HI EVERYONE! It's so nice to greet you all again, I know I've been a terrible writer lately and I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am for that. But the good news is that you all get to find out what happend to Kimberly FINALLY! I know you can't wait to dig in but before you leave me I just wanted to truly thank you all for being so good to me. Even the bad reviews were helpful and of course I especially loved the good ones. But what meant the most to me was your loyalty, a girl couldn't ask for better readers, and I mean that. There were a few of you who deserve mountains of praise but I'll keep this short because I'm sure you all know who you are. I told youguys before that I would be starting a new fic, totally unrelated to this one but aTommy/Kim and I still have high hopes of doing so. I can't promise anything but if you see my name in the futurethen please check it out. So long my precious readers, I love you all!
P.S. A special thanks to you Miss Gina, I never could have done it without you, I think everyone else should thank you too for always pushing me to finish!
Dr. Thomas Oliver sat perplexed and utterly stunned as he watched the silent commotion unravel throughout his basement. The tears had all been cried and the rage had been exhausted out of him hours ago. Now he remained still, sitting on the steps of his command center. He sat patiently; focusing on the cot in the middle of the room where Aisha washed Kimberly's face gently with a gray washcloth that used to be as white as snow. Kimberly was starting to look human again, and now that Tommy could actually see her face free of the dirt, blood, and debris he began to feel something again. It wasn't a good feeling though, in fact it was a very bad feeling, but at least it was something. It was the feeling of regret. But what did he have to be regretful of? He hadn't been the one that dragged Kimberly into this mess and he hadn't been the one that told her to use the white power coin to destroy Lord Zedd and his evil minions. At least she knew that he loved her and as horrible as it sounded he finally knew that she loved him. In fact she had made the ultimate sacrifice for him. If nothing else, he at least had that.
Soon Tommy became distracted as Jason rose from his seat next to Billy across the room; bandaged and bruised. He began to walk towards his best friend slowly, but to Tommy it appeared as though he was moving in slow motion. Tommy somehow found himself enamored with the motion of Jason's feet. He could see the white sneakers hit the floor purposefully but he couldn't hear the actual footsteps. Tommy next realized that he couldn't hear anything at all. Shifting his gaze up he saw the water drip from the rag in Aisha's hand, but no sound. Next to Aisha, Kira and Katherine spoke solemnly, comforting each other kindly, but Tommy couldn't hear their whispers. Behind them, Billy and Haley fidgeted restlessly with the computers, knowing full well that their efforts would go unrewarded, but neither of them could stand to be a part of the grief. Tommy never heard the click of Billy's fingers running over the keyboard. Beside them Conner, Trent, Ethan, and Zack stood discussing something, but Tommy couldn't make out exactly what. Every now and then they took turns glancing at Tommy, and eventually shook their heads sadly.
Tommy didn't need their pity and he didn't want it. What he wanted and desperately needed was for the small angel in the middle of the room to open her eyes and smile at him, just once more. But he knew that was impossible. He couldn't remember anything after entering the command center earlier, and nothing before his revelation of deafness. But somehow he knew; he knew that he would never see those hypnotic hazel brown eyes again and he missed them already.
Jason finally reached Tommy, starring down at him awkwardly. Tommy starred back up at him, making no efforts to rise from the stairs. Jason sank down to Tommy's level, starring him strait in the eye, and began to speak. As his mouth moved slowly, Tommy was relieved that he couldn't hear his best friend's words. But he knew what they were and he knew what was coming. Struggling, Tommy strained to turn his head away, not wanting to see that phrase on Jason's lips. Breaking into a sweat, Tommy fought to move but he was paralyzed, not even his eyelids would blink. Clearly and almost hatefully Jason's lips molded into the words Tommy dreaded more than any other words in the English language, "I'm sorry Tommy," they said, "but Kimberly is dead…"
Drenched in sweat, Tommy gasped for air as he sat up from the deep sleep. His heart pumped so fast that it hurt. As his eyes finally adjusted to the darkness he focused his attention on the floating neon green numbers on the nightstand. The clock read 3:37, he had only been asleep for ten minutes and already he was sopping wet. This scenario seemed so familiar to him, and rightfully so for he had experienced it at least five times already that night, and countless times many nights before.
