It had been three days since Sheena and Billy's wedding, three days
since Billy had become the Sapphire Ranger, and Mondo hadn't sent so much
as a Cog down to attack. Sheena had told them everything she could remember
from being under his power, but even so, that gave them no clues as to
what he was doing now.
"I've racked my brains a hundred times over, and still nothing," she shook her head in confusion as they all relaxed after a sparring session in the Youth Center.
"It's not your fault. I'm sure he didn't fill you up with everything he was planning," Billy reassured her. "What do you remember, exactly?"
"For the hundred and first time," she smiled. "I know the layout of the Skybase down to perfection. I could tell you where they keep the trash in that place if I really wanted to, which I don't, by the way. I know the history of the Rangers, as much as he does, anyway. That helped fill in the gaps from what I knew from my world, too. Also, I have a fairly good idea of his boiling point; it doesn't take much to get him angry."
As she recounted what she knew, she realized it didn't add up to much. "I wish I could be of more help to you guys."
"You're a great help, Sheena," Tommy told her. At Sheena's request, he was going to take up her karate training. "And you're a great fighter."
"Not as good as you are, Tommy," Sheena shook her head.
"You've also not been training as long as he has, either," Jason reminded her.
She smiled, looking around the table at her new friends. This was the first time she'd been in the Youth Center, and it was even more wonderful than she'd thought.
"Hi, guys," a portly man in a Hawaiian shirt came up. "Who's your new friend?"
"Hi, Ernie," the others chorused. Sheena almost hit herself; she should have recognized him! "Oh, Ernie, this is Sheena. She's just moved to town." Billy introduced her. "Sheena, this is Ernie. He owns the Juice Bar."
"Hi, Sheena," Ernie smiled at her, and she managed to dredge up a return smile.
"She and I have been dating for a couple of days," Billy grinned. Ernie's smile actually grew broader.
"Well, it's good to meet you," Ernie patted Billy on the shoulder and leaned in closer. "Keep this one, Billy, she looks like she really likes you."
Billy grinned as Ernie walked away. Sheena blushed and turned back to her friends. "This has got to be strange for you," Kat looked at her. "I mean, coming from where you do...."
"Yes, it is strange," Sheena nodded. "But it could be worse."
"How?" Jason wondered.
"I could not be in this world at all," she smiled. They all knew what that meant to her; since the first thing they'd ever heard her say was how she'd wanted to go home. "Or I could still work for Mondo," she shivered ,and they saw a flash of fear cross her eyes.
"Sheena? Are you all right?"
"Yes, I'm fine, Tanya," Sheena knew she was lying. She'd hurt her friends while under Mondo's control. She'd kidnapped Billy and had knelt in submission to the worst evil she'd ever seen. She'd woken up the past three nights just barely able to keep her screams from disturbing Zordon and Alpha. The dreams were always the same: she still worked for Mondo, and hurt the Rangers. They felt so real....
"Who's the new girl?"
That voice... she shook off the memories and turned around and saw Bulk and Skull coming up. She smiled at the look on their faces when they saw her.
"Hi, guys," Tommy waved at them. "This is Sheena, Billy's girlfriend."
"Detectives Bulk and Skull at your service, ma'am," Bulk grinned foolishly. Sheena smiled at them again, and they actually seemed to get more confused. "If you ever need detecting, we're the ones to call."
"I'll remember that," she laughed gently at the expression on Skull's face. They left, and her thoughts almost immediatly turned back to the gloomy trend they'd been on.
Billy's voice jerked her back to reality. "Want to go meet my parents, Sheena?"
"Billy, we've known each other all of three days," Sheena almost snapped at him. "I think it's a little early."
"But I love you," Billy touched her hand.
She jerked away and got to her feet. "I'll see you later," she left the Juice Bar, her thick ponytail bouncing behind her.
"What'd I say?" Billy wondered. He almost got up, before Tanya grabbed his arm.
"Give her some time, Billy. I can tell she loves you; she just needs some time alone for something. Something she's not talking about is bothering her."
* * *
Sheena walked through the park, her thoughts churning. She hadn't meant to be so rude to Billy, of all people. But... she wasn't sure what she was thinking. She hadn't been sure of much since she'd heard her name ring to the rafters in Billy's voice. She saw a small copse of trees ahead of her, where no one would see her, and went there. This would be the perfect place for what she had in mind.
She looked around, and listened quietly. Everything was perfectly still here. That was what she wanted, stillness and quiet. She pulled her hair out of it's tie, letting it cascade down her back, then took four small birthday candles and a pack of matches out of her purse. Planting one candle at the four cardinal directions, she summoned the protective power of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. The circle cast, she sat quietly in the center.
