Disclaimer~ All Power Rangers characters belong to Haim Saban and Toei Inc. I'm not trying to make a profit off of this, so please don't sue me! Oh, Perow is mine. Please, don't steal him! Pllleeeeeaaassseee! Thank you :)

Rating and Archiving~ Rated PG-13 for language, violence, and mild romance. Do archive, but be sure to keep my name and disclaimers attached!

Author's Note~ Ok, after writing Allied Evil for so long, I had to do it: Christmas Stand Alone! Plus, it's going to be a PRiS one. I know, it's a first for me to write for the PRiS team, but...well...there's a first for everything!

Time Frame~After Countdown to Destruction. Sorry, Zordon! Oh, some references to T:APRM. Oh, in my CtD, the rangers didn't show their identities. Don't ask how it's possible...I haven't come up with that yet :)

Dedication~ To the wonderful Jenga's Library and Command Center Archives which have always supported my writing. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that 1999 will be wonderful.

Summary~ Through love, heartbreak, and meeting with former rangers Zhane, Andros, and Karone learn the true meaning of Christmas...

A Kerovian Christmas
by: Christina Ortega

Ashley Hammond stared at the calendar in the room that she shared with Cassie Chan and sighed. December 24th...it was so close to Christmas, and yet there was little to be joyous about. Angel Grove was being rebuilt after Dark Specter's forces had attacked, Zordon was dead, and she didn't have any presents to give the other rangers. How could they have a Christmas celebration without any gifts? She barely had enough money to buy one item let alone enough for the whole team!

As the door to the chamber opened, Ashley, knowing who it was, sighed in depression. "Cassie, what are we going to do?" She wondered briefly if Cassie would be able to lend her money, but Ashley quickly reprimanded herself for these thoughts. Cassie was the one who had let her borrow money to buy her Dad's birthday present. She couldn't ask for more money, especially since she wasn't even able to pay back what she had borrowed already!

"What do you mean?" Cassie asked in confusion, sitting down on the Yellow Ranger's bunk. Ashley looked as if she was about to explode with frustration. "What are we going to do about what?"

"Christmas," Ashley muttered gloomily. "I mean, we don't even have a tree! After Andros was forced to kill Zordon, no one seems to be in the holiday spirit, and the 25th is tomorrow!"

Cassie's eyes widened at this, and she nervously twisted a strand of her long black hair around her finger. "I lost track of the days! God, we have to celebrate Christmas! Yes, Zordon's death has put a damper on the holiday season, but look at all we've accomplished! Astronema is now Karone again. Dark Specter has been destroyed along with all evil in the Universe. All of us are alive and out of danger, and the dark forces were decimated before Trey, Blue Senturion, the Kerovian Rebels, or Phantom Ranger could be seriously hurt." Letting her mind turn to the Phantom Ranger for a minute, she let out a deep sigh before closing her eyes and wishing that he would come to her...that would make it a perfect Christmas.

"We have accomplished a lot," Ashley acknowledged, "but the team isn't acting like it. TJ and Carlos have mindlessly been checking the engines and all systems on the Megaship for problems the past few days, Zhane and Karone have been avoiding everyone as if they're afraid to blend in, and Andros has been moping around because he's guilty about Zordon's death." {It isn't like you're helping him to overcome his guilt by hiding out in your room, Ashley} she chided herself mentally.

Thinking about this, Cassie nodded. "I know, but it isn't like there's much we can do..." Her voice trailed off as a wide smile appeared on her face. "Ashley, why can't we just go out to Angel Grove Mall right now and get gifts? They won't be much, but the team could sure use some cheering up. Maybe we could even afford a little Christmas Tree!" As Ashley stared at her morosely, Cassie frowned, wondering what about her idea hadn't appealed to her best friend. "What's wrong, Ash?"

Ashley sighed and sadly admitted, "I have about thirty dollars, Cassie. That's it. There's no way I'll be able to help you with expenses."

"Thirty dollars is as good as three hundred!" Cassie assured her, and Ashley was caught off guard by how excited she was about the small amount of cash she could offer to put into their Christmas shopping. "Trees are sometimes as cheap as ten dollars, and we don't have to buy extremely big presents. It's just something to show that we were thinking about the team!"

Getting into the spirit, Ashley nodded. "That's right! Plus, I'm sure I can get some old ornaments from my house so we can decorate the tree. I know for a fact that we have at least two packs of extra Christmas lights!"

The Pink Ranger stood up excitedly and motioned to her drab gray pants with gray jacket that covered a tight pink shirt. "Well, let's change out of these uniforms and get down there!" Cassie was so glad that Ashley had agreed to her idea. It was the thought that counted most, and she wanted the other rangers to know how much she cared about them. After that one horrible day when Cassie had been at Angel Grove Mall and the Psycho Rangers had been following her in human form, she had learned just how deep her love for the others truly was.

After changing into a white tank top covered by a pastel pink cardigan and blue jeans, Cassie, seeing that Ashley was ready in her yellow sweater and black pants, smiled. "Well, let's go." The happiness was bubbling inside of her, and she had to do everything in her power to stop from breaking into a chorus of "Jingle Bells."

Ashley grabbed her black purse from the table close to the double bunk bed and grinned at the Pink Ranger. "Yeah. We're already going to end up as part of a mob down there." The two walked hurriedly out of their room and, stopping for a moment to greet TJ who was walking in the other direction, they jumped out of their specific colored teleportational holes and sped towards Angel Grove Mall.

TJ Roberts watched the two leave before shaking his head, puzzled. "Hmm...I wonder where they're off to in such a hurry..."

"Hey, TJ, where are Cassie and Ashley going?" Carlos Rodrigez questioned with interest after seeing the two female rangers scurry down the hall. He shifted in place to make sure he didn't drop the two heavy monitoring boxes in his hands. "They seemed to be in quite a rush."

Shrugging, TJ leaned closer to him. "I'm not sure. Just remember that we need to get done working around six so that we can get down to Angel Grove Mall and do some holiday shopping."

Carlos groaned at this. "I hate shopping." When TJ narrowed his eyes at him, Carlos raised his hands in defeat. "Yeah, I know. I promised that I would go, and I do want to. This is going to be a great holiday for everyone. After Zordon's death, we need something to pick up the team."

"Exactly," TJ said with a smile. The two winked at each other, knowing that the others were going to be in for quite a surprise when they saw that they had remembered to get presents for them the next morning.

* * *
At that moment, Karone, Andros' sister who had recently returned to the side of good after Zordon's death, crept quietly through the halls of the Megaship. She wasn't proud of the fact that she was hiding from the other rangers, but a part of her couldn't help it. Even though she had been good once, she didn't feel like she belonged. After being a follower of Dark Specter for most of her life, Karone knew that getting used to her new found goodness would take some time.

Rounding a corner, she was barely able to brace herself for the person that bumped into her as he moved in the other direction. Karone jumped back and apologetically smiled. "I'm so sorry." {Great, now I'm all alone with one of the rangers. Just what I don't need...} Seeing which one was before her, however, she blushed. "Zhane, I didn't see you coming."

"I didn't see you," Zhane told her, forcing himself to smile despite the conflicting emotions within him. A part of him knew that Karone was going to need to adjust to being on their side, and that she needed time to herself, and yet another part of him wanted to jump on her, kiss her passionately, and try to explain what he felt for her. "Sorry, Astron--um, I mean Karone." He cursed himself for the mistake.

Karone pushed a strand of hair away from her face shyly. "Don't worry about it, Zhane. As I said, I didn't see you, and if you didn't see me...well, no one's at fault..." At that moment, part of her wished that she had stayed on KO-35 so she wouldn't have to be continually put on the spot like this, but in her heart she knew that being on KO-35 would have been just as uncomfortable, if not more so. "So, uh, what are you doing?" Well, if I'm going to be here for the rest of my life, I might as well get used to talking to the rangers. "Working?"

Zhane shifted uncomfortably before shaking his head. "No...Carlos and TJ seem to have taken it upon themselves to do everything." Yeah, Zhane, you're winning her heart by being a bumbling idiot. "Uh, Andros has really been isolating himself lately. I think he's guilty about killing Zordon." Good, Zhane. Really good. Now, go ahead and point out the obvious!

Happy that the Silver Ranger had gotten on a topic that she could talk about, Karone nodded. "Yeah. I'm getting worried about him, Zhane, and I don't really know why because I've only known him for a little while. You've known him nearly your whole life. Do you think he's going to be all right?"

"I honestly don't know, Karone, but, then again, some of the other rangers might know better than me," Zhane admitted with a sigh. "After the battle on KO-35, Andros was forced to put me in a cryogenic tube for two years so that I could regain my strength. I don't know how much he's changed in that time. He's usually around the other rangers so much that I've barely had any time alone with him." Noticing the bitterness in his voice, he quickly decided to change the topic. "Can I ask you a question, Karone?"

"Sure," She said, somewhat worried about what he was going to ask. "What is it?"

"Do you remember anything from your time as Astronema?" Zhane asked softly. "I mean anything. Not only during the time that you were controlled by those technological implants, but before that...before you became good for the first time..."

Karone pondered the question before staring into his clear blue eyes and seeing something that resembled pleading in them. "That depends, Zhane," She answered, deciding to see where this was going to lead. "What do you want me to remember?" I hope he's thinking of what I'm thinking of. God, he's so cute, and I blew everything after that misunderstanding on our first date!

The Silver Ranger turned red at this. "I don't know...anything about me...what you thought of me back then..." Ok, Zhane, you've just advanced from a bumbling idiot to a downright fool.

"I remember that you can't cook," Karone told him with a sly smile as she took a step towards him. Zhane couldn't help but freeze at the sight of it. This was the same grin he had seen on the face of Astronema when she had offered her thanks after he had saved her from her own monster...He still remembered that day as if it was yesterday. The only time he had been happier was when he and Andros had pledged to fight as a team forever so long ago on KO-35. "What do you remember about me?"

Zhane licked his lips with nervousness. "I remember blowing a date we had because of ranger duty." His mind flashed back to that day, and he remembered how Astronema had left in a huff and hadn't allowed him to explain why he had been late. Zhane had felt as if she had torn out his heart, torn it in half, and stomped on the remains.

He gazed at Karone only to find that she was still smiling at him and, all of a sudden, he felt memories return to him...he was at the movies before the date incident had occurred. There had been a woman that he had bumped into...gorgeous. "Oh my God...you were her!"

Karone frowned, not knowing what he was talking about. "Huh? I was who?"

"There was a woman that I bumped into after seeing 'Star-Crossed Lovers' with the rest of the rangers," Zhane said, realization molding his face into that of an excited child. "You were her! I knew there was something familiar about that woman!" He cut himself off and pondered his thoughts before hesitantly questioning, "Why did you do that?"

"Well, um..." Karone flushed lightly, and Zhane found himself immensely enjoying the glow of her cherubic face. "I wanted to be close to you," she finally admitted after a pause. "Come on. How could I have possibly been near you as Astronema? Andros didn't know I was his sister at that time. The other rangers would have killed me on sight!" Putting a hand on his arm, she grinned seductively making Zhane shudder. "Besides, how could I resist?"

The Silver Ranger was at a loss for words. So, it was true that Karone...or Astronema... had felt the same way about him that he had about her! "What do you feel about me now?" Zhane asked quietly, his voice quavering as she put her other hand on his shoulder. "Do you feel the same way that you did back then about me?"

Karone touched his cheek softly, wondering why she had been stupid enough not to take advantage of their situation out in the forest when Zhane had been forced to miss their date so that he could fight. All of a sudden, she gasped as she realized what she was thinking. These thoughts...they were so Astronema-like. This made her smile even wider. No matter how much I fight it, Astronema will always be a part of me. I think I like it that way. "No, I don't."

"You don't!?" Zhane exclaimed, surprised by how upset his voice sounded. "W-why? What did I do?" He couldn't believe this. It was happening again. Heart ripped out...torn up in pieces...stomped on repeatedly. "Can you give me a reason?" Rip. Tear. Stomp.

Nodding, Karone smiled at him, her blue eyes twinkling. "There is no longer a barrier between us, Zhane. We're on the same side now. Besides, now I know how wonderfully charming you are." The Silver Ranger stared at her, not having the slightest clue what she meant. Weren't those comments kinda positive? "I don't like you anymore."

Zhane lowered his eyes, still not quite understanding but knowing that it was her decision, and he couldn't force her into anything. "Um, that's ok, Karone. It's for you to decide, but know that I still do. I'll wait for you."

"You didn't let me finish!" Karone said with a laugh. As he glanced at her with sad blue eyes, she was unable to restrain herself from kissing his lips tenderly. Pulling away, Karone grinned. "I don't like you, Zhane. I love you." Kissing him again, she felt her heart leap as he returned it with just as much passion. Letting their fingers roam, the same thought was on both of their minds: love does overcome all odds.

* * *
Andros sat in the middle of the bridge looking down at the Earth through the viewing screen. Touching his morpher, he shook his head, still not believing what he had done. Zordon was dead. He was truly gone forever, and it was all his fault.

It felt to Andros as if no time had passed since that had happened. He could still himself raising his Spiral Saber and destroying Zordon's energy tube which decimated all of the evil in the Universe. There must have been another way to get rid of evil. I'm such an idiot for being so blind to other options.

In all honesty, he wished that he could talk to someone about all that he was feeling, but he didn't want to open up to the other rangers. Even Ashley might not understand why he was so upset, and Karone was still adjusting to her new surroundings. Andros knew he couldn't just ask her to be there for him at the blink of an eye. That only left one person left. Zhane.

Andros wasn't sure why speaking to Zhane was so strange. Before, on KO-35, they had been able to talk about anything, but now it was like there was a brick wall between them. Zhane, Andros knew, was going through his own amount of pain and confusion. How could he not be after waking up from a two year hyper sleep? He had learned how to cover it, though...by being an outgoing and egotistical prankster. Andros didn't like the new Zhane that had emerged from the hyper sleep. He wished that he could stick Zhane back in for a few hours, and his best friend would come out, but obviously this would never work which left the Red Astro Ranger to desperately hope that Zhane would become himself again.

"DECA, where is Zhane right now?" Andros asked, knowing in his mind that, though Zhane was like a new person compared to the old Zhane on KO-35, they were still best friends and should be able to tell each other anything. "I want to talk to him."

The red light on the wall of the bridge beeped a few times as it scanned the Megaship before responding, "The Silver Astro Ranger is in the recreation room along with your sister. Should I call them to the bridge?"

"No, DECA," Andros responded, happy that his sister was finally talking to someone. "I'll go over there. Thanks." Standing up, he left the bridge and walked down the hall towards the recreation room. Reaching it, he got the shock of his life. Zhane and Karone were leaning against a wall kissing each other passionately. Andros watched this in awe for a few moments, unable to tear his eyes away. His best friend and his sister were together!? Zhane had assured him in the Dark Fortress that they had only been on one date together and that there was really nothing going on between them! He cleared his throat loudly and gazed at the two as they broke apart and stared at him in shock.

Zhane took his hand off of Karone's back and stared at his best friend in horror. Shit! "Um, hey, Andros. Do you need us for something?"

Andros felt anger grow within him, and this anger soon became a full-blown rage. How dare Zhane go behind his back and get together with Karone without his consent! He let his mind wander to the time when he had thought Zhane had gotten together with Ashley. Yes, he believed that Zhane had meant no harm, but he was a horrible flirt. That was just the kind of guy that he was, and Andros didn't want to see him hurting his sister. "Get off of her, Zhane."

The Silver Ranger slowly did as asked before taking a shaky step forward, not knowing what to expect from his best friend. "Andros, let me explain--"

"I don't think there's anything that you need to explain," Andros said coolly, relishing the fear he saw in Zhane's eyes. Good...he should be scared... "What I saw spoke for itself."

"I love your sister, Andros," Zhane said quietly, his eyes onthe floor. "Believe me, I was going to tell you, but I didn't realize what I was truly feeling until Karone and I spoke in the hallway today."

Andros smiled faintly. "Oh, you spoke? I didn't see much talking going on..."

Karone put her hands on her hips, having had enough of her brother's attitude problem. "We talked before we did anything, Andros! What's wrong with you!?"

Instead of regarding her, Andros took another step towards Zhane, his eyes dark. "I know you, Zhane, which is why I'm doing this for your own good as well as my sister's...you can't be with her." Zhane opened his mouth to reply, but Andros didn't let him. "My sister is adjusting to being here. She doesn't need you wrecking her life."

"Andros, what as gotten into you!?" Karone exclaimed, not believing what she was hearing. She had thought Zhane and Andros were best friends! "Don't you care what I think about all this!? I love Zhane!"

"Will you see what you've done!?" Andros yelled, motioning to his sister. "You've gotten her to fall in love with you! Why don't you tell her what a jokester you are...what a tricky guy...like with Ashley!"

Zhane's eyes widened in disbelief. "Ashley!? You're still sore about that!? In case you've forgotten, I was the one who got you two together by getting her to finally confront you about her feelings!" This was insane. Andros wasn't supposed to have reacted like this. He should have been happy for them!

Andros smirked. "There you go with that ego trip again. We would have gotten together without your help. I was going to ask her out earlier, but you had to butt into our conversation!"

"Um, you guys, please tell me how Ashley relates to me in any way," Karone inquired angrily. "What does it matter? Andros and Ashley are together, and, Andros, I'm together with Zhane. End of story."

