Always a Ranger - Part 41

With This Ring Part 4: The End is Another Beginning

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

Tommy and Kim stood in the command center, wrapped up in each other and slightly overwhelmed by the day’s activities as the contingency of rangers still hovered around them, soaking in the realization of their role in the love story before them. It was Hayley that finally realized that the two lovers needed some time alone, and had Billy help usher everyone out.

 

With the basement now empted of the rangers that had been there to rescue her from Mesogog, Tommy and Kim stood stock still, hands clasped and lost in one another as the significance of what had happened hit them. Slowly, Tommy found himself drifting out of the daze to focus on Kim’s disheveled appearance, and the seriousness of what had happened hit him, reminding him as well that while she was safe, the news of how he’d been able to come to her rescue was still a mystery to her. He knew he should tell her what happened, so he decided that now was the time to catch Kim up on what had happened since her kidnapping, including he had told their families. It was when he got to that part, explaining how he had divulged their ranger identities to their loved ones, Kim broke her silence.

 

“You did what?” Kim asked, stunned as she stood there in her slightly rumpled wedding dress.

 

“I had to. Sam said…” Tommy began, and stopped. “Kim, when you were in Mesogog’s fortress, was there a moment when you swore that I was there, that you could feel me before I came in?”

 

She tilted her head, strands of her hair falling around her slightly marred face from where her stylish hairdo was falling apart. She did recall a sensation, as if…

 

“I… I felt this pull, like you were there, somewhere calling for me, and I called back, in my head, my heart…”

 

Tommy fought to stay standing. Sam had been telling him the truth. He had been able to hear Kim’s soul call his. That was the only thing that made any sense…

 

“That’s why I had to do it Beautiful. So I could hear you. I would never have made it to your side if I hadn’t been able to focus on you, on us.”

 

“But… but we weren’t supposed to tell anyone. I mean Zordon said…” she stammered, stunned by everything to the point of confusion.

 

“But Zordon isn’t around now Kim. We’re responsible for our own actions; we’re making the rules here.”

 

Kim nodded slowly before she looked him in the eyes again. It was true… Tommy had the mentor role with this team, even if he was with them in the field. And there were so many things that were different… not just that. No, he was right, they were making their own rules and because of that, they’d been able to defeat Mesogog.

 

“So, my parents know about you being a ranger… and mine too?”

 

“Yeah. I ended up morphing in front of them. I couldn’t think of an easier way to get them to believe me without arguing for hours… I didn’t have hours. Mesogog still had you…”

 

“No, it’s okay. Hell, I’m sorry I missed it,” Kim said with a small laugh to her tone and then went quiet, knowing the anguish her fiancé had to have been going through, fearing what had happened. Still, they had survived and were together.

 

But they weren’t married…

 

“Now what?” she asked, her eyes showing her discouragement at the fact their wedding had been ruined.

 

“I don’t know. I mean everyone’s still here, we can still use the Cyberspace, I assume, but I know tomorrow is a Sunday, and the church and the reverend are booked for all their wedding slots for the next month, let alone the next few days.”

 

“The church is booked…” she said dejectedly, wondering if fate was messing with them again.

 

“It is, but…” Tommy said, his mind whirling as he considered…

“What? You look like you have an idea.”

 

“Kim, let’s get married where this all started,” Tommy started, grabbing her hands in a fashion that evoked more memories than she could count.

 

“Angel Grove?” she asked, taken aback.

 

“Not quite, but close. Let’s go upstairs and I’ll explain my idea.”

 

His smile filled her with hope and she nodded, returning his smile with her own, trusting that he knew what he was doing. He pulled her along, heading them towards the trap door stairs, and his eyes finally flicked with full interest on what she was wearing…

 

“Oh, and by the way,” Tommy said with a wolfish grin as he escorted her up the stairs, his breath tickling her ear and neck, “I love the dress.”

 

-x-

 

It had taken a lot of reorganizing and help from everyone, but they’d done it.

 

Just one day after their wedding should have taken place, at the stroke of noon, the justice of the peace, forty lawn chairs full of family and friends, the wedding party and Tommy waited for Kim’s arrival so the pair could be married. They’d chosen a site that they didn’t have to worry about booking, and meant something very special to them and those who knew the story of Tommy and Kimberly.

 

Their wedding had been moved to the edge of the lake where Trent had admitted his dual identity to Kira; a lake very similar to one in Angel Grove that had played a pivotal role in the two people getting married there now.

