The next day, Azure and Adam announced they were going to be taking a camping trip up to Angel Grove Forest; to get away from the city for a while, and to relax now that Aura was safely rescued from Zedd and was now healing with the Spirit of the Earth. As they packed up for the trip, Azure glanced over at Billy, who was sitting on the Robinsons' front porch. He wasn't as depressed as he had been for the past month, with Aura captive in Zedd's dungeon, but he also wasn't as happy as he'd been before all this had begun.
"I don't like leaving him here like this," Azure sighed, glancing at her brother-in-law. She was just as worried about him as she was about Aura.
"He'll be all right," Adam reassured her. "I hope," he whispered the last two words as he too looked at his best friend, looking so forlorn and lost without Aura. I hope the Spirit of Earth brings her back soon. Billy needs her so much, and she needs him.
"He'd better be," Azure slid the tent into Adam's car. They were going to be leaving the next morning, but wanted to have every packed, so all they'd have to do was get in the car and drive to their campsite.
Adam glanced first at his communicator then at hers, a grin at his lips. "Don't worry, if anything goes wrong, we can be back in a flash."
Azure chuckled. "If they only knew!"
Adam nodded. "I know," the two of them had a special surprise planned for this weekend; one that no one would ever forget.
Azure frowned for a second. "Do you think they're going to be mad at this one?"
Her fiancé shrugged. "I hope not," it's possible they will be; especially Aura and Billy. But this is the safest way.
"Mad at what?" Billy asked. They hadn't even noticed him coming up next to them! He moved so quietly at times, it was amazing.
"Oh, nothing," Adam said innocently. He wasn't going to give away any secrets he didn't have to! What he and Azure had planned was just their business for now. Billy looked at him; they'd been friends too long for Adam to hide something.
"If you say so, but I don't believe it!"
"Why not?" Adam used his best 'I'm totally innocent' voice. Billy wasn't buying it, though, this time, if he ever really had. Adam didn't mind; it was the first time in a month he'd been anything like his old self.
"I know you too well!" Billy said, looking from one of them to another. "Both of you!"
Azure did her level best to look hurt and wounded at his accusation, as did Adam. "Ye of little faith!" she told him. Billy laughed, then glanced briefly back at the Robinson house, then at his own old home next to it. He sighed deeply.
"I miss her so much," they could tell he was speaking more to himself than to them, but they heard it. They also heard the unalloyed love and longing in his voice. Adam put a hand on Billy's shoulder.
"She'll be home soon, all better!" he promised her. Billy sighed.
"I hope so. I really do."
Adam pointed out, "At least now we know she's safe. The Spirit would never let her come to harm as long as they're together. Besides, they can form the Guardian of the Earth; no one in their right mind messes with that!"
"I just wish we knew where she is," Billy glanced up at what had been Aura's window again; remembering the countless times he'd done that, worrying over her. Will we ever be left alone to live our lives in peace?
"Probably in the Heart of Earth," Adam suggested. "It's the most logical place, and the safest place for them. No one will bother them there," Azure nodded and added her own advice.
"And she's showing Aura the truth!"
"Whatever they did to her, whatever lies they poisoned her with, all the damage they did to her body, mind, heart, and soul. . .she'll be healed when she comes back," Adam reminded him. Billy sighed and nodded.
I know. I know when I see her again, she'll be her old self. But I want to see her again; I can't wait any more! I want you back, Aura! Billy sat back down, wishing above all else to see Aura's beautiful face coming out of the house, to hear her voice telling him everything was fine.
Azure smiled and whispered gently, just loud enough for Adam to hear her, "And she's in for a surprise when she gets back," Adam's only response was a light, brief nod. All the Rangers were in for one big surprise before that weekend was over with. * * *
"So, the Blue Ranger misses his wife!" Zedd peered down at the Earth, laughing. Ever since Aura had been freed from his dungeon the previous day, he'd been in a foul mood. This, however, seemed to cheer him up somewhat.
"Let's give her back to him, then!" Rita chuckled evilly. Zedd nodded and called for Finster. The little scientist ran up eagerly.
