Trouble Finds Him
Chapter 8: The Train
Was he okay? No, he doesn't think he is. He just had a few more flashes of visions. A train. Anger. Depression. Pain. Flying. More pain. Blue. Falling. Cold. Very cold.
"Harry? You sure you don't wanna lie down? I can tell Steve to come back later," Howard offered.
Harry shook his head. He felt as if the air was just squeezed out of him but he found it again. He was a bit shaken up by what those things he saw meant, but he couldn't worry about them now. He stood up straight and smiled at Howard, "I can't delay this anymore. He needs to know I'm alive."
Howard nodded and went to answer the door when there was a knock on it. Harry steadied himself against the counter as his memory tried to recall more details about the visions he just saw, but none of it made a lick of sense and, when a headache began to form, he just pushed it away. When he opened his eyes he saw Steve, still dressed in his Captain America costume, frozen in his place, eyes as big as saucers.
"Harry!" Steve somewhat yelled incredulously.
Harry tried to smile, but it was strained. He was tired and in pain and wanted to sleep more than anything, but he knew this conversation was needed, no matter how draining it was bound to be.
"Steve..." Harry nodded towards the soldier.
He was still covered in dirt and smoke. He was still wearing his Captain America uniform, bombers jacket, and helmet. All that were missing were his weapons and shield, "Considering they let you come here I can assume you're not being held for disciplinary action?"
Steve just looked shocked and probably didn't even register that Harry had spoken to him.
"No, Phillips was rather impressed and pardoned him. He did rescue about 400 men, after all...you being one of them," Peggy said.
That made Steve double-take. He turned to ask Peggy, "One of them?" he turned back to Harry and gave him a critical eye. "You were there? In the factory?"
"Well, I didn't get like this being his test monkey," Harry said lightly as he pointed at Howard with his thumb. Though he tried to lighten the mood, it seemed to go ignored by the blonde.
"You're alive and you were in war? They've been there for some time. How long were you there?" Steve asked.
"I was shipped out with Bucky. I was in his squadron," Harry replied and then turned to the other two. "I think I need to speak with Steve alone. Mind giving us a minute?"
"Yeah, I kind of do; Harry, you need rest," Howard said with a frown and crossed his arms over his chest.
"I agree with Stark. Perhaps we can continue once the both of you have been properly looked at and have gotten actual rest." Peggy added.
"No," was the unison reply of Steve and Harry who turned to look from the other two to each other.
Harry tried to read the other, and it wasn't so difficult. The thing about Steve was that, with him, what you see is what you get. Right now there was mostly confusion.
"Agent Carter, I will kindly ask you to leave. These are my rooms so I'll stay. You, on the other hand, may leave," Howard said and gave Harry a hard, pointed look.
The wizard rolled his eyes, but nodded. Harry knew Howard was here for damage control as that was what he did; he got into problems, and he fixed them. And now that's what he was going to do for Harry. Or, at least, make sure he doesn't dig a hole for himself.
Peggy looked like she wanted to argue, but held her tongue and nodded, "Phillips will probably need my help in sending out letters about the rescued soldiers."
Peggy's absent presence did nothing to get rid of some of that awkward silence that was there. Harry cleared his throat, but he had no idea at all of where to begin.
"They told me you were dead," Steve stated.
Okay that's a place to start, Harry thought.
"Wounded; I pushed Dr. Erskine out of the way and was wounded. In all that confusion no one else noticed the second shooter who made sure their target was eliminated," Harry recited the lie they had made up for the doctor perfectly.
"And you? When I got back there was nothing but blood...a lot of it," Steve said a bit quietly.
"It's one of the perks of being a friend of mine," Howard said.
He gave an easy smile that was meant to calm and reassure people. Harry called it Howard's 'I'm a genius and I know what I'm doing so relax smile'.
