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Scarlet Bound Titanium: The Queen’s Return

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“Come on Cindy, you can’t let Tre lap you like that,” Ryan called out as he watched Tre lay on the speed and coming up behind Cindy as the older kid raced around the small half mile track circling one of the larger fountains of Mariner Bay’s central park.

Cindy let out a noise of complaint as she turned and spotted Tre before turning her light jog into more of a run. She was able to keep pace with Tre for about half a lap before she started slowing down, huffing and puffing as her brother came toward her with a cup of water.

All while Tre kept on running around the fountain weaving his way around the other kids and random other people with ease.

“The kid’s good. He better be on his school’s track team,” Kris commented, wiping the sweat from his forehead as he stood next to Ryan.

“Star of the team since he joined last month according to Miss Mel. She’s just annoyed he didn’t sign up at the start of the season,” Ryan answered, popping open the cooler he’s borrowed from Dana and started pulling out the Dana approved fruits and flavored waters.

“Good. Hope he sticks with it,” Kris followed up as he grabbed the blanket and laid it out beside the cooler, helping to line up the fruits and drinks.

“He will. Krystal will make sure of it,” Ryan explained with a grin as he pointed toward as another 13 year old who jumped, clamped and cheered Tre on as he finished another lap. Tre ran a little bit faster.

Kris grinned back, “Nice,” he said brushing the ice off a bunch of bananas before separating them.

Ryan just nodded before double checking the ice at the bottom of the cooler before calling out, “Break and snack time,” loud enough for all the kids from the group home to hear.

“No grabbing ice. I was here last time and remember what you did,” Kris reminded one of the kids who tried to reach into the cooler itself, likely to grab some ice they could slip down someone’s shirt.

“Try that again Noah and I’ll see to it Miss Mel keeps you at home next time,” Alora threaten coming behind the kid.

“But Alora….fine,” Noah said, giving in after a brief stare down with the young girl.

“Grapes?” Ryan offered, holding out a bunch to the undisputed leader of the kids.

“Thanks Mr. Ryan, Mr. Kris,” Alora said as she took the grapes from Ryan and one of the bottles from Kris. “And we need to get ready to go. Miss Mel said we could only stay until 11 today. Too many of us haven’t been keeping the common rooms clean so we’re ‘deep cleaning’ this week,” Alora explained with a grumpy face.

“If you don’t keep it clean how are you going to find anything,” Kris reminded her before his tone turned a bit more serious, “unless you plan on being on of those doms that makes their subs clean up after them without lifting a finger themselves,” he asked her.

“What no, I’d never be one of those assholes,” Alora answered, sounding shocked and a little annoyed at the question, “I just don’t like cleaning,” Alora added in a huff before she headed off to track down the other kids from the group home.

“She’ll make a good dom when she grows up,” Kris commented as he watched her wrangle the other kids, peeling one of the remaining bananas as he did.

“Since they have to leave so much earlier want to get an extra run of our own in? Maybe see how fast you can really go?” Ryan suggested before taking a bite out of his apple.

“I can do fast, sir. Set the pace and I’ll keep matching it,” Kris told Ryan, his voice earnest as he ducked his head, half bowing it under Ryan’s intense gaze.

Ryan was silent for a short moment, his free hand finding its way to the pendent hanging from his collar, before he nodded and answered Kris, “Then maybe it is time we speed things up.”

“Glad to hear it,” Kris responded while he began to clean up the extra snacks and drinks, returning them to the cooler.

“I’ll help round up the kids. They have ten minutes to start heading off if they don’t want to be late. So…have that cooler in your car and be here waiting when I’m done Kris,” Ryan ordered, nodding to himself when he finished.

“Yes Sir,” Kris answered with his own nod, picking up the pace of his cleaning.

Ten minutes later the two men were waving as the kids headed back toward home and their afternoon of ‘deep cleaning.’

“I like them but sometimes large groups are just….large,” Ryan commented as he watched them go.

“Yeah, reminds me of home before all my brothers and sisters grew up and we all moved out,” Kris said with a smile, “never had a moment to myself. What about you?”

“With so few of us there was always somewhere in the cavern I could be alone and between practice drills and meditation I was expected to spend a lot of time alone anyways. Preparing for the day the tomb was opened,” Ryan answered as he turned toward the trail leading back toward the lake

“Preparing, sir? You mean to be a ranger? Did Captain Mitchell always know you and your sister would become rangers?” Kris asked, more than a little surprised as he walked beside Ryan.

“I don’t think Dana knew about the Ranger program as a kid. I have no idea when she was told. I knew all about them because Dia-“ Ryan started to explain before stopping himself short and just looked at Kris.

“Sir?” Kris asked as he stopped walking as well to look back at Ryan.

“I didn’t grow up with Dana or my father. I…it’s complicated and I rather not talk about my past right now,” Ryan told Kris as he started walking again, “now I haven’t done a day light run around the lake in a couple weeks and I believe you said you would keep up with my pace right?” Ryan asked, breaking into a jog.

“Yes I did sir,” Kris confirmed, making Ryan’s jog.

“Then lets run,” Ryan said, increasing his speed.

With a grin Kris took off after Ryan. Pumping his legs hard as he pushed to keep up.

***

“Jinxer what have you learned of the Queen’s Star Power,” Vypra demanded to know, waving her sword toward the skittish demon.

“Oh my, oh dear, no need for that,” Jinxer cried out, moving away from the weapon.

“Enough of your running and just tell us if Olympius still has the Star Power or not,” Loki ordered as he pushed away Vypra’s sword.

“Yes, and where it is if the child has really lost it,” Vypra added, sneering at the water weak Olympius.

“Oh my, oh dear. It pains me to say Olympius doesn’t have our Queen’s Star Power. My Prince’s own power is slowly returning but the Queen’s Star Power grows dimmer by the hour,” Jinxer explained to his fellow demons.

“Then where is it. My mother must have her power back,” Olympius stated, stepping forward the joining the group.

“That the Queen doesn’t is due to your childish plans,” Vypra snapped before turning toward Jinxer,” If it’s not with Impus then where is the Star Power?” she demanded to know.

“Oh my, oh dear. The living waters of the ocean took it and it can’t be found oh my. I’ll keep looking, it will be found. We must restore it to the Prince,” Jinxer promised them all before scurrying off to his workshop and away from the other demons demanding answers he didn’t have.

“The time of the alignments grows near, if we have not recovered the Star Power to return to Queen Bansheera by then she will destroy us all,” Vypra reminded them all, shoving past Olympius as she stormed from the dark chamber.

“I need to find a demon to deal with those Rangers,” Loki said to himself as he too left the chamber.

“Mother,” Olympius cried out as he looked up at the empty void above them.

