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I'm not going to pretend (that I'm the type of girl you'd call more than a friend)

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 ***

 

Trini loves being a Power Ranger, she really does.

She especially loves the dorks it tethers her to.

Finding her power coin with four random kids from school is the best thing that ever happened to her.

Minus the getting hit by a train part.

And the nearly being killed (twice!) by an evil, gold obsessed ex-Ranger who tried to end the world part.

The perks certainly outweigh the cons, having acquired a whole new family, not to mention the sudden increase in her speed, strength and healing abilities – all pretty handy and not something she can really complain about.

The one power she has her issues with though is this whole weird psychic-emotional connection thing they seem to share. While it had its uses – knowing when one of them was upset or in danger was an advantage in solving said problems – it could also be… frustrating. Especially if you wanted your emotions to be private… or for one of your fellow Rangers’ emotions to stay private.

Sharing an emotional connection as five hormonal teenagers can be a challenge, to say the least. Unfortunately, their connection doesn’t really come with a ‘Not Safe For Work’ filter, so if one of them is riled up in some way, the rest can feel it. They do their best to ignore it and not acknowledge it, for the sake of each other’s privacy and to save everyone from embarrassment.

Not that they had reached the point where they could separate each other’s signal anyway, so it’s not like they would know who they could feel without asking, which, awkward.

The team’s discovery of the new Green Ranger, Tommy, made the whole thing even messier. She had discovered her power coin a few weeks after Rita had been backhanded into the stratosphere. While a little distrusting at first, the team welcomed her into the fold and she soon became an important member of their little family.

Trini especially had cultivated a close friendship with the newest Ranger. They would often hang out under the pretence of doing school work together – they shared more classes with each other than the rest of the team, so it wasn’t exactly untrue. Most of their time, however, was actually spent lamenting over their inconvenient crushes – Trini’s on Kim, and Tommy’s on Zack.

She‘d learned of Tommy’s feelings for Zack relatively early on.

 

Trini, Kim and Tommy had stood watching Zack show Billy and Jason how to do some new move he’d been working on.

Trini felt a pang of panic, sensing a rush of attraction radiate from one of them, gaze immediately flicking to try to surreptitiously gauge Kim’s expression. Kim’s brow furrowed for a moment. A strange fleeting sense of discomfort that Trini couldn’t quite decipher buzzed through her chest for a second, the way loud bass does at a concert, but Kim looked mostly amused, not infatuated.

No, that particular emotion Trini quickly attributed to Tommy on Kim’s other side, whose jaw had practically hit the floor when Zack had taken his shirt off – the act of which caused Trini to roll her eyes because really?

She wondered if the others could sense Tommy’s attraction and were just politely ignoring it. They usually did, but this was hard for Trini to ignore, though perhaps it was just her momentary fear that Kim had suddenly developed some sort of attraction to Zack.

Trini had broken the unspoken rule that evening, during one of her and Tommy’s study sessions. She confessed her feelings for Kim at the same time, because she supposed it was only fair that if Trini was going to bring up something that might make Tommy uncomfortable that she offer something equally uncomfortable in return.

So… Zack, huh?” She said in an overly casual tone, eyes on her textbook.

Tommy sighed, dropped her pen into her own textbook.

“You can feel it, then?” Trini nodded. “Crap. Zack totally knows then, right?”

“Nah, I think he just assumes it’s me,” the faux casualness persisted. “He’s used to feeling my raging crush on Kim, so…”

Tommy was gracious enough to pretend to be surprised, and Trini pretended not to see through it.

“Shit, looks like we’re in the same boat, then.”

“Without a paddle,” Trini quipped, and Tommy had chuckled.

 

After that, their study sessions often dissolved into conversations about the possible subtext of Kim’s words to Trini that morning, or whether or not Zack had been checking Tommy out during training the previous week.

Trini would never admit to anyone, ever, that she partakes in such cliché ‘gossip sessions’, but she knows, for the sake of not bottling up their emotions, that she and Tommy both need them.

