Come to Choose
By Chanelle Summer
Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers series, nor do I own any of the characters, which are all owned by Saban and Disney.
Authors Notes: This is a one-shot piece that I wrote at the start of 2006- it's intended to be a "missing scene" in season three's 'A Different Shade of Pink Part 3', filling in the gap between Coach Schmidt's offer to Kimberly and the final good bye scene at the command center. No 'new' ground explored here, just a 'link in the chain' so to speak.
Setting: (possible canon) missing scene piece – takes place in between Kimberly's congratulations party at the youth center and her farewell scene at the command center in the final part of "A Different Shade of Pink".
Characters: Features Kimberly Hart and Katherine Hillard (other characters mentioned or included in minor roles)
Kimberly was ecstatic and yet devastated when Gunter Schmidt invited her to Florida – avoiding her friends, she finds herself knocking on Katherine's door, ready to make her an offer where either answer will break her heart.
Kimberly took a deep breath and raised her balled hand, but her effort fell short and it merely hung limp in the air, before she quickly snapped it back to her side. By now she was swiftly realizing that the doorbell would have been a simpler option, but it would be loud and she'd have no choice but to go through with it then.
At least right now, she could pretend like Katherine wasn't home. She still had her options open- she could leave and walk back to the Campbell's or she could just stand at the front of the Hillard residence like an outdoor pot plant.
Kimberly shifted a little awkwardly as a car drove past on the quiet street, and realizing she must have look more than out of place, she reached for the door, when an all too familiar song whined from her wrist.
Saved by the bell. Now she didn't have to go through with it.
"Yes?" she asked almost breathlessly.
"Kim," Tommy's voice was nothing short of relief.
"Tommy, what's up?"
"Nothing," he said in a strange voice. "No one knew where you went and I was…worried about you."
Kimberly bit her lip, but before she could respond, the door- her shield- swung open.
"I-I'm fine Tommy, I'll call you later," she quickly blabbered, before bursting a breath through her bangs.
Katherine leaned against the door, eying the pink ranger curiously through her usual, tranquil demeanor.
"Kimberly….sorry, I didn't hear the doorbell."
"Oh, it's okay," Kimberly assured her. "I wasn't standing here for long…" her sentence fell short and her eyes slowly met Katherine's before she added. "I've come to ask you something."
"Of course, come in," the taller girl offered, guiding Kimberly in with a gesture.
Kimberly walked unknowingly through the memory-laden entranceway, her eyes skimming over countless photos of faces she didn't know. She didn't know the house, its owners; but, she did know the girl behind her.
"We can sit out on the porch." Katherine announced, and Kimberly stopped, her right hand unconsciously running over the metal band on her left wrist; her second skin.
All she could think about at that very second was what life would be like if she didn't have to worry about it going off in the middle of a movie, or panicking about taking it off during a gymnastics meet, even if only for a moment.A real shot at my dream…and at a normal life…
"Kimberly; is everything okay?" Katherine finally asked gently as the two girls stood motionless in the archway. "I thought after the big news, that you would have been celebrating with the others."
Kimberly swallowed, her eyes restless. "Katherine, I've never felt so lost before in my life. All I've ever wanted since I was a little girl was to get an opportunity like this, but back then, I never knew all the other directions my life would take."
Katherine motioned to the pair of chairs in the adjoining living room and began speaking as they both sat down.
"You're worried about your duties as a power rangers, aren't you?" she guessed.
Kimberly nodded almost shyly. "To get the opportunity to train with Gunter Schmidt is an honor that only a small amount of girls are lucky to get," she shared with an uncontrolled passion. "But I know that if I accept this offer and go to Florida, then I won't be able to continue as a power ranger. I mean, I could barely keep up these past few weeks and I wasn't even training full time."
Kimberly watched as Katherine shuffled a little in her chair, her blue eyes clearly searching for the right words to say. "What has Tommy said about this?" she asked gently.
Kimberly could feel the guilt in her stomach, but swallowed it away. "I haven't talked to the others about this yet, I left the Youth Center before I got the chance, because I knew what they would say. They've all been so supportive of me training and even though Tommy and I always talk about me one day going to the Olympics, I never really considered what I'd be giving up. As much as I want this, I can't do it. I can't go to Florida."
Katherine must have sensed Kimberly's determination because she didn't try to argue, instead bringing up a different, but equally painful direction in conversation.
"You said before that you wanted to ask me something," Katherine reminded her. "But if you want me to tell you what you should do, you need to know that no one can make that decision but you."
Kimberly leaned forward a little, her teeth running over her bottom lip. "This is bigger than that, Katherine. I know that our friendship over these months has been difficult, but the things you've done for me I can never repay you for-."
"Kim, Kim," Katherine cut her off. "I owe you a hundred times over what you could possibly owe me-."
Kimberly shook her head dismissively. "You've been amazing, Kat; you've been so brave and amazing where I would have struggled. You fit in here, everyone loves you-."
"I want you to take my place, Kat," Kimberly blurted out. "I want you to take my place on the team as the pink ranger."
