queenriley: (justin)
[personal profile] queenriley
Title: Left Behind
Fandom: Power Rangers Turbo
Rating: G
Summary: How does Justin really feel when he gets a whole new team?
Written for Alpha's Magical Fic Exchange (2010)
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me. I'm only visiting their sandbox for a little while.

Justin was trying very hard to not act like a child right now. He was a Power Ranger. He should be above this now. But it was Christmas and he was still getting used to the new team. His old friends had gone, just handed over their powers and left, and he was stuck with a group of people he still barely knew. And yet he was still the youngest and smallest… by a lot.

He knew these new guys saw him as just a kid. He could see it in their eyes. It was so different from his first days as a ranger, different from all the power changes he’d heard about before. When Justin had first been given Rocky’s powers, the others had been rangers for years. They were his seniors in more than just age. He knew he could look up to them, rely on them to help him. He could trust the veteran rangers to help him learn all the ins and outs of being a ranger. It was only natural, after all. They were all six years older than he was. It was expected he’d seek them out for their wisdom and experience.

But this time? This was different. This was… weird. He was the veteran. He was the senior ranger. And he was still much younger than the rest. They wouldn’t see him as their equal. They wouldn’t seek him out for advice, for methods of dealing with the changes they would soon be going through, being holders of the power now. It would feel unnatural, odd, to be handing out any kind of wisdom to a group of people who were his senior in every way but one. He hated to pout at Christmas. It was supposed to be a happy time, especially for kids. And he was still a kid, after all.

But it was so hard. He was getting used to being alone at the holidays and that bothered him more than he cared to admit. It wasn't that he didn't trust the new rangers. Tommy and the former rangers wouldn’t have dared pick people who didn’t have good hearts or who weren’t up to the challenge. But he didn't know them yet, not like he did the others. He was still "the kid" to them. They’d judged him the minute they saw him. No amount of intellect or experience seemed like it would ever change that in their eyes.

Part of him resented Tommy and the others. Resented them for graduating, for giving up their powers, for saddling him with this uncomfortable situation right when he’d started to really feel like a true part of the team. If he was really honest with himself, though, it all boiled down to one thing. He resented them for leaving him behind. He was always left behind; left behind by his mother when she died. Left behind by his father for some stupid job. Left behind by Rocky, whom he never saw anymore now that he had the power and Rocky didn’t. And now left behind by his friends, the only people who’d finally gotten him to trust again. Normally he could handle it. Normally he could compartmentalize and just deal with being left behind. But not right now. It was CHRISTMAS. There were lights and decorations and presents everywhere. It was supposed to be a time for friends and family. Right now, Justin felt like he had neither. Again.

So he was mad. He was really mad. And yet a part of him understood. A part of him got it in a way he wasn’t sure he was ready to admit to. They’d graduated months ago and pushed it as long as they could, but they really had no excuse for hanging around, even for the holidays. They weren’t in school any longer. They had lives to live, futures to look forward to. It was hard enough trying to being a Ranger while in high school. He couldn’t imagine making it work while in college, with the added homework and the unpredictable schedules. Most of them would be darting off to different parts of the country anyway, choosing to branch out for colleges and universities that offered more tailored to their interests than Angel Grove could give them. He couldn’t really expect them all to hang around just because he was still in school and they weren’t.

So he understood, intellectually anyway, that it was well past time for all of them to move on. But his emotional side, still stubbornly stuck in a twelve year olds body, was warring with his intelligence. His emotions screamed at him, stomping metaphorical feet and pouting. He didn’t want them to go, yet they went anyway. His brain could go over the logic of it all as many times as he wanted to. It didn’t change how he felt about it. And so he was conflicted. Again.

He didn’t want new friends again. He didn’t want to be “the kid” again. He didn’t want to have to prove himself worthy all over again. Just thinking about it was exhausting. He threw his arm over his face and closed his eyes, wished the world away. He was far too young to feel this burdened, this old.

There was a knock on his door and he squinted at the sliver of light from under his elbow.

“Justin? Phone for you,” one of the older kids from the orphanage said through the crack in the door. He rolled off his bunk and trudged to the hallway. He picked up the receiver with a sigh.

“Hello?” he said, wholly unenthusiastically. He almost resented the disturbance from his inner mopey monologue.

“Merry Christmas, Justin! It’s Ashley. I was wondering if you wanted to go the park with us? We wanted to have a Christmas celebration and we can't do it without you!” Her voice was tinny and quiet over the phone, but Justin’s heart swelled as if she'd sung an opera.

“Sure, Ashley. That sounds great. I’ll meet you there.” Justin could hardly believe it. Was he finally being included? Could he have been wrong this whole time?

He smiled and headed towards the office downstairs. Maybe he really wasn't so alone after all.
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May 2012

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