 

***

 

Kim had noticed that Trini and Tommy had become pretty close since Tommy joined the team.

She wasn’t jealous.

She wasn’t.

She was glad that Trini had made Tommy feel so welcome and that she had another friend she felt comfortable with. Trini deserved to have everyone know how great she is.

She just really, really didn’t like the idea that Tommy might think Trini is great in the same way that Kim does. Or rather, that Trini might think that of Tommy, too.

Basically, Kimberly Hart was a big ol’ bisexual mess. She had been harbouring a crush on Trini since they had first become a team, and for some reason all of her usual bravado escaped her whenever she tried to actually do something about it.

She fell onto her bed with a sigh. Training that day had been rough. The training itself was no better or worse than usual, they were all used to it by now and it was nowhere near as hard as it had been when they had started. It was Kim’s mind that was most exhausted, from over thinking.

She’d been watching the boys goof around at the end of training, with Tommy and Trini either side of her. All of a sudden, a rush of attraction had flowed through her, via their Ranger Connection. In the same moment, she saw Trini’s eyes snap in her direction in her peripheral vision.

No, in Tommy’s direction.

Kim had tried to hide her frown, keeping her gaze stubbornly fixed on the boys and trying to focus on their shenanigans. Zack’s shirt had disappeared at some point and Kim fought her eye roll.

She threw her arm over her face at the memory, groaning into the crook of her elbow. She stayed like that for a long time, thinking back on Trini and Tommy’s interactions, searching for any signs of deeper feelings there.

Shaken from her reverie by the buzz of her phone on the bed beside her, she reached for it blindly to read the notifications – a message from Zack.

 

Zack Taylor changed his nickname to MastAdonis

MastAdonis: needed an appropriately sexy name

 

Kim sighed in amused exasperation. Her friends had a penchant for puns that she had grown to appreciate over the course of their time together.

That didn’t mean she was willing to admit as much.

 

Kim Hart: *vomit emoji*

MastAdonis: u love me

Kim Hart: I’m constantly rethinking that unfortunate decision

MastAdonis: you couldn’t stop if you tried

Kim Hart: Bitch, watch me

MastAdonis: ur mean today, been spending too much time with crazy girl

MastAdonis changed Kim Hart’s nickname to cold harted

cold harted: Rude

MastAdonis: you know i kid. is it you i can feel angsting?

cold harted: I’m not angsting

MastAdonis: yeahhhhh you are. wanna talk about it?

 

Kim sighs, thumbs hovering over the keyboard of her phone. She was an only child, but she can imagine that the blend of annoyance and affection she feels for Zack is comparable to that of a sibling relationship. She had always secretly wanted an annoying little brother and Zack filled that space in her heart perfectly, just like the rest of the Rangers all filled their own special spaces in each others’ chests.

She was especially glad for Zack in recent months, since Trini had started spending more time with Tommy. She and Zack would often angst together, as he loved to put it, over their feelings for Trini and Tommy, respectively.

Zack, ever impatient, had spammed her in the few moments she’d taken to think before responding, with no less than thirty-two question marks. As well as a gif of a baby elephant wearing pink Converse. Kim chuckles at that, which she suspects was his goal the whole time – he had correctly deduced she was the one exuding demoralised vibes, after all.

 

cold harted: Couldn’t find a mastodon gif, huh?

MastAdonis: they aRE IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND WHAT SORT OF MAMMUTIDAE ERASURE

cold harted: I think the erasure happened a few million years ago when they went extinct.

MastAdonis: SO INSENSITIVE.

MastAdonis changed cold harted’s nickname to Kimsensitive

Kimsensitive: Awful. Also I can’t believe you know the word Mammutidae.

MastAdonis: ya i’m not just a pretty face

Kimsensitive:

MastAdonis: tommy taught me

Kimsensitive: There we go

MastAdonis: stop changing the subject and tell zacky what’s making kimmy blue

Kimsensitive: If you call me Kimmy again, you’ll be black and blue

MastAdonis: ok, ok point taken. seriously though, what’s up?