"Harry was wounded and we got him into my car and drove to the closest clinic where they helped stop the bleeding and removed the bullet. Once that was done, and it was alright to move him, we got him to a bigger, better equipped hospital. There he got a blood transfusion to replace the blood he lost and was given medical drugs to fight off infection and boost up his immune system- the works."
Harry raised an eyebrow at the genius for going into so much detail but then again, when he died and was unconscious, he had no idea what Howard had done to him. Maybe he had done some of those things in an attempt not to feel useless. Not to mention, being a said genius, Howard must be curious. He's sure Howard has some of his blood in test tubes back home. Or did. Maybe once the war is over and they head back home Harry will allow Howard to do test on him. Maybe Howard will find some scientific explanation where Harry failed to find one magically.
"I went back a few times and asked about you since the first times they didn't have any word. Then one day they just told me they received word that you were dead. How come?" Steve asked.
Howard took his hands out of his pockets and crossed them over his chest again, a frown forming. Since Harry had been living with the man for over a year and had seen him at work personally, he could practically see the wheels turning.
Though a million thoughts could have passed through his mind, it was only a few seconds that ticked by. Howard looked at Steve and then back at Harry.
"Harry's the last of his family- an old, rich family. Money and influence like that means a lot to the right people, especially in times of war," Howard explained and Steve nodded.
Harry raised his eyebrow again, this time ever so slightly. He had told Howard before of his family and that he was technically a Lord back in his world, though he only used that title a few times. He didn't really think Howard would take this angle but it fit. It would give him a link to how he got to Howard anyway.
So Harry nodded and took over. He needed to say something so it would seem like they both knew the same story and Howard wasn't just making it up. Though Howard had quite the silver tongue on him and knew how to lie smoothly and Steve was...well, he was rather...gullible.
"I was being harassed by both ally and axis families for support. So much it just got overbearing. My father was never really that into his responsibilities so, when I was born, I wasn't raised like the other aristocrats so when the chance presented itself, I took off. I'd rather fight in the field than merely donate. During one of the blitz I made it seem like my house was blown up. My father's money went to charities that would sponsor Churchill, as well as orphanages and that sort...I dunno if it actually happened but, as far as anyone knows, I'm dead..." Harry explained.
Howard nodded and finished off, "I...crashed into Harry one fateful day, and he made quite the impression on me."
Steve smiled and nodded, "Yeah, with me too."
Howard chuckled, "I'm sure."
Before Steve could so much as blink, Harry straightened and stood before the soldier and offered his hand, "I'm sorry you went so long thinking I was dead when I wasn't. I never thought I'd see you again so I didn't think much of it. But if I could have, I would have tried to meet up with you and explain, but..."
Steve took Harry's hand and gave it a firm handshake, "You came to fight. Sorry for being late."
Harry was about to reply but he was suddenly assaulted with more visions.
Flying. Cube. Cold. Blue. Breathless. Pain. Fear. Screaming. Cold.
He staggered and his knees buckled. Steve caught him and Howard launched forward, and they both carried Harry to bed.
"How badly is he wounded," Steve asked.
"Don't really know. You all just got here," Howard replied.
Harry sat up and shook his head, "S'nothing, and don't worry about it Steve...better late than never, right?"
The blonde nodded but didn't look too reassured, "Should I get a medic?"
"No, I just need to get cleaned up and rest," Harry said and hoped Howard heard the strain in his voice.
"He's right. I've got all that I need to tend to his wounds. You can talk later once you're both rest up. I'm sure Phillips and Carter would love to get some of your time, but go clean up pal. You look like hell," Howard told the blonde.
The blonde chuckled a little but it died when he looked at Harry and there was a look of uncertainty.
"Don't worry about him, he's seen worse," Howard said and gestured Steve towards the exit. He seemed reluctant to leave but eventually did.
With some slight difficulty, Howard helped Harry treat each wound no matter its size or severity. Harry got as clean as he possibly could, and, as luck would have it, Howard had a few Pepper-Up potions which Harry took.
