Chapter 1: Prologue: Winter is Coming with Fire and Blood
Wedded bliss, isn’t that what it was called?
Robb would have words with whoever came up that idiotic expression, if he still lived.
Though you could’ve done much worse, His mind provides as he watches his betrothed walk down the aisle to him. He had to agree with that thought. He might’ve still been wedding the Frey girl.
But instead, the woman walking toward him was neither the Frey girl nor his previous wife. It was Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons and Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
It’s the only way, He reminded himself. The only way to stop this war.
Daenerys held her head high, looking every inch the Queen she was.
The ceremony was quick, Robb was thankful for that. He didn’t have time to let his thoughts wander to just how he had ended up wedding the last of the Tagaryens and becoming King of the Seven Kingdoms. He never wanted the Iron Throne and now he had it, all because he had to join their houses or have his own obliterated.
At least the Lannisters were gone, and their treachery with them, He’d remind himself. Daenerys had made sure of that, killing Jofferey and Cersei herself. The young ones she let go, saying she was not a monster like Richard Baratheon or Jofferey, that she would not kill innocent children for the crimes of their parents.
Then she had taken the Iron Throne for herself, and armies amassed behind her, and her claim to the throne.
Robb had shook with rage at the thought of a Targaryen sitting on the throne again, but seeing her now, equal parts fierceness and gentleness, ruling strictly, but not unkindly, he felt it was true, that she was meant to rule.
And now he was bound to her, bound to her side for however long they both should live.
And he actually wasn’t too bothered by that.
It was only nine months later when she gave birth to a son, which they named Eddard after his own father, that he found that he was surprisingly happy with her.
And if the smile on her face as she cooed at their son, and then looked at him was any indication, she was too.
Dany was happy, for the first time in a long while, she was happy.
She was Queen, her husband was a kind man, she had children, and her dragons were having clutches of their own.
It didn’t even bother her anymore that she no longer had her own name. She was no longer Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen. She was Daenerys Stark, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and protector of the realm.
If it meant having a whole brood of dark haired children, her children, who smiled and kissed and hugged her and were hers, even if they did not have her pale blonde hair nor her bright blue eyes, it was worth it. She would’ve given up her name a hundred times over for this chance at happiness.
Something she prided though, was that even if they did not bear the name Targaryen, they all had the blood of the Dragon running through their veins. They were all meant for greatness, and would have it.
They would have it if it was the last thing she made sure of in this world, and in the next.
Chapter 2: Chapter 1: Celebrity Status
Suggested song to listen to is Celebrity Status by Marianas Trench.
The flash of the camera was nothing new to him, but usually he was assaulted by them when he was strutting down a red carpet or attending some sort of charity event, not when he’d just finished taking down some sort of strange alien robot and really, all he wanted was to go home and lay down for, oh I don’t know, forever.
He turned his helmet covered face to the paparazzi and lookie-loos. One thing about wearing something that covered his entire face was that they couldn’t tell that he was giving him the Stark patented death glare, which, frankly, really annoyed him because he spent long hours perfecting the exact look that said ‘you’re a fucking idiot’ and ‘leave me the fuck alone before I bludgeon you to death with your own arm’.
“Hey, Superstar, mind stopping the staring match with those cameras and helping us normal folk with clean up?” Clint’s voice chirped in his ear.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m coming, Katniss, hold your horses.”
“Stark, remember what happened last time you called me Katniss?” Clint hissed. Tony could practically see the seething look the bird brain would’ve been giving him.
“Uh-huh, but I’ve made sure that you can’t get into my room without my express permission, so there’s no way you can dye my hair blonde again.” The smug smile in his voice bled away at Clint’s next words.
“You forget that I’m a master class assassin and have access to the ventilation system.”
“Fuck. Fine, no more Katniss. Legolas still acceptable, then?”
“Will you two stop it and get over here, this alien is ridiculously heavy,” Natasha chimed in. Tony landed next to her, grabbing the cyborg thing and dragging it to the side of the road.
“Where’s Cap and Thor? Aren’t they supposed to be helping with this, or did they leave it to the billionaire and ones without super strength,” Tony said, placing his hands on his hips.
“They went to find Bruce. Hulk ran off after the fighting stopped, but didn’t damage anything else so they know he’s back to normal by now,” Clint said, walking over a pile of rubble to where Natasha and Tony stood.
“And we’ve got him and are on our way back.” Steve’s voice piped in Tony’s ear. He let out a small chuckle, flopping onto the ground with a metallic clang. Maybe he should make some sort of buffering system to stop his suit from making noises like that. Nah, too much trouble for a little problem.
Tony began running through new options for his armor, new things to add, other things to improve. Like the lasers, they needed to be smaller, maybe he could make it so they came out of his fingers, like a point and shoot type of thing. That could be fun. Or disastrous. Really with Tony, everything rode that same fine line between the two, most often falling into some sort of grey area where both coexisted at the same time.
And then Thor and Steve were there with Bruce and Tony was pulled back to his present surroundings. He stood and walked over to them.
“That was a glorious battle we had, friends,” Thor said in his booming voice, clapping Tony on the shoulder. Even with the enhanced strength of his suit, it sent him off balance and he stumbled. It didn’t help that he had a sudden fit of dizziness when the god put his hand on him either.
“Sir, your temperature has just spiked to 101.3 degrees.” If Tony didn’t know better, he’d say that Jarvis was concerned. He put a hand to his head and shook it, his swimming vision clearing to see the equally concerned face of one Steve Rogers.
“Tony, you okay?” He asked, holding him by the elbow. Tony blinked at him from behind the mask before straightening.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine, Thor’s gotta stop with the super strength congrats that’s all.” He shook his head again, pulling his helmet off before Jarvis could pipe up again. He took a deep breath of the fresh air and rolled his shoulders.
“I apologize, Tony, I was merely jubilant from our victory.” Thor frowned at him and Tony shrugged, giving him his billion dollar smile.
“It’s fine, Thor, really. Did anyone get Bruce pants? Cause you guys remember what happened last time, and I don’t think anyone wants a repeat of the Bruce Banner Nudist rumors.” He laughed, the sound sounding false even to his own ears. He made his way to were Bruce was huddled, crouching down next to him.
“You look like crap,” were his first words to Tony, who rolled his eyes.
“Says the man who’s naked and cowering amongst rubble.”
“Are you sick? Do you have a fever? You’re sweating bullets,” Bruce said, going into Doctor Mode despite his lack of clothing.
“No, I’m fine, everything’s fine, I’m just tired.” Tony scrounged around and found a blanket, wrapping it around the scientist.
“That sure doesn’t look like a ‘just tired’ look.” Bruce gave him his own patented ‘I smell bullshit’ look.
“I said I’m fine,” Tony stressed, putting his helmet back on. He didn’t want to have to consciously avoid Bruce’s searching eyes for longer than absolutely necessary.
“Sir, I recommend telling Dr. Banner of your condition, he may be able to help.”
“No, Jarvis, I’m not telling anyone, it’s just a cold or something.”
“Oh, yes, of course, why did I not test for the common cold first?”
There was a quick processing noise and a beep.
“Inconclusive sir, you do no have the common cold, as I have told you five times now.”
“Well, Mr. Snarky-AI, maybe it’s not the common cold, but it’s nothing serious, I’m sure. I’m fine.” Maybe if he said it enough times it would be true. He helped Bruce up, guiding him out of the middle of the rubble.
“I’m going to take Bruce home and then go to sleep, see you all back at the tower?” He said, picking up Bruce bridal style and flying off before he got a response. The flight was quick, but bumpy without the use of his hand replusors. He set Bruce down before landing himself, his armor being removed while he walked.
“Now before you say anything, I’d just like to say that I’ve been much worse, this is a cold at worst and I’ll get rest, fluids, that whole thing, okay? I know my body, I’m fine.” He held up a hand to silence Bruce before he could start the stream of question that he could see in his eyes.
“I’ll be down in the workshop if you need me, and here’s a tip, don’t need me, kay?” Tony flashed a sardonic grin as he went to the elevator and took it down.
“Daddy’s home,” He said, clapping his hands to bring his bots, and the lights, to life. He smiled. This was his safe zone, he could snark and complain here and no one would say shit. Well, Jarvis might but that was par for the course. Any AI of Tony Stark’s was bound to be sarcastic and assholish at times.
Dummy came rushing up to him, and he patted the bot’s head in response.
“You clean up like I asked, or did you just make a bigger mess?” He said, Dummy whirring in response. He rolled over to the workbench which looked surprisingly tidy.
“Oh, well, I guess you can still surprise me, huh, Dummy?”
The bot whirred again, and Tony smiled.
“Sir, your temperature has escalated to 102. I would suggest telling the resident doctor, who happens to be right upstairs, of your condition.”
“I’m fine, Jarvis, it’s nothing some rest and some water won’t fix. Maybe some cold medicine too.” He filled a glass, one of the largest he had in the workshop and downed it in a few quick gulps. He put ice in the next one, rubbing a piece over his face. It was like heaven.
“Maybe a shower to go with that cold medicine.” He headed to the bathroom, explanations and questions running through his head. This wasn’t like any cold he’d ever had before. There were no other symptoms other than the fever and the occasional dizzy spell. No coughing, no runny nose, not even a single solitary sneeze. It confused the holy hell out of Tony, but he’d never admit it.
He turned the shower on, making sure the water was as cold as the ice that now floated in his glass of water. He drank half the glass before stripping, his body cooling a bit as the air hit it. He was glad to be rid of the sticky clothing. He drank the other half of his water, setting the glass on the counter.
Bruce had been right; he looked like hell, almost literally. His face was flushed red, sweat clinging to him and rolling down his skin. His eyes were bloodshot and he was shaking.
“Well, fuck,” He muttered, rubbing his hand over his face. He opened his medicine cabinet and grabbed the Tylenol, taking two dry.
He climbed into the shower, almost moaning at the sweet relief the icy water gave his overheated skin. He grabbed his soap, washing the sweat from his body. He wanted to stay in the shower forever. His mind started wandering, bits of new tech or upgrades to his armor floating behind his eyelids.
That is until his fingers brushed something on his hip.
“The hell is that?” He muttered without opening his eyes. He tilted his head down, letting the spray hit the back of his head as he did. He blinked, rubbed his eyes and blinked again.
What the hell was that?
What the hell was that?
A patch of his skin looked discolored, almost like it had been burned, but when he ran his fingers over it, it felt more like…well, he wasn’t sure. It was smooth and seemed to shine a bit when he turned.
“Jarvis, what the hell is this thing on my hip?” He asked, tilting his head skyward, awaiting his AI’s answer.
“As impossible as it seems, sir, the scan I just ran determined it to be scales of some sort.”
“Scales?! Like a fish?” Tony made a face, looking back at the dark red blotch. He ran his fingers over it again, frowning more.
“No, sir, more like a lizard.”
“Oh, like that’s so much better,” He growled, glaring at nothing. With blunt fingernails, he picked at it. It hurt, hurt like hell, but he got one of the scales up and he pulled it off. He couldn’t help the small cry that left him as he did, the wound the removal made sending a trail of red going down his leg.
He brought it closer to his face, staring at the tiny thing. He was right, it was shimmering, just a little bit, a metallic sort of shimmer, not unlike his suit. He frowned at it again, turning off the shower and getting out. He walked, buck naked, over to one of the tables in his workshop. He carefully set the scale down on it.
“Jarvis, analyze this while I get some clothes.” He went back to the bathroom, grabbing a towel. He watched himself in the mirror as he dried, eyes drawn to the patch of scales every so often.
That is until it disappeared.
He blinked, looking between the mirror and his hip to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating. The wound where he tore the scale away was gone too, and wasn’t that just the strangest thing? Okay, so maybe not the strangest, but it was still damn strange.
“The fuck is going on,” He said, wrapping the towel around his waist. His fingers scratched at his chest and wandered over the arc reactor, tapping out a beat on it for a moment, almost as if to remind him it was still there. With all the weirdness, it couldn’t hurt to make sure.
He made his way back over to where the scale lay and stared at it. Fuck, that thing unnerved him, and sent a shiver down his spine. It had come from his body, his own fucking body, how the hell was he supposed to explain that?
Easy, he reminded himself, he wouldn’t tell anyone, simple as that.
“Figure anything out Jarvis?” He asked, glaring down at the scale like it personally offended him.
“Only that it is most certainly a part of you, sir, like your skin, and that it is reptilian as I stated earlier.”
“Okay, keep going with those tests. I’m gonna…” His eyes wandered to his only towel clad reflection in the mirror. “Get some clothes, right.”
“If it improves your mood, sir, your fever seems to have dissipated for the moment.”
“Well, at least that’s something.” Tony shrugged, digging through the drawers of the dresser he kept down there just for moments such as this. He found his favorite AC/DC shirt and a pair of grungy jeans, and pulled both on. Ah, sweet comfort. And he wasn’t burning up anymore, so that was good.
He’d have to remember the shower trick next time the fever reared its ugly head.
“Sir, Dr. Banner is approaching,” Jarvis said, just as the door opened and Bruce walked in.
“You know, Jarvis, you’re supposed to warn me before someone comes walking into my workshop, not when they’re right at my door,” He said quietly up to the AI. He knew Jarvis heard, Jarvis heard everything.
“Well, you look better.” Bruce’s words sounded more like an accusation than anything else, causing Tony to roll his eyes at the good doctor for the second time that day.
“I told you I was fine. Now, do you need something or can I go back to work?” He asked, looking at some more test results floating before him. He frowned, rearranging a few things.
“You can work, I was just gonna read a book on the couch anyways,” Bruce said, shrugging as he walked over to said couch and plopped down, pulling a ratty old paperback out from somewhere.
“I don’t need a baby sitter, Bruce, I’m a grown man, I can take care of myself.”
“I told you, I’m just reading, and that’s all I’m doing.”
Tony seethed as he heard the smirk in Bruce’s voice, not even having to look over at him.
“Hope you like reading while I deafen you,” He muttered, turning on his music, full blast. He grinned when he saw Bruce wince.
Calculations fell by his face almost faster than he could read. Almost. He was able to keep his eyes flicking in perfected synchronization, absorbing the most information in the shortest time. He prided himself on that skill, but then again, he prided himself on most of his skills. Hell, he prided himself on just being him.
He didn’t even notice when Bruce left, concentrating on the scale. He picked it up and set it down repeatedly, chewing his lip as he wondered just how the hell he’d grown scales in the first place. And how the hell they’d just up and disappeared.
He let out a breath through his nose, rubbing a hand over his face, pushing the unanswerable questions out of his head for now.
What he needed to figure out now, is what exactly this thing was made of.
Tony’s frustration grew with each test that didn’t work. There was no telling what the substance that made the scale was, and he’s had enough.
“Fine! Fine. You want it to be like this, well, you got it buddy,” He growled, pulling on a pair of gloves. He grabbed his welding torch, turning it on with deft movements. He pointed it at the scale, the blue flame washing over it, consuming it.
“Yeah, you little fucker, burn. Burn, bitch, burn.” Tony smiled with an almost manic glee as he pulled the torch back, turning it off before going to inspect his work.
The scale looked untouched.
Tony couldn’t believe his eyes. What the fuck was this new trickery? The fucking scale was impervious to fire?
He glowered, and then gasped.
A break. He’d finally caught a break. It was fireproof. Whatever it was, it was fireproof.
“Jarvis, run tests on all know fire proof materials; see if any match the scale.”
“Yes, sir. Might I suggest you get some rest while I run the tests?”
Tony rubbed a hand over his face, glancing at the clock. It was almost five am. Yeah, he needed some rest if he was going to figure out this scale thing, even if he did hate to leave a project unfinished, even to sleep.
He made his way over to the couch, lying down, his arm covering his face.
He was out before his head hit the armrest.
He blinked in the blinding sunlight, the desert sands dancing in the wind. He narrows his eyes, the shimmering heat giving way to a person walking towards him.
Not just any person, thought, it was a woman. A really, ridiculously pretty woman. She had strange clothes, made out of some sort of worn brown leather. There was soot on her cheeks and arms, her bright blue eyes staring out at him from behind the dirt. Her paled blonde hair was tangled by the wind, a single braid the only thing keeping it even slightly tamed. Her bare feet barely made a sound as she approached.
“Who are you?” He called, using his hand to shield his eyes from the bright light. “Where are we?”
“This place is unimportant,” She said, her voice soft, yet commanding. It reminded him of his mother’s voice. “But you must listen to me, Anthony Edward Stark, and listen well, for I am only allowed for a short time before I must return.”
“Return wher- " Before he could even finished the word, she held up a hand to silence him. And for once in his life, Tony left himself be silenced.
“Something within you is awakening, something primal, that has been passed down through your blood, but remained dormant until now. You have come across true magic, and it has awakened this part of you. Do not fight the changes that will come, accept them.” The woman’s form started to waver, her shape shimmering like a mirage. “And remember, fire is in your blood, let the fire guide you.”
As the last words echoed around him, Tony was left alone in the vast desert.
Tony bolted upright, the dream seared into his mind.
He could still feel the harsh beating of the sun’s rays on his skin, the whip of the wind, the sting of the sand.
The eyes of the mysterious woman, so blue, blue as the sky when he’d escaped captivity.
Clear and blue as a lake on a hot summer day.
He couldn’t shake the image of her eyes, no matter how hard he tried.
Her words however, were much harder to recall.
“Something about….fire…and blood,” He muttered, rubbing his hand over his face. “God, that was….that was weird.”
He sighed, flopping back down onto the couch.
“Sir, your temperature has risen to 100.3 degrees. You have a fever again.”
“Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.”
