It wasn’t until after the wizarding world settled down after the whole attack with Voldemort that people started to think about different ways to unite the houses of Hogwarts. It was an effort to get rid of the segregation between the houses and make sure that nothing ever forced another person to drastic measures like that again.
Sure, some of the kids didn’t get along so well at the beginnings of the teams but with time the professors found that they all eventually bonded and came to care about each other. It was always a triumphant moment when the whole team came together to finish a task effortlessly. But most teams didn’t mix well at the beginning.
In fact, between one Tony Stark in Slytherin and one Steve Rogers in Gryffindor, there was almost enough fighting to account for the entire school.
Enough that the Headmaster had debated on separating them into different teams. Something that hadn’t ever been done before. What made Headmaster Fury pause in his decision was the fact that the both of them worked so well with the rest of their team. It would have thrown off the dynamic if one of them was reassigned. (Not to mention the other team that would get saddled with a new person in place of someone they had gotten used to already.)
So the two were stuck in the same team until one of them killed the other or some how they miraculously bonded. The first option being the more plausible.
It was a shock when, after a particular incident, they ended up working together better. Granted this affair had put a lot of others in danger so it wasn’t something the staff of the school was willing to try to do again.
Attempting to train boggarts was a bad idea in hindsight.
Everyone in their team, aside from Thor and Tony who were on broomsticks, was on the ground trying their best to round up the rogue creatures. They were relatively easy to find considering there was usually a few kids cowering away from their fear that was looming over them.
A swift ‘ridiculous’ chant and a well placed lockable chest set nearby by another person was the typical plan.
Unfortunately one nasty boggart managed to break the chest before they were able to imprison it and escaped towards another group of kids.
If it wasn’t for Tony’s flying skills more or less tackling the boggart down the hall, the group of first years would have been scarred for life as well.
Natasha and Clint ushered the first years away from the group as Thor and Steve went towards where their teammate had landed. Thor quickly dismounted his broom and ran beside Steve since the ceiling was lower than he was used to flying.
Steve thought that Tony and the boggart had managed to run into another person since there was another adult in the area but Steve quickly realized that it was the boggart in the shape of Tony’s fear.
The Slytherin shook his head and got up slowly from where he rolled to. He quickly withdrew his wand and pointed it at the figure that was getting up and walking towards him. The only reason he hesitated was because the scene was like deja-vu to him. Tony, instead, ended up backing away as the figure advanced. As with anytime he faced his father, his mind went blank with fear.
Steve saw the abject terror on Tony’s face as the figure strode towards him. When his back hit the wall, Steve noticed that Tony had dropped his wand, lifted his arms as if he was protecting his face and flinch away.
Natasha’s voice rang out firmly from behind the two shocked Gryffindors, ’Ridiculous!’ She managed to push the boggart into the closet across the hallway from her own housemate and immediately went forward. She pushed past the two blondes and knelt down next to Tony who had slid down to the floor.
Seeing Tony like that had made Steve realize that there was a lot more behind the person that he thought was simply over privileged and cocky. Steve saw Tony as a real person. A real person who was afraid of their own parent. Afraid enough to forget that they could defend themselves.
The team worked a bit smoother after that. Tony was understandably wary around the rest of them for a week after the ordeal. Tony hid behind his mask again but the team had known that it was a defense tactic by this point and didn’t let him push them away.
Tony was grateful.
So the team was kept together. There were still some hardships from differing point of views and stubbornness but now it was based on mutual respect rather than annoyance. It was a small step up, but a step up nonetheless.
Fast forward two more years and the team was clicking better and could start to read each other in their mannerisms and body language. They also hung out together during free periods and meal times. Unfortunately hanging out in their free times was something that managed to get them into more trouble than usual since a few of their team members (Tony and Clint) were more on the troublemaking side of the coin.
It was a normal day for them. Clint, Natasha, Bruce, Steve and Tony had a free couple of hours and were wandering around the grounds when they found a lake. Clint and Tony being Clint and Tony had ended up making a contest about who could throw a rock the farthest.
The first stone barely broke the surface of the water before the ground started to shake and a thing erupted out of the water in what could only be described as anger.
It was a typical day.
Tony shot another spell at the creature that was half out of the lake, “So what are we looking at again Bruce?!” He yelled as he dove behind one of the fallen trees in the area. The creature whipped one of it’s tentacles toward the hiding spot but was deflected by a spell from Steve.
Tony peeked from behind the tree to see Natasha twirl her wand and throw a boulder into the creature to keep it from attacking for a few moments.
Bruce was hiding behind different foliage and he called out the information again, “It’s a cross between a Kraken and a Portuguese Man-of-War. It remembers who attacks it the most and goes after the heaviest hitter first. The only way to take it out is to even out the attacks and wear it down.” Bruce cast his own spell when it came back out of the water.
Tony got up quickly in order to not be apart of collateral damage when the thing deflected another boulder towards his hiding spot. He fell forward from the impact that was right behind him and immediately rolled onto his back to cast his own offensive spell to distract it from the last teammate who had attacked.