 

Kim hesitates again. Voicing her concerns that Trini and Tommy might have feelings for each other could hurt Zack too, and no matter how annoying he was, she never wanted him to feel any more pain than he already had to if she could help it.

Yep, he was definitely her little brother.

 

MastAdonis: it’s about trini and tommy, right?

 

Kim berates herself a little for underestimating how astute Zack could be when he wanted to. There goes her plan to protect him.

 

Kimsensitive: They seem close, right? Like, ‘potentially dating’ close?

MastAdonis: yeah, i’ve noticed too. that’s why i haven’t made a move on tommy. i just want crazy girl to be happy

Kimsensitive: You’re right, Trini deserves to be happy.

MastAdonis: you would just prefer she was happy with you

Kimsensitive: I hate that you can read me like this. Is that totally selfish?

MastAdonis: nah, i get it, but if we really care about them we’ll let them be happy even if it’s not because of us

 

It was rare, but when Zack took a moment to be serious, it became apparent that he’s far more mature than he seems, when it matters. Kim supposed that came with the territory of looking after his Mom. Zack had to grow up quicker than most other kids their age, she often forgets that when he’s being his usual goofy self. Maybe that was the point.

He was also, she was reluctant to admit, right.

 

Kimsensitive: You’re surprisingly wise sometimes

MastAdonis: embracing them chinese stereotypes

 

Kim shakes her head, a small smile dancing across her lips, and glances at the time before replying. It was getting late and sleep was beginning to tug at the edges of her vision.

 

Kimsensitive: Goodnight, Zack. Thanks for making me feel a little better.

MastAdonis: i gotchu hart, any time. sleep tight.

 

***

 

It was during one of Trini and Tommy’s regular ‘study’ hangouts a few days later that they felt their Ranger Connection flaring up. Trini dismisses it out of courtesy, as usual, but it was more difficult than she had found it before, more intense than she had ever felt it.

They were both working on their respective English essays in silence, the tension of which was building the more they tried to ignore the vibes coming from one of their friends somewhere across town. Finally, Tommy broke through the silence, clearly unable to focus anymore.

“Can we please acknowledge that someone is getting laid right now?” She says, tact forgotten in her frustration.

“I’d really rather not,” Trini says to her essay. “And what makes you think they’re having sex? They could just be, you know, taking care of things themselves or something.”

Tommy laughs at Trini’s attempt (and failure) to not look too uncomfortable at the thought of her friends in such an intimate situation.

“Nah, it’s way more intense than it is when that’s happening, I know you can feel that, too”

Trini sighs in defeat, “well, yeah, but it’s not like any of us can sleep with non-Rangers. We’d probably end up killing them with our super strength or something.”

“It must be two of us then,” Tommy concludes logically, a look of concern washing over her face. “Do you think it’s Zack…?”

“Who would sleep with Zack?”

“Um, I would.”

“Gross. I meant other than you, Thirsten Stewart.”

“The only thirsty gay here is you, Ms Hart-eyes…” Tommy frowned, realising her joke wasn’t as obvious verbally as it was in her head, “As in, Kimberly Hart –“

“Yes, thank you, I got it, jerk,” Trini interrupts, throwing her pen at Tommy in displeasure. She catches it easily, of course, and twirls it between her fingers with a smirk.

“Seriously though,” she says, schooling her face back into a more sombre expression. “Do you think it’s Zack? He flirts with Jason sometimes, in his weird way. I can never tell if he’s joking or not.”

The whole team knew Zack didn’t take gender into consideration when he was attracted to people. Trini recalls the day he had told them, in typical Zack fashion – with pancakes.

 

Trini and Kim had both groaned at the pun, but voiced their support, Tommy nodding in agreement.

Jason laughed raucously before simply saying “same, dude,” clarifying that he indentifies as bi.

