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Of Strangers and Friends

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Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Harry Potter or the Avengers...

-This will be very short compared to my other fics, even with six chapters in total, but I've always liked 5-and-1 fics so I've decided to do one just for fun (I've been doing quite a bit of those recently but I always have small plots running around in my head so I've finally decided to do something about them). It's unrelated to my other stories so just consider this as a sit-back-and-enjoy sort of thing.

-I will be posting a chapter of one of my other fics in a few days. Last exam in two days:)

Summary: Five times Tony Stark crossed paths with Harry Potter and the last time that never really ended.

 

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Chapter 1 – Just a Pair of Green Eyes

To be honest, the first time Tony met Harry – not that he knew it was Harry back then – all he remembered was a pair of brilliant green eyes, completely out of place in the godforsaken Afghanistan desert he had been struggling through for hours.

~1~1~

After burning the terrorists' weapons and destroying their camp, Tony had managed to peel off what remained of his suit following the agonizing crash-landing back to solid earth when his thrusters had failed.

Getting to his feet, he took one look around and promptly wondered if he had escaped his captors' clutches only to die of thirst out here. But he hadn't gotten so far, risked so much, lost so much, just to give up now, so he picked a random direction and started walking.

Stumbling every few steps, Tony tried to keep his breathing even and his paces steady. He was pretty sure someone somewhere had said that keeping a steady, if slow, speed would get him farther in the long run. Then again, that could just be something he remembered from that children's book; the Tortoise and the Hare.

He had to bite back some of the hysteria threatening to overwhelm him. He really was going crazy if he was thinking of kiddie stories now of all times.

Tony didn't know how much time had passed as he walked on, the sun beating down on him mercilessly, but he tried to catch a glimpse of anything that looked remotely like a village or a helicopter or even just a person, no matter how unlikely that would be here in the armpit of civilization. Surely the people sent out to look for him hadn't given up yet, had they? Rhodey, if no one else, would still be searching, wouldn't he?

But why would they be? A sly voice remarked at the back of his mind, either his conscience making itself known or the product of his exhausted mind. Possibly a bit of both. You're just Tony Stark, the egotistical bastard everyone puts up with because you're rich and they want what you can make.

The thought put a painfully empty feeling inside him and it brought back the words Yinsen had said to him during their captivity.

A man who had everything but nothing. Who would've thought such a paradox could exist?

His foot caught on a rock as he staggered along and he braced himself for the harsh impact of the ground. His arms were too tired to come up and catch himself and his legs seemed to have momentarily stopped working.

To his surprise, instead of falling flat on his face and, with the way his luck had been going lately, probably breaking his nose as well, he slumped against something soft and cool against his skin even in this weather. It took him a few moments to work out that there was a strong arm now supporting him and a hand pressed against his forehead. He couldn't help the hoarse relieved moan that slipped from his raw throat at the fresh respite its temperature gave him.

Everything after that was a haze of foggy images, and Tony was only aware of a bottle pressed to his lips before he started gulping down the cold liquid with greedy vigour. At least half the water he took in didn't actually make it down his throat as he choked and spluttered when he drank too fast but it still soothed the raging thirst from dying to just bearable.

"Who-" He barely managed to rasp out as he tried to squint past his blurry vision, but all he even thought he saw was a bright green gaze peering back down at him.

Like emeralds, his mind supplied unhelpfully.

The stranger didn't answer right away and a few seconds later, Tony felt a funny tingling sensation around him before he found himself floating in the air.

I have definitely lost my mind, Tony thought dimly as he began to move again while a cool breeze rushed over him. He couldn't help the contented sigh that escaped his lips.

"No one important," A soft tenor with a British accent reached his ears, startlingly kind and English after three months of death threats in multiple languages. "I was passing through when I saw you. Seemed rather impolite to leave you on your own in this state."

Tony managed to catch a touch of humour in the man's words but there was also genuine concern mingled with it, and that more than anything else allowed him to relax. A part of him had been terrified that it was another terrorist who wanted his skills, keeping him alive only to stick him in another cell, but a terrorist wouldn't particularly care about his well-being beyond not dying.

"I suppose you're the one who's had all those American military officers running around?" The voice mused. "Mr. Stark, I assume?"

