Disclaimer: Characters and situations are the property of Ranger Productions, Ltd, BVE, Disney, and Jetix. No copyright infringement is intended.

Authors' Notes: Happy (late) Birthday to MadKrazyGhetto

Conflicting Duties
by Beth Epstein and Selma McCrory

c 2006 (but not meant to subsume the copyrights of Disney or its subsidiaries)

"I hate unpacking boxes," Vida moaned as the fivesome struggled with Toby's latest shipment.

"We can't use magic," Nick said, cutting a box open with an X-acto knife. "Toby will be back any second."

"I think he maybe suspects something anyway," Chip said, "He's been looking at us rather strangely lately."

"Sure that's not just you?" Nick grinned.

"Pretty sure," Chip said, lifting a trio of records out before starting on the CDs.

"I'm surprised he didn't pick up on it earlier," Madison said. "Thank goodness for small favors."

"It would help if we didn't all go running out of here at once," Nick said.

"You quitting?" Xander said. "I'm not."

"Maybe we could convince Toby to hire more..."

The other four laughed.

"Seriously," Vida said, schooling her face, "I think he does suspect."

Madison nodded, agreeing with her sister. "I wish sometimes that Toby wasn't stuck without a staff every time there's an emergency."

"Like there's a huge hoard of customers when there's a monster on the loose," Xander said, reaching for a magazine.

Nick handed him a stack of CDs, pointing him at the Pop section.

"Still, it must look pretty awful, us ditching him at odd times," Madison said, shifting nervously.

"Hey, he doesn't always notice," Xander said. "That's what I like about him."

"He is willing to forgive a lot," Chip added.

"Remember that time I cracked a whole case of CD covers?" Vida asked.

"How did that happen?" Nick asked. He wasn't sure why, but he loved hearing about the gang's adventures before he'd moved to Briarwood. Maybe he just missed having a normal life.

"I wasn't watching where I was putting it down," Vida admitted. "Thankfully, Toby was there and he basically just let it go."

"He's a really cool boss," Chip said, "I'm just glad we're here and not the McDonald's down the street."

"Yeah," Madison agreed. "It's just... that's what makes me feel guilty about abandoning him in a monster attack."

"What do you want to do, let Morticon's minions destroy the city?" Nick asked, logically.

"No," Madison said.

"Which brings us back to Xander's suggestion," Nick said.

"Not much we can do about the abandoning thing," Xander said, shrugging as he loaded CDs were they belonged. "Just have to do what we're supposed to do."

Madison sighed, straightening the rack of CDs she'd just finished restocking. "I know, I know, but...

"Better Toby, who'd probably think it was cool that his employees were saving the world," Xander reminded her.

"Yes, but he might want to brag about it," Nick said.

The other four shook their heads. "We shouldn't tell him," Chip said, "but I'm pretty sure Toby wouldn't rat us out. He *hates* the press. We're not sure why, but I doubt he'd tell a soul, knowing what would happen."

"Would explain why this shop is the best-kept secret in town," Nick said.

"Hey, the true music lovers know it's there," Xander said. "'Sides, what did Toby say one time? A truly great shop doesn't need to advertise."

"The best publicity is word of mouth," Madison added.

"Just the way Toby likes it," Vida responded. "Wouldn't have it any other way."

"HIs biggest fear in life is becoming a faceless megastore," Madison added.

"FYE, Sam Goody, and Best Buy are his mortal enemies," Chip added.

"Yeah, he had to go into Best Buy for... something..." Xander paused, biting his lip.

"New dishwasher," Vida prompted.

"Yeah, that was it. You should have heard him coming back and ranting about how little their staff actually knew!"

Nick grinned. "Imagine if he only knew...."

"Knew what?" Toby asked as he entered the store.

"Nothing," the five said in unison.

Toby eyed them suspiciously.

Nick's stomach lurched. How much had he heard?

"Xander's actually working, should I be worried?" Toby asked.

"Nah," Vida said. "We keep him in line." She moved as carefree as she could for someone whose secret had potentially been found out.

"What she said," Madison added, putting some CDs away.

"You usually don't," Toby said.

"I've mastered the secret of Xander, Toby," Nick said, winking.

"I feel motivated," Xander said, over-enthusiastically shelving another pile of CDs.

Toby eyed his employees skeptically. "All right, carry on then." And he went into his office.

The Rangers breathed a collective sigh of relief.

"'I've mastered the secret of Xander'," Xander repeated. "Nick, do you know what he must be thinking?"

"That I have good people skills?"

Xander muttered something under his breath. Madison giggled.

"What?" Nick asked.

Their morphers beeped.

"Here we go again," Madison said.

Nick stuck his head in, informing Toby that they were going on their break.

And then they ran out, off to save the world again.

-End

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