"Yes, evil ones?" he asked. Rita and Zedd's minions, except for Goldar and Rito, hadn't had to do anything evil in the past month, and Finster was eager to get back to work.
"I want a clone of the Amber Ranger. How quickly can you make it?" Zedd ordered. Finster thought quickly; Aura had been hurt badly. . .she'd bled. . .ah, yes!
"Using the blood that was spilled while she was here, sire, I can have one done in a matter of hours!" Finster reported. Oh, it's so good to be needed again!
"Then, what are you waiting for?" Zedd roared. "Go do it, now!" Finster fled down to the dungeons to get the blood; he hated it when Zedd screamed at him.
"What shall we have our clone do, Zeddy?" Rita wondered. "There's so much that can be done with a duplicate!"
"Quite true," Zedd nodded, remembering the evil clone of Billy they'd created some time back. That clone had stolen the Power Coins and nearly defeated the Rangers. This one would do even more! "Destroy the Blue Ranger and their brats!"
"The Blue Ranger will be so happy to have his wife back, he won't even notice she's not the real thing!"
"Yes!" Zedd laughed, anticipating destruction to come that was almost as fun as what he'd done to Aura. A few quiet hours passed while Zedd put the finishing touches on this, his master plan to destroy the Rangers. His thoughts were interrupted when Finster hurried into the throne.
"I've done it, sires!" he said triumphantly. This was truly a masterpiece of work; no one could tell the difference between what he'd made and the real Aura.
"Bring her in," Zedd ordered. Finster beckoned to something behind him, and a familiar figure entered. They all stared at the flawless duplicate of the Amber Ranger. Zedd walked over and inspected her minutely.
"Perfect," he declared. "Even down to the necklace!" This was going to work out even better than if he had killed the real Aura!
"I am your servant, Lord Zedd," the clone spoke in precise mimicry of Aura. "What do you wish of me?"
Zedd glanced to the Earth, and smiled nastily. "Go to Earth, impersonate the real Aura, and destroy the Blue Ranger and their children!"
"At once!" the clone saluted and prepared to be teleported as soon as Zedd decided just where she'd go first. Zedd raised his staff and declared,
"You're going to the Amber Ranger's sister first; she and the Black Ranger are preparing to leave on a trip. Give them a little surprise. . but remember, wait to destroy Billy until you are alone. Give them no hints that you are not the true Aura."
"As you wish, my lord," the clone declared. Zedd teleported her to Earth as she continued, "The Rangers won't know what hit them!"
Things were going just as planned. * * *
Azure kissed Adam deeply; enjoying the feel of his lips against hers. "Can you believe that in a couple of hours, we will be husband and wife?" she murmured. She didn't want Billy to hear her; he'd gone inside to change the twins' diapers; but you never knew with him.
"I feel like I've been waiting forever," Adam touched her cheek gently. "For you."
Azure bit her bottom lip and smiled a little. "You sure know how to make a girl feel good about herself," she told him. Her eyes flicked to something behind him, and went wide in shock as she pulled away.
"What is it, Azure?" Adam asked. Azure stepped around him and started to run behind him.
"I can't believe it!"
"Azure!" The voice Adam heard was a very familiar one, and he turned to see Aura standing there, smiling happily at her. The sisters hugged deeply.
"You're back!" Azure stared happily at her sister, then turned back to Adam. "Get Billy!" she ordered. Adam ran inside, returning a moment later with Billy, who was holding Alaina in his arms. Not noticing his returned wife, he asked, "What's going on?"
"Aura's back!" Adam told him. Billy glanced over, his eyes going indescribably wide. He stepped over to her, too scared of a trick to run, but too happy not to come near her.
"Aura, is that really you?" he whispered. She ran over to him, smiling that smile he knew so well.
"Of course it's me!" she told him. "Who else would it be?" I'm doing this so well, Zedd and Rita are going to be so proud of me. I'm your worst nightmare, that's who I am, but you'll only know that when it's too late!
"I missed you so much," he wanted to hug her, but couldn't with Alaina in his arms. Azure solved his problem quickly.
