A/N: Right, so when I said 'updated weekly' I was being entirely too optimistic. Updates are probably gonna be every other week at least. This is slightly shorter than Chapter 1 and the rest of the story will be in random sized chapters. Sorry. ;)
I've been completely overwhelmed by your response to my story, so thank you so much guys! I've been attempting to reply to your reviews, but life is a bitch and won't let me on my laptop for very long. And what little time I have is usually spent writing or editing the crap that ends up on the screen. If you've had a reply to your review, you are very lucky! And those that haven't, you've either reviewed anonymously and I can't reply; or I'm a lazy shit and haven't got to yours yet. ;) I'll stop rambling now…
Beta'd by the incredible princessoffireskies! Thank you for putting up with the masses of emails from me! ;)
Disclaimer: As usual, anything you recognise is not mine; unless some nice person wants to give me them. Pretty please, can I have a Tony at least? *puppy eyes*
Chapter 2 – The Meeting
The next nine years saw Harry complete (and ace) his SATs before starting, and subsequently, finishing his Journalism Bachelor's degree in three years and then completing a Master's degree in a year and a half. He graduated from Boston University in January 2004. He then worked his way up through the ranks at The Boston Globe. He lived with Teddy and Andromeda (Auntie Andy to Teddy, NOT Grandma) in a large Georgian-style house on Beacon Hill in Boston. Harry loved it; the narrow, cobbled streets lit by gas lamps at night, the massive park nearby that he and Teddy loved to play in and the short commute to work for when he wanted to take the subway instead of apparating.
Andy had enjoyed converting the slightly dilapidated house into a perfect home for them so much that she had started buying houses in the surrounding area, 'doing them up' and then selling them on for a profit. As Andy had no fulltime job and doing up houses was more of a hobby than anything else, she found that she had much more free time on her hands than she was used to. To fill this free time and to meet some normal people, she decided to put some of the Black fortune to good use and started donating to the Horizons for Homeless Children charity. The charity aimed to improve the lives of homeless children by giving them an education and a place to play and live. Over the years, she became more involved in the charity and soon enough she was organising and hosting conferences, fundraising events and galas; all of which Harry and Teddy had to attend.
Although he was only nine, Teddy had finished elementary school two years ago and was currently in the eighth grade at the Boston Latin School. He had taken after Remus, much to Harry's amusement, and was an avid and very intelligent student; a child prodigy even. He had inherited his parents' brains and his mother's easy-going attitude along with her Metamorphmagus abilities, the best combination in Harry's opinion.
Harry and Andy had taken to teaching Teddy some simple spells and charms using Harry's Holly wand but once he had found, and promptly devoured, Harry's old Hogwarts textbooks, he had tried to teach himself. It wasn't until a small explosion echoed around the house one evening that Harry and Andy found out. They had rushed to the young boy's room only to find the walls and ceiling covered in murky green gunk, with the occasional dollop dripping down from the ceiling.
Apparently Teddy had tried to brew a fifth year potion (though he wouldn't specify which one) and had forgotten a half stir, thus causing the explosion. Harry snorted, only Snape would make fifteen year olds brew a potion that an explosion could be caused by the smallest lapse in attention. Teddy had missed most of the potion that had been splattered around the room by hiding underneath his desk. There was a small blob of the murky green potion on his arm that caused the skin underneath to turn blue. This had fascinated him and after he had turned the rest of his skin electric blue to match, he tried to study the potion to find out if the effects were permanent, so he could get George back for the more embarrassing pranks of his. Harry and Andy had smiled fondly at him and made him promise not to brew any more potions or try any new spells without their supervision.
"Just in case," Andy had assured him. "We're not going to stop you learning, but if you carry on at this speed, you won't need to go to Hogwarts at all." Harry beamed proudly at his son and gave him a bear hug that left Teddy blushing. Even with the amount of praise that both Harry and Andy showered him with, he was still very humble and blushed at each compliment.
