They would start a normal conversation with him, and she didn't know how he did it, but within five minutes she was starting to discuss feelings and what was wrong. When she realised what was happening, she would just walk away, or shout. At the moment she tended to walk away, because shouting seemed to actually hurt him now. Something to do with the fact that he had torn down all his blocks and defences to help the Chi'iten sing their Great Song. But shouting was warranted now!
"If we had been using TigerZord instead of this flying scrapheap..." she growled and kicked WolfZord as if it had offended her deeply.
"Trini! Don't kick that! You'll damage the lateral stabiliser!" Billy shouted down at her from the cockpit.
Trini kicked it again. The metal fell off with a dull twisted clang Billy was furious, his blue eyes blazing. Trini was sorry, but she refused to back down. She stared at him defiantly, and then the argument began.
"That is going to take me hours to repair!" Billy yelled as he jumped out of the Zord
"Well, if you had paid attention to me and hadn't tried to plough through that comet debris, then we wouldn't be here in the first place!" Trini pointed out, scoring herself a mental point.
"There was no way to predict that there would be dense matter in the comet's tail." Billy flushed; it had been an error in judgement on his part, but he had been so mad that when Trini had argued with him, it had just made him more coldly determined to go ahead and do it, anyway.
"Oh yeah? So how did I know? Woman's intuition - oh yes, I forgot, I'm not as respectable as the "little mermaid"," Trini retorted, and the argument took a very familiar turn.
"Cestria is a very intelligent and mature woman..." Billy said angrily. What was this obsession with Cestria?
"I bet she is..." Trini replied darkly, her emotions boiling.
"Unlike some people I could mention, " Billy snapped "What is this unreasoning hatred of Cestria all about, anyway? She's a very pleasant, lovely person.."
Of course that didn't help matters at all.
Somehow all the arguments seemed to twist around to this point, regardless of the outset. Skye was walking out of the Zord with his pack to have a quick look around and sense to see if there were any potential Ninjetti about ... and landed straight in the middle of the raging emotional conflict. He stumbled away from the damaged Zord clutching his head, unseen by the others. Ever since he had torn down all his blocks to assist the Chi'iten, he was wide open to Billy and Trini's surprisingly volatile exchanges. To say he had a headache would be missing a perfect opportunity to describe it as a pounding migraine. As the violent emotions buffeted him ceaselessly, he felt dizzy and sick with the pain and all he wanted was just to get away from both of them. Half staggering, half running and semi-blinded with pain, he ran away from his companions as swiftly as possible into the alien wilderness. Billy muttered to himself as he supervised "Pup" and "Cub", WolfZord's own superzebedees, to reattach the twisted metal stabiliser.
"If she would just LISTEN..." he said aloud and then stopped, remembering the scolding he had received from his Wolfspirit whilst fighting the Klaxal
"When you have something worth saying, she will listen."
Hmmm.. Skye had been trying to get them to talk it through, and it seemed that both of them would find an excuse to back away, do some emergency repairs just as he was approaching that crucial point where everything would come out. In fact, they now had enough control to block his attempts to link their minds unless they consented, and every time he had tried they had shut him out. He wiped his hands on a cloth and stood back as Pup finished laser-soldering the damaged part and looked around. Where was Skye, anyway?
"Trini?" he called, trying to keep his voice neutral.
"Yes?" she replied evenly, her voice betraying nothing.
"Have you seen Skye?" Billy asked. Trini reappeared around the side of the massive WolfZord, dressed in her now usual warm yellow gold, but her eyes were dark and cold towards him.
"I thought he was helping you?" she said, quizzically arching an eyebrow.
Billy shook his head and frowned. "I haven't seen him since we were...discussing everything earlier on." He winced, and Trini's expression grew troubled.
"It..it was one of our worst. Do you think...?" Billy said, getting concerned.
"He couldn't stand to be near us?" Trini finished, belatedly realising what their explosive argument would have done to their empathically sensitive friend. They might as well have thrown grenades at him. They both looked at the lush rich forest around them and tried to shift into their animal forms. It wouldn't happen. They looked at each other mildly ashamed and instead set off into the forest on foot, following the obvious trail the fleeing Star Ninjetti had made as he had stumbled through the greenery.