"Let me hold Alaina, you hug your wife!" she smiled as she removed Alaina from him. A moment later, Aura and Billy were wrapped in a rib-cracking hug.
"Aura," he whispered into her ear. "I love you! I missed you more than I can say!"
"I love you, too!" Aura smiled again. "I missed you all!"
Azure glanced to Adam, frowning a touch. "Looks like the camping trip is delayed," she sighed. Aura looked over and raised an eyebrow.
"You guys were going camping?"
Adam nodded. "But we can go next weekend!" he told her.
Aura shook her head. "No, you go on, I'm not going anywhere anymore, you can see me when you get back!" Especially since that's two less people to get in the way when I strangle the Blue Ranger in his sleep!
Azure smiled and hugged her tightly. "Aura, I love you!" she went over to Adam. "We'll have a surprise for you when we get back!"
"Really?" Not nearly as much of a surprise as you'll get when you find out what went on while you're away!
Adam checked his watch quickly. "Time to go, Azure, we have to be there in an hour!"
"You guys have a good time!" Aura giggled. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do!"
"What if we do?" Azure chuckled; Aura had totally regained her health and sense of humor it seemed. The Spirit of Earth had worked wonders in just a short amount of time.
"Then I'd have to kill you!" Aura laughed heartily, as did everyone else. That was so totally "Aura-like"! Azure gave her sister another hug.
"I missed you, Aura," Azure gave her sister one more hug, then got in the car next to Adam.
"Bye all," Adam waved as they drove off. Aura waved after them, smiling a little. Billy followed them with his eyes.
"What are those two up to?" he wondered aloud. Aura shrugged.
"Don't ask me, I just got here!"
Billy shifted Alaina to his other arm; Azure had given her back to him just before they'd driven away. "We have so much to catch up on! Say hi to your mother, Alaina!"
Aura took her into her arms and cuddled her. "I missed you, little girl!" she smiled at her. Alaina squirmed and began to cry heartily; something she'd never done before. "Shhhh, shhhh, it's me, Aura, your mommy!"
"That's weird," Billy observed. Alaina's never cried like that before, except when a stranger was holding her. I'll never forget how she wailed when Bulk tried to hold her that one time! But. . .no, this is Aura!
"I've been gone so long, I hope they haven't forgotten me!"
"Who could forget you?" Billy teased her a bit. "Let's hope they don't think Alpha's their mother!"
She giggled. "I hope not!" Billy looked over at her; there was a faint air of weariness all about her.
"You okay? You look tired."
"I am tired," she told him. "The Spirit healed me, but I came back before getting a good night's sleep. I missed you all too much to stay away!"
"Let's get you home then!" he smiled as they went inside to collect Alexander. He glanced at her quickly as they picked their things up. "You going to be able to get home all right?"
She nodded. "I'll be fine now that I'm back with you!"
Billy slipped the twins into their stroller, then went over to hug and kiss her. "I can't tell you how much I missed you!"
"I missed you, too! Let me push the twins!" she smiled as they headed out the door, heading home together for the first time in what felt like forever. It didn't take them long to get back to their place, and as Billy opened the door, he told her, "Welcome home!"
She sighed as she entered. "It's been so long. I hope I can remember where everything is!"
"I'm sure you can," Billy reassured her. It's so good to have her back. Rita and Zedd will never take her from me again, no matter what!
"I hope so. You know, we need to tell the others I'm back!" Aura smiled and took his hand gently as they went to their bedroom. "They're going to want to know."
"Later, after you sleep," Billy told her. "You need your rest; you've had a long. . .month."
"I know," she sighed as she changed into a gown and slipped into the bed. Billy sat next to her, holding her hand until she fell asleep. Her husband watched her for a while, a gentle smile on his lips. I love her so much. I'm so glad you're home, my lovely Aura. I've missed you more than I can say. I love you. * * *
"Oh, this is too good! He's falling for it!" Zedd laughed with deliciously evil glee. This plan was already going better than he'd expected!
"He wants to fall for it! That's the best part!" Rita reminded him. Watching the Blue Ranger go so swiftly under their deception was pure delight!
