The Green Coin watched its chosen from afar, seeking to discover if she truly was the one meant for it. If so, their bonding was not far off. The Green Power had left it's former owner not because of spells or the draining of power, but simply because he was not the one meant to bear it. True Power could never be taken from the one who was meant to carry it. The Coin watched, and waited. The time was almost at hand. The Green Ranger would be reborn.
* * * It was a glorious day in Angel Grove, and in the Youth Center,
things were going better than anyone could have imagined for Adam Park
and Billy Cranston. Andara Collins and Amber Douglas, their respective
girlfriends, were with them. Andara sat next to Adam, watching her best
friend lift enough weights to put every male Ranger to shame.
"So, what do you want to do today?" Adam asked her. Andara smiled.
"Be around you," it had been so long since there had been anyone besides Amber who really cared about her, all she wanted to do was revel in his love.
"That's sweet," Adam smiled. Andara shrugged.
"That's what I want to do."
Billy smiled at his new girlfriend, who was lifting weights furiously. He couldn't take his eyes off of her. "So, Amber," Billy said as he watched her, "How would you like to go on a walk with me after you're done with your workout?"
Amber giggled and placed the weights back on the stand. In one graceful move, she jerked up to a sitting position. "I'd love to!" she replied happily. "Just let me grab my gym bag and we can go."
She pulled him closer to her for a quick kiss and made her way over to the bench where her purple gym bag lay. Unknown to her, Billy's eyes were helplessly plastered to her backside. And even worse, he looked like he was going to start drooling. "I don't think I want to know what's going on in his head right about now." Adam said as he caught a glimpse of Billy.
Andara giggled. "Hungry, Billy?" Billy only nodded, his jaw dropped open as Amber bent over to pick up her flannel. That sent Adam and Andara into a laughing fit.
Amber looked over at the two hysterical people. "What's so funny?" she asked.
"Am. . .Amber!" Andara choked through her laughter. "Billy wa. . ... wants you!!"
Amber stood and spun around to look at him. She couldn't help but smile when she saw how red he was turning. She only mouthed the word 'later' and turned back around, launching Adam and Andara back into their giggle attack. Billy only blushed more.
Amber picked up her bag and turned to face Billy once more, when she caught sight of someone standing in the doorway. When she gave him a more thorough examination, the color drained from her cheeks and the bag dropped to the floor. She stood there...unable to move. No...it couldn't be, But it was.
When Andara saw the look on her friend's face, she jerked her head around to see what Amber was looking at. With a low, guttural growl, she jumped over to stand in front of Tyler. Adam stared after her; he'd never imagined she was capable of the leap she'd just made.
"Oh, Andara," Tyler greeted her with ice in his voice. "Where's Amber?"
"What are you doing here?"
"Looking for Amber," he told her. "Where is she?"
"Stay away from her, Tyler," Andara warned him, hate blazing from her green eyes. If Adam had seen her in that moment, he quite literally would have stepped away in fright.
"I don't think so," he smiled nastily. Andara whispered, just loud enough for him to hear her, "Touch her again, and what I did to you last time won't begin to compare to what I'll do this time!"
Tyler shuddered; he knew very well what she was talking about. "Don't mess with me, Andara!"
"You stay away from Amber, or I swear by all that I hold holy that I will kill you!"
"Whatever," he pushed past her, looking for Amber. Andara grabbed his arm in a grip that was well-night unbreakable. "I said stay away from her."
"Andara?" Adam was staring at them. "What in the. . ." he'd never seen her this angry before.
"Ahh, there she is," Tyler jerked out of Andara's hold and headed over to Amber. "Hey, sexy," he purred. Amber whimpered and backed away from him as Andara once more got in between them, ignoring the startled gaze of her boyfriend.
"Tyler, I said to leave her alone!"
"Chill out, Andara," he pushed Andara aside, straight into the wall. She cracked her head against the smooth surface and staggered; he was stronger than he'd been the last time they'd met!
"Hey, there, beautiful," Tyler smiled nastily at Amber as she shrank away from him. She could see Adam helping Andara in the corner; her friend looked dizzy.
"Get away from me, Tyler!" she whispered, shivering in fear.
"What's wrong?" he asked, a light she knew well in his eyes. "You don't look happy to see me!"
"I'm not! Get away!"
"But I've come so far, just to see you!" his smile sent cold shivers down her back as he stepped closer to her.
"You're a sick man, Tyler," she backed away, wishing she dared use the communicator Billy had made for her to teleport away. . .to anywhere. . .anywhere he wasn't. Billy stepped up to her.
"Amber, who's this?"
Tyler ignored Billy to tell her, "We're going out tonight, Amber. Our first date in a while," she remembered how he'd never asked her out; just told her they were going, and expected her to be ready on time. But this time, things were different.
"No, we're not! We're not going out!"
Tyler nodded harshly. "Oh, yes, we are," he smiled as Amber backed away even farther, bumping into Billy. He put his arms close around her, and glared at her extremely ex-boyfriend.
"Tyler, we aren't going out."
"Yes. We are."
Billy shook his head. "She said no!"
Amber touched his hand gently. "Billy, please," she wanted to convince Tyler to leave on her own. "Tyler, what do you want? Why can't you leave me alone?"
"I want you, Amber," Tyler grinned viscously and leaned forward to touch her cheek, almost lovingly.
"Get bent," Amber snarled. He shook his head.
"I'd rather have you," he said, stroking her cheek. She shoved his hand off and away from her skin; she had the sudden desire to go bathe, to wash the feeling of his hand on her away.
"I'll see you tonight," Tyler promised. Amber shook her head.
"No, you won't!"
"Oh, yes, I will," he smiled as he headed for the door. "Like it or not, Amber, you're my girlfriend, and you belong to me."
"NEVER!" she swore, glaring at him as he left. As soon as he was out of sight, she broke away from Billy and huddled against the wall, tears falling down her cheeks. A moment later, Andara joined her.
"Amber," she whispered. "Oh, Amber."
"I knew it," Amber cried. "I knew he'd find me."
Andara held Amber carefully as her friend cried out her fear. "Amber, I'm here. I won't let him hurt you," as far as the two young women were concerned, they were the only ones there. Amber hiccuped, trying to catch her breath.
"Las. . .last time he was. ..he was so close."
Andara shook her head. "I didn't let it happen last time, and I won't this time, either," Amber looked at her friend, then hugged her tightly.
"You're too good a friend, Andara!"
Andara held her. "I don't deserve you as a friend, Amber."
"Ever since I moved to Richmond with my father from France, you've been so kind. You taught me English, and you were. . .and are. . .my best friend."
