Okay this story is going through another edit so all the chapters will be changing slightly. Thanks to my new beta TheLostPevensie, who has helped me an incredible amount in making this a better story. Without further adieu.
Summary: Tony's day gets a little twisted when he encounters a beat-up little girl in suburban Surrey. As for Georgiana, her life is about to get a whole lot better after she meets a man with a glowing heart. Both have gone through difficult times but together they will find out what it means to be family.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, the Avengers, or any of it's respective characters.
Chapter 1: Finding a New Part of My Glowing Heart
So far, Tony was having a pretty good day. Maybe not his ideal day, but after what happened in Afghanistan and Yinsen's words still in the back of Tony's head, a day filled with board meetings and negotiation deals wasn't really that bad. Tony still wasn't attentive at the meetings nor did he like doing all the stupid paperwork and attending all the formality parties, however he was present and he was putting in effort. Granted, he wasn't trying very hard with the CEO-ing but he was trying! And yes, he still had his cocky personality but that was Tony, you couldn't change that. He'd shut down the entire weapons department, started working in clean energy with the arc reactor paving the road. What more can you ask for? Tony and Pepper had steadily been getting closer since Tony came back from Afghanistan and after the events of the debacle with Obadiah. She had finally consented to being his girlfriend, officially, 4 months ago.
The times Tony was away from Pepper he started to feel that loneliness again. The loneliness he realized had always plagued him. He just hadn't realize it until Yinsen basically spelled it out for him back in that awful cave. Being an only (genius) child, with an absentee-workaholic father, and constantly at boarding schools, his world was indeed lonely. Tony had everything he could ever want from life in the material sense, but emotionally he had nothing but Pepper and Rhodey. For those two, Tony would always be eternally grateful (not that he would ever actually admit that to Rhodey). Regardless, he still felt that empty void in his half mechanical heart that was haunted by feelings of neglect, abandonment, and betrayal. As he drove around the suburban area of Little Whinging, Surrey, little did Tony know that the part that would complete the rest of his heart was less than 5 miles away, at #4 Privet Drive.
Georgiana was not having a good day. Sadly, the last 5 years of her life had followed in pretty much the same succession. She had woken up this morning with the familiar screeching of Aunt Petunia at her cupboard door, and with a list of demands and chores that must be completed during the day. Funny; what with how many times she is explained the rules of the house (that only apply to her and never that whale of cousin of hers, Dudley), one would think she knew them all after 5 hellish years. But nooo they insist on telling her every. Single. Day.
"Move it, girl! I haven't got all day! I have to take Dudders out to get that new bike and television set he wanted. I want the breakfast on the table in 5 minutes, and make some extra bacon for your Uncle. If you don't you will find that you will have no meals for the rest of the day! Got it? Good." Aunt Petunia really didn't wait for Georgiana's answer before stalking away from the door of the cupboard.
Georgiana for her part did as she was told. She found that defiance in this house wasn't much appreciated. She stumbled over her pants and re-adjusted her shirt, both of which were quite a few sizes too big (and Dudley's). She put the extra bacon in the pan and seared it. For all of this she had to stand on a step stool, Aunt Petunia was just kind enough to lend it to her… as long as she didn't get any scuff marks on it. Georgiana went through the rest of the breakfast routine fairly quickly. Serving the family, while they sat at the table. For Petunia, she put a standard amount of scrambled eggs, a few pieces of bacon, and two pieces of toast. For Dudley she just doubled that of what Aunt Petunia had, and for Vernon triple. Not wanting to spend anymore time than needed in the "freak's" presence all three Dursleys began to make their way out the door. The act itself was becoming more difficult as Dudley and Uncle Vernon continued to steadily incline horizontally.
"Now, listen here, girl." Uncle Vernon began when he gobbled down the last of the bacon. " I do not want any funny business, whatsoever. I want that list of chores done by the time we return! If it is not then you will deal with the consequences! We will be back in four hours. Remember, no funny business!" Uncle Vernon finished out his lecture with a piercing glare at Georgiana and stalked out the door with Petunia and Dudley in tow.
