Author's Note: I had this idea stuck in my head and had to typed it out on my phone while I was waiting for my computer to be repaired. I thought to myself: what if Master of Death was a translation error and the term was meant to be similar to how mistress can be used as a term for lover? So here is my version of the true origin of the Deathly Hallows and what happened when Harry Potter colected them.
Apparently, the FanFiction app does not handle formatting well for posting stories: it removed all my italics and line breaks. I hope I got everything in this update, thank you Le Phoque Blanc for pointing it out.
Loki Odinson was furious when he first heard the prophecy of Ragnarok. His children? His precious little pup bound in chains again and again until Allfather was satisfied that he could never break free. His poor pup was trapped in a cage, unable to play, hidden beyond where his magic could help.
Then Jormungand was bound as well. Bound and cursed to never escape the water and walk on land. Loki had almost killed himself using his magic to grant his child freedom, but his son's life was forsaken the moment he left the water of the small lake Odin had trapped him in, but Loki was clever, clever beyond the scope Odin had ever expected. It had taken years of effort, but Loki had found the smallest loophole and tore it open with his magic. Water. His beautiful son was bound to water, not the lake, so he granted his son the power to travel between any body of water in any of the known realms. It was only a small comfort to see Jormungand hide away from Odin's wrath and have a chance to explore.
His third son, born in the form of a foal, was taken from his arms and 'gifted' to Odin as a steed. A steed! The boy had no chance to learn to be anything other than Odin's warmount. Loki's heart froze every time he saw him. Every time he heard his whinnies instead of speech. Every time Odin lovingly fed his 'horse' from his palm. He couldn't rescued his son. The lad could only be Odin's horse because it all he had known for too long.
The fury and fear he felt for his children came to a head when his daughter was born. He had been making plans and scheming to protect his next child for years. His plan had been in motion for so long that he hadn't even met sweet Hel's mother when he had started. The moment he learned of his future daughter growing in the womb, he began his magical ritual. It was based on the simple idea that a person could only be truly and completely bound once in their life. All bindings that were not true and complete could be broken. So he bound his daughter before she was born, before anyone else could, so she could truly be free.
The magics he performed to bind his beloved daughter were not immense but they were subtle enough for all of creation to be included in the spell, nothing was overlooked, not even Mistletoe, before word of Hel's conception even reached Odin's spies that he passed off as farsight, like Heimdall's. Loki's secret triumph lasted only three moons. The Norns brought the Allfather word of a prophecy of a child that threatened calamity and they believed it was about his yet born daughter. Loki's laughter at the foolishness of the Norns mistaking the truth of Hela's binding etched into magic itself as a prophecy was cut short when he realized that his father was foolish enough to believe them.
Born to a father thrice denied, the daughter who shall never fall, never caged, never controlled.
No secret forever hidden to her, no sight can track her, no weapon to defeat her.
Only one can bind her.
Only one can bind her with the Weapon, the Shield, and the Index.
The Weapon unrivalled, death must be accepted.
The Shield unbroken, weathered for those behind it.
The Index unabused, truths not told are soon forgotten.
Loki couldn't decide if he should be annoyed with how Odin reacted to Hel's 'prophecy' or not. The king had taken the prophecy and raised a new order of warrior-philosophers that took the Weapon, the Shield, and the Index as tenants in hopes of training the one to finally defeat his daughter, not that any of them knew that. Loki thought it was too funny when he watched his father search the realms and collect powerful artifacts in hopes of finding the prophesized tools in a more and more desperate attempt to protect himself. What a cowardly man. What a poor king, being ruled by fear.
His sweet daughter grew bitter with all the suspicion and hate directed to her. She was no longer the little girl who would chase him through secret portals and hidden passageways in hopes of finding an adventure, all the while leaving her toys strewn across Yggdrasil. She had rebelled against him long before she was banished to a dead and deserted realm. Loki did the only thing he could when started doing her best to avoid him, he started traveling the realms to find the toys she had lost, to collect proof of all the memories he had.
It had taken him many sad years and he only had one realm left to return to find what she left behind, Midgard. Loki had been dreading going near the reason his daughter started hating him. It started out as him refusing her a chance to explore a romantic interest with some impressive mortal. The stupid boy was never going to be good enough for her and in a rage, he revealed what he had done to her. That he had bound her to be wed by magic's judgement, that her suitor must be above reproach. His clever plan to set his daughter free and help her find the perfect mate drove her to hate him as every suitor died or fled. The dead were her subjects, completely under her command, and would never be enough to pass scrutiny.
Loki's attempts to return to Midgard were stymied by rumors of a growing war with Jotunheim. It didn't help that Thor's excitement at the prospect of battle was obnoxious. The oaf would all but drag him about and never left him alone for long enough to slip past Heimdal to search. He was almost wishing the war simply happened already so he could return to his own business.
It certainly surprised Loki when he looked up from the book he was reading and found that he wasn't in his personal library. Sure, 'Of Life and Magic' was incredibly interesting, especially the chapters where the author attempts to prove that life was the origin of magic, but he would never be so absorbed that he wouldn't notice someone transporting him somewhere, especially by magic, and the room he was in had none of the garish gold everything that was so common on Asgard, so he hadn't accidentally wandered about while reading. Sif still blamed him when he had happened across her secretly practicing magic caused her to fumble her hair styling spell in surprise. She had refused to ask the resident magician, him, for help, so everyone assume her suddenly black hair was a prank of his.
Loki set aside his straying thoughts to inspect where he was. It was a bare room. Carpeted walls to deaden sound, harsh white lights above, an empty table with two chairs sitting opposite each other with him in one, and a single wooden door straight ahead of him. The room reminded him of something but he couldn't recall what. There wasn't even a timekeeper or window to show him how long he had been there.
Loki set his book down and attempted to create a duplicate to distract whoever brought him here while he was invisible behind them, waiting to strike. Cowardly according to many Asgardians, effective according to those that mattered to him. Except Thor. Thor at least recognized that his methods were useful and were the choice tactic in many situations, but he still insisted that it was better to face a foe directly.
He walked away from his duplicated only to see it flicker in disappear. Loki frowned and looked at the back of his hand. It was slowly becoming more and more opaque. The only time his magic would fail is if the ruler of a realm opposed him. Father would never turn against him in such a way, he would instead bind his powers and stick him on a podunk planet for a while. This room was entirely too warm and not made entirely of ice to be Jotunheim. The fact that everything except his magic seemed to be in working order excluded it from being Niflheim. Leaving only one place, "Dear daughter, why have you brought me here?"
It was rhetorical as he didn't think anyone was there to answer. Loki expected someone was there to hear his question but he knew they wouldn't answer him. Not when they had so completely captured Loki Odinson, Asgardian of Magic. Then the door swung open with an irksomely plebeian squeak from one of the hinges. Loki couldn't stop himself from twitching in response. It didn't help that in stepped his daughter.
She let the creaking door slam shut behind her. Hel was wearing something strange. It was a dark ansamble, bits of metal asymmetrically attached to her shirt and belt. The shield shaped one on her breast read some unknown word in an unknown script over the symbol for Helheim. It all looked vaguely military but it wasn't anything he recognized. The not knowing was bothering him and the fact that two of the buttons on her shirt were undone had him wanting to chastise her. He had an itch to send her to her room that was beginning to bother him. As well as all the annoying sounds. The chair made a horrendous screech when she dragged it back for her to sit. Even the light source made a buzzing noise.
She gestured for him to sit and he found himself sitting across from her before he had a chance to raise an eyebrow. He hated being controlled. Hel smirked at his scowl. She knew he hated being controlled. She knew! Now she knew that he knew, it was starting to make sense. She was playing his pet peeves: grating sounds, not knowing exactly what was going on, feeling helpless, and his need to baby his children despite them having long since become adults centuries ago. This situation was so out of his control that he felt the same way as when Allfather punished him for biting Thor.
"Father," Hel finally spoke. Her voice was cold and flat, father was just a title to her. "You probably know why I've brought you here."
She gave him a chance to respond. He decided to throw it back at her, "Because, dear daughter, I've upset you." Loki was still hoping that that wasn't the case and this all turned out to be some elaborate prank they would soon laugh over. He knew this wasn't going to turn into some heartfelt reunion, but he hoped it could have.
Her tone had him mentally cursing. There were no emotions for him to play off of or gain insight from. She could be as sarcastic as a petulant child or as literal as Heimdall, he no clue, so he just listened.
"I have brought here, as I feel a need to question you, at least for the fact that you are my father, rather than simply condemn you and your magic for disrupting the natural cycle of death."
There was no pause, no mention for him to understand what exactly she was talking about. He tried to tell her that he would never meddle with anything within her domain, but Hel continued talking over him and he quickly fell mute, "I believed it would be appropriate to approach this as the realm your crimes occurred in would. So here I am, with you, innocent until proven guilty."
Those last words resonated with something in the back of his brain. Loki glanced around the room again. Why did he know this place was called an Interrogation Room? It lacked any proper tools for interrogating him and her outfit meant something. So he decided to bide his time, "Thank you for that courtesy." He took a moment to smooth his hair back and adjust himself before continuing, "Though I must say that if you wished to ask me something, I assure you that all you needed to do was ask and I would have gladly brought you an answer."
"We are here because recently, four people have died and of those four people, only one soul passed through judgment and earned its way into Valhalla. The other three never arrived anywhere. When I came to personally investigate such an unusual instance, I discover a large amount of magic was involved, some of which I recognize to be yours, dear father."
Loki was so shocked that that he didn't hear the next thing she said. How could his magic be involved with trespassing in Hel's domain? He ran through all the possible ways that his magic could have been involved. Starting with the most likely, one of the many magic users that are upset with him is attempting to frame him for something by mimicking his aura, but he doubted anyone could slip by Hel's direct scrutiny. In all the realms, there was a chance that someone had a near identical signature and that it fooled his daughter, again astronomically unlikely. There also a slim chance that Hel was lying about finding his magic involved in order to squeeze him for something. The last and least likely was that someone involved with Hel's contract was involved in the incident.
