Pairings/(mentioned) Characters: Steve/Harry, mentioned Dursley family, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Avengers team, Phil Coulson.
Warnings: Light slash, spoilers?, slight bashing, complete mess of IC and plots.
I own absolutely nothing. Everything belongs to JK Rowling, the author of Birdsong and Marvel respectively.
A/N: Started at 11pm, finished at 2:45am. This was inspired because of listening to a song and I hope you enjoy it. I apologise for any grammatical faults and anything else. This hasn't been beta'd, so it's all mine.
Steve looked around the small neighbourhood he was stood in, taking in the small, repetitive houses and the perfect gardens. His brows furrowed in confusion. The last he remembered, the plane he was driving had crashed and he had – or, he thought he had – died from the impact. Raising a hand, he looked at it closely and was shocked to see that it was slightly transparent.
That was definitely not normal, and Steve was a Super Serum Soldier, sort of the epitome of un-normalness.
Walking forward, he tried to ignore the fact that he was almost see-through (for the moment), and decided to look around the neighbourhood instead. There were a few people either walking or milling about and, when he tried to speak to them, they carried on with what they were doing as if he wasn't there. As if they couldn't see him.
Which, he figured, they couldn't.
The place he was in was disgustingly clean. There wasn't a plant or person out of place, and he wondered if he was in a dream. That could explain it all, really. Maybe he hadn't really crashed and died, and maybe he would wake up to find Peggy was still there, with Bucky and Howard and all of his comrades.
But he knew in his heart and mind that that wasn't right. If there was one thing he knew for sure, it was that. Another would be that he definitely wasn't dead.
Taking a random turn, he looked around the almost empty park he stumbled into. There was graffiti everywhere and his nose scrunched up in distaste. Brooklyn definitely had better parks than this, and they were almost non-existent at the time.
He was just about to turn and leave, go in another direction until all this was finished, when he heard a squeak. Turning around once more, he looked to the swings to see a boy – a teenager, possibly 14 or 15 – sitting on his own, head down as he swung himself lightly. He wasn't really moving, just sitting there, and Steve's curiosity got the better of him.
Before he knew it, he had sat down on the swing next to the kid, pushing himself slightly but never letting his feet leave the floor. It wouldn't do to freak an unsuspecting stranger out by moving the swing too much with no one there.
It was a few minutes later that something happened.
"Hello," The boy said, turning his head lightly and showing emerald eyes that were bright yet also dull at the same time. Steve didn't know how the contrast worked, but it did and it made the boy even more interesting. It was after this thought that he realised the boy was speaking to him, no one else. The boy could see him.
"You—you can see me?" he asked, stating the obvious. Bucky had always said it was a talent of his, and in that moment, he didn't doubt it at all.
".. Obviously," The kid replied, raising an eyebrow. He was almost looking at the hero as though he was crazy, but holding back. He had met crazier. "Why wouldn't I be able to? Are you trying to make yourself think you're invisible or something?" His voice was hesitant yet confident, teasing yet serious.
"No, it's just…" Steve held up a hand to show the boy, and his green eyes widened behind round glasses. "No one else can see me. Only you, from what I've seen."
Harry nodded his head in understanding, yet he hadn't quite grasped it yet. After a moment of thought, he put it down to the magic in his blood and body, something no one else around them had. He could see the ghosts at Hogwarts, after all.
"What's your name?" Steve asked, dropping his hand to the chain of the swing once more.
"Harry.." The green-eyed boy hesitated. "Harry Potter."
The blond-haired man hummed, giving the boy – Harry now, he supposed – a calm smile and a small nod of his head. He liked the name. It was simple.
"Steve Rogers. Nice to meet you, Harry."
"Do you, uh.. Do you think you could tell me where I am?" The hero looked to the floor sheepishly, but Harry's quiet chuckle made him look back up and smile slightly. The kid didn't seem to laugh much.
"You're in Little Whinging, Surrey. In England." Harry gave him a small smile.
Nodding in thanks, Steve looked back ahead of him, watching various birds fly about and trees wave gently in the afternoon summer breeze.
They sat in silence for a while, just swinging and listening to the almost silent sounds of different things. Cars, birds, people talking… anything that happened to drift past them and into their hearing range.
Steve looked down at himself to see his body become even more see-through than it was before. Looking over to the teenager, he gave him a shocked, almost panicked look. Harry surged forward, tried to touch him, but failed and almost fell to the floor.
"I—I'll be back, okay?" Stave said, his voice becoming fainter. "I'll be back soon."
Harry could only nod his head and watch as his new friend disappeared.
Harry James Potter, despite what everyone thought, was a smart child. He liked to read and he liked to learn new things, especially things about the world his parents came from. James Potter and Lily Potter (née Evans) were always praised for being two of the smartest students in their years at Hogwarts, so why would Harry, their only child, turn out to be stupid? It just didn't add up.