***

“Man you can run fast,” Kris said between pants as he came to a stop before the waiting Ryan, dropping his hands to his knees to support himself as he tried to catch his breath.

Ryan let out a light chuckle as he leaned back against a thick tree, “I do have a few advantages,” he reminded Kris as he held up his wrist and morpher.

“Still, I thought, man,” Kris started to say before stopping himself, still out of breath.

“I might have over done it,” Ryan commented as he pushed off the tree and offered his water bottle to Kris.

Greedily drinking the water Kris shook his head, “no, no. I’m good. Just been too long since someone really made me push myself. I like it sir,” he added with a smile as he handed the bottle back.

“You like being pushed don’t you. That’s your dynamic?” Ryan asked before taking his sip of water.

“Yes sir. I want, need, someone to forcibly take control. To make me…well anything or everything they want, pleasure, pain, blank or overloaded. That part isn’t my call sir,” Kris explained as he dropped down to squat near Ryan’s feet, still trying to get his steady his breathing.

“That sounds very different from me and Carter,” Ryan remarked as he looked down at Kris. “What about limits? Carter and I have talked about them a little but he seems to know where mine are better than I do so I’ve mostly left that to him,” he shrugged.

“My limits are easy, sir. I want to be still able to work. Anything else goes once I say yes,” Kris answered as he slowly started stretching his limbs.

Ryan frowned down at Kris and watched for a moment before answering. “That seems like it leaves a lot of room for interpretation, Carter said limits need to be clear and defined.”

Kris slowed his stretch as he nodded his head, “Your dom is right. Clear and defined limits are important. They’re what helps keep you safe but they only work if you have limits sir.”

“Kris?” Ryan questioned as he looked down at the other man, “look up,” he ordered, hoping seeing the other’s face would help him understand. “What do you mean you don’t have limits?”

Glancing up Kris shifted to his knees to be properly kneeling at Ryan’s feet and giving the standing man a half smile before starting to duck his head. Stopping himself at the last moment, “Sir, when I give myself to a dom I…I can’t bring myself to say no. I want to take anything they give. I’ve tried to give limits but it never works. It never feels right. I need to know the other guy can do anything he wants.” he explained.

Slowly nodding Ryan looked Kris over swallowing hard before turning away and walking back toward the tree he’d been leaning on earlier, facing away from Kris, “Kris, I know you’ve been flirting with me since we met but…I’m not someone you should trust that much. You don’t know what I’ve done, maybe Carter,” Ryan started to suggest.

“No, no sir,” Kris cut in as he stood. “I respect the Red Ranger, hell I idolize him. He’s a fire fighter and Ranger and still so kind and friendly. He remembers his friends and really cares about people he doesn’t even know and I think it’s amazing that he’s your dom but I could never submit to him. He wouldn’t, can’t, give me what I want, what I need.” Kris stated as moved to stand closer behind Ryan, resting a hand on the Ranger’s shoulder, “But I think you can. There is something in you that wants to take control. What wants to make me submit. That would enjoy using me.”

With a deep breath Ryan slowly turned himself around to face the other man, “You don’t realize what you’re asking Kris. How dangerous it is, how dangerous I am,” Ryan added as he let himself fall back into the tree trunk.

“I know you’re dangerous sir. You’re different from the other Rangers, even before your took the Red Ranger’s collar-the news, everyone knew you weren’t the same as the rest. And your past, you’ve had it rough but I believe I can still trust you sir.”

“You don’t know my past Kris, what I’ve done. If you did,” Ryan shook his head and looked away.

“I know enough of it. I mean I know the demon’s captured you and you escaped, taking the morpher from the demon that used it to trash the city when you did. I know you’ve both fought the demons and help rescue people hurt by their attacks. Like I said I know enough to know I can trust you,” Kris answered, stepping back into Ryan’s view.

Letting out a humorless laugh Ryan shook his head, “you think I stole it from the demons. I stole the Titanium morpher for the demons. For Diabolico,” Ryan informed Kris as he chuckled.

“What? Why would you? I don’t understand?” Kris said confused, taking a hesitant step back as he looked at Ryan.

Ryan didn’t let Kris take more than a step before he grabbed the other man by his shirt collar. Spinning him and pinning him to the tree that Ryan had been leaning against with more than a little force. “Because my master ordered me to steal it and I obeyed. Just like when he ordered me to destroy the city. I did my best to follow that order. Dana, Carter and the others stopped me but I fought them with everything I had until…” Ryan stopped and let out a breath loosening his grip and letting Kris slide down the trunk till his feet were on the ground again, “I was the one who trashed the city, not some other demon,” Ryan made clear as he started Kris down. “I’m dangerous and you shouldn’t let me be on control.”

Kris didn’t say anything in return. Swallowing hard and staring wide eyed at Ryan each time Kris opened his mouth he closed it again without speaking.

*BEEB* “Ryan there’s been an attack near the power plant north end of town, We need all the Rangers there,” Doctor Fairweather voice called over the Titanium mopher.

“Tell the others I’m on my way,” Ryan answered as he stepped back, tapping his mopher to close the channel. “I’ve got to go,” he told Kris.

Reach out Kris grabbed an arm before Ryan to dash away, “Sir-I-“ Kris stopped again, his lips pressed tight to each other.

“It’s okay Kris,” Ryan said with a partial smile as he finished stepping away, breaking physical contact with the firefighter, “It was nice having a friend while it lasted,” he added before he broke into a run.

***

“Trying to take out our power supply. The demons are starting to target Lightspeed more directly,” Chad commented as he and the other Rangers meet up at the exit of the zord bay.

“After taking out Diabolico and weakening Olympius they don’t just see us as an obstacle anymore but a very real threat,” Dana reminded them, “As long as Lightspeed exist they can’t win.”

“And Lightspeed isn’t going anywhere, we will be ready for anything they try and throw at us,” Captain Mitchell added as he walked into the bay, “Now go get checked out and enjoy what’s left of your day off,” the Captain ordered as he ran his gaze over the zords, “Oh and Carter, I want your report on my deck no earlier than noon tomorrow,” he added as the Rangers started to depart.

“Of course sir-wait, no earlier?” Carter asked, stopping in surprise.

“You heard him right,” Dana answered as she grabbed Carter’s arm and pulling him along, “you have two days to write your report so use them,” she added with a smile.

Carter let out a sigh as he shook his head, “Okay. I guess I’ll just have to find something else to keep me busy,” he said, reaching over and pulling Ryan close, “Which sounds like more fun, the beach or the park Ryan?” he asked.

“Not the park,” Ryan snapped quickly, giving Carter and Dana a half smile before he continued more calmly, “I’ve just have my fill of the park today. The beach would be great.”

