Author's Missive: I've been trying to write this for quite a while, and every time, something either screwed up or I deleted it and started over, searching for just the perfect voice for the fic. Things finally worked out, and here we are. If you're expecting something long, detailed, and mushy, try elsewhere. I don't do mushy details, and I save my long stuff for my series. This gives the core of the romance, which is what I feel is the most important. For further evidence of this couple, see Ghosts and Darkness.
Universal Note: This is in the same universe as my other standalone, 'Their Wedding'.
She was the last of the three who would be leaving. Jason had went back over two years earlier, and she had recently heard that he was engaged to a young woman he'd met on his return, Emily something or other. Zack was also back in Angel Grove, and he and Aisha's successor, Tanya, were seeing each other on a regular basis. She was the last of them to be heading home, and her driver would be coming to pick her up in just a few moments.
A soft smile touched her face for a moment as she considered how things had changed. Kim was dating Adam, a guy Trini just barely knew, but apparently Kim knew him even better. When the beautiful Asian had left Angel Grove, Kim and Tommy had been so solid you couldn't see daylight through them.
I guess all the changes and time just drew them apart. She shrugged to herself. Kim and Adam were happy together, and Kat, Tommy's second girlfriend, was deliriously happy to be in love with, of all people, Skull!! Trini had nearly fallen out of her chair when she'd heard that from Tommy. After Terra Venture had launched, and Skull had been left behind, the ex-Pink Ranger and the ex-punk had started to hang out together more and more. Her relationship with Tommy had slowly mutated from flaring romance into a deep friendship just like the one he had with Kimberly, and Tommy had promised to be best man at their wedding the following summer.
She sealed up the last suitcase and took a long breath. After almost ten years, she was going home. She turned at the sound of the door opening and smiled at the young woman there. "I'm going to miss you, Trini." Jenna Harper came over and hugged her friend. The two of them had grown very close in the last decade; she was from New York, and was some sort of second cousin twice removed to Zack. She had joined them as a sort of auxiliary member of their tight threesome, popping up every now and then, and she and Jason had even dated briefly.
"I'm going to miss you too." Trini smiled at the other girl. "Are you sure you're not going to come with me?"
Jenna shook her head. "I'm happy here, Trini. I like it so much better than I ever did New York. But you should go back. I hear there's someone waiting for you..."
"Jenna!" Trini turned several shades of red. "We are just friends! That's all there is to it!"
The other girl chuckled, knowingly. "That's not what I was seeing when he visited here last month. He likes you, Trini, he likes you a lot."
Nothing Trini could say could persuade her friend otherwise, and the last words the ex-Yellow Ranger heard as she got into the taxi that would take her to the airport was "You'd better invite me to the wedding!"
Several hours later, Trini sighed deeply as she leaned into her seat. The last time she'd been in a plane, she'd been heading to Switzerland, not away from it. She'd thought to be gone only a few months...maybe a year. And instead, I've been there for almost ten years. How strange. She felt no regret for the decade; she looked on it as a necessary facet of her life. She wouldn't be who she was now without the time away from her family and her friends. She had grown up and grown stronger than ever.
"I'm going home," she whispered softly to herself, looking down at two things she had pulled out of storage before boarding the plane. One was a communicator, somewhat old and worn, with a yellow band, while the other was a golden coin with the symbol of the sabre-tooth tiger on one side, the griffin on the other. She remembered when Zordon had given these to her, Zack, and Jason before they left the country. To remember us and every thing else by, he had told them. It held no power, but it would be a memory to hold onto forever. You brought us all together, Zordon. Thank you.
The flight was smooth and uneventful. Trini felt an electric thrill going through her at the thought of seeing him again in just a few minutes. She tried not to think too hard about what Jenna had told her, she did not love him...Oh, who am I fooling? She smiled to herself as she tried to get a glimpse of her hometown through the windows. I've had a crush on him ever since I saw him, but I didn't say anything because of Kim. I tried to avoid it...heck, I left the country!! But it's like something was arranging things so we'd get back together. His relationships fall through....mine don't even get started good.
