Always a Ranger - Part 36

Party Like Rangers

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

There had been a flurry of phone calls as Tommy and Kim’s friends started arriving in Reefside, checking into the local hotels in preparation for the preliminary events to the wedding. The first was the ‘ranger reunion’ and then the following two days would be the bachelor and bachelorette parties… set up by Aisha and Jason.

 

The ranger get-together Tommy and Kim had set up as a welcome to Reefside thing was everyone’s first meeting before the parties really got started. They really hadn’t planned on doing anything, but the fact that all their friends were coming to town for *their* wedding made them feel like they should have some kind of ‘team’ get together. Plus, Kira, Trent, Conner and Ethan had practically begged them to have the party so they could meet the original teams.

 

So now, in less than two hours, Tommy and Kim’s house was going to be full beyond belief with their friends and former rangers. And to accommodate everyone, most of the party was taking place downstairs.

 

“Are you sure this was a good idea?” Kim asked nervously, as she made her way down the stairs into the huge expanse of the basement with another tray of food.

 

“Come on Kim, you know you’re looking forward to this as much as everyone else is,” Tommy replied where he was piling beer and soft drinks into the coolers they’d set up downstairs. “I mean, when was the last time we all saw each other…”

 

As soon as the words left his mouth, he wished he could take it back. They were always going to be one ranger short at these kind of things…

 

“You’re right,” she said, her voice barely registering the emotion he was sure was filling her. “It has been too long since we’ve all been together. And at least *this* reunion is a good one.”

 

He caught her eyes and saw the assurance that she was okay in the doe brown of her gaze. Missing Trini was something that was never going to go away, but the pain did dull as time went on. Nodding, he turned to break open the next bag of ice.

 

“Where are the kids? They said they’d come and help…” complained Tommy just as they heard the back door of the cave slide open and the exuberant sounds of four teenagers hit them.

 

“We’re here, the party can officially start,” announced Ethan.

 

“Guys, no one’s even here yet. We’re helping set up, remember?” Trent commented, jabbing Ethan in the ribs before Conner gave him a playful shove forward.

 

“Yeah, but still, this isn’t just a reunion for all the rangers that are here for Dr. O and Kim’s wedding, it’s also our introduction to our predecessors. So behave,” Conner stated seriously.

 

Ignoring the insanity that was the testosterone-laden rangers, Kira went to see if she could help Kim bring food downstairs.

 

“All right, everyone take a task; chairs and tables need to get set up, the stereo needs to get loaded with CD’s, and all the food and drink needs to be set out. Kira’s obviously helping Kim with the food, so Ethan, technical duty is yours – get the stereo done; Conner and Trent, the manual labor is yours,” Tommy announced, pulling bottles of beer and setting them into the next empty cooler.

 

“On it!” announced the three male rangers, as they headed for their tasks.

 

-x-

 

Less than an hour later, the place looked like a party was happening there. All the tables were up, filled with snacks, party trays, plates and cups. They had stocked a variety of beers and sodas, and the chairs were spread out in small groups around the room, but could easily be picked up and moved. In the background, music played. Kim leaned into Tommy as they looked over the place, finally feeling like they were ready to have everyone show up.

 

“I guess it’s just a waiting game,” Kim remarked, and then started as they heard the door bell ring upstairs. Quickly, she headed for the stairs as Tommy stopped to glare at his students.

 

“Remember, no beer… its bad enough your parents don’t know you’re here. The last thing I need is to lose my teaching job for you drinking in my home,” Tommy told the teens, and they all rolled their eyes, as if his reminding them was stupid. “I’m going up, you can hang out down here while everyone shows up…”

 

Before they knew it, he was upstairs and facing the first of their guests… the one he should have known was going to be there first.

 

“Jase!”

 

“Hey bro!” Jason said, pulling away from where he’d been standing with his arm around Kim’s shoulder and grasping his friend in a bear hug. “I was just looking at your good taste. Glad you finally got that ring where it belongs.”

 

Releasing one another, Tommy smirked at his best friend and gave him a light punch to his shoulder.

