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?)
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Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Guardians
Sitting around the command centre, Harry wished that he could just punch something for once; he might have been dealing with Voldemort for the last few years, but he'd never resorted to abducting Harry's friends before (Ginny being used by the diary didn't count as Lucius had chosen her as the target due to her father than anything to do with him), and now here he was, dealing with a deranged lunatic who'd abducted the first person since Sirius who'd really felt like an older brother figure...
As Ginny reached over to take his hand, Harry allowed himself to receive a comforting squeeze before he glanced around the room at the others; Billy and Alpha were still running a search, leaving Tommy to exchange apprehensive glances with Ron and Hermione while Sylvia sat awkwardly with the Dino Thunder Rangers (Not that Harry could blame her; he and the other 'original' Guardians had spent a lot of time working with Jason as he 'showed them the ropes', and Tommy had been there in the very beginning of Jason's Ranger career, but the Dino Thunder team had only heard stories about Jason from their Black Ranger, and Sylvia hadn't really been with them long enough to have formed any real kind of bond with Jason even if she had acquitted herself fairly well).
God, he wished that he could take a break; ever since this whole mess started, it felt like he and the others had just been so busy being on the move that they hadn't had time to stop. Honestly, their brief visits to the remains of their command centre back home were the closest that any of them had come to feeling like they had a permanent place of stability since they'd left Privet Drive after that Tenga attack so many months ago...
Looking over at Ginny, Harry leaned over to give her a brief, grateful kiss before he pulled back, smiling warmly at her.
"What?" Ginny asked, looking back at him with a slight smile.
"Just... thanks for being here," Harry said, smiling back at her.
He wasn't sure how he would have coped with things over the last few months if Ginny hadn't been one of the Rangers; the thought of trying to cope with this whole mess without her, Ron and Hermione alongside him seemed... well, stupid.
They might be stuck in another dimension, reliant on the good will of a bunch of strangers whose only connection to them was that they knew the versions of them who lived in this reality, with no Jason and no way of providing themselves somewhere to live for the foreseeable future, but they were at least all together...
The sound of the computer beeping drew Harry's attention back to the present, the various teams looking over at Billy Cranston as he examined the scanner's findings before sighing in disappointment as he looked up at the others.
"What is it, Billy?" Tommy asked.
"Well," Billy replied, his features grim, "I'm pretty sure that Jason was taken to Zedd's moon palace, but Ivan's erected an even stronger force field around it than he did the park and Zord hangars; even if we could bring it down, there's no way we can get through it without alerting Ivan."
"Hey, I only just started being a Ranger; I am not going to lose one of the oldest Rangers ever in my first week-!" Sylvia began, glaring indignantly at the original Blue Ranger.
"It's not a question of not wanting to get Jason out, it's a question of practicality; if we attack right now, all we can do is risk Ivan moving Jason somewhere where we won't be able to recover him," Alan said, looking firmly over at the Black Guardian Ranger. "As much as I hate to say this, it might be in Jason's best interest that we wait until we find a way to get around that barrier without alerting Ivan."
"I MUST AGREE WITH YOUR ASSESSMENT, ALAN," Zordon said from his energy tube. "FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE WITH IVAN OOZE, I KNOW FIRST-HAND OF HIS CUNNING AND HIS ABILITY TO LEARN FROM HIS OWN MISTAKES. HE WILL BE SEEKING INFORMATION CONCERNING THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF YOUR VARIOUS TEAMS, AND IT IS FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE THAT I BELIEVE HE ABDUCTED JASON."
"Yeah, on that topic, what's his deal with us?" Conner asked, looking quizzically at Zordon. "I mean, what does this guy want aside from the usual 'kill the Power Rangers to conquer the world' angle?"
"IN ADDITION TO RECLAIMING HIS LOST EMPIRE, HE WILL ALSO BE SEEKING REVENGE AGAINST THE PRESENT RANGERS TO AVENGE HIS PREVIOUS DEFEAT AT THE HANDS OF BILLY AND THE OTHER RANGERS," Zordon explained, pausing for a moment to allow them to process this information before he continued. "AS TO HOW HE INTENDS TO CARRY OUT HIS PLANS, WE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT JASON WILL BE ABLE TO USE HIS PRESENT SITUATION TO GATHER MORE INTELLIGENCE UNTIL WE ARE ABLE TO LOCATE A WEAK POINT IN IVAN'S DEFENCES AND RESCUE THE WHITE GUARDIAN RANGER."
"And judging from what he told Alan while we were immobilised," Hermione added, looking up from the console that she and Amanda had been studying- Harry wouldn't be surprised if Hermione had a few suggestions to make about the zords; Hermione's technical knowledge might be limited, but she definitely had some interesting ideas about magic-, "it sounded like he was planning to abduct someone else... someone female, if the words he used are any indication."
