Return Of The Great Power
Book 1: The Return
Chapter 2: Zordon's Last Words
By: Pink_Green_White_4ever
Last Revised: April 17, 2004
Email: pink_green_white_4ever@yahoo.com
Website: A Blast From The Past

Author's Notes and Disclaimer:
A lot of people are going to ask about the timeline here. The story is AU starting after Zordon's death, which means that none of the following teams exist in this story - Lost Galaxy, Lightspeed Rescue, Time Force, Wild Force, Ninja Storm, or Dino Thunder. None of them were created in the timeline this story takes place. Sorry to all of you who are or were fans of those seasons - I have particular favorites now from each of those seasons, but I just really wanted to focus on Zordon's teams.

Thanks to Jang the DEFENDER and Lessa Solarem for beta reading the story!!

~*~

June 14, 2002

The twelve former super heroes gathered around the small projection machine Alpha 6 had set up and watched as Alpha 5 punched a series of buttons. A ghostly image of the man all of them had known, even if briefly, appeared. "Hello Rangers," the image spoke, the familiar half-grin appearing on the face long burned into most of their memories.

"Oh Zordon," Trini murmured as the hologram began to play the rest of the message.

"If you're seeing this, hearing this, it means my worst fears are coming true. Alpha 5 must be with you at this very moment, putting into action a plan I have mapped out for you in the event that you are needed once more." The group watched as Zordon's image disappeared and was replaced by that of an ancient scroll, which opened at Zordon's next words.

"During the era of the Morphin' team, Tommy, Rocky, Adam, Aisha, Billy and Kimberly were forced to go to a distant planet - Phadoes - and retrieve what is known as the Great Power. While there, a good friend of mine, the Master Warrior, Dulcea, also gave the six the power of an ancient race known as the Ninjetti. They used this power to destroy Ivan Ooze, or so we thought. As we learned, Ivan was literally made of ooze, leaving behind the possibility that someone, someway, somehow, might be able to bring him back after they used Ryan's comet to destroy him. Just a few days ago, in the time that I'm recording this, it was learned that someone is planning to bring him back, by finding samples of his DNA that have been floating in space, as well as any that was left behind on Earth. There have also been other rumors and murmurs about other prominent members of the alliance known as the Empire of Evil."

The group watched as the scroll flashed pictures of their old foes, each of them getting the sinking feeling that this 'family reunion' wasn't going to go as smoothly as they had hoped. "Alpha should have already explained to you what the alliance is, and who some of it's leaders have been. I'm afraid if he's playing this message for you, then it means that the time has come for you once again to take on the duty I first entrusted to you. In a few days time, you will once again face your toughest enemies, but worry not. I would not leave you without help. The Master Warrior, Dulcea, and several of the other ancient masters will come to aid you on your journey. For now, allow me to leave my last message to each of you."

The group immediately straightened. Zordon had kept the details from them, but just from what he had told them, they knew they were probably about to face their biggest battle yet. "Justin," the hologram proceeded, as the youngest Ranger stood at attention. Zordon's form reappeared on the hologram. "I only knew you for a short time, but in that time you proved, even at a young and tender age, that you had what it takes to be a Power Ranger. You may still be young when you view this, so please remember something for me. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not be reluctant to listen to the advice of the other Rangers, for they have the experience to teach you everything you will need to know to cope with the changes you will be going through."

Unconsciously, Justin nodded at the hologram, swallowing hard. "Tanya, you were a Ranger through two teams. I admire the determination and faith you put into coming from your homeland to join a team of strangers to help save the world. Never lose the independent spirit you have always had."

"Katherine, you became a part of the team at a time of immeasurable grief for your teammates, and you helped the five you joined with cope with that. There is no one more qualified then you to have been the successor of the pink powers, for you not only allowed Kimberly to entrust you with that duty, but you made it and the powers uniquely yours. Never lose your sense of self." Tanya and Kat shot each other teary glances as the message continued.

"Adam, our frog prince," Zordon started, causing the group who understood the joke to crack up laughing, including Alpha 5. "Silent as a sentry, Adam, you have always been a calm breeze in the storm that was your duty, watching over and helping your friends in ways they never will understand. Continue your silent watch, but do not forget to participate." Adam nodded, his eyes falling from the hologram as tears gathered in the corners.

"Rocky," Zordon's voice called out, causing the former red and blue Ranger to look up at the hologram from the floor. "Your determination, your strength, and your sense of humor have served, not only you, but the team, well. Never waiver from those qualities that set you apart, and never let go of your unending faith."

Rocky nodded and stepped back as Zordon's hologram started to address Aisha. "Aisha," Zordon started, causing the former yellow ranger to swallow the lump of emotion in her throat. "Your persistence, your daring nature, your strength to fight for any cause you believe in, all made you an incredible asset to the team. Do not ever give those up."

"Trini," Zordon's voice suddenly filled with an emotion that some of the Rangers hadn't heard before. "Your level headed thinking, your silent support, and your willingness to help anyone with anything, are all qualities that you had even at the tender age of fifteen. When you left for the peace conference with Jason and Zack, a part of me left with you. Remember, I'm always with you." All eyes turned to Trini, who stood staring at the hologram, transfixed, with tears streaming down her face.

