Hostage Amber
by: Cynthia and Elizabeth

It was a nervous tension in the Power Chamber as the Rangers searched to a way to get to Azure Park, being held suspended over a pit of sharp spikes and slowly lowering into it. Divatox and Goldar, an unholy alliance if there ever was one, were holding her captive and had bounced the signal they'd used to show their prisoner off so many different places that even Billy was having problems finding her.

Adam paced back and forth, his eyes blazing as he held Jeni, one of his daughters, in his arms. Aura wasn't pacing, but the look in her icy gray eyes spoke volumes of what she planned to do to Goldar if she ever got the chance. Billy hit the console in frustration. "This is exasperating," he muttered, glancing first to his friend, then his wife. Rocky was the only Ranger near enough to hear him just then. "He's nearly as bad as I was when Zedd had Aura for that month."

The Blue Turbo Ranger shivered a little. "Let's hope Azure doesn't go through what she did!" the memory of Aura's devastated eyes and heart when they'd rescued her that time was still with them all.

"I know," Billy nodded. "We can't send her fifty thousand years into the past to heal."

"You've got to find her," Rocky whispered. "I seriously pity Goldar if Aura and Adam both get their hands on him right now."

Billy nodded as Zack played with Adam and Azure's oldest daughter Katia, trying to get her to stop crying. "Your mommy is going to be home soon!" he told her, then glanced over at Adam. "Would you sit down?"

Aura paced a little herself as the child kept crying. She half-growled, "I'm just about ready to go ask Alaina if she knows anything!" the Amber Ranger declared. She didn't like using the strange gift of her eldest daughter, but in this case, she was willing to consult tea leaves if that was what it took! "Or better still, ask my mother!"

Adam was flatly ignoring Zack, who growled under his own breath. This guy was almost as stubborn as Azure herself! "Hey! Aisha told me what happened when something like this happened to Aura, and what you kept threatening to do to Billy. So if you don't calm down and sit down, I'll have Alpha there give you a sedative. . .a big one!"

As Adam finally sat down, cowed by the threat his fellow former Ranger uttered, Aisha went over to Aura. "Maybe we should ask Alaina," she suggested. "It couldn't hurt.'

Aura sighed. "I know. Let's go; and I hope she does know something."

"Let's hope it's good," Zack qualified; there were things that they knew they would not want to find out going on. Aura nodded as Zack tried again to get Katia to stop crying. The former Black Ranger glanced up at his friend. "Is she usually like this if Azure is away for more than hour?"

"Usually," Aura nodded. She'd had to put up with it when she baby-sat for her sister and Adam on occasion, and it was not a quiet evening then.

Zack chuckled. "Mommy's little girl, huh? Shhh. . .Mommy is on her way home!"

"Let's go talk to Alaina," Aura suggested to Aisha, smiling faintly as Katia simply kept on crying. The sound of the unhappy little girl was the only thing to accompany the amber and yellow flares of light they dissolved into as they teleported away.

* * *

Alaina Azure Cranston, firstborn daughter of the first Amber Ranger of Earth, possessed of strange and unusual powers to see the past, present, and future, examined her opponent for a few moments, then casually hauled back and hit Alexander Neras Cranston, future Amber Ranger of Earth and firstborn son of the current and first Amber Ranger of Earth, with a pillow. Alex squealed, hitting her back, and a full scale pillow fight was going on in minutes.

It was broken by the harsh sound of a throat being cleared, and the rambunctious twins looked up to see their mother, along with Aisha, standing in the doorway of their room, her arms folded and a serious look in her eyes. "Just what are you doing?" Aura asked, barely able to hold back a smile despite the seriousness of Azure's situations. Her firstborn were always able to make her laugh, it seemed.

"Pillow fight," Alaina whispered.

"Why?" Aura tried to be the stern motherly figure, but couldn't when her offspring's only answer was an ubiquitous 'dunno'. She smiled just a little. "Alaina, I need to talk to you about something."