Andara smiled. "You were a friend to me when no one else would be. Most people are afraid of a black belt in kung-fu and karate both." Amber nodded.
"That's why we're friends."
"That's why we'll always be friends. I almost killed him once to keep him away from you, and if I have to kill him to keep you safe this time, I'll do it!"
"Thanks," Amber smiled at her friend. Andara returned the expression.
"Hey, it's what friends and sisters are for, and we're all but sisters."
"Yes," Amber smiled, then sighed. "I'm not going out with him."
Andara nodded. "I'll stay right by you to make sure he doesn't try to make you, too!"
Amber chuckled lightly. "You're the greatest, Andara," her friend shook her head.
"No, you are."
Amber got to her feet. "Come on, let's do something before I crack!"
Andara nodded, and turned to see Adam and Billy standing right behind her. Oh, no! They heard it all! They heard. . .
"It's all right, Andara," Adam reassured her, seeing the flash of shame and fear in her eyes. "Being a martial artist is nothing to be ashamed of."
"It is when you almost killed someone," she said softly; it was the one thing in her life she'd ever really done that made her ashamed to have the skill she did.
"But what he did was worse," Adam tried to cheer her up, and Amber agreed with him. Andara shrugged it off as Amber put a hand on her shoulder.
"I'll never forget what you did for me," she said in her gentle French accent. Andara couldn't help but smile.
"Anything for a friend."
Billy cleared his throat. "That was Tyler, I presume?" he asked. Amber nodded and Andara said, "Unfortunately."
"What a scumbag," was Billy's articulate description. Amber and Andara chuckled; they habitually used harsher words than that to describe him. "Well, he's not here now, don't worry about him."
"If he comes around here again, he's a corpse," Andara clenched her fists; he was the one thing that could cause her to seriously lose her control and temper.
"Don't worry about him," Billy repeated his advice. "Amber, would you like to go out tonight, with me?"
"I'd love to!"
* * * Its chosen had fought intergalatic evil before, but now had taken a stand against a new evil: that of humans. The Green Coin pondered the courage of its chosen, and was pleased. It truly had made the right decision; she would not back down from any fight, no matter what the odds or the consequences. She was the Green Ranger in heart, mind, body, and spirit. All she needed was the Power.
* * * Later that night, with a full moon sparkling overhead and the scent of roses filling the air, Billy and Amber walked home arm in arm. A romantic movie, a delicious dinner, and a moonlight stroll; everything was just perfect for both of them.
"That was such a nice date," Amber truly had a gift for understatement as they came near her apartment building. Billy nodded.
"A wonderful date," Billy agreed as they paused briefly outside the building.
"The best," their lips met in a deep kiss, each of them rejoicing in the presence of the other. Neither noticed the shadow slipping out of the nearby alleyway. Amber saw, however, when Billy collapsed, his eyes rolling back. She looked up, going white.
"Tyler! What did you do to Billy?!"
Tyler threw the brick he'd used to knock Billy out to one side and grabbed Amber by the arm. "I told you we were going out tonight. Let's go!" he started to pull her towards a car waiting nearby.
"No!" she screamed. "No!"
"Yes!" Tyler backhanded her so hard she could have sworn she heard bones snap, just before darkness claimed her. The next thing she was aware of was Tyler leaning over her, a hideous leer in his intense pale blue eyes. "Nice to see you wake up, beautiful!"
Amber screamed and looked around; they were in a small, dirty room, with no windows, one door, and the only piece of furniture seemed to be the chair she was tied to, until she noticed the rickety bed in a corner. A quick glance to the door showed it had four locks on it, all of them fastened securely, and it was solid oak.
"That's quite rude, my lovely," Tyler told her. She tried to jerk away from him.
"Leave me alone!" she half-whimpered, half-screamed.
"Never!" he proclaimed. "I finally got you without that interfering friend of yours and you're going to stay with me!"
"Get bent!" Amber screamed again as he stroked her arm gently. "Stop it!"
"No way! I've waited too long to be with you!"
"As I said, get bent!" Tyler grabbed her head and forced her to kiss him. Amber jerked away, screaming and kicking as best she could. Her heart raced with fear; would he never leave her alone?
"That's no way to treat your boyfriend!" Tyler admonished her, raising his hand as if to strike her.
"I don't treat my boyfriend that way! You aren't my boyfriend!"
"Yes, I am," Tyler fixed with his penetrating gaze, sending chills of fear down her spine and all through her. Billy, where are you? If he's killed you. . .I don't care what happens to me. . .he's dead. . .
* * * Adam had managed to talk Andara into working out with him at the Youth Center; he'd wanted a new sparring partner for a while, and to have her be his girlfriend was a pleasant surprise and change. As they practiced, Andara found herself wondering just what Billy and Amber were doing on their date. None of my business, really. But I do wonder what they're up to.
Andara spared a glance for her own boyfriend, who was preparing a multistrike attack against her. Everything stopped, however, when Billy quite literally fell into the Youth Center.
Andara ran over to him, her heart jumping as she saw the bruise on the back of his neck. "Billy! What happened? Where's Amber?"
Billy's words were slurred as he tried to speak. "Tyler. . .Amber. . . "
Tyler?!!? That son of a . . ."Adam, call an ambulance," she snapped. She waited beside her friend for what seemed like forever until the paramedics arrived. Adam helped them load the Blue Ranger into the ambulance, while Andara stepped away. She could feel, like a sort of pulse in her mind, where Amber was. She didn't have time to think it through, she just started running as soon as she was out of sight of the Youth Center. Her friend needed her.
* * * "Get your hands off me!" Amber thrashed around, trying to keep Tyler's questing hands away from her body.
"No way, babe!" Tyler was about ready to knock her out to have his fun, when the door flew open: and off the hinges. Andara stood on the other side, green eyes burning with raw hatred and rage. Tyler could only stare; he'd known about Andara's martial arts skill, but that door had been a foot thick, solid oak, and barred with the best four locks money could buy! She'd knocked it down like it was nothing but wet paper!
His wonderment lasted only up until Andara pulled back her first and knocked him straight through the wall. "Andara!" Amber looked gratefully at her furious friend. "I don't know what I'd do without you, Andara!"
The red-haired woman almost ignored her, leaping after Tyler with fists and feet both flying.
Good thing I made plans in case she showed up, Tyler smiled to himself as he managed to get behind Amber. Andara couldn't attack him there, not without having to go through Amber, the one thing she'd never do. Time to get rid of her once and for all.
