Title: Miss Chief's Mistake
Rating: T (ages 13+)
Timeframe: Set during "The Potion Notion" - AU
Disclaimer: Power Rangers and their affiliates belong to Disney and are used without permission and no money is being made off of this. I'm simply destroying the sandcastles in their sandbox.
Summary: Tommy gets hit by Miss Chief's love spray instead of Kimberly and is looking at her when it happens... but the effects aren't quite what everyone expects...
A good portion of the dialogue comes from the episode itself – that's MMPR Season 3, episode #127 for those of you who don't know it.
Author's Notes: I needed to write something fluffy and fun after working on chapter 6 of "Semper Fi" with chrisangelo (see my "Favorite Stories" for the link) - and this idea's been simmering for a while.
Miss Chief's Mistake
Less than ten minutes prior Bulk and Skull had sold Tommy and Kim tickets to the annual junior policeman's ball and Kimberly - delighted to be going as Tommy's date - couldn't contain her enthusiasm...
Tommy grinned as Kimberly spun, using one hand to pull her hair up and off her slender, elegant neck. "And I know just how I'm going to wear my hair, and - oops!" Her folders slipped from the hand clutching it to her chest and she dropped with them, kneeling to pick them up before they were kicked or stepped on.
Unknown to Angel Grove High, one of Rita and Lord Zedd's monsters - Miss Chief - was running rampant through the school casting random love spells at various people and sewing chaos in her wake. Teachers, students and even visiting guests fell under her charms, vowing undying devotion to people they'd only just met or never considered for a mate. As Kimberly bent to collect her folders, she unknowingly dodged Miss Chief's blast of potion - saving her from making a complete fool of herself over someone in her line of sight - and the blast struck Tommy full on instead.
As Tommy's gaze rarely wavered from Kimberly on any given minute whenever in her company - nor did it now - the potion took immediate effect as she straightened.
His arms slid about her waist, pulling her back against his chest. "No matter what you wear, you'll look stunning."
"Tommy!" Kim almost dropped her folders again - thought she couldn't say what would have been the cause; the way Tommy had said it - so easily and sincerely - or the way he nuzzled her ear at the end of his sentence and dropped a light kiss on the outer shell.
Turning to face him, she looked up into his face, searching for anything out of place. His expression was the same as it normally was - adoring (she privately suspected love-struck... it was nice to pretend anyway) - and the look in his eyes as intent and focused on her as always. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary beyond his physical display of affection.
Only that was just the beginning, because once she turned, Tommy would normally took a step back - this time, he wasn't moving. He held her loosely, his hands laced together at the small of her back, watching her avidly. It left them aligned from her waist and his hips to the floor. Not an all together uncomfortable pose, but one Tommy had taken great pains to avoid in the past.
Because of the dance?
"Are you feeling okay, Tommy?"
"Never better," he reached up to brush a tendril of her hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear and taking the opportunity to brush his thumb over the curve of her cheek. "Have I told you how much I love you today?"
Kimberly blinked, floored by the casual question of a statement she'd never yet heard from his lips and the qualifier. "N-no."
"Then I've been slacking." He smiled boyishly, like the Tommy she'd always known - and shocked her again by leaning down to place a kiss on the right corner of her mouth. "Am I forgiven?"
"No?" A teasing light reflected in his eyes as he dropped a kiss on the left side of her lips. "How about now?"
Speechless, she was having trouble processing his actions. Tommy was never over demonstrative in public - why now? "N-not that I'm objecting, Tommy, but you're usually not this public with your affections."
"Does it bother you?" He frowned, looking about as if suddenly realizing they were standing by his locker in the school hallway.
"A little - it's not a bad thing," she assured him quickly, not wanting him to get the wrong idea. "It's just new and a little sudden."
His grip loosened in understanding. "I can take a hint," he winked.
The bell summoning them to class rang and Tommy dropped a quick, casual kiss on her slightly parted lips. "See you at lunch, Beautiful."
Kimberly stared after him open-mouthed, her own class completely forgotten until someone bumped into her from behind and spurred her into action. Tommy's sudden public affections and easy declarations of love - no matter how much she wanted them - would have to wait until lunch.
Tommy met Kim at her locker as the lunch hour started, taking her bag and holding it as she put her books away. She grabbed only what she'd need to have lunch and then secured the door, turning to fall into step with Tommy. He surprised her again by snaking an arm about her shoulders as if it were the most natural place in the world for it to be, and dropping an affectionate kiss on the top of her head. Delighted, she slid her arm about his waist as they walked towards where the Rangers usually met for lunch.