“Beach it is then, care to join us Dana? Anyone?” Carter asked, his eyes never leaving Ryan.

“I’m always up for the beach,” Chad answered at once, “maybe I’ll finally get the rest of you on a board, if you’re up to the challenge,” he tacked on, looking toward both Joel and Kelsey.

“Oh is that a challenge, you’re challenging us. You’re on, right Joel,” Kelsey declared with a grin, breaking into a run, Chad taking off to keep up.

“You know it, this ace had skills in more than just the air,” Joel said with his own smile as he jogged after the other two.

“Something tell me having a medic on stand by won’t be the worst idea,” Dana commented as she watched the three race down the corridor. “I’ll see you two there,” she told them, giving Ryan a hug before walking off at a fast pace.

Carter grinned as he watched the other, “come on, we wouldn’t want to be left behind,” he said as he pulled Ryan into a jog.

***

“Oh my oh my,” Jinxer muttered as he rushed around his workshop from one magical device to another.

“This is going to drive me mad and it giving me a headache, just out with it already,” Olympius ordered, grabbing Jinxer to keep the demon in place.

“Oh dear my prince. It’s the Star Power, the Star Power was at the last battle,” Jinxer explained excitedly.

“You’ve found the Star Power, where is it now. Give it to me,” Olympius demanded as he lifted and shook Jinxer hard.

“Ahhhh, I don’t have it my prince,” Jinxer cried out, scurrying backward when Olympius dropped him, “it was there but for the briefest moment, but the Queen’s power isn’t gone. It was not destroyed by the living ocean,” the demon explained.

“You’d better find it for me and soon, before my mother decided to be rid of us both,” Olympius ordered before marching from the chamber.

***

Two hours on the sunny beach later Carter dropped down onto the sand next to Ryan and let out a content sigh before turning to look at Ryan letting out a laugh, “why exactly did you let Dana bury you in sand?” he asked as he panned the length of Ryan’s body.

The other Ranger was buried under a mound of sand that stretched from his feet all the way to his neck, there was even a pillow of sand for his head to rest on.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time?” Ryan offered as an answer, smiling as he did.

“It did, did it?” Carter chuckled as he rolled to his side, facing Ryan, “You two talk as she buried you?” he asked, reaching out and running his finger over the edge of Ryan’s collar which was just above the sand line.

“A little sir, nothing major,” Ryan answered before smiling, “which is probably why we were able to talk for almost an hour without me pushing her away.”

“That would be a record wouldn’t it?” Carter asked, pleased as he reached out and ruffled Ryan’s hair, shaking out a fair bit of sand that had gotten into his blond locks.

“It might be sir,” Ryan agreed, leaning into the touch.

“I’m glad you’re getting better at not pushing people away. Who knows, before too long you might even be willing to let someone other than me in,” Carter suggested as he said up and started running his fingers through the sand that covered Ryan, slowly covering it with random squiggle lines.

“About that…I might have done both at the same time sir,” Ryan said slowly, looking away from Carter.

Carter paused only for a moment before continuing his random drawing, “Care to explain how you let someone in and pushed them away at the same time?” Carter asked as he looked over at Ryan puzzled. “and who?”

“It was Kris. I said a few things right before the demon attack,” Ryan answered, still looking away.

Letting out a breath Carter shook his head, “Is this going to be one of those talks where I have to pull every detail out of you?” he asked while grabbing Ryan by the jaw and shifting his submissive to look his direction.

Ryan swallowed hard and tried to shake his head but Carter’s hand held him firm, “No sir,” he said finally, “I…he knelt at my feet after our run and…all I could think about was I used to do that for Diabolico and…” Ryan stopped, his eyes and lips pressed hard together.

“Relax Ryan, it’s just me,” Carter reminded Ryan, leaning into lightly kiss Ryan’s forehead. “But why didn’t it remind you of kneeing for me? You’ve spent some time at my feet, under my boots,” Carter asked quietly.

“Because,” Ryan paused, taking a deep breathe, moving the whole mound before continuing, “he told me about his limits and…they’re closer to what Diabolico demand of me than what we have sir,” he explained.

Carter thought for a moment, nodding his head, “I see. I won’t ask you to tell me what those limits are but I’m beginning to see why you might have pushed Kris away. Now tell me how you did it, and how you also let him in,” Carter requested.

“Yes sir,” Ryan said, turning to look at the waves for a few minutes before turning back to Carter, “he was telling me he trusted me, with him. Told me he knew I would be a good dom for him but after seeing him knee like that…all I could think was I’d be just like Diabolico. That’s the dom I was trained to be…and I told him as much,” Ryan said.

Carter frowned as he looked down at Ryan, “told him….what do you mean-wait. You told him?” Carter asked shocked, his eyes and mouth wide with surprised.

“Yes sir,” Ryan answered, letting out a deep sigh. “I told him I was the one that attacked the city, that I did it for the demons. That I-that he shouldn’t want me in control of anything, least of all him,” Ryan added as he leaned back and thudded his head into the pile of sand under his head.

“None of that,” Carter ordered off handedly, tapping Ryan’s forehead before slipping a hand between Ryan and the small mound. “You know he might be the first person you’ve ever told,” Carter added a few moments later. “You never had to tell anyone in Lightspeed,” Carter pointed out after another moment.

“Yeah, I think you’re right. But the way I did it,” Ryan let out another sigh, “I have no idea how I’m ever going to talk to him again. And what if he tells everyone,” Ryan let out another sigh.

“You’re habit of going for the jugular when you don’t want to talk is a problem but it’s been getting better and we’ll keep working on it. Now we need to deal with the current issue,” Carter explained as he sat back on his heels and looked out at the waves for a few minutes.

Looking back from the ocean to Ryan it was Carter who spoke again, “You aren’t Diabolico and you aren’t going to become him. You won’t let yourself and even if you would I wouldn’t So keeping that in mind what do you think of the idea of dominating and controlling Kris. Not full time like us but maybe for a night. And don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it,” Carter asked frankly, running his hand though Ryan’s hair.

Ryan didn’t answer right away. He was quiet for a couple of minutes as he though about the questions and his answer. “Ever since he started calling me sir it’s felt different then when everyone did it before. And when he trusted me and let to take charge when we were trapped in that building. I think I want to, I want to make him look like he did that night. He was in pain and I liked that look on him. I don’t know if I can trust myself not to go too far but I know I can trust you. That’s the only way…you are one of the few that can make me stop, and I don’t mean physical master,” he explained, his voice low and less than steady.

“All rightly then,” leaning forward Carter pressed his forearm against the mound of sand holding Ryan and pushed down while pulling toward himself, pulling away a large chunk of sand and mostly freeing one of Ryan’s hand.