 

“Smart ass. Besides, you knew I was asking Kim,” Tommy said sarcastically.

 

“Frankly, I still don’t know what she sees in you. I’m much better looking than you,” Jason joked, and felt a hand slap him upside the head.

 

Turning, he found Kim standing there with her hands on her hips and a fierce look on her face. Jason quickly held up his hands in surrender.

 

“Don’t hurt him Kim… he still has to pay for the bachelor party,” Tommy said laughingly, and her face softened.

 

“So, where’s the party?” Jason asked, and the doorbell rang again before Tommy could answer.

 

Kim was closest, and opened the door to find Zack, Tanya and Kat standing there, all sporting nearly matching smiles.

 

“Kim!” yelled Zack, heading forward and grabbing Kim around the waist and hugging her.

 

“Zack! Hey, whoa, don’t squish me,” she joked and returned the embrace.

 

Once he released her, Zack went to shake hands with Jason and Tommy while Kim welcomed Tanya and Kat. Closing the door behind them, Kat and Tanya greeted Jason and Tommy, everyone starting to chat when a knock was heard at the door, rather than the bell.

 

Choosing to shift duties, Tommy broke from the group of guests and went to Kim’s side, pushing her lightly back towards their friends.

 

Tommy opened his door and found his jaw dropping.

 

“Aisha!” Tommy yelled as the dark skinned African American woman hurled herself at him from the doorstep.

 

“God Tommy, you look good!” she announced, hugging him fiercely, her hair bouncing around her shoulders in its style of cornrows that always made him wonder how she fit it under her helmet.

 

Quickly Aisha let him go and pulled away, looking through the other people to find her best friend and headed for her.

 

“Kim!”

 

“’sha!”

 

The two ran to each other in the middle of the living room, embracing happily. It had been nearly two years since they’d spent any length of time together, Kim’s last vacation having been spent visiting Aisha in Chicago.

 

“Wow girlfriend, you look good. I guess finally landing that man of yours agrees with you,” Aisha laughed, and then pulled back to grab a hold of her best friend’s hand. “Nice rock Kim. I guess he’s a keeper after all.”

 

Kim groaned and yanked her hand away, trying not to get too annoyed at the bad sense of humor of one of her closest friends. Before she could say another word, the doorbell rang again. This time Tommy was closest, and he opened the door to reveal Rocky and Adam, both wearing matching shirts – Rocky’s red with white writing and Adam’s green with black writing reading ‘We owe Jason twenty bucks’.

 

Tommy started laughing, knowing exactly what the shirts meant, as did Zack. Jason though decided to let everyone else in on the joke.

 

“That you do. You should have both known our fearless leader wouldn’t be able to wait to pop the question till Kim got into town!” Jason said loudly in front of everyone, as way of explanation.

 

“You bet on when Tommy was going to ask Kim to marry him?” Aisha questioned Rocky and Adam, shocked.

 

“Yeah, well…” Adam stammered as he came in to hug his childhood friend while Rocky hugged first Tommy and then Kim.

 

“I’m not surprised either of you bet, just that you didn’t know enough about these two to not bet smarter,” ‘sha ribbed, and everyone laughed.

 

“That I guess goes double for you,” Kim threw at Zack. They’d been friends since grade school… he should have known better.

 

“What can we all say… Jase had insider information. Hell, if he’d told us that Tommy had called him about your ring before the bet, I would have been twenty bucks richer,” replied Zack, grabbing hold of Jason by the neck and mock wrestling with him as everyone laughed and started to catch up.

 

“So is that everybody?” Tommy asked, looking around the room and counting heads.

 

“I think so. The other rangers and guests aren’t coming in until tomorrow, and Justin isn’t coming at all… National Security and all,” related Rocky, referring to the young blue turbo ranger who had taken his place so many years ago and now worked for the NSA is some job he couldn’t talk about for the government.

 

“What about Billy?” questioned Tanya from where she and Kat were catching up with Aisha.

