Tommy stood outside the church and adjusted his tie once more. "You okay." He turned and found Rocky standing next to him. "Yeah. I think so. It's just so hard to believe."
"I know what you mean. I mean just a year ago and we were all together. Then this." Rocky replied. "At least we have each other." He added softly.
"Yeah. But what about Billy? Who did he have?" Tommy demanded.
"He had us. It was his choice." Jason said quietly as he joined his two friends.
Tommy looked over at his best friend. Jason was wearing a black suit and dark sunglasses. His posture looked like someone desperately trying not to cry. Tommy knew he and Rocky probably looked just as bad. "I don't get it. Why would he do that?"
"He didn't want our pity." A soft voice floated to them. Turning the boys found themselves looking at the petite brunette who had been Billy's best friend for so long. "He wanted to die with dignity." She voice cracked, and Jason pulled her into his arms. For a moment, she leaned against him, but then she pulled away and wiped her eyes. "Come on. It's time for us to say goodbye."
They were all there, Jason noted. Zack and Trini, holding onto each other and trying to forget how much this hurt. Rocky, Adam and Aisha each lost in their own memories of the quiet genius that had touched so many lives. Tanya clinging to Adam and no doubt remembering when Billy gave up his last chance at being a ranger so she could have a chance. Or perhaps remembering when her own parents were given up for dead. Tommy, with his arms around the beautiful blond Katherine, holding her tight as she cried softly on his shoulder. And Kim, who seemed to be holding the whole group together. She had been the one that had seen Billy the most; was the only one that had known he had lied when he said he was going to Aquitar. The only one that maybe knew the whole story.
Jason was not surprised to see the entire church filled. Billy, while not exactly popular in high school, had made many friends. He always had a kind word, even for Bulk and Skull. Jason felt his eyes fill up with tears again and looked down at his girlfriend. "God, this hurts so much." He whispered as the preacher talked about Billy's accomplishments.
"I know." Kim whispered back as she curled her arm around his waist.
Sitting quietly in the back, a small group watched quietly. They had come to remember one of Earth's finest. A young man that had selflessly given up his home planet to save theirs. "He will truly be missed. He is one of the finest there ever was." The elder of the two women said. The rest nodded.
Justin stood next to Kat and tried to keep his eyes dry. It had been almost two years since he had last been to a funeral. This time he did not even really know the person being buried. He had come to pay his respects to the original Blue Ranger. The one that all the older rangers said he reminds them of. He felt his dad put an arm around his shoulders and for just a minute, he let himself be the 14-year-old boy he was, and not the boy genius that had to be strong.
Warren Cranston stared unseeing as they lowered his only son into the grave. The boy would be buried next to his beloved mother. The tears coursed unheeded down his lined face and for just an instant he wondered how he was going to go on. Then he remembered his words to Billy in the hospital room.
*"I don't want to leave you alone. I don't want to put you through this." The boy sobbed, clinging as tightly as he could to the man that had raised him.
"Shhh& this isn't your fault. It's just something that happens. It's not fair; it's not just, but that's the way life goes. I won't be alone. You and your mother will watch over me."*
"I'll be okay, Billy. Worry about yourself now. We'll make it through." He whispered as he dropped a handful of dirt on the coffin. "You're free from the pain. You're free, enjoy yourself."
Kim stepped up to the coffin and tossed in her handful of dirt, along with a single pink carnation. Sniffling she stepped back, but not before she whispered one final message. "I love you, Billy. Remember us."
The others at the burial site stepped up and threw their handfuls of dirt as well. Finally, only Zack, Trini and Jason were left. Together the three went up to the coffin, now shrouded in dirt and the occasional flower.
Trini tossed her handful of dirt, tears streaming down her face. She made no move to wipe them away as she looked down at the final resting place of her first love. "I'm sorry. I wish I could have been there with you at the end. We should have been there, no matter what you wanted." She whispered as she dropped a silver bracelet with yellow accents into the grave.
Zack sniffled and knuckled away the tears gathering there. "What are we going to do without you, man? Who's going to help me out with Chemistry? Or tell us how much the sci-fi movie ignored the Laws of Physics again? Oh man, I'm gonna miss you so much." He moaned, as Trini wrapped an arm around him.
Jason cleared his throat. "Hey Bro& I guess this is goodbye. I'll never forget you. You were the best friend a guy could have. I-I just wish I could have been there for you like you were for me." He took a small cellophane-wrapped object and dropped it into the grave along with this handful of dirt.
Eleven people stood there after everyone left. "I guess this is it." Rocky said quietly, his normal voice husky with tears.
"Yeah. He's really gone." Tanya added, still clinging to Adam. Adam was clinging just as hard to her.
"Do you think he's happy?" Tommy asked suddenly, looking over at Mr. Cranston.
Warren nodded. "I believe so. I have to believe that. It's the only thing that makes this whole thing okay. I-I just wish he'd had the chance to show everyone what he was capable of. He had so much to share, and it was all wasted." He bowed his head for a minute, before he looked at the 10 teenagers. "I'm just happy that he had such wonderful friends. He talked about you so much."
"We were all honored to be his friend, Mr. Cranston." Kat replied. "And he did show people, Mr. Cranston. He showed the most important people what he was capable of & unselfish and endless love." She gave Mr. Cranston a hug.
"I know. I just wish& I just wish I knew he was okay." The older man said quietly, as he stared down at the grave.
Warren raised his gaze and found himself staring at the edge of the tree line. His breath caught and he heard the others gasp as well. There standing at the edge of the tree line, surrounded by a faint blue aura, was a wolf. It was just visible, but when Warren looked harder, he realized that he could see through it to the trees beyond.
The wolf was walking to the edge of the tree, but it stopped and for one moment turned and looked at all of them. Then without a sound, it turned back and was gone.
"I-I think you just had your answer, Mr. Cranston." Jason croaked out.
"Yes, I think I just did."