"How much has Conner had to drink?" Kira asked Ethan idly, looking over his shoulder to witness Conner dropping another empty bottle on the bar.
"Too much," said Ethan cheerfully.
"He's not driving home," she said, still staring at Conner in an alcoholic haze.
"We're all quite drunk, Kira," Ethan informed her in the most upbeat tone she'd ever heard him use. "None of us are driving."
"You seem remarbabbly—rebark—re... really sober, all things considered." She shook her head slightly, and tilted back her own bottle.
"I'm just smarter than all of you."
"Maybe. How are we gonna get home, Mr. Smart Guy?"
He shrugged. "Call Dr. O.?"
"I think he's a little tired of the late night calls, Ethe."
"A cab then."
"We are not leaving her here," announced Conner, putting his unnaturally heavy hand on Kira's shoulder.
She shrugged it off impatiently. "Who's 'she'? Did you meet another floozy?"
"What a great word," laughed Ethan, taking a long swallow.
"No," said Conner. "Well, yes. But I meant the car. We're not leaving her here."
"'Floozy,'" Ethan giggled to himself.
Kira glared at Conner, still managing to summon up a fierce expression despite everything. "We aren't driving home."
"She'll get lonely," whined Conner in a piteous voice, pouting out his lower lip.
Kira rolled her eyes and turned away from him, muttering to herself something about stupid boys.
"Hey, where's your girl?" asked Ethan. "Your zoofly? Floozy."
Conner shrugged, looking around. "Dunno. Went home?"
"She coulda given us a ride," said Ethan.
"Oops." Conner's eyes alighted on something on the other side of the room, and his face lit up. He passed his bottle to Ethan. "I'll be right back."
"Where's he going?" asked Kira.
"Who knows." Ethan studied Conner's half full bottle in one hand, and his own in the other. He poked Kira's shoulder, and handed Conner's beer to her.
"This is dedicated to a girl who's mad at me right now but I don't know why," Conner's voice announced from overhead somewhere, and the two at the bar both looked up at the ceiling expectantly before a sighing bartender pointed them in the direction of the stage on the other side of the room. Conner was standing in the center of it, microphone in hand.
"Her name is Kira and she dances on the sand!" Conner half-shouted, unable to latch onto any sort of tune and opting for volume instead of notes. "Just like the something, twisting something-something land. And when she something, she shows you all she can! Oh Kira, Kira, dance across the Kira Grande..."
Ethan laughed. Kira sighed. "I hate him."
"Oh, but he obviously loves you," Ethan teased.
"OH KIRA, KIRA HEAR THEM SHOUT ACROSS THE LAND!"
Kira groaned loudly. "Why does he make me do this?" she demanded in an annoyed tone, stalking across the room and hopping up on the stage.
Conner beamed at her. "Hi! Did you hear my song?"
"You suck," she informed him shortly, and scanned the list of songs. She punched a button, and the music started up. She snatched the microphone from Conner's hands, but her angry expression faded as she started into the song.
"Oh, shoot, I know this song!" said Conner excitedly, and he hummed to himself as she got through the first verse, before joining in on the chorus. His voice was surprisingly soft and melodic, and Kira looked at him, stunned. He flashed her a gentle smile.
"TAKE IT OFF!" a voice came from the audience, and Kira interrupted the song to shout, "Shut up, Ethan!"
Kira finished the song with Conner's hums echoing in her ear, and when it was over, she grabbed his hand and dragged him off the stage. "We leave now," she said, once they'd reunited with the third member of their group.
The sudden blast of chilled night air as they stepped out of the establishment sobered them all up a degree. Kira rubbed at her bare arms, and Conner shrugged out of his flannel shirt. It was short-sleeved, so he had to drape it over her shoulders, but she smiled up at him gratefully.
"Cab's coming," announced Ethan, pocketing his cell phone. "Hey, I was thinking about it... What is a 'wonderwall'?"
"Hell if I know," said Kira. "They're British."
