Disclaimer: Seriously, I don't own PR and I'm not getting any profit from this. Why would you even ask?
AN: Yes, it's long for a oneshot and it's odd (especially since you don't actually see the main couple practically ever) but I had fun with it and I hope you have fun reading it.
Best Laid Plans
Grant Hanson loved his daughter. He loved her enough to let her drop out of college and run off to Blue Bay Harbor because she truly believed she was meant to be there -- though he'd made certain there was no boy involved before letting her go through with that insanity. He'd worried about her with her surfing dreams and lack of any real job. And now he couldn't let it go any farther. He had to interfere. The only problem was this damned town. He was back at the skate park for the third time this hour. How was he supposed to find his way to Tori's apartment when all the streets curved back on each other? He turned around, deciding to try the first street again. Just as he did he saw a young boy lose control of his board and go straight into traffic. Before he could even gasp in fear a young man had grabbed the boy around the waist and pulled him back while his board was crushed beneath the wheel of a car.
Grant, along with several other bystanders, approached the man to thank him. The man shook them off. Grant followed him.
"Hey," he called.
The man turned, his shoulders sagging slightly. "Please," he said, holding up his hands, "you would have done the same thing."
"But I didn't," Grant said, noting that they man wasn't much older than Tori. "What I really wanted though, was to know if you knew where Finn Lane was?"
"Oh yeah," the man said, a smile appearing on his face. He pushed his dirty blond hair out of his eyes and pointed over Grant's shoulder. "You see the street with that big yellow building there? Just go down that one for about a mile and it turns into Finn."
Grant sighed. "Of course it does. Thanks." He hurried across the street towards the yellow building. When he reached it he stopped and turned back. The man was talking to a group of middle schoolers while helping one of them tighten the wheels on his board. Grant smiled. You didn't meet many men like him nowadays.
Tori stepped out of the shower and hurriedly wrapped her hair in a towel. She could have used her abilities to pull the water from her hair but that always left it frizzy. She quickly toweled herself off and shrugged her dark blue robe on. It had been a gift from Dustin last Christmas, sort of a "sorry your boyfriend's on the other side of the country" present. She'd been annoyed with Dustin at first but as time went on she grew to love the robe. It reminded her of Blake and whenever she caught herself in the mirror while she wore it she felt like he was there.
She was just making herself a cheese sandwich when the buzzer sounded. She cursed under her breath as she spared the clock a glance. The guys were supposed to come over and help her move the mountain of boxes blocking her television but if this was them they were an hour early.
"Who is it?" she asked, pressing the button beside her door.
"Since when do I answer to you, young lady?"
"Daddy!" Tori quickly buzzed him up and put another sandwich on the skillet while she waited. When he knocked she yelled that the door was open and instantly regretted it when she saw his face. It was bad enough that her apartment was "too small" and "in a bad neighborhood" but she really did know better than to leave her door unlocked and he told her so.
"I'm fine, Dad," Tori said, handing him a plate and taking a seat on the couch, leaving the comfortable arm chair for him.
Grant set the plate on the coffee table and gave Tori his most serious look. "No, honey, I don't think you are." Tori raised an eyebrow but let him continue. He ran a hand through his long, blond hair. "I should have done this when the Power Rangers appeared in Blue Bay Harbor. I'm taking you home."
Tori jumped to her feet. "What?" she cried.
"You're coming home and you're going back to school. Things obviously aren't working out here," he added, noting the boxes piled to the ceiling on the other side of the room.
Tori fought the urge to roll her eyes. "Those are Marah and Kapri's. They're some friends who fell on hard times. They're back on their feet now and that's the last of their stuff. The guys are coming by later today to move it."
"That's another thing. These guys you keep hanging around with. I don't trust them."
"Dad!" Tori said, falling back onto the couch in aggravation.
"Tori, you don't know how boys are. They only want one thing."
She couldn't help herself, she laughed. "Dad, you would not believe the hurdles I've had to get over to get the guys to realize I'm a girl. They really don't want that."
