Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Co. belong to J.K. Rowling, while Power Rangers and all related concepts belong to Saban/Disney/Jetix/whoever (Who does own the broadcasting rights to the series these days anyway?)
Feedback: Please; I'd really like to know that somebody's reading this
AN: A shift of focus here, as we return to 'my' Ranger universe and witness how things are going for some of Jason's contacts rather than Harry's
Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Guardians
The day's classes at his dojo over at last, Rocky collapsed in his chair in the manager's office with a sigh of relief.
He might have kept himself in shape even after retiring from the Ranger game- his back had needed some time to heal from the damage he'd sustained, but once that was done it was like he'd never stopped-, but that didn't mean he was comfortable keeping up with so many classes on his own. Adam had volunteered to come over and help out if he could, but Rocky had turned the offer down; they might have been 'official' business rivals, but considering that they were based on opposite sides of Angel Grove, neither the Red Dragon Dojo or The Alpha Academy had ever really bothered about who got what customers so long as they were passing on their skills, and Rocky didn't think it was right to ask Adam to take time away from his own dojo to help him with his.
Right now, however, Rocky's main concern was working out where his business partner actually was these days. He had been keeping track of Jason through the news, of course- this new Ranger team was a bit more mobile than most teams, but it wasn't hard to notice when a group of zords popped up-, but there'd been no trace of the 'Hogwarts Guardians' since a brief sighting of them in Reefside alongside the Dino Thunder Rangers, and there wasn't enough information about what had happened then to confirm what had happened one way or the other. He'd been in the game enough to know that, when it came to fighting with superpowers, they weren't dead until you'd seen something left behind after the battle- even if, in the case of monsters, that was commonly only the blast radius of the area they'd been before they were blown up-, but that portal that had been reported in their area before they vanished didn't exactly inspire much faith that the team was completely safe.
Add in the fact that he hadn't even been able to make contact with Tommy since then- they might have fallen out of touch since the shift to Turbo, but Rocky still kept in touch with the team when he could-, and Rocky was really getting worried…
The sound of a phone ringing provided Rocky with a welcome distraction; it was a bit late for regular business hours, but since he took bookings around this time, it wasn't like it was unexpected.
"Red Dragon Dojo," he said, picking up the phone with a casual smile, forgetting his previous concerns as he focused on the matter at hand. "Rocky DeSantos speaking; how may I help you?"
"Rocky?" a familiar voice said. "This is Billy… Billy Cranston."
Rocky's eyes widened incredulously.
"Billy?" he said, unable to stop himself grinning broadly before he instinctively lowered his voice; former Rangers had maintained good security on their private lines ever since the Lightspeed Rescue team were established- they'd been the first team to have the right contemporary connections to get that kind of thing set up with the minimal amount of questions-, but it was hard to resist the training to be quiet when talking about Ranger-related duties. "Oh my God… where are you? Are you back on Earth?"
"I'm at my house," the original Blue Ranger replied. "Look, Jason and his new team are in trouble. I can't tell you what's going on over the phone; how soon can you get here?"
"I finished my last class an hour ago and was just going over the books and getting the equipment away before leaving," Jason replied, glancing at his watch and making a quick mental inventory before he finished his sentence. "If the traffic's good, I can be with you in about an hour."
He didn't have any obvious idea what Billy was doing back on Earth, but if he knew about Jason's new team, and considering the circumstances of their last recorded sighting, there were a few potential possibilities that presented themselves, and none of them were that encouraging for his business partner and his new team…
"Get here when you can," Billy said grimly. "I'm going to need your help, but I'll explain it all when you get here; I'll leave the front door unlocked and you can find me in my lab."
"I'll be there," Rocky said firmly before he ended the call, quickly turning his attention back to the matter at hand; cleaning up his training equipment and getting over to the Cranston house as quickly as possible.
"DAMNIT!" Ginny yelled in frustration, as the Guardian Megazord barely managed to deflect the latest attack from Psycho Blue as the powerful evil Ranger charged towards them. They might maintain a numerical advantage thanks to the Shogun Zords and Wandemort being immobilised, but even with the Dragonzord on their side the Psycho Rangers were proving to be more than a match for their Ranger counterparts.
"Oh, come on!" Ron groaned, as Psycho Yellow neatly deflected a blow from the White Warrior. "We've got these guys outnumbered; why is this so hard?"
"They're evil Rangers and there's a signal lag between the commands we're giving the zords and their ability to put them into action; technology can't keep up with natural ability, Ron!" Hermione yelled, cursing in frustration as she narrowly parried another attack. "We're not going to win this fight this way; even with numbers, they're just too fast for us!"
