A/N: Hullo. So I wasn't going to be writing this week as I have deadlines and stuff (look for stuff to happen in a month or so once the craziness has settled down). But I had this idea and I had to get some words down.
What is this story? Well, as the category says it's a HP/Avengers crossover. It starts right at the end of the Deathly Hallows Epilogue. I'm not a fan of it but it actually plays into what I want to do really nicely so I'm gonna roll with it. Everything is completely HP canon until the start of this story. If you're worried about that then I will mention that the only canon pairing with significant screen time will be Harry/Ginny and then only as a driver to push Harry onwards. If you want spoilers then shoot me a message and I'll ruin the whole thing for you if you want (or, if you're reading this in the future and the fic is completed then just skip to the end first).
It runs from Iron Man through to whatever happens in Age of Ultron. I hope I've guessed right for the events there otherwise I'll have to go a long way off piste to make it work but it's fanfiction, that's what it's for. It will mostly follow the timeline in the movies and Harry will weave in and out of them as his actions demands. He also has a plot of his own that will be the primary thread and his reason for doing things.
None of my other stories are abandoned, I'm just very busy at the moment and only this was able to pull me from my conscientious procrastination.
Now, lets get going!
A New Man
Harry's hand was still raised in farewell.
"He'll be alright," murmured Ginny.
As Harry looked at her, he lowered his hand absentmindedly and touched the lightning scar on his forehead.
"I know he will."
The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.
He looked at Ginny and little Lily with a soft, happy smile when quite suddenly the world disappeared and was replaced by an unending black, filled with the roaring silence of eternity.
The silence faded and he became aware of something more. The voices of ghosts and shadows lingered at the very edge of his perception as he floated within the timeless void. Where was he? Where was Lily? What had happened to Ginny?
"I… worked… throu… alive!"
"Br… functional… amazing."
"Dim… ment… cess!"
He strained to hear the broken whispers that floated through his mind but they slipped beyond his perception like water. He could not grasp anything but the briefest of snippets and moments from their words. Then silence descended in his dark world and time seemed to stand still.
Finally, after what felt like an age and yet was probably mere moments he saw a distant light, a pinprick in the blackness. He willed himself towards it. How he moved through the empty and featureless void he did not know, he had no body nor even true tangible presence. He was nothing more than a collection of thoughts and memories, a cloud of self within the empty nothingness.
The pinprick resolved itself into something more that a mere point. He caught a glimpse of a room, a bed, a body before the light blinded his perception and a sense of weariness consumed him.
His eyes fluttered slowly open and the glare of bright lights made him hiss in pain as he squinted into the unfamiliar room. Slowly, so slowly, his eyes grew accustomed to the dazzling brightness of the single light set into the ceiling and he was able to take in his surroundings.
It was a small room, perhaps four meters square. The walls, floor and ceiling were all covered in featureless white tiles no larger than his hand. He was strapped to a simple and uncomfortable medical bed that lay along one wall of the room. In the far corner was a toilet set low to the floor, just as simple and stark as the rest of the room. The only other feature was in the opposite wall; a heavy steel door, densely riveted and with a small closed viewing hatch just below eye height.
It was a cell, though certainly more comfortable than most Harry knew. What had happened? He closed his eyes and tried to recall the events that had led to this moment. He had been on Platform 9¾ with his family, he had just seen Albus and James off to Hogwarts. He had been about to lift Lily into his arms and promise her pizza to get her mind off the disappearance of her brothers. There was nothing more, only the whispering darkness and broken words spoken at a great distance.
How long had he been here? Why had he been brought here? Where was here? His clothes had been taken from him, as had his emergency on-call Portkey. His wand was of course nowhere to be seen, no-one would allow an Auror their wand if they wanted to keep them locked up. Even without his wand he was not yet ready to panic. He was Harry Potter and he was far from helpless. The only possession of his that he'd been allowed to keep were his ever familiar glasses which rested gently on the bridge of his nose.
It was a bad situation, certainly, but he'd seen much worse and he was a fully trained Auror now. He brutally suppressed any feelings of welling panic and focused on the task at hand. The first thing he noticed was that there was no anti-Apparition jinx on his cell. That was an extremely puzzling mistake, but one that he would happily take advantage of.
