Disclaimer: Saban/Toei/Disney would not put this in the series, I guarantee it. ...Well, maybe Toei.
This is part of a challenge to myself, and partly Weesta's fault. I was re-reading reviews and found her comment on how I'd scared her with the thought of Rocky as a Dark Ranger. So I started to wonder what would have happened if he'd turned evil. Then I read Long Hard Road by Twig (Excellent story; one of the best I have EVER read. Seriously-go find her. http/www.eukaryotic. And read Whisper, too. Both totally rock.) and realized that I completely suck at writing battle scenes. So I decided to give myself a writing exercise to try and write a believable, understandable battle scene, and make it from the point of view of a character that I don't think I write very well.
That's not what came out.
This takes place from the original Fade to Darkness plotline, but does have elements of what I'm working on in the rewrite, Fade to Darkness: Darkness Calling. Hopefully, no one will be too confused. If you are, I'm about halfway through the rewrite and I should be able to post it soon, so just hang on. Or if you like spoilers, feel free to pester me with questions.
Tanya's Dance was actually the last chapter I wrote, which is why the mood is a little different. But somehow, I think I like this one and Adam's Fate the best. Even if everyone's horribly out of character. My only excuse is that these are people who have gone through years of war and hardship; no one can be the same after that.
Violence, character death, mentions of rape, and dark topics ahead. Several people will kill me for this, particularly Weesta. You are warned. Please let me know what you think on this one; I'm curious to know how it's received. I don't know if I'll write more chapters for other characters yet, but I'm open to requests.
Enjoy! I think...
She wasn't a dancer. She was a singer, and being able to follow a melody vocally wasn't the same as moving to it with her body. But she had learned. She wasn't the most graceful, but she could still dance fairly well.
Kat had been the dancer, of course. Her best friend had a natural grace that was unparalleled. Not that she would ever agree herself. Kat was humble and self-sacrificing.
She was also dead, as of two years ago today.
When the war against the Dark Rangers began, everyone had found themselves teaming up. Jason, Zack, Trini, Billy, Kimberly, and Tommy were the original Earth team, they were Team Bonded. Rocky, Adam, and Aisha were best friends, they belonged together. The Astro Rangers had been fighting together for months, they knew how each other worked. She and Kat didn't really have a team, so they became each other's team. Partners.
They'd fought together, cried together, and been there for each other through everything. When they had learned Kat was pregnant, she'd been with her for the morning sickness, the cravings, the pains, the first kick. She'd delivered her baby for her, had been the one to put the squirming, squalling little red thing in her arms. When Kat fell sick, she stayed by her side to nurse her back to health.
Only she hadn't. Kat had slowly, quietly, gently, slipped away from them. She'd breathed her last not even an hour after telling her friends to go get some sleep; she wasn't going anywhere.
Tears welled in her eyes, and the dance became faster. Liar. She'd even smiled as she died, so that her final expression was peaceful.
Now she didn't have a partner. She had a team, but only because they wanted her to be with them. She'd tried to take care of Garrett for Kat and Hyo. But she wasn't a mother. She could be nurturing when she tried, but she didn't have the natural, gentle and loving way with children that Kat had.
It didn't help that every time she looked at Garrett all she could see was his mother's face, his mother's golden blond hair, his mother's smile.
She wasn't sure if it was a call to her or not, so she spun anyway. It was, and she swiftly struck out with her left hand, swung her right arm up and over, followed by a quick knee jerk. The Pirranatron went down hard, and she turned with a high kick to strike the next. Spin, duck, kick, fist, fist, and spin again. Not the most graceful dance, not as graceful as Kat would have made it, but it still served its purpose.
In the distance she could make out the Green Silver Star Ranger struggling against a group that had ambushed her all at once. She pulled her blaster and shot several shots in quick succession. All made their mark-she'd become a crack shot out of necessity more than anything. Before, she would have called "Zeo Blaster, Fire!" or something like that. But there was no reason for fanfare in war.
Green Silver Star didn't thank her, just took out the remaining opponents before moving on. She wasn't insulted; there wasn't time for it. They'd all forgotten the normal pleasantries over the last few years. Not that it mattered. It was more important to stay alive.
At least, that's what they told her when Kat died.
She still wondered about that sometimes, she mused as she sent a hard chop to the throat of one of her enemies. She had lost her best friend, her leader-Jason was wonderful, but Tommy had always been the leader to her and always would be. Her teammates: Adam and Rocky were the only real team she'd ever served with. The little boy she'd been trying to save had gone with Astronema; any signs of compassion in Zeus had vanished the day Andros had told them-in tears-that Astronema was gone. Apparently Astronema was the long-lost sister he'd been secretly searching for all along. Rocky was as good as dead. Whatever Diablo was through his cruelty and manical laughter, that wasn't Rocky. And Acheron wasn't Adam; that blank, vague gaze as he followed Diablo's orders couldn't belong to the kind eyes of her friend. Aisha, a friend she hadn't known as well as she would have liked but a friend none the less, had spent her last moments begging for Adam to remember her just as a Z-putty decapitated her from behind.
