Light Quest: Ch 4 of the Prologue
By Molly

Disclaimer: I don't own them

Author's Notes: I apologize profusely for the wait. This has not been an easy fic to write. It takes a long time for updates, but please don't give up because it will be finished someday, I promise. ( I won't forget it.

Special Thanks: To everyone who read, reviewed, and helped pull me out of writer's block. You guys are the greatest!

Rated: PG-13

I hope every chapter is as good as it's predecessor. Criticism is welcomed, reviews and kind comments are greatly appreciated. Enjoy. (

Kim blew a stray tendril of hair out of her face in frustration as she looked at Tommy.

He was sitting next to her yet mentally she knew he was distancing himself as far from her as he could get. He had his knees pulled up and his arms loosely draped over them, his fists tightly clenched. His jaw was set firmly and his eyes were narrowed.

If she weren't so angry herself she would laugh at his tense I've-never- been-more-ticked-off-in-my-whole-life stance.

This is what I have to reason with., Kim thought. She had seen Tommy mad in many different occasions, but this crossed all barriers. If there was any ounce of hurt in him he wasn't showing it. No obnoxious anger brought along by one of Zedd and Rita's spells.

Just pure, human, unadulterated anger.

He would rather spit on her than look at her.

Kim bit her lip as she thought of where to begin. I feel he should apologize, he feels that I should. Neither of us are getting anywhere with that mentality.

And looking at Tommy it was as if he didn't want to get anywhere. He's nowhere near wanting to work through this.

Another question formed in Kim's mind. The longer she thought about their situation, she became less angry and more curious. I have to break the ice. We have to get down to the bottom of this, and Tommy's not going to be the better person and speak up first.

But maybe he can meet my halfway. , and that was the thought that had ended their silence.

She took a deep breath and exhaled, prepping herself for what was to come.

"Listen, Tommy; I don't think you were right to call me a slut, and I know you were wrong not to trust my judgment as a ranger on a mission, but I shouldn't have hit you. That was wrong and I'm sorry."

Silence.

It was hard, but Kim brought herself to look at him, to see if she could somehow read him and gauge his reaction.

Finally she got a reaction.

Although it was not one she wanted.

Tommy laughed bitterly. "There you go again, playing the victim."

Kim sighed and shook her head. Unbelievable.

"Tommy I'm not trying to play the victim. I was only trying to apologize!"

"Your apologies mean nothing to me."

Tears of hurt and anger stung her eyelids. She shook her head. Being noble was out the window. He wanted a fight, and he was going to get one.

"When are you going to get over all of this..petty high school feeling sorry for yourself attitude and start putting your team and this mission first!?", Kim yelled.

Tommy jumped off the log they were perched on and immediately assumed a defensive position, his teeth clenched. "Since when do you know anything about putting this team first? If I remember correctly, you abandoned this team for a chance at some dumb medal, and you abandoned me for some punk you thought was 'Mr. Right'. By the way; how's that working out for you, Princess?", Tommy said, his voice heavy with sarcasm. All she could do was gape at him, totally taken aback. "How dare you accuse me of abandoning the team?! Everyone-including you-encouraged me to go!", Kim yelled. He's really severely hurt. That's where all this is coming from. Pent up emotions he never got the chance to release. "I didn't mean to abandon you, Tommy. In fact, I felt that you had abandoned me!"

Tommy didn't give her time to conclude her argument-instead he flew off the handle, yelling; "I abandoned you?! I never even LOOKED at another girl until MONTHS AFTER the letter!!"

This truly shocked her. She had thought for sure he hooked up with Kat soon afterwards, a part of herself not being able to blame him if he had. "Tommy, please listen."

Tommy stopped yelling. Instead, he faced her, close and personal, and spat his words through gritted teeth. "I don't want to listen to you. I seem to recall a certain letter in which you said enough. I don't want to work along side of you, I don't want to be your friend again or anything else. I don't even want to look at you."

