Karone laughed as Zhane flicked his paintbrush at her sending hunter green paint flying across her old pair of bibs. She grinned as she flicked paint back in his direction. He can be such a dope sometimes. Off in the corner Ashley and Andros were arguing over whether or not all four walls would get covered with paint. She smiled slightly as she watched the two newlyweds. With any luck, we’ll get another coat of blasted paint on this wall and be done for good on this “fix up” house.
“We’re painting all four walls!” Ashley said sternly as she dared Andros to contradict her. Andros frowned back, and Karone tried to stifle a laugh at the indignant expression on his face.
“You can’t paint all four walls, it’ll make the room seem boxed in.” Andros tried to argue as Ashley planted her hands on her hips and glared at him. Without a word she stormed off.
She returned a few minutes later with a boom box in one hand and a CD in the other. After plugging in the machine and inserting the CD, the beginning chords of a song began to fill the air.
“What is she doing?” Karone asked Zhane quietly as Ashley angrily walked over to a can of paint, grabbed a brush and began painting the fourth wall.
“She always plays this song when she’s in a funk. Its her way of saying she’s ticked, but it won’t last long.” Zhane whispered back as he winked at her befuddled expression. Karone frowned slightly as the lyrics began, and then smiled slightly.
I hate the world today,
You're so good to me,
I know, but I can't change,
Tried to tell you,
But you look at me like maybe,
I'm an angel underneath,
Innocent and sweet,
Astronema cracked an eyelid as she surveyed the surroundings with caution. The silver ranger had saved her, from her own monster no less, but to what purpose? Was she simply to become some sort of toy that the rangers could torture? She hardened her eyes. Over her dead body. Cautiously she got up, grabbed her staff and advanced quietly on the silver ranger.
“Why did you save me?” She demanded to know as she poked his back gently with the tip of her staff. He looked at her for a second, focusing his hazel eyes on her blue ones.
“Here, try this. It’ll taste good.” He said as he placed a white blob on the tip. He plucked the staff out of her shocked hands and stuck the blob in the flame. She stared at his form, confused by the turn the conversation had taken. Why had she let him take her staff? Why wasn’t she fighting him tooth and nail? He was her sworn enemy. Didn’t that mean anything to him? She felt her face flush as he looked at her.
“What are you making?” She asked, keeping her voice gruff. He smiled at her as he pluck the blob off and handed it to her. She took it and took a small bite. It was sweet. Sweeter than anything she had ever tasted before. A small giggle escaped her lips before she could stop it.
“So you like it?” He asked, a goofy grin plastered on his face. “I knew you would.” He said as he leaned back. She frowned at him. The look he was giving her was unnerving. It was as if they had never been enemies. As if she hadn’t tried to destroy him, and he had never tried to destroy her.
“W...Why are you looking at me like that?!” She demanded as she slowly placed her staff in front of her for protection. It was a trick. It had to be a trick. He was deliberately being nice to her in order to lower her guard. Well, it wouldn’t work. She frowned back at him fiercely, but shivered softly as a voice in the back of her head wondered what it would be like to be with him. To be with him, and without the responsibilities of this war, of this hate, of this evil that she was surrounded by.
“You’re beautiful, you know.” He said softly, as he reached out and tapped her forehead lightly. “I don’t think that you’re quite the evil monarch that you let everyone think you are.” He added as his hazel eyes focused on her before he turned back to the fire.
Her eyes widened in shock. Slowly, she climbed to her feet and looked down at him. He thought she was beautiful. The thought ran through her head, repeating over and over again. He was the enemy, a ranger. But the line between evil and good seemed to blur in her mind as she looked around her at this secluded forested place. She had sworn to hate him, but as she watched him, she felt the animosity begin to slowly slip away. She turned away from his form and stared back out at the trees.
She couldn’t change who she was and he couldn’t change who he was. They were fated to fight against each other. Him on his side, her on hers.
“I have to go.” She announced suddenly, and then allowed a blaze of purple take her away. She had to get away from the confusing feelings he made her feel. As he called out to her, she couldn’t help but think, that overall, it had been a rotten day filled with rotten surprises.
Yesterday I cried,
You must have been relieved to see,
The softer side,
I can understand how you'd be so confused,
I don't envy you,
I'm a little bit of everything,
All rolled into one
She looked out across the empty wooded glade. He hadn’t shown up for their date. Oddly enough, she didn’t feel anything. Only a numb sense of unrealness. She had thought that by leaving him that week ago, she would have been able to forget him and the way he made her feel. But the feelings had followed her back to the Dark Fortress. They had pestered to no end, making her question everything that she had ever believed in.
In the end she had given in. She had risked everything to see simply see him again. She had flown every sense of responsibility into the air just to see where this feeling in her heart might lead her.
And it had led her here. She looked up once more at the empty glade, and tears formed in her eyes. She bit her lip as they slowly began to trickle down her cheeks. He had betrayed the fragile trust she had put in him. Her heart had betrayed her as well. He was her enemy and she had been stupid to ignore that fact.
She opened her eyes, shocked as a tear splashed on her hand. She hadn’t even realized she had been crying. She was the princess of darkness. She never cried.
