"Hey, bro. Has your sister been up yet?" Tommy asked as they approached.
As she sat down, Kat said, "I didn't know you had a sister."
"Sam's up next," Jason said, motioning.
The two newcomers turned to see a girl dressed in a steel-gray tee-shirt and blue jeans waiting with a bow in hand as the current archer finished his ten chances for the five different targets, then clapped politely. Although she was too far away for the rangers to make out any details, they could see that her hair was just as dark as Jason's, and even when pulled back into a braid hung down to the middle of her back. The girl took the man's place and drew an arrow from a quiver strapped to her thigh, and then carefully pulled back. She sighted down to the bull's eye, and then released, getting the arrow perfectly within the red center. The rangers saw a grim smile on her face as the crowd cheered, and Sam pulled another arrow, carefully aiming before releasing. She continued on that pattern as she went through the rest of her shots, each target bearing two arrows in the red circle.
She watched impassively as the judges conferred, and then genuinely smiled as the judges each held up a ten. She relaxed as the crowd went wild, until the announcer spoke. "It seems that Samantha Scott is following in her family's footprints by setting an early lead with a perfect ten. Let's see if she can hold on to her advantage" Her face fell and became cold, and Sam headed for her seat.
Kat glanced over at Tommy, who shrugged, and Jason stood up. "I'm going to talk to Sam." Tommy and Kat saw the concerned look on the Gold Ranger's face as he headed down to the ground, and then got up to follow their friend.
"Jase, wait up!" Tommy called, but if Jason heard, he gave no indication. By the time the other rangers reached the bottom, he was out of sight.
Tommy and Kat searched through the crowd, and when they finally spied the Gold Ranger, he was over by his sister, and they seemed to be arguing. Finally, Sam just turned her back to her brother angrily, and Jason reached out to turn her around to face him. She snapped out something that made Jason let her go, and she stomped away. Tommy and Kat exchanged worried looks before heading over.
Before either could ask any questions, the former leader of the Power Rangers asked, "What's changed, Tommy? Sam and I used to get along to good, and now we never do anything except argue." He turned to the rangers and they saw the anguish in his eyes. "I don't know what's changed, or how I could fix what's wrong between me and her. She actually told me to leave her alone."
Tommy shook his head. "C'mon, bro. Let's leave her alone, if that's what she wants." Just then, the rangers' communicators went off, and the three looked around, before finding a secluded area.
"We read you. What's up?" Tommy asked.
"Mondo's sent another monster," Zordon said. "You're needed in the park immediately." Unnoticed by the others, Jason sent a worried glance back in the direction of the competition.
"We're on our way." Tommy looked around, then nodded to Kat and Jason. "It's Morphin' Time! Zeo Ranger V!"
Samantha Scott fumed as she left her brother, but she fought to keep her anger under wraps. It wasn't really his fault that the announcer had compared her to her family. It wasn't Jason's fault that she was the only one in the family that wasn't very good at almost every sport. The only sport that she excelled at was archery.
And that doesn't count, she told herself. Not here, at least.
Sam watched as her opponents tried to meet her perfect score but almost wanted to laugh at their efforts. She was used to moving targets, so this archery contest of stationery targets wasn't much of a contest to her. Of course, she was used to being among the worst of the archers, not the best. If only her friends were with her now. They'd laugh to see what Angel Grove called their 'best archers.'
Finally, it was her turn again, this time at twice the range, at about 500 feet. That was still nothing to her, almost a warm-up. She pushed aside her anger to focus on aiming before letting the arrow fly, and nodded to herself when she realized that her arrow would be on target. Just as she was about to let go of her final arrow, her internal alarm went off as people started heading for cover. Sam cursed her luck. This meant that the contest would either be postponed, or canceled all together. She eased the arrow forward, careful not to dry fire, and looked around, realizing that there were Cogs in the crowd and that they seemed to be searching for something. Or someone, she realized when one pointed to her.
"Target found. Acquire human now!" it said in its monotone voice. Sam looked around to realize that she was now surrounded, and growled.
"Acquire this," she snapped, pulling the arrow back and releasing. The arrow sailed true and struck the speaker Cog in the optical sensor, causing the Cog to spark and collapse. "Yeah!" Sam cheered, then rolled as another Cog tried to grab her from behind.
When she got to her feet, she realized that she was free from the circle of Cogs, and that three of the Power Rangers, Yellow, Green, and Blue, were there. The green one ran over to her side and asked, "Are you okay?" Sam nodded, and he said, "Good. We'll take care of the Cogs, but you need to get out of here."
"Fine by me," Sam said, and took off, only pausing to grab her archery case, snap it shut, and then take off with it. She didn't stop until she reached the park, and then slumped down against a tree to catch her breath. She opened her case and placed her bow in it's proper compartment in the archery case, then put in her leg quiver and arrows before shutting it, then sliding down to the ground, her legs giving out on her as her fear caught up with her. She let her head drop into her hands before giving a slight sob. "Why do these things happen to me?" she demanded of the world in general.
* * *
In the Power Chamber, Rocky, Adam and Tanya removed their helmets as Tommy, Jason and Kat teleported in, and Tommy asked, "What were the Cogs after, Rocco? Why did Mondo distract us with such as cheesy monster?"
"Not what, WHO," Rocky said. "He was after one of the contestants in the archery contest. I- I think he was after your sister, Jason."
"What! Why?" Jason asked. "Is she all right?"
"She's fine, Jason," Rocky said. "We held the Cogs off, and she got away. Last I saw, she was heading for the park."
Jason breathed a sigh of relief, then asked, "Why would Mondo be after her?"
"She is a possible hostage," Tommy pointed out.
"If that's why he went after her, then he might go after any of our families," Kat said.
"Don't worry, Rangers, "Alpha said. "I have already set up the scanners to keep an eye on your families. If Mondo tries to go after them, then the Power Chamber will know immediately."
"Good," Tommy said. Then he caught the expression on Jason's face and knew that the Gold Ranger wasn't happy with just that. "Want to go see if Sammy's all right?" Tommy asked.
"I'd like to, but then she'll start yelling again," Jason said. "I just wanna make sure that she's all right."
"I'll check up on her," Adam offered. As an older brother, he knew what it was like to worry about a little sister, and so wanted to sooth the Gold Ranger's worry.
"Thank you, Adam," Jason said, before the Green Ranger teleported out.
"Sam?" A hand on her shoulder came with the soft voice and Sam looked up, after who knows how long crying, to see the concerned eyes of one of her brother's friends. She thought a minute, then realized that it was the one named Adam. Of Oriental descent, his black hair hung to about jaw length, and his brown eyes were full of worry.
"I'm fine," Sam said, pushing his hand away. "Just leave me alone." She stood up, and stormed off before realizing that she forgot her case. Too proud to go back, she forced herself to head home. She knew that if Adam was one of Jason's friends, then he'd probably give the case to Jason, and she'd have it back soon. But not without Jason wanting to know why she had been crying in the park, when she didn't even know herself.
"Damn it," she muttered. "Why do these things happen to me?"
Sam made her way to her house, and then up to her room. Her parents weren't home, which was a relief because if they had, they were sure to start asking about the contest, and Sam didn't want to talk about anything right now. She flopped down face first onto the bed, burying her face into her pillow before letting out a frustrated scream. Why did Jason have to be such a butthead, or so good at everything? Sam remained on her front for a few more minutes before rolling over.
As she settled on her back, a flash of light caught the corner of her eye. Sam turned her head to see the crystal star sitting on the bedside table and reached out to pick it up. She let a smile grew on her face as her mind drifted back to a few months after her brother had left, and her friend had invited Sam to her home for the first time.
* * *
Kit?" Sam asked in disbelief. "You're actually alone?" She had come up to the usual meeting place in the park to find Kit sitting on the branch of the tree, finding no sign of Alex anywhere. "Your father actually let you out by yourself?"
Kit smiled and shrugged. "I'm not gonna stay here long." She laughed as Sam's face fell, and she said, "The reason why I'm not going to be here long is because Father wants to meet the hu- girl I've been talking about for the past two months. Wanna come and visit?"
Sam's face lit up brilliantly as she said, "Really? How long?"
