Eric Matthews sat in his room at Juvenile Hall, staring at a picture
of Azure Robinson. A cold, evil light lit his dark eyes as he did so. "You
are going to pay for this," he whispered. "And so will your sister."
He closed his eyes, thinking of all the various and damaging things he was going to do to both the Robinson girls. As he daydreamed, he suddenly felt a strange and not quite unpleasant sensation. His eyes flew open and he looked around to find himself in a cold, evil-looking throne room. Seated on the throne was what could only be described as a skinless man!
"Welcome, Eric Matthews!" the thing told him. Eric stared, he couldn't be seeing what he thought he was! A skinless man, a gold-armored monkey, a bag of camouflage-painted bones, and a woman who had a lot of cones and points on her outfit, all in the same room, and all looking at him!!!
"Where am I?" he asked. "And who... or what... are you?"
"I am Lord Zedd," the thing on the throne told him. "You are in my palace on the moon. I need your assistance with something."
Eric smiled. "How much are you going to pay me for this 'assistance'?"
Zedd laughed. "You will have revenge, which I believe you want, on the one called Azure Robinson: and her sister Aura."
Eric smiled eagerly. "You're serious?" If he could get the chance to get to them... to Azure, especially, but to Aura as well... "Oh, that would be just too good!"
"Yes!" Zedd promised. "But there's a few things you need to know first."
"Such as?" Zedd began to tell him, and Eric's eyes widened as he learned of the Power Rangers' true identity; the nature of Aura Robinson as an alien, and the romance that had arisen between Adam and Azure. "All right," he said when the recitation was over. "What do you want me to do, Zedd?"
"Stalk Azure," Zedd replied at once. "Terrify her. Make her afraid to move without thinking you're going to be there. If she is in danger, Aura will be distracted, as will Adam and Billy in turn. Then I can defeat the Rangers easily!"
"It's a deal!" Eric cracked his knuckles ominously. "Maybe I can administer some physical damage as well! To both of them!"
"Maybe," Zedd didn't promise anything. Evil laughter, with a new and vile voice added, sounded throughout the palace.
* * *
"Azure!" Ernie tapped Azure on the shoulder; she'd been distracted all day. She jumped, eyes wide with startlement.
"What?" she stammered.
"Sorry," Ernie looked upset that he'd upset her. "Didn't mean to startle you."
"It's okay," Azure sighed. "Guess I'm a little jumpy today," Azure sighed. A night full of nightmares hadn't done much for her state of mind.
"What's the matter?" her boss wondered.
"Didn't sleep well last night," she sighed.
"Why's that?" Ernie frowned. "Not feeling well or something?"
Azure shook her head. "I'm fine; it's nothing really." It had been a long time since she had to deal with dreams of Eric. She picked up a smoothie Ernie had in his hand. "Is this Bulk's smoothie?" she asked. Ernie nodded and Azure turned to carry it over to the portly junior cop.
As she did so, a tall figure entered the Juice Bar. Azure went completely white and started to shake so badly the smoothie fell straight into Bulk's lap. "NO!" She started to back up.
Ernie stared at Azure as she turned and ran for the back storage room. "Azure, what's wrong?" he asked, but she was already gone by the time he got there. Adam, sparring with Tommy on the mats, saw her fly by.
"Hey, what's with Azure?" he wondered. Tommy shook his head.
"I don't know," he murmured. "Let's go find out.
They headed back for the back room, with Ernie's permission, to find Azure crying, balled up in a corner. Adam went over to her, concern flaring in his dark eyes. "Azure?" he asked gently. She didn't seem to notice him, muttering to herself, "No, it can't be..."
"Azure, what's wrong?" Tommy asked carefully. Adam knelt down by her.
"Talk to me, please, Azure," he urged. Azure kept sobbing, barely managing to speak, if only to herself.
"Won't... let him... hurt me... again," she whispered, her words choked out between tears.
