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═ The ══════════
══════════ Son ═
An MLP:FiM Fanfiction by Midnight Shadow
Sharptooth narrowed his eyes as his old friend Swiftwing, better known as Lord Sapphire, came into view, walking amiably next to a hiccuping, flame-spurting Chip. He wasn’t sure which one he was angrier with. Chip for running off or Swiftwing for allowing it.
“Ah, there you are, my good Lord Diamond. Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“I doubt that, Lord Sapphire. What have you been feeding the lad?” Sharptooth pointed at Chip, whose eyes were still streaming with tears, and bright red and orange flashes of light were playing around his nostrils.
“Ah-ah, you don’t get to blame this one on me, Sharpie. The boy picked it out himself. Here, have its twin. Fire-rubies, I have you to thank for introducing me to them.” Sapphire handed a red gem to the emerald dragon, giving his old friend a very toothy grin. “I also wanted to present you both with this, a trophy, a small memento of Chip’s conquest. An admirable son you have there, Sharpie, you should feel proud.” The large blue dragon snapped his claws, and the slightly singed but still-presentable box was brought forth.
Sharptooth grumbled under his breath as he took the small, bow-tied box out of the paws of a smaller yellow-hued dragon. The creature bowed and skittered away. “A memento? I thank you, Lord Sapphire.”
The large blue dragon nodded, “It is his right, after all. Sadly, I was unable to determine just why those two disgusting creatures were intruding on our sovereign territory, but thankfully Chip here was able to teach them a lesson. Let us hope they learn by example, they certainly won’t be doing it again!” Sapphire threw back his head and guffawed louder.
“Chip, thank Lord Sapphire for his generous gift, it is time we were going home. You can tell me just what led you to be tardy for our rendezvous later.”
Chip winced, “I just... I... thought I was going to get in trouble.” He ended the sentence at a whisper.
“Only for getting blood on my tents!” Sapphire laughed again, “No, I thank you for dealing with those ruffians in my stead. To think, they should have earned the honour of being dispatched by a Lord. Pfah! Nasty beasts.”
“We shall discuss yesterday’s occurences later, my old friend. Good day.”
“Be well, Lord Diamond, my wishes go with you, and to you too, young Chip.”
Chip looked up at Sharptooth guiltily as Lord Sapphire and his entourage dispersed, and his adoptive father lead the way out of the brightly-coloured enclave. The emerald dragon had his muzzle set in a slight grimace. He was mad.
“I-I’m sorry, I just... I didn’t mean to make you late, but h-he just kept talking a-and I didn’t know h-how to stop h-him...”
“Chip,” Sharptooth looked down at his young charge, “I am disappointed, but I totally understand. I am disappointed only because I care.”
Chip’s heart sank. The standard answer number 23 from the good parent’s guide. He really was in trouble.
Sharptooth smiled suddenly, and snorted, “Breathing fire, huh?”
Chip blinked, then nodded, “H-he gave me a fire-ruby.” To prove his point, Chip hiccuped, and another spurt of flame lit up the small clearing.
Sharptooth laughed, “Old Sapphire told you about his introduction to them, I take it? Still burning, isn’t it?”
Chip nodded, his eyes still red and his nose streaming wetly.
“Ready to go home? How about you make the tea, whilst it still lasts, hmm?”
Chip’s journey to school the next day was relatively uneventful, other than the fact it was raining. He went straight inside the wooden building, shaking himself off to avoid dripping in the classroom. Taking his seat, he opened his books, for want of something better to do, as school hadn’t started proper. He flicked through basic biology, eyes lingering on ponies. It was a stray gust of wind which brought him out of his reverie, flicking the pages onwards. The book featured dragons and the elusive pooka, the naga, timberwolves, trolls and diamond dogs... and then a word caught his eye: Monster.
He read, slowly and carefully. The word monster referred to a varied menagerie, dealing with two main classes of being. One were creatures like the hydra, cockatrice and timberwolf, ferocious beasts of the wild places like the distant Everfree and the Screeching Canyons. The other were mixtures of other types of creatures - commonly called chimera when non-sentient - the two main and well-known were the hippogriff, part griffon and part pony, and then the draconequus. Part pony, part dragon.
His hoof touched the picture gently as his heart skipped a beat. Surprised when he felt a wetness on the back of his foreleg, he sniffed and wiped at his muzzle before reading on.
a highly dangerous magical beast, these are very rare. The most famous of which is known in legends as Discord, bringer of chaos and despair, feared throughout the land as a destroyer and foul tyrant.
That was him, he realized.
That’s what he was - a monster.
He blinked and looked up. Suddenly the room felt hot, stuffy, stifled. His heart beat in his ears and his breath caught in his throat.
