A/N: First off a sorry for it taking so long for me to update. I had plotting issues and bogged down by school issues. I am a bit glad it took me a while to update as it allowed me to work RJ into Dustin's past. Also exciting news! Thanks to M14Mouse I now have a banner for this fic, you can see it in my posts for this fic on my lj. Love to my gf for the Rocky mention in here…as that was her idea. And also a thank you to Serpentine85 for a small kick in the behind. I've also discovered using the divider, hope that helps clear up confusion. Hope you enjoy!
Adam glanced at the clock when someone knocked at the door. Tommy and Hayley weren't due to pick him and Dustin up for another half hour so it couldn't be them. He looked towards the bathroom with a frown, he could still hear the shower running. Whoever it was knocked again. Adam smiled at his own uneasiness over opening a door that wasn't his. The brunette blinked at him a moment before she lowered the hand she had posed to knock.
"Hi," Adam prompted as he attempted to give her a charming smile. The last thing he wanted to do was upset Dustin's friends.
As she stepped inside she gave him an annoyed look and asked, "You're him?"
Confused to what he could've done to offend her Adam shrugged, "I guess, depends on what you mean by him?"
"The idiot who's trying to date Dustin," she clarified as she crossed her arms and gave him a challenging look. Before he had a chance to answer there was a startled noise behind them and a slamming door. Her eyes widened.
"He was naked, wasn't he?" Adam asked trying not to laugh at the startled look on her face. He was surprised at his own ease with Dustin's unconsciousness about being naked.
She nodded, "I think I need to sit down."
As she moved toward the couch she paused suddenly and turned to him, brightened and held out a hand, "I'm Marah."
Surprised by her sudden change in demeanor Adam shook her hand, "Adam Park."
Wait, Marah was his friend that had been evil.
"Hi," she smiled.
"Hi," he answered back.
"Out," Dustin told her, coming out of the bathroom in only a towel.
"What?" Marah asked eyes full of faux innocence as she dropped onto his couch.
Dustin ran a frustrated hand through his damp hair, "Was it Tori or Shane?"
"Oh please, like there isn't a vapid rumor mill at," she paused awkwardly before she finished, "school."
Dustin crossed his arms and gave her a scowl.
"Okay, okay, it was Tori."
"Marah, you need to go home," Dustin told her firmly.
"But," she pouted, "I've never been to the zoo before."
"Marah," Dustin complained.
"Dude, I like can't believe she did this," Dustin muttered as he dropped onto the couch beside Marah.
Marah's cheeks reddened even as she told him, "Like I didn't meet your last mistake."
"Dude, that like doesn't give you the right…to like come in here and…"
"Ah, Dustin," Adam interrupted as Dustin paused with a frown.
Dustin blinked up at him, "Yeah Dude?"
"Clothes," he reminded.
Dustin looked down, "Oh, yeah. Be right back."
As soon as the bedroom door closed Marah told him, "Thanks."
Adam nodded and sat down in a nearby chair. He'd have rather retreated to the bedroom behind Dustin, but he couldn't exactly leave Marah sitting out here alone.
"So," Marah ventured, "how long have you like been the jealous controlling type?"
Adam could almost feel his mind stutter to a halt at her question, "What?"
"Or are you a user?" she continued all hints of friendliness gone.
"I'm not," Adam said carefully as he attempted to keep his voice from showing how offended he was, "Look, I know from what's been said that Dustin doesn't have the best dating history, but…"
She leaned forward, "The only two people he's dated that weren't complete losers were Hunter and RJ and I like so totally doubt you have the connections that they do, or did, or will, but like…Oh, what was I trying to say?"
"I'm not sure," Adam admitted, calmed as he realized she was only trying to protect her friend, "I think you trying to get to the threatening me if I hurt him part."
"Oh," Marah brightened then frowned, "No, I don't think we'd gotten to that part yet."
Adam couldn't help himself, he smiled. She's started to smile back when Dustin came out of his room. Her look quickly shifted back to trying to look innocent.
"You're not going," Dustin announced as he dropped down beside her, "So you can go home and dude, tell Tori it's just sex and she should like not like…dude stop looking at me like that, you're going home."
