Always a Ranger - Part 15

Déjà Evil Part 4: White Revelations

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

“I still can’t believe that it was Trent that did all this,” Ethan said, walking back and forth across the stone floor of the ‘command center’.

 

“I mean, I really thought he was our friend,” Conner replied, watching the African-American youth pace before him as he sat in one of the chairs next to Hayley.

 

“Kira said it wasn’t his fault,” she stated, still focusing on the readouts on her screen.

 

“Please!” Ethan barked. “He had plenty of chances to come to us if that was the case. Kira asked him to stay put at the lake so we could help, but was he there when we got there? No. That sounds to me like someone who isn’t as honest as he’s making out.”

 

“And there’s still the matter of trying to kill us multiple times… and fossilizing Dr. O,” Conner complained.

 

“How long is he going to be like that?” Ethan questioned, pulling up short and moving towards where their mentor, encased in the amber substance that was both imprisoning him and keeping him alive stood.

 

“I don’t know,” Hayley admitted reluctantly. “I’m working on it, but…”

 

“God, like it wasn’t bad enough to find out who the white ranger is. To lose Dr. O like this…” Conner commented, getting up from his chair and moving to stand beside Ethan.

 

“He’s not lost,” Hayley repeated firmly. “We’ll get him out. It just is going to take a bit of time.”

 

“Time that we really don’t have,” Ethan grumbled.

 

“But we know who the white ranger is, and we were able to stop him,” Hayley said, finally turning in her seat to regard the young men and rangers.

 

“This time,” Conner explained. “But what about next time?”

 

“I…”

 

Hayley couldn’t argue the point with the sandy haired athlete. They had yet to be able to call a truce with Trent/the white ranger, and with Tommy immobile in the amber prison he was in, she was just trying to get them through the next thing.

 

And then there was Kira.

 

Hayley still didn’t know where the yellow ranger had gone to. All she knew was that during the battle right before Trent had admitted his identity to Kira, he’d come close to killing her, but had stopped short. She wasn’t sure what the effect of all that would have on the yellow ranger.

 

“We don’t need to worry about that. At least that’s what Trent says,” announced Kira’s voice from the cave entrance to the basement hideout.

 

“Kira! Where have you been?” Ethan asked as both he and Conner converged on her as she walked into the room.

 

“I went out to the lake again, where I found Trent the last time. He showed up and I tried to get him to let us help him…” she tried to clarify for them, “but he wouldn’t listen.”

 

“Shit,” grumbled Conner under his breath.

 

“Now what?” Ethan asked bitterly. “We just wait for him to decide to go all evil again and try to beat the crap out of us for the hundredth time this week?”

 

“No!” Kira stated forcefully, grabbing Ethan’s arm and making him stand still and look at her. “He said he can’t control it, so he’s going away.”

 

“And you believe him?” Hayley questioned from her place at the computer screens, finally interjecting into the ranger’s conversation.

 

“I think he means it. I mean, if you had seen him… he looked so lost, so broken. I think he really feels like he’s changing and he can’t stop it, no matter what he or anyone else does.”

 

“Great. Like his promising to let you help him before speaks for his honesty,” Conner argued as he walked over to Dr. O’s enveloped form. “Did his so called concern over being evil help Dr. O?”

 

Kira couldn’t reply. She still was reeling from Trent’s revelation. The fact that he’d fossilized their teacher as well as nearly killed her and the guys wasn’t something that she could deal with right now.

 

“Look, we just need to do what Dr. O would expect of us… keep looking for a way to get him out and keep Mesagog from winning. If the white ranger shows up, we know who he is now, at least. We can keep from hurting him while we stop him,” Kira stated lightly.

 

“Fine,” Conner replied, glancing from Kira to Hayley. “Let’s work on getting Dr. O freed then, okay?”

 

With a series of nods, the team all turned to Hayley, taking on whatever task she appointed them to, working silently in the overly wrought emotional room.

 

------

 

At Reefside Regional Airport, a very exhausted Kimberly Hart stepped off her flight and ran through the jet way towards the terminal. She’d brought a backpack with one change of clothes to keep from having to stop anywhere except the taxi stand to get to Tommy’s house.

 

The silence that had met her yesterday morning had frightened her more than she thought she could ever feel. She’d gotten up, checked her e-mail one last time for word and then headed to the gym. Once there, she simply walked into practice and asked to talk to the head coach, alone. He escorted them into his office where she informed him she had a family emergency and she needed a few days to deal with it.