"Two of the three misplaced souls carried an active touch of your magic, as well as the one soul who has moved on," there goes the the second option and possibly opened up a fifth, "so I know you have at the very least a vested interest in the parties involved. Tell me what you know."
"I regret to inform, dear daughter, that whatever occurred in this realm has happened without my knowledge. Considering that I don't know even what realm it is, I doubt I can be of any help," he replied lightly. He always made a point to be helpful over being a hinderance. He would rather have an ally than an opponent.
Hel's eyes narrowed. She stood and let the chair screech and slide back on its own. She reached behind her and pulled out a set of small handcuffs. "Put these on and follow me," she stated.
No room for negotiation in her voice but he would still try, "Are these entirely necessary?" He took them and held them up with a raised eyebrow. Another glare and he acquiesced. As they clicked around his wrists and he could feel Hel's power in them draining his magic from him, he realized that he wasn't actually in Helheim. He was in a manifestation of her power between realms.
"I don't want you to try to run off," she said. Hel then held the door to an empty hallway open for him to walk through with her following immediately behind him. He was now in a small home filled with other people dressed in a similar manner to his daughter. All of them ignoring his presence, probably thanks to Hel. The home was damaged, seats and tables were overturned. Holes were blasted in all the walls and a bookshelf was all but wet ash. Only a few books from the bottom shelf remained somewhat intact. He quickly grabbed one and looked it over with the light from the window while his daughter addressed one of those quasi-military people. He could only make out the word 'History' on the cover, but the title page read, "Hogwarts: A History."
He flipped through the book as he waited for his daughter. He realized he had left his book behind. He also realized when he glanced out the window that he was on a blue skied planet on a small street with small houses lining it, along with the book, it all told him that he was on Midgard. It certainly has changed since he was last here.
His magical signature had been involved with something on Midgard. While he was figuring out the logistics of it, Hel touched his elbow to get his attention. Loki gave her a short nod and followed her up the stairs, stairs touched by flames but still structurally sound. She led him through a doorway on the right. The first thing he noticed was that the door had been thrown off the hinges as if an overeager Thor had been there, it was hanging to the frame by only the bottom hinge and had cracks running through out the wood. Then he saw that there was a significant hole in the ceiling and walls, exposing the room to the outside.
He examined the scorch marks and damage and how it was all centered on a crib. The room was suffuse with an impressive amount of magic. So much that it took him moment of searching to locate the echo of his own magic underneath it all. While Loki was piecing together what happened with his examination, Hel stood in the doorway watching him impassively. He finally stood away from the destruction and spoke to his daughter, "You were right, daughter, there are several echos of my magic here, though I do not know recall why it would be here. As for the mess, I can assure you this was done entirely by the mortals involved."
Loki received a look from his daughter that interpreted as a desire to continue his explanation, "There was a magical intruder in this home. He, whose gender I cannot confirm, killed whom I believe to be the father brutally and quickly using large scale magic. The mortal intruder either lacked control or purposely used excessive force to send a message. His magic has been influenced by the elves, so I imagine he had made a deal with them for more power.
After killing the father, he followed the mother upstairs. The mother enacted a ritual of sacrificial protection against the intruder for her child which should redirect all harm dealt by the intruder to her instead, but the ritual was interrupted by her death. The ritual could not be stopped and it bound her soul instead of body. The intruder then used magic designed to kill the target but because it could not kill a soul, the failure cause an explosive backlash the should have killed him."
Look paused to appraise his daughter's reaction, which was one of vague acceptance. She crossed her arms and spoke, "Anything else to add?"
Loki turned back to the crib and thought for a moment, "Nothing besides the fact that the intruder has somehow managed to remain alive after despite have his body reduced to ash explains why the mother's soul remains here, as it is still bound by the ritual to take the child's suffering. As for the child, I can only hazard a guess that whatever killing magic that was used pulled enough at the child's life for the soul to cross part way into your realm, a near death experience several magnitudes larger than one you've ever experienced before. If I knew who the parties involved were, I might be able to explain my magic's involvement better."
Hel silently waved a hand and summoned forth the a shade of the soul from downstairs. His daughter had the duty of judging all souls and took an imprint of each in order to understand them. The echo of a man looked familiar enough to spark a memory. He cast an illusion of a similar looking man and compared them, "Yes, that would explain why two of them had traces of my magic. After you were 'given' Helheim, I began collecting all the toys you had misplaced to console myself. I have yet to search Midgard, but a while ago I had cast a tracing spell in order to prepare for my search. One of your toys must have been taken as a family heirloom."
Hel had not granted the shade any will of its own, so the only reaction to his realization was for Hel to pull forth the images of the other three people from the departed's memory. She finally spoke something more than an order, "This man was known as James Fleamont Potter, his wife was Lillian Jasper Evans Potter, their son Harrison James Potter, and finally, the intruder whom is only known as Lord Voldemort."
She watched his eyes as he looked over each image. The fact that the one known as Voldemort did not even appear to be of Midgard added credence to him having some corrupting influence. He called upon the trace on his daughter's toys. The one that had been with the Potter's had been taken from this home hours before and was in the same location as another: behind some magical wards that only allowed him to understand the general location and that they were in the hands of some ridiculously bearded mortal. The last lay behind different and even more obscuring magics but Loki could at least realize that they had been made by the intruder.
"Voldemort, as I doubt that a man who would attempt to murder a child in such a manor is a true noble, appears to have once had possession of one of the toys left here and has since hidden it," he relayed. "Now that you know that I had no part in this ordeal, am I free to go?" Loki asked, but he was already back in his library and his daughter was gone. He let out a frustrated sigh. His book was back in front of him and the handcuffs were gone along with the history book he had picked up. At least he had managed to piece together that two of her old toys were in the possession of the headmaster of a mortal academy of magic located in Scotland.
Loki grinned to himself. Sure, he had had to cut short his mockery of Thor while he was powerless and stuck in that hospital but it had been worth it. The magic connecting him to Hel's contract had alerted him, although quite belatedly, to another perspective suitor and it was a lowly mortal at a certain school in Scotland. It wasn't often he got a chance to turn away a suitor before he met Hel, especially one that was mostly dead. He had followed the wisp of magic into the past and sent one of his projections to intercept him.
His daughter was the only being that could truly be in more than one place at a time but her bindings limited her to projections outside of Helheim. Loki managed to slip his own magical reception room in front of Hel's for welcoming this particular soul. While the child was confused with his arrival, he pulled enough information from his mind to get one Harrison James Potter to turn around and return to the living before getting a chance to meet his daughter. He gave his disguise's beard a stroke before waving a hand and letting the details of the room dissipate.
He was just about to return to his kingly duties when he heard his daughter behind him, "Father, what are you doing here?"
Loki removed the cringe from his face and changed it back to his before turning around to greet her, "Hel! My dear daughter! It is so good to see you again. I was on Midgard when I noticed Harrison James Potter having another near death experience and hoped that you might come to check on him personally. Unfortunately, he joined the living before you could arrive. There is a battle going on around him, if I am not mistaken."
She narrowed her eyes at him and spoke, "I am well aware of the battle occurring in Scotland at this moment. It was what allowed me to react so quickly to the boy's condition. I am surprised to see your attention here with your recent stewardship of the throne. You would be wise to focus on that during these turbulent times with the heir to the throne lost on Midgard, with Heimdall's sight being needed to guard Asgard's passages."
It was Loki's turn to narrow his eyes. "I was attempting to locate my brother before anyone has realized there had been a shift of power. I am hoping you may have a clue to where he might be. He seems to have abandoned his hammer."
"There have been no departed with knowledge of Thor on Midgard."
Loki found himself back at the hospital. How had she known he had been here before Scotland? Sight would not be able to locate him through his cloaking. Perhaps he pushed his ruse too far and roused her suspicion. Loki wished he could spend more time managing this, but his daughter was right and he needed to focus on protecting Asgard and he could drive himself mad with thoughts of time and causality.
Tom Riddle was dead and he could finally rest. Harry wished that were true but the wizarding world was all but shattered, and everyone placed all the shards in his hands. People on both sides of the war were calling for him to claim responsibility for his heroics and guide them forward or at least pay for everything along the way.
Just over a week ago, Hermione had informed him of a motion in the Wizengamot to assess all assets he gained through inheritance laws during the war and seize all gained from Death Eaters to pay for damages. Personally, Harry couldn't care less about the undoubtedly tainted wealth connected to those families but what Sirius Black had left him was also being called under scrutiny along with even the Potter family wealth by none other than Dolores Umbridge.
Luckily for him, Hermione had been the scribe during that sealed meeting. While she was under vow to never reveal that information, she had been drinking a bit and started to complain about all the horrible people at work. Her rant had lead to her going on and on about how she would write up all these notes in shorthand, transcribe them, and then send numerous duplicates out to people who couldn't be bothered to read them before casting an absentee vote. Hermione never realized that Harry had long since learned how to read her shorthand from her class notes.
The notes detailed the fact that the vote to decide what happens to everything Harry owns that didn't fit in his school trunk was due to happen in three days. That's why he was here at Gringotts to close his accounts.
He had spent that time combing through every property that had passed to him, gutting them, claiming what he wanted, and liquidating the rest. Harry had sold all the properties to Luna at Knuts on the Galleon simply because he had ended up owning nearly thirty percent of the world's magical acreage, from farms to mines to unused forests that someone was too greedy to sell. It also helped that she had come along with him to clean out the locations and he had paid her enough for her help to cover the transaction.
Just yesterday, Luna promised she would invite him along on all of her expeditions into those areas, and there were enough for quite a few. Their first was planned for a few weeks after the completion of their seventh year. Harry was excited at the chance to go adventuring for no other reason than to explore.
