Disclaimers: I do not own Power Rangers or any characters affiliated with it. PR is owned by Saban Entertainment, Inc. Tommy's Aunt, June Oliver, however, is my idea, inspired by my own Aunt June.

Timeline: Almost a year after "Strange coincidence." Also after Power Rangers in Space.

Kim's Return
by: Lucas Harrell

Kim just absolutely could not wait to go home. Her and Tommy were scheduled to be married in just a few short weeks. She had gone to Florida and had came away with a gold medal in the Pan Global games, just like they had planned, and was finally flying back to Angel Grove.

Tommy had kept her up to date on things happening back in Angel Grove, through countless numbers of calls. He had been racing long enough to get the money for a building in downtown Angel Grove. It was two stories. He had started converting the lower level into a dojo, and the upper level into his and Kim's apartment, last time Kim had spoken to him.

He didn't do it alone. The whole gang was helping out. Most of the guys were helping Tommy out in the karate part of the dojo, while Kat and most of the girls started up Kim's gymnastics and dance classes in the parts of the dojo that Tommy had specifically kept clear for Kim's classes. Since their apartment wasn't quite done last time they spoke, Tommy had been staying with his parents.

Kim could barely keep still on the flight. She was just hyper. Then she glanced at the sleeping form next to her. The man who had gotten the seat next to her was friendly, and had politely asked for her not to wake him until they had landed in Angel Grove.

Kim looked out the window, and watched as land zoomed by at top speeds. She loved flying, ever since her uncle Steve had taken her flying that one day. Remembering her uncle, Kim was silent for a moment.

Her uncle Steve had been in a plane crash almost two years before. He had been the only survivor, but didn't come away unscathed. He was paralyzed from the waist down. He was determined to get his legs working again someday, and Kim had hopes that he would, but reality had sank in on her a long time ago, while it yet to for her uncle. She knew he would never walk again. But she never showed it, and encouraged him to keep trying to start walking.

Kim started crying before she could stop herself. "I can't be miserable when I get there," she determined, "Tommy, and the others, would think the worst if I did show up like this." She headed back to the bathroom, grabbing her make up bag out of the overhead compartment.

When she got there, she reapplied her make up. "There, that's better," she said, appraising herself in the mirror. There was a knocking at the door. "I'll be out in just a minute." She quickly finished up and headed out. A young man was standing outside the door. "There you go."

"Thanks, but it wasn't the bathroom I wanted," he said. All of a sudden, he pushed Kim back into the bathroom hard. Before she could cry out, he put a hand over her mouth. "Shut up, and this will be quick."

When he started unbuckling his belt, Kim started getting desperate. She kneed him right between the legs and gave him a wicked right cross, trying to knock the man out cold. She succeeded, and hurried out.

A little while later, she came back with some security that she had been lucky to find, and they took the man away. She headed back to her seat, as the plane was about to land, and she was finally going to be reunited with her fiancee. `No, Tommy's more than that,' she mused, `He's not just my fiancee and future husband, my boyfriend, and my lover. He's my best friend, as well.' Her mom had always told her that very few lovers are best friends as well, and that, though they hadn't taken the big step over making love at that time, her and Tommy were lucky enough to be best friends.

Kim beamed, her usual reaction to remembering that. She was just brimming over with excitement, as the plane touched down and taxied down the long runway heading to the terminal. When it finally stopped and was connected by the long, accordion like structure heading into the terminal, Kim was determined to be the first person in Coach to be out the door after the First Class passengers.

Grabbing her few carry ons, Kim rushed for the front of the Coach cabin. She knew that she was being rude to the other passengers, but didn't care much. She couldn't wait to be in Tommy's arms again.

A woman in the back watched Kim rush as quickly as she could through the crowds, and shook her head. "Has to be someone she loves," she murmured softly, "Which makes this even harder." The woman was Chinese, and was secretly the ex-villainess once known as Scorpina. These days, she was a mercenary that went by the name Scorpi-an.

She pulled out an ice pick and headed for Kim, who was trying to bargain her way past several attendants, who were blocking the way until First Class fliers could all file out of the plane.

When she got out into the terminal, she was practically mauled by all of her old friends. She could barely keep her balance, and remembered the last time they had all done this, at the party in the Youth Center the last time she came for a visit. The time her and Tommy had gotten back together.

Speaking of Tommy, she couldn't see him anywhere. "Hey, guys," she said, "Where's Tommy?" She also couldn't see Billy, and decided to ask Trini about it later on.

