Chapter One- Power Transfer
They were lying on Adam's bed, text books open but ignored, when he suddenly asked Rocky
“Do you think we should have told them?” His bare foot ran over the other teen's and then lightly up Rocky's calf as he spoke.
“Don't see why we should, it won't stop us being good Rangers right? I mean, look at Kim and Tommy.” Rocky shrugged and shifted on his side to face Adam fully.
“But isn't it still lying to Zordon? On our first day as Rangers?” Adam pushed, propping himself up on his elbow. He looked thoughtful and serious and Rocky's expression split into a grin.
“You are so cute, you know that?” He stole a kiss before saying more seriously “We're not lying, we just didn't mention it. Don't ask, don't tell right? We can tell them if and when we're ready. Don't worry about it.”
They hadn't been together for a long amount of time and whilst they weren't exactly embarrassed or ashamed, they just weren't ready for everyone in their lives to know just yet. They'd lately been considering telling Aisha but then they'd been kidnapped by Goldar and made friends with the Power Rangers so it got swept under the rug in the wake of those revelations. Telling someone you're in a gay relationship seemed a little trivial when you'd just discovered the secret identities of famous super heroes and even more so now that they'd become super heroes themselves that very afternoon.
“Do you feel different?” Adam asked as he rolled onto his back and stretched out, Rocky followed his movements and was soon above him, hands either side of Adam's shoulders to keep balance.
“Yeah I feel more....just more, you know?” Rocky's eyes were lit up and his smile wide as he spoke and Adam knew exactly what he meant. Receiving the power coins and morphers had felt like being hit with a lightening bolt of energy, like he could do anything, take anything on. It was the best buzz he'd ever felt and it was constant, unrelenting.
“Totally.” Adam agreed, his hands running over the v of Rocky's hips bones lightly before pulling him down on top of him and kissing his lips hungrily. They didn't go far, they never went too far but they always tested the boundaries, they were teenagers with raging hormones after all.
Inevitably, one or both of them would stop before they went too far and they'd both be left with racing hearts, ragged breath and too tight pants. They'd only been together a few months and they so rarely got time completely alone that even the fevered make out sessions still seemed new and exciting to them.
With Rocky's busy family and their close friendship with Aisha, it often meant that it hard for them to get privacy. Their best bet on the afternoons and evenings that they weren't training was to go to Adam's and never before had Adam been so glad of being an only child. Though now that he thought about it, he doubted they'd get this peace too often now that they had become Rangers. They'd had to think fast for an excuse to not study with the others this afternoon as it was.
They'd felt bad on pleading out early, so much so that they'd promised to join the others later for a celebratory dinner, but they'd sorely needed some time alone. Between being held hostage twice, the triathlon and helping out with the teen summit, on top of homework and their usual obligations, they'd barely had a moment alone since before the ninja competition. It had been far too long since they'd had any kind of alone time.
They lay on the bed together with their hair all mussed up and shirts pulled up at odd angles, clothes just generally a lot more creased and crinkled that before as they caught their breath, body's still lazily entangled.
With eyes half closed Adam lent in again, pressing a few soft kisses to Rocky's neck and shoulder as the other boy sighed a little. The skin was easily accessible thanks to the red muscle shirt Rocky had inherited that day from Jason.
It hadn't been a worry so much for him but he had been concerned that Rocky might not be able to fit in with the other Rangers and their trend of wearing their uniform colours, after all Rocky had six brothers and sisters and hated asking his Mom to spend extra money on him. Thankfully before leaving, Jason had told Rocky that all the clothes he was leaving behind could be his. Not all the clothes fit him quite right since Rocky wasn't the muscley beefcake Jason was but Adam still thought he looked damn good in the red shirt.
“I guess it's lucky red's your favourite colour.” Adam's hand ran down Rocky's side to the hem of the shirt, toying with it a little as his considered his next move.
“Coz it looks good on me.” Rocky grinned, with more playfulness than ego in his voice.
“Yeah it does,” Adam's grin matched Rocky's as they lent in to another kiss, the new Black Ranger's hand starting to slide back under Rocky's shirt.
Then the sound of the front door opening and closing reached their ears and they both froze, eyes opening to stare at one another in confusion.
“They're early.” Rocky commented quietly as the unmistakable voices of Adam's parents reached their ears.
They parted quickly, though there was an obvious look of hurt at the speed in which Adam sprung away from Rocky that the Black Ranger pointedly ignored. Rocky knew the score after all, Adam's parents were conservative about a lot of things and he just wasn't ready for that conversation. He especially didn't want them to find out about him by walking in on him making out with a childhood friend, they'd freak out and it would be bad.
Clothes were straightened out and the texts books were opened in a convincing manner and Rocky moved to the floor whilst Adam made his bed. It wasn't that messy but it had creases that hinted that there had been more movement on top of the covers than studying ever required.
Adam then said, very casually, “I'll go get us some drinks.” before leaving the room very quickly.
He entered the kitchen as nonchalantly as possible to find his Mom making coffee and his Dad opening letters whilst muttering darkly about the evil of banks.
“Hi Sweetheart.” His Mom kissed his forehead affectionately and Adam smiled awkwardly in response.
“Hey,” He said with a slightly forced cheerfullness, heading straight for the fridge “Good day?”
“The same as ever.” His dad replied not even looking up. Adam didn't take it personally, he wasn't quite sure what his father's job entailed but he knew it caused him a lot of stress.
“How about you, honey?” His Mom asked as she set poured boiling water into mugs “Liking your new school?”
