Almosts Lost to Time
8
Growing
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"Neighbor Reveals All! Dame Potter's Mysterious Male Companion…Did He Break Her Heart?"

"Dame Rynan Potter Pregnant? She had been avoiding the public for the last 5 months"

"The Woman Who Conquered Appears in Diagon Alley for the First Time in Months As She Shops for Her Godson Who Begins his Second Year at Hogwarts" page 3: Remus and Nymphadora Lupin - The scandal, the love, the tragedy; page 6: Rynan Potter and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named; page 8: Is she working for the Ministry and secretly hunting down Death Eaters?

/

It was now 2011, four years since she had vowed to rescue James. It had been a long and tiring four years - a death scare in there somewhere - and she still didn't feel any closer to finding him.

She couldn't understand how someone could literally disappear from the face of the planet. Nothing she did with magic worked and nothing from SHIELD indicated HYDRA was using him.

In her darker moments, Rynan entertained the thought that HYDRA had killed James, disregarded him as a broken weapon. She didn't let those thoughts linger. It was only a feeling, an instinct, but she knew James was alive somewhere out there. The chances were highly improbable but that was her life; she was the definition of impossible! Giving up, admitting defeat...it wasn't in her nature. She would take the world apart to find him.

Her work with SHIELD had provided many benefits for both sides. After a few months working with SHIELD, Rynan was happy to report that only a select few were privy to the knowledge of the magical world and she could name them on one hand. Kingsley was thankful for this and released her from this mini assignment, confessing that it was up to her if she wanted to remain at SHIELD.

Oddly enough, she found a little niche in the intelligence agency. She worked with a similar team from her first mission. Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton were two of the best agents SHIELD had to offer and they were paired with her on any mission concerning HYDRA she had. It was obvious what Fury was doing and he knew Rynan knew his motive. Their relationship had never really settled from their first meeting and had seemed to only go further downhill after news of Oxley's death was made public. They were allies though, both desiring similar objectives. At least that's what she told herself every time she came from a meeting with him.

The two top agents had grown on her though. Natasha's questionable humor and commitment to her mission earned her Rynan's respect and saving her life was also up there on reasons she liked her. When Rynan wasn't in a particular mood to talk to Fury, she'd have Natasha give him her report. The red head would roll her eyes but take it.

The Black Widow had also made it her mission to make Rynan into a top notch fighter. Her deduction, same as James' had been, was that magic could only do so much and she needed to know how to fight without it. They spent hours in the gym, Natasha pummeling Rynan into the mat, barking out corrections every time Rynan felt her back slam into the padded floor.

Clint joined from time to time to give her a different approach. Rynan wasn't as flexible as Natasha and it showed in her movements. With Clint, he was able to demonstrate a different approach because, they both silently agreed, there was no one like Natasha Romanoff.

They both demanded perfection and she saw her body begin to change to reflect her commitment and training. It was toned and she could feel the strength increasing in her muscles. Her self-confidence markedly higher than it had been in years. There was something so invigorating about seeing the results of all your hard work and she found herself with a healthy outlet for everything bottled up. It reminded her of training the new recruits for the Aurors but this time she was the student.

She would go as far to say she trusted the two which led to the current discussion.

With no leads on James, Rynan resigned herself to asking Natasha for a favor. She knew some of her history, bits and pieces that were dropped during missions, enough to tell her that Natasha had spent a significant amount of time in the Soviet Union and the KGB. She was the spider - her webs had webs.

"D'you still have contacts from the KGB?" she broached the subject to her after one of their training sessions.

Natasha lifted an eyebrow as if asking if she had really just asked that question. "I have contacts everywhere." She replied coolly, taking a sip of her water.

Once again, her webs had webs.

Rynan took a gulp of her own water, sports bra clad chest heaving as she worked to calm her breathing.

"James once let slip that he had been with the KGB for some years, enough to learn Russian. I think his training and programming took place there but I haven't found anything and I don't have any favors to call in over there."

She had used all her European favors in the beginning of her search, not having anticipated the length of her quest.

Natasha sent her a searching look. She hadn't met too many people who genuinely wanted to help someone like her. Those were characteristics she shared with Clint. She knew exactly who James was but she had known him by a different name, years ago.

