Ranger Games: A Dino Thunder Reunion
Chapter 1: Welcome to Reefside
Last Revised: March 23, 2004
Website: A Blast From The Past
Rated: PG 13
Ship: Tommy/Kim, Jason/Kat, Billy/Trini, Aisha/Rocky, Trent/Kira/Conner, Adam/Tanya
Summary: Arrivals, Introductions, and finding out about the bad guy are the menu of the day
Disclaimer: First of all, my apologies to the PR community, I feel really stupid now. I was surfing around last night after I posted the prologue to this story and JUST NOW discovered that Thuy Trang/Trini Kwan was killed in a car accident a few years ago. I apologize for my insensitivity of not knowing that.
This story is dedicated to her memory, may the power protect her wherever she is now.
I'm working on setting up a page on my sailor moon website account for my power ranger fics...:) Don't know when that'll be up, I'm kinda busy running around doing other things.
So Yeah, Saturday (four days ago), I got up at 6 am because of the major thunder storm going on here and at 8am watched an old episode of Power Rangers Zeo and the new episode of Dino Thunder...then I turned on ABC kids and watched the two episodes of Dino Thunder before that...all I have to say is I wish to GOD I had gotten to see all the episode of Dino Thunder all the way through......Jason David Frank in white is always a welcome sight :)
Yeah, and here I was gonna wait to post this until this weekend, but the fact that I've got 2 reviews for the story within 24 hours boosted my spirits. So here's Chapter 1. Also, more in depth explanation of Kim's problems in Florida will come in the next chapter.
Despite the years that had separated them, each of them felt a sense of relief as they stepped off their flights into the terminal at Reefside Airport. The first four to arrive were Kimberly, Jason, Trini and Zack. They had an hour to kill before any of the others started to arrive, so they wandered from their gate to a small restaurant to grab lunch.
"Kimberly, would you sit still, please?" Zack pleaded with her as she kept moving her feet or hands. Trini and Jason's conversation died down as they watched her twisting her fingers together as she picked at her lunch, a sure sign that she was nervous.
"You're nervous about one of two things, this conference or seeing Tommy again," Jason spoke softly, instantly catching her attention.
"Both. This whole thing with Tommy..." she started, blinking back tears. "Jason, I never gave him a good reason, I lied to him about what happened. You saw what happened the last time I saw him."
Jason nodded. He could remember the scene all too well. When the others had gained their Turbo Powers, he and Kim had been turned against them by Divatox. And at the martial arts competition afterward, Tommy had been so wrapped up in Kat that Kim had excused herself from the room and never come back. He hadn't noticed she was gone until Tommy had asked where she was cause he wanted to talk to her. Shaking his head, Jason watched the tears slip down her cheeks. "I think if you really sit him down and explain what happened when you left for Florida, he'll understand. Tommy's always had a soft spot for you Kim."
"Jason, get real!" Zack quipped, getting strange looks from the others. "Tommy's been in love with you since the moment he met you," Zack spoke earnestly. "Even a blind man could see it. So you made a few mistakes. You were sixteen, you were scared, and after what happened in Florida, no one can hold it against you for breaking it off with him."
"Here comes Billy," Trini interrupted when she pointed out the former Blue Ranger approaching. He was dressed down in a pair of blue jeans, a blue polo, and blue Nike's.
When he saw them, Billy waved and started jogging over. "Long time no see," he quipped as the group stood to greet him. Zack gave him a hug, as did Jason, while both Kim and Trini pecked kisses on his cheek.
"So, here I was thinking you'd gone off to Aquitar for good, and all of a sudden you're back," Jason pointed out as Billy started laughing.
"Jas, I missed home, missed my family, my friends," Billy spoke genuinely, his eyes shining with what might have been tears, as he sat down between Zack and Trini. "Things didn't work out the way I had expected. I was just lucky enough the Rangers there could get me home in one piece."
As he and Jason continued on with news from the other rangers, Billy noticed the looks Trini and Zack kept giving Kimberly, his mind automatically registering why they were giving her those long looks - Tommy. "So does he know we're coming?"
"No. I talked to the girl that called, Kira, said she and her two friends were doing it as a surprise," Jason said as Billy nodded.
"It'll be some surprise alright," Billy murmured as Kimberly's head snapped up. "How you holding up?" he whispered as she gave him a shaky smile.
"About as well as I look at the moment," she whispered, then screeched when a pair of hands covered her eyes.
"Surprise!" the voice retorted, causing Kim to start laughing as she stood up and spun around. Instantly, her arms were thrown around Rocky's neck.
"ROCKY!" she gushed as she hugged him.
"Hey Beaut..." he stopped his greeting mid sentence, cursing himself when Kim's eyes filled again. "Damn Kim, I'm sorry."