“Yeah, it's not that different from Stone Canyon,” Adam told her as he poured out two glasses of lemonade. “But we've got to study a lot to catch up on some things they're doing different, no big deal really.”
His father looked up from the letters with raised eyebrows in interest. “We? You have someone over?” His eyes took in the two drinks Adam was preparing as he spoke.
“Yeah, Rocky has math with me so we're figuring it all out together.” He just needed to sound calm and nonchalant and they'd believe him. He didn't like lying to his parents, he'd always tried to be a good son and lying made him really uncomfortable but it was unavoidable right now. He wasn't ready for them to know the truth and they certainly weren't ready to hear it, Adam was certain of that.
“No Aisha?” His Mom adored Aisha in a way that made Adam suspect that she'd always wanted a daughter of her own so she'd never minded that the three of them had always been a unit.
“Girl time with Kimberly,” Adam pulled a face as he pulled of a pack of oreos from the cupboard. “I hate shopping.”
“Oh, I know.” His Mom chuckled in response, taking the cookies from his hand and replacing them with two apples.
“That's the girl you were with when I picked you up from the triathlon?” His father asked suddenly.
“Yeah,” Adam nodded, very uncomfortable. He wasn't too sure what his father's tone was getting at but he wasn't sure he liked it and definitely wanted to leave the conversation now. “You met her and Billy and Tommy, they're cool. I like Angel Grove. Anyway back to studying.”
He awkwardly picked up the drinks and settled the apples between his arm and his stomach, holding them tightly in a precarious manner that justified his hasty exit.
He had a nasty feeling that hiding things was going to get more and more difficult and couldn't quite make himself smile as he returned to Rocky.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two- Vice-Versa
Rocky really didn't understand what Adam's problem was though he couldn't come out and ask it in front of Billy so he tried his best to go along with the pretence whilst silently wondering what was really wrong with his boyfriend.
Why did Adam even care that no girl had asked him to the stupid dance? They'd both agreed that because they weren't quite ready to be 'out' that they'd accept if they were asked since they were new at school and couldn't afford rumours. At the same time though, because they were new he hadn't expected either of them would actually be asked.
At least it being a 'girls ask the boys' situation meant that they didn't have to worry about pretending to be into any of the girls, that was definitely a bonus in Rocky's books.
He couldn't understand at all Adam's obvious upset about not being asked though, after all he had a boyfriend so who cared if a girl asked him or not? It was just a stupid dance, one they'd been mocking only a few days before and now Adam was depressed about it and refusing to go. Rocky loved Adam dearly but he knew the boy had a tendency to over-think and blow things out of proportions and times and this felt like one of those times.
He had a feeling the fact that a girl had asked him might have something to do with it though he really wasn't sure how, it wasn't like Adam could be truly threatened by Jessica since Rocky was pretty sure he was gay and had told Adam that. He'd never had any interest in girls before and he really couldn't see that changing especially since he knew Jessica was a lesbian.
He'd been alarmed when she told him, did that mean she knew about him? But no, she'd just hoped he was a nice guy and didn't want him to misunderstand the situation though she admitted she had had some suspicions about him.
He hadn't yet told Adam that Jessica about their relationship or that he'd been fixing it to pair Adam up with her girlfriend Sarah.
As Laura tempted Billy away, Rocky saw his boyfriend's shoulders slump as it was obvious the Blue Ranger was about to be asked to the dance. Rocky lightly taped Adam's arm in a strictly heterosexual friend giving comfort kind of a way before he lent in closer with a frown and spoke with a hushed voice.
“Adam, what's going on? Since when do you care about the dance or girls?”
“I'm the only one who hasn't been asked, that's embarrassing.”
“Could be worse.” He reasoned with a grinned as he noticed the girls who'd just walked in, he didn't know their names but they'd seen them around a bit. Female versions of Bulk and Skull who were borderline obsessed with the hapless duo.
“Hey, what's wrong Bulk?” He asked, trying not to laugh and he was relieved to see that Adam was fighting a smile.
He grinned widely as the pair made their excuses and ran with the girls on their heels and turned back to Adam. The Black Ranger wasn't even vaguely smiling any more, just staring at his hands.
“Adam, look, ba-”
“Hey guys, Laura just asked me to the dance.” Billy cut over him as he returned, his happiness of having been asked apparently making him forget the source of Adam's upset.
“Looks like I'm the only one without a date.” His words were bitter and took on a harsher tone as he met Rocky's eyes on the word 'date'. Rocky watched him uncertainly, was Adam's real issue that he and Rocky weren't going 'stag' together? Was this his coded way of saying he wanted Rocky to take him to the dance or was he just plan mad that Rocky had a date and he didn't?
“Even Bulk and Skull are going if those girls ever catch them.” That seemed like a flimsy complaint to Rocky considering neither Bulk nor Skull seemed remotely interested in those girls, not that Rocky blamed them much.
Knowing Adam, he knew that there was little he could say to stop his lover from dwelling on things but he could at least try.
“Don't worry Adam, someone'll ask you.” He hoped that his eyes conveyed the message hidden from Billy 'I'd take you if I could' and 'You still have me'. At least, thanks to Jessica, he knew Laura planned to ask sometime soon. He hoped that would help his boyfriend's mood though he couldn't be sure of the exact problem if he didn't get Adam alone.
“I gotta be going. Later guys. See ya.” And with that Adam got up and left, apparently forgetting that they had planned to go home together and hang out for a while. Rocky inwardly groaned as he realised he'd probably said the wrong thing but he could hardly be blamed for that when Adam wouldn't tell him what was going on!
