All characters belong to Disney now and Saban at the time. No money being made here.
A/N: This is basically just an idea I got while wondering what might have happened to Jindrax and Toxica after they disappeared down that road near the end of Wild Force. It's got a little bit of drama, a little fantasy, a little romance, a little humor, a little angst. I've probably bent canon here and there, but I don't think there's anything that directly contradicts it. Spoilers for the end of the series, by the way!
Orgs Don't Cry
- - -
Looking back, he knew exactly when the change happened.
They had watched the battle from a hilltop overlooking Turtle Cove. It was a strange sight: a hundred glowing orbs floating over the distant rooftops, illuminating a towering form that could only be Master Org, somehow risen from the dust and sand he had crumbled into. For a moment Jindrax felt a twinge of guilt - but no, he and Toxica owed nothing to the master who had used and betrayed them. This was no longer their fight; in fact they had every reason to hope the Rangers won.
A dazzling burst of rainbow lights blazed, and the distant, massive form vanished into it. Moments later a single, brilliant beam cut the sky, one they had seen all too many times before. The explosion he expected came, and...
Jindrax gasped and reeled as pain shot through every nerve in his body, a pain as if he was being taken apart limb by limb and organ by organ, every cell created anew and put back together again. When he opened his eyes he saw Toxica with her hands clenched to her chest, her mouth a square of shock, and realized the agonized cry he dimly remembered hearing had been hers. "What was that?" he managed to ask in a faint croak.
The response was slow to come. "The Org Heart..." Toxica said hesitantly.
"I thought that was just a legend. You mean it's real?"
"It was real." Her face was pale and dazed as she looked in the direction of the city. "Master Org must have succeeded in summoning it. It's the only way he could have become so powerful. And - the Rangers must have destroyed it."
Jindrax peered into the now-dark distance also, and then back at his companion. "The legend says if the Org Heart is destroyed, all the Orgs in the world will be destroyed with it."
"Yes." Toxica's voice was very small and quiet. "We have no hearts of our own, so we all share the Org Heart. Without it..."
"But we're still here."
"Yes, we're still here. I guess that part really is just a legend." Toxica's shoulders rose and fell in a sigh before she smiled and turned away from Turtle Cove. "Come on. We're still alive, and we have a whole world to explore. Let's go."
"I'm with you, Toxica!"
But as they started on their way again he saw her look over her shoulder, just for a moment, with what he couldn't help thinking was unease.
- - -
He should have started to worry the next day, but it seemed like such a little thing, and they both had bigger questions to think about.
"So what's the plan, Toxica?"
"The plan?" Her brows drew together in a frown as she glanced at him. "We travel. After waiting around here for Master Org for three thousand years, I could use a change of scene."
"Yeah, me too. But what about after that? Disguise ourselves and live among the humans again?"
Toxica shrugged impatiently. "I don't know. Why does it have to be me who comes up with a plan?"
"You're the brains of this outfit, remember?" As she gave him a look he backtracked. "Okay, okay, you're not the brains." That got him a worse look. "Uhh, never mind."
"Hmmf. Jindrax..." Toxica stopped and swept a graceful arm around them to indicate the fields they were walking through under a blue sky dotted with a few white clouds. "Look at this. Look at the way the wind makes the grass ripple like water. Look at the trees in the distance, so green and - and alive. Smell the scent of flowers in the air, listen to the birds singing, feel the sun on your face." She chuckled. "Well, maybe not that last part, for you. Anyway, we've been stuck in a cave for far too long. Can't we spend some time just enjoying ourselves without worrying about the future?"
"Sure, Toxica, sure." He looked at her in some surprise, trying to see the expression under her veil. "I didn't think an Org could be so poetic."
"Things have changed."
Jindrax tilted his face up as they started on their way again. Toxica was right; it was a beautiful world. Funny he had never noticed before. In fact - must be his imagination, but he could swear he felt the sunlight, even through the hard mask-like surface of his face.
- - -
And he really, really should have gotten some idea of the truth that morning a few days later.
Jindrax came back to consciousness slowly, wondering for a moment where he was as he stared up at the rocky surface over him. Back in the Master's cave? No. No, this was the cave he and Toxica had found and decided to stay in for a while. Caves were familiar, after all, and he had felt almost at home. But now...
"Oh, man," he complained as he sat up. "My back! What's wrong with this place? Our old cave floor never felt so hard!"
"Or so cold." Toxica was already up, kneeling a few feet away and watching him. "I cast a spell to warm it up in here."
"It didn't work so well." Jindrax climbed to his feet and stretched. "How about a spell to summon some food? I'm hungry."
"I did that too." Toxica nodded down to the ground before her, where Jindrax noticed a bent, splintered wooden plate with a pile of crumbling bread and a few lumps of something looking only vaguely edible on it.
"That's it? Toxica, old girl, you're losing your touch."
"If you don't want it..." She raised her hands in the air over the plate.
