AN: Hi everyone. So, I have to say that I'm sorry. I know I said that this would go up last week and that Sivaas would be updated this week, but I forgot I had dental surgery to have my wisdom teeth removed last week, so this is just getting done now, but Sivaas will be update by the middle of next week. As Sivaas winds down, I'm still wondering if you guys have prompts for the Spots!Verse one-shots that are coming. I hope that, if you have them, you'll put them in your reviews, because I love to hear your thoughts for these works!
My many thanks and a round of applause for Maverick14th, who was a driving force behind getting this plotted and written, and is also my acting beta. Thanks to them!
Long ago, all across the nine realms, there lived dragons, greats beasts with scaly hides of every color the denizens of the realms could imagine. The dragons were benevolent and made their peaceful existence high in the mountains or deep in the forests where no human dare tread. But these creatures were powerful magic users and, as is often the case, dark forces sought to control these magnificent creatures for their own gains.
A war broke out, dragons versus a group that called themselves "Wyrmblight", an evil group of men and women who thought to use the dragons to take control of all the nine realms and leave nothing but terror and destruction in their wake. They weren't counting on the dragons, once thought of as scholars and healers, to be ferocious fighters.
Fire and ice blasted from the maws of the great beasts, wiping out archers and pikemen alike. But not even the most powerful of blasts from a dragon could not penetrate the magical defenses that secured their forts and garrisons and soon, the battle came to a stalemate.
The dragon Mur'rrac would solve the problem. A giant yellow brute with claws that could rend boulders, Mur'rrac suggested a partnership. With the humanoid races of the nine realms. Mur'rrac's idea was looked up with incredulity and nearly derision, but Mur'rrac's explanation would quickly turn the opinion of his fellow dragons in his favor.
The humanoid species of the nine realms, most of their species being new to the worlds and the use of magic, could not cast long range spells and needed to be close to their targets to be effective. From the backs of dragons, they could get close enough to the defended garrisons to cast spells to break their defenses and allow the dragons access.
The oldest dragons refused, on the grounds the humanoids were attacking them and could not be trusted. And so it fell to the youngest dragons to choose those that would ride upon their backs. They chose only the pure of heart, sound of mind and free of spirit and marked them as theirs, as they were possessive and would allow no others to fly with them.
To honor the tradition cemented by this first generation of dragons and their Chosen, eggs were brought before the young of the realms. The hatchlings within would only chose those younglings that they thought were the right ones for them.
Dragons and their Chosen would protect the world for centuries more, until a fateful day, some millennia later. A dark power rose from Midgard and infected a woman, turning her against all she knew. Already the woman's soul was dark with hate against the dragons as, years before, she'd thought a dragon had hatched for her and instead it had hatched for the girl next to her.
The spirit latched onto that hate and anger, imbued her with the power, and helped her levy a plague of madness against the dragons before killing her. Male dragons took to the sky and fought to the death, lifeless bodies plummeting back to ground where their Chosen already lay dead of the wounds, the Bond between dragon and Chosen killing them. Nesting mothers trampled their nests in fits of rage and then, claws still caked with remnants of the eggs shells from their nests, killed each other.
Mages from the realms over fought to rescue and preserve what they could and, in the end, once the mages had purged the plague from the dragons, the damage was staggering. Midgard and and all of the other nine realms, dragonless, save for five, sickly dragons, who would never recover to full-strength, and thirty-three eggs, pulled from the nests of their raging mothers before it was too late.
In the end, the mages and the remaining dragon-Chosen pairs had no choice. With no eggs in the other nine realms, the chances of the remaining few hatching were slim to nothing. With heavy hearts, on a cold snowy day, the mages cast the eggs to the other realms, in the hopes that the hatchlings within would one day Chose.
Tony found a stone, in the bottom right corner of the container that SHIELD gave him when he was trying to save himself from palladium poisoning. It was the darkest blue he'd ever seen, shot through with mercury, and he found himself inexplicably drawn to it. From above it looked smooth but, when he picked it up, he could feel the microscopic bumps and pitting of the surface.
