My offering for prficathons' Femslash Ficathon 2012, written for purplestripe66. Prompt: PRiS: Astronema/Cassie - one night stand, consensual (This totally does NOT have to be porn).
Title: Common Idiom
Fandom: Power Rangers in Space
Word Count: 2,768
Warnings: F/F situations, "underage" drinking
Disclaimer: Power Rangers and its characters do not belong to me. They belong to Saban and all those other people who have their hands in this pot by now. No harm was meant. I'm just playing with them, I'll put them back where I found them when I'm done.
Summary: Halfway through her second bourbon another voice interrupted her musings with a quiet, "Penny for your thoughts?"
Karone frowned as she turned to face the Pink Ranger, "You Earth humans are so strange. Are thoughts worth so little on your world?"
October 7, 2012: I was so glad to see this as one of my prompts because Karone is one of my favorite characters in all of the Power Rangers multiverse. She's such a complex character and it's such fun to delve into her poor messed up psyche. ^_^ And Cassie is much the same - she's such a walking contradiction between her own sassy personality and the sweetness that seems inherent in Pink Rangers. Writing for the two of them was as much fun as I hope it would be and I hope you like the result! ^_^
"Hey. Last I checked this was supposed to be a celebration. Remember? We won? Kicked the bad guys' butts from here to kingdom come? Flew home triumphantly in the latest in spaceship technology? Saved the Universe? You know... celebration. So, where's your happy face?"
Karone frowned down at her drink, turned just enough to lift it in the Yellow Ranger's direction and downed the rest of it in one gulp. She then turned it top down on the bar and waved the bartender over to pour her another. Ashley opened her mouth to say something else but closed it before another sound could emerge. It took everything Karone had in her not to turn Astronema's biting wit on the Yellow Ranger at her continued hovering presence. She'd done nothing wrong. This was a celebration. They had saved the Universe. They were supposed to be kicking back and enjoying themselves for once. And Karone would have done just that... if only she could see a cause for celebration past the charred remains of what they'd lost to earn it.
Ashley opened her mouth again, doubtless to deliver some comforting platitude that would have Astronema snarling from behind Karone's teeth in response, but someone calling the Yellow Ranger's name from across the bar stopped her from doing so. Karone slid her eyes sideways to see her brother waving the Yellow Ranger over to where he and Zhane were trying to "figure out" the pool table. She snorted. Please. They might not call it the same thing on KO-35, but she knew the Red Ranger well enough to know that he would know his bar games no matter what they were called. He'd probably been hustling the game since he was a child. Still, she appreciated his willingness to look the fool to spare her the Yellow Ranger's unwanted cheer.
When the bartender set the next glass of bourbon down in front of her, Karone lifted it in her brother's direction before taking her first sip. Andros saluted her in return with a barely-there lift of the head. They understood each other well, Karone and Andros... Astronema and the Red Ranger. And there was the problem, really.
Astronema had known the Red Ranger down to the marrow of his bones. They'd been enemies so long and so viciously that she'd had little choice but to learn his every move and thought as well as she knew her own. And she had... but "Andros" was still largely a mystery to her. She'd tried so hard to fit in, to be Karone for him - was trying still - but she wasn't succeeding. Not really. She could no more be "just" Karone than he was "just" the Red Ranger. And the Red Ranger knew Astronema as well as she knew him. He saw her struggling, he saw her trying and he accepted that she might never be the Karone she'd been all those years ago. Ironically, that just made her want to try harder. He'd had so many disappointments in his life and she found herself loathe to add to them.
In many ways Astronema's life had been kinder to her than the Red Ranger's had been to him. At least she'd had- Well. That was the problem, wasn't it? She didn't have. Not anymore. And the Red Ranger understood how much she had lost in this "victory" of theirs and mourned with her in his own quiet way.
She shouldn't have come. She shouldn't have come to this party. She shouldn't have come to Earth... She shouldn't have come to the side of good. But what other choice did she have? Everyone and everything else she'd known in this Universe was gone. Ecliptor was gone. The Dark Fortress was gone. Dark Spectre was gone. Zordon... was gone. She had no place to call home if it wasn't with the Red Ranger... with Andros. So she had followed him. She still wasn't certain she'd made the right choice.
Halfway through her second bourbon another voice interrupted her musings with a quiet, "Penny for your thoughts?"
Karone frowned as she turned to face the Pink Ranger, "You Earth humans are so strange. Are thoughts worth so little on your world?"
Cassie shook her head, a smile twitching the corners of her lips upwards, "That's... that's not really the point. It's just an expression, Karone - a figure of speech. It's used to give a friend an excuse to talk about whatever they're brooding about."
Karone frowned harder, "I am not brooding."
Cassie laughed, "Oh... you most definitely are brooding. Andros does plenty of it himself. I recognize the signs. And worse... you're brooding and drinking. That just makes you brood more. So... 'fess up. What's eating you?"
Karone frowned harder, "Eating me?"