"Her own sister couldn't even tell the difference!" Zedd laughed in triumph. If Azure, who knew Aura right down to her bones, couldn't tell this wasn't her, then there was no way they could fail!
"She'll meet the other Rangers tomorrow. Let's hope our clone can keep up the deception!"
"She will, Rita. We'll make her more believable to them, with some nightmares!" Zedd knew very well what to make her dream; he'd spent the last month forcing the true Aura to live them all!
"You are evil incarnate, Zedd!" Rita congratulated him. They shared an evil kiss, then returned their gaze to the Earth, as their clone slept a so-far dreamless sleep. . .that was about to change. . . * * *
Billy smiled as he watched Aura sleep, then yawned. He hadn't rested much himself over the last month, and stretched out on the bed next to her. Time for some real sleep, at last. With her, where I belong, as she's with me, where she belongs.
Aura began to toss and turn suddenly, something he'd never seen her do while asleep. She'd always been as immovable as a stone. He looked at her, calling her name gently. She began to mumble in her sleep, "No. . .no. . .ta. . take it away. . ."
He put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Aura, wake up! You're having a nightmare!"
She sat up suddenly, her eyes wild, and mouth about ready to drop open into a scream. He quickly wrapped his arms around he. "Aura, it's okay! It was only a dream!"
She held him quickly, harshly, shaking all over. "Snakes. .snakes, everywhere," she whispered. Why did I dream like that? Finster told me I couldn't dream, couldn't feel. . .Rita and Zedd must have done it, to make me more look more real to them. If it's their will. . .but I was. . I was really scared. . .
"It's okay, it was only a dream," Billy's warm arms were around her, and she leaned against him, taking a sudden strength from his presence.
I don't believe this. I. . .no, I must remember what I am, I am the creation of Zedd and Rita, a copy of the Amber Ranger, to destroy all the others! What would she say in this situation? I know. "Oh, Billy, I was so scared while I was there! I Thought you were dead!"
"I'm not," he lifted her face gently to look into her eyes and spoke softly. What he said filled her heart with a very strange feeling, something she'd never experienced before. "I will never leave you. I love you."
"I. . .love you," she whispered, staring at him with pure awe in her eyes. What is this? This . . .feeling inside of me. . .all warm and happy and tingly. . .Is this. . .love? No, it can't be. . .I can't love. . .
"We'll get through this," he promised her. "Somehow, we will," he smiled gently at her. "There's that old sparkle I missed!"
She leaned against him again. "I missed you, too," she whispered. I didn't know love was like this. . .what am I going to do now? * * *
Not many hours later, as Billy slept a deep sleep, the clone slipped away from him and teleported back to the moon, having been summoned by her masters. "How goes your mission?" Zedd wanted to know.
"Very well," she reported as she bowed. "Billy suspects nothing"
He nodded sharply. "Good. Tonight, you will destroy him!" And I will be rid of the Blue Ranger once and for all!
"I. . .," she hesitated. I can't kill him. "Perhaps the other Rangers first?"
Zedd glared at her. He didn't like disobedience. "Are you questioning a direct order?"
She shook her head sharply. "No, of course not, but if the others are gone first, he'd be off-balance, easier to kill!" she hoped she sounded more convincing than she felt!
"No, I want him destroyed first!" Zedd declared. Rita looked at her, eyes narrowed in thoughtful speculation.
"I think she's falling for him," the evil queen mused. The clone paled; how had they learned so quickly? Unknown to her, though Rita and Zedd both recognized the expression, she looked exactly as Aura had when they'd had her under the evil Ruby Necklace's control years earlier, and had tried to get her to kill Billy.
"How could she?" Zedd asked Rita. "She has no heart!" he glanced back at the clone. "You are not a real human, you have no emotions, you were made to destroy the Blue Ranger!"
"Yes, sire," she whispered. How did I fall so fast? All it took was a nightmare and to have his arms around me. . .am I that much like the real Aura? That I would love him so much so soon? So completely?
"And if you disobey us, you will be terminated!" Rita told her, her staff glowing with her rage.
