[Title] Have A Little Faith In Me
[Author] Alexandra Oliver
[Rating] PG or PG-13
[Timeline] About an hour after the end of the previous chapter
[Disclaimer] I do NOT own Power Rangers or any of the characters except for Paige Adams.
[Summary] Marah's betrayal has a lasting effect on the Yellow Wind Ranger. Will an old friend of the Bradleys be able to break through the walls Dustin built around his heart and prove herself worthy of his trust?
[Author's Note] All About Beevil is my favorite episode of Power Rangers Ninja Storm and I've seen it plenty of times. Dustin is my favorite Ranger too. Hmmm, yeah! I decided to write like a crazy madwoman so enjoy!
~ Gotta thank hartfelt yet again…thanks to her, this fic is history! Finished, done, the end, la fin! Whoooooooo! Oh yeah, baby!
~ Okay, SuRfgUrL1, it's not the fluffy ending you wanted...but I decided this would work so much better with what I have planned for my epic fic!
*****NO flames, just constructive criticism, please. I'm always open to suggestions but I ignore senseless bashing. I believe writing is an art and should be respected no matter what.
[Chapter 7] Quest For The Eagle - Part II
As the pair of Ninjas reached the end of the path they had been walking on, they found themselves standing in front of a gate.
"After the emotional hell I've been through…that Eagle Zord better be on the other side," Paige said with a hint of frustration in her tired-sounding voice.
Dustin pulled his hand out of hers, approached the gate and turned to face Paige. "C'mon! Let's open this bad boy!"
As the twosome went to open the gate, the pair of rock creatures guarding the gate came to life and attacked. The two Ninjas rolled out of the way and were soon engaged in battle.
"Whoa!" Dustin called out as he ran up the cliff, "It's a shame they don't cure ugly!" He managed to lure the monster up the cliff and send him flying into the lake at the bottom after an intense fight.
Paige seemed to be keeping up with her opponent but couldn't shake it loose. All of a sudden, she felt herself grow stronger. She unleashed her strongest kick, propelling the rock creature all the way into the gate, causing it to crumble.
The gate before them swung open and a golden glow surrounded them.
"Young Thunder Ranger, please step forward," a woman's voice announced, "For the final phase of your mission, you must go on by yourself."
Paige looked at Dustin and said, "This is it…"
"I'm not going anywhere. Do what you have to do."
"Thanks for the help…I'll see ya on the outside!" She grinned playfully at Dustin before walking towards the golden light.
As Dustin watched Paige disappear into the light and the gates close in front of him, a part of him was nervous but he could feel her soothing energy from a distance.
As Paige walked on towards the source of the light, she felt that there was something oddly familiar about the woman speaking to her. She noticed a majestic statue of an eagle in front of her and stopped to admire it.
"I'm so glad you made it, Amariyah," the same woman's voice said.
"But my name is Paige," the startled girl said as she faced the woman behind her.
"Yes, it is, in the Thunder Ninja Academy registrar," the woman explained, "We had to change your name to protect you from Lothor."
As Paige approached the stranger, she found her green eyes looking back at her, just as they had when her younger self was looking at her. "Are you my…"
"Yes, I am your mother, Amalda Stormwilder."
Paige looked at her in utter disbelief. "This is so unreal…"
"You hold the key in your heart to unlock the Eagle that once flew free to protect the universe…you have already proven yourself worthy of such power but there is one last test for you to pass before you can control your mighty Zord."
"You mean...those illusions were a test? You and my father getting attacked by Lothor, the cabin with my younger self...that was all there to test me?" Paige asked.
"The first illusion was to test your sense of duty...just as I expected, you were quickly ready to help. When the headache occured, I realized there was a glitch in that part of the test but you proved to me that you had not been using your Talent for selfish reasons. Accepting you still have limitations despite your highly special skill was a lesson you needed to learn and Dustin was a great help."
"Yeah, Dustin..." Paige's voice faded away as she spoke. She paused then added in a stronger controlled voice, "What about the children? Why did I see younger versions of me, Hunter and Blake?"
"I had to see if you were ready to let go of the past...and it was clear to me that you were ready and that there's someone you want to share the future with. You would not have snapped out of the trance unless you really wanted to and when Dustin's kiss occured, it was enough to bring you back."
"I don't know if I appreciate this matchmaking from the grave...Amalda," Paige said coolly, "But I assure you that there's nothing going on with me and Dustin."
"All right then, prove it. I will release the Eagle Zord to you once you prove to me that you do not feel anything towards your travelling companion, that the connection I know exists between the both of you is not as deep as I had expected."
Paige's eyes widened at the challenge. "That's it? I get my Zord after that? Piece of cake!" She grinned widely then added, "All right, I'm ready. How do I prove that I don't have a romantic connection with Dustin?"
