You," Stark gritted out, his shoulders tense and fists clenched. "You are seriously going to kill me. You are stripping my beautiful brain of all its intelligence and it will explode. Even a brain as highly advanced as my own can't take all the mixed signals you are giving off!"
Harry blinked innocently at the flushed billionaire as he stood over Harry. The minute he'd appeared in front of the Avengers team with an enthusiastic Ron and Hermione by his side, the billionaire had dragged Harry off into a small room, leaving Harry's two best friends in the hands of five rather surprised superheroes.
"Are we seriously in a broom cupboard?" Harry asked, looking around the cramped space and getting horrible flashbacks of green quills and towering blonde hair. "I apologize, I really do, but you're a bit old for me, see. Plus, not really my type."
He was rewarded with a rather shocked splutter from Stark – he figured he should call him Tony, now - which was really quite strange as he was certain the older man had done and said more provocative things in his time. He certainly had a reputation for it.
"Let me get this straight," Tony began, looking as if he'd like to pace around but couldn't because of the small area. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but Harry got there first and raised an eyebrow (an act he had perfected from Remus.)
"Straight? Really, Tony? I can call you Tony, right, I figured, what with the broom cupboard and all." He added, basking in the other man's silence. "If Rogers files a sexual harassment act against you, I won't be surprised, what with all the ogling."
"You… I- Don't –Shut up," the genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist spluttered, rather eloquently. Harry sighed and leaned against the wall, waiting for the other man to talk. He thought, with a sense of resignation, that this might take a while.
"You show up in New York – for no reason at all, I might add-"
"I was on vacation." Harry supplied helpfully, pouting as Tony ignored him and ranted on.
"-on the exact same time as an alien invasion, save all our asses with your weird magic mumbo jumbo, knock out about a bajllion aliens, tell all of us magic exists, which goes against my religion, by the way, because everything you've done has just broken every rule of physics that ever existed, and you personally know Fury, do some weird ass teleporting shit that again, seriously defies every single law I know of physics-"
"It's called apparation, it's very simple once you-"
"-then you talk down Loki of all people-"
"-technically, he's an alien, not a person-"
"-and then you pretty much kill all of us from shock with the fact that Agent is alive, not bloody dead-"
"-Agent? Who the hell-"
"And you also covered me in glitter, what the hell was that-"
"Oh come on, you can't tell me you didn't enjoy that just a tiny bit-"
"-then vanish again, saying you can't help us because you're Top Error or whatever it is-"
"-Head Auror. With an A."
"SHUT UP!" Tony shouted, flailing around wildly with his arms and narrowly missing the cleaning liquid on the shelf on the wall. Harry rolled his eyes but extremely uncharacteristically, closed his mouth, as if looked as if the man would collapse in an epileptic fit.
I could really, really, use a Firewhiskey right now. Like, right now. At this exact moment, he thought longingly.
"-and now you're back, again, doing that teleportation crap again, which nearly gave me a heart attack, which I'm really too young for, by the way, I exercise, kinda, and I eat healthy, most of the time, when I feel like it, but that's not the point, and this time you even brought along two other people who barely look as old as you, and you look about five years old, by the way, and Agent is alive, what is even going on, you are killing me, five days ago my life was perfectly normal-"
"-you were a superhero with a genius level IQ and a metal glowy thing in the middle of your chest which powers up a tin suit that you fly around in for fun," Harry finally interjected. He sighed as he watched Tony falter, confusion written all over his face.
"I admit I wasn't going to come back," he relented finally, sitting down with a thump and pulling his wand form its holster, which he twirled around with his fingers. Tony huffed but sat down with him. "Ron and Hermione –those are my friends, by the way- are coming to help. And before you ask, they're the same age as I am, and they're just as capable. Loki 's plan isn't over. You really think he did all of this just because of a grudge against his brother? There's something bigger going on, and you need all the help you could get. There's magic involved, and magic's more my thing than yours. If you don't want my help, that's fine too."
"Well, of course I want it-"
"Oh, and hey, did you tell Legolas and Terminatress about Coulson? Being alive, I mean. They seemed pretty normal when we arrived," Harry added, as an afterthought. From what he had been able to judge, the two assassins had had rather close friendships with the fallen agent - surely they would have been acting differently if they had been told the news.
