Hello readers! Neolyph here to bring you a new Harry Potter/Avengers story! This is just an idea I've been kicking around for a while and finally got the necessary vibe to write. Not sure how often I'll be updating, but you'll probably see some. This is my 'can't think of ideas for either of my other stories' story. I guess I wanted to write this one because I was tired of HP/A stories refusing to scratch my itch for stories where different groups interact with the Wizarding World.
A few quick notes...
Story Concept: During a simple liaison assignment in Wizarding New York, Harry Potter finds himself caught in the middle of a battle between invading aliens and defending superheroes. The aftermath sees two separated worlds collide in a centrifuge that will either bind them together... or shatter them irrevocably.
Alternate Universe: This fic is AU, set three years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Two key differences are that the Potterverse date has been advanced ten years (Harry was born in 1990 and Voldemort was defeated in 2008, for example), which was done to make sure technology made sense, and the second change is that Harry secretly (and unwillingly) kept the Deathly Hallows and became the Master of Death.
Pairings: This fic features a happily newlywed Harry and Ginny Potter. I figured since my other two fics are harem, I'd try monogamy just for the hell of it. Let me know how it went!
Tropes/Cliches/Fanon: Independent!Harry, Wealthy!Harry, and Super!Harry (although that one's only appropriate).
Content Warning: Rated M for safety. Warnings for language, violence, sexual themes, etc. Nothing too extreme, I don't think.
Now on with the show!
"The time has come for us to work together hand-in-hand with on non-magical countrymen!
As your candidate, I make a solemn promise that if elected I will exercise our right under the Statue of Secrecy to read in the No-Maj President!
I will bring an end to the looming fear of the No-Maj!
I will bring about the day when Man and Witch can live side by side!
I will bring peace and security to our citizens!
I will bring about a New Age!"
-President of the Magical United States Edward Peake, widely regarded as one of the founders of the (Wizarding) New Age movement
Chapter 1: A Cushy Assignment
Everything around him was on fire, and for once in his life Harry Potter knew definitively that it wasn't his fault. Unless, of course, he had somehow managed to piss off an entire bloody army of what looked like the hate-children of a post-resurrection Voldemort and a Dementor. With lasers.
Knowing him though, it was still a distinct possibility.
His line of thought was derailed as one of the great metal abominations in the sky lurched in his direction, sending indiscriminate fire down the sidewalk he was standing on. The frightened Muggles that had yet to take shelter scattered left and right for cover, and several abandoned vehicles in the street detonated in bright fireballs. Shrapnel flew through the air, lacerating bystanders but being stopped by the thick leather of Harry's coat.
"Cushy assignment my ass," he growled, silently swearing to hide a few bludgers in Kingsley's desk drawers next time he got the chance. He should have listened to Ginny when she told him that taking a liaison job oversees would be a bad idea.
Cursing, he drew his wand and silently layered several protective spells over himself. He wasn't sure how they would fare against whatever unholy technology the Voldementors, as he labelled them mentally, were using, but a shell of magic between him and them certainly couldn't hurt.
Looking left and right to ensure that he was unseen, he apparated to a nearby rooftop so that he could get a better vantage point. Sure enough, the entire city was under attack and there didn't seem to be any resistance from the Muggles. He had to get involved. This wasn't going to be something he could handle alone though. Gritting his teeth and knowing that it was going to come back and bite him, he apparated to the one place he could get help.
He never should have taken this job.
One month earlier
"Come now Harry," appealed Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic since Voldemort's demise. "You know how strained international relations have been lately. We've managed to patch things over with Europe relatively well, but the American Congress is still holding a significant grudge thanks to Voldemort destroying their embassy and killing their ambassador. We need trade with them if we're to finish reconstruction."
Harry frowned, sending a pleading look towards the former Order member, "Does it have to be me, Kingsley? Ginny and I have only been back from our honeymoon three weeks now. She's already talking about wanting a baby."
"Would that I could Harry," sighed Kingsley, "but I'm afraid that my hands are tied here. I spoke with the American President of Magic myself, and he is quite adamant that he receive the one who 'avenged' his friend the ambassador."
Realizing that this was one of those 'promotions' that would very quickly turn into an 'assignment' should he refuse, Harry let loose a sigh of his own and sank lower into his chair.
"Cheer up, Harry," Kingsley encouraged weakly, "it's not a terrible assignment; just a few months rubbing shoulders and shaking hands with the American Aurors. You'll be more diplomat than soldier. A cushy assignment, I promise, and then I can use your newfound 'political experience' as an excuse to leverage you into the Chief Auror position."