"Zachary, you always seemed to be able to lighten the tension from any situation during those early days," Zordon's voice announced, causing the original five to smile. Zordon was right, Zack had always known just how to break the silences that had hung between them when things were at their worst. "Your sense of humor, your sense of honor, and your quick thinking kept you and your fellow Rangers out of many a tight spot. I commend you for taking the initiative and following your dreams. Even though you left the Rangers, I knew you were still doing the duty I entrusted to you, even if it was in a far different capacity than fighting. I am extremely proud of you."

Zack's eyes misted over as he and Trini gripped each other's hands, sharing the silent support. "Red and Gold," Zordon next words rang out, causing Jason's back to straighten. "Two very bold colors that fit you, Jason, perfectly. You were my first choice as leader of the Power team all those many years ago, because I knew that you were the one that could lead your friends to victory." Jason swallowed his rising emotions. "It pleased me when you humbly stepped back when I handed Tommy the team, as well as when you returned to help out where you could. Both are true signs of the leader I saw in you - that you were able to understand that what I chose was best for the team and that you were needed once again. You have always been protective of your fellow Rangers, a powerful asset to the team, and a dominating, reliable force in a world of uncertainty. Never change."

Tommy reached over and clasped a hand on Jason's shoulder while Katherine reached out and grabbed his hand, allowing him her support for this wave of emotion he was feeling. "Billy," the hologram started as the former Blue Ranger let a sad smile spark across his face. "I watched you grow from the shy, intellectually superior boy you were into the confident, mature, and comfortable man I knew you would be. While your cerebral prowess was greatly appreciated, I believe it was your heart and faith that made you such an integral part of the team all the way until you left. Thank you for all you did, even after you gave up your active status."

Kimberly leaned over and grasped Billy's hand, nodding her head as he let a few tears fall. "Tommy," the hologram called to one of the last two he had yet to speak to. Kimberly blinked in surprise, as did Tommy, both of them having assumed Zordon would address Kimberly first. "You came to us under dire circumstances, and I know that even though your friends and teammates never once held you accountable for what happened, you continue to feel guilty over it. I want you to remember that no matter how you became a Power Ranger, you were always one of MY Rangers, and you were always an important part of the team." This time, it was Tommy's eyes that misted over. Without a word, both Jason and Kim's hands shot out, Jason's grasping Tommy's shoulder as the latter had done for him earlier and Kim's reaching out to take his right hand. The trio had had long talks about what had happened back in the early days. To know that the connection between them was still there eased their minds.

"As the White Ranger, you brought the team to a level I have never seen any other power team achieve, on Earth or otherwise. As the Red Zeo and Turbo Rangers, your experience as leader and as having been one of the first six Rangers benefited the team when you found yourselves backed into a corner," the message paused for a moment, and the Rangers half expected Zordon to speak to Kimberly at last, but that wasn't the case. "However, I will never forget the way I watched you struggle with certain events. Through it all, you kept a tight hold on the hope that, what was your heart's desire, would be returned to you. You have quite possibly been given a second chance, do not let what resides in your heart go unsaid this time around."

Tommy stared at the hologram in shock. He hadn't been prepared for Zordon to bring up those long talks they had engaged in shortly after both Kimberly and Billy had left. Unconsciously, the hand that Kimberly held tightened its grip on her, conveying some of what Tommy was feeling to the girl who had first held his heart.

The hologram started to fade in and out, making Kimberly wonder if Zordon had recorded anything for her. "Ay yi yi! I apologize Kimberly, it's acting up," Alpha 5 spoke as Kim sighed and nodded. She started to think that maybe she wouldn't get to hear what Zordon had recorded for her, until Alpha 5 managed to stabilize the hologram.

"Kimberly," it started, causing the former Pink Ranger to straighten her posture. "My talented Pterodactyl, my shining Firebird, my agile Crane," Zordon's words washed over the last of the Rangers. "I believe a large part of me died the day you left. All of you became my children, but none more than you, Kimberly, who reminded me of the daughter that I'd lost. I firmly believe you have always been and always will be the very heart of the Power Ranger team. Whether it was the way you left or even why you left, though we all understood your need to follow your dreams, I believe that that was the day we all knew things would never quite be the same."

Kimberly's eyes were clenched closed, unwanted tears trickling down her cheeks as Tommy unconsciously pulled her against his side, allowing her to bury her face in his shoulder. It had been a long time since Kimberly had really cried, as she'd learned that sometimes you just had to put your emotions on the backburner, lest they swallow you whole. It was almost a relief for her to be able to let go of the controls, even for a little while. "You were very much the glue that held the team together, but more so, held certain members of the team together. I can only beseech this last request to the powers that be - I hope that you will be able to let go of what was and rejoin your teammates. For I believe that for the team to win, and more importantly for our Falcon to soar, they will need their supporting wind and their heart. Never forget that you were, and always will be, loved."

Kimberly felt Tommy's embrace stiffen at Zordon's final words. She immediately pulled out of Tommy's arms, seeking Jason's comfort. The others watched on helplessly as Tommy's eyes filled with an unbearable sadness as Jason wrapped Kim in his arms, shooting Tommy an 'I'm sorry' look. Tommy instantly knew he'd caused this sudden ache himself when he'd let her feel his shock at Zordon's words. Both Kat and Tanya stepped toward him, each laying a hand on his forearm to let him know they were there for him. "And now, I leave you with these departing words. Never forget that not only are you a team, but a family. Work together to achieve your goals, and trust the power inside of you. May the power protect you."

