"So why does Hermione talking about magic make you uneasy?" Tony cornered him as they slipped to the kitchen to make tea,
"It's just…It's going to sound ridiculous out loud…"
"Try me babe," Tony said caringly, grabbing Harry's hands from their flurry of activities and forcing him to look Tony in the eyes,
"You're just…You're mine. You're separate from my magical heritage. You're separate from Britain, and while I'm glad Hermione and Draco and the children are here…..every time I've truly cared for something outside of the magical world, and my magical world has touched it, even for the briefest of seconds, what I care about is destroyed…" Harry finished in a soft voice, and Tony reached for his limp body, bringing him into a tight hug,
"It'll be okay…I'm invincible, I'm Iron Man" Tony smiled at Harry, moving to wipe a tear that had slipped from those gorgeous green eyes. Harry could hear Hermione and Draco murmuring as they slipped back into Tony's living area,
"You have a very nice home Mister Stark" complimented Hermione,
"Yes, well, Harry has picked out quite the lovely American home for you all" Tony said, countering her compliment while reaching for Harry's hand. Surprisingly, Harry gripped his hand very tightly instead of ignoring it, to which Draco's eyebrows leavened a bit.
"So when do we get to meet the rest of your…friends Harry?" Hermione asked cautiously, glancing over at where Rose and Hugo were playing around with some toy planes that Tony had brought from somewhere else in the house.
"Maybe not today…How about we move into the mansion and get settled, and I'll make a large dinner and we can invite them to come see the house?"
"You know Cap would love that" Tony said encouragingly, looking at the children.
Did he even want children? He looked back to Harry, did Harry?
"That sounds lovely Harry, so are you going to be commuting back and forth between the tower and..our, home?" Hermione asked, she always knew how to roundabout a subject while finding out what she wanted to know.
"I will more than likely spend a predominant amount of time at our home. I will come to the tower when needed, or for "family" dinner on Wednesdays…or for dates" he added at the sight of Tony's pout.
"Well, why don't we depart?" said Draco impatiently, looking out the large windows to see the city below. He loved New York, he had told Harry numerous times how many attractive benders there were on this side of the pond.
"Cab or apparition?"
"I'll call a cab sir" intoned a British voice that had Hermione and Draco both jumping,
"Introduce yourself please Jarvis," Tony said in an amused voice,
"Yes sir, how very rude of me; Jarvis at your service, Mr. Malfoy and Ms. Granger."
"What is a…Jarvis?" Draco asked hesitantly, looking around for the source of the voice,
"I am a who Mr. Malfoy, I am an AI, or Artificial Intelligence. Think of me as Mr. Stark's personal assistant, besides the lovely Pepper Potts, whom you two have not met yet" the British voice intoned while Harry took in his friend's reactions with amusement.
"So… he's basically a sentient computer program?" Hermione asked with a small smile while Draco continued to look a bit creeped, and put, out.
"Very nice Mrs. Granger. How far does your grasp of…Wugmple is it? Muggle? Oh, alright…technology reach?"
"I have a better understanding of it than Draco does, but I feel me and Harry are probably about on an even playing field, why do you ask?" Hermione loved new projects, and being included into information, and Harry almost chuckled at new prospects sparkling in her eyes.
"I need to invent some sort of dampener for my technology that ensures that Harry's, or your's or Draco's for that matter, magic will not interfere with muggle circuitry" Tony stated matter of fact, standing as his watch beeped, Jarvis signaling him that a mini-van cab had arrived.
"Rose, Hugo!" Hermione semi-shouted in a kind voice, and when there was no response, she echoed again,
"Rose? Hugo?" moving to where they were playing last, seeing a mussed play area with no auburn haired children in sight.
"ROSE! HUGO!" she shouted more angered now, upon Harry and Tony and Draco splitting up to search the child-reachable areas of the apartment.
It seemed that the "Golden Trio's" propensity for danger and getting into trouble had rubbed off onto their offspring.