"Who hurt you?" Adam pressed; trying to get her to talk to him. "I'll kill them!" He felt a sudden protectiveness surging up towards the obviously distressed girl.
That seemed to penetrate Azure's mental shell as she looked up and saw him. Her eyes filled with something he could only call shame and fear. She surged up to her feet and pushed past both he and Tommy, heading out the door.
"This is getting strange," Tommy sighed as Adam ran after his girlfriend.
* * *
Aura headed for the Youth Center, humming under her breath. She wondered briefly where she'd learned the song she hummed so often; it wasn't like anything she'd ever heard that she could remember. It conjured up feelings of safety, comfort and love she could barely imagine were real.
Her thoughts were interrupted as someone crashed into her, full of tears. Aura was surprised to notice it was Azure! "Whoa, Azure, what's wrong?" she asked. She'd only seen Azure like this once before... no, it couldn't be...
"It's... him," Azure gasped. "He's here..."
"Who?" Aura hoped she was wrong about this; but a sixth sense told her she wasn't. Azure touched her cheek lightly, bringing up bad memories for both of them.
"Him," was all Azure could say. Aura frowned. This wasn't what she'd wanted to deal with today; she was still a bit quivery inside whenever a fight situation came up.
"Where is he?" she asked, a slow rage building. Azure turned around, and paled a bit as she saw Adam heading towards them.
"Youth Center. Don't tell Adam or the others, please!" Azure begged her older sister.
"Not a chance," Aura nodded her promise. There was a cold gleam in her eyes as she held her sister. "I'll go see if he's still around. I've still got a few things unsettled with him."
"Be careful," Azure advised as Aura headed into the Youth Center. Adam came up to her, calling her name carefully.
"Hold me, please," Azure whispered to him, reaching out. "Just hold me." As Adam enfolded her in his arms, she thought, I finally found someone I'm safe with... I won't let anyone take this away from me.
* * *
Aura marched into the Youth Center, fists clenched, and her blood hot. She glanced around, searching for a familiar face that shouldn't be there. A voice came from behind her.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Aura Robinson," she whirled to face Eric Matthews once again. "or should I say... Mother Hen!"
"What are you doing here, Eric?" she snarled. He'd always hated the fact she protected Azure with her life. He stepped a little closer to her and whispered something that made her blood run cold.
"Why don't you ask Zedd, little Amber Ranger?"
"What are you talking about?" Aura did her best to cover her surprise.
"Who do you think got me out of Juvie Hall? Lord Zedd. I know all your little secrets, Aura. The fact you're an alien, that you're the Amber Ranger. I came here for my revenge on you and Azure both, so get used to seeing me!"
He left her standing there, in shock and shaking nearly as much as she had the day before. It only took her a moment to get over it, though, as she headed for Azure.
* * *
Adam stroked Azure's hair as she trembled in his arms; and was glad to see Aura coming out. There were storm clouds in her gray eyes, and a fury that almost made him step away before realizing it wasn't directed at him. He dared a question. "Aura, what's going on?"
"It's personal, Adam," Aura's voice was even, firm, and didn't brook interference.
"Personal?" Adam asked; he didn't like being shut out of Azure's past. The edge to Aura's tone as she replied cut off his arguments though.
"I said personal. Azure and I can take care of it."
Adam nodded. "At least let me help her get home," Adam glanced at Azure, who had finally stopped crying by now. Aura looked at her sister, who nodded briefly.
"Let's go then," Adam and Azure walked close together, Adam's arm around her, while Aura prowled all around them, keeping an eye out for something or someone, apparently. Once they reached the Robinson house, Aura quite literally went in first and looked around before letting Azure in.
"Hey," Adam whispered into Azure's ear. "Call me if you feel up to it later?"
Azure nodded as Aura gestured her inside. A moment later, the door slammed shut behind them. Adam stared at it for a moment, then left, heading for Billy's.