Billy clearly didn’t get the joke, regarding Zack with a questioning look, and clapped excitedly when he explained.

“Oooh, yeah, me too, I think that’s what I am, too. Right, Jason?”

“Yeah, Billy” Jason said, voice full of affection.

Zack laughed then, looking around the table.

“Damn, is anyone on this team straight?”

Trini saw Tommy open her mouth to respond, but was distracted by Kim pointedly clearing her throat, prompting curious looks from the rest of the team. Trini was especially interested in Kim’s reaction, catching Zack’s gaze and seeing the amusement dancing in his eyes. Kim chanced a look around the group, a sheepish look on her face.

“Oh, yeah, bi the way, guys…”

It was Zack’s turn to groan at the pun, everyone else chuckling, understanding what she was telling them without her needing to elaborate.

“Welcome to the team,” Trini vaguely heard Jason say, evoking a laugh from Kim, through the haze of her racing thoughts as she processed this new information.

(She had missed Kim trying to catch her eye, the slight disappointment in seeing that Trini was pointedly avoiding looking at her.)

 

Trini shook herself from the memory and met Tommy’s expectant gaze.

“That’s just Zack being Zack, he used to try to flirt with me when we first met. Plus I’m pretty sure he would have said something to me if he was into Jason,” she assures Tommy.

Tommy, seemingly satisfied with Trini’s answer, relaxes a little, her shoulders loosening up as she leans back against the headboard on her bed. After a moment, she hesitates before speaking again.

“I hate to bring it up, but… Kim and Jason…?”

“Aren’t a thing,” Trini finishes immediately. “I used to think that too, but Kim told me a while ago that they’re just friends.”

“You believe her?”

“She has no reason to lie.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.”

“Jason is at Billy’s tonight,” she says in lieu of answering. “He said they’re working on some surprise Ranger project, so I doubt Zack –or Kim - is sleeping with him,” Trini reassures Tommy, and herself. “And I really resent you making me think about Zack or Jason having sex, in any capacity.”

Tommy apologises through her laughter, before pursing her lips in thought.

“Well, who the hell is it then? Kim and Zack are the only ones unaccounted for.”

Trini’s insides run cold at the thought as she and Tommy share a look. Tommy was right; they were the only ones who didn’t have an alibi, so to speak. Tommy seems to pick up on the panic spiral Trini was on the verge of, backpedalling quickly.

“Hey, no, don’t listen to me,” Tommy says, shaking her head and causing her curls to bounce. “It’s not them. Zack would never do that to you, he knows how you feel about Kim!”

The rational part of Trini knew she was right, but the irrational part of her was talking over it, and she couldn’t quite shake the idea now that she had considered it. Tommy could tell she wasn’t quite convinced, so she persisted.

“I’ll tell you what it probably is. One of them was probably taking care of business themselves, the other felt it and thought ‘hey, good idea’ and decided to do the same.”

She dips her head to meet Trini’s gaze, which is directed down at her book. She eventually looks up, with a nod.

“You’re probably right. I was over thinking it…”

“Hey, me too. I’m sorry I brought it up, I didn’t mean to insinuate it was them together.”

Trini assures her she doesn’t need to apologise, before they finally go back to their English assignments. Trini tries to shake the idea of Zack and Kim together, but it lingers in the back of her mind for the rest of the night, and well into the next day.

 

***

 

Kim had been restless all evening. She could feel the energy buzzing from all of them, most fervently from two Rangers, specifically, though she couldn’t pinpoint who.

Not knowing did nothing to settle her nerves.

She wasn’t sure knowing would, either.

It had to be Tommy and Trini. The thought of Trini with someone else was painful, no matter how much she tried to dress it up.

Her attempts to suppress the cocktail of emotions swirling in her mind and chest were decidedly unsuccessful, as she struggled to focus on anything but the sharp desire she could feel emanating from two of her fellow Rangers somewhere in Angel Grove. She could feel the love in it, and she was ashamed of herself for not finding joy in that. She should be happy that Trini is happy.