It was only because of Dudley that people, mainly the Muggles he lived with and near, thought he was stupid. If he got better marks on a test compared to his severely academically challenged cousin, he was beaten. If he did too badly on a test and embarrassed both him and the Dursley's, he was beaten. He had to stay average to make sure that he would not be hurt. (Not that it stopped. Vernon just found another reason to hurt his nephew.)
When he got to Hogwarts, it was because of his two so-called best friends and the world around him in general. He didn't want to make Hermione feel bad if he outshined her and didn't want to make Ron even more jealous than he already was. It wouldn't do. And the world around him.. Well, he was supposed to be the stupid saviour that would always be underestimated, despite the fact that they expected him to fight and kill their Dark Lord.
But with those smarts came good observation skills. He knew every time Ron and Hermione snuck off together, they were going to Dumbledore to report their latest findings. He could see when the Crazy Old Goat™ was watching him, discerning what he should make his precious little pawn do next. Every year, the tests were set up: they were a twisted sort of way to make sure that The Oblivious Golden Boy™ knew what he was doing, to push him towards his Fate of killing the Dark Lord.
When Steve Rogers came along, Harry had recognised the name, as though it was one he had heard in passing mention. It didn't take much to find it out. One trip to the library to use their computers and internet, typing in the name, and it came up with headlines about a war hero, a Super Soldier.
'CAPTAIN AMERICA SAVES PRISONERS OF WAR'
'CAPTAIN AMERICA STRIKES AGAIN!'
And so on. His alias of Captain America sounded slightly ridiculous to Harry, but he could understand and appreciate the patriotism that the Americans had. Scrolling to the bottom of the webpage, Harry got another surprise, one that caused his eyebrows to fly up into his hairline.
'CAPTAIN AMERICA CRASHES PLANE INTO ICY DEPTHS TO SAVE US
War hero's sacrifice to be remembered throughout History'
It was one of the longest titles, and he wasn't surprised at all. This explained why Steve was transparent. He was supposed to be dead... Yet he wasn't, but the wizard couldn't understand why. Despite the curiosity that was burning inside of him, he brushed it off. He stuck with the theory that only he could see the thought-to-be-dead hero because of his Magic, only choosing to believe something else if evidence came up to prove it. The Muggles couldn't see him, so it was the closes plausible theory he could think of right now.
Harry visited the park for the next week, waiting for Steve to come back again. All the endless waiting and rushing of chores, dodging of relative's fists and melting in the sun paid off.
When Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, came back, Harry told him everything he knew. Steve's role in the war, what people thought and, best of all, he told him about Magic.
Steve had seen, been and experienced weirder things (for example, the leader of Hydra pulling off the skin of his face and showing the Red Skull underneath). It didn't take long for him to believe Harry, to understand his words and to accept them freely. The raven-haired man-child definitely appreciated it. Appreciated that the older male was so willing to accept what he had said and to trust him so easily.
In return, Steve told Harry about his life in Brooklyn, leading up to his adventures and time spent as Captain America, all the fun times and all the sad times mixed together into one long tale.
It was after that day that Harry visited the old, abandoned park every day, as many times as he could. Steve was usually there, waiting for him with a warm smile and an extra swing.
When Harry went back to Hogwarts, Steve wandered. He had tried to follow along to the magic school, of course, but he couldn't force his projection to go anywhere but Privet Drive. When summer came and Harry returned, looking more harried and upset, Steve comforted him best he could and they resumed the routine they had set up the summer before.
It all started again once Harry left again, days of boredom spent wandering around and marvelling at the technology and how humans had advanced. Just from observing he learnt how to use different things, what they were and what you could do with them. And if he scared the Dursleys just a little bit, well.. No one really noticed but them.
But Harry never came back. Steve knew about the war, and the thought of Harry dying, leaving him here with no one else, broke his heart. The soldier didn't want to think that Harry would die because he was strong and brave and knew what he was doing (most of the time). He wouldn't do that..
Yet when Steve stopped appearing at Privet Drive and woke up to find an Agent from SHIELD staring at him, a held back yet very excited smile on his face – 'hello, Mister Rogers. We've been looking for you for a very long time'– he never gave up hope that he would see Harry again, because somewhere along the way, he had fallen hopelessly in love with the younger man.
Harry had wanted to return, of course. There was nothing more he wanted to do than see the only friend he had left.
He had ditched Ron and Hermione, instead taking Luna and Neville along with him on his hunt for Horcruxes. Throughout it all, the other Gryffindor and the Ravenclaw stuck by him, smacking him on the back of the head when he acted stupid and guiding him along the way when he was lost.