 

As the music started, Kira walked the makeshift aisle that cut between the white wooden lawn chairs discernible by the trail of white, pink and red rose petals. As she walked along she gave Dr. O a wink and then glanced slightly at Conner, Ethan and Trent as she made the turn at the end of the aisle and took her place at the front of the assembled group. Aisha followed, her smile focused at Tommy, knowing that the man who had led a virtual army of rangers to save his future wife was about to be struck speechless once Kim started towards the makeshift altar area.

 

Once Aisha made the same turn Kira had, all eyes swiveled back to the small stand of trees where Kim was to appear from. The song quickly changed to the bridal march, and she stepped out from the greenery to make her way to the love of her life who stood as if frozen at the sight of her.

 

Kim glided along the path, her shoes barely touching the ground as she gazed at the set of chocolate brown eyes watching her as she moved closer to her destiny. The decision to re-make the wedding had ended up in their having and choosing to simplify things. Tommy had told her that he loved her the way she was everyday, not made up. So now she walked down the aisle in her wedding dress, remade bouquet in hand, but the veil and tiara were gone, having been damaged the previous day and her hair was now loose, flowing down her back and along her shoulders.

 

Finally Kim reached the end of the aisle, smiling brightly at Tommy who was decked out in his tux and looking better than she’d ever seen him. She handed her bouquet to Aisha, who wore a matching expression as Jason and David who all smiled at the sight of their friends and his brother finally getting married. Once Aisha had the bouquet in hand, Kim turned to her one true love. Just watching them, everyone in attendance knew now, even if they hadn’t seen it before or even known Tommy and Kim long that these two people were meant for one another.

 

Taking both of Kim’s hands in his, the sense of déjà vu enveloped them both. This was right. Finally, they were going to make things the way they were always supposed to have been.

 

The justice of the peace cleared his throat, bringing everyone’s attention from the couple before them and pulling Tommy and Kim’s eyes from each other to his face.

 

“Kimberly and Thomas came to me yesterday and asked if I could perform today’s service. I was somewhat surprised, as they explained that the church wedding they’d planned had gone… awry, but they still wanted to be married, but they wanted to change the circumstances. What they told me I want to share with you. They said that their love truly started beside a lake very similar to this one. And so they wanted to return to that place of beginning to start a new chapter of their lives. So now, today they return to the lakeside to pledge the rest of their lives to one another. And I believe that with those sentiments, this is the right place for them to seal their commitment to one another.”

 

Tommy and Kim looked at one another again, no longer able to focus on anything but one another while those in the guest chairs and standing up with them that knew the story of Kim and Tommy’s meeting on the rock at Angel Grove’s lake smiled with happiness, and some threatening tears. It was right, in all senses of the word.

 

“Kimberly Ann Hart, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” asked the officiant.

 

“I do,” she answered, her smile beaming at Tommy as she finally said the words after so many years of wishing for the day to come when she could finally say them.

 

“Thomas James Oliver, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

 

“I do,” he answered, and Tommy fought to keep from kissing her right now; how had he been so lucky as to have been given his heart’s desire after coming so close so many times to having missed out on this?

 

Jason and David stood on their side with Tommy and Aisha and Kira stood with Kim, the four of them watching the drama that had been nearly ten years in the making play out before them. In the assembled seated area on the grass, the rangers that had served with Tommy and Kim, the rangers that had only heard the stories, the teens that made up the new team and Tommy and Kim’s families all watched the ceremony with a mixture of relief and delight.

 

“You informed me that you had prepared your own vows beforehand for this ceremony. Kimberly, if you will please face Thomas and recite your vows.”

 

Kim squeezed Tommy’s hands briefly and swallowed hard. This was it…

 

 “Tommy, whatever lays ahead, good or bad, we will face together,” Kim began, taking a breath to fight off the tears that threatened at that momentous moment. “While I have not always been at your side, I have always loved you. You have always been my friend, my soul and my team mate. I make this promise today, before this assembly to never leave you again until death parts us, and on that day, to wait for you on the other side.”

 

Tommy smiled at the woman before him. The words were perfect. They’d written them right before the wedding ceremony, and they had spoken to everything they’d been through.

 

“Tommy, if you will please recite your vows to Kimberly.”

 

“Kimberly, *Beautiful*,” he added quickly, bringing tears to her eyes as he called her that now, “whatever lays ahead, good or bad, we will face together. While I have not always been at your side, I have always loved you. You have always been my friend, my soul and my team mate. I make this promise today, before this assembly to never leave you again until death parts us, and on that day, to wait for you on the other side.”

