Deep in the heart of Divatox's Subcraft, her henchman and quasi-partner Goldar was pacing up and down, his red eyes blazing with fury over the latest insults to his attempts to destroy the Power Rangers and all that they held dear.
The pirate looked up from where she was counting out her money and growled. "Would you stop the pacing!?" she growled. The last thing she wanted as she figured out how much she'd made on this Earth venture was to watch the latest reject to join her crew walk up and down so much.
"I want those sisters!" he hissed. Ever since he had returned to the galactic evil villain circuit, the twin thorns of Aura Cranston and Azure Park had been in his side. If one of them wasn't beating the snot out of him in a battle, the other was healing her emotionally from whatever wounds he did manage to inflict on her. The two of them had to be joined at the hip somehow.
Divatox groaned mentally. She wanted to forget about the Rangers, to immerse herself in her figures, but he just wouldn't let her!! "Go take them then!" she ordered. "But just stop the pacing, it's getting on my nerves!"
"How can I? Those Rangers have them on a constant, permanent lock!"
She sighed again; how dumb could he possibly be? On second thought, she realized, maybe that was a thought better not pursued. She might find the answer to it. "Then move very fast, even the Rangers can't be everywhere at once, and they've got a wedding coming up! They'll be all distracted and won't be able to respond as quickly!"
Goldar nodded, then raised another grip. "And that pesky former Ranger is getting on my nerves!"
Divatox almost screamed. "Which one? The old green one?" when Goldar nodded, she delivered her verdict, in icy tones. "Kill him."
The gold monkey stopped his pacing suddenly, then smiled, a sight to drive most people insane. "I've got it!" he much preferred working with Divatox than Zedd; she permitted him to have his own plans, and didn't trash them the way Zedd always had! And that was why Zedd ended up dead!
Once he was finished, Divatox laughed wickedly. "Excellent! We get everything we want then!"
"Shall we?" Goldar growled. Divatox nodded, rising to her feet, the wealth around her forgotten.
"Let's do it!"
In a small church in Angel Grove, Aisha Campbell was fidgeting in her pure white wedding gown. "I am soo nervous!" she whispered.
Her matron of honor smiled. "Calm down, please, Aisha!" Aura urged. She was starting to have serious problems wondering if the Rangers should keep their powers as they moved on in life. She and Billy were a slightly special case; it wasn't as if she could pass her powers to anyone, they were built into her, and Billy refused to leave the team as long as she was still a fighting member. And with Divatox and Goldar out there, she had no intentions of going into retirement any time soon.
Aisha shook her head. "I can't! I'm more nervous than the day I found out who the Rangers are!"
Aura chuckled. "I wish I'd been there for that day!"
"So do I," Aisha smiled. "But I'm glad you came along when you did."
Aura chuckled a little. "So am I. But I do wish some of the things that led to me learning just who an what I am hadn't ever happened!"
Aisha put a hand on her friend's arm. "You survived them, and soon, hopefully, we can all retire again. . .permanently!"
The Amber Ranger sighed happily. "I can't wait for that day!"
"Something's bugging you, isn't it?" Aisha looked at her friend. She hadn't missed the strange distance Aura had been putting between herself and the others lately, and she didn't like it.
Aura just shrugged a little. "Nothing important." just that the only way my dearest friend and sister can ever be safe could put them on an entirely different planet forever.
"You're not pregnant again, are you?"
The eternal Ranger laughed a little. "No, not that I know of!"
"Well, I know that you and Billy are hiding something, and I want to know what it is!"
Aura shook her head. "Nothing at all, Aisha!" her eyes were totally innocent, something she'd picked up from Adam. "Would we hide anything from you guys?"
"How worried you are about Azure's recovery?" Aisha retorted. Aura practically flinched; she knew it had always been a mistake to let anyone know how much she cared about some things.
"You know I worry about Azure more than I breathe!" she tried to dissemble, but the Yellow Ranger was having none of that.
