Adam quietly entered their bedroom, seeing Azure staring at their wedding picture. It hadn't been the wedding of the century, it had just been the two of them, and the minister who had performed it. He asked quietly, "Azure, do you want to talk?"
"Not really," she replied softly. Adam sat down next to her, and gazed at the picture.
"I wonder what our lives would have been like if the Rangers had never been needed," he mused. Azure whispered softly next to him, "I wouldn't have to worry every day."
"I know," Adam told her. "I worry too, Azure."
"If you only knew what I go through every time you go into battle," she said softly. _Hoping, praying you come back safely. Terrified this time you won't, but so grateful when you do._
"Whenever you're in trouble, whenever they do anything to you, it's all I can do to stop myself from going to the moon and blowing them to pieces," Adam said softly. It was the complete truth, and earned him a small smile. As she picked up the picture again, he told her, "The day you told me yes, was the happiest day of my life."
"And one of the sadder ones for me," Azure reminded him. "that was the day Zedd took Aura and the twins."
"But we got them back," Adam never let her forget how things had always turned out for the best in the end. Azure sighed.
"There are times when I wish I didn't have to worry about you and Aura all the time. I just wish we could enjoy one week without having to fear a monster attack," she dropped the picture suddenly, grabbing onto the dresser.
"Azure!" Adam came over to her as she reassured him she was all right. "You sure?"
"Yeah," Azure nodded. "I just need a good night's sleep, that's all."
"Then let's go to bed," Adam suggested. A moment later, they
were both in bed, and asleep, after a gentle kiss by Adam to his beloved
wife. _Sleep well, Azure. I love you so much._
Things weren't quite so calm in the Cranston household, however. Alaina and Alex were running through the house, defying their long-suffering parents every chance to catch and put them to bed. Alaina ran down the hall, giggling with all her mind, her father in hot pursuit.
"Can't catch me, daddy!" she giggled. She and her brother both spoke more or less perfectly these days, with only the mildest of childish lisps. Billy stared after his daughter, then a smile curved his lips briefly. He stopped and sat down, suddenly irrevocably absorbed in the ceiling.
Alaina stopped when he did, and stared at him. "Daddy? You're not gonna chase me?"
"Nope," he shook his head. Alaina pouted some, her eyes wide and full of tears.
"I like it when you chase me!"
"Sorry," Billy told her. "No more chasing tonight."
His mercurial daughter came over, crawling into his lap, experiencing yet another of her almost instantaneous mood swings. "Tell me a story, daddy! About the Power Rangers!"
Billy managed to stop himself from smiling too broadly as he told her a wonderful story about the Rangers. The twins knew all about who their parents and their parents' friends were, and Aura had threatened them both with never going to see the Spirit of Earth if they let a single word breath about it. As he told the story, Alaina fell gently asleep in his arms. As he put her to bed, he glanced back to the living room, where Aura was chasing down her son and heir.
"Alexander Neras Cranston, you are going to bed!" Aura snapped as Alex hid behind a large chair. Aura jumped on top of the chair, reaching behind it, and grabbed her son by his collar. "I said you are going to bed, young man!"
"No!" Alex screamed. "Not tired!"
Aura was adamant, though. "You're still going to bed!" a sudden idea was sparked in her by the sight of Alex's necklace. "I'll show you a magic trick if you go to bed when I'm done!"
Alex considered it for a moment, then nodded. Aura smiled as she touched her own pendent with one finger, calling up a perfect image of her natural parents. An Amber Ranger could summon the image of any of their ancestors, that was one thing she'd learned from the Spirit of Earth. "Look!"
"Ohhhh!" Alex breathed in awe. "How do you do that?"
"I told you," Aura smiled. "It's magic. Those are my parents, your grandparents. Some of them, anyway. See, that's Grandma Shaya!"
Alex smiled. "Yeah!! I wanna see Uncle Samuel, he's fun!"
Aura chuckled a little. "I'll see if I can get them to come for a visit. Now, if you're very good and go to bed, I'll tell you a story about your grandfather Neras."
Alex nodded as he ran straight into bed. Aura smiled again as she tucked him in, then began a story about her father. Before it was over with, Alex had drifted off to sleep. Aura looked up to see Billy standing in the doorway, a fussy Shaya in his arms.
"Two down, one to go!"
