It was night time, and once more Rocky was staring off at the moon. Another monster had attacked, and yet he felt a call. A strange one, as if he was supposed to be out there fighting and not in here. Not watching the world pass him by. He hadn't really known what had possessed him to give the powers to the needy little boy from the center. Justin. what a twist that was.
As it was most of the rangers were still angry at him about it. So angry that Adam had quit talking to him until he 'cooled off and was rational again.' Tommy, as it was had been avoiding him, even though he taught a class at Rocky's new school.
And he was avoiding everything else in general. The community college had called, asking him if he was still interested in taking the business classes in the fall, and he still hadn't made up his mind.
Not that he actually missed being a ranger. The constant danger to friends and family, not to mention the lying, has basically destroyed nearly any and all relationships. He was virtually a stranger to his youngest brother, and knew almost nothing about him except he liked the new cartoon show called Nightmare Ned.
Any romantic entanglements had been crushed and shattered under the morphing boot heels of protection, except one. He had asked for time off, a chance to think, get his breathe back. She'd given it, and the last time he'd seen Mack was off in the distance at a movie theater. Her hair wasn't curly anymore, instead laying in thick sheen of molten lava flowing across her shoulders. She'd never called, to tell him about her decision to change her hair. Rocky bit his lip in remorse. he didn't know wither it hurt that she never called him, or came over and was doing like he asked, or that she agreed so easily and didn't fight him about it.
He'd heard from Tanya that Billy had come back from Aquitar, much younger than the last time they'd all seen him, but changed. When he'd asked her how, she didn't know how to put it into words. More quiet than before, she'd hazarded a guess. that didn't sound right, what had happened? Was he struck Mute? Billy had been the most introverted guy he'd ever meet, and now he was even more so? Not a good sign of what had went down on water world.
Rocky shrugged, shifting down into himself. If the others were pissed about Justin being a ranger how would Billy react to him handing the blue over to a hyper nine year old. Not well at all. Rocky didn't relish facing the first blue ranger, and to hear what he had to say about the entire ordeal. At least when Tommy yelled at him, Rocky could begin to comprehend what he was yelling about.
So here he was, at Monster park, laying across a table, staring up at the stars. Hot and humid, his light grey shirt sticking to him with sweat, he still felt cold. And so Alone.
"I used to come here to contemplate myself," Billy spoke from the head of the table. Groaning, Rocky leaned his head back, looking at the upside down Billy. "And the lack of it all."
"What lack?" Rocky rolled over, running a hand nervously through his short hair.
"The absence of the power," Billy smiled softly, knowing from similar experience that Rocky probably didn't want to talk about it. "It starts out slow at first, a simple lack. Like eating an apple when what you really need a entire porter house steak, and the potatoes. By the time It runs its course, you have cut yourself off from everyone and everything you've loved."
"Yeah, I guess," Rocky agreed, looking back up at the stars.
"I've seen Mackenzie," Billy prodded, sitting down on the bench. Rocky flinched, but kept quiet. "Perhaps you can call her."
"I saw her the other day," Rocky sighed. "She didn't seem to be doing bad."
"Appearances are deceiving," Billy replied. "Don't be a fool. And don't make her wait while you get your head straightened. She needs to hear from you even if its merely to make salutations."
"Huh?" Rocky's eyebrows rose.
"Say hi." Billy smiled.
"Oh." Rocky nodded. "Cool word."
"Thank you." Billy glanced at the sky, breathing in the comfort of the stars back in their regular clusters.
"Thought I'd find you here!" A voice shouted out, as Tommy ran up over the hill.
"A party, great," Rocky snorted, laying back on the table.
"I'd've been here sooner, but...." Tommy tapped his wrist with a sigh. "How's it going?"
"Strangely quiet," Billy remarked. "I've gotten a yeah, huh, and an oh as responses to my inquires."
"Uh Yeah," Tommy nodded, hands on his hips. "Look, man, are you all right?"
"Fine," Rocky replied, losing himself in the blackness of the sky.
"Oh boy," Tommy sat down at the table. "I know what its like to lose your powers, but man don't cut us off."
"Who's been cutting who off?" Rocky snapped, sitting up. "Not me."
"Between teaching classes and Rangers and driving, I've got no time, not to mention any brainpower to spare," Tommy explained. "If I seem rushed, I am. I'm not avoiding you, at least not cause I'm mad at you. I know that you've been wanting some space. I'm trying to give it to you."
"Right," Rocky rolled his eyes, laying back down.
