Legal Disclaimer : This fanfic is a sequel to my previous
one, "Red Blues". Please read that so you know what's going on.
Warning, death and sadness in this fanfic. Kleenex ready? Then let's get
to the fic!!
Kimberly Harte worked through her usual morning routine, humming under her breath as she concentrated. Things were just as they'd always been here since she'd arrived here in Gunther Schmidt's compound: boring and repetitious. Every day was the same here. A five a.m. wake up call, a light breakfast, practice until lunch, eat a decent meal, practice until supper, then more practice until all hours of the night. No variety, very little time off, and no one interesting to talk to. All the people around here wanted to discuss was gymnastics, morning, noon, and night.
She missed her friends in Angel Grove. They'd all been different, had different interests, a thousand different things they loved to do. But most of all, she missed Tommy.
Tommy Oliver, she whispered his name in her mind over and over again like a mantra of peace and remembrance. Her beloved white knight, her truest friend and true love, always there for her. . .
She sighed suddenly, and headed for the showers. She wasn't going to be able to work out anymore for a while, her mind was too focused on Tommy. She paused suddenly as she passed the recreation room and caught sight of the TV in there.
A special news bulletin was being aired. "And in the city of Angel Grove today, the citizens mourn the passing of Thomas Lyn Oliver, killed in a monster attack, one of the last by Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd before they left the planet due to the invasion of the Machine Empire. The newly formed Power Rangers Zeo, who assure us they are the same as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers who previously protected our planet, did their best to save his life, but even they failed in this.
"Zeo Ranger V, Red, the team's leader, issued this statement on behalf of the team. 'Thomas Oliver died nobly, and we would gladly give our powers up if that would restore him to life. However, it will not. We cannot guarantee this will not happen again, but we will do all we can to make certain it does not. We cannot make up for the loss of this fine young man, nothing can possibly make up for the loss of a life. But hopefully the new defensive measures we are taking will lessen the odds of it happening again.'."
The announcer looked up, and Kim could tell this was no practical joke. "To recap, Thomas Lyn Oliver of Angel Grove has died in a monster attack."
Kim backed away from the television, as one of the other trainees glanced over at her. "Hey, you're from Angel Grove, aren't you, Harte? Did you know this guy?"
Kim didn't answer, as she turned and ran back to the training room. Exercise. . .that's what I need. . .exercise. . .it wasn't real. . .didn't hear it. . .didn't hear it. ..
She hit the exercise beam a moment later, leaping up with all her skill. She flipped back and forth, her tears blinding her, but her body moving with almost innate skill. "Miss Harte!" she heard her coach's voice only vaguely as she missed her hold on the balance beam, and struck her head once more on it, in the same place she had six months prior.
Darkness invaded her mind, and took residence there.
Five beams of light appeared just outside the Angel Grove Youth Center, pink, yellow, green, blue, and red. The pink and yellow became two young women, one a tall blonde with a light Australian accent, the other an African-American lady. The green, blue, and red lights became three young men. In green was an Asian, in blue a Latin American, and in red, a Caucasian, with mixed joy, sadness, and wisdom in his warm eyes.
Quietly they walked into the Youth Center. The bonds that held them together were every bit as strong as they ever had been, but were now touched with sorrow. "I miss Tommy," Kat, the Pink Zeo Ranger, said softly as they sat down.
Rocky, wearing blue now, nodded. "It's like there's this gap in the way things are supposed to be," he murmured. Green-wearing Adam and yellow-suited Tanya, though she had known him for only a few moments, both agreed. Billy, dressed in the red he was slowly becoming accustomed to, said nothing.
He still clearly remembered his meeting with Tommy's ghost on the cliffs outside Angel Grove two days earlier. Since then, he'd felt much easier about his position as Red Ranger and leader of the team. But still, he missed his friend. He'd been the one who'd had to announce to the world about the death of Thomas Oliver, and it hadn't been easy in the slightest.
