Guess who just started reading Romeo and Juliet for English class! Don't worry, I won't break out into iambic-pentameter or give Taz and Up suicidal thoughts... yet. Well, considering the fact Up is about to be tortured, I actually can't promise that. Then again, I promised no more cliffhangers, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. In fact, I'm fairly certain Up will have suicidal thought while being tortured...

Why, would I like to buy Taz and Up? Yes, yes I would love to, Team Starkid. And I can join your group despite my sucky acting? Awesome. Oh wait. It was all a cruel dream.


Taz stood in disbelief, waiting to wake up from her nightmare. There was no way in hell Up had been taken, no way in hell he was gone. No way in hell he had left her. But that wasn't right, he hadn't failed her, she had failed him. She had gotten drunk, made a fool of herself, hit him, then she didn't watch his back in battle. That was her job. They were the famous duo, protecting each other, watching out for each other, and all she had done tonight was let him down, and because of that, he might pay with his life... No! She couldn't think like that. She had to save him, to make it up to him. She had to see him again, and let him know how she really felt! The last of the robots lay dead, and so she grabbed the rest of the crew, hauling up the bodies of the dead and injured, getting them on the ship before finding the backup pilot, who was sleeping in the corner of the room. She slapped him awake, and he glared at her, still put out about not being able to drink, just in case.

"De Commander has been taken by robots. Follow dem," she told him shortly as he jumped up, looking at the radar and turning on the ship. She squished over to the loudspeaker microphone, the carpet was still sopping from the sprinklers, and Taz briefly wondered my they had put carpet in this room, before pressing a button to signal a rescue mission. She turned on the microphone, yelling at the top of her lungs "All right people, jou heard it. Dis is a rescue mission. Get jour zappers, set dem to pew!" She ran down the hall, helping to put the injured in the sickbay as most of the Rangers woke up and helped. Taz distracted herself from Up by torturing any of the Ensigns stupid enough to not get up. Soon, they were all awake, most hungover and a few still drunk. The doctors handed out the anti-hangover pills that were only supposed to be used in dire situations, like this one. Taz paced around, never stopping moving now that she was fully sober.

"What's up with Taz?" muttered one Ensign to another.

"Up got taken," Jenna whispered back.

"Oh. I guess being broken-hearted does stuff to the toughest of us." Taz was about to show him just how broken-hearted she was, but Jenna gave him a chance to back down.

"I think anyone would be distraught if they lost their best friend." The Ensign didn't notice her subtle gestures and body language, which were clearly telling him to stop.

"Ha, if you think that taz and Up are just frien..." he was stopped short by Taz's knife scrapping across his face and quivering in the wall next to his head. It had actually left a shallow cut on his cheek, which bleed through his fingers as he pressed them to his cheek in shock.

"Enough talk. Commander Up has been captured by de robots, and if we don't save him, he will die because he would never betray de G.L.E.E. So, we are following de robots to deir base, and once we see it, we will plan our attack and save him. Any questions?"

"Do we have any idea what we're up against?"

"Dey have numbers, and de robots dat some of us fought," she glared accusingly at those who had slept instead, "were D4QP models, so they were slow, flying, had basic zappers and can shoot cables to tangle or catch jou. We don't know if dere are other models at deir base, how many, or how big de base is. We do don't have any floor plans, and don't know where dey are holding de Commander." She had almost said Up. "Dat would be just what I need, a bunch of estupido Ensigns whispering about Up and I while I try to save him," she thought. "Any more questions?" she asked. Everyone shook their head and looked queasy, despite the fact they were no longer hungover. When she walked out of the room, the Ensigns started to whisper immediately.

"Woah, she is crazy."

"Crazy in love, maybe. Taz may be a hothead, but she's not one to put us on a death mission without telling the authorities. But now that Up has gotten himself captured..."

"Which he wouldn't have if you were there helping!"

"Don't blame me, I didn't invent the robots!"

"Anyway, Taz is so in love with him, it's obvious."

"Really? I don't see her look in love when she's with him."

"But she's with him all the time, usually not around us, so we don't see how she looks at him all the time. Besides, we all know how good she is at hiding her feelings."

"Not tonight."

"Exactly, Up goes missing and she becomes a wreck."

"I'm still not sure."

"Just think about it. He saved her life, they were bunk buddies once, he tutored her in fighting and calculus, they have movie nights every week, and they are basically inseparable. Maybe they are just too scared to act on them, but they totally have feelings for each other."

"Too scared, or too smart? They're different ranks and that's not allowed."

"Probably both."

"Come on guys, they are best friends," argued Jenna

"It's possible to be in love with your best friend," said Ben, and Jenna immediately blushed and went quiet.

"Anyway, they'll probably kiss when we rescue him and they think no one's looking."

"Wanna bet?" Soon, most the Ensigns placed money on if they would kiss or not. A few people claimed to not want to be murdered by Taz, that it was wrong, that they didn't like each other that way, or that if they were gonna kiss, they would make sure no one was watching. Finally, the Ensigns lapsed into silence thinking about what was to come when they reached the robot base.


