A Lot Can Happen in Five Years

(A/N: Well everyone, I was recently inspired to do this fic randomly, but I really enjoyed it and hope you do as well. Please leave me your reviews)

(Disclaimer: I don't own Power Rangers or it's characters)

It was a beautiful sunny day at the new resort that Bulk and Skull were running and the Thomas Oliver was sitting back in a pool chair drinking a margarita and reading a newspaper, enjoying a break from his summer research. The past few years since he gave up his Ranger powers to TJ Johnson have been very busy. Without having to deal with the threat of Divatox since he and his friends passed on the torch to a different group, he decided to go back and try to graduate from college. At first he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. He had many options. He could have opened up a dojo like Adam did. He could have tried to become a professional racer. After his experiences with the Turbo Zords, it would have been child's play. However when he took a class in paleontology as an elective while trying to figure out his major, he really found out it clicked. He guessed that his experiences being one of the original Rangers whose powers relied on dinosaurs is what peaked his interest in the field. So he decided to do something he never thought he'd do…go into science. What surprised him even further is that he was very good at it. He figured all the studying he used to do with Billy must have rubbed off after all. After graduating from college with his Bachelor's degree in just 3 years and then his Master's degree from 2 more years, he would work even harder to earn his Ph.D within 2 more years. He silently made this promise to himself as Bulk and Skull approached him hesitantly.

"Do you really think we ought to bug him?" Skull asked.

"It sounds important," Bulk replied, then he turned to Tommy, "Excuse me sir, you have a phone call."

"Hello?" Tommy asked.

"Tommy?" a familiar voice asked.

"Yeah?" Tommy replied.

"Hey it's TJ, I just got the message. 'Serpentera has been found by Venjix. Operation: Forever Red has begun.'"

"Alright, TJ, where are we meeting?"

"At the NASADA launch site," the Red Turbo Ranger replied.

"Okay then, I'll be there as soon as possible. I've got someone else to recruit first."

"Great. The more the merrier. See you soon," TJ said hanging up.

At first Tommy felt a sense of dread. The day of the return of the Machine Empire was here at last. About two and a half years after he handed his powers over to TJ, he met his successor once again. He arrived with a friend named Andros and together they informed him that a remnant of the Machine Empire had survived Zordon's Wave and planned on invading Earth, but they didn't know exactly when said invasion would occur. They also told him that it would be likely that the Machines would use Serpentera as their ultimate weapon. Having dealt with both the Machine Empire and Serpentera in the past, they both thought that Tommy would be the perfect man to lead an elite team of Red Rangers to stop them when the time had come. He accepted, a little reluctantly, having finally begun to get used to a "civilian" life, but now that the call finally came in, Tommy admitted to himself that he missed being a Ranger and now he was very much psyched. There was just one more matter to deal with: Getting in touch with an old friend for some extra help. Tommy smiled in anticipation of meeting up with Jason again and fighting at each other's side again. "Thanks for the drinks and taking the call guys, I really appreciate it," Tommy told Bulk and Skull, paying them and including a generous tip, "but I've got to go."

About three hours later, Tommy had arrived at Jason's new home. The two had kept in touch a lot over the past five years, but they haven't really had the chance to visit each other in that time. Even when Tommy had Christmas Break, Jason said that he had to spend his holidays with his family, so they had to settle for phone calls, e-mail, and greeting cards to stay in contact. Once he arrived he saw Jason's new pride and joy, his new motorcycle. Jason also decided to open up his own dojo after graduating from college with an associate's degree in physical therapy and was very successful in both aspects of his life. Tommy hoped that this mission wouldn't intrude too much into his old friend's life. Smiling he got out of his car and walked to Jason's door. He knocked and waited patiently.

"Coming, Coming!" Jason called out from inside. He had just got out of the shower when the knocking came, so he quickly put on a black robe and walked to his door. Opening it, he found the last person he expected, "Tommy?" Jason's eyes widened in surprise.

"Hey Bro, it's been a while," Tommy said to his former comrade.

"Come in man, it's great to see you!" Jason grinned giving his friend a firm handshake. They walked in and closed the door behind them. Jason gestured to his couch and Tommy sat down

"So what's the big post-graduate guy doing in my part of the woods?" Jason said, getting a soda for each of them, then sitting down.

"It's a long story man. Why don't you tell me what you've been up to lately. It's been about two months since we last talked."

"Hey Jason, you do realize that after that shower we're officially out of shampoo, right?" a very familiar voice said, "Anyways, who was at the door? Do we have company?" she said.

"Kimberly?" Tommy's eyes widened in shock as he saw his ex-girlfriend in nothing but a pink robe, "What are you doing here, I didn't expect…" then he noticed her blushing and running away. He turned to Jason, remembering that he was in a similar state of near-undress, "oh, I see…" he said softly looking down.