Inside, Aura leaned against the door and swore vilely. Mrs. Robinson came out of the kitchen, frowning. "Aura, watch your language!"
"Eric Matthews is here," Aura said bluntly. The entire family knew him, and what he'd done to Azure. Her mom's face paled.
"How did he find us?" she wondered.
"Zedd," Aura snapped; she had a luxury none of the other Rangers did, her parents knew all her secrets. "He knows about me. Everything about me!"
Azure sat on the bottom step of the staircase, crying again. "Adam must think I've flipped."
Aura sat next to her and put an arm around her. "We'll get rid of Eric. We did it once, we can do it again."
"But if he knows about you," Azure hiccuped a bit as she spoke, "that means Rita and Zedd are behind this!"
"I know," Aura nodded. Their mom looked at them both.
"I think you should call off work for a while," she suggested. "I'm sure Ernie would understand." Aura agreed with her, as did their dad. Azure went to the phone.
"Ernie?" she asked when it was picked up on the other end.
"Azure?" he asked, worry in his voice.
"Look, I'm sorry for running out on you like that. I guess I sort of just freaked. I was hoping to ask you if I could have some time off to deal with something... um... kind of personal."
"Sure," was Ernie's friendly reply. "If it's that bad, whatever it is, you can have all the time off you need."
"Thanks, Ernie, I appreciate this," Azure sighed gratefully. "Bye!" As she hung up and looked back at her family, she hoped she'd be able to go back to work soon: with Eric back behind bars where he belonged.
* * *
"Very nicely done!" Zedd congratulated Eric. "Soon we'll have the Rangers so confused it will be child's play to defeat them!"
"Thanks," Eric grinned. "You should've seen the look in Aura's eyes when I told her I knew her secrets!"
"I did," Zedd smiled; it was fun to see the Amber Ranger and her sister so startled and scared. "It is time for the next phase of the plan. Time to call Azure."
"Can't wait to see her face next time we meet," Eric gloated. "You know, I like scaring them."
"It appears you take after me," Zedd laughed. Of all things, a phone appeared in his outstretched hand. As he handed it to Eric, "Time to freak her out some more!"
* * *
The Robinson phone rang. "I'll get it!" Azure cried as she picked up the phone. She hoped it was Adam.
"Hey there, Azure," a familiar and hated voice said. Azure hissed into the phone, "Why can't you leave me alone!"
"Why would I?" Eric purred nastily. Aura came down the stairs and raised an eyebrow.
"Who is it?" she asked, noticing the look of total shock in her sister's eyes. Aura took the phone from Azure and growled into it, "Who is this?"
"I'll give you three guesses," Eric's slimy voice angered her.
"Don't you ever call here again!" Aura yelled into the phone, livid with rage.
"I will if I want to! There is no way to stop me!" Eric laughed in her ear.
"Wanna bet?" Aura snarled, slamming the phone down hard. She pulled the cord out of the wall and turned to Azure, only to see her sister running up to her room. Aura followed her, concerned.
"Azure?" she asked gently, seeing Azure staring out of the window.
"Why is he doing this to me again?" Azure murmured.
"I don't know," Aura shook her head. "But we won't let him."
Azure stiffened suddenly and Aura glanced over her shoulder to see Eric standing outside, smiling nastily. "He's out there," Azure ran out into the hallway, not able to even look at him.
"I'll go get rid of him." It was all Aura could do not to jump out of the window right onto him. "Permanently if I have to!"
She ran down the stairs and leapt outside, a growl rumbling deep in her throat. The only thing she saw was Billy, coming out of his house just about the same time she did. He called over, "Aura! How's Azure doing?"
Aura glanced around, looking for Eric. He had to be there, somewhere. "Billy, did you see anyone else out here? Before I came out?"
He shook his head. "No. Aura, what's going on? I just got back from taking Adam home. He was in no condition to drive himself."