Putting her hands on her hips, Aisha declared, "Spill it!" as Aura glanced around almost melodramatically, to see if anyone was around, Aisha tapped her foot. "What is it?"
"Promise not to tell anyone, not even Zack?" once Aisha had promised, Aura whispered what she had come up with to her friend. Aisha's eyes went round with shock.
"What!?" she couldn't believe her ears. "You're sure about this idea?"
Aura shrugged. "I don't know. That's why we haven't said anything to them. I know they'd be safe there, but I don't know how they'd take the idea."
Aisha nodded slowly, then screamed suddenly as a silvery-black portal opened up behind Aura. Before either of them could react, arms reached through and grabbed Aura, dragging her away moments before Aisha could get to her friend.
Why did this have to happen on my wedding day? Aisha growled, gathering her skirts up and heading to where the guys were getting ready. Divatox and Goldar had gone too far this time.
Zack adjusted his tie nervously, his fingers shaking as he did so. "Oh, man, I have never been this nervous!"
"You're going to be fine!" Jason smiled softly, helping his friend adjust the ornament. Zack, usually so cool, calm, and collected, was about ready to jump out of his skin with nervousness.
"I hope so!"
Jason chuckled. "I wonder who invented bow-ties," the former Red Ranger mused as he fixed Zack's. "I'd like to hint them down and shoot them; they're impossible to tie!"
"I know, I know!" Zack complained as Jason finished up the tie. His former leader chuckled.
"Probably why I got a clip on."
The former Black Ranger looked long at his friend. "And why didn't you tell me they came in pre-tied?"
"You didn't ask."
The happy groom sighed somewhat melodramatically. "Just my luck," he glanced up as someone started to pound furiously on the door outside. "Who is it?"
The angry, half-fearful voice of Aisha responded. "It's me! Let me in!"
"Hey, I'm not supposed to see you till before we get married!" Zack teased, wondering what was upsetting his fiancée so much.
"It's Aura!" Aisha almost shrieked, and with a tone in her voice that led Jason to opening the door to let her in. "Someone took her; this weird portal opened up and someone reached in and grabbed her, I didn't have time to do anything!"
Zack swore in more languages than Jason would have bet he knew. "Where's Billy?"
"With Adam and Azure," Aisha said. Her bridal party consisted of almost all the female Rangers, past and present, and Azure as well, just as Zack's entourage held almost all the male Rangers.
Zack nodded. "Jason, you'd better go tell them, but be careful of Azure. She's been doing better, but no need to take chances," Jason only nodded, grabbed his communicator, and teleported off; Zordon had given them permission to teleport in cases like this. "Can't they let even one wedding slip by without doing something?"
Aisha sighed. "Who knows?"
Azure sighed happily as Adam emerged into the living room, dressed to the nines in his wedding tuxedo. Adam chuckled and glanced over at Billy, adjusting his collar in the mirror on the wall. "Are you ready?"
"I've been ready since before I got here!" the Phantom Ranger chuckled. He was looking forward to seeing how Aura looked in her matron of honor gown; this was the first time she'd performed such a function.
"Good," Adam smiled. "We need to get moving." As he spoke, he glanced over to Azure and saw the look in her eyes. He couldn't help but smile even wider. "Azure, we don't want to be late!"
His wife smiled as she stood up and came over to him, "You're no fun!"
"We can enjoy ourselves after the wedding," he whispered softly in her ear, his lips caressing the skin lightly. Azure giggled as she kissed him.
"I love you, Adam!"
They were lost in the kiss, until Billy cleared his throat. "After the wedding!"
"You're no fun!" Adam quoted, grinning as they started for the car. They all stopped suddenly when a column of white resolved into Jason, looking agitated.
"Whoa, Jason, we're coming, we're coming!" Adam protested; this was so totally unlike the former Ranger to come looking for them by teleportation! And they weren't even late!
"Guys, we've got a problem," Jason spoke quickly. "The wedding is sort of postponed, due to the matron of honor being kidnapped!"
