A/N: SORRY FOR THE LONG WAIT!
I guess I can wail on and on with excuses and all. But the truth of the matter is that real life got in the way. When I did have the time to write; I just couldn't muster up the right words.
But here we are: Chapter 21
As Always: Read, Enjoy and Review
Tony gaped at the sight before him. He had known before that it would be impressive. The stories Harry had told him about the place had prepared him for that. Though now he was standing, gaping, he had to acknowledge that nothing could have prepared him for this.
The castle was basking in the early morning sunshine. The vast fields, interlaced with the large lake and hills and greenhouses, were inviting all those present to sank down and enjoy the lovely day.
Beside him, Teddy was jumping up and down in excitement. The small boy had been to Hogwarts before, but never in the company of his new guardians. He was pointing out several things to Tony.
"Look, there!" he eagerly pointed at a construction in the distance.
"That's the Quidditch Pitch," he exclaimed. "Harry, can we please go flying a bit, later?"
Tony turned to his love to see what he thought about a ten-year old flying on a broom, but froze at the sight of the wizard. His eyes were glazed over and he seemed to shiver in the warm sun. he realized Harry was having a flashback and immediately put his hand on the man's cheek.
Harry did not see the lovely inviting sight his two companions could see. His vision was overcast by the dark of a night long passed. He could see the shadows in the night the dementors cast. He tasted the ash and fire of burning wood and stone in the air. Once more did the screams of the dying and those fighting tore at his heart.
Last time he had been here, he had fled through the fields and halls towards Minerva's office. He had been so deep in desperation and pain, that the imagery could not tear him up more than he already was.
But now, now he did not carry pain alike that day. And the dreams and memories were waiting to spring themselves on the unsuspecting wizard. He tried to suppress a sob as he could once again see Hagrid and Grawp fighting against giants much larger than them. He once again felt the horror as his mind replayed Greyback attacking Lavender Brown.
"Harry?" a voice cut through the scenes playing in his head. He frowned. He knew that voice, extremely well in fact. But it was not a voice that was at home with the scenes before his eyes. That voice belonged to warmth and safety.
"Harry, snap out of it!" Harry focused on the voice, and slowly the night of war and despair dissolved from his eyes. In its wake all he could see was dark chocolate eyes filled with concern searching his.
"Tony?" he mumbled, almost mutely.
"Yeah, gorgeous you back with us?" Tony chuckled softly.
"Sorry," he mumbled, tearing his eyes away from Tony. His gaze fell on Teddy's face, those eyes were glistening with tears of concern for him. He cursed in his head, he should focus on the young newly lost boy, not his own sorrows.
"Sorry," he said a bit more cheerful. "It's been ages since I last visited. Can't help but reminisce. Had a bit of a flashback about me and Ron crashing grandpa Weasley's car in the Whomping Willow."
Harry could tell Tony saw right through the lie. He didn't care, as long as Teddy bought it. Teddy was still looking at him with some suspicion but seemed to buy Harry's explanation.
"Come on, cub," he urged the boy on. "Let's go see professor Flitwick. And you can tell Tony all about everything you know of Hogwarts."
That seemed to be the magic words and Teddy dragged the American along, ranting and spouting about every little detail they passed.
"That's Hagrid's hut. He is the Groundkeeper and the professor for Care of Magical Creatures. He also grows the pumpkins for the Halloween Feast. They grow so big, you can actually stand up in them. Well, I can. I don't know about you."
Harry chuckled at the babbling of his cub. Tony tried to catch everything his newly acquired ward told him, but even he had to acknowledge defeat at the speed the young boy talked.
They were greeted at the front doors by Filius Flitwick. Teddy gave him a big hug, which was funny considering they were about the same height. Both Tony and Harry shook his hand and gave him a quick one-armed hug. Before they could walk inside, they were interrupted by a booming voice behind them.
" 'Arry!" Harry turned around with a huge smile on his face.
"Hagrid!" he yelled. Abandoning Teddy and Tony he ran over the grass towards his first friend. Jumping up, he threw his hands around Hagrid's impressive chest.
Hagrid chuckled and caught him in one of his bone-crushing hugs.
"Ten years, eh?" he grumbled. "Looks like yer still as little as a firs'year."
Harry was put back on the ground, and he smacked Hagrid's arm.
"Nice, pick on someone your own size, will you?" he retorted playfully.
"And if it isn't little Teddy Lupin." He smiled at the boy who copied his godfather and greeted the half-giant with a hug.
"Hagrid, I'd like you to meet someone very important to me," Harry stepped up. "This is Tony."
"Your new Consort, right?" Hagrid stuck out his hand. Tony took it and had to put a lot of effort in keeping his expression smooth while his hand was almost broken in the handshake.
"Keep 'em 'appy, Tony." Hagrid instructed the man, unusually serious.
"That's my plan," Tony retorted. Hagrid smiled at him and clapped him on the back, causing Tony to take three steps to regain his balance.
Hagrid didn't notice and clapped Harry on the back as well. Tony was impressed that Harry only swayed slightly on his feet.
"Hagrid, we're showing Tony around Hogwarts!" Teddy exclaimed loudly and excited. "Wanna join us?"
"Proper English, cub," Harry admonished. Teddy looked up at his guardian with a sheepish smile.
"Sorry. Do you want to join us?" He exaggerated the pronunciation with a sly look to Harry.
"Much better," Harry commented without moving a muscle in his face. Though he didn't show it, he had trouble keeping his face in the neutral expression it held.
"Ah, I'd luv to Ted," Hagrid boomed. "But the Truckles need some help. A thestral found a just hatched nest an their pour litt'e twigs ar all splintered up."
Harry smiled at the horror struck look Teddy now sported. It was clear that the boy had a healthy interest in magical creatures. He made a mental note to pick up some books about the magical creatures of America once they were back in the States.
"Well then, let's not stay here and dawdle. We have quite a lot to look at." Flitwick squeaked.
Teddy nodded enthusiastically and with another huge hug to the friendly giant made his way in to the castle. After Harry and Tony also said their goodbyes they followed after the boy.
Tony had to admit that the castle was magnificent. Even more so on the inside. He was basically jumping with excitement when he saw the moving staircases and amazed by the way Harry and Flitwick asked walls to open up for them.
Tony listened with avid attention to the stories Flitwick told him about both the history of the castle and the school, and the shenanigans Harry had been up to during his tenure.
"Hey!" Harry laughed. "Those green spots on the teachers' faces were not mine! Fred and George had discovered what we were planning to do and decided to put their two knuts in as well. You should have heard Ron when Minerva put another week of detention to our punishment because of them. I never thought he could hex his brothers that viciously."
Flitwick had laughed at that. "On the other hand, you were never caught for the floating Mrs. Norris."
Teddy had looked at his guardian, who sported a guilty expression.
"Yeah well, that was retribution. She scratched Fang quite deeply the week before. Luna and I couldn't let that go."
Tony had snorted. "My love, the hero of all cowardly pets."
They finally had made their way throughout the castle (at least the main parts) and had an early lunch in the Great Hall. After, they made their way into the grounds. Tony had looked disgusted by the purple ear warmers he was forced to wear in Greenhouse Three. But after Harry had pulled out a pubescent Mandrake, he had understood the need for them.
Finally, they arrived at the Quidditch Pitch. Teddy had talked animatedly about the sport, explaining how it worked and that he wanted to be a Chaser on the team when he came to Hogwarts.
"If you do get on your house team, kid, I'd be there for your matches," Tony immediately promised the boy. The answering smile had been blinding.
"Harry, please?" Golden brown eyes looked up at him beseechingly. Harry looked at them, and knew he just couldn't say no to that look. He sighed defeated.
"Nothing faster than a Cleansweep Twenty, though!" He warned the boy. Teddy promptly gave him a hug and ran to the broom shack.
Tony looked at his man.
"Cleansweep Twenty?" He inquired.
"It's a broom model. Cleansweeps are brooms that are more about stability than agility. The Twenty is a model that has less acceleration but a better hoover charm. It's one of the better brooms for Beaters," Harry explained automatically while watching as Teddy mounted his broom. He therefore missed the expression that swept across Tony's face.
"And how do you know this stuff?"
Harry turned around to see the incredulous look on his lover's face.
"You can compare it to cars in the muggle world, Tony. You've got complete gearheads who can tell you the exact amount of horsepower in a certain engine. The same can be said about brooms in the wizarding world. And I've always been a vivid Quidditch fan, just like I always keep up with the models the different companies produce."
Harry cast a look on his godson.
"Oi, Teddy!" He waved him back to him. "Go slide a bit back on your broom. You can use your knees better that way for steering and it gets you flatter against the steel, making it easier to maneuver and accelerate."
Teddy had nodded seriously and did as Harry advised him. He was glad to notice Harry was right.
"Harry, want to fly? Uncle George always says you were the best flyer out there."
Flitwick noticed the look on Harry's face.
"We have a Lightning Rod Five in the teachers' shack," he offered. Harry looked at the spry old goblin in surprise.
"What? Just because we don't play Quidditch doesn't mean we can't appreciate a good broom."
Harry turned to Tony with a blinding smile.
"You think you saw it all? Just watch this!"
He summoned the broom with a short wave and jumped on the sleek design. Without a second thought he raced off. Making high climbs and deep dives, cork barrels and loop-de-loops. He heard Teddy cheer him on and couldn't keep the infectious grin of his face.
Tony looked on with his mouth hanging open in shock. Teddy looked like he knew his way around a broom (and was that something he had thought he would never say in his life?), Harry though … That man was born to be on a broom.
"In all my years teaching here, never has there been one so gifted in the art of flying as Harry," Flitwick told Tony. "Before he came, I always thought James would be the most gifted flyer to walk these halls. But his son surpassed him in ways we never could imagine. Both on and off the pitch." He added on.
"What were his parents like?" Tony couldn't quell the curiosity.
"His mother had the temperament of a mother dragon. Wildly protective of those she cared about. She also had an amazing mind, she was planning on finishing up her Charms Mastery when she became pregnant with Harry. Smart, loyal, a wicked sense of humor and the biggest heart you can imagine."
It wasn't hard to pick up the melancholy in Flitwick's tone.
"His father was one of the biggest trouble makers to ever walk these halls. Immensely popular with his gang, they pranked about anyone and everyone. Amazing wizard as well, Transfiguration came naturally to him. He went on after Hogwarts to become an Auror. Everyone would think that he'd accept one of the offers for professional teams in the Quidditch League. But he wanted to contribute. Then, his father died and he had to take on the mantle of Lord Potter. Never have I seen a father as madly in love with his family as James. His brothers and his wife and son could always count on him."
"Too many good people died in those years."
Tony nodded and put his hand on Flitwick's shoulder as they both turned to the duo in the sky.
"But they died so others could go on and love and live," Tony answered the man softly.
Harry ended a deep dive two feet before the duo. He slowly hovered towards Tony to give him a soft peck on the lips.
That had been a brilliant day. The three of them had connected as a family. Tentative it was, but the first tendrils of the bond had been build there on the grounds of Hogwarts. It also created a deep surge of protectiveness in Harry towards that family. No one would be able to hurt them if he had anything to say about it.
It was this protectiveness that rose to the surface as he watched the older bald man enter the kitchen. He unconsciously blocked Obediah's view of Teddy. He couldn't help himself, everything about this man rubbed him the wrong way.
His action didn't went unnoticed by the rest of the adults in the kitchen and the tension in the room went up.
"Hello Harry," Rhodey greeted the man cautiously. "How are you?"
"Just fine, Rhodey. Thanks," Harry answered the man, not letting his eyes waver from Obediah. He waited for the overture.
"Harry, my man," Obediah greeted him with a jovial smile. "Good to see you! And who is this little munckin?"
Obediah tried to make eye contact with the little boy sitting at the kitchen table, but Harry made that impossible with a slight adjustment of his weight.
"This is Teddy, Obediah," Tony answered him. His sharp eyes had not missed any of the tension and cautiousness Harry was exuding. He had always dismissed Harry's notions of his childhood protector. Where Howard had been neglecting and dismissive of his son, Obediah had always been there with advice and parental like support. But, Harry was more than he had thought in those days. Was his magic screaming at him? He didn't know if magic could juice natural instincts or something like that.
"Would you introduce us to him?" Obediah asked, his eyes now locked on Harry.
Harry stared at him for a few long seconds before he nodded curtly.
"Teddy, come here a second," he asked softly. Teddy slipped from his chair and silently went over to his godfather. His wolf was screaming at him.
"Teddy, this here is Obediah Stane. He works at Stark Industries with Tony, he was actually the business partner of Tony's dad when they first created Stark Industries," Harry explained as he put a comforting and protecting arm around his shoulder.
"Obediah, this is Teddy Lupin my godson," Harry introduced them.
Obediah sank through his knees and put his hand in front of Teddy's face.
"Nice to meet you, kid," He said with a smile. Teddy looked up at Harry. Harry nodded and squeezed his shoulder softly. Teddy took the hand.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Stane," he answered in a soft tone. He did not like this man. Not at all!
"Well, dinner smells deliciously!" Obediah commented as he raised himself up again. Harry ignored the comment and turned to Teddy.
"Teddy, the other man is James Rhodes. Everyone calls him Rhodey. He is Tony's best friend," Harry introduced the other man.
Rhodey stepped up carefully and tried to ease the kid a bit.
"Hey there, have you survived this far with those two crazy people?" He asked the kid and was rewarded with a small smile.
"Yeah, Harry and Tony are really cool!" He exclaimed. "Today, Tony was teaching me all about cars and engines and he even let me work a bit on the Mustang in the garage!"
Rhodey acted like he was shocked full.
"No way, the Mustang?" He widened his eyes. "But the Mustang is the car only Tony touches!"
Teddy's eyes widened and searched out Tony's with a shocked expression on his face.
'Rhodey, don't be stupid," Tony answered. "The only reason I never let anyone touch the Mustang is because you are all incompetent to touch that car. Now Teddy here, is a little genius. He understands when I explain how things work with that car, so of course he can touch it and help me tune it!"
Teddy's eyes glistened with the praise Tony gave him. Rhodey smiled indulgently.
"Oh, my bad," he answered. "That explains a lot though. So, Teddy you are a genius?"
"I don't know about that," an adorable blush reddened his cheeks.
"Why don't you all sit down at the dinner table?" Harry suggested warmly. On the outside, it seems everything was already forgotten and they were ready for a nice meal to introduce Teddy to their friends. On the inside, his gut was screaming at him.
'I'll be out in a second. Teddy requested lasagna for tonight's meal, so I made a vegetarian and a classic one. Tony you can take care of the drinks, right?" Tony nodded quickly and ushered everyone into the dining room. Teddy had latched on Rhodey's hand and pulled him through the doorway into the other room. Pepper and Tony were laughing as Harry turned back to the stove.
The kitchen went quiet and Harry took a deep breath. Obediah's sudden arrival had unsettled him. He steeled himself through Occlumency. He only needed to survive dinner. Afterwards he could usher Teddy to bed with the excuse of a jet lag. Then, he could kick Obediah out without any scruples.
"Harry, are you alright?" The voice sounded from right behind him and Harry jumped. He had thought Obediah had followed the others into the dining room. But he was standing within breathing distance. He felt something rise to the surface as he registered the look on the man's face.
Obediah took another step towards him.
"I'm fine, Obediah," he growled, mentally berating himself not to check if he were truly alone in the kitchen.
It was silent for a heartbeat, they could hear the excited voice of Teddy and the deep laugh of Rhodey drift through the house.
"Afraid you lose Tony?"
The question took Harry aback.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Harry demanded.
"The kid. What, you thought you needed to tether Tony to you with a kid?" He shuffled closer still. Harry raised his hand in warning.
"I took Teddy, because his grandmother passed away," he explained curtly. "I did it openly with Tony, not that it is any of you goddamn business."
"Why are you so afraid of losing him, Harry? Afraid to admit something?" The dark blue eyes glittered dangerously.
"What the hell are you on about, Obediah?"
"Be careful, Harry. Tony comes with a lot of enemies. What chance does a little boy have against them?" He continued, ignoring all of Harry's verbal and non-verbal signals.
"Are you threatening Teddy?" Harry's voice was eerily calm, warning Obediah not to cross that line.
Obediah acted like he was shocked by the question.
"No, God no!" He exclaimed. "Merely pointing out that taking on Teddy while still with Tony could be dangerous for the kid."
Harry snorted at that. "Please, I don't believe that and you certainly don't believe that either Obediah. Now, for once in your life be straight with me; what the hell do you want."
Obediah took another step towards him and bend over his ear.
"You should be careful, Harry," he whispered in his ear. "You never know what could happen to the ones we love." His hand caressed the side of Harry's neck as he withdrew.
Harry was frozen for a second. His mind was telling him things he just couldn't believe. The last words registered and he felt his anger rise like a tidal wave.
"Get out!" he demanded with a voice of steel. "You are no longer welcome in my life, or Teddy's. I cannot cut you out Tony's. But listen carefully, Obie: you think you have connections and can make my life difficult? You think you can threaten me? You have no idea what I'm capable of."
Obediah took an involuntary step back at the anger and power Harry suddenly exuded.
"Come near my family, harm them in any way, and I promise you: it'll be the last thing you'll ever do."
The threat hung thick between the two men.
"Do not make me repeat myself another time, Obediah Stane: get out of this house!" Harry's eyes were like emeralds; glistening cold and uncaring at the source of their wrath. For once, Obediah decided to heat the warning those eyes stared at him. He nodded and made his way to the doorway.
"Tony, I'm sorry some members of the board called. I have to go, see you tomorrow at work."
Tony nodded with a slight frown on his face. Obediah seemed out of sorts.
"I'll walk you out," he rose quickly from his chair and ruffled Teddy's hair on the way.
Obediah left in very good time and left Tony staring at the closed front door. He made his way to the kitchen and saw a visibly shaking Harry leaning against the stove with bald fists and closed eyes.
"Gorgeous, what's wrong?" he was by his side in a flash.
"That man," Harry's voice trembled with shock, fear and barely suppressed rage. "Will never step foot in this house again. He implicitly threatened Teddy, and you. I'll murder him before he steps foot in here again, you understand?"
Tony was taken aback. Obie, threatening him and Ted? No, there must be a mistake, a misunderstanding. He watched in silence as on hand came up to the side of Harry's neck , clawing at it as if he was trying to scratch away dirt.
He didn't know how to react to this news. His heart was telling him there had to be a misunderstanding, maybe a warning of danger wrongly delivered.
"Gorgeous, are you sure?" He begged him. "Maybe he was just trying to warn you. I have a lot of enemies and you and Teddy are in danger because of them."
Green eyes looked at him with a deep sense of betrayal before suddenly all emotions was wiped out of them. Harry sighed, steeling all his emotions behind his Occlumency Shields. He knew Tony wouldn't believe him. Any other person but Obie, and he would have kicked them in a jail on some bogus charges in a flash. But Obie was family for Tony, betrayal was something unperceivable.
"Sure, love," he reassured him with a fake smile. He was good though, it was almost identical to his genuine smile. "Lasagna is ready, let's eat and tell Rhodey about wand waving heroes and psychotic jail breakers."
Tony nodded, relieved that he could convince Harry it was a misunderstanding. He grabbed one of the oven dishes and with a wink made his way back to the set table. Harry took another trembling breath. He needed to calm his emotions, or Teddy was sure to pick up on them. Once he was sure he had a tight check on them he followed Tony out.
Dinner itself was agreeable. Teddy had quickly taken to Rhodey and Pepper, talking about friends in his primary school and the trouble his Uncles Ron and George got into with their comments at family dinners. He had started to speak about the reaming his grandmother had given him when he fell silent. Pepper looked compassionate as Rhodey looked confused.
Harry stood up and kneeled next to Teddy's chair.
"It's okay to miss her and be happy to be here at the same time, Teddy," he spoke softly. "We can feel more than one thing at a time. Well, Tony has trouble with it, but the rest …"
A small giggle and a sniffle was his reward. He drew his godson into a hug.
"I miss her too, Teddy. I hadn't talked to her in a long time, but I miss her too."
Teddy buried himself into Harry's hug, feeling comfort and safety in his arms. Yes, he did miss his grandma Andy but he was also really happy here in America. And that made him feel guilty.
"I don't miss her as much as I'm supposed to," he mumbled into Harry's shoulder.
"And who is to decide how much you're supposed to miss her, Teddy?" Was the light response of his godfather. "You'll have times you miss her like crazy and times that you won't miss her as much. Doesn't mean you didn't love her as much as you did."
Teddy nodded and released Harry. He looked up to see Tony smile warmly at him and Rhodey look on still confused. Harry lifted himself up.
"His grandmother died last week," he told Rhodey. "Tony and I were in England the last week and we've got custody now over little Teddy."
"Not little," Teddy grumbled.
"Yes, you are cub," Harry replied with a cheeky grin.
Rhodey looked from Teddy to Harry to Tony. Tony met his gaze head on and after a few seconds nodded decisively at him. Rhodey nodded back with a small grin on his face.
"Well, Teddy; welcome to the family," he said with a wink. "Just fair warning; these guys are nuts."
Harry looked at Tony as Teddy was giggling with Pepper and Rhodey. He lifted an eyebrow inquiringly and Tony tilted his head to the left, considering it for a bit before nodding a confirmation.
"But that's not the only reason we invited you over today, Rhodey," he began. Pepper caught on quickly and looked from Harry to Tony.
"Really?" Pepper asked them. Tony nodded and Harry smiled reassuringly at her.
"Yes Pepper. Really, I trust him," he said warmly.
Rhodey felt like prey locked in a predator's gaze as the three turned to him.
"What, you guys?" he asked a bit alarmed.
"James Rhodes, do you believe in magic?" Harry asked with a nice bit of flair and drama in his tone, causing Teddy to grin as his hair turned neon green.
James Rhodes could now say he knew what it felt like when eyes were popping out of their sockets as he stared at the boy's now very brightly colored hair.
Rhodey was sporting a big glass of the finest scotch Stark Mansion had to offer as he stared blankly at the waterfall in the staircase. Tony and Harry were upstairs taking little Teddy to bed. Pepper was sitting next to him on the couch and remained silent, giving him a chance to digest everything he heard this night.
Well, he didn't know how to respond to that one. Harry was a wizard, Teddy as well. And apparently he was also a veteran who had ended one of the bloodiest, most vicious magical wards at the age of seventeen.
Rhodey couldn't help but stare as Harry had ended his long tale of the war. By the way Tony had frowned he knew there was more to the story than Harry had told. But he couldn't deal with that at this moment.
Teddy had grinned at him.
"Harry, please show him Prongs!" He had pleaded with the Brit. Rhodey had looked up at Harry.
"Prongs?" He managed to utter. Tony and Pepper also looked curious.
Harry had sighed, pulling at his hair in a well-known gesture.
"I told you about the dementors, right?" He had started to explain. "Well, there is a spell that repels them; the Patronus Charm. A Patronus is sort of a guardian, made up from positive and happy thoughts and emotions. Mine is well-known in the wizarding world, because I have used it numerous times in public. It's in the form of a stag. My father was what they call an Animagus; he could shift into an animal that is representative for his personality. His was a stag, his friends gave him the nickname Prongs."
"So, Prongs is your … Patronus?" Pepper had ventured. Harry nodded and took out his wand.
Rhodey had stared at the wand, still not truly believing that all this was not some very elaborate joke.
"Expecto Patronum," Harry spoke clearly.
Rhodey gasped as a silver-white light appeared from the wand, to evolve in a majestic stag. The stag stood proudly and made an impatient scramble with its hoof. It turned his head towards Harry, who smiled sadly at it and nodded. The stag disappeared after a few seconds.
"It felt so, light," Pepper stammered amazed.
Harry nodded. 'It's one of the Lightest spell in existence, created purely from happiness and love."
Teddy had smiled at Harry.
"You okay there, Rhodey?" Tony's voice cut through his memories. He looked up to see Tony walk down the stair towards him and Pepper.
"How long have you known?" He asked the genius.
"Since my return from Afghanistan," he replied. "Pepper found out while I was there."
Rhodey turned around at Pepper's snort. Once she saw him staring at her she explained.
"I went to check up on him after not being able to call him all day. I heard a lot of noise when I stood in front of his door. So, I immediately went to check up on him," Pepper shook his head. "I found him in a room I previously thought a closet. He was like a mad man, tearing up these animated dummies."
Rhodey stared at her.
"Stress relief," she elaborated. "I got the entire story from him after that, with help of Minerva McGonagall and George Weasley."
"Both of them brilliant and awesome," Tony quipped. He turned to Pepper.
"Harry would never tell you this, but in the hospital …" Tony turned giddy. "All the Weasleys were there, and were imbeciles and rude. So after Harry had talked to Andromeda we went outside. We found Minerva screaming at the top of her lungs at Molly Weasley, only to curse her upside down. Harry called it a Permanent Sticking Charm on her backside."
Pepper laughed at this. She had known Minerva was a strong-willed witch, but never had imagined this from her.
"And Harry was awesome," Tony's tone turned into adoration. "He is a Lord twice over, did you know that? Anyway, he wiped the floor with everyone while he was there, totally overturning the power balance in their parliament and creating a shit storm for everyone against him."
"Where is he anyway?" Pepper asked, shaking her head indulgently at her boss.
"Telling Teddy a bedtime story," Tony answered with a wince. "He wanted to know how he and I started dating, so Harry decided to regale him with some of the things I did to try and convince him to go on a date."
Rhodey and Pepper laughed at this. It was a hefty list that Harry could choose from, all as crazy as the next bit.
Harry came down the stairs and saw them laughing.
"What's so funny?" He asked them. Pepper answered with barely contained glee.
"Tony's attempts to convince you on a date," she burst out laughing again. Harry smiled warmly.
"Well, I'm glad I agreed in the end," he said sweetly.
"You and me both, gorgeous," Tony agreed emphatically.
Harry sat down on Tony's lap, his smile fading a bit.
"Gorgeous?" Tony nudged him.
"I need to tell you all something," Harry spoke softly. "Two of the war criminals, Death Eater, have escaped from Azkaban the day Tony returned. I have some, history, with them. They were actually the ones that attacked Teddy and Andy. They killed her."
The laughter died from the room. Pepper laid her hand on his arm. Harry shook his head and smiled appreciatively at her.
"I'm telling you this so you keep on your guard," he said to them, before handing Rhodey and Pepper both a necklace. They accepted it with some confusion.
"These are portkeys," he explained. "They are activated with a password, in this instance it's Prongs. When you're in magical danger, and I'm not around … activate it and it'll transport you to the Black Town House in London. My house elf is there and knows I handed out these to friends. He'll contact the appropriate persons to tell what happened."
Pepper and Rhodey stared at him.
"Just like Tony, I have a lot of enemies," he said softly. "Now that you are aware of the magical world, some of that danger crosses over to you. I am sorry about that, but it is unavoidable."
"What about Tony?" Rhodeys asked while slipping on the portkey. Tony looked down at Harry and understood.
"The Rings?" He asked. Harry nodded at him.
"While in England, we officially made Tony Consort of the House of Potter and the House of Black. The Consort, Lord and Heir of those Houses have Rings. The Old Rings as they are called are filled with enchantments," his hands were gesturing around. Pepper and Rhodey caught the two Rings he wore on his hands. One gold, one silver.
"For instance, I would know if my food or drinks are poisoned, and most poisons are negated by the magic of these Rings. Another enchantment is the portkey. My Rings are the Lord Rings, I can activate any portkey that is connected to the Houses. Your portkeys bare the Potter crest, so I can activate them from afar if needed."
"Thank you, Harry," Pepper told him solemny. Rhodey nodded wordlessly. He still had some trouble accepting all of it, but couldn't imagine Harry through all of it. Suddenly a thought popped into his head.
"Afghanistan?" Rhodey demanded, quite harshly. He could have saved Tony months earlier, all of that for a goddamn secret?
He looked as Harry paled and tried to get up from Tony's lap. Tony didn't let him though, gripping his waist tighter and bringing him in closer. Pepper smacked Rhodey hard on the arm.
"James Rhodes! You think that Harry would have let Tony die if he could stop it?" she yelled out incredulously.
"I don't know, he's magic, isn't he!" He retorted.
"If I would have gone, I would have died," Harry's voice was curt and trembling. It stopped the bickering between Pepper and Rhodey.
"Afghanistan is considered the cradle, the womb, of life and therefore magic as well. There's something that's called ambivalent, or ambient magic. It means magic that keeps the world sustained, even though there is no plants alive in that place. It resonates with a wizard's core. The bigger the core, the bigger the resonating, the bigger the destruction within a wizard's body."
Rhodey digested it for a second.
"You have a big core?" He asked a bit uncomfortable. Harry looked him dead in the eye.
