"Dr Evans, meet Dr. Bruce Banner. I'm sure you two will get along."
With those words, Fury strode off, leaving the two to stare awkwardly at each other.
"Hi." Harry said, breaking the silence.
"Hello. You're the head scientist?"
"As of yesterday, yes. Would you like my job?" Harry asked seriously. Dr. Banner chuckled softly, still wringing his hands. It was starting to get on Harry's nerves.
"No thankyou, you look like you're... handling yourself quite well."
Harry could not help but snort at that. His shoulder-length hair had been tied in a messy ponytail hours ago and it was starting to fall out. With no sleep and too much coffee, he was sure his face must resemble that of a zombie's. Not to mention the slight trembling in his hands from the caffeine overload.
"Thankyou, by the way, for the tip on gamma radiation. I hadn't even considered that, but I suppose it makes sense; Dr. Selvig and Jane had mentioned some other Norse artefact that fell to earth that was drowning in radiation... was it a chisel? A knife...? Something like that, anyway." Harry muttered, leaning over to whack the back of one of the Agent's heads as he caught them playing Space Invaders instead of working. Apart from the annoyance, Harry had to admit that he was enjoying the power that came from bossing people around.
"I'm glad to be of help."
Harry smiled, one again faced with an awkward silence. The man clearly had pretty bad social skills; everything he said pretty much ended whatever topic they were talking about. Or perhaps it was on purpose; perhaps Dr. Banner simply didn't want to talk to people?
His pocket buzzed. Harry jumped, before realising it was his phone. Who on earth was texting him? He NEVER got texts unless they were emergency ones from SH.I.E.L.D!
Hey Harry, meet me in the cafeteria for lunch? Knowing you, you haven't eaten yet. From Steve.
Harry grinned. That made more sense. He had given his number to Steve a while back, but the man had never used it until now. Steve still obviously hadn't quite gotten the hang of mobiles yet either. He still used formal language, and signed his name at the end of the sentences.
Lunch. The thought of it made his stomach rumble.
Sure! C U soon. & u kno u don't hav 2 sign ur name, phone does it 4 u.
Sending the quick text back, Harry eyed off Dr. Banner, who was reading a few molecular charts on one of the larger screens. The man's back was stiff and he was still fiddling with his hands. Harry thought he desperately needed a hug. And perhaps some valium. But in any case, he was interested. The man still reminded him of Remus, and he wanted to figure out why. Perhaps it was his aura. It had the same, slight tickle of something more. But Dr. Banner obviously wasn't a werewolf... so what was causing it? And… his name did seem very familiar. Harry was sure he had heard it before! In fact, the name brought to mind some of the experiments he had done with work a while ago, but for the life of him, he could not figure out which ones.
"Dr. Banner?" Harry made up his mind, walking over to the man.
"Yes, Dr. Evans?"
"Ugh. Call me Harry. Can I call you Bruce? Is that ok?"
"Well, Bruce? I'm off to lunch, would you like to join me? I'll be dining with Steve, I believe you've met him?"
"That would be nice; Captain Rodgers seems like a good man."
"Yeah; a great friend, too! Come on; I hope you know the way, 'cause I don't! I've been stuck yelling at idiots for the last twenty-four hours!"
Luckily for the pair, Bruce did, in fact, know the way to the cafeteria.
It was a fairly open area, with long tables, looking almost like a metal, modernised version of the Great Hall. Spotting Steve, who was sitting at the end of one of the tables with a few other people, he waved, then steered Bruce who, after seeing all the people, seemed to have re-considered his choice to eat with them, away from the doors and towards the counters full of food.
Harry glanced over the different choices, trying to decide which would be the least likely to taste like shit. He decided upon a salad, because it was the only thing he could recognise at a first glance. And at least it look fresh (probably because it was completely untouched by everyone else; heaven forbid eating anything green) unlike the different selections of meat, none of which Harry could identify. He refused to touch any of that; it could be something gross, like road kill, and nobody would ever notice.
Or, an annoying voice in the back of his head chimed in, it could even be human meat. There could be a vengeful SH.I.E.L.D cook somewhere who decides to murder somebody and then feed it to everybody else. Shuddering at the thought and pushing it far from his mind lest he never eat meat again - he knew that this sort of thing had happened numerous times throughout history - Harry gladly served himself extra helpings of salad, picking out extra olives.
