The next few months passed peacefully for the Rangers; Galan seemed to be giving them a rest. He didn't make any attempts for Aura; he barely sent any monsters down at all. Every few weeks or so he'd send his Zalics if one or more of the Rangers were on their own, but nothing serious.
The double pregnancy of Aura and Azure was one of many reasons for the Rangers to be glad of the break. Both children seemed to be developing normally, though once again Aura was kept under constant watch by Zordon and Alpha from the Command Center. She was still a full-blooded Kalakan, and they didn't want to take any chances from Galan or her own genetics interfering with the child's gestation.
"I wonder what the chances are of both of you becoming mothers at the same time," Tommy wondered. Aura shrugged.
"I don't know," she told them. Azure's eyes went wide suddenly, and she touched her burgeoning stomach gently.
"It kicked," she whispered in wonder. Aura chuckled lightly as her own growing child kicked almost in unison with it's to-be cousin within Azure.
"I think these two know they're related!" she laughed, a soft shadow in her eyes. "I wonder if we'll ever have kids without any aliens trying to bother us."
Adam sighed. "Why do I seriously doubt it?" He hugged Azure carefully as he did so; things were finally going to be all right, he sensed. Without knowing why, he felt confidant in their future.
All the Rangers were gathered outside Billy and Aura's house; with Rocky playing with the twins in the front yard. Aura glanced at Kat, noticing the small smile that hovered around the Pink Ranger's lips as she watched Rocky. She smiled; she knew what that expression meant. I wonder how long it'll take Kat to tell Rocky how she feels? Or for him to tell her? Either way, they need to talk. Those two are in love; they just haven't realized it yet. She looked to Rocky next, and chuckled. "He's as much a kid as they are!"
Kat nodded, smiling. "I don't now how he's going to handle four kids!"
Rocky was enjoying himself, rolling and playing with the two toddlers. Almost a year and a half old, they were walking easily, but neither had spoken yet. Aura had been a little worried; till her mother Shaya had told her it was usual for Kalakan babies not to speak until two years of age or so. Jessica Robinson had agreed, since Aura herself hadn't spoken until she was almost two. With the twins being half-Kalakan, there was no telling just how their development would progress. Alaina looked at him suddenly, and smiled. "Am-ber," she giggled and ran off after her brother after that!
Rocky rolled to his feet, eyes wide suddenly with shock. "Hey! She talked!"
Billy and Aura were over there in a moment, joy filling them. "She said her first words?" Aura asked, smiling. "What did she say?"
"It sounded like amber," Rocky reported. Aura couldn't help but smile; her parents had told her that had been her first word; though they hadn't had any idea why at the time. She wondered why Alex wasn't the one speaking, though, after all, he was going to be the Amber Ranger one day. She shrugged lightly; all would work out in time.
"You don't think. . .?" Azure asked, looking from Aura to Billy and back again. Aura smiled.
"Alaina, can you say it again?" Aura asked, kneeling by her daughter. Alaina reached out and touched her mother's necklace, then said clearly, "Amber."
Aura hugged her tightly. "I've got a smart daughter!" she declared. She had never known such happiness as in that one moment, with her daughter speaking. Is this how Mom and Dad felt when I talked?
Azure smiled as she watched, then touched her stomach again. "I wish they'd stop that!" she sighed a little. Aura couldn't help but smile.
"They will," she promised. "Then they start screaming from the outside!" I will NEVER forget several four A.M. wake up call from the twins! As long as I live, I never will!
Azure said dryly, "Thanks for that little insight."
"Hey, you need to know," Aura laughed, then looked over to Billy. "It's almost time for their dinner."
Billy picked up his son, and nodded. "If their dinner's delayed, they have a tendency to be very loud!"
As Azure yawned deeply, Adam looked worriedly at her. "You okay?" he asked. Azure nodded and got up.
"Let's go on home," she suggested. "I need to get some rest."
As the Rangers and Azure left the little family alone, Aura called over to Rocky, "Want to give us a hand feeding these two monsters?" she asked. Rocky turned, a broad smile spreading across his face.
"You better believe I do!" he started back towards them. There was only one thing he loved better than spending time with these two adorable twins, and she was currently heading away from the Cranston house. * * *
Kat wandered down the street aimlessly; her thoughts on, of all people, Rocky. Yes, she'd liked Tommy when she'd first come to Angel Grove; but that had been mainly because Rita had forced her into trying to break Tommy and Kim up. Once she was able to make her own decisions on her romantic life, she'd realized she only thought of Tommy as a friend. He and Kim were just too perfect for each other to let it be any other way.
