So, I decided that this needed a bit of an overhaul because I rushed it first time round. For those who wonder why such an apparently fluffy/family fic where good conquers evil is rated T, the rating is for later chapters. The darkness really starts at about chapter 21, though it doesn't descend into a dark emofest. It just gets more serious.
I am intentionally mimicking the Harry Potter books in that it gets darker and edgier as Harry gets older and more involved in broader events. And, conveniently, the start is set during Prisoner of Azkaban, when the series got dark and started playing for keeps. It'll be canon compliant for the Harry Potter books up to a point – basic events will still happen, but there will be serious differences as Harry begins to change under the influence of the Avengers.
It'll start movieverse for the Avengers, but more and more elements of the comics will sneak in over time. Some quite soon, in fact.
First off, the Wizarding World knows about the Avengers. Why? Loki and Thor are of key interest to it, because Loki in particular played a sizeable part in its history. If those two hadn't been involved, it would be debatable as to whether the Wizarding World would even have noticed the Battle of New York.
Now, it's been a couple of years, time enough for people to get vaguely familiar with the Avengers as a group. Timeline wise, I split the difference between the two 'verses: Harry's born in 1993, the Battle of New York happened in 2004.
I own nothing you recognise. This fic is only partially betaed, by Thunder Stag, tylerbamafan34 and the collective minds of 'The Magic of Torchwood' Facebook group.
Note: some of those re-reading may be a tad confused by how the word count has suddenly dropped. This is because I went along and cleaned out most of the replies to anonymous reviews, as they had long since served their purpose.
Just a little higher, Harry thought whilst chasing the snitch. The storm grew around him, dark clouds throbbing ominously, but he didn't notice, so focused was he on the golden darting object that was just a few feet away, getting closer and closer to his outstretched hand. He almost had it, and with it, the match.
Then he felt a bone deep coldness settle on him and an entirely different chill, a chill of recognition, ran through him. He had felt this cold before, unnatural and all pervading. The rain nearby was freezing into droplets of ice, pelting him. For once, he was glad for his glasses. He looked around. Dozens of Dementors were all around him. As they drew closer, he began to hear things, just like before, and see flashes of memory.
A dark room and a darker figure who seemed to be robed in shadow. A red haired woman standing between him and Harry.
Stand aside, you foolish girl!
The red haired woman, his mother maybe, refusing to stand aside.
No, please, not Harry!
The robed figure, Voldemort, raising his wand, a green light issuing from it, the woman falling and then… then he turned on Harry. Another flash, and he raised his wand.
There was another green light and a rushing sound.
It was at that point that his grip on his broom failed. He fell. And as he did, helpless and in truly mortal danger for the first time in his life, unable to do anything to save himself, his unconscious mind screamed one thing.
In Asgard, worlds away, Loki sat bolt upright in his bed as he felt the psychic cry from the child. It should have been impossible for such a distress call, aimlessly flung into the void, to reach him. If not, that was, for who the child was. His nephew. With that in mind, he leapt of bed, and as he ran to Thor's chambers, he noted that his nephew had grown up almost identical to Thor's lost mortal form. Yes, this was his nephew all right. He had known this would come back to haunt them. He had known that it could not be kept secret forever, indeed, he had opposed the lies in the first place, but recognised their necessity. Now, he had to hope that time was a sufficient healer.
"Thor!" he yelled, bursting into his brother's room.
"What is it brother?" Thor said groggily, Jane struggling to sit up next to him.
"Your son," Loki said, and smirked as Thor bolted upright.
"What? Is this one of your tricks?" Thor asked suspiciously. Though Loki had found his way back to sanity (a slow and painful process to say the least) and now sought to redress the wrongs he had done, he was still as much of a prankster as ever.
