Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Harry Potter or the Avengers...
Nothing to do with the Finding Home series but this plot ambushed me a few days ago and it sort of stuck so I've decided to see where this will go. I seem to have a penchant for Master of Death!Harry though so this will be another of those fics.
Falling Skies will be posted sometime within the next week.
Summary: Life's a lot easier when no one knows you and your only worry is whether or not people in each world speak the same languages you do. Harry can attest to it; he's been jumping for years. He knows how to keep his head down and not get invested. On hindsight, with his track record, Harry supposed it was only a matter of time until he did exactly that.
Chapter 1 – How It All Began
"It's the only way, Harry."
Harry said nothing, keeping his attention on the metallic bracelet cradled in his hands instead. He knew his best friends were exchanging nervous looks across from him, but when he glanced up, they quickly focused their attention on the silver band as well.
No surprise there. Most days, he tried not to look at them either. He couldn't blame them for doing the same, not when their visible age differed so obviously from his.
When the war had ended, Britain had done what they always did best: carry on with life. The dead were buried, the Ministry of Magic was rebuilt, the Death Eaters were tried and convicted. People mourned, but never for long, and life had slowly but surely drifted back to normal.
The Golden Trio finished their last year of schooling in five months with half-hearted restless vigour and was soon unleashed on the world, much to the delight of many people in Britain. Job offers came pouring in, and with no shortage on that end, all three of them could pick what they wanted to do.
Harry had become an Auror, fast-tracked through the program on the recommendation of Kingsley, and had been fully qualified before he had turned nineteen, a record-breaking age in the Wizarding world. He was great at it too, and had become Head Auror by the time he was twenty-four. This had resulted in a stream of requests for the Auror program from all over Europe, and Harry had more than enough work to do to occupy his time.
Ron had gone into Quidditch, playing for the Chudley Cannons for several years as their Keeper. He was good, but it wasn't until the team's coach retired and Ron took his place that he became great. At twenty-three, Ron became a household name for bringing the Cannons to the semi-finals in the first two years and the finals the year after that before finally winning the cup in the fourth. The Cannons hadn't lost ever since.
In between all that, the redhead had also found the time to properly ask Hermione out, finally asking for her hand in marriage after three years of dating, a month of dragging Harry out to look for a ring, and another week to find the Gryffindor courage he had momentarily lost. Hermione had said yes, of course, and with Molly at its helm, the wedding had been just as beautiful as Bill and Fleur's.
Hermione had, surprisingly, entered the Ministry, quickly ascending through the ranks in the Department of Mysteries until she had become an Unspeakable at twenty-seven.
Neither Harry nor Ron had understood why after going through three years of SPEW with her, but when Harry had woken at the age of thirty, looked into a mirror, and wondered why he still looked twenty, maybe twenty-two at most, the pieces had started coming together.
Three years after that realization and two years after Harry had quit the Auror department, much to the shock of practically all of Britain, more and more people were beginning to ask questions.
And now, a week after said questions had began appearing in newspapers, Hermione had flooed to his apartment with Ron at three in the morning, breathless and still wearing her work robes and a terrified expression on her face.
She had come with the news that the Unspeakables had become suspicious of Harry's noticeable lack of growth and she had heard whispers of plans to interrogate him. Admitting to entering the Department of Mysteries on a suspicion about the Hallows and not just out of interest, she had revealed, with a sheepish look at Harry's accusing stare, that after hearing so much about the Master of Death, she had wondered if there were consequences to gathering the three Hallows. After all, Harry still had the cloak, the wand had refused to be left behind, the stone had magically returned to him, and were now fused to his magical core, contributing quite a bit of power to Harry's magic.
Tonight, the Unspeakables in charge of Harry Potter's case had finalized their plans at last, and not sticking around to try and talk them out of it, she had grabbed the device she had been working on for the past five years, left work, grabbed Ron, broken her oaths to the Unspeakables, and come straight to Harry.
"So let me get this straight," Harry finally voiced flatly. "The Unspeakables want to haul me in for something I have no control over and don't really even know what it entails except apparently giving me bloody immortality, and you want me to use this," He held up the bracelet. "To run away."