The exact same dream had been haunting Tommy every night for the past three weeks, two days, one hour, and roughly ten minutes since it had all happened. Each time it played out exactly the same way, just like clockwork, and each time he would pull himself awake but not in enough time to avoid the most painful part. The dream had become quite draining for Tommy. Every morning he awoke feeling as if he had never even hit the pillow the night before. He faked his way through his class lectures just going through the motions and pretty much reading the textbook out loud to the students. Battles with Mesogog's drones were like a play and he was a member of the audience. He wasn't the leader he knew he once was and he wasn't the man he knew that he should be. But who could blame him? Of course Tommy's disturbing change in behavior did not go unnoticed by his faithful team of Rangers but he didn't feel it their business to know about the dreams. They were personal, private, and sickeningly realistic.
Feeling thirsty and quite frankly a little nauseous, Tommy rose from his bed tossing the black comforter aside. Slowly Tommy made his way to the door and without noticing he went down the stairs, through the living room and entered the kitchen. It wasn't until the bright light of the refrigerator shocked him into reality that Tommy realized he was no longer in his room. Shaking off the hypnotic trance Tommy grabbed the half-drunken bottle of Sprite from the top shelf of the refrigerator. He twisted the top off easily expecting to hear the effervescence escape with a sigh, but he barely heard the cap fall to the floor. Taking a gigantic gulp Tommy was disgusted to find that the Sprite had gone flat. Thinking back he couldn't even remember the last time that he had drank from the bottle. For all he knew it could have been there for weeks, maybe even before IT happened.
"It", was the name he had given the events, which had effected his life drastically three weeks before. It was like his life hadn't changed one bit yet it felt so unfamiliar. He was still a science teacher at Reefside High, he was still the Black Dino Thunder Ranger, and as hard as it was to believe right now Kimberly was still in fact very much alive.
Tommy entered the command center with Kimberly in his arms. The walk back from the battleground was a confusing one. Tommy played the events of the past few days in his head over and over again looking for some kind of loop hole, trying to pinpoint exactly where he had gone wrong and where he could have prevented the whole tragedy from ever even happening. However, the more he searched the more clueless he became, but it was no matter now because Lord Zedd and Rita were finally dead and above all he was still Dr. Thomas Oliver, the greatest Power Ranger there ever was. Sure it was vain and pompous but he knew it was true, he had to believe it was true.
Not stopping to even acknowledge Haley, Tommy headed strait for the table in the middle of the room, which Haley had already prepared for Kimberly. Setting Kimberly down gently but swiftly Tommy immediately began spouting orders.
"Jason, Billy, Zack, Aisha, and Kat, you guys join me please."
Kira, Conner, Trent, and Ethan groaned silently to themselves as they shifted directions and assisted their mentors to the middle of the room.
"Form a circle," ordered Tommy without looking up as he arranged Kimberly across the table.
No one bothered to question their leader's orders but were very doubtful. Looking to Jason for answers the Rangers starred at the man in red. Jason nodded his head indicating that they should fallow Tommy's command. Jason was very pessimistic about Tommy's intentions but he knew that Tommy never gave up, and even if this tactic failed at least Tommy could live with himself knowing that he tried.
Quickly the circle was formed around the small woman and without any further delay, Tommy explained his intentions.
"You guys remember that time Zordon infused me with his energy so I could maintain the Green Ranger powers?"
Everyone shook their heads in unison even though Kat and Aisha weren't there for the occasion, but they had been reminded of the instance many times in the past.
"Well, we're going to do the same for Kimberly," finished Tommy with a clever grin.
It was so heartbreaking to see him so optimistic when all hope was lost back at the clearing.
"Tommy," interrupted Jason softly, not really wanting to bust his best friend's bubble. "I don't know if you noticed this or not but we all lost our powers during the destruction of Zedd and Rita."
"It's true," confirmed Billy humbly.
Tommy starred at his friends in disbelief; he couldn't believe how quickly they were willing to throw in the towel.
"I don't care," he finally declared, "we don't need fancy suits and shinny helmets to save Kimberly. You said it yourself earlier Billy, the power is inside each one of us."
Billy swallowed hard, for once wishing he hadn't been the smart guy. "Um, that's true Tommy, but we used up all of our powers in the battle. It would take years for enough energy to accumulate to even try to bring Kimberly back."
