Return Of The Great Power
Book 2 – Revelations
Chapter 4 – Bonding Together: Kimberly's Shared Pain
By Pink-Green-White-4ever
Last Revised: March 7, 2005

Email: pink_green_white_4ever@yahoo.com
Website: A Blast From The Past

"As I look back on my past, I remember the jokes I laughed at, the things I missed and lost, but there's one thing I'll never regret, it's the day you became my friend." ~~ Unknown

"Smiles and tears, giggles and laughs, late night calls and cute photographs. I'll be there for you until the day of my death, best friends forever until my very last breath." ~~ Unknown

~*~

Angel Grove Memorial Hospital
7:30 P.M.
Friday
August 9, 2002

"I'm sorry Ms. Hart, but there's nothing we could do. He was gone when the Rangers brought him in," the emergency room doctor told the assembled group, his words directed at Kimberly, who collapsed in Tommy's arms, sobbing harshly.

"NO! NO! NO!" she cried, burying her face in Tommy's chest, her whole body shuddering.

"We've contacted your father's wife," the doctor told her, knowing that she probably wasn't listening to him any longer.

"Oh God!" Kim muttered. She and her stepmother weren't particularly close, but she knew how much Carla loved her father. "Carla's gonna freak."

~*~

8:00 P.M.

Kenneth Hart Jr. raced into Angel Grove Memorial Hospital, his mother at his side. "KIM!" he called to his baby sister, who was holding onto their stepmother as if she were afraid to let go.

"Kenny!" Kim cried, rushing to him. "Daddy's dead!" The young man all but collapsed at his sister's words. He watched their mother move to embrace their stepmother.

"Carla?" Caroline asked.

"Kim was with him. They got caught in a fight between the Power Rangers and the aliens," Carla sobbed. She and Caroline had long since let go of their animosity toward one another - for the kids' sakes. They didn't want Kenny or Kimberly to feel out of place in either household.

"Oh God!" Caroline gasped, hugging the other woman.

~*~

Hart-Campbell Residence
2:30 A.M.
Saturday
August 10, 2002

Tommy carefully laid Kimberly on her bed. She'd fallen asleep in his truck on the way home from the hospital. The Rangers and their families had gathered together to lend support to the Harts in their time of need before the Rangers had retreated to their Pink and Yellow Rangers' apartment. "Tommy?"

"I'm here Beautiful," he murmured in her ear. "Go back to sleep."

"He's really gone, isn't he?"

Tommy felt his heart break; she sounded so destroyed. "I wish I could change it, Beautiful, but I can't." Tommy climbed onto her bed and pulled her into his arms. "We'll make sure Ivan doesn't hurt anyone else, I promise." Kimberly nodded and snuggled closer, trying to merge her body with his, praying Tommy could take away all the pains just like he had when they were in high school.

~*~

The rest of the team was gathered in Aisha and Kim's living room. "He just made this personal," Justin spoke, finally breaking the silence that had loomed over the seasoned warriors since leaving the hospital. He felt for Kimberly, more so then most of the Rangers; other himself, only Billy had lost a parent. The young Ranger knew what his pink friend would go through, and he vowed to himself to be there for her through every step of the recovery process.

"Yes, he did. Until now, they've never really involved our families, expect in the most general sense," Kat murmured, reminding the others what Jason had said about the Parents Day fiasco the original six had gone through.

"My question is, how is this going to affect Kimberly? As if she hasn't had enough to deal with, now she has to cope with the death of her father." No one knew how to answer Rocky's question.

~*~

Thompson Funeral Home
9:30 A.M.
Monday
August 12, 2002

The morning of the funeral dawned rainy and miserable, despite the fact that it was summer in California. The team of superheroes noted how it seemed to fit their moods perfectly. "Did you talk to Alpha?" Jason asked Tanya and Tommy as he adjusted his tie and jacket.

"Yeah. The Falcon, Crane, Dragon and Eagle zords are gonna do a fly over during the graveside service. Alpha and Billy have been working on it for the last two days."

It had been Justin's idea to have the Zord fly-over, as most who knew about Mr. Hart's death, knew the Rangers had been unable to save him. Justin had told the others that this would assure the people of Angel Grove that even though they'd lost someone, that the Rangers were still there, and that to them, every person was important.

"I can't believe all our parents are here," Rocky pointed out, glancing around to see each set of Ranger parents, or in his and Billy's case, their sole parent.

"They're here for Kimberly," Trini added as she, Billy, Aisha and Adam approached. "And her family."

"Come on, they're getting ready to start," Kat motioned for them to move to their seats. The team was silent but they knew Tommy wished he could be sitting with Kim instead of six rows behind her.

Before the funeral began, Kenny stood and made his way to where the Rangers sat. "Tommy, I hate to bug you, but would you come up and sit with Kim?"

