Disclaimer: Don't own anything you recognize.
Author's Note: What can I say about this piece? In the spirit of late night IM conversations, I asked Pink-Green-White-4Ever and BloomingViolets to give me a prompt for a challenge fic. They rose to that task beautifully with these requirements: Mike/Maya, alcohol, a night club, a broom closet and lipstick. I know this isn't any of the promised forthcoming projects, but since I regularly proclaim my undying love for Lost Galaxy, here's a small tribute to that and the ships I subscribe to for that season. Special thanks to Pink-Green-White-4Ever for being the test audience. So let me know your thoughts whether they be good, bad or indifferent.
Time Frame: This is set sometime after Destined For Greatness, but before To The Tenth Power.
By Etcetera Kit
I have always been
Things are not always what they seem
Though the heavens stop turning
I'll be holding on to our dream
Trust Leo to find the one night club on all of Terra Venture. It was tucked away in the commercial section of town. This space colony had an image of being clean-cut and wholesome—part of the advertising to attract families. The single bar was tucked in a basement near the GSA headquarters, partly so that security could keep an eye on it, but also so that the GSA officers could get in and out without attracting attention. The night club was in a different section and the name—Blue Spot—was mistaken for a coffee house that the more artistic types liked to frequent.
Well, the more artistic types did like to frequent this place and they weren't the only ones. Word spreads fast on a small colony and everyone knew about this place, but no one ever seemed to admit going there.
Whatever the case about the popularity or general knowledge, Mike Corbett found himself standing out the establishment with his little brother, looking up at the neon sign with some apprehension. This was not exactly his scene—and Leo knew that, but had dragged him along anyways, even going so far as to show up at his quarters and help him get ready. The line was not long—the security here had been instructed to keep the line moving and inside the club. He really did not want to be here.
"But you're alive and you're here and you're a ranger! Doesn't that deserve a celebration?" So Leo had said and, when his little brother got an idea, there was no stopping him. "And all the others will be there. It will be fun." It also had not occurred to Mike until this particular outing was suggested that all the others were of drinking age. Leo had turned twenty-one right before he decided to stowaway on Terra Venture. Most all of the personnel running the GSA were in their mid to late twenties. The recruiters had wanted people with maturity and experience, but still young enough to want an adventure. But Maya… Mike was not sure how she got in here without a proper ID.
"Mike!" Leo said as the bouncer at the door motioned them in. "You look like you're about to have a root canal. This is supposed to be fun!"
"I can't dance and I'm not fond of drinking! You tell me why I don't want to be here."
"You're just afraid it will tarnish your image with the GSA."
"I'm a senior officer! I'm supposed to set an example!"
"One drink!" Leo protested. "Kai even comes here."
Like that was supposed to qualify the situation for him, but Mike let the argument drop. One beer, an hour at the most and he could sneak off. Yeah, Leo would give him hell for it tomorrow morning (when Leo came out of his alcohol-induced coma), but he wouldn't have had to suffer this. He just did not like to party. He and Leo were polar opposites, to the point that he sometimes wondered how they came from the same parents.
The music was pounding and the only thing Mike could make out was the bass line. Since it was still early for night club standards, the place was not overly crowded. He followed Leo around the fringes of the dance floor towards the bar. His brother waved and began to cut a more purposeful line to the bar. Mike followed his gaze. Kendrix and Maya were sitting at the bar—the Pink Ranger had a drink, while the Yellow Ranger appeared politely puzzled.
"Hey!" Leo called as they joined the girls, pressing a kiss on Kendrix's cheek. She was wearing a short denim skirt with a pink tank top and sandals, sans her glasses. She looked like she would just as soon go to the beach as be here. Maya, on the other hand… He would have never dreamed he'd see her dressed in that fashion. The Yellow Ranger was wearing a short leather skirt with a yellow halter top—made of sequins and sparkling in the dim light. She didn't have the rest of her jewelry, just a few bangles on one wrist. And he had no idea what she had done to her hair, but it was piled on the top of her head and some of the soft curls brushed her face.
Leo nudged him in the side—hard—and the spell was broken. He shook his head. "Where are the others?" he called to Kendrix.
She smiled. "Hannah's attempting to teach Kai how to dance," she called back, motioning to the corner of the dance floor. "And Damon was on-call and had to go in tonight." Naturally, Leo wouldn't know any of that since he was over at his quarters, harassing him. Mike nodded, watching momentarily as Hannah shook her head, trying to correct the two left feet that Kai seemed to have.
"Kendrix!" Leo said. "Want to dance?"
The Pink Ranger looked at him appraisingly for a second. "Sure," she replied, finishing her drink and allowing Leo to take her hand, leading them onto the dance floor.
Mike took Kendrix's vacated place next to Maya. The bartender wandered over to him. "Dos Equis," he called, before turning to Maya. "Not drinking?" he asked.
She shook her head. "I've never heard of any of these drinks."
"What do you drink on Mirinoi?" he questioned. Sitting close together at the bar, he found it easier to hear Maya and concentrate on her, rather than the god-awful music that was playing.
"Wine, mostly," she replied. "Some mead, but none of that here has been made the way we make it." She wrinkled her nose. "It tastes funny."
