Title: Borrowed Time
Rating: T (ages 13+)
Timeframe: Set directly after Episode #120 – a Brush with destiny
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: Kimberly tells Tommy she's not going to France right away after all – but staying with Aisha and her family until the end of the school year. Fun fluff
Aisha and Kimberly settled at their normal table as their parents discussed the terms for how long Kimberly would stay with the Campbells.
"I can't believe you and your parents, girl!" Kimberly impulsively hugged her friend again. "I can't thank you enough for this."
"Hey, you'd do the same for me." Aisha's eyes gleamed. "Besides, I've always wanted a sister."
They shared a giggle, clinging to one another in excitement. It was a nine month reprieve where Kimberly would be able to stay - not only in school and with Aisha but as a Power Ranger and she intended to make the most of it. "Me too; my brother just isn't the same."
"We should get your things and move them over to my house; what do you say?" Kimberly's attention was diverted at that moment and by the look on her face, Aisha didn't have to turn to know who she was looking at. Knowingly, she arched her eyebrows. "Or maybe we should do it later."
"Hey Kim, you seem to be in a better mood."
The brilliant smile she flashed Tommy was blinding as she pushed to her feet and threw herself into his arms delightedly. "Tommy! Oh, Tommy, it's wonderful!"
"Woah!" He hugged her back, "I take it something good happened?"
Aisha returned Tommy's inquisitive smile with a shrug of her own, indicating it was Kimberly's story to tell. Kimberly, for her part, wasted no time.
"The Campbells talked to my mom and I'm going to live with Aisha until the end of the school year!" Squeezing him tightly, she released him unexpectedly and spun in her enthusiasm. "Isn't that great?"
"Great? That's awesome!"
Kimberly let out a delighted shriek - drawing every eye in the room - as Tommy grasped her about the waist and spun her about. When he set her back on her feet, she was drawn into a tight hug. "Aw man, that's the best news I've heard all day!"
Across the room, the Campbells and Mrs. Hart shared indulgent smiles. "Your decision to let her stay with us appears to have met with at least one other approval."
Mrs. Hart laughed, but there was a shadow in her eyes as she watched her daughter's radiant face looking up at her boyfriend. A face that was completely open and unaware of their audience and for the first time she understood what her daughter felt for the remarkable young man who held her – and a pang of conscience hit her. "It's going to be tough for her to say goodbye at the end of the school year."
Mrs. Campbell reached over and squeezed Mrs. Hart's hand. "Kimberly's a strong young woman – and we'll keep a close eye on those two."
"You don't need to," Mrs. Hart responded indulgently as Tommy clasped Kimberly's hand and hauled her out of the Youth Center. "That young man is a gentleman."
"So you're really staying until the end of the school year, huh?"
"Yeah," Kimberly kicked at the sand on the shore of the lake where they'd spent many a date. "Aisha's folks are awesome to offer to let me stay with them."
"I'll say." Tommy fell quiet – and he hadn't relinquished her hand.
"Something on your mind?"
"Who isn't?" she teased lightly. "Come on, what's bugging you?"
Stopping, he turned her to face him, his expression solemn and a little sheepish. "I didn't want you to go. When you told Aisha and I that you were moving to France I just wanted to grab you and run so you wouldn't leave."
"Tommy, that's sweet."
"No it's not."
She arched her eyebrows, waiting for an explanation.
"It's selfish of me, Kim. Your mom is moving to a new country with new people and this is a chance for you to see another world, to travel and open your eyes. And all I could think about was how much I didn't want you to go; how much I wanted you to stay here with me. I was terrified I was losing you."
Grasping her hands in his, he stared down into her eyes. "I never want to hold you back from something you want; Kim. If you want to go to France with your mom, you should. The Rangers - all of us - will understand if you do. It'll be tough, but we'll manage without you somehow."
"I want to stay," she assured him with a smile. "More than anything I don't want to leave Angel Grove. I don't want to stop being a Power Ranger, or being friends with all of you – or being your girlfriend. This is my home, all of you are my family no matter that my mother will be overseas, this feels like the right decision for me right now. I belong here with you, Tommy, and nothing is going to change that."
He pulled her closer, reaching up to brush a tendril of her hair from her face. "Just remember I'll support you, I'll always be here for you, no matter what opportunities life throws at you, okay?"
Tilting her face up, she nodded and then sighed as he dropped a soft kiss on her lips. "I promise, Tommy; I'll remember."
"Good – but for the record, I'm glad you're staying. It wouldn't be the same without you Kim."
There were no more words as they turned back up the beach and Tommy slid an arm around her shoulders to draw her closer, the need to be as near as possible overwhelming. With such a near miss for losing her, he couldn't and wouldn't relinquish that hold. Thankfully, Kimberly seemed to need the contact as much as he did – and it made him smile.