Summary: When Tony Stark hacks into the S.H.I.E.L.D. mainframe on the Helicarrier, he doesn't only find the weapons of mass destruction he already knew S.H.I.E.L.D. was building, but a project called 45-120-8. When he and Captain America trace to so called 'death' project back to its lab, they uncover a secret so large the ripples will be felt across the Nine Realms.
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim to own Avengers or Harry Potter.
Chapter Five, Part One: The Reveal
When Tony awoke, it was to Steve slouched asleep in the chair next to his bed. There were deep lines under his eyes as if he'd sustained a harsher treatment dealt to him by the world than simply the battle that had occurred yesterday and Tony hoped it didn't have anything to do with the kid situation that had started the day off messily, but based on all of their confounded dumb, dumb luck, that was probably not the case. The other man was still in Captain America uniform. The shield that his father had made lay tilted against the wall and his helmet and a stuffed owl were sat down carefully on his bed-side table. Tony felt a smile tug at his lips. Had the kid brought it for him?
The room was quiet and dark except for the light that spilled into the room from the open doorway and the bright blue light that emitted its dull hum through his chest. Whatever had happened between when he'd collapsed after starting the Helicarrier's engine and this moment had left him feeling exhausted and wanting to go back to sleep forever, but strangely, lighter than he'd felt in a while. Completely sober and he still felt this good? Something must have really screwed up his brain after he'd been sucked up and smacked out by those damned engine blades. He wasn't quite sure what it was, but… It was something important, he thought sleepily. … Probably something… important….
Tony's eyes snapped open and as earlier, he almost skyrocketed out of bed. Groaning, he turned over as the pain in his chest was the same, though less prominent now, and cracked a slight grin at the worry etched on the Captain's face. "Can't a guy get some rest around here?" he quipped, though his voice was low and carried only to the other man. "I've almost died twice today if it's still the day I think it is. You wake me up when I was just about to get a little shut-eye- oomph!"
Steve collided with Tony in an awkward hug that surprised both of them. Quickly standing back, Steve coughed and glared at Tony. "Don't even joke about it! You did die."
"Hmm. Guess that explains why I feel like I got ran over by a flying fortress." He paused. The look on Steve's face didn't change- in fact, looked more pained and Tony groaned as he flipped back onto his back. "Okay, not my best comeback, but, hey!-"
"Tony," Steve's quiet voice interrupted and Tony fell silent, giving Steve's drawn face a searching look. The blonde-haired man slipped quietly back into his chair, staring down at his hands.
"What happened, Cap'?" Tony was almost afraid to ask, "Who died?"
Steve looked up, started for a second before giving the bed-ridden man a half-hearted grin. "Besides yourself? Don't worry, no one's as death prone as you." Tony noticed that Steve worded that in a strange way, but Steve continued without explanation. "Though it seems like Agent Coulson does have a death wish…" Steve mumbled that last part, but in the still room, Tony caught it.
"Coulson almost died? What'd he do? Get in a knife-fight with that bastard Loki?" At Steve's shocked and slightly chagrined face, Tony's mouth dropped open and he half raised himself to stare incredulously at Steve. "Please tell me you're joking! What'd Bruce say earlier? 'You can smell the crazy on that guy'? And Coulson knowingly went after him?" Tony flopped back down with a wince and a groan. "That idiot."
Steve shot Tony a look that the other man studiously ignored. Tony didn't need a reminder that his own actions had been pretty reckless and idiotic as well. Getting caught in the blades of an engine? Tony couldn't even remember the last time he'd done that.
"So? At least tell me he's okay and up, bossing Fury around somewhere?"
Steve nodded. "He's out of surgery, though still in the critical care unit, but he's expected to make a full recovery. If it hadn't been for Harry accidentally saving his life-"
"Harry? The kid? What'd he have to do with this?"
Steve stopped. He'd forgotten with all that had happened in the last day that the other man didn't know anything about the boy- not that he really knew anything either.
"Tony… What really happened back at that room with Harry?" Steve had a troubled look on his face and stared at the other man's face intently, as if looking for some sign, though what kind of sign he didn't know, and it made Tony uncomfortable.
"What aren't you telling me, Cap'?"
"Please, Tony. I have to know. Whatever happened to you only happened to you. What did Harry do that caused all of this?" Steve motioned to all of Tony and the bearded man laughed abruptly.
"I'm pretty sure Harry didn't cause all of this," he laughed, motioning to his own body. "I'm sure you know the physics of how babies are made and I don't need to explain that to you, right?"
Steve slouched, pouting, his cheeks turning a light pink. "That's not what I meant."
Tony huffed another laugh, and he relaxed some, his body sinking sleepily into the mattress. "Yeah, Cap', yeah." There was a comfortable silence and Tony reached up to gently rub the scarred skin around his Arc. He thought he'd been imagining it before, but he did feel a subtle difference in the Arc that he was attributing to feeling lighter. And the pain had lessened so whatever happened must not have had a terribly hard reaction on his body. He felt better.
"I guess he didn't do anything," Tony said after long last and Steve startled. Likely the other man had thought Tony had fallen back asleep. "I'm not sure what… it… was, but I might have just been hallucinating."
Steve's whole focus was on Tony now. Tony drifted as he recalled the red eyes and the skeleton hand that had reached out. "I thought I saw something." His barking laugh started Steve again, but it was quick and sharp as if Tony didn't believe it himself. "You know sometimes, when you think you might die and you see your life flash before your eyes? I've never been a fan of that metaphor because my life never flashed before my eyes just when I'm about to go under. And if I did see something when Harry did that strange trick where his hand formed back together- you think he has some sort of regenerative healing power like Wolverine?- What I saw wasn't anything like that particular metaphor. But… If it was anything, it was more of the 'Death has come to take your soul away' kind of myth." Tony shook his head ruefully. "I don't know what happened, but-"
Tony caught Steve's face in the corner of his eye and stopped to turn fully towards him. The blond man was pale and his fingers made imprints in the metal of his chair where he gripped too hard.