Harry's lips twisted into a slight smirk at that. He was the best pick for Chief Auror and everyone in Magical Britain knew it, but bureaucracy was bureaucracy and so despite that fact he still had to formally climb the rungs of the DMLE to reach the position.
He still wondered how any Slytherins ever found politics fun.
"Fine, Kingsley," he finally relented, "but just so that you're forewarned, I'm placing the entire burden of this on your feet when I explain it to Ginny. I'd brush up on the counter-curse to the Bat-Bogey Hex."
Despite his position, the Minister visibly paled. Ginny's hexes were something to be feared, and her husband's reputation was usually enough of a deterrent to allow her to employ them with impunity.
"That—that was a joke, right?" pleaded the grizzled veteran desperately as Harry rose and made for the door. "It's out of my hands Harry! Out of my hands! I can't be blamed! Please tell me it was a joke!"
Ignoring the shameless begging from his former comrade, Harry exited the office and exchanged a grin with Hermione, the Minister's Undersecretary.
"He gave you the assignment?" she asked knowingly.
Harry nodded satisfied, smirking at what sounded like sobbing from the office behind him.
"Threatened to blame it on him to Ginny?"
He nodded once more, and Hermione shook her head exasperatedly. She waved her wand, snapping a drawer of her desk open and causing a scroll of parchment to fly out. Checking the seal on it, she handed it to him.
"Here are the details of your assignment. Officially, you're being sent as a liaison to the American DMLE. Unofficially, you will have no real duties beyond mending bridges and attending meetings. The American POTMUS has taken a special interest in you, so do try to get on his good side. The scroll doubles as a Portkey that will activate in three-days time and send you to the Pentagram Office. President Peakes will meet you there. You will make introductions, and then be shown to your accommodations."
Harry took the scroll, which he noted had several sheets of parchment added to it post-sealing. He raised an eyebrow at Hermione across from him, who reddened slightly and looked downwards.
"I... may have included some helpful documents on the history of the American Congress and culture. To help you make sure that you avoid any social faux pas."
He chuckled, dragging the startled witch into a brief hug. "Three years since Hogwarts and you're still watching my back. Thanks 'Mione."
Growling, she pushed him back and batted him on the shoulder. "Don't call me that! I get enough of that from Ron, thank you very much," she reprimanded sternly, before her voice softened, "and you're welcome."
The two smiled at each other for a moment before Harry caught sight of the clock on the wall behind her.
"Bugger," he swore, reflexively dodging Hermione's swat over his language. "Ginny'll almost be done with dinner by now. I got to get home."
"I expect you to be at Mrs. Weasley's dinner at the Burrow this Sunday!" she called after him.
"Wouldn't miss it... Mrs. Weasley," he shot back, able to hear her growl at his parting shot even from the elevator. She was still bitter that even under post-Voldemort Wizengamot law, as someone marrying into a Pureblood family she wasn't allowed to keep her last name.
Harry knew that he would regret the joke come Sunday, but at the moment he didn't care.
"Safe!" yelled Harry as he perfectly slid through the floo and into the living room of his home. After the war, Harry found himself a very wealthy and very free man. Between the Potter fortune, awards from the Ministry, gifts from grateful wizards, and real estate holdings, he was in fact almost cartoonishly wealthy.
At the advice of Dumbledore, he'd begun investing in muggle ventures via Gringotts. It allowed him to retain his fortune and essentially live off the interest. The annual dividends from just one firm he dealt with, Lloyd's of London he believed it was called, were more than had been in his entire childhood trust vault. This excess of wealth enabled him to pursue a great deal of philanthropic ventures on the side from replacing all of the Hogwarts student brooms to campaigning for better house elf protections with Hermione.
After finally asking Ginny to marry him, the two of them had to find a house. One of the first things Harry had done upon taking his family Lordship was to see if his family home was still intact. Unfortunately, at some point during the first war its wards had been shattered and it was burned by Death Eaters.
The foundation was still there, however, as were the grounds, and so when he and Ginny got engaged, they had the manor rebuilt to symbolize the rising of House Potter from the ashes. Rather poetic, he thought.
Ginny entered from the kitchen, wiping her hands off on an apron and smiling bemusedly. "Running late, were we dear?"
"I—" began Harry before he coughed out a lungful of ash. He looked at it in distaste before standing and Scourgifying the spot on the carpet and his clothes. He finally looked over to his wife. "I was. Have I mentioned how much I detest the Floo Network? What is it with wizards and transportation?"
"Oh yes," said Ginny, "because muggles are so much more sensible with their metal play-nes things that get thrown ten miles into the air."
