The Coins

By: KSuzie

Prologue: History

(Edited 7-2008)History is the prologue for The Coins and explains the ten year history for some of the primary characters in my world. The Coins will start moving forward with Reunions, but a history is needed to explain some of the deviations I've made. The Coins also assumes that the reader is familiar with MMPR through Space and has a basic knowledge of some of the other Rangers throughout the years. Bear with me, I promise that, once the story gets going, you're in for a wild ride. That said, I hope you have as much fun reading it as I've had playing with it.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The Coins first debuted in January of 2007 and is my tribute to 15 years of Power Rangers in the US. Although the story is technically complete, I'm still tweaking it more than a year later.

It follows both movies, acknowledging Dulcea and innate spirit totems, and assumes that Jason and Kimberly did not leave the island of Muirantias unaffected by their experience. It should be noted that the premise of the Coins and character of the of the Demon King originated from a movie script outlined by several of my friends and myself and I give them total credit for their ideas. It should also be noted, however, that I completely deviated from those outlines and use my own liberal interpretation of "PR canon." (For instance: The script was Tommy/Kat and acknowledged the Ninjor version of the Ninjetti powers over Dulcea.)

The Coins is a Kim/Tommy story, because that's what my daughter wanted me to write, but I also don't believe in bashing Kat. There are also several other standard pairings and very few original characters.

That said, The original character of Carri Hillard is not my character and is adapted from KJ's Ranger Scrolls and Legacy series (my bio page contains a link to her stories or if you go to fanfiction's home page and add in /u/4024/KJ and it will take you to her bio page). She created her in 1997 to be the fiery cousin to the mild and well mannered Katherine Hillard. KJ's stories introduced me to the world of fanfiction and she is the one who encouraged me to write this story from start to finish. To me, Carri was already firmly established in my mind as a PR character before I ever began writing; it just didn't feel right without her. I understand she is new to almost everyone else, but I hope you will grow to love her as much as I have.

All things Power Rangers belong to Saban and Disney. All things Carri belong to KJ, with many thanks. Demonking belongs solely to Daniel White and Teeg, Rexo, and the Nova Rangers belong to KS & me. The premise of the Coin Series has been borrowed from a story written by Terry, Chris, Daniel, Brice, Katey and myself.

All events in The Coins take place in an alternate dimension.

Kim sat at her desk lightly fingering the embossed card. It read: Angel Grove Class of 1997, with the school seal and 10 Year Reunion stamped in bright gold. It certainly didn't feel like ten years had gone by. It had been a blink, a fold in time that she hadn't realized had passed. Yet somehow that time had stealthily slipped by her unnoticed; silently drifting away like clouds across the blue skies of her home world.

The mental image made her smile wistfully and she indulged her mind, letting it wander, remembering the good times with her friends and Zordon as well as the bad times; like her parents divorce. High school seemed like a surreal fantasy. Christmases and dances and a boyfriend that was the epitome of her young world. All that was left of it now were memories that were more than a decade old. She had been gone a little over 11 years, graduating absentia with little fanfare except a small plaque in the hallway commemorating her gold medals at the Pan Games; metals that were stuffed indifferently in a storage box somewhere. The Pan Games had pretty much put an end to everything high school. She hadn't even attended the graduation ceremony, she'd been in New York on a publicity tour for her gymnastics team and more than one person reported back that many had been startled to hear her name called; simply assuming she was attending another school in Florida.

Gymnastics hadn't been a bad thing; privately she'd loved almost every moment of the experience. The year of graduation had been a whirlwind of interviews, autograph signings, commercials, and personal appearances. She'd been so busy that half the time she didn't even know what city she was in; her face on so many magazines that it had taken years for her to sort through the boxes of them that her mother had saved. Her family, both in Paris and in California, had complained bitterly that she hadn't come to visit, but there had simply been no time. She was the darling of the sports world; eating up every second of it before it melted away and she was simply last season's champion.

