Natasha sat on the edge of Harry’s bed, watching him sleep. She remembered when she’d found him, how skinny he’d been, small birdlike bones striking beneath nearly translucent skin. Those bright green eyes that had watched her so carefully, but so full of hope, and then so full of love. It had given her no choice but to love him right back, and she didn’t regret a second of it. He’d been so little back then, so small and afraid, but so willing to trust her. But not just her - her friends, her family. Their family. She reached out carefully, brushing the hair from his face, and showing the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. The scar that seemed to be the cause of all the hurt Harry had gone through.
“Doesn’t it seem strange to you that there weren’t any schools he could be going to stateside?” Clint asked, wandering through the room to sit on the windowsill, glancing back at her across the room before his gaze was once more drawn to the outside. All of them had found that the rolling hills that surrounded their new house were as calming as they were mystical. There was something about the way the fog rolled across the green hills that made them unable to help but believe in magic even more than they already did.
“There are.” she admitted with a small frown. “I contacted Steven Strange after we spoke to professor McGonagall. He said there are two schools; one’s in Salem but it focuses on natural magic - potions, shifting. The other one’s in Atlanta.” she shrugged, meeting Clint’s gaze. “He looked into it for me, because he was actually fairly curious about another vein of mystic arts. He said Hogwarts looked like it had a well rounded curriculum, and beyond that, Harry’s parents attended. So did all the Potter’s, apparently.” she looked back at Harry, smiling sadly. “And he wants to go. How can I say no to that?”
“You can say no if you think it won’t be safe. He’d understand that.”
“We’re already here.” She countered, and offered a smile when Clint’s eyes was drawn longingly to the countryside. “And we can keep him safe.” Clint’s gaze snapped back to her then, watching her carefully, watching how still she’d gone, how violence raged in her eyes. He pushed off the window sill, moving over to sit next to her, wrapping an arm around her.
“We can and we will. This Hogwarts can’t be all that hard to find. It may be tech adverse but Tony and Harry have been working on ways around that for years. I’ll bet you anything that Jarvis will be able to catch something on his sensors now, even if it’s just a blip.” Natasha didn’t answer but he felt her relax, just a bit. Clint grinned.
“I think we should send that professor another letter. We definitely need some sort of guide on how to navigate this. A whole magical world. Who freakin’ knew?” and now Natasha couldn’t help but smile at her partner’s excitement.
“We’ll have to buy his school supplies.” and Clint muffled a cackle in her hair.
“He needs a cauldron. A Cauldron, Nat.” and he cackled again. This time, she rolled her eyes, leaning forward to press a gentle kiss to Harry’s forehead before standing, pulling Clint after her.
“We’ll tell him first thing tomorrow.”
“Cool. I call dibs on telling Tony we’re going owl shopping.”
Harry had dreamed about what Hogwarts might be like, dreamed of the magical world, but even his dreams hadn’t prepared him for this. He gaped at the shops around them, at the colourful robes everyone was wearing.
“Diagon ally. It’s like the whole world has shifted. Diagonally.” His uncle Clint snickered. Harry wondered if he realized he sounded slightly hysterical. When his aunt had sent a letter back to professor McGonagall on how they could retrieve his school supplies, the response had come swiftly. They were given an address where they would be met by a family who could help guide them. They’d found themselves met by a large family of redheads who’d introduced themselves as the Weasleys, one of which was also going into his first year of Hogwarts. Ron seemed as nervous and excited as Harry, though he wasn’t at all phased by the strangeness of Diagon Alley, clearly having been there before.
“Come on, Harry! Gringotts is this way! Mum said Hagrid was supposed to meet us there.” he darted ahead but Harry paused, looking back at his aunt who was chatting with Mrs. Weasley. She met his gaze and smiled, nodding, and without any further hesitation he tore off after Ron. Natasha watched as Harry ran off, and nearly jumped when Molly Weasley set a hand on her arm.
“You mustn’t worry, dear. Harry’ll be alright. My twins, Fred and George, they’re just up ahead, looking at one of the newest broomsticks. I swear those boys prefer to be off the ground more often than on it.”
