(A/N: Time to wrap this up. There's a bigger note at the bottom.)
Chapter 7 - Adjusting
As he woke, Harry was trying to remember if he was in Connecticut or Rhode Island. After a moment, he decided it didn't really matter. What mattered was that it was Saturday morning. Their time of playing tourist and looking at nature and interesting places was over for the moment.
He slowly woke up his girlfriend, admiring her curves as she stretched.
She looked at him for a moment. "Thank you for the best vacation I've ever had."
"I can say the same, but it's not quite as meaningful since it's the only vacation I've ever had," he teased.
A laughed escaped her, but she turned serious fairly quickly. "Are you sure about our plan, Harry? I mean, I like the idea, but it might not turn out like we want."
"What's the worst that could happen? We have to go buy a house?" he joked.
"No, the worst is we'd be on the run, but I'm reasonably sure it won't go that far. Come take a shower with me and then I can find out if you can really take us back to Long Island from here." Gracefully, she rose and then gave him a coy look before heading towards the bathroom, not worried in the least that she was totally nude.
With a smile, Harry followed, in the same state of dress.
An hour later, they walked out of the old light house on a small island that had been converted into a bed and breakfast. They didn't have long to wait for their ride to pick them up. Harry would have Apparated back from the little island, but their hosts would have wondered about that, so the couple waited for the small boat to ferry them.
Back on shore, Natasha let Harry behind the driver's wheel since she'd recently taught him to drive. He carefully drove down the road until he could pull off at a wide spot where it didn't look like anyone could see them. Using his wand, he tapped the car. "Portus. Touch the car," he directed.
She put one hand on the steering wheel like he had done and the other hand on the door handle.
"Activate," he said as he touched his wand to the wheel. He felt the pull behind his navel and a few seconds later they were in the garage of her house on Long Island.
"That's impressive," she told him, sounding like she really was impressed.
"That's magic," he said with a grin. "Time for step two." He stepped out of the car and pulled his trunk out.
She pulled out her phone and made a call while exiting the car. "Agent Hill, good morning. I'm checking in to get your coordinates. … No, you don't need to send transportation for us. … Yes, GPS coordinates will work fine. … Very good, and your altitude? We don't want a mid-air collision. … Thank you, we'll see you shortly." She turned the phone off and put it in a pocket.
Natasha gave him the coordinates as she sat down behind him on his broom. "We don't have to be outside?"
"Nope," he told her. "You said ten thousand feet?"
"I'll go for 150 meters over that. I noticed it wasn't hard to see the helicarrier when we were above it before. Hang on." When he felt her tighten her grip, he Apparated them to the coordinates given. Apparating by coordinates was harder, so that was another reason he wanted to be above their target, just in case he was off.
A few seconds later, they popped into a stiff cold breeze. Looking around, Natasha pointed mostly behind her and to the right. "Only about a kilometer off, that was pretty good."
"Thanks," he told her as he turned his broom around to face the large ship. "Want to have some fun or shall we do it the easy way?" he said with a grin, thinking about what his godfather might do in this situation.
"Will the fun way involve guns pointing at us by surprised people?" she asked.
"Fine," he said with disappointment, "we'll do it the easy way." He Apparated them to the deck of the ship, landing next to the door.
Natasha entered the access code and opened the door while Harry shrunk his broom down and put it in the inside pocket of his jacket. She led the way in.
An alarm went off and Hill barked out, "Bogey off the starboard side, about a half mile out and 500 feet above us."
Fury practically ran out of his office. "How did it get this close before we noticed it?" he barked, remembering what had happened recently when a compromised Clint Barton had suddenly shown up. The helicarrier was fully repaired as of only two days ago, and only because they had worked around the clock.
"Don't know, sir. Whatever it is, it's small, the wrong shape to be a missile, and it's hovering, not moving towards us," she answered before she verbally exploded. "It's gone!"
"What?" Fury hurried down to her station to look at the data.
"Sir," a crewman from nearby got their attention a moment later. "The outside hatch has been opened. The code used was Agent Romanova's."
Hill relaxed. "I didn't think she could get here that quickly. She hung up less than a minute ago and I traced the call back to our house."