"No! I'm so hungry I could eat a human." He grabbed at the food, bit off a hunk of dry, stale bread and took a more tentative nibble at the - whatever it was. It was spongy and tasteless. "Mmm, delicious!" he exclaimed.
Toxica took a small piece, tasted it, made a face but went on eating. "It must be all the traveling that's made us so hungry," she said.
That slowed Jindrax down a little. While Orgs liked food, and sometimes needed it for energy, they didn't need to eat to survive in the same sense humans and animals did. This was strange; in three thousand years of life he didn't remember ever being hungry like this. Toxica must be right. "Yeah, it's all that walking and stuff," he said. "But we can stay here for a few days and rest. Right?"
"Right." But Toxica had that same uneasy expression again.
- - -
Two days later they both knew something terrible was happening to them, and the time had come when they had to admit it.
They were outside, exploring the low hills outside their cave. In truth, they were looking for food. Toxica's magic had gotten weaker - after a few spells resulting in rotten vegetables, a mound of some unspeakable slime, and a muddy old boot; by unspoken agreement they had started to eat whatever fruit and nuts they could find in the forest. It was enough for now - but their appetites, instead of fading back to what was normal for an Org, were growing. Jindrax didn't want to think about what that might mean if they couldn't find a good source of food.
Anyway, he had something to distract him as he spotted a clump of bushes a few feet away. A closer look revealed clusters of black and red fruit hanging from ropy branches. Edible, he was sure, as he bent to smell them. "Hey, Toxica!" he yelled.
"Did you find something?" She appeared from behind a grove of trees and joined him.
"Blackberries, I think." He pulled one off and popped it in his mouth. "They're good!"
"Let me try!"
"Watch the thorns."
She tasted one, smiled, and began to pick and eat them as fast as she could chew and swallow. "You're right, good," she said around a mouthful of berries. Then as Jindrax reached past her towards another branch, she waved a hand in front of her face and wrinkled her nose. "What is that smell?"
"Smell?" Now that she mentioned it, he did notice an unpleasant odor in the air. He sniffed, trying to locate it.
"It's you!" Toxica exclaimed. "You stink!"
"Me?" Jindrax sniffed again in her direction. "You don't exactly smell like a bed of roses yourself, pal."
"How dare you!" Toxica retreated several steps to another bush and glared at him as she stuffed a few more berries into her mouth. "I do not!"
"Yes, you do. Funny, I never heard of an Org smelling bad unless - you know - smelling bad is his thing. You're getting juice all over yourself, too," Jindrax observed.
"Oh no!" She looked down at her gown in dismay and waved a hand in a magical gesture. The only effect Jindrax could see was that her veil began to shrivel and blacken with a faint hissing sound. Cursing, Toxica snatched it off and threw it down on the ground. "I don't believe this," she exclaimed. "Now my cleaning spells aren't working right, either!"
"Maybe it's the Org Heart," Jindrax said as a thought struck him.
"What? What do you mean?"
"Maybe without the Org Heart, our Org powers are getting weaker."
He could see on her face how much Toxica wanted to deny it as she opened her mouth. But she closed it again, her expression almost - frightened. "Maybe you're right," she said after a moment. "My magic is fading. Both of us are losing our strength. Our abilities."
If even Toxica was afraid - Jindrax couldn't deny his own fear any more. "What are we going to do?" he asked.
Toxica stepped closer. "Well... maybe our powers will come back."
"And if they don't?" He gestured at his face and his horn. "Without magic to disguise us, how are we going to survive among humans?"
"We'll think of something." She patted his shoulder awkwardly. "We're still alive, aren't we? We'll be fine, you'll see."
"I guess you're right. If we could survive Master Org and the Rangers together, we can do anything, right?"
Jindrax looked up to see Toxica with an answering smile on her face, which was no longer hidden by the veil. There was something different... He took a second, closer, look and hesitated, puzzled. "That's weird."
"It's just that - the marks on your face look - kinda strange."
"Strange?" Toxica's hands flew to her face. "What do you mean? Where's your mirror?"
"Uh, hold on, I've got it." He produced the small, metal-framed mirror that had once helped him bring his best friend - Toxica - back from the spirit world, and held it up for her. "They look like they're fading," he said as she stared at the reflection of the purple Org marks down both her cheeks.
"No." Her eyes widened before she abruptly turned her back to him. "It's just the sunlight. My marks are still there."
"Whatever you say." He spun the mirror and looked at his own image - looked really closely, searching for any sign of something wrong.
"Bad enough our powers aren't working right. Now you're starting to imagine things too," Toxica was saying crossly.
"Yeah, you're right," Jindrax said absently. He raised a hand to touch his face. Was the surface - softening somehow? The hard smoothness becoming something else? Something - like flesh?
"And we were talking about the way you smell," Toxica went on. "Worry about that, not whether my markings are - are fading! Ridiculous!"