"How ever long you want," Kit replied.
"I gotta tell my parents," Sam said, then started to turn back the way she came and stopped when Kit grabbed her wrist.
"No need. She won't even notice that you're gone."
While Kit had spoken, the world around Sam seemed to waver, and she felt like she had been spun around like a top. She staggered free of Kit, the straightened up as she took in her new surrounds. While before they had been in the park, now they were in a slightly forested area where the trees had branches as big around as Sam was. Even though the Scott girl wasn't big, that still made for some hefty branches. And that meant ancient trees.
"We're... not in Angel Grove, are we?" Sam asked.
"No," Kit said, laughing. There was a change in her voice, a musical, silvery note in it that hadn't been there before. Sam slowly turned, and paled at her second shock in as many minutes.
While before, where Kit had been a delicate blonde with startling green eyes, now she was different. The eyes were the same, but that was all that Sam recognized, even though there had been nothing drastic about the changes. Kit's features had become more refined and delicate-seeming, and her blonde hair had lightened from gold to a platinum white, and instead of hanging free like Sam was used to seeing, it was up in a braid that made a French braid seem easy by comparison. But one of the biggest changes was to her ears. While before, they had always been hidden by Kit's hair, with the hair up and out of the way, they were revealed to rise up to gentle points.
Sam blinked, and realized that there was something about Kit's face that was bothering her. It was more than the changes that Sam recognized. Something was... off. She shrugged it away to be figured out later, instead asking, "You're not human, are you?" as soon as she regained her voice.
"Nope," Kit said, then put a finger to Sam's mouth. "We don't like the 'e' word. We prefer the term Sidhe. Now, if I take my finger away, are you going to scream?" Sam shook her head, and Kit cautiously lowered her hand.
Sam smiled, and said, "I always knew that there was something different about you, but I never suspected this." Sam shook her head, and added, "It's right up your alley."
Kit smiled as several Sidhe warriors and Alex rode up on horses. All of the soldiers were dressed in military uniforms of forest green with some gold braid, and the one with the most gold said, "Princess Kitriana, are you all right? When your arrival was felt, but you didn't report in, we were sent out find out why." The last was said with a glance at Sam, before the soldier's eyes returned to Kit.
"Thank you, k'rea. I'm grateful for the ride, but I don't think my friend has ever ridden a horse," Kit said.
"The lady can ride behind me," Alex said, and Sam turned to study the friend she thought she knew. The same changes had occurred in Alex as in Kit, except that his strawberry blonde hair was now ruby colored, and his once blue eyes were now silver colored. He was also dressed in a different uniform of black and silver, and as he offered a hand to help Sam onto his horse, she noticed a gold bracelet around his wrist.
Kit was mounted by the time that Sam had settled onto the back of Alex's mount, and she said, "K'rea, if you don't mind leading us, I have some things I'd like to talk about with my guest and Companion." The speaker nodded, and led the warriors as Kit paced her mount with Alex's.
"Princess?" Sam asked.
"It doesn't mean anything except that my father is the king," Kit said. "Most of the Sidhe consider me the useless second born. But, since Father only had two children, I'm needed in the off chance that something happens to my brother."
Sam snorted. "Sounds familiar. Gee, I wonder why. Could it be because I've said it myself not a month ago?" She said it so sarcastically that Kit laughed, and Sam added, "I guess we'll just have to show them they're all wrong, aren't we sister?"
Sam felt the sudden stiffness in Alex, and both riders pulled their mounts to a stop. "Do you really mean that?" Kit asked. "The sister part?"
"Of course," Sam said, confused. Had she said something wrong?
Kit brought her horse as close to Alex's as she could, and brushed the back of her fingers against Sam's cheek. "Thank you...., sister." She let her hand drop down to Sam's arm, and trailed down until she reached Sam's wrist before stopping there. Sam felt a weight settle there, under Kit's hand, and as the Sidhe princess let her hand fall away, Sam glanced to see that there was a gold bracelet much like Alex's on her own wrist. Sam looked from it to her friend, who smiled.
"I'll explain when we reach my rooms," Kit said, and Sam nodded, accepting the delay.
They continued their ride, and Sam asked, "Hey, Alex, if Kit's name is really Kitriana, then I'd bet that Alex is just a nickname too, right?" The redhead before her chuckled.
"Yep. It's short for Alexus. Kit, your father wants to see you in a formal Court as soon as you and Sam are settled. What should I tell him?"
"That we'll be there in a mark," Kit said. "I doubt that he would be pleased to be meeting us in jeans and tee-shirts." She motioned down to herself and Sam, and Alex chuckled.
"Yes, my Princess," he said.
Sam listened intently as the two talked, Alex always staying slightly behind and to the left of Kit as they rode towards a gleaming white castle. The outside wall that circled the castle seemed small in proportion to the five towers of the inner complex, but as the group neared a massive gate set into the wall, Sam saw that the walls were easily twenty feet high, and over a hundred feet long. The four corner towers of the wall rose above the wall for ten feet, then topped with caps of slate grey. When they rode through the gate, Sam saw that the wall was also THICK. Her home could easily fit within the wall.
But what startled the human the most was that as they exited the wall and entered the protected area within, there was a small town within the walls, besides the palace and the inner towers. What little she knew of castles, they NEVER had the nearby towns within the walls, and she actually approved of the difference. If a siege happened, the people of the town were already tucked within. "What happens to the people on the farms?" Sam asked, raising her voice above the town noise.
"They have one use portals, so that they can just portal to safety," Alex asked.
"Oh" Sam said. She heard a clanging sound, and turned to see a blacksmith shop. As they rode past, Sam saw a group of silver clad Sidhe behind the smithy, practicing with various weapons. There were women as well as men, and currently it was a woman holding off two burly men with her sword. She threw the men off, and turned to see the group. She bowed to Kit, and when one of her opponents tried to attack her from behind, she knocked him out with a backhanded fist.
"Who's that?" Sam asked.
"Lady Bryian. Royal Swordmistress, and member of the Silver Archers."
"Silver Archers?" Sam asked.
"Elite warrior group," Kit said, hearing the last question. "They're the best of the best, of the best. They only take in a select few."
Finally, they approached a stable, and Kit, Sam, and Alex dismounted, while the guards continued on. Kit and Alex handed their horses over to handlers, and Kit said, "Don't worry, Sam. We're almost there." The Sidhe princess had seen her friend grimace and rub her backside.
The stables that Kit and Alex had headed for were at the back of the palace, and Kit led the human girl through the kitchen first, hoping to grab a snack for the both of them. Silvie, the overweight Sidhe woman that oversaw the bustling kitchen activity, had taken one look at Sam after being introduced to the girl, and asked, "What do your parents do, starve you?" The rotund woman had then refused to let the human girl go without a piled plate of assorted snacks, snatching various foods from whatever plate of food passed her way.
Kit and Sam exchanged a shared smile as they left the kitchen, and Sam asked, "Is she always like that?" Kit nodded.
"The palace is more than just where my family lives and rules. We house the schools for the Silvers, the Magi, the ch'ynam, what you'd call scientist, the Warriors, and the main library. The Silvers, Magi, and Warriors are almost constantly hungry, so the kitchen is always busy. Silvie believes that if someone is hungry, that means they didn't do TOO much damage to themselves. And even though she's as busy as the kitchen is, she always has time to listen to you, so long as you 'make yourself useful,'" Kit added.
"I like her," Sam said as they wound up a servant's passage to a huge suite of rooms done in blue and silver. "Is all this yours?" Sam asked. Kit nodded.
"Public meeting room, which we're in right now, private meeting room, private dining room, practice room, and bedroom," Kit ticked off on her fingers. "Five rooms, all for me. Not to mention a guest room and bath." Kit motioned towards a pair of double doors, and headed that way.
Sam followed, and as Kit opened the doors, gaped in shock. The room was easily twice the size of hers AND Jason's together, and that was just floor space. "Gee, I could play basketball in here," Sam said, when she could say something. And indeed, the roof was high enough up that she could, if she moved the furniture out of the way.
The main feature of the room was the giant, four-post bed situated in the middle of the room. The bed could have held several people. "This is all just for ME?" Sam asked.