One evening after Harry had returned home from a hard day at work, he had caught Teddy on his (password protected) computer acting suspiciously. He had left the matter be and, later that night, checked the internet history that Teddy had forgotten to erase; he had been reading the news reports on the Dr. Bruce Banner case (although his name hadn't been released to the public) and begun researching gamma radiation. Harry assumed he'd also read the article he had submitted four years ago on the same subject, which had landed him his current job. I bet he's worked out what actually happened just from reading the reports. This is what I get for raising a genius, he mused fondly.
Their dysfunctional little family settled into a fairly normal routine; Harry would take Teddy to school before heading to work. Andy would spend the day helping with her charity and then pick Teddy up from school or a friend's house. The evenings were usually spent with Harry and Andy helping Teddy with his Latin homework (the only subject which he actually struggled with and the only Muggle subject in which both Harry and Andy could help him with) and then teaching him magic. He had progressed fairly quickly and by his tenth birthday was performing O.W.L. standard magic with absurd ease.
Ron, Hermione, Neville and Luna kept in touch via mirrors very similar to the one Harry had smashed at the end of his fifth year. Ron and Hermione visited every couple of months, until last year when Harry returned to England for the fifth time since leaving for the cruise almost a decade ago, to witness the birth of his god-daughter, Rose Weasley. Hermione was expecting again, a boy this time. Ron couldn't wait to teach him to ride a broom and play Quidditch and to have someone else in the house that would support the Cannons, as Hermione refused to get into any Quidditch 'discussions' with any of the Weasleys.
The first time Harry returned to England had been for Ron and Hermione's wedding in the summer of 1999. Ron's stag party had involved entirely too many shots of an unknown alcoholic substance (courtesy of George) and some rather disastrous practical joke testing (also courtesy of George). Hermione had looked radiant, Ron couldn't keep his eyes off her and Molly had outdone herself with regards to the decorations around the Burrow. Harry's best man speech had left tears in Hermione, Ginny and Molly's eyes and, as much as Ron wanted to deny it, Harry knew that his complaints of suddenly developing hay fever were a (very bad) cover for his tears.
Neville and Hannah Abbott's wedding the year after, shortly followed by Luna's marriage to Rolf Scamander (a fellow magizoologist that Neville and Luna had met on their travels and great-grandson of the famous Newt Scamander) had also seen Harry return to Britain.
George and Angelina's wedding had been a quiet and bittersweet day. There was no best man as George refused to give away Fred's rightful part in his marriage ceremony. Many said they had felt Fred's unmistakable hyper energy, while some claimed to have seen a faint image of Fred standing next to George at the altar, smiling as George and Angelina said their vows.
Ginny had started seeing Dean Thomas about a year after Harry left and he was almost glad as he knew that Molly would try and persuade them to get back together. Ginny and Dean had announced their engagement just before George's wedding but neither were in a rush to get married. Ginny was a Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies and Dean had made a name for himself in the Wizarding art world, which meant he locked himself away during the run up to any of his exhibitions. This, along with Ginny's touring, meant that Harry didn't see either of them as much as he would have liked to.
The Weasley family accompanied by the various partners and spouses had visited the Black house in Boston within the first few years of the small family living there but after seeing her husband's reaction to the Muggle appliances within the house, Molly had refused to bring him back.
"Why do we need to buy something that does the same job as a simple household spell when the spell is much easier?"
"But Molly, have you seen it? It cooks food from the inside first!" Arthur exclaimed pointing at the microwave sat on the counter in the kitchen.
"It cooks from the inside first? How does that work then?"
"It generates non-ionising microwave radiation that causes water, fats and various other molecules within the food to oscillate as they try and realign themselves with the alternating electrical field of the microwaves. The molecular vibrations disperse the energy and therefore heats the food. Technically, microwaves don't cook the food from the inside first; they cook from the highest concentration of water molecules," Teddy explained, much to the confusion of Arthur and Molly.
"Basically, any water in the food gets boiled and it heats it up."
