Co-Authored by psyco_chick32 & Shawn30
Timeline: Divergence after Season 3. Kim never left, Zeo never happened. It's their Senior year of high school.
Notes: Jason, Zack and Trini came back for their Senior year.
Genre: Drama/Hurt/Comfort/Angst – take note, there are no magic answers in this story. It deals with a variety of issues, and people deal with them in a variety of ways. No one person is right or wrong all the time.
Ships (so far): Jason/Trini
Summary: When the unthinkable happens, friendships and relationships within the Rangers team are left broken.
A/N: psyco_chick32 - "He'd never do a thing like that!" -Something said by 90% of everybody ever cheated on. Also, working with Shawn is… interesting.
A/N: Shawn30 - There are two sides to every story no matter who gets hurt. Regaining lost love, trust, and honesty takes a long, hard time. And break-ups tend to affect more than just the two people involved. Also, lol, working with Kim has been "interesting"
Jason Scott's House
Sunday, September: Week 1
"Jase, I cheated on Kim," Tommy blurted out frantically as he raced into the basement where Jason was working out. Visibly shaken didn't even begin to describe him. "I fucked up really, really bad. Kim told me not to go to that damn party, but I didn't listen. We've been fighting and I wasn't- She- I just… I…" He trailed off, beyond words.
Shaking his head at the lunacy of what he just heard – which had to be a crazy joke – Jason replied, "Define cheated, bro?"
Tommy hung his head. "I fucked Jenny last night."
The blow came so fast, and with such force, that Tommy was knocked sideways off his feet and into the wall behind him before he finally crumbled to the floor. His first instinct was to rise and fight, his body strong and ready, but his heart was gone… crippled… utterly broken by what he'd done and the life-changing consequences guaranteed to follow. He deserved that punch and so much more.
Jason towered over Tommy, rage lifting off him like steam as he glared angrily at the man he called his very best friend. This had to be some kind of nightmare. "How in the fuck could you do that to Kim, you selfish motherfucker! How could you betray her? I thought you loved her! You told me, before you asked her out, that you would never hurt her. You promised me that!"
Unshed tears in his eyes, Tommy sat with his back to the wall, wincing as his hand covered his jaw, a bruise no doubt rapidly covering it. The taste of copper fluttered over his tongue. But what could he say? There were no excuses and no one to blame but himself. He had ruined his beautiful love with Kim. "This is all my fault. I was at the party, Jenny was flirting with me, and I- we had sex one time." He shook his head as if this were all a bad, horrible dream. "I'm disgusting-"
"You sure are!" Jason paced back and forth across the room, running his fingers through his short hair. He was nearly in tears over the knowledge of how badly this would hurt Kimberly. "How the hell could you be so weak?"
"I don't know," escaped softly from Tommy's lips, head bowed as he accepted the hate he was due. And he knew this was only the tip of the iceberg. "I don't know what came over me."
"Were you drunk?"
"No. I wasn't drinking."
Jason kicked a box on the floor clear across the entire expanse of the basement. "It'll just about kill her," he pointed angrily at Tommy, who did not even raise his head to meet the rage. "She loves you so much… trusts you so much. With everything her dad did, and now- God, you… you sonofabitch! You're better than this!"
Tommy had always thought that he was. He'd always expected better, and was certainly raised better, taught how to treat women by a father who treated his mother oh so well. His behavior was so far beneath him and he knew it. Kimberly was his heart and he had betrayed her so completely he couldn't stand himself. He wasn't lying to himself, either. Once he told her the truth, it would be over. Then he'd know true suffering… and it would be nothing compared to what she would go through. "I'm going to tell her in a few days. I just need to get my head on straight."
"You need to tell her tonight! You have to get this over with!"
"Don't call me that!" Jason paced the floor, angrier than he'd ever been before. Tommy was his best friend. His Ace. They knew everything about each other, flaws and secrets and all. But this… this was just too much. "You need to tell her right now… or I will."
Finally rising to his feet, Tommy approached Jason, hands in his pockets. "I know I don't have the right to ask anything from you, but Kim deserves to hear this from me. It should come from me," he pointed out. "I did the crime, Jase, and I have to face it like a man. But I can't do it tonight. I just can't. Probably tomorrow. Give me three days. But the truth needs to come from me or it'll be worse than it already is."
