Author's Notes: Hi all! Sorry it's taken me so long to finally post this! To be completely honest, it's mostly due to the title...I was arguing with myself for ages on what to call it, and I eventually took a break that ended up being far longer than I wanted it to be. Oops...
But here it is! The final piece in the trilogy of my Adam/Rocky stories. This particular tale takes place in Turbo and follows Adam and Rocky through their ups and downs, with an eventual tie in to Space. Won't say more than that...you'll just have to wait and see. :)
"It's not the biggest place, but for two men looking to start out, it works well, I think…"
Adam couldn't remember what place they were on. Five, six? Seven? Each and every time, the realtor said the same thing about their particular commercial space. It must have been hidden somewhere in the realtor code to try and play up a location to help build the sale. This one wasn't too bad, by any means. Existing between a fabric store and a bookstore downtown on a relatively busy street, there was a lot of potential for business. The street was well-taken care of and had a bit of character to it. More importantly, nothing like their dojo existed around the area, giving them a distinct advantage for interested parties.
"There's about nine hundred square feet in the main room here," the realtor went on to say. He gestured toward the back wall. There, nestled in the left corner, was a sliding door with a horizontal bar handle. "If you'll follow me to the back room, I'll show it to you."
Adam followed Rocky and their realtor into the back area. The smile that he saw on his partner's face was enough to tell him that he was enjoying the search much more than himself. Then again, Adam had been growing more and more restless. He didn't like wasting time. They had seen three great places, but none of them had "felt right" to Rocky. In the end, his opinion was what mattered most. After all, it would be his dojo, and the home of his future business.
The back room was decently sized. The realtor explained to them how the previous business had used it as primarily a storage area. Adam figured that was the reason behind the numerous shelving units along the wall across from the entry. Along the far right wall were an empty desk and a pair of filing cabinets. Artificial light cast a fluorescent glow over the pale white walls.
"Spacious enough to store equipment if you need to, but primarily designed for an office," the realtor explained. "There's a downstairs storage space through this door here, and it has a bathroom, as well."
Adam blinked in surprise. Just beside the door they entered through was another. Dimly lit stairs led down into the storage area.
"Total square feet is nineteen-hundred," the realtor said with a genuine smile. "The rent is considerably cheaper than most places, which will be perfect for you two."
"Right?" Rocky said, returning the smile. He turned to Adam, arms folded over his chest. "What do you think?"
"I like it," Adam said automatically.
In truth, it was probably the best place they had seen so far. They had yet to talk in more specific details, which led him to believe it might be more than they could afford. With base rent, electric, water…who knew what it would ultimately cost them?
"There may be some financing possible," the realtor explained. "We can talk about it when we go back to the office." He cleared his throat. "I'll give you two a few minutes to talk. If you need anything, I'll be in the main room, all right?"
"Thanks," Adam and Rocky said in unison.
Once they were alone, Rocky turned to Adam and gave a big grin. "Well?"
"Good space," the Asian boy replied. "Small, good location…parking lot nearby for parents to drop their kids off at. Storage room, bathroom, all of it." He gave a considering look. "Probably the best place we've seen so far, without a doubt."
Rocky stepped further into the room. He had his back to Adam when he asked, "Does it feel right to you?"
"By that, I take it you mean can I feel us being here. If so, then yeah, totally."
Adam and Rocky had been looking for months for a place to call their own, a place where they could set up their dojo and finally get out of the Youth Center. Grateful though they were to Ernie for letting them work there during the year, Lieutenant Stone had said upon his takeover that their hours would have to shift, which, while during the summer worked just fine, would not fly at all during the school year. Though the two of them had graduated, their students were just that—students. Thus, having morning classes alone would prove unbeneficial for them.
"Well, we have that loan that my parents cosigned me for," Rocky said, stroking his chin thoughtfully. "So if this is the place, we—"
Adam's stomach dropped at the sound of his communicator beeping. It hadn't gone off for about a week—the longest time of peace since Divatox had taken the reigns as number one baddie in the galaxy. He knew already that the sound of it alone was going to incite a negative response from Rocky. And sure enough, when he looked at the other boy, there was definite disapproval in his eyes.
