AN: Thanks for all your reviews, I appreciate them! Reviews definitely motivate me to write, as I feel like people are enjoying what I take the time to write, so it's always great to hear from you, no matter what you have to say!
Now onto the chapter, and in this one we are finally getting into it all!
Chapter four: Adjusting
A few hours after waking, Harry was still trying to come to terms with his circumstances; in an attempt to finally end his prolonged life he had not only failed and found himself still alive, but he had somehow been transported across continents and quite possibly universes in the process, only to somehow manage to contract a muggle illness and almost die in his weakened state. Not exactly what he had in mind when he had first made the decision to apparate to outer space, to see if the magical drain would finally force his mind and body to die.
Instead he was now in an unknown, but potentially hostile environment and his magic was almost non existent, both from the initial drain of the jump closely followed by the illness which had sapped whatever reserves he had managed to build up to keep his body once more alive.
He sighed, cursing his weak body as he was forced to remain in one place, his body still much too weak to attempt to leave. Thankfully the stranger who had taken him in appeared to be genuinely kind and considerate, claiming to be looking out for his well being….well, he appeared to be genuine, but if so many lonely years had taught him anything, it was that you never could be too sure of people's intentions.
The man who had offered Harry his hospitality was young, probably only in his mid to late twenties, but he came across much older and wiser – he had the somewhat jaded look of a man who had lived on the run and fought for his survival. It was a look Harry knew well, for he often saw it on himself when he looked in the mirror. The stranger who had introduced himself as 'Bruce' had lines on his face that probably shouldn't have been there just yet, and constantly gave off a nervous, unsure vibe like he was waiting for someone or something to burst through the windows and attack them. Harry had to admit, it wasn't the most comforting of attitudes to be around and it certainly did nothing to calm his own nerves about his uncertain situation.
He sighed once more, flopping back down onto the blankets. The man had gone out much earlier, presumably to go back to helping the other sick people, leaving Harry alone in the small shack. He cursed his weakness for what seemed like the hundredth time since waking; he wanted, needed to get out of here but his muscles and bones were just too weak. Maybe tomorrow he would be stronger.
The stars were just starting to peak out from behind the clouds as the sun faded away when Bruce started to make his way back to his house. He had spent the day helping the sick once more, and despite the old woman telling him he wasn't needed, the aid group had sent only a few doctors to the village. They had brought with them many valuable supplies though, and Bruce had been astonished at the rate some of the villagers were now recovering since being administered with the proper medicines. Apparently the fever that had ravaged the area was quite common in third world countries and just as easily treated – if only the aid groups had arrived a week earlier, and many of the sick villagers who had succumbed to the fever may have been saved.
Despite the fact that he wasn't strictly needed, Bruce had not minded spending the day outside his home – his house guest seemed very awkward and nervous around him, making him think he would feel much safer without Bruce hanging around. He had therefore left plenty of food and water out for the boy, instructing him to eat and drink often, before leaving with the promise that he would be back around night fall. He was unsure if the boy would even stay once he left, as he seemed to be a flighty young man, but he had a sneaking suspicion that he would be physically too weak to leave for a day or two yet.
He had yet to tell the young teenager about the reactions of the village elders, and that their time in the village would soon be over. He didn't know if young Harry even had somewhere else to go, or if he too would just be wandering until he found a village more receptive of outsiders. Either way, the kid would have to go somewhere – they had only been allowed one more day to work things out before they would be forced to leave.
The teenager was a very quiet, shy boy and Bruce had been lucky to get maybe three sentences out of him so far. He would not tell him where he came from, nor his age or his last name. He spoke with a distinct British accent though which cemented the idea in Bruce's head that he was a tourist who had perhaps run away from his family or carers while touring Cambodia. He was recovering quickly from the illness, which was surprising considering how sick he had been, but Bruce was still not sure he would recover enough by the time they would have to leave.
Having finally reached his home on the outside of the village, Bruce opened the door and peered in, somewhat relieved to see the boy was still there and had not tried to leave while he was still so weak. He was however, asleep again, curled up by the fire.
Bruce would have to see how he was in the morning, and with any luck he would have kept up his quick rate of recovery and be ready to start moving in the morning – though Bruce somehow doubted it.
He awoke several hours later with a start as the sound of someone moving around his house jerked him quickly awake. "Who's there?" He said quickly, sitting up in the darkness and willing his startled heart rate to slow down.
There was a stretch of silence for a second, before a soft voice rang through the darkness. "No one, just me." It was the boy, his voice sounding a little stronger then the day before.
Bruce frowned, glancing to the window – it was still mostly dark outside, but the sun had just started to rise by the faint glow on the scenery. "Where are you going?" He said finally, eyes falling back on the teenager who was standing by the door.
"I have to go." The boy said softly. "Thank you for your hospitality, and for helping me." He turned toward the door, reaching out for the handle.
"Where will you go?" Bruce questioned, unable to keep the concern from his voice. He may not have known the kid for long, but he certainly hadn't saved the teenagers life so that he could run off in the middle of the night and most likely die before he reached civilisation. How would the young boy even make it to the next town, all on his own with no supplies? Never mind that he was very weak and still only just recovering from a serious illness.
The boy shrugged noncommittally, shaking his head slightly. "Thanks again." He said quickly, before opening the door and leaving the shack.