Bruce went for some kind of Thai.
Harry grabbed another coffee. It was probably a bad idea, but he was falling asleep on his feet. Bruce grabbed water.
Wandering over to the tables, Harry placed his tray down across from Steve, smiling to the few surrounding Agents, happily recognising Natasha amongst their midst. It attested to how well their friendship had formed over the previous weeks, when the first thing Steve said to him was:
"Should you really be having another coffee? How many is that so far?"
"... I believe this is number seven."
Harry stuffed a mouthful of lettuce into his mouth. It was incredibly bitter. He gagged, reconsidering his choice of food, swallowing it as soon as possible and washing it down with the strong-tasting coffee, wishing he had grabbed the, potentially dangerous, meat instead.
He glanced across at Steve's plate, eyeing off the man's something-that-looked-a-bit-like-beef-stroganoff and bagel. Where had the bagel come from, he wondered? He wanted one!
"Its good to see you again, Dr. Banner." Steve smiled warmly, drawing a slightly quirk-of-the-lips from the shy scientist.
"These are Agents Liu and Nicholson, by the way." Steve idly pointed out to them. Harry smiled quickly at the two agents, one Asian and the other African American, before turning to Natasha, leaving Steve the difficult job of trying to draw Bruce into conversation.
"So; how are things going? I heard about Barton; I'm sorry."
"Well enough. How go things with the tracking of Loki and the Tesseract?"
"The Tesseract? Nothing. The God? Well... his latest trick is to show up randomly in two places at once for a few seconds, and then vanish again. It's getting really annoying!" Harry grumbled. "I mean, I know he's supposed to be the Norse god of mischief or something, but seriously? Hasn't he got better things to do than mess with us? Cause that's obviously what he's doing!"
Harry violently stabbed at one of his olives. It slid out from under his fork, bouncing onto Steve's plate. Steve grimaced, pushing it to the side with his fork.
"What? Don't you like olives?" Harry grinned.
"I haven't tried one yet, but I don't really want to either. They smell horrendous!"
"How do you know you don't like it if you haven't tried it?" Harry smirked. Steve glared.
"I'm not starting this with you again!" The blonde snapped playfully.
"Again? What happened last time?" Natasha cut in. Harry grinned. Steve groaned.
"Harry discovered that I hadn't seen Star Wars. He made me sit through all six movies at once." Steve looked like he had been sucking on a lemon.
"Oh come on! It wasn't that bad..."
"Yes, it was!"
"... and it's a classic! Like it or not, you have to see them all at least once! Now eat that olive! It might become your favourite food! Don't dis it 'till you've tried it!"
Steve sighed, stabbing the olive onto his fork and slowly lifting it into his mouth, making faces as he ate it.
"Well?" Harry pressed.
"Ah... I'm not quite sure what to make of it. It's... a very strange flavour." Steve said. Harry grinned.
"See? It wasn't that hard, was it?"
"Since when are you so incessantly annoying?" Natasha chimed in. Harry turned a glare upon her.
"Me? Annoying? I would never!" He barked.
"Just ignore him. He's had far too much caffeine and not enough sleep." Steve snorted. Harry pouted, crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair, noting that Bruce was leaning away from him slightly.
"Well, at least Bruce is nice to me!" He grinned, wrapping his right arm around Bruce's shoulder in a manly half-hug. The scientist instantly flinched. Sensing danger, Harry backed off, frowning slightly. Why had he flinched so badly? Was he hurt? or was it psychological?
Harry had certainly been uncomfortable with touch for years; and that was only from his 'caring' relatives never giving him any sort of physical attention. He had never been hit (apart from Dudley and his gang, of course), but just the lack of contact had caused him to be wary. But to flinch so violently?
"I'll be your friend, as long as you keep your wandering hands to yourself." Bruce said, breaking Harry from his thoughts. The scientist had a light smile on his face.
"Oh my Merlin! It speaks! And makes jokes!" Harry crowed, throwing his arms into the air, and then cringed. Fortunately, everyone seemed to overlook Harry's slip of the tongue in favour of laughter.
It was then that something very strange happened. They were interrupted.
"Captain? Sir?" A balding, middle-aged Agent approached Steve.