"I won't disobey," the clone promised. They can unmake me. I must obey. Oh, Billy, I'm so sorry! * * *
The next day, in the Command Center, Aura and Billy waited nervously for the other Rangers to arrive. Billy was holding her hand, enjoying the feel of her near him. She seemed a bit nervous about something; but after all, it was the first time in a month she'd really seen her friends.
"You okay?" he asked just as the Rangers teleported in. I hope everything's all right with her.
"I'm fine," she told him. I hate what I must do tonight, Billy. More than you can possibly imagine!
"Aura?" Tommy looked at her, not believing his eyes. "You're back!" she nodded and smiled at him.
"All right!" Rocky cheered. "Man, it's a pity Adam and Azure aren't here to see this! They went camping. They would have loved to have seen you before they left!"
She chuckled. "They did; I came back, just before they left!"
Aisha laughed. "Those two are up to something!" Alpha turned away as she did, not wanting to reveal what he knew.
"Really?" Aura smiled. Oh, this feels so strange, to laugh and smile, and just be with people who care. Is this what being real is like? No wonder people like it so much!
IT IS GOOD TO HAVE YOU HOME, AURA. Zordon told her. She looked up at him and smiled.
"It's good to be home," was her assertion. The others began to fill her in on what she missed, and when she heard everything, smiled at Rocky. "Thanks for finding me, Rocky. I owe my rescue to you!" she rewarded him with a sisterly peck on the cheek, which caused the Red Ranger to blush as fiercely as his shirt! * * *
She watched as he placed another log on the fire. This was the perfect night. What more could she ask for? A warm fire, a beautiful breeze, a full moon, romantic music, and the love of her life right there. He walked over and laid down on the blanket next to her.
Turning around she wrapped him into a tight, and loving hug. Never wanting to let go, she stared into his deep dark eyes. Nothing in the world could ruin this night for her.
Azure kissed Adam deeply; this was their wedding night, and there was nothing that could be done to change how wonderful it would be. Suddenly, a memory flickered through her mind that caused her to pull away from him, eyes going wide with fright.
"Azure, what is it?" he asked, worried. She looked at him, fear in her eyes.
"Aura. . .that. . Adam, we need to get back to Angel Grove!"
"Azure, what are you talking about?" Adam wondered. "Aura's home and safe now!"
"That's not Aura!!!" Adam took one look at her serious expression and had only two words to say.
She was running for the car a moment later. "We can come back for our stuff later!" he grabbed her arm quickly.
"We need to get to the Command Center," was all he said as he hit his communicator. A moment later, both of them stood in the Command Center. Zordon looked at them worriedly.
ADAM, AZURE, WHY HAVE YOU RETURNED SO SWIFTLY FROM YOUR HONEYMOON? he asked. He and Alpha were the only ones who had known they planned to elope on this trip.
"There's something wrong, I know it," Azure told them. "I don't think that's Aura!"
"Ay-yi-yi, what makes you think that?"
"Her necklace," Azure told them. Adam looked confused; it was all she could do not to smile; he'd had other things on his mind ever since their trip had began! Obviously those weren't out of his head just yet!
"She was wearing it when she came to the house, but Alaina still had it on when Billy came out!" Azure explained. Everyone got serious at that point!
ALPHA, SCAN AURA TO DETERMINE HER IDENTITY. Alpha ran for the computers, and a few moments later turned regretfully to Azure and Adam as they stood there hand in hand.
"You were right, Azure, that isn't Aura!" he told them. "It's a clone, but it's one that's becoming more and more human with every second!"
"Oh, man," Adam groaned. "Rita and Zedd are responsible for this!"
"Billy could be in trouble," Azure was nervous all over again. Billy doesn't want to believe that isn't Aura! That's why they did this!
"Come on, we've got to find them!" * * *
"Sires, I have news!" Finster raced into the throne room, a sheaf of paper in his hands. Zedd glanced casually over at him, wondering what the little inventor was blathering about now.
"What is it?"
"The clone I made of the Amber Ranger is becoming human! A real human!"