Before their martial arts demonstration they'd spent plenty of time warming up together, Adam had had plenty of chances and chosen not to speak his mind. Sometimes his boyfriend was as infuriating as he was adorable, Rocky decided as he and Billy exchanged glances.
Sometimes he wondered if life would be easier if they just bit the bullet and came out.
Adam felt nothing short of lousy as he dressed for the dance, the last two days had been nothing short of crappy and they were culminating it this: turning up stag to a dance and having to stand at the sidelines all night. It would be embarrassing and awkward all night not only because he was alone but because his friends knew he'd been stupid enough to be taken in by Scorpina.
He didn't know how he was going to explain that one to them, 'Sabrina' hadn't exactly been nice but he hadn't cared because it looked like a girl might ask him to the dance and that's what he wanted. Not because he actually wanted to go with a girl but because he wanted to be able to play straight like Rocky was. His boyfriend was, after all, the first one of their group to get a date, the only one asked before him was Tommy and that was only because he was already dating Kim.
So Rocky got asked by a girl, was it because of how attractive he was or because he was more convincing than Adam at playing straight? Did women instinctively know if a guy was gay or not? Adam hoped not because he really didn't want his mother to know just yet.
The fact was Rocky, who was so quick to call himself gay and talk about coming out, was better at being straight than he was and he wasn't even sure if he was gay. Unlike Rocky he avoided the word because he really wasn't sure it was what he was. Yes, he was attracted to Rocky and maybe even loved him but he hadn't ever been attracted to any other boys before and had never had any chance with any girls so how could he be sure of anything?
Besides, he'd seen gay men on T.V and he and Rocky were nothing like them. They wore pink and liked shopping and curtains, why would he or Rocky want to say they were gay if being gay meant acting like Kimberly and Aisha?
He sighed as he checked himself in the mirror. He wasn't sure why he'd let himself even get talked into going if all he could do was hang around and watch his boyfriend pretend to be straight and try to come up with a reason for the Sabrina/Scorpina mess that wasn't 'she was only going to be a cover for my real relationship anyway so I didn't care she was mean' because the truth wasn't an option right now.
He quietly headed downstairs to wait, Rocky's mom had offered to drive them all in since she had a people carrier that would fit all the teenagers comfortably. He was in the hallway listening out for a car horn when he heard his mother's voice from the living room ask him “Is that what you're wearing to the dance, Adam? Really?”
Adam looked up to see her watching him through the open door with an exasperated smile.
“It's not a formal or anything, besides it's not like I have a date who'll care.” He shrugged, feeling uneasy about what other questions might follow. It was with relief that he heard Mrs DeSantos beeping the horn and he bounded out of the door, shouting his goodbyes over his shoulder.
He climbed into the car and found himself stuck in the back with Rocky, not an arrangement he would usually mind at all. Unseen by anyone else, the others were all facing forward and chattering excitedly about the dance, the Red Ranger's hand slide over his thigh lightly.
Adam sent him a silent warning look, Rocky had become a lot more tactile publicly lately and if they weren't careful people might get suspicious. The hand was removed immediately and warm brown eyes showed hurt for a moment before Rocky mouthed
“Are you ok?”
Adam nodded with a mostly genuine smile, it was hard not to feel ok as he was squished up with Rocky. Lately, Rocky had been making him feel all kinds of new and scary things especially when they were alone. It was exciting and overwhelming, especially as he was trying to adjust to his new life in Angel Grove as a Ranger whilst experiencing all these intense new feelings and wants with Rocky. Sometimes he thought he might drown in the riot of emotions he was feeling and sometimes he did stupid things as he tried to understand and navigate what he was feeling. Stupid things like Scorpina.
Underneath Rocky's jacket that had been stuffed in the back with them the Red Ranger took a hold of his hand, once again grounding Adam and pulling him out of his thoughts. He really did smile at that, a soft content smile as he realised that Rocky just 'got' him. He always knew when Adam was over-thinking and just how to bring him back. No girl would ever get him the way Rocky did, that much was obvious. They held hands under the cover of the red coat until they reached the dance.
Adam was distinctly uncomfortable as he stood beside Aisha. Rocky was on the dance floor with Jessica and whilst he seemed to be having fun, the gap between him and the girl couldn't have been wider. Beside Adam, Aisha and Kimberly were happily moving to the beat and even Tommy was attempting something to the music but Adam was firmly rooted to the spot with his hands on his hips. He couldn't help it, any movement he tried just felt forced and awkward. He felt as if everyone was watching and judging each time he tried to dance and it just made things worse. It all came so easily to Rocky whilst he was left at the sidelines.
“Aw cheer up Adam, things could get worse.” Kimberly suddenly said to him misreading his discomfort as continued depression over being dateless.
“Yeah, you could be here with Scorpina.” Tommy added in a jokey way as he and Kim laugh and Adam had to admit he was relieved that they happily laughed about the whole mess instead of blaming him. He hadn't know them long after all and still found it hard to predict how they might react to things. One of the many reasons why he had reservations about coming out to them.
“Hey, as long as I've got my friends, everything'll be cool.” He replied to reassure them that his obsessing over the whole thing was over. He had Rocky and they'd eventually figure out how to tell everyone and in the meantime pretending to like girls wasn't that important, not enough to endanger Aisha and himself along with the rest of Angel Grove anyway.
He and Tommy slapped hands and he grinned a little, starting to finally relax a little when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned and knew he didn't hide his surprise well or at all really.
There was Sarah right in front of him and he didn't have the faintest idea of what to do. He may not be interested in her but he didn't have the first clue as to how to fake interest towards a girl. He hadn't even made any of the moves with Rocky, it had all been his boyfriend's initiative that had gotten them together in the first place He was naturally shy and awkward which didn't exactly aid in flirting
“I was hoping you'd be here.” She told him with a grin.
