Central Europe, a castle on the Latverian border.
The ancient great hall had been turned into a laboratory that Victor Frankenstein would have envied. Five sets of equipment filled the points of an golden pentagram that had been inlaid into the green stone of the floor making it look like an enormous circuit board. Glass columns of bubbling liquids fed multicoloured gasses into strange machines. Pulsing banks of electronics attached to these sent great sparks of purple lightning to other machines which focused it into five beams that converged at the top of a dais in the centre of the pentagram, adding to a ball of energy that was already glowing with the power of a small sun.
White coated technicians and green uniformed guards stood around the circumference of the room observing the now unstoppable reaction. Doors at the head of the Hall suddenly opened and a green suited man entered. As one the others in the room turned to him and gave a cross armed salute.
"Hail Hydra." The man responded somewhat offhandedly. "How goes the work?"
A lab-coated technician looked up from a screen displaying a mixture of fast scrolling data interspersed with arcane symbols. "Well, Herr Baron. By combining your knowledge with Zola’s original notes we have a ninety-eight point seven per cent chance of creating new Tesseract."
"Excellent, continue." He turned to another technician. "Doctor, you should have told me you were planning to visit, I would have got some cake."
The technician’s form shimmered resolving into a tall bearded man in a blue suit and cloak. His hands coming up into a defensive position, crimson energy flowing over them. "I was a bit rushed Baron. I must say your new friends leave a lot to be desired."
The guards and technicians were starting to react and all began drawing or leveling weapons on the intruder. Doctor Strange made a circular pass with his hands and they all dropped to the floor, asleep.
Mordo, exploiting his enemy’s distraction hurled a lightning bolt at Strange who barely managed to cast the Shield of the Seraphim in time. The bolt, deflected by the Shield passed into the pentagram where it struck one of the retorts shattering the glass column and allowing the gas to enter the room. When it met the beams converging of the centre there was an explosion and fire started to spread throughout the equipment.
Strange started to chant to cancel his sleeping spell so that the Hydra agents had a chance of getting to safety. Again Mordo took advantage of his distraction. He teleported behind him and clamped energy glowing hands on either side of his head. Strange dropped in agony.
"You fool. Dormammu has once again set his eyes on this world. With this power I could have defeated him once and for all and taken the Dark Dimension for myself. I might have even let you keep this world for yourself. By the time we repeat the work done here it could be too late and I may have to settle for regency of this dimension when Dormammu takes it under his control."
"As for my 'friends', they have proved very inventive." He bent over strange and blew a handful of dust into is face. There was another explosion from inside the pentagram.
"This location is compromised. Evacuate now." Someone set off an alarm and the Hydra personnel began rushing from the room. "Goodbye Stephen, I doubt we’ll meet again."
Strange staggered to his feet. "You aren’t going anywhere by the Crimson Bands of Cit.." He stopped mid spell and collapsed to the ground overcome by a debilitating coughing fit.
"Yes, very inventive" said Mordo as he vanished from the burning castle.
* * *
New York, Stark Tower. Three weeks later.
Lee Kirby had been a loyal member of Stark Enterprises for over sixty years, first in the drawing office helping to turn Howard Stark’s sketches into buildable reality, then later in the publicity department, selling those same miracles to the American public. Now here he was, long after weaker men would have retired, the night porter for Stark Tower. Truth to tell J.A.R.V.I.S. took care of running of the building, the security, minor maintenance and such, but Tony (Lee was on first name terms with all of the Avengers,) had agreed that there should always be a human face to welcome visitors through the front door.
A light on his panel alerted him to possible visitors. He looked out through the wall of glass that fronted the lobby. The storm outside was still raging and the rain made it difficult to see. Lee touched a small button on the arm of his glasses switching the lenses to night vision mode. There he was, a big man, bald, carrying a large bundle, a body? Lee released the door lock and they slid open to allow the man and his burden to enter. He was Asian, dressed in what looked for all the world like green Pjs, not that Lee would judge with some of the people who come and go at the Tower. The man he carried was wrapped in a blue blanket or cloak and moaned loudly as he was gently lowered onto one of the couches.
