An update! I know! This is madness! I've had so many jobs this summer! I'm rich! XD Thank you for not coming to Ireland, tracking me down and killing me in my sleep because I haven't updated in so long :) I appreciate it! It's insanely warm here right now, like 25 degrees Celsius and its the hottest weather Ireland's ever had, well, EVER IN THE HISTORY OF IRISH WEATHER. I am not joking, it was on the news. Also, peoples be disliking pairings in the story, so I'm gonna just go with no pairings now and a bit of flirting ;) Anyways, on with the story!
Harry slumped dejectedly back into his chair as he watched the meeting room fill with agents and scientists. The ash that had been the possessed corpse was being carefully collected by the white coat clad individuals, and Harry sighed as he watched Fury yelling orders at the agents, instructing them to search the whole Helicarrier to make sure no one else was dead.
"You should probably deal with that," Natasha's said, her voice interrupting his quiet observation of the room. He blinked in confusion for a moment before noticing the lamp in front of him, and smirked as it hopped up and down angrily.
Well, as angrily as a lamp could hop. Harry guessed it was with anger, but you never know with lamps.
"I think he's fine how he is," Harry replied, his smirk widening as he knocked the lamp over, and watched it roll around in circles in an attempt to right itself.
"Potter," she warned, but Harry could hear the amusement in her voice.
"Fine, fine." Glancing around the full room, Harry picked up the furious lamp and placed it under the table, out of view. With a wave of his wand, Stark was returned to his true form. There was a loud thunk, and a considerably less cheerful Tony Stark emerged from beneath it.
"I admit, that may have been deserved, but did it really have to be a lamp? Do you have any idea what you have done? How am I ever supposed to look at a lamp in the same way ever again?! You have no idea how much they suffer!"
"Tony, normal lamps aren't sentient."
"You don't understand..."
They were interrupted by Fury ushering the last agent from the room, leaving the Avengers alone once again.
"Well that was an unexpected interruption," Clint commented, yawning as he did so. "Why can't we ever get sane villains? We do they always have to be batshit crazy?"
Everyone shrugged, not knowing the answer to that question, and they all sat down once again.
"Back to what we were discussing before the distraction," Fury announced, eyeing the scorched area of floor in the middle of the room, "The team will be joining Grim on his mission to bring down the individual classified as 'Dominus Vitae'. As you have seen, he has control over the dead, a talent called Necromancy, and he is immortal. The source of his immortality is the lives he steals from the people he murders, an event that occurs once every hundred years. Unfortunately, these events are now being conducted only months apart from each other. Potter has informed me that the bodies of the individuals from which the life energy is stolen are being resurrected as what we can only label as zombies, for lack of a better name, and that since some of the towns used in these rituals were discovered empty, Vitae may be assembling an army. Did I cover everything, Potter?"
Harry nodded, and ran a hand through his hair. "This guy isn't like other wizards. He isn't even like other Necromancers. My source of information about him was killed before I could get much more than a name. Vitae was able to kill him from what I assume was a fair distance away without a direct spell. My guess is he has a method of killing that is known only by him. Perhaps a death spell that can be activated from afar. Because of this, we have to be extremely careful. I will need to create wards around the team, and if I can, the rest of SHIELD's employees. For all we know, he could wipe us out whenever he wants to."
"Then why hasn't he?" Steve asked. "I mean, if he can kill the only people who pose a threat to him, why doesn't he just kill us?"
"He's having fun," Bruce murmured, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "You saw the way he interacted with Harry. He was enjoying himself. Harry, you said yourself that this guy must be well over eight centuries old. I would imagine he would be pretty bored by now. Also, he calls himself Dominus Vitae, which directly translates to Lord of Life. You are the Master of Death. I would imagine you are the first thing that has caught his attention in a long time."
