Sirius fell backward through the veil. He closed his eyes, and embraced death.
He kept falling. He opened his eyes to stare up at bright blue sky. He was falling and falling and all he could see was a great expanse of water, and an endless stretch of sky.
“Arresto momentum!” he cried, casting the charm on himself. He stuck his wand to his arm and shifted into a dog. Dogs were more likely to survive long falls, he’d read. Or was that cats? He wasn’t sure.
He landed on something invisible, hovering in the air, far above the ocean. The charm must have slowed his descent because as his claws scrabbled for a grip he realised nothing felt broken. The thing beneath his paws felt metallic and he slipped down onto what now appeared to be a deck. He whined, and fighting against the wind, crawled toward a door that appeared from nowhere. The door slid open and he threw himself into a brightly lit room.
“Director! Unidentified object appears to be a dog.” A woman stared at him suspiciously, gun aimed toward him. She had an American accent, confusingly. Sirius wagged his tail. Another man strode over. He was tall, with dark skin, an eyepatch, and a long black leather coat. He was exactly how Sirius imagined pirates to be.
“What the fuck is this? I wasn’t aware the phrase ‘raining cats and dogs’ was anything more than a metaphor,” he growled. Sirius sat on his haunches and panted. Somehow he’d survived the veil. If he could get off this strange muggle contraption he’d be able to find a way back to Hogwarts, which was surely where Harry would be now.
“Who’s a lucky boy?” Another muggle cooed, and held his hand out for Sirius to sniff it. Sirius did, and licked it. The pirate huffed.
“Barton. Take him to the scientists, get them to check him out, make sure there’s nothing unusual about him. You can find a home for him since he seems to like you. Hill, find out where he came from. Is there a cargo plane flying over us that’s in the habit of throwing dogs off it?”
“Yes sir,” the muggle said. Barton ruffled Sirius’ hair and started herding him toward a corridor. Sirius followed, and allowed himself to be checked over by the muggle scientists. He ran circles around Barton’s feet as the man fitted him with a collar.
“I’m going to call you Lucky,” Barton announced. Sirius whuffed. It was better than Snuffles.
“Heel Lucky.” Sirius ran to the man’s feet.
“Sit.” Sirius sat.
“You’re obviously well trained. Who’s a good boy? You are, yes you are,” Barton ruffled his fur and Sirius licked his hand again.
“I suppose you’re stuck with me now, at least until we find someone to take you in. I’m on the next jet back to New York, got a few days off.” Barton checked the time.
“Shit. It leaves in ten minutes. Come on Lucky!” Barton sprinted down the corridor, and Sirius chased after him. They bounded into a muggle flying contraption. Excellent. Remus said that they could fly anywhere these days, and it only took a couple of hours.
“Hey Nat,” Barton said to the woman sitting in the front, with a panel full of buttons and gadgets before her.
“Picked up another stray, have we?” Nat replied.
“Yup!” Barton said cheerfully. Sirius almost felt bad for what he was about to do. Barton seemed like a nice bloke.
The machine took off, and flew away from wherever they’d been before. From what Sirius had seen, it was like a massive flying ship. Muggles were bloody ingenious.
Barton sat down opposite him. It looked like he wasn’t going to get a chance to shift in private. He best be fast then. He shifted and grabbed his wand. Barton’s eyes boggled. Haha.
“Incarcerous, immobilus,” he cried out, binding Barton to his seat, and freezing Nat in her chair.
“What the fuck?” Barton shouted.
“Sorry mate,” Sirius said.
“You were a dog. And now you’re British. And not a dog,” Barton said faintly. Sirius transfigured the few moulted hairs into a dressing gown.
“Wouldn’t want to shock the lady,” he said with a wink.
“What the hell? Why is it always me?” Barton muttered.
“Sorry love.” Sirius floated Nat up from her seat and sat her next to Barton. He bound her there before releasing the immobilus.
“Barton,” she growled as she wriggled in the bonds. “Explain.”
“SHIELD will pay for our swift return,” Barton said, ignoring Nat. Sirius sat in the seats at the front and stared at all the controls.
“Where are we?” He asked. They both fell silent. Bloody hell. He turned to look at them, trying to decide whose mind would be easier to unpick. He settled on Barton. That woman was giving him the scariest evil eye in the world.
“Legilimens.” He was assaulted by memories of a circus, of archery, of war, of flying. He withdrew and blinked. Barton slumped in his binds. Sirius closed his eyes, trying to make sense of the memories. He shivered. He hated mind magic. It left him feeling slimy. Fuck. At least he could figure out how to fly the jet.
“What did you do to him?” Nat hissed. He cast a silencing charm on them and focused on the cockpit.
He changed the jet’s course for London, and turned the stealth mode on. He could apparate in from there. He turned, and caught a flash of something metallic.
“Accio knife,” he cried, and caught it in his other hand. Nat glared at him, then at Barton. It looked like they were attempting to communicate using their eyebrows. Hell, maybe muggles had invented a way of doing that. He muttered two stunning spells, then inspected them. Nat had managed to cut almost all the way through her ropes. He released them, removed all the weapons he could find, then bound them using just magic.