Aura smiled as she joined her husband. "Come on, Shaya, time for bed!" once in the nursery, Aura slipped Shaya into the crib, and softly sang her youngest child to sleep, the same lilting melody that had been sung on Kalakan for thousands of years.
"They are too adorable when they sleep," Billy murmured. Aura sighed as she leaned against him.
"Yeah, just like their father."
Billy laughed softly. "I could say the same thing about their mother. Come on, let's get you to bed, you've had a busy couple of days!"
"Yeah," Aura sighed deeply as they entered their bedroom, then looked at him, smiling. "Have I told you lately how much I love you?"
Billy wrapped her up in a warm hug, and whispered in her ear, "I love you so much, Aura."
"You know, back when I was having my headaches, because of being the Amber Ranger," she said after a few minutes of kissing. "If I'd known everything that would have come of my being that. . . "
As she paused for a moment, Billy looked at her curiously. "What?"
"I would have changed nothing except one thing I would have asked you to marry me a lot sooner than you asked me!"
Billy laughed with joy. "We're together, forever, and nothing can change that."
"There's no one in all the world I'd rather be with than you," Aura smiled as Billy sat next to her on the bed.
"Something on your mind?" he asked softly. Aura looked at him slyly.
"Not really. Just wondering if maybe three kids aren't enough!"
"They're enough to wear out two Rangers!"
Aura nodded. "I'm not surprised, considering that one is going to be a Ranger, and as for Alaina and Shaya. . .who knows what they will be?"
"Hopefully, they'll all be happy with whatever life they live, be it Ranger or non-Ranger."
Aura nodded. "That's all I want for them, for them to be happy," she noticed he was looking carefully at her for a few moments. "Billy, is something wrong?"
"I was thinking about your fear of snakes," Billy stopped before telling her what Azure had told them.
"And you want to know why I was afraid?" Aura asked softly. She still remembered the fear, but now it seemed somewhat silly to her.
"I already know," Billy said. "What I want to know is why you never told me."
Aura bit her lip. "Serves me right for leaving her," she muttered under her breath. She knew Azure had to have told them why she had been afraid. "Billy, what do you do when I'm in any danger of any type?"
He answered that one quickly. "Worry. Wear the Command Center floor out."
"And try and get between me and the danger if you can," she reminded him. Billy smiled a trifle.
"I do what you do to Azure," he reminded her.
"I do that because there are things I can do that she can't, to protect her," Aura told him. "But I'm also capable of protecting myself, in a way no one else can."
"But do you blame me for trying to protect you, just a little?" Billy asked.
Aura thought it over for a moment. "No. But there are some things you can't protect me from."
"Why didn't you ever tell me?"
She shrugged. "I didn't think it was that important when we first got back to Angel Grove, and it was just after that when everything started happening. I sort of forgot."
"Forgot?" he thought for a moment over everything that had happened since then, then smiled sheepishly. "I can see how you could do that."
"Hey, when you're getting turned evil every time you turn around, then you find out you're an alien, well, a few things slip your mind!"
Billy's grin was broken by a yawn. "Let's get some sleep. We're going to have a busy day tomorrow. You are going to have to talk to Azure about what happened today."
"I'm more afraid of her than I am of Rita, Zedd, Vile, and all the rest of them put together!" Aura giggled. Billy laughed.
"Her temper isn't that bad!" then Billy thought for a moment, remembering how Azure had reacted when Galan had blackmailed Aura into coming to his palace in exchange for his and Azure's lives. "Then again. . ."
Aura smiled as she began to kiss him rather seriously. "But before
we sleep," _funny how being put in peril of my life gets me aroused!
Billy shouldn't have any complainants at all!_
Vile's evil laughter echoed in the palace as he and his twisted daughter watched the two couples beneath them on Earth. Their spell was going to work perfectly, and would ruin the Amber Ranger and her sister for all time!!!
"This is too perfect!" Rita's eyes never left Azure and Adam. Vile, on the other hand, was watching Aura and Billy.
"Oh, how disgusting!" he groaned. "They're trying to have more kids!"
Rita spared a glance for the romantically entwined Blue and Amber Rangers. "The spell should be taking effect any second now on her. It already has on her sister."
A few moments later, Aura felt a brief moment of dizziness. Her only reaction was a shout of pure pleasure as Billy did something incredibly good at that same moment. Vile laughed triumphantly, knowing what they did not the spell had just taken effect on her.