She couldn't see Acheron's face through his helmet, but she could have sworn she saw him tremble when Aisha fell. And his heart...
She wasn't Team Bonded, or Soul Bonded, or any of that to him. But they both used what had been salvaged of the Zeo Crystals from the Turbo Morphers. She didn't know what had happened to the Red Crystal, and Blue was part of what made up Zeus' Turbo Morpher, but they'd taken Yellow, Pink and Green from the other three. The Pink Crystal had been given to Garrett when his mother died, Yellow was the only defense she had, and Green was Acheron's Power. But sharing the same Power as him had given them a connection of some sort. She knew when he was going to appear, and she could faintly feel his remorse when he saw a Ranger fall. She could also sense the feelings Diablo produced in him.
The first time she'd gotten it, she'd nearly doubled over from the intensity. Such hatred, such a desire to destroy him! That wasn't Adam, wasn't her sweet, gentle, caring friend! And at the same time, a love so deep it made her want to cry, coupled with an overpowering sense of self-hatred.
Then his helmet moved to look in her direction, and she knew the moment their eyes met. She knew that he could sense the connection, too. The Zeo Crystals, even broken and shattered, were supposed to work together, after all. And she knew that he understood what she had known then. And to her dispair, he had shaken his head slightly, and moved to stand at Diablo's side.
She didn't think the tears would ever stop that night.
Her new friends, made during the war, were few and falling by the day. Zhane and Rosemarie had been gone for almost four years now. Hyo was right after Kat; Zack had called it a 'Battle Sacrifice'. Cassie shot herself in the head with a blaster less than a week after they'd lost Carlos. Andros was a year later, but he hadn't gone out alone; he'd blown up the Dark Fortress and taken out one of the most important resources the Dark Rangers had. Aurora...
She closed her eyes, even as she swung her club hard into the Pirranatron's stomach. She'd only just begun to get to know the Swordsworn Rangers. Aurora was so kind and funny in her own way, if a bit airheaded at times. Her Sword of Shadows was being corrrupted by the Dark Forces, she'd told her. The next morning she found her slumped over on the floor, a simple, ordinary dagger sticking out of her side after she'd gutted herself. Nisha, fiery, fierce, protective Nisha, had been devastated. She hadn't said a word when they told her; she just took Aurora's body planetside and burned it to ashes. Then she'd left for the front lines of Earth and never came back.
She shouldn't have closed her eyes, she realized suddenly as she demorphed.
She imagined it would have hurt to hit the ground face-first, but the pain in her back was downing it out. An experimental move to stand let her know that her back had broken. It hurt; oh lord, did it hurt. There was a sound, and she wondered if it was her own screaming. She wasn't really sure.
A shadow stood over her. She expected to feel the killing blow; instead the shadow sat beside her, gently lifting her head into his lap. The pain didn't fade, but she gasped for breath as the warm desert air hit her face. "Vengi..." It was a sob, a whimper, and a noise of agony all at once.
He hushed her, leaning down to kiss her gently. She whimpered again into that kiss, in too much pain to actually kiss him back. She wanted to, but all she could think about was the pain.
"I...I'm a coward." she whispered when he moved away. "I just...I want...to go home..."
"There is no such thing as a coward in war, Tanya." he murmured, brushing the sweat-soaked hair from her eyes. "You are a woman of honor and integrity, and I am blessed to know you."
She managed to turn her eyes upward, staring at his face. "Please..." she begged softly. "Make it stop hurting..."
He kissed her again. "I will." he promised, his eyes suddenly pained. "I will make it stop, for you."
She tried to smile, tried to be as brave as Kat had been in the face of her pain, knowing that she was about to die. "I...love you." she gasped.
"I love you." he returned warmly, taking his blaster from its holster and raising it to her temple.
It was Litania who turned from her opponent at the sound of blaster fire, just in time to see Tanya's body go slack in Vengi's lap. Her eyes widened beneath her helmet as he raised the same blaster to his own head. "No!" she screamed.
The sound of the blaster echoed through the air as the battle seemed to stop around her, and her friend, her brother, her protector, fell forward over his lover. A girl who had died lightyears away from her home planet, in a hot desert for people she wasn't responsible for protecting. Two warriors who fought when they should never have had to, on behalf of others who would never understand their sacrifice, against an enemy who would only rejoice in their death.
Her scream of loss echoed over the battlefield for only a moment, but those present would hear it for eternity.