A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor any of the other characters or situations associated with Harry Potter. Nor do I own any of the characters and situations associated with The Marvel Comics Universe or indeed the more outgoing citizens of the MU Version of NYC and points west. But you knew that.

A/N2: This is a short story born of pondering a way to insert the Incredible Hulk into my Technomage story. This certainly didn't fit, but I liked idea and came up with this to use it. This story ignores most of Half Blood Prince and all of Deathly Hallows. Dumbledore and the British Wizarding Society have heaped stress after stress upon young Harry Potter. How much can the kid take? What if his breaking point was reached? This is my attempt to tell that often told story.


July 30, 1997

Nye County, Nevada, USA

Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Project Boom Box Ground Zero

4:47 pm

Robert Bruce Banner, PhD stood to the side watching the crane slowly lower his creation into its cradle. It was a work of beauty, a collection of precision systems engineered to produce more energy in a single release than anything man had yet managed.

"That beast is too damned big for any platform we've got in service these days." The man to Banner's left said. Air Force Lieutenant General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross chewed on his cigar.

"It's a prototype General. You couldn't fit the Fatman bomb on any of your modern platforms either." Idiot he added in the depths of his mind. "Besides the actually weapon is only about two feet by six feet. The rest of that package is the command, control and telemetry interfaces." Banner hated the man for his shortsighted simplistic thinking, but the General was the key to the funding that Banner needed for his project. The military had the money, so as a stepping stone to his Gamma Power Plant, Banner let himself be talked into building this Gamma Bomb.

The casing slide into its mounts on the cradle like a hand into a glove. Technicians rushed about securing the mounts, connecting telemetry cables and taking readings using the various instruments arranged about the bomb. Banner's assistant Emil Blonsky, PhD approached carrying a Stark Industries Datapad.

"Everything is working perfectly Bruce, every single reading is optimal."

Banner took the offered Datapad and verified the readings. "Thank you Emil. Everything looks good General, we just need your go ahead now."

Ross's gaze never left the weapon. A lot rode on this high tech fire cracker. It had been so much easier when he was a pilot. He knew his career was coming to a close, and while every command he had ever had was marked with achievement, he lacked the political skills to pick up that fourth star he wanted so badly before he left the service. That fourth star depended on this 'experiment' turning out successfully. "Go."

Banner manipulated a few controls on the Datapad. In the upper left hand a digital display set to twenty four hours, zero minutes, and zero seconds. Project Boom Box's lead scientist picked up his radio. "All sections, this is Banner. We have go authorization. Starting twenty four hour count down on my mark." He touched the controls of the Datapad. "Mark"

The synchronized clocks at all control stations of Project Boom Box began their countdown.


July 30, 1997

Los Angeles California, USA

Los Angeles International Airport

Crowne Plaza Hotel

8:31 pm

Harry Potter carried the luggage into the room through the door that Hermione Granger was holding open. A Nonstop flight London to LAX was a hellish thing to be subjected to he had decided around the fifth hour in the air. The fact that he still had over six hours of flight left at that point hadn't done much for his state of mind. Still, they were in Los Angeles now. Tomorrow they would carry on to their destination, but for now…

It was then he saw the room. He stopped stock still. It was a large room, with a desk, a large chest of drawers, a television and TWO BEDS.

"This isn't right."

"What isn't Harry?" Hermione asked in an exhausted manner. Harry hadn't gotten any sleep on the plane because it turned out that Mr. 'Born to fly' was a white knuckle flier prone to near panic attacks. Hermione hadn't gotten any sleep on the plane because Harry wouldn't leave her alone so that she could.

"This is one room. I expected… I don't know, bedrooms."

"Harry." She said tiredly. "Look, I know that other than the Leaky Cauldron this is the first hotel you've ever stayed in. This is how a room is set up. The Hotel is full, they don't have any other rooms. I'm going to take a hot bath then crawl into that bed there and sleep." She grinned. "Your virtue is safe with me. Do you want first shot at the bath?"