"Well, I'm not about to ask you to share," Kit said. "Even if this is one of the smaller guest room."
"SMALLER?" Sam asked in disbelief. Kit nodded. "I'm only second born. You should see some of the rooms in Chrisus' wings. Just because he's first born...." Kit rolled her eyes in disgust. "Now, first of all, we need to get presentable for Father." She glanced over at Sam. "Do you mind sharing your bath?"
"No," Sam said. "Remember the time we went skinny dipping?" Kit laughed, and motioned for Sam to follow. Kit lead the way to the bathroom, and Sam's jaw dropped in shock. "I could swim in that!" Sam said, indicating the bathtub.
"Not quite," Kit said, smiling, "but we Sidhe take our pleasures seriously. And a good hot soak is a pleasure."
"Especially now," Sam said as her aching muscles from the horse ride caught up with her. She stripped off her clothes, leaving the bracelet on for now, while Kit started the tub filling, and the human girl eased herself into the steaming water. "Ahh!" the girl sighed with pleasure, her eyes fluttering shut as her muscles began to ease. She leaned back against the edge, and let her head lay back.
Kit joined in on the bath, and for a few moments, they sat there in companionable silence. Finally, the Sidhe princess asked, "Is there... anything you need to know?"
Sam opened her eyes, and lifted her head. "Everything?" she asked in a sarcastic voice. "Who ARE you, Kit? Are you the girl I thought I knew..., or are you someone else? Truth time, Kit. Please."
The princess saw the confusion in her friend's eyes, and said, "I AM the girl you thought you knew, Sam. Everything I've told you about myself is true, it's just.... I left out the fact that I'm a Sidhe princess."
"And?" Sam asked.
"And?" Kit asked, puzzled.
"You're still holding something back, Kit. And..?"
Kit sighed. "And, my father wasn't very understand of our friendship at first, but he couldn't stop my visits. Recently, though.... it's like he changed his mind."
"Isn't he allowed to?" Sam asked, confused.
Kit said, "This is different. If you can point out where he's wrong, that's one thing, but I couldn't point out anything except that you're different from the rest of the humans. Something's up, but I don't know what it is. That's partially what that bracelet is for," Kit said. "Your protection."
"You said partially. What's the rest for?" Sam asked. She was surprised when the Sidhe princess grabbed Sam's braceleted wrist and drew the human girl to her. Settling the startled girl on her lap, Kit looked Sam directly in her eye.
"The moment I met you, I felt a kindred spirit within you, Samantha Scott. You're like a sister to me, and I wouldn't want to see you hurt. Please, when we go to see him..., be careful." Sam nodded silently.
* * *
Sam sighed as she recalled her friend's warning, and she sat up and put the crystal star down on the bedside table. She pressed the top most point, and the star began to glow. "Any new messages?" Sam asked, when a white globe appeared. The floating ball of light spoke in a soft, soothing voice.
"Yes, Archer. There is one from Archer headquarters, and one from Princess Kitriana. Would you like to hear them?"
"Sure. Let's hear what Goldie Locks has to say first," Sam replied to the sphere.
"Summoning message from memory. Beginning playback.... now."
Suddenly, Kit's voice came from the sphere. "Hey, Sams. I know it's been a while, but I've been busy. You know how the entire court threw a fuss when we were chosen to be Archers, well.... they've finally lost it. Now they won't let me ride circuit as per Silver regulations." The Sidhe princess let out a frustrated groan, and Sam smiled. "Sometimes it's enough to make a girl want to knock a few heads, know what I mean?" Sam snorted exactly as Kit did in the message, and then Kit went off on a new topic.
"You'll never believe who was just accepted into the Silvers, Sams. Remember that 'dumb blonde,' which tried to sleep with everyone? Well, it isn't her, but her brother. Remember the quiet boy that..." Kit continued on, and Sam smiled to hear the gossip. It was the one thing she missed about not having any human friends.
When the message finished, Sam closed her eyes, then said, "Begin Silver message playback, please."
"Of course, Lady Samantha," the sphere said, and Sam dropped back onto her bed. "Hello, Samantha. This is Lady Bryian. Now, concerning your report, about your brother being the Gold Ranger. King Falcrum orders you to support the rangers as you deem they need it. Please watch, and report in your findings after each battle, and why you did or did not help. This is to be considered your testing circuit." Sam closed her eyes and sighed.
"Message response, Silver Archer Samantha to Silver Archer Bryian: Orders received and accepted. I'm also requesting additional information on the Zeo powers, to know as how to best work with the rangers, both in defense of the Earth, and the Sidhe Realm. Also, I need Kryan, if it could be possible to release her into my care temporarily." Sam paused wondering if she should dare ask, then went ahead. "I'm also requesting the temporary presence of Archer Kitriana, for personal reasons." Sam smiled, and said, "Lady Bryian, you know that I need SOMEONE to bitch to about my older brother, if I'm going to help the Zeo Rangers. Also, will I be as an Archer, or is there supposed to be some sort of power boost coming to help me? End message."
"Message recorded and sent. Would you like to be alerted to an answer when it comes?"
"Sure. If I'm not here, though, remain in Standby mode."
"Understood," the sphere said, then the crystal star's glow began to fade.
Sam sighed, and stood up, stretching her legs. She wasn't surprised that the Silver Archers wanted her to spy on the Rangers. The Gold Ranger powers made the Sidhe very nervous, too close as it was to their own Silver Archer powers. Sam snorted as she recalled when she was told that her older brother was a Power Ranger. It had been the first time she had ever met Kit's father, and it had come as something of a shock.
* * *
When an escort came to take them to the throne room, Kit and Sam were ready, Kit wearing a blue and silver dress, Sam wearing a red and gold dress, both looking like they came from a Robin Hood movie. Kit had braided Sam's like hers was, and when she stepped back to admire the fact, Kit could only say, "Wow! You won't need any jewels to sparkle when we face Father."
Sam blushed. "Thank you. Think this will help to make a good impression?"
"Yep," Kit said. "Now," she said, turning to the escort, "shall we go?"
The escort bowed and led the ladies out of the princess' suite. Alex met up with them outside a pair of large double doors with guards stationed outside, and Kit told Sam, "Wait until your name is called. Knowing Court protocol, they'll probably call me and Alex out together, then let you come in alone." Catching a flash of panic in Sam's eyes, she said, "Don't worry." She touched Sam's bracelet, and said, "So long as you have this, I'll always be with you." Sam nodded, taking a fortifying breath, then watched as Kit and Alex were called into the throne room. The door closed behind them, and Sam closed her eyes and bowed her head, making a brief prayer that she didn't make a complete fool of herself..
"The human, Samantha Scott!" Sam opened her eyes and looked up as the double doors opened before her. Sam pulled back her shoulders, and entered the throne room. The crowd of courtiers that was nearest the door pulled back, clearing a path, and as she walked further into the room, more cleared out of the way. Finally, she was at the foot of the stairs leading up to the throne, and she stopped there, dropping into a graceful curtsey. "Your Majesty," she said respectfully, looking up at her best friend's father.
The older Sidhe was dressed in forest green and gold, and had a simple gold coronet resting around his head. His sharp, sky blue eyes studied Sam, then he nodded.
"Lady Samantha, you are a most WELCOME addition to Our court," he said. There were some startled whisperings, but they were cut off at the king's next words. "Any sister of a Power Ranger, most especially the Red Ranger, is welcome in Our house and home." The king said more, but Sam was in a state of shock. Her brother was a POWER RANGER? Sam didn't want to believe it, but it explained so many things..., especially why her brother's friends had left her alone after Jason left.
King Falcrum released Samantha's hand, and a young man with a startling resemblance to Kit took it. "Lady Samantha," he said, "I'm honored to meet you at last. Kitriana had told me so much about you, so much so I was eager to meet you."
"Prince Chrisus, I presume?" Sam asked, recalling Kit's stories about her older brother, and Chrisus chuckled.
"Very astute, my lady. If you would allow me the pleasure, may I show you to the Court?"
