After Steve showed up, Tony thought that things had gotten about as complicated as they were going to get, until he heard something coming crashing through the woods. A quick glance told him that Mjolnir was still in Thor's hands so he was startled when an object raced through the trees, hitting Steve and sending him to the ground.
"What in the name of the Nine..." Thor got no further when whatever the object was changed course and bowled Loki over as well. "Brother!" He moved towards him but it hit him too, with a sickening crack. At this point Tony was fully armored, hands charging, ready to face whatever it was that could knock over a supposed God of Thunder.
He barely got a read that it was an orb of some kind before it smashed into his faceplate and everything went dark for him as well.
He was just getting out of it when he heard the crunch of footsteps on twigs.
"I told you Albus, I didn't do anything to it! It went crazy on its own. Maybe it was too old to be using. Sometimes the enchantments get weird if they're too old."
"Yeah, well… Gah!" There was a shout and a smash. "There it is, quick, quick…"
There was a swooshing sound along with shouted words that Tony didn't recognizing. He heard the sounds of panting.
"There. Managed to get… what the heck."
Tony froze, not sure if it was better to stay on the ground or get up. The voices sounded young, surely they couldn't be that much of a threat, he reasoned. So, with a whirring of hydraulics, he started to get to his feet. For a moment he saw two boys dressed in black robes, a lanky one with silver-blond hair and a shorter one with mussy black hair.
He held his hands up.
"Now I don't want you to panic…"
The blonde's grey eyes grew wide and he pointed a stick that he was holding at Tony.
A jet of red light shot at him and for the second time in less than an hour, Tony's world went dark.
This time when he came to, he was no longer on the ground. In fact, it didn't feel as though there was anything beneath him. It took him a moment to realize it, but he was floating.
"Albus, be careful!" One of the voices hissed. Tony carefully opened his eyes to see that it was the blond again. "You almost knocked that blue one into a tree!"
"Well it's not easy trying to levitate two bodies at once, Scorp."
"I know it isn't easy! I'm doing it too. Wait a second. Stupefy! Stupefy! Stupefy!" He panted. "The green one keeps waking up and it's taking more than one to put him back under. I think he's got some kind of resistance to the spell."
Spell? Tony did not like the sound of that at all.
"Do you have to keep knocking them out? This would be a lot easier if they could just walk back to the mansion."
"And a lot less safe. They're trespassers Al. Either dangerous or weird ones by the look of it. And I'm not taking any chances. Dad's still got enough enemies that I don't like to assume anything. We'll get them secured and then we'll figure out what to do."
Secured? Tony liked the sound of that even less. But he made the mistake of showing his displeasure by taking in a breath. His eyes they couldn't see – but his voice they heard. The stick trained on him again and before he could react it was back to black.
The third time he woke up, he was out of his armor, suspended in chains. He took a glance around him. They were in an underground room of some sort, secured to a stone wall. Steve was still out of it and so was Thor by the look of it. Loki was rousing, but Tony had no desire to have any kind of interaction with him and continued to feign unconsciousness.
The two voices from earlier were coming through a doorway on the side of the room they were in.
"You and that stupid bludger. If we hadn't had to go after that bludger none of this would have happened." There was a clinking sound. "If we were messing with a snitch it wouldn't have flown off like that and it certainly wouldn't have brained a bunch of weird strangers in the head."
"Well you certainly didn't object at the time," the raven-haired one hissed crossly. "Besides, we're not seekers, we're beaters. What good is it going to be practicing with a snitch? And wouldn't you have wanted to know there were strange people in the manor's forest?"
Half of the words didn't make sense to Tony but he kept listening, hoping to pick up on something.
"In either case, they're here now," the other sighed. "And we'll just have to deal with it."
"What are we going to do? They all look dangerous. In their own ways."
"I've put the manor's technology dampers back up so that suit thing shouldn't work even if it isn't on him. Bad news – that means we're going to be without the wifi until I take them off."
So that's why they had been able to take his suit without any problem.
"And what about the others?" The boy's voice became increasingly urgent. "I think they looked like wizards. I'm pretty sure they were wizards. Not from around here maybe, because they don't seem English either, but wizards all the same."
"Maybe. We'll need to figure it out somehow. But that's why I have this." Tony couldn't tell what 'this' was, but he doubted it would be anything good. There was a trickling sound, then splashing. "We'll know more about how dangerous they are once we know who and what they are."
"Is that your dad's?"
"Yeah, he always keeps a bit around the house just in case. Uncle Theo makes it for him, though, since I don't think he's had much success making that sort of stuff."
"Your godfather always was good at that."
"Hopefully this will get us the answers we need."
The sound of footsteps drew close and Tony let his head drop to feign unconsciousness.
"Do we wake them up first?"
"I think so. So nobody chokes."
Something sharp poked Tony in the neck.
There was a sharp jolt and even if he hadn't been awake, he was sure that would have roused him. The two boys were in front of him and the silver-haired one was holding a goblet.
"Drink," he ordered. "It's not poison." He cast a sideways glance at his companion. "Kind of."
Tony's heart sank but with the two sticks – wands, he supposed it would be more accurate to say, given how evident it was they held some kind of power – trained on him, he didn't have much choice but to let it slide down his throat. As far as he could tell, it was nothing more than cool water, and there didn't seem to be any immediate effects. But he knew they'd put something into it and he waited to figure out what.