Andara's eyes widened as Tyler dipped inside his jacket pocket and pulled out a revolver. The last thing she heard was Amber's screaming of her name, the last thing she saw was Tyler's finger pulling the trigger.
* * * Tyler laughed as Andara fell to the floor, blood pouring from the bullethole. Amber screamed her friend's name over and over, unable to believe her eyes. Tyler casually came from behind her, kicked Andara's body out of the way, and dropped down to one knee beside Amber.
"I told you, you belong to me, and I'll kill anyone who gets in the way," he licked his lips as he stared ceaselessly into her eyes. Amber sobbed, moving her head to look at Andara. Tyler didn't matter; all that mattered was the still form just a few feet away.
Tyler growled and slapped Amber suddenly, bringing her attention back to him whether she liked it or not. "Forget about her; she's nothing but dead meat now. We're going back to Richmond tomorrow morning, and by tomorrow afternoon, we'll be married!"
Amber stared at him in total shock. "I'd rather die than marry you!" she snarled, then spat at him. Tyler responded with a harsh crack of his hand against her cheek.
"You keep that up, and you will die, Amber, no matter how much I love you. No woman hits me and lives."
He stood up and unfastened his belt, a heavy affair of leather and steel. He weighted the buckle in one hand, and turned his hideous pale gaze on her. "But since I do love you, you're going to get punished." He pulled his arm back, ready to take vile pleasure in her pain.
"Tyler, I don't love you!" Amber managed to choke the words out. "I don't want to marry you, I love Billy!"
Tyler smacked her again, nearly giving her whiplash, and then grabbed her head, pulling it to his for yet another of his nauseating kisses. Amber forced herself not to think of what he wanted, not to think of what he'd tried to do to her in Richmond. Andara had saved her then. . .but. . Andara was dead now!!
"Andara!" Amber screamed her friend's name again, earning yet another harsh strike from Tyler. He stood up and stared at her, tapping the belt buckle thoughtfully against one hand.
"I think I have a better way to punish you," he glanced towards the rickety bed in one corner, and then back towards her. "And I'm going to enjoy it: even if you don't."
"I don't think so!" Tyler turned to see four young people behind him; and barely recognized one of them as the one who had been with Andara earlier that day at the Youth Center. Standing behind them were several cops. The one who had been with Andara dropped down beside her, tears forming in his eyes.
Things got rather hectic after that. Tyler surrendered; even he wasn't stupid enough to attempt to get past four of the best martial artists in Angel Grove, along with five armed cops, and who knew how many more outside. Paramedics were hot on the heels of the officers, and raced Andara to the hospital; she'd been shot in the shoulder, luckily, and would live.
* * * Its chosen had been injured by another human, yet she lived. She was indeed strong; the wound had been serious, for a normal human. The trials that would precede her bonding with it were almost complete. One last thing remained, and once that was complete, the Green Ranger would live again, in it's true form: that of a woman.
* * * Andara's eyelids fluttered and she felt light pressure on her hand. She looked up to see Amber sitting next to her. "Andara!" her friend cried out happily. "Oh, you're awake!"
Andara smiled a trifle at the sight of her friend safe and free. "What happened?"
"Tyler's in jail: without bail, and is probably going to get put away for a very long time," Amber laughed; this ended the last of her worries!
"Good," Andara nodded. "How are you? You OK? And what about Billy?"
"I'm fine," Amber patted her friend's hand. "Billy's got a concussion, and is in a coma at the moment, but they expect him to wake up any time now."
Andara frowned. "Oh, man," she wished she could help him. Amber nodded, then pushed her friend back as Andara tried to sit up. "I should've killed Tyler when he attacked you the first time."
Amber shook her head. "No, it's okay, Billy's going to be fine, and I'm fine, and you're going to be fine, as long as you get some rest!"
"I hope so," Andara sighed. "Where's Adam?"
"Waiting outside. I'll go get him," Amber left the room, and Andara leaned back into the pillows, and waited. In moments, Adam was standing next to her, a smile on his calm features.
"Hey, beautiful," he smiled at her. "How're you feeling?"
Andara chuckled weakly. "Like I've been shot." Adam's lips quirked.
"That's understandable," Adam stroked her hand gently, smiling. She wanted to talk to him about more than how she felt, though.
"Adam, did you see what Tyler looked like?" she knew very well what she'd done to him. Adam nodded; he'd been somewhat impressed, actually, both at what she'd done, and at the restraint she'd shown.
"Yeah, you did major damage, girl," he told her. Andara looked away from him; this was one of the few things she hadn't told him already. He knew she was a martial artist: he didn't know what she was about to say.
"I'm a second degree black belt in karate and a third degree black in kung-fu," she whispered. Adam smiled; he'd suspected as much from when they'd been sparring.
Andara wasn't finished, though. "The first time Tyler went after Amber, I was the one who stopped him. I almost killed him."
"I would've done the same had I been in your place."
Andara shook her head. "My teacher always told me never to kill, to never come close to killing," it hurt her to think she'd disobeyed her first teacher.
"It's okay," Adam knew that sometimes, promises really were made to be broken.
"I made Amber promise me she'd never tell anyone I was the one who got Tyler to leave her alone. And I've never told anyone either," her neck twitched as she spoke, a silent reminder of the second secret of her life, the one she'd sworn even Amber would never know the full truth of.
"I won't tell if you don't want me to," Adam promised her. Andara smiled.
"I'd rather not openly admit what I did," she admitted. "But I'm no longer ashamed of what I did to Tyler."
He kissed her gently. "I love you, Andara Collins. I'll love you forever."
* * * "Now that is a human I could learn to like!" Zedd proclaimed as he watched events unfold between Amber, Tyler, and Andara.
"Which one?" Rita asked; she wasn't that concerned with evil humans; they were all amateurs, in her opinion.
"That Tyler. He almost killed one of those pesky Rangers," Zedd told her. "He shot one of those girls, and he terrifies one of them to death!"
"Oh, him," Rita dismissed him with a casual flip of her hand. "He's evil."
"But not evil enough," Zedd nodded. "He didn't get the job done," Rita nodded her agreement as he watched Billy waking from his coma to the welcoming arms of Amber. "So she feels helpless when she sees Tyler, huh?" he murmured as he listened in on their conversation. "I wonder how helpless she would be if she couldn't see. .. anything!"
"Ohhh!" Rita squealed with foul delight. "How positively evil!"
"The Powder of Blindness is all we need, and then that little human brat won't be able to do anything but wail in fear!"
"And we can easily destroy her, and all the Rangers along with her!" Rita cackled. Oh, she and Zedd made such a wonderfully wicked couple!