Georgiana stared at the closed door after the Dursleys had left for a good 5 minutes. She gave a resounding sigh and trekked back deeper into the house to begin her chores. After about an hour and half almost all her chores done. Georgiana found herself leaning against her cupboard door. She opened the door and sat on her lumpy bed. If you could even call it a bed. She looked around the small space; it consisted of a few spiders, a couple of Dudley's discarded action figures, and a lot of dust bunnies. The only thing that really distinguished the dismal cupboard as hers was her full name inscribed on the inside of the door. Georgiana Lily Potter. That was her only link to her parents bar the lightening bolt scar from the incident that killed her parents but not her. That scar never faded, forever remaining, hidden behind her bangs. The only reason she knows her actual name because Aunt Petunia slipped a year before and said her name, and because it was on her introductory papers in the first year of primary school. She worked her hardest at spelling so she could spell and remember her overly complicated name. Georgiana ran her small hand over the engraving. She remembered when her Aunt and Uncle had found out about the carving the wall they went stark, raving mad. Aunt Petunia screeched at the top of her lungs and Uncle Vernon grabbed a hold of her arms and shook her quite violently, shouting in her face. Dudley at that point would throw in an unintelligent insult and hit her with his pudgy hands. That night Georgiana had cried and cried, and wished that anyone, absolutely anyone, would take her from that wretched place.
Recalling that memory was never fun for Georgiana. She got up and out of the cupboard and closed it behind her. Still feeling uneasy Georgiana looked up at the clock and realized she still had 2 ½ hours before the Dursleys would return. She unlocked the front door, swinging it open and grabbed the spare key that was under the welcome mat. Closing the door behind her and locking it, she tucked the key in the waistband of her pants and started walking in the direction of the park. Since Dudley and his pack of dunderheads wouldn't be there, the park should be fairly enjoyable. Georgiana made her way to the swings, unaware that her luck was about to change for the better.
Ever since last year, when she found extra time on her hands; when the Dursleys ventured out, Georgiana had taken to going out herself. She sometimes would just sit outside in front of the house or take a walk. Sometimes when she was really having a bad day or felt super adventurous she would go to the little old park, not far from the house. But, she never stayed long, always going back to the house before the Dursleys could even think she would go out. Today was one of those adventurous days. She was not surprised to find the park empty, she liked it that way best in fact. No one there, meant no one to bully or pick on her.
Out of all things to do in the park Georgiana would always go to the swings no matter what. It was an odd inclination of hers but, she was normally drawn to the swings more than the play structure. While she was gaining little height on the swings a most unusual thing happened.
Tony Stark was becoming increasingly annoyed with his AI assistant J.A.R.V.I.S.
"J.A.R.V.I.S. I asked for a short cut to Heathrow, not a tour through freaking suburban Surrey," Tony's patience level was dropping fast as he drove around in his Rolls Royce listening to J.A.R.V.I.S giving useless directions.
"You said you would like a scenic route, Sir," J.A.R.V.I.S. responded in his British-electronic accent (which quite fitting the given location).
"This, is not what I meant," Tony muttered in anger and frustration. He abruptly turned at a curb and put the car in park near a completely vacant park. It wasn't just vacant it was barren, bar a couple of play structures, but the setting slightly bothered Tony. No park in L.A. or in New York for that matter was ever vacant, especially not so early in the afternoon. It reminded him of the barren village in the desert, which just did not sit well with him. Noticing the nearly empty gas tank he got out of the car and slammed the door shut. Walking into the park and taking a seat on the play structure, not caring in the slightest what happened to his custom tailored suit or the fact the park was giving him an off-putting feeling. He pulled out his phone and made a call.
"Tony! Where are you? You are supposed to be in London right now! The Hammer presentation, ringing any bells?" Pepper's voice was urgent yet pleasant. How does she manage to do that? Yell at me, yet sounding amazing doing it.
"Pepper, that idiot hasn't presented or created any product that we haven't already made a decade ago or have already scrapped. It's not like I intentionally did this. I got lost with J.A.R.V.I.S.'s horrible directions and you know driving on the wrong side of the road completely throws me off."