"How kind of you to offer your hospitality," he panted. "But next time I'd rather I got my drugs in alcohol. Got any whiskey around here?"
The dark one shot him a confused look but the other kept him moving to each in turn, repeating the same process. First they woke Steve, then Loki, and finally Thor. When they were all awake and the goblet was empty, the two stepped back.
"Alright." The blond swallowed and looked at them. "Here's how it's going to go. I've got you all in some locks with all kinds of enchantments, half of which I'm not even sure what they do. So unless you fancy getting changed into a newt or losing some limbs, best bet is to just sit tight and not try escaping too much. You're first going to tell me who you are. And then you're going to tell me what the hell you lot were doing skulking around our forest."
"Skulking? Thor does not skulk!"
The blond swiveled towards him. "Thor? Is that your name? Seriously, Thor?"
"Thor Odinson, yes, that is the name by which I am known. And I am indeed most serious about this fact."
The boy looked at his companion.
"This is ridiculous," the first said. "That can't possibly be his name. That's stupider than mine and I'm pretty sure my dad was high and on a Farscape bender when he thought it up."
"I don't think he can lie if he's under Veritaserum, can he?" The black-haired boy hissed in a still-audible whisper. "Besides, hasn't your uncle been teaching you legilimency? Can't you use that to check?"
"He could resist it if he was prepared. Same with the legilimency." He turned back to Thor. "Are you a wizard?"
"I am an Asgardian!" He strained against his bonds. "And I demand you release me from these chains!"
"Not until we figure out what is going on. You next." The boy turned towards Loki. "What's your name?"
"Loki," he ground out after a moment of resistance, looking surprised.
"More Norse mythology, great." He rolled his eyes. "What were you doing here?"
"My… my brother brought me to the forest. He stole me out of their custody in a foolhardy attempt to bring me home." The answer spilled from his lips, though he looked resentful as each word dropped.
"Is that true?" He turned back to Thor.
"I was trying to persuade him to give up the tesseract and come home." He looked towards Loki. "I still believe that he ought."
Loki's eyes narrowed into an expression of disdain but he said nothing.
"And you two." The other boy stepped up. "Who are you and what was your role in this?"
"Tony Stark." He felt the words come rising out of his chest. "I was chasing after golden boy here trying to get our prisoner back."
"He is not yours to punish!" Thor protested.
"Quiet!" The silver-haired boy's wand whipped from person to person. "Start to argue and I swear on Merlin's tomb I will silence every one of you and seal this place up for a year!"
"Scorp!" The other gasped. "They would starve!"
He rolled his eyes. "Come on Al, I'm not really going to do that. The last bit anyway. The first bit I would."
"You know, you two really aren't very good at this interrogation thing, you should hire a profession like the one we've got back at…"
"SILENCIO!" The wand jabbed towards him and Tony heard his voice fall silent even as his mouth moved. "Told you that I would silence you. You were getting annoying. Now you."
"Steve Rogers. U.S. Military. Alias Captain America."
"American, I never would have guessed." The boy laughed. "And what was your role?"
"I followed Mr. Stark into battle in an attempt to retrieve the prisoner and discover the whereabouts of the tessaract," he answered in clipped tones. "It was my hope to make Thor and Tony see that we are all on the same side instead of infighting."
"Great. So you were all just having some squabble. And what's this tesseract thing anyway? Do we need to go back to the woods to find it? I didn't see anything besides that hammer doohickey."
"It is an object of great power. Loki has hidden it," Thor answered. "It was no longer on his person."
"Well now we're getting somewhere!" The wand turned onto the man in green. "So?"
"What?" Loki hissed.
"Where. Is. It. Come on, Al and I don't have all day, let's get this over with. Tell them where their toy is at and we can all get this hashed out in time for dinner."
"I… I don't… have it…" the words struggled out of him.
"Your pal there told us that. Where's it actually at?"
His lips were pressed for a moment or two. "Clint Barton has it. In a research facility."
"Great!" He turned to the other boy. "Now what?"
"I don't know," he groaned, "but I'm getting a headache. Maybe we could just oblivate them and call it a day?"
"No way, you know neither of us do that spell consistently enough. It'd probably end up erasing the last five minutes or erasing everything they've got upstairs. Besides, what are we going to do, just turn them out on the mansion grounds?" He ran his fingers through his hair. "I think I'm going to call my uncle. He'll know what to do about this."
"Why not just call your dad?"
"I don't want to interrupt his holiday! He's been looking forward to it forever and mum too. Besides, he trusted me to take care of the house. I'm not going to let him know about this, not if I can help it. And Uncle Theo has always been good at keeping our secrets when we needed him to." His hand brushed against the other's. "There's nobody I'd trust more with this. And nobody I'd consider more likely to know what to do."
"Alright." He nodded. "We'll get your uncle." He looked at the four men. "You guys wait here; we are going to be back in a jiffy."
"As though there were anything else for us to do," Loki sneered.
"Silencio!" The blonde's wand flashed at the god as well. "I can do it to you too. I'm in no mood for lip from any of you. Not even the ones named after Norse gods. Ruining the one week I get alone with Albus…" he grumbled as they left the dungeons and stomped up the stairs.
A/N: I know it's fudging the timeline a smidgen, but Scorpius and Alubs are late in their teenage years - just a bit past 17.