Alaina stared at her brother. "He started it!" she declared harshly, and was just as harshly denied by the older twin. They were in a full scale tongue war when it was broken up.

Aisha's voice cracked like a whip. "Alaina. This is serious!"

The twins didn't appear to be behaving, until Aura frowned and growled, "Alaina! Alex! No dessert for either of you if you don't behave!"

"Sorry," her two oldest children chorused as they both looked abashed at her. Aura marched over to them.

"Alaina, we need you to try and see Aunt Azure," she said, looking into her daughter's eyes. "To see where she is and what's happening to her."

Alaina nodded, assuming almost at once the serious persona she always did when seeing what was to come. She quickly ran into her room, coming back a moment later with a stuffed bunny that Azure had given her. She closed her eyes, hugging the stuffed animal, and opening her mind up to whatever might enter it. Long moments passed as everyone watched carefully.

Then, suddenly Alaina screamed, opening her eyes in panic. "Alaina!" Aura put a hand on her daughter's shoulder. "Alaina, what did you see?"

"He hurt her," the little girl whispered. "He hurt her."

Aisha clenched her fists. "Who?"

"Gold monkey," Alaina whispered, and Aura's eyes sparked with anger. Alaina kept on speaking, though, in her trance-like state. "Someone else is standing there. . .can't see him. ..Aunt Azure is crying."

Aura's fists clenched. "He'll pay for this," she swore, as Aisha asked what else could be seen.

"Dungeon," Alaina whispered. "Very little light. ..wait, this isn't right."

The Amber Ranger frowned. "What is it?" they had learned not to ask too much during Alaina's induced trances, but a few questions occasionally helped clarify things.

"I can feel her lost baby inside her," the girl whispered with soft wonder. "This is a memory."

Aura moved a little closer to her. "Can you see who else is with her? Who is near?"

Alaina shook her head, coming out of the trance. "Only getting memory!"

Her mother thought for a moment, whispering to herself. Then she snapped her fingers. "I know when it happened! When we were in that other universe!"

Aisha raised her eyebrows. "Right before she lost her baby?"

Aura nodded. If she's seeing Goldar, then. ..," a harsh growl startled them all. "Then it must be Zedd, the other person that Alaina couldn't see."

"Baby started to die then," Alaina whispered, wrapping her arms around her mother. "Mommy, can I stay with you?"

Aura held her child, stroking her hair tenderly. "Yes, Alaina," she whispered. "I should never have asked you to look for her, but I'm so worri---"

She was interrupted by her daughter's screaming again. "What is it?"

"Gold monkey!" Alaina wailed. Aura half-growled; what was Goldar going to be doing now that Alaina was seeing?

"What's he doing?"

"Standing behind you."

Aura whirled, eyes blazing as she took in the hideous form of Goldar in her house! How dare he intrude upon her private sanctuary! "Hello, Amber Ranger!" the monster laughed harshly.

"Leave my house, Goldar!" she demanded, about to hand Alaina to Aisha and administer some serious bodily damage to this thing! She had had more than enough of him!

"Not until we talk," he challenged her. Aura only wanted one thing, though: Azure's release. Goldar was having none of that, however. "Sorry!" he mocked. "Since I no longer have you to torture and do other things to," the way he was looking at her left no doubts as to what he had in mind. "I am going to have to do them on her!"

Aura's mind and body revolted at that thought. No one was ever going to that to Azure, she'd sworn that years ago, and no one would ever make her revoke that oath! "No!"

"Then meet me in the park in one hour, no powers, no communicator! he challenged her. Aura already knew her answer.

"I'll be there," she didn't need to think about it. She knew what she had to do.

"Good!" her opponent declared as he vanished. Aisha looked at Aura as if she'd grown another head.

"You can't be serious!"

Aura's eyes were totally flat. "For Azure, I'd do anything," she declared. Though she fought alongside the Rangers, her ultimate loyalty lay in two fields: the Earth she'd sworn to protect and the family that had nurtured her in many ways.