Harry hated to admit it, but he agreed with Hermione's assessment. Most of the monsters they'd faced so far had been relatively amateurish when it came down to a direct physical confrontation between them and the Ranger team, particularly with the additional training they had been receiving from Jason, but the Psychos were fighting with a definite purpose behind their moves, taking action and retaliating with signs of an actual plan behind their efforts rather than just trying to beat them to death.
If they didn't come up with something soon, their Voldemort wasn't going to be a problem they'd have to deal with, because they'd be too busy being the first people to die in an alternate universe to worry about him…
Walking into Billy's old house, Rocky wasn't surprised to hear Billy's voice calling for him from the old laboratory; even after his son had relocated to another planet, Mr Cranston still kept everything in order, just in case his son ever felt the need to come back to Earth…
As he entered the lab, Rocky was kind of surprised to see Billy looking so relatively young as he sat there- he almost seemed to be only a couple of years older than he had been when he'd left Earth, despite almost a decade having passed since then-, but reminded himself of Billy's contact with whatever Fountain of Youth they'd had on Aquitar and pushed it aside; maybe Billy's exposure to it had slowed his regular aging as well as curing his accelerated aging.
"Hey, Billy," Rocky said, grinning at his friend and predecessor as the Blue Ranger. "Good to see you again; how's Cestria?"
"Rocky," Billy said, after a brief moment of confusion that Rocky had never seen Billy express when asked such a minor question, "before you get too excited about seeing me, there's something that you need to know and it's not going to be easy to explain…"
"Does this have anything to do with Jason and his new team?" Rocky asked, cutting off Billy's original question. "You said something about him being in trouble."
"It has everything to do with Jason, and that's why I'm here," Billy replied. "While I am Billy Cranston, I'm not the Billy that you believe me to be."
For a moment, Rocky wondered if he was looking at that old clone of Billy they'd had to deal with shortly before the loss of the Thunderzords- that experience had given them all a few nightmares; so many of the team had confessed their concerns in the aftermath that they'd shoot one Billy and then the other would start laughing about how they'd just killed their friend-, but shook that off; an evil clone wouldn't look this awkward about revealing his identity to him.
"What do you mean, you're not the Billy I know?" he asked at last.
"I mean just that," Billy explained. "I'm not sure as to how I can explain, but I have to try anyway; it might be better if you have a seat."
"OK…" Rocky said, looking uncertainly at Billy as he sat down. "So… what's the story here?"
He'd come to expect the unexpected during his time as a Ranger- it was kind of hard not to learn that anything could happen to you in this game after you were reverted to your pre-teen self-, but that still left a lot of possible alternative explanations for Billy's cryptic statement…
Jason had always known that the Psycho Rangers were far from pushovers- even without the stories he'd heard from Andros and Leo, these were the bad guys who'd actually killed a Ranger; they might have managed to bring Kendrix back later, but that kind of loss had an effect on everyone who got into the game since by providing a clear reminder of their mortality-, but he wasn't sure he'd ever fully appreciated how tough the Space Rangers had had it when fighting them until now.
Tommy's new team and their use of the Shogunzords might have given them enough of a numerical advantage to hold their own against the giant-sized Psychos, but he was rapidly realising that there was only so much the raw power of the zords could do when up against a trained opponent who didn't have to worry about reaction time. The Green Patronus Force Ranger was making efficient use of the Dragonzord against Psycho Green, but that didn't make up for the fact that Ethan and Trent had been taken out of the game for the moment after Psycho Blue's last attack, and there was only so much that the other zords could do to stop the bad guys and limit collateral damage…
"Alan," Jason sent out to the Werewolf Battlezord as he and Tommy ended up back-to-back against the White and Black Psycho Rangers, "we can't keep this up much longer! As much as I hate to say it, we have to retreat!"
Alan didn't immediately respond to Jason's communication at first, but his subsequent response provided an explanation as to what he'd been doing in those moments. "Guys, Megan needs more time but our Zords and Angel Grove are getting trashed so we'll need to change tactics! We have to try and get the Psycho Rangers to face us on the ground!"
"How are we going to do that?" Ron asked, the Guardian Megazord narrowly evading a blow from Psycho Yellow that could have taken the Serpent Zord arm off.
"If they're as hotheaded as Jason has indicated them to be, all too easily," Alan replied grimly, before activating the Battlezord's external speakers. "Hey Psychos! Why don't you meet us face-to-face if you've got the guts?"
"WHAT?" Psycho Red roared, glaring at the Werewolf Battlezord as Alan leapt from it.
