"Oh my god, it's Jason Scott!" someone said as they walked past, blatantly staring.
Zack gave the person a look, but Jason didn't even blink, just kept moving, so Zack shrugged. Jason was a bit of a celebrity for his spectacular fall from grace in a literal crash -- even Zack, who only sometimes bothered to go to school, knew the story -- so he figured this person was just surprised to see Jason out and about.
But then they went into the store and Jason tugged the cart from Zack's hands when he nearly ran it into a display trying to push it fast enough to jump up on and ride, and the employee glared at Jason and muttered, "oh my god, it's Jason Scott."
He got distracted arguing with Jason over which snacks to buy for their movie night, convincing him no one liked the weird cotton candy flavor of cheese doodle, please just stop white boy, but he heard it again as they were leaving, when Jason and Zack paused to let an elderly couple exit ahead of them. "Oh my, it's Jason Scott," the woman said to her husband, both eying Jason as they walked past.
"Dude, have you noticed that people seem to have turned spotting you into a sport or something?" Zack asked as he climbed into Jason's truck, snacks on his lap.
Jason shrugged. "I'm still the big headline, the kid who fucked his life up and ruined the Tigers' season."
"How is that more relevant than the giant monster made of gold and living rock creatures that were stopped by dinosaur robots?" Zack wanted to know, shaking his head at this backwards town and its fucked up priorities.
Jason laughed, relaxing as he drove them to Kim's for movie night. "I know, right?"
They made it there easily enough, heading inside and passing Mr. Hart on his way out, Zack snickering when he said "Oh, it's Jason Scott."
"And Zack Taylor," Zack added with a snort, smiling innocently at Mr. Hart when he just blinked at him and nodded, telling them both to enjoy the movie night, he had to run to the office for a few hours.
Jason and Zack brought the snacks to the others, who were already set up in Kim's living room. When Jason went to the bathroom, Zack glanced around at their friends. "You guys notice that people use J's name as a curse word?"
"What?" Trini asked, frowning.
"Yeah, like at least four different people were all, 'oh my god it's Jason Scott' when we were grabbing snacks, like he's a disease or something and they have to point him out to everyone else," Zack said.
"Now that you mention it, when I walked home with him last week I did hear a few people say that, but Jason didn't seem to notice..." Billy said.
"He's resigned to it," Kim said. "Everyone judges him for the prank and his accident." She hesitated, glancing at the hall to make sure Jason wasn't coming back yet. "Before we first met, that night at the mine... Jason and I talked about leaving Angel Grove."
"They mock him that much that he'd want to run away?" Trini asked, unable to imagine Jason running from anything, he seemed so strong and capable. She knew he was teased at school, but he always dealt with it and kept his head up...
"I think most people think it's okay to judge his mistake," Billy said softly, not understanding why but thinking that people often judged things they didn't understand.
"Well that's bullshit," Zack said, overprotectiveness making his chest ache.
Kim opened her mouth to say something but closed it when they heard sounds of Jason coming back, picking up the remote to start the movie instead.
"Oh my god, it's Jason Scott!" Zack yelled as soon as Jason walked into the room, big grin on his face, putting as much enthusiasm in his voice as he could.
Jason gave him a weird look, not used to Zack using his name, much more used to his name being used negatively, so it was a little weird to hear it said so happily.
"I was gone like two minutes," Jason said as he sat down.
"Ages and eons," Zack said, grinning, meeting Trini's gaze and grin widening when she rolled her eyes at him -- she knew what he was doing.
Zack jumped off the cliff and dove into the water below, swimming to the ship. He pushed his hair back once he'd landed, moving to the clothes the team had stashed here to change quickly and spread out his wet clothes to dry.
"You're the first one here," Alpha-5 told him once he'd gone to the pit, the robot a bit surprised.
Zack shrugged and grinned, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Was gonna happen eventually, no need to be surprised."
Billy and Kim arrived next, both just as surprised to see Zack already there.
"You're early," Kim commented.
Zack smirked. "Just wanted to see your smiling face again, Princess."
Kim rolled her eyes.
"If you were lonely, you could always come over to my house," Billy offered.
Zack smirk turned more gentle, offering Billy a smile and holding out his fist for a quick bump. "Thanks, man, I'm good. Just finished up at home early today."
Billy bumped his fist to Zack's and smiled, nodding. "That's okay, too."
Zack laughed, glancing up as the last two members of the team walked in. "Oh my god, it's Jason Scott!" he yelled, laughing and grinning.
Jason rolled his eyes but he was grinning. "Expecting someone else?" he teased.
Zack grinned. "Nah, just excited to have our fearless leader finally join us for another exciting day of training."
Trini punched Zack in the shoulder. "Quit flirting, it's gross."
