Chapter 15: Spiraling Downward
Hayley jumped out of bed, and ran down the hall frantically, knocking on doors. "Wake up!" she shouted! "Wake up! We were wrong!"
"What are you talking about?" Trini muttered, appearing at the door.
"Just get down to the basement! Wake up Billy! Quickly!"
She flew down the stairs, her hands shaking.
"What's going on?" Zach asked, following her quickly.
"Don't you understand?" Hayley said, suddenly overcome by a shot of adrenalin. "When Lythmore was writing the prophecies, he was under the influence off the Great Power—the most intelligent being of all time. They knew exactly how we would come to view his prophecies. They knew the prophecies would be read, and reread!"
"I don't understand," Zach said, yawning. "What are you talking about?"
"We're assuming that the prophecy, the one sealing Kimberly and Tommy's fate, was something that was directly translated, adapted to fit into our language," she said. "But why would The Great Power instruct Lythmore to bestow that kind of knowledge to a group of illiterate islanders? Why would they even bother preserving it if they didn't understand what it meant! Don't you see, Lythmore taught them the language, because the Great Power told him too!
Nobody dared breath, for fear her crazy would explode all over them
"If I am correct, and I think I am," Hayley said quickly. "That knowledge of the language wasn't something the Islanders just came up with. It was given to them, thousands of years ago, before known language existed."
Sighing, she sat down and rapidly typed.
"The six words that were capitalized? I already explained to you how their meanings derived."
"Shh!" Hayley snapped, hitting another button. "Just watch!"
"We've seen this before," Trini said gently. "This isn't anything new—"
"Just be patient!" Hayley said again, her fingers typing more and more frantically.
Journey: Beauty, Eternity, Identity, Redemption, Peace
Outcome: Glory, Sorrow, Soulmate, All is Well
Distance: Travel, Road, Highest Power
Cause: Act of War, Battle, Beauty, Survival of the People
Blood: Identity, Heart, Peace
With a final press of a button, more words appeared on the screen—the translation:
Kei yem bere lei haa yart
Thom eye olyv vere
Eef Loyv Kei Ynn
Bere Pai Yart
"It's jibberish!" Zach snapped. "What does this have to do with Kimberly and Tommy?"
"Read it faster! Don't you see? It's a message for us! Sound it out: Kei yem bere lei haa yart. Kimberly Hart! It's not jibberish, it's a prophecy within a prophecy!"
Typing faster now, she wrote:
Will Save All
If Love Can
"Oh my God," Trini whispered. "She's right!"
"Vendoran told you that Lythmore and Lorvenia used to love each other, right? That they chose to fight on separate sides and it destroyed Lorvenia. What if this is part of The Great Plan? What if they knew that by naming Kimberly in the prophecy, Lorvenia would choose to possess her on principle, just because she thought she was supposed to? What if they knew that Tommy would be his heir? Don't you see? Two sets of lovers! Double the chance of love conquering all! They knew what was going to happen, knew that the prophecy would be followed to the letter! This was their way of tricking us into salvation!"
"That's incredible," Billy whispered.
"Maybe not." Zach said suddenly, his blood running cold. "Tommy's already performed the ritual. He's moments away from walking into the last battle! Even if this was because of the Great Power, then chances are its still a mystery to Lythmore—he could kill her anyway!"
"You have to stop him!" Hayley begged. "All of you! You have to get to him in time!"
An alarming wail sounded, and all eyes turned towards the computer screen, where flashes of familiar buildings popped into view.
"Angel Grove." Trini whispered, panic rising in a sharp crescendo. "She's attacking Angel Grove."
"Shit!" Zach said, banging his fists down on the table. "What do we do now?"
"We have to go save Angel Grove." Kat said, snapping into control. "People will die. Hayley, can you stay here and attempt to contact Jason? He'll be with Tommy. We have to let him know what you've discovered!"
"I won't stop trying until I've reached him!" Hayley said, her eyes tense.
Standing suddenly, filled with terror, Zach nodded. With a quick glance at the others, he assumed the position.
It's morphing time!
Jason felt the transformation complete, than turned back to Lythmore.
"Where are we going?" he asked, bowing respectfully.
"I fear you won't like the answer," he said, closing his magnificently white eyes. "The Great Power tells me Lorvenia has targeted Angel Grove—the beloved city. She has assembled a strong army, and has put all her energy into them. Her power builds—her time is quickly approaching."
"Then what should we do?"