Taz sat in Up's room, staring blankly at the TV. Had it really been one, she glanced at the clock, no, two nights ago that she had watched the Karate Kid with Up last? It was painful to be in that room, full of memories and that ocean-like smell of his. She saw little stories in most the dings, scratches, and stains in the room, left by her or him when she was over. The grease spot on the ceiling of the kitchen was when she had tried to teach him to make tortillas, the dent in the wall by the couch left by her one day after a stupid Ensign had annoyed her over and over but she promised Up that she wouldn't punch him. There were so many stories, invisible to everyone but her and Up. She had never been in his room alone, and decided that this was her only chance to search it before he got back. She looked it the cupboards, filled with only the bare necessities for cooking a simple meal, the drawers work clothes and a few tank tops, his formal clothes hanging in the closet. Next to his bed were pictures, which she had never noticed. One was of his family before they were killed by the robots, he was fourteen at the time, and the other... Taz gasped at the other picture. It was of her, but that wasn't what was surprising. What was surprising was that she didn't recognize when it had been taken. It wasn't the picture taken when she graduated or was promoted, because she was in her normal clothes. And she was smiling, ear to ear, and there was a look in her eye, a look that she knew was love, hidden deep down, but she could see it if she looked close enough. She wondered if Up had ever seen it. And if he had and kept the picture anyway... No. He must not have seen it. She backed out of the room, turning and running to her own, her heart full of dread for what was happening to the man she loved.


Up screamed in agony. He had only been in the torture chamber for fifteen minutes and he wished that he was dead. They had dunked him in water then electrocuted him, something about feeling how robots felt, electricity being his doom doubly, he hadn't really been listening. At first, he had thought of Taz and how he had to live for her, but as the pain stripped away his optimism, he began to doubt even that. "What does it matter if I live. If I do, I'll just be tortured by Taz. Every time I look at her, I get these pains in my chest, and I just know it's her fault, that bitch," he thought, before breaking through the haze of pain. "What am I thinking? Taz has saved my life, and given it meaning. I might as well die without her, how empty my life would become. She is the reason I have to live, not die, because if she cares for me at all, even as her friend, my death would bring her pain." He had often thought it would be fun to fake his own death then watch people cry at the funeral, but that was before his family died, and now, thinking about the pain it would cause Taz, the very thought was appalling. "Maybe then you would see how she really feels about you, though," said the little voice. "Oh my god stop talking to me! Don't you even shut up when I'm being tortured?" He stopped thinking as the next wave of pain crashed over him, dragging him down into a world of torment, drowning him in anguish. They would wait until he dropped his guard for each shock, causing him to bunch up his muscles until they stiffened and the exertion and inability to relax sapped his strength. The robots seemed to be beginning realize that they couldn't break him with physical pain, but he knew robots didn't understand love. The only thing that could break him would be them torturing Taz, and then he would probably just spout lies. They had warned him they had advanced lie detection sensors, and so they could tell, so if they somehow caught Taz he would have to kill himself and pray to a dead god that there was an afterlife where he could finally tell Taz how he felt. Hi muscles contorted as another surge of agony coursed through his body, causing him to black out into a world of misery. The robots took him down, placing him of a sleek chrome table taken from a sickbay of a starship. They hooked him up to an IV and waited for him to wake up. When he did, he was disoriented, and he blinked at their cold faces blankly before remembering where he was and fighting against his bonds. They laughed the same laugh he had heard them use when they tied Taz up in that tree.

"Do nOt eVAn try, punY hu-man," one said. "We HaVe hOoked you uP to an IV FuLl of halLUCinOgeNic pOIson. You WiLl tEll us yOur SeCreTs afTer ThiS." It's tone rose and fell in unnatural places, causing it to be hard to understand. Despite this, Up's blood ran cold at their words, or was it the poison making his blood feel cold? "Yep, definitely the poison," he thought before he went into a trance. He saw Taz. She was everywhere, in a mixture of his hopes and desires, and also his fears and worries. She was kissing him, turning him away, laughing with him, and screaming as the robots tortured her until she was a slab of raw meat. She was displaying her full set of emotions, everyone he had seen or imagined, yet Up was still shocked when she filled his vision, cry silently. She even looked as tough as someone possibly could when crying at the beginning, but she slowly let her walls down, and soon she looked so vulnerable, so open, he felt like he could see her entire soul. And she loved him. He could see it clear as day when he looked into those eyes, the fiery determination still there beyond the tears, and he felt a sense of wonder and love fill him. He reached towards her, about to kiss her, and he knew she was going to kiss him back, when she screamed and slumped forward, the most terrible sounds of ultimate suffering pouring from her lips, the ones that had hovered by his seconds before. He shouted her name, over and over, when the sounds of chaos began to break through his drug-induced grief. Then he heard a voice he heard so often accompanied by the sounds of chaos, her voice. He struggled to open his eyes, just barely breaking the grip of the poison, and he saw her. He saw her fighting, really fighting, for the first time. He had seen her in the ring, and with dummies, but in real fights they went back to back or faced different directions. Now, he saw those fiery eyes as she fought, shooting down the robots with an intensity he felt jealous of for a split second. Then he smiled. If Taz directed that intensity at him, he would be dead. All of a sudden, his eyes met hers, and she ran over to him. He thought of the love he had seen in her when she had been crying in his hallucination, and told himself that it must have just been there to make her death more cruel. But, for some reason, he was having trouble believing it. Taz helped him up, and despite the fact he was nearly twice her size, he leaned on her for support. She lead the other Rangers out, one Ensign signaling that they had got him. As they stumbled back to the starship, this time because of injuries instead of being were drunk, Taz thought about how she had promised herself she would tell him how she felt, but after almost losing him once, she couldn't bear the thought of losing him again, so she kept quiet. Up had said he would tell her, but hadn't she been through enough? She couldn't deal with that right now. He held his tongue. Both made excuses all the way back to the starship, never even thinking that the person next to them was having the same dilemma.


Review if you caught the Princess Bride reference, and review if you didn't also. I'm a little evil, aren't I? I keep messing with Taz and Up whenever they are about to admit their feelings, and I keep giving you guys cliffhangers. Review if you want me to stop doing that, or if you like cliffhangers, review and tell me. To sum that up: Review.