 

“Now the rings,” called the officiant, and Tommy and Kim partially turned, releasing only one hand to retrieve their rings from Jason and Aisha. Quickly they returned to their previous position and glanced at the elder man for his prompting, anxiously awaiting the time when they could feel the cool metal around their fingers, sealing their dedication formally.

 

“Thomas, if you would place the ring on Kimberly’s hand and repeat after me, ‘with this ring, I seal my pledge, and join my life with yours’.”

 

“With this ring, I seal my pledge, and join my life with yours.”

 

Tommy slid the delicate gold band that was the mate to the simple solitaire that already decorated Kim’s finger. As the ring slid into place, Tommy could almost feel the approval of the woman who had worn them previously in his choice for a wife.

 

“Kimberly, if you would place the ring on Thomas’ hand and repeat after me, ‘with this ring, I seal my pledge, and join my life with yours’.”

 

“With this ring, I seal my pledge, and join my life with yours.”

 

Kim slid the simple gold band that they’d picked out that nearly matched his mother’s ring. Once the ring was in place, they grasped hands again, their happiness showing in their gestures, their eyes and their smiles. The justice of the peace cleared his throat and everyone looked to him. He smiled as well, watching the apparent love between the two people before him. It had been a while since he’d presided over such an obviously in love pair.

 

“On behalf of the State of California and the city of Reefside, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss your bride.”

 

There was no hesitation to follow that directive, and Tommy pulled his wife to him and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her soundly, sealing their vows and promises as she returned his embrace and kiss. There was a thunder of applause around the lakeside as family, friends and team mates all cheered the culmination of ten years of romance.

 

It was only after long moments that seemed to go on forever that Kim and Tommy eased their lips apart and noticed the applause and few whistles that came from the assembled guests.

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Oliver,” declared the justice of the peace with a grin.

 

Once they had been officially announced to everyone, Kim turned slightly to get her bouquet from Aisha, seeing the teary expression of her friend and then returned fully to Tommy’s side. With Kim’s hand in his, Tommy turned towards the aisle and the two of them ran together down it, all the while being pelted by white, red and pink rose petals that appeared out of nowhere, the joy in their hearts matched by the happiness in their friends and families’ on their behalf.

 

Watching Tommy and Kim head to the cars, giddy with love and romance just reinforced the belief in all of them that happy endings were real.

 

-x-

 

The guests had all made their way to the Cyberspace for the reception. Kim and Tommy had quickly realized that they’d been lucky they’d chosen it, since with the disaster caused by Mesogog postponing things they would have had to pay for a hall or restaurant a second time. Instead, they’d just reorganized things, having the catering company come back and reheat and set up the food that Hayley had directed them to store in her refrigerator.

 

The regular set up had been cleared, and the space was rearranged for the event. Small circular tables filled the room covered with black and white tablecloths, with the dance floor in front of the stage where a live band that Kira had helped them find was located and the head table. Near that was a stunning cake that had also been shoved in the Cyberspace’s industrial refrigerator, saving it from its arrival the day before.

 

All around the room, the variety of decorations in a few specific colors illustrated that this wasn’t an ordinary wedding. Now that everyone knew the bride and groom’s ranger history, they could understand and appreciate them for what they were. The floral displays were in a variety of ‘obvious’ colors – white, red and pink roses with green ivy. White tea candles were set in pink, red and green colored glass votive holders and were set out everywhere. Kim had most definitely not wanted green candles… The favors were set out on the tables, and everyone now could understand the referenced colors and animals, and there were the place cards at each setting, each with the color representing their ranger status along with the person’s name.

 

Looking around the room, it was a stunning sight. Yet the real thing everyone had come to see was still to arrive. As people showed up at the Cyberspace, they milled through the room, the band that had set up on the stage playing soft music as they awaited the bride and groom.

 

After doing a quick headcount to see that everyone had made their way to the reception, Jason sent Kira out to collect Tommy and Kim as he went over to get a microphone from the band. Once Kira came back in with a thumbs-up sign, he quieted the band and then did the honors of introducing the newlyweds.

 

“Ladies and gentleman,” called Jason from the band stand, “the moment you’ve all been waiting for… it’s my distinct honor and privilege to introduce for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Oliver.”

 

The two entered the Cyberspace through the front door, pushing through the interior set to another round of roaring applause, and Tommy nearly laughed at the thought that half the people in the room would end up with red, sore hands at this rate. Still, he really couldn’t make himself care, as he wrapped his arm around Kim’s waist and led them into the party.