Billy and Azure both went pale, and Billy growled fiercely. Azure protested, "What!? I thought the Power Chamber had a lock on us!"
"It happened so fast that I don't think that Alpha could have teleported her out; you know he would have if he could."
Billy nodded. "I'm heading for the Power Chamber," he declared. "We have to get her back!"
"Aisha and Zack are contacting the others," Jason told them. "Let's all get to the Power Chamber."
"Let's do it!" Azure growled; she wasn't going to let anyone ruin this wedding, especially not with the capture of her sister!
Aura jerked against the chains that held her to the wall, practicing every curse she knew in English and Kalakan both, and wishing she'd paid more attention in her French classes in high school. She growled as Goldar entered the small cell she was in, walking over with a strange hideous glint in his red eyes. "Hello, Amber Ranger!" he laughed, his paw touching her neck almost gently.
The Amber Ranger jerked away from him. "Let me go!"
"Never!" Goldar laughed as he put his hand back on her neck, sliding it farther down in a mockery of a caress. Aura moved as far away from him as her chains allowed, demanding for him to keep his hand off her. Goldar slapped her harshly. "Don't you move away from me!" he ordered.
"I don't even like being on the same planet as you, what makes you think I'd stay within five feet of you!?"
"Fine," Goldar chuckled. "Then your brother-in-law dies a slow and painful death!"
Aura wished she could get the proper leverage to deliver a powerful kick to him. "Leave Adam out of this!"
"I want your sister," Goldar told her. "And he is standing in my way of it!"
"You harm any of my family, and I won't let death itself stand in my way of killing you!"
Goldar just shook his head as his paws went over more and more of her, shredding her gown in the process. "We shall see!" The touch of him on her triggered a pure gut reaction in Aura; a true gut reaction, as she emptied them all over the golden monkey! He roared in rage, then backhanded her as hard as he could, knocking her head into the wall. As consciousness fled, the few things she was able to feel made her glad she wasn't able to feel more.
As Billy performed actions that had become all too familiar over the last few years, a trembling Azure watched, held safe in the arms of her husband. Alpha waved his hands in shame. "Ay-yi-yi, I'm sorry, but I couldn't get to the teleportation controls fast enough!"
"I understand," Billy forgave his friend. "Let's see if we can find her and get her out of there, fast!" he glanced over to Zack and Aisha, who had told the wedding guests that Aura had collapsed, and they were going to wait until she recovered to continue with the wedding. "We have a wedding ceremony that needs to be performed."
Everyone nodded as Adam held onto his wife, who was still shaking in fear over what could be happening to her sister. "Shhh," Adam whispered into her ear. "She's going to be all right, Azure."
"This isn't happening," the young woman whispered. "Not again."
Kat laid a hand on Azure's shoulder. "We'll get her back," she insisted as Billy scanned repeatedly, searching for the woman he loved.
"Any luck yet, Billy?" Tommy asked. Billy shook his head, swearing under his breath as he kept on searching.
Rocky thought for a moment, then suggested, "Check that dimension she took you when she was split in two!"
"Already did," Billy sighed. "Nothing there. I checked Divatox's Subcraft, every dimension I could think of!"
Trini growled, trying hard to think of anything or anywhere else. "She's got to be somewhere!"
"What about where they had me the last time?" Azure suggested; one very bad thing about them being kidnapped so often was the bad guys were running out of places to hold them!
"Good idea," Jason suggested as Billy quickly scanned it. They held their breath as the results came in, and Billy almost visibly seemed to deflate. Adam had to ask, though. They had to hear the words out loud.
"Nothing!" Billy shook his head. "I've tried every place they've ever had any of us in and no luck!"
Azure choked off a sob, threw a glance at Adam filled with despair and sorrow, then teleported out of the Power Chamber in tears. Billy held back a sigh. "Go after her, Adam, please. Goldar could try something with her if we're not careful."
