Author's note: Elspeth & Co. Are owned by Mercedes Lackey. I thank her for creating sch an awesome and flexible world. As for the other stuff, it's either mine or Saban's. 'Nuff said.
Tanis put her hands on her hip and pouted.
"All right. Why the heck am I ten years old?" she demanded. Young Billy frowned, and looked up at the sky.
"It appears that master Vile has turned back time in order to disable our powers." he stated. Tommy sighed, and smacked his head.
"Why?" he wondered.
"I think the most likely reason is that Tanis sort of chopped his daughter's head off. That kind of puts a kink in things." Adam pointed out.
"Rats..." Tanis muttered, and nibbled a nail in thought. Then she growled, and stomped her foot.
"Crud! I can't even swear without feeling bad!" she snapped. Adam couldn't help it. He began to giggle. Aisha collapsed in gales of laughter. Tanis frowned.
'What's so funny?" the tiny girl demanded, looking odd in her young form.
"Sorry cuz... the fate of the world is at stake, we're utterly powerless, and you're upset because you can't swear!" Adam collapsed beside his girlfriend again. Tanis frowned.
"Some family you are..." she muttered.
Zordon looked down on his six rangers. The six children looked back up at him.
"The Aquitan rangers? Who're they?" Tanis asked.
"THE AQUITAN RANGERS ARE POWER RANGERS FROM THE DISTANT WATER PLANET OF AQUITAR. I AM SURE THAT THEY WOULD BE WILLING TO ASSIST YOU. THEY CAN TAKE CARE OF MASTER VILE'S ATTACKS WHILE YOU SEARCH FOR THE ZEO CRYSTALS." the mentor explained.
Billy, now grown up, frowned. "Zordon... I thought that there was only five pieces of the Zeo crystal." he said nervously. Zordon hesitated.
"I AM AFRAID YOU ARE RIGHT, BILLY. THERE ARE ONLY FIVE FRAGMENTS. ONE OF YOU SHALL HAVE TO REMAIN BEHIND. I AM VERY SORRY." the being said sadly. Tanis closed her eyes, and sighed.
"Billy, don't even think about it." she stated. Everyone looked at her. "How did you know?" he asked.
"Billy, we'll find a way. Feral will help me. As soon as we're big again." she said firmly. Billy smiled slightly.
"In the mean time, you five had better get going." he said sadly. Tommy nodded. They all hugged Billy, and Tanis gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek.
"You're a true ranger William Cranston." she said quietly. Billy smiled, and Alpha sent the children on their ways.
Tanis looked around.
"Huh? Where am I?" she wondered. She was standing at the edge of a cliff, overlooking a sea of grass. Then, she sensed someone behind her. She whirled, hands coming up into a martial arts stance.
"Who are you?" she asked. The beings looked at her curiously.
"We'll ask the questions, child. Now, how did you simply appear out of thin air without the use of a gate?" the leader asked. The leader was a thin man with a waist length flood of mottled white and brown hair.
"I teleported. I answered yours, now you answer mine." she said, frowning. The woman on the pure white horse smiled.
"By all means. My name is Elspeth, and this is Darkwind of K'sheyna. This is my Companion, Gwena." she said. She was a plain looking woman, dressed in pure white. The man looked sort of like Tommy, but scowled more. A piercing cry rang out across the sky. Darkwind raised his arm, and a huge bird landed on it. Tanis gasped.
"How beautiful...Just like Tommy's Falcon." she murmured. Then she clapped her hands to her mouth.
"I don't think I was supposed to say that." she whispered. Elspeth smiled at Darkwind, and something passed between them. Tanis blinked.
"Telepathy!" she realized, as she could hear faint murmurs in the back of her mind. The two looked startled, and looked at her. Darkwind squinted.
"Amazing! Elspeth, she has shielding almost as strong as the Heartstone!" he gaped.
"Stone? What stone?"Tanis asked suspiciously. Darkwind shook his head, and Elspeth smiled slightly.
"Not a stone at all really. Who are you?" she asked, changing the subject.
