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prelude to parenthood

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Tori wonders if Sensei can find a way to ban Dustin from life. If only to spare her from having to live her whole life with her face in her palms.

It’s a nice sunny day, warm breezes, good surf. The perfect day for chilling, no shenanigans or Lothar’s monsters.

Then Dustin walks into base with a swaddle of cloth and Shane hot on his heels.

Tori wonders why stupid things happen to good people like her and starts contacting the necessary authorities.

It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion and the literal baby isn’t strapped in.

Dustin and Shane take on the mantle of the adoptive dad’s (Tori shut’s down any suggestion of being mum quickly), there’s a fight over naming the child. It goes something like ‘Dude’---- ‘no we can’t call it dude’----‘we are not naming this precious little dude Glenn, what a stupid name’ The argument ends when Cam, who seems reasonably resigned to watching the chaos unfold, points out the stitching on the child’s bib, that says ‘Ruth’. Which leads to ‘HA told you we can’t call it Dude because it’s not even a boy’ which leads to an argument over dude as a non-gendered term.

Ruth watches with wide eye’s as everyone fights over her and then promptly falls asleep. Unaware of the world that’s about to unfold for her.

Blake and Hunter walk in to the base two hours later, muddy from motocross and mid banter which falls into a confused hush when they take in the sight before them.

Dustin and Shane are cooed over a makeshift crib, Tori’s at Cam’s computer tapping away on random websites, and Cam has an exasperated face and a camera in hand.  Blake and Hunter have spent their lives relying on the generosity and act of found family and take to baby Ruth like a duck to water.

It takes about three days (and Tori finding nothing regarding where baby Ruth comes from) for everything to settle into familiarity. Familiarity in a way that only the students of the Wind Ninja academy could achieve.

Dustin tries to be a good dad to baby Ruth, but he can barely parent his own ass at the best of times. Which is where Shane comes in, and as much as he’s a good red ranger, parenting isn’t his forte either. The both act as baby Ruth’s two dads, dancing around their own feelings for each other (or as Tori remarks to Cam, ‘two bumbling idiots unaware they are in fact, in love) to take care of Ruth. Dustin for all his loveable down falls as a father, is pretty good at changing a diaper. And while Shane sometimes seems scary, he’s adept at making Ruth and by extension Dustin, laugh and giggle.

Sensei watches on with happy eyes, or as happy as his guinea pig form allows him to look. At the team he assembled, and there little adoptive baby. There’s hesitation on Shane (and Tori and Hunter and Blake’s) part to leave Ruth with Sensei when they go out to fight. But Cam reassures and say’s his dad is a good enough at parenting, he didn’t turn out all that wrong (give or take). Dustin is all for it, with a ‘the guys a guinea pig yet could still kick all our asses, its more will Ruth survive him’.

Tori mulls over the fact that Dustin and Shane have gone from hapless idiots to domesticated idiots with the smallest intrusions into there life. But then she finds out Shane had taken baby Ruth skateboarding, strapped in a baby carrier against his chest. He only does basic trips and no ramps or anything, but she nearly kills him when she finds out (and wonders how and why she got so invested in the baby that doesn’t belong to them and she really needs to find the home off). Dustin laughs at Shane’s torment, but looks mildly guilty at Tori’s accusing pointer fingers. He get’s one of his learning trikes from home, and puts Ruth on that, she can’t do anything as she’s too small for her feet to reach the pedals, but it’s a cute image.

Cam has been putting himself at a distance from Ruth, not in the way Tori has, but he has spent time being resigned to the team’s ownership of a small living thing (as he constantly reminds them). Until two weeks after Dustin finds Ruth, he springs into the main section of the base from his room, still in pyjamas with crazy bed hair, looking disorientated and panicky. Yelping when he sees whose holding Ruth and sweeping her up and out of Blake’s arms. He coo’s over her all sleep rumpled for an hour, no one questions it. Hunter finds out later on Blake’s behalf, what happened. (A very intense nightmare, in which Blake took the baby on a skydive. Hunter thinks he breaks his stomach with how hard he’s laughing. ‘My brothers stupid but not that stupid’, Cam still looks unsure).

Hunter himself seems not to useful with the baby, a little afraid of her. He’s also somehow the only one out of all of them to nearly drop her, saved by Sensei’s quick instincts (‘Told you he was suitable!’ is Dustin’s yelp). Blake doesn’t, much to Cam’s relief, take Ruth skydiving, but he does take her on long strolls. Normally to the beach, where Tori’s surfing. And they sit, with an appropriate amount of sunscreen, and watch Tori surf.

All of them are enamoured with baby Ruth. She’s precious and perfect and there actually doing an alright job with raising her. It’s been two months since they’ve found her and all their hearts are beating fast when they come back from beating the monster of the week, into the base to find Sensei and Ruth aren’t alone.

Ruth belongs to two Thunder Ninja’s, who ended up in a bit of a pickle and knew they needed to send the baby somewhere safe, somewhere like the Wind Ninja Academy. They let the team have parting goodbyes to Ruth, and don’t say anything when Dustin shed’s tears (or the fact his goodbye is entirely ‘go go ga ga’ baby talk).

And when, the next time they come back from a mission, which goes not to great due to the big ‘I miss Ruth’ vibes. They find Sensei holding a frame that’s bigger than him, with a picture of all of them and baby Ruth. It eases the pain a little, as do Sensei’s wise words. ‘At least she had a great adventure with all of you and was safe from any harm… or at least any real-world harm, poor Ruth stuck with Dustin for a dad’.  ‘Hey! I was a good dad’. ‘Sureeeeee dude you tell yourself that’ ‘Well at least she didn’t go skateboarding’…..