"No," Tony admitted, a crease in his forehead. "None of us have got the guts. We were going to after dinner. "
Harry grinned, totally sympathising with the man. They'd probably kill everyone on the ship. "Then it's settled!" Harry jumped to his feet brightly. "Now if you've let it all out of your system, can we leave? Unless, of course, you're planning to use a quill to interview me about my parents. No?"
Tony just stared at him in befuddlement before letting out an incredulous laugh and heading to the door.
"Wait, look out-" Harry clambered back, but it was too late. Tony's elbow knocked over the mop leaning against the wall, which then led to several brooms and dustpans clattering loudly to the floor while Tony hit his head on the shelf above him, sending him reeling back onto Harry, who collapsed onto the side of the door with a loud oof. The door shot open under the weight of the two men, leaving a very open broom closet and Harry collapsed on the floor with the man sprawled on top of him.
"Are we interrupting something?"
Harry groaned and looked up, wide green eyes meeting amused brown ones. "Hermione! Help me! I can't die like this!"
The bushy haired witch scoffed and pulled Harry to his feet, smirking as Tony lay in a heap on the floor, surrounded by cleaning equipment. The rest of the Avengers milled around, looking curiously at them. Steve's cheeks were flushed pink. "Were you… I mean-"
"What are you on about?" Harry asked curiously, brushing himself off and looking at Ron, who seemed to be as clueless as he was, which wasn't very surprising. Hermione snorted loudly.
"Broom cupboard, Harry."
"Oooohhhhhh," Harry grinned, helping Tony up. "Do you mean- wait, what was it they said in your time? Fondue?"
Tony gaped and nearly fell down again. Harry looked up, caught Clint's eye, and winked at him.
"Oh no!" he gasped, bringing his A-level acting skills to the surface. "Tony, sweetheart, we've been found out. We won't be able to keep our relationship a secret any longer. We have to tell them."
There were several muffled choking sounds from Clint's direction, and Harry could see a very slight tilt to Natasha's mouth: her equivalent of giggling like a little girl. Steve was bright red, Bruce's shoulders were shaking, and Thor looked very confused.
"My friends!" he boomed, finally catching on. "Truly, you shall be blessed with a long and fruitful marriage. May you have the finest offspring-"
Clint and Bruce turned away quickly, suspicious walrus-sounding noises coming from the pair of them. Steve looked extremely uncomfortable, as did Tony, who was quick to splutter objections. "No, you don't, Harry, what are you doing, that's my thing, I normally make people uncomfortable, especially Cap, this is not okay, we are not together-"
Ron and Hermione, who had taken their usual positions by Harry's side, exchanged rueful glances with each other. If Harry and Tony teamed up together, everyone was doomed.
"Don't worry, Spandex," Harry finally assured the Cap, taking pity on him. "I'm not corrupting Tony. We were just having a chat."
"Excuse you? Corrupting me? I am way older than you, I should be the one corrupting you!"
"Shut up, Stark," Natasha interjected, laughter fading from her eyes. She eyed the extra witch and wizard on board warily. "Who are you?"
"Harry's friends," Hermione replied, not backing down from Natasha's gaze and giving her a slight smile. "I'm Hermione Granger, this idiot is Ronald Weasley. We're here to help as much as we can."
"Excuse me?" Ron hissed in Hermione's ear. "Thanks, Hermione, way to-"
Hermione stamped her foot on Ron's quickly, her smile bright as ever as Ron collapsed with a moan of pain and a squeak behind her.
The red haired assassin nodded back, seeming more comfortable with Hermione than she had been with Harry. Her gaze flicked down to Ron, convulsing on the floor and back up, looking slightly amused.
Everyone's jaws nearly dropped as she smiled sincerely back, gesturing for Hermione to follow her. "I'll show you around," she said, as the two women fell step in step together. The remaining men, Clint included, stared dumbfounded at them as they walked leisurely away together, the sounds of their chatter filling the hallway. There was laughter, too. Terrifying.
"Oh God," Clint and Ron whispered at the same time, looks of complete and utter doom on their faces. They then swivelled to look at each other, a look of conspiracy rising on their faces.
"Ron Weasley," Ron said, finally getting off the floor and stepping forward with his hand outstretched. Clint took it and grasped tightly. The two men looked as if they would tear each other's hands off. Finally, they both released with a grin.
"Clint Barton," the remaining SHIELD agent responded. "I'll give you the grand tour."