"Bathroom," Tommy's brother, David, said. She was surprised that he was there. Tommy had introduced the two of them before she had left last time, and the two hit it off, but still...

All of a sudden, Kim felt hands on her waist. Tommy spun her around to face him, then picked her up and spun her around like that. When he was finished, she slid down into a passionate kiss. The others gave them a stand ovation.

When Kim finally broke away, she couldn't tear her gaze away from Tommy's dreamy dark brown eyes framed by those long eyelashes. It had been months since she last saw Tommy, her best friend, her boyfriend, her fiancee, her lover. She wrapped her arms around him, never wanting to let go again.

When she finally broke away from the hug, she was crying. "I feel silly," she murmured.

"Don't," Tommy said, "Damn, it's so good to see you. You're more beautiful than ever, if that's even possible." Kim blushed. He had never missed a chance to compliment her, calling her beautiful or gorgeous.

Someone cleared their throat, and Kim and Tommy were brought back to reality, kicking and screaming. "What d'ya say we get out of here?" Rocky suggested. Laughing, Kim and Tommy led the way to the luggage claiming area. Though she didn't have much in the way of carry on luggage, she still had a lot.

Scorpi-an followed them silently. Even she couldn't help but laugh coldly at the guys groaning when they saw all of Kim's luggage. She looked down at the deadly weapon in her hand. "No, that would be too easy," she murmured, sliding it into a deep pocket. "I've got an even better idea." With that, she just completely disappeared into the shadows.

Tommy and Kimberly were in the front seat of his truck. "Our truck," Tommy had assured her once upon a time. He said that anything that's his that's worth anything is now hers as well, no matter what happened.

"You're being awfully quiet, beautiful," Tommy said, as they made the drive from the airport to the dojo. "What's wrong?"

"Just some jet lag, I guess," Kim replied. She really didn't want to get into her attempted rape. She knew what Tommy would do to the guy if he had a chance, and didn't want him to go to the trouble when she was able to stop the man before it went very far.

"I've been meaning to call you since the last time," Tommy said, "But things have been kind of busy around here. I just haven't been able to make the time, what with the dojo, getting the apartment set up, and everything."

Kim smiled. "It's all right, Tommy," she said, "I don't mind that you've been too busy to call, and I know you aren't a very good correspondent." She was telling a half truth. It had hurt her, at first, when he didn't call. But she eventually came to the realization that Tommy had to be very busy.

"I've got a surprise waiting for you at the dojo," Tommy said, "Two or three surprises, in fact. I'm betting you'll love them."

"Any surprise from you, I know I will love," Kim replied, leaning over and giving him a peck on the cheek.

It didn't take them long to get to the dojo. There, the guys grudgingly helped take the bags on up to the apartment. The girls stopped in the lobby. "I've got to go teach a class," Kat said, "I think you've got one lined up too, Tanya."

"Oh, that's right," Tanya said, "We'll be up afterwards, guys." They went to the changing room, leaving Kim, Trini, and Aisha talking in the lobby.

"Come on, girls," Kim said, "I want to see the apartment."

"Wait, Kim," Trini said, "We weren't supposed to say anything, but..."

"We've got to keep you down here a few more minutes," Aisha interrupted, "The guys are supposed to be setting up your surprises."

Kim pouted playfully. "Then I'm going to check out the class," she said, "By the way, if all of the guys are upstairs, who's teaching the karate class?" She could see a bunch of students working out.

"A new guy in town, named Ryan Marshak," Aisha said, "Oh, that's right. We're supposed to spring the third surprise on you while waiting."

"Right this way, Kim," Trini said, "And close your eyes." Kim reluctantly did as she was told, and Aisha led her into a different room. "Okay, you can open them now."

Kim opened her eyes, to a spectacular sight. She was in a room that had a very familiar look to its set up. Tables, chairs, and a bar. "Wait a minute," she said, "You mean to tell me that we have a mini Youth Center here?"

"That's exactly what we're telling you," Aisha said, "The whole first floor has been converted into our own version of the old Youth Center, before it was turned into the Surf Spot. The karate class area, the gymnastics class area, dance class area, and it just wouldn't be complete without a Juice Bar."

"It's a place for kids to cool off, during breaks or after classes," Trini explained, "Where they can get a smoothie, sit back, and relax. There's even windows looking into each area down here, where they can keep an eye for when classes start without being too much of a clock watcher."

"Who's running the Juice Bar?" Kim inquired.