"Now if she would just fall asleep!" Rita whined. They were forced to watch the culmination of Aura and Billy's love, and at last, after three hours, the two of them collapsed into sated sleep.
"Finally!" Vile groaned. "I thought they were going to go on all night!"
Together they watched as their plot took shape in the form of living
Aura trembled with delight as her husband's hand ran down the side of her neck. That was how she'd awakened every morning since they had been married. She had loved it the first time, as she loved everything he did to her.
"Good morning," she murmured, gazing into his handsome, though skinless, face. Lord Zedd smiled back at her.
"Hello, my love."
"Did you sleep well, my dearest?" Aura asked, eyes dancing with delight.
Zedd leaned over to kiss her. "With you next to me, how could I not?"
She returned the embrace with all her heart. "I have never been happier since I realized how much I love you!"
"Not as happy as I have been," his hands caressed her gently, as only a true love and lover should. Aura laughed with pleasure.
"Keep doing things like that, and we'll have more kids!"
Zedd smiled as he embraced her. "Then let's!"
"Gladly!" Aura smiled. "It's so much better with you than. . with. .. ," she frowned for a moment. "What was his name again?"
Zedd shrugged. "Who cares? Let's have some fun!"
Cries and gasps of delight echoed from the royal bedchamber for hours.
Azure smiled as she woke up to look into her husband's face. "That feels so good," she murmured, enjoying the kisses. She moved, only to find she had been tied to the bed.
"Good morning, dear," Eric smiled at her. "Once again, you're all tied up so early in the morning!"
Azure nodded. "All thanks to you, and last night!"
Eric laughed. "So, what sort of delights shall we indulge in today?"
"Whatever my love's heart desires," Azure smiled wickedly. Things had changed so much since she had realized and admitted her love for Eric. He grinned.
"I was thinking we could go down to Earth and kick around a few bums," he suggested. Azure gave him a seductive smile.
"And then. .. .," her tone promised all kinds of delights as he returned the expression.
"And of course, we can't forget the daily torment of our two favorite prisoners!"
Azure nodded. "Let me have some fun with one of them!" she begged.
"Any one of them in particular?" he asked, knowing ahead of time what her answer would be. It had been this way for years.
"That idiot I used to be married to," she suggested as he began to kiss her. Eric smiled.
"Oh, that idiot! I'm so glad you came to your senses!"
Azure nodded. "I'm so glad you came back, and made me!"
Eric's kisses slipped all the way down her body. "Once Aura was with my father, you saw how you two were both attracted to evil, anyway!"
"Among other things!" Azure writhed deliciously, enjoying
his presence and passion. Things were very noisy in the lunar palace that
Deep within the dungeons, Adam stared at the tear-streaked face of his friend. "I can't believe we are the last tow good Rangers left. And we're locked up in here."
Billy wasn't even looking at him. "I can't believe. . .she left me. . .for him. . ." he had whispered that a thousand times since Aura had divorced him and married. .. .Zedd of all people!
"You're not the only one," Adam sighed, thinking about Azure. The object of his thoughts appeared a moment later, in a tight leather dress.
"Hello, boys," Azure oozed. Billy glared at her as Adam turned his back, not even wanting to look at her right now.
"What do you want?" Billy hissed.
Azure did her level best to look innocent, a pose that no longer worked. "Do I have to have a reason for walking around my own castle?"
"Can't you just leave us alone, Azure?" Billy groaned. "You and Aura have done more than enough!"
Adam turned tear-filled eyes on her. "Just kill me, Azure. I can't live with watching you like this!"
"You're no fun!" Azure pouted a little. "Kind of why I chose Eric over you!"
Adam shook as she uttered those words. "Why, Azure? Why did you do it?"
"You have to ask?" Azure laughed. "I am happy with Eric, much more than I was with you!"
As Adam balled up and cried, Billy made his way to his feet. "You and Aura come down here every day and tease us, torment us. ...kill us and get it over with!"
Azure shook her head. "You don 't get it, do you? You are going to stay alive for a long time!" she reached through the bars of the cell to touch Adam. He jerked away from her, and she growled. "Don't you pull away from me!" Billy hit her at the same moment, and she treated him to one of Aura's favorite moves. He backed away from her, as she glared at him. "You need to learn some manners. Perhaps a few rounds with Goldar would do the trick."
Billy insulted her as nastily as he was capable of, while Adam peered up at Azure through tear-reddened eyes. "Azure, I still love you!"