Lythmore searched the horizon through Tommy's eyes, and Jason fully understood the awe-inspiring terms Billy had used in describing him. Being in this close proximity to him made Jason want to fall to his knees in worship. Power poured forth from him, a strong and dignified will. Jason was at peace—they would win. Lythmore was here. They were saved.
"We shall seek out Lorvenia."
"So you can destroy her?" Instantly, Jason wished he could retract the words, as the entire aura surrounding Lythmore instantly changed, a melancholy falling over the boat.
"I have destroyed her once. It did not work."
"Did you love her?" Jason was once again surprised at his lack of tact. "I'm sorry, I didn't—"
"I did." His tone struggled to remain neutral.
"Did you love her like Tommy loves Kimberly?"
"Then you will still be able to destroy her?"
"I must preserve the innocent."
"Um…" he paused, feeling silly in instructing the original source of their power. "Don't you need to morph?
Tommy's lips curled back into a bemused smile. "No." he replied simply. "I possess my full strength once again. Morphing is no longer necessary."
"Maybe not for fighting," Jason looked around. "But the Zords are a hell of a lot faster than going on foot."
Tommy's voice laugh, and Lythmore's white eyes danced in amusement. "Zords will not be necessary either."
Jason stared at him, unguarded suspicion in his eyes. "Why do I not like the way that sounds?"
"Touch my hand." Lythmore replied simply, extending Tommy's arms. "I think you will find this way of travel significantly superior to the Zords."
Jason's suspicions increased, and his mind told him this was probably impossible. However, the more time spent in Lythmore's presence confirmed what his gut initially informed him—this was a being of pure power. Jason was pretty certain that he was not going to question his requests.
He tentatively gripped Tommy's wrist, and in an instant, the mildly calm sea blurred out of Jason's eyesight, the peaceful breeze stifled. He felt his skin stretch, his molecules slowly separating, disassembling and spreading, rising above the water and their small boat. Suddenly—a rush. Seconds later, his molecules reconnected and he found himself clutching the cold, familiar stone floors that had once turned them from children to adults.
"The Command Center?" Jason asked, rising slowly. "Why would we come here?"
Lythmore stepped forward, surveying the ruined, barren walls without betraying a hint of emotion. "To pay our respects," he said simply, turning back towards Jason. "And to gather our strength, to hone our focus." He took a knee, bowing his head, and Jason was once again silenced with awe, but managed to follow suit, taking a knee and lowering his head, eyes closing reluctantly but occasionally sneaking peaks at Lythmore through his peripheral vision.
It was an entirely different sentiment, staring at the stripped walls of the once thriving Command Center. He had stood here a mere week ago, tingling with excitement at reinstating his powers.
But now, his mood was subdued. They had lost Kimberly, and (as Jason was beginning to realize) would more than likely lose Tommy after all this was said and done with. Their powers disbanded, their friends lost to the tragedy of life, all that would be left were the memories.
"It is fitting." Tommy's voice spoke at last, echoing off the cracking stone. "That we would return here. I owe much to Zordon, and his efforts and fulfilling the prophecies. Greatness was born amidst these walls."
Jason watched with some amazement as a flash of light, followed by the glittering image of a sword. Sharp and deadly, Jason noted the jewel encrusted handle's six prominent gems: pink, green, red, blue, black and yellow.
"It is time for you to depart, my Son." Lythmore said at last. "She has felt my return and will seek me out here. You must return to the city, defend it against Lorvenia's forces. I must proceed alone."
Jason stared at him unblinking. "Then you will fight here? Here?"
Lythmore paused. "It is only fitting." He said again. "The beginning and the end often collide into one. You must leave, now."
"Wait!" Jason said, feeling as if the world was slipping out from underneath him. "How will we know when its over?"
Lythmore's eyes betrayed a sudden sadness. "You will know, either way."
Jason paused, staring out at the desert through the opening. "And Tommy?" he asked. "What will he do?"
Lythmore's expression was grimmer still. "That will be for him to decide. I will not repeat myself. She is hurrying here as we speak. Your life is in danger."
Jason nodded stiffly, his eyes unblinking. This is it. He realized, throat tightening, casting one last look around. They had grown up here, they had been happy here. They had discovered their destinies, discovered their identities.
And he would see it crash down in front of his eyes, dying with Kimberly's last breath as Lorvenia would leave her body, rushing upwards into oblivion, leaving nothing but the life draining out of Kimberly's eyes.