Aisha was hiding in a tree when they arrived, Rocky, Adam and Billy lounging around at the base.
"Something strange is happening," Aisha informed Kimberly without preamble, barely taking note of the way Kim and Tommy were standing. They were a couple - it was kind of expected they'd relax a little when not on Ranger time. Instead, her eyes darted about, like those of a rabbit being hunted by a fox.
"Strange?" Tommy echoed the word dubiously. "What do you mean strange?"
"Don't tell me you missed Miss Applebee's new suitors," Rocky snorted with contempt.
"Or Bulk's new obsessive interest in Aisha," Billy added. "It's most puzzling and confounding."
"My a-apologies, Aisha," Billy stuttered. "I did not mean to imply it was confounding what someone would see in such a vivacious and unique person such as yourself - only that the interest is sporadic and inexplicable."
"That's better. Still, you're right about it being an obsession - I had to duck out and avoid my locker all together or Bulk would have insisted on joining us for lunch."
Tommy appeared to have lost all interest in the conversation and was idly toying with a strand of Kimberly's hair. Bending down, he pitched his tone for her ears alone. "Want to head for the lake?"
Kimberly blushed, noting that the rest of the Rangers were watching them intently. "I think we should check in with Zordon and see if this might be Rita and Zedd's doing. It's creepy enough to be one of their plans. Maybe later - after school?"
"I'll hold you to that."
Aisha, Rocky, Adam and Billy exchanged looks as Tommy spoke softly to Kim, seemingly oblivious to the rest of them. Aisha, as Kim's best girlfriend, spoke up for everyone. "Is now a good time to see Zordon for you two, or should we leave you alone for a bit?"
The blush on Kimberly's cheeks deepened and she shook her head. "No, no. Now's good."
The Rangers did a cursory check to ensure they weren't being watched - only to be interrupted.
"Nice to see you again, Rangers," Goldar's taunting voice echoed through the clearing as he appeared with a multitude of Tengas.
The Rangers shared a look before Tommy dropped into his transformation stance. "Nina Power now!"
The transformation took less than a heart beat as the Rangers were cloaked in their Ninjetti robes, leaping into the fray with the Tengas.
White and Red somersaulted over Goldar as the golden monster turned to face them, waving his sword menacingly. Behind them, the team separated.
Blue, surrounded by four Tenga warriors, leapt to the top of a nearby fence, using it to gain some height and jumped from one beam to another, before landing in the center of the circle the warriors created. He ducked as Pink dove in, rolling back to her feet. She drew their attention with a shout.
"Hey, over here!"
Two Tenga turned, coming after her and she cart wheeled out of the way, jumping up to sit on the top rail of the fence. Hooking one foot behind the rail's post, she leaned all the way back, ducking a power swipe by one of the Tenga Warrior's wings, the creature stumbling away off balanced.
"Ha, yah!" Pink knocked the next one over, hitting it solidly in the stomach with one fist before using it to roll her way off the fence. With a quick spin and snap kick, she sent the already wounded enemy back up and over the fence where it lay sprawled beyond it, stunned.
"See ya later, bird brain." With a cheeky wave and a giggle, she turned back to the fight to find her next target.
Beyond her, Yellow used the fence as leverage, running up the rails vertically and flipping back over to avoid the Tenga on her tail. Side by side with Black, she dodged, leaping into his arms and extended both feet into the torso of the Tenga which came immediately forward. Solidly connecting with it, it was sent flying away as Black spun her back to her feet. They dropped into a prepared stance, ready for the next enemy to come their way.
White and Red dodged as Goldar attempting to strike, White ending up beyond Red. With a run, he voiced his intention.
"Rocky, comin' at ya!"
Using Red as a spring board, White leapt, landing light on the Red Ranger's shoulder before pushing off to flip over Goldar to flank him, forcing the Golden monster to divide his attention. Goldar looked indecisively from one to the other before turning towards White, the more potent threat.
Taking advantage of his enemy's turned back, Red came spinning in with a spiraling kick. "Watch this!"
White dodged as Goldar was sent his way, the Red Ranger's feet having landed accurately between his wings an propelled him forcefully downwards. Goldar hit the ground, sprawling in an undignified manner as his sword slipped from his grasp. Rolling over, he growled.
"You'll pay for that!"
Red dodged as Goldar regained his feet, picking up his sword with one hand and sending a blast of energy out towards him. Rolling, he regained position, taking up a fighting stance near Black and Yellow. The Tenga's - having regrouped - came back at them swinging.
