Disclaimer: I do not own Power Rangers, Saban, Disney, or anything else that has to deal with Power Rangers.

Author's Note: This is my first ever Power Rangers fanfic, and I have not written anything for a while; so I hope I'm not completely rusty.

Warning: This is a dark look at Tommy's life and character.

Tommy had initially been happy to see his former student, Kira, but then she had told him about the mission she had gone on with Adam.

Tommy may have told Anton that he just wanted to live a normal life after Mesogog had been defeated, but that had been a lie.

Why wasn't I chosen? Tommy couldn't help but think. Not that Tommy doubted the abilities of Adam, Kira, and the other chosen Rangers, but still the former four-colored Ranger had felt his heart plummeting when Kira had told him the news.

Tommy loved being a high school science teacher, and he loved it when he was able to make a student's life brighter; but it just wasn't the same as being a Power Ranger. Educating the next generation of adults was definitely important, in many regards just as important as protecting the world against evil, but being a teacher just could not compare to being a Power Ranger.

Why did Tommy love being a Ranger so much? True, you got to live with the knowledge that you have helped to save the world, but there was so much pain and agony involved as well. How many times had Tommy been kidnapped and used by evil? How many times had Tommy lost his powers? How many times had Tommy come close to dying? The answer to all those questions was "Way too many times," but that didn't matter. Yes, you suffered as a Power Ranger, but normal humans suffered as well.

Tommy was no stranger to misery in his life, even before that fateful day when Rita has chosen him to be her evil Green Ranger. Tommy had no memory of his birth parents, but he did have clear memories of his years in foster homes. Tommy remembered all the abuse, and despite his bad memory he could not help but remember the day when he had been beaten so severely he had been in a coma for some time. No one had ever told Tommy exactly how long he had been unconscious, but that didn't really matter. All that had mattered to Tommy at that time was that he suddenly had memory issues.

Tommy had never been a Billy-level genius, but he had still been an above-average student. Then, Tommy's brain had been severely damaged, and he had to work extra hard to keep up with the rest of the students. It didn't help that he had to struggle to do his homework in a house where his foster parents smoke, drank, did drugs, and whatever else they did.

Finally being adopted by the Olivers had been a blessing for Tommy. He didn't mind at all that they were barely at home and that he basically had to fend for himself. Tommy had often run away from home in the past, and he was used to taking care of himself. Besides, the Olivers never abused Tommy in any way, and they always made sure that he had food and clothes.

The Olivers were not around to help a struggling Tommy with his homework, but the combination a quiet, safe house and Tommy's strong determination had allowed him to once again become an average student.

Even though Tommy would never admit it to anyone else being chosen by Rita to be her servant of evil had been even more of a blessing than being adopted by the Olivers. Before Rita, Tommy had no real purpose in life. His only concern had been finding a way to stay alive in an uncaring world. Not that Tommy had ever allowed himself much time to be bitter or angry about that. Tommy had always considered himself a survivor rather than a victim, and that mindset had served him well as both a Ranger and as a non-Ranger.

Tommy had placed his turbulent past at the back of his mind after Zordon had allowed him to join the team. How could Tommy allow his past to affect him when he finally had meaning in his life?

Tommy felt even more meaningful when he realized that he had fallen heads-over-heels in love with Kimberly and that she felt the same way about him. However, even dating Kimberly had not been enough to cure the emptiness that Tommy had felt inside him after Rita had drained him of his powers and he had to watch on TV as the other five Rangers defeated monster after monster without him.

Fortunately, Zordon had been able to recharge Tommy's Green Ranger powers when Tommy had finally been needed. Before becoming a Ranger Tommy had not been needed by anyone. How could he not love being a Power Ranger?

Tommy, though, had eventually lost his Green Ranger powers to Zedd; and even while he was telling the other five Rangers about how he was more than his powers Tommy had felt himself sinking into depression. He was nothing without the powers that came from being a Ranger.

Tommy had not hesitated a moment when Zordon offered him the White Ranger powers. How could he when being a Ranger made him feel alive? How could he when being a Ranger made him feel like he could actually have some meaning in his otherwise meaningless life?

Tommy would have definitely become broken if he had not been the Red Zeo Ranger when he had received that heartbreaking letter from Kimberly. Once again, though, Tommy had not considered himself a victim. It had been his fault, after all. He should have written more to Kimberly. He should have called her more. No doubt Kimberly had felt lonely being away from her friends. Tommy knew better than anyone else what it felt like to be alone in the world.