 

Gregor had stared at her seriously. She’d never taken any vacation except for the previous month when the whole team had been given the time off. He knew that while not having Kim there was going to impact the team somewhat, he knew that Kim wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t serious.

 

So he’d given her three days vacation, wished her well and told her to call if she needed more time.

 

Without pause, she thanked him and turned and headed out the door. After returning home, she again checked for any messages, and made the calls to Kira and Tommy with no answer. Turning on her computer, she found no e-mails. Turning it off, she grabbed the phone book and the phone and started calling the airlines, looking for flights. She’d found that she’d missed most of the morning ones but that she could catch an afternoon flight that would get her into Reefside that evening. Once she’d bought the ticket to Reefside, she confirmed where the gate would be, and hung up.

 

Her flight booked, she’d packed the one small (carry-on size) bag, and then caught a cab, making her way to the airport.

 

Now, hours later, she had arrived in Reefside, and her heart thudded in her chest as she hurried past people to find the taxis. Once she found the row of yellow cabs, it was a simple thing to give the driver the address. Then it was just a matter of time to get to his house and find out if he and the rest of the team were still alive.

 

Those 25 minutes seemed to her the longest of her life, and she clenched her hands the entire way in fear that maybe she was too late. When the driver finally stopped at Tommy’s house, she looked at the fare meter and threw him more than she owed him, grabbed her bag and bolted from the vehicle, running for the door.

 

She knocked loudly, waiting for someone, anyone to answer. Instead, she heard no one. Still, she was there, maybe there was some way to find out what was going on from inside the house. Looking about, she searched under the welcome mat and the nearby potted plant for the spare key. With her love’s memory, he’d need to have a spare key. Finally she hit pay dirt under the windowsill near the front door.

 

Key in hand, she slid it into the lock and opened the door.

 

“Tommy?” she called out, and heard nothing but silence.

 

Closing the door behind her, she tossed her bag by it and started looking around, hoping for a clue. She moved through the house, starting with the kitchen, and then moved to the bathroom. There was nothing there to suggest that her love and the rangers had been there recently. Still, she hadn’t heard on the news that they’d been defeated. The cab driver had been kind enough to put the all news radio on during the ride, and the fact that the world wasn’t being destroyed led her to believe that they were still alive and fighting.

 

When she walked into the empty bedroom, she felt a wave of near-grief wash over her. They’d had so little time together. Why the hell hadn’t she stayed when she was here last? How could she have left him, knowing what he was dealing with? How could she have fallen for someone else all those years ago and thrown away what they had, leaving them both to lose years of their relationship that no other could match?

 

She sighed as she found herself sitting hard on the bed, her head dropping to her knees and her hands covering her face. It always came back to that one decision. If she hadn’t met Chris, if she hadn’t been lonely, if she hadn’t thought Tommy and Kat were getting together…

 

God, what she wouldn’t do to go back and change it all.

 

But wishing for something that she couldn’t have was useless, she reprimanded herself firmly, fighting to push the tears that wanted to be shed back down. She *had* to find Tommy or the rangers. They had to be somewhere.

 

Of course, she didn’t realize that they all were within several feet of her… albeit beneath her.

 

Shoving herself back up, she moved into the living room, pacing along the floor and trying to wrack her brain for some clue. Tommy had mentioned his friend Hayley from college ran the café in town. Maybe she knew something…

 

With that idea in mind, Kim hurried to the desk and reached for the phone, knocking over one of Tommy’s lamps, sending it crashing to the floor.

 

“What was that?” Conner asked as a sudden thud from above them broke the silence.

 

“I don’t know, but it came from upstairs,” Ethan observed anxiously.

 

“Come on!” Kira urged, racing to the trap door to the kitchen with the guys right behind her.

 

If there was an intruder, they’d take care of it. And if it was one of Mesogog’s henchmen, then they’d send them right back to the hell he came from...

 

What they weren’t prepared for was the petite former gymnast that was crouched on the floor, cleaning up the mess she’d made. As they nearly came to a halt in the doorway of the kitchen, she turned and saw them standing there, her face going from pained to relieved in a split second.

 

“Kim!” the three called out in near unison.

 

The three rangers converged on the former pink ranger as she stood up and moved quickly to meet them in a flood of arms and bodies. Hugs and smiles were exchanged around, and the new rangers couldn’t help but trip over themselves trying to update her on the situation. Never had they been so happy to see someone in their lives.

 

“The white ranger is Trent, can you believe that?” Ethan commented, eager to share the news.

 

“Yeah. He told Kira. Surprised the hell out of us when she told us. Who would have guessed,” Conner added.

