Peace, as much peace as they ever got anyway, reigned over Angel Grove and in the lives of the Power Rangers. After the whirlwind events spawned by a rip in dimensions that had dropped two mysterious women into their lives and the lives of their enemies on the moon, they all knew they deserved a rest. Rita and Zedd, once they had made what almost seemed a half-hearted attempt on Billy and Adam's lives in retrospect, appeared to have withdrawn into the depths of their palace, ignoring them all. The Rangers gladly took the opportunity to rest.
"Hey!" Adam Park, the Black Ranger, glanced around the Youth Center some days later. He, like Billy, had fully recovered from the effects of the wound that had come so close to claiming his life not that long ago. "Weren't Aisha and Rocky supposed to meet us here too?"
"They were!" Tommy Oliver, the White Ranger, nodded, and his girlfriend, the Pink Ranger Kimberly, grinned half-wickedly.
"They're probably doing it again!" she giggled; ever since Evanthe and Elissa had entered their lives, the sexuality and romance around the Rangers had almost seemed to quadruple! It must have had something to do with the simple irresistible 'aura' that being involved with vampires and werewolves that did it. No one was questioning or complaining, though. It just was what it was.
Evanthe chuckled, leaning against Billy as she did so, enjoying the feel of his arms around her. "Probably so!" the Purple Ranger declared. She would not be at all surprised. The Red and Yellow Rangers had been very solidly becoming a couple while everyone's back was turned.
"Elissa?" Adam went a little stiff as he saw the Rose Ranger's eyes starting to glaze over just a bit. She glanced briefly at him, raising one eyebrow in inquiry. "Are you okay?"
"Yes," she nodded quietly, not wanting to show that she was starting to hyperventilate again. Adam nodded a little, keeping an eye on her as he did so. He was starting to get very, very worried about his wife; he had a feeling this wasn't natural.
Tommy touched his friend's shoulder lightly and whispered so low only a creature of the night could have heard him. "What's going on?" when Adam shrugged, Tommy's eyes narrowed. "Has she seen a doctor?" a shake of the head was the reply. "She should!"
Adam's attention was seized, literally, a moment later when Elissa seized his hand and stared at him. Elissa? he asked mentally, knowing that she was about to have another one of her attacks, both from the clasping of hands and her suddenly faster breathing.
Another one! she telepathically shouted. Adam went to work at once, rubbing her back in a futile attempt to calm her down. The Rangers stared in shocked disbelief as one of their own choked and wheezed in front of them. This is the worst!
"Elissa!" Evanthe shouted her friend's name, rising to her feet. She wanted to know what was going on, and she wanted to know right then!
We need to get you to a doctor! Adam declared. Elissa shook her head harshly.
Please, Elissa! her husband insisted. At least to the Command Center! He sighed as Elissa continued to shake her head no. Elissa, please!
Very slowly, her breathing began to return to normal, but she still kept shaking her head. She was not going to a doctor or the Command Center or anywhere. Her mind was made up.
I'm getting worried about this, Elissa.
I'm fine, she told him as her eyes and breathing returned to normal. Adam looked harshly at her.
You'd better be!
As Elissa glanced around, Evanthe came over to her friend of the past century. "Are you okay? You've never hyperventilated before."
"Actually, I've been doing it a lot recently," the other Night Ranger admitted. Evanthe's eyes narrowed, and Elissa could see a faint yellow light in the back of them. She knew that meant Evanthe was, to put it mildly, annoyed.
"Why didn't you tell us?"
Elissa took as deep a breath as she could. "To be honest, I didn't want you guys to worry.
"Didn't you think we'd worry if we saw you like this?" Tommy asked gently. Elissa half-smiled.
"I was hoping you wouldn't. That they'd pass before you did."
Evanthe shook her head. "Well, they didn't. Do you know why you're doing it now?"
"I wish I did, but I'm sure they'll pass soon."
Evanthe nodded slowly. "They'd better stop," after a century of friendship and more, there was no way she was going to lose Elissa to anything, much less some hyperventilating!
"They will," Elissa held onto Adam's hand tightly as he kissed her gently, showing his love in that sweet way he had.
Tommy cleared his throat a little, hating to interrupt their precious moment together. "Maybe you should think of seeing a doctor."
"I've tried to tell her that," Adam's voice was bland, noncommittal, simply stating the fact. He wasn't going to get Elissa stirred up in any way if he could avoid it.
