Harry weaved his way throughout the crowd, smiling happily. It seemed that the idiots he had confronted during the fire had gotten the message and decided to leave him alone, judging by the fact that the party being thrown was being held in the open in downtown New York and he had not been bothered yet. That was good. It meant he wouldn't have to take his attention away from his friends to deal with some bothersome company. He hadn't been bluffing when he gave them an ultimatum about giving up. He wouldn't enjoy it, but he would have no qualms about forcibly stopping the efforts of those attempting to force him back to England. He clinked glasses with a pararescueman he vaguely recognized as he walked by, soaking up the pleasant sensations of being surrounded by friends in his same line of work. It was relaxing. Not quite as soothing as being alone and playing his guitar, but nice nonetheless.
A hand clapped him on his shoulder, spinning him around to see the grinning face of one Scott Tracy. "Harry!" The young man said. "It's great to see you again!"
Harry chuckled, seeing the same old demeanor of his friend. "I could say the same to you. How is the old 'Bird doing?"
Scott rolled his eyes, anticipating the question. "Fine. That is to say, it was fine before Gordon dented it a bit upon landing."
"Why was Gordon flying it?" Harry asked, confusion written over his face. "I thought you drove One and he drove Four?"
Sighing, Scott put his hands on his hips in indignation. "I went to the movies with my girlfriend a few weeks back. A distress signal came up, and instead of passing the message to me, Dad sent Gordon to check it out for reconnaissance. Turned out to be nothing the normal Coast Guard couldn't handle, but Gordon got sloppy when he came back," he said sullenly. Needless to say, Scott was very protective of his vessel.
Scratching his head, Harry snickered about the way Scott saw the problem. "I take it you feel offended and think that he should have just called you and told you what was going on?"
"Of course. I am the best pilot our family has, after all."
"Did you never consider that maybe your family thought they were doing you a favor? I mean, they probably felt they shouldn't interrupt your date unless they absolutely had to." Harry said, shaking his head at the silliness of the younger man. "They were likely trying to make sure you had fun on your date, so don't rag on Gordon too hard over this."
"Fine, I won't. You are probably right." Scott conceded, still looking a bit down about the whole thing. Then his face brightened. "But I am taking you on a ride when it gets fixed up again."
"I'll hold you to that. I have -" The buzzing of a phone in his pocket distracted Harry from finishing his sentence. His brow furrowed as he fished the blue flip phone out of his pocket, worried about what the call might be about. Not many people had his number, and even fewer had a reason to call it. Flicking it open and holding it up to his ear, he spoke into the microphone. "Harry, may I ask who is calling?" He said tersely, making an apologetic face at Scott, who nodded in understanding and wandered away, knowing their conversation was over.
"Potter." A gravely voice said. "I need you to get your buddies out of New York right now."
Harry frowned. "That doesn't answer my question. Who are you, and why are you calling me?"
The voice on the other end of the line huffed in annoyance. "Dang it Potter, we don't have time for this! Don't you remember? You, Carol and I all exchanged numbers after the incident a few years ago. Name's Nick Fury, ring a bell?"
"Ah yes, piratey guy with the eyepatch? Yeah, I remember you. Wish I don't, but I do. Why do I need to get my guys out pronto?"
The voice at the other end turned grim. "Because New York is about to be the main site for a massive throwdown between a army of aliens and the Avengers. Norse god named Loki is leading them, and he has some sort of mind control scepter. Most of the people at that little party of yours won't be able to help fight, so get them out of the way, and then we could really use you in this fight."
"You have my attention." Harry answered, thoughts racing. "But why do you need just me? For that matter, why aren't you calling everyone else that you know?"
"Need just you?" Nick Fury laughed humorlessly. "Potter, don't flatter yourself. I need everyone I can get a hold of that is in the area, because if we don't clean this mess up, and fast, I have a suspicion that the World Security Council will do anything it takes to destroy the invaders, even if that means nuking New York."
"Not on my watch they won't." Harry said, steel filling his tone. "Where do you need me?"
"I assume that you know Stark Tower?" Fury asked. "Head there. The Avengers are on the way there in a Quinjet, but they will need backup."
"I'm on my way." Harry hung up and flipped the phone shut, sliding it into his pocket in a smooth move that spoke of a lot of practice. He leaned forward, massing his forehead with his hand as he sighed. "It never ends, does it?" He asked to no one in particular.
A light touch on his shoulder caused him to start to straighten before he realized who was behind him. "Let me guess. The world is in danger and your saving people thing is kicking in." Blink said quietly.
"Got it in one." Harry groaned, not turning around as he kept his back to her. "It's not that I hate helping people. It's just that's what I have done for countless people countless times in my life, and sometimes I just want that obligation to end."
"You don't really mean that." The girl behind him said seriously, a sparkle of concern in her eyes. Harry turned to face her, an eyebrow raised in query. "Don't give me that look. We both know that you will do whatever you can to help those in need, with the sole exception of those in England. You may not enjoy it, but you will always step up to the plate because you aren't certain others will do their part, and so you feel the need to compensate."
A throat clearing behind them caused Harry and Blink to turn around, seeing the crowd of people that had formed behind them for the first time. "I may be interrupting something" Billy Blazes said, speaking for everyone behind him. "but I believe that we can help to start alleviating your worries about others not contributing. Where do you need us?"
Facing the people who had gathered to celebrate, who were willing to risk their lives to help others mere days after working themselves to the bone almost brought a tear to Harry's eye. He shook off the feeling though, and started to get down to business. "Some aliens are about to attack New York. Since none of you specialize in fighting, I think that you should all try to stay out of the way and clean up after the Avengers. There is no way this won't result in some collateral damage."
"Like heck." Scott Tracy said, pushing his way to the front of the crowd. "Most of us haven't fought before, but it isn't all that hard to blast something out of the sky with a high pressure water hose or something. We will try to stay out of the path of you and the Avengers, but that won't mean we will hide quietly like a rat in a hole. I, at least, intend to do as much as I can to help civilians during the fight."
Harry rolled his eyes, but didn't press the argument. "Fine. I have to go to Stark Tower, but please, do your best to stay safe everyone. After what we just went through mostly intact, I would hate to have our records tarnished here." He turned to go, but his path was blocked by Blink.
Raising one eyebrow at him imperiously, she poked him in the chest with a finger. "I'm coming with you." She stated firmly, prepared for an argument.
Harry gave a resigned half smile. "I wouldn't have it any other way."