"I don't love you!" Azure said coldly. Adam stared at her, then was reduced to simple tears. There was simply nothing else he could say.
"Someday," Billy promised. "You and Aura both will pay for all you've done. If you were under spells, we could forgive you, but you did this willingly!"
Azure shrugged as Eric walked in. "Pathetic! Both of you! Of course we did it willingly, Eric is the man of my dreams!"
When Billy spat at her, Eric kicked him harshly in the face. "Don't you ever do that again!"
Adam found his voice again. "SO, what's today's torture? Do we get to watch you two kissing again, or do we get put up a few dozen Tengas?"
"No!" Azure grabbed Adam by the collar and opened the cell door, dragging him through. "Something much worse!"
"Hey!" Billy shouted. "Leave him alone!"
Azure favored him with a glance. "Never!" she kissed Adam delicately, then slammed her knee harshly between his legs. Adam balled up, pulling away from his once-wife, and whined a little. _Will this nightmare never end?_
Azure laughed. "Maybe one day, we can have some real fun!"
Adam's eyes opened and he smiled. Another day with Azure, and hopefully she'd be a bit calmer today. She was tossing and turning next to him, but there was nothing much unusual about that. She always tossed and turned. "Azure. .. Azure, wake up."
"No," Azure mumbled in her sleep. Adam looked at her, it wasn't like her to sleep this late! His eyes widened briefly, she was sweating!
"Damn," he muttered. "She's sick!" he headed for
the phone as Azure screamed out, still asleep, "NO!" Adam looked
at her worriedly. _She must be dreaming about Eric again. I wish he were
still alive. ..so I could kill him myself._
Lancing bolts of golden light filled the Cranston bedroom, waking Billy up. Aura was her customary warm presence next to him, and he spent a moment gazing at her black-haired beauty.. He leaned over to give her the usual morning kiss, and frowned. _She's warmer than usual. I hope she's all right._ "Aura?" he said worriedly, hating to spoil her sleep.
Sweat beaded her forehead, but she still slept, and smiled lightly. "Mmmmm. .. .," she whispered in her slumber. "Nice. . ."
Billy smiled. "Aura, time to wake up, we're supposed to meet Azure and Adam for breakfast!"
Aura rolled over, still smiling and talking in her sleep. "Oh, Zedd, I love you," she whispered. Billy's eyes went so round they might have been mistaken for saucers!
He might have said more, had the phone not rung at that moment. "What?" Billy spat into it
"Billy, it's me," Adam seemed worried. "Azure's sick, can you and Aura meet me at the hospital?"
Billy glanced over at Aura, then almost heard the click in his mind as a connection was made. "Get her to the Command Center, now!"
"Billy, Azure's sick, that requires a hospital!" Adam protested.
"Azure's not the only one, and I don't seriously think any doctor can help," Billy said. Adam's voice changed to worry.
"Okay, I trust you. We'll be there in a flash!" Adam hung
up, and Billy started getting Aura ready. He didn't think anyone would
notice she was wearing one of his shirts, and her shorts as he teleported
with her to the Command Center.
Azure and Eric had left after beating Adam severely. That was just one of the many things the two last Rangers had to deal with these days. Billy watched his friend carefully, hoping the torment was ended for the day. When footsteps, all too familiar footsteps, sounded, he knew that hope was false.
He turned to look at Aura as she entered the prison. She wore her usual outfit these days, that same tight-fitting black ensemble she'd worn so many years before when she'd been split into her good and evil halves. The only difference was a golden crown. Billy ignored her as she came closer to him.
"Hello there, Billy," she purred nastily. "Have a good night's rest?"
"What do you want?" Billy growled. "Haven't you done enough to us?"
Aura laughed. "If we'd done enough, you'd be dead," she smiled. "And that won't happen for a long time!"
"Why?" he stared at her, asking the question he asked in his heart every day. "Why are you doing this?"
"I like to see you squirm, that's why," the former Amber Ranger chuckled. " It's fun!"
He stiffened as Aura ran a hand down his back. "What's the matter, Billy? You always said you only wanted to see me happy. Well, I am now!"
"You betrayed your friends!" Billy would never forget the day it had happened, the day their world had ended. For a brief moment, it replayed in his mind. Aura and Azure had lured the other Rangers to the Command Center, then dropped the defense shield to let Zedd, Rito, Goldar, and every Tenga and monster they possessed in there. He and Adam had been drugged, and awakened to a living nightmare in the cell they occupied now. The next time they'd seen their wives, Aura had been with Zedd, and Azure was with Eric. And from that moment on, hell had reigned on Earth.