"You know better than anyone that I can't just blow it off," Adam said shortly.
"And what the hell am I supposed to tell Mr. Balmers, then? 'Oh, sorry, my boyfriend had to go fight evil, he'll be right back'?"
The irritation in Rocky's voice made Adam all the more upset. He had a job to do—a duty. Rocky was acting like it was an inconvenience specifically designed to interrupt his life, which couldn't have been further from the truth.
Vexed, Adam replied, "I don't really care what you tell him." He clicked his communicator, opening the channel. "This is Adam, I read you."
"Yo-yo-yo, Adam!" It was Alpha 6. His muddled accent came across even stronger over the communicator. "Trouble's brewin' on the outskirts of Angel Grove! Tommy and the others are already on their way, meet 'em there!"
"I'm on it."
When he clicked off his communicator, Adam looked at Rocky, hoping that he'd calmed down by now. But he should have known better. The cross expression the other wore felt like a slap to the face. In return, he frowned disapprovingly.
"Don't act like this is the first time it's happened," Rocky stated. He growled.
"And it won't be the last," Adam reminded him sternly. "Look. I'm sorry, but I gotta go. I don't have a choice. Peoples' lives are on the line." He moved close and reached out to squeeze Rocky's hand, only to watch as the other deliberately stepped away from his grasp. That stung worst of all. Adam hardened his expression. "I'll be back. I promise."
Rocky shrugged his shoulders. He'd clearly moved past anger to disappointment; that much was clear from his intentional avoidance of the other's gaze. "Just go, Adam. I'll talk to you later. Good luck."
"Love you," Adam said hopefully.
"Love you," Rocky replied with a sigh.
Adam made use of the dimly lit steps leading down to the storage area. There he stood, clicking the button on his communicator that teleported him away in a flash of green light.
As he left, Rocky muttered to himself, "I'm going with it. Hope you like that choice."
. . . . .
"Damn it, he's right on my tail!"
Adam swerved Desert Thunder sharply to the right, nearly tipping his zord over in an attempt to get Elgar off his back. He didn't know why out of all the rangers that he'd been targeted. He couldn't think clearly at the moment, anyway—Elgar's vehicle, so large as it was, had the potential to nearly destroy him with one swift movement.
"Watch out, Adam, you're gonna hit the chasm!"
Tanya's voice cried out from the speakers in his car, causing him to nearly swerve one more time. They had been driving around trying to get to one another so they could combine into the Turbo Megazord but Elgar and his cronies had done an outstanding job at terrorizing them and keeping them apart. Adam briefly longed for the days when they could just throw their zords into the air and they would seemingly do the work for them.
"You guys, Rygog has me in his sights!" Kat called. "Help!"
"Don't worry, Kat, I'm on it!" Justin said.
Where were Tommy and Tanya? Adam punched the gas, sending Desert Thunder nearly into overdrive. In his rear view camera he was able to see Elgar's massive machine gaining on him. He watched in horror as two missiles shot out from the front, approaching him with intense speed.
"Adam! To your left! I'm here! Let's join!"
Tanya and Dune Star appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Adam, though he felt relief, growled and punched it, pressing a button on his dashboard to release missiles of his own. They met with Elgar's and created an intense explosion that sent the alien and his machine swerving out of control.
He cheered happily. That was one less problem to worry about for the time being.
"Beginning docking procedures," Adam called, flipping a switch and pulling down a lever. Desert Thunder shifted and groaned—it had worked so hard, he could tell it was tired—but initiated his order. "Three…two…one!"
With a jerk to his wheel Adam all but rammed into Tanya's zord, successfully interlocking them. Desert Thunder and Dune Star went into autopilot, seeking out Mountain Blaster and Wind Chaser. For a moment, Adam was able to relax. He clung to that moment, knowing it wasn't going to last for long.
When their zords found Kat's and Justin's, they quickly joined together. This left them lacking Tommy, who called for them to meet him just around the front of the large hill they were approaching. As they zoomed past, Tommy appeared in the horizon.
He said, "Initiate Turbo Megazord power, now!"