In the time it took for him to get to Britain he had transfigured some of their supplies into clothing, and eaten some food. Now he was tapping a rhythm on one leg. Nat stared at him hatefully. He stopped. He plotted the jets path so it would set them down in a field just outside London, and obliviated both the agents.
“You both fancied seeing London. It was a spontaneous decision,” he said, then apparated to Hogwarts.
Hogwarts wasn’t there. Weird. He’d always been a natural at apparition. He tried again, and ended in a spot three paces to his right. What the hell? He tried Diagon Alley. Charing Cross was exactly the same, except there was no Leaky! Instead, there was the Rusty Wagon. He walked inside, and out the back, tapping the bricks. Nothing. On his way back out, he scooped up a paper. He stared at it, horrified. April 23rd, 2007. It was as if the veil had taken him to a whole new world.
Fury paced the helicarriers cockpit angrily. He was having a fucking shit day. Barton and Romanov were missing, having disappeared after getting on board a jet with that damn mysterious dog, and hadn’t checked in when they were supposed to. The jet had entered stealth mode, and they’d gone radio silent.
Said radio crackled to life, and stealth mode disabled. They were in England, of all places.
“Sir. Reporting in,” a dazed looking Barton and Romanov appeared at the other end of a screen. He glared at them.
“Where the hell have you been?”
They exchanged glances.
“We’re not sure. Barton’s last memory is a spontaneous urge to visit London.” Romanov frowned. “I can’t remember anything after Barton got on the jet.”
“What about the dog?”
Romanov raised an eyebrow.
“The dog that fell out of the sky, landed on the helicarrier and was given to Barton for safe keeping?”
Bewilderment was evident in their eyes.
“Bloody hell. Get back here, and we’ll figure it out,” he closed the link.
“Sir,” one of the tech guys inched toward him, looking ready to turn on his heel and flee. “I’ve found the only footage we’ve got of the dog appearing. It’s really… odd sir.” He motioned at the screen and the tech brought up the footage.
“Something appears on camera thirteen.” The tech showed footage of an object falling toward them.
“Then on camera ten.” He slowed the footage down. “This is where it gets weird.” A first glance the camera seemed to be showing a man falling from the sky. The tech zoomed in. Definitely a person. As the person continued to fall, it blurred, then a second later, instead of a person, there was a dog. Fury stared at the footage. Mother. Fucking. Hell.
Sirius had spent the last five years setting up a garage in New York, making a name for himself, and happily fixing up all kinds of motor vehicles. There was no magical community on this version of Earth, (he’d searched, oh how he searched) so if he gave the occasional car a boost, who was to know? He’d rebuilt his motorbike, adding extra disillusionment charms, and owned a tiny flat in downtown Manhattan. He missed Harry and Remus, but life was good. He wasn’t a wanted criminal; nobody knew who he was.
So it was understandable that when the aliens came, he was pretty fucking pissed. Who did they think they were, trying to blow up his precious shop? The bastards. There were a few other defenders of the city, and he joined them.
He cast to kill, as stunning spells just bounced off the creatures. He apparated into their midst, casting slashing hexes and blasting curses before apparating out again. He saved civilians, shielding them and sending them underground. He avoided the big fucking whales that flew around in the sky. That was Iron Man’s problem. He glanced around, and caught sight of someone on a rooftop about to be swarmed. He apparated up, grabbed the guy, and apparated to the safety of another rooftop.
“Alright mate?” He asked. The guy was wearing leathers, and carrying a bow and arrow. Muggles were so fucking weird. He narrowed his gaze. It was Barton! Barton narrowed his eyes at him, but then the device in his ear caught his attention, as he touched it, and his eyes widened and he glanced around.
“Where’d you wanna go?” Barton looked up. Sirius followed his gaze. Iron Man flew into the portal that the aliens were spewing out of. There was a flash of light, and moments later the portal began to close. The aliens dropped to the ground and he breathed a sigh of relief, still watching the portal, waiting to see if Iron Man would return.
Iron Man appeared, but he looked the same that Harry had when he’d fallen of his broom. That was no controlled flight.
Sirius apparated beneath him.
“Arresto momentum!” He shouted, pointing his wand at Iron Man. He slowed, and came to a rest before Sirius. He lowered him to the ground.
“Alohomora,” he said, and the suit fell apart to reveal Tony Stark. Mr America appeared, and peered over one shoulder, looking morose.
Stark’s eyes shot open and he took a few panting breaths. He stared at Mr America. “Please tell me you didn’t kiss me,”
Mr America grinned, and nudged Sirius. “This guy saved you.” Stark’s gaze settled on him, his face scrunched up in confusion.
“Who are you?”
Sirius chuckled, and slid his wand away. “A nobody,” he said. “Nice to meet you all, but I’ve got a shop to repair.” He apparated away.
Steve stared at the spot that had, until now, contained the unknown civilian.
“Is this one of those twenty first century things people keep forgetting to tell me?” He asked. Stark laughed, slightly manically, eyes wide.
“Captain. I can assure you that it is not.”