Aura took a deep breath, and almost told Billy everything. She simply couldn't, though. "I'll see you later, Billy. I've got something to do inside."
It hurt her more than she could say to turn her back on Billy; she loved him so much, and not to let him know these things was painful. "Azure?" she called out softly.
"Yeah?" Azure replied from upstairs. Aura joined her there.
"He was gone by the time I got there," Aura sighed. This was getting seriously on her nerves.
"How?" Her sister was trembling with fear, as much or more as Aura herself had been the day before."
"I don't know," Aura put an arm around her sister. "But I'll keep an eye out for him. I'm not going to leave you alone with him around."
* * *
Days passed, and Azure just couldn't seem to move without Eric calling or approaching her. Aura never left her side it seemed, and during those few times she had to leave, to fight the monsters Zedd sent down, she insisted Azure stay at the Command Center, knowing Eric couldn't get to her there.
Aura's constant attention and protection were seriously getting on Azure's nerves. As they walked home from school one day, Aura kept one hand on her morpher, the other around Azure, not wanting to even give Eric a chance to touch her.
"Hello, there," a sly, snide voice spoke up from behind them. Azure turned, and broke away from Aura the moment she saw Eric there, running for their house.
Aura glared at Eric, enough anger boiling in her veins to kill.
"What's the matter with Azure?" Eric asked innocently, but with a cold smile on his lips. "I just wanted to say hello."
"We don't want you around, Eric! We never have, can't you take a hint? Leave her alone!!"
"I will never leave you two alone," Eric promised in a low growl. Aura grabbed him by the neck.
"You will leave her alone!" Eric broke her grip and threw her a few feet away.
"We'll see about that," he told her as he left, vanishing a few moments later. Aura headed after Azure, knowing she'd probably find her at home. As Aura entered the house, Azure's cold, angry eyes met her.
"He left," Aura sighed. She'd done it again; protected her sister.
"Do me a favor, Aura," Azure's voice was as cold as her eyes. Aura looked over, smiling.
"Leave me alone!" Azure snapped harshly. "Don't try to protect me anymore!"
"Azure!" Aura's eyes went wide; Azure had never complained before. Indeed, she'd always been grateful for Aura's protective nature.
"You can't always be there for me. I need to start fighting my own battles. This is one I may not win, but I need to try my own way of dealing with him."
"I can always be there!" Aura replied, startled. "It's what I do. I've done it for years, it's what big sisters do!" She smiled a little.
"You don't get it, do you?" Azure growled. "I don't want your help!"
Aura stared at Azure. "What did I do wrong?"
"Nothing," Azure came over to her sister and laid a light kiss on her cheek. "I need to handle this my own way. I love you, Aura. I always will."
Azure was up the stairs and in her room a moment later. She sat on the bed for a moment, staring at something that sat next to her photo of Adam. She picked it up and opened it, then stared at the photo again.
"I am sorry, Adam," she said softly. She shook out the pill bottle she'd picked up, and sighed as she began to take them one by one.
A few minutes passed, with Azure growing weaker and weaker with each moment. Someone came and tapped on the door. "Azure?" It was Aura. "Want some fighting lessons?"
"No, Aura," Azure replied, barely able to speak already. "I don't think I'll need them."
"Azure!" Aura nearly screamed her sister's name. A roundhouse kick knocked the door down and Aura leapt into the room. One glance was all it took, and Aura nearly exploded a lung as she called for her parents.
"What is it?" her mom came in and saw Azure passed out on the bed. "NO!" She at once ran for the phone, calling an ambulance.
"I'm going to kill Eric with my bare hands," Aura growled as the paramedics arrived a few minutes later. Her dad put an arm around her shoulders.
"Calm down," he suggested. "Azure is going to need you now. She's going to need all the Rangers. I think it's about time you told them what's going on."
"I'm still going to kill him," Aura told him. "But you're right."