The Rose Ranger shook her head. "I'm fine." she wasn't going to admit to anything else, no matter how she really felt. While five centuries of life had given Evanthe a depth and breadth of perspective, wisdom, and knowledge, as well as fear and anguish, Elissa's mere century had given her stubbornness and an unwillingness to believe in much anymore.
"You'd better be," Evanthe's eyes were watching her friend almost like a hawk.
Elissa nodded lightly. "I am. If I stay calm, I don't have any attacks."
"And I try to keep her calm!" Adam declared. Evanthe shook her head a little, not quite believing her friend.
"You didn't look all that calm a few minutes ago."
Elissa's eyes and head dropped downward, and a soft whisper floated to Evanthe's keen hearing. "I'm going to be fine. Please believe me."
"Elissa. ..it might be a . ..," Tommy stopped in the middle of his sentence, not wanting to finish what he'd almost said. He'd thought about grounding her from the team again; but he knew he couldn't face her eyes or her hate if he did.
"Be a what?" Elissa pinned him with her eyes. "Spill it, Tommy!"
The White Ranger looked right at her. "Might be a good idea if we keep an eye on you," he finished smoothly. "See if we can find out why this is happening."
Elissa sighed. "It's probably just stress from work," she said. She had been working fairly hard lately, and it was wearing on her. "Maybe I should take that vacation time I've got coming to me."
"That might be a good idea," Adam suggested. Elissa smiled a little as she held his hand, then glanced down at her watch. Her eyes grew round with worry.
"Whoops! I gotta get back to work!" she snatched her purse and gave Adam a quick kiss on the cheek.
He looked deeply into her eyes. "You going to be okay?"
"I'd better be!" she told him. "Got a meeting today!" possible promotion!
Elissa smiled briefly as she waved to everyone, and then was gone. Tommy stared after her, as did Adam, but with far different expressions in their eyes. "What's on your mind, Tommy?" the Black Ranger asked finally.
"I'm worried," the team's leader reported. "How long as she been having these attacks?"
"About a week, I think."
Tommy shivered a little, then told them how Elissa's eyes had glazed over briefly when he had given her back her powers a few days earlier. Adam's eyes darkened. "Something's going on. I just wish I knew what it was."
"I wish she'd let Alpha examine her," Tommy sighed, then smiled suddenly as an idea occurred to him.
"We'll figure something out," Adam said, as Tommy just grinned.
"You know, she never said that she wouldn't let one of us scan her, and let Alpha and Zordon check the readings," the White Ranger said. Adam smiled himself.
The leader frowned a bit next. "But who?"
"Let me do it," Evanthe advised. "I'm probably the quietest, and Adam can be distracting her while I do it, if we don't want her to know about it."
Adam sighed. "She's going to hate us for this one."
Evanthe nodded, but had an answer for her friend. "Would you rather have her hate us and alive and well, or love us and be dead or worse? I'm not saying she will die if we don't, but better safe than sorry."
Adam sighed. "You're right," he glanced at the Purple and Blue Rangers. "Tonight. Come over for dinner, you can do it there."
"We'll be there," Evanthe nodded. The three of them looked at each other as Alpha handed a device to the oldest vampire there. She took a deep breath. Please forgive me, Elissa. But we are going to help you, like it or not. And I'm afraid you're not going to like it very much at all.
Later that night, everything was working perfectly as they waited for Elissa to return home from work. Adam had candles sitting on the table, and all of her favorite foods waiting for the return of his wife. Since Evanthe and Billy had no need to eat, though they were capable of it if they wanted to, he hadn't seen the use of buying food that would in all reality just be wasted on them. Their chairs simply had neat glasses of blood set in front, bought from a local store that had a secret catering service for those of the vampiric persuasion.
His head came up as he felt Elissa drawing near, and smiled as she entered the door humming happily. "Hey there, beautiful!" he greeted her.
Elissa smiled as she looked around, seeing their friends. Her eyes filled briefly with confusion. Um, Adam, did I forget something?
No, I just thought that some company would be nice for dinner, he told her. She smiled and waved, then looked back to her husband.
"Can I talk to you in the kitchen?" she asked. As the two of them entered, Elissa smiled at him warmly. "The firm got bought out," she whispered happily. "By a firm who wants me as a full fledged interior designer!"