What would Tommy do? Lythmore would stretch his hands to the sky, disappear into the sky to take his place with Zordon and the rest of the great warriors that had conquered before them. He would leave Tommy alone with the corpse of his beloved, an innocent life fallen into the crossfire of an intergalactic battle she was somehow fated to die for.
He struggled to envision the scene, to attempt to guess Tommy's reaction, what his response would be. In an instant, he witnessed a thousand scenarios, each more desperately horrific than the next.
A roar in the distance caught his attention, and Jason strained his eyes across the desert to the distant town of Angel Grove. His beloved city, his home, was under attack. His friends were more than likely already fighting, possibly to the death. There was no reassurance that they were going to even make it out alive.
"You must fight." Lythmore's voice prompted him gently. "Even when the odds are abysmal. Even when you have already resigned yourself to die. You must fight for the ones you love."
Nodding, Jason clutched his morpher, preparing himself for the inevitable. He closed his eyes, and let his body take control, performing the movements that were so natural. "It's morphing time!"
He disappeared, leaving Lythmore alone in the vast chasm of chaos, his mind dancing with tortured turmoil.
I'm not ready. I can't do this. I can't kill her, I can't! I won't be able to survive it.
"Peace, my son." He spoke to the emptiness, attempting to appease the tortured inner voice. "You will have strength when the time is ready."
I cannot destroy her, I cannot destroy her, I cannot—
"If you do not, you will destroy the world in which you two fell in love. Surely, you could not do your beloved a greater injustice."
The voice momentarily ceased, but the unrest within him did not quell.
"You will be strong." Lythmore said again, each syllable softly returning to him in an echo, the stones bearing witness to the struggle. "You are freeing her. You must consider it as such. She knows you love her. But love isn't enough."
It always has been. The voice within him argued. It's embedded within my planet's culture: The Creator's Love for Us, a man's love for a woman, a child's love for his mother. Why do you doubt the fabric of our planet's existence?
Lythmore paused, lost in thought. "Perhaps it is because I too loved." He said at last. "And I, too, lost her. I survived it."
You didn't destroy her. It's different.
"It's not," he said at last. "I was the one to end her life, but she destroyed herself…shed her Sirian body and ascended to a monster of disastrous proportions." He paused. "It is a pain that you cannot overcome, losing the one you love. Instead, you focus on the balance, the Great Plan. We are warriors—we cannot afford to be a slave to our emotions because we are already a slave to our people. We will fight to defend them, to save them, to spare them from the sufferings we have endured. We must fight, we must kill, even at our own personal despair."
The voice within him stirred, lost in despair. Yet, he was resigned. This must happen.
This was going to happen.
"You are a brave child, my son." He spoke at last. "I commend you for your spirit." And taking a deep breath, he prepared himself for the inevitable.
His Zord raced across the still desert, slightly turbulent at being piloted solo. In the distance, a full fledge battle raged, bring Jason's ever pounding heart to a deafening drum, panic slowly increasing with each mile he passed.
A sharp blast echoed in the background, and Jason sourly noted that dark, thick grey clouds had slowly covered Angel Grove, and as he descended on the city, his very core rocked at the merciless slaughter that was taking place beneath him. Wrathians, monsters, arm in arm, hacking and clawing, fighting solely to inflict as much damage as humanely possible.
Men, women, and children, screams strained with an unnatural, unceasing fear, were scattered amongst the streets, desperately fleeing the attacks of the wretched monsters.
Jason recognized it instantly—his heart thudding with a distanced horror. This wasn't a battle: this was the apocalypse.
He saw a flash of pink, and his panic increased: Kat! The others! They were fighting there too, with what looked like a small army of the Alliance's soldiers. They were grossly outnumbered—how on earth could they last?
He wasted no time gathering his wits, and hurtled himself down into the middle of battle.
"Jason!" he distantly heard Kat scream as he successfully used his sword to quickly silence an unruly Wrathian. "Tommy—Where's Tommy?"
"Command Center!" He screamed, slashing at a monster with a rounded, pig-like face. "The final battle."
"No!" she cried out, ducking a fatal blow from a purple monster with an elongated chin. "We have to stop him! The prophecy! Hayley found out another way. Kimberly doesn't have to die!" She fiercely kicked the monster, and gaining momentum, kicked him in the stomach, dissolving him into purple slime.
"What?" Jason roared, her voice getting lost in the shuffle of battle cries. He couldn't have heard her correctly—couldn't possibly.
"I said—" her words were abruptly halted as a Wrathian's strong blow knocked her down.
