Contrary to the wild speculations of the SPD rumor mill, Sky did not get called to the Landors-Tate residence on official business at the drop of a hat. There was the incident with the persistent salesman, and that time Jack had started an impromptu mud wrestling ring with the neighborhood kids, but that was really it. Unless you counted the time B-Squad was called in on a domestic dispute when Jack had welcomed him home by dropping to his knees and forcing Sky to make some truly inhuman noises. But as they all pretended that one had never happened, even Jack, Sky could hardly count it.
So, when C-Squad Red came into the communal lounge, wide-eyed and earnest in a way Sky certainly hoped he had never been, and reported a possible situation at 2115 Saban Drive, Sky took it seriously.
“What kind of situation, Cadet?” he barked at the young lady standing at attention before him.
She shifted, clearly uncomfortable. “There was a report of a loud, concussive noise followed by shouts and...”
Sky fought back his panic even as he began to move. “Is medical on its way, Sophie?”
The cyborg hurried to catch up with her CO. “No! I mean, yes, medical is on its way, as a precaution. The reports say there were angry shouts, followed by laughter. Jack, Mr. Landors, he’s fine. I’m sure of it.”
Sky closed his eyes against the rush of relief but kept his brisk pace toward the garage. He tapped his morpher. “B-Squad, report.” Silence greeted him. “Bridge, come in.”
Sophie spoke quietly into her own morpher for a moment. “It appears that Cadets Carson, Delgado, and Drew went off base several hours ago to volunteer at a local business giving away clothes to the needy. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?”
Sky didn’t even attempt to hide his groan. “I just hope there isn’t any water balloons involved this time.”
“Sir?” Sophie asked.
“Never mind, Cadet.” Sky answered absentmindedly before climbing onto his patrol cycle and aiming for home.
Sky could hear the sounds of his teammates’ voices rising and falling as he approached his doorway. Sky felt the tension he’d been carrying since Sophie’s announcement seep out of his neck and shoulders; nothing could be too wrong if Syd was complaining about the state of her hair and clothes.
The long suffering Red Ranger was forced to reconsider this opinion as soon as he had followed his friends’ chatter into the kitchen. At least he was pretty sure it was the kitchen. It was in the same place his kitchen had been when he’d left that morning, although when he’d last seen it, it hadn’t been covered in an inch of what looked like gooey pudding. Then again, neither had his squad, and that was undeniably SPD’s elite B-Squad surrounding Jack – either that, or strange pudding aliens with a talent for mimicry.
“SPD,” he announced formally, voice level and professional. “We’ve received reports of an explosion. What seems to be the problem? Were you attacked by a giant marshmallow?”
Three pairs of eyes swung toward him with varying degrees of amusement and annoyance. Jack beamed at his friend and former teammate without a trace of guilt.
“Surprise, honey! I made dinner,” Jack announced proudly, with only the slightest trace of sarcasm telling Sky what he was really thinking.
“And it exploded?” Sky asked skeptically.
“Of course not, dinner’s fine.” Jack glanced around the crème covered counters. “You wanted it banana flavored, right?”
Sky crossed his arms and waited.
Jack continued cheerfully. “I made dessert too." Here Jack sent a scowl Syd's direction. "But somebody's cook must've sent the wrong directions, because the soufflé expanded a little bit more than anticipated.”
“I see,” Sky said.
“Wanna clean me up?” Jack asked hopefully, waggling his eyebrows in a manner that Sky was ashamed to admit he'd fallen for a time or two.
“Maybe later, if you’re good,” Sky answered. Jack’s grin took on a wicked quality, but Sky continued before Jack could embarrass anyone with his response. “Since B-Squad has nothing better to do today than destroy my kitchen, I’m sure they’d be happy to help.”
B-Squad groaned in response. “Ever heard of leading by example, Tate?” Z muttered at him.
Sky considered the matter for a moment. “Good point. You start on the kitchen; I’ll take care of Jack," he agreed with a suggestive eyebrow waggle of his own.
“No,” the team shouted as one. Jack looked bemused and mildly offended at their vehemence.
“We’ll be happy to help,” Z told her leader through tightly clenched teeth.
The blonde man smiled brightly at her. “That’s what I thought. Have fun guys.” And with that, Sky was gone.
“So,” Jack announced conversationally, surveying the disaster that used to be his kitchen, “it looks like I won’t be developing that exciting food fetish I was hoping for after all.”