Rose Lily Potter and the Avengers
A/N: You people are beautiful. I like reviews. The longer ones or the ones with questions will get responses. I love communicating with you people.
I own none of this.
I'm taking ideas for Marvel characters that should make cameos or Omake ideas.
Let me tell you something real fast, something I've tried to avoid with my writing is the habit of writing all the "good guys" as morally infallible. For example, Hermione has a penchant for being a little "holier than thou" about some topics. It doesn't make her a bad person, just human. A lot of authors will make everyone on the protagonist's side perfect. And when they mess up a little, everyone is super disappointed in them/ hates them for little faults that make them human. I avoid that.
Just so you know, this is my fifth attempt at writing this chapter. And I'm sure this one will go just as swimmingly as the others…
B/N: I would like to apologize for the author's delay in producing this chapter. I had to resort to underhanded threats to get Yellow to finish. You're welcome.
Chapter 8: Bare-Lee Glimpsing the Bigger Picture
Though it had taken a reduced role in the day to day operations of the Wizarding World over the past century, the ICW headquarters in Prague boasted a surprisingly large number of employees. Oversight of the world's ministries and the enforcement of the Statute of Secrecy were the primary concerns of the ICW, but they also hosted committees of various Masters gathered to discuss laws and possessed a sizable enforcement department amongst other things.
It was safe to say that the ICW was busy even on days they weren't in session. These employees were slowly growing more familiar with the sight of Rose Potter amongst their midst, but the sight of her today was something even they thought was odd.
Clad in casual robes, Rose was very much a different sight from the normal professional attire she normally wore in the building. Also different was her expression. Gone was the friendly smile and cheerful attitude, replaced with a tight frown and purposeful stride as she approached the source of her ire.
She stopped only long enough for the guard standing outside the office to check her new badge that authorized her presence before she burst through the door.
The occupant of the office didn't greet her, too absorbed in his paperwork to worry about formalities, though he did look up and acknowledge her. Rose simply ignored his attitude. She didn't mind that he treated her with far less political politeness than literally everyone else that stepped into his office.
She threw the magazine that she had been clutching in her hand on his desk, interrupting his work.
"What the hell is this?" She asked him.
"I believe that is a magazine, Rose." Supreme Mugwump Yusheng answered monotonously as he placed it to the side of his desk and continued working.
Rose growled. "You know exactly what I mean. Why is my work featured in it? And also in the Daily Bloody Prophet?"
Yusheng suddenly looked interested in the conversation. "Oho! That was today?" He picked up the magazine and flipped through it until he found what he searched for. "Ah. 'An Updated View of Muggles' by Rose Potter. 'Why the Statute of Secrecy cannot protect us forever and what we can do about it.'"
A pleased smile graced the older man's face as he looked up at Rose. "I do believe the other papers should be running it today too."
The Defense Mistress's eyes bulged. "What other papers? How many did you send it to?"
The Mugwump made a show of counting his fingers before he exclaimed, "All of them!"
Rose groaned and had to resist banging her head against the wall. She settled instead for sitting down in the chair opposite Yusheng and running her hands through her hair in frustration.
"Why? I didn't write that for the world to see. I wrote that because you asked me to."
"You did say that I could use it." Yusheng pointed out.
"I thought you meant you were going to paraphrase it at best or publish it under your own name at worst! If I had known you would do this, I wouldn't have let you use it!"
"Which is exactly why I didn't clarify my request." The Chinese man responded unapologetically. "I didn't want you to deny this opportunity or try to blunt the truth of the matter. It will be well received by both sides, I believe. Your insistence that peace is preferable, but that you would not hesitate to use force should the muggles react to us with violence will finally put to rest the popular opinion that you would turn on us if war broke out."
Rose recoiled. She hadn't realized that her loyalty to the Wizarding World was in question. "What?! I love magic! Why would anyone believe that I would side with the muggles?"
Yusheng tapped his chin in thought. "That's a tricky question. You've managed to stay a popular item amongst the various Wizarding papers around the world. Something they've all noted is your close relationship with your friend, Hermione Granger, the idealist. She's been noted to be very outspoken about adopting a complete muggle lifestyle and overturning every tradition she gets her hands on."
Yusheng's tone made it clear that he was simply reciting the facts as he saw them and didn't necessarily believe it himself as he continued. "The fact that she appears to have your ear leads some credence to the doubts of your loyalty. That you haven't spoken publicly in years makes some believe that you just don't care about the Wizarding World in general."
"Ugh." Rose groaned. She never thought being friends with Hermione would backfire. "It probably doesn't help that she screamed at me in public today about the article, does it?"
"What did she disagree with?" Yusheng asked politely.
"The fact that I entertained the idea of war with the Muggles. She thinks there is no way that they would react to us with violence and that if anyone were the aggressors, it would be us." Rose explained.
"Ah. Like I said, she's an idealist." Zhao said. "But that is exactly why you need to speak to the media. You need to have your voice heard."
"I don't want my voice heard!" Rose exclaimed in exasperation. "Not to mention I despise the papers."
Yusheng kept his eyes steady on the younger witch. "No one likes the papers, Rose. And I didn't ask you to assist me here by sorting paperwork. You are here to advise me and be a strong persona. I want your voice to be heard."
If Yusheng wasn't so forthcoming about his blatant abuse of her fame, Rose might've been upset. The fact that he admitted his taking advantage of it was the only reason she tolerated it. It was so refreshing from the other politicians she met. Even Andy was evasive when she talked about how she used it in the Wizengamot, and she was family.
"You should have noted that your paper was published without any edits." Yusheng pointed out. "I'm very serious about taking your opinion here. You have strong ideals, Rose. You need to learn to accept that your voice is possibly more powerful than your wand."
The witch huffed and sat back in the chair. "Forgive me if my experience differs from that."
"Did you or did you not convince five young technomancers to forgo their last year at Waharozdzki and come work for you in England?" Yusheng countered.
"Well…" Rose fumbled for an argument. "I didn't really have a choice. My account manager was ready to bite my head off when I suggested just giving them the money for their research. And if I'm going to employ them and try to turn out a profit when their research bears fruit, I'm going to do it right. That means stealing Hermione from the Ministry and having her oversee them. That way I know it will succeed and I can keep Bloodtooth from throwing an axe at me."