"He's got a point," Jason said, looking mockingly at the Psycho Rangers as he realised Alan's plan; it was risky, but it might have a chance if what he'd heard about the Psychoes' egos was accurate. "You're coping against a bunch of machines with delayed reaction time; how do you think you'll handle us in a fight where we're physically equal and have the numerical edge?"
"He has a point," Conner's voice added with a smile. "You might be coping when it's ten to six, but what happens when it's seventeen to six and we're reacting faster to what you do?"
"You think that we're afraid of numbers?" Psycho Red said, looking mockingly at Jason as the Patronus Force followed Alan in departing their zords, although the Dino Thunder and Hogwarts Guardian teams remained in their zords for the moment. "We can defeat you Rangers, no matter how you outnumber us!"
Waiting a moment until the Psychos had shrunk back down to regular size, Jason leapt out of his zord to join his teammates, pausing only long enough to glance back at the battered zords as they turned around to retreat back towards their hangers.
He'd just have to hope that the damage hadn't reached the point of the beating that had required the Zeo Rangers to introduce the Red Battlezord ahead of schedule- from what he recalled, the Zeo Megazord had been down for about a week after that-, and focus on the matter facing them right now. Turning around, he smiled at the grim sight of the Psycho Rangers standing before him and his expanded team, all armed and ready to fight; they might be powerful, but it wasn't something that would be impossible for them to handle.
"You Rangers are so pathetic!" Psycho Red said, laughing scornfully at his adversaries. "Why don't you just give up?"
"We're not backing down to you, you pieces of arrogant garbage!" Sylvia retorted.
"Brave words, Black Guardian Ranger!" Black Psycho said, smirking as he looked at her. "However, I know you're too scared to face us!"
"We're down here to take you on mano-a-mano; how is that 'weak'?" Nathan said, drawing his own Patronus Sabre and shifting into combat position alongside Sylvia and Tommy, the rest of the Rangers present doing the same as they moved into position alongside their colour counterparts.
"Besides," Conner said with a firm authority in his voice, "we might be up against the odds, but at least we know what we're fighting for; what the hell are you here for beyond trying to kill us?"
With those words, both sides charged towards each other, weapons meeting in a powerful clash as the Rangers met their Psycho counterparts.
"OK, let me see if I have this right…" Rocky said, pacing back and forth through the garage laboratory. "I knew that Jason had joined a new team, but you're saying the new team's made of teenage wizards fighting a psycho dark wizard trying to take over the world, and now they're all in another universe with Tommy's latest team where Zordon's alive and working with another group of teenaged wizards, and you've come here from that world to try and get the Zeo Crystal to open up a portal to get them back home?"
"That's the basic situation," Billy confirmed. "I know that it's hard to believe-"
"Hey, I believe you; I just don't get why you need the Zeo Crystal," Rocky said. "Why can't they just use the same method to get here that you did?"
"If it was just them, they'd already be home, but we have to get their zords back home as well, which means that we need the extra energy of the Zeo Crystal in order to generate a large enough portal to get them back as well," Billy explained. "Anyway, Tommy was able to direct me to where he keeps his Zeo Crystal segment back in his house, but if we're going to make this work, we need all five parts, which means we need the rest of the Zeo team; can you help me find them?"
"Well, that's easy enough," Rocky said, smiling nonchalantly at him. "Tanya's still here in Angel Grove and she can get in touch with Adam since she knows his work schedule; once they're here, we can then contact Kat in London for the Pink Zeo Crystal."
"That sounds simple enough," Billy said, nodding in slight surprise at the alternate version of his friend.
"Anyway," Rocky said, "if we're on to that, how are you going to contact Dimitria? From what you told me, she's not exactly in a fixed location any more…"
"With this," Billy explained, holding up a device that he had been working on at his workbench. "Once I get to the Power Chamber, I'll use this beacon to send an inter-dimensional pulse that I'm hoping will get her attention."
"Sounds like a plan," Rocky said with a nod. "But how are we going to get to the Power Chamber? I mean, I can drive us-"
"Once I'm able to key my communicator into the Power Chamber's mainframe, I'll be able to teleport in," Billy explained, turning his attention back to the device as he spoke. "Afterwards, I'll get the necessary equipment up and running; which includes Amanda's inter-dimensional communications relay that will allow contact with Zordon through the Power Chamber's Viewing Globe."
"Amanda?" Rocky said, smiling despite the unusual circumstances. "And who's she? A… friend… of yours?"