Adam sat back in his chair stunned. Just sex? How could Dustin think that it was just sex? Maybe he should leave, maybe…
Marah crossed her arms and rolled her eyes, "Oh please, they didn't fall for that and like neither am I. I'm not stupid."
Dustin crossed his arms and gave her a scowl even as he responded, "Dude."
"If the thing between you and RJ, which was destined to crash and burn from the moment you two laid eyes on each other wasn't a just sex thing, which I'll like admit had a healthy amount of lust tied into it, then you don't do just sex," Marah informed him.
"But…but," Dustin protested, "getting you to believe that is the only way to get you to leave."
Adam pressed his lips together, trying hard not to laugh. Now that he understood what Dustin had been trying to do he felt reassured, but the look of indignation on Dustin's face was too much.
"Dude," Dustin complained.
Adam couldn't take it anymore, he started laughing. He covered his mouth, trying to stop. Dustin turned to blink at him, "Dude, no…she's not coming."
Adam used both hands to cover his mouth.
Marah poked Dustin, "I think you like broke your boyfriend."
Dustin gave Marah's a stubborn glare, "You're not coming."
"I so am."
Dustin's eyes narrowed.
"How do you expect me to get home?" Marah asked eyes wide before she looked towards Adam then back at Dustin, obviously trying to relay something there. That was the push Adam needed to stop laughing, he didn't understand that look.
Dustin glanced at him, worry coloring his expression.
"Sorry," Adam managed.
"Huh, dude?" Dustin asked.
Adam shook his head.
"Look Marah," Dustin started as he stood, then stopped, "Look you can….you like have to…"
"I can what?" Marah asked.
"Okay, okay, but that means we have to take my bike and you so have to be nice."
"Oh goody!" Marah said hopping up and clapping her hands, "This is going to be so much fun."
"Dude," Dustin complained as he collapsed into Adam's lap, "Like sorry, dude."
Adam gave Dustin's cheek a kiss and ran a hand into his curls, "It'll work out."
"Dude, I like really hope you're right," Dustin told him before giving him a kiss.
"If I didn't know your history Dustin I'd almost think that was cute," Marah informed him. Inwardly Adam groaned, today was supposed to be fun and now it felt as though it was going to be long, very long.
There was a knock on the door. Relieved at the interruption Adam glanced at the clock, then frowned, "That can't be Tommy and Hayley."
Dustin looked at him confused, "Hayley's always early. She forces everyone around her to be like early too."
Adam gave him a skeptical look, "But it's Tommy."
As Dustin headed for the door Marah informed Adam, "Dustin's always late too, but Hayley forces them to be on time."
"Not just on time," Tommy put in, "but sometimes early."
"Occasionally," Hayley smirked, "When I get pushy."
Tommy shrugged in response then gave Marah a confusing look, "I didn't know you were coming."
"Last minute invite," Marah grinned as she peeked at Kaley.
With a roll of her eyes Hayley handed Marah the carrier, "Here."
Dustin crossed his arms and gave Marah a glare as he told her, "Yeah, from Tori."
That look made Adam pause, it reminded him of the look nearly every yellow he'd ever met somehow seemed to have when they were pissed about something. They always seemed to managed that exact same glare. With a shake of his head Adam wrote it off as just weirdness and him reacting to how much yellow Dustin seemed to wear.
Marah set Kaley's carrier down and cooed at her happily before sighing, "She's so cute."
"Thanks," Tommy nodded as he gave both Dustin and Adam a confused look.
Then Marah turned to Dustin, giving him a pointed look and asked, "Don't you just want one?"
Adam frowned, stood and crossed his arms. He almost couldn't believe she'd just implied what she had in front of him. Today really was going to be long.
Dustin blinked, "Huh? Ah…dude. Um like ah half the greatness of being a teacher is you get to give them back at the end of the day. And like dude do you see where I live? A one bedroom apartment is like so not a good place for me and a kid."
Marah frowned at him. Dustin's face furrowed in confusion. Hayley rolled her eyes and cut in, "It's a good thing you showed up."
"It is?" Marah asked, the confusion evident in her tone.
"Yes, it is," Hayley smiled as Dustin stole Kaley away from Marah. She paused to shake her head before she continued, "You can push the stroller while the rest of us do the couples thing."
Adam gave Hayley a grateful look. Hayley rolled her eyes and gave Marah an exasperated one.