“That’s something I understand.” she admitted, glancing back at Clint who was talking animatedly with Arthur Weasley, Molly’s husband. These people were very kind, Natasha decided, and she was glad the professor had set them up to meet.
“Does he like to fly?” Molly asked, curious but also unsure of what that would mean for them, and Natasha grinned.
“Not exactly. But he likes to climb things. Trees. Mountains. Buildings. It’s a sport.” and that wasn’t too far from the truth. They’d had a talk with Harry about keeping their profession a secret for now, and he’d looked at her with an expression that said that was very obvious but he agreed all the same. Molly was nodding now as if she understood exactly what she meant, bright smile on her face as she too glanced back at her husband and Clint.
“So, you and Clint, are you married?” and Natasha didn’t bother to hide her smile.
“No, but he’s my closest family.” and Natasha didn’t miss how Molly’s eyes softened at the words, understanding more than Natasha expected.
“Of course. You look just like her you know.” she said then, and Natasha’s brow furrowed, unsure of why it was being mentioned. “And he looks just like his father, James. But he has Lily’s eyes.” her gaze was firm now, as was her grip on Natasha’s arm. “People are going to know who he is, even if they don’t see the scar.” her mouth was set in a firm line, and for the first time, Natasha realized that Molly was far more aware than they’d given anyone credit for, and there was an anger in her for the world around her that she hadn’t seen until now. “Whatever they expect, none of you, and that includes you and the rest of your family, are obligated to give it to them.” she looked sad now, and Natasha placed her own hand over Molly’s. “I know why Dumbledore wanted you to meet us, and while I’m glad for it, glad to have met you, I also believe you deserve to know the truth of what happened.” It felt like ice was sliding down Natasha’s spine.
“What do you mean - what happened?”
“Not here dear.” and Molly gave a bright smile that completely hid the worry she’d had before as she turned away from Natasha and a surprisingly loud shout let her.
“Fred! George! Leave your brother alone!” she all but bellowed, and Natasha returned the woman’s smile, despite the worry she now felt. Despite how helpful professor McGonagall had been, she was now fairly certain that the older woman had left some things out. She intended to find out what.
As promised, Hagrid was waiting for them outside of Gringotts, and Harry gave a wave that was eagerly returned.
"Welcome to Diagon Alley." The half giant greeted cheerfully, and Harry beamed, looking back to shar the expression with his aunt Tasha and uncle Clint as they approached. He felt a twinge of regret that everyone couldn’t be there - they’d wanted to come to Diagon Alley with Harry, but it had been decided it was best to keep the group small so as not to draw attention. Looking around, Harry couldn’t help but wonder if they even would have been noticed in all this strangeness. “Who’s this?” Hagrid asked, grinning again. “Let me guess, a Weasley?”
“This is my friend, Ron.” Harry introduced, and Ron simply beamed.
“Hiya Hagrid.” and the half-giant grinned in response, offering an awkward half wave as the others reached them.
“Hello, Hagrid, dear. It’s so nice to see you. How are the pumpkins?” Molly asked, and Hagrid simply beamed.
“Oh they’re right huge already, they are. I’ll make sure to bring one by the burrow in time for Halloween.”
“If you have the chance I’ll make sure you have a pie for your troubles.” she responded with a soft smile, and Natasha realized this is really who she was, a mother to her core.
"Ready to see yer vault?” Hagrid asked then, turning to Harry, and Harry was quick to nod, beyond excited as the group of them went inside. They’d left the twins with Arthur at a sweets shop that Molly had said they would all have to visit once they were finished here, but the rest of them moved into the bank. Never having seen the creatures inside before, Harry looked around in awe, but Clint and Natasha managed to school their expressions. Clint glanced at Natasha who just lifted a brow in response, and Clint shrugged. It wasn’t the weirdest thing they’d ever seen.
"Goblins." They all heard Hagrid say, and Harry hurried a step to fall into step with the half giant, Ron hurrying to keep up.
"What was that, Hagrid?"
"These are goblins. Nasty folk. Greedy. But smart." Harry just gave a hum, but there was no missing the sparkle in his eyes as he looked back at his family. They arrived in front of one particular goblin who sneered at them over his desk.
