Hi again everyone! I know it's been a few weeks but I've finally begun work on my next epic. It's important that I let you all know that this is not at all a sequal to my first fic, and I'm sure that will be quite obvious to you right away. Also I realize that things are starting out a little slow, but I promise it is a Tommy and Kim fic and I guarantee that by the end you will be glad that you read it. So please just give it some time. Finally, thanks to all of you who are loyal readers, this one is definitely for you! Enjoy and review please!
Dr. Tommy Oliver swung the duffel bag effortlessly into the back of his black Jeep as he hummed a familiar toon to himself. He was in the best mood that he had been in, in years. This was most likely due to the fact that the weight of the world had finally been lifted from his shoulders. It had only been about a month since his triumphant victory over Mesogog and his army and still the feeling of success was as fresh as daisies.
The battle had of course been one hell of a struggle but it was definitely worth it now, in early June. Tommy's army of heroes: Conner, Kira, Ethan, and Trent were thrilled to be normal again. Of course they missed the excitement of going into battle and the indescribable loyalty, which grew with each fight, but the time had come for them to move on, and that's exactly what they did. Everyone was preparing to embark upon a brand new journey known as college in the fall, but before they parted ways they decided on one last adventure together before reality hit. The four teens agreed on a cross-country road trip, the destination: anywhere but Reefside.
Naturally, Kira suggested that they invite their leader and mentor Dr. O, and with slight objection from Conner Mcknight it was finally decided that Dr. O would make the trip much more enjoyable, or at least much less likely to go wrong. But when his former students proposed their idea to Tommy the day of high school graduation they were disappointingly rejected by the late twenty something paleontologist. Tommy had considered the invitation and was extremely flattered that the teenagers, in their prime, would want to spend the summer with their former science teacher. However, Tommy knew better, he knew that if they parted ways now then they would forever be bonded by the experience they all had shared together this past year. If they set out on the open road for an undetermined amount of time then they would most certainly forget their bond very quickly, especially in the closed quarters of Trent's brand new SUV, a graduation present from his father. Besides, Tommy had other plans in mind for the summer.
Tommy realized that he was finally packed and with a quick security check of his modest home located in the outskirts of Reefside, California, Tommy Oliver was on his way to whatever the future held for him this brutal, hot summer. He hoped that his future would give him somewhat of a break from his past. It wasn't that he had, had a bad life or anything, in fact it was the complete opposite. How many other people out there could take credit for the actual existence of the Earth every morning? Well, there were a few, but not many. It had just been so long since he had been free from the responsibility of saving the world. In fact, Tommy hadn't been at peace since his racecar days, shortly after he passed on his Turbo powers to TJ all those years ago.
Now, with the destruction of Mesogog and not even a hint of trouble from anyone else in the universe, Tommy was free to finally take back his own life which he had lost his freshman year of high school when his family moved to Angel Grove. Tommy never resented being a ranger or anything, he was just ready to be normal, and the first step to being normal was to do what every other American does in the summer, and that's, taking a vacation.
Tommy thought through his options; the Bahamas, Cancun, Europe, even Africa, but there was still just one place that he knew of where he could go to fully unwind, and that place wasn't even in another state, in fact it wasn't even that far of a drive. The desired destination was nothing more than a two bedroom, one bathroom cabin down by the Shady Mountain Lake, just two hours north of Angel Grove. Tommy's Uncle John had given him a key to the quaint little house when Tommy was in high school. Through high school he had taken full advantage of it many times whenever he was feeling lost or confused. It had actually become somewhat of a fortress of solitude for Tommy. But, now he wasn't going there for comfort, rather he was going there to sort of pick up where he had left off. There he could, not forget his past, but he could let go of his past and finally chart a new course for himself. He was after all still a young guy, with his whole future ahead of him.
The drive had seemed short and painless; Tommy was only interrupted once by his cell phone, it was Haley. His brilliant and loyal friend of many years had not called with alarming news or a plea for help; she just called to wish Tommy a safe and restful summer vacation. Tommy had originally planned on stopping off at the Cyber Café to bid her farewell, but in typical Tommy fashion he had woken up late and therefore was way behind schedule. He had originally hoped to reach the cabin by at least three, but it was now six and he had just barely reached the town of Shady Mountain.