* * * Two weeks passed before Billy and Andara were both discharged from the hospital. It was another glorious day in Angel Grove as the two of them, plus Adam and Amber, walked through the park on their way home. Andara smiled.
"It's so good to be out of that hospital!"
Amber nodded. "It's good to see both of you out of there! And to see you awake!" she poked at Billy, who put an arm around her lovingly.
"Well, waking up to you was worth going into the coma!"
"Thank you so much, dearest," Amber smiled as he gave her a delicious kiss. She'd been nearly two weeks without his embrace, and was quick to make up for lost time.
Andara groaned, then grinned; who would have ever thought Billy was prone to such bad jokes? All thoughts of Billy were banished, however, when Adam put an arm around her. She leaned her head against his chest. "I'm so glad we don't have to worry about that scumbag Tyler anymore."
"I'm glad, too," Adam sighed, kissing her on the top of the head. Andara smiled and pulled him closer to her for a real kiss, in mirror image of what Amber and Billy were doing only a few feet away. The romance of the moment was spoiled when a squadron of Tengas appeared , ready for battle.
"Oh, great!" Andara snapped. Billy groaned, "This is not good!"
Amber almost smiled. "Nothing we can't handle!" she proclaimed, and Adam agreed with her. Andara nodded as well.
"Let's do it!" was her decision. It was lucky no one else was in the park at that hour, since it permitted Billy and Adam to ninja-morph. In moments the four of them were in the middle of battle. Andara fought to the fullest of her ability this time, and Tenga feathers were flying everywhere, not just from her battle area, but from the other three fighters as well.
Andara glanced up, and saw the Tengas were starting to overpower Amber. "Amber!" she shrieked. Her friend waved towards her.
"I'm fine!" Amber called back. A moment later, she shouted in strange agony, as one of the Tengas threw something into her eyes.
"Amber!" Andara's lungs nearly shattered as she screamed her friend's name. "Amber, no!"
Andara ran towards Amber, a fire burning where her blood had been only moments ago. There seemed to be a green tinge around everything, which was only growing as she drew nearer to Amber.
* * * It was time. She had passed every test. She was the one. The Green Ranger's time had come.
* * * Billy and Adam stared at each other as Andara began to glow green as she ran. The emerald light grew too bright to see, blinding everyone there. They heard a clear voice call out, "Green Ranger Power!" from within the light, which faded as she did so. When they could see again, Adam and Billy couldn't believe the sight that stood before them. It was almost as if time had somehow turned back on itself, in some weird and twisted way.
The Green Ranger stood where Andara had been.
It was obviously not Tommy as he had been, or Tommy's clone, or anything like that; the body beneath the costume was definitely female, and the shriek of outrage that came as the Ranger ran towards the Tengas beating on Amber was undeniably Andara's. But it was the uniform Tommy had worn, complete with Dragon Dagger at her hip and golden shield over her chest.
"Woah!" Adam breathed; unable to believe his eyes. Billy was in just as much shock; if not more. Andara plowed into the Tengas with every ounce of strength she possessed, and in moments, the whole flock had flapped away. Andara knelt by Amber and called her name gently.
"Andara!" Amber's eyes were wide in her pale face. "Andara, I can't see!"
"Amber," Andara whispered, pain filling her voice. She turned to the others. "Can you help her?"
"We can try," Adam said. "Andara. ..that costume."
Andara glanced down at herself; she honestly hadn't noticed what had happened. Sudden memory flooded back to her.
She floated in space, having no body or form, but power beyond her imagining was at her disposal, power to defend, to protect, as long as she used it only for good. The moment she turned her back on the precepts of truth, honor, justice, compassion, wisdom, courage, strength, love, and kindness would be the moment the power abandoned her. A hawk, the image of the one she'd seen on that first walk with Adam, had gazed into her eyes.
I am the Hawk, your spirit-guardian. Will you accept the power of the Green Ranger, Andara Collins?
Yes. You are the true Green Ranger, and this is your destiny.
What about Amber?
She has a destiny of her own, but that will become plain in time. For now, you must choose. Will you accept the power?
I will. Amber needs me. I can't let her down.
Then reach out to me, and you will be what you were born to be. You will fly the HawkZord into battle, and the Dragon Dagger will be your weapon of power, as the Dragon Shield is your defense. Use them well, child of the power.
She reached out, and the hawk transformed into a coin that landed in her hand. She had heard the words clearly in her mind, and had spoken them aloud. "Green Ranger Power!"
She blinked and shook her head as the memory faded. "Looks like you're a Power Ranger!" Adam told her.
"How do I turn it off?" Andara asked, her voice shaking a bit in fear as she comprehended the power now held within her. Adam explained how to power down, and as she did so, he told her, "I don't know quite how you got it; we need to talk to Zordon."
Andara looked at her injured friend. " Let's go. We eed to help Amber."
Moments later, they were at the Command Center. As Alpha checked Amber over, Andara looked nervously at him. "Can you help her?"
Alpha did the robotic equivalent of sighing. "Ay-yi-yi, it appears that this powder the Tengas used causes permanent blindness!"
That was the last straw as far as Amber was concerned; tears fell from her sightless eyes as Andara and Billy both raced to hold her. "I'm a freak," she wept ceaselessly.
"You are not!" Andara insisted. Billy nodded.
"Don't you even think that!" he told her. Amber turned a tear-streaked face to him.
"And why shouldn't I?"
"Because you're not a freak!" Andara insisted. Billy kissed Amber's tears away.
"Nowhere near one. You're still Amber Douglas, my girlfriend!"
"And my best friend!" Andara insisted. Amber trembled and shook still, however.
"Thanks," she whispered. "But you really don't know how I feel right now."
"Oh, Amber," Andara glanced down at the Green Coin in her hand. "I'd give this up if I could help you by doing so."
"I'll be okay," Amber sighed and hiccuped a little. Andara put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"We'll find someway, somehow," she glanced around at the others, who were all staring at her somewhat strangely. "Now, does anyone know how. . .or more specifically. . why I got these powers?"
Zordon spoke. THEY HAVE BEEN DESTINED TO BE YOURS ALL YOUR LIFE, ANDARA, BUT TODAY THEY CAME TO YOU.
Tommy glanced up at Zordon. "If she was supposed to have them, how did I get them?" he'd seen the uniform Andara wore, and it had stirred up a few bad old memories.