Adam's eyes danced with glee as he grabbed her and spun her around with joy, kissing her. "Oh, Adam!" she declared. "This is what I want so much!"
"Hey!" Evanthe poked her head in, the scanner Alpha had given her hidden behind her back. "What's the noise in here?"
"I got a major promotion!" Elissa told her happily, then turned back around to kiss Adam. "This calls for a celebration!" she whirled around suddenly again as a tingle ran all through her, and just managed to catch Evanthe moving from behind her. "Evanthe? What are you doing?"
"Nothing," the vampire lied quickly. Oh, man. . .I had no idea she'd catch on THAT fast!
Elissa frowned. She'd felt that sensation before. "Evanthe? What are you hiding?"
"Nothing," Evanthe backed away, wishing she dared teleport out right away, but knew if she did, Elissa would know something was up.
"Why don't I believe you?" Elissa murmured. "I saw something in your hand. . .what was. . .," her eyes widened suddenly with anger. "You scanned me!"
Adam tried to take her hand, but she jerked away. "We're just worried about you!" he told her. Elissa stared at them in shock and betrayal.
"How could you? You knew I didn't want the tests!" she headed for the backdoor, her happy mood forgotten in this sad moment.
"Elissa, please!" Evanthe begged; wanting to explain how worried they were, and not understand why Elissa was just so not caring about her own health. What was wrong with her?
"What? Please what?" she cried. "Stay and listen to you tell me why you went behind my back and did this!?"
Evanthe sighed. "Only to help you!" she protested. Why wouldn't Elissa listen to her? Well, she is mad, the rational side of her reminded her. I would be too in this, I guess. But I don't think I'd be this stubborn.
"Get away from me, Evanthe," Elissa growled, turning and running out of the house. Evanthe tossed the scanner to Adam, then ran after Elissa; there was no way a werewolf could outrun a vampire.
And Elissa wasn't. By the time Evanthe could see her clearly again, she was in the middle of a field, stopped and trying to catch her breath. The Rose Ranger fell to her knees, doing what she could to breathe. "What is happening to me?" she whispered.
"Elissa, are you all right?" Evanthe asked, catching up with her. Elissa didn't even glare at her, she couldn't. But her voice held all the strength of one.
"Leave me alone!" she hissed.
Evanthe shook her head. "Not now, not if you're having another attack!"
"You can't help me."
"You don't know that!" Evanthe retorted, rubbing Elissa's back and taking extreme advantage of the fact she was roughly three times as strong as her werewolf friend. Elissa couldn't get away like this, especially not in the grips of an attack.
Elissa trembled harshly. "You don't know what to do."
"That's why I did what I did," Evanthe gritted her teeth, holding back words she knew could hurt too much. "So we can find out what to do."
Another one! Elissa sent to Adam, then did what she could to glare at her friend. "You betrayed me!"
"I'm trying to help you!"
"Then leave me alone!"
It took every ounce of self-control Evanthe had mustered over the last few centuries not to scream in Elissa's face right then just how stupid she thought she was being. How does she KNOW we can't help her if we don't at least TRY? Why is she being so stubborn? What is her problem these days!? Does she have a death wish?
A soft, low chuckle suddenly broke the brief silence. "Such fools," a sultry voice said. Evanthe and Elissa forgot their argument at the sound of it.
"Elissa," Evanthe whispered. "Did you hear what I just heard?"
Elissa nodded, trying to control her hyperventilating attack, but to no avail, as a tall, exotic looking woman stepped out of the darkness and walked towards them. "You are a foolish werewolf," she said, her eyes on Elissa.
Evanthe put herself between the two of them quickly. "Who are you?"
"Someone she should fear!" the woman told her. "As should you, you pitiful vampire!"
Evanthe growled deep in her throat. "She's got enough problems right now, leave her alone!"
"She's going to have more!" the evil one laughed. "She stole something from me, something I treasured!" she pulled something out of her pocket, in a closed fist.
The Purple Ranger shook her head, chills going down her spine. "Elissa hasn't stolen anything!"
"She stole my one true love!" the woman shouted, throwing a dust at Evanthe. The vampire breathed in by reflex, coughed, and then her eyes went wide just before they closed in a deep sleep. The woman chuckled again, this was going to be easier than she imagined.
Elissa watched in horror as the woman pulled a long, sharp stake out of a fold of her clothing, and stood over Evanthe. She turned to look at the helpless werewolf. "I'm going to take everything that's yours, Elissa," she laughed softly. "Starting with your best friend!"
