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anyone can play, but i will be the one to change the game

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People have been calling Kimberly a ‘mean girl’ for years. She’s not sure when it started exactly, only that it stuck – and for a long time, she thought it just came with the territory. She was a cheerleader, she was popular, she was pretty to an extent, and she never went out of her way to associate with anyone who was outside of her peer-approved circle, so she figured, okay, if that overdone high school cliché cocktail made her a ‘mean girl,’ then sure, she was a mean girl.

The title had never really bothered her, because (until recently) she had never really… been mean? She definitely wasn’t a saint, but she wasn’t a sadistic bitch either, so the label was just kind of this thing that was attached to her without her noticing. It was like a tiny keychain on her backpack, one that would jingle occasionally but otherwise never advertised itself. It was like a hashtag beneath an Instagram picture – Kimberly Hart, cheerleader, straight-A student, mean girl.

All those years, it had been a part of her social identity, but she’d never known just how true it was.

Then she met Trini – and it was like a legit, spiritual epiphany.

The moment Kim met Trini was the moment she realized that she really is a mean girl, because she saw those deep dark chocolate eyes glance in her direction, lingering, sizing her up, like she was sure Kimberly was a threat but she couldn’t decide what kind of threat just yet – and it felt good. There was something deep down inside of her that was shaken awake when the briefest flicker of panic interrupted Trini’s otherwise disaffected scowl. She realized that she liked seeing that look, and a part of her even deeper down liked knowing that she was the cause of it even more. Then and there, she decided that she could be the threat Trini perceived her to be if it meant that she would never stop looking at her just like that – and that she would do anything, everything in her power, to make her look.

It was kind of a shock (for all of ten seconds) to realize that she wanted Trini’s attention so much, because Trini seemed almost adamant about keeping some distance between them and not making friends with any of them (which didn’t last long, of course, because Kimberly is really good at getting her way, especially when it comes to Trini). But it didn’t deter Kim from going after her in the days and weeks that followed, actively seeking out that tiny flicker of something she’d seen in Trini’s eyes that night.

She was determined to find it again, no matter what.

If Trini tried to hide it, she’d rip her wide open to get to it.

But she never had to, because, honestly… it wasn’t hard.

It was actually so damn easy that it was almost dangerous, because the easier it became, the more she liked to do it. She flirted with her endlessly, relentlessly. Couldn’t help it, really. Couldn’t stop herself. There was something about the way Trini watched her do it, like she was awed, grateful, and a bit afraid of what was going to happen next, all at once – and it really wasn’t fair, honestly, because Trini was adorable on a daily basis, but she was even more adorable with her dark soulful eyes wide and frightened and her brow drawn up in a tight crease, like she was waiting for something that could be terrible and possibly life-threatening to happen any second, but also incontrovertibly wanted that thing to happen.

That look… was everything. It made Kimberly bold, made her fearless. It made her blood race and flooded her belly with an insistent hunger for which she didn’t have a name. If Trini was nervous around her – and it was obvious that she was – then Kimberly wanted to give her a reason to be. She wanted to prove that she was every bit as raw, unpredictable, and terrifying as Trini’s eyes told her she was. Trini always tried to seem so removed from everything, so sure that she had it all handled, and Kim was determined to show her that, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t resist – and definitely couldn’t handle – her.

She wanted to take her in her hands, pull her apart, unravel her completely. She wanted to ruin her.

(Look, she knows it sounds bad, but she’s just really into making her stoic girlfriend crumble into a million pieces – and, seriously, if Trini hadn’t been so determined to keep her distance back then, it would’ve all been a lot less torturous.)

Ultimately, all of those factors combined led her to her next big coming-of-age epiphany – which is that she’s a tease.

(All together now! Kimberly Hart, ex-cheerleader, straight-A student, mean girl, tease. Is she missing anything else?)

Again, before Trini, she’d never thought of herself as one. She had meandered through the standard high school fare of flings and crushes blindly, the same way one wades through knee-deep lukewarm water – but then she met Trini, and it was like she finally figured out what wanting someone was supposed to feel like. Because she did. Want her. Terribly.

She thought she’d made it pretty obvious. They had so much chemistry, but Trini was very skilled at playing dumb. Oh, she caught on to the fact that Kimberly was flirting – she could tell Trini was aware of it because her ears would turn the faintest shade of pink and she’d inevitably start fidgeting with something while looking anywhere, everywhere else, and if they did happen to make eye contact, she’d stare for a few seconds before she responded. (It was fucking cute, okay?)

But the problem wasn’t that she didn’t notice, it was that she didn’t take it seriously.

(How exactly Trini had convinced herself that such blatant advances were ‘friendly,’ Kimberly doesn’t think she will ever understand, because she did everything that no one who wanted to be just friends would do. She made increasingly flimsy excuses to touch her, cuddled with her, kissed her on the cheek, sent her playful text messages, begged her to spend the night – just about everything short of screaming ‘I like Trini Kwan!’ from the rooftops, and still Trini didn’t catch on.)

She knew Trini wasn’t playing hard to get – actually, it was more like she was in a perpetual state of denial – but it kind of felt like she was, and while Trini’s cluelessness is really adorable most of the time, it’s also incredibly frustrating.

Which means it’s also kind of… hot… by extension? (Look, it’s complicated.)

Trini’s not really the type to make Kimberly work for anything – even if she tries, she can’t – but there are times when it takes Kimberly several attempts to get through that thick skull of hers, and that’s when it really gets her hot – when she really has to try. (From day one, it was pretty clear that Trini was into her too, so that whole willful ignorance thing she had going on was like exponentially prolonged foreplay.) So, counterintuitively, the more Trini tried to convince herself that Kimberly was just being friendly – friendly, God, as if – the more Kimberly wanted to prove that she was wrong.

For various reasons, it was a little hard to explain that to the other Rangers, even though they all knew what was going on. Even Billy figured it out (after a little help from Jason and Zack, of course). For weeks, they got on her daily about how she just needed to tell Trini that she liked her already, because, apparently, the sexual tension between them was so thick that it was practically pollution at that point. Zack even went so far as to say that Angel Grove was ‘nothing but a toxic wasteland shrouded in the asphyxiating smog of their lust’ – which was actually really kind of poetic in a way and she didn’t know Zack was so good with words, but kudos to him, because that line lingered in her mind for a long time.

Unfortunately, he was also right, and the longer their little game went on, the more desperate Kimberly got.

But, come on, she couldn’t just tell Trini how she felt. That was too easy.

Because, as much as it was killing her to resist kissing Trini’s stupidly perfect little face every time she saw her, it was so much fun to see just how far she could go before Trini could no longer fool herself into thinking they were just ‘friends.’

Yeah, it was kind of cruel, she’ll admit that – but, hey, she’s a mean girl.

//

Being a Ranger has its ups and downs. It makes her stronger and faster, makes her better; it’s amazing and awesome and she wouldn’t trade it for anything in the whole world – but sometimes it sucks, because sometimes it hurts like a bitch.

Which is how she finds herself laid up in a chair in her dimly-lit sitting room, gripping the cushion with white-knuckled fists and biting her lip to keep quiet, while Trini kneels between her legs.

And – insert long, suffering sigh of frustration here – not for that reason. Most unfortunately.

Instead, she’s gingerly removing Kim’s shoes and socks for her, because they’ve recently started training with some new Putties in the Pit that are programmed to operate at higher levels of difficulty, and… yeah, it hasn’t really been going well.

All of them are pretty beaten up to some degree. Zack can’t raise his arm above shoulder-height, Billy has a concussion, Jason has a bruise the size of a Putty-fist on his kidneys, while Trini has a busted lip and a cut above her eyebrow – but Kim feels like she got the worst of it, because her left leg is still kind of numb and her ankle is swollen to about twice its normal size, and she can’t stand on it, or put any weight on it at all, really, without wanting to curl up in a ball and die.

The only reason she hasn’t already done that is because Trini’s literally the most amazing girlfriend in the world.