"Greetings, I am Wong. Quickly, fetch Stark and any others who might help. I fear he is dying."
Tony Stark, Clint Barton and Bruce Banner were engaged in a complex experimental probability study with Nick Fury when the call came from reception. All four men lay down their cards, revealing another winning hand for Fury and rushed to the elevator.
"Sounds like it’s Stephen Strange from the description" said Fury turning the ride down into a impromptu briefing. "Wizard from Greenwich Village. Had been doing some work for me when it looked like Hydra was dabbling in the dark arts."
"You seriously believe in magic?" scoffed Stark.
"You’ve seen the Asgardians, their technology is so different to ours that it looks like magic. Besides, I take a look at you lot and I have to be ready to believe anything!"
"He’s stable, but still in a coma." Tony told Fury later when they had Strange safely in the Tower’s medical wing. "The machines attached to his bed are stopping any further degradation, but I can’t imagine how we can start to fight it."
"It’s quite fascinating, in a horrifying way", added Bruce, looking up from a monitor, "there are millions of microscopic machines invading his cells and attacking his immune system. From what I understand they are feeding on, for want of a better word, the magic in his body and appear to have been specifically tailored for the job."
Suddenly the buildings alarms sounded with J.A.R.V.I.S.’ voice calmly over the top of them. "Unidentified energy readings from medical suite. Caution advised."
The three men instantly assumed defensive positions as a figure coalesced in their midst. He was transparent but unmistakably Stephen Strange in his full sorcerer garb.
"Well that worked better than I expected. Can you turn that noise off, Mr Stark?"
"J.A.R.V.I.S energy identified as Doctor Strange’s ..."
"Astral form, acknowledge and record for future clearance."
Strange regarded his bed ridden body. "I’m not sure that I could risk casting any spells in this form but, by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, at least I can talk again."
The three Avengers, Wong and Strange transferred to a lounge where they found Clint talking to the freshly returned Captain America and Black Widow. Doctor Strange recounted his encounter with Baron Mordo and Hydra for the benefit of the Avengers and Natasha added that their investigations had provided no leads as to the latest Hydra base.
"It’s as if they had taken their whole operation and moved away from Earth." she said.
"That may not be too far from the truth, although Mordo may simply be shielding them magically. If I could use my magic I could probably find them quite easily, but as it is..." He trailed off. "We need the strength of another Sorcerer Supreme if we are to have any hope of stopping Mordo let alone an attack from Dormammu."
"So where do we find him?" asked Rogers, "Clint and I could take a Quinjet and pick him up."
"It’s not that simple. There is only one Sorcerer Supreme per dimension. We need to contact another reality and convince their Sorcerer Supreme to come to our aid. I try to observe nearby dimensions to watch out for possible threats to our own and know of a world where such a person could be found. Normally I could open the gate myself but as things stand."
"Thor!" exclaimed the Captain. "The Asgardians can travel between worlds. But how can we contact him?"
"Oh I know a way." said Fury.
* * *
Another Dimension. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Professor Granger sat in the Her favourite armchair while headmaster Snape prepared a pot of tea, brewed to perfection as only a true master of potions can manage. The summer holidays had just started, all the students and most of the staff had departed, the warm sunlight coming through the open window brought with it the heady scent of the rose garden and the sounds of bird song and the crooning of the mandrakes which were getting ready to flower. Hermione had six weeks of quiet research and stimulating company to look forward to. All was right with the world.
A motion on the far side of the room caught her eye and she looked up from her book to see a patch of the opposite wall start to ripple.
