Disclaimer: Characters and situations are the property of BVE and Village Roadshow Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author's note: This is set after Return of Thunder Part 3 and before Part 4.
First in a series of fluff fic.

Team Bonding I: Story Scrolls

by Beth Epstein

Shane stretched. "I think we're up for a moviefest after that adventure."

"Ooh, yeah, but can we try to skip the bad movies this time?" Dustin asked.

"You guys coming?" Tori asked Blake and Hunter.

"Ok," Blake said, before Hunter had a chance to say anything.

"You joining us this time, Cam?" Shane asked.

"No, thank you," Cam said. "I can do without the John Hughes angst I heard you and Dustin griping so much about."

"We're not letting Tori pick the movies again," Dustin said. "Ow."

Tori smiled at him sweetly.

"So what are we getting?" Blake asked, before Tori and Dustin's little tussle turned into fisticuffs.

Blake and the Winds started making plans. Hunter watched for a moment, then, seeing they were occupied, he sank to a kneel at the Ninja Ops table, taking deep, calming breaths.

"You all right, Hunter?" Cam asked. Then winced. Of course Hunter wasn't all right. Cam sat down, changing tactics. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"I'm fine," Hunter said shortly.

"Should I get Blake over here to decide that?" Cam threatened.

"No. Leave him out of this. He's been through enough," Hunter said, voice getting louder than he intended with each syllable.

"Hunter?" Blake asked.

"I'm cool, bro," Hunter said without turning. The expression on his face indicating he was anything but.

"It's not your fault," Cam said gently.

"I should've been able to stop myself," Hunter said quietly, glancing to make sure Blake and the others were still occupied.

"More experienced Ninjas than you have been forced to do horrible things under those kinds of spells," Cam said, "usually with much less... favorable results."

Hunter looked at Cam incredulously. "Really?"

Cam got up and selected a scroll from the Ninja Ops archive. "Here, read this."

Hunter obeyed, skimming through it to relevant sections. "Man, I'm lucky Blake got through to me." He read further, looking for the name of the Ninja who had written the account-- a Ninja that had been forced to destroy his own brother. "This... he..."

"...founded the Thunder Ninja Academy," Cam finished.

"How'd this end up here?"

"We have some redundancy with the Thunder Academy. Probably a lucky thing too," Cam said.

Hunter nodded. The Thunder Academy's scrolls weren't kept in an underground command center. They were in Lothor's ship with everything else now.

Hunter mulled the whole thing over. Then looked gratefully at Blake, who was obliviously chatting with the Wind Rangers and making googly eyes at Tori when he thought she wasn't looking.

"Was it me or him?" Hunter wondered out loud.

"The combination," Cam said. "You two are really close, that allowed Blake to get through to you."

"Dude, if I didn't know better, I'd say you sounded wistful," Hunter said.

"Only child syndrome," Cam deadpanned.

Hunter chuckled, and glanced at Blake. "There are times I'd be willing to trade places with you. But right now isn't one of them."

Cam smiled.

Dustin walked over and clapped Hunter on the shoulder. "Come on, dude, we've got to get to Storm Chargers before Kelly decides to wring our necks."

"Right," Hunter said, getting up. "Thanks Cam."

"What were you thanking Cam for?" Blake asked quietly as the five Rangers filed out of Ninja Ops.

"He showed me something interesting," Hunter replied evasively, putting an arm around Blake's shoulders.

The End

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