Pairing: Eric/Justin, Wes/Jen, Taylor/Kelsey, Tommy/Hayley, Angela/Joel, Eric/Wes(past), Eric/Chad (past)
Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with Power Rangers. It's not my toy box and I'm merely playing.
A/N: Written for Mathais for the Alpha's Magical Fic Exchange.
A/N2: Dr. Rawlings is Ms. Fairweather. I figured she and Joel are married and she'd have continued her education and gotten that degree she didn't have during Lightspeed.
Not a Blind Date:
Eric slowed as he neared the maintenance building where they did repairs on the Silver Guardian's vehicles. He frowned at the door, half ready to call Wes. He wasn't about to be set up. Wes had been obvious. First he'd told Eric that he'd introduce him and Justin, the ranger tech sent to update their vehicles, tomorrow. Then Jen had arrived and needed Wes to accompany her on a mission. Before he'd left Wes had asked him to make sure that Justin took a break for dinner.
Eric wanted to protest that he didn't need to be set up, though he could understand why Wes would want to. He and Wes had worked past the misunderstandings they'd had in prep school. They'd built their friendship slowly and were been working their way towards a relationship when Jen had shown up with loopholes and assignments that meant she and Wes could be together. He and Wes hadn't made any promises to each other and Eric had tried not to let the disappointment ruin their friendship. He hated the guilt in Wes' eyes, tried to say they hadn't promised each other anything, they'd only had one date and kissed twice so it was understandable that Wes had jumped head first into a relationship with Jen. Eric suspected Wes thought he'd stop feeling guilty the moment Eric found someone.
Eric wanted to believe that didn't mean Wes would start setting him up but…Eric paused inside the door and cursed silently in his head. How had he not counted on Wes finding someone who was exactly his type? Physically his type meant nothing, Eric reminded himself. He leaned in the doorway, crossed his arms and glared as he reminded himself that a photo in a personal file was never good.
He was not going to be impressed that Justin had taken apart his patrol vehicle and was clearly updating it while still having it in pieces around him. He should be annoyed, Eric tried to tell himself. Then Justin looked at him and smiled, "Wes trying to make sure I eat something?"
Eric pushed off the wall while Justin not so subtly looked him over. Definitely a set up, Eric mused, as he glanced through the dash that had been pulled apart, "You're working with electronics, but have grease on your cheek."
Justin shrugged, "Washed my hands."
"Just what are you doing?"
Justin's smile was a bit disarming and Eric tried to glare as he was asked, "You are?"
"Eric Myers," he responded as he put out a hand, "Want an ID?"
"Justin Stewart," Justin said as he shook his hand, "I'm supposed to ask for one, aren't I?"
Eric stared at their interlocked hands, realized they were still lingering over a handshake and pulled away slowly before he pulled out his ID. As he handed it over he wondered where the smirk on his face had come from, even as he tugged off the badge Justin had clipped to his shirt. He glanced at it and then at Justin again, "You're not just a Lightspeed tech?"
"Blue Turbo," Justin answered as they exchanged ID's back again. Eric put his back in his wallet and took Justin in again slowly. Justin raised his eyebrows and Eric shrugged. Justin frowned, "You're not going to ask?"
"Appearances can be deceiving," Eric told him.
"Twenty-one," Justin answered with a brief look of annoyance before he stepped over to a work bench and started sorting through tools.
Eric stilled and watched as he calculated, "Thirteen?"
Twelve, how could one word make him more interesting? His file had already told Eric that Justin was intelligent, but there had been nothing on him being a ranger, saving the world at a young age. After having met other rangers through Lightspeed and the mission to the moon Eric had realized several of them started being rangers while still in high school, but this…twelve was something else entirely.
"I brought some snacks with me, if I keep working I should have everything back in working order, updates and all by morning," Justin offered.
Justin was used to rejection when anyone found out about his past, Eric realized. He moved in closer and teased, "I was going to offer you the cafeteria, they're always open, but I know a few nice restaurants. You pick, my treat?"
He was flirting. He never flirted, or he started to and choked. He only ever flirted this easily with Taylor and mostly because it was fun and meant little. No one had seemed to realize that past their friendship they were absolutely wrong for each other, until she started dating Kelsey Winslow. Eric was still unsure who'd tried to set up him and Chad, though there was something in the fact that it'd been such a disaster that no one wanted to claim credit and no one had tried to set him up since.
Of course he did put a bit more faith in Wes than most people, so maybe…
Justin met his eyes and smiled. It took twenty minutes to get Justin to a place where he felt comfortable leaving and then just as Eric thought Justin would put dinner off in favor of getting cleaned up Justin pulled out a duffel from under the work station and asked where he could change at. After dropping him off at the locker room Eric made sure the last few things he wanted set aside for the next day were in his office. He caught himself smiling in anticipation once or twice and shook his head. Chances were they'd have little in common outside rangering and less than stellar adolescences.
"My car?" he offered when he met Justin outside the locker room.
Justin shook his head, "Storm Blaster wouldn't really like that."
"He's kind of, but not really, a jeep," Justin explained vaguely.
"Zord?" Eric asked as they head out.
