Disclaimer: The Power Rangers don't belong to me. They used to belong to Saban; now I don't know who they belong to. This takes place after "Return of an Old Friend." CR July 2002
"Kim, can I talk to you?" Tommy asking, wringing his hands anxiously as he and his still relatively new girlfriend wound their way down the path by the pond.
Kim had known something was bothering the recently-restored Green Ranger even before he'd asked for this walk in the park. Ever since his close call with Goldar the other day a much too close a call for her liking he'd been withdrawn, preoccupied, almost distancing himself (yet again!) from the rest of his teammates and friends. Especially her.
"Sure, Tommy," she agreed with a gentle, encouraging smile. "You know you can always talk to me about anything. What is it? I figure it has to be pretty important because you seem more nervous now than when you first tried to ask me to the dance."
Her companion gave her a weak smile.
"That's because this is even more important than that," Tommy went on, running his hands through the thick hair at the nape of his neck. "It's more personal, and and I don't want to seem too forward or like I'm pressuring you or anything."
Kim raised her eyebrows in surprise but said nothing. She waited for Tommy to continue. However, he didn't respond right away. The occasional sideways glance told her he was still gathering his thoughts. She also noticed that they'd come a ways past the pond and were approaching a stretch of Angel Grove Lake beyond the public beach. It was a fairly quiet spot, and there was a small dock used by fishermen just up ahead. She had no trouble guiding Tommy towards it. If she didn't get the poor man to stop and sit, they would probably wind up circling the lake without ever getting the conversation off the ground.
Tommy was caught short as they reached the end of the small wooden pier. He'd never been out this far before and wasn't quite sure where he was. Without a word, Kim took a seat on the edge of the platform and patted the plank next to her in invitation. He returned her smile and accepted. By the time he lowered his lanky frame next her, she had slipped off her sandals and was dipping her feet into the water.
He observed her casual pose for a few moments, a lump forming in his throat. The perky Pink Ranger reclined back a bit on her elbows, her face tilted skyward as she drank in the afternoon sun. Her hair fell back from her shoulders, and a light breeze ruffled the silken, caramel colored strands about playfully. The pose pulled her clingy tee even tighter across her nicely rounded curves, her chest rising and falling a bit rapidly. He watched as her breathing returned to normal after the exertion of their walk and found that he couldn't put this off any longer.
"After having a really close brush with death in a battle, do you ever want to touch life more fully?" he blurted out, the phrasing sounding impossibly lame to his ears.
The query startled Kim, and yet, it didn't. She'd had the oddest feeling that this was going to come up, but she wanted to make sure that it was what Tommy truly meant.
"How do you mean 'touch life?'" she asked.
The Green Ranger's throat went bone dry as he tried to clarify.
"Just do something to make you feel more alive," he gulped out.
"Such as ." she prompted with all due sincerity.
He croaked out at last, "Have sex."
She'd already guessed that; she just wanted to make sure she'd been right.
"But is sex really something that makes you more alive?" she murmured thoughtfully.
She smiled at his dumbfounded response, laughing lightly.
"Have I ever wanted to have sex after having a brush with death?" she reiterated. "Yes. But then I have to wonder why we think sex will make us feel more alive. Pretty much, everyone thinks that sex is the best thing since sliced bread, but we're forbidden to have a slice. Religion teaches us that sex is wrong unless we're married. School teaches us it can be dangerous because of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Parents teach us that it's irresponsible at least my mom does. 'You're not having sex as a teenager because I am not raising another kid .
"Everyone always tells us no, which makes us want to do it even more. We want to find out if it's everything it's cracked up to be. Some say it is. Some say it isn't."
"I guess a lot of it depends on what else you attach to your idea of sex," Tommy ventured, a little taken aback by the depths of Kim's answer. "I guess it depends on what it means to you personally. Is it just a physical need? Is it an act of love?"
"So what does it mean to you?" Kim pursued.
"I don't really know yet," Tommy confessed, "so I guess I'm not really ready to go there yet. Maybe I see it as a way of getting in touch with life because it can ultimately result in new life."
Kim patted Tommy's hand in understanding.
"I can remember thinking much the same thing as you that sex was the ultimate form of living but when I tried to do something about it ."
