When he had left. When he had come to Switzerland and she had begun to be the Yellow Ranger. He knew that she was doing fine at the job; Tommy and the others kept himself, Zack, and Trini well-informed, but it wasn't quite the same as being there. He had devoured every scrap of news about her that had managed to come through about her, at the same time doing his level best to look as if he were as uninterested in her as he possibly could be.
In reality, his thoughts revolved around her to the point of distraction. He couldn't get her out of his head, she was just perfect. Skin as dark as sweet summer nights, eyes that reminded him of star-filled skies, hair like spun shadows...Oh, yes, he was besotted. Completely and utterly in love. In love with Aisha Campbell.
"I have to go back..." he murmured softly, staring at a picture he'd managed to get sent without her knowing. "I have to....do something." He was feeling completely at a loss here.
A touch of light fingers told him that he wasn't alone. "Jase?" Trini looked at him, then to the picture held in between his fingers. She smiled just a little. "Not exactly the type I'd expect you to fall for, really."
"What are you...." Jason had never been able to conceal anything from Trini, and he didn't even bother to try this time. "Yeah, I can't believe it either. It was just a click when I saw her at the Team Ninja Finals. I felt like...for the first time...I'd met someone who could understand me, at every level I had and then some. I just ...never said anything about it."
Trini looked intrigued. "Why not? You could've talked to her before we left, you know. There was time."
"I know." Jason whispered the words. "But I just couldn't bring myself to do it."
The ex-Yellow Ranger regarded her friend for a few moments. "You were too scared she already had a boyfriend, weren't you? And then once you found out we were coming here..."
"I realized there wasn't a single chance we could ever be together, and I might as well accept it and deal with it," Jason murmured with a sigh as he put the picture away. "But I can't get her out of my mind, I think about her every day, I want to call her, but she hardly knows I exist! Trini, what do I do?" For one of the few times in his life, Jason was asking for the help of someone else.
Trini knew exactly what to tell him. "Go to her, Jason. We're going home next week anyway. Talk to her. Find out what she's like. Get to know her."
He sighed, steeling himself. "I will."
J.L.S. and A.C.
Jason Lee Scott and Aisha Campbell. Him and her. Her and him. The ex-Red Ranger and the current Yellow Ranger. The mere thought of him made her tingle all over in ways she had never tingled before. She wanted to be near him in every way she could, and was, subtly. She sat in the seats he had used whenever she could; she used the same mat for working out that he had.
Pathetic, really. He's in Switzerland and I'm here... She sighed a little. And that's how things are going to say. Forever apart...because I didn't have the guts to talk to him before he left.
"Hi, Aisha!" she looked up as Billy put his books down next to her. The two of them had had a wonderful time at the romance dance two weeks earlier, but that was it. He was the only person who knew about the burning love inside she had for someone she hardly knew, and the only person that she trusted to know. Even Rocky and Adam didn't know, and she had known the two of them for years, since as far back as she could remember.
She remembered how she had told him. It hadn't been that long after she had assumed the Yellow Ranger powers, the two of them had been working together late at the Command Center one night. She wasn't very good at repairing things, but she was the only one available and Billy had needed the help. As she had handed him various tools, they had drifted into a conversation about the three Rangers in Switzerland. Billy's voice had been somewhat nostalgic in memory of his friends, and after the repairs, they were both so much into the conversation still that he had broken out his old scrapbook and shown her pictures of them in the 'old days.'
Billy had noticed something was up when she'd nearly fallen out of her chair at the sight of Jason in nothing but a pair of red swimming trunks. It had taken him a bit of prying, but he had gotten it out of her.
"Aisha?" she jumped a little at his voice and realized she'd gotten lost in thought. Did it again. I keep thinking about him and anything related to him. This is getting disgusting.
"I'm okay," she reassured him. "What's up?"
The Blue Ranger's face broke into a wide grin. "The Peace Conference is over. The others are coming home."
Aisha went alternately pale and red. "You mean...."
"That's right." Billy smiled at her. "Jason will be coming back."
She took a long breath. Another chance to tell him I love him.
And we're going to have to catch a cab back to my place, I guess. They all knew better than to think the Rangers would show up after what looked to be a fairly rough fight. Maybe one or two, probably Tommy and Billy, but the others...well, they would probably stay at the Command Center or be at the Youth Center or....
"Hey, guys!" A very familiar voice hailed them, and the three were shocked to see the entire team standing there waving! Billy was the one who had called out, and the returnees just stared in shock.
"But...." Zack was the first of them to find his voice. "We saw you...I mean..the fight...
Tommy smiled. "Hey, nothing was going to keep us from making sure you guys got a proper welcome home. Come on, my truck's waiting outside."
Kim, Billy, and Tommy quickly swirled around Zack and Trini, pulling them along, with Rocky and Adam following behind. Jason and Aisha found themselves somewhat left behind, and staring at each other somewhat uncomfortably.