Pink came at Goldar on her own from behind, landing a snap kick to the monster's head and taking a slap in the back from Goldar's wings as he was spun in place. Pink crashed to the ground, unable to stop herself.
White dove in, blocking a blow that Goldar had aimed her way, and retaliating. "Kim, are you okay?"
"Fine - not one of my brightest moves."
White drive Goldar back several steps, ensuring he couldn't reach Pink, before he took his gaze off the monster, and chanced a look back at Pink. "Are you-"
White didn't have time to turn as a Tenga hit him in his momentary distraction, sending him sprawling. Pink, once more on her feet, grabbed the Tenga and twirled in place, releasing at the apex of the spin and sending the Tenga flying - right at Goldar.
Both monsters crashed to the ground and several other Tenga Warriors joined them as the rest of the Rangers regrouped on Pink and White. Another brief skirmish, and the Rangers had Goldar and the Tengas back on their heels. Goldar backward away and the Tenagas converged to cower behind him.
White gave a short laugh. "Oh I see, you're just making a well calculated retreat, are ya?"
Goldar, knowing he was beat, twirled his sword. "Exactly. Until next time, Power Rangers!"
With a fiery flash, Goldar and the Tenga Warriors vanished.
The Rangers rushed in - but too late.
"When is that guy ever going to learn?" Red wanted to know with a shake of his head.
The answer was obvious to them all and didn't need to be voice; never.
"We should check in with Zordon," Blue reminded them. "Whatever's happening at the school has to be connected."
White started the sequence, the others following a moment later, and Tommy turned to Kim. "Are you okay?"
Kimberly cocked her head at him. "Just fine, Tommy. It's not like we haven't fought Tengas before."
"Yeah, but you don't usually go after Goldar either," Tommy reached out and ran his hand up and down her arms, as if to satisfy himself that she wasn't injured.
"I should have left him to you and Rocky."
"You did fine - you just need to learn to avoid his wings." Laughing, she acknowledge the light tease and then her eyes widened as he finished. "The only one who should sweep you off your feet is me."
"Uh," the other Rangers exchanged looks, Aisha and Billy looking pointedly at one another. Aisha spoke first. "Tommy? Aren't we going to see Zordon?"
"Yeah. Let's go." Hitting the teleporter function on their communicators, they disappeared to their base of Operations. As the teens emerged in the Power Chamber, Tommy snagged Kimberly's hand, twining their fingers together.
Billy stepped forward when Tommy seemed more inclined to stick next to Kim. "Zordon, something very strange is happening in Angel Grove."
"Rangers, this is exactly as I suspected. Observe the viewing Globe."
The Rangers turned, Tommy sidling up behind Kim to observe. Not touching her beyond their joined hands, but nearer than normal.
Zordon continued. "This is Miss Chief. She has wreaked havoc throughout Angel Grove by haphazardly spraying her love potions. Do not underestimate Miss Chief's power. Her love potion undermines common sense, leaving the individual vulnerable to danger."
Exchanging knowing looks, Billy and Aisha slanted at glance at where Tommy stood beside Kim. He'd taking to toying with her hand, running his thumb back and forth over the back of it - yet didn't seem to notice.
"Don't take this the wrong way, Tommy," Billy ventured hesitantly. "But Aisha and I believe you to be under Miss Chief's influence as well."
"What?" Tommy gawked at the other Ranger as if he'd lost his mind. "That's crazy; I feel fine."
"Yeah, Billy, there's nothing wrong with Tommy." The look Tommy sent Kimberly's way made her feel all warm and fuzzy as she stood up for him. "He's just a little more affectionate than normal. Is that a crime?"
"Of course not, Kimberly," Zordon informed her succinctly. "However, it would be prudent to have all of you scanned to ensure none of you are under the influence of Miss Chief's spell. Alpha, run a scan for abnormal bio waves."
Alpha shuffled forward holding a scanning bar.
Each Ranger submitted to the test, Tommy going last as each one successively came up negative. He reclaimed Kim's hand, pulling her close to his side so he could slide an arm about her waist as they waited for what Alpha would say. It wasn't long in coming.
"Aie yi yi yi yi. Tommy appears to be under the effects of the love potion!"
"That's nuts," Tommy jumped in before the other did as he motioned to the viewing globe. "I feel fine Zordon and I'm not acting like the rest of those lovesick fools."
"Tommy has a point," Rocky conceded as they watched various people do ridiculous things to win the affections of complete strangers. Things that weren't only ridiculous, but progressively more dangerous as multiple individuals competed for the affections of a single other. "But you're still acting a little off."
"Overly affectionate, I believe is the term."
