Disclaimer: I do not own Power Rangers (Super) Samurai. This is purely fan-made.
Ji took a deep breath as he stood on the doorstep to Kate's new house. He was wearing pants and a shirt, instead of his kimono, and had spent a little extra time on his hair, earning himself the seal of approval from both Mia and Serena. In his hands he carried a bouquet of flowers. They weren't big or fancy like roses, but they had cost enough to remind Ji this was a special occasion.
And it was a very special occasion. Today was the day he asked Kate out on a real date, with the intention of starting a relationship where they could actually call each other boyfriend and girlfriend. He had made a deal with James that he would do this and he wasn't one to back out of a deal. He just wished he was more prepared.
He was an older man and had a lot of life experience under his belt. He was smart, he was fit, and if he could say so himself, he was very social. The Samurai would beg to differ, but given how many friends he had made around the city (many of which would put their lives on the line in a heartbeat for the Samurai Rangers) he knew he could be the most social of the group if he didn't have so much work to do.
And it was that work that held him back. From a young age, much like Jayden, he had been forced to train long hours for his role as mentor to the Samurai. However, what Jayden didn't have was competition. Ji had many siblings, each of which could have been granted the honour of mentoring the teams of the future. He had to train even harder to beat his brothers and sisters, he had to be stronger, smarter, more resourceful, and he had to prove he had what it took to be a good mentor and a powerful fighter. So, when he wasn't studying for school, he was training. As soon as that was done and he was chosen, a team had fallen into his lap. He spent a year with them, training them, keeping them and their families safe, and trying to seal away Xandred for good. When that was over, and Ji knew the seal wouldn't hold Xandred down forever, he had to take the fallen red Ranger's son under his wing and raise him up to be even better. He dedicated his entire life to Jayden, giving him everything he needed to be the best Samurai that had ever existed.
All that left him with no time to date. Even as a teenager he had never thought about taking a night off, asking a pretty girl out and having a good time. Of course, he had thought about what it would be like to be in a relationship, and he did want one once his mentoring gig was up, but for now there was no time.
Until he met Kate. She was strong and smart and she knew about his Samurai life. If it held him up, she would understand. Hell, she might even come to help. And like him, she had been responsible for looking out for Samurai. Knowing the Earth Clan was far away from the Shiba House, and knowing that trouble could strike anywhere at any time, Ji's father had reached out to a few people in the then yellow Ranger's hometown, informed them of the duty he was asking them to do, and had them keep an eye on the yellow Ranger and her growing family. As the powers were passed down, from the previous yellow Ranger onto Ellie, and from Ellie to Serena and Emily, the duties of protecting them was passed down – very secretly of course. Kate knew about the Samurai. Her brother, the sheriff, did not.
When Kate was old enough, and her father informed her of the reason she had trained so intensively in martial arts and sword training, she met Ellie and became her best friend. When Ellie realized she was pregnant the first time, Kate had been the first to know and had helped her break the news to her parents, because the father wasn't around at the time. When Serena was born, Kate came as quickly as she could to the hospital and from that moment knew her duties were switching over. Given her age, she would be able to watch over Serena for most of her life, and she needed to make sure the then future yellow Ranger would be safe while she trained. She offered to babysit Serena whenever the occasion arose, had the Earth family over for dinner, spent holidays with them. She was even the maid of honour once Ellie and Jack decided to tie the knot. Then Emily was born and Kate knew her duties were getting heavier. No one had expected Emily, and no one expected Emily to be a Samurai. Not with Serena being so much older and so far ahead. Now, Kate had to keep her eye on the growing Samurai, and the growing Samurai's little sister, who had a knack for getting in trouble.
Ji remembered the worst day of his career. The final battle against Xandred had been the most devastating memory. Not only had the previous team almost lost, but they spent days after that recovering, unable to leave their beds and unable to go home. They had won, but it had come at such a cost.
But what made that day even worse was that Jayden's father never made it, and Ji had to be the one to give the little six year old boy the news. Jayden looked up to his father. His father was his hero, his everything. Nothing put a smile on the young boy's face like his father entering the room. To this day, Ji still hadn't seen that smile come back.
But Jayden's father, Donald, or Donny as he liked to be called by friends, hadn't just been Jayden's father. Ji and Donny had grown up together. Ji lived his entire life in the Shiba House. Donny, being a Shiba, and being the red Ranger, had lived there as well. Ji had been very good friends, best friends, even, with Donny, and when he had died, it had been a very, very tragic time for Ji. The only thing that kept him pushing forward was Jayden. Part of the reason Ji had been so tough on Jayden was because he had been trying to cope with the loss of his friend, and he couldn't bear to lose another.
