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Flashback/Disjoint Scene - Bold text
↓ Previously, on Harry Potter: A New Universe ↓
After Harry faces off Voldemort in his sleep and throws off an implanted idea, he and Sirius resume their training. Harry puts too much power in an instinctive Finite Incantatem and creates an anti magic shielding/offensive spell. Director Fury asks him to try to persuade Loki into divulging information, because apparently Loki is curious about the teenager. Loki calmly threatens Harry, while offering his help to him at the same time at the cost of his friendship. A brutal assault on Harry's mind leaves him shaken while Loki promises that he'd kill Harry and Sirius painfully, not unlike Voldemort. Meanwhile, Dumbledore attempts to use his Deluminator to find Harry, but finds himself in New York in the same universe. Disappointed, he returns back to Hogwarts with Fawkes advising him not to interfere. Ron and Hermione bring the mirror to Albus who is relieved on hearing their tale.
Harry Potter: A New Universe
Chapter - 5
Location- Debriefing Room, SHIELD Helicarrier
Harry and Sirius appeared with a small pop in the debriefing room. Harry staggered back and sat down on the cold floor. Sirius bent down quickly, worry visible in his grey eyes.
"What happened? Loki? Voldemort?"
Harry exhaled loudly. "He's very strong. A bloody Legilimens, and of the godly type. He delved deep into my mind and saw all my memories in a fraction of a second before I managed to repel him."
Sirius looked alarmed by the news and asked, "So that explains the appearance of Voldemort. But what happened to you? You were fine when I came."
Harry buried his head between his knees, shivering slightly. Then after some time, he replied softly, "It's just...that I realized, that he's too strong. He's a god, Sirius! We are out of his league, magic or not. All of us are fighting a losing battle here. We need someone like Dumbledore to even expect some resistance. Without Dumbledore, we're doomed."
Little did he know that his words had triggered a homing charm on a silver cigarette lighter, one universe away.
Sirius hugged him tightly, whispering, "Don't worry, Pup, we can hold our own very well. We just need to find the Tesseract. We're not here to fight Loki...we've Thor for that, you don't need to concern yourself with seemingly immortal beings."
If Sirius was attempting to make him smile, he didn't fail. Harry lifted his head and gave a tiny smile to his godfather, and said, "We can't just leave, Sirius. We have to help them if we can. They don't have our magic, and maybe the cube wanted us to come here, just to help the cause."
Sirius chuckled. "Does destiny even apply for multiple timelines?"
He didn't smile back this time, lost in his thoughts. He wondered whether the tables had turned, now that Loki knew everything about him. But then, maybe he would get lucky and the trickster would underestimate him. As he'd left the cell he'd noticed curiosity and confusion in those blue, no, green eyes. Fury had told them Barton normally blue eyes had begun to glow when he succumbed to mind-control.
Was Loki too under mind-control? Was it just another Imperius situation? But how could someone put such a powerful being under mind-control? He'd sooner accept the fact that Lucius Malfoy was telling the truth when he pleaded Imperius in the Wizengamot.
Laughing, he decided that he needed to prepare, not feel sorry for Loki and doubt his motives.
His moment of weakness gone, he got up with a firm decision in his mind. He would get the Tesseract from wherever Loki had hidden it, at all costs. Thinking about the people back in their world, he murmured a silent prayer to whoever was listening, asking for strength.
"Harry, should I get anyone, to help? Any health related professional here? There is one Dr. Ames here, who patched me up after the fight with Loki."
He shook his head, and replied, "No need Sirius. I'm fine, just need to be alone for a while. I think I'll go for a walk."
Sirius wanted to say something, but sighed and said, "Okay, I'll see you in the debriefing room later."
His godfather left him alone to his thoughts, and he hastily exited the room, going in the opposite direction.
Location: Weapon Storage, SHIELD Helicarrier
From a small window, Harry could see the early sunlight lighting up the dark corridor. The place was dark and gloomy, obviously kept away from the higher floors of the helicarrier.
He continued deeper into the narrow tunnel like corridor, thinking about Loki's plans. He was planning something huge. But why? If he were Loki his foremost plan would have been opening the portal and admitting the army inside, but apparently the trickster was more interested in SHIELD's base.
A door marked the end of his walk, and he decided to head back to the highest floor where the control room was situated, when something made him stop in his tracks. The door was slightly open, separated by an inch from the wall. Curious, he moved forward and tried opening the door.
To his surprise, the door slid into its place and embraced the wall with a dull thud. Narrowing his eyes, he pressed into the metal and heaved, but it refused to budge. A soft noise from inside the room sent him into alert mode, as he took a few steps back and raised his wand, just for precaution.
He waited, as the door split again from the wall, the metal groaning from the force being applied to it. Swiftly, a man admitted himself into the corridor, panting slightly.
