The Unknown Variable
(6/20/13) I rebooted this chapter so more questions could be answered and so this story would have a better hook. I apologize to any of my readers I may have annoyed, (for giving stuff away) but I know that for others this will answer many other questions (hopefully) that you may have had.
Three figures stood on a mountain cliff, looking down at the highway below them where traffic was crawling along the interstate.
The first figure and the only male was staring intensely at a rickety bus that was slowly making its way down the road. He was deathly pale, his skin grey; he had messy locks of black hair that fell to his shoulders. His eyes flashed between black and silver with his emotions. His lips were a pale pink color, and were currently pressed into a thin line, the only hint at his annoyance. He wore a black cloak that draped around his shoulders like a shadow. Beneath the cloak, if you were lucky enough to spot his figure, you would see a pair of black breaches that were tucked into dark boots that folded over at the top. His top was a simple black shirt made from silk, and if you looked closely, you might catch a glimpse of a silver chain around his neck.
He looked young, though no matter how closely you looked you would be unable to guess his age. Only the look in his eyes betrayed his true age.
Besides him stood a much healthier looking girl, her flawless skin, as soft as a newborn's, held a healthy tan. She had bright golden eyes that seemed to shine with happiness, which could flash silver in her rare moments of rage. She had long straight white hair that flowed to her mid-back and was braided with flowers. Her full bright pinks lips, which usually held a smile, were curved in a slight frown, as she watched her brother with concern. She wore a bright green gown, with golden runes stitched into the fabric. The gown's sleeves hung off her shoulders, before fitting to her upper arm and ending in a long flare. Beneath her dress, her feet were bare. Resting on her left wrist, mostly hidden from sight, was a bright silver bracelet.
Just like her brother, the girl seemed to just radiate youth, but her age was indeterminable.
There was a third figure, the most curious of all. She had long silver hair that fell past her waist that was highlighted with blue. She had large cloudy blue eyes that gave her a dreamy look; her skin was pale, though not unhealthy. Her lips were full, and a pale pink color. Across one eye, she had a four inch scar, which made her seem wiser than her apparent years. She wore a simple light blue robe with a dark blue cloak clasped under her chin. Within her hand she held a carved staff with various symbols and runes carved into the black wood. At the top of the staff sat a large clear crystal that seemed to have smoke trapped inside that never stopped swirling. It was hypnotizing.
"You are worried for her." The third figure spoke, her voice dreamy, but wise, as if she had seen everything, and knew all.
The male figure just snorted "Do you even need to ask, Infinitas?"
"I do not, but it would be rude not to inquire." The third figure deemed Infinitas replied.
"We have adjusted to your knowledge long ago sister," The second figure said, her voice young and cheerful.
"You might 'ave but I prefer to keep my thoughts to myself Vitam." He snapped, not even sparing the girls a glance as he watched the bus.
"Aequivalere has been rubbing off on you, hasn't she?" The second figure, known as Vitam, stated.
"Of-course she has." He replied rolling his eyes. "We have been bonded for how many millennium now?"
Vitam shrugged while Infinitas replied, "Long enough."
He sighed, shaking his head at his sisters. "Why must she go through this? Neither of us had to stay mortal for so long. She Awoke many millennia ago now, why hasn't she gained her Immortal form yet?"
Infinitas sighed, closing her cloudy eyed before speaking, "Mortem, she…"
"Not another word, Infinitas, or I'll go to Father." A young, but hard voice stated, causing all three of the Immortals to turn around.
Both Vitam and Mortem groaned as they saw who it was. It was another Immortal; she appeared to be only seven, with long blonde hair and large purple eyes. She always wore a smirk and had a mischievous glint in her eyes. She wore a pink silk dress and had a purple ribbon in her hair.
"Fati," Mortem groaned, wanting to leave. Fati had been the youngest (newest) Immortal until Aequivalere Awoke, and she held a serious grudge against her since.