“Your scale did not match any know fire resistant substances, nor any other substances I tested it against.”
“Well, fuck.” He let out a huff, shaking his head.
“Any other tests you can run?”
“None, sir. All testing that can be done must be done manually now. I am of no further use in this subject.”
“Got it, Jarvis. Got it…” Tony sighed again, pulling himself off the couch.
It was going to be a long day.
And it was only nine am.
Chapter 3: Chapter 2: Stutter
Recommended listening is Stutter by Marianas Trench
“Well fucker, let’s see how you like a little bit of being pulverized into dust,” Tony said, lifting a hammer and slamming it down. A well sized dent was now in the concrete of his floor, but the little red flake was still there, mocking him. He threw the hammer across the room, the thing bouncing off the wall with a cracking noise before clattering to the ground.
“Jarvis, did you turn on the air conditioning again? I’m fucking freezing.” He continued to glower at the scale like it had badmouthed his mother. His mother was a saint! Okay, maybe not a saint, but there could’ve been much worst mothers.
“No, sir, I did not, and the scale said nothing about your mother,” Jarvis replied. Tony huffed, picking up the thing and setting it back on the table.
“Turn up the heater, I feel like how Steve probably felt while he was a Capsicle.” He shivered, almost violently, and he ran his fingers through his already severely mussed hair.
“Sir, I do not recommend turning the heater up further, as it is already 82 degrees Fahrenheit in the workshop and your fever is at 102. I believe you are experiencing the chills, sir.”
“Do what you’re told, Jarvis, that’s why I built you; now turn up the damn heater!” He snapped, rubbing his hands over his arms. Another shiver ran through him and he thought he almost saw his breath when he exhaled.
“So goddamn cold.” Tony started pacing, his eyes falling on the scale again. “Stupid fucking thing, I’ve ran every test imaginable and I’ve got nothing!”
In a fit of anger, he swept everything off the table, giving a yell of frustration. He blinked, looking at the now empty table. The scale. He looked at the pile and the table, going back and forth a few times before it clicked and he dived at the things he’d tossed down. He dug through it, sighing in relief when he found the scale.
“Got it! Got it, Jarvis, everything’s okay, I got it.” He smiled, carefully setting the thing back on the table.
Another violent shiver coursed through him and he cursed loudly.
“Damn it, Jarvis, did you turn on the heater like I asked?”
“Yes, sir, I did, and the temperature in the workshop is now at 92 degrees and your fever at 103. Sir, it is reaching dangerous levels, I advise you to seek immediate medical help.”
“No, I can figure this out, I know I can. Just gotta find out what this scale is made of and I can figure it all out.” Tony rubbed his hands over his arms and then his face, feeling the sweat there but not caring in the slightest. He was freezing. Why the hell was it so cold?
He slid to the floor, not able to stave of the shudders that wracked his body any longer. He huddled in on himself and groaned, breathing on his hands to try to bring the feeling back to them.
“S-So c-c-cold.” He was barely able to get the words out, his teeth chattering hard. “I-I s-s-swear I’m gonna-a-a get hypoth-th-thermia.” He groaned again, pulling his legs even closer to his chest.
It didn’t even register in his mind that the workshop door had opened until he heard a new voice, one that was certainly not Jarvis.
“Holy hell, why the flying fuck is it so hot in here? It’s like a fucking sauna!”
Tony blinked owlishly as he lifted his head to see Clint enter the room, fanning himself.
“Sir, Clint is here,” Jarvis announced.
“W-w-we already h-had this t-t-talk Jarvis, you k-k-know, the one about warning me b-b-b-before they get to the f-f-f-fucking door!” Tony hissed, glaring up at the ceiling.
“Tony?” Clint rounded the table to see the genius huddled there, shivering like he was trapped in the Artic. “Wow, you look like shit.” Clint reached his hand forward, touching Tony’s forehead gingerly. His face blanked and he shook his head.
“Damn it, Tony, you’re burning up! Jarvis, what’s his temperature?”
“104.1 degrees, Clint.”
“T-t-t-traitor,” Tony hissed.
“Damn it, Stark, god damn it, you can’t pull shit like this! I’m taking you to Bruce, and I will drag your unconscious body if I have to so don’t fight me.” Clint grabbed Tony, slinging him over his shoulder, carrying him like a fireman would carry a person out of a burning building. The energy to fight back had left Tony and he slumped against Clint like a rag doll. Sure, a rag doll that weighed about 180 pounds, but still.
Tony slipped in and out of consciousness as he was carried. He recognized when he was deposited on a bed, the worried faces of practically the entire team staring down at him. Only Nat and Thor were missing, Natasha probably because she didn’t give a rat’s ass and Thor probably because he was being distracted by something shiny.
It really amused Tony how easily distracted Thor was, like a child. Just turn on the TV or show him some little bauble and he’d be entertained for hours. He felt a smiled stretch his lips and a chuckle leave him, his vision swimming.
“Tony? Tony, can you hear me?”
The voice seemed distant, and it distracted Tony like Thor got distracted, and there he went, laughing again at Thor’s behavior.
“He’s delirious with fever. I need a fan to cool him off. Steve, there’s one in my room, go get it. Clint, get some towels and a bucket of icy water, we need to cool him off and fast.”
Oh, that was Bruce. He liked Bruce, Bruce was a great friend and fantastic scientist. He felt another smile cross his lips as a light flashed before his eyes. He winced and jerked away from it. Light hurt, he didn’t like light, not at all.
“Yeah, I know I’m a great friend for taking care of your stupid ass, Tony,” Bruce muttered. Tony giggled as Bruce pulled his shirt off, and well, that was just hilarious, Bruce was stripping him. His head flopped to the side, watching as Clint reentered the room, a big bucket in his hands and a bunch of towels draped over his shoulders and arms.
He blinked, and somehow in the fraction of a second his eyes were closed, his surroundings changed.
He felt the familiar arid tang of desert air, the sun beating on the cloth of the tent he was now in. He drew in a breath, his throat dry, the form now walking toward him with a large bowl and strips of cloth no longer his team mate.
It was the woman.
“The hell- " He tried to say, but she shushed him, crouching down next to the cushions he laid on. He frowned.
“Do not speak, you are weakened.” She adjusted the brown leather skirts around her legs as she dipped one of the cloths in the bowl and started dabbing him with it. It wasn’t until the coolness touched his skin that he realized just how hot he was. It was unbearable.
How the hell did he think he was cold before?
“When I said before to accept the change, I did not mean neglect yourself and succumb to the pain it causes,” She chided, giving him a smile that reminded him way too much of a mother’s smile to a child who did something ridiculous. “You are absurd, Anthony, absurd to the point of severe stupidity for one so smart.”
“Yeah, well, have you met me, lady? I’m Tony Stark; I live for being absurdly stupid and a fucking genius at the same time.” He cracked a grin and she shook her head.
“As I said, absurd. To think that someone such as yourself came from my line…” She trailed off, giving him another wane smile as she wetted the cloth again. She patted it gently over his chest, her fingers brushing the arc reactor as she did.
He jolted, gasping, the touch sending a strange fire through his veins. It wasn’t like the fever, but something that warmed him in a good way, a much better way.
He stared at her, breath coming in harsh gasps. He found he couldn’t move, no matter what he tried and he did not like that one bit.
“Who the hell are you? Where am I? How do you know me?” The questions came pouring out without prompt and she stared at him with those piercing, but kind, blue eyes, her face still calm even after his outburst.
“I have already answered your second question when we last met. Where we are is of no importance. I only have time to answer one of the others, so choose wisely.” A smile curved her petal pink lips, and he couldn’t help thinking she was one of the most beautiful women he’d ever seen, even covered in soot and dirt, and with her hair tangled.
“Who are you?” His voice came out in a whisper and her smile widened.
“I am Daenerys Stromborn of the house Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons.”
He arched a brow in disbelief and she arched one right back at him. It was disconcerting, almost like looking in a mirror. Sure, a mirror that had turned him into a hot chick, but a mirror all the same.
“Daenerys… the Mother of Dragons?” Something about that was familiar but he couldn’t place it.
“Yes. Now, rest.” She pressed a kiss to his forehead and his eyes fluttered shut.
His eyes fluttered open, and he was almost surprised to see the dark red walls of his bedroom instead of the sun brightened colors of a desert tent.
Cool air washed over him and he made a pleased noise, sitting up.
His head swam as he did and he groaned.
“God, did I get hit by a train? My everything hurts,” Tony complained. He uncovered his face, glancing around. He was in his boxers. And there were half damp towels all around him. A fan sat a few feet away, whirring softly as it pushed a breeze in his direction.
Okay, he could figure this out; no hangover was too great for Tony Stark’s mind to conquer.
Only it wasn’t a hangover he was recovering from. It came back to him and he sighed, glancing over at the chair that Bruce had undoubtedly dragged into the room himself (or he might’ve had Steve do it). The doctor was asleep, slouched there in the chair. Tony turned his head (a very painful thing for him at the moment) and saw Steve collapsed half on, half off the other side of the bed. Clint was slouched in the corner, sawing logs as well.
“I am a fucking idiot,” He muttered, rubbing his hands over his face again.
“You got that right.”
Tony’s head snapped up (and owwwww did that hurt even more than slow turns) to see Natasha in the doorway. Her lips curved in a way that he knew meant trouble, and her eyes sealed the deal, anger and disappointment directed right at him like laser beams.
“Think you could spare me the lecture, my head is pounding like you wouldn’t believe and I don’t even have any alcohol to blame it on,” He said, cracking a flimsy grin.
“Who’s Daenerys?” She asked, sidestepping the berating for now, which Tony was very thankful for.
“Daenerys. You said that name while you were sleeping. Who is it?”
“You were watching me sleep? That’s a little creepy and a little too vampire-y for you, Natasha.” He smiled again, dragging himself to a sitting position, his feet touching the floor. He didn’t dare stand, not yet. He’d just fall over and that would be even more embarrassing than Natasha having witnessed his fever dream talk.
“I honestly have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. If you recall, I was completely out of my brain with a fever, so it’s probably safe to say that Daenerys is probably just some gibberish I spouted while said fever was messing with my gray matter.” He spotted a cup of water sitting on the nightstand and practically dove for it, grabbing it quickly and downing it in a few gulps.
“Oh god, sweet merciful mother of all things holy, that is good, that’s the stuff.” He moaned, a loud and languid sound, as he found a pitcher next to it. He poured himself another glass, shaking hands making it difficult, but not impossible and downed the second one.
Before long, the entire pitched was empty, and Tony had regained enough strength to shuffle towards the door with it.
An arm across the door frame blocked him and he made a face at Natasha.
“Just where do you think you’re going?”
“What does it look like? I’m going to get more water.” He glowered at her, and she glared right back.
“Nothing else? You’re not planning a mad dash back to your workshop?” She arched a delicate brow, moving her arm and opting to lean against the door frame instead.
“I couldn’t make a dash right now, mad or not, even if I wanted too. Now, move Natasha, you’re not my mother, and I’m allowed to get water. I’m sure Bruce would approve of me being proactive about not becoming a dehydrated husk.”
He blinked, and suddenly there was a second woman, the blonde with tangled hair and soot covered skin- Daenerys, his mind provided.
Ooooh, so that’s what Daenerys was.
“She’s strong, can put you in your place and won’t let anyone push her around. I like her,” Daenerys commented, her sky eyes flicking from Tony to Natasha. He saw her lips quirk into a smirk, and then blinked, and she was gone.
“Tony?” Natasha stared at him, both eyebrows now almost reaching her hairline, in either worry or annoyance, Tony could never tell with her.
“Can I get my water now?” He asked, carefully blanking his expression. Okay, so now he wasn’t just seeing her in his dreams, but he could deal with this. Daenerys the Mother of Cryptic Messages and Funky Ass Dreams Who Was Now Appearing To Him While He Was Awake was nothing he couldn’t handle. After all, hallucinations were all part of the fever. He’d read that somewhere, he was prepared for that. He knew what was real, and it wasn’t her.
He didn’t notice when Natasha had moved, but she was gone from the door way now. He walked to the main living room/reception-ish area of his room, heading to the sink to refill the pitcher. As he leaned against the counter, he wet his hand, rubbing it over his face with a content sigh.
His drank straight from the pitcher after it was full, gulping the whole thing down before he realized it. He put the pitcher in the sink again, filling it a second time. This time he made sure to carry it back to the bedroom and set it on the nightstand. He looked over (and ouch it still hurt to turn his head that much) at Bruce, who was now talking quietly with Natasha. Bruce’s eyes flicked over to him and he smiled a bit.
Well, if Bruce was smiling, he must not be in too much trouble for neglecting himself.
“Feeling better?” Bruce asked, walking over to the bed.
“Much. I ache like crazy, but I don’t feel anywhere near as hot, nor do I feel like I’m freezing my ass off. And I just drank like two whole pitchers of water, so I kicked dehydration’s butt already.”
Bruce nodded and gave the doctor ‘hmm’ as he felt Tony’s forehead. Wow, his hand felt cold, he needed to work on that.
“You’re still hot-“
“Damn right I am.”
“But not as hot as you were last night. Jarvis, temperature update?”
“Sir’s temperature has settled at 101, Dr. Banner,” The AI replied. Tony pouted. As long as he had a temperature at all, Bruce wasn’t gonna let him do anything.
“Yeah, I thought it’d be around there. Lie back down and try to get more sleep Tony.”
“How long have I been out though? I don’t feel tired at all, and I have important shit to get back to.” Tony huffed, allowing himself to be pushed back into a laying position by the good doctor even as he complained.
“You’ve been asleep approximately five hours, give or take, so no, that’s not enough rest, as you were working for a day and half straight, with a high fever and the heater turned up full blast, like an idiot. So you’re going to listen to the doctor here and lie down and sleep.” Bruce took one of the half damp towels that lay on the bed next to Tony and left. When he came back the towel was heavy with water and he draped it over Tony’s chest.
“Now sleep or I’ll get the sedatives.” Bruce leveled a warning look at him, and Tony knew he was serious.
“Fine, fine, I’ll sleep, but Natasha can’t watch me like a creeper,” He said, cracking a grin as he closed his eyes.
“I’ll be a creeper all I want Stark and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.” He heard her voice coming from somewhere to his right and he smiled again.
“Yeah, yeah, I know, Miss Master Assassin.”
“Go to sleep, Stark, before I knock you out myself. I’m not as nice as Bruce; I’d leave a nasty bruise.”
“Fine, fine, shut up so I can,” Tony grumbled, turning onto his side, dislodging the towel. He didn’t care though as a sudden exhaustion came over him.
His last thought was if he would dream of Daenerys again.
“You know, if you had listened to my advice the first time, you would not be in this situation now.”
He turned toward the voice, now familiar to him.
“Daenerys,” He said, frowning from his spot on the cushions.
She sat across the tent from him, casually sprawled across more of the cushions.
“Yes,” She said, smiling at him, that same motherly look that confused him.
“What do you mean?” He asked, frowning again.
“When we first spoke, I told you something important, what was it?”
Tony’s face screwed up as he tried to remember, tried to recall another dream while he was still in this one.
“I-I don’t know, I forgot. All I can remember is the words fire and blood.”
Daenerys’ eyes seemed to get brighter as he mentioned the words and her smile grew.
“Well, you did remember two very important words, but there was more. Remember, Anthony. You need to remember, to take my message with you into the waking world, lest you be consumed.” Daenerys stood, slowly making her way to him. She brushed her fingers across his forehead, pressing a kiss there like she had in the last dream.
“You must remember,” She said, her voice even softer now as her fingers touched his arc reactor. He gasped as the rush of warmth he’d felt the first time returned, spreading through his veins like the comforting feeling of a fire in a hearth.
“Let the fire guide me,” He said, the words pouring forth without his meaning to speak.
“Yes.” Daenerys smiled again, kissing his forehead once more. “Yes, Anthony. Let the fire guide you.”
“But what does that mean?” Tony said, exasperated and fed up with her riddles.
“You will know soon enough.”
“No, you’re going to tell me, right now.” The demand fell flat as he looked into her eyes, now hardened like two shinning jewels.
“Or not,” He said, his heart racing a mile a minute.
“You would do well to learn not to speak so callously,” She whispered, the words sounding more menacing than if she had yelled it, screamed it. He shuddered and she pulled back, walking toward the entrance to the tent.
“Remember what I have told you. Words are the only things I can give you to help, keep them close, and do not forget again.” She was gone before he could utter any form of rebuttal.
Tony sighed, his head flopping back on the cushions.
For a dream chick, she was pretty damn real.
When he woke up again, Natasha was asleep in the chair this time. Steve had moved to be completely on the bed, snoring softly into the pillows. Clint and Bruce were nowhere to be seen.
Tony slipped out of the bed as quietly as he could, slowly picking up the pitcher and taking a long drink. He set it back down and stood, making his way out of the room. He made it to the elevator, not allowing himself a breath until the metal doors slid closed.
He sighed and grinned, pumping his fist in victory.
“To the workshop Jarvis, I’ve got work to do,” He said. Now he knew what he had to do. It wasn’t about the scale anymore. It was about him. He almost couldn’t believe that he was about to trust the words of a figment of his dreams, but remembering the look Daenerys had given him…He knew he better do as she said. Hell, it might even save his life, if her cryptic warning was anything to go by.
He would let the fire guide him, just like she said.
Now the only thing was to figure out just what that entailed.
Chapter 4: Chapter 3: Desperate Measures
Recommended listening is Desperate Measures by Marianas Trench, and I swear, after this chapter the recommended listening songs get a little more diverse.
He tossed the blowtorch down, lifting the mask to rub his hands over his face.
