Spoiler: PRDT AU
Disclaimer: Power Rangers belongs to Disney, which considering their non-violence stance seems hypocritical, but who am I to judge?
Relationship: T/K, H/B, C/K
Summary: Eight months after the wedding of Tommy and Kimberly, things in Reefside take a turn.
Hi all! Well it's finally here… the new AAR universe mini-series. While it isn't as grandiose as before and I don't have a set schedule yet, hopefully it will be just as entertaining as Always a Ranger was. And if you haven't read Always a Ranger, it can be found, as always on my website: . And now, let's get to the story. . .
Duty & Honor - Part 1 – When Last We Saw Our Heroes…
Kimberly sat on the couch in their living room Friday evening, reading the paper with a relaxed air, occasionally reaching over to take a sip of the tea she'd made. It had been another long week at the Reefside Gymnastics Academy and she was finally getting to wind down as the weekend started.
Since she and Tommy had returned from their honeymoon, Kim had been almost single mindedly focused on her job at the Academy. She'd spent the first three months handling the younger classes, ages five through ten before things changed.
Word had spread like wildfire around the county that the Academy had hired an Olympic caliber gymnastics coach. Before the school knew what hit them, their student applications had tripled. It had resulted in the school expanding and Kim had been reassigned to the older girls with long term commitment and dreams of following in their teacher's footsteps. As it was, she had even been referred a few aspiring Olympic athletes from other coaches when the girls relocated to her general area.
Just this week the academy had added another ten students and her class load had increased by two. At this rate her hours were starting to verge on Olympic training levels and more nights than not she came home overly tired. Still, she loved the chance to do what she did, and she loved the fact it was a five minute drive for her to come home.
She smiled at the thought of this as her home. There had been so many years when the life she now lead was just a faded dream, lost by time and her own foolishness. Yet she'd gotten a second chance at everything – ranger life and making amends with the love of her life.
Kim looked to where Tommy sat at the kitchen table, writing the finals for his classes at Reefside High School. Things at the school had radically changed since the wedding as well. After Principal Randall had not returned to school after several weeks, an interim principal had been appointed, a twenty year veteran of the school district and former vice principal of Surfside's Junior High named Preston Ramsey. The man seemed genuinely concerned about the students, and had appreciated Tommy's commitment to his classes following his return from his honeymoon.
In her dealings with Preston, Kim had been impressed and surprised that he was as good as he was with the students. He had to be pushing fifty, his hair starting to bald significantly. His slightly unfit shape was only made more apparent by the fact that he wore the most unflattering, ugly suits she'd ever seen. Yet all the students seemed to like him, and he seemed to have a genuine rapport with them… she had even heard from Tommy as well as the kids that he remembered every student's name.
Which made her laugh at the fact that after six months she still had to remind him to call her Kimberly when he called her Mrs. Hart-Oliver…
Looking at the antique ring, Tommy's mother's ring on her finger, she twirled the diamond band and its mate as she pondered again her choice. After coming back to Reefside, she and Tommy had finally started talking about the hard decisions… including her changing her name. She finally resorted to a compromise - she had chosen to hyphenate her last name. Having become a famous gymnastics coach as Hart, she couldn't lose it to take Oliver fully. When she'd announced her choice, she was worried that Tommy would be disappointed. But she'd found out that it didn't bother him. When she'd asked why, he'd delicately picked up her left hand and indicated that the fact that she wore his ring on her finger was all that mattered to him in the long run. Of course she suspected the fact that she came home every day to him did a lot to help things.
Of course, Mrs. Hart-Oliver was only one of her titles. The one she didn't use these days was pink Dino Thunder ranger.
That decision had been made following a meeting of the Dino Thunder team following their return from Hawaii. The team had met to have a 'practice', but it had ended up resulting in a get-together to discuss whether or not power rangers were needed any more. With Mesogog gone, there was no direct threat and the formerly quiet town was returning quickly to the state it had been in before Tommy and Mesogog/Anton Mercer had chosen Reefside as their battleground.
So the rangers had gone into semi-retirement, which made a lot of sense, considering there were no more bad guys in town, thought Kim as she reminisced over how things had been and how they were now. It had allowed everyone to think seriously about what they wanted… and who they wanted…
Which included Conner, Kira, Billy and Hayley.
She knew that Hayley and Billy had hooked up when he had first come looking for the power source of the dino gems. And the subsequent visits, including the wedding and several other trips had cemented the fact that Billy and Hayley were officially a couple. Even separated by ten million light years.
Sighing, Kim reached over to take a gulp of the tea. She'd started drinking it more often as it seemed to settle her stomach when she forgot to eat during the day or she got a bad headache. Tonight she'd felt a little queasy after dinner, and had brewed up the tea to relax her. After another sip, she set it aside and then flipped to the next page in the newspaper's entertainment section, noting the add for Kylee Stiles concert tour…
Which led her mind to think about the other 'power' couple in Reefside… Conner and Kira.
