Always a Ranger - Part 39

With This Ring Part 2: My Strongest Weakness

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

Without Jason grabbing hold of his elbow, Tommy swore he would have collapsed at the news. Kim was gone… where, how…

 

Aisha hurried up the aisle heading straight for Tommy, Jason and David with Kira trailing behind her.  Around them, the guests and the reverend were all in turmoil. The bride had disappeared? What was going on?

 

“Did she, I mean, I know you said she was nervous, but…” Tommy all but stammered, his fear of being abandoned by Kim again unconsciously bubbling up.

 

“Bro, everything was fine when I left her,” Jason assured him, knowing where his near-brother’s headspace was probably going, but wanting to wait for what Aisha had to say before forming any conclusions.

 

Kira and Aisha arrived at the altar area, with the former yellow ranger taking hold of Tommy’s arm, her head swiveling to note the murmurings and confused questions floating through the guests in attendance. Nervously she turned back to Tommy and the guys, knowing suddenly realizing that this conversation shouldn’t be played out in front of everyone.

 

“Tommy, I think maybe we should *all* take this elsewhere,” Aisha said softly.

 

Nodding, Tommy turned and looked at the reverend, and then to the rest of the gathered guests.

 

“Everyone, the wedding is going to be delayed. I’m sorry and we’ll call everyone soon with news on when we’ll be moving it to. David, can you please make sure everyone gets taken care of?”

 

His brother nodded and stepped down from his place beside Jason, heading to the families. With that resolved Tommy turned with Jason, Aisha and Kira and headed back down the aisle towards the back of the church where Kim had been. As they passed him, Adam caught the look Tommy gave him; it was one that he knew meant for him to follow his ‘leader’, and he got up from the pew and quickly moved to catch up with them.

 

As they got closer to the door to the dressing room used for the bride, Tommy felt a chill go up his spine. Even after all this time, the doubt just wouldn’t go away; he couldn’t help the little voice in the back of his mind suggesting that she’d changed her mind and left him standing at the altar.

 

But the scene that greeted them at the doorway of the room Kim and the bridal party had been using immediately and permanently ushered that thought out of his head. He could see the black marks where a scuffle must have taken place, and Kim’s bouquet of pink and white roses was crushed, most likely under foot as whatever had occurred had taken place.

 

“Looks like our Kim put up a fight,” Jason stated as he looked at the carnage at the doorway before he and Adam moved carefully into the room, finding Kim’s tiara lying on the floor as they entered, the veil ripped and some of the rhinestones scattered across the floor.

 

Tommy bent to retrieve the smashed bouquet where it sat forlorn in the entryway, his eyes closing tightly as fear started to clutch his heart in his chest like a vise. He had no doubt now that Kim had not gone voluntarily. But who or what had her was unclear…

 

“Tommy!” called out Adam, and he stood up, dropping the ruined bouquet and hurried into the room to see what had Adam so agitated.

 

“I found this,” Adam stated, lifting Kim’s morpher cuff from where it had smashed into the standing mirror, having most likely been thrown from somewhere in the room.

 

“But that doesn’t make any sense. Who would…” he stammered as Adam placed the gauntlet into his hand.

 

“She was wearing it right before we left Dr. O,” Kira informed him, confused at what could have happened to her friend.

 

“Maybe whoever took her knew what it was, and got rid of it when they grabbed her,” Jason speculated absently. “Someone who was after her, or after you, knowing how to hurt you…”

 

As the words passed Jason’s lips, Tommy froze. It couldn’t be…

 

Still, it all made sense, and he suddenly put it all together. Mesogog hadn’t shown the slightest interest in Kim specifically since she’d been with him, and certainly not since she got her powers. She had simply been a member of the team; another ranger to deal with, which had made him disregard the idea that Mesogog would have taken Kim now.

 

But he’d forgotten that there was still one other person who’s sole purpose was to cause him pain and had vowed to find his weaknesses and exploit them. The error he’d made was in assuming he’d killed him.

 

Mentally he berated himself for not waiting until they’d gotten rid of Mesogog and *all* his lackeys. But he’d been so confident that *he* was dead, Tommy had let his guard down. Back when Kim was still in Boston, he’d set up security for her for a reason. Yet nothing had happened, and he had assumed that she wasn’t a target. Then he had thought he’d killed the *thing*, stopping any future attacks. He should have realized that if he had escaped, so could his enemy.

 

Now Tommy realized that he might have just lost Kim forever with his impatience to finally marry her, for his enemy had been smart enough, angry enough to wait for the perfect moment to reappear and take his revenge.

 

“Zeltrax,” Tommy whispered under his breath.