Kim bit down hard on her quivering lip. It was hard, but she willed the threatening tears not to flow over. She would not show weakness, nor would she back down. "That's too bad! I'm a part of this team, and a productive part of it, too. Zordon chose me for his own reasons that have nothing to do with you, and as far as I'm concerned, he's our leader, not you."

"Don't give yourself too much credit there, Kim. Aisha's in Africa, Kat's in London, Tanya's in New York, and Trini's.Trini's gone. ", Tommy said; both of them wincing inwardly at the loss of their friend from a car accident last year. "Zordon chose you out of process of elimination, he didn't have anyone else. That's the only way a dumb slut would get on our team."

Oh, he would get what was coming to him for that one. Kim was past the point of feeling sorry for him because of her mistakes. As far as she was concerned, he'd made enough just now so that they were even. It's fair game. "Oh I'm a slut, huh? Funny, I don't recall you ever getting in my pants."

She had hit a sore spot and she knew it. It was a huge blow to his pride to know that some other man had more than likely been her first. "I could have had you."; Tommy started. "If I had wanted you."

Direct hit. They both knew it was a lie. Kim shook her head. "You know, I'm glad I broke up with you then. Because I'd hate to be with the person you've become. And I can honestly say, that, right now, I'm ashamed to be under your leadership. Bulk and Skull would have made better leaders than you have been this whole mission!"

Kim looked in Tommy's eyes. For the second time she had left him speechless. For the second time she had felt like a fool. He stared at her, and she could read deep hurt in his eyes. She had insulted him in his abilities as a boyfriend and a leader, and she knew she had crossed some lines.

But so has he. Kim justified to herself. Unfortunately it didn't make her feel any better at what she had said..

Without saying anything, Tommy bent down to collect sticks for the fire.

"Let me help," , Kim offered meekly.

"I've got it.", Tommy spat, without making eye contact with her. Kim walked back to the log and sat while Tommy started the fire for dinner, the rest of their time in silence as they waited for Rocky, Jason, and Billy.

"Dude! Your taste is all in your mouth, Man!", Rocky quipped at Jason. "Jennifer Lopez is WAY hotter than Jessica Simpson!"

"Whatever Rocky.", Jason laughed, shaking his head. Rocky was great at cracking everyone up. He silently thanked Zordon for assigning a human stress reliever to the mission.

"I still think that Celine Dion is the most beautiful female recording artist.", Billy said.

Rocky laughed and shook his head. "Billy, My Brother; you are in denial!!"

Both Jason and Billy gave Rocky looks of confusion. "Rocky, I don't know what you're trying to insinuate-", Billy said, but was cut off by Rocky's further explanation.

Rocky turned to Jason. "See, Billy says his favorite female singer is Celine Dion, but it's a certain Maxim magazine he hides under his bed with a layout of a certain, shall we say, very 'Stripped' Christina Aguilera?"

Billy's jaw dropped in complete horror. Martial arts or not, I will personally KILL Adam for leaking that information out as soon as I get home!, Billy fumed inwardly.

Jason was in total disbelief. Billy having a thing for Christina Aguilera? Our clean-cut, always proper Billy gets hot looking at pierced, tattooed, Christina Aguilera..now I've heard it all. And I thought it was funny to learn that Kat secretly liked Fred Durst.

He shook his head, trying to hold his laughter in. "Man, Billy; I thought I knew you, Bro.", Jason replied.

"Yeah.", Rocky stated. "Well now you know what gets his genie out of the bottle."

Jason could not hold his laughter any longer; he and Rocky both were rolling, leaving Billy ten shades of crimson.

However, their laughter abruptly stopped upon entering the campsite.

Tommy was sitting by the fire.

Kim was sitting on the log staring off into space.

It was clear nothing had been solved.

Jason sighed. "I can't believe those two. When are they gonna get it?"

"For real.", Rocky piped in. "They should just have sex and get it over with."

"Rocky, everything's not about sex. There's way more tension between the two than that of a sexual nature.", Billy chided, still miffed at Rocky for revealing his secret crush.

"Let's go see what we can do.", Jason said.