Over the three weeks that the Weasley's stayed, Teddy had become used to explaining things in the simplest way possible to avoid confusing them. Not that it always worked, but he tried.
The charity fundraiser of Andy's that stood out the most to Harry was the 2008 Annual Spring Gala. Andy had been even more excited about the gala than she normally was; which should have tipped Harry off that something was different this year but he suppressed the feeling and helped her to prepare.
Once there, Andy was swept off to deal with any problems that would undoubtedly arise, leaving Harry and Teddy to their own devices; a mistake on any normal day, but especially when they had been told to behave or 'Voldemort will seem like a kitten compared to what Andy would inflict upon them', a standard threat in their house. That threat had been enough to keep their more mischievous sides at bay for a few hours but the constant small talk and 'meeting and greeting' was taking its toll on Teddy. Harry was about to resort to giving Teddy the latest edition of Scientific American to keep him amused, when he heard Teddy gasp.
His hand unconsciously flew to his concealed wand and he lowered slightly into a defensive crouch as he pushed Teddy behind him. He turned to look into the direction Teddy was still staring in, only to see that there was no threat and nothing that would warrant Teddy's reaction. He turned back to Teddy to ask what the matter was.
"Teddy, are you okay? Did you see someone you recognised? Did you see one of them?" The words 'Death Eaters' were left unsaid as the Muggles surrounding them would overhear and probably question their sanity, more so than usual anyway.
"It's him, dad. It's him!" Teddy exclaimed pointing to the back of a man's head and pulling on Harry's suit jacket. The head in question was covered in short, well groomed dark brown hair. The man at the bar turned to the side slightly to order and Harry saw a familiar profile, and, though he couldn't place the man, he had definitely seen him before. Judging by Teddy's reaction, he was probably a famous scientist or a genius of some sort.
"I've seen him before, haven't I?" Harry enquired.
"In person? And you didn't tell me?" Teddy cried.
"Not in person, I don't think. Who is he?"
"Who is he? Who is he? He's only my idol! That's Tony Stark! He's a genius; he graduated MIT at like 17 with highest honours!"
"Oh, of course. Do you want Andy to introduce you? He might be the reason she was so excited earlier; they'll get an entire year's funding tonight."
"Do I? Dad, what have I told you about rhetorical questions?"
"Cheeky brat," Harry teased, before motioning Andy over, who had surreptitiously been watching them since she had sensed Harry tense a few minutes previously. She excused herself before heading over to them and smiled when she noticed where Teddy was still staring.
"Ah. You've seen him, then? How would you like to meet him?" Teddy gave her the same look he had given his father not a minute ago.
"Come on, then." She shepherded them in the direction of the bar where Stark was still standing. She smiled as she saw the look Harry gave him; one of her plans might work after all.
"Excuse me, Mr. Stark. I don't believe we've met. I'm Andromeda Tonks and this is my Grandson, Teddy Black, and his father, Harry Black," she smiled as she shook his hand before Harry and Teddy repeated the action.
"Tony, please. Mr. Stark was my father. And I think Pepper may have mentioned you…" At Andy's confused look, he elaborated.
"My assistant, Pepper Potts."
"Of course, we spoke earlier. And please call me Andy."
At that point, Teddy could no longer keep silent and blurted out.
"It's an honour to meet you, sir. I'm a huge fan of your company's arc reactor technology; I've been trying to replicate it but apparently, 'it's too dangerous for a ten year old to mess around with.'" Harry and Andy both rolled their eyes fondly at the familiar argument.
"And until I can fully understand it or there's an expert on hand, it will continue to be too dangerous," Harry quipped. Tony watched the interaction with interest.
"You understand how it works then?" He asked Teddy. "That's pretty impressive. And I thought I was a genius." Teddy blushed crimson, causing the adults to chuckle. Teddy recovered quickly the only way he knew how; using science and technology as a shield.