Bruce stood up quickly and followed him outside, calling out to him as he passed through the open door way. "Harry, wait!" There was no reply, and a quick search of the area showed absolutely nothing. He was gone.
Harry was exhausted. He had found the energy to apparate to the closest airport but he had only just made it, almost collapsing on the spot once he landed. He somehow made it to the front desk and used some less then savoury magic he had picked up over the years to get the woman at the counter to sell him a ticket to England without a passport or any documentation at all. Having bought the ticket, he then had to confund all the airport officials at the boarding gate, and the stewardess checking passports once he boarded the plane. Thanks to his wandless magic, he was finally on the way home – time to find out exactly where/when he was. Using the plane to sleep and refresh some of his reserves, he woke up as they landed in England feeling a tiny bit more energised, but still rather like he had been run over by the Knight Bus at full speed.
He decided to skip the confusion of having to spell the airport security and instead spelled himself invisible after he exited the plane, quickly travelling through the airport to a bathroom where he used his newly slightly regained reserves to make another apparition – this time to a familiar street in London that housed the old pub, The Leaky Cauldron.
Arriving on the street he had quickly made his way to where the Cauldron had always stood….only to find it completely absent. His mouth fell open as he stared at the muggle bookshop that was in its place, completely dumfounded.
"Where is it?" He muttered, quickly moving on from the bookshop to examine the other shops on the street. He rubbed his head, trying to quell the headache that had started to pound behind his eyes. He couldn't access the magical world, and there was a strong possibility that it didn't even exist in this dimension…universe, or wherever he was.
He tried not to dwell on it and moved on, apparating to a nearby hotel. He was now feeling as weak as he had before he left, and knew he had overused his magic that had only just started to replenish since his illness. His headache pounding worse then ever, he made his way to the counter and used one final spell to get himself a hotel room for the night, before collapsing on the bed once inside.
He had no money, no access to the wizarding world (if one even existed in this strange universe) and at this stage he also had very little magic. He was, despite being in a whole new world, once again utterly alone and he felt more lost and helpless then he had in a long time.
He spent the next few hours in his hotel room, trying to catch up on the differences of this world. He had access to a computer in the hotel lobby, which he managed to work out how to use the internet with the help of the Hotel staff. By all accounts this world was a bit different to where he had come from, the major difference being that he was technically in the past. He had left his world in the year 2106, but in this world the date was only March of 2017. It wasn't the same as the 2017 he remembered, however, there were several differences in the timelines that caused them to be very dissimilar. For one thing, muggle technology was far more advanced in this world then it had been at the same time in his own world. Some research showed that one main difference that might account for this was a man who had existed in this universe, but not in his own world – Howard Stark. An inventor and technological designer, many of the advanced technologies seen in this world were directly a result of his work.
He had become well known around the time of the Second World War, and it was around that time that the major advances had happened. His own world was at least decades behind this one in technology, and some of the technology (mainly Stark Tech) did not even exist at all in 2106 of his own world.
Other important people popped up in this time that had not been present in his own, including a 'super soldier' and 'superhero', Captain America. Though now long dead, Captain America had apparently been the world's first superhero, who had been instrumental during the Second World War. Harry later managed to find out that Captain America had come to being by the result of a super soldier serum that had been developed with the help of Howard Stark – this was starting to make Harry believe that the main difference that had caused this world to diverge from his own was the existence of Howard Stark, as most of the differences in the timeline seemed to stem from something this man had done or influenced.
The one topic he was completely unable to find out anything on, was magic. There seemed to be no mention of his world on the internet, other then fantasy type stories or myths that had no real relevance. He had apparated back to the place where the leaky cauldron should be, and it had once again not been there. Harry had even tried visiting the phone box that in his world had been the entrance to the ministry of magic, but had no success there either. For all intents and purposes, the British wizarding world had seemingly vanished, if it had ever been there at all.
Harry was stumped and confused with no where to go…but he couldn't stay in this hotel forever. He had to find some answers, and soon.
"Sir, there has been another sighting." The voice cut in to his thoughts, jerking Director Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D out of his thoughts.
"Another?" He questioned, meeting the eyes of his loyal employee, Agent Phil Coulson.
Coulson nodded enthusiastically. "Yes sir. Security footage outside a hotel in London appears to show the same man, appearing out of no where."
Fury nodded with an almost sinister smile. "Show me the footage."
After viewing the footage Agent Coulson had intercepted, it was clear that it was indeed the same subject, appearing outside a London hotel. Even more curious was the fact that it was time stamped only eight minutes after the same figure was seen disappearing from the London airport bathroom, having somehow managed to board the plane and get through security with no passport or ID to speak of. The London airport staff and officers had been questioned, but all of them denied ever having seen the suspect, and the only other sighting of him on the surveillance footage was as he left the plane and entered the airport – after that nothing. Somehow he had managed to escape all the video cameras inside the airport, only to be seen as he miraculously disappeared into thin air on the camera inside the airport bathroom.
"He is still at the hotel?" Fury questioned, turning back to Agent Coulson.
"As far as I know, sir. He hasn't been caught on camera leaving since he arrived." Coulson replied, gesturing to the footage.
"Alright then." Furry nodded. "Send in a team for observation, but no one moves in on the target until I give the word."
AN: There's chapter 4, almost onto the action now. If you liked it, please review! And if you didn't like it, then please let me know why so I can work on improving the story. I would love to hear from you! AR xx