“No one is to help you. I expect you cleaned up and in my apartment within two hours. Clear Ryan,” Carter ordered as he brushed away a bit more of the sand with his hands.

“Yes Master,” Ryan answered with as much of a nod as the sand would let him.

“Good. Now I think it’s time Kris and I had a talk, past time probably,” Carter added as he stood, smiling down at Ryan. “I don’t know how it will play out but I have a good feeling about Kris. I don’t think he scares that easy. Which is a good all things considered,” Carter joked, brushing the sand from his legs, giving Ryan one last look, and one last order, “and I don’t want any sand getting tracked back to my place.”

***

Carter took a breath as he stood at the edge of the balcony and looked out over the city. It was alive under the early afternoon sun as traffic flowed down its roads and the people moved along the sidewalks going this way and that while the endless sound of construction with it’s heavy thumbs and metallic cries of metal on metal played over it.

His city was alive and well. With a content smile Carter turned toward the nearby table where Kris sat nervously fidgeting with the coffee that Carter had picked up for them after he’d called Kris and asked to meet.

“Thank you for being willing to meet with me Kris,” Carter thanked as he walked back over to the table and sat down across from the younger firefighter.

“Of course sir,” Kris said, taking a sip of his coffee before going on, “I’m guessing this is about what happened between Ryan and myself earlier day?” he asked

Carter nodded before taking a drink from his own coffee then setting it aside, “Yes. Ryan told me some about what you offered, and that he told you a bit more about his background than is general known. And that he then jumped at the chance to leave without giving you time to processes everything.”

“It was a lot to take in and the demon attack did interrupt everything.” Kris agreed. “When I didn’t hear from him after the demon withdrew and the clean up was over I wasn’t sure what to think. But I also wasn’t sure what I’d say if he did call me.”

“Ryan didn’t have any idea what to do or say either. Which is partly why I’m here,” Carter explained. “More often than not Ryan and my dynamic is closer to a big and little brother partnership than the general dom/sub one. I’m sure you noticed that.”

“Yes sir. Its part of why I followed by gut and took the change to flirt with him before. And then offer myself to Ryan today. Most of the people I’ve met who are little brother or sisters tend to switch. That and my instincts told me he can given me what I need and I don’t get that feeling often,” Kris explained before taking a deep breath, “I don’t know if he gave you the full details about my offer but I think you should know, so that we’re all on the same page,” Kris said as he looked toward Carter who nodded and motioned for Kris to continue.

“I don’t really have limits. I say I want be to able to work but really once I’m in that head space I don’t, can’t, say no to anything, pain, pleasure, private, groups, anything goes,” Kris told Carter slowly, “back in highschool I got in with a bad crowd, things went bad. I end up in the hospital suffering from blood loss, a broken arm and a few cracked ribs because I didn’t say no and couple I was with didn’t realize, or did care, just how far they were taking it. I still have a dreams about that weekend, “Kris added, a light smile ghosting over his face as he drained the last of his coffee.

“I see. You offered that to Ryan,” Carter confirmed, pressing his lips together hard when Kris said yes. “That would be why he freaked.”

“He doesn’t have to anywhere near that far, it’s probably best if he doesn’t. But I think he can take me farther than most,” Kris told Carter while he fidgeted with the empty cup.

“Oh he can take you farther. You’re right about that. He can do anything you’ve had done to you and more, a lot more,” Carter stated, sipping at his own coffee. “He told you he was with the demons, that he fought for them as the Titanium Ranger before joining Lightspeed correct,” Carter waited for Kris’s nod before going on, “Did he tell you how long he lived with them or anything else about his years with them?” Carter asked as he finished off his own coffee.

“Years?” Kris said in surprised, “No. he didn’t, we didn’t have enough time- years? How long did the demon’s hold him?” he asked.

“Ryan was taken when he was five and he lived with Diabolico and the others until just after he turned 20,” Carter explained to Kris, “Part of being his dom is helping him understand the human world because he’s not used to it. So when he had someone kneeling at his feet and telling him he could do anything he wanted…he remembered some of the things that Diabolico and the demons had done, both to him and for him to watch and learn. That was a bit much for him to take,” Carter finished as he watched Kris closely.

Kris said very still for a few minutes before letting out a breath he’d been holding, “that’s why he said he was dangerous. He’s used to a whole different level of…I don’t even know,” Kris said at last.

Carter nodded, “still think it’s something you can handle? That’s he’s someone you can handle?” he asked.

Another deep breathe later Kris nodded his head, “I can’t say I know what he went through or how it changed him but the man I know; The man I offered myself to I know I can trust,” Kris finished as he squared his shoulders.

“I had a feeling you might say that,” Carter said with a light smile, “Which is why Ryan is back at my place waiting. I think you might be good for him,” Carter finished as he rose and tossed his empty cup into a nearby garbage can.

“You do?” Kris asked as he followed suit with his own cup.

“I do yeah. Ryan’s been working to broaden his experiences, find out who is he and what he wants. No matter how this ends up, I think he needs this, needs you,” Carter replied and explained as he threw his arm around Kris’s shoulder, “now what say we head back to my place and find out if Ryan still feels the same?”

“I think I like that idea a lot sir,” Kris answered, matching Carter’s smile with one of his own.

***

Vypra looked up at the illusionary sky that had been cast over the central chamber of Skull Cavern. “Has the time come at last? Can we free our Queen from her prison?” the demon asked as she looked from the stars and planets to Jinxer.

“Oh my yes. With the power of the alignment and the star power we can free her majesty and restore her palace to all its greatness,” Jinxer said, jumping and clapping his hands in glee.

“What’s this about my Star Power?” Olympius demanded as he entered the chamber to glare at Jinxer before looking at the other demons that had assembled.

“Your mothers Star Power is the key to being able to do the ritual,” Spellbinder stated as he walked out from the dark shadows beyond the pillars. “Had you truly lost Queen Bansheera’s great Star Power we would have nothing to call her to the moral plain but now that Jinxer founds its energy we may still break the magic that holds her and reunite her with her chosen,” the tall and imposing demon explained.

“Tell us what we need to do so that the ritual can be done and make sure that Queen Bansheera is freed,” Loki ordered Spellbinder, striking the ground hard with his staff.

“The ritual must be placed under the earth at the very heart of the alignment where I cast the enchantments needed to call our Queen back to us, Diabolico had already seen to it that Jinxer and I have collected everything we will need. Give us the Batlings and it will be done,” Spellbinder explained giving a dark laugh.

“Yes yes, but you must keep those pesky Rangers away,” Jinxer added as he looked toward Spellbinder,” they alone have the power to disrupted the ritual with their Power.”

“Then I will make sure to keep the Rangers to busy to interfere,” Olympius stated, stepping between Loki and Spellbinder.

