The first chapter literally doubled in length, and this one is about the same. Not only because I need to inject Cordelia and her relationship with Kira, but because doing so greatly modifies how pretty much everyone in this chapter interacts. I think this actually works a lot better than my original version of the chapter because, well, Kira's not exactly the fashionista type. Oh, and I decided to fuse the story with Magical Thunder
, with all that entails. Enjoy.
Given that her girlfriend evidently had no problem with eying Tori up, Kira didn't really feel bad about enjoying the much improved scenery in their command center as the two teams of rangers and their support personnel gathered after the battle. Which meant that she was already looking at Conner when he began to whine and wiggle his remarkably shapely new backside a bit. "Dude, this feels weird." Reaching up, he adjusted the straps of his red tank top for the umpteenth time before bringing his hands down to pat at his ass. "My shirt keeps falling off and I have something like, up my butt." She'd seen guys do it often enough, but he wasn't seriously going to… oh hell no. Leaning forward, Kira slapped at the hand that was starting to disappear down the back of Conner's skirt. "Ow! Kira!"
Ethan peered over the top of his iPad before snorting and going back to… whatever he was doing. "Hey, man, you're the one who told Cordelia to get you underwear from Victoria's Secret. 'If I have to be a chick, I wanna be a hot chick' ringing a bell?"
"Sorry, Conner, but I'm siding with Ethan here. I heard Kira warning you about the kind of stuff Cordelia is into." Trent looked up from his sketchpad, shaking his head. "You should have known that nothing good would have come from telling her to pick out something she'd wear 'except in red'." As he turned back to his drawing, muttering under his breath in Spanish, Kira let her eyes wander the transgendered White Dino Thunder Ranger. He was remarkably elfin in this state, easily the smallest and most petite of the group, and looked really pretty in a white summer dress with a white cloth headband holding his long black hair back away from his face. He'd put up a bit of a fight over the dress at first, but had given in when one of the Wind Ninja really-a-girl students had offered her two cents. Was their team-up turning into a love connection? Kira could only hope, because the longer Trent's one-sided crush stretched on, the harder it got to keep Cordelia from doing something that would seriously damage team unity.
Amusingly enough, Ethan looked pretty much the same as always. Well, apart from being a girl, obviously. Cordelia had returned with a fairly gender-neutral outfit for the Blue Dino Thunder Ranger: a TARDIS-themed t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and some Keds. It made for quite the contrast next to Mister 'I Wanna Be a Hot Chick', who was stumbling around the command center on high heels he was far from mastering, perpetually on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction in his low-cut red tank top and short denim skirt. Doctor O managed a good mix of dignified and sexy in his black button-front blouse and pencil skirt, kinda working a hot librarian vibe… and that was as far as Kira was going to let that train of thought chug, thank you very much.
The Ninja Rangers were just as varied. Tori was still in her black leather ninja uniform because… well, it fit and she didn't feel like wasting money on new clothes today. Hunter and Blake, like Ethan, had gotten off easy and ended up back in jeans and t-shirts. Shane too had been lucky enough to get something gender-neutral; someone had found him a terry tracksuit in just the right shade of red and tossed in a white tee so he could unzip a bit. Dustin, on the other hand, was in the same boat as Conner but in yellows and browns as befitting an earth ninja, and Cameron… was now rocking a schoolgirl uniform, batting helplessly at Marah and Kapri's hands as they debated what to do with his hair.
"Just so you know? The longer you talk, the longer it'll be before Doc can tell us what he found out." Cordelia's glare swept over the non-Kira members of the team, cowing them into submission even as it pulled Kira from her thoughts. Ethan and Trent at least had the good sense to look apologetic, while Conner just pantomimed zipping his lips. Her lips. Ugh. The English language wasn't designed for this kind of thing. "Thank you. Now, what the hell is going on, Doc? Why are all the boys in town turning into girls?"
Doctor O turned in his chair, looking away from the computer he'd been working at. "Actually, Cordelia, this goes beyond Reefside. Far, far beyond Reefside." Reaching up, he brushed his hand against his throat, probably still not used to hearing a female voice emerging. Quickly shaking it off, he continued on. "I've been monitoring the news and this is a worldwide phenomenon. Every male in the world has been turned into a female."
Strangely enough, the first thought to cross Kira's mind was that this was going to be a huge boost for her career. Female rock stars who weren't essentially cross-genre pop tarts were few and far between; this was going to level the playing field when it came to music and make it so much easier to break into the industry. Not to mention that the entire fashion industry would need to retool itself to cater to the fairer sex, which would likely create an upswing in clothing options for her because… well, what were the odds that her particular style of choice would go utterly ignored when personnel were reallocated? Silence reigned as the group absorbed that, and then Cordelia decided to seize command on account of Conner being too busy poking at the tops of his breasts. "Do we know how to fix this? How it happened? What happened? Who did it? Anything?"