"Well, Tony… You were supposed to be here...where are you anyway?" Suddenly taking a shift to the inquisitive.
"Somewhere in Surrey…" replies Tony frustratedly.
"Oh, good you aren't too far away," said Pepper, sounding cheerier.
"Well, I actually was on my way, to Heathrow. Uh, funny you should say that, actually because I just realized I am… basically out of gas," Tony braced himself for the explosion.
"TONY! You can't keep skipping these meetings…" Pepper was building steam at this point.
"But that was kind of the purpose of you being CEO," Tony asserted.
"Well, why don't you come instead, and I could quit…" Tony could hear Pepper's mood deteriorating.
"Pep, I was kidding," he said quickly. "I'm sorry I'm just not feeling it today. I'm over the travelling I just want to go home."
"And you were just going to just leave me here without so much as a memo." Pepper's voice softened, sensing Tony's vulnerability at the moment.
"Of course not," said Tony indignantly, recovering quickly. "I was just going to have Happy pick you up after the meeting you wanted to go to so badly, and bring you to the jet."
"Right, okay. I have no energy to leave anywhere right now, so let's just leave tomorrow. Okay, Tony?... Tony. Tony?" But there was no answer.
It was then a figure on the swing set had caught his eye. I thought this place was deserted. Upon inspection, Tony deduced that it was a little girl no more than 4 or 5, in huge clothes, and shoes that looked like they were about to fall apart. She had mid-length coppery, dark auburn hair and a small body. She was pretty soundless, swinging on the swings, with her head ducked down, and her hair swishing about around her. Okay, this is seriously not normal. Where are this girl's parents? Did she run away? If she comes from this neighborhood, why does she look like a street kid? Maybe I should ask her. She maybe just some lost, helpless kid. Tony's curiosity was piqued as his thoughts ran a mile a minute.
"Yeah, sorry," he said into his phone, suddenly registering Pepper calling his name. "Yeah, tomorrow- sounds good. Look I gotta go I'll meet you at the hotel. Bye!" Tony turned the phone off and tucked it into the inner pocket of his jacket. He started to stride towards the little girl.
A silver sports car drove right up in front of the park. A man climbed out and shut the door behind him. He strode with towards the play structure in a kind of strut, taking a seat upon it. Pulling out a phone and started a conversation with someone.
While the man was on the phone talking with the person on the other line, Georgiana was silently observing him from her place on the swing.
"...It's not like I intentionally did this…" He was trying in vain to explain to the person on the other side of the conversation.
Georgiana's thoughts were in a whirlwind of observation. He looks fancy, really fancy. He looks fancier than the really rich people in 7 Privet Drive Aunt Petunia keeps talking about. If he's fancy and rich, what's he doing here? Georgiana felt bad listening in on his conversation, she knew it was wrong but her curiosity got the better of her.
The illustrious man's conversation stopped abruptly. His gaze suddenly riveted on little Georgiana. He stowed away his phone back in his pocket. Realizing this Georgiana quickly ducked her head down and continued on as if she hadn't even seen the man about to look in her direction. What she didn't anticipate was the man walking over to her.
Oh good Lord! Why is he coming here? What does he want with me? Maybe I should run! No, wait that he would just catch me like Dudley and his friends.
Upon seeing Tony, the little girl dragged her feet against the dirt to stop her swinging, and immediately stood up with her hands still firmly grasped around the chains of the swing. She snapped her head up to look at Tony, and Tony had to admit that his stance faltered a bit as the girl pierced him with the most intense hazel eyes he had ever seen. She was utterly silent and still, hands fisted at her sides and face blank, but as she stood facing him, looking for all the world like something out of his Robotics Division, Tony could see something in her shuttered hazel eyes. With a shock he realized that they reminded him of his own- not in color, although there was a surprising similarity there too. The expression in them, hidden though it was, was eerily like the haunted look he had seen every time he looked in a mirror for the first few months after his rescue from Afghanistan. That a child this young, no older than six for sure, was even capable of understanding such a deep pain, much less feeling it herself, told him more than any of her other strange behavior that something had to be horribly wrong. Tony regained his composure and found his voice and inserted a nonchalant tone into it.
