A/N:: REVIEW! I love reviews, they keep me going.


Albus Dumbledore swept into the Ministry atrium without glancing around much. He didn't need to look to see that it was bustling with activity this busy Thursday morning. Apparently, the world's near-end was not enough to alter normal activities.

The Battle of New York hadn't even made the front page of the Daily Prophet. The Ministry covering it up, no doubt, in addition to it being "Muggle news" or some nonsense. Naturally, it was the only thing being talked about by anyone within the magical community and the lack of official word had caused rumors and gossip to spring up everywhere. Very few facts could be agreed upon and some of the stories he'd heard were simply outlandish.

Others were so alarmingly close to the truth that they'd been dismissed by the general public. For example, everyone knew there was another prince of Asgard but nobody knew who. Theories ranged from Harry Potter himself (so bizarre that nobody seemed to believe it thankfully) to it actually being Prince Tyr somehow. The official word from Muggle authorities was that it was Odin's youngest son, Prince Haraldr. Most of the magical world was utterly oblivious to this but slowly it was becoming the accepted fact. Since there were no magical eye-witnesses, there was no one to identify Harry as Prince Haraldr, thus the theory being dismissed.

He sincerely doubted that not a single magical being witnessed the battle, especially given the rumor about Harry being involved. No, it was far more likely that there had been some…divine intervention to make the theory go away. It was strange and startling to think about. There were gods out there who could wipe the collective memory of magical New York. He supposed that muggles could say the same to wizards. Still, gods.

He wasn't particularly religious. Never had been. Once, he'd been quite taken with the idea of death and the afterlife but after rigorous study, he'd dismissed most of the religious explanations for life after death. Especially the old pagan ones, amongst others. That was long ago and apparently another boyhood folly of his.

He made it to the ministry elevators unobstructed. Albus Dumbledore at the ministry was common enough, given his seat in the Wizengamot. He didn't bother himself with wondering what asinine reason Cornelius had summoned him for this time. The only reason he'd come promptly today was that last time aliens had been invading, which was a valid reason to call for him, he conceded internally. Not that it had really mattered that he'd been at the ministry, or even that the ministry knew about the attack. During the battle, all they'd been able to do was watch helplessly thanks to the Statute of Secrecy and international politics. Not that Albus was sure that they could have done anything.

He knocked on the door of the minister's office and was promptly invited in.

"Albus," Cornelius Fudge said as stood and motioned for him to sit. They sat down in unison.

"I believe you wanted to meet with me?"

"Yes, yes," said Fudge, "thank you for coming so quickly."

Albus inclined his head politely, pulling his thoughts from the invasion to the present.

"I wanted to discuss how you know the Princes of Asgard," said Fudge.

Albus paused as he tried to figure out how to answer this question believably without jeopardizing the vow he'd been forced into. "I met them by happenstance while they were on their way to do battle," said Albus, being as truthful as possible without giving away anything, "but not all of them. I was only told that something was about to happen somewhere. Nothing more, I'm afraid."

Fudge looked at him with a surprising amount of suspicion, "you must tell me everything! The ministry could use an alliance with them, especially in light of the Sirius Black fiasco and some of the theories running around about the invasion. With their backing, the Ministry could raise its profile beyond my biggest hopes! I could get so much done and it would be extremely well received!"

So Fudge wanted to use the PR? He could join the queue, Albus suspected. Who wouldn't want to have the support of the Asgardian Royal Family? It would certainly help Fudge's approval ratings (which had tumbled thanks to Sirius Black) and the nastier conspiracies about the Battle of New York.

"I cannot help you, I'm afraid," said Albus.

"Cannot or will not?" Fudge demanded, his face coloring suddenly, "surely anyone who pays any attention to Earth knows who you are! They certainly seemed receptive to you if they told you what was happening!"

Albus almost couldn't believe how ignorant Fudge was to think everyone knew the name Albus Dumbledore nor was he impressed with Fudge seemingly hearing things other than what he'd said about his encounter with the Princes.

