"What a rush!" Rocky exclaimed, as he and the others got off their galaxy gliders and stepped into the launch bay. "Rynagore is really outdoing himself!"
"Yeah." Cassie wiped the sweat off her forehead. "It was fun, though!"
"Fun?" Asked Carlos. "I really want to know what your definition of fun is!"
"You didn't have fun?" Asked T.J. "I want to know what _your_ definition of fun is!"
"I don't know about you guys.' Said Korone. "But I'm exhausted, I'm taking a nap."
"Yeah, me too." Said Andros. One by one, the others agreed.
"Anyone up for a picnic after we sleep?" Asked Korone.
"I'll be going." Said Carlos, before heading off to bed.
"Me too." Cassie smiled and went down the hall.
"If there's food, I'll be there!" Rocky yawned. He gave Korone a kiss and the two headed off to their quarters, arm in arm. Andros smiled at his sister and put his arm around Ashley.
"We'll be there, right Ash?" He asked.
"Sure thing, hon!" She giggled and gave him a kiss. They walked down the hall together as Ashley had to explain to Andros what 'hon' meant.
T.J. watched the couples go down the hall together. He smiled to himself, he liked seeing his friends happy, but he also felt a pang in his heart. They were so happy together, he felt left out. He had his friends, but no one to love. No one he really truly cared about. Cassie was a friend, but no more than that. T.J. sighed and ventured to his room. He flopped down on the bed, staring at the ceiling. Was there someone for him? Someone he could love? Be close to? His brown eyes were lost in thought, before they slowly closed and he fell fast asleep.
"T.J. wake up!" An excited voice in his ear made T.J. leap straight in the air and land on his bed in a fighting stance. He glanced around the room to see his friends staring at him. Rocky and Andros were trying to stifle chuckles, and the others were quietly trying not to laugh.
"Very funny." T.J. relaxed and jumped off the bed.
"Are you ready?" Asked Carlos.
"The picnic, silly!" Said Cassie, tugging on his arm and pulling him into the hall. "Don't you remember? We're having a picnic at the park!"
"Oh yeah." T.J. stretched and followed the others, still half-asleep.
"Hurry up!" Cried Ashley, and she teleported down.
"Huh?" T.J.'s eyes opened more as he finally came to. A moment later he teleported down.
"Where were you?" Asked Rocky. "You take a wrong turn back there?" He grinned.
"Yeah, I took a detour." T.J. laughed. The rangers put down their blanket and opened the baskets.
"All right, who let Rocky fill one of the baskets?" Asked Andros, eyeing Rocky' enormous bundle.
"Relax." Rocky grinned. "Most of it's for me!"
"Save some for me!" Korone smiled, putting her arm around him. Ashley sat with Andros, feeding him some grapes. T.J. smiled, knowing when they first met Andros, he was distant and not very friendly. Ashley had brought out his warmer side, and Andros was getting more comfortable with having her close.
Even Cassie and Carlos were busy playing rock paper scissors.
T.J. looked around the park, enjoying the beautiful day. He sighed as he watched a cute couple walk by. Why was he seeing couples everywhere? It only made him feel lonely. His friends were wonderful, but he needed someone to be intimate with, to be close to.
"T.J.? Earth to T.J.!" Rocky waved a hand in front of his face .
"Huh?" T.J. snapped out of his train of thought.
"You ok, Teej?" Asked Rocky. "You seem really out of it today."
"No, I mean you seem like you have a lot on your mind. What's up?"
"Oh, nothing." T.J. shook his head. "I'm fine, just enjoying the day! I mean, it's been perfect!"
No sooner had he said that, when a dozen cogs and three Geckos appeared.
"Great!" T.J. muttered. "Twice in one day!"
"Don't count your chickens before they're hatched, Teej!" Rocky grinned.
"Chickens?" Asked Andros and Korone together. "What…"
"We'll explain later! Said the other five rangers in unison.
"Ok." Andros shrugged. "Let's Rocket!"
The rangers morphed, and ran into the swarm of cogs. Korone took one out with a flying kick, Ashley took out another with a hard right hook. Rocky used a combination kick and punch to take out two of them, while Carlos swept one off it's feet. T.J. flipped one to the ground, while Cassie took one out with a front kick, and another out with a reverse punch. The Geckos leaped in, and the rangers ducked their sweeping tails. Ashley was caught in the back of the head with the mace-like end of one tail.
"Ashley!" Cried Andros, running to her. The Gecko swung again, but Andros covered Ashley and took the blows.
"I've got you covered, Andros!" Rocky yelled. "Get Ashley out of here!" Rocky grabbed the lizard's tail and pulled with all his might. He swung the lizard and sent it tumbling across the ground, bowling into the remaining Quantrons.
T.J. and Cassie simultaneously jump kicked one Gecko each, and they both flew into each other and slumped to the ground.
"All right!" The rangers cheered. "Galaxy gliders, hang ten!"
"Race you!" Korone called, and took off, the others close behind.