* * *
The Rangers ran into the hospital; they couldn't believe the phone call they'd gotten from Aura. She hadn't been very coherent, in between tears and rage, but Billy managed to figure out to come to the hospital. Adam saw her standing in the waiting room, her eyes red-rimmed and angry.
"Aura, what happened?"
"Azure... tried to kill herself," Aura said, choking the words out.
"What?" Adam's eyes went wide. "Why?"
"Sit down," Aura beckoned them all down. "I've got some things to tell you guys... all of you."
The Rangers all sat, staring at her. Quietly, Aura explained about Eric Matthews, how he and Azure had once dated back in New York City. He'd turned out to be quite the opposite of the gentleman she'd thought he was, and the Rangers listened in fascinated horror as Aura told how he'd raped Azure only a couple of years before.
"Is that who she saw the day this all started?" Adam asked. Aura nodded, then went on, telling how she'd happened on the scene, and had nearly killed Eric then.
"This time, I'm going to finish the job," Aura promised, half to herself.
"Not if I get my hands on him first," Adam growled. Just then, a doctor headed towards them purposefully.
"Waiting for Azure Robinson's results?" he asked gently. Adam leapt to his feet.
"How is she?"
"She'll be fine," the doctor reassured him. "We pumped her stomach and cleared the pills out of it, she'll be home in about a week or two."
"Can we see her?" Adam asked hopefully. The doctor nodded.
"One at a time please," the doctor advised. Adam sighed in relief, and glanced at Aura.
"Tell her I'm here for her," he asked. Aura nodded, and headed down to where Azure rested. Her sister looked out the window, shadows in her eyes.
"Azure?" she asked softly as she came in and sat down. "Are you mad at me?"
"I want to be," Azure still stared out the window. Aura worried about her so much...
"I couldn't let you die. I just couldn't!" Aura took Azure's hand gently. Her sister turned to look at her; tears ran down her cheeks.
"I couldn't let Eric rule my life, either."
Aura sighed. "If you had died, he would've won."
Azure's eyes widened. "I didn't think about that," she sighed. "You didn't tell Adam, did you?"
Aura nodded. "I had to. They had to know; they all know."
Azure turned away from Aura, tears flowing a bit more. "Great! Now Adam probably won't want to see me again!"
Her sister smiled a trifle. She could at least give Azure some good news on that account. "He's out in the waiting room. He said to tell you he's here for you."
"Really?" Hope filled Azure's voice.
"I don't lie, little sister," Aura squeezed Azure's hand. "Especially not to you, of all people.
* * *
There was dark rejoicing on the moon when Azure's condition became known there. "So, the Amber Ranger's sister tried to kill herself. You have done well, Eric!"
Eric grinned nastily as Zedd complimented him. "Thanks! Too bad Aura was there to stop her. Those two never split up!"
Zedd looked appraisingly at Eric. Does he deserve to know? He nearly got rid of the Amber brat's sister... yes. "Eric," Zedd gestured him closer to the throne. "Tell me about your family, your mother especially. How is she? I haven't seen her since you were born!"
"Oh, mom's fine, she disowned me when I got put into Juvie Hall, though," Eric answered almost without thinking, then precisely what Zedd was saying hit him. "What?!"
Zedd would have been smiling if he were able to. "Yes, Eric. I'm your father. Your mother never told you about me, apparently!"
"She... she said he... she said I'd have to see him to believe what he looked like," Eric was more than astonished as he stared at Zedd. His mother hadn't lied to him!
"What!" Rita was glaring at both of them. Zedd glanced casually over at her.
"I passed by Earth a few years ago, had a romantic fling while in disguise, and stayed just long enough to find out I'd had a son," Zedd explained. "I was going to bring him with me when I left; his mother was the goody-two-shoes type; I really should have avoided her in the first place. But she managed to get away with him." The Emperor of Evil looked disgusted at that. "But now I have found you again! Rita, this is your stepson, Eric!"
He looked over at Eric. "Will you join us, son, in destroying the Rangers and taking over the world?"