Everyone fell quiet, contemplating what Bruce had just said. Harry himself couldn't find any flaws in this deduction. All the times he had come into contact with Vitae, it had seemed as if the creepy bastard was playing with him. He was obviously relishing messing with Harry, and Harry hated it. It was like Voldemort all over again. Snake Face used to love manipulating Harry. It never ended well.
"He wants us to play with him," Harry said, rolling the Elder wand between his palms, feeling the urge to hex Vitae into oblivion if only he could get his hands on him. "He came here to make sure we'd search for him harder. He wants to be found because he doesn't believe we can stop him."
"And he wants you, it would seem," Thor intoned. "We can use this to our advantage. His weakness is his want for you to join his cause."
Harry wrinkled his nose in disgust. "Can we please talk about the perverted old man's intentions towards yours truly? I'd rather not vomit with an audience."
Clint snickered, and Harry felt his lip curl with amusement in response to the sound.
Bruce stood up abruptly, and moved to examine the patch of scorched floor, the aftermath of Harry's spell. He knelt beside in, and once again stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Tony and I should examine one of these 'zombies'. Harry will have to help us. Perhaps if we find what is used to, shall we say, 'power' these corpses, we can find a way to neutralise that power. Without his army, Vitae will be a lot easier to take down."
"Good idea, Banner," Fury said, and stood up, immediately claiming all of their attention. "Potter, I want you to use your magic mojo to locate some of these zombies. If we can find them, we can find our test subjects. Romanoff, Barton, Rogers and Thor, you will go with him and obtain a subject each. Do not, under any circumstance, destroy the zombie, because we need them active for this experiment to work."
Harry snorted, "You make finding them sound so easy. I've been trying for months, Director."
"What about us?" Tony asked, speaking up for the first time, indicating himself and Banner. "With that ash, maybe we could create device to locate any of the same material present on the planet."
Fury nodded sharply, "Alright. Stark and Banner, get to work. The rest of you, you're on standby until this device is operational."
Harry frowned as Tony and Bruce hurriedly left. How could Muggle technology succeed in locating magical creatures when magic itself had failed? He had been searching for over a year, and all he had to show for it was a pile of files and records. And a lot of headaches.
Fury stood up and swept out of the room, calling over his shoulder, "Get the fuck off of your collective asses. Goddamn lazy heroes." There were grumbles and mutterings throughout the room as everyone left, heading out to collect the gear they would be needing to apprehend the shambling corpses. Harry unhurriedly walked away from the others, stuffing his hands into his pockets and sighed tiredly. He couldn't help but feel like things were going nowhere. He had spent so long trying to bring this guy down, and still, with all his power, he had nothing. He sighed again, except this time with frustration. If all of his tracking spells and death magics were incapable of finding Vitae, why the hell would technology? In Harry's opinion, magic was far more superior. You could do absolutely ANYTHING with magic. Even places as far away as Asgard had magic in favour of technology. The staff Loki had used during the invasion-
The staff Banner and Stark had located with their technology!
The negative emotions that had been building in Harry began to dissipate. If they had found the staff, perhaps it wasn't so far-fetched to believe that they could find Vitae's undead army. Perhaps they wouldn't have to solely rely on Harry to defeat Vitae.
Harry began to take in his surroundings again and found himself outside the door to Loki's cell. He blinked in surprise that his mindless wanderings had led him to such a place, and shook his head. Flashing some ID to the slightly perplexed guard at the door, and Harry was inside, the heavy door slamming shut behind him. He glanced around the room, noting that it was as bland and boring as it had been before, and then smirked with amusement at the sight of the great trickster god Loki lying face-down on the cell's only bed. There was only one word to describe the god at that moment.
Loki's head swivelled around at the loud thud the door made upon closing, and raised an eyebrow at the sight of Harry.
"And so the great and mighty Master of Death deigns to grace me with his oh so magnificent presence," Loki drawled, his voice positively dripping with sarcasm. "It's been what, less than a week? Can't get enough of me? Or are the mortals ready to send me home yet?"