"No, I don't think so," the Red Ranger muttered in a low voice. He glared at Zhane for a moment before murmuring, "Get out." As the Silver Ranger continued to stare at him in shock, Andros frowned spitefully. "You heard me. Get out. This is my ship, and I don't want you on it!"

Still not sure why all of this was happening, Zhane slowly nodded and moved over to the teleportational holes, reluctantly jumping down the black one and leaving the ship in a flash of silver. Karone watched him go before snarling as Andros put a hand on her arm. "What the hell did you think you were doing, Andros!?"

He sighed. "Zhane is going to hurt you, Karone. He's not the same guy that he was on KO-35. Zhane is sneaky now...and an incredible flirt. He'll hurt you if you stay with him!"

"That's not your decision to make!" Karone exclaimed incredulously. "If I want to be with Zhane then I'll be with him. You don't have a voice in my choices just because we're related by blood!" Pulling away from her brother, she ran down the hallway, still not believing what had just taken place. Andros watched her go with a sigh. What he had done was for the best...wasn't it?

* * *
Cassie crossed her arms over her chest before looking up at the sign in the parking lot of Angel Grove Mall. "The trees are exactly ten dollars. That's good...I won't have to spend very much!" Smiling happily, she began to whistle "Deck the Halls" under her breath as she stepped past the sign and into the area where at least twenty trees were set up for inspection and purchase.

After walking around for about a half hour, Cassie was left to sigh to herself. "What's so different about any of them? They all look the same!" She had never understood the concept of picking a tree. They all came from the same place, smelled like pine, and could have ornaments hang off of them. What else was there to know?

Seeing her contemplative face, an older salesman in a red and white flannel shirt with blue jeans walked up to her with a large smile on his round face. "Have you made a selection?"

Cassie turned around, found herself staring at nothing but chest, and raised her head so that she could see eye-to-eye with the much taller individual. He was burly with a red beard and curly hair. His eyes were a bright hazel, and his cheeks and nose were red after being out in the cold for so long. He's must be Santa's younger brother... "Um, to be honest, I'm not really good at picking out trees. This is my first time doing it."

"Well, then, why didn't you say so?" The man questioned with a booming laugh that forced Cassie to smile. It was great to see that the holiday spirit could still be found somewhere...either that, or the guy was just happy about knowing he was going to make an easy sale. "Now, then, would you say that you have a low ceiling?"

"Medium," Cassie responded, thinking of the recreation room. She doubted that Andros would let her put a tree anywhere on the bridge. It would distract from duty, he would say. "They all look the same to me, honestly."

The man laughed again and put a hand on her back. For a moment, Cassie stiffened at the touch, but relaxed as he led her down a row of trees and motioned towards them. "Now, look at these two rows of trees. On the left side is smaller trees, and on the right is the medium trees, which is what you want." Maneuvering her so that she was facing the medium sized trees, he reached his hand out to the branch of one and held it out. "This tree has long branches which could be used for heavier ornaments or large lights." Pointing to the tree next to this one, he continued, "That tree over there has smaller branches...better for closed-in spaces, and will look nice with smaller ornaments."

Cassie looked the trees over, shrugged, and glanced up at the large salesman. "The tree is going to be in an area where meals will be served. Would you suggest smaller branches for that?"

The man thought about this for a moment before smiling widely at her. "I think I know what you need." Leading her down the row of trees, he stopped in front of one that was full and green. Cassie could practically see in standing proudly in the recreation room. The man, noticing how her eyes seemed to light up at the sight of it, grinned. "I can see you like our beauty. She's one of the best out of the whole lot, and I only sell the best to a designated group of people."

"Why me?" Cassie asked softly, unable to take her eyes off of the magnificent tree. "It's beautiful."

"A beautiful tree for a beautiful lady," the man said with a shrug. As she gazed at him, he smiled, eyes twinkling, before saying, "That'll be ten dollars." Cassie, as if afraid that someone was going to snatch the tree away, quickly pulled a ten dollar bill out of her pocket and handed it to the man. He glanced at her eyes which were practically sparkling with excitement before reaching into his pocket, pulling out a five dollar bill, and handed it back to her. At Cassie's amazed expression, he just nodded towards her. "Merry Christmas. Now, why don't you pull your car around, and I'll load it up." Unable to say anything, Cassie nodded her thanks and ran off to get her car.

Watching her go, the man laughed to himself. "Well, if someone has to spread some holiday cheer around this town, it might as well be me."

* * *
I can't believe Andros! Zhane thought to himself as he walked aimlessly through Angel Grove Mall. He took no notice of the fact that the mall seemed more crowded than usual and hung his head as he continued to wander through the lower level of the shopping complex. Maybe he's right, though. I don't want to hurt Karone in any way, and Andros should know best, right? He is her brother, after all.

He was about to step into a store when, suddenly, he heard a loud crash behind him. Turning around, Zhane found himself facing an older woman, in her sixties at least, near tears after dropping a million different boxes and bags. Before he could even register what he was doing, he had run to her aid and was helping her to pick up her things. The woman dabbed her eyes before smiling weakly at him. "As you age, you just lose all sense of balance, you know?" Zhane grinned as she took half of her things back before sighing. "I don't know how I'm going to get all of this to my car in one piece."

Go ahead, Zhane. After ruining Karone's life, you might as well indulge someone. "Let me help you with all of this," he offered the smaller woman with sparkling eyes. "It will be no problem."

"No, I couldn't impose on you," the woman protested, her face creased with both age and surprise. "I'm sure you have your own shopping to do."

Zhane got a tighter hold on the packages and bags he was still holding before smiling at her again. "Please, let me help you. I don't mind at all." That's right, Zhane. Do at least one good deed. Maybe, in some strange way, it'll show Andros that you truly are the person that you were on KO-35...

His sweet tone was enough to get the woman to falter slightly. "Are you sure you won't mind, Son? I'm having you carry an awful lot of boxes there." This whole situation was interesting. It wasn't every day you found a young man willing to help an old woman with her things...a handsome young man at that.

"The name is Zhane," he told her gently, "and I'll be glad to help you out." Seeing the woman nod her consent, he followed her through the main square of the mall and slowly out of it, all the while wondering why the heck she would have bought so many things in one shopping trip.

After about twenty minutes, they had reached the old woman's station wagon, and Zhane helped her to pile the boxes and bags in her trunk and back seat. "Thank you, Zhane," the woman said gratefully. "I wouldn't have made it out of there alive without your help." She laughed at her own wit before reaching into her purse and pulling out a ten dollar bill. "Here, I insist."

Zhane looked at the money for a moment before shaking his head. "I can't take that." Despite the fact that the money was tempting, he knew that he had done the deed out of his own will, and that he didn't deserve or really want payment for it.

"Please, Zhane," the woman said, pushing the money at him. "As I said, I insist. You've been so kind to me." As he once again waved the money away and shook his head, she hesitantly put it back in her purse before touching his arm softly. "To think I thought there was no hope for your generation. If there are more young men like you out there, I don't think I'll have anything to worry about."

"Um, thank you," Zhane said somewhat self-consciously. He pushed the uneasy feeling out of his mind before grinning brightly at her, a look that would have made any young lady swoon. "Well, I guess I should be getting back, but I'm glad I was able to help."

The woman nodded her appreciation before turning back towards her car. Just as Zhane began to walk away, she faced him again. "Zhane!" As he looked at her with confusion, she smiled warmly. "Well, it's nice to see that young men your age still feel the holiday spirit. Merry Christmas!"

Merry Christmas? What's that? "To you to," Zhane said cautiously, hoping that he had not said something wrong. The woman nodded, her green eyes sparkling and giving the Silver Ranger a view of what a beauty she must have been in her time, before getting into her car and driving away.

Watching her go, Zhane frowned. "Christmas?" With the word burning on his mind, he left the parking lot and returned to the mall.

* * *
Karone sat on her bunk in the room that she alone slept in. With her pillow bundled in her lap, she reached out to her night stand and picked up a picture of Zhane in his Silver Ranger Armor. It was still wrinkled from when, as Astronema, she had crumpled it up, but even then she hadn't been able to throw it out. Throw him out.

Damn that Andros! What gives him the right to decide who I can date and who I can't!? Deep inside, Karone knew that Andros was just looking out for her well-being, but she didn't understand why he wouldn't want her seeing Zhane. Were they not best friends anymore? What if something had happened between them? Poor Zhane...poor Andros...

Meanwhile, on the bridge, Andros was back in the chair that he had been sitting in all that morning. After staring at the wall in silence for a few minutes, he kicked a console with all his might, drawing back as sharp pain registered in his foot. It's Zhane's fault. He knew what I thought about them getting together. What gives you the right to decide who Karone can see? She's not a little girl anymore...

Andros sighed. Despite her obviously older and more beautiful appearance, Andros couldn't stop himself from thinking of Karone as a little girl. That was how she had been taken from him and, in all honesty, that's who he had been looking for...Andros had been looking for the little girl that Darkonda had taken away from him so long ago...not for the lovely woman who was now part of the Power Rangers team. He cursed Darkonda and Dark Specter for making him unable to watch Karone grow emotionally and physically.

At that moment, Andros heard a high-pitched voice from behind him say, "DECA told me that you had been looking for Zhane earlier. He's at Angel Grove Mall if you want me to contact him."

Thinking about this for a moment, Andros shook his head. He needed time to think about what had happened that day...and ever since Zhane had woken up from his hyper sleep, and he knew Zhane needed the same freedom. Calling him up and forcing him to share what he was feeling wasn't going to help. When Zhane wanted to talk, he would come. "No, Alpha. Let him be alone."

"Are you ok, Andros?" Alpha asked, puzzled by Andros' distant mood. "You sound a little far off."

Turning around to look at the little droid, Andros sighed and considered telling Alpha, as usual, that he was fine. Instead, he shook his head. "No, I'm not, Alpha. Today I walked into the recreation room to find Karone and Zhane kissing each other."

Alpha's lights moved faster at this news, and it titled its head with a chuckle. "Well, I'm happy for them. Karone needs someone to hold her up during this adaptation to new surroundings. You must have been pleased." As Andros looked away, Alpha took a step forward. "Right?"

"No," Andros told Alpha honestly, "I wasn't happy. In fact, I kinda went berserk on them. It wasn't their fault, and I know that now. I can't stand in the way if they want to be together, but I want to make sure that Karone doesn't get hurt." These words were true, and he used every dirty word he could think of to curse himself for what he had done earlier.

Alpha studied the Red Ranger intently before shrugging, not quite understanding why Andros had done what he had. "Isn't Zhane your best friend?" At Andros' nod, Alpha tilted its head. "If you love your sister and you love Zhane, why can't you be happy for them?"

Andros stared at the robot for a few minutes as he pondered the question. Finally, he lowered his head and let out a deep sigh. "The problem with the Rebels is over at last, Alpha. Zhane won't be going to KO-35 unless there's some pressing military event there that he needs to help out with, and, after nearly a lifetime of searching, I finally have Karone. She's no longer Astronema. Did you know that before now I never had Zhane and Karone in the same place at the same time? Zhane woke up from his hyper sleep when Karone was still Astronema. After Zhane decided to stay with the Rebels, Karone returned to normal. When Zhane came back, it was too late. Karone had become Astronema again. Now, I finally have them both in the same spot, and they're in love with each other. Alpha, I don't want them to forget all about me after I've done so much to get them back."

"Don't you think they feel the same way?" Alpha inquired comfortingly. The droid stepped all the way over to Andros and, with some difficulty, sat down in the seat next to him. "Zhane woke from his hyper sleep in a strange world. He was no longer on KO-35 and with people that he knew. Yes, the Silver Ranger might seem full of pride, but he isn't. In fact--" Alpha cut itself off quickly before changing the subject. "Well, anyway, Zhane has literally been forced to hold onto you for all of his needs. Before meeting the Rebels, he had to count on you for clothing, a shelter, and the like as well as for his information on all that happened in the last two years. Do you honestly think Zhane could function without you?

"Then there's Karone. Do I even need to get into her? Without you, she would have never found out that you were her brother," Alpha continued. "You saved her from Dark Specter. If you hadn't cared about her so much after her death, she would be a whole lot paler right now, I'll tell you that. Just like Zhane, she's had to count on you for information about the life she will be forced to live now. It was obvious that Zhane and Karone would fall in love. They're in the exact same stage of life...both of them are confused, scared, angry at the beings that stole their lives from them, and count on you as their driving force."

Andros regarded the robot briefly before burying his face in his hands, guilt making his head pound. "When they needed me the most, I pushed them away."

"They still need you now, Andros," Alpha told the Red Ranger. Touching his hand, the droid sighed. "Do you see now that they will never abandon you? They love you too much for that, and they need you."

Nodding, Andros thought about how he was going to humble himself and apologize before turning to Alpha again. "What were you going to say about Zhane?"

It was clear to the Red Ranger that Alpha became tense at the question. "What do you mean? I wasn't going to say anything about Zhane!"

"Don't try that, Alpha. You said that I might think that he was full of pride, but he wasn't, and then you stopped as you were about to say something. What were you going to say?" Andros, seeing that Alpha was going to make another dumb excuse, grabbed its arm pleadingly. "Please, Alpha?"

The droid stared at him for a moment before sighing in a reluctant defeat. "Fine, but you can't tell Zhane I told you, and you can't go on a guilt trip." Seeing the Red Ranger nod, Alpha continued, "Even now, Zhane will wake up from horrible recollections of that battle on KO-35. On most nights, I have to put a pillow in front of his face to stop him from screaming. As you can tell, this isn't a huge booster of confidence, especially with that scar and all--"

Andros' eyes widened in shock. "Scar!? What scar!?" As Alpha stiffened, the Red Ranger shook his head with disbelief. "Where does he have a scar!?"

"I thought you knew," Alpha said softly. "It's right over his chest where Dark Specter's soldier cut him..." When Andros looked away and stared at the wall, Alpha sighed. "Well, I always assumed that you must have checked his body before putting him in the cryogenic tube."

"I-I was in shock after bringing him in," Andros admitted quietly, a million thoughts rushing through his mind. Zhane was still having recollections? Waking up screaming? A scar over his chest? "Some doctors and nurses serving the Kerovian forces attended to his wounds because I was too afraid to do it. A-After bringing Zhane in, I was a wreck. Sometimes, I would be so angry that I would throw things around the tents or wherever I was, or I would just curse people out for no reason, and when I got on the Megaship after I was ordered to evacuate with Zhane, I didn't talk. There was nothing to say. At that point, I was sure that I had lost my best friend..."

* * *
(Two years earlier)

"Andros?" A voice called from outside. "Andros!?" Sitting motionlessly on a grimy cot propped up in the dirt of the once prosperous KO-35, the Red Astro Ranger stared at the opening of the large burgundy tent as a young soldier with short brown hair rushed in. Andros identified him as Perow, a young fighter that both he and Zhane had befriended during the current battle on the planet.

Seeing his condition, Perow bowed in apology. It was no secret what had happened to the Silver Ranger just a few days earlier, and no one knew how to approach Andros concerning the incident, so no one did. "Um, the doctors are still looking at Zhane. They're saying that you shouldn't be out here so close to the battle. Commander Kinwon has labeled you unfit for duty."

Andros nodded, accepting the information, before hoarsely asking, "How is Zhane?" He couldn't believe this was happening...his best friend couldn't die...not because of his stupid mistake! That was no way for such a noble warrior to be killed...at the fault of his own teammate and friend. Friend...if he could dare to call himself that.

"As I said, the doctors are still working--"

"Will he live!?" Andros practically shouted at Perow who jumped in his spot. "Just tell me that!" He wasn't angry at Perow. In fact, he was happy that the young soldier had stuck by him during this hard time. Now, however, his frustration and guilt had gotten control over his actions.

Regaining his wits, Perow shrugged, his face noncommittal. "I wish I could tell you more. They aren't releasing any news about him, which is why I think you should go down there. They have to tell you, Andros. You're his best friend!" For some reason, this had sparked something inside of Andros, and he had carefully followed Perow out of the tent and towards the large battle that was still raging.

The sounds of fighting pounded in Andros' ears as he ran through the trees behind Perow towards the medical facility that he knew Zhane was in. Footsteps could be heard all around them, and Andros knew that someone was following them. They won't get to us...after what they did to Zhane, I won't allow them the pleasure of killing me, too.

"There it is," Perow whispered breathlessly as he pointed to the small building that had been set up as a medical facility. "That's where we'll find Zhane." The two continued to run until they were right in front of the white building that was hidden from Dark Specter's forces by large trees surrounding it on all sides.

Stepping inside, Perow looked around, disheartened, as he saw that everyone was busy. There was no sign of the Silver Ranger. Andros looked, disgusted, at all the filth he saw. Kerovians were screaming as nurses attempted to attend to their wounds, and the sound rang in his ears sending chills down his spine. The place was a gross site with large black bugs occasionally running across the floor. Dust and dirt was collecting on the floor, and Andros had to resist the urge to plug his nose. The foul stench hinted at the fact that someone had died, and none of the doctors had found the unlucky soldier yet. Either that, or one of those blasted Kerovian beasts had come inside looking for food and had died before finding its way out. You can't die here, Zhane! No!

"Where is he!?" Andros shouted on the top of his lungs, startling everyone in the room. Glancing at Perow who was still standing next to him, Andros thought he saw something resembling admiration in his eyes, but he didn't have the mind power or time to consider this for long. "Where is Zhane!?"

