One Fine Day in the Zord Hangar
Disclaimer: I do not own Power Rangers or anything related.
Timeline: MMPR season 2, between White Light part 2 and Two for One.
:: Just something that is hopefully light, fluffy and sweet. Definitely not my best traits, but I thought I would give it a try (:
For the umpteenth time, Tommy gazed down at his new uniform, starting from the gold and black armor plate protecting his torso to the thick white gloves encasing his arms. His eyes went on southward to the black rimmed golden band just inches below his knees that had been covered with slight dirt and grass stain from his last—his first battle, so to speak. He felt a little bit silly, but seconds later he found his fingers grazing the white tiger coin on his chest almost with adoring feeling. He just couldn't help it.
A smile full of contentment crossed his lips. After a long battle and struggle not only with evil forces, but with himself as well, Tommy Oliver finally thought that somehow his bad luck that had seemed to hover over his head from day one at last began to evaporate. He casually plopped down on the cement floor of the Zord hangar, his hand automatically moved to cradle his helmet close. The way he positioned himself, he was able to get a VVIP view of the White Tiger zord. While he still regretted and mourned for his old vehicle, receiving the new machine was like getting an actual Optimus Prime for a belated birthday present, only better, because it was his. Everything had started to look up for him and the feeling was ah-ma-zing, to say the least. Not that I wish for a battle, but Rita, you can combine a frog with a washing machine or a flying crocodile with soapy juicy gooey dripping between its rubber teeth for all I care and I will take them down with bare hands! Bring it on!
Everyone looking at him would have assumed that he was a boy in love with the brunette across the street, which he was, but it was difficult to wipe the stupid grin off his face, especially now looking up at the gigantic robot. It was barely possible.
The rest of the team had agreed to throw a small welcome-home party at the Youth Center this evening, but now the sun had not even set yet. He had enough time to ogle at his new toy before he dreamed about it tonight.
Talking about ogling…
Damn, it felt good to finally see Kimberly again... and hold her, he added, recalling the feeling of having her in his arms, short as it was, had felt really good. Being someone who had never been in relationship before, Tommy was confused. Were they or were they not 'in relationship' now? It was true that she had said that she missed him, which was a prelude to their first kiss, and a week later there was the school dance with her as his date, and that was also another opening for their second kiss. That had lasted longer, sweeter and definitely more passionate; as passionate as they're going to get anyway, because both were a nervous wreck and they were barely able to look at each other's eyes afterward.
He was still trying to shake the odd, dream-like feeling of calling Kim his 'unofficial' girlfriend because a second later the next question would follow: "Am I the boyfriend?"
Or, Tommy thought with bashful hopes, maybe they were a couple but he was just too dense to figure that out. It wouldn't be news because everyone knew it. He had, in fact, hadn't realized that Kim was attracted to him until that afternoon in the lake. He just wanted to move to a more steady ground. You just want to go steady with her, Oliver, be a man and admit it!
Well, that was not entirely untrue. Perhaps after the get-together tonight Kim would agree to go on a stroll with him. She did say her mom had given her extended curfew for getting better grades last semester. Maybe he could even ask her to go out with him again next Saturday. A nice picnic in the park followed by a fun evening in the carnival downtown. The annual event had rolled into town and according to Kimberly Hart's Number Eleven Fact, she adored carnivals with their flashing bright lights and carousels and cotton candy and rides.
He had kissed the girl, not only once but twice. Asking her to a night fair shouldn't be so bad, should it? He had said that he was all geared up for Rita's 30 story ugly monsters and -–he would never say this out loud-- a girl a foot shorter than him caused his tail tucked in between his legs?
Perhaps, a voice constantly participating at the back of his head volunteered, because of the guilt that has been haunting you. Not only towards the team, but towards Kimberly the most.
"The White Ranger is deep in thoughts. Wonder what he is thinking about,"
The newly mantled White Ranger jumped at the voice, almost tangling his own feet altogether in an effort to try to stand and immediately adopting a battle stance. "Who is that?" He demanded, his voice echoing around the high ceiling hangar, passing through the Firebird and Mastodon standing head to head until it dissolved into a complete silence. "Show yourself!" Tommy shouted. As a dedicated martial artist ever since he was four, he was trained to not only hear but feel the slightest sound and he was positive that he heard nothing ever since he came.