Rolling his eyes, Tommy looked to Kimberly. "Is that a bad thing?"
"Not in my books."
Tommy gave her a squeeze.
"I believe, Rangers that I understand why Tommy has not been affected like the others under Miss Chief's spell."
"You mean you have a theory, Zordon?"
"No Adam; I believe I know the true reason. It would appear that as the object of Tommy's affections, Kimberly is also whom he was looking at when the spell took effect. As Tommy's feelings for Kimberly are genuine, Miss Chief's spell had a different effect. He is not compelled to make rash gestures or grandiose statements to win her as he already sees Kimberly as his."
"That makes sense, Zordon," Billy conceded. "But if that is the case, then why the public displays of affection that have been absent in the past?"
"The spell effects appear to be more subtle on a subject who truly cares for the individual whom they were seeing when the spell took place. This is likely why Tommy's inhibitions have been lowered and his treatment of Kimberly more obvious."
"It'll wear off, right?"
"Aisha!" Kimberly gaped at her friend.
"It's a little creepy, Kim, you guys aren't usually so touchy-feely."
Tommy chuckled, not taking offence at Aisha's comment in the slightest. "I can't help it if I want to be around Kim, Aisha. It's always been like that - I don't think I could stay away if I tried."
"My parents might have something to say about that if you show up on our doorstep tonight."
Rocky and Adam snickered, and Tommy shot them a dark look. "You don't have to worry about that, right Kim?"
"Right. Tommy's a perfect gentleman. No love spell is going to change that."
"Regardless, you should keep a close eye on Tommy to ensure that his actions do not echo those of the others under Miss Chief's spell. Should he begin to display similar symptoms, it is possible he could prove to be a liability in combat."
A half-smile crossed Tommy's face. "Not gonna happen, Zordon. I know my responsibilities to the team; I won't let you guys down." None of the other Rangers had anything to add - Tommy's performance against the Tenga and Goldar spoke for themselves. Sure, he was protective of Kim, but that wasn't really anything new. "We should get back to class while Zordon and Alpha work on a way to get everyone else back to normal."
"You heard Zordon. Miss Chief's little love spell didn't really affect me so I'm more worried about people like Bulk or Mister Kaplan."
"Besides, even if they did reverse the effects on Tommy, it's not like things would be that different." Kimberly's reiteration drew a thankful smile from Tommy - but it was nothing but the truth.
"Point conceded," Billy agreed. "Hopefully Miss Chief will remain incognito until after class."
"We should head back and check with Zordon after school," Rocky agreed. "Are you going to survive the afternoon without Kim, Tommy?"
"Yeah, love potions undermine common sense after all," Adam added with a grin. "Who knows, you might try sneaking into her classes."
Tolerating the good-natured ribbing, Tommy motion to his communicator so the others would get the hint. Let his friends enjoy their fun while it lasted - it didn't bother Tommy in the least.
As the end of bell rang at the end of the school day, Kimberly collected her books and headed for her locker, finding Tommy already lounging beside it, his nose in a book. He looked up at her approach with a heartwarming smile. "Hey, Beautiful."
"Hey yourself Handsome."
He ducked his head as she neared and brushed a soft kiss across her cheek in greeting. "How was your afternoon?"
"Murder," Kimberly wasn't about to object to being kissed more often. "I've got hours of homework for tonight."
"Same here. What do you say we work on it together - give one another a hand?"
"That'd be great - providing Rita and her new monster don't take up the rest of the day."
Kimberly placed the books she wasn't going to need back in her locker before closing it and stepping away. Tommy fell into step beside her. "So what subjects did you get hammered in?"
"Math and Biology - you?"
"Math and Chemistry." Tommy's eyes gleamed as his tone turned playfully suggestive. "Wanna help me with the last one?"
"Do you need help for it?" Her tease was light even as she blushed. "I think you've got enough of a grasp on it already."
Tommy slid his arm around her waist and pulled her into a closed doorway at the end of the lockers. "Only with you, Kim."
Staring at him, her breath caught in her throat as he held her trapped against his chest between himself and the door. "Tommy?"
"You look like…"
"Like you're going to kiss me again."
"Is that such a bad thing?"
"No! No, I just..."
"Something's bothering you."
"A little," her admission was soft as she glanced down the corridor towards where Aisha had been cornered by Bulk - who was spouting his undying affection. The sight was laugh-worthy; mostly for the tolerance Aisha was displaying in not taking Bulk down a notch or two. All around in the hallway unlikely couples were sprouting words of devotion and undying attraction.
Tommy brought her focus back to him by gently tracing the outer curve of her face with his fingers tips. "What is it, Kim?"