 

-x-

 

An hour or so into the reception the afternoon buffet had finally slowed down, only after Rocky had done his best to finish off anything left on the buffet table including a series of canapés, finger sandwiches and other simple lunch-like foods. People had eaten and chatted with their table mates, getting to catch up or meet others they hadn’t met before this event, waiting for the other requisite parts of the party that were still to come.

 

Sensing that his big moment had finally arrived, Jason pushed away from the table, pausing long enough to signal to the band to stop. He’d spoken with them when he’d gotten there, prearranging their ‘break’ to coincide with his speech, since everyone in the room now knew the secret this group of people had, except for them. He waited until the musicians trundled out of the Cyberspace, probably taking a smoke break or something in the front of the café. Close, but far enough away he could be free to speak.

 

With that he grabbed the microphone he’d stashed by his seat and got up, the guests taking note of the best man getting up and knowing what was coming they focused on him, quieting the room. Standing behind Tommy and Kim, he placed a hand on Tommy’s shoulder and blew into the mike.

 

“Is this on?”

 

Everyone laughed, and Jason smirked at the chance to finally use the speech he’d been working on since *before* Kim had left for Florida.

 

“Okay, so surprise… here we all are at Tommy and Kim’s wedding. And just a reminder, anyone who I bet that they *would* eventually get married that hasn’t already paid up needs to see me before the end of the reception.”

 

There was another round of laughter, and Tommy reached around and lightly punched his friend in the arm.

 

“Seriously though, as the man responsible for these two meeting, which is a long story in itself, it was a damn good thing that Tommy asked me to stand up for him today,” Jason started, raising his glass slightly as he spoke to the assembled guests and his friends. “I have known Kimberly for over twenty years and consider her like a sister, and while Tommy and I have been friends for considerably less than that, he might as well have been my brother. For three years these two were there for one another. Through the bad and the good… I think between him throwing her out of the Megazord with the rest of us within two days of meeting, and her fainting every time he showed up in a new uniform, we all knew it was true love.” 

 

The rangers laughed noting the humor of those stories. It was only fair. As it was, Kim pointed at Tommy with an ‘I told you he’d mention the Megazord incident at the wedding’ smile as Jason related the Megazord reference.

 

“Then things changed and Tommy pushed Kim to follow a dream, and in the process he lost her. But when you’re meant to be with someone, fate will find a way to step in and fix things. Which it did.”

 

Kim twisted her head to look in turn at Aisha, Kira, Tanya and then Ashley. When she looked at them all, she felt as if she could see the shadow, the spirit of the first yellow ranger in each of them. Fate had forced Tommy and her together again when Trini had died. She would never have had the motivation to tell him the truth, to try and mend the fences that had led them here if she hadn’t. She felt Tommy squeeze her hand and gave him a watery smile as she thought of their missing team mate who no doubt was looking down at them happily, feeling as if she’d done her job in giving them their second chance at happiness.

 

“This has always been love,” Jason continued, bringing Kim and Tommy’s attention back to him. “No one doubted that, ever. Even these two, I think. And so when they found their way back to one another, I was the first one to tell him that he’d better not waste his second chance. And as you can see, he actually took my advice on *something*. But seriously, it’s my privilege, my honor and my pleasure to be able to wish them every good thing that they have ever deserved, for I know that you’re both finally where you were meant to be. Congratulations.”

 

Jason raised his glass, and a sea of glasses from the tables filling the room matched him.

 

Kim and Tommy smiled at one another, tapped their glasses together and took a sip of the champagne before they set them aside and kissed as the room applauded. Jason pointed to where Hayley and Billy were sitting near the door, and she got up and had the band come back in. The group wove their way through the tables and back to their spots on the platform, getting ready for their next set, including the newlyweds’ first dance to their song.

 

“We’d like to call the bride and groom out for the first dance,” said the young man leading the small band that Kira had located.

 

Tommy stood and held a hand out for Kim. Taking it, he lifted her to her feet and escorted her to the floor. Settling his left hand across her back, to make up for the height difference, even with her heels, he took her left hand in his right, and waited for the first strains of the song that they’d picked out. Somehow of all the songs both of them had heard in the last eight years separately, they been able to both agree on this one that really stated everything they believed in their hearts about the love they had for the other.

 

As the music began to play, he stepped into the song, hearing the tune, feeling the lyrics and seeing only her eyes as she matched him, soul for soul, heart for heart and step for step.