Steve Rogers was still in his uniform, minus the mask. He was carrying a big dangerous looking gun in his hand, and seemed relieved to find him in the corridor. Harry pushed his magic forward, and could feel the tension inside him.
"Harry...so it was you who closed the door. I was worried someone else might be - "
"Steve, what happened? Why are you carrying this thing?"
Flushing mildly, Steve muttered, "Turns out the director has kept many things from us. Stark was right. These people intend to use the cube for making weapons like this. Fury has got a lot to answer for. Could you please, lower that?"
Harry had forgotten to lower his wand, which he did now, apologizing quietly as the news sunk in his mind. He said, "What kind of weapons, Steve?"
"You can't imagine the power level of these things. These are only prototypes, and with the energy of the Tesseract, any weapons could have the potential to - I don't know how this affects our mission, Harry, but this is certainly something we need to know about SHIELD. Are they just another power hungry bunch of morons? Because if they are, I need to talk to Thor. He must take the cube back to Asgard as soon as possible. I don't want the Tesseract staying on Earth a minute after we find it."
Nodding, he fell into line along with Steve as they both made their way back. Harry was impressed. When Steve spoke, he had the talent to inspire and encourage, making people listen. The things he'd been told about Captain America were not enough by a mile to emphasize the personality of the man out of time. He could tell Sirius was also impressed when Cap threw off the Imperius like it was nothing the previous day.
"Y'know, Harry, when I first saw you, I sensed a feeling of familiarity with you. I don't know how to explain it, but I got this...thought that I should trust you guys, almost as if we're not strangers at all."
Not knowing how to respond, Harry mumbled, "Er, thank you, I guess. Everyone is still skeptical of us, and we're telling the truth, not just offering assistance until the Tesseract is found and then planning to get away with it."
Steve chuckled and said, "That's a good one. Where did you get the idea anyone of us was thinking that?"
Harry grinned back. "Don't get me started. I don't want to imagine what everyone's reaction was, on hearing our tale."
"You got a point there," said Steve, nodding sagely.
Just then, Harry's pocket grew warm and something vibrated inside. Frozen with shock, he mechanically put a hand inside and pulled a miniature version of the two-way mirror outside.
Ahead of him, Steve stopped in his tracks too. "What happened?"
"Uh, you go without me. I'll just, come in a few minutes."
Thankfully, he didn't ask any questions and continued on his way, after nodding at him.
Harry took out his wand, and tapped it on the small mirror. "Engorgio!"
The beautifully engraved mirror enlarged on Harry's palms in a flash, but it reflected not his own face, but the ancient face of his headmaster. Deep down in his mind, he was expecting someone to call him even when he was assured that the mirror wouldn't work across dimensions. To say the least, it was like everything had been taken care of, and now they could go back home.
Harry's hands were shaking with excitement, as he waited for a reply. This was not just an illusion, he was sure of it. But the image of Dumbledore's face was unmoving, and remained still. For a moment, an urge to break the mirror, to try and put his hands through the silver and grab the throat of the old man bubbled inside him, but he concentrated hard as he made his mind free of any emotion and swatted the alien presence aside.
"Yes, Harry. It is indeed me, and believe me when I say I never expected to be in contact with you in such a fashion, and in such circumstances."
The image had started moving, and Harry assumed that it required voice inputs at both end to open the connection. The headmaster was smiling, and Harry noticed that he was wearing his trademark purple robes, but he was not holding the mirror in his hand. He recognized the chair that Dumbledore occupied and stared hungrily into the mirror, wanting to enter it and look around the office, pet Fawkes on its head and be comfortable on the chair which he'd occupied many times in the past.
As his nose touched the mirror he pulled back in disappointment, calming himself hastily. His present focus should have been on asking for help, not grin like a fool.
"Professor, thank God you found that mirror! You won't believe it, all the stuff that's happening! Here we-"
Dumbledore put up a hand, and interrupted him gently, "I understand my boy, but first things first. Time is of essence, and every minute of your absence is giving Voldemort an upper hand in this war. I have tried my best to quell the rumors that have sprung up in the Wizarding World after you've been not seen by anyone for over thirty-six hours, but-"
"You must comprehend, my dear boy, that no one has seen you after your OWL examination in the school. All they have is my word, and many rumors have sprung up regarding your disappearance. But first, an explanation perhaps, of your adventures?"
Mentally slapping himself, he nodded furiously. "Oh yes, sorry, Professor. But I don't know how to begin explaining...you see, this is rather, shocking."
Dumbledore simply said, "The beginning, is the best place to start in my honest opinion, though a short detail about your location should be enough. We need to get you back as soon as possible, and then we can converse at length about your exploits."
Harry replied dejectedly, "It's not that easy, Professor. After the Department of Mysteries, we found ourselves outside New York, and furthermore, we found that it was many years in the future that we'd jumped into. To add cherry to the top, this is not even the future, this is a different world. A different universe. And there is a war going on here too!"
