General Disclaimer: No I don’t own Jungle Fury. Stop asking.
AN: So as you may have noticed, this story finally has a title! Thanks to ChildofDarkness1988 over at FF.Net, it is now called Standing Ground.
Sorry this took so long, I got side tracked reading Of Love and Bunnies by CrazyGirl47 again over at FF.Net. *NEVER* Read any of that story after midnight!
Lily was wrapping up the last of the leftover food. What she could put away either in the fridge or elsewhere was put away, and what she couldn’t was well currently residing in the dumpsters out back. This was not the first time she had had this particular closing duty and it wouldn’t be the last. However, what was unusual about this particular night was something that didn’t actually happen.
She only could sense that it had. Or was going to happen. Soon, very, very soon.
When Lily and the others had called RJ and Casey inside for ice cream, something had been different. Oh nothing physical and nothing blatant especially since she was very sure that she had been the only one to notice.
Casey and RJ had acted different. Oh they had done everything the same; you couldn’t tell by looking at them or even listening to them. No. Lily could tell something was off by watching them.
There was a tension between her teammates, something she had never felt or saw before. And she probably wouldn’t have noticed if she hadn’t been watching Casey. Her friend had been acting off for months, not in a bad way, but off enough that it made her curious. And tonight, watching him and RJ, she had proof.
Neither guy had acted or talked any differently, but they never once made eye contact. Oh, she had caught several surreptitious glances from both of them through the half hour it had taken all of them to finish, but never once did their eyes meet.
Something had happened between the two or was just beginning. She didn’t know for sure. What she did know was this-RJ and Casey always made eye contact. Always. The communicated so much that way, always had, even when they had first encountered RJ. When they didn’t, it could not be a good thing.
Lily didn’t know what had happened; Casey had taken RJ something to eat. Nothing remarkable, what had been note worthy in Lily’s mind was his focus on the back where RJ had been before he left. Lily wasn’t stupid, she knew her friend had feelings for RJ, he hadn’t exactly hidden that fact, Fran had guessed, Theo had even noticed. The problem was that it was extremely obvious that Casey was totally oblivious to the fact that he had feelings for RJ.
She knew RJ liked Casey, he had always made simple gestures showing that, but never once did he announce that fact nor had he made it obvious. Lily was fairly sure that Dom and she were the only ones that knew RJ was in his own way going after Casey.
And tonight after Casey had disappeared with RJ for ages, they had come back inside and something was different. However Lily had no idea what it was that was different. They had come inside and acted normal and no one had noticed except her, the tension between them, the glances, it was so awkward that Lily hadn’t known what to…
‘That’s it’. Lily’s head snapped up as an expression similar to that of a person who’s suddenly had an epiphany flashed over her face.
The two of them had been awkward.
“What the hell happened out there?” Lily murmured to an empty kitchen.
“Fran?” Lily called out over railing of the loft. “Could I talk to you?”
Fran wondered into Lily’s line of sight, “Sure. What’s up?”
Lily glanced around, Theo was floating several meters above her and Casey had been up and down the stairs all morning.
“Not here, in my room.” She finally told the curious girl.
Fran sent Lily a puzzled look but followed the yellow clad girl to her room.
“Lily what’s going,-”
Her arm was grabbed and she was pulled into the room.
“Shh...” Lily told her.
“On,” Fran finished as a gust of wind escaped her lungs.
“Sorry,” Lily apologized, “I just didn’t want the boys to hear.”
“Hear what?” Fran emphatically asked.
“Just,-” Here Lily stopped and sent Fran a calculating glance. Fran watched her nervously.
“Have you noticed anything different about RJ and Casey?”
“Like what?” Fran responded.
“Like anything, nervousness or something off.”
Fran stared incredulously at Lily. “We are talking about RJ right? The king of unusual behavior, where acting normal is a sure sign of the apocalypse?”
Lily laughed, “When you put it that way,-”
“Except for last night where he and Casey were just awkward, which was really weird because those two are never awkward.”
Lily stared, mouth agape at her friend. “You know!” She accused the rambling girl.
Fran shook her head, “Know what?” Her confusion was plain as day.
“Casey likes RJ.” Lilt told her friend.
