A/N: This story takes place sometime during Turbo and before "Passing the Torch." It references the Zeo episode "Scent of a Weasel," in which Jason and Rocky participate in a fashion show. Yes, this takes a slashy turn towards the end; if slash isn't your cup of tea, I would recommend reading something else.
Not All Consequences Are Bad
Adam wasn't sleeping. He wasn't eating. He hadn't even showered for two days. His room was a mess. Sheets, a comforter, and pillows were scattered across the floor; clothes, objects thrown in frustration, and even his communicator littered nearly every other surface in sight. It was a good thing Divatox hadn't attacked for almost a week, because he wouldn't have been in any shape to put up a good fight.
The other Rangers had called, all right, but it was easy to lie on the phone and say that he was getting a head start on his school workload for the fall. Attending college and saving the planet was going to be a difficult balancing act, to say the least, and the others had understood. His mother and father were gambling away in Las Vegas on a much-needed vacation, which meant he had the house to himself—and the memories that were all too happy to fill up the silence.
He couldn't believe he had been so stupid. And with Rocky, of all people: Rocky, the one person who was absolutely not supposed to find out that Adam's relationship with Tanya, such as it had been, had fizzled out for reasons that not even Tanya herself had guessed correctly. Rocky, the one person who was absolutely not supposed to find out in the way he had.
Adam groaned aloud, the sound covered by the angry fuck everyone and everything music blasting out of his speakers, and punched the nearest inanimate object in self-loathing. The object in question, a lonely pillow on his bed, teetered dangerously on the edge of his mattress before falling to the ground.
"Adam, I know you're in there!"
The shout, coming from the Rocky who was absolutely not supposed to find out why Adam's interest in sleepovers had abruptly stopped at the age of fourteen, was accompanied by a muffled pounding noise. Adam's eyes widened, and he quickly weighed his options. Pretending to be asleep was out. Hiding under the bed was pathetic. He didn't think flat-out ignoring Rocky would have much success, either, but at least there was a lock on the door. Hopefully Rocky's determination wouldn't reach the level of property damage.
"Listen, asshole, if I'm putting my back through all of this the least you can do is open the fucking door!"
Adam winced. He knew Rocky wasn't serious about calling him an asshole—not yet, anyway—but his friend's back was still problematic and Adam would hate himself even more if he was the one responsible for making things worse. Fuck, he thought, rolling out of his sanctuary and feeling his feet hit the cool floor for the first time in awhile.
"Goddamnit, at least open the door so I know you're still alive—Jesus fucking Christ, Adam, what the hell is wrong with you?"
For Adam had just opened the door and revealed his unshaven, dirty, bleary-eyed self to his best friend. Former best friend, more likely. "I'm sorry I hurt your back," he apologized dully, avoiding Rocky's dark eyes.
"Forget about that," Rocky retorted, forcing his way in through the door and immediately turning off the music. Adam didn't try to resist. "Why don't you tell me why you haven't returned any of my calls, even though you've spoken to everyone else?"
"Sorry, I must've missed them," Adam lied, staring down at the floor.
"Oh, come on, I called you ten times yesterday alone!" Rocky cried indignantly. "Don't give me that bullshit. You've been avoiding me since last weekend. It's Friday. Don't you think we should at least talk about what happened?"
"There's nothing to talk about," Adam muttered, a flush creeping up his neck as he remembered one too many beer bottles and a drink or three in which vodka may or may not have been involved. A shirtless wrestling match: a game to Rocky, a losing battle for Adam. Rocky insisting that they spar yet again and not understanding why Adam just wanted to sit and cross his legs and watch the baseball game. Rocky asking more and more questions until finally Adam had to shut him up—
"Hello, Adam, we kissed and suddenly that's it? We're not friends anymore?" Rocky's expression was colder than Adam could ever remember seeing it. "I get it: you're… we're straight. But we were also drunk. It's not the end of the world."
Something inside Adam snapped. "Are you kidding me?" he shouted, fists clenched. "You're the one who freaked out about it. You're the one who acted like… like it was disgusting, a-and I was disgusting!"
"I never said that," Rocky growled, every muscle in his body visibly tensed.
"I think the 'what the fuck are you doing' got the message across," Adam snarled back. He was mimicking Rocky's drunken dialect perfectly, but this time he didn't draw a laugh. He hadn't expected to. "Same with 'that's not fucking funny' and 'don't fucking do that again.'"
"Why, did you want to do it again?"
Rocky's sarcastic reply hung in the air, stunning Adam. "W-What are you talking about?" he stammered, scrambling for the one answer that could potentially salvage the situation. "O-Of course not! I was drunk, like you said."
The lie made him feel worse than even that time he had seen the Command Center explode in front of his eyes, but he wasn't about to destroy his friendship with Rocky. Even if it meant pretending to be someone he wasn't. Even if it meant calling Tanya again and arranging a double date with Tommy and Katherine, in which he and Tommy could both act as if they weren't thinking of someone else.
"You were drunk," Rocky repeated, his expression unreadable.
