I do not attempt to claim ownership of Marvel Comics or the Harry Potter series.
FORGED IN FIRE
'I Don't Want to Set the World On Fire'
Malfoy Retreat, Southern France / 30.04.2009
Eight, miserable, grueling months Draco had spend at Malfoy Retreat.
When he'd first arrived at the start of September, Draco had been giddy with excitement, not that he'd ever admit such a thing out loud.
He'd believed that he would live a life of luxury, learning the arcane arts from his renounce grandfather, all without have to deal with the stink of the 'Mudbloods' at Hogwarts.
Draco had made the mistake of saying as such on his first day. His grandfather had immediately forced him into duel-after-duel for three and a half hours, wiping the floor with him.
His grandfather had continued to do it again anytime he said anything disparaging against muggles or muggle-borns. Draco had quickly learnt to keep those thoughts to himself.
For months, Abraxas had pushed him harder and harder, teaching him new charm, curses, jinxes and potions one after another, then forcing him to demonstrate them to him in duels.
At first Draco had been useless, a cocky, arrogant, spoiled brat, but he began to change, learning the true responsibility behind wealth and power.
But he'd slipped up, cut his finger preparing a potion and released a tirade of anger, using the very words and sentiments his grandfather had punished him for.
Draco had believed it was over then, that his grandfather would send him home, banish him, but instead he found himself apparated up a freezing mountain and left there, without even his wand.
Battered and buffeted by the cold, Draco had stumbled into a small Swedish village, half-dead.
Instead of being the cruel savages Draco had always been told they were, they had immediately taken him in, treated him, given him clothes and a place to stay.
That was where Draco had spent his Christmas.
He'd been rude and arrogant towards the people of the village at first, something that the townsfolk seemed to ignore, the charm of the place and the people eventually winning Draco over.
He still had no idea why they'd given him that weird nickname though.
What was a 'Grinch' anyway?
His grandfather had come to pick him up after New Years, taking him a few miles west of the town, to an area known as Signhildsberg.
Draco trudged through the woods, following his grandfather without complaint or question, he knew better than to.
"Do you know where we are?" asked Abraxas, strolling through the deep snow with ease.
Draco winced at the mild stinging charm his grandfather fired at him.
"Where exactly in Sweden?"
Draco sighed. "The village I ended up in was Sigtuna, and we've been heading west, so we must be nearing Signhildsberg."
"Correct," replied Abraxas. "Also known as Old Sigtuna, the site where the stories of Norse mythology took place."
"You mean those stories, are real?" questioned Draco as they continued to walk.
"As real as Merlin or Zeus," answered Abraxas off-handily.
"So Thor, Odin, Loki, they were wizards?"
"Of a kind," replied Abraxas as they entered a clearing.
"Where are we?" asked Draco as they came to a halt.
"Malfoy land, it's been in the family since before our branch emigrated to France in the 990s, those who remained eventually died off," explained Abraxas, flicking a wand to dissipate a cloaking ward.
Draco's mouth dropped open as the clearing changed, revealing a strange runic circle burnt into the ground, a large wooden stump in the center, a worn and rusted sword protruding from it.
"An old sword?"
Abraxas sighed. "A sword that's been in our family since the days of Norse heroes, used by select members of the Malfoy Family over the centuries."
"Have you?" queried Draco. "Used it?"
Abraxas stared at the sword, "a very long time ago, just after I graduated from Hogwarts, right when the war with Grindelwald reached its worse."
"You fought in the Second Great War? You never mentioned it."
"My involvement was kept a secret," explained Abraxas, "I was one of few wizards allowed to fight alongside muggles."
"You fought with muggles?" questioned Draco, looking mildly repulsed at the thought. "Wouldn't that have broken the Statue of Secrecy?"
Abraxas frowned. "The Second Great War was a dark time, Hitler and Grindelwald working together, HYDRA messing with Tesseract. The Confederation of Allied Magical Nations, formed after ICW broke down, funded and authorised the use of select wizards and magical items to be used."
"Right, enough flapping gums," groused Abraxas. "Grab the sword."
Frowning, Draco approached the stump, gripping the decaying leather of the hilt and pulling, finding resistance. "How is a moldy old sword going to hel-"
The sword suddenly released, green light glowing from the slot in the stump.