Loki rolled his eyes and crossed to Thor's side. "No. I have no time to explain, so we'll have to do this the hard way. My lady Jane, you might want to get out of the way. If what I suspect is correct – as it usually is – then there is a rather impressive memory block on my brother. Releasing it so violently could lead to flailing." Jane immediately slipped out of the bed, wearing only a small shirt and shorts. Loki smiled slightly. There were many reasons for him to like Jane Foster. First was that she was both sensible and exceptionally intelligent, thereby keeping his brother on a leash thanks to his listening to her good sense, second was that she was very attractive and third was that she didn't ask stupid questions in emergencies, or, indeed, at all.
Loki pressed his hands to his brother's temples, then began muttering spells, smashing through Odin's magics that had been placed on Thor's mind. One small blessing was that they had sacrificed in strength to maintain subtlety Suddenly, Thor's eyes went wide, he spasmed several times and he scrambled out of bed, grabbing Mjolnir.
"What is wrong with my son?" he demanded, armour forming.
"Your son? Thor, what is going on?" Jane asked, frowning.
Thor opened his mouth, before Loki cut across him. "Thor, your son is being chased by Dementors. I'll explain. You would only make it worse. Now GO!"
Thor nodded, eyes wide with terror, and raced out of the room.
"Now, Jane," Loki said, sitting down on Thor's bed. "You had best join me in sitting down. And I shall explain some things about Thor's past, when he was rendered human before. When he was rendered into a man called James Potter. And it is not a short tale."
Jane, confused, sat and listened. It wasn't like there was anything else to do.
As it turned out, the full story could be neatly summarised as Odin's first attempt to teach Thor humility by incarnating him as human baby without any of his memories (blocked) or powers (removed) as Thor, and basically give him a second chance, before a planned reintegration of the two sets of memories, leaving Thor with a new and improved outlook on life, and, conveniently, a wife and son.
Unfortunately, this had all gone thoroughly pear-shaped when Thor's mortal self had been murdered by a Dark Lord called Voldemort because Thor, being eternally possessed of a hero complex, and his wife were part of a resistance movement and their son was prophesied to defeat the Dark Lord in question. This exceptionally traumatic incident and the forcible reintegration of mortal and godly minds meant that Thor, in the simplest of terms, went stark raving mad.
For Jane's part, she thought it sounded vaguely like the intro to a fairly average fantasy novel, but considering she was dating a key member of the Norse Pantheon and currently staying in his home dimension, it made a sort of sense.
"So, James tended to act like a combination of you and Thor because of his unconscious memories, and Odin wiped Thor's memory to stop him going mad with grief and smiting most of Britain," Jane said slowly, ordering it in her head. Another reason Loki liked her was she actually thought things through and considered before making judgements. She was, after all, a scientist.
"That is my theory. And yes, he did," Loki said. "Though it was less of a matter of 'going mad' as 'gone mad'. It was... painful." He shook his head. "Thor regressed to the way he had been before, which in considerable part led to the later incident involving my mad plan to keep Thor off the throne and obliterate the Frost Giants," he added, looking somewhat pained, and Jane had rubbed his arm comfortingly. His madness was something of a touchy subject. While he accepted full, if diminished, responsibility for his deeds during that time, that did not mean he enjoyed dwelling on it.
"But doesn't Thor now look rather different to James Potter?" Jane asked, frowning. Loki had explained that James Potter's appearance had been partially based on his.
"Indeed he does, which is why I am glad I had the foresight put an enchantment on him, one that allows him to shift between his normal appearance and that of James Potter at will," Loki said. "If he remembers to use it, it should save my brother from trying to explain a lot of things. Which he is bad at."
Jane chuckled slightly. Thor was sweet, but he sometimes got a little lost in rambling metaphor and, occasionally, iambic pentameter.
Sometime before this, Thor, flying as fast as he could, had dived through the Tesseract powered Bifrost portal.
The Bifrost portals were largely Jane's invention, with a little bit of input and refinement from Tony, Bruce and Erik. She had managed, with machines that were held together largely by duct tape and judicious application of spit and prayers, to create a stable portal to Asgard, one that, since it was less powerful and transported less people, did not carry the same dangers in leaving it open. The old Bifrost had transported armies. This transported maybe ten at a time, no more.
