Legal Disclaimer: Saban owns.

Author's Note: This takes place after 'A Ranger Katastrophe', so Kat has just been introduced, and no thefts or new Zords or gymnastics coaches have arrived. See author's note at the end for explanation of some names.

Acceptance of Destiny
by: Cynthia

by: Cynthia The room was dark and somewhat cold. It shouldn't have been, the summer weather was warm and ripe with all the scents of life and growth and laughter. But within this place, these small four walls, it was as dark and depressing as if it were on the Lunar Palace itself.

The reason for it was sleeping in the bed, tossing and turning in the grip of a dream that she had experienced every night for as far back as she could remember. Her golden hair tied back to prevent tangles, Kat Hillard clutched at the bed sheets, her mind replaying images that she knew all too well.

A palace of crystal and white beauty. Magic filled the air. There was peace and harmony throughout the world. It could never be destroyed. It would last forever, and always had.

A prince and a princess. Their kingdoms were not at war, but there had been tension between them lately. They had sworn to end it by uniting their lands in marriage, but there was more to it than that: they were in love. More than love...they were everything to each other. The moon, the stars, the sun, the sky...each other's life and soul.

A outside enemy had invaded and was destroying everything in sight. An oath was sworn...a vow taken...a love pact made.

Agonizing pain ripped through everything, and everyone. Then there was a light...a beautiful light...and a voice that echoed in her soul.


Kat sat up, panting. Her eyes were wide and full of fear as she trembled. There was something...something she had dreamed, something she had to remember. She tried to grasp the memory, but it slid away from her, back behind the veil of her waking mind and the spell that kept her bound to Rita's will.

"J..just a dream." She closed her eyes and focused her mind, thinking only of how she was to serve Rita. Since meeting the evil queen, her dreams had become very hard to remember. It didn't matter, however. Only Rita mattered.

The young woman looked out her window, wondering if it would be worth it to go spy on the Rangers at this hour. No, it probably wasn't. They would all be asleep. But perhaps...a sly smile touched her face gently. Perhaps she would be able to catch a glimpse of Tommy.

Why am I drawn to him? He's my enemy. But he's so handsome...and ..and he's in love with Kim. The beautiful spy sighed. She wanted to destroy the Rangers, but she felt no real personal animosity towards any of them. It was just what she was supposed to do. She did feel rather contemptuous of them for not being able to figure out that she wasn't on their side, but they really weren't to blame. Rita was just too clever for them. Besides, who would suspect...a cat?

She smiled for a moment, concentrating and assuming her feline form. It felt...delicious to be a cat. As if it were something she had always been meant to be. With another bit of concentration, she was back in her human form. As always, she felt just the tiniest bit large and ungainly after the sleek compact power of a cat. She wondered if she could ever stay in that form forever...then realized she couldn't. It would go against Rita's plans. Her cat body was for spying, then she turned to human to relay what she learned.

Rita is always right, she told herself. Naturally she believed it. What else could she believe? Slowly she got back in bed and closed her eyes. Whatever the dream was, it didn't matter anywhere nearly as much as her service to Rita. And to perform her tasks properly she needed sleep. She closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep.

Back to the crystal kingdom and back to the past.

* * *
Contrary to Kat's thoughts, Tommy wasn't asleep. He was sitting up, looking out his window just as she had been. The thoughts wandering through his brain were somewhat different from hers, though they did touch on a fe of the same topics.

I love Kim, but ever since I saw her....Tommy shivered at the thought of what had happened when he had first seen Katherine. For a moment, he had thought he had known her. That those crystal blue eyes and golden blonde were as familiar to him as his own name were. The events afterwards had dulled his sense of that, but whenever he thought about her, he seemed to see two people. One was the new girl he had met only two days earlier. The other...the other was someone he had known much longer, someone he could not imagine being without.