"I found my real true love!" she hissed back. Cold light flashed in her eyes, and he wondered for a moment what had happened to the wonderful, caring woman he had loved so much.
"And betrayed the Spirit, too," Billy murmured. He remembered the look of utter devastation in the Spirit of Earth's eyes when Aura had turned evil, and it made him hurt even now.
Aura laughed. "So?" Billy growled a vile insult to her, and she seized him by the neck, tightly. "I almost killed you once, Billy, don't make me finish the job so soon!"
Zedd's chuckle sounded from behind her. "Hello, my love," he laid a hand on her shoulder, running it down her spine. Aura smiled and leaned against him.
"Just having some fun with my ex!" she told him. Billy's heart sank as he saw the glittering love in her eyes turned towards Zedd.
The lord of evil kissed her neck. "Maybe we can have a little more fun!"
"Sounds good to me!" Aura smiled. "Maybe Billy should watch. .. so he remembers what he once had, and never will have again!"
"Perfect!" Zedd declared, chaining Billy and Adam to the wall in the perfect position to watch what they did. "My love!" he kissed Aura passionately, hands touching her.
Aura threw her head back in joy. "And to think, I spent so many
years married to him when I could've been with you, my beloved Zedd!"
"What is it?" Adam stared at Billy's worried face as the Blue Ranger ran scan after scan on Aura and Azure.
"The scans say it's something called a 'might have been' nightmare," Billy reported.
"Might have been?" Adam frowned, wanting to know what Rita and Vile had done to his love this time.
Billy explained, "It puts whoever is under it in a dreamworld, so real the dreamer doesn't even know they're dreaming, and they see a possible reality. They are aware of everything that happened there as if it were real, feeling the same emotions and desires that they would have if it had really happened."
"I don't think I want to see what she's dreaming," Adam shuddered. "he was literally screaming!"
Billy glanced at Aura. "I think Aura and I need to talk."
Adam felt Azure's forehead gently. "Her fever's gotten worse!"
Billy's eyes widened as he ran another scan, then looked at Adam. "There's
a side effect. They're both running fevers. If we don't cure them in twenty-four
hours. . from the onset of the spell. . .they'll both die."
Billy was a simple mass of tears after Aura and Zedd left. He had never thought it was possible, but he hated Aura with all his heart now. Adam felt much the same way about Azure. As the two old friends mourned the loss of the their loves together, a very familiar voice spoke up from outside the cage.
Billy looked up to see Rita standing there. "Oh, great, another torture, we have to listen to the screaming twit!"
Rita shrugged. "How would you like to get revenge on those two sisters?" she asked.
Billy and Adam both set up in that moment, life returning as it hadn't in years. "How?" they chorused.
"Join me," Rita urged. "Together, we will destroy them all. Starting with the former Amber Ranger!"
Billy narrowed his eyes. "What do you want other than that?" staying in here hadn't dropped his IQ one point.
Rita glared at them. "I want her dead. And her sister to have to watch her die. I also want Zedd and the brat of his to die!"
"I'll do it," Adam's voice was as cold as ice. Billy nodded after a moment's thought. "They don't deserve to live. Aura's not a Ranger anymore, she's a traitor, and more evil than I ever dreamed possible."
Rita smiled coldly. "Then come with me, we have a lot to plan!"
she produced a key and unlocked the cell. Things were about to change a
great deal around here.
Adam placed a cold, wet towel on Azure's burning forehead. "Be all right, please be all right!" he had lost track of the number of times he had said that.
"I found it!" Billy snapped out suddenly. Tommy ran straight over to him; the others had been called in once Billy had realized how serious this was. He'd needed all the help he could get to find a cure.
"What is it?" the White Ranger had to know. Billy read off the results.
"A potion made from the Janisper plant can cure them, and break the spell," he reported. Tommy nodded.
"How and where do we find this plant?"
Billy scanned the world quickly. "The only place they exist on Earth is in the Amazon rainforest," he reported. "And there's not many there. You're going to have to hurry."
Tommy nodded. "Kat, Aisha, you two are with me," he said. He glanced briefly at the two sweating sisters, then back to Billy. "How long do we have?"
"For Azure, nine hours," Billy sighed. "For Aura, twelve."