He waited, expecting some kind of surprise but when he looked into those electric blue irises he saw a knowing look. He blurted, " You know this already?"
"I suspected this, Harry. I had reason to believe you were alive, and because your magical signature had simply vanished from this world, there was only one explanation, one which went beyond any reasoning. Now, as you're telling me this, I can only hold my head high with pride that you have managed to yet again do something unthinkable. You have crossed realities, Harry."
Blushing slightly, Harry shrugged his shoulders. But a moment later his happiness evaporated in the air as he noticed that Dumbledore was once again looking somewhere in space, not meeting his eyes. He wanted to snap at him, ask him the reason behind his behavior, but he carefully kept himself neutral.
Taking a deep breath, he began the astonishing tale of the universe where wizards didn't exist, and there were superheroes among Muggles. A universe where Norse gods were real, and one of them intended to rule the Earth...
When he mentioned Sirius, Dumbledore sat up in his chair, eyes alert and posture tense.
"Hmm, I would normally say that you can't reawaken the dead, Harry. But since Sirius didn't exactly - die, I assume you pulled his essence from the unknown realm behind the veil. Oh, I apologize, for I forgot that your friends are here too, waiting to jump at the mirror and snatch it. Give them a token of reassurance", Dumbledore finished chuckling softly.
Immediately his face blew into a lop-sided grin. "Oh. How are they doing? Ron? Hermione, and all the others? Are they here?"
"Both of them are here, my boy, and all of your friends are perfectly fine; just slightly worn off by the ordeal. In fact, they deserve the credit of finding the mirror and bringing it to my attention."
The image in the mirror rotated and he found himself looking into the joyous faces of his two best friends. Hermione beamed at him. "Finally! Now find a way back home quickly, or I'm going to hex you into oblivion. You just don't stop doing the unthinkable, don't you?"
He grinned as Ron coughed something that sounded like 'barking mad', and replied, "The first thing you say to me after I get lost Mione, is a reprimand. Ron! Doing good, mate?"
Ron grinned back and replied, "She's been driving me nuts with speculations on your location. Come back soon, Harry."
He nodded, "I will. I swear I'll find a way back."
Before he could say anything, the image rotated again, and Harry realized that Dumbledore was levitating the mirror to his front.
Location: Laboratory #2, SHIELD Helicarrier
Sirius walked into the laboratory with growing anticipation as he heard raised voices from inside. He'd spent the most part of the morning with Agent Coulson, and he found out that he was a nice bloke, with all kinds of stories. In turn, he had told him stories of his life, but he doubted any of them registered in the agent's mind completely except the tales of pranks. So now, when the door slid open dramatically, all he could think of was 'What happened?'
"I'm sorry Nick. What were you lying?"
"I was wrong Director. The world hasn't changed a bit."
He was surprised to see a scowl etched on the usually peaceful face of Steve Rogers as he glared at the Director of SHIELD, who was being stared at by three pair of mistrustful eyes. Tony had a triumphant smirk on his face, while Bruce looked like he'd swallowed something bitter.
"Oi, what's going on?" he interjected rather loudly.
The four of them snapped their attention to him, and Steve dropped his scowl, which was replaced by a ill-concealed grimace. He muttered, "Here we are, suspecting people who we know nothing about, when we are being lied to by our own people."
Sirius blinked back, inclining his head slightly. "Sorry, but what is all this about?"
"Nothing", Tony sneered, "Just the usual big bad director hiding a 'small' detail from us about the Tesseract project. A project designed to create weapons, not unlimited sustainable energy."
It was then that he noticed a big ugly gun like thing on the platform nearest to the door, its metal shining in the brightly lit room. Comprehension settling into his mind, he spluttered, "Really? All this time, when you said you were just going to use it for generating power, and that you'd help us harness this power to send us back, it was just a goddamn lie? You know, this doesn't even surprise me somehow - power! And more power! That's your goal, that's the filthy goal of everyone isn't it? And being the director of a secret world-"
Nick Fury was fuming by this point and he snapped, "Don't get me started Black! You expect me to believe you? When the only thing you have done in the entire time you've been here is arouse suspicion? Just for one moment I was ready to believe your preposterous claims, and protected you from any political interference, and you go on disabling our security cameras, doing God knows what-"
"I told you already, Director. Our magic interferes with your technology, causing any device to go haywire around any spells. But if you ask me, I thought we had a right to privacy, and if you go planting those spy things around, we WON'T be having any of that."
By then, Natasha had joined their company, and Thor had followed soon after. To say the least, he was pretty annoyed by the situation and Sirius could see why. If any Muggle got hold of a magical artifact and tried to use it for their selfish purposes, even their folks would retaliate.
"GENTLEMEN, Please CALM down, and hear me out for a moment."