"Andros!" One of the doctors exclaimed, running towards him in shock. "Um, we weren't expecting you to come in until later--"

"Where is Zhane?" Andros questioned in a low voice that made the unfortunate doctor shiver. "If you don't tell me, I swear on all of the just warriors fighting against Dark Specter that I will take out my Spiral Saber and cut you into a thousand pieces with it!"

From behind the doctor, a woman walked up to him with a stern expression on her face, and Andros recognized her immediately as Tykwa, one of his mentors and a major leader of the Kerovian forces. "Andros, it's good that you are well. I see that Perow has come to you despite our orders that he was not to until we could give an accurate assessment of Zhane's condition." She glared at Perow angrily, and the young man shrank back under the weight of her stare.

Andros shook his head fiercely, not fazed at all by her looks. "If Perow hadn't come to me, I would have taken it upon myself to come, and you're lucky that Perow's here or the doctor I just talked to would have a very swollen face, as would half of the people in here."

"Therefore, I assume that you won't leave until you are allowed to see Zhane," Tykwa said with a sigh. At the Red Ranger's nod, she motioned for Perow to follow her as well as Andros, and the three left the main sick ward and walked down a narrow hallway into a small enclosed room.

Kinwon, who was standing next to the cot that held the weakened Zhane, looked up, shocked to see Perow and Andros. "Tykwa, what are you doing!? They were not to be admitted!"

Tykwa shrugged, her eyes gleaming with amusement. "Do you honestly think they would have left, Commander?" He reluctantly shook his head which earned a triumphant smile from the female warrior.

"Is he going to die?" Andros questioned slowly, knowing that Kinwon would give him answers...even if it wasn't willfully. Moving his eyes away from the old Commander's, he glanced at Zhane who was lying on the cot unconscious. I'm so sorry, Zhane...I'm so sorry...

Stepping closer to the Red Ranger, Kinwon sighed. "All of the doctors are all giving the same prognosis, Andros, and it doesn't look good." Perow lowered his head in disbelief, and Tykwa could have sworn that the kid was going to start sobbing at any moment. "He might be gone by tonight. I won't lie to you, Red Ranger."

Andros kept his eyes on Zhane, not bothering to wipe the tear that escaped one. "It's my fault. The idiot gave his life for me by blocking one of the soldier's blows. It was meant for me...the stupid asshole..." There was no anger behind his voice, and everyone in the room could tell that any anger within him was focused on himself and not on the pale figure lying in the center of the room.

"We can't give up hope," Perow said shakily. As Kinwon turned to him, he put a hand through his hair which, despite the dust and sweat constantly assaulting it in battle, was still silky. "If there's a chance that Zhane can be revived, then we have to believe that he will be." The Commander shook his head, happy that the young boy still had a hint of childish foolishness within him. It was a quality that he missed in his wiser state.

Andros stepped closer to the cot until he was right next to his best friend. Putting a hand on his icy one, the Red Ranger sighed in defeat. "He's going to die."

Perow stared at him in disbelief. "No! Zhane isn't going to die!"

"He might as well be dead already!" Andros snapped back in fury and grief. "Zhane is in pain! I should just kill him right now!"

"Great, Andros," Perow growled with a strength that a young warrior such as himself had never been known to have. "As his best friend, I would have hoped that you would have been the one to stand by him the longest! Don't you remember Zhane's love of life...savoring every minute...lightening our spirits even when we were in the gravest of danger!?" Tears began to roll from his eyes, but he didn't let this stop his rant. "Maybe you should just kill him. I can't imagine him having to wake up to fake friends like you."

Andros was tempted to call for his Astro Blaster and use the young boy as target practice, but he couldn't...because Perow was right. Zhane always had loved life. He could see the Silver Ranger up on that flowery mountain back when KO-35 had been a peaceful planet. "I often wonder what I've done to deserve such a wonderful life," Zhane had said while staring out at the peaceful Kerovian countryside. "Look around you, Andros! No planet at all has a finer beauty than KO-35, and I have friends like you that I can annoy during battle!"

Tears welled up in his eyes, and he gazed at Perow before nodding. "He's in so much pain, though..."

"Remember that one time Dark Specter attacked us...it must have been a few months ago, but Zhane was injured. I remember it like yesterday. He had a bleeding leg or something like that. Anyway, do you remember how as the nurses were dressing his wounds, he kept trying to reassure us that he was ok by telling nonstop jokes until they finally gave him a sedative to calm him down?" Perow laughed weakly to himself, ignoring the tears that were still trickling down his cheeks. "Of course, it wasn't really working because when he tried to talk his voice was all choked up, and at one point he was crying so hard that we thought he was going to kill himself if he kept it up?"

Andros snickered at the memory before looking down at Zhane again. Staring at him for a moment, he sighed. "You, My Friend, are such a stupid fool...I don't know what I'll do without you if you die, Zhane, so you'd better wake up!"

Kinwon glanced at him before lowering his head. "I'm guessing, Andros, that Perow has told you of my decision. You are unfit for duty. Zhane's...injury...has most likely clouded your battle skills."

"It would have clouded yours if you were as close to him as I was, too," Andros muttered, not caring that he was speaking disrespectfully. Perow glanced at Tykwa to see if she had been upset by the Red Ranger's tone of voice, but the only thing he saw in her face was pity.

As expected, Kinwon let the incident slide. "However, there is one more thing that you must do." He waited for the Red Ranger to face him before continuing. "I am trying to keep the spirits of the troops alive, Andros, but it's no secret anymore. We are going to lose to Dark Specter's troops, and they will take over this planet. Most likely, Darkonda will use it as another of his many bases." Perow's eyes widened at this. Apparently, he had not known that they were doing so poorly in the over all war.

"The Megaship is a valuable weapon that we have been using in this battle, but even it cannot save us," Kinwon continued. "Dark Specter has won for now. You, as the Red Astro Ranger, have a duty to fight Dark Specter's forces for any planet even if it isn't ours."

Andros stared at him for a moment before touching Zhane's hand briefly. "What do you wish of me, Kinwon?"

Keeping his eyes locked on the Red Ranger's face, Kinwon responded, "You need to get the Megaship out of here...I have put in DECA, a computer program that will help you with piloting and ship functions. This is my last request if the evil forces get to me before we can ever speak again...get off of this planet and never look back."

This is really happening... Perow thought to himself as he watched Andros nod slowly. Surprised by the fact that he wasn't asking the obvious question, Perow glanced at Kinwon. "What will happen to Zhane?"

"Andros, you have to take the Silver Ranger," Tykwa ordered softly. "We can't have him here. Perow, you say this to no one, but we are going to be forced to abandon most of the patients here unless they are able to walk. Obviously, Zhane is not able to do this, but as a ranger we can't leave him behind."

The Red Ranger shook his head in disbelief at this. "I don't know the first thing about how to take care of him. Zhane is going to die in space."

Kinwon sighed harshly. "He's going to die if he stays here. If you take him with you, he'll at least have some chance of surviving. Leave Zhane here and he'll be deserted. Take your pick." He did love the Silver Ranger. This was an unfortunate situation, but there was nothing they could do. It would be too much to take Zhane into hiding in his current state, and yet he refused to carry the emotional burden of leaving him behind.

"What about Perow?" Andros asked silently. "Is he coming with us, too?"

Before Tykwa could respond, Perow bowed before Kinwon. "It is my desire to stay with you until the very end. I can't desert my planet, and if that means that I die then I'll die. Andros and Zhane need to go. I have an obligation here."

"You are a brave warrior," Kinwon observed to which the young fighter nodded. It was obvious that no one was going to talk him out of his decision. Andros glanced at him before gazing down at Zhane again. It was hard to believe that just a short while ago he had been running around, as excited and willing to fight as ever...

* * *

"He was clothed..." Andros muttered. "I never saw a scar...God, whenever he has to undress he's reminded of what he's gone through."

Alpha nodded and sighed. "I don't know if I should have told you, Andros. Please don't tell him that I told you." The droid squirmed nervously where it was sitting.

Andros nodded slowly, knowing that he had no intention of telling Zhane what he knew. "I promise." He closed his eyes and leaned against his seat. I wonder what happened to Perow. We never got word that he died...then again, we never got word that he lived, either...maybe Zhane knows...

* * *
The sun had already set upon Angel Grove, and Carlos rubbed his hands to get warm before stepping into another store. "It's a good thing that TJ and I left at exactly six." He looked back at the clock that was hanging proudly off of a wall in the square. 6:30pm.

Desperately wishing for a sweatshirt, Carlos looked around in the sports store before stopping abruptly. "Whoa..." Right in front of him was the best looking soccer ball he had seen since the one he used to have. After Tankenstein had attacked him during a soccer game, he had lost his ball, and he was in desperate need of one. No way, Carlos. You're here to shop for others.

Still, holding the ball was too much of a temptation, and he took it out of the metal container that had been holding it along with about ten other balls that looked exactly the same. Throwing it up in the air a few times to get a feel for it, Carlos chuckled and began to spin the ball on his finger. "Man, all of a sudden I'm in the mood for a big soccer game! Andros, TJ, Zhane, and me versus the girls." He laughed at the thought before shaking his head. Why did he think Ashley would oppose to that idea?

Still twirling the ball on his finger, he was unprepared for the man that suddenly bumped into him from out of nowhere. The force of the blow knocked him over and sent the ball flying out of his hands. It took a few moments for him to get his bearings back, and when he did Carlos was stunned to find two rather angry salesmen holding up a broken glass sports cup. "I hope you intend on paying for that."

"Well, some guy knocked me over!" Carlos argued. "This wasn't my fault!" Looking around, however, he found the man that had bumped into him was gone. "Damn it..." Sticking his hand into his pocket, he pulled out fifteen dollars and paid for the cup before angrily moving towards the exit of the store in a huff.

Laughing, one of the salesmen called back to him. "Have a Merry Christmas, Sir!"

Carlos glanced back at him, fist clenched, before growling, "Bah Humbug." As the two salesmen continued to chuckle, he wished desperately that he could call for his ranger powers and kill them, but, knowing that he couldn't, he did the next best thing...Carlos gave them a nice view of his middle finger.

Meanwhile, TJ, shopping bags in hand, smiled to himself. Unlike Carlos and a lot of other guys, he didn't mind shopping. It wasn't like he enjoyed doing it, but if he had to he had to, and since Angel Grove Mall was outdoors it allowed him to get some fresh air. That night, however, it was cold, but he didn't let the wind or the darkness get him down.

After working all day on the Megaship, he felt that he had deserved the chance to get out, even if it was to go shopping for Christmas gifts. It was enjoyable to picture the looks of surprise on his friends' faces when he and Carlos handed out their gifts the next morning. Honestly, he didn't care if no one bought things for him. He was just glad that he would be spreading some holiday cheer at a must needed time.

Walking up to the gift wrap booth, TJ was about to put his stuff of the table when a hand fell on his shoulder. Turning around, he saw a young black-haired guard frowning at him. TJ grinned at the man, knowing that not even this disruption was going to get him down. "Is there a problem?"

"There's a line, Sir," the guard said sternly. "Some people have accused you of cutting."

TJ chuckled to himself. "Oh, I must not have seen the line. Where does it end?"

The guard eyed him dubiously. "You MISSED the line? It's pretty hard to miss." After saying this, he pointed behind him. TJ gasped in wonder. The line stretched all the way to the other side of the square! Come on! There can't be this many wrapping slackies! I thought I was the only one!

"Um, I'm sorry...maybe my subconscious was trying to ignore it," TJ said with an apologetic grin. Though his bright mood was beginning to fade, he told himself strongly that he was going to stay in the holiday spirit if it killed him before beginning the long walk to the end of the wrapping line.

* * *
By this time, Zhane was about ready to go up to the guarding police officers around the mall and beg them to tell him what this Christmas thing was. He had heard the word at least twenty times since he had finished helping the old woman with her packages, and it was beginning to bug him.

Go back to the Megaship... a little voice in his head told him. You're cold, hungry, tired... but he knew that Andros didn't want him back. Besides, Zhane refused to rest until he had figured out what Christmas was, and why people were going crazy buying gifts.

All of a sudden, he heard a soft female voice in his ear. It was small at first, but when he walked further away from the exit of the mall the voice got stronger. Rounding a corner, he ducked behind a large plant before he could be seen by a whole line of children who were screaming, laughing, and whimpering in a line much larger than he could ever hope to counting.

Squinting, Zhane attempted to see where this line ended, and he found that it led to a big chair where an obese man in a large red suit with a long white beard was letting the children sit on his lap and tell him things that the Silver Ranger couldn't make out. I thought some of the sports on Earth were strange...and now I find a whole bunch of kids eager to sit on some fat man's lap!? What kind of a planet is this!?

"It's wonderful how they do this every year, isn't it?" A woman asked from behind him. Turning around, Zhane found himself facing an African American woman with curly dark brown hair. Dressed in black dress pants and a yellow jacket, she looked radiant in the night air, but Zhane was too depressed with thoughts of the woman he was in love with to see this beauty. "The kids enjoy it."

Zhane bit his lip with frustration. How was it that everyone knew what the hell these kids were doing except for him!? Obviously noticing this discomfort, the woman frowned. "Is something wrong? You look a little sick. Then again, the flu is going around this year."

Gazing at her, the Silver Ranger was overcome with the urge to ask her what these people were doing...why was everyone so happy? Who was the big guy in the red suit? What was Christmas? "Um, do you mind if I confess something to you?"

Obviously not having expected this, the woman took a small step back. "Go ahead." Zhane could tell that she was becoming wary. Good for her. She was a smart woman. "What is it?"

"I, um, I'm having a bit of a memory lapse," Zhane lied, surprised by how easy it was to do so. Then again, he had been covering up the emotional pain he had been going through ever since he had woken up. "There was an accident I was involved in, and I can't recall very much anymore. I haven't really been able to since I woke up." Well, it was kinda true. He had been injured...he had just woken up...but these were memories that he knew he had never had.

"The reason I'm out here tonight is to try and remember something about Christmas...I'm afraid I'm not a spreader of holiday cheer today..." Well, he had heard the phrase 'holiday cheer' used a few times. Zhane prayed that he had used it right.

The wall around the woman broke down at this, and she put a hand on his arm. "What are you doing here alone!? If you just woke up from a coma, the cold could do you some serious damage!" Leading him away from the children and down a barren set of stairs overlooking the main square, she sat down and motioned for him to do so, which he did. "Now, I hope that wasn't just a pick up line because I assure you that I have a wonderful boyfriend."

Zhane sighed. "I do...or did...have a beautiful girlfriend. It wasn't a pick up." Resting his chin on his palm, he closed his eyes and breathed in the cold night air. "You must be shopping or something, so I won't keep you."

"Can I help at all?" The woman asked worriedly. The Silver Ranger could easily tell that she was very compassionate in that she was concerned about his well being after knowing him for less than five minutes. "Are you going to be picked up by someone?"

Shaking his head, Zhane responded, "No. I, um, I'm driving myself." At her dubious expression, Zhane smiled. "It's not full amnesia. I can still remember basic functions like driving." Full amnesia...it's a good thing I found out something about Earth disorders from TJ... He put out his hand. "I'm Zhane, by the way."

Taking his hand, the woman grinned, though Zhane could tell that there was still worry in her expression. "It's nice to meet you. I'm Tanya."

"Could you just explain one thing to me, Tanya?" Zhane asked softly, shivering as a wind flew past. At her nod, he rubbed his arms and did his best not to sound idiotic. "As I said, I can't remember this holiday. What is it all about? Being here...it's strange because everyone is so happy, and I can't be because I don't remember anything."

Tanya sighed, not having known that talking to the stranger was going to lead to a discussion about Christmas. Personally, she didn't even celebrate it, but she knew that it was important to know about all religions. "Well, Zhane, officially Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. People celebrate it every December 25th by buying presents for loved ones and opening them. It reminds people of how lucky they are.

"Now, that guy out there in the funny suit was Santa Claus. He's a child's description of Christmas. Children believe that when you tell Santa what you want to get, he will come to your house on a sled drawn by reindeer and give it to you," Tanya finished. She looked into Zhane's eyes for any sign that she had gotten through to him, and what she saw was ten times greater. There was an expression of amazed wonder on his face.

Opening her mouth to say more, Tanya turned around as someone called her name. Looking down, she sighed as she saw her best friend, Katherine Hilliard, waiting for her in her black mini-skirt and pink fleece jacket.

Motioning towards her, Tanya frowned. "That's my friend Kat, Zhane. Do you want me to tell her to wait for a bit? I feel weird leaving you alone."

Zhane looked at her, and the former Yellow Ranger was surprised to find that he was close to tears. "I can't ask that of you, Tanya, but you've helped me more than you could know. Thank you." Not knowing what else to do, Tanya touched his cheek softly before saying goodbye and walking down to meet Kat.

The former Pink Ranger glanced up at the man with the blond hair before smiling playfully. "Hey, Tanya, I thought you were still with Adam!"

"Knock it off," Tanya said darkly, turning back to Zhane one last time. He waved at her, and she waved back cautiously before gazing at Kat. "His name is Zhane. I met him near the place where Santa is. Kat, I feel so strange leaving him alone. The guy just woke up from a coma, and he barely remembers anything. I just explained the meaning of Christmas to him."

Kat stared at her in shock. "What? He woke up from a coma and he's here alone!?" Turning around, the two gasped as they saw that he was no longer there. "Did he seem stable? I mean, was he going to pass out or something? Was he delirious?"

