Chapter 43

The knife wobbled precariously, balancing on Harry's fingertip on the point of its blade.

Harry's concentration—and his utter stillness—was disrupted as the door at the end of the room began to open. The knife began to topple and Harry grasped it between his fingers before it could fall. A moment later, it was in motion, flying end over end.

Instead of stabbing into the neck of the one entering the room, it was batted away by a pulse of invisible force.

"Oh, hello, Loki," Harry said. "I thought you were someone else."

"You thought I was someone else? Someone else entering my bedroom? My bedroom, in my quarters, in my personal tower, which is warded against everyone except me?"

"I got in, didn't I?"

"You helped set up the wards in the first place."

"Exactly."

"The other day you were bragging about how powerful your castle's wards are, and how you plan to use the Tesseract to create the most powerful ward ever."

Harry shook his head. "I'm not saying they're bad because of my input—I'm saying they're bad because I only helped make them, instead of making them on my own."

"If I'd let you make them, you would have probably made them kill me, or something."

"What, so I can take the throne? That sounds like a lot of work, and you know I don't do anything that requires substantial effort unless it's funny." Harry summoned the knife back to his hand. "Anyway, how did your coronation go?"

"Quite well, I think. I wasn't assassinated."

"I wouldn't have guessed." Harry stood from Loki-Two's bed. "Now, you only have a few minor things to sort out, like half the population hating you, and Midgard's governments having a grudge against you for your crappy attempted conquering of their world."

Loki-Two raised an eyebrow. "Will Midgard hating me be much of a problem?"

"They have nukes and wizards. I'm pretty sure that those could be pretty bad for Asgard." Harry paused. "Well, they could be if the Midgardians ever figured out how to open portals to Asgard, which they probably won't. Anyway, it's better to be safe than sorry."

"That doesn't sound like you, at all."

Harry waved his hand dismissively. "I don't have to be cautious most of the time—not beyond what I normally do, anyway. Most things can't threaten me. Nukes, however, can."

"Even when they're on another realm?"

"I spend most of my time on Midgard, and happen to look a lot like you—if far more attractive," Harry said. "But to be honest, I just want an excuse to go and talk to the sci-fi pirate. I'll leave you to stamp out any rebellion, and to become an evil dictator."

And without further ado, Harry left the room.

"You know, for what's supposed to be a secret base, this isn't very stealthy."

Fury spun around in his chair, reaching for his gun and finding only an empty holster.

Harry continued to spin the gun around his finger as Fury dove behind his desk, reaching for another gun. "Relax, I'm not here to kill you." He paused. "Well, that depends on how that meeting goes."

Fury popped around the side of his desk, gun roaring. All six bullets froze a few inches from Harry, two in front of his heart, two in front of his neck, and two in front of his face.

"This isn't off to a good start, is it?" With a wave of his hand, Harry sent the desk crashing into the wall, and levitated Fury into the air, wrenching the gun from his hand.

Harry's face shimmered and resumed his old, blond disguise. "See, I'm not Loki. I'm the guy who was helping you track him down, and who accused you of being a Somalian space pirate. Are you one, by the way?"

Fury continued to angrily and silently levitate.

"Stop being silent."

Fury stayed silent.

"If you don't talk, I'm going to mind control you and make you make pirate noises."

A few seconds passed, and the door was booted in. A metallic cylinder bounced against the floor and, with a flick of his hand, Harry knocked it back into the corridor. With a flash of light and a tremendous bang, it exploded.

One of the men outside staggered through the doorway dizzily, and then slipped and bashed his helmeted head against the wall. A flick of Harry's wand rendered him unconscious.

Harry glanced at Fury. "Where do you hire these people?" He waved his wand and put the door back into place. "Anyway, I'm here to negotiate a peace treaty."

Boots and battering rams pounded against the magically sealed door.

"As you can see," Harry said, "I have no experience whatsoever negotiating peace. I normally just kill all of my enemies. Unfortunately, every single person on Earth seems to dislike Loki and I can't kill everyone—well, I suppose I could but it would be a lot of effort and Midgard is my favourite realm—you have the best ice cream and the best explosives."

Fury continued to glare with his one eye.

"You don't understand?" Harry paused. "I'm really not sure how to say that in pirate. Will your Matrix trench coat let you download English so that you understand me?"

"I understand you."

"Are we going to negotiate now, or are you going to continue being stroppy?" he said. "And don't say, 'the US government doesn't negotiate with terrorists.' I'm not a terrorist. That was Loki. And he was being mind-controlled."

Fury raised an eyebrow. "Mind-controlled?"

"Yes, like this. Imperio."

The next thing Fury knew, he was performing a solo ballet around the room.

From Fury's chair, Harry clapped. "Bravo! Bravo! Wonderful performance! Now, are you going to cooperate or am I going to have to magic up a stripper pole?"