 

“Find me here
And speak to me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place
Where I find peace again

You are the strength
That keeps me walking
You are the hope
That keeps me trusting
You are the life
To my soul
You are my purpose
You're everything

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

You calm the storms
And you give me rest
You hold me in your hands
You won't let me fall
You steal my heart
And you take my breath away
Would you take me in
Would you take me deeper, now

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

Cause you're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything
You're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything
You're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything
You're all I want
You're all I need
Everything, everything...

When how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

Oh And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better any better than this

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this...

 

As the song ended, everyone looked first to Tommy and Kim, who kissed, and then Tommy dipped Kim, sending her towards the floor as they started laughing. As soon as he righted her, she caught him and gave him a half-joking glare that had him smirking. There was another round of applause as he pulled her to him and they kissed again.

 

“Alright, how about everyone now?” called the leader of the band.

 

The second song started up, a soft country tune, “She Thinks She Needs Me,” as people got up and moved to the floor. Adam asked Kat to dance, while Jason danced with Cassie. Billy and Hayley got up and joined in, along with Aisha and Rocky, Tanya and Zack, and Tommy’s parents and Kim’s mom and step-dad on the dance floor.

 

While everyone was on the dance floor, Kira stood and snuck away from the table, giving the guys who were now on their own at their table a thumbs up signal. They’d been able to keep the team’s little plan secret. After all the stories she had heard, everything Kim and Dr. O had told them about their relationship, and what the former rangers had offered up to fill in the blanks, Conner, Trent and Ethan had convinced her this was a perfect gift.

 

Carefully holding the hem of her yellow dress, Kira walked up to the band stand, and climbed up. After a few words with everyone, the band wrapped up the song they were playing and the male singer stepped aside. Kira then turned to the microphone and coughed slightly, bringing everyone’s attention to her. For those who knew Kira or were getting to know her now through the time the rangers had spent together before the wedding, most knew that the young woman was an aspiring singer. So her presence at the mike was one of anticipation and curiosity.

 

“Hi… uh, well, since I think everyone knows me, I won’t do the introduction thing. Anyway, after everything the guys and I have gone through with Dr. O and Kim, and being we don’t have the long standing friendship most of you have with them, well it was hard to figure out just what we could get them to celebrate their wedding. So, we sort of put our heads together and thought that this might be right. It took you both a long time to find your way here, back to each other again, but I don’t think you really ever gave up the idea of being together. So, this is for you guys.”

 

Turning, Kira picked up the spare guitar and strapped it over her shoulder. With a few chords, the rest of the band jumped in, the tune slower than she’d ever played the song before and she leaned into the microphone.

 

“Looking back, I don't regret...
One single day.
Memories will keep me close...
When you walk away.
It's harder than I could imagine.
I guess I should have known that.
Close your eyes, I'll be there.
I'll come running anywhere.”

”Say goodbye, I'll be okay.
I will wait for you, cause...
True love will never fade.
When it's real, you can feel it.
And I know, that you know..
That I will keep on waiting..
Patiently..
Patiently... for you.”

 

Conner, Trent and Ethan had all heard the song before, twice actually if they counted the really bad video Kira had been conned into doing. But this version had a deeper feeling to it; it was slower and played to the depth of the relationship that she was depicting and the trials it had been through to get to this point. And as everyone in the room who knew what Kim and Tommy had been through listened, they knew the words were fitting.

”Stormy Tuesday afternoons haven't been the same.
I used to stand outside and taste
The sweetness of that.
It's harder when it really happens.
Oh, I wish I'd know that.
Close my eyes and you're there.
But I can't find you anywhere.”

“Say goodbye, I'll be okay.
I will wait for you, cause...
True love will never fade.
When it's real, you can feel it.
And I know, that you know..
That I will keep on waiting..
Patiently..
Patiently... for you.”

“Patiently...
So patiently..”

“When I'm lost, I try to find you.
Turn around, I'm right behind you.”

“Say goodbye, I'll be okay.
I will wait for you, cause...
True love will never fade.
When it's real, you can feel it.
And I know, that you know..
That I will keep on waiting..
Patiently..
Patiently... for you.”

 

Applause filled the room and Kim found herself near to tears while Tommy simply stared at the woman who had always been his life, even when they had dated other people and were so far from another. But their patience had paid off.

 

“We’re all glad you found each other again,” Kira said one last time into the mike before taking off the guitar and handing it back to one of the members of the band as she headed off the stage. She only got a few feet onto the dance floor before they met her, Kim throwing her arms around her ‘little sister’.

 

“That was perfect. Thank you,” Kim whispered into Kira’s ear.