He immediately tried to Apparate to one of the Auror panic rooms, the secure safe-houses set up specifically for situations where escape was the first priority. Tracking Apparition was no easy thing but it was possible. In situations like this standard procedure was to Apparate to a safehouse and sound the alarm from there.
But the attempt at Apparition failed painfully, the weight of distance fell heavily upon him and a headache told him that he had been taken much further than he'd expected. Harry could Apparate clear across the British Isles, if he was too far away for that then he had obviously been taken a long way from home indeed.
Perhaps eastern Europe? It was certainly beyond his abilities to Apparate clear across Europe and there had been growing discontent in those nations after their entrance into the muggle EU. Most muggle politics was irrelevant but the rapid modernization in those nations brought about by their inclusion in the EU saw them following the path already seen in western Europe 40 years ago.
Where he was was unimportant really, so long as he could get out. He fixed his mind on the hotel he and Ginny had visited years ago in Prague and tried again. The heavy hand of magic smacked him down again and through the now burning pain in his mind he realised he may not be able to escape that way.
He felt the prickle of sweat upon his brow when he realised he may be stuck here but he didn't struggle and he didn't panic. He needed to keep a clear head, this was what all those years of experience were for. If he had been taken what had happened to Ginny and Lily? He was confident that Ginny could take care of herself as she had always been an accomplished witch, it was Lily's fate that most concerned him. If the people who had kidnapped him had so much as touched a single hair on her head then he vowed that they would know the full fury of Harry Potter.
It had been many years since he or his family had been threatened. Under the leadership of Kingsley, and then later Percy Weasley, magical Britain had finally cast off the shackles of bigotry and backwards thought. It was no utopia of course, but Harry was confident in the belief that things were now firmly on the road to a bright future. When Lily left Hogwarts she would be entering a world almost unrecognisable when compared to the world Harry had stepped into.
The burning question was how could Harry and his department have missed an organisation with the pull to kidnap the hero of wizarding Britain from the middle of a busy crowd of parents? There was nothing on the threat matrix even close to that level of skill and resource. The few fringe groups scattered across backwards countries could not hope to achieve something like this.
He reached out with his magic to the bonds that held him fast to the bed and prodded them experimentally. They were not spelled against magic. In fact he could feel no magic on them at all. Even without his wand he would be able to undo them without difficulty. He didn't release himself. It would be but the work of a moment and the element of surprise was much more valuable to him.
It was amazing that he was not held more securely. No anti-apparition jinxes and no magical bonds. Something simply did not add up, how could any group skilled enough to kidnap him without so much as a fight fail in such basic things? He was not sure if he should be relieved or concerned. The massive variation in competence displayed suggested to Harry that they might be very hard to predict indeed.
Unpredictable enemies were the worst kind of enemies.
He closed his eyes and forced himself to relax, his heart beat slowed as he carefully measured his breaths. He would need to wait for someone to come to him. If he wanted to escape he needed to wait for the door to be opened, as soon as that was done he was confident his escape would be possible. For the time being he could not Apparate out of the cell while he had no idea what was beyond.
The slow breathing calmed him as he lay there and he strained his hearing for any indication that someone might be coming.
There was a low murmur all around the building, the sounds of a city filtered through the thick walls of his cell. He could not hear anything closer, no voices beyond his cell. The loudest noise to be heard was the electric hum of the artificial blue light set into the ceiling.
He lay still and waited. Over the years he had finally come to understand the value of patience and a measured response. As he waited he reviewed his memories carefully. Something wasn't right with this situation. It was impossible that he could have been taken without his knowledge. Surely someone must have modified his memories.
He searched his thoughts and memories for clues: Feelings of misplaced familiarity, deja vu, suspiciously specific dreams. Any of those could indicate that his memory had been tampered with.
There was the first use of magic he could remember, when he'd shrunk the ugly jumper Petunia had tried to force on to him. The memory was clear and almost pensieve-like despite being more than 25 years ago. Such was the clarity that he could even remember the look of puzzled concern upon his Aunt's face as she tried to convince herself that it had shrunk in the wash.
He remembered getting his Hogwarts letter, the owls, the eggs, the milk bottles. He remembered Vernon's reaction and how it had seemed he'd finally gone off the deep end. He could even remember that peculiar shade of puce that Vernon had turned when the letters had started flooding out of the chimney.