"You can't stay here, mate," Ron interjected anxiously. "It's the Unspeakables. They can find almost anybody."
Harry waved the band in the air, not understanding why neither of his friends seemed more concerned. "You want me to run away," He stressed again. "To a different dimension."
"It might not be another dimension," Hermione offered, hurrying on when Harry gave her an unimpressed look. "It's still a prototype. I haven't really tested it thoroughly yet, but its job is to take you elsewhere, other dimensions, times, maybe even worlds."
"Hermione, have you completely lost your mind?" Harry demanded. "Why would you even make something like this? Why would you think I would want to travel to other worlds or into the future or something? I wouldn't even be able to come back!"
"Would you really want to?" Ron asked quietly, looking uncharacteristically serious.
"It's not that we don't want you around, mate," The redhead continued hastily. "You're our best friend and life will be a lot more boring without you around. No more waking up at five in the morning to let you in after you come back from a mission, for one," Ron chuckled at that and even Hermione managed a weak smile. "But you've been drawing away from for a while now, years; you're not happy here. I know you tried with Ginny but that was over before it started, even mum admits it. You've spent a decade almost getting killed several dozen times and the last two years shut up in here. You can't do this forever."
"Apparently I can," Harry shot back bitterly, feeling the faint thrum of two of the Hallows fused with his core.
"There's no cure here, Harry," Hermione took over, looking tired now. "I've looked. I've researched everything I could get my hands on since you became the Master of Death; there's nothing. But maybe, in the future or in another dimension or in a different world, there will be a cure. But there isn't one here and we've run out of time."
Harry's jaw clenched. "I could move to a different country," He tried again. The prospect of teleporting to somewhere or some-when completely new weighed his stomach down with more than a little apprehension. "To America or-"
"They're the Unspeakables, Harry," Hermione interrupted, hesitating briefly before continuing, "I've already broken my oaths; might as well do it properly. The Department of Mysteries have a device to track any magical signature in the world. Even behind a Fidelius Charm, they can still find you if they have a sample of your magical signature. And they have yours. Remember the prophecy? It may have been broken but you still touched it and you left traces of your magic on it. The Unspeakables grabbed it before anyone else could. You could move to Antarctica and live underground but they'll be knocking down your front door within a month. There's nowhere you can go on Earth that they won't find you. Not this Earth. And once they get their hands on you, you can kiss your freedom goodbye."
Ron was gaping a little, even as Harry closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against the coffee table in front of him.
This was insane. He hadn't even packed anything. What if he ended up on another planet entirely with three-headed aliens who would definitely not speak English? There was only one teleportation device too. He would be going alone.
"How would I go about jumping from one place to another?" He finally asked, defeated.
Both Hermione and Ron looked relieved as Hermione gestured at the band, "Just put a little of your magic into that and it'll take you away. You won't know where you'll end up, but at least you'll be able to look in each world before taking off again. And don't lose it or you'll get stuck. Anything you want to bring with you just has to be on your person."
Harry nodded, mind still trying to wrap around this idea as Hermione pulled out a duffel bag and pushed it in his direction.
"I've cast all sorts of charms on it to keep it from tearing," Hermione explained in a rush. "It's waterproof and fireproof too, and it's got a permanent invisible extension charm on it. There's already some food in there, and I've packed a toothbrush and some books-"
"What about money? Clothes?" Harry rose to his feet, almost tripping when Ron produced a bundle of clothes and Hermione seized his wallet from the kitchen counter. It had quite a bit of money in it, but nowhere near the amount in his vaults, and certainly not enough for an indefinite trip to the unknown.
"There's no time!" Hermione hissed. "They are literally coming right now! I'm surprised they're not here already but if you stick around any longer, you won't be able to leave at all. Here, don't forget your cloak."
Harry numbly accepted his invisibility cloak from the brunette, shoving it into the duffel bag after the clothes. "What about my disappearance?" He stalled desperation making him sarcastic. "As idiotic as Britain can be, telling them I'm going on vacation or on a honeymoon with my secret wife is hardly going to be believed."
"We'll tell them you've gone missing," Ron shrugged, glancing nervously at the door. "People love that stuff. I can see the headline now: Harry Potter: Victim or Runaway. It'll make people's day."