Snape turned as a hole appeared in the middle of the wall causing a wind to sweep through the room scattering papers from his desk and the surrounding bookcases. The hole grew larger until it filled the wall, revealing to figures. The first was a black man with an eye patch, dressed in a grey jump-suit. The other man was larger and dressed like some fantasy Viking. He was spinning a hammer on a thong which seemed to be responsible for both the hole and the wind.
Snape’s stood entranced by the pair who stood before him. Only the sound of the teapot smashing when he dropped it brought him out of his reverie. "Thor?"
"See Nicholas, he must be the one we seek. He recognised the Prince of Asgard even though we have no dealings with this plain."
"Sir," spoke the other "my name is Nick Fury and as you may have surmised we have travelled from another dimension to ask your aid. We have a magical situation going down in our world and need the power of another world’s Sorcerer Supreme to counter it. Will you help us Mister..."
"Professor. Snape, Severus Snape."
Fury turned to Thor "Severus Snape, Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme; it makes some kind of sense I suppose"
"What do you nerd me to do?" asked Severus.
"Come back and fight with us against the Dark Forces that seek to take over our world."
"When you say ‘us’ do you mean the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.?"
It was Fury’s turn to look amazed while Thor only nodded knowingly. "Yes, but how do you know?"
"It would be an honour to meet and work with you." Severus said without giving Fury the chance to finish. "When do we leave?"
"Right away sir, if you’re ready?"
And the three men stepped through the portal leaving Hermione staring after them in open mouthed disbelief, not least at Severus’s parting words.
"Well, well, Nick Fury. Didn’t you used to be
* * *
Stark Tower, that same instant.
They stepped out into a large circular office room near the top of a skyscraper. Here Severus was greeted by the other Avengers, much his apparent delight, while Thor started to slow the rotation of his hammer to close the portal. Suddenly a small leather case flew out of the contracting hole followed by Hermione Granger, arms flailing as she tried to regain her balance after jumping through after it. She failed and landed heavily on her backside.
"Ow. I thought you might need some of your things."
Snape bent to open the case, and opened it, and continued to open it until the contents of a well equipped, portable potions lab were spread out on the carpet.
"Very thoughtful. Now can someone do something to get her home again?"
"I fear not." said Thor, "The portal required not only the energies of Mjolnir but the skills of Heimdall to align it. To reopen it would require another trip to Asgard and there is not the time."
Snape repacked the lab while Hermione was introduced to the Avengers. All the while Stark watched intently trying to work out how he was folding space to fit it all into the small container. After coffee they adjourned to a conference room where they were joined by a ghostly Doctor Strange. He floated over to Snape and Hermione. "You might be more comfortable at my place. My equipment and library are at your disposal while you’re here. Wong will take you. I would come with you but it seems that I am bound to within one hundred yards of my physical body."
They took seats around the large table, Severus managing to insinuate himself between Stark and Captain America, and Fury asked Strange to brief them on the situation.
"We have two linked threats. First if Dormammu does choose to invade he must be repulsed. My partner Clea has the skill needed but not the power which is why we need you Severus. Secondly, if Mordo succeeds in recreating the Tesseract there is little that could stop him from dominating this entire reality. The problem is we have no idea where he is. The base I infiltrated was destroyed..."
"As are every known Hydra base in the world." said Black Widow "and the ruins are so clean that that there are no clues as to where they went."
“There were rumours of Strucker having a base in Sokovia,” added Hawkeye, “but so far the authorities have refused all requests to allow us to follow them up. We'd be risking a major international incident if we went in with the little we have.”
“Couldn't we ask other groups to help?” Asked Severus. “You know the Fantastic Four or the X-Men...” his comments were greeted with a sea of blank faces. “You don't have other superhero groups here do you? Reed Richards and his friends never gained powers in during an experimental space flight did they?”
“I've met Dr Richards occasionally, when our research has overlapped.” Said Tony. “The man's a brilliant scientist but I can honestly say that he has no superhuman abilities.”