With that, the hologram went silent, Zordon's image disappearing as the reeling Rangers stared at one another in shock. The only sounds in the room for a few moments were the slowly receding sniffles of several people. "Alpha 5?" Billy asked as the smaller robot nodded.

"In two days time, the first of your allies will be arriving to help you. Until then, I suggest you rest, think of what Zordon told you, and relax." Turning from the heartbreaking scene, Alpha 5 joined Alpha 6 at the computer console.

~*~

June 15, 2002

The next afternoon, the Youth Center was all a-buzz with activity. The group of Rangers trickled in slowly, all congregating to the two tables that had been their usual spot since the days of the first Rangers. "What is going on?" Rocky asked as he, Adam and Tanya watched the crowd that hovered on the main floor of the Youth Center.

"All the gymnasts from Angel Grove High and Stone Canyon High, as well as every private training facility in both towns found out Kimberly's in town," Justin smiled as the three elder Rangers sat down, joining him and Tommy at one table while the others sat at the second table.

Tanya frowned. "Why would they be here to see Kim?"

"Because," Billy started as everyone's ears tuned in his voice, "Kimberly not only went to the Pan Global Games twice, where she helped the team win gold both times, as well as medalled herself in a couple of events, she went to two Olympics, too. If memory serves correct, she was an alternate for the floor and beam in 1996 and 2000."

"She was the one who taught the girls their beam routines during Pan Globals, anchored that team for most of their events, where she scored various medals, but I believe she also scored a Silver on Floor and a Gold on Beam in the individual competition in 2000 in Sydney, as well as received a Gold for the team competition in 1996 in Atlanta," Tommy pointed out, causing the others to cast him curious glances. "What? Did you think just because of what had happened I wasn't going to watch her? She's been one of my best friends for entirely too long for me to simply just give that up."

Jason was the first to recover. "We know that, Bro, but all things considered..."

Jason didn't get to finish as Kim immediately hopped off the balance beam, where she been practicing under the watchful eyes of her audience, and headed for her friends. "Hide me!" she hissed as she ran over and crouched down next to where Rocky and Adam sat.

"Um, Kim," Rocky started, looking over the side of the table at the hiding former Pink Ranger. "What's wrong?"

Kim sighed. "I'm sick to death of being hounded! Every where I go, it's Gold Medallist this, Gold Medallist that, even at home I can't find any peace!" she whined. "Some days I wish I could just turn back time and shake myself for ever going."

Kat's expression was one of confusion as she walked around the table and crouched next to Kimberly. "Kim, would you really do everything over again? You accomplished your biggest dreams by going to the Games, both of them, and winning medals."

Kimberly blinked and then looked up at her blonde friend. 'Would I do everything over again?' she asked herself. The answer was a resounding yes, if she could use the gift of hindsight. "Looking back now, knowing what I do, there happens to be a hell of a lot of things I'd do over again, Kat, but nothing more than choosing to go." Knowing that she'd just opened herself more than she had in five years, Kim stood quickly and fled the room.

"Ok, rewind," Zack spoke. "Trini, Aisha, spill it. What happened to her while she was gone, beyond what we already know about?" At that point, all eyes immediately darted to Tommy before going back to Aisha and Trini's faces. "She hasn't spoken to the rest of us, but with the looks on both of your faces, I know you know."

Both Trini and Aisha looked at one another, trying to decide whether or not they should tell the group, particularly with Tommy sitting with them. Trini finally decided that she was just going to give them an answer they would have to live with until Kimberly decided to tell them the truth. "What happened to Kimberly is for Kimberly to tell you. I will not break her trust. Just know that what happened destroyed the Kim we knew in so many ways." Aisha nodded in agreement with Trini as the group glared at the two.

"That doesn't help," Jason growled.

Trini sighed. "It wasn't meant to. Kim isn't the same girl any of you knew in high school. She's changed, probably more drastically then the rest of us. I think she has a lot of regrets, particularly where the team and certain team members are concerned." Trini's eyes rose from staring at the table to look Tommy dead on. When Kat reached over and grabbed Tommy's hand, Trini looked away. 'This is going to be one very LONG mission,' she thought to herself as she turned her attention back to her drink.

~*~

"You two can't keep dancing around what happened," Jason's voice tossed out as he and Tommy lifted weights in the Youth Center. "You didn't talk after Murianthias, neither of you have tried calling one another, and I know you haven't written to each other after what happened. If you keep going the way you're going, you're going to hurt for the rest of your lives. Besides, how are we gonna function as a team when what's between you two is pretty much dividing all of us?"

Tommy looked down at his friend in anger. "I don't believe it's any of your business, Jason, or anyone else's for that matter, what's between me and Kim and how we handle it."

At that, Jason lifted the bar one last time then with a speed to rival the Turbo Rangers at their best, flew off the bench and whirled around to face Tommy, his face as red as the uniform he use to wear. "Do you think I like seeing my Bro and my little sister acting the way you have been toward each other? I'm not stupid, Tommy, I know it hurts like hell," Jason barked, watching the darkness seep into Tommy's facial expression. "What you've got to remember, Bro, is that what is between you and Kim needs to be resolved, because it's dividing the team in two, and with the mission we have coming up, we'll need all the stability we can get."

"SHE BROKE MY HEART!" Tommy yelled, causing several of the other people at the Youth Center to stare at him in shock. "I'd have given her anything, Jason, I'd have moved Heaven and Earth for her if that's what she'd wanted. She threw all that away, IN A LETTER!"