"Hermione, this isn't right. People will think horrible things about you if we share a room. I'll go sleep in the rental car."

"Harry!" The bushy haired woman stood with her fists on her hips. "It is almost the twenty first century you prat. I don't give a damn about what anyone thinks of who I chose to spend the night with outside of my parents, who know we're together and trust me to make my own decisions. You aren't spending the night in the car. You aren't going to panic. You're going to get ready to sleep and you're going to sleep in that bed, while I'm in this bed. I'm tired and you are annoying me. Do you want first shot at the bath?"

Harry recognized the look on her face to be the one that indicated that disagreeing with her was potentially painful. He grabbed the smaller of his bags and entered the bath, locking the door while feeling a bit silly in doing so… It wasn't like Hermione was going to break in… was it?

He discovered that the bath included a shower with the most interesting shower head that pulsed and moved in a tight circle with wonderfully hot water. Following a long (too long?) shower, he dried himself and found his sleeping attire.

Had he known he would be sharing a room with Hermione he probably would have packed more than boxer shorts and a tank top for sleeping in, but he hadn't worn pajamas for years and had no other choices. While he dressed his thoughts drifted to Hermione sleeping so closely to him and his body began to react. He started at the traitorous portion of his anatomy for a second, then closed his eyes and thought about how badly he wanted to kill Draco Malfoy for what he had done to Ginny until the reaction went away.

He quickly cleaned up behind himself before exiting the bath. He found Hermione sitting on the foot of the bed she had chosen for herself flipping through the channels on the television.

"All done?" she asked brightly.

Harry nodded, not daring to make eye contact and chance another physical indication of what being so close to her did to him. He put his bag back with the rest of their luggage and then pulled back the bedding to lie down.

Hermione gathered her things and entered the bath. The place was spotless. Hermione shook her head. Pure Harry. He always cleaned up after himself. She wondered what kind of hell his family had put him through to have Harry so indoctrinated.

Or was he just trying to keep things easy for her? With Harry, it was so hard to tell.

Her shower was long and very hot. There was something about long trips by plane. She knew she needed to sleep to reset her body clock, and Harry had unwittingly helped with that by keeping her awake during the flight. She toweled herself dry, and pulled on a pair of her father's boxers she had liberated for sleepwear two years before. Then she dug her favorite night shirt out of her bag. It was a Quidditch jersey she had bought from a vendor at the World Cup on a dare from Ginny. A Gryffindor jersey with "POTTER" emblazoned between the shoulder blades. The shirt was getting a bit threadbare, and Hermione had plans to replace it if they returned to Hogwarts by stealing one of Harry's actual playing jerseys. She smiled at that thought… Hermione Granger, master thief! Owners of comfortable sleepwear beware!

Hermione exited the bath to find Harry sound asleep on his bed, still wearing his glasses. Hermione left the light in the bath on and closed the door to leave a crack open as a minor source of light in the unfamiliar room, and she made sure the room was locked before turned off all the other lights in the room proper. By the glow of the television she carefully removed Harry's glasses and set them on the side table. Hermione stood, looking at her friend of more than six years, and leaned down to lightly kiss him on his forehead before moving to her own bed and slipping between the sheets. Turning off the television with the remote, it was only a moment before she was sleeping herself.


July 30, 1997

Mesquite, Nevada, USA

10:06 am

Rick Jones was a frustrated young man. Six weeks before he had set out from his home in Indiana intending to go to Los Angles to be discovered and make his fortune. Unfortunately, he had run out of money on his way and had been stuck in this Podunk town for three weeks trying to earn enough to keep going.

He was washing dishes at a greasy spoon diner when the radio began a news report. There was an entertainment news segment on some singer or other who was discovered when she protested a logging operation. Figures, some stupid girl ties herself to a tree, and ends up with the chance he would kill for.