There are a few individuals that S.H.I.E.L.D. was keeping an eye on, Hank Pym, that fellow who swings around New York in red pyjamas, but nobody we'd be willing to trust on this” Fury sighed. “It's purely down to us.”
“I see.” said Severus sadly. “This world is so like one I thought I knew, but the more I find out about it the greater the differences.”
“We still appreciate that you're not completely overwhelmed with culture shock, Professor and willing to assist us.” Said Fury and the others around the table nodded their agreement. “Now Doctor, is there anything else that might help us track down a rogue Hydra sorcerer?”
Strange thought for a moment. "Only this. Mordo mentioned building on the work of someone called Zola. I don’t suppose he could be able to give us any information?"
"Arnim Zola? He’s dead. At least twice." Replied the Captain.
"But he did have a base in Switzerland," added Fury, "It was always on the SH.I.E.L.D. to do list to investigate it but somehow it was never very high on the agenda while Pierce was pushing Project Insight. I still have contacts that could bypass the Swiss authorities. With no other leads it could be worth a look."
Tony turned to his fellow Avengers. "We still need to be low profile. I don’t think Thor, Bruce or myself would be suited — it’s not like we’re expecting any heavy combat and Bruce and I would be more use trying to find a cure for Doctor Strange. Steve, Clint, Natasha I’ll have a long range Quinjet ready to leave first thing in the morning. Severus, would you go with them? This magic business is outside of our experience and we could use your input on site."
"Good, get some rest folks, we’re going to have a busy day."
* * *
Greenwich Village, 177A Bleecker Street, the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange.
Fury drove Snape, Hermione and Wong to Strange’s town-house where they were greeted by an attractive white haired woman who introduced herself as Clea. Fury made his excuses saying that the house always gave him the creeps, and returned to Stark Tower.
"I’ll show you to your rooms," said Clea, "Wong told me to expect guests."
"Oh telepathy?" asked Hermione.
The Tibetan patted a pocket on his jacket. "No, cell phone."
Hermione quickly settled into the suite of rooms that had been set aside for her use and had been delighted to find that they contained perfectly fitting changes of clothes including a crisp new set of Hogwarts robes. After a quick shower she made her way to Snape’s quarters where she found him in a sturdy laboratory setting out his potion making equipment.
"OK, spill the beans. You know a lot more about this place than you’re letting on. You might want to impress them with an aura of mystic omniscience but it doesn’t work on me."
"I don’t know what you mean."
"These people. These heroes. They don’t know anything about us, other than that we can use magic, yet you seem to know everything about them. Tell!"
"I read about them."
"We have books at Hogwarts detailing the inhabitants of other dimensions? And you’ve never let me see them?"
"Not exactly. I first read about them before I came to Hogwarts."
"Comic books." Severus said quietly. "In our world these people are all characters in American comic books. There are differences, the Nick Fury I read about was older and white, Jarvis was a real person not a super-computer, but essentially this is the same world."
"So your saying that in an infinite universe..."
"Multiverse," corrected Severus, "but essentially yes. Take our hostess, for example. She’s Strange’s lover and a top level sorcerer in her own right. Plus she’s not entirely human, This Dormammu that they’re worried about, he’s her uncle."
They were interrupted by a knock at the door. Clea stood there as if summoned by Snape discussing her. "Wong has prepared refreshments then I’ll show you around only be careful, rooms don’t always stay where you left them."
"Just like home." thought Hermione.
After a light and disgustingly healthy meal, the three mages stood beneath a bizarre circular skylight in Doctor Strange’s study. It was Hermione’s turn to be awe-struck as she considered the magical tomes, all unknown to her, that lined the shelves. Snape allowed himself a little smirk at his friends wonderment.
"These are only the more commonly used books. I’ll show you the library with the specialised texts in a little while. The more powerful tomes like the Book of the Vishanti and the Darkhold are kept in a side chamber with"
"The Orb of Agamotto." completed Snape, unable to resist.