Cassie stared at her for a minute, "Seriously, you're pulling my leg, right?"
"I most certainly am not!" Karone shot back, "My hands are in plain view and are nowhere near your leg!" Karone could feel her eyebrow beginning to twitch and seriously considered asking the Pink Ranger how much she had had to drink.
Raising her hands in a defensive posture, Cassie said, "OK, OK. I'm sorry. I forgot that you've had even less contact with Earth than Andros. They're just figures of speech, Karone - things we say that really mean something else. In summary?" When Karone nodded, Cassie ticked off on her fingers, "I'm giving you an excuse to talk. Something is clearly bothering you. And you really have no idea what I'm talking about and aren't just messing with me?"
Karone twitched and took a long sip of her drink, mumbled quietly, "Then why not just say so in the first place?"
Cassie shrugged, "I don't know, man. It's just our way, I suppose." As Karone's brow drew together in a furrow and her lips parted on what Cassie was sure to be another confused question, Cassie said, "Oh, good grief. I know you're not a man. It's just another-"
"...figure of speech," Karone finished. Her lips quirked up in a small smile, "I think I'm beginning to see. And I appreciate the offer." She sighed, "However, I don't want to ionize anyone else's spirits with my own."
"Huh?" Cassie lifted an eyebrow, "Ionize my spirits?"
Karone laughed as she lifted her glass in salute before downing the remains of her second drink. As she waved the bartender over to place an order for a third, she shrugged, "Figure of speech."
Cassie chuckled as she placed her own order, "I guess I deserved that one. I'm going to go out on a limb based on context and guess that you meant you don't want to rain on my parade?" At Karone's mild twitch in response, Cassie explained, "You're in a sour mood and you don't want to put me in a sour mood, right?"
Karone nodded, "Sour... yes. That's exactly what I mean. I don't want to ruin the party for everyone else just because my mood is... sour."
The pair sat in silence until their drinks arrived. Karone raised an eyebrow at the pink concoction the bartender placed in front of the other woman and said, "You Earth Rangers really do take your color alignments to the extreme, don't you? What, in the name of all that's dark and unholy, is that?"
Cassie just smirked and pushed it over, "Try it."
Karone leaned over just far enough to take the tip of the straw into her mouth and take a hesitant sip. It was... sweet. Mother Darkness, it was sweet. She took another sip. It was creamy, too, like those smoothies the Earth Rangers had taken them out for the other day. She took one last, deeper pull at the straw. Sour. As that last taste effect hit the back of her tongue, Karone's cheeks pulled in and she blinked rapidly. Sweet and creamy with an underlying tartness. It suited this team's Pink Ranger. After taking a cleansing sip of her own drink, she turned back to Cassie with a frown, "Is there even any alcohol in that? It tastes just like the drinks we had at your friend Adele's establishment... which you assured me were nonalcoholic."
Cassie laughed, "Yeah, Karone. It has alcohol in it - vodka, if you want to know. It's pretty smooth going down, so you don't really feel it at first, but man does it pack a punch later on, especially if you don't know it's there!"
"Pack a...?" Before Cassie could answer, Karone lifted a hand and shook her head, "Never mind. I understand. Another figure of- whoa." As Karone shook her head, the room seemed to spin. She lifted a hand to brace against her temple as her head seemed determined to spin with it, "I believe I've just been hit by that punch your drink had put in its suitcase."
Cassie winced in sympathy and got Karone a glass of water, "Sorry. Probably should have warned you about it before you took that third drink."
The former Princess of Evil gulped at the glass of water like the savior she knew it would be come morning. How to drink without getting sick... yet one of the many useful things Ecliptor had taught her. Once she'd finished with the glass of water, Karone laid her head down on the bar to let the room settle back down, "Don't worry, Cassie. Even unexpectedly, I know how to handle my alcohol... Ecliptor taught me."
"Ecliptor..." Karone heard it in Cassie's voice, in that quickly indrawn gasp of air, the exact moment when the Pink Ranger understood. She turned her head away from the sudden flash of pain on the other woman's face, unwilling to see it, unwilling to acknowledge it, unwilling to be its recipient and echo. That would make her own pain all too real and inescapable.
Cassie lifted a hand and gently laid it on Karone's back, then removed it, unsure if the gesture would be welcome, "Oh, Karone... None of us really thought... I'm sure he made it out OK, though... right?"
Karone sat up, pulled her drink towards her and took another sip before answering, "No, Cassie. He did not. Ecliptor... he was a constructed being. He had no mother, no father, save Dark Spectre. He was created for one sole purpose... to be my Guardian, my protector, my shield and strong right arm... to raise me as the Princess of Evil. When Zordon's magic washed away all that was Evil, the magic maintaining Ecliptor's existence would have been washed away with it. He wouldn't have survived. Of that, I am absolutely sure."
