money buying new outfits just so I could wear 'em around your house and impress you, they were all for you." She trailed off somewhat quietly looking at the floor and shuffling her feet.
Tommy sniggered slightly but tried to hold it in, and at her sharp look down he held up his hands and swallowed the laughter, looking solemn.
"Kimberly, what have I always told you, you always look Beautiful to me, in a bin liner or some new haute couture or whatever! You didn't have to max out your credit cards to impress me."
"Yeah I know. Okay, they were kinda for me too, some of those things were sooo pretty!" Kim pouted guiltily before breaking into laughter at how ridiculous it sounded and Tommy started too. "Hey! It is still not okay for you to laugh at it!" She cut him off with a finger on his nose.
"Oh god, I love you Kim." Tommy smiled, shaking his head.
"Good thing it's mutual then, I guess." Kim smiled before Tommy grabbed her round the waist and dipped her low for a very Hollywood romance style kiss. She giggled as he swung her back up and then frowned as he frowned as if something was just dawning on him.
"What is it?" Kim questioned warily as Tommy's gaze swept down over her form.
"Are you aware that you're only wearing a very attractive pink hospital gown and hospital short shorts?" He informed her with a half smirk on his handsome features, what he had mistaken for a skirt at thigh level he now realised- really looking at her rather than just gazing adoringly at her- had been the hospital gown they hadn't thought about changing her out of when they brought her home.
What he was certainly not prepared for was the ear splitting shriek of horror- one that could rival Kira's Ptera-scream any day- as realization dawned, and Tommy was now only too thankful to the Powers That Be that Hayley's storeroom/mini command centre was soundproofed.
"Oh my god! I've been wandering around in a hospital gown?! I thought it was a little draughty." She added good naturedly.
"A very attractive hospital gown." Tommy repeated reassuringly. "And hey, I'm sure you're grateful it wasn't one of the backless variety, though I can't say I'd have minded the view." This afforded him another smack on the arm. "Yowch, you have been spending too much time around Kira and Aisha, either that or it's the other way round."
"The other way probably." Kim laughed guiltily, "I'm a bad influence. Oh, look at that, also a lack of shoes, if I hadn't just been in a burning building I'd probably complain about cold floors." Tommy decided this was an opportunity to display his heroic and gallant qualities and swept one arm under her legs and the other around her back and lifted her off the ground.
"Always the knight in shining armour," She nuzzled against his cheek with her arms securely around his shoulders. "But rather than throwing you back out carrying me around everywhere, maybe it'd be a good idea to get me some new clothing?"
"Is this an excuse for a shopping spree?" Tommy narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
"You know it!" Kim winked.
Tommy laughed and let her down, keeping an arm around her waist comfortably. "Well, at least you're honest!"
A couple of hours later, when many credit cards had had a thorough stretching and numerous embarrassing and happy memories of the glory days had been traded between the first teams of Rangers, the group had all reconvened at Hayley's Cyberspace to plan their next moves.
"So not only do we not have a place to crash tonight, we also don't have cars to get us back to Angel Grove, let alone Washington or Africa." Jason shook his head and laughed. "Now I can say I miss the days of teleportation." He smirked. "Hey Tommy man, you should ask Andros to hook us up, why should the aliens have the power, we should get the benefits of being the first teams on earth, it's gotta count for something right?"
Tommy chuckled, "Yeah, I'll have to suggest that one to him. Don't know if he'll buy that one though man, he'll probably say we need the exercise."
"Well he wasn't exactly looking like a supermodel when I saw him last either, too much using those galaxy gliders and not enough action I'd say." Jason returned and the two former Red Rangers shared a private laugh about that, although Rocky pouted at having been left out of the Red Reunion due to an untimely holiday to Africa on the occasion.
"Maybe we can hitch a ride on a coach tour back to the 'Grove." Zack shrugged, "I'm just waitin' to see the look on the Car Hire guys' faces when Billy gives 'em his excuse for how we totalled their car!" He grinned and Billy paled somewhat.
"Oh hey quiet guys, Kira's gonna sing!" Aisha shushed the rest of the table as the newest Yellow Ranger neatly took the stage and seated herself on a stool with her guitar.
"Um, hi everyone. My first song tonight is by special request, it's not actually one of mine but I just couldn't refuse when I heard about it. It's dedicated to a couple who truly define the term soul-mates, they've had some ups and downs, but that's what it's all about." She smiled and caught Kimberly and Tommy's eyes. Kim smiled gratefully and Tommy looked proudly at where one of his protégés had reached. Kira began to strum some chords on her guitar and Kim's eyebrows raised as they seemed vaguely familiar, though she couldn't place where they were from.
"Down the road, we never know…what life may have in store, winds of change will rearrange…our lives more than before. But you'll never stand alone my friend, memories will never die…in our hearts they'll always live, and never say goodbye. True love lasts a lifetime, seize that second chance, live your dreams, your fantasies, that fairytale romance… 'cause no matter what the trouble, you two can face as one, and no matter where life takes you to, your true love will live on…"
Kim's mouth hung open as Kira's words wound their way down, her eyes shining with unshed tears as she glanced at Tommy, whose chocolate eyes revealed he was as moved as she was, his fingers interlaced with hers were now squeezing on them tightly. At a time when he had felt lowest in his life and in his Ranger career, Kim had reached out to him with that song and reassured him that she and the others would always be there for him, and now here they were again, back full circle to having the newest female Ranger impart it to them both in support and admiration, it was truly touching.
"We're gonna take a quick break then be right back." Kira said before hopping down off the stool to the larger table where the others sat and Kim stood instantly to crush her in an affectionate and heartfelt hug.
"Kira that was beautiful, thank you so much." Kim mumbled sincerely somewhere between affected pride and trying to hold back tears.
"You don't know how much that means to us both Kira, I'm touched." Tommy nodded with a smile.
"I hope you don't mind I added a little bit to it, just to make it longer." Kira asked hesitantly as Kim pulled away.
"Of course I don't, you made it much better than it was, and a lot more personal. Really Kira we are so proud of you. You're way more talented than I was, I know you're gonna make a great artist someday." Kim squeezed her arm reassuringly.
"Hey, you wrote it from the heart Kim, it was the best gift you could've given me." Tommy chided her softly, bringing her to sit on his lap tenderly while Kira reached for a drink.
"And why am I drawn to thinking that you guys might've had something to do with this?" Kim narrowed her eyes suspiciously as she glanced at her original four team-mates. It was Jason and Zack who looked the guiltiest so she honed in on them immediately.
"Well, I thought it would be fitting, so I told Kira about it, then Zack helped me remember the words and sang our little songstress the tune, and the rest was all her." Jason smiled affectionately at the cosy couple. "You can thank me later." He grinned smugly.
"Well we're certainly well on the way to making this a night to remember." Kim murmured to Tommy as she leant against him comfortably.
"And it's not over yet…" Tommy smirked.
Yeah, it was all silly little fluff, but hey after all the angst and drama and action and no T/K interaction I felt like it was looong overdue. Next couple chapters will be a lot more action packed etc as we get into the home stretch. Hope y'all enjoyed, and I'll see you next week!