"Look, bro…" Jason began.

"No, you don't need to explain yourself; we broke up a long time ago…" Tommy replied, though this bombshell hit him harder than he thought it would.

"I'm sorry man, it's just that after that incident where we were captured by Divatox, we noticed that a…spark lit between us and we both knew that you were with Kat at the time…"

"I said you don't have to explain yourself!" Tommy shouted back and clenching his fists, his old friend jumped back out of surprise, "I'm…very happy for you both," he said softly. Jason looked down at the ground.

"I don't think you really mean that," Jason replied, "but the effort's appreciated." Then he turned to the other side of the house, "Kim, please come back, he deserves our explanation," he called.

"No! I thought you already told him about us!" Kim shouted back.

"Look bro," Tommy began, "I didn't mean to ruin or interrupt anything so I'll leave if you want…"

"You don't have to go," Jason replied, "You're my brother and I've wronged you. Don't blame Kim; she really did think I told you…" at the sound of her name, Kimberly peeked her head around again.

"It's ok, Kim, I promise I won't yell again," Tommy said, trying to smile. She walked back in the room and Tommy got up so she and Jason could sit together. He took a chair opposite the couple. It was then he noticed what looked like an engagement ring on Kim's finger

"Tommy…I am so sorry I asked Jason to be the one to tell you," Kim said softly, tears starting to sting at her eyes while she played with her ring nervously, "It's just…after I sent you that Dear John letter a long time ago, I found out from the others how much it hurt you. It broke my heart to send that letter and even more so when I learned about your reaction. I still love you Tommy, only as a close friend, but I really do care a lot and I couldn't stand hurting you like that again…I wasn't strong enough…to tell you that I had fallen for your best friend and that he felt the same…that's why I put that terrible burden on Jason."

"And I'm sorry I avoided the issue for so long man," Jason said, putting a comforting hand on Kimberly's shoulder, squeezing it gently, "I wanted to, but you've been so focused on school and even though you've done good, it stressed you out a lot. I didn't want to cause you any more trouble and ruin your chances…this is also why I've been avoiding a visit in person. It was wrong and you have my sincerest apologies…"

"Look," Tommy began, "I'm not mad that you two are together. If you've been together for the past…six years if it's been since we first met Divatox…then my obvious concerns are unwarranted. I know that you're treating her right, Jason and that you both make each other very much happy. What made me upset was that you kept it from me for so long. You two are my friends, before anything else. You should have known that by now. Nothing will ever come between us. I was and still am happy being with Kat. Even though for now we have a long distance relationship due to us attending separate colleges, we've really worked hard on staying together and are still going strong. I couldn't be happier with her. I'm over what happened between us Kim, and I hoped we could still be friends and that you would have let me be happy for you both….the secrecy really wasn't necessary," he finished, looking up at both of them.

"Well…if you really can forgive us," Kim said, "Of course we'll still be your friends, right Jason?"

"Of course. So can we start this over?" he replied, standing up and helping Kim to her feet. Tommy stood up too.

"Brothers?" Jason offered his hand.

"Brothers," Tommy agreed shaking it again.

"Friends forever?" Kim asked.

"You know it," Tommy smiled back at her. She giggled and gave him a quick hug.

"I noticed the ring by the way," Tommy said, "Do you have a date set?"

"A month from now would be our seventh year anniversary as a couple. We figured that'd be the perfect time," Kim replied, smiling.

"So now that we've taken care of that," Jason smiled, "You still didn't say why you've come over."

"Oh that," Tommy said, "Jason, Kimberly, something terrible has happened. The Machine Empire is back."

"What!" Kim said surprised.

"How? We took care of them a long time ago," Jason added.

"Apparently a small faction survived and has been in hiding until now…it gets worse…they've found Serpentera and are planning on using it to assault Earth," Tommy finished.

"No way!" Jason said.

"That's terrible, but what can we do about it?" Kim asked, "None of us have Ranger powers anymore.

"Not true," Tommy said, twisting his wrists showing his Zeonizer, "I found a way to restore both my Zeo powers and your original powers, Jason," he smiled and pulled out Jason's old morpher from his pocket and offered it to him.

"That's incredible," Jason said, reaching out for the morpher, but his hand was slapped away by Kimberly.

"No! I won't allow it!" she shouted taking both Tommy and Jason by surprise, "Just the two of you against the whole Machine Empire? That's suicide! You both mean a lot to me…"

"It won't just be the two of us," Tommy said reassuringly, "We're assembling a team of all Red Rangers, the best of the best. It's the Machine Empire that won't stand a chance, believe me. But it wouldn't be quite as effective without the two most experienced Rangers leading them. So what do you say? Are you in Jason? It's just one more mission, not several years commitment, if that's worrying you."