"The Spice Girls are British," said Conner thoughtfully. "Duran Duran's British!"
"Conner, how many times have I told you that you're not allowed to sing?" asked Kira.
"I thought that was for when we were driving."
"I'm changing it. It's now 'never.'"
"How about in the shower?"
She sighed. "As long as I can't hear you, go crazy."
"You mean you aren't going to come shower with me?" he pouted.
"Ew. As if."
"Then I'm just gonna be taking my shirt back, then," he said, snatching it off of her shoulders.
"CONNER!" she yelped, but he'd already danced away. She picked up the chase, and the two of them ran in crazy circles around the parking lot, gravel crunching beneath their feet.
"Guys!" Ethan called from by the front door. "Cab's here."
They immediately stopped, and Conner leaned over to gaze forlornly at his car and brush a kiss across the hood of the Mustang. "I'll be back for you tomorrow morning, baby." He frowned, reflecting on how hung over he might be. "Tomorrow afternoon," he amended, and during his precious moment with his car, Kira grabbed the flannel back.
"I'll be taking that, thanks," she said, although all the running around had made her sweaty and hot and in no need for the warm shirt. But it was the principle of the thing.
The trio clamored into the backseat, Kira in the middle. Ethan gave the driver his address, since he lived the closest. Conner, still miffed that he'd lost the battle with the shirt, began tickling Kira's side until she was shrieking with laughter. In the rearview mirror, the cabbie looked annoyed. Ethan was laughing as Kira wheezed halfhearted protests and Conner chanted, "That's what you get, that's what you get!" in a gleeful voice.
The cab driver breathed an audible sigh of relief as he dropped the three of them off at Ethan's apartment and Ethan paid. Conner and Kira were stumbling towards the door of the building, leaning against each other and laughing loudly over nothing.
Once inside the apartment, after no doubt offending half of Ethan's floor, Kira fell onto the couch and turned on the TV. "Supermarket Spree is on," she announced. "We should watch."
"Forget watching, we should play," said Conner, his eyes going wide with the idea of it.
"We're not leaving again," said Ethan. "And if you two leave on your own, I refuse to let you back in."
"Fun-ruiner," Conner griped.
"Whatever, dude. You go do your thang."
"Did you just say 'thang'?" asked Kira, looking away from the screen.
"I'm going to bed," he said. "Kira, you are welcome to join me at any point, but if Conner even so much comes near my door, I'm calling 911."
Kira howled with laughter, but Conner looked moderately offended. "Where's the love, dude? I've got moves you've never even heard of."
Ethan stared at him with scared eyes. "I need to invest in a lock."
"Night, Ethan!" chirped Kira, but was distracted when the program switched to commercial. She reached for the remote, but it was no longer there. With a pained sound, she started to root under the couch cushions.
"What're you looking for?" asked Conner, watching her with interest.
"The thingy. The—the thingy," she said, frowning when she couldn't come up with the word. She blew her bangs out of her face and looked at him. "Have you seen it?"
"Oh, I've got a thingy for you," he leered.
"ETHAN!" she yelled.
Ethan stuck his head in the room. "What."
"Conner's hitting on me!"
"Tattletale," muttered Conner.
"Better you than me," said Ethan.
"I don't wanna sleep with him," she whined.
"What is this?" asked Conner. "Burned twice in, like, two minutes. Am I in the Twilight Zone?" He paused. "I wonder if that's on!" He pulled the remote out from under him and started to channel-surf.
Kira yelped accusingly. "Conner!"
"What?" he asked innocently.
"You had it all along! The thingy! You jerk!" She lunged across the couch to tackle him, and faintly they could hear Ethan sigh and shut his door again. Her hands batted at his shoulders and chest furiously, as she tried to wrestle the remote from his iron grasp.
"Hey! No hitting! No—ow!—no hitting!" he wailed. He moved his hand away, but some of Kira's hair had tangled around his fingers, and he yanked out a few strands involuntarily. She shrieked. "OW!"
