Disclaimer: The song belongs to Garth Brooks. Tomah, Saroyan, Yoshii, and Kagero are mine. Yes, I played with the colors. I was having fun. Let me know what you think. (Hint hint: I like email :).

Standing Outside the Fire
By: Jacqui Beres

We call them cool
Those hearts that have no scars to show
The ones that never do let go
And risk the tables being turned

Andros grimaced as the music filtered through the walls of the Megaship. {What is it with those Terrans and their music?} He listened to the music for a moment. {Carlos. He likes this type of music.} He tried to block out the music but the words wormed their way into his skull.

We call them fools
Who have to dance within the flame
Who chance the sorrow and the shame
That always comes with getting burned

Andros clenched his jaw as he thought about these new team of Terrans he'd just picked up. {Why? Why did I just give them the Astro Morphers? I just got my life back together from the last time. Why am I torturing myself again?}

We call them strong
Those who can face this world alone
Who seem to get by on their own
Those who will never take the fall

{I don't need them. I can handle this on my own. I've been on my own for over a year now, ever since Zhane was...injured. When they died I promised myself I would never let anyone else become Astro Rangers. Never again, there would only be me, and me alone. I won't let them in. They're just sharing the same ship and powers. That's all.}

We call them weak
Who are unable to resist
The slightest chance love might exist
And for that forsake it all

{What about Ashley?} He growled at the mere mention of her name in his mind. {I'm not falling for her.} He tried to concentrate on the readouts in front of him. {You have feelings for her, admit it to yourself. You do.} Andros shook his head. {No, I don't.} He argued with himself. {I don't feel anything for any of them, least of all Ashley. I haven't felt anything since Zhane was put in that cryo-tube, since Karone was kidnapped. My heart's as cold as Zhane tube, and that's the way it's going to stay that way. It's safer, I don't get hurt.}

They're so hell bent on giving, walking a wire
Convinced it's not living if you stand outside the fire.

Andros shut his eyes as the memories surged to the front. {Tomah and Zhane were the pranksters. They would do anything if they were dared. It was their motto. Tomah...} He thought of the husky yellow ranger. {He was always up for a prank, but he was one of the most sensitive guy of the group. Just look at how long him and Nianthine were going out. I'm sorry, Nianthine. I promised you I would take care of Tomah, and I lied to you. I couldn't save him from that last battle. I couldn't even save myself.} He felt the tears well up but he shoved them back.

{Yoshii had a wicked sense of humor but send the Megaship though it's paces.} He laughed mirthlessly as he remembered the lanky black ranger. {Yoshii and Tomah were always arguing over the Megaship. Tomah kept threatening to just let the Megaship shake apart the next time Yoshii pulled one of his maneuvers. He never did, but...}

Andros tried to swallow past the lump in his throat and get back to work, but the memories kept surging forward and he was helpless to stop them. {Saroyan, she was a handful. Sharp tongued, always ready to show someone up. We had the hardest time getting past her shell.} He remembered the day Yoshii told him that Saroyan needed to be a ranger. She had no where else to go. {Her parents were too busy fighting to notice her. Once we got past her shell she was one of the nicest girls I've ever met.} He smiled slightly. {She reminded me a lot of Karone, had she stayed on KO-35.}

He felt himself start to shake as he relived the first time he'd ever met his second in command, Kagero, the blue ranger. She had been standing on the bridge of the Megaship, waiting for him and Zhane to arrive. Andros had stopped and stared when he walked onto the bridge. {She was the most beautiful creature I'd ever laid eyes on.} She had long black hair and she had been wearing a deep blue tunic and black pants. When she turned he found himself looking into the most exquisite pair of brown eyes he'd ever seen. {I fell hard and I fell fast. And then I was a coward and never told her how I felt. I held her dying in my arms and couldn't get the words past my throat.}

{Why? Why did she die? Why couldn't I just tell her how I felt about her? Now it's too late. It's just me.}

Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried it is merely survived
If you're standing outside the fire

{I don't want to try again.} He wailed in his mind as the tears finally flowed for his dead friends. {I don't want my heart to be ripped apart. I don't want to lose these Rangers like I lost my last team, as I lost Karone. I don't want it to be my fault. I can't do it again; I won't do it again. I won't let them in. I won't.} But as hard as he tried to convince himself of that he could hear the falsehoods in them.

There's this love that is burning
Deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly higher and higher
I can't abide standing outside the fire.

Ashley stood nervously just outside the bridge of the Megaship. She could hear someone trying to stifle their sobs and the only one the bridge was Andros. {Should I go to him? Especially after what I did yesterday? How he brushed me off?} She bit her lip and finally took a cautious step onto the bridge. Quietly she walked over to where their new leader was slumped over a console, shoulders heaving from the sobs. She put a hand on his shoulder and made herself stay put as he turned his tear streaked face to her.

"Ashley?" He croaked out. He wanted to die of embarrassment, but Ashley didn't seem at all put off by his tears.

"It's okay, Andros." She said awkwardly. She gingerly wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "It's okay." She repeated softly.

Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried it is merely survived
If you're standing outside the fire