Steve just sat silently, watching the two children as they bickered over a chocolate chip cookie in the common room. They were quite handsome children, with dark curly hair that held a sheen of red to it, lots of freckles, and they were even dressed handsomely. The little girl with blue eyes wore an adorable corn-flower blue pinafore dress and Steve believed she was no older than six or seven. They had wandered out of the elevator, obviously too smart for their age, and began at once to play up their childish antics.
Thor sat in the dining room, not too far from them, with a tankard of mead. He was also watching them warily. The inquisitive children had noticed the two adults in the room, and Steve was almost positive they were putting on a childish air in order to make low-key observations about the two men.
Natasha was busy collecting Hawkeye from God knows where, T'Challa was likely prowling around the corridors or practicing his fighting skills (he was a bit too serious for Steve, and Steve liked to think he was pretty serious), Bruce was relaxing and keeping the Green Man down in the spa area of the pool floor, and Loki was sulking around the library since Harry told him that he couldn't meet his wizard and witch friends today.
However, if Steve were to take a wild guess (note that he never uses sarcasm but feels it sometimes appropriate) these would be the witch's children.
"You two know there's another plate of cookies correct? Your Uncle Harry would never make just one batch for a bunch of men," Steve said, still observing the children, who turned to smile warmly at him.
"We were just testing your waters" said the young girl in a clear voice; Steve didn't know if he wanted to smile, laugh, or tuck tail and run. Thor raised an eyebrow at this, but wisely decided to stay out of the conversation, noting how comfortably the Captain handled the children.
"I see, and you two are?" the Captain asked, standing and smiling at their eyes widening at his height and size. The little girl leaned over and whispered something into the boys ear to which his eyes widened and he cracked a large smile,
"I'm Rose" said the little girl, curtseying and holding her hand out for Steve, which he amusedly took and kissed gently,
"and I am Hugo" said the boy, making an effort to make his voice seem lower and his chest seem wider. Steve looked at the boy's build, and knew that he was going to be a barrel-chested and wide-shouldered man, most likely built similar to himself or Thor.
"And where is your mother, Rose and Hugo?" Steve asked, squatting to be near their level,
"We can take you to her!" Rose said excitedly, and grabbed Steve's hand, gently dragging him towards the elevator,
"Well that would be very nice of you Rose, I do believe she is probably worried sick about you two" Steve said, smiling at the pair before shooting Thor a look, to which Thor tried to mimic a thumbs up (his most recently learned gesture other than LOL and the peace sign) and gave Steve a broad smile.
He ushered the children into the elevator, noting that they pressed Tony's floor button with ease. Normally, Jarvis would have asked for a passcode or a fingerprint/retinal scan, but he guessed Jarvis overrode it for the children.
He stepped out of the elevator, Rose still holding his hand, and Hugo standing slightly behind his leg,
"I believe you….lost…these..." he stammered the last few words as a slight, chestnut haired woman ran to collect the children in her arms, examining them carefully for damage.
"Could you please tell me before you run off?" she asked with mild annoyance, to which Rose and Hugo both smiled and nodded in unison.
"Thank you, Mister..?"
"Rogers, Steve Rogers, but you can just called me Steve" he spat out all at once, blushing.
"Right, thank you Steve.., for finding them" the woman smiled and he smiled widely back.
Lord she was beautiful. She had big chocolate doe eyes and curly messy hair (obviously passed to her darling children, Steve might add) and a slight, yet well endowed, motherly, frame, and a tiny pouty mouth (at which observation Steve's thoughts strayed to a very un-moral place and he found himself the shade of red found upon his shield).
"It was no problem, Mrs?"
"Miss, its Ms. Hermione Granger" she said softly, and Steve couldn't help but feel prideful of his looks as she examined him.
"You children are…precious Ms. Granger" he complimented, still not breaking eye contact with her,
"Oh nonsense call me Hermione" she intoned, her nose wrinkling in the cutest way with amusement. Suddenly a tall, sharp featured, striking blonde man appeared and cleared his throat,
"Are you two going to stand here giving each other pygmy puff stares all day or are we going to go catch the cab?" he sated sassily, enjoying his own chance to look over the blonde hunk. America certainly made them beautiful. Draco licked his lips.