“Sarah, where's your date?” He asked since he really didn't know what else to say to her.
“Um, well actually I came here alone.” She looked at him meaningfully and Adam wasn't clueless enough to miss what she was getting at. In the Scorpina drama he'd clean forgotten that Aisha had claimed that was into him. Now what did he do? He didn't want to lead a girl on cruelly but, then, what harm could a dance do? Rocky was dancing with Jess after all. Except Rocky could dance and he could only move weirdly and feel self-conscious to music.
Suddenly Aisha was close behind him, standing on tip toes to talk in his ear. “Well don't just stand there boy! Ask her to dance!”
After the hell he'd put his friends, and Rocky, through over this Vice-Versa dance he guessed the least he could do was attempt to dance with Sarah for a song or two. She'd probably run screaming from him the moment she realised how rhythmically challenged he was anyway.
“Would you like to dance?” He asked automatically.
“I'd love to.” They moved off together and Sarah led them onto the dance floor quiet close to Rocky and Jessica.
From his position he could clearly watch his boyfriend and tried to move in time with him and mimic some of his movements. He still felt self-conscious but at least he was doing something and didn't feel as foolish as he had before. Rocky met his gaze briefly and grinned widely before breaking into the goofiest dance Adam had ever seen, causing him and Jessica to crack up with laughter in the same moment.
It was only after he stopped laughing that he realised he'd stopped dancing too. Sarah was watching him with a grin and moved closer, very quietly telling him “Go to him, I'd much rather see you happy like that than pretending to enjoy dancing with me. Besides, I need to claim my girlfriend back.”
Adam couldn't muster any words at all as Sarah pecked a kiss to his cheek and then made her way over to a still giggling Jessica. The two girls soon disappeared in the forest of dancing bodies and Rocky made his way over to him.
Adam looked at him uncertainly before leading the way back over to the others, who were watching Bulk and Skull being pulled around by those punk girls with amusement. He moved to put both Tommy and billy between himself and his boyfriend to watch and pretend to laugh too.
After as focus left the two boys on the floor, the girls started asking where their dates had gone and Adam still couldn't find his voice but Rocky was smooth as ever.
“Bathroom, why do chicks always go in pairs? It's weird.”
“Coz we can share lipgloss and gossip about you boys in a place where you can't hear us, duh!” Kimberly responded brightly, waggling her eyebrows playfully when Tommy sent her a quizzical look “Wouldn't you like to know.” She grinned happily before the White Ranger dragged her back onto the dance floor.
Before Billy could say or do anything to derail his plan, Rocky was suddenly pulling Adam outside by the arm slightly rougher than he really needed to. He didn't stop until they were out in the cool night air, far away enough to ensure privacy but close enough that they could still hear the thump thump of the music and chattering of happy teens.
“Ok, so I thought we were cool but now you look like that again. What's going on Adam? I can't even try to fix things if you don't talk to me.” Frustration was more than evident in Rocky's voice as he stood in front of Adam, his eyes wide and imploring.
“I just...things suck.” Adam shrugged as he sat down heavily on the concrete, his back against the building. Quietly, Rocky sat down right beside him,their bodies pressed closed together from shoulder to foot.
“Yeah, they kind of have but I really don't understand why. Why all this stress about chicks? Why Scorpina? I don't get it.” He turned his head to face Adam, to watch him as he spoke and then fell silent to wait for an explanation.
Adam shook his head and stayed silent for a while, just staring off straight ahead. Rocky knew not to push too much or his boyfriend would just shut down completely. It was better to wait it out.
“I guess I let things get to me more than I should have. You were going with Jess and I just...”
“Were you jealous I had a date or angry that we weren't doing the 'dateless guys' together thing?” Rocky asked softly, his hand reaching out to run over Adam's bicep lightly. “I would have said no to her if you asked me.”
“Both and sort of...” He trailed off before taking a deep breath and saying “I thought you got a date because you pass as straight better than I do.”
There was a pause before Rocky smiled affectionately “You're an idiot.”
“Completely.” He nodded in agreement, turning to finally look Rocky in the eyes. “So, Jess and Sarah?”
“Love the ladies. Someone's got to I guess.” The Red Ranger's nose crinkled in distaste and Adam laughed softly for the first time in days.
“You are so gay sometimes, Rocko.” Adam's head inclined towards his boyfriend as he spoke with an easy smile. It felt good to not have to pretend, it was like a weight had lifted from him. He looked a little more serious though when he asked his next question. “Did you tell them about us?”
“No, I wouldn't just tell someone without your permission but I did confirm when she asked. She's hiding too so I guess it meant she recognised the signs. I would have told you sooner, given you a heads up but you were so busy trying to be straight we've barely talked.”
“I'm an idiot,” Adam repeated in agreement, shaking his head at his own behaviour “I'm sorry.”
“Nah, you're Adam and I kinda love you.” Rocky smiled as his hand entwined with Adam's. The Black Ranger's breath hitched in his chest at the words; Rocky hadn't said them before, neither of them had, and he could feel his heart beating even faster.
Rocky's hand came up to cup his cheek, thumb stroking gently as he told Adam “Don't say anything you don't really mean.”
“I've never felt this close to anyone before. Like I can say anything, be anything and you'll still...” Before Rocky had came along he hadn't really had friends, he was the weird kid no one liked then came Rocky who just got him in a way that no one ever had before. Even after they met Aisha and became the three musketeers she'd never been quite as close, never quite understood. Maybe that was why they'd ended up kissing all those months ago.