"Well at least they'll never sneeze while saying 'Austria' and find themselves in Sydney."
"Score one for the muggle," joked Harry as he walked over to kiss his wife. She leaned away playfully until he put an arm around and pulled her close. "How about we skip dinner and do something romantic?"
Ginny pulled back and grabbed his tie coquettishly. "Harry James Potter, I have spent the last two hours slaving away over a hot stove to get dinner ready for my hard-working husband, and here he is wanting me to let it go cold just because he's gotten home from work feeling randy. What have you to say for yourself?"
"Just two words," replied Harry, drawing his holly-and-phoenix-feather wand. "Preservation charms."
Damn it felt good to be a wizard.
"You're avoiding something," said Ginny suddenly over the still-hot dinner two hours later.
Harry narrowly avoided choking, looking up at his wife. "What makes you think that, dear?" he asked, his tone unconvincing. She still obliged him anyway out of politeness.
"You've been home two hours now and you haven't mentioned anything to do with work even once. You're avoiding the subject and its obvious. Now fess up, mister."
"You got me," Harry said, throwing his hands up in surrender before sighing and summoning Hermione's scroll. The second she caught sight of it, Ginny's eyes narrowed at its thickness. Harry winced at their sharpness. "I've been assigned as a liaison to the American Congress for six months."
Ginny went quiet, and that worried him more than any amount of shouting. "When do you leave?"
"Monday. I think Kingsley wanted to make sure I wouldn't find a way to duck out of it. He went really carrot and stick on this one."
"I finish this assignment, he'll use it as a springboard to finally make me chief auror."
"I see," said Ginny with a dreadfully neutral tone. "And the stick?"
Harry sighed. "Apparently, the American president requested me by name. Kingsley's forced to oblige him otherwise he'll be accused of favoritism. I don't go voluntarily, he'll have to assign me and I'll end up looking childish."
"You know I'm going with you."
"Ginny," began Harry, "you just got that tryout with the Holyhead Harpies. The coach said your shot was good. You're not giving up your Pro-Quidditch dream just because I got a crappy assignment."
"Please," scoffed Ginny, "Pro-Quidditch is a hobby. This is our marriage I'm talking about!"
"Pro-Quidditch is important to you, and our marriage will survive six months of limited contact."
Seeing the trademark fiery determination in his wife's eyes, Harry knew that he wasn't going to win this argument outright. Thus, the spirit of compromise took over. "Please dear, work with me here. How's this? I'll go through the process of getting a weekly portkey set up so I can still do Sunday dinner at your mum's. We'll be able to catch up and the scarcity of time together would liven things up romantically."
Ginny's expression turned contemplative and Harry knew she'd taken the hook as she weighed the odds between daily intercourse versus six days of abstinence followed by a holy Sunday of lust.
"You portkey here from work the second you get off, and portkey back the next morning. The entire inbetween period, you're mine."
One month later
"Fucking hell..." muttered Harry as he appeared in the lobby of the Woolworth Building's magical sector, the headquarters of the Magical Congress of the United States of America. The lobby was positively cavernous and filled with golden light from its many stained windows. The architecture was heavy on brass and reminiscent of a train station. An enormous apparatus that hung above the central staircase and resembled a station clock was blaring an occasional chirping alarm.
The "Magical Exposure Threat Level Measurer", to be exact, was emitting an occasional alarm as its hand vibrated on the orange zone indicated "Level Five: Severe Unexplained Activity".
Crowds of American wizards piled against the foggy windows, trying to peer out into the chaotic streets while stern aurors milled about inside keeping order while awaiting theirs.
Harry skipped right past them on his way up to the governmental portion of the building. His face got him past security, and he quickly marched into the Pentagram Office. It was lavishly decorated in the styles of the 1920's, and had an enormous circular window that overlooked the Woolworth lobby. The young but white-haired President Peake was engaged in talks with two different figures when Harry joined the fray.
"Does anyone in this room actually know what's going on outside the goddamn building?" Peake yelled at the sheepish subordinates.
"I do, Mr. President," interjected Harry, drawing Peake's attention. "I just came from outside. It's some sort of... invasion."
Peake's eyebrows shot up in alarm. "An invasion, Mr. Potter? By whom?"
"I'm not sure, sir. I'd say wizards, but these things, whatever they are, they're not human. I clocked them coming from some sort of portal across Manhattan. They're flying around and shooting lasers at people uncontested. The civilians are being massacred, sir. You have to deploy the aurors."