The White Ranger sighed, staring up at the stars so glittering and pure above them. He knew they didn't have much time before school would start up again, and the free time that they had been reveling in would vanish like so much mist. Their junior year. This year and one more, and they would be out of school. He had no idea what lay ahead of them in the future, but he could sense some very unusual things were on the horizon.

Like me deciding why the heck I'm being drawn to Kat like we're magnets or something. I'm in love with Kim....his mind drifted off as the words passed through it, presenting him with an image of Kat, in a gown of purest white, with a silver crown upon her head, gazing at him with an expression of such love and compassion that it took his breath away.

"Kat..." he whispered softly, wondering why this was happening. He hadn't even looked at another woman until he had seen Kat there. Now he couldn't seem to stop thinking about her. What was wrong with him? He wasn't usually like this. It brought tears to his eyes to think of how Kim would react if he told her that he was thinking about someone else....and someone he didn't even know all that well!

Kim and I didn't start to date until months after we met...I liked her right away, it was an instant connection there. For a moment, he remembered, and his tan skin paled briefly at something he hadn't thought of in months.

Just as he was seeing two people when he looked at Kat, he had at that first meeting seen two people when he saw Kim. One was the small, pretty gymnast that had caught his eye. The other was just as small, just as pretty, the exact physical match of the Kim he knew, but there was something there that was different about her. A sense of power and depth that went beyond anything he'd ever sensed in anyone, even Rita. He had forgotten about it as the days had passed and the events of his enspelling as the Green Ranger ensued. But now it returned in crystalline clarity.

What's going on...his mind turned over various events, but though he could sense a connection, just what it was completely escaped him. There was something that bound the three of them together, himself, Kat, and Kim, and he didn't know what it was. All he knew was that they were all linked in some way. The others...he didn't know if they were involved or not, but he made up his mind. In the morning, after breakfast, he would tell Zordon everything he knew, and would ask his mentor's advice. Surely in ten thousand years, the old man had learned something about the human heart.

* * *
Tommy was not the only one of the Rangers awake that night. Kimberly Hart, his girlfriend, was seated in her pink-draped room staring at a picture of herself and Tommy. They looked so happy together...if she had known how fleeting that happiness was going to be, she...she smiled softly to herself. I would not have changed a thing. It's not his fault. He didn't know. He doesn't know. And I didn't either. Not then.

She brushed her brown hair out of her eyes and sighed. The tears that had filled them earlier were gone now. In their wake had come peace. Peace and acceptance of what had to be. What had been destined to be, and what she would never fight against. Destiny.

Tommy is in love with Katherine Hillard. She knew it the way she knew how to breathe, how to walk and talk. In her bones and blood. Her only wish was that Tommy know it too. Instead, he carried on in blissful ignorance, not having the slightest clue that the love of his life had returned to him.

Kim stared into her mirror for a few moments, then sighed deeply, touching her fingertips briefly to it. The images appeared once again, scenes that had been in her dreams before, and now were a reality she had never imagined existed. Until about three months earlier. Her sixteenth birthday.

The day she had remembered who she was. The day she had learned that Tommy would not love her forever. It was not their fate to be together.

On the night of her birthday, memories had awakened in her that she couldn't deny. They were powerful, visceral, and in living color. They had been sparked by a strange gift she had received. An emerald crystal, sealed in a velvet box, by an unknown relative. The only card had said simply, From a kinswoman. You'll know what to do when you have to know. Be well, my lady. It had not been signed. But the moment she had touched it, her mind had been filled with the tale of their past. Of ten people who were driven by identical purpose, bound by identical honor...and of two who were tied by bonds of eternal love.

Those two were now known as Tommy Oliver and Katherine Hillard.

She closed her eyes, moving her fingers from the mirror and ending the parade of life and death. Something was around about Katherine, something she had to fix. She couldn't specify it, she wasn't certain what it was, but it was what made her so nervous whenever she was around the other woman. I feel...not scared, but nervous. As if I'm walking near a cliff and if I'm not careful I could fall over.