Needless to say, Heimdall had been somewhat surprised when he saw a stick being poked though onto the remains of the Rainbow Bridge, though he had not shown it. While he had seen Jane working on the portals, he hadn't expected her to achieve in six months what had taken Asgard's finest mines two hundred years. Though admittedly she'd had a path to follow and a theory to work from, saving over one and a half centuries, and hadn't needed to construct a giant bridge to power it, it was still a remarkable feat.
Now, there were several Bifrost portals in each of the Nine Realms, doors between realms, controlled by Heimdall from the Rainbow Bridge, the hub from which he could allow or deny travel through the gates and send people anywhere, either through his innate knowledge of the Nine Realms, or if someone wished to be very precise, input of coordinates into the gate.
Thor, while immensely proud of his lover's achievements, was not in the mood to dwell on the particulars. Relying on the machines magical origins to read his mind and direct him to the correct destination. And it did, pointing him straight towards a black haired speck that was falling towards the ground. Thor raced after him, frantically pouring on as much speed as he could. As he did so, he absently noticed that he now had the appearance of James Potter once more, courtesy of Loki.
A couple of moments later, he closed on his son. They were only a hundred feet from the ground, and falling, falling so fast - though, as he would later reflect, not half as fast as he would expect. He would have to time this perfectly. And he did. He snatched him out of the air, fifty feet up. As he did, the cold, cloying influence of the flock of Dementors asserted itself, clawing at his newly reawakened memories, bringing the most painful ones to the surface. As it turned out, this suited Thor just fine, since frankly, he was itching for something to hit. Hovering, he thrust Mjolnir upwards, and channelled the fury at his son's predicament and the loss of Lily at the Dementors.
There was a warning rumble, then a blinding flash as hundreds of bolts of lightning struck the Dementors, causing them to let out unearthly howls and forcing them to flee. He glared after them. They could be dealt with later. What was more important right now was his son, who was lying unconscious in his arms as they both descended to the ground.
Harry had grown a lot since he'd last held him, Thor thought. Age had only cemented his resemblance to his father, though there were subtle shades of Lily in there. In the background he could hear the crowd cheering, - that certainly brought back memories - and the commentator was saying, 'And Harry Potter has been caught in mid-air by someone who I am told greatly resembles his father, James Potter, who is flying WITHOUT a broom! And summoning lightning bolts. This is officially the weirdest Quidditch match I have ever seen.'
"James?" whispered Professor McGonagall.
"Hello Professor," Thor said, grinning and letting his memories of James Potter take over.
"How?" Dumbledore asked, looking half relieved, half suspicious. Thor couldn't really blame him. Returning from the dead wasn't exactly a common occurrence in the Wizarding World - or anywhere, really.
So he lowered his rudimentary mental defences and said, "Take a look."
Dumbledore was a Master Legilimens, and as such, he didn't dive straight in. Instead, he carefully probed, sifting through the upper layers of Thor's mind, always on the lookout for a trap. Once he was satisfied that there was none, he began to investigate in earnest. First, he examined Thor's memories of being James as closely as possible, checking for even the smallest sign of fakery. Second, he did the same, but with less close examination, to Thor's ordinary memories. Third and finally, he inspected the connection between, making sure that the memories of James had not been grafted on. As he discovered, they had merely been unearthed, unlocked from behind a vault door in his mind.
While all of this took place at the speed of thought, it still took over five minutes, and though it took Thor some considerable effort of will, he did not move.
Dumbledore nodded slowly. "He is who he says he is," he said, voice effortlessly reaching the whole stadium. "Though it is remarkable. James Potter is alive."
"Indeed. The Wizarding World knew me as James Potter," Thor replied, letting his normal appearance shine through. "The mortal world and the rest of the nine realms know me as Thor Odinson, the God of Thunder and one of the Avengers."
