Marauders Private Investigation
Harry Potter/ Avengers movie-verse xover
Chapter One: I See Dead People
It wasn't noticeable immediately.
How could it be, in the aftermath of the final battle at Hogwarts everyone was so busy, so many things to be done.
Celebrations for the win, funerals for the dead and grieving, trials for Death Eaters and their supporters- Umbridge finally got her comeuppance. Giving testimony against every one of the people who followed Tom Riddle, removing Dementors from Azkaban and trapping them in Antarctica with no hope of ever returning, and trying very, very hard to clean away the blood and move on with life.
It was while he was watching the trials and procedures in condemning nearly all the supporters of Voldemort- particularly the trial of Dolohov- that Harry saw the strangest thing. Sitting in the uppermost tier of the courtroom, he could see everything, but his gaze had been ensnared by what was happening to the accused below. It was like Dolohov's skeleton had been made visible or his skin transparent, and the bones became more and more solid, yet it seemed as Harry looked around the courtroom, that only he could see this. His heart had pounded, the blood rushing in his ears, as he watched.
Meanwhile, Dolohov had noticeably become weaker, his speech slurring, eyes drooping. The aurors on duty rushed to him, forcing a Pepper-Up potion down his throat but he only choked on it. He started coughing, hacking up blood and potion, swaying like a drunkard in his seat. He was foaming at the mouth. Chaos erupted around Harry, people pointing fingers and screaming. Someone called for a Healer.
Only Harry could see as out of the shadows, like liquid night, the tall, imposing figure of some hooded androgynous person rose atop a hellish Thestral, unlike any Harry had seen at school. It brandished a weapon; a long curved staff that writhed in the darkness like a serpent, and topped by a gleaming curved blade that reflected nothing, but rather showed images of such tortured creatures like out of a nightmare.
He was paralyzed, unsure if it was from fear or something else, and could only observe as the creature pushed the Thestral towards the chained man whose eyes had rolled to the back of his head, his body seizing within his chair, as he seemed to lose the ability to breathe. Cold sweat dripped down his neck; and Harry watched as that dark thing reached out a pale disease-ridden hand to the shoulder of Dolohov, seeming to grip and pull. Pulling out something that looked like the shades he had spoken to in the Forest, while the body slumped forward. Someone checked his pulse. 'Dead,' they called out.
Dead. But he was right there.
The Shade of Dolohov screamed noiselessly at the shadow-creature holding him, as with inhuman strength he pulled him onto the Thestral, its wings spread, and back into the shadows, dead.
So, he thought to himself, that was Death.
That was Harry's first look at Death, the entity that claimed the souls of the dying and brought them to Judgment.
As he had realized no one else could see Death, just as no one else could speak to snakes in his second-year, Harry decided he needed more information. He devoured everything, became nearly obsessed with it. Reading fables, folklore, mythology, legends, and fairytales. Any reference to Death was picked apart every word and pieced with what he knew.
Then he realized that the incident in the courtroom would not be the last time he witnessed Death at work. Walking down the street, whether it was muggle or magical, he would see the faces of death only just showing on the very old, darker on those closer to Death, and the sickly. He refused to return to St. Mungo's after a single visit there put him in contact with more of Death's work than he could imagine.
Death rarely looked the same; sometimes he was an old man like Grandfather Time summoning the aged to the Afterlife, or a sexless warrior- the avenging angel. Sometimes he was a pretty, young woman or man who calmed children while escorting them away from the grief of the living.
Death also did not always take the souls to the same place. He did not cause death but rather was the escort charged with bringing the souls to Judgment and Afterlife. Sometimes that was to places of Torment, where the soul would suffer from its mortal vices for eternity, or places of Grace, where the soul is happy and peaceful forever.
It took time, but Harry eventually realized that there was nothing he could do to prevent the deaths. It was a natural part of Life. What lives must eventually die, and how you live and die determines your afterlife for eternity. He was witnessing not only Death at work, but of the souls of the departed moving on to their next adventure.
He tried to forget, to distance himself from those destined for death, but that was worse. So, instead he spoke a few words with the people that looked lonely, he learned their names, why they were sick and listened to those with a story to tell. It was his favorite part of it all. He wrote some of the stories in a little journal because no one should be forgotten; it was Harry's biggest fear as a child. That he would die and no one would remember him. Ginny didn't understand, but he didn't expect her to, neither did Ron or Hermione. Oddly enough, it was Draco Malfoy that didn't think it was strange to be talking to these people and writing things down.