"Kat!" he screamed, attempting to get to her and soon stopped by a Wrathian's sharp kick to the back. He desperately searched for her amongst the masses, her form lost beneath the charging throngs of blood thirsty aliens.
He saw her reemerge, breathing a slight sigh of relief, and resumed the battle, refusing to acknowledge the dark truth that had settled on their beloved Angel Grove.
Angel Grove had fallen; it had descended from an idyllic, beach laden paradise into the River Styx—a gore-filled, abysmal river of the dead. Hell was upon them all, old and young, and life was quickly fleeting before their eyes. How long had they been fighting? Minutes? Days? Years? How long before the incessant cries of battle faded from their ears, before the beautiful sun warmed their skin? Would they be trapped in hell forever?
Pulling his sword out of the stomach of a Wrathian and turning quickly, Jason fought on. There was no way out, no other option. They were fated or live, or fated to die. It was a roll of the dice, and he had long given up any control. So he trudged on, fighting ceaselessly, praying for the best but prepared for the worst. He saw them all pass before his eyes: Kimberly, Tommy, Trini, Zach, Billy.
A new strength rushing through him, Jason fought harder, an inhuman scream leaving his lips. He would not be a victim to this holocaust of goodness. He would be victorious. He placed his trust with Tommy—he knew his friend would not let them down.
She had felt him the exact instant he had arrived.
A sudden sharpness had cut through her heart, and she knew that it was time, that she must seek him out, and destroy him. Her power was growing, a spreading darkness overtaking the city.
He would be her final kill, and earth would be hers. He would be the first victim to a ceaseless slaughter. And all that would be left, after the magic had run its course, would be her—a queen to the remaining universe.
She knew where to find him, knew what she must do. And yet, her vessel quivered, shook, screamed with a force that refused to yield. She knew the child could see the path that must be taken, the path that would be taken, and was resisting.
"Resistance is futile, child." She snarled, picking up and examining the blade of her sword. "You will submit to my will, like it or not. I am in full power, now."
The child screamed again, a tortured yell. The child weakened as she strengthened. The child writhed in agony as she danced in pleasure.
"I will be a new God," she whispered to the blade of the sword, slowly rotating it in the dim light of her makeshift lair. "I will spill his blood, your beloved's precious blood and I will ascend to a new level of power. No one will stop me."
You're wrong. The vessel hissed within her. You will be destroyed, just like you were last time. You will fall. Lythmore will defeat you.
She snarled. "You say the name like you have met him, as if you have personally witnessed his greatness. You stupid, delusional child. He is nothing but a man. And a man will be defeated just like all others."
Then you are nothing but a woman.
"You are wrong." She said decisively, sheathing the sword. "I was a woman once—weak, and sniveling like all the other members of my pathetic race. But I ascended, I became power in its highest form. I was truly magnificent to behold."
Another sharp pain overwhelmed her, and she knew the time had come.
"He is at the Command Center." She said, steadying her shaking hands. "He is waiting for me."
And with a sharp flick of her wrist, she disappeared into thin air.
He knew her at once. He felt her the second she had appeared.
"You." He said simply, his head still bowed in reverent prayer.
"Me." She said, snarling. She stepped forward, the sharp click of her black boots echoing against the cold stone. "It is fitting I find you on your knees." She said, a voice betraying a scornful laughter. "You might not bother rising. You'll soon find yourself swiftly returned to that very same position.
He stood, still refusing to turn, staring at the great stone wall ahead of him. Beneath his flesh, the boy was crying for his love's life—pleading once again so that she might be spared.
"Your vessel." She said shortly. "He is making you weak."
"As does yours."
"Weak." She snarled. "This entire sniveling little race. I should be revered for my efforts."
"Revered?" he kept his tone lofty. "You will be destroyed instead. Will that suffice?"
"Destroyed?" she challenged. "By whom? By you? You could barely end our battle the last time, and as you could see, I am still very much alive, only stronger."
"You will be defeated, Lorvenia."
At the mention of her name, she immediately drew her sword and began circling.
"Don't you dare mention that name in my presence."
Lythmore did not yet reach for the sword that was resting by his side. "It is who you are. Why do you deny yourself the name?"
"Because it is a part of mortal weakness, one that I have transcended." She snarled. "As I'm sure you'll remember."
"Oh, I do in fact remember." Sarcasm wrecked through his voice now, and he slowly lowered his hand down to grasp the sword's gilded handle. "As I recall, you transformed yourself into a rather hideous Sirian monster shortly before I defeated you. Between the two of us, it really did you little justice."
