Legal Disclaimer: Duh, the Rangers aren't mine, gee, bet you've never heard THAT before! ;) This is kind of short, but sweet, and strange. Hope you like it!!!

The Mark of the Cat
by: Cynthia

Secrets. So many secrets that I keep from my friends. If they knew how many, would they still trust me, I wonder? I do not know. But tonight, as I gaze up at the pale moon, and forget the evil that dwells there, I also do not care. I have another thing I must do tonight.

Ah, I see you wonder who I am. What secrets and what friends I am speaking of. I will satisfy your curiosity then. I am Katherine Hilliard, the Pink Ranger. I used to be Kat, the spy sent by Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd to overthrow the Power Rangers. But then my friendship for Kim, Pink Ranger of the time, broke through the spell I was under and I was able to rescue the very same Power Coin I'd stolen from her. She then entrusted it to me when she left for Florida. I could see in her eyes that she was also trusting me with something else; she was trusting me not to steal her boyfriend and one true love, Tommy Oliver, the White Ranger.

As if I ever would. I have more than enough of my own problems to worry over becoming a man-stealer. Men aren't quite my type, anyway. And before you think another thing, neither are women. I prefer. own kind. Sort of.

What am I, you ask? Well, let me put it like this. Rita did not give me the power to turn into a cat to spy on the Rangers. I already had that gift. I am a werecat. A cat who can become a human, or a human who can become a cat. Even I don't quite know which I am at some times. That was why Rita chose me, I would not register on the Command Center sensors as being tainted by her evil. The spell she placed on me was undetectable already. Being able to naturally shapeshift is part of what I am, so it doesn't show up as an abnormality.

The werecat strain has been in my family line, on the female side, for something on the order of four thousand years, passed down in an irregular fashion. Somehow our mothers know when one of us is coming, because our names reflect it. I am Katherine, called Kat. My grandmother, who had the gift as well, was called Caitlin. Her great-grandmother was Catalina. And so it goes from one of us to the next. The heritage, the link, and the search.

I've lost you again. The search for what? Or who? Ah, for who, that's the question. The search for our other half. Our soulmate. The humans of the family choose as they will for mates and lovers, doing as they please, marrying, enjoying brief company, as they wish. But the werecats are different. We have another, someone with whom we are bonded for life. We don't know who this person is at first. We are drawn to them, however. They don't quite count as human, neither are they weres like us. They just. . .are.

I've never actively searched for my other. I never really felt the need to. Grandmother told me that when the time came, I would be seized by the need to find them, and there would be nothing in the cosmos that could hold me back from doing so. Until then, I bided my time, fought to protect the planet, and roamed the streets of Angel Grove in my cat form at night, enjoying the pleasures of the hunt and the night, and occasionally having to fight off the male cats who don't realize I'm not entirely one of them. It's not easy being a blend of two species.

The moon is very bright tonight. I can change whenever I want, not like a werewolf who is bound to the moon. But sometimes, when the moon is like this, I change without conscious choice, and go bounding off to do whatever I please. Just to run around in the moonlight and play at being a kitten or whatever else I please.

It makes me very grateful that Rita and Zedd don't attack at night. I don't know how I could explain what I am to the Rangers. But someday I will have to explain it to someone else. For my mate must know what I am. It is the Law.

I'm wandering the streets, enjoying my freedom. Tonight is the full moon, the gleaming glowing round harvest moon. There will be much light tonight, and I can feel my blood stirring, my wild feline blood. I realize Grandmother is right. I am being called to find my other, my soulmate, my mate. They are in Angel Grove, it is why I was called here, why my family moved here, guided by the unknowable and untamable strands of fate.

I go, twisting and leaping through the bushes and trees and even splashing through a small stream. Though as a human I enjoy diving, as a cat I prefer not to get wet if I can avoid it. The dual pleasures and pains that come with having two forms. I am well-used to it by now. I keep going, feeling and sensing who it is without knowing their name. I will not know who they are until I see them. I might even know them as a human. Names flicker through my mind of who I pray it is not, each for a different reason.

Tommy. Beloved of my best friend. Besides, falcons and cats don't get along very well, and it is the cat that is my spirit guardian, though the Pink Power is linked now to the crane. I make a note as I run to speak with Zordon on this. I have not felt fully in touch with the Pink Ranger powers, and this must be dealt with.

Rocky. Though a good friend, he is allergic to my species. That would be the least of our problems, though. I fear his faith might have problems accepting a non-human. He accepted Zordon, however, an alien, and the power of being a Ranger. Perhaps there is hope there. We shall see.