"How can I help you?" Steve answered.
"Well... I was wondering if I could... you know... get an autograph? My kids are big fans, you see!" The agent added quickly, slightly abashed. Harry frowned. Autograph...? Steve?
"It would be my pleasure, Sir. What are their names?" Steve answered politely, although Harry could see the slightly frustration the man held, due to the quirk of the left corner of his mouth.
"Leah and Kerby."
"Leah and Kerby; stay true and courageous..." Steve muttered what he was writing as he wrote, the second half of the sentence too soft for Harry to hear. Steve handed the piece of signed paper back over to the man, who wandered back off.
"So... since when are you famous enough to hand out autographs?" Harry asked. Instantly, many pairs of incredulous eyes turned to burn into him.
"You better be joking." Natasha said, looking a bit exasperated.
"What? I'm not joking! Seriously! Why are you all looking at me like that?"
"Wait... you don't know who Steve is?" Agent something-or-other... Nicholson? Harry had forgotten, all but shouted.
"I don't understand... of course I know who he is! He's Steve Rodgers!"
By then, Harry had to admit that he was thoroughly confused.
"Yeah, and he's also Captain America. Did you seriously not know that?" Natasha snickered. Harry turned to face his blonde friend, mouth gaping.
"... You're Captain America?" He yowled. Steve looked as dumbfounded as he did.
"I thought you knew..."
"Oh my God, this is so embarrassing!" Harry whined, slamming his head into the table.
"I suppose you didn't know that I'm the Black Widow, then?" Another head-slam.
"I hate my life. What's next? You're going to tell me that Bruce is the freaking hulk or something?!"
"... Kill me. Kill me now. I don't want to live on this planet anymore!"
"if you're so surprised about that! then I'm sure you'll love to hear about some of the rumours featuring yourself." Natasha smirked. Harry's eyes widened in concern.
"... Do elaborate."
"You basically appeared out of nowhere. Nobody was quite sure what to think of you, and since the Director is saying nothing... Well, the general rumour is that you are Fury's step son and Agent Hill is your mother," (ok, so Harry could sort of understand where that came from) "but the most recent, after your stint with the G.R.R lighting up on your scar, is that Dr. Banner, here, is your father."
Harry stared red at her for a moment, before turning to stare at Bruce, then back to Natasha.
"... Tell me; how many different rumours are there about me, and why are they so popular?"
This was like second year all over again. Though at least this time, nobody was calling him a murderer. Yet.
Natasha pulled a high tech cell phone out of her pocket and opened up a web page, handing it to him. Harry glanced at it, mouth opening in surprise as he realised it was a betting pool. A betting pool about who the mystery Kid Doctor was and how he was related to Director Fury. (because for Fury to take an interest and promote him so quickly, they must, of course, be related!).
"Ok. For once, I have no idea what to say... How many people are involved in this?" He asked the question aloud. Quite a few people sitting at the tables around them quickly turned back to their plates, looking guilty.
Harry groaner loudly. One final head-slam.
"So? care to enlighten us?" Natasha smirked. Harry mentally planned her murder. She was getting waaaaaaay too much amusement out of this.
"It's all a lie!" he mumbled around the table-top, not bothering to go any further than that, because he knew, from experience, that it would really make no difference at all.
The light conversation - and laughing at Harry - continued until they had finished their lunches - or, in Harry's case, staring at Steve's lunch and then stealing his bagel - and they started heading back to their designated jobs, Harry making a detour to his room to check on his birds.
The evening, just as it began to get dark, was interrupted with a match on Loki's face. A match that didn't disappear. Harry was instantly suspicious. What was the little brat up to, parading around in Germany? After the disappearing acts throughout the previous day and night, there was something distinctly wrong with this obvious act of public appearance.
Before he could voice his suspicions, however, Fury had sent Natasha, Steve and a few other Agents Harry hadn't met off to confront him, leaving Harry behind with Bruce, who quickly made an escape from all the chaos, leaving Harry quite alone.
So, he got back to word, supervising the chaos that was a bunch of scientists armed with computers, all trying to find an untraceable object and a pain-in-the-arse Norse God, wishing desperately that he could have accompanied his friends on their adventure to capture the little shit that had had them running in circles all night.