"Lovely to see you too, darling," Harry laughed, strolling across the room and sitting down to straddle the chair in the corner of the room to the right of Loki's bed. He crossed his arms in front of him and rested them on the chairs back, plonking his head on top of them and closing his eyes without saying another word.
They both sat in silence for a while, Harry relaxed, and Loki confused. A few minutes into the quiet and Loki sighed in defeat, realising Harry wasn't planning on saying a thing, and he would have to speak first if he wanted to stop the monotonous existence his life had become while alone in his prison.
"Alright, why are you here Potter? And it better be for some interesting reason, because being in this room is so mind numbingly boring that I am actually considering whistling. Did you know that I despise whistling? It is one of the single most irritating noises a person is capable of making, and this prison is driving me to it. I swear on Asgard that if I whistle, there will be hell to pay..."
Harry, whose eyes had opened sometime during the middle of Loki's tirade, gaped hopelessly for a moment, before scrunching up his face in confusion.
"Why the hell do you hate whistling?"
"THAT IS NOT THE POINT! For the love of Odin- no wait, I don't want that- For the love of Loki, give me something interesting to do in this Hel-forsaken room! I HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS BORED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! IT'S JUST A STUPID WHITE BOX! THERE AREN'T EVEN ANY TILES TO COUNT!" With a frustrated yell, Loki's head slammed into his pillow.
"Just... why are you here, Potter?"
Harry stared at the god with wide eyes for a moment before replying. "Err, I kind of don't have anything to do as I'm on standby waiting for my next mission, so I just ended up here, I guess. No real reason..."
Loki growled in irritation, still not moving his face away from the poor, abused pillow. "Well isn't that just perfect. Have they forgotten I'm even HERE?" His voice was slightly muffled.
Harry thought about for a moment. "Actually, yeah, maybe. We're dealing with a world-threatening problem right now. Immortal guy trying to cause doom and destruction, you know, that kinda thing. You know how it is. Speaking of immortal guys, why are you here? I thought SHIELD would have shipped you back to Asgard by now."
"I would be," Loki muttered darkly, "If my blond buffoon of an adoptive brother hadn't decided to stay on Midgard with his-," Loki's lip curled with distaste, "-woman."
"Oh yeah, Thor has that scientist lady, Jane Something-er."
"Yes," Loki hissed, his eyes narrowing. "And because of that woman, I am to be kept in this room until he decides to leave, with no magic, and no intelligent conversation. If it wasn't for her, I would be back in Asgard right now, and knowing the Allfather, all that would have happened would be a few years imprisonment. At least then, I would have something to do. In Asgard, prisoners are given books and the like to amuse themselves. HERE, THEY WENT AND FORGOT ABOUT ME!"
Harry winced in sympathy for the man. He also felt quite a bit of guilt. He hadn't gone to check up on Loki after their last chat. He had just assumed Loki had been carted off back to Asgard. Hadn't Stark finished the machine to send them yet? Trying to find Vitae really had consumed all of Harry and SHIELD's time. "I'll talk to Fury about sorting all this out. Yeah, sorry about this. You have no idea what we've been dealing with the last couple months. This psycho is going around razing towns to the ground to gain the life forces of the towns occupants to extend his own life, the sick fuck."
Loki lifted his head out of the pillow for a moment and looked at Harry with interest. "He is stealing lives to extend his own? So the large magical outbursts I have been sensing are him?"
"Wait, wait, what? You can sense them? I thought this room blocks your magic?"
"Fool," Loki said, without any real venom, "It merely blocks me from using my magic. I can still feel it, and yet, whenever I try to use it... it just... it slips through my fingers..." He stared at his hands for a moment, his brow furrowed with the feeling of loss that his lack of magic caused him.
Harry frowned at the floor, deep in thought. Loki could sense it too?
"Hey, how often do you feel him? Is it every so often, or is it-?"