 

“I would expect that he’s already downstairs,” Kim remarked with a knowing smile, expecting that he and Hayley would probably arrive together and through the ‘back’ door.

 

“Well, let’s go down and get the party started. For those of you that haven’t been here yet, we have people for you to meet and lots of surprises,” Tommy announced, waving an arm above his head and pushing through the gathered former rangers to head to the kitchen.

 

“Okay, I don’t think we can have all of us fit in there,” Kat said skeptically before she watched Tommy and then Zack and Adam head down a set of stairs into what had to be a basement.

 

“Come on Kat, the surprises are all downstairs,” Kim commented, placing a hand on her shoulder and guiding her to descend into the basement command center.

 

As their friends and former team mates made their way into the command center, Kim could hear the shocked yells and gasps. Only after everyone else had gone down did Kim finally follow. When she turned around at the bottom of the stairs, she found a group of stunned former rangers, a quartet of ecstatic current rangers, and coming in from the back door, as she planned a pair of geniuses.

 

“Billy!” Kim yelled, and the formerly geeky blue ranger gave Hayley’s hand a squeeze before letting it go to meet Kim in a huge hug.

 

“Kimberly! You look awesome. It’s so good to see you, and I’m so happy for you,” Billy rattled off, obviously happy to see her.

 

“So do you. I’m glad you found someone your equal to hook up with finally,” said Kim, looking over his shoulder knowingly and making both him and Hayley flush.

 

“Hey, no hogging the visiting super-genius!” called out Jason, as he, Zack and the others converged on Billy and Kim.

 

There was another round of hugs and more conversation about how everyone got there and how things were. Billy introduced Hayley, prompting some smirks from Jason and Adam who had met her before when they’d visited Tommy in school.  Suddenly cutting into the reminiscing and catching up, a loud throat clearing was heard, and everyone turned to where Tommy and Kim had moved to stand with the new team.

 

“Since everyone’s here and before this degenerates into a big chaotic scene from ‘Friends’, I’d like to introduce to all of you the new power team,” Tommy announced, his face covered with a wide grin that he couldn’t and didn’t want to wipe off. “This is Conner, the red ranger, Kira, the yellow ranger, Ethan, the blue ranger and Trent, the white ranger. And they know you guys already, mostly from reputation having heard the stories from Kim and I, but some of you have met before…”

 

With that, the teen rangers found themselves surrounded by their predecessors; shaking hands, being given congratulations and encouragement. In the cases of the rangers who had been their color, they heard how they were glad to see such good choices for successors to their color mantles. It was as those conversations were occurring that Billy took the opportunity to look over Hayley’s craftsmanship of the wristbands she’d made that acted as communicators and could morph into the ranger’s unique morphers by examining Ethan’s cuff.

 

“These are the morpher/communicators, yes?” Billy said, directing the question to Ethan and Hayley.

 

“Yes. They’re a mixed material of several unstable metals that allow the morpher to be ‘disguised’ as the bracelet,” Hayley explained, smiling at Billy.

 

“Then why does Kimberly have one too?” he asked, and those around him went silent as they turned notice the silver cuff with the pink stone on Kim’s left wrist.

 

Kim and Tommy looked to one another. The news of him being the new black ranger had been e-mailed through the group months ago, but Kim’s discovery of the pink dino gem was recent, and they hadn’t told anyone outside the new team yet…

 

“Because I’m ‘back’ too,” Kim said with a silly smile, raising her wrist and touching the gem to transform it into her morpher, causing the room to explode into another round of dropped jaws, shocked gasps and yells.

 

Aisha and Jason were the first to Kim’s side, throwing their arms around her. Everyone else moved in as well to look over the new pink ranger’s morpher and offer congratulations.

 

“Well then, I guess then we can officially congratulate Kim and Tommy,” announced Jason, drawing everyone’s attention to where he stood between Kim and Tommy, his arms wrapped over their shoulders, “on being the first and only ranger couple to come out of retirement and not only get back into uniform but get hitched too!”

 

Another cheer went through the room, and Tommy and Kim pulled Jason into a hug before moving away, catching one another’s hands.