She pulled back and waved it off. "Don't worry, I'm not gonna break."
"No, but you look like you're gonna drown with all those tears in your eyes," a new voice started in concern. The entire group turned and found Adam, Katherine, and Aisha standing behind Rocky.
"So, someone want to explain what the heck is going on?" Aisha quipped as she pushed Rocky aside so she could hug Kim.
Shaking their heads, Zack and Trini shrugged. Jason sighed. "You're about as informed as we are at this point."
"Tommy's not going to be very happy to see us unexpectedly," Kat started as Rocky nodded. "You know how much he just loves surprises." The slight sarcastic tone of her voice had the others wincing.
Billy's eyes kept switching between Kim and Kat, wondering when exactly the cat-fight was gonna begin. Kim saw the look on his face and decided he should know. "Billy, Kat knows the truth about what happened."
Kim's words silenced the group. It had been something on each of their minds when news of Kim's attendance had spread. "She's right, I do know," Kat whispered as she moved forward and leaned down to hug her friend. "How you holding up?"
Kim's smile was the first genuine one Jason had seen on her face since they'd boarded the plane in Florida. "Better now that you guys are here."
"Excuse me, but are you here for Mr. Mercer's conference?" a man asked as he approached the group.
The girls all looked at him, startled, as the guys all suddenly took a defensive stance. It had been years since they'd been Rangers, but the quick reflexes and heightened senses still worked. "And you are?" Rocky questioned. He moved to block this man from Kim and Kat, who were standing and sitting behind him.
"I'm your driver, Alexi," the man started as he held out a business card to Rocky, who tentatively took it and looked at it before passing it to Billy, who had come to stand with him.
"It's legit," Billy murmured as Rocky took and handed it back to the man.
The driver stood before them and smiled. He could see now why Mr. Mercer had warned him about this group. Even without their powers, they looked dangerous when grouped together. "If you'll follow me, the limos are waiting outside to take you to your hotel."
Slowly, Jason laid down some money for the meal that they'd had before he and the others rose from the table, grabbed their bags, and followed Alexi to the front of the airport. When they stepped outside, two black stretch limos waited for them. Another driver stepped forward and helped half the group into one limo while Alexi helped the other half of the group into the other limo. Once everyone was settled, Alexi and the other driver started for the hotel.
"Did they say why they didn't want us picking them up?" Conner questioned as he, Kira, and Ethan ran along a trail through the park.
"Other than it being a school day and Dr. O killing us for missing, nope," Kira laughed as the three slowed their pace and then stopped.
"I talked to Ms. Kwan and she said that they had something else to do when they arrived," Ethan huffed as he grabbed his water bottle from his belt. "Something that had come up before our little surprise party."
Conner and Kira nodded. Conner frowned a few moments later as Kira and Ethan kept trying to squirt water at one another. "Guys, what kind of business could they have in Reefside other than seeing Dr. O? I mean, when I talked to DeSantos, Hilliard and Campbell, they said they'd never heard of Reefside until recently."
Both Kira and Ethan suddenly went quiet. Conner had a point. "You think something else is going on?" Ethan asked.
"I'd say Conner's got a bad feeling about it," Kira started, watching Conner's face. "And now so do I."
"I've got Mr. Scott's cell number," Ethan started. "We could call and make sure they got in ok and if everything is going alright." At Kira and Conner's nod, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his own cell phone and dialed the number he'd memorized a few days before.
Jason was startled when his cell phone rang on the ride to the hotel. Reaching over Trini, he grabbed his backpack, opened it and pulled his cell out. Shushing everyone, he answered. "Jason here."
The others immediately started paying attention as he talked with whoever had called him. "Yes Ethan, everything's fine. We've got a meeting to go to downtown later this afternoon and then we'll meet you guys at the park tomorrow to plan this surprise visit." Kim and Trini smiled, appreciative that Tommy's new team was worried about them. "No, that's fine. Yeah, you can call me here anytime. Right. See you tomorrow."
"So?" Zack asked as Jason shut off his phone.
"They were concerned when they realized Trini had told them we had a meeting to attend to, because they didn't understand how we had other business when none of us have been to Reefside before." All eyes turned to Trini who blushed.
The conversation abruptly ceased when the limo stopped. Alexi opened the door for the group, and helped them out. Once they were out of the limo, they all looked up and gasped as they saw the hotel where they were staying. "Wow, looks like Mr. Mercer spared no expense for this," Trini commented as they grabbed their bags and headed in.
"Where have you guys been all afternoon?" Dr. Oliver asked as the three teens entered his living room.
"We went for a jog in the park," Ethan smiled at him.