Silently Tommy stood and followed Kenny to the front pew. When Kim saw him, she stood up and threw her arms around him. "I'm here, Beautiful." Carefully, the White Ranger turned her and sat in the pew next to her, his arms never leaving her.

The pastor began a few minutes later, followed by Caroline and Carla and then Kenny and Kimberly.

~*~

Stone Angel Cemetery
1:00 P.M.
Monday
August 12, 2002

Tommy stood silently with the team, minus Kimberly, watching the priest as he gave some final words before the open grave they were standing in front of. Tommy’s eyes were trained on the petite woman dressed in black across the casket from him, who held onto her brother like he was her lifeline. It hurt Tommy to know there was nothing he could do to ease the misery in her eyes, or the guilt he knew was in her heart. It had been less than a week since her world had come crashing down on her in a million pieces. The day Ivan had taken her father’s life, it seemed Kimberly had simply stopped living.

“Give her time,” Trini murmured, standing on Tommy’s right with Billy next to her holding her hand the same way she grasped Tommy’s. Jason and Kat stood on the other side of the White Ranger, holding each other’s hands. Jason and Tommy’s shoulders barely touched, the only physical indication that they were comforting each other. Normally, when things like this happened, Kimberly stood between them, uniting them as the Three Musketeers, but both of them were feeling the ache of watching her fall apart for what seemed like the millionth time in less than a week.

Aisha, Rocky, Adam, Tanya, Zack and Justin stood just behind the others, each of them dealing with their guilt over Kenneth Hart’s death in their own way, just as the group of five in front of them did. As Rangers, they knew, they were sworn to protect and serve all those who lived on Earth. As Rangers, but more importantly, as friends, they felt they had failed in their duty. There had been causalities during their first tenures as Rangers, Zordon had warned them of the perils of their enemies’ disregard for human life. Not once, in the years they’d been Rangers, had any of them lost family members while they had been in uniform. At the moment, none of them liked the feeling all that much.

“The Harts wish to thank you all for being here; there will be a small family gathering at the Angel Grove Country Club in one hour.” With that, the priest turned and made his way to speak with Kimberly, her brother, her stepmother and her mother.

“Let’s go wait by the limos for her,” Jason commanded of the group. Carefully stepping forward, they each dropped a flower of their color into the grave over the casket, each saying a silently apology for letting Mr. Hart down in whatever way they had. Quietly, the group of eleven moved toward the line of black limos about seventy feet away to wait for Kimberly and her family.

Just as the team reached the vehicles, the familiar roar of the engines of the four aerial zords announced the zords' arrival. In a stunt reminiscent of military maneuvers performed by pilots having lost one of their own, the Crane Zord flipped over on its top as the four zords continued to whiz by, before it suddenly went into a steep climb. The people gathered in the cemetery gasped, Kimberly included, when they caught sight of the zords. Kimberly's teammates smiled sadly, and then turned their gazes from the sky to where Kimberly was giving them a watery smile.

~*~

Cranston-Scott-Oliver Residence
5:30 P.M.
Monday
August 12, 2002

His arms were folded across his bare chest. Short, spiked hair stuck up every which way. He was clad in only a pair of black sweats as he leaned against the wall that jutted out next to the window. His forehead was pressed against the glass. Chocolate brown eyes were trained on the drops of precipitation that splattered softly against the glass. His thoughts were on the woman who was lying, in a haphazard fashion, on the bed behind him.

After the funeral, she’d wanted to come back to the house with him instead of going to her and Aisha’s apartment. With her friends around her, she let loose the emotions she’d dared not show in front of her family. She had cried, screamed, raged – throwing pillows, magazines, even punches – as she let her heartbreak show. He could remember gathering her in his arms in the middle of Billy’s living room, holding her as tightly to him as he could, while their friends ringed around them, giving her their silent support and comfort. It had seemed like hours until she’d finally fallen asleep in his arms. Once she was asleep, he had carried her up and tucked her into what use to be their bed, before crawling in next to her, and letting her sleep off her exhaustion.

As was par for the course, she’d woken several times with nightmares. He’d been there to sooth and comfort, until she drifted back to sleep. Now he could no longer simply lie next to her, not when he could feel everything she felt more pronounced when he simply held her, skin to skin. She was lost, unsure, and guilt ridden. Turning, Tommy took in her tiny form, before he took a deep breath to calm himself. “You don’t know how important you are to all of us, do you Beautiful?” he quietly asked her sleeping form. “You’re the reason some of us get up and do what we have to, day after day. It’s hard to stay sane when your heart and soul is falling apart.”

