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Glimpses--Story 2: Zhane & Andros

Story: Glimpses
Summary: Glimpses of loves found and lost on the Astro team over the years.
Chapter 2: Zhane & Andros (and Zhane & Ashley)
Description: Zhane and Andros don't go on a date.
Rating: T (for later chapters)
Author Note: This is loosely based on the second of rosabelle 's prompts. (Her request was 'Andros/Zhane, out on a date.') I wanted to see what happened between Ashley and Zhane, so I decided to attempt this style of writing for this prompt. It's my first time trying it, so I hope it flows alright. Thanks go to the amazing tsukino_akume  for the beta. :)

 

"Go out with me."

It wasn't a question. Zhane didn't intend for it to be. Andros hadn't done anything but tear himself up over Ashley since she'd found out about how close they'd been before he'd...well, died. Andros' feelings for her hadn't changed, but Ashley just needed time to think about it all. At least that's what she'd told Andros.

That had been weeks ago, and the only person Ashley was confiding in lately was Cassie.

She had approached Zhane only a few days ago. It was the first she'd said more than "Good morning", "Good night", or helpful calls on the battlefield. They were all still a team, after all.

"Hey Zhane."

Zhane craned his neck around to see Ashley framed in the entrance to the work bay. Cassie was nowhere in sight.

"Hey," he said brightly, and then frowned and added, "Oh, if you're looking for Cassie, I think she said she was going to work on homework with TJ."

He'd been the last one in the work bay, finishing up his meal while idly talking with DECA. Ashley hadn't come to dinner, and Andros was still off somewhere moping. ...He'd be sure to bring him something when he left.

"No, actually I wanted to talk to you."

"No."

Zhane sighed, but persisted. "Come on Andros. Haven't you punished yourself enough?"

"Zhane..." The whine in his voice matched the hurt in his eyes when he turned to look at him. So deep that Zhane just wanted to hug just him until it all went away.

"Mind if I join you?"

He shrugged, gesturing to the table. "Sure."

Her eyes were a little too bright as she pulled up a stool and sat across from him.

"I know we haven't talked much since...well..."

Zhane nodded in understanding. "Since Andros told you about us, how we used to be...Ashley, you know we haven't—I would never do anything to jeopardize what you and Andros have. And I haven't since I woke up from hypersleep."

"I know," she whispered. "Andros told me."

"She hates me," Andros told him softly, turning away again.

"No, she doesn't hate you." He dropped a hand to Andros' shoulder as he talked. "She's just...confused. She's never thought about being in love with more than one person the way that you are before."

Andros was shaking his head. "But Zhane...I can't go out with you. I'll lose her."

"You won't. She loves you Andros, that hasn't changed."

"Hasn't it?" Andros' eyes were big as he looked up at Zhane once more.

"Do you still love her?" he countered.

"Of course I do, but—"

Zhane squeezed his shoulder. "Love isn't something that just goes away. You and I are proof of that."

"So...what did you want to ask me?"

"I wanted to—to ask you about..." Her eyes were set on the table between them as she searched for the right words. "A-About the way you and Andros used to be."

Her eyes widened suddenly, and she looked up at him before he could respond.

"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to—it's none of my business-"

"No, it's okay." Zhane reached across the table to squeeze her arm lightly. "I'll tell you if you want to know."

He shifted around behind Andros, putting both his hands on Andros' shoulders. It was a more intimate gesture than he'd dared do since coming out of hypersleep, but Andros didn't protest, so he gently started rubbing small circles into his tense back.

"It doesn't have to be a date. Just...go out with me somewhere. Get off the ship for a few hours."

He felt Andros shrug. "I was off the ship. Earlier."

Zhane rolled his eyes as he focused his ministrations on a knot at the base of Andros' neck. "Yeah, for a monster attack in the warehouse district. That's hardly a vacation."

"I don't want a-" he gasped as Zhane pressed harder on the knot. "Vacation," he finished.

"And I'm not asking for one. I just want a few hours with my best friend not on the Megaship or fighting monsters."

Andros' head dropped forward as he silently leaned into Zhane's hands.

He sighed. "Come on, Andros, you still love me right?"

The answer came as readily as it had years ago. "Forever."

"So, you still love him then." It wasn't a question.

"Of course! He's my best friend."

He didn't miss the way Ashley's eyes dropped, or the tears starting to well up in them. He grasped her hands in his own and waited for her to look back up at him before he went on.

"Things were different then. All we had was one another. Karovan troops were rallying behind two kids that barely knew what they were doing—save for what came with The Power and sheer instinct. Our families had been evacuated with the other civilians, and it was just us. Just us and a couple dozen troops against hundreds of Dark Specter's forces..."