"Have you ever stopped to think how she was feeling when she wrote the letter?" Jason asked, watching the hurt multiply ten fold in Tommy's expression. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to justify what she did, because what she did was pretty stupid, but have you ever taken a step back and thought how she must have been feeling? She's three thousand miles away from home, cut off from her friends and family, she's just been through three very traumatic experiences," at that, Jason watched Tommy's face, realization dawning on his features. "One of these flyboy gymnasts that she's working with everyday reminds her incredibly of the man she loves, and she starts to fall. Tommy, I also know for a fact that she thought you had an interest in Kat, especially after that last visit home for Christmas."

Tommy turned his head away, blinking back the incessant tears that were stinging his eyes. "Jason, is it possible to love someone so much that even after they screw you over, you still want them?" Tommy asked as he turned to stare at his friend.

Jason raised his eyebrows in surprise. An ironic smile played on his lips as he nodded under Tommy's gaze. "Unfortunately, yes. Tommy, you were both young and inexperienced when everything was going on. You've both grown up considerably. If you still love her, fight for her, don't let her push you away. If you don't, you're going to be asking yourself why until the day you die."

~*~

Katherine watched the figure on Angel Grove Park's outdoor balance beam. For the former Pink Ranger, watching her predecessor as she was now, took Kat back to the days before Kimberly had handed her the very essence of everything she had been to go and follow her dreams. 'If she had not given you her power coin, think of all the things you would have missed,' Kat thought to herself as she watched Kimberly perform a tumbling pass on the beam and then a triple twist back flip off the end, sticking the dismount as she landed on the mats that she'd set up. "That's a new one," Kat called, watching Kim whirl around, surprised.

"Didn't know I had an audience," Kimberly started, and then smiled. "Yeah, just started working on it. Trying to challenge myself. That's only the basic shell of the routine; I've got three more parts to add to it, including two elements to the dismount."

Kat nodded. "Looks good."

"Since I don't think you came all the way out here to watch me practice, what can I do for you?" Kimberly asked. While she and Kat had been friends, and maybe even still were, what had happened between Kimberly and Tommy was still an issue between Kat and Kimberly.

Kat mentally sighed. Ever since the summons by Alpha, she'd been doing a lot of thinking about what she was about to bring up with Kimberly. "With everything we're about to face, there are a few things I want to talk to you about."

Kim understood completely what Kat was talking about, and immediately started to try to calm what she knew Kat must have been feeling. "Look, Kat, I'm not about to get in the way. I made a huge mistake, one that I will have to pay for, for the rest of my life. However, I will not destroy the happiness you two have." Kimberly evidently took Kat's look of surprise as her having hit the nail on the head. "As soon as this mission is over, I'll go. There's no point in me staying, all it's going to do is cause two of my best friends more problems, and besides, there isn't a thing left for me in Angel Grove."

Kat simply stared at Kimberly as though she'd gone nuts. Didn't Kim know? Finally, the absurdity of Kim's comments sunk in, causing Kat to start laughing hysterically. After a few moments, the blonde former Ranger noticed her brunette friend was staring at her in confusion. "Kim," Kat started, taking several deep breaths to calm herself down. "Tommy and I stopped dating after our high school graduation. Number one, the distance between us, physically and emotionally, was too great to contend with. We just never could seem to come up with what you two had. Number two," Kat went on, watching Kim's eyes narrow at her. "No matter what went on between him and I, you were always between us. It hurt, I'll admit that, it still hurts sometimes, but it also pleases me in a strange way. I knew then he still loved you, and it has taken him a long time to realize that no matter what had happened between you, he will always love you. He did his best to push it away, to not think about it, but it's always come down to the fact that you're it for him. I'm happy he's finally straightened himself out."

Kim's gaze was filled with tears, hurt, and longing. "Kat."

"I came all the way out here to tell you three things. Number one, you and I are always going to be friends. We share a couple of things no one else can," with that, Kat winked at Kimberly, causing the other woman to chuckle. "Number two, I'm glad you came back; glad you're going to be on this mission with us. I've never truly felt comfortable being a Ranger, probably because of HOW I became a Ranger, but somehow, I think I'll feel better with you here. Last but not least, number three is that if you hurt him again, I will never forgive you. Zordon was right about one thing; Tommy's been given a second chance. The boy just has to learn how to make the best of it. What Zordon neglected to say was, so have you. I love him, will always love him, but now that I have the benefit of looking back on it, what I feel for him is solely what I feel for any of the other guys, love and respect, like that of a brother and sister, only deeper."

Kim nodded. "Kat..."

"I guess there's also the fact that I've got someone special in my life now, I just want to see the two of you together again, happy again."

Now it was Kim's turn to smile mischievously. "Who?"

Kat's smile was one of pure satisfaction. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"Try me."

"Jason." As soon as the former Red Ranger's name left Kat's lips, Kim's eyes widened to the size of saucers. Suddenly, a few comments Jason and Kat had made the day before fell into place.

Kat smiled at her friend's dumbfounded expression. "Oh my God, I am so happy for you two." Kim's genuine happiness filled Kat with immense relief. While Kat enjoyed Kim's friendship, she also knew that the former Pink Ranger held a special place not only in Tommy's heart, but also in Jason's. To know that Kim wasn't upset that Kat was seeing her 'Big Brother' calmed some of the blonde's fears. "When did that happen?"