The Pink Ranger sighed and shook her head, clearing her thoughts. Whatever was going on, she would deal with it in good enough time. She would talk to Zordon about it the next day. He knew about the things she did; she had told him immediately after she had learned what she knew, after swearing him to secrecy. Perhaps he could help her figure out what it was with Kat.

Kim slid herself between her pink sheets and closed her eyes. There was pain involved in giving Tommy up, but she'd resigned herself to it. He didn't know it, but he would be far, far happier with Kat than he was with her. Once it was over with, perhaps then she would be able to find someone that she could love, who could love her back as much as Tommy and Kat loved each other.

Maybe I should give Skull another chance, she smiled to herself at that. The tall, gangly junior officer was nicer than she had thought just a year or so earlier. Perhaps....her mind blanked out into sleep and all was forgotten beneath the blanket of forgetful slumber.

On her bedside table, the emerald crystal that had once awakened her memories glowed a soft green, then muted itself. Soon it would be time.

* * *
"I'm sorry, Tommy, I don't know what you could be thinking about," Zordon replied slowly. "The images do appear to link you, Kimberly, and your new friend, however. Perhaps this is why Rita kidnaped her as well with you. She might know more of this than we know."

Tommy nodded, a frown on his face. He had explained everything to Zordon, laying his heart out as he hadn't even to his girlfriend. Zordon could be trusted with everything. "Well, she's probably not going to tell us. So we're going to have to figure this out on your own."

"Have you spoken to Kimberly about your feelings, Tommy?" Zordon asked this carefully; keeping the knowledge Kimberly had entrusted to him to himself. He had rather been expecting this conversation ever since Kimberly had told him what she had discovered.

The White Ranger shook his head. "Not yet. I want to...but I don't know how she's going to react if I do."

"You should let her know what you are feeling and seeing. Perhaps she can help." Zordon advised. "It is the right thing to do."

"I know." Tommy sighed and leaned against a console. Ever since they had become Rangers, Zordon had aided them in every aspect of their lives; he had even helped some of them study when they had to. It felt perfectly natural to be coming here with a question about his visions, if they could be call that, and his love life.

Zordon watched his young protege with care, then spoke. "Kimberly will understand, Tommy."

"I know." Tommy repeated, then straightened up. "I'll have to go talk to her. This...this won't be easy."

"Nothing worth doing ever is," Zordon reminded him. Tommy smiled faintly, then teleported away in a streak of light. All was silent in the Command Center for a few moments, then Zordon spoke again. "He is gone."

Out from the darkness Kimberly stepped, her face filled with a kind of ineffable joy. "He's finally remembering."

"Yes. And he will be looking for you."

Kim nodded, then grew serious. "Zordon, have you been able to figure out anything more about this crystal?" she pulled out the emerald crystal from her pocket and glanced at it.

Her mentor shook his head. "All our scans have proven only what we already knew: that it has some form of great power, but there is no known method for accessing them or learning just what it is they are."

"I'm almost tempted to show it to Billy and let him try," she considered that, then shook her head. She didn't want anyone knowing that she had it just yet. Whatever it was capable of, she knew it wasn't time yet for that to be revealed. She slipped the crystal back into it's place in her pocket and looked up to Zordon. "I'll see you later. I'd better get to the Youth Center. I don't want Tommy to start asking questions about where I am."

Zordon nodded quietly. "Good luck, Kimberly." As pink light streamed out of the Command Center, the old mentor sighed. "I never thought I would see the Oran Crystal again."

* * *
Tommy entered the Youth Center almost ten minutes after leaving the Command Center; he'd dropped by his house first to check in with his parents. They didn't exactly "keep tabs" on him, but he thought it would be a good thing to let them know what he was up to. He wound up being told that they were going off on a business trip for a few days, and that he would have to fend for himself. That wasn't all that unusual; he'd been through it before. At least he wouldn't have to worry about making excuses when or if he had to go into combat.

"Hi, Tommy!" Ernie waved to the tall young man from behind the counter and motioned to him. "Kim said she wanted to talk to you; she's right over there."