Shady Mountain, was a charming little mountainside town, the people were friendly, the scenery was beautiful and there wasn't a sign of organized crime or monster attacks for miles. Tommy had been there so many times growing up that he had actually made friends of many of the locals. It just felt right driving into town on an almost empty tank of gas without a worry in the world.
Tommy pulled up to the gas pump eagerly and hopped out of his jeep slowly as his muscles adjusted to actually being used. He had made the whole trip without one stop and was pretty proud of it. Stretching his legs, Tommy was interrupted by the gas attendant who had run out of the small convenience store, which would forever be known to the people of Shady Mountain as Earl's. Earl's was like the place to be in Shady Mountain, aside from the lake of course. It was where all of the local teenagers hung out and where everyone went for meals, groceries, and gas. Earl, now an elderly man had turned the plain brown building into a gas station/grocery store/diner. He ran the store and the pumps, while his wife Aurora ran the diner.
"Well, if it isn't little Tommy Oliver!" yelled the old man as he ran out to greet the young man.
"Hey Earl," replied Tommy with a grin as he reached out to shake Earl's hand. "How ya been?"
"Oh you know me, Tommy, as young as ever," replied the old man cheerfully.
Earl had looked about eighty years old for as long as Tommy could remember, he hated to think just how old the man actually was by now. But, Earl never thought of himself in terms of his age, instead he thought of himself in terms of his health, which was outstanding.
"So what brings you out to these parts doctor?" asked the old man slyly.
"Doctor?" questioned Tommy, "How'd you know?"
"Your Uncle John came up here for the winter season. You know how the slopes can get on the other side of the mountain, and he sure loves those skis," replied the old man as he pointed to Shady Mountain, which the town was named after.
"He sure does," added Tommy, wiping the sweat off of his forehead with the sleeve of his black cotton T-shirt.
"What?" questioned the old man, "You hot? It's barely ninety eight degrees."
Tommy starred at him awkwardly; it was hot.
"Go on," ordered the old man get your tail inside, Aurora will fix you something to eat and the groceries are on me." He patted Tommy on the shoulder as he reached for the lever to release the small door protecting the gas tank in Tommy's Jeep. "I'll fill'er up."
Tommy entered the familiar room quickly and was rewarded with a cool gust of air, courtesy of the top of the line air conditioner, which hung out the window on the far side of the diner.
"Tommy!" squealed the elderly woman from behind the counter as she ran up to the handsome man and planted a big sloppy kiss on his cheek.
Tommy cringed to himself, hoping none of the onlookers noticed.
"How have you been? Where are you living? When am I going to get to meet your wife?" asked the woman, bombarding Tommy with questions and not giving him a single second to respond.
"It's nice to see you too replied Tommy," as he gently kissed the tiny woman on the cheek and then sat down to enjoy a delightful evening of conversation with Aurora and Earl.
It was around nine o'clock when Tommy had finally had his fill of Aurora's questions about Tommy's love life. As he sat expressionless, listening to the story of how Earl had won over Aurora's heart for the millionth time, Tommy began to actually feel kind of lonely. Up until now Tommy hadn't felt lonely since… Well, since that day he received the letter. That stupid letter, it wasn't even worth thinking about.
But, it was true, the feeling was not good then and it certainly was not good now. After Tommy and Katherine had decided that the whole long distance thing wasn't going to work out when she started college, Tommy really hadn't had much time to think about women. His racecar driving had completely consumed him and once that was done all of his attention went into his education.
He loved studying paleontology as an undergrad and at the university he attended there were so many opportunities to actually get out there and dig for fossils that Tommy spent all of his weekends with his professors. Then once Anton Mercer entered the picture and had actually taken an interest in Tommy's potential, Tommy was motivated to work harder than he ever had before, excluding his ranger days. But then suddenly it all once again became about protecting the Earth when Andros called him with the disturbing news that Serpentara may one day fly again. Ever since that day, Tommy had been solely devoted to saving Earth and the only woman he really ever got to know was Haley, and she was just a friend.