Kim was a mess, honestly.

She’s not surprised, then, when she receives a text from Zack.

 

Zack: dude they’re banging

Kim: I’m very aware, Zack, though I’m trying not to be.

Zack: come over

Kim: Gross

Zack: I don’t mean it like that. I just mean we can hang out and distract ourselves, better than wallowing alone. I already told my mom you’d come and watch crappy movies with us, you can’t let her down.

 

It was a dirty move, bringing his Mom into it. He knew none of them could ever deny his Mom anything. Kim knew he must’ve been picking up on her confliction pretty acutely, as well as dealing with his own feelings about the situation.

She had to admit, once again, that he was right. Hiding away in her room alone wasn’t going to do a whole lot in the way of distraction.

She grabbed her leather jacket and slipped into her shoes, quickly shooting back a reply.

 

Kim: Be there in five.

 

***

 

“…and that’s how I managed to win a pie eating contest I hadn’t even entered,” Zack finished his frankly unnecessarily long-winded recount of the tale.

He had been weaving an epic account of his “accidental feat of gastronomic achievement” to Trini and Tommy, the latter of which was listening with a smirk, amusement evident. Billy and Jason had been listening on in veiled amazement.

Jason pulls Billy away gently before he could praise Zack’s victory with his trademark enthusiasm, not wanting to encourage Zack and his ego too much, but they were obviously impressed.

Trini, on the other hand, was clearly distracted.

They had been in the Pit for 20 minutes now, waiting to begin training.

Waiting for Kim.

Trini was concerned, if she was honest.

Kim was rarely late to training, not without at least warning them first.

“I think I’m gonna call Kim, find out where she is…” Trini says, reaching towards her backpack to pull out her phone.

“Oh, she won’t answer, she doesn’t have her phone,” Zack says.

“How do you know that?”

Zack opens his mouth to respond, but is interrupted by Kim finally making her entrance.

“Sorry I’m late, guys, I’ve lost my phone,” she says, shaking her damp hair out of her face and throwing her bag in the pile with the others.

“You left it at mine last night,” Zack informs her. He pulls it from his pocket and holds it out to her, and she smiles gratefully. “I found it as I was leaving to come here, and obviously I couldn’t text you to tell you I had it.”

“Thanks Zack, I wasn’t looking forward to telling my parents I needed a new phone. Again.”

Trini stands wide eyed and slack jawed, looking between the two of them in disbelief. Tommy’s face is approaching a similar level of perplexed. Tommy tries to catch Trini’s eye, remembering their conversation the night before, but her gaze is still bouncing between Kim and Zack.

“How many phones have you had to replace since becoming a Power Ranger?” Zack asks through a chuckle. Before Kim can respond, she’s cut off.

“You two were together last night?” Tommy asks, cautiously, not sure she wants to know the answer.

Trini just continues to stare. Her expression has morphed from her previous confusion to a look of pure rage. Seven feet of concentrated fury compressed into a five foot container. Tommy sees the storm brewing in the tiny Ranger's eyes. If she could predict what was coming, she was too dumbfounded to react quickly enough to stop it.

“Yeah, I invited h- OW WHAT THE FUCK!?” Zack bought a hand up to cradle his nose, where Trini had thrown her fist into it, putting a fair amount of her Ranger strength behind it. An astounded silence filled the air as everyone looked upon the scene, puzzled.

“Trini, what the hell?” Kim finally manages to ask, as Zack quietly whines.

“I think you broke my nose,” he whimpers.

Trini, patience clearly spent on the current situation, brushes past Kim and Zack and makes for the exit, disappearing before anyone can collect themselves enough to think to stop her.

The remaining group gather around Zack to check on his injury. Tommy lays a comforting hand on his back as Kim examines the damage. Billy looks on with concern, and Jason stands stalwartly watching over his friends, but glances towards the exit, clearly fighting the instinct to follow after Trini.

The quiet is broken when Tommy asks the question that had been burning in her throat during the conflict.