"He's lucky to have you. Someone willing to sacrifice so much for them - not many people are willing to do that." Her rough voice pitched slightly, a rare show of wistfulness.

Rynan fidgeted, not used to such sincerity from the red head. Rynan didn't see it that way; she was just being selfish. All she wanted was to get her friend back. She'd do the same if it was Ron or Hermione.

"He doesn't deserve this; no one does."

Natasha raised her perfectly shaped eyebrow in silent amusement. Rynan flushed at the accusing stare.

She knew there was more to their relationship than what Rynan was willing to admit. She had been around many people, adopted many personas. She knew the look of someone in love.

She thought she had been in love once. In the Red Room, he had taught her group of Black Widow trainees in their final year. Zima became more than her teacher and she became more than his student. They had been planning to run away together before her graduation and surgery. Together, they had decided to be different, break away. Natasha truly believed that they had loved one another. But love was childish. She had been willing to do anything for him and he her. They paid the ultimate price for their 'love'. Her punishment was watching him forget her as he was put back in cryo. A few months later she graduated and was sterilized. All that had been for nothing. They gained nothing from their 'love'.

It was weeks later that she escaped and because a rogue agent. Those first few months she spent looking over her shoulder, waiting for them to send him. But he never appeared and she relaxed; she could easily take the others they sent after her and she did.

The next time she saw him was his bulky form towering over her, figure blocking the sun, as she bleed out, disregarding her as he confirmed the death of the Iranian scientist. He looked right at her and there was no flicker of recognition, no evidence of the feelings they once shared.

Then, this girl appears with information on him, claiming that he had lived with her for years before he had disappeared again. She even claimed he had regained his memory. For the first time in years, she felt something claw at her heart…hope. Hope that she might still be able to reach him…that she could save him.

She wasn't naïve, she could see it in the way Potter talked about him even if the girl herself refused to acknowledge it: she was in love with the Winter Solder. It wouldn't be her Zima would come back to and she had come to accept that. Love was for children after all but it didn't make the hurt lessen.

Natasha took another sip of her water, observing the woman complete her cool down stretches.

If she was deserving of redemption than so was Zima and if there was one more person willing to look and fight for him, she would take it. So, while she had originally taken this mission to exploit Rynan for information on her former partner, she quickly abandoned it when she got to know the woman and just how extraordinary she was.

Those shots should've killed her, should've been centimeters higher. The Winter Soldier never missed a target, she knew that first hand; yet he missed a wide open shot. No, there was more to Potter than she originally thought if she was able to make the Winter Soldier break protocol when even she couldn't.

Glancing at the clock, Natasha stood, "We're done for today."

Rynan looked up and nodded.

"This is our last training session together for a while. I'm going undercover for the next few months and I need to prepare."

Fury was having her observe Banner from a distance. He had become a liability and they wanted to make sure he didn't become one that needed to be put down.

"Off to destroy more fragile male egos?" Rynan chuckled as she pulled on her shirt.

Natasha shrugged carelessly, swinging her shirt over her shoulder as she swaggered off to the exit.

Rynan ran to catch up.

"You should take your little monster around the States this summer."

Meeting Teddy had been…different. The preteen was almost exactly like his godmother with a bit more eccentricities. The blue hair for one. Another was his proclivity for rare meat. After their brief encounter in the hospital, they were able to properly meet that summer when Rynan first came to work with SHIELD. With few peculiarities and his penchant for mischievous, Natasha had dubbed Teddy Rynan's little monster and the endearment had stuck ever since.

"We already did that. There's a few things we need to do here in D.C. and then I'm taking him to New York for a fortnight."

They didn't have that long to spend in America seeing as Fleur was due mid-July with their third baby. Her and Bill had announced the news over Christmas and Teddy was excited to have another cousin. Rynan had promised she'd be there for the birth and that wasn't something she was going to back out on.

They paused at the elevator, Natasha going down to the garage and Rynan going up to the exit.

"Well, tell the kid I'm sorry I missed him." Natasha entered the elevator, pressing the garage button. "I'll look into that matter as soon as I can."

Rynan gave her a thankful smile, giving a little farewell wave. Her mind suddenly recalling another incident she had to get to the bottom of.

"Wait!" Her hand moved to stop the closing metal doors. "Tell Clint to stop sending me pregnancy tests! The delivery man is giving me looks!"