"I'm sorry, I never meant to cut you off," Tommy sighed. "Seriously." The small watch on his wrist sounded, and Tommy resisted the urge to rip it off.
"You should answer that," Billy remarked at the torn look crossing Tommy's lean face.
The guilt flooded his face, as he laid a strong hand on Rocky's shoulder. "I'm sorry, okay?" Tommy shook his head. "I never meant you to think I was avoiding you for any other reason than respecting your space."
"Sure," Rocky spoke, not knowing whether to nod and play dumb as usual, or tell him how bad it hurt. That Tommy, the last person he'd expected it out of, after all they'be been through together, had left him behind, and never looked back once. Not even to say, 'yeah I've been there. I know what your feeling. It'll get better man, with time.'
His watch sounded again, and Tommy took a step back, his lips vanishing into a serious line of anger. "I'll be back," he glared at his wrist. "Don't be pissed, okay, Rocky."
"It's all cool, Tommy," Rocky agreed, and the funny thing was, he was being completely honest. Watching, seeing his friend, the look of concentration, the worry that had aged Tommy from friend to hardened man in minutes, Rocky was no longer upset. In fact, he was worried. What if the monster got lucky, and Tommy got hurt? What if Adam or Tanya or even Justin got nailed hard? An uneasy ache settled in his stomach. How had Billy handled it calmly and not go stark raving bonkers with panic?
With a flash of red, Billy and Rocky were alone in the park again.
"It's kind of funny, but we're unique in a way," Billy mused, watching the stars. "I mean I've been blue and stayed blue. But Adam, he's been green, black, and black. Only Tommy has been the green. It makes them different in a way. Just like us."
"I've been red red and blue," Rocky sighed, "What's the point?"
"I don't know but why did you get the blue?" Billy questioned. "You retrieved the red zeo crystal, and yet you received the blue powers. Its rather an interesting question."
"That's right," Rocky rolled over, propping himself up on his elbow. "But ....wait a minute."
"Do you realize that you didn't give up the zeo powers?" Billy stated, a wide grin touching his face.
"I am such a idiot!" Rocky clapped a hand to his forehead. "But I still feel empty."
"So do I, and yet I still have the inner power from Phadoes," Billy sighed. "But it still doesn't explain the loss and the how terrible the ache in my soul."
"Maybe it's everything that we've given up for the rangers, the world," Rocky curled his legs up, knees to his chest. "The loss of family, and a normal life."
"I never took that line of thought before," Billy glanced over at Rocky with surprise. "That's a good proposal."
"Mack said that you got a application to some college while you were at Aquitar," Rocky broached the subject gently, instead of his usual directness. "Do you plan on going?"
"I am not sure of that venture at this moment," Billy admitted, his voice showing his reluctance. "I feel like I have lost so much but if I don't go, I might be losing more. I want things to say the same and yet be willing to go forward."
"That's how I feel," Rocky sighed, clutching his knees tightly to his chest. "It's not easy. It's a cross roads thing. If I go here, what happens? Is it the mistake of my life or the best thing in the world? I've taken over the school, but what if I want more thirty years from now? I don't do good at things like this."
"No one does, but it still doesn't explain what it is with what is happening with the powers," Billy scratched his head. "I believe it may be us achieving adult hood, that is why the gold powers didn't stay with Jason. Not his human body but that fact that it's his adult human body. With a changing adolescent body the power can adhere. But with a adults, it may be too taxing."
"Okay, you figured it out," Rocky laughed, the first laugh to come out of him in weeks. "How was that hard?"
"Because up until ten minutes ago, I had no clue," Billy laughed with him. "Feeling better?"
"Yes and no," Rocky admitted. "I still feel hollow but not as bad. Thanks."
"Glad to be of help," Billy stood up, dusting the dirt off his pants. "There's this tall red headed girl waiting for you."
"Waiting?" Rocky shook his head. "I think she waits for No one."
"For you, Blue, she might make an exception," Billy clapped Rocky on the shoulder.
"She does for you too," Rocky noted. "I think it is the color blue. We're lucky."
"Its our secret," Billy grinned, wrapping an arm around Rocky's shoulders. "Lets get to the diner."
"Yeah I am hungry all the sudden," Rocky smiled, as Billy began laughing hard. "What?"
"Nothing," Billy laughed. "Some things are still delightfully the same!"
"Hey, isn't Justin like a Blue too?" Rocky asked, as Billy cocked an eyebrow at him.
"Let's not push the boundaries of believability," Billy winked.