"My name is Tanis Park. I was the pink Ninjeti ranger of the Planet Earth in the Milky way galaxy. Master Vile turned back time and I turned into a ten year old. I have to find the pink Zeo Crystal so that I can go home." she said. Elspeth spoke to Darkwind again.
"Come with us, Tanis." she said, smiling.
"We'll take you to see Treyvan and Hydona." Tanis shrugged, and followed her.
Billy had only waited three days before Rocky returned from his Zeo Quest with the Blue Zeo Crystal. They spoke little of the Quest, and Billy began to assemble the Zeo Prism.
Tanis looked around the lush ruins.
"Beautiful... looks like Phaedos..." she murmured. Then it hit her. Her ninja powers were gone. She quickly felt in her mind for her animal spirit.
"No.." she whispered. She probed her mind for the quiet reassurance that was always with her.
"SYLVAN!!!" she wailed, and clutched her head, falling to her knees. The tiny girl began to sob uncontrollably. Elspeth stopped.
"Need?" she asked.
I'd say that the child just realized that her bond mate, a lion I think, is gone. The gravelly voice replied. Elspeth nodded. She drew the sword, which she had borrowed from Nyara, and laid it in Tanis's trembling hands.
All right youngling! That's enough! A voice said in Tanis's mind.
"Who are you?" she gasped through her tears.
The name is Need. I'm a spirit sword, bound to protect women in need. And, child, you need me. The sword stated.
"Need, this child isn't even from our world! How can you co with her?!" Elspeth demanded.
Elspeth, the child is Geas-bound to her people. I can go, for the simple reason that she's my bearer. Now, skip the Gryphons, take this youngling straight to the Heartstone. Need stated. Elspeth relayed the command to Darkwind. He hesitated, but the sword was usually right when it cam to her bearer.
"Fine. Let's go." he sighed. Then he looked at Elspeth.
"Father isn't going to like this." he stated.
Billy stretched. He was feeling the pressure of ages on his mind. Having all his friend run around as little kids was really bugging him. Rocky and Adam had both returned, and now waited anxiously for the return of their girlfriends. The blue and green Zeo crystals glowed eerily.
Tanis stared at the pulsating green crystal.
"Okay, what the heck is that?" she asked.
"This is the Heartstone. It's fractured... broken." Darkwind clarified, shuddering. Bravely, the preteen stuck out her hand, and put it on the stone. Elspeth held Darkwind and Starblade back.
"Oh man... would Feral love to get his hands on this..." she murmured, running her hand along the stone. She pulled away, and her hand glowed a sickly green.
Well, what do you think? She asked the sword.
I think you can fix it. Need replied. Tanis nodded.
"I found my Zeo crystal." she stated. The three mages looked at her in alarm as she drew Need. The sword was nearly as big as she was. Lifting the blade, she spotted the fracture, and rammed the blade in, up to the hilt. Starblade shrieked in alarm, and Darkwind grabbed her arm. Power blasted out through Tanis, going from the ill green to a bright and healthy pink. The pink light washed over Starblade, and the Vale. When Tanis opened her eyes again, and pulled need out, she exhaled slowly.
"What a rush..." she whispered. There was a loud crack, and a piece of crystal fell at her feet.
"Well, I got what I came for." she smiled. Elspeth blinked in shock.
"Tanis, your eyes..." she said. Tanis held up the sword and looked at her reflection. Her eyes were bright pink.
"Oy..." she murmured. Slowly, the glow in them faded back to blue, but they were still flecked with the bright rosy color.
"Well, that's something they'll just have to get used to back home." she grinned.
Child... you turned my jewel pink. The sword stated. Tanis looked at the hilt.
"Well, now you're really a woman's sword." she giggled.
The four male rangers and the Aquitan Rangers stared at the viewing globe as they said their farewells to Aisha. Young Adam held back tears.
"I.. I love you Aisha." he whispered.