Then he remembered Hagrid's arrival as if it had been only yesterday. His first trip to Diagon Alley and his meeting with Quirinus Quirrell. It felt like he could remember every foul wart on the face of every Gringotts goblin.
He remembered each year. Not every day, of course, but he remembered the highlights. His fights with Malfoy, encounters with Voldemort and the first time he met each of his friends. He could remember the camping trip in his seventh year and the final battle with Voldemort.
He remembered long happy years with his family before bringing them all to King's Cross on September first for Albus's first year at Hogwarts. He remembered little Lily complaining that she wanted to go and he remembered James' delight at finding Teddy with Victoire.
He tried to think about something less obvious. When concerned about mental manipulation all Aurors were trained to try and remember a seemingly inconsequential activity, most manipulations couldn't hope to reach that depth and completeness.
Breakfast that morning. What had he had? For a moment there was nothing and he felt his hands go slick in the momentary panic then, blessedly, the memory rolled slowly into focus. They'd run out of his cereal and so he'd borrowed some of Lily's Wizard Hats. He released a breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding.
Everything seemed to be in place, he couldn't feel anything missing. Though that did raise the question of how one actually notices an absence. He'd had the mental fortitude training and he'd been obliviated as a part of that. He couldn't feel any of the rough edges between his memories that he remembered from that training.
Still, in matters of the mind it was always bets to be sure, an outsider was much more capable of recognising foreign influence. He decided that he would get himself checked out by a mind-healer at the first opportunity. It wasn't quite standard procedure but his mind was one area where Harry was unwilling to take risks.
Harry Potter drifted back into his thoughts and lingered on his memory of Albus' face when he'd been given his first training broom and smiled. He decided to go through his memories again, it never hurt to be careful. It seemed like he had time.
There were voices, footsteps! Harry regretfully surfaced from his memories when he heard the human sounds, they were drawing nearer. He sighed as Ginny's face slipped away from his sight but he lay still atop the uncomfortable bed and kept his eyes closed as he steeled himself for action.
He heard the viewing hatch snap open as they obviously checked to make sure he was not waiting to jump on them the moment they opened the door. Then came a scraping sound followed by a heavy thunk, then the door slowly ground open.
He heard three people enter the room and he kept his breathing slow and measured as he waited for his moment. He could feel their presence and hear their breathing.
"I know you are awake, Mr. Potter," said a female voice. There was a detached amusement in its tone.
His eyes snapped open and he met the smiling gaze of an attractive young brunette woman dressed in the clothes of a muggle scientist or doctor. She appeared to be looking him over appreciatively, a slight triumphant smile playing on her lips. Behind her stood two much larger men, each armed with what looked like tasers and pistols. Their faces were blank and Harry recognised the look of men who would have no compunctions about making his day very unpleasant indeed if they felt it necessary.
"So you remember your name?" she asked happily and she ticked something off on the clipboard she held before her. "Can you speak?"
This was not exactly what Harry had been expecting. A cheerful young woman asking inane questions was not standard interrogation procedure. He had been expecting something much more aggressive. The blank-faced men were much closer to his expectations but they weren't even carrying wands. Perhaps they were concerned he would be able to get hold of one?
That fear would not be unfounded.
"What have you done to me?" he growled as his temper got the better of him. "Where is Ginny? If you have hurt Lily there is no dark hole you can climb into where I will not find you."
"Wonderful!" she said as she made more notes on her clipboard. She seemed completely unfazed by his clear threat. The stony faced guards behind her shifted slightly, ready to take him down if he became a danger. "I am Dr. Maya Hansen, they were worried that the procedure might leave you brain damaged. Can you tell me the last thing you remember?"
Harry felt doubt creep into his mind. This was no ordinary kidnapping. Something much bigger was going on. Procedure? He took a deep breath to calm himself. He reached out to the woman, Maya, with his spotty Legilimency and prompted her thoughts with a question. "How did you kidnap me?"
He was no master of passive Legilimency, even after so many years as an Auror he simply did not have the inclination for it. Despite that his stubborn refusal to give up had had some benefits. He was not utterly incapable.
Images flashed before him, most made no sense at all. Her breakfast, a book sat beside the bowl. His own naked body in a room surrounded by scientists, doctors and unidentifiable scientific equipment. A room of scientists rejoicing after a successful test. Most shocking though was that he could see no magic at all. She was a muggle.