"He also said that it would be someone close to me," Alan added, his expression as he nodded at the memory. "And, since he could have taken both Amanda and Elizabeth at the same time he took Jason, I'll have to assume that Ivan was referring to someone else."
"But who?" Amanda asked, looking anxiously at her brother. "The only 'she' we're close to who isn't here is either Mum or Aunt Lilly!"
Harry tried to resist the start he felt at that reference to his mother; no matter how he longed to see her, this wasn't 'his' Lily Potter...
"I HAVE ALSO CONSIDERED THOSE TWO POSSIBILITIES, RANGERS," Zordon said, looking grimly over at Alan and Amanda. "WHILE I MUST AGREE THAT THEY WOULD BE THE LOGICAL CHOICES, WE MUST KEEP IN MIND THAT IVAN IS NOT ONLY EVIL, BUT ALSO UNPREDICTABLE; HE WILL CHANGE THE GAME AT LITTLE NOTICE IF HE FEELS THAT IT WILL BENEFIT HIM."
"OK, Zordon," Tommy said, nodding briefly at the ancient alien wizard who had taught him so much when he had been so lost after his release from Rita's spell. "So... what do we do?"
"FOR NOW, THERE IS NOTHING THAT WE CAN DO BUT WAIT," Zordon said, looking apologetically at the group around them. "FOR NOW, IT IS BECOMING LATE, AND I SUGGEST THAT EACH OF YOU RETURN TO YOUR HOMES AND REST; ALPHA AND I WILL CONTINUE TO SCAN THE BARRIER AROUND ZEDD'S PALACE AND WILL NOTIFY YOU SHOULD WE DISCOVER A WEAKNESS IN IVAN'S DEFENCES."
"But-" Ron began to protest.
"Zordon's right," Tommy said, looking firmly over at the male Yellow Ranger. "If we're going to get anywhere in rescuing Jason and recovering your zords, we need to be at our best."
"Talking of being at our best," Elizabeth said, hopping off the table where she was sitting and walking over to the main console, "there's something I need to do... Harry, could you give me a hand here?"
Exchanging a confused glance with Ginny, Harry shrugged slightly and walked over to join the Patronus Force Yellow Ranger as she turned to examine the console, only to be rendered literally breathless when Elizabeth suddenly rammed her elbow into his mid-section, forcing the air from his lungs as his head struck the console from the sheer force of the impact. He vaguely registered Elizabeth yelling something about needing his help to save a life before he found himself surrounded by some kind of red energy...
As the energy faded, Harry found himself standing in a street in a suburban-looking neighbourhood, Elizabeth tugging on his arm even as he fought to get his breath back, dragging him towards a nearby house with a disturbingly single-minded expression; if it hadn't been for the fact that she'd been perfectly casually conversing with some of the other Rangers before she did this, Harry might have wondered if she'd been put under the Imperius curse or something like that.
"'Lizbeth..." he gasped, fighting to get his breath back as he looked at her in confusion. "What... idea...?"
"Look, I'm sorry I was so abrupt, but I need your help," Elizabeth said, looking resolutely at him as they came to a halt in front of a particular house in the street. "Just give me a bit of time to think of a good explanation for this, and-"
"Explanation... for what?" Harry said, glaring in frustration at his other self's sister as he fought to get his breath back, taking a few quick, deep breaths before he continued speaking. "Look, I get that you're biologically my sister, but we didn't grow up together; you can't just yank me about-"
"I told you, I need your help to save another life!" Elizabeth said, staring urgently at Harry even as her eyes briefly flicked to examine the drive of the house they were standing in front of; glancing over his shoulder, Harry noticed a convertible in the drive, but that didn't answer-
"Hold on a minute," Harry said, his eyes suddenly falling on the mailbox in front of the house- people actually used those thing?-, only to widen in shock as he read the name on the side.
"This... is this where you live?" he said, looking at her incredulously as he automatically lowered his voice. "Elizabeth, I can't be here; what about your-?"
Harry was interrupted by a sudden popping sound, the two of them glancing over to see Alan appear on the street a short distance up the road before he hurried over to join them.
"Elizabeth, what do you think you're doing?" Alan said, glaring at the local Yellow Ranger while he spoke in a hushed whisper. "You can't bring Harry here; what if your mom sees him?"
"That's the point!" Elizabeth retorted. "I want Mum to see him! She's been working herself to death since Harry vanished; if she can just see he's safe-!"
"And then what am I supposed to do?" Harry protested, glaring at her in frustration, trying not to think about the part of him that wanted to go along with her plan; this whole dimension-hopping mess was complicated enough without bringing something like this into the equation. "Look, I get that things are... difficult... here, but I'm not just going to take your Harry's place just because he's gone missing; I have people and responsibilities back home-!"
