A/N: Just a little bit of post-Christmas fun, loosely inspired by the song "The 12 Days After Christmas"
Timeline: One year post-Turbo1. In this world, Tommy gave up racing after a year.
Disclaimer: I still don't own the Rangers, despite the amount of money I've put into them buying toys "for my cousins"
The first day after Christmas
My true love and I had a fight
And so I chopped the pear tree down
And burnt it, just for spite
Then with a single cartridge
I shot that blasted partridge
My true love, my true love,
my true love gave to me.
Tommy Oliver wished for one moment that he could say waking up to find his ex-girlfriend on his doorstep, clutching a blade blaster and wearing a very vicious grin was the weirdest thing that ever happened to him.
Alas, it was rather low on the list, even when he threw in being ordered into a car packed with boxes and driven out to systematically destroy the girl's belongings.
"So, uh," he finally ventured, pleasantly filled with an incredibly unhealthy breakfast from McDonald's and clutching a cup of warm coffee, "what happened?" He peered over his shoulder at the boxes crammed into the car and winced. "Or do I not want to know?"
He tried again. "Look, I let you kidnap me bright and early the morning after Christmas out of the kindness of my heart... and because you were caressing your blade blaster like a crazy-" He bit his tongue and glanced around the car, sighing with relief when he noticed said weapon on the floor by his feet - currently out of her reach.
"...where'd you get the blade blaster, anyway?"
Kim grinned. "Christmas present from Billy. Well, Trini talked him into it when she found out what happened. She just made me promise not to go after Steve with it."
Ah, Steve Parridge. The mysterious "letter guy." Yeah. It turned out that her comments about how Tommy would "really like him" were as false as possible; they found that after one disastrous meeting for lunch when it turned out they'd all signed up to go to the same college. Steve had taken one look at Tommy and decided that he'd hate him always. Tommy figured it was because he could bench-press the guy, given the chance. Kim was dating a twig. A twig with bad hair, even.
Despite that, Kim and Tommy became fast friends again. He got over her callous mode of dumping him and she consoled him when Kat let him go, too. Their natural chemistry helped them bash their way through any walls they had thrown up.
Which was why Tommy was surprised he hadn't found out about this particular incident with Steve first.
Kim sighed. "You know Anna? She's in our Biology 101 class?"
Tommy wracked his brains. "The redhead?"
She snorted. "Yeah, from a box. The one with no fashion sense who wears shirts a size too small."
He nodded, wisely keeping his mouth shut.
"And you might recall Jessica. She went to AGH, was a year ahead of us. She was a cheerleader."
"Didn't she have a really creepy crush on Adam at one point?"
"Yeah, her." Kim growled. "Anyway, it appears that my supposed-sweetheart of a guy apparently has been blinding me with my love of shiny objects... and failed to inform me that he's just not into monogamy on a long-term basis."
Tommy eyes narrowed dangerously. "He cheated on you?"
"Multiple times. With multiple bitches, many who are well aware that he was living with me. Trini says I'm not allowed to visit them with the weaponry, either," she all but snarled.
He inched a bit closer to the door at the tone of her voice. "But he's living with you-"
"Not anymore," she interrupted.
"-so how did he... and how did you...?"
"Keep it a secret and then expose it?"
"I have a sporadic class schedule because of work and gymnastics. He has a weird schedule because of his table tennis matches."
She was rewarded with Tommy's laughter; after all this time, he couldn't get over the fact that she was dating a "professional table tennis player." Sure, it was an Olympic sport.
It was also a sport any moron could play while drunk at a frat house.
Listening to Tommy laugh always put her in a better mood. "Anyway, he figured out schedules and planned around them. He was really sneaky, what with his obsession with keeping our... excuse me, my apartment spotless."
He nodded. "So... what's all this? And where are we going?"
"We are going to your uncle's warehouse so you can help me destroy everything he ever gave me. And some things he didn't, but didn't manage to grab last night when I chased him out the door wearing boxers and clutching Jeanette's ugly beige grandmother-style panties."
"Oh." Well, he didn't have anything else planned. And blowing stuff up was always a good use of an afternoon. They were on break and he wasn't working thanks to some very generous scholarships; he could easily afford to spend the afternoon soothing one of his favorite people.
Besides, she was single again... as politically incorrect as it was to think about considering she'd just broken off an almost three-year relationship.