Lorvenia circled him, a shaking hand keeping the point of her sword aimed between Tommy's whitened eyes, her black eyes meeting his with a disgust.
"You are weak!" she hissed, blocking "You are weakened by your humanity. You can only see the world through those weak, pathetic, portal eyes. You are unable to see the beauty behind my mission."
"Call it a quirk." He replied shortly. "But I have never been able to find beauty in a dead, lifeless planet."
"Then you are deceiving yourself. Can you honestly proclaim that you cannot feel these pathetic beings' weakness?" she hissed. "They scream with despair, fight ardently to defend flimsy beliefs that they could change at a moments notice. They spend lifetimes destroying all hopes of making themselves happy; ruin any chance of finding peace. They are a lost race! A lost race of wretched children. Their demise will be the greatest victory this universe has ever seen!"
"Your anger with this race is misplaced." Tommy's voice was powerful and commanding, and Kimberly's stolen flesh shuddered in revulsion. "It is not this planet you wish destroy. It is something within your own mind, something greater and deeper than hatred. It is your own weakness."
"Liar!" she screamed, violently thrusting the blade of her sword. Lythmore caught it on his rapier's blade, a terrible scraping sound of metal on metal filling the cavernous room. Turning, Lythmore expertly blocked her next jab. "Dare you doubt my power? You, who witnessed the heights I attained? You, who watched my ascend my mortal body into a creature so powerful—"
Lythmore struck this time, a flurry of calculated blows that left Lorvenia no choice but to frantically parry, anger erupting from her lips in indecipherable battle cries.
"I witnessed a scared little girl transform herself into a wretchedly ugly creature." He hissed, striking at her again, anger in his voice. "A scared little girl who could not face the harsh truths of reality. A scared little girl who could not decide between shredded loyalty and honor."
"Silence!" she screamed, lunging again. Lythmore did not give her an opportunity to hit. He quickly parried her blow, and responded quickly, returning two blows that she just barely blocked, her anger hindering her ability to correct her increasingly sloppy stance. Her hand shaking too hard, she abandoned her sword, and instead, sent a swift kick to his forearm, catching him off guard. His sword sailed in a different direction.
Recovering, he turned, gained momentum, and sent his fist barreling into her stomach. She flew backwards slightly, her black eyes open wide in a shock as the breath rushed out of her. Recovering, she flipped backwards and landed a cork screw kick into his shoulder. He managed to catch her leg, and sent her flipping over.
She landed on the ground with a thud, shoulders heaving, black eyes blazing. "You think you can defeat me, you pathetic excuse for a—"
"It would do you well to spend less time discussing your venomous anger and more time focusing on the skillful art of battle. Your hatred weakens you, cuts off your ability to think."
Her face screwed up in anger, she threw her legs back and flipped up into a standing position. Wasting no time, she gained momentum and delivered three swift punches, knocking him off balance. He recovered quite easily, only to have his legs kicked out from underneath him. He fell to the floor, and rolled over, quick to stand back up. She was ready, and delivered four kicks in swift succession, knocking him against the wall.
"I was not a scared little girl!" she screamed as he pulled himself off the floor, muscles straining. "I fought like a warrior. I was forced to choose between two lackluster options, and instead, paved myself a third. You should admire my intelligence!" She swung at him again.
He caught it easily, and spun her around, trapping her within his arms, holding her rather roughly. "You ran. Away from me. Away from your father. You could not decide so you gave up, gave your body to anger, to hatred. You destroyed yourself because you could not make up your mind!"
Her body was shaking now, half in anger, half in revulsion. "Don't you pretend to know me." She hissed, bringing her foot down on his and her elbow in his side simultaneously. His grip loosen, she flipped out. "I am not some pathetic little girl, still in love with the man who left her to die. I am stronger."
"I left you out to die?" his voice was thunderous. "I fought to save you, to free you from the clutches of your maniacal father and his attempts to destroy the very world you lived in."
"You made me choice!" she hissed again, lurching himself forward. He managed to side step her, and pushing her along, she knocked herself into a stone wall. Turning quickly, Lythmore recognized that her forehead was gashed. The vessel within him shook to see her injured. "I made a choice," she continued. "And you let me be destroyed. You left me out to die."
"You sided with the people who wished to destroy the very thing I was working to preserve. I wanted you to fight along side me, to help protect the good in the world. Instead—"
"Instead, I rose above it!" she snapped, flipping over and delivering a kick, blocking his punch, and then returning a swift punch. "I chose the side that chose neither good nor evil. I chose the side that sought all encompassing knowledge—"
"You chose evil!" he spat, turning into a kick that landed in her stomach, followed by two sharp jabs. She hit the ground and took a long time getting back up. "You chose evil, pure and unadulterated. You chose evil and it destroyed you."
