Disclaimer: Don't own
Chapter Twenty Seven
Harry froze, his eyes going wide before they hardened, even as a large and obviously false smile spread across his face. "That was a good joke, Odin."
Odin sat forward, frowning. "It was not said in jest, World-walker. It is a decision that my family has decided was the right one. Even Loki was not opposed."
The smile was gone, and the wizard lifted one eyebrow and crossed his arms. "Well, I'm opposed. So it's not going to happen."
The god scowled. "Why do you refuse, it would help my son, and if anyone could show him the right way, it would be you." He cajoled.
Harry rolled his eyes. "Were I a few hundred years younger, that might have worked, Allfather. But seeing as I'm a bit more jaded than that... It was a nice effort. There are quite a few reasons I'm opposed. There is no way Loki could do anything but regress under my care. I would have the time to focus on his problems. Not the ones you want me to, anyway. I've got the kids to worry about, I still need to find Jormungand, not to mention that Sleipnir's anger at Loki is too raw and fresh for it to be healthy to have them close for any lengthy amount of time. And last but not least, you really wouldn't want to put a powerless Loki in my hands anyway. I'm not to happy at him myself, and not above getting petty revenge."
"What if I were to order you to watch him as you are his offspring?" Odin grumbled, although he knew he had already lost.
Heimdall, mostly forgotten in the mini debate, snorted. Harry shook his head. "You think that would change anything. I'm not one of your subjects, Allfather. Push the issue, and all I need to do is 'jump' elsewhere, and and I and the kids will be beyond your reach. And before you ask, yes, I would take them with me, now that I know I can. You put them in my care initially, you cannot take them away now."
The god deflated with a sigh. Years settled into the lines of his face. "What would you have me do then?" He asked tiredly.
The dark haired dimension traveler shrugged. "I don't know. Have him make reparations of some sort?"
Heimdall took that moment to reassert himself. "Would that be wise? The humans of Midgard witnessed him killing by the hundreds last they saw of him."
The gods looked at the wizard expectantly. He rubbed his hand roughly through his hair. "This is why I hate politics more than anything in all the worlds." He grumbled. "I don't know... Well... Actually, I might have an idea. But we're going to need some support from SHIELD. If anyone could pull this off, it would be Fury.
Heimdall was nodding thoughtfully as the future warped and changed in his sight. "That could work. Actually, that has very good chance of working perfectly."
Harry smiled ruefully at him. "You didn't even wait for me to explain it..."
Odin looked from one to the other. "I do not understand." He announced.
The wizard turned to address him. "Well, humans... we're a forgetful species. Take for instance the fact that we entirely forgot that you guys actually exist. So... change the face of every news clipping of Loki, make it look different, make it look like someone else, and it won't be long before people actually believe that is what the man who spearheaded the invasion looked like. Your son's presence would be ignored because it wasn't him who did it. It was someone with the same name, but looked completely different."
Odin took all of that in thoughtfully. "And... the humans would believe it?"
Harry ginned and nodded. "Have the government do anything, and people will believe it immediately. There might be a few of them that don't believe it because it's the government saying it, but they're more few and far between than they would like to admit. So, get SHIELD to change the face and the clothes a bit in every single news archive they can find, which, by the way, they can find all of, then send down Loki and put him in the tender authority of SHIELD and the Avengers."
They sat in silence for a few minutes while the god king turned over the thought in his head, considering it. Heimdall broke it a few minutes later. "You may hate politics, World-Walker, but that does not mean you are bad at them."
Harry snorted. "Lots and lots of practice. So, you guys work on that idea from this end, I'll go make-er- ask SHIELD to take care of their part. And last but not least, for Merlin's sake, get the man a psychiatrist. The guy's got more problems than I can deal with."
Odin seemed to be taking mental notes, but was brought up short. "I do approve of this idea but... what is a psychiatrist?"
Harry sighed, and launched into the explanation of what a psychiatrist was, and how someone like that would help the king's wayward son.
After a while, he stood up and stretched lithely. "Alright, I'll leave you guys to hammer out the details. I'll be back tomorrow." With a jaunty wave, Harry left Asgard.
Jumping was both alike, and not like, Apparation. Where the normal, wizarding way of traveling felt like one was being pulled through a tight tube, jumping felt like he was being sucked into a vortex, his entire essence spinning around and rearranging itself into something that would survive the natural atmosphere of his destination.
It was an odd sensation, made even odder the times he jumped to worlds that were entirely water, thus ended up in him needing gills.
And it was a long process in comparison, thus the time it took to contemplate the similarities and differences.
Harry landed in his room in Stark Towers with a thump. His boots were immediately besieged upon by an awake and eager Fenrir.
Sleipnir just glanced uninterestedly at him. "How was your trip?"
Harry snorted. "They tried to foist Loki off on me. I was very close from literally knocking some sense into Odin, and it was only the fact that he was earnest, and really had no idea what that sort of thing would do psychologically to all of you at this point, that I didn't."
"He would defeat you soundly, should you try to attack him at any point. I may not hold any affection for the Allfather, but even I admit that no matter how old he appears, he is a formidable warrior."
