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Courage of Intelligent Devotion

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"Honey, I'm home!" Jason dropped his gym bag in the small entry to his condo and dumped out his keys from his pocket, leaving them on the adjacent table in an old mug that Zach's son had sent him. It was lumpy and misshapen, but the light grey tones made him smile.

"Hey Jason," Billy's voice called from the kitchen. He exited, noting Jason's entrance as Jason slipped off his shoes. "How was your class?"

Jason sighed, finally slipping the towel from around his neck. "Exhausting, as always. It's getting harder to keep kids concentrating. When we were younger..." Jason let the thought flit away with the movement of his fingers.

Billy merely gave a weak commiserating smile and shook his head. Both moving towards the living room, Billy deposited a steaming mug near a small stack of shuffled papers on a glass top table he was using to write on. "I made some tea, if you need something to calm you down."

Jason shrugged as he stood, arms crossed in a relaxed position. "Maybe. I could definitely use something to relax though, got blindsided by a practice stick."

Billy whistled low when Jason lifted up a portion of his shirt. "Jason, do we have to the have the you're not a ranger anymore conversation again?”

Jason chuckled, letting his sweat-stained shirt drift back down to his side. "Thanks, Billy. You always knew how to make me feel better." Billy felt the heat rise into his face and he made a couple of flustered apology noises until Jason finished chuckling. "Listen, don't worry about it. I'm just gonna grab a quick shower and try to loosen up some of these knots."

The heat of the blush transferred to Billy's eyes as he looked at the lines in Jason's face. Jason's hand was clamped on his shoulder now and the lack of space between the two was comfortable enough. "Don't take the shower yet. I think I might have gotten a couple of herbs today that could help. Just have a seat and wait a moment."

"Alright." Billy moved back into the kitchen quickly and Jason surveyed his apartment. He was content, more or less. He was close enough to the water but still inland enough to not have to pay the amount living close to the water would entail. He taught successful martial art classes to all age groups and he had an old friend to help him out with the mortgage payment. Most of the lights were off at the moment by choice, bright reflections from the slats between the Venetians lighting the room pretty well, which was one of Billy‘s preferences.

"You can sit down, you know."

Jason watched Billy enter, laying down a mesh of herbs from a mortar and pestle next to his small stack of papers to be graded. "Nah. I'm pumped up enough from the workout."
Billy simply nodded. "Okay, up with the shirt. Aim for the hamper this time."

"You act like I'm always getting bruised."

Billy followed the trajectory of the sweaty tank top as it finally landed on top of the closed hamper down the hallway. "Well, you are. I swear, these kids today don't even know how easy they have it."

Jason responded as Billy prodded around the bruise and found a couple of sore spots. "Now whose the one who sounds old?"

Billy worked quietly, dipping his fingers in his hot tea and then mixing the herbs from the mortar and pestle into a poultice that made Jason breathe out through his teeth. It was more a reaction to the surprising warmth then the pain. He felt the heat contract against his rib cage and the shiver in response from his skin.

"Feels better already."

Flumping down on the couch face up, Jason splayed out his body so that the poultice would have some time to work its magic and he could just simply rest, possibly to nap. Billy grabbed his tea from the table and took a sip before setting it back down and joining Jason in rest. Laying down on the floor with his feet poking out the opposite end of the coffee table, the pair fell back into a comfortable silence.

Billy finally spoke first. "Jason, I ... I can't thank you enough for letting me stay during my fellowship work."

Jason swished away the thanks with a move of his arm, which proceeded to fall lazily over the side of the couch. "No big deal man. Always happy to help. You saved my hide, everyone’s hide, plenty of times."

Looking down at Billy's eyes, he thought of their time together in high school. He thought of Billy's protege Willy, now the Microsoft X-Box prodigy, and he thought about Kimberly. Kimberly had been the last to really except the mantle of responsibility of Rangerhood. But all the strength that she possessed broke down that first time the Zords were destroyed. Billy had stopped her from running into the blazing craters, trying to save the spirit she loved.

