Return Of The Great Power
Book 1 - The Return
Chapter 6: Haven't We Done This Before?
By: Pink_Green_White_4ever
Last Revised: July 23, 2004
Email: pink_green_white_4ever@yahoo.com
Website: A Blast From The Past



~*~

Tuesday
June 18, 2002
6:00 P.M. Angel Grove Time

Justin felt the power of the monolith wash over him. It wasn't much different than the Turbo powers he'd been given command of as a young boy nor was it much more different than his newfound Ninjetti powers; but it was different all the same. There was something about the power of the monolith...hadn't the girls mentioned something called the Great Power, after Dulcea had given them their Ninjetti powers? Was this what they was referring to, this warmth and assurance?

When the beige clad young man finally opened his eyes, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, until he realized he wasn't standing in front of the monolith, but in fact was standing at the base of what had been Zordon and Dimitria's column of power in the Turbo Chamber. [Face one of your greatest fears, and receive the prize you seek] a voice seemed to fade into the background of his mind, but Justin had heard the challenge all the same.

"One of my greatest fears?" Justin questioned aloud, confused at which of his fears, the ones he readily acknowledged, would have to do with the Turbo Chamber.

"You lie to yourself if you think one of your greatest fears has nothing to do with the Power!" a voice boomed around the room. Justin's head snapped to look at the column where the Rangers' mentors had resided, but found no one. Looking around the room, Justin frowned when he realized he was completely alone in the Turbo Chamber. "You are never alone, Justin, not once the Power touches you."

The young man steadily grew angry as the voice continued to read his thoughts. Didn't the person know it was an invasion of privacy? "My apologies, young one, I did not mean to offend or anger you."

Eyes wide, mouth opened in shock, Justin looked up at the column again, this time almost expecting Zordon to be floating above him, grinning down at him. The voice sounded entirely too familiar for the young former Ranger's liking. "Zordon? Zordon, is that you?" Justin asked, his voice cracking with the emotions he felt.

The room remained silent, as though the voice had left. Justin closed his eyes, his mind taking him back five years to the day he'd stepped into Rocky's hospital room and then had stepped from boyhood to super hero-dom. "Your life changed a great deal when you made the decision to visit Rocky's sick bed that afternoon, did it not?" This voice, different from the first in that it was female, was also hauntingly familiar. Justin knew he would have been able to recognize Dimitria's voice anywhere.

"Yes, the decision to go visit my big brother in the hospital changed my life in more ways than I can possibly count," Justin murmured, his mind going back over every minute of that adventure. The team still referred to it as the Murianthias incident, as the whole adventure had been unsettling, particularly for the five active and two former Rangers that had experienced it.

Justin could still remember the look on Rocky's face when the older boy had found out he had been listening to the Rangers' conversation from under the bed. Smiling, he could fondly remember the look in Rocky's eyes as the Blue Zeo Ranger had given Alpha 5 and Zordon the go ahead to give Justin the Blue Turbo Powers. Justin swore, even to this day, no other morph had felt as invigorating or liberating or even suffocating, as that first time...had it really only been five years since that momentous occasion when he'd become the youngest Power Ranger of all time?

And then the madness that had been the Nemesis Triangle and the Island of Murianthias came crashing back. Tanya had taken the incident like a champ, not really letting the fact that two of her friends were in danger get to her until after the mission had been completed. Kat had acted likewise, though the Pink Turbo Ranger had more of an emotional investment in Divatox's two hostages - Kim had given Kat the opportunity to join the team and Jason had been a teammate during the Zeo Crisis. Poor Adam. He'd been torn, between his loyalty to the current team and his friendship with the two former Rangers. But the Green Turbo and veteran Ranger had pulled through, never having to betray either allegiance. And then there had been Tommy.

If he closed his eyes, Justin could still vividly picture the look on Tommy's face through his visor when the Red Turbo Ranger had seen Kimberly and Jason dropped into the volcano and turned against them by Maligore. Justin felt, again, the pang of guilt that that one memory always brought. He'd felt like he'd let the team, Zordon, but most importantly Tommy, down, by not being strong enough or fast enough to reach the wheel that Elgar and Rygog were standing at and using to slowly drop Kim and Jase into the cursed volcano, inch by agonizing inch. And because he hadn't been fast enough, strong enough, the two former Rangers had been turned against their friends and former teammates.

"That may be true, but you also helped get them back. You're the one who suggested using our weapons to get Maligore's attention, to get him to follow us outside to battle him in the Zords." This third voice brought a smile to Justin's face. Tommy, in all the time that they'd been friends after that adventure, had never gotten on Justin's case about what he hadn't been able to do. "And, you're the one who found the entrance to the volcano to begin with."

When Justin opened his eyes, he found Tommy standing next to him, looking up at the smiling face of Zordon. To Tommy's side, Dimitria floated serenely. "I guess, even after we helped Kim and Jase, I always felt like I couldn't live up to you guys, or even their legacy as Rangers. I'll bet they never let that happen to one of their friends."

Dimitria floated toward Justin, stopping mere inches in front of him. "You are not Jason, or Kimberly, are you?"

Justin wrinkled his face in confusion. "No."

"Then why do you compare yourself to them? Are you not Justin Stewart?"

"Well, yeah, but..."

Zordon chuckled. "Dimitria has a point, Justin. Kimberly and Jason, and even you, were picked for your own unique qualities. You can't compare yourself to them, because your situations were vastly different." Justin nodded at that. He understood the span between the original team and his own two Turbo teams. "The two of them were among the original five, and later the original six. Your experiences becoming a Ranger and later on as a veteran Turbo Ranger were different then theirs as Morphin' Rangers."

"I know how you feel, Bro," Tommy started, turning to face Justin. "It's hard to live up to the expectations of others, especially when those others are legendary in your mind. What you've got to remember is that you're just you, not Jason, not Kimberly, and certainly not me or Rocky. All we expect out of you is YOUR best, which is all YOU should expect out of you."

Justin nodded. He finally understood. "One of my greatest fears was that I would never live up to the legacy of the first Rangers because I was so young, and still am, but you guys are right. Zordon wouldn't have let Rocky give up his spot on the team if he hadn't thought I could handle the responsibility," Justin spoke, watching Zordon and Dimitria nod before he turned his gaze back to Tommy. "And you guys wouldn't have let me stay if you didn't think I was taking it seriously, or wasn't able to handle it. But most of all, I don't have to live up to the legacy of the first team, I'm supposed to cherish it and what it meant, and the opportunity it's given me. Jason chose Rocky and Rocky chose me."

Justin blinked rapidly as the Turbo Chamber disappeared in a flash of light. He found himself standing in front of the steps leading to the monolith again. Turning, he noticed he was the only one of the group of twelve to be standing there. [A job well done, Justin, a job well done] the voice from before, the one who'd issued the challenge, spoke again.

Turning, Justin stared at the beautiful white falcon that was perched on the steps leading to the monolith. "You're Tommy's..."

[Yes, I am. Now, you may want to get comfortable, I do not know how long the others will take]

"And if they don't pass this test?"

[They will perish] the falcon spoke, cocking its head to the side when Justin's eyes slammed shut and the boy looked as though he were whispering something unintelligible. [Justin, I have great faith in they who represent my fellow spirit animals and the one who represents me. They know what is at stake should they fail. I have every confidence that they will succeed, and so should you]

"I do," Justin murmured. "I'm just saying a little prayer to give them some help."

~*~

In his twenty-four years of life, Zack had seen a lot of things that could be classified as weird, abnormal, and downright scary, but this one topped them all. The former Black Morphin' Ranger found himself standing in a fully functional Command Center. [Face one of your greatest fears] a voice seemed to taunt him, fading into the background of his mind as the scene before him took over his attention. He hadn't been a Ranger for a very long time, but Tommy had been the one to tell them about the destruction of their home away from home, and Zack had seen the carnage himself just days ago.

"Oh boy," Zack managed to mutter as he slowly moved around the circular platform where Alpha 5 had more often than not been found in the Command Center, monitoring Earth, the Moon and most of the Milky Way for possible threats.

"Would you not designate holding the Power as one of your worst fears?" Zack felt himself go still at the sound of that oh so familiar voice. Turning, he looked up to where Zordon should have been but found nothing but space.

