Disclaimer: All of the characters in this story belong to Saban. I think everyone knows the drill. This takes place after ĎCarlos and the Count' but before ĎThe Rival Rangers.í Please take the time after reading this to send me a note saying if you liked it or if you used it to line your birdcage. Thanks and enjoy! This stroy has no relation to my ĎReal Worldí series.

Affairs of the Heart
by Trini

"Hey Ashley! Wait up!" yelled Carlos running down the hallway to catch up with her.

"Hi, Carlos. Whatís up?" asked Ashley as she threw her backpack over her shoulder.

"I just wanted to apologize for trying to suck your blood," he said shyly.

"Oh, donít worry about it. You werenít in control. I totally understand," she said throwing her backpack over her shoulder again.

"Heavy?" he asked pointing to her bag

"Heavy is an understatement! I have everything in there. Books, my clothes for cheerleading, my purse-everything!!!" she said exasperated.

"Want me to take it?" he asked sweetly.

"Could you? I would totally appreciate it!" she said handing the heavy bag over to him.

"You werenít kidding when you said heavy! Which way are you going?" he questioned slinging the backpack over his shoulder.

"I have cheerleading practice so Iím heading to the girls locker room." she said .

"Cool, Iím on my way to soccer practice." he stated

"Hey whatever happened with the captain thing?" she said as they walked on towards the locker rooms.

***
"OK girls, thatís enough for warm-ups. Letís get down to business!" yelled Ashley so she could be heard over the soccer players on the field next to them.

Ashley walked over to the boom box and put in a new tape. She quickly glanced over to the field where the soccer team was practicing and saw Carlos. She waved as she hit play and he smiled and waved back. ĎHe such a sweet guy and a great friend.í thought Ashley as she took her place next to the other cheerleaders.

"Five, six, seven, eight!" said Ashley as the music started. The girls went into their dance full force. Most of the soccer players heard the music and turned to look. Carlosí friend, Owen, ran up next to him. "Wow! Theyíre awesome especially that one in yellow!" said Owen as Carlos cast him a evil glance "What?"

"That girl in yellow is one of my best friends and I would appreciate it if you didnít talk about her like she was some piece of meat!" said Carlos walking away from Owen "All right guys, enough staring! Letís get back to work!"

"Aye, aye, Captain!" yelled the team in chorus.

* * *
Practice had ended for both teams and Carlos stood by the door of the girlsí locker room waiting for Ashley. As she walked out, she ran smack right into him.

"Oh my God! Iím so-Carlos? What are you doing outside of the girlsí locker room?" she asked surprised

"I was waiting for you. I thought we could go to the Youth Center and get a bite." he replied as she raised an eyebrow "Iím sorry, I mean get something to eat."

"Sure, Iíd like that." and with that the two walked to the Youth Center chatting away

They sat at the gangís usual table and ate and talked. Cassie and TJ walked in to the Youth Center and saw the two totally engrossed in a conversation.

"Teeg, look at that!" said Cassie stopping to stare at the two

"Whoa!" said TJ "I hate to break up their moment."

"Theyíll get over it. Hey arenít you and Carlos supposed to practice some martial arts or something?" asked Cassie still staring

"Yeah, we are but I have a feeling he wonít want to anymore." said TJ looking to Cassie

"You have to make him! That way you can talk to him and I can talk to Ashley! I have to get her alone to find out whatís going on!" said Cassie practically begging TJ

"Are you sure thatís is our business? I mean if they want us to know whatís going on they would tell us." said TJ matter-of-factly

"Oh, Iím sure sheís going to admit she likes him right in front of him If I can get her alone, I know she will spill the beans! You gotta help me!" said Cassie excitedly

"OK, but Iím doing this under protest!" replied TJ as Cassie rolled her eyes at him

"Hey guys!" said Cassie walking up to the table "What are you up to?"

"Not much. Carlos and I were just have something to eat and talking." said Ashley sweetly as Cassie beamed at her

"Hey Los, did you still want to practice some moves." said TJ mocking some karate moves

"Um...." said Carlos looking to Ashley

"Go ahead. Iíll call you later and we can finish talking." said Ashley as Carlos got up and Cassie slipped into his spot

"Bye!" said the girls as the two boys walked off

"OK, spill!" said Cassie quickly

"Spill what?" asked Ashley

"Whatís up with you and Carlos?" said Cassie but before Ashley could answer that familiar six tone beep went off "Saved by the bell."

