Author's Notes: I'm churning out one-shots like it's going out of style, here. This one happened entirely because I want to play with Carlos' hair. I admit it freely. It looks so soft and manageable and maybe on some level I'm a little envious, since my hair is crazy and I have to keep it short. At any rate, just a little fluff one-piece about Carlos and TJ. I think they're a cute pairing, and I'm surprised to see very little fiction about the two of them out there. So, please enjoy. :) Oh, yes, and one small note. Querido translates to dear/sweetie/honey, whatever you wanna call it. It's basically just a pet name.


Carlos stands at the input station for the Simudeck, lightly tapping his fingers against the smooth surface as he thinks of where he wants to go for the day. Being cooped up on the Astro Megaship day in and day out has become rather tiring, and so he's taken to using the holographic technology to help create a safe haven for relaxation, even if it's just for fifteen minutes a day. He knows the options are limitless, which is precisely the reason why he's having trouble.

When he finally figures it out, a smile breaks across his face.

The beach.

He hasn't been to a beach in months, not since this whole space adventure began. Though the Simudeck will never fully provide the wonderful sun-drenched feeling one can find at the beach, it's the closest thing he can get to it. It will make do.

His mind made up, Carlos deftly presses the buttons upon the command board, watching as the Simudeck starts up. In seconds, he finds himself instantly transported to the beautiful and luxurious Angel Grove beach, complete with simulated seagulls screeching overhead. Carlos shoots a glance back at the entry to make sure nobody is there before slipping off his jacket, followed by his boots, pants and shirt. Clad only in his briefs, he pulls out the tie in his hair, shakes it out and takes an uncharacteristically joyful jump into the simulated sand just a foot or so from him.

He laughs in approval. Not only has the Simudeck managed to recreate the summer heat, but it has also outdone itself by warming the very ground upon which he stands.

Carlos goes over toward a newly created beach lounger situated perfectly in the middle of all the warm, soft sand, taking up a pair of glasses conveniently resting upon it. Everything is so warm to the touch. Only in rare moments like these does he realize just how much he misses the comforts of home—of Earth.

With a perfect view of the water before him, Carlos lies back on the beach lounger and, like any good beach bum would do, closes his eyes and enjoys the feeling of the simulated sun upon his body. His normally tan skin has grown paler due to his activity in space, and on some level, he wishes it would go back. It's too bad, he thinks, that the Simudeck can't help him with that.

Carlos is just about to doze off when he hears the door to the Simudeck open. Startled, he shoots up and glances back to see who it is.

"Oh. TJ. You scared me," he says.

Standing in the doorway with an amused grin on his face is TJ. The Blue Ranger steps further in, making sure to shut the door behind him before he says, "A little beach adventure and you didn't invite me?"

"Hey, man, sorry," Carlos offers, smiling wide enough that he feels his cheeks lifting up the aviator glasses upon his face. "Just needed a little vitamin D, you know?"

TJ laughs. "Vitamin D, from a simulated sun? Did you fry yourself in here, or something?"

"If you're gonna judge, you can just turn right back around," the Black Ranger warns lightly, still smiling.

TJ begins to slip out of his boots. Carlos watches with intrigue as he also removes his pants, his jacket and his shirt, placing them along with the other pile of clothes upon the ground. TJ is wearing boxers—he's quite possibly the only guy Carlos has ever known to do so. And, of course, he likes to make fun of him for it.

"Sorry, handsome, no boxers at the beach." He has to quickly amend his statement when he sees TJ easing out of them, "Hey, hey! Let's keep it PG-13 in here, all right? What if Ashley, Cassie or Andros walks in?"

TJ smirks. "What, you scared they'll see you playing with me at the beach?"

Carlos flushes. He lifts up the glasses and gives TJ a once over. "No. I just can't guarantee it wouldn't scar 'em. Now, get over here and in the chair."

When TJ arrives close by, the long haired boy lifts himself up and waits for him to get situated before leaning back and resting himself against his broad chest. Carlos likes how he fits against TJ—almost as if he was made to. And somehow, through a miracle, they both fit in the beach lounger with just enough space to spare. On some level Carlos wonders if he did it intentionally. He pushes the sunglasses back down over his eyes, closing them and sighing comfortably. The feel of TJ's legs on either side of him and one of his arms draped over his chest makes him feel right at home.

After a few moments, Carlos feels the lightest of touches over his hair. At first he considers the possibility that TJ is moving it out of the way, but when the touch remains, he begins to wonder. He brings no attention to it until he feels it being curled around what must be a fingertip. This is new to him, and curious.

"What are you doing?" he asks.

"Playing with your hair. What? Does it bother you?"

TJ's genuine concern makes Carlos chuckle. This is a new sensation for him, though it is not entirely uncomfortable. He shifts just enough to where he can turn his torso around and look back at his lover.

"Since when do you play with my hair?"

TJ grins, quite bashfully at that. Sometimes Carlos forgets how shy he is. It makes him smile.

"I dunno, it just…always…fascinated me? It's so long and silky. Shiny. My hair grows in thick. S'why I keep it shaved. I don't have hair to play with, not like you do."

Turning back to his previous position, Carlos snorts in amusement. Only TJ, he deduces, could be so simple in his wants and desires. He doesn't complicate things. When he wants something, he goes for it, without question. It's one of the many things Carlos likes about him.

Not wanting to turn away the attention, Carlos reaches behind him and feels around for TJ's hand before he moves it back to the tips of his hair. He feels the strong fingers working carefully through it, and he can swear TJ is smiling.

"Play away, querido. Just don't tug."

It's a simple gesture—something some might take for granted. But Carlos knows that for modest TJ, this is a deliberate step in furthering their budding relationship.

While gentle touching and bumming around on the beach may not have been on the top of his agenda today, Carlos can't help but think it's an excellent way to pass the time.

Maybe today he can spare an extra fifteen minutes…