Azure Park finished up the song, glancing out towards the audience where she knew Adam and the rest of her family and the Rangers were watching her. She was so happy they'd managed to make this performance. Aura had sworn nothing, but nothing would keep her from this show, and it looked like she was right.
She quickly made her way to her dressing room as the curtain lowered. The first thing she saw was a bouquet of delicate peach roses sitting on her dressing table. She smiled a little. Must be from Adam. How sweet. They smelled so sweet and fragrant. . . so. . .
"Azure," she heard a soft voice in her ear, the voice that must be obeyed.
"Yes," she replied, waiting for her commands.
"I want you to do something for me, Azure," he continued gently.
"Anything," she answered tonelessly. Something was put into her hand.
"Give this to Aura. Make sure she drinks it. Then when that's over, I'll have something else for you to do," he told her.
"Whatever you want," she murmured.
"Act normally until you can give it to Aura. Don't let anyone know I was here. Anyone."
She nodded. "I will obey."
"Very good," Galan smiled at his hypnotized servant, then vanished. Aura will be mine now.
Azure's mind cleared a moment later, and she glanced at the clock. She'd
been so caught up in the beauty of the flowers she hadn't noticed time
going by! "That was a quick intermission!" she murmured as she
headed back for the stage. She didn't even notice herself putting the vial
where no one would find it before doing so.
"Aura, you are not going to the Youth Center without me!" Billy was partly amazed, partly angry. Aura simply didn't understand the danger she was in!
"Billy, in case you haven't noticed, I am a full Power Ranger again, which means if Galan does try anything, I'm fully capable of handling it myself!!
Billy groaned. "Aura, just wait half an hour till I can get Rocky over here to baby-sit, then we can both go!"
"I'm going alone," Aura growled. She was sick and tired of Billy hovering over her like some large overprotective mother hen. "That's all there is to it!"
"No, you're not!" Billy was even more surprised than he had been when Aura stood up, grabbed her purse, and headed for the door.
"Yes, I am. I don't need you protecting me, and I don't want it!" she told him. "Now, leave me alone!"
The sound of the door slamming behind her echoed almost as loudly as
the swearing Billy creatively did afterwards.
Azure sat on the park bench, relaxing a little, and waiting to meet with Adam. He and Rocky were going out of town the next morning for a karate tournament, and they'd planned a romantic evening together that night. She was surprised to see Aura storming through the park, muttering what seemed to be vile insults over something.
"Aura?" she'd almost never seen her tall, calm sister angry like this, unless one of their enemies had been up to something.
"Hi, Azure," Aura almost growled at her, something that had never happened before.
"Whoa. . .looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!" Azure tried to relax her.
"Men!" Aura snapped. "I'd like to drop the whole lot of them into an exploding volcano!" Billy acts like I can't even take care of myself for five minutes if he's not around!
Azure was shocked. "What, you and Billy had your first major fight?" In two years of being married and almost a full lifetime of being friends, Aura and Billy had seldom argued with each other.
"Yes, we had a fight!" the Amber Ranger snarled. Azure cringed as Aura related the details to her.
"You want to stay with me?" she asked finally. "Adam is going out of town tomorrow for a karate competition. I could use the company."
Aura sighed. "Yeah," she nodded. "I could use the time away."
Azure turned to her bag and pulled out a water bottle. Aura was still upset and fuming, so much so she didn't notice her sister slipping something from a strange vial into the water. Her attention returned to Azure only when she held out the water bottle to her. "Want a drink?'
Aura sighed as she took it. "Sure!" She drained it almost dry in one gulp. "Not too bad!" She sighed again as she looked down at her wedding ring. "I need some serious time away from Billy, but I don't know if I can have it."
Oh, I think you can. "I know what you mean," was all she said aloud. "Things have been pretty rough for me and Adam. But since tonight is the last performance, I think things will smooth out."
"Good for you," Aura sighed.
"But it's going to be like this a lot," Azure reminded her. "I'm not planning on giving up my career just because it causes us some problems."
Oh, I want to paint. Painting's always helped me calm myself down. That or work out some. "I guess things will get straightened out with me and Billy. . .eventually."