Billy saw a lot of himself in Jason. He understood a lot of what Jason had faced, pressure wise. Once the power of the Ninjeti had changed and he had really taken command, he just found himself a kindred spirit with Jason. It's not that he didn't like Tommy. They had a lot of laughs when they met at collegiate conferences and whatnot, but he just didn't clique the same what that he and Jason had.

Jason could tell that Billy was thinking about Trini, about the funeral. Jason hadn't been able to speak about his second in command, it had been Billy that had taken him by the shoulder and smiled at him. It had been unfair. She had gone through so much with the chemo. He didn't like to think about it.

"Hey, I'm the one that broke into your swanky bachelor lifestyle,” Billy said, interrupting Jason’s thoughts. “I know you beat'em off with a stick before I moved in. You should've just been a real bastard about it and told me no."

Jason shook his head, his arm incapable of not brushing across Billy's chest and laying there comfortably. "You know I don't date."

"I always kind of wondered about that. I mean, you were the leader. You are the leader. The greatest Ranger to ever live."

Jason punched Billy lightly with his open palm against the first blue ranger's chest. Jason didn't want to look in Billy's eyes when they glazed over with nearly a decade's old hero worship. "Hey, now. You lasted a lot longer than I did man."

"But I learned a lot about being who I am from you. If it hadn't been for you, I couldn't even afford to teach grad study biology classes to high schoolers on the weekends."

Jason pointed to the stack of papers with a nod. "Looks like you're doing pretty well for yourself."

Jason's hand still lay across Billy's chest, the rise in heartbeat going unnoticed. Billy looked at Jason, examining a line that was forming across his face from forehead to chin. It was the first sign of aged distress and Billy mentally found himself putting a few herbs on the shopping list that he knew would be good for lines like that.

Really, he preferred them. He thought they made Jason even more distinct, even more handsome. It used to be that Billy had envied Jason and still did for the longest time. But they spent so much time together, away from the insanity that had been and in these comfortable silences, that he was no longer jealous of Jason. He would've been jealous had Red ever brought a girl home. But he didn't say much about that.

It was Jason's turn to break the silence. "We should check the poultice. Feels really dry."
Billy looked back to see if the strip of herbs was dried out, but found that Jason was already getting off of the couch, using the arm as leverage. "But not here, bathroom. Don't wanna get crumbs on the couch."

Billy nodded apprehensively, as though Jason could sense a thought he was tucking deep away from the front of his mind. "Yeah, wouldn't want a repeat of that bagel bite episode from the Superbowl."

Once down the hallway, Billy nervously shut the door behind him as Jason started to turn knobs on the shower head and test the water. Jason spoke first as he turned back to Billy, who suddenly thought that every sway of the building might be someone knocking at the door.

"You seem a little nervous."

His throat seemed to go dry. "I'm fine. Really. We should check the poultice and then I can get back to..."

Jason smiled, looking across the small room at Billy. "You afraid the papers are gonna sprout feet and march out the door? C'mon Billy, you've seen me worse for wear."

And it was true. After some battles, he had played assistant to Trini who had the medical training. He had seen the looks they had exchanged, warm looks. He had tried for those from her, from Katie, but he just couldn't seem to find that spark or click with anyone. Well, anyone that wasn't Jason, that is.

"Yeah, but Trini was there. This is more private."

Jason shook his head, finding his hands gripping and then sliding down on Billy's shoulders. "I'm approaching thirty five. You are a very successful grad professor who almost has tenure. Whats so wrong with this scenario? Its not like we're..."

Yeah, and only one of us ever thought about that, Billy thought to himself with guilt. "I'd best check the poultice."

Jason reached to his side, peeling away the green stripe from his skin. It made a sucking motion as warm steam from the water filled the space where cool air had been. The bruise was almost healed, the red and tender area almost as smooth as it normally was. Billy suddenly found himself in a room with Jason and a running shower with no other witnesses and no reasoning in his quick mind.

"Well," he started to form a sentence while cotton filled his throat, "looks good."

Jason's hands were still hanging loosely on Billy's arms. "Yes, it does," he whispered.

Billy shook his head. "This can't be right. You''re not..."

"Think about it. You ever wonder why I don't bring home any girls?"

Billy shrugged. "Probably out of respect."