He had run a long way from them, but finally they found him on the shores of a beautiful still lake, lying on the grass. His eyes were closed and the gleaming orb of the Ma'rai sphere was lying by his side, the Ninjetti fire still crawling within it and a book fluttering open in the breeze. His white hair was wet as if he had been in the water caressing the shore beside him, and Billy was troubled by the darkened rings around his eyes as he lay there unmoving. Usually he would have sensed their approach and awoken by now, however deep he was in sleep. Exchanging glances of concern, the two Ninjetti bent over their friend.
Billy touched his shoulder "Skye? Wake up, Skye.." he said softly and, receiving no response, shook him slightly. The artist's blue eyes opened and it hurt the pair to see how he flinched away from them both, instinctively trying to shield himself from them.
"You okay, Skye?" Trini asked gently, helping him sit up.
He seemed oddly dazed but said, "Er..yes...I think so. You stopped fighting yet?"
Billy nodded apologetically. "I'm really sorry...." he began, but much to his surprise was interrupted.
"Sorry doesn't cut it," Skye said in a calm, even voice. "I can't stand this anymore."
The two Ninjetti were astonished; this was not like Skye at all. They began to wonder if something had happened to him whilst he had been alone.
"Skye? You feeling okay?" Trini asked cautiously, frowning.
"I feel fine. You two do not." he said bluntly. "I have tried and tried and tried to get you two to talk about this, if only to save me from headaches and pain, but you have both been so pigheaded about this, it defies belief. And if it is not you two, it is your animal spirits - they may not be talking to you, but they are certainly are talking to me! With that and the dreams...well, I just can't stand it anymore!"
Billy blinked in shock. This could not be Skye talking! He was subtle and sensitive, not blunt and outspoken.
"I have decided that I care about you both too much to let this go on," the artist said softly. "Both of you, drink from the lake," he ordered.
"Skye...you are not sounding like yourself..." the Wolf Ninjetti said tentatively. "Maybe we should go back to WolfZord and..."
"Just because I stand up for myself, there's suddenly something wrong with me?" Skye said, his blue grey eyes stony and determined. "I am not ALLOWED to be angry? Everyone else seems to manage it and no-one says anything, and yet just because I normally control my anger, when I let it show there is something wrong with me?"
Billy opened and closed his mouth, unsure of what to say. Trini seemed likewise affected by this outburst. "Why are you angry with us?" he asked finally.
"Because you go on hurting each other, over and over, and there is no need!" Skye said explosively. "It is so obvious to me -- just drink the water!"
Trini did not like this; she looked at Billy, and they began to back away from Skye.
"I am not asking you to do anything dangerous!" Skye reassured them with genuine sincerity.
Trini thought otherwise; if he was trying to expose the whole letter incident, then that was very dangerous to her; there would be no hiding from it, and that would be the end of her and Billy completely! She could not allow that. She turned to run, and with a rueful grimace Skye pulled on the Power of the Star crystal and gave the two of them a psychokinetic shove. They both fell into the shallow water, as he had done when he had stumbled from the forest.
Billy shouted in alarm and then felt a warm, relaxed glow pour through him, his inhibitions beginning to fade away under the influence of the strange water. He looked across at Trini, and she had a similarly dreamy look on her face.
"So..." Skye called from the shore. "Talk to each other! Sort this out - we can no longer go on tearing ourselves apart like this."
And strangely, the part of Billy that would have usually leapt into place and stopped him from going ahead no longer seemed to work.
"Why, Trini?" he asked plaintively. "Just tell me what I have done wrong, just tell me, and I will try and put it right!"
Trini felt all her defences failing one by one " You don't need me. You don't love me, Billy...." she said, her heart breaking though her words seemed calm.
Billy was astonished and began to wade towards her through the water "What do you mean? Whatever gave you that idea?!"
Trini turned, her eyes full of tears. There was no use in denying it any longer. "This did." And she pulled from a pocket the letter that she kept with her at all times. It was wet and the ink had run from her dip in the lake, but by the way Billy's face paled and his expression became mortified, she felt like her worst fears had been realised.