He lost an hour to examining it, unwilling to put it down as old film reels played in the background. More than once, he could swear he felt it move, but instead chalked it up to exhaustion. Finally, when it looked like a solution was near, the stone was temporarily forgotten, laid on his desk amongst papers and old oil rags.
When he left to find Vanko, he stopped briefly to stare at it, mind begging him to pick it up, but he shoved down the feeling, as well as the panic regarding his reaction to the stone and suits up, ordering Dummy to guard the stone jealously. All while he's gone, the feeling nags at the back of his mind and, when he and Pepper finally make it back to the house, the first thing he did was go downstairs to his workshop basement.
Dummy, for once, has done exactly like Tony's told him to, and he's hovering near the desk, heavy wrench clutched in his claw but chirping and whirring to the stone like it would understand him. Tony smirked a little and strode over, scooping the stone up and patting Dummy affectionately on the claw. "Good job, Dummy. Why don't you take a break?" He said and the bot chirped something triumphantly before zooming away to his charging station.
Tony looked hard at the stone, face hardening slightly. "Why do I care about you so much? You're just a stupid rock." He snipes at the stone, fully expecting silence. What he's not excepting is for the stone to give a noticeable rock, a sound not unlike a squawk emanating from within. He stops short of the rest of his rant, sucks in a massive breath which then whooshes out of his chest. "Well, fuck me, Jarvis. I've finally gone insane. The rock is making noises as me." He sighed.
"Forgive me sir but, as amusing as that idea is, you are correct to assume the stone indeed made a noise. I believe one would liken it to a young lizard, calling for its parent." The AI reported and Tony's eyes widened extremely, snapping down to stare at the stone.
"Jarvis, are you telling me that this isn't a rock, but some kind of egg?" He asked.
"Yes, sir. Since you left, there has been significant thinning of the outer shell and a very faint, rhythmic sound, not unlike a heartbeat, seems to come from within. I feel it is safe to assume that this is, in fact, some form of egg." Tony shook his head.
"But that's not possible. I've never heard of an egg this size and color before." He snapped back, though not heatedly and he held the stone, no, egg, up for slightly closer inspection.
"And I can find no matching description anywhere, sir. Perhaps you should wait until it hatches, and see what it reveals. It shouldn't be long now, according the frequency of movement." As if to match proof to explanation, the egg gave another rock and Tony nearly jumped.
"I...think you're right, Jarvis. Let's set something up." In the end, Tony ends up lining one of the few remaining bathtubs in the house with three thick blankets and a few pillows, which he lays the egg on gingerly. He eases himself to the floor right next to the tub and orders the room temperature up. If it is some kind of lizard, then it wouldn't like the cold. For hours, he sat on the tile floor, flicking idly through holograms, designing things and scrapping most of them.
Four hours later, when he'd just begun to doze off, slouched against the wall, there was a commotion from the tub. He jolted up onto his knees and peered over the edge, watching in fascination as the egg rocked once, twice, and then a crack appeared in the top. And then stillness. Worry and panic surged through him and he lunged for the egg, but when his fingers made contact with the pitted shell, it shattered in a rain of sparkling blue and mercury shrapnel.
He leaned back, hissing as he gazed at the cuts that sprinkled his arm and then turned his gaze to the tub. "No fucking way." He said in disbelief and stared at the creature wobbling about on the blankets. The hatchling was the same deep blue of the egg, the front of its neck, its chest and its belly the same brilliant mercury. Its body was lean and yet broad, four stout legs supporting it as it wobbled about. But that wasn't what had him stunned.
Curling from the hatchling's back were wings, blue shot through with silver and its tail, long and elegant, tapered into three points, each tipped with an arrowhead. Atop its head were stag horns and from the sides on the end of its muzzle came whiskers, reminiscent of the decoration Tony had seen on oriental dragons.