He indicated their usual table, and Tommy glanced to see Kim sitting there by herself, a nervous look on her face. His heart almost broke just to see that, and he took a deep breath. "Thanks, Ernie. I need to talk to her too."

As he walked over, Kim smiled tightly at him. "Hi, Tommy." There was nothing of her usual cheerful greeting to him, and he felt a sick knot roil up in his stomach.

"Hi, beautiful. Ernie said you wanted to talk tome?" he asked, sitting down. He wondered briefly where everyone else was; they usually showed up around this time today. Something in the back of his head told him that he didn't really want them there right now, though.

Kim nodded. " do you feel about Katherine?" she asked the question quickly, and at once set her senses to feeling what he was really saying, behind what he thought he was going to say.

"I..I like her," he said, and she nodded slowly. "She's a very beautiful girl, but...."


Tommy clenched his fists together. "But I'm in love with you, Kim. I wouldn't even look at another girl. I..I hope you're not jealous.." he would never have thought of her as being like that, and indeed, this didn't seem to be quite what she was getting at.

"No. I'm not." Kim smiled at him and reached out to touch his hand gently. "Tommy, you love her."

At the utterance, his eyes went wide and scared. " I don't. I don't even know her, Kim!"

She shook her head. "Tommy, believe me, you do. You loved her before you ever met her. And she loves you. She just doesn't know it." Kim sighed, her hand going unobtrusively to the crystal. Is it time? she wondered. The sense that washed back at her was a firm denial. She didn't think it was truly sentient, but she did get feelings every now and then. She continued. "Tommy, I know you don't know it now, but the time will come when you do know how you feel about her, and you shouldn't be tied to someone else when that happens." The sensation that what she was doing was right filled her, and she didn't stop. "I think we should break up."

Tommy's jaw quite literally dropped. "K....Kim? What are you saying?"

"That you might love me...and I do love you, as a friend and a brother. But it will never work out, because Kat is the one for you. You're going to have to trust me on this, Tommy. It might take a while for you two to realize it, but it will happen." Her voice was firm and unyielding. "And we can't be together. It wouldn't be right." She took a quick breath, focusing her mind. "We had a beautiful time together, Tommy. But you can't sit here and tell me that you don't at least want to try to realize what's going on with Kat, and why you keep thinking about her and why you're seeing someone else when you look at both of us."

Her boyfriend...ex-boyfriend...just stared at her. Then, he slowly spoke. "You're right." A thousand different emotions warred inside of him. Grief, gratefulness, shock, were just three of them. "I...I want to find out what's going on."

Kim smiled weakly. "Come to my house tomorrow night and I'll show you. Then you'll know what you need to know." She stood up and headed for the changing rooms. "I'm going to do some practicing. Oh, and Tommy?" she stopped just beside him, then dropped a tender kiss onto his lips. One of love, forgiveness, compassion, friendship, and acceptance. "I wish you luck with her."

He smiled softly. "Thanks, Kim. I...I don't know what else to say...I ...feel like I should be hurt...a lot more than I am...but...." she shook her head, and he knew she knew what he meant. Slowly she headed on to the changing rooms, and was lost to view. He sighed and looked back down at the table. For the first time in over a year, he was single. But for how long? If Kim was right, if he talked to Kat, then maybe no longer at all. The thought of doing just that, of talking to Kat, was becoming more and more attractive.

It wasn't that he had forgotten about Kim already. He could never do that. But she had been right. What was between them was not a love that would last forever. It was the prelude to a great friendship, one that would be stronger because of the time they had spent together. He smiled to himself. Once he would have been devastated for days at this. But a stirring in his heart whispered that this was only the beginning of something greater than he could imagine.

Suddenly, the White Ranger went as stiff as a board as a realization came crashing in on him. Something that hadn't occurred to him until just that moment.

I never told Kim about what I was seeing when I looked at her and Kat. I never had a chance to say a word about it. How did she know?