A wicked smirk broke across the spy's face and Rynan felt her mouth open in horror. The smirk telling her exactly who was behind the prank.

The doors closed before she could find her voice again.

/

A quick trip to King's Cross to pick up Teddy had them back in D.C. by the end of the day. It was a birthday gift/congratulations present since McGonagall sent her a letter stating Teddy was the top of his class this year.

Andromeda was planning a celebration for when they got back. It wasn't a competition, she knew that, but she was going to give him the best present. But first, a side trip for business.

There was a veteran's center that had opened last year with a similar style to the ones she had funded back in the UK; all her meetings and collaborations between the two governments now bearing fruit. Even if she wasn't part of the process anymore, she still wanted to make sure everything was functioning properly.

"Aunt Ry!" Teddy whined as she dragged him downtown. "Why can't we go to New York now?"

Rynan rolled her eyes but had to think it could be worse. There were many teenagers who didn't want to be seen with their parents. Teddy was the opposite.

"I told you; this will only take today and we'll be in New York tomorrow morning."

"But they're only doing a demonstration of the Firebolt Supreme tomorrow and I already missed the one back home!"

Rynan stopped and turned to look at her godson, "Edward Remus Lupin, so help me…if I hear one more compliant from you, you'll not be going."

Boom, Rynan thought, his full name always go him to listen. Granted, she knew he was just excited but he was going to flip when he realized she got him tickets to be one of the first people to ride a Firebolt Supreme. She had been planning this for months with his grandmother and they even had plans to get him one for Christmas this year.

Rynan took in the exterior of the building…it looked well maintained. The real challenge will be the inside and the counselors.

"I don't get why they don't have moving pictures? It would make this place so much better!" Teddy chattered behind her.

The place was nicely decorated but the thirteen year old had his mother's sense of style and no matter how much she tried to raise him in both worlds, he was still a wizard's child.

"A moving painting is the last thing these people need."

"Well, what about a ghost. The Fat Friar would be pretty helpful. He's a good listener."

Ah, the Hufflepuff ghost. Oddly enough, she had never talked with the kind ghost.

Rynan ruffled his now pitch black hair. He had inherited his parent's kindness and she couldn't be prouder.

"Can I help you?" A voice sounded behind them.

Turning, she saw a young man moving towards her and Teddy. Putting a smile on, she held out her hand in greeting.

"Hullo. I'm Rynan and this is Teddy. I was part of the framework to get this up and running and I just wanted to make sure everything was going okay. We were anticipating a few issues that would need worked out the first year."

The man looked at her, a familiar look Rynan was used to.

"Aren't you a little young-"

"To your first question, no. I'm 30. To the question you are undoubtedly thinking, no, Teddy is not my brother; he's my godson. And to your last question; yes, I am from England." She decided to get all the frequent questions out of the way first.

The man seemed to recover fast from his shock as he gave her a smile, "Well, you're looking good, real good."

Teddy's eyes widened at the unsubtle flirting the man was attempting with his godmother. He elbowed her side in his shock.

The flirting gave her pause before she chuckled it off, "Good genes I guess." They shared a laugh. "I'm Rynan Potter. I helped set up similar centers back home."

"So, where were you stationed?" he questioned curiously, relaxing his posture. "I did two tours and I speak with veterans all day; I know the look of one when I see 'em."

Well, this wasn't something that happened every day. Not many people could tell she'd been in a war, most just underestimated her.

"Internal terrorism a decade ago. Top secret and all."

That was the muggle version of the story.

The man did his best to hide his wince, he had clearly done the math. Thankfully, he didn't say anything. "I'm Sam by the way, Sam Wilson. And if you ever want to get dinner…"

He left the end open for her to fill in. Rynan laughed, she hadn't been hit on in years. Sam was a refreshing change to the usually low life, stuck up snobs who usually tried to win her favor.

Unfortunately, they had plans for tomorrow and she wouldn't be in D.C. for a few months.

"I really appreciate the offer but-"

"You can pick her up tonight at 7." Teddy cut off her refusal, eyeing Rynan smugly.

She shifted her weight to her other foot; oh, she was going to have a nice long talk with her godson after this.

"We're leaving in the morning so she can't be out too late."