"I don't think you have a clue how bad things are going to be."
Backing away towards the staircase, Tommy sighed. "I know that I've lost her and broken her heart. I betrayed her trust and she's going to hate me. I deserve that. Everything else I lose pales in comparison." He was gone before Jason agreed to keep this secret for a couple of days.
Jason's fist slammed into the wooden table in front of the sofa before he buried his face in his hands. Beyond how it would break Kim's heart, this was going to explode and split the team. How will this affect the protection of the Earth as far as the team went? He had to think and consider what the best course of action was. Kimberly was about to be hit by a freight train and there was nothing he could do to save her. All he had to work with was the bigger picture, in the grand scheme of things.
Angel Grove High School
Thursday, September: Week 1
Kimberly hummed as she dug through her locker. Math book, check… notebook, check. Flower… She grinned a silly, love-struck grin and smelled the beautiful pink rose again. She had the greatest, hottest, most amazing man in the entire universe, and this week he was pulling out all the stops. At first it caught her a little off-guard, but she figured it was his way of apologizing.
They'd been fighting an awful lot lately. With graduation and college looming, it was hard to find time just for them. Rita and Zedd were stepping up their game and slamming them with monster after devious plot after monster. And Tommy was being more protective than ever, whether Kim was on the battlefield or the beam, after all the drama that had gone down surrounding Kat's brush with evil months before.
All of the angst had exploded into a major shouting match over the phone last Friday night. Kim had to go to a family wedding out of state, and Tommy had been invited to a party thrown by her own worst enemy. She'd asked – well, rather ordered – Tommy not to go. It wasn't that she didn't trust him; she didn't trust Jenny, and she'd figured it would be a non-issue anyway, since Tommy wasn't usually into the party scene.
But her attitude had provoked his, and the verbal sparring had ended when she'd hung up on him, seething.
The trip to Nevada had helped cool her jets, on top of the long, supportive phone call with Aisha when she got to the hotel. She was so much better than Jenny, Aisha had reminded her. Acknowledging she'd been ridiculous, when she'd gotten home on Sunday evening, she'd immediately called to apologize.
In the following days, Tommy had treated her like a queen. Today was no different. A rose at her locker early that morning, hand-holding in the hallways and even sneaking kisses in-between classes. His fingers found hers almost every time they were together, and he clutched them like he was afraid she'd disappear.
If it wasn't so incredibly endearing, she'd be a bit suspicious.
Still humming, Kim checked her hair in the mirror hanging on the inside of her door – only to be met with the reflection of Jenny Sladek herself. Much taller than Kim's 5'2" frame and put together by an unfair God, the red-head boasted both boobs and an ass that wouldn't be out of place on a Playboy cover. She also had the reputation to go with it – and had her eyes set on Tommy from the moment she'd gotten to the school the year before.
"Hey, Kim," she said with a wiggle of her fingers, all but oozing a smugness that immediately had Kim's hackles up.
Kim lifted an eyebrow. "Uh, hey." Jenny had developed a serious grudge against Kim shortly after moving to Angel Grove, so they generally kept their distance. Jenny was well-known for trying to start rumors in an attempt to tarnish Kim's reputation. Kim was far too popular for it to work, but the girl would go the extra mile when Tommy was involved… and it was a balm to Kim's sometimes-insecure 17-year-old psyche that her handsome man never even showed a passing interest.
"So, your man was at my party on Saturday."
"I know," Kim responded easily. Great, another attempt to break up their relationship. 'Not gonna work!' Although she did wonder why the girl had been out of school for the past few days. She'd been expecting this confrontation on Monday. Still, her response was the same as it would have been then: "And he apologized."
Jenny's lips curved into a self-satisfied smirk. "Was he apologizing for going? Or was it for fucking my brains out that night?"
Kim's eyes shot open and she jerked back like she'd been smacked across the face. "What?" Tommy wouldn't do that. Tommy was Tommy. They'd talked about having their first time together, making love into the wee hours of the morning. Tommy wouldn't ever cheat on her. That was stupid. Shock passing, Kim let out an unladylike snort. "Yeah, sure, whatever you say."
Jenny's grin was a little too knowing for Kim's comfort. "Oh, he hasn't told you? We had such a great talk… the music was too loud, you know, and he followed me straight up to my room. One hot kiss led to another – that man can really use his tongue, can't he?"