"Everybody agreed that it just wouldn't be the Youth Center without me." Kim recognized the voice, but couldn't believe her ears.

"Ernie?" she stammered. Sure enough, the original, middle aged, though still a kid at heart, owner of the original Youth Center and Juice Bar stood up from behind the Bar. When she saw him, Kim went and gave him a hug. "It's great to see you, don't get me wrong about that, but I thought you had rejoined the army or something."

"Nah, that wasn't work for me, so I asked for dismissal, and they granted it," Ernie said, "Besides, I doubt I would have lasted any longer than I did. When Tommy and the gang approached me about this place, and asked me to run it, I just couldn't let them down, could I? Besides, even though they pooled their money, they couldn't afford all of this. I came in and helped finance the finishing up of the new Youth Center." He gestured around. "What do you think?"

"I think that this place is awesome, and that it's so great to see you again," Kim said. She couldn't help but give him another hug.

"It's great to see you again too, Kim," Ernie said, "How long has it been? Almost three years?"

"Seems like that's about right," Kim replied.

"Sit down, and I'll get the three of you some drinks," Ernie said, "On the house." Kim, Trini, and Aisha all did as he suggested and gave him their drink orders. When he finished them, he brought them right over. "Here you go."

"Thanks, Ernie," Trini said.

Aisha took a sip of her smoothie. "Mm, nobody can make a smoothie as good as you, Ernie," she said, "Not Jerome or Adelle."

"Thanks, Aisha," Ernie said, "Have you been up to your apartment yet, Kimberly?"

Kim shook her head. "The guys are supposed to be setting up the other two surprises they've got for me," she said, "So no, I haven't. Have they finished it?"

Ernie smiled. "Can't say, or I might ruin one of the surprises," he said.

"Have you gotten anybody to help around here, Ernie?" Trini asked.

Ernie shook his head. "Nothing permenant, but Ryan's been helping out," he said, "He's a good kid, despite his apparently bad past."

"What do you mean?" Kim asked.

"Oh, nothing really bad," Ernie said, "He just hints that he grew up in a bad neighborhood. I think there's more to be told about it, but he hasn't been very forthcoming."

Just then, a young man entered into the Juice Bar. "Hey, Ernie," he said, "Can I have a chocolate shake?"

"Sure thing, Ryan," Ernie said, as he went behind the bar.

"Hey, Ryan, come here a sec," Aisha said. Ryan stepped closer to the trio. "Ryan Marshak, this is Kimberly Hart. Kim, Ryan Marshak."

"It's great to finally meet you, Kim," Ryan said, extending his hand. "I've heard a lot about you."

"All good, I hope," Kim said, shaking Ryan's hand.

"Well, it's mostly from Tommy, so you know it has to be good," Ryan replied, grinning. Kim grinned back.

"Hey, guys," Tommy called out, from the lobby. "Come on up."

"We'll be right there, Tommy," Trini said. They started for the stairs.

Ryan hung back. "I've got to get back to my class, guys," he said, "It was nice meeting you, Kim."

"You too, Ryan," Kim said. Ryan left. "Come on, guys," Kim urged, gently pulling Trini and Aisha to the stairs. Then, she bounded up the steps. At the top, she was met by Tommy, who held up a hand.

"Close your eyes," he said. Kim was starting to get frustrated, but she did as he told her to. Tommy took her by the shoulder and gently guided her into a room. "All right, you can open them."

Kim opened them, and was surprised. The apartment was finished, after all. It looked great. "You finks," she said, "I thought that this wasn't finished."

"Well, it wasn't when we last spoke," Tommy said, "We've been working extra hard the past few days to get it all ready for when you come back. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room/dining room mix, a kitchen, and even a little patio out back. You wouldn't believe how hard we've been working on this."

"I can believe it," Kim said, "And you've all done such a wonderful job. The place looks better than I had ever imagined. Three bedroom?"

"One for us, two for guests," Tommy said, "We put furniture in the guest rooms just this morning. And in case we decide to have a family of our own later on, one of them can always be converted into a nursery."

"Oh, always thinking ahead huh?" Kim teased, slipping him a kiss.

"Hey, none of that now," Zack said, as he came moonwalking into the room. He really didn't like Michael Jackson personally, but he loved the move nonetheless. "You can wait until we're gone to get to work on that family, now can't you?"

Zack's tone was teasing, and caused Kim and Tommy both to blush. Aisha smacked him with a pillow. "Oh, now hush up," she said, "They can show as much PDA as they want. It is their apartment, after all."