Trini carried her the entire mile from the quarry back to her house, which might’ve looked a little funny considering the fact that Kimberly is a few inches taller, but it wasn’t awkward at all. Trini has this way of stepping up when things get tough that makes her seem much bigger than she actually is, and she carried Kim in her arms the entire way, without so much as a grunt of complaint. In fact, the only words she did say were soft variations of ‘are you alright?’ and ‘it’s okay, we’re almost there,’ and ‘I’ve got you, just a little further.’

(Alpha had offered to use the ship’s teleporter to send them back to Kimberly’s, even though it put a strain on the ship’s dwindling power source – but Trini had insisted that it was fine, that it wasn’t that far, that she had it. And she did.)

She looks so cute right now, because her hair is all windswept and untamed, her shirt torn at the sleeve, and her face all roughed up in that rugged ‘you should see the other guy’ kind of way, but she’s still so small and gentle, and her eyes are so, so soft as she tenderly lifts Kim’s foot into her lap to inspect her ankle and the purplish bruising along her shin.

Kim’s kind of in love with her. They haven’t actually talked about the l-word yet, but the feelings they share are intense, and, look, no matter how much she likes to tease and torment her, she really does care about Trini. (Luckily, she’s pretty confident that Trini feels the same, so the languid thumping of her heart and the gooey warmth in her chest don’t really alarm her anymore.)

She loves the dichotomy inherent in Trini’s personality. She’s got this abrasive ‘fuck off’ kind of attitude, like nothing in the world can touch her – and for a lot of reasons, she needs that attitude – but underneath all that, she’s got such a good heart. She cares so much about all of them. It took a while for her to let anyone see it, but she’s loyal and intelligent and kind and sweet – so, so sweet, especially in quiet moments like these when she’s completely focused on examining Kim’s injury, gently applying pressure here and there and checking her responses for any signs of pain.

Kim forgot about the pain a while ago, to be honest. She’s more interested in the concern that has darkened Trini’s eyes and the way her lips curve when they pull down into a frown – which is more than a little distracting for many reasons, once of which being that it just really makes her want to kiss it away.

“Well, it’s not broken,” Trini sighs after a moment, “but it’s probably the worst sprain I’ve ever seen.”

Kim doesn’t say anything. There’s really no good reason to be thinking about her ankle when Trini’s so close, right there, looking up at her with those eyes that she loves so much. She’s so damn cute and sweet and perfect that Kim has to lean down and kiss her. (It’s only fair that she gets a chance to distract Trini as much as Trini has distracted her, isn’t it?)

She doesn’t remember exactly when she’d taken the frayed collar of Trini’s shirt in her hands, but the moment their lips part, she uses her grasp on it to pull her right back in again, nipping her lip as retribution for trying to pull away at all.

“Kim –” Trini mutters between kisses, a little breathless. “Kimberly –”

(Really, why Trini thinks that will make her want to stop is a mystery.)

Trini eventually manages to pull away though. She’s at her full height on her knees now, almost fully pressed up against Kim within the bracket of her legs, and both of her hands are resting just shy of inappropriately high on Kim’s thighs – but she glances away, almost nervously, towards the hallway that leads out into the main living room.

Unfortunately, Kim’s parents are home – for once. (Kim and Trini had both cursed under their breaths and taken turns calling out reluctant hellos when they were heard sneaking into the house through the back door.) The television’s on. It sounds like old reruns of CSI.

Trini lowers her voice to a whisper, raking her fingers through her tousled hair. “You’re gonna get me in trouble.”

“Relax,” Kim soothes as she rubs tiny circles into the back of her neck. “They never come out here. You’re fine.”

But Trini doesn’t loosen up, still looking off towards the faint, flickering glow of the television, like she’s waiting for one of Kim’s parents to come walking through the door any moment. Kim takes advantage of the opportunity to admire her a little, to trace her jaw gently, mapping its strong curve with her fingertips. Fortunately, that also has the added benefit of getting Trini’s attention, and she finally turns back to look at Kim directly. Kim smiles, grazes Trini’s lips briefly with the tips of her fingers, reveling in the little tremble her touch evokes, then cradles Trini’s jaw between her palms to guide their mouths back to each other.

“Trouble,” Trini groans faintly under her breath, just before they connect. “That’s what you are – trouble.”

Kim grins into the next kiss. “You love it.”

Trini doesn’t confirm or deny it verbally, but her hands feel a little heavier than they did a moment ago, fingers pressing in just a little bit harder, so Kim’s pretty sure she can take that as a silent affirmation. It’s even more apparent that she is correct when the remaining tension trains out of Trini’s shoulders and she melts into her again, resistance forgotten.

Kim shifts onto the edge of her chair, slides two fingers into one of Trini’s belt loops and tugs her closer. Kissing Trini is literally her favorite thing to do ever. It’s exhilarating, intoxicating; it makes her heart race, her chest tight. Every brush of their lips, every breath passed between them, every stroke of their tongues – it’s easy to get lost in it all, and Trini’s so responsive, so into it, right there with her, reacting to every single thing, no matter how small. Kim’s kind of addicted to provoking those reactions, biting and nibbling and sucking until Trini’s pulse is hammering against her fingertips.

To be honest, her own heart is pounding so hard beneath her ribs that it’s hard to breathe, and she’s so hot – the small of her back prickles with perspiration that has nothing to do at all with the temperature and everything to do with the fact that Trini’s hands are circling her waist now, both of her thumbs pressing in against the jut of Kim’s hipbones as she grasps and kneads and squeezes, so hard that it would probably be painful for anyone other than a Ranger, but still not hard enough, never hard enough, to satisfy Kim. Their breath is condensing between them, hot and cloying, clinging to their skin, and Trini’s close, so close, but Kim wants her closer, and if she wasn’t stuck in this damn chair, then –

Yeah, maybe Trini was right about them being too exposed down here, because anticipation is swelling in the pit of her belly, warm and sticky.

She slips her free hand into Trini’s hair and presses two final kisses to her lips, bites a little on the last one, swallows the little suffering sound Trini makes in response. “Let’s go upstairs,” she whispers, savoring the pleasant tingle in her lips.

It takes Trini a moment to react, and even when she does, she looks utterly nonplussed. “But… you can hardly walk.”

Kim tightens her hold on the collar of Trini’s shirt. (Obliviousness – adorable, but frustrating.) “Take me upstairs, Trin.”

Trini gulps faintly, but shakes it off with a stilted cough. “Right, yeah.”

Satisfied, Kim drapes her arms around Trini’s shoulders. Trini lifts her like she weighs nothing and heads for the stairs.

//

Before they started dating, Kim made a lot of excuses. Excuses to touch her, excuses to sneak into her room, excuses to text her privately outside of the sacred group chat, excuses to get her alone – anything that could get Trini’s attention, she did.

The guys saw right through her, of course, and they did their best to ‘help her out’ even though she told them she had it handled. Didn’t really stop them. They were constantly cracking jokes, mainly at Trini’s expense – because the one time Zack had jokingly said something about Kim, Trini punched him so hard that the resulting bruise lasted for a week.

But, look, excuses or not, Kim had it handled, okay? She was practically a professional when it came to handling Trini.

She was keen and observant and she knew how to take advantage of situational cues. She knew just when to strike, the moment Trini’s eyes inevitably started to wander during training. She knew just how to ask for the things she wanted – when Trini tried to seem cool and detached, Kim was bold and audacious; when she was stubborn, Kim was petulant and needy. It worked every time. She could read Trini like a book, knew how to break her down, ply her open.

But that’s not to say that Kimberly necessarily always had the upper hand. Trini was known to surprise her on occasion.

For example, Trini has an incredible voice. Kimberly found this out on accident one night at the quarry. Zack and Trini were already there by the time she, Billy, and Jason finally arrived. They were blasting music on an old boombox Zack had gotten from a pawn shop (for only ten cents and two bottle caps, he swore) and both of them were singing along to a song that Kim only partially recognized. Zack’s voice was carefree, off-key, and more goofy than anything, almost a caricature of the song as a whole, but Trini’s was… just amazing.