The night before leaving for America, Harry was up in the study going over the information Hermione had given him regarding Wizarding America. His belly full of the elder Mrs. Weasley's Sunday dinner, he lazily skimmed the notes of the government structure. President and Unicameral Congress. Departmental differences, boring stuff.
It was the cultural differences that drew his attention. Apparently, ever since Salem, the American Congress' chief goal was to protect their constituents from muggles. They were entirely separated from the muggle world. Only in the last few years did they repeal laws forbidding any more than necessary contact with muggles. Their main two political parties were primarily centered on muggle relations. The Prohibitionists generally wanted zero muggle contact and the Suffragists wanted more cooperation.
United States Magical President Edward J. Peake rode into office on a Suffragist upswell, but he was also a good man and an idealist. His largest campaign promise had been to exercise MACUSA's right under the Statue of Secrecy to read in the muggle President, and he meant it.
Unfortunately, he'd been facing heavy opposition in Congress from the Prohibitionists. Harry had to admit that some of their arguments regarding the dangers muggles posed to wizards had merit, but overall he sided with the Suffragists.
There was a small side note written in the margins: "Be careful. Their Constitution forbids the government making any spell illegal, so the Unforgivables are technically legal there. Even the aurors use them, apparently."
He was moving to the next page when he heard the door creak. When he turned, Ginny was there dressed in a sexy black number he'd bought her on the honeymoon. "Come to bed," she called and Harry had to forcibly keep himself rooted at the desk.
"I meet with President Peake at ten tomorrow morning, which with time difference means I'll be portkeying at three. I only have until then to finish these notes and make sure I know what the hell's going on there."
As always, a night cramming Hermione's notes saved his arse and he wasn't caught off guard by the reactions of the room.
"You can't be serious!" blustered one of the figures. Credence Grave, Harry believed his name was. Head of the Department for Magical Security, the office charged with maintaining the secrecy of American wizardry.
"Mr. Potter," said Peake sternly, "you know well that I am a Suffragist, but that is beyond extreme! That would be an outright violation of the Statue of Secrecy! The international community would have my head on a platter!"
"Look outside, sir! At the lobby! Your little M.E.T.L.M device is about to explode! Magic grows closer to the brink of exposure every day, but every second you spend in this office indecisive means more casualties outside your walled fortress. Magic will be exposed any day now, so why not go out on our own terms, sir? Why not go out as the heroes who saved New York from the alien menace when no muggle could? You'd be in history books!"
At seeing the look of contemplation of the President's face, Grave blanched. "You can't honestly be considering this, can you sir? Open and willful violation of the Statue of Secrecy would see you impeached in an instant!"
Peake shook his head, his face grim. "Not if I declare a state of crisis. If I declare one, I can violate any international agreement so long as it is for the good of Wizarding America."
"They could still impeach you afterwards, sir."
"I think by that point they'll have larger concerns than removing me from office."
The second, silent figure finally chipped in. Cormac O'Brian. Head of the American DMLE and technically Harry's boss. Nice bloke, if a stickler for the rules. "Respectfully, Mr. President, you can only declare a state of crisis if Wizarding America is under some sort of attack. While the no-maj's out there are indeed under assault, we have yet to receive any reports of attacks on wizards."
As if on cue, an enormous shadow filled the Woolworth lobby, formed by some huge and approaching shape outside the building. The foggy windows kept its true appearance from being seen, but it was clearly not of Earth. Both the office and lobby went silent with anticipation as the looming shape came closer and closer. Wary aurors began moving bystanders out of the hall and into cover.
Finally, the shape arrived outside the building and without a second's pause kept going. The entire building shuddered as the shadow crashed through the exterior wall. Due to MACUSA being in an overlayed magical pocket space, this did funny things to the architecture. The contradiction of a creature accidentally breaking in to a pocket dimension caused geometry to very briefly go a little... non-Euclidean. Within the span of an instant though the magic rebounded and the wall resealed itself. This only left the jet-sized cyborg behemoth to crash violently into the lobby. It flailed about and attacked aimlessly before a panicked auror put it down with a blasting curse.
The shocked silence that followed was interrupted as the M.E.T.L.M, knocked from its cable during the crash, agonizingly ticked to "Level Seven: Magic Exposed". It chirped a whining, almost mournful wail, then burst into flames.
"Mr. President," mumbled a stunned Harry, "I'd like to file a report of an attack on Wizarding America."
"Noted..." Peake muttered back.
Outside the building, Tony Stark was staring at a wall in amazement. Now under normal circumstances Tony Stark could have extracted nanoseconds of stimulus from your average wall, but this wall in particular had him stumped.