 

“Well, it wasn’t like we had any real money to buy you guys anything,” said Conner as he, Ethan and Trent converged on the couple and Kira on the dance floor, the moment turning into a large hugging session.

 

“Let’s get everybody back to dancing!” called the singer at the mike, the band starting up another song, this time a more R&B sounding tune led by the girl on the keyboards… “What’s It Gonna Be.” The jazzy, soft melody filled the room as the people who wanted to dance made their way to the floor, others leaving and taking a seat.

 

Tommy and Kim turned to one another, falling naturally together and starting to move with the music. Around them, their friends and family danced as well, everyone full of smiles and light hearts. Ethan had hurriedly weaved his way out of the traffic, knowing his dancing skills were lacking on any level, while Trent found himself being asked by Cassie to dance.

 

Conner stared at Kira, who looked up at him with a questioning glance. Taking a deep breath, he held out his hand to her, smiling self-consciously.

 

“Would you like to dance?” he asked simply, his voice shaking slightly, mirrored by his outstretched hand.

 

“I’d love to,” Kira replied with a breathy tone, letting him set his hand on her back, against the bridal satin of her dress as he took her other hand in his and proceeded to show her that he knew how to dance.

 

Tommy peered up from where his head has been laying on Kim’s and noticed his students and his team mates together. With a little nudge, he pushed at Kim’s head, making her raise her eyes to his. He darted his eyes to the side and she followed them, seeing Kira and Conner, slowly dancing and getting closer as they smoothly glided across the floor. Kim brought her gaze back to Tommy and smiled.

 

They reminder her of *their* first formal dance…

 

Maybe they’d be the lucky ones, she though with happiness and hope in her heart on this day of all days, to find their mate in their team mate’s arms.

 

The song finished, and the dancers and the other guests applauded. Then there was a call for a kiss to the newlyweds, which though they didn’t really need it, prompted Kim and Tommy to draw together again, their lips fusing for a long minute before a series of whistles and more applause filled the room. They broke apart, looking at the assembled group with a mixture of humor and embarrassment when Rocky suddenly stood up and yelled across the room in his regular irreverent and ravenous manner, “Come on guys, less kissing, more food! Cut that cake!”

 

Kim and Tommy couldn’t help laughing, as did most of the guests, while Adam grabbed a hold of Rocky’s suit jacket and yanked him back into his seat. Still, it was a good idea to get things moving… the sooner they moved things along, the sooner they could escape…

 

Tommy escorted Kim to the table with the small two layer cake, simply iced with white frosting. There was enough though that everyone should have a piece, and Rocky two or three. Picking up the knife, Kim glanced up at Tommy, waiting on him. He moved to grasp her hand in his, the families and their friends all getting up to huddle around them, several of them with cameras in hand to document the moment. With careful precision, they slid the silver knife into the white frosting of the cake, cutting one small piece. They moved down to pull the slice apart, and carefully fed each other the cake, Tommy sucking the frosting from Kim’s fingers before letting the digits go.

 

“That’s good luck,” whispered Kat to Tanya with a grin. “Every wedding I’ve been to where they’ve smashed cake into their faces has ended up in divorce.”

 

“Well, there’s no way that’s ever happening with these two,” Tanya replied, taking her friend’s hand in hers, knowing that under her happiness for Tommy and Kim, some small part of her probably still wished it was her with him.

 

“Alright Rocky, *now* you can have some cake,” Kim called out, quickly cutting another piece of the confection, placing it on a plate and holding it out to him in invitation.

 

He wasn’t about to tempt fate by not taking Kim up on the offer, and hurried up to grab the plate and give Kim a peck on the cheek, and flashed Tommy a smirk before he could growl at the former red/blue ranger’s behavior. Aisha hurried over, offering up her scalpel skills to slice and serve the cake.

 

Once everyone had a piece, there was another semi-quiet round of eating, the musicians playing soft melodies to keep the atmosphere going.

 

 It was Aisha that nudged Kim’s elbow when most of the plates were empty and looked at her friend with a smirk.

 

“Come on Kim, time to see if we can get me hitched too,” she said with a laugh, referring to the tradition of the woman who caught the bouquet getting married next.

 

With a bewildered shake of her head, Kim got up, reaching forward to pluck the bouquet from the table. She leaned down to give Tommy a kiss before raising her hands to create an imperfect impromptu megaphone.

 

“All right girls, you want to snag someone next, get out here. And Billy, no fair keeping Hayley in her seat!” Kim called out, much to everyone but Billy’s amusement.

