"So, what do you guys normally do in here?" Harry asked, looking around the spacious room.
It spanned the height of three floors, with no central walls or windows, making the area easily the size of three quidditch pitches. There was a smaller room at the end, containing conventional gym equipment. Down one end, Harry could see targets and life-like dummies, and the wall beside it held an assortment of knives, arrows, rifles, shields, batons, pistols, grenades, and even a selection of swords.
Natasha shrugged. "Train."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Really? I never would have guessed."
Steve walked past him, carrying his shield. "We've never trained together as a unit before. I've never even been in here."
Natasha smirked. "Oh, you'll love it." She moved over to a small panel next to the door and tapped at it for a few seconds. A moment later, one of the squares in the wall disappeared, and small robot flew out of it, shooting at Steve, who ducked behind his shield. Harry instinctively pulled the knife out of its sheath and threw it at the robot, and it fell to the floor.
"What the hell?" Steve said, rounding on Natasha.
She gestured at the panel beside her. "It creates a simulation."
"Those bullets felt real." Steve said as Harry walked over to the smoking robot and grabbed his dagger.
Clint shrugged. "Stark designed it. They simulate the force and pain of an actual gunshot wound or stabbing, but can't actually kill you, obviously. The machinery also doesn't have to be replaced if you use those weapons." He said pointedly, nodding at the array of munitions on the wall. "They're made of the same stuff and don't destroy Stark's machines. He gets upset when you do that."
"Do what?" Tony said, walking in holding a briefcase. He caught sight of the drone lying on the floor. "Who killed my robot?"
"Er, me." Harry replied, sheathing his knife.
"Do you want to not break my stuff?"
"Maybe you shouldn't leave it lying around." Harry replied.
Tony seemed to think for a second. "All right hot shot. What'd you hit it with anyway?"
Tony shook his head. "That shouldn't have been able to break through the shielding."
"Well, it did." Harry gestured to the mangled remains of the robot in the middle of the room.
"Let me see it." Tony held out his hand, and Harry took out the dagger, handing it to him handle first. Tony peered at it. "What metal is this? Is it some sort of alloy?"
"I don't know." Harry shrugged. "Like I said, it's goblin-made. I reckon I'm one of about six people worldwide that own a goblin-made blade. They don't like sharing."
"Where'd you get it?" Clint asked.
"A goblin made it for me. I saved his life, and he said he owed me a debt." Harry shrugged. "So, what we doing?" He winked at Clint. "You want another shot at catching this?" He took the snitch out of the pocket of the shorts he had changed into.
Clint scowled. "That thing is impossible to catch."
"Even for the unstoppable Avengers?"
Steve leant his shield against the wall. "Let's have a look."
Harry held the ball out between two fingers and Steve raised an eyebrow.
"You catch it?"
"It has wings."
"What kind of sport even is this?" Clint moaned.
"Hey, don't diss quidditch."
Steve reached out to take the snitch from Harry, but it flew between his fingers.
Harry quickly grabbed it back and grinned. "You're all welcome to try."
"What's it made of?" Tony asked, stepping forwards.
"How long can it fly for?"
"I think the record is three months straight, but this is old, so not that long."
"I thought you said this was a sport?" Natasha gaped. "Three months?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah. It was during the '78 World Cup. They had to keep substituting the players so they could sleep." He grinned cheekily at Clint. "It's fine, I'll be able to catch it before then."
Clint scowled at him, and that was the only warning Harry had before a fist was flying towards his face.
Harry ducked it, then blocked the foot that was coming up towards his stomach, the snitch zooming out of his hand. "What the hell?" He moved backwards, blocking the flurry of fists and feet and elbows flying at him and waiting for an opening.
The fist he threw at Clint's unprotected ribs was blocked and knocked away, and he only just managed to duck the elbow that swung towards his face in retaliation. He saw Clint's grin, and struck out with his foot, connecting with the archer's shin. Clint dropped to one knee, but with a series of rapid punches got to his feet again.
Harry dodged Clint's attacks, crouching to avoid a high kick and rolling away. "That the best you can do?" He panted.
Harry noticed Natasha was watching them closely, a small smile on her lips.
Clint closed the distance between them and Harry launched a spinning kick, but Clint easily ducked and skidded under it, turning and sending a series of punches at his head and torso that Harry only just managed to block.