"Mr. Potter. Harry," She smiled at him in a way she probably thought was supportive. "Try to stay focused on the questions." Harry felt a flicker of guilt in her mind. "Everything will become clear in time."
There was a face, a man perhaps Harry's age. Blond and handsome with a confident smile and arrogant air. He felt slight fear from the woman and a tinge of regret. An old boyfriend perhaps? He wasn't sure, interpreting the connections between memories was no easy task even for a master legilimens and he was no master. The mind is a messy place and often memories are connected in utterly strange ways, he committed the face to memory incase it was important but accepted that it probably wasn't.
He also ignored her request to answer her questions. "What have you done to Ginny and Lily?" he said with deceptive calm, getting angry or aggressive would not get him the answers he needed, no matter how much he wanted to.
More disjointed images fluttered through her mind. A young girl she'd once known called Lily, a younger version of the woman laid upon a bed reading a book, a flower given to her by an old boyfriend. There was nothing of Harry's Lily, and no sign of Ginny in her mind at all. Did that mean they were safe? How was a Muggle involved in his kidnapping, how had they even known he existed?
"Harry, nothing has happened to your family," she said soothingly. Harry could feel the guilt within her grow as he kept asking after them. It was now obvious enough to be visible in the tightness around her eyes. "It is only you here and you will be free to leave once we are sure of your mental state. Please just answer the questions. What is the last thing you remember?"
Harry could see that she that she was telling the truth about his family. She was not being so truthful about his being allowed to leave and that was probably the source of her guilt. There was something else there, she didn't seem to be at ease with the situation at all. Perhaps she was simply having second thoughts about being involved in his kidnapping. From what he could see of her mind she did not seem an actively evil person. He was relieved that they had not touched Lily or Ginny and he felt himself relax imperceptibly. That meant he now had no more reason to play by their rules.
He hit all three with wandless Confundus charms and as their eyes glazed over his bonds came to life and snaked over each-other to release him from the bed. His back cracked in protest as he pushed himself to his feet and he grimaced in momentary annoyance. He glanced at the bleary eyed trio as he stood up at long last.
He wished he could wipe their memories but that was outside his capabilities without his wand. A bit of telekinesis and some subtle mind magic was about the limits of his abilities. He needed his wand.
"Maya," he said softly. She turned a vague smile towards him. "Can you tell me where my wand is?"
"Hmm?" she said dreamily. "No, no wand. They couldn't manage it." She sighed and stared at him in a way disturbingly like the many fangirls who dogged him at every public event.
"It's just so amazing," she bubbled. "I've always wanted to meet you! I had suuuuch a big crush on you as a kid. Everyone made fun of me for it."
Harry brushed his hand through his hair in frustration. That was not an uncommon side-effect of the Confundus charm. Its effects were similar to the 'happy drunk' stage where people were compliant and helpful. It also made people speak much more freely. Muggles were particularly susceptible, it was likely that the three before him would completely forget this conversation. But the those effects could be both a blessing and a curse. Answers tended to be vague and thoughtless.
"Can you tell me how I got here Maya?" he asked as kindly as he could manage in the circumstances.
Her face fell and she looked guilty. "I don't know really. I'm on a different project. I just had to talk to you, you know? You're my hero." She sighed happily again.
He didn't question just how she knew who he was. He assumed that this was some kind of joint venture and that wizards had been responsible for whatever had brought him here. The most important thing was that he escaped before the wizards realised he'd been given such an amazing opportunity to escape. He could easily get past a bunch of muggles, wizards would be another matter altogether.
"Why are you here?" he asked next. She did not seem the type to be involved in what must surely be some kind of international terrorist group.
"I just want to make a difference, you know? I had no other choice." A light skim of her random and malformed thoughts gave Harry very little. Confundus charms confused the mind enough that attempting to pull out anything meaningful was almost pointless. He did see a brief fleeting image of a man though.
Short dark hair and with a moustache and goatee. It was a little like Karkaroff's though Harry suspected young people would say it was much 'cooler'. He could easily imagine Rose swooning over the guy. He sincerely hoped Lily kept a more level head.