The sudden knocking on the door brought him out of his stupor. Striding forward, one well-toned arm opened the door, and found the rest of the team standing in the hallway, each of them dressed for bed. Tommy rolled his eyes, but let them in. Silently, Trini, Aisha, Kat and Tanya crossed the room to the bed, the four of them climbing on and curling up with Kimberly, hoping their mere presences would give their Pink Ranger comfort while she slept. Rocky, Justin and Adam sat on the floor of one side of Tommy’s bed while Billy and Zack took seats on the oak chest at the foot of Tommy’s bed, leaving Jason and Tommy to sit on the floor on the opposite side of the bed. Each of the guys reached a hand out, touching one of the girls, linking them all. They had tried this only once, a few days before, right after Kim’s dad had died. It was still new to them, but it felt incredibly relieving to be able to feel each of the others inside of themselves in a different way.

~*~

Southside Mall
Angel Grove
12:30 P.M.
Wednesday
August 14, 2002

“Kim, you ok?” Tanya asked as the five girls finally plopped down into their chairs at The Bistro for lunch. They’d spent the better part of the morning shopping for necessities for their rooms at the base, and trying to get Kimberly's mind off of losing her father.

“I’m not sure,” Kim mumbled as she took a long sip of the water the waiter put in front of her. She hated being paranoid but there was nothing she could do to reassure herself.

Aisha’s gaze narrowed at the paleness of Kim’s face. “Girl, what’s wrong?

“I thought I saw someone who shouldn’t be here.”

“Who?” Kat asked, her skin prickling at the worried look on Kim’s face. Kimberly, she knew, wasn't one to panic so easily. Normally, the Pink Ranger was very level headed when it came to serious situations.

“I could have sworn I’d just seen Mike.” Kim’s words brought the four other female Rangers up short.

“As in, Mike your ex?”

“Yeah,” Kim sighed. “I’m just paranoid. Let’s eat,” Kim waved it off, though the feelings continued to nag at her mind.

After lunch the girls all decided they needed to indulge in some personal shopping. “Thank God for Billy and Rocky’s expense accounts. Otherwise, we’d all be paying out of our pockets to do up the base,” Tanya laughed.

“Kim, what’s wrong?” Kat softly questioned.

Kim looked pale and terrified again. ‘God, please, I don’t need to involve Tommy in this or any of the others for that matter’ Kim thought helplessly.

“Kimberly?” Tanya asked, hoping to bring Kim’s attention back to the present. Carefully, the Purple Ranger laid a hand on the Pink Ranger's arm.

“There’s a guy behind us. It’s the same man from earlier. I need to find a corner and call Jase,” Kim told them. Kat shot Kimberly a look but understood. Jason had contacts to police departments around the world thanks to his work at Interpol. The girls hurried to a secluded corner where Kim turned her back to them and made like she was looking for something in her purse while really using her communicator. “Jase, you read?”

A second later, the familiar and soothing voice of her big brother was heard. “Jase here. Kim, what’s wrong?”

Kimberly gulped. “I need a huge favor. Think you can use your contacts with the police department in Miami and find out where Mike Tromoni is for me?”

“Sis, what’s wrong?”

“There’s a guy that’s been following us around the mall all afternoon. I think he’s here. Jase, if it’s him, I’ve just put the other girls in a whole lot of danger.”

“Quit whatever you’re doing and send their asses back to Billy’s, do you here me? I’ll have Adam at the house and Rocky and Justin are already at the Youth Center, I want you to go there.”

“Ok. Kim out.” Pulling her set of Tommy’s keys from her purse, Kimberly turned around and nodded carefully to the others. “You four are to go to Billy’s. Adam is waiting for you. Rocky and Justin are going to be waiting for me at the Youth Center.”

“Kim, it’s not safe,” Trini argued.

“It's safe for you four. I’ve already put you at risk. Jason knows, but the rest of you have to promise not to tell Tommy or the others until I know for sure. Understood?” While the girls understood Kim’s motives, they still felt uncomfortable not telling Tommy straight away. All four girls knew how bad Tommy’s temper could get, especially if it was something threatening Kim.

Kimberly waited until her four friends were in their cars and headed out of the parking lot before she turned to scan the area for the man who’d been following her. She suddenly wished she had driven her own car instead of Tommy’s Navigator, just in case it was Mike. She really didn’t want him finding out Tommy’s license plate number. Kimberly’s eyes spotted the man coming down the lane where she was. As fast as was careful, Kim backed Tommy’s truck out of the spot and left the mall.

~*~

Angel Grove Youth Center
2:30 P.M.

When she got to the Youth Center, Kim saw Rocky’s Red Durango, Jason’s Green Silverado, and her brand new Pink Convertible – a gift from her stepmother to welcome her home, which she’d let Tommy use in lieu of her borrowing his Navigator. “Damn it, Jason, I didn’t want him to know,” Kim muttered as she hurried into the building.

Inside she rushed through the hallway, into the main area, and stopped short. Out on the mats, Rocky, Jason and Tommy were attempting to teach Justin a few new moves. At the sight of them together, Kim felt her heart ache with longing for days gone by. It had been entirely too long since she’d last seen the guys teach. Kim smiled when Tommy looked up at her. Squashing the urge to run headlong into his arms, Kim slowly made her way over. “Going somewhere, Kimmie?”