Zack shook his head. Holding the Power had been scary, going to Geneva had been terrifying, but coming home after all this time, now that was something he'd been dreading nearly since the day he'd left. He'd given up the duty he'd been charged with all those years ago to go to a peace conference where the daily threat of losing your life was next to none. How stupid was that? Zack couldn't help but think he'd messed up by going to the conference. The former Ranger pinched the bridge of his nose, hoping to ward off angry tears. Closing his eyes, he could remember clearly the last time he'd stood in this very room. It had been the night of the power transfer.

"Bro, come on, you weren't the only one who left for it, remember?" The sound of his best friend's voice snapped Zack from his thoughts. Looking around him, all five of the other original Rangers stood, wearing their signature colors, and smiling at him.

"Jason," Zack started, only to be shushed by Kimberly.

The former Pink Ranger stood toe to toe with Zack, which made him laugh; same ol'Kim, still too short for her own good. "Zachary Emanuel Taylor, don't you dare think for one moment we didn't understand your need to go to that conference."

Zack stood there, mouth open in shock at the sound of Kimberly's voice, or maybe it was more she'd hit the nail on the head with her words. Was that one of his biggest fears? Was the thought of his friends resenting his choice to leave really what he had been afraid of when coming back?

"Come on Zack," Tommy started, reaching out to lay a hand on Zack's shoulder. "You, Jason and Trini went and did something that was just as important as being a Power Ranger. You guys were trying to find ways to make peace between the peoples of Earth. So you weren't fighting alien monsters on a daily basis, you were fighting monsters all the same - hate, indifference, poverty, war." Tommy's eyes shone with the honesty and sincerity of his words. Zack had never known the former Ranger leader to lie to him, let alone tell him something he himself didn't believe.

Zack finally let their words sink in. "Zack, we never resented your choice to leave the Ranger team. In fact, we were proud that you guys decided to go and do something new, that you weren't afraid to face a new challenge," Billy started. "Besides, look how much good was done in your absence. You, Jason and Trini made extraordinary improvements through the Peace Conference and your leaving the team helped bring Rocky, Adam and Aisha to it. I, for one, am glad that we were given three new Rangers, it meant that we had a bigger group of friends to share this burden with."

"What I think Billy is trying to say," Trini started, stepping toward her friend for the first time. "Is that they aren't mad at us, at you, for leaving. They're proud of us."

Zack nodded. For the first time in nearly eight years, he actually felt at peace with his leaving the team. "I've always pushed the issue aside because I felt like if I took it out, examined it, I'd find that you guys were mad at me leaving you with the duty I'd been given. Loosing your friendships because of that would have killed me." Zack's comments were directed to the three that had been left behind all those years ago.

Kim smiled and looked up at Zack. "Look where you are now, Zack," the petite gymnast started. "You've gone and done what you wanted but you've returned to that duty at the first sign of you being needed again. You've never really given it up, and you're just now realizing that." Zack cracked a grin.

"Yeah, I guess I have." Zack could say no more as the warm light from the monolith washed over him, distorting the Command Center before him until he found himself standing in front of the steps leading to the giant pillar of power.

"Zack?" At the sound of his name, the former Ranger snapped his gaze up to the worried face of Justin.

"Justin, what's going on?"

[Very well done, Zachary]

Zack gaped at the white falcon perched on the steps next to where Justin sat. "I think I need to sit down," he murmured, taking a seat on the other side of the falcon. "You're Tommy's spirit animal, right?"

[Yes. We must wait for the others now]

Nodding, Zack took a deep breath and shot a smile at Justin. The poor kid looked nervous as all get out. "So what happens if they don't pass?" The look on Justin's face was grim, and it made Zack gulp.

"You don't want to know."

~*~

Trini sighed as bittersweet memories assaulted her mind. She found herself standing next to her old locker in the main hallway of Angel Grove High. Smiling, Trini trailed her fingers along the blue painted metal where she and Kim had spent many a morning gossiping, comparing notes, avoiding Bulk and Skull's unwanted attentions or discussing Ranger business.

[Face one of your greatest fears]

Trini felt the shiver go up her spine, as the voice seemed to fade almost before she'd heard the words. 'One of my greatest fears?' she silently asked herself, confusion evident.

Suddenly, the bell rang, and the doors to the classrooms opened, students pouring into the hallway, anxious to get to their next classes. "Trini!" a voice called out in delight. Turning, Trini saw Kim, Aisha, Kat and Tanya hurrying toward her from what Trini knew had been Mrs. Applebee's room.

Blinking, Trini watched as the four girls gathered around her. They were chattering away about something or another as Kim and Aisha poked around in their lockers. 'We never attended high school together, what's going on?' Trini questioned herself as she attempted to keep up with whatever Kimberly was babbling on about. "Kim, slow down, I don't understand a word of what you just said," Trini sighed as she rubbed her fingers over her forehead, hoping to get the on-coming headache to go away.

Kim looked sheepish. "Sorry. You are coming to the Youth Center with us, right? Jason, Tommy and Rocky said something about teaching a class and Sha and I want to go and watch 'em."

Trini merely nodded, knowing it was better not to even try and attempt to sort out Kim's mile a minute conversation. Silently, the former Yellow Ranger followed her four friends over to Kat and Tanya's lockers.

"Tri, you ok?" Aisha asked softly, catching the others' attentions. Trini looked dazed as she attempted to answer Aisha's question.

"I..."

"Oh come on, Tri, you'll adjust to normal high school again, no worries," Kim gushed when she saw the look on Trini's face.

"This isn't real," Trini muttered, knowing that moments ago she'd been standing on another planet in front of a giant monolith that supposedly housed the greatest power in the universe.

Kat laughed, threading her arm through Trini's. "It's ok Trini, you'll adjust to being around all of us. Trust me, it takes some getting use to."

"I don't belong here, this isn't real."

"Trini Kwan, you did not just say that," Aisha scolded, watching as Trini's eyes flew open and her gaze landed on Aisha's face. "You're one of us, in fact you were one of the first of us. If anyone belongs here, it's you."

Trini nodded. Tanya shared an encouraging smile. "Aisha's right," Tanya started. "Don't worry about fitting back in, you still have a place here, you never lost it."

Trini smiled at Tanya, and then looked down at the petite brunette standing directly in front of her. "I've never, in the ten plus years I've known you, ever known you to have a problem when it came to wondering if you fit in or not. You can't tell me some time in another country changed that, can you?" Trini could only stare at Kimberly as her life long best friend nailed the cause of her anxiety dead center. "Trini, it's ok to be nervous, you've been away for a while, but you've just got to get past that awkwardness of being back and then you'll be fine. OK?"

"I guess I've just been feeling funny coming back. I mean, I'm kind of the odd man out when it comes to the group. You guys are paired off, pink and yellow."

"Hey!" Aisha laughed. "Tanya and I have shared teams with Kat, just like you and I did with Kim. No worries!" The others laughed at Aisha's comment before turning to walk down the hall.

Trini made to move to follow her friends but never made it. She felt the hallway fade from around her, leaving her standing at the steps where she'd been only a few minutes before, this time facing Zack and Justin.

"Trini?" Justin asked carefully when he saw the tears welling in her eyes.

She smiled at the young Ninjetti and then turned to look at Zack, who came forward and enveloped her in a hug. [Well done, Trini. You faced one of your greatest fears and over came it.]

Trini's eyes landed on the white falcon now perched next to where Justin sat on the steps. "I take it the others still haven't passed their test?"

"Nope. It's a waiting game now," Zack murmured, as the three humans got comfortable.

~*~

Billy knew his mind was playing tricks on him. In fact, it had been nearly a week and a half since he'd been where he was standing now. Of course, after he'd received the summons by Alpha 5, he'd packed as quickly as possibly and headed for home.

The strange flashlight like torches still lit the room, giving off an eerie under water glow to the walls and the screen of the computer that took up the entire wall in front of the former Blue Ranger. [Face one of your greatest fears, William]

Billy blinked rapidly and looked around, expecting to see someone standing with him. "That's odd," he whispered. Billy shook his head. He knew he must be hallucinating. His sensible side said that there was no way he could be hearing a voice if there was no one else in the room, but the side of him that believed in the magic and power that he once possessed as a Ranger knew that it was entirely possible.

"How did I get back to my quarters on Aquitar when I was just on Phadoes?" Billy questioned out loud, his mind moving at the speed of light to figure out his situation. Slowly, Billy moved toward his massive computer, typing in a series of commands that booted the giant machine up.

