Always a Ranger - Part 22
By Jeannine Trevizo
“So, I guess show business really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” Conner asked Kira as she walked them to the exit of the studio.
“Hey, at least it’s a lot easier than school work or fighting monsters,” she fired back.
“I still think it’s cool that you get to work on the Funky Fisherman,” Ethan stated.
“Please, you’re such a geek about this show,” Conner remarked as the trio stood at the doorway. “It’s a job, and an unpaid one no less.”
“If it was an internship as the bench boy for the L.A. Galaxy, you wouldn’t be thinking it was so bad, now would you?” Ethan fired back.
“They have an internship?” Conner asked hopefully, only to find Ethan and Kira fighting not to laugh.
“You two need to get over it,” Kira insisted, and shoved the two out the door. “I’ll see you both at practice with Dr. O tomorrow afternoon. Now get out of here so I can get back to work.”
Waving goodbye, the two headed for Conner’s car and drove off, leaving Kira to trudge back in to see if the Funky Fisherman had decided he could eat green M&M’s.
The team finally all arrived in the forested area behind Dr. O’s underground headquarters for the ranger team. Tommy sat on his ATV, now fully re-modified by Hayley. After getting it from Trent as part of his peace offering, Hayley had made sure there weren’t any other surprises.
Standing beside their bikes, Kira, Ethan and Conner watched their teacher, mentor and teammate intently. He seemed distracted, and kept looking around the area.
“Dr. O, is there something we should know about?” Conner asked concerned.
“No, just I feel like we’re really easy targets out here. What with Kira’s recent problems at the TV studio,” Tommy remarked, finally settling into one place, his eyes focused on the team.
“Yeah, and we almost had a yellow ranger expose… seems like there was a security camera in the studio, and Kira nearly got found out by Devin,” Ethan offered, making Kira glare at the blue ranger from her place by her motorcycle.
“What?” Tommy nearly yelled, swinging his gaze to where Kira stood.
“No, it’s okay Dr. O. The tape got destroyed, so no one knows about it,” Conner said quickly.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think…”
“You guys all need to be more careful. I mean Ethan, you called Kira by name during the fight with the termite monster… you can’t just do that in front of people and hope to keep your identities secret.”
“I didn’t do it intentionally,” Ethan argued, and Tommy simply sighed and leaned against his ride.
“I know Ethan. And that’s the worst thing I could say about it. You guys need to be more careful. There aren’t many second chances in this world to fix things like having your identities getting leaked to the world,” Tommy stated, and ran a hand through his hair.
“I know all about second chances,” Kira remarked. “We gave one to the Funky Fisherman yesterday. Let him change his ways.”
“And you certainly know about that, what with being evil and all,” Ethan directed to Dr. O, and had Kira and Conner stare at him.
“What are you saying?” Conner hissed, not believing his friend’s tactlessness.
“No Conner, Ethan’s right,” Tommy said, turning to look at the teens.
“Huh?” Kira blurted out, not understanding how they’d gone from her not thinking about surveillance cameras to Dr. O’s ranger past.
“I have had *more* than my fair share of second chances,” Tommy explained, walking to lean on the front tire, facing the rangers. “I should have been asked to give up my power coin after nearly killing Jason and the original team. Instead, they embraced me with open arms.”
Kira glanced over at Conner and Ethan, and wondered if they could do something like that. And if they would ever have the chance to do so…
“Hopefully you’ll be able to do the same if we find a way to help Trent back to our side,” Tommy remarked, making Kira’s jaw drop.
Did his ranger powers include telepathy, she wondered.
“I’d forgotten about Trent…” Conner began, and glanced to where Kira stood, her mouth slack in surprise at Dr. O’s comment.
“I mean, I guess we would give him a second chance,” Ethan stated, feeling self-conscious and crossing his arms over his chest.
“That’s what it really means to get a second chance,” Tommy explained. “To give someone who had hurt you the opportunity to come back and make a better future.”
“Like you and Kim?” Conner suggested, and everyone was taken aback.
“What are you talking about?” questioned Ethan, looking from Conner to Dr. O.
“How?” Tommy started, surprised by Conner’s words.
“I asked Hayley about why she seemed to not like Kim when she was here during our first run-ins with the white ranger, and you got fossilized. She mentioned something about Kim breaking up with you in a really bad way.”
“Kim and you broke up?” Ethan asked, still lost by the twist his friend had just thrown into the conversation.
“Not now, back before when he was with the old ranger teams,” Conner corrected the blue ranger, seeing Ethan slightly relax.
“How? When?” Kira stammered, confused as well.
Kira tried to wrap her head around the idea that Kim would leave Dr. O. For as long as Kira had known Kim, she’d known that the gymnastics coach and former ranger loved Dr. O with a passion that she couldn’t imagine ever being extinguished. And if that had happened, how could they have found a way to get back together…
“It was a long time ago, and I really don’t like thinking about it.”
“But why would Kim break up with you, even a long time ago? I mean, you guys have been all hot and heavy since we’ve known you,” Ethan said, puzzled.