"Sorry, brother, but as her sponsor, it's my duty to do that," Kit said, rescuing Sam from having to answer the Prince. Sam had to jerk her eyes away from the Sidhe, and turned her attention to Kit. Kit winked at Sam, and said, "You know the tradition, Chris. For tonight, it's my duty. Maybe next time, though."
Sam didn't pay any attention to their conversation. She waited until Chrisus was gone, then asked, "Did you know?" in a low voice.
"Know what?" Kit asked.
"That Jason was the Red Ranger?" Sam demanded.
"No," Kit said, startled. "Is he?"
Samantha shrugged. "Your father thought so." Their conversation halted while Kit introduced Sam to some courtiers, but as soon as the girls walked away, Sam immediately picked up where she had left off. "Could that be why your father changed his mind?"
Kit shrugged herself. "It's a possibility. Rangers are honored here, since we've never truly had one of our own. The closest the Sidhe have ever come to our own ranger is the Dragon Ranger."
"The GREEN Ranger?" Sam asked, remembering the Dragonzord had been piloted by him. Kit nodded.
"It's said that a green dragon gave up her true form to protect the land, and in honor of her sacrifice, the gods molded her power and armor after it," Kit replied. "But because dragons are creations of shadows, neither darkness or light, the Sidhe could never hold her powers. And so we lost it to the other worlds."
"I'd like to hear the full story sometime," Sam said with a sigh. "I have a feeling there's more to it than just what you've told me."
"And you're right, Lady Samantha," a man said from behind the girls, who turned to face him. He appeared to be somewhere in his mid-thirties, and was a bear of a man with brown hair and laughing blue eyes. He wore a ruby outfit that hinted at a covering of scales, which closer examination revealed to be cleverly sewn together patches. It was the scales and Kit's tale that told Sam that he wasn't Sidhe, nor human, so she took a guess.
"And your people would know more?" the human girl asked.
"We have a legend that she gave up her true form for more than just protection of the land, my lady. We like to believe that she also fell in love. We Sky People are always ones for... 'flights of fancy' I believe you humans would put it? Lord D'glas of the Sky People, also known as dragons," he said with a deep bow to Sam. "It's an honor to meet the sister of the Red Ranger."
Sam tilted her head, and studied D'glas. "I suggest," she said in a lightly warning tone, "that you make no assumptions, Lord D'glas. Just because he's my brother doesn't mean that I'm like Jason. Too many bullies back home have found that out, to their regret. I have no problem with fighting without warning..., if it's for the right cause."
Kit and the surrounding Sidhe gasped in shock at Sam's bold words, but D'glas roared with laughter. "You'll do, Small Lady. You'll do!"
* * *
Sam smiled as she recalled the dragon ambassador's words. Earning his approval, and backing, was a big step towards her acceptance in the Sidhe Court. Sam had later found out that he was a major player in the games in intrigue that was the makeup of court life, and with both Kit's and D'glas' backing, Sam had quickly found herself on equal or superior footing to most of the Sidhe courtiers, and the other alliance ambassadors.
Most cases, being advanced that quickly in status would have been a source of jealousy, and would have created enemies, but somehow Sam had avoided that. If she were honest to herself, it was as if there were two people inside her. One was ordinary, everyday "Sams," who was the Silver Archer, could go out and drink the rounds with her friends, and insult people with the best of them, but Sams went into hiding every time Sam pulled on one of her court dresses. Then Lady Samantha came out, a smooth player of courtly intrigue, who could assess alliances with just a look, and knew exactly what to say, when, and to whom. And it was this version of Sam that saw the girl through the dance of court life without misstepping.
That wasn't the only place that "Lady Samantha" was helpful at. School life had gotten easier shortly after her introduction to court life. The human teens were like pale reflections of their Sidhe counterparts, and dealing with them without giving insult wasn't half so hard as it had been before.
A bellowed "SAM!" brought the Scott girl back to the present, and Sam sighed. It sounded like Jason was home, and not pleased. Had he talked to Adam?
She stood up and walked to her bedroom door. Opening it and leaning against the doorjamb, she asked, "Yeah?" with a sigh. Her bedroom overlooked the railing, down onto the front door, and she watched as Jason closed the front door before placing her bow case on the floor of the entryway.
"Is this yours?" Jason asked, looking up at her.
"Yeah," Sam answered with a sigh. "I guess you talked to Adam, then."
Jason nodded, and took the stairs two at a time. "Are you all right?" he asked, concerned as he neared her bedroom. "I don't see any bruises, but Adam said that you were crying. Were you hurt?"
"I'm fine," Sam said, gritting her teeth. "None of the Cogs touched me."
"Are you sure?" Jason asked. "I worry about you, Sammy." The sound of the childish nickname was almost the last straw.
"I DO know what I'm doing, Jason, or don't you recall the lessons in self defense before you left? Of course, that happened before you became 'Mr. Ambassador,' so I'm not surprised that you forgot, but I am surprised that you don't remember our several encounters with putties in the park." Sam kept a lid on her temper, but just barely. As it was, she couldn't help but make a few pointed comments.
"Cogs are different from putties, Sam," Jason said, cupping her cheek gently. "You wouldn't know if you were to stay and fight, or run. You're too young to be fighting them, or to know what's best for you."
"Too YOUNG?" Sam snapped, pushing the Gold Ranger's hand away. "Too young to be anything but your baby sister, you mean! Do me a favor, Jase, and stay out of my life!" She slammed her bedroom door shut behind her, and when she started to march past her brother, he grabbed her upper arm.
"What's wrong with you?" he asked.
"I grew up," she said. "I learned to make my own decisions. I had to, while you were gone. I'm not the same girl I was before I left Jason, so if you can't handle it, leave me alone." She wrenched her arm free, and headed down the stairs. She snatched up her bow case and headed for the front door.
"Where are you going?" Jason demanded.
"Out!" Sam responded, her free hand grabbing the doorknob. "I don't want to stay where my opinion doesn't count!" She snatched open the doorknob, and yelled over her shoulder, "I'm old enough to know my own mind, and I don't appreciate being told that I'm not!" She turned back to the front door, then snarled, "And keep your spies out of my life, too!"
She stomped past a startled Tommy and Kat, leaving the door open behind her. "Sam, wait!" Jason called as he reached the entryway, but if the younger Scott even heard, she gave no indication as she continued on her way. The Gold Ranger seemed to deflate when he realized that she wasn't coming back any time soon, and sighed. Then he noticed his startled friends, and motioned them inside. "Come on in, guys," he said.
"Sorry about you getting caught in the middle like that," he apologized as he closed the door behind his teammates, "but that's a good example of what I meant. I'm not even sure what started that off."
"What did she mean by, 'keep your spies out of my life, too '?" Kat asked. She and Tommy had come to see if Jason was all right after the worried and concerned look he had worn as he had left the Youth Center.
"I don't know," Jason said with a shrug. "But she seemed hurt when she realized that Adam told me about seeing her crying in the park."
"Have you been spying on her?" Kat asked.
"Not all the time," Jason said defensively.
"Not ALL the time?" Kat asked.
"Well, when she has a date, I- OW! What was that for?" Jason asked, rubbing the back of his head where Kat had smacked him.
"Because you deserve it!" Kat snapped, startling both of the male rangers. "I had to put up with it from my older brother when I first started to date, and God knows I wish someone had done that Jeremy. I doubt that Sam likes it any more than I did!"
"She's right, Jase," Tommy said, supporting the Pink Ranger. "If I had done that to Chelsea, she'd have kicked my butt from here to LA." Since Tommy's "twin" was a black belt in her own right, it was more than possible.
"But nothing," Kat interrupted Jason. "She may be your little sister, but she's grown up, Jase. You need to see that and let her go."
Jason sighed. "I.. can't, Kat. No matter how I try, I still see her as little Sammy. I just can't seem to let go of the tomboy she was."
Kat sighed, and shook her head. "Then you'll always be arguing, Jason." With that, she turned and left the Scott house.
* * *
Sam angrily wiped at her overflowing eyes with her free hand, then pulled another arrow from her thigh quiver. Although most wouldn't believe it, archery could be just as physically demanded as any other sport, except that it only tested the upper body. The focus, and concentrations was exactly what Sam needed just then to not kill her brother, so she had taken herself to her and her friends' clearing, and began target practice.
