Legal Disclaimer: Saban & Gibson! They own! AHHH!! This is not connected to my Jeweled Zeo series, but you'll find some mention of things that could be familiar from it.

Shades of the Past
by: Cynthia

She hadn't been fighting to stay as the Queen of Evil when she had begged Zedd to give her another chance. She had been fighting to remain with the one she loved. Oh, not that disgusting skinless creep, he made her stomach curdle just to think about it. Perhaps at one point she might've considered an alliance with him, if he could be deceived into it, for the sheer power that would be hers as his bride.

Rita Repulsa had been fighting to remain with Jason Lee Scott, leader of the Power Rangers and the man who had done what no one else in all creation could possibly have ever done: captured and melted her icy heart. She knew that if Zedd were allowed to take charge, the odds against the Rangers winning skyrocketed.

A few months ago, that would have been the greatest news I had ever heard, she thought as she leaned back in the dumpster. A few months ago, the tender thoughts that intruded her mind whenever she considered the handsome young man would have nauseated her. Now, they were a source of strength that she couldn't and wouldn't get rid of.

She sighed deeply, wiping a faint tear from her eyes. In the palace she wouldn't have even let it show, but she wasn't in the palace any more. She could let her real heart show. He taught me what a heart was. Rita's eyes hardened briefly. And Zedd is probably making him regret the day he decided to be a Ranger.

Rita knew she had to find a way back to Earth. Jason needed her, she felt it with every particle of magic in her soul, and she needed him too. But from inside the dumpster, she had as much chance of influencing the course of her travel as she did of influencing the course of the tides themselves. This blasted thing is completely immune to my magic. For all I know, I'm heading right into the heart of a black hole!

She sighed deeply. She had been on the verge of just giving up when Zedd had arrived. Of handing her staff to Scorpina and going down to Earth to be with the one she loved. There was going to be one last last attempt. And if...when...that had failed, that was all that there would have been for the Empress of Evil.

Then Zedd had to show up and ruin everything. But I will go back. I will find you again, Jason, and this time, nothing, no force in the universe will stop us from being together.

Red as the roses come
My love it never was
dark as the evening sky
We let love pass us by
I was caught in the middle
somewhere in the gray
Now it's time to leave that all behind
my uncertain yesterdays
Jason Lee Scott, the Red Ranger under Zordon of Eltar's leadership, field leader of the team, best friend of the White Ranger Tommy Oliver, sworn enemy of all that was evil and corrupt, stared up at the stars through his bedroom window wondering something. Where is she? Is she all right? What did he do to her?

Those were just a few of the thoughts that forced their way into his mind. Jason wasn't the genius his friend Billy was, but he knew that something wasn't right at the moment. What's wrong is that Rita's not here. A few short months earlier, that would've been a cause of great rejoicing. But with Zedd's arrival and banishment of her, that had become a cause of sorrow for at least one of them.

It had already been three months since Zedd had arrived, and Rita had been cast out. Jason knew every moment of those three months intimately. He'd marked them off on his calender. Three months. Ninety days since he had last faced a monster sent by the love of his life, his former worst enemy, Rita Repulsa.

I can't even tell the others I miss her. They'd never understand. He wished he could tell Zordon how he felt about Rita, but that was an impossibility. The ancient mentor would never, could never accept that she had changed. She told me she was going to give it up. That she was going to come to Earth and be just...just my girlfriend. The thought of hanging out at the beach with her, or going to the movies, or any of the things that 'normal' couples did thrilled him.

And saddened him. Because he knew it could never be. Even if Rita came back, he doubted that she would ever be truly accepted by his friends, and they were the ones that he wanted to have understand, that she wasn't the way she had been. At least not right away they wouldn't believe or accept. He hadn't himself, not until it had been proven to him in the most amazing way possible.

If only I could see her again...just once more.. Jason slowly picked up his red marker and turned from the window to the calender on the wall. A quick motion, and he had marked off another day. He put a hand lightly on the next day and wondered. Will tomorrow be the day when you come back into my life, Rita?

He remembered the last time that he had seen her. Not in the usual brown-gold gown and twisted hairstyle that his friends knew her in. She had been so young looking...almost his own age, maybe a bit younger even. Her hair had been down, falling to her knees, a deep pure black. She had been so beautiful...And she couldn't stay that way. She had to go back to the moon, to her old self.

He had noticed something after their adventure together, however. He had noticed that there was a softness in her, a tenderness that he longed to see again as they gazed into each other's eyes. Only once had he heard from her after that moment on the beach together.

Even if we never see each other again, that one night was worth everything, he thought. Everything....

Now it's black or white
Now it's wrong or right
I can't live without you here
Shades of the past are long gone
I've got one thing on my mind...
There's a choice to make
There'll be no mistake
The time has come around
I'm leaving no middle ground
...let my heart be the only sound
Rita had never felt quite so lonely in all of her thousands of years of life. Even when she'd been in the dumpster on that asteroid, she'd still had her court with her. I never treated any of them that well. She winced at the thought of how she'd beat on them all for practically nothing so many times. With the time to think that being in here had brought her, she had come face to face with just how much of her life had been wasted in a fruitless search for power that wasn't hers and never would be.