"Uhh, guys?" he said cautiously over his helmet radio.
"What is it, Stark?" Natasha immediately demanded, the sound of gunfire audible over her microphone.
"I just accidentally blew one of the flying worm things into a building, and I think I just discovered Narnia..."
There was silence for several moments, before Stark finally tried the radio again. "Guys?"
"Right..." came Clint's confused voice. "Well I'm sure Aslan will back us up if we ask him politely, but until we can find a couple kids for a scouting expedition let's keep focused on the alien army."
"Will do, feathers." Stark replied, before turning to glare at the wall and sternly point. "I'm coming back for you after this, magic wall. Don't think you've seen the last of Tony Stark."
It took five minutes for President Peake to declare a proper state of emergency and nullify America's position on the Statue of Secrecy. With a final swish of his quill, he finished the paperwork.
"Mr. Potter, Mr. O'Brian, you're indisputably my two most experienced combatants, so I'm giving the two of you emergency command of the Auror Corps. Get as many as you can muster and defend the goddamn city."
"Sir!" both aurors cried in unison as they snapped their boots together and saluted.
Time not on their side, both wizards hurried out of the office and to the Auror Levels. Fortunately they didn't have to traverse the lobby since it was currently occupied by an enormous metal worm. The main office was in a state of absolute havoc when they arrived. Clerk and auror alike ran about like headless chickens, nobody truly knowing what was going on.
Taking a note from Dumbledore's book, Harry drew his wand and with a wave it produced a sound like a cannon shot. His ears rang afterwards, but it got their attention. He turned to O'Brian and gave a nod.
The Irishman gave a respectful nod back before turning to his men. "Listen up! Our city's under attack by something other than human. President Peake has declared a state of crisis and given us leave to defend the city as we see fit. I want every single combat-trained personnel in this division geared up and ready to go in ten. Form up in the lobby. Get to it!"
Instantly, order came from chaos as training and discipline kicked in. Like a well-oiled machine the aurors filed off for the armory in neat rows.
"They'll be ready in five," Cormac assured him. "You got any gear?"
"Only what I got on me. I was told this would be a cushy assignment."
Cormac grinned broadly. "First thing you learn about Auror Corps, kid: no such thing as a cushy assignment."
Around two hundred and fifty black-suited and grim-faced aurors stood in parade by the time Harry and Cormac reached the lobby. Harry let loose an impressed whistle. He often forgot how much larger America was than England. And this was just the local division, apparently.
"Alright," Cormac began, "we're going to be deploying into five teams. One to Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Statton Island each. Each team is ten squads of five. I want at least two broomstick squads per team. You all know your roles. Divide up."
There was a momentary shuffle as the soldiers separated themselves according to their roles. Once it was finished, there were five neat blocks of aurors.
"Potter, you're the only one here that's fought on a proper battlefield. You take the Manhattan team. Lewis will be your second. Lewis!"
A thin, reedy man stepped forward from the Manhattan block. "Sir!" he saluted.
"You're Potter's second. Keep him apprised of everything going on and keep the men apprised of his orders."
"I'll balance myself between the remaining four teams. Keep in touch via Patronuses to those that can cast them. Rally point is here if we get pushed back. Let's make our people proud, men!"
An enormous cheer went up from both the aurors and the bystanders looking on.
"Ready for apparition!" yelled Cormac. The aurors drew their wands and held them steadily.
"Ready!" came the cry.
"See you on the other side!"
The fight was not going well for the Avengers. Despite their best effort, the Chitauri ravaged through New York. The Avengers put up stubborn resistance wherever they were, but in they end they were but a handful of rocks jutting from a flowing tide. The cyborg Chitauri cared nothing for losses nor injuries.
In the end, the Avengers were only six people.
Natasha Romanov and Clint Barton, better known as Black Widow and Hawkeye, were doing their best to hold Times Square.
"Foot mobiles, East!" Natasha yelled from her place in cover behind the bleachers to where Clint was perched on a rooftop.
"Got 'em!" he yelled back, firing an explosive arrow into the cluster of Chitauri infantry. They went flying in a gory detonation, and Clint smiled. He'd seen them butcher too many people in the short time they'd been loose in the city. He mentally tallied his ammunition and swore. "That was my last explosive! I'm down to regulars!"
"I'm running low here too! Get Fury on the line and see if he can drop us a crate! We can't afford to get pushed back!"
One of the chariots came in on a course to strafe a cowering mother and daughter, but Natasha barely managed to clip the gunner before he got a shot off. Unfortunately, it cost her a full magazine. The gunner fell several stories to the pavement and landed in a heap of broken flesh. She declined to mercy kill it.