"I win!" Rocky cheered, jumping off his board at the launch bay. "Guys rule and girls droo-"
That was all he got out before he was tackled by Korone. Cassie held him down while Korone tickled him unmercifully. Rocky laughed until his face turned almost as blue as T.J.'s shirt.
"Stop! Please!" He managed to gasp, tears coming to his eyes.
"You going to be a good boy now?" Korone crossed her arms as she sat on his stomach.
"All right, I give up!" Rocky held his hands in the air, and Korone laughed and kissed him.
"Wait!" Carlos interrupted them. "I just remembered, what about Ashley?"
The teens exchanged glances, and hurried to Med Bay. Ashley lay in a cot, and Andros sat by her side, holding her hand.
"Is she going to be all right?" Asked Cassie.
"She'll be fine." Alpha answered, shuffling around the bed. "She's only unconscious at the moment."
"Mmmm…" Ashley frowned and moved her head.
"Ashley?" Asked Andros, jumping up.
"Andros?" Asked Ashley softly, opening her eyes.
"I'm here, Ashley." Said Andros, "How are you feeling?"
"How about 'Did you get the license number of that lizard?'"
Andros grinned. "That bad? Well, I'm just glad you're okay." He squeezed her hand.
T.J. watched the two of them together. So trusting, so concerned for the other. T.J. had no doubt they were willing to die for each other. But who would he die for? Who would be willing to die for him? T.J. sighed and headed to his quarters.
"Is T.J. all right?" Asked Korone, watching him leave.
"He's been moping around lately." Rocky shrugged. "I think he's lonely."
"Lonely?" asked Korone. "But he's surrounded by his friends!"
"No," Rocky shook his head. "He needs a girlfriend, someone he can be really close to."
"You think so?" Korone watched as T.J. disappeared down the hall. "Maybe he does."
Rynagore sat grumbling in his throne, the dark look on his face keeping Elgar a good distance away.
"WHO DISTURBS ME?!" Rynagore roared, baring his teeth.
"I-it'ss Decdion, lord." The lizard-like monster maker inched slowly towards Rynagore.
Rynagore settled back down on his throne. "What is it?"
"Your monster iss ready, ssire."
Rynagore sat up, his eyes gleaming. "My newest one?" He asked.
"Yess, it iss set for your plan."
Rynagore smiled, his teeth gleaming in the dimly lit room. "Perfect! We will go on with my plan. For now, we wait."
"I can't wait for this dance!" Ashley exclaimed excitedly, putting on mascara. She, Cassie and Korone all stood in Ashley's room, getting ready to go to Angel Grove school's yearly formal dance.
"It will be so much fun!" Cassie smiled, putting on lipstick. "This will be your first school dance, right, Korone?"
"Yes, I'm so nervous!" Korone giggled. "I hope I know what to do!"
"Relax!" Ashley laughed. "Just go and have fun. You can talk to the students, and dance."
"Dance?" Asked Korone. "I-I don't know how to dance!"
"I'm sure Andros doesn't either." Said Ashley. "Don't worry about it!"
"You don't really have to dance, anyway." Said Cassie. "Just move to the music, it's what I do!"
"All right." Korone shrugged and put the last touches on her makeup.
Suddenly, there was loud knocking on the door. "You guys ready in there or do we have to come in and get you?" Came Rocky's muffled voice from outside.
"We're coming!" Ashley called. "Hold your horses!" She grinned as she heard T.J. explaining to Andros what that meant.
The door opened to reveal the girls. Korone stood in a stunning deep purple dress, lined with shining sequins, her brown hair falling about her face. It was sleeveless, going from under her shoulders down to her feet. The whole dress sparkled as she walked.
"This is for you." Said Rocky, smiling as he put a white rose corsage on her dress. "You look beautiful."
Ashley wore a spaghetti strap dark yellow silk dress that stopped below the knees. It fit nicely around her figure, and was truly an eye-catcher. She wore her light brown hair pulled into a fancy bun, with curly wisps of hair coming around her face. Andros just stared at her for a moment before Rocky elbowed him out of his trance.
"Oh, uh, here, this is for you." Andros fumbled with the red rose corsage, and Ashley laughed, helping him put it on her dress. Cassie wore a long sleeve shiny pink dress, her black hair pulled half-up with a pink barrette.
Rocky stood in a handsome white tux, with a purple cummerbund and a white rose in his front pocket. Andros wore a tux that was a soft shade of red. He tugged at it a little, the other male rangers assured him that he would get used to the strange feel of it. "It's strange how the earth's humans dress uncomfortably for each other." He had said. "But if it makes Ashley happy, then it's worth it!" And the others had laughed.
T.J. wore a deep blue tux, with a white shirt underneath, and Carlos wore a black tux.
When everyone was ready, they teleported down to earth.
"This isn't the Youth Center." Said Korone, looking around. "Where are we?"
"We didn't want you girls not to show up in style." Rocky grinned. "We got you a surprise!"