It was unfair – actually, it was fucking rude – the way Trini’s voice made her stomach twist, her palms sweaty, her throat dry. Coincidentally, it was one of those pivotal moments of affirmation that Kim really was a mean girl, because her first instinct was to punish Trini for making her feel so weak. So she did.

(Kimberly Hart doesn’t back down from a challenge, she conquers it.)

So, even while her legs were shaking, she trounced right over and perched herself on Trini’s knee, wrapping an arm around Trini’s shoulders as she began singing along with both of them – and that dark part of her, that mean part deep down, was thrilled to no end when Trini’s voice pitched up sharply and she lost the beat, staring up at Kim like it was Christmas and the day of her funeral all at once.

Oh, and yeah, there was also that incident at the ice skating rink.

(It still makes her sigh a little wistfully when she thinks about it.)

It was Billy’s idea. He’d suggested they all go ice skating – and because he was the one who had suggested it, they went. He was also the one to score Kim the bonus of getting to hold Trini’s hand the whole time. Apparently Kim’s confession about not being very good on ice coupled with Trini’s cocky ‘I’ll skate circles around you punks’ was a patent indication that everything would be perfectly fine, because Trini was obviously proficient enough to help Kim get around the rink.

(Kim could’ve hugged him for that, although she’s pretty sure he honestly didn’t know what he was getting Trini into.)

So, they went. Kim sucked. Zack was a natural, Jason was a little chaotic but determined, Billy was cautious, and Trini was pretty much flawless. (She made sure, of course, to enlighten them that the only reason she could skate so well was because she used to play hockey when she lived in Michigan two years ago – and she proved as much by bodychecking Zack into the boards when he scoffed, ‘Okay, ice princess,’ under his breath.)

It was only when Kim fell on her ass for the second time that Trini actually made good on her promises. Kim teased her about that, of course, which prompted her to avert her eyes mumble sheepishly, ‘Look, I thought you were kidding’ and ‘no, wait, slow down,’ and ‘it’s like this, okay?’

As skilled as Trini was on the ice – apparent in the way that she was able to lap Zack and Jason around the rink, twice, without breaking a sweat – once she and Kim linked up together, she honestly seemed unfazed by the fact that the guys were whooping and hollering and racing around them like crazy idiots. Even though she was obviously limiting herself, she guided Kim around the perimeter of the rink, slowly, easily, ready for every misstep, and steadied her every time.

It was sweet and adorable and a little romantic, and Kim had to fight really hard to remember that they weren’t dating.

That didn’t mean she couldn’t have a little fun though.

‘We can go a little faster, you know.’

(She meant that in a couple of different ways.)

‘I thought you didn’t want to end up on your ass again.’

‘Thanks for the vote of confidence, Trin.’

‘You’re the one who said it, princess.’

When Kim glared, she quickly amended herself.

‘Sorry. Duchess. Better?’

At that moment, Billy came careening by, close enough that Trini had to steady her again when she wobbled a little.

‘I don’t know. It does have a certain ring when you say it.’

‘Duchess?’

‘Princess.’

Trini gaped at her. ‘After all that trouble you gave me about picking a new one and ‘anything but that,’ now you like it?’

‘You’ve never said it out loud before – so, yeah, now I like it,’ she countered, and if she let her eyes linger just a moment too long on Trini’s lips, so that Trini had no choice but to recognize exactly where she was looking, well… oops.

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a normal day for the five of them unless at least one thing went catastrophically wrong, so it was really no surprise to anyone when Zack and Jason completely fucked up some ridiculous stunt, sending them both careening across the rink in a heap.

And it wasn’t one hundred percent necessary for Trini to legit scoop her up, bridal-style, to escape the fallout of their inevitable collision with the wall – it wasn’t, Kim knows that – but it was hot as hell, because Trini’s arms were small but powerful, and there was an unwavering certainty in her touch that made Kim dizzy. Even when Billy bumped into them in his haste to check on Zack and Jason, both of whom were sprawled on the ice like abandoned snow angels, Trini hardly flinched; she just hefted Kim in her arms and spun in a slow, smooth circle to balance the excess momentum, muttering something to herself about ‘idiotic punks.’

When Trini finally let her down a moment later, Kim was breathing hard for a variety of reasons, and it definitely didn’t have anything to do with any of the guys or potentially being knocked on her ass again. It was all for the girl who had literally swept her off her feet.

Yeah, Kim had it handled, most of the time. When she won, she knew it.

But every now and then, Trini won too – without even realizing she had.

//

Look, logically, Kim knows that the five of them are all pretty much equal in terms of strength.

She knows that like she knows her power coin is pink – but that doesn’t mean it’s not fucking sexy when Trini shows off somehow. (To this day, whenever she thinks of that time down in the Pit, when Trini had lifted her clear off the ground even though she had been trapped flat on her back, Kim still feels a flutter of something warm in her stomach.)

It’s no different when Trini starts carrying her up the stairs to her bedroom, even though she knows that it’s a gesture of affection rather than pride. All she can think about is how the taut flex of muscle in Trini’s shoulders is such a sharp contrast to the soft, sensitive skin of her throat, which is just begging to be kissed – and she can’t resist.

Trini mutters her name again, a low hum beneath the skin against Kim’s lips. (Seriously, not a deterrent.)

When her lips make their way to Trini’s earlobe, she switches it up, bites down gently, and Trini actually stumbles. She collapses to one knee, and Kimberly’s tailbone collides not-so-nicely with the next few stairs up, but she ignores the minor discomfort.

She focuses instead on the way Trini shakes weakly in her embrace and gasps, “Shit – Kim –”

She leans in to do it again, has to hear that sound again, but Trini jerks out of reach when her mother’s voice cuts in from the other room, still distant and a little muffled, just clear enough to temporarily curb the tension between them. “Kimmy? Is everything alright?”

Trini looks like she’s just seen a ghost, paling so quickly that it looks like she might faint – which is more than a little bit hilarious, because Kim’s parents love her, and they’d still love her even if they did find them making out on the stairs.

Kim smiles, kisses her lightly on the cheek, rubs her back with long, firm strokes to soothe her.

“Everything’s fine, mom!” she calls back. “I just tripped on my way up the stairs. No big deal.”

On the next pass of Kim’s hand, Trini shivers faintly, which gives her an even better idea. She slips her hand beneath the hem of Trini’s shirt to rake her nails up the strong curve of her spine, evoking an even more violent tremor than before.

She’s just about to up the ante a little when –

“You need to be more careful, sweetie! Is Trini okay?”

Trini drops her head to Kim’s shoulder with a broken whimper that sounds suspiciously like ‘no.’

Kim giggles. “Yes, mom! Trini’s fine. We’re both fine.”

She doesn’t bother to listen for a response this time, just takes Trini’s face in her hands and kisses her cheek again – and then her jaw, her chin, the little freckle on the side of her neck, and she’s making these tiny little wanting sounds that are just, ugh, so fucking perfect – and, yeah, okay, now Kim remembers exactly why she was in such a rush to get upstairs, because she’s getting a little carried away, but…

“Kim, I – seriously, I can’t concentrate when you do that,” Trini mumbles, pulling back with visible difficulty. She ignores Kim’s woeful pout, but she’s a little pink in the face as she exhales slowly. “I didn’t mean to drop you. Are you okay?”

Kim barely refrains from jumping her again, right there on the stairs, because Trini cares so much, sometimes too much, and she may not be a ladykiller, but she’s definitely got that ‘bad girl with a heart of gold vibe,’ and Kim is so down for it.

“I’m fine, Trin,” she laughs. “My ass hurts a little, but you’ll kiss it better for me when we get to my room, won’t you?”