Shaking his head, Billy sat down in front of the console. "William, you have a communication coming in from Earth," the computer chirped evenly, the sound monotone.

"Patch it through," Billy commanded as the screen flared to life. Sitting back in the chair, Billy watched on as Tommy's face appeared on the screen, the Zeo Rangers in the background, looking rather frazzled.

"Billy?" Tommy questioned.

Smiling, the former Ranger nodded. "Go ahead Tommy."

"Billy, we really need your help," Tommy started. "Zordon, Alpha, and even Adam and I are stumped."

Billy sighed. It wasn't like he hadn't been expecting the words. There had been a few times during the Zeo Crisis that Tommy and the others had called him for help.

Of course, not only had the Zeo Rangers relied on him for help, the Aquitian Rangers had as well. It seemed he'd never grow out of the role of the problem solver, or the nickname Zack had given him - "Main Brain".

Sighing again, Billy nodded. "What's wrong?"

"Adam and I have tried to recalibrate the frequency between the Zeo Zords to perform the Mega Zord sequence a little faster, but it doesn't seem to be working. Neither Zordon nor Alpha have been able to figure out what we're doing wrong. Think you could give us a hand, if you're not busy? I know you're working with the Aquitian Rangers, but we could really use the advice."

Billy furrowed his brow. Maybe his first feelings toward the situation were unfounded. Tommy and Adam had gone to Zordon and Alpha first, after having attempted the calibrations and calculations on their own. Only when their mentor and his assistant had been unable to help had they sought his help. "We're sorry to bug you Billy," Adam spoke, his face appearing next to Tommy's. "We're just stumped. You'd have thought some of those Billy-smarts of yours would have rubbed off on us while you were here, but apparently we weren't so lucky."

Adam's teasing eased some of the tension that had built in Billy's shoulders. "Send the calculations to me," Billy smiled. The calculations appeared on the screen and Billy rapidly read through them. "You guys did a good job. It's just the math that's off a little. Try changing the combination frequency by .0005 milliseconds and that should work."

Billy watched Tommy type the calculations into the computer on his end, smiling when the computerized display of the Zeo Mega Zord sequence appeared, and worked exactly how the group had hoped. "ALRIGHT BILLY!" Billy laughed, hearing Rocky whoop in the background.

"Hey, you guys did most of the work, I had nothing to do with this. I am just surprised Alpha did not catch that sooner," Billy muttered, his mind drifting.

"Hey Bro," Jason's voice floated across as he, Rocky, Tanya and Kat squeezed together with Tommy and Adam. "How are things on Aquitar?"

Billy chuckled when Jason grinned that oh so cheesy grin of his over the communication. "Everything is fine. We are experiencing a lull at the moment and my treatments are progressing as expected."

"Any chance you'll be coming home soon?" Kat questioned with a smile.

Tanya nodded in agreement with her fellow female Ranger. "Yeah, we miss you!"

Billy felt his heart crack a little bit and then felt himself slip back into the present. There had been a possibility Cestro had told him of when he'd first gone to Aquitar for help - the treatment might not work. "I do not have any idea as to the possible date of my departure from Aquitar or my return home. I apologize, but I must be going."

The group nodded. "Billy-man?" Rocky questioned, waiting until Billy acknowledged he'd heard the Blue Zeo Ranger. "Hurry home, ok? We miss having you around. It makes hanging out at the youth center or the park kind of hard when you aren't with us. Feels like something's missing."

Billy felt his throat close up on him. The look in his friends' eyes told him that he had just been feeling sorry for himself earlier. "I will come home as soon as possible, Rocko. Billy out."

The computer screen went blank, leaving Billy to stare at it as tears welled in his eyes. His heart ached for the familiarity of the youth center, or Angel Grove Park, even - heaven help him - the sureness he felt when he was in the Power Chamber. "You miss them."

Turning, the former Blue Ranger saw Delphine standing in the doorway to his room. Not trusting his voice to be steady, Billy simply nodded to his friend. "Why do you look as if you were worried they simply see you as the person with all the answers?" the white Aquitian Ranger questioned as she stepped toward her friend.

"Because, for a long time I was always the one they went to for answers when they could not figure things out for themselves," Billy spoke bitterly. His genius was sometimes a blessing and a curse.

"Was that not a sign of their faith or trust in you, that they would come to you for answers when they could not find ones for themselves?"

Billy blinked as he stared up at the leader of the Aquitian Rangers. Delphine was absolutely right. "Until now, I did not see it that way."

"You have been feeling sorry for yourself, as you would say on Earth. You think your friends see you solely as the genius, but just now, did Rocky not make a point to inform you of their feelings? They miss having you near, just to be with."

Billy opened his mouth to retort but felt the world start to spin around him. Slamming his eyes shut, the former Blue Ranger hoped when he opened them again the room would have stopped tilting. What he hadn't been expecting was to find himself standing before Trini, Zack and Justin, all of whom looked worriedly at him. [You faced your fear, William. Congratulations]

Turning, Billy gazed at the pure white falcon that was perched on Justin's shoulder. "Tommy's spirit animal," Billy muttered as Trini and Zack helped him sit down on the steps. "One of my greatest fears, and I finally acknowledged it."

[And worked passed it]

Nodding, Billy sat with the others in silence, part of him knowing they needed to wait for those who'd yet to return and afraid to ask what would happen if his friends couldn't get passed their fears.

~*~

The sun peeked through the pastel yellow curtains of the window into her room. The air was heavy with the smell and feel of rain that had yet to fall. There were sounds coming from outside the doors of the hut, sounds of the villagers' morning routines, but that was something Aisha had become accustom to. Gone were the sounds of the big city, replaced with the simplicity and calm of the African plains. Slowly, Aisha blinked the sleep from her eyes, stretched under the thin yellow and white sheet, and then sat up, her bones creaking and protesting the movement. 'I bet Zordon never anticipated us feeling like this after we gave up the power' she mused sardonically to herself.

Once her feet touched the ground, Aisha felt the world spin slightly out of focus. [Face one of your greatest fears]

The former Yellow Ranger knew she'd heard a voice, but it was gone as quickly as it had come, and upon closer inspection, her small hut was devoid of life other than herself. "Sha, you're hearing things," she chided herself as she moved to dress.

A half hour later, and her morning wake up routine behind her, Aisha ventured out of the hut and into the heart of the village. It wasn't until she'd almost reached her small work area on the other side of the encampment that she realized a detail of great importance. "How in the hell did I wind up back here when I was on Phadoes?" she asked herself as she stopped, standing still in the middle of the path she'd been walking on. Looking around, Aisha saw the villagers she had come to know and love going on about their business like nothing was out of place.

"Aisha," the soft voice called. Turning, Aisha saw Keesha, one of her young assistants, coming toward her. The younger girl looked worried.

"Keesha?"

"Jon-ba arrived from the city this morning," Keesha spoke as she and Aisha made their way to their work area. Aisha's equipment was set up just how it had been the entire time she'd been in Africa. There were charts, books of logs and microscope equipment everywhere.

Aisha smiled. "Yeah? And how was the trip into the city?"

Keesha smiled back at her older friend. "He brought you something." Digging into the satchel at her side, Keesha pulled out a worn and dirty envelope. Smiling again, the younger girl handed the piece of mail to Aisha.

"A letter from home," Aisha murmured as she looked down at the front of the letter. In dark letters were her name and address, and the return address of the DeSantos household in Angel Grove, all done in Rocky's surprisingly careful handwriting. "Rocko."

"A letter from your friends?" Keesha asked as Aisha nodded. Noting that her friend was occupied with the letter from the United States, Keesha turned and left Aisha to her privacy.

Numb fingers slowly opened the envelope. Carefully, Aisha pulled the thick, red letter from its confines. Sitting on a stool, the former Yellow Ranger began to read.

Rocky's letter started with the pleasantries. He asked how she was, how the work was coming, how school and the weather were. He told her how the gang was fairing. It was normal chatty stuff. Then Aisha hit the second page, and felt her stomach drop out.

Rocky wrote of Kim and Tommy's break up, which shocked Aisha to death. The letter continued with Billy's departure and Jason's arrival and acceptance of the Gold Ranger powers, which the letter went on, the former Ranger leader had been forced to give up because they were slowly killing him.

