Yes I totally went to that place. Don't ask me why…but I can't find a good Standford/Vert slash fandom. And while I know I shouldn't have gone there with this kiddie show…I can't quite help it, because shit if they don't make me think the wrong thing.

Well there was ONE fic…I hope they don't mind but "Battle Ship Down" was pretty awesome.

Same disclaimers:

I don't own them.

This is a slash fanfiction...figure it out.

No flames.

And...I totally am not apologizing for what comes of this fic...and no, there will be no Mpreg in this universe...even though its soo tempting...

And is it me, or can you see Tezz and Agura together? I don't know...but if you happen to see unexpected couplings, cover your eyes. There's not going to be a lot of..."battling" going on...more like just how messed up dating can be in a world that's already kind of messed up.

And yes...later on I plan to bring families into the mix of things, including Vert's DAD. :)

Simon might get punched...

The first chapter is mostly fluff.


The Misadventures of Dating:

First Lap:

Sharp Reverb

a.k.a.

The first date always goes right…


It wasn't hard to put himself to the task when it was absolutely necessary. It really didn't take much more than a few shoves and some choice words from a certain huntress. Agura could be quite convincing when she wanted to be, which was why the Cortez Brothers really liked her. After that whole incident with them being fused together for a while, breaking the tolerance of the eldest Cortez had earned her their undoubted respect. Spinner wouldn't admit it aloud ever, of course. But she tended to tell it like it was.

He didn't quite adhere to her idle threats now, though, sitting here in the middle of the Diner with Zoom to one side of her and Grace on the other. Spinner and Sherman were busy stuffing themselves full of pizza, and Tezz was busy doing something on his portable laptop. He most likely was listening and trying to analyze the issue on it, but this was a little more complex than punching in a few numbers. AJ, at the counter with an ice-cream sundae that was no match for he and Sherman, smiled sympathetically his way.

The only one who wasn't here was Vert. He was most likely holed up in the Garage with Sage, trying to come up with another battle plan for their next mission.

"Stanford…you gotta tell him!" Agura snapped, though she didn't mean to be mean with it. She placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "If you don't, who knows what will happen the next time…"

"And that's easier said than done," Stanford muttered. "I'd rather be demoted a spot for the crown than to ever tell him that…"

Spinner stopped eating. "Dude, did he just say…"

"For sure," Zoom uttered in disbelief. "Stanford…you've got it pretty bad, don't you?"

Stanford rolled his eyes. "Can we talk about something else, please?"

"Sure," Tezz exclaimed. "Would you like to hear about the probable outcome of your success if you were to tell him, or would you like to hear about my molecular analysis of your body once in close proximity of our fearless leader?" He smirked, getting a round of laughter from the others and a deeper scowl from the Brit. "It's really quite interesting."

"There is nothing funny about this!"

"Sure there is. You're scared, and while that's nothing new, I find it highly interesting that such a self proclaimed charmer as yourself is scared to admit that he may have true feelings for someone with that much significance. It is the reason behind your recent holiday, correct?"

Grace snickered quietly behind her hand. "He's got you there, Stanford."

Stanford stopped scowling and settled for sitting low in his seat. "Whatever," he muttered. "He's just going to brush it off anyhow, and it'll be awkward…and I'm so NOT for awkwardness that is not beyond myself!" He howled to himself then, hands flying over his face in despair. This was not happening. "I…I can't do it!"

"Can't do what?"

Stanford risked peeking from behind his fingers and yelped. Vert was standing in front of him, clean and refreshed and grabbing the slice of pizza Stanford had in front of him before he could protest. Vert made a gesture with his hand and Grace was scooting over to allow him to squeeze in between her and Stanford with no more than a leap. One arm resting on the seat behind Stanford, he used the other to stuff his face in a matter of four huge bites that had Spinner, Sherman, and AJ in total awe.

Stanford was not impressed. He was too busy trying not to fidget in his seat. "It's nothing," he muttered.

"It can't be 'nothing', if you let me eat your pizza without biting my head off," Vert surmised. "Anything I can do to help?"