"What about the dino gem's?" interrupted Kira, breaking the mandatory silence which the Dino Rangers had been expected to adhere to.
"They'd never work," replied Haley, "they're not in any way connected to Kimberly."
"But she used the Black Dino gem," added Trent.
"Yeah," replied Haley, "but it just isn't enough, and none of your powers were ever connected to her."
Tommy shook his head in irritation. "Just shut up everyone! You are all just wasting valuable time, now come on-"
He was cut off instantly with the sound of the alarm. Haley was already at the control panel tracking the disturbance.
"It's Mesogog," she announced, "he's sent tyranodrones to the power plant, it looks like they're looking to tamper with the city's power supply."
Tommy appeared unfazed by the news. "Kira, Conner, Ethan, Trent, you guys go take care of those goons. I'll be along later if you need me."
Hesitating, the Rangers finally bit their tongues and raced for their motorcycles.
"Alright," declared Tommy, "let's bring her back guys.
The Rangers limped and struggled to position themselves equidistant from the person next to them. Tommy stroked Kimberly's cheek sweetly.
"Hang on Beautiful, were coming for you."
Tears spilled from Aisha's and Katherine's eyes as they stared at Tommy. It seemed so impossible, but Tommy was right. They had never given up before, why in the hell start now?
"Okay guys," broke in Aisha suddenly as she smiled at Tommy, "I don't know about you but I'm ready to get my best friend back." She winked at Tommy who returned the gesture with a smile.
"Me too," confirmed Jason with a grin.
The other Rangers nodded in accordance and everyone raised their hands high into the air and connected palms with the friend next to them. Closing their eyes the Rangers prepared to exhaust every resource necessary to save their friend. But then another voice broke in. It was Conner from the battle site, his plea echoed through the speakers and into the command center.
"Dr. O, we need you," begged the young Red Ranger, "Elsa's here along with a three headed monster who apparently has the ability to freeze things, Kira mainly."
Tommy flinched at the alarming news but shook it off impatiently as he squeezed his eyes shut tighter. Haley understood Tommy's gesture and answered Conner's call.
"You're going to have to hold out a little longer Conner," she said, "Dr. O will be along as soon as he can." Conner just responded with a sigh.
Focusing their attention back to the problem at hand the six adults resumed their positions and began to search. They searched long and hard within themselves, desperately seeking any last drop of power that might help their cause. Eventually, multicolored bolts of light began to erupt from the humans as they collected what was left, but was it enough? The room glowed with such intensity that Haley had to cover her eyes and alarms rang off throughout the command center indicating an overheating. But neither of them could be deterred. Soon Conner's voice broke in again,
"Dr. O I've lost Ethan and Trent too. I just can't do this alone, there's too many of them. I need help, please!"
Tommy heard Conner but he pushed the young man's voice to the back of his head. Mesogog just was not his greatest concern right now and after all he'd been through kicking some tyranodrone ass was sounding like a piece of cake. He just had to finish what he had started.
"We're almost there guys," he urged. "Come on, we can do this!"
In unison the heroes forced themselves to push harder than they had ever thought possible, and soon the power gathered into a radiating mass hovering above Kimberly. With one final force the Rangers released their hold and the gigantic mass of energy dropped on Kimberly with incredible impact. She gasped as life entered her body once again, but her eyes remained closed. Billy and Haley rushed around preparing the medical equipment necessary to sustain Kimberly long enough for her to recover completely. Katherine and Aisha hugged in relief, while Jason tended to Kimberly immediately. Tommy starred down at Kimberly one more time.
"I knew you'd never leave me, Beautiful," he said before digging deep down into his pants pocket and pulling out the black Dino Gem.
"Dino thunder, power up, ha!"
Tommy poured the remainder of the bottle of Sprite into the sink and tossed the empty bottle into the trashcan; he missed it. At first Tommy really didn't care, in fact looking around the kitchen it appeared that he hadn't cared for quite sometime. Rancid milk sat in a plastic jug next to a half-eaten stale box of cheerios. A banana peal as well as several more pieces of garbage occupied the space on the floor. The sink was surprisingly clean but after slight observation Tommy realized that it was because he had never even bothered to bring the dirty dishes to the sink. Instead they littered the kitchen table, the counter, and even the top of the refrigerator. The microwave was splattered with spaghetti sauce which he had forgotten all about one evening while thinking about Kim. He never even realized it until the next morning when he opened the microwave door to heat up some water for his instant coffee, which he despised. But now staring at the red design his attention was shifted from what was on the door to what was reflected in the door. Tommy rubbed his hand over his chin, it was covered in stubble, and in fact it was bordering on a beard. Beards were never quite Tommy's thing and he cringed in disgust, how could he have let himself get this bad?