"Good god," McGonagall said faintly, as the crowd positively buzzed with shock and excitement.
"You called?" Thor asked, grinning, and McGonagall rolled her eyes.
"Definitely James," she murmured.
"I think, James – do you prefer James, or Thor?" Dumbledore asked.
"Stick with James, for the moment," Thor said, switching back to his James Potter face.
"Very well, James. I think we need to talk," Dumbledore said. "Inside. Though I would be grateful if you could stop this storm."
Thor looked up at the storm, and whirled his hammer once. The storm petered out into nothingness in a matter of moments, and Thor looked smug. On James Potter's face, it was a very natural expression.
"Is that Snivellus I see up there?" he said, looking over Dumbledore's shoulder at a shocked looking Snape.
"Professor Snape, James, he teaches Potions now," Dumbledore said with a sigh. "Your son's almost as bad. He just calls him Snape."
Thor looked down at his unconscious son. "He has potential," he said solemnly. "Now, I think we should get inside."
As he said that, the Hufflepuff seeker flew down and landed beside them, the Snitch in his hand.
"I'm sorry, I didn't see the Dementors," he gabbled in a rush. "It wasn't fair, we should replay the match Professor."
"I'm sorry Mr Diggory, but once the Snitch is caught, the match is over," Dumbledore said.
The young man sagged, then sighed. "Oh well." Then he turned to Thor.
"Mr Potter? My father spoke very well of you," he said, remarkably calm about seeing someone who was supposed to have been dead for the last twelve years. This was possibly because Dumbledore had vouched for him in a very loud and definite way, and the Wizarding World had long taken Dumbledore's word as gospel. Or he was just deciding that it would be far easier just to go with it. As he spoke, he held out the Snitch, which Thor took.
"You're Amos Diggory's son, aren't you?" he said.
"The very same, Mr Potter. I'm Cedric," Cedric said. "Give this to Harry when he wakes up. It's his by all rights."
Thor looked at him and smiled. "Your father is a good man. And so are you. But I think there is every chance you would have caught the Snitch yourself. Even if you hadn't, you flew through one of the nastiest storms I have seen for a while. And believe me when I say that I know storms." McGonagall snorted as Thor handed the Snitch back, placing it in Cedric's palm and folding Cedric's fingers over it. The Hufflepuff blinked in surprise, then nodded with a smile.
"Thank you, Mr Potter."
When Harry woke up, Ron and Hermione were at his bedside. And so wasthe entire Gryffindor Quidditch team, including a bedraggled looking Oliver Wood.
"Hey guys," he said. "What did I miss?"
"Hey Harry," the group chorused, then all turned as one to Hermione, who looked a little nervous.
"Harry, we have some good news, and some bad news. The bad news is that after you fell off your broom, it hit the Whomping Willow. I'm sorry," Hermione said, unrolling the bundles she had been carrying.
"And the good news?" Harry asked, holding back tears. The Nimbus had been part of him. It had been his most prized possession, valued above everything he owned save his wand and Hedwig.
"What do you remember?" Hermione asked.
Harry sighed. "I remember the Dementors, I remember falling off my broom, then someone catching me. I'm not sure if that was real, though. Then nothing."
"The dark haired man was real, Harry. He is… there's no easy way to say this. He's your father, Harry. And his real name is… Thor," Hermione said slowly.
Harry blinked. Then blinked again, before letting his head fall back and staring at the ceiling.
"Harry?" Ron asked, a bit worried. "You okay, mate?"
"I am going to wake up in a minute, find myself in my bed in Gryffindor tower, and dismiss this as a really weird dream, or some kind of illusion," he said in a leaden voice.
"I would be most disappointed to find out that I was an illusion and unaware of it, since I myself am a master illusionist," a tall dark haired man said, walking into Harry's field of vision and sounding amused. He looked rather like pictures Harry had seen of James, almost like he was a brother. More to the point, however, he'd seen him on television and in the newspapers. It couldn't be… "Hello Harry. I'm your Uncle Loki." It was.
