Epilogue: Accepting Fate
Last Revised: December 12, 2010
Ships: Tommy/Kim, Billy/Cestria, Pallaton/Rhiannon, Peta/Kaia, Chogan/Kimana, Ashley/Andros, Cassie/T.J, Kendrix/Leo, Maya/Damon, Conner/Kira, and Zhane/Karone with mention of Tommy/Kat
Timeframe: AU, 1 year after Dino Thunder
Setting: Earth, Eltar, Aquitar
Disclaimer: I don't own Tommy, Kim, Billy or any of the characters from the series Power Rangers. I do own the Strike Force characters. PLEASE DON'T SUE!
AN: With this epilogue, the story was supposed to come to a close. But from the beginning, I've been toying with an idea for this, perhaps because I just couldn't destroy my favorite character, even if she gave her life up for those she loved in such a noble way. Many of you know that during the show, whenever the Rangers made the sacrifice needed to save the day – whether it be their powers or their lives – they were somehow rewarded in the end (or at some point in a team up if we were lucky to get one). So I'm going to tell you this now – there is a special edition epilogue coming, hopefully before the end of the month beginning of next month (Jan. 2011). I have to plot out some more of what I'm going to write, but it is coming.
Dedication: To all the fans of GSF, thanks for the tremendous amounts of support!
"Tell me, tell me how do you feel after bittersweet goodbyes" - Puddle Of Grace, Amy Jo Johnson
In the sky above the Capital Residence, where the dimensional hole had been, an explosion occurred, brightening the sky so intensely that no one could see the rip. When the light died down, the Rangers had gathered in the courtyard, eyes to the skies as the ship carrying their friends came into view. "I've got a bad feeling about this," Kira commented as the group hurried toward the ship that was landing. When the door opened and their friends came limping down, the group rushing forward halted. The last set of people to come off the ship were Zordon's rangers. Karone and Kira let out matching cries of dismay as Tommy came into view, eyes blank, cradling the lifeless body of who Kira could only assume was Kimberly.
"Dr. O?" Kira gasped, only to have Aisha come and put her arm around the younger Yellow and shake her head.
"Not now, Kira. You can't get through to him," the older Yellow murmured.
The group stopped when Tommy and Kimberly were within the center of the circle the Rangers made. Ninjor, Dimitria and the Eltarian Royal family came rushing out of the palace. While the others stopped, Ninjor moved to Tommy's side and lifted a hand to Kimberly. He murmured soothing words when the White Ranger flinched away from him, and then lay a hand on Kimberly's forehead. Beneath his helmet, tears coursed their way steadily down his cheeks. Her life force had been completely extinguished; there was nothing he could do for her.
"I'm sorry, Rangers," he told them. The mourning began then, with Katherine collapsing into Jason's arms while Tanya and Aisha sought their respective boyfriends. Justin tried to comfort Zack, whose face was scrunched up in a heartbreaking expression. Billy moved over to wrap his arms around Cestria, his heart shattered in a million pieces. The Strike Force team was huddled together, looking for all the world like a destroyed and lost team.
The King of Eltar moved forward, his eyes on Tommy's face. "Come, we shall prepare for her funeral and burial. She shall lie in state here in the capital before we…"
Tommy's eyes narrowed and his features hardened. "I'm taking her home, and she's going to be buried on Earth. Do you understand me?"
"Tommy…" Dimitria spoke up, but her jaw clamped shut with the nasty look he gave her.
"She deserves to go home. She did her duty, more times over than any of us. I'm going to take her home, so that her family can mourn her properly and so she can be buried on the planet she loved over all others. I dare any of you to argue with me."
"The whole of the galaxy will want to mourn her; will you not give them the chance?" Dimitria responded.
The White Ranger said nothing, merely shouldering past them all and heading into the palace, the rest of the Rangers hot on his heels.
It was a funeral procession like no other. Video feeds to every planet in the alliance were being broadcast from the Capital Residence and the elaborate State ceremony that had been put together. All of the Ranger teams were there in full force, including those who had remained on Earth during the mission to rescue Kim.
Those with active Ranger powers were outfitted in their suits while those who'd given up their powers were dressed in their colors or civilian uniforms. All of them had chosen to walk without their helmets in place or without covers to hide their identities, to show the faces of those who had shared the legacy Kimberly had started on Earth.