 

“Alright everyone, how about we get this party started?” Tommy said loudly, and with that, the party was officially on.

 

-x-

 

The next evening arrived before anyone knew what had hit them.

 

The ranger reunion had gone on until nearly midnight, and after everyone had gone back to their homes and hotels, Kim and Tommy had decided to crash for the night and clean up in the morning. They were glad that they both had asked for some time off, Kim having negotiated the time before starting and Tommy taking some vacation time with a few days of personal leave because the amount of work he’d have to come back to would pile up.

 

They’d ended up packing away all the tables and chairs, moving the stereo back upstairs and bagged the trash. Now, hours later, sitting on the sofa, Tommy looked at his watch and then flicked his eyes towards the bathroom door where Kim was still getting ready to go out.

 

Aisha was coming by to get her any minute for her evening out with the girls while the guys were picking Tommy up for his night out tomorrow. He sighed and changed the channel again, looking for something besides reality TV and reruns before the doorbell rang. Getting up and muting the TV, he tossed the remote on the couch and got up to open the door, revealing the person he’d been expecting… Aisha stood at the doorstep, and on the road just beyond the path he saw a black limo sitting and waiting.

 

“Aisha, hey,” Tommy said, reaching forward and hugging the former yellow ranger.

 

As he stepped back, Tommy noticed the trademark yellow was still there; a gold African print tank top made of silk or something and a pair of black pants that seemed like she’d been poured into them. But he wasn’t sure if it was for everyone else’s benefit or just an old habit. Actually, now that he thought about it, everyone the night before had done pretty much the same. Maybe there was something to be said for being stuck with your color.

 

“Hey Tommy, where’s the bride-to-be? I have a limo full of ranger women ready to head to the hills.”

 

“In the bathroom. She’ll be out in a minute. So, what have you got planned for my fiancé?”

 

“Not to worry. I promise to bring her back still wearing all her clothes. However, if she comes home with some other man’s underwear, it’s not my fault.”

 

Tommy mock-glared at her and she grinned and then started laughing. Teasing the ‘boss’ had always been fun.

 

“You’re not taking Kira, are you?” Tommy asked, knowing how close Kim and Kira had gotten.

 

“Please, no kids allowed. Besides, I’d get arrested for contributing to the delinquency…”

 

“Aisha,” Kim said as she stepped out from the bedroom, decked out in a pair of tight black jeans and a pink rose print halter top. “So, are we going or what?”

 

“Hell yeah!” said Aisha, wrapping an arm around Kim’s shoulder’s. “We have men to ogle and liquor to drink.”

 

With that, Aisha pulled Kim along with her towards the door. Planting her feet, Kim swiveled and reached out to catch Tommy’s hand. He pulled her over and kissed her before Aisha sighed loudly and moved to break them up and get Kim out the door.

 

“Love you,” Kim told Tommy, and he smiled at her.

 

“Alright, God, you two…” groaned Aisha with a smile.

 

“Love you too Beautiful. Have fun.”

 

“We will if we can get out of here. Come on girlfriend, it’s time to see what you’re giving up,” she said, leading Kim out the door. Only when it shut did she admit, “not like what you’re getting isn’t worth it.”

 

Kim laughed, and ‘sha joined her. Quickly they walked down the path where Aisha opened up the black stretch limo’s door and Kim peaked in to shift back as a loud cheer was let out by the car’s occupants.

 

“Congratulations Kim!”

 

Inside sat Kat and Tanya, as well as Cassie and Ashley from the space ranger teams.

 

“Did you ask Hayley?” Kim asked slightly concerned that her newest friend and the architect of the new ranger team had been left off the guest list.

 

“Of course! Hayley said she’d meet us there,” Aisha explained.

 

“Which is where?”

 

“I’m not saying.”

 

With that, Aisha shut the limo door and told the driver to head for their stop. Before Kim knew what had hit her, they were on their way.