 

Aisha took the point of the crowd of eligible women, some of the ones less interested standing near the back. Kim gave them a look, noting Aisha’s wave, as well as Kat’s, letting her know they’d be happy to have her toss it their way. With a grin, she turned her back on them, and closed her eyes. She waved her arm up and down, getting ready for the throw, and then threw it with a mighty heave over her right shoulder, turning quickly to see where it was heading.

 

And found that the excessive force she’d put behind it had sent it sailing over the intended targets… and right into Kira’s hands.

 

There was a series of good hearted congratulations from the others on the floor as Kim hurried over to where Kira stood staring in shock at the bouquet. Kim smiled and the two caught eyes and started to laugh, embracing. Ethan elbowed Conner and gave him a smirk, while the red ranger watched Kira laughing with Kim with a small smile.

 

“Damn it Kim, what happened? You were supposed to throw it short,” Aisha complained with a mock-complaint before reaching over and hugging the new yellow ranger. “Just make him wait a few years girl.”

 

Kira’s mouth dropped open slightly and Kim and Aisha shared a look. Obviously Conner’s attention to Kira hadn’t gone unnoticed by either of them, or Kira for that matter.

 

Before they could rib Kira any more about Conner’s interest, Jason showed up and leaned over Kim and Aisha’s shoulders, smiling.

 

“Come on now, clear the floor… Tommy has work to do,” he said laughingly, reaching to the empty chair behind him and pulling it out and onto the floor. “Here’s your seat Kim…”

 

Kim sighed, smacking at her childhood friend as he guided her and the chair over to the head table and waited until she sat before looking to Tommy to get his ass up and get over there. Knowing what his best man and best friend was looking for, Tommy got up from his seat and headed over to where his bride sat, her legs crossed beneath her barely pink wedding dress.

 

“Behave,” Kim said, glaring at Jason before Tommy came to kneel at her feet, and she turned the same look on him. “You too.”

 

He looked at her in mock shock that she would think such a thing and then gave her a wicked smile as he grasped the hem of her dress and raised it up along her leg, looking for the elusive strip of fabric being prized by the males in attendance. As the dress went higher, Tommy heard the cat calls from some of his former team mates, and swung his head around swiftly to glare at them.

 

“Any more of that and I’ll leave it there,” he snapped playfully, and saw several of the guys back down.

 

Kim put her hand on her raised knee, holding the dress in place and gave him a look that said he wasn’t going any farther. Undeterred, he simply slid his hands under the material, running his fingers along her thigh before he reached his goal. Slipping his fingers under the elastic, he quickly drew the blue and white lace garter off her leg and into view. Raising it above his head, the men cheered, and Kim sighed at the silliness of men and lingerie.

 

“Have fun handsome.”

 

“Will do Beautiful,” he replied, leaning over to get a kiss from her as she walked back to the table to sit with Kira and Aisha and watch the spectacle.

 

“All right, anyone who’s looking to give up the bachelor lifestyle, get your ass up here. And that means you too bro,” Tommy said, looking to David where he sat at the head table.

 

Quickly the unmarried men gathered in the same area the women had minutes earlier, including Kim’s father and brother and Sam. Following the same procedure, Tommy turned his back, and using the elastic sling-shotted the garter up and over, pulling up short and landing in a group of guys. After a brief but friendly scuffle, Rocky emerged, standing next to a dejected Adam and Jason with the garter.

 

“Oh God,” Kim said with a laugh, looking to where Kira sat knowing what was coming next and wondering what the normally feministic, outspoken musician was going to do.

 

“Come on Kira…” called Rocky with a grin as he twirled the garter on his index finger.

 

“Rocko, come on, she’s like half your age,” Adam said with a grimace.

 

“It’s tradition!”

 

“It’s antiquated and stupid,” Kira said, getting up and getting into the older ranger’s face. “Besides, don’t you like have some more cake to eat?”

 

Several of the original rangers who were Rocky’s friends and had served with him laughed, and then quickly went silent as he looked around indignantly.

 

“All I’m taking about is a dance… damn, you people are sick,” Rocky said with a smirk, holding out his hand to Kira.

 

With a little sigh of relief, Kira took it and let him lead her through a song.

 

“Besides, I really don’t want to get my ass kicked by Kim, Tommy or that new red ranger who’s staring holes in my back,” he whispered in Kira’s ear, causing her to look over his shoulder to see Conner glaring at the older former red ranger as they danced.