He was a bit worried about how his other friends were going to take how he was planning on spending his last year of schooling. He had told Ron and half of the British Wizarding World that he was returning to Hogwarts to complete his education while he told Hermione and the other half that he was preparing to become an Auror. Luna and Neville were the only ones who weren't screaming for him to pick one of those two options, which was probably why he told them his plans.
Harry had quietly talked to Professor McGonagall about his education and what sort of future he could expect and to set up a scholarship fund. After much discussion, and quite a few stories about Lily and the Marauders to distract them, Harry had come to a decision with his head of house's approval. He was going to transfer Ilvermorny and take a few accelerated summer lessons to attempt his OWLs in Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, and History of Magic, having never actually finished the last one.
Originally, Harry was going to use his time in the Colonies as a vacation and then use Luna's expeditions as a way to ease his way back into Britain after the war. Now the easing back in part of the plan is on hiatus until he decides whether or Britain is worth coming back to.
A gruff goblin interrupted his review of his future, "An asset manager will see you now, he is waiting in the third office on the left." The perpetually sour creature pointed down the hallway and then left him. Harry moved quickly to the designated office and knocked.
"Enter," was called out. Harry closed the door behind him and took in the room. It looked more like a general use office rather than a personal one. "I am Manager Brainsmack, I was informed that you are interested in an assessment and possibly closing some accounts."
Harry took a seat after the goblin nodded, "That is correct. I have been informed that I have inherited from more than just my parents and godfather due to convoluted Ministry laws. I have yet to decide, but I believe I will be donating most money towards war relief and some other charities." He had no intention of simply dumping the money into the hands of the still corrupt Ministry. He was going to use his authority as a silent partner of the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes to slip it all into their accounts before moving it into a mundane one he set up, leaving behind a large addition to his first investment. The world needed laughs more than ever and the twins were the ones to do so, even if the Weasleys stood united with their cold shoulder after he officially broke up with Ginny.
After spending a day closing accounts and emptying vaults, Harry learned that his break in during the war was not considered as such. He had apparently had control of the LeStrange accounts since fifth year from the incident in the Department of Mysteries and Griphook was a Gringotts vault runner so it was completely allowed for them to be lead into the vault with their use of magic being justified as there were obstacles between them and legal access to their property. Both Hermione and he had been credited a large sum into their accounts for Griphook raising a false alarm, forcing them to flee for their lives. Gringotts was actually impressed that they had managed to escape their security and thanked him for locating a hole in their defenses.
Harry slipped away on an international portkey to New York City. He had managed to purchase a flat, or as the locals called it, an apartment, in the mundane expanse of the city. Besides the tutors he employed, his often visiting friends, and the paperwork to move to the United States of America, Harry kept busy and avoided all other contact with magicals.
He learned from Neville, who had taken his family's spot in the Wizengamot, that he had managed to turn the vote in his favor. Apparently, Neville's grandmother was complaining that politics were not what they used to be after Harry had transferred all the Death Eater seats to Neville and granted Luna stewardship of the Black seat. All three agreed that Harry shouldn't return to Britain for a while. His disappearance has depolarized most of the conflict, leaving only those like Umbridge to shout old pureblood rhetoric.
Harry glanced down at the school supply list he had just received. It was going to be his first excursion back into the magical world in months, but at least it was in America and there was a chance he wouldn't cause a scene.
He doubled checked that he had his cloak folded up in a pocket, that his Holly wand was in his arm holster, a knife in his boot and on his hip, and the Elder wand on his leg holster. Harry had thought about breaking the wand along with Draco's, but it was too petty. Like he was breaking a child's toy, as strange as it was to think that about something that has lead to the death of countless people. Harry also figured that it would be better to keep the wand than discard broken pieces that would be fought over, he didn't trust wizards to leave things well enough alone. That was exactly why he found the Resurrection Stone after the battle and had it placed in the center of a Deathly Hallows necklace, courtesy of Luna and her father.
"It's alright, Harry," he calmed himself down, "Just go out there, pretend nothing special is going on, and it will be fine. Hopefully." The sound of the door clicking shut behind him was suspiciously finite and ominous.
Harry stepped into his apartment and dropped his rucksack. The was a small puff and twirl of dust as it thudded on the floor. He shut the door quickly, ignoring the fact that one of his neighbors was staring at him in confusion, some chiselled blond bloke, who was probably confused about why he hadn't noticed his apartment, actually, the whole place was his building, his home.
Luna had noticed a loophole in the Statute of Secrecy when it came to the definition of home and non-magical significant others which lead to him purchasing the apartment complex and all surrounding buildings as an affordable realty company to allow himself use magic without worry of government investigation. It also was also an excellent front for converting and depositing a large portion of his wizarding wealth as American Dollars with artificial sale and renting of unlisted and magically hidden apartments covered up by magically expanded apartments. He had, with a bit of help from Luna and Neville, magically automated all of his properties' management maintenance with several spells added to the wards and two house elves, Kreacher and Winky.
Harry twisted the deadbolt closed, activating the set of privacy wards that had helped him earn his NEWTs in Arithmancy. With just a thought, his bough was in his hand and spells were flickering about his apartment. Harry wasn't cleaning or repairing anything after the uncounted number of years he had spent away with Luna and Neville exploring of her, their, he corrected himself, they finally made things legally sound according to the Ministry two weeks earlier, no longer recently obtained properties, no, he was decorating. One of his elves had managed to clean his entire apartment during the few seconds that the privacy ward was down.
It had taken him longer than he expected and quite a bit more magic than he had planned on using to adjust his home to his taste after circling the world on one big adventure that Harry liked to think of as his childhood, considering that he didn't have a particularly excellent one, none of them had. After all, weren't childhoods all about running about with your best friends, learning everything you can, and having as much fun as possible? Now that he thought about it, he really had no clue how long he had been gone. Long enough for him to need a new bough. Long enough to prefer a different word to wand. When and where had he picked up that word?
He caught a glimpse of his reflection in the window and glanced at the picture of him, Ron, and Hermione on the mantle. He was such a different person now. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, and the hair, he had finally managed it get it under control, even if it had taken driving off a Nundu in order to convince the shaman to help. It turned out to be an ancestor's attempt to give himself a more distinct appearance that backfired and became a curse of untamable hair and poor vision linked to the Potter name.
All changes aside, Harry needed to reacquaint himself with the mundane and modern world and the best place to start with was who his current tenants were. "But before I start work like a proper adult, I suppose I should double check all the wards while the kettle in on," he said more to motivate himself than anything else.
Ten minutes later he had located his lucky tea kettle. He had fashioned it from an interesting meteorite he had happened across during his first trip to Africa. Harry smiled as he flicked on his stove. During his last trip to Africa, a shadowcat had attacked him while he was making campfire tea and waiting for Luna and Neville to return from 'night exploration' together. He had panicked when he heard the slightest shuffle behind him so he spun around and tossed the scalding water. He had only seen it blur out of the light before he threw up his strongest mobile ward and sent a patronus to his friends.
He returned from his thoughts and began examining his wards. It had been a simple fix to reestablish full protection on his property. They had been reduced to the bare minimum protections, a minor reinforcement charm and an emergency stasis charm, both were being powered by the stray magic being used nearby. Harry only had to charge the ward stone, but the problem was that it was only Harry to charge the ward stone. Charging a ward stone was like standing in a hole while pouring more dirt in, the more you powered one, the harder it was to stop and climb back out.
"Shite on a shingle, that was hard," Harry gasped as he fell backwards, a plush rug softening his fall. He had poured enough into the ward stone that it had attracted a trickle away from the nearest ley line like a stone pooling dew on a wet awning. A constant drip of magical energy that would last for a long time if nothing comes along and disrupts it. Harry hadn't noticed it until just now, but the magic in New York felt strange, like it had been touched by something that had changed the very foundation of the city. Or he could just be unaccustomed to all the pollution.
He gave a shrug and checked on his screaming tea kettle. "Huh, I must have taken longer than I thought," Harry commented as only a spoonful of boiling water poured out. He filled it up again and pulled out his tea. He took a deep sniff of the blend, it was a delightful English mix that he hasn't had since his sixth year at Hogwarts. He just needed a splash of milk and bit of sugar in the raw for his little cup of nostalgia.
Harry suddenly slapped his forehead, "Damnit, Harry, you've only just come back, you haven't any milk or sugar, wait," he paused his self-deprecation and searched through his pantry shelves, "Ugh, nothing but refined and that just won't do. Now what?"
Steve was focusing on Director Fury as he talked about the stakes. Hydra. Hydra was still around, still torturing and killing with impunity. Destroying Hydra was half the reason he had been willing to crash that plane. Now? Now, he wasn't so sure he could managed in this era. Now, he was thinking that a new person showing up to move in right at this moment was suspicious. Why hadn't he heard about any of the other apartments being available?
"Sir, I don't think we are safe here," Steve informed the director, but before he could elaborate, there was a knock on his door. He was at the peephole with his hand on his shield before Fury got out of his chair. "It's him, same clothes, has a mug with him."
The man must have heard him speak because he took a step back and waved. "Hello, I'm Harry. I've just arrived back in town and was hoping I could borrow a cup of sugar." As best as Steve could tell through the fish-eyed peephole, 'Harry' him a nervous shrug, smile, and neck scratch.
Steve started to lower his shield when Director Fury spoke up, "Is this guy serious? Does he really think you'd fall for that ancient 'borrow a cup of sugar' routine?" Steve was not about to question the master counterspy or that he was about to check his kitchen for sugar. He also was not going to mention how creepy it was that the director could move so quietly.
Before either of them could answer Steve's 'neighbor' spoke again, "Well, the thing is, is that I don't really need a cup of sugar, I - WOAHLYFUCK!" Steve had twitched into action before he could get the drop on them. The door flung open and slammed into the wall, something had shattered and it was supposed to he the man's face against the solid door. Only a trained man could avoid his first attack, but training alone couldn't compare to his speed and strength. The man crumpled from a single punch.