"What about your family?" Aisha asked quietly, as Alaina sobbed out that Goldar wouldn't let Azure go even then.

Aura glanced at her friend, and Aisha shivered at the sternness in those gray eyes. “I’ll be all right, Aisha. I’ll teach him what it means to harm my family!”

“No go, Mommy!” Alaina cried, trying to get Aura’s attention. The motherly Ranger glanced down at her.

“Alaina?” she asked. “Do you just want me to not go, or have you seen something?”

The little girl shook her head. “He won’t let Aunt Azure go! He still will hurt her!”

“Do you know how we can get her back?”

Alaina’s voice was eerily adultish when she replied. “Not yet. Can I come with you to see big floaty head?”

“Of course,” Aura smiled, picking her up. They might not have gotten what they came for, but it was entirely possible that with her fight with Goldar, they would get what they needed.

* * *

Divatox, Queen Pirate of the Universe and current annoyance to the Power Rangers Turbo, laughed harshly at the terrified Azure Park as she huddled in a corner, crying. They’d removed her from over the pit almost as soon as the transmission was over with; it had been mainly to frighten the Rangers anyway. There were just too many other things to do with her to simply kill her! “Goldar, she is truly terrified! I like it!”

“And I didn’t even do a thing!” the huge monster was a little confused, but wasn’t going to complain over it. He had quite a few things on his mind, not the least of which was his combat with Aura. He had been looking forward to that for a very long time.

“It must be the other Goldar,” Divatox said, referring to the version of him from the world of the Night Rangers. Azure moaned, bringing their attention back to her.

“Leave me alone,” she whispered, her mind filled with images of what had been inflicted on her in that other universe. “Leave me alone, please.”

Divatox poked at her coldly. “You’re going to be here forever!” she laughed.

Goldar grinned as his hands drifted over her, touching in places that only Adam had the right to. “You are my toy now,” he laughed. “Get used to it!”

“And your sister is going to die!” Divatox smiled at the look of horror and revulsion mixed that spread across Azure’s face at that.

“No,” she whispered. “Not Aura.. .” not my sister, not her!

Divatox mocked her pain. “We could always take one of your precious children!” as Azure moaned a denial, Divatox chuckled. “Goldar, we are going to enjoy tormenting her for a very long time!”

“Very long!” he echoed, increasing what he was doing. “Your sister will get this done to her before she dies as well!” Goldar promised Azure. Divatox squealed in delight.

“Ohh, you never said you were going to do that to her!”

The monster grunted with pleasure. “I know what it takes to break the Robinson sisters!” he declared. Creatures of evil of all types had sought that secret, but he was the one who had found it, and would use it to destroy them!

Azure’s eyes glazed over with fear and she stiffened up. “Not again,” she whispered. “Not again,” Aura almost died because of what Zedd did. Goldar CAN’T do it to her!

“Ohhh!” Divatox laughed. “What’s the matter, little Azure?”

The question was never answered, though, as Azure let her mind fade away into catatonia, the last refuge for all that hurt her. She would not stay to face this. She would not.

* * *

Aura had just finished relating the details of Goldar’s visit to their house when Alaina, still holding the stuffed bunny, began to cry. “He touched her!” the little girl wailed, tears streaming down her face. “In not nice places!”

Aura’s eyes were almost literally on fire as she held her daughter. Adam’s were almost the same. “He’ll pay for it, too,” the former Ranger declared.

“I know where she is!” that got attention from everyone there! “In a cell. Underground. Near here. I can feel her nearby, but she feeling no emotion.”

“We have to get her out of there!” Adam growled as Billy started to scan every cave system in the area. Alaina looked up at her mother.

“I did good?”

Aura hugged her tightly, smiling grimly. “You did very good, Alaina.”

“Found her!” the triumphant call came from Billy a moment later. “But you may not like what you see,” he glanced over at his wife and mouthed softly, “Cover Alaina’s eyes.”