 

“Who?” Aisha questioned, feeling lost.

 

“But… Oh my God!” cried Kira, realizing what was going on now and turned to the door at a run to find Ethan, Trent and Conner.

 

Trembling with barely checked rage, Tommy raised his gaze to Adam, Aisha and Jason. What they saw there scared them more than facing any of the evil they’d seen before. For Jason, it was like looking into the eyes of the evil green ranger, only he knew that this was Tommy…

 

“Aisha, please make sure that David is doing all right with getting Kim’s family and mine back to their hotels. Explain that there were some problems and that Kim and I will call them soon, and then come back to join the rest of us outside,” Tommy gritted out, his teeth clenched.

 

She nodded, and quickly fled the room.

 

“Jase, Adam, go out to the church and bring every former and active duty ranger back to the patio outside in the garden next to the reverend’s office. We’re having a ranger meeting. Now!”

 

“Tommy, you’re not thinking…” Jason began, and stopped when he saw the blazing look in his friend’s eyes.

 

“Zeltrax survived, and he waited until now to take her to get back at me. If I know him, he’ll have taken her to the one place that’s the most secure… Mesogog’s island. We’re going to find a way in there, and then I’m going to find her, even if I have to rip the place apart with my bare hands, I’m getting her back!”

 

Jason and Adam stood and stared at their friend as he stared at Kim’s pink dino gem embedded in her gauntlet.

 

“I will *not* lose her again,” he said under his breath.

 

-x-

 

Kim slowly woke up and realized that she wasn’t in the church. Her head ached, and she noted that she was strapped tightly to some kind of metal chair or something in what seemed to be a lab. It was something from one of her worst nightmares; the time Lord Zedd had nearly killed her by trying to drain her powers. She fought to master her fear, even though she had no idea what had happened or what was going on… The last thing she remembered had been fighting…

 

Shit, she thought apprehensively, where the hell was she anyway?

 

“You’re my guest,” said a voice from behind her. “I apologize for interrupting your plans, but my loyal servant was adamant about this being the opportune time to crush the rangers.”

 

“You’re kidding, right?” Kim fired back, even though she couldn’t see who she was speaking too.

 

“Actually, no. Your guard was down, and Zeltrax has been waiting so long to make his reappearance and finally take his revenge on Dr. Oliver.”

 

Finally the owner of the voice came into view, and Kim’s eyes widened. The humanoid that walked into the light surrounding her wasn’t a man, or even a monster… he, it was some kind of dinosaur hybrid thing. It was then that she realized just who this was.

 

“Mesogog…” she breathed, her voice tinged with new apprehension.

 

“Ah, yes, we haven’t met Ms. Hart, but I guess my reputation must have preceded me.”

 

As Mesogog moved to stare at her, Kim noticed finally the person/thing that she’d fought with at the church, and from the headache she was feeling now, it must have knocked her unconscious. The armor he wore was crimson red, and he seemed to glower at her with malice; just him staring at her made her feel like her skin was burning. Mesogog noticed her attention drawn away from him, and turned to see where she was looking at.

 

“Ah yes, you recognize Zeltrax, do you? He finally had a brilliant idea, capturing you.”

 

Kim tried not to stare. She had never seen the thing called Zeltrax that used to be Tommy’s friend Smitty. Tommy had said he’d killed him! Yet here he was… she carefully shook her head, forcing back the pain there and drew on her inner strength to fire back at the monster that had her captive. She had to get the hell out of this place.

 

“You realize this was probably the most stupid thing you could have done,” Kim shot at Mesogog, fighting now against the straps holding her in place.

 

“Maybe, but it most certainly will provide me a much better bargaining position with Dr. Oliver than I’ve had before.”

 

“He’ll never give you what you want.”

 

“To save you, my dear… I think he’ll do anything,” Mesogog slurred, running a claw along the skirt of her wedding dress.

 

“Please,” she fired back in a sarcastic tone, “I don’t need him to save me.”

 

“Really?”

 

As Kim rubbed her wrist against the straps she felt the material cut into her skin and realized that her morpher bracelet was gone. Her face paled slightly, and she frowned, staring Mesogog straight in the eye.

 

“Zeltrax thought you might be potentially dangerous had you kept your trinket, so he left it behind.”

 

“I don’t need it to kick your scaly dino hide,” she nearly snarled.

 

“Brave words for someone at my mercy. But no matter, we’ll have lots of time to chat before Dr. Oliver makes his concession.”

 

With that, he turned and headed from the room, the sliding metal door swishing shut behind him.

 

It was only then that Kim let her eyes drift shut as her heart called out in a silent prayer for Tommy to find her.