"I don't think it was her," Fury replied, but didn't say more as he turned for his office. "When they get here, send them to my office, if they don't automatically go there."
When Fury was halfway to his destination, he looked up and through the glass walls of his office he could see two people sitting in chairs, waiting for him. This was a side to one of his top agents that he'd never seen before and he hope she wasn't compromised. Trying to put on his best game face, he walked resolutely on. At least they were in his domain, he thought.
— — —
"I still can't believe you brought us straight here," she told him.
"You said that they'd know it was us after you used your code. I figured we didn't need to worry about everyone between there and here, so why not Apparate? It's not like he won't want to talk to you."
"Us; he'll want to talk to both of us."
Harry shrugged and looked over his shoulder. "Here he comes. He doesn't look pleased."
Natasha looked at him and smiled, her eyes laughing. "I can imagine." She didn't bother looking.
Fury walked into his office and closed the door. "That was a damn fool way to get into my office."
"It saved a lot of time though," Harry said calmly, trying to be accommodating - at least a little.
Fury studied both of them as he took a seat behind his desk before turning back to Harry. "A week ago, Agent Romanova strongly suggested I owe you an apology." He paused for a moment. "After some consideration, I've decided she had a point.
"Mr Potter, my job is to protect the world. It was made a whole lot harder the day you arrived. I was still a little keyed up when we met, so I'm afraid my manners weren't what they should have been. I hope you understand and we can put that behind us to work together in the future."
Fury opened a drawer in his desk to grab something and slid a few documents towards him. "Consider this a token of my sincerity and appreciation for your help that day."
Harry saw a small plastic card that said "Driver's License" on the top with his name. Under that was a small booklet about the size of his palm that said, "Passport". Next to both of those was a wallet that looked like the one Agent Hill had, just as Natasha had one. He opened it and inside was a badge that said, "Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division". The same picture had been used for all three and looked like one Natasha had taken of him with her phone.
Letting it sit on the desk, Harry nodded graciously. "I understand; you're right, it was a difficult day. Apology accepted. You didn't have to give me these, but I appreciate the gesture."
Fury nodded back. "I hope that if we have another alien invasion that I can count on you to help out?"
"Of course, Director," Harry agreed. "This is becoming my home and I'd like it to continue on."
"I appreciate your willingness." Fury turned his eye to his wayward employee. "Agent Romanova. When I told you to take a vacation, I didn't mean for you to be so … out of pocket."
"You told me to take Harry on vacation, to get to know him, help him get acclimated, so I did. That's a lot easier when it's just us," she answered easily.
"And what of your duty to SHIELD?" he asked with a hint of accusation.
"I did the essentials of my duty." She glanced at Harry. "I told you he repaired part of New York City. I told you his home world was a lot like ours, so you have some context for him. I also told you that he could do most anything he wanted with magic with some work, so you know his powers and capabilities. Beyond that, you can ask him yourself. I've found that if you're polite, he'll answer most questions.
"Director, you gave me a job about five years ago and I've never let you down. I'm sure you're taking exception to my method of carrying out my tasks, but in the field I choose how to do it. I appreciate your efforts on that side of the desk, please appreciate my efforts on this side."
Harry saw Fury look at her for a moment and then him for another moment. "Since he's not surprised at your statement, I gather you told him your mission."
"I did," she answered boldly. "I thought being truthful with him would help us understand each other better. I think that turned out to be a good decision. What do you think, Harry?"
"I agree. I had a lot more respect for you and was more willing to share with you when I realized you were trying to be honest with me," he replied.
Fury leaned back in his chair and scowled at both of them. "All right, what do you want? I can smell the snow from here."
Natasha smiled at Harry. "Told you." Back to Fury she said, "I'd like to scale back my involvement here. When you have an all-hands event, we'll both be there. If you find that you have a job that's absolutely vital and no one else has the ability to do it, give us a call."
"But we don't expect that to be more than about once every other month," Harry added. "And the house," he reminded her.
"Harry would like for us to continue to have access to the house on Long Island. He likes it. In exchange, you don't have to pay me a salary like you do now, just work expenses for our occasional job. Use of the house will suffice for a salary for the little bit of work that we do, and to be on retainer for the next set of aliens."
