St . Marlin’s Orphanage was a small dirty building that stood, point deep in the shadiest part of London. No one dared to go inside as it was too riddled with rumors to allow a gentleman to shake his sanity enough to enter, regardless of the fact that it wasn't the building itself that made people want to stay out. Rather it was the children who were admitted there, who made crossing the threshold unbearable.
It wasn't as if the children were overly terrible, oh no, no, you misunderstand. The children, all of them, big and small, were little darlings. It was the circumstances in which the children were placed that made it so odious.
Each individual child had a distinctive backstory, something that made them utterly unique in each and every way.
A boy snatched from his loving family for a reason that teemed with bad intentions. A girl, sound asleep in a nearby room while her parents were murdered in cold blood. And, lastly, a fallen angel who desperately wanted love, yet received nothing but a cold shoulder in return.
Anthony Edward Stark was going to find that soon enough.
Three small children sat curled up in a row in the furthest corner of St . Marlin’s Orphanage . Two little boys and one little girl.
The child to the left of the trio had a full head of flaming red hair, highlighting his pale complexion with freckles too boot. He was a bit tall for his age, he was quite lanky actually. He had sky blue eyes, glittering with nearly broken hope. And definitely with broken innocence.
The girl in the middle was quite the little beauty. She had brown hair that fell across her shoulders in ringlets, and her peach skin held a light blush, bringing a sweet glow to her pleasing face. Her big eyes, brown and warm, were lowered demurely as she read a heavy book cradled in the crook of her crossed legs.
The boy on the far right was anything but ordinary. Compared to the other two children he was simply stunning. He had aristocratic features, such as high cheekbones, befitting that of the elite, decorous prince charming that graced the girl's storybooks. His wild mess of inky black curls stood out untamed against his pale skin. What was truly mesmerizing about this child, however, were his large viridescent eyes. They were the purest, brightest green that shimmered and glistened in even the darkest of places. It was as if his irises had been replaced with emerald gems when he was born. It was almost unnatural, one would think if they did not know his mother.
All three children were beautiful, immensely so, and all three were surrounded by inexplicably perplexing auras.
Each child clutched, with vice grips, the nearest one's hand, a small reassurance that, if nothing else, they at least have each other.
“Hey look, there are the freaks!” A boy, Arnold Spirit crowed at them with his lackeys laughing, goading him on.
“Go pick on someone your own size for once!” The child's voice was small, weary.
“Why should I, Weasel?” Arnold scrunched his face up into an ugly sneer. “You and your little friends need to be set straight.”
Blood rushed to his face, fueled by his growing anger, at the malicious nickname, causing the once pale skin to turn a deep shade of maroon. If he could see his face at that moment he would have recoiled at the horrid shade of red that graced it. Merlin knew how much he hates that color.
“We haven’t done anything to you!” His voice nearly croaked as he pulled his best friends close to him. The girl tucked her book behind her for safekeeping before hugging the red-headed boy's torso, shooting her most scathing glaring at the bullies. Those horrible boys! The raven haired child watched nervously, accepting the comfort offered almost greedily.
“Yeah? What about last night when that piece of rubbish-” A chubby finger pointed to the smaller raven-haired boy. “-woke us up with all the screaming!”
The little boy whimpered, hiding his face in the larger one’s side. “That wasn't his fault! He had a nightmare! Who doesn't have nightmares?” The only thing that was keeping the redhead from becoming violent, was his friends. He didn't want to set a bad example for them.
“I don't bloody well care!” Before Arnold and his lackeys could charge at the group, an unfamiliar voice boomed through the nearly empty room.
“Hey! You three! ” The four boys scampered out of the room, throwing murderous glares at the trio before running off.
A man, most likely in his later thirties, walked up cautiously to the trio, eyeing them with a gentle curiosity. He wore a suit so expensive that it looked to be dripping with luxury, a stark contrast to the veritable schmattes the children were carelessly dressed in. He was fit and really quite tall. Rationally, the children knew they were small in comparison to an adult, of course, but this man was considered tall even in juxtaposition to Monsieur Georges Pierre Méliès, the caretaker's husband, or even to Madame Charlotte Marie Adèle d'Alcy, the cook. This man, he had dark brown eyes - a shade darker than those belonging to the little girl who now clutched her book protectively to her chest - that crinkled merrily under a covering of messy brown hair that almost seemed black. Olive toned skin peeked out from behind a distinctive goatee. His eyes held deep within them a glimmer of intellect and genius.