"Forget it," he groaned as he turned around and headed back up the stairs not wanting to deal with the mess right now.
He didn't really want to go back to sleep either because for him sleep was merely a portal into his nightmare. But why did the dream continue to haunt him so? It wasn't like it was real; he just really hated the man in the dream; himself. In actuality he hadn't been the pathetic passive weakling as portrayed in his vision, in fact he had been the complete opposite. It was he who had been responsible for Kimberly's survival. So why did he feel so guilty? And could it be that the man he saw in his dreams was in fact an accurate depiction of himself at this very moment? It's true, Tommy had saved the day, rescuing Kimberly for the hundredth time, and then he topped it all off by once again putting Mesogog and his crew in their place. These were by no means the accomplishments of a failure, but it was the events that followed the victories that plagued Tommy.
The battle with Mesogog's henchmen was a surprisingly close call for the Dino Rangers. It seemed that all that time that Mesogog was quiet was not due to the fact that he feared the evil Pink Ranger or Lord Zedd. Instead he took the opportunity to strengthen his army, creating more tyranodrones, tougher monsters, and even a new weapon for Elsa. He undoubtedly figured that the Rangers would be so exhausted from the past few days that they would most definitely meet their doom. How wrong he was, though. Tommy, had actually fought most of the battle on his own due to the fact that the rest of his team was frozen solid, courtesy of Mesogog's latest creation. Looking back on it Tommy had no idea how he managed to defeat dozens of Tyranodrones, three monsters, and Elsa all in one day and at times all at the same time! The answer was easy though, for he had been so thrilled by Kimberly's awakening that nothing could have stopped him.
With that in mind it wasn't difficult to understand why Tommy was now starting to believe that he was wretched and weak, this was because he hadn't seen Kimberly since she took that first gasp of air back in the command center. During Tommy's eternal battle against Mesogog's forces his friends naturally took it upon themselves to see that Kimberly made a full recovery. The minute she was strong enough to make the journey they transported her to Reefside Hospital where she was examined and not long after was relocated to Angel Grove Hospital. Reefside Hospital definitely had an issue with overcrowding, especially when a monster attacked. It just wasn't practical for them to give up a bed to Kimberly when she could receive better attention in Angel Grove.
Tommy was heartbroken when he had finally made it back to the command center only to find Haley there. She had explained the situation to him and had urged him to hop in his jeep and race to Kimberly's side at that very moment. He had definitely considered it but for some reason he just couldn't bring himself to actually do it. He hadn't forgotten about the revelations that Kimberly and he had shared with each other, but he also had to wonder just how genuine they were. Sure it's easy to say you love someone, especially when you may never see them again. Of course he had meant every word he had uttered, but had Kimberly? It was true that she had sacrificed herself for him on more than one occasion but that was pretty much a part of the Ranger's code of honor.
Tommy figured that Kimberly was probably having a hard enough time right now during her recovery. The amount of power that she consumed in such a short period of time was unheard of. He knew what it was like and he knew that the side affects took time to wear off. He didn't want to bother her with his endless infatuation because it would only make adjusting more difficult for her. He had promised himself that he would give her a month to recuperate and then maybe, just maybe then he would approach her. But as the days passed he became more and more doubtful that he would ever find the life he had hoped for because Kimberly had not once bothered to contact him.
He guessed that was why he kept having that stupid reoccurring dream. He was letting her slip away now at this very moment just as he had let her slip away in the dream. He felt almost as if she were dead to him now, and what was worse was the fact that he wasn't doing a damn thing to try and pull her back. It was funny how things could make so much sense in the middle of the night.
Tommy entered his room and turned the corner sharply without hesitation. Flicking the light on with his right hand, he reached for his razor with his left hand.