But that did leave her without anyone in her life. She'd not really thought it mandatory to have a boyfriend, but with everyone around her just about falling in love it seemed; she did feel left out. It hadn't been so bad before Aura and Azure showed up; but when that happened, Billy and Adam had both fallen like double tons of bricks. Billy had already loved Aura, of course, but Adam had fallen in love with Azure in less than ten seconds. Tommy was happily corresponding with Kim, and even long distance their romance was going well. Aisha had a boyfriend she wasn't telling anyone about, one she wrote on a daily basis. She wouldn't even tell Kat where he lived, just that it wasn't in Angel Grove.
Kat sighed a little; it seemed like everyone on the team was deeply in love with someone else, except her and Rocky. Was that why she'd started liking him, she wondered to herself. Because there was no one else? She shook her head a bit. No, he was just Rocky. He was funny, he was smarter than he let on, impulsive at times, he loved to have fun and joke around. He wasn't the usual type of guy she'd liked back in Australia. But what did it matter; she. . . she actually stopped in her tracks as the words burst into her mind.
She loved him.
How long has that been going on? She wondered. How long have I loved him and just didn't know it? Things have been so hectic lately, with Aura and Azure both pregnant, Galan being so strangely quiet, I haven't been able to think for long, and especially not about him. I guess I'll never know how long. I just know that I do.
How did he feel about her was the next question, though. Did he think of her as a friend, a teammate, or something more? Or even less? She really hadn't talked to him that much, she realized. She'd been nervous in his presence and hadn't even figured out she was only really nervous around guys she liked. She had to laugh; all the signs of her love had been there for her to see, and she hadn't even noticed!
"Well, that's going to change," she nodded sharply to herself. "I'm going to go talk to him right now!" She was about to head over to the Cranston house; he was probably done helping to feed the twins by now. She was stopped suddenly by someone bumping into her hard enough to knock her down! "Ow!" She was about to say something fairly annoyed to the person, when she saw it was Rocky.
"Ohhh... oh, sorry, Kat," he smiled at her, and she felt a strange, half-familiar fluttering in her stomach. Oh, yes, she was in love all right.
"It's okay," she told him as he helped her to her feet. Her entire body thrilled to his touch; why hadn't she realized it sooner?
Rocky shook his head. "My fault; I should've been looking where I was going."
"So should I," Kat smiled at him, hoping the right moment would present itself for her to tell him how she felt.
"I was thinking about the kids," he told her. He was never happier than when he was taking care of kids; except when he was near her. His heart was going a mile a minute; hoping that just maybe she cared about him, the tiniest little bit. Rocky couldn't remember when he didn't love Kat; it seemed he had from that very first second he'd seen her. Things just didn't seem to work out, though; especially since when Kim left Kat seemed to be closer to Tommy. But that hadn't worked out either, not with Tommy still one hundred percent in love with Kim, and Kim in love with Tommy.
Kat nodded, remembering where she'd come from before starting her aimless walks. "Same here; I just came from Azure and Adam's. They asked me to be the godmother for their child."
Rocky smiled; Kat was just so beautiful! He took a deep breath and decided just to plunge straight ahead. "Kat, since we bumped into each other, want to go for a walk?"
He asked me to walk! At least he's not revolted by me! "I'd love to," she sighed happily. Things were already going well! As they walked, she found herself at a total loss for words. This can't go on. Something's got to give, and it's going to be me. I love him.
Without so much as a hint, she leaned over and kissed Rocky on the lips. He seemed frozen in shock for a second, then returned it with all his heart. They stood together, arms around each other and kissing, for what felt like forever. Finally, they stood apart.
"H. . .how long have you wanted to do that?" Rocky wondered. "As long as me?"
Kat's eyes widened. "How long have you wanted to do that?"
He blushed a bit. "Since I first saw you," he said shyly. Kat smiled and held his hand as he squeezed it.
"Almost as long as I've wanted it then," she told him.
"I wonder why we waited," he smiled as they started to walk again, hand in hand this time, heart in heart forever.
Kat shrugged. "I don't know. But then again, with everything that's happened in the past few months, it's been kind of hard to get you alone!" I wasn't even sure until today how I felt. But I'm glad things finally got themselves straightened out with us. At last.