Eric grinned wildly. "Yeah... dad!!!!"
* * *
"Hey, Azure." She turned to see Adam coming into the room, a gentle smile on his face. "You look good even in a hospital gown."
"I don't," Azure shook her head. How could he still love her? She was an idiot!
"To me you do," Adam told her, taking her hand.
"To you, I'd look good in burlap!" she smiled smally. Adam nodded.
"Because I love you," he told her, pressing a kiss to her lips. How could he stop loving her?
"You're not mad at me?" Azure asked, unable to look him in the eyes just then.
"For not telling me about Eric?" he wondered. He had understood her reluctance to speak of Eric as soon as Aura had explained everything to him.
"And this," she gestured around the hospital room and the IVs in her arm. He shook his head again.
"I'm not mad. A little disappointed, but not mad. People make mistakes," Adam reassured her. His smile changed to a frown almost at once though. "And Eric's mistake was messing with you so much you tried that."
"I almost ended my life," Azure's voice shook as she thought of how close she had come to it. It had been the only answer she'd been able to come up with at the time.
"And mine wouldn't have been worth living without you," Adam told her as he wrapped her so very carefully in his loving arms.
"I'm scared, Adam," Azure shook uncontrollably. He stroked her hair, soothing her.
"Azure, I'm always here for you, we all are," he reminded her. In that moment, though neither said anything, both knew what they were destined for: each other.
"I should've told you earlier," she finally said after a timeless moment.
"Yeah, you should've," Adam agreed. "But now you know better, don't you?"
Azure sighed. "I hope I can face him if he shows up again."
"I don't think he's going to," Adam thought back to just before he'd come into the room. "Not if Aura gets to him first. When she left here, she looked ready to kill."
Azure remembered something. "Did she tell you that he knows about her? About her being a Ranger, an alien, all of it?"
"No, she didn't," Adam looked surprised. Aura had only told them of what had happened between Eric and Azure in the past; she hadn't mentioned how Eric had found them again. He'd noticed she'd left some things out of her story; there had been gaps, but he'd attributed that to her worry over Azure.
"Zedd's got his hand in this whole thing; he was the one who brought Eric here," Azure clutched at Adam's hand. "Adam, stop her, please!"
Adam was already heading for the door. "I'll be back."
"Be careful," were her parting words to him.
* * *
So I'm the son of Lord Zedd. How interesting. Wish I'd known this when I was a kid, Azure would never have turned me down then. I probably could've destroyed that blasted sister of hers easily if I'd known. Well, I know now. And nothing's going to stand in my way of having what I want. And I want Azure.
Eric was watching the tide come in on Angel Grove Beach. He heard footsteps behind him and heard a cold growl he knew well. "Eric."
He slowly turned to see Aura standing behind him, her eyes burning with hate. "Aura. How is your sister? Did she enjoy her brush with death?"
Aura was on him in a moment, her hand circling his throat. "You did that to her. It's your fault."
Eric shook his head, as best he could. "I didn't put the pills in her hand! You can't convict me on that!"
"You were the one haunting her, hanging around, calling, pestering her, stalking her!" Aura snapped. She was seconds away from morphing and giving this idiot a taste of the power of the Earth's sworn Ranger.
"I still love her!" Eric insisted. "That is how I show my affection!"
Aura's stomach turned at the thought of that. "You don't understand the meaning of love!" She tightened her grip on his throat almost until he couldn't breathe. "You wouldn't know love if it hit you!"
A familiar, and very unwelcome, grip pulled her away from Eric, throwing her onto the sand. "Enough, Ranger!" Goldar snarled. "Leave the son of Lord Zedd alone!"
"WHAT?!?!" Aura's eyes widened with shock. She couldn't have heard what she just did.
"You heard him," Eric favored her with a superior smirk. She might be an alien, but he was the son of Zedd himself!