She raised the stake over her head and started to bring it down. Two columns of light, one blue and one black, appeared behind her suddenly, and Billy smoothly kicked the stake away from the stranger. Adam was running over to Elissa, trying to comfort her, but to no avail as she pushed him away.
"I shall return! And so you know my name. . .I am. ..Ernon." the woman mocked, then vanished into thin air. The four Rangers looked at where she was, then all turned their attention to Elissa. This was more important.
Elissa sat quietly, later that night, on the futon in her art studio. She was working on a sketch. Once her attack had ended, shortly after the mysterious Ernon had left, she had returned home in silence, not speaking at all to Adam, Evanthe, or Billy. The vampire couple had went home, and she was almost certain Evanthe was in tears when they left.
She didn't even look up as Adam appeared in the room, just kept sketching and making sure no one could see what she was drawing. "Elissa?"
She glanced up, then back at the pad. "Good night, Adam," her voice was cool and controlled.
"Elissa, please talk to me!" he begged, pain in his voice. She winced internally at that, then hoped he wouldn't pick it up. They hadn't spoken mentally since her return either.
"I just did."
"A bit more than that please," there was a hint of tartness in his voice. "Do you have any idea who this Ernon person is?"
Adam sighed. "Did she say anything you remember that might help us figured out what she wants?"
"Adam," she looked at him. "I was hyperventilating at the time, and I was worried with what she was going to do with Evanthe. I didn't pay attention!" she stood up sharply, dropping the pad without meaning to. She didn't know if he could see the sketch of him she was doing, but if he did, he said nothing about it.
"Elissa, something is happening to you," he said quietly. No matter what, she was going to hear this.
She nodded. "I know."
"We're going to find out what it is, and stop it," he promised her. Elissa shrugged a little as she picked the sketch up and held it close to her.
"If you can."
The Rose Ranger sighed. "This doesn't mean that I'm not upset with you guys for tricking me."
"I know," he agreed. "But we wouldn't even know what we do now if we hadn't."
She let that pass. "I'm tired, Adam."
He nodded. "Come on. Let's go to bed," he held out his hand to her when she just stood there. "Please?"
She started to unfold the futon she'd been sitting on. "I'm sleeping up here," she said. Adam bit his lip, then nodded, turning to leave. She smiled a little. "Care to join me?"
Adam smiled as he turned back around. "Yeah. Love to. And love you."
Elissa held the sketch pad out to him, displaying the perfect sketch she'd done of him. "It was going to be a surprise for you," she said softly. Adam smiled as he kissed her, and the two of them tumbled together onto the futon, their disagreement forgotten. There were more important things to think about tonight.
A few days passed, and things relaxed a little. Evanthe and Elissa apologized to each other; though Elissa was still a bit cool towards her friend. Evanthe knew that would pass in time. Elissa still had attacks every now and then, but they didn't seem to be too severe.
Nothing was seen or heard from Ernon. Whoever or whatever she was, she appeared to be biding her time for some reason. One night, Adam woke up to hear Elissa's breathing being just a little heavier.
"Elissa?" he woke her softly. He'd learned to tell those warning signs, and that was one of them. "Elissa, what's wrong?" her eyes were a little scared. "Nightmare?"
"I don't know," she whispered as Adam wrapped his arms around her. "I love you, Adam, but this is getting just a little too scary for my tastes." she knew now that if they asked again, she'd let them perform the tests on her. She hadn't wanted them before; believing it was just a passing thing. But now. . .she wasn't so sure.
Adam sighed. "Somehow, Ernon is responsible for this," he said. He didn't know how he knew, it was just something he could feel. Something he could sense, almost in the way he sensed Elissa's thoughts.
"Why?" she wondered. "I've never even met her before."
"Are you sure?"
Elissa nodded. "I've spent almost my entire wolven life with Evanthe, and before that, I don't recall her face at all."
"If we only knew why she's doing this," Adam sighed. That could probably give them some answers, but how to find out?"
"And how," Elissa added.
Adam nodded. "And what else she's going to do. She's attacked Evanthe, and she did whatever she did to you."
Elissa suddenly began to breathe harder again, as she could feel another attack trying to start. "Not again!" Adam was on the job, however, rubbing her back and soothing her lungs so quickly that the attack subsided. "That was close."