Everything I thought I wanted I got when I fell in love with Jason. I wanted to be complete, and I thought if I ruled everything, then I'd be complete. Father and Mother told me that, and I accepted it along with all their other lies. She trembled at the memory of her parents. Master Vile and Queen Shanara, the unchallenged rulers of the M-51 Galaxy. The two of them had dominated her life and her brother's from an early age, demanding that they learn how to be evil, that they become evil, whether they wanted to be or not.

There had been one bright spot in the darkness of her youth. She had ran away when she was fourteen, seeking a life of goodness and mercy, wanting to be what her parents hated for a variety of reasons. To see if they were right. To know what she wanted to be.

To be a typical teenager and defy her family.

For one year she had been free. And when that year was up, her mother had walked casually into the small room Rita had been living in and pointed a finger at her. That was the last moment the old Rita, Rita the happy teenager, had existed. After that, it had only been Rita Repulsa, Evil's Princess.

Until the time had come when the old spell had finally worn through, and had shattered with the awakening of her heart. When she and Jason had been through the most devestating experiences any two beings could and still remain sane, and she had realized in a moment and a place of complete truth that he was everything she had ever wanted and more besides. It had taken but a moment for her body to reflect the teenager's soul within, and they had spent what time they could together.

And now I may never see him again. She quickly thrust that idea out of her mind. It might take years, but she would see him again, no matter what. She would not let anything get in her way.

A sudden thump startled her, and she realized that somehow, she had stopped moving! Her dumpster had landed somewhere. Her heart leaped up into hr throat as she shivered. Where am I? She couldn't alter the course of the dumpster, but she could sense various things from within it, and as her magical mind ranged out, a chill flowed down her spine. I'm home.

Pink is not red or white
but you brought me pink roses tonight
and I got to thinking to myself
oh the time is right
A promise is stronger
than a whisper
So I say "goodbye" to our yesterdays
and leave behind those shades of gray
Jason slowly turned the small dagger over and over in his hands, then pulled his sleeve back briefly to look at the scar on the back of his right arm. A final glance touched a clear crystal on his nightstand. No one else knew what these small things meant to him. His mind flickered back to another place and time...

"This is my betrothal dagger, Jason," Rita gazed into his eyes. "It is a custom of my people that when a woman loves someone with all her heart, she gives them the dagger. Every child is given one when she is born, and it is held in trust until she comes of age. I never thought I would find someone I wanted to give this to. Until now.

Jason stared down at her. "What are you talking about?" Things had certainly changed between the two of them in the last week, but he had never expected anything like this!!

"I love you, Jason Lee Scott," she said flatly. "I know we can't marry now, for more reasons than there are stars in the sky, but should it become possible one day...will you marry me?"

There had only ever been one answer to this, since his heart had long since been hers. "Yes, Rita. I will marry you. Someday."

She had gently cut his arm then, drawing blood which she had mixed with her own once she had cut her arm. Their blood remained on the dagger, and she gave it to him. Then they had kissed.

Jason stared down at the knife, still with faint traces of blood on the blade, and sighed. He never had once imagined he would be betrothed not just at the age of sixteen, but to someone he had once considered his worst enemy. The only thing more wacko would be if Kim fell in love with Zedd!!

He glanced to the crystal again, but didn't touch it. He had tried so hard after Zedd had thrown her out to contact her, but to no avail. The crystal was a special gift she had given him, something that allowed them to communicate with one another. She had an identical crystal she kept in her personal chambers on the moon, or had kept there. He didn't know if she'd been able to retrieve it or not, but ever since her banishment, he hadn't been able to contact her. He had almost forgotten what it felt like to see the warm golden glow light up, letting him know he had a message from his love.

"Jason?" he turned his head to see Tommy in the door. "Are you all right?" The White Ranger asked, a thread of worry in his voice. "You were supposed to meet us for a picnic, remember?"

The Red Ranger jumped up at once, his eyes widening. "Sorry about that! I kind of lost track of time."

Tommy chuckled. "I thought that was my job, bro." He watched as Jason slid a small dagger he'd been looking at into a sheath and set it near his bed. He had never asked his friend just what that meant to him, but he knew it was something special. Maybe from an old girlfriend or something. He'd quietly asked the others if they had learned anything about who had given it to him, but no one knew. The first time I saw it was after he got back from that whole mess with Rita. I, it couldn't be.

As soon as Jason got his things together, the two of them headed out. Jason put his thoughts of Rita out of his mind for now; the time would perhaps come in the future when they would be reunited, and he would have all the problems of trying to convince his friends that she wasn't the conniving wench that they thought she was.

Once the door had shut behind him, however, something Jason couldn't see and would hate himself when he learned he had missed it, began to happen.

The communication crystal began, for the first time in three months, began to glow a familiar, soft, and tender gold.

...let my heart be the only, only sound
(black or white, wrong or right)
Oh there's a choice to make
There'll be no mistake
The time has come around
I'm leaving no middle ground
...let my heart be the only (only) sound