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The ShadowLands

Back Where I Belong
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Disclaimer: The Power Rangers and the Phantom Ranger belong to Saban, not me.

Back Where I Belong

by Jennifer Collins

DECA woke Cassie up really early the next morning. "Incoming message," she stated monotonously.

"Mmph, I'm not awake enough for this yet," she mumbled. She peered through sleep-blurred eyes at her alarm clock, her mind still foggy with dreams of last night's encounter. "It's not 7:30 yet," she complained.

DECA ignored her. "Incoming message from the Phantom Ranger," she replied.

Cassie jumped out of bed, suddenly wide awake. She hurried to the bridge of the Megaship and pressed a button on the control panel to open the link.

"Cassie." It was the young man from last night. So it had been real.....

"Phantom," she whispered.

"Please call me Shadow," the youth requested.

"Shadow." Cassie pronounced it slowly, savoring the feel of his name on her lips. "I like that."

Shadow smiled. The smile quickly disappeared from his face as he prepared to make his next request. "Cassie. There is a favor I must ask of you."

Cassie leaned forward. "Name it," she replied.

"Uh......... I have to ask you in person."

"Okay," Cassie said, puzzled. "You can pick the time and place."

"Is now good for you?" Shadow asked hopefully.

Cassie nodded. "Yeah, sure. Where do you want me to meet you?"

"I will teleport you to my ship, if that is okay with you."

Cassie nodded again. "It's fine." She held her breath as she awaited the teleportation signal.

*********************************************************

Shadow nervously paced back and forth on the bridge of his ship. He was so lucky to have her come and speak with him, he knew that. He would be forever grateful to her for this chance. He was sure he'd blown it last night, but now she was coming to his ship. She was really coming to see him.

I cannot ruin this. He took slow, deep breaths to try to calm his nerves.

There was a bright white and pink light that was flickering before him. It was now or never. When the light faded out, Cassie stood in front of him, maybe more nervous than he was, but she had never looked so beautiful.

Shadow opened his mouth to begin, but he didn't get the chance to say anything at that moment. Before he even realized what was happening, Cassie flung herself into him, wrapping her arms tightly about his waist and burying her face in his chest.

Shadow wrapped his own arms around her, pulling her into a fierce hug. He never wanted to let go. He buried his face in her neck and breathed in the scent of her perfume. She smelled so good, so sweet.

Cassie cried softly in his arms. Shadow rubbed her back gently. "Please, don't cry. You don't have to cry. Everything's going to be okay now. I'm going to take care of you."

Cassie sniffled. She looked up at him. "Promise?" She asked quietly.

Shadow's heart melted. "Yes. Yes, I promise, Cassie." He took a deep breath. It was time. "Cassie," he began. "I'm so sorry about last night."

"Why did you run away?"

"I'm sorry," he said again. "I- um......I was afraid. I've never..........expressed myself like that before. I didn't know how to deal with it."

Cassie held him tighter. "Oh, Shadow. It's okay." When she said it like that, he couldn't help but believe her.

"I'm sorry I didn't come to you before," he started. "I stayed away for so long, but I should have just stayed with you from the beginning," he said.

"This is the beginning," she whispered in his ear.

Shadow had never in his life been nearly as happy as he was right now. "Thank you so much for forgiving me and for understanding," Shadow said softly.

Cassie smiled. "I'm just happy we can finally be together now." She looked him in the eye. "We can be together now, right?"

Shadow picked her up off the ground and held her close to him. "Yes! Yes, we can be together now."

Cassie giggled. She grew serious when he set her down again. "So you're not leaving?"

Shadow shook his head. "No. I'm not leaving. I'll never leave you again," he swore.

Cassie leaned her head against his chest again, listening to his steady heartbeat. Everything was so perfect, finally. She knew they had a lot to discuss, but now they had all the time in the world to talk. Right now, she just wanted to tell him what she'd been waiting a long time to tell him.

Shadow cupped her chin and gently tilted her head back so he could look into her eyes. "I love you, Cassie."

Cassie relaxed back into his embrace. "I love you too, Shadow."

Shadow thought of one more thing that would make this evening even more complete. "Cassie. Will you stay here with me tonight?"

"Yes."

*****************************************************************

That night, Cassie lay snuggled within Shadow's arms, in his bed. She knew she'd never forget this night. This was where she was meant to be, and this is where she would stay. Forever.

"Goodnight, Shadow," she murmured contentedly.

"Goodnight, my love."

Cassie slept comfortably that night, as she would for many nights to come.