Rocky wrote of the changing of the Zeo powers to the Turbo powers, and of his stepping down from his position as the Blue Ranger because of his accident. He told her about Justin, and spoke of his fears that he'd placed a big responsibility on the younger boy's shoulders.

The final page was how the team was adjusting to each other. Rocky spoke of how Tanya seemed to fit right in with them easily, how she and Kat had become the best of friends and how much Adam seemed to be taken with her.

Aisha felt sick to her stomach. She'd never been a jealous person, but for some strange reason, she was jealous of Tanya. The current Yellow Ranger seemingly had everything that Aisha had held dear - her powers, her spot on the team, her friends. 'Now I know how Kim and Trini must be feeling' Aisha thought to herself as tears pricked her eyes. She'd been thinking of traveling back to Angel Grove for Christmas, but the thought was suddenly shot out of her mind faster than if she'd morphed. She no longer fit in with the team.

"My dear, you look as though you're going to cry." Looking up, Aisha came face to face with one of the village elders, a man she knew only as Jean. Taking a deep breath, Aisha nodded and then swiped at her eyes. "I take it your emotional state has to do with that correspondence you've received from home?"

Again, Aisha nodded, not trusting her voice to not give out on her. "Aisha, do you not realize that your friends are merely keeping you abreast of what's happening in your homeland while you're here helping us?" Jean spoke, his voice soothing. "They would not wish for you to feel sad, but to rejoice that the duty you passed on is being well taken care of."

"I just feel like I no longer belong in their circle," Aisha muttered as tears threatened to spill again as she bowed her head.

Jean reached out one frail hand and lifted Aisha's chin, so that he could look her straight in the eyes. "You do not believe that, you and I both know this to be true. You share a bond with them that cannot ever be broken, nor can it be understood by those who lived on the outside of your world. You may feel like you no longer belong, but that is not true. You merely have to look within to see that their love, their friendship, still soars freely within your soul, within your heart."

Aisha nodded. Jean smiled at her before turning to leave her to read the rest of the letter. What Aisha found surprised her. Rocky finished his part of the letter with an 'I love and miss you' and then there were small messages from all of the others, each expressing how much they missed her and loved her and wished she'd come home soon for a visit. "Oh guys!" Aisha choked out as more rebellious tears, ones of happiness, leaked down her cheeks.

Bringing the letter up to her heart, Aisha closed her eyes and thought of her friends. When she opened them again, the village around her was starting to fade and blur, until it was no longer present, in its place was a dense jungle. A gentle hand rested on Aisha's shoulder, causing her to spin around. She smiled widely when she saw Billy standing before her, with Trini, Zack and Justin just behind him. "Billy!" Aisha suddenly leapt into the former Blue Ranger's arms, causing him to laugh.

"Sha?" Trini beckoned as Aisha left Billy's arms and threw her own around her predecessor. "You ok? You're crying."

"Tri, I've never been better, never," Aisha bubbled, as she moved to hug Zack and then Justin.

[I am very proud of you, Aisha the Bear]

Aisha's eyes widened at the sound of the familiar voice. Looking over Zack's shoulder, Aisha saw the white falcon perched in the tree just beyond. "You're..."

The falcon's head bobbed once. [Yes, I am.]

"Where is everyone?"

"They haven't passed their tests yet," Justin murmured, watching as Aisha bit her lip and nodded.

~*~

Rocky knew he was probably hallucinating. In fact, he was sure of it. Just a few days ago, the whole team had gathered together in what remained of the three bases used by Zordon's Rangers; the only one that had halfway survived was the Power Chamber. Therefore, Rocky knew that the Turbo Chamber could not be intact in anything other than his very delusional mind. "What the hell?" Rocky muttered to himself, turning in a circle, seeing the room he'd never stepped foot in, for the first time.

[Face one of your greatest fears, Rockford]

Rocky scowled. Not many beyond his family and friends new his full name, in fact he didn't think even Zordon had known his full name. "Face one of my greatest fears?" Rocky asked himself softly, looking around the Turbo Chamber. What could one of his greatest fears have to do with the Turbo Chamber?

"Rocky!" several voices called out, startling the former Morphin' and Zeo Ranger. Turning, Rocky found Adam, Tanya, Kat, Tommy and Justin walking toward him, each dressed in their Turbo uniforms, helmets in their hands.

Rocky frowned. "What are you guys doing here?"

The question had the Turbo Rangers staring at Rocky in confusion. "I think the question is, what are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be taking it easy? Remember, doctor's orders?" Adam asked, walking toward his life long friend but stopping when Rocky glared at him. Rocky looked really confused, and getting more and more agitated by the moment. "Rocko?"

"What I meant is what are you guys doing here in your Turbo uniforms? We were all just on Phadoes..." Rocky trailed off, getting a very good look at the group before him for the first time. It suddenly struck Rocky that his friends that were before him looked nothing like they did just a few moments ago in front of the monolith.

Kat's hair was well past her shoulders, where as moments ago it was just above her shoulders when not in a ponytail. Her skin was really tan, where moments before she was rather pale, thanks to the rainy weather of London.

Tanya's hair was curled and held back by a headband, instead of the braids she'd been sporting for weeks now. She seemed less sure of herself, and she wasn't standing nearly as close to Adam as Rocky had seen her since the former Yellow and Green Rangers had married.

Adam's hair was long and wild, instead of the crop cut he'd been sporting since he'd started working at the television station. He seemed a lot shyer now too.

Tommy's long wavy locks were hanging about his shoulders, instead of it being spiked and gelled. What's more, Tommy wasn't wearing the temporary silver rimmed glasses he'd been told were required since his accident on the track a few months back.

However, it was Justin's appearance that delivered the biggest shock to the former Ranger. The Justin Rocky had just seen was nearly seventeen, with short spiked hair like Tommy's and he was nearly as tall as Jason's five foot nine with a developing muscular body to boot. Instead, here he was standing before Rocky, probably four foot ten with a mop top of hair and no muscles.

"Rocky, what's wrong?" Katherine's lilt brought him back from his silence.

Shaking his head, the former Ranger tried to swallow the panic he was slowly feeling as his mind realized why he was in the Turbo Chamber and why the voice had told him to face one of his greatest fears. "Justin, can I ask you something?"

"Sure, Rocky," Justin replied, confused.

Rocky swallowed the lump in his throat. "Are you mad at me for choosing you to take on the mantle of the Blue Ranger?"

It seemed Rocky's worst fear was coming true as Justin stared at him in silence. Tanya, Adam, Kat, and Tommy all stared at him like he'd lost his mind. "Why would you ask me that question, Rocky? You did what you had to do, the team needed a Blue Ranger and you were unable to fulfill the position. I've never regretted accepting your or Zordon's offer to become the Blue Turbo Ranger. Why, are you regretting asking me now?"

Rocky shook his head, staring Justin straight in the eyes, his own face a mask of seriousness. "I wonder how much of your life I've destroyed by thrusting such a big responsibility onto your shoulders at such a young age," Rocky murmured.

"Come on Rocky," Tanya started, walking over and grabbing the former Blue Ranger's hand. "Zordon could have objected to Justin's taking on the Blue mantle, as could have Tommy and Adam, if any of them had thought for a moment that Justin couldn't handle this."

Rocky sighed in frustration. Tanya may have been right about that - Zordon was a wise being, and both Tommy and Adam were veteran Rangers, they all knew the risks, but they just didn't understand his feelings. He'd made a mess of Justin's life when the poor kid already had enough to deal with.

Kat, sensing his train of thought, strode forward and grasped Rocky's chin, forcing him to look into her eyes. "You did what you had to do, Zordon did what he had to, and now Justin has to do what he needs to do. You told me something once," Kat paused, making sure she had not only Rocky's attention, but everyone else's as well. "You told me you can't second guess your actions as a Ranger, because all it takes is one split second in doing so, to turn your world upside down."

Rocky nodded, his eyes darting to where Justin stood between Tommy and Adam. The kid had a goofy grin on his face and he looked so proud standing with his two teammates, wearing the Blue armor that protected him from Divatox's goons. "I worry, and I wonder, sometimes, about what I've done to you."

"You didn't do anything but give me a chance to do something with my life. The way I was going, I would have more than likely gotten into tons of trouble, now I have something that's letting me grow and mature into the man I need to be when I get older. You changed my life, Rocky," Justin informed him. "But not in a bad way, you gave me the opportunity of a lifetime."