Biting her lip, she stared at him for a long minute. "I... I guess you took me by surprise earlier. Was Zordon right?"
"About which part?"
"About how... you consider me yours."
"Shouldn't I? I love you and we're together - I think that's about as mine as you get."
"Do you mean it?"
"Oh Tommy..." Tears welled in her eyes and she rapidly blinked them back, practically beaming up at him. Grasping his shirt in both hands, she lifted her face to his, standing on her tip toes. Tommy obliged her, their lips meeting in a tender - yet sizzling - innocent kiss each felt down to their toes. Her whole body tingling, Kimberly opened her eyes to his, delighted to find the same sense of wonder she was feeling in them.
"You said it." Tommy hugged her tightly, his hands still wrapped together underneath the straps of her backpack at her base of her spine. "Why was what Zordon said on your mind?"
A blush stole over her cheeks and she dropped her gaze. "You've never said as much, I guess I was just wondering."
"Do you consider me yours, Kim?"
"You'd better believe it, buster!"
"Then why wouldn't I feel the same way?"
"You're a little reserved, Tommy. Sometimes I wonder if I know you as well as I think I do."
"You know me better than anyone. You were the first and best friend I've made in Angel Grove before you agreed to be my girl." He smiled; the twist of his lips so full of wonderment and joy it made her breath catch. "I think I'm the luckiest guy in the world."
"I think I could get used to this open side of you." Kim dared to brush her lips over his and that smile, butterflies churning in her stomach. "But how do I know it's not just the love potion talking?"
He winked at her. "Because I loved you well before Miss Chief came along."
"But you never said anything."
"How could I?"
"What do you mean?"
"We're in a war, Beautiful. I might lose you tomorrow - to injury, to Zedd's forces, to a dream you might have the chance to attain. How could I tell you when there was the chance you'd see it as a way to tie you to me?"
"Oh." Kimberly conceded his point, biting her bottom lip. "I-"
Tommy placed a finger over her lips, shaking his head. "You don't have to reciprocate, Kim; it's a gift, not a leash. No strings."
Daringly, she kissed the tip of his finger and watched his eyes widen. "Then let me give you one - no strings."
"I just don't want you saying or doing something you're not ready for. You know how important you are to me."
"That's what I love about you, Tommy." Her playful smile that did nothing to ease the butterflies in her stomach as the words slipped out. "You always put me first. A girl couldn't ask for a better boyfriend."
Before Tommy could answer, they were interrupted by Aisha darting past, looking thoroughly relieved. Sharing a puzzled look, Tommy and Kim peered back into the hallway. Bulk was bemoaning the fact he'd been with Aisha. Miss Applebee had fainted thanks to a sudden cessation in hostilities between her and two potential suitors - one of which was their Principal. Either Miss Chief's spell was coming to an end, or it was being reversed.
Kimberly looked up at Tommy expectantly. "Well?"
He looked at her puzzled. "Well what?"
"Aren't you going to shake and be all bewildered about what's been happening too?"
"Am I supposed to?"
"It's what everyone else is doing."
Tommy chuckled, giving her a squeeze. "Everyone else isn't actually in love with the person they were with. Come on. We should touch base with Zordon."
Reluctantly disentangling herself, she laughed and blushed when a twist of hers caught his arm and wrapped it more securely under the straps of her bag then before. "Whoops, sorry."
"Is that a hint, Beautiful?" Tommy's tease was light. "Or shall I just take it as one?"
"I think you're stuck. Take it anyway you want to, but we should untangle you before we find the others."
They struggled with the strap for a couple of moments before Tommy lit on an idea. He coaxed Kim closer, urging her to stand on his toes. "It didn't get stuck until you hit the floor again," he reasoned.
Kimberly eyed his speculatively. Despite the logic of his words, there was something in his expression that made her gasp. "You're just looking for an excuse to… Tommy Oliver!"
His laughter was delighted as she guessed his intention, hauling her close once more. "I'll take any chance I can get to hold you, Kim - even if it's taking advantage of having my hand caught in your backpack straps."
"Mmmm," she returned his tight hug – only to feel him retreating from her as he carefully untangled the straps. "Tommy?"
"Sorry," his expression was sheepish as he let her go. "We should find the others."
As her feet hit the floor once again, Kimberly reluctantly agreed. With Miss Chief's spell wearing off, the Monster was likely to show herself – or choose another series of targets to create mischief. Hand in hand, they headed through the hallways to collect the other Rangers.
Billy did a quick visual check as the six Rangers paused for a moment in one of the more secluded corners of the school before an optimistic smile crossed his face. "Well, it looks like the spell's been broken."