* * *
Outside the Youth Center, there was an alley way. It looked like any other alley, but in reality, it was the meeting place for Rita and her slave. Kat leaned up against the wall, waiting for her daily instructions. It was dangerous to meet with her queen so near to where the Rangers usually met, but that was Rita's style, to be so close and have the Rangers know nothing of what she had in mind.

"Having fun, little kitty-cat?" Rita's screechy voice asked, and Kat at once drew herself to attention.

"Oh, yes, Empress!" she bowed quickly, and Rita's face twisted into a smile.

"Well, I've got a special job for you," the dark sorceress began to walk slowly around her. "Think you're up to it?"

All the uncertainty of the night had faded, and Kat drew herself up proudly. "I can do anything! What is it?"

Rita smiled frostily. "I want you to steal the Rangers' Power Coins. All of them. All six. Steal them and bring them to me. Once I have them in my possession, the Rangers won't be able to fact, they'll barely be able to move!" she laughed at the thought of seeing those pathetic weaklings on their knees, too weak to so much as lift a finger to stop her from taking over the world!

Kat nodded slowly. "I'll bring you all of them, mistress. I'll have them all by nightfall."

"Good." Rita was proud of her servant; she was shaping up in to quite a fine spy. With a little bit of work, she might even prove worthy of becoming Rita's apprentice. She'd been thinking about taking one recently; she could use some help with some of the more difficult spells. But that would be in the future. "Don't fail me!" she commanded, then vanished in a small bolt of lightning

Show-off, Kat thought quickly, hoping Rita wouldn't pick that up. The two of them were telepathically linked, and had been since Rita placed her spell on her. The blonde glanced briefly at the Center, then sighed. She'd hoped for the chance to go in and see Tommy, maybe toy around a little with them, pick up some information. She'd have to do that later now. She had a job to do now.

Slithering down to her feline form, the white cat leaped away into the gathering shadows, silent and all but invisible.

* * *
"Oh, I can hardly wait, Zeddy!" Rita cackled to her husband as she wrapped her arms around him. "We're finally going to win!"

Zedd snorted. "I've heard that one before. I'm not going to jump to any conclusions until after that cat of yours actually pulls something off!"

"Oh, she will!" Rita chuckled. "She can get Aisha's without a problem, Billy's got his head so stuck into his latest invention that she could probably steal his entire house and he wouldn't notice, and Rocky and Adam are busy too! Kimmie's got Tommy all distracted all by herself, so Kat can take their coins and no one will notice until it's too late!"

Zedd sighed, lifting his head to gaze down at the Earth where Kat was making her way to Kim and Aisha's house. "I hope so. The last thing we need is for the Rangers to find out your little kitty cat is their friend!"

"They won't," Rita purred. "They'll never know."

* * *
Aisha turned a page in the photo album, smiling to herself as she gazed at her collection. She knew that if anyone ever knew that she had this thing, she'd be more embarrassed than words conveyed. She had been collecting it since just before she had come to live in Angel Grove, and over the months it had amassed into quite a collection.

"Mrow," she heard the tiny call of her cat, and looked up to see P.C. staring at her from outside her window. The Yellow Ranger got up, sliding the window open just enough for the sleek feline to enter and picked her up as she did.

"P.C., I need some advice," she said seriously. "Cat to woman, or whatever you call it," the cat seemed to be looking at her, so Aisha turned her to look at the photo album. "You see here?" spread out before them both was a display of Billy Cranston at his finest, wearing everything from the suspenders he'd had in his early days on the team (courtesy of Kimberly as well as some old battle footage she'd managed to sneak from the Command Center) to one taken just a day or so earlier when he had been in the fight with the Cat Monster. It had him morphed, unmorphed, in his Ninja uniform, helmet-less and helmeted. It was a beautiful tribute to the Blue Ranger, and Aisha sighed with joy just at the images of him.