 

“Me, actually,” Kim said sullenly, sad that her hypothesis had turned out to be right.

 

“You?” Ethan and Conner stated in near unison.

 

“I talked to Kira the other night, after I spoke with Tommy when the white ranger first showed up. She mentioned that Trent had been acting strange, and I just felt a wave of déjà vu.”

 

“Wow,” Conner said as he felt his stomach start to fall out from beneath him and Ethan stood beside him speechless.

 

He’d been really upset when Kira had yelled at them about not remembering Dr. O had been evil when they’d been trying to stop the white ranger. But when she’d mentioned it was Kim that had explained a lot of Dr. O’s actions, he’d been surprised. Now he realized that just like he, Ethan and Kira, Kim would have been going through the same thing they’d go through with the white ranger… except that it had been Dr. O that had been the evil ranger back then. He knew it had been rough on his team, especially Kira, but he couldn’t even begin to fathom how it would have affected Dr. O and Kim to go through that, especially when they’d ended up together in the end.

 

“You okay?” Kira asked quietly, knowing what the former pink ranger must be feeling from experience now.

 

“I’m okay,” she stated, “it just brought up some memories that I don’t like a lot.”

 

Kira nodded, and they gave one another watery smiles. Just as Kim was about to ask where Tommy was, Conner started relaying the news again in an effort to stop the emotional rollercoaster that threatened to overwhelm all of them.

 

“We tapped into these new dino powers. It was so cool, but Trent still whipped our butts,” Conner informed her, his own grin wide.

 

Once Conner started, the other’s couldn’t help but follow suit as they informed her of what had been happening; Mesagog trying and failing to recruit the white ranger, the fact that the dino gem had been corrupted, that Trent had been defeated their last battle and that he was supposed to leave town, since he couldn’t control the power. They related everything they could think of, keeping Kim from getting a word in edgewise until she finally stopped them cold by nearly yelling over them.

 

“Guys wait… where’s Tommy?” she asked loudly, and they all froze.

 

No one wanted to tell the former ranger and gymnast what had happened. They all looked to each other, the guys’ gaze falling on Kira. Conner and Ethan both knew that the yellow ranger had become friends with their mentor’s former and present girlfriend. If anyone could break the news… she sighed and turned to face Kim, who was wearing a frightened expression, and Kira’s heart ached to have to break the news.

 

“Kira, please, what’s happened?” she pleaded.

 

“Kim… Dr. O’s been trapped in some amber prison thing,” Kira said simply, taking hold of her friend’s hand tightly.

 

Kim’s face went white, and Conner and Ethan both moved closer to her to make sure she didn’t pass out.

 

“Is… is he alive?” Kim asked brokenly, her throat tight with tears that she so badly wanted to let flow, but knew she couldn’t just yet.

 

“He is,” Ethan said from her right side, hearing Kim’s worried breath come out in a rush as she found out Dr. O wasn’t dead. “Hayley’s working on finding a way to get him out.”

 

“I need to see him. Where…”

 

“He’s downstairs. Come on.”

 

With that, Conner and Ethan led the way, letting Kira walk with Kim, their hands now tightly bonded to one another’s. While Kira was dealing with Trent, now Kim had to face Tommy’s imprisonment. Neither of them was holding up too well, and Kim hadn’t even seen Tommy yet.

 

“I’m glad you’re here,” Kira said, glancing over to check on how Kim was taking everything.

 

For her part, Kim was busy trying to push down her fear, and the look of pain that shadowed Kira’s face was enough to make her realize that there were other things that she should focus on.

 

“I’m sorry about Trent,” Kim said quietly to Kira, and the yellow ranger smiled weakly at the elder woman.

 

“Thanks. How about after we get Dr. O out, you and me have a long talk?”

 

The two nodded their agreement to table the evil ranger talk until Tommy was freed, and they stopped in the kitchen, releasing each other’s hand. Conner and Ethan descended the stairs first, with Kira following right behind, and Kimberly bringing up the rear. As much as she wanted to see him, Kim was finding her steps slowing as she found herself dreading what was to come, and took each step with deliberate care. Her heart slammed loudly in her chest, and when her feet finally hit the hard stone floor, she slowly turned to face her worst fear.

 

Kim had seen the command center the last time it was here, but there were two major differences now. First, in the seat Tommy normally would have occupied, a red haired woman was seated, and she stared at Kim with a mixture of indifference and dislike. The second was the golden colored crystal formation in one corner, with the man Kim loved more than her own life visible within.

