Adam is at Billy's house once more. He'd come by three times already today, but Billy still isn't up. _I left here around ten last night. It's almost noon now. I guess Billy really needed some sleep._ He knocks at the door, waits a bit, and gets no answer. He starts to walk away when the door opens. "Hey Adam, come in. I was just getting out of the shower," relates Billy.
Adam looks at Billy. He's wearing a very damp pair of sweats and a sopping wet T-shirt, but he looks a lot better than yesterday. His bruises are fading a bit and the dark circles under his eyes have almost completely vanished. _He still looks a bit down,_ mentally sighs Adam, _but I suppose betraying your friends and almost taking over would have that effect on you._ "You're looking better. Ready for some fun? I brought my CD player, I'll let you choose the music. We can just hang around the park."
Billy grins, but he still looks kinda sad. "I'll bet you're letting me choose the music because you already know what I want to hear. Just let me finish drying off and change into something a bit dryer."
"Okay. Well, you're right about the music. I brought my Sting CDs along with some lunch, just in case," Adam smiles and sighs inwardly. _Billy is still beating himself up. It doesn't do any good, I know. Just have to deal with it._
Billy leaves the room and reappears a few minutes later wearing blue jeans and a blue shirt. Billy bows towards the door, "Lead on, MacDuff."
Adam grins. _Man, Billy is in a joking mood today. But I suppose he's just trying to ignore what happened for a while. Or maybe he's just trying to convince me that he's over it._ "Didn't Shakespeare say 'Lay on MacDuff?'"
"Yes, but it works," Billy shakes his head slightly as he walks out the door. _I don't know about this. I'd just rather stay at home. I don't know why Adam would even want to be around me after yesterday._ Billy frowns as he thinks this.
Adam follows Billy and watches him shake his head. _Billy you're trying to put on a brave front, but it doesn't fool me. I've been there way to often._ They head off to the park.
It's a hot day in Angel Grove. Adam and Billy are acutely aware of this fact as they take a seat in the shade under a tree. Adam starts Sting's Ten Summoners Tales CD and they're listening to Love is Stronger than Justice, a darkly amusing song. Adam is trying to get Billy to talk, but conversation is an art he has neglected to study. _Being shy does have its disadvantages,_ smiles Adam to himself.
"What's that about?" asks Billy as he sees Adam smile.
"I was just thinking how conversation is not something I do a lot," replies Adam.
"So you're a 'Don't think me unkind, words are hard to find, that only choice I've left unsung from the banks of chaos in my mind' type person," Billy quotes.
Adam shakes his head, De do do do, De da da da, is all I have to say to you." Billy starts laughing at this and Adam finds himself joining in. _Sting is an interesting choice. Not that I ever expected to have conversations using it._ "You're right. I just don't have that much to say, I suppose."
Billy frowns, "I think you have a lot to say, you just can't say it." Billy pauses as a wisp of memory from yesterday flashes through his mind, "You were the only one who noticed anything was up with me. I think you notice a lot more than you let on. But when you told Zordon, you looked like you expected everyone to laugh at you."
"No, I didn't...," interjects Adam.
Billy just keeps going with his thought, "Don't try and fool me, I've felt that very same look on my face more than a few times. Usually it's when I try to explain something, they just look at me funny. That's partially why I've taken to playing down my intellect. I suppose...." Billy trails off thoughtfully.
"You suppose you're trying to be more like the rest of us," finishes Adam sadly, understanding. _I was lucky to find martial arts and Rocky and Aisha. Without them I suppose I would still be trying to make myself fit where I already, or don't, belong._ "Billy, you don't have to try to be more like us. Just be yourself. We're your friends."
Billy sighs, "I know that on a logical level, but emotionally I just can't accept it. Probably the only piece of information that I can't accept."
_I have the same problem myself. I just keep it to myself,_ thinks Adam. Out loud he says, "I could say 'just accept it' but I know for a fact that it doesn't work that way." Then Adam pauses. _Billy, you're still trying to skirt the issue, aren't you? You'll talk about things that you have problems with and you know I'll understand so you don't have to talk about yesterday. Sigh. I guess I'll have to drag the conversation back there or this'll be dragging you down._ "How are you dealing with yesterday?" asks Adam.
Billy flinches and bows his head, "I'm okay."
"Billy, I'm your friend and I know that this is still bumming you out. But I didn't ask how you were, I asked how you were dealing with it." Adam shakes his head. _Rocky and Aisha are never this evasive or as good at obfuscation. But I don't think Tommy is as understanding to these things, he's a nice guy and he's known Billy for a lot longer than I have, but I don't think he'd grasp the problem. Billy seemed so confident and in control when I first met him, he only seemed to lose it once in a while, but maybe he was just hiding himself in what we wanted to see or wanted him to be. I always preferred to hide in plain sight, it takes a lot less effort._
As Adam thinks this Billy is framing his reply. _Very to the point Adam, I'd have never thought you had it in you. How am I dealing with yesterday? Denial was working very well until you asked me that. What am I supposed to say, "Oh yes, I betrayed my best friends, turned off Alpha and Zordon, took over the Command Center, and almost beat Rita. So I was an evil bastard, but its not fazing me in the least." What do you want Adam? What will make you shut up and leave me alone?_ Quietly Billy speaks, "How am I supposed to deal with it?" Billy's voice gains volume as he continues, "I almost hurt my friends, and I would have if I hadn't been so nasty that Rita had to stop me. I didn't believe I could stoop to that level, I..."
Adam waves Billy to silence, "Listen to the music for a moment, I think this is part of your problem."