“It’s no damn use; I keep using fire like she said, but nothing, not a fucking thing.” Tony slammed his head onto the table, groaning.
“Jarvis, temp check,” He mumbled.
“Still at 102, sir, same as it was five minutes ago.”
“Right. Fuck. What the hell does ‘let the fire guide you’ even mean? How the hell am I supposed to let the fucking fire fucking guide me if I don’t understand what the fuck it even means?” He growled, lifting his head only long enough to put his hands between his face and the table. He grumbled into his hands, frustrated beyond belief.
He’d been at this for….he didn’t even know how long, but a long damn time, and nothing, still.
“Fuck fire, fuck blood, I’m done. I give up, that’s it, I fucking give up.” Tony took a deep breath, sitting up straight, his head tilting back to stare at the ceiling. Suddenly, a thought struck him and he pushed the waistband of his jeans down, seeing if the patch of scales had come back.
No such luck, but then, when was Tony ever lucky when it came to things?
As he was about to bang his head against the table again, his eyes were drawn to the blowtorch.
Another idea struck, a stupid one, a really, really stupid one, but who was he to not do something that was dangerous and potentially crippling on a whim?
He was Tony Stark, bitch, doing dangerous and potentially crippling things was in his DNA.
He picked it up, chanting a mantra of “This is really fucking stupid” as he lit it and held it to his hand, closing his eyes tight.
He waited for the pain, the searing, blinding pain he knew would come from the flame lapping at his flesh, but it didn’t come. He risked cracking his eye open and was astonished to see the flame tickling his palm. But no pain. No pain at all.
Well, wasn’t that something.
He let out a hysterical giggle, running the torch up and down his arm, watching the small blue flame not singe even a single hair.
“Holy shit, how is this even possible?” He laughed, making the flame go higher. When it got to his sleeve, it burned through the shirt like no one’s business, but his skin was still unharmed.
“Jarvis, you’re seeing this too right? I’m not just imagining this and am actually going to be severely burned, right?”
“Yes, sir, I am indeed witnessing this act of impossibility.”
“Wow…this is….wow.” Tony turned the blowtorch off, setting it down, his brain trying to make the connections as to how exactly this was even possible.
It shouldn’t be, was what it came up with, which wasn’t helpful in the slightest. He needed to run tests.
Was it just fire itself, or other forms of heat? Could he not be harmed by say boiling water or something molten?
He rushed off to the bathroom, turning on the water, making sure the temperature was scaldingly hot. He bit his lip and grinned, stripping down. Steam filled the room and once Jarvis had confirmed that the water was as hot as it was going to get, he stepped in.
The water that cascaded over him felt nothing like he thought it would. He expected to be yelping and jumping out within the first few seconds, but instead he was greeted by a pleasant warmth that went all the way to his bones. He liked it.
After a few minutes of just enjoying the feeling, he opened his eyes, glancing down at himself. His body was the same as it always was, the blue glow of the arc reactor shinning on his face. He frowned.
“No change at all?” He muttered, huffing.
“Sir, I would advise you check your back.”
“Bring it up,” He said, a hologram appearing before him. He recognized his backside, but not the big fucking dark red blotches all over it.
“Of course, the water’s hitting my back mostly.” Tony reached his hand, seeing it on the screen, and his fingers felt the smoothness of one of the patches of scales. It creeped him out that these things were growing on him, but at the same time, he couldn’t help the scientific part of his brain that was so very interested in performing all sorts of experiments.
“Great, I’m becoming one of those mad scientists who experiment on themselves and turn into some sort of weird creature.” He sighed, but then laughed, remembering that that was exactly how Bruce ended up as the Hulk. Hopefully, this wouldn’t produce quite the same result.
Though he was going to stay as far away from Gamma radiation as he could.
That did pose an interesting question though; just what the hell was he? Obviously normal humans didn’t grow scales all over their bodies, nor were they immune to fucking fire or burns of any kind apparently.
There was one thing he knew for sure; none of the other Avengers were going to hear anything about this. Ever, if he had his way. He didn’t need them knowing he was some kind of freaky fire lizard thing.
“Tony? Are you in here?”
Steve’s voice almost made him jump out his skin and he hopped out of the shower, quickly pulling on a robe. He did a quick check, making sure all his scaly bits were covered. The cloth of the robe pulled and caught on the edges of the scales as he moved, but a little discomfort was better than Steve finding out about his little secret.
“Yeah, Steve, in here, I was just catching a quick shower.” He walked out of the bathroom, an easy, practiced smile on his face.
Steve blinked at him, arching a brow at Tony’s soaked and robe covered form.
“Need something, Cap, or did you just come to gawk at my hot bod?” Tony smirked, crossing his arms.
“Oh, um, I just came by to check up on you and bring you some food.” He held up a tray with sandwiches on it for emphasis. “Your fever go away yet?”
“Yeah, yeah, everything’s fine, Steve,” Tony said, waving off the question. He snatched a sandwich from the tray and stuffed half of it in his mouth before walking back over to one of the lab tables. He pretended to be interested in whatever was sitting on it.
“If that’s all, then go away, I’ve got shit to do, mm’kay?” His voice was muffled by the sandwich, but he knew Steve had heard him.
“Sure, Tony. I’ll just leave these here, then.” He set the tray down on the table next to the thing (Tony didn’t know what the flying fuck it was, but he pretended it was the most interesting thing in the world) and turned to leave. “Everyone’s worried about you, and we’re all upstairs if you need anything. Also, Pepper’s been calling, you should call her back.”
“Yeah, yeah, got it, you’re all worried about sickly wittle Tony. I’m a big boy; I can take care of myself. Now shoo.” He steadily ignored Steve until the super solider left. He let out a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding, picking up another sandwich.
Sure, maybe he was being a bit too mean, but he had important things to do. He didn’t have time to make small talk with Captain America.
Or to even be fucking polite, his brain offered, sounding suspiciously like his mother- or Daenerys, he wasn’t quite sure which. But, eh, he was Tony Stark; he could be polite when he was dead. Life was too short for manners.
“So, water test was a success.” He reached back under the robe to feel the scales on his back. They were still there, to his slight surprise…and okay, that was weird. He thought there had been a strip of skin between those two patches of scales. He dropped the robe.
“Jarvis, show me,” was all he said, the AI knowing what he meant and bringing up the holo-screen, showing his back again.
The scales had spread, they’d fucking spread.
No, that wasn’t the way they were supposed to work, they were supposed to disappear once he got dry, once the constant heat was gone.
Obviously, these things didn’t like playing by the rules.
“No. Get off you fucking things, get the hell off,” He hissed, scratching at the scales, his blunt nails catching the edges of them. He tore at them, crying out at the pain that shot through him when some of the scales bent and tore free.
“Ow, ow, ow, fucking hell, ow!” He yelled. He brought his hands around, staring at the bright blood coating his fingertips and stuck under his nails. He went back to scratching at them, giving another cry when he felt something sharp and distinctly knife like and not fingernail-ish at all scrapping at them.
“Sir, your temperature has spiked to 105,” Jarvis said, though Tony barely registered the AI’s voice. He had more pressing concerns at the moment.
He brought his hands around again, gaping at the sight. His nails were gone, replaced by golden colored- fuck, he couldn’t believe it. Golden. Fucking. Talons.
They were elegant and curved and perfect for slicing and slashing, but no, it was wrong, all wrong, why the fuck had he grown talons? How did scales suddenly transition to growing talons?
“Holy hell, what the fuck, I- what.” He stared at his new claws, blinking, dumbfounded. His eyes flicked to anything, anything other than the fucking nails. They landed on the cement wall and he smirked, an idea forming.
“I’ll break ‘em, yeah, I’ll break ‘em and they’ll go away.” He swiftly moved over to the wall, placing his nails against it. They clinked against the cement and he took a breath, dragging them down with one swift movement.
The effect was the opposite of what he wanted, his talons leaving huge ass scratches in the wall. He groaned. How the hell was he going to explain that?
“Wait,” He muttered. “If heat activated whatever the hell this is, maybe cold will make it go away.
“Jarvis, turn the air conditioning on full blast.” He went back to shower, almost falling as he skidded across the wet floor. He turned the water to cold, the task made difficult by the claws, but he’s Tony Stark, master of improvisation, it was nothing he couldn’t handle. He stepped under the cold spray, shivering violently as the water hit him, feeling like a thousand tiny needles were constantly battering him.
“This is so not awesome!” He shouted, staying under the water as long as he could before he froze to death.
“F-f-fuck, that was not smart.” He wrapped a towel around him and tried to get the feeling back in his limbs. It was only then that he noticed the claws were gone.
“I-It worked, h-hell yes, fucking g-genius right here,” He muttered, grinning to himself. “J-Jarvis, stop with the air conditioning, I’m freezing from the water.”
- “Yes, sir, but might I just say that your temperature is still over 100 degrees. It is not healthy, sir.”
“I know, now shut up about it,” He commanded, drying off before pulling his clothes back on. He realized the back scales were gone too and grinned wider.
“Cold showers are my new best friend.” Tony walked back into the workshop, and started pacing, thinking about what that little screw-up/experiment had shown.
“So, it’s activated by heat, shut off by cold, good to know. Now to see if it’s all types of heat, or just things like fire and hot water.” He was suddenly very happy he’d installed that smelting pot after all. He turned it on, letting it heat up the metal inside it. It didn’t take too long to have a bubbling pot of molten metal.
“Okay, time to perform crazy act of the day number three,” He muttered, making sure his sleeve wouldn’t get in the way. He dunked his hand in the metal, gritting his teeth and preparing for the worst.
He let out a sigh of relief as the metal boiled harmlessly around his submerged arm, feeling no sensation other than that pleasant warmth and the tickle of the bubbles as they frothed up.
“Hey, Tony, I was just coming down to check on you. Steve said- “ The voice cut off, and Tony turned to take in the flabbergasted face of Bruce.
“I know this looks bad, but I swear, I’m not hurt, nor am I intentionally trying to hurt myself. I know what I’m doing.”
Bruce, for all his normal calm and collected demeanor, had an expression that looked like a fish trying to get a breath on dry land.
Then he exploded.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Tony!” He cried, moving forward, reaching to grab Tony’s arm.
“Whoa, whoa! Bruce, calm down, I told you, I know what I’m doing, I’m fine!” Tony said, putting his free hand on Bruce’s chest to keep him back. “It’s an experiment.”
“Experiment?! You call sticking your fucking arm in a vat of molten metal an experiment?! I call it a sure sign of insanity!” Bruce ran his hands through his hair, his skin turning a vaguely green-ish shade.
“Bruce, Bruce, calm down, it’s fine, I’m fine, as I’ve said a million times now. I’ve got things under control, I am not insane.” Tony huffed, pushing a bit at Bruce’s chest. “Now, go, get out of here before you Hulk out. I don’t want to have to repair my whole workshop.”
“Bruce! Go! I’m a big boy, I can handle things, now GO!” Tony growled, giving Bruce a harder shove towards the door.
“This isn’t finished, Tony,” Bruce said in a warning tone, taking a few deep breaths as he left the workshop.
Once he knew Bruce was gone, Tony looked up and sighed.
“Bar Dr. Banner from the lab.”
“No arguments, Jarvis. Bar him access.”
Tony let out a breath, blinking when he realized his arm was still elbow deep in boiling metal. He pulled it out, the air starting to cool it and harden it immediately.
“Okay, maybe I don’t have this completely under control. How the fuck am I supposed to get this shit off?” He glowered at it for a few moments, thinking maybe the power of his glare would make the metal jump off his skin.
“Sir, might I suggest looking at your other hand.”
Tony did, and lo and behold, the claws were back. Remembering what they did to the wall, he set them again the metal and dragged them down. A horrible screeching sound emanated from it, but they sliced through the metal easily. With a few more haphazard slashes, the metal fell to the floor, clanging as it landed.
“You could have been kinder to him.”
Tony spun around at the sound of the soft voice, knowing just which figment of his imagination it belonged to.
“You don’t know Bruce like I do, Daenerys. If I hadn’t been harsh, he would’ve stayed and started asking questions. Or destroyed my lab. One or the other, and I don’t have time for either.” He rolled his eyes, and she arched one of her eyebrows.
“I never said that you could not tell anyone about what is happening to you. He might’ve been able to help, he is a man of sciences like yourself, is he not?”
He waved off the question, flopping onto his couch.
“Bruce can’t help. No one can. What’s happening now, it’s unprecedented, nothing like it has happened before and might not happen again. And it’s my problem, not theirs. So they don’t need to know.”
He flexed his fingers, noticing that his claws had gone away again. He smirked to himself, laying his head back.
“You do not have to bear this burden alone, yet you choose to.” Daenerys let out a soft chuckle. “It seems you have quite a bit of the Dragon in you, as stubborn as you are. You are a true Targaryen, in blood at least.”
“A who-what now?” He asked, his head snapping up. He narrowed his eyes at her and she smirked. She pressed a finger to her lips in the universal sign for ‘I’m not saying anything else, I’m just going to give you cryptic messages to fuck with you’.
“What’s a ‘Targaryen’?” He stared at her. Daenerys shook her head, letting out a laugh.
“You truly are a forgetful one. I have told you before, yet you do not recall it. Think on it, Anthony, and it will come to you.”
With that, she disappeared, Tony frowning at the space she used to occupy.
“Meh, I’m Daenerys, and I like to make you feel like an idiot for not remembering shit that I told you in your dreams, meh,” Tony mocked, flapping his hands. He pouted, crossing his arms as he slumped further into his couch.
A flash of pain in his head caused him to reel, blinking and pressing the heels of his hands against his eye, swirls of color floating into his vision.
“Okay, no, I did not ask for a headache slash fever induced acid trip thank you very much,” He muttered, blinking more. Finally, his vision settled, though the colors on everything gave him pause.
It almost looked like- No, that was impossible.
But then again, he’d recently learned that he was immune to fire and could grow scales and claws, so maybe this wasn’t so impossible.
He blinked again, turning his head, and, yep, he had heat vision. All the tables and bots were dark, icy blue, while his own hands burned white hot.
The whirring of machines caught his ears, and okay, that wasn’t a sound he normally could pick up on. He cocked his head, eyes continually flicking about as he listened.
There was another sound, one different than the soft whirring. It was a scrapping sound, like someone crawling across metal-
“Barton,” He hissed, his head snapping in the direction of the vent. He could perfectly see the yellow glow of a person’s body heat in there, and it was most certainly Clint sized.
Tony stomped over to the vent, dragging a stool with him. He positioned it right under the vent, climbing up to stare face to face with the intruding hawk.
“Barton, I swear if I find you spying on me from the vents again, I will wait until you’re asleep, stab you to the bed with your own arrows and light you on fucking fire, got it?” He growled. Clint tried his best to look unimpressed, but even through the haze of heat vision, Tony could see the flash of true fear.
No, not see, more like….smell.
So, he could smell fear.
He catalogued that away in his brain for future use.
The scent was faint coming from Barton, a trained assassin, but that was expected. But it was still there. Tony had actually frightened Clint.
Well, wasn’t that something.
When Clint didn’t reply to his threat after a while, Tony growled again.
“Do I make myself clear, Barton?”
“Yeah, crystal clear, Stark.” And that wasn’t good, Clint only called him Stark when he was pissed at him, or joking around, and he wasn’t joking, and yep, now he could smell that too, the anger.
“Good. Now get out.”
Tony watched attentively as Clint backed out, his eyes following him through the vents until he knew he was gone.
He let out a sigh, climbing off the stool, sitting down on it. Lowering his face into his hands, he groaned.
“What the hell is going on with me? This isn’t me.” He paused, thinking. “Okay, being a rude ass prick is totally me, but threatening my team mates with severe bodily harm and actually meaning it and scaring them is not.”
After a few more moments of holding his face, he opened his eyes, not even surprised his vision had returned to normal.
“Jarvis. Tell me if Barton’s in the vents by my workshop again, right away.”
“Yes, sir,” The AI replied. He sounded…almost melancholy to Tony’s ears.
Tony shook his head, pulling himself off the stool and heading back to his tables.
He still had work to do, after all.
Chapter 5: Chapter 4: Bad Karma
Recommended listening song is Bad Karma by Ida Maria
“Doombots, why did it have to be Doombots?” Tony said, blasting yet another of the things out of the air. He zoomed away as three more chased after him, smirking as he squeezed through a gap the clunky Doombots couldn’t possibly get through. They impacted and exploded as he laughed.
“Iron Man, we’ve got another crop of the bots heading down 39th.” Steve’s voice came through the com and Tony smiled again.
“Got it, Cap, I’ll take ‘em down, no worries.” He made a sharp turn, flying down one street and then the next until he got to 39th. He saw the Doombots, kicking the head off one before cutting another in half with his laser.
“You’d think that with Doom being a monarch of a whole country and everything that he’d be able to afford better robots,” Tony said, gutting another Doombot with a replusor blast.
“Well, I did hear that Latveria is currently in a bit of economic trouble,” Clint said, none of the anger or fear from the other day apparent in his voice, at least none that Tony could tell.
“Maybe he should take a hint from Wakanda and just keep the fuck to himself. I think it’d be better for everyone involved.” Tony’s lips quirked again as he punted one Doombots’ head into another, sending both bouncing down the asphalt.
“There’s no way he’d ever be that reasonable,” Natasha put in, Tony hearing a grunt as she fought.
“You’re right, Doom’s too full of himself to stay away,” Tony said, flying up and away from the trashed bots.
“Kinda like you, huh, Tony?” Clint quipped.
“Shut it, Legolas, at least I don’t go around screaming things like ‘You will never live up to the greatness that is Stark!’” He perfectly imitated Doom’s voice, Clint laughing.