The Strike Force Rangers stood just behind Kimberly's childhood friends and first teammates and were wearing their ninja uniforms in a show of solidarity with the original Ninjetti Rangers. In front of them, Justin, Zack and Jason donned Rocky, Adam and Tommy's Zeo uniforms with the helmets off. Katherine and Tanya were with them, helmets tucked under their arms. The five walked with composed faces, though they all had tears in their eyes, their heads held high in honor of their fallen friend.
Rocky, Adam, Aisha, Billy and Tommy walked alongside the horse drawn casket – Billy and Aisha on the right side, Rocky and Adam the left, and Tommy right behind it. The masses of Eltarians who lined the funeral route seemed to mourn just as deeply as the Rangers, but one look at Tommy's tear stained face, and their hearts went out to those who had loved the Pink Ranger the most. When they reached the Parliament Building, where the funeral was going to take place, the five Morphin Ninjetti and five Zeo Rangers moved into position – each team on one side of the casket – to serve as pallbearers.
A hushed silence fell over the mourners as the Rangers slowly made their way up the steps and into the Parliament's main council meeting room. The chamber would serve as the funeral room. Once the procession of Rangers and dignitaries had disappeared, the crowds turned to the video monitors that had been set up so they too could be part of the funeral ceremony.
He stood on the shore at Angel Grove Lake, skipping rocks in the water, just as he had all those years ago when Kimberly's letter had come and his world had tilted and shattered. The ignorance of youth had been his then. They had been invincible, had been able to overcome anything in their paths. He'd hurt like hell when he'd lost her the first time, but nothing compared with how he felt now, knowing she'd never again smile at him. He'd never be able to call her by her beloved nickname, never feel the softness of her lips against his, and never again feel her warm, soft body snuggled close to his. His dream of making love to her for the first time would never come true, and the family they'd once talked about having would never happen. Never had always been a foreign word in his vocabulary, but now, now he was familiar with the heartache that word could bring.
He'd been home in California for nearly a month. The first week back had been excruciating. Kimberly hadn't kept in contact with her parents, and so they'd assumed she'd disappeared years ago. Since they'd fallen out of contact with any of Kimberly's friends, they hadn't called to ask where she might be or if she'd kept in contact with them. It had killed him and the others, but they'd told her parents that she'd died, in the line of duty. Rules be damned, Tommy had insisted they tell her parents the truth. Both had been devastated, but Tommy could also see the pride they'd held in their daughter for the sacrifices she'd been making since she was fifteen for the safety of not only Earth, but the rest of the galaxy.
Fittingly, her parents had decided that she needed to be buried in Angel Grove, not far from where Trini had been laid to rest. It had been a simple but elegant burial. Her parents had opted against a funeral, stating that those closest to Kimberly knew the circumstances of her death and had been through enough. They'd all been infinitely surprised when Coach Schmidt, Detective Stone, Bulk, Skull, Principal Kaplan, Ms. Appleby and Ernie had shown up at the cemetery to say goodbye.
Life would go on, he knew, but it would never be the same. Billy had returned to Eltar and appointed Kaia leader of the Strike Force Rangers in Kimberly's stead. The team had agreed that the Pink Morpher would be retired and that Tommy would continue to possess the White one. Billy had sent a transmission about it just a week before, and Tommy appreciated the sentiment the team had put behind the decision, but it didn't make living with the aftermath of the battle any easier.
Kimberly was gone.
Stopping at the bend in the shore, he looked up toward the mountains in the distance, and what he saw simply shattered him – a large, white Crane flew eastward over the lake toward the marsh, wings spread wide, while a Falcon soared west in the distance, further out over where the desert was.
It hurt to see the two, flying toward each other then separating, but Tommy suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of peace envelop his crushed soul. Kimberly may not physically be with him, but she was with him in spirit, surrounding him always. She'd done what any of them would have gladly done during their time as Rangers – she made the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest of them, the ones she loved and respected and fought side by side with, would live on. It was up to them all to carry on her memory, and to continue to fight the good fight – whether it was on Earth or in the far reaches of the galaxy.