He gestured towards the road as a long white limo pulled up, and the girls gasped.
"Thank you so much!" Korone kissed him, leaving a red lipstick mark on his cheek, before getting into the limo. A few moments later they arrived and stepped out of the limo in front of the Youth Center, and they were escorted inside.
"Wow." Korone breathed, looking at all the beautiful decorations and lights that covered the Youth Center. Music played from a stand on one side, and dozens of students were dancing or chatting with one other.
"Come, let's dance!" Ashley pulled the protesting Andros out onto the dance floor. She tried to get Andros to try dancing, and the other rangers stood off to the side.
T.J.'s heart sank as he watched the couples talking happily, hand-in-hand. Suddenly, a slow song came on and the couples started slow dancing together.
Rocky and Korone started dancing, Korone had her arms around Rocky's neck, and he had his hands on her waist. Ashley was showing Andros how to slow dance, even Cassie and Carlos were dancing together. T.J. felt an aching in his heart. He felt like a piece of him was missing, he wasn't truly complete. He watched sadly as all the couples slowly rocked in each other's arms. Ashley put her head down on Andros' shoulder. He seemed surprised at first, but smiled and continued dancing.
Sighing, T.J. slumped into a chair, leaning on his hand.
"Um, hi!" A voice from behind startled him and he turned to see who it was. His breath caught in his throat as he laid eyes on the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She stood wearing a beautiful green dress, that settled on her slim figure like it was made just for her. Her brown hair fell about her face, and her bright green eyes sparkled as she smiled.
"Um, hi, I'm Katrina." The girl smiled.
"I'm T.J." T.J. slowly stood up and faced her.
"I saw you when you came in and wanted to meet you." She said shyly.
"Well, I, uh…" T.J. was at loss for words. "Would you like to dance?"
"Yes, I would!" Katrina smiled brightly. T.J. took her hand, kissed it, and led her to the dance floor as "My heart will go on" began to play.
Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feel you
That is how I know you go on
Far across the distance and spaces between us,
You have come to show you go on
Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more, you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on
T.J. closed his eyes as Katrina rested her head on his shoulder. They danced slowly, and T.J. wanted to stay in that moment forever. Katrina seemed like she was meant for him, like it was fate that brought them together.
When the song finally ended, Katrina looked up into his eyes, and the two of them seemed locked in each other's gaze for a few moments before Carlos' voice broke them out of their trance.
"T.J!" Carlos called coming over.
"Hey, Teej!" Said Rocky, grinning from ear to ear. "So, who's the lucky lady?"
T.J. blushed, so did Katrina. "This is Katrina, Katrina these are my friends Rocky, Carlos, Cassie, Ashley, Andros and Korone."
"Nice to meet you!" The rangers smiled.
"Well, we'll leave you two alone now." Said Rocky. "I have to go find some food!"
"You and your bottomless pit stomach!" Korone teased, holding her boyfriend's arm as they walked to the refreshment table.
"Well, we have to go too." Ashley tugged at Andros who was giving her a 'why?' look.
"Oh, us too!" Cassie and Carlos smiled. Cassie gave T.J. a wink and they left. T.J. shook his head as his friends left, still stealing glances back at T.J. and the new girl.
T.J. talked with Katrina for the rest of the night, and they got to know each other quite well.
"I've never seen you around here before." He said "I'm sure I would have noticed you!"
"Oh, I'm new here." Said Katrina. "I just transferred to Angel Grove, so I don't know much about it.
"I can give you a tour if you'd like!" Said T.J. quickly before he could change his mind.
"I would love that!" Said Katrina.
"How about tomorrow, twelve o'clock?" Asked T.J. "Meet me here at the Youth Center, I'll bring you to the Surf Spot for lunch."
"Sure!" Katrina smiled, and T.J's heart beat faster. They slowly leaned toward each other and were about to kiss when his watch beeped.
"Oh no, not now!" T.J. groaned.
"What is it?' Asked Katrina.
"I have to go." T.J. sighed. "I'm sorry, but it's an emergency."
"That's all right." Said Katrina understandingly . "I'll see you tomorrow!"
T.J. nodded and smiled, waving to Katrina as he ran out of the dance and teleported to the ship in a streak of blue.
Alpha told him where the other rangers and the quantrons were, and T.J. teleported down.
"Does Rynagore never quit?!" T.J. cried, exasperated.
"So, how's Katrina?" Asked Rocky, kicking one quantron and socking another.
"Yeah, how was your date?" Asked Korone as she swept the feet out from under one.
"Well, it wasn't quite a date..." T.J. explained as he flipped two quantrons at once. "But tomorrow's is!"
"Tomorrow?" Asked Cassie and Carlos together, simultaneously kicking one quantrons, who crumpled to the ground.
"I'm giving her a tour of Angel Grove." Said T.J., taking out another two quantrons. Never had he felt so exhilarated! His heart was beating a mile a minute, and he was grinning from ear to ear underneath his helmet.