Zack just laughed, slinging an arm around her shoulders. "Can't, it's part of my charm," he said, noting that Jason had glanced at him and then away at Trini's comment.
"What charm," Kim snorted, laughing when Zack stumbled back from Trini with his hand on his heart.
"I'm wounded!" Zack laughed.
"All right, c'mon," Jason said, calling order though he was grinning. "Let's pair up!"
Zack ended up fighting Kim first, while Trini and Billy took on Jason.
"Is this going to be a thing now?" Kim asked, punching out at Zack but missing as he dodged.
"You not landing a hit on me was always a thing," Zack said, grinning and kicking at Kim's legs, the pair circling each other.
Kim rolled her eyes and double-tapped Zack's chest for that, smiling when he stumbled. "Flirting with Jason," she clarified.
"I flirt with everyone," Zack said, focusing a little more on their spar, landing his own succession of hits.
Kim nodded, conceding that point, but... "His name, though. You've done it twice now, and you hardly use any of our names, you prefer your ridiculous nicknames."
"You love 'em, Princess," Zack teased, but at Kim's look he sighed, slowing his movements a bit. "People giving him shit for something that doesn't even matter pisses me off, okay? So yeah, I think bossman deserves to hear his name not being hurled at him as a curse."
Kim smiled, knowing Zack really did have the biggest heart of them all though he tried to hide it, nodding. "You're adorable," she grinned, leaping forward to tackle him to the ground.
Zack shouted in surprised, blinking up at Kim, who had him neatly pinned. "Thanks?" he asked, not really sure what just happened.
They rotated partners, Zack helping Billy take down Kim in revenge, then sparring with Trini, who also managed to tackle him.
"What is this, beat up Zack day?" he grumbled when she finally let up off him.
Jason moved over, offering his hand to Zack to pull him up. "Maybe you're just off your game today."
"Oh my god, it's Jason Scott," Zack grinned up at him, taking his hand and letting him pull him up, grin widening when Jason rolled his eyes and said they'd be sparring together next, with the girls taking on Billy.
"Seriously, man, you all right?" Jason asked.
"I'm good, dude," Zack assured, punching Jason's shoulder and then backing up to plant his feet firmly, stance loose and ready. "Bring it on!"
Zack hopped the fence and strolled through the school parking lot.
"Oh my god, it's Jason Scott!" he yelled once he spotted his friend, walking over to him.
Jason paused, raising an eyebrow and flushing a bit. "Really?"
"Morning, J!" Zack grinned, punching him in the shoulder and ignoring the attention he'd attracted by shouting Jason's name. "Ready for another day of hell?"
Jason huffed, smiling a little and leading the way into the building. "Are you?" he countered.
"I was born ready," Zack grinned.
Jason laughed, heading to his locker, glad to have Zack walking with him -- it was always easier when he was walking with one of them.
"Sure. Gonna make it all day this time?" Jason asked as he grabbed his books, noting that Zack didn't have any.
"Maybe," Zack shrugged, not sure yet.
Jason rolled his eyes. "Here," he said, shoving a red notebook at him, pen clipped to the binding. "So you can at least pretend to pay attention."
Zack grinned, taking the notebook. "Are all your notebooks red? That's hilarious."
"...I'm leaving now," Jason said, walking away, Zack's laughter following him.
They didn't share any classes, but they passed each other twice in the hallways in the morning, and both times Zack was sure to yell, "Oh my god, it's Jason Scott!" and offer his fist for a quick tap, loving the flush that Jason got each time he did it.
He was sitting at their lunch table with Kim and Trini when Billy and Jason entered the cafeteria and made their way over to them. His eyes lit up when he spotted them, opening his mouth--
"Oh my god, it's Jason Scott!" Kim yelled, laughing.
Zack let out a breath, closing his mouth as Trini and Kim laughed at him. "That's my line," he grumbled.
"Not you too!" Jason complained as he and Billy sat down, though he was smiling. "Zack's been doing that all day!"
"I know," Kim smirked.
"Homeboy loves shouting your name," Trini said, grinning when Zack choked on his drink and Jason coughed, avoiding eye contact.
"Don't I get enough teasing from everyone else," Jason grumbled.
"Probably, but we're your friends," Kim said. "Besides, we're genuinely happy to see you, mostly. Well, sometimes. A few times."
Jason laughed, kicking her under the table. "Gee, thanks!"
"I'm always happy to see all of you guys," Billy said, grinning at everyone.
"Us too," Kim grinned back.
Zack watched everyone make Jason laugh, something cold twisting in his gut, because that was supposed to be his thing. He was probably just being dumb, of course when Kim said Jason's name he would smile, too, he was probably just happy to hear his name being said in a positive way, which was the point.
Trini kicked Zack when he stayed quiet for too long, studying him and oh. Oh. Shit. Maybe homeboy actually did want to shout J's name...