Aura did so, then as Billy brought up the scene on the screen, a collective growl went through the Power Chamber. Every Ranger and person there uttered oaths that should have had Aura covering her daughter’s ears as well, and Alpha heard words that probably hadn’t been uttered in fifty thousand years coming from Aura’s mouth.

“Computers working on a lock,” Billy growled. “And we’ve got it!”

“Hurry up!” Adam shouted. He was not going to hold off any longer!

“Teleporting now!” Billy’s voice was triumphant as a column of white light turned into the familiar form of Azure, now huddling against the back wall of the Power Chamber, staring into nothingness. Adam raced over to her, glad to see her eyes soften as he called out her name.

He knelt by her, embracing her in his arms. “Azure,” he whispered. “You’re safe. . .”

“Not again,” she trembled against him. “Not again.”

Adam shook his head. “You’re safe, Azure! He’s not here!”

“Aura. . .,” Azure whispered, looking up at her older sister, who quickly came over. The two of them held each other, Aura providing support as she had so many other times for the sister she loved so dearly.

“You’re safe, Azure,” Aura whispered. Azure looked her squarely in the eyes and shook her head.

“He. . .he wanted to do this to you, and then kill you!” she managed to gasp out between sobs. Aura’s eyes sickened, and she shook her head.

“Well, he’s not going to do either of it!” she declared. Now that she knew that, she had an advantage in the fight that he didn’t know about. And the Rangers of Amber were never averse to using advantages.

Azure whispered softly, “Wanna go home. . .”

“I’ll take you home, Azure,” Adam held her gently in his arms, and flanked by Tommy and Kat in full Turbo gear for protection, the young couple teleported away.

As the streams of white, red, and pink vanished, Aura’s eyes turned to purest gray steel, and with a twist of her wrist she summoned up the Axe of Earth. Billy looked at her, and knew without even having to ask what she was going to do.

“You don’t have to,” he said quietly. “She’s safe and all it would do is put you in more danger.”

She shook her head, testing the balance of her weapon with more seriousness than she ever had before. One look at her face told Zordon plainly that she was not going to back down from this. There was nothing he could do about it, either. She was stone-cold set on it.

“It’s more than honor,” she said, and in her voice there glowed a hint of her Kalakan ancestry. “It is what I am, Billy. I am a Ranger. I am a warrior against evil. I might not kill him, and he might not kill me. But this fight must be done. For me, for her, and for all that we hold dear. If I back down from it, then that will be a weapon he can use against us in the future. I will not have that. A defeat for him against me, after we have already freed Azure, will be an insult to his honor that will push him off balance in the future.”

Billy looked at her, and couldn’t help but smile, and take her into his arms. “Come back to me safely,” he whispered. “I love you.”

* * *

“So you have come,” Goldar stared at the Amber Ranger as she stood in the park, armed only with whatever feeble martial arts skills she had against all of his might. “You have come to die.”

Aura smiled softly. “I have come to fight you,” she said simply. “I do not expect you to fight with honor, though I shall,” her words held a formal tone that she used as a weapon as well, and could see it disturbing her enemy. “If you are ready, honored opponent? I wish to return home to visit my sister.”

Goldar only roared in pure rage and charged at her, sword upraised. Aura moved to one side simply, and watched with a smile on her face as he proceeded to smash his face into a tree. Strong as an ox, dumb as a brick, she thought. And if I’ve got anything to say about, going to be as infertile as a eunuch one of these days.

She backflipped quickly as he charged her again, her tactics relying more on speed and dexterity than on simple brute strength. She had always known she was no match for him physically on her own; she’d learned that the hard way during their first battle. But Aura’s advantage lay in her brain, and she used it unmercifully: to remember her battle lessons with her father.

Make an enemy angry and they lose their edge, he’d taught her. But be careful you do not lose your own in return. “So, Goldar, decided it was time to come out of retirement to bother us again?” she taunted, sliding to the side again and again. He wanted to grapple with her, but she was having none of it.

“I came to destroy you!” he roared.

