Notes: Purely for story purposes, I've moved the timeline forward so that the summer between Harry's second and third years at Hogwarts is the summer of 2013. The Chitauri invasion was in May 2013.
Harry's first and second years happened as shown in the books, and this story goes completely, totally, and in all other ways AU after that. It's not very canon-compliant for Avengers/Iron Man, either. You have been warned.
This was at least partly inspired by Methos2523's "Spellbound," which sadly has not been updated in quite a while. It's still worth a read, if you aren't familiar with it.
As always, all rights in this work are given to the copyright owners.
New York City was a mess. But then, it had a right to be, Tony Stark thought. It had taken eight months to clean up after the September 11, 2001, attack, and that had only involved cleaning up two buildings and the surrounding area.
Two months after an alien invasion that had damaged almost half of lower Manhattan, it felt like they'd barely begun the cleanup. Tony had thrown himself into the cleanup effort after only a day or two to rest and recover from the fight, his Iron Man armor proving useful for more than just stopping the aliens as he cut the debris into manageable pieces before being loaded into trucks and hauled away.
He wasn't the only Avenger helping out, either - not far away, Steve Rogers was helping load the trucks that would haul the debris away for recycling or other disposal. Tony had no idea what Barton and Romanoff were up to - probably super-secret SHIELD spy stuff - and Banner thought it best not to leave his lab, but he was glad that Rogers, at least, was helping rebuild the city.
Tony finished cutting the last girder down to a manageable size and picked up the pieces to carry to a truck. He'd put in a solid six hours so far and was considering calling it a day - at least as Iron Man; as Tony Stark, he'd be visiting other crews this afternoon and offering what encouragement he could - when JARVIS spoke.
"Sir, I've received an alert on the priority search protocol you established last month."
Tony's heart clenched with a sudden need to know whatever it was JARVIS had finally found. But the load of twisted metal he carried required his full attention. "Give me a sec, J."
He didn't acknowledge JARVIS' quiet, "Of course, sir," choosing instead to focus on getting what had once been part of a staircase into a waiting hauler.
Once that was done, Tony moved a little away from everyone else and said, "What'd you find, J?"
The view in his heads-up display changed to a newspaper article dated the day before. The article reported a car crash on the M25 motorway near Little Whinging, Surrey, that had killed both drivers involved - a lorry driver named Jonathan Wilder and a woman named Petunia Dursley, who'd been driving a sedan when the lorry driven by Mr. Wilder had crashed headfirst into the driver's side of her sedan. Dursley's teenaged nephew had been injured in the accident and was recovering at St. Peter's Hospital in Chertsey.
Chertsey? Where the hell do they come up with those names?
"Why did this trip the protocol?" Tony asked.
"According to your notes, Lily Evans Potter had a sister named Petunia Evans," JARVIS said. "The name Petunia is unusual enough that I added it to the search parameters. A cursory search based on this article revealed that Petunia Dursley was known as Petunia Evans before she married. From there, it wasn't difficult to find that her nephew's name is Harry Potter."
Tony's heart clenched. Harry. He swallowed once, hard.
"Are you well, sir?" JARVIS asked. "Your pulse and respiration both increased sharply."
"Yeah, J, I'm fine. What's Harry's condition?"
"He was riding in the rear seat on the passenger side of the sedan. He has contusions over most of the left side of his body, two cracked ribs, a fractured left clavicle, and a broken left wrist and ankle. He is being monitored overnight due to a concussion."
"Send them a copy of the DNA test results, and order whatever Harry needs - a private room, specialized care, whatever. Then get me everything you can find on Harry and the Dursley woman and her family," Tony said. "London's, what, five hours ahead of us?"
"Four. And how long's the flight?"
"Approximately seven hours."
Tony did some calculations in his head. "Get the jet ready. I want to be in the air by seven tonight - no sense getting there when he should be sleeping. Tell the hospital I'll be there tomorrow morning."
"Do you want a car as well, sir?"
"With a driver, J - I don't want to be bothered with driving on the wrong side of the road with weird road signs."
"I imagine not, sir," JARVIS replied. "I'll have the London flat readied for you."