So this stranger knew who he was. Even better; the man wouldn't suddenly change his mind about rescuing him if he was already helping now.

"I can pay you," He offered weakly, struggling to sit up while bobbing in the air. He was kind of disappointed that his mind was currently too muddled to question the whole flying thing in detail. "If you could just drop me off near one of the rescue teams, I'll make sure you're paid in full."

The man chuckled, sounding amused, but Tony thought he heard an undercurrent of annoyance mixed in as well. "Keep your money, Mr. Stark," The voice said. "If that had been my goal, I would've demanded a guarantee of payment first. Rest assured, I will get you back to your people safely."

Tony didn't reply; he couldn't. The darkness that had already been threatening to close in around him for a long hellish while now dragged him down so that he only saw snatches of sun and sand and blue sky. In his brief moments of awareness, he thought he heard the same voice talking but he could never make out what the person was saying.

He didn't even know when he finally sank down into a fitful sleep, but the next time he woke up, it was to a black ceiling, and for one heart-stopping moment, Tony could only recall the prison cell he had been in, locked away and fearing the next time his captors lost what little patience they had.

He shot bolt upright, ignoring the aches in his body and looking around wildly, lashing out when someone clutched at his shoulders. It was a long minute before he finally noticed who was shaking him, obviously trying to snap out of the last lingering pieces of his nightmares.

"Rhodey!" Tony gasped, stilling as best he could when he recognized the officer in front of him at last.

"Thank god," Rhodey muttered, releasing him as Tony tried to stop the trembles wracking his body. "Welcome back to the land of the living, Tony."

Tony didn't answer immediately, looking around and noting that he was in a helicopter. "How-"

Rhodey just shook his head, leaning back with a sort of forced calm. "You don't remember? We found you in the desert. You must've escaped somehow. Thought you were-" He stopped abruptly, a haunted look passing over his features for a moment before he continued. "Anyway, we're heading back to the States now."

Tony nodded distractedly, feeling like he had forgotten something but was still too on edge to really think about it. "I blew up the camp," He mumbled, the memories slowly trickling back. "Started walking. I-"

His brow furrowed as he tried to remember what had happened after his suit had dumped him in the middle of the desert. A flash of green came to the forefront of his mind.

"Where is he?" Tony asked stupidly, eyes flickering around the helicopter.

Understandably, Rhodey gave him an odd look. "Where's who?"

"Him-" Tony shook his head in frustration as he tried to put his confusion into words. "The guy who helped me."

Rhodey's expression became worried. "Tony, you were the only one there when we found you. There was no one else around."

Tony stiffened anxiously. That couldn't be right. Someone had helped him, had carried him across the desert.

Right?

He frowned again and tried to dredge up a face, but he couldn't recall anything substantial.

"It was probably just been a hallucination, Tony," Rhodey told him gently. "You were under the sun for a long while. Trust me, there wasn't anyone else there. We even looked around. If you managed to escape with someone or even bumped into someone along the way, there's no way they could've gotten far if you were separated."

Tony wanted to counter this statement – hallucination? Really? – but he had nothing to counter it with so he nodded and said nothing more, a wave of fatigue washing over him as his mind finally registered everything his body had gone through.

"Just do me one favour, Tony," Rhodey added, and Tony looked up in time to catch the overwhelming relief on his friend's face. "If you ever decide to take the fun-vee again, remember this and ride with me next time."

Tony managed a slightly hysterical laugh at this as the realization of safety finally hit home.

Neither of them said anything more as the helicopter carried them back to America, but Tony, exhausted but not quite able to sleep just yet, found his thoughts turning back to the green eyes. He remembered the stranger's voice but couldn't quite recall what he had said. He knew it hadn't been a figment of his imagination because there was no way he could still be alive without the man's help.

Proof or no, Tony knew he owed his life to someone out there.

~1~

Hours later, after two cheeseburgers and his public announcement to shut down the weapons manufacturing division of his company and in the privacy of his lab, Tony would wonder if he would ever see the green-eyed stranger again.

He had no way of knowing just how large an impact on his life said stranger would make.

 

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First chapter done! Like I said, this is a smaller fic overall so the scenes won't go into too much detail.