"Why the hell can't he let me have a life?" she asked out loud, releasing the arrowshaft. The arrow sank into tree trunk with a solid THWACK! and Sam knocked another arrow. "Isn't it enough that everyone compares me to him in everything I do?" THWACK! "Can't I have a date?" THWACK! "Can't I have friends?" THWACK! "No! And, why I ask?" THWACK! "Cause Jason is an asshole, that's why! THWACK! THWACK! THWACK!
Sam reached for another arrow, and was shocked to see that there was only one arrow left. She looked down at her quiver, where one arrow sat, then at the tree trunk, which now sported nine closely nestled arrows. Had she been that pissed off?
Sam turned and smiled brilliantly. Mounted on a white horse with silver barding, and leading a matching mare, was Kit in her human guise. "Hey, Kit! Bryian let you come?"
"And Kryan, too," Kit said, but Sam was already petting her own mount.
"How ya doin', baby?" she crooned in the tones used for babies or favored pets. "Did you miss your momma? I know I missed you, sweetie!" Sam pressed her forehead to the mare's, inhaling the comforting smell of horse.
"I missed you, too," Kit said sarcastically, but smiling. She dismounted as Sam turned to her, and the two old friends hugged. When the two girls parted, Kit's mount, Sian nuzzled Sam, greeting her rider's friend and sister.
"I'm sorry about not greeting you first, Kit, but it's been so long since Kryan and I-" Sam's words cut off when Kit held up a hand.
"There's nothing to it. The bond between elven horse and rider is special, I understand."
Sam smiled and, recalling how Kit had announced her presence, and asked, "Still don't know how to stay out of people's minds, Princess?"
"Not yours," Kit said with a smile, then studied the tree trunk. She whistled at how closely packed the arrows were, and asked, "Jason?"
"Yeah," Sam admitted with a sigh. "Can you believe that he had to gall to spy on me during my first, last, and only date?"
"NO!" Kit said, surprised.
"Yeah. Poor Tim nearly wet himself when Jason met us on the porch with a scowl. He's... he's... GAH!" Sam said, too angry to go on. "And then today he said that I'm too young to fight!"
Kit clucked, and shook her head. "It's a shame."
"Damn straight, and now I have to protect his ass? The irony of it is just killing me!" Sam shouted. Both horses shied away, and the girls soothed their mounts. "Shh, shh, I'm not mad at you, Kryan," Sam said calmingly. "I'm mad at Jason." The warmare snorted and shook her head, then stomped her foot, causing Sam to smile.
"C'mon, get you arrows, and we'll go for a ride," Kit said.
Sam snorted as she headed for the tree truck where her shots had lodged. "And what do you suggest we do with my case, Kit?"
"Leave it here. You know that no one is going to come here and take it, Sams. That's one reason why we always meet up here. All you need is your bow and quivers."
Sam grunted each time she pulled an arrow free. "That's- UGNH! true, but- UGNH! why would I- UGNH! need them?" She pulled the remaining six arrows free while waiting for Kit's answer.
"Just in case?" Kit finally asked. Sam looked over at the Sidhe skeptically, but Kit didn't look concerned.
"Kit," Sam said warningly.
"What? This IS Angel Grove!" Kit said reasonably.
Sam snorted, shaking her head as she put the arrows back in her quiver. "True. Anyways, anywhere specific you wanna go?"
"Nah. Let's just ride for a bit."
As soon as the girls began to mount, the riding gear on each elven horse started to change from the silver color, to more 'normal' leather color, Sam's being darker than Kit's. Sam settled her bow in its saddle holder for quick draw, then they took off at an easy pace. At first, their ride was silent, then Sam asked, "Where's Alex? I thought that as your Companion, he went almost everywhere you did."
"He's at the Collegium," Kit answered. "Apparently, you forgot an appointment to choose a Companion, and he's making your excuses" Kit said.
Sam looked away. "I've never really felt comfortable with the idea that I'd have to have one, Kit. You know that."
Kit nodded. "I know. That's why Alex is choosing one for you."
"WHAT!?" Sian sidled away from the startled human as Sam pulled Kryan to a stop and started at Kit. "Why? Why do I need a..." Sam drifted off, not wanting to finish the sentence in a way that would offend her friend.
Kit sighed. "Sweetie, you need someone that'll be around to bitch to, and I won't always be here."
Sam opened her mouth to reply, but then something flared at the edge of her and Kit's awareness, causing her mouth to snap shut. "What was that?" Kit asked.
"Mondo... or Rita and Zedd," Sam said. "Lately I've been able to pick up whenever another monster is sent down." She and Kit exchanged looks, and nodded. Turning their warmounts in the direction of the flare, they headed for the fight as fast as their horses could take them.
* * *
This latest monster was almost ridiculous. It almost could have come straight from a B grade monster movie. Like a cross between an octopus and an ape, this time it was Rita and Zedd, instead of Mondo. But that didn't mean that the monster was inferior. The Pink and Green Rangers were being crushed in a pair of tentacles, while the other rangers were being held back by the other 'arms.' Kit and Sam watched the battle from a nearby hill, hidden and protected by Sidhe magic.
Kit glanced at her human companion, and shook her head. As much as Sam didn't want to admit it, the human girl was worried about her brother. Otherwise Sam wouldn't be chewing her lip as badly as she was. "Why don't you help them?" Kit asked.
"But, the iron-"
Kit sighed, shaking her head. "Sam, look. Does that look like a robot to you? No, it doesn't. That is Rita and Zedd's monster. THAT means that we can fight it. Now git!" Sam stared at the princess, then began to grin wickedly.
"Yes, majesty," Sam said in a mocking tone. "Silver Archer, power up!" Kit smiled as Sam and Kryan were encased in a silver light, and as the light faded away, a Silver Archer and Warmare stepped out. Sam nodded to Kit, then freed her bow from the holder. Instead of the compound bow it had been, the girl now held a simple recurve bow of white wood, nearly as tall as she was when unstrung. The handle of the bow and the string were Elven silver and the magic of the bow gave the pale wood a silver glow.
Sam knocked an arrow, and pulled back just as one tentacle wrapped around Jason's throat. She narrowed her eyes, focussing on her target the released. She knocked and fired two more arrows before the first even hit its target.
Jason was caught off guard when he fell to the ground, and he remained there for a stunned moment after ripping the now dead tentacle from around his throat. He saw Kat and Adam on the ground as well, severed tentacles lying on the ground beside them as well, and Jason wondered who had cut them free. The Gold Ranger looked up at OctoKong just as several bolts of silver energy struck the monster, causing it to stagger back several steps away from the rangers. Tommy, Rocky, and Tanya took advantage of the situation to dart in to pull the injured rangers out of the way.
"What was that?" Jason demanded.
"I don't know," Tommy said, just as 3 more bolts flew past the rangers from behind them, to strike OctoKong. The rangers traced the bolts flight path back to their source, and the rangers' jaws dropped in shock. Rocky even wondered if he had been knocked over the head one too many times.
A girl, dressed straight from a fantasy novel and entirely in silver, sat on a horse in matching war barding. The lower half of the girl's face was hidden behind a silver mask that wrapped around and behind her head, leaving only the eyes and a bit of the forehead visible under her hat. The hat itself was straight from a Robin Hood movie, minus the feather, and covered most of her hair. What little that showed was a near-black shade of brown, only a few shades darker than her glittering eyes.
She released the arrow she had been holding, and it flew past the rangers faster than they could follow, striking the monster again. The rangers stared in shock at the glowing silver arrow sticking out of OctoKong's throat. He roared and stumbled back as another glowing arrow struck him, in the shoulder this time.
The girl rode over to the rangers, and dismounted. "Are you all right?" she asked, her voice holding an almost musical note in it. It was also hauntingly familiar. While she was talking, her bow somehow.. melted into a sword, the white wood became polished steel.
"Who are you?" Tommy demanded.
"A friend," she replied, the whirled, blocking a shot from OctoKong with her sword. The blast ricocheted back to the monster, and he staggered to the ground. "Think you can get the wounded ones out of here?" she asked.
"What about you?" Tommy asked.
"I can hold off Mr. Big and Hairy until you get back," she replied. "Go!"