At the sound of the dreaded familiar voice, Kim pushed down the urge to throw up. Turning, Kimberly came face to face with her ex-boyfriend. “Mike. So it was you following me around the mall.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Kimmie. How about we go for a walk and have a nice chat?” Mike suggested, daring Kimberly to make a scene in front of the crowd of kids and teens inside the Center.

“Hey Kim!” Rocky almost growled at the way the man in gray and blue was looking at his little sister. “Tommy and Jase want you to go show Justin how to do that walk-over, hand-stand trick you’ve been working on with Aisha and Trini.”

Mike glared at Rocky. “Excuse me, Slick, but Kimmie and I were talking.” Kim’s eyes widened in horror at how Mike’s words must have sounded to Rocky.

‘Here we go!’ Kim thought, as the shift in Rocky’s body language plus the tug Rocky gave on the group’s mutual link brought Jason, Tommy and Justin over.

“Hey Beautiful,” Tommy greeted, slipping past Rocky and wrapping his arms around her before pecking a butterfly kiss on her lips. When both she and Tommy looked up at Mike, they saw him glaring. Rocky, Jason and Justin were snickering in the background.

“Kimmie, who’s this?” Mike questioned. Kim’s eyes flew to Tommy’s, wondering how the hell she was supposed to explain the situation without causing a fight.

“I’m Tommy Oliver, her boyfriend.” Mike looked at Tommy in surprise.

“Is this the same Tommy from before you moved to Florida?” Mike asked Kim, who could only nod. Her vocal cords seemed paralyzed. “Kimmie, I’m surprised you’d give up such a nice looking guy. So, when’d you get back together?”

“That’s none of your concern,” Tommy growled.

“Ooh, grouchy,” Mike teased. “So, you two serious again?”

“Mike, stop it,” Kim finally managed to bark out.

“So, how’s it feel to have sloppy seconds?” Mike grinned, ignoring Kim’s comment and staring at Tommy until the White Ranger had him by the front of his shirt and nearly six inches off the ground.

“Shut your mouth.”

Mike quirked an eyebrow at Tommy’s command. “Touchy, aren’t we? You know, I’ll bet Kim’s given herself to you, just like she did me.”

“You raped me!” Kim all but screamed, until her words registered with her brain. It was the one thing she hadn’t told the rest of the team, with the exception of Trini and Aisha who already knew, when she’d told them about Florida. Kim winced when Tommy jerked Mike closer to him. “Tommy! Don’t!” Kim reached out, laying a hand on her boyfriends’ arm. She could feel his anger as though it was something solid and tangible, and it scared her immensely.

Tommy ignored her, his eyes flaming white. “Tommy, he’s not worth it,” Justin spoke for the first time. Still, the White Ranger ignored his friends, who could read the murderous thoughts going through his head.

Jason watched the resigned but terrified look seep into Kimberly’s eyes. “Tommy,” he started. The Green Ranger saw that his White friend was listening when Tommy’s head turned slightly toward him. “Tommy, you’re setting a bad example for the kids around here and you’re scaring Kimberly. Why don’t you let me take care of him and you go calm Kim down?”

Tommy turned his head in Kim’s direction and saw her panicked face. Jason watched as his best friend set Mike down none too gently and approached his girlfriend, who he took into his arms. As soon as Tommy had moved, Jason and Rocky stepped forward. “You do realize you just violated a restraining order that’s still in effect, don’t you?”

Mike gulped as the dark brown stare of the man before him deepened. “No? Really?”

Jason glared some more, this time Rocky and Justin joining him. “Listen, smart ass, I’m gonna let you go with a warning, as I’m sure Kim would like to avoid any trouble. The next time, I’ll haul your ass down to the police station myself. Understood?”

Mike gulped when the eyes of the men before him flared with the colors of their Ranger powers. Nodding, he turned and made a hasty exit. The trio of male Rangers turned their attention to Tommy and Kim once he was gone. The lovers were holding on for dear life to one another.

Jason walked over to his gym bag and pulled out his cell phone. He hit speed dial for Adam’s cell and waited for the Black Ranger to pick up. “Adam, it’s Jase. We’re clear.” Hanging up, Jason tossed the phone back into the bag before striding over to join his friends.

~*~

3:00 P.M.

Once Kim had calmed Tommy down, the five Rangers left the Youth Center and headed for Tommy’s parent’s house, which was the closest. Kimberly was extremely quiet on the drive over. “Are you alright?” Tommy questioned softly, his voice tight with pain, betrayal and worry. Kim gulped in breath after breath as if breathing was going out of style. “Kimberly?”

“I’m sorry,” Kim started as Tommy pulled into the driveway behind his mom’s Explorer.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Tommy asked hurt evident in his tone though his voice seemed steadier then before.