She smirked as she noted the date of the show – which was in two months. No doubt Kira would make sure that she saw Kylee. And this time, from what she knew of things, Conner would be too busy watching Kira to care about the rising pop star's presence in town.
The courtship of Kira Ford by Conner McKnight was one for the record books. He'd spent three whole days asking Kira to go out with him. Kira had continually shrugged off Conner's interest, trying to write off his feelings, her own and the circumstances. It was only after Kim and Tommy had returned from their honeymoon that she knew from her own involvement in the romance what was truly going on. Kira had fallen for Conner, but was too unsure about his intentions and her own ability to make a relationship with the red ranger work. It had been their talk that evening that had finally convinced Kira to take the chance and see what happened.
Now, eight months later, Kira and Conner were inseparable… and looking so much like younger versions of her and Tommy that it made Kim smile whenever she saw them together. And as for her and Tommy… They'd spent those same months of blissfully married life doing what couples do: working, living and being in love.
As for Tommy, he'd spent the school year being able to focus on teaching and less on racing off with the team to stop some monster attack. He'd gotten a lot more comfortable in his role as teacher, role model and mentor to not only the former team but the other students in his class. Which was why he was now so diligently obsessing over the final he was preparing at the kitchen table. The only problem with that attitude in Kim's mind was that the last three hours he'd spent had been hours he could have been spending cuddling with her on the couch, watching the news and maybe one of those really strange reality shows all the networks were putting on.
Laying the paper on the coffee table, she got up and walked towards where Tommy was sitting. She stopped behind him, laying her hands on his shoulders and leaned over to kiss his neck. She felt him shiver and marveled yet again on the affect her simple touch had o him, after al this time.
"How's it going?" she asked, rubbing his rock tight shoulders with her fingers.
"Slow. Remind me again why I decided to stay and teach?" he grumbled with cynicism in his voice.
"Because you love it," she reminded him with a smile, and he turned in the chair to pull her into his lap.
"We could have left you know…" he remarked with a half frown.
"No, we decided to make a life here. Besides… I have the academy, you have the school, what more could we want?"
Tommy smirked and pulled her closer, one hand snaking behind her neck and guiding her head down to his. Their lips met and fused, the passion that years together, more years apart, reuniting and marriage had never cooled flared between them.
"I could think of one or two things," Tommy suggested with a husky voice, and Kim's eyes lit up.
Taking hold of his hands, she got up from his lap and hauled him to stand before her. Reaching up to meet his descending lips, she kissed him with promise. Then with careful steps she walked backwards out of the kitchen, headed for the bedroom, leading her love behind her. Before she knew it, Tommy sighed and decided to take matters into his own hands as he broke from her grip and simply picked her up and swiftly carried her to their bed…
In the vastness of space, there was the ability to lose one's self. Your name, your thoughts, your self-awareness. Luckily for him, there was none of that. For as days had become months, months had become years, one simple thing had haunted him, allowing him to remember his chosen task.
He remembered he had to destroy every ranger that existed.
And he had been so very good at that.
Now, he was on his way to the last of his destinations…
And maybe once he had annihilated this group of rangers, he could make the nightmares stop.
"So, what are you two going to this weekend?" Ethan quizzed Conner and Kira as the three sat at their table at the Cyberspace, the African American youth watching the former yellow ranger's face go pink and Conner stare at some fixed spot over his friend's shoulder.
Ever since the day of Kim and Tommy's wedding, Ethan and the other members of the now somewhat defunct Dino Thunder team had watched the courtship of Conner and Kira unfold. Conner had begun to realize his feelings for Kira ran deeper than just friendship around the same time that Kira had had her not so big break. Then after the battle on Mesogog's Island and seeing her collapse beside him, he had decided that he wasn't going to ignore what he felt about her anymore and he'd done his best in the following months to do everything he could think of to prove to her that he was serious.
It had taken him three days of asking her before he finally convinced her to go out with him on a date. Of course, only Kira knew that she and Conner owed a lot of that decision to Kim. So they'd had lunch, and from there it had been a successive series of dinners, concerts, picnics and time spent together falling deeper in love. It had become the biggest story at school and the Cyberspace – super jock Conner McKnight dating aspiring singer Kira Ford.
For Ethan James however, it was just one more romance that seemed to be circling him… Dr. O and Kim, Hayley and Billy and Conner and Kira. Somehow he and Trent were still stuck in the bachelor crowd. Not that he was complaining, but with the prom coming up and finals… it would be nice to say he had dated someone during his high school years besides Cassidy.
"None of your business," replied Conner with a frown.