"I feel his cruel magic nearly constantly," Loki informed him, his face once again a calm mask. "The strength changes and moves, but it is always there."
"So he must use his magic constantly to control his undead minions," Harry said to himself softly.
"Undead minions?" Loki asked with interest.
"Yeah. All those people whose lives he stole? Well, you can't call the guy wasteful. He raises the corpses, uses them for what we can only guess is an army... Or a fucking HUGE undead harem."
"Pretty similar, except for how they're powered. At first I thought they might just be Inferi, you know, a mindless body controlled by the spell used to animate them, but these things fucking talked to me. They knew who I was, what I was. Creepy as hell."
"That is rather interesting," Loki said eagerly. "Why have you not simply located them and destroyed them?"
"I can't!" Harry exclaimed angrily, missing the sly looking on Loki's face, "It's like I'm being blocked! No matter what spell I try, whether it already exists or something I made myself with my powers, I can't find the bastard.
"How frustrating," Loki smirked, eyes glinting mischievously. "If only you knew someone who has known the location of the spell caster this entire time..."
Harry looked up slowly, and glared at Loki. "What do you want."
"I would like to accompany you. I have been kept here for far too long. I am bored. Hel, I would accept a summer vacation to Jotunheim at this point. And of course, if I assist you in this problem, the mortals can hardly imprison me any longer. You do not treat your allies like this."
"You want to help..."
"I want to bargain for my freedom by use of my skills."
"You magical prostitute, you."
"Call me what you will, but I will not stay imprisoned any longer!"
"You tried to take over the world!"
"Oh hush. EVERYONE wants to take over the world."
"You led an alien invasion!"
"Which failed, mind you. It's not like anything too bad came of it."
"Aliens! In Manhattan! A wormhole across the galaxy above Stark Tower!"
"It looked rather impressive, didn't it?"
"It did actually-wait, hang on!"
Loki rolled his eyes, and raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"
"Let me get this straight," Harry said, standing up to pace around the small cell. "You will lead us to this guy if we allow you to assist us as payment for your freedom? You'll help us in exchange for being let out of your cell? How do we know you won't just lead another invasion?"
Loki waved a hand dismissively. "That is ridiculous. The Chitauri are most likely out for my blood, and besides, you and your group of misfits have proven that this world is relatively well protected. I am not the type to fight a losing battle. Who do you take me for, Thor?"
Harry rubbed the bridge of his nose and eyed Loki thoughtfully. Loki stared back with a small smirk.
"... I'll talk to Fury. Keep in mind that he most likely won't accept this idea."
Loki just looked at him. "Like that would stop you from helping me escape and heading out to stop him yourself. I can see it in your eyes, Master of Death. You wish to bring about this man's demise more than anything else. You will reason that the ends justify the means. If we stop him, I will have redeemed myself in the eyes of SHIELD, and a dangerous threat will have been dealt with. Make your choice, Wizard."
Harry stared into Loki's blue eyes, examining him critically. "Your people call you the God of Lies."
"You could betray me."
Loki scoffed. "I thought I already made it apparent that I am not Thor. I will not fight a battle that I can't win."
"You didn't win your war with us."
Loki looked down, "Perhaps I did not wish to win it as much as I thought I did in the beginning."
Harry dropped his face into his hands and groaned. "You know, we could just torture you until you agreed to help us?"
Loki sneered, "The mortals' attempts are nothing compared to the techniques developed by others in this universe. The Chitauri..." Loki broke off, and Harry eyed him with suspicion. "They... they are quite skilled." He broke off and stood up suddenly, shaking his head. "Another time, perhaps. You, Potter. Go approach your leader. Who knows when the killer will strike again."
Harry sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Clint is not gonna like this."
Thanks for sticking with me, guys! I'm doing my best with the story, but I kept forgetting what I've written :L I lost m plot notes and frantically searched for them coz they haz all mah planz in them :O Thanks for reading!