She smiled quietly to herself. It had all gone by in an instant. Jason had insisted she come back with him to Angel Grove at least once, and she eventually agreed, if only to explain things to Tommy, but that had been a disaster. She and Jason had been kidnapped and taken to Muirantias where they had been lowered into Maligore's pit of fire and changed forever.

She bit her lip at the memory; nothing had been the same after that. Tommy had already moved on and she supposed that was a good thing considering the years that followed. Lerigot may have opened their hearts to the good, but he had been far too weak at the time to actually reverse Maligore's damage; if such a remedy were even possible. By the time they reached the command center, Zordon had warned them it might be many years before the alterations in their DNA began to manifest; changes that had dominated both of their lives ever since.

She shook herself and blinked hard to cleanse her mind of that particular line of thought. She looked at the small wall clock her mother had bought her in Switzerland the previous Christmas, half past twelve and definitely not the time to reflect on bad memories. She glanced down at the invitation and traced her finger along the registration website. If she was going to attend, she had to respond by that evening.

"Enough already." Her friend Carri said as she collapsed into the window seat; startling her and shaking the last vestiges of her musing away. She was still in her pajamas and was balancing a cup of coffee on her knees. Her long dark hair spilled carelessly over the pink and white fluffy pillows her mom had bought and placed there on her last visit. "You've been staring at that thing for two days. Either say yes, or say no, but make a decision already and get on with life."

Kim looked up at her friend, who had been visiting for the past few days. Carri seldom rose before eleven if she didn't have to and had obviously just tumbled out of bed. She had met Carri Hillard through her cousin Katherine. Carri's father was a successful producer in New York and Katherine had written him about their friend Adam's idea for adventure travel show. The show would follow two guys as they investigated hidden places around the world to rock climb, hang glide, hike and find other offbeat places tourists didn't usually go. Carri's father had liked the idea and agreed to 10 episodes, but only if the guys were replaced with pretty girls; he'd also given Adam two weeks to get started.

Adam, who had already recruited two of his high school friends, had been at a loss to find two qualified replacements on such short notice. Katherine had flat out refused. She had just returned from a stint in a very prestigious dance academy in England and would not leave college, her dance students, or her boyfriend to go traipsing around the world on a mad schedule, alternately sweating with the heat or freezing to death. In desperation, he called on Aisha, who immediately suggested Kim.

For Kim, it had been perfect timing. She had been devastated by the news of Zordon's death. Zordon was more than just a teacher or mentor to her; he had taken the place of a father figure when Kim's own father had simply walked out. Even her stepfather, who loved her like his own, couldn't fill the void the great wizard had left behind. Her tour with the gymnastics team was coming to an end and she had decided, despite her coach's urging, not to return and try for another Pan Games. She was nearly twenty by this point and had felt practically ancient for a tier one gymnast. In her mind, it was far better to leave as a legend than to be ousted unceremoniously by younger talents. Ten weeks of extreme tourism had sounded like a perfect way to re-evaluate her life and figure out what she wanted to do next.

Adam was thrilled that she signed on, but crushed when Aisha decided at the last minute she couldn't take so much time off of school; especially when news came that her scholarship would be in jeopardy if she withdrew from her classes. A roller coaster week had followed. One minute they had a replacement, the next they didn't. Finally, when all seemed to fall into place, Kim's co-host had gone on a drinking binge the night before they were supposed to leave and failed to show up at the airport. The entire project seemed doomed before it ever got started.

Carri, who had come to the New York airport with Katherine to see the group off, had suddenly, without any warning, jumped in and volunteered to go. She used her father's credit card to purchase a ticket for the flight and jumped on board the plane without a toothbrush or change of clothing. And that was that. They were off on their first adventure; herding cows in Montana. Off camera as well as on, Kim and Carri became fast friends and the chemistry showed. The first ten episodes were almost immediately picked up by a cable network and fans thrilled to watch the pair traverse canyons, climb glaciers, and crawl through caves in the middle of nowhere; still managing to find somewhere to shop afterward.

