A continuation of the end of Bad Days, because no one can resist the thought of two guys locked in a closet together. ;-)

Special thanks to my Shi-chan for her advice on what two guys locked in a closet would talk about. More thanks to the lovely Weesta, who helped developed the levels of Ninja Types mentioned here in our 'Ninja Color Philosophy' discussions. Speaking of... -Pokes Weesta repeatedly- MORE CROSSING PATHS AND HELL HATH NO FURY!


Days in a Closet

"Stupid...why would they...arrgh!"

"That's not going to stop the floor from being cement." Shane's tone was filled with amusement, and he could tell he was still smiling.

"What kind of Ninja Academy uses cement floors?!" Dustin shot back hotly.

He wouldn't normally have lost his almost non-existent temper so easily. Dustin was well-known for his relaxed, laidback personality. But he also wouldn't normally have had a pile of cleaning supplies rain down on his head when tried to phase through the ground, resulting in him buried under a pile of old mops with a bucket stuck on his head like some sort of bizarre military cap. Shane still couldn't quite stop laughing at him.

"One that doesn't want it's Earth Ninjas trying to ditch class?" Shane offered in return.

Dustin settled for another angry humph.

He chuckled. "Come on. We're obviously not going anywhere for awhile. Just sit down already."

Dustin sighed and started to plop down. "Fine." he grumbled.

Shane cleared his throat.

Dustin paused, blinking, and flushed abruptly. "Oh. Right." He fidgeted slightly before moving to sit in Shane's lap, leaning back against his boyfriend. He tried to force himself to relax; this was Shane after all. But he just...

"You're still mad at me."

Shane's voice was flat and emotionless, making Dustin wince. Unfortunately, being a Body-Type Ninja also meant Shane had an uncanny way of interpreting body language; Hunter was the same way. Which meant it was darn near impossible to hide anything from either of them.

"I'm not." he protested weakly. He could feel irritation and hurt well up through Shane. He sighed again, flopping back completely as his head fell against Shane's shoulder, leaning toward his neck.

"Ow!"

He looked up, startled, and winced. "Oops?" he offered weakly.

Shane scowled, rubbing his chin where the bucket-still stuck on Dustin's head-had hit him. "Thanks." he muttered bitterly.

Dustin looked pained. "I'm sorry."

Shane sighed, turning to look at him. After a moment, he reached up to try and remove the bucket. Frowning, he tugged harder. "That's...really stuck on there."

Dustin scowled in response. "I wasn't exactly leaving it for show, dude."

Shane smiled slightly, letting go. For a moment, they just stared into one another's eyes. The longer they stared, the longer the silence stretched. Dustin wanted to lean forward and close that short distance, but...

Shane looked away, closing his eyes.

Dustin blinked, startled, then glanced down. Shane's hands were still on his arms. Which meant...he'd just...heard everything he was thinking...

Darnit.

"What is it going to take?"

He looked up again. "Huh?"

"What is it going to take before you can forgive me?" Shane asked quietly. He still wasn't looking at him. "What can I do? Is there even any way to fix this? Is this... Can we even be friends anymore?"

Dustin's eyes went wide, and he threw his arms around Shane in a hug that bordered more on a tackle. "Dude! Don't say stuff like that!" he protested. "We're always gonna be friends! Remember? We promised when we're old and gray in the rest home with oxygen tanks and blankets in our laps and too tired to do anything but play cards and watch T.V., we'll still be friends! We promised!"

Shane chuckled softly. "I remember." He paused, glancing at Dustin out of the corner of his eye with an odd look on his face. "That was after our first fight."

Dustin blinked, then slowly began to smile at the memory.

They hadn't known each other when they'd all first joined the academy. They'd been in separate classes as well, which meant there was no reason for them to know each other. But all three of them had received an after-class punishment for slacking off (Shane), lack of attention (Dustin), and inadvertently attacking a teacher (Tori). Forced to polish the academy floors, they had started bickering with each other. One thing had lead to another, and soon the three of them were brawling. Then suddenly Dustin had slipped on a newly polished floor, accidentally grabbing Tori in the process, who latched onto Shane, and they'd all ended up in a heap, groaning in pain. It was only seconds before they all burst out laughing at the stupidity of the situation. After awhile, Dustin had grinned and proclaimed that this meant they must be friends, because only friends do stupid things together. Shane and Tori had found themselves agreeing, to their own amusement. And then Dustin had informed them that this was a friendship that would last all the way into senility and old age, and would end with them still bickering-because that was the way all great friendships went.

"And we're still friends, aren't we?" Dustin said after a moment reflective silence. "Even with...everything that's changed between us..." He couldn't help flushing at the memory of just how 'close' they often became. "We're still friends."

Shane smiled. "Yeah."

Dustin looked up at him. Biting his lip, he sighed and went for total honesty. "I know you didn't mean it. But you said it. Even if you wouldn't have said it if we weren't all evil-like and stuff, that means you've thought it. It hurt." he confessed softly, looking down. Even though they had bickered constantly when not attacking the Dino Thunder Rangers, that moment had sent a stab of pain through his heart. He'd brushed it off, but once his head was clear enough to think again, he couldn't stop thinking about it.

A hand slowly lifted his chin, and warm lips pressed gently against his own.

One of the things that made kissing so enjoyable was the fact that Shane was a Body-Type, and Dustin was a Heart-Type. Body-Types communicated silently through touch, while Heart-Type were often considered openly emotional. The combination of the two meant that everything Dustin was feeling Shane would sense through physical contact, and be able to send back. Every emotion and thought between them could be relayed in a single instant, and since kissing often came with a burst of emotion...

When Shane finally pulled back, Dustin was feeling a little light-headed. "Wow." he murmured.

"Yeah." Shane breathed, slightly panting.

They looked at each other.

Love. Guilt. Hurt. Fear. Pain. Regret. Trust. Acceptance. Friendship. Love. Love. Love...

A noise of approval as a kiss deepened. Hands wandering. Fabric giving way to bare skin. Soft, caresses, gentle touches. Gasps, quiet moans...


"You do it."

"Uh-uh. I can tell from here. You do it."

Hunter scowled at his brother. "You're the one who agreed to this. You do it."

Blake raised an eyebrow. "And you told me what Shane wanted to do. You do it."

"Oh, for goodness' sake!" Tori huffed, pushing her way between them to remove the chair and unlock the door. She would say she thought this was a bit extreme, but with these two...

Her eyes went wide.

"Told you." Hunter muttered.

Quietly, she shut the door, making sure to leave it unlocked. All three of them made a hasty exit. Whenever one of them happened to try the door, they'd be able to leave; that should be enough. There was no way anyone was disturbing them now.

"Why was Dustin wearing a bucket on his head?" Blake wondered aloud.