I could make a thousand excuses for taking this long to update this chapter, but the honest thing to say is: Teen Wolf grabbed me, and Harry Potter kind of lost all meaning. I still know where this is going, I'm just too lazy to write it, because if I'm going to write something, I've been writing what has Stiles and Derek in it. It's been very complicated BUT, as I promised you guys, I always finish my stuff, so here we go.
I know the chapter is short, but I'll work up to longer ones again soon (hopefully). I am really, really sorry for the long wait. I really hope you guys stick with me to the end of it.
"We can't kill it?" Tony repeated in a dry tone, and Hermione stared back at him, not looking impressed.
"That's what I said, isn't it? We can't kill a Titan. We don't have the power for it – Death doesn't have the power for it. We have to approach this in a different light, or we won't be able to do it at all" she replied, looking absolutely cross with, well, everything.
Hermione didn't do well with not knowing things.
"Do you have any ideas?" Harry asked her then, because, of course, if anyone had any kind of idea on how to defeat the crazy Titan out for everything's blood, it'd be Hermione.
"Not yet, but I will. You gave me too little to work with, Harry" she said, almost a complaint, but Harry shrugged.
"That was all I had" Harry answers, and Ron sighs deeply.
"So we have no clues, and we have no time either. Also, why isn't Death helping? She can't expect you to be able to deal with this on your own, and she said last night she wanted this solved. Why isn't she helping?" Harry knew Ron was kind of whining by now, but he felt just a bit justified in sympathizing with him. Come on, this was just wrong in so many levels.
"What did you say?" Hermione asked then, looking at Ron with a speculative glint in her eyes – the same one she had when she had finally had an idea back in school.
"I was complaining. That's what I do, Hermione. Harry finds trouble, I complain, you make a plan, the plan doesn't work, Harry does something stupid and risks his life, and the problem is solved. I'd say we're right on schedule" Ron explained, and Harry could see Rogers smiling a bit, and then looking down so the others wouldn't notice.
Hermione, however, wasn't paying attention. She looked at Harry then, and he could see she was in full problem solving mode.
"Okay, let me get this straight. What did she say last night?"
"She explained about the Hallows and Thanos. She said I'd made a mistake by breaking the scepter, because by saving Loki I had put myself in Thanos' sights. Then she said she had done enough by warning us, and that she couldn't do more."
"She also said you were her child" a cold voice pointed out, and Hermione turned to Natasha.
"She also said she didn't need a master, but she made Harry it for some reason. She seemed to care for him. Why would she leave him hanging?" Bruce pointed out, and Harry sighed heavily, while Hermione frowned, looking down, clearly processing the whole information.
"Who can understand why Entities do whatever it is they do? They do it because they can, to mess with everything else. They are worse than me when it comes to creating chaos" Loki commented, looking irritated, and Harry felt the urge to smile at him. He looked up, and Loki's eyes seemed to get less cold just by staring at him.
Harry managed to smile a bit in spite of the whole danger.
"Oh, by Merlin and Godric, I'm so dense!" Hermione exclaimed then and everyone turned to stare at her, to see her staring at Harry and Loki, "How didn't I see this before? It's so obvious!" she said, and Ron sighed.
"Mione, you are doing it again. The whole I know something and it's so obvious without telling anyone else" he pointed out, and Hermione looked around the table again.
"But isn't it obvious? This isn't a problem for Harry to solve! She's not worried about Thanos, she can deal with Thanos just fine! This is a test for Loki!"
"What do you mean?" Harry asked, looking confused, and reflecting perfectly what everyone in the room was feeling.