Everyone fell silent, as Nick Fury continued in a tired voice, "It's true. We intended to make weapons from the Tesseract project, which was a part of Phase 2 research going on in our base at New York. Needless to say, after Loki arrived, the entire place got leveled by a backlash from the cube's cosmic energy. But the entire purpose of this operation, was to get ready. Prepared, to at least stand a chance in any kind of encounter that we might have with forces beyond our control."
Everyone was listening intently, some with a frown on their faces, and some with a doubtful expression. Sirius kept himself from scowling and just grimaced at the director.
"This all started four years ago, when Tony was kidnapped. Until then, SHIELD had only to deal with terrorist groups like AIM and the HYDRA, and sometimes with the occasional politics. The mutants were a different story, though they were mostly hidden and with a rare case of any mishap. The world saw a hero named Iron Man rise out of the shadows to protect the masses, and we waited before contacting Tony. But that was just the beginning. Individuals with massive power at their disposal began to pop all across the world like mushrooms after a rainy day. Many scientists across the world were trying since decades to develop the super soldier serum that gave Steve his powers, and some succeeded, though, with unpleasant circumstances."
Here Nick Fury threw a glance in Bruce Banner's direction, while Sirius nodded. Tony just looked bored beyond measure.
"The army tried to hunt the Hulk, and we had to step in, but that was long after Tony had to deal with Whiplash and all the HAMMER fiasco. We had contacted him, placed our people inside Stark Enterprises, managed to get his approval as a consultant...Around that time, Steve Rogers was found in the ice along with his shield, which again caused ripples in the political domain. With Thor's hammer being found soon after, and the Destroyer razing a small town effortlessly, we decided to revive the old idea of the Avengers Initiative. It was a desperate idea, one which involved getting together selected individuals, who could fight the battle that we never could, who had the power to maintain peace on the planet, and who could give hope to the masses in times of danger. It was scrapped soon after, the mutants going into seclusion and a period of peace descending on all the countries. We didn't need the heroes, so we forgot about them. But now, after the potential of the cube was revealed, we saw - I saw another opportunity to get the controls back to us."
Thor replied gravely, "That's all well and good, Director. But the Tesseract belongs on Asgard. You cannot justify your actions with your good intentions towards your fellow human beings. Weapons can never be kept idle, As long as there are weapons, there will be battles."
Fury raised his voice, ignoring Thor completely, who looked amused by that. "The entire concept of Phase Two was to give humanity tools to protect themselves. You can sit in your thrones at Asgard and spout peaceful nonsense, Thor, but the truth is that even if we stop fighting among ourselves, extra-terrestrial forces would wipe us out before we can take the fight to them. (sigh) Phase Two was not ready, when Loki appeared from the portal. SHIELD suffered major setbacks in it by the attack, and our hand was forced. We had to restart the Avengers Initiative. The world is filling up with powerful individuals, those who can't be controlled. I'm not going to sit here while chaos reigns on the planet. If wizards come out of the blue on Earth supposedly from a different universe, so be it. You are free to hold your own opinions, but the truth is; I am just protecting the innocents from a fate worse than death."
Sirius opened his mouth to speak, but his words hadn't left the throat when the entire lab was bathed in a red light and alarms blared in the hallway outside, which was followed by a silence so still that Sirius' mind was filled with unpleasant thoughts of Loki escaping and everyone on the Helicarrier dead, except for them. Then he shook his head, forcing himself to think logically. Harry was out there, did anything...
Fury swore loudly and barked something on his communicator. Then he straightened up, his face set in stone. "We are under attack. Engine Four has been bombed. Stark - "
"I'm on it."
"Rogers, there are intruders inside the ship. Cut them off before they get deeper in the base."
Steve dashed out of the room without saying a word. Sirius turned to Bruce and asked, "Where did his disobedience movement go?"
Bruce simply said, "A soldier follows orders, Sirius."
Fury yelled, "Black, get to the control room, do your force field, shield, whatever. Save the main frame systems at all costs. Coulson, seal off the detention level and everything below!"
After Harry finished recounting his tale, Dumbledore sat back in his chair, eyes closed peacefully and his fingers interlocked together. Harry waited, still on the same corridor where Steve had left him. He glanced around occasionally to be sure that no one was approaching.
Finally, Dumbledore murmured, "Intriguing."
Harry snorted. That was it? One word to denote his plight?
He asked, "Sir, can't Fawkes try to come here? He's after all, a higher magical being?" It was a bit too optimistic on his part, but he had to be so.
"That's the second time someone has asked me this, Harry. You might be interested to note that the first person was Professor Snape. Well - "
Snape concerned about his safe return and offering ideas? The world was ending the next day! He was thinking that Snape would have started distributing sweets in the Great Hall by that time.
"- which leaves us with two choices."
He nodded, paying his utmost attention to the mirror now. "As you said, Harry, this Tesseract seems to be an object of massive importance, and your safest way of being sure of return will lie with the hope that you actually get it back from Loki, and use it to reverse the spell and tear a hole in the space-time fabric."