Kim's eyes narrowed at the very thought. A voice in the back of her head told her to leave, not to listen to this bullshit. But it was like her feet were stapled to the ground. At a loss, she shut her locker and hefted her backpack over her shoulder. "You're delusional. Tommy wouldn't-"
"I've always wondered what his hair would look like spread out over my pillow. He was flat on his back and I rode him until he couldn't see straight."
"Look, you can flap your lips as much as you want. Tommy loves me and I love him, and you're just jealous." Her voice trembled just a touch; she wouldn't let Jenny see it, but given her family history, she'd always been wary of guys in previous relationships. That's why she loved Tommy so much… he was so patient with her, understanding she wasn't quite ready to have sex yet.
Jenny snickered. "Jealous? Why should I be jealous? I satisfied that hot hunk of man more than you've probably ever imagined doing." Her voice turned venomously cruel as she sealed the deal. "I wish we would have had longer… that birthmark on his thigh? I'd love to run my tongue around it until-"
Kim lowered her hand, shocked that she'd go so far as to actually hit Jenny. But that birthmark- 'There's no way she could know unless he… maybe he told her. Maybe she overheard me tell Aisha… you know, in the privacy of my bedroom in the middle of the night. Maybe she- He could have-' Her thoughts tore through her brain a mile a second. Suddenly none-too-sure of herself, Kim spun and took off down the hallway. She and Tommy were supposed to meet in the park for some alone time… he'd be able to explain this.
Jenny leaned against the row of lockers happily.
She had finally won.
Angel Grove Park
Thursday, September: Week 1
Tommy looked up from his seat on the bench as Kim strode up, red-faced… and had she been crying?
He suddenly felt sick to his stomach. What if she had found out? Oh, God, Jenny had been at school that day… no, she wouldn't have said anything. He was on day four; had Jason said something? He'd been prodding Tommy all week to come clean-
He didn't have to wait very long.
Kim stomped up to Tommy, shaking. Her breath came in shallow pants and she didn't even give him time to say hello. "Is Jenny telling the truth?"
Tommy's eyes widened; he reeled back a little as though to get his bearings and her heart broke. He didn't have to say a word… it was written all over his face.
"Kim- Kim, wait, let me explain."
"Explain!" Kim shouted, throwing her backpack to the ground and her arms in the air. "Explain what? That you thought fucking the biggest slut in school wasn't a big deal, even though you had a girlfriend?" The past-tense verb cut him like a knife. "Explain why you've tried to be so sweet this week? Because I can already guess. Explain why you thought lying to me was any better? God dammit, Tommy, I trusted you with everything!"
He gulped as Kim struggled for breath after her outburst. Her cheeks were flushed and she was beginning to cry as she was torn between red-hot, seething rage and absolute heartbreak. He'd never felt so low; everything screamed in him to hold her, to make things better – something he knew he couldn't do. Not when he'd caused this.
Then Kim made it worse, with one hoarse whisper. "I was so wrong. I thought you were so amazing… I was wrong. You're just like my father."
Tommy felt like he'd been sucker-punched. That sort of comparison-
"Kim, I didn't mean-"
"Oh," she scoffed, trying to stand strong. "You didn't mean to do it. She slipped and fell on your dick. Is that it? You know, I preferred you evil to being a lying scumbag. At least then you just beat the shit out of me rather than stringing me along." It was clear she was losing control of her tears as she swiped angrily at her cheeks.
Tommy winced at the low blow. "Can you let me talk for just a minute? Look, I know what I did was stupid and-"
"Stupid? No, it's me that's the stupid one, for falling for your lies," the Pink Ranger snarled at him. "You selfish, arrogant asshole… you're such a disgrace to the Rangers." She began sobbing harder. "I thought you loved me – that you would never, ever hurt me. So why would you do this?" She clutched her chest. "Why?"
He couldn't find it in himself to respond; everything he said seemed to make everything worse.
After a moment, Kim looked him in the eye. He felt physically and emotionally shattered, looking at what he'd done to her. "I hate you, Thomas Oliver. I hate you and I hope you rot in hell. I never, ever want to see you again."
With that, she finally lost it. She turned on the balls of her feet and ran out of the park.