"Easy White Ranger. Where is the fire?"
Tommy swirled around, sensing the source of the voice addressing him was nearer than he would have liked. He had half expected to see another Rita creation sneaking up behind him after somehow managing to break into the Command Center without setting off the alarm, but only a blank dark corridor returned his glare with nothingness.
"Take a deep breath,"
With deep concentration, he distinguished the voice and soon realized it came from his left. Cautiously, his eyes dropped below and voila! the mystery man was no longer a mystery. Except that he wasn't really a man.
"What the heck did you think you're doing?" Tommy nearly barked at his new weapon laying a few inches from his helmet on the floor. His body instantly relaxed, the initial alarm abating rapidly like helium filled balloon punctured with a needle.
"Who the heck did you think I was?" Saba retorted back, his little eyes flashing red as if it's testing his patience.
"Oh, shut up," Tommy sat back down without so much of a glance. There was silence for a moment or two before Saba broke the ice.
"I was given by Zordon to assist you, White Ranger," The conviction in his voice was palpable, reminding Tommy of Ms Appleby when he came late to her class in his first day of school. "If you feel like you need to practice some lines, I'm ready to lend an ear,"
Tommy gave him-- he couldn't think of the staff as 'it', too weird-- an evil eye. "I don't know what you're talking about, and when's the last time you date? The blind leading the blind,"
"What is a pink ranger?" Saba suddenly asked and even with his patience growing thin, Tommy nearly burst out laughing. Apparently Saba had been watching Jeopardy in his free time. "Do not fear, as I am here to ass-,"
"To assist me, yes, you said that already," It didn't even occur to him as to how on earth Saba knew about him and the pink ranger. Later on the day he would find out that the morphin grid had somehow established a telepathy connection between the two when Tommy morphed.
"You want to ask her out on a date," Saba was making a statement and to Tommy he looked mightily proud for something made out of… what? Plastic? Brass? Adamantium?
"You know that there's an old saying that says Mind Your Own Business,"
"Oh Kimberly is so beautiful! I really, really like her! I wonder if she thinks of me as often as I do her!"
"Her smile is like the sun and I would be happy to be the planet revolving around her," Saba chimed on happily, uncaring of the growls coming from his master. His voice reverberated through the empty and cold hangar, battering Tommy's eardrums viciously. "Kimberly Hart is my Heart; there is no single doubt about it! I love you Kimberly!"
"SABA!" Tommy had stood up and was ready to step on the Sabre, his right foot was inches away from the head. Tommy wouldn't actually do it, although he wished his action would scare Saba enough to quit his tirade. Before he knew it, Saba would begin making kissing, smooching sound effect in the command center with Zordon, Alpha and the rest of the team there. With Kimberly there. That would never happen. Not if he could help it!
The Sabre released a hearty chuckle, as vigorous as a machine could obtain with its monotonous tone, that was, and continued more somberly. "You could practice with me, if you'd like. I may not look and sound like the pink ranger, but I think I can help you loosen up your nerves,"
'I may not look and sound like the pink ranger…' Now THAT was a major overstatement, however, Tommy admitted he did need to relax a little bit. His every muscle was screaming for release. Still, the idea was totally absurd and ridiculous that he felt like laughing until he made a mess of himself. In spite of being a loner, shy guy almost all his life, he had never, in a million years rehearsed his lines in front of a mirror. Not even that one time when he tried to ask Kim to the dance before Goldar and putties trashed his chance, and now he was going to practice his lines with SABA?
"What do you want me to do?" He heard himself saying moments later after a mental debate with himself. His voice was distant and distinct, just like a dream he was having last night. Those tiny red eyes seemed to have a hypnotizing effect and he was helpless to resist. Resistance is futile.
"The Pink Ranger you pretend I am. What would you say to me?"
"I would tell you to stop being so obnoxious and leave me in peace, oh Jedi Master!"
