AN: Sorry about the delay! I actually had over half of this written several weeks ago, but I broke my wrist and couldn't write the rest of it. Now that I'm better I'm shooting for updating at least once every week or two (most likely two). I can't promise anything however. But I am determined to finish this, no matter what:)
Falling From Grace
Kimberly didn't like eavesdropping, even if it could be informative. But she couldn't sleep and they weren't exactly trying to be quiet. Of course, the two girls actually thought that Kim was asleep, so they felt free to discuss anything.
The one girl, Ashley, was very upset. From what Kimberly could hear, her boyfriend had taken off in an attempt to save his sister. Ashley was afraid that he was never going to come back, a fear that Kimberly could sympathize with. The other girl, Cassie, was doing her best to comfort her friend even though they both knew that the odds were against them living through the next couple of days.
Kim's heart went out to the group of teenagers. Carlos had brought her to his friends after he had saved her from the rubble. There she met all of the rangers except for the Red Ranger, Ashley's boyfriend, Andros. None of the rangers knew who she was, but she was able to figure out which ranger was which by the clothes they wore. Thank goodness for color coding. At least that much hadn't changed since her time as a ranger.
They were all so kind and welcoming towards her. She was somewhat surprised that they hadn't tried to move her over to the group a couple of yards away. She knew that they wouldn't be able to speak freely with a "civilian" among them. But instead they welcomed her, fed her, and gave her a place to sleep by their fire. The former ranger was immensely grateful, she didn't really want to be among strangers right now, as odd as it seemed. She may not have known this group personally, but they were still her family. Though they were more like cousins when compared to her own teammates, her brothers and sisters.
Not long after arriving at the makeshift camp, Kimberly had lied down and tried to sleep. Tomorrow would be a long day, she was certain, so she had to be ready. Unfortunately, sleep evaded her. The rangers must have thought that she had fallen asleep because they started talking quietly amongst themselves. The two girls were closest to her, so she was able to hear their conversation quite clearly. Even though Kimberly felt incredibly guilty for eavesdropping, she wanted to learn more about these rangers. So she pretended to sleep while she listened.
The rangers had been forced to retreat soon after the invasion started. Most of the allied worlds like Eltar and Aquitar had already fallen. Earth was completely alone. Zordon was being held captive. The Red Ranger had ran off on a desperate attempt to save his sister, who just happened to be the one who planned this whole attack to begin with. The worst part was that the rangers weren't sure that they could win. The odds were stacked against them.
It was then that Kimberly began to think that she might never see Jason again. He could already be dead, for all she knew, and she could soon be joining him. Part of her had hoped that somehow he might have found his way to this group, that he would be waiting for her to arrive, but he was no where to be found. Her heart ached to see him again. She couldn't give up just yet, not when there was still so much for them to do. They would get married, have children, and live to a ripe old age together. Kimberly had always loved him, since they were kids, they couldn't end this way.
They wouldn't end this way, not if she had anything to do with it.
The two teen girls were shocked when Kimberly sat up and turned to face them. "You can't just give up like that. There's a lot of people counted on you." She looked all five of them in the eyes. "I know it seems hopeless now, but the rangers have always come through before." There were a few audible gasps as the team mates exchanged glances. "Zordon wouldn't want you to give up." Kimberly's voice cracked at the mention of her former mentor, she hoped he was alright.
Her audience was too shocked to speak. Eventually, after a few moments deliberation, T.J. broke the silence.
"Who are you? How do you know about Zordon?" The Blue Ranger spoke carefully and Kimberly thought carefully about her response, seeing the suspicious looks thrown her way.
"My name is Kimberly Hart...I used to be a Power Ranger." She had to stifle a giggle when the Ranger's jaws practically hit the floor at her pronouncement.
"Actually, I was one of the first rangers." She continued. "I was the Pink Ranger, before Katherine." At this, she looked pointedly at Cassie, the current Pink Ranger. Cassie's eyes widened with surprise. "So, I know what I'm saying when I tell you that I understand what you're going through. And I know that none of you are going to give up." She smirked, "we rangers don't give up no matter what."
"You know, I never would have guessed that you were a power ranger when I first met you." Carlos smirked.
"Gee, thanks." Kimberly laughed. "But I guess that kinda had to do with the fact that I was pinned under a ton of rubble huh?" A few hours had passed since she had revealed to the group that she had once been one of them. Since then, she had been answering their many questions about her past. The teens seemed to be fascinated by the stories of their predecessors. Kimberly figured that it probably had something to do with the fact that they were so isolated from the rest of the ranger family, they hadn't had the opportunity to get to know the people that had come before them. As far as Kim could tell, when Tommy and the others transferred their powers to the new group they were never heard from again.
