Disclaimer: I do not, nor do I claim to, own anything that is clearly from Power Rangers. Only this plot is mine.
This is not your typical reunion fic. If you are emotional, I suggest tissues (and not listening to sad music while reading).
IMPORTANT: This story is based of my three one shots: Out of Reach, Out of Time, and Out of Hope. You will not need to read Out of Time, or Out of Hope to read and understand this story. However, while you don't need to read Out of Reach to understand what's going on, it gives another point of view of Chapter 1 of this story, focusing on different details. So if you want to, feel free to read Out of Reach before or after you read this chapter. It may clear up some questions.
Pairings warning: Mainly TOMMY/KIMBERLY; other couples will include: Jason/Trini, Zack/Angela, Kat, Billy/Haley, Adam/Tanya, Rocky/Aisha, Trent/Kira, Conner, Ethan?; and that pretty much covers it. If you have a BIG problem with these, you may not enjoy the fic.
Last Warning: MAJOR CHARACTER DEATH! I repeat, characters will die (frequently).
There's nothing lonelier than watching all of your friends leave you; no more empty feeling than having to say goodbye more times than you care to count; no more depressing knowledge than knowing they're beyond your reach and that you'll never see them again. Never again will you reside in their presence and there is nothing you can do about this.
I've had to watch my friends leave one at a time until the last of the eleven were beyond my reach forever. The pain each time is unbearable, unimaginable, incomprehensible, and unavoidable. In each case, the parting is different, but the feeling of abandonment remains the same. Each one of the eleven is special; each holds a significant place in my heart and the hearts of one another; a family forced together by the threat of alien evils; a family split apart by mere mortal circumstances. All the power we possessed and we couldn't stop the inevitable no matter how much we would have tried.
A young woman stood off to the side watching her student go through a complex retinue of twists and tumbles on the floor mats. Every so often she would correct the girls stance or complement her on her form, the entire time watching for anything that could be seen as a mistake by the judges in the upcoming competition. It was the same thing she'd been doing everyday since her own time as a pan global competitor.
"Excellent job, Gabby," the woman called out to her student who had just preformed a difficult double back handspring twist which was to be her trademark move. The teenager turned to her coach and smiled giving a quick thumbs up. The woman smiled in return and turned around to glance at one of the other coaches and his student.
Along with the rush of the spin, the woman began to feel a sudden weakness and exhaustion take over her body. It was a familiar feeling she'd experienced multiple times since she'd left for Florida nearly ten years prior; a feeling that was becoming more and more frequent. As her eyes rolled back, she stumbled slightly forward, jolting herself back into awareness as the other occupants of the gym who had seen her near fall raced forward to make sure she was ok.
"Coach Hart! Are you alright?" was the question her vague mind weakly received first. She identified the speaker as Gabby and nodded slightly, still feeling slightly fatigued. Gentle but coarse hands gripped her arms to help steady her. They could only be the hands of a fellow gymnast.
"Are you sure, Kimberly?" the man asked. He'd been the other coach she was shifting her attention to. The small, brown haired woman nodded again and smiled up at him.
"I'm fine, Tyler," she assured him, removing her petite body from his grip. The worried look didn't leave his face. "I swear; just a bit tired is all."
"Maybe you should go home and lay down?" he suggested well within his authority as her boss. Kimberly shook her head.
"Really, I'm ok. I've been through worse. Besides, I've got to get Gabby ready for the competition," Kimberly protested, trying to keep her head from spinning, unsure when the last time she'd felt so weak and helpless was.
"I can practice with Christine and Megan," Gabby protested, indicating another coach and student that she and Kimberly often worked with.
"See, Gabby's all set. You need to sleep this thing off," Tyler responded, grabbing Kimberly by the shoulders and steering her towards the locker room.
"But I'm really fine!" she protested, although she allowed him to steer her.
"Uh-huh. Tell it to your pillow," he laughed. Kimberly just turned and smiled up at him, resting her palm on his cheek for a moment. Tyler bent down to brush his lips against hers, but she quickly turned away, pretending she hadn't noticed.
"You're a great friend, Ty," she told him, causing him to sigh and simply nod.