"We'll be back as soon as we can," Tommy promised. Adam didn't even notice, so focused was he on his ailing wife.
"Hang in there, Azure, hang in there!" he begged. "Don't
leave me. . .ever!"
Eric, Azure, Aura, and Zedd re-entered the dungeons, after they'd sated themselves in public and private both. Eric's eyes widened with rage as he saw the cell empty. "What?"
Aura growled in rage. "They're gone!"
"This is not happening! Who let them escape? Heads will roll!" Azure screamed. Aura stomped up and down.
"Who would dare to help them?" she yelled. Eric shrugged.
"Whomever it was, they will pay for this dearly!" he promised. Aura suddenly stopped, and looked to Zedd.
Azure snapped, "She will pay for this!" Aura nodded.
"How dare she take away our toys!?"
Eric tried to soothe his enraged wife. "We will get them back, ands she will die!"
Aura thought. "Where would she take them?"
Zedd closed his eyes. "This is the only place I would know of.
Come, we'll have to search for them."
Billy sighed as he place a cloth on Aura's forehead this time. Both she and Azure were sweating badly enough to drench stone. "What am I going to do if she dies?" he murmured to himself. His dark thoughts were interrupted a moment later when Tommy and his team teleported in, a Janisper plant held in one hand. Billy smiled.
"Got it!" Tommy reported, holding it out to his friend. Billy started through the recipe he'd found, then paled.
"What is it?" Adam didn't like the way Billy looked one bit!
"By the time we get it done, Azure will have only half an hour left," he told them. Adam frowned, looking at Billy.
"Then get busy," was all he said. He looked back to Azure.
"Hang in there, my love! Don't quit on me now!"
Rita and Vile stood side by side, watching the Rangers as they scurried around trying to get the cure done in time. Rita's only regret was she couldn't see into the dreams she'd placed Azure and Aura in. She wondered what they were seeing, what might have been for them.
"By the time they finish that potion, the two girls should be done for!" she laughed. Vile nodded.
"I do believe Aura's actually enjoying the dream so far!" Vile chuckled. They were able to see the reactions, but that was it. The dreams were closed to them. "Too bad that it ends with her death!"
"And that Azure should die shortly after, from being in it too long!"
Vile nodded. "We'll finally be rid of them, both of them!"
"And then, the Rangers!" Rita's laughed echoed in the long
eternal night of space
In a dark room in the depths of the palace, Rita, Billy, and Adam made their plot. "We need to make sure they are together, away from Zedd and Eric," Rita began.
"They've probably found out that we're gone by now," Billy mused. Adam shrugged carelessly.
"Who cares? Our world is dead, thanks to them!"
Billy sighed. "What I mean is, they're probably looking for us," he explained. "If we could separate them from Zedd and Eric. . ."
"We could get them!" Rita laughed evilly. These two should've been on her side years ago!
Billy nodded. "And I've got an idea. It's simple. One of s shows ourselves, just enough to get Aura and Azure to chase us. Rita, you can do something to block Zedd and Eric from following."
"Perfect!" Rita cackled. " Now, which of you is going to show yourselves?"
"I thought it up, Adam can do it!" Billy snapped. Adam smiled evilly.
Billy laughed. "Good. Now run along, and bring our 'wives' here
to play. . .and to die!"
On Earth, Azure glanced around, frowning. "This used to be Angel Grove, didn't it? And that was our house," she pointed to a run down house that barely stood up at all.
Aura hardly spared a glance for it. "I like the palace better."
Azure smiled. "Same here!"
Aura wrapped an arm around Zedd and kissed him. "After all, my true love lives there!"
"As does mine," Azure laughed, then noticed something. "Aura come here."
"What is it?"
"Something or someone moved over there. Let's go check it out, it could be you know who.," she suggested. Aura nodded, and glanced back at Zedd and Eric.
"We'll be right back. This shouldn't be a problem!" she told them. The two men nodded, watching as their wives headed off. In a few moments, they were where the Youth Center had once stood. In the ruins was Adam, smiling at them.
"Stop right there, Adam!" Aura snapped. "You can't escape us!"
The former Black Ranger laughed. "I have no intentions of escaping! Actually, you may want to turn around!
"Oh, come on!" Aura snorted. "Do you really think we're going to fall for that?"
Just as the words fell from her mouth, two skeletal arms seized them. Azure screamed, "Put em down!"
