Title: Romancing a Leopard for Dummies
Author: Melissa Someone
Story Category: Power Rangers
Generation: Jungle Fury
Summary: Casey has no idea on how to romance both a woman and her animal spirit..
Inspired by: Nikutai No Kizuna – The Ties That Bind and Forgotten Past
Disclaimer: Don't own PR, Saban now holds the rights!
Chapter 9: Bonding and Coming Clean
Jasmine watched Casey as he tried to give her older brother pointers on how to toss dough again and then returned her attention to the register as a customer came up. After she was finished, she sighed as RJ stood beside her. "Break time." The man simply stated to her in a low tone.
"You go catch up on your Judge Jamie marathon upstairs. We can handle this." She retorted. RJ shook his head.
"Jasmine, I think it's time for your break. Now. Fran can take over the register." With no choice but to obey her boss, Jasmine headed upstairs with RJ right behind her. She turned to face him and raised an eyebrow as she folded her arms. "Don't give me that look, my young leopard. Apparently, Lena has come into her maturity. As your Pai Zhuq master and employer, I cannot have you unmated with Casey snarling at every guy who looks at you with interest."
"Casey snarling is his problem, not mine, RJ." Jasmine snapped.
"Oh, I beg to differ, mi amigo. There's only so many pointers that he can give Theo before he snaps and brings you up here to...uh, that's not the point. The point is that I have a cub who's purposely distracting himself because your animal spirit has come into maturity. Therefore to avoid problems, you two should be bonded as soon as possible." Jasmine sighed.
"RJ, it's not like I'm going through my Jonetsu and have decided to bre-" RJ shot her a look. Apparently, despite her protests, the Wolf Master wasn't going to wait another second.
"Lily, could you pull Casey off the floor?" RJ yelled down the stairwell. Lily's idea of pulling Casey off the floor was to yank the swinging door open and call out his name. Casey came upstairs, looking clueless. "Casey, I wouldn't normally do this but you and Jasmine have four days off."
"Uh, why?" Casey asked.
"I think he's clueless, Doc." Jasmine muttered then added to Casey, "RJ wants to have us bonded as soon as possible since you can't be trusted to not snarl at every passing guy who looks at me with interest." Casey looked taken aback.
"I haven't snarled yet." Casey protested.
"Casey, I want you two to get used to being bonded. And in the beginning, that requires a lot of alone time especially for a tiger." Jasmine raised an eyebrow. "Not to scare you or anything but with Casey still in his first year, I know that this will require four days rather than the usual three."
"RJ, he wouldn't be allowed to participate in the bonding ceremony if he were still at the academy." Jasmine pointed out. "If that were to happen, I would have to wait another year." Casey looked confused until he remembered RJ saying something about that.
"Unusual circumstances, my dear leopard." RJ replied.
"I know but I'm still scared." Jasmine acknowledged the Master's comment as she rubbed her arm. Casey wondered what Jasmine meant by that. Had he gone too fast with her in the preceding months and did she need more time to acclimate herself to what was to take place today? His thoughts swirling inside his mind, Casey grabbed Jasmine's hand. She looked at her hand in his and then looked up at him.
"It'll be okay, Marika. We'll be doing this together." Casey reassured softly, using her true first name. "What do we have to do first, RJ?" He asked.
"Take a shower." RJ said as he handed them two bathrobes.
Once in the bathroom, Jasmine refused to undress, leaving Casey perplexed. He almost decided to ask RJ to talk to her again but knew that ultimately, it would just piss Jasmine off. "Look, if you're worried I won't think the rest of you is just as beautiful if not more than your face, then you've got it all wrong." Casey finally said.
"It's not that Casey." Jasmine replied, crossing her arms as she sat down on the toilet seat.
"I've never showered with another person if I could help it either…" Casey admitted, hoping that it would help Jasmine undress. He really wanted this ceremony over and done with so he could just hold Jasmine. Lately, he'd taken to doing that at night so she could sleep. He understood nightmares and knew that it helped to have another person around who understood.
"It's just… I'll do it but if you say anything…" Jasmine started.
"Say anything about what?" He queried.
"It doesn't matter what." She curtly replied as she slowly peeled off her shirt while Casey did the same, his hands shaking slightly as he undid his belt. It was in his belt buckle that he saw the reflection of Jasmine's back from the mirror and he gasped as he looked up to see the whole of Jasmine's back, arms and legs scarred pretty badly. He saw red.
"Who the hell did that to you?" he asked, his voice a low growl. He needed a name, a body to tear apart for hurting his soon to be Aikoka.
"My former master." Jasmine replied, her voice a near whisper.
"He'll never touch you again if I have anything to say about it!" Casey snapped. He touched one and noticed that it seemed pretty thick. "He beat you several times in the same place, didn't he?" She nodded.
"It's only a matter of time before he figures out where I'm at, Casey." She told the Red ranger.
"And if I ever see him, I will kill the bastard." Casey growled, making Jasmine shiver. She knew that she couldn't have kept what her former master had done to her under clothing forever. She wondered what his reaction would be when he found out that her Leopard spirit hadn't waited to make her a mother.
It was then that a loud knock at the door startled the both of them. "Is everything alright in there?" RJ asked.
"Fine." Jasmine said curtly.
However, Casey was still seeing red when he replied in a snappish tone, "No, everything is not fine." Jasmine could sense the frown that would be forming on RJ's face as he heard that.