The creature seemingly shouted and flung its appendages out wildly in frustration.
Steve managed to shout “Everyone get down!” before it happened so most of them were able to make it to some cover.
Tony, unfortunately was still out in the open on the ground. He managed to cast the protego charm and an invisible shield came up between him and the offending tentacle. He was dimly aware of the shouts of his name and cast another spell to make the tentacle fly off of him. That done he ran for the surrounding trees, “That was a close one!” He shouted to let everyone know that he was alright, “So does anyone else get a hentai vibe from this thing or is that just me?” He called out with a small smirk.
Clint would always deliver on a joke, “Stark, you’re a kinky shit!” A blast of magic punctuated his sentence and laughter had replied to his statement.
Steve called out somewhere to Tony’s right, “Back to the problem guys, we need to some how get that thing to stop and fast. It looks like it’s starting to get mobile.” His tone was grim and everyone knew that a creature as destructive as this was was not a good thing if it could travel.
Bruce shouted back from his location, “It shouldn’t be able to get far from it’s source of life, since it’s an aquatic it wouldn’t travel far from this lake.”
Tony listened as the appendages slammed against the ground again, causing a slight tremor. He heard Natasha yell out from her hiding spot as well.
“Can’t we just get away from this area and be good? If it can’t travel far wouldn’t it just calm down and go back to normal?” A tell-tale sound of magic being casted right after her speaking meant that a tentacle got a little bit too close for comfort for her.
Tony shook his head even though he knew no one would be able to see it, “It would just attack the next people that stumble on it that much more-shit!” He jumped away from the tree he was hiding behind as it started to tip forward. The monster was pushing it down with it’s wandering limbs.
Bruce saw Tony dive out into the open and before the creature could attack he cast a fire spell. He was taken off guard by the sudden defensive sweep of a tentacle and was thrown backwards.
Tony watched and yelled for his friend, “BRUCE!” He saw in slow motion as the Ravenclaw get thrown back into the bushes and his vision tinted red. Tony stood up and strode towards the creature with his wand out. He didn’t hear the calls from his group over the static in his ears. Tony was pissed.
No one was allowed to touch his friend. It didn’t matter that they were in different houses. They had met on the train to Hogwarts and talked the whole way to the school. They didn’t let the reputations of the houses taint their friendship when Bruce was sorted into Ravenclaw and Tony into Slytherin. It didn’t matter to them. So when people tried to pick on Bruce because of his muggle-born status Tony was right there pushing back.
Tony’s mind filtered through all of the spells that he had memorized and figured electricity would do the trick on a water creature. He let loose all of the anger he felt when he saw his friend get attacked and channeled it into his spell casting.
The creature retreated more and more with each hit, every time it tried to attack the offending person, Tony just hit each tentacle that came close. He pushed it back into the water and stood at the waterline for a few quiet seconds breathing audibly.
The rest of the group was silent at the display of sudden anger. When Clint let out a low whistle Tony snapped out of it and quickly ran to where his friend was, “Bruce!” He registered the rest of the team following him and he ended up dropping his wand in favor of helping the Ravenclaw up into a sitting position, “Hey, you okay?“
The brunet grunted and rubbed the side of his head, “Yeah, it wasn’t that hard of a hit.” Bruce nodded at everyone and gave them all a half-smile.
Steve went to Bruce’s other side and helped support him to stand, “We should probably take you to the infirmary just in case.”
Clint patted Tony on the back and chuckled, “Dude, you totally went homicidal on that thing.” He meant it in a more impressed manner and shook his head, “Where was that Tony when we had that test last week?” he asked referring to the team test that they had to complete.
Natasha interrupted before Tony could get a word in, “Are you sure you were supposed to be in Slytherin not Ravenclaw? Those spells were a few grades higher than we are supposed to know.” She said knowingly.
Tony just chuckled and shook his head, he had asked the sorting hat to be put in Slytherin because anything else would have been a bad idea with his father. He opened his mouth to say something to deflect the attention but his face contorted quickly into shock when he felt something curl around his foot. With a shout Tony was suddenly pulled away from his group and towards the lake by a lone tentacle wrapped around his ankle. He managed to grab a hold of one of the tree roots sticking out of the ground and grunted at a sharp pain in his shoulders.
Various shouts of Tony’s name echoed in front of him and he managed to see them all starting to run towards him. He noticed the looks of terror on most of their faces and the barely calm on Natasha’s. Tony felt another tentacle slither up his other leg and give a harsh yank. It managed to make one of his hands slip. He looked up again in time to see Natasha pointing her wand at his face and a bright flash of light.
Her spell made Tony let go of the tree and get pulled into the lake.
Tony knew that she did it to save his life. But he felt a small sense of dread when he realized he had left his wand next to Bruce when he was helping the other up. Tony was stuck underwater with a creature that would try to drown him, without a weapon.