"Have faith," Azure patted her hand gently. Both of them jerked up suddenly as Galan appeared a few feet away from them. Aura turned to look at him as Azure's eyes widened, but even as her mouth opened to snap to him to leave, something seemed to sweep over her.
"Hello, Aura," he smiled at her gently.
"Hi, Galan," she whispered, just managing to notice as Azure collapsed to the ground, falling victim to the hypnotic suggestion of the peach roses. She turned to her, calling her name out.
"She will be fine," Galan knelt by Azure. "She is probably just exhausted, all that dancing and all."
"I hope she's all right," Aura felt a bit uncomfortable being so near Galan; it was as if there were something wrong with him being near and her not doing anything but staring at him. . .
Galan smiled a little to himself. "It appears that she is just sleeping," he stood up and locked eyes with Aura. "She is going to be fine," he pulled her close to him and kissed with all the passion he possessed for her. Aura returned it as the love potion she'd downed with the water went into full effect.
"Will you come with me to my castle?" he asked. Aura smiled and nodded.
"Of course! I'll go anywhere with you, I love you!" Aura declared. She could only love Galan, there was no one else in the world for her!
"Let me do one final thing," he knelt beside Azure and whispered
something in her ear, then rose to take Aura's hand again. "Let us
"I hope we do good tomorrow!" Rocky smiled as he and Adam walked through the park. Galan hadn't so much as stuck his head out of the lunar palace in two weeks, Aura was back as a fully powered Ranger again, and things just seemed to be getting better and better.
Adam asked, "What time is Tommy picking us up?" He could hardly really keep his mind off what he and Azure had planned for that night.
"About seven," Rocky told him. Adam winced a bit.
"Man, I hope I don't wake Azure up," he murmured. Actually, I rather hope we get to SLEEP in the first place. He glanced over to where Azure had said she was going to meet them. His eyes widened suddenly as he saw something in a heap on the ground. "NO!"
Together he and Rocky ran over to her. "What happened? What is it?"
"I don't know," Adam held Azure gently. "Rocky, get an ambulance!" as Rocky ran off, Adam cradled his wife close to her, tears streaming down his cheeks. "You'd better be all right."
He watched as Azure's eyes flickered a little. "Azure?" he whispered hopefully. Azure moaned a little as her eyes opened wider. "Azure, please be all right!"
"It's on it's way," Rocky reported as he ran back up to them. Azure squinted at her husband, having trouble focusing.
"Adam?" she whispered briefly. Adam nodded, holding her close to him still.
"Yeah, it's me."
"W..what happened?" she murmured. The last thing she could remember was sitting on the bench, waiting for Adam. Then, nothing but darkness.
"We found you passed out," Adam told her. Azure sighed a little; she was so tired. As she looked up into Adam's eyes, feeling happy he was there to be with her, they were joined by two paramedics.
"It's going to be all right," one of them said as he began to check Azure's vital signs.
"Are you sure?" Adam asked, voice filled with worry and concern. The other paramedic drew him and Rocky away so his partner could work.
"What happened?" he asked, trying to find out precisely what was going on. Adam answered to the best of his ability, his eyes never leaving his prone wife. Once all the questions had been answered, the first paramedic came over to them.
"Let's get her to the hospital, she looks to be all right, but a doctor can tell more than I can."
"I'm coming with her," Adam said firmly. The paramedics didn't argue for a moment; they'd dealt with distraught husbands before, and knew it was useless.
"Ride in the back with them," the second one suggested as he glanced over at Rocky.
"I'll meet you there," Rocky told them. "I'll call the others for you, Adam."
"Thanks," Adam said as he got into the ambulance. Sirens blaring, they headed away with Azure. Rocky looked after them for a moment, then headed for the Youth Center at a dead run. In the condition he was in, it only took a few minutes to get there, and he was lucky to find everyone but Aura gathered there.
"Guys, we got a problem!" he said as he ran in. Billy looked over, he looked a bit upset over something.
"What is it?"
"Azure. .. she's, well, um, she's kinda in the. . ." he'd never had to tell this sort of news before, and it was stumbling out of him.
"In the what?" Tommy asked, hoping Galan hadn't done something again. The last thing they needed at the moment was to deal with him.