Why Carri had made the impulsive leap didn't remain a mystery for very long. Kim learned that she had joined into the project simply because she was desperate to escape the boyfriend that she had found herself engaged to. She had agreed to marry her high school sweetheart, not because she was so happy ever after in love with him, but because people expected it. She had felt stuck in the claustrophobic relationship and was realizing if she didn't do something drastic, she'd continue to live, not her own life, but the life her parents expected. Carri wanted more, she just didn't know how to get it.

In the last year before Adam and Kim had stumbled into her life, she had realized she was heading down the wrong path, but could find no one to help her change course. Adam's project had been providential and for years afterward, to his embarrassment, she credited him with saving her life; or at least her sanity.

Her parents hadn't exactly been overjoyed by her change of heart though. Her mother adored her fiancé and assured her she just had cold feet. Her father simply reminded her that he'd already spent tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding. When coaxing and cajoling hadn't worked, he had threatened to disown her; that is, before seeing the first three episodes and realizing the potential profit of the first season. At that point, he suddenly did an about face and made her sign the same contract Kim had. At the news that her daughter simply wasn't coming back home to get married, her mother cried daily to the point where Carri stopped taking her phone calls for nearly three months.

The rest of her family was equally as stunned by her actions. Even Katherine shook her head, commenting that her cousin had always been such a prissy little thing and her actions were totally out of character. True, she had been captain of her high school cheerleading squad, but Carri was a most popular clone; bursting into tears if her manicure chipped. Extreme travel was so far out of character it was laughable.

But Adam and Kim never knew that Carri. From the hour she boarded that plane to Montana, she'd decided to re-write her life. She was no longer Carri the college cheerleader or Carri, David Myers's fiancé; she was Carri Hillard, TV co-host. She was an independent woman who would tackle any physical challenge and do it just as well as any guy, if not better. She defined her own terms and the hell with anyone who disagreed with it.

Her brother Josh had thought the whole debacle hilarious, but after screening the first few episodes featuring his sister driving cattle in one of Kim's tank tops and forging her way through a canyon river, even he had to admit his little sister was doing pretty okay by herself.

"Well?" Carri asked sharply, breaking her train of thought. "Did you even notice I came in?"

"Of course I did," Kim answered, giving her a sarcastic smile, "I couldn't miss those bright yellow PJ's if I tried."

In response, Carri tossed one of the copious little pillows in the window seat toward her and she caught it, tossing it back.

"I was just thinking about how we met." She mused, a soft smile tugging at the corners of her mouth as she reminisced.

"Oh joy of joys" Carri responded dryly, scooting further back into the seat and leaning her head back against the window, "I still hate cows."

Kim smiled. The sports bras and tank tops had been a horrible idea. Even massive amounts of sun block hadn't controlled the sunburn, but it had sold the show and quickly became their trademark of sorts. One season had turned into two, and tank tops were frequently replaced with bikini tops, but by then Adam was tired of it and had jumped on an offer by Carri's father to return to New York; especially since it meant he'd be working with his girlfriend Tonya.

The two girls trekked on for another two years before they both knew it was time to move on. One bitterly cold day at the base camp of Everest, the two looked at each from beneath ice crusted lashes and silently agreed they were both completely insane. They vowed to spend the next six months on a beach, any beach, in California. But once there, Carri grew restless and, with mounting pressure from her parents to come home and at least finish college, she accepted a new job, traveling around the world and evaluating the best places to shop. Kim had quietly shaken her head, commenting dryly to anyone who would listen that only Carri could have managed to procure a job that actually paid her to go shopping; to add insult, over the next three years, she actually became quite famous for it.