 

-x-

 

Gathered with Tommy in the paved courtyard, surrounded by trees, the side of the church and the reverend’s office was a virtual history of the power rangers. Billy, Zack and Jason were there from the first team; Rocky, Adam, Kat and Tanya from the second through third; TJ, Cassie, Ashley, Carlos and Andros from the turbo and then space rangers era; Wes from the Time Force team and Cole from Wild Force.

 

And then there was his new team: Kira, Conner, Trent and Ethan.

 

The crowd of wedding guests and rangers were all anxious and concerned. While some knew Tommy and Kim, others didn’t and the whole idea of them being called together by the man who had been considered the longest serving and best ranger had them on edge. It only took a few more moments before the first question was launched.

 

“What’s up?” TJ asked, thinking that there had to be a reason for his predecessor to have asked them there.

 

“What happened?” questioned Kat, concerned about Kim and Tommy’s mental state.

 

“Is there still a wedding?” Cole inquired, confused.

 

“All right boss man, just tell us what you need,” said Rocky, looking for all the world like he was ready to take whatever order Tommy gave, just as many of the others around him who had served with Tommy did.

 

Little did they know that was exactly what was going to happen.

 

The questions had been coming at him in rapid fire succession, and Tommy finally held up his hand to silence everyone. Once the group quieted, he looked around the group of friends and fellow rangers before he began.

 

“Kim’s been kidnapped,” he said simply, tightly as everyone murmured or gasped in shock. “She didn’t go willingly, and they knew enough to strip her of her morpher. Based on what I know, I believe Zeltrax, one of my enemies took her to attack me. I thought I’d killed him, but I was wrong. Now it would be easy enough if I only had to deal with him, but he’s the henchman of the evil sociopathic tyrant, a mutated dinosaur named Mesogog that the current ranger team has been fighting. Based on that, I can guess where she is, and that’s where you all come in.”

 

Jason and Adam looked to each other. Both had known Tommy long enough to guess what was coming next.

 

“I’m getting Kim back from Mesogog’s island, and I need a small ranger army to do it. I want volunteers to help me destroy Mesogog once and for all, and rescue Kim.”

 

“You call, we answer,” stated Rocky quickly, stepping forward. “I’m in.”

 

“We’ll get Kim back for you Dr. O,” announced Conner, moving up, with Kira, Ethan and Trent following him.

 

“This is what we do, isn’t it? Help people? Well, I think I speak for the space team when I say that we’ll help,” Andros remarked, stepping up to match the others who had announced their intentions, with the rest of the space rangers right behind him.

 

“Bro, you know I’ve got your back, as always,” Jason stated, moving up to place his hand on Tommy’s shoulder and into the line of volunteers.

 

And before Tommy knew it, one by one everyone had stepped forward, nearly encircling him in support. It was right then, in that moment that he realized again just what the legacy of being a power ranger was. They were there for one another, willing to be heroes even when they no longer had to be.

 

 “Anyone who has a morpher that works, raise your hand.”

 

Again a series of hands raised, more than Tommy had expected. In fact, when he finished looking, the only hand not raised was Hayley’s. He cocked his head to the side as he regarded them all, wondering how lucky he was that they’d chosen to come to a ranger wedding with their morphers, even if they no longer needed to serve or had the full power to do so.

 

“All right then. Hayley, Billy, give each person directions to the command center. Everyone go get your ‘gear’ if you don’t have it with you and meet at my place. Once you get there, Billy and Hayley will make any adjustments to ensure your powers will stay stable while we’re in the field, and if necessary do whatever they have to so that you’re on the team. I need you to all ready to go and familiarized with what we’re up against, so Hayley and the new team will give you a full rundown. Kira, Ethan, Trent and Connor, you need to make your excuses to your families before you head over there. I’ll join you all there as soon as I can.”

 

With that, the group hurriedly turned and headed for the series of vehicles sitting in the parking lot, a flurry of dresses and suits as they all made their way to get prepared for action.

 

“What about you bro?” Jason asked briefly once they were alone again.

 

“I’ll catch up. I just need a little while, you know?”

 

The ache in Tommy’s voice was clear to his friend, and he knew that the fear of losing Kim was most likely eating away at him. Simply nodding, Jason clutched Tommy’s shoulder briefly once more, and went to follow the others, leaving Tommy standing alone in the wooded courtyard.

 

-x-

 

“So, you’re the new pink ranger and the love of Tommy’s life,” said a cold voice from behind Kim, surprising her into alertness.

 

Straining to look, Kim pushed herself up on the chair and wrenched her neck to watch Trent’s armored white uniform walk towards her. Her heart leapt at the sight, and she struggled against the straps holding her in place.