Before Clea could comment, Wong entered carrying a bundle which he spread out before Snape.
"The Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto. The master feels that you should have use of them while you are acting for him."
"Thank you." said Snape lifting the cloak, "but I don’t need this to fly, I can do that myself."
"Oh, go on. You’re dying to try it on. You know you want to look the part." said Hermione.
Severus removed his billowing robe and put on the Cloak over his clerical coat. It hung limply, a little too long and as he stood there on of the points of the collar flopped over like the ear of a mongrel puppy. "I look ridiculous"
"No." said Hermione stifling a giggle, "you’ve just got to get used to it."
"And it to you." added Clea.
* * *
Switzerland, a castle reputed to once have belonged to Baron Victor Frankenstein.
Hawkeye’s expertly landed the Quinjet in the courtyard and the four adventurers made their way into the castle. Cobwebs suggested that no one had been there in years and dust motes flashed in their torch beams but the Widow cautioned them that such things were easily faked to give just that effect. She and the Captain took turns at the lead, one covering while the other scouted ahead. Hawkeye took the rear and Severus the centre floating a few inches above the floor, partly for show and partly to stop him tripping over the Cloak of Levitation which trailed behind him sweeping a broad path through the dust on the floor.
They passed through several rooms converted to offices and small labs but found nothing to help them in their quest. Finally they came to a large lab dominated by an ancient valve computer and a slab-like operating table on which lay a dormant robotic form. Steve looked in horror at the pictures and charts lining the walls depicting the experiments carried out on U.S. Soldiers during the War.
"We need power." called the Widow.
Clint threw a large switch by the door and the the computer started, valves flashing and the reels on a wardrobe sized tape recorder clattering as it came to life. A small screen attached to what looked like an Enigma machine started to glow and as the four watched the following words appeared "Sie hinter"
As one they turned to see that the android had activated and stood looming over them in the gloom. It was humanoid, a colossus of grey metal and plastic. Larger than a man (though not Hulk sized) well muscled and deceptively quiet. Its small box-like head bristled with camera lenses, antennae and other sensors. A large screen in its chest flickered and resolved into the face of Arnim Zola.
"I can’t say that I’m surprised to see you still alive, Captain, but I never expected you to to show up at my home unannounced. And with so many friends."
Hawkeye had an arrow cocked but seemed unsure at what part of the figure to aim. Natasha had rolled to the side and had a gun levelled at its chest screen. Severus stood wand raised not even bothering to keep his flying spell active. Steve Rogers held his ground and confronted Zola.
"Somehow I didn’t think you were gone either, but this?"
"It always pays to have backup, Captain. Particularly when your allies have outgrown their usefulness."
"So you’re no longer a lackey of Hydra.?"
"Hydra? We had such ideals, Schmidt and I. But those fools in America. They had no interest in a stable world order. All they wanted was personal power. That’s why I was so ready to destroy us both when we last met."
"So you know nothing of their current whereabouts? They have sided with a Transylvanian magician and if they are not stopped will enslave the world or open it up to invasion from another dimension."
"Another invasion? Like those that seem to follow your Asgardian friend? That seems needlessly repetitive. Don’t look so surprised Captain. Even as a recluse I keep up with world events, I do have wifi here you know.”
"Then help us. Make amends for some of your crimes."
"Crimes? All I did was for the cause of science. For the foundation of a new pure world order. For progress and strengthening the human race."
“Captain, we must agree to disagree. I think it’s time we had an ending."
Unnaturally fast Zola took a swing at the Captain. Equally fast he brought up his shield to parry but the force of the android’s blow was such that he was thrown back into the computer’s casing. Before he could recover the others fired and the android toppled forward, three smoking holes in its chest screen and small explosions still sparking away within its ruined circuitry.
"He wasn’t so tough." said Natasha as she turned her attention back to the computer and tried searching its archaic storage for relevant information.