"There has to be some way to find out what she's up to," Adam said. Elissa nodded.
"And soon, that hurt a little bit!"
A way could very well have presented itself the next day, when they were all summoned to the Command Center. Elissa frowned as she and Adam teleported in. "What's going on?" she wondered.
"Ay-yi-yi!" Alpha told her. "Elissa, I may have a way to monitor those brainwaves of yours, and figure out what's going on!"
"How?" she wondered; this was something they'd never done before!
Alpha showed her a strange looking device, a silvery helmet with wires leading from it to one of the consoles. "With this!" as she nodded, he slid it on her. "Now we can monitor your brainwaves and see just what's going on inside your head."
Elissa turned a very bright red suddenly. "I'm not so sure now!" she whispered. "Some of my thoughts I want to keep a little private!"
Alpha was quick to reassure her, "We won't see your thoughts. Just your brainwaves."
You can already see those! Elissa told Adam, who grinned lightly at her. Out loud, all she said was "All right."
They all looked up as Zordon spoke suddenly. ELISSA, UNTIL WE KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON HERE, I BELIEVE IT WOULD BE UNWISE FOR YOU TO CONTINUE FIGHTING.
"What?" the Rose Ranger stared at him.
IF YOU SHOULD HAVE ONE OF YOUR HYPERVENTILATING ATTACKS DURING A BATTLE, IT COULD ENDANGER THE REST OF THE TEAM.
Elissa stared, understanding now what he was asking of her. She nodded slowly, handing Alpha her morpher as he held his hand out for it. Tears welled up in her eyes as she did so.
WORK QUICKLY ALPHA. THE FASTER WE LEARN WHAT IS GOING ON, THE FASTER WE WILL HAVE OUR TEAM AT FULL STRENGTH AGAIN.
As the robot got to work, Adam whispered softly into Elissa's ear, "We'll beat this, no matter what it takes."
I can't believe it's happening.
It won't be for long.
It still hurts. No matter how short of a time to be asked to step down.
The sooner that we find out what is going on, the sooner we fix it.
Elissa nodded as she held onto him, then suddenly looked at Alpha as her grip tightened, her breath starting to come faster and faster. "You may wanna start scanning my brain!"
Adam rubbed her back as the scans started, and Elissa continued to hyperventilate. The Rangers watched nervously as Adam rubbed her back. They couldn't hear what she was telling him mentally. It hurts! Bad!!
"Something is being projected into her brain," Alpha reported as the scans revealed at last what was going on. Adam stared at him.
"What? And can you stop it?"
"I can try," Alpha and Billy were both on the controls quickly working.
"Make. . .it. ..stop," Elissa whispered. A few moments passed, then her breathing slowly began to return to normal. As she cried out the pain in Adam's arms, Tommy scanned her quickly, checking for real damage to her body. Elissa glanced at him, frowning when she saw the worried expression in his eyes. "What is it, Tommy?"
"I'm. .not sure," he frowned. "Alpha, you wanna double-check?"
The tension in the room suddenly tripled as Alpha also ran a scan on Elissa. She clutched at Adam as the results came in. "This isn't good!" the robot looked over at the Park couple. "You're bleeding internally, Elissa."
I'm scared, Adam. Elissa whispered, leaning against him. "Is there any way stop it?"
"I'm doing my best," Alpha told her. Elissa nodded, trusting him now more than ever before.
Glad I'm off for the weekend.
Somehow, we'll find out what Ernon has done and reverse it.
Why is she doing this to me? I don't even KNOW her!
We'll find out, Adam promised. There has to be something!
Alpha waved one of his devices over her and smiled as best as a robot could. "There! That should patch you up! If you have another attack, come straight back to the Command Center!"
As Elissa nodded, Evanthe, who had been deep in thought, suddenly slapped her forehead. "I'm an idiot. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. I'm going to go around to a few vamps and weres I know and talk to them. See if any of them know who Ernon is. She used magic to put me to sleep, and not too many humans know it even really exists, much less how to use it."
"Thanks," Elissa smiled as she leaned into Adam. She realized now that perhaps it really was for the best that Evanthe had done what she did. If she hadn't, they would be no closer to helping her than they had been before, and she wouldn't even know that someone was trying to kill her.
Alpha shuffled back over to Elissa. "Elissa, you should try and get some rest," he told her. "We'll be keeping an eye on you."