"When I was in London," Kat started as Kimberly plopped down on the bench next to her. "He was on his way home from his second stint at the Peace Conference and had a five hour lay over at Heathrow Airport. I went down and sat with him and one thing led to another. Before we knew it, we were doing everything we could to see each other on a bi- monthly basis. You've got to promise not to say anything though, the others don't know."

"Not even Tommy?" Kim asked as Kat shook her head sadly.

"Not even Tommy. He and I haven't really spoken much since I left; I just haven't gotten around to telling him. Kim," Kat started, watching the brunette nod. "I think this is the real deal this time."

Now that didn't surprise Kimberly in the least. For as long as she'd known Jason, she'd known that whatever girl he set his sights on was going to be one happy girl, and the girl was gonna know it. "Good. Make sure you tell Jason that. You both deserve the best. And if you hurt him, I will hunt you down myself, got it?"

Kat laughed. "Deal. Come on, Billy wanted to go over a few things with everyone at his house. We're supposed to be there in ten minutes." So saying, the girls quickly picked up Kim's practice mats and hauled them back to her car, which they took to Billy's house.

~*~

"You don't think something bad happened, do you?" Aisha asked as she sat on Billy's couch, Rocky's arms wrapped around her. The two of them had been seeing one another off and on since Aisha's first visit back from Africa nearly three years before. Now that she was going to be staying permanently, the pair had decided to give it a real go.

Around the room, in various positions, the other Rangers sat, tense, waiting for their two Pink Rangers to arrive. Both Jason and Tommy looked about ready to go out of their minds with worry, a fact that disturbed yet pleased Aisha. 'Good, they should worry about their women,' she thought as she leaned her head against Rocky's shoulder. Even though nothing had been said, she knew that Jason and Kat had a thing going, especially since she'd seen the kiss they'd shared the night before when everyone had started to leave the Command Center. "Come on Sha," Rocky whispered softly, a goofy grin lighting his face. "This is Kim and Kat we're talking about here. The first and second Pink Rangers, the ones who may look helpless but could kick any one of our asses in a heart beat."

Rocky's accurate description of the two missing girls caused all of the others to start laughing, for what he said was true. Kim and Kat may have been, in the public's eyes, the weakest Rangers, but the team knew better. Both girls had fiery tempers when pushed to the limit, skills that were unimaginable when they were angry or a friend's life was in danger, and both knew exactly where their strengths and weaknesses lay.

However, it was no surprise that Tommy and Jason jumped when Billy's doorbell rang. Tommy, taking a page from his past as the White Tiger, pounced from his spot next to the window to throw open the front door; he was greeted by two grinning girls. "Where the hell have you two been? You were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago."

Kat's face was all grin while Kim looked a bit more shocked by his outburst. "We stopped by Ernie's and grabbed smoothies and snacks," Kim informed him as the two girls pushed past him. "I figured Billy hadn't gone shopping just yet, and I know how everyone, especially Rocky, likes to snack during our meetings." Rocky was about to protest, but Aisha, Adam, Tanya, Justin and Billy's laughter cut him off.

"Gee Tommy," Kat whispered as Kim started handing out the drinks. "Worry much?" As soon as Kat's question reached his ears, Tommy turned to glare at her, her face answering with a smirk. "Can we talk?"

Tommy nodded. "Jason told me on the way over here," he started as the pair excused themselves and went to sit on the front porch.

Kat sighed. "Tommy, I wanted to tell you, but I didn't want to hurt you, and I didn't want to jinx what was happening between me and him."

"I completely understand. I'm happy for you," Tommy told her, his eyes lowering to take in the wood beneath his feet. Initially, Jason's news had hurt, but he knew he'd get over it. Kat and he had had a good time together, but they had never been able to really make things work.

"All you have to do is talk to her."

Tommy shook his head. "It's not that simple."

Kat sighed, then allowed the fire to flare in her gaze as she grasped Tommy's chin and made him look at her. "Then make it that simple. One or both of you is going to be permanently scarred for life if you keep this up. I know you're still hurt, so is she, but she loves you and you love her. Put the past behind you and start over. You're not seventeen anymore, you're both adults. You won't get back what you had because it's going to be different, just like you two are different. Maybe it'll even be better."

"The others are still mad at her for what happened."

Kat sighed. "I'm still mad at her for what happened, but none of us have the right to be, except you. What happened was between you and her."

"Jason said it was affecting the whole team," Tommy sighed as Kat leaned over and wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

"Jason's right, it is affecting the team. We love both of you, and it's hard on us cause some of us feel like we have to take sides, but this isn't any of our business. If it starts affecting our mission, then it'll be our business. Until then, this should remain between you and Kim." With that said, she pecked him on the cheek and stood up.

Tommy joined her a second later, the pair heading for inside. "So, what kind of smoothie did ya get me?" Tommy asked as Kat chuckled.

"Strawberry Kiwi, what else?" Kat quipped, watching as Tommy's eyes lit up. She still couldn't understand, after all these years, his obsession with Strawberry Kiwi drinks. Of course, the sight of Kim drinking the same drink as the pair entered the living room gave her a clue. "Let me guess, her favorite too?"

Tommy looked over at Kat and nodded. "Yeah, and her favorite lip gloss. Still can remember the first time I kissed her and tasted it." At the somewhat goofy expression on Tommy's face Kat started laughing.

