Hermione's success with shaking Steve's presence by using the crowd of party guests did not extend to Sam. While he shadowed her, she surmised that the Falcon was still too new amongst the Avengers to be recognized even when standing next to Captain America. It left him to linger nearby as excited fans swarmed Steve each clamouring for his attention. Judging the expression on Sam's face, he knew exactly what she was doing.
Which is why she couldn't prevent herself from rolling her eyes when Sam sidled up to her under the guise of refilling her drink. A Slytherin, Sam was decidedly not.
"Prepared to guilt trip me again?" Hermione asked, not bothering to hide her animosity.
"Is it working?" Sam asked, cheekily as the bartender slid him two beers and he handed one off to her. She accepted it and took a drink as she eyed him warily.
"I'm not entirely sure what you're hoping to accomplish with this stunt," Hermione said.
"What stunt? Handing you a drink?" Sam countered, before Hermione exasperatedly waved her hand gesturing towards the party guests. Glancing at Sam out of the corner of her eye, she caught him slightly grinning before he answered.
"Talk to Stark. It's his party."
"You clearly underestimate Tony's ability to keep a secret. Literally, and I quote, "Cap and Sam are frantic because they think you've been kidnapped. Be at this party or I'll do something drastic, like change your last name to Stark and refuse to explain it to the media," Hermione retorted, smirking when Sam choked on the swig of beer he'd just taken.
Sam laughed after clearing his throat and asked, "That worked?"
"I like my anonymity," Hermione answered unapologetically. "Unluckily for you, the media doesn't really know who you are and therefore if you issued the same threat it doesn't merit a reaction. So what exactly are you trying to accomplish?"
"I would have thought that was pretty obvious," Sam answered. "After all, you were the one who hunted down Cap once you realized Hydra was after him. Seems pretty telling to me."
"So, according to you, the only reason I would have helped Steve was because of some connection, and not simply because it was the right thing to do?" Hermione asked, disdain filling her voice.
Sam shrugged, "I work with people for a living. People generally throw themselves into dangerous situations for their family without thinking it through. It's more logical that you chose to help Steve because of that connection. No matter how much you seem to deny it exists."
Hermione scowled and opened her mouth to correct him, when Sam continued talking.
"Admittedly, I am curious about where the name Potter came from. My initial guess is adopted parents?"
"No," Hermione said, suddenly thrown by the change in topics. Her voice was tight as her knuckles whitened around the glass she held. Sam waited for her to elaborate and the witch practically growled when she realized he was willing to wait for an answer.
Sighing, she elaborated while trying to limit the extent of Harry's own magic, "It's my best friend's last name. I dug up a ritual that made us siblings."
"Your parents were okay with that?" Sam asked, surprise filling his voice. Hermione closed her eyes, willing her magic under control as memories flooded her brain. Sam for his part seemed to realize he'd stumbled onto a volatile topic and waited for her to continue.
"By that point, my parents had been dead for a few years, and Harry lost his when he was just a toddler," Hermione explained, still using occlumency to hold the memories at bay. "We just wanted the semblance of family again after Ron made his choice."
Sam looked at her before asking, "Harry died, didn't he?"
"Saving me," Hermione answered, staring blankly at the crowd, her voice thick with emotion. "He'd be rather furious with me actually. I made a lot of rash decisions following that night."
"What would he think about Steve?" Sam asked, steering the conversation back to Rogers and earning a small chuckle from Hermione.
"He'd find the whole situation surreal. Personality wise, Harry and Steve would get on like a house on fire, particularly with their whole penchant for saving people," Hermione said fondly as she looked over at Steve. "Both are rather daft when it comes to their own lives."
"How'd Harry feel about the whole 'long lost father bit," Sam asked, elaborating on his previous question.
"Harry, the prat, would try to understand my feelings on the matter, but still insist they were utter bollocks. We would end up having so many fights about it," Hermione answered, before clearing her voice.
Hermione paused, "Looking at Steve…it's like seeing a changeling take my dad's place. If I close my eyes I can almost believe it, but visually I can always see through the illusion. Harry…it would be different for him. You have to understand that Harry's never known parents and all he's ever wanted was to be loved. So he'd just be happy about it and wouldn't comprehend why it's so hard to even be in a room with Steve."
Sam looked at her, speculative before asking, "Have you ever talked to Steve about Harry?"
"No," Hermione answered, surprised by the impish grin that appeared on Sam's face.
"Good. I can't wait to see the look on his face when I tell him he's got another kid," Sam said, sending her a wink. Hermione, startled by the sudden image of how Steve would react, threw her head back and laughed.