"Yes!" Agura cried before Stanford could scream an adamant desperate 'no!', "Yes you can. Um…see, Stanford has a crush on someone," she explained. "And…he doesn't know how to tell this person. We were trying to give him some advice."

"My advice would be to take this person somewhere amazing!" AJ chuckled. "Somewhere they've never been…or somewhere just as cool."

"So, you're taking me to the All You Can Eat Buffet?" Sherman wriggled his brow and got a spoonful of ice-cream for his efforts. He might have gotten more if his brother wasn't sitting next to him. "I'll take that as a yes."

"You two sooooo need to get a room," Spinner groused.

"So…basically, you don't know how to tell whoever it is that you like them, right?" Vert asked.

Stanford, surely red in the face by now, nodded and dreaded the knot in the back of his throat. "P-pretty much…yeah…"

"Not a problem. I have the perfect solution."

"Y-you do?"

"Sure! It involves some steps though. So, you wanna hang out with me tomorrow? We'll go over them as we go. Sound good?"

Stanford couldn't help but to nod. It was an automatic response, one his body had trained itself for the moment it realized that it wanted a certain team leader. He nearly slapped himself just to stop nodding so. "T-that's right nice of you," he managed to say without completely making a total arse of himself. He mentally patted himself on the back for that one. "I'd lo-like to do that…yeah."

"Cool! Provided nothing comes up, you and I will make tracks to the city. Hit the mall, catch a movie, whatever. Might even have time to come back here for a smoothie."

"Sure!"

"Great! Oh, darn it…AJ, I totally grabbed that CD you wanted to borrow. I have it in the car. Lemme get it before I forget."

Vert was back out of his seat and running for the outside of Diner. The moment the door swung shut, Tezz, of all people, was the one to let out the catcall that was stuck in Spinner's throat. "My friend," he smirked, "If that was not him asking you out, then I am not a genius."

"He was not—"

"Bruh, he totally was, eh?" AJ winked at Stanford. "I've known him for a good bit of our lives. I've seen his technique. He always makes it sound less than what it is. Is he not the leader for a reason?"

"…he knows."

"Chyeah…he so knows," Zoom chuckled.

Stanford couldn't quite bring himself to believe it. At least, not until Vert popped back into the Diner, hopped back in his designated seat and tossed the CD to AJ as he popped his arm right around Stanford's shoulders. He didn't move it either, not even as he launched himself into an argument about the last race in the Daytona 500. At that point, Stanford didn't really care too much. Vert's arm was warm against his neck in this AC ridden Diner, and even Pop's rambling about Aliens influencing the outcome of everything couldn't keep him from smiling like a doofus.

He'd freak out about it later.


Morning came much too soon for the Brit, and sleep had been a long time coming. Last night he'd been up in torn between reveling in the warmth left from Vert's arm and freaking out about today. He'd gone to his room immediately, nearly missing Vert's call of "See you in the morning, Stan!" just before he'd gotten into the hallway. He'd turned back and waved a bit, a silly smile on his face. He'd immediately turned and slapped himself on the forehead muttering, "You stupid fool!" over and over again. Why couldn't he control himself?

The answer was simple really, and it dated back to that fateful day Sir Fluffsalot was lost to the battle at sea. If he thought about it, it dated further back than that…and Stanford hated admitting to himself that he was a goner from the get go. He hated admitting a lot of things to himself, because that meant thinking about things, analyzing those things, and coming to the strange conclusion that he wasn't as self confident as he made himself out to be. Truth be known, he was terrified the first time they'd gotten into their vehicles and charged into a battle zone without the slightest idea of what to do except drive. He was terrified about a lot of things…especially this "date" with Vert.

So it was only natural that he spent half the night trying to come up with something to wear, and when he couldn't quite figure that out and his brain decided it had enough of him, he plopped down in the bed and curled himself around the first thing that hit his arms. Waking up a little further, he realized that his arms were still curled around that something, and it wasn't his pillow. His pillow was still nice and flattened against his head.

He sat up, willing the sleep out of his eyes. What he saw kind of threw him for a loop.