"Hey Pretty Girl.", Rocky said, startling Kim somewhat, as he plopped down on the log next to her, draping an arm around her shoulders.

"Hey Rocko,", she replied, favoring him with a small smile.

"Okay guys, here's the grub.", Jason said as he passed out fruit to his teammates.

"No thanks,", Kim said as he offered her the fruit. "I'm not hungry."

He knew she was upset. He also noticed Tommy giving her quick, indifferent glances.

"Kim, you have to eat.", Jason ordered.

"Not tonight Jase. I'll eat in the morning.", Kim said.

Jason sighed. "Okay, I'll let you off the hook tonight, but from now on no more skipping meals. We don't get enough out here as it is."

Kim nodded. "Well guys I'm kinda tired. I'm gonna go to bed early."

"Goodnight.", the group replied; everyone save Tommy.

She paused to look at him for a moment, to see any emotion. He made eye contact with her briefly, and then lowered his gaze back down to the ground.

Nothing.

"Goodnight.", Kim said sadly as she turned and walked towards her tent.

"So what happened?", Jason asked Tommy once Kim was out of sight, a hint of accusation in his voice.

"Why don't you go ask Kim.", Tommy said quietly, looking straight ahead.

"Did you even try to work things out, Tommy? Did you apologize at all?"

Tommy sighed. He felt guilty for how things had turned out between him and Kim, sure, but he was getting sick and tired of every time words were said between Kimberly and himself, he was the one that ended up taking the blame.

"Look Bro, Kim and I will be fine. We'll never be the way we were, that's impossible after everything that's been said and done. As long as she stays out of my way, we'll get this mission done and be back home in no time."

"That's just it, Tommy. You can't keep ignoring the problem! You're a leader for crying out loud, and a darn good one! Leaders don't run from problems, they solve them. Don't let me talk to Kim and find out that she tried to solve it and you refused."

Tommy was losing his temper quick. "Or what, Man?", he challenged, exasperation in his tone.

"Go to bed and calm down. I'll talk to you in the morning. ", Jason said, and left with the others to go to their tents before Tommy had a chance to reply.

Kimberly couldn't hold her tears any longer. The moment she entered her tent, she dropped to her knees in sobs.

Oh Tommy what has happened between us? I've never seen you mad at anyone ever like you're mad at me now.don't you know I'd change it if I could?, Kim thought, while burying her face into her pillow to muffle the cries.

She couldn't let the others know she was crying. The more they blamed Tommy for, the more he'd resent her.

She lied on her sleeping bag breathing deeply after her emotional storm had passed. Living day to day in these conditions weren't easy, and when there's conflict between you and another member it makes it even harder.

Her head was throbbing from all the stress and tension. She had cried until there was nothing left, and, finally feeling the physical affects of the day, she fell asleep.

She couldn't remember what had woke her up. She just opened her eyes and he was standing over her.

Tommy.

Except it wasn't Tommy now, it was Tommy then.

Tommy, dressed in a white t-shirt and jeans, his long hair tied back into a loose ponytail, and a clean shaven face with no goatee.

He was smiling at her.

"Tommy?", she asked.

He bent down, now sitting on the ground in front of her. "I'm right here, Beautiful."

"And you're not mad?"

Tommy smiled at the confused look of innocence on her face. "I could never be mad at you, Baby."

Kim couldn't take it any longer. She leaped up out of her sleeping bag and flung her arms around Tommy with such force that it took him by surprise. The tears came instantly.

He held her tight, stroking her hair and her arms and her back, and whispering sweetly in her ear. "Shhh, it's gonna be okay.I'm here now."

"I don't understand, Tommy;", Kim said through choked sobs. "I'm trying so hard.why can't everything be as simple as it was then?"

"Don't worry, Beautiful.", Tommy said, wiping away her tears with gentle caresses. "Everything's going to work out. You'll see. You just have to keep trying and never give up hope."

Kim smiled lovingly at him. "I love you still. I never stopped, not really. I'll love you forever."

He only smiled back at her.

