Disclaimer: I don't own any recognizable characters mentioned in this non-profit Non-copyright infringement..-ing fic. If I did...Hunter and Dustin would be in my closet.
Author's Note: This fic was inspired by a sig. that is WhisperingRanger's. I loved it so much this story popped into my head and it's an uber late gift to her so happy...really belated b-day and here's the begining of...

"...So...You get it now?" Tori asked as she looked at her hopeless friend through squinted eyes and sloped brows, they'd been at this for at least twenty minutes.

"No. Sorry dude...I'm totally lost" he said in all seriousness as he leaned his elbows on the table top and waited for her to try and explain everything all over again.

"It's okay to be lost sometimes Dustin" She smiled and put a hand to her friends yellow clad shoulder then got up from her place at the low table as the rest of the boys filed into the room, "Find anything?"

"Nah...There was nothing there when we showed up" Blake informed as he crossed his arms.

"I think Lothor's up to something..." Shane said, his eyes lowered to his right and he sighed. He was feeling a bit helpless here he was the leader and there wasn't much he could do to put his team at ease. Dustin and Tori were specifically targeted by their nemesis and with Lothor growing stronger with each passing day; they couldn't have the two ninjas out and about in Blue Bay.

"Definitely" Hunter agreed as he shook his head. Contrary to their leader's feelings, Hunter was a bit ticked off he just wanted to punch something and unfortunately Lothor hadn't sent a goon.

"Well...when can me and Dustin leave?"

"Yeah...Sensei's food is getting old" The yellow ninja chimed as he got up to join his friends.

"You guys can't leave, Ops is the safest place" Shane said after his laughter died down.

"I know I'm the dumb one or whatever but how do you know Lothor won't attack Ops?" Dustin asked as he tapped his foot, this was probably the reason he wasn't grasping anything when Tori was talking. He needed to get out.

"He won't...trust me, plus, Cam said he would get pizza for later"

"That's not the point man" Dustin's hopeful expression fell with each word Shane spoke till he wore a deep frown, he couldn't smile if he tried. The earth ninja threw a hand up then walked back the table, straddling the bench so his back was facing the group. He wasn't crying, he was just...uggh! He was freaking out, that's the only way he could put it, he needed to be outside, and he hadn't seen the sky in like...two days! Tori was fine though, he figured it was because Ops had clean running water.

"Only for an hour Shane?"

"We can't risk losing you two Tor"

"I have an idea," Blake rubbed his bottom lip then snapped, "I can watch Tori" he said as he pointed to his lighter color. Shane, Sensei and Cam couldn't really say anything, it was a good idea.

"Perfect!" Tori couldn't hold back a grin, "C'mon Shane, please?" The red ranger seemed to be actually considering the options, make Tori stay at Ops till they defeated the target goon or let her go out, away from the protection of Ops, with Blake, who was more than capable of handling himself.



"But..." Shane faced Blake, "If anything happens to her..." he left the end open, Blake had a decent imagination. He couldn't forgive himself if something happened to Tori, she was like his sister.

"You know she'll be safe with me" he nodded.

"What, so she can go but I can't?" Dustin asked as he turned on the bench to face them.

"I'm busy with training, and Cam's still gonna be working on Ops's main computer security system when he gets back" Shane explained, he would let Dustin go with Blake and Tori, but he wasn't comfortable with the idea, Blake could be distracted and one of the two wind rangers could be taken. Dustin looked down at the wood beneath his nails, it felt nice. He knew Shane was training because he wanted to be at full potential when he went up against Lothor and Cam had to up security incase Lothor really did come to Ops.

"What about Hunter?" he asked as he looked up and pointed a finger to the crimson thunder.

"I'm not doing anything," he shrugged, if he was doing anything, he wasn't now. "Sure"

"Sweet! Dude we can totally-"

"You sure about this Hunter?" He wasn't doubting his strength or ability to fight and protect he was questioning his ability to deal with Dustin alone. It wasn't easy.

"Yeah, no problem"

"We'll see you guys later" Tori announced, she looked from Dustin to Hunter then Shane with a small smile as Blake waved. The two blues streaked up the steps and out of Ops.

"Just...just make sure he's safe" Shane was nearly burning holes through Hunter's head with all the staring. Dustin wasn't like Tori, sure he saw her as a sister but he and Dustin had know each other long before attending the wind academy, since they were kids. He was his brother.

"Right," Hunter nodded then looked at the eager earth child that now stood at their side, "You ready to go bro?"

"Yeah! Dude we so have to hit the track!" his exclamation could be heard echoing through the stairwell where he and Hunter were walking.

"Relax Shane, they're in the good hands of their teammates" Sensei said as he leaped up on to the red wind ninja's shoulder.

"I know..." He just felt like a father letting his only daughter go on her first date.