Seven years previously
"I've got it," Severus Snape announced as he walked into Lupin's shoddy apartment. Remus grinned, for once looking his age of twenty four.
"I had no doubt that you would," he declared. He held his hand out expectantly. His hand seemed to tremble−perhaps because the next full moon was only a few days away, or perhaps because he was excited. After three years of searching, they would finally know where Harry was.
Snape handed him the letter. "Mr. Potter has managed to get not only out of England, but all the way across the Atlantic."
Remus read the address incredulously. "Manhattan, New York? How did he manage that?" he asked in wonder, clearly imagining what sort of bizarre circumstances had taken Harry to the other side of the world. Granted, it had been accepted by the Order for some time that Harry was no longer in the United Kingdom, but somehow it just hadn't seemed possible that Harry wasn't even on the same continent. "Avengers Tower?" Remus looked to Snape. "When it says Avengers…does it mean…?"
"The Muggles who fended off and alien invasion? Unfortunately, yes."
"Unfortunately? I'd think that would be a good thing! For one thing, they seem to be, well, capable of protecting Harry. And they seem to be good people−that's an improvement over the Dursleys right there!" Even three years after Harry's initial disappearance and his own 'encounter' with the Dursleys, Remus still felt a ripple of anger towards those horrible excuses for relatives. It was mostly calmed by now, and Remus understood that Dumbledore, in his timely appearance, had likely saved him from Azkaban. Nonetheless, Remus still felt that the Dursleys were largely at fault for the situation. Once, he went back to Number 4 Privet Drive−and found a new family, and a neighborhood that couldn't recall that there had ever been a Dursley family living there. It had left Remus baffled, and he tried to find them; there were no records of any Dursleys. It was as though they never existed. After Dumbledore sent him away, Remus recalled, he had stayed behind with the Dursleys. Dumbledore was probably the only one who knew the answer to this mystery. And although Remus secretly wished that it was something terrible, he still felt that the old headmaster wouldn't do anything malicious intentionally.
Emphasis on intentionally.
After all, even if the Dursleys had been neglectful enough to just let somebody take Harry, the fact was that Harry was only there because Dumbledore had put him there to begin with. He was clearly regretful, at least; nonetheless, one of the first things Severus and Remus had agreed upon was that they weren't going to give Harry back to Dumbledore. He survived this mistake−but what about the next?
Thus, Remus couldn't help but feel that the Avengers were good candidates.
Severus disagreed. "There's a large difference between aliens and wizards, Lupin. To begin with, we are far less restrained with our abilities. Yes, those aliens were more advanced than the Muggles. Yes, those 'Asgardians' were praised as gods. But even they have their limits."
"So do we," Remus pointed out.
"Far fewer. The Avengers managed to defeat an army of aliens. But what about an army of Death Eaters? What about the Dark Lord himself? Can they fend them off? Killing curses, cruciatus curses. Legilimency. They are strong for Muggles, I'll admit that, but they are only Muggles." Remus glared at Severus as he said this. "As for their character," Snape's lip curled. "The super soldier and the Asgardian wouldn't be terrible influences. However, the others consist of an alcoholic known for causing disruption everywhere he goes, two assassins, one of which is responsible for the death of at least one child in her career, and a scientist who tested his experiment on himself−to say nothing of his alter-ego."
Remus seemed to deflate. It had seemed like a good arrangement. But, as Snape pointed out, it wasn't so perfect when you actually thought about it. Many of the Avengers had rather…shady pasts. And even though they seemed to be good people, this didn't necessarily mean they would make good parents.
"What do we do then?" he asked. "If Harry isn't to stay with them, what do we do with him?"
"I always assumed you wanted him," Snape declared.
Remus registered it slowly. "What? Me? No, I can't. I'm a−"
"Werewolf," Snape stated. "You haven't let this stop you from doing what had to be done before." He glared at Lupin. "You're the last person left to take him. The Potters are all dead, the Dursleys are horrible, Black is a murderer, Pettigrew was murdered by Black, the Longbottoms are in St. Mungos, probably never to leave…am I missing anyone?"
Remus sat quietly for a few moments before tiredly saying "Dumbledore." Snape raised his eyebrow; nothing more needed to be said. Remus sighed, bringing a hand to his head. "What would I do, Severus? I'll have to leave Harry every full moon−and I can't let him follow me."
"Call a babysitter," Snape said. Seeing Remus' look, he continued, "I presume Fletcher and Moody are aware of our search, and of our agreement since they distracted Dumbledore. They could watch Potter in your absence."
Remus raised an eyebrow. "Fletcher watch Harry? For several days a month? He may not be completely heartless, but he is a criminal; if we leave him to watch Harry, he'd probably leave for some deal on illegal cauldrons."
"Alastor Moody," Snape amended. "He's considering retiring soon. Potter won't come to any harm under his watch."
Remus considered it. Could he really do it? He'd never thought about raising any children−he had long since decided that having a family of his own was out of the question. He was dangerous. A werewolf. And any child of his−would they be like him? He hadn't considered that he might raise somebody else's child. James…Remus hadn't thought that James and Lily wouldn't get to raise Harry, that they wouldn't see him grow up. He had babysat for them a couple of times, and had been invited over many more. He'd been with Harry before. But did that translate to being prepared to raise him?