P.C. meowed, almost sounding confused, and Aisha mentally berated herself for assigning human attributes to a cat. Then she decided just to continue her little game. Maybe it would help her figure things out. "You see, I'm in love with him. Have been for a while now. We danced at this dance a few weeks ago, before you showed up to be so adorable," she hugged the cat briefly, then continued, "The thing is, I don't know how he feels. He dates every girl that asks him out...but he never stays with any of them. I just don't know."

Aisha sighed for a moment, then frowned, slipping the cat out of her arms as the phone rang down the hall. "I'll be back. Don't mess up my pictures, okay?" the cat just laid down, affecting disinterest, and Aisha giggled as she headed for the phone.


"Aisha?" the voice sent thrills down her spine and her smile widened.

"Hi, Billy!"

Aisha was quickly so entranced in her conversation that she didn't see the slightly larger shadow of a human in her room, nor did she notice when her Power Coin left her purse, though she did feel a strange twinge. She put it off to Billy having asked her out, and her joyous acceptance covered up P.C.'s leaving the house perfectly.

* * *
The same twinge overcame Rocky and Adam as they were working out at the DeSantos garage. Both put it down to overexertion, not noticing the sleek cat vanishing out of sight.
* * *
Billy was convinced the twinge he felt was either an overreaction to having asked Aisha out at last, or something engendered by his latest experiment. The fact he caught sight of a cat's tail vanished around the corner didn't even enter into his head. There were a dozen strays around his house, and he'd dismissed a thousand encounters over the years. This could be no different.
* * *
Kat stood just inside the Youth Center, her eyes flicking from location to location. This was one place she couldn't use her cat form in, not because it was too conspicuous, but simply because it wasn't possible for her to do as she had with the others; wait until the Rangers weren't looking, shift to her human form, steal the coin, shift to her cat form and the theft was perfectly accomplished.

Not far from her, on the balance beam, Kim was practicing, her arms, legs, and torso easily sliding around one another as she performed. Kat had heard her say that one of her dreams had once been to go to the Pan-Globals, but she had long since decided that her education and her friends, plus her duties as a Ranger, were more important to her than some silly medal. Now she just practiced for the fun, and to keep herself in fighting trim.

Tommy was seated at the Rangers' usual table, a smoothie in front of him, obviously just having been delivered by Ernie, as the portly owner was waddling away from him. His eyes weren't on Kim, amazingly, but on his drink, and there was an odd expression on his face, one that Kat hadn't seen before. Her heart reached out to him, wanting to know what was wrong with him.

It was halted by the spell on her, snapping her attention back to the problem at hand: of stealing the White and Pink Power Coins and completing her collection. Rita will reward me if I do this right, she reminded herself, and casually sauntered into the main room, ignoring the appreciate glances various young men gave her. Her eyes were completely on Tommy as she came over intending to sit by him.

Her intentions halted dead in their tracks when her hyper-sensitive ears picked up a startled, muffled in shock cry, and she whirled to see Kim starting to fall off the beam.

* * *
Kim was deep in thought about what to do about Tommy and Kat. They had to find out about each other and their past, and somehow they had to bring the other Rangers home. They were as much a part of this as the current group. She had supported their decision to leave for Switzerland, but now she knew that they had to come back.

Maybe I can persuade Zordon to let me teleport over there and talk with them. If I knew just why they have to come back. She knew what their past was, what roles they had played, but how that was going to reflect into their future, she didn't know. She just knew what had to be done.

Perhaps it was an accident. Perhaps fate simply won't be denied in some things. But Kim's foot slipped just as Kat was seconds from sitting down, and she cried out in shock as she started to fall.

That was when things started to slow down, both for Kim and for Kat. The enspelled girl snapped her head around to see Kim falling, and as she did, the compassion and kindness that had slumbered beneath the surface of Rita's spell roared back into full life and blew the entangling magic away like so much dust. Kat moved faster than she ever had in her life, not even sure how she was moving that fast, considering the space in between the two of them she shouldn't have been able to make it in time.