Dr. Oliver eyed them curiously. He hadn't known them long, but he knew when the three of them were up to something. "Yeah, Kira thought it'd been a good idea if we trained for a while since we skipped out on it yesterday," Conner spoke up, covering for them.
"Dr. O, could I ask you something?" Kira started, watching her teacher give her the LOOK. Lately whenever she asked him if she could ask him a question, she brought up his past.
"Do you have something we could munch on before we start, we're starving!" she giggled as he blinked at her in surprise. Shaking his head, he motioned for them to follow him into the kitchen.
"It must be something in the water in Angel Grove, that would produce such a group."
The words washed over the group of nine as they entered the small ballroom of their hotel an hour later. A man, approximately in his mid forties, with slightly graying hair and a sharp gray business suit stood before them, surrounded by body guards and a woman they could only guess was his assistant.
"You must be Dr. Mercer," Billy started as the man nodded.
"Indeed I am, Dr. Cranston. Welcome to Reefside," Mercer spoke as the group started to tense.
Kim, Aisha, Trini and Kat stepped closer to one another as the guys unconsciously grouped around them. "I don't like this," Kim whispered as the other three girls nodded in unison.
"I assure you, Ms. Hart, you have nothing to worry about," he spoke again, watching as Kimberly's eyebrow raised in question. "You, most of all, have nothing to worry about."
Instinctively, Jason and Rocky moved to almost flank Kim. "Jason," Rocky spoke, watching as Jason nodded when he caught the tone of Rocky's voice.
"Dr. Mercer, why did you invite us here?" Jason questioned. Mercer simply stared at them. He could see that even after all these years, they still looked to the ex-Red Ranger for leadership. He smiled slightly. They may have been powerful as Rangers, but they obviously weren't very smart.
"For the same reason young Kira beckoned you here," Mercer spoke, watching as the group tensed even more. "It suddenly came to me that Dr. Oliver would probably love to see his best friends," Mercer paused. "And teammates again."
Aisha gulped when Kat whispered, "He knows." The others were silent and trying not to show their emotions. And they succeeded, all except Kimberly. Instantly her anger ignited when she realized exactly what Mercer was insinuating.
"Leave Tommy out of this," Kimberly growled, surprising her friends while only making Mercer's smile grow.
"Retract your claws, my beautiful firebird," Mercer spoke elegantly, watching as several pairs of eyes narrowed at him. "Or should I call you a crane? Your white tiger is perfectly safe. However, whether or not he stays that way depends on you."
Mercer laughed internally when he saw Kim's face pale. Oh yes, he could use the feelings he saw raging across her face to his advantage. Despite what he knew had happened between Oliver and this beautiful young woman, she still held deep feelings for Oliver, ones she couldn't hide at the moment. "You haven't begun to see my claws yet," Kim's voice came out in a deadly whisper, one that had Adam, Zack, and all three of the other girls looking at her in shock.
"Look," Jason started before he was cut off.
"No, Mr. Scott, you look. I am in control here. Now, I'd appreciate all of you meeting me for dinner tomorrow night, seven o'clock, at my home," Mercer started as the group gave him the 'you have to be kidding' look. "You may bring Dr. Oliver and his charges, as I know you'll be meeting with them tomorrow. Alexi will take you where you need to go, you're dismissed."
'Dismissed!?' the group thought at once, watching the man before them as he turned to say something to his assistant. "And if we refuse?" Rocky asked.
"You won't," Mercer spoke confidently. "You care far too much for Dr. Oliver and his charges, to anger me."
"Kim?" Kat asked an hour later as the group walked through the park, where they were supposed to be meeting up with the new team. Jason had made a phone call to Ethan shortly after they left the hotel to bump it up to later in the afternoon instead of the next day. Kim had stayed at the back of the group, her attention and focus on the meeting from earlier. "Kimberly?" Kat's voice pulled Kim from her thoughts.
"Are you alright?" Kat's Australian lilt came through as concern laced her voice. She could see the heaviness that weighed on Kimberly after the meeting with Mercer.
Shaking her head, Kim stopped, as did Kat, and let the others get a bit further away. "No. We shouldn't have come here, I shouldn't have come here," Kim started as Kat watched her crumble. "I'm putting him in more danger than he already is."
"Kimberly," Kat started, her gaze going from Kim, to the others, and back. "Tommy was a Ranger, three years he was a ranger. He's always been in danger, but he knows how to take care of himself. He'd be the first person to point that out."
"Kat, I hurt him so bad all those years ago," Kim sobbed softly as Kat's hands reached out and grabbed hers. "I couldn't stand knowing that my presence here is going to hurt him again."
"Kimberly, if anything, your presence is going to harden his resolve to fight Mercer, and the villains the new team must face." Before Kim could say anything, the others were shouting out in alarm. Kim and Kat blinked in surprise as they were suddenly surrounded by what could only be described as a mix between a putty and a cog.