But his body odor was the last thing on Jindrax' mind. He poked his finger against his chin and saw it bend the surface just slightly. And he could feel the pressure. That wasn't all - he reached higher, feeling over his horn. Still reassuringly solid and hard and attached to his skull - but was it a little shorter? He used to have to bend his head to reach the tip. With a shudder of fear and disgust, he dropped both hands and hastily stuffed the mirror back into a pocket.
"Well? Did you hear me?" Toxica demanded, turning around to face him again.
"I heard you. And like I said, I'm not the only one who stinks around here! Besides, your dress is all dirty too!"
"Oh yeah? Well, if you're so smart, what am I supposed to do about it?"
He nodded in the direction of the stream that ran around the hill below them. "Wash it, of course."
"Yeah. Just stick it in the water. That makes stuff clean, doesn't it?"
"How should I know?" Toxica glared at him again. "Maybe you should stick yourself in the water, too. Get rid of that smell!"
"Hey, I'll try it if you will!" He started for the stream, heading down the hillside at a quick, angry walk.
"Jindrax, wait!" Her lighter, shorter footsteps followed.
Jindrax reached the water's edge and hesitated, looking down. It looked - cold. And wet. And unpleasant. What if he fell in and drowned?
"Chickening out, huh?" came Toxica's mocking voice.
"I'll show you who's chicken!" He stuck out a foot, intending to just dip his toes, but slipped on a pebble and lost his balance. His whole foot landed in water up to the ankle, and with an undignified yelp he jumped back and shook it off.
"Jindrax! Are you all right?" Toxica's hands grabbed his arm, steadying him.
"Yeah, I'm fine. It's just cold."
"Cold? Maybe we should wait."
"What for? It's not going to get any warmer. And your dress isn't going to get any cleaner if you don't do something."
"Oh, all right." She sounded hesitant. "I'll have to take it off, won't I?"
"I - I guess so."
Without reason or warning, the image of Toxica taking off her dress rose before Jindrax' mental eyes. Toxica without her clothes, with all that smooth skin revealed. Toxica naked, standing in the water and smiling at him. Despite the chill of his fears, a flush of heat ran through the core of his body. What am I thinking? he wondered in amazement. In all their three thousand years together he had never had a feeling like this for Toxica, or anyone else for that matter. That kind of thing was for humans, not Orgs.
It was only one more item to add to the list of strange and alarming changes: their powers, his face, Toxica's marks... He needed to get away, to be alone for a little while. "I'm going to wash too," he said in a subdued voice. "I'll - uh - go over on the other side of those trees."
"That's a good idea," Toxica said. Jindrax took one more look at her before he started away. Were her marks coming back? Or was she - blushing?
- - -
It was twilight before they saw each other again, back at their cave. They shared a silent dinner of a few more berries and a plate of dumplings that Toxica had somehow been able to conjure successfully. Jindrax watched her as unobtrusively as he could, trying to see if her horn was getting shorter too, trying to guess what she was thinking, and finding himself just enjoying being able to see her face without the veil and her silky black hair without the headpiece which she had also discarded. He looked away quickly as he felt another twinge of that odd hot feeling in his gut.
"I guess we should sleep," Toxica said finally, when Jindrax rejoined her after throwing out the remains of the meal and bringing in a little more wood for the fire they had started to use for warmth.
"Yes, I guess we should."
But Toxica made no move to lie down in her usual spot. Instead she wrapped her arms around her chest, hugging herself.
"Are you cold?" Jindrax asked.
She shook her head, staring into the fire. "No. Just wondering. Wondering what's happening to us. What's going to happen to us."
Her voice was so thin and sad, it seemed to spark a little pain inside his chest, the same kind of pain he had felt when Toxica had been destroyed and he had thought he would never see her again. "It'll be all right," he said, hoping it wasn't a lie. "We've still got each other. We're a team, right?"
"I know." She smiled shakily. "But what good is teamwork when there's nothing to fight? Whatever is happening to us, there seems to be nothing we can do to stop it. And I'm - I'm afraid of where it will end."
"Aw, Toxica, don't worry." Jindrax groped for something to say that might comfort her, and moved closer to reach an arm around her shoulders. "We're pals, aren't we? We've got each other and nothing can stop us, right?" No effect. Maybe something more affectionate would get through. "Toxie? Honey? Baby?"
"Don't call me by such disgustingly human names!" Toxica snapped. Her voice was sharp and angry, her eyes bright with fury as she shot a glare at him before abruptly turning away and covering her face with her hands.
Startled, Jindrax drew back and retorted in irritation, "What's the big deal? It's not like I'm calling you a human." He crossed his arms and rested them on his knees. "Just trying to help. Sure, some weird stuff has been happening, but you've got no reason to pick on me like that. I mean, we're the only Orgs left. We gotta stick together."
"Orgs. I'm not so sure anymore." Toxica had raised her head and slowly turned back to him, eyes brimming with liquid that glistened in the firelight. As he watched in shocked dismay, one drop broke free and ran down her cheek, leaving a damp trail. "Orgs don't cry," she whispered.