RITA FORCED THE POWERS ON YOU; HAD YOU BEEN BORN TO HAVE THEM, THE SPELL RITA USED TO MAKE YOU EVIL WOULD NEVER HAVE WORKED. YOU WOULD HAVE LOST THEM EVEN WITHOUT HER GREEN CANDLE; FOR YOU WERE ONLY THE TEMPORARY OWNER, UNTIL YOUR TRUE POWERS FOUND YOU.
"The White Powers?" Tommy asked unnecessarily, and Zordon agreed. The White Ranger smiled and went over to Andara. "Glad to have a Green Ranger again, and very glad that the powers are with someone who they were meant to be with."
Andara smiled and shook his hand. "I'd still give them up if it were to help Amber," she glanced up at Zordon.
I'M AFRAID THAT THEY CAN'T. YOU ARE THE GREEN RANGER NOW AND FOREVER, ANDARA. WELCOME.
Andara sighed and glanced at Amber, who somehow found her best friend's hand unerringly and squeezed it. "I'll be OK, really."
Oh, Amber. I hope so. I really hope so.
* * * Zedd stamped up and down the throne room, glowing red with rage. Rita screamed, "The Green Ranger. . . that girl. . .how can this be?"
"At least we blinded the one!" Zedd growled. "But now, the Green Ranger powers are back! How?"
Rita shrugged. "I guess I gave the powers to the wrong person!"
"That's one way to put it!" Zedd said dryly. "That wouldn't have happened if you'd thought a little!"
"Oh, shut up, Zeddy," Rita retorted. "We've still got the green candle!" Rita held out her hand and the thick candle appeared in it, having been restored by her evil magic from a tiny trace of wax.
"Yes, and the candle can drain the powers from her as easily as they did from Tommy!" Zedd laughed. "But how to get her to touch the candle?"
Rita glared at him. Why did I marry such an imbecile? He can't come up with the simplest plans! "Just put it on the floor of her apartment! She'll be bound to pick it up!"
* * * Amber and Andara made their way back to their apartment; Alpha had done everything within his power to search for a way to reverse the powder's effects, but to no avail. It looked as if Amber would be blind forever. She hung her head low as they walked up the final few feet.
"Amber, I wish I could say cheer up, but. . .," Andara sighed.
"It's all right, really," Amber sighed. Andara looked at her.
"You don't look all right."
"I'll be okay," Amber tried to reassure her, but there was no conviction in her voice. Andara opened the door to their apartment and sighed yet again.
"Maybe when we wake up tomorrow, everything will just have been a bad dream?"
"I doubt it," Amber said glumly. Andara looked around and spied a candle on the floor, a hideous shade of green.
"Today has been a day of changes; and not all of them good," she sighed, picked the candle up, and stuck it on a shelf. I wonder how that got there? Oh, well. "You want something to eat or anything?"
Amber smiled a little. "I'm not really hungry, unless you've got Billy in the fridge!"
"I wish I did!" Andara laughed. "With Adam right next to him!"
Amber giggled. "I don't know, but I think this blindness is making my hormones go absolutely insane!"
"Oh, Amber," Andara blushed deeply. "What would I do without you, girl?"
"I should be saying that to you!"
Andara laid a hand on her friend's. "No, Amber. You are the best friend I have ever had in my life. I don't know what I'd do without you."
"And vice-versa," Amber nodded. "I feel the same way about you. We depend on each other."
"We're sisters. In every way that counts."
* * * A few days passed; and unknown to Amber and Andara, Rita and Zedd were fuming at not being able to retrieve the Green Candle. Things didn't get much better for them, when Billy showed up to see how Amber had been doing. Andara left the lovebirds alone while she went to check the mail, chuckling under her breath as she did so.
"So, how have things been for you?" Billy asked, shifting nervously from one foot to another. He loved her with all his heart, but he'd never really been around a blind person, and wasn't quite sure how to react.
"All right, I guess," she smiled. "I haven't eaten much, but then again, there's only been one thing I've been hungry for."
"What's that?" Billy wondered. "I'm sure Andara would get it for you."
Amber couldn't help but laugh. "She couldn't find your phone number!"
"Wha?" was Billy's erudite answer.
"You heard me!" Amber laughed; she couldn't see his expression, but she knew quite well what it would be like.
"But I'm not sure I believe you!" before Billy could even begin to protest, Amber was by his side, and pulled him down to the conveniently nearby couch. "Amber?" he asked just before she planted a powerful kiss on his lips.
"I love you, Billy Cranston," she told him, then got back to the kissing. Billy returned the embrace, and in that kiss, realized he would spend the rest of his life with her.
A few moments later, the door to the apartment opened, and Andara walked in with a huge pile of mail. As she sorted through it, she spoke absently. "Hey, Amber, you got a letter from your dad, he wants to know when you're getting married!"
Amber and Billy glanced up from their apparently endless kiss. Amber frowned at her friend. "If you don't mind, could you please leave for a while, Andara?"
Andara glanced over, and smiled, a blush staining her cheeks as she did so. She tossed the mail casually on the table. "I'll see you guys tomorrow, then. Have fun!"
"I think we startled her," Billy observed as the door slammed shut behind her once more. Amber laughed and pulled his head back to hers to resume the kiss.
"She'll survive. Now, let's finish that kiss!"
* * * Andara headed down the street, her thoughts endlessly returning to the passionate kiss she'd seen exchanged between Amber and Billy. I hope they've truly found happiness with each other. Billy's gotten rid of Amber's nightmares over Tyler; I know it, even if he doesn't yet. But what about my nightmares? Will I ever get rid of mine?
She kept walking and thinking, and only noticed Adam when she quite literally bumped into him. "Oh, hey, Andara," he smiled that warm and loving smile at her. "You look like you've seen a ghost or something!"
Andara blushed a trifle. "Oh, hi, Adam. No, not a ghost. . .just. . ."
Adam chuckled. "What did you see, girl? Why aren't you with Amber?"
"Because Billy is," she told him, still a bit red as she thought again of that kiss. She told Adam quickly of it, smiling as she did so. "I'm glad Amber's feeling better," she finished up. "What happened to her hit her pretty hard, but she won't admit it."
Adam nodded. "I can tell. She's been pretty out of it since that happened, but she just proved to herself, and to Billy, that you don't need to be able to see to be in love."
Andara blushed a touch redder. "I think I'll give them a night to themselves; they need and deserve it. I don't know what they're up to in there. . .I don't want to know, either. But I'm not going to interrupt them either."
"And they might be pretty angry if you kicked Billy out!" Adam chuckled. His girlfriend nodded.
"The only thing is, now I need a place to stay for the night!"