"Please, you guys are my business. Do you think Dr. O ever told Jason that he and Kim weren't his business?"
Conner sighed, and resigned himself. Reaching over, he put his hand around Kira's waist and pulled her against him, dragging her chair with her slightly. She twisted her head around and looked at him in surprise, and he gave her a half grin that she couldn't help but smile at before he laid a soft kiss on her forehead through her bangs.
"Fine, if you must know, we're going to a movie tonight, and then take a picnic to the beach tomorrow."
"See, was that so hard?"
Kira groaned at Ethan's tone of voice. Their friend seemed to gain a great deal of satisfaction messing with her and Conner since they'd hooked up. Conner had taken to his friend's inquisitiveness towards their relationship in stride, but Kira found it sometimes just too intrusive. Still, she was more than willing to pay the price as long as she had Conner beside her…
"So finals will be starting in a few days. Then we'll have the whole summer before we're heading to college. Have you decided where you're going?" questioned Ethan, genuinely curious if his friends had finally figured out their academic futures.
"Do we have to talk about this? Besides, it's not like it matters to you, you got accepted at every school you applied to," Kira remarked with a slight eye roll.
"Which reminds me, you didn't say if you'd made up your mind between MIT, Stanford or Columbia," stated Conner.
"MIT! I mean it was great to get accepted everywhere else, but you guys know that Hayley sponsored my application there, and considering that she has a PhD from there, I really want to follow in the tradition, you know?"
Conner and Kira sighed. Their friend was probably the smartest person they knew, and underneath his confidence and intelligence, he was simply a teenager with fears and insecurities. He'd more than likely been accepted at MIT on his own merits, but he'd give Hayley the credit for helping him get his acceptance letter and was now going in part to please her and Dr. O.
"What about you guys? Are you still thinking of Surfside Community?"
Conner looked to Kira with a frown. They'd spent the last month and a half talking about what they were going to do. Kira had been accepted at UCLA's Music program, as well as UCSF. But taking either would put her miles from Conner, who had been accepted UC Santa Barbara, where he had a soccer scholarship and most likely would be able to get a starting position on their NCAA soccer team. So they'd discussed putting both of their plans on hold to attend community college together. But it was a decision that had yet to be agreed on by either of them, as neither wanted the other to sacrifice their opportunity.
"We're still working it out…" Conner remarked, and Kira nodded slightly, not wanting to get into the issue any more.
"Trent's said he's been accepted to the School of Visual Arts in New York," Ethan added, and then paused when he saw the look of annoyance cross Conner's face as Kira leaned forward, her expression questioning.
"Have you seen him this weekend?" Kira asked. "Ever since… I mean I was going to ask him about how things were going with the lawyers and everything…"
"I'm not sure what's up with that. I know that Hayley let him have the weekend off."
"It's been a tough eight months," said Kira, knowing that no matter what was going on with Hayley having more help, Trent had spent the months burying himself in school and work and avoiding home as much as possible.
"He's come through it…" Conner argued simply.
"I think we've all had a long eight months…" Ethan added quickly, trying to soften his friend's comment.
"Yeah, but none of us lost our dad," Kira replied with her own fiery tone.
"Still, he had Kim and Dr. O around to help him. I know that without them to support him mentally, he probably would have had a nervous breakdown," Conner stated simply, trying to make his point and get his girlfriend back on his side.
But when it came to Trent, he and Kira just saw things differently. Still, he was the one who had her…
Just as Ethan was about to put in his two cents worth again, the door opened, revealing the subject of their discussion. The former white ranger walked in, carrying a portfolio and a briefcase, standard issue items for him these days.
"Hey," called Kira, waving towards Trent, and he smiled at her before his face went blank again at the sight of Conner beside her.
The young Hispanic man walked over and dropped his things on the floor beside the table, reaching over to catch a spare chair from a neighboring seating arrangement and plopped down on it. He made sure that he was between Kira and Ethan… for as much as he'd dealt with the fact that Kira had chosen Conner, he and the jock still didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things.
"Hi guys, what's news?"
"Just chatting about finals and college. You make a decision about New York?" asked Ethan in his regular enthusiastic way.
"I'm still waiting to get the estate all settled. I can't really afford it until…" Trent trailed off as the subject started to verge towards his father's will and death.
"Can't they give you a scholarship or something? I mean, you're good enough to get one," Kira insisted.
"That's not the problem. It's the living expenses. New York isn't cheap. And the supplies I'd need aren't included in the tuition and student fees the scholarship covers."
"What about a loan?" questioned Conner, and everyone looked at him in surprise. "What?"
"I guess I could… I could use most of the holdings as collateral while the legal stuff gets sorted out."
"I can't believe that they're still fighting about that. I mean, it's been months!"