"I don't think the Pink Ranger would like you very much after that statement,"
Tommy's eyes narrowed to thin slits, still finding it hard to believe that the talking Sabre was his partner. He licked his suddenly dry lips, unsure of what to say. Getting knocked off his feet by Zack for thinking about Kim was embarrassing enough, but this was far worse. He made a mental note to ask Billy whether the hangar was provided with full 24/7 surveillance cameras. "Hey, Kimberly, I'm… er, hey Kim…," He let loose a frustrated growl and raked his fingers through his brown locks. "It's not working!"
"Do it again,"
Tommy closed his eyes, imagining himself standing on the rooftop of the Command Center (somehow the place seemed to fit with the scenario), under millions of stars twinkling and watching with amusement as nervousness practically dripped out of him while trying to ask his girlfriend, the girl whom he had kissed twice, on a date. Even in his mind he looked like a pathetic fifteen year old. He sighed, but didn't let the image bring him down. Kim was looking up at him with those eager, beautiful brown marbles which were her eyes…
"Kimberly, you know that we haven't exactly seen each other lately," He started, eyes fluttering open, heart beating a mile a minute despite the fact he was actually asking Saba out now. "I was thinking, that perhaps you'd like to go out with me to the carnival downtown… you know, catching up…," As he finished the speech, he could practically see Kimberly chew her lips, pink flush deepen on her cheeks just the way they had been that day on the lake. He was so absorbed in this little act of his which undoubtedly would bring Jason, hell, even Billy to tears, that the small fact that he was talking to thin air, or more likely to Saba, escaped his mind. Receiving no respond, he pursued, "Well? Kimberly?"
"No," Short, simple, yet served like an arrow aiming straight to his chest.
"Saba!" Tommy protested. The world would have to spin counterclockwise before Kim's sweet voice would change to the high-pitched, robotic voice of Saba, but he couldn't help but feeling that the rejection was coming from Kim's mouth and the idea was enough to knock him back to square one.
"There is a chance, though slim, that she would not be willing to go out with you," Saba kindly pointed out to the teenager.
"Yes, but you should be helping me building up my courage, not pummeling it down," Tommy murmured, starting to believe that powering down wouldn't be a bad idea.
"I do think, however, that female adore praises," Saba lectured, ignoring smokes that was practically coming out of Tommy's ears, if that was possible. "And your little pink ranger seems to be one who appreciates them dearly. You could start by complimenting her… repeat after me, please, White Ranger,"
Tommy eyed him with great hesitancy, but thought he had got nothing to lose after all. Accepting no further protest, Saba started, even cleared his 'throat' before just for the heck of it.
"Oh, Kimberly! How you look so utterly beautiful under the night sky, the stars should be ashamed to even be in the same plane of existence as yourself!"
The lines sounded a bit too Shakespearish for his liking, but Tommy reluctantly repeated them. His voice was barely under a whisper. That was good enough for Saba.
"Oh, Kimberly! Your brown eyes are like deep pools of everlasting midnight sky full of promises; I swear I could drown in them for the rest of my day!"
At this point, Tommy felt really, really stupid and was almost convinced that Saba was definitely having the time of his life. The next line coming from that prim little mouth absolutely clinched his suspicion.
"Oh, Kimberly! Your scent is so intoxicating that it provokes an instant man reaction within seconds!"
Okay, that's it! I've had enough of this B.S!
Saba was so wrapped up in his own world that he didn't realize that Tommy wasn't following him anymore. His lips pressed together they almost disappeared. "Oh Kimberly! Your pretty little-,"
"If only Zordon didn't personally ask me to take care of you, you'd have been history by now," Sitting Indian style, Tommy folded his arms over his chest, his fingers digging deep into his forearms as the last resort from picking Saba up and throwing it away like Sandy Koufax playing Frisbee.
Saba might want to go on and on about how Kimberly's hair was like brown silk of a dancing river or whatever; Tommy would never find out, because Saba paused abruptly and his two little plastic (or brass? Glass? Iron?) eyes seemed to be boring into his skulls.
