Duty & Honor – Part 5
“I can’t you believe you did that!” Kim alleged as the last of the rangers had left the basement command center.
“What? I told you I was going to keep you out of this, and they were going to have to know why sooner or later.”
“Did you not hear Billy? He said we’re in danger. Deadly, ‘kill rangers’ danger, and you want to handicap this team by forcing me to sit out?”
“I want to make sure you and our baby survive this,” replied Tommy, his voice raising again, prompted by Kim’s continued stubbornness.
“At the expense of your life and the others?”
“That’s not going to happen.”
“And you’re going to guarantee that how? My God Tommy, you know I love you and yes, even under the circumstances I’m happy about the baby… but how do you expect me to stand on the sidelines and watch, knowing that you might get killed this time… really and truly dead. What am I supposed to tell our child?”
He was silent as he felt that slam into his soul. He had lost his natural parents… and here he was, suggesting that if something happened that it was okay to leave Kim alone to raise their child without a father?
“You won’t lose me,” he vowed vehemently. “If you’re not out there, I don’t have to worry about you or what could happen to the baby.”
“Shouldn’t that be my choice?”
“Not as long as that’s my baby…”
Kim’s face went red.
Turning towards the stairs, she stomped up them, heading into the kitchen. Behind her, she heard Tommy curse and follow her.
“You can’t just put me in a cage for the next eight months…” she rattled off angrily as she walked through the house after climbing the stairs to the kitchen.
“It’s not a cage… I’m not saying you can’t work, drive, or any of the things you normally do…” he quickly tried to placate, explain his rationale.
“But I can’t return to ‘duty’, is that it?” she demanded, turning swiftly to get into his face.
“How the hell am I supposed to answer you Kim? Can’t you see that it would kill me to think that I could have saved you and… or our baby if you were to go out there and something happened? Those wraith things weren’t holding back. And I know that you got slammed around pretty good.”
“And I walked away just fine. You’re being overprotective…”
“Can you blame me?”
“Yes! Women have babies every day. I have yet to see my OB/GYN and have her tell me that there’s any reason I can’t do anything I normally would have done before…”
“Then explain that fainting spell earlier,” he argued.
“It’s the same as my getting violently ill the last week… a little thing called morning sickness. And I think that the stress of everything going on was a bit more likely to have aggravated it than for there to be something wrong. Plus I admit I overdid it… I used my powers in a way that taxed them. That’s what caused it, I’m sure…”
“Are you sure? What if you’re wrong?” he asked in a demanding tone.
“Look… let me make an appointment with my doctor and we’ll see how things are. Don’t just make decisions for me,” she said with a halting voice, her anger fading under Tommy’s continued impassioned comments.
“Damnit Kim, don’t you get that I’m just trying to keep you safe, keep our baby safe?”
“And I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to… protect more than just myself and our baby,” she informed him as she stood in the doorframe of their bedroom, her eyes shining with unshed tears as she played her last card with the man she’d loved all her life. “I want to take care of you and the others, because right now it’s really obvious to me that we’re in way over our heads. This isn’t like Rita or Zedd… they wanted the Earth and we were in the way. Xondar has no other objective except to kill us. And you’re assuming that even sitting on the sidelines he’ll decide I’m out of the picture. Did you even think that not being in uniform, with the team might put me and the baby in more danger?”
Tommy froze as Kim’s suggestion hit him with the force of a truck. He’d just been thinking about her getting hurt, her losing the baby because she got attacked by Symax or the wraiths. He’d never considered that alone, sitting on the sidelines that she could be a bigger and easier target.
Conflicted, he ran a hand through his hair, and Kim could see the confusion and the frustration in his face. She’d hated to push him, make him face the fact that maybe he couldn’t protect her and their child. It was something that was a flaw in his personality, stemming from his green ranger days. But he had to stop trying to force her to do things his way and try to work through this together.
“I hadn’t thought… what the hell am I supposed to do Kim? I can’t lose you, and I sure as hell don’t want us to lose this baby,” he said quietly, reaching forward for the first time and placing his hand against her lower abdomen, realizing the magnitude of the change that was upon them.
“Then let’s take this a step at a time. Let me call my doctor, and I’ll make an appointment for *us* to see her. You can ask her all the important questions, and once she gives me a clean bill of health, we’ll make a decision about my being in uniform.”
“But until then, you aren’t going out there with us.”
“Until then,” she replied simply.
Placing her hand over his, Kim looked up and found some sanity returned to the eyes of her husband. Her own anger had tempered during the discussion, and she now was willing to stay out of things for the moment. They’d compromised for now… She could only hope that Xondar would give them the time they needed to figure things out in the long term. But for now…
“So, we just fought and we’re expecting a baby… are you gonna stay mad at me and sleep on the couch, or do you want to come to bed?” she asked with a small grin.
“I don’t fit on the couch, and you know it,” he replied with a note of a smile in his voice.
Turning to the bed, Kim walked with Tommy pressed against her back, his arms wrapped around her waist as his hands stayed glued to her stomach. Kim yanked the covers aside and kicked off her shoes, Tommy following suit. Then they climbed onto the mattress, fully clothed, Kim spooning into Tommy as they worked to melt into one another, connecting with each other, and the presence of this new life they’d created.