"No!" she hissed, spitting out blood. "You destroyed me." She lunged at him again, throwing her weight fully into him, punching as hard as she could multiple times.
Her body had been weakened by his strength. Sensing this, Lythmore easily blocked, then returned with a solid kick, one that once again sent her flying back. He recognized the dull, resounding crack as she hit the pavement, her high pitched shrill yells of pain. She was too hurt to continue.
He slowly picked up his sword, and limped over to her, her eyes blazing with unabridged fury.
"You have failed." He said simply, extending his arm so that the tip of his glittering sword lingered over her heart. "Just as you failed before. Evil cannot triumph over good. It is a lesson I tried to teach you, but you would not listen."
"And when love pulls you in two different directions?" she hissed, her features contorted in pain but her eyes full of blazing acceptance. "When one is torn between the love of a father and her lover? What is she to do then?"
"Fight for what she believes in." he hissed, his hand starting to shake. The vessel within him screamed for an end to the fight, to hold the girl in his arms for one last time. A sickening feeling of nausea rose up within him.
"I believe in myself." She hissed, black eyes cold. "Everyone else betrayed me."
"I could not let you destroy the world." He whispered, the shaking increasing.
"And so you destroyed me?"
"You destroyed yourself. You destroyed yourself the second you turned away from me and looked towards your father."
"Then maybe it was up to you to save me." Her voice was suddenly broken, coming out in ragged pants. "Maybe I needed you to rescue me."
"I'm not going to fall for that, Lorvenia." He said again. "You questioned my love for you? Then perhaps you should remember history. I did fight to save you: from your father, from his forces, and then from yourself. But you would not see reason—you saw my actions as a betrayal. You sought to destroy everything."
"Because you destroyed everything I was." She hissed. "When I told you I still loved you, and you turned away from me because of my father. When I tried to flee to you, to warn you about my father's attacks and you cast me out." She spit out her words in bitter bursts, her entire body trembling.
"I couldn't trust you." Lythmore silently struggled to gain control of the sword, the vessel's emotions so intense that a tear leaked from the corner of his eye, spilling down a dirt-ridden, blood stained cheek. "For all I knew you were trying to trick us, to murder us."
"Then destroy me." She whispered, looking up at him. Lythmore knew immediately she would not fight. Maintaining her power had wearied the vessel's body, and the fight had drained her of her energy. She was not going to win this battle—she could not bring about the Armageddon. He had stopped her and she was going to willingly submit herself for death.
He looked at her heart, a small patch of exposed flesh above the line of her black shirt. These bodies were so very different from what theirs had been like, but her eyes were the same—glittering and black.
She had been so beautiful.
"What are you waiting for?" she cried maniacally, struggling against her injuries to pull herself up. "I concede! Destroy me!" she grabbed the sword, steadying the point against her heart. "Do it quickly!" she pleaded.
I love her. His vessel protested.
He dropped his sword, letting it clang down to the floor in a heap. In a split second, he grabbed her by the arms and pushed her up, balancing her against the wall. She cried out in both surprise and pain, staring at him with true fear.
"What are you doing?" she whispered, tears from an unknown source welling in her eyes.
"I cannot bear to destroy you." He whispered, anger leaving his body. And with a mind blazing with hope and desire, kissed her fiercely.
He forced his essence into the kiss, slowly exiting his vessel, spreading out the many golden molecules and wrapping it around her darker one.
He could not destroy her, but he would free her.
Slowly, quickly, connected through the mouths of their vessels, they rose, transcended their corporal form.
Where are we going? Lorvenia's thoughts intertwined with his as they became one, their essences spiraling upwards in a colorful blaze.
To salvation. He responded. And, with a flash of light, they exited their vessels, their bodies thrown around the cave as if by an explosion.
Bleeding and broken, Jason realized with a great glee that they had won.
All of them, Wrathian and monsters, screamed with a sudden jolt as a light came streaming across the desert, knocking out the black, overcast skies and replacing them with a hopeful blue one. Slowly, surely, each one evaporated, their battle cries replaced with tortured yells of a light about to be extinguished.
Within seconds, all that surrounded them was the wreckage of past battle. Running towards Kat, he could barely hear the screams of joy erupting from the mouths of his comrades in arms.
He found her, grabbed her, and kissed her. They were saved.