“Oh, really? Cause I thought I heard that exact sentence just a few days ago…”
“Fuck you, Barton.”
“Right back at ya, Tin Man.”
“Any more?” Tony asked, chuckling and scanning the streets as he flew.
That wasn’t good. It was never good when Clint said uh-oh. It also usually ended up with Tony doing something incredibly reckless and life threatening and because he was the only one who could do it, he always did.
“What is it?”
“They seem to be converging above Stark Tower…”
“Why why why why do the super villains always go for my Tower? Why not that nice building across town, you guys know the one. Just why do they always want to break my stuff?” Tony kicked it up a notch, speeding towards Stark Tower. “It’s not like my Tower’s the only super hero building in town or anything!”
“Well, not speaking for the rest of them, but I think Doom might be trying to out ego you.” Tony was mildly surprised when that one came from Steve instead of Clint.
“Well, he’s in for a surprise, because we all know that’s impossible. No one out egos Tony Stark.”
“Aaaaand there it is,” Clint said, laughing.
“Screw you, Barton, I have money.”
“Don’t make Steve go all Brooklyn Rage on your ass, Tony, you know he will.”
“I’ll go all what now on Tony’s ass?” Steve sounded supremely confused.
“Nothing, Cap, I’ll explain later, for now- Oh shit,” Tony said, coming up on the tower.
Tony hovered a few yards from the tower, watching as the Doombots set up some sort of- well, he wasn’t quite sure, but if the Doombots were making it, you could be certain it wasn’t going to be a party favor.
Oh, and then look at that, they were flying it high above the tower. Tony wondered why.
Fucking Doom and his aptly named Doomsday devices.
Tony was by the Doombots, breaking and smashing any of them that he could, before he blinked.
“I don’t know what you Doombots are up to, but I swear, if it involves me having to rebuild my tower again, then you guys are going down, and down hard.” He blasted the head off one, ripping off the arm of another to shove right through the chest of a third.
“Iron Man, Thor’s on his way, keep at it,” Steve said.
“You got it, Cap, but there might not be anything left to do once he gets here-“
One of the Doombots sideswiped him, and his vision started to rattle and flip like it was Clint from his carnie days. He could feel the Doombot now clinging to his back, knew it was doing something not good, but he couldn’t see straight, his brain rattling around in his head.
And then he was falling, and fast. He tried to get his repulsors to work, but they wouldn’t.
“Fuck. Jarvis, what’s wrong with the suit, what did it do?”
“It disengaged the repulsors, sir. You are now without any flight capabilities.”
“Fuck,” Tony said again, closing his eyes. There was really nothing he could do but wait for impact.
“Friend Tony, I have you!” He heard the bellow of the God of Thunder from far off. Faster than he would’ve thought possible, he was caught, and he look up at Thor.
“Thanks, buddy, I owe you one-“
Then came the pain, fast and hard, almost like he actually had impacted with the ground, even as his mind told him he hadn’t.
“Oh god, Thor, put me down; get me on the ground right now!” He yelled, shaking violently in his armor. The bewildered Thunderer did as he was asked, setting Tony on his feet.
“Are you alright, Tony?” Steve’s concerned voice coming through the com almost made him more dizzy.
“No, no I’m not; you guys can finish this right? I need to- need to get inside.” As he turned and stumbled toward the entrance to Stark Tower, he saw a flash of bright blonde hair and sharp blue eyes out of his peripheral.
Daenerys nodded her head towards the tower and Tony nodded in return. It seemed Thor had seen the movement and turned to look where Tony was. If Tony hadn’t been so whacked out with pain at the moment, he would’ve noticed the sudden tightness in Thor’s shoulders, and the way the God of Thunder flew off without so much as a goodbye.
But Tony didn’t, and he made his way inside and into an elevator.
- “Jarvis, take me up, and cut off my link to the comm.”
“Yes, sir,” Jarvis replied, doing both. Tony ripped off his helmet, taking deep breaths of air.
“Holy fuck, it feels like I got hit by one of those freaking Chitauri whale machine things,” Tony said, pulling off his gauntlets next. His hands were shaking. Well, fuck, he never liked it when they did that, even if it was just the result of too much caffeine.
The elevator doors opened to the workshop and he staggered out, letting his helmet and gauntlets fall to the ground with metallic thunks. He huffed as he walked, slowly and deliberately, over to a circle of floor that was discolored.
He didn’t have to say a word, the arms coming up automatically, stripping the armor off him. Once it was done, he almost collapsed without the rigidness of the armor to help him stand.
“Sir, your fever…”
“Yeah, what about it?” Tony snapped. Jarvis seemed apprehensive, Jarvis was never apprehensive. This registered in some still normally functioning part of Tony’s brain, but not with the rest of him.
“Your temperature is now 105.7, sir.”
Tony blinked, his mind taking a minute to process the information.
“Doesn’t that mean I should be dead?”
“Or close to it, sir.” And now Jarvis sounded concerned, his fucking AI was worried about him.
When had that happened, he wondered, when had Jarvis become able to feel concerned?
Well, whatever, he’d wonder about that sort of thing later.
Another bout of pain wracked him and he groaned, falling to his knees. And oh, here comes the nausea. He took deep breaths, doubling over to try and make the feeling disappear.
It only made it worse, and he gagged, spitting up a bit of- wait. Okay, that was not good. Puking up blood was never good.
Maybe he was lucky it was only a little bit though?
He coughed and gagged again, more blood splattering onto the concrete. He groaned, blindly fumbling for a rag of some kind. He jumped at the whine and whirr of servos by his face, blinking at the sight of Dummy waving a dirty cloth in front of him.
“Thanks, Dummy,” He said quietly, his voice rasping as he took the rag from the bot. He wiped up the bits of blood, making sure his face was clean of it too. His stomach still roiled with nausea but he held it at bay, sitting with his back to one of his work tables, his head thunking softly on the metal.
His entire body ached, but his head and stomach were specifically, spectacularly more pain addled than the rest of him, and his little spirit girl guide that told him things, albeit cryptic things, but still told him things, was nowhere to be found.
“What the fuck is so much more fucked up with me now?” He said, giving a few more hard coughs. His vision danced, the room doing all sorts of things a room shouldn’t do ever, the lights flashing from being blindingly bright to leaving him, well, blind.
He didn’t even dare to stand, he knew his balance was shot, and he felt himself wobbling where he sat.
Or was he even sitting?
It didn’t seem like it, but then again, the room was currently upside down and tinted many psycadelic colors that he was pretty sure didn’t occur anywhere in the color scheme of his workshop.
The nausea returned full force, though it had never really left, had it, and he was gagging again. He was thankful that Doom had attacked before he’d even gotten a little something to eat, or this would be way more messy than it was.
His entire body heaved with the waves of sickness, ebbing and flowing like the ocean outside his Malibu house.
He liked that house, a lot. He should spend more time there. The sound of the waves was a lot nicer than the sounds of the city that drifted up when he was trying to get some well deserved sleep. He could invite the other Avengers; they could have a blast at the beach, maybe go to the Del Mar Fair, if it was going on. He liked those blooming onions and- Oh, god, no, food was not a good thing to think about at this moment.
He felt something splatter his hands, and his vision steadied enough for him to see it was blood again. At least he thought it was blood. Blood didn’t tend to be purple but he wasn’t trusting anything right then.
“Sir, Na….” His hearing started acting up too, fluctuating in and out, and he couldn’t make out what Jarvis was saying. Something about gnats, or tasers? He didn’t know, and couldn’t be assed to care.
The next thing he heard sounded somewhere between a jet engine starting up and one of those doors on Star Trek that made the whoosh noise when they opened and closed and he really wasn’t sure which was more accurate, though both seemed about right and wow, look at that there was floating fire coming towards him, or was that a shadow, that black blob couldn’t be fire.
He blinked, a woman with red hair coming into focus.
Pepper, his mind supplied, but no, Pep didn’t look like that, her rack wasn’t anywhere near that big and wasn’t that just a damn shame, maybe he should offer to get Pepper a boob job. But no, wait, she’d probably slap him if he even suggested anything like that. Also her hair was a lighter shade, more strawberry blonde than true red, but she’d probably slap him for calling her strawberry or blonde, cause she was allergic to strawberries, he remembered that, and she didn’t like being called a blonde cause she thought that was him implying she was dumb, which she wasn’t, on any level, and Tony’d never imply such a horrid thing cause Pepper was too smart to be just a PA, too pretty for it too, too kind, too patient, too everything good in the world. Man, Pepper was just too everything awesome.
His mind snapped back to the present (as much as it was capable of snapping right at that very moment, which was not very) at the words that the woman said.
“Stark, what the hell is…rong with yo….are you alright?...Stark tal….”
Oh. It was Natasha. That’s right. Pepper didn’t wear skin tight catsuits, and he’d already established that her boobs weren’t as huge, nor was her hair as red. Of course it was Natasha.
But wait, why only Natasha?
Oh yeah, the Doombots, that’s right. The others were probably still fighting.
“Nat,” He struggled to get the syllable out at all, his mouth feeling like it was full of cotton or maybe feathers. “ ‘M okay, go help t’ others.”
“No, you are not….Stark, do you hea…Stark!”
He felt a hand on his cheek and his vision suddenly sharpened.
And Nat wasn’t a redhead anymore.
And it wasn’t Nat.
Daenerys stared at him, her blue eyes filled with concern.
“Anthony, you must pull yourself together. Rein it in. I know you can do it, you must. It will kill you otherwise. Please, you must-“
He blinked and she was gone, the worried and slightly pissed face of Natasha now crowding his space.
“G’ ‘way, Nat, ‘M fine, go,” He said, weakly pushing at her. She leaned back a bit and he grabbed for the countertop, his sticky hands grasping the edge and holding on for dear life. He dragged himself up, swaying dangerously, but staying up.
“I’m not leaving, Stark, something is seriously wrong with you.”
At least one thing was good about that sentence; his hearing was back in order, though there was a faint, but really annoying ringing going on in there now.
“No. Go help with the Doombots, I’m fine, I’m okay, just a little bit useless right now because my armor was disabled. Now leave.” He made sure to enunciate each word carefully, cracking a grin to try and convince her he was fine.
She crossed her arms and glared at him, unimpressed and unconvinced.
Well, fuck, he was going to have to get mean, and risk pissing off the most dangerous person in the world who also had access to where he slept. This wasn’t going to be fun.
“I said, I’m fine. Now, go away before I make you,” He growled, feeling a heat rising inside him.
“Really, Stark? And just how are you going to do that?”
Tony blinked, his vision shifting again, and there she was, Daenerys standing before him, pose exactly as Natasha had been standing.
“You are doing well. Keep going,” She said, the world moving around him again.
And there was Nat, glaring and glaring some more.
“You don’t want to know just how I plan on making you leave, Romanoff, now go!” He snapped, actually legitimately growling, and okay that was something new for everyone.
Natasha’s eyes went hard, and Tony knew she was furious. He’d just pissed off one of the most deadly assassins on the planet, but hey, that’s what he was trying for wasn’t it?
“Fine, Stark, I’ll leave, but don’t expect me to give a shit next time you get yourself into something deadly. You want to be on your own, then fine, be on your own.”
The words stung, but it was better for everyone this way, Tony knew it.
He watched as Natasha stalked out, telling Jarvis to bar her entrance too. He stumbled over to the couch, the swimming vision and nausea making another return as he curled up in the fetal position on the cushions.
With his breathing shallow and his eyes closed to try and quell the sickness, he fell asleep.
Hmm, this was interesting. No tent or desert this time. He was in some sort of castle, tall, thin windows letting in slanting daylight.
He walked slowly across the room, eyes wandering from the large pillars to the high vaulted ceiling to the- whoa, okay, that was pretty damn epic.
There was a chair- no, a throne, made completely out of swords, the metal dark and spiked and imposing. It looked fit for a king, and really fucking uncomfortable.
“Holy shit,” He said, his voice echoing around the room even though he barely whispered.
“It is called the Iron Throne. I fought long and hard to reclaim it.” He spun around to see Daenerys standing behind him.
He was stunned into silence at her appearance. Gone were the brown leather skirt and top, the soot and dirt cleaned away, her hair now combed and flowing around her shoulders. A pale blue gown clung to her body, shifting softly as she moved closer to Tony, shinning gold jewelry catching the light as she walked.
“You look…gorgeous.” Tony couldn’t help but stare at her and she smiled back at him.
“Thank you, Anthony. This is how I was always meant to look. I was a Queen misplaced from her throne, and I took it back, with fire and blood.”
“Fire and blood…” He said, the words sounding comfortable on his lips. “Those were the only words I remembered after the first time we met.”
“Yes, because they are the words of the House Targaryen.” Daenerys walked past him, moving to sit on the Iron Throne. Tony watched her as she did, thinking she looked perfect on the throne. It fit her like nothing else, it almost looked made for her.
“House Targaryen…” He frowned a moment. “You said that I was a true Targaryen. Does that mean we’re related?”
She smiled and nodded.
“Yes, we are. I am your ancestor, your grandmother many times over.” Her nails tapped out a staccato rhythm on the armrest of the throne. Tony shifted and crossed his arms over his chest, feeling vaguely uncomfortable, almost like he was on trial standing there before the throne.
They stared at each other in silence for a few more moments before Daenerys rose from the throne.
“Come here, Anthony.”
He did what she asked, none of his usual questions or snark coming out in the face of her overwhelming presence. He took the steps up onto the dais slowly, and she smiled and rose from the throne.
“Sit,” She commanded, gesturing to the Iron Throne. It felt like some kind of bird had taken up residence in his chest the way his heart was beating. He sat on the throne, his fingers barely brushing the armrests as he perched on the edge of the seat.
“Not like that, silly boy. Sit completely on it. Scoot back.”
He did as she asked, moving himself to sit fully on the Iron Throne.
“This is what you were meant for,” She whispered in his ear, putting her hands on his shoulders. “You were meant to be a King, Anthony.”
Suddenly, the atmosphere changed, crowds of cheering people appearing in the room, filling it up. There were flowers and music floating through the air. He felt a pressure on his brow as a crown was placed there, and he glanced down to see himself clothed in a very royal looking outfit.
“All hail King Anthony!” The crowd cheered as he stared out at them. He almost felt like he couldn’t breathe, the fanfare overcoming him.
And just like that, it was gone. The crowd disappeared, same with the crown and clothes. Only Daenerys was left.
“That is only a taste of what you are meant for, just as the fame you enjoy now is only a taste,” She said, running her fingers through his hair. “You are meant for the greatness the House Targaryen deserves always.”
“Yeah, that’s great and all, but what about the whole thing that’s happening right now? Why did I suddenly get super fucking sick after Thor caught me?” Tony looked up at her, finally back in his grove, broken out of the awed stupor.
“Why do you think all of this started happening, Anthony? What significant event happened in your recent past that started the chain of events?”
“How the hell am I supposed to know that? For that matter, why don’t you stop talking in fucking riddles and ever give me a straight answer?!” He was angry now, really, really fucking angry and fed up with her. She stared him down, completely unafraid and unconcerned with his temper.
“Because it is the only way to teach you.” She said the words simply, as if that explained everything. And actually, if kinda did. Give the super distractible genius a puzzle to solve and he’s sure to figure it out.
So, Daenerys knew what she was doing and he was an idiot, per usual.
He sighed and put his head in his hands.
“Well, I was stupid again, wasn’t I?” He asked,
“Yes, you were, but that is to be expected of you, now, isn’t it?” He looked up and saw the smile on her face and knew his flare of temper was forgiven. Her face scrunched up a moment before becoming the serene, smiling expression again.
“It is time for you to wake up. You have a guest.” She brushed some of the hair from his forehead and kissed it softly. Her fingers trailed down to close his eyes and she was gone.
“Sir, Thor is requesting entrance to the workshop,” Jarvis said, Tony blinking awake. He wiped the drool from his lip and waited a moment, for the pain or the nausea or the psycadelic acid trip vision to return. When none of the above happened, he sat up.
“Uh, why didn’t you let him in then? Speaking of, why didn’t his code work in the first place?” Tony arched an eyebrow, bracing his arms on his knees as he leaned forward.
“I thought that since you had barred Dr. Banner and Agent Romanoff and banished Clint from the vents and our many, many ‘talks’ about announcing entrants before they actually enter, that you wished me to bar everyone until you let them in.”
Tony snorted and shook his head.
“This is why I make the decisions and you don’t. Let him in and don’t make assumptions, it makes an ass out of you and me,” Tony said, voice mocking and sweet. He could swear he heard Jarvis actually sigh.
The door swung open and Thor walked in, smile tight with worry.
“Hey, Conan the Barbarian, what’s up?” Tony said, relaxing back into his couch. Thor looked confused for a moment at the nickname, but forged on ahead anyways. He was used to the strange things the ‘Man of Iron’ called him.
“I was concerned for you, Tony. Did I injure you when I caught you? Why did you have to go running off into the tower?” Thor took a seat on the floor in front of Tony, his legs crossing and his blue eyes staring into Tony’s brown ones. Funny, that was almost the same shade of blue as Daenerys’.
“It was nothing, just got a little nauseous and didn’t want to end up puking in my helmet, cause you know, last time I did that, it stunk it up for like a week after,” Tony joked, smiling at Thor. “Plus, my repulsors were disabled by that fucking Doombot and I was pretty much useless.”
“Lady Natasha said that when she came to check on you during the battle that you were delirious and forced her out.” Thor kept staring at him, and damn, this guy had a fucking good kicked puppy look that made Tony just want to tell him it was alright and to give him a treat.