"Oh, I have no doubt about that." Harry said lightly as he bent to scoop the wriggling pup into his arms. "But the sheer surprise of any sort of attack would let me get in a few good thumps at least." He grinned and the horse looked unimpressed. "So how was everything while I was gone? Did Tony feed you guys? Did you behave yourselves?"
"Fenrir managed to get into the place where the man who smells of iron and pain keeps his metal horses, and was found chewing on one of them. The iron man was dismayed, but the man who smells like times passed and loneliness laughed. He smelled less of loneliness then." Sleipnir reported.
Harry mentally translated that into 'Fenrir got into the garage and was chewing on a car. Tony wasn't happy but Steve thought it was funny.' He snorted.
Sleipnir's titles for the various Avengers were actually started by Fenrir (though he didn't understand the thoughts enough to voice them yet), the wolf being so reliant on his nose, and were pretty easy to figure out once you knew the stories behind the masks of each one. 'Iron and pain' for Tony meant the shrapnel in his chest, trying to crawl its way to his heart. 'Times passed and loneliness' was another obvious one, most of Steve's friends long gone. 'Anger and the jungle' was Bruce. 'Lies and gunpowder' was Natasha, the spy aptly described in two words. 'Sorrow and suspicion' was Clint.
Thor had earned the respect of the two actually using his name.
"Alright. Do you want to come with me to have a chat with the SHIELD council?"
"Will this chat include violence?"
The human shrugged. "Well, they almost killed several thousand people so... probably."
Sleipnir bared his teeth. "I would be happy to."
Harry grinned, "Alright then." Addressing the air, he called, "Jarvis, we're heading out! Tell the others for me?"
"Of course, sir." The AI said.
Nodding, he settled Fenrir in his pouch, threw an arm around the Sleipnir's broad shoulders, and they were gone with a discreet pop.
Fury didn't even look up from the paperwork on his desk when they appeared in the small room designated as his office.
"Do you know how much it costs to repair a ship this size and this complex?" He rumbled, his voice disgruntled. Before Harry could even think of a reply, he continued. "Almost as much as it cost to build the damn thing in the first place!"
The wizard snorted. "Blame Loki."
"Would if I could, but he's out of my reach." The director said, finally looking up. Just in time to see Harry's smile twitch. "What was that?" He asked seriously, folding his hands under his chin.
Harry blinked innocently. "What was what?"
"You know what." Fury replied. "Why did you just wince."
The world walker crossed his arms. "You know, for a guy who only has one eye, you've got awesome vision."
"Don't try to sidetrack me, Potter. Spit it out. It can't be any worse than what the council had to say to me just an hour ago."
Harry smirked sinisterly. "You'll have to introduce them to me once we're done here. I need to talk with them."
Fury waved his hand negligently, though there was a slightly malicious gleam in his eye. "Consider it done. Now stop trying my patience and tell me why you're here."
Sighing and giving in, the dark haired man plopped down in a chair across the desk, petting Fenrir absently while Sleipnir curiously examined the office. "Can't get anything past you, now can I? I'm here as... well, let's just call me an envoy from Odin for now."
"I don't care what we call you-"
"I know, I know, get on with it. Jeez, Nick, don't get you eye-patch in a bunch."
The director just growled.
Harry grinned cheekily at him. "Anyway, Odin had an idea for Loki's punishment. But I shot it down, and came up with another idea."
Fury waited for a minute, but it didn't seem like the wizard was going to continue without input. "You're more annoying to get information out of than Stark." He grouched.
"That wasn't a compliment. Alright, I'll bite. What was the Allfather's idea, and why did you reject it? And what was was your idea?"
Harry nodded contently. "See, I knew you would eventually learn to play nice. So Odin's idea was to take away Loki's magic and put him in my custody. At this point, even you should know why that's an awful idea."
"With no protection, you would chew up Loki and spit him out?" Fury snorted. "And here I though immortals were supposed to be wise. That was the Allfather's idea?"
Making himself more comfortable in the chair while Fenrir went to join his brother in sniffing around the office, Harry shrugged. "He's not exactly immortal. Long lived, yeah, but not immortal. So he can be forgiven for some bad ideas. And trust me, he's had some terrible ones."
The director lifted an eyebrow. "So he's not like you, then?"
The wizard rolled his eyes. "Does it matter? Not like he's going to die in your lifetime."
"Not really. Alright, so what was your idea?" Fury prompted.
Harry sat forward. "Oh, you're gonna like this one. I know you and your massive gathering of agents have the entire world at your fingertips, and can change facts faster than most people can change light bulbs-"
"Why do I get the feeling that I know where this is going?"
"Probably because you do. So... change Loki's face on every single picture you can find of him, convince people the person who lead the invasion was someone else, then Odin will send Loki, sans magic, back down here to make reparations. He'll be placed under your authority, rather than mine." Harry smiled in a satisfied manner. "Win all around."
Furry grimaced. "You're forgetting some rather important facts. First, Hundreds of people are dead because that man threw a hissy fit. Second, the council are not going to like this at all."