*** The gang with the exception of Justin, who was at track practice, headed to a secluded corner of the Youth Center.

"What is it, Alpha?" asked TJ into his Ďwatchí

"Yo, Divatox is at it again. Make like a bread truck and haul buns to the Power Chamber!"

"Weíre on our way." said TJ as they all teleported in different colored flashes

"Whatís up, Dimitria?" asked Carlos as they teleported in

"Divatox has sent down Elgar and Rygog. Why she has remains a mystery. Rangers, I would like for you to check it out." stated Dimitria, finally speaking in sentences

"Weíre on it! Have Justin meet us there." said Ashley and the Rangers teleported out

***
The Rangers, including Justin, arrived at the Zoo. They quickly spied Rygog and Elgar ordering Piranahtrons around "Hurry! If we donít find the scorpion, there is no way to reincarnate Scorpina." shouted Elgar

"Scorpina?" whispered Cassie

"Letís get back to the Power Chamber and run the name through the databases." stated Justin

"Good idea, Justin. Ashley, Carlos, stay here just in case anything happens." said TJ

"You got it." replied Carlos


***
"Here. Scorpina. She worked for Rita Repulsa and later Lord Zedd. Seems she terrorized the earlier Rangers especially Adam. But why would Divatox want her?" asked Justin

"That is the mystery, Justin. I will contact Zordon. He may be of some assistance. Alpha, I suggest you contact Alpha 5 and Justin, you and the rest of the Rangers should contact Adam." said Dimitria plainly "In an hour we shall regroup, hopefully with some answers."


***
"Ashley?" asked Carlos softly

"Yeah," she whispered still staring at Elgar and Rygog

"What do you think they want with this Scorpina?"

"Divatox probably wants Scorpina so she can destroy us." she said "Carlos?"

"Yeah," he said turning to look at her, their faces mere inches from each other

"Iím usually pretty confident about our Ranger abilities but right now, Iím really scared." she said

"Everything will be OK. The rest of the team is going to figure everything out and weíll destroy this Scorpina thing." he replied giving her a hug

"Thanks, Los. I needed to hear that."

"Weíve got it!" exclaimed Rygog

"Are you sure?" asked Elgar

"I think I know what a scorpion looks like!" replied Rygog

"Great, letís go. Auntie D is going to be so excited!" said Elgar as they teleported to the Space Base

"Oh no! Letís get back to the Power Chamber!" said Ashley


***
"What did you find out?" asked Carlos teleporting into the Power Chamber with Ashley

"Well Scorpina used to work for Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd but when the Machine Empire appeared, Scorpina disappeared and hasnít been heard from since." stated Justin

"She is a tough fighter and sheíll do anything to get what or who she wants." said a voice behind them

Carlos and Ashley whirled around and dropped into defensive stances only to be surprised

"Adam? What are you doing here?" asked Carlos walking up to his friend

"Iíve had a lot of experience with Scorpina. She tried to destroy me once by posing as a beautiful high school girl. I almost fell for it too. I think the reason Divatox wants her is because she will try to use Scorpinaís beauty to her advantage. I was the Green Turbo Ranger so I think sheíll send Scorpina after you, Carlos." stated Adam

"So what can we do to stop her?" asked TJ

"You will have to work together, as always, but also be cautious of new people trying to gain your trust." said Dimitria

"So we just have to wait until she shows up?" asked Ashley

"Iím afraid so, Ash." said Adam "Just keep an eye on Carlos, all of you."

"Adam is right, Rangers. I will monitor Divatox very closely and inform you the minute anything happens."

"Alright. Letís go back to the Juice Bar then. Thanks for everything Adam." said Carlos shaking his friendís hand

"Itís not problem. Iím always here to help. Keep in touch. See ya." replied Adam

"Bye!" said everyone as Adam teleported out in a bright white flash

"Letís go home." said TJ


***
"Carlos, stop apologizing! Look, I understand that you were under a spell. You needed blood and I was there." she said exasperated into the phone

"No, thatís not what Iím apologizing for. Iím apologizing because I left today at the Juice Bar." he said slightly laughing

"Oh, well you and TJ were going to practice some moves. I understand. Speaking of moves your friend, Owen came up to me at my locker today." she said

"Really." said Carlos becoming slightly jealous "What did he say?"