Rocky's own words reflected back at him. Hadn't he told Zordon, and subsequently Jason, the same thing when Jason had come back to join the Zeo team as the Gold Ranger? Both males had given him the chance to make something of himself by becoming the Red Morphin', and later Blue Zeo, Ranger.

Before Rocky had a chance to reply, he felt the scene before him waver and distort, leaving him dizzy and disoriented. Slamming his eyes shut, the former Ranger wished for the world to stop spinning.

"Rocky?" At the sound of Aisha's voice saying his name, Rocky's eyes snapped open. Standing in front of him were Justin, Zack, Trini, Billy and Aisha, all looking worried and holding their breaths.

[Well done, mighty Ape] the voice from before congratulated. Turning, Rocky saw the white falcon perched on Justin's shoulder.

"Ok, enough weird stuff. At least tell me I'm in the right time and place now," Rocky half joked.

"You passed your test, Rocko," Justin smiled, watching Rocky nod. "What the hell are those?" Justin hissed, causing the group to gather together. Turning, Rocky saw the familiar forms of Zedd's putties in the trees.

"Justin, if you liked beating up Piranhatrons, you'll love these guys," Rocky quipped. "They're Lord Zedd's putties."

Justin shot Aisha a look as Rocky dropped into a ready stance, Billy, Trini and Zack joining him. "Justin, just remember to aim for the Z on their chest!" Trini called out as the six ninjas jumped into action against the clay minions.

Rocky and Aisha suddenly shot forward, Aisha with a roundhouse kick and Rocky with a spinning heel kick. Rocky's left and Aisha's right feet each landed dead center on the Z's of the two putties in front of them, causing the minions to explode, body parts flying everywhere.

"Whoa!" Justin muttered as Zack came to his rescue, front flipping forward then performing the splits, both feet connecting with putties that were advancing on the younger ninja.

The area in front of the monolith soon filled with the familiar ki-yahs of the group. Billy and Trini were back to back, taking on the same beings they had as teenagers together. "Just like the old days," Billy laughed out as Trini shot him a sour look.

"At least they're a lot easier to beat then the Tengas, Piranhatrons, and Cogs!" Trini muttered, ducking the Putty Patroller who was trying to get her in a bear hug, then slamming her fist into it's chest and watching with satisfaction as it burst apart.

"And wasn't Kim the one who use to say she longed for the easy days of fighting putties, hanging out at the Youth Center and studying for biology?" Aisha muttered as Trini laughed, the two of them suddenly finding themselves back to back as Billy and Rocky circled the group of putties who had them surrounded.

"Don't even go there!" Zack muttered, catapulting himself to their side, Justin right behind him.

"The others better hurry!" Billy gasped. "There's too many of them to keep this up for long!"

~*~

The noise level was familiar. There were kids everywhere, working out on the weights, practicing on the gymnastics equipment, munching on food at the bar, playing video games in the corner, studying at the tables, and in the middle of it all is where Tanya suddenly found herself again, after five years.

Silently, the former Yellow Ranger stood in the middle of what had become a much beloved home away from home. She could still remember the first time that Kat, Rocky, Adam, Tommy and Billy had brought her to the Youth Center, it had been shortly after she'd arrived from Africa and the gang had deemed her settled in at Kat's house.

She felt now what she'd felt then - like she didn't belong, like she was intruding on what had been Aisha's. [Face one of your greatest fears]

Tanya frowned at the voice, noticing that no one else had heard it. "Tanya, are you ok? You've been standing there for a long time, just looking." Tanya smiled. That voice was familiar; it belonged to the portly, jolly owner of the Gym and Juice Bar - Ernie. Turning, Tanya smiled her megawatt smile at him, watching the worry seep slowly out of his eyes.

"Ernie," Tanya murmured, walking up the steps toward where he stood just in front of the Juice Bar.

"Tanya, are you ok?" Ernie asked, worried by the way she was acting. Tanya nodded, hoping to reassure them both that she was just fine, and not going mentally insane like she silently thought.

"I'm fine, Ernie."

Ernie nodded. "You've been out of it the last few days, wanna talk about it?" While Tanya struggled for an answer, Ernie continued. "It has to do with Trini and Aisha being back, huh? You're experiencing what Aisha and Kat did when they both arrived in Angel Grove."

Now Tanya was looking at Ernie, confused as hell. "You feel like an outsider, especially with your friends, or that you're a replacement for someone who was here before you."

Ernie sighed, watching Tanya's dark eyes well with tears. He knew what she was feeling, for he'd walked both Aisha and Kat through it when they'd come to Angel Grove and had joined the group of friends upon the departure of Trini and Kimberly. "Like I said, both Aisha and Kat had the same feelings. And I'll tell you what I told them."

Struggling to keep her voice even, Tanya finally managed to speak. "What's that?'

"You have no reason to feel that way. The gang loves you, just as much as they loved the ones who left and have returned. You belong, because you've made your own special place in the group," Ernie started, looking into the dark depths of Tanya's eyes, his sincerity shining brightly. "You can't take the place of the person who was here before you. What you can do is be secure that you have your own place, and now that the others are back, help them find their places again."

Tanya nodded, not sure her voice wouldn't crack if she responded. Before either she or Ernie had a chance to say anymore, a chorus of voices called out to her. "TANYA!"

Turning, the former Yellow Ranger saw her group of friends. Jason and Kat were holding hands and joking with Zack; Rocky, Adam, Aisha and Justin were teasing each other while Trini, Billy, Kim and Tommy seemed to be looking around for her. Forcing a smile onto her face, Tanya moved to join her friends. Immediately, Adam was at her side, pulling her close to him, his lips seeking out her temple for a loving caress. "Where have you been? We've been looking all over for you," Aisha laughed, reaching over to hug Tanya, who promptly and instinctively returned the embrace.

"Yeah T, we thought we'd lost ya there," Trini laughed, reaching over to squeeze Tanya's free hand.

"I had something to talk to Ernie about." Tanya's answer seemed to pacify the group for the time being. Tanya noticed the truth in Ernie's statement as she watched her friends. They were one big happy family. No matter how many of them there were, whether it was six, five, or even twelve, they were a unit, and each of them had their place. "Hey guys, thanks."

"For what?" Zack asked suddenly, each member of the group turning their attention to Tanya.

"For everything."

"TANYA!" The former Ranger's eyes suddenly misted over, the Youth Center disappearing, and in its place was the monolith, and a scene she didn't particularly care for. Ducking the gray thing that was flying at her, Tanya quickly assessed the situation.

"What are these things?" Tanya hollered to Billy, who was closest to her.

Billy ducked, panted, and then explained. "Zedd's Putties. Hit the Z on their chests!"

Tanya nodded that she understood the former Blue Ranger, and then ducked another incoming putty. Popping back up in front of the cursed thing, Tanya spun once and nailed the Putty in the chest with a well-placed elbow. She watched with some fascination as the minion exploded in an array of body parts. "Gross," Tanya muttered, then felt herself being flung forward. She landed on her stomach, rolled over onto her back, and stared up as one of the Putties came crashing down toward her. One foot quickly snapped up, striking the Z adorning its chest expertly, causing it to explode like the first.

"Aisha!" Rocky's voice snapped Tanya from her thoughts. Jumping to her feet, the former Yellow Ranger raised her eyes to see Aisha dangling from the side of the cliff above the pond at the base of the monolith, Putties weaving back and forth above her on the ledge.

"SHA! HANG ON!" Tanya cried out, moving into action. [Move quickly, Tanya the Panther] the voice from the beginning of her test urged Tanya as she moved as fast as she could to diffuse the situation and save her friend.

~*~

Black, almond shaped eyes blinked once, then twice, then a third time. Mind, heart, and soul couldn't quite grasp onto what the eyes were seeing. In fact, Adam was thinking he was going insane. He knew the scene almost like it was yesterday, instead of nearly five years ago. [Face one of your greatest fears]

"Aisha?"

Billy, Tommy, Rocky, Kat and Aisha watched Adam carefully. The former Black Ranger looked upset that Aisha had just come through the portal, carrying the shard of Zeo Crystal she'd been sent to retrieve. "Adam, what's wrong?" Billy quickly asked.

Adam shook his head in disbelief. "Aisha, what are you doing here?"

