Disclaimer: I own nothing. All credit goes to the original creators
Deep in a forest, hidden among the trees and away from any trail, a small abandoned looking log cabin sat facing East. There was a thin stream of smoke coming from the stone chimney that quickly dissipated in the breeze.
A short stocky man with wild hair walked up to the building carrying a rucksack. Opening the door, he called inside. "Harry, you in?"
A thin young man with messy black hair leaned into the room from the small kitchen, wiping his hands on a small hand towel. "Logan! What brings you here? If you are hungry, I just put away some stew in the fridge."
"Don't mind if I do," Logan said as he dumped his pack on a worn couch. "Surprised to find ya' here, what with all that had been happening."
Harry glanced at him in curiosity as the older man grabbed a bowl and spoon before opening the small fridge for the stew.
"What do you mean? I've been here recovering since the attack on New York. How much time has passed?"
"Harry, that was a month ago. SHIELD has fallen. The Avengers just had a huge blowout with a robot named Ultron. Thousands died…." Logan explained before seeing the immortal's stunned expression.
"I haven't been summoned in a month? No one has attempted to contact me since the battle," Harry said, a pit forming in his stomach. He stalked out of the room, heading for the cabin's door.
"Help yourself to the food. I have some catching up to do," Harry said as he grabbed a broom from the wall and flinging the door open, sped into the air of the oncoming night.
Once past his wards, he apparated to the first place he could think of.
-Moments later, Avengers Tower-
With a small warning pop, Harry appeared in the living room of Avengers Tower, startling Tony.
"Harry! Where have you been?" Tony asked, in a mock motherly tone that hid his concern.
"Recovering." Harry answered shortly, taking in the damage to the tower. "What happened?"
Tony arched an eyebrow. "Aren't you supposed to be all knowing?"
"Apparently not. Where is everyone?" Harry asked, noting the absence of everyone except Tony.
"Thor had some family business to take care of. Cap is training some new Avengers at another facility. Widow is helping. Clint is with his wife, who is giving birth right now. Yeah did you know he was married? Him and Widow sure had me fooled. But I guess Widow took a shine to Bruce who is currently missing by the way. Ran off after the last fight. SHIELD is actually HYDRA and so Fury, who we thought died but actually wasn't dead, started a new SHIELD but we haven't figured out what to name it yet. He will probably come up with a new long ass name with an interesting acronym. Coulson is heading his own little group and can't be bothered to stop by anymore. So really, where have you been and why are you back now?"
Harry sighed, frustration in his every movement. "I decided to take a little rest. My wounds didn't heal as quickly as I would have liked. A friend stopped by my hideaway and mentioned how long I had been gone. But something did not add up. Thing is, I can't figure out what or why. So here I am. Looking for answers."
Tony eyed him for a moment, taking in the lost expression in Harry's face as the younger looking man gazed out the cracked windows.
"I think we need to have a little conference with the other Avengers. If you are missing something important, we need to find out what that might be," Tony said, taking out his phone and placing a call.
"By the way. What's with the broom?"
Harry grinned, "Sometimes it's the best way to travel."
Tony gave him a confused yet intrigued look before someone obviously answered the phone.
"Hey, it's me. Grim has returned. Be there in ten minutes." Tony stated before hanging up.
"Think you can keep up?" Tony asked, with the grin.
"Try me," Harry said, with an equally mischievous grin that was still slightly tinged with unease.
-Less than 10 minutes later, New Avengers Facility-
Tony in his Iron Man suit landed outside a large facility just as Harry touched down with his flying broom.
"How in the world can you go that fast on a broom?" Tony asked, incredulously.
"Magic," Harry answered with a smirk.
Cap and Widow came out to greet the two. "Grim, heard you weren't aware of what has been happening." Cap said by way of greeting. Harry glanced at Tony but got no reaction from the man's faceplate. He knew Tony was up to something on the way. Apparently, he made a few calls.
"Have you tried summoning Death to get some answers?" Widow asked, eyeing Harry as if measuring his health.
Harry felt like face palming. After so many years you would think he would know to try that first.
He sent out a call to Death but nothing happened. There was no response. Nothing.
"I don't understand. Death is not answering my summons," Harry said, eyes widening in true fear.
"Let's go in. I think we have a lot of talking to do," Tony suggested, gesturing to the people milling around.
As a group they headed inside, along the way Harry shrank his broom to fit in his shirt pocket like a pencil while Cap watched in amazement.
Seeing the Cap's child-like wonder, Harry gave a small smile, before his expression returned to worry.
They entered a large training room with a conference table at the far end probably used for strategy meetings.
Taking seats, Tony turned his attention back to Harry.
"So, any ideas of why you haven't been summoned?"
"No. As far as I know there is nothing that can interfere with my duties and nothing can prevent Death from answering my summons. I don't understand." Harry answered pacing in front of the large screens that make up one wall. He ran his hands through his hair in uncharacteristic frustration and nervous energy.
"Are you still… the Master of Death? Are you still immortal?" Steve asked, watching his old friend in concern.