Hermione slapped him upside the head. "Don't be so tactless, Ron! Look Harry, we're going to miss you, but this is the only way. You'll be alright," She encouraged, tearing up. "Imagine; a new world to explore! And you can look for something to cancel your immortality. Make new friends while you're at it. They might even be able to help you."
"Look us up if you jump to another dimension," Ron added, reaching out to clap him on the shoulder. "Doesn't matter where or what time; we'll always help you."
Harry didn't know what to say as he stared from one face to the other, slowly picking up the bracelet. Sure, he had drifted from these two ever since the physical difference of their age started to show. Even before that, to be honest. The war had made him more reclusive than ever and sometimes, he even had to force himself to go to work instead of shutting himself away from the world. The last two years without needing to go to work anymore hadn't helped matters.
But they were his friends and yeah, he could take care of himself, had been doing exactly that for as long as he could remember, but for the first time since he had turned eleven and entered Hogwarts, he would completely, utterly, alone.
Perhaps they caught sight of some of the fear tightening his chest because Hermione had thrown her arms around him in the next moment, and the grip Ron had on his shoulder tightened almost painfully.
But there was no more time for words when all three of them felt the sudden whoosh of magic and the activation of anti-Apparition wards around Harry's flat.
With a fierce hug in return, Harry pushed Hermione away and nodded at Ron as the redhead let go. The brunette really had started crying now and Harry felt a slight burn in his eyes, something that hadn't happened since Sirius' death.
"Go," He said firmly instead, snapping on the bracelet. "Or they'll shut down the floo and you'll both be caught."
"Be careful, Harry!" Hermione gave him one last hug before backing away.
"Good luck, mate," Ron only hesitated for a brief moment before pulling Harry into a hug as well. Harry returned it just as fiercely for a few seconds. Letting go was almost physically painful.
Neither made any move to the fireplace, and Harry knew that neither would leave until he did. It didn't make him feel any better.
"...Goodbye then," Harry surveyed them one last time, imprinting their faces into his memory. He would never see them again, not here, not in this time.
Sending a small stream of magic into the device, Harry felt an odd tugging in his chest even as the band began to glow. Only a second later, he saw the world dissolve around him, Ron and Hermione's faces blurring with the darkness, and then he was gone.
Harry opened his eyes and his first thought was that everything had been a dream, because hovering over him, brow creased with concern, was Hermione's face.
"Oh good, you're awake," Hermione said, and Harry closed his eyes again, disappointment bitter on his tongue. This Hermione had a French accent.
"You gave me quite a scare," The not-Hermione continued, and when Harry pulled his thoughts together and managed to open his eyes again without doing something stupid like burst into tears, he slowly took in the hospital equipment around him and the long white coat Hermione was wearing.
"I'm at a hospital?" He asked carefully, sitting up.
Hermione nodded, raising the back of the bed to help him. "You collapsed just down the street. It was very lucky I was on my coffee break or you could've frozen in that weather outside."
She gestured at the window and Harry caught a glimpse of white swirling wildly behind the drawn curtains.
Hermione continued to chatter away, informing of his condition (slight frostbite, overexertion) for a while, before cutting in hesitantly, "Where am I?"
Hermione blinked at him, concern chasing across her features. "The Saint-Louis in Paris. You do not know?"
Harry shook his head, managing an apologetic smile. "Just a bit confused for a moment. How long have I been out?"
"Only a few hours," Hermione informed him briskly, eyeing his head as if looking for a bump. "Why were you outside any-"
She paused when a voice outside called, "Claire? Where are you? The patient in room 24 is asking for you."
"Yes, ma'am," Hermione-dubbed-Claire called back. "I'll be right there." She turned back to Harry with an assurance that she would be back soon before hurrying away, leaving Harry alone in the room.
With a sigh, Harry shifted a little and lifted his left hand. The teleportation glinted in the dim light and he made to take it off.
Only to freeze when he realized that the latch had been completely sealed. Breath freezing in his throat, Harry tugged harder, not even wincing when the metal bit into his skin.
What was going on? Did Hermione say that he wouldn't be able to take it off? No, she hadn't, so why-
Before he could think any further, a familiar-foreign feeling tugged against his magical core and his eyes widened in alarm when the band began to glow.