Jason Scott's House
Thursday, September: Week 1
Trini shoved at her boyfriend's shoulder and Jason pulled himself away reluctantly, finally pushing himself up from the couch. "Fine, fine. I'll go get the popcorn; you get the movie ready." They'd rushed to his place from school; Jason didn't have a class to teach, and they hadn't had much time to themselves lately. A movie afternoon was just what they needed.
Trini grinned and straightened her rumpled clothing. As much as she loved the feeling of him pressed against her, they had to get their hormones under control. She wasn't ready to take that next step – and they'd definitely never get the chance if his parents walked in on them making out like… well, like the horny teenagers they were!
Her eyes trailed Jason's ass to the kitchen admiringly and heard the air popper start on. Just as she reached for the stack of tapes, the phone next to the couch rang.
"Can you get that?" she barely heard Jason call from the kitchen.
She swooped up the phone with a familiarity born of years in the Scott house. "Scott residence." The person on the other end broke out into a worried, rapid-fire explanation Trini could barely understand. "Wait... wait, 'Sha. Take a deep breath, slow down and… wait, do I hear Kim crying?"
Jason stepped out at that moment, clutching a large bowl. He trained his ears on Trini's side of the conversation, though he could hear Aisha's ranting from half-way across the room.
It seemed like Tommy's secret had come out at last.
Trini's next words confirmed it. "Hold on a moment… are you saying Tommy cheated on Kim? Like, cheated, cheated?" Then she gasped, and fury radiated off of her in a way that any other man would have cowered from. "She didn't-" Another furious tirade from the other end of the call interrupted her again. "Okay. Okay, I'll be right over." She hung up, staring at the phone for a moment as though she barely believed what had happened.
She straightened her shoulders then, setting the phone on the coffee table and gathering her wits. No doubt Aisha would still be raging. Kim was heartbroken. Katherine was on her way, but she wasn't as close as the others. 'I have to be the calm one.' It was not easy to be calm when all she wanted to do was wrap her hands around Tommy's throat.
"I have to go," Trini informed Jason quietly.
"I'll drive you. I'd like to check on her, too."
Trini spun, peering at her boyfriend curiously. His tone was far calmer than she'd expected. "Tommy cheated on Kim. Shouldn't you be on your way over to kick Tommy's ass?" A strange expression flickered over his face.
And suddenly all the pieces clicked into place.
"You knew," she accused.
His lips thinned before he reluctantly nodded his head once. He wouldn't lie to her, as much as that option appealed.
"How could you?" Trini all but exploded. "How long?"
"Since Sunday," he murmured. Guilt began to boil in his veins as she stared at him as though he were a stranger.
"You've known for almost three full days?" She was incredulous. "And you never once thought to tell Kim, or even me that Tommy slept with a person who absolutely despises her?"
"Tommy asked… he said he'd tell her yesterday but-"
"No, Jenny told her today!" Trini interrupted.
Jason flinched and his eyes widened. Somehow, he'd never thought- "I thought Tommy would tell her," he said weakly.
"And it never crossed your mind that to Jenny – who has always enjoyed making Kim feel bad – this would be Christmas and her birthday and every other holiday rolled into one?" She shot him a withering glare.
He tried to deflect her anger. "Shouldn't we go see Kim?"
"I am," she replied coldly. "You, however, are not. I'm so disappointed in you right now; I don't even have the words."
Jason floundered for something to say, but came up empty. There was no excuse except his strong loyalty and brotherhood with Tommy. And Trini certainly wasn't going to accept that… not when Kim was hurting so badly.
She pushed past him – no hug, no kiss. Just anger and disappointment, so thick Jason thought he'd choke on it.
Angel Grove High School
Friday, September: Week 1
It was clear from the moment Tommy started down the hallway that everybody had heard. His friends gathered around the lockers, most of them looking solemn. Aisha and Trini wore thunderous looks; Trini standing as far away from Jason as physically possible while still being a part of the group. Her partner in yellow was speaking rapidly at Adam, who was wide-eyed. Though Tommy couldn't hear what was being said, he saw the Black Ranger turn to Kat, who nodded seriously.
Kim was nowhere in sight. Not that surprising, but he still worried.