At the trial of the Malfoys, Harry stood up and spoke on their behalf, as he did for only one other convicted Death Eater, the previous Headmaster of Hogwarts, Severus Snape. He talked about the abuse and torture Lucius underwent daily, how Narcissa was not in fact a Death Eater but was only trying to protect her husband and son, and how Draco Malfoy, who may have taken the Mark willingly though under duress, spent more time fearing for his life and the lives of his parents should he fail any tasks set to him than doing committing acts of terrorism. They did not want any part of Voldemort's war but soon found they had little choice in the matter. It was follow along, or torture and death, they could not go to anyone for protection, who would, all of the people they had trusted were Death Eaters as well and if they tried to leave they would have brought all of Voldemort's terrible power upon themselves and anyone who tried to help him.
Then he talked about sixth year, how he watched Draco become more and more depressed and paranoid, being given a task he was set to fail. How Dumbledore had chosen to die by Snape's hand rather than live out the fullest extent the curse and poison would allow. He talked about a boy who chose not to kill to an unarmed man, who could not use that worst of all Unforgivables against the elderly man who had in fact offered him a way out. He said that he believed if the rest of the Death Eaters had not shown up when they had, that Draco would have taken Dumbledore's offer and switched sides with his family. He then spoke of his year on the run, of seeing the tortures Riddle forced upon his followers, particularly Lucius Malfoy and thereby torturing his family by making them watch. Harry told the Wizengamot of how he and his friends had been captured by Snatchers and, though Draco did in fact recognize him, he didn't give him away. He let Harry steal his wand (which Draco protested in private later), and never raised his wand except in self-defense during the final battle.
The final thing that saved each of the Malfoy family from Azkaban and ruin was that Harry Potter recounted how Narcissa Malfoy nee Black saved his life and that as heir of the Ancient and Noble House of Black he claimed a life-debt was owed to his distant cousin. Well, as no wizard in that room wanted to be responsible for the execution or otherwise of the very popular Savior of the Wizarding World, the entire family was sentenced guilty under mitigating circumstances and not held responsible for their actions from August 1997 to May 2, 1998. In this way Lucius was confined to house-arrest for three years, and a fine of 1000 galleons to each family that suffered directly by the actions of Lucius or Draco while they were Death Eaters, a surprisingly small amount. Draco seemed to terrorize more students before he was marked than after.
After another grueling trial, where Draco performed as his own attorney (the youngest ever at 18), the Malfoys were able to save most of their family fortune and ancient heirlooms and artifacts that were not specifically deemed Dark in nature. During the five years postwar, the family was to survive off a limited allowance deigned by the Wizengamot and their own profits from working. Lucius was stripped of his seat in the Wizengamot, his seat with the school governors, and his title as a Master of an Ancient House, all of this would be returned to Draco Malfoy, or any progeny of his after the demise of Malfoy Sr. They were to commit themselves each to 100 hours of Community Service at either a Muggle or Wizarding establishment, and donate 500 galleons to three separate charities of their choice.
As Harry prepared to leave the ruling of this trial, he was stopped by Draco himself, proud and somehow just a little humble in the face of his win and near-lose.
The blonde just stared his rival down for what had seemed to Harry to be a long time before firmly demanding, "Why?"
Harry looked back at him, as though searching for something. His green eyes bored into the taller man, then his lips quirked in a sort of strange smile remembering something.
"Why," he echoed back. "A long time ago, a little boy with a lot of money, and no respect for anyone else, offered me his hand in friendship. I refused it then, not realizing what he wanted, only seeing that a spoiled rich kid had just insulted my first friend and I was terrified that I would lose him too. We've been at each other's throats since then, always neck and neck with everything it seemed; always opposite sides of the board, always equal.
"I've done a bit of thinking, since Dumbledore's death, and more since Snape died. I'm not that terrified little boy anymore, haven't been the same in while now actually. It all got me thinking about what would have happened if…and I realized we might just have a bit more in common than some might think."
He slowly extended his hand, in eerie resemblance to that day on that first train ride an eternity ago.
"So, I guess I'm offering you my hand now, hoping to put the past behind us and move forward if we can- as friends."
Draco's eyes narrowed at Harry, suspicion clear in his stormy gaze.
And before Harry could blink he was shaking hands with Draco Malfoy, his equal.
They had coffee at the shop 'round the corner and argued the merits of black coffee verses everything else. Draco liked his coffee when it was more a dessert and had an order longer than Dumbledore's full name*. Harry preferred black, Earl Grey tea, café au lait or espresso.
