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Title: The Need for Speed
Author/Artist: queenoftheskies
Rating: PG
Warnings: m/m kiss
Word count: 2,250
Prompt: Power Rangers Turbo, Rocky/Adam: dangerous behaviors - need for speed
A/N: This was due February 11. Sorry for the tardiness.



Rocky scrambled over the massive rocks, hand over hand, until he reached the top. At the pinnacle, he dropped into a crouch, fighting the growing ache in his chest and the blinding pain in his back as he gazed out over Angel Grove in the distance.

Everything had changed with that one twist of fate that had seen him thrown from the wrestling ring. Not only had he come out with an injury that would haunt him forever, but he'd lost his life, his friends, everything that had given him meaning and purpose.

Color arced over the city, across the sky and into the range of mountains to his left. Ignoring the growing ache in his chest, he followed it through to its destination, watched it vanish into an underground structure he knew was hidden there, unknown to the rest of the world.

He wouldn't have known either had he not once been privy to its secrets, to its welcome, to the warmth and rewards of friendship he could never replace. And the power. He'd wondered, once he'd escaped the hospital, if the power could have healed him, if he could have rejoined the team.

Instead, he'd found himself replaced by a twelve year-old brat, and that told him all he needed to know. He was worthless, expendable, and Zordon had thrown him away as surely as his friends had. He'd vowed then, when he was well enough, to leave Angel Grove and never return. They'd promised to write, promised to call, but they never had. He'd thought he'd forget them in time, but they were his heart, his soul, and the team, his purpose.

And he'd done well enough for a while. Until the lure of the city, the lure of home, the lure of the Power Ranger secrets he possessed had drawn him back...apparently in time for another battle of the century, like the one they'd fought against Ivan Ooze and then the one in which his team had left him beaten and lonely in a hospital room.

He knew he couldn't stay without being a part of them. But if he could fill the empty, aching need inside, come to terms with what had happened and why, then he might be able to struggle through to a new life, make the best of what had happened, find peace.

#

The road rose up before him, center lines blurring into a fast moving flash along his peripheral vision. Heart pounding in his ears, Rocky took a deep breath and stomped on the accelerator. He had to get as far away from the mountains as possible. If he didn't, he'd find them and confront them and, right now, he wasn't sure what to say. Sure, he could spout accusations, scream at them for deserting him in his hour of need, but he wasn't certain he was ready for the counter-arguments, wasn't sure he could accept the final validation that everything he believed about himself was correct.

When the city loomed ahead, the downtown a jumble of tall buildings against the hazy afternoon sky, he ran into other motorists that forced him to dip down below a hundred, down below ninety, then eighty. He wanted to scream, wanted to force them out of the way. The only thing that eased the ache inside was the thrill born of danger, wondering what would happen if the others found out something had happened to them and it was their fault.

He whizzed past slow traffic that pooled on the open highway between the desert and the suburbs, zipping in and out, over the center line to pass and back into smaller and smaller pockets between cars. Some motorists honked at him, but the smarter ones eased back and away, giving him the space he needed, giving him the room to burn out all the hurt and anger he'd shut away inside.

It wasn't until he neared the city limits that he slowed, and only because a truck had stalled out in the lane ahead and traffic was being diverted on the shoulder around it. Every second he spent sitting in the line of cars made him more frantic, every minute that ticked away gave him time to think, time to remember his lost life.

A shudder ran through his car, toppled the canned soda in his cup holder. He grabbed for it, missed, cursed as it splattered across the floor. And, then he saw it, a hulking beast that shook the ground when it walked. Tight horns curled around its massive bull-shaped head. Broad leather straps crossed over its bare humanoid chest. But even more frightening than it's thick, hooved feet smashing anything it stepped on were the twin axes it swung, toppling trees, smashing homes as it blazed a straight path toward the road.

God. Oh, God. So many people, so little time to organize some kind of evacuation.

Doors flew open ahead of him. People piled from their cars, pushing and screaming, falling over one another as they climbed on those who went under. Pushing aside the painful reminder of his lack of powers, Rocky climbed from his car and waded into the crowd.

When he raised his voice to be heard over the screams and honking of horns, he wasn't surprised that people ignored him. Once he cleared a path across the road and into the safety of a series of caves that ran through the low, rocky hills beside the road, they stopped to listen, followed him in a more orderly fashion, reminded him that one didn't have to have powers to really make a difference.

#

He'd worked his way to the back of the largest cave by the time the Turbo Rangers had defeated the monster and gathered around the mouth of their hiding place. There was a lot of discussion as people piled from the caves; Rocky even thought he saw people point his way, maybe even sing the praises of his level-headedness. It wasn't a natural trait, he reminded himself. His former friends had told him that more than once. It was just habit and like all other habits, unused, he was sure it would vanish over time.

Tommy saw him, he was pretty sure, maybe Adam, too. But, he definitely made eye contact with the Red Ranger a split second before he ducked and shoved, working his way into the crowd. He was out by the time Tommy made his way in, breathed a sigh of relief that the jam had cleared.

Cursing himself for being a coward, he made a bee-line for his car, leapt inside and even locked the door before he ducked low and waited for the cars ahead of him to edge into traffic. He didn't relax until he was miles past the battle site and traffic had cleared enough for him to slam on the accelerator again.