Sam looked at the kid uncertainly. He found it great that he was trying to set his guardian up but she had been about to politely refuse his offer.

Coughing, Rynan pushed the smug little Metamorphmagus behind her.

"I'm sorry. He has this problem where he doesn't think before speaking. "

"No, it's fine. I understand…you don't have to go out with me."

"No, no. That's not fair. I was going to say I couldn't because I promised to take Teddy to New York tomorrow but since it's okay with him…"

She could tell she caught him off guard but he was quick to regain his footing, "Tonight at 6, Le Diplomate? It's pretty famous but it has a homey feeling to it."

"Great." Rynan smiled as she looked for something to say.

"Great." Sam mimicked, both caught in the awkward moment of having nothing to say now that plans had been made.

Great, Teddy thought, rolling his eyes.

"So, I should probably give you a tour of the place?" Sam suggested,

"Uh, yeah…yeah, that would be great!" Rynan couldn't keep the smile from taking over her face.

Urgh…the things he did for his godmother.

/

Making it back to her place Rynan called the only person she could trust to watch Teddy: Natasha Romanoff.

"Natasha! I need a huge favor." She started off the call. "I know you're getting ready for a mission but I really need your help."

"Potter, this better be important. I leave tomorrow."

Switching her phone to speaker, Rynan raided her closet, looking for something nice she could wear tonight, half her mind convinced to get transfigure a set of clothes.

"I know and I wouldn't ask if there was another option but I can't leave Teddy by himself - Please Teddy, you almost caught the house on fire last time I left you home alone - and this is my first date in almost a decade." Rynan pleaded to her partner, taking a moment to come up from her closet, multiple articles of clothing finding a temporary home on her bed.

At the word date, she could tell she had caught the spy's interest.

"You actually have a date, Miss I-Will-Never-Date, Waiting-for-You-Know-Who?"

Rynan cringed at the last title, throwing another shirt on her bed. "Please, never use that name again. Besides, I can have a little fun. It's nothing serious, just a dinner but he was really nice and I thought…why not?"

"Well, who is he?"

"His name is Sam. He works down at the VA Center." Another shirt was thrown in the growing pile. "And please don't run a background check on him."

Teddy held up a dress Ginny had gotten her last Christmas. Rynan shook her head negatively. It was too fancy.

Teddy collapsed to the bed, face down, in exasperation. They had gone through half her closet!

Natasha hummed on the other end of the line, unnaturally quiet. Rynan would bet her fortune that she was already pulling up every file there was on Sam.

"Romanoff." She warned as she pulled out another shirt, matching it with a sweater she had pulled out five minutes ago.

Nudging the bed, Teddy gave her a thumbs up without moving his face from the bed sheets, his body too exhausted to move.

"Hmm. He's cute. Air Force. Amazing mission completion rate. Only returned eight months ago. Now that is interesting…"

And this was exactly why she didn't want her going into his background. Everyone had a past they were entitled to and she didn't want to invade his privacy.

"No, no. I don't want to know."

Waving her hand, her clothes began to arrange themselves back into her closet, neatly and unlike they were before.

"That is one fascinating fella you met."

No, stop, she's doing this on purpose. Rynan never could control her curiosity. Biting her lip, she felt her restraint slipping. Even Teddy's head had popped up in curiosity.

They both heard a sigh through the speaker, Natasha was clearly disappointed Rynan wasn't playing along. But she dropped the subject, Rynan's self-restraint relaxing.

"What time do I need to pick the little monster up?"

An indignant shout from Teddy followed, causing Rynan to shush him.

"Around 5:30?"

Rynan heard a hum she took as a confirmation for the time and thanked her before hanging up.

Rynan flicked her hand, enchanting the two pillows on her bed to start hitting Teddy. He grunted at the first hit, lifting his face to glare when another pillow smacked him square in the face.

Rynan could barely hold back her laughter as she canceled the spell and the pillows dropped to the bed.

"I know you know this, but no magic tonight. Natasha knows about your magic but she's the only one."

Teddy sat up, turning his hair to her black color but keeping the chocolate brown eyes. He had amazing control over his abilities, more so than his mother at that age. Rynan and Andromeda were proud of his progress.

Merlin, how was he thirteen already? It seems like only yesterday she was picking him up from Andy's to come live with her. His face was losing his baby fat, becoming more angled not to mention his cracking voice.