Kim gulped, trying to reign in her thoughts. It was time to suck up the fear and get this over with. “Because, I’m still trying to accept what happened.”

“What did happen?”

“He broke into my apartment, just like I told you. And he beat me up, but before that, he did more,” Kim started, her mind going back to the night she wished with her whole heart she could forget. “He tied me to the bed after the first initial beating. He had a knife and was threatening to slit my throat. He used it to cut off my pajamas and underwear. He said I was a tease, and that I didn’t give it up to him because I liked teasing him. Tommy, he was out of his fucking mind and not making any sense.”

Tommy’s eyes darkened as he reached out and grabbed Kim’s hand, offering her his silent support. “Keep going.”

“I tried talking him down, all it did was piss him off more. He hit me to shut me up. The next thing I know, he’s shoving himself inside of me. When he realized I wasn’t as innocent as he thought, it angered him more,” Kim continued, her head bowed. “He pulled out of me, pulled my hips up, and slammed himself into my backside. The pain was so intense, and I could feel the blood starting to flow. He finished getting off and then took the knife to me. When he was done slicing and dicing me, he beat me up again.”

Tommy’s jaw was clenched, but he carefully squeezed Kimberly’s hand to let her know that she was okay to continue. “The last thing I remember before blacking out is praying to God that you guys would come save me.”

Kimberly’s voice was barely a whisper when she finished. Tommy’s free hand gripped the steering wheel as his world tilted. She sounded so cold and hard when talking about it, but Tommy knew that if she let go of the reign on her emotions, she’d probably loose it. “Tommy, I ended up pregnant,” Kim started again, raising her head just in time to see Tommy’s eyes snap to her face. She wanted to throw up at the horrified look she saw in those beloved chocolate orbs.

“What happened?” Tommy felt his heart stop.

Kim swallowed. “I miscarried during the fourth month, after a fall during physical therapy. Everything’s scarred. The doctors don’t think I’ll be able to conceive ever again.” Kimberly’s control started to falter. The thought that she may never be able to have children, Tommy’s children, hurt her beyond comprehension.

“Kim,” Tommy murmured, taking her face in his hands. She’d kept this bottled up inside for so long, maybe, just maybe, he thought silently, it was time she let it go.

Kimberly looked deep into his eyes and finished. “I still have nightmares, though you’ve managed to chase most of those away, and I’m still skittish with people touching me, getting that close to me, but I’m working through it. Being with you, having the team to fall back on has done a great deal of good for me.”

“I love you,” Tommy told her, his voice serious. Kim smiled.

“I know. I’ve always known that. I’m so sorry for not sharing this with you sooner.”

Tommy attempted a smile. “We’ll get through this, just like we always do.” Kim nodded and leaned her head against his shoulder. Before Tommy knew it, Jason was knocking on the driver’s side door. “She’s asleep.” Jason nodded.

“Rocky and Justin are waiting.” Slowly, Tommy climbed out of the truck and went to Kim’s door. Careful not to wake her, Tommy unbuckled her and hoisted her into his arms. Jason shut the door and followed Tommy to the front door of his parents’ house, where Justin and Rocky were waiting for them.

~*~

Elizabeth Oliver watched with worried eyes as her son sat on the couch in her living room with his friends. She’d been surprised when he, Rocky, Jason and Justin had come in, Tommy cradling Kimberly in his arms. The poor girl had been sound asleep.

“Why didn’t she tell me, Jason?” Elizabeth heard Tommy ask, his voice filled with anguish.

“Tommy, I’ve worked with a lot of rape victims. The number one reason for most of them not telling anyone is guilt; they think they caused it to happen to themselves.” Elizabeth shuddered when she heard Jason’s words. If what he was saying was true, then it would explain a lot of why Kim had been acting the way she had lately. “You’ve also got to remember, she’s been trying to come to terms with what happened.”

“Mrs. Oliver?” Elizabeth spun around at the sound of her name.

Kimberly was standing halfway up the staircase, still half asleep. “Hi Kim. How are you feeling?”

“Tired. Where’s Tommy? The last thing I remember is sitting in his truck telling him about…oh…”

Elizabeth smiled. “He and the guys are in the living room. Are you thirsty?”

Kim nodded and followed Elizabeth through the back hallway into the kitchen.

Elizabeth watched Kimberly like a hawk as the pair sat at the island counter and sipped glasses of the lemonade that Elizabeth had made for the boys when they’d come in. After the initial awkwardness that had come when Kim and Tommy had first started dating all those years ago, Kim and Elizabeth had gotten along splendidly. It hurt Tommy’s mother tremendously to see the young woman before her in such an emotional state. Just a weeks ago, Elizabeth had seen Kim’s true self – feisty, spirited and laughing – when she’d invited her son and his friends over for dinner, but that was before Kim had lost her dad. The last few weeks, Elizabeth noted, had been taking their toll on Kimberly. ‘As if losing her father the way she did wasn’t enough, now she has to deal with this too. It’s past time she learned to lean on her friends again, especially Tommy’ Elizabeth thought as she gazed at Kim.