“Yeah, I think I might’ve conked my head or something, I was being pretty fucked up about it, but I was worried about how everyone else was doing while she was gone, cause you know she saves all our asses on a regular basis.” Tony shrugged and smiled one of his most charming smiles. “Hey, think you could apologize for me, she probably wants to smash my face in at the moment and I really like my face the way it is.”
“Yes, Man of Iron, I will apologize to Lady Widow for you,” Thor said, clapping Tony on the shoulder in a brotherly manner, like he always did.
But Tony wasn’t expecting the sudden sharp spike of pain that shot through him at the contact. He fell forward right into Thor, groaning and spasming with the agony running through him, right to his very core. He could feel the blonde’s large hands, could feel the rumble of his voice in the god’s chest, but couldn’t hear a word over the sound of rushing blood in his ears.
He lifted his head to see Daenerys appear, looking pissed off. She snarled something and- wait, it looked like she wasn’t even talking to him. But that wasn’t possible, only he could see her right?
He felt Thor stiffen and he started retching as the nausea made a spectacular return and wow, that wasn’t nice in the slightest. Thor set him on the ground and stood, stepping away from him.
Tony looked between Daenerys and Thor, and yep, he was definitely reacting to her. His hearing cleared for a moment.
“Leave now! Your presence is killing him, Thor Odinson! Leave or his blood will be on your hands! And tell no one of this, or I swear on the House Targaryen that I will find a way to burn you! I will not allow him to die!” She was practically screaming at him and Tony turned his head slightly to try and look at Thor, who looked stricken and well, like he’d seen a ghost, which technically, Tony guessed he had.
“I apologize Queen Daenerys; I did not know Tony was one of your line. I-I will go, I am sorry.” Thor rushed out like a frightened child, leaving as quickly as the lightening under his control.
Tony would’ve liked to think more on what he’d just witnessed, but another spasm of pain overtook him and he coughed, his fingers clutching, white-knuckled, at his shirt. He pulled himself onto his hands and knees, another wave of nausea catching him off guard.
He vomited, and instead of just the tiny bit of blood from before, a whole cascade poured from his mouth, red and hot and very, very worrisome. His arms shook as he tried to hold himself aloft and away from the pool of throw-up blood. He did not want to face plant into that, that was for sure.
He watched in horrid fascination as the edges of the puddle ignited a bit, a small yellow flame sparking up before going out since it had nothing to burn. He took shallow breaths through his mouth before another fountain of blood came gushing out. He stared at the sticky, red substance, unable to look away from it as again some sections burst into flame and then dissipated.
“The fuck,” He muttered, the pain shooting through him. He grunted, hearing a splash like a leaky faucet and whoa, okay, he was crying, that was unexpected. The pain receded to a slow burn, inching across his skin and through his veins. He pushed enough to be able to move away from the puddle and flop down on his side.
His entire body shuddered and shook with the aching hurt, and he watched silently as those claws returned, shinning and golden. He could feel scales growing all over him, in patches under his clothes. The strangest part though, and this, really, this took the cake, there was suddenly something wrapping around him, and it was scaly and thin, kinda like a snake, but there were no snakes anywhere near Stark Tower.
He moved carefully, fingers finding the ‘snake’ and followed it to where it ended. And where it ended was connected to him, right where his spine met his tailbone and fuck, he had a tail, a fucking scaly ass tail and that was shit, he didn’t want a tail.
The sudden hand on his forehead (which at the moment was half scale half actual human fucking flesh) startled him and he jumped, hissing softly. Okay, where had the hiss come from, he really wanted to know.
“Calm yourself, Anthony, this will pass. It is the next step, but it was not supposed to happen so quickly. That was the Thunderer’s fault, and I apologize for not intervening sooner. Try not to have contact with him any longer, not until you can control this, or you may very well die.” Daenerys’ soothing voice made the pain ebb from Tony’s mind and body, her touch like a sweet balm to him.
“Now, rest. You will sleep without dreams; I will make sure of it. When you awaken, you will be returned to yourself.” He felt a kiss pressed to his forehead and he closed his eyes.
Daenerys’ kept her promise. He did not dream.
Chapter 6: Chapter 5: A New Way To Bleed
Recommended listening song is A New Way To Bleed (Photek Remix) by Evanescence. Also there's another little note at the bottom.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“I still don’t see why I have to be the one to go. I’m an asshole, a charming asshole, but still an asshole. PR things are more Steve’s territory; he should be the one going.” Tony straightened his bowtie for the thousandth time, smiling and running his tongue over his teeth. They shone white and he popped in a mint. If he was doing the whole ‘meet and greet’ with politicians and other crap filled self important douchebags then he might as well have nice breath. It’d be the only thing nice to come out of his mouth that night, that was for sure.
“Steve’s filling out paper work, and he’s got a charity thing later this week. He’s a little over exposed and over worked at the moment, so suck it up. I thought you enjoyed the limelight?” Pepper smirked, adjusting her tasteful dark blue gown. It really brought out the red in her hair and made her eyes pop, in Tony’s opinion. The silver jewelry set and elbow length gloves really made the outfit though, and with her hair pinned up in a smart looking bun, she looked stunning.
They might not have been an item anymore, but Tony was still allowed to appreciate the goods.
“But, Pep, I’ve got work to do! Really important, ground breaking stuff.”
“Really now? You’re going to try to pull that? You’ve been locked down in your workshop for two weeks straight. Nope, I’m not letting you out of this. Bruce told me some…worrying things. I think you need some time away from the workshop, or you might end up pissing him off. A lot. And we all know what happens when you make him angry.” She walked over to him, the clink of her heels muted by the carpet. She readjusted his bowtie and fixed his hair a bit. It seemed to him that her fingers lingered against his forehead for a moment too long, but then she was gone, away across the room and everything was normal again.
“The others should be here soon,” She said, checking her phone for the time.
“Others? Which others?” He asked, frowning at her back. She was smiling, he could tell because those were her ‘I’m smiling because I’m hiding something from Tony that he’s not going to like and that I find hilarious’ shoulders.
He walked over to her and placed his hands on said shoulders, leaning in to whisper in her ear.
“Pep, what ‘others’?”
“You’ll see,” She said, her eyes glinting in a way he knew meant trouble as she went to gather her clutch bag.
Just then, the elevator doors slid open, and Tony groaned.
“No, noooooo, why you two? Why not Clint and Natasha? Hell, I’d take Fury and whatever girl he’d decide to scrounge up, no, wait, I take that back, you guys are better than Fury. But still!” Tony sat on his couch and buried his face in his hands to mock crying.
“Come on, Stark, it isn’t so bad. We’re just here to watch your every move,” Coulson said, giving him one of his classic serene smiles.
“Yeah, plus I’ve always wanted to go to one of these fancy shindigs,” Maria Hill added, smirking at Pepper and then at Coulson.
“You two will be the death of me, I swear.” Tony stood, sighing as he brushed off his suit jacket. “Well, let’s get this show on the road so the nightmare can be over sooner rather than later.”
“I agree. Tony, behave yourself, or I’ll make sure you don’t get a single drink all night and make you talk to Senator Stern for an hour.” Pepper smirked at the shocked and disgusted look Tony shot her.
“Okay, geeze, don’t get apocalyptic with those threats Pepper, especially since you follow through. I promise I’ll be a good egotistical superstar genius billionaire tonight, alright?”
“Good boy,” Pepper said, giving him a condescending pat on the head.
“God, why do I put up with you?”
“Because you can’t function properly without me, that’s why.” She smirked a bit, but there was something behind her eyes that made Tony distinctly uncomfortable. They all filed into the elevator, Tony still acting huffy.
“There’s a SHIELD sanctioned limo waiting downstairs. Shall we?” Coulson said, pushing the button for the lobby.
“Yes, please,” Tony said, rolling his eyes. Then he blinked. “Wait, SHIELD has limos?”
As it turned out, yes, SHIELD did have limos, and they were stocked with the best minibar Tony had ever seen and that was saying something. He was very impressed, and maybe that was partially the booze’s fault, but it was damn good booze so he forgave himself for praising SHIELD and all its employees. Even the two who were currently annoying him with their smoozy shit.
“Can you two stop being all couply for one night, please?” Tony practically begged as he poured himself another drink, and fuck, the whiskey was like heaven, he could die right at that moment and feel fine about it, because he had tasted heaven on earth.
“Stark, we never get to be ‘couply’ as you call it, so no, we will not stop.” Coulson gave him a flat stare that on anyone else would look bored, but on Coulson looked like ‘say another word and I will kill you in one of the seventeen thousand ways I know how’. Tony glowered and nursed his whiskey.
“Do you want another raspberry, Phil?” Maria cooed, and okay, Tony just knew she was laying on the schmoop extra thick just because it made him nauseous and she knew it did.
“Oh, yes, please, Maria,” Coulson replied, taking the raspberry Maria offered with a steamy look that Tony really didn’t need to see.
“Okay, seriously? I’m going to puke if you two keep this up, and I will make sure it all lands on your expensive clothing and I won’t pay for the dry cleaning because it will have been your fault.” Tony gave a shrug, downing the rest of his glass of whiskey like a shot. It was his third and he was still barely even tipsy.
The limo thankfully stopped just then and Tony practically threw himself from the vehicle. Cameras flashed in his face and he grinned, putting on the classic Stark charm. He blew kisses and threw winks at the crowd, half of which were reporters, the other half screaming girls begging for his autograph, or a picture, or to be in his bed for a night. He’d happily give the first two, but not the last one.
After all, there were only so many hours in the day and it wouldn’t be fair to just take one of them home. If Tony Stark was anything when it came to women (and men, though that little factoid was rarely known), it was an equal opportunist.
Pepper trailed after him, giving polite waves and smiles. Phil and Maria followed her and everyone was just confused as to who they were, but the photographers took pictures anyways, and the girls screamed all the same.
Once they were inside, Tony let out a breath, looking around a moment. Yep, just as he thought. It was full of snooty rich people. He really hated snooty rich people, especially when they tried acting like they weren’t snooty. Sure, Tony was rich but he wasn’t obnoxious about it (at least not overly, and not all the time), and sure, maybe sometimes he was snooty, but at least he didn’t pretend to care in causes that meant nothing to him.
At least, not unless Pepper forced him to.
If it was up to him, he’d probably be a recluse and only come out once every five years to greet the masses before disappearing to make more wonders of technology.
Huh, that almost made him sound like a tech version of Willy Wonka.
He didn’t really mind that all that much.
He smirked, making a beeline for the bar, but Pepper intercepted him.
“How about before you get completely shitfaced, you make your ‘smile, shake hands, and act like a normal billionaire’ rounds, hmm?” Pepper whispered, guiding him away from his precious booze towards a group of stuffy looking old people. He grimaced visibly, but put the mask of ‘Tony Stark: Richer than you, and I damn well know it’ back on.
He shook hands and kissed cheeks and smiled and did all Pepper asked of him until she released him to the bar. He sighed when he finally made it to the counter, tapping the wood to get the bartender’s attention.
“Vodka martini, extra dry,” He said, pulling out a hundred and slipping it into the tip glass. The bartender nodded, mixing his drink quickly. Tony downed it the second it was set in front of him and he tapped the bar for another as he chewed on the olive.
“So, how were the met and greets?” Maria asked, ordering a glass of red wine.
“Oh, you know, painfully boring and utterly stupid, but what are you gonna do when you’re the only fun person in a room, huh?” Tony chuckled sourly, choosing to sip on his second martini instead of just guzzle it down. Maria nodded, sipping at her wine.
“I see what you mean. I wish Phil and I had just gone dancing like I wanted to, but no, the Director just had to call with a special mission for the two of us.” Maria sighed, tracing her finger around the rim of the glass. “I thought I was going to get to kill someone,” She muttered, setting the drink down and ordering a glass of scotch instead.
Tony watched her with veiled interest as she drank the scotch in two gulps, smacking her lips and giving her head a shake afterwards.
“Well, Phil said he wanted to waltz, so I better get back. Hope you liven up this party soon, Stark, it’s like the living dead in here.” She winked, walking off back to where Coulson stood.
Tony laughed and finished his martini, pushing off the bar. He strode to the bathroom, making sure it was clear before locking the main door behind him. He looked in the mirror and smiled, giving his reflection a wink.
He pulled out his phone, easily hacking into the PA system that wasn’t currently in use. People didn’t tend to leave PA systems on when there was a live band. But that worked out pretty well for Tony.
He started up some of his favorite music, beginning with Shoot to Thrill, laughing loudly when he heard the crowd start complaining.
“These old fogies don’t know what to do with actual music,” He said, snickering. He made his way back out of the bathroom, acting casual, like he had nothing to do with the music now blasting from the speakers, even if everyone knew he did.
Pepper was waiting for him.
“Shit,” He said, and she crossed her arms.
“Shit is right, Tony. What the hell? I told you to behave.”
“Uh, if you recall, I did behave for all of-“ He checked his watch. “An hour and a half. You gotta give me credit for that, right? Besides, Maria told me to.”
“Guilty as charged. But Pepper, come on, this place was a snooze fest. At least we know none of the guests are dead since they all jumped out of their skin when the music started,” Maria said, walking up with Phil practically attached to her hip.
“Fine, Tony, you’re off the hook since the highly trained SHIELD agent coerced you into action.” Pepper sent Maria a glare and the other woman just smiled. Pepper rolled her eyes, but her lips twitched and she cracked a grin, only for a moment and she would deny it later.
Suddenly, Tony stumbled, his hand catching the wall and making it so he didn’t completely fall over. His worldview spun around him like he was on a tilt-o-whirl, and well, wasn’t this feeling familiar?
“No, not now, not here,” He muttered, blinking and pressing the heel of his hand to his eyes, trying to make his vision straighten out.
“Tony, are you alright?” Pepper asked, concern coating every word. He waved her off, smiling.
“Yeah, just think I had a little too much to drink,” Tony said, hurrying back into the bathroom. He locked it behind him, looking for an escape route. The window was nice and large for a bathroom. It was perfect.
“God damn, it’s been two weeks with barely anything and I’ve been avoiding Thor on top of that, which isn’t as easy a thing to do as it sounds, and now this, in the middle of the one thing that Pepper wanted me to do, and fuck, shit, fuck, I’m going to ruin it more than I already have,” He muttered, splashing water on his face. He could already feel his skin overheating, and the steam coming off his face just confirmed it.
He was having a ‘fit’ as Jarvis liked to call it.
He swore again, opening the window. He glanced around, scoping it out for any rouge reporters or fans. Luckily, there wasn’t anyone around and he slipped out without a problem. He made his way through a few back alleys and side streets until he was a sufficient distance away from the ball to hail a cab.
He gave the cabbie an extra hundred dollars to take the fastest route, and another two to keep quiet about the fact he was driving The Tony Stark. The cabbie pulled around the back of Stark Tower and Tony snuck in his super secret entrance (which wasn’t so much a secret as it was a way for the Avengers to sneak in and out without being seen by paparazzi and their ilk).
The elevator from the basement took him up quickly and he slipped out. Hopefully, the others were all in their rooms or the gym or the living room and not the little reception area or the halls leading to his workshop. He just had to last until he got there and told Jarvis to initiate protocol D. Protocol D being the one where he didn’t let anyone in until he was back to his relatively normal self.
He fought dizziness as he started what felt like the longest trek in the history of treks and that included Star Trek. He stumbled around like he was drunk, and honestly, he was more than a little drunk too, so that didn’t help any. Feeling sweat prickling his skin, he peeled off his suit jacket and bowtie, letting them fall to the floor as he continued on.
Tony paused, pressing a hand to the wall to steady himself. His world turned upside down and when it righted itself, he noticed his claws were there already and that was bad, he was changing faster than he thought he would. He walked into a couch, and he must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere, cause he was in the living room and that was not good, not good at all, considering he was in the middle of turning and now pretty much in the complete opposite direction of where he needed to be.
“Jarvis, can you perform protocol D from here?” He asked, sliding to the floor, his tumbling vision and weird inner ear balance out of wack enough to make it impossible to move anywhere else.
“No, sir, I cannot as there are no actual doors in this room. You must get to another portion of the tower.”
“No can do, my balance is shot, I can’t even stand right now,” He said, slapping his hand over his mouth to keep himself from puking. He almost jumped out of his skin when Daenerys appeared next to him.
“Shit! Give a guy some warning, Dany,” He said, glaring at her the best he could, which wasn’t very good at the moment.
“I do not have the luxury of adequate time to give you such warnings, Tony,” She said, smirking some. She placed her hand on his head, her eyes squinting in a way Tony now knew meant she was thinking.
“What? What’s wrong now?”
“Nothing is wrong, but you are entering the next stages of the transformation. Do not-“
“Yeah, yeah, I know, ‘don’t fight it’, ‘just let it happen’, and all that crap right?” He rolled his eyes, but yeah, that wasn’t a good thing to do, he was really dizzy enough as it was. He felt like he’d just stepped off the teacups at Disneyland but one that the Hulk had been spinning.
“Yes, ‘all that crap’,” Dany said, arching a brow at him. “If you do not wish for my presence, all you have to do is ask, Tony.”
She looked like she was actually about to leave and Tony grabbed her wrist desperately.
“No, please, don’t go, I don’t want to be alone.” Daenerys gave him a calm smile, running her fingers through his hair.
“I will not leave you,” She said, pressing a kiss to his forehead. “I will stay by your side through it all, Tony.”
“Good, great, fantastic.” He grunted, a wave of pain washing over him. He tore at his shirt, watching as scales appeared in patches and then spread, covering every inch of him in them.
“This next part will hurt.”