"I'm feeling like bubblegum pink for tomorrow? It'd go great with this beanie Alex got me for my birthday."

Her eye did not twitch.

/

There was a knock and the door opened before either of the two could get to it. Natasha strode in, unconcerned about not being invited in.

Rynan stood in the main room, having been making her way to the door. She looked at her in disbelief.

"Did you make a copy of my key?"

Natasha ignored the silly question, of course she did, it wasn't that surprising.

"Really," her eyes swept over Rynan's figure, "You're wearing that?"

Rynan felt herself flush.

"Are you looking for a second date?" Natasha circled her, scrutinizing her head to toe. "Do you have an elastic band?"

Knowing how she was, Rynan let Natasha go about her mission; she trusted the woman and it wasn't like this was her specialty.

"If you're going for a casual look, a nice double braided up-do will give you some wow factor." Rynan felt her small, skillful hands that had killed countless people, weave effortlessly through her messy hair, pulling the braids tight before tying it off.

Natasha came around to face Rynan, smirk plastered on her face.

Suddenly self-conscious, Rynan tugged at her skirt, "What?"

"He's gonna be speechless when he sees you."

"Really? Is it too much?" The last thing she wanted was to look like she was trying too hard. She didn't want to give the impression that it was a serious, romantic date.

Standing from his seat, Teddy moved forward, pushing her towards the door. "You look great Aunt Ry. Now go an' have fun."

It was a nice night out. The warm summer sun still in the sky, the sound of passing bird chirping filling the otherwise noiseless street.

Natasha silhouette leaned against the doorway, her now turquoise haired godson visible just behind her.

"And you're sure this is okay? I can call Barton, see if he can..."

Her purse was thrown at her, her Seeker reflexes plucking it out of the air effortlessly.

"Barton is still trying to wrap his head around the existence of God's. He won't be of any use." Right the whole New Mexico fiasco. Even she was still wrapping her head around that one. Interdimensional beings having a showdown on Earth was not something she needed to concern herself with. She was staying far away from anything concerning that matter.

"Fine, fine. I'll see you tonight."

She could do this, it was one date. Sam seemed like a nice guy and she deserved to have a little fun. Merlin's beard…she was 30 years old, not some teenager going on their first date!

Was she or was she not, the defeater of Dark Lords; the savior of the Wizarding World?

She could handle a little date...maybe? Hopefully.

Teddy and Natasha watched her from the doorway as she apparated, both shaking their heads.

"Come, little monster. I have plans," she drawled, running a passing hand threw his hair as she unlocked her car. Teddy only let out a sigh before following her.

The things he did for his godmother.

/

The date went really well. Sam was funny and she could tell he wasn't pushing for anything else; his only motive was to take her out for dinner and get to know her.

She could barely remember the last time she had laughed so much; it had to be years. They traded war stories; he told her about Riley and she told her about Fred. She found it easier, talking to someone about it, someone she didn't feel guilty bringing his death up to.

"You should come to one of my meeting when you're back in D.C.."

"Yeah?" Rynan always thought she had been managing her problems from the war but talking with Sam made her realize that maybe she had just been shoving a lot of things to the back of her mind. "Maybe we can have lunch or something before that?"

Sam laughed, taking a sip of his wine.

"Will Teddy be with you?" He found the kid hilarious, the way he tried to set up Rynan.

Rynan answered with her own laugh, "No, he'll be at school in Scotland."

They both deposited their napkins on the table, standing to leave.

"Is there anywhere I can drop you off?" Sam offered her as they walked to the exit, bidding the hostess goodnight. He hadn't seen any car keys on her and it didn't feel right letting her walk home alone.

"My friend is babysitting Teddy. I have to stop by her place to pick him up."

"It's he like fourteen?" Usually kids didn't need a babysitter at his age and he seemed like a good enough kid.

The wind had picked up and the sun was set, the red and purple fading in the sky as it neared 9 o'clock.

"Yes, and the last time he was home alone with his cousin, the house almost burned down." That was not a memory Rynan wanted to relive. The sheer terror her, Hermione and Ron felt when they came home to the kitchen on fire and Rose tugging Hugo to the door as Teddy tried to remember the water spell, had been enough for Teddy to never be left home alone or with the kids ever again.