The next morning, Kim had another bout of morning sickness, and she’d called in sick to work and was able to get an appointment for her OB/GYN that afternoon. She’d asked for the latest appointment so Tommy could come, and she’d given him the time and location before he kissed her goodbye and headed to the high school.
As soon as he’d driven off, she felt suddenly, truly alone… and it frightened her for a moment. She needed to talk to someone that she could connect with. Who might have a more feminine perspective of the situation…
Picking up the phone, she reached for the phone book, flipping through the pages. It was three hours ahead, but she hoped that maybe Aisha was on her lunch break at the veterinary office she co-ran. When she got the receptionist, she was tempted to hang up, but she told the woman who she was and that she wanted to speak with Aisha Campbell. Within a few moments, she heard her friend’s happy voice on the line.
“Hey Aisha. I’m not bothering you am I?”
“No way! How are things in sunny Reefside? You and Tommy good?”
“Do you have some time to talk?” Kim blurted out dejectedly, and Aisha could immediately tell there was something wrong.
“Kimberly, are you okay?” Aisha asked, her mind in a whirl at the sad, almost hurt tone in Kim’s voice.
“I had a fight with Tommy.”
“Are things okay? You and Tommy never fight. Well, unless you count that time you both were running for class president…”
“We’re… better. We sort of called a truce.”
“I had some good news with some really bad timing. Things here haven’t been great. We’re… well, the team’s back in action.”
“Oh no! But we destroyed Mesogog before your wedding. Who…”
“That’s a really long story… but the short version is this: Zordon’s brother is in Reefside, and he’s after the active teams to gain revenge for Zordon’s death. So, we’ve been fighting to keep ourselves alive…”
There was a long pause as Kim knew Aisha was most likely digesting that shock, just like she’d had to do when Billy had dropped the bombshell on them. But at least Aisha was safe… Xondar wasn’t looking for her or the others, which was how it was going to stay if she had any say in the matter.
“Wow… that’s, Damn Kim that’s tough. But so far not hearing anything that sounds like a reason for you two to fight.”
“He grounded me.”
“Whoa, wait a second. Why’d he do that?”
“Because I told him that I’m pregnant.”
The scream that pierced the receiver forced Kim to pull the phone away from her ear, and she couldn’t help but smile at the exuberance of her dearest friend at this normally good news.
“I’m gonna be an aunt!” yelled Aisha before returning to focus on Kim’s voice again.
“Yeah… you are. So, you probably can guess that Tommy went a little overprotective and informed me that I’m sitting the rest of this thing, which I was not happy about at all. I’ve made an appointment with my doctor and Tommy’s going with me, if nothing else to alleviate his fear about the pregnancy.”
“And once you’re checked out, are you going to argue with him again about going back to ‘work’?” Aisha asked, a little worried about her friend too. Being a Tenga punching bag for the better part of a year had made her wary about just how much physical punishment even a ranger could take.
“I… damnit Aisha, I’m pregnant not disabled. You’d think he’d understand my need to be out there… after all those months when he was without his powers, or when they were failing him. Even at the risk of his own life he was there fighting with us. I need to protect him, the others, and me and the baby from Xondar. And I know I can do that best by being out there, not cowering on the sidelines waiting for the team to prevail or Xondar to kill them all!”
“Kim… hey, calm down. You know Tommy can look after himself. He did just fine while you were in Florida,” reminded Aisha, even as she knew the memories that Kim still held from that time weren’t all good ones.
“I know. But you can’t imagine what it’s like to watch him out there and do nothing to help him.”
“You are helping him Kim. You being safe helps him, and you know it.”
Kim sighed as she stretched on the couch. She knew Aisha was right. Tommy had said as much the night before. And his trying to protect her was second nature to him anyway. Before she could continue, she heard someone calling Aisha’s name on her end of the phone.
“Sorry. My assistant just told me that there’s a dog that just got brought in after being hit by a car. I need to go. But you call me back and let me know when I should expect to be an aunt, okay?”
“I will. Thanks Aisha.”
With that, Kim hung up and set about getting herself ready for her appointment that afternoon, so she could finally put to rest everyone’s questions… even her own.
Once the bell for the last class had rung, the teenaged members of the power ranger team had headed as quickly as possible off school grounds and somewhere that was not feeling like Dr. O’s tension - the Cyberspace. Yet even as they sat at their table there was a collective growing concern for the unity of the team. They’d never seen their teacher and mentor so angry, and to have it directed at Kim…
It upset the natural balance of things.
Still, considering the circumstances…
“He shouldn’t have just told her what to do,” Kira complained as she stirred the spoon in her barely touched latte.
“I can’t blame him,” replied Conner, turning to look at the woman who meant everything to him. If he could, he’d do anything to keep her safe… and if it was him and Kira in Dr. O and Kim’s shoes… he’d probably be doing the exact same thing.
“She’s an adult though… she has the right to make her own decisions,” Trent added, taking Kira’s side.