Holding up the sword, Draco watched as the rust fell away to reveal a gleaming silver sword below, emerald embedded into the hilt. "What the…"
Abraxas shot another stinging charm at Draco. "Moldy old sword, bloody cheek."
"Stop standing around, get back to training!"
Draco looked up to see his grandfather striding down the stairs into the training room, located in the basement of Malfoy Retreat.
Sighing, Draco raised his sword, practicing the swings and parries Abraxas had taught him.
Abraxas reached Draco, "slacking again? The mission is tomorrow, you'd better be ready for it."
"Can't wait to go and save Potter's arse," retorted Draco.
"Are you interested in the rest of Potter?" questioned Abraxas. "Or just his backside?"
"You know what I mean," retorted Draco, sheathing his sword.
"Sure I did."
A pop sounded as Luxin apparated into existence, holding a long, thin black box.
"Luxin is returning with the good news."
Abraxas turned, a smile forming at the sight of the box. "You found it."
"Yes, Luxin is finding your missing wand," nodded the house elf excitedly, presenting it to Abraxas.
Taking the box, Abraxas looked down to Luxin. "So, where did Lucius dump it?"
"Bad Master was giving it to a magical orphanage in Peru," explained Luxin, "We's is fortunate that they's realising your wand is so valuable and keepings it safe."
"I take it you generously reimbursed they for it?" queried Abraxas.
"Luxin is paying them double the worth of Master Abraxas' wand."
"Excellent," drawled Abraxas, opening the case and drawing an long, olive green wand. "Pistachio, 15½", Griffin feather core, one of last Wells Ollivander made before he passed the shop onto his son."
Afghanistan / 01.05.2009
Harry stared in the cracked and mottled mirror, seeing a foreign face staring back at him.
His need for glasses was gone, leaving his eyes unobscured by damaged, unflattering frames, a stronger jawline, flecks of red hair reminiscent of his mother's appearing more and more every day and, most importantly, his accursed scar had faded to a thin pink lightning bolt.
Brushing his fingers across his scar, Harry sighed.
Everything had been fine for the first couple of weeks after Harry had restored his magic, until the nightmares started, dreams of another life, the life of Voldemort.
His childhood, his Hogwarts years, working at Borgin and Burkes, travelling around the world, gaining knowledge, before returning to Magical Britain to start his conquest, the prophecy, then Harry saw…
The murder of his parents.
He saw it every night, when he tried to sleep.
At least the insomnia gave him plenty of time to think, to unpack the knowledge, skills and spells he absorbed from the soul fragment of Voldemort that had resided within his scar.
But the Horcrux was long gone, broken down and integrated into his soul, mind, body and magic.
Harry shivered, pulling his fur-lined bomber jacket tighter around himself. Ever since he'd restored his magic his body had been running several degrees Celsius hotter than normal, making the already cold cave feel freezing to him.
Turning away from the mirror, Harry moved to behind the screen that blocked the cameras' view, marvelling at the sight of the armor Stark had constructed, hastily welded and riveted together, design notes scribbled all over it.
The armor that would help them to escape in just a few hours.
Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan
Lt. Colonel James Rhodes looked up into the morning sky and sighed.
Three months of being told not to search an arid, inhospitable desert, for a man everyone else had given up on as dead.
"You're really going back there, aren't you?" questioned Major General William Gabriel as he walked alongside Rhodey.
"This is something I have to do," replied Rhodey.
"Three months without a sign Stark is alive," refuted General Gabriel. "We can't just keep risking assets on a wild goose chase, least of all you."
"You're blocking my transfer now?" queried Rhodey, stopping in his tracks.
General Gabriel sighed and looked around. "You know, any one of these guys would walk through fire to have your career. Are you going to risk that to go flying around with a bunch of snake eaters on the off chance you find your friend in the middle of a desert?"
"I am, sir," replied Rhodey. "He'd do the same for me."
"Then I only have one thing to say to you, Colonel," spoke General Gabriel, before sighing. "Godspeed."
Rhodey nodded, saluting General Gabriel as he turned and walked away.
"I'm gonna find you Tony," stated Rhodey, fire in his eyes.