"Why not stay with me?" Adam offered. "My parents are out of town for a few days, but they wouldn't mind; you can sleep on the couch."
"All right," Andara smiled warmly at him. A night at his place with just him and I sleep on the couch. Sheesh, if there IS a higher power, obviously He, She, or It doesn't like me very much at the moment!
"All right," Adam smiled as they started down towards his house. Andara suddenly remembered something.
"Hey, maybe you can tell me why Tommy looked at me kind of strangely when I first showed up in the Command Center after getting my powers!"
"Oh, that!" Adam explained quickly what Billy had told him about the original Green Ranger. As Andara digested the information, she slowly nodded.
"Well," she said at last. "What do you want to do today?"
He shrugged. "I don't know; we could rent movies maybe?"
"OK," Andara nodded. "What would you like to see?"
"Maybe Labyrinth. I haven't seen that in a while."
"I've never seen it. What's it about?" she wondered. Once he'd explained the basic plot, she smiled. "Sounds like fun!"
"Thanks," he smiled as she perched on a couch. And it looks even nicer with you in it, but I'm not going to say that out loud!
Andara turned to look at some photos on a mantlepiece, and as she did so, unconsciously pushed her hair away from her neck. Adam's eyes widened as for the first time, he saw her neck: and the scar that ran down from just under her ear to her shoulder, thick and twisted.
"How'd you get that?" he gasped. Andara paled, and jerked her hair back over to hide it.
"It's nothing," she told him. Oh, great. I knew I should've went in for the cosmetic surgery to get rid of that.
"It's a huge scar!" Adam almost snapped at her. "So that's something to me!"
He's not going to give up until I tell him. "I got that when I was five years old, Adam, and the person who gave it to me won't hurt anyone anymore."
"Who would be cruel enough to do something like that?"
"My uncle," she whispered, shaking a little at the memory.
"Did you live with him or something?"
"For a while. My parents were divorced when I was four; my uncle got custody since neither of them really wanted me."
"And he was abusive?" it wasn't really a question. Andara's fingers touched the scar unerringly through her thick mane of hair. Abusive doesn't cover it, Adam. Hateful and murderous comes a little bit closer.
"Yeah," she remembered how she'd got it, how he'd lost his mind that one night, and cut her. She tried to block out what he'd been saying, how he'd beaten her. In thirteen years, the memory hadn't faded a moment. "Amber's the only one who knows about this, except for you. I showed it to her and told her about him after that mess with Tyler was over."
"It's okay, now," he tried to comfort her. "You don't live with him anymore," he held her in his strong arms; and Andara permitted herself, for once in her life, to lean on someone else for comfort.
"Amber woke up for two months after Tyler's attack on her, screaming with nightmares. I still wake up dreaming about my uncle. Amber doesn't know that; and I'm not going to tell her. She has enough of her own problems."
"It's all over," Adam whispered to her. "Over forever."
Andara looked up into his warm and smiling eyes, and voiced what she'd been thinking earlier. "Amber found in Billy someone to take away her nightmares. Do I dare to think I've found someone to take away mine?"
"Don't think it," he told her. "Know it. I love you, Andara Collins."
"And I love you, Adam Park."
* * * "This is sickening!" Zedd stared at both couples as they kissed.
"Gross!" Rita chimed in her opinion. Zedd glanced over at her.
"You haven't been able to get the Green Candle back yet, have you?"
Rita shook her head. "No, because that blind girl, or the Green Ranger were always there! And now the Blue one is with her! But as soon as they hear that blasted Green Ranger screaming for help, they'll come running! And the apartment will be empty!"
Zedd couldn't help but laugh evilly. "Not only do we drain her powers, but she gets to see them go! And there's nothing the Rangers can do to stop it!"
"Yes!" Rita's wild and evil laughter filled the lunar palace.
"Tomorrow, while she's alone, but within sound of her friends, we take her!"
* * * Andara's eyes flickered as sunlight hit them the next morning. She sighed briefly as she brushed her hair back from her face, her fingers tracing the line of her scar as they did so. I'm glad I told Adam. That kiss was incredible. Too bad that's all we did; kiss. Oh, well, I'm sure that will change in the future. Time to head back to the apartment; and see if Amber and Billy are awake yet!
"Good morning," she looked up to see Adam standing over her, that warm and loving smile on his face.
"A very good morning," she smiled up at him, then sat up. "Adam, for the first time in thirteen years, I had no nightmares about my uncle last night!"
Adam smiled and kissed her. "I'm glad. I love you, Andara."
"I love you," she replied; neither of them could get tired of hearing those words. "And as much as I want to stay here and let you tell me that all day, I've got to go see if Amber needs anything. I doubt Billy's in any shape to get it for her if she does!"
Adam chuckled. "I know!"
Andara kissed him again, enjoying the feel of their lips touching. "I really have to go, Adam."
"I know," Adam smiled. "We really should do this again, sometime."
"What, me spend the night on your couch?" Andara giggled warmly, and Adam laughed.
"Just spend some time together," he told her.
"How about tonight?" she suggested. Maybe I can do more than sleep on the couch this time!
"Tonight is good, how about at seven?" he looked hopefully at her. Andara giggled. "I won't be!" she promised. One final kiss, and then she headed out the door.
* * * Amber woke to the feel of Billy's kisses on her lips. "Good morning to you too," she smiled at him.
"Good morning," he told her with voice and kisses alike. "I was wondering. . ."
"What?" she smiled as she thought she knew what he was going to ask her.
"Are you busy tonight?"
"Only with you," she told him, running her fingers through his hair. "Only with you."
Billy was about to say something else when a piercing scream filled the air. "That's Andara, I know it!" Amber was on her feet and reaching for her clothes in seconds, and Billy could have sworn she could see as plainly as he could in that moment. He ran to the window and looked outside to where the screams were coming from.
"You're right!" he saw Andara fighting with Goldar and Rito on the street below, surrounded by nearly a dozen Tengas into the bargain. He quickly grabbed his own clothes and headed after Amber, down the stairs and down to the street.
"Andara!" Amber screamed as she hit the street. The new Green Ranger looked over towards them, and her momentary distraction gave Rito and Goldar the chance they needed to seize her by both arms and take her captive.
"Amber! Billy!" Andara cried, trying to get their hands off her. A moment later, Rito, Goldar, Andara, and the Tengas all vanished. Amber stopped in her tracks, staring sightlessly at where her friend had been.
"No!!!" she cried out with every ounce of strength within her. "No! No! No!"
Billy didn't ask how Amber knew they had gone; Amber and Andara seemed to have shared a bond of some type from that first day. He went over to hold her. "Amber, calm down, please. Let's get the others, get to the Command Center, and find out what's going on."