He was out before his head hit the pillow.
Harry was walking over to the bar the soldiers were welcomed to and frequented.
Though it was a different London, it was still London and, even though he never really spent time in the city back in his own time, it still filled Harry with nostalgia. Everyone at the bar was there to celebrate Captain America's rescue victory and, as he was hungry, he was going to grab something for himself and Howard since the genius was busy prepping some weapons for Steve. The bar was active with soldiers getting drunk, playing cards, eating, singing, and sharing jokes.
Harry smiled as he watched them relish in their victory. They deserved it, he supposed. He just hoped they didn't get pissed off drunk or they'd face hell in the morning.
He passed Timothy's table and he was invited to join but he simply replied, "Officially, I'm not even here."
The other Brit replied with, "And I'm 'dead'. Take a load off and have a pint; Roger's buying." There was some laughter, but Harry insisted that he had other military matters to attend.
After he got some burgers to go and had a few short words with Bucky, he was exiting the pub when he ran into Peggy.
"You look much better, Potter," she commented with a slight grin.
"And might I say you look divine," Harry said with his best Stark-smile. She really did look good. She was wearing a red dress that in this time would be seen as elegant, daring, and sexy. Fitting, Harry thought.
"Aren't you the charmer?" she asked.
"I'm British, it's in my blood," he replied.
She smirked, "How...appealing." she looked passed him and then asked, "Aren't you going to celebrate with the others?"
"As appealing as getting pissed until ungodly hours with a bunch of yanks sounds, unfortunately I've got a few things I have to help Howard with, so… no, but perhaps some other time. Maybe you can join me for morning tea tomorrow if you're free?"
She gave him a smile, "Not something I hear very often."
"We're British. A good cuppa is how we cope," Harry said.
"Who said I needed help coping with anything?" she asked defensively.
"Never said that, but, since we're at war, I merely assumed." Harry said.
"You've better remember to never assume again, Potter, might just save your life."
Harry mocked salute and smiled, "Yes ma'am. Am I excused?"
"Off you go," she said with a smile and Harry chuckled as he went to Howard's lab and she entered the bar.
Howard and the other scientist worked long into the night and got up early the next morning. Harry mostly stuck to the background, every so often running with a file from one person to another. He helped carry boxes, and was there to listen to Howard ramble since he was the only one with the patience to do so.
Sometime in that busy morning Harry had gone off with one of the sergeants to discuss military battle plans. Though he was there 'unofficially', Bucky, Howard, and Steve vouched for him, and he was as good as gold. And since he was there and got a good deal of info from the time he was captured, he took some time to tell them all he knew.
By the time he was done and went back to see if he could help Howard in anyway, he walked in to Howard ducking and shielding himself as Peggy fired at Steve. As she walked passed him, he moved out of her way and watched her go. After what seemed a life time he walked over to the two and asked, "Do I even want to know?"
By noon Harry had most of the story, or at least Steve's side of it and he felt a bit bad for the blonde and decided to try and help him.
Harry walked over with a tray of tea and sat it down on Peggy's desk where she was currently burying herself in paperwork. She looked up as Harry made himself as comfortable as possible in his seat, and prepared his tea to his liking before taking a sip of it. After a long moment Peggy sighed and placed her files down rather loudly and asked, "What's this?"
"Tea," Harry replied easily.
"I'm busy, Potter," she replied and went to grab another file, but Harry grabbed her wrist and gave her a look.
"It's tea. We're British. That's how we cope," Harry replied with a gentle smile.
"I dunno what you're talking about. I am just fine," Peggy replied defensively.
"...you shot a guy." Harry stated plainly.
"At him, and Stark said the shield should work," Peggy said defensively once more.
"Should being the operative word," Harry deadpanned.
"And now we know that it did," Peggy replied cheekily as she grabbed the other cup of tea and made it to her liking.