Zedd spilled his drink. "HOW?!"
"I don't know, sire, it's just happening!" Finster told him. "She will become capable of love, friendship, all those icky human emotions! If she hasn't already!"
"We must stop her," Zedd growled. If we lose control of her, we will lose everything! He glanced at the Earth, and was surprised to see Azure and Adam running towards the Cranstons' house. "Blast! They will ruin everything; they must have figured it out!"
"We have to stop them!" Rita declared. Zedd nodded, and raised his staff. The teddy bear Alaina had been playing with suddenly vanished, and appeared outside the house as a seven foot tall monster with fangs like iron and claws of steel. "Attack them, RoboBear!"
"Yes, master!" the creature declared. This just wasn't going to be Azure and Adam's day it seemed. * * *
"Hurry up, Adam!" Azure screamed at her lagging husband. A warm feeling flowed through her at that thought, but this was no time for romance. They had to save Billy from whatever Zedd's clone was going to do to him!
"I'm coming, I'm coming!" Adam raced along, only to see Azure stop as one of Zedd and Rita's monsters appeared before them. "Oh, man!" he muttered. A moment later, the Black Ranger was there, ready to defend who he loved
"Time to cuddle!" RoboBear growled, grabbing Azure in, of all things, a bearhug. Azure screamed in agony as Adam charged up, ready to tear this thing apart. "Not nice, Ranger!" it told him as she was squeezed even tighter.
"Adam," she whispered. He hit his communicator, calling the other Rangers who arrived a few moments later. He was a bit nervous to see the clone with them, but didn't have time to argue.
"When did you get back?" Tommy asked. The Black Ranger shook his head.
"Tell you later, once we've taken this thing down!" he told him. We don't have time to argue, Tommy, this monster could kill my wife at any moment!
"I wouldn't, if you want her to live!" RoboBear warned them, squeezing a bit tighter. Azure was as pale as a ghost and gasping for breath as she squeaked out a denial; trying to get the Rangers to stay away.
Aura stared at the creature, her heart pounding. She alone wasn't morphed; that was one difference between her and the true Aura: she didn't have that link to the Earth that created the Amber Ranger powers. But she couldn't let this continue. "No. stop this, RoboBear. Now."
"Why should I?"
Her reply was ice-cold. "Because if you don't, I'll destroy you."
"Guys?" Adam couldn't believe what he was seeing. Was the clone doing this because it was what Aura would do; to further her disguise? Or could she really care?
"Stay out of this, Rangers!" she hissed. Tommy tried to talk to he, but she ignored him.
"I will not stay out of this, she's my. . .," he couldn't say the last word. My wife.
"I can take care of this!" Aura insisted. A strange feeling was sitting inside of her, something powerful and strong, something that declared in a thousand voices and a thousand different ways This must not happen! She must be saved!
"How?" the monster tightened his grip on Azure, who could barely breath at all now. Aura took a deep breath.
"Like this," she said softly. "Amber Ranger Power!" she glanced down at herself, smiling a trifle. "I didn't really think it would work."
"That does it!" RoboBear threw Azure against a tree, knocking her further into unconsciousness. "Do your best, she's gone now!" he told Aura, pointing at Azure's motionless body.
The Rangers stared at this; something was definitely wrong here. The shield Aura normally bore had an image of the Earth on it; but now it was blank! She'd said something about not expecting her morphing to work. . and Adam had stared so strangely at her. . .
"That's why you're going to die!" she declared. She was moving at almost twice the speed and with twice the strength the true Aura had; yet another difference that Finster hadn't even known would appear. In moments, RoboBear was a bad memory, as Adam knelt by Azure with the others. She stood still for a moment, then demorphed.
A wave of unbearable weakness swept over her, and she collapsed, into Billy's waiting arms. She looked up at him, into his warm blue eyes. So this is life and love. . .for a short time, I knew what it was to care. . .they must know what I am. . what I was. . .
"Aura?" Billy asked, with much love and concern in his voice. What she said started him to his core.
"B-Billy. .. not Aura. . ."
"What?" he stared, not believing his ears. I can't lose her, not again!