Kimberly entered the familiar room cautiously; relieved to discover that the Youth Center was buzzing with the typical relaxed teenagers that usually inhabited it on Saturday mornings. They would definitely make this much easier for her. Kimberly had returned to work at Angel Grove High at the beginning of the week. When she had first called Mr. Caplin to explain her leave of absence and to request a couple more weeks off he was not at all pleased. But when she told him she was calling from the hospital he was so concerned that he told her she could take as much time off as she needed, and he didn't even request proof from her doctor.
Kimberly's doctor had been a very nice man; he was older and very knowledgeable. She had been diagnosed with nothing more than exhaustion, and of course the cuts and bruises. The doctor had made a big deal about them and began to hint at the suspicion that she was involved in an abusive relationship. He even had the nurse give her pamphlets on abuse prevention. But, Aisha and Katherine assured the physician that, that simply was not the case and everyone stuck with the story that Kimberly had merely been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Eventually the doctor came around.
Focusing on the commotion surrounding her Kimberly spotted a couple of her favorite students sitting at the table across the room and standing in front of them was the whole reason why she had avoided the Youth Center all week, Skull. He took the kids' orders, delivering what looked to be an absolutely hilarious joke; even Bulk laughed from behind the juice bar. But once Bulk spotted her the fun was over. He quickly became silent as he gestured towards her to Skull. Skull turned around and the moment he spotted her the smile quickly erased from his face. Handing the order to Bulk he attempted to casually meet up with Kimberly on the other side of the bar.
He had been dreading this moment just as much as Kimberly; in fact more. Their date had ended on a sour note and when she stopped coming in every morning he was heartbroken. He now realized that she would never return his affections but he still wanted her to be a part of his life, even if it was just a small part like a friend. At least a week had passed before someone clued him in on Kimberly's absence from school, and after some investigating he discovered that she had been "ill." At least that's what Mr. Caplin called it. Skull knew it probably wasn't his place but he sent the women a dozen pink roses anyway. And although Kimberly had been disappointed to discover that they had not been sent by Tommy like she had hoped, she was still very touched by Skull's gesture.
Kimberly and Skull silently took a seat next to each other, and saying nothing they turned to one another. Tears welled up in Kimberly's eyes as she could see the hurt in Skull's face. She knew why too, it wasn't because she had avoided him for so long and it wasn't because their date had ended horribly. It was because he now understood that they would never be.
Kimberly quickly kissed Skull on the cheek and locked him in a truly heartfelt hug. She could feel the eyes of the kids watching them but she didn't care. Skull returned her embrace and once the couple parted they both broke out in chuckles.
"So we're okay?" asked Skull sheepishly, avoiding Kimberly's eyes.
"Yeah, we're okay," confirmed Kimberly still smiling. "Although…" she began.
Skull's eyes darted up, staring at her curiously, "What?"
"I really don't deserve a friend like you," she replied seriously, "and I really mean it this time."
Skull made no attempt to interrupt her; he definitely wanted to hear what she had to say.
"I realize that I haven't been myself lately," she continued, "but you haven't changed a bit through all of it, and I love you for that."
Skull said nothing; he just smiled and blushed profusely.
"And the flowers were beautiful, too," added Kimberly with a giggle.
"Only the best for you," replied Skull, rising from his seat and planting a kiss on Kimberly's cheek before returning to his place behind the counter. "Now, what will it be?" he asked reaching for a pink glass behind him.
"You know what I like," replied Kimberly cheerfully.
"One strawberry smoothie coming up," declared Skull as he turned around and began to prepare the drink.
Once Kimberly received her smoothie and Skull had wandered off to challenge some kid to a video game, she was left alone at the juice bar. She quickly reached in her designer tote bag and pulled out a pad of paper and a pen. Hesitantly she began to scribble words and hoped that somehow they would miraculously begin to make sense. But it seemed no matter how hard she tried she just couldn't focus. Letter writing had never been her strong suite and although she had been trying to compose the letter since she woke up in Angel Grove Hospital the words just weren't coming. Finally deciding that there were too many distractions in the Youth Center Kimberly stood up, offered a friendly wave to Skull and headed for the door.
Kimberly decided that this matter required careful attention and inspiration, so she headed for one of her favorite spots in the park, on the lakeshore. She plopped down on the sand carelessly, not afraid to ruin her blue jeans, but leaned against the tree softly hoping she wouldn't find tree sap on her pink tank top when she went to do her laundry the next day. Before pulling out her paper and pen again Kimberly made sure she was comfortable and let down her hair from the messy knot she had been wearing on her head. She was stalling as long as she could to avoid writing the letter; it had been extremely difficult for her.