“I'm not going anywhere, promise.” Rocky swore seriously, resting his forehead lightly against Adam's as his hand slid to the back of his neck, playing with Adam's hair lightly. “Nothing you can do will scare me off. Sorry to disappoint.”
“Damn, thought I'd finally get rid of you.” Adam voice was soft and smile peaceful as he lent in, softly kissing his boyfriend's lips in a short and tender kiss.
When their lips parted, Rocky grinned widely and suddenly stood “Dance with me.” He offered Adam his hand and the Black Ranger eyed him nervously before looking around. No one in sight so he tentatively accepted the hand and stood.
“I can't dance.” He warned his boyfriend.
“Not when you think everyone's watching,” Rocky agreed as he took Adam's hand in his and guided them into position. A slow song was filtering out from the Juice bar, one that Adam didn't recognise as Rocky began to guide him “But it's just us right now. You and me Ad, follow my lead ok?”
It was hard not to relax and trust Rocky so he gave himself over and allowed himself to be guided until they were in a fairly passable slow dance together.
“One good thing came off all of this.” Adam said out loud, vocalising his thoughts as a sad sounding female voice sang about love.
“Zedd sent Scorpina to seduce me so that must he doesn't know about us which must mean he doesn't watch us all the time.” On hearing from the older Ranger's about how their foe often seemed to know about their lives, Adam and Rocky had felt uneasy. Did that mean Zedd was watching them make out? Watching them in the shower? But if he'd thought Adam straight then clearly he didn't watch them all the time which was definitely a weight off of their shoulders. The idea than an evil, alien presence might be watching their every move had been more than a little unsettling.
“That is good news. You learnt that and I learnt about beards.” They continued to dance as they spoke, they were both smiling happily at once another.
“Beards? You don't even need to shave yet.” Adam pointed out in mild confusion, his hand that had been entwined with Rocky's leaving the grasp to caress the smooth cheek to make his point.
“No, not that. It's when a lesbian and a gay guy pretend to date so they can pass as straight. Jessica was telling me about it earlier.” Rocky chuckled as Adam's arms circled his neck and his slid around the Black Ranger's waist.
“Interesting,” Adam nodded as he looked into Rocky's warm brown eyes and felt utterly relaxed, all the tension of the past few days nothing more than a distant memory.
“Very, though we won't need it for long right? We should tell the others soon? It we leave it too long...” He trailed off and Adam couldn't stand the pleading tinged with a touch of doubt gazing back at him. He lent in and kissed Rocky deeply, putting off replying to him because he knew deep down he wasn't as sure or ready as Rocky.
He wasn't as brave as Rocky.
Chapter 3: The Mirror of Regret
They'd never taught a whole course before, not officially like this. Occasionally they may have helped mentor a kid or two on a more one-on-one basis back in Stone Canyon but never a whole class. It was a huge responsibility and they both appreciated how much trust Jason had shown by leaving his classes to them. They'd been surprised that Rocky's predecessor hadn't left his students with Tommy since he'd known the White Ranger for so much longer but they'd appreciated the chance and decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak.
Of course, since it was their first time in charge of the class they'd expected the kids to push the boundaries a little but open bullying in front of everyone? That had shocked him a little. Still, Rocky felt he and Adam had dealt with it well. They quickly showed that they, just like 'Mr Jason', weren't going to put up with bullying or shenanigans in their classes but Rocky was still a little concerned for Adam. The incident had stirred memories for him so he knew it must have for his boyfriend too.
It reminded him of the day he'd met Adam way back when they were ten years old. He'd just moved to Stone Canyon and taken two of his younger sisters to the play-park. He'd been playing with them on the swings when he'd spotted a group of five boys approaching a small kid sitting at the bench. He hadn't thought about his own safety, it just occurred to him how unfair five on one was, especially considering the kid's size, and so he went over to even the odds up a little.
Afterwards he'd asked Adam to come lay with him. He'd helped to push Rocky's sisters on the swings and they talked.
Rocky hadn't known then that inviting Adam along to his self defence classes would be the start of his first friendship in Stone Canyon. He couldn't have known that the scared little kid he'd stood up for would become his best friend and boyfriend, his partner in crime and fellow Power Ranger but he'd always be thankful for that strong sense of right and wrong that his parents had instilled in him which had made him intervene in the first place.
He wasn't surprised when Adam ended up helping Sean after class, Adam was just that kind of guy. It was one of the many aspects of Adam that made him love him so much.
Rocky sat down with Aisha and initially watched his boyfriend with a mixture of pride and concern, though the concern was short lived. Adam didn't seem too affected if Sean was stirring memories for him, he just seemed determined to help the kid like Rocky had once helped him.
It put Rocky's mind at ease again, Adam was sensitive when it came to certain issues and as oblivious as he could be on most things, Rocky was usually good at judging his boyfriend's moods. He knew Adam had been having a tough time since the Ninja Competition and especially during the Scorpina/Sabrina ordeal. At least Adam's fixation about appearing straight seemed to be passing. He hadn't mentioned it since the dance at any rate.
He was barely listening to Aisha as she chatted happily, he was just watching Adam. Since they usually trained together, he never really got many chances to focus completely on his boyfriend like this and it was interesting. The calm focus on Adam's face and the clean precision of his movements that were graceful and yet powerful as he ran through the katas was an absolutely captivating sight to Rocky. So much so that it made Rocky wonder why everyone in the gym wasn't watching Adam right now. Surely he couldn't be the only one whose breath was taken away by the sight?