"Zedd! Eric!" Aura struggled, screaming at the top of her lungs for her husband and son-in-law. Adam shook his head.
"They can't help you this time!" he told them. "Rita made sure o that."
Aura hissed at him, wanting his blood on her fingers. "You can't possibly think you'll get away with this?"
"I don't think, I know!" Adam didn't believe they'd been caught so easily as they teleported back to Rita's secret hideout. Aura was screaming, struggling, yelling, and swearing like a champion, as was Azure. All the younger girl wanted was for Adam to get just close enough for her to make him a soprano for the rest of his very short life!
"You're all going to die for this!" Aura promised. "We would've let you live long lives in the cells!"
Billy came up to her, hate in his eyes. "It's not us who are going to die, but you!"
"Zedd will kill you for this, Billy!" Aura promised. Billy shook his head.
"If he can. By now, he is being crushed, as is Eric!"
"You bastards!" Azure hissed. How dare they kill her true love?
"I am going to kill you all," Aura swore. "You could've never escaped on your own! Rita! Where are you, you half-baked sorceress?"
Rita was there a moment later. "Pathetic wimps!" she spat at them. Aura shook her head.
"Adam & Billy are right there, if you're looking for pathetic wimps!!!"
Rita laughed. "That'll be enough of you. Billy," she didn't take her eyes off Aura. "How do you intend to off your ex?"
"I was considering cutting her treacherous black heart out!"
Rita handed Billy a knife. "Then do so! She's yours!"
Aura struggled in Rito's iron grip. "I've always been a better fighter than you, Billy, you know that!"
"Not anymore!" Billy heartlessly slammed the knife into her stomach, jerking upwards. Azure screamed, her forehead beaded with sweat suddenly.
"No. . .Billy. . .," Aura, the real Aura's, eyes gleamed out for a moment, and darkness swept over them both.
It was ended.
Billy quickly finished up the potion, then gave it to Alpha to give to Azure. He had enough for Aura already, and they injected them almost at the same time. "I'm here, Aura," he whispered. "You're going to be okay."
Azure screamed suddenly, her breathing became easier, and her fever broke. "Azure!" Adam smiled. "Please wake up, please be okay!"
As the cure entered Aura, she screamed a great deal louder than Azure had. Blood poured from an open wound in her stomach as the injuries suffered in the dream realm became reality. Billy swore and reached for something to stop the bleeding with as Aura thrashed about.
"Billy, step away," the Spirit of Earth was there! "I shall try and heal her."
Billy nodded. "Please, don't let her die! I can't live without her!"
"She will be fine," the Spirit healed her other half, and faded, her work done. Aura's eyes were clearing, Azure's were already open. As she saw Adam, she screamed at the top of her lungs! "Get way from me!"
On the next table, when Aura saw Billy, she growled fiercely. "You son of a bitch!"
"Aura? What's wrong?" Billy wondered.
"Azure? What's wrong?" Adam asked at the same moment.
AURA, AZURE, CALM YOURSELVES, Zordon's voice cut through their screams. Aura stared up at him and shook her head, trying to clear it. She glanced to Azure. "What. .what happened?"
"I don't know," Azure frowned. "Last thing I remember was Billy stabbing you, and Adam helping."
Aura nodded. "And I was calling to. . .Zedd for help," memory and reality flooded back to her; she looked sick to her stomach. Azure didn't look any better! "I. .we. .oh. .I. . ."
Billy went straight to her, holding her. "It's going to be okay, I promise."
"Billy, I liked it!" Aura groaned. "I liked it! In the dream, what he was doing, I lik. .no, I loved it!"
Billy shook his head. "It was just a dream. You didn't have much control over what you were doing. It was a spell, Rita and Vile placed it on you."
"I can't even sleep without them attacking!" Azure screamed. Adam sighed.
"It was just a dream, Azure, it's over now!"
Aura sighed. "What kind of spell was it? Does it have a name?"
"The might have been spell," he explained what it meant, and what it had done to them. Aura buried her face in her hands and started to cry again. Adam glanced to Azure, who didn't look much better off than Aura was, and knew better than to try and hold her. Billy, on the other hand, held Aura.
"I want to go home," Azure said softly. Adam nodded.
"We'll go then," they were gone a moment later, just as Aura pulled away from Billy. He looked deep into her eyes.
"Would you like to go home?" she nodded, too hurt to speak.
