Title: It Just Happened
Author: Hieiko
Fandom: Power Rangers Ninja Storm
Disclaimer: I don't PRNS or any of the characters.
Characters/Pairing: Blake, Hunter, hints of Blake/Tori
Notes: Written for team7's mile-long pole fic challenge.
Summary: Set in "Thunder Strangers, Part II". After Blake goes missing and then returns with Tori, Hunter demands an explanation.

Blake couldn't help smiling at Tori one more time before getting out of the van to follow his older brother. He hadn't quite noticed that Hunter had been glowering at him while Tori was there, but now he could see it clearly. Blake quickly wiped the grin off his face, just as Hunter decided they were finally out of anyone's earshot.

"Bro, where were you?" Hunter demanded.

Blake cringed at his brother's tone of voice. He knew Hunter must have been worried, but he wasn't a little kid anymore. He was perfectly capable of taking care of himself... even though Tori had ended up saving him from Lothor's alien. Hmm, maybe it wouldn't be such a good idea to tell Hunter exactly what had happened. Lying wouldn't work, so what he needed was something that would distract his brother.

"I found out how to get to Ninja Ops," Blake blurted out.

Hunter's eyes widened ever so slightly. He checked their surroundings to make sure their conversation was still private, before focusing a suspicious gaze on Blake. "How'd you find out? I didn't think even the Wind Rangers would be so stupid as to give the location of their headquarters to someone they only just met."

"Tori didn't tell me. She doesn't even know that I know. It just happened... like an accident?" Blake bit his lip.

"It just happened? Dude, do you realize how lame that sounds?"

"Yeah, but it's kinda hard to explain, bro," Blake said, eyeing the ground speculatively as though it contained an answer to some great mystery of the universe.

"Try me." Hunter moved to stand directly in front of Blake. There was a moment of silence before Blake squared his shoulders and raised his eyes. Hunter was caught by surprise at the steel in his younger brother's stare.

"I did what I had to do. The plan was to gain the Winds' trust, right? I helped Tori fight one of Lothor's aliens because she couldn't morph, so when I got a bit banged up, she brought me somewhere in the woods. I heard her talking with her friend when they thought I was still knocked out. Then I saw her enter Ninja Ops. That's how I know where the place is, alright?" Blake crossed his arms and glared defiantly at his brother.

Hunter's face contorted into a frown, and he stared at Blake several seconds too long. "You were knocked out? What, did you try fighting Lothor's goon while unmorphed or something?"

Blake rolled his eyes as if to say "I'm not that stupid", but his reaction came too slow for Hunter's taste.

"I can't believe this. What were you thinking! You could have been..." Hunter would have shouted if they weren't in a public place. As it was, he had to keep his voice tightly controlled. He ran both hands through his hair in frustration.

Blake's confidence deflated, and he looked at the ground again. "I told you I'm fine now, bro. It's over and done with. I didn't even really think about it. I just reacted and everything else followed... ow! Hey!"

Hunter smacked his brother upside the head a second time for good measure. "Don't ever do that again, okay?"

"Sorry I made you worry," Blake mumbled.

The elder Bradley sighed. Obviously, there was something else bothering Blake. Hunter didn't need three guesses to figure out what it was.

"So... you figured you'd be some sort of knight in motocross gear and she ended up saving you, huh?"

"Yeah." Blake's face turned a little red.

Hunter knew that it wasn't because he'd been saved by a girl. Blake simply didn't think that way. So it had to be the other option, which Hunter should have known from his brother's reaction the first time they met the blonde Wind Ranger. It would complicate things, but Blake had already proven where his loyalties lay. Their mission came first. Hunter just wished his brother didn't have to get hurt in the process of fulfilling it.

He laid a hand on Blake's shoulder. "I guess this means we owe her."

Blake grinned a little at Hunter's words. "And we always pay our debts, don't we?"

"You know it, bro."