Spoilers for the entire season! Disclaimer: No one mentioned belongs to me.
"Who ever thought that scrawny little Power Ranger could be such a taskmaster?" Camille groaned, flopping onto the cot in the corner of Jarrod's sparse room at the Pai Zhua academy.
"Who ever thought a Phantom Beast General would be whining about how hard a beginner class was?" he retorted. She glared at him, prone across his bed, but he only smiled.
"I am not whining," she said. "And I didn't say it was hard. I was merely... making an observation. I knew he was tough, I just never expected it to be quite like this. Also, one of the little punks kicked me in the shin. On purpose." She pulled a disgusted pout that had Jarrod burst into laughter. "Stop it!" Her eyes flashed dangerously, turning darker.
Jarrod stopped his giggles abruptly, flooded with concern. "Camille," he said softly.
Camille stared at him, the blackness receding, but her face still pulled taut. "I won't be laughed at."
"I'm not laughing at you. I promise."
She didn't look like she believed him.
"Really," he said. "I'd never laugh at you. You're the only person I'm afraid of."
Camille preened at this a little, if only for a second. It was not enough to override her suspicion. "If you're not laughing at me, then what are you laughing at?"
"Nothing," Jarrod assured her. "I'm just laughing. I'm happy. Sometimes you can just laugh for no reason."
"Are you really happy, though?" said Camille, eying him. "You're just a cub again. You're starting over from zero. And your teacher is your enemy."
"Former enemy," he corrected. "Casey is a Pai Zhua master now, he deserves respect. My respect. And as for starting over... I don't mind being at zero, as long as I'm not a zero."
Camille's face was blank, showing no understanding. Jarrod sat down next to her, his thigh brushing hers and reminding him just how tiny this bed was, how tiny this room was. Dai Shi's palace had been opulent, filled with all the luxuries of a god, and certainly more impressive than bare walls and a bed that might as well have been built for a child for all the good it did holding him.
Except there, Jarrod had been a tiny man in an enormous room. And here...
He took Camille's hand. She had callouses on her palm, a scar running along the back, just under the knuckles. "I want to make up for everything. The trouble I caused. If it means I have to be a cub again, then so be it."
Camille waited a long time before speaking, but she never removed her hand from his grasp. "That wasn't you," she said, "that was Dai Shi. You were the one who kept him at bay."
As if that meant anything. The guilt started to rise up, bitter bile burning the back of his throat. "But it was my fault he was awakened in the first place. If it hadn't been for my ego..."
"What was it the Ranger was saying today?" said Camille abruptly. Jarrod was too struck by the subject change to even think to answer. A part of him wondered when she might finally be comfortable enough in this life to stop referring to Casey as 'the Ranger', to stop thinking of him as an enemy, and start thinking of him as a Master. Maybe even a friend. "When that... Timmy boy--"
"Jimmy," he found himself absently correcting.
"--whatever. He fell down during a jump kick and he couldn't let it go. Every time he tried to do it, he would just get this look on his face, all pinched up and scared, and he said he couldn't do it. And the Ranger told him, 'If you focus on the past, that's all you'll see. The point of making mistakes is so we can learn.'" Camille tossed him a smug sort of smile, thrilled to parrot the advice.
Jarrod wished he could tell her it was that easy. That all along, he'd been the voice in Dai Shi's head, the unwilling participant in a series of dark schemes, the constant voice for humanity, begging for reason. But that had only come later. When the Masters had been chained in a dungeon, urging him to fight. When Camille had followed every command, even the ones that put her at risk. When Jarrod had caught the glimpse of miserable rejection in her eyes at Dai Shi's continued dismissal of the one who'd never once tried to betray him or leave his side. That was when Jarrod had dropped his fatal ego, had learned his mistake and attempted to atone.
He wished he could explain this to her, the beautiful woman who'd made a choice at the last second and put her faith in him. Jarrod wished he could know for certain that she was doing this for herself, that she wasn't following him as blindly as she'd followed her previous master. He wanted to know that this path was right for her. He wanted to know that this path was right for him.
Jarrod looked down and found Camille's hand overturned in his, her fingers woven through his own. It wasn't the gesture of a woman undecided. It was one of someone who'd made a choice, and would see it through, for better or for worse.
Just like Jarrod. And he was glad to not go through it alone.