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 PRT timeline, after 'Clash of the MegaZords'.
And what she felt for the Phantom Ranger was no average crush. Ever since she had first encountered him, she had felt something. She didn't know what it was, but she had a very strong feeling it was either love or something so close that it would make absolutely no difference. Admittedly, it was a love whose face she had never seen and whose true name she didn't even know, but she didn't care. All she cared about was that there was a very real chance she would never see him again.
The night that he left, she stared up at the stars. It had been a very long couple of days, but she wasn't really tired. It had begun after school the previous day, when she had found a note from who she thought was the Phantom Ranger in her locker only for it to turn out to be a trap by General Havoc. She had been the bait in a trap for the Phantom Ranger himself, and he had fallen into it. She had been watching the scene in the dimensionette where Havoc, disguised as her, had lain in wait for the mysterious armored warrior and had kidnapped him and his Power Ruby.
She still remembered the heart-numbing agony of thinking she was going to lose him. Every blow she had struck had been in fear of that, and she had sworn to herself that if he did die, then Divatox and Havoc had better start running, because Hell itself wouldn't save them from her.
Cassie brushed the hair back from her eyes, sighing briefly. I wonder where you are, what you are doing now. Overhead, the stars twinkled in their eternal brilliance, and she had to stop a tear from going down her face. She would give almost anything to be up there, to be with him. But she knew that she belonged here, with her friends and with her world. She would never abandon them. . .but if it ever happened that she could go there legitimately. . .she knew she would in the beating of a heart.
"Why did you leave me?" she whispered softly, another tear falling unheeded. "We still need you here. I. . .I need you."
He didn't seem to care, though. Why would he have left if he cared? Surely if he felt about her the way she thought he had when he had seen her held captive, he would have stayed. . .wouldn't he? Or did he hold his duty in such regard that no matter what he felt, he would never abandon it? The thought of that took her breath away. . .and made her long to have him care so much about her that nothing could draw him away from it.
"Please come back to me," she murmured, not caring if anyone heard her. The words that she spoke needed to be said out loud. They wouldn't have felt the same in her heart if she had only thought them. "I love you. . ."
"I love you too. . .," she almost jumped out of her skin at the soft voice, and turned, ready to morph if it was another trick. But the true Phantom Ranger stood there, half-hidden by the shadows. She didn't know how she knew it was the real one. . .she just knew.
She stared in shock as he slowly came closer to her. "I. . .I thought you left," was all she could find to say.
"I will with the dawn," he replied. "But I had to see you again. I . ..I couldn't leave without telling you how I feel, Cassie."
The way he said her name made her heart jump and her insides swirl in patterns that held no names. Slowly, he came closer to her. A web of light seemed to run over his body, and then a tall young man stood there, perhaps a year or so older than she herself. That surprised her, something about his mien had made her think that he was older than she by several decades. Not that it had ever mattered.
"W. ..who are you?" the question fell from her lips as unheeded as the tears that still fell from her eyes. With a trembling hand, he wiped them away, almost gingerly, as if he were afraid to touch her. She reached up to hold his hand to her face, wanting to touch him, wanting to never let him go.
"I have no name," he said quietly. "People have called me different things over the eons. Here, I am known as the Phantom Ranger."
"I am older than I can remember," he told her, and she could feel her heart sinking only until he spoke again. "And in all my lifetime, I have never known anyone like you, Cassie Chan, Pink Turbo Ranger. From the moment I saw you, you captured my heart, an event that I thought would never happen. But I do love you. I believe I have always loved you, and had only to wait until you were born to come here and meet you."
Her eyes must have betrayed her confusion, for he next asked, "When were you born?"
"I'm. . .sixteen," she murmured, not understanding why he was asking that, but also not caring. Perhaps he was the reason that she had never felt satisfied anywhere, why she kept traveling and searching for something, why no relationship she'd ever had with a guy had worked out.
"Sixteen years ago, in Earth time, I began my journey to your world," he told her. "Something began to pull me here, and I could not resist it. Until then, I had merely traveled from place to place helping as I was needed. I thought. . .I thought I could do that again here, help for a time, then go. But when I saw you standing here. . .I knew I couldn't."
His hand had been on her cheek as he spoke, held there by her own. She didn't want to let him escape at any time, not ever again. "Are you going to stay?"
"No," the word crushed her heart, but he kept speaking. "There are worlds out there that need me, millions of them. But I won't be gone forever. We will see each other again. Somehow, somewhere. We are bonded, linked in the soul in a fashion I cannot and do not understand, nor do I desire to. I only know it exists, and that I would not trade it or you for anything."
Another tear fell down her cheek, and she threw herself into his arms, feeling them close around her. "I love you," she whispered. "And if leaving is what you have to do, then I'll wait for you. . .forever if I have to."
"It won't be forever," he promised. "I don't know how long it will be, but someday, the fight between good and evil will be ended, at least where we are concerned. Then, we will be together. . .forever."
The two of them stood for a moment, held in each other's arms. Regardless of what came in the future, they knew their hearts would never be apart again, even if their bodies were. Three words were whispered from two mouths.
"I love you."