"Do you remember when you first came to Angel Grove? You nearly killed your friends, you threw them off the megazord, leaving them battered and bruised-- physically and mentally. Then after hurting them, Kimberly, so bad, you suddenly left! You felt inadequate and weak and without sparing Kimberly's feeling, you poof! vanished!" Saba continued without stopping to take a breath. Not that he needed to breathe, but still. The words, as true as they were, were like a mock, slapping him with invisible hands. "Who do you think you are, waltzing right into everybody's life, nearly killed them and basically made a mess of everything?"
Saba was a "toy", but it could still hurt nonetheless.
"However, deep down I know that you're a good man, Tommy Oliver. The Pink Ranger is practically glowing with happiness in your presence. So what if you're a self-centered, egotistical, arrogant young man? She doesn't care about that. You make her happy,"
Tommy clenched and unclenched his fists, trying to keep his emotion in check. He was torn between giving up to the urge to bring Saba to Billy to have it checked, just in case he had some loose bolt or circuit that made him as talkative as he had been for the past hours, and going to bed with Saba next to his pillow. Alas, before Tommy managed to utter a word, Saba had opened his mouth.
"So what are you waiting for, sitting there and staring blankly at me like I'm the tenth wonder of the world! I'm curious what the Pink Ranger would say if she knew that you're getting cold feet…,"
"Tommy?" Another voice suddenly joined making Tommy jumped to his feet, literally. It was more of who the voice belonged to. Panic stricken, Tommy turned around to find the girl he had been discussing with Saba standing a few feet from the sliding entrance door. Petite as she was, she appeared even smaller standing next to the humongous Saber-Tooth zord. "Are you here?"
He threw Saba a warning glance, just in case he smartly chose the time to start blabbering non-sense. But Tommy needn't have to worry, since the weapon had gone back to 'hibernate mode'. The red eyes fueled with blazing audacity moments ago were now only black holes staring up at the ceiling.
"Yeah, I'm here," He replied huskily, feeling a knot reforming in his belly just under his heart. His palms were sweaty and damp under the conveniently concealing gloves and Tommy realized he was still in his ranger uniform.
Kim padded softly towards him; all dressed up in pink sundress with her favorite Doc Martens boots. A silver clip held her shoulder length tresses off her neck, showing off a long, graceful neck and smooth bronze skin of her shoulders. His heart beat ten times faster on its account. "Hey," She smiled after Tommy met her halfway and they were standing face to face.
"I called your house but your mom said you weren't home. I would have gone to the park, but somehow I just had the feeling that you're spending some quality time with your new zord," She explained with a faint smile, her eyes studying his new uniform closely as if to make sure that he was really there, in the flesh. "Has it sunk yet?"
"Not really, I still need to reassure myself that it wasn't all a dream," He chuckled, feeling the close distance to be extremely enthralling. A whisper was more powerful than a thousand screams and it only took a single twitch of her lips to make his good day become an even better one.
"And you wouldn't wake up the next day in your uncle's cabin?" She filled in. Her face was sporting a mischievous and somewhat melancholy grin. It was almost hopeful.
"Yes, that too," He returned her grin with his own. A muffled cough behind him startled both.
"What was that?" Kim asked with wide eyes, startled.
The interruption made him roll his eyes, while in the same time verbally smacked him on the back of his head. Although the knowledge of Saba eavesdropping didn't really entice him all that much, if he wanted to apologize to Kim, this was the moment,
"Kim, I'm sorry," He said in a rush before he had second thoughts. Kim looked up at him questioningly, albeit a bit relieved. As much as she didn't want him to go through it, she knew she deserved this. "I shouldn't have left like that, but I needed to do that… so I could come back being a new man,"
Seeing Tommy standing there in his new suit with his new helmet and staff laying just a meter away, he was a new man, alright. Kim cocked her eyebrows and a frown held firm on her face. "Tommy, you should have realized that we liked you as our friend not because of a power coin. We're friends before you were a ranger, remember?"