"Sounds like you are creating a company." He commented as if it helped prove his point.
"Because Bloodtooth wanted it!" Rose exclaimed in irritation. "I just wanted to see their project come to fruition."
"But isn't Bloodtooth your account manager?" Yusheng asked rhetorically. "He cannot tell you how to spend your money. You care about that goblin's opinion."
"He's been good to me." Rose told him defensively. "The goblins as a whole have been. Their attitudes are a bit annoying, but they never fail to answer my questions. I don't understand where you're going with this."
"It's just curious." He told her. "Aren't you also friends with Sebastian Delacour's daughter? The part Veela?"
"Fleur is practically family. She's watching my daughter and godson right now. We were hanging out in Diagon Alley when Hermione showed up with that magazine. I came straight here."
"I had wondered about your visit today. You usually only show up twice a week. This makes three. I should give you an office." Yusheng commented smugly.
"Amusing." Rose commented with a hint of a smile. "I was only too happy to get away from Fleur. She and 'Mione are trying to convince me to get back out in the world."
"Well I can't blame them." The Mugwump said as he focused half his attention back on his paperwork. "Your talents are wasted playing housewife."
"I'm perfectly content, thank you very much." Rose replied.
"You're saying that you aren't bored at all?" Yusheng asked offhand, as he scowled over a report. "You're happy with stagnating away?"
"I'll get used to it." She said defensively. "I do have a daughter to take care of you know."
Yusheng suddenly stopped reading his work to glare at the girl. He stood up from his chair with surprising swiftness for his age and went to a bookshelf on the side of the room. He didn't need to search as he grabbed a book off it and tossed it at Rose.
"There." Yusheng said brusquely. "Do you have any more excuses for lying to yourself?"
Rose looked up from the book on the creation of portkeys. "Is this even legal? I thought portkey creation was restricted."
"I'll get you a license." He said simply. "And that solves your problem of being away from your family. You can portkey back home whenever you want. Anything else?"
"Why do you assume I'm lying about this?" Rose asked with a scowl.
"Let's see… For starters, you care about people. You are friends with magical creatures and part humans that some radicals want to take rights away from. Will you sit idly by while they enslave your friend, Fleur? How about when they push your friend Bloodtooth to pick up his blade in another Goblin Rebellion? Sure there are many people in the magical governments that would stop any of that nonsense, but should you risk it when you might be able to make a difference? Maybe you are meant to be one of those people."
"What about your new company? I hardly believe that it's going to be successful simply because you are funding it. You think wizards will simply migrate to using muggle technology because it will be fueled by magic? You'll need to convince them of the worth."
Yusheng briefly paused as his eyes moved from his paperwork to read from the magazine still sitting open on one side of his desk.
"It saddens me to think that the two departments of the ICW headquarters that we would need the most in the event of a catastrophic failure of the Statute of Secrecy are completely empty. The Muggle Liaison Office lies cold and soulless and the empty War Room of the ICW Magistrate of Defense holds the sum of our military might, which is to say absolutely none."
Having served its purpose, Yusheng closed the magazine and slid it back over the desk to a dejected Rose. "I wonder if you would have me fix that glaring hole in our system on my own."
"Did you plan on throwing my words back in my face?" She asked softly as Yusheng's eyes bored into her.
"I did not enjoy it." He confessed, though he did not sound apologetic. "I will hold nothing back from you, Rose. You are too important of an asset to be sitting at home and pretending to be something you don't want to be. What I want to know is who drilled into your head that you should aspire to be normal?"
Realization hit Rose like she was standing on the tracks of the Hogwarts Express and her eyes widened in horror.
The Dursleys had done that.
"I'm not normal." She confessed after a moment, more to herself than to Yusheng, although she saw the old man smile and return to his work, listening as he wrote. "I don't think I've ever wanted to be normal. I've just never gotten used to the attention. Maybe it's time I learned."
"I doubt you'd ever be rid of your fame, even if you didn't learn." Yusheng commented jokingly. "Something about surviving some curse. I really can't remember."
Rose smiled for the first time since she arrived. "I'd tell you, but I'm afraid your heart would stop in fright, old man."
"You only think you are clever, Miss Potter." Yusheng said as he began shuffling papers around. "I've enjoyed our talk immensely, but I have a meeting to get to. Will you still come in tomorrow or have you met your quota for the week?"
"I'll be here." She said confidently. "I've only got to go home and rethink my whole plan in life. I think this is only the second time this year that you've caused that."
"I must be slacking." Yusheng said as he held out a folder for Rose. "Would you be a dear and deliver this for me? There's a new office set up for someone and I'm afraid our delivery charms are a bit off.
Rose took the folder and rolled her eyes. "Fine. I'll be your messenger. But don't expect this often. I'm not supposed to be sorting paperwork, remember?"
With the directions to the office in question and a reminder that sorting and delivering were two separate jobs, Rose walked away from the office with a million thoughts in her head.
Why was she only realizing now, after all these years, that the Dursleys had been the only people to want her to be normal? All of her friends wanted her to do something special, because that was when she was happiest.
And how was it that Zhao Yusheng, who she had known for scarcely two months had been the one to point it out to her? Even if he hadn't known about the Dursleys, he had seen her getting bored of normalcy before even she had.
It was things like this that made her like Yusheng, even if he was frustrating and constantly used her fame.
At least, that's what Rose thought until she saw the name plate attached to the office she was delivering the papers to.
Magistrate of Defense [interim]
"That son of a…"
She bet the delivery charms were fine.
Hermione had once asked her if thunderstorms triggered any flashbacks of the war. She had asked this question while holding a muggle textbook called 'Brief Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder', so Rose had an inkling of where her friend's mind was.
She remembered her answer even now, years later, as she stared out the window of the small room she currently resided in, watching the darkened streets as they were suddenly onset by a quick burst of light.
Storms relax me. She reminisced even as the lightning was answered by a loud burst of thunder not a moment later.