"…What?" Tony said defensively.
"'What,' exactly." Both Tony and Steve's head's snapped towards the doorway. Fury stood there, outlined in light from the hallway and Steve and Tony were halfway out of their seat and bed respectively before they realized it was someone that wasn't going to try and kill them. Tony sat back, scooting until he was resting in a more upright position against the pillows as Steve sat down in the side chair. While both of them respected the dark man for bringing them together as a team with the other Avengers, neither of them could forget their latest encounter with cold, calculating man. The rage that Steve felt had resurfaced, but Tony got to Fury before he could.
"So, the attempted child-killer shows his face." Tony's voice was cold and his eyes shuttered, but he had a half-smile on his face and Steve suppressed a shiver. Something dangerous lurked in his gaze. Steve had read the files assigned to them, even if Tony thought he didn't. He might not have understood the large amount of astrophysics talk that Tony and Bruce wallowed in, but he did understand people. Reading comic books, and then drawing them later, Steve had an intimate understanding of the human condition. Being in the Great War had only brought him closer to understanding how people worked- their dreams and ambitions… their fears. Knowing even a little bit about what Tony had done through in his life before Iron Man, with being a weapons manufacturer and then having those same weapons used against you, and having survived to become stronger; Steve knew there were only a couple ways to go after being a prisoner of war. And hidden underneath the sneering and the joking and the science, there was this- raw edges of pain that would fester a violent protection of those weaker than himself. The wound that would never heal. Steve knew. He had one like in his own heart.
Fury's one eye narrowed and he stalked slowly into the room and Steve couldn't figure out which one seemed more dangerous at that moment- the tall, scowling Director or the bed-ridden, sharp-eyed genius. In the shadow of the hospital room, both were akin to the larger-than-life mythological monsters of vengeance, glaring at each other from across the bed.
Fury said nothing, simply coming to stand beside the guard rail. The silence this time wasn't companionable, but thick with a ringing in Steve's ears and the throb of his quickly beating heart felt through his whole body. "You're alive after all."
Tony's shark grin widened, but his brown eyes were slits that looked black in the shadow of his Arc. "You're a bastard after all." He turned to Steve, smiling in a way that unnerved the Captain. "Who would have thought?"
Fury snorted. "His name is Harry." There was a long pause and Steve felt like he could see the cogs turning in the brain of the genius as all the emotions left. "He's most likely five years old. We've has known of him since 2008."
Tony didn't question his words, and Fury didn't offer up any more information.
"And?" Tony prompted, crossing his arms over his chest. "Tell me why you think Harry is dangerous." His glare deepened. "Or at least more dangerous than a man wielding a gun with deadly intent in a room filled with teddy bears and stuffed Snidget's that had been locked from the outside."
Fury straightened his posture to glare even more fiercely down at Tony, but the other man didn't even flinch. "You think that Loki is bad? Killing off nearly a hundred people in three days?" Fury's voice raised and he flung his arm out in sudden anger. "Harry- the kid who is not a child- was found in October of 2010, in the middle of a crater filled with bodies and blood as the only survivor to a massacre of a secret society in Britain. We thought him just a survivor of a serial-killing of the Magicals, maybe by a splinter faction within their own society. But it was the kid. That is why he's so dangerous."
"Wait, you're basing all of this on an assumption? What makes you so sure that a three-year old child killed off all those people? Video evidence? DNA? He's just a kid, Fury!"
"He killed my wife!" Fury hissed. The loathing in that voice took Steve back, and Tony lost his glare for a second.
"Let me give you a rundown of the history of the Magicals. Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, was murdered by a supernatural being in 2007. The older Harry Potter was a recluse since the last war of the Magicals, but during his life he was known as the most magically powerful man in the world because he was the master of three artifacts collectively known as the Deathly Hallows- some sort of items that Death presumably granted with magical power. He could not have died by anyone's hand, but a being not from this world.
"Three months later and a child shows up- no mother, no father known in the human database, but looks exactly like the Harry Potter who had just died. The Magicals believe that he is their lost savior, unable to be taken by Death and welcome him back into their society!" Fury's usually calm expression twisted up into a sneer for a millisecond, before he forcibly calmed himself down.
"He should have been locked up the minute it was known he was brought back to life. All of that concentrated power locked up inside a kid with Death itself whispering into his ears… What did they think would happen when the child had the means to destroy all of them with a word? A kid who was the Master of Death." A cut off laugh and a pause.
"Just like that, ten thousand people living in the world killed- all of the Magicals everywhere gone. Because they based their hope on a child who is too dangerous to be alive."
"Look, I'm not saying I believe you about all of this magical people stuff or understand your reason for keeping him locked up here, but have you thought he's just like the mutants at Professor Xavier's school? That it's just some power?"
"Maybe he just can't control it? His ability, I mean." Steve interjected.
"He saved Stark, didn't he?"
That stopped Tony dead.
"I actually died?" He turned to the Captain, who looked studiously away. "I thought you were exaggerating!"
"Do you think I would joke like that? It's your life!"
"Gentlemen," Fury cut in, removing his hand from his ear. "They found the Tesseract. And Loki." Fury's eyes found Tony's and the brunet cursed.
"Let me guess," Iron Man muttered, and swung himself out of bed. "Full-tilt diva that Loki is…" he sighed and accepted Steve's help as they walked quickly out of the room. "There goes my tower. That son of a bitch."
AN: Part Two will be up soon. Should I replace this chapter with the whole of Chapter Five, or add a Chapter Six (which would actually be Chapter Five, Part Two)?