"Let me start from the beginning," in one big breath he spilled out everything that had happened, from him and Adam walking and talking in the park to the paramedics leaving with Azure in the ambulance. "She's in the hospital, Adam's with her right now, I'm guessing that's where Aura is also." Aura and Azure always seemed to be close together; they were the tightest pair of sisters he'd ever known!
Tommy glanced at Billy, who'd actually frowned at the mention of Aura. He had never done that before, never! "Billy?" the White Ranger asked wonderingly.
"It's nothing," Billy replied. "Aura and I just had a fight earlier, that's all."
Every last Ranger there stared at him. Finally Tommy said, "You two had a fight? That's a first!"
"Yeah," Kat nodded. "I never thought you two fought over anything!"
"Looks like we do," Billy sighed a little. He'd only wanted to keep an eye on her; he hadn't been to get her so mad at him. He'd expected her to be here at the Youth Center; but knowing her temper, she was probably somewhere alone, working out or painting to cool off. He trusted her; if Galan tried anything, she'd call them. He wanted to see her; to apologize for how he'd been acting, but decided not to bother her.
Rocky sighed a little. "I should get to the hospital," he decided. Tommy stood up.
"We'll all go," he told him. Azure might not be a Ranger,
but she was one of them in every way that counted: in the heart.
Aura and Galan appeared in his bedroom. He smiled to himself; at last he had his chosen. The love potion had turned her heart towards him for all time. "Welcome home, my sweet!" he told her.
"It's nice to be here," she'd already forgotten about Billy and the others. All she cared about was Galan, all she wanted to do was make him happy, in every way she possibly could.
"It would be even nicer if you would marry me," he suggested. If the love potion was half as strong as it was supposed to be, she would have no objections. . .
"You're serious?" she giggled a little, smiling, as he nodded. "Oh, yes, I'd love to marry you!"
Galan kissed her again, then pulled back. She was about to frown at the broken embrace, when Galan pulled out a gown identical to the one he had given her the first time she was in his palace. "I have something for you," he told her as he handed it to her.
"Oh, it's beautiful!" she squealed. Oh, how she loved Galan, he gave her such wonderful gifts! She didn't even care about the other guy, the fool she'd married before Galan had entered her life. Only he mattered now.
"I'm glad you like it," he told her, smiling. "I must go see to dinner preparations. Change and come down," he started for the door, but never actually made it there as Aura tackled him, running her hands down his neck.
"Do you really have to go so soon?" she purred in his ear. "We just got here, after all."
He chuckled. "We must eat!" he chided her gently, then looked at the desire in her eyes. "We could always order in," he decided. Aura smiled.
"Later," she smiled as he kissed her deeply, his hands coursing
through her hair and running down her back. "Much later."
As the other Rangers entered, the first thing they saw was Adam pacing up and down in the hospital waiting room. Rocky asked as he came up, "Any word?"
Adam shook his head and looked over the group. "Where's Aura?" I'd've thought she'd be right here. That's strange.
"We thought she was here without you already," Tommy told him. Adam shook his head; he hadn't seen her all day!
Billy felt a sudden stab of worry. "Where is she?" he glanced around to make sure no one would notice, then tried his communicator. He looked up a second later, face pale. "She's not answering."
Adam frowned. "I don't like this," he mused. Azure was exhausted, Aura was missing. . . all this had the marks of Galan all over it. He looked up as a doctor came out, a groggy Azure being wheeled next to him.
"She's going to be just fine," the doctor told him. "She's just exhausted."
"Good," Adam smiled a little bit. "Azure?"
She looked up at him gingerly. "Looks like I'm missing tonight's performance," she told him, grinning a bit at her own weakness.
"Guess so," Adam smiled, then looked up as the doctor continued his instructions.
"She's to stay in bed for the next couple of days," he looked over at Azure then. "You've got that, young lady?"
"You heard him!" Adam tried to be stern, but that melted under Azure's smile.
"Like you'd know if I did or not!"
Adam shook his head. "Azure, I'll stay home from that competition to take care of you!"
"No, this is important to you," Azure shook her head this time. "Mom can always stop by to make sure I'm okay while you're gone."
Adam sighed. "I don't know. . .," he wanted to take care of his wife, but he didn't want to be overprotective. . .
Kat stepped over. "I can stay with her if it makes you feel any better!" she told them. Adam smiled; he knew Kat would take good care of her.