Before anyone else knew it, the two rivals were suddenly something very like friends. They got coffee together, went to pubs when they wanted to let loose, and found out that all the years they spent hating each other were an absolute waste. They liked the same books, bet loudly on quidditch matches (always for the other's opposing side), found hobbies and things they never got to try or experience with their "sheltered" early lives. Draco thought muggle films fascinating. Harry couldn't get enough of the Malfoy magical creature reserve (containing several Welsh Green dragons, wyverns, a very, very tall beanstalk, a centaur herd, unicorn herd, and many others not recorded). Harry discovered Draco had an obsession for chocolates from around the world, French cuisine and beautiful things. It was not unusual for Harry to visit with firewhiskey in hand, only to find Draco already engaged in snogging with a supermodel…or three (it didn't really matter the profession either, as long as they were beautiful). But, Draco accredited Harry most with reconciling him to the last of his relatives, the Tonks-Lupins. Andromeda was kind and warm, where the Malfoy matron had been subdued (though no less loving), and Teddy was full of life, the very definition of exuberance. Both Harry and Draco enjoyed spending time with the little boy, learning how to be children, without the fuss their relatives had put on them, or lack of, with no pressure to be something they weren't.
Time passed. Harry adjusted and for the most part ignored his new ability, keeping it to himself; he completed his Auror-training with Ron becoming two of the best and brightest on the force.
Hermione became a prosecuting attorney and legal researcher for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and soon became engaged and then married to Ron.
Draco was offered a job as an attorney for a private firm after becoming the youngest defense attorney to ever win a case, in six centuries, and the first to ever do so defending himself.
He also was married.
It was an arranged marriage with the younger sister of Daphne Greengrass, Asteria.
He was perfectly miserable.
Neville, after several productive months as a Master Herbologist, was offered the position as Hogwarts' new Herbology professor upon Professor Sprout's retirement, and Head of Gryffindor House after five years teaching.
Bill and Fleur had their first child, born on May 2, 2007- the anniversary of the victory over Voldemort, and named her Victoire in honor of that.
Little Teddy Lupin was in awe of the pretty little Weasley girl, he also looked more like his father with every passing year.
Ginny had joined the Holyhead Harpies quidditch team after Hogwarts as their new chaser and reserve seeker, and within five years of the war asked Harry to marry her.
He said yes, and laughed.
Harry was the happiest man alive sitting in the nursery of his and Ginny's house, holding onto his son. His son, he was a father! Looking into those weepy eyes and petting that impossibly long, messy, curling auburn hair he had known from the moment he had been placed in his hands what his son's name would be.
James Sirius Potter, named after Padfoot and Prongs. Harry could just see it when Teddy Remus had looked at James, that they were going to be hell-raisers, continuing the Marauder's legacy one after the other.
Harry finally had the family he had always secretly wanted.
Two years later Ginny was pregnant again, and before Harry knew it, he was staring down at a newborn infant reflection of himself. With Lily's green eyes and Potter black hair, it was surreal for Harry to look in his arms and see himself in that little face. He was named Albus Severus, after two of the greatest men Harry had ever known, both with their own mistakes and shady pasts, and both influential in making Harry who he now was. The same year Hermione and Ron, and Draco and Asteria would have their first children as well. Rose Elizabeth Weasley, her father was wrapped around her finger from her first breath. And Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, whose father prayed night and day that his son would never have to suffer for his sins.
Two months after Al was born, Harry woke up. It was the middle of the night after a long day at the office and taking care of two babies. He turned to look at his wife before getting up to make breakfast. His heart stopped, and the grief he shouldn't yet be feeling welled up within him.
She was sleeping so peacefully, hair mussed and snoring softly, but Harry's heart clenched in fear at the image of a skeleton over her features. It was so faint, it was barely noticeable. The mark of Death.
Over the next several months, Harry never said anything apart from asking if she had gone to see the healers for her checkup. He watched as steadily the imposed skeletal image became clearer, and her body weaker. Ginny had quickly developed a cough, becoming weaker and so tired she was sleeping all the time. She woke in the night covered in cold sweat, her head was filled with a constant migraine and then she began coughing up blood. That was when she finally decided to see a healer but it was already too late. Harry could see that Death clung too tightly.
He couldn't say anything, he knew the prognosis before she came home from St. Mungo's, her face pale, the fear etched deep; so he spent each day caring for the boys, feeding and changing diapers, teaching them to recognize shapes and colors, to control their magic, to recognize numbers, and to read. And did whatever he could to make Ginny as comfortable as possible, to feel as loved as she was, and tried to put on an optimistic front for her and the family. Draco, Hermione and Andromeda saw right through him but they kept silent for the sake of the others.
They tried all the Neo-Healing techniques, all the Old World remedies, and guaranteed-to-work "miracle cures". They all failed, but Harry and Ginny didn't lose hope.
No one was able to see that Harry was working himself to the bone trying to keep up a façade. Trying to be a savior when he knew it would only end in failure. One night he couldn't do it anymore. Couldn't pretend, and so broke down crying, after the boys were sound asleep and Ginny left behind in a sick ward.
On that night he summoned Her for the first time.
Harry nudged the door to his youngest son's room checking that the charms and wards (to alert the parental units of a problem and to protect from insects and magical issues) were in place, and that he was sleeping (in a ball at one end of the crib, arms around his favorite toy, a black stuffed dog). Albus' nursery was painted in a warm butter yellow, the ceiling made to look like the day and night sky, while non-magical animal images played along the room like a giant menagerie portrait.