Aura stared. "I think I'm going to be sick," she murmured half to herself. "You're Zedd's son. Oh, Azure is going to be sick when I tell her!"
It didn't even occur to Aura to think they were lying, something she couldn't identify, something that came from the part of her that was the Amber Ranger, told her they were telling the truth.
Eric glanced at Goldar, smiling cruelly. "Think we should put our first Ranger in the trophy case?"
Goldar nodded, glaring at Aura, who morphed even as Eric was speaking. "Yes, my prince!"
"Sorry, I'm no one's trophy, least of all yours!" With a flexing of a mental muscle, she called her Axe to her.
"Pathetic," Eric scoffed at her weapon as Zedd's staff appeared in his hands. "A gift from my father! Let's see if I know how to use this!"
Goldar rushed at Aura, his sword upraised. Aura blocked his attack and pushed him away, trying to keep an eye on Eric at the same time. "Don't you ever learn, Goldar?"
"What is there to learn?" The two warriors circled each other warily, neither taking their eyes off the other.
"That you don't win when you fight against me!" Aura realized the lie of that as soon as she said it; he'd won a few fights against her, and she had the bruises and scars to prove it.
"I can easily defeat you, Kalakan!" He managed even to make the name of her native world sound like an insult. Aura chuckled.
"How many times have you told me that?"
"None!" Goldar rushed at her, she was forced to block and return his blows as best she could. "I've always called you human before!"
"Whatever," Aura shrugged. "You still aren't going to defeat me this time!"
"But I can!" was all Aura heard as a flash of turquoise light struck her. Pain racked her body as she was driven to her knees, grunting with agony. Blast it! she thought. Took my eyes off Eric, and he's got Zedd's staff. Things just changed a whole lot for the worse!
The pain faded and she managed to struggle to her feet. As she did so, a welcome voice came to her ears. "Let's see how you do against two Rangers!"
She looked up to see Adam, already morphed, there. She took a deep, grateful breath; the Amber and Black Rangers had had a distance between them at one time, but that was ended now. She had never been so glad to see him, or anyone!
"You okay?" he asked, glancing briefly towards her. She nodded, then gestured towards Eric, still holding Zedd's staff and smirking.
"Adam, meet the scumbag of creation, also known as Eric Matthews. Scum, this is Adam, the Black Ranger, Azure's boyfriend and I'd imagine incredibly upset at the moment."
Adam took a long, appraising glance at Eric. "So you're the jerk who put my girlfriend in the hospital!"
Goldar growled, "You should refer to Lord Zedd's son with more respect!"
Adam stared at Aura. "Please tell me he's joking!" Aura shook her head. "That's gross! Power Axe!"
Aura rushed Eric just as Adam ran into battle with Goldar. The fights didn't last long, but Aura's with Eric ended with a powerful kick that could very well have destroyed Zedd's chances at becoming a grandfather.
"You little..." Eric rattled off a few insults to Aura that she merely chuckled over as he and Goldar teleported back to the moon. She glanced at Adam.
"Come on, Azure's worried about you," Adam told her. "She sent me to make sure you didn't get in over your head."
Aura chuckled. "She worries over me as much or more as I worry over her!"
Adam smiled as they demorphed. "And as much as I worry over her. And with Eric around, we have a lot to worry about."
* * *
Zedd stared as Eric appeared back on the moon, bent over in pain. "What happened?" Who had dared to attack his son?
"That Amber Ranger! Aura!" Eric spat the words out with hate. "She kicked me!"
"She will pay for this! Even if it means with her and her sister's lives!" Zedd snarled. No one did this to his son!
"No," Eric shook his head. "Not Azure. I want her for my own." He'd wanted her for years.
Zedd examined his son carefully. "You care for her, don't you?"
"I want her," Eric explained. "And I love her."
Zedd nodded. "So be it! Azure's life will be spared, but not Aura's. She has defied me too long as is, and she will pay!"