"Damnit, I'm not going to let my mother die!" Elizabeth yelled, grabbing him by the shoulders and glaring directly at him. "I know this is more than a bit desperate, but-"
"No, we passed desperate a while ago; this is as stupid as Hermione going to the Slug Club with Cormac McLaggen!" Harry said, ignoring the confused expressions on the other two Rangers' faces at that analogy as he stepped back from Elizabeth's grip, taking a moment to calm himself amid their confusion before he continued to speak. "Look, I'm sorry that your Harry's missing, but I don't think that this is going to-"
The sound of a sudden crash nearby cut Harry off mid-sentence, prompting him, Alan and Elizabeth to turn and look for the source of the sudden noise, Harry's blood immediately running cold at the sight.
Alive and... admittedly, 'well' was probably an exaggeration- she looked a lot thinner than she did in any of the photos Harry had of her back home, and there was a haggard expression about her, as though she hadn't been sleeping well-, but alive was still a definite step-up from anything that Harry had seen of her in his world, a bag of rubbish lying forgotten on the ground where it had apparently slipped from her hands as soon as she caught sight of him.
"Harry?" his mother- logic and rationality could try all they want to remind him that this wasn't his mother, but those things could be damned when faced with the reality of Lilly Potter standing in front of him- said, her voice a low whisper even as the shock on her face spoke volumes.
"Mum?" Harry replied, near-helpless to resist the temptation even as he vaguely heard Alan swear beside him.
Before Alan or Elizabeth could do anything, Lilly had practically raced across the distance between them to grab Harry in her arms, holding him to her in an almost bone-crushing hug that rivalled anything he'd ever received from Molly Weasley. For a moment Harry could only stand there in stunned immobility, his mind and body reeling in confusion and instinctive discomfort from the hug, but then, tentatively, his arms reached up and slowly wrapped themselves around Lilly, quickly tightening around her when she showed no sign of retreating.
He knew that there were several other issues that he needed to remember- the fact that he wasn't technically her son, even if he was her son in other regards, was just the most prominent thing rather than the only one-, but for now, as his mother stepped back and began to take him towards the house, he couldn't help the grin on his face; he was about to spend time with his mother...
"Harry..." Lily said, her voice trembling as she stared at him as soon as the door was shut behind them- Alan and Elizabeth had apparently decided to leave them alone for this, which Harry was both grateful and frustrated at; he was glad to have the chance to be alone right now, but that would just make it harder to know what to say-, "what... what happened? Where have... where have you been?"
"I... I don't know," Harry said, swallowing slightly as he hoped the vague excuse he and Ginny had used for Alan earlier would pay off here; at least he had a bit more of his background in this world to go on now compared to what he had been working with back then. "I... well, I know that something happened... something bad... but... I just... well, it's all bit of a blank, really."
"A blank?" Lily repeated, looking at him in sudden apprehension. "You mean-"
"I still know who people are, I just... seem to be missing some details; where I've been since I vanished, some stuff about my time at Hogwarts..." Harry said, shrugging awkwardly as he looked at her; hopefully that explanation would cover his knowledge of the past so long as there weren't too many other new faces at Hogwarts. "I know it happened, but some stuff's all a big blur..."
"Oh, Harry..." Lily said, hugging him to her once again, her body trembling as she buried her face in his hair; Harry thought he felt a brief sensation of dampness, as though she was crying, but that feeling was only a vague one, and it swiftly passed as Lily stepped back, smiling awkwardly at him.
"Anyway, that's not important right now; what matters is that you're here," she said, grinning at him with a simple warmth of affection that Harry could only recall receiving from the Weasleys back in his own world. "Just let me call work to get the day off- good thing I've built up enough vacation time over the last few months-, and we can have something to eat- you haven't eaten yet, have you?"
"Uh... no, it's been a bit... well, it's been complicated..." Harry said, shrugging awkwardly, feeling the inadequacy of his lie with every word he spoke.
He didn't want to worry his mother- even if she wasn't technically 'his' mum-, but now that he was here, thanks to Elizabeth's effort, there wasn't much else that he could do apart from go along with her impulsive 'plan' and hope that he didn't say anything that would make it clear to Lily that he wasn't the version of her son that she knew.
But still... the way she'd mentioned the vacation time she'd been building up... what Elizabeth had said about her working herself to death since the other him had vanished...
And then, in the end, no matter how much rational thinking argued that he wasn't 'her' Harry, he couldn't turn down this chance, no matter how weird and complicated it was, to spend time with his mother.
He could worry about the larger issues later; right now, he just wanted to be able to spend a little time with at least one of his parents before the next wave of monsters struck, no matter how strange the circumstances of their meeting were...
