"What IS that?"
"Huh?" Ashley jerked her head backwards, only to see Andros standing at the door of her chamber. His face was stern, and his hands were on his hips. He did not look the least bit pleased.
"What is that…noise?" he asked.
"Oh that!" she reached over and hit the stop button on her CD player. "Just some music. I didn't think you'd mind if I listened to my CD."
"That…" he raised his eyebrows suspiciously, scrunching his nose up a little. "was music?"
Ashley nodded, making a note not to play her music onboard the Megaship anymore. "Yeah, that's music."
Andros snorted, shaking his head and rolling his eyes. "That doesn't sound like any type of music that I've ever heard. I couldn't concentrate on my work…so keep it down, Okay?" he snapped at her, eyes flashing.
Before Ashley could answer, Andros spun on his heel and walked briskly from her doorway. She clicked her tongue and lay out on her bed. "Geez, what a grouch. I wonder what's bugging him all the time."
"Some things are probably none of your business…" a soft feminine voice sounded, echoing through Ashley's chamber. A tiny camera poked out of an open hatch from the ceiling above and turned to look down at the Yellow Ranger stretched out on the bed. "Andros has his reasons."
Ashley sighed. "Hi, DECA."
The MegaShip's onboard computer did not seem satisfied, she grunted slightly and continued. "You have no idea what Andros has gone through in his life. He doesn't have a sour attitude for no good reason you know…the poor boy…"
Ashley looked confusedly into the camera. She knew barely anything about Andros, but ever since she and her friends had first met him, he had been extremely cold to them. She'd tried the friendly approach, but he had brushed her off. If he had wanted to make a good impression with his new teammates, he certainly hadn't. He had gotten friendlier since they had become a team, but not by much. It didn't seem to any of them like he was going to try to be a good friend any time soon, so they didn't get their hopes up. What could possibly cause such a foul mood? Sure…there was Dark Specter, Corone and Ecliptor of course…but still… Carlos seemed to be the only one who could talk to him. "I'm afraid I don't understand what you're talking about, DECA." She whispered.
"Oh, no one ever understands…" DECA's camera dissapeared back into the hole in the ceiling from where it had come, and in it's place slid in the wall paneling that had moved to make room for her.
Ashley stood up and adjusted her jacket over her shoulders, then headed out into the
hallway. "But I want to
understand…" she muttered, then made her way into the main control room. "I want to know what
Andros sat in his chair near the control panels and stared out of the window into the dark void outside. Not even the star shone out here…all was black. He wore his usual deep frown on his face, and had his usual faraway lonely look in his eyes. Suddenly, he reached up to his neck and pulled a silver chain with a circular charm on it out from under his red shirt. He sighed as he looked at it, touching it genlty with his hands.
"I'm sorry, Corone." He whispered quietly. "I'm sorry I couldn't save you. I'll…I'll never give up. I'll find you." The silver necklace went back under his shirt as suddenly as it had come out, and he then burried his face in his hands.
Ashley looked on from where he couldn't see her, jaw slack. "Oh my God…" she mouthed the words so that he couldn't hear her. "Oh my God, what happened to him?"
"No…No…I can't cry. Crying doesn't help…" Andros stood up and began to push buttons on the control panel in front of him with one hand while the other hand wiped at his eyes. "Crying solves nothing. DECA, it's time to start scanning again."
"Acknowelged, Andros. Beginning to scan this galaxy now." DECA replied, and then the sound of computer like blipping was heard.
He walked over to the window, staring hard out of it with a cold determination and great pain. "Don't worry, Corone. I'll find you…and everything is going to be okay. I'm not going to lose you like I lost my crew and teammates." He made this solemn promise to himself as much as he did his missing sister.
Andros turned on his heel and quickly spun around to look at whom the voice came from. His eyes narrowed and he drew his mouth and fists tight. "What are you doing here?" he snapped at Ashley. His voice had been almost a growl.
"Andros…I…heard all of what you said…" Ashley practically jumped back when he had turned on her like that. This must be a really sensative subject for him to talk about!
"That was NONE of your business!"
She covered her mouth with her hand. Trying not to meet his hurt and hateful gaze, she began to back up and away from him slowly. "I accidentally overheard." She pointed out. "I'm sorry…I didn't know."
He suddenly tried to choke back tears that began to rush to his eyes and he turned away from her again. "That was absolutely none of your business, Ashley…" He repeated in a strained voice. His hands went up to his eyes, and he began to mutter to himself again about how crying doesn't solve anything and it doesn't help anyone.
Ashley carefully came up behind him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. Leaning over, she whispered into his ear in her most comforting voice. "Sometimes… crying helps to ease the pain…"
With a grunt, he threw her arms off of him and turned around to face her. "No it doesn't! Crying doesn't help anyone or anything! Quit trying to help me, Ashley! I can deal with this on my own!"
She stared at him in disbelief as he stormed over to the panel and began to press buttons for no apparent reason. "That's not true! You can't handle something like this on your own! Stop being so self-centered, Andros!"
Andros didn't even look up at her and continued to push buttons.
