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The Sacrifices That We Make

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”What kid wouldn’t want to be a Power Ranger?” “Me. I just wanted to be like Tina Turner.”

The conventional wisdom was that every little kid wanted to be a superhero. That wasn’t always true, and Cassie was living proof of it. While her friends had played as Supergirl or Wonder Woman or the X-Men (and okay, Jubilee was cool, but frankly, Dazzler was better), Cassie had wanted to be Tina Turner. Or Whitney Houston. Or Janet Jackson, or Cyndi Lauper, and for a brief period that she doesn’t want to talk about, Alanis Morrisette.

Then there was the day that the Power Rangers showed up in Angel Grove. Charterville wasn’t that far away from Angel Grove, and even though she was twelve and supposedly too old for superheroes, suddenly all of her friends were obsessed. Comic book shops experienced a newfound popularity, recess was suddenly filled with people talking about which Ranger was their favorite, and instead of lockers covered with pictures of New Kids on the Block, they were all replaced with photos of the Power Rangers.

And any hopes Cassie had of starting an all-girl Garage Band went out the door when the Green Ranger appeared. People were too busy trying to figure out how to be the next Power Ranger to bother with things like guitar lessons or band practice.

On some level, Cassie had started to resent the Power Rangers for existing. Sure, they were saving the world, and that was great, but she was just sick of hearing about them.

That was before she moved to Angel Grove.

Moving to Angel Grove was actually an accident - her original plan had been to move to Stone Canyon, to stay with an uncle who was going to help her break into the music scene. Maybe if she hadn’t been singing so loudly on the bus, things would have gone differently. She would have moved to Stone Canyon instead of Angel Grove. Maybe she would have broken into the music industry earlier. Maybe she wouldn’t have.

But if she hadn’t, she never would have become a Power Ranger. And it turned out that becoming the Pink Ranger was the greatest thing to ever happen to her.

*

Convincing her family that she would have a better chance in Angel Grove than in Stone Canyon wasn’t actually that hard. Somehow, and she wasn’t exactly sure if Dimitria was responsible or not, her aunt and uncle had been mysteriously transferred to Angel Grove, so Cassie didn’t end up having to worry about it.

What she did have to worry about was trying to explain to them that her priorities had changed - that she didn’t have time to go on as many auditions. That while she still loved music, it wasn’t exactly her priority right now.

She couldn’t really blame them for being upset with her - it wasn’t just the money that they had spent on her lessons, but they had let her move away from them because she’d had this goal. And to be fair, it wasn’t like she could explain her new priorities - she couldn’t just tell them that saving the world was more important than her non-existent music career was.

They kept going on about the sacrifices that they had made for her - and it wasn’t like Cassie could tell them about the sacrifices that she was making.

*

“Ashley said you needed to talk?” Tanya’s voice came over the communicator. “I know we didn’t get to talk much before the power transfer, but if there’s anything I can help you with, you just need to ask.”

It had only been a few weeks since the Power Transfer, and Cassie hadn’t entirely gotten used to it. There was the pressing need to wear just one color (and she was very grateful to Kat for passing on some of her wardrobe), having to relearn all of her time management skills (you really couldn’t put off that paper to the last minute, because that would be exactly when Divatox would attack), adjusting to a new school and the demands that the power were taking on her was all overwhelming.

“She’d said she knew someone who could help me figure things out,” Cassie said. “I guess I expected her to call Kat, or something.”

“Actually, I’m glad she called me. We’ve got a lot in common, after all.”

“Really?” Cassie asked. She hadn’t gotten to talk to Tanya at all before she’d accepted the powers, and Tanya had left for Los Angeles only a few days later.

“Singers, both having to adjust to a new school at the same time as accepting the powers? Yeah, I think I might understand a little of where you’re coming from.”

Cassie laughed, she couldn’t really help it.

“Is it selfish?” she asked suddenly.

“Is what?” Tanya asked.

“Wondering if this is the right thing,” Cassie said slowly. She wasn’t sure if Tanya would understand or not, and if she wouldn’t, she didn’t want to explain. The weeks of hearing from T.J. how great everything was and how excited he was to be a Ranger had started to take its toll.

“All that you sacrifice to be a Ranger?” Tanya asked. “It’s not selfish at all. We sacrifice a lot for this. Everyone has to decide for themselves. Kimberly, the Pink Ranger before Kat, she gave up her powers to pursue gymnastics, and she’ll be in the Pan Global Games this year. Of course, if she’d waited, she wouldn’t have had the chance - gymnastics is hard once you’re past a certain age.”

“I didn’t realize that she’d been a Ranger,” Cassie said in surprise.

Tanya laughed. “Yeah, and a really good one too, from what Adam told me. Kim had been around since the beginning.”

“Did anyone else have that? Their dream offered to them?”

“I did, actually,” Tanya told her. “I was offered a recording contract last year. I turned it down - being a Ranger was more important to me, and the producer was willing to wait. Of course, it didn’t stop me from calling him about 10 minutes after I gave up my powers,” she added.

“Really?”

“Yeah, my first single should drop in a month or two.” If it was possible to hear a smile, Cassie was sure this would be the time.

“Congratulations,” she offered.

“Thanks,” Tanya said. “Look, nobody wants to force you to be a Ranger - if you get the offer, you can take it. Nobody will think less of you. That’s the thing about us - you’ve got a family that will support you no matter what. Well, unless you’re going to go join Divatox or something. We’d probably drag you back kicking and screaming, but other than that...”

“Thank you,” Cassie said.

“Any time,” Tanya promised. “Let me know if you need anything else.”

“I will,” Cassie promised, and as soon as she got off the communicator, she headed down to the Youth Center, where she knew T.J. and Ashley would be sparring. She had some practicing to do.