Billy blinks and listens to the music. _What? St. Augustine in Hell, hmm._ The music sings, "If somebody up there likes me, if somebody up there cares deliver me from evil, save me from these wicked snares. Not into temptation, not to cliffs to fall, but on to revelation and lessons for us all." _Is that your point Adam? That I'm not dealing with this at all, that I'm just waiting for someone to come along with the answers and lead me to where I need to go?_ Billy's thoughts ramble around as he ponders this.
Adam watches Billy. _I think he's getting it. But how much should I say?_ "Billy, I think we're both stuck in the same trap, I've just spent a lot of time staring at the bars. We've both had some of the same problems, we were both different than those around us and we both were picked on. We each found a way to deal with it, even though it still haunts us every now and then. I started Martial Arts and found that I could do something, I learned a self-focus that keeps me peeking inward."
"And I turned to my books and made my focus logic and the world outside, just so I wouldn't have to keep track of myself. I guess at times I still look somewhere else for my answers," Billy shrugs, but in the back of his mind he hears: _I don't know why Adam is putting up with me. I'm just not worth the effort._ "Is this my problem? I've got so used to having the answers that I just ignore that which defies my explanation. So I had things rambling around that I just never dealt with, that just buried themselves until I was so down that they overwhelmed me. You keep watch on those feelings within yourself and but they tend to influence you by filling you with reservations about yourself and what you're doing. We've each got problems, I just managed to ignore mine for the most part, while you've let them rule your life. Which approach has hurt us the most?"
Adam blinks. _I thought I was the observant one. Billy seems to have me pegged pretty well._ "Maybe you're right. The others just wouldn't get this, they seem to be overflowing with confidence. Could you see Aisha worrying about whether someone cares about her opinion or Tommy wondering if he could do that special move?" _We need a break, this is getting way too deep. Billy is just stewing over it, need to take both our minds off of it._ "Hey Billy want to spar a bit, just to let off some steam? No shoes of course."
Billy shrugs, "Sure."
Adam chooses Regatta de Blanc and, after putting it in the CD player, hits repeat on Masoko Tanga. _It sounds cool, but I have no idea what it's saying. Something neutral to spar to._ Adam and Billy begin to spar, the match ebbs and flows between the combatants. They circle and fight for a while until Billy calls a break, "Let's eat, I'm tired."
Billy and Adam slump down under the tree and grab a couple of juices from Adam's cooler. Then Adam hands out a couple of sandwiches. "Man, you were getting pretty intense out there, I guess I'm lucky that you're still recovering," jokes Adam.
"Next time I need to make sure you're the one who's exhausted himself before we fight. I might actually come close to beating you," grins Billy as he takes a bite of his sandwich. Billy reaches over and rummages through Adam's CDs and pops in Synchronicity and turns on King of Pain.
Adam pauses, "Billy, I think something's still bothering you."
"What makes you think that?"
"Um...'There's a little black spot on the sun today, its my soul up there.' That's truly happy, but I suppose I should be glad you're not listening to Murder by Numbers, Adam mischievously states. He's taken aback a bit when a look of shame crosses over Billy's face. _Did Billy say something?_ "Billy, did you say something?"
"I said I was singing that yesterday, as I was working on defeating you." Billy looks unhappy and stares at the ground.
Adam sighs. _There is only so much of this I can take. Billy just latches onto something and lets it keep building up. He just digs it up and lets it run through his thoughts till he's a mess. He doesn't need this._ "Billy you need to stop. I know you're feeling bad, but you can't let this beat you. Wallowing in self-pity is just as bad as what you did yesterday. You will destroy us just as if you planned it, but you won't beat through a physical confrontation, you'll just destroy our will to fight. You're our friend and an important part of our lives, if you fall, we'll all go with you. So you had a bad day," he pauses as Billy raises his head. "Okay, so you had the king of all bad days, but you have to remember: it may have been you, but it was the spell that made it overwhelm you. You would have never have given in otherwise." Adam pauses and stares intently at Billy. _Well I seem to be reaching him, but how do I make sure?_ "I think in a funny way I have more confidence in you than you have in yourself. That's pretty sad, but you need to remember that we all depend on you and we wouldn't do that if we didn't believe in you. Maybe that's why we treat you bad sometimes, we're just so sure that you'll be there to help."
Billy smiles a lopsided, yet slightly sad grin, "Maybe you should take your own advice." Adam looks confused, "Adam, you need to remember that we all depend on you also, and that we believe in you." The sadness and guilt that has been haunting Billy lifts a bit.
Adam looks thoughtful then he looks like he's about to start laughing. "Yes, Billy, you will hold to the light in your nature always," says Adam in his best Zordon impersonation. Billy laughs at that. Adam grins at him, "How do you think I felt? Zordon was doing some major PC work on where my power comes from. 'Why, yes, Adam, you're power is the opposite of light, you're darkness, hence you're already attracted to the dark side,' is what he was actually saying. So don't ever think that you have it bad because of one spell. I've got Zordon assuring me that even though I might feel the need to join the forces of darkness, I'll manage to stay a good guy."
"His confidence in you is underwhelming," chuckles Billy. "I think we should just drop it. I now know I'm not going to reapply for my position as head traitor, and I'll keep an eye out to make sure no one sends you the application. If you need someone to talk with, I'll be here to return the favor."
Adam smiles brightly as he stands up. "Thanks, Billy. Want to go to the juice bar and see the guys?"
"Sure, let's go," Billy smiles, the shadows of the past few days have truly vanished. They pack up and leave, but Billy changes the music to Secret Journey as they walk off.