He turned his head as he noticed Aisha had fallen quiet and smiled as he saw she was watching Adam too. Her gaze was less appreciative than his own and more inquisitive especially when it came back to him and her eyebrows arched in a silent question.
“Sorry but if it's between listening about the shoes you and Kim bought and watching my student train...” He said with a grin to cover up the moment. If it was down to him then he'd tell her in a heartbeat but he knew Adam would freak out and if Aisha figured it out for herself? That'd be even worse considering how worried his boyfriend had been about people being able to somehow see the fact that he was gay just by looking at him.
“Ok, ok fine.” Aisha rolled her eyes playfully “You boys just can't appreciate a good bargain, can you?”
“Guess not.” He played with his straw, dragging it through his smoothie slowly. The conversation died as Bulk and Skull gatecrashed Adam's tutorial session with their ever unfailing self-confidence and high tolerance for embarrassment.
“What are you doing guys?” Aisha asked and Rocky was pleased for the distraction that the duo presented even if their pathetic and ill-informed attempts at karate did make him wince.
As Adam decided to take their pupil out away from the intrusions of Bulk and Skull, Rocky's eyes met with him and they silently agreed to a plan. They'd planned to hang out at the Juice bar for a while before going back to Rocky's but plans changed constantly and he was used to rolling with the punches. There was no such thing as a concrete plan when Zedd and Rita could launch an attack at any moment. A silent agreement to change the plans and Rocky knew Adam would meet him at his place when he could.
Rocky smiled at himself as he thought of the night ahead. He'd been looking forward to it all week, his parents were going out of town for the weekend to visit his Aunt and cousins taking all of the kids with them. Rocky was given leave of the trip because of his obligations to the karate class and that meant he had the house to himself from that afternoon until Sunday night. Two whole nights for him and Adam to just be themselves without any sneaking around or lying, it's what they really needed right now. He and Adam needed time away from the pressure of being Rangers and of their own lies. They just needed to be themselves for a weekend.
And so he headed home to make sure that the fridge and cupboards were stocked with all their favourites as well as to change the sheets on his bed. He hoped it wouldn't seem too presumptuous to Adam, he just didn't want to be worrying about the state of his sheets instead of who was in them.
And then his communicator went off and the usual feeling of excitement coupled with dread jolted in his chest. He loved being a Ranger and the feeling of morphing with like nothing he'd felt before but morphing also meant the city, the world and his friends were in danger. It was a cruel catch 22 that he could only ever feel that amazing rush when everything he held dear was in jeopardy.
As he teleported to the Command Centre he wondered what Rita and Zedd could have cooked up this time, his stomach jolting unpleasantly as he looked around and noticed that there was a Ranger missing from their group. Adam, his Adam though no one knew that little fact so he had to keep it together. He couldn't lose it like Kim and Tommy could or would if the other was in danger. He didn't have that luxury.
He swallowed hard as he fought to keep his emotions in check and found a painful lump in his throat as he tried in vain not to panic. Maybe Adam was just delayed...it didn't seem likely especially since he knew full well that Adam had gone to the park, the number one place for putty attacks.
“What's going on Zordon?” Tommy asked as they moved closer to look up at their mentor.
“Yeah, where's Adam?” Rocky's heart was in his mouth as Billy asked the question that was rightfully his. Whatever was happening, they'd get Adam back and he'd tell his boyfriend outright that they had to come out, because this was torture.
“Zedd is using a spell along with the Mirror of Regret to undermine Adam's self-confidence.” Zordon told them and wordlessly they all turned toward the viewing globe as Rocky balled his fists up as he held back his anger. It wasn't the first time that Zedd had targeted Adam in their short time as Rangers but this attack was so much more personal. Adam might be a lot more confident than the scared little boy Rocky had first met but he was still sensitive, still so easily damaged if provoked in the wrong way. This really could destroy Adam completely if Zedd found the right weakness.
The sight of Goldar baiting his boyfriend was almost more than Rocky could stand. As Adam fell to his knees, the Red Ranger was so close to simply morphing and heading in there to kick that over-sized gold monkey's ass once and for all. The only thing that kept him in place was knowing that it would be a suspicious act and he didn't want to arouse suspicions. He didn't want to make the situation any worse than it already was.
And then Zordon forbade them from even going to Adam's aid as a team and how could they not all see how much this was hurting, killing Rocky to just stand by while Adam was being emotionally tortured. It was his duty as a Power Ranger to go and fight the monster that Zedd had sent and trust that Adam would save himself with his own inner strength, but his duty as a boyfriend flew in the face of that. Ranger Rocky trusted Ranger Adam to win the mental battle but boyfriend Rocky wanted to hurt the one hurting his Adam and then just hold him close forever.
He struggled to truly focus on the battle until Adam was fighting at him side again, confidence not only restored but renewed tenfold. The sight of the Adam teleporting in renewed his own morale and they soon had Skelerina biting the dust.
After the battle, they left together quickly and luckily no one stopped them since most were late for dinner. Though clearly happier and confident again, he knew Adam wouldn't want to talk about the Mirror and what Goldar had shown him until he decided he was ready for it. Rocky wasn't going to let someone, most likely Kim, put their foot in it by pushing too soon, no matter how kind their intentions may be.
At first everything was normal as they ate Chinese takeout for dinner in front of the TV, something Rocky's mother would never have allowed. In fact it was too normal and that was what told Rocky that something was definitely very wrong with his boyfriend. Adam was too cheerful, not that Adam was miserable all of the time far from it however now his smile was too wide, his laughter too loud for Rocky to truly believe.