"That was out first course of action, Professor. It's the only thing that is keeping us going. Otherwise, we would have gone ballistic with the fear of getting stuck here forever."
The headmaster smiled, and said, "I think there is no need of concerning yourself with that, Harry. If you went there, you can obviously come back. Plain and simple. The second course of action would be for you to attempt and force open a portal, with the help of Sirius. I'll not give you false hope, my boy. No one has ever managed to open a cross dimensional portal, because they didn't have enough power. But, as you are still alive after doing it once, you can try the second alternative. To be honest, I thought that since you left on 18th June, you would have appeared back then only, theoretically."
Shocked to his core, he croaked, "What does that mean?"
"Either you never came back, or you have returned and are refusing to show yourself."
Harry frowned, and replied, "I guess there is a but coming..."
"Yes. BUT, as we're conversing with the mirror, and it's the morning of 20th June here, I think we can safely assume that both universes have been connected, linked together. As of now, both are moving into the future at a rate of one second per second. Does that make sense?"
"Huh? Yes, maybe a little."
"Good. Now, consider two planes of a pair of universes, not unlike pages in a book. Consider, for a moment, that you drive a pin in one page, that tears a hole into the next page too. Here, you have a similar situation. Both the timelines are connected by links, or bridges. You can use these links to come back, Harry, if you manage to open a portal with your power, or the Tesseract's. That would be rather insanely lucky for you and Sirius, because infinite multiverses, universes; whatever you wish to call them, exist, with no way of determining where to go. But in your case, we have bridges! The two mirrors are connected. You said that you have the map, which means there is a bridge to Hogwarts as well. The bad part, is the connection between your scar and Voldemort..."
As the ramifications of the statement hit home, Harry spluttered, "Surely not? Do you mean - "
"Yes, there is a bridge to Voldemort from your location too, which is why the Tesseract becomes so important, Harry. You need to focus on one bridge. Two of the three bridges you have are at Hogwarts, so you have a sixty-seven percent chance of opening a portal to favorable locations. But if Voldemort senses you, he will try to pull you through the connection, and the portal might open in his stronghold."
He continued to stare blindly into the mirror, at the face of Albus Dumbledore. After a while, after he gathered himself enough, he asked, "What should I do? You can't help us, that much is sure. Do you think I might be able to open a portal?"
Harry could swear he'd never seen those eyes looking sharper. The aged headmaster briskly replied, "You're forgetting, or perhaps thought convenient to forget, that you've already opened a portal. That's how you found yourself in the current predicament. I sincerely hope that you can do that again. Moreover, you were wrong in supposing that I would not be able to help you, Harry. I will do everything in my power to offer support at this end, for a door will always have entrances on both sides. A simple runic circle, which could be used to find out the intricate pattern of your magical signature should allow me to pull you into a sure-shot safe place. To be short, you get the cube, open a portal, and I will pull you through."
Harry nodded mutely, the huge weight of the task settling on his shoulders. There was no rescue. He had to rescue himself and Sirius together. Why? How could he, with his mediocre magical talent as Snape put it, open a portal, something that no one had managed to do in living memory?
He wanted Dumbledore to do the job. He wanted, more than anything else, to be relieved of all the burden. But no, the pile kept increasing. First Loki, then the cube, and now the portal. But as his shoulders drooped in resignation, alarms screeched in the hallway, eerily red lights blinking and flashing for all they were worth.
He whispered, "Something has happened. I'll get Sirius and talk to you later."
Dumbledore nodded, and said, "One more thing Harry. There is an important matter of the time factor. Tomorrow is the summer solstice here, and the most favorable time for carrying out such complex magic. This is a good thing for us, for you can return soon, but remember - if you don't get the cube back before tomorrow, any possibility of help from this world will weaken with every passing day. Even I won't be able to help you then. So hurry, my boy."
Another nod. He could do nothing more with every passing minute. As he raised his hand to wipe the image away, the ancient wizard said, "I wish you luck, Harry..."
The image dissolved and was replaced by his own pale face staring back. Forcing himself to snap out of inaction, he shrunk the mirror and stuffed it inside his pocket, before disapparating.
Harry almost smiled at the look on Sirius' face when he told him about the mirror. To say the least, it was comical beyond anything Harry had seen so far.
"Professor Dumbledore told me to find the cube as soon as possible, because after tomorrow, summer solstice or some reason, he won't be able to help us too much, and we'd be left with a sixty-seven percent chance of safely making back, or a thirty-three percent chance of making back, but in Voldemort's kitchen."
Talking about problems certainly helped. As Harry stood there talking lightly with his godfather, he could already feel the tension ease away, replaced by slight eagerness and the usual nervousness.
Sirius frowned, and replied, "Great. Just great. Now listen, we can deal with that later. Bruce will find us the cube. But first, there is a tiny problem out there."