And in that moment, all was silent.
It was over.
Muscles throbbing with exhaustion, Kimberly slowly raised herself off the cold, stone floor she had been thrown upon, her breath coming out in short, frantic pants. Outside, victorious yells filled the air as the last of the monsters evaporated. They had won—the city had been secured. They had been victorious.
She heard him cough, and lifted her head—fear mounting in her body. The things they had been through—how much could they handle? How could they survive after so many years of life or death, of dysfunction so great it had handicapped them all emotionally. There were no wars left for them to fight, no battles to distract them from the barrenness of their lives.
Could they ever be happy? Could he still love her?
Tears of pain stung her eyes, and she could only imagine what she looked like—her hair wildly out of place, dirt covered, a large gash in her forehead, bruised and scraped arms and hands, torn clothes.
She was a lifetime away from Angel Grove High, from the bubbly mallrat, from sweet evenings spent holding hands and gallivanting around the juice bar. And yet, here she was, wounded and broken, that same lifetime spent spiraling downward into a thick despair, tinged with regret: all because she could not stop loving him. Because she knew that life would be meaningless without him.
She raised her eyes slowly, seeking his large form, which was sprawled out some five feet away. He, too, was rising, his body weakened by the possession. She remained silent, her body paralyzed with fear. Could he possibly still love her?
Slowly, he lifted his face, his chocolate brown eyes full of seriousness.
"Kim? Are you okay?"
She nodded, tucking her legs underneath her, letting tears spill freely down her cheeks. "Yes," she whispered.
He slowly raised himself up, sliding himself towards her, noting her shaking form with a small sadness. He reached out to brush her face with his hand, finger tips gently brushing a stray strand of hair away from her face. Her eyes closed involuntarily at the touch, her skin tingling at the lightness of his skin against hers. She reopened her eyes to find Tommy's face inches from hers.
They stared at each other for moments that spanned enteritis, their breathing labored, all of the pain of their respective lives flashing before their eyes. It was over. It was over. All that they had left was each other.
And within a split second, they simultaneously reached for each other, limbs intertwining, both shaking. They collided effortlessly, each clinging to the other with a determined strength.
Tears streaming down her face, Kimberly's breath came out in ragged sobs, intermixed with muffled apologies as she pressed herself as close against Tommy as she possibly could get. He, in turn, rubbed her back, adjusting his arms to hold her tighter and tighter, silently vowing to never let her go again.
"Shhh," he muttered into her hair. "I have you. We're safe. It's all right."
Pulling back slightly, their eyes met again, this time with an identically fierce passion in each. Slowly, gently, each savoring the moment, they drifted towards one another, their pasts melting away as their lips gently touched. The kiss began gently, light brushes, and then slowly deepening, as every molecule in their bodies connected and began to warm with a desperate passion. They savored the taste, the exhilarating rush of heat writhing within their blood. Fingers intertwining, the shut out the world, each purring with delight as a warmness they had not felt in years slowly enveloped their hearts. Neither one had to think hard to identify the feeling; it was the very thing they had both spent their lives searching for.
Breaking the kiss, Tommy pulled her close against him, pressing her forehead against his. How had he lived this long without her?
"I love you," he whispered, kissing her gently.
"I love you, too," she muttered, and reaching up to gently cup his face, they lost themselves in one another, completely oblivious to the happy tears streaming down the faces of their beloved friends, who witnessed all this from the doorway.
Victory was theirs.
He leaned against the counter, shirtless and quite tanned, waiting on the two Mai Tai's he had ordered. A calypso breeze rustled gently through the palms as colorful floats littered the crystal blue waters of the turquoise sea, the white sand shining like diamonds under the hot, Caribbean sun.
"Oh my Gosh!" a high pitched voice came from behind him. "You're Dr. Tommy Oliver!" He turned slightly, revealing a twenty-something student in a stars and stripes bikini.
"I am." He replied simply.
"I am a huge fan of yours! When I read about your archeological endeavors, particularly in the East Asia areas! You're…incredible!"
He smiled, eyes impassive under dark sunglasses. "Thank you," he replied, rather contented. "But I'm afraid those days are behind me."
"I know this is a little presumptuous of me," the girl said, shifting her weight and casually sticking out her chest. "But if you're not here with anybody, maybe you'd like to have dinner tonight? I'd love to hear more about your expeditions!"
A small smirk rose to his lips as the bartender returned with the drinks. "Actually," he said, unfolding a load of large bills and laying one on the counter, then redirecting his gaze to a lounge chair not too far away. "I'm here on my honeymoon."