"I'm. . .a clone. . sent to destroy you," she told him. A tear was gathering in his eye.
"Then how did you morph?" he asked; knowing the bond couldn't be reproduced by cloning.
"Became more . .human. . love you. . love Azure. . .couldn't. . let her die. . ."
"Then the. .. ," he couldn't speak. She was fading into nothingness before his eyes and under his arms.
"Love you," she whispered, then was nothing but dust. Billy looked up, whispering denial. How could I have lost her again? I had her only for a short time, and now she's gone. . no. . she wasn't Aura. . but. . she was. . .
"She's dying," he looked over to where Adam and the others were bent over Azure. Tommy picked Azure up gently and got to his feet.
"Let's get her back to the Command Center. See if Alpha can save her," was his advice. * * *
Tommy put Azure gently on the examination table, then noticed something on her left hand. He turned to Adam. "Want to tell us something?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
Adam paled a bit, then pointed behind Tommy to the glowing remains of the clone; which had somehow been teleported with them. "What the heck?" was the general question noised about at that point.
"What is it?" Adam wondered. Billy stared; he hadn't' noticed that the dust hadn't flown away, as he'd half-expected it to.
"The clone's remains," Billy whispered. He told them quickly what she had said before dying, and they all watched as the dust circled Azure, lifting her up and entering her. With eyes wide, they watched as a glow formed around her, then slowly vanished, as she returned to the table.
"How is she?" Adam asked as Alpha scanned her. The remains were gone now, with the only hint being a light dust on Azure's skin. Alpha looked at him.
"It's a miracle, Adam! A few moments ago, she was dying, but now! She's completely healed! There' s a few scrapes and bumps still, but she's going to live!"
Adam ran straight over to Azure and held her hand, calling her name as her eyes opened. "Shh. . you're all right."
Tommy cleared his throat suddenly. "Want to explain something to us?"
"What?" Adam wanted to keep this a secret if he could! Tommy picked up Azure's left hand, and Adam's, and pointed to the rings there.
"This!" Adam looked at Azure, who nodded and gave her permission for him to tell. Quietly, he did so. The first words anyone said after he dropped the bombshell were said by Billy.
"You did what?"
"We got married!" he repeated it. Tommy stared.
"And just why weren't we invited to the wedding, much less told you were engaged?"
"It was going to be a surprise!" Adam told Tommy quickly. Rocky almost glared at him.
Azure struggled to sit up, only to have Adam stop her. "No, Azure, you're still weak," he told her. He went a bit closer to her at her motion to do so and heard her whispered question. "That. ..wasn't Aura," he told her about the clone in soft tones. Azure sighed; she'd known it all along. She laid back down, drifting off to sleep, and into a dream where her family was all around her, safe, and not having to worry about Zedd, Rita, or anything they might try to do them. * * *
"This is impossible!" Rita screamed at the top of her lungs. This was absolutely intolerable!
"Our own clone betrayed us!" Zedd was furious, beyond furious.
"How? She wasn't supposed to have emotions!" Rita wailed. But she did! She betrayed us!
"Finster said she was turning human! This is the last straw!"
"I have had it with this planet and these Rangers!" Rita declared. She turned to Zedd; expecting him to contradict her.
"They can keep it! I quit!" Zedd snarled, leaping to his feet. This is just too much trouble! I'm tired of losing to those pathetic Rangers every time I turn around, but when my own creations turn on me, then it's time to go elsewhere! I'll come back and take this planet in fifty years, when the Rangers are old codgers in nursing homes!
"Let them have it!" Rita nodded, heading for her spellroom to start packing.
"Let's go somewhere else!" Somewhere without all these Rangers around to get in the way!
"Where do you want to go? I know, we can go visit my father, Master Vile!"
"Fine, it's about time I met the guy anyway!" Zedd snorted. Rita called out for Rito, Goldar, and the rest of the hired help. "Load up Serpenterra; but first, shall we leave a notice for the Rangers telling them that we are gone?"
"Such as?" Rita smiled nastily. Zedd always had such evil thoughts, even in times like this!