"Yeah, I was drunk," Adam spat defensively. "Look, I'm sorry I've been ignoring you. I thought you were pissed off"—and I found out that you were homophobic—"and I didn't want to make things worse."
"Okay, whatever," Rocky said, rolling his eyes.
This wasn't the reaction Adam had been hoping for. "'Okay, whatever'?" he echoed. "What's wrong with you? I apologized. I'm sorry for ignoring you and I'm sorry for kissing you and what else do you want?"
"You know what?" Rocky demanded, throwing his hands up in the air. "Forget it. Have fun doing whatever the fuck it was you were doing before I came here."
As Rocky turned to go, Adam's mouth dropped open in disbelief. All his life, he had thought that Rocky was open-minded and accepting of others. Befriending a blind martial artist, happily going along to a museum exhibit of the ancient Kahmala culture, and even modeling in a fashion show earlier in the year without a word of complaint: this was the Rocky Adam knew—or he thought he knew. Finding out otherwise now tainted every single memory of their friendship, and made it impossible to meekly accept Rocky's censure. "Since when have you been homophobic?" he shouted at Rocky's retreating back.
Rocky abruptly stopped. "You think that's why I was mad at you?" he yelled, turning around and approaching Adam again. He didn't stop until they were only a foot apart, until Adam could practically feel the rage radiating from him. "You think after modeling in a fucking fashion show I'm homophobic?"
"You only did it because of the girls!" Adam reminded him irritably. Like he really needed to have Rocky's heterosexuality thrown in his face again.
"I didn't do it because of the girls," Rocky retorted quietly. "And I didn't push you away because I'm homophobic."
Adam frowned. Something about this conversation didn't make sense; something he couldn't put his finger on, but would explain why Rocky was now staring at him as if waiting for him to understand the punch line of a joke. Or why the shouting match had stopped, but they hadn't stepped away from each other and actually might have moved an inch or two closer.
"Then why did you do it?" Adam asked, confused.
A second later, Rocky's lips pressed against his. The action was so quick and unexpected that at first, Adam couldn't even react and only stood there numbly. This isn't like kissing a girl, he thought, dazed. Girls didn't wear cologne and they were definitely not as aggressive as Rocky. Nor had kissing a girl ever made him glad he was wearing sweatpants and not jeans.
The spell ended when Rocky pulled away, looking both mortified and disappointed. Too late, Adam realized that he had never responded. "Rocky—" he began.
"Yeah. I'm gay," Rocky admitted, hastily backing away from Adam. The sudden rush of air between them was like a cold slap in the face. "I didn't want to tell you because you might have figured… other things out. And it looks like I just blew that, too," he added, more to himself than Adam.
"How long have you known?" Adam asked quietly, still struggling to come to terms with the fact that Rocky had just kissed him. Rocky, the one person who was absolutely not supposed to be gay and moreover actually like Adam back, had just kissed him. Voluntarily. Sober. Something Adam had never worked up the courage to do in four years.
"Since just before we transferred to Angel Grove," Rocky said, staring at the floor as if he found the wood paneling fascinating.
"And how long have you… have you liked me?" Adam pressed, trying frantically to recall an occasion or a moment in which he should have recognized. Should have known. He could remember plenty of times he himself had been grateful—and not so grateful—that their Ranger uniforms were spandex, but none of this had ever seemed to faze Rocky.
"I'm sorry," Rocky apologized, looking more and more as if he wished he had never come to Adam's house. "I didn't mean to—I shouldn't have—"
"How long?" Adam repeated, closing the distance between them.
Rocky looked at him in confusion, not understanding. "Around the same time," he confessed, embarrassed, "but I promise, I won't—"
Adam cut him off with the longest, fiercest kiss either of them had ever experienced. Rocky stiffened in surprise, then quickly realized what was going on and adjusted accordingly. He pulled Adam towards him, making the significant bulges below their waistlines blatantly evident. As their tongues met, a pulsing and exciting imitation of their sparring matches, Adam found himself slipping his hands under Rocky's shirt.
Almost immediately, Rocky pulled away. Adam froze, waiting for Rocky to say that the whole encounter had been a mistake. That he had thought he was gay, but really wasn't, and Adam had shown him that. "Rocky, I—" he began.
"When was the last time you showered?" Rocky interrupted him, frowning.
"These are valuable goods," Rocky insisted, smirking as he gestured towards his body. "You're not getting any until you get in the shower. I am a model, you know. I have appearances to keep up."
Adam didn't miss a beat, though a rather stupid grin was on his face as he countered, "Any chance of you joining me, Mr. Valuable Goods?"
"I suppose you'll need supervision," Rocky conceded, throwing an arm around Adam's shoulders. His show of reluctance didn't last long, and he beamed as he kissed Adam again on the cheek.
"I'll try not to damage the goods too much," Adam replied happily. It was a promise he fully intended not to keep.
As the two of them headed off to the Parks' shower, Rocky said, "So, I don't know if you figured it out, but the reason I modeled in that show was because I wanted you to see me—"
"Yeah, Rocky, I got it."