"Glad it happened. . .finally!" Rocky smiled and they kissed again. Things had never felt more right than they did at this perfect moment. Nothing Galan or anyone else could do would change that. Like Adam and Azure, Aura and Billy, Tommy and Kim, Aisha and whoever her mysterious boyfriend was, they would be together, forever. Both of them knew it already. It was meant to be. * * *
"I don't believe this!" Galan had been saying that repeatedly for the past eight months. "She's pregnant!"
"How disgusting!" Scorpina growled. Galan hadn't changed much towards her, except to be a trifle more tender and less apt to scream for no reason. He had been plotting something, she knew, ever since Azure had awakened from her coma. She just didn't know what it was. Now, she sensed she was going to find out as he turned to her.
"That may be my child!" he declared. Scorpina felt sick to her stomach at that; to think of Aura Cranston, the Amber Ranger, having Galan's child, was nauseating! He should associate with someone evil to bear offspring!
"What do you intend to do about it?" she asked, hoping she didn't sound as disgusted as she was. She still tread carefully around him; not daring to press their semi-romance any farther than it was.
Galan shrugged casually. "After it is born, I am going to raise it as my own." My child, my son or daughter. Perhaps I no longer want Aura as my bride, but if that is my child within her, I will have it!
"Perhaps you should find out of it is yours first," Scorpina tried to be logical. Galan shook his head, now that he thought about it, the timing was right. She had been with him under his love potion's power eight months previously.
"It has to be! There is no other way; it can't be his!" he declared. Scorpina sighed.
"Of course, sire," she agreed. There was simply no other way to handle Galan than just to agree with him. He would permit nothing else but that. He smiled nastily as he glanced to Earth to see Aura and Azure quietly walking together in the park in the glow of evening.
"Now to make the Rangers' lives a living nightmare!"
Scorpina giggled evilly. "They're one Ranger down," since Aura was on maternity leave yet again. "They're easy prey!"
Galan raised his sword and blasted a thorny rosebush with his magic, creating a monster. "Thornator!" he declared. "Go and attack those two sisters!" The Rangers' time of peace was over and done with! * * *
"So Kat said she'd be the godmother," Azure told Aura as they walked along. Aura liked these evening walks with her sister; it kept them connected on many levels. They'd first begun them back in New York, a time of their lives that really seemed more like a dream now. Things in Angel Grove seemed so much more real than anywhere else, as if every little decision made here mattered. Partially Aura believed that had to do with the fact she knew herself better now than she ever had before. But there still seemed to be something lacking in her life. Something she couldn't explain.
I have everything. My career's going well, I have Billy, the twins, I'm defending the planet as my family has for so long, Galan hasn't bothered us in months. What is missing? What's wrong that I feel so. . . I don't know. I can't explain it. There is just something wrong. "I'm glad," Aura smiled at her sister. "I can't believe we're both pregnant. This is almost a miracle, you know!" A real miracle would be Galan leaving us alone forever!
Azure nodded, as Aura giggled suddenly. "The boys are going to be going insane when it comes time for these kids to be born!"
"You know, I actually had to sneak out of the house. Adam is hovering over me like a mother hen!"
Aura chuckled to herself. "Billy's keeping an eye on the twins. He knows I don't like being disturbed on my walks with you."
A disturbance chose that very moment to show up. "Hey! Looks like I get to poke you two around a bit!" Thornator appeared a few feet away from them. Aura groaned; this had to happen when she was too far along to morph!
"Rangers, trouble in the park, there's a monster!" she shouted into her communicator.
Azure rolled her eyes as the monster advanced on her and her sister. "Does he now have a personal death wish for us?" she wondered. A second later, the Rangers had all arrived. Adam started to herd the two girls over to safety and as he did so, asked, "When did you leave the apartment?"
Azure chuckled. "While you were in the bathroom!"
"Don't try and keep her protected, Adam. She gets upset over that," Aura reminded him. She sighed a little, looking towards where the other Rangers had engaged Thornator in battle. "I wish I could help."
"I'll try not to," Adam smiled a little, then looked to Azure. "Just to me a favor, and stay here!" he was rewarded by a stuck out tongue as he headed over to join the others.
Aura's eyes kept on the others. "This is the only part of being pregnant I hate," she sighed. I want to help them, but I can't!