Amber sobbed, unable to comprehend that her best friend had been taken from her, and there had been nothing she could do to stop it. Billy held her tightly, trying to reassure her with his love. "We'll get her back," he promised. What do they want with her? Is it because she's the Green Ranger now? Are they still that fixated on destroying the Green Powers?
* * * Adam went absolutely white as he heard that Andara had been kidnapped by Rita and Zedd. He leaned against one of the control panels, his heart pounding with rage and fear. Oh, God. I should have walked her home, she would at least have had someone else to fight with. She didn't. . .doesn't. . .have the experience we do in fighting them, she's not used to her powers, she didn't know she'd have had better odds of winning if she'd morphed. She's so independent; she might not have anyway, just to prove she could fight without her powers.
Amber was sobbing, leaning against Billy as he began to search for Andara. I can't lose her, I just can't! They blinded me, what are they going to do to her? I almost lost her to Tyler's bullet, I flat out will not lose her to some stupid space aliens! She's my friend, my sister, I won't let them hurt. ..but what can I do?
"I cannot believe this," Aisha sighed. Tommy looked perhaps the most nervous of them all, except for Amber and Adam. Then again, he had a right to. He remembered clearly what he had went through as the Green Ranger, and he most definitely did not want Andara suffering as he had.
I FEAR THEY MAY BE ATTEMPING TO EITHER CONTROL ANDARA AS THEY DID YOU, TOMMY, OR TO DRAIN HER POWERS, Zordon told them his suspicions.
"No!" Tommy almost screamed the word. "If they do that. . ." he shook, remembering how much it had hurt to become the Green Ranger. ..and how it had hurt worse when his powers were stolen from him.
"If they harm her in any way," Amber promised them all, "despite this blindness, I will tear them apart, leaving nothing behind!"
"And I'll help!" Adam swore, his fists clenching. Billy slammed his fists into the control console in frustration.
"Nothing!" he growled. "Not a trace of her! They've got that place sewn up tighter than a drum!" Amber whimpered in fear; she really didn't want to think about what could be happening to Andara in Rita and Zedd's clutches.
* * * Andara and her captors reappeared in a small, dark cell. She kept fighting; she had no intentions of giving up, even if they already had her captive. "Oh, stop it!" Rito chained her to a wall as he spoke. "It's useless to resist!"
"Let me go!" Andara demanded harshly. Rita and Zedd appeared, laughing already at their captive.
"No!" Zedd told her, an evil glare in his eyes. Andara shrank back from him; she'd been afraid of Zedd from the moment she'd first seen him when she and Amber had been brought there the first time. She hadn't been able to let Amber see her fear, though. But here, now, with no friends to see her, she quite literally shook with fear.
Rita chuckled; she liked seeing humans be afraid. "We want you to watch something!"
"If it's not a way out of here, I don't want to see it!" Andara managed to speak without fear filling her voice.
"Sorry, no, you're not leaving!" Zedd laughed evilly. Rita joined in, then told her, "And you're going to watch your powers burn away to a cinder!"
"Fat chance!" Andara snapped back. Zedd produced the Green Candle; she recognized it as the one she'd picked up in the apartment a few days earlier.
"Oh, a very good chance! This candle will burn your powers away to dust!"
"Which means," Rita laughed as she lit the candle, "bye-bye Green Ranger!" Andara trembled in fear. Rita smiled nastily. "Be afraid, girl. Be very afraid!"
Andara spat at them, the only act of defiance she was capable of as she was chained up. Zedd growled, "Oh, such bad manners!"
Rita gestured Rito and Goldar closer to her. "Well, she won't have a life if she keeps it up!"
Zedd nodded. "And just for the pure amusement of it. . .we shall leave her to Goldar and Rito's tender mercies!" His smile was absolutely cold and heartless. With a wave of his hand, Goldar and Rito moved in on Andara, who was helpless to fight them off.
* * * Morning dawned in the Command Center, and not one of the Rangers had left. Billy, red-eyed and sleepless, was still searching endlessly for their friend and fellow Ranger. Amber had drifted off into a semi-sleep, and Billy thought she was asleep all the way, when she groaned, "We have to find her."
"We will," Billy promised her. He was just about to start another series of scans when every alarm in the place suddenly went off at the same time. The Rangers all turned to the Viewing Globe, as a dark and evil laughter echoed throughout the chamber.
"Hello, Rangers!" Zedd greeted them as the globe showed his throne room. Amber and Adam both growled the same question.
"Where is Andara?"
"Oh, wouldn't you like to know?" Zedd laughed.
"Oh, yes, we would!" Amber snapped, barely able to keep herself from somehow attacking this evil creature. Zedd waved his staff and the image in the globe changed, to show Andara in her cell. It was obvious to all of them that the only reason she was on her feet was because of the chains that held her to the wall. Both her eyes were blacked, a thin dribble of blood ran down her chin, and Billy would take a serious wager she had internal injuries, if not broken bones. He couldn't tell more without being able to examine her, but it was obvious she had been badly beaten.
"There she is!" Zedd laughed evilly.
"What is it, I can't see it!" Amber protested. Adam, tears streaking his cheeks, told her what they saw. Amber did her level best to glare at Zedd, calling him every name she could think up.
"Such sweet sounds!" Zedd laughed even harder. "Perhaps you'll say even better things if I show you this!"
He gestured again, and this time they saw what was in front of Andara: the Green Candle. Tommy screamed, his hands clenching into fists, one simple world. "NO!"
Zedd just couldn't seem to stop laughing. "What's the matter, White Ranger? Bad memories?"
"Not the candle," Tommy whispered, his memories filling his eyes with tears. "Not the Green Candle. . ."
"And it's almost burned down all the way already! Too bad, Rangers, it looks like the Green Ranger will never be one of you!" with his laughter echoing throughout the Command Center, Zedd vanished from the globe.
"Green Candle?" Amber asked. Billy quickly explained about Tommy's history. Amber went absolutely white. "We have to get to her."
"I'm trying, but I don't know if I can or not!" Billy's heart ached at the sight of Amber's eyes spilling over with tears. He held her carefully. "Amber, we'll find her somehow."
"Please," Amber whispered. "Please."
"We will," Billy turned back to the controls and started scanning again. "Zedd might've done us a favor by his gloating. If I can get a fix on where the signal he used to transmit on the Viewing Globe came from, I should be able to use it to find Andara, since he showed her to us."
"Then get to work!" Tommy insisted. "We can't let her go through what I did!"