Kate suffered a similar tragedy. When Serena finally admitted to her family she wasn't feeling well, it was too late. Doctors, surgeons, specialists, everyone tried all they could, but her disease had spread too far. Kate, sensing what was coming, had distanced herself almost immediately from Serena, though stayed in touch with the family. It wasn't that she didn't care for Serena – it was completely the opposite. Hearing Serena was so sick, and then hearing she was just getting sicker and sicker was like hearing her own daughter was plagued with an incurable illness. Kate knew, the minute she saw Serena, she would break down crying and couldn't let herself do that. She had sent cards, teddy bears, letters and kept herself up to date with Serena, but she couldn't go see her. She couldn't talk to her face to face, or even on the phone. In countless letters she apologized for her absence, and promised to somehow make it up to Serena, should she get better or should she pass on.
But she didn't leave the family. She still met up with Ellie outside the house, and it had been her word that reminded Ellie that while tragedy had struck the future yellow Ranger, there was one more little Samurai in the Earth Clan's pocket. It had been a hard thing for Kate to do, but she had to remind Ellie and Jack to start training a then very young Emily to be the next yellow Ranger. While Kate slowly broke away from Serena, leaving her to live out her life with her family, Kate stuck close to Emily. When home was too chaotic for the young girl, with her parents rushing out to the hospital almost every night, and doctors coming into the home every day and all day, Kate would take Emily in. She remembered when Serena's illness was really getting bad, Serena had been sent to the hospital in Panorama City and her parents went with her, leaving a terrified Emily in Kate's care. At that time, Emily had made a promise to herself not to cry anymore, and to be strong for her sister, but she had spent nearly a week and a half in tears, scared she would never see her beloved sister again.
Ji found, because of all that, he had a lot in common with Kate. She understood him more than anyone else ever could. Though they had lived very different lives, it was really all the same. They had a heavy burden, they had been met with tragedy, but they had done all they could for their little Samurai and in a way, they had already succeeded. Jayden, Serena, and Emily were amazing Samurai, and they were making everyone very proud.
All the Samurai were very amazing. Ji was confident they would continue to be amazing even if he took a little more time to himself.
With a shaky hand, he rang the doorbell. Kate had told him and the Samurai they were invited over anytime and could just walk in, but he needed to do this the right way. He stood at the door and remembered everything James, Serena, Mia, and Kevin told him.
"Be polite. Girls like a guy who knows how to act."
"Stand up straight. It's your first time, but she doesn't need to know that."
"Smile. Not that creepy smile. A genuine one. You're happy to see her, let her know that."
"Be yourself. There's no point pretending to be someone else. She'll see the real you at some point. Might as well not lie about it."
The door opened before he could remember anything else. Kate stood there and seeing him brought a smile to her face.
Like a doof, he didn't say anything. He held out the flowers, almost shoving them into her chest. He suddenly felt very nervously and had to admire the boys for not only doing this to get their girlfriends or boyfriends, but for keeping it up. This was very nerve-wracking.
"Are these for me?" Kate took the flowers and smelled them, "Ji they're beautiful, but you didn't have to."
Ji tugged at his collar. Kate invited him inside and led him to the kitchen so she could find something to put the flowers in.
"Is it a special occasion?" Kate asked. "I don't remember the Rangers defeating Xandred. If they did, that was fast. I told you, you had nothing to worry about."
Kate put the flowers in a vase and set them up on the counter. Then she looked over to Ji and could see he was starting to sweat. She had seen this before and chuckled, "Aww, you're nervous. You came here to ask me something, right?"
Ji nodded his head, "D-dinner?"
Kate walked over to him and gently took his hands, "How about we make this a little easier for you. I'll answer your question, and then you'll ask it, okay?"
Ji nodded his head. It wasn't ideal, but if it worked, he wouldn't complain.
Kate gave him a warm smile, "Yes, Ji. I would love to go out to dinner with you. Let me just get ready."
Ji beamed happily and then took a deep breath. Knowing she would say yes, he felt a little more confident asking his question, "Kate, I was just wondering if you wanted to go out to dinner with me tonight?"
"There," Kate kissed his cheek, "That wasn't so hard, was it?"
"One of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life."
"How did you know?"
"Serena called me," Kate chuckled and gestured to the phone, "She told me you were white as a sheet when you left the house."
"She… I should have known she would meddle."
"Ji, I think that was the green light," Kate smirked, "Serena's on my team, remember? She called to help you out. And it worked. I have something laid out on my bed. I shouldn't be more than five minutes."
She gave him another kiss on the cheek and then disappeared into her room. Ji sat down on her couch to wait.
Then he remembered the last piece of advice he had been given by only James and Kevin, once Serena and Mia had left the room.
"Five minutes is never five minutes."
"More like five hours."
"Here's a snack. Eat it while you wait. You're going to need it or you'll starve to death."
Ji reached into his pocket and pulled out a chocolate bar.