Author's Note: This is a rewrite of my original version, streamlined to fit smoother into the series that it somehow spawned.
She had been a good girl then, nice and sweet and caring. She had trained police dogs for people in Australia, she had loved to dive and to dance, she knew sign language like the back of her hand, she had been considering taking kick boxing lessons. But there had been a shallowness to her. She had dated almost anything with a pulse, but had never been happy with any of them. She hadn't really cared, deep in her heart, about anything or anyone. She'd done the things she did because she liked to do them, not because they were good for other people.
Kat sighed briefly. That had changed now. Her experience serving Rita and opposing the Power Rangers had taught her rather emphatically that there were things in this universe worth fighting for, if she were only given the chance. She knew what she would love to do with her life now, but she didn't know if she could. Because of the challenge of the heart it represented, and because of what it would cost all of her new friends if she did.
What will she decide? the young Australian wondered, picking up a brush and starting to run it through her hair. Several pink ribbons lay near, waiting to be used. She smiled faintly at the thought. She'd never imagined that she'd come to love the color pink as much as she did, but ever since the moment she'd broken Rita's spell, she had found herself drawn to that color. I wonder if it means what I think it does? she thought. Is she going to go? Or will her friends and family win out over her dream? I don't know if I could make that choice.
She'd almost had to once. But she'd gotten lucky and her trainer had been stationed in the same city that she lived in. She'd been able to remain there and keep up her training, and be with her family. That wasn't an option Kim had. Her family was already split apart, part in France, part here in Angel Grove still, and most of her friends were here too.
I wish I could meet those other ones they talked about, she thought. Jason, Zack, Trini. They sound like really nice people.
Kat glanced at her watch; they would be in the Command Center by now. Talking with Kim, figuring out what they were going to do. Her hands shook a little as she wondered what they were saying about her, if anything. They wouldn't do that behind your back, she reminded herself, tying her hair up and looking once again in the mirror.
I wonder why she'd pick me as her successor? she wondered. It's not like I've made the best impression. I almost got her killed. Then again, she's dating someone who almost got the entire team killed. If she, and they, can forgive Tommy. .. they can forgive me.
A smile bent her lips at the thought of Tommy. Kat though of how she had first met him, pretending to have car trouble outside the Youth Center. He'd been so nice, so gallant. Even when walking off with another female, he'd remembered to leave a message for Kim. He'd do that for anyone. But the way he sounded when he asked Ernie to tell her he would be back later. . .it was so different.
Her warm smile broadened. She didn't love Tommy. She didn't know if she ever could. But as long as Kim and Tommy were together, she wasn't going to try. She doubted she'd try if they ever broke up. But that would never happen. They were just too tightly together.
A sudden wash of white light broke into her thoughts just as she finished with her hair, and she looked around to find herself in the Command Center. She grinned; Kim had told her to expect this. "Hi, everyone!" she could barely hold back a laugh; she was going to get her wish! She could only hope it was worth everything that it was going to cost so many people. ..Kim her powers and her home, Tommy his girlfriend, the Rangers an experienced teammember.
She felt the power of the Coin infusing her as she took it, and smiled to herself. I'm the Pink Ranger now, she thought. "Kimberly, I promise from the bottom of my heart that I'll do everything in my power to carry on as you would," she said firmly.
"I know you will, Katherine," Kim smiled at her, hugging her new friend. She had come to know Katherine over the last few months, and she trusted her with all her heart and soul and more.
Kat glanced at her new friends, her new teammates, then up to Zordon. The ancient wizard spoke firmly. YOU HAVE BEEN A PROUD WARRIOR, KIMBERLY, AND THANKS TO YOU, THE LEGACY IS IN GOOD HANDS. He started to explain to Katherine about her new powers, and she nodded her agreement. The torch had been passed to a new generation of Pink Ranger, and Kat Hillard swore her allegiance to the Rangers. She was one of them, now and forever.
Billy didn't even tell us when he got back to Earth, Kat frowned briefly as she and the others walked through the passageway to where the ceremony was going to take place. She shrugged; a lot had changed in the last few years. The change to Zeo, the shift to Turbo, their graduation from high school, and now this. Things were about to change again.
She wondered if Kimberly had felt like this when she had prepared to call her to the Command Center that time, to pass the Pink Power Coin onto her. Scared, nervous, a little regretful, but filled at the same time with a strange hope and sense of wonder. This is the future, she thought quietly, her heart pounding as Dimitria began her speech.
More than just the Rangers had changed, though. She had. Tommy had. They had changed together. They had grown together. Kim had broken up with Tommy, rudely. She had apologized to him with all her heart and soul, though, and he had forgiven her. But they hadn't gotten back together. There was no way they could anymore. They had changed.
And I love him, she smiled at the thought as she stood beside him, waiting for the right moment. The four new Rangers stood in a row over them, standing on the rock-like dais, morphed, but with no helmets. She was proud of them. All of them. The new Red and Pink Rangers had fought bravely, with no powers and no reason to save her, she was just a stranger. But they had done it anyway. The new Green and Yellow Rangers had proven they cared for humanity with how they had protected the citizens of Angel Grove.
She took a deep breath, it was her turn. Stepping forward, she said, "Cassie, you came to my rescue. I know you will carry on with honor as the new Pink Ranger."
The young girl smiled and nodded as Adam made his own little speech to Carlos, and Kat glanced at Tommy, their fingers slowly entertwining. I love you, Tommy whispered softly, and she smiled, mouthing the words back to him, feeling the weight of the engagement ring on her hand.
She looked back up at Cassie, and smiled. You'll wear the pink with pride. Just like I did. Just like Kim did. And one day, you'll pass it on to someone who will look up to you like I did to Kim and you do to me. Who will look into the eyes of the one passing the pink power to her, and see a hero.
For a moment, Kat wondered what adventures lay ahead of Cassie and her friends just then. What they would do as Rangers. She knew she'd probably only hear about the highlights on the news. She would no longer be on the inside. She wouldn't know how the team was doing, if someone was having problems with homework or if Divatox had targeted one specifically for something.
And at the same time, she wouldn't be the one on the spotlight. She and Tommy would be free. He was going to be working with Jason, Zack, Trini, Rocky, and Adam at a dojo they owned in Stone Canyon, while she would be going to London. They weren't going to rush into marriage; they were going to wait a while. But it was going to happen.
As the old team left the Power Chamber for the last time, Kat felt as if she were truly made out of the light her body was traveling as. You were right back then, Zordon, she thought. The legacy was in safe hands with me. And now it's in safe hands with Cassie and the new Turbo Rangers.
The torch had been passed once again.