“Huh?” was all he was able to get out in response before he screamed, falling forward. Spikes ripped from his back, lining the way down his spine and he felt something shoot out of where the last vertebrae met his pelvis. The tail curled around his leg, seemingly trying to comfort him. His claws shredded the carpet when he tried to grab it, another scream transforming into a roar of pain.
He could feel the bones in his legs snapping and rearranging themselves into things that reminded him of the velociraptors from Jurassic Park’s feet, just with the back claw (what used to be his big toe, he surmised) being more like an eagle’s talons.
Well, there went a perfectly good pair of shoes.
This was the most he’d transformed so far, and some small still scientific minded part of himself hoped Jarvis was recording it for him to see later.
He panted, slowly turning towards the bank of windows that made up one wall. His reflection was something out of a monster movie, mostly reptilian, but with a human intelligence shinning in his now orange and slitted eyes. After another choking howl and more pain, this time shooting through his jaw, he turned again to see his teeth replaced with razor sharp fangs, every one of them.
His tongue ran over them and he snapped his jaw open and closed a few times to test them. He noticed as he looked about, that the blue of his arc reactor barely shone through the scales, they only partially covered it, the glow only coming from the very center of it, reflecting off his dark red scales.
Tony tried to stand, fumbling at the first attempt, but finding himself able to do it the second time around.
“You look magnificent,” Daenerys said, and Tony finally remembered she was there.
“Do I?” He growled, his voice not even his own, the sound coming from his mouth more of a low rumbling, gravelly one than his normal voice. “I think I look like a B-movie monster reject.”
He flexed his claws, his tail swishing behind him, and he glanced at the arrowhead that tipped it. Clint would probably get a kick out of that, an actual arrowhead tipped tail. Like he didn’t look devilish enough already.
“So what now?” He asked Daenerys, narrowing his eyes at her.
She seemed distracted, her eyes locked on the hallway, not really paying any attention to him at all.
“Now, it is time to test your new abilities,” She said before disappearing.
Tony frowned, turning to where she’d been staring, and coming face to face with the business end of Natasha’s guns. On instinct alone, he ducked, dodging the bullets as they flew over his head.
He hissed, skittering away from her. Flight or fight response gave him the impression to run. He was too new to his skills to fight her, and he didn’t want to, didn’t want to hurt her on accident. She had no way to know it was him under these scales and spines. His appearance alone would be enough to frighten off most anyone.
But that didn’t stop her from trying to pick a fight anyways.
Natasha Romanoff, the infamous Black Widow, turned good guy, Agent of SHIELD and Avenger had seen a lot of things in her lifetime, but none like the thing she found standing in the living room.
She’d heard the strange howls and roars from her room and gone to investigate only to see that thing standing there.
It was like a lizard, but not. Well, it did bear some resemblance to the Lizard, one Dr. Curt Connors, but he was locked away and as far as she knew, he was a lot bulkier. And green. This thing was lithe, taunt like a bowstring, and it was most certainly a dark red. It had strength, yeah, but was definitely built for speed more.
It proved her theory when it dodged the bullets, hissing at her before running off.
With rows of teeth like that, she would’ve expected it to put up more of a fight, surprised it had just turned tail and fled. She ran after it, ditching her slippers, opting to use her bare feet. Besides, the entirety of Stark Tower was carpeted except for the places where tile (or even bare concrete) were a necessity.
She fired off a few more shots before it rounded a corner and she cursed in Russian. Its speed, coupled with the twists and turns that Stark probably specifically planned into the layout of the tower, being the jerk he was, made it almost impossible for her to catch. As soon as she was skidding around one corner, it was around the next, a flash of its tail the only thing signaling which way it even went.
She rounded another corner and yelled another curse, seeing one of the large ‘Hawk sized’ (as Tony liked to joke) vents hanging open, the claw marks making it evident that the creature had escaped through there.
“Jarvis, which way is it going?” She asked, frowning when she touched some of the marks.
“I do not know, Agent Romanoff.”
Natasha arched one of her eyebrows, crossing her arms.
“Don’t know, or just won’t tell me? You have sensors everywhere, I’m sure you know where that thing is headed.”
“I am sorry, Agent Romanoff, but I am unable to disclose that information due to protocol D.” Natasha wondered if it was just her, or did the AI sounded extra snooty right then.
“Voice pattern override Z Alpha seven, SHIELD Agent Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow,” She said. There was a few processing noises and then a beep and she smirked.
“Yes, Black Widow, what may I do for you?”
“Where’s the creature going?”
“Sir’s workshop, Agent.”
“Thank you, Jarvis.” Her voice was sugar sweet. She knew installing that override had been a smart thing to do, knowing Stark she could never be too careful with Jarvis.
She started running towards the workshop, determined to either capture or kill this thing. She was guessing it would probably be a kill.
“Shit, shit shit shit!” Tony cried, smashing a few things in his workshop.
“She saw me, and now she’s chasing me, this is not good, AT ALL,” He yelled, shredding a sheet of metal.
“Calm yourself, Tony; this is no way for you to act. Yes, she saw you, but that is not the end of the world.” Daenerys tried to give a comforting smile, but he growled at her, his tail trashing. She wasn’t bothered by either.
“You know what? Go fuck yourself, Dany, this is your fault, anyways,” He hissed, straightening out. If he was a normal fucking person, that running and then crawling through the nasty vents would’ve ruined his back. But no, he was a weird lizard thing, and so he was perfectly fine after doing all that shit.
“How is it my fault that you have my blood in your veins? That is like trying to blame a bird for flying,” She said, crossing her arms. Tony snarled at her, flipping her off as best he could with his claws.
“Jarvis, is protocol D initiated?” He asked, lowering himself to all fours as he paced back and forth, his claws making clanking noises and scratching across the concrete. Right now, he liked the carpet a lot more.
“Yes, sir, but I must warn you, Agent Romanoff is on her way.”
“That’s just fucking great,” He muttered. “Well, at least she can’t get in…”
“And Captain Rogers is as well.”
Steve knew something was wrong when Natasha ran past his door cursing loudly in Russian. And when he opened his door only to see her disappear around the corner and a flash of a gun caught his eye, he knew it was something big and dangerous to have her so riled up.
He grabbed his shield and asked Jarvis which way she was going. Tony’s workshop, huh? What was in there right now? Tony was at some sort of charity ball with Pepper. Was someone trying to break into it?
Cause a) that’s a really stupid idea and b) its really, really stupid. With the safety protocols and then the bots and the other Avengers all possibly in the building, nobody would be stupid enough to break in to Tony’s workshop.
Unless someone wasn’t breaking in and Tony had come home early and Natasha was really pissed off at him for some reason. And Steve was not about to have super genius brains splattered everywhere just because Tony was being a jerk.
When he arrived at the workshop door, Natasha was banging on the glass hard.
“Jarvis! Let me in, right now!” She was seething.
“I am sorry, Agent Romanoff, but that is not possible as long as protocol D is in effect.”
“What the fuck is protocol D?” She asked, her teeth clenched.
“I am not allowed to disclose that information to you without sir’s express permission, Agent, and he has not given it.”
“What about me? Am I allowed to know what protocol D is, Jarvis?” Steve asked, going to cross his arms before remembering his shield and aborting the motion.
“I’m afraid not, Captain Rogers.”
“Screw that, let us in, Jarvis!” Natasha said.
“I cannot, Agent Romanoff.”
“Hey, Natasha, why’s it so important you get in there anyways?” Steve frowned a bit and Natasha took a breath.
“There’s a creature here, and it went through the vents to Tony’s workshop, so I’m trying to follow it, but Jarvis won’t let me in,” She said, giving the door a good smack to emphasis her point.
“A creature? What kind of creature?”
“It looked kind of like the Lizard, but smaller, faster, and it was red.”
Steve was silent for a moment, contemplating the legitimacy of Natasha’s claim. Then he remembered this was Natasha and she didn’t make up stories about lizard creatures roaming about the Tower.
“Well, if it’s in there, then I say screw it, we’re getting in there and Tony can be angry with us later,” He said. Natasha was about to say something in reply when Steve smashed the edge of his shield against the glass of the door, shattering it into a million pieces. Only after he’d done that did he realize neither of them had shoes on.
He made a quick trip back to his room to grab two pairs of boots, pulling his on as he ran, only to find Natasha already inside, game face on, with no regard for the fact that broken glass plus bare feet equaled pain.
“Put these on before you hurt your feet,” He said quietly, handing her the boots that were most certainly too big for her. She pulled them on anyways, narrowing her eyes as she glanced about the room.
“It’s here,” She said. “But it’s trying to hide.”
“What does it want?” Steve held up his shield, watching with careful eyes over the top of it for any movement.
“I don’t know, I found it in the living room and then it ran off. I chased it until it got into the vents, and I found out it was heading this way. That’s about it,” She said.
“Wait, it just ran from you? Maybe it’s not here on purpose.” Steve froze as he noticed something shift on the other side of the room. “Shh. There.” He pointed to one of the tables. Natasha nodded, taking slow steps in the direction he indicated.
Before Natasha could get to the table though, the creature dashed out, scrambling towards the vent that it had obviously come out of, what with the claw marks around it.
“Cap! Block it!” Steve was moving before Natasha finished her sentence, tossing his shield just so, so when the creature made a leap for the vent, instead of freedom, it was met with cold metal. It growled when it landed and crouched low to the ground, hissing at Steve as he picked up his shield and advanced.
“Just what are you?” Steve whispered, frowning at the lizard thing.
“Leave me alone,” It growled and Steve’s eyes widened.
“Y-You can talk…”
“Of course I can, I’m not a mindless beast, just cause I happen to be acting on my fight or flight instincts in the form of flight. Believe me, you don’t want a fight and neither do I. I just wanna leave.” The glowing orange eyes flicked between him and Natasha as it backed up more.
“Oh, okay, uh, what’re you doing here in the first place?”
“That’s none of your business, soldier boy,” It hissed. It forced itself to release the death grip on the concrete it had and stood, holding its head high.
“Why are you in Tony’s workshop?”
The creature looked about like it was looking at the surroundings for the first time.
“Oh, is that what this place is? Well, no wonder it’s messy as hell and the bots are faulty.” It gave a laugh, half demeaning, half truly amused by itself.
Something about this thing felt really familiar to Steve and he frowned. Almost subconsciously, his eyes flitted to the center of the creature’s chest and he gasped. He looked back into the lizard’s eyes, trying to find something, anything, to confirm his suspicion.
He hadn’t meant to, no really, he had meant to just act like an animal, something that couldn’t help itself, the whole ‘it’s more scared of you that you are of it’ thing. But he started snarking, there was no way he couldn’t snark, it was Steve for heaven’s sake. It was impossible for him not to snark at Steve.
But Steve also knew him, knew how he snarked, and yeah, standing up had been a really bad idea even if it did make him feel more human to be standing straight. He’d definitely seen the arc reactor’s glow, with the way his eyes had narrowed and his brows pushed together in that ‘I’m confused because this doesn’t make sense to my 1940s styled brain’ type of way and then widened after. And okay, maybe he was making fun of Steve, but again, it was Steve, he was allowed.
“What?” He said, layering on the hissy, rough lizard voice a little thicker. “I’m not Tony Stark, where would you get an idea like that?”
Steve’s eyes widened again, and uh-oh, yeah, that little line had not been the right thing to say then, but then again, when did Tony ever say the right thing at the right time?
His head snapped around as Natasha fired off a shot, trying to catch him off guard. He wasn’t fast enough to dodge it completely, the bullet brushing his arm. He roared with pain, and made a mad dash for the vent, the still stunned Captain America letting him, but he didn’t stay stunned for long.
Natasha was firing more and Steve was…he was blocking her bullets. Shielding Tony as he escaped. Okay, the fuck was up with that?
“Cap, what the hell?” Natasha said, trying to aim past Cap. Tony had frozen at the sight of Steve protecting him, even while he looked like this.
“Go,” Steve whispered, turning only enough for Tony to catch a glimpse of blue from his eyes. “Go now. I’ll cover you.”
Tony didn’t take any more time to think it over, scrambling into the vent. He wiggled and squirmed his way through like before, taking Jarvis’ instructions up to his room. By the time he tumbled out of the vents and onto the soft carpet, he was already changing back. He winced when he felt the wound on his arm.
It was only a graze but it would still need a couple stitches. Maybe he could get Bruce to do it, all hush, hush. Then again, Bruce would probably tell Pepper, who’d tell Phil, who’d tell Clint, who’d tell Natasha, who’d tell Steve, who could figure out the whole thing then, and nope, he wasn’t gonna let that happen.
“Jarvis, my room is now on lock down. Also, pull up some online tutorials on how to give yourself stitches.”
“Sir, do you really think that is wise?”
“Just do it, Jarvis.”
“Yes, sir,” The AI said.
Tony stood, making his way to the couch, holding his ruined and torn suit pants around him.
Now he knew what Bruce felt like.
Due to the myriad of comments on the subject of Frostiron and Loki appearing in the story, I am sorry to say, Loki will have no part whatsoever in this story. There will not be any frostiron, in fact, there will not be any romance of any sort involving Tony. This is not a romance story. I know a lot of fanfiction is, hell, I've written a lot of romance centered fanfics but this is not one of them. This is about Tony, and Daenerys, and his journey to figure out just what he is and where he fits in now that he's even more different that he was before.
So, main points. No Loki. No Frostiron, as much as I like it, it's just not in the cards for this story.
Chapter 7: Chapter 6: Gasoline
The song for this chapter is Gasoline by Britney Spears.
“Alright, Steve and I called this meeting because we have something important to tell you all, but there are a few other things we need to go over first. Tony’s not here, one-“ Natasha held up a finger. “He can’t be coerced out of the workshop by anyone, not even Pepper, or Coulson, or Steve, and two, we, being Steve and myself, have some thoughts about him and the matter at hand that we don’t think he’d like to hear, so we didn’t ask him to come. Any questions so far?”
“Uh, yeah, does anyone know what’s for dinner?” Clint smirked and Coulson promptly gave him a smack on the back of the head.
“Behave Barton, this is serious.”
Clint snorted, but gave a noncommittal “Yes, sir,” anyways.
Natasha looked around the room, searching for anyone else that wanted to get in a word. When no one else spoke up, she nodded, pressing a button on a remote that lit up the big TV screen that sat on the wall.
“Alright, let’s get started then. Last night around 8:27 pm, a creature was heard in the Tower by myself. It seemed to be screaming or roaring in pain, though why, I do not know. When I went to investigate, I was greeted by the sight of this.” She gestured to the screen, on which a still that was obviously from one of the many security cameras showed. The creature was hunched over in mid-run, the orange of its eyes caught by the camera.
“What the hell is that thing?” Bruce said, frowning and removing his glasses to see the image better. Natasha shrugged, clicking over to another still of the thing, this time of it starting to go through a vent.
“Oh, not the vents, those are my special vents!” Clint groaned, pouting like a child when he was told to share his favorite toy. Natasha ignored him in favor of answering Bruce instead.
“No idea. Our best guess is that it’s something like what Dr. Connors turned into, but slimmer, faster, and well, red. So we’re calling it the Red Lizard for now, until we find out just what it is.”
Natasha noticed that Thor was oddly quiet. Usually this would be the point of the meeting that Thor would bellow about how he fought something similar back on Asgard. She stored that little notion away for further thought.
“After discovering it in the living room, I chased it through the halls until it ducked into the vent. It seemed to know where it was going, or at least knew the lay out of the building, because it took those turns awful fast, too fast for that not to be the case.”
She clicked to another still, this time of it coming out of the vent in Tony’s workshop.
“It went to the workshop, and from what I can tell from the footage I took from Jarvis, it yelled some and trashed some of Tony’s stuff, but didn’t take anything. It wasn’t after anything specific, as far as I can tell.” Natasha turned back towards the others, and looked to Steve. “And for the rest of what happened, I defer to the good Captain.”
Natasha took a seat as Steve stood. She watched, putting on her best nonchalant face, as he walked around the table, clearly uncomfortable with what he was about to say, about to accuse certain parties not sitting at the table of.
Steve cleared his throat and put his hands behind his back. Natasha crossed her legs. Silence reigned for a moment before Steve cleared his throat again.
“After Natasha lost the creature in the vents, she went past my room and I heard the commotion she was making. I followed her to the door of the workshop and busted it open, which Tony was not happy about when he got home, but anyways. I got boots for us, since we were both barefoot and we entered the room. The place was trashed with plenty of places to hide, and we scoped it out. I spotted movement and Natasha approached. The thing jumped out at her and ran for the vent it had come through before. I stopped it with my shield.
“Then the really strange stuff began. I picked up my shield and mused aloud about just what it was. And it answered me, saying it wanted to be left alone. It wouldn’t tell me why it was in the Tower or anything else important, but it was well spoken and clearly very intelligent. Then it stood up, and I swear, I thought I saw that blue glow of Tony’s arc reactor coming from its chest. When I said Tony’s name in question to it, it denied it, but then Natasha started shooting and I blocked most of the shots and allowed it to get away.
“I do not believe this creature is a threat, just that it was lost. But it is still here, somewhere, and it’s not supposed to be. We need to find it and find out where it is supposed to be and return it there.”
Steve took a deep breath as he finished the debrief, and Natasha stood again.
“Thank you, Steve, but with the claws and teeth on this thing, it still poses a threat. So yes, we need to find it, but we also need to make sure we’re prepared if it attacks.” She placed her hands on the table, looking to each person in turn.
There was silence in the room again, for a few moments before Bruce spoke up.