Hours passed, turning from day into night and into the next day. Suddenly, Billy's triumphant shout woke all of them up from various states of semi-dozing. "Did you find her?" Amber asked, hope shining from her blind eyes.
"Yes!" Billy laughed almost in joy. Amber leaped to her feet, as did Adam.
"Yeah! Come on, let's get her!" Amber hadn't looked this happy in two days, as well as Adam. Billy glanced at her, surprise all over his face.
"You're coming too?"
"Adam and I are going," Amber smiled harshly. "Let's go, buddy!"
"Right!" Adam nodded as Billy shrugged helplessly, then programmed the proper co-ordinates into the computer.
"Be careful, both of you. Bring her back safely, and yourselves back too!" he told them.
Amber smiled and kissed him. "Don't worry, when the eyes went, the other senses got better."
With no more than that, Adam and Amber teleported to the moon, arriving right in Andara's cell. She was more comatose than she was asleep, but didn't notice their arrival either way. Amber reached out, feeling the thick wax of the candle only inches away from her, then casually leaned over and blew it out, then pocketed it.
"Andara?" she said softly, feeling her way to her friend. Andara's eyes flickered as Adam morphed, and slashed through her chains with the Power Ax.
"Adam. . .Amber?" she whispered.
"Come on, beautiful, let's get you out of here!" Adam put a supporting arm under her and kissed her lightly. "Time to go home."
"You came for me," Andara whispered.
"We'd never leave you here," Amber smiled gently. "I blew the candle out, and I've got it with me. It'll be destroyed so it never hurts anyone ever again."
* * * "Ay-yi-yi, you'll be all right, Andara," Alpha reported as he used the medical scanner on her. "You've got a cracked rib, a broken arm, and several cuts, bruises, and contusions, but you'll heal up fine in a few hours!"
"Hours?" Andara stared at him. Adam nodded.
"Rangers heal fast; it's part of being a Ranger," he told her. She smiled as she looked at her boyfriend. "Sorry I missed our date the other night."
"It's all right, you had a good reason," he reassured her. Andara giggled and grinned.
"Yeah, I was tied up!" Groans and sighs at her pun went around the room, but Andara herself winced as she laughed, touching her torso. "Oh, that hurt. It must not be good to laugh with a cracked rib!"
"I guess not," Adam smiled as she reached over and kissed him tenderly.
ANDARA, RITA AND ZEDD ATTEMPTED TO DRAIN YOUR POWERS WITH THE GREEN CANDLE. BASED ON MY SCANS OF YOU AND THE GREEN POWERS, THEY WOULD HAVE FAILED EVEN IF WE HAD NOT GOTTEN YOU OUT IN TIME. THE GREEN CANDLE WORKED ON TOMMY ONLY BECAUSE HE WAS NOT THE TRUEBORN OWNER OF THE GREEN POWERS. YOU, HOWEVER, WERE BORN TO BECOME THE GREEN RANGER. THE POWERS CANNOT BE TAKEN FROM YOU, THOUGH YOU CAN GIVE THEM TO ANOTHER, IF YOU SO CHOOSE.
Tommy bit his lip as he heard that. All that worrying. . .for nothing. She can't lose the powers. . .not like I did. . .she won't ever go through the pain I did. . .For some reason, that didn't make him happy the way it should. She would never suffer the pain of power loss. . .like he had. A stab of jealousy went through him as he watched Andara and Adam kissing.
"Hey, you two, take that elsewhere!" Amber laughed as she herself started to kiss Billy.
"That sounds good to me!" Andara let Adam pick her up as they teleported away. A moment later, Billy and Amber also were gone, kissing as they did so. Tommy forced himself to smile as he looked around to the other Rangers.
"I guess this qualifies as the happy ending!" As happy as it can be, I guess, when I just found out everything I went through as the Green Ranger could have been avoided if Rita had just looked a little harder, instead of just taking the first available fighter. Instead of taking me.
* * * "How did this happen?" Zedd roared as he stared at the empty cell where Andara had hung only a short time earlier.
"You didn't guard the cell!" Rita snapped back.
"Why should I?" Zedd exclaimed. "She was helpless, she couldn't get out!"
"But someone could get in to save her, and they did!"
Zedd tried to salvage something from this mess. "Well, at least we drained her powers!" After all, the Green Candle was gone!
"They blew out the candle and took it!" Rita exclaimed; she could tell that easily with her magic. Zedd roared in sheer outrage and blind hatred! "And it looks like it wouldn't have worked anyway!" she glared down at Earth. "Those Green powers are hers; the Green Candle wouldn't take them from her!"
"Then why did we even try?"
"It was your idea!"
"It was not!" they would have gotten into another fight, if Zedd hadn't waved Rita to silence as he stared down at Earth and the Rangers. "This is not finished! We will have our revenge!"
"You'd better believe it!"
* * * Billy and Amber walked along the beach as the sunset, hand in hand. "I love you so much, Amber."
"I love you, too," Amber leaned against him, enjoying the feeling as he pulled her into a warm hug.
"I never dreamed I could love anyone as much as I love you," he told her.
"I never thought I'd love anyone again, after Tyler," Amber was finally able to speak his name without shaking in fear.
"Did you ever really love him?"
Amber gave some thought to her answer; she wanted to be sure of what she said. "Not the way I love you. It was . .. puppy love you could say."
"I love you as a grown man loves a grown woman," Billy told her. Amber smiled in return.
"And I love you, the way a grown woman loves a grown man."
The dying light of day shone all around them as they kissed. Finally, they broke apart a little. "Amber I have a question."
"Will. . .will you marry me?" he asked. She smiled up at him and kissed him again.
"But of course, my love," she replied in her native tongue. They kissed yet again, murmuring endearments of love in many different languages.
"You are the only one I will ever love. I love you now and for always and forever and until eternity and beyond," Billy whispered at last in English again.
"You took what I was going to say. So all I can say is 'ditto'!" Amber smiled at him. "I wonder how many times you can say that. But no matter what it'll never get old!"
"I'm glad," Billy kissed her again; he could never tired of hearing "I love you," from her. Hand in hand, they wandered along the beach, two people in perfect harmony with each other. No matter what, they knew they would always be together. Always. Something inside told them they had weathered a great storm together, and had come out the stronger for it.
But there were still more storms on the horizon.
* * * The Green Coin had found its bearer and bonded with her. The Violet Coin came into awareness the moment this occured. As it did so, it saw the one meant to bear it. Already she had undergone great trials, greater even than her companion's. They would be a perfect match.
When the time was right.