Disclaimer: I don't own the Rangers, Saban does. I'm not making any money off of this.

Author's note: This fic takes place during Billy's first trip to Aquitar. And, this is my first song fic. They generally aren't my fav. fics, but I thought I'd give it a try, especially when; every time I heard this song, this story was screaming to be told. It's not as easy as it seems. :) This song is from the group, 98 deg. CD, 98 deg. and rising.

The Hardest Thing
by: Cinders

Billy paced the length of his quarters. He had come here to Aquitar, to help the Aquitian Rangers fight against the Hydro Contaminators. But, now that the battle was over, and the Aquitians had won, he knew he should be heading back to Earth. But, he hadn't expected to fall completely in love with Cestro's niece; Cestria. He had fought with his heart over the feelings he'd been having for her. After all, there was someone back on Earth, who loved him as much as he loved her. Who didn't even know he had left.

As he spent more time on Aquitar, and with Cestria, he began to let his guard down. He was truly in love with her, and he couldn't help himself. She was smart, kind, sensitive and he loved watching her play with the children. They loved her nearly as much as he did. After several days of sleepless nights, he decided to remain on Aquitar. Even though the battle with the Hydro Contaminators was over.

But, as time went on, his thoughts would begin to stray to Earth. To his friends. To his family. And most especially, to the woman he had left behind. The woman who had given up some of her dreams for him. Soon, he began to come to the conclusion, that Aquitar wasn't where he belonged.

Billy jumped as the door to his quarters slid open, disrupting him from his thoughts. Cestria entered with a smile. And, without any hesitation, walked up to him, wrapped her arms around him and kissed him deeply.

It was all Billy could do to stand his ground. To not return the embrace and kiss, even though his heart screamed for him to do so. He couldn't loose his resolve now.

Cestria, noticing his reluctance to return her embrace, and lack of feeling, she pulled away from him, standing back to look up at him. A jolt of fear coursed through her. Billy just stood there, looking at her. His expression, blank.

"Something is wrong." It wasn't a question. There was no questioning the feelings she was getting from him.

"I'm leaving. I can't stay here."

We both know that I shouldn't be here
This is wrong
And baby it's killing me, it's killing you
Both of us tryin' to be strong
As Billy watched the light of happiness fade from Cestria's eyes, he began to doubt his decision. He loved her, but his thoughts would always lead him back to the one woman who, he knew, loved him and trusted him with all of her heart. When she had made the toughest decision of her life, and gave all of her love to Billy, he had promised to love her forever.
I've got somewhere else to be
Promises to keep
Someone else who loves me
And trusts me fast asleep
"I thought you were happy here? That we were in love? What can I do to change your mind?" Cestria was desperate. She never trusted herself to fall in love. She didn't want to loose her heart. But when she saw Billy, she knew she had to let her heart go. And she couldn't loose him now.

Billy held his breath and squared his shoulders. He had to do this. He'd made up his mind, and he couldn't let anything change that.

"No. There's nothing."

I've made up my mind
There is not turning back
She's been good to me
And she deserves better than that
Billy watched the surprise on Cestria's face, at his words. How could he do this to her? He loved her. With all of his heart. But, the love he felt for the other owner of his heart, was deeper and stronger.

"There is someone else. We've been friends since we were children. She's always been there for me. My best friend. I love her.

"I'm sorry Cestria. I thought that I could forget her, all the way out here. But, I was wrong about that, it only made me remember her more. I was wrong to think that there could be something between us."

It's the hardest thing
I'll ever have to do
To look you in the eye
And tell you I don't love you

"I understand." Cestria breathed out. Trying with all of her strength to really believe her own words.

She didn't really understand. She had finally found someone worthy of her love. But, as the weeks went by, she had noticed that Billy had become distant and depressed. Keeping to himself more and more often. She had tried to cheer him up, but he only sunk deeper into his solitude instead.

Billy watched the tears well up in her beautiful eyes. He fought for control of his feelings. "I just don't love you Cestria. Not in any way, other than as a friend." He tried not to let the tears he was crying inside, show in his words.

It's the hardest thing
I'll ever have to lie
To show no emotion
When you start to cry

"Friends?" Cestria choked in surprise. All of the tender moments together? They ment nothing more to him than friendship? "Can you honestly look me in the eyes, and tell me that you never felt anything more for me than friendship?"

"I thought, at one time, that I did. But, I was wrong. I've loved her for so long, I don't know what it would be like to not love her. And she has finally given her love to me. I made a promise. I'm sorry. We just don't belong together."

Cestria choked back her tears as she listened to his words.