“So you guys did sleep together last night,” she says, covering the pain in her voice with a poor attempt at a casual tone.

“NO!” Zack protests, wincing as Kim jolted in her actions in checking his bloody nose.

“GROSS!” Kim grimaces at the same time.

“Wow, rude…”

Kim ignores him and turns to give Tommy her full attention.

“You and Trini were the ones who slept together,” Kim says, and Zack nods over her shoulder.

Tommy laughs in their faces, the incredulity apparent on her face.

“Um, we most certainly did not!” She says.

Kim and Zack both share a look of confusion before Zack asks, “well then, who did?”

Jason clears his throat uncomfortably and they turn back to him and Billy. Billy looks apologetic while Jason flashes a sheepish grin.

“…I knew it,” Zack whispers triumphantly.

“No way!” Tommy says, a huge smile breaking out across her face.

Kim can’t stop herself from beaming at them as relief floods her chest, despite the other events taking place in that moment. She should’ve known, in all honesty, but she’d been too caught up in her own feelings for a fellow Ranger that she hadn’t noticed the signs of their blossoming relationship.

“So it’s your fault I got punched,” Zack says, narrowing his eyes at Jason.

Jason scoffs.

“Why is it only my fault? Billy was there too!” Billy nods, corroborating the fact.

“Billy has done nothing wrong in his life ever!”

“Guys!” Kim draws their attention to her. “Jason, Billy, I’m so happy for you both, but I have to go find Trini and straighten this mess out.”

“There’s nothing straight about this mess,” Zack sniggers and Tommy punches his shoulder lightly.

“Hey, Oliver, you owe me $20, I totally called Blue and Jay months ago AND YOU OWE ME MONEY TOO KIMBERLY HART DON’T THINK YOU CAN RUN AWAY FROM THIS!” He calls after Kim as she strides towards the exit purposefully.

“Zack, we really need to talk about your gambling problem,” Kim hears Tommy sigh before she jumps back up into the water.

Only when she reaches the surface does she truly begin the process what Trini’s actions meant.

Trini had been jealous at the idea of Zack and Kim sleeping together. And clearly it had nothing to do with how she feels about Zack. Which meant it must have been about Kim.

Trini likes her back.

Kim trembles at the prospect.

She really needed to find Trini.

 

***

 

Trini sits, secluded, on the ledge of the spot that Kim had shown her a few months before, taking stock of the absolute train wreck that was her personal life in that moment.

Zack, her best friend – practically her brother - whom she literally trusted with her life, had betrayed her, knowing full well how she felt about Kim.

Kim, the girl she was maybe possibly definitely a little bit in love with.

Trini focuses intently on the water below her, letting the white noise of the wind blowing through the leaves of the trees drown out her anger and devastation. She thought back to the first time Kim brought her here.

 

“None of the others know about this place,” Kim had confessed as they sat side by side, arms brushing lightly, raising goose bumps that Trini had tried to blame on the cool evening air.

“Really?” Trini asked, casting a sceptical look at Kim. She admired her profile in the low light, gaze skimming along her jaw line, up to her eyes and back down the slope of her nose, to settle at her lips and the beauty mark nestled at the corner of her mouth.

“Well, Jason stumbled upon it, the night we found our power coins,” Trini stiffened a little bit at that, as Kim continued. “But that doesn’t count. I didn’t invite him here.”

Kim brushed their hands together, tangling their fingers together and Trini’s heart picked up its pace as she looked down at their joined hands.

“We’re just friends, you know,” Kim said, and Trini brings her eyes up to meet Kim’s, brow quirking in question. “Jason and I, I mean, not you and me. Uh, I mean, obviously, we’re friends, I wasn’t trying to suggest…”

Kim’s flustered response and flushed cheeks only adds to Trini’s confusion. She couldn’t tell if Kim was embarrassed about inferring they were more than friends because she liked the idea or because she hated it. Either way, it was unlike Kim to be anything but at least faux confident.