"I can?" Marah asked, nose wrinkling at the idea.
"Yes," Hayley smiled, "you can and you will."
Before Marah could formulate a reply Dustin turned to Tommy with a confused look on his face, "Dude, she's wearing red again, that's like the fourth time this week. You like might want to be careful, you could be color coding her."
Color coding? Adam's eyes widened slightly, had Dustin just said that? Did he understand what he was implying? Could Dustin be…no, Tommy would've said something.
Hayley snatched the carrier away from Dustin and shoved her at Marah. Once her daughter was secured in the other woman's arms she told her, "Take her outside. Put her in her car seat, we'll join you in a few."
From Hayley's tone it was clear not to argue and Marah headed straight for the door. Hayley turned on Dustin next. She barely paused to take in the startled look on his face, "You have your cell?"
"It's in my side pocket," Dustin said, face still furrowed in confusion.
"My back pocket."
"Do you have enough money to pay Marah's way? You know she isn't going to pay for herself," Hayley concluded.
"Dude," Dustin exclaimed before he spun around and headed back to his bedroom. Adam wasn't sure what to say as Tommy gave him a pleading look. The only thing he was certain of was that Hayley wouldn't have gotten rid of Dustin if he was a ranger, would she? Also he wasn't sure he wanted to see Hayley and Tommy fight, but it'd be rude to follow Dustin as he was rooting out his money and he really didn't want to go out to the car and be forced to make polite conversation with Marah. Adam was stuck.
Hayley turned on Tommy next, "Red? I know I didn't dress her in red four times this week."
"I changed her into it," Tommy admitted.
Hayley crossed her arms and glared, "She's a little young to be encouraged to follow in your footsteps."
Tommy's face darkened and then he took a deep breath, "She cries less when she's in red. It's not anything more than that."
"Not anything more?" Hayley hissed back.
"She cries less," Tommy defended, "You can't tell me you haven't noticed."
Hayley rubbed the bridge of her nose in agitation, "I don't want to notice. It worries me."
"Hey," Tommy soothed as he pulled her into his arms and began rubbing her back,"You're right, she's too young. It's just something that is right now."
"It'd better be," Hayley grumbled as she leaned into Tommy. Tommy whispered something in her ear and she smiled. Adam shifted uncomfortably and glanced towards Dustin's bedroom.
Thankfully at that moment Dustin joined them, "So dudes are we headed out?"
"Yes, we are," Hayley decided.
When they arrived at the zoo Hayley grabbed a map. As she studied it she smirked, "Okay, I know what bird brain wants to see. What about the rest of you?"
"Hey," Tommy protested.
Hayley gave him a fond smile even as she teased, "But it explains so much."
Tommy laughed, "Really, you think so?"
"I know so," Hayley told him as they shared a smile.
Both Marah and Dustin were regarding the two with tilted heads and confused looks. Then they realized they wore the same expression and they gave each other a glare. Marah seemed to catch herself and her glare turned into a hesitant smile. Dustin's face disintegrated into a frown and Adam couldn't help but step in closer to Dustin.
"I like bugs," Marah put in with a another smile to Dustin.
"So the butterfly house for Marah," Hayley nodded before she glanced at Dustin.
Dustin scratched his head with a frown, "Um…lions are cool?"
Hayley glanced at her map again, "Lions, got it. Adam, amphibian house for you?"
Adam shrugged. Dustin wrapped an arm around him, resting his chin on Adam's shoulder, "Dude, you're blushing."
He gave Dustin a sideways glance and got a kiss on his cheek for it. Then Dustin's fingers threaded through his. Adam squeezed his hand as he noticed the glare Marah had settled on him. He resisted the urge to glare back.
"Since you obviously know us so well," Tommy asked Hayley, "What do you want to see?"
Hayley contemplated her map. She gave her husband another smirk, "I'm thinking primates. I'd like to see some of your relatives."
"Mine?" Tommy laughed as he looped an arm around her shoulder, "No, those are Rocky's."
"You have a point there," Hayley agreed as Adam chuckled with a shake of his head.
Marah and Dustin exchanged another confused look before Dustin pointed out, "Dude, you lost us."
Hayley laughed, leaning into her husband as she did so. She handed the stroller over to Marah and showed them the direction to go. They wandered half the perimeter of the zoo before working their way inward, first taking in the birds along with polar bears, seals, and wolfs.