"They want to be sure that I'm not just trying to steal his money, and that he's alive somewhere," explained Trent with a sad shake of his head.
"You'd rather him be alive… you'd think they'd realize that," remarked Kira as she placed a hand on Trent's, prompting Conner to scowl.
"Still, without a body…"
"I wish we could have got him out, for at least that," stated Conner, prompting everyone to turn and stare at him again.
"He's right though," Trent spoke up, validating the former red ranger's comment. "It would be easier. But the lawyers assure me that they'll get it taken care of soon."
"Uh, guys, didn't you all say you had places to go tonight?"
Turning, the four teens found Hayley standing by the table, looking at them, and then to the clock on the wall, reading eight o'clock. Kira and Conner had planned to see the new romantic comedy playing at the Cineplex and Ethan had made arrangements to meet Devin for some Dragon Wars card game action. Realizing that the time had slipped past all of them, they hurriedly jumped up, nearly knocking chairs over and headed out the door, thanking Hayley over their shoulders as they left Trent and her behind and headed off to their normal, if yet hectic lives.
Saturday afternoon found Tommy and Kim home after having spent another long day of housework, chores and Tommy's school prep work.
Earlier in the day he'd finished preparing the final exams he'd been laboring on for the last few days and Kim volunteered to make lunch while he took a well deserved break. Besides, it was a weekend, and that was the one time that Kim didn't mind cooking. He'd been reluctant, but she said she wanted to let him relax for a while. So he'd relented and watched TV while she fixed them lunch.
Of course, the fact that he had promised her that he'd repay her in kind another day had factored into her decision. She just didn't know that he had mentally proposed repaying her in some other ways that would to show her how much he valued her.
After their late lunch though he'd headed directly for the sink, planning on living up to the "those who cook do not clean" rule that they'd half-heartedly tried to follow. He had started to do the dishes, but Kim had shooed him off to the living room, giving him a slap to his ass with the cotton dish towel as he headed of. With Kim doing the dishes, he had some spare time that he almost didn't know what to do with. But then the computer on the desk reminded him that he had people to catch up with.
Walking towards the desk, he remembered the last time they'd all seen one another – the wedding. Since then, both he and Kim had made a point to keep up better with everyone. It was easier since they were mostly all in the same time zone, with almost everyone within the Los Angeles or Las Vegas area, with only Aisha outside that circle now with Jason's move out West again. As it was, Aisha was thinking about a change in geography too, and she and Kim had been discussing Reefside as a potential new business opportunity for the vet.
But that wasn't the news that he was thinking he might have as he sat down in front of the desktop. He fired up the machine and the cable connection and tapped his fingers on the desk lightly as he waited for the machine to fully load up. When the picture of him and Kim, taken by a kind tourist in Hawaii of them on their honeymoon appeared as the computer wallpaper background, he smiled softly and then opened up his e-mail. A few minutes later, he'd cleared out the spam messages about erectile dysfunction, porn sites and cheap prescription drugs online and got to the messages from their friends.
As he read the message from Kat, and then Adam he had to wonder how anyone had ever been able to get along without e-mail. If it wasn't for that ability, he swore it would have been impossible for him to keep up with half their friends. And Kim and Aisha spent hours on online chat… he was glad that they weren't on the phone, knowing what the bills would have been like.
Finally Tommy moved to open the message from Zack he'd been expecting for a while. He scanned the contents and then ran a hand through his hair. His friend was on the verge of becoming something big… and he marveled at his sense of dedication. Then he chuckled under his breath… dedication? That was the story of his life, hell all the former ranger's lives.
"You almost done in there Beautiful?" he called out, wanting to share the news with her as soon as possible.
"Just another minute," she called without looking, washing the last dish and placing it on the counter. "What's up?"
Finished, she turned to see her husband sitting at the computer. More than likely he had news from the gang. They'd been talking about a party to celebrate Zack's business… he was finally opening a dance studio in Ventura come the summer and they were planning on a party for just after Reefside High School finished classes so Tommy wouldn't have to worry about classes.
"Zack's suggesting the weekend after school lets out for the party. I'll have everything graded and the room packed up for the summer, so I think that it's all up to you and your schedule. We could drive down Friday evening and be back Sunday night. Sound like a plan?" he asked as she wiped her hands on the dish towel and walked in to lean over his shoulders, looking at the screen and the message there.
"Sure… there's not much else to do these days," she joked with a smile, and he fought not to laugh.
And then an alarm sounded loudly through the kitchen floor from the basement, bringing their eyes to one another in shock. If that wasn't a false alarm, then it was alerting them both to the fact that their tranquil life as retired rangers was about to come to an abrupt end.
Okay, chapter 1 is out… but I'm not sure what the schedule is going to be yet. So, let's say check back in about two weeks???