"Thanks," he and Azure chorused. Adam smiled. "Let's get you home," he started towards the door with Azure's wheelchair, but stopped when she asked, "Where's Aura?"
The Rangers all exchanged nervous glances, until Adam finally said, "She's not here," at Azure's worried glance, he added, "Her communicator's probably just got a short in it or something. She'll probably show up later."
Somehow, none of them were very convinced over that. A quick stop by Kat's place later, they were all gathered at the Parks' place. They'd looked everywhere they'd went for Aura, and Billy had called her every few minutes on the communicator. "Any word yet on Aura?" Azure asked as Billy came back into the room from yet another attempt.
"Nothing," he shook his head. He was getting very worried over this. He'd told everyone about their argument, and the general consensus was she was just trying to cool off somewhere.
"She's probably just walking or something, blowing off steam," Azure added her voice to the vote. Billy nodded; that's what he wanted it to be. "If she stops by the theater, she'll find out from Johann," naming one of her fellow performers.
Tommy stood up. "We'll go back to the Command Center and look for her. With Galan around, we'd better not take chances."
"Thanks," Azure smiled as the Rangers prepared to hit the Command Center in yet another search for Aura. Only Kat was staying to keep an eye on her as she curled up under the blankets Adam had covered her with.
"You go on to sleep," Kat told her. "I'll fix something to eat."
Azure nodded as she started to doze off. Kat started cooking, nodding
as Azure sat up suddenly and started for the bathroom. "I'll be right
back to bed," she murmured when Kat looked towards her. Kat nodded
and returned to her cooking, not noticing Azure didn't return to the couch.
"No luck?" Adam glanced over to Billy, who was doing everything he could to find his wife.
"Nothing!" the worry was thick in Billy's voice. They all knew something was wrong now, but no one really wanted to say it out loud.
"This isn't good," Adam began. "First Azure, now this!"
Billy had to say it; they couldn't keep putting it off. "You. . .you don't think. . .Galan?"
Adam was scanning the moon in seconds. "I can't get a clear reading; he's got that place locked up tighter than a drum!"
Billy stopped looking for a few moments, burning off energy with pacing. "I hope he doesn't! Why won't he just leave us alone?"
Adam put a hand on his best friend's shoulder. "We'll keep trying.
We'll find her!"
Kat called out for Azure, "Dinner's ready! Sorry to wake you up, but. . .," as she spoke, she'd been turning around to look into the living room. Her voice trailed off as she saw Azure wasn't asleep on the couch like she'd though. She can't still be in the bathroom. I'd better go check; she might've just fallen asleep in there! It has been a few minutes.
She headed for the bathroom, preparing to knock politely, only to see the door half-open. "Azure?" Kat asked carefully, not really wanting to open the door. Seeing Azure's leg, obviously in a position that meant she was on the floor, Kat threw the door open and stared at her. A moment was all it took to take in what had happened, then she ran for the phone and her communicator at the same time.
When Adam arrived and saw Azure, he dropped to his knees by her. "Why is this happening?" he wondered. Kat had stopped the blood flowing from where Azure had cut her wrists, and called the paramedics again. Kat shook her head in bewilderment as she let them in a few minutes later; this made no sense whatsoever!
Once again, Azure was on her way to the hospital: this time from attempted
"Mmmmmm," Aura gazed happily into Galan's eyes. "That was wonderful!"
"You are the best," Galan told her, tickling her gently. He'd finally gotten what he wanted: Aura was his wife in all ways now!
She sighed a little. "I really should tell Billy I'm not coming back; that I'm leaving him and Earth and the Rangers," she felt a slight twinge at the thought of not seeing her children again, but to be with Galan forever was all she wanted.
"I love you, Aura," he told her. He smiled as she returned the expression of love. Things just couldn't get any better than this. "I can't wait till we are married!"
"When will it be?" Aura wanted to know. "I want it to be soon!"
Galan smiled. "First you must tell your husband that you are not going back to him," he reminded her.
"Ex-husband!" Aura corrected him, smiling a little. Galan chuckled as he transformed her gown into Earth-like clothing.
"Then shall we?"