The former ranger didn't like that at all. Even though the team had Demetria, they could have used some guidance from the old rangers. It was pretty callous of Tommy and the others to just ignore the newbies like that. In her day (just thinking that made Kimberly feel old), all rangers stayed in contact, no matter if they were present or former members of the team. She felt bad for the rangers that she was sitting with, they had had to go through such hardship all alone.
"Nah, Carlos just isn't observant enough to know when a ranger's fallen into his lap." Zhane put in, earning a glare from the Black Ranger. The Yellow Ranger shook her head and rolled her eyes before turning back to Kim.
"Anyway, you said that you were captured by Divatox, right? What happened?"
"Well, Jason and I were held hostage so that..."
"Wait! Jason's the first Red Ranger, right?" Cassie interrupted. Kimberly nodded, her face becoming wistful as she thought about him.
"Yeah, he was also the Gold Ranger for a while. But he was the first leader of the Power Rangers...and Tommy's best friend." Her voice became quiet and solemn. The cheer that had previously enveloped the group was gone, the others knowing that this was very hard for their friend to speak of. "Or at least he was, but that was pretty much my fault." Kimberly continued. "Like I said before, Tommy and I dated for a long time. But I had been in love with Jason practically my whole life. Tommy had only recently found out that Jase and I had gotten together while I was away training. He didn't take it well." She snorted quietly at the understatement.
"It was really hard for him to see us together, let alone save us. But he did, just like always. Divatox turned us evil, but Tommy was able to reach us. We haven't heard from him since. It's been really hard on Jason...he's lost his brother." She looked down at her lap where she was wringing her hands nervously. "And Jason's out there somewhere right now and the last time I saw him he was angry at me. I've got to find him."
An awkward silence filled the space around the small campfire. The teens looked at one another silently, not knowing what to say. Kimberly couldn't look at them, too ashamed at her admittance. It was eventually Cassie that broke the silence, an idea popping in her head.
"Kim, how many former rangers are living in Angel Grove right now?" She leaned forward, her hands clasped together, and looked Kimberly in the eye.
Her question startled her predecessor momentarily, surprised at the change of topic. She had to think carefully for a few moments before she could answer.
"Well, there's me and Jason, but I don't know of anyone else. Let's see...Zack and Trini are still in Europe, as far as I know. Billy's not even on the planet anymore, he's with the Auquitan Rangers now. Kat's in London at ballet school. Aisha's still in Africa and I think Rocky's there visiting her right now. Tanya and Adam are in L.A. and I don't know where Tommy is. I've only met Justin once, so I don't know where he could be at all." She paused. "I guess that's everybody. Why do you ask?"
Cassie held Kimberly's curious gaze for a brief moment before she sighed.
"I think I may have run into him this afternoon..."
This had to be the most quiet morning that downtown Angel Grove had ever seen. It was an eerie silence that spoke to the horrors that the city had witnessed only hours ago. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath, waiting for the next attack to come.
Jason's group was almost completely silent. They had all awoken, but none had the courage or strength to speak. There weren't that many of them, no more than thirty, and they were all exhausted and shaken. Jason had joined the group late the previous evening. He had been searching for Kimberly for hours, with no success. All of the debris had made traveling difficult and time consuming; the former Red Ranger doubted that he had been able to cover more than 4 blocks before he was forced to rest for the night.
Thankfully he had run into a small group of civilians that had survived the attack who offered him a place to sleep. He hadn't relished the idea of sleeping out in the open by himself with absolutely no protection. Now that it was light out, he could continue looking for Kimberly.
As he stood to leave, a flash of light on the roof of a nearby building caught his attention. The others around him noticed it as well and they all stood to face it, murmuring quietly.
"What was that?"
"Is it another attack?"
"Maybe it's the Power Rangers!"
"Have they come to save us??"
"I dunno, let's go see!"
The crowd began to make its way toward the building. Some of the people were excited, others apprehensive. Jason knew that it wasn't the rangers. The color of the flash wasn't right and the rangers wouldn't make a show of teleporting to a roof like that. This was bad, very bad. But Jason had no choice but to follow the crowd and try to figure out what was going on.
It wasn't just his group that had been drawn to the flash of light, many others were gathering at the base of the building. Jason hadn't realized that there were that many survivors in the area. Obviously some groups had found much better hiding places than his had.
A sinking feeling started in the base of his stomach as he looked to the top of the building, seeing two figures. One was Astronoma, the other her second in command. Something big was about to happen, he knew.
And it was not going to end well...