Tommy hadn't realized just how much he had missed female companionship until now at this very moment, when he noticed the sparkle in the old couple's eyes as they discussed their love story. Normally it would make Tommy want to gag, actually it would make anyone want to gag. But it was different somehow and as much as Tommy hated to face it, he needed someone to love.
Just then the bells above the door jingled as the final customer of the night entered the store. Tommy didn't bother to turn around to see who it was; he was too busy staring into his bottomless coffee cup, watching the dark liquid swirl round and round.
"Hello dear," said Aurora as she waved to the customer with a sweet smile, and suddenly her smile grew even bigger.
The customer was obviously on a mission because Tommy heard a faint but cheery female voice mutter 'hello,' followed by footsteps heading back into the convenience store.
"Tommy, dear," began Aurora, "you're probably needing some groceries. I doubt that uncle of yours left anything edible in that cozy little bachelor pad of his, why don't you go and pick up what you need."
"And it's on us, and I don't want to hear any arguments," finished Earl as he flashed a firm fist at Tommy.
Tommy chuckled, "Thank you," he replied graciously, not at all in the mood to start an argument with the couple.
Somewhat depressed and certainly confused Tommy headed into the convenience store. He had no idea what he needed but picked up the little red basket next to the cash register anyway and began to browse the small store. As he walked through the dairy section he added milk, eggs, and butter to the contents of his basket all the while trying to figure out how in the hell he had made it this far without a girl of his own. In the cracker and chip aisle his thoughts drifted to Katherine as he wondered if he had made a mistake breaking up with her. Sure, she was far away, but she would have stuck by him no matter what. However, he knew that she would never be happy trying to love him and keep his love through letters and phone calls. It just couldn't work, it didn't work and Tommy could personally attest to that.
By the time he reached the cookie and candy aisle, Tommy was officially depressed because his fears had finally been realized and he allowed himself to think about her, Kimberly Hart. He hadn't thought of her in quite some time and actually this puzzled him. There had been a time, not long ago when he couldn't go a day without thinking about the cheery, bubbly, and out of this world delicious Pink Ranger. But recently he just had no desire to do so. Sure, on occasion he would catch Kira and Trent giving each other meaningful looks when they thought no one else was looking and it would remind him of what he used to be a part of. But, it never really bothered him; it was just a memory just like the memory of the time he and Jason won that big karate tournament or the time that he and his friends had gone on the class trip to Australia. Why did the memory of Kimberly suddenly matter to him now?
As Tommy tried to answer this question he found himself suddenly on the hard wooden floor with a sharp pain running up his spine, and the shrill of an angry woman.
"Ouch!" squealed the woman in agony as she hit the floor shortly after Tommy.
Tommy shook his head bringing himself back into reality and realizing that the woman could possibly be hurt.
"Oh, I'm so sorry ma'am, " he began with concern as he brought himself to his feet, tripping over his own box of cracker. He then grabbed onto the woman's arm gently, attempting to pull her up.
She had dirty blond hair, which at the moment covered her face, but from what Tommy could tell she appeared to be an attractive woman. Tommy easily guided her to her feet.
"Are you okay?" spouted Tommy, "Again, I'm so sorry. I'm just such a klutz sometimes."
"Well, I won't argue with that…" began the girl as she steadied herself and then pulled her stray hair behind her ear exposing her face, which by now had the exact same surprised expression on it as Tommy's did.
"Heather?" mumbled Tommy in astonishment, looking into the beautiful woman's eyes.
Jason Lee Scott entered his small ranch style home lazily, dropping his gym bag, his mail, and his keys to floor as the phone rang from the kitchen a second time.
"Damn," he cursed as he tripped over the red bag and just barely caught his fall.
"Hello," he said into the receiver questioningly, although positive of who would be on the other end of the line.
"Hi sweetie," said the female voice through the speaker, "How was your day?"