"Mortem, Infinitas, Vitam, what are you doing here?" Fati said with a too innocent smile, as she skipped over. Her eyebrow rose as she spotted the traffic below and sensed Aequivalere's Sleeping presence.
Her eyes narrowed in anger as she turned on her older 'siblings'. In truth, none of the Immortals were actual siblings, besides Vitam and Mortem who were twins. All the others just prefered to refer to themselves as siblings; it helped fill the gap of not having a family.
Many of the Immortals were also bonded, or mates, with each other. It was the only time when they didn't call each other brother and sister.
Mortem and Aequivalere were mates, and had been for a very long time; even if she didn't always remember him.
"You're not to interfere until he Awakens once again. You know that." Fati stated, glaring at Mortem. They never got along, and most of their fights were over the newest Immortal.
"She" Mortem hissed, "and I was not interfering, I am just observing."
"We have not messed with your realm, Fati." Vitam spoke, supporting her twin.
Each Immortal presided over a Realm, or a part of the Existence, that they were responsible for. It was against Father's Word to influence another's realm.
Sadly, because Aequivalere had not yet acquired her Immortal Form, she was stuck as a mortal, living over and over again to fulfill her Realm's responsibility.
It was well known between Fati's older siblings that it was she who stopped Aequivalere from acquiring her Form. She twisted her path so she never truly Awoke, causing her to forget her Place, and her duties.
That was, until she passed into Mortem's realm and he, along with Infinitas, restored her memories and full powers.
It had been the same cycle for many millennia; she would be reborn without any of her memories, and the smallest amount of her powers. Her life would be constantly on the line between life and death, her soul trying to regain the memories it had lost, and her mind trying to stay alive. Her life would be influenced greatly by her Realm, and only once she entered Mortem's Realm, did she regain everything that made her an Immortal.
Then, her Realm would force her to restart the cycle over again, taking her to another place that needed her.
It hurt Mortem to see the Immortal he had bonded to all those years ago, forget him over and over again. It hurt even more to know that Aequivalere's lack of control over her powers, and her lack of Form, was all because Fati was jealous.
Every Immortal knew that, except for Aequivalere. She had accepted what Fati told her without question, blindly following what she said, and it was her own belief that was holding her back.
Fati did everything in her power, which was great, to keep every Immortal from helping Aequivalere discover what she had done.
They all hated it, but none of them could do anything about it.
"You are to leave Harry Potter alone until he Awakens once again. Do Not Interfere." Fati hissed the last part.
"Her name is Aequivalere; she has not been called Harry Potter since her First Life, when she first Awoke." Mortem hissed.
He was very sensitive about Aequivalere's first life. For it was his actions, accompanied, unknown at the time, with Fati's that made her an Immortal in the first place.
She had blamed him for many lifetimes, and hated him. But that hate turned to trust, and they bonded. No closer Immortals existed.
"Whatever." Fati dismissed, waving her hand at Mortem.
"You are to treat your siblings with respect." Infinitas stated coldly. She was one of the Eldest. She had been around since the Beginning, there were very few who were older than her.
Vitam and Mortem were also among the Eldest. Father had handpicked them, like he did all Immortals, and gave them their powers.
Fati rolled her eyes and glared at Infinitas. Fati always thought that her Realm governed Infinitas', so she believed that the Immortal Elder should listen to her.
"Just leave him alone." Fati said.
Mortem rolled his eyes, gave one last glance at the traffic, the bus holding his bonded was now out of sight; and he vanished into the Shadows. Most likely going to take his frustration on those condemned to his Realm.
"Fati, Infinitas." Vitam nodded to both before following her brother's lead and vanishing into the Earth.
The two similar Immortals started at each other in silence for a moment, before Infinitas sighed and said.
"I have Seen what you are planning Young One, and you would do well to Heed my advice. She is more powerful than you believe. Do not underestimate her, or it will be all of our undoing."
With that piece of sorrowful advice, Infinitas faded from sight, just vanishing.
Fati ignored the Elder's words. She had been playing this game since she Awoke, and even before then. She knew what she was doing.