"Neither they nor I sought each other out," Albus told a bald-faced lie, "we quite literally ran into each other. I am unsure if they even got my name."

Fudge made a strange blustering sound, "it seems to me that you are refusing to help me! Like you wish for me to fail as Minister for Magic!"

Fudge seemed to be failing on his own. "I have no desire to see you fail as minister," said Albus as level as he could while wanting to shake the obstinate and selfish man in front of him.

"Yet you refuse to help me make progress!"

"I am not refusing," Albus insisted, "if I could help you, I would." He wasn't sure that was true but he pretended it was so he could be appropriately self-righteous. He'd given up on being grandfatherly for this meeting already.

"If you are so determined to cost me my job," said Fudge, "and think so little of our friendship, then…"

Fudge seemed so angry, puffed up and red as he was, that he ceased to be able to produce words. Albus also thought "friends" was a very large stretch.

"I think we have a strong working relationship," said Albus.

"I give you an awful lot of autonomy at Hogwarts given some of the things I've heard out of that school in the last few years! Ever since Potter got there," said Fudge. "And despite these reasonable concerns for him, you refuse to let the ministry check on him! It seems as though you might be wishing to give him a view of us that would be challenged by reality!"

Fudge was nearing actual insanity by now. Albus's face must've given away his thoughts.

"I'm not the only one who sees things for what they are, Albus," said Fudge. "And soon those things are going to change because I'm not going to let you get away with this!"

Albus wanted to facepalm.


He'd made the foolish assumption his day couldn't get any worse. He mentally cursed his earlier self for that as he stared down Lord Hermod.

"Albus Dumbledore, may I read the message now?" Lord Hemrod asked in annoyance after Albus had needed him to repeat his introduction 3 times.

"Please," said Albus.

Hermod was a handsome man—as all gods and goddesses seemed to possess an unearthly beauty—he had sandy brown hair that fell just shy of his shoulders and curled inwards, framing his head, icy blue eyes, and a clean-shaven face. He had a tan that gave him the look of a man who spent a healthy amount of time under the sun. His face was young and smooth, making him look no older than his early twenties. He knew the god must've been at least 1500 years old from magical legend.

"Do your utmost to maintain the confidentiality of Prince Haraldr's identity. Take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that as no mortal discovers his true parentage, history, origins, or abilities without being directly and willfully informed by a member of the Asgardian Royal Family or their representatives," Hermod recited. "Lord Odin reminds you that Prince Haraldr's safety is the first priority, even above his identity. You are not to impede the actions of the Prince or any member of the Royal Family unless it presents a clear and direct threat to Prince Haraldr or is acting contrary to the stated wishes of the King or Queen. Keeping in mind Prince Haraldr's enhanced powers and endurance, should you feel he has or will endanger himself, you will work with him to accomplish his objective in a safer manner."

"Is that all?"

"Indeed," said Hermod, "Lord Odin will be watching."

"Of course," said Albus, standing and walking towards the door, "a pleasure Lord Hermod."

Hermod nodded politely as he stepped out, "I need no guidance out of the castle." He disappeared without a sound, right in front of Albus, who stared stunned beyond reaction. Could Harry do that? It would make sense.


The sound of arguing—had they not been a dimensional pocket—probably would've been audible in all of their realms at once.

"We must act!" A loud voice thundered, if that voice continued with a useful proposal (which Odin sincerely doubted), it was lost under the objections and agreements of the other, equally vocal Skyfathers.

"Asgard needs to be held accountable!"

"The Earth was nearly overrun!"

"If we do anything the Celestials will come for us!"

"Asgard did the right thing!"

"The mortals had everything in hand without divine intervention!"

The room was a chaotic disaster.

Odin took advantage of it by sneaking towards his normal seat, off to the side but right in full view of the entire council. It allowed everyone to see him when he spoke and him to observe all of them. Otherwise, the seat was unassuming enough that he could pass without notice unless he brought it upon himself.