Amalda pointed to a floating door behind her. "All you have to do is step into The Chamber of Truth. Afterwards, you must decide whether you want the life you've dreamed of as a child...at the expense of young Dustin. All you have to do is explore The Chamber, then make your decision...but then again, it's already been made, hasn't it? Since you don't really care for Dustin, you'll pick your dream life, right?"
"I never said I didn't care for him...just not in a romantic sense!" Paige defended herself, "That wasn't a fair assumption!"
"Well, we'll just see about that! The Chamber of Truth will help you show me what is truly in your heart," Amalda told Paige.
Paige nodded. She walked over to the door, opened it and stepped into the Chamber of Truth.
"Don't worry about it, Champ! Just don't forget that he always leaves his right side open and vulnerable to attacks."
"No matter what happens, honey, we're still proud of you!"
Paige took a look around and recognized that she was on the grounds of the Wind Ninja Academy. She looked up at the adults talking to her and realized that she was standing between her mother and her father, who seemed so tall to her.
"All you have to do is step into The Chamber of Truth. Afterwards, you must decide whether you want the life you've always dreamed of as a child...at the expense of young Dustin."
As she listened to Amalda's voice reply in her head, she finally put all the pieces together...she was living her 12 year-old self's dream life, the happy family and all. She noticed the banner hung up in front of the Academy's main building. The Twenty-Fifth Annual Tri-Ninja Skills And Combat Competition...
"Thanks, Mom, Dad..." she finally said, "I'll do my best."
"It's all we can ask of you, darling," her father replied.
"The competitors for the final round of the Unarmed Combat Tournament in the Advanced division are Amariyah Stormwilder from the Thunder Ninja Academy and Dustin Brooks from the Wind Ninja Academy," Sensei Amano announced.
Paige slowly stepped onto the fighting arena and found herself face-to-face with the younger version of Dustin, who seemed sad and distracted while being completely serious and focused, ready to win.
"Shake hands, you two," Sensei Amano instructed.
Paige took Dustin's hand and smiled. "Good luck!"
"Thanks," he said softly.
"All right, fighting position! Go!"
Paige tried to remember her moves from back in the day. She swiftly dodged a kick and attacked with a flurry of punches. "What the hell is going on? This isn't the way Dustin fights..."
She knew something was wrong right off the bat. She knew Dustin's fighting style and it wasn't it. Even as a child, every Ninja has a distinct fighting style that can only be improved over time, not changed completely.
Dustin did a back handspring to avoid Paige's attack and began a combination sequence that almost knocked her over backwards. She quickly sprung back and used a reverse roundhouse kick, knocking her opponent off-balance.
"Point, Stormwilder!" Sensei Amano announced.
The match went on and soon they were tied at 4 points apiece. As they battled for the last point, Paige sighed, trying to figure out what was going on. "My parents are here...okay, what's the trade-off? I know it has something to do with Dustin...but what is it?"
Without thinking, Paige put a little extra power in her front kick and threw Dustin off-balance again, causing him to slide on the ground.
"Match, Stormwilder!" Sensei Amano announced, raising Paige's hand up in the air.
Dustin congratulated her with a cold tone of voice and walked away, reminding Paige of the first time she had met him on Blue Bay Point. She got off the arena to find her parents, still trying to figure out what Amalda was trying to tell her. Before she knew it, her parents grabbed her and wrapped her in hugs.
"We're so proud of you, Reeya!" her mother exclaimed, "You did so well!"
"C'mon, honey, let's go celebrate!" her father added with a wide smile.
Paige noticed a yellow streak zoom by and she had a feeling she knew where it was headed. "Uh, mom, dad, can I meet you guys at the Blue Lagoon Restaurant? You know, the one with the big red lobster sign we drove by on the way here?"
"Why? What's wrong?" her mother asked her with a concerned tone of voice.
"I just wanna catch up with the Bradleys for a bit..." Paige said, lying to her parents.
"Okay, but be discreet with your Ninja powers," her father warned her.
Paige nodded and headed in the direction she saw the blur but was stopped by Hunter and Blake, who had been competing earlier that day and had stuck around to watch her.
"You totally kicked butt out there!" Blake exclaimed.
"Your Thunder Blade techniques were a little off," Paige teased her Asian friend, who competed in the Advanced division of the Weapons Skills event, "Second place when you should have been first!"
"Yeah, how do you feel being surrounded by champions?" Hunter said, joining in on the teasing. The older of the Bradley brothers won the Junior division of the Unarmed Combat Tournament.
"Shut it, you two!" Blake exclaimed.
"I gotta go, you guys," Paige said quickly.
"What are you up to?" Blake asked, grabbing her arm to prevent her from leaving.
"Why are you still fixated with that Wind Ninja kid?" Hunter exclaimed, "He's all brooding and whatnot...ever since he lost his parents two years ago, he's been all depressed and sad and whatever. You've had this crush on him since we started going to the S&C Competition every year! Why don't you just drop it?"