That was when the idea occurred to him. The previous day Rick had heard some of the locals grousing about the government shipping a lot of men and equipment to something called the NNTS to the North West. That might be a place to make his own splash. Hop the fence, find a likely place, and strum his guitar until the press shows up… You can't buy that kind of publicity.

Rick smiled. Sometimes he amazed even himself.


July 31, 1997

Nye County, Nevada, USA

Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Project Boom Box Command Center

7:28 am

Emil Blonsky sat at the diagnostic panel running the tests scheduled for this hour. It had been a long night, and of course Banner wasn't in yet. Probably chased Ross's daughter around the bungalow they shared until she caught him. It had taken Blonsky only a year to learn to hate Banner. The man was brilliant, but his work habits were slovenly. Blonsky resented the fact that Banner never took the night shifts for his tests, always assigning Emil to take them. He resented that fact that Blonsky's own work had been instrumental to bring this weapon to fruition, but only Banner's name was associated with it. Stark and Richards and Pym came to speak with Banner, but never with Blonsky.

Gamma source: Stable. System coolant: Optimal. Control interface: Working perfectly.

Blonsky made the notations on the countdown checklist. Everything was going perfectly, following the project timelines to the letter. This made the cynic inside Emil Blonsky nervous. When things were going well, that only meant the great god Murphy was lulling you into a false sense of security. Still… Why borrow trouble?


July 31, 1997

Nye County, Nevada, USA

Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Command Building

8:00 am

Major Glenn Talbot was waiting at his desk when Tunderbolt Ross entered the office at exactly 8 am. His year and two months as Ross' aide had taught him that the Lieutenant General was habitually punctual, and expected his staff to be ready to hit the ground running each and every day.

"Where are we Talbot?" The old man barked out as he passed through the outer office toward his own. Talbot rose from his desk to follow his CO.

"You have a conference call in nine minutes with Logistics Command about your upcoming budget. You surprised them by not asking for an increase and they want to verify."

"Of course they do, the time wasting bastards. That will be two hours I'll never get back. What else?" Ross occupied himself by pouring a cup of coffee from the urn delivered to the office by one of the enlisted staff when he had been alerted that the old man's had entered the base by the gate sentries.

"Project Boom Box is exactly on schedule. They are coming to a programmed hold at 8:30, if everything continues as per the program, they will resume the count down to the detonation at 9:40 meaning G-hour will be in approximately," he paused an glanced at his watch. "Eight hours fifty six minutes."

Ross nodded and removed his uniform blouse. "Good. Get logistics on the horn then."


July 31, 1997

Nye County, Nevada, USA

Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Project Boom Box Command Center

9:02 am

Emil Blonsky looked up as the almighty Bruce Banner entered the Command Center. The man made a circuit of the displays and control consoles before settling down into the chair at his personal console.

"How did the programmed hold go?"

Blonsky turned from his instrumentation to look at his 'boss'. "Everything is optimal. When you light the fuse on this bad boy they're going to feel the boom in 'Vegas."

Banner nodded and took a sip of the Earl Grey tea that he always drank. Not coffee, oh no. Nothing so plebian for the great Banner. The phony even wore a white lab coat so that everyone knew he was a scientist, even though he was in no danger of anything being spilled on his clothing. Blonsky wondered if Banner realized that he was mocking his superior with his outfit. Blonsky was clad in boots, jeans and a black tee shirt emblazoned with a stereo typical bald mad scientist holding a beaker to the light and the legend 'Back Off – I'm doing SCIENCE!'

"We make history today Emil." Banner said confidently. "People will talk about this day they way they talk about the moon landing."

Oh they'll talk about it. Blonsky thought sullenly. But the name everyone will know will be Banner.


July 31, 1997

Los Vegas, Nevada, USA

The Steakhouse

1:17 pm

"I hope you don't mind the delay Harry. I just needed to get out of that car for a while."