"Certainly, I shall not hold you up any longer, nice to meet you Ms..Hermione, Rose and Hugo" he intoned, simply looking down with a wide smile when Rose and Hugo attached themselves to each of his legs with a tight hug.
"It was nice to meet you as well Mr-"
"Malfoy, Draco Malfoy," the sassy blonde interrupted, and pushed past the man to stand near the elevator to watch impatiently. Harry and Tony suddenly came into view, Tony giving Harry the saddest look Captain America had even seen grace the Iron Man's face.
"Well, we better get going Steve, I hope to see you again in the future" the petite's soft voice reached his ears and he glanced down, his blush growing upon seeing her blush, paired with confident, amused eyes.
"Me as well Ms. Granger, me as well" with this Steve took her hand, kissed it, and ran to the elevator to escape his feelings.
Harry and Tony simply chuckled and shared a look as Hermione rubbed her hand with a smile.
"The home is…it will... it will work Potter," Draco sniffed, trying not to sound impressed with the quite handsome town-home located a few blocks away from the tower, near the coffee shop where Tony and Harry first met. Tony eyed him with annoyance, and Harry elbowed him in the ribs. Draco and Tony were very similar, big egos, great looks, thirst for luxury, born into money, it only made sense they wouldn't get along until they realized their eery similarities.
Harry ushered them into the house very quickly, telling Tony to order some pizza on his smart phone while showing the small gathering the fully furnished house.
Tony broke away from the group, and Harry soon followed while Hermione, Draco, and the children picked bedrooms.
"So when are you coming back to the tower I miss you already" Tony petulantly pouted to which Harry smirked and giggled,
"Today is April 29th is it not?" Harry asked, starting to place small kisses down Tony's chest and neck once the man had captured him in an embrace.
"Well, I will come over for an amazing date/dinner tomorrow night, we will make love for the first time, and then the next day you will coddle me and allow me to cry until you get me out of bed, using alcohol, and back to the townhouse" Tony started Harry's declaration with an excited countenance which switched to shock, sadness, and then anger.
"Why would you be so upset after letting me make love to you," Tony whispered angrily, to which Harry recoiled a little, and softly whispered,
"Think about the date luv..…" to which Tony's eyebrows furrowed before his expression softened and he held Harry tighter,
"Oh..babe…That's the anniversary of..…I'm sorry"
"No it's okay, you couldn't possibly remember that. It's just that…that's my day I set aside for myself every year to mope, cry,
mourn, feel guilty, pity myself, etc. That's why I said you'd have to bait me out of bed with alcohol" Harry let loose a small, sad smile.
"Well, if a spectacular date and a spectacular, what is it you Brits call it, shag is what you want, it is most definitely what you will get," Tony said with full bravado, covering his still gaping insecurity about how to be with a man. Of course, Harry had sucked his cock, a few times, and damn the slighter male had the mouth of an angel. Of course, he had held Harry down and explored his body and returned the favor in these past few weeks, but was he ready for this?
Tony contemplated that for a while and just held Harry tight against his chest, stroking the man's raven locks.
If this was what Harry needed and wanted to distract himself from his misery, Tony would do anything to put a smile on his face and dry his tears… He loved it when Harry smiled. Hell, he loved every face Harry made. Tony then leaned forward and gently kissed Harry, leaving the man gasping in surprise at the completely emotional gesture.
"I'm going to fuck you so many times you won't even remember what day it is my little magician," Tony whispered, drawing his lips against the shell of Harry's ear and smirking when Harry shivered and let out a gasp.
"HARRY I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU ALREADY CLAIMED THE BEDROOM WITH THE BEST BATHTUB," shouted Draco's voice under a sonorous charm, Harry giggled and Tony smiled and kissed his nose. This wizard was truly something else.
Later that night, once Tony had reluctantly said his goodbyes, Harry had helped his friends unpack, and promptly told them goodnight, he sat in his potions lab, reviewing his prized journal of Snape's.
There was just something, some step or phase he was missing to complete this first half of his new and improved wolfsbane potion. Maybe it was when the monkshood was harvested? Personally he believed that even the modified version held too much wolfsbane. He wanted their transformation to be less painful, for them to have some semblance of control...What was he missing?