Sure enough, Adam eventually spoke his mind and with a single sentence that sent shivers down Rocky's spine. They were sharing the leather recliner, lying back with Adam half leaning against him, slightly turned away so that they could both see the television. Rocky had felt utterly relaxed as he wrapped an arm loosely around Adam's waist, the Black Ranger's head resting back against his shoulder.
“Do you ever wish we were normal?” Adam voice was soft, his eyes fixed firmly on the television screen and in the opposite direction to Rocky.
“Why settle for normal when you can be awesome like us?” Rocky forced a big grin, pretending he didn't know exactly what his boyfriend was talking about. He'd thought Adam's insecurities had gone not increased, how could Adam think that they weren't normal? It was absurd to him that Adam could even be considering it.
“I'm serious Rocky.” Adam didn't even vaguely smile, he stared fixedly ahead with his expression nearly blank and hard to read.
“Not normal. You mean do I wish we were straight.” The Red Ranger struggled to keep his voice neutral and soft. “And no. I haven't ever because if we were straight we'd have missed out on us and...I think I'm falling in love with you.” He didn't think, he knew he'd already fallen but he didn't want to come on too strong when Adam had clearly had such an intense day. “Did Goldar say something? The mirror thing?”
He propped himself up a little so that he could look down and see Adam a little better. His boyfriend's face was no longer eerily blank, at the mention of today's torments his brow had furrowed and there was obvious pain in his eyes. He may have defeated Golder in the end but clearly some raw nerves had been struck and exposed that afternoon.
“It's funny the things you forget and the things you remember.” Adam eventually said in a very far away voice. “What did you see? Zordon showed you right? He always does...”
“Just those kids that gave you a hard time,” Rocky said softly. Sometimes he'd gotten some of the abuse too because he sided with Adam but Adam was always the main target. “Not picking you for sports, that kind of stuff. None of the really bad things.” Rocky only saw some of the really bad stuff, the rest he found out from hearing the boys whispering after class, boasting about their cruelty.
“Faggot. Pansy. Weakling. Dweeb. Queer. Fag...maybe if I was normal it wouldn't have happened.” Adam murmured softly.
The Red Ranger shook his head, mentally decided that the next time he saw Goldar he'd kick that golden butt worse than ever. Adam might not have lost his self-confidence in the attack as Rita and Zedd had planned but he had lost any acceptance he'd been building for his own sexuality.
“Adam, you didn't even know you liked guys back then, it wasn't about you it was about them. They were the wrong ones, they just said the worst things they could think of and it didn't matter if they were true or not. They just wanted to hurt you, the fact that it turns out you are gay is just a coincidence.”
“I've never said I'm gay. That's you, I'm not so sure.” Rocky frown a little at that before nodding slowly.
“Ok, so maybe not gay but we're great together right? Whatever that makes us, it doesn't matter because we have each other. When we kiss, it just feels right doesn't it?” His heart was in his mouth as he waited for Adam's answer. He was sure Adam felt it too but still, that didn't mean Adam wasn't about to do something stupid.
Very slowly, Adam rolled onto his back and looked up into Rocky's eyes and after an extended pause he finally said, though barely more than a whisper “Yes...yes it does.”
Rocky smiled softly as he brought his hand up to gently caress Adam's cheek. “You've had a bad day Adam, Rita and Zedd wanted you doubting yourself, they wanted you weak. If you let them get to you, mess with your head and mess with us then you're just letting them win. You know?”
“I just...I'm so tired of feeling like I'm wrong to be feeling like this. For you.” Adam's eyes were full of pain as they had been on the viewing globe that afternoon and it made Rocky's heart ache for him all over again. The Red Ranger tenderly lent his forehead against his boyfriend's as he tried to put his thoughts and feelings into words.
“The only thing wrong about all this is that there are people in the world that say that we're wrong. It's not, we're not, how could anything that feels so right, so good, be wrong? I know the things those bullies said and did Adam, I know it all and I know your Dad's pressuring you about girls right now but that doesn't make us wrong, it makes them wrong and mean and close-minded.”
He very lightly brushed his lips against Adam's and was relieved when the Black Ranger responded positively, gentle kissing him back for a moment. He closed his eyes as they kissed, hoping desperately that somehow all the love and emotions he was feeling for Adam would somehow make their way through the kiss and his boyfriend would understand exactly how he felt. When he pulled back, Adam finally smiled. It was a small, slightly sad smile but a smile all the same.
“I love you Adam.” It came out without him fully realising it and he would have been nervous except there was finally a real smile on Adam's face, that slightly crooked and ever so endearing smile that Rocky knew and loved so much. Adam had relived his worst memories, he'd been to hell and back and fought his demons and it was clear that hearing those three simple words had made it all worthwhile for him. He wasn't wrong, he wasn't broken, he was loved. Finally Rocky had gotten through to him.
“Rocky, I...let's go upstairs.” An innocent suggestion in itself but the tone and expression put into it gave all Rocky needed to know.
“Are you sure?” Rocky asked with concern, after the day Adam had had he didn't want his boyfriend to feel obligated or pressured in anyway.
Adam smiled, taking Rocky's hand in his own and locked their fingers together “Yeah Rocky, I'm sure.”
Chapter 4: Forever Friends
Set after 'Friends Forever' and references 'When Is A Ranger Not A Ranger?'
It had been a long day for Aisha and though the worries had been lifted from her shoulders, she was still exhausted from the emotion upheaval. Finally seeing Shauna again only to have her seemingly hate Kimberly had broken her heart, she'd wanted so desperately for the two girls to like each other.