It was his turn to frown now. He muttered, "Tiny?"
"Yes. Not so surprisingly, we forgot that the enemy had turned Selvig. And so, they tracked us by tracking the mighty stick of Loki. My efforts on concealing the homing spell didn't work at all."
"So...why were the alarms ringing? Are we under attack?"
"Uh, yes. There are intruders on the Helicarrier."
"And you were planning on telling me this when?" he demanded.
Sirius ignored him. "I'm going to the control room to secure the defenses. whatever the hell that means. You stay here, and this time, don't leap into danger! I repeat, don't go anywhere. None of the intruders are mind controlled...they're all enemies, Harry. We can take care of them."
"Fine", he murmured, at which Sirius gave him a strange look, surprised by his lack of outburst.
"Great. So...I'll meet you as soon as everything gets taken care of. Be safe."
A soft pop, and Sirius was gone. Harry had noticed that he was tensed and distracted, which was why he'd not pushed him about his obedience. But he was not going to sit idle in the debriefing room while unknown intruders were prowling the Helicarrier. He was sure Loki would try something, and he would be there to stop just that. He'd promised to stay away from the fight, and he would keep that promise, but there was no way he was going to not keep an eye out for any disturbance at the lowest level.
He disapparated, appearing in the narrow corridor that constituted the highest security prison cell at the end of its length. The lights flickered in response to his magic, reminding him that he couldn't use heavy magic on the ship. The result would be catastrophic; everything going haywire, SHIELD blaming them for sabotaging the security. Little did he know that Fury had already done that part.
As he took a step forward, the floor shook so hard that he couldn't help but throw himself to the floor and curl himself into a ball to avoid any damage. He remembered that the prison cells were built away from the central layout of the ship, cut off from the higher levels for added security, but close to the labs. He waited as the tremors subsided, and there was a dull thud exactly below him. Not wanting to stay on the mercy of the floor, he trudged forward carefully, watchful eyes alert for any source of movement. The lights dimmed, causing his paranoia to increase more than usual.
A weak wrenching sound made his heart leap to his throat. The metal beneath his soles creaked and groaned, shifting in place as something slammed on the floor a few feet away from him, forming an ugly distorted mound to rise in the metallic surface. He backed away, looking around desperately for any kind of clue for what was happening. Then, he let out a soft oh as the extent of his stupidity hit him hard. He disapparated again.
This time, he found himself one floor above the detention section. To his relief, which soon turned into dismay, it was an open area. Just too open. He peered over the edge of the railing to his left, and he couldn't see anything except metal and darkness.
There was an entire cavern like echo to the place. Bridges crisscrossed around, surrounded by machinery and leading into the maze of SHIELD sections. He hadn't comprehended the size of the Helicarrier to be that large, but now he was sorely impressed. He dashed to the door at the end of his bridge, his feet making loud noises on the floor.
He swore in his mind for his stupidity of running into places which he didn't have a clue of. He should have taken a map at least - excuse me Director, do you have a map of this place? Nah, too risky. Never tickle a sleeping dragon. Too fitting a motto here.
He extended his hand to open the door, when a group of loud steps on the other side him freeze. The door opened slowly, and a barrel of a gun came out. Another brilliant thing he'd forgotten. There were people with guns loose on the place and he was doing recon in the field! Brilliant.
He leapt back as the person at the other end shouted something incoherent.
An invisible shield expanded in mid-air just before a bullet ricocheted off it and hit the railing to his left. He hastily raised his wand and fired a stunner. The man who had entered the room glowed red before he was thrown away, the door closing itself with a hiss.
Harry knew that the stunner hadn't worked, because he knew there would have been a bullet proof vest, coupled with many solid gear that resisted magic very well in their world too. Someone shouted outside, and a man barreled through the doorway as soon as the gateway opened again, and Harry had been far too caught up in his thoughts to retaliate swiftly, but he reflexively enunciated, "Expelliarmus!"
A deadly looking rifle flew out of the hands of the man, who gaped at him from behind his helmet's visor. The rifle dropped into the depths of the Helicarrier below as the man gnashed his teeth angrily and charged. Harry raised his wand and shouted, "Expecto Patronum!"
A silver stag erupted from his wand and met the man head on, but its ethereal body passed through the muscular frame as the man didn't even slow down. In his efforts of focusing, Harry had been forced to drop the shield and he registered the words of Sirius, spoken a million years ago.
"None of the intruders are mind controlled...they're all enemies..."
A split second pause of recognition flitted in his brain, as the huge body of the man crashed into him and they both went down, with a lot of punching on his part. He was trapped under the body weight of the man who was physically more powerful than him. But the real trouble started when the man closed his gloved fingers around his neck, and began applying pressure. He pulled at the body of the attacker, but wasn't able to relieve the pressure. He slapped, kicked, punched, but to no avail.