For her part, Kim had had enough of television and enough of adventure and enough of being famous. She wanted peace and quiet in her life, but it was not to be. At twenty-three, she could no longer hide the effects of Maligore's pit. A few years before, Carri had discovered her developing ability to open transportation portals. Kim had sneezed a little too hard and the two of them were sent careening through space. Fortunately, they had gone no further than Aquitar and had been given a ride home by a very confused Billy who eagerly used the excuse of returning the girls to return home as well. Carri, far from being scared out of her mind by what had happened, found the whole idea that her friend had once been a pink power ranger fascinating and had prattled on for months that she was more than a little envious.

About that time, Jason had also had to call his life to a halt to deal with his new abilities and had convinced Kim to join him in finding a solution to the problems they were facing. At Billy's urging, they avoided both Aquitar and Eltar and briefly subjected themselves to the researchers at NASADA; who were just beginning to study the effects of morphanological energy on DNA. The researchers had been fascinated with Kim's ability to manipulate portals seemingly out of thin air and Jason's astounding muscle strength and ability to see heat signatures, but for all the tests and studies, no one was even considering how to reverse them. In fact, to Kim's horror, NASADA was actually eager to develop them and pursue their utilization.

This had not been a good time for either of them. Both were scared senseless by what was happening, both desperate for answers, and both suffering immense physical pain as slowly, cell by cell, their human DNA was mutated by the no longer dormant Muirantian influences embedded inside them by the pit.

While Zordon had lived, he had kept those influences from manifesting themselves, now that Zordon was gone, so was any protection he had bestowed upon them. No one, not even Alpha Five, knew how he had held the metamorphosis off for so long. At that point in time, they had both been forced to accept what was happening to them and that their role in the universe was about to dramatically change in ways they had no control over.

Frustrated, Kim found herself leaving Angel Grove once again and drifting up the coast to Turtle Cove University and their Botany program. Bound and determined to live her life despite what was happening, she enrolled in as many classes as she could. She had been the president of the Botany Club in high school and despite the fact that the chemistry needed was excruciatingly hard after so long an absence from school, she found herself enjoying college life and attending classes year round.

Jason, frustrated beyond measure by what seemed to him to be her head-in-the-sand attitude, had taken the opposite route and embraced his abilities. He began using NASASDA as a springboard for adventures both on Earth and elsewhere; determined to use his new abilities and power in the ways Zordon had taught him as a teen.

As his involvement with the Rangers grew, especially with the Red Assembly, which had sprung up from a secret project known as Hexagon, he pulled Kim forcefully, and many times kicking and screaming, with him. Eventually, she'd capitulated and agreed to help him whenever he needed it; just as long as he steered her clear of Tommy's notice. This had the unintentional consequence of introducing her to many other "retired" Rangers like Cole Evans, who also called Turtle Cove home, and spring boarding her into adventures even Jason didn't know about.

At this point in her life, friends and family observed that she appeared to settle into her life, although in reality nothing could have been further from the truth. Still, on the outside, things appeared to be good. Her stepfather had supervised investing her money from her television show and two books and those investments had left her in the enviable position of graduating with her BS debt free. She purchased a small home up the hill from the cove itself and had began to renovate it and she also had enough of a small income from a trust fund set up by her grandfather to live fairly comfortably while pursuing her masters. The years had simply slipped by.

But Kim hadn't been nearly as quiet as it looked on the outside. It had started with the knowledge that Rita and Zedd hadn't been destroyed at all, but had been "purified" and turned into humans as a second chance of sorts. Kim had accidentally run into them several years before on her travels and a sort of odd friendship had developed. Rita had known right away that all was not as it seemed with her and eventually, in desperation for help, Kim had sought her advice on how to deal with her troublesome powers.