Tommy studied this unexpected ally, then nodded. He helped Jason to his feet, then the rangers teleported out as the girl blocked several more bolts.
"Good luck, bro," she whispered, then turned to OctoKong. "C'mon, let's dance!" she snarled, seeing that OctoKong was back on his feet and had started to charge.
A tentacle snapped out, attempting to snare the girl, and she sliced it clean through. She spun around, slicing through another as OctoKong thought to take advantage of the spin, then she sliced through OctoKong's body, causing the monster to fall to the ground. She jumped back moments before a bolt of lightning struck the monster, bringing it back to life and making it grow.
The girl stagger back, staring up at the giant monster, then heard a familiar cry. "Zeo Zords, power up!" She mounted as the Zeo Megazord appeared, and rode off into the smoke kicked up by the battle.
* * *
"-In other news, there was yet another monster attack this week, and the rangers gained a new ally. Eyewitness accounts say that this newcomer, dubbed 'the Silver Archer' by many, appeared to be as much of a shock to the rangers as to OctoKong. Seen here in footage taken earlier today, she-" CLICK!
"Hey! I was watching that!" Sam snapped, turning to glare at Jason.
The Gold Ranger asked, "Haven't you had enough of the Silver Archer, Sam? That's like the fifth news report in a row that we've watched on her." Ever since he had gotten back from a fruitless search for any clue to who the newcomer was, or where she was from, Samantha had been watching different newscasts on the Silver Archer. Finally fed up with the Silver Archer, Jason had changed the channel, triggering the protest.
"So? You were the exact same way when the Power Rangers came!" Sam snapped.
"What do you mean?" Jason asked, puzzled.
"Oh, I don't suppose that you still have that tape full of news broadcasts on the Power Rangers when they first showed up?" Sam said bitingly.
"That's enough, Samantha," their father said. "I know that you want to be like Jason, but it's no reason to snap at him." Sam bit her lip to keep from replying to her dad, and ran out of the room. The sound of her door slamming shut caused the others to wince.
"What's wrong with her?" John Scott asked. His wife sighed and shook her head. As much as she loved her husband and son, sometimes she just had this urge to knock their heads together. Maybe then they would learn something.
"Sam's trying to grow up into her own girl, John. It doesn't help that she's always being compared to Jason. She wants to find out who she is, not how she measures to Jason."
Jason's eyes widened as some of what he and Sam had argued about finally made sense, and he stood up. He made his way upstairs, then listened at his sister's door. The sound of crying carried even through the door, and Jason knocked softly. "Sam?" he called. "May I come in?"
There was a long moment, and just when Jason thought that she wasn't going to open the door, Sam cracked the door open. Her eyes were red, but her voice was steady as she asked, "What? No barging in?" She backed away, and Jason entered. She dropped onto her bed and wrapped her arms around a pillow before asking, "What do you want?" She grabbed a tissue, and blew her nose.
"How many people have compared you to me, Sam?" he asked, closing the door behind him. Sam sighed, and shrugged as Jason dropped into the floor where he could see her face. He waited patiently, and was soon rewarded.
"Most everyone," Sam admitted, sniffing. "I think only Mom, Kit and Alex, and their folk don't compare me, and the later is mostly because they haven't met you. Even your friends do it occasionally, even though they don't mean it badly."
"Who are Kit and Alex?" Jason asked, puzzled.
"My friends. My only ones, at times." Sam grinned, and said, "After some of the havoc we've caused at her place, no wonder we were each other's only friends." Her smile faltered, and she said, "And we may have a newcomer joining us."
"Why do you say that?" Jason asked.
"Well, Alex has a... cousin coming, and he'll be expected to join our group. Hell, I'm not even sure if he'll be a he or a she," Sam snorted.
"Didn't Alex tell you?"
"Neh. We're not sure which Co... cousin," she caught herself, " is coming."
Jason smiled as an absurd thought occurred to him, and he glanced at his watch. "What?" Sam asked. "Excepting someone to call?"
"No. It's just... I used to think that we couldn't be together five minutes without arguing. Apparently, I was wrong." Sam started at her brother for a second, then both teens burst into gales of laughter.
When they gained some measure of decorum, Sam said, "You're right, Jase. You're absolutely right!" Jason smiled as Sam broke into a new fit of laughter, but felt as if he had missed the joke.
* * *
The next morning, while Jason and Sam were eating breakfast, a thought occurred to the Gold Ranger. "Hey, Sam," he asked, "have I ever met Kit and Alex?" Sam looked up from her plate of scrambled eggs.
"Nah. They came to the area a few weeks after you left, and they don't come to town very often."
"They don't go to school?" Jason asked. For a minute, the idea of his sister hanging out with high school dropouts floated around in his mind, only to be banished by Sam's answer.
"They attend a private school. Their father doesn't trust our school system," Sam replied. The phone ringing cut off the rest of her answer, and since it was on a stand behind and to her left, Sam leaned back and picked up the cordless phone. Putting the receiver to her ear, she asked, "Hello? Kit! We were just talking about you!"
Jason listened to Sam's side of the phone conversation, which went something like this: "Jason. We were just having breakfast and- Yes, way! Shocking, isn't it? So, why are you calling at this early in the morning? ... Uh-hun. Uh-huh. Can't. Sorry. ... You know I hafta go, sweetie. Why don't you bring Alex's COUSIN by afterwards. Usual place? ... Okay, bye!"
Sam hung up the phone, then turned her attention back to her breakfast. Jason waited a moment, then asked, "Well?" Sam looked up from her eggs, all innocence.
"Well, what?" she asked. Jason opened his mouth to answer, but closed it as he saw the mischievous glint in her eyes. Sam grinned as he gave her a pointed look, and said, "Alex's cousin is here, and I'm going to meet them after school in the park. So I won't be coming straight home."
Jason nodded, then in a fit of interest, asked, "Can I meet them?" Sam froze, staring at her brother, then blinked and shrugged.
"I don't see why not, but promise me something?"
"What?" Jason asked.
"After you meet them, you'll leave? There are things that we'll need to discuss, that we don't like sharing with outsiders." Sam tilted her head, and added, "I'm sure that you and your friends are the same way."
"Huh? What do you mean?" Jason demanded, for moment afraid that Sam knew the rangers' identities, but his fears were relieved by her next sentence.
"Pranks and stuff, inside jokes, that sorta thing?" Sam asked.
"Oh, yeah, sure, I understand," Jason said. "You tell me to leave, and I will. I promise."
Sam studied her brother, then nodded minutely. "I WILL keep you to that, you understand."
"Of course," Jason answered.
Jason waited impatiently through the day at school, and just could not keep still, earning a few reprimands in most of his classes. When his last class let out, he headed straight for his locker, and hurriedly stuffed his books in it. "Hey, Jase," Tommy called, walking up with Kat. "What's the emergency?"
"I'm supposed to meet Sam after school so that she can introduce me to her friends today," Jason said. "I don't want her to think that I'm not coming."
"You're not spying on her again, are you?" Kat asked.
"No, of course not. Sam said I could meet them," Jason said.
Just then, the younger Scott sibling walked up, one hand gripping the single backpack strap over her shoulder. "You ready to go?" she asked. Jason nodded, and closed his locker.
"See you later," Tommy called as brother and sister walked off. He watched Sam stroll away with her brother, and was struck by how alike the two siblings were, from behind. Although Sam was smaller, and more femininely curved, there was the same aura of self-control around her that her brother wore. Plus both had a full head of nearly black hair, except that Sam's almost hung down to her waist now that it was free from a braid.
For a moment, the image of the Silver Archer overlaid Sam as Tommy watched her, and he shook his head. That was silly. Jason would have noticed if Sam was the Silver Archer, and he would have told the other rangers.
"Something wrong?" Kat asked.
"Nah. Just a silly thought," Tommy said, then smiled at his teammate. "C'mon. We're supposed to meet the others at the Youth Center.
As they walked through the park, the Scott siblings exchanged notes on how their day at school had gone. It was almost surprising how fast a turnaround their relationship had done when he had just started talking to her. Plus, Jason found it funny, that English, a subject that wasn't his best at school, Sam seemed to excel at, while doing miserably in science, Jason's best class. "But," he admitted to her, "I had Billy help explain some of the more difficult ideas."