Though she tried to think of a way to answer, in the end, Cassie said nothing else, merely pushed her drink back towards Karone when the latter noticed that her own glass was now empty. Understanding better what she was getting into this time, Karone took a more cautious sip of the pink concoction. The sweet and sour flavors mixed on her tongue and this time she was ready for it when the sour pulled in at her cheeks. Eager for a less risky topic, she asked again, "What exactly is this? I've never tasted anything sweet that has that sourness lying beneath it. It's... it's an odd combination."
Cassie smiled brightly and said, "Well, you know what they say, right? When life gives you lemons..." she held up the drink, "Make lemonade!" At Karone's completely bemused expression, Cassie twitched and slumped, "That, uh... went completely over your head, didn't it?" When Karone nodded, Cassie sighed and said, "You probably won't understand the name of the drink, then, either."
Karone watched with interest as the Pink Ranger's cheeks started slowly turning the color of her drink. She lifted a finger and poked at one of the other woman's cheekbones, said slowly, "You really do take your color alignments too far. Even your skin matches."
To Karone's delight, her poking and prodding only served to deepen the color in Cassie's cheeks. As she gleefully continued touching the pink-hued skin, Cassie growled and caught Karone's hand in hers, "Enough, already! I'm not the Pillsbury Dough Boy!"
Karone blinked owlishly up at Cassie and said deliberately, "I don't believe I even want to know what that last figure of speech references."
Cassie grumbled as she turned back to her drink, "Talking's over-rated, anyway," then took a healthy pull at the straw herself.
And something about that action... watching the Pink Ranger's lips close around the straw, watching her cheeks pulling in with the suction and then further from the taste... watching as she pulled back and licked her lips to clear them of the small amount of whipped cream that had leaked from the straw at the last... Karone's breath caught. She shifted her hand in the Pink Ranger's grip to give her hand a small squeeze and said, quietly, "I couldn't agree more, Pink Ranger. Talking is over-rated... at some times more than others."
Their gazes met over Cassie's drink. Seeing Cassie's eyes widen at the contact, Karone couldn't help but let Astronema's smile slip the chain to play around the edges of her own. Yes. Astronema saw something different in Cassie than Karone had... and Karone liked what Astronema was seeing. She leaned closer, bent her head to take another sip of Cassie's drink, then licked her own lips. When Cassie swallowed hard in response, Karone smirked and said, "...try me."
Cassie's eyes narrowed in momentary confusion before clearing, "Try... oh." She blushed again, "It... the drink..." She cleared her throat and, after looking around to make sure that no one else was in earshot, said in a harsh whisper, "It's called a Pink Panty Ripper."
Karone blinked once... twice... three times... and then let Astronema's smile fully consume her own, "A Pink... Panty... Ripper?"
Cassie blush deepened and she hastened to add, "I am so not explaining that one to you."
Karone leaned closer, still, slid her other hand up alongside Cassie's cheek and then back into the fall of her hair to pull her face down, "Oh, but Cassie... Pink Ranger... there is no need." As Cassie spluttered and started to ask after Karone's meaning, no doubt, Karone slid her thumb back along Cassie's cheek to cover her lips, "Cassie... this is one of those times when talking is most definitely over-rated." She then moved her thumb out of the way and claimed the Pink Ranger's lips with her own.
The kiss was sweet and rich... and held an underlying bite of tartness and bourbon. It was delicious and just what Karone needed right then to take her mind off her pain. Karone released her grip on Cassie's hand and let her hand drop to rest on the curve of the other woman's waist, gently pulling her closer as they kissed. When they parted, breaths still mingling, Cassie said quietly, "Whoa... did not see that coming."
Karone laughed low and deep in her throat and said quietly, almost to herself, "I can think of someone I'd like to see coming..."
Cassie's mouth dropped open and her blush deepened to such a degree that Karone could feel the heat of it where her hand was pressed against it. Karone laughed another of those deep, dark laughs - Astronema's laugh - and said, "Well... it seems we've finally found a figure of speech that both our peoples agree on." She smirked as she released her hold on the Pink Ranger and said, "Perhaps we should retire to a more private location and make certain that we truly mean the same thing...?"
Cassie's gaze stopped its frantic flitting, then, and settled back down to meet Karone's. Whatever she saw in the other woman's gaze made her smile... and nod. She leaned over to press one more soft kiss onto Karone's lips and said, "You're on - wild horses couldn't drag me away."
Karone stared at her for a moment more, then shook her head as she snorted out another laugh, "Wild... horses...?" Before Cassie could open her mouth to explain, Karone waved her silent, "Yes, yes. A figure of speech." When she looked back at Cassie, Karone simply said, "I'm going to return to the idea of talking being over-rated. Less talk. More of this."
With that as the only warning, and the Pink Ranger's laughter ringing in her ears, Karone claimed Cassie's lips once more. Yes. Talking was definitely over-rated. Right now, Karone simply wanted to see if Cassie's drink lived up to its name. It seemed she was in the mood to celebrate, after all.