"I was just joking, `Isha," Zack said, dodging a second pillow missile. Out of ammunition, Aisha went racing after him. Tommy gave chase, to make sure they didn't mess anything up.

"I don't think Aisha ever said why the two of them ever got together," Trini remarked, as she sat down.

"Zack's a sweet guy," Kim said, as she sat down beside her best friend. "Aisha caught him on the rebound, I think, after Angela dumped him for like the hundredth time."

"Yeah, poor Zack," Trini said.

"Tell me something, Trini," Kim said, "How are things with you and Billy? Are you still seeing each other? I still can't believe that you two finally got together, after dancing around your feelings for each other for so many years."

"Yeah, we are," Trini said, "I can't believe we did, either. When Billy came to visit in Geneva, we were like walking on eggshells around each other for the longest time. Jason and Zack finally got tired of us. Jason somehow talked me into a blind date, and Zack did the same to Billy. You can probably guess what happened next."

Kim nodded, grinning. "They set you up with each other," she replied.

"Right, and we ended up finally confessed our feelings to each other," Trini said, "To this day, Jason and Zack think that we're mad at them, even though we ended up together."

"Are you? Mad at them, I mean," Kim said, "After all, they were just helping the feelings you and Billy had towards each other along."

"Nah, I got over being mad at them some time back," Trini said, "Billy and I are happy, although he still has to go back to Aquitar once a month. That's where he is now, in case you're wondering. He's still taking treatment from the time he was prematurely aged."

Kim nodded. "I thought as much," she said, "Has he proposed or anything?"

"Not yet, but I'm hoping he will soon," Trini said, "I just thought of something. Where's Justin?"

"I think he's downstairs, in Rocky and Ryan's class," Kim said, "Why?"

"He's supposed to be home in about an hour and a half," Trini said, "I guess Tommy forgot about that again."

"Which is no big surprise," Kim said, laughing.

"You'd be surprised, Kim," Trini said, "The past few months, ever since you left really, he's really been in one big hustle. Getting the apartment ready and getting the new Youth Center downstairs finished up mostly. He's also been racing on the side, because we don't bring in a terrible big amount of money apiece and he still has to save up for the wedding."

"And here I've been thinking that this place is flourishing," Kim replied.

"Oh, it is," Trini said, "Don't get me wrong about that. We bring in big profit each month. But after we give `Uncle Sam' his `fair share', and then divide the rest between all of us..."

"Oh, I get it now," Kim said, "You don't have a lot for each person."

"And that's not including Ernie," Trini said, "Speaking of which, did you know that he was rich?"

Kim smiled as she nodded. "I always figured," she said, "How could he afford to keep the original Youth Center open so long otherwise?"

"He said that he has more than enough money for himself," Trini said, "And that we should just split the profit left over between us, and don't worry about him. He said that helping refurbish the downstairs didn't even make a dent in his savings. We all chip in on the utilities and such for the building, but poor Tommy usually still doesn't have much to put back each month. At least, that was the way it was before. Most of us take turns doing the bookkeeping, and slip him some money out of our own profit for him to put back."

"That's so sweet of you guys," Kim said, "Has he caught on?"

"If he has, he never said anything," Trini said, "It's just us doing our part in helping you guys out. We want you two to get married as soon as possible. Of course, Tommy's Uncle John and Aunt June pitch in, too. They put money directly into the savings account Tommy set up for money to put back on your wedding. They do it monthly, and tell him it's money his real parents left him."

"I hate to say this, and spoil this place," Kim said, "But what we need is an outdoor Juice Bar, like in the old days."

"We haven't been able to put up the money for it," Trini said, "There's a place in the backyard, where we've decided would be the outdoor Juice Bar and Grill. After yours and Tommy's wedding, we were planning to start saving up for the J.B.G. But first on our agenda is the wedding. Nothing's more important than that."

"Tommy and I haven't even been able to sit down and determine a date," Kim said, "And you guys are already planning for after? This is all just a bit too much for me to swallow."

"I guess it probably is," Trini said, "We're just wanting you to know that we want to help, any way we can. We'll even put our own, hard earned money we earn here, doing classes, to see you happy. And we'd do the same for any one of our own. We ex-Rangers have to stick together."

Kim couldn't help but smile at the sentiment that she knew that all of the others, as well as herself, shared. "I know," she said, "I know."