Her head jerked up, only to find him bending over her. Hurriedly she brushed the offensive tears away from her eyes. She couldn’t show him any weakness. He was her enemy. Now and forever
“I’m sorry. I tried to get here as soon as I could.” He fell to his knees beside her and gruffly wrapped his arms around her. “Please, don’t cry.” He whispered softly in her ear. The tears pooled in her eyes once more.
Violently, she shoved him away as she stood up away from him. Her heart wanted to believe him, but her head shouted that it was a trap, a trick of some sort that would only lead to her downfall. He had betrayed her. And she could never forgive him for that. She had risked so much just by arranging this meeting. Should Dark Spectre catch wind of this tryst, it would mean her death. Should Ecliptor find out, he would never trust her again. As for him, well, had he risked anything to see her? She thought not.
“You didn’t come.” She said, her eyes burning as the tears threatened to spill over. She raised her staff high, and an explosion or fire landed in the space between them. “We are, and we shall always be, enemies.”
So take me as I am,
This may mean
You'll have to be a stronger man,
Rest assure that,
When I start to make you nervous,
And I'm going to extremes,
Tomorrow I will change,
And today won't mean a thing
Just when you think,
You got me figured out,
The season's already changing,
I think it's cool,
You do what you do,
And don't try to save me,
She unconsciously sneered at the two teens before her. One was her brother, and one was her love. But that meant nothing to the computer chip implanted in her brain. The software managed her actions and reactions now, sending signals to her nervous system that she couldn’t seem to counter.
“There is no Karone. Only Astronema.” She said out loud with an evil half smile at the astonished look on the two boys’ faces. A soft voice raged from within though as the words left her mouth. Stop! Stop this! I love Zhane, and I freely admit it now. I love my brother. I don’t want to hurt them. The voice sobbed from within, but the cool demeanor remained on the outside as Astronema calmly pushed a few strategic buttons, effectively calling a whole platoon of quanatrons to her quarters.
“We have to leave, Zhane!” Andros cried as he grabbed his friend’s arm. The silver ranger shook off the grip as he stared intently at her.
“I’m not leaving without her.” He stated quietly. Astronema gave him a disinterested glance, but the voice inside screamed to be released. Never before had she wanted to be on the side of good more then at this moment. But as she struggled against the programming, she learned a lesson in futility. There was nothing she could do to recover control.
“Zhane, listen to me!” Andros shouted as quanatrons began flooding into the room. “She isn’t Karone anymore. She’s just Astronema now.”
“They are the same thing.” Zhane yelled back, furious, as he punched a quanatron. His eyes never left hers, and the voice let out a startled gasp at the pronouncement. Everyone she had encountered in her entire life time had put her into one of two categories. Astronema or Karone. There was never a combination of the two. Even she was convinced that they were two separate people.
Andros grimaced slightly as a quanatron placed a small hit to his midsection. “There isn’t anything we can do now. We have to retreat. You can’t save her if you are dead or captured.” The red ranger reasoned. The words finally seemed to get through to Zhane.
He turned to her one last time, and the voice waited with baited breath. “I will come back for you. Always.” He said and then the two teens fled from the room. Astronema sat back down her her chair with a satisfied smirk on her face, but unknown to the software, tears flowed down her cheeks as the voice wept from within.
I'm a bitch,
I'm a tease,
I'm a goddess,
On my knees,
When you hurt,
When you suffer,
I'm your angel undercover,
I've been numb,
Can't say I'm not alive,
You know I wouldn't want it any other way
Karone looked covertly under her eyelashes at her fiancee as he grabbed a brush and went to stand beside Ashley in order to help her paint the fourth wall. A thousand different images of the past floated through her mind as she watched him.
The times she had tried to kill him. The times he had tried to kill her. Her brush with death. His brush with death. How he’d been there with Andros when she’d revived. The first kiss they’d ever shared. Her reprogramming. His love for her. Her love for him.
He winked at her from across the room, and she found herself grinning back easily. He called her over, and she felt herself getting up off the hardwood floors to join him and her newfound friend, Ashley. As she turned things over in her mind, she couldn’t help but smile.
She knew that there was no way she would ever understand him completely, and there was no way he would ever understand her completely. But he knew her better than anyone, as she knew him better than anybody.
As he gave a light tug on her ponytail, she took her brush and painted his favorite silver shirt down the middle. He feigned hurt as he shot her a mischievous glare. She felt her lips twitch in the beginnings of a giggle. He dove for her ribs, and they collapsed on the floor in a fit of laughter.
Soon after, everyone in the room joined in on the impromptu paint/tickle fight. It was obvious to her, as she managed to take a breath, that Ashley and Andros had forgiven each other as they had fallen into a puddle of laughter beside the fourth, painted wall.
Karone smiled as she looked back into Zhane’s hazel eyes. He smiled lovingly at her and kissed her on the forehead. She kissed him back on the lips, and she had to admit it. She wouldn’t have wanted things any other way.
Fate had decreed them enemies, but Destiny had made them lovers.
I'm a bitch,
I'm a lover,
I'm a child,
I'm a mother,
I'm a sinner,
I'm a saint,
I do not feel ashamed,
I'm your hell,
I'm your dream,
I'm nothing in between,
You know you wouldn't want it any other way