"Go then. Get some rest," he mumbled, turning back and heading towards his student, Katiana. Kim just watched him go for a moment before ducking into the locker room. She remembered a year ago that she and Tyler had been more than friends, but that was the past. She'd finally thought it was safe to start dating, but Tyler wasn't boyfriend material. He was her friend, and no one could compare to her first love.
Kimberly made it home to the two bedroom apartment she shared with her best friend Sarah. Sarah was a pan global alumnus as well, although in the area of swimming. She taught swimming lessons at the local YMCA to children and usually got home around early afternoon, where as Kim was usually at the gym until late at night working with Gabby or getting in a workout for herself.
Kimberly put her key in the door and stepped into the apartment. "You're home early," Sarah's voice rang out from her bedroom at the back of the apartment. Kimberly snorted. For all Sarah knew she could have been a murderer breaking into the apartment.
"Some lunatic could come storming into the apartment and kill you, and the whole time, you'd think it was me," Kim retorted.
"At least I'd die ignorant," was Sarah's cheerful reply as she came into the living room to see Kim put her bag down and get a bottle of water from the refrigerator. "So, why are you home so early?"
"Tyler made me leave because I was feeling a little tired. Gabby's working with Christine."
"Ahh… so Ty was worried about you?"
Kimberly nodded to her friend who was perched on the couch. She, herself, leaned against the counter for support. "I'm fine, but he didn't believe me. I suppose he's just trying to be the hero."
Sarah shrugged. "He could be right though. You don't look too hot. Maybe you should get some sleep."
"Not you too; I already said I'm fine…" Kimberly protested. Her own body wavered for a moment before her eyes rolled back and she fainted, barely hearing Sarah call out her name.
By the time Kimberly came to, she was no longer in her apartment, nor the clothing she remembered putting on that morning. Faintly she remembered Sarah calling 911, the noisy ambulance ride, and the doctors at the hospital poking and prodding. She glanced down at her arm and noticed it was heavily bandaged: they'd drawn blood.
Her head was pounding. She reached her hand up to her forehead and felt more bandages.
"Did anyone get the number of the truck that hit me?" she groaned.
"You hit your head on the counter when you fainted," she heard a familiar voice say as she turned to look at Sarah who sat beside her bed. "Hey there," her roommate smiled.
"Hey," Kimberly sighed back and began coughing. Her throat was dry.
"Here," a guys voice said offering her a cup full of ice chips.
"Tyler? Th-thanks," she said with a smile. She figured he'd be there.
"What'd the doctors say?" Kimberly asked them as Tyler took the cup back from her.
"Wouldn't tell us. We're not family," Sarah explained. Kimberly nodded. She'd lost all contact with her blood family years before. She didn't even know if her mom was even alive anymore. Her other family, well they would have to wait. "I'll go tell them you're awake." Kimberly mumbled a thanks and watched he go.
"Guess you're not fine, are you?" Tyler asked, kissing her on the forehead.
"I could have lost you."
"You don't have me. Tyler you're my friend; not my boyfriend," Kimberly protested.
"Why? Why can't we be more than friends? Is it because you still love HIM? Even after all these years, you still love him?" Tyler yelled, leaning down over her. Kimberly met his eyes squarely, a deep glare in them. She didn't take too kindly to people yelling at her, she never had. But he was right.
"Yes," she replied simply, turning away.
"Fine," Tyler responded, pushing past Sarah and the doctor on his rush to leave. Sarah looked puzzled, but took a seat beside Kim's bead.
"What was that about?"
"Just told him what he already knew, and what he didn't want to hear."
"Ok then," Sarah replied, still confused. She hated it when Kimberly talked cryptic.
"Ms. Hart, my name is Dr. Mitchell; we've been running some blood tests and…" the doctor paused, casting a look at Sarah.
"Its alright; she's family," Kimberly urged the woman on. The doctor nodded.
"Well, we've been researching your medical history. I know you're aware that you are no longer in remission. Unfortunately the disease has accelerated. Your leukemia is getting much worse."
Kimberly sighed and nodded. Somehow she knew it. Somehow she also knew there would be no remission this time. "I understand," she replied closing her eyes.
"We'll be admitting you to our cancer ward. We'll do everything we can," the doctor replied.
"Thanks, but would it be possible to um… transfer hospitals?" Kim asked, glancing at a still stunned Sarah.
"You have another hospital here in Tampa?"