The two professionals quickly pulled the man inside, checked him over to only find the broken handle to a mug on his person, not even a wallet. He was bound and thrown over his shoulder as two quickly left the building. The moment Director Fury stepped outside, the echo of a gunshot was heard before the man fell backwards through the door with a bullet hole through his heart. Steve made a quick decision and dropped the man to the ground and sprinted towards the bullet's origin. He now had no one he could trust and the man posing as his neighbor was a much lower priority than the Winter Soldier.
"Harrison James Potter," called out an echoing voice, too booming to decerne a gender, "We finally meet."
"Huhngawha?" Harry responded as he did his best to roll himself face up while still bound in the gutter. Using his face to pull himself up on to the curb and around into a vaguely sitting position, Harry stretched out his face before answering, "You seem to have me at a disadvantage seeing that the last thing I remember is trying to borrow some milk and sugar for tea." Harry expected his head had had a fairly hard hit at some point because he couldn't locate the voice and his vision was hazy.
"Harrison James Potter," the voice repeated, as if he hadn't said anything, though much quieter now, "You shall answer for all of your tresspasses." He could now tell it belonged to a woman. Had he ever had a woman pull the arch nemesis routine on him before? Harry was all for women having power and what-not, but in all of his travels, he could have sworn it was only men that he had bad enough run-ins with to qualify.
The haze was thickening and thinning, making his head feel like stress ball, his thoughts were slurring together a bit. His head must have been hit fairly hard. He enunciated himself carefully as his tongue felt like pudding, "I don't know who you are, but if," he had to pause to think of the word, "you, if you want to talk, can it be someplace I do not get attacked for asking for milk and sugar?"
The haze disappeared and he was sitting in an interrogation room. The sudden change of colours around him made him sick. He barely had enough control over his body to lean to the side be lost what little was left of his lunch.
"You are in no condition to speak," the policewoman he hadn't noticed sitting across from him said. It felt like a twitch in reality and then everything was better. No sick burning in his throat. No throbbing. No screeching pulse in his ears. No ropes. He had to smile at the last one.
"Now that you are able, you shall answer my questions," commanded the raven haired policewoman. Normal police women don't have a slightly blue complexion that somehow worked for her. The raven hair pulled back into a bun and the deadly serious expression stopped him from letting his thoughts stray without her permission. She slapped a thick folder that Harry knew wasn't there before on the table. Definitely not a normal copper.
"This is all the information collected about one Harrison James Potter. Would you like to say anything for yourself before I start?"
"Should I be calling a lawyer? Am I under arrest?"
Confusion played across the policewoman's face so quickly Harry was certain he had been mistaken. The room had shifted again. Cramped, soundproof walls were now carved stone stretching up to a vaulted ceiling. Uncomfortable metal chairs were now wood and fabric seats. The policewoman with a file was replaced with a regally dressed lady with a scroll. "It is truly impressive, the number of near death experiences you have had. One hundred and thirty-seven. Even Beowulf only managed twenty-three before he expired," the woman spoke, ignoring the sudden change.
His emotions spun about, surprised that someone counted, proud that he was compared to Beowulf, concerned that his life would be relegated into legends like him, that his encounters would be the only thing to live on. "Scheiße," he cursed, "After all I've been through, it would be just my luck to get done in by a random act of mundane violence while trying to make myself a cuppa." Harry sighed in defeat and shrugged, "Well, that's that I guess. I'll be happy to answer anything now that I have all the time in the world."
He could have sworn he saw her mouth twitch into the slightest smile before he spoke again, being dead really dampened his inhibitor between his brain and mouth, "So, do I follow you to the afterlife or am I reincarnated? Are you here to judge my soul, not that I'm questioning an entity of death, but what system do you use for your judgement? Also, you are much prettier than I expected." Harry's eyes widen when he realized he had started rambling and wasn't letting the woman speak, "Sorry, I'll let you continue your investigation. I'll shut up now."
She waited a moment to make sure he wasn't going to interrupt her, "Your first near death experience occurred at the stroke of midnight on All Hallow's Eve, 1981." Harry now knew where she was going with her questioning. "This instance was quite unusual with fact that your soul was fully separated from your body before it was pulled back from the in between by a powerful sacrifice. From this point onward, you have managed at least four near death experiences a year. Despite their frequency, they did not require my investigation again, until the second of May, 1998 when your soul fully entered the in between.
Before you crossed over, you were intercepted by a man that had no business meddling with the dead. After that encounter, you once again returned to life but now your soul was obscured from being located. Your soul became apparent to me during this current situation due to your involvement with three men whose deaths have written since their birth. I must confess, you are an anomaly that I wish to understand."
Harry had been nodding along in order to stop the questions from leaping out unbidden, but now he let them loose, "What do you mean Dumbledore intercepted me?" her face soured slightly so he just pushed forward, "I don't know much about all this, but these might be the reason behind it." He proceeded to pull out the Elder wand, his invisibility cloak, and his necklace with the Resurrection Stone. "Never leave home without them," he confessed.
The woman froze after he finished placing the Deathly Hallows on the table. Her expression softened as she reached out and gingerly rubbed the invisibility cloak between her fingers. "I suppose you'll be wanting them back now," Harry spoke flippantly, it wasn't as if he was going to be allowed to keep them now that he was dead.
"I never would have recognized them if they weren't in front of me; how long ago had I lost them?" The woman, whom Harry was now certain was Death, trailed off for a moment as she remembered something, "It appears you are laboring under some mistake, giving me these items as if they were of no more use to you. You, Harrison James Potter, are not dead but merely unconscious. It is what enabled myself to pull you here to the in between for this conversation. Your magic is part of your soul, and I couldn't risk leaving part of your soul behind, so I moved all the magic immediately around you as well."
She gave him a moment to comprehend the new information. From her expression, Death seemed to expect him to collapse in relief or some other equally dramatic response. It felt more like he had just been informed he was walking in the wrong direction. Death continued, "I was forced to repair your body in order to have a coherent conversation because you have such a keen sense of awareness that your spirit reflects your physical self. Some Tibetan monks who died from self-immolation in 1963 were the last I had encountered where I had to do something similar."
Harry never would have thought that he would have something in common with Tibetan monks, aside from robes. "I guess I'm just lucky like that," taking a moment to smile to himself, "as for the Hallows, they were originally yours so I can think of no better hands for them to be in." The flicker of something in Death's eyes, her surprisingly pretty pale eyes, that told him to continue his explanation, "I only ever really used the invisibility cloak for pranks and sneaking about mundanes, I never felt right calling up the dead without their permission, and I only ever used the Elder wand as an emergency bough which can easily be replaced."
"I never imbued them with such power," Death replied, if she wasn't as regal as she was, Harry would have assumed she was whinging. A small smile pulled at the corner of her mouth before she spoke, "They were lost childhood toys with some fond memories attached to them. Thank you for returning them to me."
Then something hit him, causing his senses to roil about while he threatened to pass out from the overwhelming stimulation. At some point during this episode, Harry grabbed onto something and held on for dear life. It was the only thing that stopped him from passing out by acting like an anchor. When Harry had enough control over himself to focus his eyes, they fell on concerned grey ones.
"How do you feel?" she asked. Her voice had emotion laced through it, after being devoid of it for their entire conversation. Harry nodded weakly as control spread to the rest of his body. He realized he was holding her hand in a tight grip. Harry focused of her hand, it was neither skeletal nor carried 'the chill of death' as he had heard from Hermione. There was a thrumming that took him too long to realize was a pulse. Death had a pulse and he had no clue what to do with that information.
"A nod is not actually an answer to my question."
Harry couldn't help his response. Discovering that Death had a pulse was too much, and his brain was forced to reboot. His body continued onward with a knee jerk sarcastic retort, "Like somebody coated me in batter, fried me in a Ley line, and served me with a side of chips."
There was a beat of silence between them before the mood shifted away panic. It took a considerable effort for Harry to sit up. He was together enough to know he couldn't stand on his own so he just sat on the floor and leaned against his chair. "I was serious about feeling like I got dipped in a Ley line."
Death frowned at that. The frown deepened as her gaze became introspective. Harry leaned his head back and kept an eye on her between tired blinks. Her frown became a scowl before softening when she looked back at him. It took Harry a moment to force himself alert enough to pay attention to what she said, "It appears that by returning the Deathly Hallows to me, you have been deemed worthy by magic, and thanks to and despite my father's meddling we have been married."
Nope. This one broke his brain. His eyes fell closed and Harry's consciousness started slipping. His body remained on autopilot for a few seconds, enough for a small grin, an amused head shake, and an a mumbled, "Would have settled for a date," before his head lolled forward.
Harry twitched himself awake with a back cramp. He was face down on the rug in his bedroom, a meter away from his bed. Magical exhaustion had done a number on him, this had been the most run down he had ever been, at least as best as he could recall. Harry had been in shock for days while he was coming to terms with all that death after dealing with Riddle. Strange dreams always accompanied his sleep after a big drain, like the magic he just took in remembered where it had been last. This one had been unusually cogent but had cranked the strange way up.
He glanced around and didn't find his bough easily, so he pulled out the Elder wand and directed himself to his Leadwood and Nundu whisker stuck between his bed frame and mattress. He relaxed when he had it in hand, slipping them both into their respective holsters. It was already two in the afternoon on Tuesday according to his gnomish alarm clock but it was almost meaningless to him; the last time he had kept track of dates and times was when he had been in the Arctic Circle helping Luna prove that narwhals were in fact sea unicorns.
He stretched and headed towards his kitchen to make himself breakfast. As Harry entered the kitchen he remembered he only had some miscellaneous dry goods, so he spun about on his heel and headed back for a nice long shower. He quickly stripped down his boxers and threw on his bathrobe to wait for his water to heat up.