Aisha laughed slightly in confusion, holding up the Yellow Zeo Crystal. "Bringing back my piece of the Zeo Crystal."

Adam closed his eyes, swallowing hard. The way he remembered it, Aisha had decided to stay in Africa and use her knowledge of animals to help the village where Tanya lived, sending Tanya back to Angel Grove with the Zeo Crystal shard. After she'd arrived, Tanya had become the Yellow Zeo and eventually the Yellow Turbo Rangers, and Aisha wouldn't return for another three years. "Where's Tanya?"

Aisha's face showed her surprise. "How'd you know about Tanya?" Adam gave Aisha a look, one that spurned his best female friend to answer him. "She's in Africa still, Adam."

"WHY?"

"Adam," Zordon's voice boomed. "What's the matter?"

"Aisha wasn't supposed to come home, she was supposed to stay and help the animals, and Tanya was supposed to come back in her place. If she doesn't, she won't become a Ranger, and her and I won't start dating, and we won't get married."

The group of former and current Rangers watched Adam in worry. "Adam, you're losing it," Rocky muttered.

"NO I'M NOT!" Adam roared at his best friend. "This isn't real. In my time, we're on Phadoes, all twelve of us, retrieving the Great Power again, and Tanya and I are married, and Aisha never came back to Angel Grove until years from now!"

[Face one of your greatest fears] the voice murmured again.

"One of my worst fears come true," Adam, slurred his words slightly. "That Tanya never came in Aisha's place, that she and I were never together, that we never got married."

"Adam." The name was his, the voice was her much beloved one.

"Tanya."

He heard her giggle, right next to his ear, but his eyes had shut of their own accord at the sweet sound of her voice. "Adam, Aisha and I made the mutual decision to switch places, remember?"

"Yes."

"All my life, Adam, I've been headed for Angel Grove, headed for greatness as a Ranger, and coming for you. You've got me, for eternity, don't ever fear the what-if's or might-have-beens."

When Adam opened his eyes, the Power Chamber no longer loomed around him, instead he found himself standing on a familiar cliff, with Putties weaving back and forth a few feet from him. "SHA! HANG ON!"

Tanya's voice ripped Adam from his silent reverie. Bending forward slightly, he saw the yellow clad form of one of his three best friends dangling from the root of a bush, much like Rocky had six years before. "ADAM!" Justin shouted up, alerting Tanya, Trini, Billy, Zack, and Rocky to the Black Ninja's presence. Moving quickly, Adam hoped he could pull off what he had already - saving Aisha the way he had Rocky.

"Hey Clay Brains!" Adam called, taunting the putties. "Give Lord Zedd my regards!" So saying, Adam spun around, his foot connecting with each of the Z's on the putties' chests when they turned to face him, causing them to fall backwards off the cliff, exploding mid fall. Moving in a dark blur, Adam bent down, his hand catching Aisha's as she suddenly lost her grip.

"Adam," Aisha whimpered, looking up into the familiar black eyes of her friend.

Smiling, Adam pulled her up, instantly pulling her into his arms for a hug. "I got ya, Sha, I got ya."

[Well done, Master Frog. I believe your friends are still in need of your assistance]

Both Adam and Aisha looked over at the white falcon that'd landed next to them. Nodding, because he knew this wasn't the time for questions, Adam helped Aisha to her feet and the pair made their way back down to help their friends.

~*~

"Kimberly...and...and Jason." The sound of the two familiar names on the wings of the voice of one of her best friends knocked the blonde haired, blue-eyed beauty of the Ranger team from her stupor. Turning, Katherine found Tanya, Adam and Tommy standing beside her, staring at the viewing globe and the two former Rangers currently standing in Divatox's bilge.

Kat felt the well of fear rise up in her throat. Two of her friends, two very important friends were on the viewing globe, being held by one of the worst enemies the Ranger team had probably ever seen. [Face one of your greatest fears]

The former Pink Ranger knew in her heart that these events had happened years before, but it didn't stop the feeling that surfaced in her. As the group gathered together, Kat watched on as they started making plans. Zordon explained why Divatox was after Lerigot. "Lerigot is preparing to surrender," Alpha 5 told the four veteran Rangers, watching their faces fall, after Lerigot had began his prayer for guidance.

"But why? We can't let him do that!" Kat felt the words bubble out of her mouth, like they had so long before.

"It's his family Kat, we'd do the same for each other," Adam murmured.

"I just hope they're ok," Kat whispered, looking at Tommy and Adam.

"Ok, listen. We'll get Kim and Jason out of there and then we'll go after Lerigot's family," Tommy laid down their plan of attack. Kat felt the memories of what had happened when they went to get their friends come rushing back. Tommy had seemed like a crazy man trying to make sure they were ok. 'That's when I knew for sure he was still in love with Kim' Kat thought to herself, feeling the familiar sadness suddenly engulf her from her memories.

"Look, Kimberly and Jason were Power Rangers once. If anyone can get through it, they can," Adam finished, leaving the others momentarily speechless.

Kat remembered the events that followed all too clearly. "Kat, you alright?" Tanya asked as the group of four, helped Alpha get Lerigot ready.

"Hmm, yeah," Kat murmured.

"What's wrong?"

Kat looked over at her best friend, and knew that this Tanya hadn't experienced what her real best friend had - she didn't know what lay ahead of her, or what had happened to Katherine between this first encounter with Divatox and their current situation. "You know, sometimes, I wonder, am I ever going to be able to get out of Kim's shadow? It seems like no matter what happens, she's always first and foremost with Zordon, the team, Tommy." 'With Jason' Kat thought afterwards, with a small amount of jealousy and bitterness.

"Kat, you've made your own place here, just like I have," Tanya murmured. "She was his first love, nothing can ever tarnish that, not even her letter. But you've also got to remember, he's with you now, not her."

'If you only knew, Tanya, if you only knew' Kat laughed to herself. "One of my greatest fears since joining the team has been taking her place, but you're right, I can't, because no one can take her place; not on the team, not within our circle of friends, or within his heart." 'Or Jason's' Kat thought again, then felt sick. She had made peace long ago with Kimberly's place in Tommy and Jason's lives, hadn't she?

"Things will work out, you'll see. She left an incredible legacy as the Pink Ranger, and you have only furthered and honored that legacy with the work you've done in her stead." Tanya's smile relaxed Kat's tenseness.

"You guys ready to go save the world?" Adam questioned as the two girls turned to look at him and Tommy standing with Lerigot and Alpha.

"And our friends," Tommy added as the two girls nodded. "Let's move."

Just as the group moved, Kat felt the world around her start to tilt. She closed her eyes, hoping to keep her stomach from rebelling. Instantly, the world quieted, then the sounds of the Turbo Chamber were replaced with the sounds of battle.

[Well done, Katherine the Tiger. Now hurry, your friends need your help] the voice, the one who had issued the challenge Kat had all but forgotten, urged her.

Kat's eyes snapped open, and took in the all too familiar scene of her friends fighting. "Putties?" Kat cringed, knowing how annoying it was to fight Putties.

"Kat! Look out!" Zack's voice snapped Kat from her confusion. She ducked quickly, snapping her fist out and smacking the Z on the gray being's chest, watching in satisfaction as it exploded.

"Damn Putties," Kat muttered as Zack landed in a crouch next to her, smiling.

"Gee, I guess you got to deal with their dumb asses too, huh?" Zack snickered.

Kat glared at him, nodded, and snapped her foot up, connecting with the putty in front of her. "Gee, you think?"

~*~

The sounds were familiar. Seagulls squawking, kids chattering as they ran back and forth, splashing each other. The sound of the water from the ocean could be heard washing back and forth on the sand of the beach. "Open your eyes, you faker," a familiar female voice laughed.

Cautiously, the former Pink Ranger peeped one eye open, and found herself staring up into the dark, bottomless depths of Trini's gaze. "You alright?" [Face one of your greatest fears]

Kim let the other eye open, gazing up at Trini, Zack, Billy and Jason, all of whom loomed over her. Had none of them heard the voice? "Um, Tri, what happened?" Zack and Jason shook their heads at her, laughing as they pulled the brunette into a sitting position.