 

-x-

 

The party at the only male revue in three counties had been keeping the girls entertained for the last few hours, but the constant rounds of drinks had made for a more lively conversation once the subject of the future bride’s intended came up, bringing with it everyone’s comments on his hair, eyes, and physical… attributes. Unfortunately, unlike Cassie, Ashley, Tanya, Aisha and Hayley’s simple crush-like remarks, one of the group had a whole lot more experience with the former red zeo ranger’s anatomy.

 

“You wouldn’t believe it,” Kat nearly slurred, the fifth Sex on the Beach making her loosen her tongue. “We broke the bed. I swear, I’m so glad that we were in my dorm room. If it had been at my house or Tommy’s, nether of us would have been able to look our families in the face.”

 

“You…” Kim stammered, feeling a bit woozy not just from her third Irish Car Bomb, but from what Kat was saying.

 

Sure, she knew that Kat and Tommy had slept together during their relationship. But that didn’t mean that she wanted to hear all the gory details. Like them being so enthusiastic that they *broke* Kat’s bed.

 

Great, Kim though. Inferiority complex redux. As Kat went on, Kim found herself falling into the insecurities that had plagued her when Kat had first arrived in Angel Grove, and all the guys had been caught staring at the knockout blonde with a B cup?

 

How the hell could she compete with her, she wondered idly as Kat went on to talk about when she and Tommy had spent the entire weekend together, and she let herself become discouraged. Why was Tommy marrying her anyway, she thought miserably.

 

Hayley listened intently as the woman that had been Tommy’s first talked with the woman who was walking down the aisle with him in less than a week’s time. In this case, she was glad it wasn’t her hearing how Tommy had screwed Kat six ways from Sunday. The fact that Kim was frowning said it all.

 

Finally it was Aisha and Tanya that bodily picked Kat up by the arms and escorted her to the ladies room. It wasn’t long after that when they’d decided to call it a night.

 

-x-

 

Having ended the festivities early, Aisha and the limo dropped Kim back to the house around eleven.

 

Walking herself to the front door, Kim slid the key in after a few tries and opened the door to find Tommy asleep on the couch with the TV still on. She walked over and turned it off, and the sudden lack of sound woke him up.

 

“Hey,” he said sleepily, reaching up to catch Kim’s hand, but caught empty air as she walked past and into the bathroom. “Kim?”

 

“What?” she said, brushing her teeth as she tried to cut through some of the fog from the liquor and Kat’s words that still rang in her ears, but she knew the words had come out curt and short, just like her temper. While Kat had apologized for saying anything or making Kim upset, the stories, the *enthusiasm* which she’d told them in refused to leave her mind.

 

“How was the party?”

 

“Fine.”

 

“Beautiful, what’s wrong?” Tommy asked, now fully awake and worried at Kim’s strange behavior.

 

Suddenly she turned around, toothbrush in hand and pointed it at him.

 

“Are you sure you want to marry me?” she asked suddenly, her voice hard yet scared.

 

“What? Kim, you’re not serious, are you?” Tommy asked, shocked.

 

“Why not? I thought I was clear in my question. I mean, why would you want me when you could have someone like… say Kat. I mean, she’s blonde, pretty and has bigger breasts. I mean, you guys were so damn enthusiastic you broke her bed, while our sex life has been…”

 

“Kim, what the hell are you thinking? Where did you…”

 

Abruptly Tommy figured out what had set Kim off on her tirade of anger and self-doubt. Obviously Kim had heard more about his and Kat’s relationship than she needed to or knew how to handle. And he knew the only person beside himself that had that knowledge was…

 

“Kat was at the bachelorette party tonight,” he said straightforwardly, not even phrasing it as a question.

 

“Yeah, and she got real talkative after the fifth drink. So she was more than happy to tell me how great you were in bed. I mean *all* the details. I think Tanya and ‘sha finally had to haul her off to the ladies room to tell her she was being rude,” Kim said, tossing the toothbrush into the sink and walking past him into the kitchen and pouring herself a glass of water.

 

“Look, I can tell you that…”

 

“Oh, and you should know that some of the girls think that if you can break Kat’s headboard that you’re a catch beyond all price, and want to hear about the honeymoon.”