"Thank goodness," Adam added with a grin.
"You're telling me," Aisha's relief drew grins from her friends. It couldn't have been easy suffering through Bulk's declarations the way she had. "How're you feeling Tommy?"
"Same as before," he assured her with a smile – though the fact he was still holding Kim's hand hadn't gone unnoticed by the others.
"Yeah, this is the weirdest stunt Rita and Zedd have ever pulled." Rocky added, shaking his head in bewilderment.
Tommy chuckled good naturedly – only to be caught mid-laugh as his communicator sounded. With a quick glance left and right he lifted his wrist to his mouth. "Zordon, we read you – come in."
"Rangers, Miss Chief has rematerialized in the park."
The Rangers shared a look as he cut off the transmission and grinned. "Alright guys, let's take care of this stupid cupid." Five identical nods greeted his pronouncement as they dropped into their morphing stances. "It's Morphin's time!"
"White Ranger Power!"
"Black Ranger Power!"
"Pink Ranger Power!"
"Blue Ranger Power!"
"Yellow Ranger Power!"
"Red Ranger Power!"
Morphed, they teleported immediately to the park, finding Miss Chief with no problem as the red monster was no longer invisible and she was making no effort to hide her presence. Darting in, the Rangers halted their forward momentum to take up a defensive arrow stance, the White Ranger in the center. "Come to spray more love potion?"
His words drew the attention of the monster and the turned with an evil laugh. "Not this time!"
"Let's do it!"
White's battle call marshaled the others into action as they let out shouts of agreement, darting forward to attack Miss Chief in quick succession. Red failed to land his kick, Black was blocked by her shield and Pink sent stumbling away as that same shield came back to slam into her. Blue and Yellow attacked together, planting their fists into the shield in an attempt to find purchase to rob the monster of the contraption – to no avail as they too were sent rolling across the grass.
Pink managed to maintain her feet and with a wave of her hand indicated she was fine.
White - relieved she was okay - had hung back as the others attacked, and now knelt by the fallen Yellow and Blue Rangers. "You guys alright?"
Blue nodded, regaining his feet. "Yeah, I think so."
Looking to take advantage of their distraction, Miss Chief angled her shield and rushed forward, aiming at the back of the Yellow Ranger who was still regaining her feet.
White saw her coming and leapt in front, pulling Saba, his magical saber as he did. "Look out!"
Sparks flew as he took the hit meant for the other Ranger on the blade, driving it deep into the spiked contour of Miss Chief's defensive - and offensive - weapon. They struggled together for a moment, locked together, before White was able to get the upper hand. Freeing Saba with a turn of his wrist and a push, he sent Miss Chief stumbling backwards and followed up with a high kick to her chest, his familiar Zi-ya almost drowned out by the sound of the monster hitting the ground.
Regrouping, the Rangers fell into formation as Miss Chief regained her footing with an enraged shout. "You obviously don't know who you're dealing with!" Her shield came up and with a quick spin, was sent flying into the air. Spinning perfectly, her aim was flawless and the Rangers took the full force of the impact as the spinning disk sent them sprawling. It curved back around as it finished its arc, to land in a delighted Miss Chief's hands. "What goes around, comes around!"
"I think it's time," the White Ranger told the others with a gasp as he regained his feet, "that we show this crooked Cupid how true that can be."
The other Rangers were on their feet with him, whatever hits they'd taken fading behind the rush of adrenaline that always accompanied their battles. With shouts of agreement, they took up their battle stances once more, ready for round two and determined not to lose.
"So, you think you'll be the one to straighten me out, eh?" Miss Chief moved quickly, darting forward in a burst of unexpected speed as she let loose the shield once more.
The Rangers were prepared this time, ducking and dodging as they tumbled - in full control - out of the way. The sic went for the White Ranger last and instead of dodging, he deflected it, the sic crashing to the ground as Saba connected with the serrated edge. "It's all over, Miss Chief." Ever the gentleman – even in uniform – he didn't press the advantage as he reversed his grip on Saba and offered an alternative to destruction. "You must surrender."
Blinding light flashed as the monster grew courtesy of Lord Zedd and Rita's powers. It took but moment to summon their Ninja Zords, combine them and – in minutes – Miss Chief was nothing but a pile of smoking ash, debris from her body exploding littering downtown Angel Grove.
The Rangers celebrated their victory with cheers and punching the air, bailing out of their Zords and sending them back into hiding several minutes later; it never paid to send them away prematurely when Goldar could pop up out of nowhere like a bad habit.