Jason shook his head slowly. "That's not it, man. You know that days like these just don't measure up to the old ones and there's only a handful that we can even talk about them to. Gotta be honest, out of the two girls on our team, the only one that interested me went on to her place in the sky."

"But Jason, you can'"

"I what? I can't make a choice in my own home to honor and respect the loyalty you show to me? The leadership and love you showed when I couldn't always be there for the team? I can't appreciate that you knocked on my door, asked me out for an iced coffee and stuttered on excitedly about your fellowship? How could I say no to that? How could I not feel that?" Billy found the floor very interesting all of a sudden until he found his chin tilted up softly. "Hey, you alright?"

Billy hesitated for a moment, assuming the worst and yet letting some fatal hope want it to be the best. "Whenever I thought about you, I never hoped that..."

Jason smothered the words with a kiss. He couldn't wait any longer. The steam from the shower, Billy's bashful words and the tremble in his now opague shirt all conspired to make Jason want him closer. He had always wanted to hold Billy, to run when one of the old nightmares hit. Zach would never admit to it and Kim had taken so many counseling sessions that Jason had just assumed he was all alone in the world until that second evening after Billy had moved in.

Oddly enough, his dreams had never involved Goldar. Billy always shot after Rita for some reason. Billy had always been more ambitious, studios, had grown the most. It was beautiful to Jason, the use of such potential. He wouldn't ever let that go if Jason could help it.

Billy's shirt was clinging to his frame now, the half knotted blue tie sandwiched in the space between their two bodies. When the kiss finally broke apart, Billy stood and was far too stunned to respond at first. Jason began to run his fingers across the tie until it was loosened and swung down to the floor. The buttons came next, slowly. But it was something about Jason's body being so close, that fine sparse forest of dark brown hair that made the ashen blond respond.

The first nips and taste of Jason's skin caused Billy to growl a little in his throat. Jason pulled him into a hug as the now humid shirt got tossed across the room. Knowing that his cock was swollen to full mast and perfectly showing in his sweats, Jason made no real movements because he wasn't sure how much he could take. Touch for him, real touch, had been so rare since that last battle.

Billy absorbed Jason's scent, just letting the body he had seen and fantasized about pull him closer until there was nothing in the gap. Until there was only the kissing and grinding and groaning to pursue. Silence passed through them as Jason stepped away for a moment, his hands in his waistband.

"Wait." Jason's eyes moved to Billy, questioning. "You can't just take this shower alone."
There was a crossroads here, where both hands were on their respective waistbands. The kiss could be explained away but any further contact would require facing things within themselves that could bust their strain of friendship and turn the glory days rotten. Billy wasn't sure he had it in him to lose Jason. So, he stood there like a fool and waited for some disaster to occur and prevent what he knew was the true inevitability.

Jason recognized that hesitancy in his eyes, like a ghost from the past. For a moment, he thought about the old days and that old questioning look that Billy used to give him before he charged into battle. Always there by the side, though, Billy was faithful and loyal to a fault. But he couldn't brave this kind of change without Jason going first. Like the act itself, there was a sort of sinking inevitability that mingled with the shower's steam as Jason's sweats slid down his legs and away from his body.

Billy gasped, forgetting that the Jason of his fantasies had been morphing bit by bit into the Jason that stood before him. True, his six pack was more of a chunky two pack these days. But he had always been barrel-chested and had great rippling strength without all those messy veins to get in the way. Never quite as spry as Tommy, Jason had a better center of gravity to off-set the last member of the team. Tommy, however, was the least thought from Billy's mind.

Feeling his fingers slide along his belt buckle and his throat tighten to a point where he was never sure that he'd be able to swallow again, Billy undid his belt and slowly, feeling the pop and thud of each teeth, unzipped his pants. Letting them fall and the boxer briefs soon after, he shrugged and assumed that he would wake up at any moment.

But he did not wake up. Jason merely motioned to the shower and Billy followed him in, grabbing the soap. They were close, water and steam clinging to their hair and their skin. The scent of the soap was clean, a faint hint of masculinity behind it. Feeling the sturdy bar in his hand, Billy let it run the length of Jason's arms, dots of sud running the length of the course.