Zack watched Trini frown and he smiled at her. He was fine.
"Enjoy the rest of the day, losers," he said when lunch ended, hanging back when they all turned to go to class.
"You're leaving," Trini said flatly, giving him a look that he chose to ignore.
"Can't expect me to spend all my time here, can you?" Zack smirked. He tossed his notebook at Jason, who caught it easily enough.
"Zack..." Jason started, but Zack started backing away.
"Thanks for the loan, bossman. See you all!" Zack said, turning and walking away.
Zack swung his feet idly, chewing on his necklace and staring up at the sky as he laid on the top of the train car. His phone went off and he reached for it, frowning at the message.
don't say i never did anything for you - T
Zack asked her what she meant, but she didn't answer. Typical crazy girl. With a careless shrug, he slipped his phone back into his pocket and resettled, trying to just drift and not think.
He frowned when he heard someone approaching, sitting up and letting his necklace fall from his mouth.
"Oh my god, it's Jason Scott," Zack said, honestly surprised to see him, having thought it was Trini.
"Uh, yeah," Jason said, smiling. "Mind a little company?"
Zack shrugged. "Sure, dude."
Jason nodded, jumping up to sit on the top of the train car next to Zack.
"What brings you here?" Zack asked, not used to seeing Jason after school like this, frowning a bit. "Everyone okay?"
"Yeah, everyone's okay," Jason assured, smiling a bit because Zack tried so hard to pretend he didn't care when in reality he probably cared more than any of them.
"So what's up, J?" Zack asked, studying him.
"J, huh? And not Jason anymore?" Jason asked, studying him right back.
"Nicknames are kind of my thing," Zack smirked.
"True, but lately you've been saying my name a lot," Jason said. "And I kinda wanted to ask why."
Zack frowned. "It's your name?"
"Yeah, but like you said, nicknames are your thing. Before this weekend, I think the only time I'd heard you say my name was when we fought Goldar," Jason answered.
Zack shrugged, looking away and out at the mountain. "I don't know, guess I just wanted to switch it up."
Jason was silent for a moment. "Trini told me to come here," he said at last.
"Okay?" Zack said, confused now and looking back at Jason.
"She said you'd gotten upset when you heard people around town say my name the way they do," Jason continued, looking at him carefully. "So you'd decided to reclaim it."
Zack was going to kill Trini. "I..."
"Trini thinks you got upset when Kim joined in cause you wanted it to be your thing, saying my name like that," Jason continued. "Is she right?"
Zack half-shrugged, not meeting Jason's eyes. "It's bullshit, how they treat you," he said, not answering.
"Yeah, it is," Jason agreed easily, "but I've gotten used to it."
"That's bullshit, too," Zack said, glancing up. "Your name shouldn't be something used against you."
"It doesn't matter -- I don't care anymore," Jason said, meeting Zack's gaze. "The only people who's opinion really matters to me are you guys."
Zack grinned a bit, knocking into him. "You know we love you, bossman."
Jason chuckled, knocking back into Zack. "Back to bossman, huh?"
"Prefer something else?" Zack asked, turning to grin at him and something clenching in his gut at the look on his face.
Jason met Zack's eyes. "Yeah, actually. I kinda... liked hearing you say my name."
"Oh my god, it's Jason Scott," Zack said, teasing, leaning unconsciously closer and licking his lips.
Jason's eyes darted down to watch Zack's tongue peek out and wet his lips, looking back up into his eyes. "Oh my god, it's Zack Taylor," he said back, leaning in and kissing him.
Zack closed his eyes, pressing closer, kissing Jason back. He swayed after him when he pulled back, blinking and blushing a bit. "Jason..." he said, gasping when Jason pulled him closer and kissed him again, more insistent and demanding.
Zack's hands jumped to Jason's shoulders as Jason cradled his head to hold him closer, opening his mouth and deepening their kiss.
They kissed until they couldn't breathe, pulling back only enough to rest their foreheads together, both panting.
"You gonna kiss me every time I say your name?" Zack asked, slipping his hand up into Jason's hair.
"Hmm, maybe. We should test that theory," Jason said, grinning.
Zack grinned back. "Jason," he said, still grinning when Jason kissed him, meeting his eyes when he pulled back.
Jason pressed him backwards so he ended up laying on the top of the train car, Jason hovering over him and kissing him.
Jason kissed along his jawline and down his neck, making Zack shiver and cling to him, rolling them so that he was on top.
"Jason," Zack laughed as Jason pulled him down to kiss, giving their leader a few hickeys of his own.
They settled together, laying in each other's arms, both panting and both needing a few minutes to calm down.
Zack turned his head to look at Jason. "Trini is gonna be so smug now."
Jason laughed. "Probably," he agreed, tightening his hold. "Worth it, though."
"Yeah," Zack said, grinning. "Jason."