Trini scoffs and shakes her head, pushes herself resolutely to her feet, stomps up the remaining stairs with Kim in tow – but she’s blushing a little more noticeably now, and Kim feels that dark little thrill of satisfaction race through her belly.

//

Teasing Trini really is like an addiction. Kim loves to catalogue the different expressions she can coax into existence on that gorgeous little face of hers – the panicked glance of suspicion when she gets just a little too close, the dopey lingering gaze when she stretches before training, the sheepish grimace when she catches her staring just a moment too long to be appropriate. Each of them are thrilling in their own way, and Kim wants nothing more than to make them appear every day, sometimes multiple times daily – then do whatever it takes to wipe them right off her face.

Whether that means kissing her or sometimes even knocking her out. (Whatever works, really. She’s not picky.)

The only problem with that is that they’re usually not alone. Zack, Billy, and Jason are three-fifths of their team, so the five of them are all together more often than not – and, to be honest, that’s not as much of a hindrance as it should be.

Okay, no, that’s the problem. It’s not that they’re not alone – it’s that Kim doesn’t care that they’re not alone. Whoops.

It just sort of happens. They’ll all be hanging out, and she’ll look over at Trini and just… zone out. No matter what time of day it is, what they’re doing, or where they are. Even in situations where it should be impossible to get distracted.

For example, in the backseat of Jason’s Bronco. It’s never quiet with all five of them crammed inside, as they’re always joking or laughing or listening to music just a little too loud to be appropriate – but with Trini next to her, looking at her the way she does, the world around them seems muted, a little blurry, a little less significant. Just background noise.

Kim almost jumped her, right there in the backseat, when they all stopped at Whataburger after training last week.

(Perfect locale. Very romantic. Look, she’s a teenager – her hormones don’t care about location.)

Obviously, somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew that she was still in a vehicle, with three teenage boys, as they idled in a very public drive-through, but she didn’t care, because Trini was tracing out the veins in her wrist with her fingertips, and her touch was so, so gentle, and her eyes were so dark, so full of words that neither of them had said yet, that – honestly, it’s a struggle for Kim to remember everything that happened, even though she was literally right there.

Because the moment she kissed Trini, everything else sounded like it was underwater.

Jason ordered something for himself, right? She couldn’t say. She didn’t hear him at all.

Over the rushing of her blood in her ears, she barely caught Billy’s earnest, ‘Hello, I’d like chicken tenders and a side of apple slices. Also, if you rewire your speakers with a few microfiber coils and a smidge of tinfoil, you’ll have much better reception, I’m just saying.’

She really lost track sometime around the time the drive-through operator drawled, ‘So, you… want a number six?’

Even Zack’s obnoxious howl from the very back (the trunk, basically) – ‘TWO CHEESEBURGERS, HOLD THE MAYO!’ – seemed distant.

It was all just noise, because it was so easy to forget things – like the fact that the guys were literally right next to them – when Trini was looking at her like that, and, most importantly, kissing her back. It was even easier to forget that there were things she probably shouldn’t do just then – things that made Trini squirm under her touch and grasp her hands defensively and breathe Kimberly’s name back into her own mouth.

That was a sensible reminder. Kim accepted the reprimand, stilled her hands. She leaned in again to kiss her cheek apologetically. That was all it was going to be, honestly, but then, well – fuck, she got distracted again, okay?

It took Jason several increasingly-urgent attempts to get their attention, and when he finally did, Trini immediately slumped back into her seat, her ears burning pink. She crossed her arms and muttered back, ‘Not hungry.’

Zack practically climbed out of the trunk to nudge her shoulder with his elbow. ‘Bullshit, T. We just went hardcore on the Practice Putty Patrol. You’ve got to be starving.’ And then, because he doesn’t know the meaning of restraint, he added, ‘Just, uh, maybe not for food, am I right?’

Trini leapt over the back of the seat at him with a rapid string of curses so quickly that Kim couldn’t even stop her, and the whole vehicle shook with the ferocity of her momentum – but Kim was able to pull her back into their seat before Zack got too beaten up, and after a bit of gentle nudging, she finally got her to agree to share something to eat.

It was at this point that the kid in the drive-through snapped for the sixth time, ‘Is that all?’ and Jason sighed back, ‘Look, dude, I’m driving a truck full of indecisive teenagers. I’m sorry, but it’s going to be a minute before I can get all of them to make up their minds.’

She told Jason to get them something with chicken in it and a strawberry milkshake.

(She didn’t care.)

And just like that, everything else was just background noise again. She heard it all –

‘Yo, J, not cool, bro. Why don’t I get a milkshake?’

‘You didn’t ask for one, dude. Two burgers isn’t enough?’

– but none of it really mattered at that moment. Even Zack leaning over their seat to yell through the open window, ‘HEY, MAKE THAT TWO MILKSHAKES, PAL! SECOND ONE’S CHOCOLATE!’ hardly fazed her.

Because Trini was still sulking about Zack’s earlier comment, but she was dealing with it by tracing the chipping yellow polish on Kim’s nails and, for some reason, it made Kim’s chest tight, made her want to kiss that little frown away and –

When they finally pulled around to the window and collected their order, Kimberly was hardly there at all. Billy passed back the chicken tenders and the milkshake she’d asked for, and she took them, thanked him, but she was a little preoccupied nuzzling into the little hollow below Trini’s jaw and tracing the reddish bruising around the hard edges of her knuckles, so neither of them ate. Trini held Kim’s hands and played with the ring on her thumb, and Kim peppered the side of her neck with little kisses that made the skin there burn and flush.

(Sure, it was probably a little rude, but it’s not like it happens all the time – and she doesn’t feel too guilty about this particular instance, because they were all literally exhausted. In retrospect, she’s pretty sure Billy passed out in the passenger seat the moment he finished eating, and Zack was actually quiet, so she knows without a doubt that he was tired.)

When they finally made it up to Kim’s house, Trini stumbled a little as she climbed out of Jason’s truck, a little red in the face, with a few bruises that weren’t from training and hadn’t been there when she’d gotten in. (Kim had behaved herself though. Mostly.)

Although she practically yanked Trini toward the front door, she wasn’t fast enough, and Zack couldn’t resist one last parting shot, leaning out of the window to taunt, ‘Hey, at least now you can both have what you’re really hungry for,’ which made Trini scowl, turn on her heel, and start back toward the truck with both hands clenched into fists.

It was cute, and the way she had growled under her breath was kind of sexy, but Kim didn’t feel like accompanying them to the hospital after she tore Zack to shreds, so she stopped her, wrapping her arms around Trini from behind to hug her close to her chest. (That’s all it took, really, because Trini is pretty much conditioned to melt into her arms – a fact that thrills Kim’s ego to no end, though she’d never say so.) She smirked back at Zack over Trini’s shoulder and called back, ‘That’s exactly what we’re going to do, now get out of here before I let her go.’

Zack’s outrageous guffaw of laughter was so loud that it woke Billy up. Jason peeled off with a grin, and Trini pouted as soon as they were gone.

‘Kimberly, come on! You can’t keep doing that to me or they’re gonna think they can just keep messing with me!’

‘Maybe,’ Kim muttered into her ear. ‘But we still have two hours until my parents get home, so which would you rather do, complain about them messing with you… or mess around with me? I know you can’t see it yet, but I’m wearing your favorite color.’

When Trini buckled in her arms – God, that rush, that thrill, that warmth in her veins was everything, and she never wanted to give it up. 

//

By the time they make it to Kimberly’s room, they’re kissing again. That may or may not be partly Kim’s doing – but it’s not her fault, okay, because they’re pressed together so close and Trini’s mouth is right there and she’s carrying her to her bedroom and her legs are wrapped around Trini’s waist – and even with a sprained ankle, there’s nothing unsexy about that.

Trini’s steps are a little less sure than they were just moments ago, each one a little jarring. Kim decides not to comment on that in favor of gripping her chin to hold her in place, tracing the full length of her bottom lip with her tongue.