We have to tell the others. Jason, Zack, Trini, Kim. I wish we could get in touch with Aisha somehow. Kim. Oh, Kim. She's going to take this worst of all. She and Tommy were so close. . .so close. . .
"Billy?" he looked up to see Ernie calling them from the counter, holding out a telephone in one hand. "Call for you guys, from Florida!"
Must be Kim. I wonder if she knows yet. . ."I'll take it, Ernie," the Red Ranger walked over to the counter and picked up the phone.
Back at the table, Tanya glanced at the others. "Who does Billy know from Florida?"
"Kimberly Harte," Kat told the Rangers' newest member. She quickly filled her in on the first Pink Ranger. Tanya nodded slowly, then looked up as Billy came back over to them, his face paler and whiter than they'd ever seen it before.
"Billy?" Rocky asked. "What's going on?"
It took him three tries before the latest leader of the Rangers could get the words out. "Kim's in the hospital. She's hurt herself again on the balance beam."
Rocky, Adam, and Kat all looked as if they were going to faint, Tanya
looked startled and sick. Billy took a deep breath. "They don't know
if she's going to live."
Kim looked down at her body and sighed. So this is what it's like to be dead, she thought. Well, mostly dead, anyway. She could see the way the heart monitor was still beeping, indicating her life.
It had been quite a surprise to her to find she was more or less aware of herself after the accident. It hadn't been like that in her first accident in Angel Grove. Then again, this one was a little different. She'd listened to the doctors as they'd examined her, and talked to her mom and stepdad once they'd arrived in the hospital. She'd hit her head in an extremely vulnerable spot, and the damage was severe. She'd ruptured several blood vessels in her first fall, and the second one had done it again, even worse.
I'm going to die, she knew that already. She shrugged her ghostly shoulders. Without Tommy, I don't want to live anyway.
Kimmie? the former Pink Ranger looked up to see a sight in front of her she hadn't seen in far too long. Kimmie, is that really you?
Tommy!! she ran straight over to him and threw herself into his arms. They were solid only to each other, and it was a relief beyond words to feel him again. Oh, Tommy, I missed you!
Tommy ran his ghostly fingers through her insubstantial hair. Oh, Kim, what happened to you?
I fell off the balance beam again! she told him. I'd heard about you. ..
He raised her head to look into her eyes. I've missed you, he told her. I wish you hadn't taken it quite so hard, though. You have a lot of life ahead of you.
She shook her head. Her choice had been made the moment she saw him standing there. No, Tommy. I HAD a life ahead of me. My life ended the moment yours did. I don't want to be without you any longer, and now we don't have to be.
Kim? What are you saying?
Her transparent eyes flashed with all the fire they had in life. That I'm not going to live. It's not like I have a choice, anyway. I've heard the doctors, they can't save me. They're keeping me on life support until the others get here. Then. . .they turn me off.
He couldn't believe his eyes and ears. Kim? Are you sure?
I've never been more certain of anything in my life, she told him firmly. He nodded, and took her hand, pulling her into a kiss.
I love you, Kimberly Ann Harte. I've missed you since I died, and even before.
Hand in hand, they sat down to await the end, and the beginning, together.
The end of Kim's life, and the beginning of her death.
Jason, Zack, and Trini were the last ones to arrive in the hospital room. The others were scattered throughout the intensive care room, all of them in various stages of tears. Trini looked briefly around, naming off faces to herself until she saw who was missing. Her heart twitched a little to remember Tommy was dead.
Jason glanced first at Billy, and nodded briefly to himself. He wears it well. It's been rough on him, but he's doing a good job from what I've heard on the news. Billy had called them once the Zeo Quest was settled, and told them about Tommy's death and his own selection as the Red Zeo Ranger.
Zack was choking back tears, Kim had been his friend since childhood. To see her so pale on the bed, with tubes up her nose and down her throat, and snaking out from under the sheets absolutely terrified and sickened him. Why did this have to happen?