“Why would we trust the child who lost the Star Power the last time he challenged the Rangers? Without its protection they might destroy you this time. We can’t let the Rangers take that privilege away from the Queen,” Vypra challenged as she leveled her sword at the young demon.

“What? How dare you!” Olympius objected as he turned to glare at Vypra, “My mother would never-“

“Queen Bansheera herself said you failed her,” Loki interrupted, pointing his weapon at Olympius as well, “No you will remind here, out of our way. Now Spellbinder when do we begin.”

“We must prepare the site at once for we begin when the planets and stars are in alignment and first greet the light of the sun,” Spellbinder announced boldly as he looked to the dark shadows beyond the pillars, “Batlings come, we have our Queen to serve.”

***

Kris stopped just inside the door to Carter’s apartment as he took his time looking around the ordinary looking home as he removed his boots. “Nice place…I don’t know why but I always imaged the Rangers living in the Aquabase,” he commented.

“We do,” Carter said with a smile, “But about half of us kept our old places too, which came in handy when Ryan and I needed to some away time from the Aquabase,” he explained, panning the floor quickly, “no sand, good.”

“Sand?” Kris asked, looking down at the floor before up at Carter. But the question was forgotten moments later when he spotted Ryan.

Clad in only a towel his hair and skin were still wet as Ryan walked from the bedroom into the living room, “I thought I heard some voices out here. Sir, Kris,” he said with a smile, his voice becoming a bit nervous.

“Well, Kris why don’t you take a seat while I get us some drinks and Ryan gets dressed and then you two will talk, and I mean really talk,” Carter said, giving Ryan a pointed look as he reached the last detail before heading into the kitchen area.

Two yes sirs came quickly as Ryan ducked back into the bedroom and Kris headed over to the sofa, taking a seat at one end, taking the offered doppelbock, drumming his fingers on the bottle as Carter took the armchair for himself.

“Whats, what’s the plan for tonight?” Kris asked a moment later as they both waited for Ryan.

Taking a pull from his bottle Carter just smiled, “that is for you and Ryan to figure out. I am here for one reason and one reason only. So Ryan knows he has someone to pull him back if he crosses any lines. I have confidence he won’t but he doesn’t. Otherwise I’m just watching, unless that’s a problem for you in which case we’ll figure something else out,” Carter explained to Kris.

“You’ll be watching as Ryan-as I’m- no I don’t mind,” Kris said, swallowing hard before draining half his bottle, going back for another pull when he saw Carter’s grin.

“Hello Kris, Sir,” Ryan said a minute or so later when he walked into the room, his hair still damp but otherwise dressed as he came to stand a few feet before Kris. “Kris, before anything else I need to apologize for how I handled this morning. I’ve never told anyone about my past before and I didn’t do it in the best way. I’m sorry.”

Glancing over toward Carter, who said and did nothing but watch, before looking up at Ryan Kris nodded, “I, ah, I have no idea what growing up is like, with the demons I mean, so I guess I can’t judge you too much just. Next time give me a chance to respond please,” Kris asked in return.

“I will, I’ll even try to do it without Carter pushing me into it,” Ryan joked, giving Carter a quick glance before focusing back on Kris, “Now between us, we’ve been dancing around each other for over a month now and you stepped up and made an offer today. Does that offer still stand,” Ryan asked as he forced his body to become still and unmoving.

“My feelings haven’t changed since this morning sir,” Kris explained as he slid forward to the edge of his seat.

Ryan nodded, “Even after knowing. I didn’t learn about pain from humans. I learned pain from the hands and tools of demons. I learned to enjoy inflicting it from Diabolico himself. I’ve pushed those feeling, thoughts away since I changed sides. If I let that part of me out,” Ryan paused for a moment and looked to Carter, “I don’t’ know how far it will go.”

“However far you go I will take it sir,” Kris said when Ryan turned back toward him, “I’m a canvas, do as you will,” he offered as he pulled off his shirt, tossing it to the other side of the sofa before flexing his white and freckled torso.

“I can make your body match your hair,” Ryan commented, running a finger over a lock of Kris’ ginger hair before running the finger over Kris’ chest. “Do you really think you’re ready for that? That you want that?”

Letting out a slow breath Kris slid from the sofa and onto his knees before Ryan, head bowed, arms behind his back, “Yes sir, I offer myself to you for your pleasure and enjoyment.”

Ryan looked down at the sight below him in silence before turning toward Carter who only nodded. Looking back at Kris Ryan lowered himself enough to reached down and run his hand into Kris’s hair, gripping it and forcing the other man to look up, “Until dawn or demon attack I take your offer and my first order is that you to say no or stop if anything become to much clear,” Ryan commanded.

“I don’t need to-,ahh” Kris started to say until Ryan twisting Kris’s hair causing the submissive to stop talking and wince in surprise as much as pain.

“When a slave is given an order how does it respond?” Ryan demanded to know, shifting his hand from Kris’ hair to his neck, holding firmly enough to feel Kris’s pulse.

“It responds yes sir,” Kris answered in a stuttering whisper.

“Let’s try this again. You will say no or stop if anything become too much. Is that clear human,” Ryan ordered a second time, loosening his grip slightly.

“Yes sir,” Kris responded obediently.

“That’s better boy,” Ryan said with a smirk before lashing out with his off hand, his fist striking Kris gut with a firm blow.

Kris’s eyes went wide as he started sucking air as quickly as Ryan’s hand, still holding his throat firmly, would allow. Ryan merely grinned before he started punching again. A series of blows in quick succession keep Kris breathing hard.

The blows slowed to a stop as Ryan ran his free hand over Kris’s red face, wiping away a few of the breeds of sweat, “that’s a good boy,” he said before shoving Kris back, sending him to the hard wood floor.

When Kris tried to stand back up out of instinct Ryan stepped on Kris chest with his bare foot, forcing the sub back to the floor, “did I say get up? I know I put you on your back but I’m pretty sure I didn’t say you could get it,” Ryan asked as he lowered himself down to the ground, still kneeling on Kris.

“No sir, you didn’t,” Kris confirmed between slow shallow breaths.

“Good, wouldn’t want us to be on different pages,” Ryan said as he slowly ran a hand down Kris’ side counting ribs until he reached the middle, “I want you very focused on what’s happening,” Ryan added as he pressed in, smiling at the hiss of pain Kris let out as his back arched up, pressing hard into Ryan’s foot, which was pressing down just as hard.

Removing both his hand and foot Ryan looked Kris over and smiled at the deep red outline of his foot that had joined the lighter red that covered Kris’s torso. “This could turn out to be a fun night,” Ryan informed the room.