Steve rounded on Natasha, “Why did you do that?! We could have helped him!” He was shaking in controlled anger. What he saw was Natasha’s spell hitting Tony in the face and pushing him into the mass that wanted him. His mind swirled with phrases like ‘putting someone out of their misery’ as he clenched his fists.
Bruce’s voice carried through the trees just behind them, “She saved his life, Steve. She cast the bubblehead charm to make sure he would be able to breathe under the water.” He looked at the calm surface of the lake and worried his bottom lip with his teeth, “The creature wont try to do anything until he’s dead from drowning and since he can breathe for the next hour we have some time to think of something.”
Clint started running back to the castle, “I’ll get a teacher!” He was gone in a matter of seconds. When his friend’s lives were on the line it was no laughing matter. They may have been cracking jokes before but now that Tony was in danger he knew better.
Natasha managed glare at Steve one last time for assuming that she would let her fellow housemate die and then stared back at the water, “Knowing Tony, he’s probably casting some spell to get him out of there, we all know his knowledge isn’t that lacking.” She turned back towards Bruce who she was hoping would agree when she noticed he was holding something.
Bruce shook his head, “It wont be that easy, he dropped his wand when he was helping me.” The other two could hear the fine sliver of guilt starting to make itself known.
Steve placed a hand on Bruce’s shoulder, “Not your fault Bruce.” He was about to add more words but Natasha ended up cutting him off.
“Right now we need to figure out how to get Stark out of there. Self-guilt can wait.”
Steve glared at her for being so blunt but then noticed that she wasn’t just talking to Bruce. There was a tenseness in her shoulders and the grip on her wand was tighter than usual. A shot of realization dawned on him and he wisely kept quiet. Being the one to cast the spell that made Tony let go of his hand-hold probably was weighing on her own conscious.
The three of the students looked back towards the lake and tried to think of different ways to get their team mate out of the clutches of the sea creature. They weren’t able to come up with much of a plan by the time Clint came back with Professor Coulson and Headmaster Fury.
Fury and Coulson had them quickly recap what had happened and after Natasha finished her reasoning behind the bubblehead charm both of the adults nodded. Coulson placed his hand on her shoulder and gave it a light squeeze, “That was smart thinking Natasha.” He glanced at Bruce who was still hanging back and smiled at him as well, “You all handled this situation very well considering this creature is entirely beyond your skills.”
Coulson quickly stepped forward to where the Headmaster was standing next to the lake and nodded at him.
Clint finally caught his breath and swallowed, “I thought they would know the best on what to do.” he said quietly to his team. The habit to continuously have everyone on the same page was too strong for him to simply ignore. He looked at everyone and then back to the teachers. He figured they all would be better when Tony was retrieved. When, not if.
Coulson waved his wand over the lake and chanted quietly. The team noticed a few merfolk heads pop up from the surface and relaxed marginally. If anyone knew what to do, it was their Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
Tony didn’t know how long he had been at the bottom of the lake. All he knew was the murky darkness and the tentacles that were constantly checking to see if his pulse was still active. It was a weird feeling being at the mercy of something that wouldn’t attack until he was dead. Tony assumed that the creature was probably a bit frustrated at his lack of drowning but was thankful about it not taking it out on him.
He was halfway figuring out the science behind wand-less magic (it wasn’t like he could do anything else.) when he felt a slight tug. Tony blinked and looked at the creature only to feel himself get tugged on again. He looked down and saw some mer-people swimming around the creature and attempting to get him out of the tangled limbs.
Tony blinked when one of the mer-people swam into his eye line and was attempting to pull off the tentacle around his torso. With one arm free he started to help pull himself out as well. The bubble around his face was starting to lessen and he knew his time was just about up.
Tony managed to take one last deep breath when the creature just let him go entirely. He glanced back curiously and saw the mer-people surrounding it and hissing at it. Tony let his curiosity go and started to swim towards the lighter water.
He broke the surface and gasped a deep breath of fresh air. Tony coughed a bit before swimming towards the shore where his friends were at calling his name. He was a few yards from shore when a hand grabbed his arm. Tony looked up at Clint and smiled gratefully.
Judging from the pissed off look Fury was sporting, Clint went against what he had said.
Tony coughed a bit more while being helped (dragged) from the water. He allowed himself to lay face up on the dirt next to the lake and relax knowing that he was safe. He breathed in the fresh air for a while, ignoring his teammates before opening his eyes. He looked at all of them before resting on Bruce, “That’s the last time I’m saving you.” He said dryly.
The group laughed before Tony felt himself getting dragged upright and talks about the infirmary from Coulson with a no nonsense tone made him stay quiet about being fine. In truth he was but he also knew that Phil wouldn’t buy it. Neither would Fury for that matter.
Tony leaned more on Bruce, knowing that he was probably self hating and smiled at him. Bruce smiled back before placing Tony’s wand into his hand, “Thanks.” Bruce said quietly.
Tony just shrugged and pocketed his wand, “Anytime.” He really couldn’t hold a grudge on the other boy, let alone anyone else on his team.
Besides, Tony was halfway to solving wand-less magic and he was going to figure it out soon. He just knew it.