"Don't start, Rocky," Billy said, shooting a glare at his fellow Blue Ranger. "I've already gone through that song and dance with Jason so I don't need it from you…"
Rocky didn't need to do more than stare at Billy for a few moments before he pulled a photograph out of his pocket and held it up for Rocky's perusal. The picture showed Rocky's original Ranger team standing with a group of six other people he didn't immediately recognise, including a man with light-blonde hair in a red T-shirt and blue denim shorts, a red-haired woman in a yellow sleeveless blouse and denim skirt, a brown-haired man in a blue polo shirt and khaki pants, a tall and slender girl with dark-blonde hair in a white shirt and pink overalls, a tall man in a black sleeveless shirt and black shorts, and another blond in a pink blouse and white jeans.
"Amanda's the one standing between Kimberly and Adam," Billy explained.
"Good on you, Billy," Rocky said, grinning as he studied the indicated blonde in the pink blouse before he turned his attention to the rest. "So who are the others?"
"The one in red standing between Tommy and your other self is Alan," Billy explained. "He's Amanda's brother and the current Red Ranger and leader."
"Ranger siblings?" Rocky asked. "That's a new one…"
"Well, Amanda wasn't a Ranger at that time," Billy explained, a new, grim manner about him as he spoke. "Their White Ranger when that photograph was taken was Luna; she's standing on Kimberly's other side."
"Ah," Rocky said, looking briefly at the indicated blonde. "What happened to her?"
"Ivan re-created Nimrod and the following attack resulted in him basically overloading Luna's body's ability to channel her magic," Billy explained. "She went into suspended animation so that we could work on draining off the excess energy safely, and appointed Amanda to take over her duties as the White Ranger in the intervening time."
"Sounds like a plan," Rocky said, looking back at the photo. "And the hot redhead is?"
"I think she's a little young for you," Billy said, although the grin took away any potential sting at his words.
"Well, it doesn't hurt to pay a compliment," Rocky replied with a nonchalant shrug. "So, her name?"
"Elizabeth, the current Yellow Ranger," Billy explained. "She's basically the Kimberly to Adam's Tommy, escape that they got it together more quickly than they did. The last two are Nathan and Jake, the Black and Blue Rangers respectively, although they also acquired a Green Ranger recently in the form of Alan and Amanda's half-cousin Sean."
"Sounds like an interesting group, anyway," Rocky noted with a smile. "So… how's things going over there?"
"Complicated," Billy said, his earlier smile fading as he assumed a grimmer expression. "When I left, all three teams were facing off against the Psycho Rangers-"
"The Psycho Rangers?" Rocky interrupted, unable to believe what he'd heard; the Rangers' boogeymen were back? "How did those walking nightmares get there?"
"Jason was captured by our current enemy and had his memories scanned," Billy explained. "Ooze had already been working on his own dark Rangers, but Jason's memories of the stories he'd heard about the Psychos from Andros and Leo allowed our foe to create his own versions…"
Further discussion on that topic was cut short as a nearby computer beeped, Billy turning around to smile at the information it was displaying on his screen before he began to work on his communicator, apparently making a few final adjustments before he strapped it on to his wrist.
"Need a lift to the Power Chamber?" he asked Rocky.
"I have a bad habit of keeping my old communicator with me," Rocky replied, handing the photograph back to Billy as he indicated the device in question where it remained on his wrist; he might have retired, but he'd been sure to keep himself available in case.
With that, the two Blue Rangers activated the devices and teleported away.
Harry made a mental note to give Jason full permission to get Ginny to curse him if he ever complained about their training sessions once they got back home; if it hadn't been for Jason, he'd probably be dead already in the current fight against Psycho Red. Even with their unvoiced agreement to coordinate the attack by teaming up with their coloured counterparts on other teams against their respective Psycho, they were still dealing with a considerable amount of raw power; he'd already seen Elizabeth take a potentially serious wound to the back when Psycho Yellow had stabbed her earlier, only for Ron to force Psycho Yellow back long enough for Kira to help Elizabeth to her feet. Ginny and Sean were doing fairly well despite their obvious disadvantage compared to the other team-ups due to the lack of a Green Dino Thunder Ranger, but they were still only just holding their own, and even the three-on-one fights of the other Ranger teams looked like they were having trouble…
Interestingly enough, Alan seemed to be having more trouble against his opponent than the others- the other Psychos were skilled fighters, but Psycho Red seemed to be matching Alan's moves in particular with disturbing ease even to Harry's inexperienced eye-, but thoughts on that were forgotten as Psycho Red's next blow actually cut through Alan's glove, sending Alan staggering backwards before he tried to retaliate with a spell rather than a physical attack.