Trini falters again, and they sway a little dangerously, but Kim doesn’t heed the warning. She decides that the quiet wanting sound that passes hotly from Trini’s mouth to hers is worth however much it’ll hurt to be dropped again. Luckily, Trini’s knees hit the edge of the mattress before that can happen, and she breathes a sigh of relief against Kim’s lips as she lowers her onto the bed. Almost immediately, Kim feels her trying to withdraw, and – yeah, that’s not happening. (She’s not going to let her go without a fight, at least.)

She pulls at Trini’s shirt until she’s forced to bend down to her level, nibbles on her lip, licks it once, twice, and grazes her nails against the pulse that’s still thrumming visibly in her throat. Maybe a little rougher than she should. Oops.

Under her breath, Trini whines something in Spanish that Kimberly doesn’t understand – because, unfortunately, she had taken three years of French to fulfill her foreign language requirement, which had been all fine and dandy until Trini started mumbling things under her breath in a way that made Kim really want to know exactly what she was saying – but she considers those slips of the tongue personal victories anyway.

When Trini finally manages to slip away again, Kim sinks back down with a pout.

Trini finds Kim’s hands with her own, currently somewhere near her ribcage, and carefully removes them. “You…” She places Kim’s hands resolutely in her own lap, one on top of the other, and lets them go slowly, warily. “You – stay.”

It’s kind of cute that Trini thinks she can boss her around. (Also kind of hot because, yeah, maybe she could be into that, but Trini would have to try a lot harder than that if she actually wanted Kim to listen to her like a good girl. Damn, okay, that’s a conversation for a different time.) She shakes it from her mind for now, because the trepidation that her mean side loves to evoke is sparkling faintly in Trini’s eyes, bleeding through in the slightly elevated pitch of her voice, and Kim’s not going to let it dissipate that easily.

She keeps her hands to herself (as requested), but she bites her lip, shifting further onto the edge of the bed.

Trini’s face pinches into a frown like the sight physically pains her. “You’re… not going to stay, a-are you?”

(She stutters, actually stutters, and it’s – God, how is Kim ever supposed to resist this perfect, precious girl?)

Kim just shakes her head, abandoning her fleeting pretense of obedience to reach out for Trini again. She can’t get very far – because, fucking ow, damn, her ankle still really hurts, apparently – but it doesn’t stop her from trying.

Trini steps back just in time to miss the brunt of it. Kim’s not so easily discouraged.

“Kimberly,” she whines plaintively. Though her eyes are tracking Kim’s hands, like they’re dangerous or something, her own hands are fidgeting at her sides like she’s fighting not to reach out, too. “I have to go get some ice for your ankle or it’s going to swell even more.”

Finally, Kim manages to catch Trini’s shirt again, and she uses it to tug her closer. “I don’t need it.”

Trini resists, of course, out of propriety, but it’s laughably weak. “Actually, you do. You really do.”

Kimberly doesn’t reply, just slowly reels her back in.

Trini’s voice is soft, low and desperate. “Kimberly…”

(Fuck, it’s hitting all the right notes.)

“Trini,” she sighs back, mimicking her tone. She leans up, brings their faces closer together, and she’s infinitely satisfied when Trini glances down at her mouth longingly. “I’m a Power Ranger. I think I’ll be okay without ice.”

“Fine,” Trini huffs, pointedly averting her eyes as she allows Kim to pull her a few inches closer, but not all the way just yet. She’s too stubborn for her own good, Kim swears. “When you can’t walk tomorrow, don’t blame me.”

Kim lures her another inch closer. “I have no reason to blame you – but if you’d get over here, you could give me one.”

“I’m –” Trini pauses, like she’s forgotten what she was going to say at all, her resistance fading momentarily as that blank, glassy look that Kim adores passes over her face. Kim’s pretty sure she stops breathing for a second. “You – what?”

She can almost see Trini’s mind taking a dive into the gutter to envision the things she’s implying. Good. Kim’s right there with her. Honestly, thoughts of Trini that aren’t necessarily innocent are only ever a breath away, at any given time – but as the air between them thickens, Kim’s mind is flooded with memories of the hard angles of Trini’s hipbones between her thighs and the reverent, wanting paths that her hands have already charted so many times, on the brink of places that leave her aching

She tugs hard on Trini’s shirt, just once. “You heard me.”

Trini sways forward precariously, her eyes dipping down to Kimberly’s lips for a long, long moment – and Kim’s palms begin to prickle with anticipation, because she knows she’s almost got her…

//

Kim is aware that she’s not necessarily the easiest girl to date. She’s a pain in the ass, honestly, but Trini doesn’t seem to have any complaints about her approach to their relationship. She grumbles occasionally when Kim’s particularly feisty about something or other, even calls her out on it with a little pout and a ‘God, you’re so mean’ – but they both know it’s not a genuine accusation.

(Besides, she knows Kim will always make up for her transgressions later. Somehow.)

Actually, Kim’s pretty sure that Trini likes that she’s so mean, because it certainly gets a reaction out of her.

It started at the quarry. That’s what really clued her in. At the time, they’d only been dating for two weeks, so things were still relatively new and light and playful, and she didn’t know exactly just how much Trini liked it when she was a little… aggressive.

They were sitting around the fire toasting marshmallows, even though it was eighty-five degrees and humid on a Tuesday night. (Look, you never really need an excuse to toast marshmallows, okay?) There were only four skewers – for which Billy apologized profusely – but, naturally, Kim just took that as opportunity to turn it into a game. She swore that she and Trini would share the fourth skewer, but every marshmallow she promised to Trini, she ate instead, stealing it off the end of the skewer at the last moment. This, of course, prompted a physical struggle for the skewer not unlike their little battle in Krispy Kreme weeks before – but, because they weren’t threatening to expose their superhero identities to handful of elderly folks trying to drink their coffee in peace, things were allowed to escalate a little.

Escalate – meaning Trini was chasing her around the fire pit, both of them leaping over logs and tripping over broken crates and stumbling through bushes as Kim twirled the skewer like a baton and taunted ‘come get it’ and ‘if you want it, take it.’

Trini tried. Almost got her a few times, but Kim couldn’t make it that easy. Eventually, though, she let Trini catch her. (That was the whole point after all. Cat and mouse.) She let Trini wrap both arms around her waist from behind, let her think she was gaining the upper hand, pinning Kim’s arms with one hand and snatching away the skewer with the other, but…

Then she kissed her. Over her shoulder – sweet, short, and a little rough.

(Maybe she pushed back against her a little harder than necessary – maybe.)

Trini yielded, almost instinctively.

Just like that, she plucked the skewer from Trini’s hands, without a fight.

Trini didn’t notice, just leaned in to kiss her again, but Kim danced away with a smirk, watching her grasp at the empty air and blink owlishly at her as she snagged the marshmallow off the end of the skewer with her teeth.

After that, it was like a switch had been flipped. If her charms had worked at the quarry, why not in the Pit?

She didn’t do it all the time, though. Only occasionally. Okay, so, most of the time. But, look, she was never really mean unless Trini actually had an advantage that she absolutely couldn’t overcome within the rules of engagement in standard combat.

Being pinned against a gargantuan bolder by the throat and slowly losing the leverage to escape? Perfectly reasonable.

Because the glimmer of determination and triumph in Trini’s eyes was already overwhelming, but she just had to push it.

A little taunt, all breathy and satisfied and expectant, as she lingered on the fine edges of her personal space – ‘Mercy?’

She probably would have been ready to concede – which has been known to happen from time to time, believe it or not – if Trini hadn’t said that. But since she just had to say it, Kim just had to win. Instead of backing down, she distracted her by leaning in to seal the last inch between them with a heated kiss, which immediately caused the tension against her throat to slacken – then pushed forward, swept Trini’s legs out from under her, and, as she began to fall, landed a solid palm strike to her sternum for good measure.

Trini hit the ground so hard that little micro-fractures appeared in the rock face beneath her.

