Notes: Originally written Feb 2013 and posted at AO3.
Weight of the World
She remembers how she'd begged and begged, on her tenth birthday, for one single thing. But Mom, it's Cassandra. But Mom, she's only in town one night. But Mom, she's my favorite; please, Mom. She is indulged; her father braving the line of screaming pre-teens beside her, her mother buying all the CD's.
Always and forever, Cassandra Chan is Emma's favorite of all the pop idols. Years after it's cool, a framed photo of her hangs on Emma's wall, signed in looping script.
Always have faith in yourself. Fly high.
Murmuring the words, Emma tries her best.
A generation ago, there had been another Yellow Tiger. Two, maybe. This team remains unmasked; no one knows for sure. Gia learns the facts by rote in elementary school, but there's much she doesn't know. Her unpolished knowledge weighs heavily on her.
"What if I'm not smart enough?" she worries to Emma, who listens and reverently strokes her hair. "This isn't a test I can retake. What if I let them down?"
"There's strength in you," Emma says. "I see it, even if you don't, and we're meant to be a team."
Seeking comfort, finding faith, Gia leans into her.
His first soccer coach is a well-muscled man with brown skin and an easy smile. All Jake knows then is that this man, one of the best soccer players in California, coaches this kid's team for sheer love of the sport.
He puts Jake through his paces relentlessly, again and again. Jake idolizes him while dreading the next practice, until the day he strolls onto the field and the moves come with easy grace.
He is determined that being a Ranger will one day come so naturally, and rises early to drill himself.
He thinks Carlos would be proud.
Troy dreams of battles he's only read about in detail he shouldn't know and wakes up trembling. He dreams of plummeting downward while his zord is aflame around him and wakes with a gasp, dreams of his teammates falling in battle and wakes up drenched in sweat.
But Troy dreams too of things that have already come to pass, dreams of friendships made, families reunited and love found, and he dreams a future in which all the guardians of the world come together in flesh and spirit to battle united against their enemies and secure the safety of all humankind.
Noah believes, because he has seen—or, rather, his mother speaks of it and he has seen the TV footage, and he dreams he remembers rubble and bitter mouthfuls of smoky air. The memories dance at the peripherals of his mind, memories of the early years of his life spent in a town named Angel Grove.
His earliest memory is one of monsters who were beaten back by men and women and magic and technology, and he knows that there are impossible wonders in this world and beyond.
And so, he believes in aliens and robots and many things besides.