“You kids alright?” This kind-faced man, it was revealed, was the owner of the unfamiliar voice that had saved them only moments ago. An American accent was prominent against his strong tenor.
The boy with the emerald eyes buried his face deep in the taller redheads wool sweater, disregarding the itchy material, he screwed his eyes tight, his fear of strangers taking over his actions. “We're fine.” The redhead wrapped a comforting arm around the shivering child holding onto him for dear life. “Mostly,” he muttered while rubbing his back soothingly. The girl huffed, thoroughly unimpressed. “They’re just rude.”
The man chuckled and crouched down in front of them. “I would have to agree, Sis.” The little boy with the big green eyes had come out of hiding, as the redhead spoke again, though he still clutched the sweater nervously in his small hands. “They were rude, aren't they?”
The little girl laughed in a nervous manner, fingers plucking anxiously at the frayed edges of her little yellow cardigan. She traced the faded daisies with a furrowed brow, watching as the tallest of their small triumvirate smiled. “Now, might I presume that you three amazing kids have equally amazing names.” The man spoke in calm measured tones, a kind smile lighting up his face.
The man watched in mild confusion as each child twisted their face in thought, trying to remember their names. He didn’t understand why it took them so long to answer. If his name were asked of him, “Anthony Edward Stark; boy genius,” would be his immediate answer. “Tony,” if he decided he liked you. He would learn in time that the trio had memorized their identification numbers- nine , eleven , and eight , as that is what they were mainly called by caretaker Méliès and the rest of the staff. Even the children, so used to it, referred to one another by their assigned numbers. That's all they were at St . Marlin's : a number to be paraded and showcased to passing prospects the way a puppy is showed off at a pet store. Usually, the puppy stood a better chance at adoption.
As soon as she remembered, the girl spoke. “My name is Hermione.” She spoke slowly, almost unsure of herself. “Grainger,” she added as an afterthought. “The redhead is Ronald Weasley. The other kids like to call him Weasel.” She pointed to him then Ronald,coloredd red yet again, pointed to the other boy, finishing for her. “That’s Harry.”
The boy in question, Harry, looked up at the man with wide emerald eyes. Brown eyes met green and the man was shocked to see that they were filled with so much hurt- enough to break the strongest man's heart in a millisecond. The man smiled, covering up his anger at the trio’s obvious discomfort. “Hey there, Buddy, I’m Tony.”
Harry spoke for the first time, “My name is Harry. Harry Potter.”
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
“You have to admit, that one dude Boxley was way too creepy to be in the medical field...are you sure he isn't a murderer or something?” Tony Stark conversed with one of his best friends, Dr. Bruce Banner.
The doctor, sadly some might say, looked quite tired. He had large circles under his dark brown eyes, hidden under his rectangular glasses. His skin had a tannish tint, complementing his high cheekbones. His curly brown hair, while windswept at the moment, had small streaks of grey hair, which went buried and unnoticed by the sheer amount of curls sat on top of his head. His frame was somewhat short according to modern society. He also had a little fat around his torso, giving him an endearing look to him.
The Doctor chuckled humorously. “I would have to Agree with you there, he was rather unsettling.”
The two had just got back from a medical conference. Now, you might be thinking, Tony Stark isn't in the medical field, what blasphemy is this? Well, after having to watch his beloved friend go to these shindigs (as the billionaire had taken to calling-both to Bruce's annoyance and amusement) alone, so he got his medical license. It wasn't that hard, just a couple of days of studying and a few more days of exams did the trick.
Sometimes, being a genius and a billionaire had its perks.
The two were now carelessly walking on the sidewalks of London. The sun was steadily raised in the sky, setting a happy atmosphere around the English city.
“Hey, what's down that alley there?” Bruce inquired curiously, glancing at a rusted sign pointing towards a dirt road.