"What in the—?" He couldn't quite finish the thought. He had to stare at it a little more before accepting it for what it was in his hands. It was a teddy-bear. Not his Sir Fluffalot, because frankly once anything was exposed to the planet Vandal, it needed to be washed ten times, fumigated, and aired out. Vandal was that funky of a place, and he was sure that some little shark-type kid was busy cuddling it underwater if it wasn't fish food. This teddy-bear sitting in his hands was a bit bigger, softer, and had to have been built at that Build-A-Bear place. It was the only reason he could give to why it was wearing a purple jacket with the number 5 on the back of it, and the name "Reverb" on the front breast pocket. It even had a little fur mo-hawk.

Normally he would have dropped back down and cuddled the furry thing in the privacy of his own deliria. He swung his legs over the side of his bed and launched himself for the doorway.

Sure enough, no sooner had he opened his door did he see Vert on the other side of it, hand raised as if to knock.

"…someone's been working on their tan."

Stanford opened his mouth to say one thing, but something completely and utterly embarrassing came flying out before he could stop it. "If you bought me this bear, I think I might love you forever," he said, realizing it way too late and unable to do much more than stand there holding his face. "I mean—Okay, I mean…Did you buy this for me?"

"More like...had it made."

"You—"

"Wait, hear me out for a second. I—"

Stanford clapped his hand over Vert's mouth. Enough was enough. There was no point in trying to say yes or no, because this teddy bear in his hands was an obvious 'yes, he really wants to take you out because no one in their right mind would go this far for anyone for anything less'. Besides, Vert had to know. He knew everything. "Vert…doesn't ruin a good thing with explanations," he said quietly. "It tends to suck the fun out of spontaneous things. Kind of…like…today."

He felt Vert grin against his hand. His leader, for obvious and not so obvious reasons, took a step into Stanford's personal space, fingers curling around the slender wrists that were still warm with sleep. There was no use in pretending now, as Stanford's fingers fell away from those lips, catching the bottom with a slight pull that only elicited a low growl from Vert. He tugged. Stanford followed, his breath coming in short wisps as he was brought nose to nose with the one who plagued his thoughts for far too long.

"So, here's what I'm thinking," Vert said against his lips, "We still go out, hit the mall, catch this killer movie I've been dying to see, come back for a smoothie…and then we do one more thing."

Stanford didn't think mint flavored breath could be an aphrodisiac, but he was starting to think differently. "Like what?"

"Pretend you're Spinner when he finally got his hands on the last game he spent five days playing."

"Oh…I don't think I want to crash that hard," Stanford chuckled, "I kind of like being aware when I have this silly grin on my face."

"I kind of want to see it myself. So, get dressed…and meet me topside. We're taking your car, but I'm driving."

Vert could do whatever he wanted and Stanford would probably nod stupidly in agreement. It was a sad fact he had to fight most times, but this time Stanford went with the flow of things and the flow of Vert's soft kiss upon his nose. He would later berate himself for swooning like the inner girl he could be on his best day, yet for now, he was content to slip back into his room, close the door on Vert's smiling face, and squeeze the stuffing out of his new bear with a loud, "OH YEAH!" that was sure to have someone screaming at him later.

"By the way Stanford, that was step one!" Vert called. "Always plan your date ahead of time!"

Stanford was too busy jumping around his room to say anything smart.


It had taken him less than a half hour to get himself ready. It was a new record in Stanford's book, and one that had the others gaping at him when he walked through the doors of the Garage looking like a human. It wasn't impossible, but the Brit had tended to make a huge fuss about his good looks. That usually resulted in his primping the mirror for about an hour, claiming that he had to get his faux-hawk just right.

Stanford wasn't really caring about that now. His hair was in place, his breath doubly fresh from toothpaste and mouth wash of the strongest variety, and his clothing was pressed, neat, clean, and new. Well, the sneakers were. The usual black boots he wore took a backseat in the closet. He even put on that new cologne he'd bought to replace that awful smelling thing his brother had bought him for his birthday. Granted, he should have known better than to trust his brother with getting him anything without an ulterior motive.