Not for nothing had Harry been the youngest Auror in history and, thinking fast, he flung the blankets back and scrambled out of bed, grateful that Hermione-Claire hadn't changed him out of his clothes and only taken off his jacket, which was drying over a heater at the moment. Rushing across the room, he seized the jacket and his bag left beside it just in time as his magic and the device fused and whisked him away once again, two lingering words standing out in his mind.
After three more jumps, Harry no longer blacked out right after teleporting, and not every place he jumped to gave him only a few hours.
The second world was war-torn and unrecognizable, and Harry had found himself thrown back into battle when the general – pale-faced and distinctly American-but-not – found out he could fight. Magic was normal in this world, and once Harry found out that the General was fighting to defeat a madman much like Voldemort, he had agreed to help.
Unfortunately, the day before the last battle was to take place and three years after he had arrived, Harry had felt the familiar tugging in his chest and knew it was time to go. The last thing he had seen was the General – who had become James somewhere along the way – and the handful of friends he had made within the army standing around him as he began to disappear, begging him not to go, to stay just one more day. Harry didn't need them to tell him that his powerful skill with magic was a large part of what had kept all of them alive.
The betrayal on James' face as he was yanked away was something Harry would never forget.
In the third world, Harry had spent most of his time there holed away in an old apartment in a place that looked a lot like Britain except for the fact that there was no Wizarding world and clocks were all backwards. During the few days he spent there, Harry spent a lot of it hating himself; for getting involved, for giving those people false hope, for betraying them so badly, hell, for ever putting on the teleportation device in the first place. A part of him even hated Hermione and Ron, one for suggesting this whole insanity, the other for not stopping it.
But in the end, he had only himself to blame. His friends hadn't forced him to put the device on. He could've chanced it and stayed on Earth instead, spending his life on the run. He had plenty of practice, after all.
But no matter what he tried – a knife, the wall, a saw, and finally even a Cutting Hex – the device would not break and he had ended up with a bloody wrist instead, a lot less worried about it than he had thought he would be. The gash healed itself though, little by little, until only a thin scar showed for his effort. The wound had been relatively deep but he hadn't died, and Harry instinctively knew suicide wouldn't work. Besides, he wasn't that desperate yet, hadn't sunken that low.
He had learned one lesson though: getting invested in a world he was always bound to leave, whether in an hour or a decade, was not worth the pain it eventually brought to everyone involved. He still helped with small things here and there – he needed to work after all. Half the time, the currency was different and he would have to start all over again – but that was the extent of his involvement. Alone and dependent on no one but himself was what he did best, and he worked hard to keep it that way, ignoring the people who tried to befriend him in each world.
And so the years passed, world to world, time to time, dimension to dimension.
Sometimes, he'd find himself on Earth again, in Australia or Canada or China. And always, he would make his way back to Britain, sometimes reaching the country before his time ran out, sometimes not, but when he did, the disappointment he would feel when he realized it wasn't his own world was always crushing. The feeling lessened over time but it never went away, and, after several decades, he eventually gave up on the slim chance that he might be able to return.
He also looked into his immortality, trying to find out everything he could about the Hallows and Death, but nothing significant ever came up.
On the fifty-second world he jumped to, a place called Asgard, the people there were often called demigods, and having studied Norse myths and their affinity with gods, he thought they might know something of Death, but most Asgardians were tall and broad-shouldered, and Harry had taken one look at a Frost Giant and promptly headed as far away as possible from Jotunheim. He had ended up bumping into a large, muscular man, old but still strong if the way he had beaten back several Frost Giants with ease had been anything to go by. But before Harry had been able to hide, the Asgardian had caught sight of him, and a moment later, he had found himself at the end of several spear points. A wave of his hand could have easily taken care of the problem, but Harry had figured alienating the obviously important man would be a bad idea.
So Harry had allowed them to bring him back to the castle where he found out just who the old man was. Odin hadn't asked him if he was a Frost Giant – it had been pretty obvious anyway – but the king had drilled him on who he was until Harry had snapped and told him he was just a wanderer who meant no harm before flicking out a hand and sending the guard who had been holding a spear to his face across the room.