Jason smiled warmly, softly, allowing Billy to roam across his shoulder and then back onto his blades. Each muscle was tender and a little sore. With water pushing him closer and closer towards Jason's back, he found his hands moving and disappearing into the folds of Jason's muscles. He was at the peak physically of his back's endurance and it showed.

Billy forgot all of that as Jason turned again. Cocks pressed against each other, Billy gasped at the friction. Jason's soapy hand massaged his shoulder while never letting eyes escape his own. To not feel alone and desperate for someone to touch him was more of a blessing that Jason was ever going to be able to show to Billy. For Billy, having someone need him this much was enough to maybe set him to tears. Only it wasn't tears as much as it was currently beads of sweat.

Suds and streaks of clean moved around Jason's pecs and down to his rib cage. Paying careful attention to the blows from the training exercises, Billy found himself switching hands and stroking all over Jason's body with the bar, fingers lightly touching the skin when not inhibited by the soap.

"You've always known exactly what I needed."

Billy let himself smile. "No, just smart, remember?"

Jason reached in, grabbing the soap and using his soapy hand to glide along the length of both their cocks. "I believe you were chosen for your intelligence, but none of use knew how much we needed you."

"None of us?"

Billy gasped as Jason whispered in ear, pressing their cocks close enough together that they had to move upwards against the stomach. "How much I need you."

Billy tensed as Jason's fingers traveled down his spine slowly until they hovered at the small of his waist. No longer concentrating on the hard lengths with his hand, Jason brought Billy in for another deep kiss. Billy knew what Jason wanted, knew what he wanted. And he was only too happy to oblige, secure that Jason would never push him to something without his consent.

His hands traveled backwards, placing themselves over Jason's own. Guiding them down until they held the cups of his ass, Billy threw himself deeper into Jason's body and kiss until tongues could no longer hold their place and hearts couldn't afford not to race. Letting go of his voice, Billy moaned when Jason's fingers began to dip gingerly into his hole.

With the tender slip of a foot, Jason repositioned himself to have better security. Without turning Billy, he slid around. The back of the shower was cool compared to the water and he felt his body tense immediately. Grabbing the blindsided Billy to himself, Jason set one hand forcefully over Billy's chest while the other reached for his cock.

Having fingered himself a few times while thinking of Jason just in the bed across the hall, Billy had some idea of how to prepare and how to relax. But it was so unexpected, Jason's arm across his chest and Jason's heartbeat against his back. Each slow moment that passed intensified the sensitive urge and the intertwined fear.

Jason's moan followed Billy's hiss as a tight hole and raging cock meshed. For a moment, Jason stopped with concern. But Billy fought the pain, allowed his hands to grasp along Jason's ribs until there was a mutual agreement that this was the sweetest pain the world. Jason allowed his own teeth to graze Billy's neck, tasting his skin and marking the smartest man in the land as his. Billy went weak at the knees as he felt it begin, but Jason was there to hold him up, as always.

It was not the most comfortable situation in the world, looking back, but Billy pressed on through the lusty haze. They were so close and in one space that Billy never wanted to forget the hot breath, the pumping cock of his leader deep in his ass, the feel of the water pounding over midsection.

Jason pulled out quickly before he came and Billy breathed a sigh of relief. The first experiment had been successful and more would come, but the need was for release was great and evident. Billy turned, watching Jason's cock move in his hand. Jason's head tilted back and he let loose a moaning sigh that vibrated through the walls and deep into Billy's body.

A shiver passed through the moan into Billy's hand, sliding and pounding over Jason's length until Jason's knees began to quiver from the ecstasy of technique. Billy held the lengthening and pulsing shaft in his hand until the right moment and then suddenly ran his hand right along the sensitive tip at the slit of head.

Jason jerked against Billy's hand as the spurts of cum begin to shoot across both bodies. The sight of his cum and pleasure caused Billy to erupt hard, hitting Jason's balls and the wall behind them. Satiated, Billy rinsed off quickly and prepared to leave.

Coming to his senses, Jason grabbed Billy's hands pulled him close once again.


Billy melted deep into the kiss, never wanting to leave his side again.