The softly spoken word was said with the faintest hint of a British accent, highlighting the oddity of the situation. It was just so freaking polite.
The assembled Avengers all turned to look at the speaker and blinks were repeated.
Tony was the first to break the silence.
“Kid,” he said. “What the fu-damn hell are you doing here?”
Green eyes stared at them all blankly.
“I beg your pardon,” the soft looking kid said. “But I was sent by the Director to speak with you, Captain America.”
They glanced at the war hero, who shook his blonde head emphatically. “No, I don’t know you, son. But aside from that, we’re in the middle of an invasion from aliens.” Steve’s face twisted at the phrase. It sounded absurd to say it and even stranger to hear it.
The green-eyed teenager looked around at the screaming horde.
“Oh, so that’s what they are,” he mused. “Let me help. The Minister sent me to further diplomatic relations. I think he will agree that this is so. Before that though...”
And within two heartbeats, the stranger vanished into nothingness, though Clint could still see the distortions left behind.
“What – “ Clint started to say, before jets of red light originating from where the kid was standing started to take down aliens.
It seemed that was that. Steve shook his head and started to arrange them at strategic points in order to keep the chaos at just one point and at the same time, maximizing their potential.
More than one person jumped though when his British voice came out of nowhere.
“I will go around and see what needs help the most,” the stranger said.
“That’s starting to piss me off,” Natasha growled under her breath.
“You and me both, sweetheart,” Stark remarked.
Tony was just starting to stand up from his rather heroic stunt in the portal when the stranger appeared again, looking as though there had been there the whole time. He didn’t even look ruffled, or dirty. He looked like he took a pleasing stroll through the park.
Tony wanted to hit him.
“Would you stop doing that?” Clint asked plaintively.
Tony kind of agreed. Vehemently.
The kid did another one of those unflappable, British expressions that ought to be patented.
“I beg your pardon,” he said. “I have been making sure no structure is weakened so drastically and falls over. Your city really needs some major refurbishment.”
With a groan, Tony pushed himself up from the ground and sat up. Looking around, he could say that the clean up would most definitely be worse than the fighting. For one, that fall had given him bruises. Everyone else wasn’t much better. Aside from the kid and Thor (but he was a god, who knew what could hurt him), everyone looked pretty roughed up.
“Kid,” he groaned out again. “Unless you really can’t help it, don’t use words with more than three syllables. Saves everyone the headache.”
In hindsight, insulting an unknown ally while still barely conscious was not his smartest move. Then again, people always complained that he did stupid decisions every day.
“I will endeavour to reduce my vocabulary,” the kid answered.
Clint started to laugh. Being a person who appreciated practical jokes, he realized that the kid was enjoying poking Tony’s metaphorical buttons. If he could make a guess, the kid didn’t talk like that at all.
“Sure,” he choked. “Endeavour away. What’s your name?”
The kid smiled at him – and whoa, what a smile – and said, “It’s Harry. Harry Potter.” He looked around the rubble and added, “Do you think there’s anyone out there who’s willing to serve breakfast? Or perhaps an early lunch? I woke up late, you see. I had no idea an invasion could take so long.”
At some point, the adrenaline had faded away and things just looked hysterical. Or perhaps they finally adjusted to the kid’s sense of humor.
“Shawarma,” Tony demanded imperiously. “That’s all I’m gonna say. There’s one two blocks down.”
Everyone else looked at the broken pavement, the upended cars, the blocks of loose building and decided against it.
“Anybody else have another idea?” Harry Potter asked. “One that won’t have us walking through the maze-like death-trap that the street has become?”
A hotel was still open. It was literally across the street.
“Hey,” mild-mannered Bruce Banner greeted the cowering concierge. “Good morning. Do you guys serve breakfast?”
The concierge fainted. Everyone gave Bruce a look of annoyance.
“What?” he asked, plainly bewildered.
Natasha snorted. “Bruce. You don’t exactly inspire safety and comfort with how you look.”
The ratty, almost-in-pieces jeans and the dirty man wearing it gave her an offended look. Harry took pity on him and somehow produced a shirt.
“Next time,” Tony said solemnly to the annoyed scientist. “Let the Brit do the talking.”
Harry, who exuded unflappable and clinical professionalism even while rifling through a sequined purple handbag, didn’t even react.