Rita's enchantment with the human world had been short lived. She soon realized that her powers were not lost forever, but were in fact quite whole. Mindful of her second chance, she had set herself up as a force for good; much to Kim's amusement. Her first priority was to proclaim herself Kim's new mentor, making sure she got control over her powers before they got control over her. She may not be the evil queen she once was, she once told Kimberly, but she was still a damn good sorceress. As Kim had nowhere else to turn, she had accepted Rita's offer. To their mutual surprise, Kim was an adept study and Rita surprised her one day by musing out loud to herself that Kim actually had the potential to become quite an accomplished witch if she really wanted to.

Jason, however, had been furious. Upon learning of the association, he had lost his temper and yelled and blustered and finally screamed at her so forcefully that the windows of her small house had rattled. Far from cowed or even contrite, Kim had simply found herself informing him less and less of her activities.

As her powers and hidden talents developed though, so did her mishaps. One afternoon, not long after Jason's explosion in her living room, Kim found herself developing a high fever. Carri, who was visiting in-between show segments, began to get seriously worried about her and had called Jason in a panic for help. As he arrived, Kim, who had been having a fairly vivid nightmare about Ivan Ooze, had reached out and transported the three of them back six thousand years to Ivan's first appearance on Earth.

Their presence, the Zordon of the past had told them, was fortuitous. Ivan had already destroyed three of the five ancient Rangers and the other two were quickly losing hope. Cured of her fever, Kimberly was able to recall that Ivan had been sealed in some sort of containment egg when the future Rangers had found him. To her surprise, Zordon had quickly assigned her to lead the Rangers to Phaedos in search of Dulcea, who could hopefully give them enough Ninjetti power to, if not defeat Ivan, seal him in a containment field as she had suggested.

For Carri, it had been her first experience as a yellow Power Ranger and she was loath to give it up when they completed their mission. At Zordon's insistence that she could not return to the future as a Ranger from Earth's past, she had reluctantly given her morpher to a chosen successor. However, to their surprise, Zordon allowed them to keep their Ninjetti powers. Those powers, he said, had been given to them by Dulcea and were not bound by space/time restrictions of Earth's morphin grid.

It was during this time that Kim first learned that Zordon might not be gone forever at all, but very much alive. Somewhere. To her frustration, she was the only one who actually believed the rumors and could find no one to take her seriously. Annoyed and discouraged, once again she turned to Rita for help, but although she admitted to being curious, she also thought Kim's quest was useless. If Zordon was alive, she scolded, he obviously didn't want to be found.

But Kim was not one to be thwarted. In her mind, she owed it to Zordon to track down every possible lead. She had always said that the worst thing about leaving the Rangers was losing the ability to transport, but now, however, things were different. Her power to open travel portals had grown and stabilized and with a little help from her Ninjetti powers and some good advice from the Zordon of the past, she struck out on her own to find him; eventually recruiting a few curious followers.

So much had happened since then that she wasn't even sure she dared think about it. Through a series of strange events, including being married off against her will, she had become a surrogate member of a new team who had taken up her quest to find Zordon as well as the six original power coins. She had been married, divorced, adopted, and now targeted by one of the scariest villains she'd ever come across. It wasn't exactly what she'd been shooting for when she'd started.

The closer she got to Zordon's trail, the more it eluded her, but at the same time she somehow managed to become so deeply entangled and intertwined in the old wizard's legacy that she couldn't stop. It was a self perpetuating chase and it only became more complicated and mind boggling as she went along. To her dismay, she began spending more and more time off world and, despite her growing abilities, her absences began to become evident. With people speculating and with the increasing demands of school, she had just decided to take some time off from her search when Carri had arrived unexpectantly and unannounced just before the fourth of July holiday.

Despite her protests that she was tired and needed to catch up on her sleep after a hard semester, her friend had whisked her away for three days of mind-boggling shopping, pedicures, and other spa treatments until Kim had cried uncle and insisted they stay home for a day, if only so she could open her mail and pay a few bills.

"Either pay attention to me or I'm leaving…with the new shoes you bought yesterday." Carri's voice rang out, bringing her once again into the present and causing her to sigh heavily.