"Quit thinking that you alone can fix things…cause you can't. You can't get over the pain you've gone through alone! From what I've overheard, you've lost a lot! No one can go through what you have and not need help from someone else!"
He grunted and shrugged his shoulders.
"Fine…be that way." She put her hands on her hips and sighed deeply. "I just want you to know that if you need me…I'll be here for you. You know…if you just want a shoulder to cry on or something…" And then she turned and left him alone in the control room and went back into her own quarters.
As soon as she was gone, Andros let his knees buckle underneath him and he fell onto the control panel, sobbing his heart out.
"Why is he so stubborn? He's just like I was! That is so unfair!" Ashley threw herself down onto her bed and stared up at the ceiling. "He's exactly like I was after Andy died…"
She felt tears start to come to her eyes as she remembered him. Andrew William Hammond, who was called Andy by his friends and family…was Ashley's twin brother, younger than she was by only five minutes. At the age of 10 he was diagnosed with a case of brain cancer. His family was shocked, and they did all they could to help him. For many years, he lived his life out normally.
Until one day, when he and Ashley were thirteen years old, he was out playing soccer with her and her friends, he suddenly collapsed into the middle of the field. He was rushed to the hospital only to be pronounced dead on the ambulance before he had even reached the emergency room. He had died of a ruptured brain tumor.
And Ashley had thought it was her fault. She took it the hardest of anyone, refusing help from anyone and everyone. She threatened many times to kill herself, and she kept her tears inside. At the time, she felt that crying wasn't going to bring Andy back…
And then Carlos came and offered to help her.
At first she had outright refused any help from anyone, but soon he had her crying on his shoulder and confessing all of her feelings to him. This is how the two of them, Carlos and Ashley, had become so close.
"Oh God, he's just like I was…" Ashley rolled over onto her stomach and buried her face into her pillow. "Just like me…"
Just as she almost began to cry, she heard her name being called. "Ashley?"
She jerked herself up to a sitting position and turned to the door, only to find Andros standing in the doorway. She wiped at her eyes fiercely and stood up. "Yes?" she asked, trying to keep her voice from cracking. She looked at his face…_He's been crying!!_
Andros swallowed hard and came further into her quarters. He was wringing his hands in front of him, and he couldn't keep his eyes looking at one spot on the floor for more than a second or so. "I…I'm sorry for what I did in there." He rushed his apology, but she could tell he really meant it. "And..I think you're right. I…thought about it…and…you're right…If your offer still stands…I think…now I'm willing to talk about it…."
"It still stands." Ashley walked over to him and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Come on, sit down."
The two of them sat down on Ashley's bed. For a moment, all they did was stare at each other. But after a while, Andros took in a long quivering breath and began to tell her about what happened.
"A long time ago…when I was just a little boy, I had a little sister. Her name was Corone…and we meant the world to each other. We were always playing with each other, and doing telekenisis…we could relate to each other, and talk about anything together." He closed his eyes and a tear sqeezed out from them. "One day…we were outside playing with a ball…when the ball went a little too far. I ran to go get it…and when I got to it I heard her screaming for me. I turned around and looked for her, but the screaming stopped, and she was gone! I…saw this dark figure running in the trees, and then…it was gone too…and I haven't seen Corone since then. I…I promised myself that I would look for her and never give up…."
Ashley was moved to tears by what he had just said…and before he could say another word, she had wrapped him up into her arms and had him crying onto her shoulder. Patting his back gently, she shushed him slightly. "Shhh…that's right…let it out…let it all out. It's okay…"
He sniffed loudly. "And…then…years later, when I was first made a Power Ranger…I was given four friends. They were my teammates, and they would help me destroy Dark Specter. One day…we were in this really bad battle…and Dark Specter had me captured. He…smashed the zord…he killed my friends!" Ashley felt his fist clench against her back. "I managed to escape…but I couldn't save them…he killed them! I swore to get revenge…"
"You poor thing…" Ashley whispered. "You've had too much loss for one lifetime." She pulled away from him slightly and wiped his face gently with her fingers.
"Why do you want to help me anyways?" he sniffled.
"I know how you feel…" she told him. "When I was thirteen...My twin brother Andy died of a ruptured brain tumor. And…I was exactly like you just were in there…I didn't want help…I thought it was my fault…I thought that crying wouldn't help….I kept it all pinned up inside of me."
Andros hugged onto Ashley tightly. "You did?"
She nodded. "Carlos helped me though…and we've been like, best friends ever since then. After Carlos talked to me about it…and got me to cry and everything, I was better able to cope with my loss…And things got better after that."
"I…I do feel better…." He admitted. "Th…thank you…."
"Things will get better, Andros. I promise that to you. We'll find Corone…and things will be better than they are now. You just wait and see." Ashley promised him.
They sat together on her bed, holding onto each other tightly. They just sat, enjoying the warmth of each other, not shedding anymore tears. They were comforted and contented. Silence and the feel of each other was all they needed.
"I love you…."
"I…love you too, Andros…"
For a long moment they looked into each other's eyes. Then they moved closer, and their
lips met in a ship-shattering, earthshaking kiss.