His next birthday was off limits. Hell, Handler Corner was off limits to Simon.

"Uh-oh…someone's looking good," Agura teased. She was leaning against the Splitwire, arms folded over her slim waist. Tezz was sitting next to her, but his fingers weren't flying away like usual. Instead they rested behind his head with that ever present smirk on his face as he took in Stanford making his way over to Vert.

"I believe he's, how you say, dressed to the nines?"

"Not quite, but close enough. Are you channeling GQ today, Stanford?"

"Don't I always?" Stanford called back. "You can see me perfect my walk as you watch my backside."

Spinner, sitting on the edge of the Buster, looked up from his game. "Dude, you clean up nice when you aren't trying," he remarked. "Could you not try more often? You might score more numbers that way."

"Ha-ha short stuff. Remember to take your Flintstone Vitamins so you'll grow big and strong."

"I'll have you know, I already did! Sherman made sure of it," he muttered.

Stanford paused for a moment. "Say, where's your brother? And Dalton for that matter?"

Agura laughed again. "Did you not hear them yesterday? AJ took Sherman to an All You Can Eat Buffet. I'm betting they get kicked out after an hour."

"No way," Zoom exclaimed. He hopped over from where his bike was hiked up, in the midst of being repaired. "I give it a half hour, tops."

"You Blokes were serious?" Stanford couldn't quite picture those two…together…in the together sense. But then again, Stanford really couldn't picture himself with the leader of their team currently trying to wrap himself around his waist once upon a time. "Whoa!" Vert was stronger than he looked! Stanford went for the short ride via Vert's arms, spinning around to face his grin when he was planted back on the floor. "Not that it wasn't fun, but what was that for?"

"Movie starts at three, and it's twelve," Vert explained, "And while sitting here all day is appealing, so is the mall and the silence…See, that's step two. Always keep track of the time to get the maximum output of the day."

"You want to get a move on before Sage senses something."

"Got it in one."

"And who says that Stanford can't learn to read?" Tezz remarked.

Agura kicked him lightly, but didn't keep from laughing. It was funny, and that was unusual for Tezz. Hell, it was unusual for him not to be working his butt off on some algorithm. "Say, how come you're not flying off the handle about some research or something anyhow?" she asked.

"Even geniuses like myself need a moment to kick back and relax. Besides," he said, "My data is self analyzing. Once the process is complete, I'll look it over, check for flaws—none—and begin again. Until then…I'm more inclined to take in the beauty and not think."

"This is a rare moment for you."

"Yes. I'm recording it as we speak."

They were all for laughing, until the alarms started to blare. Vert almost threw his hands up, but the alarms stopped just as quickly as they started. Sage appeared in her usual manner—out of nowhere, her backside to them as she checked her console. "My apologies," she said. "There's nothing to worry about. I believe the system has picked up a storm in the distance that is similar in energies to that of a storm shock."

"So…no rushing into the wild blue yonder?" Spinner asked hopefully.

"No. You may continue with your recreations…as will I."

The blue sentient drifted past them a little ways when Zoom, curious as ever, asked, "What do blue sentients do for recreation anyhow?" to which Sage turned and replied, "We tend to meditate…or in my case, watch television. I do believe that show, 'Man vs. Food' is my favorite one by far. I do not understand how he can consume mass quantities of food in such a manner, but it may enlighten me to how the Cortez Brothers and AJ tend to do so, on a daily basis."

Spinner all but dropped his game. "Did she just make a joke at my expense?"

"Dude, you are a living joke," Zoom smirked, "As well as a living garbage disposal."

The bickering was on. Vert took that as his cue to leave. He hopped into the driver's side of the Reverb, keys in hand already. Stanford, slipping into the rarely used passenger seat, stared at him. "What? I have keys to everyone's car," Vert laughed. "It's one of the perks of being in charge…but I promise I won't ever drive your baby…unless I really need to."

Stanford strapped himself in and settled back. "Just…don't touch my radio when you do."

"I totally get that."