***

“The time is at hand,” Spellbinder declared as the demon marched into the large area the Batlings had dug out under the parking garage. Striking the earth heavily with his staff as he marched forward the symbol on the demon’s chest glowed as he neared the large glass orb that dominated the makeshift chamber.

“Return our Queen to us Spellbinder,” Loki ordered as he and Vypra watched from the sidelines as Spellbinder reached the center pedestal and begin to chat.

The orb was clear and empty at first but as Spellbinder advanced through his incantation it begin to change, when Spellbinder turned his staff toward one of the totems that the Batlings had set up in the pattern of the planetary alignment. Pointing his staff Spellbinder called out in the ancient demon tongue causing the carved and bejeweled stone to shine dark, the Batling that had been ordered to stand near it gave out a pitiful cry as it too burst into darkness which was then pulled into the totem. When Spellbinder turned back to the orb it was no longer clear; it was filled with a dark fog swirling in its center.

“It’s working, the doorway to our queen is opening,” Vypra gasped in joy as she looked at the orb, growing darker and fuller each time Spellbinder gestured to one of the totems. It’s power surging with each Batling.

***

I will be free
the mortal world, I see it
my chosen will not fail me
I will be free

Carter woke up with his chest heaving as he struggled to regain his breath. Panting he shoved aside the sheets he tried to rise only for his legs to fail him, keeping him on the bed.

“Carter? What’s wrong?” Ryan asked softly as he turned toward Carter and away from where he had been sitting at the edge of the bed watching Kris curled up on the floor beside the bed.

“I, I’m not sure,” Carter said, taking a deep breathe, “It was a dream, it had to be but it felt, I don’t know how to describe it but it didn’t feel like a dream,” Carter explained, once more trying to rise, this time managing to keep his feet under him.

“What did it feel like?” Ryan asked as he frowned.

Slowly making his way to the kitchen Carter shock his head before splashing water over his face, “it felt real. Like I was there watching Bansheera try and get free. I’m just worried about it I guess. It’s giving me nightmares,” Carter joked, as he rubbed his face to try and wake himself up some more.

“Her getting free is worthy of a few nightmares. She’s powerful and dangerous and would stop at nothing to reclaim her palace,” Ryan reminded Carter as he reached out to rest an arm over Carter’s shoulder only to jump back when they touched.

“Ryan?” Carter asked with concern when Ryan jumped back.

“Just static,” Ryan said, shaking out his hand.

Carter just nodded, “That happens. But why were you awake? You’ve been sleeping through the night more often lately,” he asked Ryan.

“Waking up from a nightmare and you still noticed,” Ryan commented to himself with a smile, “But I haven’t been able get back to sleep since I woke up around dawn…I think the demons are up to something,” he confessed.

“What do you think they’re up to and what’s tipping you off?” Carter asked, all business.

“I don’t know what they’re up to beyond something but as for what,” Ryan paused for a moment before holding out his hand, flexing it as red and black energy flowed over it forming a ball in his hand then suddenly transforming into his sword, gold and deadly.

“Wait, you can’t do that,” Carter said as he pointed at the weapon, “there isn’t enough magic in the mortal world,” he repeated what Ryan had told him before.

“Right now I can feel magic everywhere. It’s not like the energy I remember from Skull Cavern but it’s strong, and growing stronger,” Ryan explained, dismissing the blade.

“Damn how did you do that? I’ve never seen you use that sword before,” Kris shouted out as he stubbed from the bedroom to join the other two.

Giving Carter a quick glance Ryan went over to Kris, answering as he did, “I don’t normally use it. I prefer my Titanium Lazar. We didn’t mean to wake you, it’s still early if you want to catch some more sleep, you don’t report to work until noon right,” Ryan asked.

“Yes Sir, but I’m good. My body was tried when we hit the sack so I slept well last night,” Kris said with a smile as he stretched his body. “All rested.”

“You’re body went though a lot last night,” Ryan reminded Kris as he let his gaze drift down Kris’s shirtless chest. The light, and some not so light, bruising and marks that he’d covered Kris’s chest and stomach with were plainly visible in the morning light.

“It was a fun night sir,” Kris made clear with a grin, “and I wouldn’t mind being yours to use and enjoy again sir. With or without the chaperone,” he added as he glanced toward Carter who chuckled a little.

Slowly running his hand along Kris’s arm Ryan grinned himself when he firmer pressed against one of the larger marks he’d left on Kris’s bicep causing the other man to close his eyes and let out a groan of pleasurable pain. “Yeah I enjoyed last night too and I think that’s going to happen again,” Ryan said, ruffling Kris’s hair before kissing the submissive on the forehead.

As he watched the pair Carter smiled before turning toward his refrigerator and starting pulling out eggs, milk, and other fixing, “Now who wants what in their omelet?” he asked.

***

“These reading don’t make any sense at all,” Dr. Fairweather said crossly as she poured over the printouts that covered one of her lab tables.

“What readings are those darling?” Joel asked, looking away from the apples he was playfully jugging.

Letting out a sign Dr. Fairweather frowned as she dropped the papers in her hand to the table, “the energy reading from our demon sensors. They aren’t malfunctioning but they all say that there are demons in the city,” she explained while checking something at her computer.

“Maybe the demon is just being low key, playing it cool until it’s ready to spring it’s plan into action. Just tell me where it’s being detected and I’ll find it for you my lady,” Joel offered, letting all three apples land in his hand and holding them out to Dr. Fairweather, “Snack while you wait? It’s been three hours since you had anything, unless you grabbed something during my power nap?” he added.

Dr. Fairweather smiled as she took one of the apples, “I wish it was that simple. The demons don’t normally set off the sensors unless they’re doing something but the problem is all the sensors are reading the same, even for the Aquabase,” she told Joel as she leaned back against the wall and took a bite from the fruit.

“Wow, what? There aren’t any demons in the Aquabase, we’d know about that. So why are they going off? What are they picking up?” Joel asked, taking a bite of one of the remaining apples.

“I don’t know. And I don’t like that,” Dr. Fairweather stated. “Do you know if Carter and Ryan came back to the Aqaubase last night?”

“I can’t say I do. But I can go and find Ryan here or not if you need him?” Joel offered.

“Would you Joel, thank you,” Dr. Fairweather said giving Joel a grateful smile, “Just tell him to come back when he’s free. His knowledge of demons might be just what I need. He might even have some idea what all this is about,” she said as she turned back to her data, sorting through it again, looking for something she may have missed the last three times.

“Your wish is my desire,” Joel said with a grin as he headed off.

***

“Nice moves Kelsey,” Carter complemented as he and Ryan wandered into the park an hour or so later, just as Kelsey was grinding down one of the rails set up as part of the skate park.