"I know. We'll see each other again one day. I promise. But until then, be happy." the little girl said. She passed her long crystal to the Black girl beside her, and she appeared. Billy added the fourth stone to the Zeo Prism. Then a Pink glow filled the room.
"He-lloooo!" Tanis said, winking. Rocky gaped.
"What happened to you?" he asked.
"Long story. But I made a few friends. Darkwind made these for me before I left. And here's my crystal!" she said, holding out the rosy shard. Billy took it, and finished the Prism. Then, there was a giant Explosion. Alpha looked around in Confusion.
"RANGERS! GOLDAR AND RITO HAVE SET EXPLOSIVES IN THE COMMAND CENTER! TAKE THE CRYSTAL AN ESCAPE!" The mentor ordered.
"Hey! We can't go without Aisha!" Tanis said, looking for her friend.
"Aisha sent Tanya instead. We'll explain later! Gotta go!" Adam said, and dragged his pink clad Cousin out of the room. Tanya ran after them. Billy grabbed the Zeo crystal, and he, Tommy and Rocky fled.
"MAY THE POWER BE WITH YOU RANGERS..." Zordon said as the Command Center exploded, and the time continuum returned to normal.
Tanis shielded her eyes as the Command center blew. All she heard was roaring flames, and Billy's anguished cry.
Need! Are you still with me? She called.
You don't have to yell, girl, I'm right beside you! The blade grumbled. Tanis sighed in relief.
"Thank god. All right you steel rod, let's go kick some monster ass." she said. Then she grinned.
"Cool! I can swear again!" she giggled. Adam looked at her as if she were insane. She looked at her cousin.
"Cuz, I'll explain when I get back, but I feel that I shouldn't have left any Relatives behind. I was careless." she stated, drawing Need.
"I'll be right back. Gotta go crush some walking bones." she grinned, and ran off into the desert.
"ZEDD!!!" She yelled, calling with her mind and body. The evil lord must have heard her, because she was in his palace before she could say 'Pink Ranger Power'.
"Well, it looks like the rangers have got a new look. Shame about Zordon." he laughed.
"Yeah, whatever. Where's Rito and Vile?" she asked.
"Well, Master Vile has decided to go step on things on earth. Rito's being an idiot somewhere. Why?" the evil being asked.
"Cause I wanna bust some skulls, that's why. And if I can't have them, I'll take you." she smiled innocently. Zedd shifted in his throne a little.
"By all means, you can have Rito." he shrugged. Tanis turned, and met Rito's blade with Need.
"Hi." she said brightly.
"Ed! Attack her! She killed Rita!" Rito shouted. Zedd seemed to be bored.
"Yeah... and you killed Kathrine!" Tanis said. She slashed at him, cracking his collarbone.
"Hey!" he protested.
"Eat steel, BoneBag!" she yelled, and sliced Rito from crown to crotch. The skeleton fell to the ground in two pieces. Tanis grinned triumphantly.
"Ha!" she said, and kicked him for good measure.
"How did some lousy girl beat most of my forces, kill my wife, and then kill my brother in law?' he asked. Tanis shrugged.
"Ranger Power, what of it?" she asked. Zedd rose, and stretched.
"Well, I think that I shall leave Vile to his own devices. I'm taking Serpenterra on a long trip, away from here. Have fun with the Machine empire though. Nasty lot, or so I heard." he said conversationally. Tanis nodded, and bowed.
"You were an interesting enemy." she complimented.
"And you an interesting foe as well." he returned, and Tanis sheathed Need, teleporting away.
The rangers gaped as Tanis reappeared in the desert not five minutes later.
"Tanis, look!" Adam said, and pointed behind her. She turned. The Command Center's rubble had reformed itself.
"Wow... let's go." Tommy said. Billy looked at the command center hopefully. Tanis took his hand and pulled him to his feet.
"Need a hand?" she asked, squeezing gently. He smiled, and hugged her. Then, she released him, took Rocky's hand, and they went into the new building.
Tanis stretched, and hung need beside her bed.
"Well, what say you?" she asked, looking at the blade.