"Besides being as big as a house?" Azure grumbled a bit, shifting to a more comfortable position as they watched the Rangers encircle the monster and take it on one at a time, while Zalics came down to help the creature out.
"I can live with that," Aura sighed again. "It's not being able to help my friends I hate. Besides, I still remember what happened last time." Being too big to fight Rito and Eric when they kidnapped me while I was pregnant with the twins. Well, that had it's good point. We got rid of Eric that day. He's been growing up so well on New Kalakan. So much better this time around.
Azure shivered, she still felt fear of Eric. "Don't remind me." * * *
"Hey, did I miss anything?" Adam asked as he dashed into the battle. The Rangers were involved with Zalics and the monster both, and Rocky was barely able to spare the time to shake his head.
"Besides this thing ruining my date!" he snarled as he slammed one Zalic to the ground, only to get jumped by two others. Kat piped up from near him, "Our date!" while kicking Thornator in the 'patented Aura maneuver', causing the creature to wince in agony.
Tommy raised an eyebrow under his helmet. "You guys are going to have to explain that little bit later," he grinned. "But for now, let's take this thing down!"
A second later, Thornator was history. Galan wasn't as apt as Rita or Zedd to expand his creatures into immensity, since until now he'd used them mainly as distractions for the Rangers while he sent Zalics or came himself to try and take Aura. But these days, his monster attacks seemed to be mainly to remind the Rangers he existed in the first place. As they demorphed, Billy glanced quickly over to Aura and Azure, relieved that they seemed to be unharmed. Once again, one of Galan's monsters had just been. . .a monster. Just something to fight. It hadn't been a distraction or anything to try and get rid of Billy himself; it had fought the Rangers equally.
What is with him? It's almost like he. . .doesn't love Aura. Not that I'm complaining; if he'd just pack up and leave I'd be ecstatic for a month. For a year. I guess he wants to destroy her again. I'm not sure which is worse; him wanting Aura or him wanting to destroy her. Either way, he's not going to do it. I won't allow it.
The Rangers headed back to Aura and Azure, to see Aura looking at her sister worriedly. Azure had a strange expression on her face, and her hand was on her enlarged stomach. As they came closer, Aura was saying quietly, "Azure?"
"Azure?" Adam's eyes were wide and full of worry as he drew nearer his wife. The two of them were almost eight months pregnant each; he hoped this didn't mean what it might. . .
"I think it's time!" she said, looking at him. "We'd better get to the hospital!" * * *
The Rangers were in the hospital waiting room; waiting patiently for any word on Azure. Adam was with her; everyone else paced and waited and worried. Rocky looked over at Aura at one point.
"Did it take this long with the twins?" he wondered; they'd already been waiting for half an hour. Aura raised an eyebrow gently.
"My case is a little different, Rocky," she subtly reminded him of the difference in species between her and her sister. Rocky blushed in remembrance; Aura looked and acted so human it was hard to remember she wasn't. "I hope things are all right," she said softly.
Tommy stopped, making sure not to get in the way of the others as they continued their endless pacing. "Azure wasn't due for another two weeks, was she?" he asked. Billy nodded.
"I'm worried," he stated. They all were; he was just the first one who'd actually said anything about it. Kat shook her head from across the room.
"It's natural for someone to be early; she's going to be just fine," she was the voice of hope in the group this time it seemed. Aura nodded her agreement.
"I hope so."
Kat came over to sit beside Aura. "She made it through that last fiasco; she can make it through her first labor."
Aura had to grin. "Being tough runs in the family," she reminded them all. As far as Aura was concerned, Azure was strength personified. * * *
Azure waited patiently for the next contraction, only to wait in vain. The doctor was doing strange things at the other end of the delivery room, then finally looked over at her. "I think it could be false labor," he reported. Azure frowned.
The doctor nodded. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Park, your child isn't quite ready to be born yet."
Azure frowned again; this was worrying her. "Is everything all right?" she wanted to know. Adam, beside her with his hand in hers, said nothing, but his eyes were as full of worry as her own heart was. She had been so concerned for him in that battle; she wasn't usually that close to a fight.
The doctor shook his head. "Nothing's wrong; these things happen," was his diagnosis. "We're going to keep you overnight though, just in case."
Azure sighed a little, as Adam squeezed her hand. "Guess we'll just have to wait a little longer for the little tyke to be born." * * *
Galan tapped his fingers against the hilt of his sword in thought. "So, the Amber Ranger's sister had a false labor. Perhaps I can hope there is something wrong with either her or that child!" The only child I want alive and unharmed is MINE. The human's offspring can perish in flames for all I care!