"Yes, Tori, they do. You're just too kind-hearted to see it." Grant sighed. "And even without the guys," Tori frowned at the obvious disdain in his voice when he said the word, "you're not making it here. Do you even have a job? I don't like the idea of you cleaning out your savings."
"I teach swimming at the community college, you know that. I make surfboards and I sell them at one of the shops in town. And," she added, "I'm going to be teaching surfing classes this summer." She failed to mention that these lessons were part of her new curriculum at the Wind Academy. "I'm doing fine. I haven't touched my savings in months."
Grant sat back in the chair, considering this. Tori reached forward and took his hand.
"Please, Daddy, I love it here and things are going really well for me now. You don't need to worry. And if you force me to move now Mom'll never let you forget it."
"All right," he said slowly, "but I still have one demand."
Tori frowned at the word but nodded.
"You move. I never liked this neighborhood."
Tori sighed heavily. "I'll look into it but I'm not promising anything."
"That's all I ask." Grant picked up his plate and took a bite of the sandwich. The cheese had congealed and was no longer good but he supposed he deserved that for jumping to so many conclusions. Vivian had told him that Tori was a free spirit and could survive anything but he just hadn't listened. Now he'd have to go home to a lecture on the differences between his nineteen year old daughter and his nine year old daughter. He had to admit, he thought as he looked up at Tori, he sometimes had trouble telling the difference.
"So," he said, trying to diffuse the earlier anger in the room, "tell me about the guys."
"Well, there's Shane and Dustin and Cam --"
"And you're not dating any of them?"
The look on Tori's face was enough to tell him otherwise.
"Blake," she admitted. "He's from Santa Maria a few miles north, but he and his brother lived down here for a few months about a year ago."
"How did you meet him?"
Tori fingered a loose string on her robe's sleeve and Grant saw a shadow cross over her eyes. "He's really into motocross, like Dustin. He introduced us."
"And when can I meet this Blake?"
Tori smiled sadly. "He's one of the riders for Factory Blue. He's in Boston right now."
"Long distance relationships are hard."
"They tend to end badly."
She frowned at her father. "Blake and I are doing fine," she said, gathering up his plate and heading into the small kitchen. "He calls every Tuesday night and at least once more during the week, but that's always a surprise," she added, smiling to herself.
Grant followed her into the kitchen and leaned against the counter beside the sink. "And what is he like?"
Tori looked out the small window over the sink as she scrubbed the dishes. She could see the street below where children were playing, trying to pack as much enjoyment into the weekend as they could. "He's shy -- sometimes. And sometimes he's the smoothest guy I know."
Grant frowned. He didn't like smooth.
"He's very dedicated, once he sets out to do something he won't let anything stop him."
There was a hint of irritation in her voice that Grant was sure was Blake's fault.
"He loves his family. He and his brother were adopted. They lost their adopted parents a few years ago. I've never seen brothers who were closer." She turned to her father. "He's really a good guy, Daddy, I know you'd like him if you met him."
Grant bit his tongue. He wanted to say that he wasn't going to meet Blake, that this boy could easily have a different girl in every city, that he was probably just stringing Tori along. He and Vivian would have a lot to talk about when he got home.
"Stop obsessing," Vivian said, setting Grant's plate of food on the table. Her husband didn't bother to look up, instead he kept reading the newest internet article on Blake Bradley. Vivian put her hands on her hips. She would not be ignored in her own home (or anywhere else for that matter). She crossed the room and unplugged the computer.
"What?" Grant cried, staring at the blank screen with wide eyes. Slowly his gaze drifted up to Vivian and the cord dangling from her hand.
"Dinner," she said coolly and walked to the dining room table.
Grant followed her grudgingly. She had made his favorite meal: steak and potatoes. This meant trouble.
"She's a big girl," Vivian said after Grant said grace.
"And he's a big boy, with big boy wants and desires. I don't want him hurting her." He cut viciously into the steak, sending grease spatters onto the tablecloth.
"Tori can take care of herself," Vivian said, careful to keep her voice calm. "She's always shown impeccable judgment where boys are concerned. I doubt this Blake is any different."