"Fury's sending a drop! ETA five minutes!"
"We're not going to last that long!"
"Hold on guys," came Stark over the radio, "I'm heading over to reinforce you. ETA two."
Natasha's gun clicked empty suppressing a heavy gunner while some civilians ran for the subway. She muttered a curse in Russian and dove back into cover as a hail of laser fire ate up the area around her. She drew a long combat knife from her boot and held it in a reverse grip.
"I'm empty, Clint! Cover me while I steal a rifle!"
It was virtually suicide, but some situations just come down to probabilities. The chance that an alien with a heavy laser machine gun can hit you at fifty yards, the number of shots he can get off. You might have a two-in-three chance of taking a hit, maybe a one-in-three chance of dying. Versus a hundred percent chance of a bunch of civilians getting mowed down as they ran parallel to him.
She tensed the muscles in her legs up in preparation to leap out of cover when there was a thunderous crack in the center of the square that rattled even her firearm-trained eardrums.
Natasha blinked, for one of the first times in a while caught entirely off guard. Standing bold as brass in the formerly empty square was a block of fifty-some men and women dressed like extras from a nineteen-twenties mafia flick. Long black coats, pinstriped suits and fedoras. Even the women, oddly enough.
One figured stepped from the block, dressed in a brown leather coat over an odd black uniform with silver threading across the breast. He had messy black hair, looked to be in his early twenties, and spoke with a distinct British accent.
In unison, the odd formation reached into their coats and withdrew... sticks. They held them into the air and chanted something that sounded like "Protaygo Maximah". Blue light shot from the tips of the wands, forming a translucent shield around them and the nearby civilians. Despite their years of S.H.I.E.L.D training, both Natasha and Clint could only watch dumbfounded.
The Englishman continued giving orders, unfazed by the now large amount of attention his little bubble was getting from the nearby Chitauri.
"Fliers, one of you branch off and run offense, the other hang over us and provide defense! The rest of you, stay grouped but focus on protecting civilians! Watch your spellfire! We're surrounded by bystanders! Any questions?"
"Sir, no, sir!"
"Then let's save the day, gents!"
Immediately, the air was filled with whispered chanting and beams of light that brought death to any Chitauri they touched. Streaks of poisonous green and angry red felled alien invaders in equal measure. Glowing orbs detonated like grenades but did no damage to anything but the aliens. Ten of the strange figures took to the sky on what for all the world looked to be flying broomsticks and immediately cleared the air of hostiles.
"Uh, guys?" came Steve Rogers' nervous voice over the radio from across the city. "The D.O.D didn't happen to create a secret platoon of invisible superhuman P.I's and station them in the middle of Queens, did they?"
"No," said a still-stunned Clint. "I don't believe they did."
"Oh good then," replied Steve, sounding relieved. "I thought I was going mad for a second there."
"I think they made two, and put the other one in Manhattan."
Thor's voice suddenly boomed over the earpieces. "If you speak of the strange mortals wielding magic, then they are the Land of the Bronx as well!"
"Magic?" Stark asked, the sound of wind in the background. "What the hell are you guys—oh shit!"
There was a brief pause and muffled swearing. "Christ. I just got run out of the sky by a bunch of assholes on broomsticks. Who'd have thought I'd ever have a traffic accident with the Oz Air Force?"
"Are they on our side?" Steve asked.
"I heard one of their leaders talking," Natasha replied, watching the wizards at work. "He told them to protect the civilians and watch their fire. They doing the Chitauri some real harm. I think that at least doesn't make them enemies."
"Tentative cooperation then?" Stark proposed.
"Tentative cooperation," affirmed Natasha. The man who seemed to be in charge was hanging back, relaying orders through a thin, older man to his right and occasionally slinging death at any alien that came into his view. Holstering her gun, she stepped out of cover and approached him. From the corner of her eye, she saw Clint tense of the rooftop, his bow trained on the unknown commander.
She deliberately made noise with her footsteps so as not to sneak up on them. Immediately, the commander whipped around, his subordinate only slightly after him. Both trained jagged sticks on her with the absolute confidence of men carrying lethal implements.
Natasha put her hands up and smiled charmingly. Flirtation never hurt when trying to make quick allies. She felt the leader's gaze run up and down on her, although not in the way she was typically accustomed to. His green eyes bore that battle-trained gleam of someone assessing a threat. She noticed his glance didn't so much as pause on her gun. He completely dismissed it beside denotating her line of work.
"You with the government?" he asked her after completing his examination.