A sudden shriek from behind her had Rose turning her head instinctively as her roommate was awakened by the explosion of sound.
Rose watched silently in the darkness as the younger girl calmed her suddenly rapid breathing. She didn't have to wait long before she heard the soft tones of her roommate calling out.
"Rose? Are you awake?"
"It's fine, Gabby. Just a storm." She answered into the darkness, not that it was dark much longer, as the aforementioned girl had reached over and turned on the muggle lamp by her bedside, lighting the small room.
"Have you been awake for long?" The sleepy looking girl asked, clutching at her sheets.
I never went to sleep. Rose thought of the answer she didn't want to give as she shook her head in the negative. "No. But you know I don't sleep very much anyway."
"You aren't up working again, are you?" Gabrielle Delacour asked in exasperation as she sat up further in her bed.
Rose's lips twitched. "Not tonight. Just enjoying the storm."
"Ugh. If only I could use a silencing charm…" The younger witch moaned.
"You know that using magic is kind of against the point of coming here, right?" Rose asked with a raised eyebrow.
Gabby rolled her eyes and responded sarcastically. "Yes, because wanting to get a muggle education means that you want to forget about your wand. Because," her voice became mocking as she impersonated the muggle-born that had been in charge of orientation, "here at the Ordanarium, we pride ourselves on a comprehensive muggle atmosphere and creating a safe, normal environment for learning, free from any magical distractions."
"And I told you," Rose replied. "That all that shows us is that everyone has the capability to discriminate."
"Kinda like those muggle-born protests?" The girl asked as she fell back onto her bed in their shared dorm.
Rose held back the reply that they weren't just simply protests anymore. She resisted the urge to tell Gabby that the Defense Masters were on alert because the protests were now being coordinated on a global scale and becoming increasingly more violent.
"Yeah." She settled with the vague agreement instead, thoughts of helping in Prague as the world got more dangerous swirling through her head.
Things were getting busier ever since Yusheng tasked her with restructuring the ancient policies of the Magistrate of Defense in preparation for a possible reopening (if they could get the support of the Convention). The Mugwump had been right though; the paper she had written was drawing support from the vast majority of magi worldwide. The biggest exception was the muggleborns who clung to the idea that the muggle world was so much more progressive than their world.
Rose had seen enough from both worlds to know neither were perfect.
Rose realized she had been lost in thought as the younger Delacour yawned deeply and appeared ready to drift back asleep. A smile that didn't reach her eyes flitted across her face.
"Go back to sleep, Gabby."
"Kay. Don't stay up too late." The younger witch replied, leaning over to turn off the lamp.
Rose didn't react as the silhouette of a figure appeared beside her as the dorm was plunged into darkness, save for the quick flick of her wrist as her wand fell into her hand and cast a muffliato at the sleep-bound girl.
She had no intention of being caught talking to herself, rules or not.
"Something is wrong." Rose said as she put her wand away.
"Could it not be the storm?" Death asked pointlessly as she gestured to the window.
"Storms relax me." She repeated her earlier thoughts. "This is something else."
The entity nodded as she observed the scene outside the window. "Indeed. There is foreign magic in the air. You are sensitive to it, more-so then anyone else in your society. And this storm would fool any who felt the unease of it."
"Is it after me?" Rose asked, reigniting an old fear of enemies chasing after the power of the Elder Wand. The fact that it could no longer be won from her was no comfort.
"No. There is little chance of that."
Rose tore her eyes from the window and focused on her servant.
"And why is that?"
The smile Death gave her was not the eerie grin one might expect from an entity like her; instead it was the smug smirk of someone who was exorbitantly pleased with oneself.
"Because the Asgardians think you are all dead."
The young Defense Mistress respected Death's fondness for being dramatic and humored her as she stood up and began stripping off her pajamas.
"And why do they believe that?"
Death answered dutifully as she watched Rose curiously. "Because I blocked their sight. I knew that my Master would come from your people because of my Hallows, so when the Asgardians stood by as the Muggles conducted their witch hunts, I was… upset. Odin considers himself King over the nine realms and yet he abandons his people in their time of need?"
Rose looked at Death in slight confusion as she began getting redressed. "So you made it where they couldn't see us? I wasn't aware you could do that."
The entity shrugged in what was quickly becoming typical for her, showing how little the details mattered to her. "I wasn't even aware that I could. Like I've told you before, there isn't exactly a manual for my existence. I rely on instinct above all else. The only thing I know for certain is my purpose. I guide souls to the afterlife."
Rose huffed in annoyance as she sat on her bed and started pulling on a pair of shoes. "Back on topic, though. The Asgardians think the Muggles wiped us out?"
"That is their best theory. One day, Heimdall turned his eyes on Earth and could no longer see any witches or wizards, nor any magical creatures. It confused them greatly, as they had not seen any violence of that scale, but they trusted their sight and believed your kind to have been wiped out." Death replied before she turned the questioning back around. "Are you planning on confronting him?"
"You have yet to tell me who it is." Rose said obscurely before she gestured to her all-black outfit. "But I am not exactly dressed to go out for milk."
"It's Loki. He is the only one that can sneak onto Midgard without Heimdall or Odin noticing."
Rose frowned. "The God of Mischief and Magic, huh? I wager he'll be able to sense anything magical on me."
Rose pulled out her wand and quickly disenchanted the holsters for her daggers, thankful that they were made out of regular leather. She then grabbed her mokeskin pouch and traded her holly wand for the Elder Wand before walking back over to join Death at the window.
"Will you hold this for me?" She asked as she held out the Wand to Death.
"You aren't going to carry a wand?" Death replied in shock.
"I don't want them to know we are alive. But I need to know what Loki is doing on Earth. If anything goes wrong, I will call for you. Will you hold the Elder Wand for me?" Rose questioned again.
Slowly, as if afraid it would hurt her, Death reached out and accepted the Wand from her Mistress. "I shall keep it safe until you need it. Please be safe when you confront Loki. He is not to be trifled with."
"I'll be fine." Rose said reassuringly. "I doubt he goes around killing people randomly."