Grant stood furiously and hurried upstairs. Vivian forced her breathing to steady itself as she heard her husband's heavy footfalls in their bedroom. He pounded down the stairs two at a time and threw two magazines on the table. The first had a cover article titled, "Bad Boys of Motocross." Vivian smiled slightly as she flipped to the indicated page. There were several pictures of the boys and their bikes but she knew Blake immediately. She'd stayed as far away from Grant's obsession as possible but she knew her daughter well enough to spot her boyfriend. It wasn't anything about his build or his looks -- Tori had never had a preference where those things were concerned -- but it was something about the way he stood and the look in his eyes. All the men were confident, staring unabashedly at the camera and standing beside their bikes like they were kings of the world. But Blake's stance seemed easier. He looked like he could conquer the world and he knew it. And his eyes -- she looked at them for several moments, surprised at how much the camera could capture. They were intense surely, but there was a softness in there that -- to Vivian at least -- seemed to reflect a bit of Tori's inner light.
Grant's cry brought her out of her reverie. "She's dating a 'bad boy'!"
Vivian closed the magazine and frowned up at him. "Do you remember how we met?"
Grant seemed to sink into his chair.
Vivian continued, glad her point was being heard. "I was sitting at the bar in Maloney's and some jerk kept trying to hit on me. When I finally got up to leave he tried to grab me, but I didn't know that because the next think I heard was his body hitting the floor! You knocked him out with one punch over a girl you'd never even met!"
"It's called chivalry," Grand grumbled.
"The police called it assault. If that wasn't bad boy behavior I don't know what is."
Grant, not one to be beaten, grabbed another magazine and flipped it open to a marked page. Vivian took it with a frown. In the corner of the left page was Blake with his arm wrapped around a girl a couple of years younger than Tori. They were laughing and she was trying to push her brown hair out of her eyes. Vivian's frown deepened.
"These rags will print anything," she said finally. "They'll make a scandal if they can't find one."
"I don't think they need to make a scandal. That picture's pretty damning."
"Almost all of Tori's friends are boys. It's only recently that she's begun hanging out with girls. I think if we trust Tori with those boys then we should trust that Blake has a good explanation for this girl."
Grant frowned and stifled a growl with a mouthful of potatoes. Vivian turned back to the magazine. It wasn't one of the sports magazines Grant was usually pouring over nowadays, it was a society rag. She quickly perused the article and found that it wasn't even about Blake. There were pictures of the same girl with several other men and the author was accusing her of cheating on Trent Mercer, a millionaire's son from Reefside. Vivian shook her head, hoping this poor girl's relationship wasn't hurting from the article.
Kira screamed into the throw pillow and Tori winced as the scream turned petra and feathers came flying out of the ripped cloth.
"Sorry," Kira said, handing the ruined pillow to Tori.
"It's okay," Tori said, tossing it into a nearby magazine basket. She'd butcher it later for supplies. "You're under a lot of stress. I know that article must have been horrifying."
"It was. I didn't even know until I went to the store because my cell battery died. The woman in front of me was looking at the magazine and when I told her the line had moved she nearly had a heart attack. Then she wouldn't stop asking me about all the guys. Honestly! As if I'd ever date Conner! Or Dr. O! Ew!" She suddenly grabbed Tori's arm. "Tell me you don't believe them. You know I'd never --"
Tori smiled and pulled Kira's hand free. "Of course not. I trust you and Blake completely. I know you'd never do anything like that." After a moment she asked, "How's Trent taking it?"
"He left me a message. Said he was really sorry and he'd take me out to dinner at my favorite sushi place after he gets back from ComicCon. I feel horrible. Though," she smiled wickedly and Tori couldn't help but sit at bit straighter in anticipation, "Conner's so afraid that I'll blame him for this that he's staying as far away from me as possible."
"That is useful."
"What about Blake? Has he said anything?"
"No, but he never paid any attention to those rags anyway. He said they just ruined his opinion of the actors and then he couldn't watch their movies anymore. He probably doesn't even know."