The shower had been magnificent, albeit long enough for him to feel like a dried fig. He paused his hair drying to think. It wasn't the right colloquialism, but it was the only one that Harry could think of that made any sense at the moment. He was distracted from his distraction by the doorbell.
Harry was a creature of few habits and caution over the unknown was one that he would never forget. He pulled his monitor charms up and ran through the security spectrums. There was a normal letter tucked under his doormat with no one around, it had just blinked into existence when the bell chimed. It must be urgent or official if it bypassed his postbox.
Harry poked his head out and gave a quick look about. Seeing nothing out of place, at least as best as he could recall, he grabbed his letter and returned to the kitchen. Harry went about making himself a cup of tea that didn't require milk and sugar only to notice that he had left the kettle on. Luckily, his recharged wards had managed to stave off any risk of a kitchen fire while was in his mini-coma. They had worked so well that the unattended tea pot was barely warm to the touch. Harry shrugged at that, he would wait until after he finished his drink before starting to worry about anything.
"Falcon, come in Falcon," Sam heard from his headset, buzzing over the mid-flight noise cancelation.
"Falcon here. I am currently homeward bound from the South. ETA ten minutes," he responded. Operations were more than a little paranoid with the constant check-ins. He knew Hydra was the worst sort of persistent, but every single Hydra member had the same kind of crazy about them that warranted the caution. Unfortunately, some third of SHIELD's field agents were the kind of crazy that would lay down their life to complete an order.
"New orders. Security code requested."
He sighed, "Clearance: Broken Sky."
"Acknowledged. We have Hydra activity in Queens. Their current object is unknown. Cameras have sighted a ghost agent who had worked with the Winter Soldier. We have an 78% facial match from Steve Rogers and Director Fury." The map shifted on his display to direct him to his mission area. While the briefing continued, a very short feed of a camera caught a wiry man in a bathrobe stick his head out of a door, glance about in confusion, and step into the residential looking hall, "This man participated in the assassination attempt on Director Fury while he was inside a safe house." The man in the video retrieved something from under the doormat, his bending over revealed that he was wearing only has underwear underneath.
The video was time stamped forty seconds ago, which was impressive considering that his confirmation code had taken thirty or so seconds. Next to the video flashed some artist renditions of a haggard looking man including some ideas of what he would look like without facial hair. A few looked close to the man in the video, but everything wasn't quite adding up right.
"This man, claiming his name is 'Harry' was used as a distraction to draw Fury out into the line of fire. This man was reported to have been knocked unconscious and bound by Steve Rogers before being left behind to pursue the Winter Soldier." Sam had heard about it in passing for the Cap, but the way he told it it sounded like a civi got suckerpunched by Captain America. The overly honest man had felt bad that he never got a chance to apologise in person but was told that it had been handled.
"There was a three minute window between Steve Rogers leaving the scene and SHIELD securing the building. In that window, he disappeared without a trace. No records of him exist in our database beyond his first sighting and now. Both occurred in the same location."
Now that was more than a little suspicious. It sounded like Hydra agents had extracted him rather than disposing like they did with the less important assets. Was this this another Winter Soldier? One that was newer or more subtle?
"I have the building in sight," he radioed in as he landed quite a distance away. According to the information he was given, this man was in a room on the South-Western side on the fifth floor. "No sign at any of the windows. Releasing drone," he reported. The whirring sound faded as the drone rush to the building unnoticed.
Once it was in range, Sam shifted the drone through light spectrums. Every corner of the building glowed under the gamma spectrum, as if someone had traced over the important parts with a marker, a weirdly dark glowy marker. How was he supposed to report this when he didn't understand the reading, gamma radiation was supposed to glow white in this spectrum! "I'm picking up some strange readings on the gamma spectrum, but it's not radiation."
"Falcon, please elaborate. Our monitors cannot confirm your statement."
"It looks like the edges of the building are in bold to me. I don't know how else to explain it," he gave his chin a scratch, "I'm looking at the drone feed next to what I'm seeing through my goggles, and it's different, subtle but different."
There was a long silence. Sam used it to scan through the feeds again, this time looking for small details. Operations spoke in his ear before he could do much, "Our feed of the drone is bounced through our link to you, we believe the is a loss of data. Initiate a local data copy."
He wanted to complain, but he knew there was nothing he could do. He had to shut down a lot of his navigation and flight assistance programs in order to process all the information, but even then he only had about thirty minutes worth of memory for all that intensive data, "Request confirmed. I can only managed thirty minutes worth of full spectrum video."
Now with a time limit, Sam worked quickly. He noticed a whisper with the thermals. It was the faintest hint of a humanoid, he almost dismissed it as a heating vent as it was moving about without going anywhere, but then it sat down.
"I've picked something up on thermals. It is faint, too faint to be a human unless there is some sort of shielding on the building. I'm manueving drone for a better view."
"Good eyes. The only other agent who might have caught that is Barton."
"Umm, the thermals put him right in front of this window but no one is there."
"Unable to confirm. We had to freeze the feed and squint to see him before."
"It looks as if someone is sitting down in a chair but there is no chair. Man this is weird, I really don't think I can handle a literal ghost ghost agent."
"The alert has been raised. Possible alien or advanced technology on sight. Remain in observation only."
Before Same got a chance to reply, the feed went dead. He saw a spark of light and a puff of smoke from his drone before it dropped out of the sky on to the roof.
"Shit! The drone was just taken out. I'm going in while I still know where he is." He blasted off and soared towards the window he had been looking through. His scan confirmed that the window was normal glass, so he cast forward a small charge to shatter it just ahead of him. He flipped and braked hard, landing with a roll to avoid any retaliation while his radio crackled, "Agents are two minutes out. Do not engage."
"Whoops, bit late for that," he murmered to himself as he cased the room. Aside from the broken and overturned kitchen table and the mess of glass, it looked like a regular apartment fill with souvenirs from everywhere. 'Harry' was there by the front door looking stunned with a tea kettle billowing steam in one hand and the other on the door's half-turned deadbolt.
"Tā Mā de. Why is it always me?" The man spoke. Despite his even tone, his confused expression didn't change, "Why? How is… agh! Why the hell are you in my kitchen?" There was a click of the deadbolt sliding into place as 'Harry' took a step towards him.
Sam was already moving behind cover after rolling a stun charge at his feet. It detonated as he ducked behind the counter. It was oddly muffled and metallic sounding. He peaked around the corner to see the man crouching down, the teapot must have been used to cover the blast. He must have incredible reflexes to react that quickly, meaning he was highly trained or enhanced like Steve.
Sam tried to radio his backup but the line was dead. Before he could complain, there was a flash of red light and everything went dark.
Harry let out a groan and scrubbed his face with his hands. He couldn't even get through two days without trouble finding him. After all the years of trouble, he had a developed a playbook for himself that first came about after an alcohol fueled game of what-if with Luna and Neville. It had become a bit of a running joke as Harry used it to also evaluate better methods after something strange happened. Kidnapped by Veela for breeding purposes had been hilarious until it happened with a clan of Mediterranean Mermaids. And a cult of Anubis. And three separate Gorgons.
None of their scenarios could really prepare him adequately for some soldier-boy mundane with a winged jetpack bursting through his window in the fraction of a second between his standard wards coming down and his privacy wards going up. The whole thing was bizarre enough for him to stop and stare. It also didn't help that he was still a bit confused over his dream.
So Harry just stood there for a moment, staring at the unconscious man who wrecked his kitchen. He then reached up and pinched his cheek hard enough to leave behind a welt, "So, not still dreaming." He contemplated what to do before sighing and calling for Kreature.
The elf appeared next to him with a small crackle when he popped through the privacy ward and immediately scowled, "Nasty birdbrain bothering Master." A sharp snap had the man stuck face first to the ceiling while the muttering elf fixed up the damage, "Filth pretending to be bird with loud snooping metal birds, interrupting Kreature's Master from reading letter from new Mistress."
"Kreature, I want you to figure out who this man works for," a feral grin grew on the elf's face. Harry amended his order, having forgotten that Kreature was a Black elf, through and through, "Kreature, you must do so without being noticed. We don't know what we are up against, so we must bide our time for something vital to reveal itself before we strike." Harry had long since learned how to handle the elf and his vicious tendencies, recognizing it as a desire to exalt the Black family.
The man floated down from the ceiling and stopped a foot off the ground. All of his gear was removed piece by piece and spread out on a sheet, leaving the man in only boxers. "Filth has peeping and listening boxes, just like its metal bird. Kreature used nasty rat birds to make it go away."
"Thank you, Kreature. Let's make sure he doesn't have any recordings of us or magic and then you can complete my previous order." Harry circled his wand over the gear, noting that the uniform didn't look like any military he knew, "Baibiānjí. Zhabai." He wiped out any evidence of magic with a technology specific curse. Had he not used the counter curse, all the recording devices would never be able to collect evidence of magic, and Harry wasn't going to leave anything that might lead back to him.
"Kreature, I think something that would dissuade his organization from looking for us is in order. Maybe something to make them feel foolish?"
"At once, Master," Kreature intoned with a deep bow. There were several quick pops and the unknown soldier with all of his gear was gone.
With a deep sigh, Harry sat down at the kitchen table. Either of his elves would have been happy to make him breakfast, but his days never quite felt right if he didn't make himself breakfast. "Right, I also have the letter to deal with," he reminded himself, "Winky, could you make me a light breakfast, something with fruit on the side?" The little elf had popped in, gave a bow as an acknowledgement, and popped back out of the kitchen. Harry had no idea how long it would take for breakfast to be made if she had to procure all the ingredients as well. He located the letter and read it as he waited.
Dear Harrison James Potter,
I have been unable to reach you after we parted ways, so I have spelled this letter to appear to you when you are available. While you were likely recovering from the ordeal, I have been able to confirm that we are indeed married.