But she did. She caught Kim under the shoulders, cushioning the fall and lifting the smaller girl off the bar gently. Her eyes were wide with fear and full of sudden tears for all she had done as Rita's spy. "K..Kim...are you all right?"

A crowd was starting to gather, and they heard Tommy's strong voice. "Everyone stay back, don't crowd so close." He came closer to them. "Kim! Are you all right?"

Kim took several long breaths. "Yes..yes, I'm all right." Her eyes went distant for a moment, then she sat up. "Kat, Tommy, I need you to come with me. Right now."

"Are you sure you're all right? You might need to go to a hospital..." Kat suggested. Kim turned calm brown eyes on her, then spoke no softer than a whisper.

"If you want to find out why you're in love with Tommy and what your dreams mean, then please come with me." Kat nearly went white when what Kim said sank into her head.

Quietly the three of them left, leaving behind the group of people who were trying to find out what was going on. Ernie just shook his head and started to clear away the crowd. "Nothing to see here, folks, let them be." He smiled to himself. After all, Power Rangers need their space.

* * *
Outside, Kim had dragged both Kat and Tommy to a point just behind the bushes. "You two love each other." She stated flatly. "And I'm going to show you why."

Before they could react, she jerked the emerald crystal out of her pocket and held it out. "Touch this." She commanded, her voice that of a queen commanding, accepting neither delay nor denial. Slowly, the two of them reached out and laid their hands on the crystal.

The walls of memory, death, and reincarnation collapsed, and crystal clear memory filled them all.

* * *
It was thousands of years earlier. So far back, human history didn't even recognize the fact it existed. Two kingdoms, one known as Cemal, the other as Hadara, had existed side by side in perfect harmony for as far back as they could remember. All was at peace. However, due to unknown influences, the two rulers of the lands were having some difficulties.

Those difficulties were at the heart of the offspring of the rulers. Princess Kalonice, daughter of the King of Camal, was a blonde, blue-eyed beauty, tall and well-skilled with the bow and sword, her body toned by swimming and diving in the rivers and lakes around the royal palace. Prince Miakoda, son of the Queen of Hadara, was also a warrior, strong and wise and well-versed in all manner of physical arts, specializing in unarmed combat.

The two of them had grown up together, and no one was surprised they had fallen in love, least of all Kindosa, the royal sorceress of Camal, and Kalonice's cousin. Kindosa was also the guardian of the Oman Crystal, a powerful tool of magic that was said to have the ability to pierce the barrier of time and space, and to grant unimaginable powers to all those it chose. The royal magic-users had guarded it for generation after generation.

Kindosa, a small brunette with sparkling eyes, also thought Miadoka was handsome and well-made, but she never would have interfered in the love between her princess and the prince. Instead, she did all within her power to bring them together, and when they announced their intentions to wed, no one was happier than she.

All of their childhood friends came to celebrate the union. Jalron, captain of the Camalian Royal Guard, and Roron, captain of the Hadaran Royal Guard, would be dealing with security. The two of them got along famously, sparring together as if they knew each other forever, and forming a tight bond. With Roron came Bron, wisest man in both realms, and his wife Alana, a lovely dark-skinned woman from far away, whose parents had been ambassadors from their land. She was with child already, and the two of them looked as if they could not be happier.

Another companion of Roron's was Adron, student of both the skills of the warrior, the wisdom of the mage, and the knowledge of the scholar. He was apprentice to both Roron and Bron, and soaked up all skills like a sponge.

From Camal's deepest heart came two old friends that the prince and princess had not seen in years. Zalron and Tiko, a brother and sister pair, who were the deadliest assassins the realm had ever known. They were at their deadliest because as twins, they literally shared each other's thoughts and thus could never be completely caught off guard, as well as for their training from the master assassins' guild. The two of them were known far and wide for having the highest record of successful kills in the entire kingdom.