"Way to go, Teej!" Rocky cheered, giving a thumbs-up after roundhouse kicking a quantron.
"You owe me ten bucks, Rocky!" Ashley called.
"Hey!" T.J. protested. "You're betting on me?"
"Just kidding!" Ashley grinned, as she flipped over one quantron into another. Finally, they had defeated all the quantrons and went back to the ship.
"Well, the dance is over now." Said Carlos, looking at his watch. "Time to turn in, I'm beat!"
"Me too." The other rangers agreed, and went to their separate rooms.
T.J. lay in his bed, smiling as he thought of what was to come the next day. He felt good inside, Katrina seemed so perfect, the one he'd been waiting for.
The next day, T.J. took a deep breath and walked into the Youth Center. Sure enough, there stood Katrina, dressed in bootleg jeans and a baby tee top.
"These are for you." T.J. blushed, giving Katrina some flowers from behind his back.
"Thank you so much!" Katrina inhaled their wonderful scent.
"Are you ready?" Asked T.J., holding out his arm.
"I sure am!" Katrina smiled, taking his arm, and the two started off. As T.J. gave Katrina a full tour of Angel Grove, his friends 'mysteriously' showed up everywhere.
"Didn't we just see him?" Asked Katrina as they passed by Rocky.
"I think they're spying on me." T.J. shrugged. "Let's go to the surf spot."
The two walked into the restaurant and began their lunch.
"I really had a wonderful time." Katrina gave T.J. a smile that caused his heart to melt.
"Umm…" He looked at his plate.
"What is it?' She asked.
"I just wanted to say.. umm…" T.J. blushed. "I justwantedtosayIlikeyoualot."
Katrina smiled and put her hand on his. "I like you a lot too, T.J." The two leaned in and met in a long, deep kiss.
"They're kissing!" Ashley whispered from the window.
"Let me see!" Said Cassie.
"No, me first!" This was Rocky. They stared at the couple through the window before Adelle came and shut the shade.
Over the two weeks, Katrina and T.J. grew very close. They spent a lot of time together, and seemed very comfortable with each other. The rangers were glad to see T.J. so happy.
"I'm glad they found each other." Ashley sighed happily as she watched the two emerge from the movie theater, hand-in-hand. T.J. gave her a kiss, and the two departed.
"So, how was the date?" Asked Rocky.
T.J. grinned. "That's for me to know, and you to find out!"
"You gonna mess with me?" Asked Rocky, pretending to push T.J.
The girls sighed as the guys started into a mock-fight. Suddenly, their watches beeped.
"Time to go." Said Andros. "Let's Rocket!"
"Anitrak, come here!" Rynagore roared. Out of the shadows stepped… Katrina?!
"Why didn't you destroy the blue rangers when you were alone?!" Cried the great furry lord.
"I-I don't know." Said Katrina meekly. "I'm sorry, master."
"Sorry is not enough." Rynagore growled. "You are my monster, and I want the blue ranger destroyed!"
Katrina nodded. She glanced into Rynagore's mirror to see the rangers fighting a batch of quantrons. She couldn't take her eyes off the blue ranger. What was this she was feeling? Never mind, she had a job to do.
The next day, Katrina and T.J. walked hand-in-hand down the street to meet the rangers at the Youth Center. Suddenly, they found themselves surrounded by quantrons!
"Stay back, Katrina!" T.J. fell into a fighting stance and stood in front of her. Katrina watched as he fought off the quantrons, not letting any of them get near her.
'He's protecting me.' She thought. 'No one has ever done anything like that for me.' She felt her heart beat faster as she watched him fighting, sweat on his brow, his muscles tensing. Why was she getting dizzy?
"Let's get out of here." Said T.J., helping her up when the quantrons were finished.
"I-I'd better go." Said Katrina. "I really should get home."
"I understand." Said T.J. "Would you like me to walk you there?"
"No!" Katrina said a little too fast. "I mean… no, I'll be fine."
"All right." T.J. put his arm around her. "I just worry about you."
"I…" Katrina looked into his eyes, feeling as though she could never pull away. T.J. leaned his head down and they kissed a long, sensuous kiss for the next few moments.
Katrina had to pull herself away. "I-I have to get going." She said hurriedly and left, leaving T.J. staring after her.
"You had the perfect chance to destroy the blue ranger!" Cried Rynagore. "Why didn't you?!"
"I-I couldn't." Katrina was close to tears. "I don't know why!"
"You can't be falling for him." Rynagore faced her, his red eyes burning. "He'll never love you for what you truly are, a monster! As soon as he finds out you are one, he'll drop you and leave you to suffer! All humans will!"
"But.." Katrina shook her head. "Rocky and Korone…"
"Never say those names in front of me, understand?!" Rynagore roared, and Katrina nodded meekly.
"You will destroy the blue ranger." Said Rynagore. "And you will do it soon!"
"So, how's everything with Katrina?' Asked Rocky. They both stood on the Megaship, Rocky had a pile of food from Synthetron on his plate for lunch.