Fortunately, Goldar didn't seem to be anywhere around – or was otherwise occupied – and the Rangers were able to dismiss their Zords without worrying and resume their civilian forms. Once on the ground, Adam and Rocky traded high fives as Aisha let out a whoop and Billy simply grinned.
Tommy hung back as Kimberly was pulled into an enthusiastic spinning hug by Aisha. "One minced monster!"
They couldn't kill their smiles as they forced themselves to settle, heading back towards the Juice Bar – the typical post Monster locale to gather and vicariously enjoy the praise the Power Rangers always got from Ernie and his patrons – when Kimberly noted that Tommy was hanging back further than he had all day. She pulled Aisha to a halt and looked back. "Tommy, you coming?"
"I... uh..." A blush stained his cheeks bashfully and he seemed unable to meet her gaze. "Sure, Kim."
"Something the matter?"
"I..." he stopped, rubbing one hand over the back of his neck.
Kimberly noted the knowing looks Billy and Aisha were trading. "What?"
"The effects of Miss Chief's love potion appear to have faded with the destruction of the monster," Billy's satisfied answer was confirmed in the high color in Tommy's cheeks. "As Tommy was not affected like the others, he's likely retained his memories of what occurred while under Miss Chief's spell."
"Oh." Kimberly smiled mysteriously. Retained his memories, huh? "Tommy?"
"Yeah?" He still wouldn't look at her.
"You owe me a walk around the lake."
"Don't you have that backwards?"
"Is that right?" Tommy shifted uncomfortably under her look and Kimberly took pity on him, aware their audience was only making him more nervous. In three easy steps she was at his side and sliding her hand into his, drawing surprised looks. She smiled at him, her voice soft. "Care to call in that marker?"
"I don't thi-"
Kimberly tugged on his hand, causing him to stumble and dragged him away. "We'll catch up with you guys later."
Not waiting to hear their responses, Kimberly pulled a reluctant Tommy down the pathway. She led him onwards, not pausing until they were not only out of earshot but outside of visual range too. Only when the other Rangers were out of view did she stop and turn to Tommy, rounding on him with an unreadable expression. "So the spell's broken, huh?"
"Uh yeah." He shuffled his feet nervously, still unable to meet her gaze. "Kim, about that..."
"Tommy... it's okay," she sidled closer, placing one hand on his forearm, hoping to draw his gaze – only he stubbornly refused to lift it. Like he was scared of what he'd seen in her gaze. "I mean it."
"Really." Smiling, Kimberly took a half step closer, feeling him stiffen, but didn't retreat as she slid her arms around his waist and placed her head against his chest. It took longer than normal for Tommy's arms to come about her, but when they hesitantly closed, she sighed softly. "I mean what I said earlier Tommy, spell or no spell."
"You're trying to do the noble thing, to back off and put some distance between us because you don't want to hurt me." Her observation made him jerk. It was a finite move she'd never have caught if she hadn't been clinging to him. "You're putting me first again – it's just one of the things I love about you; remember?"
"Yeah." He exhaled softly. "I'd never forget that no matter if I was under a spell or not."
"That's not such a bad thing to have come from all this, is it?"
"Hardly. You really didn't mind how I was when I was under Miss Chief's spell?"
A blush stole over Kimberly's cheeks, but her smile never faltered as she looked up at him shyly. "No. It was kind of nice, actually – once I got used to it."
"And before that?"
"I think you could have knocked me over with a feather," a giggle escaped and she winked at him. "I never knew you had such a romantic side."
"Me either – but it doesn't take much to be one when it comes to you, Kim. I've always wanted to be closer to you, more open as a couple, but..."
Kimberly slid her hand up his chest and looped them around his neck. "But you didn't know how I would react and you were to shy to say anything."
"Then I'll say it; you made me feel special today, Tommy. I mean, you always do, but today was something else – something new. I learned things about you and I that I've never dreamed would be possible – or rather, I'd only dreamed could be possible. I enjoyed being your girl and having everyone know I was; there's something very empowering about knowing you're mine and only mine."
"I know what you mean..." his head came up at that point, finally meeting her gaze and his eyes widened at what he saw; shimmering disappointment. "What? What is it?"
"A part of me is going to miss it." The fact she stood almost on tip-toe with her arms about his neck and plastered against his chest seemed to go unnoticed. "I can't help but wonder how you'd have kissed me if you were still under that spell and we were alone like we are now."
"What do you mean?"
Toying idly with the ends of his hair where it lay against the base of his neck as it hung down off his pony tail, she shrugged and was suddenly self conscious. "Call it a feeling. A part of me wishes that spell had lasted just a little longer – like until tonight when we were going to go for that walk."