"What's so funny?" Tanya asked as the pair finally settled down with their friends to hear Billy's discussion.

"We were just talking about Tommy's obsession with Strawberry Kiwi smoothies and Kimberly." Kat's words shushed the whole group, everyone turning to stare at Kimberly, who was sitting on the floor with Justin just in front of Aisha and Rocky. Poor Kim's face was as red as Jason, Rocky and Tommy's old uniforms.

"Alright, that's enough, we need to get down to business here," Billy's serious tone snapped the others from their moment of laughter, all eyes darting to the former Blue Ranger. "While we were at the Power Chamber, I managed to get some hints from questioning Alpha 6 about who's coming to help us."

The common consensus among the group was worry. Billy saw it in their eyes, but knew that when they found out WHO was coming, they might not worry so much. "And just who is coming?" Justin asked as Billy smiled.

"Do you remember what Zordon's hologram was saying about Ivan Ooze and our first encounter with him?" Billy asked the younger male, who looked like he was thinking hard on something for a moment, nodded enthusiastically.

"I didn't think she was allowed to leave the planet to come all the way here?" Kim softly questioned, her gaze narrowing as she tried to think of her last encounter with the Master Warrior, if that was even who Billy was talking about.

Billy's grin was huge as he looked at Kim. She had definitely given up the valley girl routine and become a force to be reckoned with if she had guessed the answer so quickly. "Sometimes, rules are meant to be broken."

Kim's slow nod told Billy she understood. "I don't get it," Zack commented as Kim turned from her position facing Billy, who was standing beside Rocky's side of the couch, to look at Zack, who sat on the opposite side of the room.

"When we first encountered Dulcea, she couldn't help us on Phadoes further than the ruins of the Ninjetti temple, because she said she would start aging as rapidly as Zordon had been outside of his time warp then," Kim supplied as Zack nodded along, her answer clearing up some of his own confusion. "My question for Billy was how could she come here, to Earth, when she hadn't been allowed to step off that plateau to help us then."

"That's a good point," Aisha started, sitting up and turning to fully stare at Billy.

Shrugging, Billy took up a spot on the arm of the couch next to Rocky. "Like I said, some rules were meant to be broken. Maybe the powers that be are allowing her to help us this one time."

"Or maybe she's doing this, knowing the risks of leaving her post, to help us anyway," Tommy supplied, the implication of his statement scaring the others a bit. If Dulcea did leave her post to help them, she might be condemning herself to death.

Jason thought hard about the topic being batted back and forth. "Would she really do that though?" he asked, ceasing the conversation that had been going on. "Would she knowingly leave whatever it is that she's supposed to be guarding unattended if she knew it would kill her?"

"Jason's got a point," Trini spoke. "There's got to be more to it then what it seems."

"Well, she isn't the only one coming to help us, if Alpha's hints were true," Billy told them, leading them into the rest of the discussion.

Adam's eyes lit up like lights on a Christmas tree. "Ninjor? The Blue Centurion?"

Now some of the Rangers who had understood what was going on blinked in confusion. "Who?" Kim asked. She knew Ninjor, had worked with him just before she left, but the Blue Centurion?

"You know Ninjor," Rocky supplied, waiting as Kim acknowledged that fact. "The Blue Centurion came to help out right around the Zeo/Turbo crisis."

"I think at least Ninjor's coming, that much I'm pretty sure about, but I don't know about our interstellar police friend." Billy's comment gave Justin the opening he'd been waiting for.

"Like I told Aisha in the car the other day," Justin smirked. "This is turning out to be one big family reunion." With that, Rocky, Aisha, Adam, and Tanya all threw pillows at Justin, hitting Kim in the process.

"HEY!" Kim cried, ducking and dodging the flying projectiles. Soon, the whole group erupted into non-stop laughter.

~*~

"Thanks for walking me back," Kim murmured to Rocky and Aisha, who merely waved her thanks off.

"Come on Kim, you think we'd let you walk back to this hotel all on your own? Angel Grove may be one of the few relatively crime free cities in California but it's not one hundred percent safe," Rocky objected.

"For Ex-rangers or not," Aisha finished as they walked Kim to her door. Just as Kim was about to go in, Aisha reached out to grab her hand. "Kim, are you ever gonna tell them what happened, tell HIM what happened?"

Kim turned around, the horror that Aisha would ask that in front of Rocky quickly spreading across her face. "SHA!" Kim hissed.

Rocky gave both girls a puppy-dog look, causing them both to start laughing, which eased Kim's mood. "Come on Kim, we're your friends. We want to know what happened so we can help," Rocky pouted.

"Rocky, there is no way you could help me," Kim started. "Then or now. There was nothing to help me with. I've had a lot of soul searching to do. Aisha," turning to her other friend, Kim let a sad smile cross her features. "I'll think about it, alright? But I don't think it's going to change anything. It was exactly what it seemed and then some."

"At least you're thinking about it, which is better than you flat out telling me to mind my own business," Aisha muttered as Rocky and Kim's laughter cut her off.

"Sha, even if I told you that, it's not like you'd listen, right?" Kim asked, sticking her key into the lock and unlocking her door.

Aisha stuck her tongue out at Kimberly and then grinned. "Probably not."

Both Kim and Rocky rolled their eyes. "See you tomorrow." With that, Kim turned and went inside, latching the door shut behind her.