Adam. Not quite what I have ever wanted in a male, I cannot help the feeling that he loves Aisha. I already know she returns the emotion if he does. Perhaps when I have found my mate, I shall do a little matchmaking. . .

Bulk and Skull. I flinch even as I think that. There's no need to go into the details on why I don't want one of them. In the short time I have known them, I have come to realize that once they mature, they will make some pair of girls fine husbands, but neither is for me.

There are others I don't want, but I cannot think of any whom I do. Until I stop dead in my tracks to stare at the house ahead of me. There is only one of the proper age, and never has the soulmate been of what is termed 'improper' age, who lives here. My heart pounds as I creep closer, and I feel myself shivering with delight as I see a light coming on in the garage. Yes. It's him. I can see him now, see him moving around, probably cleaning. It's late, but he keeps odd hours on occasion. I can deal with that. I am the same way. Probably for different reasons, however.

I creep closer, remaining in cat form for now. I'll change when he can see me. I hope he doesn't faint. Grandmother said that was how Grandfather reacted to see her change. Then again, he's seen far worse things than me changing from cat to human in front of him. But when I think, I realize I've never done it before in front of him.

I take a deep breath. Courage, Katherine, the voice whispers all around me all of a sudden, and I recognize in it all the voices of the past, of my feline ancestors. We are with you. Be at peace, dear child.

And I am. I leap into the garage, on top of his computer, and meow loudly to get his attention. Billy turns to me, and seems unsurprised. "Oh, hello, Kat," the inflection in his voice names me. He isn't calling me a cat, he knows I am Kat, and I want to know why! I change at once back to my human form, leaping onto his chair as I do so. I don't want to break his computer, after all.

"How did you know it was me?" I demand. "I know no one's told you, no one could!"

He just smiles. "Because I do the medical scans for the new Rangers, remember? To make sure everyone's healthy and has nothing they can accidentally pass on to the others? To the Command Center computers, you show up very plainly as a werecat. I figured you weren't telling us for a reason, so I didn't say anything. Zordon, Alpha, and I are the only ones who know, by the way. I didn't tell the others."

It's hard to say what I am feeling now. He looks at me again, sees a light sheen of sweat on my skin. "You're not just out for the fun of it tonight, are you?" he asks, and I can hear the nervousness in his voice suddenly. "You're looking for your mate, aren't you?"

"Yes," I see no need to lie to him. He's kept my secret obviously, why should I keep this one from him? The way I'm looking at him also doesn't doubt how I feel. How I think I've always felt, now that I think about it. I never stood a chance with Tommy, not just because he's in love with Kim, but because from the moment I was born, I was in love with Billy. All that was required was that this night take place for me to become aware of it.

He puts his hands on the counter and takes a deep breath. "And you came here. After three months wandering around almost every night, on the night to find your mate, you came here and found. . .me. .."

I walk over to him, and take his hands. "Billy," I whisper, and then I realize why I sought my mate out tonight. My grandmother had forgotten something, it seemed, or in her old fashioned ways had deliberately neglected to inform me. To put it rather delicately, I was in heat. And I had my chosen mate, my beloved, my soulmate, with all those clothes all on him.

He looks at me, and I can see love looking back in his eyes. "Oh, Katherine," he whispered. "Ever since I saw you I loved you. When I found out you were a werecat, it didn't bother me. I love you, not the body you wear, even if it's small and furry. You're beautiful, as cat or woman or Ranger or anything! Even that Cat Monster Rita made you turn into was kind of cute!" I do blush at that.

"Billy," my voice is huskier now, and I move closer to him. I can feel the purr in my throat, the desire pulsing all through me. "Billy. . I. .."

He lays a finger on my lips, and gestures to a corner of the lab. There is a small box of 'protection', as humans term it, and a nicely made up cot. He takes me in his arms and whispers, "Ever since I found out what you are, and I researched it, I knew you'd be in heat the night you came searching for your mate. I've had that prepared every night since then. Just in case. Just in case I got really lucky, in case all the fates smiled on me. And I think they did. I'm as nervous as a person can be and still be standing, but I still want to do this. I honestly think I've wanted it since I saw you for the first time," he takes a deep breath and gazes into my eyes. I can feel myself happily being swept away in their warm depths. Yes, this is the one. "I love you, Katherine Hilliard, my little kitty."

"I love you, too, Billy, my sweet wolf," I manage to speak this time. It is the last thing I say that night, with my voice.

Golden sunlight pours through the garage window, and I wake up to find Billy still wrapped around me. I purr deep in my throat, feeling satisfied. "Who says cats and dogs have to fight," I murmur, and I see his eyes open. He smiles.

"Good morning."

And it is.

The End