"WHAT?" Paige exclaimed, "What are you talking about?"
"You're going to follow that Brooks kid again!" Blake said with an accusatory tone.
"Okay, so in this life, I have a crush on Dustin...weird! Did Hunter say he was brooding? This is getting weirder and weirder by the minute!" Paige sighed as she said, "So what if I am?" Hunter and Blake didn't answer. "That's what I thought," she stated firmly.
Without waiting for an answer, she streaked off. Following Dustin's Wind Ninja energy, Paige finally found him where she thought he might go, Blue Bay Point. He was standing there alone, just where his older self had been standing when she first met him.
"Hi," she said as she stood behind him.
Dustin turned around and snapped, "What are you doing here?"
"I was taking a walk and I thought I heard a noise," Paige explained.
"Wait a sec! Aren't you the girl who beat me earlier? Amariyah Stormwilder?"
After hesitating for a quick second, Paige replied, "Uh...yeah, that's me...you put up a great fight!"
"Thanks...why are you here?"
Paige let out a sigh as she felt Dustin's gaze on her. "I'm here because I...uh...I don't know...I was just walking and I saw you. I've seen you in competition but we never got a chance to just say hi. You never really talk."
"Listen, I saw you before our match, talking to your parents and being all happy. Some of us don't have that luxury. I've seen you with your parents every year for the past three years...I just...so if you wanna know why I never say hi to any of the competitors, especially those who have their families, that's why."
Paige bit her lip. "Well...I gotta go...but..."
"Just go. I don't need your sympathy."
Before Paige could do anything, her surroundings disappeared and she went back to her regular age. She found herself in a white room with the floating door in front of her. She opened it and stepped back into the real world.
"So that's the trade-off? My parents for Dustin's?" Paige exclaimed as she burst through the door and arrived in front of Amalda.
"Don't sound so upset..." Amalda said, "I thought you didn't care much for Dustin..."
"He...he was betrayed...but...things were rough but I couldn't have made it here without him." After a pause for dramatic effect, Paige added angrily, "You don't even know me so don't even try to make assumptions about me."
"Does this mean you've made a decision?"
Paige growled softly to express her frustration. "This is so wrong, you know! How could you make me choose something like this?" she whined, "You don't understand...knowing that my choice will hurt someone, especially someone like Dustin...I can't do it. You didn't see the pain in his eyes..."
"You must make a decision. You can choose to prove you don't care about Dustin to free your Eagle Zord or decide to leave empty-handed."
"If I have to choose now, I'm leaving empty-handed!" Paige exclaimed, "I can't do this to Dustin!"
"Are you sure that is your final decision?" Amalda asked her.
"Definitely. I don't need a Zord...it took me long enough to gain Dustin's trust and his friendship. I'm not gonna knowingly hurt him. It's just wrong!"
Amalda watched as Paige walked towards the gate she came from earlier then when she disappeared out of sight, she turned to the Eagle statue and zapped it with a white beam, releasing it from its protective rock shell. "You did well, Amariyah…I knew you would make the right decision."
Paige walked through the gate and after a long walk, she was back where she had left Dustin, who was sitting on a rock with a pensive look on his face. She decided to sit down next to him.
"Pssst, what are you thinking?" she whispered softly to him.
Dustin looked at her and smiled. "I was just thinking about you."
Paige could feel herself blush as she said, "Well…I was thinking about you too."
"So how did it go?" he asked gently, "Did you get it? Did you free your Eagle Zord?"
Paige shook her head. "I couldn't do it…" She paused before adding, "I saw my mother…she was asking too much of me."
"Your mother? What did she ask you to do?"
"She asked me to change my past…and yours."
Dustin looked confused, intrigued and concerned at the same time. "And you didn't do it?"
"No…she gave me a taste of what it would be like if she and my father hadn't died…but when I saw how it affected you, I couldn't…not after you helped me with this quest." Paige took a deep breath then added, "The trade-off was your parents for mine. I thought about it…but I couldn't do that to you."
"I'm sorry it had to come down to that," Dustin said quietly as he wrapped her in a hug, "I guess it's my fault you didn't get your Zord."
Paige pulled away and assured him, "Don't worry, Dustin…I made a choice. I chose to give the Zord up…I know the pain of not having parents…I couldn't have you go through that. Besides, we wouldn't even be friends if that happened. Everything happens for a reason and everything has led to this. I realized that your friendship means more to me than having that hunk of metal."
"I'm sorry about everything that's happened between us at first," Dustin replied, "Your friendship's important to me too. Seeing you go through your emotional highs and lows…it made me realize that I can't hold on to painful memories…"
A white ball of light appeared in front of them and Amalda Stormwilder's form stood before them.