"WHOA!" Kim screeched as one slashed at her and Kat, who jumped back to avoid the hit.
The two girls hit the ground, hard, and looked at one another before nodding. They knew exactly what they had to do.
"What do you think is keeping them?" Kira asked as she, Conner and Ethan sat on the swing set at the designated meeting spot.
Conner shrugged and Ethan sighed. Before either of them, or Kira, could say anything, they heard the noise of what sounded like a fight coming from the other side of the hill behind them. "You don't think that's what I think it is, do you?" Conner asked as he, Kira and Ethan jumped off the swings.
"I'd bet a hundred bucks they're getting attacked," Kira whispered as they nodded to one another and took off. As the trio crested the hill they saw something they had only seen once before, with Dr. Oliver - civilians fighting Tyrano-drones with next to no problems.
"I'll be damned," Conner chuckled in awe as he watched the group of nine taking out the Drones.
Ethan simply laughed while Kira shook her head. "Well, they aren't exactly normal civilians." Both Kira and Conner shot Ethan a look and then the three of them ran down the hill to start engaging the Drones.
Meanwhile, the others found that they were making some headway with their attackers, but they also discovered they were seriously out of practice. "Jason!" Rocky called out, jumping to Jason's rescue as a Drone tried to sneak up on him.
"Thanks Rocko!" Jason grunted as he round house kicked the three he was fighting.
"They're here!" Trini gasped as she and Aisha double teamed the Drone in front of them. The others each momentarily looked up to see the three young Rangers coming to help.
Conner leapt into action, tackling the Drones that had backed Kimberly and Katherine together while Kira did a flying kick into the one that Adam, Zack and Billy had been having trouble with and Ethan started assaulting one of the Drones that was gunning for Aisha and Trini.
"Nice of you to join us!" Adam quipped as he hip tossed the thing in front of him.
"Well, couldn't let you have all the fun, could we?" Kira quipped back before she was thrown into Zack. "Sorry."
"No problem." Zack smiled at her. Kira watched him in surprise when he suddenly leapt away from her toward Jason. She watched, even while helping Billy and Adam, as Zack and Kim approached Jason, Rocky, Trini, and Aisha. She and Adam blinked in surprise when they saw the others surrounding Jason, Zack and Kim.
"It's been a long time since they did that," Billy chuckled breathily as he sent out punch after punch. "Watch." The first time this had been done had been shortly after the original rangers first received their powers from Zordon.
Kira and Adam did as told. Zack quickly climbed onto Jason's shoulders, taking a position almost like you'd see someone do if they were playing water volleyball. They watched then as Kimberly wrapped her arms around Zack's outstretched legs and blinked rapidly as Jason began to spin them around, Kim's legs kicking out and connecting with the group of Drones.
"Neat trick," Kira cracked as Adam nodded.
Before long, the group was standing there in shock as the group of Drones disappeared. Zack and Kim hopped down and sank to the ground next to Jason. "They've never done that before," Ethan spoke as everyone grouped around the three sitting on the grass.
"Always a first time," Conner sighed as he and Kat approached. "Guess we should introduce ourselves. I'm Conner."
The older rangers nodded. Jason was the first to speak up so he introduced the others. "I'm Jason, this is Rocky, Adam, Billy, Kat, Aisha, Trini, Zack and Kimberly." Each person nodded and smiled when Jason introduced them.
"Kira," Kimberly started, catching the Yellow Ranger's attention. "Who's Anton Mercer?"
Kira blinked. She'd only heard that name a handful of times, and usually it was Dr. O cursing the name. "Hayley said that he was the one Dr. O was working with a few years ago when that island exploded."
Total silence reigned over the group as Kira's answer to Kim's question rocked them. "Oh God, Tommy," Kim whispered softly. Kira's eyes narrowed briefly at the way Kim had said Dr. O's first name.
"Remember our meeting, the one we had to go to before this?" Trini asked. The three rangers nodded. "Mercer sent invitations to all of Tommy's former teammates. We met with him about an hour ago."
Kira, Conner and Ethan simply stared at their predecessors.
"Hayley, did you get a fix on them yet?" the man with short, spiky brown hair asked impatiently as he pushed his glasses up on his nose.
The woman across the room rolled her eyes at him and continued to type in commands to the computer. "Yeah, the park. And they're not alone."
He swung around at the last part of her statement. "What do you mean, not alone?"
"Apparently, they were just fighting a group of drones, but the interesting thing is that they're with nine other people."
"What part of the park?" he asked, grabbing his jacket off the back of his chair as he stood and moved toward the door of the lair.
"Near the playground equipment." Turning she watched him rush out of the room. "Oh Tommy, if you only knew what you're kids have in store for you."