"Mistress!" Death grabbed Rose by the arm as she turned to the door. "He will not hesitate if he has a reason to. Don't give him that reason."
The Mistress smiled at the Servant briefly before she continued her path to the door of the dorm. "Don't worry. I'll just give him a reason not to."
Careful not to let the light of the hallway wake up her sleeping roommate, Rose slipped out of the room, ready to hunt down a god.
Finding Loki was surprisingly easy. Doing so in the heavy rain just made it annoying.
Without magic, Rose's clothes were not nearly as waterproof as she would have liked and within minutes of stalking the streets of Paris they were simply soaked. She strode on anyway, thankful once more that she had gotten her eyesight fixed.
Rose relied on a good bit of luck in her search, knowing only the general area he was in based on the oppressive feeling of Asgardian magic in the air. The rest had to be done the old fashioned way; walking around and looking.
Anyone who might have seen her would've thought that she was mad, but the storm had scared most people inside, save for the odd motorist. Rose didn't let it bother her too much.
She finally bore the fruit of her labours as she walked down the road next to the Seine. Standing propped up against a tree, facing away from the river and ignoring the rain coming down around them, was Loki. He was hard to mistake.
Thoroughly confused by this apparently random spot, Rose considered her options and then threw them all out. She hardly considered herself stupid, but from the stories Death has told her, Loki would poke holes in and out of any plan she could come up with.
So she ignored the feeling that this was far too odd to be a coincidence, accepted the possible consequences of what was surely a bad move overall, and just walked up to him.
Loki had surely seen her approach, even if he didn't give an outward reaction, contrasting Rose's blatant curious look.
She stopped in front of him, tilted her head and bluntly asked for what she wanted.
Gryffindors charge forward.
"So what does a Son of Odin do when he sneaks out of Asgard?" She had to speak loudly to be heard over the rain.
Again there was no reaction from the Prince that anything was out of place about this. He didn't even turn to look at her fully, although he did reply.
"Depends on which son."
Rose chuckled. "I have a vague idea of what your brother would do. And none of those scenarios involve me needing to look very hard for him. The only thing consistent about you is that you are inconsistent; which can be very interesting… or very annoying."
That got a smirk out of him. "Would you believe me if I said I was simply on vacation?"
"I would." Rose said quickly. "But that only leaves to question what you like to do on vacation."
"Oh, the usual I suppose." Loki said flippantly. "See the sights, have some fun, engage in lecherous activities with a pretty maiden…"
Loki turned to regard her fully, smirk firmly in place.
"And find a little mage."
Before Rose could do more than raise her eyebrows in shock, Loki had lunged forward. He quickly pulled her to him, twirled her around to hold her tightly to his chest and placed a hand firmly over her mouth. He then spun them both around behind the tree he had been leaning against.
"Shh…" Loki said as Rose gave a token attempt to escape, knowing that he easily held the physical advantage. "We don't want them to find us."
The Defense Mistress stopped struggling. Who were 'them'?
"I thought it was right here." A voice called from the other side of the tree.
"You sure you saw something? Vision's terrible in this rain." Someone replied back.
"I don't know. It was probably nothing." The first voice said.
"It's better to be cautious anyway. Don't want to be surprised. You did well."
With the rain overhead, Rose couldn't hear anymore as the voices were going away. She felt the tension leave her body.
"You're doing remarkably well for someone pressed up against an Aesir."
Rose tilted her head upward to deadpan at the god who stood a head over her. With a snicker, he released her, letting her calmly back away from him.
"How'd you know?" She asked.
That irritating smirk still hadn't left. "Not many can see through the barrier I had placed around myself. And I am not so blind as to believe that the Magi would not recover from their destruction at the hands of mere mortals."
Interesting. Rose thought as she observed Loki. He thinks he's figured it out.
"And what about them?" She asked gesturing to the other side of the tree. "They saw through it."
"They saw you." Loki emphasized. "They would have seen me when they actively began looking over here, but you are what drew their attention."
"And who exactly are they?" She asked as she peeked around the tree to where Loki had been watching initially. The only thing she saw were a trio of unmarked trucks, which had just started their engines and began moving.
"Like I said, I like to have a little fun on my vacations. And what better fun is there than messing with someone else's plan?" He replied as he looked across the river.
Rose followed his gaze and didn't understand what he meant. All that was on the other side of the river was the Louvre.
"Art thieves?" She asked as she tried to mark the bridge where the trucks would cross the river.
"Mercenaries by trade, I believe. Working for an interesting mortal. He's not quite human anymore."
"I'm guessing you're talking about a mutant. What are you planning to do?" Rose asked as she stared at him piercingly. "I hardly believe you're going to stop them out of the goodness of your heart."
"That's hardly the only reason to stop them." He replied.
"And what's your reason?" She asked skeptically.
"Because I can." He said calmly.
"No other reason? No plot? No deceit? You're just bored or something?"
Loki looked at her interestedly. "What kind of life must you have lived to see schemes all around you? You did not seek me out because you were curious about what I was doing. You were curious about what I was doing near you."
Rose very much resisted the urge to swallow.
"Of course, I could just be offering my services for a night in your bed. I'd always wondered at how adventurous a mortal mage could be."
It was an out. An obvious one, given graciously, and Rose didn't care how desperate she might look; she'd grab it with both hands.
"I hardly think stopping an art heist would be enough to sleep with you." She said with as much calm as she had.
"A pity." He drawled. "You would have been a very special notch in my bed post. Very well. What shall you offer instead?"
Rose honestly didn't care about the excessively expensive art in the Louvre. Loki was going to do as he pleased. But she would play his games.
"How about I don't draw a certain watcher's attention?" She questioned mildly. She didn't have to play by his rules.
Nothing gave away a change in his demeanor, but Rose knew she had his attention.
"Oh, you do have fangs." She suddenly wasn't very sure if she wanted his attention. She certainly wanted her wand.
"I think I'll take that bargain, little mage." He said as he turned to smile at her. "My assistance for your silence."
"This time." She responded, pushing her luck as far as she dared. "Tomorrow is a different day."
"You are not eager to release your weapons, are you?" Loki asked. "Very well, but I want something else then."
