Seeing Pepper further down the hall, Harry made eye contact with Remus and nodded towards her, with a smile and a nod the older men waved him off, going back to talking with the senator, as well as the spokes person of the local magical community.
Taking a few steps towards where Pepper, Tony, and their friends were gathered, he could feel the looks of others on his back. Their scrutiny no doubt ending the moment they read tomorrow just who he actually was.
Getting close to the group, he was suddenly blocked by a brown haired man getting in his way.
The man was a little older than him, wearing glasses and while a nice suit, it was obviously not right for his body type – not that Harry ever let appearance deceive him, the arrogant way the man was standing in front of him rubbed him the wrong way.
“Yes, can I help you?”
The man grinned, “Yes, I think you can, you see, I have read the magazines and saw you hanging around with Ms. Potts over there.”
Harry just arched as eyebrow at that, noticing that the man hadn’t even introduced himself.
The man’s grin got wider, and if possible creepier, “I’m afraid I’ll have to burst your bubble and tell you she is a committed relationship with Tony Stark, so sadly enough you won’t stand a chance.”
Harry’s eyebrow only arched higher, now disappearing in his hairline, staring at the man as if he had lost his marbles.
Not letting that look deter him the man continued, “but if you are available, I am more than happy to accompany you today, for the right price of course.”
That last was said while giving Harry a once over, a shiver going over the Potter-Black lord as he minced over the words.
“Are you telling me you think I am some sort of escort?”
The man grinned at him, obviously not knowing just how deeply in the shit he was lowering himself.
Before Harry could reply however, Pepper was standing next to him, Tony not far behind. From the look on the older man’s face he had either heard or guessed just what this man had said to him.
“Are you alright Harry?”
Harry pursed his lips, a look of contempt on his face, queuing Pepper that something had been said that didn’t go over well with her best friend. Turning to the other man, she addressed him.
“Justin Hammer, just what do you think you are doing?”
Hammer, now finally identified, thank you for that Pepper, gave Harry a once over again, “well Ms. Potts since you are enjoying the company of Tony here, I offered myself as a companion to your boytoy ever here.”
More than one person had to swallow after that. Tony whispering something in her ear, most likely the fast that Hammer thought Harry was a paid escort.
The brit winced as he saw Pepper turn as red as her hair, knowing the following explosion would be more than Weasley worthy. From the look on Tony’s face, he too was familiar with the way Pepper could explode when she felt slighted or insulted.
A whisper came over Pepper’s lips, the sheer contempt coming with it making Harry take a few steps back, so he was standing next to Tony Stark and not in the line of fire between Pepper and Hammer.
Like flipping a switch, Pepper suddenly smirked, “Allow me to introduce you, Harry, this is Justin Hammer, CEO of Hammer Industries and one of the competitors for the weapons division of SI.
Mr. Hammer, please allow he to introduce you to my best friend since secondary school, Lord Hadrian James Potter-Black, holding the lordship of the Potter, Black, Peverell and Gryffindor lordships, presented with the title of Marquis by Her Majesty The Queen on his relentless effort to stop the terrorist attacks plaguing the UK around the year 2000. Co-owner of too many companies to count, and current CEO of Marauder’s Inc, the competitor to SI’s other divisions.”
When Pepper stopped talking, you could hear a pin drop in the hall they were in, just about everyone looking at all of them, but more notably at Justin Hammer, and the way he had been looking at the new CEO of Marauder Inc.
A slight noise escaped Hammer, before the originator of the charity event approached them and friendly asked Hammer to leave the premises. After, the man, one Dr. Alfred Porter, turned to Harry and apologised for all this happening.
Harry, finally finding his voice, waved it away, “this has nothing to do with you, Dr. Porter, but everything with the man you just banned from the event. I came here to support a goal I, and my company, want to support and the behaviour of one, pardon my words, asshole, is not going to change that.
Now if you will excuse me, I had hoped to talk to my best friend before the main event.”
Dr. Porter nodded at him, sighing in relief that one of his main benefactors wasn’t holding this against him. Turning towards the entrance, he was glad to not see Hammer anymore, the nerve of that man, to speak in such a way towards an English Lord, not only that but on the first charity event he had been invited too. What a way to stay with the people, despicable behaviour.
Nodding once more to Lord Black, he went back towards his own group of friends, excusing himself for his fast departure, only to be hushed by multiple women, them telling him they were happy he interfered. The way Hammer spoke to Lord Black was not even slightly appropriate, not in the circles they were mingling right now.
Alfred nodded, taking a hold of the drink his wife had been holding for him and sighed.
When someone tapped his shoulder however, he turned and found himself staring at Remus and Nymphadora Black-Lupin, Lord Black’s closest relatives and until tonight the representatives of Marauder Inc.