"You guys did really well," Jason commended the three teenagers as the group sat around on the playground equipment. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing on end as he watched his friends, and suddenly knew without a doubt what was about to happen. "We've got company."
Turning to look at Jason, the group pondered what he meant. "Tommy." Kim spoke his name so utterly clear that the entire group whirled around when they saw him standing about three feet from the edge of the sandbox.
Through all his years as a ranger, he had managed to keep his anger under the strictest of control. In fact, he could count on one hand the times he'd really been pissed off enough to do some damage, or had felt betrayed the way he did now. There was his CURRENT team sitting with his EX-team. All he could think about was being really upset that the others had come here. "What in the hell is going on?" He scanned the group, noting that most of them were dressed down. The small ripple of shock that coursed through him when he saw the three new rangers in their colors sitting with his friends, all of whom had abandoned their colors for black, white, or khaki, quieted him. For as long as they'd been rangers, they had all worn their colors, it was interesting to see them in anything but.
His brain quickly took role of who was there. His eyes locked on Conner, Kira and Ethan, sending them a look of disapproval before he looked to the others. After seeing all but two of his friends, his eyes landed on the person who'd spoken his name. Before he could even begin to reign in the emotions, he felt his heart simply crack apart at the seams.
"Kim." Several of the elder rangers' eyes widened. Kimberly's name had come from Tommy's lips sounding almost like a prayer, a love laced prayer.
"Uh, surprise," Kira muttered as Tommy's eyes tore away from Kimberly's face and focused on his team.
"SURPRISE?" The three teens winced at the sound of his voice. He'd gone from teammate and mentor to teacher in a split second.
"Not completely our fault though," Ethan started, and had Conner finishing.
"They got invited to go meet Dr. Mercer." If Tommy had been slightly shocked to see his friends, and knew it was because of the new team, he could handle that, but the shock of knowing Mercer had contacted them was almost too much to his system.
It was Kimberly, surprisingly enough, who approached the black and khaki clad Tommy. Her eyes sought his as she stood directly in front of him, urging him to listen to her. "Tommy, he knows."
"Knows what, Kim?" Tommy asked impatiently. Just staring at her was hurting him.
"About us." If Tommy hadn't known better he'd think she was referring to the way they, the two of them, had been. "He knows about THAT too." Now he was floored. Mercer knew about the Rangers, the old Rangers, and bets were he knew about the new ones too.
"Tommy," Jason started, stepping toward his best friend for the first time since he'd arrived. "He's gunning to pay you back for whatever happened, and us being here is part of how he's going to do it."
Kim's eyes clenched shut so tightly that Tommy wondered if she was pissed or scared. When they opened again, he watched those doe like bottomless brown eyes he thought he knew so well change colors, which knocked him for a loop. "He's not going to let us leave until he gets what he wants, Tommy, and what he wants is for you to suffer. We have to talk," she finished in a whisper, watching the awareness seep into his eyes.
"I think you said all you had to say a few years ago, Kim." Purposely, he stepped around her to go and see the others. Kimberly continued to stare at the sky and clench her hands into fists to regain control.
"I lied to you, in more ways then one," she spoke, whirling around to face him and the others. God how she wanted to tell him this in private, not in front of their friends or his charges. The look in Tommy's eyes was enough to have her wanting to throw up on the spot. That absolute hatred in his eyes caused her heart to shatter. Not like you weren't expecting it, Kim, she thought to herself.
"I don't want to hear it Kim." He turned to say something to Kat, and found that his other ex was glaring at him. "WHAT?" he defensively asked as Kat stood up from her seat on the edge of the jungle gym's stairs.
"Don't shut her out," Kat whispered as she stepped forward and turned pleading blue eyes on him. "She's got a lot to tell you."
Tommy stared at Kat like she'd grown a second head. "You've already talked with her."
Kat nodded and hoping Kim wouldn't kill her, told him. "Right after we gave up our powers, I ran into her in New York, when I was heading to London for a performance. She told me what happened, and Tommy, if you let her tell you, it'll explain a lot of your questions."
"Who says it's better to know the truth?" he asked as his eyes went to Rocky and Adam, who were sitting on the steps behind Kat, glaring daggers at him. Had all his friends sided with the person who had hurt him, he thought sourly as both Adam and Rocky shook their heads and looked down, not wanting to look at him. Before Kat could answer, Jason was shouting at the other former pink ranger.
"KIM!" the original red ranger hollered as he watched his little sister run as fast as she could from the heartbreaking scene. "DAMMIT TOMMY!" Jason yelled at him, watching the three teenagers sitting in front of him shrink away in fear. "Can you be anymore stupid? You'd think with that PhD you got, you'd have gotten some brains to go along with it."