Kim stepped over her with a haughty smirk. Not directly on her, even though it would have hurt her pride more than her body – because that would been a bit too extra, even for Kim – but the way Trini was gasping for breath and gaping up at her with something just on the far side of longing made her blood run just that much hotter as she claimed victory.

She doesn’t feel overtly proud of it, though. As often as they spar, she has a feeling that Trini pulls her punches. Which is kind of sweet, in a way, but it also defeats the purpose of training with each other. In fact, it takes a good deal of poking and prodding to get Trini worked up enough to actually fight her – but that’s when things really get fun.

Kim knows all too well that it doesn’t always take a kiss to distract Trini. Sometimes all she needs is a few words.

Perfect example. Just yesterday, while they were training in the Pit. They were working on submissions again, because apparently the only thing Zack had learned from the first six lessons was that if he screamed loud enough, Jason would eventually just let him go.

(Conversely, the first six lessons had taught Kim the true meaning of sexual frustration, so she wasn’t exactly overjoyed that she was being forced to suffer through a seventh – and why they need to learn submissions when their primary enemies are giant rock monsters, she still can’t comprehend, but Zordon insists they be ‘prepared for anything.’)

As often as Kim wins their little battles, Trini is actually a talented combatant, and she’s especially skilled at initiating the complicated holds they’ve been forced to learn. She’s so fast and efficient that Kim often finds herself ensnared in her arms before she even sees it coming – so, yesterday, when Trini had managed to twist both of her arms behind her back, forcing her face into the dirt with her forearm as she applied just enough pressure against her shoulders to sting, Kim wasn’t really surprised. More like unbearably turned on and severely disappointed that they weren’t somewhere less… crowded, because the thoughts that were going through her mind were definitely not group-friendly.

An issue that was not alleviated at all when Trini bent closer to whisper a smug, victorious ‘got you’ into her ear.

And, yeah, trying to escape the submission wasn’t the only thing on her mind when she smirked back and said, ‘You just wanted an excuse to pin me from behind’ – but it worked. It was enough of a distraction for Kim to free her arm and elbow her in the face.

When they both scrambled to their feet, Trini’s nose was bleeding profusely and she looked lost. Kim managed to get in two more lucky shots – warning shots, wake-up shots, because she’s not that mean – before Trini actually recovered.

The guys snickered behind them, and Trini went pink, but Kim likes to think she made up for the incident later.

//

Trini catches herself at the last second, much to Kim’s disappointment.

“Wait, wait, wait!” she yelps, jumps back like Kim’s got a weapon hidden behind her back. She maintains a healthy distance as she shakes her head. “Nice try, but no way. Not happening. You’re hurt, first of all – like really hurt this time, okay, and – and your parents are downstairs!”

“That didn’t seem to matter last night,” Kim counters coolly.

(The recollection kindles warmth and a pleasant quiver in the pit of her stomach, but Trini’s face turns four different shades of red in a fraction of a second. She really is so fucking adorable, physically flawless in just about every state of agony.)

“That was an accident!” Trini hisses, lowering her voice and glancing toward the open door behind her as though Kim’s parents have been blessed with supernatural hearing all of a sudden, soon to be storming up the stairs to murder her.

“Okay, but it was your fault.”

“What do you mean my fault?”

(Cute and clueless.) “I didn’t just spontaneously have an orgasm, Trini.”

Four shades of red turns into five, then six. “I had no control over that!”

“You grabbed my ass!”

(Seven, eight.) “I – fine, okay, I got kind of carried away, yeah – but I didn’t know that it was going to… you know.”

Kim believes her. It always kind of surprises both of them when it happens, and she knows Trini wasn’t expecting it to happen, exactly – but it’s pretty much common knowledge that certain things are more likely to set her off, so she just fixes Trini with a look and a haughty raise of her brow, because, really, by this point, she should know better.

Trini groans, eyeing her warily, with that look like she’s in physical distress (and Kim is seriously starting to think Trini has, like, an actual thing for the brief flashes of her bitchy cheerleader attitude that slip through sometimes). “What?”

“We both know I don’t have much luck holding out when you put your hands on me.”

Trini drags said hands down her face roughly to scrub away its color. “God, I know.”

Kim likes to think that her ego isn’t particularly large, but she knows, without a shadow of a doubt, that Trini is totally thinking about every little ‘accident’ they’ve had since they started dating. The hint of desperation in her voice gives her away.

“How many times has it happened now?” she asks innocently.

(She already knows the answer. She remembers each one vividly.)

Trini looks to the ceiling for mercy. “Last night makes it four.”

Kim bites her lip, because she knows Trini loves to see her do it. “We could make it five.”

As she predicted, Trini goes silent, her anxious movements easing until she’s still, almost statuesque. The only sound in the room is the faintest hush of their breathing, increasingly shallow and strained, and each lingering moment makes the ache in the pit of Kim’s stomach that much stronger. Trini’s right hand twitches, like she’s about to reach out for her, but she closes it into a fist and shakes her head.

“Kimberly…” she breathes, pauses to swallow thickly. “Your parents, and your ankle – I can’t. Seriously, I can’t.”

They say desperate times call for desperate measures – and Kimberly really is desperate.

She grasps the hem of her shirt with both hands and pulls it over her head, tosses it somewhere out of sight, and Trini stares – God, she stares so hard, with her lips parted and her eyes so intense, so dark, eating up every inch of her.

“You sure?” Kim asks.

“No,” Trini groans. She covers her face with both hands again, but it doesn’t stifle her sounds of frustration, and it only slightly muffles her voice when she begins cursing to herself again. She finally drops her hands, takes a deep, steadying breath. “I want to – God, Kimberly, you have no idea how much I want to. But I would feel really bad about it right now. I mean, you’re hurt, and I… I want to take care of you, you know?”

Damn it. The soulful, heartfelt thing really breaks her.

(And, so, okay, maybe Trini does have a point. Maybe.)

“Fine,” she sighs. “Then you can help me shower.”

“What?” Trini squeaks, leaping about five feet back, even though she’s already halfway across the room. “No way!”

“You just said you wanted to take care of me!”

“By, like, wrapping your ankle and getting you ice cream and stuff – not getting you naked!”

(The way her cheeks burn when she says ‘naked’ is probably the cutest thing in the world.)

“Trin, please?” she pouts. “It doesn’t have to be sexual, I promise.” (But that doesn’t mean it can’t be.) “I really want to shower. I’m filthy and sweaty and I can’t stand on my own, even on dry ground. I’d probably sprain my other ankle if I tried to do it alone.”

Trini sputters helplessly. “Yeah, but – you’re – there’s – a bath! You could take a bath!”

“My bathroom only has a shower, you know that,” Kim reminds her. “The only bathtub is in my parents’ bathroom.”

She sees the wheels turning in Trini’s head, like she’s flipping through a mental almanac of excuses for anything that’s even slightly plausible.

“Look, it’s not like I can just walk in there and explain that I sprained my ankle during Putty training like, ‘Hey, mom, dad, guess what? I’m one of those weird kids in the magical alien armor who saved Angel Grove from a giant monster made of recycled gold.’ And they know I’m not rude enough to take a full bath while I have company – unless we were in there together.”

“Kimberly –”

“So, unless you want them to assume we’re having sex, you have to help me take a shower.”

Trini whimpers piteously. “Fuck.”

//

“You can open your eyes, you know.”

“Yep. Sure can. Not going to, though.”

“Trini, come on. Open your eyes.”

“No way.”

“Trini.”

“Kimberly.”

“Please.”

“I can’t.”

“Why?”

“I literally can’t.”

To be honest, Trini looks kind of ridiculous right now. (They both do.)

As requested, Trini’s helping her shower, but she’s standing about as far away as she can while still holding Kim upright – remaining, at all times, about an arm’s length away. (For her, that’s not really much.) Her clothes are starting to get a little damp from the wayward droplets of water that glance off Kim’s shoulders, and there are little clusters of bubbles clinging to various parts of her body that have inadvertently come into contact with Kim’s. Also, there’s a pool of water spreading steadily across the tile just outside the shower – because Trini absolutely insisted on leaving the door open – that Kim swears is going to cause one, or both, of them to slip when this is all over.