Everyone's jaw dropped, and Fred and George dropped to their knees.
"The Norse God of Mischief!" Fred said, sounding awed.
"Pranks!" George added.
"Magic!" Fred said.
"And Chaos!" George said.
"Teach us, we beg you, o master!" both finished at exactly the same time.
Loki looked rather pleased. "Oh get up, you two, I don't need abasement," he said, smiling in a somewhat self-deprecating fashion. "As for your request… well it has been rather some time since I took on an apprentice, and I would rather like to teach my nephew… nevertheless, I have had as many as four apprentices before, even if Thor mostly taught Godric." He examined them for a long moment, as if looking beyond mere outward appearance. Then he nodded decisively. "You have the talents necessary, I think. For the time being, at least, you may consider yourselves my apprentices."
Fred and George looked like they were about to pass out from joy.
"Thank you, master," they said, bowing.
"Please, just call me Loki. That goes for all of you. Except for Harry, who, if he so wishes, may call me Uncle," Loki said.
"Assuming this is real, I'd like that. Uncle," Harry said, mind a whirl.
"Excellent, nephew," Loki said, beaming. "Now, I'd better go fetch your father. As far as I can tell, he's stopped trying to smite Professor Dumbledore for leaving you with the Dursleys, and now Dumbledore is trying to prevent him from smiting the Dursleys. I'm not sure how successful this is going to be, but it should be fun to watch either way."
"Dursleys?" Hermione asked.
"My aunt and uncle," Harry said. "And my cousin."
"Why would Thor smite them?" Hermione asked, frowning.
Harry opened his mouth, then closed it again, saying nothing.
"Because of how they treated Harry," Loki said quietly. "Which was truly abominably." At Harry's expression of surprise he added, somewhat cryptically, "I have my sources."
"When we went to get him last year, they had bars on his window," Fred said grimly.
"They were practically starving him," George added, equally grimly.
Under everyone's horrified scrutiny, Harry hunched up and said nothing.
"Indeed," Loki said softly, a soft voice that carried an undertone of pure fury. "While I am sure that Harry would not appreciate the details being aired to all and sundry, rest assured that my brother's rage is more than justified." A glint appeared in his eye. "And it is a rage I share." He sighed. "Of course, I am better at compartmentalising such things than my brother. In retrospect, I probably should not have informed him about it until I got him somewhere quieter and more secluded. Such as the Moon."
As he turned to go, Hermione, who had previously looked righteously enraged on Harry's behalf, now looked like she had had an idea. "Wait! Mr Loki, I've got an idea." She turned to Harry. "You said that the Dursleys care about their reputation as a normal, well off and well to do family?"
Harry nodded. He had indeed told her that during an explanation of the hovering pudding fiasco, part of one of Dobby's many attempts to save him by keeping him away from Hogwarts the previous year.
She turned to Loki. "And Thor is one of the Avengers, right?"
Loki nodded, then began to grin as he caught on.
"I'm sure Tony Stark could manage to destroy them. Without leaving a single mark," Hermione said, with sounded like a degree of cheerful malice that no one would previously have credited her with. Everyone in the room was looking at her with mingled fear, awe, and in the case of Loki, pride.
"Oh I like this one," he said with a smirk. "You have a remarkably sharp mind, Miss…"
"Granger. Hermione Granger," Hermione replied.
Loki scrutinised her for a long moment, and seemed to look almost... surprised? Then, the moment passed and he smiled. "Miss Granger, you can consider yourself my fourth apprentice. Stark would do it for Thor, or indeed, even for the fun of it," he said, turning to go. Hermione looked like she was about to pass out. It was not every day one got offered an apprenticeship with the Asgardian God of Magic.
Ron suddenly looked puzzled as Loki left.
"Did he say one of his former apprentices was called Godric? And that he had four?" Ron asked. Everyone's jaw dropped even further as this sunk in. Except Harry who looked blank and lay back down.