A crack sounded as Abraxas and Draco appeared out of thin air, the former quickly casting a sequence of disillusionment and silencing charms on both himself and his grandson.
Draco leaned out the sun drenched tent, looking in every direction.
"Thirteen hostiles, all armed, plenty of weapons lying around," informed Draco.
Abraxas nodded. "Good, time to test out a new gadget."
Reaching into his combat robes, less loose than the everyday versions, Abraxas drew an aerosol, shaking it.
Abraxas chuckled. "Something Ignis whipped up, a dreamless sleep potion that can be sprayed."
Draco frowned, "Is that the creepy guy with the hood-"
Abraxas was gone, disapparating away, leaving Draco alone.
"I hate it when he does that."
Tapping his foot Draco waited for a few minutes before Abraxas reappeared, aerosol in hand.
"Clear, stay on your guard," warned Abraxas as he and Draco stepped out, heading for the mouth of the cave. "We've entered the anti-apparition and anti-portkey wards, we'll have to get to here once we've secured the package."
"How are we getting into the cave?" questioned Draco, frowning as his sword seemed to heat up slightly, before dismissing it.
"Simple, we walk through the front door," answered Abraxas with a sly smile. "Lucius is arrogant enough to believe his wards are impentible, that makes him prone to mistakes."
"The ward designed to lock out any unwanted guests is flawed, instead of blocking out all magicals but Lucius, it blocks out all magicals but the Malfoy Family, since we share similar blood."
Draco sighed, "you could have just said we could be through, you didn't need to explain every little detail in painstaking clarity."
Abraxas hit Draco upside the head. "What did I teach you, respect those your can use to your benefit."
"I remember, vividly," replied Draco.
Abraxas sighed and drew his wand, using a point-me spell. "This way."
The two walked on in silence, passing more and more of Lucius' minions, following the direction the spell had given them.
Abu Bakaar was a proud member of the Ten Rings, he'd been working for them since he was a child, but for the first time he was truly afraid for his life.
"Status report!" barked Raza, speaking in his native Arabic.
"Project Nahda is stalling, the doctor cannot isolate the desired element from the subject's blood," replied Abu, trying his utmost to remain calm, "The doctors have removed his left leg below the knee again, just as they did two months ago, to test his healing ability, a fresh batch of blood has been delivered the doctor for testing."
"At least tell me the other use for the blood is progressing."
"Project Almawt is nearly complete, all we are waiting on is Stark's Jericho missile," answered Abu.
"And what of Tony Stark?" questioned Raza, pacing the small cave room which served as his office.
"No progress, all he does is request more paper for designs," answered Abu, "But I assure you-"
Raza slammed his fist down on his desk, "You promised that two weeks ago! All Stark has done so far is build that glowing machine in his chest and draw rubbish!"
Abu paled. "Please-"
Drawing a pistol, Raza pointed it square at Abu, releasing the safety.
"Go on, explain to me why I shouldn't kill you right now," spat Raza.
"How uncivilised," spoke a cultured voice.
"You, what are you doing here?" growled Raza, lowering his gun as he looked around him. "After your last visit you said you were finished with the test subject."
"New information has arisen," informed Lucius as he appeared in front of Raza, seemingly out of nowhere. "Besides, a Malfoy never gives up."
"I almost can't believe it," spoke Yinsen, staring at the large metal suit which towered over him, Tony and Harry. "It's finished."
"What?" grinned Tony. "Did you think I couldn't do it?"
"I thought Raza and his men would have discovered it by now," replied Yinsen.
"I'll admit it, Stark," uttered Harry. "When I saw those plans they looked ridiculous, like something out of a comic book."
"I'll take that as a compliment," retorted Tony with a smug grin. "So, what are you two gonna do when we break outta here?"
Harry looked down. "I don't know, with Lucius around it's not safe for me to return home."
Deep in thought, Yinsen replied, "I'm going to see my family again."
Tony frowned, "Don't you have anyone you can trust, outside the Magical World?"
"Nope," answered Harry, shaking his head.
"I know someone you could stay with," spoke Tony. "Once we get outta here."
"Rhodey," answered Tony, "he's a Lt. Colonel in the US Air Force, but more importantly he's a very close friend of mine and liaison between Stark Industries and the army."