"If I do this," Remus said. "How could we hide this from Dumbledore? He knows where I live, Severus. He won't be oblivious to me hiding a child."
"Then I'd suggest you leave the country. Or at least England."
Remus raised an eyebrow. "How would I provide for Harry? I'm not exactly," he motioned down towards his robes. "I'm not wealthy, and nobody wants to hire a werewolf."
"Muggles wouldn't know. You may not qualify for many of their jobs, but something is better than nothing."
Remus sighed. He nodded. "Alright. Alright. Now, how are we going to do this…"
Before long, the two were in New York City. It was stifling. All of the noise, people, smells. It made Diagon Alley look empty. Thankfully, it didn't take much effort to find Avengers Tower−it was rather hard to miss the tower with a bright glowing A on it.
Apparation, they decided, was out of the question. They didn't know the tower, and they would prefer to avoid confrontation from the Avengers.
Broomsticks, then, would be a better option. This way, they could find Harry's room, then go straight into it, and get out, hopefully without being caught. The first thing they did was cast disillusionment charms onto themselves. The last thing they needed was to be sighted flying on broom sticks in Manhattan. They then waited as the day ended and night fell. Remus hung back, watching all the commotion in the busy Muggle city. There were odd moments of serenity in the ruckus, he noted as a flock of ducks flew by. Finally, it was night and they put their plan into action. They flew around the tower, searching for the room stated in the letter's address. Finally, they found the room. It was situated in the middle of several other floors with used bedrooms.
Coming to the window, Remus took his wand, pointed it at the window, and quietly said "Alohomora."
The window unlocked, and Remus moved into the room, followed by Severus. The room was of a rather peculiar design. The walls were poorly coordinated colors, the carpet a strange color of blue. The ceiling, Remus noted with some admiration, was black with a bluish light in the center, which seemed to power a miniature galaxy in Harry's room−and the light had just come on.
There was a loud sound going through the tower, a siren. Then, the alarm was joined by a voice. "There has been a security breach in the tower. There are two intruders inside Harry's bedroom."
Harry had woken up by this point, hearing the alarm and the announcement. He looked around his room. "Is someone here?"
Remus could barely see Severus, but he could tell he was reaching out to grab Harry. "Don't just grab him!" He walked closer to Harry and disillusioned himself. Harry looked at Remus, eyes wide. He looked more fascinated than terrified. He looks quite a bit like his father, Remus noted. He was only four, but already his face seemed to take after James−to say nothing of his hair. "Harry. My name is Remus Lupin. I was a friend of your father's−"
Before Remus could say anything else, the door burst open and a long-haired blond man directed a hammer towards Remus. A shot of lightning burst out, striking Remus and sending him to his knees in pain. A red, white, and blue shield came spinning towards Remus and hit him. The room was quickly filled to the brim as a man with a bow and arrows came, a man in armor and a red headed woman with what looked to be the most unpleasant bracelets in the world. The man with the arrows attacked as Remus tried to get up−only for his arrow to be stopped by a shield charm.
It was a standoff. The Avengers held their weapons up, but Snape's shield charm kept him, Remus and Harry separated on the other side. One of the Avengers, Bruce Banner, tried to go over to Harry, touching the shield, unable to pass. He glared over it, his eyes turning green. Snape disillusioned himself.
"Stay away from Harry." Despite the shield, Hawkeye raised another arrow.
"Let us explain," Remus said, as he pulled himself off the ground. "We aren't going to hurt him."
"Yeah," Iron Man said, sarcasm evident. "Clearly you're here to play hide and seek with him−that's why you were invisible."
"If you weren't going to hurt Harry," Captain America ignored Stark. "Then why did you sneak in, at night, invisible, through the window?"
"We're here to rescue him." Snape voiced. Remus winced. The Avengers were silent for a moment as they digested this information.
"How dare you?!" the Asgardian cried. "You mean to imply that Harry needs to be rescued from us? We have never harmed him−we've protected him!"
"Yeah," Stark joined in. "For three years now, we've raised him. Where the hell were you before now?"
"Why should we even believe you?" Hawkeye asked. "We can guess that you two are wizards−how do we know you aren't the ones trying to kill Harry?"
Bruce Banner looked more green than he had when this conversation began.
"Moony?" came Harry's small voice. He got out of his bed, and prodded Remus. "You're Moony?"
Remus was momentarily surprised that Harry had any recollection of him, however small. Then he smiled, nodding. "Yes, Harry, I'm Moony."
The Avengers looked on in shock as the unfamiliar man knelt down to Harry, who seemed to recognize his attempted abductor.
"How does he know you?" Natasha Romanoff asked, still poised for a fight.
"His father was one of my best friends," Remus replied. "One of my only friends. My name is Remus Lupin, and my associate is Severus Snape."
"And you were also part of the disappeared guardians club, Batman?" Stark jokingly asked.
The master of occulomancy's eye twitched. "No."
"We both want to protect Harry," Remus intervened.