Harry rubbed his eyes and read the last sentence again. And again. He let out a groan, "This better be a joke." He glanced down at the signature on the letter Hel Lokisdottir. "I guess it wasn't a dream," he said weakly, needing a moment to collect himself before reading more.
We were married by magic itself, thanks to my father's meddling, making it eternally binding.
He had a headache in his eye. He was already dealing with too much crazy with just the soldier-boy. "Scheiße, that means that my neighbor actually cold-cocked me for asking for sugar."
As we are married, I wish for us to learn more about each other. When you are ready to see me, speak the words, "I wish to meet my wife," and you will be brought to my home. From the little we were able to converse, I realized that you are not quick to trust and anything I write in this letter will be met with scepticism. Even so, I feel it would be rude to expect you to trust the magic of a stranger.
My name is Hel Lokisdottir and my father is Loki Odinson. If you know Norse mythology, please do not let it sway your opinion of me. While it managed to be accurate at times, it is largely unreliable. I am indeed the ruler of Helheim, the land of the dead where those who do not enter Valhalla reside, and until we were married, it was also my prison.
The Allfather, thanks to my father, believed that I was the child of a prophecy and feared the power I would wield. He bound me to a dead realm in hopes of trapping me, never considering that much of my power is over all things dead.
"I never expected someone else's life to be messed up by a prophecy. What am I saying? Of course plenty of people were screwed over by prophecies, but still, it's nice to have something in common," Harry again spoke to no one.
A plate full of his breakfast appeared on the table, "Thank you, Winky." He began eating slowly with one hand and continued reading the letter with the other.
I wish to keep my new found freedom from my realm a secret, not because I wish for an advantage over my father and the Allfather but to keep them from bothering us. It is my hope that we can use this freedom to explore our relationship as well as how much the realms have changed since the last time I set foot outside of Helheim.
With hope and best wishes,
P.S. Loki is currently in Asgard pretending to the throne without worry of discovery and Heimdall's vision does not exceed my own, allowing us remain undetected for as long as we are careful.
Kreature appeared as soon as Harry set the letter down, "Kreature does not wish to interrupt Master." The elf waited for permission to speak, which was quickly given by Harry, "Kreature has put the filth through the wall in the fake hall cupboard. More filth has arrived to retrieve it. They are not leaving, may I force them to?"
He sighed at how hasslesome his morning truly was. "Yes, Kreature, you may force them to leave. Please do not let them know about magic and don't get hurt," he replied. As soon as the elf disappeared, Harry quietly gave Winky an order, "Winky, please make sure he doesn't do anything severe enough to attract more attention while I go visit my new wife." The little elf appeared just long enough to give him a teary eyed smile and a nod.
"Well, I better send a letter to Luna and Neville about my unanticipated nuptials," he chuckled to himself. "Oh!" he exclaimed as he started writing out the letter, "We could visit them, see if they like her, and Xenophilius would love to know the true origins of the Hallows, and if things work out, we could have a ceremony with them!"
He finished his letter and was about to seal the envelope when he remembered the belated wedding present he been working on while they enjoyed their 'official' honeymoon. Harry was proud of it. He had finally figured out a way to improve his parents' communication mirrors. It had taken him the better part of four months to work out the arithmancy and a month of botched attempts to craft three linked mirrors. The hardest part had been etching the runes that allowed other communication mirrors to be linked to his rather than needing to purchase separate paired mirrors.
After he found the mirrors, Harry added a second letter with all the instructions and security measures for his mirrors, charmed the envelope to hold them, and asked Winky to drop the letter off at the post office because transatlantic wizarding mail was either exorbitant or unreliable. "No point putting this off any longer," Harry lamented before he tossed back the rest of his tea, "I wish to meet my wife."
How Kate got roped into investigating the incident involving Falcon crashing into a building, she didn't know. Actually, she did know and just didn't like to think about it. It was more of Director Fury's manipulations. It didn't help that coming back to the apartment complex where she had been assigned to keep an eye on Steve Roger's reintegration into society dug up all the old feelings that she had started to have about the man before everything came to light.
Kate was surprised at how short-sighted and petty Captain America had been afterwards, going out of his way to avoid her. Sure, there was the fact that she had been assigned to get close to him, but what did he expect? Rogers was a living time capsule and no one had any idea about the long term effects of the serum coursing through him, not to mention PTSD in regular soldiers resulted in severe enough tragedies. After all, the man was part of the tactical response team for a global espionage and counter-terrorism organization, what else could he expect? It didn't help her that he was one of the limited number of people in the world who could pass the clearance to date a SHIELD agent without a security risk.
He had been so sweet that walking down the familiar hallways dug out a hollow ache in her stomach. Kate took a moment to center herself. She wasn't here to reminisce about how a relationship had failed to even start or the fact that Director Fury was one of the most manipulative asses on several known planets, including Loki and whatever gave him the Chitauri army. Kate banished the stray thoughts from her mind, only leaving the single minded focus of Agent 13.
Unfortunately, her work persona nearly cracked when someone immediately behind her cleared his throat, "You are no longer a resident here, girl." It was only her lightning reflexes that stopped her from placing two bullets in the center of mass of her old landlord. The cantankerous old man leaned heavily on his cane and wore a scowl. The old man always felt odd, like he was part of the building. According to the SHIELD files, the old man had been taking care of these apartment complexes for nearly fifteen years after moving here from England where K.R. Atures had worked as a caretaker of an old manor for fifty years.
"Girl," the old man's mouth remained scowling as he spoke, "I asked you a question and do not have time for you to think of an answer other than the truth." He rapped his cane on the floor while he cleared his throat again. The bastard could make anyone squirm under his hateful glare, it was honestly worse than Director Fury's one-eyed stare down, and she was pretty sure her boss knew and was jealous.
She used the thought of Director Fury being pouty and jealous to fuel her chipper persona, "Mister Atures! It has been a while. I am helping some friends who are looking for an apartment and I remembered that there were a few available here that were in their price range."
The foul man let out a single coughing laugh that made her throat tighten. Mister Atures shifted is weight and pointed his cane down the hall at the two casual dressed agents, "Those two look just as likely to move in here as I am likely to enjoy your company." He kept his weight on his left leg and knocked his cane on the wall with a loud slap, "Oi, Tweedledee and Tweedledum!" The two agents who had been discretely scanning for radiation signatures, jumped at the sudden noise. They were techies that had recently been promoted to reserve field agents and it showed. "You lot aren't allowed to come in here and do whatever you want! Don't think I didn't see you waving around all of that techno-junk and then leaving it behind! I've been finding your crap stuck about the place for weeks since you left!"
The old man hobbled over to the two stunned agents. Agent 13 would have thought it was funny how terrified two lethally trained agents were of an ancient man with a limp except that he had just let them know that he had located and possibly destroyed top of the line surveillance equipment. She moved as quickly as she could to catch up to Mister Atures without attracting his attention. How had an old man become aware of SHIELD's surveillance? Was he Hydra?
Before she could draw her pistol, the old man spun around and jabbed her in the diaphragm with his cane. While Agent 13 was forced to gasp for breath, despite wearing the latest model of SHIELD's discreet ballistic armor, the bastard's eyes narrowed at her. The old man spun back around and wacked the guns from the rookies' hands. He threw his hands up and started ranting, further disarming all the agents in the hallway, "Concealed weapons! Trespassing! Vandalization! Assault with a deadly weapon! Probably a few other things I missed, but the point is is that if you three do not leave this instant, I am calling for the police to come and arrest you!"
During the rant, Mister Atures waved his cane about and pointed it at them like a sword on occasion. The reserve agents had to duck wild cane motions and moved next to her, away from their weapons. The old man was corralling them. She managed to catch her breath as she drew her firearm. The rookie on the left was emboldened by the senior agent and stepped forward, stupidly, "We are the Police, old - OW!" the agent clutched his forehead where the cane had clocked him.
Mister Atures ignored the cocking of the gun and spoke directly at the one he just hit, "Don't you dare lie to me, boy! I know exactly who you work for! Don't make me dig out the contract and beat you over the head with it." The landlord turned away from them and hobbled towards a supply closet, he looked over his shoulder at her, "Why don't you take your idiots back to wherever you came from and ask your director about the contract?" He threw open the door and jabbed something inside with his cane. There was a groan. "Wake up, boy! Agents are here to drag your sorry excuse home!"
Inside the closet was Falcon. He was obviously concussed and badly batted. It had taken the two rookies a few minutes to extract Sam Wilson from the wrecked closet. The entire time Agent 13 had been in radio contact with her superiors to confirm the old man's story. As they left the building with Sam on a stretcher, Mister Atures called after them, "Don't think this is over! I'll be sending your director a bill for damages!"
During the ride back to base, Sam was fading in and out of consciousness, constantly mumbling about teapots, bright lights, and apologizing for messing up, on the occasion he was more lucid. It was a little cute. Now Agent 13 just had to deal with her constantly irate boss and the fact that one security breach in SHIELD may exist because someone in the legal department approved an unfavorable contract. It then occurred to her that the contract might have been the reason the Winter Soldier was able to locate them. At least she could report that she has a lead on possible Hydra activity.
The soft tinkle of celestial bell alerted Luna to something arriving in her, their, she corrected herself with a small giggle, mundane postbox. She set aside her latest copy of Wizarding Wilds Weekly and headed towards the front door. Not many people would send them something through mundane post, so it was usually from someone important or was utter tripe, seriously, why would either of them need Russian bride?
She took a forty minute detour through one of her favorite pastures, enjoying all the flowers Neville had planted as well as the pixies that made their homes in them. She hadn't meant to take that long to reach her destination, but several pixies were insistent about showing off their homes and it would be rude to not let them. The postbox always brought out smile. Painted across the right side was Longbottom with a wonderful flower motif with a similar animal theme and Lovegood painted on the left. They had agreed that hyphenating their names together was a quite a mouthful, so Luna took his name.