Harry paused in his pacing to consider this. He turned to Natasha, "Could I borrow one of your knives?"
Without answering, Natasha grabbed one of her hidden blades and tossed it to Grim, who caught it easily.
In turn, Harry sliced open his forearm. Watching it carefully, they all saw it healed instantly.
With a sigh, Harry sat down at the conference table with the others and passed the blade back to Natasha.
"So you are still immortal but Death won't return your calls. Any thoughts?" Tony asked, popping off his helmet.
"It's like something is blocking me. But all the texts and scrolls I have found and even Death stated that during the Apocalypse I would still feel everything. As far as I know, there is no way to stop being the Master of Death and all that it entails."
The doors at the end of the room opened silently but Harry still felt their presence and turned to see a familiar face flanked by two others he didn't recognize.
"Fury, heard I missed your funeral." Harry said as he quickly sized up the newcomers.
"Seems you missed quite a few things while you were away. Still got a hole in your chest?" Fury asked, veiled concern in his gaze.
"Just a set of scars, which is a new thing by the way. Haven't scarred in over eighty years and now I have a pair of ugly ones," Harry smirked before looking over the other two.
With a glance he gathered that the black gentleman was or still is military but the woman had the eyes of a civilian who had seen horrible things and stepped up to deal.
"New members?" Harry asked Fury with a tilt of his head that was not entirely human, eyes still fixed on the two.
The black man returned his stare but the woman backed away from him.
Instantly, Harry changed his expression to as stone- faced as possible. He wanted to see what they would do next.
"If I may, I would like to ask your names," Harry said, voice neutral.
"Sam Wilson. They call me the Falcon." The black man steeled his spine as if speaking to a superior officer.
Harry turned his gaze to the woman who flinched but tilted her head up in defiance. "The Scarlet Witch," the woman answered, her voice Slavic in accent, jaw clamping in stubborn refusal to give any further information.
"Witch? I hope you live up to the title. I am the Grim." Harry said a little darkness seeping into his words.
"I know what you are. I see it in your eyes. Death surrounds you but cannot touch you. You are a fairytale to my people. The martyr who cannot die," the woman's gaze held an understanding kind of pity.
Harry straightened from the table slowly before circling around to her. "I look forward to working with you." Turning his gaze to include Sam as well he added, "Both of you. Just so you know, you both have one upped everyone else in this room. Everyone else tried to kill me the first time we meet. Human instincts I suppose."
Harry noticed the look Sam gave Steve, part question, part confirmation of what Harry had just said. And Harry didn't miss the stand-down gesture from Cap.
"So, what is going on?" Sam asked glancing at Harry.
"Grim here is kind of our alert system for impending doom. However, it seems what is supposed to keep him updated is no longer working," Tony explained, keeping the details out of his summary.
Harry walked away from the table to pace in front of the one way windows.
"What kind of warning system?" Sam prompted.
"Basically, I am made aware of all death that affects the End of Times. I am a Witness and I have the responsibility to try and prevent the worst from happening. But since New York, I have not been called. Today I found out how much time had passed and events that I should have been called to Witness. But I have not. And I need to know why and soon," Harry answered folding his arms across his chest and leaning back against the windows. Something about the Scarlet Witch caught his attention.
Focusing his concentration on the woman and seeing with eyes that glowed a vivid green before they dimmed to normal, Harry allowed the information to flow through his mind. "Your brother is happy where he is now. With the rest of your family. In case you were wondering. He thinks about you but he knows you can handle yourself," Harry said with a nod in her direction, causing her to gasp but otherwise remain stoic.
"So that part of your powers still work," Fury said, sitting down at the table.
"Yes but little else. I still have my original powers but not the ability to contact Death or be summoned," Harry answered rubbing a hand over his face in bewilderment.
He turned to pace some more when something flowed up from the floor and gathered itself together just behind him, he spun ready to fight only to come face to face with inhuman red skin, startling electric blue eyes, and a green costume with a yellow cape. But what drew Harry's gaze was the yellow jewel in the man's forehead that was beginning to glow.
"What are you?..." Harry murmured before suddenly clutching his head in agony. His body seizing as if consumed by energy.
"Harry?" Tony said in concern as he and the other Avengers rushed to his side.
Suddenly, Harry's head whipped around, eyes- a glowing inhuman white. A strange voice came from the slim man, "In the final test the Master of Death will die as darkness encroaches. The Titan of Madness will find defeat at the hands of the reborn."
As soon as the words left Harry's lips, the strange energy seemed to pour out of him before disappearing altogether. Harry slumped forward, unconscious, and would have fallen if Vision had not caught him and lowered him gently to the floor.
"I do not understand," Vision said quietly, looking up at the others in confusion.
"You're not the only one," Tony said watching the glowing yellow jewel return to normal.
Author's note: Hi everyone! Long time no post. I ask for your forgiveness. A lot has happened over the last few months. I finished my Master's Degree in Library and Information Sciences in December and I got engaged in January. I will be getting married on July 16, 2016. My posts may be sporadic but they will happen. Thank you for sticking by me! I love you all!