"What ever DID happen to him?" Sam asked. "I hardly ever saw him after he graduated, and then he just completely disappeared."
Jason looked puzzled at his sister. "Didn't anyone tell you that he moved away?"
"No," Sam said. "Everyone just assumed that I knew. Where did he go?"
"Atlanta," Jason said, sticking to the rangers' cover story. "He met someone from there, and when she had to move back, he went with her." He glanced obliquely at Sam when she sighed, then, smiling, teased, "You still have a crush on him, don't you?"
Sam blushed, and shook her head. "No! Why would I have a crush on him?"
Jason laughed, causing Sam's blush to grow, and he said, "I always THOUGHT you had a crush on him!" He continued to tease her, but Sam gave back as good as she got by sweetly asking about Emily. Jason shut up so fast that his teeth clicked, and Sam laughed at her brother's blush.
Finally, they approached a clearing that Jason was sure he had passed a thousand times, but just never noticed it. In it, three teens Sam's age waited, one a blonde girl, one a red headed boy, and the last a raven-haired boy. The girl, who Sam greeted with "Kit!" was sitting on a low branch, and the red headed boy leaned against that tree's trunk. The darker boy was standing a bit away from the others, but his eyes seemed to brighten as he watched Kit and Sam hug.
"Kit, Alex, this is Jason," Sam introduced her brother. "He wanted to meet you, so I agreed to introduce you."
"So THIS is Jason?" Kit asked, studying the Gold Ranger with narrow green eyes. "Nice to meet you. Sam talks about you a lot." The way she said it didn't have good implications.
"I hope it was good," Jason said, holding his hand out. Kit looked at his outstretched hand, but didn't take it. Jason slowly lowered his hand, and Sam looked wonderingly over at her friend.
Kit turned her back on Jason, and, motioning to the dark haired boy, said, "Sam, this is Shawn." Sam sent a puzzled look at her friend, then turned her attention to the boy. "Hi."
"Hello, Mis- uh, Sam," Shawn said. "It's nice to finally meet you."
"Sure. I'll be right back." She walked over to Jason ,and said, "I don't know why Kit's being such a bitch, so maybe you should go." Jason nodded, and then left.
But just before he left hearing range, he heard Sam yelling, "What the hell has gotten into you, Kitriana!?" He winced and felt sorry for his sister's friend
* * *
"What the hell has gotten into you, Kitriana!?" Sam yelled. "That was totally rude! What were you thinking of!?"
Kit glared at the human girl, and said, "Why did you bring him here, Sam. If he was such a-"
"But that's just it. He hasn't been that way. Not lately. He's finally gotten a clue!" Sam glared at her best friend, hand on her hips. "I don't see why that should matter on how you treat him, anyway! He's my problem, not yours!"
"Bullshit," Kit snapped back, matching Sam's stance. "As my sister, and friend, what's your problem is also mine!"
Unnoticed by the arguing girl, Shawn and Alex had gathered together, and Shawn asked, "Do they ALWAYS argue like that?" Alex nodded.
"When they do argue, they're like this. But they usually get along."
"It's not going to get to the point of a physical fight, is it?" Shawn asked.
"Nah. Just might seem that way. One of them will give in before then."
"oh." The Companions turned their attention back to the fight, and sure enough, Kit was giving in.
"Alright, I admit that I was wrong. But I don't like him, Sams. Something about him..." Kit shook her head. "I just don't like."
"That doesn't mean that you have to be rude, Kit," Sam said in a softer voice. "He's not a courtier. You can just tell him to leave, and he will."
"Please, next time, don't be so rude," Sam said.
Kit sighed, then said, "But he was cute." Sam blinked at her friend, confused as the princess giggled. She NEVER giggled. Then it struck her why Kit had found something that she hadn't liked in Jason.
"You have a crush on him, don't you?" Sam asked.
"No!" Kit asked, and Sam realized how she must have sounded when she answered that question when asked by her brother. She giggled, and shook her head.
"You do!" she gasped. "You have a crush... on Jason!" Sam fell to the ground, rolling with laughter, and Kit kept trying to deny it.
Finally, Sam stopped laughing as Kit began ignoring the human girl. "I'm sorry, Kit, it's just..., the idea that you snubbed Jason just because you liked him..." Sam giggled and shook her head. "Anyway, introduce me," she said when her giggles ended.
Kit motioned to Shawn, and the Companion walked over to his princess. "Lady Samantha Scott, I introduce you to your Companion, T'Shawn Keverthy," Kit intoned formally as Sam and Shawn shook hands. There was a brief glow around their linked hands, then Sam felt the Companion link take effect. She finally saw WHY Companions never revolted against their bonded, even when they were treated like slaves. There was an unswerving loyalty that was for HER, and she knew that with T'Shawn, she would never lack for a friend again.
She also found herself on the ground, staring up at T'Shawn's concerned yellow-green eyes. "Are you all right, my lady?" T'Shawn asked, concerned. "I don't know if this effect is common for Companion bonds."
"Yeah, I'm all right," Sam groaned, sitting up, "but let's get a few things straight. It's not 'Lady,' its Sam. Got that?" T'Shawn nodded, and Sam said, "And since I'm the first human to have a Companion in even your people's memories, it's understandable for you to not know if it's common for humans to collapse or not. Instances like this, I believe it is. But, I think we'll be great friends, Shawn. Great friends indeed." The Companion smiled at her, and she smiled back.
Then she thought about her parents. "What are we going to do about my parents, guys? They'll NEVER understand about Shawn."
"Don't worry, Sam," Alex said. "Shawn, show her." The darker haired boy nodded, and began to glow and shrink. Finally, Sam was looking down at a black, shorthaired kitten with Shawn's yellow-green eyes, and he nudged himself under her hand, demanding attention.
"Oh, all right," Sam said laughingly, and began stroking the feline in her arms. "Is this ability common in Companions, Alex?"
"No, except for Shawn's family. They generally have one child that can change shapes every other generation."
"Oh. Well, at least I can explain a kitten," Sam said with a smile. She opened her mouth to say more, but then the monster feeling came over her, and she sighed. "Geeze, three attacks in as two days," she complained. "Don't those guys EVER let up?" She looked pleadingly over at Kit, who waved the human girl on.
"Go on, we understand."
Sam stood up, her Elven bow appearing in hand. "Silver Archer, power up!" When the light faded away, Sam stood in her guise as Silver Archer, and Shawn was now in a larger variation of his feline form, his shoulder coming up to her waist. Kryan galloped up as Sam studied her Companion, then the human nodded. "C'mon, Shawn. Let's go introduce Warcat to Mondo's latest monster." With that, she swung up into the saddle, and the pair of Sidhe left behind watched as their friends hurried off to battle.
Sam pulled Kryan up to a stop where she could watch the battle for now, and Shawn shifted back to his human form. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"Nothing. I just want to see what we'll be fighting, and how we can enter the fight. We can't go blindly rushing in." Shawn nodded, and shifted back to Warcat.
Sam crossed her wrists over Kryan's saddle pommel, and watched as her brother and the rangers fought this latest monster. It was one of Mondo's creations this time, and Sam winced as the Green Ranger was struck by a blast dead in the chest. "At least we don't have to worry about Cogs this time," Sam muttered, just before a cog-shaped portal appeared, dumping a squad of the robotic minions down behind the rangers. "Me and my big mouth. Let's see if I can get some attention, eh, Shawn?" she asked Warcat, who nodded, and Sam pulled her bow from its saddle holder.
A few well placed shots had the Cogs turning in her direction, and Sam released the special arrow she held, already knocked and ready to go. When the arrow was over the Cogs, it exploded outwards, trapping the minor robots in a large circle of special webbing. The webbing was special in that it held a magical powder that the Sidhe had created, a type of powdered lightning. Sam laughed, and with a mental twist, triggered the dust, sending the power of a lightning strike surging through the strands of the webbing. The Cogs began twitching, and then collapsed.
"Well, that was fun. What's next?" Sam asked. A cawing had the Silver Archer turning, and she rolled out of the saddle as a feathered arm swung for her.