“You and Jason aren’t a thing, got it,” Trini said, opting to let Kim off the hook for the rest of her statement.

Kim grimaced briefly at her own inability to articulate around the other girl, while Trini is distracted by the stars slipping into view from behind the clouds and the reflection of the moon in the water below.

“Thanks for bringing me here,” Trini said, looking back at Kim to see her already focused on her. “It’s really beautiful.”

Trini bit her tongue before she could extend the same compliment to the girl beside her.

“There’s no one else I’d rather share it with,” Kim said, and it had been Trini’s turn to hide her blush, then.

 

Trini smiles sadly at the memory, swallowing back her tears. She had foolishly thought her feelings could be reciprocated that night. Kim had made similar strange accidental insinuations about the state of their friendship a few times since, only to rectify her words awkwardly afterwards.

It became apparent over time that Kim didn’t want to give Trini the wrong idea by suggesting they might be more than friends.

Because she only wanted them to be friends.

Trini could accept that. She wasn’t sure she could accept Zack going after Kim knowing how she felt.

Trini sighs deeply, running a hand over her face.

“She can sleep with whoever she wants, Trini,” she reminds herself grimly.

Her pity party was crashed, then, by the sound of approaching footsteps, the gravel crunching gently.

“There you are,” Kim says quietly, relief in her voice. “I was afraid I wouldn’t find you.”

“I was hoping you wouldn’t,” Trini replies hollowly.

“So you came to a place you knew about because of me?” Kim asks, and Trini curses internally.

“Just say whatever you came to say,” she says, wanting to get this sure to be painful, awkward situation over and done with so she can move on with her life.

Kim sighs and settles herself next to Trini, who moves over, putting space between them. Trini tries her best to ignore the hurt expression on Kim’s face.

“I just want to explain. We could feel that someone was having sex and we assumed it was you and Tommy. So we hung out so we could distract ourselves.”

“I really don’t need the details,” Trini scoffs. “I felt them pretty clearly.”

“Did you not hear me?” Kim clarifies. “We felt someone else doing it, it wasn’t us. Zack and I watched movies with his Mom!”

Trini finally chances a glance in Kim’s direction.

“It wasn’t you and Zack?” She asks uncertainly.

“No! Zack likes Tommy!”

Trini finally turns her full attention to Kim at that.

“He does? He didn’t tell me.”

“He thought you two were dating and didn’t want to ruin things for you,” Kim smiles ruefully. “He just wants you to be happy.”

Trini can’t help but smile at the revelation, warmth blossoming in her chest at the thought of her best friend being willing to sacrifice his own potential happiness for her.

Swiftly followed by guilt at the idea.

Despite their banter, she wants Zack to be happy. She really loves him, not that she would say that to his face. She feels pretty bad about punching him now, he hadn’t done anything to deserve it (for once).

“Wait, so…?!” Trini struggled to rearrange all the pieces into the correct order in her mind.

Kim quirks her eyebrows with a smirk.

“Jason and Billy?!” Trini asks.

“Yep.”

“Damn, I totally should’ve known!”

“Right?”

“So this is all Jason’s fault?” Trini asks, a slight grin finding its way onto her face.

“I mean, I think Billy had a pretty significant role in it too,” Kim says, with a playful eye roll.

“Yeah but Billy is innocent of everything, ever, we know this.”

“We do,” Kim concedes.

The girls both laugh, the tension finally dispersing between them. Trini shifts a little closer, to Kim’s muted delight.

“Why does everyone think Tommy and I are dating?”

“I guess it was miscommunication? It felt like you were distancing yourself from me and spending a lot more time with Tommy. Combined with the weird Ranger Connection vibes, I just… jumped to conclusions? I’m sorry. I should have just talked to you about it.”

“That goes for me, too,” Trini says. “I didn’t mean to be distant. I just… I thought maybe I’d been making you uncomfortable or something? You kept making it obvious that we were just friends, and you just wanted us to be friends.”