"Tommy bounced the volleyball off your head." Kim peered around four of her best friends, and saw the others all standing back, watching in worry. Rocky, Adam and Kat were visibly restraining Tommy, who looked like all he wanted was to sit down beside her and pull her into his arms. Tanya and Justin gazed at her quizzically, while Aisha held the white and black volleyball in question in her hands. "You've got one hard ass head, you know that?" Aisha teased. Kim rolled her eyes but quickly shut them when the action made her dizzy.

"Billy, you don't think this will have an effect on her concussion, do you?" Adam quietly questioned the former boy genius, watching him shake his head.

"I don't believe so," Billy smiled. Kim opened her eyes again when she felt the world had stopped spinning. "Are you alright?"

"I think so." Zack and Jason pulled her to her feet, with Trini moving toward her and wrapping an arm around her waist to help steady her. Kim blinked in surprise as Tommy finally managed to break free of the other trio's grip and rushed toward her, instantly cupping her face in his hands.

He looked so upset, like he felt so guilty over a tiny accident. "Beautiful, I am so sorry," he murmured to her, bringing his forehead forward to rest against hers.

Kim smiled softly. "Tommy, I'm fine. It takes more than a simple knock on the head by a volleyball to hurt me, promise." Kim watched in confusion as he continued to gaze at her, just like he use to before the letter, before she'd broken his heart. "I've been through worse, remember?"

Tommy's eyes darkened at her words, making Kim gulp uneasily. God, he was acting just like he use to, Kim thought silently. It was his simple actions that completely tipped Kimberly off to the fact that this was probably a hallucination, or a dream of some sort. Tommy hadn't looked at her like that in nearly six years, and even though they were steadily working on regaining their friendship, she knew he'd probably never look at her in that soft, tender way ever again.

"Kimberly, what's wrong?" Kat asked as Tommy and Trini moved her away from the volleyball area to where they had set up some blankets and towels for lunch.

Kim looked up at her blonde friend, and saw that Kat was reading into everything Kim was thinking. "Nothing," Kim murmured, closing her eyes as Trini helped her sit back down, this time on the blanket. A bottle of cold water was thrust into her hand, and Jason's muttered words about drinking it barely seemed to make it through the haze of emotions. [Face one of your greatest fears]

Kim shivered. There was that voice again, challenging her. Slowly, Kimberly looked around her as her friends sat on the blankets and towels, passing food and drinks around, chatting about anything and everything. Trini and Aisha sat on either side of her, filling her plate with food, watching her like a hawk. 'One of my greatest fears - that I wouldn't belong back in this group after what I put Tommy through with my letter' Kim finally acknowledged. Somehow, she'd eerily been expecting that to be her challenge since Dulcea, and later Adam's animal spirit, had informed them of how they were to get the Great Power. 'And on top of that fear, the other part was that Tommy would never accept the truth or love me again' she thought sullenly, then remembered the incident on the Astro Mega ship, when she'd gone to Tommy's room, or on the way to the monolith, when her animal spirit had saved Tommy's life. She remembered how he'd held her hand all the way up to the graveyard when things had gotten nuts. Both were instances where he'd proved to her that he was willing to work past what had happened, but that they still had a long way to go before they would come remotely close to getting back what they had.

"You're awfully quiet," Aisha whispered softly enough so that only Kim could hear her.

"I was just thinking."

"About?"

"One of my greatest fears," Kim murmured, watching as the attention of the entire group shifted to her.

"What is it?" Rocky asked, genuinely wanting to know what had Kim so shaky.

Kimberly smiled at Rocky, ever the jokester, but knew that even he had a serious side, and she knew that he cared for her deeply. He, along with her other friends, were more like family to her then her own, a thought Kimberly found both disconcerting and yet oddly comforting. "That after everything I've done, everything I've put you guys through, especially Tommy, that I wouldn't be allowed to share this with you ever again."

Jason shook his head. "You know we wouldn't shut you out, Kim." The group looked appalled by her words, particularly Jason, Billy, Trini, Zack, and Aisha.

"I know that, now," Kim choked out. "It's been my biggest fear for so long. I've been so lonely, without all of you, that I stopped believing in the truth, that I stopped recognizing it."

"That's him talking," Aisha and Trini muttered simultaneously, making Kim seriously wonder if this was a dream or not. 'Either that, or I really know those two entirely too well' Kim smiled sadly. The pair had said something to that effect when they'd come to see her in Florida when all the madness had been going on in her life there.

"I stopped being me a long time ago, guys," Kim informed them both, which caused her two friends to shake their heads in disgust.

"Look," Justin interrupted, garnering glares from all of the adults present. "Kim's home, she's safe from whatever happened, and we're all back together as friends. Let it go, it's in the past, where it belongs."

Kimberly smiled a genuine smile at the boy genius that reminded her incredibly of Billy yet retained his own sense of self. "Thank you, Justin." He had met her when she'd been at her worst, when she'd been consumed by her own insecurities and bias, when she'd allowed the Flame of Destruction to overtake her entire being, and still he was willing to help her.

Kimberly felt the now familiar sting of tears welling in her eyes. In the last week, she'd cried more tears then she had in nearly five years. 'I'm turning into a mush' she thought wryly. "KIMBERLY!"

When Kim swiped the tears away from her eyes, she noticed she was no longer on the beach, but back in the jungle, and staring up at Goldar, Mordent, and Scorpina, all of who were looming over her. "Well, well, well, lookie what we have here," Mordent laughed. Kim glared at him.

"Hello Pinkie," Scorpina taunted. Kim rolled her eyes. Did this woman never learn?

"She's mine," Goldar growled, motioning for Scorpina and Mordent to move to block the others.

"KIM!" Kimberly heard Aisha shout her name, but blocked it out. She could feel Jason and Tommy's words from the past come back to her, their voices gentle as they taught her the moves she'd used to get away from Goldar when the flying gold monkey had tried to capture her when she was alone numerous times before.

"You and me, Kimmie, you and me," Goldar prodded, stepping back and letting Kim scramble to her feet. Kim glared at him and then slowed her breathing. If she was going to do this, she was going to do it right. "How are you gonna beat me, little Ninja, when I've got my big bad sword, and you've only got your karate skills?"

"Like this," Kim whispered evilly, out stretching her arms. "PINK CRANE TESSENS!" Kim called out, watching as her steel fan appeared in her right hand, and an identical one appeared in the left.

Justin, Zack and Rocky stopped mid fight with the Putties, gaping as the second fan appeared in Kim's hand. "I thought she only had one?" Rocky barked out, dodging the fist of one of the Putties.

"Apparently not," Zack croaked as one of the Putties nailed him in his stomach.

"Guys, Kim's taken him on before, right?" Justin asked suddenly. Both Rocky and Zack nodded. "Then how about we let her kick his ass and we finish off these clay heads?"

The gold and red ninjas looked at each other, then to Justin, grinning, before turning their attention away from their pink dressed friend and the gold plated ape and back to the task at hand.

~*~

[Face one of your greatest fears]

The voice seemed to echo in the minds of the two men standing in the middle of the Command Center, staring at one another. Neither said a word.

Tommy watched Jason carefully, trying to judge what exactly he was thinking as they stared at one another. Jason, likewise, stared at his best friend and former leader. "Jason."

"Tommy."

Even after speaking the other's name, the two of them still did not move; it was as if they were waiting for the other to start. 'Face one of my greatest fears' Tommy thought with a sigh, as he stared at Jason. He knew which one of his fears he had to face - that his friendship with Jason had been damaged irrevocably by Zordon making Tommy leader over Jason and by Tommy's insistence that Jason give up the Gold Ranger powers even though it meant saving Jason's life; all of this after the fact that Tommy had originally tried to kill Jason, and the rest of the team, upon his arrival as the Green Ranger. Realizing that his best friend was probably thinking about the same instances, Tommy stepped toward Jason. "I'm sorry."

Jason continued to stare at Tommy, wondering what his best friend could possibly be apologizing for. "For what? Tommy, you have nothing to be sorry for."

Tommy shook his head. "I know it hurt you when Zordon handed leadership of the team over to me, and when we begged you to give up the Gold Ranger powers," Tommy started, closing his eyes so he wouldn't have to see the accusations in Jason's eyes. "I mean, I tried to kill you, Jase, when I first became the Green Ranger. You had every right to hate me, instead, you asked me to join the team. And then what's Zordon do, he goes and gives me new powers and completely strips you of your role as leader."

'Face one of my greatest fears' Jason thought as Tommy spilled his thoughts out. 'That I'd never be able to let go of the feelings and thoughts Tommy just brought up.'