"We got attacked by quantrons today." T.J. sighed. "She was acting a little weird, I hope she's okay."
"She'll be fine." Said Rocky, biting into a nearly foot-high sandwich. "Some people get a bit scared their first time getting attacked by quantrons."
"Yeah. I guess you're right, Rocko." T.J. sighed. "I just wish Rynagore would leave Angel Grove alone for once. I really want to spend time with Katrina."
"You really like her, don't you?" Rocky took another big bite.
"Yeah." T.J. smiled. "She's just so… perfect! I love every moment I've spent with her, it's like we're meant for each other!"
Rocky grinned. "I've noticed!"
T.J. chuckled. "I just don't want Rynagore to ruin this for us. She means so much to me! You and Korone are so close, I've always wanted to have what you have."
"Would you die for her?' Asked Rocky.
"Do you love her more than anything, and would give up anything for her?" Rocky asked again.
TJ. Thought for a moment, reflecting on all the times they'd spent together, looking into her eyes.
"Yes." He said. "I would."
A day later, T.J. and Katrina sat in Angel Grove park near nightfall. Katrina lay in T.J.'s arms, and T.J. held her close.
"I love you, Katrina." He said softly. Katrina was startled for a moment, but smiled.
"I love you too." She whispered. She looked into his deep brown eyes, wishing she could live in that moment, and she knew she loved him, and he loved her. They leaned in about to kiss, when a dozen quantrons and Ecliptor appeared.
"Why, if it isn't the lovebirds!" Ecliptor snarled. He fired at them with his sword.
"No!" T.J. cried. He pushed Katrina out of the way, and was sent flying into a tree from the blast.
"No, T.J.!" Katrina screamed, running to him. He groaned, holding his chest, and got to his feet.
"Get out of here, Katrina!" He begged. "Please, I'll cover for you!"
"I-I can't." Tears filled her eyes.
"I think there's something you should know about your girlfriend." The green and black monster snarled.
"What is that?" T.J. frowned at him, standing in between her Ecliptor.
"No, please, Ecliptor!" Katrina begged.
"Well, it's nothing." Said Ecliptor nonchalantly. "She's just one of Rynagore's monsters."
"What?!" T.J. turned to Katrina, wide-eyed. "Is this true?"
"I-I'm sorry, T.J.!" Katrina burst into tears. T.J. looked like he was about to fall over, and Katrina stepped towards him.
"Stay back!" He yelled. "I can't believe you would do that to me! Lie to me, betray my trust! How.. how could you?!"
"You don't understand T.J.!" Katrina pleaded as T.J. pressed the buttons on his communicator. "I…"
T.J. quickly teleported out in a flash of blue.
"I love you." Katrina whispered.
Love can touch us one time and last for a lifetime
And never let go till we're gone
Love was when I loved you, one true time I hold to,
In my life we'll always go on
"T.J.?" Rocky was startled when his friend suddenly materialized on the middle of the bridge.
"I.. she.. Katrina!" T.J. gasped.
"Calm down, T.J." Ashley put her hand on his shoulder. "Relax, and tell us what happened. What about Katrina?"
"She's…" The blue ranger broke down into tears, the first time the rangers had ever seen him cry. "She's one of Rynagore's monsters!"
"What?!" Asked astonished teens in unison.
"Ecliptor told me, and… and she admitted to it!" T.J. shook his head. "I loved her so much…"
The rangers exchanged glances, not knowing what to say to the brokenhearted teen.
"It'll be all right." Rocky put a hand on his shoulder.
T.J. only sighed heavily, tears spilling down his cheeks. "I-I thought we were meant for each other. I loved her, and I thought she loved me! I don't know, I just don't know…" T.J. hurried to his room and shut the door.
"Poor T.J." Korone put her hand to her mouth. "He was in love with her, how could she do that to him? She seemed like she loved him back."
"Well, we'd better figure out a way to cheer him up." Rocky glanced towards T.J.'s bedroom. "I have a feeling he'll be in there for a while!"
T.J. sat on his bed, tears brimming in his eyes. He loved Katrina so much! She was only one of Rynagore's monsters, pretending she loved him… Or did she? It had seemed so real, only it was too good to be true. T.J. felt his heart torn in two, it ached in his chest. He hugged his knees, crying softly, until he cried himself to sleep.
T.J. stay in his room for a good part of the next day and probably would not have left, if there hadn't been a monster attack.
"Rynagore has sent a monster to attack the Angel Grove museum." D.E.C.A. reported.
"Let's rocket!" Andros called.
The rangers ran into the museum to meet Ecliptor, with a great blue-and-green furred ape-like monster.
"Anitrak, attack!" Ecliptor cried.
The monster ran at them, and the rangers defended. They landed a few kicks and punches, but the monster was very fast. Andros and Carlos were flung into Cassie, and when Ashley tried to attack, she ended up rolling across the floor. Korone ran in at the monster, but it trapped her beneath it's claws and prepared to strike.