Oh, and she’s standing there blind. She’s got her eyes squeezed so tightly shut, Kim swears she’s got to be giving herself a migraine.

“Why can’t you?”

“Because. It’s not…”

“Safe?”

“Exactly.”

“What, are you afraid for my physical wellbeing?” Kim jokes.

Trini shakes her head despairingly. “No, I’m afraid for mine.”

Kim fights down a laugh. That was kind of the point – because, okay, yes, at least thirty percent of her decision to have Trini help her shower was for the purely selfish enjoyment of teasing her half to death – but Kim honestly hadn’t anticipated that Trini would stick by her word so solemnly when she had promised that she wouldn’t look, that she’d keep her eyes closed and let her shower in peace.

“Trini.”

“What?”

Even though her hand is wet, she traces the harsh ridges of the frown pinching Trini’s brow, satisfied when the tension eases a little at her touch. “Please, open your eyes. You don’t have to look, just open your eyes.”

“Open your eyes, but don’t look,” Trini mumbles in disbelief. “You realize that’s a physical impossibility, right?”

“I didn’t say don’t look,” Kim replies, keeps her voice soft. “I said you don’t have to.”

Even with her eyes closed, Trini still somehow manages to roll them. “Same thing.”

“Trini –”

“Look, I just –” She runs a hand through her hair roughly. “Okay, please, just keep in mind that I’m, like, insanely fucking attracted to you, so if I start staring or – fuck, I don’t know, drooling or something, Jesus – I’m not doing it on purpose and I’m sorry.”

“Trini, you’re my girlfriend. You’re allowed to stare. You’re even allowed to drool occasionally.”

Trini’s cheeks flare pink. “I don’t drool.”

“There’s a first time for everything.”

“Okay, I changed my mind. Can’t do it.”

“I was kidding, Trin. Open your eyes.”

“Alright, alright. Fuck. Fuck, alright.”

Trini opens her eyes, finally, but she doesn’t even glance in Kim’s direction, pointedly initiating a staring match with the wall on the other side of the bathroom that’s so intense Kim wouldn’t be surprised if she spontaneously developed some kind of secret Ranger laser-vision and put a hole right through it. She’s not frowning anymore, though, just chewing on her lip with as much nonchalance as one could possibly put into a nervous habit. Kim smiles to herself, lets her get away with it, but she knows – because this is her bathroom, hello – that Trini’s not entirely blind; she’s got to be able to see a glimpse of something in the mirror over there, whether she’ll admit it or not.

“Just so you know,” Kim says casually, “if you wanted to look, I really wouldn’t mind.”

Trini clears her throat, and her voice is a little tight when she mumbles back, “Thanks.”

“Also, I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“Pushing you off a cliff – and this.”

She takes Trini by the jaw, turns her head, and kisses her – but she lied, because she’s not really sorry at all. Besides, it’s an innocent kiss, just enough to get her to turn her head in Kim’s direction. Or it starts out that way, anyway. Fuck, she’s weak. When Trini starts kissing back, her thoughts immediately jump to what it might take to make Trini forget her determination to stay away, what exactly she’d have to do in order to make her break, to make her step closer, grab Kim’s waist, shove her up against the wall, hard enough to make it crack, and end their no-sex arrangement entirely – because, admittedly, she’s starting to wonder why that’s still a thing.

(But maybe the shower’s not the best place to figure that out.)

Reluctantly, she pulls back, before she can get too carried away.

Trini is so dazed that she opens her eyes without hesitation, which is exactly what Kim was counting on.

“See?” she murmurs lowly. “I knew it wouldn’t kill you to look.”

Trini slams her eyes shut again. “You’re such a fucking tease.”

Kim smirks. “You know what else?”

Trini grits her teeth. “Fuck. What?”

“Probably won’t kill you to touch either.” Kim takes her hand, guides it to her bare hip.

Trini literally trembles. “Oh, my God. Kimberly, please – I swear, I’m going to drop you.”

Kim laughs, because she’s too perfect.

“You’re the worst,” Trini grumbles.

(They both know she doesn’t mean it.)

“I’m sorry,” Kim coos ruefully. (She’s really not.) She presses close to kiss Trini’s cheek, swears it’s a silent apology and that’s all. (It’s not.)

This is probably made obvious by the way she lingers there, lets her lips chart out the fine curvature of Trini’s jaw – but it’s also not entirely intentional. She just kind of loses track when she feels the rough edge of Trini’s belt graze her hipbone, and now Trini’s hand is slipping, just a little, and Kim’s really starting to think that a second sprained ankle would be worth it if Trini would just cooperate a little – but when her other hand lands just below Trini’s ribs, Trini snatches it away with a sound that is nothing short of unadulterated misery.

Kimberly.”

She just laughs.

//

They end up in Kim’s bed together after all, which takes more than a little whining and a bit of effort to achieve.

Because she’s sweet and perfect and literally the kindest, most softhearted girlfriend in the world, Trini insisted on helping Kim wrap her ankle, propping it up on top of a pile of pillows to keep it elevated and reduce the swelling, even though Kim insisted that it didn’t hurt all that much anymore. That in itself would have been enough, but she also had to ensure that the room’s ambiance was perfect, which meant closing the door and opening the wide double windows, also turning off the main overhead light in favor of the color-shaded lamp tucked in the far corner.

It was pretty apparent that Trini was just trying to avoid getting back into bed with her – because they both knew what was going to happen – but Kim let her fiddle with this and that around the room. She busied herself by connecting her phone to the speaker on her nightstand, tuning into the playlist she had made that comprised the majority of their favorite music combined.

After making literally any and every adjustment that she could possibly make, Trini almost, almost slipped away downstairs to get the ice cream that she had promised earlier, but Kim wasn’t having it. She didn’t want ice cream, damn it, she wanted her. Luckily, she managed catch Trini by the wrist before she could escape, and she was able to tug her back into bed and on top of her. (Thank you, Ranger strength.)

So, they’re kissing now, after a bit of begging ‘please, Trini’ and ‘just one kiss, please,’ because Kimberly is literally addicted to Trini’s mouth, and she doesn’t even care if she has to beg for what she wants, even if it makes her seem desperate, as long as she gets it.

After a moment, Trini painstakingly breaks the meld of their lips. “Are you sure this is okay?”

“It’s fine,” Kim breathes back, kisses her again.

“Okay, I just – I don’t – mm – want to hurt you.”

(So fucking sweet.) “No, no, it’s good. I promise.”

Finally, Trini relaxes, allows her weight to settle more firmly between Kim’s thighs as she bears the brunt of it with one hand on either side of Kim’s pillow. Kim sighs into her mouth, satisfied and legitimately happy. Trini always feels so good against her, but especially so right now, when her shirt and her hair are still the slightest bit damp from a shower she didn’t even take, and her skin is warm and smooth, reactive to her touch.

Maybe it’s the music or maybe it’s the way Trini kisses her, so sweetly, so carefully – but Kim decides that she’s going to behave herself for the rest of the night. Yeah, it’s no secret that there’s nothing she would enjoy more than teasing Trini into oblivion, but she’s been so good to her. Honestly, the whole night, she’s been absolutely perfect, and she deserves a break.

Kim sighs, gives her one last parting kiss so they can both have a minute to breathe. “Thank you.”

Trini props herself up on her elbows, looking for all the world like she has no idea why. “For what?”

“You’re an amazing girlfriend, Trin.” Kim lets her head sink into the pillow, gazing up at her softly.

She’s so, so lucky to have her – but Trini shakes her head, like the praise is misplaced.

“I mean it,” Kim insists. “I know I’ve been a pain in the ass tonight. Thank you for taking care of me anyway.”