"Harry?" Hermione asked. "Are you all right?"
"Hermione. I have just discovered that not only is my father alive, but he is also the Norse God of Thunder and a superhero. And my uncle is a redeemed super villain and the Norse Trickster God who taught the founders and has now taken myself, Fred, George and you on as his apprentices. I'm having just a little trouble taking it all in," Harry said flatly.
"Your dad's a great guy," Ron said. "Oliver was trying to drown himself in the showers and your dad dragged him away and told him that even the best captain can't predict the intervention of Dementors and an enormous storm. And that a good captain should be waiting by his seeker's bed, not trying to drown himself."
Oliver nodded. "He was pretty emphatic on that part."
"Can you just tell me what happened before I got here?" Harry interjected.
"Well," Hermione said. "Dementors were flying up into the storm – towards you – and suddenly, you fell. Then, the sky darkened, and the storm got even bigger as something – your father - shot towards you."
"I've never seen anyone fly so fast," Ron said in awe. "Not even a Firebolt could have kept up!"
"Yes Ron," Hermione said, slightly irritated at being interrupted. "Anyway, he caught you maybe a hundred feet off the ground, and hovered. And then he raised his hammer, and lightning struck the Dementors. All of them at once! After that, he landed, talked to Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and the Hufflepuff Seeker, then took you inside to the hospital wing."
Harry nodded slowly, processing all of this.
"So where is he now?"
"The Headmaster's office."
Loki strode towards the Headmasters office. The gargoyle looked at him, realised who he was, and moved respectfully out of the way. It had been there since Hogwarts had first been built, and recognised the its creator on sight.
"Thank you," Loki said politely as he reached the moving spiral staircase.
"Not a problem," was the literally gravelly reply.
As the stairs carried him up, he heard Thor loudly saying that he would beat the Dursleys to a pulp and feed them to Fenris, after tying them up with their own intestines.
"Brother," Loki sighed. "Calm down."
"Loki?" Thor said in surprise, still wearing his James Potter face. "Jane…"
"Is fine. She's a little unbalanced by it all, but she's dealing with it," Loki said.
"Jane?" Albus asked.
"Jane Foster, she's –" Thor began.
"An astrophysicist, creator of the Foster theory and the chief mind behind the New Bifrost," Albus said. "I have heard of her. She's a rather remarkable young woman. I take it that sometime after Lily's death and your father's memory charm, you fell in love once more."
"Yes," Thor said. "I did. And… I am confused."
"Tell us something new," Loki murmured dryly, and Albus' lips twitched.
"This is serious, brother," Thor said, and his quiet, steely tone caught Loki's immediate attention. "It hurts. For me, it is only a couple of days since I lost my beloved wife. And now I love another woman. My feelings are genuine but…" Thor's face crumpled. "I don't know what to do, what to think, what to say. It hurts," he said in a small, childlike voice. Loki sat down beside him and hugged him. As James Potter, Thor and Loki were of a size, Loki being slightly larger.
"I know, brother," Loki said gently. "It is not wrong for you to feel this way. In fact, I would be astonished and somewhat worried if you did not."
"That's comforting," Thor said dryly.
"Your son is awake by the way, and adjusting to having his father back. I've taken him, a friend of his called Hermione Granger and a pair of red headed twins on as apprentices. The twins have a palpable talent for mischief, and Miss Granger has... potential," Loki said.
"I must confess that I am a little surprised that you would consider Miss Granger as a potential mischief maker," Dumbledore said. "She is remarkably clever, but rather fond of rules. Within reason."
"She also suggested a fitting punishment for Harry's erstwhile guardians," Loki said, not saying that a capacity for mischief wasn't even the first thing he had seen in her. "Harry said that they are rather fond of their reputation as a prosperous, normal, well to do family and if someone went out of their way to air their dirty laundry to the world…" he trailed off, as Thor grinned a truly wicked grin that was pure James Potter.