"Agent Natasha Romanov," she introduced herself, extending her hand. "From S.H.I.E.L.D."
The man blinked, but took her hand. "Shield? Is that an agency? I'm afraid I'm not too familiar with the American government."
"We're not a widely known agency. Long story short, our job is to defend the world as a whole from anything that threatens to harm it."
"Lofty goal," he remarked. "Any idea what the hell's going on here?"
"Alien invasion," she said simply. "Mind if I ask who you are?"
The man blinked once more. "My apologies. Auror Captain Harry Potter. British liaison to the American Auror Corps."
It was Natasha's turn to blink. Absolutely none of that introduction registered with her. "Auror Corps?"
"It would take far too long to explain it. Suffice to say, we're Americans and we're on your side. What needs done?"
Having little reason to doubt the man's words, Natasha decided to take them at face value for the time being. She pointed to Stark Tower, where an enormous wormhole was still allowing Chitauri to pour forth. "The Chitauri have build a portal generator on the top of that building. We need to get up there and close it or they'll wipe out the whole planet. My people can handle it. Can yours protect the civilians?"
Harry paused to wave his wand and launch a Bombarda at a Chitauri sniper setting up in an office building. "Aye, but I can't let you go after the tower without me. I have my own orders. My men can clear Manhattan with Lewis."
Natasha eyed his physique appraisingly. "Can you keep up?"
In response, Harry reached into his coat and withdrew his trusty Firebolt from an expanded bag. "Unless one of you has got rocket feet, yeah."
Speak and the universe shall answer. At this moment Tony soared in, using his foot thrusters to cut a hard break mere feet above the ground. Harry's wand immediately snapped to take aim. "He with you?" he asked without looking towards Natasha.
"Aye," she replied. "Tony Stark. Philanthropist."
"A kindred spirit," chuckled Harry, lowering his wand. By this point most of the streets surrounding them had been cleared by the aurors. They steadily advanced while the broom squads kept the ground behind them from being retaken. Lewis, having seen his commander indisposed, had taken over leadership of the soldiers. "Do we need to wait for anyone else?"
Natasha shook her head. "The rest will meet us on the way, but we've got an ammo drop coming in any second now."
Just as she said, within a minute the roar of a sub-Mach jet engine became audible over the din of battle. A sleek black plane bearing no distinct markings flew in low, barely clearing the skyscrapers. Right as it neared enough to drop its payload, one of the flying worms burst from below and rammed it out of the sky. Harry could make out a trail of aurors on brooms swarming around the creature like hornets, unleashing spell after spell on it. The unfortunate jet crashed into a wall and detonated instantly.
"Damn it!" growled Natasha. "We needed that ammo!"
Harry's face turned contemplative for a moment. "What kind of bullet are you using?"
"Nine millimeter," she replied cautiously, "and my partner uses custom arrows. Why?"
He drew his wand once more, and knowing its capabilities Natasha tensed. Harry scanned the surroundings, his eyes finally alighting on an abandoned police car. "Accio nine millimeter bullets," he incanted, waving his wand in an elaborate series of swishes and flicks. There was a quiet rattling before a pair of ammunition magazines levitated out of the cracked windows and shot towards Harry's waiting hand.
"These work?" he asked, holding them up for Natasha's stunned inspection. At her tentative nod, he pointed his wand at them again. "Gemino," he incanted and immediately the magazine began rapidly multiplying. By the time he ended the spell there were several dozen loaded clips spilled on the grounds.
"So..." Stark queried over the private radio line as he watched a British man perform blatant sorcery in broad daylight, "is anyone else going to address the fact that we've teamed up with the Wicked Witch of England and his army of flying monkeys to save Manhattan from aliens?"
Rogers sighed as he rode his hot-wired motorcycle towards the tower. "If you keep making Oz jokes, I'm going to start calling you Tinman."
"You wouldn't dare!" gasped Tony in mock horror.
"If I only had a heaaaaaart," Steve sang deeply, calling on his barbershop quartet days. He knew they'd come in useful someday.
After repeating the duplication procedure with Clint's arrows, the Avengers were ready to roll. Harry, Clint, Natasha, and Tony approached the tower from one direction while Thor, Bruce, and Steve hit it from the other. With Harry's aid, the two spies managed to hijack on of the Chitauri chariots for their own purposes. Natasha drove while Clint fired indiscriminately from his now-replenished ammunition stores. Harry and Tony flanked it on their respective flying apparatus.