"Sorry, sorry!" he said, immediately contrite. She pushed off of him, rubbing at her scalp furiously, and he pulled himself into an upright position, the remote sliding to the floor, forgotten.
She hit his arm. "I hate you."
"Are you bleeding or something?" he asked worriedly. "Should we take you to the hospital?"
"No," she said irritably, but he was just drunk enough to think that her shriek of pain was indicative of something far more terminal than a few pulled hairs. He patted at her head furiously, looking for blood. She swatted at him. "Get off, dorkwad, I'm fine."
Conner retreated. After a pause, he said, "Think Ethan has anything to drink?"
Her eyes lit up. "I bet he does." With a secretive giggle, they darted into the kitchen area to plunder their best friend's fridge. In their attempt to keep the siege under wraps, they kept laughing too loudly and shushing each other equally loudly. They found a six-pack in the vegetable crisper and instead of returning to the couch, opted to arrange themselves on the kitchen floor, air from the open refrigerator blowing coolly on them as they drank Ethan's secret stash.
Ethan was jolted from his sleep by a thumping sound. "Frig!" he muttered, and debated whether or not he should get up and investigate, before he realized that the thumping sound was coming from within his own room. "Who's there?" he asked, sitting up and blinking in the darkness.
"It's just me," Kira answered in a low voice. "You said I could come in."
"I didn't—" he shook his head. "Never mind. Where's Conner?"
"He, uh... he went home," the disembodied answer came from somewhere in the dark room. "Aha!" she hissed.
"What?" he asked.
"I have to pee," Kira assured him quickly, and there was a quick sliver of light that Ethan squinted and shielded his face from as the door to his room opened and shut. "Kira?" he asked, but she was gone. He was too tired to really care, and went back to sleep.
Ethan was stirred from a deeper sleep some time later by something soft on his leg and a light hissing sound. He snuffled into his pillow and shifted slightly, but didn't fully wake up until something very cold hit his extremities. He screamed and fell out of bed. On the floor, still half-dazed, he scrambled to find out that the cold thing in question was his boxers. He quickly kicked them off and fumbled for the light switch.
When the light flicked on, he looked up to see Kira falling against Conner's chest, tears streaming down her face as she laughed hysterically.
"Dude!" said Conner with a horrified look. Ethan tugged at his covers, already pulled partially off the bed, and covered his lap.
"What. The. Hell," he said.
Conner shrugged. "We were bored."
"Get out!" Ethan yelled, picking his freezer-fresh underwear off the floor and throwing it them. They scampered out of the room obediently, still laughing at his expense. He shook his head. "I never should've left them alone," he muttered.
"That was awesome," Conner proclaimed as they made themselves comfortable on the couch.
"He's never gonna let us crash here again," said Kira.
"Then it's good we made the last time worth it," he answered, turning up the volume on the infomercial for an 80s CD compilation.
Kira fell against his chest. "He needs pillows," she said.
"I'm not gonna be your furniture," he said.
She wrinkled her nose. "Ew, no way you aren't. You reek."
"What are you trying to say?" he demanded.
"I thought that was obvious."
"Then I'll go shower," he said, but as he stood, he stumbled. "Perhaps a shower is not the best of plans," he said to himself, bracing himself on the arm of the couch as he paused for thought. "A bath, then!" And he tottered off.
Moments later, Kira heard a crash and went to the bathroom to find Conner standing in the middle of a pile of various detergents and other cleaning implements. He seemed oblivious to the chaos surrounding him, producing a bottle with a proud smile. "Bubble bath!" he announced.
"Oh, brother," sighed Kira, leaving before she got treated to any more of Conner than was really necessary. She'd already seen too much of Ethan tonight. She went back to the couch and turned up the volume on the infomercial to drown out the sound of the water running.
"I don't mind you coming here, and wasting all my time-time!" came the noise, and Kira stared at the remote, and then the TV. It wasn't the TV. "'Cause when you're standing oh so near, I kinda lose my mind!" Conner warbled from the bathroom.