An interesting world you live in, catling. I think that Zordon and I may have some differing views, but I am content to work with him. An interesting fellow, that floating head. The sword commented. Tanis laughed.
"Well, this is odd to say the least. I'm a number now. That's kind of bizarre." Tanis muttered, looking at her Zeonizers.
And the Machine Empire? What of them? Need asked. Tanis sighed, and wandered into her kitchen. She pulled a Jolt cola out and drank it back. Rocky had gotten her hooked on the caffeine loaded pop.
"Well, I figure that if Zedd called them a Nasty Lot, they're probably a bunch of tough buggers. No emotions, either, considering they're machines. I contacted the Aquitans, and they said that they're bent on taking over the universe, but what evil conglomeration isn't?" she shrugged.
Well, they're not magical, and there's nothing that I can do to help you. I suggest that you keep me in the power chamber. If I had come in earlier, Rita would have been on you fasterthan lions on a downed meal. Tanis winced, and Need felt it. The sword said nothing, but sent a wave of apologetic feelings towards her bearer.
"Thanks. I'll take you to the Power Chamber tomorrow." she said, and yawned hugely.
Billy lay on his bed, sobbing uncontrollably into his pillow. He couldn't believe that he'd given up his powers. He felt like there was a gaping hole in him now, one that had once been filled with shimmering blue light. Now, he felt alone and abandoned.
"Why only five?" he sobbed.
Because not everything was meant for six. a voice said behind him. He looked up. Lying on the foot of his bed was a humongous blue wolf. Billy passed out. The wolf sighed, and licked his face.
Billy woke to someone slobbering on him.
'Yeech.." he muttered, and glared balefully at the wolf.
'What do you want?" he grumbled.
Hey... I'm only here because I'm your spirit animal, but if you want me to leave.. the wolf trailed off, and rose.
"No! Please wait! I'm sorry!" Billy said desperately. The wolf laid down again.
That's right. You are sorry. You're always sorry. He said conversationally.
"What's that supposed to mean?" billy asked.
"It means stop feeling sorry for yourself, and live a little, you geek." Tanis said, appearing in a pink flash.
"Tanis!" he said, and wiped the tear tracks from his face. Tanis smiled and sat down on his bed beside him.
"Maybe this will help." she said, and pulled out her sword.
He's a male! I don't do males! A stubborn voice said in his mind.
Tanis grinned. "You'll help Billy, or I swear I'll lay you to rest with Tommy's Dragonzord at the bottom of the harbor, you stupid piece of tin!" she said jovially.
Billy gaped. The voice sighed. Okay, here I come pup. This might hurt a little. The sword said. Billy nodded, and Tanis laid the blade across his knees.
Oh pup... you poor thing... Need murmured as she reached the most painful memories.
Billy had no Idea how long he sat there, clutching the blade, but when he opened his eyes, they were blurry with tears.
"Tanis..?" he said weakly.
"Oh Billy... I'm so sorry... I had no idea..." she whispered, and hugged him tightly. He buried his face in her hair, the same way he had with his mother before she died. He realized then that when he thought of his mother, it didn't hurt so bad. It was still sad, but that always would be.
"Thanks Tanis... Need..." he murmured. Tanis pulled away and smiled. Then she kissed him on the cheek.
"I know it still hurts, but we can help you put it in the past. You'll always be a ranger in my eyes, Billy, you know that." she told him. Then she sheathed her blade.
"Come with me. I have to go put Need away, and then I'm going to the youth center." she invited. Billy hesitated, and the sword sent a wave of reassurance to him. He rose, and they teleported away.
Just as Tanis hung Need up beside Zordon's tube, where they had decided to put her, the sword spoke to her.
Catling... if that pup had been a girl, I would have bonded with him. He's been hurt badly, Catling. Help him, however you can. The blade ordered. Tanis nodded.
"I certainly will, swordlady. You can bet on it." she said grimly, and looked to where Billy stood with Alpha. She smiled at him, and they said their farewellsto Zordon and Alpha, then teleported out.