 

When the song ended, Conner quickly moved back to the dance floor and took her hand, spinning them into the next song as others joined them. Everyone continued to dance, visit and have a good time, Kim and Tommy assuring the rangers and their families that everything was now fine with Mesogog gone; the rest of the team and Hayley could keep an eye on things while they were on their honeymoon.

 

When the band took another break, Kim and Tommy began to realize how late it was, and thought about perhaps getting things wrapped up…

 

“So, it looks like everyone’s happy, fed and tired from too much dancing,” Kim said with a wicked smile as things started to wind down. “How about we get the hell out of here?”

 

“I think that’s an excellent idea Mrs. Oliver,” he said happily for the first time, calling her by her new, married name.

 

Getting up from their chairs, Kim and Tommy started their series of goodbyes, hugging Aisha, Kira, David and Jason before seeing their parents, Sam and then all the other former rangers. Then, as they tried to escape the Cyberspace, they got caught in another shower of flower petals as they ran for the door. They paused only briefly, waving to everyone before pushing through the first and then second set of double doors and off to their new life together.

 

“There they go,” Jason remarked absently, not really addressing the crowd of rangers, friends and family around them, but knowing they probably could hear him anyway, “always in love, and always rangers…”

 

-End-

 

“Everything” is by Lifehouse & “Patiently” is written by Doug Sloan (or so RangerDude on Rangerboard says lol) and sung by Emma Lahana. Referenced songs, but lyrics not used are “She Thinks She Needs Me” by Andy Griggs (submitted by Kim Hart aka Pink-Green-White-4ever) and “What’s It Gonna Be” by En Vogue.

 

Well, this is it, the last chapter and the end of our series. I want to thank the following people for reviewing and reading during the course of the series:

 

From ff.net: Aj, Alecia, Alexandra Oliver, alliamandmore, Allie351, always krissy, amber, andrea, Angel of Charmed, Arctic Wolf, Aya Rose, babymar-mar, Batbabe1, Black Shadow Fox Shaman, C2, calikocat, CamFan4Ever, cobalt-blue, crimson tide ct, CrimsonBlade’srevival, Dagmar Buse, Dana Shields, DarkMelody, Dee, DestroyerDRT, Diosa Angelo, DreamsOfGold, eppie-chan, Etcetera Kit, Flame, Frog1, goldstranger, Haley Macrae, Hanspam, hartfelt, Helvetebrann, homegirl12, HuntoB, iago star, ImmortalSoul666, IsabellaPaige, James Eric Oliver, jean, Jenn, jenny, jim hawking jr, Joanne, Jules, Kathea, KimberlyAnnOliver, Kylee, ladykigomeangel, Leap of fate, Lelen, Lessa Solarem, Libitina De Averna, Lil Saiyan, Loving Angel, Ludeckeconn262, lygerzero, mabel, Madelynne Rabb, misschristy, Mouse9, Mrs. Son, mysterious-muse, New York Hope, Nightwing 509, Omega19x, Onmar, Phillip, Pink-Green-White-4ever, Pinkie, PinkLightning, pretenderchik, Ranger lover, Raven, Rayne StarDust, Regan, rouge195, Sarafu, sayinjinj7, Serina Tsuki, Silver Warrior, SiLvErFaTeD, silver-sugar, siriuslydeceased, soccerbaby, SparksJSH, Talum, Teal-Becky, The Man, Tiamat11, Titanium Gold, tom-kim-713, tor, tribalranger, trunks888, Twitch1, Vespera, Water Goddess, Weesta, WenWen, Wiccan-One, Wicked Intentions, zee and those of you that posted a review anonymously.

 

From PRIU2: C, Christine, evablu13, Irina, Jud, Ken, Kim Hart, Kimberly B Tyler, Laurel, Lizzie, m_reagan_2002_1999, Mooshie46, Ozmandayus, Ryan, unluckily_hopeless, and zee-zila.

 

And straight e-mails to me: Andrea , Arwen, Cleopat2134, Gina, Kate, Mel, Rachel, RhonyLynn, Stephanie, and Teri.

 

And big thank you to my wonderful husband for letting me do this for the last eight months.

 

This has been a wonderful experience, and before you all ask, yes, there’s an NC-17 interlude following this (please see my website Sunday for it) and yes, there will be a sequel. I have started the prep work, but I don’t have a start date, but I will try to get it out as soon as I can. Keep a look out here for the first chapter…

 

Again, thank you all,

Jeannine

GO TO THE NC-17 INTERLUDE

click the picture of Tommy & Kim for a sneak peak at the sequel to Always a Ranger

click the team picture to go to the Always a Ranger page

If anyone wants to e-mail me: