I don't own marvel or Harry Potter.

Please thank Jessolt for the incredible job of proofreading this chapter, and Kathryn518 for going back over it again later. Far less run on paragraphs and sentences. This chapter and the chapter one has also been edited by Sisyphus and myself, to make Death's part in this chapter match what I did with the character later.


Chapter 2: A Step Heard Round the Universe

As they made their way back to where the portal to the Earth realm was hidden, disguised by a rock made to look like a meteor, Harry began to question his new friends about themselves. "So, I take it we've got one person with a fire power in Sparky over there." He nodded at Johnny who scowled at his nickname. "Another guy who's probably super strong," he nodded, and Ben who nodded back, "and someone who stretches. The ladies must love you by the way."

This statement surprisingly caused Reed to blush a little, and both Ben and Johnny to burst into laughter. Susan however growled a little. "They'd better not!" She said sharply.

"What's the matter, sis," Johnny teased, "a little jealous that others might be looking at the big brain over there?"

"Not at all, they can look all they want," she said, "as long as he remembers that he belongs to me."

Harry looked over at Reed and nudged him in the ribs at the possessive tone of the blond woman. The older man grinned a little back at him, an unusual look on the man.

"So, what's your power, Mrs. Richards?" said Harry.

Before Susan could answer, Johnny spoke up "Oh, she can turn invisible, and she can project these invisible shields of many sizes too."

Harry stopped in space, staring at her in horror. "My God in Heaven, that's the most terrifying power I've ever heard of."

The others all looked at him in shock. Secretly, all three of the men had felt that Susan was a bit of a wallflower in comparison to their own abilities, though Reed, at least, knew it was not so much because of her power, but because of her personality.

"Why in the world does that terrify you when my face doesn't even shock ya'?" Ben asked, half joking, half seriously.

"She can turn invisible," Harry said calmly. "Do you have any idea the number of pranks she could pull on you if she wanted to? Trust me, I'm speaking from experience."

"Well, my wife isn't exactly much for pranks," Reed said, with Susan nodding in agreement.

She wasn't, but the thought did have some appeal. The next time Johnny left her with his laundry or brought home a date who spent the night without first telling her, he would be in for a shock. Or if Ben broke any more of her plates. And if she ever woke up again with Reed having secretly gone off to his laboratory without telling her or at least kissing her goodbye, just wait….

Both Reed and Johnny suddenly felt a bit of the chill go up their back.

Harry, however, countered, "But that's not all you said. She can create invisible shields, right?"

"Yeeeesss," said Ben slowly, wondering where the kid was going with this.

"That means she could create them around your nether regions, right? Or around any other body part for that matter. Then she could shrink the shields. You'd be taken apart slowly by something you couldn't see."

All four of them looked at him in surprise, and then Sue cocked her head thoughtfully, "I guess I could." She said, "I've never thought of using them on distinct and different body parts before. I wonder if that would work? I can change their shape after all. Thanks, Harry."

"You're welcome." He chirped happily. "Just don't use them on me all right? I like my wedding tackle the way it is, thank you very much."

Susan turned to the others and grinned evilly at them. All three of the men silently declared vengeance on Harry for introducing Susan to that idea.

They were nearly back to the portal, most of the time spent with Reed and the others explaining their adventures to Harry, when another flight of Annihilus' troops came upon them, appearing over a large rock that Ben was passing close to. Ben charged forward using his jet packs, slamming two of them together and then throwing them at the others. Before anyone else could respond, Harry had begun moving insanely fast, using his odd powers on the enemy troopers.

Two of them were turned into rocks, another was changed into a spear, then driven into a fourth one, killing him instantly, and the fifth was simply held motionless in the air. This all happened in an instant.

Reed shook his head at the incredible reflexes of the other young man and the power he used so easily. Agatha was rated a strong magic user, but she had never shown anything on that scale before. Harry though… "Is there any limit to those transforming powers of yours?" Reed asked, after the battle had ended.

Harry shrugged. "Quite a few actually, though I've discovered through trial and error that they react differently here in the Negative Zone than elsewhere. Before I arrived here, I would never have been able to transfigure, that's the wizarding term, old boy, living matter, especially an intelligent lifeform, to an inanimate object. There are also limitations to what I can conjure. I don't know if my power grew here somehow or what though."

Reed nodded, though he wasn't really mollified. The young man was friendly enough, but also extremely dangerous, and that worried him.

With a wave of Harry's hand, the alien that was held in the air started to come towards him slowly, obviously not under his own power. Reed noticed a wooden ring on one of Harry's fingers but rather than dwell on that seemingly odd bit of jewelry, he asked, "What are you going to do with him?" The fact that most of the other attackers had been killed by Harry did not sit well with him.

Harry shrugged. "I was going to give him a message for his boss."

When the thing was close enough, Harry turned his full attention to the captured being and said, "Tell your boss that this Earth and these heroes are under my protection. I'm certain he won't want a redo of the pink tutu incident, yes?"

The thing shook its head wildly. Every inhabitant of the Negative Zone that Harry had run into had found that he was slightly, well crazy, even by their standards. They had also discovered that dying fighting him was often better than his practical jokes and punishments; well, to them at least.

Annihilus, for example, spent two months dressed in a pink tutu, along with half of his forces, regardless of anything he tried, including changing his armor to get rid of the effect. That marked the last time he had tried to attack Harry and wasn't even the worst thing Harry had done to some of his other opponents. It was one thing to be beaten, it was another to be humiliated and to have that humiliation stick around for long periods of time.

"Good lad, now off you trot." Harry waved one hand dismissively.

The beast flew off after gathering up the two Ben had knocked out, thankful beyond words that Harry hadn't added any humiliating joke or anything else before sending him on his way.

Harry turned to the Fantastic Four smiling crookedly. "Shall we go?"

Reed looked at the others then shrugged, and they set off again. They got back to the portal without further incident. Reed sent a signal at it via a small handheld device and the disguise fell away. Another quick activation code on the device and the portal activated.

Harry looked at the open portal intently. "Interesting, so are you going to shut this down when you get to the other side? Hint, hint, wink, wink."

Reed was a little reluctant to agree to that. "The Negative Zone is so fascinating though. Think of what we could learn from it." He sensed the younger man was a bit of a thinker as well and hoped to appeal to that aspect of his personality.

Harry however, disillusioned him swiftly. "We could learn that there are other races out there who are more powerful than our own and could wipe us out with a thought," he said bluntly. "Believe me, I've met some of them. I'll tell you what I know about the Negative Zone, but it is not a place to go exploring for the heck of it."

Susan nodded sharply. "I agree, I know that you had to go into the Negative Zone to find something to help me during my pregnancy, Reed, but Annihilus has shown that he is a major threat to us. Look what almost happened to our baby! He's not the only one either, remember Blastarr?" She had not let Franklin out of her arms the entire time. The baby had not exactly been displeased by this, snuggling and cooing against her neck.

Reed hesitated for a moment, sighed, and nodded. "Perhaps you're right, I think I've been spending far too much time in the laboratory lately anyway."

Susan looked at him in shock. Then a small blossoming smile appeared on her face that put another smile on his face in turn. Harry nodded and said, "Good, and don't worry about spending too much time in your lab anymore. I think two hours a day should do."

Reed flinched at that. He'd been thinking more like five or six hours a day. But Harry ignored his horrified look and said, "Every hour after that I will prank you, with increasing fervor and zeal as the day goes on."

"What's this obsession with pranks you have?" Ben asked curiously, trying to run interference for Reed, who was looking increasingly pale, though Susan was smiling appreciatively.

"Blame my father figure for that one." Harry said, laughing. "He was part of a group of students, I guess you could call them student activists, called the Marauders who acted against the pureblood movement by pranking them all mercilessly during their school years. Sneaking around while doing them, though, did help them learn how to fight and sneak around once they got out of school. As the only true one remaining, he passed on his pranking spirit to me. Now that I have an audience who will actually see the humor of it, I'm anxious to get back into the swing of things."

Ben laughed at that and the five of them moved through the portal.

Around the Earth and elsewhere, the first step of Harry Potter on to the Earth of this reality caused several different effects, as those with certain powers, both magical and not, felt the arrival of something new and different.

OOOOOOO

In New York, Dr. Strange looked on quizzically as several demons, ones a would-be demonologist just summoned to do his bidding, suddenly started screaming. They sounded so terrified that he was moved to ask, "Excuse me, but what seems to be the trouble here?"

Could some greater demon belonging to another faction be on this plane? I have not sensed anything like that, nor has the Orb of Agamotto.

"The Sword of Light is here, the Sword of Light is here!" shouted one of the demons, a minor imp that had better vocal cords, but far less power and intelligence than most of the greater demons. "We're doomed!

One of them was running in a circle shouting, "Game over, man. Game over!"

For some reason, Dr. Strange's eyebrow began to twitch at that line. It was decidedly too human in his mind. Demons should be dark and evil beings; they should not suddenly start running around gibbering in terror. A moment after he thought this, one of them, the largest the demonologist had been able to summon said, "Retreat!" With that, they all ducked back into the portal that the demonologist opened to Hell.

The demonologist in question had just stood there gaping the entire time. Now, finding himself alone against Dr. Strange, he raised a hand and said, "I demand a do over, that batch was obviously defective!"

Dr. Strange's eyebrow twitched again, and he summoned his power, forming magical manacles around the man's wrists, as well as around his mouth. "I think not." Elsewhere other magic users felt the effect, wondering where the spike of raw power they felt came from. Some of them wondered if it could be turned to serve their purposes, while others determined to stay well away from whatever it was.

OOOOOOO

While Wyatt was greeting the Fantastic Four and their new friend happily (they had been gone over two days local time after all, days which he spent manning the portal), another magic user was reacting to being far closer to the source of power than she wanted to be.

Agatha Harkness was shocked out of her unconscious state by the first step of a Fate Marked onto the realm of Earth. Agatha had been around for a long time, since the Salem Witch Trials in fact, and she could sense these things. She would have to go search for this person, as soon as she was able to walk.

While both of them had sustained a beating, she was after all an older woman, and a few days wasn't enough time to put her back on her feet. Wyatt, the young scamp, had been up and about within two days, curse him. She looked up, not at all surprised to see her familiar, Ebony, slinking under her bed. "You can feel it as well, old friend?"

The cat creature meowed unhappily, and she nodded. "Yes, that says it all really."

Nor was it only magic users who felt the pulse of Harry's presence in their world.

OOOOOOO

In upstate New York, a computer named Cerebro began to jingle-jangle its alarms. Professor Xavier, psychologist, world-renowned speech maker, and peacemaker, of the Salem Institute for Gifted Youngsters, looked up in alarm as the noise interrupted the midday meal. Thankfully, all the kids were at school and the only ones there were Logan and Ororo. Both walked with him as he moved his wheelchair into the secret elevator that took them down into the main area of the X-Men's headquarters.

Soon the helmet part of Cerebro was on the professor's bald head and he swiftly began to control the computer, using it to heighten his own powers, scanning around to find what had set the machine off.

After a moment, he sighed, and said, "It's nothing to concern ourselves with, no danger to the school. But it would appear as if a mutant has appeared, a rather powerful one going by the readings I'm getting, somewhere in California. I'll try to isolate it. When I do, then we will have to take a trip out there to see what we can find out about this new mutant and if we want to recruit him or her."

Ororo frowned. "I don't think that the Blackbird can take us that far without refueling. Does that mean we are going to have to book a commercial flight?"

Xavier nodded. "Yes, I think we will, I've been meaning to stop in and speak with Reed and Susan anyway."

Logan grunted but inside he was happy about the trip. Ben was always fun to play cards with and was one of the few who could keep up with his beer intake.

Ororo, on the other hand, kept her mind on business. "How exactly are we going to explain to the kids that we need to go to sunny California with its beaches and everything without them?"

Xavier coughed uncomfortably. "Well, that, my dear, I think we can leave in your capable hands. I need to stay here and figure out where specifically the signal is coming from."

"I'll see if I can boost the Blackbird's range," said Logan quickly. "That way we won't have to take a commercial flight."

As Logan hurried out and Xavier started to ignore her pointedly, Ororo scowled a little, but that was all the emotion she would allow herself. She needed to remain calm to not affect the local weather conditions. She still took a moment, though, to imagine retribution falling on the two men's heads for this before she sighed and walked out of Cerebro's chamber.

OOOOOOO

Xavier was not the only one who could tell that a new powerful mutant had arrived on the scene. Magneto couldn't quite get the information Cerebro could give Xavier, but he could tell where the general vicinity was. For example, he could narrow the location where a new mutant was, down to a state or region. He frowned thoughtfully. The Fantastic Four operated in California. He had no desire to tangle with them, but he did want to find out who this new mutant was and, if possible, sway him to his cause. Drumming his fingers on his seat for a moment, he decided to send Mystique rather than going himself or sending one of his other associates. She was the most diplomatic followers he had and one of the sneakiest.

OOOOOOO

Yet, it was not only on Earth that the ripple of Harry Potter's footstep was felt. In a place with no name, no sky, and no passage of time, in a castle that looked incredibly old, a woman cloaked in a black cloak from head to foot looked up. Though nothing of her face could be seen, her body was very feminine, and the cloak was formfitting, save around her face. Even as she stood there silently, an observer, if there could be such a thing here, would have been able to see her shaking a little. And, after a moment, one could tell that it was from anger.

OOOOOOO

Susan smiled happily, rocking her baby in her arms. "Well, Harry, this is the Baxter Building. We own the top five floors, and have several suites you can use for yourself, if you want to. I don't know what you want to do with your life now that you're here, but we can at least give you a home for a few weeks until you decide for yourself."

Harry shook Wyatt's hand and looked around him, admiring all the technology he could see. "Thank you for that Mrs. Richards. I think I'll take you up on that one. Just judging from the tech I see, this world is a bit more advanced than the world I'm originally from. I also want to find out why you know about magic but have never heard of wizard society. That tells me there is a distinct difference from my world to this one."

"Yuck, research," Johnny muttered, but Harry nodded eagerly, then froze.

"Um, one moment please," he said before the others could move forward. He reached into a pocket on his suit and pulled out what looked like a small snuffbox. He set it on the ground, tapped it with a finger, and it suddenly began to grow.

Reed shook his head. "I've seen Agatha do some interesting things with magic but something like this still makes me wonder where the mirrors are."

"That's the second time you've mentioned a magic user by that name," said Harry, as he opened the now large trunk. He reached inside and gently pulled out what looked at first to be a stuffed owl. This notion was disproven however, as soon as all its body was fully out of the trunk.

Wyatt looked on with interest as the snowy owl, the genus Bubo Scandiacus, (unlike the others he knew a thing or five hundred about animals), came alive and started to peck angrily at Harry's hand and face. "Preck!"

As the others looked on in surprise, and with growing smiles, the owl continued its attack on a beleaguered Harry.

"Ow, ow, Hedwig, bloody, ow, cut it out Hedwig! Ow, you know it, ow, it was for your own good Hed, you, ow, stop it! You know I wouldn't have done something like that if it wasn't necessary!" The snowy owl continued for several minutes, then came to rest on his shoulder, nipping at his ear and pulling at his hair.

Harry shook his head, then turned to the others. "Ladies and gentlemen," he said dryly, "I give you Hedwig. When I took my jaunt through the Veil of Death, she wanted to come with me. Eventually I had to put her in stasis. There's nothing whatsoever she can eat in the Negative Zone. Or at least nothing I've found, and conjured food doesn't sustain you. And unfortunately, this is purely a trunk for the storage of items, not people. So, I had to put her in stasis and put her in there. And, as you can tell, she's rather cross with me."

Hedwig precked again, but much softer this time, and Harry raised a cautious hand up to her. When the owl didn't nip at it, he slowly began to stroke her chest feathers. "Sorry, girl, I did tell you that this trip would be trouble."

Susan looked at the bird appreciatively. "She's magnificent. I don't think I've ever seen an owl quite like that one before."

Harry chortled, his fingers still busy stroking the snowy owl's plumage. "Oh, she's one of a kind, is my Hedwig."

"So, is she, what, your familiar or something?" Johnny asked.

"Precisely who is whose master is still a matter of much debate between us," said Harry drolly. "One I refuse to bring up because I'm afraid I might lose."

The others all laughed, and Susan said, "Well you can patch things up with your owl later, there's a room with a window down that hallway. It also has a bath so you can get changed and rest up."

"Bath", said Harry blankly standing stock still, one foot still raised mid-step. "Do you know the last time I had a bath? You can't conjure water in the Negative Zone for some reason; it always evaporates too quickly, or the spell just doesn't work. A bath, I would cheerfully immolate a world for a bath. You have an enemy you want me to hunt down and dismember for you? Seriously, I'll do it in a second for a bath! My dear lady, please show me the way to this magnificent marvel!"

Susan laughed and pointed down the hallway again. "Fifth door on the right," she said simply.

"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you," Harry said, then actually skipped down the hallway to the room, Hedwig still perched on his shoulder.

Reed followed him, intent on asking some questions about the Negative Zone while it was still fresh in the young man's mind. He started off by saying, "I'm fascinated by that suit you're wearing. I can tell it's not just rubber or something like that. Care to explain what it's made from?"

Hedwig had flown up to perch on the bedpost and Harry had already peeled off the top of the suit, showing several sets of scars to Reed, who looked at them, then away. He knew the signs of war when he saw them. After all, he and Ben had both fought in the Korean War together. That, and the young man's eyes and stance told him a lot about the civil war this boy had survived. If he was really in the Negative Zone for five years, he must have fought in the war at fifteen or sixteen. No child should fight a war that young. What in the world were his people thinking? What was he thinking?

"I call it a crisis suit. I took the name from a game advertisement I saw in the window of a game store at one point. Of course, my relatives would never allow me to own the actual game, but the name was sort of cool. One of my friends…" here Harry paused, looking out into the distance at something Reed couldn't see, though he recognized that look all too well, before he went on.

"One of my friends and I developed it, or at least the concept behind it, and I created it before I was exiled. It's fueled by magic and has dozens of protective wards, spells, and runic symbols worked into it, as well as some that have changed its atomic composition. I imagine, though, your own suits are rather advanced scientifically. Can't imagine them surviving being set on fire or stretched otherwise."

Reed nodded. "True, but I would love to sit down with you and compare the two, as well as pick your brain about the Negative Zone."

By this time, Harry was down to his underwear, looking over at the bed, and said thoughtfully, "I hope you blokes don't mind, but I'm going to kip out for a bit. I can't remember the last time I've had a good night's sleep, as in the full eight bloody hours of sleep. In the Negative Zone you either live by naps and sleep with one eye open or you soon die."

Reed nodded. "I'll make certain there's some food in the kitchen for you if you wake up at any point. It's one floor below us to the right of the elevator."

Harry waved him off and opened the door on the side of his new room, sighing happily as he saw the porcelain bath there. "I'll talk to you all tomorrow, okay?" Reed nodded and left him there, then went outside to spend time with his wife and son.

OOOOOOO

After staying in the bath until he was decidedly wrinkly, Harry got out then promptly collapsed onto the bed, sighing happily as the springs gave underneath him. He could have conjured his own bed of course while in the negative zone, but there he had to be on guard all the time. He had found, to his chagrin, that ward stones and rune-based shields did not block out all the enemies contained in the strange universe he found himself in, especially the ones that didn't actually think. Most wards were based on intent, and had never really been designed, not the ones he had learned about, to keep out wild animals, at least not wild animals that were below a certain size.

Some of the most dangerous things in the Negative Zone were small flying rodents that looked like a freaky mix of mouse and scorpion, simply because the poison they contained in their scorpion-like tails was poisonous to every other living thing. Harry had been stung once and had been sick for over three months, despite the immunity to most poisons he had developed after being bitten by a basilisk in his second year at Hogwarts.

Above him, Hedwig looked down fondly on her Harry, happy that he had once again found a place where she could stretch her wings. The place where they had been before this had bothered her senses so much she could barely fly, let alone hunt, and Harry was right, there was no food she could eat there. Their connection had sustained her for a time, but eventually it wouldn't have been enough, and his decision, as much as she was angered by it, had probably saved her.

Not that she was going to let up on him about it, of course. Not until he came up with the appropriate payment. She went from the bed posts to the window then, very carefully, opened the latch and flew off into the dark. She saw immediately they were in a city. And she gave the owl equivalent of a harrumph. She much preferred to hunt in woods or fields, but beggars could not be choosers.

Behind her Harry fell swiftly deep into REM sleep. But that night, his dreams were not his own.

OOOOOOO

Harry found himself standing in a large gallery filled with mist, yet he could make out what looked like statues of some kind through the mist. He cocked an eyebrow in thought, Okay, I haven't had a dream like this before.

Then he looked down at himself and noticed that he was fully clothed despite having gone to bed naked. Lucid dreaming, I believe is the phrase? Where you know you're dreaming and yet have a sense of self inside the dream? Never really studied dreams all that much, of course, most of my dreams were nightmares. Growing up with the Dursleys and with Dumbledore's idiocy will do that to one. Still, I guess I could just wander around and see what's here.

The first wax statue he came to came alive as he moved near it, shifting and moving into a specific shape rather than a formless blob. After a moment it stopped and he realized that the figure it had assumed was Neville Longbottom, one of his best friends and steadfast allies. He looked around at the other statues, which he couldn't quite make out through the fog. "I do hope this isn't some kind of gallery of past acquaintances. That would be rather depressing." He said it lightly, but his eyes were serious as he looked at Neville.

Anyone who had met Neville when he was a young boy would have been astonished at the man he had become in his fifteenth year. He had slimmed down and trimmed up, his shoulders were wide, and his whole body spoke of strength. His eyes were hard and brown in a face lined with lined with care, yet stern as a rock.

"What am I supposed to say to you, old friend?" Asked Harry softly, looking at Neville's face. "You stood up with me when nearly everyone else didn't. You stood shoulder to shoulder against Voldemort and everything that madman could throw at us, and, when you went down, you went down swinging. People questioned your courage, but I tell you now, I have never known a truer defender, a truer friend than you. Godric himself would've been proud of you, and I was proud to have been your friend."

Neville grinned at him and held up a thumbs up. Harry moved on.

The next figure was of Bellatrix Black, who glared hatefully as Harry approached. This time Harry stopped a little further away, well out of reach (caution was always a good thing when dealing with the insane) and stared at her. "Okay," he said aloud, "so this isn't going to just be my friends and dearly departed. Good, variety is good for the soul."

He stared at Bellatrix and said, "You were the first person I ever killed. I can't say murdered, of course, we were after all fighting at the time, but still, you are the first life I took, and that stuck with me for a while. I remember throwing up quite a bit afterward."

Bellatrix's lips curled at that admission, but her face mellowed as he went on. "You taught me more about fighting in those twenty minutes than I had learned from Sirius and all of our spars leading up to it. You are insane, a complete madwoman," he said blandly, and the figure scowled a little, "and your politics and beliefs were anathema to me. Yet, you were a true warrior, who never asked for quarter, and, for that alone, at least, I will salute you." Bellatrix glared at him but nodded her head in thanks for this sign of respect, and he moved on.

The next two statues were together and caused Harry to break out in something like a strangled laugh. "Daphne and Tracy," he said, his voice a little manic, "together, here, as in life." He then sobered as he looked at their faces which were both smiling brightly at him.

"I'm sorry." He said, and they frowned. "I'm sorry for leading you into that mess; I'm sorry for letting you fight with me; and, I'm sorry I failed to keep you alive. I've had years to get over the fact, and I know up here," he said, tapping his forehead, "that no one could've known that Voldemort would open the gates to Hell in that fight, but down here," he said, tapping at his chest over his heart, "it's a different story. You're my friends and I should've protected you better."

The two of them were glaring at him, and he shook his head. "I know what you would say if you could speak, 'It wasn't your fault, Harry', but that doesn't mean that I don't think it was."

"Although," he suddenly smirked at them, "that isn't really the memory I think of when I think of you these days. No, that would be the memory of me finding you two making out in the Charms classroom that one time without your tops on." They both blushed a little and he held up two thumbs in a salute.

"Still the hottest thing I've ever seen." They laughed, and he moved on.

Harry was surprised to find a statue of Remus Lupin, of all people, as the next in line. Harry stood for a moment, looking at him shaking his head. "I have no idea why you're here. You didn't teach me anything and you certainly weren't my friend. You're just this person who should've been watching out for me when I was younger and who didn't. You were once friends to my family, and you failed them miserably."

The werewolf tried to open his mouth, but no words came out, and Harry shook his head sharply. "You let that affliction of yours be a readymade excuse to cover your own laziness." He said coldly.

"You used it as an excuse for everything that was wrong in your life, and every time you didn't want to put in any effort. 'I can't keep a job I've just been given because I'm a werewolf.' or 'I can't be near my Godson because I'm a werewolf.' I have no idea how you died; I just know you did. And it would not surprise me in the slightest to find you died like you lived; a coward hiding from himself and the world around him." With that, he didn't even bother waiting for Remus to nod or do anything. He just moved off.

Next came the blonde beauty Narcissa Malfoy and Harry stopped, looking at her in surprise. "All right," he said softly. "Now I know it isn't just people who I know have died. Someone's been searching around in my memories. I mean, you were certainly alive and well when I went through the Veil."

Narcissa smirked at him and, unlike on many other faces who tried that look, on her it looked magnificent.

"The last I heard, you were still causing angst and anger in the pureblood community by being seen on topless beaches in Italy with several young mundane-born men." Narcissa didn't even blush; she simply smiled wider, and Harry shook his head. "Getting you away from your husband and son was a good deed I will never forget or regret."

"Although," he said lightly, "you know you were my first masturbation fantasy." Narcissa's eyes widened, and she looked at him in surprise.

"That's what happens when a MILF as gorgeous as you says to a young, impressionable boy, 'If there's anything I can do to repay you, anything at all, don't hesitate to call.' What did you expect me to do? I wish I had actually gotten up the courage to call you, but it was still too close to when Hermione…." He trailed off, but then shook himself, and smirked lopsidedly at her. "That would've felt wrong, but when I jerked to thinking of you, it felt so right." The MILF broke out laughing and waved him on.

His good humor lasted for the next two he saw, both girls who he had briefly gone out with and who he knew were still alive when he left. Angelina Johnson had taught him ways to use his Parseltongue that he would never have thought up on his own, and Lavender Brown had given him the most enthusiastic snog of his life.

But it evaporated when he came to the next figure. Albus Dumbledore stood before him in all his glittery splendor. But, just as in life, Harry saw beneath the splendor to the reality underneath. "Okay, I have no idea what the pattern is supposed to be here. I hope that whoever is doing this doesn't think I'd be happy to see you, of all people. Not after everything you allowed to happen to me and to others."

The old man looked at him unhappily and Harry shook his head. "You and your pureblood beliefs caused more trouble and long-term harm to the magical community than anything Riddle ever did. Then you got yourself, and more than two/thirds of your chicken club, killed trying to fight fairly, and with kid gloves, against an enemy who wouldn't know the words 'fair' or 'honorable' if you smacked him upside the head with a dictionary!"

"You were stuck in the past; your past beliefs, your past hopes, your past dreams, and your past glories. You refused to step into the present and do what needed to be done. Being a part of sending Riddle back every year to an orphanage where he was abused, and you knew it? Then letting his depredations continue when you could have stepped in and stopped it at any time? And, finally, you allowed what happened to Hermione to occur. Nothing you have ever done, no good you could ever do, would excuse that."

Harry shook his head. "There is a special place in Hell reserved for you, old man, and I hope you roast on the coals for all eternity."

The next person, however, put a smile back on his face. "Sirius!" he exclaimed, happily stepping forward and looking at the other man closely. He reached out, but his hand passed right through the man, and he sighed sadly. "I figured that. Well," he said softly, looking at his father figure, "you gave me something I didn't even know I needed, a male role model. You were crazy like a fox despite your dog form. You never looked down on me, or treated me as less than I was, or as a child. You treated me like a friend and a younger brother, and that was precisely what I needed. I wish I could've saved you, just like I wish I could've saved all my friends, but I know that you at least are in a better place. I hope you said hi to my parents for me, but I don't think I'm going to be joining you for a long time yet."

He smirked suddenly at the Marauder. "You all were right. I have my whole life ahead of me and a new world to spend it in. Besides, there are way too many pranks I want to do on people for me to die."

Sirius laughed silently and gave him a merry wave. Harry nodded and moved on.

The next figure, Harry was surprised to see, was a normal looking Tom Riddle. Not the pathetic rather horrible looking serpentine man he had been when last they clashed, but the younger, human version. Harry looked at him and shook his head. "I should hate you, but, as the war dragged on, I felt more pity for you than anything else, especially after I learned what your childhood was like. I looked at that and knew that I could've gone the same way all too easily. Then, you were so afraid of the ultimate reality, which no one can escape, and that must claim us all in the end, regardless of our station in life, that, to escape it, you split your soul."

He stared at the younger Riddle thoughtfully, then shook his head again. "I think you just lost something in that ritual. By the time I really started to fight you, you were this pathetic mad thing bent on destroying everything and everyone who stood against you. There were no more ideals; no more plans for the future or for the betterment of magic-kind. There was just your own power and trying desperately to live on past your time. Now, looking back on it, I just wonder how things could have been different if someone realized the road you were going down and helped you." Harry wearily just waved his hand and moved on leaving a very thoughtful looking Tom Riddle behind him.

The next statue he came to was the one that he feared, yet yearned to see the most, and he paused, drinking in the sight of her. "Hermione…" He whispered, and she looked at him, that bright happy grin he remembered so well on her face. He shook his head, laughing a little, but there were tears in his eyes. "Now I know this place isn't real, the real Hermione would've already launched herself at me in one of her patented Hermie Hugs."

Hermione laughed silently and nodded her head. Harry walked up to her, standing less than a foot away, staring at her. "What am I supposed to say to you?" he said softly. "My best friend, my first love? Would we have been together forever and been happily married ever after? Would we have found out after a few more months that we were better as best friends than as lovers? I don't know," he said, his voice scratchy, eyes glistening with emotion.

"But I would've loved to find out. I would've loved to find out many things," he said, smirking a little, "especially, whether or not your hair down there was as curly as your hair on your head." He said, wiggling his eyebrows dramatically.

The Hermione figure blushed rosily, but that was all.

Harry laughed a little, still staring at her, then said simply, his voice full of conviction, "I will make you proud of me." He stared around as all his friends had come forward, including more statues that he hadn't stopped by; all the people that he had cared for. He looked around them, and said, with a smile and tears in his eyes, "'Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends'. I keep part of all of you inside and I am proud … honored to have known all of you."

That said, he shook his head angrily, and called forth his magical power. His hands began to crackle with the Potter Lightning, a family class of magical spells that was incredibly devastating. "Enough!" he shouted. "This trip down memory lane was amusing at first, and then horrifying! Whoever you are, you had better have a damn good reason for this, and even if you do, if you are not powerful enough to give me pause, I will do all I can to destroy you and scatter your ashes across the dimensions!"

He concentrated further and brought his hands up, pulsing with magical energy. With a crackle and a pop, the entire vision faded to reveal a well-built, but incredibly ancient looking castle. And across from him stood someone in a cloak with a skull for her face and eyes that glowed with a blue so cold it hurt to look at them.

Harry stared at her for a long tense moment, then nodded, the tension leaving his body. "I guess you are powerful enough to give me pause. If this is about the so-called Hallows, you can take the stick and the ring with the Stone, though I would rather like to keep the Cloak. It's a family heirloom you know."

Death, or rather the anthropomorphic personification of death in this dimension, who had chosen to take a female form, stared at him. "YOU ARE NOT SHOCKED OR ANGRY? YOU WOULD GIVE UP THAT POWER?" She said, after a pause, her voice deep and cold, feminine, but coming from the end of long tube, or perhaps an empty sepulcher.

Harry shrugged. "Master of Death!" he laughed. "No one can 'master' death. It's just an ending. Dumbledore was right about that at least. Just the doorway to the next great adventure. And no, I don't care to keep them, if you want them back. But, as I said, I would like to keep the Cloak. And, as for being angry, what would anger serve? I can't fight you. I can feel your power and I know what you represent. Besides," he added thoughtfully, "I needed to say some things to them that I never had the chance to say, so, in that respect, the trip down memory lane was good for me."

Death stared at him. She had never come across a being like this. There was no fear his face, no fear in his entire being, yet he stood face to face with the ultimate reality. And there was no longer any anger in him either; he truly did believe what he said. Here, she realized, was a living being who she could deal with honestly, and not expect to have to deal with attempts at trickery or reneging on their deal.

"I CANNOT SIMPLY TAKE THEM." Death said, shaking her head. There were rules to follow when she dealt with the living, and simply reclaiming a portion of her alternate self's power was something she could not do. But talking was also something Death did not like to do much of at all. So she merely cocked her head to one side, indicating with her body language that she was asking Harry to speak.

Harry shrugged, conjuring a seat for himself, and sat down. "I don't want them, as I said. I don't think anyone should command death. It seems a horrible responsibility to give to anyone, and I wouldn't what want the job."

The two of them stared at one another for a moment, then Harry, remembering how the Hallows had been created in the first place, came up with an idea. "Could we perhaps make a trade? I'd rather like a new wand, I've sort of missed the things, though I, of course, don't want to regain the dependency on them that most of the wizards and witches in my own dimension had."

Death thought about it for a minute, then nodded. That would seem to be a fair trade, and she spoke once more. "A NEW WAND IN TRADE FOR THE DEATH STICK, AND THEN FUSED WITH YOUR BODY FOR THE RETURN OF THE STONE. AGREED?"

Had Death an actual human face, it would have been twisted into a grimace of contempt. Of the three Hallows that stone was the one that most horrified her. Death was an ending. It wasn't supposed to be a freaking window that people could look through with the right device, especially not when it caused the dead pain to be looked at like that by the living.

Harry nodded. "Agreed, how do we do this?"

Death raised a hand, and they suddenly found themselves in a massive forest. Harry looked around him and saw dozens, hundreds, thousands of tree types, and just knew that there was only one of each type. Knowing instinctively what Death wanted, Harry moved forward, placing his palm against each tree in turn, asking Death if she could describe the tree he eventually reacted to. He searched for what seemed like hours, yet none of the trees called to him.

Eventually he exited the forest and found himself, suddenly, staring at a tree whose sheer size his mind couldn't even grasp, let alone understand. The word massive seemed horribly inaccurate and far too small to describe it, it loomed like the size of a mountain, that largest mountain you could imagine.

Yet this one called out to him, and he gently reached out to tap a root, which was the only part of the tree he could reach. "This one." It sang to him, far more than his old wand ever had, far more than even the Death Stick.

"A PIECE OF WOOD FROM THE WORLD TREE, YGGDRASIL," Death announced. She was somewhat surprised by that, but set her surprise to one side, gesturing. At that gesture a stick fell from way, way above them to land in her palm. She clicked her bony fingers and the two now found themselves elsewhere in a strange white room, whose walls were made of tiny rectangles that shimmered like mirrors or glass. "YOUR NEW CORE WILL APPEAR HERE."

Harry nodded then gathered himself and sent out a massive burst of magic, as strong as he could, figuring that the more powerful it was, the more it would tell whatever cores were around about him. After a moment, a small crystal filled with a sort of glowing fire appeared in front of him, and he caught it before it could hit the ground. Death now looked a little shaken.

"PHOENIX FLAME HELD IN A SPLINTER OF THE M'KRAAN CRYSTAL," Death murmured. No wonder the mortal wants to get rid of the Death Stick, she thought. Everything he had picked was about life, and the defense of life, while the Death Stick was made to end it.

After that, she transported them back to her castle, and Death conjured up a table long enough for Harry to lie down on. With a series of gestures she indicated her intent, disdaining further verbosity.

Harry gulped a little but nodded and lay down. He could not stop himself, however, as her hands hovered above him. "You know, I've had a few doctor fantasies that…"

Without even thinking, Death smacked him upside the head, and he fell silent with a little grin on his face. Death shook her head, wondering where the heck that had come from, and then decided that she needed to get this young man out of her realm as swiftly as possible. He was life personified, chaotic, living, breathing life, and it was influencing even her.

It took her several minutes to fuse the pieces into his body. The process was slow and rather painful for Harry, watching the M'kraan Crystal disappear into his chest and the wood of the shaft, split in two, disappear into his arms. After what seemed an eternity, however, Death pulled back and nodded her head. "GIVE ME MY DUE."

With the human having his payment, Death tensed, waiting for the young man to try and escape her realm. Few mortals had ever gone through with their side of a bargain made with her in the past without being forced to.

But Harry surprised her once more by simply nodding and reaching into a pocket. He pulled out the ring with the Stone and tossed it to her almost negligently. He then tapped the ring that he already had on his finger, which suddenly transformed into the Death Stick.

He handed that across to her as well, smiling gently. "Now where's the exit and, don't take this poorly, but I hope it will be a long time before I see you again. I have a whole new world to explore," he said happily, his emerald eyes shining, "and a whole lot of dreams I need to achieve for the people I've left behind."

Death nodded and, with a wave, Harry was gone. She looked at the items in her hand and then slowly, methodically crushed them both into a fine powder and inhaled, taking their essence and power into herself, feeling the shard of energy merging with her own.

That done, she turned back to her work with the final thought, I wonder what will happen when that young man meets the one who is trying to woo me. The phrase 'Sparks will fly' will not just be a phrase anymore, ringing in her head.

OOOOOOO

Harry woke up early the next morning, as was his wont. It was both a holdover from his days with the Dursleys and the fact he'd kipped out so early. By the clock next to the bed, it had been barely five in the afternoon when he collapsed. Once he could open his eyes, he immediately looked down at his hand. When he didn't see the ring wand there, he smiled.

So, it wasn't all a dream. Good, I would've been a bit worried if it was. It might have made me question my sanity. This was a joke, of course. Harry knew full well he wasn't quite sane anymore, not after five years traveling the Negative Zone. Still, it hadn't seemed to do anything negative to him just yet.

He glanced up at the headboard and not seeing Hedwig there, shrugged, and got up. He transfigured a fresh set of clothing from the bed sheet and dressed. Following the directions Reed had given him, he took the elevator down and found his way to the kitchen but was surprised to see he wasn't the first one up.

Wyatt looked up as he entered and nodded cordially to the man he had been introduced to last night. "Morning. You're up early, aren't you Harry?"

Harry waved at the Native American, making his way over to the fridge, "I could say the same to you, or is that part of the deal? You cook them breakfast and they don't charge you rent?" He said it jokingly, unsure of Wyatt's relationship to the Fantastic Four, other than Johnny saying he was a friend from college.

Wyatt laughed. "No, I get up to go running in the morning. Around here it's always best to run before the crowds are out."

"I might join you for that. I'd like to get in shape without having to rely on, you know, not eating and letting my magic sustain me. This is sort of a second chance at life, after all. It behooves me to make the most of it. I've far too many to live for to do anything else."

Wyatt sat sipping his tea. He had learned to like tea over coffee from his martial arts masters, and it gave him time to think. Harry wasn't quite what he had expected from the descriptions he had gotten from Johnny and the others. "So, if this is a second life, does that mean you believe in reincarnation?"

"I don't believe in much, not anymore. Religion wasn't really talked about in the Wizarding World, and the Dursleys were Christian, but sure as hell never acted the way that religion said they should."

"Wizarding World? Everyone in your world could do magic?" Wyatt asked curiously. Johnny had said something about him being an exile from a civil war…

"No, the Wizarding World was sort of apart from the mundane world, and so backward and old fashioned, it wasn't even funny. The purebloods, those who were in power, and thought they were better because they could trace their magic back yada yada, liked it that way because it kept them in power. Of course, some of the sods thought that wasn't enough and wanted magicals to rule over mundanes. That was the group I fought, though, I suppose I should have been fighting the powers that be, too." Harry shook his head.

"Hmmm," So, he wasn't part of the status quo, but more a counter terrorist to an extremist group; still, a good cause at least. "My own people have some magic, based on calling spirits and using their powers for various effects. And Agatha has her own powers; thought projection, shielding, and so forth. They're quiet about it, but there isn't a separate society for magic users here. What was this Wizarding World like in the States, do you know?"

"I know they weren't exactly important; just the opposite, in fact. Funny really, considering that America in this world, and in mine, was the world superpower in the mundane world." He raised an eyebrow, and Wyatt nodded, indicating he was correct that it was indeed that way here, as well. Only Russia and China were in the same league, and neither could project power as easily as America could.

"Well, magically America wasn't a united nation, but three warring states. The Cheyenne United Tribes was one of them, and then south and north something or other, not America, some strange acronym. They were barely talked about, outside of derisive jokes in the UK. But I wonder why magic is so open here. You and the Fantastic Four shouldn't even know about it at all, not that I care of course, but it means there aren't any rules or overarching control. That could be good or bad. And one thing I know for certain is that there weren't any heroes, at least of the 'superpowered' nature in my world!"

"Huh, well, there aren't that many heroes, though, there are rumors of some more appearing lately. Johnny and his family are the only group of heroes currently, though I remember hearing stories growing up about the super soldier, Captain America."

"Captain America," Harry said, shaking his head, "how…unoriginal."

Wyatt shrugged, not wanting to admit the Captain had been one of his childhood heroes growing up on the reservation. "Well, what are you going to do with this new life you've been given? With your powers you could certainly be a hero. I imagine you could join the team, make it the Fantastic Five."

Harry shook his head, chuckling. "Being a hero isn't for me, and besides, I don't want my powers to define me. A person's powers shouldn't define him. You are defined by your choices. I want to make a difference, but not just with my powers, with my mind as well."

Wyatt nodded, smiling at the sentiment, one he strongly believed in as well. The two continued to chat as Harry cooked breakfast, discussing what Wyatt knew of history, with Harry nodding at the parts he remembered from his world. Harry did the cooking completely by hand, except at the end, where he waved his hand over the meal and then towards the door of the kitchen. Wyatt looked at him quizzically, but Harry just smirked.

The smell of pancakes and bacon began to waft into everyone's bedrooms, and soon Susan, carrying Franklin, and followed by the others, came in sniffing the air appreciatively. "What is that marvelous smell? Oh, Harry, you didn't need to cook for us, you know."

"Just a small show of my appreciation, Mrs. Richards," Harry replied, bowing grandly. "I'm used to cooking anyway and, despite the reasons for that, I do enjoy it."

Johnny and Ben sat down and immediately began to fight over the pancakes until Harry waved a hand and the plate with them on moved out of reach. "Manners, gentlemen!"

"An interesting, and rather childish display of power, boy." An old creaky voice sounded from the doorway. Harry turned to see an old woman, straight and proud still, face lined with age, with gray hair turning full white in places. She wore clothing that wouldn't have been out of place in the Wizarding World. Her deep, sharp, and intelligent eyes were locked on Harry.

Harry shrugged. "It seemed more efficient than yelling at them. You must be Ms. Harkness, Mr. Richards and the others mentioned you." He pulled up a seat himself, after conjuring a baby chair for Franklin, getting a thank you from Susan, who put the baby in his seat, and began to eat herself. The baby promptly began to make a mess of his food

"I am, and I have to wonder where you have come from to possess magic like that." Agatha's eyes narrowed further; conjuration without a magic circle or even a spoken spell was very advanced magic. She knew only a few magic users who could do that.

"Well, I have questions for you, too. Could we sit down and swap stories after breakfast?" Agatha nodded agreeably, and Harry turned to Ben, who was reaching for an untended plate or bacon. "I wouldn't touch that if I were you."

Ben looked at him, his craggy features confused, but, just then, Hedwig flew down to land next to the plate, and immediately reached down to snag a rasher of the precious substance.

"That's why." Harry said. "So, am I forgiven Hedwig?" Hedwig turned her head all the way around to look at him, then precked softly and went back to her meal. "That's good."

Susan shook her head. "You're quite owl-pecked, aren't you Harry?" Harry shrugged but didn't deny it. "By the way, did you have enough clothing in that magic trunk of yours?"

"I actually didn't have any clothing in my trunk. It's full of… Well, a lot of other stuff really, books, seeds from magical plants for potions ingredients, plans for runic arrays, ward stones, and gold, lots of gold. I figure that can help me get started here. I'll probably need an ID of some kind though."

"I don't suppose your luggage has legs, does it?" Wyatt asked whimsically.

Harry's eyebrows rose at the odd question. "No, I just shrink it and put it in a pocket if I want to carry it with me."

"Don't mind Wyatt; he's a major Terry Pratchett fan," Johnny said laughing. "Though the idea of living luggage that can eat your enemies is one even I find kind of funny."

"Okay, you've grabbed my interest. I take it this Terry Pratchett writes fantasy novels?"

"You're British and you've never heard of Terry Pratchett?" Wyatt gasped.

"I'm British and have never even seen the ocean," Harry replied glibly, though everyone else looked at him in a little shock. "So, explain it to me."

"Well then, why don't we go shopping in a few hours, after your discussion with Agatha? We can get you some clothing, show you a bit of the city, get you used to the world, and show you some of the books Wyatt likes so much. You didn't bring any of them with you, did you, Wyatt?" Wyatt shook his head.

The Invisible Woman nodded. "That sounds like a plan, okay?" Harry nodded agreeably, but all the other men replied that they had other things to do today, thanking their lucky stars that was the case. Harry, however, had no idea what he was in for.

OOOOOOO

Harry spent an informative two hours discussing the differences in magical history from his old world to the current one with Agatha. During this discussion they came to some tentative conclusions. For one thing, magic here could be broken into three categories: invocation, manipulation, and the use of magical items. Some items could be used by normal people, and normal people could learn invocation.

There were some items, however, that Agatha knew of that you had to have a magical core to use. Manipulation of the world around you without invocations or calling on mystical entities for aid was something only those with a magical core could do. The size of that core impacted what a magic user could or could not do without invocation.

Harry's core was, in Agatha's mind, monstrously huge. She had only seen the like in one or two other magic users in her lifetime, and one of them was the Sorcerer Supreme. Nor did Harry use invocation at all and was incredibly leery about the entire idea of calling on mystical entities for aid. He had no wish to use random magical items, though he could, of course, create them. His crisis suit was one such, and he had plans to make more in the future. After all, Annihilus might be only the first of many to target Franklin to get back at the Fantastic Four for their past deeds.

Agatha was surprised at what she learned and was oscillating wildly between being impressed and extremely unimpressed by the Wizarding World. Some of the things they could do with their power, like the wards and specific spells, were fascinating, but the society, the greed, the elitism, and the lack of advancement appalled her, as did Harry's own history. Even given in brief, it was enough to make her want to talk to this Dumbledore person who dared call himself an educator.

After that, Susan took Harry out to shop for some new clothing. Agatha still wasn't up for watching Franklin, but Reed had decided he would be watching his son for the day, something that put another little smile on Susan's face. That promised good things for Reed, which put an almost goofy smile on his own face.

Harry learned firsthand the horrors of shopping, something he had been able to avoid up till now, but still had fun, despite the trip going on for far longer than it should have. The utter and complete newness of everything he was seeing, from the weather, fair and hot, something he wasn't used to, to the technology he was seeing. The CD players were fantastic, as well as the computers, though Susan said they had far better back in the Baxter building. At that point, Harry vowed to spend as long as possible catching up on the technology as fast as he could. He was going to need it eventually. Already Harry was thinking of the future, and what he wanted to do with his life.

Harry didn't notice the glances he was getting from girls and women of all ages, as Susan led him from shop to shop. His green eyes were incredibly striking, his face was thin and sculpted, and his body thin with wiry strength, all of which made him excellent eye candy for the girls around him.

They finally decided on a wardrobe based around jeans and t-shirts, along with a leather jacket that Harry loved at first sight. He refused to allow Mrs. Richards to choose his underwear though, which earned him a chuckle, but he did allow her to choose a few dress shirts and pants for him, as well as a good jacket.

When they arrived back at the Baxter Building, Ben was just leaving. "Hey fellas, you get the kid enough clothing, Sue? Glad ya' didn't try to buy out the store this time."

"Hush you," Sue laughed, "Are you off to see Alicia?"

"Heh, yep, I wanna' ask her out fer a date this weekend," Ben nodded.

Harry grinned, "You go, big man. I was thinking of making a protective amulet for Franklin. If you've got a significant other, I'll do the same for her, if you want. Just tell me what kind of jewelry she wears."

"What will this protective amulet do?" Susan asked, while Ben was coping with the idea that someone might target Alicia because of his relationship with her. He had been so worried about being worthy of her as he was, with his rocky skin and immense strength that he didn't always control, that the idea someone else might hurt her to get to him came at him out of the blue.

"Well, that depends on how much you want them to do. I could make one that creates a shield around the wearer to protect him or her from harm, much like your own shields, Mrs. Richards, but I was also thinking of a Portkey, what you would call teleportation jewelry, which will activate and teleport the wearer to a predetermined safe point, if attacked by someone."

"I think that would be excellent for Franklin, we can set the safe point as the Baxter building for now." Susan smiled happily. Annihilus' attack on her son had really rattled her, and this sounded like a fantastic solution. Ben nodded too, looking thoughtful, then waved goodbye, and left the building.

The rest of that first day, Harry spent looking up what he needed to know and what he wanted to do to create the amulet of protection for Franklin.

It turned out Reed was doing the same thing, in his own way, creating a stuffed bear companion for his son that had a tracking device and a few other offensive toys built into it. It had limited intelligence but was programmed to engage on the sight of anyone pointing anything resembling a weapon at Franklin. Reed just hoped it would be enough, though he was also worried about the powers he saw manifesting in his son.

Harry was able to present the worried parents with the finished amulet the very next day, in the form of a small baby watch. Though, if you opened it up, you would see it was plain metal inside with several runic arrays embedded in the metal. In the end, the defensive array was much like the one embedded in his crisis suit, consisting of two shields, one under the other, which would hopefully be able to turn most weapons.

This turned out to be the case when Reed fired a laser at a dummy wearing the watch. Everyone was pleased to see that it worked. Harry went back to work and created another small bracelet made from a dozen of his galleons. When Ben found out, he wanted to pay Harry back, but Harry waved that off. It wasn't like he didn't have millions of the things after all. Agatha was the only one who was leery of Harry being so open with his talents, but seeing the use he was putting it to, she didn't raise a fuss about it.

OOOOOOO

Harry was as good as his word in other ways. The day after Franklin received his watch, Reed tried to stay several hours in his labs, ironically, going over the information Harry had given him about the Negative Zone, but, as soon as two hours had passed, Harry pranked him. Reed reached down to hit another key, and suddenly his keyboard began to make farting noises with every letter he hit. Reed tried to mute his computer, to no avail, and was forced to concede defeat.

That was the first and last day he tried to spend too much time in the lab as, even replacing the keyboard the next day didn't stop the fart noises, nor did the noises stop at that. After the air siren sound came out from the keyboard, he gave up. This pleased his wife no end, and, eventually, Reed as well, giving him more time with his son and wife.

Nor was he the only one to feel the sting of Harry's pranks. Ben accidentally smashed the breakfast table during an argument, and, suddenly, his meals started to taste like ashes. It went away when he went out and bought another one. Ben didn't complain overmuch as when they went out together, Harry used his power to make the Yancey Street gang, that always tried to get a rise out of him, trip over their own feet whenever they were on the same street.

Johnny, on the other hand, found himself with brown hair rather than blond most days. He and Harry began a mini-prank war that only ended three days later when Susan put her foot down. Susan, as the female authority figure, was not pranked by Harry, nor was Agatha. Wyatt was pranked a few times, but not nearly as often as Johnny or Ben.

For the next week, Harry got used to the technology of this world, and did so at a phenomenal pace, surprising Reed and the others. He also got up every day to run with Wyatt, becoming friends with him, Johnny, and Ben over the week. He also had a few martial arts lessons from the Native American. His over-the-top comments and inability to censor his mouth was funny to all three, though it did, at times, get him into trouble with other people when he went out with Wyatt, Johnny, or Susan.

He even became a decent wingman for Johnny when he went out to party, always able to get him back home, though Harry did extract payment in the form of pranks if Johnny was drunk. Harry didn't meet anyone he was interested in. He didn't really know what he was looking for in a girlfriend, but he didn't find it in the party girls Johnny favored.

The blond was also apparently coming off a forced breakup with his last girlfriend, someone named Crystal, which wasn't doing his own 'mad skills with the birds' any good. In return, Johnny gave him driving lessons, and was astonished by how fast Harry learned. Harry, in fact, became an avid driver and began to look on the internet for the perfect car. He also began to look at the gold market, deciding how to use the massive number of galleons he had, and where to do it.

However, after a week, Harry had a meeting that would change his life, and the future of the world forever.

OOOOOOO

One evening Harry was lazing about, reading a graphic novel in the bath, still loving the ability to bathe and get clean, when the doorbell to the FF suite rang. Harry ignored it for a moment, thinking the others were around to answer it, and thinking it none of his business. However, that notion was proven false when Ben's loud voice rang out, carrying easily through his room into the bathroom. "Hey, green-eyes, there's someone who wants ta' meet ya' out here."

"If they're looking for the Chosen One, Destined One, or anything like that, tell them to go away!" Harry replied blandly, turning the page on his graphic novel. He was really enjoying this series, though why the hell Johnny was a fan of it was rather strange. Maybe flame boy has hidden depths… nah.

Ben laughed. "Sorry kid, but they ain't callin' ya' anything like that, they just wanna meet ya'."

"Fine, I'll be out in a minute." Harry sighed, and rose, then changed into a loose shirt and a pair of jeans before exiting his room and following Ben to the living room. He stopped at the doorway, staring at the odd trio that was sitting with the FF. One of them was a bald man in a wheelchair. Another was a short man drinking a beer next to Ben, with a very strange hair style and eyes which warned Harry to be wary of him.

The one that drew his attention the most, however, was a black woman with seemingly natural white hair, perfect skin, and a body any woman would cheerfully maim for. Her eyes were a strange pearly color, set into a face that bespoke calm control, but a hint of interest in him, though in what way Harry couldn't say.

Harry felt the first stir of interest and opened his mouth to say something when the bald man beat him to it. "Good evening Mr. Potter, my name is Professor Charles Xavier, and I have something to talk with you about."

End Chapter