"A bomb of a message!" Zedd produced a black box and laughed.
"Where shall we leave it? Oh, I know!"
"The Blue and Amber Rangers' home!" she laughed evilly as Zedd teleported the box to the Cranston residence. They might be leaving, but they were going to leave the Rangers something to remember them by! * * *
Adam sat next to his sleeping wife, holding her hand gently and watching her like a hawk for any sign of her awakening. The other Rangers were a bit annoyed with them both; since there'd been no huge wedding like Aura and Billy had went through. He knew they'd get over it in time, though.
Suddenly Alpha exploded into "ay-yi-yi's" all over the Command Center. "What is it?" Tommy asked, eyes wide suddenly. This is no time for Zedd and Rita to be attacking!
"A package has appeared in your house, Billy!" Alpha reported. Billy at once ordered it teleported to the Command Center, and placed behind a protective shield. A moment later, it exploded, covering the whole room with. . .confetti.
"What the?" Adam looked up at the mess, as did everyone else. The images of Zedd and Rita appeared over the box, and said the last thing any of them had ever expected to hear them say.
"Greetings Rangers!" Zedd told them. "If you are listening to this, that means. . .I quit! You can keep your precious planet, we're leaving!"
Rocky stared. "No way!"
"We've got better things to do than conquer this planet!" Rita screamed. "So enjoy your victory, Rangers! Someday, you will be defeated!!"
Adam's eyes were wide. "We won?"
"I. . .guess," Rocky stuttered. None of them could believe what they were hearing. Billy smiled.
"Aura should be happy to hear this message!" he told them. Everyone agreed with him; this had to be the best news they'd ever heard! Azure stirred, her eyes opening suddenly.
"Adam? Why am I covered in confetti?" she asked. Adam chuckled.
"Ummm. ..we won," he told her about the message. Azure smiled and laughed.
"That's nice. Can we go back to our honeymoon now?"
"Yeah," he watched as she tried and failed to sit up.
"I think I need some help," she smiled at him as Adam picked her up gallantly.
"You have but to ask!" he smiled. She leaned against him and whispered, "We still have some unfinished business!" Adam nodded, then glanced over as Rocky laughed at them.
"I hate to be the one to tell Aura she missed their wedding!" the Red Ranger reminded them. Adam shivered a bit, remembering Aura's temper suddenly.
"I hope wherever she is, she gets over her tendency to hit in. ..certain areas!"
"She better not hit you!" Azure smiled. "I hit back!"
"Let's hope she doesn't! Adam and Azure kissed so passionately there was only one reaction Rocky could have, and he had it!
"Someone, please hose them off!" he cried out. Tommy giggled as Azure and Adam looked at him, then at Tommy as the White Ranger said, If you two don't calm down. .. "
"What?" Azure grinned.
"Then we'll hose you down!"
"Try and when I'm all better, I kick your butt!" Azure promised him. They all knew she would, too, and Adam held her closer to him.
"Come on, we've got a honeymoon to finish!"
"Then get to it, you two!" Tommy smiled as Alpha prepared to teleport them back to their campsite. Azure glanced around, happier than she'd been in so long. . .
"Let us know the moment Aura. ..the real Aura. . .gets back," she told them. "Thanks again for everything!"
They were gone a moment later. Tommy looked over at Billy, who was sitting on the floor, looking dejected. "Hey, you okay?"
"I'll be fine," he sighed a little. I lost her again. I know it wasn't her. ..but still. . .I lost her. . .
"Are you sure?"
"I'll be better once my Aura is back," he said, eyes filling with tears he refused to shed.
"Come on," Tommy helped him to his feet. "You've got kids to take care of. I'll help!"
"Thanks," Billy smiled at his friend, then found himself glancing at the Viewing Globe. Images flashed through his mind of the countless times he'd stood there with Aura, or been watching her on it. There was nowhere he could go, he knew, where Aura's presence wouldn't be with him somehow. He knew that, and he loved the thought of always being so close to her. He smiled again.
Wherever you are, my true love, come home to me healed and whole again. I can't wait to see you again. I love you.