Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I associated with, Power Rangers.
AN: This was written for angellwings' birthday and very vaguely references the story she wrote me for my birthday, You're All Idiots.
Cam could not believe he was letting this happen. There was a time in his life when he would never have allowed himself to be put in such an embarrassing position. Sadly, that time was before he saved the world. Sometimes friendship really sucked.
"Hurry up!" Marah said, dragging him along behind her. "We're gonna be late!"
"We have plenty of time, Marah," Dustin said, seeing Cam's arm was in danger of popping out of its socket.
She slowed but kept her hold on Cam, clutching his arm tight as if he might run away at any second. In all honesty, he probably would.
"I just know you'll love her," Marah said for the millionth time.
Cam nodded, not wanting to risk Marah yelling at him. It had taken her two weeks to wear him down to this blind date. Apparently they were going to be joined by not one but three people at the restaurant. The other couple was a ranger and villain duo on their first real date since the villain's reformation. Dustin knew the guy and Marah was insistent on helping the couple get past that initial, awkward, we-tried-to-kill-each-other phase, which was where Cam and his blind date came in. Their job was to be awkward enough to take the pressure off the ranger and villain. Needless to say, Cam was not happy with this plan. But family was important and Marah had actually put a lot of work into arguing her point. So here he was, wearing his favorite green sweater even though Kapri told him it made him look geeky, and letting Marah drag him to what would no doubt be a torturous evening.
"Don't you think he'll love her, Dustin?" she asked.
"Oh yeah," Dustin agreed readily before actually letting the question sink in. "I mean, I don't really know since I've never met her but from what Dax said-"
"I thought you knew her," Cam said.
Dustin's eyes widened and he looked frantically to Marah, whose grip on Cam's arm had tightened considerably.
"Neither of you actually know her, do you?" Cam asked.
"Well…," Marah began.
"I don't believe you two! What if this turns out to be some evil villain's scheme?"
"She's not evil," Dustin insisted. "Tori vouched for her and everything."
Cam stopped dead on the sidewalk. "Tori? Tori set this up? You guys remember how badly that last blind date she set up went? I'm beginning to wonder if you really did turn good."
Marah gasped and made the mistake of covering her mouth with her hand. Cam took the opportunity to dash away.
"Cameron!" Marah wailed after him.
He could hear Dustin close on this tail and knew that the only thing keeping him ahead of his friend was the pavement beneath their feet. If they got anywhere near a park Cam was in serious trouble. He ducked down the first alley he saw, taking it to the next street over and doubling back in hopes of throwing Dustin off. When he dodged quickly into another alley he slammed into a very solid object. Cam tumbled head over heels and ended up sprawled on his stomach in a puddle that he really hoped was just water.
"Ow!" a feminine voice whined behind him.
Cam looked back quickly and saw a woman sitting on the cold ground just past his feet.
"Oh, gosh!" Cam gasped, climbing to his knees and visually checking her over for injuries. She was a few years younger than him and from her done-up hair and low-cut dress he assumed she was on her way to a date. A date he'd just ruined by getting her dirty. "I'm so sorry! I didn't see you there."
Her mouth quirked in a half-grin at that.
"No, really, I was just in a rush and-"
"No," she said, laying a hand on his arm to stop him. "I know you didn't. I was trying not to be seen."
Cam frowned down at her outfit. No girl dressed like that unless they wanted to be seen. Not that she looked trashy, Cam was happy to note, just … nice.
"Oh no!" she said, starting to rise.
Cam snapped to attention when he realized he'd been staring at parts of her body that were definitely not her face.
"What's wrong?" he asked, reaching out a hand to help her. "Are you hurt?"
"No. But I will be when Ronny sees what happened to her dress."
Cam opened his mouth to apologize and stupidly offer to buy this Ronny person a new one but was thankfully stopped from sounding like an idiot.
The woman shrugged and said, almost too happily, "It's her own fault for helping talk me into this mess." She smiled, satisfied for some reason, and gave Cam a once over. "You're not hurt, are you?" she asked.