It took longer than he had hoped, the war finally ending in May. After that, he was pulled into politics, rebuilding and outing the traitors that he was never friends with. Despite being on his mind all the time, Steve was pushed out of the way as he tried to build up the world that had been something akin to a home for him in the past 7 years. He didn't want it to crumble, not at all, but that didn't stop the yearning to leave, to find his friend and to just relaxfor once.
It would be a couple of years later, not too far in, when he realised that he just didn't age. He was stuck in a 24-year-olds body and would never move any further.
And he didn't want to let people in his world know.
So, writing a few letters and bidding close friend's goodbye, Harry left. He travelled around Europe. France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, visiting all the different landmarks and places of interest, just letting himself go and revelling in the anonymity this all brought him. After that, he travelled to Russia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand. After that, he changed his mind and travelled all the way across the world, starting at the top of Canada and ending up in New York. How, he didn't really know. It just happened.
Before he knew it, he had settled down into the bustling city, opening a small bookstore on the corner of a street, hoping that maybe one day Steve would show up somehow. The bookstore was frequented by a lot of people, especially since Harry was so charming, willing to help. Of course, it did help that it had so many books and a small lounging area where you could just escape, sit down and enjoy some peace and quiet from the loud streets outside. They came and went, but Steve never did.
When the invasion started, Harry was just about to head out for lunch, locking up his bookstore and shoving the key into his pocket. The screams came first, and then the appearance of the super heroes and villains, scattered about the area as the army fought against the small group.
Harry, damn his hero complex, immediately joined, firing off spells in every direction and leading the fearful onlookers to the safety spots.
Catching glimpses of the other heroes reassured him that he wasn't alone, shooting off a quick bombarda! against one of the invaders.
He fell and got hurt, injuries causing him pain, but it was something he was used to. The adrenaline pumped in his veins and his heart raced, limbs aching from overexertion. It had been years since he had last done something like this and he was tiring quickly, but was never giving up.
Just as everything was coming to a close, when the last of the aliens were being brought down, something hit Harry on the back of his head and he fell forward. Not before, as Fate would have it, he heard a familiar voice shout his name…
… And when he opened his eyes, a bright white light invaded his sight and he shut them quickly again. He heard shuffling and then the light outside his eyelids dimmed. Opening his eyes into slits, he slowly allowed them to get adjusted before opening them further.
"You seem to be used to doing that," An amused voice said to his right, and his head whipped around because he recognised it. It almost seemed like a distant memory, and this couldn't be real because Steve was gone.
"You're—"Harry couldn't finish.
"I'm?" Steve said and the amusement was clear in his tone. Sitting down on the chair next to Harry's bed, he took the wizards man's hand into his own, reaching over to brush some of his hair out of the way.
"You're here. You're real and you're holding my hand and—how?" He was breathless.
"Turns out I wasn't as dead as I thought. I was frozen, beneath the water in the ship. SHIELD found me, patched me up and.. here I am. Part of the Avengers Initiative," Harry gave him a confused look. "Sort of like a gang of superheroes. Earth's mightiest heroes, I think Tony said…"
Harry didn't bother asking any more questions. Instead, he surged forward, ignoring the dizziness, and pressed his lips against Steve's in a sweet kiss. It was nothing too passionate, just a simple pressing together of the lips, but it was the best kiss either had ever experienced.
"I'm so sorry I was gone," Harry whispered. "I didn't come back.. There was the war, and politics that I got so caught up and I never had any time. I was thinking about you all the time and—"
He was cut off by Steve pressing another kiss to his lips.
"Hush, Harry," He muttered. "I understand. But that's the past. We're here together now, and we won't be losing each other any time soon.. Let's just live in the present. Because that's what it is. A gift."
And it was. They spent time together, and they took their relationship slowly. For them, it was like climbing down a ladder into a dark basement without a light to guide your way. Each step was a big leap, but you knew the closer you got to the bottom, the more satisfied and happy you would be.
The Avengers all met, and took a liking to, Harry. They accepted him into the fold, if not a little warily at first because Steve was their innocent little angel snowflake and they didn't want him to be hurt. After a while, they accepted him more readily, seeing how in love he was with their Super Soldier.
Each of the Avengers slowly trickled in, visiting Stark Tower and somehow they all ended up living there. Steve and Harry were the last to join, turning up sheepishly and staying for one night. And the next. And the one after that. They stayed there and they never left, their possessions from their previous homes somehow making their way into the tower, just like with all of the other team members.
They didn't mind.
And if anyone noticed when Harry started ageing again, they didn't say anything. He and Steve were happy with it because it meant they would be able to grow old together, to see the other in their old age and just live their lives with each other.
And they did. They were happy. A greater author might even say all was well.