Adam nodded as he also melted into white light, that almost blotted out the sudden brightness in Tommy's eyes. "I got it!" the Red Turbo Ranger shouted. "There is one dimension you haven't tried, Billy."
"The first one they had Azure in recently!"
Billy remembered the not-long-past events, and smiled broadly. "You're right! I forgot about it!" he flipped a few switches, then smiled. "Coming up on the Viewing Globe now!"
As they all turned to look, all the joy at finding Aura drained out of them all. Tommy looked as if he were going to be sick. "I'm glad Azure isn't here to see this," he whispered softly. "Can you get her out of there?"
Billy nodded, already working on it. He wasn't going to let Goldar get away with this!!!
Azure stared quietly into the waters of the pond she had found in the woods, trying to calm her thoughts. She hated all the fighting, she hated all the times she or Aura or their children or husbands had been used against the Rangers or kidnapped or raped or all the other things that had happened to them. It made her sick to her stomach to think that the forces of evil considered them not dangerous, but just something to be played with or used. If we're going to be in this fight, we should at LEAST ALL be able to defend ourselves, she thought. Neither Adam nor I have powers, but we're still in this. It's not right. We shouldn't be in it. I wish we could be gone. . .but where could we go that's safe? Is there a safe place?
She jerked around as a soft, well-loved voice spoke behind her. "Azure?" Adam said quietly. She wiped away the tears and sighed.
"Billy's going to find her," Adam stepped towards her, and Azure turned around, about to say something, when her eyes went wide with shock and fear.
Adam turned, frowning. "Huh?" that was all he got the chance to get out before a long, sharp arrow flew through the air and pierced his right shoulder, knocking him to the ground.
Azure ran straight to him, kneeling beside him. "Hold in there, please!" she begged. "Adam, honey, can you hear me?" there was only a slight moan for response. "I'm going to get you back to the Power Chamber! You're going to be okay!" her hand shook like a leaf as she touched her communicator. "Billy! Teleport me and Adam back to the Power Chamber right now!"
"All right!" Billy's voice came over the communicator, a twisted mix of sorrow and joy. "And some good news, I found Aura!"
Azure sighed. "And I've got some bad news," she said, just as they were teleported. This wasn't a very good day.
Goldar laughed as he looked down at Aura in the tattered remains of her gown, and with a flash of gold his sword appeared in his hand. "Time to die, Amber Ranger!"
Aura glared up at him through blood and sweat. "You'll pay for it one day, Goldar!" she declared, her voice raspy and thick.
The monster shrugged. "Whatever!" Aura only continued to glare, she intended to die staring at him if fate decreed she die that day. "Ready, Amber Ranger?"
"Go to hell."
Goldar's sword swung down in a mighty arc, and might well have split Aura in two, if she hadn't vanished in a sudden sparkle of amber light. "What!?" he hissed in fury. "Nooo! Am I never to kill a Ranger!?" he threw his eyes up to the ceiling in rage. "You will pay, Amber Ranger! You will pay!"
When Aura appeared back in the Power Chamber, holding onto consciousness by sheer willpower alone, the first thing she saw was a crying Azure standing over Adam as Alpha tended to what looked like an arrow wound in his shoulder. She heard Alpha saying, "He's going to be fine, Azure. The arrow only entered his shoulder."
Then her attention was taken away as Billy wrapped his arms around her tenderly, holding her and soothing the pain that racked her body away. "Billy," she whispered softly.
"I'm here," he touched her forehead gently. "You need to rest."
Aura smiled softly, then turned to look at Azure, wanting to know what was going on over there. Azure had a hold of Adam's hand and was repeatedly urging him to wake up. Aura absently noticed the arrow in one corner, and remembered having seen similar ones on Divatox's Subcraft; the pirate queen was most likely responsible, in some way, for the wounding of her friend.
"A. ..Azure. . .," Adam's eyes flickered open suddenly, and Azure smiled through her tears, joy stabbing all through her.