Cam really needed to stop this staring thing. "No, I'm fine," he said.
"Good," she said sincerely and glanced towards the mouth of the alley. "What were you running from anyway? Or was it to?"
"From," Cam said, following her gaze. Luckily, he didn't see Dustin anywhere. "And a friend."
"Did you get set up on a blind date too?"
Cam turned sharply and she giggled.
"I guess so."
"Rose!" someone called, the male voice echoing down the alley.
"You're Rose, I'm guessing?" Cam asked.
Rose nodded and backed up until she was flush against the brick wall of the alley. "Listen, I know this is gonna be really hard but could you-"
"Shit!" Cam breathed, thinking Rose had the right idea.
"Cam, I presume?" Rose asked.
"Yeah," he said, searching for a way out of the alley. There was a fence halfway down and while he could jump it easily he doubted Rose would be able to climb it, especially in that skirt. A doorway stood a few feet away and Cam hurried over, only to find it locked.
"Like I was saying," Rose said, "could you just - what are you doing?"
Cam stared at the door a moment longer before kicking out. Rose let out a small gasp as the door swung open. He looked at her and was absurdly proud of putting that shocked look on her face.
"You coming?" he asked, holding out a hand. She glanced back once before nodding resolutely and taking it.
Rose was not at all sure how this had happened. She'd been walking down the street with Dax and Mira when suddenly she just thought, "why am I doing this?" She was a strong, independent woman. She'd saved the world. She terrified entire classes full of freshmen every semester. Yet somehow she'd been bullied into a blind date.
It had just seemed so absurd that she decided to just not go. That was when the running and hiding and turning invisible had come in. And now, somehow, she was sneaking around what appeared to be an antiques store's back room with a guy she'd just met. This was probably even less like her than the blind date thing. This was actually a crime.
"Oh my gosh!" she gasped, clutching Cam's arm in horror - but not enough horror that she didn't notice how toned he was.
"What's wrong?" he whispered.
"We just broke in! What if there's a silent alarm?"
Cam paled. "Let's go faster."
They made their way to the front of the store. When they emerged from the store room they realized the place was closed, meaning that while they didn't have to deal with an angry owner they almost definitely had to deal with an alarm.
"I say we run for it," Rose said, staring at the maze of furniture and knick-knacks separating them from the door. It was messier out here than it had been in the back.
Cam nodded. "Odds are good we already tripped an alarm, stopping now would only mean our friends and the police will be after us."
"My thoughts exactly," Rose said and bit her lip to hold back a laugh.
"What about this is funny?" Cam asked.
"I don't know about your friends, but I'd almost rather have the police hunting for me than mine."
Cam shrugged and for a moment she wondered if his friends could possibly be as bad as hers.
"On the count of three?" he asked.
Rose shook her head and grabbed his hand. "No time, just run!"
She sprinted through the store, dragging him behind. They took three wrong turns in the mess before finally finding their way to the door. Rose unlocked it with her free hand and the two tried to step out onto the sidewalk as casually as possible while Cam fought to lock the door behind them.
"Hurry!" Rose hissed, scanning the street for Dax or flashing lights.
"I'm trying! It won't lock!" He gave a great huff of annoyance and Rose heard a clunk before he laced his arm through hers and began walking her down the street. To any passersby they looked like a typical couple out on a Friday night. "Do you see your friends?" he asked.
"What did you do?"
"I jammed the lock. The owner won't be able to unlock it ever again, but it's secure enough against thieves."
Rose shook her head, letting the last few minutes sink in. She'd abandoned her friends, committed a crime, and fallen in with a cute guy who she knew absolutely nothing about. Wait. Where had that cute part come from? She glanced up at his profile. He really was cute, but he also didn't seem too phased by the whole breaking the law thing.
"So is this a normal thing with you?" she asked. "Breaking the law?"
"No, not at all. Is running from your blind dates normal with you?"