Tanya shook her head. "No, but after I told him the meaning of Christmas he looked like he was going to break out into tears." Glancing back once more at the spot where she had just been sitting with the amnesia-ridden man, Tanya sighed, knowing that she had to trust his judgment in taking care of himself. Continuing on with Kat, neither were aware that Tanya had just been talking to the Silver Ranger who everyone had been talking about ever since the huge battle on Earth.

* * *
TJ's muscular form shook as another strong wind blew by. He glanced up at the cloudy black sky before sighing. It could snow...as it is, I'm freezing! Rubbing his arms, he tried to look over the heads of the remaining people ahead of him. I can't believe it! This line has barely moved! I'm not even halfway there! The person behind him coughed making him jump. No, TJ, you promised yourself that you would stay in a good mood this whole time...nice and cheerful...

Meanwhile, Cassie had just returned to her car after purchasing all that she had needed to buy. She glanced at her watch before sighing. "Where the hell is Ash? We agreed to meet at seven! Well, she'd better hurry up or I'm leaving." Stuffing everything in the trunk, she climbed into the driver's seat and put her head on the steering wheel, trying to tell herself that she was really going to be happy that she had gone out tomorrow even if she wasn't at that moment.

* * *
Zhane leaned against the wall overlooking all of the children going to see Santa, feeling tears threaten to spill from his eyes. Now he knew why everyone was so happy, and he knew who the big guy was. What Zhane didn't know was why he wasn't feeling the same joy. Was it that he felt unwanted by everyone on the Megaship...it wasn't like he wanted or expected to get anything on Christmas morning like Tanya had described. To hear Andros or any of the other rangers say "Hey, Zhane. Thanks for being here when I needed you." or "Zhane, it's been nice having you around. I'd miss you if you left." the next morning would mean just as much. Then again, they probably couldn't say those things because it wouldn't be true. He wasn't always there for the other rangers, and they still probably all hated him for pretending to be dying that one day close to when he had first woken up from his hyper sleep.

Stepping closer to the big man, or Santa Claus as Tanya had called him, Zhane gazed at a young blond-haired girl in a burgundy dress as she excitedly sat on his lap. Her cheeks were rosy from the cold, but this only made her look more cherubic. "Merry Christmas!" Santa greeted her happily as he put his arms comfortingly around the child. "What do you want from Santa this year?"

"I want a Barbie and beanie babies!" The girl exclaimed with joy, and Santa laughed with glee at her innocent happiness as did the girl's proud mother and father. Zhane smiled at the scene warmly. Truly, they had a reason to be proud. The child was gorgeous. A little angel.

Santa told her that he'd do his best, and then he handed the girl some strange shaped edible thing which the child sucked on happily and thanked him for before kissing his cheek and saying with a kindness that made Zhane's eyes water that she loved him. This was one of two times that Zhane had ever wished to have a little daughter or son that he could love when no one was there for him. The other had been during a battle on KO-35 when Kinwon had been spending quality time with his two sons and three daughters. That man was blessed Zhane thought to himself.

As the girl jumped off of Santa's lap reluctantly and walked away with her two parents, she turned back briefly and called out, "Bye, Santa! I'll see you next year!"

Her voice, though high-pitched and choppy, was so full of love and trust in her belief of this mystical Santa Clause that Zhane had no choice but to walk quickly away from the site until he reached the stairs leading toward the exit of the mall. Sitting down on them, he curled up as much as he could and cried softly, doing his best to hold in his full emotion. I wish someone loved me like that...what have I ever done wrong to deserve having no one to love?

Zhane's thoughts quickly turned to Karone, but he pushed her out of his mind, telling himself with frustration that she would never be his...he owed it to Andros to obey his orders. Andros had, after all, saved his life. The least he could do was leave his sister alone.

All of a sudden, the Silver Ranger felt a hand fall on his shoulder and, looking up, he saw a man with dark brown hair standing behind him in a black leather jacket and blue jeans. The concern on his face was evident as he stared down at his tear-stained face. "Are you ok, Man? What happened to you?"

"I, um, I--" Cutting off, he rubbed his eyes before softly continuing, "I'm fine. Perfectly fine." Yeah, Zhane...like he'll believe that...

A voice came from behind them, nearly making the Silver Ranger go into cardiac arrest. "Hey, Bro, how many times have you heard that excuse before?" Turning around, Zhane saw another man, this one wearing a white sports jacket and black pants. His long brown hair was put up in a ponytail. This is just getting weirder and weirder... This man walked over to him and sighed. "I've tried that one too many times. It's not going to work on him or me."

Zhane sighed before slowly standing to his feet. Hearing a giggle from behind him, he thought of the little girl and what Tanya had told him before smiling faintly. "Thank you for your concern, but I-I'm just a little confused right now. It's something I need to work out by myself."

The short-haired man regarded him for a moment before looking down at Zhane's left wrist. He smiled at what he found. "Hey, Tommy, pick a color."

Hearing this, Tommy grinned playfully and looked Zhane over. "He's wearing black pants, but Adam said that Carlos is the Black Ranger." Continuing to scan the stranger, he sighed. "White shirt underneath, but there is no White Ranger now."

"Um, what are you guys talking about?" Zhane asked frantically, wondering how the two could have figured out that he was a ranger. He quieted as Tommy motioned for him to do so.

The other man smiled, glad that the ranger had followed his orders. "Well, there's one obvious choice left." The two nodded and simultaneously exclaimed, "Silver!" They laughed, pleased by their accurate analysis.

Zhane attempted to pull away from the two, but they wouldn't allow it. For a moment, he considered the idea that these were the Psycho Rangers reincarnated. "Who are you guys?"

"I'm Tommy Oliver," Tommy told him with a smile before motioning to his friend, "and this is Jason Scott." Seeing that the Silver Ranger still looked panicked, he sighed. "We're both former rangers. Don't give yourself a heart attack."

Letting out the air that he had been holding in, Zhane groaned. "Please don't do that to me. I'm really jumpy when it comes to ranger business." Former Rangers? It would have been nice for the others to tell me who the former rangers were so I wouldn't be freaked out of my mind if they approached me...

Jason nodded in understanding as he put a hand through his brown hair. "Don't worry about it. So were we. Just a bit of advice...make sure your communicator is covered at all times." Looking down at his wrist, Zhane shrugged as he saw the communicator TJ had recently given him sticking out from underneath his gray sweatshirt.

"So, Silver Ranger, why were you crying?" Tommy asked, getting back on topic again. If a ranger was crying it was usually serious, though Tommy had never seen this guy before. He had seen the leader...Andros or whatever Adam had said his name was. The Silver Ranger was rather new.

Zhane shrugged, not sure if he wanted to share his problems yet. "My name is Zhane. Um, if you must know, I'm not from Earth."

Bingo! "I guess seeing all of us happy as ever is getting on your nerves," Tommy said, having no way of knowing just how close to the problem he was. Zhane stared at him in shock, and Tommy immediately knew that his words had gotten close to the real deal. "Spill it. Come on...ranger to ranger to ranger." He glanced at Jason who made an exasperated face at him.

"Well, I just talked to this woman named Tanya, and she told me the true meaning of Christmas," Zhane explained, knowing that the two weren't going to let him go until he told them what was wrong. "Before I came here, I got into a fight with my best friend...I guess I'm feeling kinda unwanted."

Both Tommy and Jason pondered this for a moment. Tommy's eyes brightened. "Tanya Sloan? You know what, Bro? She was going to be shopping here with Kat! I wonder what she got me!"

The Former Red Ranger rolled his eyes before turning back towards Zhane. "You know what? We were about to do our Christmas shopping now. It's kinda last minute, but we'll take you around if you want to pick up some stuff." He glanced at his best friend for approval.

Tommy nodded, showing his agreement. "Yeah. The more the merrier. Come on, Zhane. You can't say no on Christmas Eve." They gazed at the Silver Ranger with bright eyes that reminded Zhane greatly of every other person he'd seen that day.

"Well, I guess I can't say no to that," Zhane said with a small smile. "Where to?"

Jason grinned, pleased by the fact that the Silver Ranger was beginning to look a little happier. "You tell us. We're following you." Zhane nodded slowly and walked in front of the Former Rangers towards the main square, completely missing the two winking at each other.

* * *
Ashley, with bags hanging off of nearly every inch of her body, looked up at the clock in the middle of the square, gasping as she saw that it was almost eight. "Damn it! I was supposed to be back an hour ago! Cassie is going to kill me!"

Turning around, she ran as fast as she could into another store, nearly knocking five people over like bowling pins as she entered, before rushing to the back of the store and picking out something for the next person on her list, praying to God that Cassie wouldn't kill her.

Carlos, meanwhile, was looking around the square desperately for TJ. "We were supposed to meet up an hour ago to finish our shopping, but I have no clue where he is," he thought aloud. "What am I going to do now?"

What he didn't know was that TJ was closer than he thought...in fact, he was still in the wrapping line right behind him. Clutching his arms even tighter, TJ wondered how much longer it would be until they froze. The person behind him coughed again, and he jumped. Calming himself, he wished that he had his Astro Ax so that he could stop that damn person from coughing anymore. All thoughts of staying in a good mood were gone. Looking around, he sighed. Where was Carlos anyway? They were supposed to meet...

* * *
Andros stared at the teleportational tubes in the recreation room, wondering why they seemed so interesting. Of course, he knew the reason...hopefully Zhane was going to return home in that room any second so they could settle what had happened earlier that day and he needed an excuse to stay in that room.

Hearing footsteps behind him, Andros turned to see Alpha standing there, the red lights that it used for scanners flashing as fast as ever. "Should we contact him?"

"I don't know where he is, Alpha," Andros said in opposition as he turned back towards the teleportational holes. "Zhane might be around a lot of people. Believe me, I would have tried earlier."

Slamming his right fist into his left palm, he moved past Alpha and entered the transporter, traveling to Megadeck two. Getting out, he walked down the hallway and silently opened the door leading to Karone's room. He found his sister sleeping peacefully on her cot with a piece of paper clutched tightly in her hands. Entering despite the fact that his instincts went against this action, Andros gazed down at her dreaming form and saw for the millionth time just what a knock out she was. How was it possible for Zhane NOT to have fallen in love with her?

He glanced down at the paper in her hands before taking in a shaky breath and turning around. "It's true..." he whispered to himself before leaving the room again, never having felt more rotten in his whole life. This was the first time he had ever seen the secret picture of Zhane that his sister carried...

Walking into his room, Andros sat down on his cot before stretching out and closing his eyes. He let the memories from long ago flood his mind so that he could forget the current situation. In a dreamy haze, Andros was barely able to make out a scene from his past...a very important scene:

"I'm talking forever. No kidding. Really!"

"Why not? You and I will prove it."

"We'll vow to fight as a team forever, right?"


Alpha, who had cautiously followed behind the Red Ranger, looked into his room and sighed at what it saw before closing the door. It always hurt to see him cry, even if it was in a dream...

* * *
A bell chimed in the middle of Angel Grove Mall. By this time, the temperature had fallen and was barely in the twenties, considerably cooling anyone who still dared to be out. Ashley stared in horror at the clock before running as fast as she could across the mall...

...only to find herself faced with a locked door. "No!" She shouted in terror, banging on the door like a person begging for sanctuary in a church. "You can't close on me! This is the last store I needed to go to!"

The pot-bellied gray-haired man inside pointed towards the 'closed' sign on the door before stepping towards the back of the store and fixing a few things on racks. Ashley shook her head, suddenly heated immeasurably by rage, before banging again. "Hey, whatever happened to the Christmas Spirit!?" As the man continued to ignore her, she kicked the door. "Whatever happened to peace on Earth!?"

Seeing the man turn to her, roll his eyes, and go back to what he was doing, she growled angrily at him, unable to control her rarely ever seen temper. "Well, Merry Christmas to you, too, you fucking bastard! My friend is going to be devastated when I don't have her present, but that's what a blood-sucking gnome like you thrives on, right!? You want me to bring my crying friend over to see you tomorrow!? Stupid asshole! Why can't you just let me in for five minutes!? I already know what I want!" The man just sighed and continued fixing his rack.

Meanwhile, TJ sighed with relief. The guy behind him, complaining about noisy lines, had left and there was no one else behind him. He was the last one in line, and he had finally reached the wrapping booth. When TJ was about to put his stuff up, however, the person behind it put up the 'closed' sign. Gasping with disbelief, he banged on the window. "Oh, no, no, no! You are not going to close this window on me! Do you have any idea how long I've been waiting in this fucking line!?"

"Let's be nice, Sir," the woman inside said dully. "It is Christmas Eve, after all."

TJ's eyes widened, and he laughed incredulously. "Nice!? You want me to be nice!? I have been waiting on this line forever! It's been at least two hours! Some guy behind me has most likely given me pneumonia or something like that, I can't find my best friend, and when I finally reach you, you're closed! Don't tell me to be nice! I've tried being nice, but no! I'm through being nice, ok!? Fuck being nice!"

As people began to file out, Carlos looked around, not able to help but think that TJ had left him. He had been searching for the Blue Ranger for what seemed like hours! "I can't believe he left me! God!"

In her car, Cassie tapped the steering wheel impatiently before groaning. "That's it! She's kept me waiting for too long! I've been here for two hours, and I'm not waiting any longer!" Turning on the car, the radio flipped on, and she found herself hearing the beginning of one of her favorite Christmas carols: "O Holy Night."

O holy night.
The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night
Of our dear Savior's birth.
Looking out her window, she watched as a few stars twinkled in sync with the music before sighing. "Stupid holiday cheer."

TJ, meanwhile, was about to keep yelling at the person behind the window when the carolers singing in the square caught his ear.

Long lay the world
In sin and error pining.
Till He appeared
And the soul felt its worth.
Looking at the carolers, he saw that they were both young and old. Meek and the bold he thought ironically to himself before gazing at the woman behind the window who was staring at him through half-closed eyes, her blond bun beginning to fall out. She truly was a sight for sore eyes, and TJ saw for the first time how tired she was, and how much she must want to return to her family.
The thrill of hope.
The weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn.
Ashley turned around as she heard the carolers singing before gazing at the man inside the shop one more time. Closing her eyes, she sighed. "Look, I'm sorry. You've been here for a long time, and you deserve to go home. I'm sorry for bothering you, and I'm sure I'll have something of mine that I can give to my friend." The man in the store stared at her for a moment as she stood listening to the carolers but said nothing.
Fall on your knees.
O hear the angels' voices.
O night divine.
O night when Christ was born.
Carlos watched as the square emptied out before listening as the carolers' song traveled throughout the barren area. A breeze went through the naked trees, and, gazing at the stores whose lights were beginning to go out, he squinted at someone he saw in the distance before smiling brightly. "TJ!"
O night divine.
O night
O night divine.
Turning around, TJ let out a sigh of relief as he saw who had called to him. "Carlos! You idiot! I thought you had left me here!"

"I thought you had left me here, too!" Carlos yelled, running to his side. Clasping hands with the Blue Ranger, he glanced at the woman behind the window before gazing at the bags that TJ was holding. "No wrapping service?"

"Nah, but it's not a big deal," TJ told him with a sad smile. "I was waiting on the line for more than two hours, but I guess we can stop somewhere and pick up some paper."

Carlos leaned towards him and whispered, "Maybe the synthetron could make some." Hearing this, TJ laughed at the thought of edible wrapping paper. The woman behind the window watched this with a growing awareness of what was going on around her.

The thrill of hope.
The weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn.
Ashley had just begun to walk away from the store when she heard a few bolts snap behind her. Turning around, she grinned in disbelief as she saw the man was holding the door open for her. "Five minutes," he said sternly, his eyes narrowed, "and no more than that. If you aren't out in five minutes, I'm locking you in. Got it?"

"Yes!" Ashley exclaimed, sprinting into the store. Stopping in front of the man, she touched his shoulder in thanks. "You have no idea how much this means to me!"

"Whatever," the man murmured, and Ashley continued inside towards the area where she knew her present for Karone was going to be found. Moving quickly, she missed the man smiling and shaking his head at her before rubbing his neck and getting behind the cash register.

Fall on your knees.
O hear the angels' voices.
O night divine.
O night when Christ was born.
Tommy patted Zhane on the back, surprised by how much he was enjoying the company of the Silver Ranger. "Great shopping, Zhane. You did a lot in a hurry! I was running to keep up with you!" Hearing the carolers faintly, he turned back towards the mall and took in a deep breath of the cool night air before facing the others again.

"Which isn't saying much," Jason muttered which earned a slap on the shoulder from his best friend followed by a mocking glare. Reaching Tommy's white jeep in the parking lot, the two Former Rangers turned to Zhane. "So, what are your plans now?" Jason asked. "Are you going to the Power Chamber?"

Zhane looked at him blankly for a moment before shrugging. "I've never heard of a Power Chamber, but I'm supposed to be going to the Megaship right now."

Tommy frowned, pushing the Power Chamber thing out of his mind for the time being. "What do you mean 'supposed to be'?"

"Guys, I can't face Andros tonight," Zhane told them wearily, leaning against the car. "As to what I'm going to do, I don't know. Maybe I'll stay in Angel Grove Park--"

"Angel Grove Park!?" Tommy stared at him incredulously before shaking his head and putting a hand on his arm. "No way. I have a little extra room in my apartment. We're having a guys night in. You, me, Jase, and Adam. Shit, and we're late, too!"

