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Straight Forward Question

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Mike waited until he had Leo alone. After a good meal and some relaxing conversation, he decided the time was as right as it was going to get.

"So, um, you and Kai?" he asked, striving for casual-yet-supportive.

He didn't think it was working, and he watched with regret as Leo's face went from laughing and happy to closed off and guarded in an instant. He hadn't meant to make his brother defensive, but he needed to know what was going on. No, he wanted to know what was going on: he'd missed out on enough of his brother's life already.

"What about us?" Leo asked, turning away and loading dishes into the sink.

Mike sighed. "Don't play dumb, Leo. You know what I'm asking."

Leo dropped the last of the dishes with a clatter and clenched the edge of the counter so tightly that Mike saw his knuckles turning white. "No actually, I don't."

"It's just that you two seem…" Mike trailed off helplessly. "Close," he settled on eventually.

"We're all close. Being a Ranger is like being a soldier in the trenches. You should know what that's like. Not to mention living together - it's either automatic bonding or you kill each other." Leo threw a smile over his shoulder, and Mike returned it easily.

"I can only imagine," he said laughingly, "I don't envy Damon having to survive you and Kai's first few weeks of trying to find a way to live together."

Leo turned back around, stance gone loose and easy. "And now you're worried your little brother and your best friend aren't getting along well enough?" he asked, expression confused.

"No, I'm worried you're getting along a little too well," Mike answered. He winced at his wording. Accusations and aggression were never the way to approach Leo, and Mike's concern really didn't have much to do with whom his little brother might be sleeping anyway.

Leo's shoulders moved as he took a deep breath and then he straightened up slowly. "You want to know something, you should just ask."

"Are you sleeping with Kai?"

Leo blanched and then actually laughed. "Am I…what?"

Mike blushed, embarrassed by his assumptions. "So that's a no. Sorry, I just…"

"No," Leo said, shaking his head, "No, it's not a no."

Mike was confused now. "So you are sleeping with him?"

Leo frowned but nodded. "Yeeeeah," he said slowly.

"Yeah?" Mike asked. "Cause you don't seem sure, and it's a pretty straight forward question."

Leo laughed. "Oh, I'm sure. It's just…" Leo paused as if gathering his thoughts before continuing. "It's not just sleeping together, you know? We're kind of, uh, seeing each other."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Mike asked. "I mean not that I don't love you both, but you're so different in so many ways."

Leo shrugged carelessly. "Opposites attract?" he offered.

"Leo," Mike started with a sigh.

"No," Leo interrupted, "don't even start. This is none of your business."

Mike fought back his instinct to insist that Leo was, in fact, his business and nodded instead. Leo was an adult, and he needed to remember that. "You're right. I know. I just…" Mike smiled depreciatingly. "You're my little brother. I just want to protect you. I've only ever wanted to protect you."

Leo closed the distance between them to engulf Mike in a hug. "I know, but I don't need protecting from this, from him. Besides the only person more overly protective of me than you is Kai, or have you forgotten everything you've ever known about him?"

Mike smiled and squeezed his little brother once more before letting go. "Yeah, I know, he's the cautious one."

"Cautious? He's a paranoid worry wart, but he's also loyal and brave and strong and an amazing cook…"

Mike held up a hand, laughing, "And perfect in every way, I get it. You don't have to sell him to me. He was my best friend before he became yours."

"You trying to say you saw him first?" Leo asked, smiling but Mike saw a hint of real concern in his eyes.

Mike rolled his eyes. "Don't be ridiculous. Even if I wanted him, which I don't, or thought I stood a chance, which I don't, I would never. I love you and I can see now that you love him."

Leo smiled, one of those huge, genuine face-splitting grins that Mike had been seeing more and more of since Leo had found his place with his new friends. "Yeah, I love him."

"And I love you both, and the whole colony is just one giant love fest," Kai said with a touch too much sarcasm, stepping through the now open door. Leo's smile grew impossibly larger and he stepped across the room to greet Kai with an enthusiastic kiss.

Kai returned it with a bit more restraint, more for his benefit than out of lack of enthusiasm, Mike thought. "Hey, babe," Leo said, groping Kai's ass exaggeratedly.

Kai pulled back with a frown. "Babe?" he repeated disapprovingly.

"Honey?" Leo suggested, "Sugarcakes?"

"Kai. Let's stick with Kai."

"Aw, sweetheart, now that everyone knows there's no reason to be shy," Leo wheedled.

Kai shook his head in apparent dismay, but Mike could see the smile Kai was trying to hide. "I can think of a couple of reasons," he said, "Like being grown men with self respect."

Leo pouted. "You're no fun."

"So they tell me," Kai agreed easily. He sighed as Leo's pout turned even more pathetic. "Come on, Stud Muffin, let's get back to our own quarters before Mike really needs brain bleach."

"Too late," Mike quipped, then he smiled. "Lesson learned, little brother. I'll never ask questions about your love life again. Please stop torturing me."

"Are you sure?" Leo teased. "Because I'd be more than happy to continue listing Kai's many, many awesome attributes."

Mike shook his head. "No need. Just promise me you'll be happy and take care of each other."

Leo brushed a kiss across Kai's mouth and said quietly, "Promise."

"Always," Kai answered.

Mike made some disgruntled gagging noises and chased the couple out of his room with a smile. It looked like his little brother and his best friend were well taken care of. Now to find out what was going on between Maya and Kendrix.