 

“Kim, stop!”

 

Tommy reached over and took the glass from her hand, setting it down on the counter, and then took hold of her shoulders and grasped them tightly, trying to make her focus on him and what he was about to say, rather than her anger with what Kat had said.

 

“I don’t love Kat. And even if it was good sex, that’s all it was. Having sex with someone doesn’t compare to making love with someone you’re in love with,” he explained, his voice dropping to a husky whisper as he finished.

 

“Fine,” Kim said with a pout, “prove it.”

 

There was a look in Kim’s eye that sparked everything below the waist and short circuited Tommy’s brain. Still, he fought his base desire just to yank her forward and ravish her. Something besides just jealousy and insecurity had to be fueling Kim’s outburst.

 

“You’re drunk,” Tommy argued, trying to stall.

 

“No, I’m buzzed, far from drunk. I know what I’m saying. So, prove it,” she insisted again, this time making her own move and reaching forward to pull him towards her, her head tilted upwards and her lips parted as her tongue slowly ran across the bottom lip.

 

It was more than he could take, and his resolve crumbled. If she wanted validation that he loved only her, who was he to deny her?

 

“Fine. You asked for it Beautiful.”

 

With that, hoisted her up from the floor of the kitchen, swinging her into his arms. Swiftly he carried her to their bedroom and proceeded to show her exactly how much he wanted *her*.

 

-x-

 

The next evening found Tommy decked out in a pair of black jeans that had temped Kim to go for a repeat of the previous evening’s activities and a tan button up shirt. Their lovemaking the night before had gone on into early morning, and by the time they both were exhausted and sated, no doubt in either of their minds had been left that they loved one another and wanted no one besides the other.

 

Now Kim watched him head into the bathroom and obsess over his short, spiked hair in the mirror for fifteen minutes before she simply sighed and decided to ignore him as he continued his primping. It was funny though, she thought, since all he was doing was going out with his closest friends to celebrate the fact that any woman who was going to hit on him was going to go home alone.

 

Finally resigned to his hair as it was, Tommy sighed and walked out into the living room where Kim was curled up on the couch with a cup of tea. Jason would be there any minute to take him to where ever his bachelor party was being held.

 

Now what Tommy knew about bachelor parties consisted of simply drinking, skin flicks, strippers and cards. And he was questioning what his friends and his brother had come up. What he didn’t realize was that Jason Scott, his best friend, brother in arms and former red ranger had been plotting and planning this event since they had both been seventeen.

 

And he had a *party* in mind.

 

“Shouldn’t Jason have showed up by now?” Kim asked from the couch, where she’d curled up with a book and a cup of tea. She was way too wired to drink anything more substantial, plus, she needed to be focused and awake if they brought home her fiancé drunk as a skunk.

 

“He’s probably running a bit late,” he replied, and Kim fought not to laugh, considering Tommy was usually the one who was late getting places. Tommy gave her a look and she looked away with a grin.

 

A knock at the door brought Tommy up short, and he moved to answer it. Jason was there, cocky grin in place, looking ready to go. Kim set down her book and tea and got up to greet him.

 

“Hey Kim,” Jason said, coming into the house as he bypassed his friend to reach down and hug his ‘little sister’. “So, I’m here to steal your man…”

 

“Promise he’ll come back in one piece?” she joked with a grin.

 

“You think I’d risk your wrath by him not? You forget that I know you fight dirty. Say goodbye to your lover boy, he’s all ours for the night.”

 

“Have fun,” Kim said, moving to kiss him lightly on the lips. “Love you.”

 

“Love you too Beautiful,” he replied, and grasped her tighter, kissing her soundly.

 

“Hey, break it up. If I want to see that, we can rent a porno!” Jase complained, mock-groaning at the scene before him.

 

When Tommy finally let Kim loose, Jason, put a hand on his shoulder and headed him out the door. The two walked down the path from the house to where Jason had his rental car. As Tommy got in, he realized that they were alone.