"She means Angel Grove," Sarah put in for her. "In California. She's got family there," she added, taking Kimberly's hand and squeezing it. She understood why Kimberly would want to be there, but somehow she was sure her best friend wasn't telling her everything she feared.
"Is this true, Ms. Hart?" Dr. Mitchell asked her.
Kimberly nodded, sighing. What was she going to do? How could she tell them? "Yes doctor."
"Well, I'll go make arrangements for the transfer," the doctor said leaving the two young women alone again.
"Kimberly, you going to be ok?"
"I don't know, Sarah. I really don't know. Can you hold onto my things until I send for them?"
"Of course. We're going to get through this," Sarah told her.
"Maybe," Kimberly added, closing her eyes.
Three months later, Kim lay back in her hospital bed, having just returned from her latest round of chemotherapy. She'd immediately placed her wing back on, not liking that she didn't have any hair left. Her room was decorated with cards and letters from her friends and students in Florida, but that wasn't where her mind was as she gazed out the window, eyes focused on her old high school. Time was running out. She felt it in her heart and her soul. She didn't have much longer.
Tears of exhaustion and frustration in her eyes, she reached down to grab the phone beside her bed. "Please still be here," she muttered quietly before lifting the headset and dialing the operator."Hi, yes. Can you give me the number for Jason Scott? Thanks." She jotted down the number, and then began to dial. One ring, two rings, and on the third ring, a ruff familiar voice answered.
Kimberly froze. How was she supposed to tell him, any of them. How could she even have called.
"Hello?" he questioned again.
"Hey," she finally choked out.
"Kimmy? Kimmy is that you?" she reveled in hearing his voice, nearly to the point where she was speechless.
"Yeah its me, Jase," she replied, trying to hold back tears.
"Where are you? This is an angel grove area code?"
"I'm in the hospital. Jase… I…"
"What? I'll be there in twenty minutes, max."
"Jason?" Kimberly asked, feeling relieved.
"Yeah, Kim?" he replied, concern in his voice. She sounded weak and he didn't like it.
"Anytime, sis." She smiled and hung up the phone.
Twenty minutes later, just as promised, Jason burst through the door of her room and threw his arms around her diminished frame. Kimberly wrapped her arms around his shoulder and sobbed into his shoulder, unable to control it anymore; unable to hold back the tears, the sorrow, and the remorse any longer.
A while later, Jason pulled away, searching her tear stained face for answers. He knew. She didn't know how he knew, but he did. Her big brother always knew.
"About a month," she whispered. Jason pulled her back into his arms and this time cried with her. Somehow, this wasn't fairl.
"You should have told us; we could have done something; found a way to save you. With all the power in our possession, we could have done something."
"Jason, this isn't an evil bent on taking over the planet. We can't just morph and destroy Leukemia," she told him, being realistic. He refused to hear it "The others?"
"Trini's my fiancé. She lives with me, and I'm sure she has Billy's number. He's probably still in touch with Adam and Rocky. They can reach Aisha, Tanya, and Kat. And I have Zack's number. He's in LA."
"What about Tommy?" she asked, her voice smaller than he'd ever heard it.
"I don't know. Maybe one of the others does." Kimberly didn't look too convinced. "We'll find him," he added. She nodded and lay back on her pillows, quickly falling asleep due to exhaustion.
Jason retreated to a chair in the corner, rubbing his hands over his face. He picked up the phone and began dialing, knowing he had a lot of phone calls to make.
"Hey Trini? Listen, we have a problem," he began, restraining his tears.
Over the next few weeks all of her teammates dropped in to spend time with her. Trini, Billy, Zack, and Jason took turns spending the night in her room. Jason had even managed to get a hold of her parents. However, the search for Tommy was coming up empty each way they turned. Kimberly was losing hope that they would find him in time.
"Hang in there, girl," Aisha muttered, glancing at her watch. She sighed, tears in her eyes, knowing they were near the end. Kim was losing her battle. "I've got to go to work, but I'll send Trini in; Goodbye, Kim, I love you," she said giving her friend a kiss on her pale cheek. Over the past few days this had become the groups customary goodbye as no one knew if it would be the last time they ever spoke.
"I love you too, Aisha," Kimberly strained. Aisha gave her a sad smile and left the room, sending Trini in as promised.