"Tony. Of course," he said in a predatory voice. "My son has chosen good friends."
"There is another thing," Dumbledore said quietly. "Sirius Black has escaped Azkaban. We believe he is after Harry."
"Sirius?" Thor said, puzzled. "Why would he be in Azkaban?"
"He betrayed you and Lily, James," Dumbledore said, some confusion of his own in his voice. "Peter went to confront him, but against Sirius he didn't stand a chance. Sirius blew up the street and Peter with it."
Thor stared at him in shock.
"I am sorry, James. Peter received the Order of Merlin First Class posthumously –"
"Peter was our secret keeper," Thor said flatly, stopping Dumbledore dead.
"I'm sorry?" Dumbledore said in puzzlement.
"Peter was our secret keeper. We knew that everyone would assume it was Sirius, so we picked Peter. AND THE LITTLE RAT BETRAYED US!" Thor roared. "Did Sirius even get a trial?" he snarled.
"I believe he did," Dumbledore said, frowning. "The days after Lily and your death were rather fraught, and I barely had any time to think about Sirius. I always assumed Bartemius gave him a trial."
"Well obviously he didn't," Thor snarled. "Or we would not be having this conversation. If I see Crouch, I'm going to kill him." He looked over at Loki. "Brother, I need one of your tracking spells immediately."
Suddenly, the office door opened and Lupin walked in. And things got complicated.
"You wanted to see me, Professor Dumbledore?" Remus asked. Dumbledore had called him by Floo, where he'd been on business. He'd been rather annoyed that said business was causing him to miss his friends' son's Quidditch match, but some things couldn't be helped.
He stopped. James. His eyes widened, and then narrowed. It couldn't be James. James was dead. His wand blurred.
"Who dares use that face?" he snarled.
"Put the wand down, Moony, before I tell Professor Dumbledore what you were doing with Marlene McKinnon in the closet on the fifth floor, Christmas Sixth Year," then man who looked like James replied.
Remus' eyes widened again. "What were you going to call your first girl?" he asked quietly.
"Eleanor," James replied, equally quietly.
Remus sheathed his wand. "Where have you been?" he demanded.
James' body shifted. Instead of lean, dark haired, hazel eyed James Potter, a tall, powerfully muscled man with hair that flowed to his shoulders and bright blue eyes stood before him. "My birth name is Thor Odinson," a voice that was slightly different – maybe a slightly more formal lilt, an indefinable accent – said. "I was incarnated on Earth as James Potter to teach me humility. A memoryless child, born to loving parents. Father has always looked after us both, even when punishing us." At that last, he smiled a wry smile, looking at the man next to him, who affectionately rolled his eyes.
"I lived my life," James, Thor, continued. "I met you, Sirius and Peter. I had friends. I loved Lily. I loved Harry. And when Voldemort killed me, my spirit, with full knowledge of who and what I was, could do nothing but watch in horror as my wife died. When I woke up in Asgard, I went mad with grief. Father removed my memories. I reverted to how I had been before I was born as James Potter. I never came down to Midgard because I had no reason to." He looked sorrowful and shifted back to his James Potter form. "I should have been there for Harry."
"Why did you come now?" Remus asked, curious.
"You can thank my brother for that," Thor said, nodding to the other man, who bowed.
"Brother?" Remus said, then his eyes widened. "Loki?!"
"At your service," Loki said, looking slightly smug.
"We built a shrine to you in fourth year," Remus blurted, before covering his mouth.
Loki was grinning like the Cheshire cat. It was, Remus thought, quite possible that he actually had been the Cheshire cat. "A shrine? Why, brother, I never knew you cared so much," he said, voice dripping with utter glee.
James glowered at him. It was a quintessential James Potter glower, the one he had always got after he got embarrassed – usually by Lily. "Thanks Moony. He's going to spend the next three centuries ribbing me about this."
"Oh, not three centuries… two should be sufficient, my faithful worshipper," Loki said cheerfully.
