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Secret

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Trini Kwan has a secret. It sticks in her throat sometimes, as if to choke her, but mostly it rests like a dull ache in her chest, yearning to spill past her lips and turn her life upside down. It is only her fear that keeps the secret locked away inside, where no one else can ever know it is there at all.

When she is alone, when no one is there to judge or to sneer (or worse, to look at her with pity in their eyes), only then does she let the truth come simmering to the surface, warming her skin and making her grin: she is in love.

She is in love, and no one can know.

She is in love with a girl. Even worse, she is in love with a girl that is dating a boy. A girl that is not just 'taken', a girl that is also her best friend. A girl that is open-hearted and beautiful and talented and popular, and a thousand other amazing things, all of which make her utterly unattainable, forever and always.

That doesn't make her want it any less. Knowing it can never happen only makes her want it more.

She cannot imagine a brighter future than one with Kimberly by her side. And it's getting harder and harder to keep from trying to make that future a reality. In her imagination, fear doesn't hold a candle to the boundless possibilities that love promises.

But in reality, she has heard the taunts at school, the way the word gay is tossed around as an insult, ignorant and unthinking. If she comes clean, if she admits how she feels, then that word will apply to her. If by some miracle, Kimberly shares her feelings, it will apply to the both of them. Not only will it mean the end of Kimberly's relationship with her boyfriend, it will forever mark the two of them as outcasts. It could put them both in very real danger, on top of the dangers they already face every day as rangers.

She can't bear to bring that upon them, and so she stays silent even when she has to bite her tongue to do it.