He then wandered down the upstairs hallway to James' room observing his son sprawled on his belly, legs and arms akimbo, sucking his thumb. He was going to have to get out of that one day. Harry smiled upon noticing that James had once again kicked his Harpies bedspread to the floor. The bronze walls were lit by the enchanted night-globes set to make the room visible at night, and his specially bought muggle pajamas (of his favorite hero, Captain America, a hero from the second World War Harry vaguely remembered reading about in primary school) glowed in the dark.
Harry gently closed the door and made his way down the stairs. He had checked with Andromeda already on Teddy's welfare (fast asleep with his stuffed wolf in bed, Ironman action-figure (a gift from Hermione for his birthday) on the bedside table, and hair an absolutely hideous color of orange- probably from spending too much time at Cannon's games), and talked to Ginny at the hospital, her condition was growing worse every day. There was nothing left to do. The children were fine, the house immaculate, and the outside as lovely as it would get, Teddy's primary school homework was completed and Harry had a menu for the rest of the week planned and prepped. He had quit his job as an Auror to take better care of his wife and children and wasn't to see his friends for several more days.
He had nothing left to do and felt absolutely useless for it.
Trudging through the first floor into the study where Harry had made his home office, he quietly shut the door and locked it.
The study itself wasn't anything truly spectacular. Just a room with a very old, very dark stained hardwood floor; there were floor-ceiling bookshelves lining one wall. The books were mostly reference for dark arts, wards, poisons and antidotes/ counter-curses although he did keep a nice collection of his favorite Quibbler articles (including his interview from 5th year and another clearing Sirius of all charges from 1981 and later) and a series of famous quidditch aerial tactics, tricks, and game highlights dating back to 1542. He may have also had a very large shelf dedicated solely to his favorite muggle works (Sherlock Holmes, the Hardy Boys, several morbid selections by Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie's Poirot and Marple series, and whatever else catches his fancy) and books about muggle crime scene investigation, methods within which Harry had hoped to incorporate into the DMLE but…well that was then.
Directly across from the books was a stone fireplace, within a warm burning fire lingered casting shadows about the room. The mantle was Harry's favorite part of the room. It was where he had placed pictures and memorabilia of the Marauder's and Lily (sans Pettigrew) throughout their lives, and of Harry's friends and accomplishments. The photo album from Hagrid was there, shards from a broken hand-mirror and an unbroken one, the Marauder's Map closed for the foreseeable future, various pranking knick-knacks that dated to the Marauder's time and to Fred and George Weasley, the Wizarding Wireless used during their year searching for horcruxes, a bottle of the memories of Severus Snape, a small wooden box containing two white gold wedding rings that had belonged to Lily and James Potter and to many generations of Potters before them, a display case containing four still-poisonous Basilisk fangs, and his Order of Merlin. Pictures of his family, including his wedding photo, were on the desk situated in a corner of the room where one was able to see everything (they liked to wave at him every time he entered the room). The window, the door, the fireplace and every other corner of the room. As Mad-Eye had said "CONSTANT VIGILANCE" and Harry took it to heart having the infamous words engraved across the mantle.
By the door was an old coat rack Harry picked up at what amounted to a garage sale for wizards. The old owner apparently hated it for being completely and utterly ordinary. It was well-made, by hand, and had small carvings throughout, but it was muggle. Completely non-magical in every way and that wasn't good enough for the pompous man obsessed with all things magical. On it hung two scarves (one made by Molly Weasley, the other by Dobby as a Christmas gift from years ago), his garishly purple Auror's uniform robe, an everyday robe, a leather jacket (which had previously belonged to Sirius), and the Invisibility Cloak that had been in Harry's father's family since Ignotus Peverell's time and was one of the three Deathly Hallows.
Harry sat before the fire with great care, feeling all at once very old and very young. So many worries running through his head, Ginny often said that they would make him gray before his time. He felt a burning in the back of his eyes at the thought of his wife and only just restrained from crying as he did when he was three and no one would come.
He couldn't stand going to the hospital to see her. She looked so weak, just skin and bones, and so pale. She looked like a breeze could carry her away. Then Harry remembered it would be like that. A breeze, there and gone, and her with it. And not much longer now either, the skeletal image he had come to think of as the mark of Death had darkened so much now that harry was certain she had days, maybe a week left on this earth.
The burning worsened as he choked out a strangled sort of laugh. Tears he did not bother to wipe started dripping down his face.
Words poured out. He hardly knew what he was saying. So soft, he could barely hear it.
"Why? Why Ginny? Why not me?
"She doesn't deserve to die. She still has so much left to do. What about our boys? I don't know how to be a parent, how am I going to raise them by myself? Oh God, what am I going to do?"