Rose narrowed her eyes, inviting him to speak, yet wary of what he would say.
"I want you to help me."
That threw her off guard. He doesn't need the help, and he's going to do it anyway, so why ask for it?
She looked away from Loki and glanced back across the Seine, just in time to watch all the lights in the Louvre go out, certainly not too odd, given the strength of the storm around them. Had she not seen the trucks herself, she might have believed that herself.
"Fine. I'll help." She finally said, approaching him. She held out an arm. "Grab my arm."
Wary of the smile that Rose sported; Loki carefully did as she said.
Rose spun on her heel.
Loki fell on his arse.
Rose didn't laugh, but just barely.
"Don't tell me that my teleportation is harder to handle than the Bifrost." She said, careful not to use the correct terminology for her abilities. Whatever false hints she could drop, she would.
"The Bifrost is a very different experience. You feel as if you are traveling very quickly, yet in a straight line." Loki explained as he got up gracefully. "That felt like I was being hugged by my drunken brother and pranced through the streets of Asgard during Freyfest. Though it appears to be very useful."
"You can't teleport?" Rose asked curiously as she looked around for any signs of trouble.
And suddenly it made sense. He wanted to see what she could do, and possibly learn something. It was a pity she would have to disappoint.
"Well, I'm going to go this way." She said, pointing towards the nearest entrance. "You go do your thing."
"Do you have a plan?" Loki called as she trailed off.
"Of course I do." Rose stopped and turned to address him with a smile. "Cause mischief and mayhem and wait for you to show up."
Rose missed the genuine smile on Loki's face as she continued on her way as well as what he muttered under his breath as he began to walk along the edge of the building towards where the trucks were likely parked.
"A very special notch indeed."
Getting in wasn't hard. See a window? Apparate through a window.
The tricky part was seeing when she got in. The lights were still out and it was almost impossible to see where she was going in the hallways, so she started feeling her way along, knowing she would come across one of the mercenaries eventually.
Surely they would have a light.
She had barely finished that thought when a door opened somewhere behind her and she turned in place, thankful for the light from the torch.
"Of all the lousy nights to lose power." A guard, an older gentleman ambled out of the door, mumbling to himself before he happened to point his torch in Rose's direction and froze. "Hey! You can't be here!"
She ignored him as a mercenary came around the corner behind him and aimed his gun at the guard's back. She reacted without thinking, apparating behind the guard and kicking behind his knees, dropping him to the ground. The hilt of her dagger made contact with the man's head and he fell the rest of the way to the ground, out cold.
The torch was back on her, blinding her momentarily.
"Maybe you should call the cops." Rose suggested casually. "There are more of these guys."
"How'd you do that?"
Rose breathed out exasperatedly. She walked up to him calmly and squinted at his name tag in the low light.
"Listen, Stan. You should go back in there and call the cops. It's not safe out here." She explained.
"Right. Call the cops. On it." The old guard said excitedly. "Man, this is just like the comic books!"
Rose put the man out of her mind as she went back to the unconscious mercenary and stripped him of some of his gear, namely his fancy looking goggles and torch.
She put the goggles on her head curiously and gaped when she realized they let her see in the dark, albeit with a green hue to everything. She didn't realize the muggles had come up with these.
"Oh that is so not fair."
She looked back at the mercenary, eyeing some of the other gear that she didn't recognize on his tactical vest.
"Probably shouldn't push my luck." She mumbled to herself as she started moving through the halls, aided by her new eyewear.
She heard the next set of mercenaries before she saw them, so she peeked her head out of the open double doors. The mercenaries she saw on the other side seemed to be ignoring the artifacts around the room and were more focused on going up and down the staircase in the room. The ones coming down were carrying paintings.
So the paintings are on the upper floors. They must be going for those first. She thought to herself as she came up with a plan of attack, mentally preparing herself to take lives. Just because it had gotten easier, didn't mean she liked it.
She saw one of the mercs on the stairs stop for a moment and listen to someone from a railing above and turned on her heel. She appeared right behind the man talking over the railing and before anyone around her could even process her appearance, she pushed him over.
She twisted again before anyone could pull a gun on her, apparating behind another mercenary who had yet to drop the painting he was carrying. She dropped to her knees and introduced the sharp end of one of her daggers to the back of his legs, careful to avoid his Achilles tendons (because that would just be cruel).
There was a lot of shouting, whether from surprise or pain, but Rose didn't stop or hesitate. She turned another time, reappearing at the top of the stairs where a couple of mercs were just coming up to help defend against her. She screamed at them while she turned on and threw the torch she had procured in one swift motion. The mercenaries recoiled in fright and confusion, losing their balance and falling backwards down the stairs, hitting another on the way down.
Rose barely twisted away in time to avoid the sharp staccato of gunfire that was aimed at her and reappeared back at her original position in the side hallway. She leaned against the wall and smiled in content.
"Let's see them steal anything in a panic." She said to herself as she listened to the shouting in the next room.
"What is going on in here?!" A strong voice cut in above the roar; cutting off most of the noise, save from the mercs in pain.
"Sir, this girl just came out of nowhere! We have no clue where she went. It all happened so fast." Someone answered him.
"And why is that idiot there bleeding all over the floor?" The man Rose assumed was the leader asked.
"She cut his legs, sir."
"Then kill him. Grab what you have now and get out of here. Move!" The leader ordered.
Rose stood in shock for a few moments before she heard a gunshot from above her.
"And kill him too. He's no good to me from down there."
The man I pushed over. She realized. The fall didn't kill him.
She didn't give herself time to think. She just reacted with her sudden anger, apparated down to where the man had landed, sticking her dagger into the back of the merc with his gun aimed at his barely conscious, fallen comrade and turned again, forcefully splinching him in half as she reappeared half a meter to the side.
There was one other merc on the lowest floor with her, but he had frozen in fear at what she had done.
"It's one thing to kill in combat." She hissed. "It's another entirely to kill your own. Or those already down."
The mercenary finally pulled his gun up, but Rose had advanced on him already, slipping inside his guard and stabbing her dagger into his right arm. The man screamed in pain and Rose pulled her dagger out before pushing him onto the ground to clutch at his injury.