“And what if this thing really is Tony? It’s smart, and it did go right to Tony’s workshop. Also, you said you had to break the door to get in? Why didn’t Jarvis just let you in?” Bruce arched a brow. Natasha knew those were all good questions, just the type she would expect from Bruce too.
“Jarvis said it had something to do with a ‘protocol D’ which even my override couldn’t get through. And also, these three images were all I could grab from the video feeds before Jarvis deleted them, according to protocol D. And finally, my override’s been, well, overridden. It seems Tony performed an upgrade to all of Jarvis’s systems sometime in the wee hours this morning and got rid of it.”
Natasha took a breath and her seat, folding her hands in front of her.
“It might be a hard pill for all of use to swallow, but we have to consider that maybe Tony isn’t this thing, but controlling it. That maybe he made it. For what reason, I have no idea, but it’s a possibility with what happened during the event and after.”
“Stark is not a mad scientist, he’s a hardware man, he prefers bots to organics. I highly doubt this creature is something he made,” Coulson matched Natasha’s pose, hands folded on the table, his face that perfect poker face, per usual.
Natasha gave a half-hearted chuckle and nodded.
“I know, but he’s smart enough, and if he didn’t make it, then maybe he found it. Everybody’s seen it, the way he’s been acting. He’s being way more of an asshole than usual, even barred me and Bruce access to his workshop and threatened Clint when he found him in the ducts by there.”
The others nodded, all except Steve and Thor. Steve, Natasha understood why he didn’t agree with her, but Thor…
The giant Asgardian was silent, and that wasn’t normal. He hadn’t said a word, and continued not to say a word as he stood and stalked out of the room, not even giving them parting glances or good byes.
Natasha stashed that away for further thought too. She turned back to the others.
“So, we all know what we gotta do. Find this thing, and figure out who or what it is.”
The others agreed and dispersed, Coulson to file a report to Fury, Clint to fix his vent (“Stupid fucking lizard man, gots to ruin things for other people,” he’d muttered as he left), and Steve to de-stress in the gym.
Natasha checked the gun on her hip and nodded.
It was time to go to work.
“I am telling you, this will not end well.”
“Oh come on, what’s the worst thing that could happen? I can’t even get singed eyebrows anymore!”
“It is not you I am concerned about, but the rest of the inhabitants in this tower. Dragonfire is a very unpredictable and unstable-“
“Yeah, yeah, I know, Dany, I know, but this is for science. You wouldn’t understand, since you’re all magical and shit, but as a scientist, I gotta test this.”
Daenerys rolled her eyes, shaking her head.
Tony grinned at her, blowing a kiss in her direction before bracing his feet.
“I do not know why I even try,” She said, giving him a second eye roll.
“Shh, Dany, I’m trying to concentrate.” Tony closed his eyes a moment, taking a deep breath and then exhaling with force. A small flame burst from his lips, only lasting a moment but he whooped and thrust his fist into the air all the same.
Baby steps after all, baby steps. He’d be blowing huge fireballs in no time. That was if he didn’t burn his own bed first. He’d woken up that morning with his pillow smoldering. He was suddenly glad he’d invested in completely fire retardant fabrics for everything in the Tower.
“Okay, now let’s see how long I can sustain a flame for,” He said, taking another breath. He exhaled, the flame sparking up again, and this time he kept it going for almost a full minute before it went out.
“You know, all that other shit is pretty much worth it to be able to fucking breath fire. Do you know how many kids, when they’re little, wish they could breath fire? Pretty much all of them. Because it’s fucking cool, and badass, and awesome.” He laughed.
“Try not to just breath it. The fire works like- hmm, like spit I would assume, as well. Try spitting it.”
Tony spun around, clearly not expecting a man as large as Thor to be able to sneak up on him. Thor took a few steps toward him and Tony backpedalled, tripping over the edge of the table and barely catching himself before he fell.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Thor, buddy, you remember what happened before, don’t come near me.” Tony blinked a moment. “Also, how did you get in? Jarvis, how did he get in?”
“His security codes still work, sir.”
“I will not touch you, Tony, believe me I have learned that lesson. But I have fought dragons before, I know much about them. I thought I could be of some help.” Thor smiled, his massive arms crossing over his chest, and wow, Thor’s biceps might be as big as Tony’s head, and that wasn’t fair, now Tony felt wimpy in comparison. Though everyone was wimpy in comparison to Thor, so there was that.
“Dragons?” Tony gave an (obviously fake) incredulous laugh, waving Thor’s comment off. “Are you crazy? I’m not a dragon, dragons are big giant scaly things that steal virgins and gold.”
Thor arched an eyebrow. He may have been from another world, but he wasn’t stupid, and really, Tony should’ve known that by now.
“The Lady Widow has some pictures that would say otherwise. And you do have a bit of a habit of hoarding shiny objects.”
“I like shiny things,” Tony said lamely, before pouting and pouting hard. “Wait, she’s got pictures? How? I made sure that Jarvis deleted all the video footage from last night.”
“She said she was able to grab them before Sir Jarvis deleted it,” Thor moved towards him, making sure to keep a healthy distance between them.
“Have you forgotten your manners, Odinson, or are you really so careless as to ignore me?”
Thor turned to Daenerys eyes widening to almost comic proportions, and Tony liked that, that was a funny look on Thor. The god fell to one knee before Dany, taking the hand she offered and kissing the back of it.
“Forgive me, your Grace, I did not see you there,” He said, keeping his eyes on the floor.
“It is forgiven, Odinson. Now rise.” Dany wore a self satisfied smirk as Thor stood. Tony looked between the two of them, his brain broken for a few moments.
“Wait, wait, whoa, wait a second, time out. So Thor, you can see Dany? And you know her? So I wasn’t hallucinating- well, no more so than usual.”
“Yes, I know Lady Daenerys from when she ruled the Seven Kingdoms. Her and her dragons caught the eye of my father and he sent me as an emissary.” Thor turned his attention back to Dany, smiling wide. “I truly thought I would not see you again, at least not until I entered Valhalla. It is a happy thing that I was mistaken.”
“A happy mistake indeed. Your magics are still strong, and for that I am glad. It helps me stay tethered to the living world more easily, and makes it so you may see me. Gods know I have tired of only being able to speak with this one.” Dany jabbed her thumb in Tony’s direction and he gave her an insulted look.
“Hey! I’m very good for conversation!”
“You ignore me and then prattle on about science, I would hardly call that ‘good conversation.”
Thor laughed loudly and both turned to look at him, confused.
“I do not know how I did not see it before, but truly Tony you are of Queen Daenerys’ blood. You bicker like siblings, or a parent and their child. It is quite amusing.”
“Yeah, yeah, we’re a real riot, but back to the matter at hand, which is my fire breathing. I’d like to get back to practicing now.” Tony crossed his arms.
“Yes, yes, please do so, I am eager to see how well you master it,” Thor said, going to take a seat on the couch. “And if I might make another suggestion: Do not purse your lips so, merely open your mouth and breath. Pursing your lips gives too much effort for little result. You should remember that dragons do not have lips to purse.”
“Right, right, now shut up and let me do my thing,” Tony said, waving a hand at Thor. The god quieted down and Tony took in a deep breath, opening his mouth just like Thor had said. He exhaled and a spout of fire launched itself from his mouth, shooting all the way across the room.
“Holy shit!” Tony shouted, falling backwards at the force of the flame. He snapped his mouth shut and blinked.
“I guess I need to be careful when kissing people now, huh?” He said with a chuckle.
“I would say so,” Thor said, chuckling.
“Hey, Thor, you said Natasha got the pictures of, uh, the lizard thing before I had Jarvis delete everything. Did she happen to mention some kind of override?” Tony sat up, putting his arms on his knees.
“Yes, she said it did not work any longer, that you made an…upgrade to the system.”
Tony nodded, smirking a bit. Good, that had worked. He liked Natasha, but he didn’t let anyone have overrides for Jarvis, except himself.
Thor stood and Tony looked over at him.
“Where you going, big guy?” He asked, arching his eyebrow.
“I must take my leave, Tony, Queen Daenerys. If I am gone for too long, and do not help in the ‘search’ for the lizard, it would seem odd.”
“Ah, right, keep up the good work, and if anything else comes up that you think I should know…”
Thor laughed and nodded. “Yes, I will tell you, Tony. Good bye.”
“Bye,” Tony said, waving as Thor left. He stood and walked to the table, setting his hands on it.
A few minutes after he left, Tony smiled to himself.
“Well, now we’ve got a surprise ally. Good. Great.” Tony slapped his hand on the table top and took a deep breath.
“You do not need to worry about him revealing your secret. He knows it is important the others do not know, yet. If there is one thing I know about Thor Odinson, it is that he is trustworthy.” Daenerys put her hand on Tony’s shoulder and he sighed, shrugging it off.
“Yeah, I know, but…”
But what? He didn’t know what he wanted, or expected. He couldn’t keep this hidden forever. It was a part of him, in his blood going back hundreds of generations ago. He would’ve had to face the music eventually.
But maybe he had wanted to live in denial a little longer.
Tony sighed again, backing up and bracing himself. This time he was prepared for the sheer amount of fire and force that came blasting out, and only slid backwards a little.
He decided to try something a little different and only exhaled in short bursts. When fireballs sailed across the room and smacked into the cement wall with a sizzle, he was very satisfied.
“This is pretty easy to do once you get the hang of it,” He said, putting his hands on his hips. Daenerys smiled at him, nodding her head.
“Yes, but still, I suggest being very careful with it. Fire is volatile.” Something outside the workshop door (which he’d replaced, thank you very much Steve Rogers for breaking yet another one, he did it all the time. One would think he couldn’t remember his code) and Tony turned to look as well.
Oh no. That wasn’t good. Nope, nope, nope, fuck nope.
“Jarvis, make her go away!” He hissed, going to hide behind one of his tables. He knew she’d seen him already, but still, it was the effort that counted.
“I’m afraid I cannot, sir. Ms. Potts has already entered the workshop.”
“Traitor,” He hissed again, glaring at the ceiling.
“Tony, come out and I might not yell at you,” Pepper said. He could hear her foot tapping on the floor and could perfectly imagine how royally pissed off she looked right now. God, she was hot when she was angry, but no, that’s not where his mind should be going right now, because a mad Pepper was the worst kind of Pepper.
“Really?” He said, peaking his head out from behind the table. Pepper’s eyes locked in on him, and he knew, no, not really, she was going to rip him a new one.
“Anthony Stark, do you have any idea what I had to do in order to cover up that you left that gala without even saying a goodbye?! And that you snuck out the bathroom window no less! If you wanted to leave, all you had to say was ‘let’s go’! You didn’t need to be all theatric about it, but actually knowing you, I’m not even surprised. Really, I’m not, because this is always the type of thing you try to pull, always! You’re always doing things that frustrate me and so many other people and you leave me holding the bag! You can’t keep doing this Tony, you just can’t! You are a hero now, and you’re still the head of Stark Industries, you make the big decisions, you cannot be so irresponsible! I cannot be held responsible for you every time you screw up.”
Pepper rubbed her hands over her face, and they were shaking. Tony didn’t like it when her hands shook, Pepper was always the steady one, the rock, the foundation and when she shook, the world, everything around him shook.
“Would it make it better if I told you I had a legitimate excuse for running off like that, without telling you?” He said, his voice quiet for once.
“And just what, what could you possibly say that would be a good excuse for what you did?” She looked at him, her eyes hard. Tony took a breath and let it out slowly.
“I’m sick, Pep. It’s some kind of cold that’s latched on and won’t let go, but sometimes it makes me so dizzy I can’t stand and makes me puke and I had felt an episode of it coming on and didn’t want you to have to deal with the PR disaster of me puking and falling all over the place. And when these, uh, episodes happen, I like to be home, and so that’s where I went. It all happens really fast, I’m actually surprised I didn’t puke in the cab. Here feel,” He said, taking her hand and putting it on his forehead. By the look of shock that crossed her face, he knew that his fever was still raging, but honestly, he didn’t notice anymore.
Dany had told him that the fever was normal. After all, when you could spit fire, running hotter than a normal person was, well, normal.
“Tony, you’re burning up. Why haven’t you let Bruce look at you? He’s a doctor, for god’s sake! If you were feeling this sick, I would’ve called it off and had you stay home in bed.” Pepper gave him that classic concerned look that he knew meant he was in the clear now. Get Pep concerned and she forgot all about being angry.
“I told you, it comes and goes. I was feeling fine when we left, but it came on suddenly, and I knew I couldn’t let anyone see.” He gave a shrug and Pepper sighed, deflating as she took a seat on one of the stools.
“God, Tony, now I feel like a jackass for yelling at you.”
“Don’t be, Pep, you were in your rights to yell. I’m the jackass, I didn’t tell you, but you know how I am with sicknesses and shit,” He said, shrugging. She leveled a glare at him and shook her head.
“Yeah, I know, heaven knows, I know.” He winced a bit at her tone.
“So, still haven’t forgiven me for the palladium poisoning thing?”
“Alright. Good talk. Now please vacate the premises as I am going to do something that’s probably really stupid, but will end up producing something awesome.”
Pepper let a small smile slide onto her lips and stood, walking toward the door.
“Just don’t blow yourself up,” She called as she walked.
“No promises,” He called back, grinning.
She rolled her eyes through the glass of the door as she shut it behind her. He waited for her to leave before letting out a big breath, a small flame dancing from his lips. He chuckled at that, licking his lips once.
“Jarvis, I’m gonna need some proper firebreathing music,” He said, getting back into position.
“Yes, sir,” Jarvis replied, the song Spitfire starting up. Tony let out a laugh.
He took a deep breath and started more fireball tests. Everything went well for a few minutes, until one went slightly off course and hit- Oh no.
Tony ducked for cover as the explosion rocked his workshop, plaster raining down from the ceiling. The emergency lights flicked on and an alarm started going off.
“Crap,” Tony said as he lifted his head to look around the room. There wasn’t too much damage, but he’d definitely have to make repairs. He stood and brushed himself off, and headed over to look over the damage.
Suddenly, another blast rocked the building and more alarms went off.
“What the fuck?” He said. “Okay, that was definitely not me.”
“No, it is something far worse,” Daenerys said.
“What?” Tony asked, but she disappeared and he made an exasperated noise.
“God, just up and disappears when I need a straight answer.”
The building rocked again and he heard another explosion from somewhere else in the Tower. And, wait…was that gunfire?
“Sir, Captain Rogers would like me to alert you that Hydra is attacking.”
“Hydra? You mean Nazi subgroup hasn’t-been-seen-since-world-war-two Hydra?”
Tony hurried to put his suit on, parts attaching to him as the wall of his workshop blasted open and he was thrown across the room.
“Hail Hydra!” The cries came from the gaping hole. Tony blinked hard as the Hydra drones filled his workshop. His suit was only half assembled and he was staring down the barrels of about a hundred rifles.
Tony knew he was in deep shit now.
Chapter 8: Chapter 7: I'm Alive
The song for this chapter is I'm Alive by Shinedown and also Help I'm Alive by Metric. More notes at the bottom.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Shit, oh shit, shit,” Tony said, his eyes flicking every direction for some sort of escape.
“Yes, shit is right, Herr Stark. You are in it deep now,” One of the Hydra drones said. This one looked a bit different, probably a higher rank, Tony had no idea.
He glared at the mook, giving him a sly smile.
“How stupid do you guys have to be to attack Stark Tower in the middle of the fucking day, when all of us Avengers are bound to be home?” He said, using the time it took to snark to also assess what was missing from his armor. Helmet obviously; one gauntlet wasn’t present as well as most of the chest plate and upper legs armor. He had both boots though, that was good. He wasn’t completely helpless.
“Oh, this is not an attack Herr Stark, no, this is a search and capture mission,” The goon said, sounding self satisfied.
“Really? Search and capture, huh? And what are you trying to capture, some tech, Captain America for some good old fashioned revenge, what?” Tony slowly, very, very slowly inched his way towards the spot that assembled his armor onto him, trying his best not to raise their suspicions.
“None of the above, Stark. Our target is you.”
Tony froze for a moment, feeling like someone had dumped ice water on him. He laughed to cover it, putting on one of his best fake smiles.
“Me? You guys are attacking the Tower for little old me? Why not just grab me last night at that gala? I was a pretty easy target there.” He started moving again, little by little.
“Because our leader wants to make a spectacle of it, wants the world to know Hydra is back and we are most certainly a threat. That even the great Avengers are not enough to stop us.” Tony snorted and shot an incredulous look at the mook.
“Oh really? Well, I’d beg to differ.” With that he lifted his one gauntlet, firing a sweeping repulsor blast. It knocked down all the Hydra drones and he sprung to his feet, standing on the panel as Jarvis put the rest of the suit on him.
Some of the goons were getting back up and he leveled repulsors at them and fired.
“Iron Man online. What’s up with these guys, huh? Think they can just bust in anywhere,” Tony said, making his way through the giant fucking hole that was now in his workshop wall, and he was really supremely pissed at that. That was going to take a lot of time to fix.
“Good to hear you, Iron Man. Hydra is swarming the place. I think they’re looking for something.” Tony snorted again at Steve’s statement.
“Yeah, me. I chatted up some goons before I got my armor on all the way and they helpfully spilled that Hydra wants to kidnap me.”
“Then why do it in the middle of the day? That’s just ridiculous,” Clint said.
“They also told me that they wanted to make a spectacle of it and have people know that Hydra’s back in business.” Tony blasted another group of Hydra soldiers, running past them with a flip of the bird.
“Oh, well, that’s just fucking great. Don’t these guys know that going big and making statements by attacking heroes and shit is so old school?” Clint made a grunt as he shot someone, Tony guessed.