"Hey, guys," Justin said, as he walked into the room. Each ex-Ranger had their own key, and nobody minded if they walked in and out. "I want you to meet someone, Kim, Trini."

A young man walked in, and both Kim and Trini did a double take. He looked almost exactly like Justin. "I didn't know you had a twin brother, Justin," Trini said.

"I'm not his brother, though we're as close as brothers," the young man said, "My name's Daniel Kain, but most people call me Danny." He extended his hand. "I'm Justin's cousin."

"My name's Kimberly Hart," Kim said, shaking his hand. "And this is my friend Trini Kwan." Something about Danny struck a cord somewhere in Kim's mind.

"Nice to meet you," Trini said, shaking Danny's hand.

"You too, Trini," Danny said, "Justin was telling me about this place, and I've only just been able to take the time. Too many coaches from the Olympics trying to recruit me again."

"The Olympics? That's where I know you from," Kim said, "I remember seeing you on the news a little while back. You won a gold medal in figure skating."

"That's right," Danny said.

"Come on, bro," Justin said, "We better be getting downstairs if we're going to make the rest of Ryan's class."

"Right, Justin," Danny said, "It was nice meeting you." He nodded politely to Kim and Trini.

"You too, Danny," Kim said. Danny and Justin left. "I didn't know that Justin had a cousin."

"I didn't either, but then again, I don't know Justin all that much," Trini said, "I just never have the chance."

"It's probably understandable," Kim said, "When's Billy supposed to be back from Aquitar?"

"This afternoon, I think," Trini said, "He wasn't able to give me a specific time or day before he left."

"I can't wait," Kim said, "Tell you what. Let's make a double date for this Friday. Want to?"

"Sure, Kim," Trini said, "I'm sure Billy won't mind. What about Tommy?"

"Oh, he'll go along with anything I want to do," Kim said, "I could ask him to go to a `chick flick', as Rocky puts it so eloquently, and Tommy would go, no questions asked. He's that much of a gentleman."

"I know, and I wish some of the guys around here was like that," Trini said.

"Speaking of the guys, it's awfully quiet up here," Kim said, "I wonder where everybody is."

"Let's go see," Trini said. They got up and started through the door that Tommy, Zack, and Aisha had disappeared through earlier. It was dark.

"Turn on the lights, Trini," Kim said. There wasn't an answer. "Trini?"

All of a sudden, the lights blared back on. Everybody was there. "SURPRISE!!!" they cried, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!"

Kim had been so initially anxious and happy to get here, that she had completely forgotten about her own birthday. "I can't believe you guys did this," she said, taking a look around. The place was all decked out. It looked more like a party for a four or five year old than her.

They started singing happy birthday, and brought out a cake that Ernie had made especially for the party. "Make a wish, gorgeous," Tommy said.

Kim closed her eyes. `I wish that Tommy and I will have a long, and happy, marriage,' she thought, then blew out the candles. All it took was one blow, and the candles went out momentarily. All of a sudden, they flickered back.

"Gotcha," Rocky said, and they all burst out laughing. Kim put out the trick candles.

"Good one, Rocky," Kim said, "But I've got an even better trick." Grinning impishly, she got a fingerful of frosting and splattered it on Rocky's nose.

"Hey, no fair," Rocky said. He picked up a can and looked like he was about to shake it, but Tommy stopped him.

"Oh no, you don't," he said, "Soda doesn't come out of a carpet."

"Yeah, so there," Kim said, sticking her tongue out at Rocky like a little kid.

"But cake frosting does," Tommy said. He had secretly snatched a fingerful and shot it at Kim, catching her across the cheek. That did it. Everybody started getting into the fight.

Later on in the day, Tommy and Kim were cleaning up. The others had headed on home, and Tommy was about to close up the Youth Center. "It's funny," Kim said, once they were done.

"What is?" Tommy asked, as they sat down, tired from their first day back together.

"It's the first time we've really been alone for too long since the weekend at the cabin," Kim pointed out, "And here we are, in our own apartment, in our own building and everything."

"Technically, the whole building isn't ours," Tommy said, "It belongs to all of us that put in money, and you because you're my fiancee."

"True," Kim said, grinning. She let him pull her into a hug. "You know, we've yet to set a date for the wedding. We should do it now, while its fresh on both of our minds."

"Sounds good to me," Tommy said, "You know, Christmas isn't but about three weeks away. How about Christmas Eve?"

Kim shook her head. "No, Christmas Day, if we can," she said, "I wouldn't settle for anything less."