Kim awoke, and the loving, handsome figure of the man she loved had disappeared.

It had all been a dream.

A dream that left her heart aching for Tommy, the Tommy she fell in love with, more than ever before.

I have to make things right between us. I have to. No matter how belligerent he's being right now, I have to correct all my mistakes., Kim thought as she drifted back to sleep with hope for the next day, and a desire to be with Tommy, at least on good terms if nothing else, more than she could ever have imagined.

Tommy lied on his sleeping bag with his hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling of his tent.

Nothing was easy anymore.

He and Kim had never fought while they were friends or dating, not once.

Granted, their time being so occupied with Ranger business they never really had a chance to fight, but still..

Things were so simple back then. There was love, and that was enough.

The innocence and the hopes and the rose-colored glasses had been stripped, leaving them with anger, hurt, and resentment.

And emptiness.

A tear slid down his cheek as he remembered them back then. The soft, shy smiles, the tender kisses-every bit of purity that first love holds.

He had either had a crush on Kim, been madly in love with Kim, or been madly in love with Kim and heartbroken by the letter and all that that implied. This was something new. This was "why-do-I-have-to-see-her-again; why-couldn't-she-have-just-stayed-in-Florida-because-I-can't-get-over-that- I'm-not-over-her-yet" feeling.

If only I can learn to hate, He thought before drifting off to sleep.

Kimberly sang to herself quietly as she worked small seashells she had found on a shore line, along with green leaves of all shapes and sizes, onto hemp strings she had braided together, silently thanking Zordon for providing each member a rather elaborate sewing kit.

She had begun making necklaces for all the guys plus herself. She had always enjoyed arts and crafts, and doing this on breaks and spare time kept her mind off other things, such as the travel and hot, dry weather.

And Tommy.

She was putting the finishing touches on his necklace now. It was a peace offering, something to let him know she wasn't mad or held any bad feelings against him.

Hopefully today would be the end of their feuding.

She quietly approached him, the sea shell necklace clutched tightly in her hand to steady the shaking. He was in the middle of a kata, his back to her and his shirt off.

If she had been just a fraction less nervous, she would have lustfully gazed his muscular physique; the tanned tent of his skin giving his flexed muscles the appearance of even more definition, his strong body taut with fine precision, glistening with a thin sheen of sweat.

Kimberly swallowed the lump in her throat, debating on how to get his attention.

"They told me at the camp site that I'd find you here."

Tommy stood still, his heart first leaping at the nostalgia of her comment, then sinking into bitter resentment at her mere presence.

At her no doubt attempt to make things better between them.

He slowly turned to face her, a look of contempt and obvious displeasure at being interrupted by the last person on earth he wanted to lay his eyes upon resided coldly on his face.

The steel gaze caused Kim to turn away for a moment.

His silence prompted her to explain herself and it had better be good..and mission orientated.

"I just wanted to apologize for everything that's happened between us. I know I've said some things that I regret and this constant fighting that's been going on between us has really caused our team and this mission to suffer..", Kim trailed off for a moment.

."..as well as our friendship.", Her emotions were getting the better of her and she decided to use that. "You know, Tommy; we used to tell each other everything. We were so close-even before we became romantically involved. I know I messed all that up for us when I went to Florida and wrote the letter and.I guess I was just hoping that we could get some of that back.", Kim said as she gazed down at the necklace still tightly clutched in her fist.

"I made everyone these necklaces in my free time; you know, just to unwind and relieve stress and stuff. Well anyways, I made you one too as sort of a peace offering.", She said before thrusting the concoction into his hands. "Yours is the biggest cause, you know; you're the leader and all.", Kim added, favoring him with a quick, nervous smile.

Tommy just looked at her like she was crazy. He stayed silent for a long time, his features not softening a bit, much to Kim's worry and disappointment.

"So this is how you've spent your time?", Tommy spat. "Making ridiculously ugly jewelry for everyone? So we can be 'desert chic' when we go fight this master villain and take the light orb? News Flash, Kim. This is a MISSION, not an art center for Kindergarteners."