"Ten years Carri." She said wistfully, a small frown lining her forhead.

"Yeah, so…it's been a damn good run kiddo. You've done a hell of a lot."

"Yeah." Kim said. "That's what I've been thinking about." She looked at the invitation again, then set it down firmly. "I'm not going." She decided.

"Why?" asked Carri, sitting up and putting her coffee on Kim's desk. She had been afraid of this. Ever since that damn marriage thing on Rheiga 4, Kim had practically shut herself away. She rarely confided in anyone anymore; not Carri, not even Jason. She just seemed to lock her door and hide in her greenhouse. That was part of the reason Carri had cancelled her trip to Greece and descended upon her conclave. In their opinion, she was quickly becoming a hermit.

"Why should I go?" Kim asked. "I don't have anyone I want to see that I don't already keep in touch with."

"Kat will be there." Carri offered casually, picking up her coffee cup and examining it like it was a precious artifact. "So will Tommy."

"Yeah, like that's gonna be a good reunion." She snorted. "The exact reason not to go."

Despite her best efforts, Kim's relationship with Katherine Hillard had deteriorated over the past ten years. The two were barely civil. Kat and Tommy had parted ways mid college and Kim had learned through the grapevine that part of the reason lay in Kat's accusations that Tommy regretted breaking up with his former girlfriend. It was ridiculous really. Kim figured it had way more to do with Tommy's unwillingness to give up the Rangers and his tendency to take off across the galaxy and play hero than any past affection for her. Besides, she and Tommy had talked at length about it a few years back. They were moving in totally opposite directions and high school had been far removed from where they were going as adults.

At the time, Tommy had been doubling up on his classes in an effort to graduate college early and get into an exclusive masters program that would take him through to his PhD. Kim had given up on the idea of college altogether to go trekking around the world with Carri.

It had been a short layover near Angel Grove International Airport and Carri had desperately wanted to stop and see her cousin. Finding Kim and Tommy with their heads together in quiet conversation, Kat had exploded and Kim left in a huff. It wasn't like she had expected Tommy to take her side against Kat, but the conversation had been innocent. Tommy, however, had chosen to remain quiet and say nothing, as if he was tired of that particular argument and had nothing to say. The two had broken up shortly after and Tommy had packed up and headed off to Reefside to start his masters degree. He and Kim hadn't spoken since, except for a few brief and often barely civil encounters, and even Carri's relationship with her cousin had remained a bit strained.

"Kat's going to be there with Chris." Carri added, one finger pulling a thread on one of the pillows. "I think she's actually going to marry him."

"Does he at least have a job now?" Kim asked, barely keeping the distaste out of her voice. At this point, she didn't care a whit who Kat Hillard ended up with, but Carri's relationship with her cousin had once again begun to suffer due to Carri's vocal disapproval of her boyfriend and she had resigned herself to being Carri's sounding board on the matter.

"He's working part time in the Pro Shop at Angel Grove Country Club."

"Oh well, now there's a stellar career move for someone with six years of college." She drolled, then smiled as Carri rolled her eyes heavenward and readjusted her seat in the window, sipping her coffee.

"Kat's thrilled for him…if only because she doesn't have to shell out his greens fees anymore."

"No," Kim sighed heavily, staring at the invitation again. "I'm not gonna go." Kim said. "What's the point? I have no reason to go and several to stay. Tommy and I avoid each other like the plague since the blow out. I saw his confirmation online, that's like a neon sign broadcasting through the internet that I need to stay clear."

"I'm going." Carri confessed almost sheepishly, head turned away, looking out the window, but watching Kim's reaction carefully through the reflection.

"You never went to Angel Grove High." Kim pointed out bluntly, gut sinking slightly as she realized her friend was up to something and the unexpected visit hadn't been as spur of the moment as she had suggested. She suspected Jason had a hand in it and if Jason was willing to pull her into an event that he knew her ex-boyfriend was attending…that couldn't be good.