"No!" Cried Rocky. "Eretar Dragon power!" Within seconds, he had transformed into the familiar white dragon. Anirtak lifted it's claws, and Korone rolled free. The monster and Rocky locked paws and pushed against each other. Anitrak lashed out a foot which Rocky caught and used to flip it over. The monster stood up and grabbed Rocky, beginning to absorb his energy. Rocky cried out in pain and used the last of his strength to push it away. Enraged, the monster fired a ball of energy hitting Rocky. Rocky was sent flying, hitting the far wall with a mighty crash. He gave a great groan and fell to the floor, demorphed.
"Korone, help Rock!" Yelled T.J. "We'll cover for you!"
"Right!" Korone ran to Rocky's side, cradling the unconscious youth's head.
T.J. ran at Anitrak, who grabbed him and held him up. T.J. felt the energy drain from his body as he struggled to escape. He looked down into the monster's brown eyes… familiar eyes…
"Katrina?" He asked, astonished.
The monster gasped and released him, T.J. fell to the ground and backed up.
"T.J…" The monster looked at him with sad eyes, human eyes, not the eyes of a monster. "No…"
It backed off for a moment, and turned and fled. The rangers got their senses back and rode their gliders back to the Megaship.
"What happened?" Asked Andros.
"She.. she backed off when I said her name." Said T.J. "It's Katrina!"
"That must be why she didn't finish you off!" Said Andros. "T.J., she must still love you!"
"How?" Asked T.J., doubtful, but wanting to believe it.
"Somehow she must have feelings for you, that's why you love seemed so real, it was!"
"You have to find her again!" Said Ashley.
"First we have to check on Rocky." Said Cassie. "And you too, T.J., she drained you also."
"I'm f-whoah!" T.J. exclaimed as a wave of dizziness swept over him. "Maybe I'd better just lie down for a while."
The rangers brought T.J. to Med Bay and set him down on a cot.
Korone was already there, sitting beside an unconscious Rocky.
"How is he?" Asked Cassie.
"He's unstable, but he should be okay." Said Korone. "He took a hard hit, and the monster took a good part of his energy, so his system is having a hard time recovering."
"He'll be all right." Cassie squeezed her shoulder reassuringly.
"Why did the monster leave?" Korone turned to Cassie.
"Well, the monster was Katrina!" Cassie explained.
"Katrina?" Asked Korone. "You mean, she's still in love with him?"
"It must be." Said Cassie. "She didn't hurt him."
Korone nodded. "I just hope everything works out for them."
"Me too." Said Cassie, glancing at T.J. across the room. "Me too."
"She did WHAT?!" Cried Rynagore.
"She.. she ran away, lord." Ecliptor explained.
"She ran away?" Rynagore was about to explode when he took a deep breath and calmed down. "Never mind, just have Decdion make another monster to destroy her and the rangers, I need more sleep."
With that casual order, the great furry villain shuffled off to his room.
"How's Rocky doing?" Asked Carlos a few days later at breakfast.
"He's doing a lot better." Said Korone, taking food out of the synthetron. "I'm making him breakfast."
"I can tell!" Carlos laughed, eyeing the huge mound of food building up on the plate.
T.J. came to the table and sat down, seemingly deep in thought.
"Hi, T.J.!" Said Ashley cheerfully.
"Huh?" T.J. looked up.
"I said hi." Said Ashley,
"Oh, hi!" T.J. smiled.
"You still thinking about Katrina?" Asked Andros.
"Yeah." T.J. sighed.
"We'll look for her again after breakfast, ok?" said Andros.
"Sounds great!" T.J. smiled again, and the rangers ate their food.
After they'd finished, they flew on their gliders to earth to see if they could find Katrina. Rocky insisted he should come, since he'd been stuck in bed.
The rangers looked all over Angel Grove.
"Katrina!" Called T.J. he caught a glimpse of someone in the distance, it was her!
"Katrina!" He ran to her.
"No, stay back!" Katrina cried, her voice wavering. "Please, T.J.!"
"What? Why?" He asked.
"I'm a monster, T.J!" Katrina sobbed. "I'm so sorry! I'm a creature created by Rynagore to destroy you!"
"Katrina, I-" T.J. started when he was cut off by a blast that sent him flying.
"T.J!" Katrina screamed. The other rangers came running to see a new monster, a big ugly thing. It had the head of a camel, but it also had six legs and a spiked tail. They ran in to help T.J. Rocky was told to stay back, he was too weak to fight. The monster punched and kicked T.J., and the youth began to see stars.
"Time to die, ranger!" The monster laughed evilly. It summoned a great ball of red energy and threw it at T.J.
"NO!" Cried Katrina, pushing T.J. out of the way. She screamed as the energy hit her, sending her crashing to the ground.
"KATRINA!" T.J. yelled, running to her side. The other rangers ran up to him as he held Katrina in his arms.
"T-T.J…" Katrina gasped.