Harry sent a punch at Clint's head, but his arm was pushed down and across, spinning him around. A moment later, his right arm was trapped under Clint's, which was wrapped around his throat.
Harry struggled for a few seconds, before grudgingly tapping on Clint's arm three times. Clint released him with a grin.
"Not bad." He said, and Harry snorted.
"You're an arsehole, you know that?" He gasped.
"So I've been told." Clint shrugged. "That felt therapeutic."
Harry rolled his eyes. "I've got to catch that bloody snitch now."
Tony peered around the room. "Where'd it go?"
Harry looked around as he caught his breath, catching a glint of gold down by the firing range.
"There." Clint said, pointing in the same direction.
Tony placed the briefcase on the floor and flicked it open, then stepped into it. His red and gold armour began unfolding up his leg, and within a few seconds he was encased in his suit.
"This should be good." Harry said. "Just please don't blow it up, I'm rather attached to that snitch."
Tony turned to Clint. "Watch and learn, kid."
"What, I'm a kid now?" Clint cried, as Tony zoomed off towards the firing range.
They watched as Tony flew around the room, making sharp turns and occasionally crashing into the walls. He reached out to grab the ball a few times, scrabbling for a hold.
"Oh yeah, I'm learning loads!" Clint called, as Tony spiralled and dropped a few feet.
Tony's voice sounded robotic and slightly annoyed through his suit. "You're welcome to help."
Clint grinned, jogging into the middle of the room.
Harry turned to Steve and Natasha and he raised an eyebrow. "You helping?"
Natasha had been watching with a small smirk, and she raised her eyebrows at Harry. "You think they'll need it?"
Harry shrugged. "They haven't got experience seeking a snitch."
Steve frowned. "Surely you just catch it."
"Well yeah, but there's a technique. They're just... chasing it."
"So we need to trap it?" Natasha said.
With a grin, Natasha ran into the middle of the large room. "Try and manoeuvre it into the corner and trap it." She said. "Stark, stop it from flying up."
"So you're joining in too?" Clint called. "Is Steve helping?"
"What about it Gramps?" Harry asked.
Steve pulled a face. "Don't call me that."
"You're over ninety years old, I think you qualify for grandpa jokes."
Steve rolled his eyes, but picked up his shield and walked after Natasha.
"Cap's in." Tony said.
"Where even is the mark?" Steve asked.
"Hovering over there." Clint replied, pointing across the room.
"As far as JARVIS can tell, it moves completely randomly." Tony said. "Variations in speed, direction and altitude."
"I'm 80% certain it can turn invisible as well." Natasha muttered, and Harry snorted.
"Tempus mensio." He muttered with a smile, and a glowing blue timer appeared in the air next to him.
Thirty-seven minutes and eighteen seconds later, Natasha let out a whoop, her fist held above her head. Harry could see the snitch's wings fluttering feebly in between her fingers as she walked over to him.
Natasha held out the ball, panting slightly, and Harry took it as Steve and Clint walked over.
"I don't know what took you so long." He said cheekily, letting the snitch fly about a foot away from him and grabbing it back.
"Piss off." Clint scowled. "It's probably attracted to your wizardy magic or something."
Harry shrugged and caught the snitch again.
"Alright Potter, put it away." Steve said. "We're here to train."
"So what does that actually involve?" Harry asked. "Other than chasing this."
"Well, we've never fought with you before." Steve said, frowning slightly as Harry continued to play with the snitch. "You're part of the Avengers now, but we don't know what kind of training you've had, how you fight, your skillset. I say we start with that. This will be a learning experience for us all; other than last week we've never fought together either."
Harry nodded. "Right."
As soon as he reached his room, Harry collapsed onto his bed.
He hadn't been this exhausted since the first month of Auror training.
He had spent over four hours in the training room, shooting, dodging, cursing, punching, rolling, stabbing, jumping, shielding and falling. He was shattered and covered in bruises, but managed to drag himself into the shower and wash away the sweat.
The one good thing that had come out of it was that any residual suspicion the avengers may have still felt towards him had gone as they joked and trained together. Harry supposed it was another case of 'getting-through-a-traumatic-death-defying-experience-together' that had bridged the first step, and although everybody involved was paranoid and rather hostile, Harry had done nothing to warrant anything but grudging respect from the avengers and they from him.
Harry thought about climbing into bed for an hour, but reluctantly headed to the stairs and went up into the communal area. Steve was sitting at the island sketching in a notebook.