~*~

Kimberly quietly left her room two hours later, dressed in a one-piece pink and white bathing suit, a towel wrapped around her neck, a pair of white shorts covering the bottom of her bathing suit and her hair pulled into a tight bun.

The only sound in the abnormally quiet evening was the clap of Kim's flip-flops on the concrete as she walked from her room to the pool area on the other side of her building. Unlatching the gate, Kim stealthily slipped into the pool yard. She set the white towel on one of the lounge chairs, slipped her sandals and shorts off, and then proceeded to the shallow end of the water.

Slowly, she dipped her foot in, nearly purring when she found it warm. 'Thank God for heated pools,' she thought with an appreciative smile as she slid the rest of her body into the water. After taking a few minutes to get her bearings and let her body get use to the water, Kim started to stretch her arms and legs out as she swam back and forth across the length of the pool.

In the shadows of the bushes surrounding the pool area, several sets of eyes watched in amusement as the former Ranger and World-Class Gymnast slipped through the water with as much grace as ever. "My lord?" a scratchy voice questioned lowly, causing the leader of the group to growl slightly.

"What?"

Gulping, the first to speak thought of how he was going to word the question. "Are we going to take the Pink Ranger or just watch her?"

"We're going to attack," the leader supplied. "But do so only to shake her up. Leave her to tell her friends."

Nodding, the first being stepped back to join the five others with them. "You heard our Lord." The leader smiled as his followers jumped from behind the bushes and over the gate that surrounded the pool, scaring the former Ranger, who promptly screeched in alarm.

Kim had been at the shallow end of the pool just turning to start another lap when she saw the large creatures jump over the pool gates. Her eyes widened as she screeched in momentary surprise. 'Tengas!' Kim thought as she managed to hop out of the pool before the five gigantic crow-like birds in purple armor surged forward.

As she darted out of the reach of the first of the big birds, Kim lost her footing and fell, sliding across the smooth concrete, stopping right at the feet of another waiting Tenga. Her mind went into over drive as she managed to bring her legs up and kick it in the stomach, sending it stumbling back as she scrambled to her feet.

"As skilled as ever," a voice dripped with sarcasm as Kimberly fought off the Tengas, who were finding her increasingly difficult to corner. Twisting around to deliver a back handed blow, Kim's eyes widened when she caught sight of who had spoken.

"Ivan!" she hissed as she ducked a Tenga, tossing the nasty thing over her shoulder and into the pool behind her, ignoring it as it landed with a screech and a splash. Taking a deep breath, Kim started to feel the exhaustion of the fight and the long day taking it's toll on her. 'God I wish I hadn't left my communicator in the room!' she snapped mentally. 'Get a grip Hart, you can take these bird brains and that pile of snot,' she thought confidently as she took out two of the four remaining Tengas, sending them crashing into the iron gating surrounding the pool. Without being aware of what was going on around her, Kimberly felt shock ripple through her when she saw the gold plated monkey with wings emerge from the bushes. Suddenly, the remaining two birds grabbed her about the arms, forcing her to her knees before Ivan, even as she struggled.

"Hello Kimmie!" Goldar smiled at her, watching her lip rise in a snarl.

Kim's eyes narrowed. What the hell was Goldar doing with Ivan, again? Kim continued to struggle with the two Tengas that held her, but all it served to do was make her tired and hurt her arms. "What do you want Ooze?"

Ivan's purple eyes lit with laughter. "Merely to give you a taste of what is to come. Now, why don't we run along, Goldar, those pathetic ex-Rangers are on their way." With that, Ivan and his followers disappeared.

With the disappearance of her would be captors, the force of Kim being let go caused her to stumble backward into the pool, just as someone shouted her name.

~*~

She felt the burning sensation in her chest. She could feel herself coughing up the water she'd swallowed. Then gentle hands were turning her from her back to her side, making sure that she didn't re-swallow the water. As her mind drifted back to the land of the living, she could hear the worried murmurs of those she assumed were her friends. Clinging to that stubborn nature, Kim forced her eyes open. The first person she saw was a soaking wet Tommy, pale and terrified, his own breathing shallow as he gazed at her.

"Kimberly?" Billy's soothing voice questioned as a hand reached down to her wrist, checking her pulse.

Kim took a gulp of air, attempting to calm herself enough so she could get a grip on the situation. "Yes Billy?"

"How do you feel?" Billy asked as Tommy reached down and helped him get Kim into a sitting position. Automatically, Tommy sat behind her, supporting her as Billy looked over her face and the rest of her body for injury.

Kim blinked at Billy's question then shuddered when she felt Tommy sit behind her, not knowing if it was his touch or the cold that made her do so. "Billy, I just got the shit kicked out of me by five of Ivan's over sized crows and had a run in with Goldar and Ivan, all of which without any sort of power to back me up. How do you think I feel?" Kim snapped, watching Billy glare at her. "Sorry, I sort of lost my balance when they teleported out of here and fell into the pool."

Without realizing it, Kimberly's strength seeped out of her, causing her to sit back against Tommy's chest. She didn't realize the precariousness of her position until she felt Tommy's heart rate speed up and felt his arms go around her, but she just didn't have the heart or the strength to push away from him. "Sit still so Billy can finish checking you," Tommy commanded softly as Kim sighed in reluctance. When he used that tone of voice, there was just no arguing with him, especially since all she wanted to do now was sleep.

"How did you guys know I was in trouble?" Kim asked as Billy checked her reflexes, hoping to keep awake.