As he was forcibly dragged into the chair that put him uncomfortably in mind of the chair that Gasket and Archerina had used when brainwashing Tommy- damn, that experience had sucked; even when he'd been the Green Ranger, at least they hadn't known who they were dealing with most of the time and been able to focus on him as an enemy rather than worry about what he could be-, Jason wished that the purple freak that was certainly Ivan Ooze would stop grinning so much; one little victory and the bastard was acting like he'd already won, even when Jason fought with everything he had to stop these ooze-things strapping him down into the chair in question.
It would have been less frustrating if the chair didn't evoke disturbing images of what Ivan might be about to do to him...
"Well, well..." Ivan said, smiling smoothly at Jason as though they were simply engaging in casual conversation. "You should consider yourself honoured, White Ranger. You're going to provide me with the perfect weapon that I need to kill your fellow Rangers."
"Head back to the slime pit you crawled out of, Ooze," Jason spat back in response, trying to focus on the memory of the aftermath of his past experiences as a victim of brainwashing rather than the preceding moments; what he'd nearly done under Maligore's influence was bad enough as far as he was concerned. "You're dreaming if you think I'm going to help you hurt my friends; they'll undo anything you do to me-!"
"You think I plan to make you into one of my warriors?" Ivan said, chuckling as though he'd just heard an amusing joke. "I already have all but one of my chosen warriors, and the other will be in my hands soon enough; all that I want from you is information on the strengths and weaknesses of these new Rangers-"
"And you're completely off your head if you think I'll give you that kind of information!" Jason said, wishing that he was as confident as he sounded; the stories he'd heard from Harry about Voldemort's ability to read minds weren't exactly encouraging...
"Oh, you'll give it to me," Ivan said, leaning so far forward that Jason almost felt like he should be able to see the individual bits of slime that made up Ivan's body. "Thanks to this little thing, you won't have a choice!"
With that, Ivan reached up and grabbed the helmet-like device at the top of the chair, lowering it down so that it covered the upper half of Jason's head, leaving him staring at nothing but blackness even if he could still hear what was happening outside.
"With the combination of the knowledge that you're going to provide me with," Ivan said- Jason thought he heard something that sounded like switches being activated, but the purple guy's voice made it hard to be sure-, "the monster I will soon activate, and my Dark Rangers, your Ranger friends will be space dust!"
"I wouldn't count your chickens yet, Ooze," a voice that Jason immediately recognised as Lord Zedd said from somewhere off to the side. "Those Patronus Force Rangers are just as resourceful as their predecessors, particularly that Red Ranger of theirs!"
"Zeddy," Ivan said, chuckling as he spoke in a manner that did little to comfort Jason, "during my period of imprisonment outside the normal flow of time, I was able to do an extensive study of Earth's magical population and you will find it most interesting to discover that there is more to the Red Ranger's family than you would think."
"Oh, really?" Zedd growled, clearly unconvinced. "And what in the name of the Dark Galaxy could be so interesting about Alan's family?"
"Other than the fact that his family is one of the wealthiest and most influential magical families on Earth?" Ooze countered, his tone reflecting the usual self-satisfaction of a villain who was certain he'd planned for everything. "Let's just say that there's more to them than even you would believe... and while we are on this particular subject..."
There was a brief rustle of fabric, as though something was being moved from among folds of clothing, and then Ivan spoke again. "Keep an eye on the Power Rangers. The moment this girl shows herself, I want you to have her captured and brought to me."
"And what significance could this... girl... have to us?" Zedd asked, clearly suspicious at Ivan's request (Jason wished that he could try and exploit that apparent internal division between the two villains, but he didn't know enough about Ooze to have any idea what would work and it wasn't like psychological warfare was a strength of his anyway).
"She will be returning to Angel Grove some time tomorrow for the Christmas holidays, and is my chosen subject for the sixth Dark Ranger," Ooze snapped back at Zedd. "Once she is in my possession, the Dark Rangers will finally be ready for deployment! Now get going and tell that simian simpleton of yours not to mess this assignment up like he has all of the others!"
A rapidly-fading growl suggested that Zedd was leaving the room, but Jason didn't have time to try and take advantage of that before Ivan was addressing him once again, the bonds holding him to the chair showing no signs of breaking despite his best efforts.
"Well now, my little friend," Ivan said, his tone insufferably smug, "let's find out what's in that noggin of yours!"
Jason thought he heard Ivan say something else, but then Ivan must have activated the chair, because he was left screaming in pain as he felt his memories being shifted through like someone was trying to find a particular page in a book, leaving him with nothing more to do than desperately try to keep some things shut even as he knew the chances of him succeeding in this goal were slim at best...
God, this hurt...!