"He will. I've already gotten calls from three rangers I never met apologizing to me for my horrible luck at ending up with Dr. O. But I heard him yelling at them in the background so I'm sure they were just joking."
"Who were the rangers?"
Kira fished her phone out of her pocket to search for the name in her contacts list. "I only managed to get one of them to talk, the rest all hung up way too quickly. Adam Park! From what I gathered through all the double-speak, he was the second Black."
"And," Kira said happily as she pocketed her phone once more, "this way I have one more ranger's number in case the world starts falling apart on me."
"See? Something good did come out of this horror."
"I guess, but I'm still hiding out here for a few more days."
"You're always welcome," Tori said. "Now, how about some Ben & Jerry's?"
"The perfect comfort food," Kira sighed and settled back into the couch.
Tori was just about to open the freezer when her phone buzzed. She thanked her lucky stars that she'd put it on vibrate and hurried into the bathroom so Kira wouldn't hear.
"Hey," she said, seeing the caller ID.
"You know I'm not in any way interested in Kira, right?" Blake asked desperately.
"Of course I know. You're not stupid enough to cheat on me with one of my best friends."
"This isn't funny, Tor! I'm beginning to worry for my life here!"
"Why?" Tori asked, her humor quickly dissipating.
"Because," Blake said as if it was obvious, "Trent was super evil. How hard do you think it would be for him to kill me?"
Tori tried to hide her annoyance that he was more worried about Trent's wrath than hers. "Trent's not evil anymore."
"Neither are you but you're still terrifying when you want to be. And you don't know Trent like I do. Don't tell anyone I told you this but Trent's totally in love with Kira and he's very protective of that relationship. Frankly, I think everyone in that article should go into hiding."
"I think the guy who took the pictures has more to fear than you do."
"Because Trent knows that rangers are too honorable to steal each other's girlfriends, but that photographer was obviously stalking Kira," she added with a laugh.
There was silence on the other end of the line.
"Blake? Blake. Trent didn't kill you, did he?"
"Tori, I've gotta call someone to protect that photographer. I'll call you later."
Tori shook her head as the line went dead. The phone buzzed a second later and she quickly answered.
"I love you," Blake said. "And I'd never cheat on you because there's no way I could find better than you."
"That and I'm a force to be reckoned with."
"I love you too."
Tori sighed dreamily and just stood there, thinking of Blake before heading back out to see Kira. She'd gotten the ice cream out herself and was eating straight from the container. A second spoon was sticking out of the untouched side of the carton.
"How's Blake?" Kira asked.
Tori rolled her eyes. "He was scared for his life, but now I've convinced him that the photographer who took those photos is in more danger because he was obviously stalking you."
Kira's spoon fell to the floor. "I knew Trent sounded too calm!"
"On the message. He was too calm, the way he always is when he's channeling his inner evil. I've gotta go save that photographer."
"You cannot be serious. Trent would never --" Tori stopped as Kira pulled out her cell phone and hit several buttons. She held out the phone and put it on speaker.
"Kira?" Ethan asked absently. "I thought you'd be too horrified by that article to have contact with the outside world."
"Where are you, Ethan?" Kira asked in her best no-nonsense voice.
"At work. Can you believe that? I'm working all weekend to get this new video game up and running by the deadline."
"Shouldn't you be in LA?"
"Why would I be in LA?"
"ComicCon's not for another month. Geez, Kira, if you're gonna learn about the nerd's world at least get your facts straight."
"Whatever, Ethan, I have to go." She hung up and gave Tori a "I told you so" look.
Tori sighed and picked up the ice cream. "Call Dr. O. Trent's his responsibility."
Kira shrugged and settled back into the couch. Tori did have a point.
Grant frowned. Tori had taken his advice and moved to a new apartment, which had been much easier to find he was happy to say, but she wasn't home. He had checked the address twice and even asked the landlady who assured him that "a cute little blonde girl with a bunch of obnoxious male friends" lived in 4B. Grant tried to think of where she might be. He couldn't call Vivian, she thought he was on a business trip. He leaned against the car, going through his options. Blue Bay Harbor was practically all beaches, it would take him the entire day to search for her there. He should try somewhere else first, like that shop she sold her surfboards at. But she'd never told him the name. It should not be this hard to --
Grant looked up sharply at the voice and saw the man who'd saved that boy's life last time he was in town.