“Tsk, tsk, not doing a very good job of it, are you?” she chuckled. “Maybe you should take up knitting or something. That would work, I think, for you. You’ve got a big enough knitting needle there.”

Another howl of rage and another charge was all Aura was waiting for. She had no intentions of making this a long-drawn out fight, and she was going to deliver a very pointed message to him not to bother her or her family ever again. “Oh, I don’t know,” she slipped away again as he stood panting and glaring at her. “I think even knitting would be too hard for you really. Try. . .fingerpainting?”

That got what she wanted. As he charged for her, she set herself, and sent up a silent prayer to the gods of her ancestors that what she was trying worked. Goldar was certainly in the perfect position for it: sword upraised, eyes burning, and his most vulnerable area wide open for one of her favorite attack moves.

Aura Robinson Cranston was a tall woman, roughly five feet ten, but slenderly built. Her frame did not show the raw rugged muscle that she had developed over her years of being a Ranger. But when she pulled back her foot and delivered what had to be the world’s most perfect kick to Goldar’s male area, that stopped the fight right then and there.

Goldar halted in his tracks, dropping the sword from suddenly nerveless fingers, and stared at her, his ruby-red eyes round with shock. Aura grinned as she walked over to him and delivered an equally perfect uppercut that knocked him flat on his back. Standing over him, she said quietly, “If you ever harm me or any of my family again, you will die. You have been warned.”

With that said, she made a motion, knowing that Billy would be watching her. She dissolved into her customary column of brown light, and returned to the Power Chamber, feeling somehow satisfied. ..but yet. .unfulfilled. There was still something missing. . .and she just didn’t know what it was.

* * *

She was starting to figure it out that night though. What was missing was a sense of safety. Not for herself or her children or husband, but for her sister and Azure’s family. Azure’s safety had been important to her for as far back as she could remember, and she felt she was failing in that now.

As she lay next to Billy that night, she could tell he knew something was on her mind. He wasn’t going to press her, though. After their years of friendship and marriage, he wouldn’t have to. She’d tell him when it was time.

Somewhere safe. Neither of them is a Ranger, and I doubt Azure would be one if she could. And we can’t have Tommy and Kat standing guard over them constantly. But I have to do something. I wish Father was here. He’d know what to do, I bet, she’d found herself thinking often about Neras these days, remembering the strength and love that the two of them had forged in the last days of Kalakan.

Her eyes widened suddenly as the name of her home planet wafted through her mind, and she went stiff. “Something wrong, Aura?” Billy asked quietly.

“No,” she shook her head, then decided to tell him. “I . . might know a way to protect Adam, Azure, and their kids, that’s all.. . .But. ..”

“But what?”

Aura sighed. “I’m not sure if they’d like the idea, but it’s the only thing I can think of.”

He looked at her gently. “What is it?”

“Remember New Kalakan? Where my mother, David, and Samuel are?” she asked. Billy nodded, and she continued. “They could go there. There’s no way that Goldar or anyone evil could get there. Mother’s bonded herself with that world now, she’s got all her sorceress powers back and more. I’ve heard they’re even considering finding the Heart of it, so they could chose someone to be it’s Ranger for it, like I am for Earth.”

Billy sighed. “You’re right. They may not like it, but. ..”

“That’s why I don’t want to say anything about it just yet to them.”

He agreed. “I won’t say a word, that is a promise. But we’ll have to tell them soon.”

Aura nodded. “We’ll tell them when the time is right, whenever that is.”

“When she won’t jump at shadows anymore?” Billy smiled as he kissed her fairly seriously and tenderly. Aura smiled softly and nodded, returning the embrace. They both groaned suddenly when they heard the sounds of fighting coming from the twins’ room. “Okay, this house isn’t exactly all love! Alex, Alaina, don’t make me come up there!”

When nothing calmed down for a while, Aura half-shouted, “You two behave, or no visits to the Heart for a month!”

Instant silence reigned. Aura giggled. “Alex hates it when I don’t take him to the Heart!”

