Disclaimer: We don't own the Power Rangers.
One Winter Night
Ashley smiled and took the steaming mug as it was offered to her. Marshmallows floated on the surface, and her smile widened as she saw that he'd remembered.
"Thanks," she murmured. Her voice was nasal and raspy, and she sighed. "I sound awful."
"You said you were feeling better."
"I just sound terrible." She took a careful sip, pleased. "But I can taste again."
She drew her knees up to let Andros sit. With a grin, she straightened her legs out again, laying her feet in his lap. He wrinkled his nose at her but didn't move away, straightening the blanket until it covered her toes again.
Ashley leaned back against the couch pillows and took another sip. "Are you sure you want to stay?"
The answer didn't surprise her; Andros wasn't big on parties. She was the one disappointed--she had wanted to see how Karovans celebrated their winter holidays. They had put a Christmas tree in their living room because she had started feeling homesick, but she wanted to celebrate the Karovan holidays too.
Ashley set her mug on the coffee table and stretched, her toes touching the end of the couch. "So," she said with a grin, "what'd you get me for Christmas?"
He raised an eyebrow, amused. She pouted at him, but she wasn't surprised. The concept of presents wasn't unique to Earth, it seemed.
"What did you get me?" he countered, straight-faced.
She reached for her mug again with a hoarse giggle, shaking her head. "That'd ruin the surprise."
She poked at what was left of a marshmallow still floating in her hot chocolate, her hands wrapped around the warm mug. "Thanks," she said softly, smiling at him. "For wanting to this, I mean."
"It's not so different from what we do here," he said. He shrugged, but he was smiling. "Except for the tree."
"The tree was always my favorite part when I was growing up." Ashley stared at the small tree in front of the window, remembering. "We had a few that hardly fit into the room, and we'd spend all day decorating... We waited until it was dark out to put the star on the tree. Mom would do that, and then we'd sit around with hot chocolate and sing Christmas carols."
That many words made her voice crack, and she sipped her drink. She rearranged her legs, her feet still in his lap. "They've probably had the tree up for a week now, and made cookies for everyone they know..."
Her voice trailed off into a sigh. Andros watched her for a minute, touching here knee to catch her attention. "I'll get the comm if you want to call them," he said.
She smiled at the offer, but shook her head. "It's the middle of the night there. I'll wait until tomorrow."
Andros nodded. His gaze drifted across the room to the Christmas tree, then to the sprigs of pale yellow and white flowers stuck throughout the room. Ashley didn't know why it was tradition to pick the flowers and bring them inside, but she loved the sweet smell. There was a warm drink flavored with the flowers--she'd forgotten the name, again--that tasted vaguely like honey and she'd quickly fallen in love with it.
"Hey," she said quietly when several minutes passed like that, "what are you thinking about?"
"Nothing," he said, but he kept talking. "There was a song that my mother would sing. I'm trying to remember it."
"What was it about?"
"Snow." He paused. "At least, I think it was. I just remember the sound of her voice..."
Ashley swallowed the last of her hot chocolate and set the empty mug to the side. Wrapping the blanket more tightly around her shoulders, she pulled her feet out of his lap and crawled closer.
"Try singing it," she suggested lightly. "It might help you remember."
His lips quirked into a tiny smile. "I don't think so."
"It does," she insisted. "Try it."
He let her kiss him once, still smiling. "No." He paused. "Aren't you sick?"
"I'm not contagious." She pressed her mouth to his, sliding forward across his lap. "Kiss me."
"Kiss me," he mimicked in a childish voice, but complied anyway as Ashley made a face at him.
"That's not very nice," Ashley accused, when he pulled away again, looking slightly flushed. She stole another kiss before she continued. "You still want your present?"
"I was under the impression you were," he countered, moving in for another heart-warming kiss, but Ashley pulled away. "What…"
"Since when am I your present?" She inquired.
Andros took her hands in his and twined their fingers together. Then he brought them to his lips and showered them both with light kisses, eventually kissing the delicate silver band on the forth finger of her right hand. Ashley stared into his eyes, her own filled with a light that could only be described as love.
"I still can't believe you asked," she eventually breathed quietly after a long silence.
"I still can't believe I have," Andros replied with a gentle smile. "Or that you said yes."
"And why would you think I'd say anything but yes?" Ashley laughed. She quickly fell quiet when she noticed Andros's expression.
"There are so many others interested… Earth guys with a good education and bright and stable future to offer…"
Ashley silenced him with a long taste of his lips, pouring all her love in this simple connection of souls.
"I've told you before, stable and bright bore me," she told him firmly when she pulled back, the effects being ruined by her having to turn away to sneeze. When she turned back she nuzzled her head against Andros's shoulder. "You are all I want and if we forever live in a cramped apartment either trying to rebuild KO-35 to its former glory or making some life or another work on Earth, I don't care, because it's ours. Yours and mine... and our kids..."
"Kids?" Andros squeaked, looking like a deer caught in headlights. No matter how much pity Ashley took on him, she couldn't help but laugh. She was immediately punished, though, as she was overcome with a coughing fit.
"That's something for the future," she assured him once she stopped coughing. "You do want kids, don't you?"
"Only if they take after you," Andros replied without a missing a beat and Ashley smiled.
"Then you can sing your mother's song for them," Ashley answered innocently. She screamed when Andros's fingers flew over her ribs. Squirming she made a desperate attempt to get away from the attack, but it was useless.
Suddenly the doorbell rang and Andros made a face. "Who is it?" He called.
"Us," his sister's voice replied. "We thought that since Ash couldn't come to the party, we'd bring part of it to her."
Ashley climbed off his lap so Andros could get up to open the door. She smiled at him brightly as she made herself comfortable on the couch again and he just shrugged in reply.
"I had a great time today," Ashley whispered as Andros curled up in bed beside her.
"Yeah," Andros agreed with a yawn, burrowing deep into the covers.
"Andros?" Ashley asked.
"Sing the song for me?"
Andros just groaned and pulled the pillow over his head, causing Ashley to giggle softly. It would be years before she'd let this go.
A/N: Merry Christmas everyone, we hoped you liked it. (AH/AY)
I hope your holidays were happy and safe, whatever you celebrate, and we'll see you all in the new year! (Phantom)