I can't let you see
What you mean to me
When my hands are tied
And my heart's not free
We're not meant to be

Billy watched as Cestria rose to her feet. He wanted to run to her, to take her in his arms, and take the pain he'd caused, away. But, he forced himself to hold his ground. Everything inside him, was screaming at him to change his mind. He couldn't be with her, while another woman was in his heart and mind all of the time. It wasn't fair. He'd rather hurt her now, than hurt her for days, weeks or even years. Letting her think that his love was all hers, just to find out in time, that it was shared. He couldn't do that to her.

Seeing the pain in her eyes, as she moved toward him, he forced himself to turn away from her, before he did something that they would both regret in time.

"To show you that I hold no ill will toward you, I'm willing to show you how much I love you, by letting you go." Cestria watched his stiffened back.

With a tear coming, unbidden, to his eyes, he nearly gave up the facade, and turned to face her. But, he didn't.

It's the hardest thing
I'll ever have to do
To turn around and walk away
Pretending I don't love you

Some how, he knew he'd be seeing her again. He didn't know how, or when. As long as he remained a part of the Rangers team, there would always be a possibility. He hated being cruel. It wasn't in his nature, but he had to, for her sake.

"I hope you find someone. Someone who deserves you and your love." As he felt her hand on his shoulder, he jumped, but still refused to turn and face her. He couldn't let her see all the tears that tried, relentlessly, to wash the pain from his face.

"I wish you the best, as well, Billy of Earth. I will sorely miss you."

I know that we'll meet again
Fate has a place and time
So you can get on with your life
I've got to be cruel to be kind

As Cestria removed her hand, Billy felt a sudden emptiness that would never be filled. A piece of his heart was going with her. And what remained of his heart, would always have a special place there for her. As long as he lived. And everyday that he was away from her, he would love her.

In all of the years he'd been to shy to even speak to a girl, he'd never thought that he would love two women, and have to choose just one. And that was the part that was tearing him apart.

He'd been through countless battles, his life in jeopardy everyday. He'd been in situations where making the right decision ment the difference between life and death. Why was this decision the hardest one he had ever had to make? But, he knew it was the right one. They were from two different worlds, and were of a different species.

He couldn't do that to her.

He had to go.

Like Dr. Zhivago
All my love I'll be sending
And you'll never know
‘Cause there can be no happy ending

In the silence surrounding them, he could hear her soft footsteps moving toward the doors. At the sound of the doors opening, he turned to her, starting to reach out to her. But stiffening, he let his arms fall to his side.

Outside of the doors, Cestria stopped. Turning slightly, she looked back at him, trails of tears marring the smooth, paleness of her cheeks. With a forced smile, she turned away for the last time, and moved silently down the hall.

The doors sliding shut once more, sounded like thunder in the silent emptiness of the room. Billy looked down at the bags beside the doors, as tears began to fill his eyes once more.

Maybe another time, another day
As much as I want to, I can't stay
I've made up my mind

Taking a deep breath, and wiping away the tears that blinded him, Billy moved to the bags and lifted them from the floor. Stepping to the door, the panels slid apart with the same thunder as they had created as they closed the distance between him and Cestria.

Billy hesitated at the threshold, gazing down the hall in the direction in which Cestria had gone.

He didn't know what he expected to find. Or why he felt saddened when there was nothing there. Maybe, deep inside, he had hoped that Cestria would still be standing there, asking him to stay. And if she had been, he didn't know if he could refuse her a second time.

Listening to the doors slide closed behind him, he straightened his shoulders, and headed down the hall in the opposite direction.

Cestro helped him into the ship that would take him away from Aquitar, and back to Earth. Silence passed between them. Cestro had understood Billy's decision, or so he had said. But, as Billy watched Cestro's emotionless expression; as he closed the door, he wasn't so sure he really did understand.

Now alone, Billy sighed, and let the tears fall uncontrolled, down his face. Cleansing his heart, but never his soul. Slowly, he reached into his pocket, and withdrew a small picture. It's corners were rounded and tattered with use and age. Placing it on the control panels before him, it reminded him that he had made the right choice.

Billy heard Cestro's voice in his ears, telling him that it was clear for him to take off.

Telling his friend good bye, Billy piloted the ship through the depths of Aquitar's vast oceans, up through the atmosphere, and into the twinkling lights of space. It would take him two days to reach Earth's range of communication.

Billy watched as the stars streaked past him, as he made his way home.

"I'm coming home...Kim. I'm coming home."

There's no turning back
She's been good to me
And she deserves better than that.