"No," Justin shrugged a hint of teasing in his tone, "He does look out for me though."
"What if I don't meet with his approval?" Eric teased back, "You going to go hungry?"
"He'll like you," Justin reassured.
Eric was about to say something back when he actually felt the jeep. He stared, "That's…he's…"
"Not easy to explain," Justin finished.
Eric nodded. This led to them talking about how Justin and Storm Blaster had met and kept in contact through the years. Dinner segued into like and dislikes on movies, books and TV shows and Eric was surprised at how much they had in common. It was while they were pulling back up to his car that Eric realized Justin had kept everything friendly, slightly flirty, but still easy for Eric to pass off as an offer of friendship. Justin was still expecting to get rejected, on account of having been a ranger so young.
He sat back in his seat and looked at Justin as he pointed out, "Five years isn't that big an age gap."
"No, it's not," Justin agreed, "But my former teammates will try to eat you alive. Everyone always runs screaming when they meet them."
"Already met some," Eric pointed out as he leaned in. Justin met him halfway and as soon as their lips met Eric realized several things. Thanking Wes was going to happen, whether he liked it or not. He'd probably screw this up, like he always did, but he was going to at least try. Former teammates were not going to run him off, not when kissing turned quickly to making out and Justin was laughing against his lips. Eric smiled, "Funny?"
"Storm Blaster. Next time kisses without him making commentary in the background?"
"Breakfast? I'll pick you up."
"Sounds like a plan."
Breakfast turned into lunch which turned into dinner and then movies back at his place. By the time Wes returned, from capturing the criminal Jen had wanted help with, Eric and Justin had decided to continue dating after Justin had finished upgrading vehicles and had gone back to Mariner Bay. Eric was even hoping the job in New Tech city, that Justin was looking into, would work out as that meant Justin would be closer.
Wes paused misstep as Eric mentioned it. Wes turned with a horrified expression, "You're dating Justin?"
"Yeah," Eric confirmed as he suddenly realized that he hadn't been set up. He'd gotten into a relationship without anyone prodding? Defiantly something to hold onto them, Eric told himself.
"You can't date him!"
"Why not?" Eric asked confused by the firmness in Wes' tone.
"He's…he's…they'd kill you and then they'll kill me," Wes stressed.
Eric crossed his arms and gave Wes an unimpressed look.
"They still see him as a kid," Wes explained.
"He's an adult," Eric reminded, "And there's barely a five year age gap between us."
"This will be a disaster."
"I thought you were my friend," Eric shook his head.
"I am," Wes insisted.
"Then you'd support me, no matter how stupid you think my decisions are," Eric continued.
"Or I'd go 'hey that's a sharp corner, try and avoid it,' right?" Wes pushed, "You can't have been dating that long, I've only been gone a few days. He's only been here a few days. At least tell me that…"
"If this is going to turn into one of those arguments where we end up screaming at each other can we at least not do it in the middle of the hallway?"
Wes' mouth snapped shut and he glared.
"Better yet, I'm dating him. You've dated me, you know how I suck at it so just let this happen and count on me screwing it up! That work better for you?" Eric growled before he stomped away, not even paying attention when Wes called after him. He went straight to the cafeteria where he'd agreed to meet Justin for lunch, dropped down beside him and just sat there.
"That bad?" Justin prompted before bumping their shoulders together.
"My best friend sucks," Eric said before he eyed Justin, "And apparently your friends are all going to kill me."
"I did warn you," Justin responded before he set his fork down, "There's a reason I haven't told them anything, though Rocky is going to take one look at me and know."
"So I'm a dead man walking?"
"Zhane's favorite line is 'I've got a shot gun, a shovel and five acres' which he thinks is hilarious for some reason. Tommy and Kat are the worst though."
"What about your dad?"
Justin shrugged, "He just wants me to be happy."
"He's kinda turned into my pseudo-dad figure when my own dad checked out," Justin explained, "But I think he'll be okay."
Eric leaned into him, smiling when Justin lean in closer.
"You can still run screaming if you want to. I'll understand," Justin offered.
"You want me to?"
"No," Justin told him quickly.
"Then bring on the overprotective teammates," Eric challenged.
It took two days before Wes apologized. It put Eric at ease, but he was still worried about having to charm Justin's past teammates. He wanted to try to find out a little about each of them so he could stay in their good graces. Eric wasn't sure how he'd win over both sets of Turbo teams, but he was sure Taylor would get Kelsey to help him win over the Lightspeed team, since they'd practically adopted Justin once he'd started working for Dr. Rawlings.
Taylor managed to pull through for him. Kelsey called a few days after Justin returned home, "Well, we can't blame you for you and Chad getting kidnapped by monsters in the middle of trying to have a date and he was returned to us in one piece. Justin seems happy too, so just count on a few vague threats, but we approve."
Two days later he got a text from a number he didn't have that told him, 'I approve. –Rocky.'
He called Rocky and got an explanation of how Rocky had been way too knee deep in his job to make it to the mission on the moon. It was enough trouble being a Silver Guardian and working in tandem with the police department, Eric wasn't sure what would make one go into social work, though it sounds like Rocky loved his job, even if it exhausted him.