"Wait a minute," Kim said when she saw Jason about to accept his morpher again, "Remember our promise to each other!" she said desperately. That definitely caused Jason to recoil from his morpher.

"What promise?" Tommy asked.

"No matter what," Jason said softly, "We promised each other that we would never again get involved in Ranger affairs. Last time that happened, it wasn't even our intention. We were just diving together for fun just before visiting you and the others in Angel Grove. Then Divatox captures us and offers our souls as a sacrifice to an evil volcano god!"

"We almost didn't make it out of that one," Kim continued, "Even you couldn't get through to us Tommy and you're the one person who is closest to us…if Lerigot wasn't there to reverse the effects of Malagore's power over us, we would've killed you! So after that day we both promised each other. No more Ranger stuff. It's just too dangerous! Too dangerous for us, and too dangerous for the people we love! I'm sorry Tommy I can't let Jason go, I love him too much. I don't want you to go either but I won't force you to stay. You never made that promise…"

Tommy was silent for a moment thinking over what his friends just told him, "Okay then, I understand completely. I hope this doesn't change the fact that we just renewed our friendship. I truly hope that when I make it back from this mission, that I will still be welcome here, but I need to get to NASADA as soon as possible," he got up and walked towards the door.

"Tommy," Kim said, "Good luck…and you are always welcome in our home You have to come to dinner sometime."

"Give them one for me, bro," Jason added.

"Now those are promises I can keep," Tommy replied, giving them a thumbs up, "I'll tell you both all about it when I get back." With that, Tommy had left and Jason and Kimberly heard his car take off.

"I really hope he does make it back," Kimberly said softly.

"Don't tell me you have doubts about this? He's a great fighter, the only one who could keep up with me. I'm sure he will make it back…I just think he'll make it back faster with some extra backup," Jason replied.

"No Jason, we discussed this. We made a promise to each other," Kimberly said grabbing Jason's hands in her own, "No more Ranger stuff," she said.

"I know," Jason said, "but we also made another promise to Tommy just now. We called each other 'brothers.' You called each other 'best friends forever.' Doesn't that mean something too?"

Kimberly let those words sink in for a minute, "It is just for one more mission, right?" Kimberly asked softly.

"Yes, and it probably won't take long either," Jason smiled.

"Well then, I guess as Tommy's 'brother,' you really can't abandon him in his time of need, and as his 'best friend forever,' I can't be selfish and try to stop either of you can I?" Kimberly replied, then she sighed, "Okay then, I guess we can release each other from that promise as long as you make a new one with me."

"What's that Kim?" Jason asked.

"Come back to me alive," Kim replied, giving Jason a brief but passionate and deep kiss which he returned gladly. A few minutes later, the former, now returning Red Ranger kissed his fiancée once again and hopped on his motorcycle, hoping to catch up with his friend before it was too late.

XXX

Tommy had just arrived at the NASADA launch site and saw several other Rangers there already assembled. He briefed them all on the threat of the Machine Empire, still preparing but almost ready to invade Earth from the moon. He told them that the mission was entirely voluntary since it was such a high risk one. However each one of them counted themselves in without question. He felt proud of them but slightly disappointed that Jason had not come as well. He hoped that his old friend would follow him a few minutes after he left his house, but he had to get here quickly anyways.

They were all heading towards Andros's new ship when he pointed out, "Wasn't there another Red Ranger here on Earth?"

Tommy sighed, "I was hoping he'd show up, but I guess he couldn't make it. We'll have to go on without him." Just then, Cole, the Wild Force Red Ranger heard the sound of a motorcycle approaching the hangar, "Guys!" he said. He rushed outside and the others followed him. The rider approached them and shut down his bike and dismounted. He turned around and removed his helmet, when he turned around, he gave a small smile to his old friend.

"Jason," Tommy smiled and nodded.

"You guys weren't going to do this without me were you?" he asked. Then he walked to look at each of his fellow Red Rangers one by one. He came to Cole first, "So you must be the new guy," he concluded.

"Hi I'm Cole," he said eagerly offering a hand. Jason simply smiled and patted the Wild Force Red Ranger's arm, "Good," then he walked towards the others, "I recognize some of you guys," he continued, "Some of you more than others," he said when he looked at Tommy.

"I was starting to wonder whether you'd show up at all," Tommy said.

"You didn't think I'd let you guys do this without the original Red Ranger did you?" Jason smiled back. Then the two old friends shook hands once again, united to take down those that would threaten the people they cared about most, and silently promising each other to always be there for each other, no matter what.

THE END

(A/N: Well how was that one. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave me your reviews, comments, constructive criticisms, whatever. And thanks for reading!)