Author's Note: This is not part of the Rangers in Romance series; since the Ars Amatoria site was expanded, I decided to keep up my writing and write fics for a few other couples. This takes place in the PRZ timeline, somewhere between 'Graduation Blues' and 'Mean Screen'.
I'm not here for a battle, he realized almost at once. He was there because they needed his intelligence. Aquitar was a society not only of fighters, but of thinkers and scientists as well. For the first time in his life, he was totally surrounded by those who not only appreciated his brain cells, but shared them. He was convinced at that moment there was a heaven, and he'd walked into it.
He'd already been here two days, and every last one of them had been jam-packed with things to do. The difficulties that the Aquitians were having with the Hydro-Contaminators were serious, but everyone that he'd met had expressed the hope and the confidence that they would be able to deal with them soon. It wasn't false hope, bravado, either, such as he had often experienced among humans. This was complete and utter belief that he and the Aquitan Rangers would do whatever it took in order to bring peace.
"Billy?" he looked up when he heard Cestro calling his name, and his eyes widened in shock when he saw someone else with the Blue Aquitian Ranger. Whoa. . .who is THAT?
"What is it, Cestro?" he asked, standing up in the presence of the beautiful young Aquitian lady with his friend.
Cestro smiled just the smallest bit, the merest narrowing of his lips that had taken Billy weeks to recognize as his smile when they had first been getting to know each other. "I would like you to meet my friend, Cestria of Aquitar. Cestria, this is Billy Cranston, the former Blue Ranger of Earth."
The young woman smiled, making the Aquitian gesture of greeting. Billy returned it, grateful that Cestro had spent the hours of their trip here training him in how to do it without causing offense. "It is good to meet you, Billy," she spoke softly and gently, and her voice sent shivers up and down his spine.
"I'm honored," he bowed a little towards her. "Has there been any change in the confrontation, Cestro?"
The Ranger shook his head. "There has been no news as yet," he reported. "Delphine would like to see the both of you in the planning chambers in three karsecs. Until then, you are free to do as you please."
As he left, the two of them glanced at each other. Cestria had spoken to very few in the past few weeks, and Billy wasn't even a native to the planet. It was obvious, however, that Cestro had intended the two of them to spend those three karsecs, which were the equal of an Earth hour, together.
"What is there to do here?" Billy wondered. "I haven't been on your planet that long."
"We could go look at the Eternal Falls," the young Aquitian suggested. "They are most beautiful, and I do not believe you have seen them before, have you?"
Billy shook his head. "I haven't exactly had time to see the sights here."
Cestria's lips curved into a gentle smile, the first real smile that he had ever seen from one of her race. "Then I shall take you to all the sights. I know them all. My family has guarded the Eternal Falls for almost five thousand generations."
"Amazing," Billy was impressed, he barely knew the names of his great-grandparents, much less what they had done for a living! As the two of them walked through the hallways, Billy found himself something he thought he would never be with a female: totally at ease. Every other girl he'd dated or spent any time with, even Trini and Kim, both of whom he had went out with in the year before they had become Power Rangers, he had felt nervous and jumpy and about ready to shake apart with fear. But this time, he felt only complete calm.
He was ready to go home now. He'd thought about staying, about staying with Cestria. It had been on his mind almost ever since he had met the beautiful Aquitian, but he knew he had to leave. The Rangers needed the technology he had learned, and he'd already been sketching out some plans for a special new Zord for Tommy, something that would link into his mind and obey his every move, like the Aquitian Battle-borgs. Another plan had also occurred to him, something that would create the next generation of Power Ranger powers, should they ever be necessary. He already had a name in mind: the Turbo powers.
"You're leaving?" Cestria stood in the doorway of the small chamber that had been his. She looked perfectly calm, but there was a faint tightness around her eyes that made him wonder about her real feelings.
He nodded. "They need me back home."
"We need you here," Cestria said quietly. "You were the one who came up with the idea of making a treaty with the Hydro Contaminators. You're a wonderful diplomat, and you could accomplish quite a lot here, more than you could on Earth."
"I know," Billy nodded again, closing the small suitcase that was his only luggage, and came over to her. "But the Rangers need me too. I've got some ideas that I couldn't implement here, and. ..I'm just needed there."
She nodded quietly, stepping a few paces closer to him. "Will you ever come back?"
"I don't know," he said, glancing down and back at the suitcase waiting for him. He missed Earth more than he had ever thought possible. "I'll. . .let you know if I do."
Another of those heart-blinding smiles. "I'll be looking forward to it. Thank you for entering my life, Billy of Earth."
He smiled back at her. "Thank you for coming into mine, Cestria of Aquitar."
Slowly, the two of them leaned forward, their lips brushing. Billy had once explained kissing to her, though he had never even dared try for a 'physical' demonstration of it. This made what they were doing now all the more special. As they moved apart, both of them smiled. They knew now that one day he would come back to Aquitar, and when he did, he would be there to stay. But for now, he had things that he had to do. He had a world that he would be helping to take care of.
"See you later, Cestria," he said, stepping back to pick up the suitcase. Side by side they walked to the spaceport, where his craft was waiting for him. No more words were said between them. Words had ceased to be necessary. As he bid farewell to the Aquitian Rangers, he lifted his eyes to the stars. It was time to go home. To Earth.
But as he and his ship sailed away from Aquitar, he realized. ..Home is where the heart is. . .and a part of my heart is now on Aquitar. I'll be back, Cestria. ..someday.