Right as they neared the final intersection before the tower, they were blindsided by a group of chariots. Two were unremarkable, but the middle one was driven by a human-looking man in an elaborate horned helmet. "Loki!" yelled Clint, immediately spinning to loose an arrow the god, but missing due to Natasha's dive. Streaks of laser fire filled the air they'd used to occupy.
Harry didn't know who this bloke was, but judging by the reactions of his allies he felt safe quietly filing him under 'Big Bad'.
Another stream of laser fire caused the gap between him and the chariots behind him to close. He needed to drop them before they managed to score a hit. If there was one thing he'd observed so far, it was that those chariot things handled like arse, so he played to his strengths an air-braked on his Firebolt.
The sudden drop in speed caused his three pursuers to shoot past him. He instantly accelerated again and began lining shots up on his wand. The allies in his field of fire complicated things, but he managed to drop the two escort chariots easily enough. Unfortunately, the one driven by Loki continued to evade him as he continued to chase the Avengers vertically up the tower.
Then the worst happened. Loki's chariot fired off another burst of lasers, one of which finally found its mark in whatever passed for the engine of Natasha and Clint's craft. It slowed it ascend gradually, before finally failing outright.
Harry had to give it to them: neither agent so much as screamed when they suddenly found themselves freefalling from half-way up a skyscraper. That didn't mean that either had a plan to rescue themselves, however.
Fortunately, Harry did. He air-braked again, leaving Loki to his now lone pursuit of Tony. Meanwhile he fell back and allowed himself to catch up with the two spies.
Both of the S.H.I.E.L.D operative looked up at him hopefully when he leveled himself with their descent. "Are you going to catch us?" Natasha asked over the roar of the wind.
"In a sense!" Harry replied, waving his wand before either could ask his meaning. He then flipped his broom upwards and shot back towards the roof of the tower, leaving the two spies to their fall. They met eyes in shock and horror at their abandonment, then closed them in anticipation of oblivion.
Instead of meeting their appointments in Samarra, as it were, the two spies slammed into the pavement at terminal velocity... and then bounced. Like falling on a trampoline they impacted the ground, sunk into it, and then shot back up slightly. After just two bounces they were left panting and stationary on the sidewalk.
"'In a sense'", a prone Clint repeated angrily between lungfuls of air. "I'm gonna murder that kid."
Inside the tower's penthouse, Tony was battling it out with Loki. And losing. While formidable, even Tony wasn't up for a one on one against the Norse god of Trickery. Every single attack he made was deflected or countered as part of some elaborate feint. Loki wasn't damaging him that much, but this battle was quickly going nowhere.
"You know," Tony remarked casually, "I'm surprised you didn't pay greater concern to our new friend back there. Magicians thinking alike and all that."
"Magician?" scoffed Loki obligingly. "Earth's magicians were a rather weak and pathetic lot last I encountered them. I imagine there was a reason that boy on the broom wasn't invited to Director Fury's little hero club. Likely didn't make the cut."
"No, actually," said Harry from his place floating in the window. "I was just a little too busy in my own little secret hero club. I've only got so many hours in the day, you know? Bombarda."
The backhanded spell caught Loki off guard and he was blasted through a decorative pane of glass. He landed in a neat roll, but before he could move again a hail of spell rained down on him. Harry was confident in his spellwork, so he was shocked the god still kneeling at the end of it, breathing heavily but otherwise untouched.
"Perhaps I misspoke. It's clear that there's power in you, boy, and talent as well, but I am the god of sorcery. You cannot hope to beat me at my own game. Join me, however, and I will teach you my craft and seat you at the table of greatness." There was a dark temptation to the Norse's words that reminded Harry distinctly of Voldemort. That was not a good thing.
Harry's fingers found themselves stroking the second wand tucked away in his sleeve. Its power called to him, just begging him to use it. He tried to clamp down on his Occlumency to stifle the urge but it pierced right through.
Spells exploded from Harry, completely overwhelming Loki. Ropes bound his wrists, his clothes expanded and tightened around him to form a straightjacket, and he was slammed into several walls, floors, and ceilings before all was said and done.
"Holy shit..." Stark whispered.
"What are you?" hissed Loki, glaring up at Harry murderously from behind his new bite mask. "I have seen mortal magicians before, boy, and you are not one of them. None of them could wield magic better than I. And more than that, the aura of Death surrounds you. It empowers you. I can feel it. I ask again, what are you, that the power of Death serves you?"
Harry frowned. This man, he knew far more than he should. Very quickly he re-holstered the Elder Wand and replaced it with his trust holly-and-phoenix-feather one. Slowly, he knelt down and leaned close into the god's ear.
"I'm the Man-Who-Won," he whispered. "Stupefy."