Harry looked up from the menu in his hands. "Not at all, I just wish I could drive so that it wouldn't all fall to you. Can you believe the size of these servings?"

"I know." She dimpled. "We had a family vacation in the Florida when I was ten; Daddy still raves about the great steaks and how cheap they were."

"Went to Disney world did you?"

"And to the Kennedy Space Center. We got to see a night launch of the Shuttle."

"Fan girl." He teased. "Still I couldn't eat one of these steaks for lunch, not without sleeping all afternoon anyway."

"There are burgers and sandwiches on the back." Hermione pointed out.

"Ah, saved me again." Harry turned to the appropriate page.

"I wonder what the wait staff would do if I told them this was your birthday?" Hermione mused with an evil smirk.

"Don't you dare." Harry said horrified that she would even joke about such a thing.

Their waiter took their orders, and then left them alone. Harry looked across the table at Hermione who was people watching. A part of him wished that Ron had come along, a larger part was very glad that his best male friend was on the other side of the world.

"Are we expected at any specific time?"

"No." She said shaking her head. "Mr. Grayson said that we would be welcome when ever we could get out to meet him." She looked a bit embarrassed. "Meet you actually. He wasn't all that interested in speaking with me until I mentioned your name."

Harry shrugged. "If it opens the occasional door, use my name all you want. Though I must admit to being surprised that he had ever heard of me."

Hermione shook her head. "You've got to get it through your head that you are a big deal Harry. Mr. Grayson is a Shaman of the Southern Paiutes people. From some of the records I found in the Restricted section is seems that the Paiutes had a method for destroying Aztec 'soul jars'. If the Aztec soul jar was anything like the Egyptian soul jar which was the basis for the Horcurx, the possibility exists that we will have a safer way of dealing with Horcruxes than your 'stab it with a basilisk fang' technique."

"Or Dumbledore's 'let's put the cursed ring on' technique. Mine was more dangerous, but at least it wasn't stupid."

"Yes, well, Ron has custody of the locket that Regulus stole and he knows to keep it away from people."

"Do you know where he put it? He wouldn't tell me."

"He surprised me. It's in a dragon skin pouch, connected to the back side of the minute hand of the south face of Big Ben. He said that it would keep it away from people in a place where the Death Eaters would never look."

Harry nodded in appreciation to his friend's inventiveness. "But why wouldn't he tell me?"

Hermione smirked. "Ron was afraid that you'd go all heroey and self sacrificey and try to destroy the stupid thing on your own."

Harry huffed. "I wouldn't…" He looked up to see Hermione looking at him with a single raised eyebrow. "ok. I would."

"That's alright Harry." She reached across the table to take his hand. "I trust you. I trust you because you know I'd hurt you if you ever tried to run off without me."

The waitress arrived with their lunches before Harry could reply, and thusly saved him from having Hermione prove she meant what she said.


July 31, 1997

Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Remote Gate Seven

3:49 pm

Rick arrived at the unmanned unmarked gate. Parking he got out of his car to examine the gate for entrance. The Gate was chained shut. Perfect.

Running back to his trunk he removed a large bolt cutter and made short work of the chain. Shoving the gate open, Jones returned to his car, tossing the bolt cutter into the back seat and drove onto the base down the dirt road.


July 31, 1997

Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Remote Gate Seven

4:01 pm

"Well, there's no doubt about it." Harry said resisting the temptation to shred the map in his hands to several hundred pieces."

"What?" Hermione asked.

"We're lost. No freaking idea where we are or even what road we're on."

"You were supposed to keep track of those things."

"Well excuse me. I missed the day in class when they taught us to navigate using American Rental Car maps. I haven't even seen anyone on this road for half an hour."

"There's a gate." Hermione pointed. Maybe a house or business at the end of the dirt road."

Harry shrugged. "Works for me."

Hermione turned the car off the main road, through the gate and started down the dirt road.