"No, no, some kind of magical spell, and no… but we do know one thing." Turning back to his computer, Doctor O linked his screen to the larger display on the wall so everyone could see. The cursor swirled a few times to grab their attention before leading their eyes up to a dot north of Los Angeles, from which pink rings were emanating. "This is the epicenter of… whatever's going on. We had all of our sensors set to maximum sensitivity so we could track energy coming from the Abyss of Evil, and that allowed Hayley to get some very clear readings when the event occurred. It seems to be coming from a town called Sunnyda-"
"And twenty bucks says Rosenberg's involved somehow. Ugh." Cordelia shook her head in disgust before elaborating for the rest of the room's sake. "I'm from Sunnydale. I went to school with this wanna-Blessed-Be named Willow Rosenberg. She's actually capable of some magic, but a lot of it blew up in her face. Last I'd heard, she'd met a girl at college and joined the rainbow brigade. Now we've got girl-making magic coming out of Sunnydale. Two plus two plus two equals Willow probably tried to turn some guy she found interesting into a girl she'd drool over and now we have Girl World." Wandering over to the display screen, she traced her finger along the map from Reefside to Los Angeles and then onward to Sunnydale. "How are we getting to Sunnydale? And how many people am I taking with me?"
Exchanging looks, Doctor O and Hayley seemed to converse silently before the former nodded and rose, a Wind Morpher in his hand. "I think you should all go. All of my rangers, that is. Shane, Hayley thinks we can keep jumpstarting your powers the same way Zordon kept me going as the Green Ranger all those years ago. It'll fall to you guys to defend Reefside from Lothor and Mesogog while they're gone."
It took a shove from Tori to get Shane moving forward, but the Red Wind Ninja Ranger accepted his morpher and strapped it to his now-slimmer wrist. "If it gets us back to normal, it's the least we can do."
"Oh, and Cordelia?" Doctor O's words drew the brunette's attention away from the screen. "You may know about magic, but fixing something like this is another matter entirely. So I sent for a specialist. They should be here soon."
"Well, that solves who." Attention shifted to Kira as she gestured over to the section of wall that hid the garage. "What about the how? Please tell me that we're not taking the Raptor Cycles. Or even worse, the Raptor Riders? Both are ridiculously obvious, and I don't even want to think about what the LAPD would do if a bunch of velociraptors came stomping down the freeway."
"The Valkasaurus Megazord. Sort of." Doctor O changed the image on the display screen to show a slightly… off… version of the closest thing the team had to an ultrazord. "Your five zords can combine without the Stegazord or the Mezodon Megazord's pieces to create a lighter flying megazord that can take you to Sunnydale." Kira opened her mouth but Doctor O anticipated her question and cut her off. "Normally I wouldn't condone such a thing, but whoever did this has the power to affect half of the world's population. A little intimidation might be useful."
That made sense. Kira nodded and turned away, heading for the stairs that led up to the first floor of the house. After a second, she realized that she only heard one set of footsteps behind her, and peered back over her shoulder to find that while Cordelia was following her… "Hey. Geniuses. Open sky is up here. Unless your plan is to morph and then jump through a few floors of Doctor O's house to get to your zords?"
The trio of boys-turned-girls blushed and hurried after the team's two girls as Kira and Cordelia ascended to the ground floor, passing through Doctor O's living room and making their way out onto the front lawn. Kira brought one arm up and twisted her wrist, watching her Dino Morpher appear in a flash of yellow light, only to be brought up short by a startlingly good question by Conner. "Question? How are we going to deal with whoever did this? Are we going to be all 'change us back now!' or pretend to be an all-girl Power Ranger team that has a general superhero-type interest in fixing the world..?"
"That's… huh." Kira glanced over at Cordelia, who looked just as uncertain as she felt. The former would be easier and less awkward, that was for sure; there would need to be some Girl 101 followed by a 200-level class or five before her transgendered teammates could pass themselves off as real girls. The latter option, on the other hand, would keep them from looking like victims when they confronted the evil mastermind behind this bizarre plot and perception could be a powerful weapon. Transformed boys could be tricked and blackmailed with the threat of being stuck in their new form, while real girls couldn't. For the first time, Kira admitted to herself that maybe Doctor O had seen something in Conner when picking him to lead. The problem was that while she did put effort into her appearance, her preference for a more punk rock look meant that all of the teaching would fall to… "Cordelia?"
Summoning her own morpher with an idle twist of her wrist, Cordelia began tapping the nails of her right hand against it as she thought. "I guess. I'll need to pick up a few supplies, though. Hmm. Do you trust me with your zord, Kira?" After a moment's thought, the brunette shrugged and nodded. Why wouldn't she? "During the Fossilador fight, we managed to form the Thundersaurus Megazord without you. In theory? That means I can take your zord to the mall, pick up some makeup and other goodies, hook back up with the rest of you in mid-flight, and we'll do girl classes in the cockpit on the way to Sunnydale. Oh, and while I'm thinking of it? Names. You need them." Spinning around, she pointed at each of the transgendered rangers. "Colette. Eva. Trina. Questions?"