"Mr. Harry Potter to see his vault."
"And does Mr. Harry Potter have his key?" Hagrid rummaged around in his pockets some before producing a tiny key which the goblin accepted.
"Oh! And a message from Headmaster Dumbledore." He handed over an envelope and neither assassin missed how the goblins eyes flickered to them, but they both stayed quiet. Natasha had no intention of catching any suspicion and missing a single moment of this. As soon as the key was in hand, the goblin disappeared from his seat, moving down the stairs to the ground where he stood just above knee level. Natasha cast a narrowed look in Clint’s direction and the archer kept his expression carefully blank but Natasha knew him well enough to know he was fighting a laugh.
“Follow me.” they did as they were told, following the Goblin past the desks and into what looked like an old mining cart. It didn’t look secure, but Natasha followed anyways, pulling Harry to her side. He went easily, looking just as cautiously at the rails, and she bent to press a fond kiss to his hair. He, in turn, grinned at her. The cart shot off without warning and it was only her training that kept her on her feet. She narrowed her eyes at the Goblin, and for the first time, he didn’t look smug, quickly looking away and back to the lever he was using to control the cart. When they snapped to a halt, the Goblin beckoned Harry forward, unlocking a vault. It opened to a cave filled with gold, and for a moment all Natasha could do was stare. She floundered for a moment, unsure of how much she would need. While they’d asked about the monetary system, they didn’t exactly know how things were priced. Obviously noticing her hesitation, Molly moved forward, smiling kindly once more. From the look of wonder on Ron’s face, this was a lot of money than he was used to seeing, but Molly just took the bag Hagrid offered and scooped two handfuls of the gold coins in - galeons if Natasha remembered correctly.
“There you are dear. I can explain how it all works as we go. What do you say we have him measured for robes first?”
Natasha listened as Harry regaled Steve, Tony, and Bruce with the stories of their shopping trip - from Gringott’s to broomsticks to picking his wand. He’d shown them Hedwig first thing, shown them the books, how they’d bought an extra one because the pictures moved. Even as she watched him sharing all about their day, about the people they’d met, she couldn’t help but think back on what Molly had told her, pulling her aside over lunch.
“There was a war. A war that we won, but it was because of everything your Harry lost. Everything you lost when Lily and James were killed.” she’d murmured, eyes casting around to make sure no one was listening. “But some of us believe that he wasn’t killed that day. After all, as unusual as it was for anyone to survive a killing curse, the fact that it could rebound and actually kill someone - someone like him -” she broke off, shaking her head. “Dumbledore is a good man. He’ll do whatever he can to keep Harry safe at Hogwarts, but, please. Be cautious.” and she’d taken Natasha’s hands then, sincerity shining in her eyes. “If there’s ever anything you need, you just ask us, alright?” and Natasha could only nod with the tightness in her throat, hands holding just as tightly to Molly’s. It had been Clint, who’d come up to them quietly, tips of his fingers brushing over her back that assured her of his presence.
“Same to you. We may not be magical, but-”
“Magic doesn’t make the man, Clint. The man makes the magic.” there were so many inappropriate jokes and Natasha held back a wince knowing Clint would very probably make one, but instead, there was an intensity to him she hadn’t expected.
“We’ll be there for you as well. Whatever you need.” He grinned then, and it was the roguish one Natasha had always found so charming. “These kids? They’re all that’s gonna be left of us. Gotta make it count, right?” and Molly had simply beamed at him, patting his cheek gently. When she’d bustled away, Clint had turned to Natasha, and this time she reached out, wrapping an arm around his waist and pressing a kiss to his cheek. He just squeezed her tightly in return before pulling her back towards the others.
Even now, Clint was watching her from where he sat next to Bruce, and when she shook her head he shrugged, but when she looked away she could still feel his gaze on her, making sure she was okay. Her own gaze fell on Harry, watching how animated he was talking about their day - but not only that, how often Ron came up, the first friend he’d had of his own age. She may be worried, especially with what Molly had told her, but she would move mountains to make sure Harry didn’t lose this opportunity. Harry looked over at her, grinning, and she grinned back, the expression fierce. She would burn the world over before she made him lose that expression.