Kat looked quietly at her friend and predecessor as the Pink Ranger, and wiped away her tears. Going to miss you, my friend. But you're going to be with Tommy, and I know you wouldn't have wanted to live in a world without him, anyway. Good luck, both of you. I love you both.
"Is everyone ready?" everyone looked up to see Dr. Davis standing in the doorway. Kim's mother shook her head softly.
"No," she said. "But we don't have a choice."
The doctor nodded, and walked over to the machines that were the only thing holding Kimberly Ann Harte to life. With quiet motions, he began to slowly turn them off. The room grew very quiet. Everyone's attention was on the pale face on the bed.
Quiet voices were the only thing that broke the peace of the room, as each person spoke briefly of times they had spent with Kimberly. Billy spoke of a time when he and her had been 'extremely' close. Only Jason, Zack, and Trini knew of what he meant by that, the time when the two of them had traded bodies.
Kat told of how Aisha and Kim had welcomed her to the neighborhood when she'd first arrived, and had become friends almost at once. Kat withheld how she'd been under Rita Repulsa's evil spell when she'd come to town as well.
Each of the others told a little tale of Kim, as the doctor quietly turned off each machine. Just as the sun was touching the horizon outside, Kimberly Ann Harte, former Pink Ranger, and former Pink Ninja, took her final breath.
Only those who were or had been Rangers saw what happened next. From out of her body rose a ghostly pink crane, that smiled, somehow, at them all. From out of a glow of light there came a white falcon. They circled around the Rangers, past and present, and twin clear, and very familiar, voices sounded in their minds.
We're together, guys. This is what was meant to be. We can't stay long, but we want you to know, we're going to miss you. But we'll always be watching. We love you.
Then, they were gone. Kim's mother was bent over with tears, as her
husband did his best to comfort her. A time of great mourning had begun.
Three days later, Kimberly Ann Harte was put to rest next to the man she had loved in life, Thomas Lyn Oliver. Her parents had agreed to it, once Tommy's parents showed them his diary, where the last entry had spelled out his intentions to propose to her as soon as she returned from the Pan-Global Games.
Once the funeral was over, the Zeo Rangers stood in a row looking at the small metal plaques that was the only sign their two friends had ever lived. The gravestones would come in due time.
"We're going to miss them," Kat's voice was thick with tears she had not shed. There had been no time in which to shed them.
Billy nodded. "More than can be said," he agreed. Words slowly failed them all as they simply stared at the grave. Finally, one by one, they all headed for Billy's new red Tracker that they'd come to the graveyard in.
Hey, guys! the Rangers suddenly jerked up at the sound of Tommy's voice. They looked to see two ghosts shimmering into being, leaning against Billy's car. Keep your chin up, my friends. You guys have got a lot of living ahead of you, and Kim and I don't want to have to haunt you!
That's right! Kim nodded. So you guys get your tears out of the way, and then get on with protecting the planet. To put it bluntly, Mondo's not going to wait around for you to mourn before he attacks, and you can't do your job if you're weeping and wailing about us.
Rocky stammered, "But. . .you guys are dead!
And you're not, Rocko, Tommy reminded him. We're not saying not to miss us or forget us. Just. . .remember what you're here for.
Kat only stared helplessly at her best friend's ghost, and then let the tears she'd wanted to shed for so long slide down her cheeks. Kim came over to her, wrapping her arms about her friend. Let it out, Kat, Kim whispered. Don't be afraid to cry.
The guys gathered about Tommy's ghost, whispering their own fears, doubts, and grief over his passing. He did what he could to comfort them, and instill his complete confidence in Billy as a leader.
For many long hours, the Rangers, two ghosts and five alive, spoke with each other. The conversation was interrupted by the beeping of the Rangers' communicators. Tommy and Kim both smiled. Get to work, guys, Kim told them. The living Rangers stepped away, and Billy cried out fiercely, "It's morphin' time!"
Kat began it, and did it with a lighter heart than she had since first
taking on her powers when Kim left for Florida. Her desire for peace had
finally been granted. "Zeo Ranger I, Pink!"