“That’s obvious. Casey has liked him for ages, the only one who doesn’t know that is Casey.” Fran told Lily.
“I mean Casey isn’t like RJ, at least RJ knows about his feelings for,-” Fran gasped and covered her mouth.
“You didn’t hear that,” She told Lily her eyes wide. “I can’t believe I said that, RJ trusted me and,-”
“Fran, Fran,” Lily tried to gain the girls attention.
“Its okay, Fran,” She continued. “I know Fran, it’s okay.
Fran stilled. “You know?”
Lily smirked, “It’s not like RJ is trying to hide the fact.”
Fran smiled and relaxed. “That’s true.”
“Casey is just totally oblivious to any of RJ’s advances, I mean he worse than me when it comes to dating.”
“You are not that bad, Fran,” Lily shook her head at the green clad girl. “At least you and Dom are together, Casey doesn’t even know what he is doing.”
“That’s true,” Fran said. Neither girl was sparing Casey; they had both observed RJ trying for months to get Casey to understand that RJ was not just his friend but that he wanted to be more as well. They did not want RJ to get hurt.
Be that as it may, something had shifted between the two the night before. The girls just had to figure out what.
“We could just ask RJ,” Lily offered her opinion, “It’s not like he wouldn’t not tell us.”
“You could ask RJ, I wouldn’t be able to get a word out before he knew I was up to something.”
“He’d know either way, Fran. He is way to perceptive not to realize we are up to something.” Lily said.
“Yeah but at least with you, it would take him longer to figure out what we are doing.”
Casey had watched the girls run into Lily’s room, or rather had had seen Lily pull an unsuspecting Fran into her room.
“What was that about?”Casey asked the floating Theo.
Theo rolled his eyes, “How am I suppose to know.”
“You could hear them.” Casey pointed out.
“What, that suddenly means I eavesdrop?” Theo sounded offended.
“You’ve eavesdropped with me tons of times.” Casey responded.
RJ strolled into JKP with a smile. As it was his turn to go grocery shopping he was laden down with bags of food and what not.
“RJ, you’re back,” Casey noted surprise evident in his voice.
“So it would seem.” RJ told him.
Casey came over to help RJ, “I figured you’d be gone longer, it’s hasn’t even been an hour.”
“The pros of smart shopping,” RJ told him, smiling mysteriously.
“Yeah,” Casey said, he caught RJ’s eyes.
They carried the bags to the kitchen, neither of them saying a word. Casey wasn’t sure what to do, he really wanted to ask RJ what he had meant the night before but at the same time he was confused about what had happened between them.
Casey rubbed the back of his neck, a nervous gesture more than anything else, “So about last night.”
RJ paused but didn’t say anything.
“What did you mean?” Casey finally asked, “About you and your dad.” At this RJ stopped putting away the groceries and faced Casey.
“You don’t have to tell me,” The flustered teenager said, “I was just curious.”
“What did you think it meant?” RJ asked the red ranger eyes never leaving Casey’s face.
This was the first time in hours that the two had caught each other’s eyes for longer than a few seconds and it startled Casey. He didn’t look away though. However he did not attempt to answer RJ.
“Good old dad and I have never really seen eye to eye,” RJ stated. There was nothing judgmental in his tone, just fact. It was basically the same thing RJ had said the night before and not really an answer to what he had asked.
Casey smiled anyway, “I know, that was obvious to all of us when he came here the first time.”
RJ’s eyes sparked in amusement.
“I’m afraid that you will more than likely see more of this,” RJ waved his hands to make his point, “Unhappiness between us, of late.”
It was then that Casey realized with a lurch how close the two of them were standing. There was two feet at most separating them and Casey for all intent and purposes had RJ ‘pressed’ against the counter. Once again Casey felt the warmth that spread through him at the closeness but this time he accepted it.
RJ to, had realized how close the two were, it amused him seeing Casey trying to figure out what he meant, what his body was trying to tell him. At the same time RJ had to fight his natural instinct to move closer, to kiss the befuddled man standing in front of him.
Casey’s closeness, over the last few months which had become normal and welcomed was recently, also proving to be distracting.
RJ knew that if Casey ever became aware of this, he would be fighting a losing battle with himself.
RJ smiled. Casey for all intents and purposes squirmed.
But for now he was having fun.