"No, I mean it. I have to fine tune it to allow for the maximum sound output when I'm using it at a weapon. It takes about an hour…so I usually have a pre-recorded mix blaring and not the radio. Did you know I could pick up military relays oddly enough?"

"You get those too?"

"You mean I'm not the only one? Bugger…so, did Calhoun ask the bloke out or not?"

Vert stifled a laugh and put the reverb in gear. "I don't know…but I'm sure we can find out."


While Handlers Corner was indeed a little town out in the middle of nowhere, it did reside outside of a city about fifty miles out. It was a little stop in between spaces, and the perfect cover for their little base of operations. Still, that didn't mean that they couldn't or didn't want some civilization, as much as Pops warranted that two people was enough civilization for anyone.

Getting here in the Reverb took little to no time at all. Vert was truly skilled at handling just about any car under the sun. While he didn't try to figure out the complete logistics of the Reverb and just how to get it to bounce fifty feet in the air on sound alone, Stanford was impressed that he figured out the sound system and used it effectively to blast their ears out to the sounds of Linkin Park.

Parking was fun…and so was pissing off an irate older man in a corvette with a young woman about twenty years his junior when they skid into the spot.

"Oh, no way!" Vert laughed. "Really?"

Stanford stuck another fry in his mouth with a smug look. "You ever want to see it up close, get him close to the water," he said. "And then start talking about food. I've never thought ick would be interesting, but sometimes I wonder just what those animals eat…"

Vert made a face, but ate another fry anyhow. "You don't want to know."

They were sitting at the food court. Hunger had gotten the better of them after about an hour and a half of running back and forth between stores for the hell of it. It was what the youth of today did, and frankly it was a bit fun to wander in, look at stuff you'd never be caught dead wearing, and watching someone else pick it up. It made for quite a few smothered laughs, ones that had Stanford and Vert darting out of two stores before someone could hit them.

They had purchased a few things, their purchases sitting on the floor aside them as they talked about nothing and everything. A lot of it had to do with their misadventures, including the one trip to Vandal that Stanford didn't quite know about. "I really don't know how I didn't see it," he said absently. "I suppose I just wanted to go to the beach that badly…"

"Hmm…we should go one of these days," Vert remarked.

"Yeah? And where are you going to find a beach around here?"

"Who said anything about going to a beach on earth?"

Stanford could have kissed him then and there if he didn't think it'd turn into some X-rated thing that had mothers screaming at their kids to cover their eyes. He smiled like mad instead, picturing it. "Don't promise something you can't deliver," he teased. "And don't pick up the wrong key."

"Oh, I'll deliver…if you promise to wear that item you thought I didn't see you buy."

The Brit slid that bag a little further towards himself with his foot. "We'll see." Was it suddenly hot in here, or was it just him? "So…what's the movie about anyhow? Comedy? Chick Flick? Those are kind of funny…"

"Horror Flick."

"…you're not serious…" Vert wasn't smiling…much. "You are. Oh my god, Vert!"

"Relax! It's not that scary…at least it shouldn't be."

"What do you mean? You know me and scary movies just don't go together…ever!"

"Yeah…I was kind of hoping you'd give me an excuse for your head to be on my shoulder."

The redhead Brit stared at him, a fry halfway in his mouth as Vert unapologetically sat back sipping his soda. If he didn't know better, he would swear Vert had planned this out a while ago. It was the only way he would get Stanford out of the Garage under the pretense of "hanging out" while slipping that flick in there. Since they weren't trying to pretend that this was "hanging out", Stanford wasn't going to pretend that he was going to sit here across from Vert and let him get away with this.

Vert, ever the coolheaded one, was a little slack in the jaw when Stanford calmly moved himself from the seat across from him to the one aside him. One moment he was sitting, the next he was leaning against Vert, calmly eating what was left of his fries. "You don't have to take me to a movie to get me to do this," Stanford said. "I'd do it anyway…even if you weren't taking me out to dinner next week because that's how long it'll take for the nightmares to abate."

"So…I'm taking you out for food next week?"

"You are? I'm all for it."

"I see…and you're still coming with me to the movie, right?"

"It's only fair. By the way, I don't like mustard on my burger."