"Jas," Trini warned as Jason and Tommy moved to stand toe to toe. A familiar noise immediately halted the argument that was coming.
Kira, Conner and Ethan leapt up next to Tommy as he began to speak into his communicator. "Go ahead Hayley."
"You've got trouble about two hundred yards from where you are," Hayley started as her words seemed to send a ripple of shock over the group. "It appears Elsa has shown up and she's got a prisoner."
All hell broke loose as Tommy shot past his charges. "KIMBERLY!"
"Well, well, look what the cat dragged in." The voice was threatening. Kimberly instantly recognized the tone from her years as the pink ranger; this was not going to be pretty.
She slid to a stop in front of more of those things the group had gone up against earlier and standing in front of them was a woman dressed completely in black. "So, Tommy's heart returns," the biker chick, as Kim referred to her mentally, spat as Kim took several steps backward.
"What do you want with me?"
"I want you dead, but that's neither here nor there. My master has plans for you," Elsa growled as she watched the others running toward them from over the hill behind Kimberly. "Tyrano-drones, keep those Rangers busy!" she screeched as she leapt forward, attempting to clamp a hand around Kimberly's arm.
"LEAVE ME ALONE!" Kim screamed, dodging the offending hand.
Meanwhile, Tommy ran as fast as his legs would carry him. When her scream ripped through the air and slammed into him, his heart lurched up into his throat. He'd never heard her sound like that, not even with all the battles she'd faced when she'd been a Ranger. "KIM!" he yelled out as he attempted to make his way through the drones to where Elsa had finally managed to get a hold on Kim's arm.
She heard his anguished voice and twisted to see where he was. When she caught sight of him trying to fight his way to her, her mind superimposed a memory of a similar event over it, one where she'd been in pink and he'd been wearing white, and she felt her hope soar a little. If this turned out as good as the memory did, she'd be fine. "TOMMY!" she screamed as she tried to wrench free but couldn't.
The decision to morph was taken completely out of his hands as his heart wouldn't allow him to do any less to get to her. He felt the rush of the power as it dropped over him like a shroud. He could hear the others morph but he blocked it out, his only thought was to get to her.
She was struggling against Elsa's hold, and he could see the streaks of pain filled tears rush down her cheeks. Deciding to leave the drones to the others, he did a super leap over them and landed just behind Elsa, who shrieked in surprise and let Kim go.
As she fell to the ground, Kim looked up at the now transformed Black Ranger in awe and shock. That was the one thing the new team had neglected to tell her and the others - Tommy was no longer just the mentor and teacher - he was a ranger. Green, White, Red and now Black, Kim thought with a jolt. No wonder he'd been wearing the black shirt and tan khakis. "You know, you shouldn't pick on innocent people like that, kinda pisses us Rangers off," the Black Ranger muttered to Elsa who smirked at him. Kim blinked in surprise at the cocky sound of his voice. 'Familiar tone, ain't it?' she asked herself as she backpedaled on the grass.
"And here I thought she was just another memory of old to you, Black Ranger," Elsa spat as the experienced Ranger took a fighting stance in front of her.
"Touch her again, and you won't live to regret it, I promise that." The venom in his voice had Kim shivering. She'd had never, in all the years of knowing Tommy Oliver, EVER heard that tone come from him. He was beyond mad; he was PISSED. 'Do I want to know why?' she thought as she watched the pair in front of her.
Elsa was about to say something when she suddenly got a funny look on her face. Without another word, she and the drones disappeared through a portal, leaving nine very shocked friends staring at the Black Ranger. Shaking his head, the Black Ranger signaled for the others to unmorph. Crouching down, he looked at Kimberly in worry, visually scanning her for more injuries other than her arm. "You ok?" he questioned softly as he scooted closer to her. Kim looked up at him, letting the tears start to well in her eyes. He looked so vulnerable, so concerned about her that she momentarily forgot what had happened on the other side of the hill, until her brain started working again and she remembered the way he'd looked at her before.
"Just peachy. You know me," she waved him off when he reached out to help, and struggled to stand on her own. "I'm used to getting jerked around by the bad guys. I seem to be an especially nice target most of the time." Tommy frowned as he watched her dust herself off. She hadn't been fine when she'd screamed for him, he'd heard the terror in her voice. It had shocked him back a better part of a decade to when she'd last screamed for his help like that. 'When she lost her power coin' he thought absently as they made their way over to the others.
"I'm telling you one thing," Aisha spoke suddenly, breaking the silence. "I am not staying in that hotel, especially if Mercer knows we're there."
The others nodded. "What are we gonna do then?" Trini asked looking from Aisha to the others. "We can't get rooms on such short notice."