"Thanks," Tony replied. "Also, when you're dealing with the hospital, arrange for someone to meet me when I arrive. I'll give a DNA sample so they can run their own test if they want."
"Very good, sir." JARVIS hesitated. "Shall I inform Ms. Potts?"
"No, I'll do it." Tony winced internally at the direction that conversation would likely take. Pepper was still caught somewhere between rage that he'd been so ready to sacrifice himself - and, yeah, he freely admitted that he could be a selfish and self-centered asshole sometimes, but he wasn't enough of an asshole to let an even more arrogant, pompous and self-righteous World Security Council nuke New York City - and relief that they'd both survived.
Pepper wouldn't be happy that he was jetting off for London for a while, especially when he wasn't ready to tell her why just yet, but under the circumstances, Tony couldn't see any other choice.
With a last glance at the news article, Tony shut down the HUD and gave the command to retract his faceplate as he scanned the work site for the foreman, Ben.
He found Ben beside one of the trucks, apparently telling the driver something. As the truck pulled away, Tony engaged the flight thrusters and flew the sixty-odd feet over to Ben.
"Calling it a day?" Ben asked, taking off his hard hat to wipe sweat from his forehead.
"And maybe a bit longer," Tony said. "Something's come up and I have to go out of the country for a while."
"We'll be sorry to lose you," Ben said. "I'd figured it'd take at least another month to get to where we are, but between you and Captain Rogers, we're making great progress."
"Yeah, well, happy to help and all that," Tony said. Ben hadn't thanked him, exactly, but his manner was close enough to it that Tony's reflexes were kicking in. "I'll be back to help as soon as I can."
"Whenever you can," Ben said. "And if you can't, that's okay, too."
"It's really not - everyone should be helping however they can," Tony countered.
Ben just gave him a look that was oddly - and uncomfortably - reminiscent of Pepper. "You already helped a lot by making sure there was still a city to clean up. Go take care of whatever it is. The rest of us will keep on keeping on here."
Tony offered him a nod, then turned to scan the crowd of workers for Rogers - who wasn't hard to spot, as he was heading toward where Tony stood with Ben.
Tony strode forward to meet him halfway - out of Ben's earshot and somewhat distant from most of the rest of the crew.
"I've got to head out of the country for a while," Tony said by way of greeting.
"Problem?" Steve asked - and yes, Tony thought of him as Steve thanks to a lifetime of hearing his father refer to him that way.
"Maybe," Tony allowed, mulling the situation over once again.
Tony snorted. "Personal."
"Ah." Steve hesitated, his expression nervous, then said, "I don't mean to be rude, or nosy, but - if it's bad, do you have someone to go with you?"
Tony waved it away. "JARVIS is always with me."
"And he's great," Steve agreed immediately. "But he does have … limitations."
Tony scowled at Steve. "Limitations? Like what?"
"Like he can't buy you a drink and let you cry on his shoulder, if you need to." Steve grimaced. "I'm sure he could put in the order and all, but … and no offense intended, JARVIS, but it doesn't seem like it'd be the same as having someone to clap you on the shoulder or pour you into a cab."
"No offense taken, Captain," JARVIS replied. "And he is quite correct, Sir, that I am unable to join you in the physical sense."
"Meatspace is overrated," Tony muttered.
"Perhaps," JARVIS said. "But you do occupy it in a way I do not."
"I would've offered for Howard," Steve said. "Because he was my friend."
"But I'm not," Tony pointed out.
"Not yet," Steve corrected. "But until then, let me pay it forward - that's the term, right?"
Tony hesitated. It would be good to have a meatspace companion, and with Pepper back in California, Steve Rogers was likely the best person for that job. But -
"It's personal." The words were out before Tony considered them. "And I don't have the best record when it comes to sharing personal stuff."
"I'll keep your confidences," Steve said, and then he laughed quietly at what Tony was sure was the absolute shock on his face. "I told you on the carrier that I'd seen the footage. But now I've read the stories around it. I won't tell anyone anything about whatever this is. I promise."
There was no doubting the sincerity in Steve's tone - and, really, the thought of Captain America breaking a promise was laughable.
"Fine," Tony said. "Be at the tower by six, so we can get to the airport on time."