"She's down there!" Someone from above yelled and Rose looked up to make sure that she was out of sight.
"Leave her! Just go!" The leader shouted.
There was a rush of footsteps from above her and Rose was glad that the lowest floor of the Louvre was actually a basement level so they didn't have to come down here. She could use a minute to breathe.
She turned to look at the mercenary at her feet and cringed as she looked at his injury. She hadn't been as clean as she would've liked.
She knelt down beside him, careful to keep the stairs in her line of vision.
The man understandably started to panic, trying to get away from her. Rose didn't have time for it. She put her dagger in his face.
"Stop moving, you imbecile. Stay still or I'll slit your throat and be done with it." She bit off, not meaning any of it, but irritated enough to say it.
Either way, the merc stopped moving, save for the shaking from either fear or shock. Maybe both.
Rose ignored it and found some cable ties in his vest. She wrapped one around his upper arm and tightened it, ignoring the muttering from the man as she finished cutting off the blood flow.
Patch job in place, Rose stood up from the still shocked merc and listened for anything from the stairs. Hearing nothing, she prepared herself and apparated up to the ground floor, right in front of someone.
She almost turned again instinctively, but stopped herself as she realized it was only Loki.
"Well…" He drawled. "You've looked better."
"Screw you." She murmured as the lights came back on and Rose took off the muggle goggles and threw them on the ground.
"If you insist, I won't deny you. But you are covered in blood."
Rose grimaced. "Bastard was killing his own men because they got injured. I… reacted."
Loki didn't add his opinion on that. "Would it make you feel better if we went and killed the mortal?"
"No…" She answered hesitantly. "Besides, they're probably long gone by now."
"Not likely. The wheels on those horseless vehicles were unsurprisingly easy to cut."
Rose snorted as she realized where Loki had been this whole time. Slicing tires.
"So you missed the fun." She joked.
"Mischief and mayhem indeed." Loki replied with a smirk. It was less infuriating now.
Rose stopped and let the tension start to ebb away from her body. She was halfway through an exhale when she had a thought.
"Were the police outside before you came in?" She asked.
Loki raised an eyebrow at the mortal term that he didn't recognize. "Guards? Men in uniform? Vehicles with flashing lights on top?"
"Yes. Them." Rose closed her eyes.
"Then yes. They were starting to surround the building when I came inside."
"So when those mercenaries encounter the police outside and notice that their trucks aren't going anywhere, what are they going to do?"
"Fight to the bitter end?"
"No!" Rose opened her eyes and flashed them angrily as she noticed his smirk was once more irritating her.
"They'll find another way to escape." He replied somewhat seriously this time.
"I bet there's a metro entrance on the bottom floor." Rose said, looking at the stairs.
"You're just doing this to piss me off, aren't you?" She asked.
"Well if you getting angry led to you being covered in blood, then yes, I'd love to see that." He responded casually. "If you're thinking they're going to come back through here, then I'd imagine you're right."
"Then we should get out of here, right?"
Rose pinched the bridge of her nose. "Or?"
"Or we can stay and make sure they don't go past those men you've incapacitated downstairs."
Rose hardly believed that was why Loki wanted to stay.
"Fine. How many are left?"
"About a dozen or so."
"Do you have a plan?" She pressed.
"Of course." Loki replied, grinning at her as he walked to the door. "Cause mischief and mayhem."
Rose reluctantly followed him out of the door leading to an enclosed outdoor courtyard. She stayed directly behind Loki as he walked calmly into the center of the now lit area, hoping his Asgardian skin was bulletproof. It hadn't stopped raining completely, but it was no longer a downpour.
She was still trying to figure out Loki's plan when the door opposite the one they had come out of opened and the remainder of the mercenaries hurried out into the courtyard, followed by a large man Rose could only assume was the leader.
She only made that assumption based off the fact that his right hand appeared to be made entirely out of stone. She didn't have to wait long before her suspicions were confirmed as one of the mercs noticed them and shouted to get his attention.
With several guns now pointed in their direction, Rose again prepared to use Loki as an Aesir shield while trying to decide what she wanted to do.
Amazingly, the mercs didn't immediately start shooting, likely confused by the calm smile on Loki's face and the oddity that his appearance likely was. The leader stepped forward.
"Who are you?" He asked in confusion. "Are you responsible for disrupting my operation?"
"It's generally polite to introduce yourself first, and since you have failed in that aspect of social niceties quite spectacularly, I feel no compunction to comply in the appropriate manner." Loki replied dramatically, drawing a groan from the woman behind him.
"Forgive me." The leader said humorously. "I am known as the Grey Gargoyle. Now get out of my way before I have my men walk over your corpse."
Loki shrugged. "Certainly." He turned to face Rose. "Fair warning. I'm not actually here."
With that seemingly random remark, Loki's form disappeared, leaving Rose alone in the middle of the courtyard with no shield from the guns pointed at her.
Rose did not enjoy a moment of shock, spinning on her heel immediately and following through with the plan that she had been contemplating. She reappeared from her apparition right in front of the self-proclaimed gargoyle and slashed at him with one of her daggers.
The Gargoyle staggered back in surprise and looked at the cut she had caused on his left arm.
His surprise lasted as long as it took Rose to absentmindedly determine that three of the mercenaries quickly fell, likely from Loki's efforts. The self-titled Gargoyle lashed out with his open-palmed right hand. Rose matched it with one of her daggers instinctively and had to watch in morbid fascination as what she now realized was his completely grey hand turned her dagger into stone.
The Defense Mistress dropped her weapon in shock and took a few quick steps back as her opponent grinned and placed his hand on his chest.
"Well at least the name makes sense now." Rose murmured as the man in front of her turned his own body into living stone.
She gripped her remaining dagger tighter as the Gargoyle rushed in with his fist raised to strike her.
Rose hopped backwards away from the blow, fearing her opponent's newly exposed power, desperately wishing she had her wand but acutely aware that the security cameras were likely operational again with the power on and thus not an option.