"You tried ." Tommy interrupted, incredulous.
Kim blushed profusely and ducked her head.
"I sort of promised I'd never mention this to anyone else," she began.
"I won't ask you to break a promise," Tommy hastened to assure her, extreme curiosity notwithstanding.
"I know, but somehow I don't think he'd mind in this instance. Do you know that Billy and I switched bodies once? That I spent a day in his body and he in mine?"
"Yeah," Tommy admitted with a lopsided grin. "When Jase first realized I had a crush on you, he made sure to tell me. I think he got a kick out of it, though he'd deny it if you asked him.
"Then, when we started dating, Billy came to me and explained." Tommy shook his head in disbelief. "Maybe he thought I'd be angry about it or something. It was the strangest conversation I've ever had with him. It really mattered to him that I understand about what happened. There's a lot more to him than anyone would ever guess."
"I know," Kim agreed quietly. "There's more under those glasses, overalls and nerdy exterior than most folks imagine.
"Just as there's more behind your cheerleader, shop-a-holic exterior," Tommy added just as kindly.
Kim almost started to protest his description of her, but then she knew what some people who didn't know her very well thought of her.
"He also really cares about you. I thought maybe he was in love with you, too; he told he was, but it wasn't quite the same as it was for me," Tommy continued.
Kim could tell that Tommy was very perplexed by that.
"I feel the same way for him," she explained. "Somehow, our switch made us closer too close for us to be lovers in the loose sense of the word. We got too much into each other's heads . It was just too weird, but at the same time, when I thought I wanted to try having sex with someone, Billy was the one I turned to."
"That makes sense, I guess," Tommy said. Inwardly, though, he was squirming. Not at the thought of Kim and Billy in particular, he just wasn't sure he really wanted to hear about Kim and anyone else.
"Just like with you, it was after a really nasty battle," Kim continued. "It was the closest I'd come to dying in a while. And it wasn't long after the switch but before you came to the team. I remember thinking, 'God, I can't die; I don't know what it means to live yet.' Afterwards, I went to talk to Billy about it. Normally, I would have gone to Trini, but for some reason, I just felt I had to go to him.
"We talked and he told me that at some point all of the rest of us had felt the same way. As Zack put it, 'I don't want to die a virgin!'"
"Zack would," Tommy snickered.
"Billy said that if that was what I truly wished, he'd be honored to help me." Kim suddenly quirked an impish grin. "He also confessed that he wasn't just being noble, either."
Privately, Tommy couldn't imagine any guy turning Kim down.
"So um what happened?" he asked aloud.
"Nothing," Kim sighed. "There we were in his room, undressed and everything well, it wasn't like we hadn't seen each other naked before! but we couldn't do anything." She paused, frowning. "The need was there, but it just wasn't enough. There wasn't an emotional attraction desire or what have you. For whatever reason, it just wasn't right, so we stopped.
"I guess I'd pretty much made up my mind that I wanted to wait if not for marriage, then at least for someone I felt strongly enough about. So for me, I'd have to say that sex is more than just a physical need. There has to be emotional need as well."
"But you still check out cute guys," Tommy teased her.
She scowled even as she flushed. "That's just lust and it's totally different."
"I know; I just couldn't resist," he replied. Then he gazed thoughtfully out across the water.
"Do you still feel like sex is the answer to your need to reconnect with life?" Kim asked softly.
"Not really," he said. "Like you, I don't think I'd be satisfied unless there was more than easing a physical craving. But I think I still need something physical something solid real to cling to. Like an anchor. Right now, words just aren't enough. I know I'm alive, but I need to feel it to hold onto it if only for a little while ."
Words failed Tommy and he cast Kim a pleading glance pleading for her to understand what he was trying to say.
"I understand," she murmured, turning to face him. "After seeing Goldar almost succeed in killing you yesterday I've never need to touch life and reassure myself as I do now."
With that, she threw her arms around Tommy and enveloped him in a fierce hug. He held her just as close, and yet it still wasn't quite enough that is, until theirlips met in a kiss that was far more than the innocent exchange of two teens sharing a first love. It was a kiss that spoke of a greater need and promised a time when that need would be answered. But for now, it was enough.