The rest of the short trip was spent chatting about the latest Ranger news: Billy had come back from Aquitar and was consulting on some potential-Ranger technology with a woman named Angela Fairweather over in Mariner Bay. He'd talked to each Ranger in turn, taking their ideas and modifying them for a privately-funded Ranger force, in preparation for the wave of dark energy that was constantly rising from the town.
"Do you hope they'll ask you to join?" Kim wondered.
Tommy shrugged. "I don't know. I wouldn't mind, but I'm kind of happy where I'm at right now. I'd definitely like to do more Rangering, but maybe once I'm done with college."
"You don't think you'll be too old by then?" she teased.
"Nah... It's like riding a bicycle. I'd be fine."
"Jesus Christ, will you make sure I'm out of the way next time?"
Tommy angry yell echoed through the warehouse as he gingerly brushed the remains of a porcelain tree from his hair. Kim snickered at the sight of him covered in dust.
"Who the hell picked these sissy gifts out, anyway?" he hollered at her as he arranged a stuffed bird on their makeshift pedestal of cartons. Okay, a falcon or a crane, sure. Those actually had meaning behind them. But who bought somebody they loved a stuffed chicken?
"Incoming!" He dove away.
In a moment, all that remained of the bird was a bit of smoking stuffing. Kim flicked on the weapon's safety and wandered over to the stack of boxes, filled with various knick-knacks. "That, he said, was a partridge. Like the stupid Christmas song? And like his last name? He thought it was cute."
"Maybe once he explained it," she answered wryly, digging through the boxes. "And it was very satisfying to zap. But this will be better... if I can find it... Ah! Here we go!"
Tommy blinked numerous times, but each time he opened his eyes, a Zeo Ranger I bobble-head sat on Kim's hand. "What the hell is that?"
With a twist of her lips, Kim explained. "Steve-the-asshole had a thing for the Pink Ranger. And I don't mean Pink Mighty Morphin'. I mean the pink Zeo Ranger. He didn't like the first Pink Ranger because she was 'too short to fight effectively,'" she all but spat out, almost dropping the figurine in her effort to make air quotes with her fingers.
Tommy really, really hoped he could keep the shit-eating grin off his face. She was in a blasting kind of mood.
"So... he bought you a Zeo I bobble-head?" She set the thing near her feet and was digging through the box again. He picked it up; the figure was far more stacked than even Kat had been, he noticed. He wondered if she'd ever seen one.
"And a plushie," Kim answered, tossing one over her shoulder. "And a t-shirt. And a replica helmet." Tommy was sure the inside of his cheek was bleeding, he was biting down so hard. Only one thing could make it better...
"And," she added, moving the box to the one below it, "he wanted me to-" Her voice trailed off into incredibly ominous mumbling as she dug through more memories.
"To do this." She pulled out an unopened Zeo Ranger I Halloween costume. Low quality, but still...
Tommy burst out laughing. "Oh my God... really? He bought you that?"
"He wanted to see me strip out of it," she seethed. "That god-damned dumbass son of a bitch..."
Tommy's riotous laughter was not making her feel better. And the longer she stood there, glaring at him blackly, the harder he laughed.
It was too perfect for him to really put into words.
Rolling her eyes, Kim snagged the helmet and set it on the cartons. As she centered it just right, she wondered for a moment what it would have been like if she'd stayed. If she'd worn the Zeo helmet. She wouldn't have broken up with Tommy... not for a cheating asshole who unknowingly had a crush on her replacement, at least. And-
"You know, he was really wrong," Tommy said, touching her on the shoulder. She looked up at him curiously. "You were a great fighter. You were a really good Ranger. Don't forget - you were the first Ranger to kill a monster single-handedly!"
Kim glowed a bit at the praise and the memory. "I really do wonder, though-"
"So do I," he said. "But we're who we are and where we are because of what happened. Only an evil being planning on destroying the world by attacking the past is going to be able to change that." He sensed her anger slipping into depression and did his best to pull her out of it. "I know Kat and I broke up fairly fine... but can I help you blow up the Zeo Ranger stuff?"
Seven hours and ten cardboard boxes full of junk later, the two of them sat back-to-back in the warehouse tiredly.
"Seriously, where the hell did he get half that shit?" Tommy wondered. "And why?"