“Kim, is everything alright?”

Kimberly’s eyes rose from her glass. Elizabeth noticed the tearstains and redness of Kim’s beautiful brown eyes. “Did Tommy tell you?”

Liz nodded. “He told me some of it, the rest I overheard a few moments ago while he and the others were talking. Are you going to be alright?”

Kim’s head moved slightly in a nod. “I am now. I know the gang isn’t disappointed in me, and neither is Tommy.”

“You’ve overcome a lot. It takes a person with a strong will and determination to get through everything you’ve gone through. I’m proud of you, Kim, and so are your friends. Especially Tommy.”

Kim shyly smiled. “MOM!” Both Kim and Elizabeth laughed when they heard Tommy holler.

“I’ll bet he’s discovered you’re not in his room.” Liz laughed. “Tommy! Kitchen!”

Seconds later, Tommy, Rocky, Jason and Justin came thundering into the room. “Mom, Kim’s miss…”

“She’s right here,” Liz started, raising an eyebrow in mirth as Tommy flew to Kimberly’s side, his hands cupping Kim’s face.

“Tommy, I’m fine, really,” Kim murmured softly as Tommy’s thumbs caressed her cheeks.

“You should be lying down,” Tommy softly scolded. Kim smiled up at him. “Indulge me, and go back up and rest. At least until the others come over.”

The Pink Ranger started pouting until her boyfriend turned on his best puppy-dog expression. “Only if you come up with me for a few.”

Tommy smiled. “Not a problem. Allow me.”

Rocky and Jason rolled their eyes while Justin and Elizabeth laughed when Tommy bent down and scooped Kim right out of her chair then proceeded to carry her up to his room.

~*~

4:15 P.M.

“You sure you feel alright?” Tommy questioned as he laid her out on his old bed. Kim’s eyes silently asked what her voice suddenly couldn’t. Smiling, Tommy crawled up next to her, pulling her into his arms.

“Tommy, I promise, I’ll be okay. The fact that I have you and the gang back in my life speaks for that. I’ve stopped pushing everyone away.” Kim nestled her head against Tommy’s chest. “I know I’ve said this before, but I mean it; when I was in Florida, I really missed this.”

“I know; so did I,” Tommy whispered, his hand stroking up and down her back. Amazement still snuck up on him every now and then, more often then not when he was watching her sleep, that after all they’d been through together Kim was back in his arms, back in his life.

Tommy chuckled when Kim started purring under the soothing rubbing of his hand on her back. He could tell she was starting to fall asleep because she kept rubbing her face against her chest, just like his younger cousins or Rocky’s little sister were prone to do. “It’s alright, Beautiful, go to sleep. I’m right here.”

~*~

Kim sighed as the presence near her stroked her back softly. “Wakie, wakie, Kimmie-poo.”

Kim’s eyes snapped open, her gaze taking in Mike looming over her. Kimberly felt the bile and panic rise in her throat. “No…” she whimpered in disbelief when she realized that she and Mike were both naked and that he’d raped her, again. “NO!” Kim screamed as she struggled with him as he held her securely, smiling down at her evilly.

“KIM!”

Kimberly sat straight up, panting and crying all at once. “Kim?”

Turning, she noticed Tommy sitting next to her, worry and terror swirling across his facial features, let alone the punch of it across their telepathic link. “Tommy?” she whispered. Shakily, she moved back into the circle of his arms, letting the tears come when he had her pulled tight to his chest, his arms banded tightly around her body.

“Baby, it’s alright. I’m right here. I’ve got you.”

“I……” Kim started after she’d calmed down a bit. “He was here.”

Tommy rubbed his lips against her temple and allowed his hands to rub her back in a comforting circular motion. “It was just a dream, Kim, just a dream.”

Careful not to jolt or jar her, Tommy leaned back against the headboard. He shifted slightly so that Kim was plastered against his side with her head on his chest and one of her hands resting right above his heart. “I’m here, Baby, he can’t get to you, I promise.” Tommy closed his eyes, focused on the feeling of her from their link, and let his calmness and love sweep her into a contented sleep like a soft lullaby.

The pair lay there quietly until a light knocking was heard on the door. “Come in!” Tommy called softly, trying not to disturb Kimberly.

When the door was open enough, Trini, Aisha, Kat and Tanya stuck their heads in. “Can we come in?” Aisha pleaded. Tommy smiled at her and nodded.

“Is she okay?” Tanya questioned her worry evident by the hitch in her voice.

“Jason told us what happened,” Kat informed him as the four girls sat on the foot of the bed, or in Kat’s case, on the window seat kitty corner to Tommy’s position on the bed.