"Right...because that was obviously not over dramatic at all." Harry drawled.
"Give him a break, Pegs!" Harry asked with a pleading smile, using the nickname he'd given her since they arrived in London just to annoy her.
"I've asked you to stop calling me that," Peggy retorted.
"Oh come on, from one Brit to another. Please? I still don't understand why you don't see it from his point of view," Harry huffed.
"The army has a certain protocol that must be followed. If there are gaps within our system we will fail, and it'll cost more than just the war, but people's lives, Potter," Peggy said with a slight glare. The look clearly stated to 'drop the subject.'
But Harry couldn't do that. He got up and went to another female's desk and asked for a compact mirror and offered up his own 'Stark' smile which quickly got him what he wanted. He walked back to Peggy and had her look into the mirror.
"You know as well as me that that's bollocks. With Roosevelt and Churchill running things, there's no chance Hitler's ever going to win. This is less about the army and more about normal, everyday things," Harry said and passed the open mirror to Peggy. "You are beautiful."
Peggy was about to butt in but Harry raised his hand to stop her, "Don't deny it cos we both know it's true. You use it as an advantage. Even as a military tactic if need be."
Peggy's glare darkened, "Are you suggesting something, Potter?"
"Not like that, but a smile from a pretty face gets people far. Trust me, I've seen it happen plenty with Howard. No, my point is, that you're beautiful, and you know it. And you use it to your advantage, but it's not your only advantage. You're fit and healthy and you really are strong and knowledgeable. You, Peggy Carter, are dangerous...a threat.
Look at your reflection...striking, confident, strong...even though you're female. Now look at her and imagine this was the Peggy after some miracle experiment that's not natural. Imagine a Peggy who was thinner and scrawnier, like a skeleton with skin. As a Brit you're pale, but it's a pretty pale...imagine a ghostly, ashy texture. Imagine a gaunt face with circle under her eyes. Her hair bushy and untamable and looking like a bird's nest every day...
"No one would look at her right? Not as anything but as someone to pick on; someone who might be smart to do one of the cooler kid's homework, maybe. Someone who's scared and too weak to do something, but they do it anyway. And then, when that is done, you're looking like the Peggy who looks right back at you in that mirror..."
"Harry..." Peggy was speechless.
"Steve's never had this sort of attention before. Up until now, he's been the shadow everyone ignores. Tell me right now that you don't like it when someone compliments you? You'd be lying and we both know it. Steve's getting a high dose of it, I admit, but it should be completely understandable. He's gone from one end of the spectrum to the other," Harry said.
Peggy and Harry sat there, looking at each other for a very long moment. Harry leaned back and Peggy crossed her arms, neither giving into the other's stare. Then she sighed and grumbled, "I'm not going to settle for coffee."
Harry stood up and smirked, "Wouldn't expect you to. Say...an hour?"
"Hour and a half. I've got reports to do," She picked up the files and stalked off.
Harry rolled his eyes and walked back to Howard's lab where Steve was taking shelter. He hoped to fix things before those two started sharing advice. Only hell could come from that.
He got there in time to hear Howard explain that 'fondue' wasn't an innuendo, but just cheese and bread. Harry snorted and got their attention.
"And where have you been?" Howard asked, hands on his hips.
"Well, father...I've been with Peggy."
Harry didn't miss the flash of jealousy that passed Steve's face and he snickered as he passed both of them and sat in Howard's comfy chair.
"Oh? She's speaking with you?" Steve asked.
Howard had to snort. He mentally told himself he needed to teach the kid to hide his emotions better.
"Yes. We're both British. We have an instant connection," Harry said with a shrug and Howard smirked at him. He had really been an influence on the Brit.
"How pleasant," Steve said heatedly.
Harry decided to give Steve a break and replied, "We may have a connection, but you have a date with her in an hour and a half.
Steve did a double-take, and stupidly asked, "What?"