"It seems as though you have learned something very important, young lady," Amalda stated.
"I have, trust me…I have two perfectly good parents already. Why would it matter if they were my biological parents or not? They raised me and helped me become who I am today. I couldn't selfishly take that away from Dustin…"
"Good…because I have a surprise for you."
Dustin and Paige watched as a golden blur flew over their heads and landed next to Amalda. The Gold Eagle Zord appeared before them, standing majestically and glowing brightly.
"But…I…uh…okay…how?" Paige managed to say.
"I'm sorry I even suggested that you make such a decision but I had to test your purity of heart and your selflessness. It is clear to me that you are deserving of your Zord."
The Eagle Zord turned into a golden blur, which then zoomed right into Paige's morpher.
"We gotta go, Ama…Mom," Paige said, after giving her a hug, "I'll never forget you."
"Remember that I sacrificed my life to make sure you live a happy life…and I love you."
The two Ninjas watched as Amalda's form vanished right in front of them.
"Are you okay?" Dustin said quietly as they walked down the path towards their destination.
"Uh huh…" Paige replied, "That was intense...I just wanna go home and take a nap."
"WHOAAAAA!" Shane yelled out as he tried to keep the Storm Megazord from falling with Tori. They had gotten blasted by another one of Lothor's goons.
"Guys, we're in serious trouble," Cam said from the Samurai Star Megazord.
"We gotta hang on!" Hunter said as he and Blake continued to fight off the monster in the Thunder Megazord, "Paige and Dustin'll be back soon."
As the three Zords continued to fight, missiles hit the monster they were fighting.
"Hey, guys, brought a little help," Dustin announced after jumping into the Storm Megazord.
"Hey, everyone!" Paige exclaimed from her Eagle Zord, "Guess who made it?"
" That's great!" Hunter exclaimed, "So what does that bad boy do?"
"It has a warrior mode and it becomes the armor for the Thunder Megazord."
"Great!" Blake said, "C'mon, let's do it!"
"Super Thunder Megazord formation, activated!" Paige exclaimed.
With the new and improved Thunder Megazord, the Storm Megazord and the Samurai Star Megazord attacked the monster and defeated it.
After the battle, Tori went surfing and Shane went skateboarding while Cam, Hunter, Blake and Dustin were gathered inside Ninja Ops.
"Hey, did anyone see Paige?" Dustin asked, "I wanted to talk to her about something…"
Hunter handed him his phone. "Read the text message."
Gone home, need nap. Tell Dustin not to worry.
Dustin did as he was told and then asked Hunter, "Should I let her be or call her?"
"I don't know what it was you two went through but I think you should let her be…she's probably more exhausted than she lets on," Blake told him.
Dustin nodded. "All right. I'll see her tomorrow, I guess."
Paige was lying on her bed late that night, trying to make sense of what had happened. Moments played and replayed in her head and it was enough to make her head spin. What stuck out in her mind was the kiss that snapped her out of her trance in the cabin...why did Dustin do that? Was he really just trying to get her to come with him? She wasn't sure how he felt but she was sure her feelings were starting to grow and she wasn't sure how to deal with it. Blake had given her his home number earlier but she wasn't sure whether she would call or not. Then there was the dream...the blood, the violence...and Hunter's voice haunting her. "Don't let love slip away..."
Unable to fall asleep, Paige went over to her desk and turned on her laptop. She went online to type up an e-mail.
To: drcearascott (Dr. Ceara Scott)
From: paigeadams (Paige Adams)
Subject: Headaches and a nightmare...
Remember when you said that I could contact you whenever I needed to? Well...I need you now. My adjustment to the outside world has been great so far...but I've been having intense headaches and I just had a horrible nightmare about my best friend Hunter getting stabbed by the evil space ninja we're fighting named Lothor. Is it possible that I may have a secondary Talent, perhaps maybe precognition? Please reply as soon as possible with some insight. I trust that the doctor-patient confidentiality still applies.
As soon as Paige sent the e-mail, she went back to bed. She figured she would have to try to sleep despite all her thoughts jumbled up in her head...finally, at about 4am, she finally let her eyes close on her...
[Final Author's Note] So that's the end of that! Hopefully, y'all enjoyed this fic! It's only 7 chapters because it's only meant to introduce Paige into the Ninja Storm universe...wait 'til the actual story begins! This is the prequel of sorts to my epic fic, Something Worth Fighting For. It's a Marah/Dustin/Paige triangle with a side of Blake/Tori romance.
~SuRfgUrL1, miz greenleaf and CamFan4Ever - I just want to take the time to thank you guys for reading and reviewing my fic! I'm glad y'all enjoyed the fruits of my labor!
~hartfelt - I can't thank you enough for your help! You totally helped me make my fic rock! I don't think the last two chapters could have turned out the way they did without your help.