One would think that three years of Ranger life would have taught Tommy not to make any plans requiring a specific place and time, especially if they were important to him. Even when he did manage to pull off whatever event he was planning, it would inevitably serve as inspiration for the next monster.
All in all, Tommy should probably just be grateful that Adam's birthday cake hadn't come alive and turned them all into giant balls of ice cream.
"It's the thought that counts," Adam said consolingly as he surveyed the destroyed tables, wrapping paper and streamers scattered over the park – the remains of what should have been his surprise party.
Tommy smiled at his green ranger, amazed once again by the generous spirit that would offer comfort when he was the one with the ruined birthday. Luckily, Tommy had another surprise up his sleeve. One that would be very welcome, if Jason's advice was to be believed.
Tommy stepped in close to Adam. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to make today perfect."
Adam moved in closer and put a hand around the back of Tommy's neck, his thumb raising goosebumps as he stroked a line up the sensitive flesh there. Tommy's words got caught in his throat, and Adam pulled him down into a kiss, beating Tommy to the punch.
They pulled back slowly, and Tommy was surprised to find that his hands had found their way under the back of Adam's shirt while his brain had been occupied with Yes. Finally. Adam. Adam didn't mind, if his dazzling smile was anything to go by when he said, "It is perfect."
Tommy padded quietly down the dark hall, easing past the open door to Mr. and Mrs. Park's bedroom nervously. A quick glance as he passed confirmed what Adam had already told him – his parents were gone for the weekend.
The thought of Adam's parents made Tommy look away with a pang of guilt. He'd used the spare key kept in a flower pot by the back door before, but only with permission or in an emergency. And he doubted they'd give their permission if they knew what he was using it for tonight.
The guilt dissipated when he opened the door to Adam's bedroom. The figure on the bed never stirred as Tommy stripped down, slipped under the covers and slid in tight next to his bedmate, wrapping an arm around the warm body next to him.
Tommy had just a few seconds to realize that something was terribly, terribly wrong before…
"Geez, Tommy, you could at least buy a guy dinner first," Rocky said loudly, rolling over under Tommy's arm to grin at his team leader.
Tommy squealed – manfully, of course – and pushed away from Rocky so fast that he fell out of the bed. The sound of running feet announced the arrival of Tommy's intended bedmate and Aisha, just in time to make Tommy's humiliation complete.
Adam explained through fits and starts of repressed laughter something about traditions and sleepovers. Tommy only half-listened, avoiding Aisha's appraising gaze and Rocky's amused one, grateful he'd elected to keep his boxers on and desperate to go home and lick his wounded pride.
Tommy apologized, but Adam waved him off as he walked him to the door. "It was a lovely idea," Adam said, wrapping his hands around Tommy's hips to pull him close. "You'll laugh about it someday."
Tommy doubted it, but he accepted Adam's comforting kisses before beating a hasty retreat.
3. Drive-by visit
Tommy just barely restrained himself from running down the hallway to Adam and Rocky's apartment. Three months was way too long to be apart: he was seriously considering making a career change. Racing was a rush, but it was taking him away from where he wanted to be far too often. Maybe it was time to talk to Adam about how he felt about dating a college man.
He smiled gleefully to himself. Adam had been so disappointed when Tommy had told him that he wouldn't have time to stop in Angel Grove on the way to the race near Reefside. Adam had accepted the news gracefully, but Tommy couldn't wait to watch Adam's eyes light up when walked through the door – really couldn't wait to see that light turn to heat a few minutes after that.
Tommy let himself into the apartment with the key that Rocky and Adam had given him – after making him promise to check the bed before crawling into it.
"Surprise," he yelled as he kicked the door shut behind him.
Rocky let out a strangled yelp and promptly fell out of the kitchen chair on which he'd been perched. "Tommy!" Rocky yelled back, getting up to greet his friend with a fist bump and a one-armed hug. "What're you doing here, man?"
Tommy grinned, returning the embrace. "I came to surprise Adam. Where is he?"
Rocky's face fell and Tommy's heart went with it. "He's on the road," Rocky said. "He's driving up to Reefside to surprise you."
Tommy didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Instead, he sighed and turned around.
"Want me to let him know you're on your way if he calls?" Rocky asked.
"No need," Tommy said, "I'll be waiting for him." After all, he was a racer.
4. Forever Red
Three whole days with no dissertation, no Anton Mercer, and - thanks to Rocky's help - no dojo; Tommy couldn't wait to get started. He smiled to himself and looked up from the paper he was hiding behind to scan the crowd for Rocky and Adam.
There still wasn't any sign of them, but any minute now he knew Rocky would lead Adam in for a 'quick lunch' and Tommy would get up from his lounge and saunter over to them. Maybe he'd even use a cheesy pick-up line - Come here often? and then Adam would be smiling at him, pulling him in for a proper hello and they'd disappear into Adam's house for at least the next twenty-four hours.
Bulk's voice shook Tommy from his happy contemplation. He was being oddly respectful and holding out a phone. Tommy wondered if Rocky was running late, or if dragging Adam away from work was proving harder than they'd thought. But the voice on the other end put Tommy on alert.
With a sigh of regret, Tommy listened to Andros. It looked like his long romantic weekend was a bust; Tommy was going to the moon.
5. Once a Ranger
There was a flash of light from the back of the dojo just as Tommy was coming through the front door. He was running before the light even had a chance to fade to normal, but there was no danger waiting for him when he hit the entrance to the main training room.
A voice he didn't know was talking to Adam. "Adam Park, once again you are being called upon to take up the Power of the Mastodon. The world needs you."
Tommy didn't have to stick around to hear the answer. He backed out of the room before anyone noticed him, clutching the box in his jacket pocket and praying that the Power would protect his love once again.
1. The life that is waiting for us
"Marry me," Tommy gasped.
Adam rolled off of him with a laugh, taking the sheet with him and leaving his lover exposed to the elements. "Does that mean it was good for you too?" Adam asked. Tommy could see him staring smugly at the ceiling from the corner of his eye.
Summoning all of his remaining energy, Tommy levered himself up on one arm to gaze down into Adam's face. "It's always good," he promised before leaning down for a kiss. Pulling back, he continued, "But I was serious. Marry me?"
Adam was still smiling, but now his eyes narrowed suspiciously, as if waiting for the punch line. That was okay, Tommy knew how to convince him.
He rolled the other direction until his feet hit the floor and he could sit up. He dug around in the top of the nightstand until he found a slightly battered black velvet box, then he circled the bed to kneel down next to Adam.
Adam had followed Tommy's movements with his eyes but hadn't yet moved from his lazy sprawl on the bed. When Tommy popped open the box, Adam sat straight up in bed, gaping at the ring inside.
"I wanted to do it right – candlelight dinner, romantic evening at the lake, surprise trip to the Angel Grove park where you first kissed me – but that hasn't worked out for me so well in the past."
Adam continued to stare at the ring. Tommy could just catch the glint of the ruby and emerald set into the silver band reflected in Adam's eyes. He couldn't see the sheen of the obsidian set between them, but he knew it was there. Adam reached out almost reverently to stroke a finger over the ring. "Tommy," he breathed. "It's beautiful."
Tommy's smile felt watery when he asked again, "Marry me?"
Adam must have heard the waver in Tommy's voice, because suddenly he was on his knees right in front of him. "Yes. Of course, yes."
"I love you," Tommy whispered as he slipped the band onto his boyfriend's – no, his fiancé's – finger.
"I love you too," Adam answered. And then he surprised Tommy by jumping on him with a joyful laugh.
Tommy didn't mind. He had their whole life together to surprise him back.