'This is going to suck.' It was nothing more than he deserved, but that didn't mean he didn't wish it didn't have to happen. The walk toward his locker seemed to take forever and yet not long enough; Rocky noticed his arrival first and offered him a nod.
"-gotta be done, whether you like it or not," he heard Aisha say as he got closer. He could only imagine that the variety of reactions didn't bode well for him.
Tommy cleared his throat as he reached them, getting their attention.
Aisha spun, stride imperiously across the short distance to him, hand out. "Make this easy on everybody and give it up. Hand it over."
He blinked, confused. "What are you talking about?"
"Step. Down." Her tone dripping with bitch-slapping challenge, Aisha clarified, "Hand over your Power Coin. There are at least three people here we can trust to lead us."
Tommy's face darkened and his brows furrowed. "Excuse me?" he demanded. "Who the hell do you think you are?"
Jason realized they were drawing too much attention from passing students and tugged Tommy over to the group, motioning Aisha to follow.
"I think I'm one of the members of what used to be your team," she hissed as she followed. "And I think it's perfectly valid to want somebody who isn't a complete selfish dumbass leading us."
"'Sha, that's stupid!" Rocky spoke up first, leaping to his leader's defense. "Yeah, sure. He fucked up. He cheated on Kim… but he didn't cheat on the team."
Tommy glared at Rocky; as much as he appreciated the support, he really didn't need to hear how wrong he was. He knew it, they knew it… hell, by now, the entire school probably knew. Sadly, he was aware this was only the beginning.
"Besides," Rocky continued, ignoring Aisha's angrily tapping foot, "he was practically the Boyfriend of the Year for three freakin' years. One time shouldn't change shit like that, and it shouldn't affect his position as a leader. Kim broke up with him. Isn't that enough punishment?"
Aisha stared askance at him. "Um, no? Kim broke up with him because he cheated. Because he broke her heart. Don't you think she's being punished enough without having to take orders from him?"
Zack couldn't stay quiet anymore. "Wait, what is Kim being punished for?"
"That's what she'd like to know," Trini stepped in, moving her glare from her boyfriend – who'd remained silent so far in the face of her wrath – and over to Tommy. "She seems to believe this is all her fault and spent hours wondering how she could have driven him to do this."
"That's stupid," he rebutted. "Tommy just screwed up. She had nothing to do with it."
"She had everything to do with it, given that he was in a relationship with her in the time!" Aisha insisted. "And anyway, this isn't about punishment. It's about being able to trust the person leading us."
Jason finally broke his silence. "Tommy's never let the team down before."
"You don't call this letting us down?" Trini questioned him with a glare. "Because personally, I'm pretty disappointed."
"And there's a first time for everything, apparently," Aisha said, always having her girls' backs. "He's never cheated on Kim before, either." She saw Tommy flinch at the well-aimed barb.
"Could we stop talking like I'm not standing right here?" Tommy interrupted Rocky angrily. "Look," he said with a patience he didn't feel, "I'm not handing over my coin. There's just no way in hell. And I don't know why you'd even think I would."
"Probably because Kim's thinking about giving me hers," Kat finally spoke up.
The guys stared at the blonde in surprise. "Why?" Jason finally asked.
"Well, she's not… I mean, her thoughts right now aren't…" Kat trailed off with a sigh. "I didn't take it – I don't want to be in the middle of this. But like Aisha said, it's a matter of trust. There's always been a bit of a power imbalance in your relationship," she told Tommy with a slightly sympathetic look. "Now she's worried you don't have her best interests in mind."
"He has the world in mind," Jason stressed. "You know, that whole world-saving thing we do? That she's been doing for longer than he has? She's well-aware of how we operate and that shouldn't change… Rangering and our personal lives are different."
"Yeah, we work as a team," Aisha said. "You know, because we're friends and we look out for each other. We're not robots, Jase, and you can't expect us to just ignore what he's done because he's the high and mighty Tommy Oliver."
"Nobody is going to ignore what I did!" Tommy insisted. "I fucked up, okay? I know that. We all know that. But that's as a boyfriend, not as a leader."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Aisha rebutted, her tone oozing sarcasm. "Here I thought being a leader meant holding up our morals and stuff. Little did I know you're above that. Wish that would've been in the handbook."
Tommy pinched the bridge of his nose, digging deep for calm when he just wanted to shout and rant and punch things.
