Disclaimer: I do not own nor am I associated with Power Rangers.

AN: This was originally written for the PRUnited themes challenge but since I don't see myself finishing anytime soon I'm posting it as its own story.

AN2: If you're wondering about JKP Specials check my profile.

Cold

by JDPhoenix

As the massive doors closed Leanbow felt the unmistakable rush of power that indicated a sorcerer's passing. With all the power of the Master surging around him he did not have a moment to pause, to mourn Niella's early death. But pause he did, as thoughts of Niella led to Claire, the child who had lost both father and mother today, and Claire led to Bowen, his son who would never know his own father.

It was in this moment of weakness that the Master first gained the upper hand. Tentacles wrapped around Leanbow, forcing dark power into him. His sword fell from his hand, down into what depths he could not imagine, and a strangled, animal-like cry was wrenched from his throat as every cell in his body seemed to catch fire. He fought back, calling on his own inner flame to fight the Master's considerable strength. As Leanbow truly erupted in a ball of fire the Master pulled back into a dark recess of this pit they were trapped in. It did not help the warrior's mood to remember that the Master had already been considerably weakened by his friends' dying assaults.

And that was another thing to mourn. The Mystics were gone and the Master's forces, though weakened, were still there, no doubt eager to avenge their fallen Master. He hoped that Udonna would see the necessity of breaking the law, of traveling into the human world and calling on the great wizard there for help. He had only ever heard of Zordon's goodness and felt certain that, if called on, the alien would help in the cause.

Only then, when he had convinced himself that Udonna would in fact follow this course of action, did he allow himself to look around. He stood on a small outcropping of stone, only feet away from the gate emblazoned with Niella's seal. Mere inches beyond him the ground fell away into dark nothingness. His sword was down there somewhere, no doubt still falling. The thought of plummeting into that expanse made Leanbow's stomach drop away. Thus he turned his eyes upward, away from the empty darkness, to the Master's small corner. The only source of light in the pit was Leanbow's own fire and it could not reach across the space between the two of them. That the ring of light kept the being of darkness away was the only comfort Leanbow could find in his current predicament, despite his knowledge that his fire would one day fade and he would be left facing the greatest enemy he had ever known. He would be alone and his power would no doubt be drained by the continued effort of keeping the flame alive.

He lifted one arm, marveling not for the first time at the way the flames danced over his flesh but did not burn. Warmth pervaded his skin and he thought back on that day long ago when warmth stopped being his greatest comfort.

Winter was far, far too cold. Why did it, out of all the seasons, have to be nothing but coldness -- constant, bone-numbing coldness.

Leanbow rushed into the ring of villagers, eager for both the heat of their packed bodies and the warmth of the fire they clustered around. He had spent his power fighting a horde of werewolves in the hills and did not have enough left to warm even a flea. He breathed deeply of the warmer air, rubbing his hands fervently together before hugging himself and rubbing his arms. He was careful never to keep one foot on the ground too long. In summer the earth held heat which he was more than eager to absorb through the soles of his feet, but in winter the ground became hard and cold as ice and he refused to touch it for long.

Several of the villagers around him grunted at his odd behavior and stepped away, but none were so put off by this obviously mad newcomer to move away from the fire. Suddenly a blanket descended onto his shoulders and he gripped it close, half-turning to see who would give up their own comfort for a stranger. Smiling green eyes met his own.

"You seemed cold," she said unnecessarily, a small laugh in her tone.

He gulped at the sound of her voice, wishing beyond reason that she would speak again. It occurred to him that she would if he spoke in return but he could not manage to force the air from his lungs.

At his gaping expression she fell into a full laugh and, when he still did nothing, crumpled to the ground, clutching her sides. Instinctively he bent to help her up. When his hand closed around her arm he realized that she was wearing no coat and that her thin outfit was nothing more than a summer dress. Even her feet were bare, he saw with a start. But her toes did not turn blue in the snow, in fact they looked to be in remarkably good health. He knelt beside her, wonder apparent in his eyes.

"You're a sorceress," he whispered.

She nodded, finally gaining control of herself. "And what, pray tell, are you?" She straightened, keeping her seat in the snow and smoothing her pale brown skirt about her.

"The same." He nodded to the dancing flames, wishing that he could call on enough power to made them form shapes, to show her a fire dance, but he could not. "Fire is my strength, and you?"

She dipped her fingers in the snow and only smiled at him, telling him what he had already known.

"I am Udonna," she said.

"Leanbow." He settled into the snow and realized that while beside her, winter's chill was not such a burden.

Memories of that cold stayed with Leanbow over indeterminable time as his fire burned and ebbed and his enemy grew stronger. When the fire finally faded into nothing he remembered the smell of snow, when the Master's tentacles set his very atoms aflame once more he cried her name, and when he finally succumbed to the will of another the last memory to fade was the feel of cold breath on his cheek.


AN: There's no second chapter coming so don't bother saving your reviews until then.