When they finally found late breakfast (or early lunch, depending on your point of view), consisting mainly of leftovers from the kitchen of a wedding planner’s office (the asking also involved the threat of bodily harm towards the Brit’s person, since the cook was armed with a frying pan and not afraid to use it, even on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), they got around to interrogating Harry Potter.
“So, the lights?” Stark asked. “A new weapon?”
Potter looked a bit baffled at the questioning, which rang some more questions in Natasha’s head.
“I suppose you could call it a weapon,” he answered slowly. “But it’s a singular kind of weapon. Only one person could ever use it. But there are different kinds of it, and it chooses different people.”
Natasha could actually see Dr. Banner taking mental notes.
“How fascinating,” the doctor murmured. “It’s like taking the idea out of Thor’s weapon, Mjolnir.”
Stark was leaning closer and Natasha remembered with cold clarity that Stark had been a weapons manufacturer. It was one thing to know it, and another thing to know it.
“Can I examine it?” he asked eagerly.
Natasha cursed and hoped it wouldn’t explode on all of them.
Potter tentatively procured a stick. There was no going around that. It was a stick, no matter how polished and no matter how nicely carved the handle was. It was a stick.
While everyone else around her shared looks of ‘what the fuck’ Thor finished his meal (his proportions were ridiculous) and looked at the stick.
Then he exclaimed, “Oh! A sorcerer! How wondrous! We at Asgard have long since pondered if you had perished. All of you vanished from Heimdall’s sight centuries ago!”
Wizard. Did she hear that right?
Potter didn’t fucking refute it, or look shocked. He just nodded. Like it was fact.
“Thank you,” he said politely. Then he cocked his head to the side in a distinctly bird-like manner. “I suppose we vanished in the time the Witch Burning’s started getting popular. Thank you for worrying though.”
Clint was the first to recover. Natasha liked her partner for his sense of humor, but she wished he could read the mood, which was set on the setting of Disbelief.
“Can you turn people into frogs?” he asked eagerly.
As far as she was concerned, that was like an invitation to be turned into one. So she wasn’t the only one not surprised when, in the archer’s place was a croaking frog.
Contrary to wearing a terrified face though, the frog looked pleased. Then, to her mounting horror, turned to her and croaked.
Knowing Clint’s propensity for pranks, she could take a pretty good guess what he wanted.
“NO,” she said loudly. “If you try it, I’ll electrocute you until you’re a fried frog.”
Potter laughed and turned the frog into a man again, much to Clint’s apparent disappointment.
“Damn it, I could have asked for a kiss,” he muttered.
Rogers reached over and whacked him at the back of his head before she could.
“Stop it,” he said sternly. “What if he’d left you like that?”
Potter looked genuinely shocked at that, reassuring half of the table’s occupants of the teenager’s morals.
“I wouldn’t,” he said earnestly. “Permanent Human Transfiguration is against the law, as well as impossible to do. Nothing can hold another shape forever. There’s always an indefinite thing to factor.”
Natasha decided she liked him.
Fury’s reaction to the teenager though, was simply beautiful. Tony didn’t know the director could turn so many shades of colors.
Harry extended his hand. “Pleasure to meet you, Director Fury,” he said pleasantly. “We’re very sorry to have received your message late. The Minister sent me instead of the squadron you asked for.”
A squadron of wizards would have been nice, Tony mused.
“Potter,” Fury muttered. “Of course he sent you.”
That was, as far as Tony was concerned, invitation to ask who the hell Potter was. No one exuded professionalism that good and have the willingness to prank people at the same time. It just didn’t add well.
Everyone else thought the same, what with the questioning looks being sent Fury’s way. Fury bore it for all of one minute before he caved in. Tony voted for Rogers. That guy had a pout like nobody’s business and his disappointed looks could make someone want to cry.
“This is Harry Potter,” Fury introduced sourly. “Representative of the Wizarding community. He’s apparently their equivalent of an army.”
Clint laughed. “Don’t worry, sir. We’ll make sure to take care of him. We’ll point him in the right direction and he’ll just charge in.”
The Brit gave Clint a delighted grin. “We’ll get along just fine.”
Being turned into a frog must have addled his brains, Tony thought. Anyone called a one-man army really has the potential for a lot of violence.
But then again, he added. Everyone on their team is a one-man army. Or capable of decimating armies.
Yep. Everything will be just fine.