A low grinding sound echoed through the room. They turned to see the wall behind the operating table sink into the floor revealing a huge dark space behind it.
"Did you do that?" Severus asked. Natasha shook her head.
Cautiously they entered. The room was surgically clean unlike the rest of the castle. Their light from their torches and Snape’s Lumos did not reach the far wall and barely touched the sides of the room picking out indistinct shadowy forms.
A steel shutter dropped behind them with a loud clang sealing the room. At the same time banks of lights came on overhead revealing a vast warehouse lined with alcoves. And in each alcove a Zola android.
"Shit!" Snape muttered in direct contravention of the Comics Code.
Squinting against the glaring light Snape watched as one of the androids walked to the center of the room. “That was unnecessarily violent, but as you see ultimately pointless.”
Clint reacted first and drew a bead on the android. Its screen went dark causing him to hold back the shot. It was then that another stepped out behind him and brought its fist down on the back of his head. He collapsed unconscious to the floor.
Natasha opened fire and Zola leapt to another body, then another and another until her guns clicked empty. Zola fired an electron cannon from his latest body, The Widow convulsed in its beam and dropped.
Meanwhile Snape and the Captain were doing their best to limit the number of bodies available to Zola, Snape with binding spells Steve by smashing their screens with his shield. Some bodies proved better armoured than others and it was one of these that grabbed him by the leg and swung him into the wall knocking the wind out of him. Zola then transferred into the next body in line and grasped his arms. Then froze while a third beat him until he hung limp between the first two.
"Bugger" thought Snape as the android turned towards him. He raised his wand. "Don’t make me hurt you, the real you not just your mechanical body."
"And what do you think you could do to me?" Zola gloated firing some form of energy weapon at Snape which he deflected with a hastily cast Protego.
It was clear that Zola had all the advantages. His bodies were stronger and did not tire. Sooner or later one would connect. Severus convinced himself that he really had no choice.
"I warned you, I tried to be reasonable." He levelled his wand. "Avada Kedavra!" Green light shot out and surrounded Zola’s body. When it faded the android's screen was a blue blank.
Snape allowed himself a deep breath while he considered what he had done. The android’s screen flickered and Zola’s face once more stared out from its chest. "Is that the best you can do?"
Zola lunged for Snape who tried to step backward to avoid the blow but only succeeded in tripping over the hem of the Cloak of Invisibility. As he fell, arms flailing, his hand connected painfully to something hard and metallic. There was a sound like a nail being dragged across a very large comb.
When Severus dared to open his eyes he found Zola stood over him, immobile. The android’s sensory box stood proud of its body on a toothed column and Zola stared impotently from its screen.
“How? How?” he wailed. “How could you possibly know where to find the maintenance standby button?
Severus attempted to regain his composure by straightening the cloak. He failed. Undaunted he rose up into the air and drifted over to the immobile Zola. “I live and breath hidden knowledge.” He said enigmatically. “Remember that should you ever again face the Sorcerer Supreme.”
It soon became clear that Zola could do nothing further and Severus set about freeing the Captain and revive the others. Once Hawkeye had recovered sufficiently to pilot the Quinjet the four Avengers and their prisoner returned to New York.
* * *
The Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange.
Hermione sat in Strange’s meditation chamber contemplating the Book of the Vishanti when Severus returned from his debriefing with Fury. Angrily he tore the Cloak from his neck and threw it down beside her.
"That’s it, I quit!"
"But I thought you enjoyed playing superhero?"
"Enjoyed it? It’s bloody dangerous! I’ve survived Dark Lords, giant snakes, Longbottom’s potion mistakes and now they want me to go up against some otherworldly psychopath with a god complex. A man could get hurt that way."
He sulked off to his room leaving Hermione looking thoughtfully at the Cloak.
A little while later Clea entered.
"So when are you going to tell him?"
"Tell who what?"