"I will find a way to End you, Harry Potter. You have been a thorn in my side for too long." Fati paused, before smirking and adding. "Even if you've been a fun toy."
Then she vanished as well, leaving the cliff deserted.
The young redhead in question turned towards the cliff, looking out through the bus' window in confusion. Something just felt… off.
She knew her life was to change, she had planned it. But she didn't plan on Death, Life, and Infinity all making a vow to save their new sibling from Fate.
After all, nothing could Exist without Balance.
Tony Stark has always dealt with variables; in calculations, when designing new weapons, dealing with the Board and Pepper…
The new girl whom he hired as a personal assistant was a variable he thought he wouldn't have to think about. Sure she was there, but she wasn't going to change anything.
Now, Pepper is great, but she was getting a little overworked, so after months of badgering him, he hired someone else to help lift some of the weight that Pepper was carrying.
Tony hired her, instead of being Pepper's assistant as she requested, to be Pepper's partner. Now Pepper hadn't been happy about the change in plans but she was willing to work with it. She was glad to have someone else who could babysit Tony while she worked.
That was until Pepper met her partner.
"Tony!" Pepper Potts yelled as she marched into his garage/lab.
"Yah?" He asked his voice muffled from the fact he was currently under one of his cars, presumably working on it.
"How could you!" She scolded as Tony rolled out from under the car with a wrench in his hand.
"It was easy… now remind me again why I am in trouble?" He asked as he took a cloth and wiped himself off of the grease and oil.
"YOU are the problem, Tony… I can't believe you… you've done some really stupid things before but this is an all-time low." Pepper yelled beginning what appeared to be a long lecture.
"Pepper, I'm sure whatever I did you're just worrying over nothing." Tony replied as he put his tools away and walked over to his desk.
"Over nothing? Tony, I don't think you realize what I am talking about here!"
"Nope," He said popping the P "no idea."
Pepper rolled her eyes, dealing with Tony was like dealing with a young child, with a large IQ.
"Miss Telnets is the problem, Tony!"
Tony looked at her, raising an eyebrow; whatever he was expecting that sure the hell wasn't it.
"Miss Telnets? How can she be the problem? I just hired her not even an hour ago!" Tony exclaimed totally confused.
"Yes, Tony and that is the problem!" Ms. Potts yelled.
"How can she be a problem?" Tony asked turning around and crossing his arms looking her dead in the eyes.
"Tony! Do you even know how old she is?" Pepper asked, wondering if Tony just picked the first girl he saw.
"Yup, sure do! She's fifteen as of last month." Tony replied spinning back around and sitting in his chair.
Pepper looked at Tony as if he had lost his mind. Why on earth would he hire a child?
"Tony… she's a child! She has no experience and no reason to be here whatsoever!"
"And how, may I ask, would you know if I should be here or not, Miss Potts?" a young musical voice asked from behind them.
Tony and Pepper both turned around to see the previously mentioned fifteen year old standing there with her arms crossed over her chest.
Pepper was speechless; she did not think that she would come down here… or that she would hear their conversation.
Tony had a cheeky smile on his face saying that he found this all very amusing. Seeing that no one was going to say anything, she continued.
"Miss Potts, I don't think we were properly introduced, seeing that you ran down here as soon as you saw me."
Tony turned to look at Pepper as she blushed in embarrassment.
"My name is Piper Penelope Telnets, it has been a pleasure to meet you." Piper said stressing the word pleasure.
Piper was dressed in a dark blue two piece suit with matching flats; she had light blue eyes the color of the sky and short curly red hair the color of a new copper penny.
After a moment of silence Pepper continued "That does not change that fact that you are way too young to work here. Why, you aren't even out of High School and I doubt your parents agree with this, and you would not be able to work the hours and go to school."
Tony rolled his eyes, he had read her file, and she was perfect for the job. He was not completely clueless all the time.
A hard glint appeared in Piper's icy clue eyes as she said coldly, "I finished High School years ago, Ma'am."