With no plan in mind for how she could face the Gargoyle by herself, she quickly ducked under his next attack, slipping behind him and used her momentum to continue moving as she twisted her body and located her only ally. Off balance, Rose let herself fall backwards and rolled back onto her feet.
As the Gargoyle again charged at her, Rose simply turned on the spot and apparated to Loki's side. She didn't have time to plan any further, simply reacting as she punched one mercenary's throat.
She turned to search for another threat and paused when she saw all the other mercenaries lying on the ground. Loki chuckled from beside her.
"Glad to have your assistance." He avowed sarcastically.
Rose scowled at the mocking god. "Alright, then. Your turn." She waved at the infuriated Gargoyle who was approaching.
"You two think you stand a chance against me? You're nothing more than fancy tricks." He boasted.
An angry snarl crossed Loki's face as he rushed towards the Gargoyle. The stone man smirked as he let his fist fly towards Loki. But right as it connected with his face, Loki vanished, leaving the thief off balance.
"I'm not sure why you thought that would work." Loki said from behind the Gargoyle as he emerged from his invisibility. He dodged another punch with ease.
"My brother falls for that trick all the time, you really start to wonder if there's anyone with enough brain matter to learn their lesson. But you just keep punching like an uneducated loon."
Loki stopped and brought his arm up to block the next strike and surprised no one when he vanished again, appearing two steps behind where he had left that clone.
His opponent dropped to one knee and took a second to catch his breath.
"You can't win this. You can dodge all you want but you can't penetrate my skin or you would have done it already"
Loki smiled widely. "Oh, but it was never about winning. It was about making sure you lose."
The instant Loki finished talking, he disappeared again, right as the door that the mercenaries had come from burst open with the Parisian police.
Rose didn't hesitate. She was already turning in place when she felt an invisible hand grasp her arm.
Loki didn't fall this time. Either he was prepared for it this time or he had faked his discomposure his first time apparating.
Regardless of reason, it didn't ease the frown on Rose's face as she turned away from him and started walking away, leaving him where she had first seen him.
The rain had finally eased to a light drizzle and Rose could make out the sound of sirens across the river as easily as she could hear Loki's footsteps against the damp ground as he followed her.
"Are you upset with me?" He asked amusedly.
"No. I was fond of the dagger I had to leave behind."
Rose didn't expect him to believe the blatant lie.
"You think I should have done more?"
Rose stopped and took a deep breath. "No. I should have done more." She emphasized.
Loki caught up to her before he replied. "It was the smart thing to do, leaving."
"I never said it wasn't" she replied with annoyance before sighing, "but that doesn't mean I have to like it."
She started walking again before continuing the thought. "Despite my agreement that it was the smart move, I want to go back and prevent that thing from harming the officers."
"You certainly are a strange little mortal." Loki mentioned.
"Why is that?" She scoffed. "Because I haven't discarded my morals for hard logic?"
"I was thinking more about why you approached me in the first place. What did you hope to accomplish?"
Rose fingered her remaining dagger. "I had to be sure you weren't here for any nefarious purposes."
It didn't seem to matter that she was ready for it, as in the next moment Loki had forced Rose against the wall of the building they were walking past.
"And if I was? What was your plan?" He asked casually, as if he hadn't just pinned her against a wall and she hadn't pulled a knife on him.
Rose was no stranger to fear, but this feeling she had now was not it. It was just an awareness of how unready she was for the fight she was on the edge of.
It was a familiar feeling from the war, so she did not back down.
"All beings fear Death."
Loki sneered in what Rose assumed was disappointment. "I'm a god, you foolish…"
A moment passed after he went silent. Rose knew if she closed her free right hand, she would feel wood.
"How, Loki? An odd question." Rose asked in faux confusion.
"You play a dangerous game having someone sneak up on me. I can feel them here. Where are they?" He asked angrily.
"Where's your silver tongue gone, Odinson? Do you fear a little witch and her bag of magic tricks?" She asked playfully.
"Your kind always loved to play with fire." He bit out. "Never knew where your limits were."
"Funny." She mentioned. "I thought with the whole magic bit that I had no limits."
"Perhaps that's why so many of you died."
"And yet here I am, playing with fire."
Rose's heart thundered within her chest at the exchange as she stared into Loki's eyes. A moment of silence passed between them, and then another. Until at last, he released her.
"It would be a waste to see you meet the same fate as your forefathers." He remarked.
Rose closed her fingers around empty air. "We all meet the same fate in the end, Loki."
"So you say." He responded as Rose walked around him and continued walking.
"Do you plan to follow me home? I'm afraid the offer of warming my bed was rejected some time ago." Rose asked.
"Is it not still gentlemanly to walk a lady home after a night out?" Loki questioned.
Outwardly rolling her eyes, Rose turned her back on him and kept walking to her dorm, cautious of what Loki might be up to.
Once they were a block away from her destination, Rose began examining her soaked clothing in the light of the rising sun.
"What are you doing now?" Loki questioned curiously.
"Making sure the rain washed away all the blood." She replied honestly. "It's not exactly normal to come home covered in the stuff and I don't want my roommate to worry."
Or know at all, honestly. Rose thought, since that information would find its way back to Hermione and Andy and everyone else who panicked whenever she got into a fight.
"Oh, don't worry. I have the perfect cover for you." Loki said forebodingly as a small figure came running out of their dorm building and headed straight for her.
She didn't have time to do more than dread whatever he had planned before her roommate practically flew into her arms.
"Rose! You're okay!"
"Geez, Gabby. Calm down. Of course, I'm okay." Rose said in exasperation. "Why are you worried anyway?"
The younger woman frowned at her as she surfaced from the hug. "You always get in trouble. I've heard the stories. And when I wake up and you aren't in the room? I panicked, okay?"
"You don't have to worry about me, Gabby. I can take care of myself." She explained patiently.
"Of course, you can. Who's the guy?"
Rose's brain stopped. How was she supposed to explain Loki? How was she supposed to explain any of this? She had been so focused on countering whatever the mischievous god could throw at her she forgot to think about what to tell her friends.
Everyone would freak out that Rose had willingly thrown herself into a fight, especially without her wand.
"The thing is…"
Norse gods?! Would any of them believe her in the first place?