“So does Alaina,” Billy sighed. “She seems to be holding up all right, considering what she saw Goldar do to Azure. I wonder why Azure never told us about her being beaten by Goldar, though.”

Aura shrugged. “Don’t know. But I’m going to ask.”

He nodded. “But first, you and me have some stuff to talk about!” he grinned as Aura raised her eyebrows in query towards him.

“What sort of stuff?” she asked, a smile teasing her lips.

Billy leaned over and picked up an envelope on the table next to him. “You’d better read this!”

Aura read through it quickly, then smiled. “When did Zack and Aisha even start dating? Much less engaged?”

“Who knows,” Billy shrugged. “But I intend on finding out!”

“You and me both!”

Billy smiled. “We’re going to meet them at the Youth Center tomorrow. We can ask then,” everything else was forgotten, however, as he leaned over and began to seriously nibble on her neck.

* * *

Azure held her daughter Jeni in her arms, rocking back and forth and trying not to think too hard of all that had happened. She glanced up as Adam entered the room. “How are you feeling?” his soft voice asked.

“Been better,” she replied just as softly. Adam nodded.

“It’s going to be all right, Azure,” he assured her. Azure smiled a little.

“With you around, and that permanent lock on me that the Power Chamber has on me, I’m not as scared.”

Adam smiled as he sat down next to her. “You’ll never be scared again if I have anything to say about it.”

“Adam,” she reached out to gently touch his hand. “I need to tell you the truth. About what happened when I miscarried while on Elissa and Evanthe’s world.” she shivered, wishing she didn’t have to think about that just yet.

Adam nodded slowly. “All right.”

She took a deep breath. “Their Zedd let his Goldar beat me to within an inch of my life, then used me as bait to get Aura.”

Adam shivered. “I wish the Night Rangers the best of luck in defeating him.”

“So do I,” she nodded. “Then he let Finster do some kinds of experiments on me. That’s when I was injected with that potion that almost killed me. Adam, Zedd must have read my thoughts, because he sort of knew what his counterpart here did to Aura, and he tried to do them to me!” she leaned against him as he put an arm around her tenderly. “I love you Adam, with all my heart,” she whispered.

“I love you too, Azure.”

She sighed. “I just wish I could feel safe leaving the house again.”

“You will again,” he promised. She could almost sense his determination to keep her safe, and knew it was equaled and surpassed only by Aura’s.

“Soon,” she hoped. “My medical leave from the hospital doesn’t last much longer.”

Adam wrapped his arms around her. “You’ll be safe, no matter what!” he insisted. Azure looked down at the young girl in her arms and smiled.

“I think I’d better put her to bed. She finally fell asleep.”

Adam smiled. “She looks so beautiful asleep.”

“Just like her father.”

“Just like her mother,” Adam returned the compliment as Azure put their second child into the crib.

One of the most abused and sought-after {for various reasons} women in the universe turned to look at her husband. “Why don’t we spend a little quality time together, just holding each other?”

Adam smiled. “That sounds good,” hand in hand, the two of them headed out to the living room, their favorite place to snuggle with each other. As they curled up together, Azure looked at him.

“Anything interesting in the mail?”

Adam nodded. “Well, yes, actually!”

“I was hoping you’d say no,” she sighed. “What is it?” if it’s another one of those ‘you may have already won’, I’m going to scream. She caught the square of paper that Adam threw her and read it quickly. suddenly, she started to laugh. “This is almost as big a surprise as what we pulled when we got married!”

“Just about!”

Azure grinned as she hugged him tightly. “At least we got an invitation to the wedding. I don’t think the others have ever fully forgiven us for eloping!”

“I don’t think so either.”

Azure grinned as she nibbled at his neck, some of her playfulness returning as Adam gently caressed her. She winced suddenly as he accidentally reached a sore spot. “Sorry!” whispered Adam, and she smiled, shaking her head.

“It’s okay,” she leaned close to him. “It’ll heal.”