"Oh, please, please no," she muttered, shaking her head, and getting up.
"I GUESS YOU'RE JUST WHAT I NEEDED!" announced Conner when she stepped in the bathroom.
"Ethan's trying to sleep," she informed him primly.
"Hi, Kira!" he said. He was horizontal in the bathtub, buried under a thick blanket of frothy white bubbles. "I needed someone to... feed? Breathe? Bleed? Heed?" He blinked innocently at her. "What's the word?"
"Conner!" she said.
"'I needed someone to Conner'? I'm pretty sure that's not right."
"I told you that you weren't allowed to sing ever, never, never ever."
"You said I could sing in the shower."
"If I wasn't there."
"You weren't here," he pointed out, and his drunken logic was infallible.
"Well, if I stay here, will you shut up?" she asked.
"Maybe," he said, making a goofy face at her.
"Fine, then," she said, kicking off her shoes and socks and arranging herself on the closed toilet seat. Conner plucked himself a handful of bubbles and slopped them on top of his head. Kira couldn't help it; her anger faded in the face of his new hairdo and she started to giggle. Conner grinned, and abruptly splashed her with the sudsy water. She yelped, jumping up.
"Oh, you so just did not," she said. She went over to the tub, leaning over to turn on the faucet, shooting a spurt and then a stream of cold water into Conner's bath.
"Hey!" he said, and as she was distracted with the task of turning the faucet off again, he grabbed her arm and promptly pulled her into the water.
Kira squealed, and as her hands scrambled to find something to hold onto to hoist herself out, they landed on something that made both ex-Rangers turn red-faced. "Uh..." said Conner.
"Um..." echoed Kira, and they stared at each other uncomfortably.
Conner abandoned embarrassment first, because really, he was in a tub and therefore naked and she should have been expecting that. He closed the distance between them quickly, pressing his lips to hers. She murmured slightly in protest, but the sound only lasted a fraction of a second before she was shoving her tongue past his lips to taste beer and a tiny twinge of soap.
"Oh Conner, you're not supposed to eat the soap," she said, shaking her head sadly.
"Hey," he said, "it fell in my mouth from the—"
She rolled her eyes and cut him off by kissing him again. Conner's hands roved aimlessly over her upper body before she pushed herself off of him and climbed out of the tub, spilling water all over the floor.
"Aw," said Conner softly, staring at her with a dejected expression and a sudsy Mohawk.
Kira peeled her wet clothes from her body before joining him once again in the warm bath.
The next morning, Ethan stumbled into his bathroom in bare feet, only to be cruelly assaulted by a puddle of icy water. He blinked a few times to rid his eyes of the bleariness, and gazed over the trail of disaster. A pile of spilled containers of Mr. Clean and Bon Ami. A tub filled almost the rim with freezing water. Wet splashes on the floor. A few lumpy piles of clothing, one wet, one dry.
His need to pee forgotten, Ethan went into the kitchen next, to see his fridge door open, a pile of empty beer cans littering the floor, and an open bag of chips on the counter, more chips out of the bag than in. He shut the door to the fridge, a certain numbness settling over his body as he started to remember last night. Some details pleasant, some... not so much.
In the living room, the TV was on to the morning's local news, but it was obvious that whomever had originally turned on the television hadn't intended to watch. The couch cushions were askew, and the gaming magazines that Ethan had on his table had been shoved —or thrown— to another corner of the room. Sprawled across the floor were Conner and Kira. Conner was snoring loudly, Kira spread across his chest, flecks of dried soap in her hair. They were almost-but-not-quite covered in some of Ethan's towels.
"Oh my GOD," said Ethan, a little louder than he'd intended, because Conner started with a snort, and his jump made Kira wake up.
"What's going on," she mumbled, yawning. "Where am I."
"Somewhere I wish I wasn't," Ethan groaned. "I am swearing off alcohol forever." He shook his head and retreated to the bathroom, not wanting to be in that room when the fireworks would inevitably occur once his friends had fully woken up.