Tears welled up in her eyes. She made no move to hold them back; her pride now shattered along with what was left of her heart. Kim swallowed hard to try to steady her voice.

"Yeah. What was I thinking?", she said with soft sarcasm. "Rocky, Jason and Billy loved the 'ridiculously ugly' necklaces I made for them; I guess I just thought you'd like one, too. I didn't want to leave you out."

"Yeah? How about you go with that last idea and leave me out, because I want nothing to do with you. Whatever we had between us prior to the letter is OVER. Take the hint and get out of here.", he said bitingly, then looked back at the string of sea shells in his hands. "And when we come across the evil guarding the orb, you can give him mine.", he added coldly as he threw the necklace on the ground at her feet and turned his back to her, signifying that the conversation was over.

Kim just stared at her peace offering on the sand at her feet. She began to sob as she bent down to pick the necklace up. She stayed on her knees for a while, to upset to even move. A part of her wanted to run and another part of her wanted to beg him to reconsider, to give their friendship another chance and she'd never do anything to jeopardize it, ever. She grasped the necklace and stood shakily on her feet, not bothering to dust the warm debris off her knees.

She was still sobbing, and made no move to muffle them. She was vulnerable. There was no longer any fight left in her; Tommy had broken her spirit.

She took one last look at him, standing defiantly with his back to her before she took off and ran in the opposite direction.

Tommy heard her desperate crying. He bit the inside of his cheeks and focused his eyes on something in the distance to keep from turning to face her. He knew if he saw her cry he would lose all reserve.

A tear had slid down his cheek as he listened to her heart breaking sobs that seemed to plead with him. *Don't you get it, Kim? You can't hurt me like you did and expect me to come crawling back in compliance to your every whim. You just need to stay away. It's best for us both*., Tommy told himself.

Kim ran until her legs gave completely out, and she found herself collapsed over a rock in the clearing.

She wished she didn't love him. She wished she could hate him the way he hated her, so the pain of his words would go unnoticed. She wished.

She wished that he would find it in his heart to let go of his anger, that he could love her again and they could live happily ever after. As much as he hurt her, she desperately wanted to be with him again.

To any other person that could have witnessed the displays between them, her wishes were crazy and an obvious sign of lack of self esteem, but no one else knew Tommy the way she did, no one else knew how wonderful he was, and how personal he took pain and rejection.

How wonderful he used to be.

Kim cried until there was nothing left, and stared blankly at the sunset ahead of her.

Then she felt it.

An eerie, strong feeling she was not alone.

She sat up quick, and listened intently, still keeping her eyes on the sunset.

Nothing. No sounds, just that bizarre, terrifying hunch that gripped her.

She most definitely was not alone. She didn't have to hear or see what she knew was there.

It was so quiet she could hear her breath heaving. It wasn't one of the guys, they would have been noisier or said something by now., and it wasn't an animal of some sort.

It was staring at her.

They were staring at her. She could feel more than one pair of eyes on her.

Her sweaty palms grasped the rock as she braced herself to turn and face the beings in her presence.

Her lip quivered-before she saw them she knew this was no putty or tenga, no monster Zedd or Rita had ever concocted.

This was something out of a nightmare.

She willed herself to turn completely and face them, in order to prepare to fight.

Her eyes widened in terror as she saw them, and a deafening scream escaped her lips.

Well guys, that's it for Chapter Four! I hope you enjoyed it! If you want to know what Kim's "acquaintances" are; think "Orcs" in Lord of The Rings and you have an accurate physical description.

And if you're going to review this telling me that Tommy is out of character, save it for another fic I'm planning; cause Tommy's reason for his horrid behavior will be well explained in the next two chapters. (

If you want more and you want it quicker, PLEASE REVIEW!!! LOL, I can't stress that enough! Review and I will try my hardest to get back to all of you! Also, I just got three amazingly flattering reviews from Twitch and that motivated me to finish this chapter, so it DOES work.lol; I can be bought!

Catch ya on the Flipside! ~Molly