Jason smirked. "What else is new?" As Tommy sighed with annoyance, the Former Red Ranger shrugged before smiling at Zhane. "That's right. We'll make Adam sleep on the floor. He won't mind. When Rocky stayed over last time, Adam slept on the floor." Seeing that he wasn't going to be able to get out of this, Zhane grinned faintly and got into Tommy's jeep.

Climbing behind the wheel, Tommy started the car and, as Christmas music came on, he smiled. "Ah, an old fashion sing-a-long!"

"Oh, God!" Jason covered his ears. "Quick, Zhane, protect yourself!" Tommy narrowed his eyes at him before tapping the wheel in rhythm as they drove away from the mall and towards Angel Grove Heights where Tommy's apartment was located.

O night divine.
O night.
O night divine.
TJ and Carlos had begun to walk away when the woman behind the window called to them. "Ok, Guys, wait up."

"Yeah?" TJ asked, coming towards her again. "Did I forget something?" Wordlessly, the woman opened the window and took his bags from him, pulling out a fresh role of wrapping paper.

At their questioning glances, the woman grinned happily. "I decided to be nice. Merry Christmas." As Carlos rubbed his chin in thought, TJ grinned proudly and folded his arms over his chest, knowing that he had triumphed.

O night
When Christ was born.
O night.
O night divine.
* * *
Opening the door to his dark apartment, Tommy was unprepared for the force that drove him against the wall, making him nearly drop everything that he was holding. Gazing at the person in front of him, he heard the man's deep voice. "What took you so long? I was getting antsy."

"Wow," Jason muttered as he entered the apartment, saw Tommy's position, and threw his leather jacket on the ground. "Tell him to give it to you, Baby."

"Nice and hard, Adam. You know what I like," Tommy muttered playfully as he pushed the former Black Ranger off of him. Smiling, he sighed. "Yeah, I know we're late--"

Adam Park shrugged. "That's why I took your spare keys. You're never home when I come. I plan on keeping them, by the way. Wait up for me."

Tommy sighed and motioned to Zhane who was staring at them in awe. "We have company, Pervert. Adam, meet Zhane the Power Ranger. Zhane, meet Adam, the former Black Ranger, Green Ranger, and present male slut."

"You're funny," Adam muttered and, turning to Zhane, he held out his hand. "Silver Ranger?" At Zhane's amazed nod, he shrugged. "The outfit gives it away. Then again, doesn't mine?" The three men looked down to see that he was wearing black jeans with a green Nike sweatshirt. "Some things never change, I suppose. It's out of habit."

Moving over to the green couch in the middle of the apartment, Adam plopped on it and turned on the TV. "So, what are sleeping arrangements? Well, for you three. I suppose I have the floor."

"Nah, I'm going to make Jason take the floor," Tommy told him, chuckling as his best friend shoved him in protest. "Fine, fine. Do you guys really want me to take the floor?" Adam and Jason both nodded.

Zhane took a step forward, deciding that since it was his decision to stay with the former rangers that he might as well be social. "I'll take the floor since I'm the unexpected arrival."

Tommy shot a lopsided grin at him. "Forget it, Zhane. I get to sleep on the bed every day except when I have company."

"Besides, when we're stumbling around trying to find the bathroom we get to trip over him," Adam added earning a smirk from Jason. Even Zhane couldn't help but chuckle as Tommy sneered at them before jumping on the couch, landing squarely on Adam who yelped in surprise and nearly fell off.

Zhane looked around before glancing at Tommy. "Do you have anything edible?"

Jason shrugged, deciding to try his hand at the question. "We're pretty sure that the rug is, but you can try that out." As Zhane continued to stare at him, he sighed. "Well, Guys, I just determined that I am not funny to people of other planets."

"Who said you're funny on this one?" Tommy asked. Adam nodded in agreement as Zhane smirked. "Anyway, Bro, go get the Silver Ranger some food. If you don't, he might blast you with his Laser Pistol."

"Huh?" Zhane looked at him, trying to figure out what a Laser Pistol was. Tommy just shrugged and flipped the TV on, acknowledging the fact that he didn't know as much about rangering as he used to. He had kept watching the rangers in action for a few months, but after awhile it was the same old thing and he had gotten bored with it. Tommy briefly wondered how Bulk and Skull could have kept up their interest in finding out who they were for all those years.

Adam stole the remote from him and changed the channel before sighing. "Hey, Tommy, what are we watching tonight anyway?"

The Former White Ranger shrugged. "Who knows? What's on Christmas Eve besides nonstop repeats of that Chevy Chase movie where he lights the house up with a million lights?"

"That was a funny movie!" Adam protested, and he started searching the channels for it making Tommy sigh and move the Former Black Ranger's feet out of his face. Switching positions, he took off his jacket and, now is a white tank top, draped the jacket over his upper body before kicking his shoes off. They barely sailed over Adam's head, and he kicked Tommy in warning before continuing to flip the channels.

At that moment, Zhane and Jason returned from the kitchen. While the Silver Ranger held a bowl of popcorn in his hands, Jason had come out with a bag of Oreos. At Tommy's questioning glance, Jason shrugged. "What? You can't go anywhere without Oreos. Oh, and I've seen that Chevy Chase movie. I remember one year before you guys moved here, Kim's mom decorated the house somewhat like that. Billy went over with his sunglasses to see if there was any radiation coming from it, and I had to go fix the wires after it blew out the whole block's electricity."

Adam laughed at this before silencing suddenly. He closed his eyes and quietly murmured, "I miss them. Kim and Billy...fighting together forms some deep bonds. I never wanted them to break, and I feel like they have."

Shutting off the TV, Jason nodded slowly. "When was the last time we saw Billy? He was aging, and they took him to Aquitar. That was so long ago. We haven't talked to him in...more than a year..." His voice trailed off, and the room became deathly quiet.

Tommy was going to get on not seeing Kim, but he knew this wasn't necessary. They were going to be seeing Kim the next day along with Kat, Tanya, Rocky, who had finally gotten some time off from the dojo, and Rocky's girlfriend, Jason's ex Emily. You would think that things would be sore between the two, but they really weren't because Jason was going out with Kim.

Tommy smiled, remember how upset he had been after the Muranthias incident when Jason told him about his relationship with his ex. The Former White Ranger had been so angry that he had almost shot him with his Auto Blaster...no kidding, he really had almost shot him with his Auto Blaster, but at the last minute Tommy had decided against it. Chasing him around with the gun had been enough for him to let out his anger, and he realized that he was with Kat, he loved Kat, and since he loved Jason and Kim that he should be happy for them. It was the same with Jason and Rocky concerning Emily.

"Penny for your thoughts, Bro?" Tommy's thoughtful expression had caught Jason off guard. Besides, he knew that someone needed to break the uncomfortable silence.

Snapping out of his pensive state, Tommy glanced at his best friend and smiled. "I was just thinking about that time I chased you around with my Auto Blaster."

As Jason groaned, Adam snickered. "I remember that! Sorry Jason, but it was kinda funny. For a couple of minutes, I really thought Tommy was going to kill you!" Seeing that Zhane was not understanding what they were talking about, Adam decided to include him in the memory. "Jason is going out with a girl that Tommy dated for a long time. When he first found out that they were together, he was really pissed off and, in a rage, he called for his Turbo Auto Blaster and chased him around Angel Grove Lake threatening to shoot him...but now everything is ok and they love each other as much as ever." He glanced at Jason and Tommy who were glaring at each other.

Zhane frowned, not quite comprehending what he was saying. "What's an Auto Blaster? Is it like an Astro Blaster?"

"Pretty much," Tommy told him. Thinking for a moment, he took an oreo from Jason's pack. "That last battle was remarkable. I mean, there were Piranatrons everywhere!" As Jason stared at him spitefully, he ate the oreo before quietly murmuring, "You know I didn't mean it like that..."

The Former Red Ranger sighed, his momentary anger forgotten. "Sorry...it's just, well, I feel bad about what happened to Trini. She was burned pretty badly by that Cog's eyes."

Fidgeting uncomfortably, Zhane glanced at him. "I'm sorry...we tried..."

"...and you won!" Adam exclaimed, cutting him off. "The rangers could never be everywhere at once. Villains like to divide and conquer, and you didn't let them do that to you. Yes, people got hurt, but there were very little casualties considering how large this war was! You guys beat Astronema and the forces of that Dark Specter guy!" He knew that Trini Kwan was one of Jason's best friends. She was one of Tommy's, too, but the former Yellow Ranger hadn't been killed. Zack Taylor, in New York, had even called after the battle and told them that she was expected to make a full recovery!

Jason nodded, the temporary heat between himself and the Silver Ranger gone. "That's right! Hey, um, none of you were hurt, right? Everyone's ok?"

Tommy glanced at Zhane intently. "Yeah...how's TJ? Is Carlos ok? What about Cassie and Ashley?" He grinned with amusement as he saw the Silver Ranger's shock. "TJ, Carlos, Cassie, and Ashley were Turbo Rangers before they became Astro Rangers. I handed my Turbo Powers down to TJ, and Adam gave his Turbo Powers to Carlos."

"Everyone's fine," Zhane told him. Well, physically, anyway. "We're all recuperating. Astronema was really Andros' sister, Karone, and so she's living with us on the Megaship now. Still, there's been a damper on the celebration..."

Adam frowned, not sure what he was trying to say. "What?" The thought that any of the rangers were hurt made his heart ache.

Still, none of them were prepared for what Zhane told them next. "Zordon had to be sacrificed so that all evil in the Universe could be destroyed. Andros had no other choice but to destroy his energy tube and kill him so that all of us could live." A horrible silence descended over the room, and Adam quickly shut off the television. The Former Black Ranger gazed at Jason who's mouth was hanging open in shock. Zhane bit his lip in nervousness as he saw the Former White Ranger had closed his eyes and was clenching his fists as if holding in a rage that he knew he wouldn't be able to control.

Adam smiled weakly before looking back at the pale Silver Ranger. "We all do what we have to in order to survive. Andros must not have had any options left. Plus, Zordon always did care about us...well, he cared about the rangers, anyway. Him sacrificing himself for all good in the Universe...that's his style, don't you think? I can't come up with a more noble way for him to go." A tear fell from his eye, but he quickly wiped it away before putting a hand on Jason's shoulder. "I think what he did was very brave."

Jason gazed at Adam before sighing helplessly. He could still see that fateful day when Zordon had called him along with Kim, Billy, Zack, and Trini to the Command Center to become the Power Rangers in his mind. A bond had been formed between himself and the Eltarian Wizard during that first meeting. He had been not only a mentor, but a father and a brother, as well.

"Zordon always did what he had to do. When I was weakened by the Triphorian Gold Powers he did everything in his power to save my life...even risk the life of Trey. I'm going to miss knowing that he's blessing other rangers and his own people on Eltar in the same way, but he saved our lives...again...I do feel a little guilty."

Zhane nodded towards him before glancing at Tommy who still had his eyes closed and his fists clenched. Finally, the Former White Ranger's tension ended, and he opened his eyes only to have a few tears fall from them. Glancing at Jason, Tommy nodded in agreement before saying, "I wish...I wish I could have seen him one last time. You know, so I could have told him how much he meant to me. He was definitely like a father...always stubborn when it came to a ranger going into battle when they were too weak to do so." He laughed faintly at the memories of his days as the Green Ranger. "I...damn it, I loved him as much as I loved all of my friends on the team...in fact, sometimes I think I loved him more than that...Why did he have to do this?"

"Zordon loved you and Jason, Tommy," Adam said with a shaky grin. "You two were definitely his favorites...and I'm not kidding about that. Any of the other rangers would tell you the same thing. He always looked at you two differently than the rest of us, and when either of you were in danger he would do everything he could to save you...even do this. Can't you guys see that it wasn't just the Astro Rangers that factored into his decision? It was any ranger that he's ever mentored...the Alien Rangers, Trey, all of us, and I can definitely say that you two were on his mind as he made his choice."

Gazing at the former rangers who were all in tears by this point, Zhane sighed and cradled his head in his palm. "Everyone has memories of Zordon, but I don't. Even Andros has a million stories about him to tell. I wish I did...I wish there was something about him that made me feel the way you guys do now."

"There is," Jason said slowly, trying to control his emotion so that his words would come across clearly. "Think of what he did for you, Zhane. Zordon died so that you and the other rangers could keep fighting...he did it for all of us. Can you imagine the courageousness he had to be able to give his mortality for the Universe? We all have to die sometime, but Zordon did it saving us...he did it so that every ranger and fighter for justice could go home to their family and friends after fighting evil and say that Dark Specter's forces had finally been destroyed."

Sighing, Zhane gazed at the Former Red Ranger and nodded. Yes, Zordon had given him a lot. Not only had he saved the Universe from Dark Specter's command, but he had also given Andros the power to bring Karone back after she had been killed. Well, only so she could get mixed up with him and be plunged into chaos again. I'm such an idiot.

Continuing to stare at the three Former Rangers, he smiled. The amazing this is that, in their own way, they've been through the same things that I've been through. Jason's relationship wasn't thought highly of by Tommy, and they've all felt guilt of some sort before. As the three returned his grin, a remarkable thought crossed his mind. This is the first time since I woke up from my hyper sleep that I've felt comfortable...I feel like I belong...

* * *
With his bag of presents under his bunk, TJ peeled off his shirt and, bare-chested, he sat down on his cot and smiled. "You know, Carlos, after everything that happened today I think that I learned a whole lot about the Christmas Spirit."

Carlos glanced at him and nodded. "Yeah, me too, TJ. I mean, I did have to pay for a sports glass that I didn't mean to break, and I couldn't find you for two hours, but when I finally did I thought back on all that I had done, and I thought about how happy everyone is going to be tomorrow when they see what I got them."

"I was on that line for more than two hours, but the woman still wrapped my presents even though she wanted to get back to her own family and friends." TJ slipped on a blue flannel shirt and, in this and his boxers, he burrowed under his covers on the lower bunk and glanced up at the Black Ranger who was gazing down at him. "Well, goodnight, Carlos. Merry Early Christmas."

"To you, too, TJ," Carlos murmured. Closing his eyes, he rolled over and let thoughts of his friends and all he had done that day drag him into a peaceful sleep.

Meanwhile, Cassie and Ashley were together in the recreation room. Ashley grunted as she reached to put an angel ornament on a high part of the Christmas tree before stumbling over as Cassie reached to fix some of the small colored lights. "Ok, next year we're getting the tree a month in advance so we don't have to rush to do this."

Cassie sighed before continuing to reposition the lights. "Come on, Ashley. Look at all we've accomplished! Think of how happy the others are going to be when they come to have breakfast tomorrow!"

"That reminds me," Ashley said, her eyes bright. Reaching into the plastic bag by her feet, she lifted up a green plant with red ribbon and a bell on it. "Check this out! Mistletoe!"

"Ash, you're terrific!" Cassie breathed as she took it from her. "This is just the thing we needed to complete decorating the recreation room!" As Ashley continued putting ornaments on the tree, Cassie took one of the chairs from the dining table and brought it over to the door leading into the room. Standing on it, she put the mistletoe up before looking at the tree that she and Ashley had been decorating for the past hour. The others are going to be so surprised!

* * *
Andros put a hand through his blond and brown hair before gazing at Zhane who was looking out over the countryside of KO-35. It was a beautiful sight, with their sun making the lake nearby sparkle. All different sorts of animals ran through the fields as lovers made out in the forests. "I often wonder what I've done to deserve such a wonderful life. Look around you, Andros! No planet at all has a finer beauty than KO-35, and I have friends like you that I can annoy during battle!" A breeze rushed past, flowing through his blond hair.

"You wonder what you've done!?" Andros exclaimed with disbelief. "You're only one of the best warriors the Kerova system has ever seen, Zhane. Besides," he smiled, "you don't annoy me during battle. All you do is slightly disturb me."

Zhane laughed, his blue eyes glittering with amusement. "Well, you're one of the best warriors in the Kerova system, too." He pulled down on his black flight jacket before leaning back on the hill covered by green grass. After winning their last battle against Dark Specter, both he and Andros had decided to take advantage of this temporary lull in the action. "If you were a beautiful woman, I'd be so overcome with the beauty of KO-35 that I would kiss you until tomorrow's dawn." He closed his eyes momentarily as the sun fell on him, giving him a feeling of warmth and security...something he hadn't experienced in a long time.

Andros chuckled and humorously scooted to the side. "Don't scare me, Zhane. Besides, you with a woman!? You're a smart-assed bastard. Who would want you?"

"Oh, so you have been checking out my ass," Zhane said, smiling as Andros shoved him. "I know what you're saying, though. The idea of me getting with someone is slim to none."

"You don't know that for sure," Andros commented with a shrug. "Maybe you'll meet someone in time that you'll fall in love with and marry." He sighed and leaned back. "Did you see Kinwon with his kids today?"

Zhane nodded dreamily. "Yeah...whoever thought that Kinwon had kids? Still, I couldn't help but be jealous. He's a lucky guy to be loved like he is."

"Aww, he isn't that lucky," Andros muttered. Standing up, he brushed off his gray flight suit before straightening his red shirt. "We have each other. Come on, we're invincible! The unbeatable duo."

"I wouldn't go that far," Zhane said as he stood next to him and straightened his flight suit. "We're not unbeatable. We just have more power than most Kerovian warriors. Andros, we've gotten lucky more times than I can count, and I'm wondering how long our luck will last!" As Andros began to walk down the narrow path through the field and towards the Megaship, he followed behind.