"The army?" questioned Harry, looking worried.
"It's fine," assured Tony, "Rhodey knows when to keep it zipped, especially around powers, his niece is a mutant after all."
Harry nodded, during his research into his abilities he'd wondered if he was a mutant, before coming to the realisation of the Phoenix tears and Basilisk venom.
"He kept the lid of the Jericho missile for quite a while too."
"Jericho," murmured Harry, before speaking up. "Why would the Ten Rings want one, no offence, shoddily made missile when they're already making a super-soldier serum?"
"Much offence taken."
"Covering all bases?" offered Yinsen.
"No, something isn't right here," spoke Harry, "Every sample Yinsen's made has killed the user and they seem happy about it. Stark, didn't they say something about altering the design?"
Tony frowned. "They told me to replace the payloads with containers, I assumed they were going to fill them with napalm or such."
Harry's eyes widened. "My blood, they're going to put that in the Jericho."
"A biological weapon," muttered Yinsen. "With 100% effectiveness."
Tony paled, he'd made some horrifying weapons in his time, but biological warfare was something he'd sworn never to touch.
"Suit me up, we need to stop them now."
Abraxas and Draco snuck down the passageway, on high alert as they rounded the final corner, only to come face-to-face with Lucius and squad of his minions.
"Did you think I was that blind?" queried Lucius as he glared at his father and his son.
"Arrogance is one of your defining traits," retorted Abraxas, summoning his wand from its holster.
"So you found it," commented Lucius, "I hoped it would lost forever."
"You tried, you failed," retorted Abraxas, "but there's nothing unusual about that, is there?"
Lucius' nostrils flared, before he glared at Draco. "Son, still a failure I see."
Draco sighed. "Father, still a petty child I see."
"Your grandfather has made you insolent and weak," spat Lucius. "Once I've disposed of him I'll make sure to remind you of our trust family values."
"Your values," spoke Abraxas. "You were the only one in the family who wanted to bow to Voldemort."
"You are not worthy to speak our true name!"
Abraxas suddenly began to laugh. "True name, Voldemort's true name was Tom Marvolo Riddle, son of a muggle and a squib, what he hated most."
"Do not speak that name!" snapped Lucius, his eyes suddenly burning red, a glamour over his face breaking, revealing half his face to be melted and deformed, a gap in his flesh showing his teeth and muscles below.
"That. That's not good," commented Draco, drawing his sword.
"What have you done to yourself?" asked Abraxas, his voice filled with pity and disappointment.
"This isn't my fault!" retorted Lucius. "Potter did this to me, gave the damn diary back to me all to free elf scum."
"Voldemort's soul wasn't entirely destroyed," realised Abraxas, "it tried to take you over."
"I won!" roared Lucius, "I beat him, adsorbed his power, his knowledge, I'm better than he ever was!"
Harry stood, staring at the cell doors, he could hear arguing on the other side, someone had come to rescue them.
He wouldn't let anyone die for him again.
"I'll buy us time," spoke Yinsen from where he was gearing Tony up, moving to grab a rifle that Harry had managed to steal a few weeks prior with his magic.
"No," stated Harry, grabbing his brown leather bomber jacket and pulling it on, adjusting the wool-lined collar, "I'll hold them off, you need to get Stark up and running."
Sliding his right arm into the gauntlet Tony had made for him, Harry secured it with the catches and powered it up, orange light springing to life in the center of his palm.
"Be careful," urged Yinsen.
"Yeah, what he said," agreed Tony, craning his neck, unable to see Harry from his position.
"I'll make no promises," replied Harry, raising his gauntlet as he approached the doors, aiming at the bomb Yinsen and Stark had rigged to them as their first line of defense.
Releasing a simple blasting curse, Harry watched as the device exploded with a orange ball of flames.
Draco coughed as dust and smoke filled the corridor, quickly surveying the situation, the cell doors had been blown off, crushing a couple of the terrorists, knocking the others over.
A silhouette appeared in the smoke, orange flames hovering over an armoured hand.
Lucius turned to face the figure. "What the-"
"Surprise," spoke Harry as he appeared from the smoke, the ghost of a smile on his lips.