"Jarvis, what-" He stopped and stared again. The nagging sensation was back, stronger than before and behind it was, confusingly, a color, an off-white that felt like yearning to him. He shivered with the intensity of it and the off-white shifted darker, a light vanilla white with a feeling of concern a slap in the face after the yearning of only moments before.
He leaned forward unthinkingly and scooped the hatchling up and it was just small enough to fit in the curve of his two hands, and brought it close to his chest. For his efforts there was a flash of golden yellow intermixed with mocha, accompanied by a feeling of contentment and affection. Tony found himself grinning giddily despite himself and he looked down, locking eyes with the hatchling. Its eyes were a silvery blue and Tony felt himself shivering with the intelligence and feeling that lurked behind them.
The hatchling opened its mouth, revealing rows of tiny needle-like teeth and, before Tony could say anything, it surged forward, teeth sinking into the flesh near the new reactor through his shirt. White hot agony seared through him, but he could make no sound and he felt his body locking up as he fell back against the tile floor. The last thing he saw before the world went dark was the hatchling curled up on his chest, blue eyes meeting his own.
Pepper Potts was a patient woman. She had to be, considering who she worked with and was dating. Patience was just one of her many skills. So when Tony left the room at the hotel they'd been sharing an hour before they were meant to be on the StarkJet back, she chalked it up to his usual restlessness and got on the plane by herself. When she arrived at the Malibu mansion, half of the previously broken windows still blown out and not repaired yet, she expected to hear the usual cacophony of his heavy metal music coming from the lab.
What she wasn't expecting was the absolute silence that met her, still and eerie as it settled over the house. She bit her lip. "Jarvis?" She said aloud and there was a soft whir in the air before she was answered.
"Ms. Potts, sir requires assistance in third guest bathroom." Was all the AI said and Pepper could feel her heart racing again, the news of Tony nearly dying, both from illness and from fighting, fresh in her mind. She raced to the room the AI had indicated and stopped dead on at the door.
Tony was sitting against the wall next to towel rack, peeling his buttondown off and Pepper jolted when she recognized the dark red stain as blood. And there was a lot. Tony was hissing in pain and, she noticed with some consternation, that the sound was echoed. Her question was answered when she looked into his lap and saw the blue and mercury creature sitting there, hissing and snapping at the shirt as Tony chucked it away.
He looked up at her and she gasped, hand flying to her mouth as she met his eyes. They were no longer the warm caramel brown she was so used to. Instead they were a glowing mercury, shot through with tiny, tiny lines of amethyst, emerald and sapphire. She shook herself, far more worried about his bleeding chest and surged forward, snagging one of the towels from the rack and kneeling down beside him.
The creature stared at her a moment before trilling lowly and squawking before waddling down Tony's legs to curl up at his ankle. "Tony what is that thing?" She asked as she pressed the towel to his chest, hand settling gently over the Arc Reactor.
"If I may, Sir, Miss Potts? The creature seems to match the descriptions of medieval dragons, though the ornaments on its head and face more closely resemble an oriental dragon from the ancient Chinese " Jarvis intoned from above them. Tony and Pepper shared a look of both confusion and incredulity before Pepper pulled the towel and gasped again, which caused the inventor to follow her gaze down and then stare, equally dumbfounded.
Uncovered from the blood, a scar, like a raised tattoo, an equal in color to his eyes, now adorned his chest. A dragon, and this was unmistakably a dragon, its four legs grasping the Arc Reactor, like it was perch. It's head curled up until it rested in the hollow of Tony's throat, facing his jugular, mouth open in a roar with eyes like two small sapphires. Its wings spread out to his shoulders and its tail drifted all the way down until it wrapped around his navel in an almost complete circle.
Pepper and Tony stared at the mark, then at each other, for what seemed like eternity before their gazes drifted down to the creature curled up at Tony's ankle, one question on both of their minds, though only Tony spoke it aloud.
"What are you?"