He couldn't hold it back any longer. The sobs racked his body until he could barely breathe. He prayed for a miracle, a blessing, a damn wish come true! Anything if he could just get his vibrant wife back.
What was the point of being able to see Death, being the great Master of Death, if he couldn't save his own wife?
"What indeed, Mr. Potter?"
Harry jumped to his feet, drawing his wand as he backed into the corner of the room the desk was.
"Wh-Who's there? Show yourself!"
Harry was panicking, how had someone gotten past his wards? Wouldn't he have noticed- The Boys! He needed to go to them, he needed to-
"I believe you have some questions for me Harris James Potter," Harry whirled around to face the voice behind him. There in the dark corner, standing proudly and somehow mysteriously, was the strangest woman he had ever seen. The flickering light of the fire showed her alabaster skin and dark emerald dress and her long ebon hair. She looked like a princess from a muggle fairytale like Snow White, or a queen from Arthurian times. Harry eyed her carefully as she stepped around the old oak desk, a vase of moonflowers from Luna, wilted as she passed them. Harry took a step back. Not knowing what she was capable of or who she even was, keeping some space between them seemed the best plan at the time.
"Lord of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black, Baron of the Most Noble House of Potter, Heir of Ignotus Peverell, and The Living Master of Death. We meet at last."
It was very easy to hear the aristocratic arrogance in her tone. Draco often had the same one, so she was most likely some sort of nobility, but how would she know about Peverell or the Death business, not even Ginny knew about that?
"I'm sorry madam but do I know you?"
She laughed, a light tinkling sound like rain on a tin roof or bones knocking together. He wasn't sure why he thought that.
She lifted her face and Harry gasped seeing her green eyes meet his own. A black ink-like mask covered her face like a Rorschach blot, but her green eyes shone like precious gems through it.
"No, I very much doubt with your education you would know of me. But then, you have been doing your research on my servant, perhaps you have heard of me."
Harry's confusion must have shown through as the stranger appeared bemused. A smile quirked her Cupid's bow lips, giving her face an imp-like impression. She was trouble in the works, he just knew it.
"I am Hela Lokisdottir, Queen of Niflheim the realm of the unworthy dead."
Harry blinked once, twice, "…What?"
She- Hela- gave him a sidelong glance. "Hmm, perhaps you haven't heard of me then."
Harry shook his head, "Oh no, I have, it's just…you don't look anything like the myths describe you?"
"Oh right, the half-decayed form and rotting flesh. Most myths- especially the ones about Asgard- are vastly exaggerated."
He continued to warily watch her as she claimed one of the chairs before the fire.
He followed after a moment, taking the chair opposite that she indicated.
"And what business does a goddess have with me?"
Hela just stared deeply into the fire, the light glinted in her eyes and her hair sparkled like stars. She was very beautiful, odd but beautiful. Harry might be married and deeply in love with his wife but he also wasn't blind.
She twirled a strand of her raven hair around her finger, cocking her head to the side.
"Mr. Potter, I am here because you have questions and they should have been answered some time ago. But where to begin?"
"The beginning is usually the best place."
"But from the beginning would take much too long as your story is not even near the middle, I suppose we will have to start with the beginning of you then."
Harry couldn't help but think this confirmed it. If he wasn't crazy then she definitely was.
"Many centuries ago, in the time of Arthur and Camelot, There were three brothers. You are familiar with their story, but I am here to tell you that while it is completely true, it was not Death they met with, but me. What clever little mages, I thought, to work so well together. But I could feel resentment festering underneath the brotherly love, and knew with a few words their true characters would be revealed. So I set a trap in the form of a deadly river before them and once they had conquered it with their magic and ingenuity, I appeared before them.
I offered them gifts, whatever they desired. And in those gifts was their true selves revealed. An unconquerable wand of unknown limitations to the eldest brother who thought of nothing but war and conquest, a stone to bring back the shades of the past dead for the second brother who dearly missed his beloved- so much so that he forgot how to live, but it was the youngest who surprised me. He asked for my cloak of invisibility, knowing that it would hide him from even my sight, and from Heimdall's."
Harry cut her off, "Heimdall?"
"He is the guardian of the Bifrost, the bridge that connects Asgard with all other worlds. He is All-Seeing, and a highly respected warrior in Asgard. My father doesn't like him but the feeling is mutual."
"Oh, I see. Sorry for interrupting."
"Don't be concerned, now where was I? So, Ignotus Peverell and his brothers took their gifts and I decided to stick around and watch them for a time. I saw the oldest become drunk and brag of his new wand, leading to his death and the long string of deaths that followed until Albus Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy and you, Mr. Potter. I stood in the shadows as the second called upon his sweetheart's spirit from my realm realizing that it was not true life, and kill himself in his grief. He focused too much on the past and never saw the maid that lived wishing only for him to return her love.