"Leaving." The Asgardian's voice jolted Rose out of her tumultuous thoughts and back to the real world, where her nightmare continued. "No need to draw things out, I'm sure."
He grabbed on of Rose's hands and kissed it softly as she stood there in stunned silence.
"Thank you for a wonderful night. I'm glad we could share it together."
She could only stare as Loki turned his back and walked away.
The short comment drew Rose's attention back to the younger Delacour sister, who was very obviously fighting a grin.
"Now that I know you're okay, I just have to go call my sister. So…" The girl trailed off and started walking back to the dorm quickly.
Rose stayed there for a little longer to process what had just happened. Was it that easy to get her friends off her back? Just tell them that she had been…
Rose tore off towards her dorm, intent to get to her roommate before she could gossip with Fleur. She had just made it to the door of her room before she stopped again.
What would she say instead? The truth?
The truth was complicated and full of worries her friends didn't need. Asgard, the whole Master of Death thing; those were things she couldn't explain. And it wasn't like she could just say she was out for a leisurely stroll in that sort of weather.
It was the perfect cover.
Rose swallowed the guilt and opened the door.
Gabrielle stood on the other side, prepared to come back out.
"Oh, I was just coming back to tell you. I know it looked like I was going to gossip about your sex life to my sister, but I wasn't. I get that enough as a part Veela. I wouldn't do that to you."
Gabby wrung her hands.
"I just had to let her know you were okay since I had called her when I woke up and told her you were missing. I wasn't thinking straight. Like I said, I panicked. I don't handle stress well."
The poor girl hung her head in shame.
"They're probably going to ask you about it now though. Sorry."
"It's fine, Gabby." Rose responded immediately. She had long ago mastered fake smiling and put it to good use here to comfort the younger witch. "I wasn't planning on hiding it. Call Fleur back and let her know what really happened so everyone stops worrying. It's not a big deal."
"Are you sure?" Gabby asked. "I don't mind lying for you. We can come up with some kind of excuse if you don't want them to know."
"Very sure." She replied as she moved to her things and got a fresh change of clothes out. "Now I'm going to go shower and get ready for classes. I'm probably going to need a lot of caffeine to get through them though."
"Okay." Gabby replied. "Thanks for not being mad."
Rose waved her off as she entered their shared bathroom and quickly started the water for a shower. Letting her mask fall, she touched her forehead to the wall and groaned.
"I am so stupid."
She knew there would be more consequences from last night.
"… and once the police finally got into the Louvre, they discovered all of the mercenaries either dead or incapacitated. Paul Duval managed to kill three cops and injure another four before they made the smart decision to let him escape. They weren't prepared to handle the Gargoyle. We have footage of some of the fighting inside the courtyard once the power came back on, but all leads into the identities of the vigilantes that stopped the thieves have run cold."
Nick Fury didn't get irritated at the end of the agent's report. Cold leads meant nothing to him. There was always something proactive to be done; something that someone missed, or something taken for granted.
"And the surviving mercenaries? What did they have to say?"
"Not much of interest, sir. They confirmed the descriptions of the two individuals we have film of." The agent responded, pulling up the clearest picture they could get. "They all were defeated rather soundly though, with the exception of Duval."
"We should have seen these two being more active for the level of skill they have." Fury added as he planned to have someone dig into recent unsolved cases to see if there was any similarity to be found. "Did you find anyone in the area that matched the description?"
"Only on the woman." The agent answered. "One Rose Potter is in Paris for remedial schooling. Wealthy, young, British noble, parents died when she was a child, fits the physical description. She has a criminal record with the Canadians for excessive force with a dagger similar to the one we recovered. She had a solid alibi, though." He stopped and stared at the report he had been reading from in slight confusion. "The report doesn't list the alibi, but I'll follow up with the agent that questioned her and get it."
"Take it with a grain of salt." Fury ordered. "Mutants have always had a tight knit community, and I know the British have a telepath. There's nothing to suggest they can't plant suggestions."
"And if her story doesn't check out?" The agent asked.
"It won't. Find out what you can about her. It's difficult to keep track of teleporters. She's low priority though, so just keep an eye on her."
"Yes sir." The agent took his nonverbal dismissal and left Fury alone in his office. The Director of Shield pulled the video attached to the report up again and watched it for a few moments before he picked up the dagger he had asked the agent to leave with him.
After a moment of thought, he set it to the side to send back to evidence later and got back to work.
A/N: Holy actual fuck. Did I finally finish this? I've spent so long on this god damn chapter.
First off, sincere apologies for it taking this long to get out what I believe to be a sub-par chapter. Especially to foxchick1 and DavidBrookes who PM'd me asking for updates. Guys, I wasn't lying. I had every intention of finishing it when I had told you, but… damn.
A few things to keep in mind, otherwise.
First off, no, Rose is not infallible. Here is a perfect example. She most likely fucked up. She will most likely fuck up some more.
A lot of swearing in this A/N…
Secondly, if anyone wants to call some sexist bullshit about how I made Loki treat Rose in this chapter, you can forward that to my mailing address of 420 Don't Give a Fuck Lane in the beautiful city of Go Fuck Yourself. Loki is an asshole. Loki does what he wants. I'm not changing that because it's politically correct. If there is one thing Loki is not, it's political correct. And Rose was submissive in this instance because she knew she was in over her head. She was playing it smart. She knew she was taking risks. Very brave of her. Moving on.
Finally, and honestly MOST IMPORTANTLY, please remember the whole unreliable narrator thing. We don't know everything that will happen because of this chapter. There's a lot in it, from a narrow perspective and it's all done… For a reason (Cause I'm a cunt).
Sorry for the swearing. I try to keep it reasonable in my story and my A/Ns, but this chapter was a bitch. So important though. I can't stress that enough. IMO, it's a pretty bad chapter, but that may be because I've been working on it for so long and it never came out exactly how I wanted.
Anyway, sorry again for the wait. I'd say the next one will be quicker, but… I'll be honest. I have no clue.
Love you guys. And reviews. But mostly you guys.
(Oh, yeah. You know Grigori hears about it.)