Sealed off from the world by the circle, she was finally able to think. She spoke softly, just loud enough so she could hear herself. "I love Billy. I don't want to go back to Mondo. I hate what I did when I was under that potion's influence."
Her whole body convulsed as she thought of how sickening it had been to serve Mondo. It had been as if another person had taken over her body. She had been in the back of her own mind, unable to do or say anything, until Billy had spoken her name. That had released the mental chains that held her true self, and she'd been able to take back control. Memory had returned, not just of her own life, but of Kahva, and all that good woman's experience as the Silver Ranger.
"I want to be a good Ranger. I want to be worthy of my ancestor's legacy. I want to protect this world, and I'm going to," she smiled softly. "No matter what it takes. To the end. And beyond."
She closed her eyes and entered a meditatiave trance. For hours all she heard was her own breathing and heartbeat. When she opened her eyes, the sun was close to setting. She'd been here almost since noon. "I better go talk to Billy," she muttered as she got ready to get up. "He'd better find out I still love him, and always will."
"That's so sweet, it's almost sickening, Silver Ranger," a voice she'd been afraid of hearing for three days said. She looked up to see Mondo and a small army of Cogs standing just outside her circle. She half-smiled. The circle was meant to protect her from all evil, and she had the sneaking suspicion the Machine King couldn't cross her barrier.
"What do you want, Mondo?" she flexed her fingers nervously.
"What I always want: the destruction of the Power Rangers," she would have sworn Mondo looked at the candles. "And I want you to help me."
"You have got to be kidding," she laughed. "Sorry, Mondo, but I got out of the evil business. I never wanted to be in it in the first place."
"You will serve me again, Silver Ranger," Mondo predicted. "Of that I have no doubt."
Sheena stood up. She reached into her pocket and pulled her hair tie out, then carefully tied her hair back. She smiled coldly. "Mondo... about your 'job offer'..."
"Yes?" he looked almost eager.
"Forget it. I work for Zordon and with the Power Rangers now, and forever," she whirled, crying out, "SILVER RANGER POWER!" as she did so.
She landed both morphed and facing the Cogs who had knocked the candle down behind her, breaking the protective circle.
"You Cogs never can be quiet," she laughed, then went into the battle as the Cogs surged towards her.
"Take her alive," Mondo ordered as he stepped back to let the Cogs that had stood with him join the fight. "And don't let her call for help."
"Great idea. The calling for help part, that is," Sheena was surrounded by Cogs, but she'd already planned her escape from that little situation. She leaped straight up into the air, and at the top of her leap, actually held still! She could do this only for a few seconds though; defying gravity like this was hard. She spoke into the communicator Billy had made for her, "Guys! I'm under Cog attack in the park! I need help!"
She was already going back down, and angled herself to take out four Cogs at once. "We're on the way, Sheena," it was Billy who responded. She was going to have to talk to him, she knew. Well, at least she was ready for the discussion now.
She exploded back into the battle as she kicked, punched, and threw Cogs every which way. Suddenly, she heard a welcome sound: the voices of her friends and husband as they morphed.
"Seven more Power Rangers?" Mondo obviously hadn't heard the news about the new Sapphire Ranger.
"Mess with one member of the Power Rangers, you'd better be ready to take on all eight of us," Tommy told the Machine King as they fought the Cogs off. Sheena and Billy found themselves fighting back to back.
"Hey, Billy," she yelled as she ducked under a Cog's punch.
"Yes, dear?" he asked.
"I'll go meet your parents tomorrow, if you like," Sheena kicked a Cog in the stomach.
"Thanks," Billy threw a Cog into a tree. "What was wrong with you earlier?"
"Tell you about it in a few, when we're done with this," she channelled the rage she'd been feeling earlier into her fists, and almost dismantled a Cog with one hit. "Hey, that was fun!"
The Cogs vanished, and as one, they turned to face Mondo. "Get out of here, Mondo, unless you want to get dismantled."
"Right," the others nodded their agreement with Jason.
Mondo was staring at Billy. "You! So, you finally came out of the Power Chamber?" He'd recognized Billy's voice.
"To fight you and all your evil," Billy smiled under his helmet. Confidance radiated from his voice and posture. "I do have to thank you for something, Mondo."
"Thank him?" the Rangers echoed.
"Thank me?" Mondo seemed as surprised as the Rangers were.
"Yes," Billy went to stand by Sheena. "If it wasn't for you, I would have never met my wife."
"True," Sheena grinned. "Thanks for that much, Mondo. But not for anything else."
"Now stay and fight... or leave and live," Tommy looked up at the king, who stepped away.
"We'll meet again, Power Rangers," Mondo threatened, then vanished.
"I'm sure of it," Sheena laughed. A great weight seemed to have been taken from her.