Those thoughts were not, however, of that much help to him. He decided that he'd got as much as he was likely to get from the girl, as a muggle she had very little useful information about him or how he'd come to be there. Most of the times her thoughts went to him they slid to other unrelated things, movies, books and magazines, that Harry quickly disregarded.
"That's nice Maya," he said with a gentle nod of his head. "Now can you stay here for me and watch these two?" He gestured at the two men who were inspecting their weapons with childlike interest. "It would be a big favour."
She nodded happily and Harry quickly applied a mild aversion charm to himself. It would be just enough that he could walk by any muggles outside without them thinking to stop him, he just had to hope he wouldn't run into any attentive wizards. He stepped quietly out of the cell and found himself in a long plain corridor. There were a number of other cells along each wall but as walked he looked into each and found every one of them empty. It seemed he was the only inmate in this strange place.
For a moment he debated going back and bringing Maya along with him for evidence. He decided against it in the end as his problems with Apparition suggested that he was a long way away from home indeed. He would be safer and better able to move without her weighing him down. Once he was back he could easily procure a Portkey to return, then it would be an easy job to track his kidnappers down. When wizards wanted to find someone then it was very difficult indeed to stop them. A group carrying a large number of muggles wouldn't stand a chance.
He kept moving, there was another guard at the end of the corridor. Another big and lean man with an expressionless face. Harry idly wondered if there was perhaps a factor somewhere that churned out faceless goons for places like this and restrained a snort of amusement. The man nodded politely to Harry as he walked by. That was the aversion charm at work.
Beyond was a bustling office filled with people all dressed like Maya. Harry stopped immediately where he stood. If there were any of the wizards in this group then they would see through him immediately. It wouldn't be safe to walk through the room. Luckily for him there was a window nearby and outside it he could see a broad low-rise city stretching away into the distance.
The road below was choked with old looking cars and the city looked to be rather run down. It was certainly no European city. No matter, that was his path out. With a thought and a twist he disappeared from his captors base with a quiet pop that was lost amid the noise of the office.
He reappeared amid the tumult of the street outside. Morning traffic filled the streets to bursting and Harry looked around for a indication of where he was.
The license plates on the cars all said Peru, so that was simple enough. It was likely that he was in Lima given the apparent size of the city. That was both a surprise and extremely annoying.
His only option would be to travel back to Europe the muggle way as the americas did not have any real established magical governments of their own. The muggle expansion into the americas had never been mirrored within the wizarding world. Wizards had never had the same incentive to find new land, space and sources of money like the poor or opportunistic muggles who had emigrated to America.
As a result there was no real magical government anywhere in the Americas, instead they were governed as dependent members by the ICW. They had their own sports teams but otherwise could barely be counted as countries. He would have to use muggle means to get back to Europe. From there he would be able to return to England easily.
He stepped out into the busy street and hopped into the first unoccupied taxi he saw. The streets weren't exactly moving quickly due to the rush-hour traffic and it seemed as if it was expected.
"Uhh, airoporta?" he asked the driver uncertainly. His memory was hazy but he was pretty sure that Peruvians spoke Spanish.
Whatever the language the driver seemed to understand but he gave Harry a strange look. "¿Y tu qué? ¿Te escapaste de un hospital?" he asked and gestured to his clothes.
Harry looked down and quickly realised that the medical clothes he was wearing were anything but inconspicuous. His Confundus charm would be seeing a lot of use today, that much was obvious.
A harried young researcher ran up to the overflowing desk of his overseer.
"Subject Potter is gone sir," he gasped as he leaned on his knees to catch his breath. He wasn't made for running.
The elder man stopped what he was doing immediately and glared at the younger. "What do you mean he's gone?" he growled in frustration.
The younger looked confused and apprehensive, as well he would given the waves of barely contained rage flowing off the older man. "He's just… Not there anymore. No-one saw him leave."
"How is that possible? Didn't we have guards at his door? He shouldn't even have any of his abilities! He doesn't even have his wand!" He threw his pen onto the desk forcefully and it bounced off under another table nearby.
"Sir, all we know is that he was here before and he's not here now. No-one knows anything else."
"I want you to go over all the security camera footage of every entrance. We need to find out how he got out so easily." He ran a wrinkled hand over his balding head before punching the table. "You should be grateful that it's me that has to take this news to Killian. He's not going to be happy."
A/N: Just a prologue, not much to see here. Things become clearer in the next chapter.