* * *

Jason, Kim, Trini, Tommy, Rocky, Kat, Justin, Billy, Adam, Aura, and Azure, along with several others, including various offspring, were watching as Zack and Aisha did various things on the practice mats in the Youth Center the next day. They had started out sparring, but things had quickly become rather heated, leading to a kiss that was just short of needing to turn on the fire alarms.

Aura cleared her throat. Loudly. It had the desired effect, getting the two lovebirds’ attention. Zack blushed deeply. “I take it you guys got the invite?”

“What makes you think that?” Tommy grinned. Zack chuckled.

“The fact that some of you are holding them in your hands,” the former Black Ranger said dryly. Those who were holding blushed severely, while the two betrothed just grinned.

Rocky shook his head. “Why didn’t you two tell us?”

“The right time just never seemed to show itself,” Aisha told them. Kat chuckled.

“At least you two invited us to the wedding,” Kat declared, looking over at Azure and Adam with a smile on her lips. “Unlike some people!”

Aura chuckled at the expression on her sister’s face. “You two are going to have to wait a long time before we forgive you for that, you know!”

“What do you want us to do?” Azure shrugged. “Get married again so you guys can have a ceremony?”

The Rangers looked at each other, and Aura said it. “Why not?”

“Maybe sometime after Aisha and Zack’s,” Adam said. “But not until then.”

“All right,” Tommy grinned. “But we’d better be invited this time around!”

“You will be!” Azure assured him as she wrapped her arms around Adam. “But today is Zack and Aisha’s day!”

Kim smiled and nodded. “That it is!”

“Good to see that some things are back to the way they’re supposed to be,” Aisha, held now in Zack’s arms, smiled. She was glad to see Azure healing from all that had been done to her. They all knew there was a long way to go, though, and with Divatox and Goldar around, who knew what would happen next?

Adam smiled as he kissed Azure deeply. “Yeah!”

“Start that,” Azure whispered. “And we’re going home!”

“Would you mind at all?” Adam whispered softly in her ear. She smiled and shook her head eagerly.

“Not really,” she told him. “But they might. We’re here to celebrate. Think you could hold off just a little while?”

Adam smiled. “No problem. But not much longer.”

“Aura,” Aisha said quietly. “I was wondering something, would you do me the honor of being my Matron of Honor?”

Aura’s eyes widened; she’d never imagined she’d be picked for that! Kim and Kat had both known Aisha longer than she had! But she wasn’t going to turn it down, at least not right now! “I’d love to!”

Zack looked at Jason. “Jason, want to be my best man?” he asked, and was welcomed with another agreement. “Then all that’s left to do is the rest of the arrangements!”

“That shouldn’t take too much time,” Aisha murmured happily. Zack grinned.

“No it shouldn’t!” he whispered. “And I can’t wait until the honeymoon!”

Aisha faintly blushed and giggled. “Neither can I!”

He held her close, gazing into her eyes. “Who said that we have to wait?”

As the two of them started to kiss, Tommy cleared his throat a little. “We’re still here, you know! he grinned. Aisha’s eyes danced merrily.

“Oh, really? I hadn’t noticed!”

Azure laughed. “Why don’t we leave the lovebirds alone?” she suggested, whispering her own desire for privacy to her husband. Adam kissed her tenderly and nodded. She glanced to everyone else. “Congratulations, guys, but I need to talk to my husband about some things!”

Aura chuckled. “And I think I know what those things are, too!”

“Let’s go, Azure!” Adam said, tugging lightly at her arm as she gave her sister a look.

“You don’t know me half as well as you think!” she said in the spookiest voice she knew. Aura chuckled as the two of them left.

“Oh, but I do, Azure,” she smiled. “I know my sister.”

Billy laughed. “I don’t know who she thinks she’s fooling, but it is nice to see her smiling again!”

Aura nodded. “That it is” she declared as Billy folded her in his arms. “That it is.”

“Very nice,” Zack agreed, holding Aisha close to him. Maybe, just maybe, the former Ranger thought. . .they would actually get some peace this time. ..