Before Piper could continue Pepper interrupted her "Well I'm sure your parents would not approve…"
"My mother is dead, Miss Potts." Piper's icy tone chilled both adults to the bone. Tony who was still listening was working on the holographic schematics of a new Stark Weapon. The test had failed; it exploded before the missile was halfway to its destination.
So Tony was trying to figure out where the error was, while also watching the lashing Piper was serving to Pepper.
"Ok, Piper, Pepper… that is going to get confusing… hmm." Tony thought to himself.
"Well, your father…" Miss Potts continued but started to feel uncomfortable around the cold eyed teen.
"I never knew my father, Miss Potts."
"Then whoever is your legal guardian…" Pepper continued, not wanted to be out-smarted by someone so much younger than herself.
"Miss Potts, you are getting on my last nerve. I have no legal guardian as I am emancipated. I also have full qualifications and experience for this job."
"A GED is not full qualifications needed for this job…" Pepper began again but Tony interrupted this time.
"Miss Potts, I understand you believe you are acting for my and Piper's sake but you have your facts wrong. Did you even read the résumé I sent you?" Tony asked, still tinkering with the holographic missile even though he wasn't looking at it.
Pepper's silence and red face answered for her.
Piper shook her head, something that Pepper missed, since she was looking at Tony.
"Piper here is a child genius, her IQ is higher than mine was at her age. She has Masters in Physics, Electrical Engineering, and a Doctorate in Metaphysics. She is working towards getting PH.D's in both of those subjects. She can also hack better than I can, she overrode Jarvis in three minutes and I watched her hack into the CIA mainframe within two before leaving with absolutely no trace. She is more than another assistant. She is a consultant and I am looking forward to working with her."
Tony spoke with a level of intelligence that showed just why he was 'Tony Stark'. Pepper was also shocked because there was not one 'Tony' centered sentence in the whole paragraph.
"Maybe this child…Piper will be good for Tony. Especially since she seems to almost be on the same level as he is concerning intelligence."
"Piper…I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to offend you or be rude." Pepper Potts said to the fifteen year old redhead before nodding to Tony and walking back up the stairs.
The ice left Piper's eyes as she looked over at Tony; he was still fiddling with the Hologram though he was staring at where Pepper had been.
"I guess this doesn't happen often?" Piper asked walking over to her new boss with a small smile on her face.
Tony was still stunned; Pepper's behavior towards the end shocked him.
"You're doing that wrong." Piper said snapping Tony out of his shock.
"What?" Tony said confused.
"The connectors are in the wrong place." Piper said as she walked over to Tony's desk.
"Here" she said as she moved around some pieces of the holograph then stepped back as it clicked together and the image fused back together.
Tony snapped out of his shock as he stared at the schematic. She had fixed the problem.
"Wow, thanks Piper..." He paused then turned around and said.
"Piper Pepper… this is going to get confusing. What's your middle name?" Tony asked.
"Penelope." Piper replied, repeating what she said a few minutes ago.
"Well then," Tony said, "You shall be called Penny."
At Piper's raised eyebrow he said, "To keep the confusion between you and Pepper away."
"Ssuurrree." She drawled, rolling her eyes.
Inside though, Penny was beaming, no one but her mom had ever called her Penny. Everyone she ever met always called her Piper, and while she liked the name, she felt more like a Penny.
As Tony went back to work Penny smiled. So far, things were looking great.
Things wouldn't stay that way though, for Starks attract trouble like honey attracts bees.
(Edited again as of 8/5/13)
(6/20/13) I wonder if this makes it clearer or more complicated to all of you? Oh well, this is to show you I know EXCACTLY what I am doing, and where this is going. And it gives you some answers to your questions…hopefully. But sadly, to do this, it also gives away some of my more fun plot twists. Boo you all for demanding it.
Also, this shows you just how MAJOR this story is going to become (trust me you have no idea) and how epic I think it is.
This is only the beginning… it's going to be one long but crazy ride. But I promise it will be worth it.
I'll update soon.