_I could've loved Zedd. I could've happened. No!!! It's my worst nightmare
come true! Literally!_
Azure sat in her rocker in the nursery, her eyes on Katia. Adam stood near her, watching. "Azure. . .what. .what happened in the dream? You don't have to tell details."
"I don't want to talk about it," Azure told him. Adam sighed unwilling agreement. "And don't ever ask me to!:"
"I won't," Adam promised. "I'm sorry," there was true grief in his voice.
"I didn't men to snap, Adam," Azure told him. "Adam? At the end of my dream, my dream self. .was getting weaker, feverish. It felt like I was dying."
"You and Aura had fevers all day," Adam told her. "A side effect of the spell."
Azure raised an eyebrow. "What about the dying part?"
"We barely curd you in time," Adam reported. "You had less time than Aura, if we hadn't cured you. . .you'd. .have. .."
Adam nodded. "But we cared you. We got the cure and made it!"
Azure sighed, and went to stare out the window. "I can't even feel safe in my own house anymore," she murmured.
"Azure, I know how you feel," Adam tried to tell her. She glared at him.
"Do you? You can't even begin to know!" she snapped.
Adam sighed. "I guess I don't know. I wish I did. I wish no one had ever invaded Earth. . .wish the Rangers had never been needed. ..wish we didn't have to live like this."
"But we do," Azure sighed resentfully. "And I chose this life the day I said yes to marrying you." he tried to call her name, but she shook her head. "I need time, Adam. I'm so scared, the emotions are running on a rampage inside of me. I don't understand them!"
Adam came over to her. "If you need time, I'll give it to you. I love you, Azure."
"Adam, why can't they leave us both alone for a while? Let us get on with our lives?"
Adam wished he could hold her. "Maybe they will now. There's nothing more I want to get on with our lives."
"What they haven't killed off in me," Azure whispered. A bit louder, she asked, "Hold me, please."
"I love you, Azure," Adam told her as he held her tightly.
Almost like two children, they stayed that way all night.
"Want to talk?" Billy asked Aura once he'd put Shaya down for the night. Aura sighed.
"Billy, I hate my life," she said simply. "I hate living in fear, living in constant worry over when you or me or Azure or one of the others is going to be kidnapped or put under a spell somehow. I hate having things like Zedd, Eric, Vile, and Rita doing what they've done to me and to all of us!"
"I know, I hate it too!" Billy agreed. Aura sighed deeply.
"Billy, the worst part of it is, I have no choice in it. You and the others can give your powers up at any time. Mine are born into me, and will be part of me until I die."
Billy looked at her, the woman he loved with all his heart. "I wish I could tell you that everything will be okay, but I'm not even sure about that."
Aura sighed. "Somedays, I wonder what might've happened, if Mother and I had never returned from Kalakan. If we'd went anywhere else, but here."
"Alex, Alaina, and Shaya wouldn't be sleeping in the other rooms."
Aura rattled off a list of everything that had happened to them since she and Shaya had returned to Earth. "None of that would've happened."
Billy looked into her eyes. "Could you honestly say that the bad times outweigh the good?"
"I don't know," Aura sighed. "Before that nightmare, I think the good did outweigh the bad. But now, I saw something that could have happened. There was a chance it could've happened. . ."
"But it didn't, did it" Billy told her. "You're here with me, alive, healthy, and with three adorable children."
"Yeah," Aura sighed, looking into the distance.
"What happened?" Billy wondered. "If you don't want to talk about it just yet, I understand."
Aura shivered badly for a few moments, then told him everything she had experienced. She left out anything to do with Azure; that was her sister's tale to tell. When she was done, Billy was tense as a harpstring. "Zedd had better be thankful he's dead already!"
Aura's tears overflowed. "I. .. in the dream. . .I loved him as much as I love you!"
Billy held her. "I'm the jealous type, what can I say? It was just a dream."
Aura shook her head. "It might not have been. When I was in the past. ..if he had just been a little nicer, or if I hadn't remembered you in time. .."
Billy held Aura's face so that their eyes met. "Remember this. You can't live in the past. This is the here and now. If you stay in the past, you'll miss the present," he was rewarded by a tiny smile. "There's that smile I fell in love with."
Aura leaned against him, heart full of mixed tragedy and joy. "I don't know if things could be worse or not, but what I have is still good."
Billy held her. "I love you, Aura Cranston."
"And I love you, Billy Cranston."