"Well, of course. It's only a basic fusion reactor; it's the energy output that impressed me so much. Surely the output would be in discrete bursts of energy as opposed to a more uniformly distributed energy output. How did you get the energy output so stable and uniform?"
"I like you, kid. You have a cool accent and you know your stuff. You kinda remind me of myself at your age, but with less explosions and destruction," he mused. Harry snorted indelicately.
"Oh, he creates plenty of explosions and if I didn't know any better I would have thought his middle name was destruction."
"And you don't exactly discourage him either, young man," Andy chided. "The last major explosion was your fault, if I remember correctly." Harry scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment.
"Not entirely my fault. And besides, what's the use in having a reinforced basement if you don't test it every now and then?"
Tony chose that moment to remind them of his presence,
"I like all of you guys, but I'm gonna need another drink before I talk shop with you, kid. If you grab a table, pen and paper, you can show me your calculations."
"I'll get your drink. What are you on?" Harry inquired. He left after receiving an answer (the best scotch the bar had) but not before spotting the knowing look Andy shot his way. He rolled his eyes in her direction.
Harry returned with a glass of scotch each for him and Tony, a glass of wine for Andy and a coke for Teddy. He set the drinks on the table, receiving nods of thanks and a smile from Tony, pulled a chair up next to Teddy's and tried to make sense of the mass of numbers, letters and Greek letters covering Teddy's notebook. Harry could usually keep up with Teddy's explanations but he could tell the boy was showing off for his idol and he could only understand one word in ten. He smiled at Andy's long suffering look, who usually tried to stay away from the boys when they were discussing science.
"And to think I usually understand this," he joked to Andy. Tony looked up from a particularly long equation at that.
"Are you a scientist or an engineer? I don't recognise your name but I generally don't read research papers unless I'm really bored."
"Um. Neither, I'm the Health and Science Editor at the Boston Globe. I was considering doing a correspondence science degree but I really didn't want to keep on studying. Plus I've read enough over the years to keep up with Teddy."
"Not really keen on reporters unless they're cute. And you definitely fall into that category," he mused, looking Harry up and down. Even Xeno's training almost ten years previously couldn't prevent the blush that spread across his cheeks
"Yes. Well. Um. Anyway, what are you two working on then?" Harry attempted, and failed, to recover. Andy giggled behind her hand at his poor attempt.
"I was just showing Teddy that if you change the number of cycles per second and use ionised plasma channels to funnel the energy around the reactor, the energy output stabilises and becomes usable."
"Okaaay, I understood part of that, but how in Mer- God's name does changing the cycles per second affect the stability of the energy released?" Tony shot him a strange look at his slipup.
"Surely, increasing the rotations would increase the energy output? How does that stabilise it?"
"It increases the frequency of energy bursts so much that the energy released is a constant stream," Tony explained.
At that point, Andy was called to help sort out a donation and Harry chuckled at the relief in her eyes. In her opinion, science conversations between Harry and Teddy were complicated and confusing enough. The conversation between Teddy and Tony, on the other hand, required either a Doctorate or a functional knowledge of thermonuclear physics to understand. Neither of which she had. Harry began to phase out when the conversation veered into quantum theory, how valid the Uncertainty principle was and where it could be used most effectively.
The evening progressed smoothly and surprisingly quickly for Harry; he left Teddy with Tony discussing Krasnikov tubes and went to greet some of Andy's friends and colleagues. Without having to prevent Teddy from keeping his nose in a science journal, the evening was rather enjoyable. And Teddy was certainly enjoying himself, which was a first for him.
That was the first time he met Tony Stark and, he would realise later, the catalyst for the utter insanity that would follow. Just knowing Tony Stark and being allowed to 'play' in his research and private labs was crazy enough. But was nothing compared to the utterly bat shit crazy months and years that lay ahead of the Black family and Harry especially.
A/N: If anyone has any recommendations for any good Harry Potter or Avengers fics, send them this way please. I don't like trawling through the okay fics to find the gems, I'm lazy like that. ;) Thanks! =)