"How you doing, Kimmy?" Trini asked her, falling into a chair beside her friend's bed.
"I'm not going to make it, Trin. I'm not going to see him. I can't tell him how I feel."
"Don't talk like that. You'll make it. Jason and Zack are tracing a lead as we speak," her best friend responded, brushing her finger over her forehead. "They said Reefside this morning. That's not that far. I'm sure they're going to find him any minute."
Kim gave her a sad, strained smile, but shook her head. "Pass me that stationary, will you, Trini?" she begged.
"Why?" Trini asked, passing the box to her friend.
"Just in case I don't make it."
"Kim…" Trini began, but she paused. She could see the pain in her friends face. It was taking everything the small woman had to keep going just until Jason and Zack came back to tell her whether or not they'd located him. "Alright."
Kim took the pen in her weak hand and in the neatest writing she could muster began to write.
Yeah, I know I haven't called you that in a long time; in a really long time. I also know I shouldn't ever have stopped. Its my fault you're not here for me to say this in person. I love you. I always have, and I always will. I never stopped. I know that's hard for you to believe, especially after the last letter I sent you. But it's true. Tommy, there was no other guy.
I know, I should have told you sooner. It was the leukemia, Tommy. Right after I moved to Florida it came back. I never told the other's about it. I'd been in remission since kindergarten. No one ever knew. I was scared I'd be a distraction if you all knew and still had to fight Lord Zedd. That's why I wrote the letter. Why should you have to worry about a sick girlfriend on the other side of the country? I wanted you to concentrate on the world, and if that meant being with Kat, I was willing to let you go.
I shouldn't have lied. I should have told you all I was sick so much sooner, but it took more courage than I ever knew I had just to contact Jason a month ago. If I'd told you sooner you'd have been here with me.
If you're reading this, it means I never got to see you again. I never got to call you handsome one more time with my voice, which is greatly weakened now. It's so hard to breath, but I don't want to go until I know they've found you. Jason said something about a lead in Reefside this morning.
I'm more sorry than you could ever know. I wanted to see you once more. Just once. I wanted to tell you I was sorry, and I loved you. I wanted to see you and be better. I wanted to be with you forever, Tommy. I don't know what else I can say, except I'm sorry. Please forgive me for not being stronger. And please, keep living. Tell the others to keep on living, for me. You have to be happy in my place Tommy. I need you to be happy.
I'll be waiting for the day I can soar with my falcon once again.
I love you, always and forever,
When she finished, Kim handed the sealed letter back to Trini, just as Billy entered the room with Jason and Zack. Kim searched their faces with hollow tear filled eyes. Trini leaned forward and clutched one of her hands while Jason took a seat on her other side and held her other. Billy remained at the foot of her bed, feeling helpless to stop his friend's pain and feeling guilty that with all his knowledge, he couldn't save her. Zack stood in the doorway, staring at his feet, arms crossed over his chest, clinging to his resolve not to cry in front of her, even though he was absolutely terrified.
"Did you find him?" Kimberly begged, her voice faltering.
"He's definitely in Reefside; he teaches high school science now," Jason told her. "We're going to go get him now."
"No; don't leave me," she pleaded, grasping his hand tighter. He bit his lip tightly.
"We won't go anywhere, Kimmy," Billy answered her.
"We'll stay until you tell us not to," Zack added, looking at the helpless figure on the bed. Kimberly took a labored breath.
"I love you guys. I'm so sorry. So very sorry."
"Kim, its ok. You have nothing to be sorry about," Trini assured her.
"We love you too; all of us," Jason added, kissing her hand. It was cold. He wondered if Trini noticed it too. From the look in her eyes, he guessed she had. Kimberly just nodded slightly. She took another labored breath, summoning her voice.
"Tell Tommy that I'll always love him," she struggled and took another breath. They waited for her to release it, but with each passing second they realized she was gone. Trini was the first to break down crying, still clinging to her friend's hand as the heart monitor let out a steady line, indicating her heart had stopped beating. Jason and Billy cried noiselessly while tears streamed down Zack's face. He glanced at the clock that read eight o'clock pm as he struck the wall with his fist.
Two hours later the four sat in Jason and Trini's living room, discussing what to do next. Where did
they go from that point on?