The rest seemed pretty self-explanatory and Odin had finally waved the guards away before offering Harry a temporary place to stay inside the palace since Asgard's weather was taking a turn for the worse. Harry had ended up agreeing, and for the next three months, while still aloof and wary, he had found himself settling in with Odin's family, getting pulled into long discussions about different plants and animals on Asgard by Frigga when the queen realized just how little Harry knew about their world.
Harry stayed for another twenty-two years after that, helping Odin on the battlefield when the Frost Giants decided to attack in large swarms for eight weeks straight, and even offering his own opinions on politics when the king asked for them. Six years in, he saw the birth of Odin's firstborn, a boy he named Thor, and before Harry could excuse himself from the family celebration, the king had dragged him into the room, dubbed him godfather, and refused to listen to any of his protests.
That very same night, Harry had confronted the king right in the middle of the man's throne room, demanding to know why Odin had allowed him into his home so readily. Odin had stared at him for a few contemplative moments before revealing that he could see the magic Harry possessed, feel the solitude in his aura, and had decided to give him a home when it seemed as if he did not have one.
Harry had old eyes, Odin had told him, eyes that had seen too much for a face as young as his.
Harry hadn't liked the way his heart warmed at Odin's concern; he would have to leave one day and he had yet to tell the king. But being named godfather of all things changed all that and Harry had, reluctantly, revealed the nature of his youth and the secret of how he had arrived in Asgard in the first place.
Odin hadn't seemed surprised, taking in Harry's words with the same patient calmness he did everything else. When Harry had finished, the king had told him nothing would change. There wasn't anything Odin could think of to negate immortality nor was he willing to damage Harry's hand just to attempt a removal of the band that would most likely not work anyway, and Harry had already spent an inordinate amount of time in the royal library, but the wizard was welcome to stay for as long as he was able.
So Harry stayed. For sixteen more years, Harry watched Thor grow up, later joined by Loki when Odin brought the abandoned baby home. Because of his physical differences, the other Asgardians were not as inclined to treat Loki with as much respect as they did Thor, keeping him at a distance, so Harry had volunteered as his godfather as well when Sif had seemed more than a little hesitant to take the job at Odin's request. Loki reminded Harry of himself, and he had told Odin as much, after which the king had agreed readily.
Even as children, Thor had been the louder, more boisterous son, and Harry often found himself in the company of Loki, quieter and more sombre, a book under one arm as he sought out Harry in the library time and time again.
But the idyllic way of life could never last, and when Harry felt the familiar tugging in his chest once more, he had honestly felt like crying. But there had been no time for emotions since he and the children had been caught up in an ambush after Thor had talked his father into letting Harry take them to a cliff overseeing an ocean that was near the Jotunheim border. Harry had handled most of the Frost Giants without problem, but there were still a few more drawing near so he had seized both children and Apparated them as close to their home as possible, shoving them in the right direction even as he had started to disappear.
Loki, always quicker, even at fifteen, had realized something was taking Harry away and had leapt forward, reaching for his hand in an attempt to anchor the wizard even as Thor bellowed for the guards and his father. But Loki's hand simply passed right through Harry's, and Harry could only blurt out a strained apology before the world dissolved around him.
It was lucky he had taken to shrinking his sparse belongings and always carried everything with him because the next world dropped him right in the middle of a violent dispute, and it was only his cloak that hid him before either party had managed to spot him.
By this time, he had been jumping back and forth, left and right, for over four hundred years, and to be taken away once again by a place he had slowly started to think of as home had unleashed his magic until his surroundings had become nothing but dust. He hadn't even been very sorry that the aliens – cannibals upon a closer observation – had been incinerated along with everything else.
And so he found himself alone once again, drifting from one world to another and never able to call a place home, but it was what fate had dealt him, and Harry was very careful not to accept another offer of a place to stay, opting to stick to hotels or flats or even the roadside.
So it went for another century, an aimless lonely existence, until Harry found himself back on Earth, different but familiar as well. Same countries, same people, but no magic, no wizards.
Instead, there were superheroes.
First chapter done! More an introduction than anything else; I really don't know where I'm going with this though.
Tell me what you think!