He heard the door to his lab open, and turned to see Hermione standing in a flannel nightgown, looking like a grown version of her Hogwart's self.
He remembered a gown similar to that one being worn by her in the Gryffindor common room, when himself, Ron, Neville, Ginny, George and Fred stayed awake late at night to discuss the war. It was a plaid flannel, with stripes of green and yellow running through the fabric; he suddenly remembered George and Fred needling her about house unity with the "bloody tartan nightie's" colors.
Harry smiled and moved to embrace the smaller woman, feeling her sag into his arms,
"Hard times huh Mione" he said gently, noting that her smaller frame was shaking.
"It's been hard..staying so strong in front of Rose and Hugo. Of course they miss their father, but they were smart enough to figure out almost exactly what happened when it was revealed to the family. They are mad at him…but he's their father. I can't exactly expect them to stay mad forever. It's just been hard trying to juggle my Ministry job and the children and pretending to be happy…it's so hard Harry...I just...I quit the ministry job and I've been living off of my vault you opened me," she sniffed, leaning once more into his embrace. He titled her chin up, wiping tears away,
"Why don't we go make some peppermint tea? I have scones in the kitchen, I do believe. The strawberries and cream kind you like," he smiled gently, and she smiled weakly back, wiping the rest of the tears from her face. It suddenly hit Harry how gorgeous his best friend was, even if she was starting to get small, minuscule folds and wrinkles from stress and heartbreak, she was breathtaking. Her hair had tamed to more of a purposeful, less frizzy curl, her eyes always held a twinkle of knowledge, her skin and shape was beautiful. She was beautiful. He had seen the look that Steve had given her, and he hoped that maybe the two could find solace in each other. Lord knows Hermione deserved a man like Steven Rogers.
The kettle whistled, and he levitated the tea set to follow him to the library where Hermione was curled on a large chaise lounge. There was a fire going, even though it was almost full blown spring in New York, simply because Harry loved fireplaces.
"So how has your magic been doing, as far as the fraying pathways and growing core thing goes? I did some research, that concluded that you need to find a stronger tutor than your random teachers and raw magic masters you've been stumbling across in your travels," Hermione changed the subject matter of fact, not allowing Harry any room to inquire about her personal life. Hermione was too damn stubborn. She would crack when she was ready.
"I figured that out too…" he then began to spill the story of Loki and Thor and the Avengers and meeting Tony and once he started he found he couldn't stop,
"It's as if…he understands me. Not only does he treat me like a…well…prince, but I'm also just Harry, I'm not alone, and he understands. It's so hard to describe really, how much I've grown to care about Anthony Stark in just a month" Harry said with a smile, taking another sip of his now almost chilled tea. Hermione was smiling warmly,
"So, not to derail you, but you know I find an interest in learning…especially from a god, a wizard god moreso…What is he going to teach you?" she edged to the edge of her seat, listening intently for whatever answer Harry might provide,
"I think he is going to help me focus my raw power more, enhance my magical core to be able to handle my amount of power…teach me the Asgardian ways of magic… He believes me to be an almost equal to him, which is why he's even wasting the time to teach me. So far we've talked about quite a bit of theory, and proper meditation. I find that the meditation is helping me greatly, in fact, I've also almost completely grasped the occlumency concept that's been so hard for me since Snape. It's helping nurture and strengthen my magical core, it is quite unbelievable." Harry finished in a whisper, now holding hands with Hermione as her whole body vibrated with excitement. She loved new knowledge.
"Can I attend one of your theory lessons? I wish to know so much more about Asgard" she whispered in awe, Harry smile and nodded his agreement.
The grandfather clock on the mantle struck 3:00am and reluctantly the two bid each other goodnight. For the first time in weeks, since admitting her pain to someone other than Draco, even if she didn't completely talk about it with Hary, Hermione fell into a deep sleep almost immediately.
Harry, however, laid in bed, stared at his ceiling, and took care of the butterflies collecting in his stomach at the thought of tomorrow night.