"Why did you do it, Katrina?' Asked T.J.
"I-I love you, T.J." She coughed. "I… never wanted …any of this to happen… I fell in love with you… but I was a monster, I thought you would never… never love me."
"I do love you, no matter what!" Said T.J. "Please, don't leave me!"
"I-I'm sorry, T.J…" Katrina said softly. "Thank you… for showing me what love was like… for all you've done for me… I love you."
"I love you too…" T.J. whispered.
Katrina smiled, and her eyes slowly closed.
"No…" T.J. hugged her limp form. "Please, don't leave me Katrina! Don't leave me!" Tears spilled down his cheeks, and he clenched his teeth.
The rangers each removed their helmets, tears brimming in their eyes.
"Please, no…" T.J.'s heart felt like it was torn in two. "NOO!" His mournful cry would forever stay in the memories of the power rangers.
"Sire?" Ecliptor poked his head into Rynagore's room.
"What is it?" Rynagore snorted. He bared his teeth. "You know I don't like to be disturbed in my sleep!"
"Good news, we managed to destroy Anirtak!"
"Good, now destroy the rest of the rangers and let me sleep!" Rynagore pulled the covers over his head.
"As you wish, lord." Ecliptor bowed.
T.J. knelt on the ground, Katrina in his arms. He hugged her tightly, when she suddenly disappeared. T.J. stared in shock at where she had once been.
"Oh, the poor blue ranger missing someone?" The monster mocked. "She's not worth mourning over!"
"You!" He glared at the monster with an angry look that made it shrink back. "How DARE you!"
T.J. snarled and leaped on it, punching and kicking it senseless. He landed blow after blow, before sinking to the ground in tears.
"Poor pathetic blue ranger!" The monster laughed. "In love with a monster!
T.J was about to run at it again, but the rangers stopped him. Rocky tried to hold T.J. back so they could finish off the monster.
"LET ME GO!" T.J. yelled.
"Please, calm down!" Rocky was still weak and having a hard time holding the teen back. "We can't let anything happen to you too!"
"I said LET ME GO!" T.J. yelled, striking Rocky in the already-sore head. Rocky cried out and sank to the ground, clutching his head with his hands.
"Rocky, I…" T.J.'s anger ebbed as he realized what he'd done. "I'm sorry, Rocko, you Ok?"
"Never better.." Rocky gritted his teeth. "I just feel.. tired…"
T.J. watched in horror as his friend collapsed. "I'm bringing Rocky to Med bay, guys!" He yelled, and the rangers nodded.
When the rangers returned, they found T.J. sitting in Med Bay, staring at the wall. Rocky lay in a cot, groaning, slowly waking up.
"I can't believe she's gone." T.J. said softly to himself. "Gone forever, never coming back."
The rangers exchanged glances, knowing no kind of condolences would help.
"Oh man…" Rocky held his head and sat up. "Teej, you pack quite a punch!"
T.J. didn't say anything, but just looked at the floor. Rocky sat beside him.
"Are you ok?" He asked. T.J. slowly shook his head, biting his lip. His eyes were glassy.
Rocky motioned for the others to leave, and they obliged.
"It's okay, man." Rocky put his hand on T.J.'s shoulder. "Just cry."
He held open his arms and T.J. sobbed into Rocky's shoulder.
"Let it all out." Rocky let the other boy cry into his shirt.
"I-I loved her so much!" T.J. sniffed. "She's gone, forever!" Tears flowed down his face. "Why? Why did it happen?"
"It's all right." Rocky soothed. "Just get it all out. I know you have a lot of pain, but it will go away, in time. Keep your memories of her, and you will be fine."
"How do you know?" Asked T.J. more forcefully than was meant.
Rocky's face saddened. "My Dad was in a car accident a few years ago… he died in front of us at the hospital."
"I-I'm sorry." T.J. wiped his eyes.
Rocky shook his head. "There's nothing to be sorry about. I was depressed for a while, but I learned to cope. I remembered all the great times I'd had with my Dad, and kept my memories of him, but I moved on."
"I.. I don't know if I can." T.J. sniffed.
"Just take you time." Rocky patted his shoulder. "Take all the time you need, we'll be here for you."
"Thank you." T.J. whispered, hugging crying into Rocky's shoulder again. He squeezed his friend tightly. "Thank you."
The exhausted T.J. went to his room to sort out his feelings and sleep, and the rangers came back into Med Bay.
"Did you destroy the monster?" Asked Rocky.
Andros shook his head. "It disappeared shortly after you… well, you know…"
"Yeah." Rocky grinned. "Having the energy drained from me and hitting a wall is not something I'm likely to forget soon!" His grin faded as he thought about his friend. "I still can't believe it. I mean, about Katrina…"
Andros nodded, lowering his eyes. "She didn't deserve what happened. She really did love T.J., and she gave her life to save him. She was no monster."
Ashley sniffled. "She made T.J. so happy, I-I never thought it would come to this."