"Sheena, what were you doing here?" Tommy asked, looking at the half-burned candles. She began to gather them up.
"It was a protection circle," she told him. "I'm a witch. I worship a Goddess. It's been my religion since I was a little girl. In all my life, it was always the only thing that remained constant, that and my friends."
"I've read a little about that sort of stuff," Adam nodded briefly. "If I recall, the only real rule you live by is 'Do what you will, but don't hurt anyone,' right?"
She slipped the candles back into her purse and agreed.
"How can you fight, then? Mondo, that is."
"Because if I don't, then a lot of people, a lot of innocent people, are going to get hurt. Protecting the innocent is also part of witchcraft. That's one thing I was here doing," Sheena sat down and the others joined her. "I needed to think a few things through. I had to be sure this was what I wanted to do."
"And?" Tanya had to ask.
"It is," she smiled softly. "I had to be sure, though. Billy," she turned to him. "I love you. I always have, and I always will. But I had a lot on my mind at the Youth Center earlier. I'm sorry if I snapped at you. I also haven't had a chance to think since we left the Skybase. I needed this time, and I should have just told you that."
"It's all right," he looked as if he wanted to kiss her, but he visibly held back. Sheena grinned, and kissed him instead. "We all need time to ourselves sometimes. All you had to say was that."
"I know that... now," Sheena hugged Billy, then looked slyly at the others. "Could you give us some time to ourselves, please?"
The others fell all over themselves trying to get out of the copse. Before they parted, Tanya spoke. "Billy and Sheena really have something special, don't they?"
"I want to see the looks on the faces of all those girls Billy used to date when those two announce their 'engagement,'" Tommy chuckled. "They're going to want to attack Sheena en masse."
"In a five-to-one fight, over Billy," Kat laughed. "I'd put my money on Sheena every time."
* * *
The next day, Billy was every bit as nervous about Sheena meeting his parents as Sheena had been about meeting the Rangers in person. They had worked out a good story for her to tell his parents about her background and their first meeting. He adjusted his collar one last time as he heard Sheena's distinctive step on the sidewalk. She paused for a moment, and he couldn't resist peeking out the window.
She stood looking at the bushes, a strange expression on her face. He could only describe it as regret and love mixed. Then he remembered that where she was gazing at was where she'd hidden to kidnap him just days earlier. He watched her quietly. She shook her head, then a smile curved her lips as she looked up at the window.
"I love you," she whispered, knowing he would read her lips. "I love you, too," he told her. She smiled and walked up to the door.
"You must be Sheena," Billy's mom answered her knock. Sheena had dressed neatly in a silver-tinted shirt and jeans, with her hair brushed out and gleaming on her shoulders. Her two rings flashed on her hands, and he could hardly contain his love for her.
"Yes, Mrs. Cranston," she smiled and shook hands. "I'm glad to meet you."
As the two women entered the living room, Mr. Cranston was waiting for them. "This is Sheena, dear," Billy's mom introduced her.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, sir," Sheena shook his hand as well. She made small talk, filling them in on the story she and Billy had concoted.
Billy came downstairs a few minutes later, and smiled at her. She nodded back to him. "Mom, Dad, I hope Sheena hasn't been boring you?"
"Not at all," his dad had obviously already been charmed by Sheena's impeccable manners. "So, where are you two going tonight?"
"To the movies," Billy told them. "There's a great new one playing tonight, Attack of the Mutant Toaster."
"Kids," Mr. Cranston shook his head, smiling. "Well, have fun, you two!"
The communicators beeped in unison, and Sheena covered up fast. "Oh, that's my watch alarm. We've got ten minutes to get to the theater, Billy, we'd better run."
"Right." He'd been a Power Ranger for four years and hadn't come up with an excuse that fast when parents were involved. They both got up and headed for the door. Billy's mom stopped him briefly.
"She's lovely, Billy. I like her a lot," she smiled at her son. "Even if she is older than you."
"I like her, too, Mom," Billy felt a whole lot of tension fade. "Age doesn't really make a difference, and it's only three years, after all."
"True," his dad nodded. "I'm four years older than your mom."
"Eric!" Billy's mom admonished. "Billy and Sheena aren't getting married!"
Well, we are and we aren't. We have been married four days now, and we're going to have an offical wedding in about a year. Billy thought about just saying it, then decided not to. He could see Sheena waiting for him, tapping her foot impatiently. "I've got to go, mom, dad, we're going to be late. I'll be home late tonight, I think."
A few moments later, two streaks of light, one white and one dark blue, flashed across the sky. Billy's mom saw them, and smiled briefly. "Good luck, kids. Teach Mondo not to mess with the Power Rangers. Especially not with my son."