The girl followed his eyes, seeking out a beautiful brunette, stretched happily out on a chair, sunning in a pale pink bikini. Seeing her cause as officially lost, she smiled and made a graceful exit.
"Congratulations!" she muttered, as she slunk down the bar to join a graying man who was wearing an expensive looking ring.
"Thank you," he said, his smile increasing. Grabbing the drinks, he happily strode over to his beautiful bride.
"Hello Mrs. Oliver," He said with a happy grin, kissing her deeply and handing her one of the drinks. "Did you miss me?"
"More than you'll ever know!" she replied happily, taking a sip. "I love a man that comes bearing fruity alcoholic beverages."
He laughed. "You're easy to please."
"Hey!" a voice called from behind him. "Could we get, just like, five minutes without one of you mentioning 'pleasure' of anyway shape or form. I made the mistake of having a room with an adjoining wall to yours. I know more than I'd like to."
"Well it serves you right, Jason!" Kimberly laughed, as Jason and Kat came into sight, hand in hand, back from a short walk around the beach. "Crashing our honeymoon!" She scooted forward on her chair, and motioned Tommy to sit with her.
"Please, you two would totally miss me." Jason said, settling into a chair near theirs. "Sitting by the beach all day? You'd be bored without us. What else would you do all day?"
Kimberly leaned back against Tommy, as they both gave identical smirks.
Jason paused, turning towards Kat. "I walked right into that one, didn't I?"
She crinkled her nose in laughter. "I'm afraid so."
"Speaking of interruptions, where are Trini and Zach?" Tommy asked, scanning the beach. "They disappeared a little while ago."
"Right here!" a frenzied voice called, and Trini appeared followed by a grinning Zach.
"And where have you tow been?" Kimberly grinned, eyebrows rising suggestively. Trini flushed, and attempted to fix her somewhat disheveled sarong, as Zach lowered himself quite contentedly into another lounge chair.
"Passing the time, perhaps?" Kat said sneakily, sitting down in a chair as well.
Trini flushed, but maintained a dignified posture. "I'll have you know I was speaking to Billy. He wanted me to tell you that the wedding was beautiful and he's sorry he couldn't be here. But, in other news, he wanted me to pass along the message that the headquarters for Space Patrol Delta Academy are coming along beautifully. Plus, they've already got a full list of recruits waiting to get in the training program. He sounded very excited."
"Hell!" Jason sad. "I'm ecstatic! This jobs a dream." He took a long sip of his drink. "I mean, all training and no combat? Letting future generations take care of the fighting? Monsters being regulated by a police force? Sheer genius! We should have thought of it earlier!"
"Yeah," Kimberly agreed. "Life's definitely going to be a lot easier on us from now on!" she smiled as Tommy kissed her neck.
She smiled, a looked around at her circle of friends, a new found emotion welling inside her. Everyone was relaxed, smiling.
For the first time, they were all happy.
"This is wonderful!" she sighed, leaning up to kiss Tommy again. His hands wrapped around her waist, and she smiled up at him.
"I haven't been to the beach in a long time," he admitted. "We used to go all the time."
"Yeah, but bad things always seemed to happen!" she reminded him. "Like Kat stealing my power coin—"
"I still feel badly about that by the way!" Kat interrupted.
Kimberly giggled. "And the time we took Hallie, Trini's neighbor, to the beach and got her kidnapped."
"Please don't remind me!" Trini said, waving her hands erratically. "That was the last babysitting job I ever got."
"Oh yeah!" Tommy said, laughing at the memory. "She was the one who talked about wanting to have a prince come and wake her up out of the deep sleep."
"You thought it was corny!" Kimberly said, nudging her elbow into his stomach.
"Hey!" Tommy said, pulling her close once again. "I changed my mind."
"Actually, I stand by his first statement." Zach said, adjusting his shades and leaning into the sun. "That was corny. And kind of makes me want to vomit."
And they sat back, laughing, enjoying the presence of one another: six warriors, who at the end of battle, let their scars heal as they settled back into the happily warm, lazy days of life.
And, Kimberly thought, leaning against Tommy and closing her eyes, confident her days of wretched nightmares and lonely sobs were over. After all: everyone loves happy endings.
I can't believe this thing took an entire semester to complete! I really appreciate all those who have read and reviewed, and would really, really love to know what you all thought. I can't let you know how helpful the reviews were, and I really enjoyed writing this. Thank you again! simultaneousrelease