"Kira, Conner, Ethan, think you each can keep two of them with you?" Tommy asked suddenly, watching as his young charges nodded. "Good. Then Trini and Aisha are going to go with Kira, Zack and Rocky I want you with Conner, Billy and Adam can go with Ethan and Jason, Kat and Kim can come back to my house with me."
"Hey, what about that stupid dinner tomorrow?" Adam asked suddenly. "Mercer pretty much implied he'd do some wicked things to the new team if we didn't all attend."
"Oh, we aren't going to miss that for the world," Jason said suddenly, catching everyone's attention with his optimistic sounding voice. "I've got a plan, but I need to talk it over with Tommy tonight." That said, the group went to the hotel before they broke off and each went home with whomever they were staying with.
Kimberly sat in the bathroom upstairs at Tommy's, her eyes filled with tears as she rocked back and forth inside the empty tub. She'd told them she needed to take a minute and they'd let her. Now she sat there, bombarded by memories of the past and wishing to a higher power that she wasn't where she was. 'My apartment is sounding really nice right about now' she sighed to herself. At least there she could be alone.
Tommy had given her a full ten minutes in the bathroom before he'd left Jason and Kat's protests downstairs to seek her out. He stood outside the bathroom, his forehead pressed against the door. He could hear her sobs, could feel the pent up emotions coming from her, and from himself. He clenched his eyes shut, imagining again what it had been like to hear her scream his name, terrified, and to know he'd felt the same way when he'd seen Elsa latch on to her arm. Then there was the shock he'd seen on her face when he'd morphed. Knowing his Kimberly the way he did, he thought before he mentally smacked a hand to his forehead. She isn't MY Kimberly anymore.
She startled him when she opened the door, but he'd surprised the heck out of her, as she hadn't been expecting to see him standing there. "Sorry."
Tommy didn't say anything to her. He simply watched her. Her face, despite that she'd washed it, was red and swollen from crying. Her arms were trembling and he could tell she was struggling to even out her breathing. Wordlessly, he did what he hadn't done in nearly eight years; he pulled her into his arms and held on.
To say Kim was shocked was an understatement. After what had happened at the playground, she hadn't expected this. As the warmth of his embrace seeped into her, the control over her emotions broke, and she started sobbing into his chest.
This was not the Kimberly Hart he knew. The Kim he knew would have...and that's when he realized something more than what had happened this afternoon was getting to her. 'Dumb ass, you use to know her so well, why did it take so long for you to see this?' he asked himself mentally as he tightened his embrace of her.
After a few minutes, her breathing started to calm down, so much so that Tommy felt her start to slip into the realm of sleep. Shaking his head, he bent down and scooped her up, causing her to gasp slightly, before he took her through the door that led into his room.
Making a mental note to see to her comfort, he laid her gently on his bed and pulled the blankets up around her, even as she protested his actions. "You need to sleep," he murmured softly as he sat on the edge and watched her look up at him. There it was again, he noted when her eyes seemed to change colors. The story of what happened to her was going to have to wait. He slid a hand through his short, spiky hair in agitation. He knew nothing normal would cause Kim's eyes to...
"It's a long story, Tommy, one you're not gonna be happy with."
"We'll talk in the morning, go to sleep," he whispered as he watched her drop off. His thoughts immediately went into over drive. 'This should be interesting, my bed is gonna smell like Kim again' he thought with a half grin. He could remember when they'd been dating, she'd usually come over on Friday and Saturdays and they'd spend all day hanging out on his bed listening to music, watching movies, studying. 'Or the all important making out' he laughed to himself as he moved from the bed to the door, taking one last long look at her before he went downstairs.
"Where's Kim?" Jason asked as Tommy plopped down on the couch next to Katherine, putting her between the two of them.
"Sleeping, I hope," Tommy replied as he let his head lean back and rest on the back of the couch.
Jason bit his lip. Before Tommy had come back down, both he and Kat had decided that after what had happened in the park, whether Kimberly liked it or not, Tommy needed to know what happened to her. "Tommy, we need to talk."
Tommy sighed and then looked over at his friends, who both had serious expressions on their faces. "There's something you need to know," Kat started. "Something all of us and Zordon kept from you about Kim."
The look on his face was about as grim as Jason and Kat had ever seen, giving them the feeling that this wasn't going to be easy. "Kim should be the one telling you this, but after today," Jason started, shaking the 'what ifs' from his mind. "Something happened to Kim when she went to Florida, something none of us knew about until shortly before the incident with Divatox."
When Tommy continued to stare at Jason, Kat picked up. "Do you remember how it felt to have your powers taken from you?" At Tommy's nod, Kat continued. "Multiply that about ten times and you'll know exactly what Kim was going through emotionally." Tommy blinked and wanted to shoot himself. 'Of course she would be upset about what happened' he thought to himself.