"What's going on then?" Came RJ's next question.
"I'm about to commit murder without any care for the legal consequences." Casey's tone scared Jasmine. There was a righteous rage present in his tone, enough to rival her father or Master Yen. Actually, who was she kidding? Casey had surpassed them as well as her Uncle Gou. He seemed pretty pissed.
"Casey, sit down and take a few cleansing breaths." RJ instructed calmly.
"A few cleansing breaths aren't going to undo what's been done to Jasmine." Casey snapped back.
"What are you talking about, Casey?" The questions were going to send Casey over his limit if RJ wasn't careful, Jasmine reflected. Casey seemed mad enough to commit murder right now.
"Oh I don't know, maybe the scarring from a whip on her back!" Casey nearly screamed back. Jasmine winced. Casey was making too big a deal out of this for her liking. Then again, she was sure Tiger had something to do with it. Hadn't she said that Tiger wouldn't tolerate her being mistreated in any way, shape or form?
"Casey, please stop…" she gently grabbed his arm. "It's over with – for now."
"Jasmine, that son of a biscuit hurt you." Casey replied, his voice in a desperate pleading tone. "Do you expect me to honestly sit here and not react to the way some asshole hurt you?"
"Please, just drop it." Jasmine pleaded.
"Fine." Casey murmured to her.
Finally, after much too long for the Wolf Master's liking... Jasmine and Casey finally emerged from the bathroom, hair still damp from their shower. "Well if we're going to begin, the two of you will need to take off your robes." RJ said, rather bluntly. Jasmine only sighed, following orders while Casey seemed to freeze up.
"Get naked?!" Casey snapped. RJ raised an eyebrow. "You never said anything about getting..." Casey trailed off as he saw Jasmine's naked back again.
"Casey, you've already seen each other nude, haven't you? It's not a big deal." RJ said aloud, then muttering "Jeez, who would've guessed the red ranger is so self conscious." Which Casey picked up and glared at the Purple Ranger, almost defensive looking in how he stood.
"Casey, just take it off already." Jasmine put in. "No one's going to make fun of you if that's what's got you so worked up." Casey finally peeled off his robe, albeit reluctantly.
"Now, Jasmine, I want you to sit down in front of Casey. Casey, you do the same but sit behind her." RJ instructed again.
"Okay…" Casey said, swallowing thickly as he sat down as instructed.
He settled his hand on Jasmine's shoulder, rubbed it slightly and started to take it away when RJ said, "Just leave it there, Casey." Casey nodded. A primal language was chanted by RJ, the meaning lost on both Casey and Jasmine. They both breathed in and out, eventually finding a shared rhythm. A Red and Pink Glow surrounded them respectively.
Both the Tiger and the Leopard were unleashed, dancing around their cubs before they stopped to hover over their cub's respective partner. Jasmine looked at Tiger, unsure what Casey's animal spirit was doing.
"Casey is going to be very angry at me about revealing this before he's ready but...it's best that you know about this now, my cub." Tiger spoke within her mind. She saw the car accident from Casey's perspective and also something that was best not described as a tear fell down her cheek.
"Jasmine...what is Tiger showing you?" Casey asked her but since Tiger was marking her, she couldn't really reply. However, he didn't have the chance to ask again because as Leopard marked him, she showed him the period of time in Jasmine's life after he left. He saw the attempts to end her life after the car accident, the abuse by her master, Jarrod harassing her as his sparring partner and Theo just making her life hell with various jokes. "I'm going to kill Theo when our vacation is over." He muttered.
"Not worth it." Jasmine finally answered through Tiger's marking her. "That's how I learned to just ignore him and develop mental armor." As suddenly as it began, the energies receded and began to combine in a beautiful swirl of color which became ever so slower and finally the two animal spirits were seen, the Leopard purring loudly as Tiger gently licked her cheek with his rough tongue before they disappeared into their respective Cubs.
Both Casey and Jasmine were breathing hard. "Wasn't expecting that." Casey murmured as he kissed Jasmine on the neck.
"Um…Casey, not to interrupt or anything but could you save that for when you two are alone?" RJ asked. The red looked up and gave RJ a quick nod.
"Sorry." The red muttered.
"Why were you crying when Tiger marked you?" Casey asked. Jasmine stared at the wall, not wanting to answer his question. "Jasmine...?" He queried. She turned to face him, tears still falling down her face.
"Tiger showed me what those men did to you, how they used me to gain your compliance while you were in the hospital. Why didn't you tell me about it?" Casey looked annoyed at the ceiling but the particular look was for his animal spirit, not Jasmine.
"I couldn't. It's very difficult for me to talk about the subject with anyone." Casey remarked, holding Jasmine close to him. "They threatened to do the same things to you if I told anyone." He added softly.
"Casey…I…" Jasmine was unsure what to say to her mate. "I'm sorry." She said lamely.
"I'm not. If I had to go through it again to have you here with me now, I would." Casey softly vowed, leaning down to kiss her neck. "Let's not talk about it."
"I know Leopard showed you what happened after you left." He nodded.
"It wasn't that bad except for Theo's teasing, your master hurting you and the suicide attempts." Casey murmured. "Was there more that she wasn't showing me, Jasmine?" It was time to tell Casey about Melanie. If she didn't, she'd be keeping a secret from him and Jasmine hated secrets.
"I have a daughter." Jasmine murmured softly.
A/N: This chapter takes place during No I in Leader. Please read and review!