As Red Lightning docked with Mountain Blaster, Tommy finally joined the other rangers inside the cockpit. The zord quickly worked its way up to a standing position, facing its enemy: a brigade of much smaller vehicles full of Divatox's goons.
"Let's take 'em down!" Tommy ordered.
The rangers made a quick showing of each of the monsters. With the supercharged Turbo Megazord, taking on the group of them was an easy task. Elgar and Rygog were the only ones who managed to escape, much to the rangers' chagrin. However, with the city safe for at least one more day, they were able to disassemble their zords and return home.
Adam did so feeling mentally and physically exhausted. It was hard to explain, but the connection he felt to Desert Thunder was significantly deeper than any other zord he had ever piloted—even more than the Frog zord, which had been connected directly to his own life force. He wondered if that had anything to do with it. Or maybe, in reality, he was just trying to come up with another reason to mask the real one: his argument with Rocky.
They had been happening more and more lately. What had started out as small bickering had escalated to disagreements, before moving on to full-blown disputes. Adam knew that it had to do with Rocky not being a ranger anymore, but he had hoped at some point that his partner would get over it. After all, it wasn't as if this were the first time he'd been out of the loop on ranger duties. Rocky had broken his ankle last Christmas and had been laid up for nearly two months. Despite a small blow up then, he had seemingly come to understand. And it wasn't as if Adam kept things a secret. He told Rocky everything, but in some cases, that only seemed to make things worse.
He supposed it didn't help that Rocky was still trying to recover from his injury to his back, the one that had effectively wiped out any chance of him remaining a Power Ranger.
Just recalling that made Adam's blood run cold. He remembered worrying for hours on end after Rocky explained how he couldn't feel his lower half. Eventually the pain had subsided and allowed him to do so, but the fear of paralysis was too much to bear, especially for someone so young. Adam could suddenly smell the sterile air in his nose, could feel the itchy fabric of the uncomfortable hospital chairs against his back and butt. He'd stayed at Rocky's beside for so long, keeping him company most nights…
Those memories only served to frustrate Adam further. He entered his bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind him. There, staring at himself in the mirror, he stripped bare. He turned on the faucet and let the water begin to fill his tub. It had been ages since he'd drawn a bath for himself. Who had that kind of time, he used to think. But now, with everything that was going on, it not only seemed like the right idea, it seemed like the only idea.
After mixing in some shower gel to create some bubbles, he tested the temperature of the water with the tips of his toes. The scalding heat caused him to jerk them right back out again. He evened out the tub with some cold water, swirling it around a few times in order to mix them together. Another test of his toe told him it was just right, and so he eased himself inside one foot at a time.
The image of Rocky's disappointed face remained fixated in his head. Adam hated feeling guilty, especially for something he had no reason to believe was wrong. Sure, he had to leave during an important moment, but Rocky had done the same thing plenty of times past. They knew it was part of the job description. Had he suddenly forgot when he stopped being a ranger? It sure seemed like it.
As he lay there, staring at his flushing skin, Adam began to wonder. What he and Rocky had planned was going to cost them so much money. While it was true that they did have a loan thanks to Rocky's parents, there still would be the cost of equipment, electricity, marketing…they would be in the red from the get-go, which offended Adam's business sense. How would they ever recover?
He supposed he needed to just have blind faith. Rocky did. It seemed to work for him, too. No matter what happened, even in their darkest moments, Rocky persevered. He remained positive and upbeat, or at least he tried to, which in the end seemed to do wonders for him. That, however, was not Adam's style. A realist and pragmatist by heart, Adam needed foundations for his faith, for his trust. He didn't know if he could just jump in to things and just expect them to come out all right, so to speak.
He sighed, closing his eyes. He brought his wet hands up and ran them down his face. The hot water dribbling down his forehead, cheeks and chin felt good and seemed to help release his tension and exhaustion. It was just what he needed.
They were seeing good success with their classes at the Youth Center, he reminded himself. Not to mention, he was earning great money as a stuntman working for the Angel Grove amusement park. Even though it was only a seasonal job that he would have through September, he planned on using the two months he had left to really save up. Every extra dollar would give them the extra advantage.
He resolved to speak with Rocky about things tomorrow.