"We are protecting Harry," Hawkeye snapped. "Tony has a good point, you know. If you want to protect him so much, why didn't you."
"We didn't know where he was," Remus explained. "We've spent the past three years searching. Even when everyone else gave up. We found him now."
Some of the Avengers seemed to have relaxed, feeling that Snape and Lupin weren't threats to Harry; others continued glaring. Romanoff stepped forward, eyes on Harry.
"If we gave him to you, what then? I didn't take Harry without reason; his relatives are terrible. I'm not letting you take my son and give him to them, or anybody like them."
"They are terrible," Remus admitted. He frowned. "I'm sorry I ever let Harry be placed with them. It was done without my approval−I was furious when I heard about his disappearance. I went over to them to ask if they knew where Harry could be."
Banner raised an eyebrow. "They didn't know anything."
Remus shook his head. "I was angrier than I'd ever been−I wreaked quite a bit of havoc at their house. I almost earned a cell in Azkaban."
By now the Avengers looked considerably less tense. Natasha looked at Remus and Severus for a moment, then turned to her teammates, and gave a small nod.
"You can lower the shield," Captain America declared, lowering his shield. "We're open to discussion. Outside." Severus lowered the shield. They all left the room. As little Harry tried to follow them out, Hawkeye told him to go back to sleep.
They reached a sitting room with a couch and several chairs. As they all got situated, they began exchanging their stories.
"I knew Harry's father since we were eleven. He was one of my only friends. Him, Peter Pettigrew, and Sirius Black. We were…close. We all attended James and Lily's wedding. And when Harry was born, he immediately made us honorary uncles, even if Sirius Black was the one made godfather." Remus smiled. "Harry knew all of our nicknames−in fact, he called his father Prongs instead of Dad when he started speaking."
"Your nickname is Moony," Stark, de-armored, guessed.
"Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs." Remus sighed. "James always figured that Harry would go to Sirius if anything happened to him and Lily."
"Why didn't he?" Rogers asked. "If anything happened to any of my friends, I wouldn't hesitate to take in their child."
"Black betrayed them," Snape told them. "He gave the Potter's location to the Dark Lord. He's the reason they aren't raising their son to begin with."
"And then he also murdered Peter. He's been imprisoned for life, and clearly he was unsuitable anyways," Remus continued.
"What about you?" Clint asked. "You aren't dead; what's your excuse?"
Remus grimaced. "There's a reason my friends called me Moony. The same reason why I've made few friends. I am a werewolf." The Avengers were silent for a moment; Banner seemed interested.
"Well, that's interesting."
"It's incredibly unpleasant," Remus said. "I have no control over it. Every full moon, I become something else, something which doesn't differentiate between friend and foe…"
Bruce nodded. "You and I really need to get together sometime and talk about our issues." Stark laughed, nodding vigorously.
"You can understand why I was hesitant to take Harry in. But when I heard about him being given to the Dursleys and them being handed away, I searched for him."
"Along with the Bat," Stark surmised. "What's your connection to Harry, anyways."
Snape's lip curled as he glared at the most annoying superhero. "It is none of your concern."
"You seem to be doing a good job raising Harry," Remus once again intervened. "When we came here, we thought it may be best if I took Harry away."
"No!" There were cries of protest from every Avenger, Thor and several other looking positively furious.
"But now," Remus continued. "I was thinking maybe we could both raise him? Like, shared custody. I have him part of the time, then I give him back to you for half the time. I couldn't care for him all the time anyways, because of my condition."
"A compromise," Natasha noted. "But how do I know Harry would be safe? He hasn't been hurt under our watch; under the wizard's he's lost his parents, been scarred, and left outside on a doorstep. I believe you when you say that you care about him, but that won't protect him from careless mistakes."
Remus frowned, trying to think of a response. Severus answered instead. "Perhaps taking Potter away is not the answer." He looked to Remus. "We already discussed that you aren't well of. You can barely afford to care for yourself, much less a child. Werewolves," he explained to the Avengers, "Aren't accepted by wizarding society. You can't get a job and hold it for long. Potter is safe here. I believe it would be best if we left him here." The Avengers were all smiles, Thor booming his gratitude. "You already have a bizarre assortment of people in this tower. Perhaps one more wouldn't hurt?" he prompted.
Remus nodded. "If you're willing to allow a werewolf to stay in your tower, I would be more than happy to help. I can help raise Harry, I can help him with his magic−Merlin knows, the next few years tend to be filled with accidental magic. But of course, I'd understand if you don't want a werewolf around…"
Stark burst out laughing. "It's my tower, you're welcome to it."
Rogers nodded. "I don't care about what you are."
Bruce half-smiled. "At least there's somebody to relate to."
The others also agreed, declaring that it would be appreciated to have somebody who could undo Harry's accidental spells.
Severus and Remus went back to England, though Remus wouldn't be there long. He packed what few things he owned, and said goodbye to a few people he may miss. He brought one book along, a book on memory alteration. Severus had spoken to him after they left Avengers Tower. They had found Harry, and seen that he was safe. Now it seemed there was already some new question to be answered.
Had an error. Hopefully this'll work.