Sam landed in a crouch, and remained down as she heard a roar, and when she looked where the feathered arm had been, she saw Warcat sitting with his front paws on something that looked like a cross between a crow and a man, and four more cowering away from Warcat and the Silver Archer. Sam walked over to her Companion, and studied the downed birdman. "Tengas?" Sam asked, confused. "But they belong to-" She grunted as something knocked into her front.
The Silver Archer rolled over onto her back to stare up into the glowing red eyes of Goldar, his sword poised to deliver the final blow. Sam braced herself for the sword strike, then opened her eyes when it didn't come. The rangers had shown up at last, and they held off the Tengas and Goldar as the girl painfully leveled herself up with her bow. "What?"
"Are you all right?" She looked up to see the Gold Ranger kneeling beside her, helping her to her feet.
"Sure. Yeah. Thanks." She suddenly brought up her bow, and pulled back, an arrow appearing. Jason stared, and she exclaimed, "Duck, you idiot!" Jason dropped, and she released, striking dead center a Tenga that had tried to attack Jason from behind.
"Thank you," Jason said, getting to his feet.
"No problem," Sam replied. Then she screamed in pain as a sword bit into her side. She crumpled to the ground in time to see Scorpina holding her sword over the girl.
Something reacted in the Gold Ranger as the Silver Archer screamed, and he fired his Staff at the gold-clad woman. Scorpina staggered back, then teleported out before Jason could fire again, her sword still red with blood. Jason scooped up the Silver Archer, and said into his communicator, "I need teleportation to the Power Chamber. She needs medical help!" While he waited for an answer, the Silver Archer reached up to touch the mouthpiece of Jason's helmet with a bloody hand, leaving a scarlet smear as the Archer collapsed into unconsciousness.
"I have the lock, and teleporting now!" Alpha said, just as the Gold Ranger felt the familiar grip of teleportation. When they landed in the Power Chamber, Jason immediately eased the unconscious girl onto the examining table, then stepped back to allow Alpha and the table to begin their magic. He removed his helmet as the girl was surrounded by a gentle, golden glow caused by the table accelerating her healing.
"Should we remove her mask, Zordon?" Alpha asked.
"No," Zordon answered. "There may be a good reason behind her wearing that, and we must respect her privacy." Alpha nodded as he continued to heal up the gaping hole left by Scorpina's sword.
Jason watched with some concern as the girl remained unconscious even after Alpha had healed her, and he asked, "Is she all right?"
"She lost a lot of blood, and there's no telling when she'll awake," Alpha answered.
Just then, the other rangers teleported into the Power Chamber, removing their helmets as they hurried over to the Gold Ranger's side. "How is she?" Tommy asked.
"Alpha's sealed her wounds, but she's still out," Jason said. "Alpha's not sure when she'll awaken. What happened to Goldar?"
The Red Ranger chuckled mirthlessly. "That giant cat of hers wasn't pleased when she was hurt," he jerked his chin towards the Silver Archer, "and taught Goldie better manners." Jason laughed as well, until a flare of white light made the rangers flinch back. When they could see again, the Silver Archer stood beside the examining table... beside the Silver Archer?
It took a while for the rangers to recognize the differences between the two girls, but this Archer had blonde -almost white- hair and emerald green eyes that seemed familiar to the Gold Ranger. While he tried to place where he had seen those eyes before, the new Archer bent over the wounded one, and one hand went to where the wound was still showing in the darker-haired girl's uniform. The new Archer's hand began to glow as she covered the still bloody area, and the darker Archer's eyes began to flutter open.
"sister..." the darker one whispered.
"Shh...." the blonde whispered. "Rest now. I'll cover for you." The wounded girl fell back asleep, and the new Archer turned to the rangers. "Thank you for healing her, Rangers."
"Who are you?" Tommy demanded. "Who's she?"
"My name is Kit," the blonde answered. "Hers...., I think you already know, rangers." Her eyes crinkled as she smiled, looking pointedly at Jason. "Especially since it's your little sister."
Jason took a shocked step back. "WHAT!?"
Sam groaned as she felt her sides twitch, trying to avoid the pain, and triggering it instead. A hand brushed across her forehead, and a familiar voice said, "Hold on, Sam. Alpha's preparing some painkillers." Sam opened her eyes to see Jason bending over her, and she tried to reach for him. "Don't," Jason said, capturing her hand in his and easing it back to her chest. "You need to save your energy for healing. Kit says that it was a close thing."
"Kit?" she whispered, slowly tuning her head. But she didn't see her heartsister anywhere in the room.
"She had to go. She said something about too much cold iron," Jason said when the Silver Archer turned back to him, and Sam nodded.
"Sidhe... don't like.... iron. Bad... for them," Sam whispered.
"I know." Jason looked behind Sam, and said, "Thank you, Alpha." He reached over his sister to get something, then pressed whatever it was to Sam's neck. There was a hiss of escaping air, and then the pain in Sam's body began to ease back.
"Jase?" Sam asked as she started to feel sleepy.
"Don' like that name."
Jason chuckled, and said, "All right. I won't call you that anymore." He started to move away as she yawned, then stopped when Sam called his name again, this time with more urgency.
"Don' go!" she begged when he turned back. Jason could tell that she was fighting the drug, and then, sighing, moved back to her side. "Don leave me alone again," Sam whispered, her eyes almost shut.
"All right, Sam. I'll be right here when you wake up." Jason watched as his little sister drifted off to sleep. He had to smile at the dreamy smile on Sam's face, and he brushed back a wisp of loose hair, wincing as he felt the heat radiating from her.
Kit had powered the unconscious Sam down after revealing the Silver Archer's identity, and then left, giving the explanation that Jason had told Samantha. After that, it have been several hours until Sam woke up, during which, a fever started building in Sam, one that worried Alpha and Zordon. Jason had stayed by his sister's side, not wanting to leave in case something happened and Sam took a turn for the worse.
A hand caused the Gold Ranger to jump, and he turned to see Kit standing behind him, still in her Silver Archer outfit, but without the mask. "How is she?" Kit asked. Jason stood up so that Kit could sit down, and the Silver Archer sat primly down, clearly waiting for an answer.
"She woke up a few minutes ago, and fell back asleep when Alpha gave her a painkiller," Jason answered. "How about you? Are YOU all right? Sam was awake long enough to say that Sidhe don't like iron."
"I'm fine, now. I just had to go take care of some business, plus get some supplies. One of which is a drug that allows a Sidhe to be around Cold Iron." Kit looked down at her best friend, and asked, "Why do you always insist on watching you sister?"
"What?" Jason asked, confused.
"Gee, let's see. There's the archery contest, which you just HAD to attend when you found out that Sam was in it, and there's her only date, which you spied on, and in the park, when , Alex, Shawn and myself were supposed to meet Sams, and now. Why are you always keeping an eye on her? She's her own person now."
Jason opened his mouth, closed it, then spoke. "I guess..... it's because she was always following after my friends, and me so I always had to protect her. Once you get into a habit, it's kinda hard to break, and protecting her is, for me, a habit."
"Well, she doesn't need it," Kit said. "Sams is quite capable to defending herself."
Jason thought on that, then asked "Why do you call her Sams?"
"Easy. She once told Alex and I the story of Samson, and about how strong he was, and since Sams is so much stronger than your average Sidhe, I thought the nickname appropriate." Kit giggled, and said, "I don't think that Sams has yet gotten it."
"I wouldn't be so sure," Jason answered. "Sam is a lot more clever than you think."
"Oh?" Kit asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Hey, she caught herself an elf didn't she?" Jason teased.
Kit laughed, but that laughter cut off when they heard a whispered, "Not an elf..." They looked to Sam, whose eyes were just barely open, and Sam smiled sleepily at Kit. "Sis...."
"You're not really awake, are you, Sams?" Kit asked.
"No.... Just wanna say...., thank you," Sam sighed, then yawned. "An' don' kill each other," she managed before her eyes closed, and Sam was once again back asleep. Jason and Kit exchanged looks, then began snickering in unison.
"Sams," Kit finally sighed, shaking her head while still laughing. "One of a kind."
"Amen," Jason agreed.