Bonding


A/N: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SECOND_BATGIRL!


"Where are they?" Emily glared at the door angrily, hands on her hips. She and Mia had been preparing for hours – it felt like hours, anyway – and the boys still hadn't come back from their extra practice.

Well, Kevin's and Jayden's extra practice. She suspected Mike had gone to just hang out with the guys; he seemed lonely since he couldn't see his friends very often.

"They'll be here! It's not like they can really go anywhere else," Mia said, huffing as she tugged Mike's TV down the hallway. Thin as it was, its size made it awkward.

Trust the game-crazy guy to have a massive, expensive TV… and to refuse to part with it!

Emily leaped to her teammate's assistance. "Let me help you with that!"

Within another 30 minutes the TV was set, snacks were in bowls, and the girls were flopped on the floor…

And, with the timing all guys their age possessed, Kevin, Jayden and Mike walked through the door as soon as the work was done.

"Hey, girls! What's-" Mike skidded to a stop just inside the living room, eyes wide. "Whoa! What happened here?"

"More like what's going to be happening here!" Emily said, bouncing up happily and grabbing him by the arm. She tugged on him and he fell onto a ridiculous mass of pillows and blankets; Mia giggled as Kevin and Jayden were revealed, peering cautiously around the door.

"It's a slumber party, not an ambush," she chided them. "C'mon!"

Mike and Jayden gave each other wary looks. "I don't know," Kevin said. "Aren't we a little old for-"

Emily glared. "You're never too old for a slumber party!"

Jayden shook his head. "I don't know, it seems a little-"

"Think of it as a team-building exercise," Mia suggested, and the two seemed to lighten up a little.

Mike was staring at the pile of stuff in the corner – food, board games, DVDs… all becoming a playground for the mini-zords. He began to laugh as the Turtle zord flipped onto its back, the dragon staring down anxiously at it.

Mia followed his glance and smiled. "They've been friends forever," she said. "That's what my mom told me. The zords all know each other – we've only really been a team for three weeks." She blushed when she realized everybody was looking at her. "Emily and I thought a slumber party would give us a chance to know each other better."

"I'm game!" Mike grabbed a pillow and popped Kevin in the face with it. Kevin reacted quickly in retaliation.

In the doorway, Jii shook his head and smiled.

-xxx-

"It's okay, Em. It's over," Jayden chuckled, patting the quivering lump hiding under the covers.

After a moment, her blonde head peeped out. "Are you sure?" She made a face at the screen. "I hate scary movies."

Kevin chuckled. "You can fight deadly monsters, but not handle the Blair Witch Project?"

"It's creepy!" she insisted. "And the girl's crying," she added.

Mia smiled. "We'll watch something happy after this. You can pick."

"The Buffy movie!" Emily instantly responded. "I always wanted to be like her when I was younger."

Mia grinned and nodded while the guys groaned.

-xxx-

"Full house!" A triumphant Kevin laid his hand down, grinning. "C'mon, take it off."

Jayden rolled his eyes before peeling off his shirt with a resigned sigh. Mike handed over a sock; somehow, he was the most-dressed of the group. Mia was cowering under the blankets now, being down to a pair of shorts and a bra and having given up. Emily was determined to win, though she was in amazingly short shorts and a tank top.

Kevin looked down at his pajama pants and crossed his fingers that his luck would hold.

-xxx-

"We are not playing Truth or Dare!" Jayden argued emphatically. The girls pouted and he nearly gave in… until he caught the wicked smirk on Mike's face.

-xxx-

"We should go to sleep," Emily finally pointed out at quarter to three. "Master Jii will be so mad if we're too tired tomorrow."

"The Power will help wake us up if we need to morph," Jayden reminded them, eyeing the bedding warily. "Now, how are we going to do this?"

Emily patted the spot right next to her. "You're the leader, so you get to sleep in the middle!"

"Wait, co-ed sleeping arrangements?" Kevin asked, eyes wide. Mike pumped a fist happily.

Mia gave him a look, as though trying to convey how stupid that question was without saying it aloud. "Um, yeah! We're all grown-up, aren't we?"

Kevin gave her a nervous smile, sitting next to her when she motioned to the space next to her.

Mike took Emily's other side, he and Kevin flanking the girls, who had smooshed against Jayden happily.

"G'night!"

"Sleep well!"

"Sweet dreams!"

Each slipped slowly into slumber, their mini-zords watching carefully.

-xxx-

Master Jii didn't have the heart to wake them. Somehow during the night, Emily had ended up almost on top of Jayden, with Mike curled up against her back (and subsequently, Jayden's side). He was using the Red Ranger's arm as a pillow; Jayden's hand was resting on the top of Mike's head.

On Jayden's other side, Mia was snuggled up, her back to him, holding Kevin as though her life depended on it. The Red Ranger's left leg had somehow gotten tangled with hers in the night… he was sure to have a sore muscle when he woke up.

Master Jii just couldn't bring himself to wake them…

Or to miss the embarrassed reactions when they did.