Kim groans.

“Actually,” she says. “I was just failing miserably at being remotely smooth…”

Confusion is quickly becoming a very regular fixture on Trini’s face.

“Kimberly Hart, failing to be the epitome of sauve? I don’t believe it.”

“Yeah, well, you throw me off my game,” Kim confesses, smiling shyly and tucking a lock of hair behind her ear nervously.

“You mean…?”

Kim chuckles, “I like you, idiot.”

Trini is dumbstruck for a few moments, before she finds her words.

“Wow, Kim,” she smirks. “Call your crush an idiot, real smooth.”

That’s what you’re choosing to focus on?”

“You really like me?” Trini asks, biting her lip and dipping her head.

Kim reaches out slowly to softly cradle Trini’s chin and gently bring her gaze back up to meet with Kim’s.

“I really do. Have done for a while, honestly.”

“How long is a while?”

Kim hesitates for a moment before answering.

“Since you tore my locker off its hinges that day… But I knew for sure when we almost morphed in Krispy Kreme.”

Trini laughs.

A lot.

Kim isn’t sure how to take it.

“Uh, not really the reaction I was hoping for…”

“Sorry!” Trini says, her laughter dying down. “It’s just, I can’t believe we’ve both liked each other all this time. I thought I was reading into things, I didn’t think there was any way you actually liked me back.”

“So you like me back?”

“I punched Zack because I thought he slept with you! Of course I like you, idiot!” Trini winks.

“Oh, so now that’s smooth, alright then.”

“What can I say?” Trini shrugs with a grin.

Kim smiles fondly as she brushes a loose strand of hair behind Trini’s ear, before bringing her hand down to cradle her jaw gently. She rubs her thumb across Trini’s cheek soothingly, who leans into the touch. They both slowly, slowly begin to close the gap between them.

“I’d really like to kiss you now, if that’s okay?” Kim says into the almost non-existent space between their lips, her voice barely a whisper and breath tickling Trini’s lips.

“Oh God, there isn’t enough okay in the universe for how okay that is.”

They close the gap then, finally, and their lips meet. The months of bottled up emotions flow out into the kiss, crashing against the girls. It reminded Trini of Kim throwing them from the cliff, the rush before hitting the water; the fear and exhilaration pumping through her veins, rattling around her chest cavity.

Trini brings her hands to grasp at Kim’s waist and Kim’s hand finds its way to the back of Trini’s neck, angling them to deepen the kiss.

They eventually part, resting their foreheads together and savouring the moment of intimacy, contentment flooding through both of them.

“Just to be clear,” Kim says, “I don’t want us to be just friends. I want us to be a thing.”

Trini smiles radiantly.

“I want us to be a thing, too. Very much so.”

They lapse back into a comfortable silence then, shifting so that Trini can rest her head on Kim’s shoulder, Kim’s own head settling atop Trini’s. They entangle their hands together and let everything sink in.

After a few minutes, Trini abruptly breaks the haze of the moment with a loud curse, as a realisation dawns on her.

“Fuck,” she exclaims.

Kim pulls back, hands moving to Trini’s shoulders, concern etched on her face.

“What’s wrong?” Kim asks, worried Trini has decided this was a mistake.

“I have to apologise to Zack now, don’t I?” Kim laughs at that. “It’s not funny, he’s never going to let this go.”

“I’m sure he’ll forgive you,” Kim reassures the other girl.

“Oh, I know that. But that doesn’t mean he won’t bring it up constantly for no discernible reason.”

“You mean the way you always bring up the time I pulled you off a cliff, even though I apologised profusely?”

“…Touché…”

They both laugh, hearts lighter than either of them can ever remember them being. Kim pulls Trini back into her side gently, and the two of them spend a little longer just enjoying each other’s company, nothing but the ambient sounds of nature around them and their synchronised breathing breaking through the quiet of the moment.

Despite the mess it caused, Trini supposes she owes one to the Ranger Connection.