"She hadn't showed up until Loki showed up in your life, Harry. She chose you; I'd dare say she loves you like her own child if the way she spoke to and of you is any indication. Why would she put you in danger, warn you of something that bad coming, and then vanish without protecting you? She's not worried about you surviving, she'll help you survive even if the rest of the planet doesn't, but she wants to know how much Loki values you." All the others still looked skeptical about it, but Hermione continued all the same, "Think about it, think about your track record. You are always putting your life on the line for everyone you care about. You just do, it's who you are. And up till now this was a problem, yeah, but a manageable one. You can count on us just as much as we count on you, but now there are bigger fish around you. It's not just the Wizardry World, it's Asgardian Gods, and Super Heroes, and SHIELD. You could make all kinds of difference in any battle, and they could use you. Loki could use you."
"I would never!" Loki exclaimed then, looking pissed, his eyes blazing green, but Hermione just marched on, not concerned about the enraged god two seats away from her.
"It's a test for him. To see how far he'd go for you, how much he'd try to protect you. This is just Death's version of a meeting with the parents. She wants to make sure Loki is ready to defend you and protect you, she wants to be sure you'll be safe with him."
"What if we fail?" Harry asked in a small voice, looking terrified.
"Then she'll deem Loki unworthy of you. Either way she gets what she wants – he wins, she'll know he's worthy; he loses, she won't have to deal with someone being beside you just because of your power. Don't you see? This is genius. We should do this for Rose and Hugo" she comments in the end, and Harry and Ron laugh out loud, startled.
"I'd say threatening the whole of creation to test you future son or daughter-in-law is going a bit too far, don't you think?" Harry asked, and Hermione shook her head, as if clearing it.
"You're right. But this is what she's doing, I'm sure of it" she said, and Tony fixed her with a speculative stare.
"How can you be so sure?" he asked, ad Hermione turned to him, looking firm and certain.
"Because if I could do that to make sure Harry would be safe with Loki, I would. I'd make him save the world five times over if I had the power."
Silence fell on the room after that for a few moments, as the Avengers and the others contemplated what that meant.
"This means we have to help Loki? Guy who enslaved me and Selvig, and killed a whole lot of people in just over two days?" Barton asked, looking cross.
"It means we do what we have to do to survive and save the planet, and if the way to save all of it is by helping a former enemy of yours, then so be it" Hermione said firmly, staring at Barton as if challenging him to contradict her.
"Just checking" he muttered back, raising his hands in defeat.
Harry simply looked down, disbelieving.
Why did his life have to be so completely complicated all the time?
"But if she's going to help anyway, why do we even have to get involved?" Natasha asked then, looking curious, "What if it's all just a bluff, and she'll solve the whole thing by herself?"
Hermione considered it for a few moments before shaking her head.
"She'll save Harry, I'm sure of it, but I'm not really sure who else, or what else, she'd save. Harry can't die, sure, but the rest of the planet can."
"That's just cruel" Ron points out, "Cruel and cold."
"That's Death. Sure, Harry would be cross, but he'd live. Give it a few centuries, and he'd forgive her, because that's who he is. It's in his nature to forgive those who care about him, even if they don't do right by him."
The unspoken Dumbledore seemed to float in front of the wizards for a few moments.
There's silence in the room again. The Avengers contemplating the fact that they'd have to help Loki, the wizards trying to think of a solution, and Loki…
Well, Loki was thinking that saving the planet was well worth it if he got to be with Harry forever after that.
"Well, we're back to square one again, aren't we, then? We know what we're supposed to do, but knowing Death's reasons for putting us in this position doesn't take us any closer to solving the matter of how to defeat a Titan."
Ron's words did nothing to lighten the mood in the room, but suddenly Harry noticed Loki – he was smiling. His green eyes shining with mischief, lit with a happy kind of emotion that seemed to make him, Harry, feel happier too.
"What are you smiling about?" Roger asked, his tone unfriendly and angry.
Loki looked at him, smile still in place.
"Well, dear Captain, I say that if this is a test for me, than Death knows I'm not going to defeat Thanos" his smiles widened then, turning just the tiniest bit creepy, "I'm going to trick him."
Well, stick to your strengths, right?