He nodded, sliding the money for his beer across the bar as the drink came. Maya twisted one of the loose curls absently around her finger. She normally did not wear much compared to Earth standards and her outfit tonight was in no sense indecent, but, perhaps, it was the context. Leather and sequins did not normally signal the girl next door. Ironically, Mike knew that Maya could pound anyone who bothered her into a pulp. That knowledge made the leather and sequins more pleasing rather than distressing.
"Couldn't hurt to try something," he said.
"Like what?" She looked amused and curious.
Mike shrugged and offered her a taste of his beer. She took one sip, blinked and grimaced. He laughed. "My father always said it's an acquired taste."
"Is there anything that doesn't taste like piss?"
"Sure. If you're not going the beer or wine route, most mixed drinks are all right."
"Order me something."
The request was just that—a request. Maya appeared like she wanted to figure out what to do in this place, but wasn't sure. He thought for a moment, then ordered the drink as the bartender walked by the next time. She laid a hand on his arm, causing him to lean closer. "Is the music always this bad?"
He laughed again. "Usually. You don't dance?"
"Not to this," she said, glancing over her shoulder. "You?"
She was staring at him intently and that brown-eyed gaze was mesmerizing. "You have a really nice laugh," she said. Her drink came and she reached to the waistband of her skirt. He placed a hand gently on her wrist.
"I'll get it," he said, paying the bartender. He knew that she didn't have a real job on Terra Venture and her classification meant that, out of the six of them, she had the least leisure money. She nodded, resting her hands on the bar.
"Any time," he replied sincerely. He had the highest classification and, with his saved up money, could easily have paid for all their drinks. He watched as she took a first, tentative sip of her drink. "What do you think?"
"It's good. What is it?"
"A fuzzy navel—peach Schnapps and orange juice."
"A kind of liqueur," he replied.
"What's a liqueur?"
"Never mind," Mike replied with a grin. "I'll explain tomorrow."
"That is so cute!"
Kendrix Morgan directed Leo's gaze towards the bar. Maya and Mike were sitting close together—theirs heads even closer (although the music could account for that) and they kept touching each other's hands and arms. It was so cute! Never before would Kendrix have thought about Mike and Maya being interested in each other romantically, but here it was. The seeds were niggling and wouldn't go away.
"He's finally getting a girlfriend," Leo replied approvingly. "He hasn't had a girlfriend since, like, his freshman year in college."
"Really?" Kendrix asked as Leo swung her in a circle before pulling her close to him again. His arms around her waist were quite nice…
"Really, because that's when he decided he wanted to join the GSA."
"Well, I think they both deserve to be happy—we still don't know what Mike went through when the Magna Defender took over his body and Maya has got to be much more lonely that she lets on she is."
"Can we lock them in a closet together?"
"What? It would get them to start something more. If I know Mike—and I do—he'll continue to admire her from afar and not start anything serious."
"Neither of them are drunk—they'll suspect something."
"You're incorrigible! You're supposed to be our leader and set an example."
"I don't want to be an example—I'd rather be a warning."
He proceeded to give her his puppy dog eyes. His blue eyes always looked so pleading and adorable that she almost always gave in to whatever ridiculous scheme he wanted her to go along with… Locking Mike and Maya in a closet… She shook her head. "All right, all right. We'll do it."
"How will we know it worked?"
"I'll give Maya some of my lipstick—we'll know then."
Maya stared at her reflection in the mirror of the bathroom. She and Mike had been talking when Kendrix and Leo reappeared from the dance floor and Kendrix asked her to come to the bathroom with her. That was one of the things that Maya didn't understand about Earth women—their need to go to the bathroom with a buddy and have their friends reaffirm that their physical appearance was still pleasing.
And now Kendrix had offered to lend her some lipstick. The stuff was a light pink shade that complemented Kendrix's pale coloring well, but looked a little jarring on her. Then the Pink Ranger had shoved the whole tube on her—Kendrix was up to something, but Maya was not sure what. Besides, she had said in the relative quiet of the bathroom that she wanted to leave the club in time to lead the howl-along and tell the bedtime story with the Galacta-Beasts. Kendrix had absently assured her that it would happen. Perhaps Mike would help her sneak out of the club, if she asked him.
"Let's go," Kendrix said, apparently satisfied about her appearance.
The hall just outside the bathroom was empty, save for Leo and Mike. "What are you guys doing here?" she asked, and couldn't quite deny the flutter at seeing Mike. They had become comrades in arms, being the two that didn't want to be here. He was also intelligent, witty, caring… and his tall stature, muscles and dark hair were a bonus.
"I'd like to know the same thing," Mike said, leveling a glare at Leo.
The Red Ranger threw up his hands, trying to appear innocent. "I just wanted to make sure that the girls got out of the bathroom all right."
"Why?" Maya and Mike asked at the same time. She paused for a moment and met his gaze. In unison, they both started smiling.
"This is why!"
Before she knew what happened next, she had been pushed somewhere, a door slammed and darkness enveloped her. The music of the club was a distant pounding. "Dammit!" she heard Mike swear. "I knew those two were up to something!"