Harry watched, utterly befuddled, as his friends merrily went on their way with two usually cold-hearted assassins. "I've never seen Agent Romanov act like that," he said, left in the company of Tony, Steve, Thor and Bruce. Again.
They all shook their heads. "Neither have we," Bruce agreed. "Looks like your friend got her to warm the icy cockles of her heart."
"Speaking of which," Steve crossed his arms, having now regained his composure. "Didn't you say you weren't coming back? Who are your friends?"
"You may want to sit down, Cap," he said wearily "If you have a freakout anything like Tony's, it's gonna be a while."
Harry sighed, stretching back on his uncomfortable mattress with a yawn. After giving a lecture to Steve, having being given a lecture by Fury, which he had promptly ignored, he had retired to a small room for him, directly next to Ron and Hermione's.
It was plain, with a simple bed with a steel frame and white cotton sheets, empty walls and a small bathroom attached. It wasn't the most luxurious of places, but he'd slept in a cupboard for 11 years. It would do.
What was going on? The brief insight he had had into Loki's brain (which was seriously messed up, by the way, it was like he simultaneously hated himself with a deep and burning passion and yet still thought he was the fucking queen of the universe at the same time) had told him enough to know that the battle was only just beginning. However, while Harry had many unorthodox methods that Kingsley turned a blind eye to, he wasn't a big fan of popping into people's heads every so often. Reminded him too much of Dumbledore, and while he had loved the old man, he had been a massive pain in the arse all the same.
He had a feeling there was something bigger going on, and the thought of it sent excitement coursing through his veins. How long had it been since he'd had a proper challenge?
With a flick of his hand, images whirled around his room in quick succession, memories of his past flying past. Harry watched idly as he briefly stopped to snigger at a memory of Dumbledore in florescent violet robes and a bird's nest resting on his hair before settling on a memory of one of his conversations with Snape's portrait, about a year ago.
"Severus," Harry nodded, conjuring an ornate chair to sit on and propping his feet up on a stool.
"Potter. I suppose I should be bowing gratefully at your feet."
Harry sighed ruefully, glancing up at the sneer on the man's face. "Really, Severus. Must we always do this? It's been years."
"Tell me," he leaned forward, propping his chin up on his hands. "What do you know about the Cruciantur Potion?"
Snape's portrait leaned back, a flicker of surprise on his face. They usually did a lot more bantering before actual questions were asked. "Where did you come across that potion, Potter? It is not something easily found in a book, unless your know-it-all sidekick stumbled upon it."
"What of her?"
"She's currently lying in a comatose state in Mungo's. She was given a small vial of it – slipped into her morning pumpkin juice. Barely any healer knows about it, but it seems unlikely she'll wake."
Snape's face cleared. If Harry hadn't known better, he could have sworn the man had sympathy in his unreadable onyx eyes.
"I see," he murmured, and Harry laughed, a little brokenly. "And the child?"
"Gone," his past self murmured vacantly. "They had to remove it from her stomach. It would have been born in three weeks."
Harry scowled darkly, vanishing the memory with a twitch of his finger and flopping back down on the bed. After that incident, he'd gone a little crazy.
He jerked and stood up, turning to look at Natasha, who was standing in the doorway, an unreadable look on her face. He could've sworn her eyes were softer, though.
"If it isn't my favourite assassin," he grinned broadly, executing a perfect bow. "What can I get you? Some snacks? A condom?"
"There are two new people on board," she replied, after sending him a death glare that he could have sworn aged him five years. "They claim to know you, but they broke into Loki's cell and attempted to start a negotiation."
"New people?" He asked, curiosity peaked. "APART from Ron and Hermione, you mean?"
The agent sent him a well, obviously, dimwit look, and turned smartly on her heel. "You may want to see them. Assess if they're a threat or not. They're in the holding cell next to Loki's."
"Hey!" Harry called after her as she started walking away. "What did they look like?"
"Tall, red headed, freckles. One of them has a slightly more crooked nose. Wearing purple cloaks and matching brown pants. Why?"
"Son of a bitch." He groaned, Natasha turned back to look at him, curious.
"Do you know them?"
"Yes," he muttered, running a hand through his hair. "And now I have to look for them, because they're definitely not in their cells anymore."
Natasha's questioning look was broken off by the red alarms that sounded through the Helicarrier, followed by the robotic voice that sounded over the speakers.
"Prisoners escaped. Prisoners escaped."