"We can always hope," Scorpina said sagely. She was growing more and more attractive to him with each passing day; indeed, she was bordering on beautiful and desirable.
"If I could just get close enough," Galan laughed. "There would be something wrong!"
Scorpina wondered, "Just what would you do?"
He looked at her harshly. "Make it so that brat is never born! She foiled my plans when she recovered from that coma!" His plan had been so perfect, until Aura and the Spirit of Earth had saved her!
"She wouldn't have without her blasted sister's help!" Scorpina reminded him. Galan nodded; he was perfectly aware of that.
"I know. But I still want to get the sister for even waking up!" I could've had some very sweet revenge on Aura by killing her sister. If only she still couldn't access her powers. . .but that spell requires another year before I'll be able to do that again, and that's with no spellcasting of any kind! It is so much easier to just kill.
Scorpina's suggestion was somewhat more violent than what he'd usually done. "Blow up the hospital."
"Too easy," he turned down the idea. He wanted something that was a bit of a challenge, but not too much of one. Nothing the Rangers could prevent, of course. But something that would show off his flair and style.
Scorpina's next idea held a bit more merit. "I can sneak in wearing a disguise and kill her."
"Not a bad idea," he decided. "But there's no need for a disguise; just go there and take care of matters with that stinger of yours. The Spirit of Earth can't heal her this time; she won't have the time Aura did when you stung her!"
Scorpina stood to attention. "All I await is your command!" she declared proudly. She was finally going to have the chance to get rid of Azure Robinson Park! And once that was over with, it was Aura's turn!
Galan looked down to Earth and saw Azure was alone in her hospital room; Adam was going to tell the others what was going on apparently. "Go now!" he ordered. Scorpina vanished before the echo of his words faded away.
"If I cannot have you, Aura, then I will take away all that you treasure," he whispered. "And will crush the very life from you as I did twenty of your ancestors."
The Amber Ranger Hunter never failed to take his prey. * * *
Scorpina teleported into the hospital room and stared hungrily down at Azure as the pregnant woman half-dozed. The false labor had been somewhat rough on her, and it was late in the evening as it was. She raised her stinger sword over her head and began to bring it down, whispering, "This is for staying alive!"
"Hey!" a sharp voice called out suddenly, and Scorpina looked up to see Aura standing in the doorway, eyes bright with rage. At her sister's cry, Azure woke up, stiffening with terror as she saw Scorpina standing over her.
"Stay out of this, Amber Ranger, this is personal!" Scorpina advised. Aura shook her head.
"You touch my sister, it gets personal," Aura snarled, flexing her fingers ominously. Scorpina laughed.
"Come any closer, and it will. I'll kill your sister's child . . . before it even has a chance to live!"
"No," Azure whispered. "Not my child. Anything. But let my child live."
Aura wasn't having any of this, though. "Step towards Azure and find out why they tell you not to mess with the Guardian of the Earth," Aura could feel the Spirit of Earth's presence near her, it would take no time at all for the Eternal Mother to protect her children.
"Aura," Azure whispered, shaking her head. She knew Aura would do anything to protect her, but she would do anything to protect that tiny life within her.
"I won't let her hurt you, Azure," Aura promised. She closed her eyes, about to join with the Spirit of the Earth, when Scorpina's cold voice stopped her.
"The child is going to die."
Aura was about to continue the process, when Adam stepped up next to her. "Hey!" he snapped out, breaking Aura's concentration. "What's going on here?"
"Aura," Azure whispered again. "Adam, don't. . . "
Adam ignored his wife, his blazing eyes on her threatener. "Scorpina, get out of here!"
"I can't let her hurt this child," Azure whispered. "Please understand."
"Scorpina, if you harm Azure or her child, I will spend the rest of eternity hunting you down if I have to!" Aura swore. It took only a moment of concentration to call the Spirit into her, but with Scorpina right next to Azure, she couldn't spare that moment.
"Not if I get there first," Adam agreed. One thing Aura and Adam had always agreed on was that Azure needed to be safe. Each of them did it in their own separate ways, but they both kept her from harm as best they could.
Scorpina laughed. "Like you could catch me!" she glanced down at Azure, a chill smile on her features. "A pity."