Adam sat in the hospital waiting room again, waiting for word on Azure. He couldn't understand why she'd done it, something was so very wrong!!! "Mr. Park?" he looked up as a doctor called his name.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Your wife is out of surgery, we stitched up the cuts. She's stable, but in critical condition," the doctor sighed a little. "It doesn't look good."
"Azure," he whispered her name; not understanding what was going on. "What could have made her do that?" Azure hadn't been in the slightest depressed; she'd been tired from the performances and rehearsals, but she simply hadn't been suicidal.
"I wish I knew," Tommy sighed. All of them were surprised a moment later when Aura and Galan arrived, hand in hand. Billy stared, eyes wide.
He didn't exactly get the reaction he was hoping for. "Hello, ex-friends, and extremely ex-husband!" Billy's jaw dropped in surprise as she turned to Galan, kissing him on the lips. "I'm leaving you and going to marry Galan. I love him."
"I can't believe this," he whispered, feeling faint at the sight of that. He tried to appeal to Aura's heart. "Aura, Azure is dying!"
He saw something he'd never thought to see or hear in that moment. Aura shrugged. "So? Galan is all that matters to me."
What has he done to her? The same thought ran through all their minds at that. Adam looked up at her. "How can you say that? Azure tried to kill herself!"
Aura blinked suddenly as Adam told her that. She turned away from Galan and towards them. "Azure. . .tried to kill herself?" she whispered. Adam nodded, as Galan moved in between them and took Aura's arms, kissing her. Her eyes went from their normal cheerful gray that they had been to a cold, icy shade. "Nothing matters but you, my love. Nothing," as she said that, Adam's eyes went blank with shock himself. "You're not invited to the wedding, of course," Aura glanced at them all icily. None of them liked the frozen look in her eyes.
"By the way," Galan called to Adam. "I hope you like that little command I gave your wife."
"What!?" Adam started to his feet, eyes wide with rage.
"Those flowers I sent her the other night: the peach roses. They were hypnotic, and my final command to her was to kill herself!"
Adam lunged, swearing, at Galan, only to have Aura get in between them at Galan's order. "Leave my beloved alone!"
"That. . .," Adam couldn't even call Galan what he wanted to at the moment, the insults all choked him. "He tried to kill my wife!"
The next three words Aura spoke were so cold ice should've dropped off them. "It doesn't matter."
Three hospital security guards stepped up then. "If you're going to argue, do it outside, this is a hospital after all!"
Aura turned to Galan. "I don't think we need to do anything else here, do we, dearest?"
"Not in the least!" Galan smiled; his control of her mind and heart was absolute.
"Then let's go," Aura kissed him again, then hand in hand, they vanished yet again. As they did so, Adam and Billy both broke into identical pictures of despair and tears.
"What's going on around here?" Tommy wondered. Kat sighed; she would never forget seeing Azure in the bathroom bleeding. Rocky looked about to throw up himself.
"I can't believe I saw Aura kissing him like that," he murmured under his breath as Kat went by him to kneel beside Adam.
"It's all right," she reassured him. "Azure is going to be fine."
Adam didn't hear her, the only thing he was aware of, he knew not how much later, was standing next to Azure's bed, listening to the hiss of the respirator and the beeps from the heart machine. Kat stood next to her, wishing with every fiber of her being that she'd come into the bathroom sooner, that perhaps Azure wouldn't now be in this coma if she had.
"Don't leave me," Adam whispered between his tears. Kat put a hand on his shoulder.
"She's not going to, Adam," she told him. "She's a fighter; she'll make it through this."
Adam looked up at her. "Why did Galan make her do this?" he wondered. Kat sighed.
"I don't know. But it could be because of what happened last time he tried to get Aura. You rescued Aura then."
Adam groaned. "He must've known Azure means the world to me. Kat, I don't know what I'm going to do if she. . ."
"Azure will be fine," Kat told him firmly. "She's going to be just fine."
Adam stared at Azure for a few long moments. "She's so pale."
He didn't know what he'd do if Azure. . . he wouldn't even let himself
think the word. She was going to be fine. No matter what.
Galan sat on the lunar palace throne, Aura in his lap. He was at peace for the first time in many thousands of years. It didn't really matter to him if he got Aura's children or not now. He had her, and that was what was important. She was, quite literally, his love-slave.
"It was kind of funny to see Billy so heartbroken," Aura giggled evilly. Galan laughed.
"And that Adam! His wife will soon be dead!"
Aura glanced curiously at her beloved. "I'm just curious, dear. Why did you have her do that?"
"He took you away from me once," Galan explained. "That does not go unpunished."
"Oh, I see," Aura nodded. "I would have killed him, though."
He laughed. "Why? I like to see him suffer!" Aura had to agree; that was most amusing.
"What?" They both looked up to see Scorpina standing in the doorway, staring at both of them. Aura smiled a bit at her.
"Oh, hello, Scorpina," Aura grinned. "Do you want to be my monster of honor when Galan and I get married?"
"You're what?" Scorpina looked as if she were going to be violently ill. Aura giggled.
"Didn't I speak clearly enough? Is your hearing going bad?"
Scorpina began to back out of the room. "This isn't happening!" She had never expected to return to see Aura so happily with Galan!
"Is something wrong, Scorpina?" Aura asked sweetly. Screaming in unabashed hatred, Scorpina ran out. "What's her problem?"
Galan shrugged. "Must've been a bad trip back."
"Apparently so," Aura smiled at Galan fed her a grape.
"I shall talk to her later," Galan smiled as he enjoyed the company of his chosen bride. Things just don't get any better than this.
"Can the wedding be this afternoon?" Aura asked. After all,
there were no more obstacles. She loved him, he loved her, Billy was out
of the way, the Rangers were too busy over that brat Azure to try and stop
it. Galan nodded his agreement. "Good! I'm so happy!" she kissed
him again. Life was perfect.
Rocky smiled as he watched Alex and Alaina play in the park. "Alex!" he ran over and grabbed the elder twin quickly; he'd been toddling away. Alex grinned up at him; and giggled. "Don't do that!"
He picked up the little boy and turned back to Alaina. His eyes widened to see Scorpina standing there, eyes filled with hatred. "I want those brats!" she growled.
Rocky grabbed Alaina quickly, not wanting to give her a chance to get the girl. "Over my dead body!" the Red Ranger declared. Scorpina pulled out her sword.
"Sounds good to me!" as Rocky tried to go for his communicator, her sword smashed down onto it. "No calling for help!"
Rocky's eyes widened and Scorpina stepped closer to him. "I got a bad feeling about this!" he murmured. As Scorpina grabbed him tightly, Scorpina grinned.
Adam stared still at Azure, who had barely moved in the ensuing hours. Billy touched him lightly on the shoulder. "Adam," Billy wasn't really surprised to see the bags under his friend's eyes. "You need to get some sleep, Adam."
"I'm fine," Adam shook his head; there was no way he was going to rest until Azure was awake!
"Come on, you're not doing her or yourself any good by just sitting here!" Billy urged him. Adam shook his head again.
"I want to be here when she wakes us."
Billy sighed. "Do you want to be passed out from lack of sleep when she wakes up?"
Adam shook his head a third time as Billy pulled him to his feet. "Come on, Adam," the Black Ranger leaned over and planted a soft kiss on her forehead.
"She's so cold."
"She'll be fine," Billy reassured him. "These Robinson girls are tough, you know. They have to be. They have to be. They seem to attract the evil alien type."
Adam smiled a trifle. "Somehow, that last bit doesn't make me feel any better."
Billy looked at him. "You know something?"
"It doesn't make me feel any better either!" Billy told him. Sighing a little, they started out into the hall when their communicators beeped in unison all of a sudden. Billy looked around, thankful the hallway was empty as he touched the device.
"What is it?" he asked quickly. Alpha's voice came over the communicator.
"Scorpina just attacked Rocky in the park; she got them all!"
Billy growled unintelligibly. "We're coming to the Command Center," was all he was able to say. My children. My wife. This has gone too far.
"So much for that sleep you were trying to get me to get,"
Adam sighed as they teleported away.
Scorpina entered the throne room, glaring for a moment at Aura and Galan as they kissed. She cleared her throat to get attention. Aura glanced briefly over.
"Can't you tell a private moment when you see one?"
"Aura," Scorpina began. "You may be interested in something I Have to show you and only you."
Aura sighed and looked at Galan. "I'll be back soon!" she didn't like being away from him for a single second.
"You better be," Galan smiled at her. As Aura came over to Scorpina, the evil warrior told her, "It's a gift of sorts."
Aura smiled and giggled. "Oh, a present! Thanks!"
Scorpina closed the door behind Aura and led her down a short passageway that opened into a great room. "That's it!" she gestured ahead of them: to where a giant cage hung over a spiked pit.
Aura went absolutely white as she saw Alaina, Alex, and Rocky huddling in the cage. Rocky had his arms around the twins, and was doing his best to protect them it seemed. All this hit Aura's potion warped mind with the force of a hurricane as Rocky whispered her name, just loud enough for her to hear him.
Scorpina told her, "They go free on one condition."
"Which is?" Aura growled. These were her children; if not by the man she loved, at least out of her own body! No one hurt them!
"Call off the wedding!"
Rocky called down, "Aura, do it!" he had never believed he would encourage someone to give in to evil's demands! But this was a very special situation.
Aura stumbled; her heart and mind racing. "I. . .I love Galan, but my children. . . ,"
Scorpina growled, "Who is more important? Your children and their baby-sitter, or Galan?"
The named villain walked in just at that moment. "Aura, I couldn't be without you another moment," he glanced over to see what Aura was looking at. He glared at Scorpina a moment later. "What is this?"
"A gift," Scorpina grinned evilly. She was truly enjoying watching the conflict flick across Aura's face. Galan looked at her.
"Aura? Love?" he hoped this didn't mean what he thought it would! He simply wouldn't lose her now! Not after everything they'd shared!
Rocky uttered four words he'd never thought he would in his life as a Ranger. "Aura, give into her!"
Aura's eyes never left Alex. Her son. Her firstborn son. Heir to all the Amber Ranger powers. Amber Ranger. The Amber Ranger Hunter. Galan. Her. . .love? No. Her. . .her mortal enemy!
Her spell-shadowed eyes closed, and when they opened, were filled with three things Rocky had never been more grateful to see in his life: sanity, peace, and a serious desire to cause damage to their foes. His heart sank, however, when Galan stepped in front of her, going to kiss her again.
I saw how that happened at the hospital; she was herself, then he kissed her, and she belonged to him again! This can't happen; fight him, Aura!
Fight him she did: with a powerful kick to his midsection. "Get away from me!" she snarled. She suddenly couldn't stand to be in the same universe as he was; much less the same room! As she started to look for a way to get the cage down, Scorpina surprised her by lowering it safely.
"I have a promise to keep," the evil warrior smiled nastily as Rocky and the twins emerged. "You're free to go," she told them. Everyone there was staring in shock; this had never happened, never!
As they backed away from Scorpina, she turned to Aura. "They're free. .. but you're not!"
Aura grinned as she fell into a fighting stance. "You think you can take me on?" she asked. "Oh, are you in for a surprise!"
Twin flashes of light marked the twins being teleported to the Command Center, then Rocky, morphed into the Red Ranger, stood next to Aura. "You may want to morph for this," he suggested. Aura nodded and did so.
Scorpina laughed. "Two Rangers for the price of one!" she cackled in triumph. Aura glared at them both, Scorpina and Galan.
"You threatened my children and my friend," her eyes rested on Galan. "And you made my sister try to kill herself!"
Rocky recognized the tone in Aura's voice, and managed to lure Scorpina over to the far side of the room. No one in the right mind was within ten feet of Aura when she lost her temper like that."
Galan smiled. "She isn't going to make it you know."
Aura's voice held no denial. "If she doesn't, you don't either," her Ax was in her hand in that same moment. Galan shook his head; he of all people knew when not to attack an Amber Ranger.
"Some other time. I shall have you," he declared. "Scorpina!" they both vanished to elsewhere in the palace. As Rocky joined Aura, he shook his head.
"He may be right, you know," he told her. "Last I heard, she was in critical."
Aura nodded. "Let's go. I told Galan the truth, Rocky. If she dies, I don't rest till this place is leveled: with him in it!"
Rocky gulped; he'd never really suspected Aura was capable of holding
that much hate within her. "Remind me to stay on your good side!"
was all he said as they teleported to the Command Center.