It was your ancestor Ignotus that took up much of my time. You remind me of him, so brave and cunning, loyal and so handsome too."
It was obvious she was going off into her own little world at this point. She even looked like she just wanted to lean forward and touch him…
"So, my ancestors were all idiots except for the one I descend from. Okay, but I kinda got that from the original story."
"Do stop interrupting. Ignotus was a good man, he married a daughter of Godric Gryffindor, lived a very long time and had many sons and daughters and many more grandchildren. He gave the cloak to his heir on his death-bed, and the tradition continued to you Mr. Potter. You are the descendent of Lords, rebels, pirates, and Court Magicians, royal spies, and abolitionists, soldiers, and healers, aurors, and thieves, Barons, and mercenaries, bounty hunters, and politicians. You have a very colorful family and I only see it becoming more so long after you are gone."
Harry's green eyes narrowed. "Is that supposed to be a subtle threat?"
Her strange laughter echoed in the room.
"Hardly, Mr. Potter; you are far too interesting to have die so soon. I predict you will be the cause of some of the most interesting events yet to come."
Harry huffed. This was still too confusing.
"Well I suppose we can skip most of the family tree, so then we come to your father, the first in some time to marry someone neither of many centuries of wizard blood nor of magical creature descent. But well, I suppose he had no idea who Lily Evans really descended from.
"My father has a certain reputation for promiscuity. He has had many children, nearly all of which have met a terrible fate…including myself. His mortal descendants however, usually bear only one resemblance to him… can you think what, Mr. Potter?"
She paused, waiting for a moment, but Harry only shook his head. This conversation had suddenly taken a turn for the weirder.
"It's the green eyes, the vibrant jewel-tone eyes. You did not even notice that we have the same eyes, did you?"
With some shock, Harry realized that she was right. The eyes staring back at him were nearly identical to the ones that he saw every morning in his reflection. The shade was a tad different but the same eyes none the less.
She continued observing his reaction with intensity as he came to the conclusion.
"Then- then I'm-"
"Yes, Mr. Potter, you are a descendent of gods. Well, on your mother's side at least. But the reason why I am here has little to do with that and more to the fact that you survived death twice, brought together my Hallows, and now have vision beyond a normal mortal's."
Well it's not as if divinity could possibly make his life any more unusual than it already was, and he already knew he was far from 'normal'. Years of the Dursley's 'hospitality' taught him that.
"You survived the first time having a "killing curse" thrown at you, due to a spell your mother cast that had been handed down from my father which is still considered a bit more dark to your ministry than it used to be. It involved a personal sacrifice for one you love to save them from certain death. The spell protected you from all evil magics, especially those related to Tom Riddle, but I am sorry it could do nothing to protect you from those horrid people you were forced to endure your entire childhood. Rest assured they will have their own karma to deal with. At the very least your uncle deserves some sort of punishment..."
Harry just blinked at her. Really what could you say to that; Harry had suspected for some time that just his mother's death hadn't been the only thing to make his skin so untouchable. Lily Potter couldn't have possibly been the only mother to willingly give up her life for her child's…right? So this actually made a lot more sense. And well, there was no love lost between him and the Dursley's, especially Vernon, but he had started writing to Dudley who was now employed to a construction company, and happily married with at least one child already showing signs of magical ability. So Harry didn't really wish any harm on him so long as he never had to spend any amount of time with Dudley ever again. His wife, Katy, on the other hand, was awesome (completely too good for him too) and could come by any time. Though she would probably break all his dishes again…she was a clumsy thing.
"Anyway," she continued as though her tangent didn't imply potential torture, "you inherited Ignotus Peverell's invisibility cloak from your father- and no doubt, will continue to pass it down for many generations. Then Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore- I just love saying his full name, it's so pretentious- left you the Resurrection Stone, which he stole from the last of the line of Slytherin. Though you may have dropped it to be forever lost on the forest floor, it still came into your hands, and its power was last used by you. And finally we come to the first and last Hallow. The Elder Wand, the Deathstick, the most glorious harbinger of Chaos since my brothers were born! I'm rather proud of it, sad about how it had been used, but still, it was a very special thing. And you were the only one to figure out that you didn't need to actually kill its master to become the new one. You managed to follow that crazy scheme of things months after the events. Very commendable Mr. Potter."
"It's not as if I could forget that night."
"…You'd be surprised at some of the things people forget. Mortals and Immortals; Magicals and Mundanes."
"Albus Dumbledore defeated Gellert Grindlewald, who won it from a wand enthusiast, Gregorovitch, and was in turn defeated by Draco Malfoy and then killed by Severus Snape- a truly clever ploy on their part, and then Draco Malfoy was defeated by you months after that incident. Really it's just a miracle that no one defeated him first, but I suppose he has some talents. Then Tom Riddle goes and kills Severus Snape believing that he is the true master of the Wand, when all the time it had been you.