"I know you never wanted me on this trip, and that you have only pretended to have feelings towards me. I know you wanted to sort things out with Cestria and I ruined that..." she started to explain as tears began to trickle down her face.
"Oh Trini, please..." Billy began, unable to bear to see her cry "Please no, this is all my fault." He reached out to her and she pulled away. "Listen to me, I did an idiotically stupid thing..."
Trini shook her head. "You are a genius, Billy, you don't DO stupid things."
"Trini!" he gave a tremulous smile "No, it just means I save all my stupidity up and do one incredibly ill-conceived thing every now and then. This was one of those things!"
"There is nothing more to say, Billy. The letter was very clear," Trini said, trying to adopt a cool implacable demeanour and failing miserably "You didn't need me here ... and you can never say that you truly love me. That's all I need to know. I'm sorry I foisted myself upon this mission." She began to turn away from him.
"Trini, please...just listen for a moment." the Wolf Ninjetti pleaded, and that strange relaxed feeling swept over her again stopping her from leaving.
"Trini, I wrote that letter when I thought I was having to go into space alone and leave you for however long. I thought...I thought it'd be unfair that you'd have to try and remain faithful to me, that you deserved someone better, but I knew your sense of honour would keep you hanging on for me regardless of the fact I might be gone years and that I might never return. " He sighed. It had been a really bad idea. "I could not stand the thought of you suffering an unrequited love for years - having spent much of the time since you left for the Peace Conference like that. It was an attempt to protect you, nothing more..."
"Didn't you realise how much it would hurt me?" Trini flared angrily.
"I thought the short pain of disappointment would be easier to bear than living with the hurt of deserving someone better, but feeling obligated to tie yourself to ... to me. As soon as I saw you on Phaedos, the most welcome sight of my life, I resolved to destroy it," Billy explained "You were never meant to see it. I thought I had thrown it away."
"You did. I found it screwed up in the bottom of a toolbox when we were on Aquitar," Trini said.
"Trini, there was no truth in any of it, Cestria was just a plausible excuse; we do need you, you have saved our lives on countless occasions."
Trini turned and stared at him silently. "What about you? Do you need me?"
Billy was taken aback. "Of course I do!"
"You've never said so," Trini replied in a voice empty of hope.
"I must have done...haven't I?" Billy said, searching his memory. That couldn't be right, he MUST have said it as some point....
Skye shook his head, watching from the shore. "You never have, Billy," he whispered. "Say it now...say it now!"
Billy took a deep breath, realising it would be too late for embarrassment if he failed now . "I need you, Trini. I need you not just for the mission, not just for battles and quests, for the Power Rangers. I need you for me....I always have. Whatever you want from me, Trini, just tell me and I will make it happen."
Utter silence reigned over the lake.
"I never dared hope that you might feel the same." He said it in a whisper of naked emotion. The late evening breeze ruffled his sandy hair as he stood heedless of his surroundings, of anything but the answer in her eyes.
"Say it, Billy." Trini pleaded, holding his gaze with her own. "Look into my eyes and say it here and now ... and I will know it's no lie."
Their mutual hopes trembling fragile and delicate, spun across the long moment. In this place there could be no lies, only truths. And Billy, shorn of all the defences he had built all these years to stop him being vulnerable to the pain of lost love again made an astounding discovery.
He looked up into dark midnight eyes and said with utter conviction, as if stating an immutable law of the universe, "Trini Kwan....I truly love you."
The words rang out, echoing across the lake and Trini looked surprised as if she had been positive he wouldn't be able to say it.
Her cold expression was abruptly replaced by a tremulous glorious smile.
"I love you, Will," she said simply, and it seemed incredible that all that time of pain between them could be eradicated with a few simple words. But then they had to be the right words, and the right actions. Emboldened, Billy strode through the warm water towards her, reached out for her and before he lost his nerve, kissed her tenderly upon the lips.
Suddenly with breathtaking rapidity final gasps of the evening light vanished and the stars shimmered in the perfect mirror of the lake. All around them starlight glittered in fragile threads of gossamer light whilst a gentle flickering breeze coaxed a song from the water that reached straight into their heart. A strange shimmering aurora stole against them, filling them both with an uninhibited sense of freedom.