"You don't like the way I normally kiss you?"
"Oh no, not that!" She shook her head adamantly, a blush suffusing her cheeks. "I like it very much. I'm just curious if it would be different."
Appearing indecisive, Tommy glanced around to ensure they were alone. "Are you sure you want to know, Kim? There's no going back once you do."
"You make it sound so serious." Teasing him lightly, she tightened her grip on his neck. "Is it a bad thing?"
"Nah," a half smile stretched his lips. "Nothing bad... just different."
"Different has its perks."
"I'll hold you to that."
Kimberly opened her mouth to respond - but couldn't as it was suddenly occupied doing something far more enjoyable than talking.
Tommy's lips had settled over hers, but the intensity of his kiss - the tightness of his arms about her, the way he angled his head so their lips didn't just meet, but fused like two halves of a whole - made her gasp. As her lips parted, she felt, more than heard, him groan as his hands lifted to cradle her, one tangling in her hair as if to hold her in place, the other splayed across her back.
This was no chaste, innocent peck on the lips of a boy kissing his girl; this was the honest expression of everything Tommy had been telling her since hit by Miss Chief's spell.
A shudder raced through Kimberly's body as sensations she'd never experienced rocketed through like a thunderbolt. Her mind blanked as it surrendered to the overload of emotion and she responded on pure instinct alone. Kimberly kissed him back unthinkingly, twining her fingers in his hair as she surrendered completely.
It was only when the pressing need to breathe tore them apart that the reality of the situation began to sink in. their hearts raced, they gasped for air – and they were entwined so close together, one of Kim's knees had hooked around Tommy's hip and there wasn't a whisper of space between where their bodies aligned from hip to shoulder.
Somewhere in the middle of the blinding kiss, Tommy had stumbled backwards and was now braced on a nearby tree for support. He looked as dazed as she felt, and it took a moment to realize that one of Tommy's hands was in the back pocket of her jean shorts – practically holding her up by her backside. The feel of his fingers - each individually pressing into the muscular tissue - didn't quite shock her the way the voice in the back of her mind said it should. Somehow it felt… good.
Tommy suddenly seemed to realize where he had his hand and it tensed, flexing, and Kim couldn't keep the sudden gasp – ending on a soft moan – from escaping her lips. "Tommy!"
Looking down into her face, he saw an expression he'd never seen before. Kimberly's head was tilted backwards in a position of surrender, her eyes half closed, and while her cheeks were flushed, it was not from embarrassment. He read acceptance and encouragement in the tilt of her head, the way her lips curved in satisfied pleasure but held a hint of desire for something more – to find out what would happen next.
His heart was pounding, his blood throbbing through his system with the nearly painful intensity to make something of that look, but no matter what she'd said, he couldn't and wouldn't push for more. He respected and loved her too much to even try.
Reluctantly, his instincts screaming at him to stop, his grip on her eased. Kimberly slowly slid down his body – inch by excruciating inch – as her legs slid from its perch around his hip. It was agonizing moments of pure bliss before her toes feet finally touched the ground and she took a fraction of her weight back – only to nearly slide into a heap at his feet.
Tommy nodded, unable to speak. The tendons on his neck hurt from the way he clenched his jaw, his limbs trembling with the need to pull her back close once again, but knowing he couldn't push her beyond the limit of what she asked. Her fingers had reluctantly loosed their hold on his hair, only to tangle in his shirt for balance as her legs refused to support her.
The wealth of question she put into his name was astounding.
He stared at her, forcing himself to breathe evenly, and knew by the awareness in her eyes and the way her flush was slowly ebbing away she was regaining control of her own senses just as he was. So he knew she saw the convulsive swallow and could feel the tension in his frame - among other things.
For long minutes they stood there, holding one another as they came down from the powerful kiss, Kimberly not asking again for she intimately understood his dilemma. Eventually, the feel of the bark digging into his back was what caused him to straighten and gently, but firmly, put Kimberly back on her own feet just within arm's reach. He couldn't relinquish her presence just yet, no matter how it affected him, but he couldn't touch her either.
That kiss had almost destroyed all of his resolve to wait until she'd made some sign she was ready for more.
Clearing his throat, he tried for levity to ease the tension between them. "Still think different is good?"
Kimberly stared at him for long seconds before she burst out laughing and the tension was gone, leaving behind the familiar, comfortable atmosphere that had reigned throughout their relationship. She grinned, punching him in the shoulder as her eyes sparkled.
"Different is definitely good."