How are you feeling? Adam asked as he checked on Gwen, with Elissa waiting on the bed.
Like my insides are on fire.
We'll fix that.
I hope so, she said, laying down and pulling a pillow close to her.
Come to bed, she laughed softly despite the pain. I wanna nibble!
On the way! he was beside her a few moments later, and the next couple of hours were very, very enjoyable for them both. Elissa fell asleep almost immediately afterward, and Adam was heading fast for the same state himself when a voice echoed from behind him.
"You are so handsome."
Adam whirled around to see the strange Ernon standing in their bedroom! "What are you doing here!?" he growled, reaching for where his communicator should be: only to find it gone!
Ernon laughed and swept out a hand, casting the same form of dust over Elissa she had on Evanthe. "Exacting my revenge!" she declared, walking over to Adam. "And now. . .for what I want!"
"No!" Adam tried to move, but she was stronger than he was, even though he was a werewolf. Her hands touched him in many, many different places, and he screamed, hoping to wake Elissa up. "Get away from me!"
Ernon chuckled, then gazed into his eyes firmly. Adam's mind shrieked no still. . .but his body now obeyed her commands and hers alone. She laughed, kissing his chest. "Cheating on your wife. . .in your own bed, right next to her! Shame on you, Adam!" all he could do was glare evilly at her, and he did so. Ernon chuckled again. "You are enjoying this, aren't you?" she laughed. Adam did what he could to ignore her as she did what she wanted to him, and prayed that one day Elissa would forgive him. When Ernon was done, she stood up. "Come with me, Adam. You are now my slave!" she declared. "And what a pretty little slave you are!" she ran her fingers through his hair, laughing. "Pity she won't be alive much longer to find out."
"Don't hurt her!" Adam insisted. Ernon glared at him.
"Why not? She hurt me, and if I'm not mistaken, her next attack will put her into a very deep coma. And no one will be here to find her!"
Adam growled as she made him follow her out to the coal-black car waiting in their driveway. "She's done nothing to you!"
"How do you know? Is that what she told you?"
Adam snorted. "What could she have done?"
The evil woman's eyes blazed. "She killed the man I love!"
"She's killed no one. . .except. ..," Adam's eyes went wide with memory. "Micheal."
Ernon nodded. "Exactly! Not only did she steal my love away from me a hundred years ago, she destroyed him!"
"He was slime!" Adam growled. "He deserved it!" and worse!
His head rocked back as she slapped him hard. "You no longer have my permission to speak!" she declared, gagging him tightly. "You are mine! Get used to it!"
As they drove away, Adam managed to look at the house behind him. He could hear Gwen crying, and a tear went down his cheek. I'm sorry. Please, someone find her. Soon.
That same night, Evanthe was wandering corners of Angel Grove only her kind and werewolves really knew existed. She hadn't fed yet, deliberately. It made her more cautious and quicker on the move if she had to be, and she had the intense feeling she was going to have to be tonight.
The person she intended to talk to was sitting on a bench, smoking. Evanthe almost literally slid up on him, even though she knew perfectly well he knew she was there. "Darian?" she asked quietly. He turned to look at her.
"Evanthe," he nodded. Every vampire and just about every werewolf in the world knew her identity, at least as Evanthe Cranston. Her Ranger-nature was still a deep secret. "How are Elissa and the baby?"
"The baby's fine," Evanthe shrugged. "But Elissa isn't doing so well. I was wondering about something."
The Purple Ranger quickly described out Ernon, including every detail they had about her. "Do you know anything about her?"
Darian's eyes went wide. "Ernon? If she's after Elissa, then there's no helping her."
Evanthe's eyes burned. "I don't take no for an answer, Darian. Do you know where she is?"
"Forgive me, Evanthe," Darian whispered as he nodded, then rose up, pulling a stake from under his clothes. "I don't want to do this."
"Then why?" Evanthe backed up; she was almost certain she could take him if the situation required it, but didn't want to. He was a good friend and informant.
Darian explained. "Ernon is a very powerful sorceress, and very evil. She can make people do things that they don't wish to do."
"What does she have in mind for Elissa?" Evanthe would get into the why's of it later. She wanted to know what now.
Darian sighed. "She's going to take away everything she cares the most for. She went after Elissa's husband tonight. . .and. .."
"Darian," Evanthe's voice held an edge of darkness. "Keep going."