She shook her head. "No. I don't even know why I did it. I mean, I promised I would go. Usually I keep my commitments. But this time…I don't know. I just got to thinking that I'm better than this - not that I'm pompous or anything," she added quickly. "I mean, clearly there are nice, cute guys being set up on blind dates by their friends." She gestured to him but had her eyes on the street ahead of them and so missed the surprised look on his face. "I just - I never asked them to do this and I'm not the kind of girl who does things like this. I have better things to do with my time, you know? I cracked the Temerian Codex for heaven's sakes!"
"Whoa!" Cam said, pulling Rose to a stop so abruptly that she had to swing around to face him to keep from hurting her arm. "You're Rose Ortiz?"
She blinked. "You've heard of me?"
"Of course! Your paper on energy manipulation using varying light wavelengths is sitting on my nightstand right now!"
"No way!" Rose gasped, not sure if she was shocked because someone actually kept something like that next to their bed or because this really cute guy had read her paper.
"I'm using it in my work. Well, not my work," he amended quickly. "Technically I'm a teacher."
"May I ask what you're using it for? I'm always interested to see how my work is translated into the real world."
Cam smiled, clearly in his element now. "Actually, it's kind of a weird- Wait. If you're Rose Ortiz…"
Rose winced. This was the moment she'd been dreading. Now he was going to realize she used to be a ranger and it would all be hero worship and requests for some hotter ranger's phone number.
"You're my blind date," Cam said, clearly just as shocked as she was by the words.
"What? What makes you think I'm your-"
"There you two are!"
Rose whirled to see Mira standing behind her - or was it Miratrix? The girl was decked out in her old uniform and Rose was instantly on edge.
"Please tell me you haven't turned evil again," Rose begged, falling into a fighting stance, "because it took me six months to get myself to call you Mira again. I cannot change again."
"What?" Mira asked, glancing down at her outfit. "No! Of course not! I'm not about to throw away all those months of therapy. That was way too painful to waste. I'm only wearing this because it's easier to jump on the rooftops." She looked over Rose's shoulder at Cam. "Cameron Watanabe?"
"That's me," Cam said.
"What!" Rose gasped, whirling. "You're Cam Watanabe? You wrote the code for the Wind Rangers' Zords! You're a legend!"
"No more than you are, you-"
"Okay!" Mira said, moving between them. "As adorable as the two of you are, I need you both to disappear again."
"What? Why?" Cam asked. "I mean," he said, nodding to Rose, "now that I know I have something in common with my date…"
Rose smiled and ducked her head to hide her blush.
"Like I said, adorable," Mira said dryly. "But really, you have to disappear."
"Why?" Rose asked. "Is there trouble?"
"Other than you two being missing? No. But this is good! Dax and I are working together during a crisis. It's good for us. If the crisis disappears then we're stuck on an awkward date again and no one wants that. So, would you mind?"
Rose looked up at Cam and shrugged. He sighed and returned the gesture.
"I only came on this date to help you guys not be awkward," Cam said.
"Great." Mira clapped him on the shoulder. "So get out of here. I'll draw the others off and you guys head east." She leapt high into the air and disappeared into the darkness above the streetlamps.
Rose took Cam's arm again and the two set off down the street in the same direction they'd been heading.
"Weird blind date," Rose said solemnly.
"But not bad," Cam said and it was half a statement, half a question.
Rose smiled up at him. "Not bad at all." She was pleased to see his face light up in response. "But if you're using my paper does that mean you're building a new ranger team?" she asked suddenly, actually skipping a little in her excitement.
Rose scoffed. "I know I haven't been a ranger that long, but are these things ever official? Who would you report it to to make it official?"
"Good point," Cam said, still grinning. "Anyway, it's mostly to be prepared. Just in case."
He went on to explain just how former rangers and ranger allies had gotten involved in this while Rose listened intently and kept her eye out for a place to stop in for dinner. This was turning out to be a good night after all: she escaped a torturous evening, found a new project, and began a new relationship. What kind of relationship it was remained to be seen, but she was definitely optimistic.