“Yeah, of course,” Trini mumbles back, guides more of Kim’s damp hair behind her ear to distract them both.

And then there’s that look again – that soulful, affectionate warmth that makes Kim’s chest tight.

It’s the one that she knows is love, even if neither of them are ready to say it yet.

When Trini’s hand cups her cheek, she catches it with her own, whispers, “What?”

“You’re so beautiful,” Trini says softly, quietly, so genuine that Kimberly’s heart thumps unevenly in her chest – moments before the next song begins, and a dissonant clamor of guitars, drums, and screaming blares through the speaker on her nightstand.

(It’s kind of perfect, in a way.)

“Cue the death metal,” Kim laughs, squeezing her playfully.

Trini collapses, embarrassed, to hide her face in Kim’s neck.

“And they say romance is dead.”

“Look, death metal can be romantic sometimes, okay?” Trini grumbles. “Not this song in particular, but some of it.”

“I know,” Kim murmurs. She allows her fingers to drift up Trini’s back idly, tracing the faint valleys of musculature she can feel even through the fabric of her shirt. “It’s like the modern version of ‘Let’s Get It On,’ but more aggressive.”

Trini nudges Kim’s jaw with her own plaintively. “Stop or I’m going home.”

“No, don’t leave,” Kim mumbles, turning a little to kiss Trini’s temple. “I’m serious. It really gets me in the mood.”

(Though she says this lightly, it’s definitely not a joke. They both laugh about Trini’s ‘death metal’ pretty liberally, but Kim actually thinks it’s pretty hot – mainly because, every time she sneaks into Trini’s room, they’ve got to have Trini’s music playing loud enough that her parents and siblings won’t hear them talking or… partaking in other, more enjoyable activities. She’s basically been conditioned to melt a little on the inside whenever she hears it. Seriously, it’s almost Pavlovian, the way the pounding rhythm floods her veins with anticipation.)

She turns in the opposite direction to kiss Trini’s palm, which is still gently cradled against her face. When Trini gives a halting little sigh in return, Kim smiles to herself and does it again, pressing a little harder, lingering just a little longer.

Trini clears her throat and mutters, finally, “You don’t have to be such a jerk about it.”

Kim smiles to herself, takes Trini’s hand between both of her own. “Am I being a jerk?”

She touches her fingertips to Trini’s, gently, one by one, until they’re all aligned together – and just when Trini pushes herself up onto her elbow to respond, she replaces her fingers with her lips. She doesn’t really know what compels her to do it, but she’s glad that she did, and she doesn’t want to stop, because now Trini’s watching her like she can’t tear her eyes away, like she’s witnessing some kind of miracle.

Kim holds her gaze as she kisses each of her fingertips. “Am I?” she prompts.

(So, maybe she’s not going to behave herself after all.)

“N-no…” Trini breathes. Kim doesn’t even think she knows what she’s saying.

There’s a faint flush creeping up her neck, one that Kimberly longs to feel the heat of beneath her lips, but she focuses again on Trini’s fingers. She starts over, and this time flicks her tongue against the tip of each one, lingering a little on the blunt edges of her nails, just to feel them scrape against her, just a little. Trini sucks in a sharp breath and holds it, biting her own lip so, so hard.

(Fuck, why is that so hot? This is seriously one of the best ideas Kim has ever had.)

When Kim gets to her ring finger this time, she bites down, just enough to sting, and a tremor passes through the entire length of Trini’s arm. Her eyes flutter closed, almost against her will, before they snap back open like she can’t afford to miss a single moment of what’s happening.

“Kimberly –”

Kim starts over with her thumb, takes it into her mouth. Trini’s ears, cheeks, throat, and chest are burning blood red, and her eyes are fixed unwaveringly on Kim’s lips with something like alarm. She swallows compulsively, releasing a shuddering breath that Kim can feel through the entire length of their bodies – and, fuck, okay, this is really, really turning her on. She doesn’t think Trini’s actually aware of the fact that she’s started nudging her hips forward, but she definitely doesn’t fucking mind, because Trini’s in just the right spot, even if she doesn’t realize it, and the friction is exactly what Kim’s been craving all night.

By the time she makes it to Trini’s middle finger for the third time, she’s not in the mood to go slow anymore. She takes Trini’s middle and ring fingers into her mouth at the same time, down to the last knuckle.

“Oh, f-fuck – Kim –”

Then she sucks, just a little, stroking her tongue along the cleft between her fingers, and Trini’s eyes roll back. A strangled, desperate sound escapes her, and she drops her head to Kim’s shoulder as her whole body shudders. God, this is literally one of the hottest moments of Kim’s life, because Trini’s pushing her hips even harder against her and she’s holding her so tightly, still groaning faintly into her ear, and her voice is breaking as she whispers her name – and, seriously, Kim feels like she might die if something doesn’t happen and soon. As the tremors wracking Trini’s body begin to ease, she finally releases her fingers and holds Trini hard against her, sliding one hand down to the small of her back to encourage the uneven cant of her hips.

“Please,” she whispers desperately. “Trin, don’t stop.”

Trini nods into her shoulder with a quiet little sob of relief and starts rocking her hips into her in earnest – and, damn, Kim’s really going to have to remember to let Trini be on top more often, because her rhythm is driving Kim absolutely insane, and the fingers that were previously in Kim’s mouth are now on her thigh and they’re wet and they’re digging in, just hard enough to make her hiss under her breath, and Trini’s lips are against her neck and she’s not even kissing her, she’s just breathing against her, but it’s harsh and halting, and she wants it so bad

It’s not a surprise when it hits her this time, hard and fast and completely crushing the air from her lungs. She clings to Trini so hard that she’s sure she’s drawn blood again, but she has no idea where. For several seconds, she can’t hear anything other than the rushing of her own blood in her ears, and there’s a pounding in her head that she swears is still following the rhythm Trini’s hips had set against her own.

Gradually, she recognizes the sound of Trini’s breathing close to her ear, slow and deliberate.

Then the music filters in. She could swear a different song was playing just a second ago…

Her mind is slow to clear. Her whole body feels like Jell-O, and her leg is even more numb now than it was before her shower, but Trini is warm and just heavy enough to keep her from floating away entirely. She’s got both of her arms wrapped around her now, somehow managed to sneak them under the small of her back and lock them there, and Kim can’t think of a better feeling in the world than the two of them lying together right now, warm and weightless. 

(Seriously, at this point, do they even need to have sex?)

The room goes silent and still as the current song ends, and a moment later it shuffles on to something quiet and gentle.

And Kim starts laughing, she can’t help it – because, like, where was this song five minutes ago, when she was teasing Trini within an inch of her life? Or four minutes ago, when she was making her shudder and come apart against her? (Now that she can think straight, she’s fucking proud of that, by the way.) Or three minutes ago, when she lost herself in Trini completely?

It takes a moment, but Trini catches on, starts laughing too. “Perfect timing.”

“I know,” Kim breathes back. “I’m glad we already finished, because this is totally killing the mood.”

Trini just shakes her head with a faint sound of amusement, nuzzling even further into Kim’s neck.

Kim sighs, slowly, contentedly. She holds Trini close and listens to the gentle rhythm of her breathing as it evens out. If she concentrates hard enough, she can feel the faint thump of Trini’s heartbeat resounding against her own chest, like an echo.

A quiet moment passes, and she smiles to herself. “Hey, Trin?”

Trini doesn’t move an inch, just hums back at her lowly. “Mm?”

“Just so you know,” she murmurs, kisses her neck softly, “when I can’t walk tomorrow, I’m totally blaming you.”

Trini shudders faintly, shying away from the kiss even as Kimberly can see her cheeks flushing pink again. “Kim.”

Kim bites her lip to stifle a giggle, kisses her again. “Wanna go downstairs and watch a movie with my parents?”

“Oh, my God,” Trini groans, turning her face away entirely. “I’m gonna go jump back into the Pit.”

It really is too much fun to tease her.

Kim can’t help it. She’s a mean girl.