"Don't, please," Azure begged. All she wanted was for the child to live, she didn't care about her own life at this moment. She just wanted that child to live, to grow and thrive.
Aura's voice was full of complete confidence. "I can catch you, Scorpina," Aura was so totally focused on Scorpina she didn't notice Adam whispering into his communicator; Scorpina was so oriented on Azure she also failed to notice it. "So leave her alone, or die!"
Scorpina laughed; this was going to be so much fun! She stepped back a bit to get enough room for her swing, then brought the stinger down far too fast for either Ranger to morph or call for help. Azure shrank away, heart bleeding in sorrow at what she believed was the loss of her child.
Scorpina's stinger bounced off a forcefield that had been generated around Azure and her face reflected total shock and surprise. Adam laughed at that; she looked so foolish. "Thanks to Alpha, you will leave her alone!"
Aura smiled. "Now leave!"
Scorpina growled to herself; she would have one bit of satisfaction if nothing else. Moving even faster than she had before, she leaped in front of Aura and knocked her into the wall with all her strength, causing Aura to strike her head. A moment later, she was gone.
Adam rushed over to her as she slid against the wall and down to the floor. "You okay?" he asked. Azure looked over, concerned, at her sister, who was a trifle dazed it seemed.
Aura nodded. "Yeah, I'm. . .," she stiffened suddenly. "Uhhhh. . . ." a strange expression crossed her face; one that reminded him of how she'd looked. . .
"I'm getting a doctor!" Adam was out of the room in a second, and came back dragging a doctor. He took one look at Aura, and had a pair of orderlies in there at once to wheel her into the delivery room.
Billy joined Aura in there a few moments later, and was greeted by a glare. "This is all your fault, Billy!" she told him. Billy had been warned by his own father that women tended to be like this during childbirth; but Aura hadn't said a word during her labor with the twins. His eyes went wide for a second as she grabbed his hand.
"I would be pregnant if it weren't for you!" she retorted. She absolutely did not care if she made sense or not; all she wanted was to give birth!
"Oh, you had something to do with it, too!" Billy teased her gently. Aura shot him a dagger-filled glance.
"Oh, no, this is all your fault!"
"I got the head!" the doctor cried. Aura pushed again, a moment of pain, then a healthy cry sounded. "It's a girl!" the doctor told them. Aura sighed and relaxed once the afterbirth was expunged from her, then everything was forgotten as the doctor brought the new life up to her. "Want to hold your daughter?"
"Yeah," Aura sighed as the baby was slipped into her arms. "Oh, she's such a beautiful child!"
A nurse poked her head carefully into the room and caught the doctor's attention. "You've got another delivery: room 321."
Aura looked over at Billy. "That's Azure's room!" her eyes went wide.
Billy nodded. "Let's hope it's not another false labor," he didn't think Azure or Adam could take a false alarm one more time in the same day. Aura looked down at their newest child and smiled.
"Have you thought of a name?" she asked. She'd really been worrying too much over Galan trying something to think up one. Billy smiled.
"What about Shaya Jessica Cranston?"
Aura smiled. "I love it," Two of my mothers immortalized in my daughter. "Thank you, Billy."
"Hello, little Shaya," Billy said as he gently kissed his youngest child on the forehead. The little girl looked up at him, yawned, then fell asleep in her mother's arms. Aura smiled down at her.
"I hope you take after your father," she whispered softly. "With all his brains."
"Hey, their mother isn't so bad!" Billy kissed Aura; he could hardly believe their third child had been born already. Aura chuckled lightly.
"But I don't want to condemn them to being chased after by evil aliens!" she told him. Billy sighed a bit.
"Let's just hope Galan leaves; and a lot quicker than Rita and Zedd did!"
Aura agreed; she was sick and tired of having him hovering over her life all the time. She'd been attacked twelve different times during her pregnancy; luckily she'd either been able to either fight the Zalics or monster herself; or to call for help in time. It seemed he'd given up on having her, and was reverting to just trying to kill her. She found that more comforting in many ways. "I can't believe what he was trying to have Scorpina do!"
"What was that?" Adam hadn't had time to tell Billy anything other than Aura was in labor when he'd ran out into the waiting room. As Aura explained, he found himself in the sudden mood for murder. If Azure hadn't been all right, Aura sensed her husband would've been heading for the moon at that moment.