Opening his eyes, Tommy started again. "I'm sorry, Bro, I really am. If I could go back, do it over, I would. Hell, I'd ask Zordon to reconsider..."

"No, you wouldn't," Jason started, watching Tommy's face carefully. "I wouldn't let you. It was Zordon's decision. He knew what he was doing, giving you the White Ranger powers and leadership of the team. If he hadn't done what he did, when he did it, you would have had some serious problems when I left." Jason knew the point he made had gotten across to Tommy by the way Tommy was nodding in understanding. "Giving up the Gold Powers was a no-brainer - I would have died if I'd held onto them. If anyone should be apologizing, it's me."

Jason watched Tommy stare at him in confusion. "I never realized, until Murianthias, how much I had boiling inside as far as what you're talking about. I'm sorry I didn't talk to you, or Zordon, sooner about it. I'm sorry for acting like an ass. You're one of my best friends and I've been jealous of you, in more ways than one."

Tommy nodded. He knew what Jason was talking about when he said that. It was a small, well-kept secret between the two that Jason had been on the verge of making a move on Kimberly when Tommy had arrived all those years ago. After Tommy had started dating Kimberly, Jason had felt it best to get the secret out in the open, and since then, the feelings he'd had for Kim had only deepened into love and respect for her, as if she were his baby sister in every way. "What a pair we make," Tommy chuckled as Jason nodded.

"Let's make a pact, here and now," Jason started, looking to his best friend to make sure he had his full attention. When Tommy nodded, Jason continued. "From here on out, no matter what it is, we don't keep things like this bottled up, ok?"

Tommy smiled. "You got it, Bro."

"Good, now explain to me why you're still carrying around the guilt from your arrival as the Green Ranger? I thought Kim and I had worked you past that?" Jason's glare made Tommy gulp.

"Come on, Jase, I damn near killed you guys!" Tommy cussed, turning away from his friend. "I threw the five of you out of the MegaZord for God's sake. I used the Dragon Zord to trash downtown; hell, Rita grew me to the size of the MegaZord and let me go berserk on Angel Grove. I'm never going to be able to forget that."

Jason shook his head in disbelief. "Tommy, you're right, you're never going to forget that; I don't think it's possible. What you've got to remember, on top of that, is how much good you've done since. You're a strong guy, a caring guy, and one that has done everything in his power to make up for what happened. You have also forgotten one tiny point."

"What's that?" Tommy asked, turning to stare at Jason.

"Rita was controlling you; you didn't do any of that voluntarily, now did you?"

Tommy moved to open his mouth but nothing came out. Jason had a point. "Point taken." Tommy rolled his eyes as Jason smirked at him. "We're ok, then, right?"

Jason nodded. "You forgive me I forgive you; that's usually how it works."

Tommy opened his mouth to retort but both men soon found themselves standing in the middle of what looked like a war zone. Kat, Justin, Rocky and Zack were in the middle of a circle of Putties, Aisha, Billy and Trini were going a round with Mordent, Tanya and Adam were getting tossed on their asses by Scorpina, and in the midst of it all, the two ninjas saw their pink clad friend in a heated battle with Goldar. "Oh shit!" Tommy muttered as he and Jason looked at each other.

"Alright Bro, take your pick. You wanna help Adam and Tanya, or Kim?" Jason asked for good measure, but had already started calculating his plan of attack against Scorpina because he knew beyond a shadow of doubt that Tommy was going to run to their favorite brunette's rescue.

"Actually, I think I'll help Billy, Aisha and Trini with Mordent," Tommy grinned as Jason looked at him in shock. "Kim's holding her own against Goldar."

"You sure?" Jason asked, watching Tommy nod. "Whatever you say," Jason responded before they both headed toward their friends.

Gradually, the Putties all disappeared, leaving Kat, Justin, Rocky and Zack to break off to join the others. "What about Kim?" Kat asked, watching as the Pink Ninja dodged and rolled to miss the strike of Goldar's sword.

"Tommy said let her be," Jason informed her as she and Rocky joined him, Adam, and Tanya against Scorpina. Zack and Justin had joined the other group fighting Mordent.

"Is he nuts?" Kat gasped, ducking blow from Scorpina.

"No, he's got a point!" Tanya called as she dove out of the way of Scorpina's sword. "Kim can take Goldar, right Jason?"

Jason shrugged. "He use to get the best of her before, but she could hold her own for the most part before one of us jumped in to help. I have a feeling this time Goldar isn't going to be so lucky!"

"You wish!" Scorpina hissed. "Goldar is new and improved, and ten times smarter and stronger than he used to be."

"Smart?" Rocky asked, stopping mid-stride. "When was Goldar ever smart?" The Red Ninja's comment had the entire team laughing at Goldar's expense.

Meanwhile, Zack and Tommy were laughing and taunting Mordent as Aisha, Trini, Justin and Billy got the better of him with their own punches and kicks. "You know, I'd have expected a better warrior out of one of Zedd's generals," Zack taunted Mordent.

"That's the problem, Zack; he's one of Zedd's generals. That says it all," Tommy laughed, causing Mordent to charge him. Tommy sidestepped and the group of six watched him go flying into the side of the cliff face.

"KIM!" Aisha's scream ripped through the air, distracting everyone. Turning, both Jason and Tommy saw Kimberly on her hands and knees, her back to Goldar, her Tessens several feet from her, and Goldar standing over her, his sword held high above his head.

"Lord Zedd will surely love to have your pretty body to play with, Kimmie," Goldar laughed evilly as he moved to bring his sword down on her.

The group watched on in amazement as one of Kim's feet kicked back, the bottom of it connecting with the chest plate Goldar was wearing. Zedd's head general stumbled back a few paces, giving Kim enough time to roll onto her back. "PINK CRANE CROSSBOW!" The silver and pink weapon appeared magically in Kim's outstretched hands. One silver tipped pink arrow shot out when Kim pulled the trigger, piercing Goldar's armor, causing him to roar in pain, his body stumbling back even further away from Kimberly.

"Retreat!" Scorpina commanded, all three of Zedd and Rita's goons disappearing in a flash of light.

Kim let her weapon disappear as she lay back on the ground, her chest heaving while she struggled to regain her breath. Briefly, Kimberly closed her eyes and smiled. For the first time in a long time, she actually felt like she'd accomplished something. Goldar had always managed to get the best of the former Pink Ranger, but today she'd gotten the best of him. "Alright, you faker, open your eyes already!" Kimberly laughed outright, her eyes immediately opening as the others looked down at her.

"Geez, aren't I allowed to catch my breath? I did just face Goldar one on one, you know?"" Kim retorted, causing Trini to snort as she started laughing.

"Welcome to the club, been there done that," Trini muttered, leaning down with Aisha and pulling Kimberly to her feet. The group watched Kim sway a second before she regained her balance.

Billy cleared his throat, gaining the group's attention. "I believe someone's waiting to have an audience with us," the blue dressed Ninja informed them, turning to point at the White Falcon sitting on the steps to the monolith.

Quietly, the group of twelve moved to stand before Tommy's animal spirit. [Well done, all of you. You faced some of your greatest fears, over come them by recognizing them for what they were, and for that, you have passed your tests. I know you have questions, but all will be answered upon you return home. For now, your prize.]

The group watched as the door to the monolith slid open, and the pyramid of power inside slowly came out. Much like the first time, the former Rangers stood in awe of the Great Power. "All of our animal spirits are on it!" Justin laughed as the pyramid stopped, bathing the clearing and the former super heroes in a warm, golden light.

[My fellow animal spirits and I are proud of you, for everything you do in the name of peace. Go now, for your home, and the universe, needs you.] That said, the Falcon screeched once then dissolved.

"How are we supposed to get home? We don't have our Power Coins like last time?" Rocky asked. All eyes went to Billy and Tommy.

"The same way we got home and saved Zordon the last time," Billy replied. Tommy nodded, motioning for the group to gather in a circle.

"Concentrate." At Tommy's soft command, each former Ranger closed their eyes and willed their powers to meld with the others.

Slowly, each emblem on the front of their uniforms lit up with golden power, until a column of light surrounded the group. With the simple thought of home, they disappeared, leaving behind Phadoes, the animal spirits, and Dulcea who was watching them from the Ninjetti temple. "Good luck, Rangers."

~*~

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