Luna still used her maiden name when they were out on official business and for her papers. She shuffled through the handful of envelopes and ignored the colourful adverts. Something for Doctor Lovegood, Mister Lovegood, Mr. Long Bottom, Doctor Longbottom, and the last, an oddly heavy envelope, was addressed to Luna and Neville. Luna immediately recognized the return address. She whipped out her wand and spoke softly, "Expecto Patronum," it took a half second for the silver to coalesce into her familiar jackrabbit, "Neville, we have mail from Harry and another invite to a preservation fundraiser. I'll come to your greenhouse office."
She gave her patronus a head start before apparating to just outside her husband's workspace. Luna didn't want to burst in and surprise him, too many dangerous things about that didn't reach well to surprise and Neville was too handsome to risk a man-eating plant getting the upper hand.
Luna only had to wait a minute for the wards to drop and the office door to swing open. Her husband greeted her, "Good morning, love. I must have been a bit too involved to hear the post bell. I've been working on identifying uses of minor magical plants, the Venus Flytrap is amazing. It has managed to convert what little magic it has into movement! I think it could be used as an additive to potions that might work to enhance physical reactions, maybe even be used to further accelerate some of types of healing tinctures! The plant is exponentially more efficient at this than any other moving magical plant I have compared it to."
Neville was now wearing what Luna called, his Herbology face: an impossible grin, fiercely intense eyes, and eyebrows that twitched along with his animated gestures. Luna hadn't seen like this since he was invited to a Treant conclave. Neville had half turned away from her and started addressing himself, "Maybe if I were crossbreed it with Devil's Snare for its reactive parasitic nature and then fertilized it with Ashwinder eggs to help mitigate sunlight sensitivity, maybe then a second generation crossed with a Venomous Tentacula or maybe, no, yes, I'll see about procuring some clippings from the Whomping Willow for good measure, right, cannot forget to attempt a Bonsai…"
Luna gently cupped his cheek and turned his attention back to her. She stretched up and kissed him and he dipped his head to meet her; it was warm and gentle. It was filled love and need, so much that Luna stepped up on to his boots just to be a little closer to him. Neville was perfect with his dirt stained hands and small wobble of his adam's apple; the way his arms and lips both pulled her even closer.
It was several minutes before either of them could think about post or plants.
They had settled on the small couch to the side of the office, mail spread out in front of them on the table, Harry's envelope in the center. Neville reached out and took it, pausing for a moment when he noticed the weight. He looked thoughtful as he tested its weight by turning it over between his hands a few more times than necessary. "I'm pretty sure I know what's in here; Harry really didn't have to get us a wedding present."
"It could just be an early birthday present, or possible a belated Christmas gift," Luna responded definitively. "Well, that settles it. It's too much of a mystery to open after the other letters. I personally hope it is an Easter present."
Neville chuckled and opened the letter and removed the contents. Two separately folded pieces of paper and two pocket watches covered in runes disguised as filigree Alison to the table. Luna squealed and grabbed one of the watches, immediately popping it open, almost shouting, "Harry Potter!" There was a blink and a shimmer across the surface of the mirror inside, there was a small slamming sound and the mirror turned black. Luna pouted and grabbed the papers while handing Neville the malfunctioning communication mirror, "Here are the instructions. Let's see…"
Luna trailed off as she read, giving Neville time to examine the mirror on the lid of the pocket watch. It still gave off the slightest shimmer of a reflection. The watch face appeared to be inspired by the Weasley family Watch, but it only had three needles. Luna's and his were pointed at home, but Harry's was twitching between traveling, home, and with friends. Showing his wife the watch, "Luna, is there anything in the instructions about a twitching location needle? I'm a little worried about Harry."
Luna snatched the communication mirror back and leaned closer to the instructions, stopping every moment to examine the device. Neville wasn't about to read Harry's or any of the other letters while Luna was so focused, so he began fiddling with the second device. On a whim, he spoke, "Harry Potter."
The mirror flickered for a second and then a small image of Harry's head appeared and spoke, "Hey Luna and Neville. If your getting this message then I must be have be fiddling with my mirror because that's really the reason I can think of why my mirror might be busy. I'll change the message when you get through to me. There is going to be three beeps, the last one lets you know that the mirror is recording your message, I haven't worked out a way for you to send a text message with the mirrors yet, so leave a time I can call you back at."
After the three beeps, Neville spoke, feeling a bit silly, "Hello Harry, thank you for the mirrors. Luna tried calling you but the mirror went black, so when I tried on the other mirror, I get this message. We shouldn't be going to any events," he glanced at Luna who approved his statement with a nod, "so call back as soon as you get this."
"Neville, look here. We can enlarge the mirror. Maybe we'll be able to see if there is something we missed," Luna said as she folded the device backwards and pulled on the knob, enlarging it into a handle. She then tugged on the frame of the mirror and it stretched into a large hand mirror. What once was black now was Harry's face, pressed tightly against the glass. Their confusion quickly increased when the mirror bowed towards them like a bubble. Inside of it was Harry's distorted head that ways quickly joined by a shoulder and arm.
They were stunned as the mirror spewed out Harry Potter. He flopped over the table and landed with a smack with his back on the floor and feet in the air. There was a long unintelligible groan, "That could have gone better."
"Now I know the mirror is broken, I wanted to call him, not summon him!" Luna complained.
Harry groaned and rolled about until he was on his hands and knees. "Sorry about crashing in, I -" he cut himself off as he straightened and stretched his back with several pops, "Oh, that's a bit better. I forgot that the mirror would still be small on your end." Harry stood up and stretched himself out further, "Gah, getting stuck between the panes of glass really gives you cramps."
Harry quickly grinned and threw open his arms to hug his friends. "I missed you two! Anything interesting happen with Britain since I've been gone?"
"Nothing interesting enough to catch our attention our second day back from the honeymoon," Neville responded with a matter of fact tone after he stepped way for his wife to hug Harry.
"We missed you too, but how did you get here. I would like to think we would have heard about your mirror bubble travel before now," added a slightly disappointed Luna.
"Mirror bubble travel, huh?" Harry chuckled, "Since your only question for me is about how I arrived, I'm guessing you haven't read my other letter. As for the mirror bubble, it is called Reflection Walking and is a bit like combining apparation with scrying. Normally, it is used with lakes and ponds because you run the risk of getting stuck if one of the reflections you use gets damaged, or is too small." He rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment, "And for how I learned it, the person I mentioned in the letter taught it to me, but before we get to that, could you point me to the loo? Squeezing through a hand mirror is murder on the bladder; it feels like my teeth are floating."
"Eech. Go on, go. First door on the left through that door," Neville said with a shudder and a thumb point over his shoulder at a door, "We'll read the letter while you're gone."
Luna's excited squealing over the letter was interrupted when Harry re-entered the office. Luna immediately rushed to his side with questions, while Neville slowly joined her with a pained expression and muttering, "I don't want to know, but I love my wife. I don't want to know, but I can't leave her alone."
Harry was doing his best to settle Luna down, Neville joined the conversation fully just as Luna's patronus dashed off to let her father know she had a big story for him. "Luna, Luna. Just a moment, please," he stressed, "First, I want you to know that it's been about eight months since I sent that letter, for me at least. Second, I think things are really working out for Hel and I. And finally, it turns out that Midgar-, sorry, humans, wizard or otherwise, can't be married by all of magic, so I'm, well, I'm bit more and a dash of something else now."
"You are so lucky I have been inoculated to Potter Insanity after all the years of travelling with you, or else I would have splinched my own head off just to escape. Seriously, who accidentally marries the god of death?" Neville grumbled.
"Daddy's going to love meeting her," Luna paused, "Is she going to be able to come because I thought she had been banished to Helheim?"
"Yes, she was, right up until I married her," Harry smirked at a thought before sharing it, "She's actually developed a sort of agoraphobia because she's never left so much as one of her responsibilities to anyone else, at least not without constant oversight. I've been helping her with it while she she's been teaching me, well, to do what she does."
"You do want a wedding ceremony, don't you?" Luna almost begged.
"Yes, we'll set up a date once Hel is comfortable leaving everything thing alone. She wants to be able to solely focus on our wedding and honeymoon," Harry's focus trailed off as he was obviously happily thinking about his recent significant other, "If you give me a bit, I think I might be able to get some of her attention over here to meet you, but it will take a bit."
"Go on, then," Neville encourage as the couple nodded together, "We would love to meet her."
Harry pulled out his own communication mirror and told them, "I'll be back as quick as I can," before disappearing into nothing in a way strangely distinct from and similar to apparation.
The moment he was gone, Luna latched herself to Neville's side. She half hissed and half cried into his chest, "That's so romantic!" The only response he could think of was to pick her up in a hug, to which she immediately wrapped her legs around his waist and pressed her head to his clavicle and he tucked his chin over her head.
Something stirred in them both and Luna whispered to Neville, "I want to start a family."
Petra heard the bullets before he saw them. Not good, at that close of range, they were millimeters from hitting the closest thing to someone who actually cared about him and his sister with no ulterior motives. His heart was pounding so hard it felt like it had already popped.
Everything fell away from focus. It was just about him racing forward. The bullets weren't there anymore. It was only about going as fast possible. Petra drove himself forward one thrusting step at a time. The concrete gave way like soil as he sprinted. It was just one exhale. Red crept into the edge of his vision.
The shortest eternity expired and Petra lifted his arms to soften his impact with Clint. It slowed him down. There they were. The bullets started to dig into his back. Another eternity to push through. He pulled himself off the bullets and stumbled forward. If he slowed down at all he would be dead. He had to get out of the way, but he couldn't turn without slowing down. He didn't have enough space to recover, there was rubble everywhere.
He was afraid. Petra had had enough of fear. He had been afraid for three whole days and then every day since. He was done fearing death, and if he was going to die, he was going to face it. He wanted to see his name on the bullets before they caught up to him.