He looked around, he was sat with Carmine, Bella, Beth and Penny, but the other tables... the diamond dogs pointedly looked the other way, Butch had decided that not acknowledging his presence was preferable to tangling with him. This thought worried Chip, now. The other ponies - he hadn’t even bothered to learn their names - wouldn’t meet his gaze. They feared him. They despised him. They hated him. This is what he was, now. An outcast. A beast.
He suddenly felt very alone.
The bell rang and Miss Calligraphy started prattling on about diamond dogs for her first lesson. The class had covered a short introduction on the creation of Equestria, with the coming together of the three main tribes, the previous day and would be coming to the princesses, and alicorns, later.
As Calligraphy Quill chatted about diamond dogs and their settling in the principality of Equestria as subjects under Celestia over a thousand years ago, Chip could hardly listen. His stomach hurt. Today had started so well, he’d connected with Sharptooth the night before. The fire had stopped, but it had been something... to share.
Right now, it felt like a curse.
Chip looked out the window, mind galloping at a million furlongs a minute. Calligraphy spoke, her voice droning on in the background about lost kings or something, but he didn’t care. Why should he care, he was a monster after all.
The lessons passed in a blur, lunch was memorable only in that he watched seemingly from inside his own head as other ponies crossed the room to get away from him, looked away instead of at him, mumbled instead of talking to him.
Maybe they knew, he wondered, maybe they’d heard he was a killer. Maybe he’d be kicked out of school, maybe he’d have to spend his life living at the top of a mountain like a dragon, bewaring of others sent to kill him. Forever, alone, at the top of a mountain, forgotten by everypony, hated and loathed. He hung his head, screwing up his face so he wouldn’t start crying in class.
He wanted to go home.
He wanted Mommy and Daddy.
He knew he never could have them.
Chip left school sullenly, angrily. Butch and the diamond dogs avoided him. What did he care? He hated them. Carmine tried to speak to him, but he wasn’t in the mood. He blew her off and galloped away. He reached the spot where Sharptooth was supposed to pick him up... but he kept going.
He wouldn’t be missed.
Sharptooth circled higher, sharp eyes scanning the horizon for his charge who had once again failed to appear. Spotting the runaway, he dove nearer to the ground and landed in front of the foal, who stopped short, looking at the ground.
“Hey, what’s wrong Chip? I thought we had this talk, little one. You shouldn’t just disappear like-”
“I k-killed-” Chip interrupted.
Sharptooth slapped his tail angrily into the ground. “Are you still hung up on that?” Sharptooth snapped back, although he bit his tongue when he saw Chip’s ears fold back. “Forgive me, I keep forgetting you were not always a dragon...”
“I’m a p-pony t-too! I was a p-pony first!” Chip forced out, through gritted teeth, ears back. He hiccuped flames, suddenly, and whimpered.
“B-buck y-you!” The colt bolted.
Sharptooth stared after him in dismay, and then down at his paws which had been half-outstretched towards the child. “Oh Celestia.” he whispered. It had all been too neat, too easy, but then those damned diamond dogs had appeared! If only they hadn’t been snooping about. But then, mused Sharptooth, if he hadn’t taught Chip to fight, the result could have been fatal for the lad. If Chip hadn’t been brought safely to him in the first place, he could have met with an accident whilst in the hooves of some other unfortunate adoptive parent, and the grieving would have been transferred to another relative. Choices, always choices, actions and consequences. Too much, too soon! It shouldn’t have to be so hard for a child!
Sharptooth took to the wing again, spiralling into the air above the scrub and the now-distant tents of the fair. He mused, as he circled to follow the colt, that the tents of the dragons were surrogate caves but with a subtle difference. Draconic society, as big and slow and old as it was, was changing. It was probably the ponies, with their gaudy, colourful lifestyles. Those dragons who interacted with the strange, four-legged equinoids picked up their ways and their lust for fun and companionship. The tents showed this - spiralling designs, gaudy stripes, banners and flags and made of colourful cloth. No longer were they hidden from the world, or fashioned from bone and hide, they were civilized, they were friendly. Even as the inner conclave was restricted to dragons, it too was... welcoming.
Sharptooth remembered the box, and realised that this change hadn’t penetrated every aspect. The gaudy, friendly box had contained a grisly trophy; the cleaned and mounted skull of the diamond dog. He thought about at it with the mind of a pony, and felt something... not shame, but that yawning gulf of difference. He’d pulled a young, impressionable and vulnerable colt across that divide, was it at all surprising that things were not easy?
Sharptooth flared his wings and dropped to hover next to the colt as Chip ran across the plains. “Are you ready to come home yet?”
Chip said nothing, but his steely gaze, set on the far horizon, spoke volumes.