The moment it all came out, Kimberly felt so much relief, that tears of joy almost threatened to produce, but instead she merely stared at Katherine frozen, waiting for her to make the biggest decision of her life for her.
She'll say no, which is fine, because then it means I have to stay here.
Katherine exhaled. "Kim, this is so unexpected, I never-."
"I know, it's completely crazy and I'm so sorry for putting this all on you and I knew you'd say no, but I…"
Their gazes leveled as Katherine watched her thoughtfully. "Do you want me to say no? Is that why you're really here, Kim?"
How does she know? Kimberly's mind instantly began to race, as she wondered if she was so transparent or if Katherine was simply brilliant at reading others.
Maybe it was a little bit of both?
Kimberly looked down, her eyes staring at the carpet through the gaps in her bangs. She looked up. "The moment coach Schmidt made that announcement I felt so paralyzed in shock, but it was because I know it was my opportunity – just like Jason, Trini and Zack got theres. I could see how happy everyone was for me, but through it all I saw you and I knew it straight away- I would never trust my coin with anyone but you, Kat-." she stopped, gulping continuously as tears welled in her eyes.
Katherine immediately stretched for a box of tissues and both girls reached for one as Kimberly managed an almost giggle at the scene.
"I want you to say no so badly," Kimberly sniffled, offering Katherine a fleeting smile, before she added. "But I want you to say yes even more."
Katherine reached over and grabbed her hands, her azure gaze glittering with an unmissable excitement. "Kim, I admire what you're doing so much, I really do, but surely there's another way?"
"There isn't. I completely understand if you don't want this, I mean it's a commitment you can't realize until it's too late, but if you can't do this, than neither can I."
The light in Katherine's eyes dimmed somewhat, lines burrowing in her forehead. They had both been reduced to silence, both waiting for their opportunity out, for the other to give in. Kimberly still had a choice- she could still walk away from this, but then where would that leave her? Fighting her own heart, whilst trying her hardest to lie with a straight face to her closest friends? To Tommy? She knew she couldn't do that.
"Kim, are you sure you've had enough time to think this through?"
Kimberly leveled her gaze, skimming a lone tear away with her hand. "Yes," she replied. "I'm sure of this."
Oh God, she's thinking about saying yes! This wasn't supposed to happen, this is all happening too soon-.
"After everything I've tried to do to you all, it's almost too difficult for me to consider myself worthy enough of taking your place," Katherine revealed. "But what I do know, is that I've never felt so accepted and I've never owed so much to one person. And after everything you went through to go to the tryouts- conquering your fear and recovering from your injury- you would be selling yourself short to just turn away from it now."
Kimberly sniffled. "I really want to go," she admitted shakingly.
"I know you do, Kim," she replied with a growing smile, as she playfully shook Kimberly's hand. "I know you hoped I would turn down your offer to make it easier for you to stay, but I owe you more than that- I want to accept your offer, Kim- I want to take your place on the team and I want you to go to Florida."
Oh my God, oh my God...
Kimberly swallowed loudly, as she ran her hands over her hair. She stood up words spinning in her head. "I can't believe it; I can't believe it."
"This is amazing, Kim," Katherine stood up, grabbing her hands again. "And I know inside that you are making the right choice."
Kimberly stopped fidgeting, her eyes wide. "I know you have made the right choice, Katherine..." she stopped short, her lips creeping into a smile. "Oh my goodness, I can't believe this has just happened, I mean I haven't talked to the others, let alone Zordon, and then there's school and-."
"Let's take it one step at a time," Katherine suggested. "You need to talk to your friends and you need to make sure it's okay with Zordon...he may not feel comfortable-."
"Oh, please," Kimberly brushed her sentence away, as she nervously raised her wrist to her mouth. "Alpha, come in."
"Kimberly!" Alpha 5's voice burst through the tiny speakers. "Are you in trouble?"
"No, Alpha, I'm fine," Kimberly replied with a tiny smile, thinking how endearing the robot's concern was. She took a deep breath. "There's something really important that I need to talk to you about and I really don't know where to start."
"Kimberly," Zordon's voice suddenly intervened. "Alpha and I are aware of the day's unexpected turn of events and want you to know that you should not be afraid to discuss this with us or the other other rangers."
She could never doubt Zordon's faith in her. "Thanks, Zordon. Alpha, can you ask the others to meet me at the command center?" she paused and looked at Katherine. "Can you also please put Katherine on standby for teleportation..."
"Of course, Kimberly," Alpha 5 replied and Kimberly lowered her wrist.
"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Katherine asked her gently.
Kimberly decided to be honest and shook her head. "I really hope they beg me not to go," she admitted and Katherine smiled.
"Just remember, Kim, that this is your decision to make. Just because I said yes, doesn't mean you have to and even if they ask you not to go, doesn't mean you shouldn't."
Kimberly quickly embraced the taller girl, squeezing her tightly before pulling away.
She still had the choice and it was hers to make. But despite fate's best efforts to push her to the other side of the country, Kimberly still couldn't unite her heart. She just hoped that when she arrived at the command center and cast her torn gaze on their precious faces, that the right answer would come to her.