Conner stared at Trent, slightly irritated at their friend’s behavior. If he didn’t know better…
“Still, Conner’s got a point… what happens if Kim lost the baby because she got hit too hard by one of those wraith things out there?” Ethan added quickly, being as logical as he could be.
“Dr. O would never forgive himself,” Conner said simply, finding Kira looking at him.
“I guess… but he was so chauvinistic, just telling her what she couldn’t do anymore,” Kira replied, looking quickly around before continuing. “I mean, she was a ranger before he was.”
“Well, it’s their issue to deal with. We shouldn’t even know about it, let alone be acting like it affects us,” remarked Ethan, feeling uncomfortable talking about the obvious sex lives of their teacher, mentor and team mates.
“But it does. Kim being out of the field is going to do exactly what she said… put us at a disadvantage with this Xondar guy,” argued Trent.
“Which is another mess that predates this team,” Conner reminded them.
“What?” asked Kira, Ethan and Trent in near unison.
“Come on, you heard Dr. O… the space rangers killed Zordon. And because of that, over a dozen rangers have been killed and a hundred wounded. We’re targets because of what they did.”
“But Dr. O didn’t do it. Andros did,” Kira said in defense of their mentor and their team mates.
“So? I get the idea that Dr. O knew what Andros did, even accepted it…” complained Conner.
“You’re wrong. There’s no way…” Ethan argued, trying to break Conner’s argument.
“What? That Dr. O wouldn’t sacrifice something for the greater good? Even Hayley made it out that he was like the greatest living ranger ever… you have to sacrifice sometimes…”
Everyone went silent at that, all of them wondering if maybe this time the sacrifice was going to be them. But they had little time to ponder that concept before their gauntlets chimed, and they hurried out the door to face whatever Xondar had in store for them now.
“Lord Zondar?” spoke up a spindly looking man in a gray uniform who looked up from his screen where he and rows of others on the orbiting space ship monitored the planet below and the movements of the rangers.
He turned in his chair at the sound of his name on the simple technician’s lips. He fought the sneer that came naturally to him. These were the weakest of his army, but the work they did: running the ship, monitoring the rangers, finding out the little secrets that had allowed him to become powerful was important. And for that he allowed them to live and serve him.
“There’s a development.”
Kim sat in the office of Dr. Harriet Button, her OB/GYN since moving to Reefside, waiting her turn to be seen. She’d already handed in her urine sample and was attempting to focus on the Modern Parenting magazine from six months ago and not pay attention to the automatic chime that had emanated from her gauntlet about ten minutes ago. That simple sound had meant two things: that the team was in a fight and that Tommy wasn’t making her appointment.
Sighing, she crossed her legs and tried to start the article she’d been reading for the last ten minutes and not gotten past the second paragraph when she heard the receptionist call her name. Tossing the magazine aside, Kim hurried up and headed into the exam room.
Taking a seat on the padded table, Kim fought not to swing her legs and waited for the knock at the door. As it swung open, she saw the smiling face of her doctor as she walked in, Kim’s medical chart in hand.
“So, how are you feeling?” asked Dr. Button, her dark hair shining under the florescent light. She was in her late fifties, and the gray that should have been apparent was obviously being covered with dye. However the wrinkles, reading glasses and expert skill all belied her youthful hairdo.
“Better I guess.”
“Compared to what?” she asked as she took a seat on the stool beside the table.
“The upset stomach, the nausea, the tiredness and then the recent fainting spell.”
“Ah, well that’s not uncommon you know. I had our lab run the urine test and confirmed your home pregnancy test results. You’re pregnant, probably seven weeks from the looks of it.”
That shocked Kim. She hadn’t realized she could be that far along and the look on her face must have told her doctor that she was surprised at the length of time she had been pregnant.
“I… I thought I had my… I mean, it was light, but…”
“Perhaps you were spotting… which does happen. Now that we’re sure about the pregnancy, we need to run some tests, to make sure that you aren’t at risk for an iron deficiency, diabetes or any of the other normal complications that can happen during a pregnancy. The goal is to catch any of those signs now and modify your diet or lifestyle so you have a safe, normal pregnancy.”
Kim nodded in silence. Maybe Tommy wasn’t so far off to be worried. Her expression must have shown her concern, and her doctor reached over and laid her hand on hers.
“You’re going to be fine Kim. You’re young, healthy and there’s no reason you should have any problems other than the morning sickness and swollen ankles in seven months,” she said with a smile that seeped into Kim and lightened her heart. “Oh, by the way, I thought your husband was coming with you?”
“He was detained at work,” Kim replied, not wanting to think about exactly what her husband and the others were facing.
“Well, he’d better realize that parenting is a two person job,” Dr. Button said with a kind smile as she wrote down her list of tests for the lab to conduct. “I’ll take this out to the front desk, and be back for your exam.”
Kim nodded as she watched her doctor close the door behind her. Taking the paper smock from the counter, she stared at it briefly as she felt her heart swell with hope and love. She was going to be fine… and she and Tommy were going to find a way to get Xondar to take his revenge train back where he came from and they were going to have their baby.
They were going to get what they’d dreamed of.
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