A/N: Because I loved that Cody/Bailey moment in "Bermuda Triangle" so much I wanted to tweak it and add to it without actually changing the end result. So if you haven't seen the SLoD episode "Bermuda Triangle" you might be a little lost in and/or spoiled by this fic!
Disclaimer: I do not own this series or its characters. Much of the beginning and ending dialogue is straight from the episode, so that's not mine either!
"Hey, Bailey? I gotta ask you a question."
Bailey sighed as she turned to see Cody Martin, her friend Zack's obnoxious long-lost twin. Since he'd gotten on the ship he'd been nothing but a rude, cocky skirt-chaser. The only reason she talked to him at all was because he was Zack's brother. "If this is one of your cheesy pickup lines, why don't we skip to the point where I slap you?" she said bitingly. She had put in a lot of hard work making Zack's (and Cody's) sweet 16 special, and she didn't need Cody hitting on her the whole time. Even if he was kind of cute... in a totally repugnant way.
"Well, I just wanted your opinion on what I should get Zack for his birthday-" The sentence was barely out of his mouth before Bailey delivered a stinging slap to his face. He shook his hair out of his eyes and blinked at her, stunned.
"Wait. What?" Bailey backpedaled. Clearly she should have waited for him to speak, but she had to admit that it had felt good to smack him.
"I wanted to get Zack something special for his loom, but I'm not exactly sure what a loom is." Cody deadpanned.
"You're serious." Bailey realized, surprised. He was really looking for advice on what would make Zack happy... it seemed so... unlike him.
Cody misinterpreted her surprise. "Yeah, I seriously don't know what a loom is." he said defensively.
"No, I mean, you really want to do something nice for your brother?" Bailey said, smiling at him. She couldn't help it, she felt like she was seeing another side of him... a sweet side.
He was clearly uncomfortable showing it, because he moved around to her other side restlessly. "Of course... I mean, not only is he my twin, but he's not a bad guy. Must be why he has so many good friends." Cody said, glancing around at the deck full of people there to see Zack. He looked at the floor, then met Bailey's eyes. "Like you." He suddenly seemed shy, vulnerable... maybe even the slightest bit envious of his brother.
Looking into Cody's eyes felt strange, and at the same time, oddly familiar. Something seemed to pass between them- a spark, a connection- and Bailey felt her cheeks flushing under his warm gaze. For a moment she was lost for words, and butterflies fluttered in her stomach. Since when did Zack's arrogant chauvinist of a brother make her feel like this? He leaned towards her, ever so slightly, and she found herself leaning in too.
"Are we... having a moment?" he asked suddenly, waving his hand to indicate the two of them.
Somehow Bailey found it endearing. "Maybe so." she flirted gently. They moved closer, and for a minute she was sure he was going to kiss her, right there on the deck in front of everybody, and she was okay with that.
"Uh, nuh, no. We can't." Cody stuttered, breaking the spell. He held up a hand as if to physically stop what was happening between them. "You may not know this, but Zack has a huge crush on you."
His rejection should have upset her, but the way he was putting his brother's feelings for her before his own- whatever they were- just melted her heart a little more. It was selfless, and sweet, and she was suddenly a little ashamed that she hadn't been considering Zack's feelings at the moment. "Believe me, I know it." she said. "For the past nine months he's been baking me heart-shaped cookies. And not your classic Valentine's Day hearts, no, I'm talking four chambers and an aorta." She liked Zack, she really did, but it was a little hard to take him seriously when his idea of romantic was a cookie with ventricles. From the disturbed look on Cody's face, she judged that he agreed with her.
"Psst!" Zack had come up behind them and was summoning Cody. Bailey stepped aside, but couldn't stop herself from watching the brothers together. It was undeniably cute to see them getting along for once. Knowing that Cody actually cared about Zack made her see him in an entirely different light, and she had to admit... she liked it. She was so deep in thought that she was startled by Zack's "tiger" impression.
"Whoaaaa." she and Cody said together, trying not to smile at Zack's display of confidence.
Zack's expression suddenly turned regretful and he pulled her to the side. "Oh, Bailey... Look. I know we had something going, but, I just can't tie myself down to one girl." he put a placating hand on her shoulder. "A lot of chicks want a crack at the Zack."
Bailey just managed not to roll her eyes. Chicks? She had to admit she was pretty relieved that Zack had moved on from his ridiculous crush on her, though, so she didn't call him on it. "I'll try to get over it." she said kindly, schooling her features into an appropriate expression of disappointment.