Andros sighed and looked back at Zhane. "Well, then, there's only one thing for us to do." He smiled brightly. "We'll have to become fighting partners until we win this war between Kerova and Dark Specter or we die."

Zhane glanced at him skeptically. "Are you serious? As in, we always fight together?"

"Why not?" Andros questioned with his arms crossed over his chest. "As it is, we almost always fight together. I want to make it official. You and me always in the same squadron in the same position."

"What about Kinwon?" Zhane asked. Lowering his eyes, he frowned. "What about Tykwa? They won't approve. In fact, Kinwon always says that we accomplish more if we don't fight together."

Andros shrugged as if this news didn't faze him. "You know that's a lie, Zhane. If one of us is hurt, the other has his back. We destroy more enemy soldiers when fighting together. Come on! We'll show everyone that we mean what we say, and that we can win this war together."

Thinking about this for a few minutes, Zhane gazed at him and grinned widely. "Yeah, we'll win this war together."

"I'm talking forever," Andros told him seriously. As Zhane laughed with amusement, Andros smiled. "No kidding. Really!"

Zhane grinned at him, his expression bright. "Why not?" He laughed again, still not believing what he was getting himself into. "You and I will prove it!"

Turning to his best friend, Andros stared into his eyes. "We'll vow to fight as a team forever, right?"

In response, Zhane started their secret handshake which they had been doing ever since they had first met a few years earlier. "Always." Shaking his head, he chuckled. "Well, let's go tell Kinwon and Tykwa. Boy, will they be surprised."

Suddenly, the scenery changed from the peaceful time on the hill to the momentous fight in the heart of KO-35. The pained and frightened screams of Kerovian citizens rang through the ears of all fighters as they battled Dark Specter's troops. "This one's mine!" Andros called to Zhane and, in ranger form, he raised his Spiral Saber and charged the evil soldier.

"Andros!" Zhane called in fear as he saw his best friend fall to the ground after being struck by the soldier. Seeing the evil being raise his sword again, Zhane felt a pit form in his stomach. "No!"

Before he could truly realize what he was doing, he had jumped in front of Andros and blocked the blow that was meant for the Red Ranger. Andros watched this and froze in terror. "Andros, run!" Zhane screamed as he pushed the soldier away from his best friend.

The Red Ranger saw the sparks flying from both the Silver Ranger and the soldier, and he quickly stood and reached a hand out as they both fell. "Zhane! No!" The force of the explosion knocked him backwards, and it seemed as if time stopped for the Red Ranger.

Standing, Andros ran to the wreckage and gasped as he saw the Silver Ranger's hand popping out of the debris. "No!" Andros ran over to him and dug through the rubble, squeezing the unmoving hand in terror. "Zhane, you are going to be ok! Can you hear me!? Zhane!?"

"Andros..." the voice was faint,, and it made Andros' heart stop. "I'm sorry, Andros..."

"No, I'm sorry, Zhane," Andros said, clutching the Silver Ranger who was now free from the wreckage against him. "You're going to be ok, Zhane. Do you hear me? You're going to be ok."

Zhane laughed faintly, glancing down at the blood which was coming through his armor. "You always try to protect me, Andros. Every single time...are you hurt?"

Andros gaped at him in disbelief. "You stupid asshole! How can you ask me if I'm ok, damn it!? Look at you!"

"I'm sorry," Zhane said again, this time weaker than before. As Andros ripped his best friend's helmet off, the Silver Ranger smiled at him. "I'm sorry, Andros..."

"Stop it!" Andros yelled furiously at him. "You haven't done anything, Zhane! Hang in there, ok? I'm going to get you help! Kinwon and Tykwa will help you!" Zhane gazed at him for a moment before shivering closing his eyes. Becoming limp, he fell back on the ground.

Andros felt for his pulse before crying out in anguish as he found none. "No! Zhane, why did you do that!? Why!?"

"It was guilt," a soft female voice said from behind him. Turning around, Andros found that it was Karone, and his sister was crying as she gazed at Zhane's pale face. "I was the one who coaxed him into liking me. If only I hadn't gone after him...Zhane might still be with us!"

"I love you both, Karone," Andros argued weakly, feeling completely helpless. "You two belong together, and I-I never meant to cause you both so much pain." Glancing down at Zhane, he sighed. "I'm too late...Zhane, I'm sorry..."

As the scene turned to black, a horrible laughing assaulted his ears. Andros soon found himself floating over Dark Specter's hideous body. The monarch of evil cackled before muttering, "I can't believe you are still such a fool. Your anger towards Karone has allowed me to make her Astronema again, and with her Zhane has gone. We have revived him, and he is now a servant of evil!"

Andros stared in disbelief as his sister, now dressed in black leather with long black hair covered by silver lining and silver charms, appeared before him. "I hate you, Andros." The words pierced the Red Ranger like a million knives, and he put a hand on his head before stumbling as if having been delivered a powerful blow. "Silver Ranger...destroy the Power Rangers."

Next to Astronema a light fell onto the unmorphed Silver Ranger who was kissing the Queen of Evil's hand. Standing, he nodded towards the Red Ranger's sister before turning towards Andros. "Let's do this." He shook his head momentarily as if looking at his best friend caused some memory to stir within him, but this was quickly gone leaving him to gaze at Andros with spite. "Die, Red Ranger."

Zhane raised his Silverizer and went to slash Andros, but he was too quick and used his Saber to slash Zhane across the chest. Blood dripped from the wound, and this trickle picked up until it became a heavy flow. Looking down at it, Zhane froze and gazed at Andros with disbelief. "Why?"

Falling to his knees, Zhane put his hand over the bleeding wound, and a reality came to Andros that made him shiver with fright. He had cut Zhane right over the scar from the soldier on KO-35. "Zhane--" The Silver Ranger continued to gape at him before falling back and letting out one final breath.

Andros felt tears sting his eyes, and, turning to face Astronema again, he found that the scene had changed once again. Now, he was on the Dark Fortress and had his Spiral Saber raised above his head. A red light flashed from it and hit the red-haired Astronema. She gasped in amazement before falling to her knees. "Andros...you're my brother...why?" Falling over, she dropped her staff and became limp.

Running to her side, Andros touched her face with shaky hands. "Oh no! What have I done!? Karone, can you hear me? Karone...no!"

All of a sudden, he heard a deep voice full of agony behind him. "How could you? Your own sister...and your best friend!" Turning around, Andros found that it was Ecliptor, and the evil machine had knelt down next to Zhane's dead body and was shaking him with disbelief.

Andros looked at Zhane's pale face before gazing down at Karone who shadowed his best friend. "I'm so sorry...I loved you both!" Lifting his Astro Blaster, he pulled off his helmet to reveal his tear-stained face and puffy red eyes. Putting the blaster against his temple, he smiled faintly with quavering lips. "For Zhane...and Karone..."

Before he could pull the trigger, however, he was pushed down by a strong force. Looking up, Andros saw that Ecliptor was above him, and the green and black machine shook him mercilessly. "Andros!"

"Let me go!" Andros screamed at him. "Stop it!"

"Andros!" Ecliptor called again, and the Red Ranger felt himself black out and fall through nothingness. "Andros, can you hear me!?"

Opening his eyes, Andros found himself in his room gazing at Alpha who was shaking him. "Andros, you're awake!"

"God, Alpha," Andros murmured in between sobs. "I didn't know that was you at first. What are you doing here?"

"I was walking through the hall, and I heard you crying out in your sleep," Alpha explained, sensors beeping with concern. "Are you going to be ok?"

Andros nodded faintly. "I'll be ok, Alpha. It was just a horrible nightmare." That's one way of putting it... "Alpha, would it be ok if I go see Zhane? I want to talk to him about something."

Alpha fidgeted before softly saying, "It would be ok...if he was here." At Andros' frightful expression, Alpha sighed. "Zhane didn't come home today, Andros. Then again, you did tell him that you didn't want him on your ship. Maybe he went back to KO-35 or something like that."

The droid realized that this wasn't the right thing to say when Andros pounded his fist on the wall angrily. "Damn it! Why does he have to be so stubborn!?" Who's the stubborn one, Andros? Zhane? Really? Curling up on his bed, he cried into his sheets, barely noticing Alpha put its hand on his back and soothingly rub it. I hope Zhane is ok...if he isn't, I don't know what I'll do.

* * *
Tiptoeing past his bedroom which had been occupied, or stolen, by Adam and Jason, Tommy crept into his kitchen and, fishing blindly through his refrigerator, he pulled out a cold blueberry yogurt before gazing at the clock. 2:30am. Merry Christmas, Tommy...

What a wonderful way to start the holidays...with a nice nightmare about his Green Ranger memories. For the millionth time since he had lost his powers, he wished that he could forget all that had happened...being evil...attacking his friends...almost killing Jason...

Pulling out a spoon from a drawer by the door to the living room, Tommy opened the yogurt and swallowed a spoon full, relishing the cool sweet substance going down his throat. Sitting down on the counter, Tommy put the yogurt down before burying his head in his hands. He wasn't particularly upset by the nightmare. In fact, he was used to getting them, but he had hoped that Santa would have granted him one night without experiencing one...so much for good old Saint Nick.

"Why can't I just put it behind me?" Tommy asked himself softly, shivering as he realized that he was only wearing his white tank top with gray and white flannel pants. "It's been so long since I was the Green Ranger, and now all evil is gone." Thinking of Zordon's death again, he bit his lip before rubbing his eye as a tear escaped it. "Stop it, Tommy," he told himself fiercely. "Get a grip...you're stronger than this. Zordon did what he had to do."

Eating more of the yogurt, the Former White Ranger turned around as he heard a faint voice call out from the living room. "What on Earth?" Jumping off the counter, he took his yogurt into the room and sighed as he found that Zhane was curled up on his couch thrashing around underneath the white sheet Tommy had provided for him. "Well, what do you know? A kindred spirit."

Tommy walked over to the Silver Ranger and shook him a few times, smiling comfortingly as Zhane opened his eyes and gazed at him in shock. "Calm down, Man. You were having a nightmare."

"I had one here, too?" Zhane rubbed the sweat from his brow before averting his eyes guiltily. "I'm sorry for waking you up."

"You didn't," Tommy told him honestly. "I had a bad dream, too. Feel like talking about it?" He knew that the Silver Ranger was going to say no, but it was always helpful to ask. Sometimes, he was surprised and the person would want to talk about what they had been dreaming about.

Now was one of those times. "Andros and I are both from KO-35. The reason I didn't go back to the Megaship tonight was because I'm kinda afraid to face him. He caught me making out with his sister Karone."

Tommy bit his lip in sympathy. "Ouch. Well, if you care about Karone then you should stay with her. It's like Jason with Kim. He would still go out with her even if I didn't want them together." He smiled, knowing that it was true.

"I dreamed that we were back on KO-35. There was a large battle there two years ago, and I almost died because I took a blow that was meant for him. That's why I was put in a cryogenic tube. Andros did it to save my life," Zhane explained as Tommy watched him with interest. "Anyway, in the dream I didn't reach him fast enough. He was dying when I got to his side, and his last words were that if I weren't so blinded by lust then I would have been able to help him."

At this, Tommy thought about what he could say to help the shivering Silver Ranger before murmuring, "You did save him, though. About you and Karone, I gather that Karone used to be Astronema." Zhane nodded. "Obviously, Andros is going to protective of both of you. He doesn't want either of you getting hurt. You were just healed after that battle on KO-35, and Karone is still very delicate after just becoming good again." He sighed, thinking of how he had been around the other rangers after being broken from Rita's spell. "Wait him out, Zhane."

The Silver Ranger nodded before motioning towards him. "What about you? What did you dream about ?"

Why did I know this was coming? "No big deal," Tommy told him, the smile still on his face. "I wasn't traumatized by it or anything."

"Hey, I told you mine," Zhane protested with a frown. "You have to tell me yours." As the smile fell from the Former White Ranger's face, he knew that he had won.

Standing from where he had been sitting on the floor, Tommy told him to scoot over before sliding onto the couch next to him and pulling Zhane's blanket over his bare arms. "I wasn't recruited to be a ranger by Zordon like Adam and Jason were. None of the rangers called for me to join the team because there was a crisis like I called Jason the second time, and I didn't grow up with the power like I assume you and Andros did." The Silver Ranger nodded, showing that this guess was accurate. "I also didn't fill in for a ranger leaving the team like TJ filled in for me. Rita Repulsa made me her evil Green Ranger, and I terrorized the other rangers almost killing Jason in the process.

"When Jason destroyed the Sword of Darkness I became good, and what followed was a tormenting time of trying to fit in with the other rangers, dealing with my guilt over what had happened during that time when I was evil, being put under countless spells to make me evil again, and losing my powers on two occasions." Tommy sighed before slowly saying, "I've had nightmares about my time as the Green Ranger for years. Ever since I became the White Ranger to even now. Tonight's was no different. I was fighting as the White Ranger, and Goldar, Rita and Zedd's henchman, was telling me that I had to return to the dark side. It was where I belonged.

"Then, I was falling. I fell into a sea of green water, and it all seemed to flow into me. Looking around, I found that I was in the Green Ranger Armor again. After that, I must have became evil again, though I was conscious of what I was doing and was trying to stop myself from doing it. I was in the Dark Dimension, and Jason was lying on the ground, unmorphed and in great pain. Before he could be teleported out like he was in real life, I stabbed him with the Sword of Darkness." Glancing at Zhane, Tommy frowned. "Is Goldar dead? Rita? Zedd?"

Zhane shrugged, knowing that there was no straight answer. "Goldar is dead. He was turned into dust by Zordon's energy wave, or so Trey of Triphoria said. Rita and Zedd, however, were originally good, or so it seems. They were turned good again, and are now living with the Triphorians peacefully." He looked at Tommy only to find that the White Ranger had lowered his eyes and was putting a hand through his long brown hair. "Know that they were tricked much like you were, Tommy. Right now they're having nightmares just like you. They haven't gotten away unpunished."

Tommy nodded reluctantly before smiling at the Silver Ranger who was watching him, not knowing what response he was going to get. "Thanks..."

"Same here," Zhane said with a small grin. "I guess we have something more in common than the fact that we were both rangers a few years ago."

"Definitely," Tommy told him. Glancing at the clock on the VCR in front of him, he shrugged. "Merry Christmas, Zhane."

The Silver Ranger frowned and glanced at the clock. "It's Christmas now?"

Tommy nodded. "It sure is. Today is December 25th. Are you going to go to the Megaship tomorrow?"

"Yeah," Zhane told him confidently. "I need to wait for Karone, but that isn't going to stop me from having a great day tomorrow." Tommy smiled at him, and the two continued telling each other of interesting things about themselves and of their worlds.

* * *
As light began to filter through Tommy's window, Jason yawned and, opening his eyes slowly, he stretched out his arms before turning towards the other side of the bed only to find that Adam was no longer there. "Adam? This is strange..."

"How does Tommy or, hell, how does Kim ever manage to sleep next to you!?" Adam said with a grunt from where he was lying on the floor wrapped in a green blanket. "You kick so damn much, Jason! Plus, I was freezing my ass off at one in the morning because you had taken all of the blanket!"

Jason yawned again and threw his pillow at the Former Black Ranger before smiling sleepily at him. "Hey, you were the one who wanted to sleep on the bed. I can't be held responsible for the price you pay because of your choice." Climbing off of the bed, he made a point of stepping on Adam as he walked towards the door. He hadn't even reached it when the other man jumped on him, and soon the two were wrestling with each other on the ground.

After pushing Jason away from him, Adam laughed before standing and walking out of the bedroom. Reaching the living room, he glanced at the couch before smiling and motioning for Jason to follow him slowly. The Former Red Ranger did as told before grinning slyly. Creeping up behind it, the two hyper former rangers jumped on it, startling both Zhane and Tommy who fell off of the couch as they were getting their bearings. "Merry Christmas!" Jason exclaimed, throwing one of the couch cushions at Tommy.

The Former White Ranger glared at him before standing and humorously brushing off his white shirt. "That wasn't appropriate, Jason Lee Scott. Such childish behavior..." As Jason put his hands on his hips, Tommy grinned and, standing, swung the cushion at him. The Former Red Ranger picked up another cushion and hit him back, and soon the two were fighting for their lives as they smacked each other mercilessly with the cushions.

Adam watched them before pouting. "Come on...it was my idea to do this, and you guys end up having all the fun." He was rewarded by a whack on the head from his two best friends.

Laughing, Tommy took the white band that was on his right wrist and pulled his hair up before glancing at the others. "Well, I'll make breakfast, and then we should probably go and meet the girls."

"You're a little too eager to see what Kat got you, Bro," Jason said with a smile. "What are you making for breakfast? If you say 'cereal' I'm going to have to kill you."

Tommy frowned at him before crossing his hands over his chest. "Just for that, I'm not going to tell you," He muttered matter-of-factly. As Jason stuck his tongue out at him, he disappeared into the kitchen and began shuffling around.

About an hour later, the four were seated in front of plates full of eggs, bacon, and hash browns with toast on the side. Licking his lips in eagerness as he sat down on the couch, Adam glanced at Tommy. "Since when do you know how to cook?"

"Since I begged Kat for lessons," Tommy told him with a sheepish grin. "Don't flatter me until you try it."

After taking a bite of the eggs, Jason's eyes widened in shock. "This is amazing! I can chew it!" Tommy shot him a warning look which made the Former Red Ranger laugh. "I'm just kidding. It's good, Bro. My compliments to the chef."