Harry ran his hand through his hair. "I didn't forget. Trust me, I didn't. I felt every single one of those lives being ferried off to their final destination. I personally think that Loki should be put away for the rest of his exceedingly long life. But there's not a single prison on this or any planet anywhere that could hold him that long. At least this way he gets as much of the punishment he deserves that you can dish out to him. The man was raised a Prince in a golden city. Do you really think he would like cleaning up the city even the slightest bit? And maybe this way, when he sees the devastation and grief he's caused... maybe it'll finally click, the fact that these were actual lives he's destroyed."
The director twisted up his face in a thoughtful expression. After a while, he said, "You talk a good game to me... and you're right, this is the best we can do... but that still doesn't factor in the council."
At this, a maliciously sharp smile spread over the wizard's face. "Leave them to me."
"This is the closest I can get you to them. Even I don't know who the members of the council really are. Well... I'm not supposed to know who they are, but..."
Harry smirked. "See, you give a man access to the entire world, and he gets into all sorts of things he's not supposed to." He said in a teasing tone.
"Director Fury. What is the meaning of this?" A woman's voice interrupted them, and Harry looked up to the giant screen she was being shown on. Around her, more faces were being uploaded onto the other screens until he was being stared down at by twelve different people, all with superior expressions on their faces.
He took a moment to observe each and every one, then smiled beguilingly. "Well hello there. My name is Harry Potter. And you... well, you screwed up big time."
With no warning he was gone, as were to horse and wolf pup accompanying him.
"Well, that was a bit anti-" Before Director Fury could even finish the statement, one of the men on the screen let out a strangled cry, and his screen went dark. The others started shouting in panic, demanding to know what had happened. Until, one by one, the phenomenon happened to each one.
The other agents in the room were frozen with horrified fascination.
Fury just watched, wondering what the strange being that called himself a wizard and wielded a power that not even he knew the full extent of was doing to the esteemed council. He smirked at the last one left, the woman who had first popped up, and who had made the final decision to bomb New York, and waved at her as her own screen cut out.
Then there was silence.
Harry stared at the last person he needed to visit. Martha Banks, of New Mexico. He had gathered her location through her mind, just as he had all the others.
He stood over the woman, who looked torn between the urge to run, and the urge to threaten him with her governmental power. Power he was not even the slightest bit afraid of. "You've been a very bad girl, Martha." He told her calmly.
"How do you know my name?" She practically screeched, pressing a button hidden on the underside of her desk that should have brought her security force running in.
Too bad Harry had already disabled it, and any other electrical device in the room.
He rolled his eyes. "I appear here, and that's what you want to focus on? How I know your name?"
When she realized no help was forthcoming, she went for the gun in her drawer. Which disintegrated in her palm. With a scream that was more frustration than fear now, she slammed her hands on the desk and stood up. "What do you want from me?"
"See, now we're getting somewhere. Relax, Martha. I'm not here to hurt you. Unless you force me to. No, I'm just here to tell you how very bad a decision it was to try to kill more people than Loki had hopes of doing. Do you like having that power, Martha? Do you like knowing that while everyone else thinks you're a small town mayor, you're actually the leader behind most powerful government agency in the world?" He said in a lightly scolding tone. Fenrir added his two pence by baring his small, sharp teeth and growling slightly. Sleipnir just watched on.
Mayor Banks leaned forward. "What do you want? Money? Fame? You dare come in here, to- to admonish me for a decision that would have saved the world? Just because it would have killed a few people?"
"A few? A FEW?!" He thundered, and the woman flinched back. "There are over eight million people living in that city alone! THAT IS NOT A FEW!"
Martha whimpered and sank back into her seat while Harry forced himself to calm down.
After a deep breath, he continued in a much calmer state. "I promised myself long ago that I wouldn't kill beings who made bad decisions. I discovered a much better punishment for people like you, Martha Banks." He was unaware that his power began manifesting in his eyes, making them glow an unearthly green. "Eighteen hundred people died in New York City that day. A mere fraction of what you would have caused. And every single day for the next eighteen hundred days, you will be given the memories of a single person that died, from the first to the last. Over the next five years, you will come to intimately know every single one of those people. Their pleasure, their pain, their victories and defeats. You will be brought to the edge of sanity, but you won't get the relief in falling over that edge. And you will be reminded of something that you so callously forget." Martha shivered and said nothing as he continued in a deep voice. "That every life is a precious thing."
The spell that he was weaving around her took hold, cradling her in the parody of a caress before the light sank under her skin.
Harry was gone long before Martha Banks even thought to move.
Meant to post this yesterday as a gift, but some serious family drama went down (doesn't it always on holidays?) so here we are. A day late, but almost five hundred words longer than usual! And boy, did I have a problem figuring out how Harry would deal with another one of Odin's 'stupid moments'. How do you like how I dealt with the SHIELD council? (Martha Banks is a bit of an OC, mainly because we were given next to no information on them in the movie, and the internet wasn't much better) Gonna end it here, because my bed calls for me! See you next time!