"Would you believe Alpha 5?" Rocky inquired.

Kim looked up at the others, her facial expression showing her bewilderment. "How'd Alpha..."

"Enough Kimberly," Billy told her, knowing if she got worked up she'd hurt herself more. "We'll tell you on the ride back to my house. I don't think it's wise for you to stay by yourself."

"Billy!" Kim whined, and then pouted when she heard Tommy sigh in agitation at her protest.

"Don't Billy me," Billy told her, trying not to laugh as she shot a better pout at him. "Tommy, are you ok?" Billy asked finally.

It was then that Kim realized why Billy had asked him that. "What happened to you?" she asked, and then felt stupid when she realized he had been the one to pull her from the water.

"I'm fine Billy, really," Tommy motioned as he slipped from behind Kim, rising to his feet before he bent over and hoisted her into his arms, the look he gave her shushing any argument from her. Instead, she merely glared at him before giving up the fight she knew she wouldn't win, allowing herself to relax marginally in the safe embrace of his arms.

"I can take her Tommy, let Billy check you out," Jason started as Tommy shook his head in refusal. His fear still hadn't abated yet, of course, neither had any of the others'. Kim's brush with Ivan had been too close a call.

The rest of the Rangers present smiled sad smiles at Tommy's refusal; the minute the group had rushed through the pool gates, Tommy had been the one to dive into the pool. Kimberly's body had been floating like a rag doll, face down, when they'd found her. He hadn't let any of them touch her as he'd pulled her from the water, even when Billy and Jason had offered to do CPR on her so Tommy could catch his breath. The stark fear in his eyes had warned all of them back, with the exception of Billy, who'd been monitoring Kimberly's pulse and chest as Tommy had forced the precious oxygen into her lungs until she'd started to breath on her own.

"Come on, you guys, it's been a long night and Kim's starting to fall asleep," Trini motioned at the near sleeping Kimberly nestled in Tommy's arms. The only thing keeping the stubborn girl awake was the fact that she was still glaring at Tommy, whose gaze was focused on Billy. "Besides, Tommy doesn't look much better and Billy will be happier once he's checked him over too." With that, the group hurried out of the pool yard.

~*~

Jason stood in the doorway with Trini and Zack, as the trio watched Billy finish taking a look at the bump that had formed on the back of Kim's head. Tommy sat in the overstuffed beanbag chair in the far corner from the door, his eyes focused on the near sleeping girl in Billy's guest bed. They had tried to reason with Tommy that he should go get some sleep, but he refused to leave Kim's side. "I guess that answers my question," Zack murmured as Trini turned to look at him and Jason continued to watch Billy.

"What's that Zack?" Trini asked as her friend gave her a sad smile.

"Whether or not he still loves her," Zack replied.

Jason frowned. He could still remember the conversation from earlier in the day that he and Tommy had had. Tommy was still hurting, but he knew the threat of Ivan was real, as Kim's run in with the sinister being had already proven just how real. "His emotions are getting the better of him," Jason interrupted whatever Trini and Zack were whispering back and forth. When he knew their attention was on him, he continued. "One minute he's so pissed at her he can't see straight and the next he's laying his heart open, with more trust, then I've ever seen him have."

"Love can do that to you," a new voice whispered. Jason turned and saw Kat standing behind him. He pivoted slightly, allowing her to squeeze into the doorway with him and the others. "How are they?"

"So far as we can tell, Tommy's just a bit water-logged. Billy thinks Kim might have a concussion, though she says she doesn't remember hitting her head on anything as she stumbled back into the pool." Kat cringed. Kim's encounter with Ivan and the Tengas earlier had brought back some disturbing memories of when her Pan Global dreams had gone up in smoke. "She's got a fairly good sized lump on the back of her head."

Kat nodded. "Come on you guys, Billy's just about done, and Aisha and Adam have been cooking up a storm. Let's go eat and give Tommy and Kim some privacy." Taking the initiative, Kat shooed the three reluctant friends away from the door before she motioned for Billy.

"What's up?" he asked as she smiled.

"Food. When you're done, why don't you come eat and give them some time? I'll have Rocky help me bring something back for the two of them later." Billy nodded his understanding and went over to speak to Tommy for a moment before turning and following Kat out of the room.

~*~

Adam sat on the deck attached to the back of Billy's house, his thoughts a jumbled mess. 'Kinda like the rest of my life!' he grinned sardonically to himself. Most everyone had either fallen asleep, or was sitting in the living room watching a movie, but he felt her presence before she even touched his shoulder. "Hiding?" her voice was soft, a tone it had taken him a while to get use to.

"You do realize our anniversary is in like three weeks, don't you?" Adam asked softly. Hard to believe they'd been married nearly a year.

Tanya laughed before she leaned down and kissed his cheek. "Yep. Are we going to make plans or are we just gonna be spontaneous about this?"

Adam grabbed her about the waist, pulling her down to sit on his lap. He held her tightly, closing his eyes and just basking in their love for one another. "What would you like to do?"

"Let's plan for a quiet evening between the two of us, but with the way our luck runs, it'll probably get interrupted," Tanya whispered. Adam smiled that shy grin Tanya loved so much and nodded.

"Tanya," his voice was clear as a bell as Tanya focused her attention on him. "I love you."

Smiling, she leaned forward, catching his lips with her own. After a few passion filled moments, Tanya pulled back and answered him. "I love you too."

~*~

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