The former Ranger smiled as he touched his wife's cheek. "Don't cry, Azure. You look too beautiful like that."
Azure held onto him, half-smiling and whispering, "Will we ever be free?"
Billy and Aura both stiffened at that, and Billy leaned to whisper in his wife's ear, "Time to tell them, Aura."
The Amber Ranger slowly made her way to her feet, and looked at her sister. "Yes, Azure," she said firmly. "I know a way."
"How?" Azure stared; not believing many things at this moment, chief of them being that Aura was still standing after all she had went through.
"It involves you and your family moving a very long way away," Aura continued. This was one of the hardest things she'd ever had to say, but to protect her sister she would do anything, even send her away. Looks of confusion raged all around the Power Chamber. "To New Kalakan."
At the naming of the planet, Azure almost laughed. "You're joking, right?"
Aura shook her head. "It's the safest place in the universe for you all," she told them. Azure bit her lip, realizing her sister was right. She glanced down at Adam, who was looking back at her.
"We'd have to think about it."
Aura nodded as she stepped over to Azure, shaking just a little. "I don't want to see you guys go, but it's the only place that Goldar and all the rest of the scum around here can't get to you."
"I know," Azure looked up at her. "We'll let you know after the wedding."
Aisha frowned briefly as she glanced over to Aura. "Are you up to this?" she asked, wincing a little at the condition of Aura's gown. The Power Chamber could probably fix that though; they'd fixed plenty of their clothes after particularly rough fights.
Aura nodded brightly. "Of cou. . ..," her voice cut off in the middle of the word as the pain of what she'd endured caught up with her, and she collapsed into Billy's arms. The Phantom Ranger looked over at the bride.
"I think you may want to find another matron of honor," he suggested, carrying his wife over to the medtable. Aisha sighed, then saw the Pink Ranger.
"Kat, do you still have your dress from Kim's wedding?" she wondered. Kat nodded, then her eyes went wide.
"You mean. . .you want me!?" she smiled broadly at Aisha's nod, then went to get her dress. The wedding proceeded, even if the matron of honor had to be replaced.
After the wedding, at the reception held in the Youth Center, Azure glanced around at everyone. The absence of her sister was a near-physical wound in her soul, but she knew Aura would be all right. She and Adam had discussed everything while the wedding had went on, and they had come to their decision. Tears unshed stood in her eyes, and she glanced up as Kat touched her shoulder. "Are you okay?"
"I will be," Azure sighed. "As soon as I can talk to all of you guys." she was surprised to see Kat gathering all the people together they were closest too, who knew their secret, the former and current Rangers alike. Azure still glanced at the floor, though. "I've got some good news and some bad news."
"What is it?" Tommy asked. Azure took a deep breath.
"Good news. Aura and Adam are going to be just fine tomorrow morning, after a good night's sleep."
Everyone smiled; they hated seeing their friends hurt, and that was what seemed to be happening all the time. "So what's the bad news?" Rocky wondered.
"Adam and I are moving to New Kalakan in a week."
Kat's eyes widened, as did those of everyone there. "Are you sure?"
"I am not going to risk Goldar and Divatox trying something on my family again," Azure said firmly. "Much less hurting my kids."
"We're going to miss you all," Jason said softly. He had known the Robinson sisters from childhood, and had taken it almost as badly as Billy had when they had moved to New York. "A lot!"
Azure sighed. "We're going to miss you too. But Adam agreed that this is for the best."
"Does Aura know yet?"
"No," Azure answered Rocky's question. "Billy doesn't even know yet," he had stayed with Aura and Adam in the Power Chamber, missing the wedding and reception both.
"When are you going to tell them?" Trini wondered. Azure shrugged a little.
"When she wakes up tomorrow," she told her. "Adam and I are going to take her and Billy out to breakfast and tell them there," she got up. "I should get back to my husband."
She was startled when Rocky gave her a friendly hug. "I wish you and Adam and your whole family the best of luck there."