"That's not what I meant. Well, yeah, I admit there was a tiny part of my insecurities stemmed from the fact that I wasn't a ranger anymore. I was worried that you wouldn't like me as much-," A finger placed to her lips effectively hushed her when she shook her head, pretty mouth had opened to protest. "Let me finish, please, before I lose my nerves," He added truthfully with a bashful chuckle. "I think deep down I knew that you guys would accept me the way I was, power or no power. But I just needed to get away for a while, collecting my thoughts, reflecting… so I could come back, to you, without feeling as though I was no more than a weak ex-ranger. I needed to learn to live with what had happened, making it a part of me instead of fighting it. Trust me, even if Zordon didn't out of the blue teleport me from my quote, vacation, unquote, I wouldn't stay away longer than it was necessary. I had missed you too much," Hearing his confession, Kim's mouth formed a petite 'o'. He didn't mean to be so honest about it. Scaring her off when the fate of their relationship was still unseen was the last thing he wanted.
"Oh, Tommy," Much to his surprise, Kim smiled a teary smile and circled her arms around his neck. She tip toed to reach his height, and held on tight.
He smiled; once again his Beautiful had beat him and made the first move. Still, without any curious, breathing, spectators around, he returned the hug just as tightly. His arms wrapped around Kim's slim waist as he nuzzled the spot between her ear and shoulder, letting her jasmine scent assault his senses.
"Oh, Kimberly! Your scent is so intoxicating that it provokes an instant man reaction within seconds!" The line popped inside his head and Tommy slowly created a distance. He wouldn't take his chances. Not with THAT.
"It's like Christmas is coming early this year. Not only you got cool uniform with an armor plate that made the boys practically drool in envy, you also got those neat toy and weapon," It was difficult not to scoff at her last statement. If only she knew… "What more could a guy ask for?" Kim remarked, her voice was slightly muffled against his shoulder. He should have known that as nervous as he was whenever she was around, Kim would be able to set his mind at ease… without having to go through a one hour of tortuous rendezvous with Saba.
"I don't know," Tommy pulled away to get a better look at her face. The brilliant smile he found when he looked at her in the eye reduced his anxiety to a functional level. "Perhaps someone to go with me to the Angel Grove Carnival next weekend?" Thinking he had finally blurted out the question, he might as well go on with the one million dollar question. "As my girlfriend?"
The earth seemed to have stopped rotating as Kim regarded him with a look that made Tommy wish he was capable of reading her better. He wouldn't be surprised if Kim decided to play a little game just like she did on the lake, but instead a smile blossomed over her beautiful feature. "Are you asking me out?"
No, I'm asking you to marry me but I think it will have to wait for five or ten years. "Er… It looks like so, that is, if you don't have anything else planned for the-,"
"Of course," Kim answered shortly.
His heart that had seemed to freeze for an instant began to hammer against his chest, throbbing with divine joy and emotion. "Of course you will go to the carnival with me or of course you will go as my girlfriend?"
"I thought I was your girlfriend?"
He couldn't stop the goofy, love-sick grin making its way to his face. "We never really made it official before,"
"Tommy, you dufus!" Kim giggled, catapulting his heart to cloud nine when she lifted her hand and playfully pinched his cheek. "As much as I hate saying this, I –fainted- when I saw you. Jason and Zack would give me hell for the rest of my life and Zordon is still looking at me with that knowing, funny, you-fainted-in-my-command-center look, and you weren't sure if I liked you or not?"
"Well… it doesn't hurt to make sure,"
"Oh, so you'd be okay if I said I only thought of you as a friend? A brother, even?" She teased, wiggling her eyebrows up and down.
"Come here you," Tommy growled and took the initiative this time. He grabbed Kim by the waist and leaned down for a kiss that was weeks overdue. Their bodies gravitated closer and much to his delight, she returned his kiss with equal enthusiasm. He thought he heard Saba singing in the background (Go White Ranger, Go White Ranger right now!), but with Kim's body pressed tightly against his, it was difficult to pay attention to anything but the pretty pink ranger. When they parted for air long after, Kim was flushing crimson.
"The third time's the charm,"
"That, and more, Handsome,"
:: I honestly don't know where the Zords were being kept, or if Saba could be that chatty and know that much information about Tommy, etc etc. Therefore, if I violated some PR universe principles, I apologize. I did this for fun and I hope you enjoy. Cheers (: