Things had been rather noisy in the lunar palace the week before, when Aura Cranston had been there under the command of Galan's love potion. That did not compare to the noise that now filled it as Galan punished Scorpina. She had kidnapped Aura's twin children, thus triggering maternal emotions that had overridden his potion's control of her. He slammed his sword down on Scorpina's shoulder, growling angrily at her.
"Of all the idiotic things you have done in your life, this takes the cake!" he declared. He had never been so angry in his entire life! He had owned Aura, had her body and soul, then this moron had abducted her children and freed her!
"Please, sire, forgive me!" Scorpina didn't want to fight Galan; she'd had no idea he'd be this angry over losing Aura! If she had, she would've thought up some other way to get rid of the Amber Ranger!
"Why should I?" the hunter glared at her, ready to take her head off at the least little twitch that got on his nerves. How dare she do what she had done! This was unforgivable!
Scorpina took a deep breath; she hadn't meant to tell him like this, but it was the only way to save her own hide. "I. . .I love you. That's why I did it."
He stopped and stared at her. "You what?" He had never expected to hear those words directed at him except by Aura!
"I love you. I'm. . .jealous of her," Scorpina whispered, finding a strange strength in honesty. Is this what it means to be good? I hope not!
"I had no idea," Galan mused. This changed . . . so much.
Scorpina glanced down at the floor; unable to look at him. "I didn't want to tell you," she had never felt so shy, so nervous before. She didn't know what was wrong with her!
She sighed a little. "Because at first, I was afraid to. Then when we got here, you saw her, and I knew I didn't have a chance as long as she lives."
Galan nodded, as if to himself. "That is why you tried to destroy her. It's all clear now," from the first moment he'd realized his feelings for Aura, Scorpina had been acting strangely. Now he knew why.
"I'm so jealous of her that I could kill her!" Scorpina growled, clenching her fists at the memory of how Aura and Galan had been looking at each other the previous week. Galan shook his head.
"You will not. She is suffering enough with her soon-to-be-departed sister in the hospital," he snapped. Scorpina shook her head.
"She can never suffer enough!"
Galan smiled, and Scorpina felt her blood turn to ice at the expression. "Oh, but she will. But first I must find a certain spell," he turned to his spellbook, revenge on his mind for a change, and not lust.
"What are you going to do to her, sire?" Scorpina hoped this wasn't yet another of his plans to get Aura. Will he never give up?
Galan smiled. "Her sister has lived too long."
"So has she, but you don't seem to realize that," Scorpina muttered under her breath. She received the shock of her life when Galan turned to her yet again, smiling thinly.
"I realize that I can never have her," a week filled with nights of sleepless raging had finally ended when he had come to the conclusion that Aura would never love him without magic. He also knew he didn't want that; he wanted her to love him freely. Accepting that was one of the hardest things Galan had ever done.
But it had freed him to return to the reason he had come to Earth in the first place: the destruction of the Amber Ranger line. "Good," Scorpina stepped a bit closer to her master, smiling. Things were finally going back to the way they should be.
"But that doesn't mean that I have forgiven you either," he warned her. "Yet."
"Yes?" she asked hopefully.
Galan chuckled lightly. "You never know." After all, she says she loves me. Freely. That could be. . .interesting.
"May I help with this, Sire?" Scorpina begged, waving her stinger around. "I can poison the girl!"
Galan shook his head. "I want her sister to think she died because of her injuries," he smiled suddenly. "Here it is! This should stop her heart!" He snapped his fingers, calling up ComMonster. "But first, to occupy the Rangers! ComMonster, go and destroy the Rangers!"
This was so much more. . .satisfying. . .than trying to take an unwilling
bride, Galan mused to himself. And so much easier, too.
"I hope Azure's going to be all right," Aisha glanced to Kat as they walked through the park. All the Rangers were concerned for Azure; she was more than a friend, she was family.
"Same here," Kat nodded. "Who's with her now?"
Aisha reported, "It's Billy's turn. Aura's going to take over in about an hour."
"Adam's probably zonked out again," Kat sighed. "He stays with her all night and most of the morning. Next to Azure, I'm worried about him the most."
"Aura and Billy have been making sure he sleeps, but if anything happens to her, I don't know what he'll do!" Aisha nodded.
"That's what's worrying me the most," Kat told her. They all knew Adam and Azure were almost literally inseparable; if she didn't come out of her coma. . .
"Hello, Rangers!" they looked up to see ComMonster lurching towards them. Aisha groaned.
"Oh, man, what does it take to get rid of this thing!"
Kat shook her head. "Don't know, but let's trash it, Billy already replaced his communicator!"
Aisha agreed. "Let's take this thing down!" she declared. In moments they had assembled the entire team of Rangers to deal with this thing; Adam being the only no-show. None of them wanted to deprive him of the sleep he needed so badly.
"Let's do some damage to this thing!" Tommy declared, pointing Saba at the monster.
"For Azure," Rocky whispered. Aura, next to him, nodded, her Ax already out and in her hands.
"Let's do it!" This thing was sent by Galan, who'd harmed
her sister. No one did that and got away with it! It was time for some
Scorpina glanced over to Galan as they stood one on each side of the comatose Azure. "I could just go on and kill her."
Galan shook his head. "I want Aura to watch her die," it felt better than he'd imagined to hate Aura now. He'd loved her, now he hated her. That was all there was to it; and his love had given her an understanding of her. She would be the easiest kill of them all.
"So, you don't love Aura anymore?" there was more hope than Scorpina wanted to admit to in her voice. Galan shrugged.
"I know I can't have her, and I must accept that," he was going to surprise Scorpina with Aura's head on a plate, he decided.
"Good," Scorpina smiled nastily. She had never been happier, she decided. Galan began to chant the spell; he'd prevented the Command Center from registering their presence easily enough, and once it was done, he laughed.
"Next time her sister says I love you, she dies!" it was going to be so simple. Aura's love would be her sister's death!
"Excellent!" Scorpina more than approved of this. "Then we can finally get down to destroying the Rangers!"
Galan nodded. "Then we take a vacation. Together."
Her eyes widened. "Vacation?" Oh, he does care about me!
Galan nodded. "Let us go. They should be back soon. ComMonster
is probably dust by now!" He'd always pulled back ComMonster before
the Rangers were able to destroy it; now he didn't care one way or the
other. Once Azure was gone, the Rangers would be child's play to get rid
of. Together, he and Scorpina returned to the palace. It was time to wait.
Once ComMonster had been dealt with, the Rangers all teleported back to the hospital. Adam joined them a few moments later; he'd finally woke up. Aura stood next to her sister, feeling helpless as she hadn't in so long. "She's got to wake up soon."
Billy nodded. "I know. The longer she stays like that. . ." he couldn't finish as Adam joined them. Aura took her sister's hand gently and sighed.
"Come on, Azure, wake up!" she urged. There wasn't so much as a flicker of an eyebrow in response. Adam's soft voice asked, "No change?" Aura shook her head and looked up into her sister's pale face. "Wake up, girl! You don't dare die on us! We love you, Adam loves you," she sighed gently. "I love you."
The heart monitor whined suddenly, and every Ranger turned to stare in shocked disbelief at it. "No!" Adam's eyes went wide as he paled. "No, please!"
"Azure!" Aura could already hear the murmured 'no's from the others, could see the tears coming from Adam's eyes. "This isn't happening!"
A warm, loving voice startled them all from their sudden sharp grief. "Aura."
They all turned to see the Spirit of Earth standing next to the Amber Ranger. Aura seized for this one thin straw of hope. "Spirit, can you help her?"
The Spirit took Aura's hand gently. "We must help her. Galan has done something truly evil to her."
Hot rage boiled up within the Amber Ranger. "Galan," she literally spat the word out. She hated him, hated him with all her heart and soul!
The Spirit turned to face her. "We have no time now, Aura, for this. Join with me."
The Rangers all watched in shock as Aura and the Spirit joined together as the legendary and feared Guardian of the Earth. Her/their voice resonating, the Guardian stood beside Azure and placed a hand on her forehead. Adam looked up, tears in his eyes.
"Please help her," he whispered. "She can't die."
The Guardian touched his shoulder. "She cannot and she will not. This is not meant to be. It is not her time," an amber glow filled the room, emanating from the Guardian. Everyone there felt a renewed sense of health and life as they were bathed in the healing light of the Guardian. A moment passed, and the light faded. "She will live," the Guardian reported, "and be well."
Adam looked up into the glorious face that was at once that of Aura and was not. "Thank you. Both of you."
"It was our pleasure," was the last thing the Guardian said as Aura and the Spirit separated once more into themselves. Billy looked to his wife, noticing the lines of tiredness around her eyes. That's odd, she's usually energized by joining.
"Healing takes it out of you," Aura sighed as she sat down. The Spirit smiled a little and shook her head.
"That is not the only reason," she chuckled a little. Aura raised an eyebrow; even she had trouble understanding the Spirit at times. She smiled a little at her physical partner's confusion. "Whatever you are paying Rocky to look after the twins, you may want to increase it." There was a definite air of surprise in the room as the Spirit lightly touched Aura's stomach. "You are expecting." With that announcement, the Spirit faded away.
Aura turned to Billy; there was only one cloud on her personal horizon now, one she wasn't going to tell Billy of. He was just too happy as they hugged. She smiled; things were looking up, no matter what.
"Let's hope we don't have the troubles this time that we did when the twins were born!" Aura declared. Billy nodded.
"The last thing we need is for him to try something!" Billy had never been happier; Aura and he were together, and yet another confirmation of their love was growing within her. Let Galan try until time's end, he would never have Aura.
"Time to wake up, please," Adam was urging Azure back to wakefulness; he knew she'd want to know what was going on now! "Oh, please, Azure, wake up!"
Aura sighed a little. "I hope she wakes up soon. But at least we know she'll live," that was one worry removed from them all. Adam nodded and looked at her, smiling a little.
"Thanks to you and the Spirit," he looked back at a soft pressure on his hand, to see Azure's eyes were still shut. Was it only a reflex? Or did she really hold my hand back? Oh, Azure, come back to me, please!
"It was only right," Aura smiled. "I'd never let my sister die if I could help it. Or any of you guys."
"Come on, Azure, open your eyes for me." Adam kept up his urging, he wanted to see those glorious eyes of hers looking at him as they always had.
Billy looked at Azure, noticing her eyes flickering. "It's only a matter of time now."
Aura nodded. "She'll be fine." She knew every wound and injury Azure had suffered was totally healed; the Guardian's work was thorough. All that remained was for Azure to awaken now.
"Adam. . .," the voice was small and quiet, but unmistakably Azure's as her eyes flickered open. He called out her name in joy, his heat thrilling to know she was awake!
"I. . .didn't. . .," she whispered. "I'm . . .sorry."
"Shhhh. . .it wasn't your fault," Adam told her. Azure whispered hoarsely, "I gave Aura that potion." The memories were all clear now, every one of them, from being hypnotized and hearing Galan's voice to the moment she'd slit her wrists at his command.
Aura dropped down next to her sister. "Shh, Azure, I'm all right." As Azure smiled, Aura touched her hand gently. "You need to rest."
"Stay with me," Azure looked at her husband. She tried to rest, with Adam's hand in her own, but found she couldn't. She'd been asleep, more or less, for just over a week, after all. Adam decided to try and get her to talk, hoping that would wear her out enough for her to relax.
"What exactly happened, Azure?" he asked. They all listened quietly as Azure told them everything that had went on and when her recitation was over, Adam took her hand and kissed her. "Everything's okay now. Aura's safe, you're safe, and you're going to be an aunt again." Azure answered that with one of her smiles. Adam grinned. "When you're better, maybe we could make Aura an aunt?"
Azure smiled. "What's to say you aren't already on the way to becoming one?" She glanced over to Aura, whose eyes widened in surprise. "If this whole fiasco didn't make me miscarry," Azure sighed a little. "That's why I've been so tired. I'm pregnant."
Adam's reaction was rather classical. He fainted. Billy managed to stifle a laugh as he helped Adam recover and get back to his feet. "Uhhh. . .I could've sworn Azure said she was pregnant!"
Aura giggled; she couldn't help it at the sight on his face. " She did!" Azure nodded and Adam looked at her.
"Really? You're serious?"
Azure nodded. "I found out the night this whole fiasco got started. I wanted to tell you, but wanted to wait till after the competition to do it."
Adam hugged her as carefully as he could with her being hooked up still to a half-dozen machines. "I'm so happy!" he couldn't believe it, he was going to be a father! He wondered why the doctors hadn't told him; then realized in the condition he'd been in, he probably wouldn't have noticed! "And I love you."
Billy touched Aura lightly on the shoulder. "Let's leave them alone," the other Rangers were already filing out of the room, chuckling softly over what was the happiest event in Adam's life to date.
Aura nodded. "Yeah. Let's go be alone: with each other," as they headed out, Billy nodded.
"We have some things to talk about," he told her. They both knew, without any doctor's help, that Aura was pregnant. The Spirit of Earth's word was good enough for them both. "Like how the twins are going to accept a new brother or sister."
Aura nodded. "I think they'll like it. I hope they will anyway."
"Rocky will!" Billy laughed; the Red Ranger totally doted on their children as much as if they were his own. They all knew that one day, he'd make a great father.
"He's a wonderful baby-sitter. Heck, with three kids we might have to ask him to move in, just so we can get some sleep at times!"