No one could possibly have resisted that command. "If Elissa has one more attack she's a goner."
"How can I stop Ernon?" Evanthe's veins pulsed with power. "I won't let Elissa die!"
"There is a candle, where she has taken Adam, that can only be blown out tonight. You have to do it, no one else can, it must be done by the breath of the dead who walk," Darian told her. "After yo blow it out, take it, hide it somewhere that Ernon can't get to," he quietly turned and threw the stake he had into the dark waters of the lake. "I won't kill you. Elissa is too good of a friend, even before she became a were."
Evanthe nodded, her mind working at hyperspeed now. "Where has she taken Adam?"
"There's a cottage just outside of Angel Grove, in the woods. She's taken him there," Darian quickly gave her directions, and Evanthe nodded.
"Thanks, Darian. I owe you a favor now."
"Just helping a friend," he sat back down and stared out over the lake as Evanthe raced away. The minute she was out of earshot, even for those of the vampiric lifestyle, she raised her communicator to her lips, transmitting the information to the others. Ernon is MINE! she growled mentally. All mine.
The sun was rising over the horizon when Elissa's eyes opened the next morning. "Morning," she smiled, then realized she was alone in the bed! "Adam?" as the realization swept over her, she began to feel her breath catching. "Not again!" Adam? Where are you?
Where are you, Adam?
Ernon has me! he half-screamed. I can't control what I'm doing, Elissa!
What!? how could this be happening? How could it have happened? Adam, I'm having another attack. It hurts. . .
Can you call the others?
Can't. . .move. . .she was hyperventilating now, and every inch of her hurt like wildfire. Help me!!
I'll do what I can!
Just talk. . .she whispered. It might help. . .
Adam concentrated on Elissa, ignoring Ernon's fingers through his hair and over his body. All his thoughts were on the woman he truly loved. They were, however, somewhat interrupted when the door to the cottage was ripped off it's hinges. Evanthe, in full vampiric outrage, stood there, eyes aflame with rage.
"You have two choices," the vampire Ranger hissed. "You can leave now and live or you can stand there and watch me rip your head off your neck. Personally, I prefer the latter."
Ernon stared at Evanthe, and for one moment, wished she were close enough to a stake to do some good. It flashed through her mind to order Adam to attack her; but a secondary realization came to her. She's stronger than he is, and they are friends. That might be enough to break my spell on him. I don't want that to happen. . .and he could be useful as an inside agent. Therefore. . .
Evanthe's patience had worn out. Ernon barely had time to see the dagger fly from her hand and pin itself just barely an inch away from her. Evanthe might not be using her Ranger powers for this, but there had always been more to her than just being a Ranger. "You missed!" the sorceress hissed. "I shall return, though. ..stronger than ever. ..be warned!" her eyes fell on Adam next. "You are free. ..for now!"
"Go to hell."
As she vanished, Ernon laughed, and Adam fell to the ground crying, not believing what was going on. Evanthe grabbed him by the neck harshly, dragging him to his feet. "Adam, come on! We've got to get to Elissa, after I find a certain candle!" she was tearing the room apart a moment later.
Adam thought for a moment, then went into a room he'd seen Ernon enter not long after their arrival. "Is this it?"
She smiled. The candle was long, thick, and red as blood, with a strange black flame rising from the wick. "This is going to save Elissa," she said, and casually blew it out. Adam only looked at her, scared.
"Elissa had another attack," he whispered softly. Evanthe growled.
The minute they arrived in the Command Center, Adam ran straight to Elissa. He wasn't going to ask how she'd gotten there from their house; he suspected Evanthe had something to do with it. He held her hand and nodded as Alpha told him that she was just asleep, and that her injuries were healing themselves now that the candle was no longer working it's evil magic on her. Evanthe hid the thing in the deepest, darkest place she could find in the Command Center, then rejoined the others.
"We have to keep an eye out for Ernon now," she said as she entered the tense room. Tommy nodded.
"A careful eye out for her. Let's just hope Rita and Zedd don't want to join forces with her!"
Evanthe shuddered, remembering how Gerard and Sophie had done that, and put them through a minor hell for a year. "Definitely!"
"That would be the last thing we need!"
Elissa moaned softly, breaking up the conversation. Adam stared at her, smiling, as she opened her eyes. "Adam!" she smiled.
"Elissa!" he breathed softly. "You're all right!"
