Love was in the air, so thick it made Mondo the Machine King nauseous. He'd been watching the events of the past week and a half intently, hoping that the Dark Avatar would destroy the Rangers or the Avatars. Had he succeeded, then the Machine Empire would swept down to destroy everything and conquer the planet for their own purposes.
And yet, somehow, even incarnate evil fails to defeat those blasted Rangers! Mondo growled to himself. He had them all captive, and the Avatars destroyed him!! He stomped up and down a little, his eyes sparking a deep and hideous red at the thought. Can NOTHING destroy those Rangers? Active, inactive, Power Rangers or Avatars, they always seem to get through everything!
He peered down to Earth, and was sick to his metallic stomach at the sight of the Red Zeo Ranger and the Avatar of Water kissing warmly and passionately again. I should send down a few Cogs to break up their little love-meeting, he thought, then shook his head briefly. Water and metal didn't mix, and he had already discovered that these new Avatars were more than capable of defending themselves in almost any situation. They must have a weakness, he thought, going back to watch them all. Nothing is perfect, there's always a flaw somewhere. I just have to find and exploit it.
Cold metallic eyes scanned various couples on Earth. Billy and Trini. Zack and Aisha. Adam and Tanya. Tommy and Kim. Rocky and Kyle. Mondo paused for a moment on that last, then shook his head. He'd thought they were a weak link, until he saw they were sparring together in the park, getting to know each other. He spied on them for a few moments, listening in, and felt almost like spewing oil as they traded jokes and anecdotes of their lives back and forth. The Blue Zeo Ranger and the Avatar of Good were obviously going to be good friends.
His memory chips prodded him a little, and he looked now for the last couple: Jason and Kat. They weren't together, they weren't even near each other. Kat was walking by the ocean, deep in thought. Jason was at the Youth Center, working out on the practice mats there. Mondo was a little surprised at how skilled the young Avatar of Spirit was, but then again, he did know that this had been the first Red Ranger and the first leader of the team. He had led them to victory over a great many monsters and plots of Rita and Zedd, and was a skilled martial artist.
I could use a fighter like that, the Machine King thought deeply. Too bad that he works for the other side. I wonder if I could change that, however. ..he glanced back down at Jason, and decided against it. As strong as he is, he could probably overcome most of the standard methods of mind-control, and I'm not certain just how those Avatar powers would affect the control. It's too risky.
He looked deeper at both of them, and his eyes would have widened if he were organic at what he saw Kat doing. She was sitting in the sand of the beach, a small stick in one hand, slowly drawing a small design in front of her. Mondo's wicked heart sang with a foul glee as he saw what she was drawing. ..
Perhaps I can control him without risk after all. . .if it is mutual. And if it isn't, then I shall have a great deal of fun regardless. "Klank!" he roared suddenly. "Get in here! I have a plan!"
Maybe he could have, she thought, if Kim had never existed. But she did, and does, and I wouldn't wish them apart for anything. They're happy together, and I'm happy for them, and that's the best of it. But the worst of it is that I'm alone now. And the one that I would like to be with. ..that I'd like to at least try to be with. . .doesn't know I'm alive.
She wasn't certain just when she'd started to look at Jason with more than casual interest. She hadn't known him long, not even two weeks yet. She'd met him formally just after the debacle with the Dark Avatar, but she had seen him for the first time when he and the others had burst into the evil one's home, where she and the Rangers had been being held captive. He was incredible. So brave. So handsome.
Her lips curved quietly at the thought. It must be a side effect of being Pink, she chuckled. We're attracted to the leaders. Kim had been the Pink Ranger, and now once again wore the Pink armor of her old days. She was head over heels in love with Tommy as well, the leader of the Zeo Rangers. Kat was the Pink Ranger now, and she was expressing a very strong interest in Jason, the leader of the new generation of Avatars. She made a note to talk to Kim about that, then just as quickly changed her mind. The last thing she really wanted to do was start broadcasting that she liked Jason.