"One of the biggest recorded in this time," he replied.
Rhodey shook his head. "Damn," he mumbled to no one in particular.
"What about Teddy?" He asked. Harry sighed.
"You mean the hair?" he inquired.
"That and how you became his godfather," Rhodey answered him.
Harry swallowed, the unbidden image of Remus' and Tonks' dead bodies on the floor of the Great Hall rising from his memories.
"My father had three best friends. One of them was Remus Lupin, the other was my godfather Sirius Black and the third the traitor I told you about Peter Pettigrew," his voice sounded tired. "Remus was my teacher in third year, and since then we maintained contact. It was also the year I found out Sirius was my godfather, and innocent of the betrayal of my parents. The year after that, Voldemort returned. Sirius and Remus were fighting like the best of them. In my fifth year, my godfather was killed. Remus really stepped up and filled that void his death created. He fell in love with Sirius cousin; Nymphadora Tonks. She was Andromeda's daughter.
Remus was a werewolf, and because of the bloody prejudices and laws against them, he was basically shunned by the entire community. He didn't want that sort of life for Tonks, although she would gladly put up with it all if she could be with him. We finally managed to pull his head out of his arse and they got married. Just a week before the Battle of Hogwarts, their son was born. I was at that moment with some friends, and he immediately asked me to be Teddy's godfather. They both died a week later in the Battle."
Silence once again reigned in the living room. Nobody bothered to try and break it. Rhodey couldn't help himself but look at Harry in a different light. Before, he knew Harry to be a cheerful, kindhearted, but fiercely independent and determined man. Now, he saw the sorrow that was lurking deep in Harry's eyes. A sorrow he recognized as one he saw in the eyes of soldiers who lost so much of their friends in the war.
He finally understood the power he sometimes felt when Harry got angry. He mentally snorted, he had definitely felt it when Harry reamed his ass back in gear to find Tony.
He stood up, it had been one long night and he had to be up early the day after.
"Look guys, I got to head home. Early day and all," he shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "Just give me a couple of days to wrap my head around all this crap, alright? It's a hell of an adjustment to my world view. Don't worry, it'll happen."
Harry smiled knowingly, and wished him goodnight. Before Rhodey left he turned around.
"Teddy does seem like a great kid," he offered the two men, who smiled lovingly at the mention of their newly acquired son.
Pepper stood up as well.
"Guys, I've got to go to. I have to attend a meeting with your CFO tomorrow, Tony."
The pointed look the billionaire got made it obvious she wasn't supposed to go to that meeting, but Tony.
"Thank you, Pepper," the man dutifully intoned. Pepper snorted exasperated and wished both men a good night.
Wordlessly, the two men rose from their seat as well and made their way to their bedroom. They stopped at Teddy's room and opened the door slightly. They looked on as Teddy turned over, mumbling incoherently before shouting.
"It's in, give me the bloody Quaffle!"
Harry snorted, deeply amused by his godson's Quidditch filled dreams. They closed the door and made their way to their own room.
Tony embraced Harry from behind.
"He'll come around. Like he said, he just needs some time," Tony murmured in his ear.
Harry leaned back on the nicely developed shoulder. "I know," he answered with a content sigh as Tony's lips made their way from his ear to his neck.
It was passed late into early as a shadow waited in the deserted alley. The distinct sneer of disgust was etched deeply onto his face. He heard the sirens of those stupid muggle contraptions those bloody muggle aurors used break the silence. He had waited in this alley for the better part of the night. He waved the stolen wand over his clothes, renewing the Heating Charm on them.
Finally, after waiting for another hour, he was met by another shadow.
"Well?" he hissed infuriated. "What did you find out?"
The other chuckled menacingly.
"It was ridiculously easy to find, they don't even hide where they are living," disdain colored the raspy voice as dark eyes glimmered dangerously in the scare streetlights.
"Tony Stark's mansion is located in Malibu, California. Also the place of residence of Marauders' Café owner, Harry Potter."
The cold laughter filled the alley and made the resident rats scatter as quickly as they could. One rat lingered a bit too long. A flash of green, and the rat fell over dead.
We're finally progressing. They've settled in America, Rhodey knows... Let the danger come their way! Till next time my avid readers