Trini felt almost as if she were walking on air as she walked off the plane and down the runway towards the luggage carriage. She wasn't really expecting anyone to meet her, so when a familiar hand came down to pick up her suitcase she almost jumped out of her skin.
"Did I scare you, Trini?" an even more familiar voice spoke, and she turned around to see Tommy Oliver standing there, his eyes warm and dancing and full of emotions that she had never once considered naming.
"Just a little." She chuckled and gave him a hug that was meant just to be a friendly squeeze.
It didn't stay that way.
As her arms came around him, his came around her in the same moment, and the two of them found themselves staring into each other's eyes. Trini couldn't believe all she saw there, all the love and compassion and caring that was focused on just one being: her.
"Trini..." he whispered softly, his eyes never leaving her. "I...I think we need to talk."
She took a long breath, breaking the embrace she realized she had been thinking about in parts of her mind ever since she had been born. "I think we do too."
The drive didn't take long. Neither of them said anything during it, but the silence was not uncomfortable. It was the silence of those who know each other so well that there is no need for them to speak. Trini was a little surprised that they didn't go to either the Oliver house or the apartment Tommy had written her that he'd moved into. Instead, the car stopped at the base of a wide cliff.
"What is this place?" she wondered, getting out and looking around. It had been a half hour since they'd left the airport, and that was the first thing spoke between the two of them since the agreement to talk.
Tommy smiled as he got out. "Up there is where I met my brother David for the first time. It's been a long time, but I still like to come up here sometimes. Especially if I have things I want to think about: or people I want to talk to." He glanced up at the cliffs, and Trini could see the memories flashing through his eyes.
"I'd like to meet your brother," she said. "I want to get caught up with everyone." There were quite a few people she had yet to meet, and she wanted to see people that she hadn't seen in years if she could.
The ex-leader nodded. The last time that the group had all been together was about five years earlier, not long after Zordon's death. The full team had gotten together, Zack, Jason, Kim, Trini, Billy, Rocky, Adam, Aisha, Tommy, Kat, Tanya, Justin, Andros, TJ, Carlos, Ashley, Zhane, Cassie, Karone, the Phantom Ranger, all the reformed villains. It had been a huge gathering, but very little personal history had been exchanged. They had learned what had happened from the Space Rangers, talked to each other a little, and then separated again. Tommy knew the deep hunger for talk that burned in each of his old and new friends, and he knew there would be another gathering soon to talk with them, to heal from old wounds and finally learn just how some things had went and some hadn't.
"I thought you would," he told her, then gave her something he pulled out of his pocket. She glanced down at it, then at him, a curious expression on her face. "It's a reunion. Everyone's coming in, even the Aquitian Rangers and Trey. Not just a 'catch the old guys up' thing. We're going to talk. The way we should have that last day."
Trini smiled a little, then met his eyes more firmly. "I think we need to talk about a lot more than just how long it's been since we've seen each other and what lines of work we're both into."
He took a long breath. "You're right." He returned her look, and smiled quietly. "Trini Kwan, I love you. We've known each other for a long time, and I honestly can't imagine my life without you in there somewhere, no matter what it's as. Friend, girlfriend, anything."
"I love you too, Tommy." Trini reached out to take his hand. "I don't know when I started to love you. I just do. I know it's been a long time since we really spent any time together, and this could just be something we're wanting because neither one of us has had someone in a long time in our lives like 'that'. But I know that I've never quite felt like this about anyone. I want to spend more time with you, and find out one way or the other."
Tommy smiled at her, and squeezed her hand softly. His heart was flying. "I know how I feel about you, Trini. After I broke up with Kat, the only thing I could think about was wanting to talk to you. Someone who knew me, someone who understood me."
The two of them smiled briefly at one another, then Trini pulled Tommy closer to her. Something had lit inside of her when they had uttered their avowals of love, something that she had wanted for years. "I'll always be here for you, Tommy," she murmured. "Forever and ever."
"I know." He smiled gently, then their lips met in a kiss that would one day go down in history.