"Thanks," Azure smiled, then pulled away, running out of the Youth Center in a mixture of happy and sad tears. Tommy sighed.
"I hope they're happy there."
Zack nodded. "I hope this is the right decision."
They all did.
Nothing was seen of Azure till the next day, when she and Adam practically appeared on Aura and Billy's doorstep. Her tears were gone now, and all the damage to her face was repaired, if you hadn't seen it, you wouldn't know if she'd ever wept at all. As she quietly knocked, she wrapped her fingers about Adam's hand.
"Hi, Billy," she said quietly when her brother-in-law opened the door. He nodded quietly.
"Hey, Azure, Adam! Come on in, good morning!"
They came in, with Azure glancing around before going inside; she wasn't going to take any chances with sudden attacks, even here. Azure smiled briefly as she saw her sister there, a few bruises on her face still. "How are you this morning?" Azure asked.
"Better than yesterday," Aura shrugged. She glanced closer at her sister. "You don't look so good."
"Same could be said for you," Azure retorted; they had both went short on sleep the night before, haunted by nightmares. Aura shrugged again.
"Nothing that hasn't happened before and that I can't deal with," she replied; she wasn't blas‚ about it, but she knew she could handle it.
Azure smiled weakly, as she held onto Adam's hand. Adam glanced at his wife. "You want to tell them?"
Azure took a deep breath. "Are Mom and Dad here?" she'd asked that they come as well; she'd wanted to tell them all.
"They're in the kitchen, with the kids," Aura nodded quietly. Azure glanced from one face to the other.
"I think we'd better go in there," she said. They moved quickly into the kitchen, where for the first time in some time, Azure was wrapped up in her mother's and father's hugs, that she returned with all her heart. Once the greetings were done, she turned to Adam. "You want me to tell them?"
"Yeah," Adam nodded; he was busy trying to come up with an explanation to give his own parents soon, they had no idea of his Power Ranger identity.
Azure glanced around from her sister to her parents. "Adam and I have a big announcement."
"What?" her mother asked. "You're not pregnant again, are you?" a smile teased the corners of her lips.
"No," Azure shook her head. "It's kind of sad news as well as good."
Her father frowned. "Then what is it?"
"Adam and I are moving," she said, noticing the sudden jerk of Aura's head to look at Billy. She must have suspected this.
"This is kind of sudden," her mother said. "Where to?"
Azure's grip hadn't loosened on Adam's hand. "To New Kalakan."
"Where Shaya lives?" her father suggested; he hadn't ever been there, but he had heard it was a beautiful place. Aura and Billy had told them the 'behind the scenes' things that had happened the day before. As Azure nodded, Aura spoke quietly.
"You're going to do it?"
"Yes," Azure agreed. "Them trying to kill Adam was the final straw."
Aura nodded, with tears in her gray eyes. "I don't blame you," she whispered. "but I will miss you!"
"I'll miss you too!" Tears poured from Azure's eyes, no longer able to hold them back. "But who knows? Shaya might bring us when she visits!"
Aura wrapped her arms around her sister, holding her close in her heart and mind and soul. "She'd better!"
"You don't have to worry about my safety anymore then, huh?" Azure whispered. Aura smiled softly.
Azure pulled back a little, and looked into her sister's eyes. "Why don't I believe you?"
Aura chuckled. "I don't have to worry about you anymore. But I always will. Habits are hard to break."
Her sister smiled as she wiped the tears from her eyes and turned to Alaina, watching everything with wide eyes. "Come and give your aunt a hug!"
Alaina looked at her, her eyes widening even more, then suddenly ran over to her and hugged her hard. Azure was startled, then whispered softly, "Thank you for finding me, Alaina."
"I love you, Aunt Azure," Alaina whispered. No one saw it, but in the back of the young girl's eyes there danced a strange joy and laughter.
"As I love you, little Alaina," she whispered. "As I love you."