They were also the Royal Assassins and Bodyguards to Princess Kalonice. By royal law, however, they could only kill at her command, and she had only commanded it when necessary against enemies of the state, those who had proven to be so evil and recaltricant that for the protection of all, they had to perish. Each decision had caused the fair princess a great amount of pain. But now with everyone gathered for the most joyous of occasions, the royal wedding of the prince and princess, the union of the two lands, and the coronation of the two of them as Emperor and Empress, no one could think of anyone who would need to die. Death was a far thought from them all, only life and love concerned them.

All ten of them had known each other since the earliest of childhood, and had sworn blood-oath to be friends for all time. They all stole as many moments together as they could, renewing old bonds and seeing how new ones had formed. As the day dawned, no one suspected a thing. The guards were all armed, of course, it would be foolishness not to be. Even though their two realms were at peace, there were other realms that hungered for the wealth of the two lands.

It was one of those that invaded as the two of them were about to exchange their vows. The forces of darkness, led by an unnamed sorceress, swept in, destroying everything in their path. In a group, the ten young people raced from the High Temple only to see the invading army already raging through the burning streets of the capital city.

"We must fight." Kalonice said firmly. "Our realms must be saved."

"We may have no chance of winning," Miadoka said quietly. "But we must fight to the end."

Jalron took out a knife. "We have known one another since we were children. Should it come to pass we die this day, I would have your oaths that we return to one another in the future. Will you swear me this vow?"

"We will." Each of them spoke in unison, knowing the heart of them all as they knew their own. Slowly, one by one, each of them cut their palms and placed the bleeding hands together.

Kalonice spoke the words. "From this moment on, we are bound, blood to blood and heart to heart, to be eternal friends and always shall we be born together, to fight as one against evil and as a team for the powers of light."

"So shall it ever be, now and forever," the others murmured. "We are one."

With that, all of them used whatever weapons they had, and turned to the fight. Before they entered combat, Kalonice turned to Miakoda and took his hand in her own. "We shall always be one, my love."

"Forever and a day," he smiled at her. "I love you, Princess Kalonice."

"I love you, Prince Miakoda."

It was the last time they saw each other.

Until Tommy Oliver and Katherine Hillard were born and grew and met in the Youth Center of Angel Grove.

And destiny would not be denied any longer..

* * *
Kat and Tommy slowly looked up from the glowing green crystal, then looked at Kindosa...Kimberly. She was smiling softly. The two of them looked back to each other, tears in their eyes. In that moment, they had lived a lifetime. A lifetime of eternal love and friendship. Slowly, Tommy reached out to touch Kat's cheek. "I love you, Kat Hillard," he whispered softly.

"I love you, Tommy Oliver," she whispered, touching his cheek in return. Suddenly she pulled back. "Oh, no! I have to give them back!"

Kim frowned. "Give what back?"

Kat reached into her bag and pulled out four Power Coins. "I have got a few things to tell you guys. Some things I'm really sorry for."

Tommy and Kim both stared at the Coins, and at the shame and sorrow very clearly visible in Kat's eyes. "I think we do need to talk." Tommy slowly reached out and took her free hand. "About a lot of things." He smiled softly at her, and pulled her closer to him for a sweet, tender kiss. It was the first of many they would share in the future.

Kim watched, her eyes full of joy, then contacted the other Rangers to come get their Coins and told them they had a lot to discuss with a new friend. She put the Oman Crystal, as she knew it was called, away. They had a lot to do in the future. There would be new friends coming, new allies and new enemies, as well as things from the past that would need to be dealt with. She took a long, quiet breath. They had been through so much, and so much remained to be done. She felt her heart fill with hope and with promise as Tommy and Kat continued to kiss. Only once before had she felt so alive, on the day she had received her powers.

Then, as now, she knew: this was only the beginning.


Author's Note 2: Here's what I promised you. First off, "Oman" is Gaelic for green. Thus, the Oman Crystal is the Green Crystal. Second, here's the list of who is who, or rather, who was who.


More about their past and their future will be revealed in future stories.