"Oh Em," he began, "you would not believe it if you had been there yourself…"
Jason had been dating Emily on and off since his senior year at Angel Grove High, but it wasn't until recently that he had decided it was time to finally pop the question. He had been pondering the idea of marriage for quite some time, but it was his latest conversation with his best friend Tommy Oliver that had finally pushed him to make up his mind.
Ever since the wicked and desperate Divatox had abducted Jason and Kimberly, also his senior year, Jason had always been worried that he wouldn't be able to have a normal relationship. It had been confirmed by his high school partners in crime, well in crime fighting, that it was simply impossible to have a normal romantic relationship with anyone. Tommy found this to be especially true since he was the most recent member of the Power team to suit up once again. But even Jason had a responsibility to the team and to their legacy even though it had been years since he had battled the forces of darkness. Jason had been the first leader of any Power Ranger team ever and he certainly never turned in the title when he turned in the coin. This meant that although he wasn't constantly on guard like Tommy, he was still on call, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for the rest of his life.
But when Tommy and he had spoke on the phone the night before, Tommy had given his best friend the 'okay.' It seemed so surreal to hear Tommy Oliver declare himself a free man and therefore relieved of his duties as the protector of the world. When Tommy said this Jason knew that the threat was gone and if Tommy believed it was over then it must have been over. That's why Jason had left his successful Karate studio early that afternoon to go on a citywide search of the perfect engagement ring for Emily.
Emily had always been so understanding and so forgiving of Jason through all of the years. In high school he had a knack for disappearing and although she always questioned him about it, she never pushed on after he told her it was just an emergency he had to take care of. Naturally things were better through college and times did get rocky when Emily ended up going out of state for grad school. But when she returned everything was back to normal and the couple picked up where they had left off.
Recently Jason had noticed sort of a weird vibe from Emily and it was obvious that she was just dying for him to make the ultimate commitment to her. Jason wanted the same thing too of course; he was just concerned for her safety and then there was that tiny little secret that he had sworn to take to the grave.
"So are we still on for dinner?" asked Jason anxiously.
"Of course we are," replied Emily with a sigh, somewhat frustrated that all they did anymore was go out to dinner and if she was lucky, then desert.
"Don't sound so excited," said Jason with a hint of disappointment in his voice as he pulled the small burgundy box out of his jeans pocket and opened it to get a second look at the crystal clear diamond as it gleamed in the dim kitchen light.
"I'm sorry," began Emily, "it's just that we do dinner every night-"
"Em," cut in Jason aggressively, "I promise tonight's dinner will be different. Just wear something nice, okay?"
There was a silence on the other end and finally Emily spoke, "Okay. But you better not take me to another buffet. The last time you told me to wear something nice we ended up at Golden Corral."
Jason laughed, trying to conceal it, "Hey, I had no control over the fact that the real restaurant caught on fire."
"Yeah, so you say," finished Emily lightly. "Alright sweetie, I'll be ready at eight."
"I'll talk to you soon Jason. Bye."
"Bye. Oh Em?"
"Yeah?" asked Emily hopefully.
"Love you," replied Jason, picturing the expression that she was going to have on her face later that evening when he got down on one knee.
"I love you too Jason," she replied and then there was a click followed by silence.
Jason hung up the phone and headed for the stairs, he definitely couldn't ask Emily to be his wife without first taking a shower. Just as Jason reached the top of the staircase the chime of his doorbell immediately distracted him as it echoed throughout the empty house. Rolling his eyes Jason reached for his wallet from his back pocket and headed back down the stairs. He was sure it was going to be some neighborhood kid trying to push candy and magazines at him for school. He figured he'd save them some trouble and himself some time and just throw a few dollar bills their way. But when Jason opened the door, what he saw was far from an elementary school student.
"What the hell?" he questioned in astonishment, dropping his wallet as the unidentifiable creature reached for him faster than Jason could react.
Jason felt the cold, leathery hand cover his mouth and he saw the other two creatures swarm him from the sides, but he never even felt the poisonous gas as it worked its way up his nose, through his sinuses, and eventually took control. Then, blackout.