Ashley blinked as a tear broke free and ran down her face. "I—I, I'm sorry. That must—Andros never told me much," she admitted, shaking her head.

Zhane chuckled a little. "Well, he's not really the sociable one."

"I'm glad you had each other," her smile was pained, but genuine. "I can't imagine what that must have been like."

Zhane frowned, his gaze falling to the table as he thought back to all the battles and invasions—the last of which still felt as if it had taken place only months ago, instead of years.

"You know?" he spoke softly. "It was a bad time then, for all of us, but it didn't seem so bad. Andros had all the determination and hope in the world, and coupled with his refusal to give up... I guess his hope rubbed off on me a little. So long as we had each other, nothing could defeat us.

"...And then I died."

Zhane smiled as his fingers found another stressed muscle, and started to work on it. He wasn't expecting Andros' next words, though in hindsight, he probably should have, after what he'd just asked him.

"Do you still love me, Zhane?"

He chuckled softly. "Are you kidding me? Not even death could make me stop. You're my best friend. You were a few months ago, and you still are now. That hasn't changed."

"Years," Andros corrected.

"Yeah. I don't think I'll ever get used to that. A few months ago I was fifteen about to turn sixteen, and now I'm seventeen and missed a whole age entirely!" He sighed as he stopped, suddenly serious as he rested his hands on Andros' shoulders. "I'm sorry I left you, Andros."

He could hear Ashley sniff a little before she got up and came around the table to sit beside him. She put her arm around him and squeezed hard.

"But you didn't die. You're here now, and you still have each other."

Zhane shook his head. "It isn't the same anymore. It's not just me and him against the world anymore. He has all of you now too. And you." His eyes found hers, and he reached out to brush a newly fallen tear from Ashley's face. "I'm glad he found you. You kept him from being all alone."

She shook her head and drew her arm away as she turned more toward him. "I didn't know about you. I don't want—I never would have tried to take him from you. If I'd known I-"

"Hey," he grabbed her hands again, idly running his thumbs across the backs. "It's alright. He's happy. That's all I would have wanted."

"I'm sorry I got a new team," Andros whispered.

"What?"

"I'm sorry if you think I replaced you."

Zhane shook his head. "I don't. And I'm glad you found a team. You needed them, especially since you didn't have the Mighty Silver Ranger at your back."

He could hear the smirk in Andros' voice as he scoffed. "Well it would take a full team to make up your ego."

"Funny," Zhane replied as he went back to working on Andros' taught muscles. "So, will you go out with me?"

He felt Andros sigh, and decided not to let him whine again.

"Would it help if I told you Ashley asked me to take you out?"

Andros turned, forcing Zhane to stop, and looked up at him. "She did?"

Ashley's gaze dropped to their hands as she sniffled once more. "But he's not happy, is he?" She took a deep breath and then swallowed. "I don't...I'm not used to this. It's going to take me a while to process it all."

"Do you still love him?" Zhane asked bluntly.

"Yes." Ashley nodded, and then paused to look up at him. "But I've seen how he is when he's around you. So..." A warm smile lit her tear-stained face for a moment. "Carefree. He's different with you. Happy, and completely him.

"...I don't want to get in the way of that."

"You won't." Zhane squeezed her hands as he spoke. "You see what this is doing to him. Why can't we all just be friends?"

"We can be friends." She shook her head and chuckled a little. "We are already. But I...I'm used to having only one person love only me in that way, and having them all to myself. I don't..." She looked away. "I can't be with him while he's with you. But I want him to be happy, I want him to be with you."

Zhane shook his head, but Ashley continued before he could protest.

"Please. I know you want the same things for him, and I know you love him. Just...be there for him, for now. Take him somewhere, get his mind off...all of this. ...Me."

Zhane watched her for a long moment before he spoke. "Well, for one, I would never try to make Andros forget about you. You're too important."

She smiled a little.

"And I want you to know," he continued, more seriously, "I do care about you too. I don't know you very well yet, other than knowing you're an amazing girl, but...I want you to be as important to me someday as you are to Andros. I hope that we can be that close someday.

"And," he added, before she could respond. "I would only take Andros out if you were completely okay with it."

Ashley nodded, wiping her cheek on her sleeve, and composing herself best she could. "I want you to. ...And Zhane?" She added as she turned to go. "I hope we can, too."

"She just wants you to be happy. We all do. And keeping yourself cooped up on the Megaship thinking about it all the time isn't helping anyone."

Andros closed his eyes for a moment, before he cracked them open to stare up at Zhane, eying him with a wry look. "...What did you have in mind?"

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