“Hey Carter, You going to join us? Chad brought extra gear,” Kelsey responded as she zipped around, and sometimes over, the cement obstacles.

“Yeah, you totally should,” Chad said as he finished clipping on his helmet. “Ryan with you?” he asked, double checking his gear.

“Not today, Dr. Fairweather wanted him at the Aquabase to pick his brain about all things demon,” Carter explained as he reached Chad.

“His loss, gear up,” Chat suggested, nudging a pair of athletic bags stuff to overflowing with skates and pads, before pushing off and heading down a nearby ramp, building up speed as he raced to catch up with Kelsey.

“That does looks like fun,” Carter grinned as he started pulling out skates and protective gear from the bag and started strapping them on.

“Whoa, what’s that, that cloud doesn’t look right?” Kelsey voice called a moment later drawing everyone’s attention skyward.

***

“It’s picking up the magic I’ve been feeling all morning,” Ryan said as he looked at the data that Dr. Fairweather.

“Even here underwater? I didn’t think demons nor their magic did well underwater,” Dr. Fairweather asked, checking the reading from sensors located in the Aquabase.

“Demon magic can’t each the Aquabase through the ocean but this isn’t just demon magic. It feels dark, of death even, but there’s something else, something under it,” Ryan answered, closing his eyes and focusing on the energy he felt. He shook his head a moment later, “I can’t place it. But it’s not demon and that’s why the energy is able to flow and spread everywhere, even the Aquabase,” Ryan finished, still frowning at the information.

“Could it be something other then the demons? Some new force then?” Dr. Fairweather, “I’m not sure if that’s better or worse.”

“Something this powerful and that feel of dread that comes with it. I hope it’s the demons. They’re the devil we know as it were. If it’s something new,” Ryan shook his head. “I really want it to be the demons.”

“Okay if it is the demons when what are they up to. You said it felt dark, have you felt the demons do anything like this before. What might they do with this much energy?” Dr. Fairweather asked as she turned to her computer.

Ryan was quiet for a few minutes as he looked over the papers, “Something to the weather, or maybe a summoning, they might even be trying to keep us form connecting to the Power, stop us from morphing,” Ryan listed off slowly. “All of those would take a lot of power and would need to be cast in the human world.”

“Okay, none of those sound good at all,” Dr. Fairweather said in return, “how can we narrow down the options?”

“They might try and use some natural occurrence to boost their magic,” Ryan paused for a second, “in fact without Diabolico or the Star Power they’d have to. Any odd weather patters or anything uncommon happening?” he quested as he went over to one of the other workstations and brought it online.

“Dr. Fairweather, Kelsey just radioed that she Carter and Chad have spotted some odd clouds forming over the city and they aren’t the only reports we’re getting,” Captain Mitchell said as he rushed into the lab, “Could this be connected to your strange reading from earlier?”

“They might, they could be what they demons are- wait. You said forming? They’re new?” Dr. Fairweather asked as she turned from the Captain to Ryan, “If they’re new then they didn’t create the energy but are being created by them. Could they be creating a massive storm?”

“I didn’t see any this morning so they have to be new so they might be. It’s a cleaver idea, how do you fight a storm? Defend the ritual site well and it’s a very good plan. Even when we do stop them they could have done some major damage,” Ryan brain stormed.

“How do we find the ritual site? They could do it anywhere couldn’t they?” Dr. Fairweather asked Ryan as she looked up from her computer.

“No. Not just anywhere. They still need something to boost their power and they’d have to be in near the center of whatever they are using. We find that and we find them because you don’t control this much power easily. But if it’s not the weather that doesn’t leave much else,” Ryan explained as he started searching through the information on the Lightspeed database.

“Right energy is energy and it had to start somewhere,” she agreed typing a few things into her computer before looking away for a moment. “Using something in nature, solar storm or change in magnetic field?” Dr. Fairweather said as much to herself as anything as both she and Ryan focused on their research while Captain Mitchell looked on.

Neither of the two looked up as Carter and the Rangers arrived at the Aqaubase and came into the lab space, “What’s going on out there?” Carter asked.

“The demons are doing something with the weather but…they aren’t creating a storm. The clouds aren’t growing fast enough, not with how much energy they creating,” Ryan answered at last as he looked up from the computer he’d been using. “And I can’t find anything that they might be using to boost their magic.”

“What about a rare alignment of the plants?” Dr. Fairweather asked Ryan, tapping a few extra keys to being up am image of the solar system. “Planetary alignments can create and alter gravity and cause any number of other effects, is boosting magic one of them?”

Ryan stared at the image, and felt his whole body run cold.

”Ryan? What’s wrong,” Carter asked the seconds later as he watched Ryan turn pale.

“How could I forget,” Ryan said shaking his head, not answering either question at first. “It’s the day they’ve been waiting for,” Ryan turned away, leaning toward a wall as he forced himself to breathe slowly.

“What do you mean? What’s happening?” Carter asked as he and everyone else turned to Ryan.

A few deep breathes later Ryan looked back toward them and began to talk, “It’s a summoning. A powerful summoning using all the power that the solar system itself can created channeled and focused to the demons’ goal,” Ryan explained, “With Diabolico gone and the Star Power…I completely forgot about it.”

“What are they summoning,” Dr. Fairweather asked cautiously as she looked back toward the image of the planetary alignments.

“There is only one being they’d go to this much effort for, Queen Bansheera. With the power of the planets they plan on being her back,” Ryan replied.

“We can’t let them do that,” Carter shouted out in determined alarm, “we have to stop them.”

“Right,” the other Rangers echoed moments before alarms started going off.

“The clouds are attacking the city. You need to get to the Rescues Zords,” Captain Mitchell ordered as he checked the reason for the alarm.

“They must have kicked the ceremony into gear, let go kick them back,” Joel said as the Rangers hurried off to their Zords to help protect the city.

“I think I’ve narrowed down the ritual site,” Dr. Fairweather said a few minutes later, “I ran a program to track the energy but in reverse, see where it was initially detected and the first sensors to detect anything were all in this area,” she explained, showing a map of the city with an area circled.

“Wait…the damage created by the storm is creating a pattern and that’s right in the center of it,” Ryan added as he marked the areas that the storm had hit.

“They share the same center,” Dr. Fairweather pointed out as she marked a single location in the middle of both occurrences.

“That has to be the ritual site. If we stop them there they can’t bring back Bansheera right?” Captain Mitchell asked his son as he looked at the image. “and the storm stops?”

“Yes, it all stops,” Ryan said as he looked over at the monitors showing the rest of the Rangers helping the citizens of Mariner Bay.

Captain Mitchell nodded, “Go,” he ordered.

