Dillon had had a very long day. A very long two days, actually. He had been handcuffed to Scott for nearly a full 48 hours and the threat of being taken over by the Venjix virus had hung over his head the entire time. Although he had made sure no one noticed, he had spent a lot of the time gazing at his teammates and wondering what would happen to them once the virus took over. He hadn't liked the answer.

He rolled his shoulders as he dragged himself to his room. He was just glad it was all over. Sure, the virus was still there and Doctor K's revelation was still hanging in the back of his mind but he thought it would be best if he dealt with it after a night of actual rest, one that didn't take place in his car. He entered his bedroom, only to stop in the doorway as he stared at the rather bemusing sight of Ziggy resting on his bed, curled up slightly. His eyes were closed and he didn't react in anyway to his arrival so Dillon assumed he was asleep.

He stepped further into the room, closing the door behind him. Ziggy looked cute like that, his curly hair fanned around his face. It made him look younger than he already was and much more innocent. He looked almost like he...belonged there. Dillon smiled fondly as he stared at him but after a minute it disappeared. He could have hurt Ziggy today, could have hurt him badly. The thought made him sick.

He turned away, preparing to walk out and sleep in his car again when Ziggy's voice called him back. "Were you really just going to leave?"

Dillon turned back to stare at the younger Ranger. Ziggy's eyes were open and he was staring at him unwavering. Dillon shrugged. "I thought you were asleep." He explained.

Ziggy shook his head as he sat up, his legs dropping over the edge of the bed. "Not now." he told him, his eyes dark as he stared at him from the corner of his eyes, not facing him. "Yesterday. Were you really just going to leave? Just like that?" he asked, hurt in his voice.

"I had to." Dillon defended himself, watching the boy curiously. Ziggy hadn't said anything about it yesterday. But then that could have been because Scott had been not even three feet away at all times.

The Green Ranger stood up quickly. "No you didn't. Just admit it. You've been looking for a way out since day one. You were just finally able to justify it to yourself." Ziggy snapped, his eyes accusing.

Dillon shook his head, staring back at Ziggy in shock. He was growing uncomfortable under that sharp gaze. "It's not like that!" he paused, his friend's words finally registering. "Is that what you think?" He demanded. He thought Ziggy knew better than that. The idea that he could just abandon them like that was unbelievable. This team was his family and the only thing he had.

Ziggy didn't seem to hear him as he continued. "Do we mean that little to you?" he asked. "That you would just up and leave, not say a word? No goodbye, no nice to know you? Not even give us the chance to try and stop you?" Ziggy's voice lowered into a whisper. "I don't know why I expected something else. You're always so selfish."

Something in his words made Dillon snap. He walked forward and grabbed Ziggy's shoulders to make him stop talking. "I couldn't hurt you!" He shouted, shaking him roughly. "I had to get out of here before I lost control again! I couldn't let that happen, not when you were around!" He stopped abruptly, letting him go and turning away from Ziggy's wide, shocked eyes. "You aren't safe when I'm here." he whispered.

"Don't you get it?" Ziggy demanded, his voice heated. "I'm only safe when you're here!"

The words froze him in place. Ziggy couldn't believe that. He heard Ziggy approaching him but he didn't turn around. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you Dillon." Ziggy told him. "Who brought me in from the Wasteland? Who got me out of prison? Who trusted me to be a Ranger? You did. You take care of me Dillon. You've always taken care of me."

Dillon turned back towards him. Ziggy was closer to him than he'd thought and the proximately forced Ziggy to look up at him with wide, pleading eyes. "I can't..." Dillon whispered, staring down at him. "I can't lose you Zig." Before he realized it, one of his hands had come up and was running lightly over the soft skin of Ziggy's cheek. "You're all I have."

Ziggy tilted his head into the light caress, still staring up at Dillon with bright brown eyes. "You're all I've got too," He whispered, sharing the sentiment. "That's why you can't leave me, you hear? I wouldn't know what to do if you left."

"You're not like me Ziggy. You can't take a beating like I can. What happens when I lose control next time? I'm going to hurt you." He whispered, trying to convince him, trying to make him understand. He was dangerous. He could hurt him. He could kill him. The thought terrified him.

The Green Ranger shook his head. "You're right, I can't take a beating. That's why I need you here. You're my partner, you watch my back. Hell, you watch my front too. What do you think would happen to me if you left?"

Ziggy would keep fighting, just like the rest of them. But unlike the others he didn't have the training to fight very well. Dillon could almost see it; Ziggy all beat up because he hadn't been there to help him, to protect him. He felt sick again. He couldn't let that happen.

His hand moved from Ziggy's cheek to slip into his hair and he tugged the boy closer. "Not again." he muttered, leaning down. "I won't leave you ever again." He sealed his words by pressing his lips against Ziggy's. Ziggy melted into the kiss, his arms reaching up to wrap around his neck. The younger Ranger's lips were soft against Dillon's and his body fit perfectly against his own. He had a strange comforting scent, like a forest after a rainstorm. Kissing Ziggy, having the boy pressed against him like he did, it felt right. More right than anything he'd ever done.

They pulled away slowly, Dillon immediately missing the contact. Ziggy's eyes fluttered open to stare up at him, bright and alive. And there was something there...something that looked strangely Dillon felt his breath catch as he stared down at Ziggy. Ziggy...loved him? He wasn't sure he deserved that. But still, there Ziggy was, standing right in front of him, his arms wrapped around his neck, looking at him with such warmth. He moved his arms down to Ziggy's waist and crushed the boy to him. "I don't deserve you." he whispered, his breath ghosting across Ziggy's ear.

Ziggy shivered at the sensation, leaning against Dillon and trusting him to support him. "Maybe, maybe not. You still have me." He paused briefly, his breath catching in his throat before he whispered. "Dillon I...I think I'm in love with you Dillon."

The Black Ranger pulled back to stare at him. For a long moment neither spoke. Then Dillon leaned down and caught Ziggy's lips again, harder this time. Ziggy immediately responded, pressing himself even closer to Dillon than he already was.

With deft fingers, Dillon guided Ziggy back until they both tumbled down on the bed. Ziggy pulled back, a short laugh bursting from his lips. His eyes looked relieved. Dillon pulled back and stared down at him. His thoughts from earlier came back as he did so, causing him to smile. He was right. Ziggy looked good spread out across his bed, like he belonged there. He leaned down to whisper in the boy's ear. "I love you, Ziggy Grover."

Another laugh, relieved and happy, tumbled past Ziggy's lips as the boy looked up at him. "I'm glad." Ziggy whispered, pulling him back down.

Dillon wasn't going to try to leave again. Not unless Ziggy came with him. He wasn't leaving Ziggy alone. He'd protect him.