Sam whistled, that was pretty serious.

"Let me get you a cab then," he insisted.

"You don't have to do that, you paid for dinner." Rynan tried to argue, having planned to just apparate. And he had been persisted in the fact he would pay for dinner no matter how much Rynan argued.

"My momma would smack me if she ever found out I let a lady walk home alone." That ended the discussion as he hailed a cab and said goodnight.

"I'll stop by when I'm back in D.C. around September." She left him a parting peck on the cheek as she entered the cab.

"I'll hold you to that!" Sam promised as the cab took off.

/

Rynan made it to SHIELD lodging which was connected to the Triskelion and was left speechless with the state of the facility.

"What the bloody hell happened?!" It looked like a battle had taken place with furniture destroyed and holes in the walls. Rushing to Natasha's room, she found an even more unlikely sight: Teddy passed out on the bed with Natasha flipping through TV channels causally.

"Sooo, how'd the date go?" Natasha threw Rynan a disarming smile which fell when she saw Rynan looking exactly how she left, not a hair out of place. "Wow, you really only had dinner."

"Romanoff, why does SHIELD look like it was involved in a battle and why is my godson passed out on your bed when it's only," Rynan looked at her watch, "9:30?"

Natasha shrugged, turning back to channel surfing, "We decided to play ultimate hide and seek. Clint had to get involved of course. Surprisingly, a few Academy students joined in. Your godson is a slippery little monster," she raised her eyebrow, almost approvingly at the boy, "It didn't take him long to start using his shape shifting ability to hide. That's when Clint really got into it; mumbling about snot-nosed brats not getting the best of him."

Rynan finally noticed Barton perched on the other side of the room. It looked like he was sleeping but she couldn't be sure.

Teddy could be a handful, she'd admit that, but there was no way all of that was because of a game of hide and seek. That's not even getting into the fact he used his abilities around others! It was all she could do not to have a freak out right this second.

"So all that…it was from a game of hide and seek?" she spoke slowly, making her disbelief plain.

Natasha hummed, eyes still glued on the TV.

"There were holes in the walls!" she shouted, resisting the urge to run her hand through her braided hair.

"I said ultimate and Teddy was an unnaturally good. He'd make a good agent."

"No no no, no! He is not going to be an agent, he is not joining SHIELD! I have enough trouble dealing with his magic, I don't need him learning out to be a spy."

She drew a line. She allowed Teddy many freedoms, but this would not be one of them.

"Relax Lucky. Everyone should know a little self-defense. You never know when you'll need it." Barton spoke from his perch, indicating he had been listening the entire time. "He's old enough to be on HYDRA's radar so he should have a few tricks up his sleeves."

So that was part of the game, teaching Teddy to blend in.

It was eerie how Barton's eyes seemed to glint in the darkness of the room, the only light emitting from the TV. She counted him as one of the few people she could trust at SHIELD but there were instances where she wasn't sure what he was thinking. He had a bit of dry, sarcastic humor about him. She had been just one of many to confuse him and Natasha for a couple.

Rynan moved her gaze across the three people in the room, the cogs in her head turning.

"Did he at least win?"

"Nope." Natasha popped the p. "I found him. He has a distinct gait and when he changes, it doesn't change."

"And Barton?"

Barton turned his head, not answering. His partner did the honor for him.

"The holes are from him."

They shared a laugh at the man's expense. But it was getting late and they did have to leave tomorrow morning.

"Wanna help me with him?" Rynan asked Barton, once they calmed down, motioning to the passed out preteen. He had had a growth spurt since the winter holidays. She only had about 8 cm on him now so there was no way she could carry him outside and she couldn't use her magic.

Barton scooped him up, following Rynan and Natasha outside, the former calling a cab.

Rynan carded her hand through Teddy's sweat dried hair, remembering similar times years ago.

Shaking him awake gently, thankful he was compliant when tired, she thanked the cabbie and got the boy to bed no problem. Moving to her bedroom, she changed clothes and picked up the letter from McGonagall again. For some reason, it was just hitting her that her Teddy wasn't a little kid anymore. He was growing up.

/

Happy Holidays! This was supposed to be out yesterday but there were issues with uploading documents.

Updated 1/22/18 with corrections