"He complemented me on the dance we did. Then he asked me what I was doing this weekend and I told him I was going to the horror movie marathon with all of my friends. Then he asked me if you were going to be there and I said yeah of course. He wanted to know if he could tag along and I said sure." she finished

"You said sure?" he reiterated

"Yeah, you donít have a problem with that do you?" she asked "Itís not like Owen and I are on a date."

"No thatís fine. Look I better get going I have some homework to do." he said glumly

"Sure, I have some homework to do too. I see you tomorrow OK?" Ashley stated

"`Kay, bye." he said as he hung up


***
Divatox walked down the dimly lit hall with her nephew, Elgar. They were on their way to meet the infamous Scorpina. Divatox had wanted her in the hopes that she would divide the Rangers somehow. Originally the plan was to split up the Red and Green Rangers but now that she has seen how jealous the Green Ranger was of his friend, Owen she decided to go after him. She walked into the room to find a beautiful Asian woman barely dressed with gold armor. She had long black hair and piercing green eyes, which is unusual for Asian women. Scorpina was tall, at least 5í8" if not taller. She was slim but had a wonderfully shaped body which was accented by the armor.

"Hello. I am Divatox. I know of your work with the Power Rangers and Iím rather impressed. I was wondering if you would consider helping me to destroy those Turbo brats!" she said sweetly

"Why should I work for you? What do I get in return?" she sneered

"Youíll get the satisfaction of knowing that you destroyed the Power Rangers and you can be number one gal!" she said gleefully

"But Auntie D, I thought I was your number one gal?" whined Elgar

"Shut Up!" yelled Divatox smacking her dimwit nephew

"Tempting. Do they still have that cute little Adam Park on the team?" Scorpina asked looking at two

"No, but they do have Carlos Rodriguez. Heís good looking by human standards but why donít you look through my telescope and see for yourself." said Divatox leading her to the balcony of the Space Base

Scorpina looked through the telescope down to Earth and into Carlosí room. He was trying to study but he couldnít get the thought of Owen and Ashley out of his mind. Every time he looked at his book a new image would jump into his head. Ashley and Owen giggling and laughing together, Ashley and Owen holding hands, Ashley and Owen....kissing. The last thought made him slam his book closed in frustration. He wished he could do all of those things with Ashley. He had had a crush on her since grade school but never could tell her. She only thought of him as a friend.

Divatox watched as the corners of Scorpinaís mouth upturned slightly.

"This is a good time to go to him. He is hurt by what the Yellow Ranger has said to him." Divatox whispered
"Heís no Adam Park but heíll do. Iíll be back." stated Scorpina as she teleported to Earth
"Nothing can ruin my plan now! Nothing!!!! VIVA LA DIVA!!!!!!" yelled Divatox

***
Carlos walked through the halls of AGHS looking for Ashley but he wound up bumping into a beautiful girl.

"Iím so sorry! Iím such a clutz." said the girl as she gathered up her books "Iím Rae. Itís my first day and Iím a little lost."

"Can I help? Let me see your schedule." she handed him the piece of paper and he read it "Literature with Applebee. I have that class next, too. May I escort you?"

"Um....sure." as they walked to class Carlos didnít notice the red flash in her eyes

***
"Hey Carlos." said Ashley standing next to his locker "I havenít seen you at all today. I was just going to call your house looking for you."

"You were?" he asked surprised

"Yeah, of course. School would be a total bore if you werenít here!" she said "Are you still going to the movie marathon tomorrow?"

"Yeah, I hope you donít mind but I invited the new girl Rae." he said

"Oh, um, thatís...great. She seems really ....nice." said Ashley as Rae walked up

"Hey Carlos!" she said completely ignoring Ashley

"Hey Rae. This is my friend, Ashley. Ashley, this is Rae." said Carlos

"Hi." Rae said not taking her eyes off of Carlos

"Hi." said Ashley cautiously "Iíll see you at the Juice Bar, Carlos."