"So there you have it, the night you defeated Tom Marvolo Riddle, alias Lord Voldemort, and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named aka You-Know-Who, was also the night all the Hallows found themselves with a common master, and as you are in fact the last person to hold all three at once, you are now gifted with a certain type of Sight. See you are now the mythical Master of Death, but really that's just a title made up by mortals needing a better ending to a poorly retold story."
"You're sight is a gift, not entirely sure what for yet, but I think it may just come in handy."
"So what you're saying is that on top of all the other things that made me strange, I now have the 'blessing' to watch as people's souls are dragged off to whatever comes next. It's not enough that the Wizarding world considers me to be some kind of savior and hero, or that I'm a father of two, sometimes three, boys with a job that I am really beginning to hate, or that I've defeated every evil to cross my path since I was eleven. No, now I also get advanced notice of exactly when my wife," a choking sound rattled his body and his eyes burned with unshed tears, "my wife is going to die…"
With Harry's eyes misting over he couldn't see how Hela's face softened. She reached out a pale hand, grasping his in hers.
"Yes, she will die, and begin that last adventure. No more pain or suffering, she will be on a journey to find peace. And I will help her to find it. I promise."
He looked at her, his eyes steadily blinking away any salty tears. "But that's all you can promise isn't it."
"Death may be my servant, but it is an entity created for a higher purpose. I can have him postpone or change the method of an individual's death, but I cannot prevent that which has already been set in stone."
She stood, brushing invisible lint from her unearthly gown.
"I have lingered here too long, it was nice, although coming to Midgard leaves me never certain if I feel more alive or less."
Hela walked to the most heavily shadowed part of the room, which Harry noticed for the first time seemed to be swirling and writhing…as if sentient.
She stopped, her back to him, as she whispered softly, "Fate has been so unkind to you, cousin, and while my power here is limited I wish to do something to help."
To Harry it was almost watching her in slow-motion as she slid from her thumb a rather elegant white gold ring he could not remember seeing before. Hela turned just enough to toss the ring to him; a simple catch for the "youngest seeker in a century". Seeing the jewelry up close, Harry suddenly wished he had taken Ancient Runes with Hermione instead of Divination with Ron. The double band was covered in them, carved into the thin metal, and surrounding a gem that glittered at him in the dark.
"That's a very special ring, forged by the best Dwarf smiths from the center of a fallen star. It has…special properties, which I'm sure you will discover with time."
She continued into the dark calling back, "fair weather in your travels, Mr. Potter."
And she was gone. Though Harry hadn't noticed, still concerned with the little piece of jewelry sitting in the palm of his hand, it twinkled at him like a star.
He relaxed back into his stuffed armchair. So…Ginny was going to die…he couldn't do anything about it…and the real clincher- Harry James Potter was the descendent of the Norse God of Mischief, Chaos and Fire…
Within a week, Death came for Ginny. Harry watched the kind face of the grandmotherly woman that lifted his wife's spirit from her still, pale body and took her into the void.
She looked happy, and that was all Harry wanted for her; to be happy.
A month after they buried Ginny Weasley-Potter's earthly remains, Harry made a decision while reading his morning mail.
So many letters from well-wishers, fans of the boy-who-lived, sincere and not so sincere condolences, even some asking if he would be interested in marrying them or having a "casual encounter".
He was done. This was ridiculous and he no longer wished to put himself or his family through this prolonged grieving any more.
It was the last letter on a Wednesday that spurred him to action.
From Luna Lovegood-Scamander, she had married the grandson of Newt Scamander the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and now had two lovely, but odd, twin boys of her own.
Are you okay? You're not letting wrackspurts in your hair, are you? Rolf, the twins and I are doing well… we've been so busy since coming to America… Lorcan and Lysander are continually finding the most interesting things…
We will be starting our tour of the Rocky Mountains and the west coast here in a couple of weeks. Rolf and I wondered if you and the boys would be interested in joining us? ...
We worry about you Harry. Something's been bothering you for some time now, not just Ginny's illness… Come to America… take a break from England and come see this place… We have a magical RV (much more comfortable than a tent, almost like a small mobile apartment) with plenty of room for you, Teddy, James, and Al… It will be only a month. Maybe that will give you enough time to figure things out…
I've sent along some pictures of the twins…
Lots of love, Luna
So Harry decided that he and the boys would go on holiday to America.
He very quickly made all the arrangements, packing and informing friends and family one after another. On the 8th of June, just a few days after Teddy's school let out for summer, Harry Potter packed up his two sons, his godson and enough luggage and toys for two months. They made their way to the international portkey station in the Ministry of Magic, Albus Severus in a baby-sling on his father's chest and James Sirius holding his god-brother's hand in the busy building.