"ORDER!" A thunderous roar came from Zeus, one of the original organizers of the council when it had been first conceived, along with himself.

He managed to get everyone's attention and the room fell quiet. Zeus stood on the top floor of the lecture hall-style room staring down impressively at all the Skyfathers until they, grumbling, all took their seats. "Thank you, I call this meeting officially to commence," he said, promptly marching to the main floor below.

Odin was not surprised that the over-dramatic and prideful Greek would immediately want to take control of the meeting. That wasn't entirely fair, Odin supposed, most of the Skyfathers were self-absorbed in the extreme, which was quite a statement coming from him. That's what happened when you were King of the Universe, he supposed. Though Asgard was obviously the most powerful now, by a long shot, the other pantheons' gods still maintained their connections to their domains. The connections just weren't as strong.

"This meeting of the Council of Godheads has been called to address the most recently attempted invasion of Earth," said Zeus as though there had been other major attempts lately. There hadn't been.

Odin wondered what side of this Zeus was land on. Obviously, there were those who thought Asgard's actions were justified and those who didn't. Even though they were more powerful than ever, he wasn't willing to risk fighting with all of the pantheons at once, especially because many of them had not completely retreated from Earth's affairs.

"You mean Asgard's blatant attempt to control Earth?" Dagda, a Celtic god, demanded.

"They made no move to control Earth. Three of their princes helped the mortal fight an invasion," Horus snapped, his beak making an actual snapping noise. "Get over yourself!"

"That doesn't matter," Buluku claimed, "they still openly intervened in mortal affairs despite our agreement with the Celestials."

"They did so with noble intentions," said Anu, a god of Mesopotamia, from Ancient Babylon.

"Have you received any word from the Celestials regarding the invasion?" Zeus asked Odin directly, effectively stopping the argument.

"There has been no word from the Celestials, nor actions of any kind," said Odin flatly.

Murmurs broke out at that. Surely the Celestials would have objected by now?

"When they do," Yu Huang, the Jade Emperor, said, "it will not be pretty."

"I see no reason for us to bear the consequences of their actions!" The Celtic god again.

"I say we let the Asgardians deal with the consequences of their own actions," said Tezcatlipoca. "The whole point of this council is to mediate between the all pantheons and the Celestials regarding Earth. If one of us has caused a problem, I do not see why we must all act. It is clear that Asgard has acted alone. Let them suffer the consequences of their actions."

"That would be just," said Zeus.

"I have no desire for any of you to suffer needlessly," said Odin, "we will deal with the Celestials regarding the invasion." He sincerely doubted any Celestial would show up.

"All in favor of leaving Asgard to bear all responsibility with no added consequences?" Given that their solution allowed all of the other pantheons to give the illusion of being powerful and respected but did not require them to prove it, it should be no surprise that it passed overwhelmingly.


"We have completed our evaluation of Prince Loki, your majesty," Lady Eir reported the moment she stepped into his office.

Odin wasn't entirely sure what he was expecting to hear. He wanted to believe Loki was being controlled and had broken through his trance but it was hard to prove. The validity of the report's conclusions, therefore, depended on the method of control. Even within that, the detectable options left varying degrees of residue that could give them insight into what happened.

He motioned for her to close the doors and sit down. She did so quickly, the paperwork clutched to her chest with one hand as she held the armrest with the other. He body language didn't tell him much but her face held a sort of optimism that made him optimistic about what she would say.

"And what did you conclude?"

"His mind was infiltrated by the Mind Stone after he had undergone great stress to fracture his mind enough to allow for the stone to gain a foothold."

"And now?"

"His mind repaired itself enough for him to force the influence out of himself, which he has done successfully by tapping into his divinity, most likely unconsciously."

"How sure are you of this conclusion?"

"If Asgard's records of the traces left by the Mind Stone are accurate? Ninety-five percent sure."