Trini climbed onto the bed on Kim’s side, wrapping her arm around her sleeping friend. “I told you, you should have told them sooner,” she murmured as Kim shifted between her and Tommy.

“You knew?” Tommy accused.

Trini could only look up at him and nod. “Both Sha and I were there when it happened, remember? Things were such a mess…there was something about evidence and all that…basically, she managed to get a restraining order against him then he just seemed to drop off the face of the Earth.” Tommy glared at the Turquoise and Yellow Rangers. “Tommy, she didn’t want anyone to know, least of all you. She was ashamed of what he’d done to her.”

“Yeah, well, I’d like to see him try it again. He’ll have one very pissed off White Ranger in his face.”

“Sounds like he already had one encounter with him, according to Justin and Rocky,” Kat scolded as she mentioned what Rocky and Justin had told them, Billy, Zack, and Adam about what had happened at the Youth Center. “Tommy, if you were gonna man-handle him, couldn’t you have done that outside with less of an audience?”

Tommy shot a look at Kat then smiled. She was teasing, he knew, in hopes of lightening his mood. “Next time I’ll just drop him from the Falcon Zord, at about thirty five thousand feet up.”

The girls all laughed at that. “Naw,” Kim yawned. “He’d stink up the cockpit.”

The girls were silent before Kim grinned at them, which caused all them to start laughing. A knock on the door momentarily silenced the girls. “Come in!” Tommy called out. When Rocky came in, the Red Ranger was smiling.

“Damn Oliver! How’d you manage to get an orgy going in here? Isn’t it enough you got one gorgeous woman! But no, you had to go and steal four more!” A barrage of pillows was Rocky’s answer. “Thanks guys. Jason says it’s time to go, if you get my drift.”

They did. Tommy, Adam, Jason and Tanya had decided that the team could use all the additional Zord practice they could get in. Slowly, Tommy and the girls got to their feet and followed Rocky downstairs.

~*~

7:30 P.M.

Kat, Rocky, Billy, Trini and Adam stood on the plateau their base of operations was built into and watched as Justin, Tanya, Zack, Aisha, Jason, Tommy and Kim finished playing a game of tag in their zords.

After twenty minutes, it had finally come down to just Tommy and Kimberly. “Boy, are they good with those,” Justin commented as he watched the Crane and Falcon zords whiz by.

“Well, think about it,” Kat told him as she slung her arm around his shoulders. “Kim had three aerial zords and Tommy’s had two. They should be use to flying by now.”

“I still think it was a stroke of luck that Ninjor took the plans for the original Ninja zords with him and hid them all those years ago,” Jason pointed out as the others nodded. “I’m amazed that he and the Alphas were able to rebuild them, as well as build the rest of ours, so quickly.”

“Yes and no. Zordon had Alpha 5 prepared for any situation,” Aisha countered. “My guess would be those Zords were ninety percent finished before we even went on our quest. I’ll agree that we got lucky though,” she finished as she watched Kim and Tommy finish their game before they began a complicated series of maneuvers, ones designed, Aisha knew, by Zordon during the initial Ninja phase of the Rangers.

“It’s beautiful,” Tanya gasped as the Falcon and Crane Zords performed what could only be described as a sensual dance. Meanwhile, in the cockpits of the two winged zords, Tommy and Kim remained silent, their moves saying all that was needed.

“Baby, you ok?” Tommy finally called over their communications system.

Kim smiled fondly, giggling at him. “Yes Tommy, I’m fine. How about you?” she inquired.

Tommy laughed. “Never better. It’s nice being back in one of the two Zords I was always comfortable in.”

“What was the other one?” Kimberly pondered out loud.

“The Tiger Zord.”

Now that surprised Kimberly. She had always thought he’d felt just as uncomfortable in the Tigerzord as he had been in the Dragon Zord. And knowing his Zeo and Turbo zords had been relatively built just for him, Kim would have thought he’d have felt more comfortable in one of them. “Why the Tiger Zord?”

Tommy sighed. “Because, next to the Falcon, there was just something about the Tiger Zord that made me feel complete.”

“I know that feeling,” Kim murmured back.

Tommy chuckled at her faraway sounding voice. “Beautiful, you ready for one final maneuver?”

The familiar words brought a gigantic smile to Kim’s face. “Warn the others first,” she demanded softly.

“Spoil sport,” Tommy pouted before patching through to Billy’s Wolf. “Billy, we’re getting ready to land.”

“Affirmative,” Billy replied, and then exited the cockpit of his zord and joined the others. “Heads up, they’re landing.”

Rocky, Adam, Aisha and Billy moved into the shelter of the Wolf Zord’s access ramp while the others watched the two aerial zords. In a death-defying stunt, Tommy inverted the Falcon Zord and Kimberly settled the Crane over it, so the two machines were belly to belly. Then, on blind faith and a lot of practice, the pair began to barrel roll and then turned into a dive, swooping down toward the others.