"I'm going with Jase." She admitted, rolling her eyes. " I'm the eye candy." She added, then grinned wickedly and winked for emphasis.

"Good God." Kim muttered in a disgusted tone. "So is this an official date or more of the same?"

Carri shrugged in a movement somewhere in-between nonchalance and morbidity. "No, Just more of the same."

"You two need to figure it out." Kim muttered for the thousandth time, then sighed heavily, voice taking on a more serious tone. "Seriously, either come clean or get it over with and sleep together."

Carri responded by throwing a large, heavy pillow at Kim's head. It missed and she chuckled at herself for hitting a nerve. Since their misadventure into the past nearly two years ago, Carri and Jason had found it more than a little convenient to announce to the world they were dating each other. The truth, however, couldn't have been more different, but to Kim's knowledge, she was the only one who knew that. In truth, they had become very good friends who were both tired of unsolicited advice, blind dates, and relationship assistance offered by well meaning friends and family.

It had started rather innocently enough, with Jason providing Carri as the incarnate version of the mysterious girlfriend he was always flying off to see. He hadn't expected his mom and sister to actually track the now famous Carri down, but fortunately his friend had played along… and rather convincingly too. Mortified, he had rushed into a lengthy explanation of his ruse, but to his surprise, she had thought it was a fabulous idea and asked him to reciprocate by showing up as her "boyfriend" at a family wedding.

From there, things had sort of snowballed. When Carri needed a date to a media or family event, she brought Jason. If Jason needed a date to an event, he'd bring Carri. But although the two had become very fond of each other and Carri admitted she did love him, after a fashion, neither had any inclination of making it an official relationship. Kim was left shaking her head and wondering just how long they'd be able to pull off the rouse before it actually became a reality or the two very strong willed personalities ended up killing each other.

"Well, at least he's a good kisser." Carri leered, which immediately got Kim's attention; her head snapping up and eyes sharp.

"You did not!" she squealed.

"No. Not really." Carri admitted with a snort. Kim made a sour face in response and slouched back down in her chair with a little pout; it was rather disappointing really.

"I mean, just the usual stuff to show outward affection." Carri continued airily, although she knew full well she'd tweaked her friend and gloated a silently to herself. "The problem is, it's kind of like kissing your brother, ya know?"

"Yeah." Kim replied wistfully, still pouting a little, but Carri had picked up something in Kim's voice and pounced on it.

"Yeah?" Carri mimicked, raising herself out of the window seat like a panther ready to leap on an unsuspecting bird. "Kimberly Ann Heart, you kissed him once didn't you." She accused wickedly, eyes lighting up.

In response, Kim grinned and turned away. "Of course not," she answered dismissively, but Carri caught the blush on her cheeks.

"You did so!" she all but screamed in triumph, jumping up from the window seat and swooping down on her. "Oh my God, you did!"

Kim waved her hands in mock defense, warding off the attack. "No!" she insisted. But Carri now had both hands on the desk and was leaning in towards Kim's face.

"You did so." She pressed.

"Ok, ok, once….but we were only thirteen, so it doesn't count."

Carri threw her arms up in victory, "I knew it! I knew you guys had been friends too long for something not to have happened. Why didn't you ever say anything?"

"Because we were thirteen," Kim stressed. "It was some stupid spin the bottle thing and we both agreed never to mention it again; especially after I started dating Tommy. If you haven't noticed, the two have a unique tendency to compete with one another without actually crossing the line and becoming true adversaries."

"Tongue or no tongue?" Carri pressed, ignoring the last of the remark. She didn't know Tommy all that well and, although she knew the boys had some sort of long term rivalry going between them, Jason insisted it was friendly, so she dismissed it. Tommy, was simply her cousin's ex-boyfriend, but Jason was one of her best friends and that's where her loyalty stayed.

"Carri!" Kim squeaked indignantly.