He'd passed eighty when he spotted the first Turbo car in his rear view mirror. There was no way he could outrun them if they'd actually got him in their sights. He settled for cutting hard to the right, ducking into a tunnel that led around town, maneuvering into the middle of the flow of traffic where the Rangers couldn't find him no matter how hard they tried.

#

It was hard to resist the call of Ernie's, so Rocky waited until one afternoon when the local stations reported a monster sighting before he actually paid the place a visit. He hadn't planned to stay for long, only long enough to say hi and pick up a smoothie for the road. Now that his family no longer lived in Angel Grove, there was nothing to keep him there. He'd just needed to make sure, needed to prove to himself there was nothing left, before he moved on with his life and settled elsewhere.

The fact that Ernie embraced him and that they settled into such an easy dialogue should have warned him that time would get away from him, but he didn't listen to that little warning voice in the back of his mind.

"We were just wondering about you the other day," the older man said, drawing back to study Rocky with a critical eye. "Where'd you get to? What've you been doing with yourself? Are you back for good?"

"Just...passing through."

"You seen the old gang yet?" Ernie's face brightened. "If you wait long enough, they'll come in...just like they always have. Nothing ever seems to change."

Maybe not for you. "No, I'm in a hurry. I just...I just stopped in to...say...hi."

"But..." Ernie's face fell. "What am I supposed to tell..."

"Nothing." Rocky turned, the paper cup containing his drink clutched tightly in his hand. "Don't tell them anything. It's not like they care, not like they...called or wrote or..."

He ignored Ernie's protest when he hit the swinging doors at a run. Tears blinded him, good memories blurred by bitter regrets.

The first blast pitched him backward, the second sent a shower of debris raining down on the cars that filled the parking lot. He dove for his car, but by the time he reached it, there was nothing left but a flattened, twisted hunk of metal.

He rolled out of the way in time to avoid the same fate, grabbed a child that couldn't be more than six, when she fell, scooped her into his arms and took off after the mother that had turned to scream her name. He heard the turning of gears as he ran, the fitting together of metal to metal as the Megazord was formed.

"Don't worry," he whispered as he shoved the little girl into the mother's arms. "It's going to be okay now. The Power Rangers are here."

#

Adam stepped forward even before the residual energy had escaped from his body. Green flecks of power sizzled across his skin, danced at the tips of his fingers when he reached out to Rocky. "I didn't know..." Rocky took a step back, expression hard, and Adam let his hand drop to his side. "When did you get back?"

"Been back." Rocky's jaw clenched, his eyes shifted past Adam to the park beyond. He hadn't missed the movement around them; it didn't surprise him when the others assembled at the edge of the lake not too distant.

"Why didn't you get in touch with us?" Kat demanded.

"Why didn't you write?" Adam took another step forward. "Or answer my calls."

Rocky swallowed hard, struggling against the anger that rose into his voice. "Maybe because you never wrote...or called. So, don't try to blame it on me."

"Blame what?"

"Just..." Suddenly, he felt trapped, closed in, and all Rocky could think about was escape. "Forget it, okay. I've got to...got to..." His eyes fell across the remains of his car. Desperation turned to despair. "Go."

Tommy and Adam joined him and the Red Ranger observed, "Nice car, but I don't think you're going to get very far..."

"Shut up!" He'd had enough, more than enough, of them. "Would you just shut up?" Clenching his fists, he whirled on them. "It's not like you cared when I was hurt, not like you wanted me on the team." His eyes fell across the brat that had replaced him. There was no denying the kid's better than him attitude. "You gave my freaking place to a kid."

"Rocky..." Tommy reached out to him, but he eluded the grasp with surprising ease.

There was no denying the twinge of pain in his back, but it wasn't until he tripped over the broken drain pipe at the edge of the drive that he doubled over.

Adam was there immediately, supporting him, demanding, "Rocky, are you okay?"

"What do you think?" In spite of the pain, the former Ranger wrenched himself free of Adam's grip. "What do you care?"

"I thought we were friends." Adam spread his hands. "What happened? Just tell me...tell me that."

There was no denying the disappointment in Adam's eyes, but Rocky wouldn't allow himself the hope that he still had a place in their lives. He could never be one of them, not ever, not really, ever again.

"Nothing. It doesn't matter. I just want to..."

Adam was on him so fast he gasped. Caught unawares, he didn't fight when the Green Ranger captured his face in his hands, planted a sloppy, wet kiss on his lips.

It wasn't until Adam released him that he dragged one sleeve across his lips, muttering, "Ewww. Gross."

Adam laughed, while the others stared at them, wide-eyed. "Now that I've got your attention, you pig-headed..." His eyes filled with affection. "Ape...I always thought ape fit you well..." He leapt back when Rocky swung at him half-heartedly. "Could we head over to Ernie's and get a drink and maybe, you know, figure this all out?"

"I don't know." It was too much to hope for. "I..."

Adam reached for him again. "There's more where that kiss came from."

"You're kidding." Rocky turned up his nose. "Right?"

"Try me." The Green Ranger grinned.

"I'd listen to him," Tommy said, "if I was you."

The other Rangers snickered.

"Well, I guess I've got a little time to kill," Rocky admitted, looking back over his shoulder at the demolished car. "At least until my car's fixed."

Adam grinned, wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "Don't worry. I think we can have things all worked out by then."

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
raisedbymoogles
Feb. 17th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
*schmoops* ^_____________^
dragovianknight
Feb. 18th, 2008 06:56 am (UTC)
Hee, ape. ^___^
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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