“I'm not sure.” He looked down at his wristwatch, seeing it was only twelve in the afternoon. “Let's check it out, it's only about noon.”
Little did the two know, they were entering a much darker area. It was dirty, rugged, and dangerous. Definitely, a place Bruce should not explore.
“Well...there goes my good mood,” Tony grumbled and stopped as he saw a stone building. It looked to be older than him with a rusty metal fence surrounding it. A play set had one if the swings slowly moving back and forth, an audible squeak when it did so. On the very top of the building it had faded painted letters on a metal strip:
St. Marlin's Orphanage
“Why in God's name would they put an orphanage here? You're just asking for someone to be stabbed!” Tony Stark was oddly outraged by this.
Bruce sighed. “I couldn't agree with you more.” He looked at the building. “I feel bad for those kids… Maybe we should cheer them up?” He smiled, children always were something he found undeniably precious. There was something about them that made both him and The Other Guy want to protect them. To make sure that nothing will hurt something so pure and innocent.
“Bruce, Buddy, that building is not the place you need. Want the Jolly Green Giant to come out and play today? Yeah, I don't think so.”
Bruce gave him a look, a look that Tony gave into in a heartbeat. It was a look of defeat and sadness.
It was heartbreaking.
“Aww, Brucie Bear don't do that to me...that's not fair at all.”
Bruce smiled and led his friend into the building. “Come, I bet it's just fine.”
“I'm Harry. Harry Potter.” The little boy’s voice was soft and angelic, almost dainty. He held onto Ron's hand, terrified. He was never a fan of strangers to begin with so being up close to one was nothing far from nerve-wracking.
The man smiled. “My name is Tony Stark, a pleasure to meet you three.” He smiled warmly and thought for a moment. He pulled out three of the candies he gave out to children when he and Bruce did a quick check up (which wasn't often, but it still happened) on children. “Take your pick.”
All three looked at each other and Ron was the first to be brave enough to grab a yellow one. Then Hermione grabbed a purple one. Harry seemed hesitant at first, but after a little encouragement from his Big Sister , he gently grabbed the pink one in the middle.
Tony smiled and sat down next to them. “You have a comfortable spot here...by the fire, all nice and warm.” Hermione smiled around her Lolly and looked down at her book.
“What book are you reading?” He asked, looking at Hermione curiously.
She smiled. “Robinson Crusoe...it's beautiful if you ask me.”
The genius smiled softly. “I am fond of that book as well… Who's your favorite character?”
She thought for a little bit. “Friday is really nice…”
Tony looked down at Hermione. She was a much...less arrogant version of him as a child. Her eyes were filled with an incredible amount of intelligence and sophistication that was rare to see in such a small child. “Sissy is really smart,” Harry said softly.
Harry nodded. “She is the smartest person in our class…” Hermione's chest puffed out in pride. Tony chuckled. “My favorite book your age had to be….” He thought for a little bit then smiled. “It had to be David Copperfield…”
Hermione smiled. “I haven’t read that one yet.” Tony smiled. “I’ll lend you a copy of it sometime.” The girl looked up at him in a shocked manner. “You-You would do that?” Hermione stuttered, a little taken aback. Tony smiled and nodded.
Ron, who had been too shocked that an adult that was actually
, sat quietly while Hermione and Tony had a passionate discussion. The boy, himself, felt out of place. He looked at Harry, looking at the sheer wonder filling inside of his spectacular eyes. Not once had Ron see him look this excitable and awed.
And it was nothing short of spectacular in Ron’s eyes.
Bruce sat next to Ron, making the redhead looked up at the timid looking man. “My name is Bruce. Bruce Banner.” The man held out a friendly hand, making the largest boy shake his hand. “Hullo.” The doctor continued to smile, a glimmer of opportunity present in his eyes.
“Ron is a really cool name.” Bruce complimented, and the smile on the little boy’s face was contagious. “T-Thank you.” Then the doctor looked at Tony and made a silent agreement with him. The genius cleared his throat and looked at the three children, a smile on his face.
“I think you three are going to come home with us.”