Zack nodded, turning and throwing an arm around Cody. "Thanks to you, I've got a date every night of this week. Except Thursday. That's Loom Club." He walked away, leaving Cody and Bailey in surprised silence.
"That was weird." Bailey said finally, sinking down onto one of the stools at the smoothie bar. "I'm not sure what you did to him, but it's probably good for him."
Cody shrugged. "He just needed to loosen up a little." They exchanged skeptical looks. "Okay, a lot." Sitting down next to her, he rested a gentle hand on her back. "You're okay, right?"
He was concerned for her too... would wonders never cease? "Yeah. Better than okay." she said truthfully. "I've never felt that way towards Zack, and it's kind of a relief not having to worry about hurting him by turning him down."
"Yeah..." Cody didn't move his hand, and Bailey was incredibly conscious of the soft, comforting pressure, even through her dress.
"Although, it does sting a little that after getting chased for nine months, I get dropped just like that." Bailey joked. "Am I that easy to forget about?"
"You're not that easy to forget about." Cody replied without thinking. Their eyes met again. Cody obviously realized what he'd just said, quickly removing his hand from her back. "I mean-"
"Thanks." Bailey said with a shy smile, cutting him off. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Well, you should probably get back to your party. I shouldn't be monopolizing one of the guests of honor." Talking to Cody when he was like this was unsettling. Maybe if she got away from him for a little while he would go back to his normal self, and she would go back to disliking him intensely... except that somehow, she didn't think that would happen. "I wonder if London needs help finding the cake..." she mused offhandedly, scanning the deck for any sign of her scatterbrained heiress friend, and the dessert she was supposed to be responsible for.
Cody stared out at the group of friends and well-wishers surrounding Zack. "I don't think I'm being missed." he said quietly, and Bailey's attention was instantly back on him. "I know, it's my own fault." Turning to Bailey, he said, "I never thanked you for setting up this whole party for Zack, and for me. You didn't have to include me, and I know you and your friends don't like me much. So thanks."
"Cody, don't be silly, of course we do-." Bailey lied.
"I heard you all talking about me." Cody said, shaking his head. "Not that I blame you, I know I can be a little-"
"We misjudged you." Bailey cut him off. "I misjudged you, and I'm sorry." she smiled warmly and tugged fondly on the collar of his leather jacket. "I think, underneath it all, you're a really nice guy."
Cody ducked his head. "Don't go spreading it around, Dollface. I've got a rep to protect."
Bailey stood, giggling. "It'll be our little secret." she promised in a mock whisper.
He stood as well, and smiling down at her, wrapped one leather-clad arm loosely around her waist. Willingly, she moved close to him, fisting the collar of his jacket and guiding his face towards her own...
"Come on, everyone!" London shouted from across the deck, wheeling forward a huge birthday cake on a cart. She lifted her hands to conduct the singing. "Haaa-"
The boat lurched.
On the other side of the deck, Woody started screaming about an alien tractor beam. Bailey ignored him and looked up at her boyfriend standing directly in front of her, his arm around her waist. The look on Cody's face could best be described as... disoriented?
"What's going on?" he asked her.
Bailey frowned. What does he mean, what's going on? "It's your birthday." she reminded him. "We're celebrating!" She tugged coyly on the hood strings of his orange sweater, pulling him forward into a sweet kiss.
"Happy birthday to me!" Cody teased as they pulled apart. He leaned in once more.
"Oh, get a room!" London called across the deck to them.
"Better yet, don't." Woody said impatiently. "Isn't it cake time?"
Zack wrinkled his nose, gesturing at the half-eaten Bermuda onion in Woody's hand. "I know I've said I'll try anything once, Woodchuck, but cake and onions?"
Cody grinned at Zack's joke, which was odd since Bailey hadn't seen either of them smile at the other in days, since they'd had that fight. She took Cody by the hand and led him over to join the group. "Okay, look, I know you guys still aren't speaking, but it's your birthday, and all of your friends want you to have a good time."she said pleadingly.
"Actually for some weird reason, I'm not that mad anymore." Cody said slowly, looking at Zack.
"Yeah, me neither." Zack said to Cody. "In fact, I've... never felt closer to you."
"Same here..." Cody began to tear up. "I love you, man."
"I love you too!" Zack bawled.
Bailey stepped aside, watching with an affectionate smile as the twins moved to hug each other. How cute was it when Cody and Zack got along?
A/N: As always, thanks to all my readers! It was a little challenging to make the transition from the Bermuda Triangle universe to the normal one, in which nobody knows anything about Nerd Zack and Bad Cody... did it read okay? How did you like it?