He could barely see them through all the red as he spun about. It felt like time slowed down. A soft glow filled in the rest of his vision, so he closed his eyes. He relaxed into the sensation of death. It was like leaning back and falling without worry of hitting the ground.
So when Petra hit the ground with flailing limbs and suffocating pain, he was surprised. His eyes snapped open and took a second to see anything, his third eternity. The pain was all he could feel. No legs, no arms, just pain. Pain and the little bit of battle filled sky in the corner of his vision. Clint was sitting up, but there was another figure.
Something crept back into his mind besides his pain. A scream. A scream of anguish. His sister! Petra became determined to move through the pain. Petra stumbled to his feet in time to see this new figure look towards Wanda. The figure disappeared and reappeared next to his sister faster than he could track, unless his vision was playing tricks on him, and unless his hearing was tricking him as well, the figure cursed in with an out of place accent before he moved, "Shite! Scheiße! Not good, not good!"
Her brother was dead. Wanda felt him accept his death and face it, just like they had promised each other so long ago. She was overwhelmed by grief. She was alone. Alone because one of Ultron's puppets killed him. She would rip the closest thing to his heart from his metal chest. It wouldn't bring him back, but it would stop others from the same fate.
She could almost see the fear on Ultron's face as she started to pry at the casing to his power source. Then a hand intruded between her and her revenge. She didn't care whose it was, it was in her way. She pulled at the power and attempted to toss it out of her way, she needed to feel the thrum of the machine's power core stop with her hand, show the monster its own heart before his reserves ran dry.
The hand and the fool attached to it remained in place. Wanda's focus turned towards this out of place person. What kind of man stands between a witch and her revenge? A fool in a bathrobe with a steaming kettle in one hand. He was no one of consequence, so she brought the weight of her power down on him, crushing the fool into the rubble.
Except, he wasn't crushed. He only bent over with one hand on his knee and the other set the kettle down before resting on his other knee. How this man was able to remain standing when so many others were crushed, she didn't know, but Wand could see his body shaking under the effort. She applied more force, temporarily forgetting about Ultron.
"So some other hero has come to -" Ultron began before being cut off by the fool coughing wetly in his fist. He held up a finger to ask for a moment more. He stood up and spat something out. Wanda was so surprised to hear him speak, her powers ceased to hold back the puppets and their rush for the trigger, "Sorry to interru-," he cut himself off and waved his hand about, "No you don't!"
The trigger glowed just before the first drone reached it and pulled the handle. Wanda let a gasp of fear. She had doomed them by giving Ultron a chance to drop the city, but nothing happened. More drones piled around the trigger. They pushed and pulled but nothing happened.
"Right, that stops that. Now for the shooting," the black haired man said as he picked up his kettle and dug into his robe's pocket, "Now where did I put that?"
While the out of place man was distracted, Wanda attempted to pull the puppets away from the trigger, but all she could focus on was what the man spat out. Bullets. Misshapen bullets and there were no bullet holes to be seen. Wanda's confusion was set aside when the puppets start to attack again.
"What have you done?" Boomed Ultron from one of the drones. There was a wave of them flying at Wanda and the man. She leapt into action and began staving off the attack, but just as before, she was being overwhelmed.
Their communication crackled to life with Stark on the line, "Guys! Something happened! I can't do anything to the device but the city has stopped rising!"
"Does someone have eyes on Ultron and the trigger?" Rogers asked.
Wanda couldn't spare the focus and tuned out their confusion. It wasn't enough. She was buckling under the strain. The puppets were breaking through even with her emptying all she could into her shielding. Then there was nothing left for her to give. Wanda fell to her knees, the shield fell. She only had seconds to live before she would join Petra. Except, she didn't.
Nothing happened for far too long. Wanda flinched as the puppets crashed to the ground around her. She sagged back on to her heels and spun her heard about in amazement. All around her the fighting had stopped. There were still screams and crashing noises, but the gripping terror of war was gone. In the distance the line of escape vehicles faltered as if riding a large wave moving outward.
Wanda sank completely to the ground in exhaustion and confusion. She would have fallen flat on her back, but someone had caught her.
Petra was on his knees holder her up with a pained grin on his face, "He was just there behind me."
Their bizarre savior turned towards the siblings but was interrupted by a cry from Ultron, "Do not ignore me!" The machine rushed the stranger with shots racings forward. Why was he in a bathrobe? His strange attire almost distracted her from his strange reaction.
He spun around and blocked the shots with the kettle. The still steaming tea kettle. Then with a flick of his finger, sent Ultron flying back. He impacts a pillar and sticks to it unnaturally. "Go dry out, you big baby," the stranger mocked before he pulled his fingers across the air, silencing Ultron's scream.
He turned back to Wanda and Petra with a rakish grin on his face. "Right then, sorry about that," he said. Taking a few steps closer he continued, "I came as soon as I realized what was happening. I was in such a rush I materialized into some bullets, and let me tell you, not fun. And, crap. You're alive." He stopped and sunk back on his heels with a stunned expression on his face.
The siblings both frowned at his reaction. "Damn, too late now," he exclaimed, throwing his free hand up. He resumed walking towards them and began explaining himself, "I've never followed someone's death before, so I may have arrived a little early and messed things up a bit. I hope I get some leeway for it being an accident." He looked a little nervous now. Actually, he looked almost panicked at the thought, but he managed to control himself with a deep breath.
"Let me start again. My name is Harry Potter, and I am married to Hel Lokisdottir," he said.
Thor stumbled over the rubble and loomed over Harry. Wanda realized that he was perhaps a little below average height and had a lean build. Such a small man unaffected but the angry wall that was Thor. "Odin has forbidden union with those of Midgard, it would be lethal," he lamented before glaring at the man.
"Not all marriages are Asgardian, big guy," Harry responded before patting his arm and turning his back to him.
"Right then," Harry sighed, "I came here as soon as I realized what the death of Ultron would lead to and came to stop it. There would have been so much death that I'm not sure when I would be able to convince her to have the ceremony with my family, half of whom would be dead by the date we set."
Clint strolled in with his loud mouth, "Did he seriously just stop Ultron because he might ruin his wedding plans?"
"Bite me," Harry replied, flipping him off, "I think I am allowed to be selfish on occasion." He paused and cocked his head, "Where was I? Right!" He held up a fist sized crystal between his thumb and middle finger. It a precise tetrahedron with strange carved markings covering it. The marks were sharp and jagged and stood out harshly against the smokey color. "This is a full spectrum jamming device; anything not run by a brain is dead in the water." He then dropped the device and bounced back to his hand off the crook of his arm before pocketing it.
"Alright, I'm going to be brief because someone has definitely noticed me by now. I've managed to set the city into a slow descent and the jammer fried the tin cans," he gave the collapsed puppets a wave. "Now, the magic holding Ultron won't let him down until he learns his lesson. Unfortunately, only a parent can stop a child's tantrum, so I expect him to be stuck there for a while. Do tell Stark when he shows up that he needs to have a serious heart to heart with someone."
Harry then turned on his heels and disappeared.
"Father protect us, seiðmenn," Thor said as he readied his hammer.
"Scythe-men?" asked Clint. He notched an arrow when he saw how nervous the Norse God was.
"Quiet. Did he leave anything behind?" Thor demanded with a hushed and urgent tone.
Wanda was going to point out the kettle, but Petra beat her to it, "He left his teapot," pointing near the puppets.
Electricity crackled around Thor's hammer as he approached it. She could feel Petra mumbling to himself, but she couldn't make it out. "Wait!" Petra called out just as Thor was readying to hurl his hammer, "It is the same as Ultron!" This gave them all pause. Petra fumbled over his explanation, "The pot is the same metal as Ultron."
Thor's eyebrows furrowed and he took a step back, returning his hammer to his hand. Clint stepped forward and glanced between Ultron and Petra with raised eyebrows, "No one would make a teapot out of vibranium. That's just ridiculous, even Loki wouldn't be that crazy."
Thor cleared his throat, "Seiðmenn are beyond understanding. Be glad Loki is not truly one, else the new city of York would have been lost, possibly more."
The silence from Thor's statement was interrupted with the pop of a corked bottle. Harry Potter was standing next to Clint. The man walked forward, ignoring the god jump into a combat stance and the arrow pointed at his back. "Sorry about this," he said, "I forgot my tea in my rush to leave." He disappeared again the moment he touched his kettle, not even bothering to stand up straight before leaving.
"Wow. He does have a vibranium teapot. Stark is going to be pissed," Clint said with a whistle. "I'm still not sure what happened, but let's find out how everyone is doing. Harry Houdini fried my radio with his magic crystal."
"Yes, the fight is over but there is still much to do," agreed Thor. Joining the marksman in looking for others.
"Why don't you two wait here. We'll send someone to check you over," Clint called back to them as he stood on the crest of some rubble.
The siblings only managed weakly nod. Before Clint could leave, there was another pop of a cork. He was back. "Third time's a charm," Harry said with an embarrassed laugh. "I forgot to tell you that if you ever want to learn more, feel free to look me up. I'm pretty sure the blonde pretty boy and the bird brain know where to find me."
"Hey!" Clint shouted, clearly having heard the insult.
"Sorry, mate! Not you and Thor, the other ones I saw about. The ones with the wings and the shield," Harry called back.
"Learn more about what?" Petra asked.
Harry turned back to them and smiled, "About magic. Your sister has to be the strongest hedgewitch I have ever seen, I think it would be fun to see what you are able to do with some more formal training." He reached into his pocket and dug about. Now that the sound of battle was gone, Wanda could hear the sound of many things being sifted through coming from his pocket.
Harry pulled out a business card and wrote something on it before passing it to her. "Just in case those two don't remember me," he said, handing her the card. "And if you think the world is going to end, don't hesitate to call, because, you know, in for a penny, in for a pound and all that," he said, disappearing as soon as she took it from him. It was a card for Black's Animal-Friendly Apartment Complexes. He had written, "Lily Hall, apartment 313," next to the owner's contact number.