The resulting blast of energy as Psycho Red attempted to deflect the Blasting Hex hurled Alan off his feet while leaving his enemy relatively unharmed, forcing Harry and Conner to step back in and deflect Psycho Red's blade before it could make contact. As Conner helped Alan to his feet, Harry leapt into battle against Psycho Red, his more haphazard combat style allowing him to outmanoeuvre his enemy thanks to the unpredictability that Jason had commented would be their main advantage in a fight. Determined to give Alan a chance to recuperate, Harry continued to slash and hack against his foe, only briefly registering Alan talking to someone on his communicator before a glance at the still-immobilised Wandemort revealed that he was starting to break free of his chains.
Great… Harry groaned. We have a major threat to deal with, and the other monster has to start breaking out…
The momentary distraction caused by him registering that turn of events was enough for Psycho Red to get past his defences, knocking him to the ground before he get his Guardian Blade back into a defensive position. The monster was just raising his feet to stamp on Harry's head when a furious roar from Wandemort ended as the chains holding him snapped, leaving him free to get to his feet. Harry spared a brief moment to wonder if Megan had managed to recover the Dark Zeo Crystal from the monster, but his attention was called back to the present as Psycho Red ordered the other Psychos to withdraw, leaving Alan to help Harry back to his feet as he glanced around the room at the other Rangers; Harry vaguely heard Psycho Red order the other Psycho Rangers to retreat, but he was too busy making sure nothing was broken to process the exact words…
"Harry?" Alan asked, breaking through his disorientation with the specific address. "You OK?"
"Bit dazed, but I'll be all right," Harry said, before turning his attention to Wandemort. "Right now, though, looks like we have bigger problems…"
A welcome distraction was provided as Megan suddenly apparated in front of the three Red Rangers, holding a strange rifle-shaped device in her hands.
"Megan!" Alan said, grinning at her in relief. "You made it!"
"And with the Dark Zeo Crystal," Megan added, patting her jeans pocket with a smile. "I shrunk it down enough that Alpha should be able to get rid of it with no problems."
"FILTHY MUDBLOODS!" Wandemort suddenly yelled at them, drawing their attention back to the massive monster before them as he aimed one giant arm at them. "You have been an annoyance for far too long; your pathetic resistance ends here! AVADA KEDAVRA!"
For a moment, Harry tensed in preparation to either dive to safety or push someone else out of harm's way, but when moments went by with nothing happening, he realised that something else seemed to be taking place…
"What's going on?" Ron asked, the other Rangers having joined the Reds and Megan in looking up at Wandemort. "Not that I'm complaining, but… why aren't we dead?"
"I think," Megan said, grinning as she pulled something out of her pocket, "it's because I took this out along with the Dark Zeo Crystal."
"You removed Wandemort's core?" Harry said, grinning at the sight of the reddish-orange feather in Megan's hands. "Megan, that's brilliant!"
"Uh… for the less magically-inclined people here, what does that mean?" Conner asked.
"Basically," Hermione said, looking over at Conner with a satisfied tone, "without that feather, Wandemort is just a big stick."
"And it's time to break that stick," Alan said, as a strange bracelet-like device appeared on his wrist. "Werewolf Battlezord! Power up!"
With that command, the large red zord appeared on the battlefield, the battered wolf-like zord shifting its appearance into its more human Battlewolf Megazord form.
"Go get him, mate!" Nate said, looking over at Alan in approval, only for Alan to shake his head and turn to look at Harry.
"Harry," he said solemnly, "from everything you've told us about Wandemort, I have a feeling this isn't something that I should take from you; if you want to destroy this thing, after everything that wand's done to you in your world, the battle is yours."
Harry's stunned silence at the offer- something about event he idea of letting someone else control the Red Lion felt wrong, so he had an idea of what it must be like for Alan to offer to let someone else control his zord- seemed to be all the response Alan needed, the Red Patronus Force Ranger handing Harry his wand. "Once you're inside, insert my wand into the slot beside the controls and you'll be able to control the Battlewolf Megazord."
Nodding in gratitude- the sooner he took this thing out, the better-, Harry took the wand and leapt into the air, entering the Battlewolf Megazord's control room. Inserting the wand into the indicated position, Harry quickly took control of the zord and began to advance towards Wandemort.
"YOU DIRTY MUDBLOOD!" Wandemort screeched, thrusting one arm out in a desperate attack that Harry easily parried. As the Battlewolf Megazord let out a savage howl, the machine leapt forward and sliced through Wandemort's body, the wood posing no real hindrance to the powerful zord.
As he watched Wandemort fall to the ground in a blaze of fire, Harry could only smile in satisfaction.
Wandemort was down, and this time, he really doubted that Voldemort would bother bringing him back.
The only question was if they'd manage to get home in time to stop Voldemort attempting something worse…