Disclaimer: Not mine, please don't sue me, I have no money anyway.
Melissa: Umm... not quite sure what you're trying to say there, but I'll take it as a compliment. : )
the-power-of-love: Glad you like it, here's some more for you to read.
Ashley Hammond/Astro Yellow: Umm... You'll see. : )
Princess Emmie: This is the last chapter of this one, but there will be a sequel or two.
Jenny: Okay, you're right. AGAIN:pouts: But I won't tell you which option is right for the sequel. Ha ha! Oh wait, I sent you some of it. Never mind... Oh, and there's a flashback in here, just for you. : )
DizneeDol: Lots of stuff happens next... But you'll see. : )
Chapter 28: The Happy Ending
His head shot up as he heard his sister's voice. "Aria, what are you doing here?"
"Same thing as you," she said, dropping gracefully to the ground beside him, her long hair flowing in the wind. "Thinking... and probably hiding, too."
"What did you do?" he demanded, grateful for a distraction. Aria rolled her eyes at him before letting her eyes take in the horizon. They were sitting on one of KO-35's beaches. The day was overcast, but still relatively warm, and the waves were crashing softly.
"Why do I always have to do something?" Aria demanded. "And even if I did, why does anyone else care? I can take care of myself."
"So you haven't done anything?"
"Not today," Aria said. "Yet... So, what did you do?"
Andros sighed. "Kin Won wants me to go to Eltar."
"Oh," Aria said. "Wow... Are you going?"
"I don't know," Andros said. "I don't want to spend the rest of my life delivering messages from KO-35 to Eltar."
"So don't go," Aria said. "It's that easy."
"You're going back to Earth, aren't you?" Andros asked.
"Yeah," Aria nodded. "For the next couple of years, at least. Something about how we need to finish school, and decide later, when we're all mature adults."
Aria stuck her tongue out at him. "When are you supposed to decide by?"
"Today," Andros said. "If I don't go, they'll need a lot of time to find someone else important enough for Eltar to want." Aria opened her mouth, and Andros shot her a look. "You are not going to Eltar."
"Would you believe that I never even considered that until right now?" Aria asked him, grinning. "I was just going to say, you'd better hurry then."
Andros looked at her skeptically. "And then there's Ashley."
"What happens to her if you go?" Aria asked softly, serious for once.
"I don't know," Andros said. "I haven't talked to her yet. I haven't told her."
"Andros," Aria said. "You might be my brother, but if you break Ashley's heart, I'll have to hurt you."
"You think I'd let her go that easily?"
"Just don't do anything stupid," Aria warned him. She stood up, and walked away.
Andros sighed. KO-35 was no longer his home. He'd come to realize that easily, but he didn't know how to tell it to the people who needed him. This was no longer where he belonged. He'd realized that when he'd woken up with Ashley's warm body in his arms.
She was still sleeping peacefully, and he lay there, listening to her breathe. Unable to resist, he reached out and stroked her cheek gently. Ashley stirred, and stretched, not opening her eyes.
"Good morning," he whispered in her ear, holding her close.
Rolling over, Ashley smiled and opened her eyes, craning her neck slightly to look up at him. He smiled and placed a gentle kiss on her lips, shifting so that their faces were level.
"You have beautiful eyes," he said softly, holding her face in his hands, his thumbs gently touching her eyelashes. Her eyelids fluttered at his touch, and Ashley closed her eyes.
"I love you, Andros," she said.
"Ash, I love you too," he told her, pulling her as close to him as he could. "I don't ever want to let you go."
"Then don't," Ashley said simply, nuzzling closer to him.
Andros sighed again, and smiled to himself. He suddenly knew what he should be doing.
The Megaship- an hour later
"Ash, I need to tell you something," Andros said seriously. They'd all been lounging around on the Simudeck, although he noticed that Ashley was sitting away from the others. "Alone," he added, as everyone looked at him curiously.
"I need to talk to you, too," Ashley said, biting her lip hard.
"Come on," Andros said, taking her by the hand, and leading her away from the others. They walked hand in hand to the bridge.
"Sit down," he said gently, taking his seat, and swiveling around to face her.
"What is it?" Ashley demanded.
"Ash," Andros said, taking both her hands in his. "KO-35 wants one of the rangers to replace their ambassador to Eltar."
He paused, and took a deep breath. Ashley was trying hard not to cry. Now the only reason that he would stay with her would be because...
"Ash?" Andros asked softly. "Do you understand what I'm saying?"
"You want to do it," Ashley whispered, staring down at her lap. A few tears trickled down her face. What was she going to do now?
"Ashley," Andros said softly. "I'm not going."
Ashley looked up at him. Her eyes were still shining with tears.