"He was a big fan of the 12 Days of Christmas song," Kim answered wearily. "It was so freakin' cheesy. Three years of milkmaids and drummers and geese and swans. Why aren't there any Christmas songs about pterodactyls and firebirds and cranes?"
Tommy snickered. "Well, if I needed any more confirmation that he's a complete pansy, I guess I got it today. He actually spent money on a singing and dancing drummer boy. Willingly. And thought it was a good gift. I'll never feel bad about the cactus ever again."
"It's not your fault Zedd turned it into a monster," Kim pointed out. The two fell silent, enjoying each other's company and the rest after the day.
Tommy turned his head to the end of the warehouse. Glass shards, dust, soot (Steve had given Kim quite a few flammable things), and pieces of wood littered the floor around their target zone. Cleaning it up was going to be a chore.
After a few moments, he felt a shudder work its ways down Kim's back; a moment later, she was shaking.
No, she was crying. 'Aw, man.'
With a heavy sigh, Tommy turned and pulled Kim into a hug. Despite his best efforts at keeping stuff light-hearted, he knew she'd eventually break down. No matter how pathetic the guy had been, she'd invested a lot of time and effort into the relationship and come out of it with a lot of debris. "Shhhhhhh." He pressed a kiss to the top of her head and rocked her a little.
He hated it when she cried - especially when there was nothing he could do about it. So he held her, whispered to her, promised to kick the guy's ass (she gave a watery giggle at that) and waited for the storm to pass.
She wound down to sniffles and grabbed some Kleenex from her purse. "I don't know what I'm going to do," she admitted suddenly, catching him off-guard.
"What do you mean?"
"We were sharing the apartment, remember?" When he nodded, she added, "It's not like I'm going to let him live with me anymore. But I don't know what to do now. I'm not going to be able to afford that place by myself."
Tommy's eyes narrowed as he thought- maybe...
His stomach rumbled, cutting through the tension and making Kim laugh.
"What? I'm hungry!"
"Fine, Rocky," she teased. "Let's clean up here and then go grab something to eat. I have to get home and crunch some numbers. Yippee."
Tommy was silent as they swept and filled the dumpsters out back; he remained quiet, scribbling on a napkin he'd found in Kim's glove box, throughout the trip back to Angel Grove. They eventually ended up back at his place when he spoke up to offer to order a pizza.
"You know," he said, as Kim popped in Star Wars to watch, "You could move in here. I have the extra bedroom I'm not using. And it wouldn't cost you much more."
Kim stared. And stared. And stared some more.
"You- really? You think you could handle all my stuff everywhere? I'd girl this place up in three days." She looked around. "This is such a bachelor pad."
"It's not that bad."
"Your only wall decorations are movie posters and half-naked men. Not that I mind the half-naked men, but sometimes you make me wonder."
Tommy gaped. "They're martial arts stars!"
"They're not fighting. They're posing and flexing and glistening like somebody poured a whole lot of oil on them."
His lips twitched. "Oh, like you really mind."
"I'm just saying it's a little weird. You're not one to be questioning anybody's taste in anything."
"Say the girl who-" he bit his tongue. It was far too soon to make jokes about her failed relationship. "-Who has pink on just about everything."
"Not anymore," she refuted. "But do you really think you could handle me being here all the time? Not being able to laze around and do guy things and be gross... like not watching porn in the living room?" she asked, pointing at a cardboard box in the corner by the entertainment center. Watching him blush was satisfying and her lips curved into a grin.
"I... I think I could handle all of that," he said, once he got his bearings back. "It's not like I really mind having you around. I'm closer to campus than you are now, too. And," he said with a bit of a leer, "why move the porn into the bedroom when we can just watch it together?"
It was Kim's turn to blush, and he grinned at the well-aimed barb. It was her turn to play and he expected a rebuttal... instead, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
"For what?" He grabbed her hands. "Friends take care of each other, Kim. You're the one who taught me that."
"Yeah, but you really didn't have to. And you don't have to offer to put me up, either... but you did anyway." Her serious expression slipped into a smirk, as she added, "You're always my hero."
He wrapped an arm around her and tugged her closer. "So is that a yes?"
"I'll think about it. It's a probably. You know that means you'll have to help me pack all my stuff."
"And move it."
"And then help me unpack. And listen to me when I tell you to move everything around until it's just perfect. And then move it again when I change my mind."
"Is it too late to change my mind?"
Kim grinned and snuggled against him.
She could get used to this.