The primate house was next to the amphibian house and they mutually agreed to go through them before stopping for lunch. By that time Adam was almost eager for the day to be over. Every time she saw found something 'adorable' or 'cute' Marah had used it as an excuse to touch Dustin and point it out to him. At times she had been all but hanging off of him. Adam was quickly losing his patience and was about ready to put his foot down, especially since it was obvious that Dustin was becoming increasingly confused and agitated by the attention. Unfortunately the primates only seemed to give Marah more to squeal about.
Dustin was at his wits end. Thankfully when they hit the amphibian house Adam had announced that they were going on ahead of the rest of them. Dustin was also almost certain he'd heard Hayley telling Adam that she and Tommy would distract Marah with their camera.
When they got outside well ahead of the rest of their group Dustin perched himself on the nearest cross post of a fence with a laugh, "I never realized there were so many deadly types of frogs."
"Yeah well," Adam shrugged, "they may be small, but you don't want to underestimate them."
Dustin nodded, thinking about the monster that had covered Blake with tadpoles. He shook the memory off and smiled at Adam, wrapping his arms around the slightly shorter man and pulling him into a lazy kiss. He grinned into the kiss when Adam's arms wrapped around him.
Adam pulled away, sighed and cupped his face. Dustin looked down, "Look, I'm sorry about Marah. I don't what's gotten like into her. She hasn't been interested in me in years."
Adam nodded, but never got to respond. Hayley interrupted, "So, lunch?"
Thankfully the path Hayley had sent them on had looped them back to the front of the zoo where there were picnic tables and several vendors selling different types of lunches. Dustin got Adam to agree to let him pay for lunch since he was already paying for Marah's, and especially since Adam had insisted on covering their ticket costs. They got the girls' orders and were about to head up to get food when Hayley grabbed him by the arm.
"Tommy and Adam can handle getting the food, give your money to him and stay here with me," she told him. Knowing not to argue with Hayley, especially since she had the particular gleam in her eye, Dustin handed his money over and sat down. Dustin watched at Adam and Tommy walked away before he glanced over at Marah who was looking smug.
Hayley smiled down at Kaley before she unbuttoned the top button of her shirt. She lifted her daughter towards her, "I bet you're just hungry, aren't you?"
"Oh look," Marah exclaimed as she made a hasty retreat over to them, "statues!"
Hayley smirked as Dustin pulled the bottle out of the diaper bag and handed it to her. He rested his chin in his hands and sighed, "Dude."
"You could've had her, you know," Hayley pointed out as she began to feed Kaley.
Dustin's frowned, "No, I couldn't."
Hayley raised an eyebrow.
"I was her sensei and despite everything that had happened before I wasn't going to step over that line, no matter how interested she was," he explained before he smiled, "Besides I started dating Hunter shortly after the mission was over."
"And after you and Hunter didn't work out?" she questioned.
Dustin shrugged, "We're both earths. I've seen two earths date before. It's almost as bad as when two airs date. A like total disaster of the can't decide what to actually do type."
"So how you and RJ would go ten rounds of 'so what do you want to do now?' before you decided to just stay in?" she questioned.
Dustin smiled faintly at those memories, " Yeah, something like that and besides I wasn't about to head into something I knew would crash and burn like Hunter and I had."
Hayley nodded at that, "It's just good to hear you finally reason these things out."
Dustin nodded his gaze shifting to Adam. He smiled as he went to go help with trays. As they settled them down he went to go get Marah. Adam took his hand and tagged along.
Tommy flopped down next to Hayley with a sigh, "Well that was interesting."
"I told you he wasn't interested in her," Hayley said as he unwrapped her straw and put it in her drink for her.
Tommy shrugged, "She had me worried."
"Dustin will take care of it when he's ready," she reassured before she fixed him with a serious look, "You on the other hand need to tell them about their pasts."
Tommy's brow furrowed in confusion, "Want to run that by me again?"
"Neither of them realize that they're both former rangers," she whispered after she'd look around to make sure no one would overhear.
Tommy blinked, "They don't?"
"No, they don't."
"Nah, I'm sure Adam has figured it out by now," Tommy laughed.
Hayley shook her head at her husband delusion, "It's not something you just go around telling."