Was the first thing Harry and his family heard upon entering the Portkey Station, followed by something like a sonic boom as a group was taken to somewhere in Australia by enchanted moldy boot.
They made their way up the line, behind three businessmen who all seemed together, and a couple from somewhere in Asia judging by the language they spoke (Harry wasn't entirely certain what the differences were having never been to that part of the world and couldn't see their faces from behind) they were on holiday. Directly in front of the family were a couple of professional quidditch players from the Wasps. Harry would have let Teddy go ask for their autographs but he knew he was a firm fan of Wales and didn't care much for other teams. At the far end of the room a giant white circle enclosed the next group within its protective enchantments.
Steadily moving to the transport circle, Harry didn't make eye contact with anyone, instead choosing to stare steadily forward only bringing his attention to one of the three children accompanying him as needs must. He kept one arm protectively around his baby, and the other hand resting on Teddy's shoulder, keeping James in between the two oldest of their group.
Glancing down to meet his godson's eyes, eyes that were quickly coming to meet his own as each day passed, Harry smiled.
"You ready for this, Teddy?"
The half lycanthrope metamorphmagus nodded, "So ready, Harry."
Together, as a family, they stepped into the circle and took hold of slightly rusted exhaust pipe that was their international port-key.
The feeling of being turned inside-out and squeezed through a straw was one Harry didn't much care for. At all. And apparently neither did his children. Albus immediately began crying and if Harry didn't know better he would say using his mother's glare (feared by her brothers for years now), and James had somehow ended up flat on his back, dazed, even Teddy had taken on a sickly pallor and was trying to be discreet while gagging. It almost made Harry proud knowing they inherited more than his penchant for getting into trouble. Then he felt guilty, horrible reactions to magical transportation should not be taken lightly.
He glanced up as one of the station managers approached him, he could just barely see Luna and her clan all dressed in wildly ridiculous outfits levitating Potter Family signs in the air above everyone's heads.
Someone cleared their throat. Harry focused on the attendant next to him. Average height, so a little taller than himself, cinnamon brown eyes, sandy blonde hair, and of middling overall attractiveness. No real distinguishing features but a small scar through the left eyebrow. Even his clothes seemed standard, a generic navy blue muggle suit, blue shirt and tie sans jacket. His smile was so bright it was irritating Harry, being reminiscent of a certain fraudulent professor.
"Good afternoon Mr. Potter and family, here are some potions for the nausea and other side-effects of wizard travel," he handed Harry two vials which were passed to Teddy to administer, then a file of papers was handed to Harry. "And here are a few papers to complete, basically stating that you and your charges are not terrorists, and a basic test for any lingering diseases, curses, hexes, and poisons. Please complete in a timely manner before leaving the embassy. Thank you, and welcome to Ellis Island Mr. Potter."
Looking out the large floor-ceiling window just outside of the room they had been ported to, and seeing the Statue of Liberty rising from the ground just a few feet away, he remembered reading about it in primary school, he smiled. Yeah, welcome to America, the land of possibilities.
A/N: This is the longest single chapter I have ever written…ever! I think this is longer than some of my previous works in total. I just couldn't find a place I felt comfortable stopping at.
I actually had this idea while reading some pretty amazing HP fanfiction and HP/ Avengers xovers and thought to myself 'hmm, I wonder what would happen if…' and that's how this happened. It is by no means anywhere finished, and will probably be some time in the making, so please bear with me and be patient I'm trying to sort my life out and I use writing as an outlet when reading doesn't work. I'm very excited about this particular work and hope that my readers find it as engaging to read as I found it in my head…That makes me sound much crazier than I actually am- I promise!
I have big plans for Harry, Draco, their families and the entire Avengers gang. I will also probably use some stuff from Agents of SHIELD too (so excited! one more week!) and I'm basing some of Harry and Draco's professional mannerisms on BBCs Sherlock, the Hardy Boys and the more popular TV dramas out there (Grimm, Supernatural, CSI, Blue Bloods, Elementary, Leverage, Numbers, the Mentalist, and Hawaii 5-0, etc.). I'm actually doing a lot of research to make this as true as possible (so I hope I do your and my expectations justice).
IMPORTANT: just to clarify I am not using the JKR timeline (1981 beginning) with this story. Instead we are saying that Harry is in fact part of the nineties kids (born 1985) (let's say the defeat of Voldemort happened May 1st 2003, five years later (2008) Harry is married with a child, two years later (2010) Albus Severus is born and Ginny later dies. They are going on a month long vacation before Teddy has to go back to primary school. So it's mid-late July. Teddy is seven years old, James Sirius is 3-4, and Al is still only a few months old. So Harry right now is 25 in 2010. Okay? okay.
By the time this story really gets going Harry is going to be 28-29.