Sneaking into the parking garage that lay at the marked spot Ryan quickly found the large dug out chamber by following the sounds of chanting and occasional death cries of Batling. Ryan studied the glyph on the floor and the totems that surrounded it looking for the weakest part when he heard Vypra behind him.

“Come and get a front row seat,” the demon offered, lashing out with her sword.

“I’d rather cancel the show, “Ryan challenged back, calling forth his own blade.

***

“Rangers, Ryan went to stop the ceremony but now he’s not responding to our calls. You need to find him,” Captain Mitchell informed the team over their morphers.

“Okay we’re on it,” Carter answered, his frown hidden by his helmut.

Carter and Kelsey traded looks before Kelsey tapped her morpher, “Ryan come in. Do you hear me Ryan. Please respond,” she called out.

But it wasn’t Ryan’s voice they heard in response, it was Vypra, “Sorry, but he’s a little busy at the moment.”

“Carter, the demons have Ryan,” Kelsey said her voice worried.

“I think I know where he is,” Carter answered as he looked out a window toward a large pillar of something, fire or magic he couldn’t tell.

***

Ryan glared at Vypra when she silenced his morpher before he could respond to Kelsey’s call, “They will stop you. Queen Bansheera will not return.”

“Foolish traitor. Nothing can stop us now. Our Queen will rise and reclaim this land,” Vypra said with a laugh as she held up Ryan’s sword, “and at long last all you pathetic humans will be our slaves only this time none of us will make the mistake of training or trusting any of you,” Vypra sneered.

“That’s not going to happen Vypra. My master and the other Rangers will stop you,” Ryan rebutted, glaring at Vypra.

“What did you say mortal,” Loki yelled as he slammed the spear on the ground. “Your master is Diabolico and he would welcome this day.”

“He’s not my master any more, Carter the Red Ranger is my Master now, by blood and choice,” Ryan shot back lifting his neck to make sure his collar was visible, smirking at the large demon.

“You dare replace my friend with a mortal, with that mortal. I’ll see you destroyed for that betrayal,” Loki threaten as he leveled the two points of his spear at Ryan’s chest.

“Not know, destroy a Ranger here and their energy will disrupted the ceremony,” Vypra ordered, pushing Loki’s spear aside with her sword, “beside, our Queen might want to deal with him personally,” she added with a chuckle.

Any response Loki might have had was lost when Spellbinder threw his staff at the orb which it pierced without breaking. The dark energy in the chamber turned blinding as it blasted upward in a massive pillar of energy, ripping the roof off the building.

Ryan knew the demons were still talking but he couldn’t take his eyes, or mind, off the energy. He’d never felt anything as strong before, it magnitude overwhelmed his ever sense but at the same time it was so familiar.

He could almost feel Diabolico hands grabbing his throat as the Star Power, the queen’s power flow everywhere and his body wanted to submit to it just like he’d been trained. Ryan knew it would be so easy to let go and give himself back to his Queen and kneel before her beside his Master.

‘No,’ Ryan shouted in his mind. It wasn’t a demons’s hands but a Ranger’s collar he felt around his neck. Carter was his Master now not Diabolico and Carter would never kneel. Pushing away the Queen’s energy as best he could Ryan focused inward, finding the Titanium Power deep within himself, feeling for the Crimson Power, for Carter, he knew was coiled around it.

Feeling calm and centered once he found it Ryan let out a breath and opened his eyes looking up, to see the Red Ranger fighting Batlings right in front of him.

Glancing around Ryan realized that both Loki and Vypra were missing and the Batlings holding him were busy watching their numbers being reduced by the Red Ranger. Grinning Ryan overwhelmed the nearby Batlings and readied his morpher.

The rest of the fight was a blur for Ryan as it happened so fast. Spellbinder growing, the fight with the Rescues Mega Zord, even him realizing he needed to return to the site of the ritual to destroy the orb. But hearing the voice of Queen Bansheera seemed to break the hazy as he listened to the demons, their every word filling him with worry and as struggled not to move, not to make a sound until he felt their energy fade and felt Carter drawing closer.

When Carter wrapped his arms around him he finally felt safe.

***

“We stopped Spellbinder and the ceremony, good job Rangers,” Captain Mitchell was congratulated the team when Ryan entered the meeting room having finally been cleared by Dr. Talbert.

Without a word he went to Carter’s side and knelt, leaning into Carter’s leg. Taking comfort in the contact Ryan let out a breath.

“Now we just have to figure out what they’ll try to bring her back next,” Joel through out as he spun in his chair, “I’m guessing the plants aren’t going to go into any special alignments any time soon?”

Dr. Fairweather shook her head as she answered, “I’ve checked up to five years out and other then some partial eclipse nothing is happening out of the norm.”

“They don’t need,” Ryan started, his voice half muffed by Carters legs until he pulled back, “They don’t need to summon her. They already did, she made it but she’s incomplete. I could only partly make out what they were saying but I felt her. Queen Bansheera back,” Ryan told the team as he pushed himself to his feet. “And she will only get stronger. Her powers will grow and one day, no matter what you do, no matter what weapons you build she’ll destroy us to build her palace,” he explained.

“You’re saying she’s indestructible?” Doctor Fairweather challenged as she stepped forward.

“There has to be come way to stop her Ryan,” Carter said, his hand going his collar around Ryan’s neck.

Ryan leaned into the touch as he went on, “Yes. The demons are free now but we were all contained in the tomb and the Queen was trapped somewhere else as well so we know it’s possible. We need to find out how,” Ryan said. He opened his mouth to say more before closing it again and going silent.

“He has a point. Not all energy can be destroyed but all energy can be contained,” Doctor Fairweather said thoughtfully.

“Then it looks like we have two missions now. Protect Mariner Bay and find out how to deal with the demons once and for all,” Captain Mitchell declared.

***

“What wrong,” Carter asked Ryan when the moment the door to their shared room on the Aquabase shut the younger man had hugs Carter and not let go.

Turning his head so he could speak with out breaking connect Ryan started to try and explain, “I was unmorphed at the Ritual site. It was flooded with Queen Bansheera energy at the end and I felt it. It was everywhere and it was so like the Star Power Diabolico would use on me only so much strong and pervasive. Even now I can feel it on me, in me.”

Carter hugs Ryan back as he begin to speak but then stopped, unsure what to say so he held Ryan for a moment and then asked, “what do you need.”

“You Carter. I need to feel the Master I choose, on me, in me, part of me. Just like after I took your collar,” Ryan answered as looked up at Carter.

A slow and steady breathe later Carter ran his hand over the collar around Ryan’s neck. Between demons, clean up and the need for rest it had taken a couple of days to consummate the collaring but that night had been special, and as of yet unrepeated.

Pushing Ryan back into his bed he realized it was time to change that.

The End