James growled. It was, Remus remembered, the same sort of noise he'd made after Sirius had made one joke about Lily too many. His face darkened with anger and regret, as it always did when he thought of Sirius.
"James, I'm sorry I didn't take Harry in, but with my circumstances," he began. James rolled his eyes and pulled him into a hug.
"Relax, Moony, I know. And I hear that you're one of Harry's favourite teachers. And I will be going to teach the Dursley's a lesson in due course. First, I need to find Sirius. And Peter."
Remus sighed. "James," he said. "Peter is –"
"A living, traitorous rat bastard who I will kill very slowly indeed," James said flatly without missing a beat. Remus was non-plussed. "Padfoot was never our secret keeper. We wanted it to be him, but he suggested Peter. So I'm going to find my son's godfather and the man who singlehandedly ruined my life and give them what they deserve."
"Don't you think you should meet your son first?" Loki interjected. "He will be just as disorientated by this as you are."
James blinked. "Good point."
"Someone needs to do the thinking, as you clearly don't," Loki murmured.
"Suddenly I understand why you, Sirius and I clicked," Remus observed. "This is beginning to look somewhat familiar."
Loki eyed him speculatively, and glanced at James. "He has a point. I did look in on you every now and then, and I did notice a certain similarity of dynamic."
"Really?" James asked curiously.
"What kind of brother do you take me for?"
"A very long lived one who has slept through entire decades?"
"That was one time!"
"What did you do, then?"
"You remember the time that that Snape creature spent a month in pink and purple tutu and his hair had been washed and there were sparkles in it?" Loki asked. "That was me."
"How could I forget?" James asked, looking like he was reliving a happy memory. He then shot his brother a mild glare. "You would not believe the ticking off Lily gave me for that."
Remus too, remembered that incident. It had been a happy time.
"I probably wouldn't," Loki said. "Now, you need to go and talk to your son. He is going to want an explanation."
James took a breath and nodded. He looked, Remus reflected, more frightened than he'd ever seen him, save for Harry's birth. And that particular incident might have had more to do with Lily's blood curdling screams mid labour and her inventive threats – mostly based on horrible things being done to James' testicles if he ever touched her again – than with anything else.
This was going to be interesting.
Also, important notice:
First, Loki has been redeemed, largely off-screen, as something of a plot device. He's had a couple of years to be redeemed in, and while he's both broadly good and sane, he is very much the Natasha to Thor's Steve, attitude wise. He is willing to do the dishonourable, dubious things that need to be done.
Second, this is going to be different. I'm not just slamming two worlds together (or even several), I'm blending them together. Yes, there will be many things that are familiar. The core characters are the same. The older, more recognisable names will be too. But I will be drawing from both obscure canon and my own imagination to put a unique spin on matters, one that will become more and more obvious as time goes by. Characters will not go down the paths you expect. This is my story, not merely a retelling of what has gone before. To quote Captain Jack Harkness, 'This is when everything changes'.
Third, don't compare the respective power levels of Marvel characters and Wizards. It is very emphatically not going to be a simple case of Top Trumps. Though it seems surprising now, when everything is warm, fluffy and nice, the good guys won't always win. Sometimes, they'll lose and lose big. Equally, the bad guys, the rogues' gallery, are not going to be confined to the Wizarding World by any stretch of the imagination.
And the war against Voldemort is, for various reasons, not simply going to be a case of the Avengers rolling straight over him. There isn't even really going to be a straight up war the way there was in canon, because Voldemort is not stupid and won't try and take them head on. In many ways it will be harder. This is not going to be a simple moral tale of the good guys always winning, no matter how it seems at first. Far from it. There will be suffering, there will be pain, there will be grief and by god there will be angst. There will also be hope, joy, love and laughter. This story will not be just one thing. It will be many things, woven together, to form something greater.
So sit down, buckle up and hold onto your hats, people. It's going to be one hell of a ride.