"And if not?"

"Then we are unclear what foreign residue infiltrated the Prince's mind but that its presence followed the appropriate timetable given by Prince Thor and Prince Loki—independently of each other."

"How sure could you be of its influence?"

"The substance penetrated, covered, and forcefully altered the pathways and connections in his mind, tampering with his natural memories, behavior, emotions, and very thoughts. It is possible it could have done something else, but extremely unlikely given the magical and physical consequences of the presence."

"And the traces of the Mind Stone?"

"Old and inactive," said Lady Eir, "we have already removed as much as we could as we did the examination."

"Thank you," said Odin. "I would like you to go give Frigga the same report you gave me and inform her that I am retrieving Loki as you are speaking to each other."

"As you wish, your majesty," she said.

They stood together and left the room, splitting off almost immediately. Odin decided to take the shortcuts to Loki's quarters since he'd already been stuck up for this long.

He knocked before he entered, and got a quick, "come in!"

Loki was sitting in his chair reading a book about politics when he entered. His face was neutral as he regarded his adopted father, giving away absolutely nothing. Mild curiosity shone out of his eyes and the slight hitch in his shoulders—a hitch Odin only noticed because he'd raised the boy—gave away his discomfort.

"Loki," said Odin without pretense, "Lady Eir's report came back in your favor. You are free to move about Asgard as you please. Neither yourself nor your brothers, are allowed off-planet."

"That was quick…thank you," said Loki evenly. His book snapped shut. "How is Harry?"

Now was not the time for discussions that would have to occur if they wanted to regain the family they'd had.

"Still unconscious," said Odin, "but it is medically induced for now. He will be fine."

"And Thor?"

"He is training the school children in basic combat as a punishment for his part in allowing Harry to fight. A reminder of how vulnerable the young would actually be in a war."

"And my punishment?" Loki asked.

"Several conversations with your mother and I about everything," said Odin, a slightly teasing smile on his face.

Loki stared at him for a long moment. Part of him wanted to groan playfully, as he surely would've done before. Another part of him wanted to rage at Odin. He settled for a deep breath and a polite nod.


She snuck out of the landing bay through a maintenance tunnel near the back of the hangar to avoid customs. She didn't want there to be a record of her presence nor did she really want to answer the inevitable questions that would come from properly declaring her arrival. She didn't have the necessary supplies to make up an identity. It was better if there was no record of anyone extra entering anyway. She had, technically, been a stowaway on the transport ship anyway. It was easier if she just kept with the untraceable sneaking around.

It was dark when she stepped into the street with her cloak covering every part of her, clearly, the transport had arrived in the middle of the night. Though she'd never been to Xandar before, she knew enough about it to know how to avoid the Nova Corps. She also knew enough about life to know where to find a place to spend the night that wouldn't ask for any documentation.

The underground parts of any city could be easily identified by the speed of the walking, the amount of eye contact, the type of things lining the streets, and the condition of the buildings. Xandar was no different.

She found some seedy hotel to stay in but she knew better than to go to sleep at such an early hour, no matter how exhausted she was. Instead, she took the opportunity to plot the assassination she was being paid to carry out.

Gamora. Green skin, black hair, 5 feet, 7 inches, of the Zehoberei species. The whole planet was massacred by the Mad Titan and she was adopted. She'd murdered one too many families and now she had a bounty on her head. Thanos' daughter was wanted on 31 different planets for murder, grand theft, espionage, and a whole host of other charges. Nobody would miss her.

Greenie, as she'd taken to calling her, was spotted on Xandar this afternoon lurking about, obviously waiting for something. Who knew what she wanted but, she supposed it didn't matter because the murderer would be dead soon anyway.

By the time she'd figured out her plan, it was late enough that most of the dregs that lurked in the bad parts of the city would be passed out intoxicated by now. She eagerly sprawled out on the dinky little bed, a far cry from her grand home in Heven, but no matter.