"I am," she whispered, holding him close to her. "I am. What happened?"
Evanthe frowned. "Ernon was. . being. .well. . ."
The vampiress chuckled weakly. "More like a bitch in heat. All over Adam."
I was wondering where your clothes went! Elissa teased him as Evanthe explained what Darian had told her about Ernon. Elissa growled. "I see her again, I'm going to rip her heart out."
"Stand in line," Evanthe advised. "She tried to kill me, twice, and I do not like that."
Elissa shook her head. "She tried to kill me slowly, and she did that to Adam. I think I've got seniority on that list."
"How about we do it together?" Evanthe suggested. "It's always good to have help when you're going to do something that takes a few weeks!" her lips wrinkled back to display her powerful fangs, and Elissa only smiled.
"Right now, I just want to get my husband home," she said. The two of them teleported home almost at once, and snuggled straight onto the bed. "Show me what she did, please," she asked quietly, once they were comfortable.
Adam didn't look at her. He couldn't. Things happened so fast around here sometimes. . "Why?"
"It's obviously eating you up," Elissa's voice held more tenderness than anyone had ever heard from her, even Evanthe. Adam slowly nodded, then her mind was overwhelmed by the images of it all. As they faded, she held him close, feeling rage and shame and love and pity and a thick biting desire for revenge pouring all through her. "She will pay for what she did to you."
Tears flowed from Adam's eyes. "I wanted to die!"
"It's okay," she whispered. "You're safe now."
The two of them held each other strongly. "I love you, Elissa."
"I love you, Adam," she said. "What do you say we spend the rest of the day in bed. . .just holding each other?"
"Sounds good to me."
"And we can talk," Elissa said as he leaned back. She quietly went to make them both a cup of coffee, and looked at him on her return. "Where do we start?"
"I'm not sure," he shook his head.
Elissa sighed, cuddling up to him, then looked into his eyes. "You don't mind this, do you?" at his shaking no, she frowned. "You're telling the truth?"
"Yeah." the slight shaking of his body told her a different story, though. She sighed.
"Adam, you had no control over what she did to you. Understand that, please. What happened is all her fault."
"I know," he said softly. Elissa leaned up and kissed him lightly on the neck, then winced as he jerked away, shaking still.
"I'm sorry," she said, wanting Ernon in hell more than ever now.
Adam sighed. "I'll be okay," I hope I will be anyway!
I heard that! Elissa took his hand gently.
You're right, this link is kind of annoying at times.
I love you, Adam. It hurts me to see you hurting like this.
I love you, too.
Elissa looked into his eyes. "This is going to take some time. Do you mind if I hold you?"
"No, I don't mind," he replied. Elissa curled up next to him and held him, every sense aware of his reactions. She could tell that he liked her holding him, but a slight shiver ran through him whenever he thought about Ernon doing it. As she ran her fingers through his hair, he shrank away a little.
"It's only me, Adam," she whispered. "It's only me."
"I know. ..but. ..," she wrapped her arms around him as he whispered the words to her.
She looked deeply at him. "Just talk to me, Adam. Please."
For a moment he resisted, just for a moment. Then it all came spilling out, everything she had sensed, but he hadn't said, all the shame and hurt and fear that he had went through and was still going through even now. He even told her what Ernon had said about him being free `for now'. Elissa held him as the tears racked his body over and over again.
"You have nothing to be ashamed of, Adam," she told him. "And if she ever tries to do that to you again, she'll be dead in two seconds flat!"
Adam smiled. She was so protective right now, and he loved that. It was a nice change from it being the other way around, though he heartily wished that it hadn't happened as it did. "I love you, Elissa."
"Don't be afraid, Adam," she whispered, touching his chest with her palm. "It hurts me to see you like that."
I'm not afraid. Not anymore. Not as long as I'm with you.
I will not leave you, Adam, she promised, and turned to kiss him again, only to have him kiss her! She sighed happily as they cuddled. I'm glad it's Saturday. I don't have to be to work until Monday, and your parents took Gwen for the weekend!
I think we can keep occupied for the weekend!
Yeah. .healing. .
A mental giggle from Adam. Among other things!
Those other things are what is going to help you the most. Let me take the lead on this one, Adam, please, she began to slowly kiss her way down his body, and Adam moaned mentally.
And it's only going to get better!
I can hardly wait!
He didn't have to.