“Eh, maybe they’re getting back to basics.”
“Basics are stupid.”
“I tend to agree, Barton. That’s what improvement is there for, right?”
Static filled his ear and Tony frowned.
“Jarvis, what’s going on?”
“Communications with the team have been jammed, sir.”
“Shit,” Tony said, blasting a couple more mooks. He wandered around until he found the wall they’d demolished to get inside the Tower itself. “Fuck.”
There was a strange buzzing noise and he felt his armor lock up. He couldn’t move anything, and that wasn’t good, how the hell had that happened? How had someone shut down his armor? It was impossible.
“Not impossible, Herr Stark, just improbable.” The smooth voice sent a chill down his spine, but he couldn’t turn to see who it was.
He really needed to stop voicing all his thoughts.
“Jarvis, I need my armor back online, now.” When Jarvis didn’t answer him is when Tony started to really panic. They’d blocked Jarvis out too.
“Just who the fuck do you think you are?” He yelled, trying everything he could to get his armor to move.
“Oh, I am not much. Merely a superior man to you. And you have something I want, something I need, and you will give it to me.”
“You want my tech? Well, you can’t have it, buddy. Property of Stark Industries is stamped on it all, I would know.”
“No, no no, you misunderstand me, Herr Stark. What I require is not something you have made,” The voice paused and he felt the man lean closer. “But something you have inherited.”
And there is was again, the cold feeling that engulfed him. This wasn’t going the way Tony wanted it to, hell, the whole day hadn’t gone how he wanted it to. He should’ve gone to Venice. No Hydra attacks and creepy guys in Venice. Okay, maybe creepy guys, but not in the way this guy was creepy.
“Now, you will not be needing this.” Tony heard the hiss of the helmet releasing and felt it being pulled off.
“No!” He cried. He tried to turn his head to see the man, but was only able to glance a flash of red before something pricked him in the neck and his world started to grow dim.
“The hell,” He muttered, his eyes drooping.
“Yes, that’s it, relax, Herr Stark, everything will become clear soon.” Tony fought the darkness for as long as he could, but soon it consumed him and he was lost.
Steve hated Hydra.
It was simple as that really.
He hated Hydra with every fiber of his being, everything it represented, everyone who fought to uphold it, every single thing about it.
He really hated Hydra.
And when he arrived at the breach in the Tower’s wall to see Tony being dragged off, sans armor, by a bunch of Hydra goons, right in that moment, he hated Hydra more than ever.
“No!” He cried, skittering to the edge of the gaping hole as the Hydra plane took off, flying away. There wasn’t anything he could do now.
He was helpless.
He hadn’t felt helpless in a long time, not since before the serum. But now he did, watching that plane take his team mate, his friend, away.
As soon as the plane was out of sight, the comms came back online.
“Cap, what’s going on? What happened?”
Natasha’s voice brought him back to the present and he took a breath.
“They got Tony. They didn’t take his armor, though.” He looked at the gold and red suit that lay at his feet and kneeled, taking the helmet in his hands.
“How did they get him? He was suited up,” Natasha said.
“I don’t know how, or why, but I do know one thing.” He stood up, holding the helmet under his arm. “We’re gonna get him back.”
“Of course we are,” Clint piped up, and Steve could practically hear him roll his eyes. “There’s no way we’re letting Hydra keep Tony. He’s an annoying prick a lot of the time, but he’s our annoying prick.”
Steve couldn’t help a small laugh escaping.
“Yeah, yeah he is. Let’s meet up with SHIELD and see what we can do about locating that plane. Also, Pepper was in the building during the attack, is she okay?”
“I’m fine, Cap.” Pepper’s voice was a relief to hear. “Got knocked off my feet, but I’m fine. I’ll meet you guys in the lobby, yeah?”
“Yeah. Everyone, converge in the lobby and then we’ll call SHIELD.”
“No need to call them, Captain, they’re on their way here.”
Steve spun around to see Coulson behind him. Steve gave him an easy smile and walked away from the hole in the wall.
“I called them as soon as the attack begun. They were a little late to the punch, it seems, though.”
“That’s alright, but we need to get Tony back as soon as possible. Who knows what they have in store for him. Hydra was never known for being kind to their prisoners…”
With one final look at the horizon through the hole, Steve turned and walked towards the stairs with Coulson.
It had already been a long day, and it looked like he was in store for a lot more long days to come.
“Wake up, Herr Stark, time to wake up.”
Tony’s eyes wouldn’t open. They just wouldn’t. But then a sharp slap to his cheek sent them flying open and alright, now he was sure he didn’t just have a hangover.
It came flooding back in an instance and the cursed softly. Hydra, fucking Hydra.
“Are you awake, Anthony, or must I strike you again?” The smooth voice was the same one he’d heard before falling unconscious, he knew that, his mind kicking in and taking in all the information it could as his vision cleared.
He was in some sort of dark, damp cell with cement walls and no windows. Oh, how cheery. His wrists, ankles, and, yep, neck too, were all shackled to the wall in such a way that he was forced to stand.
He felt a gloved hand grab a fistful of his hair and yank his head up.
“I want you conscious for this, Herr Stark, so if you would kindly stay that way…”
The man trailed off while Tony gaped.
No. That wasn’t possible. He was dead. Killed by Cap back in World War II.
“Nein. What happened to me was more than death. I was given new life.”
A shiver shot through Tony and yeah, he really needed to learn to control his mouth.
“Red Skull,” Tony said, staring at the harsh red face of Johann Schmidt.
“Ja, that is one of my names. But I would prefer you call me, Herr Schmidt, it is much less formal, but still formal enough, yes?” The malicious grin of the man unnerved Tony. He’d heard stories, some from Steve himself, about this man and what he’d done.
And now he was back, and wanted Tony, but for what?
His eyes flicked around the room again, lit only by the open door and the blue glow of his arc reactor. He caught sight of a flash of bright blonde hair and almost sighed in relief as Daenerys placed her hand on his bare shoulder.
The Red Skull had removed his shirt. No, that wasn’t creepy at all.
He focused back on Schmidt, determined to figure out just what the hell was going on, and what the psycho wanted.
This time, he meant to say it aloud.
“Do you know what this is?” Schmidt answered instead, holding up a bunch of little purple flowers connected to a single stem. “Horminium pyrenaicum, also known as Dragonmouth.”
“Yeah? And? What’s that dinky purple flower got to do with anything?” Tony arched a brow. Either the guy was even more cracked than he’d though, or there was something Tony didn’t know.
He was guessing the second as he saw Dany visibly tense as Red Skull waved the flower around.
“Nature is wondrous, Herr Stark, it is filled with so many things that are beautiful, but also dangerous, but sometimes they are only dangerous when in the right hands and to the right people.” Schmidt pulled out a syringe filled with a pale blue liquid and he smiled at Tony, tucking the flowers into his breast pocket.
“Dragonsmouth, when crushed and distilled into a liquid, can be quite affective at dampening a dragon’s power. It is also quite painful when first introduced into the dragon’s body, or so I have heard. We have not had a dragon to test it on. At least not until you.” The Red Skull’s smile grew and Tony suppressed another shiver that wanted to shoot down his spine.
“You’re crazy. Dragons? What the shit are you talking about, dragons aren’t real!”
“Oh, I think both you and I know that is not true. Dragons are very real.” He grabbed Tony’s face, lifting it to look him in the eyes. “As, I am sure, Lady Daenerys would attest. After all, she is the Mother of Dragons. Isn’t that right, Lady Daenerys?”
Dany’s eyes had widened to an impossible size and she backed away.
“No, that’s not possible. Only those with-“
“Only those with Targaryen blood or true magic are able to see you, yes, I know. I think you’ll find I have the former.” Red Skull smiled again, turning his attention back to Tony. “So, Herr Stark, would you like to be the first to test our little formula? See if it truly does hamper your dragon heritage?”
“No, thanks, but I’ll take a vodka martini,” Tony said, recovering from the shock of Red Skull being able to see Dany quickly. He didn’t have the luxury to let that settle in properly, except, ew, that meant Schmidt was at least distantly related to him, gross.
“No martinis here, Herr Stark, but perhaps you’ll get some stale water tomorrow,” Red Skull said, jamming the needle into Tony’s arm and pushing the plunger hard.
Tony cried out when the stuff hit his blood, the liquid burning a molten path to his heart, which sputtered and beat erratically as it dispersed the poison through Tony’s body.
“Shit, holy shit, holy fuck, ow,” Tony hissed through gritted teeth. He heaved for breath, watching as Red Skull went over to a table he hadn’t noticed before (and really, how had he not noticed that thing, it was covered in tools and equipment that looked really, really not nice).
“Good. It seems to be working, but only time will tell if it does its job.” Schmidt set his hands on the table and inspected some of the cruel looking devices it had.
After a few moments of the only sound in the room being Tony’s labored breathing, Red Skull started talking again.
“You have something of mine, Herr Stark. Do you know what that is?”
“Hey, buddy, if you hadn’t heard, the Tesserect is long gone, back to Asgard, so no, I don’t have it, nor do I have access to it and there’s no way in hell you’re ever gonna get your psycho hands on it again.”
“There is that word again, psycho.” Schmidt picked up something that looked like a corkscrew mixed with a metal spider with knives for legs and turned towards Tony. “I am not insane, Stark. I am a visionary. I wish to change the world, to make it a paradise for all. Is that so ‘psycho’?”
“When you want to do it by killing and torturing and being a fucking psycho, then yeah, it is so psycho.” Tony arched a brow, pretending to not be intimidated by the thing Red Skull held.
“Oh, no, no, no, Herr Stark, it does not. What is psycho, however, is the fact that you think you may keep what is mine. What is rightfully mine by birthright.” Something strange seemed to come over Red Skull and a deep fury entered his eyes. “What is mine by heritage, what I have wanted for as long as I can remember! And it was given to you, spoiled rich boy Tony Stark, whose father helped defeat me in the war, and never loved his son more than his toys and trinkets and science.
“You do not deserve such power!” Schmidt roared. “You do not deserve to have the greatness of the Targaryens running through your veins, as it runs through mine. You are not the True Dragon, but a meager substitute, and now, I will take what is mine from you. That power is mine to wield and do with as I see fit. It is the power meant for a conqueror, a King, not a meager brat, egotistical and spoiled, who would use if for nothing near what its true potential is.
“That power was meant for me, and you stole it from me, and I will have it back.” Schmidt’s voice had gone soft and smooth, the sinister edge veiled thinly.
“It was never meant for you.”
Both Tony and the Red Skull’s heads snapped in Dany’s direction. She stood tall, looking every inch the Queen she was.
“That power was not meant for you. It was meant for him, and there is no way you will ever be able to take it from him.”
“Oh, you think so, Lady Daenerys? Well, I do not doubt your word, but that does not mean I will not try and try until either it is mine, or Stark’s body gives out.” Schmidt straightened up and smiled coolly. “Whichever comes first.
“You know, Stark, your weakness is so easy to see, it makes you simple to kill, really.” He tapped the device he still held against the arc reactor glowing in the middle of Tony’s chest. “So simple. Just take that out, and you will die, quickly and painfully. I will take no such option. I will let you linger, let you suffer; keep you barely alive enough to know the pain I will show you, until you beg for death. And then, and only then, will I let you have it.”
Red Skull lifted Tony’s chin with the device, smiling his evil smile again.
“How does that sound?”
“Sounds like a shitty party to me. Let me die of alcohol poisoning, that’d be fun at the very least.” Tony gave him a condescending smirk right back and Red Skull tossed the device back to the table.
“I will return. Take your time testing your restraints; I’m sure you will find them quite sturdy.” Red Skull walked towards the door, pausing a moment to turn and glance over his shoulder. “Oh, and I should mention, if you try using your dragon abilities, you will be very shocked to find it will hurt like hell. Dragonsmouth is a wondrous plant, no?”
The door shut with a slam and Tony was left with just the blue glow of his arc reactor and Daenerys for company.
“Geez, these things are really stuck in there,” Tony said, giving yet another experimental tug. “You sure you can’t go and find the like key or something and bring it back? Or maybe posses a guard?”
“I am not some normal spirit who stirs up trouble. I am meant to guide you and also, only affect you or one with magic on the corporeal plane.” Dany let her head hit the stone wall, and held her knees to her chest.
“Meaning you can’t touch anything but me in here, right. Well, shit.” Tony groaned, the chains rattling as he moved. “I can’t even fucking sit, this is fucked up.”
“I agree this is very fucked up.” Tony was a little surprised at hearing Daenerys curse, but then again, she was picking up a lot of his bad habits it seemed.
“Hey, Dany, is it true?”
“Is what true?”
“Does the Red Skull have Targaryen blood in him?”
“That is complicated, but basically yes, though his is nowhere near as potent as yours is, nor is he capable of being a dragon, though he seems to have deluded himself into thinking so. He is like my brother was, insane with huge ambitions.” She sighed.
“Brother? You never told me you had a brother.” Tony frowned a bit and Daenerys looked away from him.
“There are many things I have not told you, Tony. I suppose we have time now though. I actually had two brothers, but the eldest, Rhaegar, died before I was born. My mother and my other older brother, Viserys, fled our kingdom after our father was killed, and I was born later. My mother died during childbirth, and Viserys and I grew up far from our rightful throne. He had ambitions, but treated me poorly, very poorly, which would end up being his downfall. He married me off to a horse warlord, Khal Drogo of the Dothraki. At first, I did not like Khal Drogo, I feared him, but after some time I grew to love him dearly and took strength in his strength.
“I became with child, and the Dothraki people adored me, their Khaleesi. Viserys was furious at this. He threatened me and Drogo killed him by pouring molten gold on his head. He wanted a crown and Drogo gave him one.”
“That’s….quite the story. What happened?”
“What?” Daenerys glanced at him and raised an eyebrow.
“You look sad when you mention Drogo. What happened? Something obviously happened.”
“The short and simple of it is Drogo died and I lost our child. The woman who was supposed to take care of him, I burned her on his funeral pyre and walked into the flames to retrieve the dragon eggs I had placed there. They were the last three eggs in existence, petrified for years and through ancient magics, I brought them back. That is why I am called Mother of Dragons, because they were reborn through my actions.”
Tony let the new information mull over in his mind for a few moments.
“So, how did you end up taking back the Iron Throne?”
Dany looked at the door and stood, moving away from Tony into the corner.
“That is a story for another time, Tony. Our friend is returning.”
As she said it, the door swung open, the bright light it let in searing Tony’s eyes. Schmidt strode in, his uniform pristine, and Tony glared.
“I think it is time we begun, Herr Stark, don’t you?”
“Sure, I’m ready for your little tea party,” Tony said, throwing out a characteristic smirk. “Bring it on, assface.”
“Oh, I shall, Herr Stark, I shall.” Red Skull picked up the device he’d had earlier and turned toward Tony with an evil smirk.
“Brace yourself, Stark, this is going to hurt.”
Tony still wasn’t sure what the device did, but Red Skull was right, it hurt, hurt like hell.
His screams echoed around the room, and throughout the building, and he was sure that somehow, the others could hear it, where ever they were.
“The direction it was headed was out towards the ocean. I think we can assume they were taking him to Europe,” Steve said, pointing to the continent on the map.
“Yes, that makes sense. They could be using one of their old bases; we should check those out first.” Coulson smoothed out the edge of the map, staring down at the paper.
“And if they’re not in any of those?” Steve looked at Coulson and he sighed.
“Then we start gathering intel. We’re already sending out teams of agents undercover to try and figure out where Hydra is holed up. We also caught a few before they could take their cyanide capsules, and so we can interrogate them.”
Steve nodded, taking yet another long look at the map. It was like playing the largest game of hide and seek ever, but with much higher stakes. Life or death stakes.
“Right. I think the team should split up for this. Barton and Romanoff together, obviously, since well, you know.” He didn’t have to explain that team to Coulson; Coulson knew Barton and Romanoff better than anyone.
“Bruce should hang back with the surveillance and strategy teams. Thor’s with me. What about you, Agent?” He asked, looking at Coulson.
“I’ll be in the field with Agent Hill. Also, Pepper is insisting she comes with.”
“I’d rather leave her somewhere safe, but when she sets her mind to things…”
“Yes, she’s a firecracker, and she may be useful too.”
“Let her come but make her stick with Banner and hang back. I don’t want Tony to be pissed when we find him cause we let Pepper get hurt.”
“What about Colonel Rhodes? Should we inform him and ask-“
“I already called Rhodey.” Both men turned to see Pepper. She’d obviously been crying telling by her smudged make up, but her gaze was clear and her hands steady. She knew how to handle herself in situations like this, that was for sure.
“And?” Steve prompted, putting a careful, comforting hand on her shoulder.
“And he says he can’t do anything without orders, but he’s on high alert for anything suspicious coming in from Eastern hemisphere.”
“Good, that’s good.” Steve wrapped an arm around Pepper in a gentle hug. She clung to him a moment before letting go.
“Let’s get this show on the road, Tony’s waiting for us,” She said, turning and walking away at a brisk stride.
“Right,” Steve said as Coulson rolled up the map.
“Come on, Captain. We’re meeting Fury on the helicarrier for a debrief and then we’re heading out.”
Steve nodded, following Coulson, shield in hand.
He’d find Tony. He’d find him if he had to rip apart all of Europe with his bare hands.
Hydra was going to pay.
Guh, guys, I'm sooooo sorry for how late this is, I got hit with writer's block hard and then real life got in the way and everything, but HERE IS IT FINALLY, and I hope you enjoy it, and hopefully the block is gone for good! You're all amazing for the comments etc, so thank you for all of it, it really helped me pull through and get back to writing this!