"Tommy, it was more then a depression that she went through," Jason interrupted Tommy's thoughts. "Because she had her power coin basically ripped from her so fast, only to give it away to Kat after it was retrieved, it sent her spiraling, mentally, emotionally, but most of all physically. Ninjor literally linked the power coins with the six of you, with your souls."
"I don't understand," Tommy started, confusion evident.
"Before the incident with Divatox, Zordon had finally asked Kimberly to come home, so I went and got her and brought her back to Angel Grove. He and Alpha spent the better part of two days running endless tests," Jason supplied, watching Tommy's face for understanding. "After you got the letter, Zordon told me that he thought something was off with Kimberly, like that wasn't something she would do, and I had to agree with him, it wasn't. That girl loved you entirely too much to suddenly fall in love with some flyboy gymnast. Kim was and is not that shallow."
"They discovered, after some poking and prodding, that she'd had a mental break down right after the Pan Globals," Jason said, and watched his friend's eyes widen in shock. "What's more, her body was still infused with the power of the morphin grid, still linked to her power coin, and with no way to release it, added onto the fact that by then the power coins were useless, some biological changes started happening."
"Her eyes?" Tommy asked.
Kat and Jason nodded. "That's not all," Kat whispered, watching the horror spread across Tommy's face. Immediately, he turned to stare at the staircase.
Jason licked his lips in frustration. "Divatox and Maligore. After Kim and I were possessed, whatever was happening to her nearly destroyed her, inside and out. Zordon managed to reverse most of it, but by that time, the damage to both of you was done."
"Why are you telling me this Jason? Why now?" Tommy growled as he turned to face them.
Kat's smile was small. "Because, you needed the truth. There was never another guy, she never cheated on you, never fell in love with another - she was trying to protect you from what was happening to her. She swore each and everyone one of us, with the exception of Tanya and Justin, who don't know, to secrecy about this."
"If she loved me as much as she said she did, she'd have wanted my help."
"What would you have done? Dropped everything to be with her?" Jason asked, watching Tommy wince. "When no one went and visited after Christmas, that's when things in her mind really started changing. Zordon told me if we'd went and seen her, there's a slight chance we might have been able to prevent some of it from happening, but Tommy, you were a ranger, the leader, you had no time between school and that, to help her through what she was going through, and the rest of us didn't know what was going on."
"Is there anymore?"
"Yes," Kat whispered, hating to cause him more pain. "She's still going through changes, hence the changing color of her eyes. Zordon told Jason that he didn't know how long it would take her to recover, that there might be a possibility that she'll never recover."
Tommy sat silently after Katherine finished and tried to digest what she and Jason had just told him. Suddenly, everything that had happened eight years before clicked into place. The letter, the incident with Divatox, the reasons behind Alpha and Zordon never really talking about Kim. His eyes welled when he thought of her going through all of that by herself. Shaking his head, he turned to look at his friends, who were watching him with a mixture of sorrow, love, hope, and understanding.
"What about this bright plan of yours?" Tommy asked Jason a moment later, hoping to change the subject.
"Well, I don't think, first of all, that we should take the Rangers with us. You should come, but we know this is gonna be a trap."
"I won't leave them out of the loop Jason," Tommy firmly explained as Jason nodded.
"I thought you were gonna say that. What we need to do is be ready, for anything. You're going to have to tell us all you know about Mercer." Jason and Kat's eyes widened at the stricken look on Tommy's face.
"I thought he was dead Jas, and I only worked for him for like a year and a half before the accident. He's a completely different person now."
Kat cleared her throat, gaining both boys' attention. "Might I also point out that he's got his eye on our other former pink ranger." Tommy's eyes darkened at that piece of information.
Jason shot Kat a look. "He and Kim got into it this afternoon when we met up with him," Jason started as Kat tried to turn her attention to other things. "He's got something planned, for you more than likely, and Kim let him know in no uncertain terms was he to mess with you."
"How'd she end up the target?" Tommy asked suddenly.
"Her mouth," Jason laughed. "It was kinda funny, and really heartwarming cause it was like the old Kim breaking free. The only problem is, now he's going to use her against you."
"I know someone who might be able to help us," Tommy said as he stood and walked over to grab his phone. He hit the power button and then dialed someone's number. Jason and Kat could barely hear, but knew that someone instantly picked up. "Hayley, I need you to come to my house bright and early tomorrow, we've got a problem."
"Who's Hayley?" Jason asked as Tommy hung up, his face bright red as he turned to look at his friends.
Swallowing, Tommy watched the way his friends looked at him curiously. "My partner in crime," he started, watching Kat's eyebrow shoot up in question. "She helped me create the morhpers."