 

“Where’s everybody? Did you spend all the money you won from the guys on your hotel?” Tommy joked as he put on his seatbelt.

 

“Please, give me *some* credit,” Jason complained, turning overt he engine and pulling out onto the road. “Everyone is meeting us at the club. And yes, before you ask, I called David and invited him too. He and Sam were getting in tonight for your dinner with the family tomorrow, so he was going to check in at the hotel and meet us there.”

 

Tommy nodded, and tried not to worry about what his best friend had set up…

 

-x-

 

They’d ended up at a club called “The Crazy Horse” in neighboring Surfside, where Jason had been months before. As it was, when Tommy realized that, he had to wonder if Jason had been scouting a place for his bachelor party since before he’d told him about planning on proposing. But, when he thought about it, Tommy had to admit that ever since he and Kim had re-ignited their relationship, it really had been just a matter of time…

 

Around a large table beside the main catwalk which featured several barely dressed women who’d found the table more than financially lucrative, the male contingent of rangers had assembled to say bon voyage to Tommy’s single life. Zack, Billy, Rocky, Adam were there, along with some other rangers: Wes who had been with the Time Force team, Cole from Wild Force, and then the group that had been the space rangers – TJ, Andros and Carlos. And one non-ranger… Tommy’s brother David.

 

They’d been there, joking, laughing, tipping the strippers who made sure to give a lot of their attention to the table of good looking men, and drinking as the night went by. As the waitress came and brought another round of drinks, Adam paid for the round and handed them around.

 

“This has been a long time in coming, Bro,” Jason said to Tommy as he took another long swallow of his beer, draining it and taking the brand new one Adam was handing him.

 

Tommy nodded , noting that the rangers that had actually served with him and knew his history with Kimberly seemed to be in agreement regarding that statement.

 

“Actually, I’d almost say eight years too late, but…” Zack remarked with a sip of his beer.

 

“Still, it was worth it in the long run, wasn’t it?” Wes asked, his expression slightly downcast.

 

Tommy looked at the man he’d met during the red ranger adventure. He’d heard that he’d lost the love of his life not to another man but to time itself. He had to be glad that he wasn’t in his shoes.

 

“Well, no matter how long it took, I’m just glad to see you finally happy,” David said, taking his own beer and bringing it to his lips.

 

Tommy flashed a smile at his brother. For all the things that being a ranger had gained him, one of the best was finding his only blood relation. Between his friends, David and Kim, even his new dino powers, he had more than he deserved.

 

“So are we,” Jason joked and raised his glass, prompting the others to join him. “To Tommy’s happiness!”

 

The group all echoed Jason’s statement and they drank to it, resulting in Rocky realizing some of them needed another drink, and he threw up his hand eagerly to call the waitress back.

 

-x-

 

“It could have been worse,” Billy said, as he finished his third gin and tonic, telling the story of when he and Kim had switched bodies back in Angel Grove in the early days of the team.

 

“How?” asked Cole, stunned by the bizarre events that had happened to the original rangers. Everyone had told a story, and he was amazed…

 

“At least Kim wasn’t dating Tommy at the time, or you’d have been in trouble,” Rocky commented with a smirk and the guys all groaned at the thought.

 

“Still, that couldn’t have been that bad, you could have begged off, or at least explained what was going on to a member of the team,” TJ suggested.

 

“Yeah, but there’s one thing I was glad of… Well, try to think of being sixteen and stuck in the body of the cutest girl in school. It was just lucky it wasn’t when, well you know… women are moody,” Billy trailed off, and the guys suddenly got the drift, all of them wincing at the thought.

 

“I am so not telling Kim you mentioned that,” Tommy groaned, and then got all defensive as he thought of what else Billy might have done while he was in Kim’s body. “You didn’t…”

 

“No!” shouted Billy.

 

Everyone shot a look at Tommy and then Billy.

 

“Come on Tommy, I mean if he’d decided to take a peek when he was in Kim’s body, I could understand,” Adam remarked quietly, and everyone turned their eyes on him. “What? Please, just because Kim’s always been Tommy’s doesn’t mean I didn’t notice she was hot. Like you all didn’t?”