"Ditto," Zhane said. He thought for a moment before mumbling, "I don't know what it is, but I like it."

Adam grinned at this. "That's the spirit. It's good, Tommy." Biting into the bacon, he swallowed before smiling even wider. "Really good..."

* * *
Ready for breakfast, TJ and Carlos entered the recreation room only to find Cassie and Ashley watching them with hopeful expressions. Seeing the decorated pine tree in front of the teleportational tubes with gifts under it, TJ gasped in wonder. "Wow, it looks like Santa gave us a visit."

"Yeah," Carlos said with a smile, "in the form of two teens; one in pink and one in yellow."

Cassie grinned at him. "I'm glad you like it. Oh, and Guys, you're under mistletoe." She pointed at the green ornament above the heads of the Blue and Black Rangers. The two males looked at it before glancing at Cassie in shock. Though Ashley and Cassie urged them on, all they could get was a small hug out of the two Rangers.

"You guys have no balls," Ashley said with a smirk. "What's wrong with kissing another guy?"

"Hey," Carlos muttered. "Just because I don't want to kiss my best friend doesn't mean I don't have any balls."

TJ nodded in agreement. "Balls have nothing to do with it. Leave the balls out of this." Ashley laughed with amusement before waving them into the room.

After them came Andros who gazed around the room in wonder. "What is all this?" He looked at the strange and colorful tree in shock. "I don't understand..."

Ashley, seeing that he was under the mistletoe, decided to take advantage of the situation and quickly moved next to her boyfriend, kissing him happily before exclaiming, "Merry Christmas, Andros!"

"Um, Ash, both people are supposed to be under the mistletoe at the same time," Cassie reminded her with an amused shake of the head. "You aren't supposed to run underneath to catch the person who's just stepped under it." Ashley just shrugged and flashed her a dazzling white smile.

Andros continued to look around before sighing. "Will someone please explain all of this to me? What's that tree doing here? What is Christmas?" Confusion clouded his eyes, and TJ could easily see that he was not taking these strange additions to the Megaship well.

"Don't be mad, Andros," Ashley said, seeing his upset expression, too. "Christmas is an Earth holiday that is celebrated every 25th of December. It's a time of good cheer and celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Um, just to tell you, we got presents for everyone."

TJ smiled in disbelief. "Are you serious? So did Carlos and I!" Cassie grinned at him, almost having expected that TJ wouldn't let her show him up.

Zhane and Karone walked in next, and Andros stared at his best friend with relief. "Zhane, you're all right." Suddenly remembering his anger, he frowned. "How could you just leave without telling anyone where you were going!?"

"You just told me to get out, so I did," Zhane whispered, faintly aware of Karone's hand tightening around his.

Seeing them, Carlos grinned. "Hey, you guys are under mistletoe!"

Karone looked up, half-expecting to see a monster of some type, but all she saw was a green plant. "Kiss him, Karone!" Ashley said with a bright smile, unaware of her boyfriend's discomfort. "It's tradition!"

"Yeah, kiss her, Zhane," TJ said, a playful sparkle illuminating his eyes. "It is Christmas after all."

Zhane and Karone glanced at each other for a few moments before gazing at Andros who was watching them with a frown on his face. Finally, Zhane leaned down and kissed Karone's cheek which earned applause from the Earth Rangers before smiling faintly. "I'm sorry, Karone."

"Me, too," She whispered, rubbing his arm. The two stepped into the room together, accepting the hugs of the Earth Rangers who had circled around them.

All of a sudden, DECA's voice rang clear through the intercom. "Two unauthorized forms are aboard the Megaship." The rangers looked at each other in alarm at this news. "Approaching recreation room."

TJ moved closer to the door and got into fighting stance only to hear a familiar laugh followed by a strong voice. "Come on, TJ. Don't be so jumpy. It is Christmas, after all. You and the other rangers have earned a vacation."

"Tommy!?" Looking at his predecessor, startled by this unannounced arrival, TJ hugged him cheerfully. "What the hell are you doing here!?"

"I'm exploring," Tommy told him with a grin. TJ had just let go with him when he was nearly pushed against a wall by Carlos, Ashley, and Cassie who were all eager to get a piece of him as the Blue Ranger had. "Guys, I love you all, but you're going to kill me. I'm getting older...soon I won't be able to take all this abuse."

Cassie smacked his shoulder and put a hand on her hip. "Getting older? No way, Man. You're just maturing. God, we haven't seen you in so long!"

The Former Turbo Ranger shrugged. "Yeah, well, I've been watching TV. You guys look good in your new armor. Congratulations! You beat Dark Specter!"

"That is something to celebrate," Carlos said with a grin. "Man, this is awesome. How is Adam?"

"He went on ahead to tell the girls that Jason and I are going to be late meeting them today," Tommy told them. At their questioning expressions, he motioned towards his best friend who was standing timidly in the doorway. "Guys, meet Jason Scott. He was the original Red Ranger, and took over the Gold Ranger Powers for Trey while his three beings weren't unified."

TJ gasped at this. "The original Red Ranger!? I used to watch you and the others on TV all the time!" Jason blushed at the praise before waving at the other rangers who were greeting him with just as much awe. This was one of the only times in his life when he had felt like a celebrity of sorts. The other time was when Tommy had brought him to the Power Chamber to get the Gold Ranger Powers and Adam, Rocky, Billy, Kat, and Tanya had greeted him with just as much enthusiasm.

Zhane smiled at them. "Well, that's where I was last night. I met up with Tommy and Jason at the mall yesterday, and they took me in for the night."

Ashley grinned, just as surprised as the others by the arrivals. "Well, there's no better time to open presents." She frowned suddenly and glanced guiltily at Tommy and Jason. "I didn't know you guys would be dropping in..."

"Don't worry about it," Tommy told her. "It's just great to see you guys again. That's all I could want for Christmas." As she kissed his cheek, reassured, he smiled.

Cassie passed around her presents followed by TJ, Carlos, and Ashley. As everyone was about to begin opening, Zhane coughed to get everyone's attentions. "Um, I got things for you guys, too."

"You didn't have to do that, Zhane," Carlos told him, not having expected this from the Silver Ranger. "I mean, you're here with us. That's all we could ask for."

"Hey, you guys mean a lot to me," Zhane told him with a grin. With that, he ran out of the room. A few minutes later, he was back with a large bag and passed around his gifts to the other rangers who were caught off guard.

Tommy accepted the present that the Silver Ranger had gotten for him before smiling at the Rangers. "Well, I don't care if you guys didn't get anything for me...I still did a little shopping for you."

TJ chuckled besides himself. "Why am I not surprised?" Jason and Tommy both exchanged gifts after Tommy had passed his out, and everyone began to open what they had received.

"Cassie!" Ashley breathed with amazement as she gazed at the shimmering gold chain bracelet that her best friend had gotten for her. "I don't know what to say! It's beautiful!" Cassie just nodded as if saying 'yeah, I know' before opening her first gift.

Unwrapping it, she pulled out the pink sweater inside and held it up before glancing at TJ. "I don't believe you! This is the exact brand that I told you about a month ago!"

"Did you think I would forget?" TJ asked her with a smile. "It's going to look terrific on you." Cassie held the sweater against her chest for a moment before sighing with content and putting it aside.

TJ opened a small box and, pulling out a dark blue beeper, he glanced at Ashley. "How did you know I needed a new one?"

Ashley grinned at him. "Well, the fact that you were hitting it when we were on the bridge was a clue." TJ laughed with amusement before thanking her.

Opening a small box, Carlos saw the black yin yang necklace inside before putting it on. "This is great since the other one I had broke...who did I get it from?" Looking at the wrapping paper, he glanced at the Silver Ranger who was working on getting his first present open before frowning in disbelief. How had Zhane known?

Andros opened a bag that held his first gift before frowning at what he saw. "A fire extinguisher?"

"Everyone needs one!" Carlos called to him from across the room. Andros smiled faintly before glancing at his sister who was busy opening her first gift.

Karone tore the paper off before eagerly opening the box in her hands. Pulling out a purple headband, she glanced at the newcomers that Zhane had allowed onto the Megaship and smiled faintly as the long-haired one said, "Zhane described you perfectly. I knew it would look good."

Jason and Tommy both opened their presents from Zhane at the first time and gasped at what they saw. Tommy lifted up the golden coin before gazing at the Silver Ranger who was watching them expectantly. "They aren't the real thing," Zhane told them self-consciously. "Those are just models, but I came up here to help DECA make them. They'll serve as a constant reminder of who you will always be, powers or none."

"This is an...exact replica of the Tyrannosaurus Power Coin," Jason whispered, and the others could tell that he was close to tears. Tommy was the same way as he looked wordlessly at the White Tiger Power Coin in his hands.

Breaking the silence, Tommy smiled at Zhane. "This means so much, Zhane. Thanks." The Silver Ranger just shrugged, accepting the gratitude and knowing that he owed them more than what they had received.

Opening her next gift, Cassie stared at the silver belly chain inside before glancing at Carlos who was grinning at her. "It'll look good with some of the clothes you have. Well...it'll be better for summer when you can actually wear shorter shirts, but your birthday is in October. I decided that earlier was better." Cassie nodded her thanks before putting the chain down on the pink sweater she had gotten from TJ.

Ashley stared at the yellow sweater in her hands before looking at TJ in shock. "I had one exactly like this, but it shrank in the Megaship's washing machine."

TJ laughed at the memory. "I know that, Ashley. Remember? I was the one who accidentally shrank it. This was the least I could do." Ashley got up and hugged him thankfully.

Opening his gift, Zhane saw the silver watch inside and gazed at Cassie who was smiling expectantly at him. "Hey, do you know how we use the phrase 'synchronize your watches'?" He nodded. "Well, now you'll be able to do it, too. Merry Christmas, Zhane!"

Zhane put the silver watch on before opening his next present. Seeing that it was a silver chain necklace, he didn't even have to look up to know who it was from, because she started explaining why she got it before he could even register what it was. "Believe me, Zhane, it'll look great. All the clothes we got for you...believe me, you're going to be thankful for that necklace after awhile." Zhane smiled graciously at Ashley before continuing on.

Opening his next gift, TJ pulled out a baseball with blue stitching. Seeing that it was from Zhane, he glanced at the Silver Ranger who shrugged. "Tommy was the one who suggested it."

"Come on, Teej," Tommy said with a laugh as he saw the amused expression of the Blue Ranger. "Jason and I had to help him along a little bit. Besides, I heard that Justin lost your last ball when you were visiting him." TJ grinned at him before continuing to open gifts.

Karone opened her next gift and found a white stuffed cat with glowing purple eyes inside. As she glanced at Ashley, the Yellow Ranger smiled faintly. "I wasn't really sure what you wanted, Karone, so I decided to get you something that you can love when you're feeling lonesome and beat up when you're feeling upset. It's something to remind you of the side you're on now." Karone thought about this before hugging the cat softly and putting it down next to the purple headband Tommy had gotten her. She was already feeling blessed by these first two gifts. How could she want anything more?

Opening his next present, Carlos pulled out a soccer ball just like the one he had been playing with at the mall the night before. He grinned and twirled the ball on his finger. "I love it!"

"I'm glad," Cassie told him. "Hey, you lost your ball after being kidnapped by Tankenstein. This was the least I could do."

Andros took the paper off of a small box and opened it to find three gold earrings sitting inside. "I've wanted new ones," Andros breathed as he touched the three silver ones in his left ear.

"Zhane was the one who told me you would appreciate them," Tommy told him with a smile. Any spite he had been feeling towards the Red Astro Ranger was gone. He knew now that Andros had been forced to kill Zordon. The Red Ranger had done it for humanity.

Opening his next gift, Carlos grinned as he saw the black shirt inside with the white Adidas symbol. "Hmm...as I recall, I had a shirt like this, but someone mistook it as a rag and used it to wash her bunk..."

"Hopefully, this will make up for that," Ashley said with a grin. "Merry Christmas, Carlos."

Zhane pulled the green and red paper off of his next gift and pulled out a gray fleece jacket. He looked at the tag before holding it up to himself. "This'll be great...from what I can tell, winters on Earth are colder than they are on KO-35."

"You bet they are," TJ told him from where he was working on his next gift. "Besides, any clothes you have to wear besides your flight suit are a plus." Everyone laughed at this, including Andros who was beginning to get into the spirit.

Ashley opened her next present and gasped at what she saw. Gold earrings...they would be perfect with her new bracelet. She walked over to Zhane and kissed him softly. "Thank you. It means a lot."

"I'm glad you like them," Zhane told her, his cheeks reddening. "I had to guess. This is my first time buying gifts for people."

"Well, you're better at it than a lot of Earthlings," Ashley told him honestly. Zhane smiled at her, and the two hugged each other.

Getting her next present open, Cassie smiled as she saw the pink stud earrings inside. "Tommy, you know what I like."

"It took a few years of dating Pink Rangers to figure out what they like," Tommy told her, laughing at Jason's surprised expression. "I hope you enjoy them, Cassie."

"I will," Cassie told him with a grin. "Believe me."

Zhane opened up a bag and was unable to stop a chuckle from escaping his lips. "A fire extinguisher." Seeing Carlos' pleased expression, he laughed even harder. "I owe you one, Carlos." The Black Ranger beamed at him, pleased that his fire extinguishers were going over well.

Opening his next present, Andros found a red jacket with a white stripe going up it. From the other side of the room, Tommy glanced at it questioningly. "I have one just like that..."

"Where else would I get the idea from?" TJ asked with a grin. He nodded towards Andros. "As Zhane said, the winters here on Earth are cold compared to KO-35. You're going to want a little something extra."

Karone opened her next gift and stared at the silver anklet with purple beads coming off of it. She smiled thankfully at Cassie. "It's beautiful. I love it."

"I thought you would," Cassie told her with a smile. "When I saw it at the mall, I knew it would look great on you."

Frowning at this, Karone leaned forward in confusion. "Mall? What's a mall?"

Cassie and Ashley looked at each other after hearing this. The Yellow Ranger chuckled. "We're going to have to have a little chat later, Karone." Cassie nodded.

Opening his next gift, Zhane picked up the black beeper inside. "As a ranger, sometimes its good to have one," Tommy told him. "Believe me...the communicators don't always work."

"Yeah, remember me and the Psychos at the mall," Cassie said, overhearing the Former White Ranger. "Without my beeper, the Psychos could have killed me." Zhane nodded at the memory before thanking Tommy.

Pulling a fire extinguisher out of a Christmas bag, Karone giggled and glanced at Carlos. "Thanks. I'm sure I'll use it at least once in my lifetime."

Carlos, choosing to ignore the sarcasm in her voice, smiled. "I'm glad. Merry Christmas, Karone."

Cassie opened up her next gift and picked up the pink bead choker inside before hugging Zhane. "I love it. Thank you so much, Zhane!"

"Well, it isn't a lot, but I thought you might like it," Zhane told her, glad that he had found things that the other rangers were enjoying. "Merry Christmas, Cassie."

"Merry Christmas, Zhane," Cassie said. She stared at him for a moment before rubbing his hair lovingly. The Silver Ranger laughed, remembering how she had done the same thing when he had decided to stay with the Kerovian Rebels after the Rangers had been accused of turning people into coral.

Andros opened his next gift and, with some puzzlement, picked up the red basketball inside. "What is it, Cassie?"

The Pink Ranger smiled. "Well, Ashley taught you how to play pool. This coming year I'm going to teach you how to play basketball." Andros nodded and rubbed his hands in anticipation. Any chance to learn something new was a good.

TJ opened his next present and bit his lip as he saw that it was a silver chain with a pendant. One side of it was red and the other was blue. "It's supposed to symbolize fire and water," Tommy told him from the other side of the room. "For you, though, it means more than that."

Nodding, TJ fastened it around his neck before hugging the Former White Ranger. "I've missed you, Man. When I was leading the Turbo Rangers, I wasn't sure if I was living up to your expectations, and even now as the Blue Ranger I've had my doubts."

"Well, all of us are still standing here which means that the world hasn't been destroyed," Tommy said, grinning as TJ chuckled. "That's all I could ever ask for. Besides, you're a great ranger, TJ. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise." The two clasped hands.

Carlos opened his next gift and sighed at what he saw before turning to the Former White Ranger. "You have a horrible sense of humor."

Tommy snickered. "Don't blame me, Carlos. I called Adam last night. He told me you might enjoy it." Seeing that Carlos was holding a cheap Kung Fu video, Ashley covered her mouth to keep from laughing out loud.

Karone opened her next present and pulled out a purple cardigan with green lines going up the sleeves. "This is great...it'll go well with everything that I've gotten today." She smiled at TJ. "Thanks."

"I'm glad you like it," the Blue Ranger told her. "When I saw it, I knew it would look good on you." Karone hugged him graciously.

Opening her next present, Ashley gasped as she saw the gold ring inside. "Come on, Guys. Did you team up to get me everything that matches? I love this." Kissing Tommy, she hugged him warmly. "You're the best, and I swear...the next time I see you I'll have double what you got me."

"Please don't," Tommy told her with a laugh as he returned the embrace. "It was just something I wanted to do, Ashley. Merry Christmas."

"Carlos, you idiot." TJ laughed as he pulled out a tape entitled 'Baseball's Funniest Moments.' "Where the hell did you find this?"

