A/N: This is one of those pieces that hit me as I woke up, demanded that it be written and then wouldn't let me sleep till it was finished. Of course I edited before I posted. On a perhaps slightly more interesting note this story is PRiS post LG, but before WF. And the pairings included are Carlos/Andros, but mentions Cassie/Phantom and TJ/Ashley while vaguely hinting at Zhane/Karone and Tommy/Hayley. It also mentions past relationships of Andros/Ashley and Andros/OMC.
Sleeping Better With You:
Carlos stood in the doorway to Andros' room, a worried expression coloring his features. Andros had finally returned from whatever solo mission KO-35's new government had sent him on and he was sprawled across his bunk still fully clothed. He'd fall asleep like that, Carlos was certain of it, but he wasn't going to sleep through the night. Talking with the rest of his teammates and DECA they'd realized that'd it been a long time since Andros had managed to sleep through the night. DECA had even expressed her desire for Andros to use a sleep aid.
"DECA, decrease lighting," Andros said in a tone full of exhaustion. He'd begun to look increasingly haggard lately and though Carlos was grateful he wasn't the only one worried at the moment he knew he was the only one available to help.
He crossed and sat down on the bed next to Andros, "How was the mission?"
"Successful," Andros told him without even opening his eyes, "I'll finish the paperwork after a short nap."
"No, you need to sleep."
"I have work," Andros countered.
"Which you'll be better at if you actually rest."
"Where are the others?"
Carlos ran a frustrated hand through his hair. Andros finally opened his eyes and looked up at him. As he sat up he reached out to touch Carlos' hair, "You had it cut again."
Carlos shrugged, "Tommy's new friend Hayley comes with scissors. My hair wasn't as long as some of the others, but she thought I could use one as well."
"It looks nice," Andros managed as his head nodded and his eyes began to close.
Carlos smiled as he eased his leader back down onto the pillow, "You should see what she did to Adam."
"It's shorter than mine," Carlos revealed as he stood and moved to the end of the bed. He lifted one of Andros' feet and began to undo the laces of his boot.
"Where are the others?" Andros repeated.
"Cassie has a date with Phantom."
This caused Andros to open his eyes again, "Is he finally going to reveal who he is?"
"Just to Cassie," Carlos said as he eased the boot off of Andros' foot and began on the other.
Andros nodded and closed his eyes again, "TJ and Ashley?"
"They went to Mirinoi. Zhane and Karone tagged along."
"For how long?"
"Till the end of the week," Carlos answered as he placed the second boot next to the first and began to remove socks. He put each in its respective boot.
"I can undress myself." Andros said the protest mild and tinged with familiarity.
Carlos smiled at that, wishing for a moment that he was undressing Andros for different reasons, he gave his standard response, "If I leave you'll stay on top of the covers fully clothed."
Andros didn't respond to the comment, he never had. Their standard approach lately to putting him into bed finished Carlos asked, "Does it bother you that Ashley and TJ are dating?"
"Why should it bother me?"
With a roll of his eyes Carlos sat back down on the bed. As far as he knew Andros hadn't talked to any of them about the breakup between him and Ashley. He was still a bit unclear as to why the two of them had decided things weren't going to work out. He suspected it was the increasing solo missions Andros was throwing himself into, but he wasn't sure. Andros opened his eyes and blinked a confused face up to him. Carlos smiled and shook his head, "Sit up."
When Andros complied he began to ease the jacket off of him, "Are you sure it doesn't bother you."
"I made a mistake," Andros admitted as Carlos began to fold up the uniform jacket.
Carlos tilted his head. Was this the cause of Andros' sleepless nights, "A mistake?"
Andros ran a hand down his face and stifled a yawn, not even resisting as Carlos began to remove his shirt. As he began to fold the shirt as well Andros finally spoke, "She was yellow and I found her fascinating. I thought that would be enough."
"Enough?" Carlos questioned as he took the clothes to a nearby chair.
Andros didn't answer, he remained silent until Carlos was once again sitting beside him, "I'd dated my team's yellow before. I hadn't counted on his loss bothering me as it'd been so long. I hadn't counted on her gender factoring into how well I was attracted to her or not."
For a moment Carlos could hear Zhane's voice greeting the girls with the fact that he'd never met a female ranger before.
Why hadn't it occurred to him before that Andros had served on an all male team? Wait, did that mean the pink before Cassie was a guy? More importantly did that mean Andros dated men?
"Gender?" he managed.
"I simply do not find females attractive."
For a moment Carlos' mind panicked. He moved back into familiarity as he choked, "You should get under the covers."
Andros regarded him silently a moment before he nodded, then reached out slowly and gave Carlos a push. Startled Carlos realized he was sitting on the bed covers. He rose to give Andros access. The covers were drawn back. Andros laid himself down onto his back all the while watching Carlos silently. Carlos wet his lips, hesitant to continue the routine they'd established over the last few mission. Carlos moved forward, unlatched and unzipped his pants. Andros raised his hip and Carlos eased the pants off him. Unable to meet his teammates gaze he began to fold the pants. Andros darted forward, tossed the pants aside as his hand closed around Carlos' wrist and he used it to draw the younger man closer, "You always undress me and leave, why?"
Carlos' brain stuttered to a stop, he'd forgotten how intense Andros' eyes could get. He opened his mouth and then somehow managed to close it.
"On my planet it is customary when you undress a person to stay, is it not so on yours?"
Carlos wasn't sure why his mouth wasn't cooperating. As much as he wanted Andros, had wanted Andros, he'd never counted on his desires being reciprocated. He reached up and undid the tie hold Andros hair. He watched as it cascaded forward, falling just past Andros' shoulders. He threaded his fingers into it and made a decision, "Hayley is not to get a hold of your hair."
Andros' fingers spread onto his wrist, his head tilted as he told Carlos, "My hair doesn't look right shortened."
Andros moved his hands inside of Carlos' uniform jacket and he slid it off Carlos' shoulders before he told him, "Now stop being that word all of you like to call me when you think I'm not around, dense, and come to bed."
"You-You need to sleep," Carlos protested.
It was Andros' turn to quirk a smile, "I wasn't planning on anything more. Now get undressed and come to bed."
Carlos removed his jacket. He let it join Andros' pants on the floor. His shirt followed. He threaded his fingers into Andros' hair again, rested their foreheads together before he explained, "I left because I thought you were only interested in women."
Carlos thought, for a moment, that he'd never felt so grateful about being wrong in his life. He tilted his head intending to kiss, but Andros pulled back, pressed fingers to his lips.
"Sleep for now, the rest in the morning," Andros explained before he eased himself back under the covers.
Carlos nodded, wet his lips. His boots and socks joined Andros' at the end of the bed. As he removed his pants he was acutely aware of Andros watching him. He retrieved the clothes from the floor, folded them and placed them in the chair. He moved back across the room slowly.
They shared a smile as Carlos joined Andros under the covers. Then Andros turned his back to Carlos, fitted them together on the narrow bed. Pillows were rearranged. Carlos wrapped an arm around his leader and smiled again when fingers threaded into his. Both eased into sleep.
DECA was pleased to later note that for once both men slept through the night.