The Eva formerly known as Ethan raised her hand. "Why can't we name ourselves?"
"Because you need me more than I need you, and I say your name is Eva." Cordelia raised an eyebrow challengingly, waiting until Eva backed down before nodding in satisfaction. "I picked names with the same first letter or two as your real ones because I figured that way you'd be more likely to realize I'm talking to you when I use them. And it could be worse. I went to school with girls named Aura and Harmony and Buffy of all things. And Willow, obviously."
Kira didn't even try to contain her snort of laughter. "Buffy? Are you serious?"
Before Cordelia could reply to the largely rhetorical query, there was a loud pop and a blonde in an odd and old-fashioned green dress appeared out of thin air, dropping lightly to land on the lawn in a crouch. Rising to her feet, she pulled her hair back and secured it with a fluffy green scrunchy before answering Kira's question. "No, Sirius was my friend Harry's godfather before he passed."
"Luna!" Rushing forward, Cordelia pulled the shorter and younger girl into a tight hug before holding her out at arm's length. "I was hoping Doc was talking about you and not some other contact he'd picked up over his years as a ranger. Shouldn't you be in school, though?"
Shaking her head, 'Luna' took a step closer to Cordelia and hugged the brunette again, resting her head on Cordelia's chest. Before the faint sparks of jealousy inside Kira could ignite, her blood ran cold at Luna's matter-of-fact response. "School's out for the summer. That tends to happen when someone sneaks into your school and kills the headmaster. I… neutralized… all eight of the Death Eaters responsible, but had to reveal myself in the process. So I decided to take a bit of a holiday from the wizarding world. Letting things cool down a bit."
Cordelia grimaced, bringing one hand up to rub the back of Luna's head as the other arm wrapped around the slender girl's waist again. "Oh, honey, I'm so sorry. Are you sure you're up for this, then?"
"Well, the problem's not going to solve itself and I'm the only witch on the team. I have to be, don't I?" Leaning her head back so she could look up at Cordelia, Luna tilted her head to the side as she hummed softly. "It's a pity this didn't happen before I had to kill Draco Malfoy. I've heard a number of people comment that we look alike; it would have been interesting to see what he'd have looked like as my older sister." After spending a few seconds lost in thought, the blonde shook herself and then pulled out of Cordelia's embrace. "No sense wasting time on 'what if's, though. Shall we?"
Despite looking like she wanted to argue, Cordelia nodded before taking two steps to the right, positioning herself between Luna and Kira. Quickly cottoning on to her intentions, a second row consisting of Colette, Eva, and Trina formed behind them. "We shall. Kira, fill her in on the way for me? Dino Thunder, Power Up!"
"White Ranger, Dino Power!"
There was one perk to Willow messing up and turning every boy in the world into a girl, Dawn realized. Compared to that, all her bad behavior was just a drop in the ocean and was being completely ignored in favor of the far larger problems they were currently facing. Problems like the two newest Scoobies, 'Alexis Harris' and 'Wilhemina the Bloody', and the fact that Willow's crystals from her crystal-based spell were already shattered in the process of casting, blocking the easiest and most common way of ending such a spell.
As Dawn passed through the entryway and swung around to head up the stairs, there was a loud thump and the earth trembled. Stumbling forward, Dawn grabbed onto the banister for support and then straightened up as car alarms began to beep, chirp, and howl outside. She frowned as she looked around. That… wasn't an earthquake. After spending her entire life in California, she knew earthquakes. But if not an earthquake, then what had- the doorbell rang, dragging Dawn from her thoughts. When nobody else responded, she groaned and made her way over, yanking the door open. "What?"
Jerking backward, Dawn slammed the door shut. "Willow!" A few seconds later, the redhead in question poked her head around the corner at the top of the stairs and Dawn gestured to the door. "It's for you."
Willow perked up and rushed down the first few stairs before slowing her descent, her expression becoming more guarded. "Wait. If all the Scoobies are here and Giles is in England and most of my casual friends never found out I moved here… who could be looking for me?" Dawn opted to shrug helplessly; she had no idea how the Power Rangers had known to come here looking for the redhead, but they didn't sound happy. With that thought in mind, the rest of Willow's descent was far slower, and she cautiously opened the door…
…only to be knocked out by a single punch from a bright pink fist. As the witch crumpled to the floor in the entryway, blood streaming from her nose, the team's Pink Ranger stalked into the house. There was a bright flash of light as pink as the spandex she was wearing, and then suddenly Dawn was staring at a face she hadn't seen since her sister's graduation. Cordelia fluffed her hair a few times before smiling widely. "Hey, Dawnie. Is your sister home?"