"I was cooperating."

'He was,' Loki confirmed.

"Oh." Harry frowned. "Well, you can never be too cautious."

'Of course not. Let's stab him with a stake to make sure he's not a vampire.'

'Can't you see the trench coat? He's clearly not a vampire—he's a half-vampire vampire hunter.'

'I think we should stab him anyway,' Loki said. 'Just to be safe.'

'This is why I'm the diplomat. Well, this and you not having a body.'

"Anyway," Harry said aloud, "now we have that sorted, I assume you can pass on the message to all of the governments of the world to stop trying to attack Loki, because it wasn't his fault."

"I—"

"You may or may not have noticed that I am a wizard, and am probably the most powerful being currently on Earth. I'd take that into consideration in your answer."

Fury glared at him. "From what I've seen, wizards tend to die when they get shot through the head."

Harry rolled his eyes. "I'm not just a wizard."

With a wave of his wand, he disabled his protections on the door and it was immediately kicked in. Black-clad men charged in, guns roaring as soon as Fury was out of their line of fire.

Harry stood still, unflinching as the hailstorm of bullets struck him. He winked at Fury and moved forward, too fast for his target to react before his gun was wrenched from his grip and bent in half. Grabbing the man by his collar, Harry lifted him up and flung him forwards.

The man barrelled into his comrades, sending them crashing to the floor and halting their attempts to extract Fury.

Even as they collapsed to the floor, a new attacker was dashing into the room, a metal shield held before him. With a roll of his eyes, Harry side-stepped Captain America's charge. A flick of his wand later, Captain America was unconscious and stuck to the ceiling, with his shield was stuck to the wall.

Fury attempted to crawl from the room, only to be yanked back in by an invisible force around his ankle. The same invisible force pushed the rest of the agents back out into the corridor. Harry waved his hand and a wall of ice rose to reseal the doorway.

"Did you see that, Fury?" Harry summoned a gun to his hand, aimed at the side of his own head, and fired twice. "I'm not dead." He laughed. "It doesn't even hurt—but that could be a result of nerve damage from constant substance abuse."

"I—"

"I know, I know, drugs are bad. Blah, blah, blah. 'You're already too confident without the cocaine, Harry. Don't snort semtex, Harry. Cyanide isn't for recreational use, Harry. Drinking gasoline is bad for you, Harry.' Just let me have my teenage rebellion, okay? Besides, it's all basically legal now I have my diplomatic immunity."

"You know, good diplomacy usually doesn't involve appearing in their office."

Harry snorted. "I didn't appear. I was there before you were. You just didn't notice me because I was in your blind spot—to your left, that is."

Fury glared at Harry—that seemed to be a habit of his.

"Do you not get the joke? Are you blind to its meaning?" Harry chuckled to himself. "Anyway, I assume that you're going to stop looking for Loki. And you're not even going to attempt to look for me. If you do, I'm going to go and mind control someone, and get them to launch a nuke right at the White House, okay?"

"You really don't have much experience with this diplomacy stuff, do you?"

Harry frowned. "How could you tell? Is it because you can sense my nervousness?"

"Something like that."

"Do you have any diplomacy tips?"

"Don't threaten the most powerful organisation in the world."

Harry scratched his chin. "Well, I wasn't really planning on threatening McDonalds anytime soon, but okay." He chuckled to himself. "I'm so funny."

"The US government—"

"—does not negotiate with terrorists. Yes, yes, I've seen action films too, and don't care if that's not what you were going to say. I'm not a terrorist—well, that depends on your definition of terrorist, but it sure as hell would make life a lot easier for you if you just cooperate with my demands."

"I'm sure it would."

"But you're still not going to do it, huh?" Harry sighed. "Let me guess, justice comes first? Well, the real world doesn't work like that. I quite frankly don't even think justice exists, and, more importantly, justice won't save you from a bullet or a Killing Curse, or a piano falling out of a window." He raised his wand and pulled a glowing gemstone from his pocket, pressing the two together. "It also won't save you from the mind-control spell I developed using the help of an Infinity Stone. Covetus Imperius."

The clear spell hit Fury before he could react and he fell to the floor. For a few seconds, he spasmed madly, bleeding from his nose.

"It still needs a bit of modification, as you might be able to tell. Fortunately, it still functions perfectly! That is to say, it is an Imperius Curse which is nearly impossible to detect, whether by wizards, or your closest friends—not that you have any." Harry grinned. "Say goodbye to free will!"

"Goodbye, free will," Fury said.

"Excellent," Harry cackled. "I'm such an evil genius. Bye, for now. I have to go and return some video tapes—your CCTV tapes, that is, and when I say return, I mean burn."

A/N: Sorry about the late update. I forgot what day it was.