"Mike?" she asked, reaching out and brushing his chest.
"Maya," he replied. He was obviously trying to place a hand on her waist, but aimed a little too high. She knew that she would not be embarrassed by that—on Mirinoi it was not a social taboo. Sex was not regarded at something between a married couple or a couple in a relationship. Instead, it was the ultimate expression of love for another person. Granted, that tended to happen most frequently between married couples, but still… This would embarrass Mike who had been raised on Earth taboos. She gently moved his hand to the target at her waist.
"Oh my God," he cried. "I am so sorry."
"Don't worry about it," she murmured. "Is there a light?"
They fumbled around for a few moments, before a dusty light bulb clicked on. Mike had located the switch just inside the door. There were a few large buckets in here, along with a mop, a broom and some other cleaning supplies. "A broom closet," Mike grumbled. "They locked us in a broom closet." He tried the door, but it was locked and the only way was for someone to let them out from the hall or to have a key from in here.
"And they're not letting us out," she added, turning one of the buckets upside down and using it for a makeshift stool.
"Dammit," he swore again, finding another bucket and following her example. The closet was not large and their legs brushed. A tense silence fell over them. He glanced at her and her breath caught in her throat at the sight of his deep brown eyes. At once, those orbs were filled with love, pain, regret and passion. "I'm sorry," he said softly.
"About the—" He waved his hand vaguely around.
"Oh, don't worry about that. It's not inappropriate on Mirinoi, like it is here."
"Really?" He looked interested. "Do you miss it? Mirinoi, I mean."
"Everyday," she whispered, glancing at him. "But there's other things. I have you guys—we're rangers, protecting people… we have a higher purpose."
"I guess…" Mike trailed off, sounding uncertain.
"We all missed you," Maya said, quickly changing the subject to him. "Especially Leo."
He smiled distantly. "You didn't know me."
"No, but I would have liked to know you."
He didn't reply to that. Maya gently rested a hand on his thigh, feeling the heat through his jeans. His breathing hitched for a moment, but he recovered and leaned forward, capturing her lips in the softest, sweetest kiss she had ever had in her life. It was so innocent and that made it all the more intimate, respectful, asking a question. She answered by shifting off her bucket, partially in his lap, making the kiss deeper. His arms went around her waist and pulled her the rest of the way into his lap and her mouth opened, the kisses becoming deeper.
She reached down and pulled one of his hands to her chest. "Are you sure?" he gasped, breath warm on her face.
"This is right," she murmured against his lips. "Can you feel it?"
Maya rested her hand over his heart, moving his hand over hers. Closing her eyes, she felt, rather than listened to their heartbeats. When my heart beats in time with yours… it was part of an old love ballad on Mirinoi and she believed it. His heart was beating a fast staccato and hers was matching the pace—the same pace.
"Oh my God," he whispered.
"This moment, now, is right," she replied. "We have to live now—not for the past or some vague future, but right now." She paused, pressing a kiss to his lips. "Make love to me."
"Maya, are you sure? We're not even dating!"
"But we are now."
"Mike, on Mirinoi, this is the greatest expression of love two people can share. Please, just share this moment." She paused again. "Our hearts don't tell lies—beating in time… this is meant to be. We're meant to be together, forever."
He was silent for a moment, and she could see him mulling the situation over. "It's been a long time since I've done this," he said finally. "And I haven't had a girlfriend in an equally as long time."
"Moving too fast?"
"I thought the girl was supposed to say that."
She smiled. "It's all right—we come from two different worlds."
Mike returned the smile, wrapping his arms around her and cradling her against his chest. "Do you think we can bridge the gap?"
"I think so—I want to try."
They fell into a comfortable silence, her head resting on his chest. She was beginning to feel warm and secure, and it was either from the effects of the drink or the fact that Mike's body was hard and soft in all the right places, making her shiver from the possibilities. Her eyes began to droop shut as she listened to his even breathing.
"Mike," she said slowly. "Would you make love to me?"
"Of course," he replied, sounding as sleepy as she felt. "You're beautiful. I think any man here would kill to have that privilege. But I'm not too crazy about doing it in a broom closet on a first date."
She laughed softly. "I don't think Leo does—he wants in Kendrix's bed."
He echoed the laugh. Her eyes closed…
The next thing she knew, Mike was nudging her. "Maya," he whispered. "I think they've finally unlocked the closet."
"Good. Now can we go back to your quarters?"
Mike laughed. "This is some weird role reversal."
"Oh! Leo look!"
Leo Corbett followed Kendrix's gaze out to the dance floor. Mike and Maya were curled in each other's arms, swaying in perfect rhythm with one another. There was a faint smudge of pink lipstick on Mike's cheek and a spot on his sleeve where he must have tried to get rid of what was on his lips. The DJ had started playing slower, softer music as the people began to drift out of the club and to their homes.
"I told you it would work," he replied.
Kendrix playfully punched his arm. "Right," she said. "I wouldn't recommend doing that little number again."
"Only because I took your point about neither one of them getting together without some serious pushing from an outside source."
Out on the dance floor, Mike and Maya were oblivious to everything except each other.