 

Like a sleepwalker, she moved across the room to where Tommy was encased in his amber cocoon. With a tentative hand, she reached forward and touched the cool crystal and felt her world start to crack.

 

“Tommy,” she cried in a choked voice, and found herself dropping her head to the hard rock as the tears she’d held back finally broke free.

 

Kira was there in a flash, her arm looping over the woman’s shoulders as she tried to offer some kind of comfort to Kim. Moments later, Ethan and Conner joined her, the three of them surrounding the petite brunette with their support.

 

“He’ll be okay Kim,” Conner tried to reassure her, even if he wasn’t all that reassured himself.

 

“Hayley will figure it out,” Ethan remarked, feeling the shudders of Kim’s shoulders as she fought through the emotional wave.

 

With a nod, Kim agreed, and shakily moved her hands to wipe at her eyes. The rangers shifted slightly, giving Kim more room, and she took that opportunity to move away and head for Hayley. As Kim approached, Hayley stood up and moved to intercept the woman, the two of them pausing in the middle of the room.

 

“I know we haven’t met before,” Kim began, and watched the other woman nearly glare at her.

 

“No, we haven’t. Tom and I met *after* you’d broken him into little pieces.”

 

Kim and the rangers were all taken aback by Hayley’s comment, and while the others had no idea what it all meant, Kim did, and wasn’t about to back down.

 

“Yeah, I did. But I’m still the person he loves,” she replied with force.

 

Hayley grimaced, knowing for a fact the truth of Kimberly’s statement. As much as she wanted to force the former pink ranger out of Tommy’s life, she knew that it would never happen. Tommy would *never* let her go now. It was a fact that she’d had to contend with for longer than just the year since he and Kimberly had renewed their relationship. Tommy loved Kimberly… always, and nothing she could do would change that.

 

Now she had to suck it up and put it all aside.

 

“I know. And I’m doing everything I can to free him of the amber.”

 

“If there’s anything I can do…” Kim began, her face starting to collapse at the thought of not being able to free him…

 

“I wish there was. All we can do is keep searching for a solution.”

 

Kim nodded, and turned slowly back towards the amber prison Tommy was stuck in. Without conscious thought, she moved towards him, laying her hands on the crystal as she stared into the semi-transparent material at her love in uniform.

 

“Hey there handsome. Nice suit you’ve got there. Very ranger becoming,” she joked in a quiet voice as everyone watched her. “You know, this really wasn’t the welcome I was expecting… anyhow, you just sit tight, ‘cause, well, it’s not like you can go anywhere and Hayley will find a way to get you out of there.”

 

As Kim talked to the encased black ranger, Hayley found herself becoming increasingly uncomfortable watching the lovers together, even if one of them was fossilized and unable to know that the other was there. It was in that moment that she came to the decision that she’d do everything in her power to get Tommy free, so he could go back to his love.

 

All those years of pining after the former ranger, she’d always known that his heart wasn’t free. And now after witnessing Kimberly’s actions and emotions, she knew that she had no right to ever try to put a wedge between them. There were some people that were meant to be together.

 

It was obvious to her now that Kim and Tommy were two of those people.

 

“Come on guys, let’s try something else,” Hayley stated, bringing everyone’s attention towards her and away from Kim and Tommy.

 

With a last glance at Kim and Dr. O, Kira and Ethan moved to the console and began to discuss with Hayley what else they could do. Conner started forward, but then turned and swiftly moved to a corner of the room, returning with a folding chair. He walked up to where Kim stood, and placed it next to her. She glanced from him to it and then back to him again, as she left her hand braced on Tommy’s cocoon.

 

“I figured you might as well get comfortable, since we all know you’re not going anywhere until he’s out,” Conner stated, lightly taking hold of Kim’s hand as he smiled at her, receiving a tentative smile from her in return.

 

“Thanks,” she said softly, and then leaned up and gave Conner a kiss on the cheek.

 

His face blazed in embarrassment, and he hurriedly turned and went to catch up with the others as Kim pulled the chair closer to Tommy’s cocoon, sitting down before she realized that she would have fallen down as the exhaustion and fear finally started to take its toll. Carefully she settled in the chair and scooted it as close as she could, laying her hand back onto the crystal.

 

“You hear that handsome? I’m not going anywhere.”

 

That said, Kim leaned her head against the cool surface and closed her eyes. She’d just sit there for a little while, until Hayley and the team found something…

 

It was her last though before she slipped into sleep at her love’s side.

 

-End-

 

tbc....

GO TO CHAPTER 16

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