"That's so mean," she sputtered between giggles, only to laugh harder when she saw the suddenly concerned look that Steve was shooting towards her and Sam. Earning a laugh from the witch seemed to unlock her ability to relax and Sam managed to coax her into introducing him to Clint. Ultimately, the party dwindled until it was just the Avengers, Maria Hill and Hermione.
Standing once again by the bar, Hermione watched bemused as Thor goaded Stark and the others into trying to lift Mjlnoir from the coffee table. Laughter was infectious when not even Stark and Rhodey's suit technology proved successful. Steve's attempt, however, had Hermione's eyes narrowing at the miniscule movement of the hammer before he conceded defeat.
"It's rigged!" Tony declared. "It's got to be keyed to your fingerprints. That's it, isn't it?"
"I have a better theory, you're all unworthy," Thor declared, rising to his feet and summoning the hammer. "Not even Lady Potter could use her sorcery to remove Mjlnoir from my grasp!"
Hearing the boast, Hermione couldn't resist casting a silent accio. She watched gleefully as the hammer sailed towards her, towing Thor along with it. Sidestepping out of it's path at the last minute, the Asgardian slammed heavily into the bar as everyone stared.
"Cheating!" Tony blurted out as he leapt to his feet and pointed at Hermione. "That doesn't count. Glinda didn't pick it up!"
"Quite clever Lady Hermione!" Thor declared, clambering back to his feet and beaming at her. "Perhaps you are worthy after all!"
"Worthy…" a low voice came from the shadows, drawing everyone's attention to the opposite side of the room. "How can any of be worthy? You're all killers."
Slowly, the Avengers all rose to their feet listening to heavy metal thud and scrape against the floor, until a mangled machine stepped into the light. Hermione's mouth plummeted at the monstrosity. Its eyes scanned the room until it focused on her and tilted its head as if confused.
"You're not an avenger," the robot blurted out, causing Thor to step protectively in front of her.
"Still a killer though. You've got that haunted look, lurking behind your eyes," The monstrosity said, raising a mangled hand to emphasize its meaning.
"Mind your tongue beast," Thor bellowed, wielding Mjlnoir defensively.
"Tony what is that?" Hermione asked, her voice low even as Stark tried and failed at contacting Jarvis. The robot seemed to be in its own world as it muttered to itself.
"I'm sorry. I was asleep…or was it a dream? I was all tangled up in strings…only way to free myself was to kill the other guy."
"You killed someone?!" Steve asked sharply.
"Shame too. He seemed nice."
"Who are you? What do you want?" Steve demanded. Rather than answer, the decrepit robot replayed an audio clip of Tony and Bruce working together and discussing the idea of "peace in our time." It echoed throughout the room just before the walls imploded around them. Hermione squeaked out a shield charm just in time to protect her from the blast despite being knocked off her feet.
"Hermione!" Steve yelled, while dodging a blow from one of Ironman Legion Bots. While debris continued to fall, Hermione rolled, her wand in hand as another bot shot at her.
"You alright?" Maria called, as she fired back at one of the robots. Hermione managed to clamber to the other woman's side before blasting another of Tony's Legion Bots with a reducto. Eyes wide, the witch quickly cast another protego to prevent the resulting shards of metal from raining down on her and Maria.
"I take it the rumors around SHIELD about you being Cap's kid aren't false," Maria muttered, as she continued to aim at the attacking robots.
"Is anyone else armed?" Hermione yelled over the explosions Tony was exchanging with his corrupted Legion Bots.
"Barton and Romanov will at least have a sidearm on them," Maria reported as she changed clips. "Cap, Sam and Bruce won't be unless someone manages to get Steve his shield."
"Perfect," Hermione muttered sarcastically, before shooting a fire curse at the nearest bot. Unfortunately, it caught Ultron's attention and he turned towards Hermione after blasting Tony away.
"Interesting," the mangled form said, stalking towards her even as Maria fired repeatedly at Ultron and Hermione sent a blasting curse his way. "Unfortunately, you are beginning to irritate me."
Despite her attempts to magically push Ultron back, the robot successfully grabbed her. Lifting her into the air, it forcefully threw her towards a previously broken window. Flying towards the lack of barrier, Hermione struggled to think of a spell that would successfully stop her trajectory when Steve collided with her mid air. They landed hard, with Steve flipping them so he took the brunt of the crash.
"Pity," Ultron said, staring at the two of them. "You're all so dramatic and unyielding. The only path to peace is your extinction."
"You first!" Thor Declared, using Mjolnir to rip out Ultron's chest cavity.