With a sudden jerk, she destroyed the design, erasing the names and the heart. Face it, Hilliard, it's not going to work out unless you do something about it. And it's stupid to sit here and daydream when you could be talking to him about it. For all you know, he likes you every bit as much as you like him, and is just as nervous about talking to you about it as you are about talking to him. The only way you're going to know is if you do talk to him about it.
Swallowing all the trepidation and fear that threatened to engulf her, she headed back to the Youth Center.
And normally, neither would I, he thought, moving back from the punching bag and sliding smoothly into one of the hardest katas he knew, something that he hoped would keep his mind focused and away from the last thing he was trying not to think about.
Of course, it was the height of insult to refer to Katherine Hilliard as a 'thing', even in his thoughts. She was beautiful. She was kind. She was full of life and sparkle and love incarnate.
And she was absolutely uninterested in him. Or anyone else, it looked like. He'd thought she had a light crush on either Billy or Tommy, and the look of pain in her eyes when she saw both of those happily with other people had proven his point. But it had quickly faded, to be replaced by a gentle acceptance and a true joy that they had found love.
That's one of the things that makes her so special, Jason mentally sighed and gave up on even trying to not think about her. She cared about them both, but she accepts they both love other people. There's no jealousy in her. Just love. Just pure love.
"Jason?" the voice wasn't very loud, but it was more than enough to get him to stop in his tracks and turn to look at the speaker. Kat was standing there next to him, her blue eyes wide and curious and full of something so very like longing. .."Jason, can I talk to you for a few minutes?"
He smiled a little. "Sure. Let me take a quick shower. We can go for a walk?" he made it a question, and she nodded a little. He couldn't help but feel as if he were walking on air as he headed at a leisurely pace for the bathroom. She wants to talk to me. . .she wants to talk to me!!!
"So, what did you want to talk to me about?" Jason broke the silence that had hung between them since their departure from the Youth Center. He tried to keep his voice as calm as he could, and as far as he could tell, only a little of the excitement he was feeling leaked through.
For a few moments, Kat seemed to be searching for something to say. Then the words started to come out of her. "Jason, I know we haven't known each other really long, but I don't care about that. I thought Tommy and I might get together, and if he and Kim didn't love each other so much, maybe we might have, but they do, and we didn't, and never will, and anyway, I don't think I could be happy with him, since I think I'm in love with you. .."
As the last words came out of her mouth, both of them stopped, and Jason stared at her as her face turned a fairly interesting variety of colors, and her mouth hung open in shock at what she'd said. Slowly, he reached out and closed her mouth gently, smiling at her. "Did I hear you right?" he asked softly.
"Yes," as surprised as she was at the fact she'd said it, she'd actually uttered the words, she wasn't going to deny it or try and run from it or anything. She was going to face up to it, and deal with the consequences, whatever those were, good or bad. "Yes, you did. I think I'm in love with you. I don't know for sure, because I don't know you that well, not as well as I'd like to know you. But I'd like to get to know you. I want to know if we have a chance."
Jason looked long and deep into her eyes. "I think I love you, too, Kat," he said quietly. "I thought for a while that I loved Kim, but the minute I saw her looking at Tommy, I knew that I didn't have a chance, and never had. And I didn't mind. . .I wanted her happiness more than I wanted her with me."
"That's how I feel about Tommy," Kat whispered. "They're happy together. . .but what about us?"
The Red Avatar slowly pulled her closer to him, enfolding her in the strength of his embrace, then leaned his head closer and softly placed his lips on hers. Kat returned the kiss with all her heart and soul, leaning against him and feeling safe and loved and warm for the first time in a very long time. That was all the answer that she needed. .. that she had ever or would ever need.
"Sire?" Klank looked at him, then at the monitor where the Red Avatar and the Pink Ranger were holding each other and kissing in the disgusting human fashion. And Mondo was pleased over this? Klank shrugged as Mondo laughed long and wickedly. He would never understand his master, he thought.
"Klank," Mondo said suddenly. "I have a very serious and entertaining plan in mind. It's going to bring us the most skilled warrior I have ever seen, with some fairly unique powers, and rid of us the Pink Ranger once and for all."
The majordomo glanced at the monitor again, and shook his head. Whatever Mondo was planning. ..it was going to be evil.
Very, very evil.