White dots swam in front of his eyes as they both struggled. It had been just a few seconds but Harry was already losing consciousness...the grip was just too strong for his body. Gulping hard, he wiggled under the torso of his captor as he cradled the wand in his hands. Glaring spitefully, he weakly pushed the tip of it into the man's abdomen, and thought of a revulsion jinx, but his anger came in the form of, "R - Reducto!"
The grip on his throat loosened as the door in front of them got splattered with something he didn't want to know. He pushed the man off him, and got up shakily,, taking huge gulps of precious air and massaging his throat. He stared down on his attacker, whose lifeless body laid on the floor in a pool of blood. His eyes rolled in their sockets, glaring at him hatefully as life drained out of him. Harry knew he was most probably covered in blood too. There was a huge hole where the stomach should have been. He'd obviously overpowered the curse.
His knees wobbled as his stomach protested to empty its contents, but he forced himself to stay strong.
Harry shut his eyes, felling guilty of willingly killing a man. But it had been self-defense, right...His arguments sounded feeble even to himself. There was a lot he could have done. Full body bind, revulsion, anything. But no. He had gone and used the Reductor curse.
He opened the door, trying not to pay attention to the things it was stained with. Once outside, he jolted into action as he saw another man, the one he'd earlier tried to stun. He was lying on the floor, moving feebly. His armor had taken most of the impact, but it was still enough to cause disorientation. He raised his wand, pointing it at the head, whispering, "Petrificus Totalus!"
He left the place without throwing a glance back. He needed to find another way to Loki's cell. After he'd only passed two corridors, he found himself face to face with another man with a gun. He whipped his wand out, and the man exclaimed, "Whoa, calm down Harry. It's me."
His brain registered the face of Phil Coulson, and he lowered his wand. The agent's gaze traveled south, and he started.
"Jesus Christ! What happened to you?"
He avoided the shocked gaze of the man and muttered, "Intruders."
"Are you - are you injured? Let me see."
He waved a hand impatiently. "I'm fine, Mr. Coulson. I was going to check up on Loki. I feel he's going to pull off something here."
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked uncertainly.
"Hmm, I was just going to do that too. Just, let me pick up something, and then we can go."
He insisted, "Mr. Coulson, he wields magic. I would be a better choice for this, sir."
The man smiled, pushing some buttons on a cabinet in front of them. "It's my job, Harry."
He nodded uncertainly. "If you're sure..."
Then the agent took out a monstrosity from inside the cabinet. A thick barreled and long weapon, with thin beams of liquid fire running around its length was in the skilful hands of Coulson. He spluttered, "What is that thing?"
"A new toy. Something for the likes of Loki."
He grinned after a long time in the day. "You have to let me use it once."
"Sure, but after I use it on anyone who crosses our path."
Location: The Hulk Protection Cell, Detention Section, SHIELD Helicarrier
"Are you ever, not going to fall for that?"
Both of them tensed on hearing the silky tone of Loki's voice from inside the prison chamber. Coulson ran his fingers quickly through access pads, and looked into the retinal scanner, which confirmed his identity.
They stepped inside, weapons raised, a magical stick and a huge gun. A man stood guarding the pathway, but he had his back turned to them. To his horror, it was not Loki in the cell, but his brother.
"The humans think us immortal. Shall we test that?"
Loki extended a pale hand towards the panel, obviously aiming to drop Thor thirty thousand feet below, but Coulson took aim and fired.
There was a horrible sound as the weapon powered up and shot the thickest jet of bright orange light he'd ever seen rammed into Loki's frame, who was lifted up in the air and slammed into the fall about twenty feet away.
The guard turned and raised a M16, but Harry was quicker. "Expulso!"
Hesitant to kill the enemy outright, he jabbed his wand at the ground and a blue light struck it, causing the floor to explode outward and the man was thrown away like a rag doll.
Coulson muttered, "Wow..."
He grinned back as they advanced, Harry keeping an eye out for Loki which was difficult because the safety alarms had been activated by his show of magic and Loki was - out of sight; apparently the big gun was too damn powerful.
Meanwhile, Coulson rushed to the control panel to get Thor out. Harry trained his wand at the place where Loki had disappeared, a shield charm on his lips just in case Loki came around the corner of the cage. The agent swiped on the screen and raised his hand to push a green button, when out of a sudden Loki appeared besides him and grabbed his wrist. He smiled. "Now, now. That wouldn't be very nice, would it?"
Harry was already moving forward swiftly as he cried, "Relashio!"
There was a flash of purple, and Loki was knocked away from Coulson, and for a moment, Harry relaxed a bit. That turned out to be a fool's error. Loki turned and landed cat-like on his feet. He sneered and raised his right palm, stretching it forward.
A burst of magic hit where Harry's head had been a second ago. He dived away from the approaching spells, completely forgetting about raising a magical shield. When he did remember, he ignored the urge as he didn't have the courage to risk it and get his shield and body shattered by the unknown power behind those attacks.