 

“Trent! How did you get here? Help me get loose!”

 

Kim stared at Trent, still struggling against her restraints and was shocked as he wandered away from her, his movements showing his unwillingness to release her from where she lay strapped to the chair. As he turned back to her, she felt rather than saw the evil grin behind the helmet.

 

“It’s funny how ironic this is that I get to use the black ranger to accomplish my goals.”

 

“What are you talking about? What happened?” she asked, realizing that this was not the normal personality of her new young friend. “If somehow you’ve been turned evil again, I can help you… Tommy, Kira, we all can…”

 

“Help me? You foolish ranger. You see, Zeltrax and Mesogog are deluded enough to think they can negotiate with Oliver for your release. They don’t understand that in kidnapping you that they’ve declared war. And I know that your lover will do anything to get you back… including ringing Mesogog… or actually Anton Mercer’s neck in the process.”

 

“Mercer is Mesogog?” Kim breathed in shock, her mind barely being able to process everything that had happened since being attacked by Zeltrax.

 

“And Trent is his dearest son,” the white ranger said, “Luckily I’m not him.”

 

In a flash, Kim realized in horror her error. This wasn’t Trent, but the copy of him that Zeltrax had made. One that was fully evil. But what confused her was his interest in destroying Mesogog. She thought he was on the bad guys’ side… Instantly she switched tactics, going into her sharp tongued offense that she used against Mesogog.

 

“Why do you want Mesogog destroyed? Aren’t you his lap dog or something?”

 

The evil laugh of the white ranger chilled her to her bones. Even Zedd hadn’t sounded so cold blooded. This thing before her posing as a ranger was just as ruthless as his dinosaur-like master.

 

“Please, you could never grasp my reasons. Besides, your just being here has proven that I’m not anyone’s pawn. In fact, I may just be the king on this chessboard before the day is through…”

 

With that, he turned on his heel and stalked out again, his cold laugh nearly freezing Kim’s blood in her veins. Things, she realized, had suddenly gone from bad to worse.

 

-x-

 

Tommy stood alone at the end of the red carpeted aisle, having entered the church and now stared at the altar, his hands clutching Kim’s morpher/bracelet. The red, pink and white roses decorating the front of the church really were beautiful, he thought idly. It would have been a beautiful wedding…

 

As soon as the thoughts entered his head, he berated himself for them. It still would be a beautiful wedding, even if it wasn’t today. They could do this again, just as soon as he and the team got Kim back.

 

“Thomas?” suddenly called a female voice from behind him that he knew like his own, the sound of it nearly freezing him in place.

 

Whirling around, Tommy shoved Kim’s bracelet into his pocket as he found himself staring at the group of people he couldn’t face right now.

 

“Mom, Dad? David?” he started, and then realized they weren’t alone. Sam Trueheart was there along with Kim’s parents and brother.

 

“What’s going on here son?” James Oliver asked his son as he moved up to grasp his arm.

 

“I thought David was taking you all back to the hotel…”

 

“You thought we’d just leave and wait to see what was going on? Where’s my daughter Tommy?” Caroline Hart Dumas asked forcefully.

 

Tommy found himself emotionally drowning. He didn’t have a lie in mind to explain what had happened, and without Kim there to explain to her parents… Without realizing it, he turned to David and found a pair of understanding eyes. Ones that seemed calm in the midst of the chaos, as if he didn’t seem surprised about the turn of events.

 

“Did you know?” Tommy asked David point blank, nearly moving on him in anger. “Did Sam give you some kind of clue? Could this have been prevented?”

 

“I… Tommy, you and I both know that danger follows you around…” David stated seriously, yet placating as he looked at his brother, willing him to remember that he and Sam knew about his… past, even if no one else did.

 

“What?” cried both sets of parents aloud at this sudden revelation.

 

“But you’re just a high school teacher,” Jan Oliver said, now more lost than ever.

 

Before he could open his mouth, Sam had moved from near the back of the group to stand at Tommy’s side. Glancing from David to Tommy, he nodded sagely and stared into the younger man’s chocolate brown eyes.

 

“Thomas, it is time to let go of the last burden you carry. Reveal the secret that keeps you from sharing your pain with your loved ones. It is what you must do to put at ease all who care for you and your beloved. It will be the only way to be at peace, to be focused, which you must be if you are to hear the call of your soul mate and retrieve her,” stated Sam.

 

As the words sunk in, Tommy realized the full import of what Sam was suggesting and he nearly staggered.

 

“Sam, I *can’t*!”

 

“Tommy, please… if you know something,” began Kim’s father.

 

“Tommy, you have to tell us what happened,” James urged his son.

