The other night, I managed to drag myself to the theater for Power Rangers. Honestly, I was not expecting the movie to be anywhere near as enjoyable as it ended up being. If Saika hadn’t recced it to me, I wouldn’t have gone at all, but I am so glad she did. Watching the movie, however, just left for eager for more, so I rushed home for fanfiction, where, to my great surprise and excitement, I learned that most fics are Kimberly/Trini. And it didn’t take long for me to find You’ll Always Paint My Sky by clarkes_murphy.
You’ll Always Paint My Sky takes place after the movie and shows Trini’s continuing struggles to feel accepted among her new friends. She grapples with her own insecurity—Rita targeting her as the one most likely to betray the others haunts Trini’s nightmares, and sleep grows more difficult with each passing night. Sensing something wrong with her friend, Kimberly decides to stop by Trini’s place and see what’s going on.
It wasn’t just that she was terrified of Rita and what she was capable of. It was that with every punch, every growl, every harsh word that Rita had spat at her – Trini was reminded of how worthless she was. She saw the words everywhere; scrawled on her locker, scribbled onto notes that were tossed at her head, scratched into her desk.
For so long she’d been trying not to let them get to her. Hoping that if she kept her walls up then no one would be able to hurt her, not really. She didn’t want friends. Didn’t need them. Friends meant caring, and caring about people always lead to someone getting hurt. No, Trini was fine eating alone in the library and occasionally being shoved into lockers and pretending everything was okay.
Well, she used to be. But then the Power Rangers happened and now… now she wasn’t so sure if being alone was the easiest option. Because it was 2am and she was alone as usual, and all she could think about was how much of a coward she was. And how it would be her fault if anything happened to her team – her friends – because she wasn’t strong enough to stop Rita.
Every night she sat, sweat-drenched and shaking, memories swimming across her eyelids no matter how hard she tried to blink them away. Rita, mutating into one of her tormentors from school, evil cackles reverberating around her skull, before becoming Rita again, claws scraping across Trini’s skin. Every night she was alone, her family fast asleep, oblivious as usual. And every night she’d eventually drift into a restless sleep, waking on and off throughout the night until her alarm blared and she had to drag her aching body out of bed, eyes bleary and weak.
Eyes shut and arms wrapped firmly around herself, she shook a little as she shrunk further back against the wall. Little mewls escaped her quivering lips as she began whispering the same words as she did the night before, and the night before that.
“Loser. Ugly. Die. Loser. Ugly. Die. Loser. Ugly…”
Only this time, she wasn’t alone.
Initially, Trini pushes Kimberly away and keeps her at arm’s length emotionally. As time passes, though, the other Rangers have all noticed that something must have happened between the two. After a short talk with Jason, Kimberly decides to confront Trini about it, only to discover that Trini is also dealing with school bullies. Kimberly’s old cheerleading buddies have been targeting her, and if Kimberly hadn’t been kicked off the team, she might have become one of Trini’s bullies as well. Angered, Kimberly goes up to her past friends to “beat the living shit out of them.” Because this is a happy one-shot of a fanfic, despite the entire cheerleading team witnessing this act of violence, Kimberly is let off the hook due to a lack of evidence. Being stuck up for in this way is a new experience for Trini, and the two grow closer as a result. They have a short but sweet kiss, and then head out to get some waffles.
I think what really drew me to this fic is the hurt/comfort part of it. Trini is in pain, and Kimberly is there to help. The fic stays true to Trini’s character throughout, recognizing that she’s used to handling problems on her own and has difficulty relying on other people. In the movie, Trini’s very closed off from the other Rangers—her parents don’t accept her for being gay, and that in turn has caused Trini to have trust issues. While she and Kimberly have a heart-to-heart about her nightmares and what’s been bothering her, it’s Kimberly’s desire to stand up for Trini that really seals their friendship, because Trini’s so unused to having someone else on her side. What Trini goes through is what a lot of LGBTQ+ youth have to face, and seeing her get a happy ending—friends she can trust and a girlfriend—is very uplifting.
You’ll Always Paint My Sky is just over 3000 words and a fairly short read. If you’re looking for something quick and cute, this is the fic for you. Be sure to check it out here on AO3.