"Tell Severus that he’s not your Sorcerer Supreme."
"I have a feeling that he already knows, deep inside." She gestured and the Cloak flew up and fastened itself at her shoulders. Then she grinned at Clea. "But I was probably going to wait until just before we saved the world."
About a hour later Severus, feeling much better for a shower, change of clothes and a luncheon provided by Wong, came looking for Hermione. He found her floating cross legged staring into the Orb of Agamotto while Clea directed the scrying spell they were using to search for Mordo. Every so often she would reach out and some magical tome would fly to her hand to be added to the collection floating in the air before her, pages turning by themselves as they sought to please their new mistress.
"Got you." She suddenly exclaimed "Contact the Avengers"
She stood and faced Severus. There was a visible aura of power surrounding her. She now wore both the Cloak of Levitation (which fitted her smaller form perfectly) and Eye of Agamotto but had transfigured her clothes into 'something more suitable'. Gone were her normal robes replaced by a corset bodice and short skirt of the deepest red over a fishnet body suit. Black, thigh length boots completed the ensemble.
Snape looked her up and down. "By the Whorey Host of Hoggoth" he exclaimed.
"I heard that W, Severus Snape."
* * *
A magically hidden Hydra base. Somewhere in Asia.
As final apocalyptic battles go it was something of a let down. Armed with Hermione’s information the Avengers took Mordo and his Hydra goons completely by surprise. The small army soon fell before the combined might of Thor, Iron man and the Hulk while Captain America, Fury and the Black Widow rounded up technicians and Hawkeye brought down any trying to flee with net arrows.
Hermione, Snape and Clea followed magical trails to locate Mordo himself and his circle of acolytes. Complex wards dropped before simple Finite Incantatem spells cast by the Hogwarts duo and Clea's energy bolts made short work of any guards who dared stand in their way. Finally they came into a chamber where every surface was covered with glowing runes and sigils. Here Mordo stood, a glowing cube held aloft in triumph.
"Too late. Dormammu has accepted my challenge and even now speeds across the void between our worlds where he will perish and I shall rule throughout the cosmos. Now kneel before me and prepare join me in my victory."
Two wands, two voices one word “Expelliarmus!”
The cube leapt from Mordo’s hand and shattered on the chamber floor as the other Avengers arrived to join the magic users.
Mordo screamed in horror as the roof opened to reveal a giant being with a blazing head. Dormammu reached through and grabbed the gibbering mage hurling him into the darkness behind him. Then he surveyed the assembly before him.
"You have new friends."
"Yes. May I present the current Sorceress Supreme and defender of this world."
Dormammu regarded Hermione. "Sorceress? A woman?”
“Well I must be going. The alignments are all wrong for an invasion today. Oh, and your mother says 'Hi' and try not to forget her birthday it’s the big five -oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh this year."
And then he was gone.
* * *
Stark Tower. A further three weeks later.
It was time for Snape and Hermione to return to their own world. Hermione’s power levels had continued to grow and there was a genuine fear that she might explode. Snape had worked with Banner and a less than willing Arnim Zola to produce a cure for Strange’s affliction and now he prepared to open the portal that would send them home.
Both were dressed in their usual robes although Hermione now sported a case identical to the one that held Snape’s potions lab.
"What have you got there?" he asked.
"Stephen let me copy some of his books. There’s ways of doing magic in those that we’ve never seen back home."
"And do you still have your costume?"
Hermione nodded conspiratorially, a sly grin on her face.
Goodbyes were said, hugs given and the two mages stepped through onto
* * *
a street corner in front of a coffee shop.
"This isn’t Hogwarts."
"No. I think we’re still in America. Near the sea somewhere if I’m not mistaken."
Hermione picked up a newspaper that was lying in the gutter and showed it to Snape.
"Definitely an America but I don’t think it’s ours. I mean San Fransokyo, what kind of a name for a town is that?"