'I deserve this,' he reminded himself. It was harder to believe it each time he thought it, though.
"Okay, so I think Tommy's untrustworthy as hell," Aisha said. "Apparently, Rocky seems to think Tommy couldn't possibly be wrong." She plowed on, ignoring Rocky's indignant sputtering. Her unspoken feelings for him were far from important when her best friend's sanity was on the line. She turned to one of the group who had remained quiet. "Billy, what do you think?"
Billy flushed as everybody looked his way. "I do not believe I am well-informed enough to play a role in making this decision. Furthermore, while the team operates as a group, it has never been a democracy – as witnessed by the inclusion of you, Rocky and Adam onto the team without our input, though that obviously turned to our benefit. Also, I cannot speak for Kim, nor imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes and guess what she would wish. I think this is better left up to Tommy, Kimberly and more than likely, Zordon."
At the few blank faces, Trini sighed. "He doesn't think he should have a say; he doesn't think this is something that should be voted on."
Zack shrugged. "I'm not active right now, but Rocky's got a good point; he screwed up with Kim but not as a Ranger. Sure, he fucked up, but Tommy didn't let the team down. Besides, he's the leader. He can't just hand over his position to anybody."
"Adam?" Aisha stared at the member who'd been silent throughout the argument. So far it'd been guys versus girls… she sincerely hoped their more thoughtful guy friend would see Kim's side of things.
The Black Ranger shifted uncomfortably, as though aware what he was going to say was going to cause some drama. Aisha's glare dared him to try and get out an answer. "Look… Billy has a point in that this sort of thing isn't something we really vote on. I mean, Kim thought about handing over her position to Kat without asking any of us. But," he stressed, "if either one of them did leave… I think it should be Tommy."
"Excuse me? What the hell?" Tommy demanded angrily. The other guys were looking at Adam in various degrees of surprise… and in some cases, not a small amount of condemnation.
To his credit, the Black Ranger refused to back down. "Kim's been a Ranger longer," Adam pointed out, meeting Tommy's eyes defiantly. "She's one of the originals. She's not the one who screwed up. She didn't do anything wrong and yet she's the one thinking about leaving the team. That's not right, especially after she gave up the opportunity with the big-name coach, partly to stay on. I'm not saying it's right for either of you guys to leave. But if somebody has to… well, Jason has leadership experience, and is a great fighter. If Jason took your coin, there wouldn't be that much of a difference."
The silence at Adam's speech was unnerving to him, and he shifted a bit closer to Aisha. She put her arm around him consolingly; it couldn't have been easy for one of their shyest friends to say all that, especially when the majority seemed to have Tommy's back.
"I'm not taking Tommy's powers," Jason finally said. "That's final. I'm not going to do it. He screwed up. We all know that. But a relationship is a totally different thing than the fate of the world. Tommy went all the way to Zedd's Dark Dimension to save Kim once; doesn't that prove he's concerned about her?"
"Yeah, then. You know, before he started thinking with his dick." Aisha snorted. "I thought of all people, you would be most upset by what he did. Kim's supposed to be a sister to you, and here you are excusing him all over the place for what he did."
"I'm not excusing him!" When Aisha looked like she'd interrupt again, he glowered. "And I'm not saying Tommy's innocent. I'm saying these are two unrelated issues. This conversation is over." Jason's eyes darted to Trini, and his stomach sank at the look on her face.
"Bullshit," Aisha scoffed. "Zedd's going to take advantage of this… and we'll only have Tommy to blame. Of course, you'll probably find some way to blame Kim, instead. Because you guys seem to take a lot of pleasure in kicking her while she's down."
Tommy opened his mouth to argue but was cut off by the bell.
Aisha gave one more withering look to the people who'd stuck up for Tommy before grabbing Adam by the elbow. He shot Tommy an apologetic glance that Tommy either didn't see or ignored… then almost fell over as the Yellow Ranger proceeded to drag him to their first class.
'God dammit,' Tommy seethed, watching two mutinous members of his team leave. He was jostled as Trini strode past him, not even apologizing when his books tumbled to the ground. He watched her walk past Jason without giving her boyfriend a second glance, despite the fact that they walked to class together every day before that. 'Fuck.'
He was so fucking screwed.