"I think they forgot about us," Aisha giggled finally. I think he's gotten a little taller...better looking...other than that, hasn't changed a bit. He's even wearing a red shirt still! She smiled at him as she turned a little to watch the others. "Think we should catch up before there's no more room is Tommy's truck?"
"Yeah," Jason shifted his bag a little in his hand, his mind going completely blank as they started walking. I want to say everything I thought about her when I was overseas...and I'm barely able to say my own name! Wait, what was that she just said? He paused briefly. "I'm sorry, I was kind of thinking about something else just now. What did you just say?"
Aisha smiled widely, she had hoped that would get his attention if nothing else would. She might be so nervous she was on the verge of jumping out of her skin, but she wasn't going to let the second chance fate had somehow given her slip away. "Oh, it's okay. I was saying that there's going to be this dance at Ernie's tomorrow night, everyone's going to be there."
I screw this up, I've lost it all. No more second chances after this. Jason knew that wasn't anywhere near logical, but logic was Billy's strong point, not his. "Sounds like a blast. I'm going to be looking forward to it." He gulped slightly mentally and plunged headlong into the next step. "So who are you going with?"
"Oh, I don't have a date," Aisha shook her head. Not that I haven't been asked or anything, but I wanted to go with you.
"Oh." Jason waged a brief internal war. He might look confidant, and indeed he was on the battlefield, but that was precisely where his expertise ended. On the field of the heart, Jason felt every bit as awkward and uncoordinated as it was possible to be.
However, this one time, he wasn't going to let that stop him. "Would you like to go with me?" Now she's going to laugh or something, say she has other plans...that's how it works.
"Sure!" Aisha gushed the word out, her eyes sparkling like heaven itself. "I'd love to!" Her right hand stole out quickly and wrapped itself around Jason's free hand. It felt just as warm and full of life as she had imagined it would, and she sighed deeply. At last...
As the two of them came out of the airport, the first thing they saw was the rest of the team perched all around Tommy's truck, and obviously waiting for them. Aisha smiled quietly at Billy, who smiled just as briefly back. He was seated next to Trini, and looking every bit as happy as she felt.
"Let's go home," Jason murmured. Home at last. With Aisha.
He wore a sleek black suit with a few touches of red here and there, and looked practically divine. She wore a shimmer of yellow silk that glowed faintly in the overhead lights. Neither one of them was noticing anything but the way their date was moving, the things their date was saying, and the rest of the universe fairly well didn't exist, as far as they were concerned.
"I've been wanting to do something like this with you for a long time now...about a year, actually," Jason confided. Since they had come here together, he had felt as much at ease as if he had been with her since the first moment they had met. He was actually talking to her, something that floored his friends as they drifted by with their own dates. The topics they had covered ranged from how nervous each had been to ask the other out, to martial arts, to the trails and tribulations of being Rangers. When the three returnees had dropped in to the Command Center to touch base with Zordon and Alpha, their old mentor had hinted somewhat strongly that Ninjor was perfectly willing and capable of forging three new Power Coins, should Jason, Zack, and Trini be willing to take up their duties again. Needless to say, they had been quite willing.
But that wasn't what was on either of their minds right now. A slow song began to play, and Aisha jumped up suddenly, grinning. "Let's dance!" She held her hand out to Jason who put on a reluctant expression for just a moment, then took her hand.
"I thought you'd never ask." He smiled. Moving closer together and out onto the dance floor, they began to sway to a song that just seemed to sum it all up for the both of them. Savage Garden's I Knew I Loved You.
Aisha smiled up at him. "That really is us," she told him, leaning against his chest for a moment. "I knew I loved you before I met you, Jason. I knew I loved you when I met you."
"Same here." He let his fingers brush through her long hair and smiled deeply. All of his dreams were answered in her. Someone who was as strong as he was, physically and emotionally, someone who understood the parts of him that he had never even wanted to admit he had, someone who just was the missing part of his soul.
She had never felt so loved in all her life. Since his return and their agreeing to be here together, they hadn't been apart for more time than it took to sleep. When they had been out walking in the park earlier that day and been pestered by Tengas, Jason had proven that his fighting capabilities hadn't laxed a bit since he had left, and from the few memories she had of seeing him train every now and then, she was inclined to think they'd gotten better.
My world is complete. She sighed in joy as they moved silkenly across the dance floor. Utterly complete forever.
Jason glanced down at her, then slowly lifted her head up to look into his eyes. She gazed back with her entire soul in them, and what happened next was completely natural and completely what the both of them wanted.
Under the spinning lights and among the music and laughter and joy and love of their friends, Aisha Campbell and Jason Lee Scott kissed for the very first, but never the last, time.
"I love you."
"I love you."