* * *
Azure stared up at the ceiling, hoping Adam could get to Aura before anything happened to her. Eric knew Aura's secrets, knew she was a Ranger, an alien... the trouble he could cause for her was unimaginable. Azure tried hard not to think of what Eric could... and had... and wanted to do again to herself. The sound of footsteps caused her to look at the door. She smiled to see both Aura and Adam there.
"I thought I was only allowed one visitor at a time!" she chuckled. It was good to see both of them there.
Aura grinned. "I snuck back in when no one was looking."
Azure sighed. "You would. What happened?"
Her sister came in and sat down next to her. "Azure, I hope you've got a strong stomach."
Azure frowned. "There's not much left in there at the moment." What was Aura not telling her?
"Eric is... Zedd's son," Azure's eyes widened as Adam took her hand.
"What?" She couldn't believe what she'd heard! Aura quietly repeated it. "No, please! Someone tell me this is nothing but a cruel joke!"
"I don't joke about things like this, Azure," Aura said firmly. Azure knew she was serious; Aura's jokes were usually reserved for much more appropriate occasions.
"He had Zedd's staff," Adam added. "And was using it," Aura winced as Adam mentioned that.
"Tell me about it," she murmured. Azure grabbed for Aura's hand, trying to see what he'd done.
"What did he do to you?" Azure asked. Her sister smiled wanly.
"Nothing I didn't live through, just some sort of beam that really hurt. If it weren't for Adam, though, I think it would've gotten a lot worse. Thanks, Adam. I owe you one now."
"I'm glad I told him," Azure gripped Adam's hand with her free one and stared glowingly into his eyes.
"No problem," Adam smiled. "We're both going to have to keep an eye on Azure. With that jerk on the loose, I'm not taking any chances anymore."
Aura nodded. "He's even more dangerous now, hooked up with Zedd and Rita."
"There's no chance of him going back to JV Hall, then," Azure sighed. She'd felt safer with him locked up where he couldn't do any harm.
The elder Robinson girl shook her head. "And now that he knows about us, the Rangers, and about where I come from, we don't have any secrets from him," she whispered as a nurse passed by. "Things have gotten a lot more dangerous now."
"There's one thing I don't want to keep from him," Azure smiled at Adam. "How much this guy here means to me!"
"And how much you mean to me!" Adam smiled back. Aura giggled and stood up.
"I'll leave you two lovebirds alone," she said, heading for the door. "You two talk. I've got to go to tell the others about what we know about Eric now."
"Aura," Azure's speaking of her name halted Aura in her tracks. "Thank you for saving my life. I owe you one."
Aura shook her head. "No, you don't. That's what sisters are for. Besides, you've saved my sanity about four times over."
Azure's eyes filled with love. "I still need to say it. I love you, Aura."
"And I love you, Azure," Aura smiled, waved, and headed down the hall towards the waiting room. The other Rangers were sitting in various chairs and couches, waiting for any sort of report.
"How is she?" Billy asked, getting up and going over to her. She waited until she was close enough to all of them to deliver her shocking news.
"She'll be fine," Aura started off. "Adam's with her. Guys, I've got something to tell you. It's about Eric."
Tommy groaned a bit. Aura technically was and wasn't one of the Power Rangers, her powers came directly from the Spirit of Earth, not the Morphin Grid like theirs. She worked with them and was considered in all ways one of them, but certain rules didn't apply to her that normally did to them. She kept her identity secret only because of her friendship with the others; by tradition the sworn Ranger of any planet was publicly known and honored.
"Please tell me you let the cops arrest him before you hurt him!" the White Ranger sighed. After hearing what Eric had done to Azure though, he secretly wouldn't have minded if she'd sliced him into ribbons.
"He's Zedd's son," Aura said flatly. Five Rangers stared at her in complete and utter shock. They could no more doubt this than she could.
"Damn!" was the only thing Tommy could say. Aura nodded.
"That's about how I felt!"