July 31, 1997

Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Bunker 9

4:31 pm

The small building loomed to his left, so Rick pulled his ancient Dodge Dart to a stop. In the distance he could see some other buildings and some kind of tower thing. This seemed to be as good a place as any to make his splash. Pulling his guitar from the front passenger seat, Rick made his way to the shade of the dusty little building.

Suddenly a dust plume bloomed from the buildings in the distance. Excellent, he'd been noticed. Time to start playing so that his audience would be entertained.

He grinned to himself as he began to tune his guitar. He loved it when a plan came together.


July 31, 1997

Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Project Boom Box Command Center

4:32 pm

Twenty four minutes to G-Hour

Banner was a bundle of nerves. The closer to G-Hour they got the less he could sit still. He moved to the observation slits to look out at his baby in the distance one last time when a flash of light attracted his attention. Picking up the military issue binoculars he could just make out a person and a civilian vehicle through the heat distortion coming off the sun baked ground.

"Emil!" Banner barked. "Stop the countdown. There's someone on the grounds."

"One of the soldiers doing a last check?" Blonsky suggested.

"Not unless the soldiers have taken to wearing Greenbay Packers football jerseys and making their rounds in a Dodge Dart." The head scientist of Project Boom Box made his way to the door. "Stop the countdown, I'll get that idiot out of the area."

Banner exited the Command Center and climbed into the Humvee assigned for his use tossing his Datapad onto the passenger seat. Starting the vehicle he drove toward Bunker 9 with all the speed he could manage.

Emil Blonsky's hand hovered over the hold button. One motion and all the countdown functions were stopped… he glanced at the countdown timer. Twenty Two minutes to detonation. It would be terrible if anyone were out there when the Gamma Bomb went off… with Banner gone, Blonsky would be the lead scientist. Emil Blonsky would be the name in the journals and the history books. The countdown clock ticked over to twenty one minutes. No more Banner. No more of Banner's crap jobs. No more…


July 31, 1997

Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Bunker 9

4:54 pm

Two minutes to G-Hour

The humvee screeched to a halt a few scant yards from where Rick Jones was strumming his guitar.

"Dude!" Rick looked up at the wild eyed man who climbed out of the huge truck think. "You should be careful, you almost ran me over."

"You IDIOT!" Banner screamed at him. "You're on a nuclear test site. A test was supposed to go off in less than five minutes. The only reason you aren't radioactive vapor is I spotted you completely by accident. Get in this truck now!"

Jones hesitated for a moment. He hadn't expected to find himself on a bomb range; he stood and rushed toward the huge vehicle.

Banner reached over to move his Datapad from the seat, when he spotted the countdown timer still counting down. One minute thirty eight seconds. His eyes widened, a quick glance showed that the wireless connection was still active. The only way the countdown timer could still be running is if the countdown hadn't been stopped. In a panic he searched for his radio… he hadn't brought it.

"Oh god. The countdown is still running!" Banner leaped from the humvee and ran to the door of the bunker only to find it locked. One minute nineteen seconds. Behind the bunker? No. What was that? Another car? What the hell was going on?

The newcomers pulled to a stop next to his humvee. A young man stepped out of the car. "Excuse me." He said. Banner's panicked mind barely registered that the boy had an English Accent. "We've gotten a bit lost, could you point us toward the Moapa Paiutes Reservation?"

One minute seven seconds.

"We're in the middle of a nuclear test site. There is a experimental device going off in two minutes!"

A young woman got out of the car. "You're serious?"

One minute two seconds. He couldn't get them into the bunker, being in the cars would be worse than useless. Banners mind raced.

"What do we do?" The girl asked.

Banner looked around. "There's a slit trench that way. If we can get to it…"

One minute.