"Jason," Trini squeaked out. He looked up at her, his eyes red from crying. "You and Billy need to go find Tommy. He needs to know. I'll call the other's."
"Trini's right, Jase. You're the best person to tell him," Billy confirmed, and Jason slightly inclined his head forward in agreement.
"I'll help Trini make plans," Zack put in. He didn't have to say what the plans were for. They all knew, but saying it would make this real.
"Lets go, Billy," Jason said gruffly as he lead the way to the garage.
"Wait," Trini ran after them, pulling a white letter out of her purse. "Give this to him when you find him, she said, handing it to Billy. "She wrote it right before you got back."
"We will," Billy assured her, and kissed her cheek. Jason kissed her lips, pulling her into a hug.
"We've got the picture," he told her; Trini nodded, embracing him tightly.
"Bring him home safe with you," she told them. Both promised that they would, and she and Zack watched them leave on Jason's bike from the front door.
"They'll find him Trini. Come, we have our own job to do now."
Jason and Billy reached Reefside the next morning and immediately set about looking for him.
"Why don't we go into those shops over there and see if anyone knows anything?" Billy suggested as they pulled into a shopping area. Jason nodded, dismounting his bike and removing his helmet, placing his sunglasses on as Billy did the same. "I'll go check over there," Billy added, indicating a store on the left, before disappearing. Jason just sighed. There was no better place to start than the café in front of him.
The tall man entered and looked around. It reminded him slightly of the juice bar he and his frequented as teenagers; however, this place was empty at the moment.
"Can I help you?" a female voice asked after he'd removed his sunglasses. He jumped slightly, not realizing there were people present. He shrugged and approached the counter where a woman and four teenagers stood laughing. They looked like they were waiting on someone.
"I- I'm looking for someone, but I don't think he's here," Jason stuttered.
"Well, my name's Haley," the woman, who appeared to be the owner, replied. "This is Trent, Conner, Kira, and Ethan," she added, indicating the teens who wore white, red, yellow, and blue respectively. Jason's mind and his connection to the morphing grid quickly placed them as a team, and most likely part of the legacy he and his friends had started. But that could be discussed later. "Between the five of us, if the person you're looking for is in Reefside, we can probably help you find him."
He smiled slightly, thankful to have found someone willing to help. He pulled out the crumpled photo and set it infront of them. "Do you know him?" Jason asked the group, pointing at Tommy. The picture was of the original team, all seated or standing on the playground equipment at the park. Sixteen year old Zack was sitting on the monkey bars, Billy gripping one of his feet, while his other hand rested on Tommy's shoulder. Tommy sat on the equipment, Kimberly nestled between his arms. A young Jason stood on his other side, his arm draped around Tommy's shoulder. Trini was on the equipment, her arms around Jason's neck as she grinned over his shoulder.
"Dr. O?" the girl teen asked, studying the picture; he didn't remember what the lady had said her name was.
"What?" replied a voice from behind the teenagers. Jason poked his head around and let his eyes settle on the man in a black T-shirt and khaki pants. Realization that he was finally facing his best friend, over twelve hours too late struck him full force when Tommy whispered his name.
And in a moment, he was sobbing again. Only a moment later, he registered that he was sitting in a chair. He couldn't get the words out. He wanted too, but now it was too real. Until that moment, it had be a horrible dream.
Billy who'd been pacing outside the café that Jason had gone into finally lost his patience and walked in. Jason saw him. Billy could tell Tommy; he could tell their teammate what had happened.
Tommy was now looking from a sobbing Jason to Billy who was fighting his own tears. It was then that he felt his heart break; he felt the falcon scream in anguish and pain, louder then he'd ever felt it before; he knew what was coming.
"Billy! Will you just tell me what's going on?" he demanded. He knew he needed to hear what he already knew, somewhere deep in his heart. Billy handed him a white envelope with her handwriting scrawled on it. The first tear fell immediately.
"Kim- Tommy, she – Kimberly's dead, Tommy," Billy managed before tears flooded his eyes. "Last night; she never told us about the leukemia. Not until about a month ago. We looked for you. We knew you'd want to see her."
Tommy's life stopped. His heart skipped a beat as the news sank in.
"She should have told us. We could have found a way," Billy spoke, really talking to himself, guilt eating at him. "She looked peaceful in the end, when her pain was gone."