Katherine had been wonderful as well. Like Tommy she probably would have never became a Power Ranger if not for Rita. Tommy had been able to tell Kat things that he couldn't tell the other Rangers. Tommy had even once confessed to Kat that he sometimes wished that Rita would fight to win him back to her side. Not that Tommy would ever willingly serve evil, of course, but Rita had been the first one to give Tommy meaning in his life. For better or worse Tommy would always be connected to Rita.

Along with Katherine's support Tommy also had to concern himself with keeping the world safe from the Machine Empire. Tommy, therefore, was able to avoid thinking about the life he could have had with Kimberly. His broken heart could never compare to a broken world if evil was to win. Tommy could not fail the world because he missed Kim.

Even though Tommy had managed to keep a smile on his face when Dimitria told him that it was time for him, Katherine, Adam, and Tanya to move on with their lives Tommy had felt himself sinking into depression. How was he supposed to move on with his life? Being a Power Ranger was his life. Tommy didn't tell anyone, not even Kat, but he didn't have any life besides his life as a Ranger. True, Tommy had his karate and his potential racing career, but those things could never compare to being a Ranger.

Tommy's breakup with Katherine had been less painful than his breakup with Kimberly. Tommy and Kat had different goals in life, and they had mutually agreed that it would be better for them to be just friends than to try to maintain a long-distance relationship. Both Tommy and Kat knew from the letter incident the pain and the hurt that could result when a long-distance relationship did not work out.

Losing Kat romantically had become even easier when Tommy discovered the Dino Gems. Tommy had then devoted his life to creating a future generation of Power Rangers. Meaning had returned to his life.

Bumping into Hayley on the college campus had been nothing less than a stroke of luck for Tommy. They were not majoring in the same field, and they really did not have anything in common. They had just happened to be in the same place at the same time.

Hayley had seen Tommy sitting and studying at a table by himself, and she had decided to walk over to him and strike a conversation.

Tommy had not told Hayley about his Power Ranger past until he realized that he desperately needed her help to create the Dino Thunder Rangers. Tommy would have cared about Hayley if she had not been able to help him (she had a friendly, outgoing personality that reminded him of Kimberly and a gentle warmth that reminded him of Katherine), but the Dino Gems had definitely created a connection between the two of them that would have never existed otherwise.

Tommy could not help but think that all the relationships that he had ever had in his life would have never existed if not for Rita.

The depression had begun to sink in again after Mesogog was defeated. Tommy was glad that the world was once again safe from evil, of course, but he really wished that it had not been necessary to sacrifice his power once again.

Being a science teacher was not completely without meaning, but it just didn't hold the same meaning as being a Power Ranger.

Tommy still maintained his friendship with Hayley and he still kept occasional contact with Katherine, but it just wasn't the same. His relationships with both of them had definitely been more meaningful when he had been a Power Ranger.

Hayley came over to Tommy's house when he had informed her of Kira's return to Reefside, but both Hayley and Kira were gone now. Tommy and Hayley both lived in Reefside, but they lived two different lives. Kira had a strong music career, and she had to leave Reefside soon.

Tommy felt no bitterness or anger, though. Both Hayley and Kira deserved happy, meaningful lives. The same went for Conner, Ethan, and Trent.

Tommy stepped outside his front door and (leaving the door wide open) began to walk, even though it was nighttime and raining heavily.

Tommy did not know how long he walked, but he suddenly became aware of the fact that the sun was slowly starting to rise, that the rain was still pouring down from the sky with an intense fury, and that he was on a bridge.

He was on a bridge.

Tommy looked down. There was water a long way down.

A long way down.

Would he ever be a Power Ranger again? Tommy seriously doubted it, unless he found another source of power. That also was not likely because Tommy had lately devoted his life to finding that next power source without any success.

Now Tommy had learned from Kira that he was no longer needed to protect the world from evil.

Tommy knew that he was no longer young, but did that also mean that he was now useless.

You are useless, Tommy couldn't help but think. You are nothing without the power. You are nothing but an empty, meaningless shell.

Tommy looked down again. The water was a long way down, but it did look inviting.

Tommy had always been a good swimmer.