Harry smirked and leaned back in his chair, "She like tea, not coffee; a splash of milk and three sugars. I'd remember that if I were you."
"You...are a miracle worker...you need to write a book, pal." Howard said in awe while Steve nodded dumbly.
The date was a bit awkward since Steve knew next to nothing about women, but their relationship was mending. Steve then went back into the field with his team and slowly, one by one, another Hydra flag was removed from the map.
Steve was very good with his shield from the films Harry saw. Though they weren't the men Phillips originally planned to assign Steve, those men worked better.
Maybe it wasn't as professional as some would like since they would joke around when they weren't on a mission, but maybe that was better. They knew how the other worked, and they came out victorious every time.
Steve took to riding a motorcycle.
Harry smirked and told Howard that he could play with the guns and weapons of mass destruction, but he got to play with the bike. He was the one who fixed it up and prepped it for whenever Steve had a mission. He charmed it similarly to Sirius' bike. Not easily broken, fire resistant, and he made sure that none of the steel, or other parts for that matter, would freeze or get stuck with any sort of gunk from the elements.
Mission after mission they got closer and closer to wiping the enemy off the map. Harry had yet to explain his visions to Howard but on one day he walked up to Steve and demanded to go on the next mission.
Steve, startled by the demand, asked why.
Harry said that he was getting restless, and needed something more to do. That he couldn't just be the army's errand boy. It didn't take much and Steve agreed.
To make it easier for everyone, he didn't bother telling Howard or Peggy about it and just disappeared with them.
He was sure to catch hell from Howard later, but that was the thing about being sent to the past; some of his visions got clearer as they seemed to get closer to actually happening. So, again, he saw the train and felt pain and panic and depression and, worst of all, this time he saw Bucky's face.
He feared for what that would mean so he decided to tag along, and make sure that, if anything happened, he'd be there to help.
That's why he was sent back, right?
Getting onto the train itself was...exhilarating; they zip-lined onto the train.
Steve and Bucky went in a team while Harry was paired with another soldier. They were to capture the doctor that was on the train. When they went inside the train, it was oddly quiet. It wasn't until he entered another room that he realized it was a trap; they were locked into a cart with soldiers coming at each of them. Harry raised his gun, and took down the man sent in to kill him.
He was blinded by a light and he saw white and then Bucky's face.
He apparated to the top of the train and tried to find the cart where Bucky and Steve were located and he waited until there was a blast and Bucky was dangling for his life. Steve tried to reach him, but Harry saw the bar where Bucky was holding on to begin to break.
He was going to fall.
Harry ducked down onto his stomach so the winds wouldn't push him off, and he stretched his hand out to Bucky though neither he nor Steve noticed him. The winds ate his scream of, "Aresto Momentum!"
He held Bucky and the railing he was holding onto in place until Steve grabbed hold of his hand and pulled his best friend to safety.
Harry rolled over onto his back and panted happily. He had saved a life...he had saved a friend.
Then he screamed in agony. He clutched his head with one hand and with the other held on to the train for his life.
"AGAIN! YOU'VE DONE IT AGAIN! When will you learn to not interfere!"
"I...I had to..."
"You are overstepping your boundaries! You cannot do this! He was my victim!"
"I...I am your master! I will do as I see fit!" Harry yelled passed the pain. He tried to open his eyes to see Death, but they were moving too fast and all he could see was the wind pushing the snow off the mountain.
"For now. Tread carefully...Master," Death seemed to whisper that in his ear because his whole right side went impossibly cold.
There had been a pressure Harry hadn't noticed before, but it was gone now and he could breathe. The pain was gone as well. He sat up a bit panting, the wind still bombarding him, and he swallowed. He was saving people that were meant to die...and that wasn't sitting right in Death's book.
Harry had a role in this world; more than ever was he convinced. Death promised that one day he'd find Harry and with all that he was doing, Harry was guessing that wasn't going to be a very pleasant meeting.