"No," Tommy pleaded.
"She looked like she was sleeping," Jason managed to add.
"No," he repeated, a bit louder.
"She's comfortable and happy now," Billy struggled between tears.
"No!" Tommy screamed before collapsing on the table, sobbing. This couldn't be happening. She couldn't be gone. She couldn't have left him; left them. She wouldn't have let this beat her.
Haley ushered the teens out of the cyber café, telling them it didn't look like Tommy would be up for celebrating them being home from college for a while. The teens agree, but made Haley promise to keep them updated.
The next day, Jason, Billy, and Tommy were planning to head back to angel grove. Haley would bring the teens the following day and stay in a hotel. The day after was to be Kimberly's funeral. When Jason woke that morning, on Tommy's couch, he found a not from his best friend, saying he'd gone to the beach. Jason sighed, and got dressed before rousing Billy, gently.
"He's at the beach, I'm going to get him," he explained. Billy understood that Jason meant for him to be ready to go. They would place Jason's bike in Tommy's jeep and all ride back together.
It took Jason about a half hour to find his teammate and friend, sitting in the sand, tears running down his face again as he stared out across the water.
"I didn't get to say goodbye," Tommy stated, brushing away tears.
"Its not too late," Jason reminded him. Tommy shook his head.
"I loved her, Jase. It's not fair."
"Life never is, bro. Did you open the letter?"
Tommy shook his head again. He still had it clutched in his hand.
"Come on. We'd better get going."
Two days later, Tommy sat between Trini and Kat at the chapel as Billy made the last of the speeches dedicated to Kimberly. They'd wanted him to make one, but he couldn't bring himself to. He'd barely said more than two words since he'd gotten to angel grove.
"The love she had for him was above and beyond anything any of us have ever felt before. As a kid I used to find myself wishing to have what they did; we all did. Some of us have found it, and some of us are still waiting; but it was that love that kept our Kimberly with us for as long as she was. And I know for a fact that even though she's no longer walking among us, he love for him is still as strong as ever. She'll be waiting for you, Tommy," Billy finished. Trini and Kat were sobbing as he helped them to their feet, handing Trini over to Jason, while Billy came down to support Kat for him. He didn't want support. He was alone; he would always be alone from now on.
He followed everyone to the aisle, kissing each of the girls on the cheeks and took his place at the head of the casket (the one thing he'd agreed to do) along with the other guys. Billy secretly slipped Kimberly's old communicator onto her stiff wrist, biting his lip to hold back tears. Tommy gave him a gentle pat on the shoulder as Jason, Zack, Adam, and Rocky all took places around the casket to carry it with them.
At the grave site, roses of each ranger color were placed in her casket. Tommy placed a white and pink one right over her heart before kissing her cold forehead. The casket was closed, lowered, and buried; Tommy stood and watched as they all went one by one to the head stone, each saying a final farewell. Finally it was his turn. He knelt in front of it and traced the words with his index finger: Kimberly Ann Hart – loved more than words can ever say. She was our heart and soul. It's through her that we made it so many times. It was through her that we were strong. The crane will never fly alone.
Silently he pulled away and attended the wake with the rest of his friends, wearing a black, red, white, and green thread bracelet, although he mostly kept to himself. He finally read her letter alone on the porch of his best friends home, feeling what little remained of his heart shatter into millions of pieces. He finally began to sob; he finally accepted that his crane was gone. The falcon in him screamed again, wanting to be released to be with its mate. Only the presence of all his teammates kept it in his cage. The t-rex, mastodon, sabertooth tiger, the wolf, the frog, the ape, the bear, the terradactyl, and the yellow zeo spirit all kept the falcon held tight, soothing him as they connected their thread bracelets and hung them on the nail on the porch.
Tommy said his final farewell to her spirit and walked into the house, leaving the crane alone looking in through the window.
It would be a long time before she would have company and companionship, but that is a story for another day.
I hope you all enjoyed this, and I do have chapter 2 written and ready to be posted. I'm thinking of making this a weekly or biweekly fic, (probably biweekly since I've only just started chapter 3 (but the whole story is mapped out) and as a college student, it's a bit difficult to find writing time.) so that means that chapter 2 should be up on October 16th. If I think I can get it done on a weekly basis, look for the next chapter on Oct. 9th.
Until next time