Tony and JARVIS had spent precious hours tracking down all the footage they could find of the battle of New York, and collecting a montage of videos of his unknown saviour. JARVIS had finally found one with high enough definition that they could use to identify him, and was running it through facial rec. While he did that, Tony watched one of the videos on repeat. The man pointed a stick at one of the Chitauri, muttered a word, and the creature exploded. He read through Barton’s report about being teleported off a rooftop, and confirmed that it was the same man who’d transformed himself from a dog to a human, and played around with their memories.
“Our mystery man is one Sirius Black, an engineer,” JARVIS announced. Tony scrolled through the information he’d found. He owned a garage; Marauder’s Motor Repairs. He’d appeared out of the blue in May 2007 and had bought the previously disused lot. He lived in the flat above the garage, paid his taxes, and his only criminal offense was a speeding ticket.
“Let’s go pay the man a visit. The Audi needs some new tyres, doesn’t it?”
“If you say so, sir.”
Tony pulled into the garage’s car park, and Black ambled out to meet him, a resigned look upon his face.
“Mr Stark,” he greeted him.
“Mr Black, I presume?”
Black raised an eyebrow.
“You don’t look surprised to see me.”
Black shrugged. “You’re a very wealthy genius. Doubt there’s much you can’t find, should you put your mind to it.”
Irritatingly accurate. Tony liked to be unpredictable. “Whereabouts in the UK are you from?”
Black grimaced. “London.”
“That’s strange, as I couldn’t find a single trace of you before 2007.” Black met his gaze, and held it.
“Are you calling me a liar, Mr Stark?” He asked blandly, but there was a hint of annoyance in his grey eyes. Tony tugged on the bracelets around his wrists as reassurance.
“I’m just saying that you’re not exactly being truthful.”
“I saved your life. I don’t owe you anything, let alone the truth. If you’re here to quiz me you can bugger off. I’ve done nothing illegal,” Black said. Damn.
“I came to say thank you for saving my life.”
“Right. Anything else?” Black crossed his arms.
“My car needs new tyres.”
Black looked at the car, then back to Tony, disbelief evident on his face. “Right,” he repeated. Tony passed him the keys. “Come back tomorrow. It’ll be 800 bucks. Do you need a rental?”
Tony called the suit and smirked.
“No thanks, I’ll fly back.” The suit fitted around him. He glanced at Black. The man looked unimpressed, a feat within itself.
“Very swish. Take your friends back with you.”
Tony frowned. “JARVIS?”
“It appears that there are two SHIELD agents in the black Chevrolet. Traffic cams indicate they followed us here,” JARVIS supplied for him.
“They’re not my friends,” Tony informed him, and jumped into the air. Bloody SHIELD.
Sirius watched as Iron Man flew away. Nosy bugger. Awesome suit. Not that he’d ever tell the man. He narrowed his eyes as the two SHIELD agents exited the car and walked toward him, hiding poorly concealed guns.
“Mr Black. If you’d come with us, we’d greatly appreciate it.”
“Sod off.” He said. The agents exchanged glances. One of them stepped forward.
“We’ve been instructed to bring you in sir. It will go much easier for you if you come quietly.”
The nerve of some people. He raised his eyebrow.
“I doubt it. This is my property, and I’ve not broken the law. Bugger off.” The over enthusiastic agent drew his gun. Sirius flicked his wand, jamming it, and his partners.
“Confundus. Both of you have suddenly realised that your true calling is as burlesque dancers. You will go and demonstrate you newly discovered skills to your bosses.” Both men blinked, and walked away.
Fuck. He shouldn’t have stepped out his shop. Screw the rest of them. He cast the spells that would make the shop appear abandoned, changed Stark’s tires and drove the Audi onto the road, just beyond the wards, and placed the keys in the wheel. He packed a bag of essentials, and revved up the motorcycle. He’d heard France was nice this time of year.
Tony returned to Black’s Garage the next day, only to find it empty, eerily so. The bastard had changed the tyres on the car, and he easily found the keys. With them was a note.
Tell your friends not to bother searching. They’ll never find me. Next time I won’t help save you ungrateful lot.
He stormed into Fury’s office, and slammed the note onto his desk. Fury looked up wearily.
“I’ve just had two of my finest demonstrate to me exactly why they should be allowed to become strippers, courtesy of Mr Black. This better be good.”
“JARVIS tells me you threatened him, so he ran.”
Fury read the note, and frowned. “We just wanted to have a chat. Find out where he’s from, what he believes in.”
Tony rolled his eyes.
“Oh yes because no one’s suspicious when a shady government agency tries to arrest them using deadly force,” he snarked. Fury closed his eyes.
“If that’s all, Mr Stark?”
Tony huffed. “That’s all.”
Sirius grinned at the waitress who’d returned with another glass of wine.
“Thanks love,” he said. She winked at him as she set it down. He happily watched her walk away, and absently wondered what time she got off shift.
So, he was on the run again. He had the advantage of a freshly transfigured face, and the ability to counterfeit money with just one word. He had his trusty motorcycle and a plethora of spells he could use to evade the feds for as long as he liked, and there was a pretty girl making eyes at him every time she walked past.
Life was good.