"Hey, kid. What are doing here all by yourself," He felt like a complete jerk talking to her like this but Tony wasn't the mushy-gushy type so this would have to do. The girl continued to look at him with a glint of defiance in her eyes. God, I swear those eyes are penetrating my arc reactor!
"Nothing, I was just swinging on the swing, Sir. Did I do something wrong?" She replied in a British accent, her voice was clear, serene, and even. Tony was surprised a girl so young, had that kind of composure and demeanor most adults don't have.
"No, not really. It's just you look really young, and kids your age usually have their parent's around when they go to the park or anywhere else really. Something bad could happen to you out here. Where are your parents, kid?"
"I don't have parents. Bad stuff already happens to me. And don't call me kid." She said this all very bluntly and her "Bad stuff" comment alarmed Tony and started to break his rock solid heart. As a child, Tony would make up sad stories to gain his parents' attention but the little girl in front of him, he could tell she wasn't lying. She looked very young at the least 4 at the max 6. He wanted to ask her all sorts of questions, about her parents, what happened to her, Tony actually found himself acutely concerned about her. Ugh, I'm going soft! As to not unnerve her he continued on with some harmless questions. Maybe she'll slip up and say something.
"How old are you, ki- sorry what's your name, I didn't catch it?" This time he asked her in a softer tone and sat on the swing next to her.
"My teacher says six. And I didn't give you my name." Okay, red flag number two. That's so weird. Don't kids usually brag about their age. And aren't their parents, guardians, whatever supposed to tell them. Girl's got cheek though.
"Why are you asking me all these questions, Sir?" Tony was surprised she asked him a question in return. It was quite apt and reasonable question. He probably would have asked the same question had their roles been reversed. But his overactive, analytical brain came up with an answer. For starters, you look like a homeless kid, your parents are dead, you didn't know your own age till your teacher told you, and I have a bad feeling that's only the beginning of it. Actually being tactful for once, he didn't mention any of this aloud. He must have looked like an idiot not speaking and just staring. But before he could really respond she asked another question
"Um, sir, why is your heart glowing?"
Tony realized he had been silent for a little more than a minute. Having been going through his thoughts, rather than replying with witty comments as he would ordinarily have done with any other person. It's not like he hasn't been asked this question and answered it a million times before. For God's sake, he was a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
Speaking of why doesn't this girl already know me. She should be fangirling right about now. Finally composing cohesive thoughts again he answered her question… the second one at least. The first one he would have to think about a bit more.
"This," Tony tapped his arc reactor. "Is what is keeping me alive. I got into a bit of an accident and this thing is keeping the bad pieces of it, literally, from getting to my heart. Oh, and it powers the coolest super suit ever." The girl's eyes widened steadily as he spoke. By the end of his explanation her eyebrows had reached an exponential height, disappearing underneath the auburn fringe covering her forehead. Now, that he looked a bit closer at the fringe he noticed a faint scar hidden behind it. The part of this revelation that confounded him the most was that the scar was in an almost perfect shape of a lightning bolt. Alarms started going off in Tony's mind. Red flag NUMBER 3! Why is this little girl hurt. Who did this to her. No one gets that kind of scar by accident or falling over. I should know I have enough injuries to last a lifetime. Before he could bring up the topic of her scar her expression grew grave, worried, and anxious.
"Oh my God! Sir, do you know what time it is?" Her voice was brimming with anxiousness and a certain urgency. Tony checked his watch.
"It's nearly one o'clock, but…." Tony never got to finish his thought.
"Oh, Lord. I got to get home before they get back." She broke into a mad dash towards #4.
Tony was absolutely bewildered. Questions of all sorts were raging inside his head, as he watched the girl run faster than he thought was possible. Jumping on unfamiliar instinct, Tony followed her. Tony had no idea who she was, where she was from, or anything really much about her but, in that moment all reason was out the window and Tony followed the girl with the intense hazel eyes, auburn hair, and lightening bolt scar. One last thought coursed through him as he ran, What the hell?!