"Ashley, wait." said Carlos grabbing her arm

"No I can see that youíre busy. Iíll catch up with you later." she said shaking off his grip and running away

***
As Ashley ran through the halls a million images were running through her head. Carlos and Rae at his locker, Carlos and Rae walking into the Juice Bar holding hands, Carlos and Rae....kissing. She had always had a crush on Carlos, who wouldnít, but he just thought of her as a friend. And there was something wrong with that Rae girl. ĎKeep an eye on Carlos, all of you.í Adamís words ran through her head. Scorpina? Could Rae be Scorpina?

***
The group of friends along with Owen and Rae entered the Youth Center. Everyone went in sat down but Ashley grabbed Carlosí hand. "Carlos, I need to talk to you." she said dragging him to a corner of the building

"Sure, Ash, what is it?" he asked

"Itís about Rae. I donít like her. There is something about her that isnít right." she whispered

"Ashley, itís just your imagination. Sheís really a great girl." he said giving Ashley a reassuring smile

"No sheís not. There is something weird about her, in her eyes." she said as Rae walked over to them

"Hey, whatís up?" she asked giving Ashley a dirty look

"Nothing, we were just on our way in. Right, Ashley?" asked Carlos

"Yeah, letís go." she said

***
The movie marathon had just ended and it had been almost perfect. Other than the fact that she didnít get to sit next to Carlos and that Owen tried groping her through the marathon. She reluctantly agreed to have Owen walk her home. It was late and after the last fiasco when Carlos was turned into a vampire she didnít want to walk home alone. Rae had managed to talk Carlos into walking her home. What Ashley wouldnít give to be with Carlos but she was quickly brought back to reality as Owen grabbed her butt.

"Stop it! I canít believe I thought that you were a good guy. I thought that since youíre friends with Carlos you must be nice but I can see that I was wrong."

"Iím sorry but come on, tell me all you wanted me to do was walk you home." stated Owen

"All I wanted you to do was walk me home!" said Ashley

"You know what I think?" said Owen with lust flashing through his eyes "I think you want to do a little something-something with me."

Before Ashley knew what was going on, Owen had her pinned to the ground behind a group of trees in the park. Ashley was strong but Owen had all of his weight on her and she couldnít gain any leverage

"You know you want it!" yelled Owen as he ripped her shirt open

"NO! HELP! SOMEBODY! ANYBODY!!!! HELP! STOP IT, OWEN!!!!" but Owen quickly placed a hand over her mouth and tried to unbutton her jeans

Ashley started to cry and in a desperate attempt she bit Owenís hand.

"OUCH! You little bitch! Youíll pay for that." said Owen as he drew his arm back to hit her

Ashley closed her eyes and waited for the blow but it never came. She opened her eyes to see Carlos towering above her and Owen and he had Owenís arm.

"You wonít TOUCH her!" said Carlos, his enraged eyes flashing in the moonlight He pulled Owen off of Ashley and Owenís arm made a sickening pop. Owen went to punch Carlos but he ducked and Carlos hit Owen squarely in the stomach. As Owen doubled over in pain, Carlos kicked him throwing Owen to the ground. Carlos wasnít in control as he repeatedly punched Owen in the face. Not until Ashley had pulled him off Owen did he realize what he was doing.

"Carlos!!!! Stop it! Heís down! Letís go! Please!" she begged

He quickly got up and gave Owen another quick kick and looked at Ashley. "Are you OK?" he asked but she couldnít answer. She was too worked up and scared so he just held her and let her cry.

"Itís OK. Let it all out. Iím here for you." he whispered almost like lyrics to a song

"Carlos?" she asked as she looked up at him with bloodshot eyes and tear stained cheeks "How did you hear me?"

"You must of hit your communicator. Good thing I had just dropped off Rae. I knew you were walking through the park so I teleported here just in time." he replied

A pang of jealously shot through Ashley as she thought of Rae and Carlos together. "Can we go home now?" she asked Carlos

"Of course."

***
"Carlos, donít go." said Ashley standing outside of the door to her house "My parents are gone and I really donít want to be alone tonight. We have an extra bedroom that you can use."

"Of course, Ashley. I wouldnít leave you alone after what happened to you tonight."

"Thanks. Iíve got to be the luckiest girl in the world to have you as a friend." she said walking into her home

***
Ashley awoke on her couch. She must of fallen asleep while her and Carlos were watching some late night movie. Suddenly her communicator went off, waking up Carlos.