And she would've been right next to him. * * *
"Oh, she's beautiful," Azure looked at the baby girl in her arms. Her second labor had been real, quick, and relatively painless, resulting in the baby she and Adam were now gazing adoringly at. Adam smiled.
"She looks just like her mother," the new father whispered softly. Azure smiled and touched her daughter's forehead gently.
"She's got her dad's hair, though," she noted. The little girl had been born with a full head of dark hair, the mirror minuscule image of Adam's.
"So I see," Adam smiled; he hadn't been this happy in his entire life. Nothing but joy and love filled the little family.
"Hello, little Katia," Azure named her daughter. Adam nodded his approval.
"That's a beautiful name," he told her. Azure's smile faded suddenly as she remembered something.
"How close we came to not having her," she murmured, leaning closer to her child. "If Alpha hadn't put that forcefield up, I don't know what would've happened." Could Aura have called the Spirit in time? Would the Guardian have been quick enough to save us? To save my child if nothing else? I guess we'll never know.
Adam nodded. "I know. We owe him."
"That we do," their quiet moment was mildly interrupted as Kat and Rocky entered the room hand in hand.
"Hey there," Rocky smiled at them. "Can we sneak a peak at the new baby?"
Adam smiled and waved them in as Azure said, "Would the godparents like to see their godchild?" They came closer and as they oohed and ahhed over her, Azure told them, "Say hello to Katia Ann Park."
"She's beautiful!" Kat gushed. "She looks like her mother, but with Adam's hair."
"We almost didn't have her," Adam told them quickly and quietly what had happened with Scorpina. Rocky shivered.
"Man, talk about cutting it close!" he whispered. Adam nodded.
"We owe Alpha, and we'll pay him back, somehow."
Rocky agreed. "It's a good thing Zordon told him to keep a close eye on you, Azure, after what Galan tried the last time."
Azure and Adam both raised their eyebrows in surprise. "He what?" Azure asked. Rocky explained.
"He was worried that Galan might try something, so he told Alpha to keep a close lock on you, at all times."
Azure smiled. "I can't believe that." They all worry over me so much. That feels so good. I have the greatest family in the world. I love them all so much.
"We worry about you," Kat told her. Azure felt a warm upwelling of love in her heart.
"It's nice to know," she sighed gently, then noticed that the two of them were holding hands! She'd never seen that before. "Um, is there something we should know about?"
Kat and Rocky exchanged blushing glances. "Ummmm. . .."
"Rocky, what are you two up to?" Adam grinned; he was glad to see his oldest friend finally romantically linked with someone.
Rocky looked over at Kat. "I think we started dating," he revealed. Azure couldn't help but laugh.
"It's about time!"
Adam nodded sharply. "I thought I was going to have to smash your heads together!"
A nurse entered the room just then. "Is anyone up to a little visit?" Adam glanced to Azure.
"Feel like going to see your new niece?" he asked. He didn't even have to, really, he knew what the answer was going to be. In moments he and Azure, along with Rocky and Kat, were in Aura's room, where the other Rangers had gathered.
"Hi, Azure!" Aura waved brightly. "Is that my niece?"
Azure nodded. "Everyone, I'd like you to meet Katia Ann Park."
Aura smiled at the little baby. "She's beautiful," she held out her own child at that point. "This is Shaya Jessica Cranston, everyone."
"Oh, she's got Billy's eyes!" Azure exclaimed as she looked into her niece's tiny face. Aura smiled as she nodded.
"I hope she has Billy's brains," she sighed lightly, thinking of the twins waiting at home. "I hope they all do!"
Billy leaned over to kiss her. "Their mother has a great brain, too!"
The Rangers all filed out quietly to give the family time to themselves. The newest members of the Cranston and Park families slept in their mothers' arms quietly. Aura and Azure looked long at each other.
"I hope we can give them the greatest gift of all one day," Aura spoke gently to avoid waking the babies. Azure nodded; she knew exactly what Aura meant.
"A peaceful world. One without anyone trying to take it over."
"One day," Billy whispered, and Adam agreed. "One day, this world will be at peace."
Aura looked out the window, and couldn't help but feel a twinge of worry. Galan was still on the moon; and Rita and Zedd were still around somewhere. Who knew what other forces of evil were lurking, just waiting for the chance to attack and conquer Earth?
Whatever is out there, it'll have to face me and the other Rangers. We're here to protect Earth, no matter what. That's why we exist. That's why I live. That's why we all live.
To defend. Forever.