The Black Ranger snickered. "I don't give away my secrets. Let's just say that I thought you would enjoy it. After all the serious stuff going on with all of us lately, I figured that you could use a break in the action."

Cassie opened up her last present and smiled warmly as she saw the best friend's necklace that Ashley had gotten her. "This is so pretty, Ash. Thanks."

"Hey, I've been meaning to get you one for awhile now," Ashley told her with a grin. "It's what we are, after all." Cassie hugged her, and the two laughed happily. It was amazing what one gift could do to a friendship.

Opening his last gift, Zhane saw that it was a silver chain bracelet with a pendant that had a lightning bolt on it. "Wow..."

Tommy, seeing it, glanced at Jason and laughed. "That was our symbol, Bro. I guess you had to pass it on to the next generation."

"Did you doubt me?" Jason questioned. He smiled at Zhane. "I hope you like it." The Silver Ranger nodded, showing that he did.

Opening his last gift, TJ gasped at what he saw. Baseball cards...all kinds...some of them even valuable at first glance. "Only one person would have done this," he muttered aloud, and TJ glanced at Cassie who was grinning at him.

"I hope they're worth something," Cassie told him hopefully. Standing as he motioned for her to, they hugged each other before looking at the cards for a few minutes and talking about what had possessed Cassie to get them.

Ashley opened her last present and saw that it was a gold chain anklet. Glancing at Carlos, she hugged him happily. "I love it, Carlos. Thank you so much." The Black Ranger smiled at her and returned the embrace, blushing lightly as she kissed him on the cheek. "Well, I've had an extremely golden Christmas. Who gave away my secret love of gold?" Everyone laughed, but no one fessed up.

Carlos opened up his last gift and, seeing that it was a black Nike jacket, he glanced at TJ and groaned. "Do I even want to know what you spent on this?"

"No," TJ told him with a smile. "Just enjoy it and try not to think of the price." Clasping hands with the Black Ranger, he grinned. Yes, it had been a bit of a splurge, but it wasn't anything that would kill him financially. Plus, his best friend was worth it.

"Wow," Andros breathed as he pulled a gold watch out of a small box. Putting it on, he kissed Ashley tenderly. "Thank you, Ashley. I love it."

Ashley grinned and fished inside her shirt, pulling out the necklace that Andros had gotten her for her birthday. "Not as much as I love what you got me. Merry Christmas, Andros."

"Merry Christmas, Ashley," Andros told her, smiling as she hugged him. He was starting to like his holiday, but his momentarily happiness was gone as he glanced past Ashley and saw his final gift sitting alone. It was from Zhane, and he wondered what his best friend had gotten him...what he had deserved after all that he had done the day before.

Jason opened up the present his best friend had given him, and he shook his head, laughing, as he pulled out a black beeper. "Guilt get to you, Bro?"

"You were the one screaming at me after I broke your other one a few months ago," Tommy told him with a grin. "It was the least I could do."

As he continued to fish through the box, Jason felt a paper brush against his hand and, pulling it out, he looked at it for a moment before glancing at Tommy in awe. "Are you serious!?"

Tommy nodded. "Of course. I know that you'll make a great teacher at Rocky's dojo, and he's agreed to hire you. Well, you were too scared to ask him. Someone had to do it."

Looking at the contract of employment in his hands, Jason bit his lip and nodded. "Thanks, Bro. I owe you one...well, open yours."

Glancing at the envelope in his hands, Tommy smiled mentally. The Former Red Ranger had told him that he was tight financially because he had been saving up for something. Tommy hadn't expected anything at all from his best friend, and he was thankful that Jason had gotten him anything at all.

Opening it, he pulled out a calling card that was on top of a smaller envelope. "Yeah, I know...so when I'm on the road I won't have an excuse not to call." Tommy grinned. "Thanks, Jase." Taking out the smaller envelope, he opened it and gaped in amazement at what he saw. Money...hundreds of dollars...more than he could count in five minutes. "Jason? What is all this?"

"This is what I've been saving for," Jason told him seriously as he put a hand on his best friend's shoulder. "In two months, I want you to use this from wherever you are and buy a ticket back to Angel Grove. I don't care if its for one day, ten days, or one hundred days, but you have to come home in two months."

Tommy pushed the money back at him, still not believing how much he was holding. "I can't take this, Jason, and you know it. This is yours. Please take it back."

Jason frowned at him. "If you give it back, I'm going to have to believe what the others have been telling me...you're falling in love with the road and aren't going to come back after leaving again with the race team this year. With this in your hands, you're going to have no choice but to visit once in a while."

"Who said that?" Tommy asked him quietly as a knot formed in his throat. "I would never abandon Angel Grove, Bro. Never."

"I'm not going to name people because, honestly, I believe it, too," Jason told him, tears welling up in his eyes. "You can't make me take it back. I'm not going to. Either take it, or I'll burn it. Please take it, Tommy." The Former White Ranger gazed at him with watery eyes before stuffing the money in the pocket of his white jacket. Wordlessly, the two embraced, not caring that most of the other rangers were watching them.

Karone opened her final gift and, seeing the silver necklace with a purple gem at the end of it, she smiled faintly and fastened it around her neck. She glanced up at Zhane who grinned weakly at her. Seeing the paper inside the box that had held the necklace, Karone opened up the folded note and read it:


I wanted us to work out so much...you don't understand the dreams I would have at night while you were Astronema, and even now I know I'll be haunted by you forever, but Andros is my best friend. Despite how much I love you, I owe him my life. If Andros hadn't put me in that cryogenic tube for two years then I wouldn't be here right now. I owe him everything, and the least I can do now is honor his wishes. I love you, Karone.

Merry Christmas,


Reading over the note once more, Karone gazed misty-eyed at Zhane and blew a kiss at him before sighing and sticking the paper in the pocket of her forest green flight suit.

Andros had watched the exchange between his best friend and sister but hadn't said anything. Instead, he tore off the wrapping paper of the present Zhane had gotten him and looked at the gold box covering the gift. Taking the top off, he looked at the gold necklace inside. There was a pendant at the end of it with no pattern on it.

There was a note in the box along with the necklace and, looking at it, he sighed before reading:


You're my best friend...the best anyone could hope for. I understand your need to protect your sister, and I respect it. Please, don't shut me out. Don't kick me away from you, because I never wanted that when I fell in love with Karone. I didn't mean to. It just happened, and I can't control what I feel, but I can keep it inside. You're my best friend, and I owe you my life. This is the least that I can give you. From this day forward, I will not kiss your sister...I'll try not to love her...I'll try not to touch her. Please, Andros, realize that this is a big sacrifice, but you're worth it. You're worth more than anything I could ever buy you. Without you, I wouldn't be alive now, and I wouldn't have survived our fighting life on KO-35. I love you, Andros. Don't forget to look on the back of the pendant. I got it done for you.

Merry Christmas,


Feeling as if he was going to sob, Andros turned the pendant over and easily saw the small letters inscribed into it: We've vowed to fight as a team forever. Never forget that. That did it. Sparing Zhane one exasperated gaze, Andros grabbed a tight hold of the pendant and ran out of the room.

Ashley watched him go and was about to follow, but Zhane held her back. "I need to deal with this." With that, he chased his best friend to the Bridge leaving the other rangers to glance at each other with puzzlement.

Reaching the control room, Zhane found that Andros had one hand on a console. The other was clutching the gold necklace tightly. "I never meant to upset you by having that message inscribed onto the pendant. It was just a spur of the moment thing, Andros. Please forgive me."

"Will you stop apologizing!?" Andros spun around and glared at him angrily, tears streaming down his face. "Just stop for one second! God, Zhane! Did it ever occur to you that you aren't at fault!?" He turned around again and buried his face in his hands.

Zhane stared at him for a moment before clearing his throat cautiously. He hated dealing with Andros when he was like this. The Red Ranger had an explosive temper. Still, Zhane couldn't force himself to leave his best friend alone. They needed to settle this. "I don't know what I can say to make you stop crying, Andros. Believe me, I'll be ok without Karone. It'll be hard for a little bit, I'll admit, but after awhile--"

Andros growled, cutting him off. "You won't be ok without her, and even if you were, she wouldn't be." He wiped his tears away, once again becoming silent.

"I don't know what to say to you, Andros," Zhane said, shutting his mouth as Andros turned around to face him again.

The Red Ranger sighed before smiling weakly. "Don't say anything. Just stand there." The Silver Ranger shivered lightly but did as asked. Andros put his new necklace on before stepping right in front of Zhane. The two stared at each other for what seemed like eternity and, after a long while, Andros threw his arms around his best friend. Zhane took a few steps back at the power of his embrace, but felt a knot form in his throat as Andros muttered, "What would I have done if you would have died on KO-35 two years ago or if the malfunction in your healing chamber had been serious, and you hadn't woken up?

"I remember how delirious I was after you did that for me on KO-35. Perow was the only one who brought me through," Andros told him faintly. "I love my sister, Zhane, but I love you just as much, and I want you to go out with her...I don't want to hold you two back."

Zhane stared at him in shock. "Are you sure!? Andros, you don't have to do this!"

The Red Ranger laughed at his words. "Yes, I do. I refuse to have Karone hate me and you sulk around the Megaship forever. Besides, I want you two to be together. Believe me...I'll be proud." He frowned suddenly. "What happened to Perow? Is he alive?"

Zhane thought about this before nodding with a smile. "Perow is alive. I saw him on KO-35. He looks good...you'd be proud of him."

"I already am," Andros told him with a smile, and the two embraced each other again before turning back towards the recreation room.

Reaching it, Zhane grabbed Karone's hand. "We need to look at something in the engine room." Before she could ask what he was talking about, Zhane pulled her away from the others. Andros watched them go with a snicker. Engine room? My friend, you are going to need a crash course in love as soon as you get back.

Zhane pulled Karone into the transporter but, instead of telling DECA to take them anywhere, he kissed her passionately. Pulling away, Karone stared at him in shock. "Zhane, what did Andros say to you? Your message..."

"Andros wants us to be together," Zhane told her happily as he leaned in to kiss her again. "Besides, we didn't really get a chance to do our thing under the mistletoe." Karone grinned slyly and closed the distance between them, indulging in the sweetness of his mouth. She touched his chest and stomach hungrily before taking a few deep breaths as he moved to her neck.

"This is insane!" Karone exclaimed, closing her eyes as he caressed her breasts delicately. "We're in the transporter, for God's sake!"

Zhane nodded and smiled flippantly before putting a hand through her smooth blond hair. "Well, I have to leave you wanting more...we're not going to have sex in the transporter. Even I'm not that perverted. Who knows what Ashley and Andros have done in here, though." Karone giggled at this and kissed him again, running her hand over his smooth face and through his blond hair.

"Non-Power Rangers getting ready to leave the Megaship," DECA announced, and it was at that moment that Zhane hoped the computer system wasn't a snitch.

"We're going to the Bridge now, DECA," Karone told the system before kissing Zhane again. "Well, we'd better say goodbye to Tommy and Jason. Tommy did get me that headband. I like it."

Zhane nodded. "I'm going to miss them. Last night, I actually had fun!" At Karone's pout, he smiled. "Don't worry, Karone. I'm sure from now on I'll be having nights that are even more fun with you." Satisfied, Karone grabbed his arm and led him towards the bridge.

Reaching it, they were just in time to see the Former White Ranger go flying to the ground as Ashley and Cassie rushed towards him. Jason, who had been watching this, laughed. "See, being a ladies man isn't always a good thing, Tommy."

"Come and see us whenever," Cassie told him, helping the former ranger to his feet. "We'll miss you, Man."

"Yeah," Ashley said, embracing him tightly. "Thanks so much for my gift. It's beautiful, and I'll wear it all the time." Cassie nodded, showing that she was going to do the same thing.

Tommy nodded and clasped hands with Carlos. "I'll come by whenever I can, but if I'm in Angel Grove just come down and scare the hell out of me." Carlos snickered.

TJ and Tommy hugged each other. "Take care of yourself up here in space," Tommy told the Blue Ranger, his chocolate eyes sparkling. "Don't get sucked into a black hole or anything."

"Yeah, yeah," TJ muttered with a laugh. "Take care of yourself on the road. Don't run into a tree or anything." Tommy chuckled and moved towards Andros as Jason and TJ clasped hands.

Tommy stuck his hand out in front of Andros. "It was nice meeting you." Andros regarded him for a moment before shaking it. "Keep up the good work leading the rangers."

"I won't let you or any of the others down," Andros told him strongly making the Former White Ranger smile. He had a feeling that the Power Rangers legacy was in good hands.

Jason and Tommy stuck their hands out in front of Zhane, and he stared at them skeptically before embracing the two. Caught off guard, they laughed before returning it. "Thanks for taking me in," Zhane said.

"Hey, we're kindred spirits," Tommy told him with a grin. "It was the least I could do."

"Come by whenever you want to," Jason added with a grin. He winked. "This time, we'll make Adam sleep on the floor, right?" Tommy and Zhane both nodded.

After saying goodbye to Karone, the two used the viewing globe to pinpoint Kat, Tanya, Adam, Kim, Rocky, and Emily who were standing in front of the Juice Bar bundled up in warm clothing as snow fell from the sky. "My car is in the lot behind the Juice Bar," Tommy told Andros. If you could teleport us there it would be great." Andros nodded, and the group said goodbye before watching the two teleport away in flashes of White and Red.

"Merry Christmas," Karone whispered after them, feeling Zhane's arm around her waist tighten. Andros watched this before smiling, feeling a warmth within his chest. He really had discovered the true meaning of Christmas.

* * *
In her pink ski jacket and black pants with black boots, Kat waved at Tommy and Jason as they pulled up in Tommy's jeep. "There they are!"

"It took them long enough," Rocky DeSantos muttered as he rubbed his icy hands together. "Tommy, that's it! I'm going to set all your clocks and watches an hour early so you're never late again!"

Jumping out of the jeep, Jason ran up to Kimberly Hart and embraced her tightly, making the small gymnast squeal with delight. "What kept you guys?" She asked, happy that her boyfriend was now with her. Jason kissed her cold cheek. "Did you guys lose track of the time?"

"Combine Tommy's lateness and the icy roads, and the result was inevitable," Jason told her with a laugh. The Former White Ranger scoffed before clasping hands with Adam.

Hugging his former leader, Rocky sighed. "I'm sorry I couldn't go to your apartment last night, Tommy, but things were crazy in the dojo. As it was, I had to close up at midnight!"

Tommy shrugged. "Forget it. We missed you, but you could always stay over tonight."

"That's true," Rocky said with a smile. "Yeah, I'll do that. Adam?"

"I'm in," the Former Black Ranger said, chuckling. "Jason?"

"You bet," Jason mumbled as he reluctantly released his pink fleece-clad girlfriend.

Kim smiled and hugged Tommy tightly before questioning, "Are girls invited?"

"Don't expect to sleep naked," Rocky told her, answering for Tommy. "That privilege is kept for the men only."

Tanya smirked. "Men? I guess that means you guys won't be sleeping naked, either." She grinned as Tommy embraced her. "It's great that you were able to get out of racing this season so you could be home for Christmas."

"There's nowhere I'd rather be," Tommy told her as he kissed Emily's cheek. "Besides, if I didn't have my apartment up for rent, where would you guys stay?"

Emily Johnson smiled, her blue eyes glistening. "True. Oh, and I'm staying with you tonight. There's no way I'm being kept out of the fun again."

"What am I? Chopped liver?" Kat stepped in front of Tommy, but her anger quickly faded away as he kissed her lips passionately. As he continued to embrace her, she grinned playfully, cheeks rosy from the cold. "I'm staying with you, too, Tommy, and if you keep hugging me this hard I'm going to break."

Getting between them, Rocky put his arm around Emily. "Well, don't do that out here! That's why we're at the Youth Center, and he has the mistletoe up! Besides, I'm hungry!" Emily laughed and followed him into the Juice Bar.

"Some things never change," Tanya muttered as Adam put his arm around her. The two smiled at each other and followed behind the Former Blue Ranger and his girlfriend. Jason and Kim hugged each other once more before walking into the Juice Bar. Kat gazed at Tommy, touching his cool cheek gently. They kissed each other before, hearing Rocky calling for them to hurry up, running into the Youth Center. After all, they couldn't let Rocky finish all the food before they even got a chance to eat.

* * *
The End. Kinda cutesy? Good...it was a freaking Christmas story! Adam doesn't celebrate Christmas, I know. I did see A Season to Remember. As I mentioned in the fic, Tanya doesn't, either. She celebrates Kwanza, but I have no reason to believe that they didn't celebrate Christmas with the others just because of these different beliefs. They probably even exchanged gifts. Anyway, I'd love to know what you thought of this. The end was kinda rushed, and I know that, but I hope it was still acceptable. I had only planned for this story to be a short little thing, and it ended up to be longer than some of my chapters of Allied Evil! E-mail me at Rkacat@aol.com Yes, if you can tell I'm coming up with a small history for Zhane and Andros, including Perow and all. If you follow Allied Evil, you know I'm doing the same thing with Jaime, Trey, and the Triphorian Kingdom. A series idea that I have is a history for both planets. That's right, the Triphorian Chronicles and the Kerovian Chronicles. Not a full history. In the Triphorian Chronicles it might be from when Philip of Triphoria became King. For the Kerovian Chronicles, it might be the birth of Zhane and Andros. I'm not sure, but I'd love to know what you think of this idea. Well, thanks for reading this, and have fun fanfic hunting. Happy Late Holidays, and have a great year!