A/N: So when I went back to read the script for The Avengers, I realized I made a mistake last chapter. Molly is referring to Tony when she mentioned the loud man masking his emotions, but at that point, Tony hadn't joined the crew yet. The error has now been rectified.
So who's Doc Edgy with the technobabble?"
They were all waiting for Loki to show up on facial recognition. Coulson was talking to Steve, Scary-Agent-Lady had escorted Banner to his lab, and Molly had disappeared to god-only-knew where, hopefully not getting into too much trouble. So Harry did what he did best: pester the nearest authority figure.
Fury gave him a look. It was a look that Harry was quite used to receiving. "You really don't know?"
"I've kinda been on vacation."
Fury turned away from the computer grunts and lowered his voice. "Short version: Dr. Banner was part of an experiment to recreate the Super Soldier Serum." He paused.
"Yes, I know what that is, I read the comics. It didn't work, did it?"
"You could say that. Banner was exposed to massive amounts of gamma radiation. If he loses his temper, he changes into a creature capable of destruction on the scale of, say, a dozen pissed off ogres. On steroids.
Harry whistled. "Good to know. Speaking of magical matters, you never told me how you met Rashid. Is there a meet and greet for enigmatic one-eyed people? Maybe a singles club?"
He was interrupted by one of the agents calling out, "Director! We found him, he's in Stuttgart."
Coulson was over by the screen at once. "Looks like he's not even trying to hide," he commented.
"No story-time tonight, Dresden, you're going to Germany."
Five minutes later, Harry, Molly, and Steve were geared up and on their way to Stuttgart, with Agent Romanoff piloting. Molly had been escorted to the hangar escorted by said Scary-Agent-Lady, looking like she'd gotten caught with her hand in the cookie jar. But she'd taken one look at Steve's Captain America suit and started snickering.
"Yeah, I know," said Steve, "I didn't come up with the design."
Harry had smacked Molly on the back of the head. Again. "Let them without ridiculous fashion sense cast the first stone."
"You're one to talk, Mr. El Dorado."
"What's wrong with this duster?!"
They were well under way when Steve looked curiously at Harry's gun. "Is that a Winchester?"
"Yep, don't ask me what model it is, though, 'cause I have no clue. My brother only gave it to me because he didn't trust me with his machine guns."
"What's it loaded with?"
Harry took out the empty magazine and used his magic to load it with his ammo of choice. He handed it to Steve, "Take a look."
Steve's eyes widened as he took the magazine and removed one of the rounds. "Ice bullets?"
Molly groaned, "You are such a nerd, Harry."
Steve rolled the bullet around in his hand, examining it. It refused to melt, and appeared to be one solid piece of ice. "How does this even fire? There can't be any gunpowder in it."
Harry grinned. Thomas had reacted similarly. "Technically, the gun isn't firing anything. It's like pulling the trigger on an empty chamber. It's just a focus, like my staff, but more specialized. It's not as flashy as my usual stuff, but it takes less juice." And more importantly, it meant he didn't have to draw on the mantle as much. It took focus and concentration rather than raw power, and that's what Mab had trained him with. "I have regular bullets just in case, but then I actually have to aim."
"Translation," said Molly, "If he's firing regular bullets, the safest place to stand is right in front of him."
"I'm not even going to respond to that," said Harry.
"We're coming up on Stuttgart," said Romanoff. "There's a big art gallery showing near where Loki was spotted, so that's probably where he'll be."
"Then you should probably step on the gas, because I'm pretty sure he's already there. We're heading in the direction of a very large group of very panicked people."
"Copy that. Captain, we're going to drop you in on your own. Dresden and Carpernter will stay here at range and cover you. Carpenter, does your invisibility trick work on more than just people?"
"You mean will it work on the jet? Maybe, but I won't be able to hold it for very long. Too many people are panicking and it's giving me a migraine."
"Do it now."
As it turned out, their arrival timing was almost perfect. Steve jumped out of the low-flying veiled quinjet just in time to repel an attack meant for an old man.
"You know, the last time I was in Germany and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing."
"He has potential," said Harry, who had his gum pointed at Loki, "but he still has much to learn of the ways of the snappy one-liner."
Molly released the veil with an unladylike grunt. "Please tell me you're not going to try to make Captain America your apprentice in snarking."
"You think I could get away with calling him Padawan?"
Over the quinjet loudspeakers, Agent Romanoff said, "Loki, drop the weapon and stand down." Off the speakers, she said, "Coulson would kill you for trying to corrupt his childhood hero. The junior agents wouldn't gamble on whether he would succeed, they would gamble on whether he uses his tie or his teacup."
Below them, Steve and Loki had started fighting. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that Steve was getting his ass kicked. Harry had to admire the man's tenaciousness, but he was likely going to get himself killed on his own. Harry aimed the Winchester in Loki's general direction, which was all the precision he needed, and pulled the trigger three times, channeling his magic and fixing Loki in his mind as a target. There was no loud gunshot sound, no recoil, and no superheated shell casing flying at Harry's face. Steve was correct, the gun's mechanisms had no effect on the bullet. Technically, Harry could achieve the same result by throwing the chunks, but it would take more energy, not to mention it would look ridiculous.
Loki kicked Steve away before catching all three bullets out of the air, looking straight at Harry with a grin. Harry grinned right back when Loki tossed the rounds aside. "That wasn't smart, Rudolph." The bullets didn't even hit the ground, instead turning around in midair and smacking Antlers in the back of the head, making him stumble.
That was when the loudspeakers decided to blast AC/DC, and a cocky voice emanated from the console, "Agent Romanoff, did you miss me?" A red and gold streak resolved itself into a human shape, hit the ground, knocked Loki on his ass, and proceeded to point a lot of weapons at him. "You might want to stand down, Rudolph."
"Oh, God," Molly put her head in her hands. "We have another you, Harry."