"Tony in his lab?" Harry asked, flicking on the kettle.
"I think so. Why?"
"Just curious." Harry shrugged, making himself a cup of tea.
He leant against the counter facing Steve, holding the mug in between his hands. He winced slightly as a sharp pain lanced across his head, shrugging it off with a grimace.
"You alright?" Steve asked.
"Yeah." Harry shook his head. "I'm fine."
Steve raised his eyebrows. "The same way you were fine in the elevator yesterday?"
"No. That was – I don't like small spaces. This is just a headache."
"You want Tylenol?"
"Tylen- what?" Harry shook his head. "I'm fine, thanks. It'll go in a bit."
Steve frowned slightly. "You get headaches a lot?"
Harry shrugged. "Mate, you give me a headache."
"It's the whole sort of, cheating-death thing." Harry explained. "Master of death and all that. Really, you should be dead."
Steve gave him a flat look.
"Seriously." Harry said. "Pre-serum, you had what, asthma, high blood pressure, anxiety, heart problems... realistically, you wouldn't have lived to your thirtieth birthday. Yet here you are, technically what, ninety-six?"
"Ninety-four." Steve replied with a shrug.
"Exactly. It's... complicated. I think it's anyone who should really be dead, or is close to it gives me a bloody migraine. I don't really understand it."
"So can you tell who it was that gave you that one?" Steve asked. He seemed honestly interested.
Harry shook his head. "I sort of have to concentrate on it, and to be honest I'd really rather not."
"Fair enough." Steve grimaced.
"But like, I'd probably be able to tell you if your girlfriend or whoever from 1945 was still alive."
Steve laughed. "Even if anyone was still alive, they'd be ancient."
"Oh, so it's fine for you to call yourself ancient?" Harry said, mock offended.
"Steve is ancient." Natasha said, leaving the lift. Her hair was wet, and she was dressed in comfortable-looking sweatpants and hoodie.
"Any time." The assassin grinned, and Steve rolled his eyes. "How's your jaw?" Natasha asked Harry.
"Fine." Harry said, rubbing at his jaw, where a particularly large bruise had already formed. "Thanks for that."
Natasha shrugged. "You need to improve your hand-to-hand."
"Yeah, well, I haven't really had much practice recently."
Natasha tutted and muttered something that sounded a lot like 'wizards'.
Harry shook his head and copied the tut, muttering "Russians." under his breath.
Steve laughed. "Play nicely kids."
"Sorry Grandpa." Harry replied with a wink.
Steve just shook his head as Natasha peeled a banana.
"Clint and I can work with you to get it up to scratch." She said.
"Great." Harry said, and Natasha stuck out her tongue.
"So you're staying?" Steve asked.
Natasha shrugged. "Aren't you?"
Steve scratched the back of his neck. "I need to catch up on... well, everything. I think I'd prefer to do that without Stark around, to be honest. I'm gonna stay at my apartment for a bit."
Harry stood up a bit straighter. "I could help."
Steve glanced at him. "No offense, but I'd really not have a twenty-year-old getting frustrated with me when I don't know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek. Thanks, though."
Harry shook his head. "You're forgetting I spent ten years in a community that still uses parchment and quills. I know where you're coming from."
Steve closed his sketchbook. "I hadn't thought of that. Are you sure you don't mind...?"
"Not at all." Harry smiled, watching as the lift doors opened and revealed Clint. "The internet still kind of blows my mind. I'm sure the others would be happy to have movie night every now and then to get you caught up too."
Steve laughed. "Sure."
"Parchment and quills?" Natasha asked. "Seriously."
Harry rolled his eyes. "That's not even the weirdest thing I can think of."
"What's weird?" Clint asked, helping himself to coffee from the pot on the sideboard.
"The wizarding world." Harry replied, pulling a face. "Isn't that cold?"
Clint took a large gulp. "Yep."
"Grim." Harry said, turning away from him.
Clint just shrugged. "When's lunch?"
Natasha rolled her eyes. "Whenever anybody can be bothered to order or cook."
Clint looked expectantly at Harry.
"What? I want to get my own place if I'm going to stay. I'm not becoming a live-in chef."
"Why not?" Clint asked, moving over to the sofa.
Harry scoffed. "No."
"But your cooking's really good!"
"What about just sometimes?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "No."
"Yeah well, the food was shit anyway." Clint dropped onto the sofa with a scowl.