Sharptooth marvelled at the lad, his legs were pumping like pistons and the flames from that damned fire-ruby were playing around his muzzle with every flex of his body. Sharptooth tried again, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to lecture you, of course you can take your own time to-”
Chip leaped and flexed a tail, screaming something incoherent at the dragon. Sharptooth jinked away and the shot with the bolas went wide. So that was how it was going to be, hmm? Sharptooth dove at the foal and snatched him with his talons. Chip dug his hooves in suddenly and both of them went crashing to the ground. Quick as a whip, Chip flicked his tail out in an attack with his ripper-ring. Sharptooth took hold of the amber mass with one paw and resolutely lifted the creature up with it. “Chip...”
The pony hissed and spat, “You... you hate me! You’ve always hated me! Everypony hates me! I hate you! You’re a liar! My parents aren’t dead! They can’t be! Celestia... Celestia’s lying! She’s keeping me from them! I want to go home! I WANT MY PARENTS! I WANT DADDY! I WANT MOMMY! I WANT-”
The rest of his wailing and choked exclamations were more or less cut off as Sharptooth took hold of the young colt and embraced him, ignoring the kicking and screaming, the jabs and the bites. Sharptooth whimpered slightly, he’d faced down hydra, tangled with naga and once had neatly defused a growing civil war, but he’d never felt quite so helpless as now.
Chip slammed open the front door, embedding the inner handle into the wall. He stomped up the stairs, slammed open and then slammed closed the door to his room.
Sharptooth listened intently as the painful sounds of distraught sobbing echoed from the small room. He heard things breaking, precious things, but nothing quite so precious as his own heart. Things could be replaced, or mended, but a heart... “I’m so sorry, little one.” he whispered, as he sat back in his chair. With a flick of his wrist, he magically lit the lanterns. Stoking the fire, he settled down to wait, fighting with himself. Should he go up? Should he deny the child his tantrum? Should he leave well enough alone until the fury had subsided? Dragons were easy, even small ones. Fight for dominance and drive them out. If they came back, they would submit. If they didn’t, so be it. Pony-shaped dragons, however, weren’t quite so easy. Especially not ones handed over by princesses.
The dragon perked an ear up at the sudden silence. He cast a small locking spell on the front door and ambled up the stairs. He knocked on the solid wooden door but didn’t want for an answer. He pushed it open and eased himself in. The globe was dented, thrown against the wall. The telescope was in pieces. Models had been rendered to matchsticks and Chip’s flying-machine drawings were wadded up like they’d been chewed and spat out. The sofa was empty, instead there was a quivering, quietly sobbing roughly pony-shaped lump wedged in one corner almost behind the desk.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Sharptooth asked.
The lump shook - negative, the dragon assumed.
“Come with me.”
Again, the lump shook, but Sharptooth wasn’t taking no for an answer. He picked up the bundled colt and retreated down the stairs and into his weir. The lump complained and whimpered, crying and sniffling, but Sharptooth was having none of it. He locked the door with a similar spell to the one he’d used on the front door and curled up into a ball in the depression on the floor.
“They weren’t looking for you, Chip. They were looking for a dragon.”
“But I’m a dragon.” a small voice said.
“I know that, but they didn’t. I’m sorry, I should never have made you become... no, that’s wrong. Chip... I can’t... I can’t stop you from being... who you are, from being what you are, because I can’t stop caring for you.”
“Who am I, then? What am I?”
“You’re my son, if you want to be. Your parents... Celestia isn’t lying, neither am I. They died...”
Chip’s muzzle screwed up and he started crying again. Sharptooth nuzzled the colt, “It’ll be alright. I know it hurts...”
“Why? Why did they have to die?” Chip wailed.
“I don’t know.”
“Why did they have to leave me? I... wish I could die too.” Chip’s voice devolved into agonized choking sobs.
Sharptooth hissed softly, “Don’t say that, if I am sure of nothing else, I know they would not want that.”
Chip’s sobs died away, slowly, and his last words before he fell into an exhausted sleep was, “Don’t leave me.”
“I won’t ever leave you, little one, but you may have to leave me.” Sharptooth’s eyes gleamed in the darkness as he folded himself up for sleep. He had to keep his piece safe, and if even a dragon’s den wasn’t safe from diamond dogs then where was? The dragon thought carefully, his mind playing across the territories he knew of. They could leave Equestria, but that would be even harder. No, there was one place, once possibility. Far from the Southern town of Tacksworn, deep in the North East of Equestria where no diamond dogs roamed, earth-pony territory. It would be easy to hide Chip in plain sight in such a place. There was even a relative, he mused, not an irontail but close enough. Better still, the city was well-known for dragons. His kith and kin could keep an eye on the lad. He hoped that Chip could forgive him.