"I'm so gonna smack that boy." Carri laughed as she slumped back into the window seat. The two laughed for a few moments before Carri got serious again. "Seriously Kim, you have to go to this thing."

"Give me one good reason why I should." Kim countered.

"Because I won't have anyone to talk to and escape to the bathroom with."

"You'll have Kat."

"Oh God…" She moaned. "Ok, well I won't have anyone to shop with and keep me company in-between functions. I love her, but Kat's too practical. She'll analyze everything I look at and ask me if I really need it or if I already have one."

"That is the lamest excuse I've ever heard." Kim insisted.

"Yeah, but it's true. Come on Kim, you can't leave me to the mercy of my cousin hours on end. If you don't go, she's going to feel the need to keep me company…all day."

At Kim's raised eyebrow, she continued. "Don't get me wrong, we've managed to patch things up after the whole Chris debacle, but she's still never really forgiven me for coming to your defense when the whole Tommy thing deteriorated. If I'm alone with her for hours on end I'm just going to lose my patience and forget myself and offend her all over again. I can't help it, it's who I am." She admitted with a contrite look that made Kim roll her eyes and chuckle. "Look, I can't her boyfriend and she knows it. I think she's wasting her life all in the name of good sex, no matter how disgusting that mental image is to me, and I'm very capable of telling it right to her face."

Carri took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. She looked directly at her friend, who was beginning to chuckle a little louder. "You know I will." She insisted. Then because she thought she was losing ground, she said, "You said to give you one good reason. That's one good reason."

Kim shrugged her shoulders up and rubbed her neck, turning away from the window and toward the large fish tank in the opposite corner. Her head hurt. She didn't want to go to this thing. She didn't want to put herself in the path of Kat's censure and she sure as hell didn't want to see Tommy. Word had it he already suspected someone from Earth was behind the Nova Rangers and their quest to find the original power coins. She didn't need him pouncing on her and demanding answers; it was better to simply keep out of his sight. She knew his own powers, after six morphers, were more than developed enough to detect and ferret out her own and he had an uncanny knack of putting pieces together where no one else could. But the Nova's and their quest for the coins wasn't something she could tell Carri. As much as Kim trusted her, that was Elemi's secret now, not her own.

She struggled to find a good excuse that Carri would believe. There really wasn't anyone she wanted to see at the reunion. Well, that wasn't true, she admitted silently. Trini had accepted and so had Zack; even though they'd graduated absentia like she had. She hadn't seen either of them since they'd left for Switzerland and was curious to know what they were doing now. Aisha would also be there with her new man and she hadn't seen Rocky in ages; he was supposedly getting married soon and she didn't even know the girl's name. She had already seen their confirmations on the website. She closed her eyes and slumped her shoulders in defeat.

"All right," she said in a defeated moan, "I'll go, even though I think this is a bad idea." She couched, clicking her acceptance on the website and hitting enter. "Just remember, I warned you."

Carri simply grinned at her. Jase was right, it had worked. She was getting Kim out of the house and out into the real world again. "Fabulous," she said, standing up and stretching. "Now go change your clothes and let me get dressed. We have to update your wardrobe."

"What's wrong with my wardrobe?" Kim asked defensively. After three days of shopping she had more than enough new clothes.

"Nothing," Carri countered, "We just need to make sure we're the two most spectacular women there and absolutely nothing we've bought so far counts as spectacular. That is, unless you're hiding something in your closet I don't know about?"

Kim shook her head no, but didn't answer.

"My point exactly," Carri said, walking past her without a second look. "Now go change and let's go. You're buying lunch." She called over her shoulder.

Kim stretched as she stood up and walked around the desk to feed the two huge goldfish wiggling around in the tank. "Well why not," She asked them as they gobbled up the pellets she offered. "It just might turn out to be fun and what's the worst that could happen?" She paused even as the words left her lips; she'd stopped asking that question years ago. Placing the fish food back on the shelf, she shrugged and left the room.