Disclaimer: Characters belong to BVE. At least in this one.

Note: First in a series. *Evil laugh*

Building Family: Deciding by Selma McCrory (EstiRose) and Beth Epstein (TPTigger) c 2003

"So, big bro, what do we do now?" Blake asked. He leaned against the wall of their temporary home, a hotel that rented by the week, and flicked at a bug crawling down the wall.

Hunter shrugged, putting his backpack down on the table. "I'm not sure. I think getting out of here might be a good idea before we cause any more problems."

Blake nodded. "It's worth thinking about..."

"I'm sensing a but," Hunter said. "What, lil' bro?"

His younger brother looked over at him. "Well, remember the Mountain of Lost Ninjas? It took all five of us to beat those ghosts. What if Lothor has an alien in his army that the Winds can't handle on their own?"

"Okay, they're not the best fighters in the world, and Dustin's an airhead, but they mostly did it on their own. They were expecting the things, after all." Hunter tried not to sigh. Hadn't they discussed this before they'd talked to Sensei Watanabe? Hadn't they agreed to leave?

"Dude, I don't know about you, but I was very glad they were there." Blake's tone made him sound older than he was. Or tireder.

"You can be grateful and not be needed at the same time," Hunter said, motioning with his hands as a way to get his point across.

"Yeah, but..." Blake stood up, clearly about to unleash what he felt was the deciding argument.

Hunter had a sneaking suspicion he knew what it was. And he didn't feel it was all that compelling. "If the name Tori passes your lips, you're in for a tickling," Hunter warned.

"Bro," Blake said with some exasperation, "Five is stronger than three."

"Only because five is greater than three," Hunter said, rolling his eyes. "I can do math, dude."

"I'm worked, I'm going to sleep," Blake said in apparent annoyance. He stalked into the bedroom, apparently tired and frustrated.

As was Hunter. He nodded. "Right, dude, completely with you." He stepped into the bathroom and stripped his civilian outfit so that he could shower. It was his turn to have the hot water, and he really needed it.

No matter what the Winds' Sensei had said, there was wisdom in withdrawing as well. They'd spent most of their time as Rangers doing what Lothor said, first of their free will, then under mind control. Who'd need two Thunders who were shaming their school? Certainly not the saviours of the earth.

He stuck his head under the warm water and set about getting himself cleaned up.

* * *

Hunter locked the motel door. "Another day, another dollar." He really didn't want to go to work. He didn't want to be around Dustin. He didn't want to be reminded of what he was not, and what Dustin was. A Ranger. On the right side.

"Security fee on the apartment, bro," Blake reminded him.

"I know, I know," Hunter said. "Maybe we should just go to Tibet and find Leanne."

"How, hitchhike on American Airlines?" Blake's expression seemed to ask, "Are you *crazy*?"

Hunter made a bouncy motion with his hand. "Ninja Air."

"Yeah, that's inconspicuous," Blake said sarcastically.

"Yeah, but it wouldn't require airfare." Which was all that could be said for it. He knew Blake hated transcontinental streaks.

"Bro, maybe we should just stay here. Think about it for a bit."

"Get destroyed by Lothor, you mean," Hunter pointed out. He frowned. "Dude, I can't get used to not saying the k-word."

Blake nodded thoughtfully. "I know what you mean, I mean to say it and I get 'destroyed' instead."

"Tell me about it!"

"So, help the Winds destroy Lothor maybe?" Blake asked, returning to the previous subject.

"Dude, I'm not ready for that level of commitment yet," Hunter said, sighing heavily. After all he and Blake had done to help Lothor, could they really be trusted to fight him?

"Hunter, does the word 'destiny' mean anything to you?" Blake asked, crossing his arms and glaring at his brother.

"Emperor kept saying that to Luke," Hunter said.

"Dude, there's more to destiny than Star Wars," Blake said. "Besides, this way we stay in the loop when it comes to Lothor."

Hunter shook his head. "I just don't know if I can take another day of Dustin pleading at us."

"If we joined the Rangers, he'd stop pleading," Blake said. "Except possibly for moto x tips, but I can field that if you want."

"You just want more time with Tori," Hunter pointed out.

Blake's glare reached dagger proportions. "Do you really think that little of me?" His eyes softened enough to register a touch of betrayal.

"Hey, you're usually the one putting on the charm, and now you're girl-struck. And with someone who started out as our enemy."

"Maybe that was the Power telling us she wasn't?" Blake suggested

"Do we have to have another talk about anthropomorphism?" Hunter asked.

"You never know. It might be sentient," Blake pointed out. "Or maybe Power attracts Power."

"You gonna research this?" Hunter asked.

"There's only one person we can ask, who'd know. And I'm not gonna," Blake said.

"Good idea." Hunter said. "Come on, let's get to work before Kelly wonders what happened to us."

And so they left, Blake hurrying to stay at Hunter's side. Hunter somewhat wondered how long Blake would insist on them staying in Blue Bay Harbor, but eventually they'd leave. He knew it.

-end. For now.