 

Tommy surveyed his friends, ones he’d known for years. This was a side of them that he hadn’t seen before.

 

“Don’t look at me. Kim and I have been friends since elementary school. She’s been like a sister since high school,” Jason stated firmly.

 

“Same for me. Man, you guys are so bad, scoping out a team mates’ girl,” Zack added.

 

“Billy?” Tommy questioned, curious now if the scientist had been interested in being more than Kim’s friend…

 

“I have to admit an initial interest in Kimberly’s form. But as she was always attracted to you Tommy, it was simply a matter of curiosity. Besides, I’ve gotten over that fully…”

 

“By the way, congrats on you’re relationship with Hayley,” Tommy said, reaching over to shake his friend’s hand. He was glad that two people he really felt deserved happiness had found it finally… just like Kim and he had.

 

When Tommy and Billy squared up, they both turned back to the group. While TJ, Wes, Andros, Carlos, David and Cole had never met Kim, there was still one member of the team who had served with her that had yet to speak up. Everyone’s gaze fell on him and Rocky downed his tequila shot, and then decided to come clean.

 

“All right, I’ll fess up,” Rocky announced, raising his empty glass in his hand. “She has a nice ass. How the hell could you not notice it in those damn pink tights?”

 

Everyone started laughing, even though Tommy was less than pleased. Still, she was his woman, and he knew that getting that final ring on her finger was now just a matter of days away.

 

“Sounds like you’re a lucky man,” TJ said, and everyone raised their glasses in acknowledgement. He took a long swallow and then had to reach forward to get himself another of the bottles of beer that stood in the middle of the table, and asked, “Speaking of spandex, aren’t you a little old for that yourself Tommy?”

 

He shrugged as everyone laughed, winced or looked understanding. What could he say? He was just fated to be a ranger forever he guessed.

 

“It just keeps choosing me, not the other way around. Which, by the way brings me to my next question… anyone else looking to saddle up again? I could use a good replacement for a week while Kim and I are on our honeymoon.”

 

There were a round of looks, and before anyone raised their hands, Jason looked at Zack and the two started laughing, setting the whole table off into another round of near-hysterical, near-drunken laughter.

 

-x-

 

Kim heard noises along the path and she rolled over in bed, looking at the digital clock. It read two am, and she had no doubts that the off-key singing was her beloved and their friends. Getting up, she threw on a pink bathrobe and went to the front door. Opening it, she found Jason and Zack helping Tommy up the walk. She sighed and opened the door for them.

 

“Hey Kim, hope we didn’t wake you,” Jason said in a fairly thick voice that sounded like he’d been smoking, even if she knew he didn’t smoke.

 

“It’s okay… so, how is he?” she asked as Zack guided Tommy inside and her fiancé’s head raised up slightly in a half drunken stupor.

 

“Kimmm,” he drawled, obviously three sheets to the wind, and she smirked.

 

“Come on guys, toss him on the bed and I’ll take care of things from there.”

 

They guided him into the bedroom, and sat him down. Kim knelt and took off his shoes, and then stood up and settled Tommy on the mattress, pulling up the covers. He sighed and then started to snore, and Kim couldn’t help grin at him. With Tommy taken care of, Kim turned and walked out into the living room with Zack and Jason.

 

“You guys need any coffee?” she asked.

 

“No, we don’t have far to go, and I didn’t drink that much,” Zack said, and the two headed out after giving her a hug.

 

Kim closed and locked the door behind them and ran a hand through her hair. Obviously they’d had a good time. She just hoped that he didn’t wake up with too much of a hangover, since they had dinner plans with their parents the next night.

 

Smiling, Kim decided to worry about it in the morning, and headed into the bedroom, tossing off her robe to the end of the bed, and climbed under the covers to curl up against her future husband.

 

-End-

 

tbc…

 

GO TO CHAPTER 37

click the picture to go to the Always a Ranger page

If anyone wants to e-mail me: