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Keeping it Simple

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"I love you."

Aliyah bit her lip as she stepped through the trapdoor leading to Ninja Ops. It had been several days since she had last seen Hunter, to say she had been avoiding him would've been an understatement. But ever since his confession during their last hook up she had needed time alone. Time to collect her thoughts and feelings.

Did she love him? Could she love him? The last person she had loved had thrown it back at her after several months of dating. It was after that fiasco that she had decided to never fall in love again. Hooking up seemed much safer. As long as she was careful nothing bad could ever come from hooking up.

At least, that's what she had thought.

When she had first met Hunter, Aliyah didn't think anything would come of their relationship. She especially didn't think that she'd ever hook up with him. My God, she hated him so much. They couldn't stay in the same room as one another without trying to rip each other's heads off. She could never explain what it was about Hunter Bradley that got her so riled up, but the fact remained that he did make their whole 'relationship' that more fun.

Arguing masked their flirting, while hating masked their feelings. But it had all blown way out of control. What had started out as harmless hookups had turned into something serious, and it had happened way too fast for Aliyah's liking, She couldn't like Hunter, it went against everything she wanted. She didn't want a constant thing, she wanted spontaneous, and, above all else, she didn't want to get hurt.

But just because she hadn't had wanted it to happen, didn't stop it from happening. During their hookups feelings had changed from lust to love, and Hunter had decided enough was enough. He wanted something more, he wanted something concrete, something that would last. Aliyah couldn't blame him, but she just wished that she didn't feel the same.

Heaving a heavy sigh, Aliyah stepped off the last step and followed the short pathway to the door leading into Ninja Ops. She could hear the others already there. There had been no attack today, Lothor had been quiet for some time now, but Ninja Ops seemed to have become the Rangers 'hangout' spot. It was either here, hidden deep beneath the recovering grounds of the Wind Ninja Academy, a place where they could be themselves, or at Storm Chargers, a place where they had to hide their true identities because of civilian life.

Tori spotted Aliyah first and offered her a small smile.

Aliyah returned it and entered the room. Hunter had his back to her. This had was going to be the first time they had seen each other face-to-face since his revelation of truth, and she wasn't entirely sure how she was going to respond. She'd had enough time to think of her choices, and given that she was here and had not decided to run like she initially wanted, was a good sign.

"Hey, look what the cat -," Dustin cut off as Aliyah bypassed him, grabbed Hunter's arm, turned him around, and grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling his lips to hers.

A hushed silence fell throughout Ninja Ops. The other rangers exchanged surprised but awkward looks, but it seemed neither Hunter nor Aliyah cared who was present at the given time.

After processing what was happening. Hunter wound his arms around Aliyah's waist, holding her close and started to kiss back.

Shane scratched the back of his neck and looked around at the others. He nodded towards the exit, indicating that they should leave before things got heated, or worse. The others nodded and quickly left, closing the wall and locking both Hunter and Aliyah in with one another.

After a while, the pair pulled away.

Aliyah opened her eyes and met Hunter's gaze.

"What was that for?" Hunter asked.

"You're right," said Aliyah. "I do tend to make things more complicated than they need to be, which is why I tried to make this as simple as possible."

"Make what as simple as possible?"

Aliyah smiled and rested her forehead against his, looking up into his eyes.

"I love you, too."