There were so many times that Kimberly just wanted to pick up the phone and dial Tommy's number but she didn't even know what it was. It wouldn't have been difficult to get it from Jason, but she just felt like if Tommy wanted to talk to her then he would have made the effort to contact her. That was why she had been working painstakingly hard on the letter. How do you write I love you on a piece of paper and make it look like words that have never been uttered before? That's how she felt about Tommy, she felt like the love she had for him was unlike any other love that anyone had ever experienced in the entire universe. She feared that he did not share the same feelings for her but at this point she was willing to put everything on the line as long as Tommy knew that she really did love him more than life itself.
Once again Kimberly's pen took flight and after a while frustration got the better of her. Sighing in disgust she hurled the pen and paper down to the sand next to her. A small cloud of dust rose and fell to the ground as Kimberly pulled her knees to her chest and huffed. She was officially incapable of writing the letter but as difficult as it was, it was still easier than trying to do it face to face.
"You know letters really don't become you," said a voice from a ways off.
Kimberly turned her head towards it in surprise as she found the biggest surprise of them all, Dr. Tommy Oliver. He stood tall in his old worn jeans and black polo shirt. His face was cleanly shaven and although he had monstrous circles under his eyes he was still breathtakingly handsome. Kimberly gasped immediately and then froze. Tommy looked at her questioningly.
"I guess I should have called first," he began as he started to turn away, "I'm sorry, I can come back later-"
Before he could finish what he was trying to say Kimberly had sprung up from her seat on the sand and rushed towards Tommy. The moment she reached him she jumped into his arms, wrapping her arms around his neck with no intention of ever letting him go. Tommy was shocked beyond belief at her welcome because he had come expecting the worst, but not wanting to waste a split second of this moment on his shortcomings he embraced her with welcoming arms. The two hugged for quite sometime, never once speaking a word, with every second their grips grew tighter and tighter. Soon they could hardly stand it anymore and it was time for the truth to come out. Releasing Tommy slowly, Kimberly drew back her arms and picking up on her signal Tommy also let go. But, he wasn't going to risk her running off so he made sure to hold on to both of her tiny hands inside of his.
Kimberly looked down at her hands interlocked with Tommy's; there had been a time when it had been as natural as breathing. Now she felt like she couldn't even breathe, but she certainly couldn't stop smiling. Finally gazing up into Tommy's deep brown eyes Kimberly spoke,
"Tommy…" she began, rushed and short of breath. "Tommy, I…" she said realizing that she was about to lay it all out on the table, with the possibility of walking away with a broken heart that could never be mended for as long as she lived.
"Kimberly, I love you," blurted out Tommy with no hesitation, not caring if he so rudely interrupted her.
"What?" asked Kimberly, stunned at the man's declaration.
"I said I love you," replied Tommy sincerely as he raised her small hand up to his lips, gently unfolded it, planted a soft, sweet kiss in her palm and then closed her hand again.
Kimberly stared up at him deeply, praying to God that this wasn't a dream.
"Do you really mean that?" she asked as tears once again welled up in her eyes for the second time that day.
"I've never been so sure about anything else in my life," answered Tommy confidently as he cupped her chin in his fingers.
"Because I love you too," declared Kimberly with excitement.
"Are you sure you really mean that?" questioned Tommy, in need of verification.
"I've never been so sure about anything else in my life either," repeated Kimberly eagerly, as her voice became muffled with giggles.
Tommy lowered his face down to hers, tilting her head up to his, with their lips only an inch apart, he said, "I can't live without you any longer, Kimberly. I need you," he trailed off into a whisper as he couldn't keep his mouth away from hers any longer.
He had to taste her and feel her breath inside of him. The couple kissed passionately with no reserves; their ferocity not even coming close to comparing to the kisses they shared in Tommy's bedroom weeks before. This kiss was different, it was real, and it was undoubtedly a kiss of true love. Finally Kimberly was able to gather the strength to tear herself away from Tommy, but only for a moment.
"I need you too, Tommy," she said hurriedly as he once again invaded her mouth, forbidding her to breath without him.