"Hello," Grant said, shaking the man's hand. "Didn't think I'd ever see you again."
The man laughed lightly. "The universe likes destroying my preconceptions too. Did you find your daughter?"
Grant was taken aback. It was odd enough meeting this man again, but that he remembered the specifics of a thirty second conversation with a complete stranger was something else. "Yes," he said slowly, "I did, thank you. I'm Grant, by the way."
"Hunter. It's nice to meet you. What are you doing on this side of town?"
"Looking for my daughter."
"My wife calls her a 'free spirit.'"
"Yeah, I know a few of those."
They had somehow begun walking down the street and Grant realized he was enjoying the much younger man's company.
"Do you," Grant began hesitantly, "have a girlfriend?"
Hunter gave Grant a sidelong glance. Grant smiled, the boy was quick on the uptake.
"No," Hunter said.
"Why don't you take my daughter out? She doesn't know many nice young men in this town."
Hunter hesitated. He'd heard a story about the Blue Time Force Ranger being forced into a date with his enemy's daughter. Sure, that had worked out well, the two were now married in the future, but blind dates were notoriously bad. Hunter shook himself. He could brave one blind date and it wasn't like he was active in his ranger duties nowadays. How bad could it possibly be?
"All right," he said, stopping, "how about Watson's? If she lives around here she's sure to know where it is."
"Seven. A storm's coming in tonight. I'll wear a crimson scarf."
Hunter smiled just as his phone went off. He quickly looked at the caller ID. "It's my little brother. I haven't seen him in weeks, I have to take this."
Grant nodded. "Seven o'clock!"
"I won't forget," Hunter called as he hurried away. "What's up, dude?"
"Hunter, man, you're not gonna believe this."
"Believe what?" Hunter asked, laughing at Blake's eager tone.
"It's the biggest news since we beat Lothor."
"Bro, you really have to fill me in here." Hunter turned onto Fifth Street and stopped dead. Blake was leaning against his bike not ten feet away.
"I'm asking Tori to marry me."
Hunter's eyes widened and he rushed forward to give his baby brother a hug.
"Blake," Sensei Watanabe said solemnly, "I understand your intentions in coming to me, but do you not think there is someone more appropriate you could ask?"
Blake sighed, ignoring the thinly veiled laughter coming from Shane and Dustin. Sensei and the rangers, minus Tori of course, were sitting in the restored Ninja Ops, sipping tea around the table.
"I understand that, Sensei," Blake said, "but I don't even know Tori's parents. She's never introduced them and all I know is that they live just outside San Angeles. She always told me that you were like a father to her so I thought…." He let it hang there, gladdened by the proud look that came over Sensei's face when he heard Tori's opinion of him. The elder man quickly schooled his features.
"You've never met her parents?" Dustin asked. "Dude, she's met yours!"
"And they're dead," Hunter added.
Sensei ignored them. "You are a ninja, Blake. You are fully capable of tracking down a middle aged couple in the suburbs of San Angeles."
Blake sagged a bit in his seat. The childish part of his mind was screaming, "But I wanna propose now!" He pushed that part down quickly. "Sensei," he said respectfully, "you know my feelings for Tori and as mentor to us both I thought it only fitting that I seek your blessing. Now all I ask is that you give it." He bowed as best he could while sitting on the pillow.
"Blake," Sensei said, "get up. You know you have my blessing. I have been honored to see your relationship with Tori grow and mature and I am honored to know that my opinion means so much to you."
When Sensei said nothing further they boys felt they were free to speak.
"How are you gonna do it?" Shane asked.
"I don't know," Blake said sheepishly.
"Have you given this any thought at all?" Cam demanded.
"Of course! Well…."
"What?" Shane asked, a warning in his voice.
"I don't know. I just woke up one day and I knew, it was time. There's no one else in the world I want to be with more than Tori and I'm not about to let her get away."
There was a sniff from the next room and a smack.
"Ow!" Marah hissed. "Quit it!"
"You're gonna give us away!" Kapri snapped.
"She already did," Dustin said.
The sisters came into the room and Marah knelt down beside Dustin while he wrapped his arms around her.
"That was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard," Marah said, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"You gonna do it tonight?" Kapri asked.
"Yeah," Blake said. His eyes widened. "And none of you are allowed to have any contact with her until after it's done!"
"What?" several voices demanded.
"You'll give it away! You'll tell her!"
"No we won't!" Cam said.
Blake raised an eyebrow. "A few months ago I flew halfway across the country to surprise Tori on her birthday and when I got here she tells me that every single person in this room had spilled the beans. Dustin without even trying!"
"You yelled it out the second you saw her!"
Dustin moped but Marah hugged him, lifting his spirits.
"So no one talks to her, no one sees her. If she is coming towards you on the street you turn around and you ninja streak away! Okay?"
"Fine," they chorused.
"Good, I'm gonna go figure out how to propose."
Grant had not told his daughter about her blind date. Instead he had invited her out to dinner with him, saying that he missed having quality time with his little girl. She accepted his invitation with some hesitancy and was surprised when he mentioned Watson's. He told her he'd heard some locals raving about the place and she confirmed that it had excellent shakes and malts. When they entered he looked around for Hunter but the boy was nowhere to be seen. He insisted on a table near the front and took his sweet time ordering his drink.
"You still haven't told me what you're doing in town," Tori said, taking a sip of her water.
"Can't a father miss his little girl?"
Tori smiled over her glass. Her eyes caught something over his shoulder and widened. Grant turned and saw Hunter in the doorway, looking around. Grant stood quickly and met the boy. He silently congratulated himself. Tori had certainly noticed Hunter, at this pace she'd easily forget about Blake.
"Hunter," Grant said.
"Sir," Hunter said. "Sorry I'm late. My brother had some big news."
"That's all right. Family's important." He led the boy over to the table and noticed him tense when Tori looked up at them. "Hunter, this is my daughter, Tori. Now, honey," Grant said quickly as Hunter fell into the chair he'd vacated earlier, "you have fun."
Tori started to say something but Grant simply threw a few twenties on the table to cover dinner and hurried out the door. He circled the block once before taking a seat on the patio of a coffee shop across the street from Watson's.
Tori buried her head in her hands as Hunter explained.
"Frankly," he finished, "if I'd known the girl was as hot as you--"
She kicked him. "This is not funny, Hunter! My father just set me up on a blind date with my boyfriend's brother! What's Blake going to think?"
"Oh no! Blake!"
Thankfully Tori misconstrued his worry and said, "I changed my voicemail message to tell him that I'm out with Dad. I guess I can change it now," she added wryly as she pulled her purse up from the floor. "We are never telling Blake about this, by the way."
"Duh," Hunter said. He stood with a smile. "Now, why don't you just go home and --?"
"Hunter," Tori sighed, "what kind of ninja are you? My Dad's across the street watching us. So here's the plan."
"Plan?" Hunter echoed, sinking into his seat just as a feeling of dread settled in his stomach.
"We order our dinner, eat most of it -- because there's no point in wasting a perfectly good meal -- and then I'll throw water on you and storm out. I'll tell my Dad that I tried for him, but you were a total jerk."
Hunter studied her for a moment. "But you'll be cheating on Blake."
"We both know this isn't a date."
"But your dad doesn't."
"At this point I think my father deserves to have his image of me shaken a bit." She grabbed a menu. "Have you ever had their chili burger?"
"Blake!" Cam cried in surprise, quickly shutting the instant message program on the computer.
"Cam! I need your help!" Blake was wild-eyed and Cam was having serious flashbacks to the time when Blake and Hunter had broken into Ninja Ops.
"What's wrong? Has there been an attack?"
"Worse! I can't find Tori!"
Cam blinked and blinked again. "This is bad."
"Can you find her?"
"Give me a few minutes."
"What's going on in here?" Shane asked, rushing inside with Kapri, Dustin, and Marah close behind him.
"Blake can't find Tori," Cam said tersely.
"Dude!" Dustin cried. "That's like the worst news since Lothor returned!"
"We know," Cam and Blake chorused.
Blake suddenly jumped and began grabbing at his jacket. He pulled out his cell phone and smiled at what he saw.
"What is it?" Kapri asked.
"It's Hunter. He says Tori's at Watson's. Perfect. I'll see you guys later."
When Blake had disappeared Shane turned to Cam. "You can get us an image of what's happening at Watson's, right?"
"With audio," Cam said with a smile.
Things were going perfectly. Tori and Hunter were hitting it off great, at least as far as Grant could see. They were talking easily and getting along like old friends. He smiled to himself. Things had gone off without a hitch. Now Tori could forget all about that -- Blake! Grant paled. That man rushing down the street towards him! That was Blake Bradley. Grant threw some money down on the table and leapt over the fence separating the patio from the sidewalk. He ran straight at the Bradley boy and was rewarded with his shocked look just before he tackled him. Blake easily pulled away and watched warily as Grant rose to his feet.
"What's your problem?" Blake demanded.
"Blake Bradley, right?"
"Yeah," Blake said slowly.
"I'm Grant Hanson."
The boy paled and Grant smiled.
"I want you to stay away from my daughter."
It took a moment for these words to register in Blake's mind. When they finally did he cried, "What!"
"She's moved on, found someone better. I don't want to see you anywhere near her again."
"'Someone better'?" Blake echoed numbly. It wasn't possible. Tori would never cheat on him. Unless -- was she afraid of him? He shook himself. That was Trent's fear, that had nothing to do with his relationship with Tori. Tori wasn't afraid of anything, she was the strongest woman Blake knew. He sighed and met Grant's eyes. He didn't doubt the man's words; there was no reason for him to lie. But if she was seeing someone else why wouldn't she have broken it off? The answer came as quickly as he asked the question: because she was Tori. She was good and sweet and kind and would never want to see him hurt, even when he'd kidnapped her sensei. Something in Blake hardened. He was Blake Bradley! He had never given up without a fight and he wasn't about to start now when the most important thing in his life was on the line.
He plowed past Grant, startling the man. Blake raced blindly into Watson's and quickly scanned the crowd for Tori. He saw her by the window and crossed the room quickly, ignoring Grant behind him.
"Tori," Blake said happily. He hadn't realized how much he missed her, just seeing her was like quenching a thirst. Her face lit up when she saw him but she frowned when she saw her father over his shoulder. Blake wasn't going to look at the man across the table from Tori because he didn't matter, but there was no mistaking the figure he saw out of the corner of his eye.
"Hunter!" he said, completely confused. He looked between Hunter, Tori, and her father. "What is going on here?"
"Blake," Tori said gently, standing to lay a hand on his arm. Grant grabbed the back of Blake's collar and hauled him out of her reach.
"What did I tell you?" Grant hissed.
Blake's eyes narrowed. "You told me she was dating someone else."
Blake ignored the interruption and pushed Grant away. "Is this him?"
Grant squared his shoulders, praying Hunter would play along. "Yes."
Blake laughed. He fell into a nearby chair, clutching his sides. Tori knelt next to him, sparing her father a single furious glance.
"It all makes sense!" Blake said, still laughing. "I go away and for comfort my girlfriend turns to her friends. It's only natural that she would fall in love with my brother!"
"Brother?" Grant echoed.
Hunter stood and held out his hand. "Hunter Bradley, at your service."
Grant shook the hand dumbly.
"Daddy," Tori said, standing to face her father once she realized Blake was going to be all right. "You cannot make me stop dating Blake. I love him and he loves me. We're happy."
"But you can find better," Grant pleaded.
"No," Tori said, "I really can't."
"And on that note," Blake said. Tori turned to see Blake kneeling on the ground beside her. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring. "Will you marry me?"
Grant sat down heavily and was lucky that Hunter was there to push a chair beneath him.