"Go on." whispered Skye, finally finding his voice, realising the Ma'rai Sphere's description of this place as holding the Waters of Truth had more beauty and depth to it than he could have ever imagined.
Billy and Trini were mesmerised by the feelings within them and the beauty around them. It was like swimming in the wonder-filled sky of the heavens. Trini slipped under the water and then rose up, and in the stream of waters that cascaded from her night-ebony hair she appeared a goddess enveloped in a flowing cloak of stars. Billy was filled with awe that she wanted to be with him, that in all this glory, the only thing she wanted to see was him, the only thing she wanted to touch was him and...that in this lake of stars the brightest light of all was the joy shining in her intense dark eyes. She reached for him, holding him close and whispered into his ear as they slipped further into the intimate privacy of the night-filled waters. "And I will always need you..."
On shore, silent and alone though intoxicated by the same breezes, Skye watched as the two spiralled gently out of his sight, emanating enough joy and passion to make the Star Crystal glow of its own accord. The breeze ruffled the pages of the book Kimberly had given him, which he had brought with him to the lake. They fell open at one of his favourite poems, and he did not need the glowing light of the Star Crystal to read the bittersweet words that were obviously not for him, for they were engraved on his heart. He said them silently to himself as he dizzily lay back on the grass.
Very glad for them and sorry for himself. With a sigh and the poem running through his mind over and over, Skye lay down on the grass on the shores of the Lake of Truth and let the darkness of the night sweep him away into sleep.
The sun rose over the lake as swiftly as night had arrived. Billy awoke, snuggled up next to Trini warm and content. He never wanted to move again, he decided; he would quite happily lie there with Trini in his arms until the end of time....or at least until breakfast.
"Hmmmm.." Trini muttered contentedly, stirring slightly. There was a polite cough above him and as he opened his eyes a heap of clothes was dumped on top of him.
"Thought you both might need something to wear..." said the white-haired artist with a wicked grin. "As you both seem to have inexplicably lost your apparel somewhere."
It was then Billy realised their state of undress, and blushed fiercely. Skye raised an eyebrow.
"A little late for embarrassment, Billy," he said and then gave a speculative look. "My, I don't think I've ever seen anyone blush with their whole body before."
"Skye!" Billy protested, hurriedly pulling on his clothes.
"Just invoking my right as a friend to tease you mercilessly," he said laughingly, dodging a thrown shoe. "Didn't you know? It's the law -- I have to do it, especially in situations like this!" "I don't know what you are talking about." Billy mumbled, crimson now. "Well, you certainly seemed to know what it was all about last night!" Skye said, then tried to run away as Billy lunged after him "Okay, okay...I'll stop now."
"If you boys have quite finished..." Trini interrupted. She had somehow gone miraculously from naked to fully clothed without any intervening stages.
"I wish I knew how she did that." Billy said in mock awe. He was in fine form and could feel the presence of his Wolfspirit suddenly stronger than ever.
Well, finally. it wolfspoke, and Billy slipped into his wolf-form with glee as he had been unable to do for a while. Trini watched him "change" and then, in the blink of an eye, a great golden Tiger stalked after the Wolf that was wagging its tail furiously in a most unwolflike manner.
"Hey! Cut it out!" Skye shouted as the boisterous game of tag threatened to bowl him over for nearly the tenth time.
Eventually the Tiger pinned the Wolf on his back, and the Wolf retaliated by licking the Tiger's nose until, in a strange fit of Tigersnorts becoming giggles, Trini shimmered into her human shape.
"You cheat!" she accused laughing as Billy shifted back.
"All's fair in LOVE and war...." he replied smugly.
"I have missed being able to do that so much," Trini said, sitting down next to him. Billy leaned across and kissed her, realising after last night that succumbing to inhibition was more than a little hypocritical. Their Spirit Crystals appeared to glow in response as memories of the previous night began to rush through them both until they broke off the kiss when they heard an embarrassed cough. Skye was standing behind them, and now he was the one blushing furiously. Billy was confused until he saw the Star Crystal glittering brightly.
"Sorry, Skye." Billy said with a grin, but Trini kissed him once more to the mock horror of their friend.