"Anything for the woman I'm going to marry," Tommy said.

"There's something else we haven't talked about," Kim said, "After the wedding, what then? Should we have children?"

"I'd very much like to have children, Kim," Tommy said, "But we don't have to rush into things. We have the rest of our lives together. We can have kids, if you also want to, and grandkids in thirty, forty years."

"That sounds good to me," Kim said. She couldn't help but yawn.


"Yeah, I'm still getting used to the time difference," Kim said, "I think I'm going to head on to bed. Coming?"

"Nah, I've still got to lock up," Tommy said, "I'll be in there in a few minutes, though."

"Don't be too long," Kim said, giving him a kiss before heading into the master bedroom.

Tommy watched her leave, and let out a long sigh. "Man, it's great to have her back," he muttered. He then went downstairs to lock the Youth Center up. All of a sudden, someone came barging in.

"I'm sorry, but we're closed," Tommy said. All of a sudden, he found himself looking down the barrel of a gun. He immediately put his hands up. "Whoa now, I don't want any trouble."

"Then give me the money in your box," the person said. Their voice was low and indistinct.

Tommy started fishing for the keys to the money box, then remembered that Ernie always took the daily profits and put it into the Youth Centers savings account. "I'm sorry, but the box isn't here," he said, "Somebody already took it up to the bank."

"Is that so? Well, too bad then," the person said. The last thing Tommy remembered was hearing the bang of the gun going off, and the flare of pain that hit him before he lost consciousness.

Kim woke to the gunshot. She groggily slipped into her night robe and headed down the stairs. What she saw there frightened her. Tommy was lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the make shift lobby of the Youth Center.

"Tommy? Tommy!!!" Kim was starting to get hysterical. She gently turned him over on his back.

Tommy felt another flare of pain, and opened his eyes. Kim's almost angelic face filled his vision. "Kim, call 911," he wheezed, before losing consciousness again. Kim scrambled for the phone behind the desk in the lobby.

A little while later, an ambulance came by, along with some police officers. The police officers tried to ask Kim questions about what had happened, but she was too distracted by what had happened to Tommy to pay any attention to their questions. When she did, she was, understandably, emotional.

"I told you, officers," she said, "I was in the apartment, half asleep, when I heard the gunshot. By the time I had gotten down there, whoever had shot Tommy was gone, and Tommy was just the way you found him."

"Thank you, Mrs. Hart," the officer said, "We were just wanting to make sure, you know. Just doing routine."

Kim nodded. "Now, if that's all," she said, "I'm going to ride with my fiancee to the hospital."

"That's not necessary, Mrs. Hart," a paramedic said, "Your fiancee is a lucky man. He just has some broken ribs and some minor blood loss. The bullet went clean through his ribs and out the other side, so he's not carrying a bullet inside of him, or anything."

"Thanks," Kim said, "Where is he?"

"He's over at the ambulance, getting his ribs taped," the paramedic said, "He just need to take it easy for a few days, while his ribs heal, and he'll be as good as new in no time."

"Thanks again," Kim said. Nodding politely, she rushed over to the ambulance, where Tommy was, indeed, getting his ribs bandaged. She ran to him and gave him a fierce hug.

"Whoa there, beautiful," Tommy said, "Another hug like that, and they're going to have to set my ribs again." His tone was that of a loving tease, and it made Kim scowl at him and playfully swat him. "What?"

"You jerk," Kim said, "You had me so worried, and now you're making jokes of it, like it was nothing. What in the world happened, anyway?"

"Someone tried to rob us," Tommy said, "They were asking for the money box. When I told them that Ernie had taken the money box to the bank, whoever it was just shot me."

"I'm so glad that you're all right," Kim said, gently hugging him. "I don't know what I would have done if you had died on me." She started crying.

"Hey now, don't cry, beautiful," Tommy said, "I'm all right."

"All right, Mr. Oliver," another paramedic said, "You're all done. Just take it easy on those ribs for a while, and you should be fine."

"Thanks, man," Tommy said, standing up. Him and Kimberly went to the building, with Tommy locking the door behind them. They headed up to the apartment, where they locked the door there as well.

"I don't know how I'm going to get back to sleep tonight," Kim said, "Not after all that's happened." She looked up at him with an impish grin. "At least, not without some company."

Tommy grinned back. Sometimes, he liked her ocassional lack of subtlety. He dipped in close and gave her a long, passionate kiss. The two lovers then went on to make love for the first time in their new apartment.