Korone shook her head. "Andros is right, she didn't deserve to die. She wasn't evil, her love overcame that." Her eyes darkened. "Rynagore will pay for what he's done!"
Later that day, Andros walked down the hallway to the simu-deck. He walked in and stopped, staring at what was before him.
T.J. was there, surrounded by simu-cogs, kicking and punching for all he was worth. What Andros noticed was that T.J. didn't care about strategy, he was fighting blindly, receiving blow after blow.
"T.J.!" Andros ran over, concerned for his friend. To his surprise, T.J. whirled around, his eyes blazing.
"Leave me alone!" Said the blue ranger menacingly, lashing out at Andros. The blow to the stomach caught Andros by surprise, as well as the second hit to the head, sending him tumbling. T.J. began kicking the fallen Andros until a figure ran into the room and held him back.
"Let me go!" Cried the crazed T.J., struggling to break Rocky's grip.
"Calm down, Teej, it's all right." Said Rocky calmly as T.J. fought against his grip.
"It's not his fault, T.J." Said Rocky, and T.J.'s struggling began to cease. "It's not your fault either."
T.J. sank to the floor, his heart beating fast. He moaned, putting his head in his hands. "I-I'm sorry…"
He whispered. "I just can't…" The heartbroken ranger got up and ran off.
"I'll try to talk to him some more." Said Rocky, helping Andros to his feet, and Andros nodded.
Rocky knocked on the door to T.J.'s room.
"Come in." Came the low reply after a few moments, and Rocky entered. T.J. sat in his room, his eyes red from crying. He sat cross-legged on his bed, hugging his pillow. Rocky listened to the words of the song that was playing.
Near, far, wherever you are,
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more, you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on
"It's the song that was playing when we met." T.J. whispered. He turned to Rocky, his swollen eyes painful. "It just… doesn't seem real! It feels like any minute she could come up and hug me." He ran his fingers through his hair. "She can't be gone, she can't!" He shook his head.
Rocky bit his lip. "I know how it is for you now, Teej. It'll be hard for a while, sometimes you just need to be upset, you need to cry. Just let all your emotions out."
T.J.'s lower lip trembled. "It's just so hard to let go!"
Rocky put his hand on T.J.'s shoulder. "We're here for you, Teej. This whole thing has been hard on us as well, we can't afford to lose you too."
T.J. half-smiled. "Thanks, Rocko."
"No problem." Rocky smiled, and left.
T.J. flopped back onto the bed, staring at the ceiling. He sighed as the song continued to play.
"I love you, Katrina." He whispered.
"I love you too, T.J." Came a voice.
T.J. sat upright in bed. "Who's there?" He asked.
He gasped as he saw the figure before him. "Katrina?"
She smiled. "Yes and no, this is my spirit. A spirit you helped create, T.J." T.J. saw that she was glowing slightly, he could see through her! "Monsters don't have spirits," She continued. "but those who have felt love do."
"Are you here to stay?" T.J. asked.
Katrina smiled sadly. "I cannot return, T.J. I must move on, and so do you."
"But…" T.J. started.
"I will miss you too, but keep me in your heart and I will always be with you. I love you, T.J." Katrina blew him a kiss, and shimmered away.
T.J. opened his eyes to realize he was still laying on the bed. He sat up, looking about the room. That was a dream? Or was it….
A sudden alarm startled him.
"There is a monster attacking the planet." D.E.C.A. reported. T.J. jumped out of bed and ran to the bridge. He morphed and met the others at the planet.
"T.J.?" Asked Ashley.
"I'm here, guys." T.J. grinned. "Let's kick some monster butt!"
"It's great to have you back, T.J.!" Rocky patted his friend on the back, and they ran in to fight.
The disgusting Camel-creature approached them. "Prepare to die, rangers!"
"As if we haven't heard that before!" Carlos shrugged.
Carlos and Andros ran in, but both blows were deflected, and both rangers were sent flying. Cassie and Ashley ran in at the left, while Rocky and T.J. came in at the right. The creature whipped its tail around, and the rangers were sent rolling across the ground. T.J. got up and fired his astroblaster, catching the monster in the face.
"Argh!" It cried, holding its eyes. This gave the rangers the opportunity they needed. Korone swept the monster's feet out from underneath it, while Andros delivered kicks and punches.
"Astro Axe!" T.J. called, and it appeared in his hands. He sliced at the monster, and dove out of the way as it exploded. He got to his feet and watched the fire rise into the sky.
"Nice going!" T.J. smiled as his friends exchanged high fives. It was good to be back.
That night, T.J. came into his bedroom and changed for bed. He picked up a picture of he and Katrina the night of the dance, studying it. After a few moments, T.J. put the picture of the two of them on his dresser, before getting in his bed. He stared up at his ceiling and smiled. Finally, for what seemed like the first time in his life, he felt complete.
You're here, there's nothing I fear
And I know that my heart will go on
We'll stay forever this way
You are safe in my heart,
And my heart will go on and on…