Vert made a mental note of that as he leaned back and let Stanford rest against his shoulder. "Tell you what," he said, startling Stanford out of whatever he was thinking, "If you'll go with me to another movie I kind of want to see…and the killer flick sometime next week, I'll buy you Za at your request for an entire month."

Had the man lost his mind? "Seriously?"

"I give you my word. Step three, Stanford…bribing isn't bribing if you both win. Compromise is key…and useful later on."

He didn't need convincing. He was going to go with Vert anyhow because the thought of burying his face in Vert's shirt was highly appealing. Stanford stuffed the rest of his fries in his mouth with a muffled, "Let's go!" pulling himself and Vert up. They grabbed their belongings, opting to carry them rather than go back out to the car, and Vert was laughing as Stanford grabbed his hand and darted for the indoor Movie Theater on the lower section of the mall.


A couple of hours later:

"I can't believe you dragged me to that!" Stanford cried. "Of all the movies you could drag me to, that was one of the worst ones you could have picked! I almost wet my pants from laughing so hard!"

Vert wiped his eyes of the tears still pricking in the sides of them, trying to concentrate on the road. "I know," he half chuckled, half gasped. "I didn't think Grace was telling the whole truth!"

"I have half a mind to buy her something nice…maybe a smoothie?"

"Text her and tell her we're swinging by the Diner…and that she was right…again."

Stanford flipped out his phone and quickly started texting Grace. They'd left the theater and the mall moments ago, strained smiles on their faces as they rushed to get to the parking lot. No sooner had they dropped their belongings in the back and hopped into the front, they looked at one another and promptly lost it. Vert laughed hard enough to make him cry for a good five minutes, and Stanford nearly stopped breathing as he hunched over and gave in. They couldn't get a handle on themselves. It was just too much.

The Movie that Vert had wanted to see originally had only come out a couple of days ago. It was some type of movie involving mass murder, suspense, and one chick that was too hot looking for the lead, which was a perfect combination for a nightmare fest. The "other" movie—the back up—was a movie Grace had told him about in passing. "Bridesmaids" was considered a chick flick in all essences of the term, but Grace had convinced him that it was worth watching. At first, Stanford wasn't sold. Vert had reasoned that some chick flicks were pretty funny, and Baby Mama was not the epitome of chick flicks gone horribly bad. The Brit still wasn't sold, but then Vert had promised to take him to a movie of his choice if it sucked…or buy him a CD. Stanford had given in then. They had purchased their tickets, split the snacks (because they were expensive), and popped into a theater scattered with people here and there. They took their seats near the middle and sat though the previews.

'Bridesmaids' was nothing like it seemed to be. Stanford was sold right after the lead girl, Annie, had been dismissed from her lover's bed and forced to climb over a gate that opened the moment she was on it. He'd thought to himself, it's got to get worse…and it did. It went way down hill for that chick, and while he felt sorry for her, he couldn't keep a straight face. Vert was giggling from the get go…and when they got to the scene with everyone getting food poisoning, they were both red in the face and clinging to each other from laughing so.

"Vert…"

"Yes?"

"She crapped in her pants!" Stanford cried in hysterics again. "I can't believe…she did that!"

"That's why you don't eat food from strange places," Vert laughed. "Oh jeez…"

"Does that include the Diner?"

"Nah, we're immune to that stuff by now."

Stanford's phone blipped. He opened the message from Grace and snickered. "She said 'I told you so.'"

"Really? Let me see?"

Stanford was about to hand him the phone. Vert slipped the slim device from his fingers and threw it in the backseat, curling his fingers swiftly around the Brit's unsuspecting ones. He twined their fingers and let them rest on the divider between them, turning a corner smoothly that would take them straight to the Diner. "I've wanted to do that all day," Vert said quietly. "Hope you don't mind."

He didn't mind. He really didn't mind. He couldn't quite bring himself to say so either, but it was all right. The slight tug of his lips under his red cheeks told Vert all he needed to know, and he kept holding the Brit's hand as if it would slip from his any second. It wouldn't, but it was nice to feel the kiss of their palms resting together, as if their hands had been made for the other. Stanford was all for letting this moment last, but he saw the Diner coming up quicker than he would have liked.

