Author's note/disclaimer: I claim nothing but the plot. ^_^ Thanks go to Tsukino Akume for giving me the idea, letting me borrow her planet (Gannos), and betaing for me. Thank you, hun! :D This was written as a gift for Phantom Rogue, for she is now graduated, and I ist very proud of her. I love you, sweetie! -Snuggles-
Warning: Andros/Zhane slash ahead.
by Starlit Purple
The simudeck wasn't exactly the same as the real thing, but it was good enough for Zhane to use to distract Andros for a little while. He'd spent a good part of the previous night writing the program for it, but he knew it'd be totally worth it just to see Andros mellow out a little, if only just for a little bit. It'd been weeks since he'd had a break and Zhane was beginning to miss the side of Andros that wasn't so serious. He wasn't really what Zhane would call the fun-loving joker type, but it was there, especially when they were together, and he missed it.
Andros had called him on his sleeping in when he'd walked onto the bridge just past midday, but he only smiled and reminded him of his promise to do something with him tonight. Andros had grumbled something about it, but let it go. Zhane still hadn't told him what they'd be doing, and it was driving him crazy. He knew Zhane could be just as stubborn as he was when he wanted to be, and right now, it was more annoying than usual.
But he was there, waiting just outside the simudeck when Zhane walked out into the hallway, intending to go peel him off the controls on the bridge. He had showered even, and his hair was down, splaying across his shoulders. He eyed Zhane's clothes: a long skirt and flowery shirt, and smirked. "I guess I'm a little underdressed for this."
Zhane pushed his surprise at Andros actually coming without his prodding from his mind and smiled widely. "Or overdressed, but who's paying attention?"
"You, apparently," Andros chuckled, amused. He glanced down at his flight suit and back at Zhane. "I'll just go change then. Anything specific I need to wear for this?"
Zhane reached out and snagged the edge of his jacket, pulling him close before he could turn. "Oh no you don't! Not without a kiss first." He smiled innocently when Andros gave him a mock glare, but only had to wait a second before Andros' lips were on his obligingly. It was soft, sweet... And suddenly Zhane realized that Andros must be needing him just as much, despite all his complaining about needing to work. "The outfit you wore on Gannos would work fine," Zhane told him when he pulled away. "I liked that one."
"You just want to see me in that skirt again," Andros admonished lightly with an amused smirk.
"Well, one can hope, right?" Zhane grinned.
Andros laughed as he turned away from him. "I'll be right back."
"You'd better!" Zhane called to his retreating figure, and Andros waved his hand at him over his shoulder.
Zhane wasn't standing in the hallway when Andros returned, so he keyed his code in the keypad beside the door. ...But nothing happened. He frowned up at Deca's nearest camera interface. "Where's Zhane, Deca?"
"He asked me to keep the doors to the simudeck locked until he returned."
The crease in his forehead lengthened. "Where'd he--"
"Hey, you did change into it." Zhane's pleasing voice behind him made him turn. He was holding the leis that they'd been given the night they were on Gannos and Andros had to smile at the memories they brought him. Zhane's own face lit with delight at Andros' reaction, knowing exactly what he was thinking—or remembering, rather. "I figured, we had such a good time that night that..." He held them up before stepping closer to Andros. "Can I?" he whispered softly.
Andros nodded and bowed slightly, closing his eyes as Zhane slid the lei over his head. He opened them as Zhane stepped back and looked down at it, reaching up to touch it fondly.
Andros held out his hand wordlessly and Zhane handed him the other lei. He hadn't expected Andros to respond to tonight this way at all, quite the opposite actually. Not that he was complaining; it was less work he'd have to do. He smiled as Andros slid the lei over his head with ease and reached up to catch Andros's hand before he could lower it. Raising it to his lips, he kissed it lightly and gestured with his other hand to the door. "Deca, if you would," he asked, not taking his eyes off Andros, and the door slid open.
It was the place they'd gone to on Gannos after their "requested presence" at the intergalactic conference—which they had done absolutely nothing at. Zhane had gotten antsy by the end of it and Andros had mentioned doing something while they were there. At first he'd regretted letting Zhane pick where they went, but he'd actually enjoyed himself after the place had cleared out a little.
The simudeck place was exactly the same as that quaint little place they'd gone there, though this one was empty but for the bartender and the small band playing in the corner. Andros couldn't help the smile that lit his face.
"Come on," Zhane told him, leading him inside. The song the band was playing was just finishing and the soft slow tones of the next one started up. "You wanna get a drink?" he said, already turning away toward the bar.
Andros caught his arm before he could step away. "Dance with me?" he sputtered quickly when Zhane looked at him.
Zhane almost laughed outright at his shyness, but he held it back. His face broke into quite possibly the biggest smile he'd ever worn. That was the first time Andros had ever been the one to ask *him* to dance, and he wasn't about to pass it up. "You know, I thought you'd never ask!" He turned and slowly slid his hands up around Andros's neck and felt Andros's hands settle around his waist. He closed his eyes as they started to move back and forth to the slow pace of the music. *This* was the Andros he'd been missing.
He didn't open his eyes again until he felt Andros's amused breath on his ear. "What?" he asked pulling back enough to meet his gaze.
"I--" Andros looked off to the side, and Zhane knew he was blushing. "You probably really hate me, huh?"
"What?" Zhane was so taken aback by that, he didn't know what else to say.
Andros sighed. "I guess I've been so busy on the bridge lately, I forgot about us."
Zhane shook his head. "Andros... First, I could *never* hate you, no matter how stubborn you are. And secondly," he moved his hands to Andros's shoulders and gripped them firmly for emphasis. "That's who you are. A Ranger. Through and through. And that's who I fell in love with."
"You're a Ranger."
"Because you are," he replied easily. "I'd follow you anywhere. And you know that, that's why you love me!"
"No," Andros said, pulling him closer and caressing his cheek fondly before cupping his chin and turning his face to his. "I love you 'cause you're Zhane." He pressed his lips to Zhane's lightly. "And because you're my best friend." He kissed him again. "And you have a lot of nifty gear that comes in handy when I get in trouble." He kissed him again as Zhane chuckled.
"And I'm good in bed," Zhane put in when Andros pulled back again, and captured his lips before he could sputter a reply. "And I look good in shiny colors..."
"Now, that you do," Andros put in before kissing him again.
"Wait a minute, what's that supposed to mean? I'm *not* goo--" He was cut off by Andros's mouth, and this time he didn't pull back immediately. Instead he pulled Zhane closer, running a hand though his hair as his tongue prodded Zhane's parted lips. The words he was about to say died, and suddenly Zhane found himself responding automatically. Oh yeah, he'd needed this.
They pulled apart finally, breathless and Zhane squeezed Andros tight before laying his head on his shoulder. "Thanks for coming tonight," he whispered softly.
Andros only grinned, resting his head against Zhane's cheek and rubbing his back lightly as the song played it's last few chords. They stayed there as it lapsed into silence, slowly dancing to their own tune.