 

“You wouldn’t believe me if I did,” Tommy rebutted quickly, his mind whirling with Kim’s kidnapping, the planned assault on Mesogog’s island, his and Kim’s families questions, and the insistence of Sam for him to ‘come clean’.

 

“Try us,” Jan stated firmly, and Tommy saw the determination on his mother’s face mirrored in everyone.

 

Looking at the people around him, his family, Kim’s… people that meant so much to him, he knew that he might be putting them in danger by revealing this secret, but Sam had never steered him wrong. He had David in his life, knew something about his true parents and even had Kim wearing his mother’s engagement ring because of the elderly Native American shaman. If he said telling them the truth would help him get Kim back… He would move heaven and Earth to have her back in his arms, and if telling his family and hers their secret to rescue her was what was required to do it, he wouldn’t pause another moment.

 

“Mom, Dad, Mr. Hart, Mrs. Dumas… there is something that neither Kim or I have told you. Something that we’ve kept from all of you since we first dated in Angel Grove… and, well I don’t know how to say this, so I’ll just ask you to bear with me for a moment, and to hold on tight.”

 

With that said, Tommy did the only thing he could think of to do. He shoved his tuxedo jacket sleeve up, popped the cuff button and exposed his gauntlet. With a little nod of his head to Sam, the older man reached over and guided James Oliver back as Tommy stepped backwards.

 

“Kim and I have been and are currently power rangers,” Tommy said simply, and then called on his powers as he went into his morphing sequence, “Dino Thunder, Power up!”

 

In a bright light, his armor and helmet enveloped him, replacing his tux, and he stood there in his black and gold uniform. Sam and David smiled, nodding their approval while his parents looked shocked. Kim’s mother was tightly holding onto her new husband, desperately trying to keep from passing out while Kim’s father and brother were equally in awe and in disbelief.

 

“Tommy?” his father said, walking up to the ranger who seemed to have magically appeared where his son had been.

 

Before his dad could get any closer, Tommy reached up and popped the latches of his helmet, pulling it off to show everyone that it really was him under the suit.

 

“It’s me dad. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you about this before, but…”

 

“You needed to keep it a secret,” his mom stated suddenly understanding, and Tommy nodded, his throat tightening at the proud look on his mother’s face, even as she seemed to be on the verge of crying.

 

“How long?” James asked, starting to come to grips with his son’s sudden revelation. “You said since Angel Grove…”

 

“Not long after we moved there. It’s a long story, but that’s sort of how Kim and I…”

 

“Kim really was a ranger?” Caroline nearly stammered, shaking herself out of her stupor.

 

“She is one now. And that’s part of why she’s been kidnapped,” Tommy stated, and as the horrified looks crossed their faces, he mentally berated himself; they didn’t know. “But we’re going to get her back. The rest of the current rangers, and some of the former ones are going to help me get her back. So for now, I need you all to go back to the hotel where it will be safe, and Kim and I will call you as soon as it’s over.”

 

“Isn’t there anything we can do?” Kim’s father asked, and Tommy smiled. While the man hadn’t always been there for Kim, he was showing his dedication to his daughter’s welfare now.

 

“I wish there was. I guess you can just wish us all luck that we get to Kim soon.”

 

With that, Jan and James nodded and then threw their arms around their son. Tommy encircled them with his arms as best he could, his helmet in his hands.

 

“Take care son,” said James. “You go and bring back that future daughter in law of ours, and we’ll talk about all this later.”

 

Tommy went to Kim’s family, his face a picture of seriousness.

 

“I’ll bring her back. I promise,” he vowed.

 

“We know you will Tommy. Just like I know you’ll always love her,” Caroline stated, and Tommy grinned and leaned over to kiss her cheek politely.

 

“You’d better go,” Sam informed Tommy in a serious tone. “The others are waiting on you to lead them.”

 

Nodding, Tommy paused only long enough to hug the older man, and then turn to his brother.

 

“You know I wish I could come with you,” David said, staring at his brother with a sad yet proud look.

 

“So do I, but its too dangerous.”

 

“Go get Kim.”

 

With that, Tommy put his helmet back on, snapping it in place and rushed out of the church, heading for the command center and the battle with Mesogog for the ultimate prize… Kim.

 

-End-

 

To be continued…

 

Author’s notes: 1. I know that the lore/history is that most of these powers are either destroyed or non-operational, but in this AU world, they’re all just not being used, having been retired for different reasons. 2. Also, yes I revealed Tommy to his family. I figured at this point there shouldn’t be any secrets. Besides, it really is important… secrets burden the soul.

 

GO TO CHAPTER 40

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