"Aw guys, please!" the white-haired artist pleaded.
"That is for pushing us both in the lake," Trini replied. "What exactly happened there, anyway?" It had been a strange, painful yet wonderful experience and in the light of day she found it hard to believe that they had said what they had. She didn't regret it for a moment, but it still seemed peculiar.
Skye picked up the Ma'rai sphere, its fire still gleaming visibly even in the bright sunlight.
"After I...er...had to get away from you two, I accidentally ran straight into the lake," he explained. "I felt that sensation and concerned that it might be dangerous, I looked into the sphere for more information on this planet. It was known to the Ancient Ninjetti as a terrible and wonderful place - they called it Veras, or Truth." He swallowed a little as some of the histories had been frighteningly graphic in their description of some of the effects of the waters of Veras.
"The water on this planet has something in it that acts a little like a truth serum; it removes all the obstacles in the mind, baring the heart of the matter. It can be wonderful and enlightening, or heart-breaking and dangerous."
"How could it be dangerous? Surely the truth is a good thing?" Trini asked with a frown.
Skye laughed. "Says she who has been running from it for the past month or so...just imagine what it would have been like if you had declared your love to Billy, and he had not to you...what then?"
"That would not have happened." Billy said firmly.
"Fine, okay...you seem very sure now. You were lucky, you received the glory of truth." Skye said heavily "But they used to use this place as a site for Mediation and Treaty....and the pure truth spawned war after war...as the motives of each race were shorn of diplomacy. Eventually the Ninjetti declared it off-limits except in special cases."
Billy winced. It did make sense at that. He was immensely grateful for receiving what he had. But what if they hadn't crashed here? If they had gone on as they were?
Do you think that I would let that happen? his Wolfspirit mindspoke All I had to do was shut off your good sense for a moment and steer you through that comet tail..
You did what?! Billy queried.
Oh come on, it wasn't like you were using much of that good sense at the time anyway. The Wolfspirit protested with a wolfish grin And the Tiger agreed that it was a good idea.
Yes, we resolved our differences a long time ago, purred the Tigerspirit in tones of great self-satisfaction You humans seem to feel the need to over-complicate things - obviously a talent of your kind.
"Hmmm," Trini said. "Well, I didn't notice you doing anything to help much."
The Golden Tiger Spirit gave the mental impression of drawing itself up. Excuse me? I nearly roared myself hoarse trying to be heard over your stormy emotions...
The Wolfspirit was huffing in a peculiar form of wolfish laughter. What? asked the Tigerspirit, its tail tip lashing in irritation at the interruption.
Sorry, I was just laughing at the image of you roaring yourself into a horse, it replied sheepishly.
Billy and Trini groaned.
"Want to go back to arguing again, Trini?" Billy asked with a sigh.
"Might be worth it just to have some peace and quiet," Trini replied drily. "Is it my imagination, or have they gotten worse since we last spoke to them?"
"Definitely worse." Billy responded and they both started laughing again.
Skye grinned again. "Well, whoever is responsible, Tiger, Wolf, Billy, Trini...I don't care," he announced. "It's just great to have us back working together again...no more black stares and dark-look contests in WolfZord...and I guess that troublesome core processor regulator won't need quite so much immediate attention, hmm?"
Trini and Billy coughed a little. "Were we that transparent?"
"Any more transparent and I would be using you as glasses..." Skye said, smirking.
Billy sighed, unwilling to break this idyll but knowing it was necessary as duty called. "Well I guess we'd better be getting back to work, yeah?" he said, and the others nodded in agreement. They made their way back to the now repaired WolfZord to recommence their quest after this short, but immensely valuable interlude.
Billy looked back at the strange planet Veras as they swung away from its surface, contemplating what had happened with a contented smile In some small measure the certainty he felt now about his feelings for Trini compensated him for the sacrifices he had been required to make. For all his past pain, he had at least been given a night swimming in the stars with his love and whatever was yet to come, however terrible and dark, he would always have that at the very core of himself. Forever.
Author's Note:- Another poem from Rumi there. Hope you liked it, and
the fic! Thanks for the help all those concerned...you know who you