Dustin looked around the ruins of Ninja Ops silently with the others, unable to believe what had happened. It was all over . . . but it sure didn't feel like it was. It seemed like they'd been fighting for so long, only a few months really but he could hardly remember a time before monsters and fights and destruction. Now the future was limitless, no longer bound by duty and obligations. He could do whatever he wanted, and not worry about his responsibility to save the world.
So then why did he already miss his time as a ranger?
He shook his head quietly, trying to rid himself of the feeling. He looked around at the others. "I can't believe this." It was all he could think to say.
"Me neither," Tori said, sitting on what was left of a bench. "It's actually over."
Blake squeezed her shoulder. "For good," he said with a small smile.
"So what do we do now?" Shane asked, his confident voice quiet now.
Dustin looked at him a moment, then shrugged. "I don't know."
Blake paused. "Well, we might a well go enjoy ourselves, huh?" He shrugged. "Who wants to go out?"
"I'm for that," Dustin agreed, smiling a little. "We did just save the world, we should have some fun!"
Shane smirked slightly. "I don't know, right now I think I might want to just go to sleep."
"You're no fun," Hunter spoke up. "I'm with them, we should be celebrating!"
Shane shrugged. "I guess so. Where to?"
"How about that new club downtown?" Tori asked. "You think we could get in there?"
"We'd better," Hunter said. He slapped Blake's shoulder. "Come on, we should get cleaned up before going anywhere."
Blake nodded. "We can all just meet there."
"Cool," Dustin said. "We'll see you there, then."
They all headed out and Dustin lingered behind with Shane, noticing the look on his face. "Hey man, what's the matter?" he asked. "Come on, you should be happy!" Tell that to yourself, he thought dryly.
"I know," Shane said. "I am. I just . . ." he shook his head. "I don't know, something just doesn't feel right, I guess."
Dustin nodded. "I know what you mean."
Shane looked at him, then smirked. "Yeah." Dustin could see in his eyes that he didn't believe him. "Come on, let's just go."
"Okay," he said, leaving with him. He streaked home and entered his house as quietly as possible. He didn't know if anyone was home, but in the chance that they'd seen the news reports he didn't want to be around to see them.
Luckily the house seemed deserted, and he went up to his room, grabbing a change of clothes before going to the shower. He stripped off his clothes quickly and tossed them on the floor, unaware till then how filthy they were, covered in dirt and blood from the fight. A glance in the mirror showed that he didn't look much better.
Dustin stepped into the shower and took a deep breath as the hot water hit him, relaxing the muscles he hadn't even known were tense. He could have stayed there for a while, but he quickly finished and toweled off, changing into a pair of jeans and a yellow t-shirt. He went to his room and tossed his worn clothes on the floor, running a hand through his hair and sitting on the side of his bed as he put on his shoes. His thoughts wandered everywhere, and he almost felt dizzy with everything that had happened that day, it was overwhelming.
Everything felt so strange now, only an hour or so after the fight and it was all different. What were they all going to do now? They'd probably go their separate ways, not see each other for a while, if ever again . . . and what would Hunter do?
Dustin sighed as he realized his thoughts had once again turned to the crimson ranger, swallowing at the thought of losing him. The saying went you can't lose what you never had, but he didn't believe that. He might not have exactly what he wanted with Hunter, but he would feel the loss of it more than he could ever say.
Maybe now would be the right time to tell Hunter how he felt, he thought suddenly. If he was losing him anyway, he might as well. Dustin stood, leaving his room, feeling slightly excited at the idea. Why not? It wouldn't make a difference now.
But his heart sank as he realized that wasn't going to work. He was exaggerating the whole thing, he wasn't going to lose Hunter. They were best friends, nothing would keep them apart for too long, even if they moved on. They would always be in touch, he knew that. He might not be so lucky though, if he told him now.
He shook his head as he left the house. He couldn't think about all that now, he wanted to enjoy the evening. They'd just saved the world, he had a right to be happy about it. Nothing else mattered right now.
Dustin took a deep breath and streaked to back of the club, walking casually to the front and waiting for the others. Just his luck, the brothers were the first to arrive. Which was strange, he noted to himself, because they both looked like they took a lot of time on themselves. He grinned as they came over. "Hey."
"Hey," Hunter answered. His blue eyes sparkled with happiness like Dustin had never seen, and he found himself caught up in them, staring at them. Hunter looked at him curiously. "Yeah?"
"Nothing," Dustin said quickly. He spotted the others and nodded to them. "Come on, let's go."
Hunter entered the club at Dustin's side and looked around quietly. It was a nice place, typical as far as clubs went, loud music and glaring lights, people all around. Not exactly his favorite hangout, but it was all right. The man at the door had actually recognized them, and it made Hunter a little nervous to wonder just how many people would know who they were.
Tori was grinning happily, and she took Blake's hand. "Let's hit the dance floor!"
Blake followed her and grinned back at Hunter quickly, who smiled in return. He was glad Blake was finally happy with someone, he deserved it. And Tori was a better choice than even Hunter could have thought up. Somehow they were perfect for each other, like it was meant to be. He'd never believed in that sort of thing before, but after some of the things he'd seen as a ranger, it sounded a little less cliché.
He went with the rest of the guys to the bar and sat down, mindful of the many eyes on them as they ordered. The others didn't seem to mind, but it was getting old fast for him.
The man behind the bar put up their drinks quickly. "Here you go, kids."
"Thanks," Hunter said. He reached in his pocket but stopped as the man put a hand on his arm.
"Don't," he said. "It's on the house, we owe it to you." He looked at the others. "That goes for all of you. We can't thank you enough."
"Thanks," Hunter said again. The man left and he looked over at Dustin, a few seats down. He'd been acting strange since they got there, like something was bothering him, and Hunter had to wonder what it was. Not much bothered Dustin, he was pretty carefree.
Hunter got off the barstool and went over behind Dustin, stepping beside him. "Hey man, you all right?"
Dustin looked up at him. "Yeah, I'm fine, why?"
"You just look kinda down, that's all," Hunter answered. "I thought you'd be excited about all this."
"I am," he said. "I'm just, thinking I guess."
"There's a shock," he said playfully.
Dustin smiled. "Yeah, I guess so. It's just, everything that's going on, you know?"
"Yeah, I do," he said. He paused. "You wanna talk about it?"
Something flashed in Dustin's eyes, but it was gone in a moment and he shook his head. "Uh, no, it's okay. Let's just enjoy this, all right?"
"Sure," he said easily. "But you know I'm here if you wanna tell me about it."
"Yeah, I know," he said, smiling again.
Hunter slapped Dustin's shoulder. "Good."