“Holy shit!” Jason cursed, flinching when, at the last moment, Kim shot the Crane forward and Tommy flipped the Falcon back over, both machines landing effortlessly in the space to the left of the other zords.

Seconds later, both the entrance ramps came down and Tommy and Kimberly emerged. “You are such showoffs!” Zack accused as the White and Pink Rangers pulled off their helmets and grinned at their friends.

“Are you kidding?” Kim laughed. “Zordon’s the one who encouraged us to learn that. You should see it when we actually use the lasers and missiles.”

Aisha laughed at that. “I remember Goldar and Rito freaking the first time they saw that.”

Rocky spoke up next, not bothering to keep the merriment out of his voice. “No, the best was when you two out flew and out classed the Blue Angels when they accidentally flew into our practice. I thought the captain was gonna crap his pants when Kim flew rings around him.”

The others chuckled at that. Jason remembered hearing all about how the Rangers and Angels had accidentally met. Tommy had been so proud of Kim’s flying – like Rocky had said, she’d flown rings around the Navy’s foremost pilots. The pilots had then gone on Channel 7 news in L.A. and talked about the encounter, remarking particularly how the Pink Ranger handled her aircraft with such expertise.

"Anyone else ready for some food?" Justin asked suddenly, causing his friends to laugh.

"He's definitely spending too much time with Rocky!" Trini gasped, leaning against Billy's shoulder as she tried to regain normal breathing.

"HEY!" Rocky and Justin protested. The others continued to laugh at the Red and Beige Rangers' expense.

~*~

9:00 P.M.
Command Chamber

Jason leaned against the wall by the lift, arms crossed over his chest and feet crossed at the ankles, watching the petite figure staring at the original Ranger suits that were on display behind the shatter proof glass. She'd been standing there for nearly twenty minutes, and the only movement she'd made had been to reach out and place her palm over the glass in front of the Pink Ranger suit.

"Hey, we were wondering where you two disappeared to," Trini murmured as she, Zack and Billy walked off the lift and found Jason and Kimberly in the Command Chamber.

"She's been awfully quiet tonight. Alpha 6 said every chance she gets she's been coming in here and staring at those suits, sometimes for hours on end," Jason whispered. "I wish there was something more we could do to help."

Billy patted Jason's arm. "We are doing something, Jase. Simply by being with her, we're letting her know that we're here, that she isn't alone. Jason, do you remember when my mother died?" Billy asked, watching the Green Ranger nod. "Do you remember what you, Trini, Zack and Kim told me?"

"That we were there for you, that you weren't alone, and that even if we couldn't understand how you felt, we would listen if you needed to talk." Billy nodded.

Zack smiled. "We've all had our share of tough times, of losing someone important. Trini and I both lost our grandmothers, Billy lost his mom, and you lost your Uncle Max. We were all there for one another when we went through those events, and we were there for Kim when her parents split. Just like all those other times before, we'll be here this time to get each other through it."

"I couldn't image what Billy went through losing his mom, but now that we've got this link with each other, and I can feel what Kim is feeling, I have an idea how much it hurt," Trini spoke, leaning against Billy.

"What Kim's feeling is ten times worse than what I was feeling. There was nothing I could do to prevent my mother from dying from cancer, but Kim is feeling like she should have stopped Ivan."

Kimberly's eyes were closed but she could feel their presences and hear their voices. It had been so long since it had just been the five of them, and even then it hadn't felt complete, not until Tommy had come into the picture. To know they were behind her, just like when her parents had split up, was enough to give her the courage and the strength to keep fighting. Even though a lot of things had changed, Kimberly knew their friendship wasn't one of them. "Hey Sis," Zack spoke softly into her ear, wrapping his arms around her waist as he leaned his chin on her shoulder from where he stood behind her.

"Hmm?"

"You ok?" Trini asked, taking Kim's hand in her own. Billy stood to Trini's left and Jason moved to Kim's right, taking her free hand from the glass and holding it in his much larger one.

"I was just thinking, no matter how much everything changes, that this is one of the few constants I've had in my life for more years than I can count."

"What do you mean?" Jason asked.

"I mean the five of us, six when you include Tommy. I don't know where I'd be without the five of you." Kimberly pulled away from them, turning to face the ones who'd stood beside her for more years than anyone. "Thank you, you guys, for always being there for me. I'm sorry for moping, I know there wasn't anything I could have done to prevent Ivan from killing Dad, but it's taking me longer to accept that it happened."

"That's understandable Kimberly," Trini smiled at her friend. "No one's expecting you to get over losing you Dad that quickly."

"Take some advice from someone who's been there," Billy smiled sadly at her. "It's never going to stop hurting, but it will get easier to deal with. He'll live on forever in your memories, in your heart, and that's something no one can take from you."

Kim smiled. "Thanks guys."

~*~

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