Aisha's two closest friends were undoubtedly Rocky and Adam but they'd always been that little bit closer with one another than with her and, besides, she needed female friends because boys really could be idiots. Unfortunately the girls had been even more idiotic, to think it had taken being kidnapped by a monster to get the two girls she loved best to become friends! Not that she was holding a grudge, it was too difficult to hold a grudge anyway when she was just so excited about the girly plans she was making with them. Unlike Rocky and Adam, at least Kimberly and Shauna didn't have a habit of vanishing without reason or making plans without her like Rocky and Adam had been for months now.
There were times when Aisha was absolutely certain as to why the boys were so close, why they had their own special bond entirely separate from their friendship with her but there were also times when she doubted her own theory severely and berated herself for ever considering it.
Sometimes she wondered if the boys might be more than friends. It would have explained a lot after all. Lately they'd seemed closer than usual. They whispered together about things that Aisha was never told, which had never happened before, and sometimes there were looks or touches that just seemed too intimate to be passing between friends.
Everytime she thought too much on the theory though, the spark of doubt ignited until she felt totally silly for ever entertaining the idea. After feeling silly she'd eventually, inevitably, see something that spark suspicions again and it would all start over. It was an endless cycle and had been for months, she didn't dare voice her wonderings to even Kimberly though because a discussion out-loud would be too close to gossiping and gossiping about Adam and Rocky just seemed a betrayal to Aisha. Those two boys trusted her, she couldn't turn them into figures of gossip, even if it was just with Kimberly.
Thoughtfully, she stared down into the dregs of her smoothie and sighed softly. She knew that either way it really wasn't any of her business and she had no right to feel entitled to the information if they were dating but still, she couldn't help feeling curious and hurt. Curious as to what was the truth and what had been exaggerated in her mind, and hurt that her two best friends in the world might not trust her enough to tell her.
Even as she tried to tell herself that she was reading way too much into a normal friendship, she couldn't help thinking back to earlier in the week. Remembering the void, the blank emptiness she'd felt when her memory had been wiped. It had been terrifying to not know who she was or where she was. In that moment of nothingness, of absolute void and confusion, Adam had instinctively reached out to Rocky. It was only for a moment, he reach for Rocky's shoulder or to touch his face, she wasn't sure what he was doing, and he'd pulled his hand back looking bewildered, not understanding why he would do such a thing. Was it just mindless confusion or was it something he did naturally and simply couldn't remember why?
Rolling her eyes at herself, Aisha drained her glass and stood up to leave. It wasn't any of her business really, whether they were or weren't it didn't affect her and they were still her boys. She knew she'd love them just as much no matter what so really, who cared what the truth was or when she'd know for sure? There was no use worrying about things like that.
Unable to spot Kimberly, who'd been packing her kit up before, Aisha made her way to the exit deciding to check outside. There were plenty of spots that where good when the weather was as nice as it was today and Kimberly could be catching a little sun to shake off the afternoon spent in a cave.
Walking around a few groups of people, she headed around to a few outside seats that weren't often used- too far from the juice bar, the action and fun that happened inside but at times good for studying in peace. She stopped short, partly behind a tree when she realised it wasn't Kimberly and Tommy as she assumed she might find, but Adam and Rocky. She didn't freeze with the intentions on eavesdropping, rather she meant to turn away and continue her Kimberly hunt but Rocky's words reached her ear and she froze in surprise.
“I thought the other monsters were bad but making me forget my whole life? My boyfriend? I don't think they could have actually done anything worse to me.” As he spoke his fingertips ran lightly over Adam's forearm which rested on the wooden table. The action just seemed like the most natural in the world, like his touch just belonged there.
Stunned Aisha couldn't help but stare. She's often wondered but never truly believed either way and yet here was Rocky right in front of her eyes saying it so plainly. Her mouth only hung open for a second though before she smiled so wide his cheeks hurt just a little. The smile faded slightly as she saw Adam pull his arm out of Rocky's reach.
“We're in public.” He hissed sounding a strange blend of scared and angry that Aisha rarely heard.
“No one's here, they're all celebrating with Kimberly and Shauna. Don't worry so much, Adam.” Rocky's voice was calm and relaxed but Aisha could see concern and hurt in his eyes. She couldn't fully see Adam's face but his body language didn't read as good.
Suddenly she realised how wrong it was of her to be standing, staring at them. The moment she was looking in on was both a private and an unhappy one that she had no right at all to witness. Quickly she withdrew, hugging her books to her chest as she hurried away.
Her boys were dating but they clearly weren't in a good place and she had to pretend she didn't know. It would kill her to stay silent but it was for the best. It would probably just upset them to spring it upon them right now that she knew all about them, they must have a reason for not telling her after all. They usually shared everything.
She could do nothing but watch and hope that they fixed their own problems without her intervention. Or with minimal intervention she concluded as she saw Kimberly and Tommy heading her way. She could offer them general support and keep her eye out to make sure they were ok but right now that was all. She'd do her damn best for them though, she loved them both too much to let them implode without helping them in some way.
“Hey 'Sha, we were gonna grab one of the benches. There's no way anyone can study in there right now.” She motioned towards the juice bar with a laugh.
Benches? Panicked rose in Aisha as she realised that already she was needing to cover for Rocky and Adam.
“Studying? On a day like this? I was thinking ice cream.” She suggested hastily with a grin that she hoped covered up her alarm.
“Ice cream?” Kimberly twisted on her heels to appeal to Tommy. “What do you think?”
“Great plan, it'll be my treat after the day you two have had.” He nodded and with relief, Aisha wrapped her arms around their shoulders happily launching into any conversation as she steered them into walking away from the benches.
Rocky and Adam were sure gonna owe her big time before this all came to a head, she was certain of that.