"Hey." she said sitting up

"Hi. Is that us?" he asked

"Yeah, we better get going." said Ashley preparing to teleport

***
"Whatís up Dimitria?" asked Carlos rubbing the sleep from his eyes

"You look like crap." said Cassie to her friend, Ashley

"I had a long night, Iíll explain everything later." she said

"Rangers, Elgar has Carlosí new friend Rae and heís trying to capture her. Hurry to the park and may the power protect you." said Dimitria

"Weíre on it, SHIFT INTO TURBO!" said TJ

***
The Rangers arrived in the park to see Elgar desperately holding on to Rae and about 6 piranahtrons lurking around.

"Let her go Elgar!" yelled Carlos

"OK fine." said Elgar as the Rangers looked at each other in surprise "But sheís on our side!"

Rae stood between the 2 groups of people and looked towards the Green Ranger.

"We could have been good together if you just didnít have to be so good." she said as she turned into Scorpina

"I knew it! I knew something was weird with her!" yelled Ashley

"What do you want? A cookie?" asked Scorpina "Well I have a reward you might like!" she said as she lunged at Ashley

The Yellow Ranger quickly moved out of the way and dropped into fighting stance. The other Rangers were thrown into battle with the Piranahtrons. They fought fiercely and the Rangers defeated the Piranahtrons just in time to help out Ashley with Scorpina. Ashley looked tired and she was obviously hurt.

"Need some help?" asked TJ running up to Ashley with the other Rangers

"Thanks, guys!" she said


***
On the Space Base, Divatox was not a happy camper. "No! NO!!!! I wonít let those Power Punks win! Porto, fire the torpedoes!" she yelled

"Yes, my queen!" said Porto pushing a green button on the control panel
***
The torpedoes flew down to Earth and crashed at Scorpinaís feet. As she grew, the Rangers called for their Rescue Turbo Zords and assembled the Turbo Rescue Megazord. After a long drawn out battle, the Rangers valiantly fought off Scorpina and won! The Rangers teleported back to the Power Chamber to celebrate.

"Great job, Rangers!" said Alpha 6

"Alpha is correct. You did a wonderful job." said Dimitria

"Thanks, Dimitria, we couldnít have done it without your help!" said Justin

"No, Justin. You never need my help for all of the answers are inside each of you." she said disappearing from the glass tube that held her

"Turbo power down." said the five teenagers

"Letís go and hang out at the Juice Bar." said Cassie

"You guys go ahead. Carlos and I have to talk." said Ashley

"OK, weíll see you guys later." said TJ as he, Cassie and Justin teleported out

"What do we have to talk about?" asked Carlos

"Letís go to the park, OK?" said Ashley grabbing Carlosí hand and teleporting away
***
The two arrived in the park and sat down at one of the many picnic tables. "Carlos, I wanted to thank you for saving me." she stated

"Hey it was no problem. Actually I should be apologizing to you for not taking what you said seriously at the movie marathon. I guess you were just being a good friend." he said

"Why did you think I was saying those things?" she questioned

"Well actually I was hoping that Rae was making you jealous." he said suddenly fascinated by the wood on the table

"She did." Ashley said softly

"She did?" asked Carlos as Ashley nodded "Truth or Dare?"

"What?" questioned Ashley confused

"Truth or dare?" Carlos asked again

"Truth." replied Ashley

"Do you have...feelings for me?" asked Carlos shyly

"What do you mean Ďfeelingsí?" she asked

"Like a more than friends feeling?" he said slowly

"Yes, I do. Carlos, Iíve liked you ever since the 1st grade when you protected me from Mike Muma. I canít believe Iím telling you this." she said quickly

"Ashley, I have a confession to make. Iíve had a crush on you since 1st grade when the kids would make fun of me and you would stand up for me. Seeing you with Owen killed me. I thought that you only liked me as a friend." he said timidly

"I thought you only liked me as a friend!" said Ashley standing up and walking over to the other side of the picnic table

"From now on, Ashley, letís be totally honest with each other! No more secrets." he said standing up next to her

"No more secrets." she reiterated

"Ashley would you mind if I did something?" questioned Carlos

"Did what?" she asked back

"This." he replied leaning down to Ashleyís level and kissing her

"No I donít mind that at all!" she said sliding her arms around his neck and kissing him more forcefully this time "Not at all."

The End

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