“I would like to thank you for acting on behalf of my nephew, Dr. Porter, and would like to add that beyond the donation we will be making this evening, should you ever be in need of some sturdier equipment, make sure to give us a call.”
As he said this, Remus pressed a business card in his hand, before nodding and turning around, leading his wife to speak with a congressman and a leading expert in mutant genes.
Harry blew out a deep breath as they made their way towards the group Pepper had been standing with, a hand on his arm a welcome touch after the confrontation with Hammer.
Taking a glass from a nearby server’s tray, he downed it in one go, hoping it would make him feel a bit more at ease. After dealing with UK politics, Molly Weasley, Death Eaters, Voldemort, and the mess up that was the English Ministry of Magic, you would think he could deal with an arrogant businessman who went way beyond his league.
A small giggle escaped Pepper, a fond smile on her face, “oh, that reminds me. Harry meet Tony Stark, my best American friend. Tony, meet Harry Black, my best English friend.”
The two men shook hands, fond looks directed at the woman walking in between them.
“Nice to meet you, Tony.”
A comfortable silence sprung up between them, until they were back with the group Pepper and Tony had been standing with, more than one person looking at Harry like he was some foreign royalty or something.
A voice suspiciously sounding like Hermione said in his head, ‘you kind of are, marquis and all that.’
Pepper always on point, hummed, “right introductions. Harry meet Professor Charles Xavier, he’s the leading authority on mutant genes, as well as the headmaster of the school Remus and Dora are considering sending Teddy to.
Next are two of the school’s teachers; Jean Gray and Ororo Munroe. Jean teaches psychology and helps the kids with any problems they might have, while Ororo teaches English.
Then are Susan and Reed Richards, they are part of the Fantastic 4 team protecting New York, as well as our leading experts on interdimensional travel and intergalactic physics.
Lastly, we have Dr. Christine Palmer and Dr. Stephen Strange, both neurosurgeons, with at least one enhanced family member. Both of them are willing to work part time in the new enhanced hospital we are funding tonight.”
Turning towards her other friends, Pepper added, “everyone, this is Harry Black, current, starting Monday, CEO of Marauder Inc. and my best friend from the UK.”
Harry nodded at everyone he was introduced to, getting smiled and nods back from all of them.
Professor Xavier asked, “your family is thinking of sending someone to my school.”
Harry nodded, “Teddy’s 5 now, and he goes to a local school that does cater to more enhanced students, but they are also more of a day-care facility and not a real school. With him turning 6 soon, Remus and Dora have been looking into schools that cater to enhanced individuals and yours came out on top.”
The professor smiled at that, happy to know that his institution was known through out the circles it had to be known about and that parents were aware their children were welcome there.
Jean asked, “Might I ask what his mutation entails?”
Harry nodded, “he got something like a feral mutation from his father, even if it hasn’t manifested yet, we don’t know if it ever will. It might set in with puberty.
From his mother he got an easier one, Dora can change her appearance at will, as can Teddy, he has it mostly under control, but as a child it slips his control at times and with the stigma around mutants in certain schools, we’d like it if he could go to a school were his unique ability only makes him more special.”
Pepper snorted, “it particularly handy when he doesn’t want to share his emotions with us, seeing as his hair acts like a mood ring at those times.”
A voice piped up from behind them, “see Remus, I knew out niece and nephew were talking about us.”
Turning around, Remus and Dora were standing there, grins on their faces. Making both Pepper and Harry snort.
“Like the two of you haven’t been talking about us.”
Remus smiled, “of course we did, one of the youngest CEO’s of the country and one of the most sought after PA in the history of PA’s, we’ve been bragging to hell and back about the two of you. As well as confirming that everything that Pepper here said was indeed true. Making it so that a lot of people present today have put Justin Hammer on their Blacklist.”
Tony snorted, “I am sure with how many phones were out that the world with know what Hammer did and put him on the communal Blacklist. Acting like that here of all places if a stake in his socialite career.”
The people around them nodded, it was indeed social suicide to assume anything of anyone you met at events such as this. And to assume was one thing, but to assume someone was an escort, only to find they outrank you on every side was just downright killing anyone’s socialite status.
The group mingled some more, before the speakers announced the start of the main event, a presentation of what the hospital should and would look like once construction was finished, both on the inside as on the outside. As well as what they would be offering in short term and long term care.
Making their way towards the tables assigned, they were pleased to note that Professor Xavier, Ororo and Jean were sitting on the same table as Pepper and Tony, as well as Remus, Dora, and Harry.
Stephen, Christine, Reed and Susan were also at the sale table, accompanied by some other doctors or scientist who either were enhanced or had family that were.
Directing their attention to the front, they were all entertained with a detailed map and plan of, and for, the future hospital for enhanced children.