"You are one of the early members of the Avengers and one of my top agents, if not my top agent. That's taking a lot off the table," he argued.
"I could take a complete leave of absence," she pointed out, leaving Fury dumb-struck at the idea.
"Natasha wants to show me Tahiti, she says it's a magical place," Harry said after a moment. "I've only seen a few pictures and I can hardly wait to go. I never had the opportunity to travel before, so I'm sure there's a lot of brilliant places like that to see."
Fury rubbed his forehead for a moment, many of his ideas and plans being shot to hell the more they talked. "If I agree, will you at least leave your phone on? I can't send you information that you'll need for your occasional missions if I can't communicate with you. The same applies if more aliens show up."
Natasha smiled ever so slightly. "Of course, Director."
Shaking his head at his predicament that he had no counter for at the moment, the director opened another drawer. He slid a thin folder to her. "Since you're going that way, there's a Chinese syndicate in San Francisco that we're sure are bringing some significant arms into the US. However, no one has been able to prove it despite trying very hard for the last two years. I'd like you to get that proof. There's a contact for the local FBI office; work with them when you have the evidence and the criminals can be arrested."
She picked up the folder and flipped through it quickly. "This should only take a day or two if the information on their location is correct and if they have the weapons on site."
Fury sputtered for a moment before he managed, "Only a day or two? What has he done to you?"
Harry looked at Natasha, who looked at him. They both burst out laughing.
With a smirk, she told her superior, "I'm sorry, Director, but you're not cleared for that information. However, I can say that Harry has shown me that magic has a large number of practical uses in information gathering and other covert activities."
"Such as?" Fury sounded like he wanted to be "wowed".
Natasha stood, prompting Harry to do the same and grab his documents off the desk. She put her arm around his waist. "To be where you need to be, or to escape, when it's most convenient. Please tell Agent Hill that after tomorrow we won't be home for next month or two; therefore, if she wants to use the house during that time she can. Also tell her that she's forgiven if she remembers to contact me before she visits next time per our standing agreement that she so conveniently forgot about, and remind her there are more ways to contact me than to use my mobile phone. Let's go home, Harry. It looks like we have a trip to plan and pack for."
"Is San Francisco in California?" Harry asked.
"That means we can stop in and see Tony and Pepper." Harry looked at his new boss, at least in a minimal way. "Until next time, Director."
Fury's jaw dropped when the couple left with a soft crack. He walked around and felt the space where they had been standing. There was nothing but air.
He decided he should call the FBI in San Francisco and let them know they'd be getting a call about their arms smuggling case in the next few days, or maybe sooner. He was going to have to rewrite some of his estimates on Harry Potter.
Deciding he better deliver this message sooner rather than later, he stuck his head out the door and called out, "Agent Hill!"
The upside of all of this was that he now had another "big gun" in his "weapons locker". On the downside, the loss of Agent Romanova's services fulltime was going to hurt. Fury thought he better start planning around that. He really wanted to blame Harry Potter for this loss, but he also considered that it would have come eventually in some form. He knew he had a lonely life.
(the end for now)
(A/N: I'm going to end it here, with Harry and Natasha forming a new team of their own, to work her independent insurance recovery job as well as to just travel the world, along with the occasional task from SHIELD for a little spice.
I don't know if I'll continue this or not. If I do, it'll be a separate story where they run into some interesting people, take down some criminal organizations (not just the criminals), probably affect some less than savory 3rd world countries, and travel to Asgard. Don't know if I would take on the Hydra thread in my own way or not. Also, while I know why Thor worked on his on in The Dark World (he wanted his own movie), it seems to me that that story line in this universe would have him calling Harry for help not Loki, assuming I paid attention to that story. Someone also mentioned the "Agents of SHIELD" TV show and wondered if I'd work that in. I would consider that part of this universe and the idea is a good one; that's one of the few TV shows I like and follow, plus I am eagerly awaiting the new season. Like a show, I can keep extending this story line as much as I want.
When Fury said he could "smell the snow", he was referencing the idiom "a snow job".
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed something different for Harry. I enjoyed writing it.
For those wondering what might come next, odds are that it'll be another crossover, probably in a few weeks as the first draft is almost done. Looks like it'll be about half again larger than this story. - Kevin)