"But…" Tommy started and stopped to stare at his two friends as everyone found seats at the table they'd claimed. He and Hayley exchanged a look that meant they'd talk about it later as he took Kaley so he could burp her, giving Hayley a chance to eat.
After lunch they took in the other half of the zoo, making sure to see the lions, giraffes and the elephants. Lastly they stopped at the butterfly house. It was almost oppressively warm inside, and only one group of people could enter as one left. The paths in the house wound through several sections of various plants where butterflies were visibly resting in them.
"Oh look at that one," Marah sighed as she leaned into Dustin's side to point out one with blue wings. Dustin blinked down at the hand he had linked with Adam then turned to look at her. He let go of Adam's hand and bustled her to the side.
"Stop it," he told her.
"Stop what?" she pouted.
"Look Marah I don't know what Tori told you, but just lay off," he all but growled.
She frowned a hurt look up at him. Dustin sighed, "We're friends right?"
"Right," she admitted.
"Then why are you…?" he trialed off at a loss.
"Being silly?" she finished. Dustin frowned, not wanting to hurt her feelings, but not wanting to encourage her either. Marah shook herself and glanced over at a butterfly that was eating, "I'm sorry."
Dustin nodded and was relieved when it put an end to Marah's over flirty behavior. Of course that didn't help when they got back to his apartment and Marah made it clear she wasn't just going to Ninja Streak home and Adam was beginning to question how Marah had actually gotten there. Sure his secret identity was about to somehow come out he jumped when someone knocked at the door.
While Adam was grateful that Dustin had gotten Marah to stop clinging to him, he was not looking forward to seeing her spend the night. She seemed to have settled herself onto the couch. He was discovering that she was pleasant enough when she wasn't trying to protect her friend or throw herself at his boyfriend, but enough was enough already. How had she gotten here anyway? It was obvious she didn't own a car.
Dustin groaned in response to the knock on the door, "Now what?"
"No idea," Adam sighed as he dropped into the nearest chair.
His eyebrows rose at Dustin's exclamation of joy and the fact that he threw himself at whoever was standing in the doorway, "Cam!"
"I just came to pick up my cousin, you don't need to accosted me."
Marah's eyes widened at the sudden flurry of whispering between the two. Adam frowned and made his way over. Dustin turned to grin at him, "Cam this is Adam. Adam, Cam."
"Hi," he greeted taking and shaking the proffered hand.
Cam nodded, "Like I said, I'm just here to pick up my cousin."
Adam looked at Cam then glanced at Marah. He frowned confused, "You're cousins?"
Wait, hadn't Marah gotten to Earth by being the lackey of Lothor, who'd come from space? What wasn't Dustin telling him? Marah was a former villain gone good and Cam was her cousin? Or was it more likely that Cam was a former ranger keeping an eye on her? Wait if…
"Through marriage," Cam reassured.
"Oh," Adam nodded as his mind still raced.
Dustin snapped his fingers, "Oh dude, I have something for you to give to Hunter."
As Dustin went to go get the trophy Marah approached slowly. She waved at Cam. Cam rolled his eyes. She turned to Adam and tilted her head, "You know I think I might actually like you."
"What?" Adam asked.
Marah nodded, then smiled as Dustin joined them handing the trophy over to Cam. Dustin took in Marah's look, "What?"
She patted Adam's shoulder, "This one's a keeper."
That said she headed out to Cam's car. Cam suppressed a laugh and shook his head. Dustin pulled him into another hug with a frantic thank you before he agreed to stop by to help Cam with something later that week. As soon as the two had driven off Dustin collapsed against his now firmly shut and locked door, "She's gone."
"Yeah, but at least I'm a keeper," Adam pointed out as he looked Dustin over taking in the yellow, remembering the 'yellow look' he'd seen Dustin wear more than once that day. Actually it was the look Dustin had on his face at the moment.
"Tori is so dead," Dustin growled as he headed for the phone and dialed.
Adam pulled Dustin into a searing kiss, testing his theory. Dustin returned the kiss until someone picked up the phone, "Hello."
"Can't talk, distracted," Dustin told her, "Will yell at you later."
That said he hung up the phone and pulled Adam back into kissing. No, he was defiantly wrong, Adam decided. No yellow he knew was that easily distracted from their anger.