Legal Disclaimer: Hello again!!! This is the fourth in my Gifts of the Avatars, being preceded by "To Everything There is a Season", "Dark Destiny", and "Gift of the Wind". Hope you like this one, please let me know if you do!!! I'm really easy to reach, at!! Come on, send me mail!!

Legacy of Fire
by Cynthia

The Dark Avatar paced back and forth in his home, fuming to himself. He was furious, and his anger reflected in the small storm raging all around him. "I had him! I had him, he was falling to his death, and what happens. . .that blasted Avatar of Wind saves him! Not just saves him. . .makes him her successor!"

He took several deep breaths, calming himself as best he could. He had made a mistake. He hadn't waited to see if the human had perished before leaving the scene. He had paid for it, he now had a new, young, strong Avatar to deal with instead of the aging old one. But I will not make that mistake again. The next Avatar, or their successor, WILL perish before the transfer can be made!

The Dark Angel glanced out the window, wondering which of the remaining four Elemental Avatars would be chosen next. Earth, fire, water, and spirit. Which of them shall it be? Which of them will rise next to challenge me?

"Whichever it is," he breathed the words out with all the cold chill of an arctic winter, "they will learn the folly of challenging the Avatar of Ultimate Darkness!"

As the sentence fell from his lips, the storm ceased, and thick shadows enfolded the house. The Dark Angel strode outside, intent on beginning his search for the next Avatar, current or future, and as he did so, his shadow fell upon an eagle soaring the currents near-by.

The bird fell dead.

"There he is!" Jason pointed as he, Zack, and Trini came off the plane. Trini lit up almost like a Christmas tree when she saw the young man coming towards them.

"Yo, Billy!" Zack waved as their old friend came up to them. "My main brain, how ya been?"

Billy smiled at the three people he hadn't seen in almost two years. "Just fine, Zack!" A slightly warmer expression decorated his face as he turned to Trini. Now that's a sight for sore eyes!

She'd grown even more beautiful since he'd last seen her. Her hair was as long and dark as a raven's wing, and her eyes were as deep brown as amber gems. She still bore a practiced grace from her kung-fu training, and around her neck hung the topaz pendent he'd mailed her for her seventeenth birthday just the month before.

Trini was drinking in the sight of Billy with all her heart. He'd gotten taller and more muscular, had ditched the glasses, quite possibly replaced them with contact lenses, and had an air of far more confidence than she'd ever seen, even after they'd spent time as Rangers together. There was something more to him, something she couldn't define. . .

Zack and Jason grinned, their two friends totally oblivious to anything but each other. "I got five bucks that says those two are dating by the time we've been here a week!" Jason murmured. Zack shook his head.

"I say it'll be inside of two days," Zack challenged. "See the way they're looking at each other? Heck, I'm surprised he's not asking her out right now!"

Billy and Trini stood staring into each other's eyes, almost touching, but never reaching for each other. Billy wanted to tell her what had happened to him, that he was now the Avatar of the Air. Something inside said for him not to, though, as they began to make their way out of the airport. The very air he moved through whispered softly to him, All in due time. . .they will know what they must, all in due time. . .

Soft, yet fiery eyes watched the reunion from concealment, burning with tender joy. Tayros smiled to himself. So, she is the one. After all this time, my successor is found. Trini Kwan, we have something that must be done soon. Before the Dark Angel finds you, or me.

The new Avatar of Fire must be chosen.

Trini shuddered a little as she, Billy, and Zack walked out of the airport. She couldn't shake the sensation, no matter how hard she tried to. I don't like that, she thought, glancing around. I thought I'd gotten away from being watched when we went to Switzerland. It was bad enough having Rita and Zedd have their disgusting eyes on me, whatever this is. . .it feels. . .

Her train of thought derailed abruptly when she realized whoever's eyes were on her, were not on her to harm her. She didn't know why they watched, but their intentions were only the best.

"Trini?" she looked up at the sound of her name, to see Billy's light blue eyes staring back at her. "Penny for your thoughts."

She shook her head. "Nothing important," she told him. "So, what's been going on around Angel Grove lately?"

"Not much," he shrugged. "The Machine Empire's the new bad guys on the block," he quickly filled them in on the details of the loss of the Ninja Powers, the Zeo Quest, and a few of the events subsequent to that. He left out his meeting with Kala out, though, and his anoitment as the Avatar of Air.

Jason whistled. "Sounds like things have been busy since we left!"

"To say the least," Billy paused for a moment as he started to get into his car. The wind felt. . .strange. . .wrong. . .

Avatar. He heard the word clearly in his mind, and paled. Avatar, embodiment of our power, hear us. The wind began to pick up, from all four directions, at once, swirling in front of him. The Dark Avatar is near. He seeks to do harm to a group of small children in the park. Be warned, and beware.

"Billy?" he looked to see his friends looking back at him. Jason asked, "Is anything wrong?"

"No," the Avatar of Air shook his head, glancing towards the park. "I've just got something to take care of."

Before they could ask what it was, where Billy had been there was a sapphire-eyed eagle winging it's way into the sky, screeching out a battle cry towards the park.

The Dark Avatar swooped over the screaming children, watching as they ran this way and that from his attack. "Oh, this is so much fun!" he laughed to himself. He'd never thought causing casual terror like this could be so enjoyable!

I simply must try this more often! He sent himself on another pass, this time seizing one of the squalling brats in his hands and soaring up to several thousand feet. "I wonder if you can fly, little one!" he challenged, ignoring the squirms and screams of his victim. "Let's find out!"

He watched in sadistic pleasure as the child dropped like a stone. Suddenly his features twisted in rage as an eagle plucked the child from the sky like a pigeon and set it gently upon the ground. "The Avatar of Air!" he hissed. "I've been waiting for a rematch with you!"