Vert pulled into one of their usual spots, parked, and turned off the ignition. Neither man moved to get out.

"So…did you have fun today?" Vert asked him softly.

Lots. "Loads," he said just as softly. He tightened his fingers. "I just…wish it didn't have to end."

Vert couldn't say anything to that. "…you want to hear step four?" he asked instead, shifting a bit to face Stanford. "After all, I'm supposed to be teaching you the steps to get your crush."

Stanford rolled his eyes a bit, but smiled anyhow. "Sure. What, pray tell, is step four?"

"After you're sure that your date has fun…you do what comes natural."

"….and that would be?"

"This."

Vert leaned forward. It could have happened in slow motion, or not, it felt like forever came and went with the rush of air leaving Stanford's lungs as soft, warm, inviting lips pressed themselves to his. It was so soft at first, barely a taste what was there, nipping and urging him to press back, nose exhaling what was left in him to inhale the scent of clean linen, the spice laced aftershave Vert wore on occasion, and something fiery. He tasted of popcorn and some soft drink that was fruity, and mint. It reminded Stanford of this morning, pressed against his leader in nothing more than his pajama bottoms, his new bear in hand, heart in his throat and warm all over just from being in his presence. He hadn't wanted it to end there...all the more reason to slip his fingers into Vert's tangible head of blonde and kiss him until they were both dizzy.

He didn't know how long they stayed like that. All Stanford could really recall was feeling quite lightheaded, and annoyed as their communicators came blaring to life in the midst of them trying to map the other's mouth. If that wasn't bad enough, the light giggling coming from the outside of his car brought him back down from cloud nine. Grace was standing outside of it, a light blush on her smiling cheeks, and two smoothies in her hand waiting for them.

Stanford moved back over to the passenger side and let Vert recline the seat back up as he lowered the window. "Um…thanks…"

"I figured you two were either out here talking…or something else." She winked at them and handed Stanford the smoothies. "On the house…because you two gave us a nice show."

"Us? As in…"

"Yep. Pop came out here, but I think he got more than an eyeful…he walked back into the Diner talking about kids getting stranger than ever, but he was smiling…so I think he'll be all right."

Zeke was a character on his own. Something like this wouldn't blip on his radar. Still, it felt like his father had walked in on them necking, which made Stanford blush even more. "Right. Um, love to stay and chat but we've got something to…do…back at the Garage. Thanks for the smoothies, luv."

Stanford handed Vert his as he put the Reverb back in gear. Soon enough they were peeling off into the afternoon, headed back for the garage to suit up, hit another battle zone, and claim a key. Another day in the life of an inter-dimensional superhero.

"So is there a step five?" Stanford remarked. "Step four was nice…really nice. I'd like to repeat that sometime."

Vert gave him a sideways grin. "Sure. Step five…is to repeat steps one through four…until you're ready for step six. Step seven is a little ways off…but I think it'll be worth it when we come to it."

"When? No if?"

"I don't do ifs. My decisions are black in white in that respect…and when I mean something, I mean it. When Stanford…not an 'if'. When."

Stanford Issac Rhodes IV was by no means a confidant teen turning into man. He tended to panic, whine, gloat, boast about the mundane of things, and was far less secure about his skills that he let on. He had a brother who pushed him to be more of the annoying Stanford people had a love/hate relationship with, and he slept with a teddy bear to sleep at night. But as the Brit felt Vert's hand slip back into his own (thank you sage for Cup holders), he felt confident that Vert's words would come true. There was a when…and he couldn't wait.

"Stanford."

"Hm?"

"If we happen to land near some water…and you know who shows up…I want to see upchuck kibble."

The only sound Vert heard until they reached the garage was Stanford's unstoppable laughter.


Coming soon:

Second Lap:

Drift, Reverse, Brake, Shoot Forward

a.k.a.

The second date is always a disaster.

Shoot me later. I just couldn't stay away from this fandom. XD