Author's Note: Due to utter and complete lack of response, my very short-lived 'Forebodings' series is hereby discontinued. Hopefully this series of songfics, hereby to be known as 'Sonatas', will be better received, as will another series I shall be beginning soon, focusing on a near-forgotten character: Trini Kwan.
Series Note: Sonatas will be something I've seen before and decided that it's a good idea. A series of song-based Power Ranger fanfics, which are in no way related to one another.
Or did she even belong there anymore? She wasn't certain. She wasn't certain of anything. At times, Kim wondered if she even knew who she was anymore, much less why she had done the things she did. Not the least of which was sending Tommy the letter.
_That was either the best thing I ever did or the worst. I wonder if I'll ever know._ She knew, regardless, it had been the _right_ thing to do. Or at least that breaking up with him had been the right thing. Even back when she'd been in Angel Grove those last few weeks, she had felt that things were slowly cooling off between them. The closeness hadn't changed. The emotions had.
_Maybe it was seeing me lose my powers, like he lost his._ She shivered still at the memory of that. In a way, she had given the Coin to Kat because she didn't trust it anymore. Feeling the powers she had once trusted to protect her life drain it away, drain part of herself away, she had felt for the first time fear. It hadn't been a good feeling, either. But she'd divested herself of it, given the Coin to someone who had earned it, and went on, searching for her dream.
But maybe she hadn't found it. Maybe it had taken coming here, away from familiar places and things, to realize the truth. She certainly hadn't been able to think of it while she was back in Angel Grove. _Having to fight off monsters and Tengas on a regular basis does sort of cut into your thinking time,_ she realized. But here, with the only thing she had to think about being gymnastics, she had come to several conclusions.
The first of which had been that she hated gymnastics. Hated it with a passion that she had never thought possible when she had practiced on the bar back at the Youth Center. Training for the Pan-Globals wasn't what she had thought it was like. It wasn't the hard work or the early hours or anything like that which was grinding her enthusiasm away for the sport. It was the company. Or lack of it, to be more precise. The people here were the most self-centered and egotistical that she'd ever encountered. Every last one of them had practically grown up here in Gunther Schmidt's compound training every day of their lives, and that was more than all they knew, it was all they _wanted_ to know.
_I swear, if one of them utters a paragraph that doesn't refer to gymnastics in some way, I'm going to see if they're sick! It's insane. Don't they realize there's an entire world out there to exist in? One that has nothing to do with gymnastics and how well you can flip off a beam?_ Even as she thought it, she knew they didn't. And to fit in around here, she had to be just like them. She couldn't remember the last time she'd had a good conversation about music or went shopping all day or had a decent workout that was _not_ gymnastic. Though martial arts had never really been her 'thing', she'd found herself enjoying the workouts that Jason had designed for all of them back in the early days.
With a sigh, she found herself caressing the back of her wrist, where her communicator had rested for so long. Despite the fact she had wound up not trusting her Ninja powers, she had borne the Dino powers before then, and those she had trusted with her life. _I felt like part of me died when they were destroyed. And I never really got it back. The Ninja powers helped, but still. . ._
"Miss Hart!" The thick accent of her coach pulled her rather harshly out of her reverie. "Get out on the practice floor!" Kim winced at the tone as she finished lacing her slippers and checked to be sure her hair was tightly wound into its knot.
As she headed out onto the floor, she passed two other gymnastics, and overheard a soft whisper. "There's Hart again, paying more attention to the clouds in her head than her dismount. I hope she doesn't make the team, we'll never win with her there."
The words drove themselves into her heart like daggers, but she gave no outward sign. Nothing would deter her from her goal. It was all she had left. She had no ties to Angel Grove anymore. That letter had only been one of many she had sent out, in an effort to focus more on Florida and the here and now rather than her past. She had broken up with Tommy. She had told Jason, Zack, and Trini that she couldn't write to them anymore. When her mother had called her, she had manufactured an argument. She had held hopes that when the Pan Globals were over, then she could patch up those relationships. But as each day passed, she realized more and more than she couldn't. She had sacrificed _everything_ for a dream she wasn't even certain she could make a reality anymore.
Music began to play, as was the custom. Since they did routines to music when things were 'official', Schmidt insisted that they have it playing during their practice, so that they would be used to it, and not be distracted. _Distraction. I'm so sick to death of that word. I want to be distracted. I want to forget about all this. I want. . .I want to go home._
A tear shone for one brief moment in her eye, then she automatically focused on the music and got to work on her routine. As her muscles fell into the co ordinated movements, her heart skipped a beat suddenly as the words echoed what she felt in her heart.
_And Coach yelled at me constantly the whole time._ A glimmer of a tear half-blinded her for a moment, then she quickly refocused. She didn't want him to start screaming at her again. She knew perfectly well that was what coaches did, but there was just something about the _way_ he did it that was rubbing her the entirely wrong way.
"Miss Hart, you must focus or you will never make the cut!" the words echoed all around her, and she felt something inside of her snap. She drew to a stop, turning around to look at him. He looked back at her, thick and terrifying.
Or at least, he used to be. She said nothing, only stood perfectly balanced on the beam, her eyes on his. With a flawless flip, she leaped off the beam and landed in front of him. "I've done that perfectly a thousand times, and I'm not doing it anymore." She said quietly. "I'm sick to death of your yelling, of your condescending, of your entire place here." She turned to the gymnasts, who had paused their workouts to look at her. "And I'm sick of all of you. I don't know if you've noticed it or not, but there is life beyond gymnastics. Have any of you ever thought about what you're going to do _after_ the Pan-Globals? When you're too old to flip around? What do you _know_ about the world beyond those walls?"
She grabbed her towel and looked back at the coach. "I'm leaving. I quit." Without a single backward glance, Kim walked out of the practice room and headed for her little cubicle to get her things. She didn't know where she was going to go or what was going to happen to her, or even how she was going to get the money to leave, but something inside of her said that didn't matter.
Never before in her life had she stood up for herself like that. One of the others had always been there to protect her from Bulk and Skull, or at the very least she'd been with Trini. She'd developed calling for Tommy's help in battle into an art form. Part of her reasons in coming here had been to see who she was on her own, to develop an identity that went beyond 'The Pink Ranger' or 'Tommy's girlfriend' or 'one of that group'. She had found out at least part of who she was, or rather who she was not.
But now, she felt a strength and a confidence inside of her that came not from powers or from having a boyfriend or being one of a group of friends. She wouldn't mind having any of those things, but now she knew that she could live, and be strong, without them.
She knew her own worth and her own strength at last.