"What can I expect?" Eric asked since Rocky seemed forthcoming with information.
"Adam will be okay, I'll talk to him. Aisha too, though she's really only protective of Justin through us. Tanya might be sketchy because you're the same age as us, but she'll come around quickly. The being a fellow ranger is really going to help. Tommy and Kat aren't going to listen to reason. Justin is stuck being twelve to them for the rest of his life. Kat's going to call you and probably at an odd time because when she's worried about Justin she doesn't always calculate time differences correctly. Tommy is going to expect his over-colored ranger status to intimidate you."
"Really? I'm supposed to be intimidated by Oliver?"
"Most people are," Rocky revealed.
"If Justin's never dated a fellow ranger before then how has Tommy used his ranger status?" Eric questioned.
"Tommy can be intimidating when he wants to be. If he gets too bad call Hayley or Kim. Hayley can usually keep him in line and Kim thinks Justin's due for a good boyfriend anyway so she'll defiantly back you as long as you're making Justin happy."
"I can't tell you about the other team, I don't know them as well," Rocky said, "Andros can be kinda shy…he's ah…"
"Already made friends with him," Eric interrupted since it seemed like Rocky was searching for a way to win Andros over.
"Really? Every time I meet him he's usually either using his team or Tommy as a shield."
"Coming back to Earth I decided to read a book, went looking for a quiet place, found him and I read while he brooded. We talk every now and then, not much."
"Guess that works," Rocky commented, "I'd try winning Carlos over. Justin and he were closer than he got with the others. Carlos treated him like a friend and the others occasionally got parental with him so, yeah, I'd try Carlos first."
Thankfully word of his and Justin relationship didn't make it to the other rangers for three weeks. Eric had to wonder if Kat knew Justin was staying the weekend with him when she called. He yawned as he listened to her ask several rapid fire questions. He stared blearily at the clock as he decided that making coffee would just wake Justin up.
"Look," he told her, hoping she wasn't going into a rant, "from what I understand you're a really nice person and so I'd hope you'd want what's best for Justin. So I really don't think calling his boyfriend when it's barely morning to interrogate him is the best tactic."
He'd just finish saying this when Justin appeared in the doorway. Justin face went quickly from confused to annoyed.
"Kat," Eric told him with a shrug.
Justin held his hand out and Eric was more than happy to hand the phone over.
"This is getting ridicules," Justin told Kat, "You have no idea what time it is, do you? That makes no sense, you're good with math. Look, just because I'm dating doesn't mean that you're old, okay? I'm only about five years younger than you and Eric is about the same age as you so…no, yes…he makes me happy…but…look I love you, but I'm going to hang up now and go back to sleep, with my boyfriend. Good night!"
"Sleep or coffee?" Eric asked as Justin hung up the phone.
"I'm tempted to turn this off," Justin said as he stood blinking at the phone, "It's too early for coffee."
Eric nodded his agreement, pulled the cord out of the phone and then shut his cell phone off.
"Are you allowed to do that?" Justin questioned.
"If it's a real emergency Wes will get a hold of me by morpher," Eric shrugged as he wrapped his arms around Justin and kissed him, "Bed?"
Justin smiled and nodded.
It wasn't until much later in the afternoon, once the phones were turned back on, that they fielded a call from Tommy. Justin put the book he was reading down as soon as he realized just who Eric was talking too. Eric covered the mouth piece, shook his head at the rant Tommy was getting into and smiled, "It's just the overprotective if you hurt him speech. I'll handle this one."
Justin smiled back before picking up his book again.
Eric sat down on the couch, grabbing his own book and settled Justin's feet into his lap as he waited for Tommy to wind down. He frowned as Tommy took a breath and kept going.
"Do you usually talk your enemies to death?" Eric interrupted.
"We're not enemies."
"Exactly," Eric pointed out, "We've helped save the world together."
"That gets you no brownie points, you're dating Justin!"
"I know," Eric said, "We're trying to have a quiet afternoon in and you're ruining it. I'm beginning to think the only way we'll get a reprieve is if we go to the movies to make-out."
"Why would you do that?"
"Cause its dark and I have to turn my phone off," Eric explained slowly, "I'm thinking something rated R, so I can corrupt him further."
Eric smiled as his words earned him a snort from Justin. Tommy remained silent for a moment.
"Shouldn't you be doing something with your girlfriend?" Eric asked, "Instead of interrupting what little time I get with my boyfriend."
"I thought you and Hayley were together."
"We are? Since when?"
Eric stared into his phone. Tommy wasn't that dense was he? After another moment of silence Tommy pleaded, "Don't tell, okay. I haven't told anyone yet. If Kim or Kat find out, I'm doomed. They'll share all the crazy stories and then…"
Eric smirked, "Bye Tommy."
"Wait, I wasn't done! I…"
"Bye," Eric told Tommy before he clicked his phone shut and looked at Justin. Justin set his book down. Eric smirked slowly, "This is going to be fun."
Eric nodded, "Just so you know I'm manhandling you excessively when we see either of them."
Justin laughed, pulled his feet out of Eric's lap and closed the distance between them. Eric smiled as Justin pulled him into a kiss.