“Things happen, people drift apart,” Tommy remarked, closing his eyes and rubbing his forehead with his hand.
“But you guys are together now. How did that happen?” Kira asked.
Tommy glanced at his team and realized that there wasn’t going to be any practice at this rate. Sighing, he turned and climbed onto his ATV and nodded at the others to follow suit.
“I might as well come clean about this. Come on, let’s take the bikes back in and I’ll explain the whole thing to you.”
The group drove into the underground entrance to the team’s command center. After stowing their rides, they wandered into one of the corners of the basement that they’d found themselves sitting in before – when Trent had kicked their ass so handily and when they’d been through other problems with their adversaries.
“So, Hayley made it out like Kim really hurt you bad Dr. O. How did you guys get back together?” Conner questioned, finally asking what he’d been curious about since he asked Hayley about her comment to Kim nearly a month back.
“Why did she break up with you is a more important question,” insisted Kira, leaning over and smacking Conner’s arm.
Before he could retaliate, Tommy hushed them all.
“Look, I’ll tell you what happened. It’s not really something you guys need to know, but I think that if you’re to understand what a true second chance is then maybe you need to hear this,” Tommy stated simply, taking a seat on a slab of rock and taking a deep breath.
“Kim was offered the chance to train for the Pan Globals in gymnastics. She was still the pink ranger then, and we, the team and I all convinced her to take the chance and go. While she was there, our communication became… infrequent. My duties with the rangers, her training schedule… and other people found their way into our lives. Kim finally felt that the relationship she had with me needed to be set aside so she could see if someone else was who was right for her.”
“She *dumped* you?” Conner blurted out, nearly leaping to his feet. He couldn’t believe it.
“And before you get all righteous on my behalf, I didn’t call her and try to get her to change her mind, or see if we could work things out. We were both to blame.”
“But you guys seem so in love now… how?” questioned Kira.
“And Hayley made it out like all the time she knew you, you never saw Kim,” Conner revealed.
“We hadn’t seen each other for a long time. A lot of years went by when we didn’t even talk.”
“Wow,” Ethan said under his breath, but everyone heard him anyway.
“It wasn’t until about two years ago that we both were in the same place and Kim asked if we could clear the air…”
“Two years…” Kira started, and then the pieces fell into place. “Kim mentioned something about Trini’s funeral around then. That would have been…”
“Someplace we both would have been at the same time. Yeah Kira, it was then. We talked about what had happened and…” Tommy started, and got cut off.
“And you declared your love and got all sappy,” offered Ethan, smiling a silly grin as he imagined the undying love that he’d been witnessing for the last few months.
“Actually, we decided to be friends.”
“Whoa, wait a minute. Back up the truck, because what you guys seem to have been doing isn’t friend behavior,” Ethan quickly replied, his world view skewing wildly.
“What? Kim and I had been apart for a long time. We both had other people come in and out of our lives. While yes, we still cared about one another, we weren’t ready to jump back into a relationship.”
“But you did in the end, because, well, if Kim and you aren’t all gooey in love, you’re really good actors,” Kira remarked.
“We spent over a year getting to know one another again. While it was long distance, it was still enough to make us both realize we wanted more from our relationship. So before I came to Reefside…”
“You and Kim hooked up again,” finished Conner, and Dr. O nodded.
“So when I said that you and Kim were back together again to Billy a few weeks ago, you really were *back* together, not just ‘seeing more of each other’,” mused Kira.
“I wondered why he seemed so shocked,” Ethan remarked.
“Billy was there when Kim and I broke up. Hopefully he’ll be around for…” started Tommy and then quickly shut his mouth before he said anything he didn’t want anyone knowing about yet.
With his luck, Ethan would e-mail Kim and let the cat out of the bag before he was ready to tell Kim himself what he wanted…
“So you guys got a second chance then,” Conner stated, finally understanding what Dr. O had meant when he’d suggested he’d gotten more second chances then he deserved.
“That we did. Because we made it. Just like you guys need to make sure that you give people the opportunity to make up for their mistakes.”
The trio all seemed to nod in understanding when the alarm at the console went off. Kira sighed, and Ethan and Conner both moaned aloud.
“What do we have to do to get a break from these guys?” Conner asked as they all quickly got up to find a group of Tyrano-drones attacking the local shopping mall.
“Well, we can always give them a second chance to change their ways,” joked Ethan before they got in position.
“Dino Thunder, Power Up!” all four called out, the three teens adding a ‘ha!’ to the end, morphing them into their ranger uniforms.
“Let’s take the Raptor Cycles,” suggested Kira. “At least then we can get some of the practice we were scheduled to have.”
“Alright, let’s go, and everyone be careful – no names!” Tommy reminded them, and they nodded as they raced to their bikes and drove out of the underground lair with Tommy’s ATV right behind them.
As they drove off to stop the latest threat, Tommy couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like for him to have not gotten that second chance… to be doing this without Kim in his life. What he got was something he didn’t like at all. No, he needed Kim in his life, now more than ever.
And he had to be thankful for the fact that sometimes you got the second chance you really needed.
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