"Blake," Tori said quietly, "have you thought about this? I mean, what about your job? My job? What about the problems of kids and two different schools? What about everything?"
Blake stood and wrapped her in his arms and kissed her deeply. "We'll work it out," he said so that only she could hear. "I mean, we made it through both of my evil stints, saving the world, and your evil stint. How much harder can it get?"
"It's marriage. It's life. It's the hardest thing."
"And I want to do it with you."
She smiled, returning his embrace. "I'll have to keep Hanson professionally though," she teased. "All the good surfers already know me."
"Fine with me, just so long as we do all that other stuff you mentioned."
"So," Grant said slowly, "explain it one more time."
Hunter nodded and fidgeted a little on the bus bench he'd dragged Grant to when Tori started naming everyone she had to call. "Tori is a Power Ranger."
"So she can take care of herself?"
"Definitely. And Blake and I are Power Rangers too."
"So Blake isn't a 'bad boy'?"
"Oh, he is, but he's also really, really good. He'd do anything to protect your daughter but he also knows when to back off and let her protect herself."
"So he's good for her?"
"He made her stronger. At least that's what Sensei Watanabe says. And she made him softer. They work together."
"So I just need to suck it up and deal?"
"Yeah, not just because it's best for everyone involved but because Tori's got power over water and you kind of need that to live."
Grant nodded slowly. "My girl's a Power Ranger."
"You raised her well." Hunter's phone rang and he pulled it out of his pocket. "By the way," he added as he stepped away, "you can't tell anyone. Your wife because she's Tori's mom and she'll find out, but no one else or we will hurt you."
Grant smiled. "I kind of figured."
Hunter gave his best teacher glare and walked away as he flipped open his phone. "Trent?"
"Hey! Congratulations on your new sister!"
Hunter could hear Kira in the background having a one-sided conversation, he presumed it was with Tori and glanced towards Watson's to see Tori talking on her own cell.
"News travels fast," Hunter sighed. "Hey, you didn't kill that photographer did you?"
"No, I just used my powers to freak him out. Dad said he's proud of me and I'm beginning to think not all of Mesagog got destroyed."
"Isn't that just the way it is? Kira sounds happy."
"She's ecstatic. I've already heard her say something about coming up there tomorrow. Looks like the wedding will be soon."
"We can only hope. Hey, why don't you sound worried?"
"Should I be?" Trent asked, a hint of humor in his voice.
"Of course! You're next!"
"What do you mean I'm next?"
"Your team came right after ours. You and Kira are next."
"What about Dustin and Marah?" Trent asked, attempting to sound calm, but Hunter was pleased to note that it wasn't a terrified sort of anticipation, but an excited kind.
"Technicality. They'll probably go to Vegas, they're so impulsive."
"Hunter," Trent said, his voice dropping, "you cannot tell Kira or Tori any of what you just said. You know those two."
"And that's why I'm not dating either of them, regardless of what anyone says."
"What does that mean?" Trent asked, a hard edge to his voice.
"Nothing, nothing at all. Listen, I'll talk to you later?"
"Yeah, man, I just wanted to say congratulations."
"I'll pass it on."
"Tori's getting married," Grant said when he walked through the door of his house just in time for breakfast the next morning.
"She called," Vivian said, calmly pushing some eggs and bacon from the skillet to Grant's plate. "And I forgive you for trying to ruin her life."
Grant waited until she set down the skillet before saying, "She's a Power Ranger."
"I know, dear," Vivian said, breezing easily into her seat across the table from him.
"She told you that too?" Grant asked, he wouldn't be surprised if she had.
"Oh, no. But I'm her mother, it's my job to know these things. Eat your bacon before it gets cold."
Grant shook his head and resolved to call Blake later to warn him about the women in this family. Odd, just a few hours ago he was plotting the boy's demise and now he was treating him like a son. He blamed the women.
"You're not worried about her?" he asked.
"Terrified, but that's part of having children. You have to let them fly, not matter how scared you are." She pointed to his bacon and he gave in.
AN: Since this is a oneshot you probably shouldn't wait until the next chapter to review. Just get it out of the way now.