"We're back!" Rocky declared. Adam was sitting dejectedly, staring at the Viewing Globe that showed Azure still in her coma. Billy was on the floor with the twins; having some measure of hope since they'd returned so suddenly. He got to his feet and ran over to her as Aura appeared.
"Billy. . .I'm sorry," she whispered, holding him. She wasn't really sure what had been happening; only knowing that when Galan had appeared in the park, she had loved him at once.
"Aura," he whispered. "I love you."
Aura nodded. "I love you, and always will," she told him. They hugged again, then Billy glanced to Adam.
"There is something that needs to be done first," he murmured. Aura's jaw tightened suddenly as she looked at Adam. He repeated over and over one simple phrase.
"This isn't happening."
"That guy needs some serious sleep," Billy sighed. Aura nodded and marched over to Adam.
"You are getting some sleep, Adam Park!" she told him harshly. Adam looked up at her, eyes widening as he saw her. "Yeah, it's me, I'm back, I'm normal, and you are getting to bed if I have to drag you there and drug you myself!"
Adam protested, "I need to go back to Azure!"
Aura shook her head. "Bull. You need to go to bed. And I'm going to make sure you get there," she turned to Alpha and cracked out an order in an authoritative tone they'd never heard her take before. "Sedatives. Now," it took Alpha roughly a second to administer them, with Adam being held by Aura's steel grip the whole time. The other Rangers could only stare; they had never imagined she would or could act like that. "I said you're getting some sleep," Aura said at Adam's shocked expression. "It's either sedatives, or I hit you over the head!" As he collapsed into a deep slumber, Aura picked him up. "I'm taking him back to his house, then going to see Azure."
Billy glanced at Rocky. "Keep an eye on the twins," he suggested.
Rocky nodded; then Billy turned to Aura. "I'm going with you."
Aura paced Adam in his bed and pulled the covers all around him, making certain he was fast asleep. "He looks so peaceful," Billy said softly. Aura nodded, then stiffened as with a rush full memory of what she'd done with Galan returned to her. "Aura?" Billy asked gently.
"Billy," she whispered. "I think I need to throw up."
She ran quickly to the bathroom; she simply couldn't stand it a moment longer. Once she'd recovered from the retching, Billy told her, "Go see your sister. I'm going to keep an eye on Adam."
Aura nodded to herself; she was glad someone had cleaned up the mess that the bathroom had been after Azure carried out Galan's last command. It only took her a second to wash herself up, then teleport to the hospital room where her sister lay in her coma.
"Hey," Tommy was sitting with her; there was always at least one Ranger on guard there now, since Galan's admission that he was responsible for this. Aura nodded; she'd always felt closest to Tommy out of all the Rangers, except for Billy. The two of them had a lot in common, both being adopted, both had very personal vendettas with their enemies, and both had been placed under evil spells at times that had turned them against their foes. He'd trained her in karate during her early years on the team, and was one of the few on or off the Rangers who had never once blamed her for all that she'd done when their unwilling enemy.
"He'll pay for this," Aura growled as she looked at her sister. Tommy nodded his agreement as Aura came to stand beside Azure. "Tommy, why do these things keep happening to us?" she asked.
Tommy shrugged. "Who knows? I'd say it was luck, but I seriously doubt it."
Aura sighed. "I'd say bad luck if anything," she took Azure's hand gently. "She's going to live. She has to."
"Like you, she's a fighter. From what Billy told me, she did some serious damage to ComMonster before passing out."
Aura smiled a little. "You know," she whispered. "She'd make an excellent Ranger."
Tommy nodded. "That she would."
Aura sighed deeply. "All I've got to recommend me as one is that I was born to it." Born with powers that got me a lifelong enemy. Heck of a thing to pass on from one generation to the next. "She'd be a lot better than I am."
Tommy touched her arm gently to get her to look at him. "You are a great Ranger," he told her. "You were born with the right qualities. There's no one I'd rather have in a fight beside me than you. Well, you and the other Rangers."
Aura smiled a little; Tommy had a way of getting her out of depressive moods at times. Kim was lucky to have found him; he was special. If she hadn't loved Billy so completely from the first moment they met, she might've loved Tommy. Maybe.
Together, the White and Amber Rangers continued their vigil over the comatose Azure. They would stay there forever if that was necessary; until she awoke. That was what family was for.
To be there.