Coulson grabbed his gun, raising it and firing again. This time, it passed through Loki's body without even touching him. For a second, both Harry and the agent gaped at the trickster, unable to comprehend what happened. Thor bellowed inside the cage, "DEFEND. IT IS AN ILLUSION."
Something came up behind Harry's shoulder and he ducked, allowing a deadly sphere of white light to ram into the wall. He whipped around as another Loki moved with lightning speed.
The Liesmith was forced by magic to stop within a foot of Harry's chest, and he growled with irritation.
"Lumos!" he shouted, forcing all power inside the spell and leaping away from his opponent at the same time, expecting the spell to blind Loki. Instead, a bright red light came out of his wand and seared across the outstretched hand of Loki.
A laser. He'd converted a simple Lumos into a laser! Was nothing going to be normal from now on? Loki was mostly unaffected by the spell, but he seemed very annoyed now. His cool attitude was gone, replaced by a touch of desperation and anger.
Coulson was fighting the militant close to the control panel, who was now perfectly conscious and raging hard. The moment Loki broke the Impediment jinx, Harry said, "Petrificus Totalus!"
The trickster simply swatted it aside by his hand, looking to go for the kill now. He closed his fist, which shone with a blue light. Harry shielded his eyes, and when the light subsided, Loki's scepter was gripped in his palm.
His wand flew out of his grasp and cluttered on the floor, while Loki closed the gap between them with frightening ferocity. He reflexively leapt back, but he knew that he wouldn't be able to get away in time. The blade was coming for his neck, and there was nothing he could do. Power bubbled inside him, but he didn't have time to focus it outwards. Time slowed down...he closed his eyes.
He'd opened his eyes when he heard the sound and as he hit the floor, he saw that Loki's scepter had been wrenched out of his hands and it was pressed between a hammer and the floor. The hammer was Mjölnir, and it vibrated, not allowing the scepter to escape.
Lying on the ground, he turned his head to witness a huge hole in the transparent wall of the cage. He had enough time to meet Thor's eyes, before the metal shaft groaned behind him and the cage disappeared from his gaze, into the chasm like hole below. "Accio Thor", he shouted desperately, but he didn't have enough power to perform such a powerful summoning with his wand, let alone wandless.
He jumped back to his feet and summoned his wand back wandlessly to his great delight and surprise, while Loki followed his every movement a few feet from his place.
"That was impressive, Harry. Amusing though it was, this must end now."
A large mist formed in the room as dozens of Lokis shimmered into existence all over the place. Harry jabbed his wand in the direction where he'd seen the real one, but he was long gone, mixed into the crowd of illusions.
Three Lokis forced the gun out of Coulson's hand and held him down. A Loki in the crowd called, "Drop the wand, mortal. NOW!"
He lowered his wand, but didn't drop it. Slowly, all the illusions began to laugh, a soft, maniacal laugh, while the militant watched the proceedings with emotionless eyes.
"You know that you cannot win, Harry. Even if you manage to escape, your friend won't."
He was right, Harry thought bitterly. There was nothing he could do. He could not try to apparate, because the moment he appeared close to Coulson, one of the illusions would tear him apart. He needed a distraction badly. Sirius, Captain, Iron Man, anyone! He was helpless once again in his life, and he didn't like it a bit.
A center forward Loki met his face, and smiled like a mother to a naughty child. "The mortal idea of déjà vu looks appealing to me, Harry. Don't you think so?"
He said nothing. He just glared back coldly.
Loki turned to the militant standing aside, who was holding a gun to Coulson's head. Brown eyes met green, and uneasiness was visible in both.
The Liesmith flashed a white grin in Harry's direction, and ordered the militant, "Kill the spare!"
End of Chapter - 5
(A/N): Ohh cliffhanger! This chapter was very difficult to write. I hate the explanation parts in AU stories although they are an integral part of the plot. I hope I've managed to do something new in the cross dimensional travel concept. This is the longest chapter so far, with 8.5k+ words.
Just for the info, the lowest floor was just above the Hangar, where the Hulk was rampaging everything in his path, hence the shockwaves. The explosion inside the lab took place after a sufficient margin of time, as without Hawkeye, no one could plant a bomb there without entering the SHIELD facilities.
Voldemort hasn't tried to possess Harry and escape, so Dumbledore still feels that he should avoid meeting the gaze of Harry, but most of you already knew that.
To A. V. Jackson, who suggested, "Professor Dumbledore! It's ridiculous! Even in an alternate universe I'm smack dab in the middle of a war!"
That would be really funny, especially if he starts whining about wars everywhere and refuses to fight, like he does in many of the fanfics. :)
Tell me what you thought of this chapter. You can PM me with any questions and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Like always, review if you enjoyed it and would like to offer any suggestion or comment. Until next time, then.