Harry was willing to admit that he was starting to get a little grumpy.
A sudden thought occurred to him; perhaps he could view what was going on from the helicopter cameras! Surely Fury had some sort of system that allowed for him to oversee what was happening!
Leaving the scientists squabbling over the lack of gamma radiation results, Harry spotted Fury in the small meeting room staring, as he had predicted, as a screen containing a live feed from the helicopter.
"What is it, Dr. Evans?" Fury barked before Harry had entered the room. Harry momentarily wondered if Fury had a magic eye, like Mad-Eye Moody did, hidden underneath his eye-patch.
"Can I watch the live feed with you? It's just… they're my friends. And any information on Loki I can gather at this point will help." Ok, that was a bit of a lie. But hey, he had to let his inner Slytherin out sometimes!
Fury eyed him for a few seconds, before giving one sharp nod. Harry inwardly cheered, stepping forward to stand beside the taller, intimidating man.
Half an hour later, Harry almost shat himself when the camera focused on Steve and Loki going at it, throwing each other around, weapons flying.
And then, music.
… Was that AC/DC?
"Damn it! Bloody Stark! Why can't he EVER follow instructions?" Fury swore, starting up a rant. Harry took a few steps away, slightly concerned.
And then, as easy as winking, Loki was under the control of S.H.I.E.L.D. And it was far too easy. Harry just knew that this was going to end extremely badly.
And then, just as quickly as they had caught him, Loki was gone. But he hadn't escaped; no, he had been taken by the biggest man, apart from Hagrid, that Harry had ever seen in his life. The man's biceps were bigger than Harry's head! Well, maybe not that big; but he had the look of a professional boxer, in any case, though that was offset slightly with the puppy-dog face, long, blonde hair and funny-looking armour. With a cape. Seriously? Who wore capes these days? They were hazardous!
He had to be another Norse God.
Fury was in an uproar, demanding people to drag up information on this "Thor", and sending out a few other aircrafts to try and find the two otherworldly beings. Harry had quickly made his escape, darting back to his general post at the science corner, and then ten minutes later – when he decided that he really could be of no help to anyone – back to his designated room, to finally get some sleep.
The room was small. It was a little smaller than his old bedroom at the Dursley's, with just a single, neatly made bed, a small set of drawers for clothes and a toilet and shower in the opposite corner to the bed. A little unpleasant to have the bathroom and bed in the same room, but Harry supposed that it saved space whilst giving privacy.
He wondered idly if everyone else had the same bedroom setup, or if he was one of the lucky ones who didn't have to put up with a shared room. His eyes flickered over to Wendelin and Agrippa, who were perched on the head of bed.
"Hello!" Wendelin peeped softly, mostly asleep.
"Death to the foes of Asgard!"
"… Hello to you too, Agrippa."
With that, Harry settled down on his bed, falling asleep almost instantly, still wearing all his clothes, including his boots.
In the morning, Harry was awoken by a chorus of screeching in his ear, courtesy of a hungry Wendelin. After having a quick shower, he put on his clean clothes and then had another argument with Agrippa. The raven had, once again, decided to latch his claws onto Harry's shirt and not let go. After a few angry pecks to Harry's head and hands, Agrippa had won that argument.
Harry then left his room, running into the same unfortunate sod who had been forced to take the birds to the room when he had first arrived and ordering the poor fellow to feed Wendelin. The man looked slightly green, but had nodded and strode off, determined (and more than a bit relieved that he didn't have to deal with the temperamental raven). Harry had a chuckle over that.
He grabbed a bacon and egg roll for breakfast, sacrificing some of his bacon to the unmoveable Agrippa, before heading to his post, wondering what on earth he would be working on today. Probably unsuccessfully tracking the Tesseract once again.
He found Bruce helping out with the gamma tracking once again. The shy scientist raised one eyebrow at the raven on his shoulder. Harry just shrugged.
Then an intercom came over; Bruce was wanted in the briefing room, along with the rest of the Avengers.
"Can I come?" Harry pleaded. Bruce sighed.
"Fine. But if Fury kicks you out, don't blame me."
And so, Harry headed off to a room with a trained assassin, super spy, Norse god of thunder, a hulk, Iron man and a super soldier. He had a feeling things were going to get very interesting, very fast.