Taking a deep breath, Andros slid out of his chair, kneeling beside her. Ashley gasped when she realized what he was doing. He pulled a small box out of his pocket, and opened it. Inside was a gorgeous diamond ring.
"I can't live without you, Ash," Andros said, his hazel eyes shining. "Will you marry me?"
"Yes," Ashley whispered, somehow managing to say the word. Andros slipped the ring over her finger, and pulled her out of the chair into his arms. "So you're not leaving me?" she asked, smiling up at him.
"I'm never leaving you, Ash," Andros whispered in her ear, then pulling back enough to kiss her lovingly. He laughed. "You're stuck with me forever," he teased her. "And we'll get married, and have lots of kids-"
At the mention of children, Ashley stiffened. Andros let her go, and she sat up.
"What's wrong, Ash?" Andros asked softly. "I was just teasing you. We don't have to have kids right away."
"Do you want any?" Ashley asked, looking at him seriously.
"Of course I do," Andros said, taking her hand. "Why? Don't you?"
Ashley buried her face in her hands, unable to look at him. Andros wrapped his arms around her tightly.
"What's wrong?" he asked again. "Ash, I promise, everything will be okay."
Ashley swallowed hard, but she couldn't say it, suddenly afraid that he wouldn't want her anymore. She took one of his hands, and placed it on her stomach.
"You're... pregnant?" Andros guessed, a little stunned, but not altogether surprised.
Ashley nodded, not looking at him. He reached out and pulled Ashley into his lap, holding her so that he could still see her face. His arms wrapped themselves around her waist, on hand resting lightly on her stomach.
"What should we name them?" Andros asked.
"You mean that?" Ashley said, looking up at him, relieved. She placed both her hands over his. "You're not upset?"
Andros shook his head, and pulled Ashley into an even tighter embrace.
"It's sooner than I thought we'd have kids, but I love you, Ash," Andros said firmly. "And we'll be fine, no matter what happens."
Ashley smiled at him, relieved, then frowned.
"Wait," she said. "You asked what we should name them, like there's more than one."
"Oh," Andros said, looking a little guilty. "Twins run in my family. Very strongly, you might have noticed."
"Twins?" Ashley's eyes lit up. "We're having twins?"
Andros nodded. "Probably. Did I just ruin the surprise for you?"
Nodding, Ashley threw her arms around his neck. "It's going to be a boy and a girl."
Andros laughed. "It could be two girls or two boys," he pointed out. "And it's too soon to know for sure if we're having twins."
Ashley shook her head stubbornly. "We're having twins, and it's going to be a boy and a girl."
"Well, there's me and Karone, and Justin and Aria. I'd say our chances are pretty good," Andros said, laughing at the way Ashley beamed with happiness.
"I heard my name," Justin said, entering the room with the rest of the team directly behind him.
"Didn't I say I'd like to be alone with Ashley?" Andros asked pointedly.
"You say a lot of things," Justin retorted. "And we gave you fifteen minutes."
"Actually, this is important," Aria broke in. "Kin Won want to know if you've decided yet."
Andros looked at Ashley. "Actually, I have," he said. He stood, lifting Ashley in his arms, and setting her down gently on her feet. She laughed, and he grinned at her. "Do you want to tell them?"
"We're getting married!" Ashley shrieked so loudly that Andros couldn't hear anything but a loud ringing sound for several seconds.
"What?" Gabriel teased them. "Sorry, I couldn't hear you."
"Hey, you did something not stupid," Aria said, giving them both a hug. "That's progress."
"I'm so happy for you guys," Karone said happily, throwing her arms around Ashley. "I get another sister!"
"Oh yeah," Aria said thougthfully. "I didn't think of that."
"Congratulations, man," Zhane said to Andros. To Ashley, he said, "Good luck."
"Aw, you two are so cute," Justin teased them.
Several minutes later, when Andros and Ashley finally managed to escape from the congratulations and teasing of their friends and family, Andros brought Ashley to the same secluded beach where he'd been sitting that morning.
"I love you," he whispered in her ear, his arms wrapped around her from behind. "I will always love you."
Ashley turned, and gazed into his eyes, knowing without a doubt that what he said was true. "I love you so much," she said softly. Andros smirked at her before lowering his face to hers, his smirk becoming a grin as his lips touched hers.
A/N: Yay, I finished it! There will be a sequel, but unless I get bored, I won't put it up until after I finish Mirror, Mirror. Random question: Who's got the closest birthday? I started writing a stand alone, and it ended up being really, really long, so it'll be my birthday present to whoever's got the next birthday. Anyway, I hope you liked Twist of Fate, and I'll finish Mirror, Mirror as soon as I can. : )