Billy was arrowing up to him as fast as he could go, his eyes blazing with outrage. There were few things that angered him more than the abuse of children, and only one thing was on his mind as he beat his wings harder and harder, aiming for his ultimate enemy. "How could you?" he screamed, knowing his words would be understandable, no matter his form. "If you wanted someone to fight, why not challenge me? Someone who can fight you, not a helpless child!"

The Dark Angel laughed. "Who said I wanted a fight, Air Avatar? I just wanted some fun!"

"Then look for it elsewhere!" windstorms tore through the air at Billy's desire. "But you'll find no pleasure in tormenting children here, not as long as I'm around!"

"Then you shall not be around!" the wicked Avatar dropped below the level of the wind and let loose with a hideous blast of power. "You shall not disturb my takeover of this world, Avatar!"

Billy dodged out of the way, banking neatly to the left. Even as he moved, though, from his foe there swept a wall of ice water, that drenched Billy's feathers and made it impossible for him to fly. No!!! he screamed mentally as he flapped harder and harder. I can't let him win! I can't let him hurt those kids, or anyone else!

"There's nothing you can do, Avatar!" the Dark one mocked, watching as the ice began to coat the eagle. "That ice will build up on your wings, and you will fall!"

"I can't die!" Billy shrieked, his wings beating harder and harder. "You can't kill me!"

"True," his enemy laughed again. "I never said you would die. . .but how will you be able to stop me if you are in a human hospital or freak show? You will be out of my way, and that is all I desire!"

"Is it just me, or did Billy turn into an eagle and fly to the park?" Zack shook his head in disbelief. "Someone please tell me I'm seeing things!"

Jason blinked a little. "Not unless I am too. Trini?" when no answer came, he looked around, he'd been certain that she'd been there just moments before! "Zack, where's Trini?"

The former Black Ranger shook his head. "I don't know. I thought she was right beside you!"

"So did I," Jason glanced around. "She must've went after Billy. Let's go!"

Trini had set off after Billy almost before he'd really gotten into the sky good. The moment she'd seen the change, the knowledge she had to help in whatever he was doing burst into her. She'd ran for the park, knowing without knowing how that was where he was going. She stopped in a clump of trees and stared as a cloaked figure swept from above, tormenting the children.

She'd been about to charge out and take the kids to safety, when a hand on her shoulder had stopped her. She turned to see an old man looking at her quietly, tawny eyes meeting her own. "Tayros," she bowed her head automatically, then looked at him, eyes widening in surprise. "How do I know who you are?"

He smiled. "Because we are the same," he told her. "I have been waiting for you for quite some time, Trini Kwan, formerly the Yellow Ranger of Earth."

"How did you know that?" she asked wonderingly. He glanced upwards, her eyes following his on instinct, and saw the eagle that Billy had become dueling with the cloaked one.

"That is not what is important," Tayros gestured to the fight going on above. "That is. Your beloved needs help."

"He's not my---," Trini couldn't say that she didn't love Billy, but she wasn't going to say she didn't either. "What can I do to help?" she asked instead. "I'm not a Ranger anymore."

"There are more powers in the universe than those of the Rangers, my young one," Tayros shivered at the sight of the ice storm. At the confusion in Trini's eyes, he quietly and quickly explained about the Dark Avatar, and Billy's own role as the Avatar of Air.

Trini frowned only lightly. "What does that have to do with me?" she asked. Tayros held forth his hand in answer, and upon his outstretched palm there danced a small column of fire.

"This is what it has to do with you," he told her. "I am the Avatar of Fire, and the time has come for me to pass my powers to another. A strong warrior, one who can use the powers of heat and flame to defend the innocent and the good."

She didn't have to ask what he was asking of her. Nor did she have to think about it. One look at Billy, fighting that losing battle in the sky, was all she needed to make up her mind. "I'll do it."

Tayros smiled. "Welcome," he said simply, and the fire in his hand leaped forward to engulf her in it's light. Trini felt the very blood within her veins burst into incandescence, and threw her head back in joy, laughing at the power that filled her. What was being a Power Ranger to being part of the very life force of the planet itself? This was everything she'd ever wanted, with only one exception.

And that exception was currently fighting for his life in the skies above. Trini focused her thoughts and her new powers, with only one goal filling her mind. A heatflash to rival the Sahara at noon shattered the Dark Avatar's icewind, and blew him down to the ground at her feet. The flame that now filled her blazed in her eyes as she glared at him.

"You're going to have to do a lot better than that if you want to defeat the Avatars of Nature, Dark One!" she snapped. "Now, get out of here!"

He made his way to his feet and looked first at her, then at Billy as the Air Avatar landed next to them, back in his human form. "So the Avatar of Fire has passed his powers to you, girl. We shall meet again. Both of you."

Like a shadow melting, he was gone. Trini and Billy looked at each other. Billy raised an eyebrow in that manner she remembered so well. "Avatar of Fire?" was all he asked. She blushed.

"Well, someone had to help you. . .Avatar of Air!"

His blush was even deeper than hers. "Thanks," he said softly. "I owe you."

"Friends don't owe friends," she told him. "Come on. We've got some explaining to do to Zack and Jason."

Billy actually winced. "Good point. And we're going to have to come up with something like our Ranger uniforms, to hide who we are from the general public. I think those kids are a little too close to finding out about us," he gestured to the kids starting to stumble over to them.

"Let's get out of here," was her answer. They started back to their friends, concern, worry, and fear masking other, deeper feelings. They simply had too much to deal with at the moment. Talk of what was both on their minds would have to wait until their new battle was over with, a battle against a force darker than any of them could imagine as yet.

And things were only just beginning.

The End... for now