The four of them began to run. The two English teens were wearing sneakers Banner noted and took an early lead in the race for their lives. The idiot with the guitar was wearing boots, which didn't help him run at all. Bruce himself was wearing the Italian loafers that were completely unsuited to running in the desert. The scientist fell at that very thought. The guitar player stopped and helped him up. Banner saw the time on his watch.

Twenty one seconds.


Harry and Hermione reached the trench first, and Harry roughly pushed her into it. Hermione looked up at him, her eyes pleading for him to join her. He turned to see that the other two were hobbling toward him. Secrecy be damned. He thought pulling his wand.

"Accio men."

nine seconds


Banner found himself lifted bodily into the air with the guitar player at his side, and they flew to the English boy who stopped them with a grunt. The analytical part of Banner's mind wanted to know what the holy hell had just happened. The practical part decided that it could wait until after they survived the bomb.

Two seconds


Harry pushed the pair into the trench, ignoring Hermione's demands that he join them. "Maximus Protego!" he chanted with a flourish of his wand. He moved to jump into the trench with the others.

Zero seconds.


From inside the trench the sky went as bright as a dozen noonday suns. Banner threw himself over the girl forcing her face down into the hard packed ground at the base of the trench. He had no doubt that he had hurt her, but better that than she see her friend die.

After a very few seconds the body of Harry Potter fell onto the shield he had cast, and settled there for almost two seconds before falling through into trench on top of them.


A/N: Yes I know that this base has the very worst perimeter security in any universe, and I know that the US doesn't do above ground testing and hasn't since sometime in the 60s. But Hey this is a variation of the Marvel Universe where Nuclear Weapons (and their Gamma variants) are used all the time. Further when you consider that in the Canon original Rick Jones' only reason for DRIVING HIS CONVERTIBLE onto a top secret military testing base was he was dared to do so by his school friends, so at least my version has Rick doing it for a good (if stupid and poorly thought out) reason.

A preview of the next chapter:

Hermione had been through hell. Men dressed in what she recognized from her father's love of science fiction movies as anti-contamination suits had pulled her from the trench, separated her from Harry's unmoving form, stripped her naked and physically pulled her into a shower thing that was spraying the most unpleasant liquids that she was fairly sure had no water in them. Once in the shower her hair was shorn from her entire body and she was roughly scrubbed until she was sure that there wasn't a single square micron of her body that didn't hurt.

When they were done with her, she was subjected to a humiliating battery of tests where dozens of men examined her entire naked body in the most utter clinical detail. In short she had been washed, shaved, prodded, poked, probed and humiliated beyond her worst nightmares. Then she was given a shot and she woke up in this grey chamber with no windows, a locked door and a constant hum.

Looking about she found a the foot of the cot she had awaken on a set of medical scrubs, that she put on immediately, then started banging on the door. She tried for what seemed an hour but was actually only ten minutes, then returned to the cot nursing her sore arms.

The door opened and a tall black man in a military uniform entered the room. The left side of the man's face was scarred, his left eye covered by a leather patch.

"Good Morning Miss Granger. My name is General Nick Fury. You can call me 'Sir'. I am the executive director of the Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage Logistics Directorate ."

"SHIELD." Hermione breathed.

"Very good Miss Granger. Very few of your countrymen would be able to identify my organization so readily. Even fewer of your fellow magic users."

"M-m-m-magic?" she stuttered, shocked that he would know of such things. "There's no such thing as magic."

"Miss Granger, please." The man took the position she recognized as a military 'parade rest'. "Don't insult my intelligence, or the intelligence gathering abilities of my organization. The young man in your company is one Harry James Potter, heir to the Noble House of Potter and the Ancient and Noble House of Black. The defeater of The Dark Lord Voldemort at the age of fifteen months. Since that time he has the record for direct confrontations with the aforementioned Dark Lord by a magic user at five. I know all about your little 'magical world' and its ongoing civil war." He stepped closer to the young woman. "So tell me Miss Granger, what were two British Wand Wizards doing at a top secret Weapons test?"